No, not a Christmas drinks order in early, but just wanted to flag this new to me design company. Port & Lemon are very inspired by all things nautical and sea shore, and I think these are great for any kitchen, whether you’re by the sea or not.
There again, Any Port In A Storm might be appropriate given we’re down on the Gower Coast, and it’s October. You can have these on tea towels, or coaster or place mats, and mix and match to suit the humour or taste of the recipient.
They also have lovely mugs too, so you could definitely pull together a great gift for someone. Wrapping stuff in tea towels makes a good alternative to gift wrap, so gift and wrap in one. Products seems to be focused on UK manufacture as well, so a good local business to support.
It’s 286 years today since the birth of Josiah Wedgwood, and all credit that the brand that bears his name is still going strong. That said, I don’t think he’d recognise the designs now, they’re certainly different to the blue and white traditional image we might have of Wedgwood.
I mean, the Green Chinoiserie by Jasper Conran for Wedgwood looks like something modern and vibrant, and yet has elements of classical design to it. The one thing Josiah was great at was understanding trends and what people wanted, so working with a taste maker like Jasper might well have met with his approval.
Or the sheer exhuberance of the completely aptly named Vibrance? Rich, sumptuous, indulgent…all things he wanted for his original wealthy clients. Whilst he is credited with the industrialisation of the manufacture of pottery, he wasn’t in the cheap end of the market, far from it.
But Wedgwood was also riding the wave of a new enthusiasm for classical design. Intaglio would seem to be doing that in my book, beautiful white pottery but with superb detailing for interest.
Wedgwood isn’t really a brand I think about very often, as I’ve not thought it was my style for quite a long time. I can see now though that this brand has kept moving forward, and actually is more appealing than I might have thought. I think Josiah’s legacy is safe for quite a bit longer yet.
What do you think? Were you ahead of me on this one? Or still thinking of blue and white trinket boxes?
I love the Chelsea Flower Show, and not just because I’m over 40. I first went in my mid 20s, and worked there for the week. Best. Fun. Ever.
I mean, where else would the Tardis turn up in the gardens?
Well, until I got to go for the day, which was even more fun. Which is nothing to do with how much Pimms was consumed on the way round. But as I’m not lucky enough to be going this year, then I thought I’d celebrate what I hope will be a glorious and inspirational week with some wonderful, colourful blooms for the kitchen and beyond.
British and florals? Well, only right that Liberty appeared in this list. This is Betsy, one of the Flowers of Liberty prints, and every kitchen and table needs a great jug. What you put in it is up to you.
If you are heading to the Flower Show, then you’ll need a good morning cuppa delivered to you, preferably on a beautiful tray. This Morning Bouquet tray from Anthropologie is abstract, but definitely says gorgeous, vibrant flowers to me.
But if you do like it bright, then these pink floral napkins are definitely going to do that. From Lulu and Nat, there are six in the set, perfect for summer dining, inside or out.
And once you’ve walked round the show, carried home your new plants and kicked off your shoes, then you’ll be needing a strong cup of tea. And best make a pot. And then keep it warm with this beautiful Amrapali Peony tea cosy from Designers Guild. Can also be used if you’re just going to be sitting at home and watching the coverage with Alan Titchmarsh.
Enjoy this year’s gardens, I’m sure there’ll be drama and disaster as well as just glorious blooms and incredible design. Hoping for all involved that the weather plays nicely, makes a huge difference.
I wrote earlier in the spring about a Death Star BBQ, which I haven’t spotted in many places online, but Menkind have a cheaper version. Just the legs aren’t so long, so it’ll need a firm surface to live on, or you’ll need to do a bit more bending.
I just had to post my two new kitchen friends, brought to us from Paris by a very dear friend.
They’re the only cat and dog were going to have here! Useful and decorative, these are from Pylones. The cat holds one of those metallic scrubbers, which is appropriate as I first came across these when I was in France on exchange at the tender age of 13.
And if you’re wondering why the dog’s sponge is still all neat and wrapped, well, that’s down to the shop assistant in Pylones. She said before you used it for the first time you should get a stack of other sponges and cut round it, so you had a constant supply of the right shaped ones.
Well, certainly well done Shakespeare, there’s no longer an evening than badly acted Shakespeare.
So to celebrate this landmark, here’s a few things that have caught my eye, great gifts for literary food lover perhaps.
Starting with a couple of tea towels, as I do love a good tea towel. First off, something he was great at, a tea towel of insults. Useful to learn to cuss the slower minded with, it’ll have sounded so good they won’t realise till you’ve left what you actually said.
