[Review]: Grow Old With Me family photography

We – the man and I – are photography snobs.

For our wedding, we chose to get a cheap wedding dress and a regular tailored suit for him because we didn’t think our outfits were worth splurging on.

Instead, we spent on photography. After all, a photo is forever(-ish), a dress is not. We (okay, I) scoured the internet for hours and hours, and spoke to a few photographers before we found the right guy. And we never, ever regretted our choice of priority.

Family photo shoot with Grow Old With Me

Since then, we have done a couple of family shoots and they have all been with photographers whom we knew and trusted. So when Gideon from Grow Old With Me wrote to ask if he could do a shoot with us, I hesitated. Believe me when I say that I am picky – I don’t do studio shoots with contorted bodies and a shiny smile. And honestly, any review opportunity that comes my way has to pass my “is this something I would really use” test.

I checked out his site and realised that, hey, this guy is pretty legit. His style – beautiful natural light, sweet moments captured as a “fly on the wall” – was in sync with ours and I decided to give it a shot (unintended pun but, PUN!).

Family photo shoot with Grow Old With Me

On the evening of the shoot, it rained cats and dogs. GAH. Seriously, it was like our wedding all over again. We met up with Gideon and discussed our options, he suggested waiting it out and we ended up sitting at Satay by the Bay, chatting. Turns out that he loves Lego like we do, and he actually stays pretty near us! The rain was a blessing in disguise because it meant that he could get to know us, and vice versa, and we were able to get comfortable with one another.

When the rain lightened to a drizzle after almost an hour (!), we proceeded with the shoot. Gideon was great at engaging the boys, he knew what to say and do to get them to react. For instance, he told them that we were going to play a game and you could literally see their eyes light up.

Family photo shoot with Grow Old With Me

For that hour, we played games and laughed and hugged and kissed. The littles had so much fun, there was so much joy. And that was encapsulated in the series of photos that Gideon handed to us. The photos show the personalities of my babies, and how they love to chortle with glee. The entire set resonated with love and happiness – I am sure you can see it!

Family photo shoot with Grow Old With Me

Family photo shoot with Grow Old With Me

ESPECIALLY FOR BUBSICLES READERS
Grow Old with Me is currently running a Mothers’ Day promotion. For $288, you can a 30-minute portrait shoot, 10 high-resolution images and a unique 300mm x 210mm OnStone medium frame with gift box. If you tell them that Yann sent you their way, they will give you an additional 10% discount on top of the promo price!

Go check out their Instagram and Facebook pages to see their lovely, lovely work.

Family photo shoot with Grow Old With Me

TOTAL lifesaver

A little while ago…okay, a long while ago, I was given a few cleaning products by Our Lifestyle Shop. I looked through their instructions, gaped a little at how “high tech” they were and was intimidated enough to put them away.

Total_Solutions

Until last weekend.

I decided that it was time to put aside my fear and put the products to good use. And after using them, I was awed by just how well they worked. I was seriously like WOAH. But I am getting ahead of myself.

One of the products given to me was Total Solutions Gel Graffiti Remover. I put off using it because my walls are pretty free from graffiti so far – because I am so strict with my boys about using coloured markers/paints etc! I am nazi about it – I bark at them when their colouring strays from the paper. Which leaves my white walls pretty clean, thankfully.

But then I forgot about my cat. Emi, oddly enough, loves to rub her body against the corners of our walls, such that they have turned black with dirt. Urghs. I decided to see if the gel remover would work.

gel_graffiti_remover_1

It works simply: spray, wait for no more than 30 seconds and then wipe using a clean cloth. So I did exactly that. Except I, err, took longer than 30 seconds because midway through, the four-year-old ran up to grab my camera and I was lunging at him.

When I finally wiped the area clean, this was what I got:

gel_graffiti_remover_2

/insert shocked emoji/

The area was so, so, SO STARK WHITE, it blew my mind. Seriously. For a good five seconds, I stared at it and went WHHHHA….?

It was so powerful, it cut through the grime that has accumulated over the past seven years. That’s why the contrast is so great. I’ll admit that I got a little scared and decided to leave this be, and go on to try the next product: Total Solutions Capture.

It works like this: sprinkle the Capture powder onto a spillage and watch the powder absorb the liquid to turn into a gel that lets you sweep it away easily. Luckily for me, again, we don’t usually get massive spillage so I thought I’d run a little experiment instead.

I poured some milk (only SOME because the milk guzzlers were watching me keenly and I didn’t want to give them any ideas), tossed some Capture powder onto it and waited.

Capture_1

Lo and behold:
Capture_2

Once it had turned into this lumpy gel, the four-year-old helped me to sweep it into the dustpan and threw it out into the bin. I was overzealous in pouring out the powder because I was doubtful that it would work. But it did! Apparently, Capture can absorb up to 100 times its weight and it can neutralise odours too. Talk about being a heavyweight.

For day to day minor spills, I don’t think I would use the product since it’s quite pricey. But I can definitely see how this would help in cases where the spillage is huge/gross – like a pot of stew or five eggs or even, ewwww vomit – and especially when you need it cleaned fast.

Once my helper leaves and I am sans-helper to mop up spills, I am sure I will put this product to more uses. And maybe, just maybe, I will also muster the courage to use the Gel Graffiti Remover to finally restore the corners of my walls to their rightful shade of white!

Disclaimer: I was given the products for the purpose of the review. All opinions are my own and I did not receive any monetary compensation.

