Friday, 28 October 2016

Hannah's 1 year old Cake Smash Photoshoot (Photoshoot Concept 1)

I never knew there was such a thing called Cake Smash photo shoot until I chanced upon a random youtube video earlier this year, featuring a cute little girl playing with a giant cupcake. 

Since then, I have been looking out for photo studios, cake smash cakes as well as the appropriate backdrop and attire for Hannah's first Birthday Cake Smash. 

Unfortunately, many elements from photography studios, to the cake for cake smash are kinda out of my budget for my current lifestyle; besides, I really wanted the Cake Smash to be uniquely belonging to a theme specially made for Hannah, hence I decided to take on the challenge of doing a FULL DIY Cake Smash with the support and help of a very good friend of mine - Benjamin who is also a professional photographer. I'd be sharing his contact at the bottom of this page so that you could link up with him for your photography needs. 

When I got the photos for the session, I was extremely happy and pleased to see how it all turned out. It was exactly how I wanted it to look like (if not, even better!).

In fact, I had 2 different photo shoot concepts and will only be talking about Concept 1 here. 
(Concept 2 will be featured in a separate blog post.)



In this post, I am sharing not only the awesome shots from the Cake Smash, but also some DIY tips on how to put everything together!

Deciding the Venue?

Since it is a DIY, I thought the best place would be at home for multiple reasons - Not only are we able to clean her immediately after the smash up, it is also a familiar environment that she has already warmed up enough to have free play (which is great for capturing those candid moments), and since it is as home, it is easier to do a massive clean up after deliberately dirtying the floor (as compared to if you did it outdoors). 

What is the theme?

Identify a theme to the photo shoot. It doesn't have to be complicated, like a zoo theme or a nautical theme, it can be as simple as just a color theme, say a blue and silver, or pink and gold. Something manageable for DIY.

For me, I wanted to use pastel pink but I didn't want an overkill with pink, and since I love green and in this case, mint green, where I found the the 2 colors extremely compatible. 

With that in mind, I googled and Pinterest 1 Year Old Cake Smash and created a mood board (i.e. the one below) of the images I liked. (With internet, it is super easy to be inspired!)   

Think about the backdrops and attire and action on them

Now that the theme has been decided on, it gets easier to rule out & shortlist the various elements for the photo shoot like what backdrops are required & what dressing will match.

Then, we put those inspirations and thoughts into actions.

To make it more specific, a checklist was created:
  • DIY Tu Tu skirt - materials from Spot Light and Daiso. 
  • DIY Ribbon Garland, accents of pink, mint & gold - materials from Minton Ribbons @ 36 Arab Street.
  • DIY Giant Cake Smash Cup Cake 
  • Ordering Balloons of Mint, Pink & White shades.
  • Cake stand - random display boxes I found at home
  • 3D O-N-E wooden block - materials from Spot Light
There was only 3 items that needed DIY - easy peasy!

And there you go! We are ready for the Cake Smash Shoot!

It may look like extreme hard work, but frankly, if you start early, this is really manageable with just 1-2 late nights! (Other than baking that Giant Cup Cake!)

DIY Tu Tu Skirt created especially for Hannah.

DIY Garland Backdrop

I love the combination of colors here!

DIY Giant Cake Smash Cupcake

And so, the photo shoot results!

I'm amazed with how she used her tongue to taste the cake and refuse to use her hands.

The look of disgust when I stuffed her hands into the butter cream!

This was such an endearing experience for me, as a mum, and I am so glad I did this shoot to capture some very precious and candid moments of her at this stage in her life, her eyes that twinkle with wonder at every new thing she sees.

After all, she will never be this small again...

Photo Credit:
Benjamin Lim

Please feel free to email Benjamin directly for a quote on the photography package!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

DIY: Rainbow Jellies

The first thing that came to my mind when I thought RAINBOW jellies = Alot of work. Think - layers upon layers!

 And indeed it took a fair bit of effort to assemble; but, I must say the success rate is pretty high, and you really don't need much ingredients, you need time!


Ingredients and Items needed:

1. Singlong brand Konnyaku Jelly (250g/packet) 
2. Coloring (only need 3 primary colors - red, blue & yellow - as those will be able to create the secondary colors like green & purple)
3. Measuring Cups
4. Measuring Spoons (for accuracy)
5. Chopped Fruits (optional)


Run a Trial Test:

Before I did my actual Jellies for the Birthday celebration, I ran a trial test to make sure I got the right kind of jellies and the right kind of results. Hence, to prevent any ad-hoc crisis, I strongly encourage anyone trying this to do a trial before hand.

