My (Gaston Luga) Backpack is Better Than Yours Here’s Why

It took me forever to find a suitable all-purpose and fits any occasions kinda backpack that I want to own. When I saw Gaston Luga Lifestyle Backpack for the first time on Instagram and on their website, I fell in love with the everlasting design and style. When my order arrived via express airmail, I was 101% sure that this backpack is going to last me for a long time.

Think Scandinavian minimalism and elegance design to suit all different occasions. Crafted with leather parts, thick quality cotton, metal details and a mix of carefully selected colours put together to became the foundation of the Gaston Luga backpacks and accessories.

GASTON LUGA CLÄSSIC – OLIVE & BROWN

That was my selected design from the range of backpacks and colours from Gaston Luga. It has travelled with me around Singapore both for work, play and family outings. The bag has also flown to Sydney and back recently and I have double confirmed my good taste and selection, the Gaston Luga Classic has served its purpose very well.

Standing tall along Sydney Harbour Bridge, unbothered by the many attention from the birds.

Compact Yet Huge in Volume

When I saw the bag on their website, I couldn’t visualise how much I’ll be able to fit into it and was a little worried. So I searched on Instagram to see how other people have been using it and use these images to confirm my selection. This backpack fits more than I’d expected and with the amount of stuff and weight I loaded into it so far, it has retained its shape, workmanship and quality. I am impressed. I’m also considering buying another colour to match my different mood.

My Gaston Luga Classic with my love at Circular Quay waiting for our ferry to Luna Park. Love the versatility of the backpack!

Not Much Difference in Price for Herschel Little America Backpack (in case you’re comparing)

The first brand that came to mind when I think of a similar style backpack is the Herschel. I bought one couple of years back and sold it off after a few times of using it. Because I find that the material is too stiff and the cushioned shoulder pads on the bag were little clumsy for my liking. The padding inside the bag also restricted the volume of stuff one can stuff into it.

The Gaston Luga CLÄSSIC backpack retails at S$319, but you can get yours at just S$216.92 just because you are awesome! The price is after a 20% off as tax rebate (from non-EU country) + 15% off with my special code “claudial15” on the remaining price after tax rebate. And you get free shipping all year round when you buy from GastonLuga.com.

guston luga backpack discount code

My next question is… which colour should I get now? Black & Black or perhaps the Navy & Brown?

Sydney 2017: Preparing My First Solo Trip with My Daughter

The much-anticipated trip for my elder daughter is soon approaching, with less than two weeks to THE day, I am starting to get just a little bit nervous about this whole solo-travel-with-my-girl plan. I have not planned out the exact itinerary yet for the 6 days in Sydney, but I’ve been doing my research and started preparing for the trip since the day I made the flight and hotel bookings. This trip is going to make a big hold through my bank account this is for sure!

After my first visit to Sydney last year, I knew my next trip is going to be another mad shopping spree. Even before we fly off, I’ve already started shopping because this is the first time I’m flying solo with my daughter, her first 7-hour flight to a potentially 15 to 17 degree country and our first navigate-with-google-map and long-hour road trip adventure.

So here are what I’ve planned and prepared so far…

For better in-flight experience

To ensure Ayra is comfortable and be able to sleep through the redeye flight to Sydney, I’ve gotten the children’s airplane bed, BedBox for her from Taxibaby.sg. I first learned about the BedBox by JetKids when a friend shared the demo video on Facebook. I thought I’ll never need one because I had no plan to travel anywhere more than 4 hours with my kids when they are little. And this happened! HA!

From our previous flight to and from HongKong, I noticed that Ayra couldn’t sit comfortably on the plane, her legs were not long enough to touch the floorboard and when laying down reclined, she slept in quite an awkward position. With the BedBox, Ayra will be able to stretch out her legs and be in a more comfortable position. Hope this will help her to sleep soundly through the flight into Sydney so we can both be refreshed and ready for our first day of adventure.

bedbox-inused

For safer travel in cars

We will be travelling quite a bit on cars and private vehicles around Sydney, and Ayra will need to be in a booster seat! For this, I didn’t need to worry as we already have two very compact and travel-friendly boosters which I’ll be bringing along to Sydney. If you’re wondering how I am going to fit a child booster seat into my luggage, here’s how ours look like. Can you even spot it in the photo below? LOL!

