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!

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.

Come Play In Our Refreshed Playroom, Brighten Up with Dulux Wash & Wear

Welcome into our refreshed playroom! It is amazing how choosing the right colours can make such a big difference in a room. We are loving how cheerful, vibrant and awesome our new playroom is. Come on in and play with us in our happy playroom!

Playroom Transformation with Dulux Singapore #DuluxSG

Before showing you the full (aka messy) room, let’s do the close-up-makes-everything-look-better kinda shots…

Little reading corner

Our cosy reading corner with matching cute retro chairs from Chair-ish the Moments. Love the colour combination here with our pink wall in Strawberry Crush, 74RR 28/432 from Dulux.

Playroom Transformation with Dulux Singapore #DuluxSG

You see how the pink wall looks very different in the above and below photos? Lighting plays a huge part in how the colours on your wall will appear in real-life and on photos. Hence it is very important to pick the colours at home and not in stores or at your Interior Designer’s studio. Bring home the colour book or paint chips and visualise from your own home and rooms. Check them in the day, at night and with room lightings, making sure the colours are what you want. If you have existing furniture in the room, it’ll be ideal to match them too. Or even plan ahead, like how we are planning to convert this playroom to the girls’ bedroom in a few months time. The bedsheets for their beds will preferably be of lighter shades of pink, darker shades of yellow, orange or blue.

Mini chair for Zara, medium chair for Ayra and a Muji legless chair for Mummy.

Playroom Transformation with Dulux Singapore #DuluxSG

Our photo and art wall

Loving how every thing just pops against the yellow wall in Celestial Sun, 54YY 85/291 from Dulux.

Playroom Transformation with Dulux Singapore #DuluxSG

Add some painting and pretty photo canvas to a plain wall will make the whole room feel more homely and closer to the heart. My girls love looking at their own photos and get excited jumping and pointing at them. (Super vain right?! Girls will always be girls.)

Kitchen play corner

Cooking is probably one of our girls’ favourite play activity in the room. Now their kitchen + mini cafe is brightened up whenever sun shines through our window in the morning.

Playroom Transformation with Dulux Singapore #DuluxSG

The play tables

These orange tables were already in the room before our makeover. With the new yellow wall, these orange tables from Ikea look more fun and pretty as compared to when it was against our old grey walls.

Playroom Transformation with Dulux Singapore #DuluxSG

Tips for storing tiny toys: Buy a candy grabber aka mini UFO catcher and store them all in there. Makes nice decor piece and have some fun catching them too!

Now you have seen the close-ups, here are some shots of the wider views of our playroom – the before and after our repainting transformation with Dulux.

Before we had boring and dull looking grey walls

Now we have cheerful, fun and girly playroom

Playroom Transformation with Dulux Singapore #DuluxSG

The chaotic mess before

Much organised, cleaner and safer space for the girls now

Playroom Transformation with Dulux Singapore #DuluxSG

Wider shots of rooms are not as nice a view nor fit for show house quality shots right? That’s why it is almost impossible to snap photos of your beautiful home once you stayed in there for more than a year; make that a month when you have little kids in the house! Getting our room repainted gave me a valid reason to clear out all the unused and unwanted stuff around our playroom room. I must find time to do the same to my work room which is now more like our second storeroom in the house! And I don’t even want to think about the craziness in our storeroom!

Much better space for play and explore

A quick flashback to the day when Ayra returned from school and saw her new room, yes she’s calling it her new playroom ever since the repaint was done. First she was stunned and just stood there looking at the new colours, then she asked to take photos of her room.

And when she’s done posing, she did the photo taking on her own with the PowerShot D30 camera, which I gladly handed her as it was shockproof! No need to be afraid it falling off her hands.

The new layout and toys placement is also easier for her to pick and choose what she wants to play without needing assistance from us. Just move the toys around and she can start playing. Glad the school has trained her well in putting back her toys after play.

Ayra loves reading and listening to stories with me on the new chairs I bought. Guess she prefers to be hugged by it as she always picked the tiny green one instead of the spacious blue one.

We cannot stop sharing with families and friends how our room is so much better after a repaint with the right choice of colours. Even our part-time helper who come by once a week said she was shocked to see the room brighten up after the painting. She even thought we forgot to turn off the light in the room when she first saw it; I couldn’t stop laughing when she told me that the week after.

