Guide to growing herbs

Herb BlogGuide to growing herbs

The easiest way to add a special touch to your food and make it look and taste amazing is to add fresh herbs. If you grow herbs at home, whether in your garden or simply in small pots on a windowsill, you will always have them fresh to hand to impart extra vibrancy and flavour to your meals.

The basic of growing herbs

Even if your gardening skills are minimal, you should be able to grow herbs without any trouble. Herbs can be planted inside or out, in pots, raised beds, flower borders, vegetable plots or in dedicated herb gardens. Like other plants, herbs come as annuals, which means they die off after blooming once; as biennials, which have a two-year life cycle; and as perennials, which will flower repeatedly and keep growing.

Start with your basic culinary herbs – basil, chives, coriander, dill, mint, parsley, rosemary, sage, tarragon and thyme. Most of these prefer a light, sunny spot with moist but well-drained soil, so don’t let the soil get too soggy or dry out. Herbs like to be fed, so mulch generously with organic matter. Short-lived herbs such as dill and coriander should be sown every couple of weeks through spring and summer to avoid a glut. Bring your herbs inside for the winter – most herbs don’t like the cold but will be happy on a sunny, south-facing windowsill. Mint and sage can both grow quite large and mint can become quite aggressive – it will take over the garden if you let it, so it is best to keep it planted in a container.

How to start growing herbs

The cheapest way to grow herbs is from seed. Sew in pots and keep inside or in a conservatory or greenhouse until the danger of frost has passed. Dill and coriander are relatively hardy and can go straight into the ground from March. You can also try taking cuttings of herbs such as rosemary, mint, sage, tarragon and thyme at the end of summer. Strong-growing, hardy herbs such as mint, thyme and oregano can be divided in late summer after flowering.

Harden off young plants once the weather improves, keeping the soil moist. Plant in loose soil, making sure the root ball is completely underground. Firm in and water well. You will find that some herbs, such as rocket, cress and coriander, grow quickly and will be ready for cutting within a few weeks. Cutting herbs to use in the kitchen and pinching them out will encourage bushy growth and stop them running to seed too quickly.

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Cherries blossom as apples crumble

cherryblossomsCherries blossom as apples crumble

It is going to be an interesting summer for British puddings, according to the Daily Mail, as we are facing a shortage of dessert favourite Bramley apples. On the other hand, we are due a bumper crop of cherries this year!

Apples 2016 loser

Apparently the UK’s Bramley apples 2016 harvest is expected to fall about 12 per cent short, as the farmers do not believe they are making enough money from the fruit. A number of farmers have abandoned growing Bramleys and have removed their trees to make way for cherries on the basis that they are a higher-profit crop. Wholesale Bramley apple prices dropped 20p per kilo last year to 61p.

Cherries 2016 winner

The silver lining to this Bramley cloud is the higher availability of British cherries. While cherries used to be imported from abroad, British farmers are now growing record amounts of the fruit – up from 400 tonnes in 2000 to 4,500 tonnes last year. Cherries are a great alternative to apples for many reasons – not only are they among the freshest fruit you can buy, thanks to a quick turnaround time from picking to point of sale, but also they boast a number of interesting health benefits thanks to their high nutrient content.

Summer cherries 2016 recipes

Cherries are almost as versatile as apples. They are also deeply beautiful, glowing jewels of fruit and symbolise fertility and abundance. Cherry season in the UK is the summer, with July seeing UK cherries at their peak.

Frangipane cherry tart

Pre-made shortcrust pastry
140g golden caster sugar
140g ground almonds
140g melted butter
1 egg and 1 egg yolk
2 tbsp kirsch or other cherry liqueur
500g cherries, pitted
2 tbsp cherry jam, heated and mixed with 1 tbsp water

Use a shop-bought pastry case or a prepared sheet of shortcrust pastry to save time. Pre-heat the oven to 190°C and blind bake your pastry case if necessary.

To make the filling, put the caster sugar, almonds, butter and eggs into a bowl and mix well to achieve a smooth, creamy texture. Stir in the cherry liqueur and put the mixture in the refrigerator to chill for 20-30 minutes.

Spread the filling onto the pastry case and bake until crisp or golden, which will take about 25 minutes. Spread the cherries evenly on top of the almond mixture, brush with the cherry jam paste and allow to cool.

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Preserving labels for jars

labelsPreserving labels for jars

Labels for jars are not exactly a glamorous subject but they are important – there is little worse than taking a big bite of a delicious homemade scone with strawberry jam and clotted cream only to find that you have spread it with chutney by mistake!

Preserving labels at Wares of Knutsford

We are proud of the quality and variety of our range of preserving labels. The bulk of the department is from the Words of Art range by mother and daughter artist team Rosemary and Caroline Wagstaff, featuring their delightful watercolour designs. There are labels decorated with fruit and vegetable designs that you could match beautifully to your products, with examples including citrus fruits, onions, plums, strawberries and raspberries. There is also a useful range of graphic designs that can be used not only as labels for jars of food but also for cosmetic or aromatherapy products. This range includes gingham, polka dot, line and graduated borders in olive green, ocean blue, sunshine yellow, rose red, cornflower blue, periwinkle blue and coral.