Meet mifold, the most advanced, compact and portable booster seat in the world! mifold grab-and-go booster seat is 10x smaller than the regular booster. Instead of lifting the child higher in the car seat, mifold brings the seatbelt lower to fit the child shifting it from their stomach to their lab and away from their neck. We have been using the mifold booster seats in our family car and the girls have come to get used to it (as long as they are occupied with toys or the ipad).

For constant connectivity

Having been introduced to the Wifi router from Changi Recommends, I cannot leave Singapore without one! Connectivity is even more essential and important for this trip since I’m alone with my precious daughter. The last thing I want is to lose connectivity and get lost in the big city. With unlimited and constant Wifi connection and the ability to connect up to 5 devices on the ChangiWifi router, we will be able to stay connected and use our phones and tablets to navigate around Sydney, Ayra will be able to catch her videos when we take breaks at cafes and I’ll be able to catch up on some emails and work when I can (I SHALL abstain myself from work when I’m in Sydney).

The last time I was in Sydney, the ChangiWifi was loading faster than the Wifi in my hotel and the airbnb I stayed at!

For capturing happy travel memories

I have been battling with the decision to bring which camera to Sydney for the past one month or so. I didn’t want to carry around a heavy and bulky camera because I know there’ll be time when I have to carry Ayra when she’s too tired to walk. I didn’t want to just bring any compact that may potentially not give the best quality shots for this first-in-our-lifetime-adventure! So… I gifted myself with a Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II for Mother’s Day!

This is compact enough to fit into my small sling pouch and yet powerful enough for superb photos and videos! I’ve been carrying the Powershot G7 X Mark II everywhere I go since I got it last week and I’m loving it.

For time-saving and lower costs

Two of the places I confirm will be bringing my girl to are the Blue Mountains and Sydney Tower Eyes. To save time queuing for tickets or finding a trusted tour package, I booked ourselves through Changi Recommends attractions and tours offering.

Purchasing attraction passes/tickets and tour packages on Changi Recommends is very convenient and easy. And because it’s recommended by Changi, it should be among the best right? If anything goes wrong, you can come back and complain loh! ermm… you can always provide your feedback when you’re back in Singapore!

I’ve had good experiences with Changi Recommends when we visited HongKong last year, so I know I can trust them lah.

For unforgettable experience at Vivid Sydney

One of the major deciding factor to visit Sydney was because of the huge line-up of activities and attractions at Vivid Sydney! If you are travelling during the period from 26 May to 17 June, be sure to check out Vivid Sydney website and download their mobile app! I’ve got so many items bookmarked in my profile I hope Ayra will have enough energy to go crazy chasing lights with me when the sun sets in Sydney.

So I’ve got about ten out of the one hundred and one things I plan to do with Ayra in Sydney planned out, I shall leave the remaining 90% of the trip to our sense of exploration and adventure with Google Map and Foursquare.

Next on my to do list… get more warm clothing for Ayra and the luggage packed.

Sydney here we come!

Celebrate Moments That Matter This Mother’s Day

Being a full-time working mum isn’t exactly the easiest job on earth.

I often find myself in a challenging juggling act – managing the heavy demands of being literally on-call 24/7, for my clients and team because of crazy deadlines, and being a present mother and wife for my family. It takes a great deal of persistence and a lot of strength to pull through my everyday. I try to live as lightheartedly as I can and navigate through the journey of motherhood and building a business.

Being busy doesn’t mean I neglect my family. I try to make every moment fun with my two babies and hope to build beautiful memories for my family. We spend a lot of time crafting, colouring, making things and just rotting around the house. We really are quite a lazy bunch of humans. LOL!

Photo credit to Canon Singapore

Doing what I do at work, and my love for capturing moments with my loved ones, this year, I gifted myself, for Mother’s Day,  a brand new PowerShot G7X Mark II, because it was time for my personal G1X Mark II to retire after serving me well the past 2 years.

I’ve been asked many times, which is the best camera to get and why. Seriously, the best camera for anyone depends on which camera you have beside you when you want to capture that precious moment. It could be your mobile phone or a compact camera that you bring along everywhere you go.

