Friday, October 23, 2020

Dyson Digital Slim: Worth Chasing The Latest Model?

I am not going to lie. Just ask my kids. It is hard to squeeze money out of me. I would use my devices until they die on me and try to save them if there are still ways to do so! We got our first Dyson cordless vacuum cleaner back in 2016 and it was a Dyson V8. Fast forward to today, I am still using the V8 daily and I am still very pleased with the performance, albeit I did have to get a battery change last year.

Wielding the Dyson Digital Slim using just one hand is of no problem for Steffi, but the Dyson V10 can be a little heavy for Leroy!
Along the way, we got an upgrade in the form of a Dyson V10, which was a decent space-blaster looking machine that I personally feel, had stronger suction power despite only having around the same weight. The bin size of both V8 and V10 were the same as well. Both will be used when both my wife and myself decides to clean at the same time, or whenever a cleaning session extends beyond the battery life of any one machine. 


When Dyson announced the launch of their latest Dyson Digital Slim earliest in August 2020, the first thing that I wondered, was exactly how much better can the machines get? They promised a 20% smaller and a whopping 30% lighter machine as compared to their last model V11, without compromise to the suction power. So let me now share my thoughts about the Digital Slim with you, after having tested it out myself.  



Size / Weight / Suction Power

Shorter and slimmer rod for the Digital Slim but all the attachments can still be shared.
My first vacuum was a "normal" corded one which is pretty heavy and needed regular dust bag replacement. When we first tried the classy Dyson V8, we felt liberated and free. Now with the Digital Slim, the difference is even more! It is REALLY light and I feel, is just as powerful as the V8!

The fluffy cleaner head is also slimmer and is also lower.

Removable Battery

One can easily charge the battery by itself now!

The game changer would have to be this feature which was not available in all the previous models. One can now buy additional batteries and change batteries easily with the click of a button! The battery can be charged in/off the machine also.

Smart Digital Display

The screen will indicate the estimated run time before the battery dies on you.

The display shows the real time performance of the machine, with indication on the mode I am currently using as well as the remaining run time available. It will also show reminders on proper maintenance as well.

The screen will also show you maintenance reminders or inform you of any blockages etc,

Easy Maintenance

The bin can be removed and washed easily!
For a lighter machine, the plastic bin is also made smaller and requires one to clear more often. But that in itself, is not really a bad thing. It is always better to clear after every use right? Love that the bin can be removed and washed, and the same goes for the filter and any other parts that do not have any electrical component. 

Maneuverability

The low-reach adaptor means you need not bend down as much as before.

With a lower slim fluffy cleaner head and the low-reach adaptor, I can now reach under the cabinet or bed so much easier as compared to the V8 and V10! If you use the extension hose, you can also reach into hard to reach corners as well. 



In conclusion, we love the latest Dyson Digital Slim after trying it out myself! But there are some cons such as if you are going to use it full blast with the boost mode, the batteries will last just over 7mins on a full charge. But using the Medium or Economy mode will extend the usage to around 30mins and 50mins respectively. Hence only use the strongest mode when necessary.

Also, the RRP of $749 may not be exactly easy on the wallet for everyone. Having said that, we had been using Dyson for many years now without any problems, and I would gladly choose it over any corded vacuum or unreliable cheap knock-offs! When it comes to vacuuming at home, nothing comes close to Dyson lor.

The full set of accessories that come with the Dyson Digital Slim Fluffy Extra,
In all honesty, Dyson's technology and products basically sells by itself, but you just have to try it out for yourself. I strongly recommend anyone who has yet to be "Dysonified", to jump straight to Dyson Digital Slim for your home vacuuming needs. You can thank me later. Go check out all the different models here if you wanna compare the specifications.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

A Cake of Many Flavours!

What is a birthday celebration, without a birthday cake?  And sometimes we have more than one, either because the celebration is with different groups of friends, or because we wanna try different types of cakes! From our many years of cake-buying experience, there isn't any time where everyone in the family was happy with the choice of flavors! 

Buying a birthday cake requires a fair bit of planning for us as well. Such as who is the one who is buying it while on route to / from work and the timing needs to be worked out as well because our fridge is not exactly that big! The easy way out would be getting one from our neighborhood bakery, but the ones they sell does not taste good and is really our last resort.


