The kitchen is the heart of any home, even if you live alone. The day begins here with a cup of coffee, and ends here with a glass of water to take to bed. Throughout the day, it’s where cooking and eating takes place – usually alongside casual chats with friends, family or flatmates.
As lovely as an affinity with your kitchen is, when you spend a lot of time in a room, even if it’s beautifully decorated and adorned with precious treasures, that space can easily begin to seem mundane and stale. Here are three easy ways to rejuvenate your kitchen – on a mental and a physical level.
Credit: barockschloss / Flickr
Step 1: Reorder and Reorganise
The difficulty with kitchens is always their limitations in terms of movement. Furniture is often fixed into place, so a refresh of your surroundings can’t always include moving the staples of the space around as it might for other rooms.
Instead, try keeping things in different places – food, plates, cups, glasses, utensil pots, herbs and spices, and the kitchen bin can all be moved so your kitchen operates in a totally new way. The perfect refresh! Sometimes the smallest changes can be the most important.
Credit: camknows / Flickr
Step 2: Superior Equipment is Worth the Cost
If your kitchen equipment, work surfaces, cupboard fronts, stove and more are all hand-me-downs from parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends or kindly strangers, you do need to make some radical changes.
It doesn’t have to cost the earth, but investing in some superior kitchen equipment really can make all the difference to the style and feel of the room. Particularly if you love all things food and cooking-related (like me!), a decent oven and hob are really important. Honestly – dinner parties will be improved no end with this important purchase!
Credit: vidalia_11 / Flickr
Step 3: Get the Paint Out
A lot of kitchen space is covered by appliances, cupboards and more. But the bits that aren’t covered by practical necessities should – no excuses – be painted in a vibrant, warm and inviting colour. This can give the whole room a delicious new atmosphere and make you feel like you’re working in a totally new space.
Even if you’re living in rented accommodation, landlords or letting agencies will often grant permission for you to paint walls, provided you either let them approve the colour or agree to repaint it a neutral colour when you move out.
It’s been a crazy few months of movement and changes and madness.
Since May, I’ve found myself in Morocco, Poland, Italy, France, Scotland, Wales and a few different places in England. Two more trips to go and I’ll be settling down for a little while.
The intense travelling from nation to nation has been an incredibly rewarding experience, but one of its few downsides has been having a lot less time to blog and share my adventures with you.
But times are a-changing now.
From the end of September onwards, I’ll be sticking around in Norwich for sometime while I pursue that startling and costly creation they call a Master of Arts. I’m looking forward to it.
I’ll also be scrapbooking some of my travels of the past few months here at Take on the Road, with recommendations, personal stories and lots of photos from around the world.
Until then, follow me on Instagram here if you’d like to see snaps from Italy and Bulgaria where I’ll be for these next few weeks. Take care for now, faithful readers.
Sure are one of my favourite beauty brands – they always seem to have the right product for the right occasion, and news of something new from them hitting the shelves is always an exciting prospect. The latest is a double whammy, offering new options for both men and women.
Ladies, you’ll just love Sure Compressed, the latest range of eight unique and tailored fragrances ranging from infusions of fresh cut flowers to vanilla, apricot and jasmine.
Half the size of the brand’s regular deodorants, the 75ml aerosol fits perfectly into your gym bag, suitcase for holidays or tucked up inside your sleeping bag if you’re on your way to a music festival. As always with Sure, expect the Compressed range to keep you fresh and dry – this time, for up to 48 hours.
For the boys, check out Sure Men’s latest Special Edition range, celebrating the Lotus F1 Team – possibly one of the brand’s coolest ideas yet, and topical since we’re in the midst of the racing season just now.
The deodorant provides 48-hour long-lasting protection, whether you’re in a high adrenaline situation like Kimi Räikkönen or Romain Grosjean or simply cooking up a barbecue storm in your back garden.
Find out more about the Sure Compressed range here and more about the Sure Men Lotus F1 range here.
