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Thursday 30 April 2009

Swine Flu? Some piggies are cute!

Some little piggies are still cute. Like this little piggy bank from Rainbow Childrens' Hospice. He's only a fiver and he's adorable.

Childhood favourites: Hazelnut Chocolate Biscuits

When I was a kid, my mum would always let me choose what biscuits I want to bake. I always chose a recipe out of the biggest book, and the one that made the most biscuits. What kid wants a recipe that makes 10 cookies? Rubbish. This recipe makes about 40 biscuits! I still make them even now. They remind me of home. And I don't have to fight with my brother over who gets to lick the bowl.

You'll need these things:
  • 6oz unsalted butter
  • 8oz caster sugar (don't worry if you just use normal sugar, I always buy the wrong kind)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8oz self raising flour
  • 2oz ground hazelnuts
  • 2oz chocolate chips
  • 3oz desiccated coconut
You need to do these things:

Cream the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Bet in the eggs and vanilla, and then sieve in the flour. Stir in the hazelnuts and chocolate chips and coconut. Roll into walnut-sized balls. Pop on a baking tray (best to put them on a sheet of greased foil so they don't stick to the bottom) and then bake in a preheated oven (180 degrees or gas mark 4) for fifteen minutes or until firm to the touch. You'll have heaps of mixture left over - either carry on rolling and baking, or keep some in the fridge and add it to ice cream. Cookie dough is yum.

You can mix everything up if you like - different chocolate or nuts, and add whatever you want. Just don't add mini marshmallows unless you want a horrid sugary goop. Oops.

Flickr image from Rex Roof's photostream.

Etsy Pick: Home sweet home hangers

I'm focussing on little details today. These are the things that make your home your own and once you've added the finishing touches, you'll really start to notice a difference. These reclaimed wood coat hangers have lovely things written on them. Like "take off your coat and stay for a while" and "welcome home." Little phrases that aren't annoyingly twee, but will still make you smile. And home is a pretty wonderful place, isn't it? They're $48 for four from Paloma's Nest on Etsy.

Sexy Storage: Urban Outfitters box stack

I might be the only person I know who can get excited about boxes. But take a look at them. They're all different patterns, but they're all kinda matching at the same time. They're all different sizes, but they fit into one another.

They're all from Urban Outfitters and they're £15. For all eight of them.

They're all frankly perfect for hiding all of my junk. And they'd look pretty snazzy on some plain looking shelves. See? Boxes can be exicting!

Wednesday 29 April 2009

Shopping Heaven: In All Her Finery

Whilst Domestic Sluttery HQ may be London-based, we do of course realise that not all our lovely readers are located in this neck of the woods. Which is why this edition of Shopping Heaven is our first to spotlight a beautous boutique outside of the Big Smoke.

In All Her Finery in Manchester was first and foremost a burlesque accessories boutique when it opened last year. Since then, glamorous manager Fiona Stott has expanded their range to include a myriad of gorgeous curios, jewellery and homewares. There's jewellery from Domestic Sluttery favourites Tatty Devine and Rings Eclectic, along with vintage-sourced pieces made by Fiona herself: "Although I got into it by accident when a customer asked me to design her wedding jewellery, the range is doing really well. I never make more than ten of each piece, and hunt around for vintage charms to use so each piece is quirky and tells a story."

As well as enough glitter and trinkets to keep entire flocks of magpies in ecstasy, In All Her Finery also stocks all the essentials for a perfectly indulgent and decadent boudoir, including delicious Rococo chocolates, Vivienne Westwood perfumes and sexily-packaged toiletries from Figs & Rouge.

And if all this sounds so overwhemingly wonderful that you're not sure where to start, I'd advise co-ordinating your first visit with one of Fiona's monthly open nights, at which customers get free cake, Cava and massages, as well as special offers and sneak peeks at new products. Book me in for one of those next time I'm in the North, please!

Just one more thing...

I'm loving this vintage cutlery tray. It's £16 from H is for Home.

Shoe Porn over at Shoeperwoman

When I find a brilliant new blog, I get very excited (my name is Sian and I'm a blog-a-holic). When I find one that's all about pretty shoes, I'm going to get very giddy indeed. Without the wonderful new shoe blog ShoeperWoman, I'd never have found these stunning heart peep-toes from Office.

Go and check out the new site. Although please remember: Domestic Sluttery are not responsible for any spending on things south of your ankle once you click on that link. Don't come crying to us when you've spent all of your money.

