Learning Value of Money is More Than Being Able to Touch Dollar Notes and Coins

I’m really bad at managing money, no one really taught me the importance of savings when I was little. I was never told that I should split my daily pocket money so that I have some to spend, to save and to donate. Being the eldest in the family also means I got a lot of TLC from my parents, relatives and gramps. When I needed more money to buy books, and the many erasers, pens, highlighters because I could never had enough of them in my overspilling stationery box, I just had to ask from my gong gong and he will give it to me.

I recall there were many times when I had to call home during recess for extra pocket money so that I can buy more things/ food after school, and then I would run to the other end of my huge school field to “catch” the extra money being thrown out from my grandmother’s house window; yup the school and home were THAT close I could be “thrown” more money!

In those days, I was given every opportunity to touch the notes and coins, but never truly understood the value of money and how important it is! If you ask me, the teaching of life values, differentiating needs and wants and learning about delayed gratification are much more important than learning to count the notes and coins.

I could have been as rich as him IF I had been taught the value of saving and investing from young.

Imagine if someone HAD told me I could have hundreds of thousands of dollars in my savings account IF I had saved from my youngers days, I would have been able to afford a decent car or even upgraded our family to a more desirable house! Oh well… at least I’m starting to plan ahead for my girls and is slowly exposing them to the importance and value of money. The POSB Smart Buddy programme is one of the many ways I am going to use to show and pave them to become a wiser spender and better saver.

Never too early to start!

Personally, I’ve tried several different ways to teach my little girls the value of money. But none were quite followed through for more than a month, because this Mum is too lazy lah! Here’s the list of ways I tried over the last couple of years:

Rewarded $1 for each day they attend school – because two years ago, they REALLY hated going to school. So I give them each $1 after dinner when they behave well in the morning and go to school willingly. This stopped when I ran out of $1 coins!

Complete a well-behave card to redeem reward of their choice – each “chop” was for a 50-cents reward. They get a chore when they completed a chore or task well. When they complete the card which comes up to about $10 of value, they get to use the $10 to get something they want. Again this kinda died a silent death because it was too troublesome to dig out the card and give them a stamp… the cards couldn’t be found after the first few days.

Zara with her collection during CNY earlier this year

Putting % of their Ang Bao Collection for their use – this year, I decided to put aside some cold hard cash in a purse each for the girls to use them whenever they want to buy something for themselves. So for the first shopping trip we had together, we remembered to bring along their purses so they each got to pay for their own toys at the cashier. I learned that they actually take  A LOT MORE TIME to decide which toy to get when they are using their own money. I thought this was an excellent way to teach them… alas, after that first trip, subsequent trips out to the mall, we forgot their purses and all purchases were made by Mum! And because no one was keeping taps of these purchases, the money set aside were eventually just put back into their savings account and spending money all came from Mummy’s wallet.

If only there was a more efficient way to do all the above! And I think the new POSB Smart Buddy watch could be my solution. But… it’s not available to just anyone who walked in to the bank to apply! Only students from the primary schools onboard the programme get to receive the watch. But thanks to the good folks at POSB who invited us to check out the watch, I gladly accepted!

After the brief session with POSB team to learn more about the feature of the watch and the accompanying app, I was very excited to try it out with my girls.

We did an unboxing video live on Facebook the next day and they were rather excited at first to reveal what was inside the packages. Little sister Zara was really happy to see the watch and was quick to figure out how the different parts work, while Ayra was a little disappointed the watch comes only in one color. She wasn’t as enthusiastic as her little sister after she saw the watch. LOL!

When I told them they could use the watch to pay for things at the bookshop, it got their interests again. And so on Sunday, I let them wear the watch out and they started pressing the button. After 101 questions, they figured out what the footprint icon and number next to it represented, they learned to see the time and discovered their names are on the screen too. Things got really fun when they started competing the number of steps recorded on their watch – which kinda puzzled me because after Ayra’s ballet class (while Zara was sitting and chilling to wait for her) Zara had as many steps as Ayra?! We jokingly assumed that the watch also counted Zara’s hand movement while feeding herself with the snacks she got from the vending machine and the many swinging around while she sat to watch others play at the bowling alley. After investigating and trying out, we concluded the steps count isn’t as accurate as any kind of movement is counted as steps too! Oh well… it is still fun for the girls to want to walk more so they can win one another.