There are also some modern and funky multiuse labels featuring the royal crown, a beehive and a vintage-style Union Jack border. You can also choose from some lovely rustic designs featuring a garden gate, wellies or a glittery tiara.

In addition to Words of Art, we stock labels by Kitchen Craft in a variety of designs and others by Kilner in a chalkboard finish.

All of our labels are self-adhesive and feature a plain white centre panel on which to write.

Why you need preserving labels

Apart from the obvious – to identify the contents – jar labels often contain other pieces of useful information, particularly if you are giving your produce away as a gift or selling it. Consider adding a use-by date, storage instructions and an ingredients list to your labels. If you are giving jars as a gift, you could also add a tag on a string or ribbon around the neck of the jar with a personal message for the recipient to avoid crowding your label.

If you are selling your produce, there are some fairly strict legal requirements regarding what information you should include on the label. Contact your local trading standards office for up-to-date information, but usually a use-by date and ingredients list are among the requirements. You will also generally find that you need to name your product according to some fairly strict criteria.

Click here for Preserving Labels

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All you need to make your own wedding favours

All you need to make your own wedding favours

Wedding season is in full swing and whether you areFavour 3 planning a low key, private affair or have turned into a frightening bridezilla, your head is doubtless full of plans for your special day. There is so much to think to about and while Wares of Knutsford can’t really help you with your dress, venue or honeymoon, we are absolutely full of great wedding favour ideas.

How Wares of Knutsford can help you make wedding favours

We started off recommending our bottles and jars for people to use to give homemade produce as wedding favours – jams, chutneys, liqueurs, sweets, aromatherapy and cosmetics, for example. Over time, however, we noticed that our customers were becoming interested in wedding favour ideas and looking for packaging for their favours.

We responded to this demand by creating a new wedding favours department on our website, where we have put together everything we think buyers looking for wedding favours will find useful. The trend at the moment is definitely to create your own favours rather than buy favours designed by someone else. Doing it yourself allows you to make your favours really personal and save money at a time when expenses may be mounting at a frightening rate.

Make wedding favours to match your theme

Whether you are working to a strict colour scheme or simply want to keep to a theme – rustic, hippy or even Star Wars! – you can create your own wedding favours to fit in and give your guests a great memento of the event. The key is to keep it personal. If you have a skill with which you can make your ow favours, do it. This could be jam making or other cooking of some kind, brewing your own wine or liqueurs, making lip balm, or making your own jewellery, pottery or miniature wood carvings. Keen gardeners could give home-grown plants, flowers or vegetables as wedding favours.

Whatever skills you have, consider whether youFavour 1 can use them to create unique and interesting wedding favours. Our wedding favours department contains a great selection of jars and bottles, presentation boxes, bags, gift tags and labels for you to use to present your wedding favours.

Most weddings follow a colour scheme of sorts, so try to decorate your wedding favours accordingly. If all else fails, people are always happy with sweets! Just pop them in a pretty box with some ribbon and they will look great.

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Sow and grow in May


Sow and grow in May

May is the month of fecundity; therefore, it is time to find your trowel and fork and get busy in the garden. Here is a guide to what to grow in May.

What to sow in May: flowers

It is definitely getting warmer out there but it is safer to start off your seedlings indoors until any risk of frost has passed. May is the time for planting a number of flowers, including larkspur – an annual that is an easy alternative to delphiniums if you have struggled with these. Start your salvia off indoors for colourful summer bedding later on and start your biennials in seed trays now for later transplanting. Wallflowers, sweet williams and foxgloves sown now will flower next year.

Plant some perennials in seed trays now to flower next year and they will keep coming back for years to come – think primulas, aquilegias, lupins and delphiniums.

There are some hardier flowers that can be sown directly outdoors in May – sunflowers, nasturtiums, scabious, cornflowers and poppies can all go straight in the ground. Go for some clarkias, linarias and candytuft for some easy summer colour, while limnanthes in your veggie plot will help to bring in beneficial insects.

What to sow in May: fruit and vegetables

Like flowers, some fruit and veg are best started indoors. Sweetcorn should be on your list of what to grow in May. Start off with at least 12 seeds in modules indoors, then plant out in grid formation to aid pollination after the danger of frost has passed.

Basil likes warmth and should be sown in pots indoors. Perennial herbs such as lemon balm, thyme, sage and rosemary should go in under cover now.

Pumpkins, squash, marrows and courgettes should be started off under cover; however, don’t overdo it or you could find yourself eating them with every meal for weeks this summer! Sow French and runner beans and cucumber and gherkin seeds individually in modules for planting out later.

You can start off cauliflower seeds under a cloche or cold frame, ensuring that the soil is kept moist.

