Monday, June 29, 2015

Review - Quality pictures with Canon Powershot G7 X


It has been more than 2 years since I used a camera to take photos of our family food trips and outings. One of the main reason is the hassle of slinging the camera around wherever I go. When Canon Powershot G7 X was first launched in the market, I was pretty tempted to make the purchase as it was light and compact. When opportunity struck and I was able to loan the camera for 2 weeks over the June holidays, I could not contain my excitement to see how well it will work for me!

Weighing about 300g, with a dimension of 103 x 60.4 x 40.4mm, I can easily slot the camera in my bag or even my pocket. Best of all, it gives quality pictures in the class of compact camera. With its compact size and light-weight, I find it convenient to carry Canon G7 X around without feeling the extra baggage.

3 out of the 6 artistic photos taken using the Creative Shot Mode

The Mode and Exposure Compensation dial are stacked together making it easier and quicker to tweak and modify the exposure settings. If you are an amateur like myself, you will love the Creative Shot Mode where 6 artistic photos will be taken with merely 1 click!

What I like about Canon G7 X is the clarity, sharpness and vibrant colours of the photo images, particularly when the kids are on the move. Whether they are on the wheels or running around on the field, the improved 31-point AF enables G7 X to cover a larger area in the frame and enhances its accuracy in determining the subject, ensuring the desired object to be always in focus.

I may not be a professional photographer, but it's easy to create the bokeh effect as if you are a pro. "Bokeh" is Japanese in origin and it means a blurry quality or parts that are out of focus. I held the Barney soft toy in one hand and tap on the camera screen to focus on the toy. Took a snapshot and you got your bokeh shot.

Photo taken in Auto Mode

Alternatively, you can adjust the aperture to a lower setting to capture your desired bokeh effect.

Taking Meet & Greet photo is such a pleasure as the photo quality turns out to be superb! Thanks to the large 20.2 megapixel sensor which captures high definition images. 

Close up shots (up to approximately 5cm away) are equally beautiful and I could not resist the temptation of taking more floral shots. Each photograph looks so good that I can print it out and frame it on the wall.

That's not all! Selfie is not a hassle anymore with the 3 inch 180 degree tilt-up touch screen (1.04 million dot LCD) facing the front.

Thanks to Canon Imaging Academy Fast Track Workshop, I learnt more photography tips and techniques and was able to take livelier pictures using Canon Powershot G7 X. (Jump shots, panning shots etc.)

Am I tempted to make the purchase!? Yes! I love its compact size, light weight and the quality photo output. Current retail price of SGD 799, Canon Powershot G7 X is a stylish camera with a sleek design. In celebration of SG50, Canon introduces a special edition of PowerShot G7 X. SG50 Limited Edition, with red ring and emblem. Designed and manufactured in Japan, there are only 500 sets and it is available now at a recommended retail price of SGD 829. Time to save up for a compact camera!

Disclosure: All comments and opinions are personal and no monetary compensation was received. Thank you Canon Singapore for loaning Powershot G7 X to me for 2 weeks for the review.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Happy 12th Birthday - A letter to Denver

Dear Denver,

Today marks another milestone as we celebrate your 12th birthday. You are my bundle of joy and I am blessed to have you as my child. Looking back, going through an intensive 23 hours of labour was nothing compared to your arrival. Hearing your first cry and holding you in my arms made me forget every bit of pain instantly.

From that day on, I took on another life long job - Motherhood. There were moments of happiness, sadness, anger and worries as I watch you grow. It is a learning journey and a fulfilling one.  

Remembering your every milestones - your first step, first tooth, first time calling me "Ma Ma", first swim, first cycle, first fall and gradually seeing you attending school and gaining independence, I could not help feeling .... you are growing so fast (too fast).

Surpassing my height, I realized I can rest my head on your shoulders. As you held my hands when we were walking in the mall earlier today, I wish I can hold yours when you turn 21. Thank you for not feeling shy to give your Mommy a Good Night kiss at the age of 12 and I wishfully hope to continue receiving one every night. You have been a lovable and dependable child, who is studious in your studies, helps me with the laundry and got our rice ready when we return home from work.

Thank you and I LOVE You!

Happy Birthday Denver!


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Grand World Hotel (Permas Jaya)

We have been hotel-hopping around Permas Jaya area and identified a few hotels which are affordable and suit our family needs. Although boutique hotels may not be equipped with facilities that bigger hotels are able to offer, their rooms are big and pricing is competitive.