For the birthday of my Wonder Woman of a wife this year, we had one of the most interesting cake ever for our cozy family celebration. It was a special Build You Own Cake from Cake Delivery Singapore. Yours truly had the honour of choosing up to 12 different flavours for the cake, such as Rainbow Cake for my wife because that is what she would always order, and Mao Shan Wang Choc for myself! The boys also loved their Choc Ganache and Choc Fudge which were comparable to the many "branded" bakeries we had tried, while Bubblegum cake was pretty unique too but a tad too "artificial" perhaps though.

Ordering online from them is really simple, just head over to their website and check out their many different offerings! I believe that the company is working with a group of home bakers and after tasting the different cakes delivered, I can confidently recommend their cakes to you as well. The cakes all taste fresh and delicious. The Ondeh Ondeh cake is also noteworthy, tastes much like the real thing! Worth considering their Build You Own Cake if you want to try a little bit of everything!

Monday, October 5, 2020

Full HD Pan & Tilt Pro Wi-Fi Camera: D-Link DCS8526LH

D-Link had launched 2 new WiFi cameras not too long ago, one outdoor model (DCS-8630LH) and the other is the indoor model (DCS8526LH), which is the one I am reviewing right now, having used it for a couple of weeks now.


Ok, I have to be very very honest with all of you, and that is that I do not have in-depth technical knowledge. So while I can tell you that this camera boasts full HD at 1080p at 30 frames per second, I can only tell you that the footage looks really clear and allows me to zoom in without losing details. Let me tell you what I love about the camera! First thing first, I love that it comes with 2 different adapter heads (3-pin or 2-pin) that you can fix depending on your power socket. Hee hee... no need to stick in a pen or screwdriver already.


As an existing user of mydlink App, adding a new camera for this noob is as easy as it can be. All I needed was to select "Add Device" from the side menu, scan the QR code on my new DCS8526LH and follow the instructions to link the device to my home WiFi. One point to note is that one has to ensure that one is logged into the same WiFi for the successful linking. 


Once linked, I am able to control the various settings for the device. I can pan and tilt the angle, set detections and even set it to Privacy mode, which is good especially if the camera is set in the bedroom and that there may be times you want the camera off. 

Sometimes when I cannot get the kiddos on the phone, I can even turn on the Mic and speak to them directly. Actually more to scold them for not answering lah. Sometimes I do receive notifications in the middle of the night on movement detected but when I check my mobile and see no one around even when I pinch to zoom into night vision footage, it can be kinda scary. 



So here's one tip, please set your motion and sound detection to a suitable sensitivity level depending on where you place the camera lest you keep getting false alarms! You can also set designated contact so that you can do a quick deal when the notification is triggered.



This is not the first pan-tilt Wi-Fi camera we have tried, with the first being it's predecessor, the DCS-8525LH which is still working great by the way. But this latest model sure looks sleeker without the antenna, and also requires a smaller footprint. I am loving all my D-Link Wi-Fi camera and had been using my first camera DCS-960L for over 4 years now! 

Thank you D-Link Singapore for sending over this awesome new camera for review. I know we will be using it for a very long time.

Sunday, October 4, 2020

A Visit To The Last Kampong in Singapore

I was only a few months old when my family was relocated to a rental 1-room HDB in Telok Blangah where they still stay today. I had never experienced any Kampong living but the spirit was definitely strong back then when everyone knew everybody within the same neighbourhood and as kids, we would play and grow up together. Surely different from these days, where electronic devices rule. 

The entire plot of land is owed by Ms Sng!

Because of frequent flash floods, the kampong was also known as Selak Kain in Malay, which meant 'hitching up one's sarong (skirt)' because that was what one had to do! Look at the water level indicator near the entrance of the kampong.

To have a look and feel of how rustic living is like, one need not travel far. Just a trip over to our neighbours in the north and there will be lots to explore. But given the restrictions now due to Covid, one cannot even travel across the causeway. You may have already heard of the last remaining Kampong on mainland Singapore, but have you been there? 

You know what 1954 stands for?
Banana trees aplenty!
Some very old household items here. Bet the kiddos these days do not even know what these are!
I still remember seeing this old electric meter in my old house!
We visited the Kampong Lorong Buangkok on the invite of Let's Go Tour, and had a wonderful and educational Kampong Tour experience led by Mr Kyanta Yap who was really humorous. But as tour groups are still restricted to 5 pax, my two youngest ones were not able to join in the fun. 

