Tag Archives: kids

Shop Small this Christmas

I love Christmas shopping. My planning usually starts months ahead of time thanks to the glorious world of online shopping; creating lists, bookmarking my favourite shops and deliberating on what to buy for each friend and family member. Formally I would always do most of my shopping at the big brand name stores, but over the last few years I am buying more and more from smaller business, supporting those who live and breathe their products or the labels they stock, and I really enjoy knowing that I am buying something that isn’t mass produced, from a fellow mum, young entrepreneur or artist.

I’ve compiled a list below of my favourites in affordable home wares, kids clothing, toys and art for my readers.

For Kids

Cissy Wears

Still one of my favourite for online kids shopping. CW stocks an extensive range of cool kids clothing, toys, gorgeous books, stocking stuffers and now even has a lovely range of gifts for adults.

Dudes n Dolls

Really cool and well-priced rompers, harems pants, dresses and leggings in neutral colours.

Eco Toys

The best place to buy sustainable, non toxic and fantastic quality kids toys. Some of the boy favourite toys (and Xavier’s amazing Wishbone Bike) have come from here. I’ve also found that Eco Toys offers the best price compared to other smaller shops with similar products. They gift wrap too.

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Lil’ Creatures

My friend Carly is the creative genius behind Lil’ Creatures, without a doubt the cutest in kids and babies costumes. Think reindeers, koalas, bunny’s and wombats . A unique gift idea for any little one.

Mini Willa

The cutest affordable prints for kiddos. I have the ‘Rabman’ (“Is it a rabbit, or a man? No it’s a Super Rabman”) print for Xavier for Christmas – Scandinavian chic at its best. They also have a small clothing line and a few other items that ship worldwide, but the prints are where it’s at.

Rookie and Co

Buy a personalised snapback for a little boy (or girl) that fits comfortably and looks cool and they’ll love you (only hats my two will wear). One of my go to gift ideas.

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For Adults

Established for Design

EFD is a fantastic little online shop (there is a retail store in Malvern East Victoria too), showcasing the best in emerging, independent and local designers. A lovely range of art, jewellery and home wares, with heaps of options under $100.

Kip and Co

My favourite in bright, colourful and unique bedding. Also have a lovely range of towels, tableware, PJ’s and fantastic large comfy beanbags (I’ve just bought one for the boys).

Maissone

This gorgeous home wares shop in Singapore, Tiong Bahru, which conveniently (and dangerously!) has a lovely online shop too. Michelle stocks beautiful Thread Design linens, jewellery, planters, clocks and has a great selection of copper (the new must have) living accessories.

Norsu Interiors

Melbourne based home wares boutique specialising in Nordic and European designs. They recently opened their Art Lab, selling affordable, good quality prints.

Sketch.inc

If you’re looking for something truly original and unique, check out Sketch.inc. Becky Kemp hand paints kokeshi dolls in her studio in London. Karl, Frida, Anna Wintour, Amelia Earhart are a small selection of the dolls you can buy or you can order custom painted kokeshi’s (send a picture and she will paint for you) for something extra special. She also sells lovely prints, brooches and stationery.

Studio NL

A small family run business, Studio NL (formally Naked Lunge), sells lovely haberdashery, home wares, beautiful little cloth dolls and small selection of accessories. Lots of stocking filler ideas.

 

Happy Shopping Friends!

My Neo Life

AN

xo

My Top 10 Toys to take on the Plane with Kids

It’s that time of year in Singapore. The international schools are on their summer break, its hot and humid (even more so than usual, that is!), and most of the playgroups and sports classes are on hiatus. Many of my expat friends have disappeared to Europe, US or Australia to see their families or take a long family holiday.

We are well-versed on the art of travelling with kids. More is better. Bringing out toys or snacks one at a time is a must. Keeping as much of the kids routine intact on the plane as possible (dinner, PJ’s on, brush teeth, story, milk, sleep). Xavier at 3.5 is easy, happy with an iPad, a movie, a snack. I still bring toys etc to occupy him, but on the most part he is a dream. Marcel at 1.5 is hard work. Stubborn, confident, distracted and wilful. Hence my need for oversupply of options to keep his active little mind engaged.

