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.

Happy Planner Me with Create365 and Canon New Print Media

I am going to be more hardworking this year as I embark on my first happy planner project; something I want to do but been lazy to get started. Because we’ve got a new printer in the home and new photo stickers medium by Canon, this is the best time to get started! I stepped into my favorite scrapbooking store and out with happy purchases – Create365 2017 planner, some pretty stickers and new washi tapes. With the other stash I’ve accumulated over the years I was all set and ready to fill up my happy planner.

Keeping it Simple

I know time is limited and I may only have a few hours each month to fill up those pages with memories with my loved ones. So I choose to keep the planner simple, using only photos printed on the new Canon photo stickers, short journaling and little bit of stickers to decorate the page where space allowed.

Photo Stickers Make Things So Easy and Fun

One of the reasons I didn’t start my planner journey before is because I know I will end up with a very thick and bulky journal if I were to print my photos on photo paper and stick them in the planner. When I saw these new photo stickers from Canon for the first time, I knew this is it! I can get my photo memories into journal without adding bulk to it.

These photo stickers are thinner and easy to trim and stick. This makes the whole planner process simpler and mess-free. I create montage of photos over the week into one to two 4R photo sticker, print them with NFC connection from my mobile to my new Canon Pixma TS8070 printer, trim the stickers and stick.

Photos are for Printing

Every year, I can accumulate up to 10,000 photos on my mobile and cameras combined. Only a fraction of these got posted and shared on Instagram or Facebook with family and friends, and some get to see some lights on this blog. More than 90% of these photos are simply stored and backed up in digital form.

My girls, my mum and my grandmother love looking through photos and it is impossible to scroll through the thousands of photos every now and then just to see memories from the past. Print is our way of sharing precious memories among the four generations.

I print highlights of each year into photo books which my girls get to flip through whenever they want to. This year I printed our memories from 2016 onto HD FotoJournals from Canon EShop online. I feel safe leaving these photobooks in the living room for my girls to flip through anytime they want to. Unlike the other photobooks from past few years which were printed on matte/glossy photo paper instead of the High Definition Canon luster paper and mounted together with flatspread binding, making the HD FotoJournals more durable.

Besides photobooks, I also print out photos after each family gathering or celebrations onto photo papers in different sizes. Some framed and hung on our walls, some kept in photo boxes and some gifted to my mother and grandmother for their safekeeping. Everyone is always very happy to receive photo printouts and I simply love seeing them smile. Makes me feel so warm and fuzzy.

Start Sharing Happy Prints

Sharing happy memories in print with friends from the blogging community at a Canon Christmas gathering.

Because I’ve personally witnessed how prints have delighted the little ones and their family, I want to share and spread more happiness. In the month of February, I am embarking on a personal project to spread happy prints. If you would like to receive printouts of your photos, submit your details and mailing address via this form.

  • Please check “Happy Prints Project (Feb 2017)“.
  • Enter URL to your online photos within the message section. *Photos must be posted online, either on Instagram, Facebook or photo hosting sites.
  • Enter a mailing address within the message section.

I will pick 10 families to send happy prints to. Only public viewable photos will be selected for prints. Each family will receive up to 10 photos, printed on Canon photo papers and mailed to you anytime in the month of February.

I hope I’ve managed to inspire you to want to start printing photos too! Let me help get it started, submit your Happy Prints requests to me now!

Never a Dull Moment at Kidsfest 2017 with Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts with Julia Donaldson

What a fun evening it was with Julia Donaldson and her awesome casts at Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts! It was a mad rush down to the Victoria Theatre but totally worth it. The girls (including the 2 not-so-young ones) enjoyed the performance very much. Here’s why.

Never a dull moment! From the moment we got to our seats till the very end of the show, our eyes, ears and mind were fixed on stage. Even the changing of set from one story to the next, the casts did a funtasitic job making it look so seamless and fun. My mum and the girls were amazed at the different scenes from the five stories, transformed out from the few sets of boxes and shelves. So fun they said.

