Tag Archives: kitchen

A Bit Tinny

There’s a bar near me that has an amazing ceiling adorned with metal ceiling tiles. I hadn’t seen them for sale anywhere in the UK, but Rockett St. George now stock them in three different styles. There’s an ornate floral version.

Rockett St George - Tin Ceiling Tiles - Floral

A traditional design.

Rockett St George - Tin Ceiling Tiles - Traditional

Or a fancy trellis tile.

Rockett St George - Tin Ceiling Tiles - Trellis

The ceilings in our house are too low to have these; but I think I may find a place for them in the kitchen I’m planning, maybe around the base of the island or as a splash back. If you like the style but not the shiny tin, you can prime and paint them too. They are 61cm square and each tile is £19.

These Moroccan style coasters from I Love Retro would compliment them perfectly.

I Love Retro - Set-of-moroccan-style-coasters

What would you use them for?

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Chapatis With a Vintage Touch

My mother-in-law is staying with us at the moment, there’ll be no mother-in-law jokes on here though as she’s lovely. She also makes a mean curry and amazing chapatis. I’m going to see if she’ll share her recipe with me, firstly because I love eating chapatis and secondly, so I can use one of these vintage chapati boards to roll them out on.

Rockett St George - Vintage Chapati Boards

Aren’t they beautiful? Especially the more decorative one, second from the top. The dents and grooves add to their charm and I bet they feel all lovely and warm and smooth. You can get one from Rockett St. George from £25.

If I succeed in getting  my hands on the recipe I’ll post it here next week and if I don’t, I may get one of these boards anyway and use it as a pot stand.

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Sunny Swedish Plates

These melamine plates are so happy and sunny I thought they might brighten your rainy Friday afternoon.

Plan to take them on your first summer picnic or get them for your kids.

You’d better eat your dinner quick before Mr Lion gobbles it up. He looks like he’s eyeing up your neighbours food too.

Lion Plate by Ingela P Arrhenius

Reenact The Tiger Who Came To Tea with this Tiger plate. I love his bewildered expression.

Tiger Plate by Ingela P Arrhenius

Their cousin the Cat has requested you have something fish-based please.

Cat Plate by Ingela P Arrhenius

The designs aren’t all animals, there is a happy clown, a sun and this apple plate which unfortunately won’t count toward your 5 a day.

Apple Plate by Ingela P Arrhenius

The plates are designed by Swedish illustrator Ingela P Arrhenius and are available from Lagom Design for £8 each.

Which is your favourite?

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A Kraken Brew

I love a pun, I really do. It’s the cause of a lot of eye rolling from my husband.

When I saw this mug I not only loved the monochrome sea monster design, but I LOVED the name, ‘A Kraken Brew’. Amazing.

A Kraken Brew - GX2

The kraken’s tentacles are taking over the whole cup, look!

A Kraken Brew - GX2

This cup by GX2 homegrown can only make your morning brew a better experience. If you want to spend your tea break day-dreaming of Captain Jack Sparrow that is completely up to you.

The cups are £7.99 and if you want a set or plates, teapots, bowls and tea cups covered in kraken, GX2 can do that for you too.

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Below Stairs Of Hungerford

Have you visited Below Stairs of Hungerford? I found it yesterday and have already lost quite a few hours looking through all their stuff. It is an Aladdin’s Cave of amazing finds.

This General Post Office leather Gladstone bag is definitely my favourite item for four reasons. Firstly, it is unused, secondly it has G.P.O on the side, thirdly it is £200 & finally it is just beautiful.

Unused Leather Gladstone Bag L17 - Below Stairs of Hungerford

I think this 1900/1920s letter rack is wonderful, in fact I’d like it in our hallway. Our house was built in 1926 so it would fit right in. It’s £75.

Letter Rack - Below Stairs of Hungerford

There are so many jelly, ice and entrée moulds on this site it is fantastic, there’s even one in the shape of a tongue! They are mainly copper so are pretty pricey with some of the more ornate ones for sale at around £300. This tiny unused teardrop entrée mould is just gorgeous and as it’s small, so is its price tag of £16.

Copper Entree Mould, 9 Available JM94 - Below Stairs of Hungerford

The kitchenalia section is very impressive with gadgets from coffee grinders to whisks to apple peelers, coveted items as copper saucepans and even a 1940s electric oven and a recipe book from the same era.

Mrs Beeton's All About Cookery B13 - Below Stairs of Hungerford

Need a new washing machine? What about the 1928 ‘Wonder Washer’? So much nicer looking than our white goods, if not as practical.

