Month: February 2016

A Kitchen Worktop with the WOW factor

A Kitchen Worktop with the WOW Factor

Finding a high quality kitchen worktop that not only is durable, resistant, solid but that look great and finishes your kitchen off with a ‘wow’ factor can seem like a daunting and tedious task, especially if it needs the requirements of a busy kitchen, family or the experienced chef.

Not only is performance and appearance important in a worktop, but it also needs to stand up to a variety of uses whilst complementing your kitchen frontal.

If you have read our blogs before you may be aware we have installed Howden kitchens for many years.  Their range of attractive and durable kitchens, accessories as well as worktops are of an outstanding quality.  In particular their laminates which are available in 38mm and 28mm thicknesses. The 38mm is available in a choice of gloss, matt, smooth and textured finishes and in bullnose and square edged profiles.

As Howden’s are such an amazing stockist/supplier of high quality kitchens, they also have a range of solid wood worktops which are available to create a premium finish for your kitchen in 40mm and 27mm thicknesses.

The majority of Howdens worktops are 616mm deep, which allows for a deeper overhang. The overall result is of an exceptional quality, workmanship and definitely gives the ‘wow’ factor.

And the added bonus of a Howden’s  worktop is that they come with a 1 year manufacturer’s guarantee. In the unlikely event of a defect in manufacturing or raw materials, they will happily replace any worktop promptly and without charge.

Obviously there are many worktops on the market but in our experience we have found Howden’s to be of a superior quality and performance.

As always if you would like a free no obligation Design Consultation with Michael or require further information please do not hesitate to give the team a ring on 0114 383 0529

The Geriatric Crew and a Zumba Class

The Geriatric Crew and a Zumba Class

The Geriatric Crew and a Zumba Class; I like to run, I always have since I was in my teens. Since then I have stuck with running as my preferred sport. I’m good at it and enjoy the freedom it brings to me. Ok I am no Paula Radcliffe but the fact is it still beats sitting on the sofa consuming a big bar of Cadburys.

However a few days ago my friend dragged me to a Zumba class. As I approached the building, wearing my running leggings/vest top, I felt very very conscious and completely out of my comfort zone. But I didn’t stop and run for the hills as I think doing things out of your comfort zone is healthy and I like an adventure. So I proceeded into the unknown.

Once inside the studio, I took my place at the back of the room, far away from the instructors, and more importantly, the enormous mirrors that completely covered the front wall.

The music started and everyone collectively moved; synchronised dance moves that everyone, but I somehow knew. I felt like I’d been dumped in the middle of a West End musical whereby everyone but me knew the intricately choreographed dance moves.

I tried to follow the instructor’s lead, but since I’d taken up residence at the very back of the room, I couldn’t see the instructor. I did, however, get a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I looked like my grandad trying to bust moves on the dance floor at a wedding.

Unable to see the instructor, I picked out a person who looked like she knew what she was doing and tried to follow her. My friend who had never done Zumba either, seemingly picked it up with no effort. Maybe she wasn’t as polished as the women who had clearly been doing Zumba since the day they’d learned how to walk, but she followed along and held her own. I, on the other hand, could not, for the life of me, make my body move even remotely like anyone else in the room. Except for the man in the back with me who was 75 years old if he was a day. I was doing almost as well as he was. Almost. Being shown up by a member of the geriatric crew does wonders for one’s self-esteem.

I stopped trying and stood there nervously laughing thinking to myself “I don’t get it! I have no idea what everyone is doing!”……..I felt like a total nerd. Why had I agreed to try this? And why was the music so blooming’ fast???

After about half an hour, I finally started picking up some of the moves. The only problem was, was that I was two steps behind everyone else. By the time I finally caught on to what they were doing, everyone else had moved ahead and was doing something else. As everyone moved to the left, I moved to the right. I crashed into the woman next to me. I apologised profusely and she was kind enough to say “it’s okay”. However I felt like I was in an episode of I Love Lucy. And I was Lucy.

