Sunday, 25 August 2013

Top 5 Recipe Apps For iPhone Users


Cooking is a major part of my life and I am always on the lookout for kitchen utensils, spices and herbs that I can add to my fast growing collection. Add to that the fact that I’m always on the lookout for new recipes, makes creating this blog post a piece of cake...get it?

If you a budding chef who wants to create simple dishes to be proud of then there are a collection of really good apps that are available to help you get creative and to let your creative juices flow.

With this in mind, I have put together the top 5 best recipe apps that are available to iPhone users.

#1 – Jamie Oliver’s 20 Minute Meals
Rating: 10/10
Price: £4.99

 photo app_jamie_zps23d3ad0e.png

My all time favourite chef is Jamie Oliver so maybe I am slightly biased with this, but he does create some really easy, healthy, and quick meals that anyone can do.
The app is £4.99 which is a little on the expensive side I grant, but the app is packed full of great recipes (60 to be precise) and they all come with easy step-by-step instructions with photos to help you along the way.
If you need a few ingredients from the supermarket then you will find that the shopping list feature section of the app puts ingredients in order of aisles, so you won’t be mucking about for hours trying to find where the passata is.
The thing I like about this app is that it goes further than recipes and you will find 21 exclusive videos of Jamie helping you master some tips and tricks.

#2 – How To Cook Everything
Rating: 9/10
Price: £2.99

 photo app_cook_zps4dc0112a.png

Coming in at second is the How To Cook Everything App which costs £2.99 to download, and is taken from the award winning cookbook. The app has over 2,000 recipes on offer, and boasts a funky timer feature so you do not overcook that pork!
As everything is built into the app, you can access all the recipes even when you don’t have an Internet connection available.
It’s certainly worth trying out if you are just starting out in the cooking world.

#3 – Whole Foods Market Recipes
Rating: 8/10
Price: FREE

 photo app_whole_zpsfb43ce84.png

When it comes to free apps you just have to give it a go, and that’s exactly what the Whole Foods Market Recipe app is.
The app houses come 3,000 recipes and they are all broken down into categories. This means you will see a category for each type of course, and if you are cooking for someone that has special dietary requirements.
If you are like me and enjoy testing a few things out, then you will be happy to know that you can create your own meals plans with this app.
Perhaps the best part of this app is that you can enter ingredients you have available and it will tell you the recipes that you can cook with those ingredients. Brilliant!

#4 – Weber’s On The Grill
Rating: 8/10
Price: £2.99

 photo app_weber_zpsa16d8a38.png

When it comes to meat and meat recipes, I tend to melt. So when I stumbled across this app I was more excited than a kid at Christmas (well not quite that much I guess).
The app costs £2.99 to download and if you are a fan of grilling, or hosts barbecue parties then this app really will appeal to you. There are 250 recipes for cooking all kinds of meat and then you get an extra 40 recipes on how to create your own sauces, marinades and rubs.
Just like the How To Cook Everything app, this app has an in-built timer so you can take your food off the grill or barbecue just at the right time.

#5 – Martha’s Everyday Food
Rating: 7/10
Price: £0.69

 photo app_everyday_zps51ab1f70.png

Finally in our list of the 5 best recipe apps I have chosen this 69 pence app by Martha Stewart. The app offers thousand of quick recipes that can be made for those families that are always on the go.
You can share recipes, create shopping lists on social media networks and you can even watch videos on how to improve basic culinary skills and techniques.
The highlight of this app for me, is the fact that you can turn on the option to receive daily notifications for recipe ideas. So if you have had a long hard day at work then this will take all the planning, organisation and sorting out of the equation for you.

Do you have any other recipe apps that you would like to share?

 Guest post by Craig Timmis

Craig is a regular blogger at, and has a keen interest in the world of cooking. You can follow him on Twitter @craigtimmins

Friday, 23 August 2013

Updating the heart of the home


The kitchen is often regarded as the heart of the home and can make or break the sale of a property. Similarly, it can add thousands of pounds onto the value of a home if tastefully and practically designed in the eyes of the purchaser. While most kitchen installations will structurally last 10 years or more, doors and fittings can become tired, shabby and dated, so many home-owners opt to buy a brand new kitchen to accommodate their changing tastes and style.

