Wednesday, 26 November 2014

RIEDEL VITIS FLUTES

You might already know by now that I am a bit of a wine enthusiast. Our glassware collection mainly consists of Iittala Essence, Villeroy & Boch and Waterford Crystal but at the moment Riedel is my absolute favourite. My biggest pet peeve has got to be coloured wine glasses. They are great for entertaining purposes but if I am enjoying a glass of wine I want to be able to appreciate the colour of the wine as well. 

I recently discovered the Vitis range from Riedel and I was immediately blown away. There is something special about these diamond shaped glasses. I have a cabinet full of wine glasses but I felt that this particular design style had been missing from our collection. The glasses seem to be designed to perfection and are actually very practical compared to other wine glasses I own. The photos don't do justice as they look even better in real life.









Riedel Vitis (means 'vine' in Latin) is a varietal specific glass that is designed specifically for sparkling wine and has been manufactured using Riedel's latest machine-blown technology. I love the seamless stem and the architecture design feature that reflects light from the bottom of the bowl. The flute feels fine and delicate but well-balanced at the same time. Vitis range is made of lead-crystal but Riedel also makes lead-free glasses (which are much cheaper obviously). 

If you are a wine connoisseur, you might be already familiar with this fine glassware company. Riedel, established in 1756, is an Austrian family owned business and all the glassware is manufactured in their own factories in Austria and Germany. Many top-rated restaurants use Riedel thanks to their beautiful design and durability. In fact, many people say that Riedel wine glasses are the best wine glasses ever made!


But, what really makes Riedel special in my eyes is the amount of research and effort they put into their designs. They have different glass styles designed to enhance different types of wines. Unfortunately, I am not a wine expert so I cannot speak from my personal experience. But, there is a lot of evidence that shows how the choice of glass can actually make a difference. It doesn't really alter the taste but can enhance the wine according to research. You can read more about it here.

So, how much should one spend on a wine glass then? According to Riedel, you should plan to invest as much as you would spend on an average bottle of wine. I think that is pretty good advice although it also depends on how often you drink wine in my opinion. Not all Riedel glasses are expensive either. A good example of this is their Ouverture range which is an entry-level series for enjoying reasonably priced wine. There are also plenty of online stores that have promotions when you buy 6 or more glasses which is great.

We have been using our Riedel Vitis glasses for a few months now and I have been very happy with them. They are my favourite glasses at the moment and I am considering adding their Riesling glasses to our collection in the future. Even though, Riedel states that the glasses are dishwasher safe, I personally prefer to hand wash anything made of lead-crystal as the glasses can get cloudy (which is very difficult to fix).

I find these champagne glasses beautiful and the thin long stem makes them even more impressive. Vitis is Riedels tallest collection to date but you are not supposed to fill the glasses all the way up to the top (apparently it helps to keep the bubbles). With New Year's celebration in mind, I don't think you can go wrong with these wine glasses. They are elegant and timeless and you can get other varietal specific glasses to match if you wish. At the moment they are -20% off at The Riedel Shop which is a fantastic offer!

For more information visit www.riedel.com
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Tuesday, 18 November 2014

SPOTLIGHT ON CHRISTMAS CANDLES

My favourite thing about Christmas and the winter months is burning scented candles in our house. I find them relaxing and quite therapeutic actually. Also, I've noticed that when you are using high quality candles made with pure essential oils, the smell lingers in the room much longer compared to home diffusers.

In the last few years we have tested many brands, from supermarket ones to luxury candles, and there are few out there that I keep going back to year after year. I like my festive candles to smell fresh and sophisticated that linger in the room but don't overpower the space you are using them in. I have to say that I have yet to find good, cheap candles. All the ones I seem to like are on the expensive side. But, I am open for suggestions :). I decided to try out some new candles this year just to see if they can compete with our old favourites.

I love scented candles but they also need to be aesthetically pleasing. I use candles as an accessory and they have to complement our house decor which is mainly black and white with hints of grey. Therefore, I try to choose more neutral and classic candle styles that don't draw too much attention to them.

