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kitchen

Say goodbye to your financial stability ladies; ASOS has launched their homewear range, and it's as fabulous and affordable as you'd imagine.

Everyone's fave online retailer has released ASOS SUPPLY, filled with an array of gorgeously patterned bedding and cushions, throw blankets, mirrors, kitchen bowls and even tie hangers. 

The three main trends of the collection are Cool Minimal (clean lines and brush stroke patterns), Eclectic Luxe (recycled glassware and animal print) and Global Traveller (bright colours and 70s-inspired rattans).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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The prices are stunningly cheap; starting from just €9, grab the whole collection and have cash to spare for shopping their fierce clothing lines and accessories.

It's not the first fashion retailer to widen it's remits to interiors, but it's set to be hugely successful. We hope they expand the range ASAP, we've already shopped the entire thing.

With modern kitchen and bathroom accessories, as well as planting and bedroom goods, there's something for everyone.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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While ASOS does in fact stock homewear products from brands like Sass & Belle, Chickidee, Typo and Paperchase, it's the first time that the company is launching it's own designs.

All of the prints in the collection are created exclusively by ASOS’ in-house design team, and were made to suit all types of living spaces.

Our personal fave items are definitely the elephant hook and eye patterned cushion cover with matching bedding. Iconic, how can we resist adding the entire collection to our baskets?

Feature image; ASOS

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If you have a cat, it's safe to say that you could look for hours and never find their secret hiding places.

One man searched his tiny apartment – the bathroom, the bedroom, the wardrobes – but to no avail, until he searched the kitchen.

After a while he finally found his kitty, but can you?

He even posted a picture of what his cat looks like, and then if you can't find the cat, he shared a hint.

Now, if you gave up and looked at the hint, it might have made you a little angry, because when you go back to the first picture, you can literally only see an ear popping out.

Well, the people of Bored Panda, where he first uploaded the pic, feel the same way. Some users replied to the post and said, "you can only see half an ear…," with others saying, "this is stupid."

It was fun to play hide and seek though! 

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We all know that what’s inside our fridges, freezers, and cupboards is going to have a fairly significant impact on our health.

But now new research has suggested that how your kitchen is laid-out is just as influential when it comes to keeping trim.

Yes, following an in-depth study at the Food And Brand Lab at Cornell University, scientists have announced: “The food on our counters, the smells in the kitchen, the lighting in the room and even the colour of the walls can contribute to obesity.”

So, what can we do? Well, the university also has tops tips that makes for some rather interesting reading…

 

1) Keep your blender or juicer out on the counter:

“When you have that craving for something sweet, the blender might just serve as a reminder that healthy fruit smoothies can satisfy that urge.”

2) Keep bread in fridge

“Bread can be a healthy snack, but if eaten too frequently, it will lead to extra pounds. Keep the fruit on the counter and put the bread away so the lower calorie snacks are easier to grab.”

3) Cover high-calorie items with tinfoil and the more nutritious items with cling-film

“Hiding temptations can help you remember to eat fruits and vegetables. This can keep you from eating 120 extra calories a day.”

4) Keep a jug of flavoured water

“Water infused with fruit can satisfy our craving without loading us down with extra calories. Compared to soda, drinking water can save you 100 calories per 8 fluid ounce glass.”

5) Serve up your dinner before you put the plates on the table

“People who use this strategy eat 19 percent less food, which can be beneficial to the waistline in the long run.

6) Dim your kitchen lights

Doing so can help you “eat more mindfully, resulting in 175 fewer calories per meal.”

7) Paint your kitchen in neutral tones

“Brighter tones cause us to feel anxious so we eat faster; darker tones relax us so we take more time to eat and might eat more. A neutral colour can help avoid either extreme.”

8) Use air fresheners

“Clean, fresh scents most likely will not trigger our memories of delicious foods or spark a craving for something sweet ­— helping us avoid unnecessary snacking.”

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Demonised for years as being high in saturated fat, there’s no doubt that butter is now very much back in vogue.

From paleo plans to your morning bulletproof coffee – at the core of a load of healthy eating habits of the moment is grass-fed butter.

