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!

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.

Peek at Our New Bedroom with “Peppa Pig Bed”

A bedroom to me is the most important space in the house. This is where we get our rest and recharge for the challenges in life. Before we got our own home, our bedroom was where we worked, played and stored all our stuff. It was very stuffy and not conducive for resting. When we got our own place, we made sure the room is kept to the minimum and use it only for rest.

Lucky us, we found a flat that has a spacious master bedroom where we can have everyone, including our two girls. Well technically one girl then before Zara came along couple years later. With the changes in our family, our bedroom evolved too. From one king mattress with a baby cot for Ayra, and to a king mattress with one single mattress, then an additional baby cot added into the room, and finally to our present one king and two single mattresses. This was also when we were left with no space at all for rest beside on the mattresses.

The Transformation

The girls had been pestering me for a very very very long time. “I want Peppa Pig’s bed!” I was reluctant before because we didn’t want to get a wooden frame bed as our house has very high humidity and would attract moulds to grow. But when we first saw the TUFFING bunk bed frame at IKEA one day, it being built with steel and with a lower height compared to the SVARTA bunk bed, I knew this was the one I can get for the girls one day.

And lucky them, our final task for our collaboration with IKEA Singapore was to transform our bedroom! Ayra and Zara were super excited when I revealed our room makeover project to them.

New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG
New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG

Before the transformation, we had them on two single beds placed side-by-side next to our King sized bed. The three beds practically took up the entire space in our master bedroom, living only a narrow walkway from the door, to the bed and to our open wardrobe. The only place to sit was on our beds. After the transformation, we now have more open space in the bedroom and it sure is refreshing.

New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG

To make the new space more fun and attractive to the girls, we also added SMILA STJÄRNA wall lamps, one for each of the missus. They love the effect of these lamps casted on our walls, ceilings and for the little one, from under the bunk bed. The first night we installed the lamps, the room was like a disco… you know… with lights coming on and off and random occasions!

Child-Friendly Bunk Bed

The TUFFING bunk bed frame though recommended for primary school going kids, but I find that it is ok too for pre-schoolers who are tall enough (Ayra is at about 120cm) and is able to sleep without much movement. One of the things I was worried about was the size and height of our existing mattresses which was less than 2 years old and we didn’t want to change them. The bunk bed is about 10cm longer and 2cm narrower than our current mattresses. And the height that’s recommended (especially for the one sleeping on top) is about 3-5cm shorter than our current mattresses. We measured and remeasured the bunk bed and our mattresses twice before we headed back the third time to buy the frame.

If you don’t want to go through the trouble or if you do not have an existing single size mattress yet, buy it together at IKEA and you’ll never go wrong. IKEA have quite a wide selection of mattresses – spring mattresses and the foam & latex mattresses.

New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG

New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG

Keeping it Simple Yet Inviting with Matching Fabrics

We prefer simple and plain linens in our bedroom. The bed linens I buy for our king mattress is always in a solid color and with clean lines. Our curtains were also plain in solid grey. However the girls prefer cartoon prints on their mattresses, and so I’ve never tried putting much effort into coordinating the colours in our bedroom.

After some flipping through the IKEA annual catalogue, I was inspired to try make our bedroom more coordinated with matching fabrics.

I picked a solid but duo coloured STICKAT quilt cover and pillow set with matching DVALA single fitted sheets. I also picked a new curtain, NUNNERÖRT, with some patterns to complement the plain bed linens, and it injected a little fun into our space.

New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG

New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG
Our girls really love their new bed!
New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG
Wider view of how our room looks now.

I am very impressed with how our bedroom makeover project turned out. With this new bed frame, it somehow also created a new routine for all of us. The girls now no longer need me to pat them in bed for an hour before they fall asleep, and they are more willing to “go to bed” vs how they would always find excuses to not go to sleep before the “Peppe Pig Bed” came along.