This type of cabinet is in every house last time, we still have one!
Stacci taking a rest in the house. It is quite cool inside despite the relentless heat outside!
Feels like home to me! I can totally stay here!
The kiddos learning some of the games of the olden days. Five stones!
Pick up sticks!
And even zero-point! Games we play during recess!
Nice photo with the friendly Miss Sng for keepsake!
Taking a rest in the house of one Malay family where we also had homemade “sng pow”, or ice-pops!
To be absolutely honest, you can just walk into the Kampong and no one will stop you, but take note that the entire village is private property hor, dun play play. You should not just walk in and peep into other people's house right? So go sign up for the tour and experience it fully. Find out more about what kampong living is like, learn about our history and get to know the very friendly landlord of this last Kampong. You might be tempted to stay on. Well, at least I did!

Lots of nooks and crannies for you to take great photos!
Thank you for having our family for the tour!

Friday, July 31, 2020

This is Home Truly, where the Party must be!

This year is going to be so different, especially for any celebratory events exceeding 5 persons. I should know better, as I recently had a dinner catchup with some of my old pals the day before my birthday and it was pretty awkward taking photos and singing the birthday song, and we had to do that without the kiddos so as to keep within the size limit!

Alas, this year’s National Day is also going to be a muted event somewhat, since there will be no physical parade. BUT NDPeeps will be bringing a series of live broadcasts and programmes through TV and their social media accounts. You can find out more about their activities here - https://www.ndp.gov.sg/whatshappening/bringing-ndp-to-our-homes/

Someone cannot keep her eyes off the goodies lor!

But staying at home does not mean taking the fun away and what is our favourite national pastime again? It is MAKAN lor! Maybe this is the time to give the chef of the house a break during National Day, and order in some food instead. Lucky us, we got to savour some very special limited-edition National Day themed food offerings from our local brands, made available by PartyDiva.Co

PartyDiva.Co is an e-commerce marketplace that brings merchants and consumers together for a seamless experience from gifting to event and party planning. This National Day, aside from retailing their own thematic decoratives, PartyDiva.Co also pulled together a roster of thematic offerings curated by some of our favourite homegrown F&B brands – all available for delivery right to the door!



AMICI Catering (https://partydiva.co/marketplace/vendor/amicisg)

Celebrations made easy, with PartyDiva.Co!

First up, we had a very sumptuous dinner catered by AMICI Catering and they are offering a 5-course National Day Mini Gourmet Buffet ($108+) that comes with a complimentary 6" decadent Raspberry Lychee Rose cake so that you can celebrate the nation's birthday together with the whole family! We, especially the kiddos, loved the cake! With the bits of lychee stuffed inside to give the cake a richer texture, every bite was accompanied by the sweet floral scent of the rose essence too to end the hearty meal on a sweet note.

The chicken was an absolute hit with the kiddos! I have never seen them eat faster!

We had Garlic Fried Rice with Chicken Floss & Spring Onions which was just right, and not overwhelming for the kiddos. Our Boneless Chicken Leg marinated with Teriyaki Sauce was absolutely tender, and the kiddos gobbled up everything! The Cereal Oat Fish Fillet was nice but a little dry though, maybe due to the abundance of cereal toppings, which was a snacky delight for the little ones. The Stir-fried Cauliflower with Almond Butter could do with just a little more seasoning, but the Roasted Mushrooms with Caramelised Onions was great and flavourful!

This complimentary Raspberry Lychee Rose cake is great as an after-dinner dessert!




Okay, I shall be honest. My first thought of this creation was that it was a little overboard. I mean, making a cake out of Nasi Lemak??? Like seriously and for $132? So we saved it for the last – and we’re glad we did! 

Seriously? A Nasi Lemak cake? BUT it was really delicious!

Surprise, surprise! I was really impressed with how the entire cake held up, which is quite heavy by the way! And I was wowed by the taste of it! In spite of its bold aesthetic twist, the Nasi Lemak Cake ($132) retained its uncompromising traditional Nasi Lemak flavours.Cutting into the cake revealed layers of fried eggs and muar otah hiding between the slab of blue pea rice.