For those struggling to think of ideas of what to bring on a plane with their little ones, here are my top 10 Toys/Activities to take on a plane.

Playdough – It’s amazing how long I can get out of a couple small tubs of playdough and a few cutters and rollers!

Books – I always bring 2 lift the flap books for Marcel and one of Xavier’s favourite (longer read) books.

Stickers – They will end up everywhere, but will keep the kiddos entertained. Ideally one with a sticker book.

Mini Puzzle – The best we have found are small (9 piece ) puzzles you can colour in, great craft and activity for 3 +

Activity Books – Xavier loves activity books (word finds, mazes, colouring). Marcel will have a scribble of a wipe clean book, or a felt/magnet book works well.

A bag of small toys – I usually pack a lunch bag with a variety of small toys – takes ages for them to sift through.

Duplo or Lego – a small zip lock bag of Duplo for under 3, Lego for 3+ works a treat. You will likely spend a good deal of time hunting under the seats for all the pieces, but it will definitely give you a few happy moments with the kids!

Etch A Sketch – Just a small one. Marcel loves scribbling and pulling the lever to wipe the screen clean.

Finger Puppets – Easy to carry and interactive. Trying to get the puppets on their chubby little fingers is half the fun.

Giftwrap a New Toy – Gift wrap a new toy for the plane (matchbox car, dinosaur, something small). Only bring it out when all other avenues are exhausted. Unwrapping is half the fun.

FullSizeRenderHopefully this list will provide some respite!

Happy travelling.

My Neo Life

AN

xo

Dressing My Neo Boys

Before my glorious kiddos were a part of my life, I readily acknowledged that I would love to have girls. For completely superficial reasons. You can do cute things with their hair. They can wear a million more styles. You can accessorise their outfits. They can wear tutus. Dressing boys didn’t seem as if it could be interesting. However, after I became the mother of one and then two boys I have found this does not necessarily need to be the case.

What I discovered is that boys’ clothes are awesome. And there are a number of funky, cool and creative labels out there that cater for my Wild Ones.

When dressing boys (or girls for that matter), my one rule is, if they don’t feel comfortable, never make them wear it. I follow a lot of my favourite boys labels on Instagram (find me @myneolife!), and there are heaps of little dudes wearing bandanas, belts, necklaces, sunglasses. Xavier is just not into it. He likes his snapback hats. He likes wearing shirts with the sleeves rolled up “like Daddy”. He loves shoes. And he enjoys picking out his outfit with me in the morning. And both of us are happy with that.

Marcel, at 15 months, is obviously oblivious to anything fashion. He is an aficionado at eating close to his body weight at each meal and prefers any food item likely to stain his clothes! I learnt to dress him in dark colours or strip him down for meals. I love him in rompers and mismatched prints. And leggings look divine on his chubby little legs.

Singapore life has taken away my ability to buy sweaters, hoodies, cardigans, beanies. All the winter staples I used to love dressing Xavier in. But, the upside of living in virtually one season all year round, is I can spend a little more on T-shirts, good quality shorts etc as they are worn to death.

So, while I will always get a thrill when I see the next Vogue cover, I can also get excited about printed boys t-shirts. Drop Crotch skinny jeans. Tiny sneakers. Snapbacks.

My Favourite Boys Designers

Bandit Kids – Retro, skater kid style. Their drop crotch sweatpants have been Xavier’s absolute favourite.

Duke of London –  Crazy animal prints. Hammer pants and nappy covers are their most popular. Beach boy style.

He and Her the Label – Buttery soft fabrics, versatile leggings, shorts and onesies. Exceptional quality, interesting prints and colours.

Hugo loves Tiki – Unisex brand, inspired by the European lifestyle. Lovely printed t-shirts, leggings, pullovers.

Jnr Cooper – Owned and designed by an Aussie Mum of 3 boys. Versatile, street wear style clothes for boys. Their JZ chinos are the BEST.