You can also sow some fruit and vegetables directly into the ground this month. Beetroot seeds like space, so sow them thinly into the ground. The same applies to cabbages, but get them netted early or cabbage white butterflies will lay eggs on the leaves. Carrots can be planted in rows and protected from carrot fly with a layer of fleece or Enviromesh.

Kohlrabi is a more unusual choice and will be ready in just eight weeks if you sow it outside now.

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Kilner drinks dispensers

Kilner drinks dispensersStandard Jar

A drinks dispenser is one of those things you never realised you needed; however, once you have one, you will wonder how you ever lived without it! We stock a variety of drinks dispensers by Kilner, all of which are perfect for your summer events. Used outdoors they keep flies out of drinks and keep the contents fresh and clean, with easy, one-handed access courtesy of a tap at the bottom of the jar.

The standard dispensers are designed in the same style as the traditional Kilner preserving jar in high-quality clear glass in a round shape with a heavy duty clip fastening and an orange rubber seal. The wide neck makes it easy to add fruit, ice or herbs and to refill. The jars are embossed with the familiar Kilner logo and are available in five- and eight-litre sizes, which are sold singly. This means they hold plenty of drinks for garden parties, weddings, children’s birthday parties, fetes and galas, indoor or out. They can be used for soft drinks or cocktails, milkshakes and smoothies, or even just water, but are not suitable for very hot drinks. The dispensers should only be used for liquids with a maximum temperature of 80°C.

In addition to the round dispensers, we stock a square version in the same style with an eight-litre capacity.

Kilner vintage style drinks dispensersVintage Jar

Also available in five- and eight-litre sizes is a vintage style dispenser, similar to the basic model but with a decorative ribbed jar. It works in the same way but would fit in really well in a more rustic or retro setting. A Kilner vintage style drinks dispenser is a great way to keep guests served at a laidback summer wedding; even better, set up a row of them with labels stating the contents. Traditional drinks such as cloudy lemonade, fruit punch and elderflower cordial look pretty and taste delicious. You could also set up a dispenser of freshly-
squeezed orange juice with a few bottles of champagne for some Buck’s Fizz.Square Jar

Add a few Kilner handled drinking jars for a really cute, coordinated effect and make sure there are plenty of straws available.

Remember that a flat delivery charge applies when ordering from Wares of Knutsford, no matter how much you order, so feel free to fill up your basket without worrying about mounting postage costs.

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Packaging For Preserves

Packaging for preserves

At Wares of Knutsford we make an effort to listen to what our customers want, and by popular demand we investigated the idea of preserve packaging. Jars and bottles are notoriously difficult to wrap in the traditional style and our customers were looking for a better way in which to present preserves.

Since we introduced the range, it has been hugely popular and we have even added a number of other packaging items to the department. If you are planning to give homemade preserves as gifts or to sell your own produce, the right packaging can help your jars to look smart and professional.

Boxed preserve packagingBox

Our specially designed boxes make it incredibly simple to package jars and bottles, either to give as gifts or to sell as a set. Choose from natural brown card or green. The boxes come flat packed for easy delivery and are easy to assemble at home. You can choose two- or three-jar models in small and medium sizes for standard jars, and there are also two- and three-jar versions for tall, slim jars.

Bag packaging for preservesBag

Our packaging department also contains some pretty bags specially designed to hold jars. Again, you can choose from models that hold two or three jars in extra small, small, medium and tall sizes. The bags come in a natural jute colour and are made of hessian, which is biodegradable and environmentally friendly. They feature clear display windows to show off the products inside and are an easy way to turn simple jars into pretty gifts.

Tray packaging for preservesTray

If you are looking to create a bolder effect, you can use one of our card trays to create a kind of preserve hamper. The trays are available in square and rectangular shapes and in three colours – natural brown, burgundy red and olive green – with tall or shallow sides and in small, medium and large sizes.

We also supply fine cut shredded paper in brown, cream and red to help you pack out the trays to present the preserves attractively, plus brown hessian string and jute ribbon in natural and green to decorate the package. The trays can be used for all sorts of gifts in addition to jars of preserves, including all sorts of other food items, soaps or cosmetics; for example, you could give a couple of homemade chutneys with some savoury biscuits and cheese for a lovely personal gift.

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Rustic Wedding Favour Boxes

Rustic wedding favour boxesRustic Box

We have had a lot of interest lately in our packaging and wedding favour departments, both of which were set up to answer customer demand. Making your own wedding favours is increasingly popular as a way to both personalise and save costs at your wedding. At Wares of Knutsford we have a great supply of packaging to help you make rustic wedding favours, modern wedding favours or any other kind of wedding favours – and plenty of ideas to help you fill them!