Copper Washing Machine WP11 - Below Stairs of Hungerford

There’s a great range of old enamel signs and advertising materials, one that had me hankering was this pre-war copper ashtray from the hotel where my husband and I spent our wedding night.

Richmond Hill Hotel Copper Ashtray A20 - Below Stairs of Hungerford

I could show you more and more but go on over and have a browse, Below Stairs of Hungerford have an amazing range of quirky pieces. I really enjoyed looking through the more unusual sections such as the police equipment, medical items and old postboxes. I think I may have to make time to go and have a look in person at their shop in Berkshire.

What is your favourite item?

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Wipe Your Mouth

For me, napkins make dining feel a bit more special. The process of smoothing the linen over your lap, or better still tucking it into your collar, helps to whet the appetite and prepares the subconscious for the freedom to dine with abandon and without a second thought to ruining your clothes. Got food all round your mouth? No matter, you can delicately wipe it off with your napkin without looking like a glutton.

Saying that, my Dad and step-mum are the only people I know who actually use napkins every day at their dining table (kitchen roll doesn’t count people!). After eating at their house recently I thought it would be nice to get some napkins at home. Here are some of the ones I’m hankering after.

Subtly remind guests of their table manners by giving them Polite Napkins to use, you can always resort to holding one up if you notice any elbows on the table. By Imogen Luddy they are available in grey or green at £10 each or £35 for a set of four of one design.

Polite Napkins - Imogen Luddy, Bouf

I really like these beetle napkins by Warbeck & Cox but maybe not for the squeamish? Available in green or black at £20 for a set of four. The same design is available in all sorts of other products too.

Beetle Napkins - Warbeck & Cox

Personalise your napkins for all your regular guests. The generic ‘guest’ and ‘the girlfriend’ will mean you won’t have to update them every time your tastes change. By Jonny’s Sister, they are £9 each or £30 for a set of four.

Personalised Napkins by Jonny's Sister

I’ve not seen anything similar to these lovely Another Rainy Day napkins and an extra bonus is they’re dark and are less likely to show any stubborn stains. Made in Ireland by Handmade By Me, who also do custom designs if you know what you want your napkin to look like but just can’t find it anywhere.

Another rainy day napkins by Handmade By Me

Do you think fabric napkins are too muh faff to wash and iron or do you enjoy the luxury of using one?

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Hawksmoor at Home

Hawksmoor serve the best steak I have ever tasted in their three restaurants in London – Covent Garden, Spitalfields and Guildhall. I mean it’s melt-in-the-mouth amazing.

We went to the Covent Garden restaurant a few weeks ago as a treat for my husband’s birthday and it was glorious. We started with cocktails in the bar area from their extensive list, it took about 10 minutes to choose as the descriptions were all so wonderful. In the end I went for a Hawksmoor Fizz and my husband was won over by the description of shipwrecked oak barrels that the brandy for his Shipwreck Sour was aged in.

The decor of the basement restaurant is stunning, with dark wood parquet floor, leather chairs and solid tables it is what I imagine a gentleman’s smoking room to be like (but with no smoke). I almost expected to smell sandalwood when I walked in. There’s a beautiful row of mismatched sliding doors that separates off part of the restaurant and had me hankering for our own version at home.

When I booked the table I mentioned we were celebrating a birthday and the staff were so friendly and gave us each a glass of Prosecco and my husband’s pudding on the house. Ordering is slightly different here if you are having steak. You choose from the different cuts available on the day and order and pay by the weight so that everyone at the table eating steak shares the same cut of meat. Be warned, if you start ordering the Chateaubriand it can get expensive quickly, but there’s also an express menu so it is possible to spend much less.

We had a fabulous birthday lunch, the highlight for me (apart from the steak) was the peanut butter shortbread with salted caramel ice-cream. Heaven in each salty, nutty, creamy, caramel mouthful.

This was our second visit to the Hawksmoor but for us it’s the kind of place we’d only go to as a real treat. But now Hawksmoor have put their recipes in a book ‘Hawksmoor at Home’ I can try to recreate the dishes at home.

Hawksmoor At Home

Don’t think it’s just steak in this book, the recipes are so varied and there’s lots of information. The sauces are inspiring, the Stilton Hollandaise recipe is at the top of my list to try. As I’ve mentioned before I’m quite scared of cooking seafood but the guides on preparing seafood in this book are clear and not at all scary looking. The cocktails sound delicious and there is a whole chapter on trifles.

So far I’ve made the Potted Smoked Mackerel which was very fishy but creamy too and had a nice tang of horseradish. The pickled cucumber to go with it is really simple but tasted wonderful and cut through the buttery fish perfectly.

You can order Hawksmoor At Home for £20 and all proceeds go to Action Against Hunger. It says on the website that shipping is ten days but mine was delivered within four days.

