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Friday 30 July 2010

Dream Dress: Dee Dee by Pinup Couture

As we established last week I will shortly be jetting off to Las Vegas to get married. Almost as if my beau planned it, I have discovered that our arrival in Sin City coincides with the start of the Las Vegas Shakedown, a rock 'n' roll weekender which promises to be positively burstin' full of music and burlesque.

Cue much squealing of merriment and a little dance around the kitchen as I now had a perfectly valid reason to purchase yet another fabulous new frock (in addition to *THE* dress).

This gorgeous little number from Pinup Couture is simply perfect and is the very top of my shopping list. The Dee Dee dress in blue and violet floral print is available in the UK from Deadly is The Female and costs £120.

Sluttishly Easy: Peanut Butter Cookies

So you want to impress your guests with homemade biscuits when they pop over for a cuppa but quite frankly you just don't have the time or inclination for baking? Well then, this super simple recipe, which was passed on to me by a friend, is the answer to all your prayers. This recipe has a mere three, yup you heard it right three, ingredients. If you want to get fancy you could try throwing in a handful of raisins, chocolate chips, or even smarties. As a massive fan of the peanut I may even be tempted to give this a go with some Reece's Pieces next time!

Peanut Butter Cookies (makes one dozen cookies)

You'll need:
  • 275g crunchy peanut butter
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
Make It!
  • Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6
  • Mix sugar and eggs together.
  • Add peanut butter and mix well.
  • Pop the mixture into the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from the fridge and form the mixture into 1 inch balls.
  • Place balls on baking tray and flatten with a fork to make a nice criss-crossy pattern! Be sure to leave some space between the cookies as they will expand slightly.
  • Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Be sure to leave the cookies to cool on the baking tray or be warned they will fall to pieces!

What herbs do the Sluts swear by?

Herbs and spices are vital to the Domestic Sluts. But there are always some that we use more than others. Some that we buy every single time we go shopping, just in case we're running low (and yes, that means we've got coriander and paprika coming out of our ears. But what are our favourite herbs and spices?

Siany: A while back, I asked Miss Cay what bay leaves really did. After all, you take them out when you're done, so they can't do much, right? She soon showed me the error of my ways! They make everything super tasty! The flavours are deeper, my dishes just taste... better. Like I know what I'm doing in the kitchen rather than making it up as I go along. There's some in with a baked chicken dish at the moment.

Gail: I use cinnamon all the time, whether in biscuits and cakes or savoury dishes like beef casseroles. And good old parsley always seems to make something taste fresher, gives some colour and happily it's available all year around.

Sam: The holy trinity of oregano, basil and rosemary. Oregano takes me into Italian signora territory pronto, basil is Mr Fresh in everything from pasta to a summery salad, and good old rosemary elevates the humble roast into a spiritual experience. Divine.

Michelle: I love anything that gives my food a bit of an extra kick. I am currently loving smoked paprika, which is technically a spice rather than a herb I know, but it adds a fabulous warm and spicy kick to our household favourite chicken with chorizo and butter beans. Yum!

Sarah: It's got to be coriander, and not just because I love hearing my Californian friend drawl 'cilantro'. Whether it's adding a certain something to my chorizo and lentil soup or taking centre stage in chunky guacamole, I just love the taste.

Abi I'm completely obsessed with Dill! It's so distinctively fresh and clean, and I think it makes almost any dish taste like summer.

Madévi: Ah, the humble parsley. Not that upstart the flat leaf parsley, no, but his more affable, nutty flavoured and slightly neglected older sibling, the curly parsley. Can't have risotto without it. And finely chopped with garlic and olive oil, it gives just the right kick to a seafood pizza.

Sel: I am lost without some form of basil loitering in my kitchen. If I could remember to look after a plant properly, I would have my windowsill full of the stuff at all times! I think mint is a bit overlooked as well - try some in your next tomato based sauce, it works well trust me!