New bed happy kids, bedroom makeover with IKEA Singapore #IKEASG

Happy and willing kids make an even happier mum! I’m glad we did this transformation.

This also marks the end of our collaboration with IKEA, but this doesn’t stop us from our desire to always create a better home for our family. Thank you for reading and supporting our series of mini home makeovers over the past few months. If you’ve missed any of our posts, here is a quick recap of what we’ve done for this collaboration.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with IKEA Singapore.

Finding more space in small places

The task given for this post was a very challenging one. One that we kinda already covered in our previous refurnishing of our living room, creating more space for everyone in the house. When I received the third tasks from IKEA, my mind went blank. How can I create even more space in the places which I’ve already filled up with things or one which I’ve only recently decluttered?

I paced around my 5-room HDB flat at least 6 times that day and tried to find new places to create even more space. First, it was the walls, we have plenty of empty walls around the house, but my hub will be so so mad if I were to drill holes into the walls to create more storage places. He likes to keep things simple and minimum, which is a total opposite of me!

Then I thought, there must be something I can do in our toilets! It is one of those places we use more often every day but spent the least effort to take care. But… there’s just that much space in there and we can’t possibly fit in any more storage in there with our built-in cabinets. I can’t be knocking those cabinets down and fit in new ones right?

See I’m stuck. Nothing much I can do to complete my challenge!

After a few days, while brushing my teeth staring into the built in cabinet, I finally saw the mess I can work on. THIS!

There’s only one face in the family that needed all the beauty treatments and care… and I have no idea why there are so many bottles of products in there! Have I been slapping THAT many things on my face every day? And there are many items in there which I’ve not touched for a very long time… time to clear this mess up!

So off I went to IKEA Tampines with this photo on my phone. Determined to find some small storage solutions to make more space in this small place. Here’s what I did…

Throw Unused Stuff

This was the first step and a very important one. By dumping away things that I no longer use makes the small place look more spacious already. I was then able to reposition the remaining items and sort them out according to our frequency of use in our daily routine.

Box Up Small Items

The slightest “mess” we see in small places make the space look overly cluttered and messy. But when you hide them into boxes, everything somehow looks neater and magically more space are created. In our toilet cabinet, I’ve added DRAGAN 2-piece bathroom set made of bamboo, in there I store my facial masks, cotton pads, make-up accessories and other tiny pieces that I rarely use. I also bought a set of GODMORGON box with lid to hold the tall bottles which tend to shake/fall easily when touched, and also for the smaller bottles.

And in the lowest shelf in there, I’ve used STUGVIK Toothbrush holder with suction cup to hold our toothbrushes and toothpaste. This we should have done it long ago! Using those containers to hold toothbrushes is just so wrong because water tends to be collected at the bottom causing algae and bacteria to grow.

And with just few simple steps, my small place inside this cabinet is now looking much neater and there’s even extra space for ermm… few more new beauty products perhaps? LOL!

More Small Storages for Kids

I am not one who walks out of IKEA with just a few items in my shopping bag. New ideas are always sprouting as I stroll down the store. With something here and another thing there, I came back home with a few additional stuff to create more and better storage ideas for my little ones.

See those red and white boxes in our bookshelves? These boxes help hold the random pieces which the girls started filling up these shelves with since I set it up. There’s the random piece of drawing from school, the new art & craft pieces, small toys from egg surprises and even small baby books which they still takes out to see them once a while. We’ve already gotten the FLYTTBAR Trunk for toys for the girls some time back, and now I bought two more for the living room. I love how these boxes can hold all the toys and books etc and is able to flatten when not in use. Ideal for small places.

Besides these red trunks, I also found these white KUGGIS Box with lid very useful. The lid can be used as tray when there are guests in the house and we use them to serve them drinks and snacks. And the box can hold papers and even CNY goodies on our STUVA benches. I love multi-purpose storage solutions.

