Coffee connoisseurship keeps reaching higher and higher levels. We have become more discerning about where our coffee comes from, the taste we prefer and how we like to take it. Many people have coffee makers of one kind or another in their kitchens. The simple, classic Bialetti stove-top percolator, the coffee filter machine and the high tech bean-to-cup machines.
The obvious progression is an increase in the popularity of home coffee roasters. The basic models are surprisingly affordable and, as they don’t need electricity to run, are perfect for use al fresco or when camping. If you’re not the outdoorsy type, there are many others available – at a range of price points – for stove-top or counter-top use.
- Nuvo eco ceramic handy coffee bean roaster: £33.77, Amazon
- Antique coffee roaster: £135.03, Etsy
- BOCABOCA 250 coffee bean roaster with cooler: £345.99 eBay
Coffee is our morning brew of choice – double shot, flat white for both of us (soya milk, no sugar, for me – cows milk, sugar for Justin). I must confess, our first mugs of the day are usually instant (the horror!). Fiddling about with coffee machines when you’re only half awake is frustrating.
When I win the lottery (once I start buying a ticket!) I’ll travel ’round the world… and buy a top of the range Jura Bean-to-Cup. It’s the height of luxury having a coffee machine that you can control remotely from your phone. Pre-program your preferences into its memory and, at the touch of a button, it can grind and brew you your perfect cuppa… just to reiterate – that’s a double shot, flat white with soya milk, no sugar, if you’re asking!
- Dualit Multi Brew 84440 espresso coffee machine – chrome: £199, ao.com
- Sage Barista Express coffee machine – stainless steel: £ 599.95
- Jura E8 Bean-to-Cup automatic coffee machine: £1,195.00, John Lewis
White goods are so… blah. Remember when computers were only available in grey or beige boxes? Then Apple came along with its curvy, candy-coloured iMacs – revolutionary!
A similar revolution is currently under way with kitchen appliances. It began with the smaller ones – kettles and toasters. Brands like Dualit began collaborating with other companies such as Liberty of London, Selfridges and Little Greene to produce special-edition toasters in the latter’s colours and patterns.
Now, it’s the turn of non-white white goods. Smeg began the march of colour with their fridge-freezers and others are joining in. Stoves, cooker hoods and washer-driers used to be large expanses of white, black or stainless steel. Appliances once were drab, now they’re being produced in a range of rainbow colours. Life’s too short to be lived in monochrome!
- Swan Retro SDW7040BLN standard dishwasher, blue: £449.00, ao.com
- Gorenje ORK193 free-standing fridge freezer, lime green: £899.00, John Lewis
- Smeg CPF9GPOR 90cm ‘Portofino’ cooker with Pyro oven and gas hob, orange: £1,721.78
Our foodie posts are some of the most popular here on our blog – we’ve discovered that lots of our visitors especially love cooking & eating cheesecake, malt bread and chocolate desserts. We also know that hundreds (if not thousands!) of our regular readers love trying their luck with our monthly giveaways.
Well, we have a win-win bit of news for all you lovely people! Our friends over at Voucherbox wanted us to share with you a competition that they’ve got going on at the moment.
They have a brand new Samsung built in electric single oven worth £469 up for grabs. It’s something of a miracle oven, it cleans as it cooks – I wish ours could do that!
It’s easy to enter – just answer a very simple question (you’re even given a hint!). The deadline for entering is midnight on the 31st of January. Get on over there… and best of luck!
It used to be that small appliances were not at all welcome as Christmas presents. We’ve all heard the jokes about husbands buying their wives irons and vacuum cleaners. All that has changed. I for one would be more than happy with a robot vacuum cleaner; I’d immediately entrust it with picking up all the post-Christmas debris.
Equally, I’d be in heaven waking up to the smell of freshly baking bread and brewed coffee. These are smile appliances, not small appliances! 😉
- iRobot roomba980 robot vacuum cleaner: £749.97, Appliances Direct
- De’Longhi Eletta Plus ECAM44.620.S bean to cup coffee machine – black / silver: £434, ao.com
- ART29601 7-bottle wine cooler: £189, MyAppliances
- Kenwood Premier Chef XL KMM715 stand mixer: £349.99, Currys
- Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Nutri Juicer – silver: £132, Amazon
- Cuisinart ICE30BCU ice cream maker, silver: £64.99, John Lewis
- SD-ZB2502BXC Breadmaker: £160.99, Panasonic
We’ve scoured the internet to find the five of the best high tech homewares on the market. We love a bit of hi-tech kit… especially if it saves on the drudgery of household chores.
- Luxurite – waterproof LCD television – silver mirror frame: from £706.94, Victorian Plumbing | Enjoy watching those Poldark or Wolf Hall box sets by candlelight with a glass of wine from the comfort of your bath!
- Smarter Coffee wi-fi coffee machine: £179.99, Firebox | Bean to cup, just the way you like it, on demand straight from your smart phone or tablet.
- Neato XV Signature robotic vacuum cleaner: £255, Debenhams | Effortless vaccing, while you’re out, while you’re asleep. This is top of my Christmas list!
- NEST learning thermostat: £179, Currys | Never come home to a cold house again! Setting a winter base temperature means you never have to worry about frozen pipes bursting (been there, done that!)
- Samsung SHS-H700 key-less fingerprint technology digital door lock: £234.20, Amazon | No more scrabbling about in the bottom of your bag looking for your keys. Say hello to 21st century fingerprint recognition!