Christmas Gifts For Foodies

We’ve all seen the jokes and heard the warnings about buying kitchen goodies for Christmas presents and yet here I am, suggesting kitchen gadgets for Christmas presents! These aren’t irons and toasters though – we’re talking technology that makes life a little bit easier, while also making cooking fun!

Herb shredder bowl  – £25

First on my list is the beautiful stone herb shredder bowl. Not only does it feel beautifully earthen but the multi-purpose herb stripper also has a built-in garlic and ginger grater. You simply thread the herb stems through the holes in the bowl and it pulls off the leaves, ready for cooking and serving.  So much easier to clean than herb scissors!

Folio™ Plus 8-Piece Knife & Chopping Board Set – £99

We all have knives in the cupboard, but when’s the last time you sharpened your kitchen knives? Or replaced your chopping boards? Don’t underestimate the difference the right tools can make to a job – and chopping onions or soft fruit or bread with the right knife can make the job that much easier!  Never mind slicing that Christmas turkey. The knives in this Joseph Joseph set are spectacular – cut a tomato without squishing out any of the juice! That makes my day! That with the matching chopping boards also makes it really easy to keep your meats and veg dishes separate – really important when you have a life-long veggie in the house!

Stirr – an automatic stirrer – £24.99 

I won’t lie – the Stirr is a totally gratuitous gadget, but one that totally tickles my fancy – and will that of anyone who has stood over a pot for ages getting a soup, a sauce or a custard going without burning to the bottom of the pot – which means the dishwasher will thank you too! The three-legged stirrer is an automatic stirrer which can be used for puddings, soups, hollandaise, porridge and gravy.
Collapsible foraging bag – £12.50

This final suggestion is more on the collecting side of kitchen goods than the preparation side, but it’s still a great stocking-filler. While traditional foragers are always depicted with beautiful baskets, the reality of the foraging way of life is that you don’t always have a basket with you when you come across a glut of apples or a spray of wild garlic! I’ve arrived home from dog walks with pockets overflowing with elderflowers, figs or three-cornered leeks. Having a collapsible foraging bag to keep in your pocket never goes amiss!

When buying kitchen gadgets for Christmas presents its certainly a good idea to know that your recipient will actually value it, but any of these gifts should make the job – whether it’s cooking up a feast or a quick midweek meal – a little more pleasant!


Eco Pod Herb Pots For Indoor Gardening

eco pod herb pot

We decided last year to give up our allotment, because,… life, but I do really like having fresh herbs around and I’d like to keep growing a few things, as best I can in the space I have. We are blessed in our house to have large Georgian windows which get a lot of beautiful sunlight (okay, daylight, sun even beautiful windows can’t promise!) but the windowsills are low, so anything we put on it, ends up falling off or being knocked about in the general melee of daily life. So, when I spotted these gorgeous Eco Pod herb pots, they were the answer to a question I didn’t even know I had yet. eco pod herb pot

The Eco Pod Self Watering Herb Pots come as a set of two, and are three-part, egg-shaped little gadgets of wonder. Part one is the bracket which is attached to the wall by removable sticky tabs. You need to attach the double sided tabs to a clean surface, and then attach the bracket. Leave it overnight so that it can properly ‘set’. eco pod herb pot

I didn’t want to wait for seeds, so I bought some potted herbs from my local supermarket – basil and parsley in this instance. If you just tear them apart, I’ve found, they don’t tend to live very long, (I think the roots are too damaged). However, if you remove the herbs from their pots, and put them in a bowl of water for a day or two it all comes apart much easier and there’s less damage, and the herbs seem to survive better. The herbs can soak while the wall sticker is resting. eco pod herb pot

The Eco Pod herb pot itself is made up of two parts – the top bit is where the soil and plant go, and the bottom bit is where the water goes. The water will drip from the top to the bottom through a sponge-like filter and then, I suppose, get soaked back up it over time. So you water the top, it runs through, and then comes back up again as needed. It’s all very simple and yet very clever.

The two parts are held together by magnets, which so far, is still all holding together well. eco pod herb pot

Learn from my experience – put it all together and plug it into the wall bracket as one piece otherwise you have muddy water running down the wall! But that little mishap aside, it doesn’t seem to leak, so long as you top the water up with care.