Alex E: I am a cumin fiend, so much so that I have to buy industrial sized containers of the stuff from a local Asian supermarket. Schwartz just ain't big enough for me! Cumin's got a great, earthy, savoury flavour that gives a kick to dishes from curry to fajitas.

Flickr image from Shaun Allen's photostream.

Design Porn: Paperchase's Cloud Beach Bag

Sun. Rain. Sun. Rain. This year's classic English summer means I leave the house with suncream, an umbrella, a spare cardigan and a hefty book in case my tube gets stuck. Thanks for nothing, TFL. A ladylike teeny bag just won't work. So Paperchase's super-sized cloud bag might come in handy.

It may look all small and cute, but this £12.75 beast is actually over two feet wide! Better still, whenever I look at, it reminds me of what I *should* be seeing whenever I look at the sky.

That, and it puts a big smile on my face.

What do you think?

Thursday 29 July 2010

Cocktail Hour: Ketel One Garden

A little while ago, the Observer Food Monthly invited me for dinner. They plied a group of food-lovers with awesome food and excellent cocktails. The Ketel One Garden cocktail was my favourite (despite not liking anything with elderflower) and they've kindly let me share the recipe with you.

You'll need:
  • 45 ml Ketel One vodka
  • 15 ml elderflower cordial
  • 2 x 4-inch sticks of cucumber
  • 30 ml cloudy apple juice
  • Tonic water
Shake it!

Put the cucumber and elderflower cordial into a highball glass and ‘muddle’ or crush together with the handle of a wooden spoon. Fill the glass with ice cubes, add the Ketel One vodka, and apple juice, give it a good stir, then top with the tonic water and garnish with sticks of cucumber.

Design Porn: V&A mugs

The Victora & Albert has to be probably my favourite museum ever. So there aren't any dinosaurs, but there are plenty of pretty things to feast your eyes on, great shoes and awesome exhibitions. It's one of those places you can really lose yourself in (in fact, I did actually get lost in there last time I went - it's a pretty big place). It seems that you can go back time and time again and always find something new.

So I love the V&A. But I also love tea. Tea gets me up in the morning, gets me through the day and gets my ass in gear when I have a lot of work to do. So when I received a HUGE box of bone china V&A mugs to try out, you can imagine I was delighted.

The mugs are all inspired by fabrics in the V&A museum, and come in lovely matching gift boxes, which make them a great present for that tea-loving individual in your life.

My particular fave is this classy black and white 'Brocade' design. Perfect for sipping a cup of Earl Grey from. Or just regular builders' in my case...

The mugs are available from John Lewis and cost £9.50 each.

Karen Millen Pussybow Blouse

There's something about a blouse that makes me go all a bit Mad Men. I suddenly want to wear sexy pencil skirts, throw my hair up with a biro and pop on my 'clever girl' glasses. And this pussybow blouse from Karen Millen makes me giddy. Pussybow is such a lovely word, don't you think? Pussybow, pussybow, pussybow...

Anyway, this blouse is on the Very side of expensive at £99, but it's silk, it'll go with everything I own and it'll make me look pretty. Those are three excellent reasons to buy it, right?

Mmm, Meat: Testi

What draws you to London? Is it the buzzing streets, the superior shopping, the endless stream of festivals and exhibitions and screenings?

I'm a bit ashamed to admit it, but for me, London is all about the meat. Living with a vegetarian in the dark depths of Scotland will do that to a girl. In the weeks preceding a visit, I dream not of cocktails and afternoon teas, but of lamb chops and bulgogi. Don't judge me.

Thankfully my friends know me well, so when I arrived last week we headed straight to Testi, their local Turkish Ocakbasi restaurant on Stoke Newington High Street. We could have gone to any of the more well known grills in the area, but this one, my friend said, was special. "They do MEAT BREAD". (And lamb testicles. But let's just gloss over that).

