Review on the EOS M6

Before becoming a parent, I always felt that taking photos with the mobile phone was sufficient. I had a camera, but it was under utilised because I felt that it was a hassle to bring it out. Then I had a change of mind because I had a kid and realised how much I wanted to capture our moments with him whenever I can. I guess this is also because I had so little photos of myself when I was a kid, so I take as many photos as I possibly can so Isaac will have them to look back at. After starting to take photos with the camera, I hardly shoot with my mobile phone simply because the quality of the image versus that of a camera’s is just too vast.

Recently, I managed to get my hands on the Canon’s EOS M6 and have been shooting with it instead of my Canon G7x. I would like to highlight that I am not a professional photographer and have never tried other cameras of similar range. Hence, all opinions below are based on my experience with the camera.

The Canon EOS M6 is a 24.2 megapixel mirrorless digital camera. It has a touch screen interface and has a deep grip which allows a firm and comfortable hold. As an amateur to cameras, these are probably the main things I’d consider before deciding on a camera.

What I like about the EOS M6:

This 24.2-megapixel camera produces good quality images in both JPEG and RAW format. There is minimal noise and vibrant colours, even the photos taken at its default settings look good.

The touchscreen of this camera flips up to 180° and is viewed above the camera. This is ideal for people who like taking selfies. I personally think it is an important function because I use it to get my toddler to look at the camera like it is a mirror. For some unknown reason, I realised that most kids I know of seem to like looking into the mirrors. In addition, with the touch focus and touch shutter functions, the screen becomes an essential part of operating the camera. What I like most about the touchscreen, is its sensitivity. Whenever I want to change the shooting preference based on specific scenes, I will change it by selecting via the screen because it is more convenient than using the control dial. With just a tap on the screen, I can move the autofocus area. I use the autofocus function a lot because it really helps in obtaining sharper photos. The one change I made to the LCD display is its brightness. At its default brightness, the display is hardly visible when I am outdoors (which is most of the time) when it is bright. What I did was adjust the brightness to the maximum and we are good to go.

The Wi-Fi function allows me to pair with my iPhone easily. All I need to do, is download Canon’s Camera Connect app and all photos/videos can be transferred to my phone instantly without the use of any computers. It is that simple and convenient. One other thing I absolutely love about this camera, is that it allows me to shoot remotely by controlling it with my phone. This is especially important for me because I have limited number of photos with my kid. Why so? The reason is because I am usually the one taking the photos. So kudos to whoever invented this remote shooting function because now i can take photos of my son and myself together all at a tap on my phone screen.

Us, looking at ourselves from the phone before remote shooting
Us, looking at ourselves from the phone before remote shooting

The Canon EOS M6 has a number of shooting modes which is great if you are one who likes playing around with the settings when taking photos in different scenes. One of the most straightforward methods is to shoot with camera-determined settings. The camera automatically selects the optimal settings for specific scenes. All you have to do, is point and shoot. Easy peasy.

If you are like me, someone who has a certain preference with the way my photos look, you will most likely use Creative Assist with this camera. This function will allow you to shoot using your favourite settings. You can adjust defocusing, image brightness, contrast, saturation and colour tone of your photos and then save the settings for all future shots when you use the Creative Assist function.

You can also choose a mode matching the shooting scene if you turn the mode dial to [SCN]. When this is selected, you can choose from shooting portraits, landscapes, close-up, moving objects (great for children photography!), evening scenes and even food. The camera will automatically configure the settings for optimal shots. The photo below is Isaac on the moving carousel. It was taken with the use of the ‘moving object’ function which will shoot continuously as the camera keeps the subject in focus.EOS2

Lastly, you can also take your photos with creative filters pre-set in the camera. Of cause, they can be interactively adjusted to suit your liking. These are some of the effects which I like.

