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3 posts categorized "..mom in Singapore"

Mom Story: Rosie Jansen from Tribe Bags

Rosie and son Toby-Introduction-02

I’m Rosie Jansen, mom to an active two-year old, my son Toby. I’m also the founder of Tribe Bags, a luxury line of stand-out leather diaper bags. Our signature diaper bag, the “Singapore Sling”, was named Best Changing Bag in the prestigious UK Junior Design Awards, and is often seen carried by several Hollywood celebrity mums including Katherine Heigl and Denise Richards. While I was born and bred in Australia, I now live in sunny and humid Singapore with my husband and son.

Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, blogs? 

I collect contemporary Asian art and several of my friends are art curators and gallery owners, so I’m always looking around for pieces that take my fancy. I’m running out of wall space though, so I don’t buy as much art as I used to. I’m always looking at interior design magazines and lately, blogs. Besides Bloesem, I like checking out designsponge, and apartment therapy for general ideas and inspiration. My taste stays fairly constant but I have fallen in love with colour over the past few years, and that love has translated into my designs for Tribe as well. Colour works well in my home because I have a backdrop of a lot of stone-coloured and light wood fixtures and furnishings.

Rosie's Home

What are your children’s favorite items in your house? 

When I was pregnant. I bought a very modern and generous-sized rocking chair which I placed next to my son’s crib. Since birth, my son and I have cuddled up in that chair every night and read book after book. Toby loves the chair and has become quite territorial about it.

Rosie and son Toby-Rocking Chair-Favourite Item in House-01

How do you like to celebrate birthdays and other special days in your house? 

I always make a nice creative sign celebrating the occasion – “Toby’s 1st Birthday”, “Toby’s 1st Christmas” etc. – and make sure that the sign appears in photographs taken on the day. As Toby grows older, it will be nice to look back at photos and to instantly know how old he was at the particular point in time when the photograph was taken. It’s a good way of keeping track of time without having to look at the date stamp of when certain photographs were taken. 

Rosie's Artwork-05

What are your all time favorite books for children? 

Toby and I are both obsessed with books, and they’re my absolute favourite things to give as baby shower and newborn baby gifts. I love Australian author Mem Fox and her books Hello Baby, The Green Sheep, Time for Bed, as well as classic children’s books like Peter Rabbit and Winnie The Pooh. I also enjoy reading fairy tales to my son.

Rosie's Artwork-04

How do you buy your books? Bookstores?  Online? 

I like visiting bookstores as it gives me an opportunity to flick through the pages of a book to get an idea of the story line and to also see the illustrations. I have a soft spot for beautifully illustrated books. 

Luckily for me, there’s been a growth of lovely independent bookstores in Singapore, like Woods in the Books which specializes in children’s books. Another one I like is Littered With Books, which carries books for both children and adults, so there’s something for Toby and myself. Both stores have a very relaxed and warm vibe, which just makes the shopping and reading experience so much more pleasurable. 

Woods in The Books

What movies do your children like to watch, is there one from your childhood you would love to show them? 

My son Toby just loves Thomas the Tank Engine. Currently, he doesn’t have the attention span to watch a movie, but he likes short 10-30 minute episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine and various other animations like Shaun the Sheep that I also love. I liked the Smurfs when I was a child and have around 100 Smurf figurines, which my mother kept and stored for me, but my son just isn’t interested in them!

Rosie's Artwork-03

How do your children prefer to spend their leisure time? 

I suspect my son isn’t dissimilar from most young boys his age - he’s active for the whole day and never stops! He loves playing at our local park (on the slippery slide and in the sandpit), playing at home with toy cars and trains, and really enjoys running around and just making his own fun. He just turned two and has started go to pre-nursery school several mornings a week which is something he really enjoys due to the mix of different activities and the company of other toddlers.

Rosie and son Toby-Introduction-01

Thank you Rosie for sharing your lovely Mom Story with us!

..Tribe Bags

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Mom Story: Marie from Etincelle Creative Studio

M1

My name is Marie, I am originally from France/ Switzerland and I grew up in a tiny tiny village in the French country side. I am a fashion and jewelry designer, stylist, aspiring photograph and a food lover. I also love traveling and I have lived in very different places in the past 10 years. I am currently based in Singapore. I run an Etsy shop called EtincelleStudio and I blog over at Etincelle Creative Studio almost daily...I have also recently started planning and styling children's birthday parties, and I enjoy it a lot!

M1

What kind of house do you live in - are you and the kids happy here or is there anything you find lacking, or would like to change?

