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May 2015

Get Crafty Many great DIY projects, fun for the whole family. Page 3

Kid-friendly travel destinations New Zealand & the great outdoors!


Page 15

but not cheap






Kids Issue

What’s New


Travel Guide

Crafts & more

Editor’s Note Local Kids Label DIY Stamp Book

Shop Stop New In Store Fruit Pizza

Modern Handwriting Candle Making Food Styling

Kiwi Travels South Island with the kids

Make it yourself! Reversible dress Passion for Crafts - - (Based in Singapore)


May 2015

The Kids Issue Dear Gazette Readers: A lot has been said about finding the right balance in life. Kids, work, family life - we, moms, know what it is like to juggle and multi-task, without dropping the ball (or not dropping it too often...). Balance, you say? Perhaps there is some truth in chaos theory after all; that is, there is nothing predictable about a mom’s life! But then again, we relish in this relative chaos and take it head on, always trying to stay ahead of the game. Or at least that is how I suspect the ‘Joan of Arc’ that is hiding in every woman I am sure, sees things now and again. I know I do. So, when do moms (or women generally) relax, kick back and take it easy? Not too often I am afraid. So, my dear fellowmoms, celebrating motherhood once a year on Mother’s day is our day in the limelight. It actually feels great being ‘spoiled’ with breakfast in bed, receiving sweet handmade cards from the boys with even sweeter messages, such as you are the best mom in the world, and perhaps a little foot massage from the husband (that should actually be a mandatory daily task I think). Dreaming away over my freshly baked croissant under the loving gaze of my three men, I started thinking about this special edition of the Bloesem Gazette, an issue dedicated to my kids blog, BKids and how it all came about in 2009. At that time I was pregnant with our youngest and our eldest had just turned three; somehow, I could not stop the urge (it must have been the eternal maternal hormones) of starting this personal journal curating all my favourite kids design finds, and what started as a few occasional posts on Bloesem Living became a whole new blog dedicated to kids. It has been a wonderful journey. Looking back, I can see how BKids has evolved over time. Growing up with my sons and maturing with my ‘evolution’ as a working mom. What I had not expected though when I started BKids was how many doors it would open to other moms around the globe. I have learned so much from them, sharing their experiences and making a real connection. And, actually, not only moms - there have been so many women who have reached out to me to share their stories. The essential common denominator being the love they feel for their families and their passion to create a home for them. I like to think that over the years BKids has contributed to this friendly global community of women. Some of these great women will be sharing their family stories with us in this Gazette. Merillee Giddiard aka Mer Mag, Jennifer Hagler aka A Merry Mishap and Rubyellen Bratcher aka MyCakies, but also ‘new’ moms who I met more recently in Singapore, like the beautiful ladies behind kids design shop, Cuckoo, and my dear friend Anouk van der El aka MakeHistory, who takes us on a trip with her family through New Zealand. We hope you enjoy reading this free publication and feel the family love we have put into it! In other news - this mom has been facing some challenges of her own during the last few weeks. But as they say, when the going gets tough, the tough (or was it the ‘women’?) get going. Those of you who browse the streets of Tiong Bahru will have noticed that Bloesem has left. It appears Bloesem and other new pioneering businesses in the neighbourhood have outstayed their welcome. So, yes, it is true, we left TB, keeping very fond memories of our time there. But do not fear! We have not disappeared, but rather we’re expanding. We will be back with a vengeance soon in a new form altogether and that is a promise! You can read all about it on our blogs. It is during these challenging times you realise that all that really matters is your family and that the love for your kids (and, actually, just simply watching them play) puts these ancient powers into moms which makes them a force to be reckoned with, a positive force that is. Irene

Editor in Chief instagram @bloesemblogs


Illustration Ernica Ding

Managing Editor // Zara Salahuddin

Contributor // Chong Mei Kwee

Contributor // Anouk van der EL

Zara stumbled upon Bloesem

Mei Kwee Chong is the newest

Anouk is the designer and marketing

through the wonderous world

member of the Bloesem Team. A

mastermind behind the Make History

of Instagram. She spends her

recent graduate from NUS Division

line of products, which include the

days in the Bloesem studio

of Communications and New Media,

Time Capsules and most recently, the



she lives and breathes social media

Little Quote Jar. She is the voice of

content for the Bloesem blogs.

both in and out of school. Apart

reason and source of comedy in the

After spending too much time in



Bloesem studio, always ready to serve

university on Youtube and blogs,

media platforms, she is key in the

up some useful advice or constructive

she found her true passion in

organization of creative classes and

criticism for anything Bloesem related.

social media. Luckily for Zara, her day job allows her to dabble in

maintenance of Bloesem’s online shop. She also has a passion

Thank you Anouk, you make us smile! In this edition of the Bloesem

everything from photography to DIY craft projects.

in food styling and spends her free time baking sweet treats and

Gazette, Anouk takes us along on her family vacation around New

creating crafts she learnt from Bloesem classes.