These pretty white KVISSLE Letter tray is my favourite buy from that shopping trip at IKEA. I use this to hold papers, colouring sheets, flash cards and the girls’ completed drawings in folders. I like how the girls can see where the things are and they have learned to not come to me whenever they need paper for drawings or want something to colour.

Happy and busy kids, make a very happy and relax Mummy. Ha!

I am glad I managed to squeeze more space in the toilet and in the living room. Are you inspired to go shopping at IKEA too? How are you planning to supercharge your living space?

This post is brought to you in collaboration with IKEA Singapore.

Creating More Space in Our Living Room

Every year during this period I tend to become a little lazy at work and want to do something new around the house. It has been awhile since I did some home improvement and since there’s the Christmas party with family coming, and the Chinese New Year shortly after, I decided to do some “magic” around our living room.

We live in a 5-room HDB and is kinda huge in the standard HDB context these days. Our living room and dining area are one massive open space in a regular rectangular shape which makes it rather easy to shift things around and create our space. I love to create cosy space while the husband prefers to keep it minimum and clean. With just the four of us living in this space, we kept things to the minimum.

BEFORE: Quite a messy sight

This space is used mainly for the following:

  • Space for dinner, which we have at the round kid’s table because the girls want to watch TV while they eat.
  • To chill, watch TV, where the girls do their crafting, writing and activities that require tables/chairs.
  • Hosting of our family and friends when they come over for visits.
  • Storing of books, game consoles, some toys and photo albums.

Before, we bought one and then another shelf for the girls’ collection of books and activities. Eventually, these two shelves were overloaded and had papers, books and what not spilling out. We needed more storage space.

BEFORE: Our overloaded book shelves

When we first moved into our house, we had a huge comfy sofa and lounger from IKEA, but we removed it after 5 years as we felt it was taking up too much space. Then we got two NOLMYRA Easy chairs that we can move around easily. But then we realized family members had to sit at the dining table or on the floor when they visit as there were not enough seats in the living room. We needed more seats.

BEFORE: Limited seating chairs for guests

We have also been considering getting a coffee table or a side table for the living room because when the girls are doing their activities on their round table, there’ll be no table space for us to put our cup of drinks or stuff when we are spending time together in the evenings. End up the adults will be seated at the dining table with our drinks or evening snacks while the girls do their stuff at the other side of the room. Though we were still in the same room, but it felt a little distant. We needed table closer to the kids.

With the three needs in mind, we planned our new living room for the new year. And I’m happy with it because it’s now more functional, meets our needs and there is a lot more storage space! Our girls are thrilled too! “Mummy it’s so colourful! I love it!” said Zara when she came back from her gramps after we got the living room transformed.

AFTER: More of everything we needed!

For the books and stuff, we removed the two small shelves we had and replaced them with two KALLAX Shelving units in green and yellow. With the additional shelf space, I spread the books out and grouped them by type and level. The girls suddenly realized they had lots of books to read and rediscovered the many stories they didn’t know they had! As there are many loose sheets of papers and thin magazines, stickers and activity books, I kept them hidden from sight with FJÄLLA Magazine files; creating a neater look for the shelves.

AFTER: More storage space for the whole family

On the other side of the room, I added more storage space, more seats and even table space with just two sets of STUVA / FÖLJA Storage benches! I am super proud of myself when I put this corner together because it is multi-functional and yet so simple. We love this new corner!

AFTER: Loving our new multi-functional living space

Now the girls can use this side of the space for reading, more space for them to do their activities and they get to just dump their commonly played toys into the drawers instead of moving them in and out of their playroom.

AFTER: Hide those cushion seats into the drawers and we’ve got tables for snacks and stuff!
AFTER: Remove the storage unit and put in a chair, and we’ve got another space for activities!

We are now set and ready for more family time in our living space! Well at least the living room is ready.

One room down and three more to go. And this was the easiest space to improve on, the other rooms are in such crazy mess I don’t event know where to start! More spring cleaning and decluttering to be done soon! How are you preparing for the new year?