I intend to get a few more pots to add extra herbs. They are small pots, so these are for the kind of herbs you would use on occasion, rather than for, say, pesto where you’d use the whole pot! I think it would be smart, too, to pop some seeds into the pot every few weeks so that you have constant new growth. I haven’t tried it that way yet, but I’ll let you know if it works. Even if I have to replace the herb pots every now and then, the herbs last longer this way, and there’s always fresh herbs for my cooking. Love, love, love it – and I think it looks gorgeous too.


ChillFactor Milkshake Maker {Review}

Milkshake Maker

We love kitchen gadgets around here, even if they are just for kids in the kitchen, so we were excited to try the ChillFactor Frozen Milkshake Maker – a cup with a handle and blades to turn any milky drink into a milkshake in just minutes.Milkshake MakerThe Milkshake Maker consists of five parts – the cup, the cooling pouch, the lid and blades and the washer (to prevent leaks). There’s also a spoon – slash – straw to drink or eat with.

Assembly is simple. Just pop the cooling bag inside, place the washer above and screw the lid with the blades in place.  Pop the Milkshake Maker in the freezer for 4 – 6 hours, or overnight, and you’re good to go.


When you’re ready to make your first milkshake, simply open it up, pour the milk in, and close it up again. Stir for about 30 seconds, then – making sure the straw lid is closed – shake it a little. Apparently, this makes it more bubbly. Then you can spin it around for another minute or so, and you’re ready to eat!

Our favourite “recipe” so far is, unsurprisingly, a chocolate milkshake:

Chocolate Milkshake Maker Recipe:

ChillFactor Milkshake Maker {Review}
Prep time
Total time
Serves: 1 cup
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon icing sugar
  1. Remove the ChillFactor Milkshake Maker from the freezer. Pour in a cup of milk, and quickly add the cocoa powder and icing sugar.
  2. Close the lid with the blades in place and rotate for 30 seconds.
  3. Make sure the straw hole is closed, and shake for 20 seconds.
  4. Rotate again for another 60 - 90 seconds (although I find that doing it for less makes more of an ice cream, which we like too.)
  5. Remove the blades, insert the straw, and enjoy!

I think this milkshake maker is a huge improvement on the slushie maker we already have – it’s easier to do and I like the end result better too – although I haven’t tried it with non-dairy products.

If I could have an improvement on it, I’d want to be able to just freeze the cooling pouch to save space in the freezer, but I’m not sure if that would work – there’s nothing on the packaging to say you can’t but I suspect it could damage it, so maybe we’ll not try it.

Overall, the ChillFactor Milkshake Maker is a fun bit of kit that the kids love to get involved with. It may be making it’s way to the cupboard now for the next few months, but will be pulled back into service as soon as spring arrives again.

The ChillFactor Milkshake Maker is available from Character-Online for £9.99.


Decorating the Breakfast Table with Egg Buckets and Soldier Eggs

Egg & Toast Soldiers

You know how sometimes you have something to do and you put it on a list, then a new list, then a new list. And then you’re going to do it before you move, then after you move then after your holiday, and before you know it, something you were planning on doing in March finally gets done in June? Well, that’s me and these egg cups. I’ve been wanting to tell you about them for months! Hopefully after today I can enjoy using them without reminding myself I should write this!Eggs Bucket
Well, we received these bucket egg cups from for our Easter (oh, the shame!) table, and we loved them. They are steel, coated in a strong paint, meaning they don’t break when dropped and the paint (hasn’t thus far) chipped. The little handle is very cute too, and the ‘Eggs’ on it is a nice touch. Once you’ve eaten the eggs they only require a little rinse. If you forget them in the hot water, the black writing does unfortunately rub off, leaving only a shadow of the word, which is unfortunate, but not a deal breaker. They are still lovely egg cups. We also use them for mixing soy sauce and wasabi when we’re having sushi.

There’s also another fantastic little set which is ideal for children.