The creator of this cake mentioned that the different ingredients in it represented our different ethnic groups, as a symbolic gesture towards our nation’s diversity. The seasoned sambal topped with Goreng Tempeh, anchovies and peanuts in Kicap Manis is meant to symbolise the Malays in Singapore. Likewise, the Papadum is a nod to our Indian community, accompanied with Fried Shrimp Paste Chicken and Blue Pea Rice as a token for the Chinese and Peranakans in Singapore.

This will no doubt be a very interesting talking point at any gathering and the portion would suit 8-10 persons I reckon - as a full meal! Worth it but my only grouse is that they should also have additional chilli lah!





Lovely assortment of kueh, both sweet and savoury! Looks great for the gram right?

I think one should be quite familiar with these very Instagrammable kuehs from Kueh Ho Jiak right? If not, just go search for hashtag #KuehHoJiak and you can see for yourself. They have put together a very patriotic-looking Kueh platter ($37.50) consisting of 6 mini png kuehs (rice cake), 5 Red and White Heart kueh lapis and 4 Merlion ang ku kuehs (with grated coconut fillings). The traditional kuehs tasted as nice as they looked, and are also vegan and made with less sugar and salt with no additional preservatives or artificial colouring.





Sweet but potent stuff, each bottle to be poured into rock glass with ice and meant for 2 servings!

I am the only drinker in the house, and I was pretty happy to have the five sampling bottles of Nana Sling ($90, set of 5x120ml bottles) specially made by our local artisan mixologists all for myself! Don't be fooled by the sweet-looking pink coloured brew, because they pack a punch and I love it! It comprises of Brugal Rum infused with banana leaves. The tropical mix was also especially refreshing with its combinative blend of zesty Cointreau, freshly squeezed lemon juice and homemade orange blossom water. Definitely on the sweeter as you would expect from a "sling" and comes in a very pretty bottles for keepsake too!




Sweet but potent stuff, each bottle to be poured into rock glass with ice and meant for 2 servings!

Enjoying a soothing glass of tea with the family after meal. Great for detoxing too! Having had such a feast throughout the day, it would be a great idea to end the day with a blooming tea session with the wife, and Steffi too. It was so interesting to watch how to the tea ball slowly opens up in the hot water and transforms into a beautiful underwater bouquet. Their National Day gift set ($65), consists of their 6 best-selling tea flavours, including their limited-edition tea, “My Fair Lady”. The gift set also comes with2 tea glasses, perfect for viewing!



PartyDiva.Co (https://partydiva.co/)

Finally, how can we forget about the party planner who put together all these goodies together for my birthday cum Pre-National Day celebration? Supplying us with all the National Day themed food toppers, bunting and cupcake stand, making our party (and us) look so patriotic lor! Not that we are not by the way…

This National Day will feature PartyDiva.Co’s very own limited-edition party bundle ($100) comprising of food and cake toppers, a bunting and cupcake holder that highlights notable Singapore icons such as the Merlion and Gardens by the Bay, as well as local slangs such as “Relax Lah” and “Shiok Ah” to make this celebration a truly Singaporean affair.

The props and decorations of any party can really make a difference in setting the mood!

The food and beverages would have been more than enough to last our family for an entire day of celebration and once again, it was an absolute delight to try out the new offerings made by the different local companies! Great that we all #SupportLocal!

So if you are going to have a celebration together with the nation come 9 August, be sure to check what they have to offer over here at https://partydiva.co/sg55! While you are there, check out their special SG55 stickers app if you happen to be on mobile and you can stand to win some cool prizes too!


Thank you PartyDiva.Co for sending the media tasting preview over! We thoroughly enjoyed the food and drinks during our home celebration!

Wednesday, July 15, 2020

A Visit to The Invisalign Centre In Singapore


A beautiful smile is often seen as a sign of confidence. But for me, I always find it a little awkward to smile properly somehow, with my attempts at smiling naturally at the camera often ending up with photos of my contorted face. When looking into the mirror many years ago, I realized that it was due to my misaligned teeth that caused my uneven bite and resulting slanted jaws.

Now that I have kids of my own, I do pay a little more attention to their teeth when I help them brush. I got concerned when their milk teeth do not fall off despite their adult teeth already erupted behind. Well, we are often told that the adult teeth will eventually move into the correct position, but they do not always do so perfectly. I know because that was what happened to my girls.

