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.

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!

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!

Behind Every Flat Lay Is Lots of Mess And Backache

Most popular photos you see when scrolling through many visual feeds these days are flat lay shots (top down photos). Have you ever thought of the process behind how to take a nice creative flat lay? What you see is really just the pretty side of things, what’s real is the mess and things one do for a nice flat lay photo. These are usually not shown publicly and the ordinary everyday people probably can’t imagine.

I am no expert in flat lay photos because I just don’t have enough opportunities and time to shoot proper YET! Things will change soon as I am beginning to explore more of this new way of photography with my team. With my limited experiences and lots of research online, I shared some pointers with a group of friends over at Canon Imaging Academy. It was a fun afternoon and I’m happy many of them picked up useful tips and were able to apply them into their own creative visual feed.

Before the sharing session I did some trials at home on my own and after an hour of back stretching, knee bending and neck aching actions while styling putting random things to fill up the white mahjong paper on the floor, I only managed to get 2 to 3 decent shots that can be used for posting online! OMG!!! Why is this so difficult??

How to take flat lay photos at home by The Loving Mum
This was what went on behind the scene… see the mess outside of the white paper and my feet!!! LOL!

Flat Lay Quick Tips

Use basic background, or something simple so that it doesn’t clutter your entire photo.

Go with natural light, lots of it. Else prepare a few lamps to shine on the area you want to shoot.

Fill in gaps, but leave enough space between every object.

Keep the frame (Square or not) full, take note of corners and sides if you want to have a fuller looking
shot.

Think about the hero piece, which is the main object in your flat lay?

Play with different size props, and you need to start building a box of props! Flat lay is all about PROPS!

Pick things that look good from top, example a cup of black coffee vs a cup of latte, or a closed black notebook vs an open notebook filled with writing.

Enhance your photos after you got it right – cos lighting control in the actual shoot can be quite a challenge.

Ideally is to shoot in RAW format and post process after.

Use a tripod so you can ensure your photo is always sharp and clear, and it’ll help relieve those back and neck stretching actions too.

Epic lunch the other day with new friends. #TLMeats #flatlay A photo posted by Claudia Lim (@claudia10) on

Taking flat lay photos at restaurants and cafe is even more challenging and at times one need to have very thick skin in order to get a decent shot! I have personally not tried doing any styling when dining out but once I was at a media tasting together with two young foodie, I was impressed at their determination and effort. Kudos to Wei Kai and Zong Han I managed to get some nice flat lay photos that day.

How to take flat lay photos at home by The Loving Mum
The things we do for a nice top down shot at a cafe…

Equip with the right gear

A nice photo is a combination of nice objects, nice styling, good lighting and a good set of equipment. Personally I love shooting with my Canon PowerShot and DSLR, but for a flay lay where you want everything in the frame to be in focus, sometimes a very good camera on the mobile phone may just be what you need. Unless you are planning to print the photo out for display, then you will require a decent camera.

If you are looking for a camera for flat lay photo taking, then ensure that the camera has got a screen that can be tilted at least 180-degree so that you can view what’s in the frame while holding your camera up high. Alternatively find one camera that allows for wireless connection to a mobile phone for remote shooting. This way, you can mount your camera on a tripod, placed on the table and still be able to view what’s in frame and activate the shutter from the mobile phone.

Get a steady tripod that allow you to use with a tripod arm. This is on my to purchase list.

Hope the above tips are useful! Check out what my fellow friends who attended the session have shared:

Old School Playgrounds in Singapore – A Play Day with Canon and Singapore Parent Bloggers

It was a fun day down memory land for the parents and a wild day at play for the kids. Together with families of Singapore Parent Bloggers and Canon Singapore, we visited some retro playgrounds (those with sand!) and hunted down a few wall mural art around Singapore.

It was also the day where I got to use my new photography baby, the Canon PowerShot EOS M3! Yes I finally bought it after a year of lusting over this nifty camera. My first day encounter with this after its launch was at a heritage photo walk hosted by Canon.

Dove Playground in front of Blk 10 Dakota Crescent

This is one of the few remaining playground nostalgic ones built in the 1970s. This and the Dragon Playground at Toa Payoh Lor 6 was built by Mr Khor Ean Ghee. There’s the concrete slides, tyre swings, sliding rod that let’s kids become a “fire-fighter” and walking bridge.

