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!

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…

TLM Reviews – Vasa BLÅ Earphones in Rose Gold Black

Review of Sudio Vasa BLA - Rose Gold Black

This Sudio Vasa BLÅ in Rose Gold Black has been my companion every day since I got it. The Mummy has been bingeing on Korean Dramas for a month now and every week without fail, she’ll download the episodes on Viu and get ready for non-stop catch up whenever she can when she commutes daily, in between meetings, during lunch, and whenever she has got pocket of time between her daily activities. And having a wireless earphones that is almost invisible (with all hair around my neck and face) is a good thing, I can pop them in and out of my ears between all the activities and is always ready to continue my shows while on the go.

Review of Sudio Vasa BLA - Rose Gold Black
Beautiful gift packaging (additional S$5) and the unboxed Sudio Vasa BLA in Rose Gold Black.

The Mummy’s Take on Sudio Vasa BLA Earphones

It’s like you inside the drama! Damn real! 

The car driving past in the background, the sizzling of Korean BBQ over the dinner table and the distinct voices from each and every actor in the show, the Sudio Vasa BLA just make Korean Drama so much more entertaining and real. This is the power combination of the driver and amplifier in Sudio headphones.

The Vasa Bla sound signature is delivered by a carefully tuned driver and amplifier. The combination of driver and amplifier is able to separate the sound of every instrument in every song, thereby giving the listener a true studio experience.

Previously I was using the Sudio VASA and couldn’t hide the cables but now with this new wireless version, I’m always ready to pop in the earphones whenever wherever. Once I was using it when traveling with my girlfriends, and she asked how come I watch drama without sound? Then I revealed the hidden Sudio VASA BLA by pulling my hair back. We both laughed.

Sudio VASA Bla Review

In the Box

  • Vasa Bla earphones with 4 pairs of extra sleeves
  • Owner’s Manual & Quality Assurance Card
  • Genuine Leather Carrying Case
  • Metal Clip
  • Charging Cable
  • Battery

Specifications of the Sudio VASA Bla

  • Housing: Composite, Aluminum
  • Finish: High polished metal parts
  • Model: In-ear, Bluetooth 4.1
  • Weight: 14 grams (housing)
  • Range: 10 meters
  • Battery time: 8 hours (active), 10 days (standby)
  • Charging time: 10 minutes (quick), 120 minutes (full)

Get *35% discount when you use the code “LOVESUMMER” at checkout. And of course, the shipping is always free to Singapore.  Do check out Sudio website and Instagram.
*15% from the code + 20% from tax rebate for online purchase

Zara and That Bright Screen

We have 2 adults and 2 children living in the house. We have 2 iPad minis, 1 iPad, 4 mobile phones, 1 android tablet, 1 television, 3 macbooks and 1 laptop. The number doesn’t match up right?

I am always looking into either one of these bright screen every day, at least 14 hours a day. Looking into the screen for work, for play (Tsum Tsum anyone?), for entertainment (Viu lah what else!) and for communication (even the kids get to FaceTime their gramps few times a week). I find it impossible to live a day without looking into these bright bright screens.

And both my girls are doing the same, especially Zara.

Being home with them these two days (as they are unfit to go to childcare), I observed how much more reliant is Zara to the screen than I thought she is. The moment she wakes up, she looks for the iPad, and without realizing it, it was time for lunch. Soon after she’s back watching videos on YouTube and it just went on and on till she eventually fell asleep while the screen was still on. And then there’s the before bedtime video time again! On days she goes to school, her screen time will only be limited to that 10-15 minutes before leaving the house and the hour or so before bedtime.

Many times, we did try to distract her and keep her occupy with other activities and toys, but soon after she gets tired of doing whatever the thing is on hand, she will be back to the screen. But she never seems to get tired of watching videos on YouTube!!!

Is it too late for me to put a stop to this?

We tried hiding the iPads for a day and minimise our time on our phones, but whenever she sees the bright light from the screen, she’ll squeeze in-between me and the phone and pretend to see what I’m doing. And when there’s an opportunity to, she’ll take over the phone and slide to the folder where I hid the YouTube app.

It is rare that we get to sit through a meal in peace without the screen appearing. They eat the most when they are distracted by the video on screen. I recall reading somewhere that this is actually bad for digestion! But without the screen, they wouldn’t eat! How leh like that?

Both myself and my hub agree that there are advantages to allowing screen time for the girls. But on days when we are stuck at home and nothing planned, we will end up looking down into these screens for a very long period of time. This is one of the reasons why I try my best to keep my girls outdoor or in the shopping malls on weekends, to minimise idling time which will end up becoming screen time again.

As you scroll through this post, you will see the frequency and the any-where-any-time-also-screen-time for the girls. I really want to improve this situation, especially with Zara. If there’s any tested and proven tips on getting kids away from screen, please do share with me!

Will Zara grow out of it eventually? Or will it just get worst?

It’s very worrying.