Mini Rodini – Swedish children’s wear company. They embrace prints. Mainly of animals. Xavier’s favourite! Also have a great basics range.

Nununu – Contemporary kids clothing, for lovers of the monochrome look.

Popupshop – Organic basic wear, with very cool digital prints. Think tiger pants, panda sweatshirts.

Rookie and Co. – Snapback hats, made to fit ages 2-4 perfectly. You can customise or choose from their signature designs. Xavier’s ‘X’ hat is his firm favourite. Great gift idea.

Whistle and Flute – Canadian family owned and operated business. Their signature t-shirt is the Kawaii Cloud. The. Cutest. Ever.

Zuttion – Bali cool, distressed t-shirts, sweaters and awesome printed shorts.

The Best Online Boutiques Most of the brands above sell straight to the customer via their website, and almost all offer international shipping, however I also buy from the following online boutiques:

Cissy Wears – UK based, stock a variety of European brands and most of those listed above. Also retailer of MarMar Copenhagen, Danish brand that make the best leopard print leggings for kids.

Hipkin – Aussie based, always have great sales. I usually wait until the end of the Aussie summer and stock up on sale items for Singapore year round!

Mini x Style -US based, all the best brands and a few I love the look of (soft gallery, sons and daughters, grey label). If your little one is into accessories they have a great range of sunglasses, caps, hats, the works.    

Happy Shopping!

My Neo Life

AN

xo

Our Singapore Paradise.

Singapore is a pretty incredible place to live with kids. It’s clean, safe, friendly, and there are a ridiculous amount of activities, sports, parks, play gyms etc etc etc designed for kids. Since moving here over a year ago I have become more and more in love with the place. Wherever we go (often me with the two kiddos in tow) people are friendly and helpful. Given the size of the expat community here and the number of young families on the island, we have made some very dear friends already. Xavier is in his element at his preschool (a little Montessori school around the corner from us). And I’ve adjusted to life as stay at home mumma of two.

Marcel and I have a couple playgroups we attend while Xavier is at school. Xavier has swimming lessons once a week, we head to an indoor playcentre with friends on rainy afternoons, and we always make it to the Botanic Gardens a couple times each week, for a picnic or a run/bike ride.

I joined, as I always do, a bookclub which I love (and recommend to anyone moving to a new city or country to do the same, its a great way to meet people and make friends). I also, for the first time since high school, joined a choir. Called the numama choir, we meet once a week during the day, babies are more than welcome to come along too, and I love it. Marcel plays with the other kiddos, listens to me sing (or try I should say!) with the other mums. We also have yoga once a week which my friend organised at her condo. All the mums bring their kids. It’s manic, but I get some exercise done, the little ones all play together and the boys can pretend they’re doing yoga too.

Weekends are family time, spent out for breakfast at our favourite eatery, the Tiong Bahru Bakery, mornings at Tanjong Beach, Gardens by the Bay, the Botanic Gardens, East Coast Park. Swimming at the British Club or at home. Jamie’s Italian at Vivo City is a favourite for lunch. Oh and Din Tai Fung for dinner at least one night. Best dumplings. Ever.

There are some things I still find tough here. Driving can be stressful, with a lot of traffic and some crazy drivers with no regard for road rules. Groceries are expensive, and I usually have to trek to 3-4 different supermarkets to get everything we need (one is good for Aussie brands, the other good for household cleaning and basics, the markets for some fruit and veg, the rest at another, and a butchers for meat!). The weather, (hot one day, hot the next, rainy and hot the day after that), can be tough with young kiddos, as it means you can be be cooped up indoors due to rain or heat for the greater part of the day. But I’ve managed to accept the things I can’t change (i.e bad drivers and hot humid weather), and organise the shopping so it doesn’t take over every day. And honestly, I shouldn’t complain given the life we live here on the whole.

Its school holidays for us next week. We have a teddy bear picnic at one of the international schools, a trip to the Zoo, swimming, yoga, playgroup all lined up. Fun with my boys in Paradise.

My Neo Life

AN

xo