Great Finds for the Home

I can’t believe it’s been almost a month since Daiso opened a branch in the heart of Sydney and I haven’t blogged about it. I’m sorry Sydneysiders for the lateness of this post. 

Daiso Japan opened in Chinatown Sydney (Level 1, 727 George Street, Haymarket) on the first week of September. On the second day it opened, my friend and I rushed to the store as soon as we clocked out of the office. We were that excited!

The Daiso branch in Chinatown has a smaller space compared to the Chatswood branch however, I feel like I’m able to see more items that I never noticed in Chatswood. I don’t know why this is the case for me.

Two of the sections that I enjoy are the Bento and Food section.

The Chinatown branch is conveniently located not too far away from where I work so it’s possible for me to drop by anytime I want to. However, after visiting three times in two weeks, I had to stay away because Daiso is such a wasteland haven and a hoarder’s nightmare. Eventhough each item is only AUD2.80, it can become expensive later on when you add all your purchases up. So everytime I walk in the store, I get what I need and check-out the counter. No need to dilly dally because I can always swing by anytime.

Here are a few items I was able to get:
Storage solutions. A jug I can use for storing Lemon and Cucumber Water. A small glass container for storing left-over Kimchi.  Plastic boxes for storing shoes.

Now Open in Chinatown, Sydney: DAISO

Bento accessories and sushi molders. I would love to learn a few ways to brighten up our lunch boxes and make sushi at home so I bought a few items to help me start off. Also, the sushi molders can be used for molding sausages (I think of Longganisa).

Now Open in Chinatown, Sydney: DAISO

Fragrance Oil. I only bought one scent for now and if we like it, we’ll buy some more.

Now Open in Chinatown, Sydney: DAISO

Food. It’s the first time I bought food items from Daiso and so far, they’ve all been good. I got us some biscuits for snacks and some noodles and soup stocks for cooking (see latest my latest recipe: Japanese Tinola)

Now Open in Chinatown, Sydney: DAISO

DAISO Japan
Level 1, 727 George Street
Haymarket, Sydney 2000
Phone: (02) 9212 6888
Open 7 days a week from 9:00am-9:00pm

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We’ve been using our 10-cup rice cooker for years and I felt that we needed something smaller and just use the big one only when we have guests or parties at home. Other than save space, a small rice cooker will also help save electricity consumption. I’ve had this idea at the back of my mind but I never really went to appliance stores and have a look at what’s out there.  A month ago, I noticed an attractive rice cooker in one of the KDramas that the Husband and I were watching. It was red, square-shaped and it talks! It looked like a small robot. I searched the net (googled “Korean rice cooker”) and there I found the same kind of rice cookers. It turned out that such rice cookers are used in Japan and Korea. It came in different brands, functions and prices. The more features the rice cooker has, the more expensive it is. 

The better term for this kind of rice cooker would be a (1) Smart Rice Cooker or (2) Fuzzy-logic Rice Cooker.  I only call it my Korean Rice Cooker only because I saw it being used in a KDrama. 

How different is a Fuzzy-logic Rice Cooker from the basic rice cooker? 

Fuzzy-logic rice cookers have computer chips that direct their ability to make proper adjustments to cooking time and temperature. Unlike basic rice cookers, which complete tasks in a single-minded, mechanical manner, the process behind the fuzzy-logic rice cookers needs a bit more explanation. The fuzzy sets theory, first proposed by UC Berkeley professor Lotfi Zadeh in 1965, laid the groundwork for fuzzy logic, which he also put forward in 1973. Fuzzy sets theory has to do with mathematical sets, or groups of items known as elements. In most mathematical sets, an element either belongs to the set or it doesn’t. For example, a sparrow would belong to a set of birds, but a bat wouldn’t. In fuzzy logic, though, elements can belong to sets in varying degrees. So since a bat has wings, it might belong to a set of birds — but only to a certain extent. Fuzzy logic is basically a way to program machines so they look at the world in a more human way, with degrees of truth. Instead of cold, hard parameters and strict data sets, fuzzy logic assumes a more practical approach. Using numbers, it incorporates non-definitive words like “slightly” or “almost” into its decision-making processes. As a result, the use of fuzzy logic in rice cookers helps to ensure properly cooked rice because it gives the appliances the ability to make judgment calls similar to those a person might make, albeit typically better than those a hungry, impatient person might make. (source)

Some functions of the Fuzzy-logic rice cookers: cook white rice, brown rice, sticky rice, sushi rice, pasta, soups, stews, bake cakes etc.

