Welcome to my new kitchen


It's official. We finally have one room completely finished in the house. The kitchen was the most important thing to me in the house. I love to cook and wanted a space I could really lose myself in and one that became the hub of the house. You can often find me on a Sunday with flour in my hair and every utensil filthy as I spend the day working through my never ending supply of cookbooks. Thanks to my dad who did a spectacular job fitting it, a family friend who look time out to do our work tops and thanks to Connor who planned every last detail, I got the kitchen I always dreamed of. Scroll down to the bottom to see where everything is from. So what did it look like before?

The layout was the first thing that struck me. It's pretty small but it didn't seem like they were making the most of the space. I also didn't like the fact you had to go through the living in order to get into the kitchen. It was pretty bland and painted this awful yellow colour which gave me a headache. It looked like hadn't been updated quite a few years, the flimsy cupboards had seen better days and the cooker was disgusting. That was the first thing we threw out.




I've always wanted a red and grey kitchen. It's one of my favourite colour combinations. I'd been collected small red appliances for a few years and we decided to go for the full statement of investing in a matching fridge and dishwasher. Best decision ever! Once we had our colour scheme confirmed, we drew up some plans to decide the layout. Like I mentioned earlier, the space wasn't utilised very well so we decided to block up the existing door and reopen the door in the dining room (the kitchen is originally an extension.) After it was plastered and our spotlights were fitted, it was time to tile the floor.

I wanted a white tiled floor to help brighten it up as I was afraid to many dark colours could make it seem smaller than it was. We opted for grey grout as we didn't want to spend all our time scrubbing the floor. I'm a very messy cook so it really would be very time consuming. For the wall tiles, I wanted a lighter grey and fell in love with these flecked hexagon tiles from Topps Tiles*. After seeing a honeycomb pattern on Pinterest, I immediately knew I wanted to recreate this at home. We used white grout to help make the grey stand out. They create a great contrast with the charcoal grey units and I couldn't be happier with the end result.

Despite knowing they would be a nightmare too keep looking spick and span, I had my heart set on light oak worktops. We bought our from DIY Kitchens and oiled them three times before we used them. I feel they create a 'country' style kitchen but yet still help it feel modern. We live in a 1950's house and I didn't want to go too traditional. The Belfast sink has been my dream and is a great talking point. Every one always comments on it when they walk through the door. I was adamant I didn't want traditional kitchen door handles so spent a good few weeks scouring the internet. The octagonal handles caught my eye and I love them so much. I feel they really help jazz the kitchen up.




Thanks to the size, we are pretty limited on cupboard space. I have a lot of crockery and a lot of cookbooks. This is where shelves came in handy! I've always loved the idea of having crockery on display as I feel it helps to make a kitchen feel homely. I've got my favourite cookbooks on the top shelf and will rotate them. After all I do have 156 books to thumb through! We ordered some brackets from Ebay and my dad made us some shelves from an old scaffolding board - which will match our dining room table eventually.

I love an accessory but didn't want to make the worktops seem to cluttered. Believe it or not, this is me being a minimalist! I love anything Orla Kiely as you can tell by my cake tins and utensil pot*. I've tried to pick patterns with a hint of red or grey in them to help them tie into the kitchen.

Finally, I once again always knew I wanted to have a range cooker but we wasn't sure if it would look a bit too large for the space. In the end I managed to get my way and we went for black. I felt that stainless steel just looked to industrial and black was going to age a lot better than any other colour. I didn't anticipate how much of an effort it is to keep black cookers looking spotless!

Let me know if you have any questions - would be more than glad to answer it. Renovating a house is tough business!