My dad works in the motoring industry. Since I was very young, I’ve had an awareness and appreciation of cars because of his influence. A summer Sunday without the sound of F1 booming in the background is an unnatural concept. The idea of not having a car in our family is and has historically been completely unheard of.
When I turned 17, Daddy Razavi’s first priority was finding the perfect vehicle for me. My first car – a silver Ford KA – was a beauty, her attractiveness amplified by the enormous bow my parents attached to her when they introduced us.
Anyway, we’ve gotten a bit off-topic here, and I can’t help but feel there should be a violin spinning a tune by this point in the story…
My dad is both a business owner and a car enthusiast. For that reason, he’s quite the expert on getting the best deal when looking for a new car, advising others and looking at situations in terms of their finance. He explained a totally new concept to me recently, and I wanted to share his expertise.
Before dad and I got chatting wheels and steering wheels, I was under the impression you either bought a car or rented a car. Buying a car was a longterm decision and renting a car was something you did for a weekend’s trek to Brighton.
The concept of car leasing is one that hadn’t entered my brain pan before, but it’s a really great idea. There are loads of good options whether you’re an individual, a small business or a bigger business looking to cut costs. Particularly good with vehicle leasing options for new businesses are Leasing4Business, who have a great range of offers on at the moment.
Leasing a car basically works like buying a car, unless you routinely buy your cars outright… in which case it probably isn’t the best option for you. You leave a vehicle, ideally for two or three years, and make payments on it for that period of time.
But at the end of the lease contract, there’s no need to arrange selling off or trading in the car – you simply pick your next one and continue with a new lease. Buying cars on finance can be a real hassle if you’re wanting to upgrade every few years so that the vehicle keeps value. This is the kind of situation that can make leasing an ideal option.
To find out more about leasing cars and other vehicles, visit http://leasing4business.co.uk/.
Image above courtesy of Ellen from Ellen and the Escapades (via Instagram).
A divergence away from the confines of our regular features and topics today brings us to the following: a wholehearted recommendation for our male readers!
Lynx is a historic brand and undeniably a market leader in men’s beauty. Impressively, the Lynx family is celebrating a formidable 18 years of its Africa range this year, clearly demonstrating how timeless and delectable their products are.
The Apollo range is Lynx’s latest offering, with new blend Deep Space now available to purchase.
Anyway, Daddy Razavi has been extremely happy testing out the Lynx Deep Space range, and assures me it’s absolutely top notch. Good job, because the latest – and best smelling – Lynx products always make their way into his bag of birthday presents or Christmas stocking.
Amazingly, in the time it’s taken to write this post, I’ve seen the TV advert for Apollo three times. You can watch it yourself below – I love how it captures the theme of the new range.
Lynx Deep Space Shower Gel (RRP £2.54) and Lynx Deep Space 150ml Body Spray (RRP £2.99) are available from retailers nationwide. Find out more about the Lynx Apollo range here.
When I was 17 years old, I started my first business – and it was a complete accident. After a series of work placements and jobs in politics, journalism, charity campaigns, PR and the arts, I had a considerable CV, a range of contacts dotted around different industries, and, mostly importantly, lots of ideas. I started to promote a friend’s music, and before I knew it, I had launched my own music PR and marketing start-up with new clients getting in touch every day.
It was a modest start and the business remained small until it become just one string in my bow of different activities, but it taught me a lot. The most important lesson I learnt was this: anyone can start a business, all it takes is knowledge and confidence. If you’re thinking about trying your hand at a business project, read on below.
Gain experience in anything and everything
Whether it’s a part-time job in retail or catering, or the perfect internship or work placement in your dream profession, the key to success as a businessperson and to progressing your own company is experience. Experience provides you with the knowledge necessary to make decisions and reassure clients that you’re the right person for the job. Relevant experience is really important, but ultimately, every experience adds something to your viewpoint and level of expertise.
