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Friday 31 July 2009

This week we're loving...

Aside from latte foam, cute hamsters, pear cider and new shoes? Here's the rest of the stuff the Domestic Sluts are loving this week:
  • These cognac glasses from Bodie and Fou are stunning, and boyfriend friendly.
  • We like things with cherries on. Especially this cherry mug from Cath Kidston.
What have you guys been loving this week?

Sluttishly Easy: Chocolate cherry brownies

This is my favourite brownie recipe, but I'll let you into a secret. These brownies are actually the famous Nigel Slater recipe, but with yummy cherry stuff added to it. If you just want normal brownies, just take the cherry bits out! But these are very yummy. The cherry works really well with the dark chocolate.

You'll need these things:
  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 250g butter
  • 250g Green & Blacks cherry chocolate.
  • 3 large eggs plus 1 extra egg yolk
  • 60g flour
  • 60g finest quality cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • Splash of cherry liqueur
You'll need to do these things:
  • Pre-heat the oven to gas mark for (180 degrees) and line a baking tin with greaseproof paper.
  • Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl. That's my favourite bit. It's cheating if you use an electric blender, but I approve of cheating.
  • Break the chocolate into pieces, but leave 50g to one side. You'll need that later. Melt the larger amount of chocolate.
  • Then break the eggs into a bowl and beat them.
  • Slowly add the eggs to the butter mixture, stirring as you go along.
  • Mix the melted chocolate and the chocolate pieces in with everything else. Splash in the cherry liqueur.
  • Sift the flour, cocoa and baking powder, then add to the rest of the mix. Make sure you fold everything well to make sure there's no air trapped.
  • Pour the mixture into the cake tin, and then pop in the oven for thirty minutes. They're done when a few crumbs are still stuck on a skewer. Then you can eat them all with cream and don't share them with anyone. No! Mine!
Really, make your own. I'm not sharing.

Flickr image from bloggyboulga's photostream.

Cocktail Hour: Porn star martini

I haven't had a porn star martini in ages. Because I don't remember the end of the evening last time I had one. But, as a cocktail in their own right, they're yummy. The champagne chaser is a bit of a pretentious touch, but you can't help but enjoy it. Just make sure you don't enjoy more than five in one evening.

You'll need these things:
  • 50ml vanilla vodka
  • 25ml passionfruit liqueur,
  • 10ml passionfruit puree
  • 1tsp vanilla sugar
  • fresh passionfruit to garnish
  • 50ml champagne

And you'll need to do these things:

Mix everything apart from the champagne in a cocktail shaker, pour into a martini glass. Garnish with the fresh passionfruit.

Fill a shot glass with the champagne. Serve along side the martini.

Drink five, dance on tables, fall over.

Flickr image from GirlReporter's photostream.

Sweet dreams: Laura Ashley sale goodness

I know I said I wasn't that taken by Laura Ashley, but then we featured those lovely champagne glasses. And well, this bed is just stunning. And their sale is pretty brilliant: this is going for just £337.50. A sleepy bed-shaped bargain. I promise this will be the last Laura Ashley post for a while now.

Thursday 30 July 2009

Just passing you through... vintage telephones

There's something about vintage phones that make me think of adventures. Maybe it's got something to do with that Jessica Fletcher woman or perhaps I've seen His Girl Friday a few too many times. But there's something really sexy about them. I don't use my home phone very much, but I rather like the idea of taking an important business call on one of these candlestick phones from Robert Opie. Even if I haven't quite worked out how I'd drink my babycham while I chatted to cute boys. Any ideas?

Shop in the spotlight: Unto This Last

Unto This Last aren't the kind of shop where I think "Oh my god, I must buy everything" (and my bank manager is very happy about this), but when they get it right, it's bang on. Unusual, sleek design with the highest quality wood. It's hard to argue with that really.

These are tealight holders! Honestly! They come in the triangle shapes you can see, and you can slot them together however you like. They're £4 each. Love them.

Are these shelves practical? No. But they look a damn sight prettier than those flat-pack ones I got from Ikea. They're £420.

This chair isn't my usual taste at all. But I love it. There's something about the curve in it that I really like. It's not often I'll choose design over comfort, but this chair is different. It's £200 which actually, I think is pretty good value.

