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Friday 29 January 2010

The Face of Habitat round up

As some of you might have noticed, we've had the Habitat team over for tea and cake a fair bit over the past month (they always steal the good biscuits, too). As you've got until Sunday to enter their Face of Habitat campaign, we thought we'd do a quick round-up of our houses to inspire you into snapping your own pics and entering their competition.

Siany was first up with her bedroom/office. If you don't want to enter the competition you can vote for her picture to win, or just have a look at what Habitat used to style her room.

How lucky is Gail to have her own craft studio? Vote for her picture here, and be inspired over here. Makes you almost want to break the ol' sewing machine out.

Of course is made sense for Habitat to snap Gemma in her dressing room. Lucky lady. Wish Domestic Sluttery HQ had a dressing room. Vote for Gemma to win here, and nose about her room here.

After seeing this photo, Jane will be known as 'the sexy Slut'. She looks fab, and so does her living room. Vote for her room here, and check out the new accessories that Habitat styled her room with - some of them not even in the shops yet.

Let us know if you enter! We'd love to see your photos!

All Things Original Sale

There are only a couple of days left in the All Things Original sale, so I had a nose about for the very best buys.

This Unity lampshade is fabulous. It's cream, which means you'll get a gorgeous glow to your room. But the best bit is easily that it has little floral moths on the inside. Turn it on, and watch the little moths light up. It's £35 reduced from £70.

This love brooch is a really novel way of wearing your heart on your sleeve (and perfect for all you anti-Valentine's ladies). It's £7.50 now.

This dodo ring is adorable. It's only £10.50 now.

There's also some great bargains to be had from my favourite photographer Cassia Beck, and Bagatelles & Co. Make sure you snap up the bargains before they're all gone!

Cocktails and Cupcakes at The Mayfair Hotel

Earlier this week, Alex and I got invited to try the new Cocktails and Cupcakes menu at the Mayfair Hotel. Cupcakes! And cocktails! At the same time! Yes please!

After a bit of a mix up (we found ourselves in the restaurant rather than the bar) we sat down and we were actually treated to some of the best bar service I've had in a longtime. And then our cakes arrived. And my goodness they looked pretty.

They were actually some of the prettiest cupcakes we've ever had. The chocolate cake had little jewels on it! (It was the first time we've ever had to undress a cake before eating it) and the vanilla cake had silver leaf on it, which was very special indeed. That's fancier than edible glitter.

As we wanted to try all of the cakes, we actually got more than we were meant to (hurrah!) The menu offers a cocktail and two cupcakes for £19.50. Worth it? We're not so sure.

Unfortunately, Alex and I weren't that impressed with the cakes. That's a picture of one of the cakes that we just couldn't eat. The topping was a horrible custard thing with a texture we couldn't fathom. One bite each and we were done. The others were better, but really not that great. Alex ate all of the raspberry cupcakes (I'll allergic) and whilst they were the best of the bunch, the icing wasn't great. And that was the problem with all of the cakes actually. Why did the vanilla cupcakes have cream on them instead of frosting? It didn't makes sense. Everything looked very pretty, but we weren't excited with any of them.

But then there was the cocktails. And these were so much better than the cupcakes. In the name of research, I tried the peppermint tea martini, something I wouldn't usually order. Instead of it tasting like tea, it was much stronger. If you don't like mint I'd stear clear. Alex had the espresso caramel martini and it was better, but the coffee flavour was very strong. Tasty though.

The best cocktail? The peach one. Which had no booze in it. Shame. If there was some vodka in it would have been fabulous. But it just missed the mark for us. Maybe because we're drunken lushes. I think that the whole menu needs tweaking. More cocktail choices would be brilliant, and whilst the cupcakes are all made in house, the frosting needs improving hugely (cream just doesn't cut it). Everything looks great, but first impressions soon go out of the window if something doesn't taste good. Although the more silver leaf on cakes the better.

