And we’re getting there…

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As ever, I’m looking forward to Christmas, and plan to be super-organised with decorations and lights up by 1st December!

01 George Home

Xmas inspirations … decorations from George Home at Asda.

That of course, will be if the builders have gone. We’re on the last lap now, with just the garage conversion and lots of built-in shelving to be done.  If everything goes to plan it will all be finished by the end of November. Which will give me just enough to time to do a massive clean-up (again!) and get the decorations out and up.

02 The Contemporary Home

This is an easy idea to copy … Cream Fretworks decs from The Contemporary Home.

So, as it’s all going to be extremely busy and there will still be painting and curtain-making to do in December, I think it’s entirely fair to be planning a bit of a cheat’s Christmas. The plum gin and brandy is already underway, making use of the huge quantities of plums from the garden, so that’s a few gifts sorted out! Everything else I think will be ordered on-line, and I suspect that a fair few items courtesy of Waitrose and M&S will find their way on to the Christmas dining table.

03 Wilko

I think we may decorate the kitchen too this year! Items from Wilko.

We’ve been trying out two items that landed on my desk; one is the quite bonkers Twist’n Sprout, which is a sprout corer and prep tool. It’s something that I never knew I needed, but I’m quite happy to admit that it works and I will be holding on to this little gem. It does make the dull and fiddly task of prepping sprouts a little more satisfying. Will try and not make the family eat too many sprouts though …. If you think you need one to complete your culinary world, visit Chef’n here. It’s widely available in kitchen shops. The other particularly useful item we’ve been trying out is the PushPan non-stick aluminium bakeware range with a leak-proof, silicone seal. Which means no mess from leaky pans on the base of the oven and a perfect excuse to make double-layered cheesecakes and chocolate tortes (keep the base recipe the same but double-up on the creamy layer, use two different fillings, such as plain/white chocolate or a plain cheese cake with a colourful layer). Let the first layer set of course, before adding the second. The deeper PushPans, at 3” or 75m are perfect for this. I’m planning various Xmas ideas, including a ‘Christmas Pudding’ flavoured cheesecake. See the PushPan range here.  Chocolate fiends can try out this  recipe, which has a chocolate Oreo base, and is one of the best chocolate desserts we have ever come across.  It may well make a Christmas appearance; I’m thinking of a white chocolate top layer and perhaps some glittery stencilling …

Twist'n Sprout & PushPan

Treat yourself to two very useful Christmas prep gadgets; a Twist’n Sprout and a PushPan

From a more practical point of view, a couple of friends have had to replace their kitchen taps and sinks in the last few months and so there have been several intense discussions over what to choose. I’ve continued to recommend Franke’s Omni tap, a four-in-one model that dispenses normal hot and cold water, plus cold filtered water and boiling water, all from the same tap. Someone wanted a professional style tap in black, and the Atlas Professional single lever tap from Abode was perfect for their requirements. I don’t have a waste disposal unit in my new kitchen, and I’m slightly regretting that now, but it would have been too complicated to include a half-sink as well as a double bowl design. Given the opportunity I think I would go for the new Evolution 250 model from InSinkErator.

 

Various

From left; The Atlas Professional single lever tap with hose from Abode, see the range here. The Evolution 250 by InSinkErator, see it here. The Omni 4-in-1 tap by Franke, see the details here.

09 Swan Air Fryer

The Swan Air Fryer, see the range here.

So, although I have been sticking resolutely to our healthy-eating regime (losing weight and taking over a million steps in the process) it must be said that life is quite dull without chips. So the launch of the Swan Air Fryer, reasonably priced at £64.99, is good news. It uses tiny quantities of oil and I think will be a welcome distraction in the New Year. I will keep you posted as we work our way through some of the suggested recipes …

And finally, three ideas for Xmas gifts.

10 Biscuiteers

Solve the problem of choosing multiple individual presents and send a gorgeous cake as a family gift instead. There are lots to choose from, see the range from Biscuiteers here.

11 Next

Glassware is a great gift idea, especially if there’s a party being planned. These are from the lovely homewares range at Next, check out the other designs here, be warned, there are so many fabulous Christmas ideas it’s easy to get carried away!

12 Hotel Chocolat

Lastly, Christmas wouldn’t be Christmas without a box of Xmas goodies from Hotel Chocolat. See the range here. That’s it. Christmas presents sorted …

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About Linda Parker

Interiors & Lifestyle Writer, who’s spare time is currently spent planning storage strategies for the new house

  Email:  Linda Parker

  Website:  https://www.thekitchenthink.co.uk

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