My Favourite Kitchen Appliances

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As I may have mentioned once or twice (or twelve times) recently I’ve just moved house. And as I keep saying, there have been loads of things to sort out and organize. Boring things, like insurances and blinds (it is SO FIDDLY to put up a blind!! Who knew??!) and fun things like working out where all my art is going to go and planning the kitchen.

I’m lucky in that my kitchen is pretty much all brand new; the previous occupants of this house seemed to be fans of boiling all their food to death but apparently never opened the windows so the cupboard doors weren’t in great condition after weeks of exposure to damp. These all came off and have been replaced by new doors, so alongside the new worktops it’s like a brand new kitchen.

I went for grey cabinet doors and a dark wood worktop: colours I find prettty soothing (and easy to keep clean) and they work really well with the cream subway tiles and the ‘putty’ walls.

However, the most exciting part of choosing the kitchen has got to be the appliances. I was really excited to select an induction hob this time around; I’ve had ceramic and gas hobs in the the past but have only ever been able to play with fancy ceramic hobs at my parent’s house. Let me tell you, this hob lives up to its reputation: It’s AMAZING. It’s as responsive as a gas hob but without the faff of taking it apart each night to clean it. I did have to throw out a couple of saucepans that weren’t compatible with my new hob, but hey, that’s an excuse for lovely new kitchenware. I’m never looking back from induction.

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The second most exciting new appliance I chose was my new fridge. After nixing the idea of keeping the old 4 year old Samsung one I decided to go with a super-tall, super-roomy built-in fridge freezer. It’s amazing how much I can fit in the thing and it even has a WINE RACK. Actually, forget the induction hob, the wine rack is the most exciting part of my kitchen. I love you, wine rack. My new fridge keeps my food noticeably fresher for longer than my old one and it stores so much… I love it.

The oven was my final choice, and probably the most boring one. Or so I thought. My old oven must have been pretty crap because this one, well it actually cooks food evenly which has been a bit of a revelation. No more burned spots on my pizzas, lovely even gold tops on my cauliflower cheese. It’s fantastic. The light inside it is fantastic; I have spent the last year with an oven that has a broken light so watching my dinner cook has become my newest hobby.

It’s probably wrong how in love I am with my new kitchen…

This post was written in partnership with Electrolux. For more information please see my disclosure.

Our New House: The Kitchen

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So last week, I lied to you. Just a little. I told you that my new lounge was one of my favourite rooms in the house when actually I think the kitchen is.

It’s the room that I spend the most time in and is a completely different place compared with the old one. The area to cook in is about a third of the size, but rather than this being at all pokey or annoying it just means that everything is within arm’s reach. It’s perfect.

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There are a few things I’ve changed in here: replaced the blind and made a floral curtain over the ugly boiler (when I say ‘I’ made the curtain I mean I chose the fabric, measured the boiler then asked my Mother-in-Law to do it).

The Pantry

One of the best things about this kitchen is the MOTHERTRUCKING PANTRY! I’ve been lucky enough to live in a couple of houses with pantries before, and really is there anything else a middle-class country dweller craves more than a pantry in her kitchen? I think not. Ours looks a little bare as so much of our glassware lives in the garage (which is off the kitchen) so we are able to keep it to the bare essentials: breadmaker, mini magimix, veg, recycling bin, dried herbs and spices, ceareals… that sort of thing. I love it, duh.

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I think this is my favourite piece of art in the whole house, in my favourite frame. The art was from Etsy (no longer available) and the frame was a chazza shop special… the best kind of serendipitous decoration I real. It’s my sense of humour all over.

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When we moved into this house there was a washing machine where the dishwasher lives and we were told that a) white goods were included and b) there was plumbing for a washing machine in the garage. On moving-in day there was a gaping big hole in the kitchen where the washing machine used to be and no plumbing in the garage. I was shamefully a bit distraught: I felt that life without a dishwasher would be pretty bloody hard (first world problems, I know). Luckily my very clever dad plumbed my washing machine into the garage – being reunited with my beloved washing machine after 2 years was WONDERFUL – and I found a year-old dishwasher (with 3 years left on it’s John Lewis guarantee!) on eBay for 70 quid. Will bought it for me for Christmas and order was once again restored.

