Worktop Express Blog

There are a variety of tried and tested kitchen layouts to consider when planning your new look. Kitchen islands and breakfast bars are a great way to add extra surface space into the heart of your home and can also provide seating to ensure family and friends are kept from under your feet but not excluded whilst you are cooking. Our recent #WeekendWorktops competition on Twitter saw a number of customer kitchens featuring striking island centrepieces. We have compiled a list of some of our favourites below so read on to be inspired for your new kitchen design!

If the phrase ‘blue and green should not be seen without a colour in-between’ is true, then this kitchen island perfectly splits the two shades seen in the image here. We love the vibrant green wall which brightens the room and gives it a carefree, summery feel – it also provides an excellent contrast for the smart dark blue on the base of the island.

With an otherwise neutral backdrop featuring black surfaces and white cabinets, the oak worktop takes centre stage and provides a striking central focal point for the room. The warmth of the timber makes the seating area an inviting space.

This kitchen showcases the classic combination of natural wood and white, which is enduringly popular amongst our customers. Contemporary chairs and light fittings provide this neutral kitchen with an up-to-date twist, and could easily be changed to stay on top of current trends in future.

The kitchen island shown here is an ample size and has enough room to accommodate four people comfortably. A space like this is perfect for a family home and works with children of all ages as it ensures the cook is not isolated whilst preparing meals.

Many people opt for rectangular kitchen islands to fully utilise the available space, but this customer’s horseshoe-shaped island is a striking choice that ensures the room does not feel overcrowded. There are cabinets the entire way around the island to make best use of the space beneath the beautiful walnut worktops.

Slate tiles are a stark contrast to the white cabinets in the rest of the kitchen, creating a focal point that is as beautiful as it is practical. With space the entire way around the island for seating, additional stools could be added to accommodate more guests if needed.

A large kitchen is made to look larger with the addition of a grand skylight above the island shown here. Illuminating the island instantly marks it out as the centrepiece of the kitchen. The gloss cabinetry suggests a modern cook space, and the sofa at the back of the picture shows the kitchen is the heart of the home and where this family spend their time.

A wooden worktop is the perfect addition to a range of kitchen islands, whether they are in contemporary or traditional settings. Which is your favourite? Tell us below, or on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Sandwiches are a lunchbox staple but there are vast options for those looking to venture beyond the classic combinations of cheese and pickle or tuna mayo. As this week is British Sandwich Week, we have found a contender for the best sandwich recipe to liven up your lunch. You can create a vegetarian version by replacing the beef steak with portobello mushrooms for a meat-free alternative.

This recipe, originally from MyRecipes, is a steak sandwich with a difference. Carne asada is a Latin American grilled beef dish that tends to be marinated or seasoned with a range of different ingredients, and is often used in fajitas, burritos and nachos. This sandwich will burst with flavour, and the spiciness of the recipe can be tailored to your taste by removing the jalapeno or adding extra pepper or chilli flakes.

Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 340g flank/ skirt steak
  • 1 full-size French baguette, halved lengthwise
  • Half a ripe avocado, thinly sliced
  • 8 tomato slices
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1½ tsp olive oil
  • 250ml mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chipotle powder
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Pinch of kosher or sea salt
  • Pinch of grated lime rind
  • 1 tbsp lime juice

Method:

  1. Brush the steak with the olive oil, before sprinkling the cumin, chipotle and salt evenly. Leave to stand for 15 minutes.
  2. Mix the mayonnaise, coriander, lime rind, lime juice and garlic in a bowl.
  3. Put the steak on an oven tray and grill under a medium-high heat for 10 minutes (longer for well done). Once out of the oven, let the steak stand for five minutes and then cut it into thin slices.
  4. Place the baguette halves face down under the grill and toast for approximately 1 minute.
  5. Spread the mayonnaise mixture onto the bread, and top with the avocado, steak, tomato and jalapeno. Cut the sandwich into four pieces and serve with chips, crisps or a side salad.

Nutritional information (per sandwich – approximate): 416 calories – 16g fat – 24g protein – 46g carbohydrate – 2g sugar

Top Tips:

Create a club sandwich by replacing the baguette with six slices of bread (for four people). Toast for a short period of time and split the fillings between the bottom and middle slices. You could also include spicy Mexican cheese to top this sandwich off.

Have we picked the best sandwich recipe, or have you created a better one? Let us know your most delicious (or weird) combinations in the comments below, or on our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Trees are not only beautiful to look at, but they are vital for life on this planet. They are responsible for producing oxygen for us to breathe, removing carbon dioxide, helping to prevent flooding and erosion and creating shade. Some parts of the world see various trees as sacred or holy thanks to their importance for life, whilst some have the ability to grow in strange places.

Without trees, we would not be able to create our stunning solid wood worktops – so they are incredibly valuable to us! In honour of our fabrication service – which provides a number of bespoke customisation options for your work surface – we have put together this quiz to test your timber knowledge. How much do you know about these wonderful plants? Take our ‘True or Fabricated’ quiz to test your knowledge.

