Creativity 521 #122 - Printing on the go {Review & Giveaway of PoooliPrint}

Posted by ~Summer~ on October 21, 2020
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When I first heard about PoooliPrint, I was intrigued to know that it is not just a pocket printer but an INKLESS one too. Yup, you heard me right, it doesn't need ink to print! Just how does it do that, I wonder. So curiosity got the better of me and I started reading all about it.

The moment the girls received their PoooliPrinters, they couldn't wait to start exploring and try printing all sorts of things. For these two who love to draw, love scrapbooking and love making notes for the people they care about, these handy, lightweight and easy-to-use pocket printers are the perfect tools.

In this Creativity 521 post, I share with you all about our experience and the different creations we made with PoooliPrint. For those who are keen, I also have a giveaway where one of you will receive a new PoooliPrinter L1 and two acessories of your choice so you can start getting creative too. So read on and join in the fun, yeah?


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HOW IT WORKS

PoooliPrint makes use of inkless thermal printing using its Japanese heating print head technology, which means no expensive ink is needed. All you need to do is charge the printer using USB, connect to your smartphone through Bluetooth, open your Poooli app and start printing away. Each charge will provide you with 24 hours of printing which, to me, is pretty good since we don't use more than an hour each time.


One thing to note, PoooliPrinters supports black colour printing on thermal paper rolls and cannot print in colour. Yup, so don't expect to get a picture printed out in full colour. I did hear that the printers can print pink/blue if you use the Pink/Blue Prints paper rolls but since we have not tried that, I can't tell you how well that works.

PoooliPrint currently offers three different printers, namely L1, L2 and XL. PoooliPrinter L1 has a 200 dpi resolution while L2 and XL offer instant HD with a 300 dpi resolution. PoooliPrinter L1 has a 48mm printing width, L2 is 54mm while XL is 110mm. We tried out PoooliPrinter L1 which is the most affordable one in the range. Yup, I did wish we could have HD printing but let's see if this is good enough too!

For L1 and L2, there are four colours to choose from, namely Yellow, Pink, Blue and Green. These are distinguished by that unique beak on the printer but the LED colour on the front can be selected and switched anytime using the app. Oh, what function does the beak serve? It is in fact a detachable magnet that you can remove and use to display your notes on a metallic surface. Otherwise, it can also stand on a flat surface as a cardholder. You don't actually need it to be attached to the printer but it does look cute, right?

So how long do the printouts last? I wondered the same thing too. While the retention time may be affected by the exposure to the sun and the type of paper used, it is said to last approximately from 10 to 22 years.

PAPER ROLLS AND CASES

Paper rolls are a must when it comes to printing, right? PoooliPrint offers a wide variety of paper rolls, including white paper, coloured paper, sticky paper, semi transparent paper and more. You can check them out here.

The good thing you can easily replace the paper rolls at anytime. Yup, that means you don't have to wait till you fully finish using one roll before switching to the next because they can be reused anytime. While it largely depends on the type of paper you use and the picture size you print out, a general guide is that you can print up to 100 pictures (each approximately 95mm x 57mm) for each roll which measures about 9.5 metres.


Since the printer can be easily carried along whenever you go, you can consider getting it a protective casing too. PoooliPrint offers a few choices when it comes to casings, including hard cases, soft bumpers, faux leather covers and silicone cases. You can check them out here. In my view, it's good to have but not a necessity. The way I see it, our printers have been following us out in our bags with no casing and they are doing fine too. If you prefer to, you can always keep the original packaging to contain it when you bring it out.

GETTING CREATIVE

Here comes the FUN part! Let's share with you what we have done so far. This is not an exhaustive list of what can be printed on our PoooliPrinters but these are our top five favourites for now.

1) Drawings

The girls love this best because it's so fun to print out your own drawings right after you finish them. It's easy, all you have to do is open the app on your phone, go to 'Print Notes', select 'Drawing' and doodle away! Once you are done, you can connect your phone to the PoooliPrinter and see your drawing get printed out instantly. See more in my video below. The girls love adding a splash of colours or names onto their drawings after sticking them in their books to make them more vibrant and personalised.

2) To-do Lists 

There is a section called 'Notes and Lists' in the app which comes with cute templates and you can personalise them before printing them out. These come in really handy when we need to jot down something to remember and I'm not sure about you but I still prefer a hard copy anytime. Personally, I like to print out a to-do list and will stick it on the magnetic board in front of my workstation so that I will remember what I need to do for that day.


3) Notes

The big girl has been printing out notes to help her remember her year end exam schedule and make a revision plan. Instead of typing everything out on the Poooli app, she still prefers to write it out by hand but it does help to have a template or border to write within. Adding colours is also something fun and I love seeing these notes stuck all around her study table.




