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Would like to have: Tea-towels

16 Nov


Family Favourites - Charlotte Farmer

Over a cup of tea with friends at the weekend we found ourselves chatting about what business we could all set up which would make us happy and – ideally – lots of money.  In these straightened times we began to ponder what we would consider an essential and got to thinking about what things people would always need.  We came up with a small but impressive list: teachers and haircuts. Of course this initial list soon expanded to include, umm, well a lot of things, but it did not include one object which I solemnly regret: the tea-towel.

Yes, the humble tea-towel. Regular readers will know that I have a thing for natty tea-towels like the MrT one which proudly lives in my kitchen- in a state of near disrepair – now.  But it would seem I just can’t get enough of the puppies and I have found a few more which have left me wondering how much of the money I should set aside for Christmas I can justifiably spend, sorry, invest in pretty things for my flat.

Top of my list is this ‘Family Favourites’ number by Charlotte Farmer and available from To Dry For for £9.50.  And wow. It is delectable. From the gorgeous pink wafer, the beige custard cream, to the party ring, the curiously satisfying malted milk, the Tunnocks tea-cake and beyond. It has it all!  My belly is rumbling at the thought of dipping a bourbon biscuit or two in a glass of milk or nibbling on a sugary NICE with a pot of tea to hand. Yes.

That’s not the only tea-towel on To Dry For catching my eye though. Oh no. Because the Tea Cups print by EaK Design, for £8 is also absolutely grand. From zany to spotty mugs and cups, it suggests a bottom-less supply of tea and coffees, overflowing hot chocolates and enough horlicks to send a small army to sleep.

It’s also topical – featuring as it does a Royal Wedding tea cup! Yes, I am already thrilled at the prospect of all of the Kate and Wills wedding tack which I will be collecting like crazy. I only hope it will be as good as this marvellous ceramic trinket. Come on Royalists – you can do it!

EaK Design - Tea Cups

So there we have it. Two of the niftiest tea-towels about – perfect for stocking fillers, Secret Santa gifts and those little shopping pressies to yourself that we all absolutely deserve!



Would like to have: Sodastream

28 Jul

Get busy with the Fizzy

I have been spellbound. I am obsessed. I am being held tight in a retro-embrace that I never want to shake myself free of.  You see, I’ve watched the adverts for the revamped sodastream and boy oh boy do I want one.

According to the blurb on their website, the origins of the home carbonation market can be traced back to 1903 when Guy Gilbey (of the famous London Gin dynasty) invented the first SodaStream machine. This large machine was used by butlers in the country houses of British aristocrats. As the 20th Century unfolded, SodaStream machines got smaller and became fixtures in homes across the U.K. and throughout much of the world.

I vividly remember wanting my own sodastream when I was little and having glasses of home-made cola at friend’s houses. Or seeing the gas cylinders and syrups for sale in Safeway and wanting, oh wanting wanting wanting, one so badly. Those little bottles promised endless fizzy fun but alas, I never got one. In the same way my parents – for reasons I still find it hard to fathom – never let me had Lucky Charms or Salt and Shake crisps, the Sodastream just wasn’t to be.

Or so I thought. But this little babe – The Genesis drinks maker in White – I know, I know, how very Phil Collins, is a steal at £59.99. And the flavours on offer? How about kiwi pear or mango apple? A fruity lemon number, lipsmacking ginger ale or ominously named ‘Xstream’… and how would I be able to resist making my own cocktails at the end of a boozy Sunday dinner, the possibilities are surely endless.

Ice to meet you.

Seeing as I don’t own a microwave, a cheese-toasty machine or a George Foreman Lean Mean Grilling Machine, I think it’s high time I invest in a kitchen gadget. And whilst I am at it, and sating my 80s nostalgic urges, I should surely invest in a Mr Frosty Icemaker. Another product of startling genius that I’ve been lusting after for decades. That’ll do the trick. Unless I’ve missed any classic 80s/QVC goodies? Let me know if there’s anything else missing from my wishlist, and oh, I’ve already got a Teasmaid on it. Want.

You got served- Mr Tea Towel

21 Jul

There is no Plan Tea

Do you know what I like?  Tea. I ruddy love tea.  All things tea in fact. Tea-breaks, tea cups, tea pots and yes, even the humble tea-towel. And this may be my All Time Favourite Tea Towel. Ever.  A hugely generous accolade, no doubt, but look at it.  Pink, simply designed, slightly stupid – emblazoned as it is with Mr T!- I ask you, what’s not to like?