Knowing that my sis-in-law had worn metal braces in her younger days over a period of 2 years, I thought it would be a good idea for the girls to understand more about teeth straightening from her and we had a chat over it. Alas! I could see that Steffi and Stacci were terrified as their aunt shared her painful experience of getting frequent ulcers that even took away the joy of eating her favourite sashimi!


Invisalign set up Invisalign Centre in Wisma Atria B1-14, and we were curious to find out what was offered at the centre. I mean a centre about braces for teeth???

And since we are going to the Centre, I did my little research online it to see if it would be suitable for Steffi or Stacci, and was shown with quite a number of other clear aligner brands. Browsing through their FAQ to check if treatments were available for children, it turned out that most were meant more for mild problems only, and some even stated upfront that they were not meant for kids.

If you just walk pass the Invisalign Centre @ Wisma Atria B1-14, it looks almost like an optical shop at first glance. Only if you stop and check it out, would you learn so much more about how aligners work, and that our teeth can be straightened up over a series of Invisalign clear aligners.

So let me now share with you on what we found out during our one-hour trip to the first Invisalign Centre in Singapore.



Invisalign SmileView Station


There are a series of tablets here that you can use to take a selfie with, and we all know how kids are naturally attracted to the iPad stations right? But these are not for games though. This is where your search for a better smile starts!

It was fun trying out the virtual simulation and see how much improvement one’s smile can get. The before/after photos were obvious when viewed side by side. You should really pop by the centre to try visualising your straightened-teeth look!

Here we can find the SmileView technology, which allowed Steffi and Stacci to try out the teeth simulation simply by taking a selfie. It will then generate your simulated new smile within a minute, and both Steffi and Stacci were really amazed by the results of their simulated new smiles. Actually, I can guarantee you will too, unless you already have perfectly straight teeth to start with, or if you wear dentures.

Look at how much better Stacci looked without the glaring gaps between her front and canines in her simulated smile!



Experience Bar

Here you can touch and feel for yourself how the aligner feels like and see real-life examples of how the aligners changed over varying periods to finally get to the perfect smile for the wearer. The brand is an obvious play on the words “invisible” and “align” and it holds true that the clear aligners are not that noticeable, especially from a distance.

Check out the series of Invisalign aligners prescribed by Invisalign doctors for the users for their treatment and be marvelled by the final results!

We also learnt from the Smile Concierge that these clear aligners were made from their patented material called SmartTrack. While the material itself is soft and flexible (as tested by my girls who tried bending it), it still has good control to shape teeth gently and comfortably.

The aligners use gentle force to shape precisely while straightening the teeth gently and comfortably, day by day, as one goes about with daily chores. You can compare the first set of aligners to the final one, it was really incredible to see how some protruding teeth can be nudged back into place simply by using these rather soft plastic aligners.

And here is Steffi trying out how to put the aligners on, and the proper way to remove them from the teeth moulds.

It is little wonder that with the commitment that Invisalign has, with over 8 million users as they work hand in hand with dentists / orthodontists to provide professional care and support, that the results speak for themselves. Definitely not the same as those you order online and without support from the same or your preferred doctor or clinic from start to end. I think getting support from the same doctor and same clinic is important, just like how we prefer to go back to the same pediatrician when it comes to our kiddos right? They know us personally, know what to watch out for and surely feels more assuring this way.

The photos show some of the common teeth misalignments and stated how long it took for the users to achieve their desired smiles.

It is really comforting to hold the actual aligners in my hands, knowing that the Invisalign treatment will be a far cry from wearing metal braces. With Invisalign, there is no need to worry about wires dropping off or having to work around the metal bit when brushing or flossing! I cannot imagine any mishaps such as the brackets falling off and wires poking the kids just days or weeks before crucial periods like their exams.

Have a look and see if some of the above problems are affecting your smile? Because fear not, the Invisalign treatment had proven to be effective in correcting these cases.

I noticed that the sample cases were from different age groups, and so I checked with the Smile Concierge if treatment was possible for Stacci, since she is only 8 years and still has her milk teeth. She went on to share with us more information on Invisalign for kids - Invisalign First suitable for 6 -10 years old, which is to develop young jaws and/or arches to make room for existing teeth and for incoming permanent teeth to avoid severe teeth misalignment when they grow up.