I like The Mayfair Hotel. The service is fantastic (and so are the little dresses the bar staff wear) and it's a friendly place. It's also the official hotel for London Fashion Week and it's the perfect place for that. We also celeb spotted Lamar and I was tempted to pap him with my camera but managed to refrain. Just. Alex and I wouldn't go back for the Cocktails and Cupcakes menu. But we might pop back over to the restaurant and try the traditional afternoon tea.

Guest Post: Emma Cossey looks at Sluttish Gadget Covers!

As any gadget fiend will tell you, there's nothing more depressing then fishing your brand new gadget out of your handbag, only to discover it's lost in a fight with your car keys. I've got a phone with great big scratches adorning the screen and an iPod with a chunk missing out of the wheel after a fall relating to a few too many cocktails. And most covers on the high street are pretty ugly. So here are some from Folksy that will protect your gadgets, but still look lovely:

Tipsy damage to gadgets is all very frustrating, but easily preventable by using a gadget case like this Leather Butterfly Case from Folksy designer Beautiful Skin.

Folksy has plenty of other options too. Prefer something a little more crafty? This Two Tone iPod Cover is hand made by designer Pins and Needles. It's yours for £10, and even comes with a little section to plug your earphones into.

The lovely designer from Szeya Designs clearly has such an affection for the Apple gadget design, that they replicated it in this case. A cheeky option for £9.90.

This cupcake design from Suezybees is adorable, and the contrast stitching round the edges is a lovely touch. I love this washing line sunglasses case too, also from the Suezybees range.

Finally, this Rainbow Gadget Cozy caught my eye, and I'm sure you can see why. Sure, it's a little childish, but that's what makes it so fun! It's from The Rainbow Room and much prettier than a boring old leather case at least.

And if you fancy making your own tech pocket? Check out this tutorial for a Leather Tech Pocket from crafty Lucy Jackson.

The fabulous Emma Cossey is editorial assistant at Miramus. You can find her scribbling geeky things over on Dork Adore, or tweeting the day away.

Folksy Find: Nova & Lorsten Film Noir Coffee Table

I'm head over heels about this reclaimed coffee table, £85 from Nova & Lorsten on Folksy. It's been decoupaged with images of classic film noir posters, then given a resin finish to make it more practical. It's kitschy, colourful and quirky without being too tacky, and as long as you kept the rest of the room simple, it'd make a unique statement piece guaranteed to get guests cooing over how original it is.

I also love their idea of "creating decoupaged swans from ugly ducklings - furniture which is scuffed and unloved and only good for the tip." The idea of transforming a plain and simple piece of furniture you nabbed primarily for its cheap price tag from a thrift shop or somewhere like Ikea into interior design porn is a very romantic one, and one which can be much more eco- and wallet-friendly than buying ready-made fancy furniture.

So much so that although I know for a fact that the results wouldn't be anywhere near as immaculate as Nova & Lorsten's version, gazing upon their heavenly homemade items does make me tempted to break out the scissors, varnish and glue and attempt to transform every piece of plain furniture I can get my grubby mitts on. Don't worry, I'll make sure I keep you posted on the inevitable DIY disasters.

Have you got crafty with PVA, sewing machine or paint pot and want to show off how clever you are? Or have you tried to execute a grandiose Changing Rooms-style home makeover, and ended up in a mess of MDF, staplegun accidents and Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen diva fits? Make sure to tell us in the comments if so!

Steampunk Jewellery for your inner science geek

Last weekend I popped into the Steampunk exhibition at Oxford's Museum of the History of Science. It was weird and wonderful look at art inspired by madcap Victorian science; think clockwork, brass, copper, glass and aged leather (or just go and see Sherlock Holmes).

One of the exhibitors was Daniel Proulx, who sells Steampunk jewellery on etsy under the username CatherinetteRings. And he's just one of thousands who're flogging Steampunk wares on the site. Above are a few of my favourites. It's definitely a marmite style, but as I'm currently writing this with a fob watch around my neck, I think I'm halfway there. I'm not sure I'm ready for a Mighty Mouse watch face necklace, but you have to admit it's fun!