I’ve had a Mr Tea Towel like this for about 3 years now, and upon close inspection I spotted no less than five medium holes (medium in that I could wiggle a finger through but not my whole fist) and about 3 stubborn stains, of the kind that would give the makers of Cilit Bang a migraine… so, there’s a bit more life in it yet! But soon I will need to replace Mr Tea and send him to the big cupboard drawer in the sky and when I do I will go to the wonderfully named To Dry For where I can snap this bad-boy up afresh, for £7.50. Though as the website says itself: “I aint doing no dishes fool!”


P.s. can I just clarify that this post is in no way a promotion or endorsement of the new “A-Team, There is No Plan B” movie, release date 30/07/10 in the UK, which frankly looks abhorrent . Thank you.

You Got Served: Marmite Cake Tins

13 May

Love them or hate them

Now this, this is clever. I fully accept that Marmite is a love-it or hate-it kind of thing* , but who doesn’t love cake? No friend of mine, that’s for sure. And these tins have a most natty design that is sure to boggle the mind of marmite-hatin’, cake loving’ people.

I spied them in Peter Jones where they are going for about £20 but some desk-based research (translation: googling) has shown that they’re widely available on Amazon and the like.  I need them. I am sure I could readily make-do with some Tupperware (really should organise a Tupperware party one of these days..) but that’s not nearly as fun as a retro and colourful bunch of tins. And cake-transportation remains an issue with me. Cycling into work only to present expectant colleagues with mashed-up cake is no fun. Who wants to make the birthday girl cry when the icing on the cake reading “Dear Aunt” becomes horribly smudged…
There’s simply no way round it. I shall have to save up and invest.

* I think I may be the only person in the world who’s reaction to marmite is “meh”, thereby totally buggering up their marketing strategy. Is anyone else indifferent? Do we need to launch a “meh to marmite” campaign?

You Got Served: Foil Teacake Bag

27 Apr

Nice job Gillian Kyle

Maybe the sun had addled my brain, maybe the coffee shop’s barrister had made a better-than-average Flat White, perhaps my playlist sounded sweeter than usual this morning (A megamix of Caribou, Animal Collective and Rihanna incase you were wondering…), but whatever it was I was feeling somewhat gung-ho when I traipsed into WHSmiths.  And I bought Red magazine for the first ever time. And I really really enjoyed it.

My usual ‘zine consumption consists of Vanity Fair (have bought it without fail for years and love the mix of cutting edge international journalism, fawning Leibovitz Hollywood photo-spreads and endless comment pieces on the royals), the Economist (I rarely read it cover-to-cover but Bagehot is unmissable) and begrudgingly Glamour magazine (the fashion’s neat but it’s a bit flim-flamery for me)… and so Red was a pleasant surprise. Lots of tasty recipes for calzone, beautiful kitchen-porn, a genuinely interesting piece on the election and none of those circles of shame/body-blitz/true-horror articles that usually nark me so.

I had always thought that I was too young for Red magazine, sigh, but today was also the day when I realised that I neither know nor care about both Justin Bieber AND the Jonas Brothers, ho hum. But anyway, enough of these existential witterings. Featured in Red this month, by Mary Norden, is this marvellously jolly bag by Gillian Kyle – yours for £17.50 – featuring that most tasty of guilty pleasures: the teacake! Regular readers of WouldLikeToEat will know I’ve written more than once about Tunnock-y delights and I can think of no finer tribute to my favourite teatime treat than to buy this bag and stuff it full of caramel wafers and teacakes. I mean, that would be a good thing, right?

You Got Served: Montague/Capulet Mug

24 Apr

For tea or not for tea

The Globe Theatre is utterly incredible. Watching the blue sky darken, go grey, and then black whilst the actors strut about the stage, as planes fly overhead, and the air grows steadily colder is just an awe-inspiring way to watch a play.  It was utterly amazing watching Macbeth on Friday: the performance shocking and moving. I confess, then, that my highlight of the evening was running to the gift shop in the intermission, and giddily buying this mug.

£7 from the shop (you can buy it online for sure), this gorgeous cup shows the “two tribes, both alike in dignity” in kitschy lovehearts-and-arrows. It is both silly and serious all at once and I love it!