We walked past the great charcoal grills and into the cosy, warmly lit restaurant to take our seats. Within minutes our starter arrived, a generous sharing platter of cold meze, served with warm, fluffy, freshly baked bread. Everything tasted fresh and hearty, including the dolma which were so delicious we squabbled over them.

Then came the meat - succulent lamb chops that had just the right mixture of crispy fatty outer bits and soft tender inner bits.

They were served with rice and a selection of tangy side dishes, like these tasty chargrilled onions in pomegranate juice. The famous "meat bread" was a revelation: thin slices of bread brushed in meat juices. Genius.

We smiled, laughed, and devoured it all, with sticky fingers and greasy mouths. It's not exactly on the tourist map, but do try to bring some old friends there on your next visit.

Because nothing says "I've missed you" like a plate of meat.

38 Stoke Newington High Street, N16 7PL

Clothing Crush: Little Deer

My summer holiday shopping list is growing by the minute and it's all the fault of Little Deer, my new clothing crush. From floral patterns to cute playsuits to vintage pieces, the web shop just ticks all my fashion boxes.

The site is a bit over a year old, set up by Jade Golding while still at university, and sells a small but carefully selected range of stock, all with a very pretty look that's sure to appeal to a certain type of indie-buying, vintage-inspired girl. They call it 'feminine with an edge'; I call it bloody lovely. And the site is presented beautifully, with lovely photography that includes close-up details of the clothing.

The stock includes pieces independent designers picked from around the world including Australian label Fabled and True. Pictured is their Nobody but You dress (other items of their clothing are as imaginatively named - take your pick from the 'Call Me' or the 'Awesome to the Max' skirt). The label reworks vintage fabrics into new styles, so here's a pretty yellow rose pattern that's become a light summer dress with a retro sweetheart neckline. As there's only one stocked of each item I suggest you hurry up and buy this dress before I do. It costs £79.

For a slightly different look, how about this cute playsuit is from American designer Garden Party? Being of the larger bosom, I don't think I'm ever going to fit into there but, needless to say, I'll be dead jealous of those who can. This is £54.

To top that all off, there's also a well judged selection of vintage. This green floral playsuit is exactly the thing to see you through the remaining long days of summer. It's reasonably priced too at £27.

Visit the site's blog for more inspiration. It pulls together gorgeous photo shoots from elsewhere on the web, as well as highlighting some good independent designers. And I haven't even mentioned the selection of jewellery they stock. In fact, with this overload of loveliness, I think I need to lie down. Thanks to Little Deer, you'll find me in a sun-drenched meadow, dreaming of floral dresses.

Hello, Birdy: The Birdcage Memo Board by Rockett St George

Got too many necessary but scruffy-looking scraps of paper hanging around, to the extent that your home is starting to look more like the inside of a recycling bun? Forever rummaging through unopened bills (sorry, gas man, that cheque must be lost in the post), receipts, postcards, and shopping lists in search of the train timetable? Resisting investing in a memo board to get your organised because you don't fancy choosing between the two boring options of magnetic or chalk?

If this sounds familiar, then look at it as less of an organisational nightmare and more as an excuse to splash out on this practical yet pretty birdcage memo board, from Rockett St George. Complete with wooden pegs to attach photos, flowers, invitations and all those other miscellaneous bits that you realise you actually need once you've zealously discarded them, it'd look lush in a home office or hallway. And at £39.99, it won't break the bank, even when you've organised and paid all those overdue bills.

Wednesday 28 July 2010

Cocktail Hour: Hammer and Sickle

As Alex mentioned earlier, discovering Vana Tallinn was one of the highlights of our trip. It's a sweet liqueur (and not nearly as traditional as those Estonians would have you believe), but it's very tasty. Rather like a sweeter version of brandy. It's strong, spicy and it'll get you quite happily merry after a couple. Or five.