Lots of energy from the crew and Julia Donaldson. An hour of storytelling is seriously not easy furthermore they were actively engaging the audience. I was panting in my seat as I watched them bring the story and their characters alive. So much enthusiasm and energy!

Photo from Kidsfest 2017

So fun and engaging! To be the world-class theatre for young people is surely not an easy task. Kids get restless and distracted so easily, it takes a lot of effort to keep them focused even for just a few minutes. Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts with Julia Donaldson was like a magic carpet right into the five popular stories written and told by Julia Donaldson. Kids were kept entertained and engaged, with mass audience participation and groups of kids were also invited up on stage to be part of the show.

That night we were sharks in Jack and the Flumflum Tree, entertained by the farm animals from What the Ladybird Heard, felt the squeeze inside the house that was A Squash and a Squeeze, pretended to be dragons with ZOG, and finally treated to a smart adventure with the tiny mouse in the forest with The Gruffalo; and what an adorable Gruffalo it was!

Photo from Kidsfest 2017

If you adore the stories by Julia Donaldson you cannot miss this five-star performance at Kidsfest 2017! Show is on this week only till Sunday 22 January at the Victoria Theatre. Get your tickets from SISTIC now.

Photo from Kidsfest 2017

Showtime schedule for Gruffalos, Ladybirds and Other Beasts with Julia Donaldson at Kidsfest 2017
Kidsfest-Gruffalos__Ladybirds_and_Other_Beasts_with_Julia_Donaldson

Learning to Write with Kids’ Favourite Songs

Ayra is in K2 this year, and she is still not very keen on reading nor writing. I am not sure if she’s only being lazy when around me or she is really just not interested. Based on feedback from her teachers, she is doing alright in class and even during her enrichment sessions at Eye Level.

learningwithmusiclyrics

To help get her want to practice writing, I thought we can try copying lyrics from her favourite song list. We tried it for the first time recently and I think I’m going to make this a weekly routine.

This was her copied version of part of the song from My Little Pony, titled Welcome To The Show.

Still a lot of practice needed. Should I be worried? My husband and I believe she will eventually learn and want to read and write. Her time is just not here yet.

Fun Day Out with Singtel Cast app and Nickelodeon Play

Our girls are forever glued to the screens when they are at home, travelling in the car or during meal time. When the day came for them to discover a new entertainment app at KidZania, they were both too eager to check it out.

It was a fun day out with Singtel Cast app and Nickelodeon Play app, both unfamiliar to both our girls and also to the mum. Because sadly we aren’t Singtel users and the app is only available for Singtel customers. Nevertheless, we got some hands-on time with the apps at the event held in November. (Yes this is one of those super overdue posts lah! #needmoretime)

When it comes to apps, Ayra and Zara need no instructions nor introduction, just download the app on our devices and they automatically know how to use them. This applies to ALL and ANY apps we’ve downloaded for them so far. They also have a way of knowing EXACTLY which apps they can tap to open and which are the ones that belong to Mummy and Ayah! #stunned

The girls were entertaining themselves with the Nickelodeon app while Mummy learned more about what Cast has to offer.

Singtel Cast is Singapore’s first OTT video portal app. Cast offers thousands of hours of exciting movies, dramas, variety shows and kids’ edutainment delivered on Singtel’s extensive 4G network. Singtel Mobile postpaid customers can choose from Kids, Asian Hits and Hallyu content packs. Each pack is priced at S$4.90/month and customers can opt for a special 1GB data add-on for just S$3 more per month. Customers can also sign up for Viu’s premium service at Cast to enjoy the latest Korean and Japanese entertainment at the same price.