M
Soft Focus effect
Fish Eye
Fish Eye Effect
Toy Camera
Toy Camera Effect

What I like do not like about the EOS M6:

I personally feel that this camera is not one you would use if you are going to do any shooting under dim lighting conditions (like most indoor playgrounds) even though there is a feature that should enable you to do so. That being said, it is subjective as we all have different expectations. There is also a possibility that I just did not set the camera right. Here’s how one of my night shots look like: EOS3

The other thing which I think would be good to have, is if the camera would just allow me to take photos silently. I tried to search and disable the shutter noise in the settings but to no avail. Sometimes I try to take candid photos of my kid so he continues what he is doing without knowing his photo is being taken. The moment he knows I am snapping away, he stops whatever he is doing. When I started using this camera, I totally forgot about the shutter noise one morning, and decided to take photos of the half-awake boy. “Click Click” went the camera and his eyes instantly widened. He gave me this ‘what are you trying to do’ look:

The Look
The Look. 

On the overall, I must say it actually took me some time to adapt to this camera because I am so used to shooting in Auto mode when I use my Canon G7X. But once I got the hang of it, I started to really like it. This camera is probably most suitable for those who like exploring all the different camera controls and manually setting their own style at different shooting scenes. With the image quality and colour rendition I strongly feel that the Canon EOS M6 has delivered where it really matters.

 


Disclaimer: This is a personal blog. The opinions expressed here are solely my own

Our Favourite Interactive Books for Toddlers

Our little one is a fan of reading. He loves his books and will tell us from time to time to read him a book before he goes to bed. Recently, he was gifted with 2 very pretty books from his god grandma and I decided to share some our favourite interactive books here.

  1. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell. This is a lift-a-flap book that every kid has to have. It is about a child who wrote a letter to the zoo asking for a pet. The zoo then sends him different kinds of animals until they finally gave him a perfect animal to keep as a pet. Isaac learnt to remember the names of these animals in the book because we read it so many times and he is never bored of it. Until today, he anticipates what is behind the flaps even though he already knows what to expect. Definitely a good read for beginners.DZ1-ANIMATION (1)
  2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. This is another one of our favourites by Eric Carle (the other one has got to be ‘Brown Bear, What Do You See?’) because of the colourful illustrations. It is about a caterpillar who eats its way through a variety of food throughout the week and eventually turned into a beautiful butterfly. As we read the book with Isaac, we’d count the number of food and also talk about the days in the week. The die-cut holes are suppose to let children put their fingers through them as they count along. We got the edition which comes together with the plush, allowing Isaac to hold the caterpillar and go ‘Nom Nom Nom’ throughout the whole reading time. HC2
  3. What’s Up? by Olivia Cosneau & Bernard Duisit. Got this as a gift from Isaac’s aunt and he loves this book because it is the first book he got that has interactive tabs which moves as he pulls the tabs. What I think are the prettiest animals in this book are the dancing flamingos and the peacock. WU1-ANIMATION
  4. Monkey on the Moon by  Jonathan Litton, Nicola Anderson. An out of this world book about animals in outer space. Isaac will go ‘Wow’ at every flip of the page because of the very pretty pop-ups. You will find a pig in a rocket, mouse in an astronaut suit, a crocodile surfing on Saturn’s rings and animals dancing in a space ball. The way the papers are engineered in this book – Amazing! monkey1-ANIMATION
  5. Tiger Takes Off by Jonathan Litton, Nicola Anderson. Yep, same authors as the previous book because both books were give to Isaac as a gift by his god-grandma(my godmother). In this pop-up book, you will see many animals performing in the circus. Penguins in a canon, tiger flying his plane through the loop, a fire juggling octopus and a magician rabbit pulling out carrots from a hat.Tiger1-ANIMATION

This kinda sums up some of my toddler and my favourite interactive books. I must say that children these days are really fortunate. I remember when I was a kid, I only had ‘Spot the dog’ (by Eric Hill) series. Books these days are certainly much prettier and more interesting.