Instagram @meikwee

Instagram @makehistoryco

Instagram @zaaras






May 2015


Customized softies.

Make your children’s

drawings come to life‌ visit

Going down memory lane with hobbies from the past ... collecting stamps and talking about the world. DIY mini stamp collecting book by Giddy Giddy Materials you will need: *Cardstock paper *2 paper maps *Glassine envelopes *Leather scrap *White masking tape *Rubber cement glue (acid free) - It’s important that you do not use white glue as this will discolor the paper over time. *Thin cord (leather, cotton or synthetic) *Scissors or preferably a paper cutter. Step 1: Cut cardstock paper to the desired size. For my example, I used 3 inches by 3 inches cardstock pages. Step 2:

I used a paper cutter to cut 3 inch-wide strips that are the entire length of the map. Step 3: Tape the pages together using white masking tape. Step 4: Brush rubber cement onto cardstock and adhere pre-cut map onto the pages. Step 5: Now you can glue the glassine envelopes on each page using rubber cement. I cut the envelopes to size and then oriented them so that the envelope opening is facing the center binding. Step 6: Using a leather scrap, I cut a little jacket for my book and sewed a long strap onto it. Step 7: Attach the jacket by wrapping cord around the center and knotting on the exterior.

Cut map into long strips which will be used to cover the cardstock pages.

All images by


May 2015

Petit Society Big Dreams Comfy and affordable c lothes are key but that does not mean you ha ve to stinge on style. Robyn and Dylan of Le Petit S oc iety dish on the must-ha ve piec es in any trendy kid's’ wardrobe.



ty summer









May 2015




2015 S ty

e s e m Le




hotogra d p p


How did Le Petit Society begin? The idea behind Le Petit Society was hatched in 2012 when we were living in Hong Kong. Frustrated by the lack of affordable stylish childrenswear in Asia, we set out to create our own label. Our proximity to China also meant easy access to some of the best fabrics and production capabilities in the world. How has the brand grown over the years? Looking back at your first collection, has a lot changed? Our first collection was launched in late Jan 2013 after 9 months of intensive research and planning. Since then we have been very fortunate to have garnered a strong and growing  customer base.  When we first started out trying to create a brand new baby and kids clothing brand, nobody had even heard of us but fast forward to two years later, we have become a recognizable Asian-grown brand. We get super excited when we spot our clothing being worn on other people’s kids out in the public. Our brand’s geographic reach has also grown steadily across Asia and beyond. More recently, we even had orders and stockist requests going

What are 5 must have pieces in any kids wardrobe?

as far as the United States, Netherlands and Spain for items in our new SS15 collection. We give thanks to our

1. Comfy clothes that takes you from the playroom to fabulous parties, such as the Bubble Tulle Dress from our

partnership with Bloesem for their unique product styling and digital marketing efforts. Even though much has

SS15 collection.

changed, we still strive to make sure our products are made of safe and good quality materials coupled with a

2. A fabulous bag for school and outings. We are currently in love with the Kånken Mini! (we stock them in our

strong design aesthetic. Only with a high quality product would we be able to enjoy word-of-mouth referrals and

store too!)

repeat purchases from our loyal discerning customers.

3. Cute swimwear 4. A good pair of neutral coloured walking shoes 5. A huge smile every single day! If you could choose pieces from any of your collections, which ones would best represent the label? It would have to be the Silver Drops Singlet from our SS15 collection. Our brand motto is to create affordable fashion that combines comfort and style, and we feel that this piece embodies all that.

While the brand has evolved over time, our mission remains the same and that is to create sophisticated and comfortable clothing that is an afforable luxury for all.

You guys work so closely with your customers, what have you learnt through the process?  While working with our customers, we’ve built a little community. Not only do we understand the preferences and personalities of their children as we watch them grow, we get to share milestones in parenting. We’re also proud to be able to expand our team through recruiting within our customer base and to offer some of these stay-at-home mums a flexi-work arrangement. That is something that we would constantly strive to work towards – a strong connection between us and our customers.   We had a blast working with you guys on the SS15 collection. Share with us the most popular piece from that collection? Our favourite is the Sliver Drops Singlet!  The most popular spot is shared by the Ivory Tulle Skirt and Silver Drops Singlet! Both amazingly easy to match pieces that are comfy to wear!   What can we look forward to from Le Petit Society? Firstly, our office in Singapore will be ready within the next couple of months and Le Petit Society is finally setting its roots in Singapore where we call home! Our Hong Kong office will continue to warehouse most of our goods but we will also be fulfilling orders from the Singapore office so customers here can expect to receive their purchases within a shorter time. We are also looking to hire both fulltime employees as well as interns for our Singapore office in areas of design, marketing and operations. At the same time, we are working on our next capsule collection that will have more pieces for boys and may include some adult pieces! For more information visit