We are currently living in a 3-bedroom apartment with no balcony, and to be honest we find it a bit hard some days. A house with a garden would be ideal, especially with two active young children (5 and 2 years old in February)!

M2

What do you like best about living there?

Singapore is extremely convenient when you have young children as it’s a very green city with big parks, the sea, excellent food and lots of friendly people. It's a cosmopolitan hub where things are happening!

M3

Do you like to spend time decorating your home and your children’s rooms?

I love spending time decorating my home, especially the kids’ rooms. I feel the need to move furniture around every 2-3 months, and I display different toys so they can re-discover older toys and start playing with them again. My daughter loves it when I surprise her with a “new” room when she comes back from school!

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Do you keep your children’s play areas separate, or do you believe they should have a space in every part of the house?

I believe they should have space to play in (nearly) every part of the house and therefore keep toys in different places (except for the kitchen and our own bedroom). Beautifully crafted wooden toys are part of the decoration of our home!

M5

Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, or blogs?

Like everyone else these days, I browse the web a lot. I have a Pinterest account that helps me tremendously to source for inspiration in all domains (interior deco, party styling ideas, DIY projects, baking etc…) and I follow a handful of resourceful blogs where I can keep updated. Twitter has been great so far as well.

I am buying as many magazines as I used to…the ones I like (Vogue living AUS, Living ETC UK, Elle deco and Vogue France… etc…) are extremely expensive here.

M20

If you are living in a foreign country, how do you feel about it? How do you meet new people, and make new friends? What is it that you miss most about 'home'?

I love living in foreign countries! There is something special about being abroad; maybe the challenge to adapt to a new culture, language, food or tradition of course. I like to say “it’s exotic”. For example my husband would love to live in France, but it’s not ”exotic” for me…it’s just home.

How have your children adapted to the language, food, and cultural differences?

My children were born in Asia (Thailand and Singapore), so they have no problem ;-). I wonder how they will adapt to my culture if we ever go back to France or Switzerland….

M7

What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?

A perfect day with my kids is when there is lots of laughter, hugs and kisses. No winging or constant crying/ tantrums please, I am allergic! If we spend most of the day outside, at the beach or park, I love it. Not an easy task here as mid-day gets real hot, but time to time we make it happen.

M8

What is a normal day like with your children?

My daughter is going to school every morning from 9am to 12pm, so I usually lock myself in my “office” and get as much work done as possible. I am lucky to have a caregiver for my son, and they are usually bringing Chloé to school. At 12pm I will get out to pick her up (with my son), then we have lunch together. I get back to my desk at 1:30pm after putting him to sleep and while my girl plays in her room (unless she has a play date outside). If I have a lot of work, I will stay in until their dinner time. Otherwise we usually have something planned after 3:30pm: we go to the park or to the pool, we have a play date out or go eat an ice-cream at our favorite outlet in Holland Village.

M9

What do you do on the weekends?

Weekends are always different, but my husband and I make a point to spend a lot of time together. Sunday is no computer/ gadget day and we don’t turn them on until the kids are in bed (although we have our Iphones… is it cheating?). If weather permits, my husband will bring my son for a bike ride, and I will give a French tuition to my daughter in a café. She loves this special time with Mama! Other times we watch their dad play basketball, or just go to the pool after an afternoon nap.

M10

What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?

Lately I have been very busy and haven’t done much crafts with them. One afternoon recently we went to a small park nearby, and I brought finger paint, a roll of paper, scissors and tape. I then instructed them to pick up little branches, leaves and to use them to paint on the paper (which I had simply put on the ground). Of course they were allowed to use their fingers as well. The aim of this project was not to create something nice, but to experience painting with different tools.

M11

What do you do with all the projects your children make at home or in school?

First I select the drawing/ paintings that I will keep. Then I check that the date &name have been written on each of them, and if I know the meaning of the drawing, I will add a little note to explain its meaning.

Then I create a file that I store. Other drawings will be framed, or I stick them on the walls with masking tape. The rest can be transformed in cards and sent to family, or used to scrapbooks albums offered regularly to Grand-Ma and Great-Grand-Ma….

M12

How do you celebrate birthday's and other special days in your house?

We don’t celebrate our own birthdays (other than a cake with candles) but now I like to throw a nice party for my kids who were both born in February. We invite all their friends and their parents and I make sure that the decoration is special, the food great and everyone is having lots of fun. I like to make them feel special on their birthdays.

M13

Do your children have friends over often? If yes, what activities do they do together?

My daughter is asking a lot either to go her friends’ house or to have her friends over after school. I usually arrange the play date with the mum and pick up the girlfriend & my daughter at school. They play in her room (dress up, Barbie and who knows what else…) then eventually we will go out to the playground or the pool. My son is usually tagging along.

