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14 June 2016

five items i never knew i needed

last week i was lucky enough to be invited to one of my favourite events to date. that's not to say it was the best event i've ever been to, but it was certainly the most eye opening, and full of genuine wonder and surprise. lakeland. a homewares shop i'd never heard of, but as soon as i mentioned to anyone, the typical response was hyperventilation and general excitement at the thought of shopping there. that was kind of all i needed to seal the deal. 

well, that, and the fact the invite advised we'd be making our very own freakshakes during the event (it wasn't until i was already at the event that i noted the word "healthy" in front of the word "freakshake", thus making the whole idea a bit redundant. still, i like a good blended drink, and had high hopes for mine. more on that in a bit), a trendy fad that i (still) haven't had the pleasure of trying, so i was actually super excited to be heading into the belly of hell - westfield stratford, after work last thursday, to meet up with leanne, and get my (healthy) freaky shaking on.
after gulping down some delicious tropical juice concoction and having a wee wander of the shop to fully understand everyone's insane love for this store (i now get it), it was time to start. we gathered around the middle demonstration table while the lovely ladies whose names i've already forgotten got to showcasing some of the brands best selling items. and it was then, ladies and gentlemen, that i discovered the following five items that i never knew i needed. behold, and i will explain.

i don't eat a lot of fresh pineapple, but i didn't know it was because i didn't have a fricken pineapple slicer! this bad boy (£6.99) literally cuts the meat of the fruit away from its spiky shell in a few easy twists of the wrist, and with a bit of gentle pulling easily pulls away leaving nothing but a central core behind - and the most exquisite cocktail glass! watching this demonstration obviously gave my freakshake the edge, being the first to consider using an excess skin for my blended drink. 

i was positively gobsmacked to watch the ladies pull the fruit from the skin so easily, and what's more, dice the perfectly spiralised pineapple with the bonus tool included in the box! so not only do you have beautiful pineapple rings in one smooth motion, but you also have perfect segments of fruit for all your cheese-and-pineapple board desires. incredible! need!

there's not a homewares store on the planet that doesn't love a kilner jar, bit did i know i needed a one litre kilner salad on the go jar (£9.99)? hell no i did not! this jar is another level kilner, with a special tiny stainless steel bowl just under the lid that keeps your salad dressing all fresh and separate from your actual salad, until you're ready for those two to meet. i worried about rust - apparently i need not! name brand jars don't rust, erica! that's why they're so good!

and who the hell knew that the lovely davina mccall had her very own range of knives out? made in collaboration with lakeland, i'm told the wonderful davina mccall was quite hands-on in the creation of her range, ensuring that the jazzy colours reminded her of her jazzy knife drawer in her own kitchen, and that they were comfortable and practical for busy mums. i mean, the incredible davina mccall would know about knives, right? it only makes plenty of sense for her to have her own range, and ipso facto, only makes sense that i now need the full range of her knives; the pink paring one (3.99) will do for now.

there was one demo that i wasn't really paying attention to for a bit, until i realised i needed everything that was being used. so, spiralisers. we're all familiar, yeah? well, the one they were using had so many attachments and what not, that the food we were spiralising just keep getting more and more intricate, the carrots and courgettes getting thinner and thinner until their likeness to vermicelli noodles were uncanny, and i was totally impressed. it didn't stop there. the spiraliser was just the start.

the spiralised veg then went into a red shallow lekue steam case (£13.47), with a whole fillet of salmon, a few cherry tomatoes, and some salt and pepper. then what happened, was that it went into the microwave. for no more than three minutes, at which point, it was cooked to perfection. i shit you not; three minutes in the microwave, and the whole fillet of salmon was perfectly steamed, the veg ribbons were well done and not soggy, and the tomatoes had exploded and created a tasty tomato salsa that covered it all and bound the flavours together. amazing! there's even a steamer that does a whole fricken roast chicken in under half an hour! i can't! i'm amazed! it's all too much! give it to me, i need it all!

ok, truth time: i've been very spoiled. when i left the event that night, with the shopping list still fresh in my mind, we were handed a lakeland shopping bag. i didn't look inside, because you're not supposed to - it's a bit rude, i think, to look at your loot when the gifters are still staring at you, but as soon as i could, i looked. and oh my goodness, what a lucky sausage i am! i know this post sounds like an out-and-out advertisement for lakeland, but that's only because every. single. thing. that was demonstrated to me that night was literally something that is going to change my kitchen and cooking for the better. 

yes, i'm bloody excited. yes, i think it's absurd the wonder that is davina mccall has a range of knives out. yes, i am a very lucky girl to not have had to actually purchase any of these items myself, but that's not to say i wouldn't have anyway, had they not beat me to it. i showed my flatmates when i got in, and it was honestly like christmas morning; we were jumping up and down looking over everything oohing and aahing like we'd never seen anything so wonderful. so, i am very, very grateful to have had the chance to try the products and know that i wanted them, before i was gifted them. i have already sold a set of the steamers to another microwave warrior, which i can't wait to hear how she gets on.

a massive thank you to the lakeland team over at westfield stratford for putting on such a wonderfully eye-opening event, and for being oh-so generous with your gifting afterwards. now, excuse me, i am off to spiralise a fresh pineapple!