Monday, 17 April 2017

Our First Home (7): Living Room

The living room is often the place with the most displays and technology because it's usually where everyone gathers. It needed to be both comfortable and functional.

[BEFORE] 

The furnishings were very old school so we had to get rid of them and start from scratch.

Old school mouldings and grills
The other wall

The lovely view from our living room:


As with our master bedroom and kitchen, our ID provided us with a 3D mock up of our living room based on our description of what we wanted.

3D mock up by our ID

Our ID was able to incorporate the TV console cabinets that we had already bought from Home's Harmony into the 3D mock up. I thought that was cool so that we can have an idea of how it would look in the space.

In the process of tearing down existing wiring and structures
We paid about $2000 to re-wire the whole house with new wires. Definitely a must if you're buying a resale flat like ours where the last time renovations were done, it was 16 years ago.
We chose a bright blue for our walls, the same blue as our master bedroom. As the hubby loves black and I love vivid bright colours, we compromised with a vivid version of his favourite colour blue.

After the walls were painted, we got Home's Harmony to install the TV console set that we ordered. It was a lot cheaper to get a pre-designed set that still allowed you some level of customisation rather than getting your contractor to customise built-in cabinets from scratch.

Building the drawers that will hold our TV
Measuring and installing the cabinets according to our preferred design. You can also choose the type of cabinets and/or arrange them differently, according to your needs and preferences.
The completed TV console!

This TV console totally works for me because I love storage! I must have lots and lots of storage in my house (OCD you see *laughs*).

We also installed Combi Blinds in our living room. However, because we chose black, grey and white, the living room can't be 100% shielded from the sun. Do consider this when choosing the colour of your Combi Blinds.

[AFTER]

It took a while to get to our dream living room but we did, eventually!


With 3 adults and 2 kids living in this house, the living room was quickly filled with tons of things!

Just so you know, I spent about 30 minutes tidying our living room for the photos in the rest of this post! It definitely does not look so neat ordinarily and this FTWM (full-time working mum) has no time or energy to do anything about it except to close both eyes and hope that I can chant a spell to put everything back in place like they do in Harry Potter!

Our very well-used living room

The kids spend a lot of time in the living room, hence there are A LOT of toys here. The stool cum storage boxes beside the TV console contain most of the toys so that ideally, they can be hidden out of sight when the kids are not playing with it. In reality of course, the boxes are almost always constantly opened with toys overflowing from the edges! It irks the OCD me every time but thankfully, I've learnt to make peace with it.

If you look carefully, I've also squeezed a bag of Lego Duplo under our TV console to maximise space. I like that I can easily clean under the TV console too.

The cabinets of the TV console also allow me to store and display my photos and collection of various things that I like.

The top shelves are for my numerous board games, some of which I have kept since I was in primary school!

I've also got a bookshelf that I had bought from IKEA before my girl was born 8 years ago and it fits nicely into the corner between the windows and the TV console.

It has all my soft toys, nano blocks and best of all, my musical box collection

We also store our DVDs, CDs and Xbox One Kinect in the cabinets. So useful right? =)


On the other side of the living room is our electronic reclining sofa with cup holders (like a movie theatre), an alcohol cabinet, our treadmill, coffee table and my super large ironing board. There's no point in keeping it in the storeroom since I prefer to iron while watching TV. It's a lot more convenient if I have it constantly within reach.

The other side of my living room

I've always wanted the wall above my sofa to be my art wall where I display my paintings such as my Travel Destinations Art Collection. The paintings were deliberately positioned nearer to the windows, rather than in the middle, so as to allow me adequate space to add more paintings on the left. Eventually the entire wall will be filled with paintings and I may have to find another wall to fill when that happens! *laughs*

In keeping with my love for furniture with hidden storage, we got a coffee table that can morph into a full-height table with hidden storage underneath. Super love it!

The table top can be pulled up so that you can sit on the sofa rather than a stool. I use the storage space to store our photo albums and scrapbooks. The 2 grey stools come with the table and are really comfortable to sit on.

Next to the coffee table is my boy's favourite spot in the house: his activity table (bought in USA by his uncle) and kids road map carpet (from IKEA).

My boy loves his table and carpet and spends most of his day when he's not in school playing on it
Recently my boy is very into buses so no surprises that his favourite is Tayo the Little Bus. He's got soooo many buses and counting!!