Kids Cannot Eat Without Technology, Soon Everyone Else Will Too

Here are some common sights whenever we dine with our girls…

Are you having the same problem too? Whenever we attempt to remove the screens from them, they would give us the biggest melt down in public and to avoid stares from everyone around us, we let their hands stay busy with the screens and we feed them their meals. The only thing good that comes out from this arrangement is that they usually eat more than they usually do without these “distractions”.

This is how many of our children are growing up now, and when they are older, their lives will be surrounded by even more advanced technology and integration with their daily lives. I feel that the little ones are getting more receptive to technology than some of us grown up. Seriously we cannot live without tech in our lives, everywhere we go we encounter with technology. Even at the hawker centre!

Some time back, we checked out the new Ci Yuan Hawker Centre at Hougang and I’m impressed by the whole place. So spacious, so clean and oh-so-windy too! There aren’t many food options for us that evening as most of the halal stalls were closed when we were there. But there’s the western food stall that came highly recommended by the management of Ci Yuan Hawker Centre.

Food aside, what is very interesting about this place is the use of automated ordering and payment solutions at every stalls. Stall owner takes your order, punch into the system and you pay for your food directly to the machine. And it even return you change in notes and coins! In the future, they may also be looking at allowing card payments too.

The above is the simple interface used by the stall owner. It’s designed such that anyone (techie or none techie) will be able to use it easily. It even shows your coin level in your machine, and when you need to top up with coins, the system will prompt the owner to feed it with coins and it’ll cough out the notes in exact amount; it’s like an advanced way to exchange money in the float.

And here’s what you, the customer, see. This red box is the self-payment kiosk where you feed your notes/ coins for payment and auto calculate and provide change to you. This way, the stall owners can focus on preparing your food well and not have to worry about collection/returning of any payment. Efficient and more hygienic too.

Here’s a video I took when paying for my Fish and Chips with the Self-Payment Kiosk.

Technology can be used in so many ways, and with the experts in user-experience designs, everyone can use technology and be a techie too! This is the way of life so we should start picking up new skills and experience too. I’m sure our girls will welcome more of such integration and efficient way of getting things done.

Review: OSIM uDiva Classic, Our First Massage Chair and We’re Loving It!

When was the last time you find time to visit a masseuse to get that stubborn neck and back ache soothen? It would be so nice if I can have it done anytime I want at my own home and that’s what got us started shopping for a massage chair since early last year.

After months of debating with my hub (and consulting our bank accounts) we still didn’t give in to the lure of having a massage chair in our house until now. With the new OSIM uDiva Classic, it is now even more tempting, and easier on our wallet, to finally own our very first massage chair. Thanks to OSIM we got to give this new uDiva Classic a trial run before we make our decision to sign-off that credit card slip. And here’s 8 (because its Chinese New Year) reasons why we need this OSIM uDiva Classic in our home. (It’s more like 8 reasons to persuade myself and my hub to buy it lah!)

#1 – The uDiva Classic massage chair fits just nice in our home

In fact it fits almost any home, even in my parent’s cosy one-bedroom HDB in Punggol! The OSIM uDiva Classic is compact and light, you can fit it anywhere in your house and move it about too; from the living room to the bedroom or in your baby’s room! It measures merely 90(L) x 70(W) x 85(H)cm in sofa mode with backrest inclined and footrest retracted, saving more than 30% of living space.

Love how this uDiva Classic is so much easier to match as compared to their previous uDiva model. It’s classic yet elegant design complements our home and I love how the caramel chair stands out from the rest of our furniture. Really fits just nice as our first massage chair right? This uDiva Classic is small in size but generous in the features. Read on to find out…

#2 – It feels just right, at every pain (and not pain) points

Every morning I wake up with numb arms and hands and a very stiff shoulder. Every night I find it hard to fall asleep even though I am super tired. All these are signs of overworked, little rest and long hours of staring into digital screens. Are you having the same problems too? Since I started using the uDiva Classic every evening, sometimees in the morning before I start my long hours of staring into my macbook, I fall asleep more easily at night and when I needed that knot loosen in the neck and shoulder, I used the manual settings in the massage chair to hit the right spot easily. And never once did I not get the “Ahhhh…” out of me; just damn shiok. And now I do not want this daily routine to stop! So I must buy it, right?

#3 – It’s like having a personal spa at home
When was the last time I visited a spa? Hmmm… probably more than 6 years ago when we took a break in Bintan. Now I can have a good spa rub and massage every day.

#4 – Not just another chair, but a 3-in-one!
An armchair these days cost easily a few hundred bucks and if you want a nice looking designer one, you’ll pay couple of thousand even. But well its just a nice-to-look-at and alright to sit in armchair. How about a cosy lounger? That’s not something every house can fit easily since it takes up more space. And then there’s the dream “I wish I have one at home” massage chair, to some may feel its too bulky or too costly to own. Now put all the above three into one, you can get a body message anytime you want, a chair to relax and reflect, a cosy armchair to sit and a lounger for you to laze or work in. With the OSIM uDiva Classic, we can have all the above at home without taking much space and doesn’t cost you an arm and leg to pay off. A good deal indeed!