New rustic wedding favour boxes at Wares of Knutsford

One of our new products this season is a rustic-style box ideal for small wedding favours. It is made of sturdy corrugated cardboard in a natural brown colour and sold in packs of ten. The box measures 5cm by 5cm by 5cm, which makes it the perfect size for both 30ml and 40ml mini jam jars. We also find a number of artisan producers and crafters use these boxes, as they are perfect to present smaller items such as jewellery, homemade lip balms or sweets and chocolates.

Take a look at our packaging department for decorative materials, as simple accessories such as a piece of hessian string tied in a bow around the boxes really add to the theme of rustic wedding favours. You will also find a selection of ribbons, labels and gift tags that you can attach with a personal message for your guests. Remember that you can also use these items to maintain a coherent theme at your venue; for example, you can use jute ribbon or hessian string to tie up bouquets of wild flowers for table centrepieces.

Our favourite fillings for the new rustic wedding favour boxes

It is really nice to able to make your wedding favour fit the theme and style of your wedding. One lovely idea we heard about was a pretty and laid-back wedding theme, which was a little bit hippy, where the guests were given pieces of rose quartz crystals in small boxes. The couple enjoyed New Age culture and the wedding very much followed a pink colour scheme, so this was a really fitting favour.

We also love the idea of giving homemade sweets and chocolates as wedding favours. You can go all out with a rustic scheme by making individual lavender chocolates and using lavender to decorate the venue and in the bride’s bouquet. This idea is simple but beautiful and not only will your wedding look gorgeous but also it will smell wonderful!

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Kilner jars

Kilner jars

At Wares of Knutsford we have dedicated a whole department to the Kilner jar. This classic piece of preserving equipment is still available in its original form and also in a number of modern variations on the theme.

The history of Kilner jars

The traditional Kilner jar was invented towards the end of the 19th century; however, John Kilner started producing glass jars and bottles in Thornhill Lees in Dewsbury in the 1840s. Upon his death in 1857, the business passed to his sons and continued to go from strength to strength, including winning industry awards. In the 1860s a second Kilner factory was opened in Conisborough, Don Valley and became a huge local employer. The awards kept coming; however, the pressure of increased competition hit the firm hard in the early 1920s.

In 1937 the Kilner family was forced to close the business, having sold the trademark and patent for its original Kilner glass jar design to the United Glass Bottle Company. In 2000 the Rayware Group bought the rights to the patent and trademark for the original Kilner jar and continues to manufacture under the Kilner brand name. A number of modern products have been introduced, still inspired by the original product, and these have helped to expand the Kilner brand.

Kilner jars at Wares of Knutsford

The Kilner clip top clear glass preserving jar is available at Wares of Knutsford in a number of sizes: 70ml, 125ml, 350ml, 500ml, 1 litre, 1.5 litres, 2 litres and 3 litres. Square and faceted versions of the same style are also available in various sizes, sold singly or in great value packs.

Screw top Kilner jars for preserving, which use the metal sealing disc and screw band method, are also available in 250ml, 500ml and 1-litre sizes, along with spare metal discs and screw bands.

A number of speciality products have been introduced in the Kilner style and have been proving very popular, such as clip top jars in coloured glass. These are available in blue, green and pink and in 500ml and 1-litre sizes. You can also buy handled drinking jars in clear or coloured glass.

Kilner swing top bottles can be bought in a variety of designs in clear and coloured glass in 250ml and 1 litre sizes; for sloe gin with a 275ml capacity; in a square shape; and in an 850ml ribbed design. You can also buy a 70ml miniature clip top bottle and a 200ml handled version.

Finally, a new product we love this season is the Kilner milk bottle, which comes in 189ml and 568ml sizes.

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Gardening tips for May

may gardening

May gardening is a joyous experience, as everything is surging with life and signs of summer abound. You can now do some sowing and planting out, depending upon the weather conditions, and you can complete some propagation in the form of softwood cuttings. The lawn will also require some attention as you start a regime to get it back into shape for summer.

May gardening jobs

You should already have most of your potatoes in the ground and it is now time for a bit of earthing up. If you have any left unplanted, it is time to get them in the ground. Weeds will need to be hoed out regularly if you want to prevent them taking hold.

Open the vents and doors of your greenhouse to allow the air to circulate and start hardening off your seedlings ready to plant out once the weather allows. Dahlias and canna lilies can go in the ground once any risk of frost has passed and you can sow winter bedding ready for a colourful display later in the year. Climbing plants will need regular training and tying in.

Give the lawn a first mow and treat it to some fertiliser, reseeding bare patches if necessary. You can now begin a fortnightly or weekly mowing schedule to keep your grass in good shape over the summer. The hedges could probably do with clipping, but look out for nesting birds first and try to avoid disturbing them.

Tender shrubs can be pruned after the danger of frost has passed and spring flowering shrubs should be pruned after flowering. You can still get away with pruning evergreens in May and should cut out any frost-damaged areas. Spring flowering bulbs will be fading by now and it is time to lift and divide clumps to avoid overcrowding. Hostas can be divided as they grow.