Clockwise from top left:

Goldtone ring with purple swarovski crystal $29.99 qacreate
Amber and stone steampunk ring $65 CatherinetteRings
Time Flies steampunk bird necklace $32 JewelsByNature
Mighty Mouse watch necklace $68 FleetingMoment
Watch face steampunk earrings $39.50 10PMJewelry

Thursday 28 January 2010

Sluttery Faves: Tiny Milk Jug

Not being a tea aficionado sometimes feels like letting the side down a little around these parts - I'm normally a coffee drinker. To me it seems like tea is all about the ritual? Right, I'll give it a go. I've got the teapot, the pretty Ella Doran mug - so somehow it seems wrong to sling the milk carton out on the table. Even if it's just for me, when I'm working at home. This tiny jug only holds 50mls and I think it looks a little bird-like. Perfect for a solitary cuppa. Available from Maxwell and Williams, it's only £1.50. Bargain!

Sluttishly Savoury: Classic Bolognese

I admit it. This is the first proper-from-scratch Bolognese sauce I've ever made, largely based on a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, master of good old-fashioned home cooking. This serves 6.

You will need:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 250g unsmoked streaky bacon, diced (or pancetta cubes)
  • 1kg beef mince
  • 1 glass of red wine
  • 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 500g of onions, finely diced
  • 400g tin of cherry tomatoes
  • 500ml of passata
  • 250ml of beef stock
  • Herbs - bay leaves, fresh lemon thyme and parsley
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cheese - Red Leicester and Parmesan
  • Pasta of your choice

Make it!
  • Fry the diced bacon in half of the oil. Then brown the mince in batches, removing the cooked meat to a casserole dish as you go. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Deglaze the pan with the red wine, and add that to the casserole.
  • Wipe out the pan with the paper towel and add the remaining oil.
  • Gently cook the onion and garlic, then add the tomatoes and passata and get it bubbling away.
  • Once the mixture has thickened, add it all to the casserole along with the stock and the fresh herbs.
  • Allow to bubble away, uncovered for 1-2 hours.
  • Serve with fresh pasta of your choice, garnish with cheese and fresh basil.
It will fill your kitchen with an amazing dense herby smell, and it makes a substantial amount! I'm going to use some of the remainder for a cottage pie with sweet potato topping, and it would be delish on baked potatoes. You can also vary the herbs, I used the what my local supermarket had on offer.

Admittedly it's a full-fat option, so do try to use lean beef. But it's oh so good. However, it does set somewhat of a precedence. After tasting this, I don't know that I'll be able to go back to tomato sauce in a jar...

Blogs We Love: The Beat That My Heart Skipped

The Beat That My Heart Skipped has been on my radar for some time. Run by stylist Rohini Wahi and supported by regular contributers, it's one of the few blogs I read where I find myself bookmarking the majority of posts.

What I love about this blog is the variety of content. Though it has an interiors focus you'll also find recipes (will someone make me these muffins?), book reviews and interviews with artists and designers. But my favourite section of the site is Things To Make and Do. My DIY skills don't extend any further than putting together IKEA bookshelves but the projects are fairly simple - just look how pretty (and easy to make) these Vintage Cakestands are! Go visit and be inspired.

Know a blog the Domestic Sluts might like? Leave a comment below and we'll investigate!

Bethan Lloyd Worthington's Tea for Two pendant

Okay, I have to admit it, the Tea for Two pendant was a winner with me on its name alone. But when I saw the actual jewellery I realised it was exactly my cup of tea.

Hand-made by Bethan Lloyd Worthington, the pendant features a tiny tea pot, milk jug and two tea cup charms all hung on a vintage brass necklace. The charms are all glazed in a lovely pea green colour with a layer of gold lustre for extra sparkle.

Peer closely at this image and you'll see that each charm is decorated with an illustration of a bird.

I'm also potty over the other option which has this charming illustration of a house on every piece.