It’s all about the contacts
Contacts are extremely important. When I started out in music, I didn’t think I had any, but actually I’d done a bit of music blogging and knew people at some of the venues local to me. It was an extremely humble start, but it was, nonetheless, a start. Beyond this, I built up contacts myself by sending emails, making phone calls and going to the right kind of events and introducing myself to people. It takes perseverance but it’s an incredibly important component of building your business.
Seek business advice from the experts
When you first start out, you’re unlikely to know all the ins and outs of business and finance, which is when expert advice comes in very handy. Some of the most important people who’ll help you out in the early and later stages of starting a company include your bank manager, lawyer, accountant and any mentors/advisors you might have available to you. Don’t only use them to bounce ideas off of or ask advice from – also let them educate you to increase your business knowhow.
Be passionate, and trust your instincts
The most significant element of success in any aspect of life or work is to be passionate about what you’re doing, and to trust your instincts. If you pursue something and your heart’s not in it, or you don’t have the conviction to trust your gut when it’s speaking to you, carving your own path will be much harder. It takes self-belief and desire!
I’ve spent the last three weeks teaching in Liguria, Italy. The first two weeks were spent in a town called Savona and now I’m half-way through a two week stay in a smaller town called Cogoleto. Here’s a brief Instagram diary from the last few weeks…
The teaching team in Savona
Rosie and I with some of the students at breaktime
The beach in Savona
The first of many spritz after our first day of teaching
A freshly painted mural on the wall outside our school in Cogoleto
Balcony view from our trip to Santa Margherita this weekend
That’s it for now, but I’ll have time for more posts about the past few weeks soon I hope…including, of course, photos and descriptions of some seriously amazing food.
In food terms, Texas is undeniably associated with steak houses, barbecues and Tex Mex fare; however, smart folks are discovering there’s a lot more to dining out in Dallas than they first thought. In fact, not only is Dallas the home of some fashionable seafood restaurants but there are also bistros specializing in dishes from around the world, including European, Brazilian and Indian cuisine. All this is turning the city of Dallas into one of America’s culinary hotspots. Read on for more information on the best places to eat in the city.
The gourmet experience
The high-end restaurants in formal settings in Dallas offer exquisite menus and a range of cooking styles. For the best French cuisine and a romantic setting, The French Room at The Adolphus is a firm favorite. Menus are seasonal and change according to available fresh ingredients, and the combination of the food, sumptuous décor and excellent service have earned The French Room the prestigious AAA Five Diamond Award – the only restaurant in Texas to have this honor. Incredibly, The French Room has held this award for the last 24 years.
At the Warwick Melrose Hotel a traditional dining experience, with a touch of glamour, awaits those who visit The Landmark Restaurant (AAA Four Diamond Award). Signature dishes include hearty roast lamb, and classic American fare is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as at Sunday brunch. Also in the hotel, the library is used as a wonderful piano bar, offering superb cocktails, fine wines and beer.
Variety is the spice of life
If sampling exotic cuisines is tempting, Dallas is the place to be. Asian fusion restaurants, such as Kenichi Dallas, combine the best sushi with contemporary Asian cuisine, while diners at the Royal China Restaurant can watch as the chef produces sumptuous dumplings and thick noodles before their very eyes in the open kitchen.
For great steaks and a fabulous choice of cuts, visit Vila Brazil at the Sterling Hotel, Dallas, which prides itself on being customer friendly and focused on producing food and service of the highest quality. Food is cooked in the Churrasco style and the salad bar features 25 mouthwateringly authentic Brazilian side dishes.
Visitors who take US Airways flights to Dallas often feel they want to make the most of their trip from the moment they arrive, and there is no better way to try some of the finest cuisine than by taking a culinary tour. Uptown Dallas is 125 years old, pedestrian friendly and only minutes from most local hotels. There are guided tours available that include restaurant tastings – a great way to satisfy the appetite and to allow guests to enjoy the very best offerings from a number of different establishments.
