Kitchen Culture in the UK*

You should know by now that I love to bake, and more recently I’ve got back in to cooking. When I had my brief spell in my own flat the kitchen was by far the best equipped room in the house and whilst looking to move out again in the future it’s always the kitchen gadget section of any shop that draws me in first.

Today I’m bring you some interesting insights in to the UK’s kitchen culture thanks to five-star acrylic sheet supplier The Plastic People who create kitchen splashbacks to add a stylish touch to any cooking area.

From the most purchased kitchen items through to a look at the country’s cooking habits I thought this made for an interesting weekend read.

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According to research carried out by Mintel sales of small kitchen appliances have increased by 41% between the years 2011 to 2015 (from £635 million to £897 million for those who were wondering). Sales of food preparation gadgets increased by 145% in the same time frame and hot drinks appliances such as coffee machines increased by a not too shabby 89%.

The same piece of research has also revealed that in 2015 42% of Brits purchased a kettle (guilty), 30% bought a toaster (also guilty), 15% of Brits bought a sandwich maker or grilling machine, 13% of Brits bought a smoothie maker or juicer (yep), 13% also bought a coffee capsule or pod drinks maker and 11% bought a filter coffee machine- that’s a lot of gadgets!

When it comes to upgrading appliances the following is the frequency of upgraded appliance types in the kitchen from homeowners who either renovated their kitchen in the 12 months prior to the release of the 2017 Houzz Kitchen Trends Study — UK, are currently renovating their kitchen, or who are looking to do so over the three months after the release of the research:
Dishwasher(s) – 82 per cent.
Fridge/freezer – 78 per cent.
Extractor fan – 77 per cent.
Hob(s) – 75 per cent.
Wall oven(s) – 56 per cent.
Microwave – 53 per cent.

This same study also revealed that stainless steel was the most popular colour when upgrading appliances (47 per cent opted for this), followed by black (22 per cent) and then white (10 per cent).

The 2017 Houzz Kitchen Trends Study — UK delved into the following details about how and why Brits are going about upgrading their kitchens:
The frequency of increasing kitchen sizes sat at 63 per cent in the 12 months prior to the release of the research, for those currently renovating their kitchens and for those planning to renovate the space over the three months after the release of the research.
The most popular events that triggered Brits to update their kitchen were:

42% were recently purchased homes and owners wanted to make their kitchen their own.
32% had wanted to update their kitchen all along and finally had the means to do so.
30% could no longer stand their old kitchen.
26% acknowledged that their old kitchen had either deteriorated, broken down or became unsafe.
14% were adapting to family and lifestyle changes.

Again making use of the 2017 Houzz Kitchen Trends Study — UK the top kitchen storage solutions that homeowners opted for were:

77% added a cutlery organiser
61% updated their kitchen with deep drawer organisers.
51% added pull-out waste or recycling cabinets.
41% cent updated their kitchen with a corner carousel.
39% updated their kitchen with a pot and pan organiser.
36% included pull-out trays and/or shelves.

I’m a bit of a kitchen storage freak and love the kitchen at my parents’ house as it has so many nifty storage solutions! #KitchenGoals

According to the Houzz study the reasons why homeowners looked into new storage solutions for their kitchen are as follows:
79% were motivated as they wanted to make better use of the space.
57% wanted to reduce clutter.
55% wanted to make it easier to find items in their kitchens.
36% were motivated as they wanted to utilise awkward spaces
21% wanted to make it easier to cook and bake in their kitchens.

Again referring to the Houzz study we can see that modifications to the kitchen can have a significant impact on how people are utilising the room. Interestingly…
69% spend more family time in their kitchen.
56% now find themselves working and/or studying for longer in their kitchen.
51% are hosting more dinner parties/other forms of entertaining guest in their home.
49% are baking more
43% now cook or prepare more meals at home.
42% now have more sit-down meals.
36% of people reported that tehy now order less takeaways.
23% now eat more fruits and/or vegetables.

I hope you find this post as interesting as I did, as I’ve mentioned I’m a bit of a geek when it comes to kitchens and I cannot wait for the day where I own my own home (I can dream right?) and have free reign over the design of my kitchen. My parents had theirs done just over a year ago and the difference it has made is incredible- even my Mum is cooking more which kind of says a lot really!

Tell me about your kitchens…

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How to Arrange a Record Breaking Wedding*

Wedding season is just about to kick off and whilst I’m starting to wonder if I’ll ever find someone crazy enough to want to marry me I know plenty of people are in the throes of arranging their big day. If you’re a bride to be and looking to make an impression Wyboston Lakes, home to remarkable wedding venues in Bedfordshire has created this list of record-breaking wedding feats so that you can get inspiration to make your big day unlike anything seen before.