As seen here, I tried 3 different brands of jellies that easily available in local supermarkets, but Singlong was my preferred choice, both on cost and quality. 

Tortally was EXTREMELY soft and took a long time to harden, so this is not the best product for this project, however, I do think Tortally will taste yummy cos it is so wobbly and soft!

Many tutorials on youtube featured having a white jelly between the colors, but I just couldn't get the right mix of white jelly, hence I ditched the idea and thought, why not just go clear - it will be less a hassle, no need yoghurt, sour cream or coconut milk (all these were recommended ingredients to add to the jelly to create a white jelly).

As seen, when the jelly was first created, the layers do not blend in and looked very raw (middle picture), but once it all cooled down in the fridge, they blended in super well, and looked just as pretty as I wanted, except that I thought 4 colors sis not cut it as a "rainbow", and was determined to add 1 more color for the real thing.


First, plan it on a paper:

Yes, I am more of a visual person, so I needed to draw it and plan the measurements well, besides, to make this rainbow, alot of maths is involved. Now I know why I studied math in school!

1. Decide the container you will be using to create your jelly, you can make jelly cups (like mine), or you could even make container style - I choose jelly cups that measure 150ml / cup. These were purchased from SKP.

2. How many colors do you want in your cup? 

I needed 5 layers of colors, from the bottom starting with PURPLE - CLEAR - BLUE - CLEAR - GREEN - CLEAR - YELLOW - CLEAR - RED. 

Since my cup is only 150ml, accuracy in the measurements are key. So every colored layer needs to be 20ml, every clear layer needs to be 10ml.

3. How many cups are you making?

I planned on 20 cups, so that means:
Each layer of color jelly: 20ml x 20 cups = 400ml 
Each layer of clear jelly needs to be 10ml x 20 cups = 200ml

4. Be prepare that you need to make a total of 9 layers (as indicated in point 2), which means mixing the jelly separately for 9 times and pouring them into the cups 9 times.

Boil Water >> Add Powder >> Add Colouring >> Pour in 20 cups >> Quickly place in fridge to cool AND REPEAT THIS x 9 times!

**Important Note: You can only start to prepare the next layer once you have placed the cups in the fridge. Preparing too early will only lead to wastage as the jelly cools really fast!

And NOPE, you cannot make all the clear jelly at once, cos you need to allow time for the previous colored layer to set before pouring in every next layer of clear jelly. The jelly mix would have all stiffen up once you wait. 

5. Measuring the exact amount of water and powder mix for each layer. 

Singlong Jelly comes in 250g pkt and it required 1250ml of water to dissolve the powder. 

If you work out the sums:
1250ml = 250g powder
100ml = 20g powder 
200ml = 40g powder
400ml = 80g powder

(Based on my measuring cups, 2 x 1/8 cups = 40g of powder)

*Important Note: You can use any other preferred utensils to measure, but for me, using the cups was highly accurate as compared to just a regular spoon as a spoon cant be leveled like a cup can, and you need to be fast when preparing each layer, so I will recommend you use a cup as well) 


Actual Method:

Once you have worked out the steps, as above, all you need to do is simply follow the plan closely, this is all about physically doing it according to the plan.

1. Create the bottom layer = Purple; 
- prepare 400ml water in a pot, add in 80g of powder and stir till it boils, 
- add in coloring (blue plus red)
- once well mixed and no bubbles, use 10ml measuring spoons to scoop and transfer into the cups
- once all 20 cups are filled, refrigerate

2. Create the next layer = Clear; 
- prepare 200ml water in a pot, add in 40g of powder and stir till it boils
- once well mixed and no bubbles, use 10ml measuring spoons to scoop and transfer into the cups
- once all 20 cups are filled, refrigerate

*Note: You can add in the fruits at any point you like.  

3. Repeat Step 1 and 2 until you are done with the top layer (red).


So as you can see from picture below, there are fails too (most likely for the clear layer since this only contains 200ml of liquid). 

If you are too slow, they harden up really fast and you cannot transfer it anymore.

Hence after my experience, I will encourage you to make 300ml of clear jelly instead, just so it will not solidify that quickly.

TADANG! The fruits of my labour!

Finally, I think 5 layers is minimum for it to look Rainbow enough!

Have fun and enjoy DIYing!

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Celebrating Hannah's First Year!

It has been 12 months.


I have no idea where the time has went to, but it was an amazing 12 months. 

The past 12 months flew by faster than a wink of an eye. 

Days ran into days of repeated motions.

Feeding. Pumping milk. Diaper-changing. Bathing. Soothing. Feeding again. 

So many chores. Big mess. Small mess. Interrupted sleep. No sleep. No time. 