The only bad point is that at £78, the pendant undeniably falls into the 'want but wait' category. However, if you like this The Shop Floor Project is also selling Bethan's single teapot pendant for £42 or bracelets for a much more justifiable £24. My cup truly runneth over ...

Book Review: Cocktails & Rock Tales

Cocktails and Rock Tales, by music journalist Jane Rocca, is a gorgeous hardback book which features on its polkadot-patterned cover red gingham heels, a disco ball, headphones, feather boa, and a pink cocktail in a martini glass with a strawberry and a stripy straw. I know you're not meant to judge books by their covers, but in terms of aesthetics, this book and I definitely got off to a good start.

Inside, the scrapbook-style design continues. Every page is decorated with some nod to music memorabilia, from record sleeves, badges and T-shirts, to setlists and lists of top ten albums in each major music genre. This is an effective way of making the collection seem more original and unique than other traditional recipe books, whilst the clean design and predominantly-white backgrounds to the pages stops it from seeming too cluttered and busy. The instructions are clear, but beautifully-presented. So far, so good.

Cocktails and Rock Tales is basically a book of cocktail recipes, collected by the author from bartenders across Australia and New York, and organised by the music genre you're meant to drink them with. For example, if you're a pop goddess, your perfect tipple will be a Material Girl or a Pop Tart. If you're more into guitar rock, a Cock Suckin' Cowboy might be more to your taste. This thematic anthology was collated by Jane Rocca because, apparently “drinks are not just drinks, and tunes are not just tunes – both the music you listen to and the cocktails you indulge in are statements of intent. What think determines what you drink.”

Whilst for some might disagree with such a sweeping statement, I'm prepared to suck it up for now because the concept's an interesting one that I haven't seen in any other cocktail collection, and it works well, to an extent. The introductions to the section for each musical genre (including rockabilly, pop, punk, and even karaoke) are well-researched but simple enough for non-musos to understand too. Similarly, the use of song titles and lyrics were a cute and quirky touch for readers who recognise them, without alienating the ones who might not be so into their guitar rock or 60s girl pop.

All very well and good, but I must confess to feeling a bit cheated. Where are the rock tales I was promised in the book's title? Non-existent. From the title I was expecting the cocktail recipes to be combined with anecdotes, if not from the musicians themselves, then at least maybe from the bartenders' who'd served them their favourite poison. That would have been a perfect twist, and you'd think, not too tricky for someone with a journalistic background, used to sleuthing, researching and extracting the most scandalous gossip from all and sundry. To me, it seems like an obvious omission, and one that left me a tad disappointed.

But, for its bargaintastic price (it's only £6.49 from Amazon), it's still rather lovely-looking, despite not quite doing what is says on the tin. Even if you're not convinced about it as a purchase for yourself, it's worth remembering as a gift idea for any liquor-loving rock chick in your life, especially because at that price you still have lots of pennies left over to spend on actual cocktails. Which surely can't be a bad thing.

Wednesday 27 January 2010

Afternoon tea: Josette from Laura Ashley

This Josette collection from Laura Ashley is stunning. Those cakes look pretty tasty too.

The teacup and saucer is only £12.

This teapot is £35.

And the three-tier cakestand is only £35 too.

The best thing about this range? It's only ever going to get better with age. In a few years, it'll be so collectable. In the meantime, just use it for afternoon tea delights, and try not to drop any thing.

Tobias and the Angel Kitchen Island

I've always wanted an island in my kitchen. With pots and pans hanging from one of those things from the ceiling. So understandably, I'm loving this freestanding kitchen island by Tobias and the Angel. It's £862.50 and absolutely perfect for that country kitchen feel.

A Charmed Life

Is there anything more pretty than this Book of Charms from Oasis? It's not really a book! Well it is, but take a peek:

Oooh! Exciting jewellery things! Look inside!

Lots of charms! And a necklace to put them on! In a pretty book! Look at the cute little charms:

My favourite is the love letter:

I'm head over heels. Oasis haven't really been wowing me recently, but this is amazing. It's designed by textile designer Vanessa Harirngton and the necklace and charms are sterling silver. You can mix and match and wear the charms any way you like which I love. The Charm Book is £85 and limited edition. Come Valentine's, I doubt there will be any left. It really is absolutely charming.