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This is where we eat. I love to cook our dinner as I watch the littlies tuck into whichever organic delight I’ve cooked up for them and this table is just big enough for family meals. It was another eBay bargain and is awaiting a lick of Annie Sloan chalk paint once the weather’s a big brighter and we can take it outside.

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This pot comes from my local garden centre: it was love at first sight.

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More Charity Shop bargains – my decanters and royal mug which is full of Crayola pens – and the unit that used to house cookbooks but is now the home of toys and plenty of the ‘That’s Not My…’ series.

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Because the sight of the pantry door was boring me to tears I thought I’d plaster it in family pictures. It’s such a lovely thing to stand and look at over your morning cup of tea, so many happy memories. Giving it a cursory glance I can see my Grandma (the original Elfreda), Will and I in NYC, Malaysia and Greece, my in-laws in Tunisia, my dad and I when I was Elfie’s age, gorgeous Aly McLoughlin-Harte (Bryony you’re on there somewhere too!), my BFF just as she got engaged and both Elfie and Hux in utero. I love photo doors, or walls, whatever. Memories ♥

Our fridge is home to lots of letter magnets which are regularly abused to spell out rude words. And this is how I found out my husband can’t spell ‘Chlamydia’ properly :)

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Last but not least is the windowsill. An ever-rotating display of flowers, herbs and candles, the flower du jour being daffs which are all over the place at the moment (and these ones smell DIVINE).

I love my kitchen.

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A Fairy Light Update In The Kitchen

Although I love our kitchen the way it is now, I wanted to cutesy and warm it up a little bit. I’d seen Jen use some lovely fairy lights to decorate her kitchen shelves via her Instagram feed (I think from IKEA also) and thought they looked lovely, so filed the idea away in my mental ‘to do’ file. As soon as the shelves were up I was on the hunt for some fairy lights and found them again in IKEA; they’re diamond shaped so a little bit unusual and I love them. They really bring a little homely something to that spot in the kitchen, and Elfie loves them because she’s a total light fiend. The weirdo.

 

Interiors: The Kitchen

We all know that moving house is a pretty soul-destroying experience and as someone who can’t function properly unless her home is clean, clutter free and organized, for me it is a living hell. I hate not having my belongings in their places and boxes… urgh, don’t get me started on how unsightly millions of cardboard boxes are. I truly can’t bear to have them round the house longer than necessary. My name is Alice and I am a massive control freak.

So in our house the unpacking gets done pretty swiftly: in a week, if not sooner. And this time around I had the bonus of my mum looking after Elfie for the day and my mother-in-law working on the kitchen. She brilliantly unpacked everything in a wonderfully organized fashion that I honestly could not have done better myself. This made the process of cramming the contents of our old kitchen (including walk-in pantry) and utility room into about three quarters of the space so much easier for me.

This is by no means my dream kitchen, and in the hour I was alone in the house waiting for the removal men to deliver our belongings I was a bit concerned. The floors were cold, the walls were bare, the wood was dark and the worktops were green – so completely different to our old house. There were no shelves or cupboards above worktop level and it seemed like a very functional and cold room. Here’s a couple of before shots:

See? Positively chilly.

We knew on taking the house that we’d need an additional table as our long existing one was to go in the new dining room (which you can see through the arch). A couple of days on eBay later and we found the perfect round table for the new space, solid wood, four chairs and located in Bedfordshire, only 20 minutes away from us. The table and chairs will go through a facelift in due course: they will be rubbed down and painted white, aside from the table top which will be left and sealed, kind of like this.