This post is brought to you in collaboration with IKEA Singapore.

In the mood for Christmas, Slowly But Surely

2016 has been an awesome year, with growth and stability at work, it’s now time to spend time with family. As everyone around the world slows down our pace, taking time off for trips with family and preparing for the coming Christmas holiday, I am trying to do the same too. With 2 upcoming trips scheduled in November, and a pretty crazy December packed with work, I’m starting my Christmas planning and preparing earlier this year.

The Special Christmas Tree

Each year, I try to create a different kind of Christmas tree in the house. Because setting up a “real” Christmas tree is too much work for the lazy me and it takes up too much space.  We try to improvise and DIY our own “tree” in the house. This year, I created a lighted up tree by the window and I think it looks fab!

This took less than 10 mins to setup and you can get all you need from IKEA at under $50. Christmas tree on the wall, I call it, can be created with (1) SARDAL LED Lighting Chain ($14.90), (2) 2 boxes of STRÅLA Decoration for lighting chain ($4.90), (3) VINTER 2016 hanging decorations ($7.90)(4) white VINTER 2016 decorative stand ($4.50) and I also added some pretty (5) Christmas decorative tapes ($5.90) to the otherwise plain white stand.

Love these limited edition red hearts from VINTER 2016 collection at IKEA.

Family, Friends, Food & Lots of Merry Making

This year, I am also planning to host a simple dinner with close friends and my family. We needed to get more plates and cutleries for this and found some really cheap ones from IKEA, OFTAST plates and bowls at just 90cents each! These go very well with our current simple white plates in the house too. Simply perfect!

Christmas meals are made of awesome food and value-for-money plates and cutleries from IKEA.

For drinks, we decided to go with VAKEN Glasses ($4.90-$5.90 in set of 4s) which comes in two sizes, just nice for adults and kids, or to hold your cutleries too! I love how the setting is simple yet practical, each item can be used for different purposes.

Keeping it simple in red, white and a little dash of gold
Just add ribbons and it’s perfect!

Adding Christmas Around The House

If you’ve been to our place, you’ll know how bare and minimum we try to keep our home. The only decorations you see around our house are mostly photos of our girls. I love the VAXBO Collage Frame ($12.90) I bought from IKEA which holds 8 x 5R (5 x 7 in) photos. To add some Christmas, we just swap out some photos with Christmas printouts which you can easily print off online or create with Canva.

Swap out some photos with Christmas printouts

My girls are super excited to see the house being jazzed up a little each day and I can’t wait to start shopping for presents! Have you started decorating your house too? Share with us on our Facebook page, I would love to feature some of your creative home decorations one day!

This post is brought to you in collaboration with IKEA Singapore.

Dyson V8 Fluffy Cord-free Vacuum, Our Family Approves

The latest helper in our household is always ready for action, cleans and sucks for full 40 minutes, expels cleaner air and is very tough. The whole family is very excited and in love with this helper and we have to fight to use it each time it’s taken out. Here are the reasons why we love our Dyson V8 Fluffy!

I want to use lah!” – Zara, the littlest in the family approves.

Ahahahahahahahaha” she goes and “Oh-oh dirty. I can clean lah. Yes lah.” The youngest in the family also usually the reason why we have to use the Dyson V8 Fluffy to clean up the mess she makes. Biscuit crumbs, fallen cereals, soiled shoes and tiny pieces of paper cut-out, these are the common mess she makes in the house. In the past, we will first pull our hair and give a little “Aiyah! Again…” and then use our cordless vacuum cleaner to suck up the mess with a few back and forth with it.

Zara’s 1st encounter with Dyson V8 and she just picked it up and started cleaning. No need for any instructions!

Now, Zara will dash to the Dyson V8 Fluffy and attempt to clean up the mess herself. In the past, I would scream when she gets near the vacuum because the air coming out is kinda smelly and I feel its dusty too. But now with the whole machine filtration in the Dyson V8 I feel at ease when the kids use it. The filter captures allergens and expels cleaner air through the HEPA filter.

