It’s a known fact that if I don’t get my coffee first thing in the morning, I’m a grump. Steve’s not so fussed and will drink it if it’s made, but definitely won’t jump out of bed to make me one. For the past few years, my go to has to be an Italian Blend, strong but not too bitter. If needs must, I’m all over a cup of Nescafe’s Alta Rica, if instant coffee is the only thing in the cupboard - it’s our emergency back up.
Our life is currently a little bit in turmoil as we've recently just started our new business venture together at Healing Manor. Whilst we're incredibly excited about our new venture, the reality of running your own hotel, restaurant, pub and wedding venue, does mean that we work 14-16 hour days, and most weeks it's 7 days a week. This is all whilst travelling from Louth every day, and trying to redesign our living with a new kitchen, that doubles up as a backdrop and set, when working with foodie clients.
Steve's the absolutely opposite of most men and as long as we've been together, he's never picked up a tool. If there's any DIY to be done, it's myself, or pulling in favours from one of two friends, Alan or Marc! I'm all over an Ikea flatpack or some picture hanging, but my skills and patients are limited.
As part of the redesign, we've had a completely new kitchen put in, thanks to Wickes and their beautiful Milton Midnight range (Once it's all complete, we'll be sharing lots of photo's). As Steve spends most of his days working in the kitchen as a chef, our at-home kitchen is fully my department, and when we're not sipping on wine and eating late night (gluten free) pasta, it doubles up as a studio kitchen for Food Styling shoots. Whilst the kitchen isn't complete and I'm yet to youtube how to herringbone tile the walls, we needed to get everything in so it's liveable, and this meant an excuse to overhaul of all of our gadgets and crockery!
We'd originally planned to have a stand alone Smeg fridge, as they're the perfect way to add a pop of colour to any kitchen (everything else is always going to be grey or white in our house) and would have been the perfect size when I'm filling up the shopping trolley with ingredients for a client's recipe shoot. Unfortunately after measuring everything up, we were quickly informed that there was no chance of squeezing one in to our kitchen space, so we had to ditch that idea!
Since spending our weekend escapes in Italy and discovering a new appreciation for an espresso over a cappuccino-AM, we'd been talking about investing in a coffee machine for the past two years, and a new kitchen provided the perfect excuse to indulge! Being a stylist by trade and being completely honest, we were always going to go for a coffee machine that looked pretty over anything else, and after wiping away some hypothetical tears when we found out a Smeg fridge was a no-go, I stumbled upon their espresso machine collection. Thanks to spending most of our lives at the Manor, we barely have a fridge full of food unless it's for work-purposes, so an Nespresso or pod machine was completely out of the picture. We'd just not end up using it because we'd run out of coffee pods all of the time and never make it to the supermarket before close!
Living up near Grimsby, Lincolnshire - our shopping options are pretty limited to online. Whilst buying something you've not seen in person can be quite daunting, and whipping our your favourite pencil case ruler to figure out anything's actual physical dimensions, doesn't always work when it comes to buying online. Something I have learnt over the years with online shopping, be it homeware, gadgets or clothes, if you don't like it, you can always send it back!
We ended up needed a new toaster too and having heard great things about Smeg's, opted for that in white (always a a safe bet). After hours of 'researching', aka - scrolling through Pinterest and #smegcoffeemachine on Instagram, we decided on the pale blue espresso machine, our decision being purely vanity based. And oh my gosh, are we in love. When the parcel came, the photograph on the packaging looked a slightly darker blue, and I panicked slightly, but after carefully unwrapping the tightly wrapped package, it was love at first site. As much as it looks incredible, I'm absolutely in love with this machine, and boy does it make a good cup of coffee.
I'm not going to go into all of the tech, as I wouldn't know what I'm talking about, but the machine is so easy to use. It's not heavy at all, and therefore easy to move and clean down. There's even a steamer nozzle, if you fancy your hand at a cappuccino and frothing your own (almond) milk. It's ready almost as soon as you turn it on, and it's completely added a pop of personality to our little kitchen with a throw back to the golden age. Just call me Lauren Bacall and Steve, Humphrey Bogart. It literally is like stepping back in time, whilst still looking completely timeless.
To shop Smeg's full range, visit their website here or head to their London flagship store.