Canon Play! Outing with SG Parent BloggersSome shots I took of kids at play. Canon Play! Outing with SG Parent Bloggers

Canon Play! Outing with SG Parent BloggersHere’s the street view from Google Map where you can see the playground sandwiched between the old school HDB blocks at Dakota Crescent. Yes this whole are smell super old school. I like!

Train Playground at Tiong Bahru Adventure Park

This is where you get to climb on board the train and climb through tilted carriages. The train playground at Tiong Bahru Adventure Park has got slides, a old school merry-go-round and also flying fox! The kids went crazy here and we stayed the longest, because there’s so many things to do. We even tried teaching the kids old-school rubber band game, Zero-point! Too much laughing took place here. PLAY! with Canon
Train Playground by Soon Koon.

Canon Play! Outing with SG Parent BloggersCanon Play! Outing with SG Parent Bloggers

Canon Play! Outing with SG Parent BloggersCanon Play! Outing with SG Parent Bloggers

Canon Play! Outing with SG Parent BloggersCanon Play! Outing with SG Parent Bloggers

Paintings on the Walls, Street Art and Murals Around Singapore

We checked out four street art murals by Yip Yew Chong that day. Two at 40 Everton Road – “Aha Ma” and “The Barber”, and two of his latest additions to our local street art around Tiong Bahru. There’s the “Pasar and Fortune Teller” at Block 73 Eng Watt Street and “Home” at Block 74 Tiong Poh Road.

Canon Play! Outing with SG Parent BloggersCanon Play! Outing with SG Parent Bloggers

Canon Play! Outing with SG Parent Bloggers

Want to read more about that day’s adventure or see more photos taken at the above places? Check out the rest of the posts by Singapore parent bloggers who were with me that day.

Get out of Auto mode!

All photos taken above by me are shot with the Canon PowerShot EOS M3. And instead of trying to get the right setting on the camera on Aperture (Av) mode, which I usually do, I set it to the Program (P) mode and played with just the ISO setting. It was so much easier and all the shots turn out great! If you’ve got a camera with manual settings available, go try it out and get out of your Auto mode.

Altered Canvas – Fun way to display photos

One super easy and fun way to bond with your kids is to create fun art together! With recent washi craze I see popping up on my Instagram and Facebook feed, this art project is going to be easy peasy!

Things you’ll need…

  1. Blank Canvas Board
  2. Few matching design/colors of Washi Tapes
  3. Tape Glue
  4. Mod Podge and a sponge brush to apply with
  5. Some decorative embellishments e.g. Stickers, cut-outs, alphabets
  6. Photos (I print mine with Canon Selphy Photo Printer)

Here’s another one of the altered canvases I did, each taking less than an hour. So if you are on a roll, you could probably do a few in a day!

Here’s my step-by-step guide to creating your own altered canvas…

Step 1
Arrange your photos on the canvas board, making sure there’s enough space for at least a title or some text.

Step 2
Plan how you want to decorate the piece. If there’s plenty of white space left after positioning the photos, you might want to stick the photos down first with tape glue then use washi tapes to decorate the space. Or if only little space is left, then you might want to use the washi tapes to create a background design on the blank canvas first. Try doing a repetitive pattern design or a zigzag across with matching tapes. Sometimes, straight line pattern works very well too.

Step 3
Once your main design and photos are pasted down, it’s time to add in some personal touches with the embellishments and alphabets. I like to use text or title on my project. Don’t over decorate the canvas, your photos should still remain as the main highlight of the piece.

Step 4
After you are sure the piece is complete, brush a layer of mod podge over the entire piece, including photos, tapes, embellishments etc. This layer helps give a protective layer over your canvas piece and also makes cleaning easy; with a damp cloth or just dry tissue to dust off any dirt.

I was privileged to be able to share this creation process with few other parent bloggers at an event with Canon. With many of the parents who are “virgin” to scrapbooking, the completed pieces were pretty amazing! Check our what these families did that evening over at their blog…

Looking forward to more fun sessions at #myfamilywcanon!