4) Photographs

We usually take lots of pictures using my phone because they are just such precious memories of the kids growing up, right? The thing is, we seldom print any of them out because it can be a hassle. Having PoooliPrinter makes it easy for us to print out any photograph we like at the touch of a button and even though the resolution can be grainy for PoooliPrinter L1, it still suffices for us to use them for scrapbooking or card making purposes.



5) Name labels

Besides the normal white paper rolls, we also tried out the sticky paper rolls where you can use them as stickers and peel them off to paste onto anything you like. We think these are perfect for making name labels and the little girl has been printing out her name to personalise her books too.

Besides the above mentioned, you can also print out documents, recipes, graphics or basically anything you want from the internet or your phone.

OUR REVIEW

We are definitely loving our PoooliPrinters because they are portable, convenient, fuss-free to use and most importantly, INKLESS! It's the first pocket printer that we own and I think it has well exceeded our expectations. The good thing is these printers have sparked the girls' creativity and they have been feeling eager and excited to doodle, design and craft more these days.

We did think that the pictures turn out a little blurry but considering that the L1 printer is not of HD resolution, I think it's good for a start. One thing we love is that the possibilities of what you can churn out are practically endless and we are looking forward to exploring further and doing more with our PoooliPrinters.






Check out our video below to see more of what we've done. I am pretty sure you and your kids will enjoy having this handy pocket printer too!

DISCOUNT CODE

For all A Happy Mum readers, you can now enjoy a 15% discount when you shop at PoooliPrint. Just enter the code "SUMMER15" when you check out.

 
GIVEAWAY

Good news for all, I am now giving away a PoooliPrinter L1 + Free Paper Roll + TWO Accessories of your choice (worth over $130)!

To join the giveaway,

1) Visit PoooliPrint HERE to choose your two desired accessories (click on the tabs Paper or Cases). Leave a comment in this blog post with your choices, name and IG handle.

2) Hop over to my Instagram post HERE to follow the rest of the steps.

3) For a bonus chance to win, like and share my Facebook post HERE.

This giveaway ends on 30 October 2359hrs and is not affiliated with Instagram or Facebook. The winner will be randomly chosen and contacted via DM. Good luck, everyone!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration between PoooliPrint and A Happy Mum. All opinions and photographs are my own.


Happiness is... being grateful for life itself

Posted by ~Summer~ on October 19, 2020
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I always remind myself to count my blessings, to be thankful for every little good thing that comes along, to cherish the time I get to spend with family and to learn to love and treasure my life.

This is especially even more needed on the bad days - trust me, I do have my fair share of them too - when the world comes tumbling down, when everything that can go wrong goes wrong, when I struggle to find my purpose in life, when I ponder about the life choices I've made up to this point. That is when I try even harder to inject positivity into my life and look on the bright side of things because after all, happiness is created, not found.

In this post of "Happiness is...", it's about having a grateful heart and cherishing the little joys in life, including a homecooked meal, a stroll in the park, a good night's sleep, a fun weekend, being together as a family and for life itself.

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September was a busy and exciting month for us because we managed to spend more family time together when the hubby took a few days off during the one-week school holidays. It was also our first time visiting the local tourist attractions after the circuit breaker and we were simply thankful to be able to do that once again. 

We decided to renew our 4-park Friends of Wildlife annual pass which had long expired because we figured out it would be worth it since within that week alone, we had made plans to visit not one, not two, but three of the parks, including the Singapore Zoo, Bird Park and River Safari. Actually, we wanted to go to Night Safari too and would have covered it if not for the fact that it was already fully booked for those few days. Haha. Quite ambitious, right? But hey, we did it and we did it in style, covering a few kilometres of walking distance in every park and enjoying ourselves as we came up close with our animal friends once more. Yup, we miss you all so much!

See this couple shot above? The truth was it was swiftly taken when the little boy turned away for a couple of seconds but once he spotted us, he dashed forward crying, whining and making a fuss. Yup, Mama still belongs to him for now and him only. Haha. I can't decide to cry or laugh when he does that but I do find it very sweet and I know this phase will not last.

The Singapore Zoo is still one of our favourite places to visit and even though we didn't make plans to feed any of the animals, the kids were just contented to watch the animals in action and we would sit down, take it slow and just breathe in the beauty of those moments, like the pygmy hippos swimming and chasing each other or the baboons lovingly picking fleas off each other. 

Of course, we stayed from the morning till the zoo closed at 6pm and I was very amazed by how even the boy walked over 5km that day despite skipping his afternoon nap and yet didn't whine at all. Yup, I guess it was just the joy overflowing inside each of us which chased away all the Monday blues that day.

Just two days after our visit to the zoo, we made our way to Jurong Bird Park! We loved going to the Bird Park and ever since the girls found out they could touch and feed mealworms to the birds, they loved it even more. 