Growing Up in a World of Technology

Back when Isaac was younger, he showed no interest in what videos can be played on the ipad and his attention span on things was short. Hence, it was easy to keep the tablets/phones out of his reach. We’d also remind our parents not to show him videos on their phones because we were afraid that he’d become addicted to gadgets when he got older. However, in this age of technology, we finally gave in to exposing our child to the use of the ipad. Why? The main reason has got to be because everyone around him is using it. We, as adults are constantly on the phone / ipad / laptop most of the time. Be it work related or not, our kid sees us using some form of technology when he is with us. As he starts to get more curious at his age, how is it fair for us to tell him ‘no’ if he wants to see what we are doing. I remember it actually started with FaceTime. He realised he could still see his gramps or aunt even though they are not at the same place. It was only later on that he got more curious by what his cousins and friends were watching on the screens all the time. Am i guilty about starting him on the use of ipad? No. Here’s why:

  1. I believe kids learn faster when they are having fun. We are careful about what he watches on the screen. I must say I am a huge fan of the YT Kids app. I can personalize my settings on the app like turning off the ‘Search’ function so it restricts the experience to a limited set of videos. The content that my kid is allowed to watch are suitable for toddlers of pre-school age. Best part of all, I can even set the timer to how long he is allowed to be watching the videos. In fact, he has learnt the words like ‘excavator’,’fire truck’ and ‘garbage truck’ from the videos. We are cool with him watching the videos as long as we are around (next to him) when he is watching them. Ooh yes, how can i even forget to mention how much he loves the Sesame Street?
  2. Many people think that by giving kids the tablets, it will eventually replace the bond between the parent and child because more time is spent on the device. To which, I think it is not entirely true. That bond is only replaced if parents neglect their kids by letting them watch videos all day long. I’d take the time to sit next to my little one when he is watching and ask him questions like “what is that in the fire truck?” and he’d tell me what he thinks. From that, I actually learn what he is thinking, or his imagination of what is in the fire truck. After that, he’d tell me he aspires to be a fireman or a police when he grows up. Communicating with him is key. Bond is not broken by the gadgets. It is broken by what people fail to do. Quite honestly, I think watching the videos with him is actually bonding time for us.
  3. I get to steal abit of ME time when he is kept occupied (of cause not all the time we’d occupy him with the ipad). I get to take a slightly longer shower, we get to eat in peace, we get to complete watching a movie. Sometimes parents just need a break.

That being said, we limit the time he is on the videos and try to balance it with other activities. When he asks for the ipad, we’d encourage him to play with his toys or read books with us. He usually co-operates knowing there are other fun stuff to do other than staying home to watch videos. Going outdoors usually does the trick.

At the end of the day, technology is here to stay. I am just going to take a step back from all our parenting book of rules and embrace it. 🙂

screen time

 

 

 

 

Isaac is 2!

In just a blink of an eye, my baby has turned 2. I find it hard to believe that he was once so tiny and could be carried with just an arm. Nowadays, when i carry him for more than an hour, i will start to feel like my arms/shoulders are breaking. When he was just a baby, we were afraid we will roll over and squash him at night (we co-sleep). Now, he does not fail to remind us every night that he is there by giving us “back massages” with his mad kickings. Regardless, I cannot express how much joy he has brought to our lives and I am thankful everyday for him. Here are some memorable moments between his 1st-2nd year.