Feeling some confidence return since I’d been able to make my feet move like everyone else’s (albeit a few moves late), I got cocky and decided to add arm movements. Up until this point, my arms had just hung like fat sausages at my sides. This is the point when I learned I have zero co-ordination. ZERO. CO-ORDINATION. I am physically unable to make my feet and my arms move with any semblance of agility, rhythm or style whatsoever. This reaffirmed to myself why I never dance unless I’ve consumed copious amounts of alcohol at which point I cease caring about how I look and just have fun. The next time I go to Zumba (isn’t that funny how I imply there will be a next time?), I’m going to drink first. Then I’ll just rock out to Shakira and Pitbull without a care in the world.

Needless to say I think I will stick to running….one foot in front of the other doesn’t take a lot of concentration or style.

As always, thanks for reading, B x

St Giles Primary School, New Forest Classroom

St Giles Primary School, New Forest Classroom

For those that don’t know, I love to keep busy, so when I’m not “doing kitchens” I need to entertain myself in other ways, and as I’m rubbish at sports and suffer terrible hangovers, the hobbies that filled my youth have long gone. These days I’m more at home wrestling (being beaten up) with my 3 daughters or out in the beautiful countryside that surrounds us here in Matlock. But even a big child like myself needs some mental stimulation and to act like a grown up from time to time, hence I became a school governor at St Giles Primary Matlock. I get a lot from this role and learning new things everyday.

The best part without a doubt, since being actively involved at St Giles Primary, is the revolution that’s going on right now with the schools exciting and inspiring move to incorporate Outdoor Learning as a major part in the education and development of its pupils. The school grounds we have at St Giles are incredible and diverse, with fields, woodland, pond, stream, conservation area, to name a few, but they have never been developed. Until now! Under the excellent leadership and guidance of the new Head Teacher, Mrs Forster and the support of the governing body and DDAT, St Giles Primary School has a new distinctive and exclusive vision for the overall happiness, well being and motivation of it’s pupils, staff and all stakeholders, by taking full advantage of our natural surroundings. In turn this ethos of creating a happy, safe and exciting learning environment for pupils, coupled with the excellent improvements within school and brilliant teaching can only lead to a great well rounded education for every single child at school

Phase 1 of the Outdoor Learning Project was to develop our on site woodland to create a woodland classroom and nature trail for the pupils. Watch the before and after video of the St giles primary school development

A few parents and children came together over the weekend to take on the task of cutting back all the trees and shrubs, clearing rubbish, creating paths and stores for the children to use in their future lessons. This is only the beginning of something special happening at St Giles Primary School, Matlock, and I for one am really excited about the coming months as this long awaited project becomes a reality, plus who doesn’t love playing in the woods, getting dirty and watching the children enjoy learning!!

If you would like to know more about whats going on or come and take a look around St Giles Primary School and see for yourself what the school has to offer, leave us a message below or contact school on 01629 56813 or Email enquiries@st-giles-matlock.derbyshire.sch.uk

You can also get our info brochure here
Send me the info brochure

See you on Phase 2 – The Conservation Area!

Mx

P.S. Hit the social links before to share this with your friends and let everyone know all the great things that are going on at school.

Dust Bunnies and a Cleaning Fairy

Dust Bunnies and a Cleaning Fairy

Ever wondered how those dust bunnies get there so fast and if they really have killed the cleaning fairy?

None of us can get away from the fact that if you don’t clean your living quarters you will probably be accepted, no questions asked, onto one of those awful cleaning programmes such as ‘How Clean is Your House’.  And you can be certain that if you are accepted the half of your friends and family that still came round to your house prior to the broadcast will stop.

Its a certainty that every person who has a house/flat/mobile home – whatever you live in – will need to clean it, organise it and declutter their living quarters each week.  That is of cause unless you can afford a weekly cleaner to spring clean your house.

Now although I have debated getting a cleaner for some time so as to free up my time, if you are anything like me you will clean the house before the cleaner arrives, which completely defeats the objective.

