Sass and Spice

My Family Lens – Celebrate (A wedding in London)

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This is my second post for the Kidspot Voices of 2014 Olympus Challenge #myfamilylens series (see my first post here). All photographs have been taken using the Olympus OM-D E-M10. Olympus have kindly sent me this camera with the 14-42mm lens to test out for two months. All words, opinions and views are my own.

Almost 14 years ago, a lanky new boy joined our class and sat down next to me. I didn’t speak a word to him that day or the next – and I don’t even remember exactly when we first talked, but we eventually did and became best friends.

It was an odd pairing as we sat with a different bunch of people at lunch time and were pretty much polar opposites. I was in the athletics team and he detested sport. He was into music and I couldn’t even play the recorder to save my life. But somehow it worked and we used to talk about everything on the way home which turned our usual 10 minute walk to 2 hours as we whinged about teachers, fellow classmates and commercial radio.

Fast forward a few years and we were coincidentally at the same university. He was always late to lectures and when he did show up he would be fast asleep from the partying the night before. He always made an effort to invite me out despite me turning him down so many times. At the time I used to complain that I had too much work to do or that I couldn’t be bothered making all the effort, but now I really appreciate him getting me out of my comfort zone. Through him I learnt to let my hair down and to not be so serious all the time. It was okay to have fun and party and now I haven’t stopped!

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After university, he went off to the UK and I went off to Japan. I came back to Perth and he didn’t…because he met a lovely English girl and I guess they say the rest is history. We’ve always been honest with each other on what we thought of each other’s boyfriends/girlfriends and I can definitely say that I love this girl probably as much as I love him now. It is pretty clear she has made him happier than he has ever been.

I loved how their wedding truly represented who they are as a couple and their shared passion for dancing was evident when they performed a cheeky swing dance and hired a ceilidh so even novice dancers could all join in. The ceremony was held at a local church in Dulwich (London) and we had to take a 50 minute cab ride from East London zigzagging down some pretty gritty areas until suddenly lush green lawns and huge mansions started appearing out of nowhere and then we knew we were at the right place. After the ceremony it was a 10 minute walk to the posh grounds of Dulwich college for the reception. At British weddings typically after the reception dinner, more guests arrive for the evening function (i.e. dancing). Which means a hundred or so more guests will show up to party and even more food gets served!

Witnessing my best friend say his vows with tears in his eyes was seeing the lanky little boy I once knew all grown up. Back to my wedding planning days, I was adamant that everyone else should elope instead and save all the emotion and drama with organising such a huge event, but now I can appreciate the joy with celebrating a union and a start of a new chapter in our loved ones’ lives. I’m so happy for my friends and was grateful that my family and I got to celebrate with them. I wish them every happiness in the world as they deserve it!

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As you can imagine, I really wanted to take good photographs of the day since it was such an important occasion. I wanted to capture the celebratory mood so a reliable and quality camera is a must for beautiful shots and not missing that significant moment. After playing around with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 in Paris, I felt confident I could use this camera to capture moments of my best friend’s wedding. And since I knew I would have my two girls with me as well, using a heavy DSLR would have been annoying to lug around so the smaller and lighter Olympus OM-D E-M10 was the smarter choice.

The WiFi option allowed me to post a picture on Facebook and Instagram (@SassandSpice My Family Lens: #myfamilylens) so people who couldn’t come to the wedding could still feel they still were taking part in the occasion. The wedding dress was absolutely stunning (very Great Gatsby), so I really wanted to show the different textures and the TruePic VII processor was powerful enough to capture every sequin and bead with precise clarity and hence captured the dress’s true beauty.

A typical English summer means the weather is unpredictable so the light conditions kept changing which can be very annoying when you have to continuously change the settings. The 16 megapixel Live MOS sensor helps with shooting in low light conditions and it is also handy that the 1,037k-Dot Tilting Touchscreen LCD made it easy to quickly change a good number of white balance presets to suit different lighting.

I hope you liked the pictures as much as I do! Thank you to lovely people at Olympus and Kidspot for allowing me to participate in this competition and have the Olympus OM-D E-M10 on loan. All views expressed in this blog post are my own and are in no way influenced by the loan product. Since I really love this camera I’m trying my very best to win it! Please let me know what you think of my photos and my thoughts on the camera, as I’d really appreciate the support! You can see my first post for this competition here.