Unto This Last are based at Brick Lane, nearest tubes are Liverpool Street/Aldgate East.

Tea caddy: Velvet Brown

There are 27 different types of tea in Domestic Sluttery HQ (yes, I just counted them). They range from herbal, to decaf (I can assure you that the decaf is not mine). And sometimes, we end up running out the exact tea we want because we can't keep track. Of course, by that I mean that I have a habit of putting empty boxes back in the cupboard if the rubbish needs taking out.

So I think this tea box will be perfect. I'll be able to see what tea I've got left, and it looks much better than having boxes everywhere. It's £20.95 from Velvet Brown.

Reader Pick: Laura Ashley Champagne glasses

I'm not a huge Laura Ashley fan. Domestic Slut Gemma is often waving the Laura Ashley flag though. Our first reader pick is from Kirsty, who bought these gorgeous blue champagne glasses. Not only are they stunning, but they're in the sale. They're £2.70. £2.70! That's the best bargain EVER! Actually, Laura Ashley have gone one better. You can get an extra 10% off if you buy before Sunday. I might have to start paying more attention to that shop. Thanks, Kirsty!

Bought something wonderful recently and think we should feature it? Email us!

Breakfast Time: Love birds Graham & Green Toast Rack

I don't eat breakfast. I drink tea. I know breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but well, it's not very interesting. But, I realised if I bought all sorts of lovely breakfasty things, I might be more tempted. So I'm going to kick off with this love bird toast rack from Graham & Green. Yes, it's £19.95, but it's for the good of my health, OK?

Wednesday 29 July 2009

Art deco wantiness at The Lavender Room

I adore art deco. But only in small doses. I hate the thought of a whole room decorated in art deco style - it's a very strong look and it's very easy to get wrong. But the occasional nod to the style works very well. I can't afford that lovely art deco ring I featured a while back, but I might be tempted by this crystal perfume bottle from The Lavender Room.

Shop in the spotlight: Angel Lifestyle

Angel Lifestyle is a very cute shop indeed. It's one of those shops that seem to focus on cushions. I love shops that focus on cushions. They make me smile. Luckily, the rest of the stuff in the shop is pretty good too. Especially this little lot:

I love these canvas shopper bags. I was actually getting a bit bored of the whole shopper bag thing, but these are really unusual. Unfortunately, the wild boar print has sold out (wild boar on a bag! Hooray!) but the bright pink one is so eye-catching I think I prefer it.

This wire letter tray will jazz up your desk. Whether or not you bother reading anything in it is up to you.

Honestly, I don't usually approve of paying £80 for a cushion (seriously, that's two pairs of shoes!), but this one is made of vintage linen. And it's really rather pretty.

Penelope Tom clock

There's no doubting that sometimes, waking up early in the morning is rubbish. More than rubbish. I'm NOT a morning person. But, if I got to see this pretty thing every time I opened my eyes then it might not be so bad. This pathwork alarm clock is from the unusually monikered Penelope Tom, and it's £18. A small price to pay considering they promise 'barley audible ticking'. Very important for the beauty sleep, that is.

Teacup Heaven: Roost Living

If I could fill the whole of my kitchen with mis-matched china, I would. But y'know, I bet most of it would remain blue and white. There's something so British and Regal about it. I adore blue and white china. So I'm really loving this blue and white cup and saucer set from Roost Living. It gives a nod to the old-fashioned designs, but it still manages to stay modern. Just the way I like things.

Tuesday 28 July 2009

Coo coo coo! Magma Pigeon Light

Call me strange, but I actually like pigeons. Although I know most people think they're nasty little vermin who steal your chips. But, you can't deny that this bright pink pigeon light from Ed Carpenter at Magma is rather fetching.

You can buy it in orange and white as well, or, if you fancy letting art imitate life, you can go for the grey one. I bet you whichever colour you get everyone will play about with it when they come 'round for tea. They're £58.99.

Sluttishly Easy: Sweet Lassi

Now this drink might not have any booze in, but it will jazz up your Indian takeaway night. Many as lassi was drunk at the festival this weekend so I thought I'd share a simple recipe with you. You can put fruit juice in if you want (mango is the obvious favourite), but here's a virgin one for you to tamper with as you see fit.