May 2015

CUCKOO The search is o ver. Find everything from tutus to kids beds right in the heart of dempsey hill.. A one stop shop for everything and anything you could ever want in your child’s room, Cuckoo is a magical wonderland tucked away in the picturesque Dempsey Hill. Imagine plush toys, quirky presents and other great contemporary and vintage designs and accessories for kids. Founders Emily Taberner and Francesca Rathbone source their collection from over 12 countries worldwide and are proud to say that their products are “road-tested” by their own six children (three each!) “From a decorative animal head to a twinkly tutu on the wall, and cosy cushions or a cool teepee paired with a soft, stylish rug - a Cuckoo room is one in which your children will want to stay and play in because it makes them feel happy and inspires their imagination.” Emily’s description fits the whimsical vibe we got from the store to a T. There are big plans in store for Cuckoo, customers can look forward to in-house kids space design services and a fully functioning e-boutique. To view their entire range of childrens lifestyle products, visit or pop by Block 6B Dempsey Road 247662.


May 2015

NEW IN: YIELD DESIGN The newest addition to the Bloesem online store is Floridabased design house, Yield Design. The brainchild of Rachel Gant and Andrew Deming, the label produces products that aim to encapsulate new American standards. Established in late 2012, the duo have already gained much traction, having been featured on several international design blogs and even the New York Times most recently. Their collection ranges from home goods to jewellery, all beautifully displayed in a small shop they have in front of their studio in the coastal town of Saint Augustine, Florida, the oldest European settlement in the United States. Yield Design was formed after the duo met while studying at California College of the Arts, as a way for them to create objects and designs that they wished would exist in the world. We thoroughly enjoy their innovative and functional designs such as the cup set that comes in a set of 2 stacked stainless steel cups secured together by a handmade leather casing and sturdy brass hardware. The perfect set to take on a picnic or a hike, to enjoy a nice sip of something refreshing. A great alternative to disposable cups and something that can be reused on the many adventures ahead! Of course hot favourites from their collection are the copper pieces. A trend that seems to be going strong. Copper adds a nice bright touch to any space, and the natural material ages beautifully as it develops a patina over time. If you prefer to preserve the shiny surface, a quick polish always does the trick. Their copper cups, Meso Pendant light and spun planters are great options to spice up any room in the house. For the ladies, Yield carries a line of beautifully crafted tote bags in different styles and colours to fit any and every outfit. The everyday tote bags fit seamlessly into our lives with their functional designs. The longer straps make it easy to reach in and grab what ever you may need as you are on the go and the hardy materials - canvas and leather - ensure that the bags will be your trusty sidekick for a long long time. Rachel also designs jewellery in the same vein, simple and timeless. With constant improvements and additions made to their designs, we’ll be sure to keep a close eye on upcoming releases!

Pictured (From left to right): Copper Cup, $30 French Press, $150 Tokyo Tote in Stone, $175 Shop the Yield Design collection at

The New American Standard


GROWTH CHART Inspired by age-old traditions of tracking a child 's height on door frames and walls, this modern graphical Growth Chart,fits right into every design-loving parents decor. . Make History’s new Growth Chart means you can now track your child’s growth without having to draw on walls or steal doorframes. The Growth Chart is the ideal way to keep track of every inch and centimetre as your child reaches new heights. It fits in with any décor and unlike walls and doorframes, you can take it with you. And, long after your kids have outgrown the growth chart and are towering over you and helping you grab stuff from the top shelf you will always have a memory of when they were smaller. Running on our memories of childhood and worrying whether we would ever outgrow our siblings, the Bloesem team styled and photographed the Growth Chart envisioning what it would look like in every child’s dream room. For more products in the Make History series, visit Shop the Growth Chart at

May 2015


May 2015

FRUIT PIZZA A post-school snack that doubles up as a craft too. This do-it-yourself fruit pizza by Zara S. will not only keep the littles ones’ bellies happy, it will also keep their hands busy! What you’ll need: * Pizza base - I used a pitta bread, you can use any dough/bread alternative * Yoghurt - a nice alternative is cream cheese (or nutella) * Your favourite fruits It’s easy! All you need to do for this super simple fruit pizza is spread some yoghurt or cream cheese (or nutella if this is a dessert) on to your pizza base. Then top it off with all kinds of cut fruit. I would suggest strawberries, mango, blueberries, or any other kinds of berries. It would even be great to sprinkle some chopped nuts over the top (remember to check for allergies). Let the children make their own pizza and I’m sure we’ll see some fruit faces appearing on the pizzas.