Soldier EggsIt’s a soldier egg cup and toast cutter, which is a plastic egg cup, shaped and decorated like a soldier complete with a hat and all. Along with that, the soldier-egg holds a spoon the child can use to eat the egg – although it’s too soft to crack the egg, so they’ll need help with that, but I tend to peel them for the kids anyway, saves on a lot of mess. There’s also a toast cutter that comes with it. Each piece of toast will cut three soldiers lying head to toe, but obviously you can turn them the right way round on the plate. They are perfect for dipping in a runny egg yolk.

My daughter loves this set, and it does convince her to eat a little egg yolk, though she wouldn’t normally. It’s very cute though and at only  £6.95 is a fab addition to our weekend breakfast table.

Something else Prezzybox sell, though I don’t have one myself, but will be buying it for a friend who has her own chickens, is the Personalised 1/2 dozen egg holder. I think it’s such a lovely thing for someone who collects their own eggs (and if you’re lucky they’ll give you some, because eggs from someone’s garden are soooo much better than any you can buy, free range or not!

Personalised Egg Box

  • I was sent these review samples for free to see what I thought of them. Opinions are my own. Links are affiliate links. It won’t cost you anything to use them!

Snackeez Snack And Drink Cup


Snackeez is a new product on the market – a snack pot and drink cup in one. It’s the kind of thing I can imagine was dreamt up at a cocktail party, when someone was holding their champagne glass and serviette of finger foods in one hand, while shaking hands and hobnobbing with their free hand.

I don’t think Snackeez will be taking over from Champagne flutes at posh events, but I do think it’s a super useful product for busy parents and active people. Snackeez

The Snackeez Snack pot is a three-part construction: the standard reusable drinks pot, that you fill up to the top of the cupholder, with a pot that fits inside. It has a flip top lid and a movable and removable straw – ideal for washing up.

The pot fits inside the cup, screwing tightly in so that there (doesn’t appear to be!) any leakage, unless you tip it upside down and liquid gets in the straw.

While the snack pot looks quite small from the outside, it holds a substantial amount of snackage. As you can see in the picture I had a fair portion of grapes and a whole clementine in there, and there’s plenty of room to spare.

When would you use the Snackeez Snack and Drink Cup?

I use mine when I’m leaving the gym. I go to the gym after dropping my children in the morning, so they’ve been up, gotten dressed, had breakfast and we’ve driven a half hour to anywhere, then I go to the gym and aside from coffee and maybe a small snack, I’ve not eaten anything yet. I finish in the gym around 10:30 or 11, and by that time I can be light headed and starving. It’s really hard then, to walk past the cafe (who decided it was a good idea to sell cakes in the gym? Is that their way of making sure you come back?!) and not buy something.

Now, I keep the Snackeez pot in the car with fresh water or smoothie and some nuts or other fruit in the snack pot.

The flip top lid makes it easy to get the fruit out while I’m driving, since I don’t have to take both hands off the wheel to open it.

My children also like using it for their pretend picnics – I guess it’s the novelty factor, but it means they’re drinking water and enjoying healthy snacks.

I think this would also be super useful if you were one handedly pushing a stroller or pushchair, and still wanted a hand free for a drink and snack.

What don’t we like about the Snackeez Snack and Drink Pot?

I love the flip top lid when I’m driving, but it does mean I can’t put the cup in my handbag and you can’t put it in the kids’ lunch box, because it doesn’t seal. If they could find a way to make it sealable, it would be superb for an on-the-go lunch idea.

It’s not suitable for hot drinks, so I can’t put coffee in it. I have a problem with anything I can’t put coffee in!

It’ll be good come summer though – iced coffees are so refreshing!

Where can you find the Snackeez Snack Pot and Drinks Cup?

There are a variety of distributors for Snackeez cups  – you can buy through Amazon, Argos, eBay or Character Online at the moment (£9.99) and they come in a range of colours too.

See Snackeez in action!

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Skenda Knives Ergonomic Kitchen Knife Set

Skenda Knives

I recently bought a (hugely discounted) Skenda Knives set from Amazon and I have to tell you I’m impressed. I guess it helps that I haven’t bought new knives in about a decade, and while my old set works pretty well, this new set has stolen pride of place in the drawers.

I think knives are one of those things that you become complacent with and you just accept that they are what they are, and it’s only when you use a shiny new sharp set that you realise what you’ve been missing out on.

