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Tuesday 31 May 2011

Shoe Porn: Pink suede peep-toes

These peep-toe shoes have been named 'Sizzle' by Topshop. I'm not often a fan of naming clothes, it's always struck me as a little bit tacky. But they do indeed sizzle. In a fizzy sherbert kind of way, at least. They remind me of those two tone lollies you could buy as a kid.

I'm also rather a fan of the clashing colours and super high but manageable platforms. As they're suede and pale, I'd only wear them in the very best of weather conditions - I don't think grubby puddle marks would shift from these. Which does make me wonder if the £68 is worthwhile. But I love them so. Even if they have got a silly name.

Vintage Sheet Music Handpunched Heart Paper Chains

Crikey, what a mouthful!

My friend Polly says I am her Victorian friend, as much for my love of gin and the fact I once fainted at breakfast as for my love of actual Victoriana.

You don't get much more Victorian than paper chains - not the ones you can (increasingly rarely, sadly) get in the shops, but ones that are to be treasured and packed away again for next time.

These are my new favourite paper chains. I bought them for a party a couple of weeks ago - everyone loves love and music, don't they? - and they looked absolutely beautiful up. Sadly, come 2am I was so desperate to go to bed that I ripped them off the wall into a bin bag instead of lovingly folding them away in tissue paper as I'd planned. Eh. Them's the party breaks.

I get them from clair191277's eBay shop for the frankly ridiculous price of £1.50 and 95p postage. You get 2m of chains for that, which just need a lick of Sellotape to get them ready. Beautiful and unusual - and incredibly Victorian.

Mr Mario Headboards

How cool are these headboard? I have Pacman decals on my Macbook, you can buy Space Invaders stickers for your wall, and now you can have a Mario-inspired headboard. Which I'm pretty sure will make you dream you're growing huge after eating a giant mushroom.

They're by MyricaDesign and available at Cloudberry Living. They come with 100mm thick washers for the wall so it'll look more 3D.

Each piece is made to order so you'll have to wait a little while (about 3-4 weeks) before yours is ready to be shipped from Mario World.

You can choose three different sizes, in red (my favourite), white, yellow and black. Prices start at £295 so it's an investment, but it's a really REALLY cool pixelated investment.

Dream Dress: ASOS Pineapple Print Dress

Pineapples are a surprising trend. Their prints are popping up all over the place at the moment (not least on our own Domestic Slut Sarah, who is way ahead of the fruit-on-dresses-as-fashion curve). We had cherries a few years back, but despite the rockabilly factor, I always felt like I was dressing like a 12 year old. But pineapples actually do it for me. They're quirky and summery, without being childish, and a little bit 80s and reminiscent of scenes from Cocktail. I'm going to celebrate dressing like an 80s film extra with this summer frock.

The back looks ever prettier:

And here's a close up of the fruity print:

Cute buttons, too. It's just £45 from ASOS.

Sluttishly Vegan: Falafel

The store cupboards at Sluttery HQ are full of chickpeas, so I can't believe we haven't got round to showing you how easy it is to make falafel. A tin of chickpeas blitzed with onion, garlic, herbs and spices will give you delicious, fresh falafel that you can have hot for dinner or cold for lunch. Making your own means you can avoid the sneaky raisins and apricots you can get in shop bought ones. Nothing worse that a stealthy dried fruit. Brr.

Add fresh chilli for a hotter taste, or mint leaves and lemon juice for a zingier result, or dried apricots if you enjoy ruining perfectly good food.