I like this tea towel from the RSC shop, which shows the personality types that occur from play to play and the connections between the characters. Just don’t get this out in the middle of performance to try and work it out!
Can’t be bothered to bake? The RSC have a great range of chocolate bars, based on different female characters from the plays. Just don’t rustle the paper loudly if you’re in the theatre. I am very fond of the Portia, which is an espresso coffee flavour.
Now, wine and ale get plenty of mentions in the various plays, and sure the bard was partial to a drop or two. If you’re in Warwickshire then you might well find this on tap in local establishments. From the Warwickshire Beer Company, this is Shakespeare’s County, a light easy drinking beer apparently.
Something to put your wine glass down on, these coasters have quotes about wine from the plays. “Have we no wine here?” continues to be a question on a far too regular basis here!
Talking of drink, a great friend sent me this book at Christmas. Combining two great loves, Shakespeare and cocktails, I think it’s fantastic. I’ll be consulting this for something appropriate to drink to the toast the occasion. Shakespeare, Not Stirred is definitely a great gift, I can’t believe I hadn’t found it before I was sent it.
Of course you might want to do a full on Shakespearian banquet to celebrate, in which case Shakespeare’s Kitchen by Francine Segan should do the job. Beef Purses sound like quite the kind of thing Falstaff might have been fond of, and this covers every course and a banquet or two as well.
I’m told it’s pretty impossible to get reasonable priced accommodation in Stratford on 23rd April, but there are lots of events planned throughout the year. I’ve written before about places I love there, and I never tire of time there. Of course, there are plenty of tourist trap type places, but also some great eating to be had. And I still love a drink after a show in the Dirty Duck, you just never know who you’ll bump into.
I’ve written many times about measuring cups, as I don’t think a kitchen can really be without a set. Mine are a very dull, stainless steel set that I’ve had for years, but they do the job.
And my recent trip to the Spring Fair showed sea creatures as a definite trend in motifs for the kitchen. So at first I just thought Sainsburys were really on it with this set of fish shaped measuring cups.
Lovely looking, until you look at the detail. There’s no 1/3 cup, and the big cup is 1 1/2 cups. Now, I’ve always found myself perfectly capable of doing 1 1/2 cups from my existing set with the 1 cup and 1/2 cup measure, but a little more tricky to guess 1/3. And heaven knows baking is not really fond of guesswork.
But of course the 1/3 cup would not make this look quite such a good value set, as losing the largest one would definitely lose some of the impact on shelf. But then this therefore makes the set about retailing need, not usefulness.
I would say, don’t buy this one. If you want something along a similar theme, then try this whale set from John Lewis. Yes, it’s another £5 but at least these four are useful sizes for every recipe you’ll make. Not to mention on trend, if that’s important. But at least trend has not over-ruled function.
Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and breakfast in bed is a tradition in many homes. Well, breakfast in bed is bound to need tea in my book, so here are ten great mugs for delivering that first brew of the day in.
Now, it’s not just about fabulous stationery, although they do that amazingly well. But they have some lovely stuff for the home as well. I’d love any of these in my home, and think they could make amazing gifts.
I love a good cuppa, and I like this cup and saucer a lot, mainly because it’s quite a decent size. I love the colour way and the upbeat quote is a good way to start the day too.
If you want to go large, then this gift pack complete with gorgeous little teapot is also beautiful. I think the styling is lovely, really in line with their Swedish design aesthetic. I’d be thrilled to receive this, can’t imagine many people who would object to it.
If you’re doing the homemade lunch thing for January, then feel even better about it by having a lovely new lunchbox. Cute by name, cute by appearance.
Being good at stationery, then they have some lovely recipe organisers. Some of us do still like the old school of writing out recipes, or pasting cuttings in from magazines. If you want to do the retro thing, then something stylish like this to put them in has to be a great thing.
Maybe they’re the efficient type, or want to be. In which case this lovely meal planner might be a great gift. We are trying to do this so maybe this would be a good starting point.
So, if you’re in Covent Garden soon, drop by the store, as they are beautiful stores. And if not, the online store could prove to be very tempting too. Hoping they do start expanding around the UK. Although my bank manager might feel differently.
December was about getting ready for Christmas, whether the fun, with festive cocktails, or the practical, with funky tea towels for the drying up ahead. Not to mention my usual roundup of options if you had forgotten that Christmas was just around the corner.
Definitely a year of contrasts, and new adventures on several continents, but some great eating with good company, at our own tables and away from home too. Here’s hoping for more of the same in 2016. What are your food memories of 2015? Would love to know.