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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A Cosy Home For Christmas*

One of the things I really can’t wait for when I get to move out again is to make it my own. I’ll be renting so obviously I’ll be limited in how much I can do, but even though it’s still on the pretty distant horizon I’ve already been browsing around for ideas as to how I can make it nice and cosy. From picking out the perfect sofa to thinking about colour schemes and accessories- it’s probably the one thing that has softened the blow of moving back home (not that I am anything but grateful to my mum and dad) and is providing me with both motivation and excitement for a future I hadn’t actually contemplated.

With that in mind, and Christmas just around the corner (in case you’d forgotten) I’ve put together a little mood board/wish list of how I’d like my living room to look during the colder months. Honestly, I’m already so excited to decorate for my first Christmas living alone it’s a little bit pathetic!

Corner Sofa | Stag Head | Christmas Tree | Candle | Cookie Cutter Lights | Throw

I have a bit of a thing for corner sofas. I had one in my old flat and loved lounging on it, especially when covered in blankets and cushions. For some reason I find them a lot more appealing than a standard sofa for which I have no explanation!

As much as I love real Christmas trees I do rather like this pre-lit artificial one from Wilko – not only is it a bargain at £30 but it fits in rather nicely with my orangey/whitey/grey scheme.

The cookie cutter Christmas lights from NotOnTheHighStreet are probably top of my cosy home wish list. Paperchase also do some at a much better price but they aren’t online any longer so I started browsing NOTS and emerged half an hour later with rather a few items added to my favourites and these little beauties found as a more than acceptable replacement.

What does your dream cosy living room look like? Anyone else with me on the corner sofa love?

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2016’s interior trends and how to make them work for you*

I’ve always had a passing interest in interior design and would quite happily flick through Mum’s pile of home decor type magazines to while away some time. Since moving in to the flat I’ve taken an even keener interest, especially in how to incorporate some of the latest trends in a budget friendly and suitable for rental way. Baytree Interiors have been looking in to some of 2016’s biggest hits for the home and there’s a great feature on the Real Homes Magazine website too. With this as my inspiration I’ve popped together my thoughts on those trends and how they could work for me and my home.
The first thing to mention is colour. Ben and I are far from colour shy which is just as well as it’s set to continue being big news when it comes to the home. From Pantone’s colour of the year through to Dulux’s colour forecast for the year it’s clear to see that white and magnolia has been banished for the time being. Rich colours paired with metallic golds and coppers are the top picks and un-wittingly we already have a lot of this in our living room (nicknamed “the amazing technicolour living room”) with our mis-matched furniture, most of which we bought second hand for a very low price then painted up with a coat or two of Annie Sloan’s infamous chalk paint. I think a bright home using rich and warm colours makes for a cosy home and our living room is my favourite place to relax.
Patterns are also still going strong with world travel being the main influence. It doesn’t have to be limited to the walls either- a colourful rug on the floor, reupholstering a dining room chair or adding a Moroccan inspired runner to a table are great ways to embrace the trend with minimal commitment and without breaking the bank.
Metallics are having a moment with everybody and their dog going crazy for copper. I’m no exception and around the flat you’ll find lots of metallic elements dotted around- from silver herb planters hosting bright and bold flowers to the copper pan taking pride of place in my kitchen. From my experience places like Home Bargains and The Range are good places to pick up inexpensive decorative bits that will certainly last the duration of the trend if you’re likely to change your mind. Slightly more pricey are H&M, Urban Outfitters and Oliver Bonas- I have a massive wish list for all three of these stores and keep a close eye out for sales or discounts! For bigger pieces of furniture and decor you can strike gold on sites like gumtree and ebay or by scouring charity shops and car boot sales. We picked up a massive filigree mirror for about £20 via gumtree when we’d previously seen them in a reclamation yard for over £200!
Have you embraced any of these trends around your home? What have been some of your homeware best buys?

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#HNhomestyling

I’ve always taken a bit of an interest in interiors- my Mum has been through many a phase over the course of my life, from the sparkly and stencilled radiators to the sudden obsession with painting all of our furniture yellow. I’ve never really had a chance to experiment myself, confined to only a bedroom for so many years left little scope so now I have a whole flat at my disposal it’s been good fun thinking up ways to maximise the space and add a personal touch.

The main thing I’ve learnt in the last couple of months is that nothing need be complicated- the simplest of touches can have the greatest of effects and it doesn’t have to cost the earth either. I was recently contacted by house network and sent a few goodies to help me on my mission and as such I thought I’d do a post on some of my favourite pieces in the flat so far.

I have a weak spot for quirky coffee table books, I think they make a great conversational piece when you have people round as well as learning a chance to learn something new! I do tend to switch up what I have on display at any given time and vary how high I stack them depending on my current mood.
Call me a cliche but I do love a bit of chalk paint on old pieces of furniture. Every piece of furniture we own has been bought second hand and mostly painted up by ourselves. It’s a great way to while away a rainy afternoon and although we have what can only be described as a colour explosion of pieces dotted around the overall effect is warm and completely unique.
Candles are such an easy way to update a room and we’ve gone mad dotting them around on our fireplace. There’s no theme going on, just a real hodge-podge of scents and statement pieces that I’ve fallen in love with, however with Tobias now living with us we’re yet to light any!
Random pieces of artwork and wall hangings as well as plenty of green plants make up our ornamental pieces for the flat. Again it’s a super cheap and easy way to jazz things up and easily changed if you get bored. We have a real mix-match going on (sense the theme here) with most of wall hangings chosen by me whilst Ben is in charge of the plants.
As our flat is quite small vintage style storage boxes have been a life saver, we use a small sized one to host Tobias’ selection of toys so they don’t become trip hazards and the larger one is home to bits and pieces that don’t yet have a permanent place to reside…we’re pretty much there on the organisational front now but there’s always the odd little something, right?
I’d love to hear some of your top tips for styling the home and adding a personal touch…leave them in the comments below!

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Buntella from Boomf!*

A couple of years ago I featured Boomf, the coolest marshmallow brand in town. It’s a brand I hold a great deal of affection for so when they got in touch to introduce their latest venture, Buntella I knew I was in for a treat.
Essentially Buntella is customised bunting. Even as someone who never bought in to the bunting fad I was pretty intrigued by this. As with Boomf you can create a product entirely out of your own photos or choose from a set of designs from various artists suitable for any occasion. I opted for images designed by The Corrigan Sisters as I wanted something to brighten up my room, not to say I don’t approve of the own photo approach- I think that would be amazing for a special birthday of wedding celebration!
Each Buntella compromises of nine triangles and come packaged in a neat little box just like Boomf mallows. The quality of the images is fantastic and the fabric has a good weight to it so it hangs beautifully. The bunting comes ready to hang (assuming your cat doesn’t make a beeline for it like Mae did) and is a super quick and easy way to jazz up any living space.

I couldn’t resist these pun-tastic prints especially with the “biscat” design. At £25 I think this makes for a pretty good value way to add something to your home or a special gift. What better way to show a friend how much they mean to you than plastering your mug-shots from nights out and happiest memories on to bunting?

What would you put on your bunting and what do you think of the idea? For me it’s another winner for the brains behind Boomf! Not to un-tangle the feline beast.

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