How to keep your wooden worktop in tip top condition

There’s no denying that having wooden kitchen worktops offers a warm, timeless look that simply can’t be achieved with other materials. Although most surfaces require some degree of maintenance, for many, the process of regularly renovating their countertops can be extremely rewarding. With just a little bit of love and care, wooden countertops can be durable and can retain their natural beauty for many years.

cheap worktop

We have cheap, black worktops, they were what was already installed when we moved here. I wish we had full wooden worktops, next kitchen eh? But we do have a movable wooden work top which I lovingly oil every 6 months.

ikea movable worktop

Here are a few simple and effective ways to give dull, worn worktops a new lease of life:

General maintenance

To keep your surfaces at a high standard, it is worthwhile to invest in maintenance and aftercare kits, such as those available from Worktop Express. These sets should include everything you need to ensure that your kitchen surfaces are kept in optimum condition, including sanding pads, oiling cloths and brushes, cleaning products and oil.

It’s important to always clean up liquid spills, paying particular attention to the area around the sink. Water that has been resting on the surface for long periods of time can cause permanent damage, so it’s important to keep your worktops as clean and dry as possible.

Some woods will require more maintenance than others. For example, oak and walnut are relatively hard wearing, whereas beech may require more care. However, ensuring that your surfaces are properly sealed should prevent excessive wear and tear.

Treatment

Oil is one of the best ways to give your surfaces an enduring toughness. Not only is it easy to apply, it also complements the natural qualities of your particular wood and provides a water-resistant seal. Bear in mind that different woods are more compatible with certain oils, so it’s important that you choose the right finish for your work surface. Danish oil is a popular choice due to its effective hardening properties. Hard wax oil is also ideal for busy kitchens, offering a robust and durable protection that only needs to be applied a couple of times a year.

Several thin coats of oil should be applied to the edges and end grains of the countertops immediately after installation to prevent the wood from bowing. In areas that need more protection, such as around the sink, you may want to apply additional coats. To ensure that your worktops stand the test of time, it’s important to re-varnish every few months.

If your surfaces are generally well maintained but are starting to look dull and dry, a quick wash with warm water and a few fresh coats of oil will bring them back to life. However, if your worktops are severely damaged and in urgent need of renovation, you may want to consider sanding them down. Dents and deep marks can be filled with a suitable wood filler, sanded down and a new coat of oil can be applied.

Kitchen accessories

Hot pans should be placed on pan stands or hot rods to prevent damage. Iron and steel pans that have been left on the surface for a long time can react with wood to cause permanent stains and discolouration, especially with materials that are high in tannins, such as oak and beech. Likewise, chopping boards should be used to avoid scratches and indentations.

Moisture barriers can also be fixed underneath worktops that are installed above heat-radiating appliances to prevent excessive moisture from damaging the wood. You may also want to consider having grooves carved into the surface around the sink to drain the water.

With just a little bit of elbow grease and some careful consideration, you can enhance the natural beauty of your wooden surfaces and enjoy them for years to come.

This is a collaborative post.

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Gears Gears Gears! Old McGears Farm: Review

Gears gears gears Old McGear's farm

Back at the beginning of the summer we were sent this toy by Learning Resources for review. We love all of the Learning Resources toys and games and have previously reviewed Sneaky Snacky Squirrel and Frida’s Fruit Fiesta, both of which we still play regularly.

We chose Old McGear’s Farm because we were due to visit Coombe Mill for our farm holiday. We took the toy away with us and spent hours (in our down time) back at the lodge building it up, taking it apart, rebuilding it and piecing it together to make new things too. There are so many ways to build, she can discover something new every time she plays!

Gears gears gears Old McGear's farm

Since being home from holiday we’ve played and played with this toy. Initially I would only get it out when we could play with it together as I felt she needed a bit of help with it, aged just 3 but now Littlebit accesses it whenever she wants to and can play with it on her own. It keeps her occupied for about an hour every time she gets it out.

Gears gears gears Old McGear's farm

Littlebit loves piecing together the colourful gears and I love it because it strengthens her fine motor and problem-solving skills.

Gears gears gears Old McGear's farm

We’d never played with anything from the Gears, Gears, Gears! range before so Littlebit was intrigued at how moving one gear would make another gear at the opposite end of the toy move. She thought it was hilarious and studied it closely for about 20 minutes, turning it back and forth slowly. I love this kind of discovery state in kids.

Gears gears gears Old McGear's farm

She can be so creative with it too as there are figures and animals as well as the gears. The Gears, Gears, Gears range provides lots of opportunities for Littlebit to experiment with simple mechanics and science. It’s bright colours and easy-to-assemble pieces encourage her to create new moving masterpieces every time she plays.

The set includes two farmers, corn stalks, dog, cow, pig and barn pieces. It also includes pillars, connectors and cranks, which allows kids to explore the fascinating action that can be created with gears!

I love that Littlebit calls them Farmer Fiona and Farmer Nick (from Coombe Mill) too!

YouTube Preview Image

This is a review post. We were provided with Gears, Gears, Gears! Old McGear’s Farm for review. All opinions are my own. 

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YumBox Panino: Review

Do you follow me on social media? Instagram, Twitter or Facebook? If you do then you’ll know how much we love our YumBox.

Well we are now a family of two, YumBoxes that is :)

This gorgeous little box arrived for me recently. I was just so jealous of Littlebit’s I had to have my own!