Only when you hold and touch the aligners yourself, like Stacci here, would you be able to experience the flexibility and lightness of it.

Invisalign is indeed advanced in teeth straightening that covers kids to adults and also mild to severe teeth misalignment as compared to other clear aligner brands as it has over 22 years of research and development and work with over 170,000 doctors in over 100 countries. It is also widely used by over 2 million teens worldwide. *data as per www.invisalign.com.

There may be other brands of clear aligners in the market but after researching into them, I realized that they treat only mild to moderate cases and don't provide for teens or kids.

Getting the littles ones started early from as young as 6, would help prevent the erupting permanent teeth from growing into one of the problematic cases on the right.



3D Scan and Outcome Simulator (iTero scan)

I was told that some Invisalign doctors would be using these machines at their clinics to do a 3D scanning of your teeth and will be able to share with you on your desired new smile. In fact one can request to change the positioning or angle of their teeth on the simulator and fit the image of their perfect smile. It is like starting with the end in mind, the smile that is!

How technology has advanced, that such a detailed 3D color model of one’s gum and teeth can be saved in a just a few minutes!

Teeth straightening is an investment and involves moving of teeth, so I do not want to take any risks in getting the right end result. Invisalign has a patented treatment plan that is able to map out the tooth movement at every stage, just like how GPS works on guiding you to drive from Punggol to the East Coast, informing you on how to get there and how long it takes. There is indeed a plan.

Walking through with us on how the dentist would be able to reposition the teeth and subsequently come up with the individual treatment plan after consultation on the desired look.

The usual process of making teeth moulds would involve the biting down hard into some sticky icky material and would depend a lot on the skill of the person doing it. Now with this type of quick scanning, it will be fuss-free to kids. Kids can’t stay still lor!



Smile Concierge

So, the whole idea about having this Invisalign Centre, is really for educational purposes, so that one can find out more about the Invisalign treatment from the friendly Smile Concierge in a very casual setting. It is surely not as intimidating as discussing this on the dental chair, or as awkward as holding up other patients at the dental clinics.

The Smile Concierge is seen here checking out the closest Invisalign doctors within the vicinity of our house.

And if you are interested to go for your first consultation with an Invisalign doctor like we do, they can also recommend you to Invisalign-certified dentists near to the location of your preference. In fact, you will even get a voucher entitling you up to $200 off* your Invisalign treatment when you book the appointment with your preferred Invisalign doctor through them.

*Terms and conditions apply



In Conclusion

I am sold, or should I say, we were all sold on the effectiveness of these clear aligners in helping reshape the teeth into better smiles. The prospect of having ulcers from other forms of treatments such as metal braces, is enough to put many off from seeking treatment but Invisalign aligners are custom-made with precision and would not hurt the gums when worn.

To have a better inkling and understanding on the cost of treatments available for the girls, I called up a dental clinic to enquire. Based on the brief case backgrounds of Stacci and Steffi that I gave to the staff, I was advised that the first-generation braces (or wire braces) would cost from $3,600 up. However I was advised that Stacci would be too young for it, and was asked to consider Invisalign for both the girls.


Was told that Invisalign First treatment (kids 6- 10years old) would cost around $3,500 - $5,000, or around $6,000 for Steffi's age (above 11years) but of course there was a disclaimer given, that the treatment cost depends on the severity and can only be determined following a consultation that can cost around $70*(cost may vary among doctors) .

Already 8 million smiles we were told.
When buying any products and services, especially when one must put in a considerable amount of investment, testimonials and track records are often scrutinized. With 8 million better smiles worldwide, the product literally sells for itself. But I will be frank, I like to know my time and financial commitments before making any decisions and you cannot get these at the centre because every case is unique.

As the Invisalign Centre is for educational purposes, you cannot make the aligners there because Invisalign works with Invisalign-certified doctors to deliver prescribed and well-supervised treatment to you. If you are interested, go hear it from an Invisalign-certified doctor near your location and get up to $200 off your Invisalign treatment. *T&C apply.



[Sponsored]

Visit the Invisalign Centre @ #B1-14 Wisma Atria 435 Orchard Road, Singapore 238877

Phone: +65 6362 1066

No time to drop by? Check out their Virtual Tour and Free Assessment!