I use the huge DSLR at work and also recently added the Canon PowerShot EOS M5 to the work routine. These are great cameras that help my team delivers very professional quality work. But to carry them everywhere I go is not ideal and also my team is using them to shoot very often lately. So my new friend the G7X Mark II will be my BFF wherever I go. And just in time too for my upcoming trip to Sydney with my eldest!

If you are a mum who, like me, likes to capture memories with your family and loved ones, it’s time to consider rewarding yourself with a new camera too!

Photo credit to Canon Singapore

This Mother’s Day, let’s celebrate the love and sacrifice of all the mothers out there; mums who have tirelessly poured into our children’s lives – teaching, inspiring and giving. Flowers and chocolates are nice gestures of showing gratitude but there’s a more meaningful and purposeful way to express our thankfulness and love – capturing moments in time by spending quality time with our family and preserving them with precious photos taken with a Canon camera.

If you’ve already got a camera, how about getting yourself a printer too? Don’t get me started on the reasons why every family should own a printer! I’ve got two at home and used them on a weekly basis! My girls love flipping through photo books, scrapbook and even my journal because they love laughing at how tiny and funny they looked when smaller.

Photo credit to Canon Singapore

Get a complimentary bouquet from Dawn Q. with every item purchased from Canon’s Mother’s Day gift guide and a free Shiseido gift set along with a personalised Shiseido skin indulgence (skin consultation and luxurious makeover) with the purchase of selected Canon products from their e-shop. I’m waiting for my camera and free gifts to arrive! This promotion is valid till 18th May 2017. Get your Canon products now and receive these special gifts.

Canon Mothers Day Guide

Thanks to the nice folks from Canon Singapore for the above beautiful photos of me with my girls. It is so so rare to have photos of me with my girls, because THIS.

Stunning Photos and Videos with Canon EOS M5 Mirrorless Camera

I first met the Canon EOS M5 in December last year over dinner, and I wasn’t very attracted to it then. But when I got to try it over a few weeks since March this year, I’m getting quite attached to this upgraded model from the EOS M3 I bought some time back. The camera is faster, better and steadier when shooting video. If only it was a full-frame mirrorless, I would have bought it right away. For now, I’m still sitting on the fence and may eventually buy it for work purposes.

Here are some of the reasons why you should consider the EOS M5 as your next camera upgrade, and photos taken with it by me. Disclaimer: I’m not a professional, so don’t expect magazine spread quality shots ok!

Versatile EF-M18-150 IS STM kit lens

The kit sent for my review came with the EF-M18-150 IS STM, the range of this lens is suitable for everyday, anytime, anything also can shoot kinda lens. I could capture the happiness in my girl without getting wet when she was far from the edge of swimming pool. If you zoom into it, you can even see clearly the water droplets around her hair in the shot below. [Click here for the full resolution shot]

Zara having fun in the revamped pool at SAFRA Yishun over the weekend

The zoom lens, even when zoomed into the maximum, gives me very good control and stability when shooting with a single hand.

Hula girls enchanting everyone with their beautiful moves at Aloha Party to celebrate the reopening of SAFRA Yishun last weekend.
Ayra attending her first swim class with FINS Swim School at SAFRA Yishun

Fast and Steady Won My Heart

The Canon PowerShot EOS M5 packs with Dual Pixel CMOS AF gives me very fast autofocusing in every shot, making photographing kids much easier. I can tap anywhere on the touchscreen to pick the focus point with my left finger while framing the shot with the camera on my right hand. There’s no need to wait nor feel that you will miss a shot because autofocusing is really quick on the camera.

Superb Low-Light Shots

You can shoot at up to ISO 25600 on the EOS M5, giving you superb low-light control even without the use of a tripod.

Brunch at Wild Honey and these cheese buns were super delicious!

Steady Video without any Gimbal nor Tripod

I love shooting videos with the EOS M5 and the new EF-M18-150 IS STM lens. With the combination of IS (image stabilizer) lens and in-camera stabilisation, shooting movie is very steady even when on the move. I’ve created a reel of randoms shots taken on the move with the EOS M5 and the EF-M18-150 IS STM.