Alas, the hubby and I didn't realise that the feeding sessions had to be pre-booked in advance and we missed out on feeding the lories or the birds at African Treetops. Ariel was initially saddened about it because it was what she had been looking forward to all week. Thankfully, with some determination and a stroke of good luck, we managed to pick up a couple of melon seeds and even a few mealworms from the ground left after a feeding and she was happy to be able to feed some birds despite it being for just a few seconds. 知足常乐, right?

Since we missed out on watching shows at the zoo due to the limited capacity, we made sure we at least caught one at Bird Park. Yup, we queued up at least 45 minutes before the High Flyers show was slated to begin and managed to get the first row seats, woohoo. We got to see dozens of flamingos, hear a parrot sing "Happy Birthday" and watch the hornbills in action.

This was a prized shot from that day and I am so glad I dragged the kids to the bridge to take it with me before we left the park. It so happened that there was no one there at that time so we were free to take up the entire bridge and come up with our own poses too. Yay!

Yet another two days later, we found ourselves at The River Safari, woohoo! Yup, I quite liked coming here because it's pretty sheltered and you still get to see a variety of animals, not just marine creatures but squirrel monkeys, pelicans, anacondas and more.

Yup, there is our mandatory shot at the giant tank, we love stopping here to sit down and watch the beautiful fishes swimming to and fro. The kids are always very fascinated by the sharks and stingrays and I remind myself to let them have time to stop, admire and learn rather than hurrying them along each step of the way. Be grateful for every moment, right?

The Once Upon A River show is one of the highlights at River Safari and since they only admit 50 people nowadays due to Covid restrictions, we made sure we were patient enough to wait in line for nearly an hour. Actually, I waited in line while I asked the hubby to take the kids to explore the other exhibits as there was no reason why all of us had to be stuck there before the show commenced. So glad we were one of the last three families to make it within the first 50, phew!

Our happiest moment that day was going on the Amazon River Quest! It was Asher's first ever ride since he just met the minimum height requirement of 106cm and he was simply thrilled. The hubby said he had never sat on it before too which made it extra special for us to be there as a whole family. Yup, all the queueing and waiting was worthwhile! The kids loved going down the rapids and would squeal in delight whenever they spotted an animal up close - we even managed to see a jaguar walking right beside us (separated by a glass, of course!). That was indeed pretty awesome.

Being movie lovers, it was regretful that we couldn't visit the cinemas to catch a show during the circuit breaker. Even though we still had our weekly Friday movie nights where we would watch Netflix and snuggle on the couch, it just wasn't the same as catching a new release in the theatre. So despite how there were many negative reviews for Mulan, the fact was we love and enjoyed it and my girls were very inspired by her filial piety, bravery and honesty. 

Despite it being a busy month, I still tried to carve out one-on-one time for the kids. The more kids you have, the harder it becomes but we still gotta try, right? For now, this boy still spends the most time with Mama since his lessons are short and we get to lunch together every single day. It helps to build up a special, unbreakable bond between us and it makes me truly thankful to be able to be a stay-home mum so I can be with my kids every day of their growing up years.

Well, while putting our priorities on the kids (or on work too, in the case of the hubby),  we must never forget our partners. While we still have many ups and downs to conquer and we will never see eye to eye on more things than one, at least we are determined to stay in this journey together, right? It might have been a very impromptu bak kut teh breakfast date for us but that precious hour of couple time was what I needed to feel positive about things once again and it helped give me the strength I needed to make it through solo parenting days and weeks.

Happy Birthday, Ah Gong! Since we would have exceeded the limit of 5 pax if we were to dine out, we decided to dabao a good dinner to my parents' place to celebrate my Dad's birthday. The kids and I went to buy a cake and collect our orders from Dian Xiao Er and we also ordered a salted egg crab to be delivered over. My parent said the food was yummy, woohoo! The most important thing, to me, is keeping the family close and cherishing every of such gatherings that we get to spend together.

In between our visits to the parks, I also found a day to bring the kids to IKEA to shop for a new bed. Yup, I felt it was time to transit the 4yo to a bed of his own. Actually, he does have a room and a bed in it but since it is far from my room, he has been refusing to move over and insists that he wants to sleep with Mama forever and ever. Haha. I so wanna capture that on video so I can show it to him next time on how clingy yet sweet he can be.

Anyway, we got this cheapest kids bed we could find that cost us $79 for the bed frame and set it up right beside my bed. He was excited to have his own bed and was glad that one side of it had no railing because he wants to "see Mama's face and hold Mama's hand". Haha. 很甜咯. On some nights, he would gently ask me if he could still come up and sleep beside me on my bed and since the hubby is usually away, how can I even come up with one good reason to reject when this boy is the one who makes me feel less lonely and gives me a reason to wake up every morning, right?