Zara with her POSB Smart Buddy Watch, deciding if this book is going to be in her purchase.

Ok I diverted… you see this POSB Smart Buddy watch is really more than just a payment wearable, there’s quite a lot of features too! I think what I really like most of the many functions is the ability to control and track my girls’ spending with the app. I can go on and on about how this works and why I love it, but that will require another 3-4 pages of experience sharing!

Here’s a quick start guide video from POSB if you’re keen to find out how it works.

In short, I’m really excited about the possibilities of this programme and really hope to see it improve and enhanced over the years. Ayra is going to P1 next year, and I hope her school will implement the programme so that we can make full use of the watch we received. For now, we will enjoy the functions of these watches over weekends and hope I can get some good teaching of money values and management with my girls.

Ayra making her first payment with the POSB Smart Buddy watch at the bookstore. She was super pleased with her new smart wearable.

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!

Home Decor: DIY Terrarium Kit with Masons

I always fail at growing plants. I even killed a cactus many years back due to lack of I-don’t-know-what-also! My mum, on the other hand, loves planting and she grows many different types of plants in her small house. My girls had been wanting to try their hands on planting at home after doing so in childcare. So I did what most mums will do, I let them try to create their own Terrarium. These things don’t die so easily right? And they take a little effort (I suppose) to maintain.

We got the DIY Terrarium Kit from Masons Home Decor and created our own terrariums. It didn’t go as well as I planned and the completed piece of “art” was really the result of child’s play. We shared some photos on Instagram earlier…

masons home decor is giving 15% discount for all our readers who would like to shop at their online store. They have many different types of products ideal for home decorations, party decor and also for the festive seasons. If you are keen to create your own terrariums too, can go check out the premium kit that we got. Some shots of the kit below for your reference…

[box]Use code “TheLovingMumXMD15” for 15% off your cart.[/box]

The kit came in a huge box that contains everything you need to create two terrariums.
Everything is neatly packed in the big box.
Part of the stuff from the premium kit that we used for the first terrarium.
Use the box lid to content the stuff when planting, to minimise mess!

And here are our creative DIY Terrariums…

[box]Don’t forget you get 15% off when you use code “TheLovingMumXMD15” at https://www.mason.com.sg.[/box]

Have fun!

Here’s What You Get at the Free Workspace at Sengkang CC

Yes! It’s FREE! 100%! No membership fee, no subscriptions and no costs to use, drink the coffee, have some snacks and even hold your meetings. This is probably the best discovery and one that I really shouldn’t be sharing cos this may cause an influx of entrepreneurs living in the North-East to work here. But good-thing-cannot-don’t-share right?

The workspace@Sengkang CC is located on the fourth floor of the Community Club. Initiative by Mr Teo Ser Luck, he announced in February on Facebook that one of the rooms at Sengkang CC will be renovated to a workspace for working adults, entrepreneurs or anyone that needs to use an office to work, have meetings, print documents, stopover while waiting for children, to read, get cable news etc. There is a study area on the same level and now adults have a workspace too. A great initiative indeed to help the community. I hope this will be implemented across more Community Clubs in Singapore.

workspace@Sengkang CC has open-concept work desks, semi-private work area, lounging area, lockers, pantry with free coffee, tea, water and even snacks to power up our work engines. There are two meeting rooms, one that sits about 6 and the other up to 8/10. There’s high-speed broadband, pay-as-you-use printing and scanning services and even tablet stands for those who need to use them.

I’m very impressed by the decoration and style of this free workspace. To sign-up, all you need is your business card and they will issue a membership card to you.

Here are some photos were taken when I first visited… nice right the space?

The Meeting Rooms

Well stocked up Pantry

If you happen to spot me working here, don’t be shy to say hi ok! Would love to meet you. 🙂

For enquiries, you can contact them at 6715 7029. The last I checked, the workspace@Sengkang CC operates Mondays to Fridays from 9am to 6pm 9pm. Closed on weekends and public holidays.

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?