May 2015

Bloesem Class Roster Bringing in the best of the best in their individual fields, Bloesem offers a range of classes that will help you with everything from marketing your business to getting in touch with your crafty side. Keep up to date with all the latest classes or if you do not need any more convincing, we will see you in class. Sign up via our webshop:

Monthly Class Art of Visual Storytelling

// Irene Hoofs

For the Art of Visual Storytelling class, we have our very own Irene Hoofs, founder and editor-in-chief of Bloesem, who teaches this unique repeated class where you can learn all about creating and curating online content. After just 3.5 hours, you will walk away with plenty of tips and tricks to build your online presence with visually compelling content. The class also equips you with the practical skills of basics Adobe Photoshop so you can create more professional





11 - 13 Jun

Modern Handwriting

// Josselin Bijl

Coming all the way from Amsterdam, Josselin Bijl will be teaching us the art of Modern Handwriting. This beginners’ class will cover all the different tools used to achieve beautiful handlettering and its unique styles. Even if you think your handwriting is barely legible, we assure you, you’ll be confident to start handlettering on your own once you are done with the lesson. You’ll also be equipped with all the tools to make more art at home.


May 2015

3 - 4 Jul

#Instafood- Food Styling and Mobile Photography

10 -11 Jul

Write it in Gold

// Veronica Halim

// Trisha Toh + Zara S. We don’t know what it is about calligraphy

Unsurprisingly a hot favourite in Singapore with our

but everyone just can’t get enough of it. This

strong food culture, #Instafood is back for the third

age old art form gets a modern twist in this

time. Everyone can shoot great food shots if they just

class where you will not only learn the basics

knew how powerful their mobile camera is, along with

of calligraphy but also how to do gold foiling-

some editing tool and of course some simple styling

the perfect shiny addition for invitations or art

tricks. All of this and more will be covered in the 4

work. Bad handwriting is not an excuse to pass

hour class that will take your mobile photography,

up this class. Fun for everyone including those

whether it is of food, products or scenery, from “nice”

who have handwriting that can be considered

to “woah, how did you do that”.

barely legible!

Bloesem Class has moved to a new space!

6 Jun & 25 Jul We are Making Candles!

// Mei Kwee Chong

Learn to make your very own signature scented candles using 100% botanical ingredients! Bring your own jars to give

We are always looking to improve the Bloesem class

your candles a personal touch! Unlike

experience and with that we would like to announce that all

most candles, soy candles are 100% biodegradable, chemical-free, produce little

future Bloesem classes will now be held at our new location

soot or smoke, burn cooler, last longer and

along Nassim Road. With a bigger location comes even

with all that still smell so heavenly! Burn

more exciting classes to look forward to, so ladies

them at home or give them away as gifts,

and gentleman, hold on to your hats!

these personalised scented candles that you make are sure to impress your family or friends!

Visit for more details.

Taking your passion to the next level and turning it into an actual profitable

Monthly Class

Marketing for Makers

// Irene Hoofs + Anouk van der El

business can be daunting, but believe us when we say it is achieveable. In

12 & 26 Sep

notebook filled with the secrets to

Food styling & mobile photography with BOSCH

PR, SEO, visual storytelling and much

this class, we prepare you with the tools you’ll need to get your business on the right track. With a handy

more, we are sure to set you on

// Bloesem

course with a personalized marketing

In partnership with Bosch, Bloesem will be

strategy for your business to hit the

teaching a food styling and mobile photography

ground running. We promise that

class in Bosch’s very own experience centre.

after this class, you will have as much

Watch Bosch chef’s use the latest technology

fun marketing your brand as you have

to cook up great recipes then learn how to best

creating your product.

capture them with your mobile camera. Find out food styling secrets and simple steps to better looking food photographs. The food already tastes good, now make it look good. Soon your friends will be glad to be spammed by all your food shots on instagram!


May 2015

MINI-mal Let Jennifer Hagler inspire you to dec orate your kids rooms so it looks fresh out of a magazine spread. Her blog A Merry Mishap serves up beautiful visua ls of interior spac es a long with da ily musings.


May 2015 Fans of the minimalist wave would be familiar with the blog A Merry

Israel and my dad were very close so I think

Mishap. Straight out of Boise, Idaho, Jennifer has created a little

it’s a way Israel relates to his memory, he has

Scandinavian haven in her American home. This may come as a shock

a small black desk and rug in his room which

to many of you who might have thought she had European roots from

he likes.

her taste in furniture and design. The newly second time mom speaks of the struggle to juggle family, blog and other interests. We can totally

Do you do things any differently when


styling the kids room as compared to the rest of the house?

How do you balance being a mom, running a blog and your etsy store?