While you are going about your tasks, keep an eye out for lily beetle grubs and viburnum beetle and treat any accordingly.

May gardening and the weather

The sun may be out but there is still a danger of frost – and there was even snow at the end of April! This means tender plants will still need some protection. Summer bedding plants can go out in May but it is usually wise to wait until the end of the month, particularly if you live in a colder area.

Take some time while gardening in May to consider how you can collect rainwater and look at ways in which you can recycle any other water to use for irrigation.

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The best enamelwares to buy

best enamelware

Wares of Knutsford started life as a specialist in jars, bottles and preserving equipment; however, we have expanded our range enormously since then, mostly in response to customer demand. We keep a close eye on what our customers want and one thing we have noticed is that you are buying enamelwares.

The best enamelware is great for so many uses. Its lightweight construction and robust and durable nature has made it popular with campers, fishermen and other outdoors types who want to be able to cook a decent meal while out and about without worrying about breakages but don’t want to eat off plastic. It is also ideal for children to use, as it is able to withstand all sorts of abuse! Enamelware also looks great and can add a wonderful vintage or rustic feel to a traditionally-styled kitchen.

The best enamelware in blue and white

Most people buying enamelwares automatically think of the classic blue and white style. This is the traditional image of enamelware – a white base colour with a dark blue trim. At Wares of Knutsford we stock a wide range of white and blue enamelware for serveware, storage and cookware, including plates, bowls, mugs, pie dishes, roasters, a teapot, pudding basins, bread bins and a cute billycan.

The best enamelware in other colours

If blue and white doesn’t work for you but you still want to access the practical properties of enamelware, we offer alternative colours. Take a look at the particularly elegant cream enamelware trimmed in grey, which is available in a variety of bakeware products and a bread bin.

There is also bakeware in black and tea and coffee pots in bright blue, red, black or white, with matching mugs in bright blue, red or white. Flat plates are available in a set of four in white with a red rim.

Preserving fans will be delighted by the super-stylish red enamel jam pan by Kilner, which has an eight-litre capacity, an easy carry handle and an integral measuring gauge in both pints and litres.

Remember that Wares of Knutsford charges a flat delivery charge, which means you can order large quantities and even heavy or bulky items without worrying about mounting postage costs! Wholesale prices are available to small businesses or those ordering in pallet-sized quantities – please contact our helpful and friendly staff for more details.

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Rustic tea light holder

rustic tea light holder

At Wares of Knutsford we continue to introduce new products and one of our favourite recent additions to our online shop is this pretty glass tea light holder.

Vintage style rustic tea light holder

The vintage trend shows no sign of abating and this candle holder is a really easy way to achieve the look. The holder is made of high-quality clear glass in a ribbed effect with a hessian string to hang it from and a decorative gold-coloured metal leaf. The glass candle holder is 75mm wide by 90mm tall and is sold singly.

These candle holders work well individually or in groups; however, we think they create the most impact when used in a line. With Wares of Knutsford’s flat delivery charge, you can put as many as you like into your basket without worrying about being hit by a huge postage cost when you reach the checkout.

Using the rustic tea light holder for weddings

At Wares of Knutsford we can think of lots of ways in which we want to use this rustic tea light holder; for example, with summer coming, we can imagine clusters of twinkling tea lights creating romantic corners in the garden. If you use citronella candles, you should escape the attention of bugs and mosquitos. You can sit the glass on a flat surface or use the string to hang it from hooks, tree branches and fences.

We are also excited by the idea of using this vintage style candle holder at weddings. This is a great way to get that rustic, laid-back style that is currently so popular for weddings. You can use the candle holders for simple table centrepieces or to create gentle mood lighting around the venue. Line them up to light a pathway, or give them away as wedding favours. The clear glass, brown hessian and gold coloured leaf blend with any colour scheme, while the simple style will work with vintage, rustic or hippie-style weddings.

Candle light is so much softer and more flattering than harsh bulbs and your guests are sure to appreciate the gentle glow that tea lights emit. You can also add an extra dimension to your wedding theme by using scented and coloured tea lights in the holders, such as rose-scented candles for a rustic wedding. If you are planning a winter wedding, keep these in mind to use with warm, seasonal scented candles – a spicy cinnamon and clove scent evokes a really cosy feel.

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Tea light holders for weddings

wedding tea light holder

There are some standard features when planning a wedding celebration that most brides agree add the right amount of romance and style to the occasion. Flowers are a given, chair sashes are also popular, photo booths and sweet stands are current favourites, and candles can make even the most prosaic town hall look like a romantic venue. At Wares of Knutsford we have a great selection of tea light holders for weddings.

Vintage style wedding tea light holder

New to our wedding department this season is this pretty range of wedding tea light holder. Made of clear glass with an octagonal base and an embossed vintage-style floral garland pattern around the rim, the candle holder is sold singly and is just the right size for a standard tea light.