I also have a bad habit whereby if I am annoyed or stressed/worried……I clean.  I don’t mean wash up and chuck Domestos around the toilet cleaning.  I mean hold onto your marigolds the woman is armed with cloths, green scrubbing pads, brillo pads, sprays, multi purpose cleaners, bleaches and god knows what else…….all in a view to scrub the situation out of my head.  I am one of those annoying people who actually likes to clean and thinks it is therapeutic.

In my mind an organised and clean house equates to an organised and clean mind.  I’m exactly the same with my email inbox.  I told you I was slightly strange 🙂

Nevertheless the one cleaning aid I have never and will never get along with is……a dishwasher.  I know I will probably get hung, drawn and quartered for this, but to my mind; a person can clean cutlery and crockery far far better than any electronic device made by man.

I had a dishwasher for two years when my daughter was first born.  I thought that it was a good purchase and would save me some time (like the cleaner scenario would). However what happened was that I ended up cleaning the pots that had already been cleaned.  So not only did I rinse them, stack them in the machine and set it off going, I then ended up cleaning most of them again when it had finished.  Needless to say when I moved I did not take it with me!

However my Dyson – now that is the best £300 I have ever paid! I have had it for nearly 6 years and it doesn’t owe me a penny.  It sucks as good as it did the first day I bought it and I can guarantee there aren’t many things you can say that about nowadays 🙂

Now I have bored you with my endless prattling and you have been brave enough to stick it out until the end…….let us know what your must have cleaning contraptions/gadgets and machines are that you simply can’t live without.

As always, thanks for reading, B x

Awesome Kitchen Trends for 2016

Awesome Kitchen Trends for 2016

Awesome kitchen trends for 2016: The kitchen is the heart and soul of a person’s home. It’s where family gathers for meals. It’s a place to socialize and entertain. It’s where pets beg for a taste of home cooking and youngsters do homework at the breakfast table. So no wonder today’s trends allow for functionality and style.

Neutral colors, especially white and grey, are this year’s hottest colors. They allow for making the kitchen seem larger and more open. Add splashes of color in the décor and have a kitchen that can be easily updated without having to paint the walls. These colors are timeless, making sure you enjoy your space over the years.

Custom cabinetry is also very important to those who spend a lot of time cooking up special recipes and storing the latest kitchen appliances. It’s not just the look of the cabinets (rustic, Shaker and farmhouse are top in the most popular designs), but their functionality. Open shelving allows one to display favorite dishes and makes it easy to find the most used dishes in the kitchen. While specialized drawers make it easy to organize smaller items, cabinets with Lazy Suzans in corners allow for more storage of larger items. Being able to take all the appliances off the counter top and hide with easy access when they are ready to be used is another growing trend. One can also add containers or extra drawers above your upper cabinets, and pullout shelving makes it easier to get to those things in the back. Built-in chopping blocks, roll-out trash bins and free-standing pantries are definitely in. Hiding everything while still having easy access is what this year’s trends are all about.

Quartz countertops are not only beautiful, but durable. These countertops are nonporous, resistant to heat and spills and scratches, making them a smart choice for families.

Eye-catching backsplashes can add a bit of “quirk” to the kitchen with all the options of colorful and decorated tile or stainless steel. Show your personality with amazing backsplashes.

Let’s not forget our furry four-legged friends as pet stations are becoming more and more popular. Use a bottom shelf to hide Fido’s dishes and simply pull it out when it’s feeding time. This gets those bowls off the floor and makes for an easy clean up.

Choose wood or tiles for your floors. Not only are these materials long-lasting, but have been very “in” over the last decade and probably here to stay. Reclaimed wood may add a rustic charm to your updated kitchen while tile can add a more contemporary touch.

Technology is important to our everyday world, so enjoy a smart kitchen with automated appliances, motion-activated lighting and a place to hold a tablet or phone while preparing dinner. Dishwashers can easily be blended into the cabinetry and contain the noise that is may be associated with them. Motion-activated faucets are all the new rage. Turn them out without touching the at all.

