When technology meets style {Review of Smeg 50’s Retro range}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 25.4.17
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If there's one thing in my new house that becomes a topic of interest whenever family and friends come to visit, it has to be.... the refrigerator. Some of them were impressed by the design, some didn't even realise it was a fridge, some were curious about the functions but undeniably, they were all blown away by the sleek, retro design.

A beautiful, elegant high-end fridge that dominates my kitchen and stands out in my favourite pastel green colour - there's really nothing else that beats it and I'm so thankful that my dream fridge is now a dream come true. In today's post, I'm sharing our review of the Smeg FAB32 fridge and will be letting you take a closer look on the inside, plus I'll also be telling you more about the stylish looking, perfectly matching Smeg small appliances which will jazz up every kitchen.

I've always preferred a fridge that has a bottom freezer compartment instead of top. While this means that the kids might be able to reach for ice cream on their own, it also grants me quick and easy access to all of the fresh food compartment, which is used much more often than the frozen one in our home. Yes, this means I can stand upright most of the time instead of having to bend over and as a stay-at-mum who usually has a toddler on her chest, I appreciate that very much. The Smeg FAB32 double door refrigerator with a bottom freezer is my ideal choice because with its iconic 1950s design, bold finishes and soft round curves, it is a stunning beauty which lights up the otherwise monotonous kitchen.



Some have asked if the fridge is big enough for us, considering that we have three little ones in the house and we cook at home every other day. Measuring 600mm (W) x 720mm (D) x 1926mm (H), the FAB32 fridge does look slim and tall but it is a bigger, upgraded version of the FAB28 and FAB30 series. It might not be the largest fridge we've had so far but it does suffice for our family of five, especially since I go to the supermarket thrice weekly and prefer to get fresh supplies instead of storing them for a prolonged period of time.

Now that we've seen the outside of it, I'm sure you want to know more about the inside, right? Let's take a closer look, shall we?

1 - Control Panel
2 - Light
3 - Fan
4 - Refrigerator compartment
5 - Defrost water outlet
6 - Freezer compartment
7 - Fridge door
8 - Freezer door

The freezer compartment consists of three freezer drawers while the main refrigerator compartment comes with accessories including shelves, fruit and vegetable drawer, bottle rack, door balconies and shelves, egg holder and ice tray.

This was exactly how the interior looked when the fridge was delivered. The accessories were held in place using the blue tape so that they wouldn't move about when you shift the fridge in place. By the way, the fridge weighs a ton but it has two wheels at the back for ease of movement.

It didn't take me long to set everything up and while I wished that the egg holder could hold ten eggs instead of six or that there was an ice box in the freezer for me to store the ice cubes, I did love all the other accessories, in particularly the bottle rack that helps to store four 1.5L bottles neatly and the door balconies which are apt for small containers, dairy products and small bottles. The best part is you can position the shelves and the rack to suit your needs and they come with safety fittings (you need to lift up the front part before you can extract them fully) to prevent accidents.



Here's a peek into our fridge when it was just stocked up! I like how there is ample space to store our fruits and vegetables in the huge drawer, how we can reach our bottles easily thanks to the bottle rack, how the door balconies and shelves create more space and how the freezer drawers make it easy to compartmentalize and retrieve the frozen food. Oh, and guess what? It's a no frost freezer, phew! That means it auto-defrosts and ice doesn't collect on the surface. Yup, don't get me started on how we needed to defrost the freezer and wait for ages for the ice to thaw at my mum's place when I was a kid.


A cool feature of the FAB32 is the control panel which sits at the top of the fridge so that the kids will not be able to activate the buttons. There is an alarm which sounds when the temperature gets too high or when the fridge door has been opened for more than a minute. Yes, no more worries of forgetting to close the fridge door or if it has been accidentally left ajar.

