This month’s ‘That Mama’ Audrey Lee is the driving force behind celebration central, Little House of Dreams!
Whether you’re planning a baby shower or searching for the ultimate birthday cake, chances are you’ve come across the party planners extraordinaire at bakery bistro Little House of Dreams, or its sister party goods shop, Dreams and Confetti. They’ve got some of the prettiest confections and party set-ups around, and it’s the brainchild of Singaporean mama Audrey Lee. With a 5-year-old daughter, 2-year-old son, and 5-month-old baby boy at home, she’s got more than a full plate, but dishes to us about how she manages to make it all work (we really like her time-saving tips and tricks!). On top of all this, she’s been overseeing renovations to both her home and her shop; the former is still underway, so we took photos at LHOD’s newly-revamped space at Dempsey Hill. Read on for an interview that’s as fun and pleasing as a LHOD signature cupcake!
Can you tell us a little about yourself, your career and your family?
I am a marketeer by training, and was in the beauty industry for about 10 years, managing Asia Pacific markets. During a work trip to NYC, I visited Magnolia Bakery and was inspired to create a similar concept back in Singapore. Little House of Dreams was conceptualized but remained as a hobby business. Not until the birth of my first child did I take a step back and consider what I wanted to do as a job – continue working my way up the corporate ladder, or pursue my dreams and try my hand at being an entreprenuer? I’ve never regretted the decision I made. I am now a mom to 3 beautiful – albeit cheeky – kids, my husband works as a General Manager at Hitachi Capital and we’ve been married for seven years.
Can you talk us through your career pre- and post-baby?
Pre-baby, I was working for organizations and doing quite a bit of travelling. Enjoyed myself while visiting the various cities, meeting new people and forging new friendships.
Post-baby, I run my own business and have no need to travel for work (yet! Hope we get to, though, as we are working towards franchising the brand overseas). I’m still enjoying the journey now – challenging, nerve-wracking, but rewarding and enriching at the same time!
How did you get back into the swing of things after having kids?
It came naturally somehow, I guess I was lucky. Perhaps also because I wasn’t working a 9-to-5 job anymore so having the flexibility of time helped a lot.
How do you maintain an identity separate from your children?
I don’t. There’s no need for that. I love being their mommy : )
How has having kids changed the way you define work?
Not too much actually. I admit I am quite the workaholic and mummy guilt takes a swing at me quite often. But their mere presence is a good reminder that I do need to try to take some time off the computer and meetings because work will never end. That I should take that moment to enjoy them and their growing up years, which really do fly by so quickly.
How do you save time? What are your organisational tricks and tips?
I pack all my meetings into a day, computer time into another, and save a day to run errands and be with kids. Multi-tasking wherever possible – pumping milk and replying to emails / messages is my favorite! Haha, odd as it may sound — but it allows me some alone time to focus.
I wish I had more time for…
Exercising. I used to play field hockey, even after I had my daughter, and I really miss the sport. Definitely thinking of going back to the sport soon!
I always feel saner after….
Taking a bath!
What part of Singapore do you live in? What do you like about it?
I live in the North. It’s pretty close to the Singapore Zoo! We signed up for the membership and bring the kids there often. But secretly, I love the East and wish we could move there!
Favourite kid-friendly activity in Singapore?
Going to the zoo!
Favourite kid-friendly restaurant in Singapore?
Must be Little House of Dreams…haha! I don’t have a favourite favourite actually, we bring them anywhere.
Favourite family-friendly holiday spot in Asia?
Probably Australia – can we consider it part of Asia? Asia Pacific?
If not, I would say Taiwan. Haven’t been there on a family vacation yet but I’ve seen pictures of friends’ trips and they look fun for kids! I like to expose the kids to nature and animals so basically any country that has that is great for them.
Do you have any tips for keeping the romance alive in your relationship?
Keep conversations a daily routine. TV time together with the kids is a nice time for family (and individual) cuddles.
Favourite date night restaurants?
Haven’t had a date (just me and hubs) since we had kids actually! But we’ll have plenty of time for that when the kids grow up. Right now, we consider it a date night if kids happen to be sleeping! We love visiting Burlamacco at Amoy Street.
Do you have any tips for aspiring “mamapreneurs” and other working mamas in Singapore?
Work will never end. Children grow up too fast, remind yourself to take a break and spend time with them.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received as a parent?
Let them (children) find their own path, don’t try to dictate too much and never try to lead their life for them.
Give us your essential new mama advice that might never occur to other women.
Hmmm…that it’s ok to not live up to the mum you had wanted to be in your mind. Your children wouldn’t know and they already think you are wonderful as you are!
As a mama I wish I were better at…
Disciplining the kids. I think I give in too much to them.
What’s your favourite family ritual?
Waking up late, going for late lunch, walking for a bit and back home for a late movie.
I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about….
1) My to-do list 2) WhatsApp messages I haven’t read 3) Random stuff like counting how old I will be when my kids start working (haha!).
My favourite moment of the day is…
I have 2!
1) Sending them to school and talking about all kinds of stuff in the car – Pokemon, Bad drivers, Cute dogs…
2) Lying together with the kids, catching up with them just before they go to bed.
Thank you so much to Audrey and her adorable kids! And thank you to Gunilla from Sugarlight Photography for the beautiful photos!