Falafel (makes 10-12)

You will need:
  • Tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • Small handful of coriander, chopped
  • 2 heaped tbsp flour
  • Sesame seeds
  • 2 tbsp oil
Make it!
  1. Pulse the chickpeas in a food processor until roughly blitzed. You want some texture so stop before it's a smooth paste.
  2. Add the garlic, spring onions, spices and herbs and give it another quick blitz. If you don't have a food processor, mash the chickpeas with a potato masher and stir in the other ingredients. Season to taste.
  3. Mix in the flour until the mixture is less wet and sloppy. Chill in the fridge for half an hour so it can firm up a little more.
  4. Sprinkle some sesame seeds on a plate. Take a tablespoon of the mixture, roll into balls, then shape into a patty and turn in the sesame seeds.
  5. Heat the oil over a medium heat. Fry the falafel in batches for 8 minutes, turning once. Alternatively, bake in the oven at 190C/gas mark 5 for 25 minutes, turning halfway through cooking.
  6. Serve with salad, pitta and hummous, tzatziki or tahini sauce.

Sluttery Travels: Hotel Du Vin, Cambridge

I'm a Holiday Inn girl. I'm happy if a hotel offers me a bed, working shower and maybe a packet of stale biscuits. Well, Hotel Du Vin have changed that attitude and left me with a financially ruinous new addiction. It's pricier than a Travel Tavern but it's clear what you're getting for the extra money: beautiful rooms that you won't want to leave. Don't bank on doing any sightseeing once you've checked in.

The Cambridge Hotel Du Vin - there are hotels across the country - is in a converted university building with lots of character and quirky touches. The original fireplaces have been kept in several rooms, while another room has its own well. You know you're going to be spoiled when you walk in to discover a huge freestanding bath, a bed as big as your flat and real milk in the fridge instead of UHT "milk". You can bathe, watch telly and have a proper cuppa all at the same time. That is my idea of heaven.

The hotel has several lovely touches. There's a wine tasting room which would make for an awesome hen night, cigar shack outside so you don't have to smoke your fags in the rain, and service that is friendly and thoughtful without being obsequious (I arrived home to an email saying I'd left my phone charger in the room but not to worry, they'd already posted it back). Plus you can get a bacon roll from room service for £6 any time - perfect if you roll in at 3am having forgotten to buy dirty meat.

Treat yourself with dinner at the bistro, and leave room for pudding so the very serious sommelier can come over to recommend you a dessert wine. Finish up the next morning with a basket of pastries as big as your head, and walk it off with a wander through some colleges and a lazy punt along the river. Rooms are priced from £155 for a standard to £255 for a suite that comes with a private cinema.

Friday 27 May 2011

Cupboard Lust: The Pie Maker

My deep, relentless love of carbohydrates and being a slob means I'm unashamed fan of kitchen gadgetry like toastie-makers, panini grills and the like. If it makes it simpler and speedier for me to make a delicious carb-based snack, I'm all over it.

So of course I'm intrigued by the Pie Maker, which works on the same principle. Including pastry cutters and easy to clean, non-stick plates, all you need to do is line it with pastry, then get creative when it comes to the fillings. Sweet or savoury, try your hand at the traditional, weird and wonderful flavour combos, or just use whatever's left over in the kitchen cupboards.

Want one? It's £24.99 with free delivery, from Firebox.

Tried & Tested: Visciola Cherry Wine from Supercherry

I love cherries. And I love wine. And I have a ridiculously sweet tooth. So I was always going to love Visciolata del Cardinale, a cherry-infused dessert wine from the La Marche region of Italy. Made according to an ancient recipe and traditional method dating back to the 18th century, it includes sun-dried sour cherries, sugar and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.

The thimble-sized sample I was sent from Supercherry definitely did not disappoint. It's sweet, syrupy and rich. The recipes on the website sound scrumptious too, including cherry cheesecake, apple and sour cherry crumble and a cherry chutney. Although considering how delicious it is, you'd have to have much more willpower than me to want to use it in your baking instead or quaffing it as an accompaniment to a box of dark chocolates.

Curious? You can buy it online for £16.50 from Mill Hill Wines.

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Quesadilla with Guacamole

Mexican food is one of my very favourite types of food and, due to the fact that until recently finding a decent local Mexican restaurant* was akin to beating one's head repeatedly against a wall, I have been rustling up my own Mexican goodies for many years now.

