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.

I’ve something to say… but I didn’t know how

If you were asked to dedicate one message to one person, who will you dedicate it to? Most people would say thank you to their family member, spouse, children etc, and I thought it would be the same for me too. But when I stepped into the #OnePersonOneThing “confession box” yesterday outside Ocean Financial Centre, I recorded a message for someone else instead.

This year has been quite a roller coaster ride for me – a stressful period when my grandma had to undergo a major operation, along with the influx of new responsibilities at work, a terrible three and emotional five in the family, and my struggle to achieve work-life-balance. Thankfully, everything kinda went pretty well. I’m truly blessed to be able to do a lot of things this year because of the people in my life.

Aiyah, easy lah, just say “I Love You” and “Thank You” to my family in the booth and I’m out in a jiffy. But when I’m alone in the recording booth, the past 11 months flashed past my mind and I recorded a message for my dedicated co-workers and partners-in-crime.

Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish all that I did for the company. And because of their dedication and hardwork, I was able to let go and spend time with my family and do things I need to do whenever, wherever. Because of the different personalities, experiences and mindset, we were able to push one another forward, and learn from one another.

They have seen the worst side of me (well almost lah!) and also seen the best where we win projects and achieve what we were set out to do. Of course, there are setbacks and failed pitches, but we learn and we improve along the way. This is really just the beginning and the road ahead is much longer, wider, spiral and dangerous too for some, but together we will travel this journey and make our mark in what we do.

My team. My support. My friends. #weareamco #iamclaudialim #trehaus #alvinologymedia

A photo posted by Claudia (@claudia10) on

Thank you my comrades Soon Koon and Caren for believing in our vision, our goal, our dreams. Together with Alvin and the rest of us in AM Collective, we will be doing lots more greater things together! I’m not an expressive woman lah, and you know I am really bad at all these mushy and ermmm… emo talks and all, but I hope this short video I did will be the first baby step for me to start sharing about my gratitude and opening up more with the team.

Thank you for always being there, supporting everyone onboard and making sure things are done! Here’s the unglam video of myself for your ermm… LOL moment.

Do you have something you’ve always wanted to say but never knew how? Here’s your chance to do it without having to ermm… face the person directly or type out in words (because some things meant more when spoken lah), head down to #OnePersonOneThing booth outside Ocean Financial Centre and get those words out of you. You can take and retake as many times as you want and send the message to that special someone in private or share it out openly on Facebook for everyone to see.

#OnePersonOneThing booth will be at Ocean Financial Centre, 10 Collyer Quay, Singapore 049315 till 9 Dec 2016, from 10am to 7pm. If you can’t find the building, lookout for this giant Christmas Tree, the booth is just right next to it!

This post is written in collaboration with Prudential Singapore, all opinions, experiences and thoughts are author’s own. For more information about this please visit Prudential Relationship Index.

Capturing and Preserving Memories in Full Frame

Crazy times call for crazy retreats, and November is looking fantastic! With a family trip to Hong Kong, and a day of fun with My Little Pony planned, I am ready to capture and preserve our family fun time and memories with my the loaned new toy which I’ve been shooting with for the past 5 to 6 weeks. My first experience with a full frame camera and I do not want to return it!

Time with Family is So Precious

I am a super workaholic, many times I use so much time on work I neglected my family. Guilty every time it happens but I just keep doing it over and over again. This is what happens when you work for yourself, every minute spent on work may potentially give a good return. Whenever I can, I will pull myself away for a day and focus on family. On such days, I spend time holding my kids hands, hugging, laughing and playing together. And I hold the camera more than my mobile phone. Capturing memories with mobile phone is convenient but on days when I am dedicating to my family, I want to have better and higher quality photos so I can print them out as large as I want and flip through the albums 30, 50 years down the road. “Look girl, this was your mother when she was your age. Look like you right?

Zara “working” at Trehaus, looking very serious right?
Enjoying their joyride in a sing-along-bus at Suntec City

The Everyday Life

With the compact size (small considering it’s a Full Frame DSLR), I can fit it into most of my everyday bags. When I’m out for meetings, events or running errands, I can always have the camera with me if I want to. On good days, I get to enjoy the afternoon with high tea and champagne, brainstorming and discussing work stuff with my business partner, or when you chance upon this beautiful floor and just want to take a photo with it. With the EOS 6D, it makes these days look better and so Instagram worthy.