There are also thermostats for you to easily adjust the temperatures in the freezer and fridge, both of which are displayed on the screens. If you ever need to switch off the fridge or freezer, there are individual buttons for them too so it won't affect the other. In addition, the Super Cool Fridge function allows you to quickly cool large quantities of foodstuffs while the Super Freeze Freezer function lets you freeze large quantities in a short period of time. That's really quite cool, right?

So far, the fridge has been working great for us in the past couple of months. It's sleek, it's functional, it's a good size, it's efficient, it's a total delight to have in the kitchen. It's not that I don't want to point out anything negative about it but I seriously can't think of any reason not to love it. For now, at least.

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Moving on from the fridge, we are loving our small domestic appliances from Smeg - namely the toaster and kettle, in matching pastel green colour, of course! Seriously, how pretty can these retro style appliances get? I love how they instantly add charm and personality to my kitchen counter.

Launched at the end of 2016, the Smeg small appliances collection consists of a toaster, blender, kettle and stand mixer and they come with homogeneous elements including an enamel-coated stainless steel body, curvy base, sophisticated control knobs and the iconic retro logo. Perfectly matching, stunningly stylish.


I love the pastel green but there are also other gorgeous colours to choose from, namely black, red, cream, pastel blue and pink. If you were to ask me, all of these Italian-designed appliances just look so appealing and attractive in their own ways and every colour has its own merits. Can you make up your mind on which is your favourite yet?



The Smeg kettle is a natural charmer and its 1.7L capacity is perfect for our family's needs. Yup, I usually only need to use it once a day although I wouldn't mind doing it more often since it's so pretty to look at and easy to operate.

It comes with anti-slip feet, soft opening feature and a 360° swivel base for convenient usage. To open the lid, all you need to do is push slightly and it opens progressively, which helps to prevent any sudden release of steam. The spout, which is made of stainless steel, is large enough to allow water to be poured easily without spillage. The kettle also boasts a limescale filter function to filter the deposits, giving you calcium carbonate-free water.

The water indicator level clearly shows the amount of water in litres and cups, and when you start the boiling process by pushing the level downwards, there will be a white LED light that turns on too. With a power of 3000W, you can be sure that water heats up swiftly and efficiently.


The Smeg 2-slice toaster comes with two extra wide slots, self-centering racks, 6 browning levels and 4 functions on the control panel. You can Reheat cold or unsatisfactory toast, Defrost frozen bread, toast only one side of Bagel or Cancel the toasting process anytime - all at the touch of a button. To toast, all you have to do is set the browning level and push down the lever. Easy peasy!

I've never owned a toaster before so I didn't realise how handy and easy to use it can be. We now have more options for breakfast and making yummy, hot toast is a breeze. The Smeg small appliances are not just a joy to look at but a joy to use too.

Yes, we are totally in love with our Smeg 50's Retro range and they are now the biggest, brightest stars of our kitchen. Technology doesn't have to compromise design and seeing how these high-end, innovative appliances are bursting with style, I think they are definitely worth the investment.

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This post is part of the "A Happy Home" series where I share all about our new Scandinavian-themed house, the renovation process and some tips and thoughts. Moving is never easy but it comes with an indescribable sense of joy in building up the house of your dreams. Remember, home is where the heart is and nothing is more important than being able to build memories with the people you love.


Disclosure: This is a semi-sponsored review. We received a special price for the fridge and the small domestic appliances are kindly sponsored by Smeg. All opinions are our own.

A Happy Home - The Kitchen

Posted by ~Summer~ on 19.4.17
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As a stay-at-home mum, I may not be a good chef but I do try my best to cook for my kids. I have to admit that it can be a daunting task trying to cook while solo parenting on weekdays and having kids trying to break through the kitchen door, having to settle sibling squabbles and having a toddler clinging onto my leg are things that I have gotten used to. You see, the cooking part might not take long but the chores are tiring - including shopping for groceries, preparing the ingredients, wiping the messy floors and tables after a meal, clearing the rubbish and cleaning the mountains of dishes. Yup, that explains why we eat out on some days of the week, especially if I have to send the kids for enrichment classes. Still, we enjoy having homecooked meals in the comfort of our own house regularly and the fact that the kids say they prefer Mummy's simple food to outside salty food is a very strong source of motivation. 

