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Here at RumbleChat we unashamedly love a bit of #houseporn.  So when the first of our clan mentioned their visit to the fabulous state-of-the-art MADE.COM showroom in Soho, the rest of us were compelled to follow, lemming-like, to gaze in wonder at this experiential interiors delight.

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An innovative take on the new clicks and mortar approach to retail, MADE.COM HQ is situated at 100 Charring Cross Road, directly opposite that bastion of old-school retail, Foyles bookshop. Two polar opposites of retail experience, within spitting distance.

MADE.COM is one of my favourite homeware brands.  Its ‘cut-out-the-middleman’ ethos enables it to deliver quality, design-lead furniture at a fraction of the usual high street price, which came in mighty handy when undertaking my house renovation in 2011.

MADE.COM have streamlined furniture design and revolutionised the homeware business model. In 2014 they were the second fastest growing tech company in the UK.  They use crowd-sourced design, whereby only pieces with the highest consumer votes make it to production to ensure that new collections remain fresh and appealing.

The only downside to the early-days business model was the fact that you had to buy products unseen. MADE.COM addressed this issue in 2012 with the opening of a (lovely, but bog-standard) Notting Hill showroom. Fast forwards to January 2015 and they opened their flagship showroom, a physical/digital hybrid perfectly aligned to the needs of the voyeuristic clicks and mortar consumer.

The vast expanse is divided into lifelike ‘room’ settings.  There is a kids’ area, proudly displaying items from the new children’s range, including the scandi-style Linus bunk bed which was immediately added to my lengthy wish-list.

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The backdrop to these ‘real’ room settings is a rotating digital catalogue of MADE.COM furniture items projected onto adjacent walls.  It’s a simple yet innovative concept that means that MADE.COM can change the display without incurring the cost or hassle of shipping in new furniture. The images may be a wee bit flat (there’s definitely no 3D augmented reality going on here), but it still works really well.

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One entire wall is made up of a gallery of product postcards, where you can take away handy reminders of products that have caught your eye. Next to this sea of postcards sits a bank of android tablets, with a fabulously explicit call to action that again seamlessly connects physical with digital.

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By submitting your email address (mandatory for signing into the devices) the retailer can track your footfall and interactions as you traverse the showroom…genius! Meanwhile a bank of Apple Macs create an internet café vibe at the back of the store, enabling you to browse and order in a home-from-home fashion while notices on walls and tables remind you to share products you like on social media.
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None of this is rocket science, but the combined effect of all these simple touches is to create a unique, harmonious fusion of innovation and tradition. MADE.COM has cleverly created the perfect amalgam of physical and digital to satisfy the wants and needs of the modern shopper. We’re suitably impressed.

April Fools day image

It took my lazy bank holiday brain a few seconds to realise that the article promoting Virgin’s introduction of glass-bottomed planes was in fact a hilarious April Fools’ jape.

Cue instant flashback to secondary school, where the morning of April 1st was spent in fear of humiliation at the hands of merciless 5th years (I believe they’re called Year 11’s nowadays. #showingmyage).

These days, falling momentarily for a media deception does not fill me with the same sense of fear, but I am still deeply lacking in April Fools’ Day spirit.

April Fools’ Day is celebrated in many countries on April 1 every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools’ Day, April 1st is not a national holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day when people play practical jokes and hoaxes on each other. Funny.

In Italy, France and Belgium, children and adults traditionally tack paper fishes on each other’s back as a trick and shout “April fish!” in their local languages….so, let’s face it Rumblechatters, it could be worse. I’m thinking that joke would wear thin pretty quickly.

So, did you fall for any seasonal pranks this year? As you know, Rumblechat are all about the digital world, so we were delighted to spot some virtual corkers:

• Google were feeling particularly mischievous, announcing that Youtube has actually been an 8 year competition to choose the best video of all time and the site is now ready to announce the winner and shut down. Google also announced the launch of Google Nose, providing smells for whatever you type into the search engine – just bring your nose close to the screen, press enter and inhale.
• Google were clearly on a roll as they also turned Google Maps into pirate treasure maps for the day – tee hee.
• Twitter announced that they were going to start charging tweeters to use vowels, but wouldn’t charge for consonants or ‘y’s.
• Mumsnet offered a one day course (1/04/2013) on the theory and practice of vajazzling
• Hotels.com ran an advert in the express offering overnight stays at Buckingham Palace

…and so the mirth continued. Did any such jests have you suckered / rolling in the aisles? If so, please do share.

My favourite story of all this bank holiday was the one about Freddie Mercury smuggling Princess Diana, disguised as a man, into a gay club…unbelievably, it turns out this one’s true!

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For the whole month of March, Malaysian artist Hong Yi, known simply as ‘Red’ will be uploading a piece of food art onto instagram.

So far, the artist has uploaded a sushi replica of Hokusai’s ‘The Great Wave’ and a banana headed Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’. We love it! Click here for the story so far, and keep a look out on Design Boom for the rest of the month’s offerings. Then if you fancy playing with your food yourself, please tweet us your creations!

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You may have seen our recent tweets about RumbleChat’s expansion into lifestyle as well as food. Ths is in response to popular demand, as recent RumbleChats have revealed that your good taste also extends to lifestyle products too. So this week’s blog is a little bit crafty! But also foodie 😉

Here are a few demonstrations of how to upcycle your drinks bottles, cans, salt shakers and tins into delicious looking pieces of art and crafts. DIY 101+ ways to upcycle your cans and bottles

If this is getting you all excited, then upcycling can be extended to anything and everything. Check out this article for tasty ways in which you can upcycle old lampshades, bed parts and random trash!

