Monday, 2 March 2015

My Kitchen | Part 2 - Bench tops

Things are progressing in our kitchen demo. My husband Mark is one of those good Kiwi DIY blokes, and quite a handyman, so he is doing as much of the labour as possible. This includes removing the old kitchen cabinets, gib, skirts etc. He has to do this in the weekends as he's a bank manager during the week, but we're trying to keep the bare basics as long as possible - the oven (although I'm looking forward to saying goodbye to this old girl), the sink, the pantry, and one set of cupboards. Soon our builder will come in to insulate and put up nice new gib. We're really happy with the new kitchen plans, but we are still trying to decide on the bench tops, these are our options...

I've always had Laminate bench tops, but not this time. The advantage of Laminate is that it's the most cost effective option, but in our case it would be a bit like wearing jandals with an evening gown! Another reasonably priced bench top is stainless steel. This can look great, especially if you like the industrial look, but it's not quite what I'm after. 

Natural stone (below) - marble or granite - is gorgeous, but is likely to be on the more expensive side. It's also quite unforgiving with knocks ending in breakages for your plates and glasses - not great when our kids are doing the dishes.


Engineered stone (below) is what I'm leaning towards. Caesarstone, Silestone, Prime Stone, Quantum Quartz etc are made up of approximately 90% crushed Quartz stone bound together by a polymer resin. They're known to be more resilient than marble or granite, and their non-porous qualities means that they're very hygienic. It comes in a wide range of colours, and I've found one that has a 'marble-like' look.

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The other option I have been considering is an acrylic bench top - Corian, Kalon, Hi-Macs... These are made of acrylic resin and can be coloured and shaped as you like. They're generally formed in one piece, so are seamless, even if you continue it into the sink and as a splash back. It's easy to repair if you damage a small area, rather than having to replace, so lots of advantages. The only thing that's holding me back is that it can look quite "plasticy' and shiny, and can scratch more easily than stone.


Concrete is a cool industrial option. It can also be expensive, and can stain if not resealed regularly. I've seen some amazing examples of concrete benches, but it's not on the shortlist for our kitchen.


Last, but not least, I really like the look of wood bench tops. They're a nice way to introduce warmth and texture, and you can also choose a plywood, which is very cost effective. Because we have wooden floorboards, and some smaller wood touches in the kitchen, I'm wanting a lighter coloured bench, so we won't be going with wood either.


I will let you know when we make our decision, but would also love to hear your thoughts and recommendations. Do you have a bench that you love? If so, tell me all about it.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

SodaStream | Healthy Hydration Creation

You may remember how I blogged about how much I was loving my new SodaStream machine at the end of last year. Well, it's been a lifesaver through these hot summer months, and we've had fun creating lots of delicious drinks. I especially love SodaStream Free, which is a range of fruit flavoured concentrates that contain only a fraction of the calories and sugar of other regular soft drinks.


Dael & I spent this morning putting together some of our favourite healthy hydration creations using fresh fruit, mint (fantastic in drinks), lots of ice, and SodaStream Free caps. Let me tell you, our little studio was smelling divine, and we were set for drinks for the rest of the day.

The first we called "Apple-Peach Pick Me Up". We start all our drinks with lots of ice; then we filled a mason jar cup with diced peaches, nectarines, and watermelon, slices of lemon, and fresh mint leaves; and topped with Apple-Peach SodaStream. The sweet, zingy taste had us feeling energised and ready for the day.

This pretty little number is "Green Tea-Lychee Twist". The SodaStream Green Tea-Lychee flavour is divine on it's own - light and fresh, a real thirst quencher - so we kept it simple with some ice, watermelon and a slice of lemon on the side. This would be great on a hot afternoon with your girlfriends.

My personal fave is our "Fresh Lemon-Licious". Combine lots of ice, fresh mint, lemon slices and SodaStream Fresh Lemon to make the perfect summer cooler.

To find out more about SodaStream NZ visit their website and Facebook page, and have fun coming up with your own yummy recipes.

Monday, 23 February 2015

HappyMoose | Giveaway

Last week I introduced you to the amazing photo print app, HappyMoose. I speak from experience when I say that the app is extremely user-friendly, and the products are excellent. At this stage the app is available for iPhones, but very soon it will be available for web and Android, so follow on Facebook for updates.

This week we're giving away $30 vouchers to three lucky Cush & Nooks readers. All you have to do is "like" the HappyMoose Facebook page to enter, and email me to let me know you've done so. For an extra entry, "like" this post on my Facebook page. The competition closes at 3pm this Friday 27th February. The winners will be notified by email and announced on my Facebook page.

The winners will be able to use their coupon to purchase from the great range of products - wall dots, canvases, and wood blocks - all in a range of sizes. Make sure you read my last post for all of the details. Download the HappyMoose app from the app store and start printing those memories! Good luck!
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