The simple but effective design makes this candle holder suitable for use in a number of ways; for example, it is smart enough to use in table settings, to be given as a wedding favour gift or to be placed around the celebration venue. The clear glass allows the gentle, flickering light of a candle to glimmer romantically in the background, while the open top means scented tea lights can help the venue to both smell and look beautiful.

The dimensions of the candle holder are 85mm tall, 50mm across the base and 80mm across the top.

Using a wedding tea light holder around the venue

Tea light holders can be used to create visual impact either singly or in groups; however, we think they look most charming when lined up in a row, perhaps down the length of long tables or along a path or a wall to lead the way as daylight fades.

While we think these are perfect tea light holders for weddings, they can just as easily be used to create atmosphere at any party or event or even around the house. Candlelight gives off the most flattering glow and scented tea lights can be used to make your home smell delicious or to keep insects away when used outside. They can be a really useful home accessory.

As always when using candles, remember to be safe. Use tea light holders in a clear area where they will not be overhung by flammable material, keep naked flames out of reach of children, and make sure all candles are extinguished before leaving the venue.

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Gift tags for jars

gift tags for jars

As a result of customer demand, we have been expanding our packaging department. This now includes a huge variety of bags, boxes, tags, labels and ribbons, and our latest addition is a cute set of jar-shaped gift tags.

New folksy gift tags for jars

This set of 24 gift tags is in a classic jar-shaped design featuring some beautiful detailing. The labels come with raffia ties with which to affix them to jars and describe their contents. The pack of jar-shaped gift tags comprises 12 with a white background and 12 with a blue background, with both designs featuring a blackboard-style patch with scalloped edges and spaces to write ‘to’ and ‘from’. The labels are a great way to present jams, pickles, chutneys and any other kind of preserves as gifts.

Gift tags for jars at Wares of Knutsford

Our packaging department is growing fast and now includes a fantastic range of gift tags for jars in addition to bags, boxes, ribbons and labels. Gift tags can be a really pretty way to decorate jars and bottles. A label is an essential; however, it can get a bit crowded by the time you have named the contents and information such as the use-by date, ingredients and storage instructions. Adding a gift tag allows you to add a personal message and turns a plain jar or bottle into a pretty gift and, of course, the tags can also be used on any other kind of gift.

The gift tags range now includes varieties in floral, tartan, graphic and plain patterns and in a number of shapes, including the traditional rectangular shape and owl, bird, rabbit, butterfly, dog, flower and heart shapes. We are also very pleased with a cute new range of biscuit-shaped gift tags. These are designed to look like some of your favourite biscuits, including Jammie Dodgers.

For something really special, there is also a white painted wooden ‘with love’ tag. This is decorated with a grey heart and spaces to write ‘to’ and ‘from’. It is something of a keepsake and shows how much thought you have put into the gift.

We also sell a 122-piece gift tag and label set, which is great for organised types and means you will always have packaging to hand when unexpected birthdays or occasions come up. The set includes a variety of different label and tag designs plus string and red ribbon with which to attach them.

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Chalk board hearts

chalk board hearts

It is wedding season and happy couples up and down the country are either frantically ironing out the final details for ceremonies being held this summer or making plans for a wedding next year. At Wares of Knutsford we have a great selection of wedding accessories to help make your day unique and special.

New chalk board hearts

One of the new products at Wares of Knutsford this season are mini chalk board hearts – cute little blackboards in the shape of a heart that comes with its own chalk. This great multi-purpose product is particularly useful for weddings and party events. Each heart hangs from a piece of string threaded through two holes at the top; however, you could replace this with a coloured ribbon or twine to suit your wedding colour scheme.

You can use the hearts to display table numbers and guest names, hang them on bottles and jars to identify the contents, or provide them on tables for guests to write personal messages for the happy couple.

You can also use the hearts to label dishes at buffets and as direction signs for the cloakroom, toilets, photo booth, sweet table, or anything else you have lined up for your wedding.

Chalk board hearts at home

The chalk board heart is not only great for weddings but also a cute accessory in restaurants, cafes and at home. Put it in a little girl’s bedroom and write a lovely new message every day to encourage and inspire her, or to remind her to take her PE kit to school! The hearts are also ideal for children to hang on their bedroom doors with their names on or, as they get older, to advise adults to keep out!

The hearts are sold singly; however, with Wares of Knutsford’s standard delivery charge, you can order as many as you want without worrying about delivery costs mounting up.

Wedding favours department

If you are planning a wedding, take a look at our new wedding favours department, where we have lots of ideas and inspiration for unusual and pocket-friendly wedding favours and table settings. In addition to jars and bottles, there are ribbons, labels and tags to help you make pretty favours and to decorate your venue. For wedding guests, there are lots of pretty packaging ideas for wedding presents.

These items are designed for weddings but will work equally well at christenings or birthday or anniversary parties.

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Give your kitchen a makeover

kitchen accessories

A whole new kitchen might be out of your reach, but don’t despair. You can completely change how your kitchen looks with a less dramatic makeover.