It also pretty perfect when you are catering for both vegetarian and meat eaters alike as a lot of Mexican food just involves grabbing a handful of stuff, be that veggies, meat or beans, and chucking it in a tortilla. Earlier this week Sara shared her recipe for fajitas and if you enjoyed them then you will love these quesadilla, which are essentially a toasted sandwich Mexican stylee!

This recipe is for a vegetarian version of a quesadilla but you can tweak it to your personal taste by adding meat and/or substituting veggies. If you want to make them for more people just increase your quantities accordingly.

Quesadilla with guacamole (serves 1 or 2 for lunch)

You will need:

For the quesadilla
  • 2 flour tortilla
  • 75g Cheese, grated
  • 1 large Carrot, grated
  • 2 Spring Onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Red Chilli, thinly sliced
For the guacamole
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 ripe tomato, deseeded and diced
  • 1 red chilli, diced
  • Lime Juice, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
Make it!

For the quesadilla
  • Mix together the vegetable and cheese.
  • Lay one of your tortilla in a dry frying pan. Spread the vegetable and cheese mixture over the tortilla and place the other tortilla on the top. Cook over a medium heat for 1 - 2 minutes until the cheese starts to melt.
  • Flip over the quesadilla and cook on the other side for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from pan and serve immediately cut into wedges with some guacamole, salsa or sour cream.
For the guacamole
  • Mash your avocado in a bowl with a fork to your desired level of chunkiness.
  • Add the diced tomatoes and chilli pepper and mix together.
  • Add lime juice and salt to taste. Serve immediately.

* In case you are wondering my holy grail is Salsa Mexicana which is one of the very best authentic Mexican eateries I have had the pleasure to visit. If you live in or around Leeds, or even if you are just visiting, go eat there as soon as you can.

Present & Correct Crayons

Kat's photos of her in the 80s (complete with My Little Pony), which got me think about other awesome things in the 80s. Few things were as good as wax crayons. I spent hours and hours scribbling drawing masterpieces. Often of houses with little windows, and birds in the sky and a tree with apples in in. I was excellent at childhood masterpieces.

But then you go to school and you have to learn how to 'sketch', with pencils and grey things. Very dull. Drawing fruit in a bowl isn't very enjoyable unless you can make apples purple. So I'm going to buy these vintage wax crayons from Present & Correct (of course, all the good stationery stuff is from them). My apples with be all sorts of exciting colours.

They're £7.95 and I promise not to draw on the walls. Cross my heart and hope to die. Stick a needle in my eye.

Cocktail Hour: The Banannie (Sans Banane)

When I moved to London in 2005, I earned a pittance and lived with my oldest and best friend, Annabel. Being poor (trainee hack, student solicitor) we spent most of our money on fun and cocktails.

This is us at my sixth birthday party (front row, Annabel sits more demurely now, I still have that My Little Pony)

As you can probably tell from our glamorous 80s attire, I've known this girl since we were babies. And, when planning her hen night last Saturday, a cocktail class had to come into it.

At one point, our friend Guy and I had a cocktail-off, to make a drink that suited Annabel and was named accordingly.

Annabel loves fruit, fizz and gin - and my longstanding nickname for her, sadly, sounds like my most hated fruit hence the addendum. Hic haec, ad hoc. The barman told me elderflower and raspberries couldn't be done, but as they're two of our favourite flavours, I wanted to give it a bash.

Truly, ladies, I was vindicated. It tastes AMAZING and is really easy to make. If you, like me, aren't in possession of several sieves, just strain as you will and drink with gusto. It's a truly delicious, very drinkable drink and I'm very proud to have created it for my very best friend.

Ingredients (serves 1)
Take a Boston glass and fill with the Chambord, gin, cordial, mint and raspberries. Muddle well, then pop a cocktail shaker on top and shake for a good 10 seconds.

Double strain through a sieve and the cocktail shaker's strainer, then pour into a martini glass. Top up with Champagne (or whatever fizz you have to hand), then serve with raspberries and mint leaves tucked onto a little swizzle stick.