We have been getting several media drops in the last couple of months and I can only say I am very grateful for clients who still believe in me despite the fact that there are many more up and coming mum bloggers and influencers in recent years. Sometimes, I doubt myself and my ability to write, share and convince others but I remind myself to keep sharing from the heart and stay true to myself because that is the only way I can keep going without losing my passion.

Each time I receive a sponsored product, my first thought would be to hold a giveaway if they let me, not because I wanna boost my number of followers but because I truly wanna share good things in my life with fellow parents out there. I don't deserve to enjoy them solely on my own and many of you are working just as hard, if not harder than me, in this parenting journey and I think you ought to give yourselves a pat on the back too. I earnestly hope I can keep sharing more good things with you and be able to spread joy and love on my humble platforms, even if it means staying up and having more late nights.





One of my best Christmas presents came early this year and it's our new Dyson Digital Slim vacuum cleaner! Read our full review here. My kids were saying "Usually, mums are excited to get clothes and makeup. Our Mama is soooo happy to get a vacuum." Such a typical stay-at-home mum. Haha, of course I am! I don't need cosmetics or more clothes but I had been eyeing a Dyson vacumm for so many years now but didn't get one yet because of the hefty price tag and because our old one was still serving us well. Boy oh boy, never did I expect that I would one day be able to review one and it's really a dream come true. Yay! Good things are definitely worth waiting for, thanks for making cleaning a breeze for me, Dyson!

Back at home, the kids still chip in whenever I need some help and it's good to know that they have accepted the fact that this is part of their responsibility and not simply because it will reduce my workload - actually, more often than not, it increases my workload or doubles the time taken for me to do the same chore. Still, I am making it a point for them to help out and be useful in the house because this is the way I want my kids to grow up.

We still try to have homecooked meals more often than not and my philosophy is to cook at least 6-7 out of their 10 meals (lunches + dinners) on weekdays. For the rest, we will take away or eat out. As for weekends, it's the time where I give myself a break and let the hubby take over the kitchen or if we are out, which we usually are, we will just eat together outside as a family of five. 

That said, our meals are kept simple and as fuss-free as possible on most days. I've come to realise that the kids actually appreciate me cooking their favourite simple dishes over and over again rather than keep trying fanciful or complicated recipes. They are usually an easy bunch to feed because this Mama has taught them never to be picky when it comes to food and seeing their big smiles at mealtimes is something I am thankful for.

We also cultivate a habit of not wasting food so they know better than to leave grains of rice, a piece of meat or any vegetable on their plates or bowls at the end of a meal. Yup, I would ask them to remain sitting at the dining table till they have devoured every single thing that they are given. Even if they find it mean at times, I hope they will one day appreciate it and understand all about 粒粒皆辛苦 and why it's important for us to never waste food.

If we just take a moment to step back and think about our lives, there might be a bunch of things that we can grumble about or complain that life is unfair, yet I strongly believe that is also a bunch of other things that we've been given and should deeply cherish instead of taking them for granted. Even life itself is worth celebrating and for every breath I continue to take in this world, it's already a gift. Don't you agree?

Hope you guys had a great month of September too. Till the next "Happiness is..." post!


"Mama, I can go home on my own."

Posted by ~Summer~ on October 12, 2020
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These were the words the big girl said to me when she was eight years old.

We had moved into A Happy Home, she had just turned eight and barely started in her new Primary school. It was merely a couple of days of walking her to the new school when she told me "Mama, actually I think I can go home on my own. You don't have to bring Meimei and Didi to fetch me, you can wait for me at home."

And that was how it all began. 


AT THE BEGINNING

To be fair, actually, she had already started coming home herself when she was taking the school bus home in Primary 2. But since the bus would drop her at our place and she only had to cross the carpark to take the lift up, I wouldn't consider that as returning home on her own, right? It was probably a good start though, for her to learn to watch out for oncoming traffic even in carparks and be brave enough to take the lift up on her own or with strangers.

I taught her and kept reminding her incessantly on how to look out for danger, how she must always wait for cars to stop before crossing the road, how she should raise her hand while crossing since she is so petite, how she needs to stay alert and look in front and around her, how she should be polite yet extra cautious if anyone talks to her. I was always a little worried when she told me how people, including strangers, fellow parents, neighbours and delivery men, would ask her how old she was and if she was alone. Thankfully, till now, this has all been done with good intention or just plain curiosity and it was usually because she looked really young and many assumed that she wasn't on her own.