Well, it has always been my dream to have my very own kitchen. This wasn't possible for the past half a decade because we lived with the in-laws and the kitchen had to be shared even though they were usually not around throughout the day. Let's just say we have different cooking, storing and eating habits so while we accommodated each other all this time, it was a huge relief for us (okay, for me in particular) when we moved to to this new house because guess what, while the in-laws have their own decent sized kitchenette with plenty of storage cupboards and a space for a huge fridge, I get my dream fulfilled by finally having a kitchen that I am proud of and makes me happy to be in. Let me show you more of our kitchen in today's A Happy Home tour.

Our kitchen comes with ready made cabinets which saved us a good deal of hassle since we did not need to do much renovation. I love how it comes with a wet kitchen where I can do all the frying and washing, as well as a dry kitchen for light cooking, baking or eating. Separated by a door, the dry kitchen has a counter top that extends from the wet kitchen and is the perfect spot for us to have our breakfasts, snacks and sometimes lunches/dinners too!

Can you guess what is my favourite colour? Yup, you will see that aplenty in the kitchen - GREEN! I also love turquoise and since the hubby likes blue, I tried to make these the theme colours in our kitchen and the living room too (do you remember our sofa cushions in the living room tour?) I don't deny, my emphasis was certainly on green in the kitchen because I'll be the one spending the most time here anyway, right? So, I bought two bar stools from Taobao and assembled them on my own, and I love how the wooden legs and light green seats (which can swivel somemore!) match our Scandinavian theme. Actually, I wanted one in blue and one in green but the hubby was the one who said that the green looked better and so we got a pair. Not sure if he was just being honest or generous but the important thing is he was right, the chairs fit in wonderfully.

Oh yes, and the highlight of my kitchen has to be our beautiful, sleek, eye-catching Smeg retro fridge which I will be doing a review on soon. Love, love, love the mint green colour, which I knew would be my obvious choice even though the other colours in this series were just so pretty too.

You know, I had a panic attack when the fridge arrived because for some reason, we screwed up the measurements (we are our own IDs, remember?) and while I had thought that it would fit in under the overhead cabinet nicely, it wouldn't and couldn't. I fumbled in between rushing to pick the kids and coordinating among three different groups of people (electrician, Smeg delivery guys and Eubiq technicians) who were all at my house at the same time. I made phone calls here and there and finally, the problem was resolved by getting our carpenter to come over to remove the entire cabinet and alter it. Phew phew phew. Can you imagine how it would be like to be able to see my dream fridge and yet not have it? Gosh. I'm so glad we managed to overcome that hurdle.


On the other side of the counter, we have two black bar stools with back rests which were left behind by the previous owner. They fit nicely into the small space, are easy to clean and provide backing for the kids so we wanted them to stay. So this is where the kids wake up and have breakfast daily and it's really nice to have this small, cosy space that is within reach of everything.

This is the Electrolux oven that is ready built and customised to fit into the cabinet, which I thought looked really nice and neat. I have dreams of teaching the girls to bake soon so that we can fully utilise this oven that sits right behind the counter, serve freshly baked pastries and cookies and bond over a nice cup of tea (I mean tea for me, Milo for them). It will happen, I promise! 
 

Some friends and relatives have been intrigued by this slim storage rack that I bought from Taobao and I must say it is very handy! The shelves measure only 17cm wide (54 cm long and 115 cm tall) but look at how much they can contain. Yup, it stores stuff like cereal, biscuits, oats, snacks and spices and tucks them away neatly between the oven and fridge so that no one actually seems them till you pull out the rack. A clever use of tight space, right?