Moving on to another of my favourites, a built-in floor to ceiling shoe rack for our shoes! As you know, we love shoes and need a big enough storage space for our shoes.

Our shoe cabinet inside and out

I bought plastic shoe racks from CK and Isetan to organise our shoes such that they are extremely organised, maximise the space and make it easy for us to access all our shoes. Yes, I'm an organisation fanatic!

Oh by the way, the stools beside the shoe cabinet also contain hidden storage for socks and floor mats =)

Finally, I have always known that I wanted a way to keep our bicycles off the floor yet still easily accessible. This rod that I bought from Qoo10 gives us a reasonably priced way to achieve this.


The rod is pretty sturdy and has not fallen even once (touch wood) even though the kids like to play around it.

Left: The raised bicycle meant that there were plenty of space to put other things like a kiddy sofa and toy car;
Right: Round the corner next to the store room behind the front door is a rod with many hooks for hanging all sorts of stuff you may need before you leave the house. I decorate it with a photo collage of our whole family.

As you can see, the main themes flowing through my living room is storage, functionality, organisation and ease of cleaning! And that's exactly how we like it =)


Continue to >> Our First Home (8): Renovation Review
<< Back to Our First Home (6): Storeroom & Entryway

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This post is part of my series on Our First Home where I'll share our renovation and home decoration ideas and review our renovation company and various vendors.
Join us on our journey as we make a house our home =)


You can also follow me on Instagram via the hashtag #houseofkmjj! =)

Monday, 20 March 2017

Travel Destinations Art Collection

I conceptualized this collection for the art wall that I've always wanted for our living room, after we paid the deposit for House of KMJJ. I've always mainly painted for other people because there was no room in our previous house to store my paintings.


[#1] England, Italy & Switzerland

The first painting was and still is my favourite in the collection because it was based on my favourite countries that we have visited. Italy and Switzerland hold a special place in my heart because they were the countries the hubby and I visited on our honeymoon. London was the furthest that I had ever travelled to (so far) and I enjoyed every minute of my time there. The Big Ben has always been one of my favourite iconic structures.

A post shared by Madeline Heng (@madpsychmum) on

I put together this piece based on inspirations I found on Google

I love bright colours so I was going for the bright pop-art look rather than trying to make it look realistic. I thought the final piece looks awesome =)



[#2] Vietnam, Hong Kong, Thailand, Indonesia & Malaysia

The next painting in this collection featured all our favourite neighbouring countries! Gotta love how easily accessible these beautiful countries are to us =)

Realised that it was easier to paint with an easel so I got one from Art Friend for a decent price.

On hindsight, I should have grouped Hong Kong with China but well, the idea for the Hong Kong junk wouldn't leave my head! I just had to paint it!


I probably squeezed too many countries in one canvas but well, it's still nice =)


[#3] Taiwan, South Korea & Japan

I was so inspired after returning from Tokyo Disneyland that it became the main feature of my next painting. Japan is one of my favourite countries of all time to visit! I've been there 3 times and counting! *grin*


Japan basically dominated the whole painting! Haha

It took me a long time to finish this painting because of our move into our new house. Luckily I'm OCD and didn't like to leave projects unfinished! *laughs*


My girl loves the Cinderella Castle that I painted and used it as the inspiration for her own drawing =)


[#4] Australia & Brunei

And finally, two countries which are not really related but put together because I felt like it! Anyway, Australia is located too far down under to be logically paired with any country other than New Zealand and it's unlikely that I'll visit New Zealand anytime soon (I prefer to visit Europe for the same price).


This painting was surprisingly easy; I completed it in a few nights after work =)

Oh and by the way, I like my paintings to "flow" from one to the other so I had the idea of making them link in some way.


Yes, the trains are linked too! =)

I'll be adding China, Phillipines, Scotland and France at the end of the year so watch out for it on my Instagram =)

I hope this has inspired you to come up with your own painting! You don't have to pay big bucks to go to Arteastiq to paint. You can do it at home with materials you can grab at the nearest Art Friend or even Daiso! Let me know how it goes =)


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This post is part of my Mad-Made Art series that documents our artistic creations!