He enjoys performances by buskers and once, he attempted to dance even before he could walk by himself.
Enjoying performances by buskers and attempting to dance even before he could walk by himself.
Had his first haircut & didn't shed a tear
Had his first haircut & didn’t even shed a tear
Finally decided to try walking at close to 15 months
Finally decided to try walking at close to 15 months
I missed his facetime call for the first time during a work trip and he was not too pleased. LOL!
I missed his FaceTime call for the first time during a work trip and he was not too pleased. LOL!
Someone was quite a climber
Someone was quite a climber!
He has this crazy love for books
He has this crazy love for books
Extremely pampered by his papa! Even up till today, there are still many unopened toys in his room.
Extremely pampered by his papa! Even up till today, there are still many unopened toys in his room.
We brought him to marina barrage and introduced him to bubbles. He could not contain his excitement!
We brought him to marina barrage and introduced him to bubbles. He could not contain his excitement!
Brought him cycling for the first time thinking he'd be excited. Who would have known he decided it was too boring and insisted I carried him to sleep. I ended up carrying him in my arms and cycling at the same time. Thank God the rental was only for 2 hours!
Brought him cycling for the first time thinking he’d be excited. Who would have known he decided it was too boring and insisted I carried him to sleep. I ended up carrying him in my arms and cycling at the same time. Thank God the rental was only for 2 hours!
He had his taste of beer. IM KIDDING! we didn't let him drink it even  though he was insistent.
He had his taste of beer… IM KIDDING! we didn’t let him drink it even though he was insistent.
visited the pasar malam for the first time and he was really proud that he won for himself a beach ball
Visited the pasarmalam for the first time and he was really proud that he won himself a beach ball
First staycation at M Social and all he wanted to do was go up and down the staircase.
First staycation at M Social and all he wanted to do was go up and down the staircase.
The helpful little one who loves helping out with laundry
The helpful little one who loves helping out with laundry
'Shimming' is his favourite sport
‘Shimming’ is his favourite sport
At USS, where he found his new loves - Sesame Street
At USS, where he found his new loves – Sesame Street. We ended up getting the annual pass and going to visit USS as frequently as we can just to watch the stage performance by  sesame street.
Got him a drum set and the neighbours never had any peace ever since.
Got him a drum set and the neighbours never had any peace ever since.
We let him put up the first ornament on the christmas tree last year and he gave the christmas tree a name - Oh Kimmy
We let him put up the first ornament on the christmas tree last year and he gave the christmas tree a name – Oh Kimmy
Soon we had so many presents that people told us we can put Oh Kimmy on top of the presents instead of the presents under the tree. The biggest presents belonged to isaac.
Soon we had so many presents that people told us we can put Oh Kimmy on top of the presents instead of the presents under the tree. The biggest presents belonged to Isaac.
CNY 2017 - First day of CNY and he was down with high fever. Even so, it did not dampen his mood to get out there to meet everyone.
CNY 2017 – First day of CNY and he was down with high fever. Even so, it did not dampen his mood to get out there to meet everyone.

It has been so much fun watching this little one grow up and I would never trade that for anything else in the world. If there is one thing he should know, is that he is deeply loved by many. No matter what the future brings, mummy and daddy will always have his back. Grow up well my little one.

Mini celebration at home after our return from cruise with his sesame street gang
Blessed 2nd Birthday my baby!

Easy-Breezy Online Shopping with Toddle.sg

Online shopping is one of the things I do during my free time. Especially after Isaac has learnt to walk, he no longer likes to be in the baby carrier / stroller all the time. I actually find myself looking out for him more than for the items on my shopping list. To me, the best part of it all is probably the avoidance of crowds or getting a parking lot. What’s more, I can shop at any time of the day.