Wonderful Wallpaper

It'll come as no surprise to you that I'm loving Kirstie's Homemade Home. In fact, I'm loving it so much, I'm having to stop myself from buying a countryside wreck and doing it up. One thing last week that caught my eye was the wallpaper in the downstairs loo.

A room like that is small enough for you to have a bit of fun, but you could also use these wallpapers for a feature wall as well - just don't go crazy with them. They're too busy to do a whole room.

This pretty pattern is from renowned designer Suzy Hoodless. You can buy this from Osbourne & Little. I bet you want to buy everything else too.

This peacock wallpaper is from Hamilton Weston. The reproduce historical wallpapers. This one is from 1890.

This poppy paper is from Jocelyn Warner. It's my favourite, even though it's quite dark for a small room, it'd make a great feature wall.

This Lizzie Allen paper is perfect for London Homes. It's from Pedlars.

Or, you could use that colour in wallpaper we featured a little while ago. It's the arty version of the loo library.

Worth borrowing a toddler for?

I don't have a toddler of my own but there are times when I can see the benefit; going to watch Wall-E anyone? When I saw this I was sorely tempted to offer to babysit for any of my toddler-bearing friends just so that I could give it a try...Yes, I want a go on Air Fork One

Is this not the ultimate in child-friendly, not to mention child-ish, brilliance?! Thank you Oliver Bonas for bringing us this cutlery cuteness.

Over in Cabot Cove: Typewriter Necklace

If there's one thing I love it's a bit of early afternoon super-sleuthing. No-one will ever come close to beating Dick Van Dyke as the delectable Dr Mark Sloan but there is one certain genteel lady who could possibly give him a run for his money and that is the splendid and legendary Jessica Fletcher.

Tell me you didn't start humming the Murder, She Wrote theme tune when you saw this fantasic typewriter necklace. Go on, admit it - we know you did (we won't tell). I love Angela Lansbury! I think the lovely Hannah Zakari might too.

Tuesday 28 April 2009

Cocktail Hour: Margarita

For me, the margarita is an acquired taste. I'm not a huge fan of tequila so they're not something I can drink more than one of. But, when I do fancy one (usually while I'm outside on a sun lounger) it had better be darn tasty. Here's a recipe for those exact sun lounger moments:
  • 2 shots tequila
  • 1 shot Cointreau
  • Lime juice
  • Lime wedges
  • Salt
Pour the boozy ingredients and lime juice into a cocktail shaker. Add ice and do your 'shakey about thang'. Run a wedge of lime around the rim of the margarita glass. Then dip the glass in salt. Pour the boozy goodness into the glass and retire to the garden. Don't do a thing all afternoon.

Flickr image from flem007_uk's photostream.

Rubik's cube salt and pepper mills

I don't like Rubik's cubes. They're very complicated. I get all excited by their bright colours and then get mad after two minutes when I can't do it. But I do like those bright colours. So naturally, I like these salt and pepper mills:

It's only the top bit that works, so you won't get angry while you're eating your chips.

They're £11.99 from Totally Funky. And they are indeed, totally funky.

Do you dunk?

I love having biscuits with my cuppa in the afternoon. Cookies, ginger nuts and anything inbetween (except rich teas they're icky). But I'll never ever dunk. Soggy biscuity gunk? No thank you! But I bet half of you disagree. So settle this once and for all in my very scientific biscuit poll.

The Anthropologie Catch-22

Anthropologie, I adore you. Really, I do. But why are your shipping charges three times more expensive than what I want to order? America isn't that far away and I buy enough from Etsy to know that you're fibbing about how much it really costs!

So until you open up in London, which I hear you're doing later this year, I'm going to just stare longingly at these pretty things.

This is very Winnie The Pooh. In a good way, not an annoying "I'm in my twenties but still think I'm a Disney Princess" kind of way.

I want to put photos of my travels in this photo frame.
This china cup is perfect for little tea parties. Which I have rather a lot of if I'm honest.

Granted this would be a bit difficult to ship over, but it's lovely, isn't it?

Etsy Pick: The Owl and the Pussycat went to sea

The Owl and the Pussy-cat went to sea
In a beautiful pea green boat,
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.
The Owl looked up to the stars above,
And sang to a small guitar,
'O lovely Pussy! O Pussy my love,
What a beautiful Pussy you are,
You are,
You are!
What a beautiful Pussy you are!'

This stunning necklace is $34 from LunarraStar's lovely little Etsy shop. I'm very impressed with the mix of prettiness and fairy tale stuff.

Monday 27 April 2009

Shop in the spotlight: Boudalu

I had a lovely email from fair trade store Boudalu last week, alerting me to this little fella:

Cute isn't he? You know by now how much I like giraffes, but he was cute enough for me to have a wonder around the rest of this exciting shop.

