You know Mr E, he loves a bit of upcycling. Now the wall has been taking down between the kitchen and the dining room, I’ve obviously lost all the kitchen cupboards that were on that wall. Hence, I’m always complaining about not having enough storage in the kitchen, so wasn’t at all surprised when he appeared one night with his latest Ebay find: a tall, pine unit with a cupboard and lots of shelves. It looked absolutely perfect, the only problem was that it was a pretty hideous shade of orange. As we discussed colours, I mentioned that I’d seen some really dark grey interior finishes recently, and that I really wanted shades of granite and khaki for the kitchen, with accents of copper that have been dominating my Pinterest for a while now.
Since we’ve knocked through the kitchen/dining room, my kitchen is one of our favourite spaces. It’s not flashy (we couldn’t afford new units so we just changed the worktop, tiles and – finally this year – the flooring), but it’s so light and bright now, and along with our brightly painted, upcycled kitchen table, chairs and wall units (thanks to Mr E) it’s happy and homely too. I’m always on the lookout for cheerful, quirky things, so here’s my summer kitchen roundup, including some really rather lovely sale items!
At some point during this weekend, and I’m not really sure when: some time between frosty dog walks, wrapped up in snuggly jumpers (that hush Claire jumper just showing in the pic above is a favourite) hats and scarves, sipping hot chocolate, munching on home made pizza with the boys, painting skirting boards (we’ve just had new floors) and wandering around home stores looking at cushions and throws to create our perfect hygge kitchen (it’s my favourite new word), Mr E turned to me and said ‘I’m in a really good place’. He’s not one for outbursts of emotion, so that little sentence meant more to me that you could know. What with recovering financially after his redundancy, a mad couple of months of travel and the boys starting back studying, it’s been a pretty busy time, and to finally be at home, doing a bit of nesting and enjoying our little family feels great. Read more
Last week, when I was at Dunelm, there were a couple of items that really caught my eye. The first, as you know, is anything and everything copper. I’ve got to be honest, I wasn’t sure whether there was a place for copper in our kitchen, what with all the tropical colours, but it turns out that it works really well.
The trouble with having a lovely new kitchen, with freshly painted walls and brand new, sparkly worktops, is that you don’t want to put anything in it. Now we’ve got our longed-for blank canvas, it’s been a struggle to go ahead and personalise it, as after removing all the clutter (and a whole wall of units), it seems so lovely and bright and fresh.
This week (and weekend) has been absolutely manic. All of a sudden, everyone who couldn’t do any work for weeks decided that they could do it RIGHT NOW, so suddenly, after living in a building site since June, we were having worktops delivered and choosing tiles and living off baguettes and cheese (which is actually not much of a hardship) as our cooker and hob were out of action. If you’ve been following my kitchen story, you can skip this bit, but if not, let me take you back, waaaaay back *does weird wobbly hand movements to indicate going back in time*.
So now we’re back from our travels, I’d kind of forgotten that half the house was a building site! It was a bit surreal to walk into the kitchen to see half the units missing and the bare plaster on the wall where the tiles have been taken down (we got our own one-man wrecking machine, Charlie, to do it, of course).
So last time I told you about project kitchen refurb, the wall was down, but not a lot else was done. We’ve moved on a little bit, and in an effort to feel like we’ve made a little progress in all the dust and rubble, Mr E finished the dining room side and painting it a beautiful shade of blue. The kitchen is awaiting our poor kitchen fitter, who is currently stacked out, to come and fit new wooden worksurfaces, and then all it needs is a bit of tiling. Which brings me neatly on to my first wishlist item:
Shopping (and window shopping, as we’ve currently run out of money) continues for our new kitchen. I love a gadget and there are TONS of great gadgets and appliances on the market at the moment. Here’s my current gadget/appliance wish list:
So after our search for a decent builder started running from weeks into months (one came round to quote, then just disappeared from the face of the earth – didn’t answer texts or emails and never came back with a price!), Mr E was chatting to his lovely brother in law Dave about how difficult it is to get anyone to do any work. The answer wasn’t exactly what we were expecting: ‘I’ll do it for you’. Dave works for a team that refurbishes properties, and along with Dan, his son, they gave up their precious bank holiday weekend to knock our kitchen and dining room into one.