Afternoon tea set at Westin Singapore
Those beautiful tiles at Chong Wen Ge Cafe near Telok Ayer
Some painting fun in the evening before bedtime

Freezing Fast Moments

I love to take random photos of my girls at play outdoor and indoor. With the girls running around, sliding down and doing all the funny faces so quickly, it is almost impossible to snap a decent shot of them that is sharp and in focused with my mobile phone. With the Canon EOS 6D, I was able to freeze such fast moments and share the quirky and fun moments with my girls. They love looking at these photos I took of them. They do make requests every now and then too. “Mummy can you take photos for me? I want to see.

Ayra going a little crazy with her dancing and singing at Families For Life picnic.
Girls sliding down at Petite Park on a Sunday afternoon

Sharper Clearer Better Videos

With two YouTube and video enthusiasts and a geeky Mummy, one of the things we all enjoy doing together is to create videos! When the girls get a new toy, Ayra will request for a video to be shot of her unboxing and playing. Sometimes they will ask me to shoot them creating stories with their toys. If only Mummy has got more time to edit these videos and upload them online! Here’s one of the recent video we shot with the Canon EOS 6D when the girls received their new LEGO Duplo set.

Desire For Better and Newer Camera

I have been sitting on the thought of buying the Canon EOS 6D for a month now, price is reasonable and all, but the little voice inside me is telling me to wait. Hang on for now, cos there may be a better and newer one coming out soon. With rumors going around online of a full frame Canon compact, I am sitting on the fence now waiting to see if this rumor is true. What matters to me are features like the built of the camera (cos I am super rough with my camera lah), speed, sensor and the ability to shoot in super low light situation.

My photography companion at the moment, Canon EOS 6D

For now, I shall try to hold on to this unit from Canon for as long as I can. Ha!

Disclaimer: The Canon EOS 6D is a borrowed unit from Canon Singapore and I secretly hope they’ll let me keep it for good! I’m really loving it!

Hey Millennials! Don’t Say No To Having Kids

Yes you want an awesome career, make lots of money and travel the world. You feel that kids are disgusting and irritating, I heard it many times from young millennials passing such remarks at other people’s kids causing a scene near them. And in my mind I’ll bless them and wish them all the best.

Before I had mine, I dream of having many cos they are so adorable to look at, so comfortable to squeeze and hug, so much joy to play with! And then you have your own, things are just not as dreamy as I had thought. But hey I have no regrets and I really adore my two girls. They are my most important purpose in life and everything I do I have them in mind. Things just isn’t the same when you are a parent.

You become a better being, you learn new level of tolerance, you are able to multi-task better, do things more swiftly and has new sights on what the future may bring. Yes it is like magic, you just know! You become more calculative and learn to manage your money better, so much so that your life turn to become of a better quality and much more happy too. Your heart is full, all the time.

You may see no good reason for you to have your own child now cos the idea is just too much burden and stress. But later in your life my dear millennials, you will look back at your life, your purpose and you will regret.

Why am I so successful in my career but I feel empty inside? Why am I not happy with my abundance of wealth and everything that I have worked hard for all my life? Even my most loved pet isn’t giving me much joy anymore. What is missing in me?

Family.

I have met many successful single ladies many who have passed the stage to be pregnant, married couples for years without a child, and even couple of very eligible bachelors who are too occupied with their career they missed the chance to have their own family. The look in their eyes when they see their friends with their own children, you can sense the loneliness and jealousy.

When you have built up a stable work business but has no one to return home to share your fruit of labour, that emptiness in you will be louder than your bank account. (Ok very bad analogy but you get what I am trying to say right?)

From a (almost millennials) gen-X to the millennials. Don’t say no to having kids because you cannot envision that stage of life yet, dont say no because your peers are all saying so, don’t say no because Yolo. Because you-only-live-once don’t say no to having your own children, your own family. Don’t break the circle of life your parents, grandparents and great-grandparents etc etc has built till today. If they had the same thinking as you back then, where will you be now?

So don’t say no. Say maybe. Maybe one day I will.

Damn I feel like an old granny now. But really my dear younglings, children bring a lot more good than bad. Going to head home to squeeze my two darlings tonight. What about you?

Disclaimer: two of the above are mine, littlest boy is my nephew.
Disclaimer: two of the above are mine, littlest boy is my nephew.

Mummy Knows Best – Things Only Mums Will Understand

Zara and her precious tutu

Sometime in June, we went through our first “cold turkey” treatment with one of our girls. We got Zara to kick away her habit of sucking her precious pacifier, and it took us 5 days. It wasn’t planned (one evening I just decided to “throw” her pacifier out of the window) and I think we did pretty well at working on this new milestone together. Zara no longer ask for her “tu-tu” and we now have one less thing to pack when we head out.