You can also see more on Instagram via the hashtag #madpsychmumart

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Melbourne II Day 5: Melbourne Museum & Flinders Street

As usual, we wanted to set off earlier this morning but ended up leaving only at 11am. That was really late as there were so many things to do at Melbourne Museum!

Melbourne Museum
(Address: 11 Nicholson Street, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia)
Entrance to the museum
(you can see the Royal Exhibition Building in the reflection)

We parked at the underground carpark, which charges the usual exorbitant Melbourne CBD prices (see the carpark charges here). However, I discovered that if you bought an IMAX ticket, the cost of parking is fixed at AUD 15 for the whole day (as compared to AUD 45).

It was the main reason why we decided to watch an IMAX show that day even though it costs approximately AUD 14 more per ticket. The Museum and IMAX Joint Ticket costs AUD 27 per adult and AUD 14 per child 3-16 years old (surcharge applies for feature length films) whereas the Museum Ticket alone costs AUD 14 per adult and absolutely FREE for kids under 16 years old! So awesome right?! =)

The IMAX shows that were showing when we were there
Clockwise from left: We decided on Under The Sea because it sounded like the easiest for my kids to understand;
The tickets you'll receive at the Museum counter. You'll need to exchange it for the IMAX tickets at the IMAX theatre next door;
The IMAX tickets that we received from the IMAX counter.

We started exploring the museum since we've got a few hours before the start of the show.

Welcomed by a large skeleton of a Pygmy Blue Whale in the main entrance
It's the largest display in the museum!

After viewing the bones of the Blue Whale, we viewed the bones of dinosaurs at the Dinosaur Walk!

Imagination brings these bones back to life at the Dinosaur Walk
Impressive collection of dinosaurs


If your kids are dinosaur fans, they will love this!
Mine are not and they still liked it =)

The dinosaur skeletons were not as large as the one at London's Natural History Museum but what they lacked in size, they made up for in quantity. It was quite a nice display and definitely worth bringing your kids to see it!

We ventured into a world of bugs next at Bugs Alive.

Bugs Alive
A collection of bugs, so many that I can't count (at least, I don't want to)
Left: Learning about the anatomy of an insect;
Right: These are probably leaf insects.
Spiders and termites! Yucks!

Let's just say I'm not a huge fan of insects so we didn't stay long and moved on to Marine Life.

Marine Life at Victoria's seas
Clockwise from top left: Under the sea!;
Interactive displays allow the kids to turn and be intrigued;
The corpse of the largest squid known to us found in the belly of a whale washed up to shore;
I explained to my girl that no one has ever seen this squid alive before because they live really deep down in the ocean where humans are not able to explore yet. She was quite amazed by that.

Next, it was the taxidermied animal display at Wild.

So many animals! They all look so alive!
Pretending to hop like a kangaroo and roar like a lion!
They look so alive that they remind me of Night In the Museum!

London's Natural History Museum also has a section with taxidermied animals, albeit with less animals. I don't think you can finish identifying all the animals here *laughs*

We took the lift to the second floor and continued our exploration of the museum.

More birds and snakes
Birds eye view of the Wild display
Another view from the top

You can also read about Darwin and Evolution but we were more interested in The Human Body.

The Human Body
Left: Explaining the different body parts and functions to my girl;
Right: Interactive displays that captured the attention of the kids.

Next was The Mind, the very thing that I spent most of my varsity life learning (#psychologytrained).

My best photo from the gallery because it was quite dark. I leave the rest for you to explore yourself when you visit.

The last gallery on the second floor was The Melbourne Story. You can't visit Melbourne Museum without learning the things that make Melbourne unique.

Clockwise from left: This horse was the star who won a lot of awards for Melbourne;
The Melbourne Story gallery;
The super old school carriage of the Big Dipper roller coaster ride restored to give you a feel of what it was like to ride a roller coaster back in the day.
Super cool carriage that looks nice but we won't actually want to be in it day to day because it's just too slow!
We love that they brought the Australian National Emblem to 3D with real taxidermied animals!

We ended our exploration with the Forest Gallery before heading to the IMAX theatres for our show.

Clockwise from left: Forest Gallery is on the 1st floor;
The kids can see what lies beneath a waterfall and landscape;
Underground roots and creatures;
Peering into the binoculars to see more.