#5 – 5 professional massage programs
Being our first massage chair, it should be easy to use and fuss-free. And sure enough, we could get our first massage experience right out of the box without any manuals or instructions. Just pressed a couple of buttons on the remote and we went “Ohhhh” and “Ahhhh” instantly. The five pre-set massage programs include:

  1. Neck & Shoulders – my favourite routine that eases stiff and aching necks and shoulders
  2. Lumbar – on days when I needed a good relief on my lower back
  3. Energize – for the mornings when I needed a quick boost before work to charge up the body and mind.
  4. Spa – a gentle massage that relieve stress and tension all round the body
  5. Sleep – for relaxation before a good night sleep.

You can also use the manual massage settings to target a specific spot of your shoulder or back to suit your individual preference.

#6 – Everybody can use it!
Most places sell massage and spa packages that you can share with your love ones these days, but the problem with these packages is finding time to head back to use the package. But this one package is right there waiting for you at home. My parents come by weekly to visit and now they get to enjoy soothing massage too while spending time with us.

#7 – A work-at-home mum dream chair to work in.
Because I work from home most of the time, and sitting at my desk long hours makes work a little dull. Now I have a better option to sit and work at home. When I am too tired, I set the uDiva Classic into massage chair postition and have my back massage while I type away on my macbook. Or when I needed to focus just on work, I set it to become a lounger where I can have my coffee and snacks within reach while I work. Isn’t it a dream chair to work in for me? Yes right? Must buy lah! Shiok lah!

#8 – It doesn’t burn a big hole in our wallet! And accepts trade-in too.
Because we have got a massager at home now, we can trade-in* that and get this awesome new OSIM uDiva Classic at a special trade-in price! I just need to use it at least once a week to get my investment worth comparing this with my usual visit to the masseuse; which I seriously cannot find any time to go. Perhaps its time to trade our leg massage for this full body one. Hmmm…

Now that I have got my 8 reasons to own the uDiva Classic massage chair listed out here (while seated in it as I typed them out), time to share it with my husband and get the deal firmed so I can enjoy all the above 8 benefits permanently.

uDiva Classic retails at S$2,499, available in two colours – caramel and mocha. Please check in-store for more details. Click here for more information on OSIM uDiva Classic.

Want to try out the chair too? Come visit us this Chinese New Year! I’ll serve you coffee and snacks too. Don’t forget the ang baos ok. 😛

Mobile Plan with Most Bundled Data in Singapore

M1 mySIM plans

This post is written out of frustration after trying to get my plan changed from one provider to another and failed after too many tries and calls with the respective customer service. But this I feel is useful for those who are like me, exceeds data plan every month and just continue to pay $100+ more on top of our contracted postpaid mobile plan.

Background

I’m currently with M1 3G LiteSurf+ plan that gives me 300 mins local outgoing voice and video calls, 800 local SMS/MMS (who uses these nowadays??)  and 3GB local data bundle. Though the plan cost $55+ every month, but my bills for the past 12 months have been on average of $120++ per month.

I only blame myself for not monitoring my data usage and allowing my girls to freely watch YouTube whenever we are out.

So when this contract ended, I was determined to switch to a plan that will give me the highest data bundle at less than $100 per month.

And so I thought I found the right one with Singtel’s Easy Mobile L Plan at $65 per month. Giving me flexibility to choose how much voice, SMS and data I need and even throw in a bonus 3GB of free data bundle. So I can get up to 10GB of data which is probably sufficient for my use. But after numerous tries and unsolvable issues, I gave up.

First the CSO assumed is cos of existing contract or corporate plan tie-in with M1 that is preventing us from porting our number to Singtel. So we went to M1 Paragon to check with the customer service and the line has all along been personal plan since the contract expired. And so we try again to sign up with Easy Mobile, still same error message popped. And the online chat support said could be browser and asked me to clear cache and cookies etc etc. Still cannot! After more than 10 tries, I gave up. They didn’t know what’s wrong and couldn’t provide any solution. And Easy Mobile can only be signed up online!

Then it hit me that it could be due to a very long long long ago account issue with Singtel that’s stopping us from signing up. So I gave up.

Postpaid Mobile Plan with Highest Bundled Data Plan

After calculating and comparing across the three telcos, I’ve decided to go with M1 MySim plan with 12-months contract.

M1 mySIM plans

At $75 per month, I will get 800 mins of voice and video calls, 2,000 SMS/MMS (I’m going to spam everyone with SMS from now on!) and 12GB of data bundle! That’s 2GB more than Singtel’s Easy Mobile plan and a lot more talktime too. Perhaps its time to start calling to talk vs chatting on whatsapp or Facebook!

The only thing about this plan is that it doesn’t give you discount off most mobile phone brand purchase like the other mobile data bundle plan.