YumBox Panino Anguria Pink

Ok, so Littlebit has used it a few times too! Mainly because I’d got these fab new cookie notes stampers and the sandwiches they cut are too big for any of the 6 smaller holes of the standard YumBox so she’s borrowed it for playschool. On those days I’ve used hers as a snack box though so it works both ways.

panino 1

I’ve also been using it for University where the student canteen is fairly reasonable BUT they don’t really do much for a yeast and dairy free diet, so I’ve taken my own in. This has worked really well as my bag tends to get slung around during the day but because of the silicone seal nothing comes to any harm. This silicone seal means I can make the lunch up on the Friday night too and it’s still lovely and fresh by Saturday lunch time at Uni. You can even pack yoghurt next to crackers with no worries!

The Anguria Pink Panino YumBox isn’t too pink, in fact it’s rather red. Yumbox’s pre-portioned illustrated and removable tray guides you to pack a healthy and hassle-free lunches. The panino isn’t set around the food groups like the main YumBox but it still gives you ideas within of things to pack.

I’ve had a few negative comments on social media from people who think I have too much time on my hands in the mornings, believe me, I don’t. These lunches really don’t take many minutes to throw together, you just need to have the right things in your cupboard and fridge.

The materials used in the production of the Yumbox are food safe, BPA-free and phthalates-free and it also helps on the washing up too as you don’t have all the food bags and individual boxes to wash up. Just the two parts of the box.

I’ve also had comments about the price of the YumBox, £24.95. But our boxes have been used daily, dropped weekly, washed, rewashed and show no signs of wear and tear at all. Can you say the same for cheap lunch boxes? I know I can’t, we were replacing Littlebit’s old lunch boxes constantly, so actually I think it could save you money in the long term!

Last week we did a series of YumBoxes on the days of the week, something we’re learning at the moment.panino 2

yumbox panino

This last picture obviously isn’t the Panino but I was just so proud of this lunch I had to share it on here. I used some cookie cutter stamps I’d picked up for a couple of pounds from our local garden centre to stamp the ham sandwiches, then served with tomatoes with a froggy pick, baby cheeses, grapes, raisins and chocolate soya dessert in a froggy silicone cup. Littlebit LOVED it :)

froggy yumbox

We love our YumBoxes!

This is a review post. We were supplied with a YumBox for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own.

 

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Winter Picnics with The Basket Company: Review

Deluxe antique wash 4 person picnic basket

Around mid summer we were sent this gorgeous Deluxe Antique Wash 4-person Wicker Picnic Basket for review by The Basket Company.

Over the summer holidays we had numerous days out which included picnics using our beautiful new, and really well styled hamper. However, I used our DSLR to take some really pretty pictures for the purpose of this post and unfortunately when I came to download them at the end of September to write this review I found that the memory card had corrupted and all my beautiful pictures were lost. Not wanting to just write a review with no proper pictures I waited until we had the opportunity to go on a winter picnic.

This finally happened this weekend! What with starting University on Saturdays and how tired we all are come Sunday, plus the terrible weather we’ve had the last month of weekends we hadn’t managed it until now.

But at last a Sunday with crisp, DRY weather, even a bit of sunshine every now and then. So we got this baby out again and packed it up with a winter picnic.

Deluxe antique wash 4 person picnic basket

Our picnic included:

  • a flask of tomato soup
  • cheese sandwiches (feta wraps for me – yeast and dairy free)
  • rocky road
  • trifles
  • a Fry’s mint creme for me
  • a few snacky bits

Simple but filling.

Deluxe antique wash 4 person picnic basket

What I love about this basket is that for a simple picnic just for the 3 of us we could fit everything in here. The little cool bag that sits in the middle held the sandwiches, the flask fit in the drinks section at the far end, along with soft drinks, then this end in the large pocket we put Littlebit’s drinks, odd snacks that didn’t need refrigerating and even a couple of small toys for when she’d finished eating. We also managed to cram the picnic blanket in the end too (which we sat on on the damp picnic bench).

Deluxe antique wash 4 person picnic basket

We found a quiet picnic bench and enjoyed a peaceful picnic, without having to carry 3 or 4 items from the car, which is what used to happen before we had this basket.

Deluxe antique wash 4 person picnic basket

Deluxe antique wash 4 person picnic basket

The only, literally, the only thing we don’t like about this picnic basket (as you can see from Daddypinkwellies face) is the size of the glasses. They’re tiny! He must have filled it six times. That said, if the pay off is the lift out cool bag that fits neatly in the middle of the basket little, then it’s worth it.

Deluxe antique wash 4 person picnic basket

The picnic basket is:

  • Beautifully handmade from willow with an Antique Wash finish.
  • Includes: 4 China plates – 4 Stainless Steel Knives/Forks/Spoons, Lift out cool bag, 4 Wine glasses (not plastic), Bottle opener and 4 linen napkins.
  • Cream faux leather carry handle and fastening straps.
  • Oatmeal lining.
  • 2 X wine/champagne compartments
  • 1 x open end compartment (perfect for a rug).
  • Size: L 59cm x W 29cm x H 27cm.

 

Deluxe antique wash 4 person picnic basket

This would make the perfect Christmas gift or why not treat yourself to it and enjoy some winter picnics with your family?

After we’d had our fill we headed over to the playground where we spent a lovely hour playing (well Daddy and Littlebit did and I had a joyous hour reading my book and watching them play). Then we went on an autumn nature walk collecting leaves and conkers for our autumn jar. Just look at our haul, a successful trip I’d say!

Conker haul

This is a review post. We were provided with the Deluxe Antique Wash 4-person Wicker Picnic Basket by The Basket Company for review. All opinions are my own.

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