Grand World Hotel is strategically located along Jalan Permas 10 where you can locate many eateries nearby. KSL mall and Woodlands Checkpoint is about 15 to 20 minutes drive away. While the hotel does not provide free parking for its guests, they will assist to put parking coupons on your vehicle to their best ability. Guests will then make payment for the coupons later. 

Grand World Hotel has a big lobby area where you can rest and sit comfortably to read the morning papers before you start your day.

Upon check-in, I requested for another card and the hotel staff gladly issued us a Power Card to enable our room to remain cooling when we return. A point to note is a step at the lift area that we find it hazardous and a little redundant. We have to be mindful whenever we exit the lift (especially with our luggage) and this also seems a little more challenging for the elderly.  

We booked a Family Suit at RM188.70 (weekend rates). The modern contemporary room comes with 2 Queen beds, flat screen TV, coffee/tea making facilities and en-suite bathroom. Room is spacious with ample walking space plus free wifi is available within the building.

I love the full length window view which is not very common for most boutique hotels. We can have a good view of our vehicle from the comfort of our room, adding extra security and assurance.

Bathroom is clean and it is equipped with complete showering facilities. Free toothbrush, body soap and shampoo.

It was a pleasant stay at Grand World Hotel. The staff are courteous and helpful when we experience problem with the door. Another affordable boutique hotel to consider on your next trip to Johor Bahru.

Summary Notes:
- Free Wifi
- Air-condition
- Window view - available
- Flooring - Laminate
- Water Flask - available
- Safety Box - not available
- Hair Dryer - not sure
- Phone - available
- No Fridge

- Bath towels are provided
- Combined Toilet and Shower room
- Water Heater available. Rain shower which is strong and comfortable
- Toothbrush/toothpaste provided

Parking & Security
- Parking lot - not reserved
- Security (Access to room via key card)

Grand World Hotel
Address: No. 90, 92 & 94, Jalan Permas 10, Bandar Baru Permas Jaya, 81750 Johor Bahru, Malaysia
GPS: 1.500160, 103.815369

Want to find out more where you can stay in Johor Bahru?
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Monday, June 22, 2015

Pencil Sketch - My Lovely Duo

Following the Pen Challenge, I was pretty inspired and did a sketch using pencil (without erasing). After much thoughts, I picked a photo of the children at the Go-Kart during our recent trip to Johor Bahru. It was our virgin ride on a race track and definitely a memorable one.  

Took me an hour to complete the sketch as I am not familiar with drawing human features. It is hard to get the proportions right and even more challenging to work on the details of the eyes, nose and mouth.

The kids thought it did not look like them but I thought it was a pretty good effort. What do you think?

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Pen Challenge - Pen sketch of Angel (Lilo & Stitch)

When I saw the pen sketch of Hulk from Esther Peh (Bellaelysium), I was really inspired by her artwork and decided to take up the Pen Challenge. Frankly speaking, I do not have the habit of sketching directly from pen as pencil is my main medium. I tend to make changes to get the proportion right. Having said that, the challenge sounds extremely exciting and I decided to put my skills to a test.

Here's the rules:
1) Pen only: No pencil, erasing, tracing, white-out or what not.
2) Show us your handwriting
3) Tag some fellow artists

Have been pondering what I should draw, and coincidentally, the stuff toy (Stitch's friend - Angel) that my daughter won last night gave me the inspiration immediately.

Did an estimate and started sketching on the paper directly. With the main outline in place, I spent a fair amount of time shading, adding texture and more details to give it a 3D look.

Pen Challenge - Say Hello to Angel! 

Took me 45 minutes to complete the Pen Challenge and I am very satisfied with the lovely shade of blue! Even though I did not attend any professional course/training, art has always been my hobby and it is this interest and passion that motivates me to keep on drawing.

Regardless of age or ability, do not underestimate your potential and creativity. Drop me a note or email if you like to be part of the Pen Challenge!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Taman Puteri Wangsa Night Market

Stretching along Jalan Badik 16, 17, 18 and 20, Taman Puteri Wangsa night market (pasar malam) which opens every Friday, offers a variety of food options that made our trip down worthwhile.

There are 3 mobile vendors selling carrot cake and we are happy to spot two of our favourite here. The couple pair from KSL pasar malam and mother & son pair from TUTA pasar malam.

Come with an empty stomach and you can take your pick to fill your tummies - Satay, Penang Laksa, Chendol, assorted kueh, fried food, pancakes, roasted meat and more!