I try to keep the kids rooms fun and playful still,

My life with two kids at home and running my own business is not what I’d

which is not a priority in the rest of the house.

call balanced. I wish I could achieve more of that balance but each day is a

I want them to grow up having a thoughtful

bit different. I also do some freelance styling work and continue to run my

understanding of the importance of good

blog, two things I’d love to have more time for and once my son starts school

design but I also want them to feel free to play

I’m planning on closing my Etsy shop to dedicate more time to maintaining

and feel loved.

the blog and side projects. Freelance is so random that it’s hard to have a set schedule however I do try to keep somewhat of a routine with the kids,

What are some go-to brands for pieces in

otherwise my whole day would be busy but not productive. I try to give the

your home?

kids the best parts of me even though I want so badly to devote myself to my

Muuto is a brand I’ve had an allegiance to. We

work ventures, knowing they grow quickly and I have to force myself to slow

have many of their products all over the house

down to really enjoy this time with them. As they get older I’ll have more

because they’re so well made, affordable and

time for a profession.

beautiful. They also seem to complement our other pieces so I love to mix Muuto chairs or

Congratulations on your second child, Elin is such a darling. How has

pillows in with other brands. Menu is another

life changed after the lovely second addition to the family? How does

brand that makes great products that are very

Isreal get along with his little sister?

beautiful and functional. I think at the moment

Thank you, we are so happy to have such a happy and healthy baby in Elin.

they have become quite popular, which says a

Life has been busier, at times it’s been overwhelming keeping up with the

lot about the way their design connects with so

contrasting needs of a 5 year old and an infant, but we wouldn’t trade her

many different people. I like their minimal and

for anything in the world.

timeless style.

The dynamic between Israel and Elin is one of the greatest things to witness as a mother. For the most part Israel is very kind and considerate with Elin,

Through all the ups and downs you face as a

talking very sweetly with her and diligent to watch out for her or teach her

mom, what are 3 pieces of advice you would

how to do new things. Of course there are times when they can’t agree to

pass on to a new mom? What has been the

share and Israel will lose patience with a messy, clumsy baby who doesn’t

most satisfying moment of being a mom?

yet understand that stuffed animals are not for wiping snotty noses on! We

I tell a lot of my mom friends to be patient,

had 4 1/2 years with just him so he’s also had to adjust to sharing life with a

whatever rough time you’re going through

little person. Most days our life feels crazy but still, I hope to have another

won’t last long. The sleepless nights or the mess

child someday.

of a toddler or a young child who questions everything, none of these stages last long and

What is your inspiration for your kid’s room decor?

soon they will be onto something new and part

Israel’s room is small but now that

of you will long to go back, to enjoy

he’s older his interests are much

what is now in the past.

more acute, which helps keep down

I’ve learned this from having two.

on clutter. He likes books and collects cars. He builds spaceships out of legos and paints little sculptures he makes out of clay. I wanted him to

I want both of their spaces to feel unique. Each of them has different personalities and I like that their rooms sort of look like them.

I am much more patient and enjoy motherhood so much the second time around. Seeing how quickly Israel has grown up puts things into

have a space that looks fresh but also

perspective with Elin.

somewhat minimal. His personality

The interesting thing about being

is much like mine and I feel most

a mother is many times it is one

comfortable in an organized environment that doesn’t require much

sided. You give your time, money, emotions, even your body and when

maintenance. He can clean his whole room in 10 minutes which was really

you’re exhausted you give some more. It’s not like they’re buying you new

important to have something manageable for him now that I need his help

clothes or cooking you dinner, and yet there is so much reward and joy in


contributing to their success! I whole heartedly believe that being a mother

For Elin’s room I’m really inspired by French things. Natural elements like a

is one of the greatest contributions to the world I will ever make.

wreath I made for above her crib, a powdery pink linen blanket and faded grey things that feel both new and old to me. Her space has a lot of soft

What can we look forward to on A Merry Mishap in 2015?

colours and I like that for her. Nothing is really bold with high contrast or

One thing I’ve come to realize with two kids and juggling professional

overly patterned.

endeavors is that I can’t do it all. I’ve tried going without sleep, hiring someone to help clean once a week, getting a babysitter but the truth is I

How do you pick out pieces for the kids rooms? Does Isreal have strong

am limited. This though does not mean I will be quitting my blog anytime

views on what his room should look like?

soon, it only means AMM blog might be more of a team endeavor soon,

Israel loves structure and predictability and is by nature more calm and

which is really exciting for me. I’ve been working on hiring the right people

thoughtful. He doesn’t have a big opinion on things in his room but I did

and having new contributors that I think will give the blog a new and fresh

involve him in choosing the paint and bedding in greens and blues. He also

perspective with more frequently published content.

likes black, which is in honour of my dad who passed away and loved black.

That’s sort of vague I know, but you will just have to wait and see!

More from Jennifer over at


May 2015

New Zealand 50 tips & hot spots for a family Holiday in New Zealand // South Island After tempting us with her Amsterdam city guide in our first issue Anouk van der El, founder of Make History Co., is back with more holiday reccomendations in New Zealand. This time it’s fun for the whole family!

Means or Transportation 1. Christchurch Christchurch was hit hard during the 2011 earthquake. It destroyed most of the city’s centre and has only begun to rebuild. But there are some nice new hot spots arising. Hotel Montreal is the nicest new boutique hotel in town and a pleasant start for your New Zealand adventure.

