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.

******

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.

A Happy Home - The Master Bedroom

Posted by ~Summer~ on 11.4.17
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You have no idea how happy and relieved I felt to be able to sleep in our own bedroom on the very first night of shifting in. It marked the end, or actually nearing the end, of a very exhausting but strangely fulfilling renovation period; it meant we had a place to call our own; it meant I had a home to look forward to returning everyday; it felt so surreal to have this cosy haven of our own just the way I had pictured in my dreams.

Since the hubby didn't have time to sit down and discuss with me much about the renovation, he chose to relinquish his say in the matter and just told me to go ahead and decide on everything. Should I be thankful that he had absolute faith in my taste and preferences? Yup, that actually stressed me out to the max and of all rooms, I was particularly concerned over the master bedroom because I wanted him to feel relaxed and happy whenever he came home to this room where all troubles should vanish, even if just momentarily.

I haven't really shared much photos on this yet so let me start by telling you the colour theme for our bedroom. Now, since the girls had already taken pink for their room and the boy blue, I thought we should for something less vibrant yet with a touch of elegance and charm. I was debating between going for gold or silver/grey, and eventually decided that my heart preferred the one that sounded more lackluster and dull - yup, I went for GREY because gold seemed just a little too striking and attention-seeking for the Plain Jane that I am.

Thankfully, it turned out just the way I wanted, or perhaps I should say even better too. Come on the tour with me as I show you more!




This is what you see the moment you open the door to the bedroom. Yup, similar to the kids, we have a Nippon Momento feature wall too and this is the MS149 Granite Glint in the Sparkle series (read more about our review on Nippon here). So many people have assumed that this is wallpaper but it's not, it's paint! I honestly love it so much and it makes such a huge difference to the whole look of the room, don't you think so? I've not decided if we'll be hanging any paintings or portraits yet but for now, I just love it the way it is without the need to put up any wall decoration.

Our bed was brought over from the previous house and this is a storage bed which is a lifesaver because underneath it is where we store things like our Christmas tree, Christmas decorations, winter clothes, hubby's army swords, fishing rods - which honestly take up lots of space and can be a challenge for a house that has no storeroom.

We also brought over the baby cot which the baby doesn't sleep in and doesn't like to be changed in (haha, then why oh why?) but it serves to keep all the baby-related stuff and also acts as a rail guard so that the baby, who co-sleeps with me, doesn't fall off the bed when he sleeps.


If you take a look above, you will see the KDK U60FW ceiling fan (read our review here) which comes in black colour and has sleek looking blades. So far, it has really worked well for us and guess what, we haven't even turned on the air conditioner in this room at all! In our previous house, we felt stuffy even with the air con (which was faulty) and a standing fan turned on so this was really a welcome change.

For the curtains, I chose this slightly darker shade of grey (read our review on Meridian Curtains and Furnishings here) to contrast with the feature wall and I must say grey is definitely a great choice for the colour theme because I just love how everything came together eventually.



So, this wasn't really planned but I brought over my digital piano from the old house, which has been stuck with me for nearly a decade (yes, even to Sweden and back) even though I can't really play, only to realise that we don't have space for it in the living room or dining room. I initially kept it in its boxes and shoved it under the bed but the sweet hubby suggested that we should put it by the side of the bed so that I can play whenever I want to. Seriously, I will when I have the time and opportunity (which probably has to wait till the baby goes to school). For now, the kids are very happy that they can hit (or should I say thump, batter, pound) the notes too!


On the left side of the room, there is a built in wardrobe that comes with sliding doors with a greyish/brownish laminate that matches our theme. So, I have to admit that it's really not that huge to share between two grown-ups but thankfully for the fact that the hubby and I don't really own much clothing, it is more than enough to suffice.



As for the toilet, well, we were happy with the way it was and phew, didn't need to do much except give the ceiling a fresh coat of paint, install a rain shower and add in some shelving. I love the huge sink and the black marble walls!


We wanted to keep the drilling to a minimum so I bought these slim, stackable storage racks from Taobao which were really value for money. This one even comes with wheels so that it can be moved easily too and it has more than enough space to store our toiletries and the bath toys for the boy too.



Behind the toilet door is this Scandinavian-themed clothes hanger that I bought from Taobao too. I love the design, I love that it is made of metal, I love the colour, I love that it hangs over the door and doesn't require you to drill, I love the workmanship, yup, I just love everything about it.

Moving on to the last but very important highlight of the room, here's the initial draft of the workstation-cum-storage cupboard that we designed and got our carpenter to custom build for us.


This was something that I have longed for quite some time - a place to properly blog and get my work done. Previously, my workstation was in the living room right beside the window. While that means the sun shines right onto my laptop in the day and the dust builds up faster than I can clean, it also meant that I had to share the space with the kids and my mother-in-law who loves to watch Korean dramas. You can imagine how distracting it got at times and I admit that I have, on more than one occasion, wished for a proper computer desk in the comfort of my own room.


Unlike the living and dining rooms where we chose brownish, wooden and off white coloured laminates, we decided to get more bold and went for grey wood and black laminates for the master bedroom. Here's how it turned out eventually. Did I love it? You bet.



See? Now I get this nice corner for blogging and doing all my computer-related tasks and I can't be more thankful for it. Yup, if my laptop could smile, I bet it was beaming all over too as it said "Byebye" to the sun rays. I love how the black laminate for the table looked in the end and could only give the hubby a pat on his shoulder since this was his choice. (Didn't I say he didn't wanna make decisions? Haha!)


As for the cupboard, there was a few hiccups in the process, for instance the carpenter didn't realise that we wanted to install LED lights and had to drill holes for them last minute or that the cupboard doors are so big that one of it will hit the fan if we open it too wide. Nonetheless, we managed to overcome them one by one, or we chose to leave one eye closed when it couldn't be solved. Gotta look at the big picture, right? The cupboard also gives us some much needed storage space and this is where we keep our bags, bedsheets, jewellery, cosmetics, personal documents and so on.



I'm not sure if it's obvious here but there really isn't much room between the bed and workstation so after I put in my computer chair, and there's basically just an inch of space to maneuver around. Well, that just shows that we have an efficient use of space, right? In any case, this means that my baby sleeps right behind me when I work so it makes it easier for me to hear and get to him as compared to last time, so I'm thankful just to be able to do that.



One of the best things we have set up in the new house are the Eubiq power tracks, which I will be doing a review to share with you very soon. Sure, I had to go through the hassle of having to liaise with the carpenter, electrician and Eubiq installation team (that's what happens when you become your own interior designer) before I could finally get these tracks embedded nicely like this but let me just say that it was worth every effort. I'll tell you why in my next post, stay tuned!



Oh, and before I end, here's sharing with you our night lights in the master bedroom! One is star-shaped light with exquisite wooden carvings of houses, stars and pine trees while the other is a beautiful, metallic, sparkly angel lamp we bought in Sweden.



See how they illuminate our room? I love it! And yes, I'm really loving the peace, the comfort and the hope that I can feel in this cosy bedroom of ours. It might not be huge but it has everything we need and more. 

Yup, so that's about it for now, till the next post in A Happy Home!

******

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.



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