1. Jo Malone - Pine & Eucalyptus (200 gr) £40

This is, without a doubt, my favourite Christmas candle. It is so popular over here that close to Christmas it is often sold out. It is especially ideal if you have an artificial Christmas tree as the lovely pine smell will make you feel like you have the real thing. You only need to burn it for a few hours and the gorgeous smell lingers in the room for quite some time. I always trim the wick after using it (I cut it with scissors) and burn it long enough for the entire surface to turn into liquid. It usually takes a few hours but this way the candle lasts longer. You are suppose to get 45 hours of burning time with this candle and for us it usually lasts just over a month (we use it multiple times a week).







I love the luxurious packaging. I almost feel bad opening it! Even though this candle is expensive, I think it is worth it in terms of the quality of the scent. Plus, I love how sophisticated and elegant this candle looks. It oozes understated sophistication and is very simple. It's a great candle to burn on Christmas day if you want to get rid of the cooking smells or buy it just to pamper yourself. By the way, my husband is equally obsessed with this candle so it's definitely very versatile and everyone's favourite in our house.

Jo Malone is now owned by cosmetics giant Estée Lauder but the British entrepreneur who started this amazingly successful company has now launched her new company called Jo Loves. I haven't tried these candles yet but I would love to get my hands on them!

Score: 10/10

www.jomallone.com

2. Neom (180gr x 2) £49

Neom is a new contender this year. One of my favourite online stores Achica sells Neom candles often at discounted prices which is where I stumbled across this brand. I ordered their gift set from their online store which includes two scented candles. I love the packaging and how the candles look. They are contemporary and elegant at the same time. I could even smell the scent before opening the packaging which was very promising in deed.


Christmas Wish


This candle is my favourite of the two and it is also their signature Christmas fragrance. It has notes of mandarine, cinnamon and tonka bean and according to their website it smells like Christmas cake. I actually find the cinnamon quite strong and therefore this candle reminds me of home baked ginger bread which I absolutely love. The scent is a little spicy and ideal to enjoy on a cold winter day with some mulled wine. I can really smell the therapeutic essential oils when I burn this candle and it does have the power of lifting your mood. The candle burns evenly although I do make sure to burn it at least for 2-3 hours for the first time to avoid tunneling. I find the gold design beautiful and unusual looking.

Perfect Peace

This candle is very different and the scent is not quite as strong. It reminds me of the Jo Malone Pine and Eucalyptus candle but I cannot really smell the scent unless I am very close to the candle. I find that Neom candles smell more like the kind of candles they use in luxury spas, where as Jo Malone candles have a more perfume type of smell. It's difficult to explain but I hope that makes sense?!

This gift set is probably the best value I have seen in a long time but if you were to get just one of the candles, get the Christmas Wish. You won't be disappointed. I have to say that I am very impressed with Neom fragrances and would definitely use this company again. I find their customer service fantastic as initially I had a problem using their online shop and they emailed me and even called me back to solve the problem. You earn points with every purchase you make and you can use them in your next order. You even earn points when you review a product you've bought on the website. How fantastic is that!

Score: 9/10

 www.neomorganics.com

3. White Company Winter (140 gr) £20

This used to be my favourite candle but I decided not to get it this year (mainly because there were few new ones I wanted to try in stead). It has a spicy warm scent but I have to admit the packaging appeals to me more than the fragrance. I would rather get the Neom Christmas Wish candle which smells more luxurious. White company travel size candles are great though and they even come in tea lights which is fantastic.

Score: 8/10

www.thewhitecompany.com

4. Rituals Hammam Secret (290 gr) £19.5

I have been using this candle throughout the winter months, although I do think it is perfect for Christmas as well. It has a lovely smell of eucalyptus that I find very refreshing. It has a very cosy and warm frangrance that fills up the room pretty quickly. I used to love this candle but these days I am finding it a little bit too strong. Especially, if you are using it in a small room. Even though I was trying to burn this candle evenly, it kept tunneling which was difficult to fix. I also think the smell is not as pure and elegant as some of the luxury brands but it's definitely good value considering the size of the candle.


Score: 7/10

www.rituals.com

5. Wax Lyrical Tea Lights (pack of 9) £5

I have been a fan of Wax Lyrical candles for quite some time as many supermarkets sell them over here. I have been using their Orange Blossom tea lights throughout the autumn which I thought were great quality. I decided to try out their Winter Garden tea lights but unfortunately I was disappointed. You can hardly smell the scent which is very strange as the Orange Blossom tea lights had a quite a strong scent. I haven't tested their larger candles but I doubt it will make a big difference.