You Got Served: BÄRBAR (A birdy tray)

19 Apr

Tre cool

I don’t want you to think that – with this general election excitement at fever-pitch (in my brain at any rate), the opinion polls volatile and the Lib Dems flying through the televised debates – that this modest little food blog would in any way promote one party or another. 

Oh no no no no no. This lovely jazzy tray just happens to be one of my investments (note to boyfriends around the world, items bought in a whimsical fashion in IKEA are always an investment not a luxury, ok?) from my trip to deepest darkest Croydon last weekend.

Coming in at £4.99 and managing to be colourful, bargainful and full of the joys of Spring, I am pretty pleased with it. The only thing that would make it better would be for it to be placed on my lap – heavily laden with a pot of tea, big bowl of bircher cereal and the snoozepaper – as I lounge in bed on a sleepy weekend-day.

You Got Served: Lucky Cat Plate

14 Apr

Mr Good Fortune

The place in the world that I would most like to visit is Japan. I love Haruki Murakami, Lost in Translation is one of my favourite all time movies and everytime I see a Maneki Neko a smile creeps onto my lips. I will need to fill up my piggy-bag quite consideribly before I’ll be whizzing through Kyoto on a bullet train but in the meantime, there’s a lovely place in Picadilly called the Japan Centre that – just about – sates my desire.

It houses all kinds of Japanese store cupboard essentials, some of the srummiest sushi and bento boxes and awesome Japanese goodies for your home.  A word of caution, the Japan Centre also has THE worst loyalty card I have ever encountered. Unlike certain coffee shops were you buy nine coffees and get one free, the Japan Centre requires that you buy sixty, yes 6-0, packs of sushi to qualify for ONE free pack. I am determined and committed but my Blitz-like resolve is sorely tested by this most ungenerous scheme!

Anyway, that aside, this lovely little plate – coming in at just over 10cm diametres  – and draining your purse of just under £3.50 is sure to decorate my table from now on and beckon good fortune into my life.

You Got Served: Cricket Flask

6 Apr

I don't like cricket.. flasks..

Those of you who know me well know that my boyfriend is what’s known in the trade as a nerd, specifically, a cricket-nerd. For it is he who writes Surrey Cricket Blog and it is he who has dragged me – not quite kicking and screaming but nearly… – to the Lords for long afternoons of sun and booze in the Pavilion and the Oval for booze and silliness during a Friday night’s twenty20 match.

Either way there’s been booze and begrudgingly, I am beginning to, not like, but actually not detest cricket. I mean sometimes, it’s pretty awesome. When Pollard hits the ball miles or DeVilliers’s arm seems to Stretch Armstrong-esque expand and make the catch.  And a few of them aren’t half bad looking.  In their whites they look even better. And I really love Ryan Sidebottom… and his hair.

And I do love the nostalgia of cricket, the whites against the green of the grass and the blue of the sky of an afternoon’s play. Whilst I’m not about to go all John Major and pine for a Britain of long shadows on cricket grounds, warm beer, invincible green suburbs and dog lovers I am going to pine for this flask.

From Wild & Wolf and priced at a snappy £14.95 it’s rather marvellous and would be perfect for picnics and bike-rides to the park and yes, why, dozy afternoons at the cricket.

You Got Served: Kid’s Panda Face Bowl

1 Apr

I have been fond of Panda bears ever since I was little but this youtube classic cemented my love forever more. And of course they are adorable. Lalloping around as clumsy pups, peering through their smudge-mascara-eyes, they are just too cute. Their distinctive faces are caught beautifully in this bowl – £12 from the V&A and made in Japan – which I wish I could eat my cereal from every morning!

I think I should head over to the V&A and invest as soon as my legs will get to pedalling. Although, a word of warning. The V&A’s shop is criminally good. A wonderful distraction from an already sublime museum, should you tire from gazing at the 3,500 jewels in the stunning William and Judith Bolinger gallery, had you already found solace in the peaceful courtyard of the Medieval and Renaissance galleries, warmed your legs in the sunshine within the garden or taken afternoon tea in the beautiful cafe – to the sound of piano tinkling, no less – then a trip to the shop will seem only right and proper. And may end in a dangerously large dent in your purse. Eeek.