Enjoy with your very, very best friend.

Many congratulations on your forthcoming nuptials Annabel, I promise not to spill this over my bridesmaid's dress. Kat xxx

Thursday 26 May 2011

Sluttishly Gluten Free: Chocolate and Ginger Biscuits

I found out I was a Coeliac nearly 3 years ago now, for a while I found it very restricting, no bread = no sandwiches, no dough = no pizza, no flour = no cakes or biscuits!! But over the last couple of years I've learnt to adapt very easily. There are lot of gluten free products about now and with a little experimentation, practice and research you can find some great recipes that make sure you don't miss out. In fact I regularly enjoy gluten free bread from the supermarket, a cheeky frozen pizza, and even more naughty gluten free biscuits and cakes. You can find some great products in most of the mainstream supermarkets but it is even better if you can make your own. These are some delicious ginger biscuits, really easy to make and excellent with a cup of chai.

Makes about 16 biscuits

You’ll need:
  • 200g gluten free plain flour (I used Doves)
  • 150g butter (soft)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 nuggets of stem ginger, chopped
  • A teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 50g of dark chocolate, chopped
Make it!
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  • Add the flour and ground ginger and mix until it comes together as a dough.
  • Add chopped ginger and chocolate and stir into mix.
  • Get out some cling film, form dough into a large sausage shape on cling film (think salami size) and then wrap in cling film and roll in to cylinder shape.
  • Chill dough in fridge and preheat oven to 160 degrees for fan or 180 otherwise. (Gas marks 4/5)
  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
  • Once the dough has chilled and the oven is hot, slice your sausage shape into cm rounds and remove cling film.
  • Place rounds on baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes.
  • Serve cooled with a nice cuppa!

Graham & Green Cleopatra Slipper Chair

I'm fairly sure I fell in love with the name of this chair before I even saw it. The Cleopatra Slipper chair. Isn't that a wonderful name for a chair. Chairs in my house don't have names. The one in my room is 'the place I keep my laundry pile'. I'd much rather say to someone 'oh Darling, just throw that jumper on the Cleopatra Slipper Chair'.

But today I'm playing the 'let's imagine I'm rich and have all sorts of amazing furniture in my townhouse' game. Which is lots of fun indeed. And that means it's absolutely OK for me to covet this piece for velvet-covered loveliness. Even if it's is £850 from Graham & Green. Still, I'd be inclined to put my laundry away instead of leaving it in a piles on my furniture. Probably.

Bag Lust: Miss L Fire 'Be My Valentine' Lucite Clutch

I've already done a wee bit of lusting at the rather fabulous Miss L Fire shoe collection. I am delighted to report that their handbags are as equally swoonsome. I am particularly smitten with this super cute heart-shaped lucite clutch bag. It's red. It's shiny. It has a gingham lining. I have to have one.

The Be My Valentine lucite clutch costs £59.99 and will look just perfect with pretty much everything from a fabulous fifties frock to a pair of denim pedal pushers.

Design Porn: sonodesigns

Things I like with my cup of tea: Biscuits (ginger nuts). Trash telly (ANTM). A few fact-y snippets (read on and I'll show you).

Those folk at sonodesign take care of the fact-y snippets (you will have to provide the biscuits yourself). You can learn facts about Big Ben.

And facts about cats.

Some facts about bicycles.

And even facts about dogs. This one is my favourite. They're £7.99 each from Hidden Art Shop. Buy them, learn things.

Sluttish Steal: Cowshed

Let's face it ladies - you're either someone who's happy to spend £15 on hand wash and lotion, or you aren't.

I, as a rule, am not. I think it's frankly insane to spend so much money on hand wash, however delicious, when you could spend it on bath oil, moisturiser, or cocktails.