You'll need these things:
  • 150ml natural yoghurt
  • 100ml water
  • 2tsp sugar
  • Pinch of salt
You'll need to do these things:

Whisk everything up in a blender. You're pretty much done but if you think it should be thicker, add some more yoghurt, and a bit more water if it's too thick. Simple, but very very yummy. Pour in 50ml of fruit juice if you want to try a new flavour.

Flickr image from mdid's photostream.

Are you Domestically Challenged?

I had a bit of a giggle when Rachel from Fresh Design Blog sent me a link to this 'Domestically Challenged' apron. It's from Cox & Cox and it's perfect for the domestically challenged amongst you. It's in the sale too so it's only £9.60.

Monday 27 July 2009

Shop in the spotlight: Caroline McGrath

I've been inspired by Bompas and Parr and have been a on a hunt for unusual jelly moulds. While I haven't found one to rival their St. Pauls Cathedral piece just yet, I did find these rather cute little sandcastle bowls over at Caroline McGrath.

Then I discovered that the site has all sorts of other pretty things as well. I can't quite convey my desperate need for penguin wallpaper.

These alphabet and number prints are stunning. They're coated so you can scribble all over them, and then wipe them clean when you're done. I'm a big fan of scribbling on walls.

Ask the Sluts: How do I get the boudoir feel on a budget?

I read a post on my friend Emma's blog last night about how to jazz up a bedroom on a budget. And it's not easy. But, there are ways you can make it look like you've spent a bit of cash, without really splurging. Emma was looking for a boudoir feeling in her room, and she's gone for a purple colour. So how best to get maximum impact on minimum spends?
  • Start with the bed. It's the focus point of the room and the easiest way to update your space. More pillows! A new duvet cover! Throw in some swanky sheets and you're pretty much done.
  • If you're looking for something a little fancier, what about a mosquito net? It's the easiest way to make your room look fancy without making much effort.
  • Can't afford a whole new duvet set? Invest in a jewel coloured throw. It'll last for years.
  • Emma's room is purple, which is great for the sexy boudoir feel, but it can be a little cold. So, if you can't afford a chandelier, get yourself some pretty wall sconces. They'll brighten up the room and if you can find some with a golden glow, you'll keep your regal look as well as getting a nice light.
  • Gold is a less obvious colour than the standard black and purple. Pick up little things that will add a bit of glam to the room without it being overkill. One pillow case, a picture frame. Just little things and they'll bring the whole room together.
  • Buy some dramatic curtain tie-backs. For some reason, tie-backs make a room look very snazzy. They're cheaper than buying brand new curtains, but they look fab.
  • Fancy something really unusual? If you're lucky enough to have wooden floorboards, go to town with some dark lacquer. Living Etc recently designed a room recently with hot pink furniture and black floors. Very sexy indeed. It's not for the faint-hearted, so a black rug or dark statement wall would be a good compromise. Turn things on their head.
What decorating tricks do you guys have? Help Emma make her bedroom look fit for a queen! And of course, if you have your own baking and decorating woes, just drop us a line and we'll be happy to help!

Sluttery Faves: Five fab cake stands

While I can't compete with all the amazing cake recipes that the other ladies come up, what I can do is help you find an equally amazing way to display them. Cake stands and covers are back in fashion and all over the place. Here are five of my faves...

Laura Ashley £18

Out of stock (but coming back we hope!)
By Polly George at Bodie and Fou

Cocktail Hour: Woo Woo

Yes, this cocktail has a stupid name. But there is one major plus side to this tipple. You can make pitchers of it (and serve in this lovely lemonade jug) which means even more cocktails for everyone! Hurrah! See? That stupid name doesn't seem so bad now, does it?

You'll need these things:
  • 75ml peach schnapps
  • 25ml vodka
  • Cranberry juice
You'll need to do these things:

Mix the schnapps and vodka. Pour over ice. Top up with cranberry juice.

If you want to make a pitcher of the stuff, just triple the measures of everything and pour into a jug with ice. Then top up with the cranberry juice. As long as you keep the measures even, everything will still taste yummy, I promise.

Flickr image from Darwin Bell's photostream.

Etsy pick: Single Stone Studio wall stickers

At Domestic Sluttery we do love a nice wall sticker. I discovered Single Stone Studios on Etsy recently and I can't stop raving about them. Check out this lovely birdy one which is $24 and keeps on making me sing this song:

Or how about this one for those with rather dramatic statement walls? It's $38.