I can't even tell you how much of a relief it was for me when she was able to walk home by herself. It warmed my heart even more knowing that she was the one who offered to do so in order to lessen my burden. At that time, the little sister was in kindergarten and her school started later at 8am, dismissed at 11:30am and was situated in the opposite direction from the firstborn's primary school. Not to mention I had another toddler to take care of at that time and it was simply a hassle to have to bring the whole village out under the hot sun just to fetch the big girl from school every afternoon.

Was I worried? You bet I was, at least initially. I would constantly keep my eyes on the clock even while busying with the chores and made sure she arrived home when she was supposed to. While the route back home was fairly straightforward, it still consisted of two zebra crossings, one small pedestrian crossing and one big crossroad - which was the one that I worried about most as we had witnessed accidents there before. Soon, she proved to me that she was more than capable of doing it herself and coming home safely. 

And slowly but surely, as a mum, I learnt to let go.

PAST VS PRESENT

You know how our upbringing determines to a certain extent what kind of parents we are, right? When it comes to going home from school, the hubby and I had totally different experiences when we were kids.

I was the one who started coming home from school from Primary 1 on my own. On many days, my mum would not be around and I would be home alone. I had to buy back my own lunch, eat on my own and do my own homework while waiting for the rest of my family to return. Yup, now you understand better why I am so fiercely independent as a SAHM and why I insist on bringing my kids up with no help. As for the hubby, he was chauffeured to school, had his breakfast prepared for him every day and even up till university, he said his parents still insisted on fetching him to school even though he tried to reject. Of course, while our experiences differed greatly, it only meant that our parents loved us in different ways.

Now that I'm the one holding the fort at home while the hubby battles at sea, it only means that I get to make most of the decisions when it comes to the kids since I'm the primary caretaker. Haha. So when I told the hubby I was going to let our girls come home on their own, he had his own doubts and worries but the good thing was he didn't object but was willing to let us try. Eventually, he became proud of their independence though he would still try to send or pick them from school whenever he was around.  

TWO CAMPS OF THOUGHT

This topic of letting kids go home on their own has always been a debatable one and I've had discussions with friends and fellow parents about it too. On one hand, I know of parents who let their kids take public transport to school starting from lower primary, which I thought was pretty bold and I dare not do that yet when it comes to my kids. If not for a rather straightforward walking route to school, I would probably have held back till they were at least Primary 5 or 6 before letting them come home themselves.

On the other hand, there are also parents and grandparents who are absolutely against the idea of letting primary schoolers go home on their own, no matter how near or far the school is. Even if it is just a stone's throw away with no road crossing, they still insist on picking them up every single day just to be safe. Of course, this is totally understandable too.

So I had a friend who was totally shocked when I told her my girls started walking home on their own starting in Primary 2. She told me "What if there are bad guys? What if they get kidnapped? What if they get into accidents?" To which, I replied "But I did it as a kid too. I just have to make sure they are ready before I let them try and keep reminding them to be careful." Then, she said "Times are different. Our generation is different from theirs and the roads are more dangerous now."

That made me ponder and in my heart, while I agreed that times have changed, I don't think that roads are more dangerous now than they were 30 years ago. The biggest thing that has changed, to me, is parenting mindset. How our parents brought us up in those days and how kids are brought up nowadays, I see the change and pardon me when I say I don't think it is always for the better.

So which camp of thought do you belong to or are you somewhere in between? 

I have to say no matter when you decide to let your child go home on his/her own, be it early or late in their years, the criticism will always come, be it from friends, extended family members or even concerned passers-by. I've had my fair share of it and my advice is not to let it bother you. Focus on communicating with your child and once things start to fall into a routine and everything works out well, nothing else really matters other than your child's safety.

PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT

I believe in practice makes perfect and I also saw how my girls built up confidence over the days, weeks and months.

At first, I would still go downstairs to the nearest traffic junction so I could spy on them from afar. I was in fact more worried about the sisters getting into catfights or silly bickers on the road when they were dismissed together, despite my instructions for them to protect and care for each other. That did happen once or twice when they argued - on the pavement luckily, not on the road - and obviously, they got a scolding from me afterwards. But other than those rare occasions, they have been really good and loving, holding hands, sharing an umbrella and looking out for each other.

With the elder sister in Primary 5 now, she has to stay back a few days a week in the afternoon for her higher mother tongue, supplementary classes and Captain's training. Thus, the little sister who is in Primary 2 now has also learnt to walk home on her own since the start of the year. She is even more petite than her Jiejie and being the secondborn, she is more carefree, active and a little less cautious - which made me worry for her more than the eldest. 

But I think it's about letting go and letting them try, believing in them while never forgetting to nag at them. Haha. Every morning when I kiss them goodbye, I would always say "Later you come yourself, okay? Don't forget to watch out for traffic and stay safe on the road." Yup, so far, they have done really well and I believe with all the practice and confidence gained so far, the big girl is all ready to take the bus to and from secondary school herself in 15 months' time while the little sister is all set to bring her brother to and from school when he goes to Primary 1.