In fact, far from being something to avoid, in moderation the food is something of a nutritional powerhouse: think oodles of vitamins A, D, and K-2, not to mention heart-disease preventing CLA.

So here at SHEmazing! we were pretty excited to see that the Improper Butter brand is expanding for the festive season.

Enter the wholly Christmas-appropriate trio of sage, rosemary & thyme butter; boozy brandy butter; and cinnamon & honey butter.

Yes, we’re already thinking of the yuletide delights we’ll be whipping up when the limited-edition range is finally released at the end of this month.

Because, in short, Improper makes us seem waaaay more competent in the kitchen than we actually are – so any expansion of what the brand currently has on shelves is to be warmly welcomed.

Suddenly we are Donal Skehan (albeit with less impressive hair): we bring steak alive with a dollop of garlic, snazzy up fish with sunblushed tomato & basil, and concoct a mean prawn dish from scratch with garlic, chilli & basil.

And it’s not just us either. Since the brand’s launch last year (it’s available in SuperValu stores, close-to a dozen Tesco outlets around Dublin, and in gourmet grocers nationwide) it’s proved immensely popular with fabulous foodies and creative culinary types.

Driven by talented 20-something businesswomen Elaine Lavery and Hannah O’Reilly – the duo met in UCD before they graduated in 2012 AND they’ve already been backed by the DragonsImproper has recently launched in the UK too.

Need some inspiration to put the brand’s festive range into good use? Check out Elaine and Hannah’s top tips below:

1) Sage, rosemary & thyme butter – with fresh Christmas herbs. Butter under the skin of your turkey or bird of choice before roasting, to keep it succulent and tasty. Or why not create the perfect stuffing? Simply melt down one pack and add 300-500g of breadcrumbs. RRP €2.89 for 100g.

2) Boozy brandy butter – with brown sugar, brandy, lemon and orange zest. Not just for Christmas puddings and mince pies. Slather over scones, toasted brioche and pancakes in the run up to the big day. We’ll go back to counting calories in January. RRP €3.49 for 100g.

3) Cinnamon & honey butter – smooth honey and freshly ground cinnamon. Swirl through porridge or spread on toast, French toast, pancakes, scones and waffles. The best suggestion yet? Melt and toss over popcorn (YES!) while you gather round for your family’s favourite festive film. €1.99 for 100g.

The three new seasonal Improper festive butters will be available from November 23 for a limited five-week run in SuperValu stores nationwide as well as independent stockists, including Fallon & Byrne and Donnybrook Fair, both in Dublin. Also see improperbutter.com.

 

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You did it: you sat and survived your Leaving Cert – even nabbing a miraculous B1 in Honours Irish in process. You collected your results and held tight until yesterday morning when CAO tallies were released. 

In short, you’re now a proper adult; ready and willing to embark on your third-level education.

In fact, you reckon you have a whole host of challenging matters totally sorted: Sixth Year holiday; Debs date; term-time accommodation… not to mention a few mean dance-floor moves.

Still, have you considered the essentials? You know – like things to actually cook food with? Or devices on which to study?

No? Well, at least from next week Aldi is releasing a load of AMAZING kitchen essentials, gadgets and technology items to make the transition to college as hassle free as possible.

On sale from Thursday August 27 (stick the date in your phone), we reckon that a load of returning second, third, and fourth years will be updating their kitchens and their desks too with a few of the bargains.

 

 

Mini oven; €27.99

Accessories include baking tray, grill rack and tray handle – available in black, red or white. 

Double hot-plate; €29.99 

Super handy as it means you can have two pots cooking at once. Comes with an adjustable thermostat. 

Table-top fridge; €89.99 

This has a 45-litre capacity and an icebox with two fixed door racks with a removable wire shelf. Available in black or white.

One-cup coffee maker; €19.99 

Yes! One of our favourites, it features a reusable mesh filter and also includes a stainless steel thermo travel mug with a lid, so you can bring your morning coffee to lectures with you.  

Plus…
 
Kitchen basics, from €1.99

Don’t forget about Aldi’s oven dish (€4.49), colourful wok (€5.99), chip and pizza tray (€3.49) and kitchen tools (€1.99 each) including a slotted turner, spaghetti spoon, masher, ladle or slotted spoon.