The first shelf we (I use the ‘royal we’ here as I have never put a shelf up in my life) put up was between the two windows on the sink side of the room. I’ve chosen to store here a couple of my nicer Le Creuset dishes and saucepans, my pasta in kilner jars and a lovely jar of mustard that I picked up in Paris. I’ve used hooks to display some of my royal mugs (I love my royal mugs, no lie, my favourite is one that says ‘I am a royal mug’ with a photo of Kate Middleton’s face) and some of my most-used utensils. A smaller shelf extends off the larger one – good old Grundtal - and we store Elfie’s medicines here so they are easy to lay your hands on at 7am or the middle of the night.

I originally bought one more Grundtal shelf to go on this wall but we decided against it in the end to save on a bit of clutter. Instead I hung a couple of pieces of art, this food poster by What Katie Does is on the left and the Chronic Bitchface print by Kris Atomic on the right. I keep my cooking utensils in a jug that has been passed down to us from my mother-in-law (my husband says that every times he glances at it he thinks of his Sunday lunches at home) and I like to decant my olive oil into a fancy glass bottle.

This side of the kitchen is the most functional of all: breadmaking, laundry bits, microwave, blah blah blah. I keep all my bread ingredients in a large white box on the windowsill so they’re easy to get to every day (and now that my belly’s getting to big to allow easy squatting to cupboards).

The second lot of shelves we’ve put up are here; this wall was so terribly bare before and with no inbuilt above worktop storage we really thought we’d need the extra space. I’m still not sure which way I’m going to go with these, I think our white china would look lovely stored here but it’s really convenient to have it so close to the dishwasher at the moment.

Then I take a step back and realise that I’m 30 weeks pregnant and really, does it matter which china is displayed on my open shelves at this point in time? I’ll get to it later.

All the vases, candles and nicknacks used to be stored in our utility room and the shields (I think from one of the World Wars) were inherited from Will’s grandfather. I have my beloved Le Creuset teapot on display alongside my little collection of jugs and the ‘Elfie the Littlest Elf’ record that I found on eBay and framed.

So that’s it: the unpacked kitchen. Despite my initial misgivings I have to say it’s the most low-maintenance kitchen we’ve ever had (I loved my range cooker at the old place but bloody hell did it take some cleaning) and this wins over looks every time. We gather so much more as a family around the new table – Will on his laptop, Elfie drawing, me cooking – and from that point of view it’s a very sociable room. You can’t quite see the rug under the table which is the biggest pain of arse of all with a toddler but I’ve solved this buy purchasing a hand-held vacuum cleaner and trying not to get too worked up about a few crumbs – I think it’s a necessary evil to break up the tile floor in here. It’s not my Mr Right kitchen, but as a Mr Right Now it does a pretty good job.

Interior: Kitchen Art

So, we’re at the point where Will has finally succombed to all the nagging about hanging the pictures in our new home and has, you know, started to hang the pictures in our new home. We have one up on the wall so far but I’m not pushing my luck: I’m hoping this one picture will be joined by more this weekend but for now let’s just say it’s a good thing I enjoy the laidback-look of pictures and photos leant AGAINST walls rather than ON them.

My first bit of decoration to make it up on to the wall is a poster from Pop Chart Lab, a collaboration between a book editor and a graphic designer. They sell a bunch of numbered and signed prints from their website and I bought two pieces for our new home. The first to go up replaced the Famille Summerbelle map (now in Elfie’s bathroom) in our kitchen and is their ‘Grand Taxonomy of Rap Names‘, a collection of 282 sobriquets arranged according to semantics.

There are so many things I love about this print; the colours, the intricateness… I have no idea how they managed to compile all this information and my scatterbrain tendencies are balking at the thought.

This is the sort of piece I’m going to keep forever, and will look back at when I’m 70 (probably whilst listening to Snoop Dogg) thinking “remember when we were young and cool…?”. And then probably “Will, remember when it took you six weeks to respond to my DIY nagging…?”. By that point I hope to have him down to at least 2 weeks.

The Grand Taxonomy of Rap Names is available from Pop Chart Labs for $25 + P&P