Or what about this?

Or maybe this one, which quite frankly, just makes me chuckle. Lots!

Friday 24 July 2009

Straight down the line: Iittala Origo

Cloudberry Living have done it again. They've made me fall in love with an entire tableware range I have no room for. This Iittala Origo set is all full of stripes (I have a thing for stripes at the moment). They design is bright and unusual, without being girly. The perfect dining table set. But, as I have no room for the whole set, I might just buy these select pieces and be cunning about how I use them.

Popcorn, juicy spare ribs, salads. This serving bowl can be used for anything. But I'd be tempted to put red things in here. That'll look pretty.

Love the shape of this cereal bowl. Obviously, there's not much else you'd put in it apart from cereal. But you could keep it on your desk and put sweeties in it.

Love these cups! Buy two, keep them on the bedside table.

Mocktail Hour: Raspberry and Redcurrant Cordial

This is an easy recipe for a (shock, horror!) non-alcoholic beverage. But, if you want to cheat, you can add sparkling wine to the finished cordial instead of lemonade. There’s no need to be too fancy, anything cheap but bubbly will be fine. This makes around half a litre of cordial, which goes a long way when diluted, so it’s perfect for parties, especially in summer. But, if you do end up having any leftover at the end of the day, make sure it’s kept in a sealed, sterilised bottle, and finish it off within two weeks.

All you need is:
  • 400g mixed redcurrants and raspberries
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 1tbsp lemon juice
All you need to do is:

Blend the fruit until it’s soft and mushy, then decant into a bowl and add 50ml of boiling water. Cover and leave for an hour. Then, sieve the mixture into a bowl, pressing the pulp through using the back of a spoon. Heat your sugar in a pan with 50ml of water until the sugar’s dissolved, then add to your strained juice along with the lemon juice. Give it a good stir, and you’re done! Chill before serving with lemonade (or sparkling wine, if you really can’t resist).

Flickr image from Rodrigo Miguez's photostream.

Picnic Time: Graham & Green acrylic filigree glasses

If you're after something a little snazzier than paper cups for your picnic, these acrylics glasses from Graham & Green will be perfect. Lovely filigree pattern, pretty jewel colours and no chance of breakages. They're £6.95 each so they're not the cheapest option but they'll be a great treat for when the sun comes out. Of course, I'm only buying them so I stop dropping real wine glasses on the patio when I'm tipsy, but that's a good an excuse as any.

Sugar and Stripes from Bombay Duck

I love these sugar bowls. They look like old-fashioned candy cane. They're the most perfect little things. And, they're in the sale at Bombay Duck which means they're now only £4.61! Bargain!

I think they only have the blue one left but hurry before they all get snapped up by me! I'll use them to put other stuff in too. They'd be the perfect place for me to keep bath salts in in my bathroom.

Thursday 23 July 2009

Love from Home and Glory

I'm not usually a fan of lettering around the house. It's all very obvious, isn't it? 'Sleep' and 'eat and boring stuff like that. Can't we have 'shag' and 'drink' instead? I was so impressed with this lettering from Home and Glory. These vintage letter press letters spell out the word 'love' but it's not in a boring obvious way. Simple, unique design. Take note Graham & Green, they're quickly becoming my new favourite shop.

Sluttishly Easy: Homemade Scones & Blackcurrant Jam

There’s something very twee and English about afternoon tea. And it’s even better if the sun’s shining and you can serve it in your garden with homemade scones and jam. But then, tea and scones also sounds pretty damn appealing when it’s horrible outside and you just to want stay in and be cosy with a blanket and your Harry Potter box set.

So, what I think we might have established here it’s that tea and scones are a sound choice of snack, whatever the weather or time of year. And the traditional sweet, smother-me-in-jam-and-butter-and-gorge-on-me-until-I’m-all-gone-and-you’re-covered-in-crumbs type are so simple to make.