Lots of crying. Both, u and me. And then, lots of laughing and everything repeats.

The days are long, but the months are short... 
So short that every moment is so precious n to be cherished, whether we r rolling in bed, or crying from lack of sleep.

This day marks a major milestone for us as a family. 
Milestone of #firsttimes... 

First time #wearethree. 
First time #weareparents. 
First time we met u hannah, #mylilenen.
First time we #laughedlikeneverbefore.
First time we understood what #unconditionallove really meant.

My lil enen, 

Everything is a #firsttime for you, #happyblessedfirstbirthday. You are much more than what we asked and prayed for. You are our #rainbowbaby and we just thank God for you everyday. 
We will always #bethankful for u and always celebrate every moment with you. 

In successes, in failures, #wewillbethere.

#happybirthday #happyfirstbirthday

Cheers to the many many more to come, and may the Lord's favour n wisdom always be upon you as you continue to grow.

Mama & Papa


"A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps."

Proverbs 16:9

#thisisus #thisisabundantlife #thankyoujesus #yearofhisrestoration #possessingourpossessions #sg50baby #sg50 #rusticrainbowparty #rusticrainbow #party #DIY #colorful #rainbowdecor


I have been planning this day for some time now,, hence when the day arrived, I was extremely excited! Cp says that her first birthday is more about what I liked than what she likes, well, that is true, Hannah is only 1, how does she identify such a deep topic like - what theme do you want for your birthday- right?

In fact, I must say that I am heavily influenced by the current trend of having a dessert table set-up. 

While many of these tables are extravagant in their designs, very pretty and fabulous, I am sure they cost equally fabulous as well - which is not the way I would prefer to spend this money (remember, I am currently unemployed and working in a job that pays me with joy & laughter instead of real cash!) 

What are the chances of you getting an affordable rate for food and decor design, if everything is customised? Close to none. If it is personalised, it has to cost and I am just not sure how much I am willing to pay.

So I dropped the idea of trying to source for a party planner, and focused on sourcing for ideas instead. (Pinterest, Google, Instagram, everywhere is filled with ideas!)

Truly, DIY-ing it made the whole process so fun and endearing. These are the memories and stories to tell Hannah when she grows up and I absolutely love every part of it.

Choosing a Theme 

A theme is essential in every party planning. Choosing a theme ensures there is a focus point when you look at your choice of decor, the styling materials and even the food choices, so when everything is placed together, they match up! 

There are some pre-requisites for me when it comes to making that choice. 

First, it has to be bright and fun, because it is a 1-year old party. 

Second, it has to hold a meaning for us when we look back at the photos years later.

Third, it has to be manageable and yet be able to reflect my personal taste/preference as a person. (i.e. I ain't a fan of disney or cartoons, I do not like anything formal, etc.)

Hence, the theme we choose was a "Rustic Rainbow" party.

Rustic because I am personally quite a casual person. So, plain, simple, country-style with lots of beige and woods is my cup of tea. (Best part is, I already have a lot of home decor items that I already own and can use for the party!)

Rainbow because Hannah IS a Rainbow Baby to us. By giving the party a rainbow theme, it brings awareness and remembrance to our first-unborned child (read more this here), and yet celebrates the victory of our precious first-born.  

I love the theme, even before I started planning.

A Rustic Rainbow Theme

Because I have worked so hard at each of the DIY items from the tassles, to garlands, to individual signboards and each and every cupcake and rainbow jelly desserts, (and I can only do that in the night after she falls asleep!) I am really, REALLY curious to see the overall layout when everything came together and the results did not disappoint! Indeed, this whole DIY journey was worth every bit of effort!

Deciding on the Venue

For some, I believe the choice of venue could be a stressful event cos it involves various components from food preference, to ambiance, to budget, convenience, number of guests etc. Should we do it at a function room, at home, at a restaurant, a cafe or what? 

Since this is a family-only affair where we only have close family members and some best friends attending, our guest list is 20-25 pax. So instead of the usual catering to some function room, we decided we could splurge a little on a good restaurant and we have always enjoyed dining at Chuckwagon BBQ & Grill, it was so familiar and completely in-sync to the Rustic mood. 

Furthermore, we already knew the owners personally, so we naturally opted for Chuckwagon.

Work on the details

A party wouldn't be complete without decoration and picture-perfect features and signages that symbolize the key of the event, so I came up with a few different items that needs to be made.

Better still if they are items that are meaningful, like photos, inspirational quotes and such.

1. Some kind of bunting/tassle. 
2. Main signboard/backdrop.
3. 1-year milestone chalkboard. (yes, I just follow the trend!)
4. 1 to 12 months "photo chart" 

I find that these will help my guests (who don't see Hannah every month) get to know her better and more personally.  