We didn’t go for the gigantic campervans but instead chose a little more rock ‘n roll; a vintage bright blue VW van. We slept in it whenever we thought the camping site offered a unique location or vibe that we couldn’t find in a hotel and otherwise we just used it as our car and slept in a bed & breakfast. I would definitely recommend travelling with a car (or vintage VW!). The campervans are inflexible, hard to drive, it forces you to camp every night and above all; they cost a fortune! You can rent a classic VW in your favourite colour from the amazingly friendly owners of Classic Campers.

As there are not many shops left, The Colombo is one of the nicest food (famous handmade Pot Sticker dumplings, gourmet hamburgers, Macarons), lifestyle and fashion boutique shopping complexes. There’s a Farmer’s Market on Fridays. It is owned by the same cool lady – Lily Cooper – that owns Hotel Montreal. She is one of the big believers and investors behind many Christchurch reconstruction initiatives.

4. Queenstown Queenstown is full of backpackers and tourists but still has good vibes. We made a reservation at Botswana Butchery for Christmas Eve. Food, wine and service were superb. If you’re willing to stand in line for at least 2 hours, you can sink your teeth into one of the tastiest burgers you will ever have from Ferg Burgers. Get your best morning coffees at NZ’s cutest barista; Peak Espresso. The Gondola and Luges are a nice day activity for the kids. To compensate for mum and dad after a morning at the luges, drive up to the Amisfield Winery for lunch, beautiful surroundings and great food and wine.

Speaking of entrepreneurship; Christchurch has a whole new ‘coffee roaster’ movement going on. There are cool coffee roasters that opened their coffee shops right next to their gigantic (or tiny) coffee grinders. We visited and loved C4 coffee roasters HQ and Industrie Espresso Bar but there are many more. For dinner I would definitely recommend Shop Eight Food & Wine. Owners Liz and Alex cook up the most delicious local and seasonal dishes and serve great wines. Bringing the kids is no problem. Its location in the lively Regent Street is also great for a night out.

2. Lake Tekapo On your way from Christchurch to Lake Tekapo, stop at the Fairlie Bakehouse in Fairly. They are famous for their cakes and pies. Some say they bake the best ones in New Zealand! At Lake Tekapo, Run 77 is a cute place for coffee and lunch and we loved having pizzas and pastas by the fireplace at Tin Plate. We stayed at the Lake Tekapo Lakeside Top 10 camping site, which offers a great location set right at the shores of Lake Tekapo, overlooking the bright blue waters and white Alpes.

3. Dunedin We took the scenic route (via Omarama) passing a great view of Mount Cook and Moekari Boulders to Dunedin. My uncle migrated to Dunedin in the 50s so it’s a special place for us, but I’d recommend the Otago area for several other reasons. Watching the yellow-eyed penguins and seals sunbathing on the Otago Peninsula beach is amazing. Although I think the kids preferred their visit to the Cadbury Chocolate factory. Mazagran is a great place for your caffeine shot. So is Kiki Beware and Nectar Espresso. For breakfast or lunch the Rhubarb Café is yum. For lunch or dinner go to The Bund, its pretty patio overlooks the Octagon fountain. We were lucky to run into Deep Creek Deli food truck on the Otago peninsula. Best fresh baked sausages in town so keep an eye out for it!

If you’re looking for a nice spa or massage, Queenstown is the place; the Matakauri Lodge, Aro-Hā and the spa at Nugget Point all offer great massages. All three are also beautiful places to stay in Queenstown. Last but not least, if your kids are young like ours, the trip down to the (often rainy) Milford Sounds can be too long. A good alternative is to book a scenic flight to Milford Sounds from Queenstown.


May 2015

9. Marlborough Sounds The Marlborough Sounds are another piece of paradise with bright turquoise waters and beautiful coves and bays along the many peninsulas. They are dotted with small secluded restaurants and holiday homes. We stayed at Raehiti Lodge which the super friendly new owners have totally renovated. It has great food, excellent wines, complementary kayaks and a view to die for. You can also just have lunch there, but we highly recommend staying at the Raehiti for at least one night. It’s a 10 min boat ride from Te Mahia wharf.

10. Marlborough Vineyards On your way down to Kaikoura, do stop at the Marlborough Wineries. The Vines Village offers a nice first stop with a scavenger hunt and fudge factory for the kids, a concept store for mum and a rugby field for dad. We had a lovely lunch at the Allan Scott Winery, they serve great kids menus (with goody bag!) as well. We also visited the Cloudy Bay vineyard, where you can lounge in their beautiful garden.

5. Wanaka

6. Fox Glacier

On the short trip from Queenstown to Wanaka we visited the old mining town, Arrowtown. I wouldn’t recommend spending a night there - it’s more touristy than authentic in my opinion – but it’s nice for a short coffee or lunch break.

We did the Glacier helicopter flight here which our boys really enjoyed and you can take a guided walking tour up to the Glacier as well. Other than that we didn’t really like this town; seemed way too touristy.