SETTING A ROLE MODEL 

It's always important for parents to be role models for our kids. We have a duty to educate our kids on road safety, which is why I make sure we never jaywalk when we are out. We also stop before every zebra crossing, we don't dash across the road when the countdown timer has less than 10 seconds left, we don't chit chat when crossing the road and we always hold hands so we can look out for one another.

The good thing for us is that since I don't drive and we love to go outdoor, the kids grew up being accustomed to taking public transport and walking long distances on the road. That gives them a sense of familiarity and a head start when it comes to going home on their own.

Having more than one child is also beneficial in the sense that my eldest serves as an example for the rest. For instance, the little brother always asks me nowadays "Is Da Jie staying back today? She will come home herself, right?" I am hoping that her independence will rub off on the little brother even though he is still a clingy little one who might take longer to train and be brave enough to try. That brings me to an important point - EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT. So don't compare even amongst siblings, don't compare them with their friends, don't use anyone else as a yardstick but work on developing your child's uniqueness and wait till he/she is ready.

WHEN IS IT TIME TO LET GO?

Many people have asked me but the thing is I don't exactly have an answer for that. To me, it boils down to consideration of various factors and what works for one family might not work for the other. These are some things you definitely have to take into account:

1) The route 

Is it a walking route or does your child have to take the bus/train? If public transport is required, I would wait till my child is mature enough, say P5 or P6 onwards before letting him/her try. If it is a walking route, how far is it? Is it a long, winding route and are there many pedestrian crossings? Does he/she have to go through void decks, carparks or any deserted places? All this will matter and while I am comfortable with letting my kids walk home from P2 if the route is direct, I will likely wait till P3 or P4 if it is a less straightforward one.

2) Your child's readiness

While I would encourage my child to try, I would not definitely not coerce if she has voiced out that she is not ready yet. In fact, as a mum, I think it's not hard to tell when my child is ready to move on to something new and when he might still need me to be by his side. Every child develops at a different pace and there is no shame in letting one child go home at P4 level, another at Sec 1 or the last at P2. It's about whether he/she is ready to take on the challenge or not and whether he/she is independent, responsible, alert and cautious of the surroundings by that time.

3) Your willingness to let go

There are also cases whereby the child earnestly yearns for some trust and independence and longs to try, but the parent says "No." It might not always be a case of helicopter parenting and might simply be due to love, care and a desire to protect our young. Whichever the case, I think having an open discussion with the child will help and perhaps you can set some rules, make a plan and start from small. For instance, if the route from school back home is too complicated, how about meeting the child halfway? If you are worried about the road junctions, why not let him/her try a smaller and less busy pedestrian crossing while you watch from the other side of the road? It's all about compromising, striking a balance and making small progress till we all get there together someday.

Regardless of how much we wish to hold onto them while they are young, the truth is someday we just have to let go because that is how our kids can then learn to soar on their own.

So, what's your take on this topic? Like I said, I strongly believe it is always a personal choice and there is no right or wrong no matter what you eventually decide. You are the best person to determine what works for you and your child so just listen to your heart and you will find the answer you need.

 


My trusted helper {Review of Dyson Digital Slim Fluffy Extra}

Posted by ~Summer~ on October 06, 2020
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Who says I don't have a helper at home?

I do and it's one that I trust because it is so practical, handy and powerful. Yup, I'm not talking about a person but a thing here and as a stay-at-home mum, it's one that I rely on for my daily chores. While I can live without machines like a dryer or dishwasher and have done so since the beginning, a vacuum cleaner is one that I find indispensable and it has become one of my best assistants over the years.

Meet our new Dyson Digital Slim Fluffy Extra - a vacuum that has gone above and beyond my expectations because not only does it look sleek in purple, it is also multi-functional and transforms easily from a stick vacuum to handheld which helps me clean every corner of the house. In fact, I'm not the only one who loves it but my kids are also very impressed by what it can accomplish. Read on to find out more.

GETTING STARTED

Upon receiving the package, I was surprised to see how small it was! I mean, the box doesn't even reach my waist, are we sure that there is a vacuum cleaner packed within? Even though it says 'Slim' - something which I am glad for because it means lighter and more compact - surely it must still be of a considerable size and length if I were to use it to clean the house.

So I enthusiastically opened up the box and was amazed to see the variety of tools and accessories that were inside. Each of them was wrapped and packed neatly so it took me a while to unpack everything because of the sheer number of tools. See if you can do a count below.

I soon realised that the Dyson Digital Slim is designed with Asian homeowners in mind, thereby it comes with a lighter machine suited for more frequent cleaning, a shorter wand to complement those of us more petite in size and a smaller handle circumference for an easier and more comfortable grip - all while maintaining its powerful suction and superior cleaning ability.