Refresh you house with Dulux Professional Painting Services

I know! You must think I am crazy to make repainting the house sound like an easy-peasy task. Just the thought of packing and moving the things around the house alone is enough to make most of us exhausted already. But after going through our playroom revamp with Dulux Professional painting service, I would do an entire house repaint if I can! Check out the short one-minute video below and you will know why.

All I did to prepare the room for the painting job was to remove whatever pictures I had on our walls. And all the other stuff were moved and protected by the Dulux professional painting crew. Before starting work, they make sure all your furniture are protected, floor covered and any corners or build-in furniture taped up so it would not get stained with paint. And they even help you clean up and move your furniture back to where they were once they are done with the paint work! Awesome isn’t it? With such professional service, why wouldn’t I hire them to paint the house?

Thanks for following our transformation and hope you like what we did with our playroom. Do vote for us when the voting begins from 8 to 14 December 2014 at Dulux Singapore Facebook Page.

Check out the other 10 bloggers who were with me through this Colour inspiration journey with #DuluxSG.

duluxsg-boiler

If you have posted about your kids room or playroom too, do link up with us with the banner below.

How to pick the most suitable type of paint for your walls?

Now that we have selected the colours for our playroom, its now time to find the right paint for it. Yes! You read it right, there are different types of paint to choose from! Let me help break them down for you into everyday scenes at home…

To create a brighter and spacious-looking rooms


Image via Dulux

Living in a new HDB flats or even a private condominium means small rooms and space in the house. With the right type of paint, you can create an illusion of bigger rooms. Dulux Light & Space with Lumitec technology reflects up to twice as much light than normal emulsion wall paint hence enhances the perception of a brighter and larger space.

For those with creative kids or people with clumsy hands


Image via Dulux Pinterest

Dulux Wash & Wear with KidProof Technology effectively repels tough stains, making cleaning easy. It delievers optimum washability and keeps colours beautiful and fresh! To remove most household stains just wipe it off with a wet cloth and little bit of gentle detergent. Often Wash & Wear paint is associated with kids in the household, but this type of paint is also very useful for use around the house. Especially true in the kitchen walls and walls near the dining area, where sauces and drinks can get spilled and dirtied the wall.

When painting our house 2 years ago, we opted to use the Dulux Wash & Wear paint and I’m so glad we did! Once we had a buffet line setup in the house, there were much sauces left on our walls after the caterer removed the setup. These stains were easily cleaned off with wet cloth and some dish washing detergent. One reason why most buffet lines are setup along the corridor! (Silly us!)

You know how sometimes you will doubt what the commercials on TV show you and you just need to test it out on your own to believe that it works? Here’s the demonstration video for Dulux Wash & Wear from YouTube, and after that, a video I captured during a real life demo which I witnessed. And it really makes a lot of difference with KidProof Technology!

Live demo of KidProof technology paint
To prove that the KidProof technology in Dulux Wash & Wear really works, we were showed a real demo. You can see how the two sides of the paint are different when cola is spilled onto it. One side the cola slides off without sipping into the paint, while the other side absorbs almost immediately when spilled onto, and this confirm cannot clean off loh! No prize for guessing which one is painted with Dulux Wash & Wear.

Then there is this video… which will make all parents go “Ohhhh… nooo….!!!” then smile with a “It’s ok” look.

There is no need to even consider the type of paint in our case. Since we are painting our kids playroom, 100% I will go with Dulux Wash & Wear paint with the new KidsProof technology.

Get fresher air at home

Made possible with Dulux Pure, formulated with air cleansing properties which neutralises formaldehyde (a common indoor air pollutant) to transforms rooms into a refreshing environment.

Ideal for the living area in the house or a relaxing corner.

For those who wants everything in


Image via here

Then the total solution for your interior walls is Dulux ALL paint. With superior toughness, antic-bacterial, Colourguard technology which keeps colours looking fresh longer, it is also washable and easy cleaning, low odour paint with mould and fungus resistance capability and of course it is also friendly to our environment.

For easy reference, here’s a chart comparing the types of paint available in Dulux product range.

I hope this post has been useful! There are many brands of paint available in the market, but being a user of Dulux paint all these years (from my parent’s place of 11 years to our own home) I would recommend to give their paint a try. And utilise their free consultation service to help plan for your colours.

For professional paint work, Dulux Painting service is worth considering too. Pay a package price and get all the following services for fuss free painting of your house.