We loved Wanaka. You can go horse back riding, ride quads (both at The Cadrona), water skiing and take beautiful walks or bike rides around the lake and mountains. If you want to bring home nice NZ design gifts, go to Gifted Design.

7. Nelson

For dinner Bistro Gentil is ooh la la and we all loved every bite of our organic breakfast and lunch at Relishes and at Florence’s ‘our eggs are happy and our bacon was free to roam’ food store. Lakeside Apartments offer a beautiful view over the lake and is walking distance to every hot spot in town.

We left Fox Glacier early in the morning and headed all the way up to Nelson. A lot warmer and a whole lot nicer! Recommend Deville for lunch, Morisson Street for coffee or breakfast and Boat Shed for dinner. Oh and there’s a Saturday market with crafts and food, including our #1 favourite NZ peanut butter, Pic’s.

11. Akaroa

12. Kaikoura

We ended our holiday in this small town, a former French settlement, 45 minutes drive from Christchurch. And even though the English took over more than 150 years ago, the town still feels like a small French beach town.

We went for a whale watching boat trip at Kaikoura which was amazing. You are literally meters away from sperm whales, dolphins, albatrosses and seals. Definitely worth a stopover but the town itself is nothing special.

There’s a lot to do there. You can swim with dolphins, watch an art-house or kids movie at the charming cinema, play a game of mini golf, go for a swim at one of the nearby secluded beaches or learn how to cook at the Akaroa Cooking School.

Again way too touristy with busloads of tourists attracted by the wild life. The Kaikoura Boutique Hotel is cosy and the best-designed place to stay. For breakfast or lunch, head to the Reserve Hutt, and the best fresh cray fish for dinner can be found at the Kaikoura Seafood BBQ on the peninsula.

An outside lunch in the garden at Vangionis is a treat, alternatives are The Brasserie or The Stables. And we had a lovely dinner at The Little Bistro. On your way back to Christchurch say ‘au revoir’ to this beautiful country in style and stop for a last drink at the Hilltop Tavern. Stunning views guaranteed!

8. Totaranuit A two hour scenic drive from Nelson will take you to one of the most amazing camping sites in the world; Totaranui DOC camping. Right in the heart of the Abel Tasman National Park and a stroll away from the golden beaches; it’s paradise and your kids will not want to leave. Hardly any tourists and a lot of super friendly Kiwi’s who have spent their family holidays here for generations. You can take stunning walks in the National Park, go fishing, BBQ and roast marshmallows. The kids will make friends in no time and you can be brave enough to take a swim in the freezing ocean. Great wake up call!

Visit for the full New Zealand guide with clickable links to all our favourite hotspots.

For more from resident travel guru, Anouk van der El, visit


May 2015

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May 2015

INSIDE OUT 2 is better than 1 espec ia lly when you are making a dress that can be worn 2 wa ys. Rubyellen takes us through this simple do-it-yourself sweet tie reversible frock.. Rubyellen Bratcher pens the blog, Cakies, where she writes about daily life with her family and other things she loves. She’s also a true talent when it comes to creating fun projects or clothing pieces for her 4 daughters, True, Brave, Soul and Glow. As long time readers of her blog, we invited Rubyellen to Singapore last year to teach the Bloesem class, Felt Flower making. After ticking “learn to make felt flowers” off our bucket list, we had so many more things we wanted to learn from Rubyellen that we had seen her make on her blog. Highest on the list was to learn how to sew a dress, so here she is teaching us to make a reversible dress.

Sweetly Tie Reversible Frock Materials: Sweetly Tie Reversible Frock Template Fabric for outer dress: Size 12-24 months: 1 ¼ yards (1.1m) Size 4-6: 1 ½ yards (1.4m) Size 8-10: 1 ¾ yards (1.8m) Contrasting fabric for reversible dress: Size 12-24 months: 1 ¼ yards (1.1m) Size 4-6: 1 ½ yards (1.4m) Size 8-10: 1 ¾ yards (1.8m) Coordinating thread Tools: Sewing machine Scissors Iron and ironing board Seam allowance: 1/2” (13mm) unless where otherwise noted Instructions 1. Cut out all the pattern pieces. There are 6 total: outer dress front, outer dress back, reversible dress front, reversible dress back, and two 5 ½” x 7” pieces for the pockets. Feel free to make the pockets larger or smaller, use only one pocket, or omit it from the dress completely. 2. To create the pockets, fold the top edge in 1/2” (13mm), press, fold another 1/2” (13mm), press, pin in place and topstitch. Fold the remaining 3 sides in 1/4” (6mm) and press in place. Place the pockets on the dress front of your