Apart from the cooked food, there are vegetables, chicken, fish and fruits where local residents like to drop by to do their marketing.It is just like a mini wet market.

Since it is the Dumpling Festival and Durian season (June - July). There are many stalls selling dumplings, lychee and durians. It is an extra treat for us at the pasar malam.

With so many mobile vendor selling durians, Hubby decided to go for the one with the largest crowd and buyers. This durians looked pretty good and the uncle skillfully opened up the fruit and packed the meaty durians into boxes.

Durians are weighed for the price.

We bought 2 back to try and it costs about rm27. 

We arrived a little too late (about 7pm) to buy our favourite packet of carrot cake. The popular stalls close their business early within 2 hours! Roads are cordoned off at around 5pm in the evening, hence do arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Taman Puteri Wangsa Night Market
Address: Jalan Badik 16, Taman Puteri Wangsa 81800 Ulu Tiram
GPS: 1.577180, 103.812191
(Opens every Friday, from 5pm)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Picnic Party and Playtime with Hasbro

At times I cannot imagine how time flies. In a week's time, our boy will be turning 12, preparing to sit for his Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) and also bidding farewell to his 6 years of Primary Education. He has grown taller than me and more independent that I almost forgotten that he is still a child who enjoys playing with toys too.

Thanks to Hasbro Singapore, our boy received a surprise birthday gift in advance which thrilled him a lot - NERF N-Strike Elite Crossbolt Blaster! Combined with our existing NERF Speedswarm, the sibling pair can finally have a NERF war!

Apart from play, Hasbro Singapore also introduces the "Unlock Your Achievements" campaign where NERF champions the message of rewarding children for their achievements at home, in school and in the community. Pick up the activity booklet from BHG, Metro or Toys' R' Us outlets (available only with any purchase of NERF and/or NERF Rebelle merchandise), and children can complete the tasks at different levels to earn themselves a sticker which entitles them to use one of the Nerf vouchers to reward themselves with NERF merchandise.

The campaign is suitable for children age 8 and above and it will run from now till 31st August 2015,

Our girl is not left out too as we look forward to attend the Friend-tastic picnic party with My Little Pony on 27th June 2015 (Saturday), at  Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park! It would be nice to feel the magic of friendship in the air as we conclude the June holidays!

Bring your mat and picnic basket filled with goodies! Catch the back-to-back episodes of the My Little Pony animation and embark on a magical adventure to conquer the Magical Pony Quests. Collect all six cutie mark stamps and stand to win attractive prizes in the Lucky Draw! That's not all! Do not miss catching your favourite Pony in action at 3pm and 5pm.

For the trigger-happy, snap a selfie at the My Little Pony Friend-tastic Picnic Party, and hashtag #Friendshipismagicsg, caption it with a friendship message and you might walk away with a My Little Pony toy hamper worth $100! Come down and join in the FUN!

Date: 27 June 2015, Saturday
Time: 2pm - 7pm
Venue: Bishan Ang Mo Kio Park, Grand Lawn 1

Disclosure: All comments and opinions are personal and no monetary compensation was received. Thank you Hasbro Singapore for sending our children My Little Pony basket and Nerf Crossbolt Blaster

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

28th Sea Games 2015 Carnival at Sports Hub

28th Sea Games has officially drawn its curtain today and we feel happy and proud of Singapore who won 84 golds and a total of 259 medals - our best record ever!

It has been a joyous and exciting 12 days event as we follow the matches on screen. The children also had fun at the carnival held at the Sports Hub last week.

Supporting the 28th Sea Games!

The children put their wits and skills to a test at a variety of games. The 300 degree table tennis table attracted some ping pong fans to give it a try. 

How many balls can you get into the hole? Looks easy but it is pretty difficult to aim in reality.

This is the most innovative way of playing billiard. 

One of the main highlight is the self balancing personal transporter from Ninebot. This is also our children's favourite station as they can't wait to get their hands and feet onto the machines.

Fun relay games as parents cheered them on.

How about a game of bowling but the twist is you acting as the ball?

Denver & Gladys finally get to settle their differences in the boxing ring! Coincidentally their tops matched the colours of the gigantic gloves and helmets. Obviously, there is no giving way as both of them gave their best fights!

All smiles at the end of the match! True sportsmanship and no hard feelings. :)

Bidding farewell to Nila who stands tall overlooking the carnival. :)

Denver & Gladys will probably be grown ups when Singapore hosts the next Sea Game. This will be a memorable and historical moment for them when they look back in time. Till we meet again!