What you’ll need is:
For the scones:
Makes 8
  • 225g plain four
  • 40g unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsps caster sugar
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 180ml buttermilk (you’ll find this in your supermarket in the same section as the cream)
For the jam:
Makes about 750g (If want to make more and have spare jam jars handy to store, just double up the ingredients, the method’s the same however much you cook up!)
  • 500g blackcurrants
  • 600g sugar

All you need to do is:

Pre-heat oven to 200 C and grease a large baking sheet. Put your flour and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and add the butter, rubbing in with your fingertips until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in your sugar and buttermilk to make a dough, and plop onto a floured surface. Divide into scones using a biscuit cutter if you have one handy, or if not, just your fingers. Place on your baking tray, leaving room between them so they don’t morph into one monster scone when they rise. Bake for 8-10 minutes and cool before eating. They might smell lovely, but I don’t want to be held to blame when you burn your tongue!


Tip your blackcurrants into a bowl, stab with a fork to release some of the juices and then stir in your sugar. Leave for a few hours, stirring every now and then until almost all the sugar has dissolved. Tip into a pan and heat gently until the rest of the sugar dissolves, then bring to the boil and keep boiling for about five minutes. To check if the jam is at setting point, spoon a small blob onto a saucer and let cool for a minute or so. Prod it with your finger (make sure they’re clean), and if the surface of the jam wrinkles, it’s ready to rumble. If not, boil a bit more and test again. Then decant into jars and leave to cool. If kept in a sterilised, sealed container it will keep for months on end. (Long after your scones have been reduced to crumbs!)

(Flickr images via Samyii and Figgy)

Design Porn: BeauVamp

BeauVamp are masters of upcycling (that's a fancy word for making crap stuff pretty again). They find antique furniture and then jazz it up with stunning paper and fabric to make it look all fancy again. And very fancy it is too:

This is pretty.

This is prettier.

This is the prettiest.

Softly-scented products to make your maison more belle

We all clean up in a panic before guests arrive, right? And there's nothing like cheap, neon-packaged cleaning products left on display to ruin the gentle contours of your fabulous home.

So, why not invest in some tastefully designed products that won't ruin the ambience when you forget to squirrel them away in time for dinner? Everything in the Maison Belle range is packed so prettily it wouldn't look out of place in a posh perfume counter and because it's all made from natural, hippy-dippy ingredients, there also no lingering chemical pong.

The entire range is surprisingly affordable and available via the Isabella Smith Apothecary.

Bollocks To Baking: The Mortimer Chocolate Co BBQ Fondue Set

Barbecue season is officially upon us, which means that every weekend, whenever it stops raining for more than ten minutes at a time, the air is full of the smell of sizzling meat and the swearing of potty-mouthed chaps in aprons muttering to themselves and nursing their blistered fingers. Which is all rather wonderful, because it means that us Domestic Sluts have more time to laze around the garden with a cocktail (whilst wearing a ludicrously oversized and ever-so-glamorous sunhat and shades, of course), whilst the barbarian menfolk grunt like cavemen to each other over burnt animal carcasses, charcoal and firelighters. But, lovely as it is to have someone else do the cooking, if you’re not careful it can all get rather frightfully butch, with not nearly enough consideration given to the best part of any meal: dessert. Thankfully, the folks at the Mortimer Chocolate Company have come up with a deliciously simple solution. Their Melt and Dip Fondue Set comes in heatproof foil container that you can pop on the barbecue. Then, after fifteen minutes, you’ll have a droolworthy dish of 73% cocoa melted chocolate, into which you can dip fruit, marshmallows or anything else that takes your fancy. And if this weather ends up being a miserable drizzle, it can be cooked in the oven too. Best of all, it’s only £5, and can be bought online or at your local Waitrose. So the next BBQ you’re invited too, you can be the heroine of the hour by turning up with a choctastic dessert that’s cost you less than a bottle of wine. Just don’t blame me if your hosts get miffed when you won’t let them share.

Wednesday 22 July 2009

Cocktail Hour: White Russian

We've already shown you how to make a black Russian cocktail, but if you're looking for something a little smoother (and, you're not a fan of coke as a mixer like yours truly) then you could why not try the white Russian instead?

You'll need these things:
  • 50ml Vodka
  • 25ml Kahlua
  • Cream
  • Ice
You'll need to do these things:

Shake the vodka and kahlua together, then pour over ice. Top up with cream. You might also like to know that if you search for 'white Russian' in Flickr, you get pictures of this cute little guy:

Awwww! I want one of those too.

Cocktail image from Adactio's Flickrstream. Cute little hamster guy from Cdrussorusso on Flickr.
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