The journey of motherhood is never once a dull moment, everyday is filled with new adventures – be it fun, frustrating or just simply out of your imagination. This journey requires me to learn new skills and pick up new knowledge (or new tricks) every day. The term “Supermum” wasn’t coined out of fun, it really takes a super hero to become the best mum for our children.

My friends who aren’t a mum yet always ask how it is like being one. And those who are preganant with their first child are curious at what’s to come. So here I’ve put together some of my personal experiences and hope it will enlighten those who have yet experience them and to share a laugh with those in the same shoes as me.

Things you will only understand when you become a Mum.

The moment when you saw your baby for the first time.

What is that???

The first time I saw Ayra fresh out from the push, that’s exactly how I felt. What is that??? You mean baby looks like that? No way!

Of cos the thought goes away almost instantly when you hold the child in your hands, that first touch was just magical.

Breastfeeding looks easy when other mums are doing it, till you try it with your newborn.

OMG! Why is it so frustrating just latch on already!

And I ended up going for the next best alternative, expressing and bottle feeding. Less stressful but I think it is even more tiring because having a baby latch on means mother-baby-bonding time (hence more love less tiring) but expressing is just you and that annoying sound of the pumps.

When your child decides she is big enough not to wear diapers.

Half way through dinner, “Mummy I want to pee.

When you are half way through your journey in the MRT, “Mum I want to go toilet now! Urgent!

When you are about to reach the cashier after queuing for the past 20 mins, “MUMMY! I need to go pee….

When your first child runs a high fever of 39.8 in the middle of the night.

“Oh no! What happened? Ayah wake up now, we need to send Ayra to KKH she’s having a high fever!”

When your second child runs a high fever of 40.7 in the middle of the night.

“Oh dear, poor baby are you ok? Come let’s bring you outside and sponge away the temperature. And let Mummy give you medicine ok?” And you always have got that pink (or orange) medicine at home for standby, because fever in kids is so common.

And this list can go on and on… a parent’s learning journey is for a lifetime and there are always new things we need to learn and experience. I will continue to learn and share as long as I’m a mum, and that’s for life.

Just chill and be happy cos Mum you make me giggle!

Remembering these and more at Cetaphil Baby Experience

Together with a panel of experienced practitioners and other mums, I attended the very first Cetaphil Baby Experience in Singapore, a fantastic opportunity for parents and would-be parents to get the inspiration and information for the first few magical years of parenthood, and at the same time, meet other families. The high tea setting was lavish and inviting, and as I was sitting in the ballroom, I could see the audience really getting into the mood of the fun filled event.

The half a day workshop brought together a panel of childcare experts: Pediatrician Dr. Ong Eng Keow, from Mount Alvernia Hospital, Senior Lactation Consultant Ms. Kang Phaik Gaik from Mount Alvernia Hospital, and Nutritionist and Breastfeeding Consultant, Ms. Sylvia Kang. 

Photobooth with cute props for all guests and friends at the event

I found all the different sessions by the infant and childcare specialists to be informative and it sure brought back lots of memories from the earlier days of my mummy journey. With my youngest coming to 3 soon, and having gone through many milestones together with both my girls, I was nodding my head with agreement during the sessions by Dr. Ong Eng Keow, Pediatrician and Neonatologist, International Child and Adolescent Clinic from Mount Alvernia Hospital.

The first 30 days of your baby’s journey in this world is filled with many unknowns and new adventures. During those days, Google search was my best companion but I always read all the guides and content for references only because you really cannot trust everything online 101%, so always read with some doubts and double check or verify with other sources before you decide what should be done best for you and your baby. For anything unsure, always consult your PD or a doctor.

Parents and parents-to-be being very attentive to the talks at Cetaphil Baby Experience.

The highlight of the session would be the baby bathing demonstration explained by Ms. Kang Phaik Gaik, who is a Senior Lactation Consultant and Head of Alvernia Parentcraft Centre. The demo brought back memories when I first bathed my girl on my own. A few tips for first-time parents, which were shared at the event –  always be confident when handling your baby in the bath, because one little tremble or uncertainty can be felt by the little one and things may just get a little crazy once the baby starts to cry. Always have everything you need at arm-reach and support your baby’s neck when handling her. Practice is the only way to get better at bathing your baby, so don’t be afraid and just keep doing it. Singing kids songs will help calm you and your baby down too! Try it!