This stunning ring is made from a nut! How clever is that? Apparently the tagua nut falls from trees in the Columbian rainforest.

This cushion is extra pretty. The swirl looks like a scribbly flower.

Fairtrade and pretty! Hooray!

Inside an Interior Editor's home: Ellie Tennant from HomeShoppingSpy

Ellie Tennant is 26 and lives in Wandsworth, south west London. She’s an interiors journalist and stylist for Ideal Home magazine and writes the HomeShoppingSpy blog. Domestic Sluttery had a nose around her home at her favourite things.

1: Pretty peonies

Peonies have always been my favourite flowers – a bright coral-pink bloom like this one can brighten up a whole room, so I treat myself to one a week. They’re fabulous flowers for ‘chiconomic’ displays because you only need one for a stunning effect. It’s better to spend £2 on one gorgeous flower than £2 on a big bunch of boring carnations! I’m addicted to elderflower cordial, so I use Belvoir fruit cordial bottles as vases, or vintage teacups from car boot sales and charity shops. I also collect pretty iced-tea bottles from Holland & Barrett – they have lovely labels.

2: Penguin paper

I’ve got a huge stash of old Penguin classics. I love the look of their covers, so I was excited to find some Penguin wrapping paper recently (£2.99 per sheet, Shiny Shack), which I’ve used to line the drawers of my marble-topped vintage wash stand. I like this paper so much, I’m considering buying lots of sheets and using them to wallpaper an alcove.

3: Retro books

Words like ‘splendid’ and ‘tip top’ always make me smile – I can’t resist retro children’s books. They’re hilarious to read, always handy props for photo shoots and they look cool on a book shelf, too. You can find similar books at places like Steptoes Antiques, but if you’re on a tight budget like me, visit your local car boot sale – these 1940s books were just £1 each.

4: Matryoshka dolls

I’ve always had a thing for nesting Russian dolls. My dad bought this set for me in Moscow, and I love their cheerful faces and cute strawberry decorations. Russian doll patterns are a huge trend in the interiors world at the moment – check out the What’s Inside print by Hazel Nicholls at the Keep Calm Gallery. It’s at the top of my wish list.

5: Vintage postcards

I’ve been known to spend hours sorting through boxes of old postcards and letters at flea markets such as Les Puces in Paris, or Alfie’s Antique Market in London, much to my boyfriend’s chagrin! I love reading the messages on them. These pretty cards are two of my favourites, and they sit propped up on my desk so I can admire them every day.

6: Scented candles

There are no designer labels in my home and I’m a thrifty flea-market girl, but I just can’t compromise on candles. Jo Malone, Kenneth Turner and Diptyque candles are all expensive, but they cannot be beaten – they smell wonderful thanks to the high levels of essential oils in the wax and I find that they last a lot longer than cheaper candles, too. My favourite scent at the moment is Lime Blossom by Jo Malone. It’s fresh and clean-smelling, but not too sweet.

7: Decorative letters

I found this big letter ‘E’ in an antiques shop a while ago and it sits on top of my bedroom mirror. If you’re looking for lettering, try Emily Readett Bayley, or Morello Living. A few letters or words scattered around a house can look good, but people get addicted. Having ‘SLEEP’ in the bedroom, ‘EAT’ in the kitchen and ‘WASH’ in the bathroom is a bit too much – it’s as if you can’t remember what your rooms are for!

Etsy Pick: Tree Glasses from A Touch of Vintage

I don't often feature vintage Etsy finds, because once they're gone, then that's it they're gone for good. But these orange tree glasses are just too pretty to ignore.

They're not cheap though. It's a hefty $22 for the glasses from Etsy seller A Touch Of Vintage, but it's then another $22 to get them shipped over from Canada. But I still really really really really want them. And what I want, I usually get.

Red and yellow and pink and green... Unity Peg Homeware

To brighten you up on a Monday morning, here's some pretty rainbow homestuffs from Unity Peg to make you smile.

You can buy all this wonderful stuff from the Tate Modern shop. It reminds me of colouring crayons.

Friday 24 April 2009

Etsy Pick: Tiny Flower Vases by dahlhaus

I'm in love with these vases. I'd put little pretty flowers in them from my garden. If ever there was a vase made for pretty coloured daises, it would be these. They're $34 which is a tad pricey, but I'm taking inspiration from that Kirstie Alsopp woman and thinking they'd be a great way to brighten up the bathroom.