M14

What are your all time favorite books for children?

The ones my parent's were reading to me when I was a little girl: Cendrillon (Cinderella), La poule rousse, les Trois Petits Cochons (three little pigs), Boucles d’Or (Goldilocks) etc… and all the Roald Dahl of course! I was reading non-stop when I was young, and I would love my kids to read as many books too.

M15

Where do you buy your books? Bookstores? Online?

I must buy more books! I ask my mum to buy the French “classics” and to send them to the kids. Oh joy! They love it. I prefer to buy from bookstores as I pay particular attention to the illustration and like to check out the story (and picture how I will read the story to the kids).

M16

Do your children read books online? Do they go to the library?

I don’t allow them to read books online. I actually restrict interaction with gadgets (iPad, iPhone or computers) as much as I can. There will be times when I won’t be able to do it, I want them to get the habit of reading “real” books, it’s important.

M17

What are some nice activities you can do with children in your area, and what would you recommend for people visiting?

There are plenty of nice activities to do with kids in Singapore: the zoo is amazing, and so is the bird park. We love to take a stroll at the Botanic Gardens and have a picnic (or a pizza), or take a bike ride on East Coast Park. Go to Sentosa island for an afternoon at the beach and play in the sand (but don’t swim please). There is a fun water themed park in Pasir Ris and many indoor playgrounds (some free, some not). Well, there is plenty to do in Singapore!

M18

What movies do your children like to watch? Is there one from your childhood you would love to show them?

Cinderella is played very often at home, and I love watching bits of it with my daughter. It’s the only Disney film without scary witches, a terrible beast or monsters. I simply LOVE it. My hubby introduced us to The Sound of Music (which my daughter loves) and we both like Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (the oldest and newest films alike).

Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food lover’ or both?

We are food lovers and cooks. My husband is passionate by cooking, he has started making his own sausages! He mostly cooks on the weekend, and I do some of the cooking during the week. We like good hearty food, and you can eat anything from French, to Italian, Filipino, Thai, Indo, Indian…cuisines at our home.

M19

Do you cook together with your children?

We try to encourage them to cook/ bake: pizza, cookies, and cakes. My son seems to be particularly interested in cooking, he always wants to watch and touch the tools; he likes to serve each of us our portion of rice at lunch too!

What a lovely Mom Story, thank you Marie for sharing it with us!

..Etincelle Creative Studio..

..Etincelle Creative Studio Blog..

*If you are interested in being considered for a Mom Story, please contact Tiffany - tiffany.bloesem(at)gmail.com

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Meet Mom Janice from Singapore...

Bikbik1

My name is Janice, I live in Singapore, and I’m the mother of two wonderful little girls. I am a writer/editor and illustrator in the few gaps of time I have in between motherhood. I also work on Bikbik & Roro, my little shop of handmade toys, which I started on Etsy about five months ago. I’d been making toys locally for some years already, and finally decided to take up the suggestion of getting on a global, online platform. From my past experience with handmade toys, I now endeavour to make Bikbik, Roro and their friends as child-safe as possible, sewing with reinforced stitching, and avoiding the use of choke-able items like buttons. I like repurposing fabrics, and using Asian textiles like vibrant Indonesian batiks and cute Japanese prints.

Bikbik1a

What kind of house do you live in, are you and the kids happy here or is there anything you all terribly miss …?
We live in a fairly large house that has three levels and a garden. We love it here – it’s peaceful and quiet, and we live close to the beach, where there is a sprawling park with bicycle paths and a large playground. What do we miss? Perhaps more room!

Do you like to spend time on decorating your home and the children’s room?
Yes I do, but that would be if I had the time, which usually I don’t! When I was pregnant, I did have some time to do some decorating, like painting and putting up shelves and pictures, but now that the kids are older, I think I spend more time picking up after them and trying to have some vague semblance of neatness.

Bikbik2
What are your children’s favorite items in your house?

I think it’s either the bed or the big chair in front of the telly. O, they love the bathroom too – they can spend ages in there blowing bubbles, making potions, and scrubbing the tiles with old toothbrushes (I know, go figure!).

What places in your new neighborhood do you like to go to for shopping?
There isn’t actually much shopping in my neighbourhood because we’re really on the outskirts. The nearest mall is some distance away, and we mainly go there for practical things like groceries or the bank. If I wanted to really shop, for books or clothes, I’d have to make an entire special day of it, because I’d have to take the train downtown. Thank goodness for mail order and the internet.