Kitchen gadgets, €1.99 each 

Get a cheese grater, peeler, pizza cutter, tin opener, garlic press or corkscrew. Available in five colours.

Sandwich box, €2.99 each 

Keep your sandwiches and snacks fresh in Aldi boxes – a must-have for anyone on a budget. Available in blue, pink or green.

 

And away from the kitchen, Aldi also has some handy, great-value gadgets for study…
 
MEDION AKOYA notebook; €229.99

An ideal budget-buy. It’s lightweight and features Windows 10 Home and Intel HD graphics. It also has a HD display, 32GB of flash memory, and 2GB memory. Then there’s the high-definition audio with two loudspeakers, an integrated webcam and microphone, and up to nine-hours of battery life.

 

Multi-purpose powerbank; €14.99

The pocket-sized power bank is the perfect accessory for travel or when you know you’ll be out all day and will need to charge your devices at some stage.

 

Bluetooth headphones; €24.99

High-quality sound on the move! These headphones are nice and light and allow you to stream music and phonecalls wirelessly. Available in four colours.

 

For all of the above and more to make the transition back to college even easier, head to Aldi on Thursday August 27 while stocks last. 

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We've all been there: we arrive in from school, college or work – we're absolutely exhausted, fed-up and oh-so tempted to order food from the chipper or Chinese.

The only issue: take-aways are hardly good for your health, waistline OR your pocket.

But there ARE amazingly simple and delicious recipes that take just ten minutes (or less!) to prepare.

We've kept these six meal ideas veggie – but you can easily add in the likes of pre-cooked sliced chicken if you feel you'd rather a meat-hit too.

1) Breakfast taco

Lightly oil a pan and then stick it over a medium-high heat.

Scramble three egg whites, a small handful of spinach leaves, and a tablespoon of drained and rinsed black beans (from a can is fine). Season with salt and pepper.

When the mixture has set, remove from the heat.

Wrap it all up in a whole-wheat tortilla and top with some salsa.

2) Cold pizza

Great for hitting the spot when you've a craving. Toast two bits of thickly-sliced whole-grain bread and brush with a garlic clove. 

Top with two tablespoons of ricotta or torn mozzarella, a large basil leaf, tomato slices, a drizzle of olive oil, and salt and pepper.

Pop under the grill for five minutes – then eat.

3) Mediterranean pita

Split open a whole-wheat pita and spread one side with hummus.

Grill a red pepper (sliced) and then add to the pita. Also throw in a sprinkling of crumbled feta, some black olives, and five slices cucumber.

Top with mixed salad; then it's ready!

4) White bean sandwich

Mash around a quarter can of rinsed and drained white beans with some olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper.

Toast two bits of thickly-sliced whole-grain bread and then spread with the bean mixture.

Top with slices of red onion, cucumber, and avocado.

5) Loaded Sweet Potato

Prick one small-to-medium sweet potato with a fork around five times.

Microwave on a piece of kitchen paper or a microwave-safe plate for five minutes.

Split open lengthwise and top with a couple of spoonfuls of Greek yogurt, a drizzle of honey, and two tablespoons of drained and rinsed black beans.

Top with a pinch of paprika.

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With the latest series of The Great British Bake Off now upon us (it starts on BBC1 on Wednesday!) our lives are about to get a whole lot sweeter.

Still, while we enjoy very much eating cake – actually making it ourselves can be less than delicious.

Weighing, measuring, folding and separating: in short, baking seems like a lot of hard work.

Fear not, however! We’ve stumbled across the PERFECT solution for the lazy baker: cake in a mug.

A handful of ingredients, a large mug, your microwave – and hey presto! in minutes you’ve whipped up a yummy, moist cake without even a hint of a soggy bottom.

Yes, you will basically be Mary Berry meets Cake Boss… on a good day.

Here, we round up our three absolute favourites for you to try right now.