 

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31/52

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”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Nyla: Turning one has seemed to turn on a switch as you have started to communicate a lot more. You are constantly pointing at things and when I say what it is you try to repeat the word. Toddlerhood is around the corner…

Lily: I’m surprised at 3.5yrs you have only started to choose your own outfits as most girls seem to start earlier. In this photo you are wearing an outfit you have styled yourself and for once it isn’t a mishmash of bright colours. I actually really like it!

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 31/52.

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30/52

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”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Lily: After being in the house for practically the whole of Sunday, you immediately bolted out of the door and onto the scooter when I said it had stopped raining.

Nyla: I can’t believe you are now one! It’s beautiful to look back at all these pictures to see how much you have changed in only a year…

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 30/52.

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My Family Lens – Memory (Snapshots in Paris)

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We are nothing without our memories. It is essential to who we are and we wouldn’t be able to function properly if we couldn’t recall moments big and small.

I am sharing you my favourite photos of our recent trip to Paris using the Olympus OM-D E-M10 digital camera. Whilst they aren’t the typical touristy pictures of Paris, they are the ones which make me smile. And this is what I love most about photographs; they evoke emotion by capturing a moment in time that is gone forever and never to be reproduced exactly the same again.

Although before uploading a single photo, I just wanted to forget everything about our trip as soon as I got back home. We seemed to have had so much bad luck that it left me feeling so irritated and wishing we went somewhere more relaxing like Bali (like any other typical Australian family) instead. I knew travelling with kids is by no means an easy feat but surely we wouldn’t be feeling ten times more stressed than before going on holiday?

A day before flying we all get hit with a nasty cold. So bad that our throats are burning and we lose our voices. In the next few days we just get even more sick. My mobile phone goes missing on our first flight to Singapore. I realise when I take my laptop out on the flight that I left the charger at home. Our family gets separate seating on the next leg to France. By the time we get to Paris, my husband’s phone is gone too.

And then it just seems to get worse. Lily develops heat rash and Nyla’s teething returns. After the difficult task of lifting the pram down the stairs to the Metro train, the train services get cancelled.  We never seem to have any luck hailing a taxi. Not even shopping (my usual happy fix) could calm my nerves as the amount of tourist shoppers elbowing you out of the way during the sales and crowding the lifts got too much. The final straw was when my lovely (and unfortunately expensive) blue lace dress splits right in the middle of Avenue des Champs-Élysées whilst trying to grab a taxi after waiting for 45 minutes. By this stage I just wanted to scream, roll around in a foetal position and take the first plane home!

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All photos taken on the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Camera. Picture above of Lily was taken using the ‘Dramatic Tone’ Art Filter.

We may have abandoned our plans to go to the Eiffel tower that day and therefore didn’t get to capture a photo of it but the photos I did take manage to bring some of the joyful memories back to life. Such as the the beautiful sunlight streaming through the leaves at Jardin des Luxemborg which takes me back to the laughter of children as they sail their little boats in the pond. And the look on Lily’s face when she won that silly duck at the summer carnival at and then would not let go as she rode at the back of the pram as it slowly deflated.

There was also that feast we had at the Buddha Bar and I’m sure we got some strange looks as Nyla shoved cheese all over her face and Lily pouring most of the fries down her lap.

My favourite memory was probably the day it absolutely poured down with torrential rain and we took shelter in a random cafe. It was here that we found 10 minutes of peace indulging in the simplest of delights of cream butter, red wine and of course people watching.

Everywhere you look in Paris you are reminded of days long gone as the grand architecture, food and landscaped gardens are embedded in history. Soldiers march proud on Bastille Day and for the French they will never want to forget the importance of the storming of the Bastille, on the 14th of July 1789. A day which symbolises the birth of the Republic.

And now I don’t ever want to take the memories of our trip away and can even appreciate the stressful times. We are so grateful as a family to have shared these small yet precious moments and especially in light of the recent aviation disasters we know are very very lucky.

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This is my first post for the Kidspot Voices of 2014 Olympus Challenge #myfamilylens series. All photographs have been taken using the Olympus OM-D E-M10. Olympus have kindly sent me this camera with the 14-42mm lens to test out for two months. All words, opinions and views are my own.

I decided to leave my beloved SLR at home and take just the Olympus OM-D E-M10 with me on this trip. I basically received the camera on Friday and flew on Sunday, so had to learnt how to use the camera on the plane!

The compactness and portability makes the Olympus OM-D E-M10 a huge winner in my books as since I’m carrying a baby anyway (and a zillion other things in a nappy bag), the last thing I need is to lug around a heavy camera as well. It even fits into my small handbag (my Chanel 2.55 in case you were wondering) so it’s the ideal size for travelling.