Alex and I have now come back with rather a lot of the stuff (for erm... cooking) and after doing a hunt for a cocktail recipe, we found this simple one with a sinister name. Apparently, according to the ever-accurate source Wikipedia it's called that because "according to local legend, it hits the drinker on the head and cuts off his legs." I'm not sure about local legend, but the rest might actually be true.

You'll need:
  • Champagne
  • 50ml Vana Tallinn (which you can buy in larger booze stores, and might even find in a Waitrose).
Shake it! Pour the Vana Tallinn into a champagne flute, top up with bubbly and drink. Enjoy the nice warm feeling in your tummy, and far too much giggling.

Flickr image from Camera on Autopilot's photostream.

Attic Tea-Maker

I really want to like loose tea, but it's just a bit of a faff sometimes, isn't it? I know that some of the tea purists amongst you will disagree, but I'm a teabag girl, if you will. But then we were told about this Attic Tea-maker, and y'know what? I could get on board with this.

You just make your loose tea in the little machine, pop over your cup and pretty the button. Perfect tea, without getting bits all over the place! Hurrah! This nifty little gadget is just £14.95 from the Attic website. It's pretty stylish too. I want one.

Thanks to Vikki Chowney for telling us about this! Want to tell us about the pretty things you've found? Follow us on Twitter, or become a fan on Facebook!

Design Porn: Eleanor by Delicate Mayhem

I think I like the idea of ballet much more than actually watching it. The costumes are stunning, the music amazing and the dancing? Beautiful. I just wish I could follow the story! But, it's very very pretty to look at, isn't it?

This print called Eleanor by Delicate Mayhem at All Things Original is so striking. Everything about it is elegant (yes, those are fairy wings), but the black ink makes it stand out. It makes it interesting. It makes me want to part with 20 of my English pounds so it'll be mine and I can put it on my bedroom wall. Yes, I imagine I'll pirouette across the room too, at least whilst no one is looking.

Sluttery Travels: Chocolaterie Pierre in Tallinn, Estonia

Out of all the things Sian and I tried on our recent trip to Tallinn - passion fruit mules, Vana Tallinn, dried elk meat - the hot chocolate from Chocolaterie Pierre will be the hardest to forget. Sipping hot chocolate in a cosy cafe shouldn't be the highlight of a July holiday, but (and here I adopt an M&S voice) this was no ordinary hot chocolate. And Chocolaterie Pierre is a very special place.

Situated on one of the many side streets in this compact city, Chocolaterie Pierre certainly wouldn't look out of place in 1920s Paris. There are tables and sofas strewn with velvet throws if you fancy sitting outside in the sunshine, but this candlelit cafe and its wares are made for chilly drizzly days. Thankfully it's one of the few places we visited in Tallinn that wasn't ruined with bad music (they have a curious thing for cover versions of 80s ballads). Instead, the low conversation of the mostly female tourists can be heard.

The place is so beautiful I'd have been happy to sip tea, but it's the unforgettable rum, raisin and chilli hot chocolate we came for. Seriously, it was the best hot chocolate I have ever tasted - creamy and frothy all the way down, with rummy raisins at the bottom and enough chocolate around the edges to leave you with a messy mouth. This, combined with a slice of Sacher Torte that caught our eye, was a ridiculously pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

It's not cheap, especially by Estonian standards - two hot chocolates and a slice of cake came to around £11. The gorgeous chocolates that they sell are also far from cheap. But if you ever find yourself in the charming city of Tallinn, Chocolaterie Pierre, just off Vene, has to be visited.

Images from sian_meades' flickr photostream

Wallpaper Wednesday: Silver Zebras by Turner Pocock Cazalet

I seem to remember Siany saying a while back that she wanted wallpaper printed with giraffes. At the time, I remember scoffing, thinking any wallpaper patterned with animals was certain to come in crayon-bright, child-friendly colours (probably wipe-clean, but with someone as clumsy as me around, that's not always a drawback), probably intended for brightening up a kid's bedroom.