I thought that such rice cookers doesn’t exist here in Australia so I just daydreamed about it. The Korean brands we saw online were really expensive ranging from AUD$200-AUD$400  so I dodged the idea because I don’t want to spend that much just for a rice cooker.

Then one weekend, we passed by the rice cooker section of Myer and found a Panasonic Fuzzy-logic rice cooker priced at AUD$130.00. I was elated to see it but decided to think about it. Two weeks after, I was reminded that we have unused points that we need to redeem. When I looked at the kitchen appliances section of the redemption website, I saw the Panasonic Fuzzy-logic rice cooker we want!!! I was very happy! Imagine, we’ll have the rice cooker we want without paying a cent. Such a great blessing! In less than two weeks, my Korean rice cooker arrived.

Our Fuzzy Rice Cooker (a.k.a. Korean Rice Cooker)
Our Fuzzy Rice Cooker (a.k.a. Korean Rice Cooker)
Our Fuzzy Rice Cooker (a.k.a. Korean Rice Cooker)
Our Fuzzy Rice Cooker (a.k.a. Korean Rice Cooker)
Our Fuzzy Rice Cooker (a.k.a. Korean Rice Cooker)
So far, we’ve been happy using the Fuzzy-logic rice cooker. It hasn’t given us any problems. Its functions include cooking white rice, brown rice, sticky rice, cake and soups. It has Keep Warm and Quick Function buttons. It can also be using for steaming food. 

We’ve only tried cooking white rice and brown rice, both came out perfectly, like it was cooked using a stove and not a machine. When cooking white rice, the LCD will have a countdown of nine minutes. When cooking brown rice, the countdown will start at 13 minutes. Once the rice is cooked, you’ll hear a beeping sound and it’ll automatically shift to Keep Warm

Even if we re-heat our rice a couple of times, the bottom rice doesn’t burn (walang totong!). 

It can cook up to five (5) cups of rice so it’s perfect for a small family.

Cooking time for white rice takes about 45 minutes and 1.5 hours for brown rice. It takes longer for the rice to cook using the fuzzy-logic rice cooker but the rice comes out always perfect. However, that’s when the Quick Cook function comes in. When using the Quick Cook function, cooking time is shortened to 20 minutes for white rice and 45 minutes for brown rice.

For any home who would like to own a rice cooker that does more than cook rice, check out these Fuzzy-logic rice cookers and see if it’ll fit your lifestyle. 

Shared about a lifestyle store called Habitania two weeks ago and today I have a few more photos as I took the Husband there so he can enjoy the place too.
Painted Mugs 
Chopsticks Holder (so funky!)
Tea Set (looks soooo dainty! I want it)

Lots of colourful knick knacks!

I found Pochi purses here!  I chanced upon these cute purses at MCA but priced at AUD$25.00 so I didn’t buy it.  But at Habitania, they only cost @$12.95 so I bought a small fuchsia purse. 

Habitania 
636-638 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
0430 515 761
Discovered a new home store along George Street, Sydney a few weeks back.  The entrance to “Habitania” seemed small but the space inside was good enough to accommodate several home and lifestyle items.



The minute I went inside, I went “Wow!” because of the cute and functional home products on display.  I was also happy to note that the place was managed by Koreans and they were playing KPop songs while I was there.  


They have a section for party needs, souvenirs and party costumes.



They sell small appliances too like the ones from bodum.


I was specifically in search of an oil burner for our home that night when I passed by their store and I was glad I found one.



I was lucky they had a porcelain oil burner for only AUD$5.95.  It was the last piece on the shelf and I’m glad I was there at the right time.