Graham & Green prettiness sale

I'm trying to be really really really good and not spend all of my money. I'm going to Paris next month and I want to spend it all in flea markets. Very exciting. But then Graham & Green decided to go and have a sale. not just any sale. They're offering 50% or 30% off some yummy looking things. Here are the things I'm trying very hard not to buy today:

This hammock chair would be perfect for lounging. If I had any space left to hang it.

It didn't seem right that we went a whole week without mentioning a chandelier. This is now £244.30.

How much do you want this mirror? It's only £161 now. Bargain prettiness!

These cute little leather money boxes are only £5.98 now. Buy two!

I'm not going to look on this website for at least a week now. Too many pretty things. But you should go and snap everything up before someone else does.

Lazing On A Sunny Afternoon

I find something incredibly decadent about lounging around on a sunny afternoon. I don't whether it's the unspoken permission to indulge in a jug of a summer cocktail or the brilliance of having an afternoon nap outside.

If I had the space then I would definitely get this Riviera Day Bed from Rawgarden. Not only would it indulge decadent lounging but it also doubles as separate sofas and storage. And the included sun shade means no mistaken burning. All pretty handy really and for £685, I could certainly justify it as a necessity!

Thursday 23 April 2009

The great pestle and mortar hunt

I've spent the last hour looking for a pretty pestle and mortar. Because I need one to mash, bash and muddle my limes, for that mojito recipe I gave you earlier. They're just all so horrid and dull. Just because they're for bashing stuff, doesn't mean they have to be boring and ugly! Can't someone throw a pretty pattern on one?

It's taken the last hour to track this pestle and mortar down, but it's stunning and is winging it's way to me as I type. It's £27 (down from £30) from House of Fraser. I'm going to have to start keeping an eye on them.

Cocktail Hour: Mojito

I'll let you into a secret: I make the worst mojitos ever. I don't know what it is, but they just seem to go a little bit wrong. Despite the (shocking) amount of rum I put in the last batch, they managed to taste of nothing but sour water. Impressive, huh?

So I thought I'd ask someone else who was a bit more of a mojito expert and here's a cocktail recipe that might just work:
  • 2 Shots white rum,
  • Juice of half a lime,
  • Soda water
  • Mint sprigs (around ten should do it)
  • Crushed Ice
  • Lime slice
  • Sugar
Mash the mint and sugar together. I mean really mash it. I think in the cocktail world this is called 'muddling' but we at Domestic Sluttery HQ will call it 'bashing and mashing', ok? Add the rum and lime juice and then shake it all up. Shake it lots! More than that! Do some arty cocktail moves too if you like (they're what make the cocktail taste yummy, aren't they?) Then pour over crushed ice. Decorate with a sprig of mint, and a wedge of lime.

Mmmm yummy.

Seven Deadly Sins: Vanity - Heal's mirror

Mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all...

Yes, I know vanity is a very bad thing and it's the downfall of wicked witches all over fairyland, but I want to be able to do my hair nicely so I'll just have to risk it.

If you're looking for a mirror for your boudoir, this one will work perfectly. Most of the stuff in Heal's is all clean lines and modern. This mirror has a rather traditional twist which makes it just about my favourite thing in the whole shop right now. It's only £88.09 too.

Dr. Sketchy: Our kind of art class

I started art classes this week. Really. I spent yesterday evening getting more charcoal on myself than I did on my paper, and it was great fun. But standard art classes aren't for everyone. So maybe you fancy a bit of Dr. Sketchy instead?

Dr. Sketchy are the only people I know to mix burlesque and art classes. With drinking. In fact, drinking and debauchery is actively encouraged. So is scribbling. And painting. And getting into a big ol' mess while a pretty woman cavorts about in a corset.

See? What could be more fun than that? Pinup girls and drinking, while pretending to be cultured! Yay! When someone asks you what you did on May 16th, just tell them you went to a life drawing class at the Royal Vauxhall Tavern. They don't need to know about the nipple tassels, do they?

Wednesday 22 April 2009

The forbidden fruit: Apple Necklace from Alex Monroe

I'm coveting this today:

It's an apple shaped locket, but with a little teeny snake inside. Very Adam and Eve. Cute huh? It's from Alex Monroe and it's £195.

Vintage wineglass soy candles

Remember those jars of Nutella that doubled up as drinking glasses once you'd finished a pot? Well, the same principle of smart recycling is at work over at Green union, where you can pick up these stylish and unusual room candles.

Each candle is made from a vintage glass filled with earth-friendly soy wax which creates a lovely glow without sending soot particles flying through your home. And you can, of course, drink from the glass once it's used up. Bonus!
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