That was the case here, for sure.Skenda KnivesThe Skenda Kitchen Knife Set is advertised on Amazon as a 12 piece set, but what they mean is that it’s a 6 piece knife set (as advertised on the packaging ) with 6 individual blade covers – making it a 12 piece set.

These antibacterial knives have a non-stick coating finish and antibacterial blades with ergonically designed handles. What all that means, really, is that the blades are coated which should prevent rust and make them easier to clean and they are comfortable to hold.

The set comes with a 3.5″ pairing knife – useful for peeling vegetables, – a 5″ utility knife, a 7″ carving knife, an 8″ bread knife, an 8″ chef knife and a 7″ Santoku knife, a Japanese knife best used for chopping, cutting, dicing and mincing.

First out the box for me was the bread knife and I was surprised by the difference between it and my old one. It sliced through the bread without squashing it! I’d almost forgotten what unsquashed bread looked like! (Yes, I’m ashamed of myself!)

Next I used a pairing knife to quickly rid a swede of it’s skin, and the chef knife to quickly and with minimal effort dice the swede.Skenda Knives

The blades do have a slight flexibility to them which makes them feel less solid, but it doesn’t affect performance, and if you look at the cost compared to a £100+ set, it’s understandable.

I think my favourite thing about these knives is the individual blade covers. Each knife has it’s own colour matched cover, and when you pack them away, you can cover them so that you don’t stick your hands in the drawer and have your fingers sliced open. Because of this – very real – danger (I’ll show you my scars some day!) all my sharp knives have lived on my kitchen counter, but now they can go in the drawer. I’m really pleased with this development in my kitchen!

Over all, I’m really pleased with the Skenda Knives Set. At the price I think they are really good value. I’ve only been using them for a couple of weeks, so I don’t know how long they will last, but so far, so good!

Casdon Annabel Karmel Baking Range And No-Cook Coconut Ice Recipe

My children have always been fond of spending time in the kitchen with me, so when we were offered a review of the Casdon Annabel Karmel Baking Range, I said yes – we have a  ton of play kitchen stuff, but real kitchen goodies made for kids? Well, what’s not to love?

My brother has been visiting from Australia this week, and he mentioned wanting coconut ice, so I pulled up an old recipe from the Disney Cakes and Sweets series that’s fantastic to makes with kids, since it doesn’t require any boiling or cooking.

Disney Cakes and Sweets is a really fantastic magazine to subscribe to, and along with fantastic quality bakeware and silicone moulds there are step by step instructions and recipes for every Disney character you could imagine. It’s something else. You can find out more about what’s available in the Disney Cakes & Sweets Magazine subscription by clicking hereCasdon Annabel Karmel Baking Range

Most of our equipment came from the Casdon Annabel Karmel Baking Range and while it’s supposed to be for pastries and cakes, it worked really well for coconut ice.

We used the mixing bowl and mixing spoons to mix our ingredients together, and then we used the cupcake tray and silicone mini cupcake cases to add a layer of white and then a layer of pink coconut ice.
Casdon Annabel Karmel Baking Range

The kit is really great for little hands, strong and well made. It doesn’t feel at all flimsy or weak – in fact the opposite – it’s really well made and conveniently designed, down to the silicone ‘handles’ on the tray to make it better to hold out of the oven (that we didn’t use this time).

Casdon Annabel Karmel Baking Range

I am really impressed with the quality of this set – honestly I’ve had ‘real’ pans and silicone that haven’t been as good.

The ‘My Perfect Pastry Set’ contains 10 cookie cutters, a round baking tin, six measuring spoons, a silicone spatula, a measuring jug, a mixing bowl with an anti-slip base, a silicone handle whisk, a rolling pin, a mini tart pan and 10 recipes from Annabel Karmel – we’ll try those next!