Sluttishly Savoury: Vegan Pepper and Courgette Quiche

If you already subscribe to our rather fabulous monthly newsletter, then you'll already know that this week is National Food Allergy and Intolerance Week. (And if you haven't already signed up, then why not, eh? You're missing out. Do it now using the box on the sidebar. Go on. I'll wait.)

So, with the intention of providing more sluttishly easy recipes for the veggies and vegans among our ravishing readers, here's a quiche recipe which is simple, straightforward and speedy to prepare, not to mention delicious. Although the baking takes a while, once it's in the oven you can knock up a salad to accompany it, or simply kick back with a glass of wine whilst you wait and drool in anticipation about feasting on its tasty pastry.

All you'll need is:

For the pastry:
  • 225g plain wholemeal flour
  • 130g margarine
  • (If you're feeling lazy or strapped for time, you can buy ready-made quiche cases in most supermarkets, but make sure you check the ingredients to make sure they're vegan-friendly)

For the quiche filling:
  • 2 red onions
  • 2 peppers (red, orange or yellow work best)
  • 2 courgettes
  • 350g cubed tofu
  • 200g vegan cheese (the brand of choice for my favourite vegan cohort is red cheddar-style Cheezly, but if you're not vegan yourself ask whoever you're cooking for their preferred brand, as opinion seems to differ wildly on which one is the best)
  • 2tbsps tomato purée
  • 1tsp salt
  • 20ml soya milk
  • Herbs for seasoning with

All you need to do is:
1.Pre-heat your oven to 200C. Rub the margarine into the flour until it looks like breadcrumbs, then slowly add water a tablespoon at a time until you've got a soft dough which isn't too sticky. Roll onto a floured surface and then use to line a greased quiche/cake/pie tin. Bake for 10 minutes until the pastry's set.

2.Whilst the pastry's setting, chop the courgettes, pepper and onions, and start 'em frying until they begin to soften. Meanwhile, grate the cheese and chop the tofu into cubes.

3.Take the frying vegetables off the heat and mix in the cheese, tofu, tomato purée, salt and herbs. Slowly stir in the soya milk until the mixture forms a paste.

4.Spoon into the quiche case and then bake for 30-50 minutes until the surface of the filling is golden brown. Boast to your vegan friends about how much trouble you've gone to on their behalf until they've been blackmailed into sorting the pudding.

(Image via notahipster's Flickr photostream)

Bollocks to baking: Ladureé

My goodness Ladureé make some damn good macaroons. In fact, I might not buy any from anywhere else ever again. I popped in there yesterday with Alex, and came out £5 poorer and 100% happier. I like that maths.

Ladureé in Piccadilly is just on the corner of Burlington Arcade (well worth a stroll if you've got thousands to spend on jewels) and it's like a little Aladdin's cave. Just erring on the side of tacky, but somehow that works. It's tiny, but full of lovely little tasty treats.

After asking how much a box was (about £10 for eight) the nice sales lady must have seen my face and told me that we can just buy a few and they'll pop them in a bag. Hurrah! Usually I'd go right for the chocolate ones, but this time I want to try something new. You already know that they're going to be perfect. You only have to look at the silky shells to see that.

I wasn't that impressed with the chestnut flavour (a bit like vanilla praline), but I did get to sneak a taste of Alex's sea salt caramel treat. Yummysome! But the real caramel in the middle make it very dense indeed. was yet to try the fig and date morsel. Wow. Just utterly amazing. Remember fig rolls? Just like that, but all fancy and pretty in pink. My most favourite macaroon ever. They even stayed yummy after I squished them in my handbag on the journey home. Whoops.

Sure, it's not cheap in here. Five macaroons cost me £5.60. But as Alex and I strolled down the street, we realised that we'd have spend the same on two cupcakes. Ladureé is so much yummier, and perfect if you just fancy treating yourself. Pop in and try a fig and date one, won't you?