The IMAX Theatre is located next door to the museum so it should not be difficult to find it.

Couldn't resist taking a picture with this huge 3D poster of my favourite Beauty and the Beast!
Wearing our 3D glasses in the theatre

The Under the Sea movie was vibrant and colourful but quite boring. The boy actually fell asleep halfway! Luckily we didn't pay for his ticket otherwise it would have been so not worth it.

After the show, we had our lunch at The Museum Cafe.

Left: Home-cooked lunch that the mum-in-law packed for herself and the kids because they don't eat Western food;
Right: The fish and chips and pasta that the hubby and I ordered (apologies that they were half-eaten, we were too hungry!)

There's a bumpy and colourful play area right next to the cafe so that your kids can entertain themselves while you eat

The girl kept bugging me about going to the Children's Gallery but who could blame her? It was such an awesome gallery!

Pauline Gandel Children's Gallery
(with a nursing room available as well)

The Children's Gallery was very whimsical, colourful and just so inviting for the kids! They couldn't stop touching, climbing and running the minute they set foot inside.

Playing in a half-real half-kiddy train
Clockwise from left: Super duper cute carriage;
An area for little kids to run about;
Plenty of activities to engage little ones;
Smaller taxidermied animals for the kids to look at.
My kids spent most of their time in this part of the Children's Gallery
They enjoyed climbing this "tree" structure in the middle
Left: This really cool windmill-looking thing actually spins when the kids sit at the bottom! Even the adults like us had fun pulling on the ropes to get it to spin!;
Right: Interactive touch-screen display that changes colour with a touch of little fingers.
This station is really cool! Whatever design your child creates on the touch screen will appear in the above display as a very realistic butterfly!
My girl loved this so much that she spent quite a lot of time designing her butterflies here.
Various activities that captivated my boy
This display was also really cool and interactive. The led lights surrounding the animals will light up when the torch is shone on it. The corresponding calls that the animal makes will also be sounded. Really fun!

We absolutely loved the museum and would have stayed on till closing (at 5pm), if not for the fact that I wanted to go see Flinders Street Station. On hindsight though, I realised we should have just stayed till closing and left viewing the other landmarks to another day because it was simply too rushed (*sigh*). Oh well, all the more reason to bring the kids back to Melbourne Museum again the next time that we visit Melbourne! =)

We left at around 4pm and walked for about 5 minutes through Carlton Gardens to the nearest tram station to board the City Circle Tram (see a map of the route here). The City Circle Tram brings you to all the famous Melbourne city landmarks and best of all, it's FREE!

Boarding the Circle City Tram

It took about 10-15 minutes for the tram to arrive at Flinders Street Station.

The iconic train station looks as grand in person
This is a real working station and not just for show so be prepared to be shoved during peak hours

We hopped back onto the tram and passed other landmarks as we made our way back to Melbourne Museum.

Clockwise from left: Parliament House;
Immigration Museum;
Ethad Stadium;
St Paul's Cathedral (located diagonally opposite of Flinders Street Station)
Melbourne Star Observation Wheel



We also passed by the SEA Life Melbourne Aquarium but did not visit because we had already been to SEA Life Sydney Acquarium.

It was a pretty long journey back to the museum and we finally arrived at Carlton Gardens about 45 minutes later!

Walking through Carlton Gardens

We stopped at the Royal Exhibition Building, located directly in front of Melbourne Museum, for some photos.

Royal Exhibition Building
(Address: 9 Nicholson Street, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia)
They were hosting the Melbourne Fashion Festival so we saw many fashionable people walking into the building. Very cool =)

We thought (naively) that we can get back to the museum before it closed but unfortunately we didn't. Oh well, there's always next time.

We returned home for a good home-cooked meal and turned in early because we were really exhausted!


Continue to >> Melbourne II Day 6: Brighton Beach, St Kilda & Luna Park
<< Back to Melbourne II Day 4: Pure Peninsula Honey & Myuna Farm


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Download our Melbourne Itinerary 2017 Printable 
(PDF to be added when this series has been completed)
OR
Visit MADPSYCHMUM TRAVELS for the rest of my posts on Melbourne, Australia 
as well as other travel itineraries!


You can also follow my travel adventures on Instagram via the hashtag #madpsychmumtravels! =)
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