Cover The teak wood table from Ikea is lovingly set with tableware from Casa Juan Manila

Known as @mustlovemom on Instagram, Aliza Apostol Goco is an emissary of wellness and good everyday living

From her fun and fresh ensembles to her cute table settings and her fitness regimen, Aliza Apostol Goco has grown a successful niche social media following. “I’m very passionate about fitness and wellness,” she quips about her incredible journey. The mother of three began her regimen with Baron Method last 2020 and her transformation has inspired many. “I’m equally in love with the beach and the sun and would do anything for that nice golden tan!”

Married to chef Robby Goco, the mastermind behind Cyma and Souv! By Cyma, the dining table is the heart and home of the family. “I enjoy decorating my home and making family time as memorable by setting the mood through my tablescapes.” Her cosy townhouse has lots of natural light and is decorated in an effortless and comfortable manner. “I would describe my style as British colonial with a bit of boho thrown in. I love classical and traditional furniture paired with tropical and bohemian accents.”

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She is also the ultimate homemaker. For the past two years, she’s embraced a staffless lifestyle and has taken on all the chores at home with glee. “I have my cleaning schedule in place so there’s always something to do every day. I also involve my children which makes it a bit more fun. I’m amazed at how independent they are now. They all have their own set of chores to do.” When asked if she had any tips to make life housework easier she exclaims: “I also believe in having the right cleaning equipment–the right tools save you time and energy!”

Speaking of energy, the most unique feature of Aliza’s home is her own “mum cave.” During the lockdown, she turned her attic which was a storage area into what she calls her own “little oasis” The personal space doubles as an office and gym where she spends her alone time. “My next favourite area would be the garden. We recently fixed it and have been enjoying the space, the greens and the fresh air. It’s where my family likes to hang out now.”

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What are some challenges in decorating a smaller space?

I live in a townhouse so space has always been challenging. I have to choose the right furniture and make sure each one is functional, beautiful and can be used in a multitude of ways. I make sure my space is clutter-free because it tends to get magnified in a small space.

You’ve recently done some sprucing up in your backyard, can you share a little more about this?

I’ve always had this garden space but never really bothered fixing it. First, we had two pet ducks and they somehow claimed that area. Then the pandemic happened. I knew I needed an outdoor space and the first thing I did was have my ducks adopted by a friend who had a farm.  As soon as my ducks left, I had my backyard cleaned then I purchased a nice teak wood dining set. I was happy with the current setup until I had a Zoom event in my garden. My background in Zoom was not nice at all! It was grey and old super “talyer” or junkshop vibes. I knew I had to do something about it! A friend of mine who was an interior designer suggested painting it black and I liked the idea. I researched more and found really nice garden setup with black walls. In a matter of days, I had it painted. It’s a nice unexpected backdrop that looks good with wood and plants. I’m so happy with the decision I made. Next, I got a landscape horticulturist; The Green Atelier did a fantastic job choosing, positioning, and teaching me about my new plants. Smart Green Energy Lights installed solar lights and I’m so in love with how the garden lights beam through the plants and black walls. It’s perfect!

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You also renovated your kitchen, can you share a little about the kitchen design?

The kitchen was designed by my husband, Robby. As a chef, he had to consider the proper workflow that married both form and function in such a limited space. He had to position equipment properly based on execution storage, prepping, cooking, dishing out, down to dishwashing. In other words, he had to come up with a plan that would allow both of us to be in the same space, do our own thing, without bumping into one another. Robby’s ultimate non-negotiables were the need for an aircon and a very good kitchen exhaust hood. We are absolutely thrilled with our new kitchen. I enjoy spending time there now that I’m actually learning how to cook!

Any tips you might have for people redecorating on a budget?

I renovated my house in batches. I started with my attic and led to the kitchen, my daughters’ room then the garden. Just know what your theme or peg is when renovating. Re-painting is one way that can upgrade any look. One thing I’m also obsessing about is wallpapers. I’ve done it with my attic and girls’ room- Neumuri Wallpapers and I’m so in love with how each room turned out. I don’t like throwing away old furniture. Either I reupholster it or re-paint it. I remember I reused old wood from my old cabinet from my daughters’ room and used it to make more shelves in our pantry. Reuse and recycle.

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Can you share where your favorite places to source your décor and tableware?

For home decor, I like sourcing from Archipelago Home - lamps, throw pillows, and accent pieces. They pretty much have everything. I even got my pendant chandeliers from them. For tableware, I love getting from Casa Juan Manila and Dos Casas. I like the idea of Casa Juan collaborating with Filipino designers when launching new designs. I also like shopping from Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel.

Where do you find your blue and white jars?

There’s this gem in Mandaluyong called Eighth Wealth Trading which I’ve been buying from for years. I met the owner Emma and she’s lovely. They have a beautiful collection of jars, ceramic stools and pots. Plus, reasonably priced too!

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Any preferred appliances that make your life easier?

For cleaning, definitely a vacuum cleaner. I recently discovered the Roidmi vacuum cleaner which is super lightweight and can suck all the dust with a wet and dry function. It also has an amazing attachment that enables it to mop. For kitchen appliances, I love my dishwasher. Installing one in our kitchen was the best decision we ever made. We also use our Breville Smart Oven a lot. You can pre-program it to cook bake heat etc. The size is not too big so perfect for small kitchen and the heat is precise. Finally, a washing machine and dryer is an absolute life saver!

Name three things you can’t live without:

Cellphone, coffee maker with grinder, and moisturiser.

 

You mentioned that exercise is your way to unwind, share with us some of the fitness or gym equipment that you love and why? Also, if one has limited space, which would you suggest they should get?

I love Pilates and I’ve been with Onelife Studio for the past five years. I haven’t visited its studio in many years so I tried to set up my own little studio in my attic. Unfortunately, due to limited space, having an actual reformer isn’t practical so I opted for a portable reformer which I can bring wherever I go. I really love it! It functions like having a real reformer at home.

For cardio, I’m obsessed with spinning so I would say owning a stationary bike is a good investment.  I join a spin class with Saddlerow almost every day. For weights, having adjustable dumbbells is worth having!

Lastly, kindly finish this sentence: “A home is ____.”

A home is your happy place. Surround it with everything that you love— your family being at the very centre of it.

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