 

The classic:

  • 4 tbsp self raising flour
  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 medium egg
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Vanilla or almond essence (just a few drops)
  • 2 tbsp chocolate chips/nuts/raisins (or all three!)
  1. Use the absolute largest mug you have.
  2. Add the flour, sugar and cocoa powder to the mug and mix with a fork.
  3. Add the egg to the mixture and mix again.
  4. Add all the other ingredients apart from the chocolate chips, nuts or raisins and combine until smooth.
  5. Finally, add the chocolate chips, nuts, and/or raisins.
  6. Depending on the size of your mug, you might want to tip out some excess mix if it looks like it’s going to overflow.
  7. Centre your mug in the middle of the microwave oven and cook on high for 4-5 mins, or until it has stopped rising and is firm to the touch.
  8. Remove and tip onto a plate before devouring.

Oreo chocolate:

  • 30g butter
  • 15g of milk chocolate
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbsp single cream
  • Vanilla extract
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • 3 broken Oreo biscuits – plus one for decoration
  1. Get your giant mug and in it melt the butter with the chocolate in the microwave for 30 to 40 seconds
  2. Beat the mixture until smooth and allow it to cool slightly.
  3. One by one, whisk in the egg, cream, vanilla extract, flour and baking powder.
  4. Add the broken Oreos without stirring too much.
  5. Cook in the microwave for about 90 seconds.
  6. Remove and decorate with the broken Oreo.
  7. Allow to cool for a minute before eating and enjoying.

Peanut butter chocolate:

  • 30g butter
  • 30g of dark chocolate
  • 1½ tsp peanut butter – plus 1 tsp extra
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp soft brown sugar
  • 5 tbsp plain flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  1. Get your giant mug and melt the butter with the chocolate in the microwave for 30–40 seconds.
  2. Beat the mixture until smooth, then allow it to cool slightly.
  3. One by one, whisk in the peanut butter, egg, sugar, flour and baking powder.
  4. Cook in the microwave for around 50 seconds.
  5. Push the additional spoonful of peanut butter into the middle and cook for a further 40 seconds.
  6. Allow to cool for one minute before eating.
  7. Repeat as hunger dictates! 

 

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Between Catherine Fulvio, Donal Skehan, Jamie Oliver, and Lorraine Pascale – being a serious whizz in the kitchen is seriously in vogue.

Whipping up a hot and smoky vindaloo with pork belly (Jamie), butternut squash, leek and spinach bakes (Catherine), gingerbread pancakes with Parma ham and maple syrup (Lorraine), or Irish Atlantic sea salt caramels (Donal) should be, well, easy enough – but somehow we end up tucking into (another) bowl of pasta.

Our excuse? Well, for one thing we just don’t have the fancy-pants tools to create such fancy-pants meals from scratch.

But if your kitchen utensils consist of one (cracked) wooden spoon, one cheese grater, one plastic ladle, and one potato masher – who may want to consider an upgrade of sorts.

Silicone kitchen utensils, €2.49 each

 

At least next week – hurrah! – a range of brilliantly-priced products to cater for all your domestic aspirations arrives at Aldi.

Whistling kettle, €16.99 each

 

What caught our eye? The silicone kitchen utensils are just €2.49 a pop. Also the stainless steel blender (a steal at €24.99) which is dishwasher safe.

Then there’s the electric multi-cooker (€49.99), the teppanyaki grill (€29.99), reversible griddle pan (€17.99) and a stir-fry wok (€8.99). 

Vegetable storage canisters, €12.99 each

 

Don’t forget about a set of ceramic knives (€19.99) and non-slip chopping boards (€5.99).

Electric multi cooker, €49.99

 

All go on sale from Thursday week, July 9 – giving you plenty of time to get your flair for culinary creations in order.

Reversible griddle pan, €17.99

 

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The kitchen is definitely the heart of the home. It's where we eat, chat, cook food, make incredible cakes (most of the time!) and spend a whole lot of time.

These five hacks will ensure your time spent in the kitchen is worthwhile:

Dinner for one 
Cooking for one can often mean that food goes to waste because, well, basically there just isn’t enough people to eat it. So, when it comes to freezing your sauces or leftovers, pop them into ice cube trays and put it in the freezer. This way, all you need to do is take out one or two 'dinner cubes' to use that night.