As a frequent browser of many online kids’ shops, toddle.sg is one of the online stores I like. These are the reasons why:
Clean Aesthetics
Never underestimate the power of having clean aesthetics. I have seen sites that just have items all over the place and it just makes me want to navigate away immediately because I don’t even know what to look at. Toddle.sg is able to keep their site relatively simple without compromising the interest of the audience. One of the things which drew my attention, is the use of nicely taken photographs of their products as well the the slideshow on the homepage.
Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 9.11.16 PM
Easy Navigation
Despite having a ton of products they carry, browsing the products on the site is relatively simple. They are categorised according to the type of product, the brand and age/size that you are interested in. If you are working within a budget, you can also shop based on the price range. This is probably good for people like me as I have the tendency to “Add to Cart” for things that I think I “need”.
Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 9.25.42 PM
browsing by categories/brands
Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 10.23.15 PM
browsing by price range
Quick Registration
It took me less than 2 minutes to sign up for an account. All that is required of me is my name, birthday and a password. Not too much information. It is as easy as that.
Variety
I am spoilt for choices with Toddle.sg! They carry a wide range of products like strollers, baby carriers, educational toys, nursing & feeding products and fashion apparels. At toddle.sg, you will find popular brands like Skip Hop, BabyZen, Ergobaby, Jujube, Melissa & Doug, GAIA and more! It is extremely convenient and saves me a lot of time to get everything from just 1 site.
Easy Payment Process
This is as easy as the registration portion. After adding my selected items to cart, all I had to do was key in any discount code at the bottom of the page, fill in the delivery address and select payment method. Was redirected to Paypal for checkout and at the click of the button….we are done!
Screen Shot 2017-03-07 at 9.32.19 PM
Prompt Customer Support
With the use of zendesk, we can chat directly with the staff at toddle.sg should we require any assistance. Otherwise, an email will be sent to them with my enquiry. To me, it certainly beats having to make calls hands down. This is probably even more important for customers who do not reside in Singapore.
Delivery 
What is my favourite part of shopping online? Receiving my happy mail of cause! My package arrived the very next day after i placed my order! Having spent over $70, delivery was free. Oh yes, toddle.sg
now ships internationally too. Customers can be assured of the best international shipping rate as they share a part of the shipping cost with their customers. How cool is that? 😉
Previously, I purchased my Tegu magnetic blocks from toddle.sg and I love the quality of the product (you can read about it here). I contemplated on getting more blocks but decided to get something different instead. I have to admit though, I spent a lot of time deciding what I should get because the toys they carry are just so tempting. At long last, this was what I got…

Hape My Handy Workshop – yet another fantastic product I got from toddle.sg!

hapeIt is something we have been looking for after we realised Isaac seems to have a liking to play pretend. He also likes knocking things with whatever he is holding. What could be a better idea than his very own handy workshop? I believe this tool set will also help to develop his hand eye coordination and his motor skills.
Hape 1
Knocking away early in the morning
Apart from this, I also got the Magna-tiles which I have yet to open.
If there is something that you are keen on getting from toddle.sg, here’s a piece of good news for you! For spendings above SGD 100, you are entitled to 15% off if you apply the discount code – punggolbabies15. Do note that discount is not applicable for merchandises on sale, and products from BabyZen, Spectra and Boba. Discount code is valid for 2 weeks from now. Have fun toddling!

[[Disclaimer]] This is a sponsored post by toddle.sg. However, views and opinions that I have shared are solely my own.

Container Bistros: 7 New Places To Chill at Tebing Lane Punggol

The popular and always packed Tebing Lane at Punggol is going to be even more happening with the opening of seven new eateries housed in these hip and cool containers. There’s Korean desserts, craft beer, good fish dishes, booze and even healthy desserts.

We went to take a look at these container bistros this afternoon and here’s what we saw. It was posted on Punggol 21 Facebook page that these will be opening tomorrow, 1 Feb, but from the looks of things, not all of the 7 bistros are ready for business. Anyone planning to check them out?

DGrill

Here’s a menu we found outside DGrill. Serving pasta on hot plates, fried finger food, some desserts and drinks. Price looks reasonable. There is no indoor seating, all tables and chairs are alfresco. Huge cooler fans were spotted around the seating area outdoor.

L’Chaim Bistro

This is where you can find craft beer and probably finger food as well. Spotted a couple of tables and a bar counter with bar stools inside. Probably can house 6 to 8 pax in the air-conditioned container. Outdoor seatings available.

Seoul Good dessert and coffee

About seven tables available indoor and the decorations are quite cute too. Wonder if they’ll be selling Instagram-worthy and yummy bingsu.

Big Fish Small Fish

Indoor and outdoor seatings sighted and this is their menu :


I would say the food is reasonably priced. We waited for approximately 20mins for our food but we were served free chips while waiting. Better yet, their friendly service crew went round checking if we would like the chips to be refilled. 

LeungKee Healthy Dessert

Boost @ Banks

Pump Station 1965 Bar & Bistro

One of the most elaborated setup amongst the new container bistros at Tebing Lane. The have got 3 section with very nice tables and chairs.

