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Alison Baker Home Economist
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Posted by Hayley Gilbert Monday, 23rd November 2015
Now that the evenings are drawing in and it’s dark by about 4.30pm, our thoughts turn to keeping our homes warm and cosy. Whether you’re looking forward to family nights in or having friends round for a catch up, there are plenty of ways to give everyone a warm welcome this winter.
As it gets colder with every week, it’s natural to think about all the hearty home-cooked meals you can create using seasonal ingredients and a touch of spice. From soups and stews to tray bakes and one-pot wonders, a Rangemaster cooker is your kitchen’s best friend. From dual fuel models to all-gas or induction tops, there’s a range to suit. Smaller kitchens are perfect for the 60cm Professional, Classic or Kitchener styles while larger spaces can easily take a 100cm or 110cm width. And with specialist features such as griddle, handygrill, multifunction oven, handyrack, teppanyaki griddle, multi-zone, multi-ring burner, rapid response and glide-out grill, you’re guaranteed perfect results every time. The Classic 110 is just one of many great models to choose from.
There’s nothing quite like a platter of fine cheese to keep the conversation flowing after dinner. Once the main meal is over, have a good selection of mild, soft and hard cheese at the ready, alongside a range of crackers, biscuits and grapes. We think that Tesco’s cheese board and dome is great value at £20 while the grey board and knife set is just £15; the Camembert baker, £8 and the black and white serving board, £12.
Finish supper with a steaming hot cuppa. ‘Warm’ is a tea and coffee range by Finnish company Tonfisk and this handmade tea and coffee set is just the thing. With two ceramic cups, a teapot, removable stainless steel filter and bentwood tray, it’s priced £100 from Caroline McGrath and would make an ideal Christmas present, too. Just saying…
Keep your home smelling fresh with a few candles dotted around. Make sure they are out of the reach of young children and flammables and never leave unattended. Our pick is this enamel mug with a lemon and mint scented soya candle inside. Priced £15 from Luke Arthur Wells, it’s handmade and would look perfect in the kitchen.
When it comes to kitchen décor, think warm tones of blues and greys, which can be freshened up with accents of white or green. Petrol blues and anthracite greys are big news in kitchen cabinetry and the look can be as classic or as contemporary as you like. Handpainted furniture can be teamed with a ceramic butler’s sink and slate flooring for a period setting while a stainless steel sink and solid surface worktops will lend a more modern edge. Whichever style you prefer, the Little Greene taped wooden blind in Juniper Ash from Direct Blinds is the ideal window dressing to keep the cold out and the warmth in. Prices start from £83.99.
Wall tiles can have a huge impact on the overall look and feel of a kitchen, especially if you plump for a bold colour to create a feature area around the cooker and sink. Rectangular Metro tiles are still popular and the latest versions see new colours such as rich plum tones to add contrast to an otherwise neutral scheme. Tile Mountain’s designs have a bevelled edge, gloss finish and cost £15.99 per square metre.
Don’t forget that lighting is also key to creating mood and atmosphere and whilst kitchens require task lighting over work areas such as cooker, hob, sink and worktops, it’s also important to include pendants over a dining table, breakfast bar or island to achieve a more intimate setting during mealtimes. This solid brass pendant light costs £195 from Idyll Home and would look stunning in any kitchen.