5 inexpensive buys to take your shared kitchen from drab to fab

1. Windowsill Herb Box

How many times in the last month have you found yourself mid-marinade, wishing you’d remembered to pick up some basil from Tesco earlier? Cry no more, my friend. A windowsill herb planter will soothe all herbal culinary woes, with no need for a garden, trowel or previous plant-growing expertise – and it’ll make every grimy kitchen look (and smell) better straight away. Snap one up for as little as £9.99 on Amazon (complete with compost, basil, chive and parsley seed packets) and get growing. Flatmates shall be bowled over, bolognese shall taste better, and visitors shall mistake you for a proper adult.

2. Cloud-shaped Chalkboard

There’s SO many things to love about the good old fashioned chalkboard. Not only does it conjure endless classroom nostalgia, it also serves as a great canvas for scribbling important notes to your flatmates. You know, things like the all-important cleaning rota, whose turn it is to buy milk, or passive aggressive (read: threatening) messages to the suspected biscuit thief. This one is cloud-shaped and comes in at under £20, leaving you plenty of pennies to stock up on an array of coloured chalks.

3. Pineapple Bottle Stop

Bid a smug farewell to the days of leaving random spoons in the top of your prosecco to keep it fizzy in the fridge (thanks for the tip though, Mum). This chic £12 pineapple bottle stop is here to keep those rare unfinished beverages fresh, flavoursome and at their strongest ABV. It’s simultaneously also pretty cute and stylish enough to incite envious conversation amongst dinner guests. Which is a great distraction from a less than brilliant choice of wine.

4. Panini maker

Everybody knows there’s nothing quite like the heartwarming smell of gently toasting bread, and nothing quite like the taste of gooey melted mozzarella. Enter the (£20) panini maker. Flatmates will be wooed by your freshly toasted sandwiches (they make great bribes/peace offerings) and just think of all the cash you’ll save without the need for those lunchtime Pret visits and dodgy meal deals. Better still, you can garnish your creations using those freshly grown windowsill box herbs. Winner, winner.

5. A kitchen garden

Because let’s face it, reasonably priced rented accommodation with a garden = SERIOUSLY rare, particularly if you’re living in the city. But not to worry, because there’s always Patch – purveyors of the uber-cheap urban plant. There’s kitchen plants galore for both well-lit and dimly-lit spaces, plus a selection of minimalist cool pots to keep them in. We’re hankering after Franky the aloe vera plant and his air-purifying, skin-soothing powers. Is there anything Franky can’t do?

Buying these is great and all, but how about if you didn’t pay rent for a month? Then you could buy all of these and more…SO much more. Well, it could happen sooner than you think – enter our Live Rent Free competition, where we pay someone’s rent EVERY month.

A SpareRoom wedding!

There’s nothing quite so smile inducing as someone telling you that the great flatmate they found on your site turned out to be their soulmate too! While we don’t offer this as a service on the site it comes as a lovely surprise (as it did last summer when we heard of our first SpareRoom wedding).

That’s exactly what happened earlier this week when Helen Potter got in touch to say:

Hi! Just wanted to let you know that I placed an ad on spareroom.co.uk last AUGUST (2008), and was looking for a room to rent in Canterbury, Kent. A guy called John responded to my ad, and I moved in with him September 2008. AND,… we’re now GETTING MARRIED next May!! So ‘thank you’ spareroom.co.uk!!

Clearly we needed to know more so we emailed Helen for the full story:

I moved in with John September 1st 2008. We went to Barcelona for a long weekend I think, two weeks after I moved in, in fact! It all happened so quickly really…. but – without meaning to sound terribly cheesy – it just felt right! Just after Christmas we took another holiday to Canada, skiing at Tremblant. And that’s where John proposed! At the foot of Tremblant, in the freeeezing cold, surrounded by snow! It was perfect.    Several months on now, and wedding plans are in full swing! The date is set and we’re getting married at Winters Barns in Canterbury.  We’re still living at the same house in Canterbury but looking to move after we’re married

Congratulations guys, we’re thrilled…as is John (I think…)


Anyone else meet their partner/spouse/boyfriend/ex through a flatshare?