Bikbik3

What's it like to raise a child in your town?
We’re very blessed to live where we do, close to the sea and nature. Singapore itself is largely a very modern, bustling, developed city, with lots of buildings, like New York or Tokyo, so we’re very fortunate to be able to go for walks whenever we want, or cycle or have fun at the playground. At the same time, Singapore has a very efficient public transport system in place, so it’s easy to catch a bus or train to wherever we need to go. Being a tropical island does mean that it’s usually pretty sunny, so we tend to wait till twilight before doing any outdoor stuff.

What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?
Doing anything pleasant for a whole day with my kids would be perfect. Perhaps having cheesy pasta and hot chocolate at some nice coffee house, and then going to a museum, or spending time at our favourite book and toy stores. Or just lounging about at home with no worries at all.

Bikbik4

Can you tell us a funny story, quote or remark one of your children recently made or happened?
I caught my finger in the scissors just the other day. Later that evening my older girl told my Dad, “Your dear daughter cut her finger”. When my Dad, who’s a little hard of hearing, said, “Who?”, she answered, “The person who’s now my Mom”.

Are there any books you can recommend for parents and how to raise your children?
“The New Basics” by Dr Michel Cohen.

Bikbik9

Can you mention some of your ‘how-to-raise-your-kid’ values?
Hm, I shall have to think about this a bit as I’ve never had to formally describe them. Well, I try to teach them to
1. Be positive – I encourage them to expect good; to always look for the “silver lining”; to avoid speaking or thinking negatively about anything or anyone; to pray if they feel troubled, and then not spend time uselessly worrying.
2. Be confident –  I praise and compliment them – within reason – on their achievements, their big dreams, their looks, their efforts, their good behaviours. I remind them that they don’t need other people’s approval to feel worthy, or good about themselves. What matters is God’s approval.
3. Have integrity – I stress the importance of being honest, sincere and fair in all their dealings and even in little things.
3. Be kind, compassionate and thankful – I remind them that we are in many ways so much more blessed than many others around us or in the world, and that we must help those who are less fortunate in whatever way we can – by giving of our time, money or resources. It matters to me that they care about all living creatures, including bugs and each other.

Bikbik5

What kind of DIY projects do you like to do with your children?
We do many art and craft projects, like drawing, painting, clay sculpting and origami. The kids aren’t old enough to actively do any DIY house projects like furniture building, but they’re pretty good at bringing me things I need and passing comments from the side.

Any tips for keeping the house clean when crafting?
Try to throw away the stuff you don’t need anymore in the dustbin – RIGHT AWAY!

What do you do with all the projects your children made at home or in school?
I keep almost everything. I hang or stick them up somewhere if possible, or put them away in a folder with plastic sleeves.

Bikbik6

What are favorite games in your home?
Hide-and-seek is much loved. But a lot of times it’s whatever the kids think up – spell-casting, dress-up, catch, and yes – scrubbing bathroom tiles.

Are there musical instruments in your house?
Yes. Besides the piano downstairs (I play, and am teaching the kids how to as well), we have several guitars, harmonicas, tambourines, xylophones, drums, and sundry noise-making devices.

Bikbik8
What are all time favorite books for the children?

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. I also read them classics like Jane Eyre, and David Copperfield, and poetry from my own book as a child, “Read Me A Poem”. It’s a beautifully illustrated book published in the 60s, and has poems by the likes of Blake, Tennyson and Frost.

What movies do your children like to watch, is there one from your childhood you would love to show them too?
I got them “The Rescuers” on DVD, which I remember loving as a child. They watch it again and again. They also like Pocoyo, Little Einsteins, and Trotro. I have to admit they quite enjoy the Barbie movies too. I avoid the “teenage/fashion/boyfriend” stuff, and let them watch the ones that focus on overcoming the odds, and caring for others, like “The 12 Dancing Princesses”, “A Christmas Carol”, “A Mermaid Tail”, and “Thumbelina”.

Bikbik10

Are you a ‘cook’ or ‘food’ lover or both?
Both :)  I especially love making (and eating) pizzas and fruit pies and things involving eggs.

What kind of place do you like to go to on vacation with and or without the children?
I like to go to places with a lot of history, places with museums and old historic sites. If we are travelling with the kids, we make sure that the place is child-friendly and there are lots of things for them to do as well.

Tips for traveling with a plane or a long-time trip on the road with children?
Thankfully, both the kids travel well, with hardly any fuss. I make sure they have activity books to work on, and lots of snacks.

Bikbik7

..Bikbik & Roro..
..Bikbik & Roro blog..

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