I never thought animal wallpaper could look sophisticated, but now I might have to eat my words. Because this zebra wallpaper by Turner Pocock Cazalet on Etsy is pretty elegant and grown-up. Featuring a print of galloping zebras in pewter, silver and charcoal on a matte grey background, I'm convinced this would go well in a lounge with lots of dark wood frames and muted lighting. It's still not giraffes, but they're close enough for me. Whether Siany will be convinced is another matter. It's $107USD for a 10m roll.

Tuesday 27 July 2010

Shoe Porn: Floral Tan Brogues

It looks like I'm going to be spending all of my money on shoes in Miss Selfridge. Their new range is so lovely. I don't even wear brogues! (What am I meant to wear them with? Why do they make my feet look huge?) But I'm going to find it very hard to resist these little floral tan beauties. Tan shoes are always a winner with me, especially in winter when everyone is wearing dull ol' black.

They're £35, they're limited edition and you probably will buy them and make me jealous.

Dream Dress: Red Oasis Shift

Oh, look what you've done, Oasis. One minute I'm sitting having a cup of tea, the next I'm coveting dresses and trying to work out if my credit card will disintegrate before my eyes if I try and use it. This red shift dress is just fabulous.

The ruffles are adorable. The sleeves are the perfect length and aside from the fact the model has a wonky head that might fall off any second, she looks stunning. You'd take this girl seriously. She'd get feisty.

This dress is £50. Seriously? Oasis have been missing the mark for me recently, and getting pricier. Hopefully that's going to change. I need more dresses like this in my life.

What A Hoot: Wise Owl Cushions

Gah. I have to say I love a good cushion. Yet even more so, I love a fabulous owl cushion. I feel wiser just for knowing these are in existence.

These are 34 x 33 cm, just big enough for maximum enjoyment whilst cuddling, and they also have a removable cotton cover to keep them in peak condition (ie you can hand wash last night’s dinner off, that *ahem* got there while your plate was precariously perched as your poured yourself some wine)

I happened to discover these whilst shopping at that delightful time when you are waiting-for-your-partner-to-do-some-man-thing-in-the-phone-shop-but-there-are-ALWAYS-queues-in-the-phone-shop-so-five-minutes-actually-means-twenty.

So in that incredibly peaceful frame of mind, this cushion called to me. It said “Coooorl. Buy me, and you will be wise. Cooorl. You will never wait again. Cooooooorl”

At £16 each from Flutterbyes, I actually feel duty bound to heed those words.

The winner of the Calvin Klein shoes!

Wow, that was our most popular competition EVER. You guys are super friendly and chatty when you want our shoes. But, we only had one pair, and we've only got one winner. Who who who?!

@jessawells! We picked her entry at random out of the comments, and she had this to say:

"Such scrumptious shoes! In true Domestic Sluts style I'd wear them to my first W.I. meeting, paired with a tweed shift and lashings of red lipstick. Who said jam and jerusalem can't be sexy?"

We approve of this wearing, and we demand to see photos of them in action! Congratulations!

Jessica, just email us, tell us what colour and what size you'd like, and we'll get Rubber Sole to send them out to you ASAP. Thanks so much everyone who entered! We promise to do more competitions soon, but you should check out the sale at Rubber Sole for more shoe prettiness.

Sluttishly Easy: Slut's Pasta

Pasta Puttanesca, or Slut's Pasta as I like to call it, is a feisty, bold, slapper of a dish. The sauce is named after certain, er, "ladies of the night", and it involves gutsy ingredients - think anchovies, garlic, olives and chilli - in a rich tomato sauce. It doesn't make for sophisticated eating, but it's a great storecupboard standby that can be rustled up without too much effort. Just don't blame me if you find yourself cursing at people like a bawdy nightwalker after eating it...