  • Pre-paint site inspection – *yes they really do come to your place to check the walls and conditions*
  • Professional advice – *the painter even shared how we could keep mould out of our rooms!*
  • **Utmost care assured for your furniture and belongings**
  • 1 year warranty for paint defects. *Terms and conditions apply.*
  • Free colour consultation – *Super useful! Check out our experiences here.*

Will share more about our painting experience with Dulux Painting service in 2 weeks time. Follow our transformation and hope you will like what we did. Do vote for us when the voting begins from 8 to 14 December 2014.

duluxsg-boiler

If you have posted about your kids room or playroom too, do link up with…

5 Tips To Picking Out The Right Colours For Your House

After my search for colour inspirations online, I got down to trying out how the colour combination will look on the walls in our playroom. No, it doesn’t need any paint, brushes nor handwork!

Here are 5 tips for picking out the right colours for your house, mostly picked up while planning for our mini room transformation with Dulux Singapore.

Tip 1: Start with your favourite colours

Your favourite colours may look fabulous on your dress or shirt, but not necessary work as well if used as a paint colour. With help of a colour wheel, you will be able to better choose color combinations that will work well together. Painting one solid colour to the entire room or house is the easiest. However with the right combination of colours (from paint to furnishing and decor) you can create a whole new feel to the entire space. Follow the following colour combination rules and you will be safe (avoid creating a mess). Read more about Monochromatic, Adjacent/Analogous, Complementary, and Triadic here.

Tip 2: Look at the colours in the current room

From the furniture, fittings, big things around the room and even the colour of your flooring. Sometimes it may not be necessary to paint the entire room, adding a feature wall to a single coloured room will help brighten up the space too! A feature wall should ideally have the largest area within the room or space and should avoid walls with windows or doors. Read more tips on creating a featured wall by experts at Dulux.

Am considering making this side of the room a feature wall, but the groove in the wall is making be think twice about it. Will have to consult the expert during our consultation with Dulux for some help.

Tip 3: Visualise the colours with technology

Play with the paint colours with augmented reality technology made possible with Dulux Visualiser application on the iOS and Android OS. I tried it on my HTC One Max and the iPad Air. The visualiser was not compatible with my mobile phone but we did get to play with it on the iPad. It almost as simple as seen in the video below, as long as the lighting in your room is bright enough. With us living at a low floor, the trees and other structures outside our house block out too much light for a smoother use of the visualiser.

Besides the visualising of paint colour on the app, the other feature I love is the ability to pick up the colours from a photo and then the app will show a selection of colours that matches it.

Pick one colour from the selection shown and it shows you the matching colours that goes with it. And if you like it, save it to your favourites for reference.

See the number on the tiny star at the top of the app? That number has been growing over the past week! I’m taking this mini transformation too seriously I think, and the additional input from Ayra and the husband aren’t making it any easier.

This feature of the app is especially useful if you have existing furnitures in the room to match your new paint colours with. For us, the beanbag is one of the highlight in the playroom. And I kinda like the schemes suggested in the app. Perhaps this might be one of our shortlisted consideration. Decisions decisions!

If you want to browse through all the colours, you can do so too with useful filters from within the app. Scrolling left and right brings you through all the colours of the rainbow and beyond!

Tip 4: Ask your kids!

It is their playroom after all! No matter how young they may be, it is nice to involve them in the planning of their room transformation. With help of the Dulux Visualiser application, the kids can see the colours on the walls in their playroom. Ayra was super excited when we were discussing about the colours for her room.

Tip 5: Consult The Expert For Free

If all the above four tips still isn’t enough to help you make the decision, Dulux provides free colour consultation with their colour specialists. All you need to do is 1-2-3

I have submitted my photos of our playroom to them too. It takes 5 to 7 working days for them to get back with proposed colours, will update this post when I get their reply next week.

On the 4th working day after I submitted my photos to the consultant, I received some proposed colours for my consideration. Here are the two which I am shortlisting to my consideration list…

The Sun Kiss yellow looks so cheerful and bright for a feature wall!

The pink and purple looks sweet too.

Looking at these proposed schemes, I am imagining a strawberry field theme for the playroom! Think Strawberry Shortcake and Friends!

Image via Summerkate10


Now that you have gotten some tips on creating new feel for your rooms with paint, it may be time to start planning and budgeting for that mini makeover for your home in time for the coming New Year! Dulux is having a promotion right now for all paint jobs till 15 Feb 2015! Click on the image below for more details.

duluxsg-boiler

Follow our transformation and hope you will like what we did. Do vote for us when the voting begins from 8 to 14 December 2014.

If you have posted about your kids room or playroom too, do link up with…