If anyone is going to tell us Punggol is so ulu, we’re so going to show these to them! These new container bistros are located at Tebing Lane, right next to Riveria LRT. There will also be a new open-air carpark right behind these bitros for those driving.

Lessons Learnt Through Parenting

After more than a year into this whole parenting thing, I’ve grown to realise just how much I have learnt from bringing up this tiny human. As a person who is stubborn as a mule, I am surprised myself at how my perception of things are now, in a good way of cause, and how I continuously look forward to being a better individual. I did not occur to me until recently when Isaac got bitten (twice) in toddler class. I’ll get to that later. Meanwhile, here’s what I’ve learnt.

“Patience is a virtue” – I used to think whoever came up with that saying must be a saint. I do not know how it is possible for anyone to wait for anything without getting annoyed, or keep their cool over the slightest frustration when they have had a bad day. All I want to do is have everyone just leave me be until I have cooled off. Of cause now that we have a toddler at home, I cannot possibly ask him to leave me alone. Even when he tests my patience further, I find myself taking a deep breaths and dealing with the situation in a very calm manner. Simply because he is only a child and I do not want to be filled with guilt after losing my temper at him.

“To err is human; to forgive, divine” – As mentioned earlier, Isaac was bitten in school last week. His teacher wrote us a note to inform us what happened because she could not get us over the phone. According to her, Isaac did not want to share with another kid in class which led to the biting incident. My mister and I did not pursue the matter because we knew for a fact that children fighting/biting is inevitable in school. It only made me think what if the kid who had bitten someone else was Isaac? Would I want the other kid’s parents to scold my child? I sure as heck hope not! I must admit I was upset to see such a big bite on his chin. But we decided to teach Isaac to share the toys instead of fighting back. That same week, he was bitten again. By another kid this time. At this point, I started having doubts about telling him not to retaliate. Did I indirectly teach him not to defend himself? After all, what’s done is done. I chose to teach him to forgive. At the same time, we informed the school to watch after the kids closely because children will be children. I do not blame the kids, I am just upset that the school’s oversight allowed this to happen.

“Children learn more from what you are than what you teach” – I cannot agree anymore with this quote. Especially at this age (21 months), Isaac is extremely impressionable. He is good at mimicking commercials or anything that we do. Once, he saw his daddy toss a book onto the sofa. The very next moment, he picked up the book and did exactly the same thing. Did his daddy have the right to tell him not to throw anything? Sure, but it contradicts his actions which he had just displayed. With such an impressionable toddler around us, it constantly reminds us to behave how we would like him to behave. Without a doubt, our little one is an unique individual. However, I do see some of our behaviours in him. I strongly believe that if we show him to be kind and respectful to others, he will mimic our behaviours even if he does not understand it yet.

“Better bend than break” – When I was much younger and before I had my own kid, I had in mind exactly how I would raise my child. I knew for a fact I was going to be a very rigid parent. I would probably end up being the one setting all the rules, while the kid has very little power and say. But as I grew older and entered parenthood, I noticed the need to be more flexible with the way I see things. I remember how I used to think that I would not expose my son to the television programmes until he is 2 years old. But I gave in before he even turned 1. Did it stunt his growth in any way? Nope. He ended up learning to sing, dance and count while watching Elmo’s World. All that I want from being flexible, is for my child to know that he has the right to make choices and I am always willing to listen. This will also help to develop his confidence and decision making skills in future. At the end of the day, it really is his feelings and our relationship that I value the most.

“A little more kindness, a little less judgement” – Every time I see any parent dealing with an upset child, I no longer judge. Simply because I do not know that mom/dad. It is certainly not the easiest job in the world being a parent. After all, a little bit of kindness / compassion goes a long way.

Life lessons
It is really amazing how a tiny human can make such a huge impact in our lives. While in the process of teaching our little one to be a good person, I realised that we are actually teaching ourselves to be a better every time. This is undeniably the best journey in life thus far.

My Amazing Little Toddler
My Amazing Little Toddler