And of course, we’ve been using Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleaner since my firstborn and also during my confinement. Even up till today, we are still using it and my girls love the new Cetaphil Baby Gentle Wash and Shampoo. They use them in childcare and for our regualar trips to the pool. Love how they smell so fresh and nice after their shower.

If you missed the Cetaphil Baby Experience, here is a little video to catch up on the experts who were there and the different sessions that happened. Thank you Cetaphil for inviting The Loving Mum to their first Baby Experience event in Singapore. If you would like to find out more and be kept in the loop for future events, join Cetaphil Singapore on Facebook and sign-up for their newsletter.

This article is brought to you in collaboration with Cetaphil.

Officially a Full Time Working Mum Or Not?

Since adulthood, whenever you catch up with long-time-no-see friends or relatives, one of the questions they confirm will ask is so what are you doing now? As in where are you working? For the past couple of years, my answer has always been “Oh I work for myself, you know… digital and social media kinda stuff?” Then come the puzzled looks and I can almost see all the question marks floating over their heads. “Oh you know? Online publishing and advertising?” Ohhh…

Still puzzled.

Then the next question will usually be, “So you work from home? That’s so good.” Ermm… at this point I’ll usually just shrug my shoulder and try to change the topic.

Working from home is NOT good!

Everyone who works 8 to 9 hours in the office will tell me that they envy me because I get to work from home. At first (about 2 years ago) I thought so too, and really did enjoy the flexibility to be able to work wearing my giant-worned-out-tshirt and boxer shorts and being able to just let out fart grab a quick nap whenever I have to. After your work starts getting kinda crazy, juggling multiple accounts and projects at one time, you start to realize working from home is NOT GOOD AT ALL.

Because home is where you do EVERYTHING, I ended up spending 70% of my time at home working. That’s more than 12 hours every day, and there’s like no-day-no-night please. In the morning, after sending the girls to school, my fingers will start typing non-stop on the keyboard right up till 5pm where I had to prepare dinner and fetch my girls from childcare. Thereafter a quick dinner, wash-up and spending some time with the girls, I will be back working away on my keyboard till 2am in the wee morning. And then the cycle repeats itself EVERYDAY! No weekends for work-from-home-mums ok? And I totally forget what it means to be on leave, on medical leave or just being away from office. All these terms just didn’t exists in my clients’ book nor my own.

Working Full Time Vs Working for Self

For the past one year, I’ve been working with a team at Alvinology Media. Thanks to the 101% trust from the big boss, I run the show well and managed to bring steady projects for the team. And I must say, the past one year has been the most hardworking period for me since I became a mum. It must be the desire to be able to run an agency again that pushes me, and the pressure to bring in enough to feed my team and myself that kept me going. And so I’ve been working full time on the team for a year already.

But a recent conversation with the big boss saddened me. He thinks I’m not committed to the company full time yet! WHAT???? 

According to Ministry of Manpower, a person who works for more than 35 hours a week is considered as working full time. So I am working way beyond the full-time definition can?

Working full-time in my context means I commit myself to producing and completing what I have to for my clients and assigned projects. I may not be physically seated at a work desk 35 hours a week, but the time committed to doing proposals, managing projects, communicating with clients, meetings, running errands etc all these surely add up to more than what is lawfully defined as working full-time.

I still consider myself as working for self, just because I am able to manage my schedule flexibly and is able to make decisions for the team and company (thanks to the empowerment given to me).

Say goodbye to coworking space
Say goodbye to coworking space

Officially with a Proper Setup

Though we have been running Alvinology Media for one year now, I still feel that there’s a lack of officiality because we are neither here nor there. The team works remotely and I sometimes feel like a lost sheep in between meetings as I have no place to work. Things will change officially from tomorrow.

We are officially moving into our very own office!

Together with our extended family of companies, we will be entering the next milestone of our agency life. A proper space with carpet (LOL!), our own furniture, a space for meetings, for learning and discussions. I can finally hold a proper meeting with my team with stable Wifi, screen for projection, space for brainstorming and walls to paste post-it notes on!

I miss having our own offices!

Previous office for 24seven at Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre
Previous office for 24seven at Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre
DICE Studio at The Modules
And the space we had for DICE Studio at The Modules

With this new milestone in life, it’s going to be my third baby, one that is still in the infancy stage and waiting to bloom and blossom. Am thankful for the opportunities the big boss, my team and our clients have given us. And the years ahead is looking even brighter! It’s going to be one hell of a journey and I’m super pumped!

Our new home before we took over, and now empty waiting to be filled with our creativity and adventures

Go team AM and OUS!

Watch this space as we transform and bring you bigger, better and awesome work and content. Stay tune!