Mom Story: Suzi from Babyology
My name is Suzi and I live in Sydney, Australia with my husband and two sons – Felix, 7, and Theo, 4 (as well as two Burmese cats!). I'm Senior Writer, Production and Community Manager at Babyology, an Australian design blog for baby and children's products. I am an avid photographer and I like nothing better than getting out with my boys and my camera. Luckily this works in well with my job so I get to blend my passion for design and photography with writing – it's heaven!
What kind of house do you live in – are you and your family happy here, or is there anything you find lacking, or would like to change?
We live in a large Federation double-fronted house in the inner west of Sydney. It had an overhaul in the 1980s and is a lovely home (except for the shocking salmon-coloured kitchen), but we're about to transform the rear extension to make it a modern marvel. Many homes around here are like that – we like to keep the old-fashioned facade, making surprisingly modern choices out back. We are very happy here – the children love the backyard and we are fortunate to have a fairly large one compared to many in the area.
What do you like best about living there?
Our area is very multicultural, we have fabulous neighbours and can walk to the supermarket, schools, cafes and deli in five minutes. We are totally spoilt for choice really! We made sure the kids were both cafe-trained very early in their lives and they are well-versed in how to behave at a cafe.
There are those who think that city life means a lack of community but that is definitely not the case where we are. I run into people I know every day, we have brilliant parks which are well-maintained, I help with reading groups at my son's school and have weekly playdates with friends. I wouldn't live anywhere else in Sydney but I guess most Sydneysiders choose their patch and think it's the best. I grew up in the country and sometimes struggle with the congestion of the city, but the inner west affords us a nice large house rather than living on top of each other. It's a good balance.
Do you like to spend time decorating your home and your child’s room?
It's the thing I love to do most! We are right now in a period of change with the upcoming renovation so I'm in the midst of planning brand new decor for each of my boys' rooms. Our bedroom is always a work in progress – we added a king-sized bed in January which meant all-new linen. Thrilled me senseless, it did! While I love a lot of colour usually, I keep our bedroom serene in monochrome… with a pile of books on the go.
Do you keep your children’s play area separate or do you believe they should have a space in every part of the house?
The boys make anything their plaything – seriously, the sofas take a beating on a daily basis, being subject to acrobatics and rumbles. I don't confine the play areas but I do insist on toys going back into their rooms at the end of the day. When they were little we'd have a box to pile everything in and bring out again in the morning but now their interests revolve much more around physical activity and sports. Inside life often happens around this lovely little table in the living room – the boys eat, draw and read sitting there, then when they're in bed it's our coffee table!
Where do you look for interior inspiration, favorite magazines, websites, or blogs?
My Google reader is stuffed to the brim with the best interior design and architecture blogs. Some blogs I follow are The Design Files, Contemporist, Fresh Home and Decor 8. Of course I'm a five-year devotee of Babyology and my kids have many beautiful products that we've written about – sometimes my job is a hazard!
My Pinterest boards are overflowing with ideas and inspiration and I have been a long-time reader of home decor magazines such as InsideOut and Real Living. I am ecstatic about finally getting to do my first renovation and need to be patient in this planning stage because I have been obsessed with interiors and architecture for about 17 years!
What places in your neighborhood do you like to shop at?
We have an awesome deli and an an Italian bread shop called Luigi's where you have to line up at 6am to get the best crusty bread on the planet. I also love our local greengrocer who has been there for thirty years and of course the Portuguese chicken shop where they slather the delightful grilled chicken burger with the best chilli outside of Portugal. We have just about every nation in the world living in our area; it's wonderfully multicultural. Oh and I mustn't forget to mention the Vietnamese Pho – nearby Marrickville has Pho that makes you feel like you've been healed. Oh and fresh Chinese dumplings… can you tell we love our food?
What is it like to raise a child in your town?
Sometimes I bemoan the lack of freedom my children have compared to when I was a child. I had a huge field across the road from my house which I used to roam about and the most my kids can do solo is ride up and down the street on the footpath. It's very much a city life but we have occasional breaks to the country. I like to think they're getting some of the things I didn't get to do much as a child, like lots of trips to museums, shows and parks and cafes.
What is your idea of a perfect day with your children?
Anything active that involves coffee and tickling. Almost every day is awesome with these little guys. It's such a relief to be past the baby and toddler phase – we can do so much more in a day. They particularly love the skate park – when they're happy, we're happy.
What do you do on the weekends?
We'll sometimes take a trip out of town, but mostly we take them to their swimming, dance and music lessons as well as Saturday soccer. I always said my kids wouldn't do too much in the way of scheduled activities, but they both adore what they do and never complain – they're at the stage where they want to be active all the time. Weekends always include a cafe or two and often a ride down by the river!
Where would you like to go on vacation – with or without your children?
That's easy; Tokyo, Japan. Babyology's founders, Mandi and Ben Gunsberger went there a few years ago and I loved seeing all the pictures. I also have a friend there from my high school days (she was an exchange student) who I'm dying to visit. Plus there's Tokyo Disney and Junie Moon, the Blythe doll shop. I could go on and on about why I want to go there, but mostly it's that I want to take the children overseas. It'll have to wait though, because of the renovation.
What places do your children love to visit?
The Powerhouse Museum. The membership is worth its weight in gold. It's the perfect place for kids on a rainy, cold day in wintery Sydney and it's always hands-on so I can just let them explore. We were there the other day and it just never loses its magic, even in the midst of a big renovation as it is currently! Other than that, we just can't beat the park. We ride, scooter and skate board around every park in the area. It's just what we do and it brings so much happiness. I know I'm never going to forget these days of simple joys.
What do you do with all the projects your children make at home or in school?
Don't ask! I have two years' worth sitting there waiting for me to allocate it some time. It's very neat and out of the way, but that cardboard double decker bus is going to need a serious storage strategy!
Are there musical instruments in your house?
There are many! We have a digital piano, electronic drum kit, guitars and keyboards. Oh and my violin from when I was a kid.
Thank so much Suzi for this great Mom Story!