Start by editing your kitchen accessories

You could change or paint all your doors, change your cupboard handles and your worktop, and add a new tiled splashback, which should still be a more economical solution than a complete kitchen rebuild. Alternatively, if you can live with the basics such as your kitchen furniture, you can still create a whole new look by replacing your old kitchen tools and accessories with some smart new ones.

The first step would be to take everything out of your kitchen and give it a thorough clean. Once your cupboards and surfaces are sparkling, turn your attention to all your kitchen goods. Throw out any out-of-date food items and any broken kitchen tools and gadgets. Give anything you don’t use – bread makers, cafetieres and pasta makers often fall into this category – to charity.

In this way you will be able to put everything back in an organised manner and see how to give your kitchen a fresh new look.

Kitchen accessories at Wares of Knutsford

Unless you are going for the zero-tolerance minimal look, or your kitchen is so vast that you have room to put absolutely everything in cupboards, the chances are that you will need to have some of your kitchen tools and accessories out on display. If this is the case, make sure these items are worthy of being seen. Kitchen accessories might have a prosaic job to do but there is no reason they can’t look good at the same time. At Wares of Knutsford we have a great selection of pretty and practical kitchenware items that will fit a number of colour schemes or decorating themes.

One easy way to add a smart, cohesive look to your kitchen decor is to stick to a favourite colour scheme; for example, red is perennially popular in kitchens and you will find a host of useful accessories in our kitchenware department. Add some kitchen textiles in the form of oven gloves and tea towels, some traditional baking equipment and cookware, some storage canisters and a few tools. Your kitchen will look both cheerful and bright and be a great place to cook.

If you don’t like red, a fresh and clean look can be created with a blue and white colour scheme, or you could focus on creating a rustic or Italian scheme. Take a look at our kitchenware department and our blog for ideas and inspiration.

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Wedding sweet table jars

sweet table jars

The fashion for weddings in recent years is to be more relaxed and less formal, such as buffets or barbecues rather than sit-down meals and entertainment for all in the form of photo booths, games and sweet shop tables. Wedding favours are often homemade and personalised, table settings include wild flowers rather than hothouse bouquets, and children are welcome.

At Wares of Knutsford we find many of our bottles and jars are bought by brides for their favours and table settings. We have also noticed that sweet table jars are becoming best sellers, not only for weddings but also for other events.

Using sweet table jars

The idea is to create an old-fashioned sweet shop feel and let people help themselves. Buy a selection of traditional penny sweets, chews and boiled sweets, for example, and provide scoops and bags or small cups. The sweet stand is just as popular with adult guests as it is with children. You can choose sweets to match a colour theme, such as a jar of pink and white marshmallows, pink bonbons, a jar of pink and white milkshake bottles, pink and white sherbet pips, pink and white jelly beans and a plate of coconut ice. Alternatively, you can mix it up with a variety of colours. This is one of the great things about a sweet table at a wedding – the sweets are not only delicious but also there is such a variety of colours and shapes that you can use them to help create a theme or colour scheme.

Sweet table jars at Wares of Knutsford

We have a huge range of jars for sweet tables in both modern and traditional styles. There are modern, globe-shaped clear glass sweet jars that can be displayed flat or on a diagonal in sizes including 130ml, 180ml, 192ml, 395ml, 870ml and two litres, with a choice of lid colours. The same style jars can also be bought in plastic, which could be safer if things might get a little raucous!

We also have a great range of vintage style sweet jars in clear glass with knobstopper-style lids, which are also available in a range of sizes. These are the jars you used to see in old-fashioned sweet shops, with the sweets sold in white paper bags by the quarter pound, and they are a great way to emphasise a traditional theme. Again, you can buy this same style in plastic if this seems more appropriate.

The great thing about jars for sweet tables is that you can use them as practical kitchen storage after the event!

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The Most Popular Bottle for Wedding Favours

wedding favour bottles

At this time of year our wedding favours department gets a lot of traffic. For this season we have added some fantastic new products, which means you will find not only wedding favour bottles and jars but also small bags and boxes along with tags and ribbons to use for decoration.

Our most popular wedding favour bottles

The vintage-looking Gladstone bottle is the most popular of all our bottles for wedding favours. It is a really cute bottle and cork set in a vintage shape, with the 50ml size ideal for individual servings of home-made spirits, liqueurs or cordials, flavoured oils or vinegars, body lotion, bubble bath or bath salts – the list goes on. Tie a pretty ribbon around the neck and add a personalised tag or label for your guests. These bottles are also a great style for essential oils and aromatherapy products. Artisan sellers buy a lot of these bottles, as do cafes and restaurants.

The bottles have a 40mm base diameter, are 72mm tall and have a 12mm-diameter neck. They are sold in packs of 12, 24 and 36 and are also available in a bulk buy bargain pack of 130 bottles with corks. The more you buy, the cheaper they get, and our bargain packs are a great deal. Also remember that deliveries from Wares of Knutsford are subject to a flat postage rate, no matter how much you order.