The shortest tour is for a maximum of 20 people and is about two hours in duration. It includes a complimentary cocktail plus three different sit down tastings in local restaurants, all within a five-minute walk of each other. A longer excursion, limited to 14 adults only, includes an exploration of the historic Uptown neighborhood with its Victorian buildings and restored antique rail cars, plus appropriate commentary and a parting gift. There’s no better way to discover the delights of dining in Dallas.
Any visit to the beautiful North African country of Morocco inspires those with an interest in interior design. This enchanted land of open deserts and majestic mountains has a rich past and distinctive culture stretching back thousands of years. Historically the Moroccan Berbers were famous for hospitality and if we look at the interiors of today we still see the themes of comfort, refuge and lavish hospitality in evidence.
Architecture and design in Morocco features strong Islamic and Arabic influences, which over the centuries have filtered down into mainstream Western interior design. Moroccan style is a distinctive look that works on many levels in the modern home.
Key elements to the Moroccan look
How can we get the souk chic look working for us in our homes? Moroccan style targets comfort and any credible scheme features low-level seating, footstools or pouffes, and embroidered or tapestry cushions in jewel box shades. Patterned and mosaic tiles arranged in complex geometric designs are a signature motif of Moroccan style and are found on flat surfaces including walls, floors and table tops. Tiles come in a rainbow of colours and patterns and any room striving for a hint of Moroccan flavour should include something mosaic, tiled or some of both. To complete the authentic Marrakesh mood furnish with dark wooden coffee tables and cabinets with decorative mother of pearl inlays and intricate carving.
When it comes to colour, the Moroccans don’t hold back. They draw inspiration from the warm, terracotta tones of the desert and the deep blues of the ocean. Bold and strong contrasting shades work best and pastels don’t really get a look in. Great swathes of fabric in warm golds and reds can be used to great effect on ceilings to give a tented effect – reminiscent of the desert camps of old.
Dinner is served
There is always a warm welcome in a Moroccan home and hospitality is taken very seriously. Do the same at home by reserving an area for eating and drinking. Place an oak dining table with a suspended brass lantern above and set the table with hand made terracotta plates, rich linens and plenty of candlelight. Serve drinks in traditional tea glasses and treat guests like royalty – this is entertaining Moroccan style.
Choose from a wide range of accessories to reinforce the North African look. Vibrant wall hangings in the trademark geometric designs warm up a room nicely, as do richly coloured kilims and rugs. Bead work lamps, wall sconces and lanterns in rusted iron and gleaming brass are typical and look fabulous spilling warm light over seating areas. To add focus and a touch of drama try placing a hand made pottery urn or vase in front of an ornately decorated mirror. Look out for aged carved doors and screens in Middle Eastern style and use as room dividers or ornamental features.
Getting to grips with the Moroccan look is no great challenge – there’s a lot to love about interiors that sing with real style, sophistication and warmth. Isn’t it time we all welcomed a bit of Moroccan sunshine into our homes?
If there is one city that has become a huge holiday spot for a number of reasons it would be Las Vegas. It doesn’t matter what kind of group you are in whether a family or a group of friends there is something that will keep anyone entertained. All over the city there are sights to visit and there is actually so much stuff to do that you will never get it all done in just one holiday there. This is not a problem though as going back to Vegas for a second time will be just as much fun.
Taking a family to Vegas might sound a little weird but once you look into it there are actually hundreds of things for kids and grown-ups to do together. One great place that you will want to check out is the New York hotel and casino; this is a place with enough to see already having a mock statue of liberty but there is something else too. It has its own roller coaster for you to ride on that takes you on a little tour around fake New York and is defiantly a sight to see.
But being in Las Vegas can mean only one thing for an adult with some money to spare. Gambling is obviously one of the best things that you can do in Vegas and there is so much variety too. All your favourite games from sites such as http://www.mobilecasino.mobi are available at some of the best casinos in the world like the MGM Grand and the Bellagio you are bound to find a casino that will suit yourself. Then because all the casinos are so big you will always find your favourite casino game being played too, so be sure to go and enjoy everything Vegas has to offer.
Written by Tom