Let us know what you think about our new changes by tweeting us @RumbleChat!

This week we thought we would concentrate on sourcing some amazing recipes for the special lady in your life – your mum! It is of course Mother’s Day this Sunday, so why not celebrate by cooking up a storm in the kitchen!

Breakfast

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Of course a great way to show mummy just how much you love her is with breakfast in bed. Our favourite is Egg in a Nest. You simply get a biscuit cutter (a heart or flower shaped one will work well for this occasion) and cut the middle out of a piece of bread. Then you melt a knob of butter into a hot frying pan and place the bread in, frying it slightly. Then crack an egg inside and fry to your mum’s liking. There you have it: Egg in a Nest. Otherwise known as Egg in a Saddle, Egyptian Egg, One Eye or Bird in a Nest!

Lunch

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This classic combo of beetroot, salmon and horseradish creme fraiche makes a delicious starter, but works just as well as a Mother’s Day lunch as well. This recipe is great!

Dinner

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A classic Mother’s Day dinner would have to be roast lamb. It’s perfectly spring like and such a treat. This recipe that we have found gives lots of great tips on how to cook the best roast lamb from chef Marcus Wareing.

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Last night saw the 85th Academy Awards, so we thought we would take a foodie spin on the glamorous ceremony! What do you get when you mix films with food? We could discuss overpriced popcorn if you like, but we thought we would recommend a few foodie films for you to enjoy!

In no particular order:

Chocolat. It’s got Johnny Depp and a lot of chocolate… What’s not to love?!

Julie & Julia. This charming true story follows blogger Julie Powell, who decides to cook her way through chef Julia Child’s cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” The incredible Meryl Streep plays Child, with Amy Adams playing Powell. It’s a sweet tale of dreams, passion and cassoulet!

Ratatouille. This Oscar winner (best animated film) is adorable, and a great family film. It follows a chef, who just gets everything wrong, and the relationship that he forms with a rat who helps him learn to cook.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Again, depending on the version, we have Johnny Depp and chocolate again, but in my humble opinion, the original is the classic.

Let us know your foodie film favourites by tweeting us @RumbleChat!

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I’ve been reading this week about Japan’s culture of cute… especially when it comes to food. The Japanese encourage their children to enjoy meal times by cutting food into interesting shapes, creating characters out of food, and keeping food colourful and interesting.
Even their favourite cartoon characters are food-based! They have Anpanman or ‘Bread Man’, who superhero powers are allowing starving children to take chunks out of his face. Then there’s Hannari Tofu, a cartoon character made from your favourite meat-alternative.
Over at RumbleChat Towers, we find this concept interesting. We know you readers are big foodies: you live to eat, not eat to live. Many people who love food use it in a multi-sensory way. These days, people don’t just enjoy the tastes, but people suck up the smells, the textures, the sights and even the sounds of food! But taking the Japanese way of using food as a form of entertainment, I urge you to take it that one step further – have FUN with your food. Go back to your childhood and eat some popping candy. Have a super hot gob stopper that burns your mouth and turns your tongue blue. Then once you’re done, send us a tweet @RumbleChat about your fun foodie experiences!
Get silly with your food! It’s just all too serious these days!

detox

This article from the Telegraph demonstrates ways in which we can change our diet to keep ourselves youthful, both inside and out.
This includes replacing your morning caffeine hit with ginger tea, rye bread instead of wheat, almond milk instead of diary, fish instead of red meat, no starch after 5pm and a lot less alcohol.
How many of you RumbleChatters out there have been on a detox this January, and have you enjoyed the experience? Was it easy to cut out all those naughty vices like sugar, alcohol, starchy carbs and bad fats? How do you feel now we are approaching the end of the month? A lot lighter, brighter, and full of energy?
Let us know what you did during your detox by tweeting @RumbleChat with #detox!

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I’ve just been reading about Epic, which is the canteen housed within the Facebook headquarters. The food served there is complimentary to all staff… which I applaud!
It seems as though food is taken pretty seriously over at the social media giant. They offer their employees creatively themed meals of high quality, with the cooking team posting the daily menu on the in-house Facebook page.
This made me wonder. Do you think all large, successful corporate firms should offer this sort of service? Should they have an in-house cafeteria? Should they offer meals free of charge by way of rewarding staff for all of their hard work? Should they make an extra effort to offer up food of high quality as in incentive to get the creative juices flowing with their employees?
I think a food incentive is a massive plus within the workplace! Healthy, well cooked, creative cooking makes for happy workers and lots of RumbleChatting 🙂

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The time of Lent is traditionally a time of fasting and reflection. But in the 21st century it’s usually a time to abstain from a vice… Chocolate, caffeine, booze or carbs for instance. I usually attempt to give up crisps. When I say attempt, I mean ‘choose to have about 3 days off’. I have no will power.
So when I came across news that the Church of England have advised that we slow down, and live a ‘simpler life’, such as ‘to take an extended breakfast and savour things as seemingly mundane as a bowl of breakfast cereal’, it got me thinking of other food-based activities you can do to slow your life down. Here’s my top 3, let us know yours by tweeting @Rumblechat with the hashtag #foodielent

1) Make a 7-hour roast lamb. Not much work for the chef, but it will test your patience as you wait for the delicous result! http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/1094/sevenhour-lamb
2) Check out some of the best restaurants with a degustation menu… and take all evening to savour every mouthful! I fancy going to Texture for their Scandinavian tasting menu… http://texture-restaurant.co.uk/pdf/19-10-12-scandi-tasting.pdf
3) Make some blue cheese! I love, love, love blue cheese, and it should take around 3 months to make, so if that doesn’t slow me down, then nothing will!