Tuesday, 19 August 2014


Usually I don't get as excited about gadgets as my other half but this one is different. Why? Because it involves wine :)

If you are into wine (or just like entertaining) I think this is the perfect addition to any kitchen. The idea of the Hostess is that it cools or warms your wine to the perfect temperature to drink it in. It differentiates between reds, whites and sparkling wine and more importantly you can choose the grape variety you are drinking to enjoy it in the ideal temperature. And trust me, you CAN tell the difference! We have a wine fridge but almost always the wines are few temperatures colder than they should. On the contrast red wines can be too warm if they are consumed room temperature but we don't always use it for the reds because if you are decanting the wine (pouring it into another container) you can't really use the Hostess unless you pour it back into the bottle.. It's just too much work for me but if you are not decanting the wine it won't be an issue.

The temperature can be set between 5 and 19 degrees. Here are the different grape varieties/blends Hostess has:


  • Chardonnay (9 °C)
  • Chablis (8 °C)
  • Semillion (9 °C)
  • Chenic Blanc (7 °C)
  • Muscadet (8 °C)
  • Ice wines (6 °C)
  • Sancerre (8 °C)
  • Sauvignon Blanc (9 °C)
  • Pinot Grigio (9 °C)
  • Sauternes (11 °C)
  • Zindafel (8 °C)
  • Rioja (8 °C)
  • Riesling (8 °C)


  • Beaujolais (12 °C)
  • Beaujolais Nouv. (10 °C)
  • Bordeaux (18 °C)
  • Cabernet Sauvignon (19 °C)
  • Chianti (15 °C)
  • Merlot (18 °C)
  • Non Vintage Port (14 °C)
  • Vintage Port (19 °C)
  • Pinot Noir (16 °C)
  • Red Burgundy (17 °C)
  • Rioja (16 °C)
  • Rose (12 °C)
  • Shiraz (18 °C)
  • Valpolicella (14 °C)


  • Asti Spumante (5 °C)
  • Champagne (7 °C)
  • Sparkling wine (7 °C)

The cooler has two chambers with individual temperature controls so you can cool your white wine at the same time as warming your red wine. Above is an example of two bottles of white wine that were put in at the same time. The left one was room temperature and on the right the bottle was straight from the wine fridge that is supposed to be 9 degrees celsius. It took several hours for the bottle on the left to reach the ideal temperature but the one on the right was ready to enjoy within 30 minutes.

Our Hostess is a twin model but they also have single bottle coolers which are ideal for travel.

We only started getting more into wine a few years ago and when we first got the Hostess as a present we were using it every weekend. After 2 years of very frequent use the engine died and we had to get it replaced which is the only downside. I suppose you would think that it's not worth it but I just couldn't live without one after getting used to drinking wine at the perfect temperature. Also, the place where it was purchased from had no problems replacing it which made it convenient so they do come with a guarantee (usually it's 1 year).

Since getting our Hostess I have been converting our friends and family to it as well. It looks stylish and complements our modern kitchen. The only thing you do need to remember is that it is a bit bulky so for this reason I wouldn't leave it out on the kitchen counter unless I was actually using it. Secondly, if you have a white wine that you are chilling from room temperature it will take a really long time to reach it. The trick is to put the wines first in a wine fridge or normal fridge and then into the Hostess in order to reach the ultimate temperature. It seems to fit almost every bottle that is out there. I think there have been only few champagne bottles that were too big for it due to their odd shape so it is really not a common issue. It does make a humming sound when it's trying to reach the ideal temperature but it's really not that loud and has never bothered me.

Hostess is not perfect but for me it's definitely worth it. If you are looking to chill wine quickly it's not ideal for that. However, if you like cooking and pairing wine with food, then Hostess is a really cool way of adding to the enjoyment. Happy entertaining!

PS. For more about the hostess visit Hostess Range.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014


I have been searching for the perfect interior design book for a while and this book couldn't have arrived at a better time. I generally use Internet (google, houzz, pinterest, instagram etc) and magazines for inspiration until about a month ago I got the Kelly Hoppen Design Masterclass as a birthday present.

This book is amazing! I am currently only half way through but I could not resist writing a review already as I am so impressed. I recommend it for any home decorator who wants to get some new ideas, guidance and inspiration. The book explains design concepts in a very easy to understand way and reveals some industry secrets. Why to hire an interior designer when you can become one, right?!

This book particularly appeals to me because I love Kelly's elegant style. She combines luxury with simplicity very well and introduces ideas that I had never even considered before. She really does have immaculate taste when it comes to design and even though she uses strong contrasting colours the end result looks warm and inviting (to my liking anyway). This is something I really struggle with and often the room can look too plain and clinical.

I've picked few of my favourite pictures from her book that showcase her impeccable style  (Photographs by Mel Yates).

As you can see Kelly's signature style is very elegant. She mainly uses black and whites combined with more earthy colours such as taupe and beige. The end result is dramatic and very stylish. I love the way she uses textured wall paper and how she combines Asian influences in her design. She also seems to share the same passion for art deco as I do! The book showcases her previous projects and the pictures are really inspiring although not always most helpful because the houses are huge open-plan mansions. One can always dream...

I must admit that I am reading this book in a random order (although it is helpful to read at least the first chapters depending on your previous knowledge of course). I usually read whatever I am currently working on whether it is the lighting, kitchen or accessorising the room and I have to admit it has been very easy to just jump from one chapter to another. The advice Kelly gives you is very varied from the floor plans down to the very last detail. She also encourages you to have your own personal style which is so important.

As we are just starting with our plans for our extension, I am hoping this book will help me to make the right decisions (along with an architect of course). I don't want to copy her style because I think that would be pretty unimaginative but the idea is to take a few design tips from her and implement those in our house. Even though my style is similar to hers with the strong contrasting colours, I think she uses a lot more beige/taupe that I would personally go for. A lot of the advice in this book is very helpful as it is not as easy to create a monochrome look that actually works than you would think. Plenty of thought needs to be put into planning when deciding which colours compliment each other and how lighting changes the outlook of a room. Her style can look pretty impersonal at times as well but I would say her simple and minimalist style should be used as a backdrop to which you can add some personal items such as photos/accessories (clearly her clients didn't want to reveal their most precious family photos or identities either).

Kelly Hoppen has also launched an online store which sells products she has designed (www.kellyhoppen.com) and they are affordable too! There are definitely a few items which I am considering for our bedroom and by taking just a quick glance I found some of her products very similar to the ones that Next or Dwell are selling. I haven't seen any of her products in real life so I cannot comment on the quality but I did notice that Debenhams are also selling them  and they are on sale at the moment (some up to 50%). Have a look at www.debenhams.com.

Whilst I am enjoying reading her book, I am hoping that with time I will be able to see some changes in our house that will take it closer to our dream home. This book is certainly helping me to be more organised and it will hopefully help me in my decisions making process that always seems to be the tricky part. Another reason for getting this book is the stunning photography by Mel Yates. The photograps are truly inspiring and a piece of art on their own.

Images credited: Jacqui Small Publishing

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