And because Mum's birthday is just 1 day prior to Hannah's I decided we could throw a little surprise party for her as well. Which also meant MORE PROPS to make.

5. "milestone" chalkboard for Mum (also!)
6. Some endearing photo display of Grandma and Grandkid - something she will enjoy browsing through.

Last but not least!

7. The type of desserts to be served.
8. Cake & Cupcake toppers.

Oh, and really, a bunch of theme-in-synced decor displays like wooden cart-boxes, tin flower pots, wooden stands and little nick-knacks - all these little details really spices up the entire decor by LOADs!

1. Rainbow Tassle Garland

Tassle Garlands are so pretty & can "partify" almost everything! They are reasonable easy to DIY as well!

Beautiful aren't they?

I bought a bunch of crepe paper from Daiso, my favourite store! hahaha

2. Wooden main signboard to feature some 1 year cake smash photos

It is completely up to you, how you intend to spice up that backdrop, some people prefer printing, but I love old school stuff, like a plain colorful bunting, dressed with some of my favourite shots of her.

Wooden boards can be found in Artfriend or even Carousell, but for this, it is a wooden home decor quote frame from home that I double up as a party prop.

3. 1-year milestone chalkboard

I can't recall the number of times I actually wrote, erase and re-write this since I am not gifted with beautiful hand-writing, but well, that makes me, ME. 

The trick (and also the challenge) is in aligning your different fonts to the specified areas (i.e. between the lines) and try to be as consistent and possible. If all else fail, open powerpoint and just print something?

 Chalkboard from Daiso as well. 

4. 1 to 12 months "photo chart"
I just love these tassles - they dress up anything and everything!

Materials from Popular.  

5. "Milestone" chalkboard for Mum (also!)

I am always inspired by my mum, and is like my live example of what a Proverbs 31 woman is.

Design was inspired by 1 of those mother's day display that I found on google.

6. Photo display of Grandma and Grandkid

This bottle-style manner of display is a random combination of 2 different ideas when I was browsing through google. Google is just - fantastic!  

Glass bottles are recycles brands essence of chicken bottles.

7. The type of desserts to be served

As they were gonna be homemade, I could only cope with 2 kinds of desserts, and if you googled or youtube "how to make rainbow desserts" tonnes of easy recipes will come up.

So I selected Rainbow Jellies & Rainbow Cupcakes (presented in 2 different styles).

Homemade Rainbow Jellies

Homemade Rainbow Fondant & Cream Cheese Frosted Butter Cupcakes

This 1st design for the Rainbow Cupcake was inspired by @Rosanna Pansino. 

Making each fondant rainbow looked easy, but it took up a fair bit of time. 
Coloring and rolling each layer isn't that easy afterall!

Homemade Rainbow Cream Cheese Twirl Cupcakes

This 2nd design of Rainbow Cupcake was inspired by @Hawaii Sweet World.

In fact, after making this, I am really keen to try the rest if the recipes!


 All platings, trays and cupcake standees can be bought from Ikea, Phoon Huat and Daiso.

8. Cake and Cupcake toppers

 Last but not least, these cake toppers are to handmade to decorate the 2 main cakes for the party. 

Heart-Shaped Rainbow Chocolate Cake from @Buttercake & Cream

Rainbow Jello Cheesecake from @jellyhearts

Finally the BIG DAY! 

The day started leisurely as I already spent the past 2 days making the jellies and baking the cupcakes. Although I have done a trial test for each of these desserts before actually making them for the real party, it was still time-consuming and a tad scary, cos if something went wrong with the baking process, I will have to re-do everything, and I DO NOT want to re-do anything! 

Phew, thank God all went well.

 Some extra to practice!

Of course, there are bound to be some "lemons".

Though the day started leisurely, it was quite a mad rush to get everything set-up within 1 hour-which was the lead time that I gave myself, before the guests arrived @ 4pm. 

(In order to avoid Hannah's "cranky hour", we held an early dinner that started at 4pm so we could end by 7pm and have her in bed by 9pm.)

Being a lil OCD, I have already created a MOCK-UP of how the set-up should look like so that I wouldn't go gabra, But because I was the only one who knows what goes where, nobody else could help me with the set-up except myself. And that - is the tiring part. 

Absolutely happy to see this go up!

Very pleased Grandma & blur Grandkid.

I am going to Photo-Spam!! YAY!

Daddy's little girl.

So, technically, Hannah has already visited a bar at age 1 year-old.

I think DIYing has made a lot of difference in the celebration for my girl's first year old and I will strongly encourage everyone to try it!