Slut's Pasta (serves 2 sluts)

You'll need:
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped (or grated if you can't be arsed)
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • 6 anchovy fillets
  • A handful of black olives, pitted
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 400ml tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 150g pasta, I used fusilli as it has lots of ridges to hold the sauce
  • Fresh basil, ripped up, to serve
Make it!
  • Heat a pan and add some olive oil. If you've bought anchovy fillets in oil, then use a bit of that.
  • Add the garlic and chilli, cook gently for a few minutes.
  • Add the anchovies, olives and capers. Fry for a few more minutes until the anchovies melt down to a paste.
  • Add the tomatoes and leave the sauce to simmer.
  • Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions.
  • Drain the pasta, toss it in the sauce and scatter the basil over. I don't add salt or parmesan to this recipe as the anchovies are salty enough by themselves, but feel free to if you like.

Geek Chic: Scientific Baking Wins!

I thoroughly enjoyed this article by Andy Connelly about the science behind baking a cake. Baking more so than some other cooking is a rather precise thing and I liked thinking about it in a different way to my usual "When is it ready for me to eat?" See, science is cool! I'd have listened a lot more in physics if it had been explained in terms of cake (sorry Mr Nile...).

So this t-shirt from Questionable Content (via Topatoco) would be the perfect piece of apparatus to accompany such tasty scientific endeavours. The theory that baking is science for hungry people is one that can be tested again and again. They come in red or black and cost $18 plus shipping. Buy one for yourself or a baking boy here

Monday 26 July 2010

Etsy Pick: Jewellery by Japonicas

Dear me. To safeguard myself from a poverty-stricken future, I should probably just find away to lock Etsy away from myself, ban access to it from any computer in the house, sigh sadly but then briskly move on and pretend from that day forward that it doesn't exist.

Because every time I idly browse it during a tea break, I end up in love with yet another designer or item. And Japonicas is one of them. Their pieces are whimsical and romantic, and even though those adjectives aren't usually my cup of tea, these have got a dreamy magic I can't resist.

My favourite is this double pendant featuring two gorgeous photos of a boy losing his balloons (I know that sounds filthy, but shush, you smutty devils, this is beautiful and tragic) in antiqued brass settings with a signature flower clasp to the chain. It's $38USD.

This statement necklace is like an amped-up charm bracelet, with a birdcage, Victorian locked, butterflies, Eiffel Tower, hearts and roses. It ties at the back of the neck with a thick ribbon, and will set you back $58USD.

And for anyone still missing Paris as much as us after our adventure there earlier this year, a camera necklace with honey-coloured crystal on a delicate brass chain with a hand-stamped tag reading 'vous êtes mon destin' (sighs or sickbags at the ready, that's French for 'you are my destiny'). It's $58USD. Although if I owned it I might want to run away on the Eurostar every time I wore it. So maybe it's best if I steer clear.

In the hood: Red Riding goodies

In my excitement about capes last week, I'd forgotten one of my favourite cape wearing heroines until Siany reminded me about her - Little Red Riding Hood. In the fantasy world where Cinderella's meringue ball dresses are considered the height of fashion, little miss Little Red is surely the best dressed fairy tale icon. So, in her honour, here are some hoodie goodies.

The story is given an update in this Little Red screen print by Yorkshire illustrator Lisa Stubbs. Check out Red Riding Hood's zip-up number with its starry print and 'Grandma Rocks' badge. The Wolf meanwhile looks suitably shifty in his kipper tie. The print costs $33 through Etsy.

Fun for kids and adults alike in this fridge magnet set available from Couverture for £12. It even comes in a fridge shaped tin. Invest in one of these to keep the wolf from your (fridge) door.

Finally, your grandma would approve of this What big teeth you have necklace. It features a charming vintage illustration from the story, set into a brass frame. There's even a Red Riding charm attached too. This costs $32 from Pontefract based Penny Masquerade, again through Etsy. Just add cape, basket and you're hood to go...