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The largest wedding banquet or reception

Record holder: Former Tamil Nadu chief minister and movie star Jayalalitha Jayaram.
Date and location: September 7th 1995 in Madras, India.
The feat: Over 150,000 guests attended the wedding banquet/reception which Jayalalitha Jayaram hosted for her foster son’s wedding.

The oldest person to conduct a wedding ceremony

Record holder: UK reverend William Noel Tavernor.
Date and location: August 15th 2015 in Bettws-y-Crwyn, Wales.
The feat: William Noel Tavernor was 98 years and 227 days when he conducted the wedding ceremony of his grandson Jack Thomas Tavernor and Rebecca Jane Floate.

The most expensive wedding dress

Record holder: Martin Katz Jewellers and bridal couture designer Renee Strauss.
Date and location: February 26th 2006 at the Luxury Brands Lifestyle Bridal Show.
The feat: Martin Katz Jewellers and bridal couture designer Renee Strauss’ dress was priced at $12 million and featured 150 carats’ worth of diamonds.

The most crystals on a wedding dress
Record holder: Özden Gelinlik Moda Tasarim Ltd of Turkey.
Date and location: January 29th 2011, where it was presented at the Forum Istanbul Shopping Mall.
The feat: Özden Gelinlik Moda Tasarim Ltd of Turkey’s wedding dress featured 45,024 crystals.The most pearls on a wedding dress

Record holder: Yumi Katsura of Japan.
Date and location: February 21st 2012, where it was presented at the 2012 Yumi Katsura Grand Collection event in Bunkyo, Tokyo.
The feat: Yumi Katsura of Japan’s dress featured 13,262 pearls — all of which were genuine Akoya cultured pearls.

The longest wedding veil
Record holder: Vivian Shun-Wen Cheng of Taiwan.
Date and location: December 10th 2016 at Papago International Resort in Chihshang, Taitung County, Chinese Taipei.
The feat: Vivian Shun-Wen Cheng’s wedding veil measured in at 6,072.23 metres long and took three people over three months to make by hand. It was a gift from the bride’s father.

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The longest wedding dress train

Record holder: Shililanshan of China.
Date and location: August 20th 2015 at a ceremony in Xiamen, Fujian, China.
The feat: A wedding dress train measuring in at 2,599 metres long was worn to the ceremony, with the design inspired by a sea of flowers in Shililanshan.

The largest wedding bouquet

Record holder: Christa Rasanayagam. 
Date and location: September 6th 2003 in the Canadian city of Ontario.
The feat: When Christa Rasanayagam married Arulanantham Suresh Joachim, the bride held a wedding bouquet measuring 60.09 metres long and weighing 92kg. It was made up of 1,500 flowers divided into 500 roses, 400 carnations, 340 baby breaths, 200 daisies and 60 lilies. An array of bear grass, Italian Ruches and Ontario Cedar completed the bouquet.

The most bridal bouquets caught

Record holder: Jamie Jackson of America.
Date and location: Between June 15th 1996 and April 30th 2016 at various locations.
The feat: Jamie has caught 50 bridal bouquets when attending various weddings of friends and family. It has made her a local celebrity in her home state of Utah and earned her the nickname “The Bouquet Slayer”.

The most bridesmaids to one bride

Record holder: Tina Ackles of America.
Date and location: April 18th 2015 in the US state of Florida.
The feat: Tina was accompanied by 168 bridesmaids when she tied the knot.

The largest wedding cake

Record holder: Chefs at the Mohegan Sun Hotel and Casino.
Date and location: February 8th 2004 for the New England bridal showcase at the Mohegan Sun Hotel and Casino, in Uncasville, Connecticut, USA.
The feat: The cake weighed in at 6,818 tonnes.

The first zero gravity wedding
Record holder: Erin Finnegan and Noah Fulmor of America.
Date and location: June 23rd 2009 aboard a modified Boeing 727-200.
The feat: By tying the knot aboard a Boeing 727-200, Erin and Noah was credited with having the first zero gravity wedding.
The deepest underwater wedding

Record holder: Hiroyuki Yoshida of Japan and Sandra Smith of the USA.
Date and location: September 30th 2013 at Song Hong Lake, in Trang, Thailand.
The feat: Hiroyuki Yoshida married Sandra Smith at a ceremony which took place 130 metres below sea level.