Follow Rubyellen’s daily adventures with her family over at

choosing, pin in place, and edge stitch around the 3 sides, leaving the top open. 3. Pin the outer dress front and outer dress back with their right sides together and sew down the entire length of both sides. Press the seams open. 4. Pin the reversible dress front and reversible dress back right sides together and sew down the entire length of both sides. Press the seams open. 5. Place the reversible dress inside the outer dress with their right sides together, carefully lining up the neckline and straps, pin them in place. With a 1/4” (6mm) seam allowance, sew around the straps, arms, and neckline. Clip around all the curves, turn right side out, and press. 6. Make sure the length is the right for your child; feel free to cut off more of the length if you desire something a bit shorter. Fold the outer dress and reversible dress hemline in 1/2” (13mm) around the entire length, press, and pin in place. Topstitch 1/4” (6mm) from the folded edge to finish off the hem. Press the entire dress. Notes: Since the dress is reversible, it is best to use a lightweight cotton fabric to prevent making the dress too heavy. The dress can easily be changed into a shirt by shortening the length.


Download the dress pattern online at


May 2015

Passion for Crafting Merrilee Liddiard has spent most of her life crafting. Her insatiable passion for creating has led to her book P la yful. It's hard not to bust out the art supplies!


May 2015

Author, well-known blogger and mother, Merrilee Liddiard wears many hats - most probably elaborately crafted paper ones since she is undoubtedly the queen of crafts. You might know her as Mer Mag, the name of her blog, or the author of Playful, her craft book that is a collection of 26 unique do-it-yourself projects parents can create together with their children. How did you start your crafting journey? Did you always know that you would publish a book of crafts one day? I grew up in a creative and crafty home with my father making us dollhouses and my mother sewing us costumes so it’s always been a part of me. I remember pouring over Make and Do kids craft books and we had a tradition of doing something crafty when babysitters would come. When I went to college I studied illustration and went on to illustrate books but when I had my own kids the kiddo crafting bug came back and we just dove right in. Once I was really into it I knew I wanted to do a kids craft book of my own so that my kids and other little ones could have their own book to pour over, inspire, create from on a rainy day, and pass along to the next generation. What about your kids, do they have a passion for crafting as well? I think all kids have a penchant for creation. It’s just a matter of finding what ticks for each child. My kids bring different things to the table which birth many of our online DIYS and tutorials. My oldest is mathematical-minded so has always loved shapes, patterns, colours, order, etc. We do a lot of geometric and repetitive crafts for him in that vein. My second son is very imaginative and lives in another world a good majority of the time. He’s very character-oriented and loves toys so we do a lot with that for him. My daughter is two and so is of course very hands on and loves all things sensory. I recently did a floral stamp craft with her and she was very interested in touching, squishing, colouring and patterning whatever mom did. She’s also big into dressing up already. How important is “play time” for kids? Play time is soo so crucial. It’s the time when children can craft their own world and apply what they are learning on their terms. It breeds creativity, confidence and light heartedness something us adults could all use a good dose of now and again. How was the process of working with other creatives on the book? I loved working with others. It was so important to me to bring on board creatives that I respected, worked well with and would only bring the book to another level I could never get to on my own. I really wanted this book to be set in a world in which a little one would want to escape to - so when you opened its pages you not only wanted to create but you became lost and inspired, to dream and to really be Playful! My editor, Melanie Falick, photographer Nicole Gerulat, designer Brooke Reynolds, and stylists Meta Coleman and Brittany Watson Jepson (as well as all the darling children, props, clothing, hair stylists and so many others involved!) really helped me bring this vision to life! It’s truly a dream come true. What is your favourite craft in the book? Oh that’s a hard one as it changes all the time! I’m smitten with the cardboard brownstones, but the paper puppets are so fun and versatile, and then there are the doll face necklaces that I really love, but the tiger pinata - that might be my favorite shoot so, oh I don’t know! What’s yours?

Play time is so crucial. It’s the time when children can craft their own world and apply what they are learning on their terms.

We are smitten with the tiger pinata (picture to the left)! It’s such a great party decor idea. Could you share one unforgettable behind-the-scenes moment of making the book? I’m still so fond of the story behind the cover. Meta Coleman had the idea for the overhead shot of the girl with the trapeze doll and I came up with painting the entrance to the circus tent. Then Nicole, who was 8 months pregnant at the time!, climbed a tall ladder (which we spotted her on) to get the shot! It was sort of crazy but so much fun. At the time we just intended this to be the shot for the trapeze doll craft and shot about two days worth of what we thought could be cover shots. We had so many ideas that were almost there but nothing was screaming “Hey, I’m the cover of Playful!”, so seriously a day before having to finalize what the cover would be, and not feeling 100% about anything, I suddenly had this epiphany that we already had the cover, and it was from our Trapeze doll shoot! I quickly comped together a rough cover idea using this photo and sent it off to the editor. Everyone loved it and marketing signed off on it the next day! It was like it was meant to be all along.

To keep up with Merrilee, follow her at Grab a copy of Mer Mag Crafts on Amazon.

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