Let your character shine in your lovely kitchen this year by adding some of these functional tips. You will be the envy of your friends and neighbors as they ooh and aah over your new style!

We love a selfie

We love a Selfie

People love taking a selfie and posting them all over their social media accounts, blogs – basically all over the internet, and guess what we are no different at Kitchens by Milestone.

There is not one person alive that hasn’t taken a selfie at some point, no one can ever say they haven’t.  It is no longer girls with Nike ticks as eyebrows that take them.

All over the internet there are selfies;

  • firefighters taking selfies whilst their colleagues are saving the day (hmmmmm P45 in the post I suspect?!)
  • gym selfies (because the check in wasn’t enough)
  • car seat belt selfie (because you couldn’t drive off for your shift at McDonalds without letting everyone know how good you thought you looked)
  • pretending to be a sleep selfie (we know you aren’t asleep – we aren’t idiots, who took the picture?!)
  • The Duck Face selfie (lets be honest, pouting makes you look desperate and doesn’t make you look any prettier)
  • The I Live In Filth Selfie (We all make messes, but if you’re going to post a picture of your living quarters on the internet, choose a different room or tidy up!)
  • a human head in a camels mouth selfie (yes really)…….and this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Not a day goes by whereby someone hasn’t posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or any other form of social media a selfie………they are everywhere.

So, here at Kitchens by Milestone we thought we would get on the ‘band wagon’ and give you our very own selfie…………kitchen included of cause, so here it is……

Are you an avid selfie picture taking person? Or do you despise them?

Let us know your thoughts and if you like the kitchen in the background too 😉

As always, thank you for reading, B x

Dream kitchens and an aga

Dream Kitchens and an Aga

Dream kitchens and an Aga; When I was a child my grandma had a Aga in her huge kitchen. In the middle of the kitchen was a huge sold thick wooden table that sat 8 with ease.

Her kitchen was the hub of the house. Everyone congregated around the table, mainly to eat her gorgeous cooking, drink granddads home brewed ale and cider or to get warm with a cuppa tea.

In the winter months we would all huddle in there as it was always lovely and warm.  My memories at Christmas time are of my dad and granddad laughing so loudly (alcohol infused) and my grandma smothering my brother and I in ‘cider kisses’ are some of my fondest memories.

In the summer months she would have the big french doors open (back in the early 80’s, the doors were just known as patio doors, we weren’t that posh to call them ‘french’, don’t forget we live in Yorkshire!) and my brother and I would run in and out, tormenting my grandma by stealing the buns, pasties or whatever else came out of that Aga and running off to the tree house to gobble them up.

As I grew older my favourite place was sat in my grandmas high backed armchair next to the Aga. I didn’t care what was cooking on it, nor what actually came out of it. But I loved the warmth it perspired and the fact I could watch my grandma at work, cooking up feasts and making food (as she put it) with love. Talking to her with not a care in the world.

Today I love being in the kitchen and like my grandma before me, the kitchen is the hub of my house, it is where we eat all our meals, its where the children do homework, play with puzzles and play doh as I cook……..However in my dream kitchen I have a huge Aga just like my gran. A mammoth cooker that makes such a big statement no one can miss it.

So my question to all who’ve kindly read this blog……what would your dream kitchen be like and what must it have in it and why??

We would love to know you’re thoughts.

As always thanks for reading, B x

We Love Spaghetti Carbonara

We Love Spaghetti Carbonara

In my household we love pasta (especially spaghetti carbonara), there is not a week goes by that at least three of the meals are pasta based.

However being the healthy eating cook that I am I thought it best to adapt one of our favourite dishes to make it slightly more healthier…………….Spaghetti Carbonara.

Now admittedly the below recipe would still apply to the phrase ‘a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips’, but still, after a hard week at work there is nothing more satisfying than sitting down to a lovely home cooked meal and a glass (or several) of wine.

Plus I know it will withstand the ultimate test, the harshest of critics, the one’s whom would rather not eat than eat any filth put before them………………….the children!