The Canon PowerShot EOS M5 is at the top of the existing mirrorless line-up for Canon. If you need an all-rounded lightweight and yet powerful and stable camera for photos and videos, you can consider this camera as an upgrade or a companion for your Canon DSLR.  Find out more about the Canon EOS M5 on Canon’s website (I suggest you check out the brochure for more detailed writeup), and you can purchase it online at Canon online shop and have it delivered for free to your doorstep. There’s $80 online warranty cashback promotion and mother’s day free gifts too if you buy online. Psst… have you spotted our mini feature on their website?

Can my fairy godfather please grant me a Canon PowerShot EOS M5 Kit please? I’ve been an awesome mother right?

“Best Pool Ever at SAFRA Yishun!” said The Little Ones

We spent our weekend at the newly revamped pool at SAFRA Yishun and we had a terribly hard time getting the girls out of the water! The pool at SAFRA Yishun Country Club has new and lots of fun upgrade and I think we will be using more of our SAFRA membership soon. Why the pool not at SAFRA Punggol leh? Splash@KidsAmaze is fun, but the Mummy me don’t get to swim nor even dip into the pool. As SAFRA members we get to enter the new pool at Yishun for free some more wor!

New Pirate Theme Wet Play Wading Pool

SAFRA Yishun Country Club offers family-friendly amenities in a resort-like setting. The newly renovated swimming pool opened its doors to members and guest in March 2017 and features enhanced waterfall and slides, an expanded patio, new changing rooms and a brand new pirate-theme wet playground.

When the girls saw the pool on Saturday, they couldn’t wait to jump right into it! And once they’re in, no one can pull them out of the water…

The pirate theme wet playground that’s suitable for all ages
Adventurous and never say never, Zara had too much time that day at SAFRA Yishun!
The duo can just lazed like that forever…
The waterfall and rainbow slides that got everyone excited! One slide is not enough please, good thing they’ve got two!

First Swim Class with FINS Swim School

Children and adults of all ages are guided by dedicated coaches who strive to bring out the best in their students. Swim lessons are well-structured and designed to be comprehensive and safe, helping students gain proficiency as independent swimmers.

Ayra had her first swim class experience with one of the coaches at FINS Swim School, and the shy girl exclaimed it was fun! The 45 minutes passed too quickly and she wants to go back for more. Maybe I should register both the girls for their July intake.

Shy girl hiding behind at start of lesson, but eventually eased and got comfortable with the coach.

SAFRA Facebook Page Contest

To celebrate the opening of the new pirate adventure wet play wading pool, SAFRA Yishun Country Club is giving away 10 sets of FINS Arena Kids Swimmers Starter Kits to 10 lucky winners. Find the missing puzzle on SAFRA Facebook page here and share a treasured #SAFRApools moment to participate in the contest.

Check out the video of this new swimming pool on our Facebook page.

Photos in this post taken with the Canon Powershot EOS M5 camera.

Super Mum Needs Super Power, I’m Powering Up with Blink around my Home

I tried, and I think I did pretty well. But I know it could be better.

The Super Mum tag wasn’t self titled, friends and people around me is always shocked to know I am juggling everything from family, home and work without help. It had been very exhausting and many times I wanted to throw in the towel. Enough of having 1001 tasks to take care of every day. I cannot be the Super Mum, I needed extra pair of hands to help.

When our part time helper who came by once a week to help clean the house told me she will be returning home for good, I knew this was a sign. The sign to rethink how I can better coupe with the multiple responsibilities around the house.

I didn’t want to have to worry if the laundry is full and needed for wash, I didn’t want to worry if my family has clean house to live in, I didn’t want to think about what dinner to get home after work and rushing home in time so my family wouldn’t have to wait for their unhealthy MSG filled meal.

I outsourced.

I have never liked the thought of having a stay in helper, because the family is worried we will not be comfortable sharing our home. But I needed to so I can focus on the more important things, time with my kids and work.

It didn’t take us long to find the one. I found her in the first group of helpers shortlisted, she was the first that got my attention. With three times experience in Singapore, children all grown up and at a mature age; I knew right away she’s the one.

Preparing for arrival

Being the first time employer for a helper who will have to stay home alone most of the time in the day, I wanted to be able to check on her and the house when I am out. I needed to get cameras for the house but I really don’t like unsightly cables running around. I needed a wire free solution.