Cocktail Hour: Gin Turbo

As you might have guessed, gin's my favourite spirit. And no, it doesn't make me weepy (let's not discuss how white wine makes me feel though). It's versatile, you can buy it anywhere, and it was very popular in my favourite cocktail drinking period, the Twenties and Thirties. Gin Turbo is one of those urban myths where recipes vary to include champagne or even, gasp, a shot of espresso for that true turbo touch, but I think the version I drank last night, by Purl owner Tristan Stephanson, is even better. Purl's recipe is top secret (but highly recommended) but here's a recipe that makes simple and frothy Gin Turbos at home.

You will need:

  • Gin
  • A lime
  • Soda
  • Angostura bitters
  • Egg whites
Mix together 50ml gin, 20ml lime juice, 10ml soda, egg whites from one egg and a dash of angostura bitters in a cocktail shaker. Shake hard, then pour into a martini glass. The egg whites should form a froth on top, and you can add a twist of lime for a professional touch.

Unfortunately the 'turbo' effects only last for the evening.

Ahoy, Matey! Hello Sailor Collection at Cloth Ears

Maybe I should see someone about my obsession, but by now my fetish for all things nautical and emblazoned with anchors is well-documented. So, predictably, I was in raptures of delight when the latest email missive from Cloth Ears landed in my inbox, announcing their Hello Sailor collection. Appliquéd, embroidered and printed with swallows, anchors and stars, stripes and polka dots aplenty, this range ticks all the right boxes for me. And it's affordable too. The compact mirror only costs a bank-balance friendly £6.99.
This wash bag is lined in ivory fabric with blue polka-dots, and the reverse features the same anchor and stars pattern design used on the large anchor on the front. It's chunky enough to fit in all your make-up, toiletries and other bits and bobs, and will set you back £19.99.

Last but not least, my personal favourite; a heart-shaped coin purse with an appliquéd floral and polka-dot swallow on one side, complete with button eye, and red with white polka-dots on the other. It's £13.99, but I fear I'll have no pennies left to put in it unless I'm forcibly restrained from snapping up the whole range.

Friday 23 July 2010

Cocktail Hour: Champagne Charlie

Champagne cocktails are best when they're simple. Often, it's just a case of some very generous person bringing a bottle of bubbly with them when they come for dinner, and mixing it with whatever you fruit thing have to hand. Juice works well (some better than others - cranberry does not work). But apricot brandy is obviously going to work better. Apricot brandy is a wonderful invention.

You'll need: (this is simple)
  • Champagne
  • 50ml Apricot Brandy
Shake it! (Oooh, this is simple too!)

Add the apricot brandy to a champagne flute, top up with champage. Pretend to everyone else that it was much more complicated than it really was. Cocktails that mean you can spend more time drinking instead of shaking make me very happy indeed.

Flickr image from fontplaydotcom's photostream.

Etsy Pick: Priscilla Pink Lily Hairclip

I am to be married next month and, as my beau and I are both fifties throwbacks, we are eloping to Las Vegas for the big day. As is obviously only fitting when one is being serenaded down the aisle by Elvis in a 1950's diner, I will be wearing a beautiful dress, in a turquoise hibiscus print, made from an original 1950's pattern. So far so good but I have been having momentous problems finding the perfect piece to perch upon my pomped up hair! I had been long flirting with the idea of a birdcage veil, which to be honest I can whip up myself, but I really wanted something a bit more. Then I found this beauty...

I introduce you to Priscilla, a double pink lily hairclip from the TikiTearaway gals, two strolling strumpets for the tropical shores of the North East of England. And guess what, Priscilla costs a mere $10 - TikiTearaways my wedding and I salute you!

You can also find the TikiTearaways on Folksy where I have been eyeing up a set of cocktail umbrella hairclips, because quite frankly what up-do isn't going to be improved by the inclusion of a cocktail umbrella!

Cute or Creepy? Pink Girl Lamp from Ghost Furniture

Like the SUCK UK Teddybear Lamp we featured a while back, it seems that giving items lampshades instead of heads gives them surreal, sinister look even when the critter underneath isn't cute and cuddly. So, I'm not entirely convinced by this lamp.