Mine love it so much they always ask for seconds, so get cooking in your lovely new kitchen and enjoy 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Wholemeal spaghetti
  • 300g of cottage cheese
  • Small pot of single cream
  • Chopped onions
  • 8 x Bacon medallions chopped into small cubes
  • 3 cloves of garlic (or whatever is your preference)
  • 1 table spoon of olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese (handful of)
  • Ground black pepper

*Apologies that my measurements are not exact, I’m a chuck it in and see what happens type of cook.

Method:

  1. Soften the onion and garlic in a pan with the olive oil for a few minutes. Add the bacon and fry until cooked through.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti for around 10-12 mins, not too long, we don’t want limp overcooked pasta.
  3. Add the cottage cheese. Stir until the cottage cheese has completely melted. It will look watery a this stage and to be quiet frank it will not look appetising whatsoever, but don’t worry, continue to simmer for a further 8-10 minutes and the liquid will reduce (this is what you want it to do).
  4. Take the pan off of the heat and turn down your hob (if using an electric hob you might want to transfer to a different point which is on a lower setting as for the next section we don’t want the cream to curdle!)
  5. Add the cream and parmesan, return to the heat and keep stirring constantly until it has reduced and thickened to your liking, add some pepper to taste. Take off heat when to your liking.
  6. Drain the spaghetti, making sure that there is hardly excess water, return to the pan, stir through the sauce, and serve.

Let us know your thoughts if you’re brave enough to give it a try.

As always, thanks for reading, B x

 

Men are like Twitter

Men are like Twitter

Firstly can I point out I have a loving Father, Brother and Son in my life and since I was 20 I have always worked in a male orientated environment. Yet be that as it may I STILL think that this phrase is applicable…….Men are like Twitter.

What I mean by this is if you are wanting them to pay attention to what you are saying, remember a specific date, event, your likes, your dislikes……whatever it may be you have to keep it to 140 characters or less.

Basically and in a nut shell, keep it precise, keep it relevant and more importantly keep to the point.

As much as there are people out there whom say women and men are the same…..they are not.

For instance me and my girlfriends can talk and talk and talk some more. Whether it be in depth, trivial, funny or upsetting…..whatever it is we can talk until we can talk no more. Even if it is a joke, you can guarantee a woman will extend that joke so long that it becomes an ebook. We can talk about the fact that men don’t like talking until the cows come home. That is how much even the quietest of women, despite their rebuttals…..like to talk. Its who we are, it is what we do. It is not nagging or prattling on about nothing, what we talk about is relevant, it is relevant to us hence why we talk.

My friends that are boys/men (note I don’t call them boyfriends) are different, when I talk to them I keep to the point and if I forget myself they remind me to get to the ‘cliff notes’. Don’t get me wrong they are not being disrespectful, but to a man they just want what is relevant and if necessary the points so whereby they can resolve, laugh or make any suggestion based on the ‘cliff notes’ given. They don’t want the detailed run down of what went off, who did what, what happened next and whom said what. At the end of the day have you seen a man read Jane Austen……NO. They don’t want to know why Elizabeth hated Mr Darcy at first, they don’t want to know why she thought he was proud and how he was prejudice of her. They don’t care about the romantic liaison beforehand, all they need to know is how it ended, they can figure out all the rest from the title.

My point being, when talking to a man, be like Twitter and keep it to 140 characters or less. Don’t go round the outskirts of Sheffield to get to the city centre, it is pointless. Get to the point, be direct and hopefully if you’ve given them the precise ‘cliff notes’ they will note what you have said and act accordingly. It saves so much time and effort.

If you want a beautiful new kitchen, keep it to 140 characters and in a language he’ll understand. For instance; ‘You’ll get better cooked meals!’,  ‘There’ll be storage to hide all the stuff.’,  ‘Loads of room for the beer!’, ‘Gadgets to play with!’ This way you’ll have a very agreeable partner and an easy route to your dream kitchen!

Do you agree? Is this what you have experienced?

Let us know your thoughts.

As always thanks for reading, B x