Things we wouldn’t want to live without

This is not an finite list, we will add a Part 2 if and when necessary!

We were away from home for a couple of days recently and desperately missed some of the things we have at home so we’ve made a list of the things we wouldn’t want to live without. [We’re good at lists, when we lived in Australia and used to visit the UK, we’d find a pub and list out all the things we missed about the UK. Eventually, these lists brought us back here!]

Our home may be tiny (a little Welsh stone cottage with one room downstairs and 3 small ones upstairs) but we’ve managed to curate and gather things that we really believe adds to our enjoyment of our day to day life. We started our list and thought we’d share. In no particular order…

1. Baavet wool duvet: We honestly don’t sleep anywhere else as well as we do under this duvet. If you don’t know about wool duvets (and pillows) go and check them out.

2. Bialetti stove-top coffee maker: What started in lockdown as a bit of a ritual to break up the day has become really important – when we have time we leave the coffee pot on the top of our wood-burner (see #3) and the smell of coffee just drifts through the cottage, ready for us to warm some milk in our milk pan and have a latte. Yes we could make a quicker coffee, but it wouldn’t be the same. And it’s a really easy bit of kit to take away in the caravan or camping.

3. Salamander log-burner: Made in Devon by someone who used to be a market gardener and sell veg boxes (must be a great guy), this is a brilliant bit of kit. Ours has actually got a little oven in it too – it’s certainly not an Aga but it’s bloomin good in a small space and is our only source of heating (also the fan on top makes a massive difference).

4. Panasonic breadmaker: We both decided this was a priority when we moved into our cottage, even though at the time were very much on a budget and it was a big expenditure. We spoke to a friend who loved his bread-maker, and just bought exactly the same one without doing any more research – 7 years on we’ve never regretted it and we love our home-made bread (especially made with our Whissendine Mill flour and various seeds we add).

5. Potato masher: Chris’s addition to the list. He could easily eat potatoes every day and a fork just doesn’t do it. I don’t think he’s fussy about brand….

6. Le Creuset cast iron pans: We got our first one as a wedding present, and have been trying to collect more ever since. We love everything about cooking with cast iron and always find it distressing how many pans are covered in non stick coatings which we just think feel weird.

7. Merino wool: Doesn’t really need any explanation. Expensive yes, but lasts, doesn’t need much washing, keeps you warm and helps your skin feel like it can breathe.

8. Leather walking boots: Fairly recent obsessions for both of us, but once you find a pair that’s comfy you don’t really want to wear anything else on your feet.

9. Opinel pocket knife: Chris goes everywhere with his veg knife (can raise a few eye-brows).

10. Google Chromebook: A bit of tech has made it onto the list! Chris had a very ancient one of these and we also have a newer Google one (Pixelbook) whcih we also love. Unfortunately they aren’t being made by Google anymore so we had to add a different Chromebook to our collection (Lenovo) when the original ran out of steam – it isn’t quite as good but does the job. A Chromebook is simple and does everything we want it to without all the extras we don’t need.

11.Our Anvil pottery cups and plates: Love drinking out of these cups and eating off the plates and bowls. They have so much character and each one is slightly different. We replaced our perfect wedding present dinner-ware for these and it’s amazing how much better food and drinks taste. There’s a Japanese concept ‘wabi-sabi’ which means lots of things but in essence is about ‘finding perfection in that what is imperfect’ which sums it up pretty well.

12. Solar iboost: Chris’s baby. He was intent on getting solar panels, measuring energy and being energy efficient long before the recent energy crisis (even when we lived in Australia!). This gadget means that instead of returning excess enerrgy produced to the grid, we first of all heat our thermal store hot water tank and only once that is at maximum temperature do we export to the grid.

13. Elephant Box stainless steel washing up bowl: We don’t have a dish-washer so this is an important bit of kit (as an aside – we limit the amount of crockery etc we own to avoid dirty plates building up – we are forced to wash up regularly!). Whenever we feel one of the plastic ones now they just feel slimy compared to the metal one we have. It does scratch the sink a bit, and it’s not cheap (we got a prototype one so didn’t pay full price!) but we love it nonetheless – or love it as much as it’s possible to love a washing up bowl. [All the Elephant Box kit is fab if you ever want to treat yourself to lunch containers that will last.]

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