I set up this snack bar so that the girls can easily choose, reach and pack their desired snacks and drinks into their bags every night. Yes, they actually find it very fun to do and are always checking it out to see if I have restocked it or added any new supplies. Haha.
 

I'm not going to bore you with the contents of every cupboard or drawer but here's a peek into one of them. I love how the hydraulic system makes the door flip upwards and inside this cupboard lies my food processor, blender, baking pans and the hubby's Nescafe Dolce Gusto capsules.

Moving onto the wet kitchen, yes, I have yet another storage rack here and this one helps me to keep all the seasoning bottles and jars organised neatly. Oh, in case you haven't read about it, here is our experience with the sleek looking, innovative Eubiq power outlet system and I just really love it so much!

Thanks to the Electrolux gas cooker hob recall recently, we got this new Tecno one installed not long ago and instead of the dull black one that we had previously, we decided to go for sparkly white instead. Yes, I'm sure you have seen our pretty Smeg small appliances (review coming up soon!) by now and these match perfectly with the fridge. Besides them, two other commonly used items are the cute turquoise coloured from Supor and my trusted non-stick frying pan from Tefal.


To make the cupboards a little easier to maintain, I lined the shelves with this aluminium liner that I got from Taobao too. Yup, it kind of functions like adhesive foil and not only does it make the cupboard look shiny and glossy, it also allows you to wipe off stains and dirt more easily too.



Moving on to the sink, though I wish that there was a partition in the middle, I also love that it is deep which makes for easy washing. Right, I know, maybe I overdid the green part a little bit but hey, if it makes me happy, why not? So yes, I bought a green knife holder, green peeler, green dish drainer, green chopping board, green/turquoise bowls, cups and more! I was really pleasantly surprised at the deals I got off Taobao, for instance I paid only $6 for the dish drainer and $8 for the knife holder (shipping excluded). Good deals, right?

You know what is the best part about this kitchen? It's the huge see through glass I have right behind the sink, which allows me to see the living/dining room in full view and I can have an eye on the kids while cooking at the same time. Yes dears, I know everything that you are doing!

On the right side of the sink lies my handy pressure cooker, rice cooker and air fryer. Yup, these are the three things that I use quite often for now and thus they have to be easily within reach.

I've been getting the big girl to wash her own dishes and so a step stool is a must for now. We got this BEKVÄM black step stool from IKEA and although it does take up some space in the not-so-huge kitchen and the hubby has complained about it, I think it is needed for now because if the kids were to clean up after themselves. I prefer this type of sturdy stool over a foldable one (which I will end up being the one who folds and unfolds and keeps).

Here's a peek into the cupboard for the mugs and cups and can you see how much space I created by inserting that extra shelf from Taobao? Yes, no drilling needed at all! Of course, we only put the lighter, plastic cups on this shelf because you never know if it might just give way someday.

The top drawer is where we keep all the utensils and I love how the cutlery tray keeps them neatly organised and easily accessible.

Here's where we keep our bowls and plates and I like that there aren't a lot yet more than enough for our humble family. Yes, not surprisingly, we like to use plain, simple bowls and plates instead of elaborate and fanciful ones. Life is complicated enough on its own, right?

Check this out, we have this irresistibly cute nine-layered kueh door stopper! Yup, this door leading to the kitchen always slams shut when the wind blows in through the window so I have to make sure we have a good stopper in place. The hubby got this kueh one from I don't know where but I sure haven't seen it before and thought it looked great.

Right at the end of the kitchen lies our yard, which is a small area that fits a washer and a couple of laundry baskets. Read our review on the 11kg Smeg front load washer here. You know, at some point, I found it silly of me to have rejected a dryer sponsorship. Particularly when the rain wouldn't stop and my laundry wouldn't dry for days. In my mind, I wanted to actively engage the kids in chores and one of it will be doing the laundry every alternate day. Besides increasing electricity bills and making clothes more wrinkled, I had also assumed that having a dryer will reduce the need for my kids to participate and thus, I decided for us to survive without it. Or the temptation of it. Smart or dumb, I'll figure that part out soon.
 