Toys we love: Wooden train set

There’s something about trains that fascinate little kids. I don’t know what it is. But man, my kid is enamoured. He loves trains. LOVES. When he was littler, he used to scream in joy and excitement “TRAIN! TRAIN!” whenever he spotted the MRT chugging away on the tracks. Every weekend, he tells us that he wants to take the train.

True story: I once paid $4 to take the Sentosa Express with him. We went in and out and in and out and in and out and in and out of Sentosa for a total of…oh I don’t know, I lost count. We were on that train for 50 minutes. That’s right. FIFTY MINUTES. When it was time to leave, I had to haul him, kicking and screaming, off the train. Mind you, I was 39 weeks pregnant then AND had to drag a stroller out along with the monster child.

One Christmas, before he turned two, the husband decided to buy him a Melissa & Doug train set when we were out shopping. It was a spur of the moment decision, and I was hesitant because it cost a pretty penny! We hardly buy toys because I know that his attention span is short and also, he always gets toys for presents.

It has turned out to be our best investment ever. EVAR. (Apart from our fantastic stroller!)

The three-year-old plays with it every single day and it’s been fascinating to see how much he has progressed. From needing us to put together the tracks for him to him putting together his own tracks (“See mummy! See my train track!”), it’s amazing how this “toy” still manages to capture his attention and heart. If we had space in the house, like a dedicated play room, I would so love to get one of these train tables for him.

These days, baby brother loves to play with it too. Well, I use the word play very loosely since Zac is only an one-year-old. He can’t build anything yet, gets frustrated when he sees A playing with it effortlessly and then terrorises big brother by pulling out the tracks. This set of tracks has been the source of many fights! Oh the number of times I hear this: “Zac! Zac!” *piak* *thump* “Mummy!” Wails and cries from both.

But then, there are also moments when it’s beautiful. Like yesterday evening. The same exchange happened, with Zac head butting Aidan in a fit of anger and Aidan shoving Zac. Minutes later, as I was feeding Aidan his supplements, he suddenly called out to Zac, “Zac! Come here. You can play! Here, play with the train. Play! You can pull out the track. You can play.”

Zac happily obliged and my mama’s heart melted.

So this? Absolutely the best toy ever for my preschooler.

Cloud Productions: A Photography Review

SPONSORED POST

A couple of weeks ago, Cloud Productions invited Bubsicles to experience their D.I.Y Professional Selfie Studio.

The concept of a selfie studio sounded interesting. How it works is that you book your 30-minute time slot in advance and head down to their pop-up studio at Bugis Cube. There, you can select your preferred backdrop from a trio of either green, yellow or grey. An array of props in various themes are provided – masks, pirate kits, sparkly wands and tiaras, pompoms, cute comic-style speech bubbles and the random minion from Despicable Me – just grab what you like and gear up. Pose for the camera and shoot unlimited selfies with the remote control provided. At the end of 30 minutes, Cloud Productions burns all your photos onto a DVD and hands it to you on the spot. All for $30 per session.

Like most parents, I have close to 2,000 photos of my children taken and stored on my mobile phone – and this is AFTER weeding out the Cannot Make It (CMI) shots.

Like most parents, photos of the whole family together – including myself – probably account for less than 1% of these.

I deduced that Cloud Productions’ selfie studio would be a great opportunity to finally snap some decent family photos for ourselves.

We had arranged with Cloud Productions in advance over email to take our photos against the sunny yellow backdrop and coordinated our family outfits to suit our choice of backdrop. The girls were excited at the sight of the props and gamely experimented with a variety of different hats and headgear. The staff angled the camera to frame our shots nicely (no easy feat considering that we had fit 2 adults and 2 Very Small Humans into the same frame), demonstrated how to use the remote to point, click, shoot and view the captured image on the screen in front of us.

Sounded easy enough. Great! We were off to a good start!

Issuing orders to the husband to quickly point and snap - before my shoulder does.

Issuing orders to the husband to quickly point and snap the picture – before my shoulder does.

You know how parents in the past used to tell kids that they were picked up from the rubbish bin? Well...

You know how parents in the past used to tell kids that they were picked up from the rubbish bin? Well…

Me with both munchkins in one photo - achievement unlocked! Looking pretty decent too.

Me with both munchkins in one photo – achievement unlocked! Looking pretty decent too.

Or so we thought.
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My Top 5: Storybooks For Toddlers

Not only does Coco have a fondness for worms and other grubs, she’s quite a little bookworm herself.

Who remembers the Bookworm Gang?

Who remembers the Bookworm Gang?

When she was younger, she would sit patiently through simple board books on counting, colours, shapes and animals. (Claire, on the other hand, will attempt to eat the books and crawl away in impatience if she’s not allowed to…)

Now that Coco’s two, her interest in books has expanded to include stories with more complex concepts, detailed plots and rolling dialogue. We’ve noticed an increased focus on the story characters’ emotions and facial expressions, with her often stopping me to ask “Is this sad face? Is this angry face? Why is the boy angry? Mummy tell me!”

Her fun and cheeky nature also comes through in her preference for stories based on outlandish ideas, featuring funny characters and talking animals, and brightly illustrated in bold, cartoon style.

Here are our Top 5 favourite storybooks for toddlers:

1. Bake, Mice, Bake

An adorable story about a little bakery run by a family of industrious mice serving up a delicious selection of cakes, tarts and pies. The rolling rhyme is easy to read aloud and captures the busyness of these little creatures as they rush around the store – but not without some minor kitchen accidents! Ooops!

Written by Eric Seltzer. Illustrations by Natasha Rosenberg.

Written by Eric Seltzer. Illustrations by Natasha Rosenberg.

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