How many answers did you get right? Tell us below or on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Our worktop fabrications team provide a number of bespoke worktop cutting services, and there is a lot of work that goes into ensuring we are providing our customers with exactly what they want. We have a fabrications team within our sales department who deal with all the requests as they come in and manage them through to the warehouse to be made. Today, we spent some time with Christina and Mia who work as part of the fabrication sales team to find out a little more about the work that is involved.



Mia and Christina – 9am

The first thing we do when we arrive is to check the online tool and also listen to voicemails that have come in whilst we have not been open – we both do this as it is important that we work through this as quickly as possible before starting on the emails. From the emails, a list of customers who we need to contact for payment is compiled. We need to take payment before the warehouse team can start fabricating the worktops, so this is a top priority for us in the morning too. After this, the rest of the inbox can be tackled and we get a variety of emails – from quote requests to technical questions about specific services we offer to more broad queries asking for general advice.

Christina – 10:13am

The cut off for booking orders in for delivery is 12, so whilst Mia keeps working through the inbox I make sure orders that have been created are booked in. I also start working on booking the orders that are waiting to go into production through Dapulse – this is an internal system we use to send diagrams through to the team in the warehouse.

Mia – 11:47am

A member of the sales team has a customer on the telephone with a question – we are happy to speak to customers who have questions over the telephone, but for more complex enquiries we like to use email. This gives the customer a point of reference and has an added benefit as we always need confirmation of acceptance of CAD drawings in writing.

Christina – 12:33pm

We take our lunch breaks separately to make sure the team has enough people to cover the phones if necessary – Mia has just come back so I will take my half hour now.

Mia – 1:20pm

After lunches, I go back through the diagram inbox work on CAD drawings that customers need to have updated and send these back out and also create CAD diagrams for customers who have sent their measurements in to us.

Christina – 2:56pm

Mia is still working through the diagram inbox so I order some bespoke worktops in from Europe. Occasionally we have a request for something that is an extra large thickness or length and we have to obtain this from an external supplier.

Mia and Christina – 4:27pm

We are both back dealing with questions and queries from the inbox again, amending quotes and making sure customers are being responded to. This is our last task of the day and we work through to make sure the inbox is as clear as possible for tomorrow.


Mia and Christina – 5:03pm

That is us done for the day – we are clocking out now ready to come back in tomorrow and start all over again! Bye!

This is the third part in our From Forest to Front Door series – you can read our previous articles where we spent time with Lisa in purchasing and Jade in sales. To stay up to date with everything that is happening at Worktop Express, please sign up to our newsletter and follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

Worktop Express has championed charitable causes since our inception – as a business, giving back to the environment and local communities is very important to us. We are proud to be supporting London Reclaimed, a charity working with young people in South East London. The organisation helps 16-25-year-olds who are struggling to make the jump from education into employment.

Training, mentoring, employability skills and paid work are all provided by the charity, improving the recipients’ employment prospects so they can then find sustained full-time positions. Placements of up to a year are offered in their associated businesses.

London Reclaimed believe that the next generation – and wider society – will suffer without adequate training or job prospects, and they are hoping to take on up to ten trainees in the next year. The charity has links to a number of business and colleges to ensure that these young people can make the right step into the next phase of their working life.

To show our support, we are providing our worktops to London Reclaimed at a discounted cost. We are delighted to be able to offer our support to an organisation that is giving back to the community it is rooted in.

If you would like to donate to the charity or sponsor a place, please click here. Visit our environmental policy page if you wish to read more information about our long-term charitable and sustainability commitments.

If you consider yourself to be a talented cook, you will need a stunning kitchen to match your culinary skills. Celebrity chef Mary Berry’s kitchen is as beautiful and as elegant as you may have imagined – she has recently downsized to a slightly smaller home, but she often used her former cook space for television shows and cookery classes. Read on to take a virtual tour and see how you could achieve a similar look on a smaller budget.

Mary Berry’s kitchen with a neutral colour scheme and a pale blue island

Credit : House Beautiful

Country Kitchen Style

This kitchen, formerly enjoyed by the Great British Bake Off judge, is decorated in a traditional, farmhouse style. The colour scheme is kept neutral with white cabinetry and pale accessories, which creates a calm and restful atmosphere for cooking in. Berry told House Beautiful that she wants her kitchen to feel fresh and timeless, so she chose more classically styled items that are unlikely to look out of date in a few years.

The large Aga range cooker is one of the centrepieces of this expansive kitchen, and it is used extensively for creating recipes and teaching classes. This appliance is a staple in Mary Berry’s kitchen – many of her previous cooking areas have featured one.