Anyway, the only furniture we added in the kitchen were two wooden shelves above the washer in order to create storage space for the detergents, softerners, kitchen wipes, laundry nets and other items.


Last but not least, these are the downlights that we bought from Chan Huat for our kitchen. While we chose round ones for all the toilets, I wanted these to be a little different so we went for squarish ones. The main light can be controlled with a remote and there are dual tone lightings too so you can choose if you like white or yellow light or how bright or dim you want it to be. Cool, right? Wouldn't have bought it if there wasn't a 50% sale for this light though!

So, that marks the end of the tour around our cosy kitchen. Next up, I will be showing you around the study area and that means we will be coming to the end of the house tour very soon. Awww, I'm really going to miss writing on this series and I hope you will stick with me till the end!

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This post is part of the "A Happy Home" series where I share all about our new Scandinavian-themed house, the renovation process and some tips and thoughts. Moving is never easy but it comes with an indescribable sense of joy in building up the house of your dreams. Remember, home is where the heart is and nothing is more important than being able to build memories with the people you love.

Ultra-flexible, Ultra-safe {Review of Eubiq power outlet system}

Posted by ~Summer~ on 12.4.17
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When it comes to the home, there's something that really irks me and that is.... messy wires. Yup, an entanglement of power cables somehow puts me off and yet, I've lived with it for many years because there just didn't seem to be another way out in our previous houses, or we assumed so and thus continued to procrastinate. See what I mean by a mess of wires?


Yup, this mess at my last computer desk was actually one of the 'better' ones. Now, check out the previous mess at the TV cabinet.



Oh gosh, right? That is just plain unsightly. Besides the fact that it's terrible to look at and that this spot accumulates dust faster than I can clean, what really troubled me was how the whole thing posed as a electrical hazard and while I knew I wouldn't be so silly as to fool around with the cables, I just couldn't say the same for my kids. I mean, getting bruises and cuts are considered part of growing up, but risks of fire and electrical shocks are a big no-no. And when it comes to being a mum, we just wish to keep our kids out of harm's way, right?

So one of my utmost priorities in moving to the new house was to get rid of messy wires. You bet I was pretty resolute about it and I put in much of my time and effort in planning how to set up the cables and resolve this issue once and for all. With the toddler who is now getting very active and walks around the house to explore all the hidden corners, this made it even more important for me to get everything set up properly from the very beginning.

I still remember the first time I read about Eubiq and its unique power outlet system, and I went "Woah! So sleek and high-tech. This can probably only happen in my dreams." It's cliché but true, I didn't think that I would one day be able to have them installed in my own house and now that I do, I can only say that they are one of the best inventions I've ever come across. Let me tell you more.



With a vision of becoming the world leader in the new generation of power outlet system, Eubiq was founded in 2000. It invented and patented the first-of-its-kind GSS (Grounded Sentry Shutter) system - which makes use of a unique track capable system to add, remove and reposition power outlets- with just a simple twist.



See how easy it now becomes to turn on and off the power? All you have to do is turn the adaptor clockwise and the blue light comes on, indicating that the power is on.



To shift the position of the adaptor, all you have to do is twist it a little more, plug out and then insert it somewhere else along the track. Easy peasy, right? Well, I totally love how Eubiq helps to power up our house and here's sharing the five main reasons why.

1) Sleek in design

I don't think I have to explain this, right? I mean, seriously, how much nicer does this look than the usual white, boring-looking extension sockets? We installed the aluminium tracks and black adaptors in our house and it's easy to see how they instantly made everything look more elegant and sophisticated while keeping it minimalistic. I chose to go for the recessed mount tracks - which means they are sort of embedded into the furniture - which took up a good deal of planning and liaising on my part between the carpenter (who had to cut a hole of the right dimensions), the electrician (who had to pull an electric point) and the technicians from Eubiq (who installed and fixed the tracks). Yup, that is what happens when you decide to be your own interior designer.