No cook Coconut Ice

Casdon Annabel Karmel Baking Range And No-Cook Coconut Ice
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: 1 kg
  • 397g can condensed milk
  • 300g (11oz) icing sugar
  • 300g (11oz) desiccated coconut (we used organic)
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • food colouring of choice
  1. Set out silicone cupcake cases or a baking tray, ready for use.
  2. I use an awesome brownie pan for most things, and the cupcake cases work well too.
  3. Pour condensed milk into a large mixing bowl and sift in the icing sugar. - I opened the tin of condensed milk and poured it out into the bowl to avoid the sharp edges.
  4. Add the coconut and vanilla essence or extract and mix together until well combined.
  5. Spoon half the mix into your baking tray and flatten out pressing down tightly. Add a few drops of food colouring, and mix well to combine. This is such a messy, fun job, the kids love it.
  6. If you're having two coloured layers, add the required colour to the other bowl.
  7. Mix well and add to pan, flattening till all the first layer is covered, and it's all flattened.
  8. Place pan in the fridge for six hours or overnight to set.
  9. Once set, turn out and cut the coconut ice into squares.
  10. If you use the brownie pan, cut it while still in the pan. This will make huge slices though, so use a knife to cut again.
For the Thermomix®:
  1. Make your icing sugar first, if you're making your own.
  2. Add all but the colouring and mix on speed 2 for 30 seconds.
  3. Split the mixture into two, put one layer in the pan and flatten it with a spoon or with your hand, then add the food colouring to the other one.
  4. Layer the next into the pan and leave to set in the fridge for at least 6 hours.
  5. Cut the set coconut ice into squares and enjoy.


5 Ways To Cute Up Your Lunch Box

My girls are pretty good eaters. We have our struggles, but for the most part, they’ll eat well enough, so I don’t go to much effort to make their lunch snacks ‘fun’, which makes it all the more fun when we do. I have boxes of cookie cutters and sandwich cutters and flags and all sorts of little bits to throw out those special treats from time to time.

Here are my top five gadgets for making snack time fun:

1) Sandwich cutters

Lunch Box Sandwich cutters

We have a few different sandwich cutters and while my other half moans about the wasted crusts, I am happier binning sandwich crusts before they’ve been chewed and dumped soggily back into the lunchbox to sweat and grow stale all day long. If I know they’re not going to be eaten anyway, I’d much rather bin them at the start of the day, leaving only the parts that will be eaten.

I love the variety of sandwich cutters available on the market, with dolphins, hearts, dinosaurs, puzzle pieces, butterflies and even vehicles to suit all themes and preferences.

I think it’s a fun idea to theme the sandwiches – like dinosaurs for a trip to Dinoworld, or butterflies when you’re observing caterpillars.

2) Egg and rice shapers
Egg and rice shape moulds lunch box

These are the kind of thing I’d normally roll my eyes at and say ‘Who has the time?!’ But actually, they’re super cute. When the eggs are boiled, pop them in the shapes, get the rest of the meal ready and when you’re done add the eggs.  These shape the eggs after they’re boiled, so if you put them in lunch boxes chances are they’ll re-form to their original shape again, so possibly leave them in the cases in the lunch box – but only if you have confidence that they’ll find their way home again!

These can also be used to shape rice for Bento boxes.

If you have the money and space, there’s also a chick-egg shaper* that comes with chick-feet instead of an egg cup, and a skull for halloween*!

3) Animal Impressions

Sandwich cutters lunch box

These are another simple idea for bread. You’re not wasting much, but they’re a cute way to add a bit of fun. The sandwiches are cut to size while the face impressions are superimposed onto the bread. The same happens with the sausage cutters, I think – they just cut the shapes in the ‘right’ way to make them into something cute.
Lunch Box Sausage Cutters

4) Fruit cutters

Fruit shapers

These are such a fun way to serve fruit. Perfect for a fondue, ideal for lunchboxes, you could even do vegetables for a BBQ skewer – whatever makes the kids eat their veg, I say!

5) Fairy Sticky NotesCapture2

And finally, some of my most treasured keepsakes are notes I found on my bed when I’d get home from school, written by my mother. These are even more special since her death. Who doesn’t want to hear how they are loved, appreciated and cared for? Or just to open a lunch box and find notes of encouragement for an exam, a tough job that needs doing, or any of the other obstacles life throws at us.

I have two girls, and they love all things fairy, so this combo fairy post it note set is a winner for us!

I hope these items will help you make lunch time a little more fun!