Features of Singtel Cast

  • Instant access to Full HD episodes or downloads to watch offline with the ‘Watch Now’ and ‘Download’ functions
  • Uninterrupted streaming on Singtel’s high-speed, extensive 4G network or any WiFi connection
  • Convenience of paying for subscriptions through monthly Singtel bill

Viu Premium service – Offers the widest range of the latest Korean drama and variety shows such as Entourage, Jealousy Incarnate and Love in the Moonlight. Viu Premium subscribers can enjoy privileges such as unlimited download, priority viewing with English and Chinese subtitles as fast as eight hours after original telecast, full HD and uninterrupted viewing2 on the Viu app.

Kids Pack – Features the Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. channels along with popular programmes such as SpongeBob SquarePants, PAW Patrol, Shimmer & Shine, and more. The Kids Pack on CAST is also the only place to get access to the full range of games and shows on the all-new, Emmy award-winning, Nickelodeon Play app.

Asian Hits Pack – Features up to 1,000 hours of popular hit movies, entertainment and drama series from Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China in their original languages, including variety shows Are You Hokkien?, The Voice of Taiwan, Chef Nic and hit drama series Diamond Lover, Taste of Love, and The Legend of S.

Hallyu Pack – Offers the best of Korean entertainment from top Korean broadcasters on popular channels ONE, Oh!K and KBS World such as highly-anticipated drama series within 24 hours of Korean telecast and all-time variety show favourites like Infinite Challenge.

Subscriptions for each pack start from S$4.90/month with a 12-month contract or S$6.90/month with no contract. A pack can be bundled with 1GB of data for just an additional S$3/month. Customers can enjoy extra value when they stack individual packs bundled with 1GB of data. This means a customer with Asian, Kids and Hallyu packs bundled with data, will get to enjoy 3GB data every month.

Kids Can’t Get Hands Off the Nickelodeon Play App

With a grid designed like that, the little ones will be begging to get the Kids Pack to unlock everything on it so they can keep scrolling up, down, left, right and click on any of the videos and games in the Nickelodeon Play app. This app is probably the must have for die-hard fans of Nickelodeon.

At the fun day out, we also got a special session with Nickelodeon’s favourite duo, Spongebob and Patrick! The girls (and their Ayah) were super excited to see their favourite characters on stage.

What a fun-filled and exciting morning with Singtel and Nickelodeon! Thanks for including us in this special session. Ayra and Zara had fun.

If you would like to find out more about the app, visit www.cast.sg.

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.

My Little Photographers at KidZania Canon Imaging Academy

The Mummy loves photography and has been a supporter for Canon cameras for a long time now. The girls have been the subject of Mummy’s shooting obsession since the day they entered into her life. They have seen how the Mummy handled the camera and are rather familiar with how the camera works. When they were given a chance to handle a big camera like Mummy at KidZania, they were thrilled.

Although they didn’t get to complete their task as a photojournalist, as they were too distracted with the other activities going around them on their first visit to KidZania, they did get to put on the Canon EOS vest (which Mummy is rather jealous of) and tried handling and shooting with the Canon PowerShot EOS DSLR inside the Imaging Academy.

Look at how adorable and professional they look!

At the Canon Imaging Academy inside KidZania Singapore, the kids get to pick between being a Photojournalist or a Photography Student.

Photojournalist at Canon Imaging Academy

  • For +4 years and above
  • Each session allows up to 4 kids
  • Takes about 20 mins for each session
  • Kid earns 6 Kidzos

Being a Photojournalist, they were supposed to learn how to handle the DSLR camera, go on a mission to shoot different objects around KidZania and complete their task to earn the Kidzos.

Photography Student at Canon Imaging Academy

  • For +4 years and above
  • Each session allows up to 6 kids
  • Takes about 20 mins for each session
  • Kid pays 8 Kidzos

As a Photography Student, they get to learn how to pose for the camera and shoot other student models with the DSLR. Each student will also get to bring home a printed photo from their session.

The girls were happy to have snapped some photos of Mummy with their cameras and were issued a certificate at the end of their task.

Guess we will be back again for more KidZania fun since Mummy bought the girls their KidZania Passports! Perhaps we should make trips to other cities too to check out the other KidZanias.

Read other kids’ experiences at KidZania Canon Imaging Academy…