With a lot of baking and cooking equipment, Berry needs lots of cupboard space. The cabinets are painted white and constructed from solid wood. You can purchase traditional and Shaker kitchens by visiting our sister site, Solid Wood Kitchen Cabinets. They stock a wide range of cabinet sizes, the option of glass frontals and many different handles.

Mary Berry’s kitchen has granite worktops and a pale blue island

Credit : Mary Berry

Worktop

The worktop is an integral part of any kitchen, especially one that is being used by a professional chef on a daily basis. Solid granite is used for its strength, resistance to heat and luxurious look, but is expensive to buy and install. Which worktop should you have if your budget does not stretch to real stone?

Worktop Express offers five different granite effect laminate worktops with a textured finish and a natural appearance. If installed correctly, these laminate worktops are moisture-resistant and durable – whilst being considerably less expensive than real granite, ensuring you can get the look for less. We also stock a range of Earthstone worktops, which offer a realistic look and a cold feel that is exactly like real stone. A cold worktop is great for baking foods that need rolling and kneading. Earthstone surfaces feature a sturdy core and are very long-lasting, with their appearance making them perfect for an elegant kitchen on a budget.

Mary Berry standing at her kitchen island with a selection of cakes on the worktop

Credit : Mary Berry

Kitchen Island

This kitchen also features a moveable island that adds both style and practicality. The light blue paint makes it really stand out against the otherwise neutral colour scheme, making the island excellent for filming television shows. The island is topped with a solid oak worktop that enhances the traditional aesthetic of the cooking area. Our oak surfaces start from as little as £95, so you can easily achieve this look in your kitchen.

The large size of Berry’s former kitchen also allows a large dining table to be included, which creates a welcoming feel for family and guests. The dining table ensures everyone can spend time and eat together, and does not isolate Mary when she is cooking.

You can create a similar kitchen to Mary Berry’s using products from Worktop Express. If you had this cooking space, what would be the first thing you would cook? Let us know below or on our Facebook or Twitter.


Shop our granite effect worktops:



Shop our oak worktops:

Whether you are choosing our solid wood, laminate or Earthstone worktops, you will need to consider how heavy your selection is. The worktop weight differs for each individual product, but most weigh between 35 and 85kg. This means you will need sturdy support and the resources to lift the surfaces into place. Read on for more information, and where to find the weight of our products.

Strong Supports

You will need to be confident that your kitchen carcass can support your new worktop. Whether you are replacing the whole kitchen including the cabinets and carcass or retaining your existing setup, the supports should be more than capable of upholding the worktop properly. However, it is best to double-check and to ensure that the worktop will be supported in the right places, as incorrect support can lead to your worktop bowing and becoming misshaped.

Delivery of the Worktop

Throughout the week, our worktop deliveries are handled by our in-house and trusted 2Man team, which minimise the risk of damage during transit. Our drivers are highly trained in manual handling techniques, and will carry your worktops to your chosen ground floor location. For both health and safety and to prevent damage to your home and worktops, a clear pathway to the room is required.

Saturday deliveries will be completed by one person, so please ensure someone is present to be able to assist the driver. For more information, visit our delivery details page.

Lifting the Worktop Into Place

Whichever delivery service you choose, you will need to lift the worktops into place during the installation process. As these worktops are very heavy, do not try to lift them unassisted. Straining to pick up a long, weighty item like this can cause serious injury.

How to Find Each Worktop Weight on Our Website

You can find each worktop weight on the individual product pages. To get to these pages from our homepage, select the type of worktop you are interested in. Scroll down this page past the video and gallery to the table of sizes and products. Click on the product you require and you will be taken to a very similar page to the overall product page. Once again, scroll down beneath the video and gallery, and there you will find the worktop weight. For example, our 2m x 620mm x 27mm Oak worktop (pictured here) weighs approximately 38kg.

Our worktops provide a sturdy and durable surface to prepare food safely, but correct installation and aftercare is imperative. Have you found this blog helpful? Tell us below, or on our Facebook or Twitter pages.

Have you been waiting for the right time to treat your kitchen to an upgrade? Good news – you can save 10% on all orders of more than £300 in our Spring Sale, which includes almost all of our top-quality kitchen worktops and kitchen accessories.

To benefit from this generous offer, simply apply the discount code SPRING10 at the online checkout. All items covered by this sale – including floating shelves, chopping boards and worktop installation kits – will have 10% deducted from their price.

If you would prefer to order via email, over the telephone or in person at one of our eight showrooms located across the UK, you can still claim the saving by quoting the SPRING10 code to the team member processing your order.

Orders exceeding £300 placed between now and 23:59 on Tuesday 15th May 2018 will be able to take advantage of our Spring Sale.

Please be aware that delivery costs are not included in this offer, and our standard oak range is excluded – although all other oak worktop varieties including Prime Oak and Full Stave Oak are eligible. For full terms, please visit our current offers page.

Are you planning a stunning makeover for your kitchen? Let us know below, or start a conversation on our Facebook or Twitter pages.