Kitchen Favourites: Chef’n Cookie Stamp

I love making cookies but I have to admit it: I’m a bit of a lazy baker when it comes to making anything fancy!

So when I tried the Chef’n cookie stamp, I was delighted with the results. It’s an idiot-proof cookie cutter with a difference, and excellent design.

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An easy to follow recipe comes with it in the box, and following the recipe gives great results. I’ve also used my old tried and trusted cookie recipe and it worked wonderfully well.

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It’s so easy to use and keep clean and the all in one storage idea is fab (no lost parts – always a problem in my kitchen).
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The patterns it makes are so clear and with no distortion. The dough doesn’t get all stuck up on any of the parts, as with previous stamps/cutters I’ve tried.  In fact you can just go on stamping and stamping!

 

It’s so easy to change the heads and push the “stamping button”. I couldn’t pull my 8-year-old niece away from the kitchen: it’s a godsend for entertaining the kiddies too.

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I would definitely recommend this as a cool addition to any baker’s cupboard. Buy yours here.

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Let your travels inspire your home décor

As the seasons begin to change once again, we’re all getting itchy feet to make a change to our home décor. While few of us have the cash to be pulling up the carpets every time the sun comes out, we can make a few changes to our homes to welcome in the new autumn colours.

Whether you’re making a bigger, more permanent change or just something small, there are plenty of places to find inspiration – including your travels. Here are a few design ideas picked up from some of the most beautiful locations in the world.

France

French décor is very much en vogue at the moment, largely thanks to its blend of traditional floral patterns and modern 21st century designs. For the bolder decorators amongst us, try dark, dramatic colours such as reds and blacks in bedrooms, offset with lighter, floral accessories such as cushions. You could also try experimenting with French designs in the kitchen – nothing tastes better than French cuisine, and if there’s one thing that French says, it’s good taste.

Japan

For a more serene feel to your home, try the simplistic bedroom designs of Japan. In Japan, home décor trends are focused around nature, so try to use as many organic materials as possible, such as wooden floors. Rather than big and bold French, Japanese designs focus on more neutral colours, so consider using greens and browns in your room – headboards, for example, are a great way to bring in a little colour. You can find a great selection at www.bedstar.co.uk.

Scandinavia

If you’re a bit of a clean freak, nothing says clean, crisp, whites like Scandinavian décor. Akin to the Japanese, nature plays a big part in the décor once again, so don’t be afraid to paint your walls in bright white. To avoid making your home look too sterile, you can add a few images of mountains or consider organically-sourced accessories such as twig photo frames. Add an alpine scented air freshener to really give the feel of skiing in those gorgeous Scandinavian mountains.

Morocco

Fancy something a little warmer and exotic? Moroccan décor is largely inspired by deep purples and oranges akin to a beautiful African sunset. Create a relaxed feel by draping jewel-tone fabrics over the walls, and don’t be afraid to go all out on the lighting. Moroccan décor is defined by its lighting, so try lanterns, sconces and lamps to your heart’s content.

Image courtesy of Flickr (Mazzali).

Movement, Changes and Madness

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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 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.

Kitchen Favourites

I’ve been stuck in the university library for days revising for my final exams this past week, and I can’t stop daydreaming about all the delicious meals I’ll be creating when the studying is finally over. In that vein, here are my favourite kitchen gadgets to get you inspired too…

Tefal Steamer from Littlewoods

I can’t get enough of this ultimate compact Tefal steamer from Littlewoods. It’s perfect for apartment living because it collapses down into something the size of a casserole dish. Add that to the fact that steaming is one of the healthiest ways to prepare food, and grabbing one of these bad boys from Littlewoods is an investment everyone should be making. Expect some steam-inspired recipes on TOTR over the summer.

Pasta Maker from Hifi-Tower

I love making my own pasta; I’d never done it before this year, but watching the wonderful Chiappa sisters do it with such ease on Channel 4 show Simply Italian inspired me to give it a go. It’s so much easier than you think, and a pasta maker like this makes it easier still. This model also doubles up as a meat mincer if you’re feeling especially creative. As a sidenote, Hifi-Tower also specialises in Disco Equipment.

3-in-1 Avocado Slicer from OXO

Avocados are possibly one of the yummiest foods in the world, but it can be a bit of hassle to get into them. OXO have the perfect solution to this problem; say hello to their 3-in-1 avocado slicer which will get you munching quickly and seamlessly. Definitely worth grabbing one if you’re an avocado addict like me. (NB: The green one isn’t available in the UK, but you can still get one in white from the site above).

Kitchen Knives from Kitchen Devils

Kitchen Devils are the foodie kitchen item that everyone should have in their collection. They’re dishwasher-safe and each knife comes with a 10-year guarantee. Not that you’ll need it; my parents still have a set they got as a wedding gift 26 years ago. Just one cooking sesh with these knives and you’ll feel like you could rival Jamie Oliver – and I guarantee you’ll never want to use another knife again.

Herb Seeds Starter Pack from Seed Pantry

I’m a huge fan of all things fresh and self-produced. I had been wanting to try growing my own herbs in my flat for ages, but kept forgetting to go to a garden centre and get the bits and pieces you need to get started. Then I discovered Seed Pantry, who do all the hard work for you and make it ultra-easy to start growing your own herbs, veg, chillis and more. Grab yourself one of these starter packs and you’ll soon be enjoying the fruits of your labour.

New Year, Fresh Start: 43things.com

After getting back from Hamburg yesterday and returning to the countryside for one last night at my parents’ house, I thought it was about time I did a post on the topic of the New Year – a bit of a ‘hello’ to 2013.

I’m always just as excited about starting the New Year as I am about the festive period and the celebrations of New Year’s Eve, and 2012/2013 has been no exception. I’m a big fan of the fresh start idea brought about by this calendar period, and especially of the hopeful lists of aspirations for the twelve months to come.

So, the beginning of another year gives me the opportunity to highlight an amazing website that I’m a huge fan of – 43things.com.

An incredibly simplistic but wonderful concept, 43things.com exists as a place to list your life goals with a section also dedicated to listing your resolutions for the year to come. Within the site, you can follow others and ‘cheer’ them on with their own ambitions, as well as read and shares stories of how you achieved your goals or plan on tackling them.

Whether you look at it once a day, once a week, once a month or once a year, there’s so much value to having a list like this to keep yourself on track and remind yourself what you’re trying to do in this funny thing we call life. Grab yourself an account and get inspired – it’s a brand new year, do something amazing with it!