Finally it’s here! We’re launching a new regular feature Our Family Life to get a peek inside the lives of Bambino Goodies readers. First up, photographer and artist Zoe Cloke and family….
Our Family: Zoe (36), Matt (36), Meredith (3), Oswald (1, very nearly 2)
Based: Herne, Nr Canterbury in Kent
Our Home: Affectionately called our â€˜forever homeâ€™, not just because we hope to live here for a long time, but also as we think weâ€™ll be forever working on it. Lucky to have a large garden complete with pool and pub (garden house with proper pumps in it!). I can just shut a door on the chaos with our playroom, something I hadnâ€™t realised would be so essential four years ago, plus we have an open plan space that is the kitchen, dining, and lounge.
Occupations: Matt works in London as director at a large corporation as a techy enduring about 3 hours a day on trains. Iâ€™m a photographer, artist (she’s behind the ‘Lion – Do You Know’ – left) and geek, utilising my career in IT and my lifetime passions, all done in 2 days each week, evenings and weekends. This year I’m doing 365, which involves me taking a photograph every day, sounded easy on January 1st, not so sure now. All of my work and the 365 can be found on Zlokey.
Living Style: Our homeâ€™s full of technology that makes life easier. Very much open door to friends and family, thereâ€™s rarely a weekend when we donâ€™t have visitors or are travelling off somewhere. The hours Matt works away means weekends are important, but itâ€™s a balancing act, like everyone, with work. During the week Iâ€™m like a sole parent, but weâ€™re busy with various classes, the usual parks, baking and creating routines.
Favourite shops: We prefer local/smaller shops rather than big names so excluding the obvious Habitat and John Lewis, I rely on Taking the Plunge to provide me with unusual gifts. Also Catherine Colebrook and Hunky Dory Home. Iâ€™d buy most things on Made in Design if I could afford them.
For the kids, Ikea – great wooden items that donâ€™t break the bank either. Love it Love it and Minor Edition (1 – shown below) for clothing. The dresses on the latter are just gorgeous and the former has a brilliant range of, well, everything! Also Pumpkin Patch is very reasonably priced.
Favourite designers/brands: Love the fun of Koziol(2) products, 100drine pour Sentou Edition for quirky containers (3), Kundalini for lighting and we fulfilled a dream of owning a 3m table. Canâ€™t mention favourite brands and not include Apple!
For the kids, Domestic for their amazing variety of wall stickers, Gap, particularly their PJs, and Stokkeâ€™s (now battered) Xplory and Sleepi. Donâ€™t have their famous Tripp Trapp, but instead fell in love with the Svan.
Travel: Cornwall and Scotland for the outdoors, the adventure and the really friendly locals. Our dream is an escape back to the stunning Shompole in Kenya that was part of our honeymoon.
Spare Time: Trick question?! Generally spent with a glass of wine or beer catching up on who we are and talking rubbish, you know, that stuff you did prior to having the time absorbers.
My Personal Style: Simple with a bit of strange. Iâ€™m usually found in a pair of jeans and a top, or a simple dress. I have a handbag, use it to death and then move on to the next one, with a few extras for going out, plus shoes are a weakness, although daily life tends to be in Fit Flops.
The Kids Style: Meredithâ€™s turned into a real dress and skirt wearer, loving full skirts and great patterns, often wearing too many patterns at once, but she chooses her outfits most of the time now, so I just live and let live. Oswaldâ€™s a real little man. Loves his shirts and is very picky about what shoes or coat to wear on any particular day. Heâ€™s had a bigger love affair with pink than Meredith ever had.
Kids Favourite Books: Dr Seuss is a firm favourite with both. Meredith is currently loving Little Miss Muffet and other rhymes by Patrick George and this combined with 365 Penguins make up a lot of her page turning action. Oswaldâ€™s is â€œHooray for Fishâ€ by Lucy Cousins.
Favourite Family Meals: Roast dinner, Spaghetti Bolognese or fish pie as theyâ€™re always a family affair and guaranteed cleared plates.
Favourite Places to Dine: Leon for its range of tastes and flavours in small bowls. Cannot be beaten with how they encourage families either, although Giraffe is a close second.
Favourite Family Activities: Simple stuff – walks in the woods or on the beach, but probably just dancing around the dining room like crazy people.
We’re Lusting For: Woodburning stove. Just had the all-clear to use our chimney, so weâ€™re out of excuses not to fit one, except for financing it! Canon 5dMk II. My poor cameraâ€™s nearly 6 years old now and desperately in need of an upgrade!
Favourite Activities: For me, it is being able to go out, alone and photograph. For Matt, it’s having time to entertain. Heâ€™s also into software development, electronics and radio controlled planes. Proper geek! The sproglies enjoy destroying the playroom, mixed with intense story session and messy creative time. Barely a week passes when Meredith doesnâ€™t find some excuse to convince us to let her watch some Pixar based film (animation is a weakness of ours).
Kent Hotspots: Butcher of Brogdale . Fantastic local meat, curly haired pigs to visit and feed on-site, plus the deli sells stunning cakes, cheese, bread and other essentials.
Thereâ€™s some lovely shops around the Sun Street area in Canterbury.
Horsebridge Centre – wander around their free galleries, where local artists exhibit work.
Howletts/Port Lympne (annual passes recommended) and our very local Wildwood too.
Photojojo â€“ A must even if you have a vague interest in photography.
Patternsforcolouring – Brilliant patterns for kids to colour that you want to help them with!
Get in touch if you’d like to take part in Our Family Life.