“Mummy you see here dirty…” – Ayra trying hard to spot dirt around the house (which is kinda challenging really)

In the past, no one bothers about that small crumb or piece of don’t-know-what on the floor. These days, whenever Ayra spotted something on the floor that needs to be cleaned, she’ll point it out and ask if she can vacuum the floor! Most of the time I’ll just walk over, pick the whatever-it-is up and throw into the bin. She’ll give me an irritated face after cos she just missed her chance to play clean up with the Dyson V8.

Free Time Means Vacuuming Time – Wherever, Whatever

You know the first few weeks with your new gadget and you bring it everywhere you go and use it as much as you can? Well, that’s exactly what happened the past few weeks for us. In the evening after dinner, I’ll spot my husband cleaning the house and sucking up crumbs from the stroller. Just few nights ago I was cleaning the dryer for the first time in 4+ years! Also because I was too lazy to setup our 5yo Delphin vacuum cleaner just to clean up inside the dryer. Just the thought of taking that bulky vacuum cleaner out from the storeroom already give me a headache. The only person who has been using that vacuum cleaner every week is our part-time helper who comes in once a week to clean the house. I think it’s time we retire the bulky unit and make some space in our storeroom.

As clean as new, the filter and the inside of the dryer.

“I wanna get one too! Should I?”

If you are shopping for a new vacuum cleaner and is considering a Dyson, here are some of the reasons why you should consider this new Dyson V8 Fluffy.

Sucks for 40 minutes

The Dyson V8 offers improved battery runtime of up to 40 minutes, as compared to 20 minutes in previous generation machines. Suction power is constant throughout the run time, so you get full powered sucking when cleaning around your place.

Powerful fade-free suction

Conventional cordless vacuums rely on big, clunky motors that produce weak suction. The Dyson V8 offers powerful, fade-free suction because of the compact and powerful Dyson digital motor V8 which spins at 110,000rpm, five times faster than a Formula One car engine.

No more aching arms

The weight of the Dyson V8 rests right in the palm of your hand. This makes the machine easy to manoeuvre, and much easier to lift and clean those high and hard to reach places.

Sucks up fine dust and large debris at the same time

Instead of a brush bar with bristles, the Dyson V8 Fluffy cordless vacuum has a roller covered entirely in soft woven nylon. This traps large debris, whilst four rows of anti-static carbon fibre filaments remove fine dust.

Cleaner air when you clean

The Dyson V8 cord-free vacuum captures and retains more dust using patented 2 Tier RadialTM cyclones. 15 cyclones, arranged across two tiers, generate powerful centrifugal forces to spin dust and dirt out of the airflow.

Any remaining particles are captured by the post motor filter – including allergens and bacteria as small as 0.3 microns.

And because the entire system is engineered to be sealed, the air that leaves the machine is cleaner than the air you breathe.

No more dirt bag and more hygienic 

The Dyson V8 features a new bin emptying mechanism, eliminating the need to handle the dirt directly. As the bin is emptied, a rubber collar slides down the shroud, scraping dirt off. This enables the user to hygienically drive out trapped dust and debris in a single action.

Photo source: Lemon-film.com

Tough and durable, anyone can use it

Strong materials with durable and lightweight properties were chosen in the construction of the Dyson V8. The polycarbonate clear bin is made from the same durable material as riot shields.

Pricing and Availability

Dyson V8 Fluffy Review by The Loving Mum

The Dyson V8 is now available in major departmental stores and electrical multiples. The machine includes a 2 year warranty on parts and labour.

Dyson V8 Fluffy which comes with the soft roller cleaner head, mini motorised tool, combination tool and the crevice tool is retailing at S$1,099.

Here’s a short overview video we did for the Dyson V8 Fluffy…