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Whilst they might appear to be a little more formal and a tiny bit more work, Cloth napkins really are the way to go. They look better, they feel better and they work better. So if you're thinking of changing here are some good reasons why you should:
- They will last for years - good quality cloth napkins will last, so over time you will save money on buying paper napkins. The initial outlay might seem a tad extravagant (depending on the quality you purchases), but having something that lasts for ages is a way better option.
- They are far more durable - Ah, the back yard BBQ and trying to wipe tomato sauce off your hands with a paper napkin ... or three. You would only need one cloth napkin and that would last you the entire meal. What about trying to get dried-on food off your little ones face and hands with a paper napkin dipped in water ... it just doesn't work. Try it with a good cloth napkin and you'll soon understand why cloth is so much better.
- Add a touch of class - when a table is set with cloth napkins it looks so much better. No matter what you're serving, having cloth napkins at the table lends something to the setting. Foodies remind us that you eat with our eyes first which explains why gourmet chefs spend time creating dishes that look as great as they taste. Same can be said for the dining table ... who knows, if your table looks fabulous, maybe the food will taste just as good.
- Cleaning them doesn't need to be a chore - depending on what meal you had as to how often they need to be washed. If you're eating a BBQ then yes, chances are they will need a wash, but if it was a simply knife and fork meal, you may get away with not washing for a day or so. They don't take up any room in the washing machine and a quick shake before you place them in the dryer or hang them on the clothes line may mean you don't need to iron them. I absolutely support housework shortcuts whenever possible, just err on the side of cleanliness and try to remember which napkin is yours.
- Reduces waste - In this disposable lifestyle we lead, its so easy to use paper. By simply adding or changing to cloth napkins, we can easily introduce a non-disposable lifestyle habit into our homes.
I've found the perfect description of Pinterest ... "it exists for people to come together to gather, collect and share snapshots of their own ideas, memories, and interests". I would like to think that the maisie & clare Pinterest page will continue to grow into that perfect description whilst all the time providing you with great inspiration.
Happy Pinning .. and good luck!
Update: Competition has now ended and the lucky winner was Rhonda Lockery. Thanks to everyone that participated.
In our ongoing search for something special in the food storage lines - which we think we have finally found - I've had to rethink my own storage solutions. I've realised that a torn cellophane bag held together at the top with a wooden clothes peg is not really going to keep anything at all fresh for more than a few minutes. And the collection of mismatched re-used glass jars, many still with labels partially adhered doesn't really cut the mustard for style. It was just too easy to shut my eyes and the pantry door!
Our research has given us some insight into the benefits of ceramic or glass especially when combined with silicone seals.
Short or cutting the silicone seal with a knife or setting it on fire, silicone apparently outlasts plastics and rubber that either goes brittle or perishes with time. The general consensus seems to be about 15 years plus for the seal itself if properly looked after.
While ceramics and glass can be used time and time again, washed and dried without scratching, discolouring or losing their shape. Unless dropped they will last a lifetime. Maybe archaeologists will be digging up maisie & clare storage jars in a few thousand years!
While the initial outlay for the purchase of new storage containers is just a tad more than the cost of a box of zip lock plastic bags or half a dozen plastic containers, they will, with care, outlast the cheaper option by years.
Keeps Food Fresher
Dry goods particularly are best stored in ceramic or glass as we tend to keep them for longer. There is no leaching of chemicals into the foods to ruin the flavour or leave a nasty smell. Ceramics have the added benefit of preventing light from reaching the stored goods. The silicone seals also add an airtight seal, keeping air out and... those dreaded pantry moths!
Good for the Environment
We hear so much about the mountains of plastic rubbish building up in the world releasing toxins into the air, the waterways and the soil. Glass can be recycled and many ceramics can also be recycled by being ground down and reused to make more ceramics. And if the worst happens, the fragments of glass and ceramics find themselves back in the environment, there is no ongoing pollution.
They look Great
Finally we can have beautiful and useful storage containers that can be within reach for daily use. Just imagine your restyled coffee corner with a set of stackable ceramic canisters holding tea, coffee and sugar all with in reach and looking great. Who says useful can't be beautiful?
So back to the reorganisation and beautification of my pantry - it's looking good so far!
Because it's not 5 o'clock yet? While this may be a totally valid reason for some of us - Maisie! - apparently there are a number of health promoting benefits in having a few cups of coffee per day.
So for those of us who love our coffee this is great news! The bad news is that adding sugar and cream and a slice of cake can undo some of those benefits. Ho hum, we can live with this!