And yet, in the case of Cowshed, I am as much of a pushover as the offspring of a one-legged chicken and a bouncy castle. The Soho House chain uses the wash and lotion in all its venues and it smells like seductive miracles. My favourite is the Cow Pat lotion - there are many dodgy puns along these lines in the range. There's something citrusy there, but not too much. There's something teasingly oriental there too, but just a bit. The whole thing is like wrapping yourself in a really glorious towel.

Anywho, I mention this because it's on sale at my home away from home, Brand Alley, at the moment, so if you fancy treating your paws to something a bit freaking special, get on it sharpish. It's £11 instead of £16.


Wednesday 25 May 2011

BBQ Brights at Next

Alex has gone nuts over picnics, and I'm all for them. Especially the unexpected rainy day indoor picnic (any food event with the rare potential for a cushion fort will have me excited). But there's another outdoor occasion that deserves a shout out. The foodie wonder that is the BBQ. Where else are you forced to eat seven different types of meat in one afternoon? With nothing but friends and Pimms and sunburn for company? It's the last Bank Holiday this weekend, so a BBQ is a must. So are all these bright cooking accessories from Next Home.

No one really goes to a BBQ for the salad, but this bowl with contrasting salad spoons is gorgeous (and only £15). Use it to put one of these Sluttery salads in.

Now, people do go to a barbie for a drink or three (try our new hugo recipe). This ice tray is excellent. No more stuck ice cubes going all over the shop, instead just squish the bottoms and out they pop. This is £8.

And these green wine glasses are perfect for your new drinks. They're only £4.50 for a set of four. Colourful plastic makes them look fun, not cheap.

Planning on partying after the sun goes down? You'll need a snuggly jumper, and some baked potatoes wrapped in foil, and perhaps these tealight holders for dangling. They're £12.

Of course, now I've written this it's going to rain over the weekend. Sorry, everyone.

Sluttery Travels: Pension Briol, Italy

I'm going a little further afield for Sluttery Travels this week. I was recently lucky enough to be whisked away to the Italian alps by the South Tyrol Tourist Board. One of the places we stayed in was Pension Briol, and while it might be difficult to get to, the view is truly worth it.

The Pension Briol is a guesthouse dating back to 1880. There's nothing fancy about it, but you're looked after. It's run by Johanna who has the most infectious laugh I've ever heard. She's ever so slightly nutty and the emphasis is on being friendly and welcoming. It's simple.

The guesthouse was built by Johanna's great grandmother with three rules - it wasn't to be sold out of the family, no fences were to be built around it and the nature of the area was to be respected. I can confirm that that's still the case today. But, they are expanding and they've taken on a treehouse project with Swiss architect Peter Zumphor. Each of the five treehouses will have space to sleep six and they'll be ready in 2013.

Dinner is a wonderful affair (there's a bell to tell you when it's ready). No room service, no menu, no a la carte. Everyone eats the same three course meal, with many many extra portions if you fancy it. On the night I was here there was asparagus risotto, goulash and then an elderflower custard-ish pannacotta thingy. All very tasty and filling. The wine and pear grappa went down very well too.

A double room with breakfast and dinner is around €85 a night. But getting here? That's slightly more difficult. Y'see, there's no public road to Briol. Instead, you park in nearby Barbiano and either take the 60 minute hike up the mountain, or take the option of the local taxi for about €10. It's a beautiful journey, and only slightly hair raising as the tiny car turns corners with a massive cliff drop next to you (while the driver is on a mobile phone).

Pension Briol is the best place you could imagine to get away from the world. There's nothing except good food, friendly faces and a beautiful view and you soon realise you don't need anything else at all.

Sluttishly Saucy: Pasta with Creamy Chorizo, Pepper and Tomato Sauce

This is a quick pasta sauce you can knock up whilst the pasta is cooking, the only slightly tricky bit is peeling the tomatoes but the world won’t end if you leave them on or use a tin. This dish made a great lunch for two and I had enough left over for a whopping lunch the next day, yay leftovers!