The largest underwater wedding

Record holder: Polish couple Ewa Staronska and Pawel Burkowski.
Date and location: August 27th 2011 at the Koparki Diving Base, in Jaworzno, Poland.
The feat: Organised by Orka Group Ltd, the marriage of Ewa to Pawel saw 303 divers present for the ceremony. Communication came in the form of waterproof texts and sign language.

The largest motorcycle wedding procession

Record holder: Peter Schmidl and Anna Turceková.
Date and location: May 6th 2000 in Bratislava, Slovakia.
The feat: When Peter married Anna, the pair enjoyed a wedding procession of 597 motorcycles.

(source for records)

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Baking- Mini Egg Cookie Bars

I have fond childhood memories of eating mini-eggs around Easter time, they were definitely a favourite and whilst these days I’m not such a fan [the recipe changed last year and I don’t care what anyone says, I can tell the difference!] my best friend still loves them, and I love my best friend so when I saw a recipe for Mini Egg cookie bars I decided to treat her.

I’m not going to post the actual recipe for it is not mine to post, instead I’ll direct you to it’s creator- the frankly genius Jane of Jane’s Patisserie [recipe link]. This woman’s blog has some of the best recipes I’ve seen and it’s an endless source of baking inspiration for me. I’ve made a few of her recipes now including the chocolate orange cookies and each and every thing turns out perfectly each time.

Anyway, I thought I’d share some pictures of the Mini Egg cookie bars as when I posted them on social media people went crazy for them- my best friend went on to declare them the “best cookies ever” which is high praise indeed and they really are so simple to make, perfect for any Easter themed gatherings you might be going to [even if that gathering just happens to be you and a pot of tea].
The basic recipe would lend itself beautifully to pretty much any chocolate addition and I’m tempted to give it a go with Rolos sometime for a soft and gooey caramel experience. I’ll definitely be making the Mini Egg version at least once more in the run up to Easter though and will be keeping a close eye on Jane’s blog for any other Easter themed bakes she comes up with- these Creme Egg cupcakes look amazing!
Have you got any Easter baking planned? Which are your favourite baking blogs to visit?

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The Prettiest Pastels from Coast*

The days are slowly but surely getting longer which means Spring is on it’s way. It also means that impatience to be back in short sleeves and sandals is peaking and my obsession with pastels is ramping up a notch.

Today I’m fuelling that obsession by bringing you a wish list of the prettiest pastel items from Coast whose website is home to some of the most gorgeous dresses and skirts that I have seen in a long while. Never mind the fact that I have no need for occasion pieces any time soon- now I’ve seen them I can’t help but want them, even if the closest I’m likely to get to a wedding this year is walking past the Bristol Register Office.

Fancy florals, cloud-like chiffon and the swishiest skirts I could find make up this wish list and should you have a wedding to attend, a prom to dance at or a super swanky garden party invite on your hands then Coast should definitely be one of the shops you head to on your mission for the perfect outfit. Alas for me these pieces shall firmly remain in my dreams, I don’t even think turning 30 in a couple of months gives me reason to splurge on any of these- not to mention the fact that my budget probably just about covers a packet of pastel mini eggs right now. Ah well, if I can’t wear the colours I’m craving at least I can snack on them…
Have any of these pieces captured your imagination? What’s on your wish list for Spring?

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A Touch of Luxury- Nail Art Inspiration for 2017*

You wouldn’t know it from looking at my poor, neglected hands but once upon a time I was big on making sure my nails were always painted and experimented often with nail art. Getting a job in healthcare put paid to that though and despite having not worked for (what is somehow) almost a year I just haven’t got back in to the habit apart from the odd shellac manicure when I was first signed off.

I was recently sent over a copy of a great eBook put together by Ellisons which provides some interesting facts and tips when it comes to your nails- from what your favourite nail polish colour says about you to the biggest nail trends for 2017 (using essie gel from Ellisons).

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ebook redo 2017
The eBook made for a great little read and reference point- apparently my most often chosen pink nails (when I do bother) means I’m a romantic person which I kind of beg to differ on but you know…others may disagree! In terms of the nail trends for 2017 I’m relieved to see they are all wearable and achievable and are certainly inspiring me to dig out my nail polishes. With spring around the corner I can see myself attempting a pastel rainbow vibe (although perhaps not as advanced as the one I’ve pictured further up in the post), colour blocking I can totally see myself doing and once I’m back at work in an admin capacity will probably become a default whilst I make the most of being able to have painted nails at work- I’m loving the idea of a combination of nude tones complimented by navy and perhaps an off white shade.

Where do you head when you’re looking for nail inspiration and what do you think of the predicted trends in this eBook? As I said before I think it makes for a lovely little read and it’s certainly motivated me to give my hands some love.

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