Grey kitchen units:  DIY Kitchens
Belfast sink: DIY Kitchens
Solid oak work tops: DIY Kitchens
Silver octagonal door handles: Bombay Duck
Solid oak draining board: Amazon
Utensil pot: Orla Kiely via Hurn and Hurn*
Copper jars: H&M and Homesense
DIY shelves: Brackets from eBay/ shelf made from scaffolding boards
Silver taps: Victoria Plumbing
Grey hexagon wall tiles: Topps Tiles*
Grey wall radiator: Soak
Red fridge: Swan
Red dishwasher: Swan
Red microwave: Swan
Black range cooker: Leisure
Red kettle: Kitchenaid
Red stand mixer: Kitchenaid
Red blender: Kitchenaid
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Restaurant review: Tank and Paddle, Heddon Street, central London

A email popped into my inbox asking if I fancied trying out the new Tank and Paddle restaurant in Regent Street. Pizza and beer? How on earth could I say no? So I invited the BFF and we took ourselves off to London for an afternoon of stuffing ourselves silly and putting the world to rights.

There are now three different branches in London with a pretty simple concept. You're seated by a the wait staff and given a menu. Once you've chosen what you're going to eat, you hop along to the bar to order both your food and drinks. Then it's all brought to your table and you can tuck in like your life depends on it.





After deliberating for a while, we decided on a pizza each and a Mac and cheese to share. After all, you can't not order Mac and cheese when it's on the menu can you? If you don't then I'm not sure we can be friends... I'm a massive fan of spinach and chicken on a pizza so opted for The Chick-Flick. A delicious concoction of tender cajun spicy chicken, fresh Pappadew peppers, wilted spinach and soft red onions. Tank and Paddle certainly don't scrimp on the toppings. I loved the fact the tomato and melted cheese went pretty near to the edges and the base was crispy and super thin. No soggy pizzas on their watch! Jay had the Holy Smokes pizza. A BQQ base was topped with pulled chicken and smoked bacon. The ideal one for those who all about the meaty pizzas. To share we had The Smoky Mac and cheese with mini bacon strips hidden amongst the oozing cheese. The portions are huge so you could easily share a pizza - in hindsight we probably ordered a bit too much. But of course we ate every last scrap for the purpose of this review!

Tank and Paddle is a great place if you're on a strict time schedule in London and looking for reasonably priced grub. Food comes very quick yet cooked to a high standard and you can order in your own time at the bar. There's plenty of choice for both meat lovers and vegetarians with a good selection of beers to wash the pizza down. I know I'll definitely be back! Thanks so much for having us guys.



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The pressure to do it all - it's ok to say no





Outfit:
Hot pink coat: ASOS (similar)
Black ruffle shirt: Zara (similar)
Distressed blue denim skinny jeans: George at ASDA (similar)
Gold pointed midi heels: ASOS (similar)

As much as times have changed over the years, there's still the age-old expectation of being a women and what it entails. It's something that I've been thinking a lot about since I've entered the last year of my twenties. Social pressures increase and people start implying and making comments about issues that I really have no interest in talking about with them. Everyone and their uncle Jack seems to have an opinion about everything you should be doing. The pressure almost becomes unbearable.

As a woman I do feel there is the pressure to absolutely boss it at work, give our all to both family and friend relationships, keep our homes ticking over as well as be independent and do the things that matter to us. We're expected to literally be superwoman and there's something wrong with us if we don't fulfil it. But there are only 24 hours in a day. And sometimes, this really just isn't possible. I feel like the pressure society puts us under makes me do a half-arsed job. I feel like I'm not actually giving anything my full attention and as a result I find myself running around like a headless chicken.  Then I feel like even more of a failure because nothing is being done to the best of a ability. It's so hard to hold your hands up and admit that you really can't do everything.

It's ok to re-evaluate, take a step back and say no. It doesn't make you lazy, it doesn't make you unappreciative and it doesn't make you a failure.  Think about what is important to you and not about what is important for society. If you don't want to do the washing up for a week and would prefer to go out to the pub with friends, then that's your decision. Who cares if your house is a little messy when you're living your best life enjoying the two for one bottles of prosecco on a Monday night?  It's ok to prioritise one thing above the other. It's also ok to ask for help if you need it. We all need a little helping hand at one point or another. It's what makes us human.


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A Essex based lifestyle blogger who lives a champagne life on a lemonade purse!

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sophie.warner89@yahoo.co.uk.

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