Chill wine
Pop some grapes in the freezer and use these as ice cubes in your wine – it keeps your drink cool without watering it down. Genius!

Wooden spoon
When you are boiling food, simply pop a wooden spoon across the pot to stop the water boiling over. It has to be wooden though as metal spoons don’t work for this.

Opening jars
Opening jars can be a nightmare especially when you don’t have a strong handsome man nearby… So, to open it, put on a rubber glove and voila!

Cleaning your fruit
If you really want to give your fruit a good clean, mix a little lemon juice with baking soda and water in a spray bottle, give it a good shake and spray on your apple. Clean in seconds.

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Follow these simple baking hacks to give Mary Berry a run for her money!

1. Ripen bananas in the oven
If your bananas are perfect for eating but not ripe enough for baking, don’t panic! Cook the bananas you need for your recipe in a medium temperature oven for 30 to 40 minutes. Be sure to line the pan with foil as some bananas may leak when cooking. Once the bananas are black and soft, remove them from the oven and let them cool for 20 to 30 minutes. Peel, and start baking that award-winning banana bread!

2. No rolling pin? Grab the vino!
If your mostly-unused rolling pin is on a dusty top shelf, save on cupboard space and just use a wine bottle as your rolling pin! Empty or full, remove the label and scrape off any residue, then wash the outside of the bottle.

3. Cheat! (a little)
If you want everyone to think the cake mix you baked was from scratch, just add one more egg than the box’s recipe calls for, use melted butter instead of oil, and use whole milk or buttermilk instead of water. Shhhh…we won’t tell anyone!

4. Make the perfect cookies
If you’re looking for perfect chocolate chip cookies that are crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside, follow these two steps! First, chill the dough prior to baking (one hour is good; overnight is better). Second, when you remove the cookies from the oven, bang the pan straight down on the stove to force the cookies to settle.

5. Keep brown sugar soft with bread
Throw a piece of bread into the container to keep your brown sugar from going hard. The bread magically keeps the sugar soft and never gets mouldy!

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Would you burn a salad? Do you friends grimace when you invite them over for supper?

Cooking is like flirting – it’s all about the confidence.

Once you feel at home in the kitchen, you’ll be a culinary goddess in no time!

Here are a few tips on how to boost your confidence in the kitchen.

1. Keep it simple
You don’t need to kick off your culinary tutorials with a super complicated dish! That would be like trying to run a marathon before you’ve even master the ‘Couch to 5K’ app! Start with a few simple recipes that need few ingredients and not much time to make. Once you’ve got the hang of them, you can move on to something a little trickier.

2. Invest in the right tools
Again, it’s like buying a decent pair of trainers before you decide to start running! You don’t have to spend a ton of money, but it’s worth investing in a few high-quality basics, like a good chopping knife and the right pots and pans.

3. Make it a labour of love
Rather than making some super healthy dish because you feel like you should, start with a recipe for one of your absolute favourite foods, and maybe a little bit naughty too. Looking forward to trying it afterwards is motivation enough to get you cooking!

4. Read the whole recipe

There’s nothing worse than getting  halfway through a recipe and realising you don’t have everything you need.  Read the whole recipe before you start, and make sure you have all of the ingredients on-hand. Try to follow the recipe to the letter the first couple of times you make it. Then, after you’ve mastered the basic version of the recipe, you can move on to trying out some variations.

5. Stick to what you know when cooking for friends

It can be super exciting to try a new recipe out on your friends, but it can be stressful too! Finding that thing you’re really good at making builds confidence, because who wouldn’t feel amazing about her cooking skills after mates gush about it all night!

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Every cook needs these tools in her kitchen!

1. Blender
For those green smoothies, soups and tasty sauces, a blender will make your life so much easier!

2. Non-Stick pan
The more non-stick your pan, the less oil you need to use, the healthier you dish.

3. Julienne peeler
You can use a julienne peeler to create “pasta” from courgettes and other veg. Magic!

4. Food processor
These can be used for next to anything; breadcrumbs, nuts, fruits etc.

5. Steamer
Use a steamer to cook veg with all of the nutrients and vitamins intact.

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