Wedding favour bottles range

If the Gladstone bottles are not quite what you are looking for, there are plenty of other options in our wedding favours department. The 50ml miniature whisky and wine bottles are smart, modern choices with black twist-off caps and come in packs of 12, 24, 36 and 192 and 12, 24, 36 and 130 packs respectively. These bottles also fit into our new bottle boxes for attractive presentation if you want your favours to look really special.

If you are going for something larger, the Nocturne bottle is an elegant choice with its long neck and tapered cork stopper. It is sold singly or in packs of six, 12 and 18. The traditional-style 120ml vintage glass oil bottle, which would work well for a wedding with a rustic setting and laid-back theme, is available in packs of six, 12 and 18.

These are just some of our suggestions for wedding favour bottles, with lots more to choose from on our website.

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Free Preserving Magazine for Spring and Summer

preserving magazine

Our free preserving magazines have been extremely popular and we are delighted to announce that the latest spring/summer edition is now available!

How to get The Good Life preserving magazine

The Good Life preserving magazine is available as a free download from our website – simply add it to your basket and go through the usual checkout procedure. You will not be charged for the magazine and will shortly receive an email with a link so that you can download your free copy of The Good Life.

The previous autumn and winter editions of the magazine remain available in electronic form on our website. We welcome customer submissions, so please feel free to write in to us with your advice, experience and stories about preserving. We also offer a free seasonal calendar of British produce as a download.

What’s in this edition of The Good Life preserving magazine?

Our The Good Life preserving magazines are full of helpful preserving advice, recipes and stories. The latest spring/summer edition discusses the benefits of British glass, looking at the history of preserving equipment, modern preserving equipment and running through sterilisation procedures.

We also speak to David and Jeanne Christie about running a preserving business from the island of Barra and investigate how important preserving was to people living in the harsh conditions of Victorian Britain.

In addition, have a feature on how you can use jars and bottles to enhance your wedding, with lots of ideas for those looking for wedding inspiration. There is also lots of information on seasonal produce and how you can use it, with plenty of recipes using fruits and vegetables from the spring and summer harvests.

We have also decided to print some of our customer letters for the first time in this edition and have some great ideas in our craft corner.

Finally, we have some information on new products at Wares of Knutsford, including our new luxury packaging range, some beautiful apothecary and sweet jars, and a competition to design a tag and label. We would love to see your ideas for tags and labels for bottles and jars and specific designs for wedding favours. We will put the winning design into production and the designer will receive a commission on every sale.

There is more information on our website, or feel free to give us a call. The closing date for competition entries is 31 July 2016.

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New owl drinking jar

owl glasses

Our drinking jars have proved incredibly popular and we are very pleased to introduce a new variation on the theme in the form of owl-shaped drinking jars.

Owl glasses at Wares of Knutsford

The jars come in clear glass with an embossed owl design and a silver-coloured screw top lid with a hole in the centre and a stiff plastic straw; alternatively, you can use any other straw or buy matching replacement straws from Wares of Knutsford. The owl glasses have a 400ml capacity and are sold singly or in packs of three or six. We expect these jars to be very popular with children; however, they will also look great at any event and especially for summer evening garden parties. We are confident that they are going to be a great addition to our existing range of drinking jars.

As usual at Wares of Knutsford, a flat delivery charge applies no matter what the size of your order.

Recipes for owl glasses

These colourful, alcohol-free cocktails are fun thirst quenchers suitable for children, designated drivers, pregnant women or anyone else looking for a delicious, non-alcoholic treat. Use a shot glass as a measure, a cocktail shaker to mix, and pour the cocktails into the owl glasses over ice.

The Twit-Twoo

Six shots of pineapple juice, one shot of grapefruit juice and two tablespoons of coconut milk, shaken together thoroughly.

Summer Smoothie

Put seven frozen strawberries, a lemon yoghurt and 125ml orange juice into a blender and whizz until smooth. Serve with lots of ice.

The Cinderella

Mix two shots each of pineapple juice, lemon juice and orange juice in a shaker, then pour into the owl jars over ice. Top up with sparkling water and add a splash of grenadine for extra colour.

Fruit Explosion

Blend one apple with three carrots and one mango until smooth, then add six strawberries and the juice of seven freshly-squeezed oranges. Sieve before serving with plenty of ice.

Kiwi Cooler

Peel and slice two kiwis and add to a blender with two tablespoons of coconut cream and three cups of crushed ice. Whizz until smooth and serve ice cold.

The Sunrise

Blend ten shots of pineapple juice with three pineapple chunks, half a teaspoon of sugar, a teaspoon of honey and a cup of water. Serve over plenty of ice.

Pink Lemonade

Blend ten strawberries with a shot of freshly-squeezed lemon juice, a teaspoon of sugar and a cup of water. Serve with plenty of ice.

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