You’ll need:

Serves 3-4 people
  • 10 medium tomatoes
  • 1 or 2 roasted peppers (I had roasted my own, probably the cheapest method, however shop around for the jarred variety some supermarkets do these for a bargain price, if all else fails forget the roasting and fry off a sliced raw pepper).
  • About 2/3 inches of chorizo, chopped into little cubes
  • A bunch of spring onions
  • 2 tablespoons of cream
  • 1 teaspoon of sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed or grated
  • A handful of basil, chopped
  • Pasta
  • Salt and Pepper
Make it!
  • Skin your tomatoes. Do this by immersing in boiling or boiled water for about 15 seconds then drain and peel, doing this allows the skin to come away freely and without too much hassle. Squeeze out the seeds and chop roughly.
  • Heat a frying pan, throw in your chopped chorizo and fry for a min or so until oils start to release and it starts to become crispy. Add your spring onions, fry a little, then add your tomatoes, peppers, garlic, sugar and vinegar. Cook down for a couple of minutes. Season and taste. Adjust if necessary. Add cream and bubble up.
  • When pasta is cooked, drain, toss in sauce and chopped basil then serve.

Design Porn: His and Her lamps from Matt Pugh

I couldn't decide about Matt Pugh's animal lamps earlier this year - cute animals who had stumbled into mishaps, or creepy monsters of genetic mangling? While I'm still not so sure whether Mr Pugh should be allowed to meddle with our furry creatures, I'm in full favour of him having a go with us humans. Just check out these his and her lamps.

Like the animals, these two individuals seem to have got their heads mixed up with a lampshade. Beheaded humans may not seem like the most chirpy subject matter but these lamps saved from looking too sinister by their cartoon-like outline (I'm thinking Popeye and Olive Oyl), so hopefully they can stand on your bedside table without giving you nightmares. In fact, for a cute bedtime coupling, you could pop one on your and your partner's bedside tables.

On that line of thought, one good thing is that the lamps are sold individually, so you can buy the lamps as a his and her coupling, or her and her, or him and him - whatever coupling (or more...) that takes your fancy. Just one major drawback that I can see - the price. The lamps cost £95 each from Bouf. Ouf.

Wallpaper Wednesday: Harlequin's Brighton

When I finally grow up, it's my not-so-secret fantasy to live beside the seaside. While for the moment it's not so economically possible, that doesn't stop me trying to recreate something like coastal style in my (landlocked) home. Perhaps it's been the sunnier weather but recently my wishful thinking has been worse than ever. First up was the Brighton pavilion jelly mould. Then I found myself bookmarking Harlequin's Brighton wallpaper.

Available for £28 a roll from John Lewis, it depicts some of Brighton's varied building styles. The illustration shows quaint historic properties nestling in alongside the less scenic tower blocks and I love the way this paper captures something of the nature of the city without resorting to the cliches of seagulls and ice-cream. The tart green and blue colours used take the twee edge off the prettiness of the illustration, leaving a scene that looks just about perfect to me. While this paper doesn't stop my urge to move away, it would make my current abode look a whole lot nicer - and that's going to have to (sadly) do for now.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Tea Towel Tuesday: Melanie Wickham's British Wildlife

British wildlife makes for all sorts of amusing fun. There's otters, for a start.

And there's also stoats and weasels and watervoles. All of them on Melanie Wickham's lino print British Wildlife tea towel, looking all cute like this:

How adorable is the Scottish Wildcat? (VERY.)

Like it? It's £7.50 from Melanie Wickham's Folksy shop. I might spend the morning looking at otter videos.

Cocktail Hour: The Hugo

Yesterday, Alex told you how to make elderflower cordial. What she didn't know was that I'd been drinking elderflower cocktails in the Italian alps, and was planning on sharing my new found summer drink with you all. The Hugo is a traditional drink in German-speaking South Tyrol (I hadn't actually heard of it, and a quick Google flashes up an awful lot of recipes in German). It's the perfect tipple for refreshing lunchtimes in the sunshine.

