Friday, May 30, 2014

Small kitchen, big plans.

Small kitchen does not mean you have to compromise on the things you need (more like want actually).

The example below is a kitchen with an approximately 3m x 3m in size. Pretty small actually but almost everything a family need is there.

- a side by side or french door fridge (approx 700mm width)
- a double bowl sink
- cooking area
- a built in oven
- a kitchen island.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Energy Efficient Refrigerator

In preparation of the new apartment, I started looking out for a new fridge and the first thing I did was to head to NEA database of registered goods to check out the list energy efficient fridges.

The common misconception that most consumers have is that the number of ticks determined the cost savings that they can look forward to. However, not all products with 4 ticks (the highest so far) means they all consume the same amount of energy.

The number of ticks represents efficiency based on a formula, not the amount of energy it uses, therefore a small fridge with 3 ticks may actually use less energy that a huge fridge with 4 ticks simply because of the latter's size and the amount of energy needed to run effectively.

I downloaded the database and created a column that measures the annual energy consumed over volume ratio (the lower being better). From that list, you will notice that some 3 tick fridges are more efficient  in terms of AEC/volume than those with 4 ticks for reasons I mentioned earlier. However, a small fridge within the same model range may have a higher AEC/volume ratio than its bigger siblings because they may use the same compressor (hence similar energy consumption) to cool a smaller volume (hence inefficient)

So the important thing is to first decide on how big a volume do you need then narrow down the models. The best way to do this is to base it on your current fridge that you have now. If it is already bursting on its seems, then, you may need a bigger volume fridge and vice versa.

You can download the file here. Take note that the volume stated may look different from the manufacturer because it is net volume and not gross volume.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Our stroller history - continued

I blogged before about our stroller history here where we kept changing our stroller in the quest to find that perfect stroller. Back then, I thought we did.

Well, long story short, we never learn our lesson that there is no perfect stroller. Still, we are adamant and so we changed our stroller yet again.

Before anything else, let me go through the reasons (excuses) on why we decided to change our Phil & Teds Explorer.

To be honest, I love the Explorer. It is stable, reliable, solidly built and the list goes on. However, some niggling quirks it comes with has reached the point where it gets frustrating.

For one, the sun hood keeps dislodging each time we move in and out of the car. Sometimes just making full use of the 'follow the sun' feature of it will cause it to dislodge if it is slightly improperly attached in the first place. This is because the hood is simply attached to the frame without a solid form of locking mechanism. I like the idea of 'follow the sun' but I would have liked it more if it can stay in place while doing that.

The next thing that frustrates me is the main seat recline. I like that it freely adjustable but the seat back support strap mount is badly designed. A lot of times, the strap will dislodge from it's place. I should have taken a photo of it before I sold it off so that it is easier to explain what I am trying to describe. What P&T could have done is to just design the strap mount differently to make the strap stay in place.

The thing that made me decide to change to another double is because when both my kids need to sleep, the Explorer is not able to accommodate as the rear seat cannot be reclined. So I kept changing the second seat from the rear to the top to allow at least one child to sleep comfortably.

So I began researching on other strollers that can do what the Explorer can plus my new requirement. I narrowed it down to the Britax B-Ready.

Couple of reasons why I decided upon the B-Ready.

- Both seats can be reclined almost flat and the recline mechanism is so much easier.
- Stroller can be folded with the second seat at the back. Similar to Phil & Ted Vibe but the fold on the B-Ready is way easier.

The B-Ready is not without flaws. You can read my full review of it here

Monday, May 5, 2014

Britax B-READY vs B-DUAL vs Strider Plus 4

Britax B-READY, B-DUAL and Steelcraft Strider Plus 4 are part of a range of tandem strollers that is basically the same but with some differences.

The B-READY is the US version while the B-DUAL is the UK version and the Strider Plus 4 the AU version. The main difference is centered around the main seat.

Note: There is another Steelcraft Strider Plus 3, which is also essentially the same as the Strider Plus 4 but with 3 wheels instead of 4.

Now, let's go through the differences in detail.

Seat recline.

On the B-READY and Strider, the whole seat reclines, which means the seat retains its posture and the hood/canopy will follow suit. On the B-DUAL, the backrest reclines therefore you can achieve a true flat lying position when the calf rest is adjusted accordingly. The hood/canopy on the other hand stays in place. This means the B-DUAL is suitable from infants onwards while the B-READY is suitable when the child is able to sit.

The mechanism to recline both seats are the same, by pulling the lever at the back of the seat.

The second seat is exactly the same for both models.

B-READY and Strider main seat recline

B-DUAL main seat backrest recline

Harness adjust

Unlike on the B-DUAL, the harness height for the main seat on the B-READY and Strider can be easily adjusted without the need to re-thread by simply sliding adjuster up and down.

B-READY harness adjust

Foot rest / Calf support

On the B-READY and Strider, it is a foot rest as there is an area that allows the feet to rest on the frame. On the B-DUAL, it is purely a calf support therefore the child's feet will not be able to rest on anything.

The mechanism to adjust them are similar, by pressing both buttons at the side of the seat.

B-READY calf support

B-DUAL calf support

Canopy / Hood

The B-READY comes with a mesh panel window at the back with magnetic flap covers.

The B-DUAL on the other hand comes with a hood that can be expanded by a zipper which will also expose a mesh panel right in the middle

The Strider has both.

B-READY Hood rear mesh panel with magnetic flap cover.

B-DUAL Hood with mesh panel

Strider Hood. A combination of both.

You can refer to the official video and user guides below

Official Video




User Guides