While the box came with a set of safety instructions and a guide on how to set up the wall dock, I couldn't find a user manual to help me get started. Then I realised there was a QR code to scan so that I could access the online manual which would provide me with everything I needed to know in order to set up, register and maintain my machine. I totally applaud this move to save the environment and having it online and saved in my phone makes it much easier for me to refer to from time to time too.

Initially, I was wondering how to set up the vacuum cleaner but after a few minutes, I realised it was a piece of cake because with the push buttons, all the tools were easy to insert, remove and switch around. All you have to do rotate the tool to find the correct position, press the red button, push it in and hear the 'click' sound when it affixes. This makes it very convenient for me to change from one tool to another and in one cleaning session, I usually make use of at least three to four of them because they serve different functions. I'll share more about the tools below.

3 MODES TO CHOOSE FROM - ECO, MED AND BOOST

This is my first vacuum cleaner that comes with a LCD screen and the kids and I were saying "So cool!" Haha. When you first turn it on, you will be able to select your desired language simply by holding the red button. Subsequently, there are three modes for you to choose from:

1) Eco

This is the recommended and default mode which has up to 40 minutes of run time for longer cleans around the home. I use this for general cleaning in the home and it suffices to remove most of the dust and dirt.

2) Med

This provides the optimum balance of power and run time. For tight corners or places that have tougher dirt or residue to pick up, I opt for this mode.

3) Boost

This is used for intensive spot cleaning and has up to 5 minutes of run time. It is designed for occasional use only. I use this only when I need an extra burst of power, for instance in crevices or targeted spots in the car.

You can also see the remaining run time for every of the three modes which lets you know how long more you have before you need to recharge the battery.


A LOOK AT THE DIFFERENT TOOLS

-> Slim Fluffy Cleaner Head

When the kids first saw the cleaner head, they said "Mama, it's so soft and made of cloth!" To be more precise, carbon fibre filament and felt have been stitched on the cleaner head together, enabling it to pick up both large debris and fine dust simultaneously. Compared to the Dyson V11 cleaner head, this is 40% lighter and smaller - which is good news for my arms and wrists.


-> Light-pipe crevice tool

This is a must-have as it helps to clean hard-to-reach places where the cleaner head would not work, including the balcony door track, the tight space between our beds and walls and so on. Besides looking sleek in translucent purple, it is also cleverly designed to include a LED light so as to illuminate the dark areas. How smart!


-> Combination tool

This is my favourite of all because it is so versatile! This 2-in-1 tool comprises of tough nylon bristles which can help to remove dried dirt and even mud, and you can push the brush out or retract it depending on when you need it.

-> Mini motorised tool

This motorised bar works great in tight spaces for instance the sofa and car, effectively cleaning up dirt, dust, hair, food bits and other particles.

-> Mattress tool

This works great in removing dirt, hair and debris from mattresses and upholstery. The kids have been using it to clean their own beds and everything just feels much better after a quick sweep.

-> Up-top adaptor

It has always been a challenge to clean high-up areas in our home and I was impressed by how this adaptor can twist and lock at different angles so that I can reach these places much more easily and clean them effectively nowadays.

-> Reach-under tool

Due to the size of the vacuum machine and the relatively shorter wand, it is not possible to reach into places like under the sofa or other awkward tight spaces. Dyson has invented a tool to solve this and it comes in the form of a reach-under tool which can extend, bend and twist. I love that it helps to reduce how much I have to bend over and it's now really easy to clean up the dust below my sofa too.

-> Extension hose

The extension hose can be combined with certain tools, for instance the combination tool or mattress tool, to provide a longer reach. It, however, cannot be combined with others like the crevice tool, which was what I initially tried to do. Still, it can come in handy when you need a longer arm to reach some of the narrower spaces.

-> Wand storage clip

The wand storage clip allows me to store the crevice tool and combination tool - which are my two most commonly used ones apart from the cleaner head - onto the wand of the vacuum. This means I can easily switch them as I go around the house and makes it really convenient for me.



EMPTYING AND CLEANING

When it comes to a vacuum cleaner, I've never been fond of the cleaning part because it is always a hassle yet it needs to be done regularly.  The Dyson Digital Slim has changed my view about that because not only is it free of filter bags - I never did like having to replace those - it is also easy to empty and clean.

To empty the bin, just remove the wand and push the red lever to eject the dirt. Yup, as easy as that! You don't even have to touch it unless the hair or bigger pieces of dirt gets trapped in between and you might have to scoop them out.