Upcycled from a dull beige angel ornament with some matte raspberry paint, a vintage lampshade upholstered with pink and bronze silk and a handful of buttons, the finished product is certainly unique, and has a certain fairytale glamour. But would you have it in your home? What do you think? It's £275, from Ghost Furniture on Bouf.

Bird on a wire

I love this bird on a wire collection from Anthropologie. It's perfect. Just a little bit interesting, but still classic.

Breakfast time does not look like this in Sluttery HQ. I wish it did though. This bowl is £12.

Look how pretty! I love the take on blue and white. Anything blue on white china looks good. Them's the rules. Still, £18 for a dinner plate is pricey.

So instead I will buy the smaller side plates. They're £14.

Can I have them all, please?

Thursday 22 July 2010

Cocktail Hour: Sailor's Kiss

Hello, I'm Michelle - new Domestic Slut reporting for duty! Right then, starting as one means to go on I have decided to share with you all my very own personal recipe for a cocktail I created last year when I was just a slight wee bit obsessed with Sailor Jerry rum. This recipe does taste best with the original recipe Sailor Jerry's so if you still have a bottle stashed away you may want to break it out and give it a go (or you could always send it to me as I am hoarding the stuff as not so keen on the new recipe). Otherwise use the new stuff or give it a go with Morgan's Spiced Rum or similar which I am sure will be just as lovely!

And hey, remember, there are no hard and fast rules here so feel free to experiment with the quantities and ratios to your own personal taste.

You will need:
  • 2 measures of spiced rum (original recipe Sailor Jerry's is my personal preference)
  • 1 measure of almond liquer (I use Disarrona Amaretto)
  • Apple and Raspberry Juice
  • A lime quarter
Shake it!

Fill a tall glass with crush ice, pour in the rum and almond liquer and add the apple and raspberry juice to taste. Give it a nice swift stir with a swizzel stick, add a squeeze of lime and enjoy!

The Cape Crusade: Broken Hearts cape

Sometimes I worry about my fashion susceptibility. If you'd mentioned capes to me about a week ago, I'd have probably answered with some quip about Sherlock Holmes or Batman. One lazy weekend spent flicking through the autumn style previews of glossy magazines later and I suddenly find myself typing 'I REALLY REALLY WANT A CAPE' into Google. And that's exactly how I found the below beauty:

It's a black cotton cape taken from Beyond the Valley's Broken Hearts collaboration. If you haven't heard of the Broken Hearts, they are a pair of DJ/musician/vintage wearing types who dress exactly like I would if I wasn't so afraid of looking a bit silly and people laughing at me on the streets. Though I'm probably old enough to know better,  there is something incredibly appealing about their cartoon-esque style.

And so back to the cape. The braver side of me really wants it, all of it, from its round collar and neck tie, to the lovely leopard-print style pattern. I have visions of cycling down the road in one, it billowing attractively behind me in the breeze. Perhaps I'll even be inspired to solve a few crimes like a true caped crusader. It's in the sale too, currently £135 reduced from £270. Is it deserving of an early birthday present from me, to me? Or have I suffered temporary fashion insanity and been duped by the fashion industry into thinking capes are ace? I just can't decide. What do you think?

Design Porn: Tom Butcher

There's a little vegetarian restaurant in Covent Garden called Food For Thought (have you been? Try the veggie curry.) My favourite thing about the place is their tableware. The bowls and plates they use are earthy, rustic and chunky. And I've never been able to find any similar. But Tom Butcher Ceramics is a pretty close second.

I didn't know I wanted square mugs. But I do. I really really do. Look how neatly they line up! They're £10 each or £55 for six.

I love this wine cooler. If I had this, I'd have an excuse to sit out in my garden and drink chablis all weekend long. It's £22 and the little wine glasses are £10 each.

This little vinaigrette jug is so cute. It's £15 and I want it.

I want everything.
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