Design Porn: Dupenny Burlesque Cushions

So, remember last September, when we showed you Emily Dupen-Hopkins' kitsch and quirky screen-printed wallpaper designs? Well, if you were just as besotted as I was by Dupenny Wallpapers but weren't quite sure that adorning your walls with illustrations of call girls, burlesque beauties, insects and circus animals would go down too well with your landlord, housemates, family or significant other, then don't despair.

Emily has now branched out to create a range of beautiful burlesque-themed cushions certain to bring glamour to any lounge or boudoir. Each one features a dramatic black-and-white design hand-printed onto dupion silk, backed with decadent dark red fabric and edged with black silk piping. Gigi, above, is my personal favourite, but I'm also rather taken with this cheeky mademoiselle, known as Peaches:

They're £65 each, a snip for what's essentially a unique piece a textile art. Just don't forget to tidy them away when your gran comes round for tea.

Tuesday 26 January 2010

Cocktail Hour: The Bronx

This cocktail dates all the way back to the 1905. It was created at the Waldorf Astoria by Johnny Solon. but you don't see it on menus very often. Still, any cocktail bar worth their paper napkins will shake one up for you if you ask nicely. The Bronx is essentially a martini, with a splash of orange juice. Sounds strange, tastes wonderful.

You'll need:
  • 75ml gin
  • 25ml dry vermouth
  • 25ml sweet vermouth
  • 25ml Orange juice
Make it:

Pour everything into a cocktail shaker over ice. Shake, strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a twist of orange and imagine yourself sipping at the Astoria with a jazz pianist tinkling in the background.

Flickr image from Chris Breeze's photostream.

Etsy Pick: Susannah Tucker

I'm a huge fan of vintage-style photos. They're so very romantic. These photos by Australia-based Susannah Tucker are so adorable. As it's Australia Day today, I had to feature a little something from down under:

This print is rather charmingly called 'hello you'. So cute!

These vintage camera photo blocks are so simple, but very very effective.

I still haven't bought a 2010 calender. I want this one.

it'll cost you $8 for shipping from Aus, but I think that's worth it for such pretty things.

Put your own stamp on your walls

Wow. This stamp wallpaper from Hidden Art Shop is amazing. This is the kind of wallpaper I'd have in my library if I had one. Of course I don't, I have a pile of books next to my bed. But I can dream, can't I? It's designed by Catherine Hamilton and it's such a simple idea you wonder why no one has ever done it before. Possibly because it's £182.89 for a 10m roll. Back to dreaming it is then.

Love Miss Daisy Homewares

My goodness this is brilliant news. Fabulous online vintage shop Love Miss Daisy have moved into vintage homewares! Hurrah! Now as well as perusing their fabulous vintage dresses (and even more fabulous shoes) you can pick up wonderful crockery and vintage bits and pieces for your home. So so exciting. The range launches later this week, so keep your eyes peeled for new pieces. In the meantime, I'll be coveting this stunning black dress.

Blueblack and Red Table Linen

Tableclothes are very underrated these days. They're an easy way to transform a room and providing you don't spill red one the second you've laid the table, they should last a while before they're completely ruined by your tipsiness. This green weave tablecloth from Blueblack and Red is stunning. It's unusual without overpowering a room.

Prices for this tablecloth start at £15. It's perfect for summer (which if you close your eyes and imagine really really hard, is just around the corner). OK, you're right summer is nowhere near, but this tablecloth will look lovely anyway. Why did you have to ruin it?!

Shop in the spotlight: Lily and Lionel

There's all sorts of lovely little things at Lily and Lionel, but it's their scarves that have got me excited:

This rose scarf is hand-sewn. The applique roses are hand-sewn and it's in the sale! Hurrah! It's now £40.

I love this wool and silk floral scarf. Wear it with grey and you'll look all happy in the rain.

Want something simple, but still unique? What about this cream tassel scarf.

No excuse not to wrap up warm now.
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