You'll need:
  • Sparkling wine or Prosecco
  • Elderflower cordial (make your own with Alex's recipe)
  • Mint leaves
  • Sparkling water (if you fancy a longer drink)
  • Lemon slices
Shake it!

Add some cordial to a large wine glass and top up with bubbly. Add mint leaves and a slice of lemon. Use highball glasses and top with sparkling water if you fancy a longer drink. This is perhaps best enjoyed with a view of mountains, but a picnic and your best friends would be a wonderful substitute.

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Five a Day Feta Burgers

I'm always thinking about my five a day, some days I hit the five with no problems and others I'll be lucky if I've ate one. If you're feeling a little under vegged then this is the answer, a great way to use up the remnants of the veg draw and fantastic way to get your five a day, well almost. There are five vegetables in here, six if you count the potato (that doesn't really count does it?) and if you served this up with a salad you could even pack in more.

Makes about 8 burgers, enough for 2 people or more if you bulk it out with salads and burger accessories.

You'll need:
  • 3 medium sized potatoes, peeled, boiled then mashed
  • 1 courgette, grated
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • A big handful of spinach
  • A cup of frozen peas
  • A third of a block of Feta, chopped and crumbled
  • Salt and pepper
Make it!
  • Fry the onion until lightly browned (I always soften my onions first in the microwave to save to much slaving over a pan).
  • Add the grated carrot, fry for a minute.
  • Add courgette, fry for another minute.
  • Add peas and spinach and cook until the spinach has wilted slightly. Season generously.
  • Mix vegetables and Feta into mashed potato.
  • Form into burgers and fry in a little oil until crispy and brown.
  • Serve in a bun with salsa and salad.

Dream Dress: People Tree Swing Dress

People Tree make fashion that isn't only beautiful, it's ethical too. They work with Fair Trade groups so you can be sure that your new dress hasn't been made by tiny hands.

This gorgeous 40s style swing dress is covered in happy bunnies, just desperate to be taken out for a picnic. I love the combination of a formal structure and playful print, meaning you could parade around the seaside in it or wear it to an offbeat wedding.

It's £75 - not cheap, but it'll last forever and it's nicer than dresses of a similar price on the high street. Dare you to stop yourself from twirling down the pavement in it.

Shoe Porn: Bertie Striped Shoes

Yes, more stripes. But feet don't get enough stripy action, do they? Except of course in the sock department (all socks should be stripy). But shoes? You're very lucky to find a pretty pair of shoes that still has some vertical prettiness going on.

The court shoes are from John Lewis, but they're actually by Bertie (a shop that often scares me a bit with frosty looks and pricey goodies). They're £85 which makes them slightly more expensive than my usual pairs but I've put them in my bookmarks, I keep looking at them, and I keep imagining outfits to wear with them (floral blouse and dark cropped jeans).

Yep, all of those things are usually a sign that my feet will end up in these perfectly toe-capped shoes. Brilliant.

Monday 23 May 2011

Etsy Pick: Coldfish

Coldfish is doing something that's all too rare these days. Finding unique and well-priced vintage is getting more and more difficult these days. Demand for vintage is high, and prices have shot up. But even with shipping prices from the US, Coldfish still stays very good value. Erin, who runs the shop, is really friendly too.

This 70s navy number is just £26. BARGAIN.

This one? Floaty 70s floral goodness for £21.

I love this bright print, this dress is £34. Shipping for each dress is around £8 from across the pond. Bargain vintage is a rare thing, and Coldfish are doing it brilliantly.

Thanks to Kat Hannaford for the tip-off.

Design Porn: House Doctor Vases

I'm not going to pretend to be entirely smitten with the House Doctor range. I don't much care for twee tunics and ribbon. But these vases? These I like very much. My favourite is the typewriter design (of course) but I know loads of you are avid cyclists and you'll be itching to get your mits on the bicycle version too.

The vases are £22.50 each and you can get them from that little online wonder Bodie & Fou. I'm putting daisies in mine. Probably ones from Asda.
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