It didn’t take me long to learn how to use the camera and for most of these pictures I either used Manual or Aperture setting in RAW format. The auto focus is pretty quick and the 8 frames per second continuous shooting is very handy especially if you have quick kids! The dual dial with the tilting LCD touchscreen makes it easy to modify your settings such as exposure, ISO and White Balance pretty quickly.

Beginners can relax with auto mode and there are even 12 inbuilt camera art filters which you can pre-select before taking the photo. In the last picture of Lily, I’ve used the ‘Dramatic Tone’ art filter.

My favourite feature is the in-built Wifi which allows you to send pictures from the camera onto your smartphone and upload on social media. I’ve used this feature to upload pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (have a look at @SassandSpice #myfamilylens)

Thank you to lovely people at Olympus and Kidspot for allowing me to participate in this competition and have the Olympus OM-D E-M10 on loan. All views expressed in this blog post are my own and are in no way influenced by the loan product. Since I really love this camera I’m trying my very best to win it! Please let me know what you think of my photos and my thoughts on the camera, as I’d really appreciate the support!

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29/52

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”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Nyla: Lazy in bed. Too bad you can’t be this at night time as jet lag is still affecting you…

Lily: ” I’m king of the castle and you’re the dirty rascal!” Isn’t it strange that all kids sing this when they are at the playground?

This week’s photos were taken with the Olympus OM-D E-M10 on loan.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 29/52.

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28/52

28/52

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”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Some scenes from our last week at my in-laws. Lily laughing hysterically mid-photo for no particular reason and Nyla learning to walk.

Pictures taken on our trip in England and using the Olympus OM-D E-M10 on loan.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 28/52.

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27/52

27/52

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”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Lily: We were at a summer fair and you saw the bouncing castle from afar….you could easily stay on for the entire day!

Nyla: Being sick and on the onset of toddlerhood has made you very grumpy this week!

Pictures taken on our trip in England and using the Olympus OM-D E-M10 on loan.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 27/52.

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26/52

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”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Lily: Absolute delight at making cupcakes with her Grandma…

Nyla: Into anything and everything…including trying to eat the flowers!

Photos taken in England using the Olympus OM-D E-M10 camera on loan.

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 26/52.

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My Child Magazine – new digital only version

My Child magazine

Have you checked out the new digital-only version of My Child Magazine* (http://www.mychildmagazine.com.au/) ? It’s aimed at pregnant women, new mothers and parents of children aged 0-8 and features parenting articles and cool maternity/baby/kid products. The magazine used to be published in print format quarterly in Australia but it is now only available monthly in a digital format so therefore accessible to parents around the world. The magazine is also independently produced by a small team with even the editor working from her study at home – a very typical work-from-home mother scenario. I’ve been asked to review the magazine and have to admit that I’m very much a digital magazine novice as I still prefer to feel the smooth paper between my fingers and rip out inspirational pages. But even though I do enjoy reading a paper-based magazine, I do think the digital version is more eco-friendly (my home is ridden with magazines at the moment), compact and convenient to take anywhere and just a simple click can take you to a stockist to immediately buy a product or bookmark/pin an article for further reading.

My Child magazine

When I first went to the magazine it took me a while to set up the font size big enough for me to read but also to position the page so it could fit on the screen without the need to constantly scroll down. I also found doing this got me accidentally clicking on ads which would open another internet page. And also like a paper-based magazine, there are lot of ads in the beginning so I found myself clicking a lot just to get to the article that was of interest to me.

But once I sorted out the navigation and page set up, there were plenty of cool products to drool over and insightful articles such as toddler taming tips and active birth to even a second-time parent such as me. I’m having to organise my daughter’s first birthday party online too so will find the direct links to stockists/products to be especially useful. Compared to their previous paper-based versions, the digital version has a lot more pages.

And now that I take the train to work, this magazine will be useful to read on my tablet and my husband will be glad I won’t be subscribing to yet another paper based magazine. Get the July issue here (it’s FREE to subscribe) and let me know what you think…

* I was asked my My Child magazine to provide an honest review on their new digital magazine. No payment or product has been given for this review.

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25/52

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”A portrait of our children, once a week, every week, in 2014″

Both girls having fun on the slide until Lily lands on Nyla’s head and makes her cry. It was at that point I put down the camera…

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Linking up to Practising Simplicity’s 52 portrait a week challenge for 25/52.

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