Also, I am not too keen on the packaging of the candles which is why I usually get the tea lights. They remind me of the Yankee candles which look a bit too traditional for my liking. I do think Wax Lyrical candles are pretty good value although I wouldn't recommend their Winter Garden range based on my experience.



Score: 6/10www.wax-lyrical.com

If you decide to get a luxury candle, it is worth making sure that the candle lasts as long as possible. You can find some good tips on Candles Love to Know. Some people even prefer to make their own candles but due to lack of time I haven't attempted this yet. Perhaps I will give it a try next year :).
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Tuesday, 11 November 2014

KITCHEN CONTAINERS - MAKE OR BREAK?

Ever since we got our kitchen renovated this year, I've been enjoying accessorising it. In fact, accessorising the house is what I love doing most. Everything is colour co-ordinated mainly in black, white and grey. Although, I have also added hint of gold (my new favourite colour) in the form of tea light holders.

I like to get containers to keep my coffee, tea and sugar fresh. In the past, all of our jars have been ceramic but I have recently started to think this material is not for us. At least, when you combine it with cold, hard quartz worktops. We have broken two sets in the last two years and the same thing happened again last week. I have fixed small chips with a black marker but our latest 'accident' was not fixable. I don't know if it's to do with the material or just the quality (they were from Argos) but I started to look for more durable ones. Also, part of me is very pleased that it was the coffee container that got damaged and not our quartz worktop. Quartz is a very durable material but chips can happen and they are much more expensive to fix than replacing a mug or a jar.



I love the way ceramic containers look but stainless steel certainly seems like a more durable option. Although, with stainless steel the problem is possible dents rather than chips. You can never win, can you? My previous storage jars were black but this time around I decided to look for white glossy ones. White will stand out much more from the black worktop and it will also brighten things up a bit.

I have always loved chalkboard in home decor and while browsing through Pinterest I saw some nice containers with chalkboard labels. Chalkboard labels are fun and look contemporary but most importantly will fit in very well with the rest our black and white decor. We also have a large chalkboard in our dining room (you can read my older post here) which is still being used daily.

I managed to find my 'dream' containers on a website called Crate and Barrel  but unfortunately they are ceramic as well. I love the look but with the tax and shipping it is just too much to spend on something that might get damaged again. So, I thought perhaps this is something I can 'fashion' myself and continued my search online for very basic stainless steel containers.

And, luckily I found  them! I found the perfect ones from Morphy Richards. They are now on sale for almost 50% off at Brand Interiors! If only I would have waited a few more weeks but that's just my luck.. I love the design and the material, steel. They look very stylish and modern at the same time. I decided to get the larger ones (they come in small as well) as I am a total coffee addict and hate filling up the container more than once  a week. I ordered them from Only Electricals and I was a little worried about buying them online but when they arrived I was thrilled. They are much better quality than my old ones and finally a container that has a proper vacuum closure to keep my coffee fresh!

Here they are!




Morphy Richards Accents containers come in vast selection of colours and they have other accessories to match this range as well. The containers come with a small Morphy Richard logo, which I wasn't crazy about, so I decided to hide it with the chalkboard labels. They don't actually say coffee/tea/sugar on them which is fine as the lids are see-through so you can see what's in them.  The only downside is that you do leave finger prints on the lids quite easily but I just love the design so much that I don't mind.

By the way, I used a chalkboard pen to write the text on the labels. I found that chalk wipes off too easy when you touch it. I got the labels from Amazon (see the exact ones here). The labels are removable, so you can wash the jar, and the chalk wipes off with water.

I cannot believe how much they match our white gloss kitchen cabinets from Magnet. They look like they are part of the same collection! I haven't purchased anything from this brand before but I am seriously considering matching more items. If only we had more worktop space available..

If you want to buy your chalkboard jars ready-made have a look at Rockett st George (which is by the way my new favourite online shop!) or Argos for a more wallet friendly option. I personally think it's much more fun to use your own imagination and create the jar with the label you want yourself. You can even create a whole collection for flour, pasta and other cooking ingredients which can look fantastic in a kitchen with open shelving.

We seem to be more accident-prone these days. I cannot even blame my daughter for this one. Perhaps it is due to the cold and miserable weather over here.. Although, I am enjoying lighting up my candles in the evenings. Christmas candle review is coming up soon on the blog!
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