Blink is my solution

It was a kickstarter project and now marketed by Aztech, I saw it first on Chester’s blog and then on Zitseng’s. If you want to know the how-to and tech specs, please click on the links to read, because this is the Mummy C talking not the techie gadget Claudia.

Blink camera starter set
The Blink camera is super small, light and wire free! I can place it anywhere around the house.

Because of the wire free and easy setup, I was able to very quickly connect it via the Blink app and our home wifi, and I’m ready to go. Stick it anywhere around the house with my trusted 3M tape and I can monitor what goes on around the house anywhere I am.

Not a surveillance camera

I have to highlight that this camera isn’t an around-the-clock surveillance camera. It doesn’t watch over your home all the time and it doesn’t record looping or non-stop videos. Blink is a home security and monitoring system – it can be armed to detect motion where it will send an alert on your mobile app and record a pre-determined video clip based on your setting. When that happens, the camera will also illuminate which may give the person or thing that caused the motion to jump!

Like a baby monitor

I use the Blink camera like a baby monitor for the house. Whenever you want to check on your baby, you check on the monitor, this is the same. When I want to see what’s my helper doing around the house, I tap on the mobile app, turn on the camera and watch. I can also turn on or off sound capturing from the camera.

Can you spot Blink?

Easy add-on camera

Each Blink camera has a view angle of 110-degree, I can view 90% of my living room when it’s placed in the centre of the room but I needed more than one. I’m going to be getting two more Blink cameras to add-on to my setup at home so I can have access to an all-round monitoring when I am not home. One Blink camera outside our rooms so I can see what’s happening inside, and one more (armed) from inside the living room so I can monitor who’s going in and out of the house during the day.

The Blink camera on the right and the “brain/heart” of the system on the left.

With a super helper and our super monitoring cameras, I think I am able to do more super things because I now have better control and system for my home and family. Next up is to build my super team at work to power up my super power!

Blink Aztech starter kit is selling at S$188, each additional camera sells at $138 each. Find out more on Blink Aztech website.

Backup Photos in Your Mobile Phone, Else It May Be Lost One Day

A Mummy pleaded for help to find her lost iPhone which she left at IKEA’s nursing room, not because the iPhone is expensive. It’s the photos in there that is too precious to lose. I totally feel her misery, but if I were in her situation, it would be less painful, because I’ve always set my photos to be backup automatically once I’m connected to WiFi.

lost-iphone-precious-photos

Backup photos from mobile to flickr

That’s what I’ve been doing with all photos taken on my mobile phones, iPads and even cameras. I’ve lost all photos from my dating days with my husband because the external hard disk died on me. Ever since I’ve backup all my photos on flickr.

flickr provides 1,000GB of FREE storage space and gives you a lot of useful features to make photo taking and sharing a breeze. Download flickr app from your app store or play store and login to your account. You can choose to automatically backed up all your photos whenever you are connected to wifi network.

I have more than 25,000 photos and 900 videos backup from my mobile phones and tablets in flickr.

backup photo flickr

Backup on Google Photos

Because I very kiasu, I also backup my photos on Google Photos. In case one fail, there’s another backup mah! This works the same and does the backup automatically after you set it up once on your mobile phone. Google Photos also auto generates animation, slideshows and collages from your daily photos and you can choose to save those you like or edit them too.

All you need is a Google account, and yes it’s FREE too! One thing I love more of the Google Photos is their search. Because all photos are auto backed up I don’t get to tag or categorize them for future search. However for Google Photos, you can type words such as “birthday”, “food” and
“family” and their image recognition will do it’s magic! Really amazing stuff, search Google Photos on your app store/ play store.

There are also other paid backup solutions you can use. Acronis provides data backup and protection solutions for home, office and enterprises. They charge a yearly subscription where you get 50GB or 1TB of space where you can backup true image of all your digital content and devices. Meaning, you can backup you computers too with Acronis. This is ideal for those who want to backup more than just photos and videos. Find out more on their website.

Also make it a habit to print out the better photos once a while. Nothing beats flipping through pages of memories with your little ones and look back at how much they’ve grown over the years.

Hope the mummy gets her iPhone back.