So it looks like the messy bit of the kitchen/dining room refurb (the wall smashing bit) might be happening soon. Next up, when we can afford it, will be planning the actual kitchen. But what do I really love? I looked at my Pinterest, and in my cupboards. I wandered around my kitchen, really trying to notice everything, I jotted down any themes, or things that seem to catch my eye frequently. And here’s what I noticed:
So this is fun – especially if you’re as obsessed by toast as we are. Teenagers seem to have a special affinity with toast and I’ll often pass one of the boys on the stairs carrying a teetering pile of buttered toast (and Marmite, for preference), mentally waving goodbye to yet another plate that could potentially fester in his bedroom until it’s unearthed at my next mucking out session.
Back to toast, though, Breville have joined up with Warburtons to launch a ‘bespoke’ toaster, which is a perfect fit for the Warburton’s Toastie loaf. It’s specially designed (the bread slots are both deeper and wider) to toast the entire piece of bread right up to the top, which means no more flabby strips at the top of your slice of toast.
Breville have even made this lovely video, just in case you’re not 100% clear:
There are two toasters in the range: a 2 slice and a 4 slice, and they actually look really stylish too, with a stainless steel finish, variable browning controls and a very clever ‘lift and look’ facility that means you can have a peep at your toast without cancelling the cycle (which always leads to putting it back in and burning it). Add to this all sorts of defrost/reheat and mid-cycle functions and it’s a pretty good all rounder. Oh, and you don’t HAVE to buy Warburtons if you don’t want to. But then, it’s a perfect fit, so why wouldn’t you?!
This clever toaster is now available at Breville.co.uk and Amazon, priced £34.99 for the 2 slice or £59.99 for the 4 slice. I think they’re quite cool (well, hot!).
Happy Monday! Hope yours is going well. I spent most of the weekend dreaming and drawing and planning (oh and making yummy barbecue pulled chicken too). We’ve been working and saving really hard for our upcoming kitchen refurb and it’s lovely to think that this is the year that we’ll actually be able to start making our dreams become a reality. I spend so much time in the kitchen, it’s one of the places that I’m really looking forward to starting work on. We want to knock the wall down between the kitchen and the dining room to recreate a larger, more sociable space – something that really hit home to me during our New Year’s Eve party, when I was stuck at the sink clearing plates between courses, listening to everyone having fun in the next room.
With our house purchase still slowly moving forward (reeeeally painfully slowly, but nobody’s actually said no yet, so we’re holding out hope), my thoughts keep gravitating to my new kitchen. The Pinterest page is slowly filling up with gorgeous kitchen shots and I’m starting to make a few notes about what I’d like in my dream kitchen. Being a practical sort of gal, and needing everything close at hand, I’m a huge fan of Kilner jars. I like to have lots of things on display and within easy reach when I’m cooking, so open shelves will definitely be the way forward. Tombola Times are hosting a MASSIVE survey of tons of food lovers, asking them what their top ten hero products are, to try and discover the ultimate store cupboard (you can find the survey here), and most of mine can be found in jars in my kitchen:
Okay, so we’re going to have to work on the name, but we’re in! The area is really nice and there are some really beautiful areas of woodland and fields nearby (more of this later).
The kitchen is fab (check out the KitchenAid placing – looking rather fly):
and although the oven and hob were really gross, we got one of those oven cleaning companies in and now it’s immaculate:
And look at the hob:
Pretty nifty eh?
The fellas are back at school: #2 back with his beloved mates, and #1 very happily starting in the Sixth Form (yes, I tried to get one of those really nice ‘back to school’ shots with them standing looking all neat and posh in their new gear. Let’s face it, it was never going to happen):
…even the Ninja Cat of Death is pleased (turn the sound up for the purring) but she’s gone back to being miserable now. Happily I got the brief happy spell on film:
Much, MUCH more to come! So anyhoo, how have you been? What did I miss? xx
- Fast & Furious – Supercharged at Universal Orlando Resort, Florida April 24, 2018
- Weekend wishlist: chic dressing for sunny days April 21, 2018
- News: Virgin Holidays and North America’s first dolphin sanctuary April 19, 2018
- Discovering the Caribbean on board Viking Sea April 17, 2018
- Easy mini Bakewell tarts April 14, 2018