The bin is also easy to remove and you can simply clean it under running water and dry it with a lint-free cloth. You can also easily wash the tools like the crevice tool and remove the cleaner head's brush bar to wash it with water too. It is also recommended that the filter be washed once a month, which can be done quickly and easily, to ensure optimal performance.

Another thing I love about the vacuum is that it is smart enough to detect a blockage and will make a pulsing sound to inform you about it. The online manual provides videos with step-by-step instructions to teach you on where to check for possible blockages and how to clean the parts of the vacuum cleaner too. They make it really easy to follow and it is easy for me to access these videos anytime I need to.

WALL DOCK AND CHARGING

Initially, I was wondering if we should set up the wall dock for the vacuum as I read that while some people prefer to do so, others choose not to and just store it when they have space. Well, I am so glad I made the decision to do it because it just makes everything look neater!

It is also much easy to store the vacuum after every clean and having the wall dock set up means it automatically recharges every time I put it back. The dock also comes with two slots for me to store a couple of tools that I commonly use so that I can easily reach them the next time.


The click-in battery is easy to remove or swap with a new one and you just have to press the red release button and pull the battery away from the handle. It is recommended that we get an additional battery so we can alternate them regularly to prolong battery health. By the way, you don't need to attach the machine to the battery in order to charge it. Even if they are separated, you can still charge the battery by plugging in the adaptor.

WHY WE LOVE OUR DYSON DIGITAL SLIM

I can think of many reasons why we love this new vacuum but if I have to pick, these will be the top five.

1) No CORD!

This is my first cordless vacuum cleaner and I can only say what a vast difference an absence of cord makes! It makes things so much easier for me and I am less reluctant, and in fact, more excited to use the vacuum cleaner nowadays. I love that the Dyson Digital Slim allows me to reach every corner of the house and that I no longer have to worry about whether the cord is tangled or long enough. In fact, I really don't mind picking up the vacuum to clean the house daily because it is that easy.


2) High cleaning performance

The Dyson Digital Slim vacuum has one of the best performances out of all the vacuum cleaners I've tried over the years. It achieves 99.97% filtration of particles as small as 0.3 microns while maintaining no loss of suction. This is thanks to the Dyson Hyperdynium Motor which spins up to 120,000rpm and 11 scrolled cyclones which have been precisely engineered to remove dust and dirt from the airflow. If all that does not make sense, it just means the vacuum is super powerful! Having three different modes with different suction strengths makes it easy for me to tailor the usage to our needs and even when the battery is running low, the suction power remains the same as it should be too.

3) It's easy to use, even for kids

At first, I thought only the girls would be able to handle the vacuum but it turned out that even the boy was very enthusiastic about it and in fact, he was able to clean the sofa all by himself too! The fact that it easily and swiftly becomes a handheld which weighs less than 2kg means it is really convenient and easy to use. This is really music to my ears because it means that the kids can step up and help to clean the house too, woohoo!

4) Wide range of tools

Equipped with the cleaner head and eight different dynamic tools, the Dyson Digital Slim is a versatile vacuum cleaner that helps to effectively clean every corner of the house. There is a tool to suit every occasion and I love how easy they are to switch around and assemble too - even my kids can do it themselves. 

5) Compact and easy to store

In our experience, this is definitely the vacuum cleaner which takes up the least amount of space despite it being one of the most powerful ones. Yup, I love its slim, compact design and I feel that it suits my height and my physique perfectly. Living in a space-starved house which doesn't come with a storeroom, this is just the right vacuum cleaner for our home.







Right, so is there anything we don't particularly like about the vacuum? I thought about it long and hard and came up with two points.

The first would be with the shorter wand, it means there are certain places in my house that I am unable to reach. For instance, there is a deep crevice between my girls' bunk bed and the wall and tried as I might, I couldn't reach the end of it with the wand and the crevice tool attached to it. 

The second would be that since you are basically carrying the machine with you everywhere you go instead of pulling it along, it can feel heavy after a while. Cleaning the floor is okay because you are able to rest the weight on the floor but if you are using it as a handheld or using it to reach higher places, the weight becomes more apparent after some time. That said, I would take this over having to deal with a cord anytime and so far, I don't get tired out after a cleaning session.

Here's a video to show you more before we end this post. See if you can spot the kids in action too!

In conclusion, we are absolutely loving our Dyson Digital Slim Fluffy Extra because it has made cleaning a breeze and something to look forward to instead of dread. It is definitely one of my most trusted tools and I am grateful for how much it is helping me in making our home a clean, cosy and happy one.

******

Dyson Digital Slim Fluffy Extra (Purple/Iron) now retails at SGD749. For more product details, visit https://www.dyson.com.sg/digital-slim-fluffy-extra.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored collaboration between Dyson and A Happy Mum. We received the Dyson Digital Slim Fluffy Extra in writing this review. All opinions are our own.


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