Finding an Oil Burner at Habitania

I love it because it’s made of porcelain and the details on it are so dainty and pretty.  And most of all it serves the purpose of helping keep our home smelling nice.  Functional, pretty and cheap–a great combination for great finds for the home.
Finding an Oil Burner at Habitania

Habitania 
636-638 George Street
Sydney NSW 2000
0430 515 761
If someone asks me what I bought with my first salary from my first Aussie paycheck, the answer would have to be my Resistance Elliptical Strider.  

I grew up being physically active.  When I was young, I always get involved in activities where I’m able to move and sweat.  It’s not difficult to engage in physical activities in school thanks to the various clubs one can join but when one goes out into the corporate world of working 8-10 hours a day, it can become a challenge to some of us.  When I worked in Manila, I had the chance of joining sports competitions until such time I had to retire because of an injury. And just when that happened, I migrated to Australia where I felt I needed to continue having an active lifestyle.  

So when I received my first paycheck in 2005, I looked for a cheap exercise equipment and found a Resistance Elliptical Strider.  The machine may seem harmless but it is quite the opposite.  This one weighed a ton (I don’t have the exact number but it is heavy) and takes a lot of effort (and muscle) to exercise in.  But given my age and physical capabilities then, it was good enough for me.  A few minutes on this machine 3 to 4 times a week gave me a fast heartbeat rate, strong legs and arms.  Other than the help of this machine, I averaged 30 minutes of walking on a daily basis. For three years, I lived near a park and every weekend, I’d briskwalk and run during the afternoons for additional exercise. 

When I moved to an apartment with my Husband, we brought the Elliptical Strider with us.  But as time goes by,  my body has changed and I needed an exercise equipment that will be more friendly to my body, my bones and joints in particular. 

As one age, we have to treat our body with appropriate care.  I’m petite and cannot carry very heavy things. I thought that I should treat my bones and joints well.  At one time, exercising on my elliptical strider gave me a backache so instead of being encouraged to use it, I became wary, fearing that I might injure so I stopped exercising on it last year.  It took me months to decide to let it go and opt for another exercise machine.   

Last month, I finally bought a Foldable Treadmill online via oo.com.au.

It came with simple instructions on how to unfold it.  No need to assemble any big parts.



In less than 5 minutes, our treadmill was ready for use.




I love our treadmill because:
It is handy, small, compact but serves its purpose.  With its 1530mm x 650mm x 720mm size, it is perfect for our 2-bedroom apartment.  Since it is foldable, it doesn’t eat up too much space at home.  It only weighs 19 kilos so lugging it around is not a hassle.  It has a stable incline which is manageable for everyone in the family.


I don’t have to get out of the house in order to walk or jog.  One of my biggest hurdle in exercising is going/driving to the park and the weather.  Going out requires extra time and effort while driving to a place involves petrol costs.  The weather can be a nuisance.  It’s too cold during winter, too hot during summer and rains last for days.  Since I’ve got a treadmill at home, I’ve got no excuse.  


I’m back to my regular habit of exercising!  After three weeks of having a treadmill at home, I’m now back to exercising 3 to 4 times a week.  Nowadays, I look forward to going home and spending time on the treadmill.  It easily became a part of my lifestyle because I can get on the treadmill while I watch TFConline before dinner.  


The Treadmill was a great replacement to the Elliptical Strider.The treadmill is perfect for me because I love walking.  I can just walk for a long period of time while I watch TV or read stuff on the iPad.  If I’m not doing anything while on the treadmill, I don’t get bored.  Walking in silence is therapeutic for me.  It helps me think and de-stress.


It’s a fun exercise machine! I’m able to walk, briskwalk, jog, run on the treadmill.  In a 25-minute session, I’m able to do all four activities.  Sometimes, I do a bit of arm exercises while walking–a combined exercise.  I also sometimes sing while I walk on the treadmill and I love it!


Although I miss having the Elliptical Strider around, I’m glad I made this change in our lifestyle.  I realized now how important it is to finding the right equipment for me, one that will is more friendly to me body and one that makes me want to exercise. 


For those who would like to buy the same treadmill I have, you can check it out here.