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Splendid Stamps from Yellow Owl Workshop

I’ve written about the LCD card from Yellow Owl Workshop before but I had to mention their stamps. There are some nice scenic stamp sets which would be great for kids but there’s lots of grown-up stamps too, I’m particularly hankering after the ones in their stamp activity kits section.

Make sure you take all the credit for your culinary creations and label your food gifts with this lovely red ‘From the kitchen of…’ stamp set.

From the kitchen of stamp kit - Yellow Owl Workshop

If you like to share a good book but also like to get them back, stamp your books with this bright green stamp. That owl will give any greedy book borrowers a stern look.

Book plate stamp kit - Yellow Owl Workshop

Or stamp your own place cards, gift tags or noughts and crosses game. These are all $19.50 and include a natural rubber stamp mounted on a maple block, ink pad and coordinating coloured pencil. I may have to explain the mix-tape gift tag to my younger gift recipients but I’m really hankering after this one.

Mixtape stamp kit - Yellow Owl Workshop

Yellow Owl also have some cute place stamp sets. London features stamps of Big Ben and a double-decker bus, and just look at the Paris one below with the Eiffel Tower and café table and chairs. There are also sets for New York, San Francisco and Italy.

Paris stamp set = Yellow Owl Workshop

If you want to have a go at carving your own stamp Yellow Owl Workshop sell a kit to help you do just that. It comes with a Print Workshop book autographed by the author Christine Schmidt, a lino cutter and blade set, rubber block to carve your stamp from and an array of envelopes, cards and gift tags for you to show off your stamp creations. If you’re not confident carving freehand there are some templates included to help you. All this for $40 which I think is pretty good.

Carve a stamp kit - Yellow Owl Workshop

What stamp would you create?

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Pancake Prompts

This week is going to be great. How could it not be? It has pancakes in it.

I look forward to Shrove Tuesday for about three weeks but despite my anticipation I always end up scrabbling around for a recipe on Pancake Day. Along with many other things, I can’t keep it in my head. When I was little my mum had a frying pan with a pancake recipe printed on the bottom of it, although if you get one you may want to make a mental note not to turn it over to check a quantity once you’ve started heating the oil. I think I may have done that. What? That’s how you learn things.

A far nicer recipe prompt is this recipe print for Kath’s Go Faster Pancakes by Etsy seller Kate Sutton.

Pancake Recipe Print - Kate Sutton

I love the illustrations, the egg’s happy face and the mustachioed electric mixer more than make up for the rogue apostrophe in the title. The recipe looks good too, I’ve never added a whisked egg white but I’ll bet that makes for some gorgeous and fluffy pancakes. Having this print up in my kitchen all year round would definitely increase my pancake making and therefore my happiness.

Kath’s Go Faster Pancake recipe recommends serving with maple syrup and fruit but my favourite is the simple yet heavenly lemon and sugar combo. How do you like yours?

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Olive Drop

My all-time biggest hanker is olives. I love them. Spanish, Italian, Greek, green or black, stuffed with feta, garlic, anchovies, pimento, manchego, lemon, well anything really. I have not yet disliked any olive combination I’ve tried. I’m convinced they count as one of my five-a-day, but my husband laughs at me when I say that. They’re good for you aren’t they?

My daughter has inherited the olive taste. When I buy olives we carefully count them up and divide them fairly between us. I scoff mine in the space of a few minutes but my daughter savours hers over a day or so. Occasionally I give in to temptation, I try not to take them but when I open the fridge they call out to me. I thought she hadn’t noticed, but the other day as she was putting her share of olives in the fridge she warned me “Just to let you know Mum, I’ve counted these and I know exactly how many there are.” Rumbled.

The Olive Drop must be the perfect dining accessory for us, it’s designed by Ernie Bakker and based on Kerplunk so instead of me just stealing my child’s olives* we could make a game of it. It’s £22 from The Hidden Art Shop.

Olive Drop - Ernie Bakker

The Staffordshire made ceramic base is designed to collect the oil that runs down the sides of the hand-drilled acrylic tube so you can soak it up with bread. You can also use the bamboo sticks to eat the olives. I’d like to get this, the only thing putting me off is that I might end up with less olives.

It’s called the Olive Drop but I suppose you could use this for other food too. Small lumps of cheese maybe, pickled onions, grapes, Maltesers?

* Olives are the only food I steal from my child. She somehow manages to make her October birthday chocolate last until Christmas, her Christmas chocolate last until Easter and her Easter eggs last until the summer and I don’t take ANY of it, even when it is screaming at me from the cupboards. See how much self-restraint I have?

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