However, what if the layout of your kitchen meets your needs and the internal cupboards are of sound quality? Changing your kitchen completely can be costly, time consuming and may add discord to your home environment. Coping with dismantled units, work tools and dust can be a stressful experience and eating takeaways might be a novelty for a couple of days but frustrating for a few weeks while the work is completed. A complete kitchen refit may incur additional charges as the old units are ripped out such as re-tiling, plastering, flooring and plumbing.

The good news is that it is often not necessary to commission a complete refit to create a brand new look. Replacement kitchen doors, drawer fronts and handles can create the look of a fresh and pristine room in less than half the time of a complete installation. You can also purchase unit ends and kick plates to match the colouring and style of the replacement items.

In addition to the costs saved by keeping your existing units, significant savings can also be made by fixing the replacements yourself. You may need someone to help you with heavy items but even a novice D.I.Y enthusiast should manage the task. Update the look further with a fresh coat of paint. If you do this before you fit the replacements, it can be drying while you work.

 photo kitchendoordirect_zps4659b0f6.jpg

With the money you have saved on replacing versus a complete overhaul (and takeaways), shop to your hearts’ content on accessories to finish off your updated heart of the home then sit back and relax with kitchen door direct.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Educational Party Ideas That Kids Will Love


 A lot of parents feel the need to go all out when it comes to their children’s birthday parties and this isn’t only because they want their own children and their guests to have a fabulous time, it’s also because they want to impress the other parents too. There’s no getting away from the fact that children’s birthday parties can be ridiculously expensive if you go to the effort of hiring out a venue, entertainment and a caterer for the event. However, if you are willing to and have the time to plan and organise the party yourself and hold it at home, it could be just as spectacular but much cheaper and it can also be educational. The problem with birthday parties nowadays is that they’re generally focused around games, entertainment and activities that don’t really benefit the children in anyway. There are however plenty of children’s party alternatives that are fun and they’ll love but that are also educational and beneficial to their development.

Forget the afternoons at the bowling alley, parties at McDonalds and the local play centre because although the kid’s really enjoy them they don’t really benefit in any way – other than exercise if you choose to go to a nearby soft play centre.

Another popular choice for a toddler’s party is a bouncy castle but all too often these result in the castle being deflated or the children being board before it’s time to leave and the adults having to come up with another form of entertainment to keep them occupied. However, there’s really no need to let the stress mount when it comes to your child’s birthday party because there are plenty of ways to keep them entertained for an entire afternoon.

Although the idea of an educational birthday party is foreign to most people they can actually be highly successful and these are the parties that kids tend to remember. Although this might seem like a lot more work than hiring out your child’s favourite ice cream parlour or magician it really isn’t because there are plenty of organisations out there that specialise in educational kid’s entertainment.

One popular choice for birthday parties at the moment is to have a local wildlife expert – e.g. someone who keeps owls, snakes or lizards – to come to the party and show the kids the animals, let them hold them and explain all about what they eat, where they live and where they come from. Pretty much all children love animals and the opportunity to get close to unusual animals that they’re unlikely to come across is a great way for them to learn. Alternatively, if there aren’t wildlife experts in your area, consider taking your child and a few of their friends to a local petting zoo where they can meet a variety of animals including everything from pigs to lizards.

After this kind of party you might worry about how you can follow it up in the future, but there’s really no need to get stressed about it because there are plenty of options when it comes to educational parties. Whether your child is interested in science, dinosaurs or princesses and castles there are so many options out there that people don’t even look into.

There are opportunities to set up mock archaeological digs where they can search for bones and fossils if they’re interested in dinosaurs and digging. If they’re interested in science then head to your local science centre or buy a few chemistry sets and allow them to do some controlled experiments at home or finally you could take them to a local castle where quite often there will be some kind of dramatic performance, a banquet or other activities aimed at young children.

Science party

All of these things will be great fun for your child but will also be a great educational experience for them too which is much more beneficial than the usual birthday party where children remain hyperactive and overexcited for the rest of the day.

This guest post was submitted by Baby Hamper Gift ,a UK based company who provide beautiful, personalised gifts for babies along with educational soft books which toddlers also love.