Anyway, you can also opt for the surface mount tracks which will be fixed over your furniture or walls and are more straightforward to install. See below for example.



 
2) Flexible

Making use of Eubiq tracks gives you flexibility since it is so easy to remove and reposition the adaptors - in other words, Plug and Play. We have a total of 20 adaptors to share among the power tracks in the house and you can divide them according to your needs and preferences. Some tracks can be filled up while others more sparse, but the great thing is whenever you need an extra adaptor, you can swiftly remove it from another track and plug it in without any hassle.
 
3) Child-safe  

The GSS System is a patented safety feature found in all power tracks and it effectively grounds all conductive objects that come into contact, making it virtually impossible for any hazardous shock. What this means for us parents is that even if your kids were to be curious and poke their little fingers into the tracks, they will not get an electric shock because the live contact is not connected to the earth contact.


The points will only be connected when you plug in the specially designed Eubiq adaptors and twist them to turn on the power. This does mean your kids should not be poking sharp objects into them when the blue light comes on, yeah?


 4) Accessories

You can choose from a range of Eubiq accessories which will be compatible with the power tracks - including task light, appliance adaptors, lamps, USB adaptors and so on. I'm loving the task light because it provides just enough light for me to blog at night without making it too bright for the sleeping baby. And how easy can it get to turn on this light? Just turn the base!




5) Neater, cleaner, better

Before you get me wrong, I'm not saying that Eubiq helps to get rid of wires totally because the fact remains that you still need to plug your electrical appliances into the adaptors and the wires will still show. However, what it does help is to keep them at bay and reduce the mess, if not eliminate it. The fact that you can shift, remove or add adaptors is a huge bonus on how you can make sure that the wires do not tangle and are kept as neat as possible.

Here's a quick view of how our house looks like now, thanks to Eubiq.

The above shows the 60-cm track in the kitchen. I love how you can add railings and hooks below the track which come in pretty handy for hanging up kitchen cloths and mugs. The wires to the appliances are still there, but I've managed to tie and tuck them nicely such that they aren't easily seen.


Here's the 80-cm track in the master bedroom. It is the recessed mount type and fits nicely into the table at my workstation. Yup, it's now much easier for us to charge our phones and cameras without having to fight for empty sockets. What's more, I don't have to bend over to look for the cumbersome extension socket (which is usually placed on the floor) or fumble to find the individual switches because guess what, all I need to do is plug and twist.

Lastly, here's how our TV feature wall looks like with the 1-metre power track. Finally, messy wires are concealed! What a huge difference as compared to our previous house, right? I am showing you how it looks like behind the TV so you can see that the wires are still there but they are nicely hidden behind the TV, which currently sits on a stand. If you were to mount the TV onto the wall instead, you will be able to see the power track in full view but that will also mean that some of the wires - the parts that emerge from the grommet - will show, which is not what I want for now. Having this considerably long power track right behind the TV makes it easy for me to connect the electrical appliances (we have more than half a dozen here!) and switch them on/off whenever I need to at the snap of my fingers.

Yes, I am totally in love with our sleek looking Eubiq power outlets, I'm thankful for them being ultra-flexible and child-friendly, and I greatly appreciate how they help to keep power cables in place and the house looking nice and neat.

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This post is part of the "A Happy Home" series where I share all about our new Scandinavian-themed house, the renovation process and some tips and thoughts. Moving is never easy but it comes with an indescribable sense of joy in building up the house of your dreams. Remember, home is where the heart is and nothing is more important than being able to build memories with the people you love.


Disclosure: This is a sponsored review. The power tracks, adaptors and accessories we received are all kindly sponsored by Eubiq. All opinions are our own.

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