One other reason for drinking our favourite beverage is the ritual we go through to make our coffee. The smell of freshly ground coffee beans, the sound of the coffee machine and the feel of our favourite coffee mug in our hands. Personally I've always wondered if, right on 10.30 in the morning, it is really my body craving the caffeine or my mind craving the ritual. After much thought I've decided it's the cake!
At Maisie & Clare we are dedicated ritual addicts! And totally loving our range of coffee mugs. Our current favorite vessel of virtue is the extremely generous Ellen DeGeneres mugs - a whopping 400 mls! At first we thought the matching plates were a little undersized but then we realized it was just the size of the slab of cake we were putting on it!
Speaking of which, another current favourite is banana cake - and our no fuss, no failure recipe. Melt 125 grams of butter with 3/4 cup of sugar and a teaspoon of vanilla essence, take it off the heat, allow to cool a little then add two mashed bananas, two eggs and 1 & 1/2 cups of self raising flour, add 1/4 cup of milk and mix until combined. Pour into a greased and lined ring tin ( a ring tin helps it cook more evenly with no soggy middle!) and cook at 170 degrees for 40 minutes. Try to wait until it is cool before dusting generously with icing sugar but if you can't, warm banana cake is fine!
So simple, so stylish and so good!
Share the love with Ellen in support of all those who fall in love.
October 30th is just around the corner - our first birthday! We can't believe it, the time has gone so quickly and we have had an absolute Wow of a time over the last 12 months. All the planning in the months prior to our launch have paid off and we are incredibly chuffed with the journey we have been on and what we have achieved in the last year. Lots of hard work and lots of fun! And so many new friends who have joined us on our journey.
And what a fabulous time of the year to celebrate, with spring blossoms everywhere and the weather finally getting warmer in country Victoria, we can enjoy the outdoors and the sunshine. Outdoor entertaining is back and daylight saving gives us those long lovely evenings to relax with friends and family.
Of course we will be opening a bottle of bubbly on our big day but we thought we would like to extend our celebrations for the month of October. For all who make a purchase of $50 or more during October, we will send you a free gift. Pop over to our home page for all our products and come celebrate with us.
Can you believe that we are only weeks away from our first birthday. We've been truly astounded by the level of support we've had from our customers, suppliers, followers and our families and cannot thank you all enough.
When we started this exciting journey we set out wanting to be everything to everyone and had so much fun sourcing products for our entire range of Homewares, Linens, Little Ones and Handbags. As the year has progressed we've come to realise that our real joy lies in Homewares. We love the sourcing process; finding the right product for our store; getting to know our suppliers. Our best days are when the stock arrives and we normally spend the entire time unpacking ooh'ing and aah'ing. There is not one item in our Homewares collection that we wouldn't have in our own homes and it's this philosophy that really drives what we purchase.
We've come to realise that being everything to everyone is perhaps not achievable and so we have made the decision to discontinue our lines in Bed Linen, Little Ones and Handbags. You may have noticed that these items are in our Clearance collection and that our baby and kids wear are listed at perhaps the lowest prices you'll find for these products. So our advice to you is that if there is something you see in these collections that you love, don't pass up the chance to purchase it as it just might not be there next time you visit. Unfortunately, as the items are already on sale and heavily discounted, no other discount codes can be applied at checkout, but why not take advantage of the great prices and see if you can get free shipping.
We've got so much great stock continuing to arrive and we are so excited about our future. If you haven't already signed up to our newsletter, get your skates on so that you don't miss out being the first to know about new stock and members only deals.
We are so pleased with our new shipment of Market Baskets. The traditional French style market baskets are made of sea-grass and the flat bottomed oval shaped baskets are made from water hyacinth.
Maisie has a collection of these so when we were on the hunt to find some for the store, we knew what to look for. They are so versatile, and as we focus further on our environment, what better way to go shopping than with a natural fibre market basket. Take it to the supermarket, the farmers market, the beach, on a picnic or use for storage around the house. Seriously these just look good hanging around ...
The material used and the construction of the baskets makes them strong and durable. We take pride in the way we package our goods to send to you and will do our utmost to make sure it gets to you in tip top shape. But get this .. if your basket is a little squished when it's delivered to you, you simply soak it or spray it heavily with water then push, pull and bend it back into shape. It's that simply. You cannot harm it with water, but you must dry it out thoroughly and the best way to get the excess water out of them is to swing the basket round and round by the handles, a little like being in a spin dryer!
So if you want to pretend you're on a beach in the south of France, carry one of these market baskets and do as the locals do.