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Thursday 30 September 2010

Sluttishly Snug: Cardigan Cuteness

At this time of year, as we start to say hello to those cooler autumnal temperatures, I often find my mind starts to turn to cardigans. I am not ashamed to say I love a good cardigan. Not only do they keep me nice and warm but they are also an incredibly useful garment to extend the life of my favourite summer dresses!

Now as many people who know me would attest, I have a rather eclectic array of style icons who I turn to for inspiration. I will even admit that a substantial amount of them are not real people, indeed, many of them are fictional characters. And not just film characters, oh no, some of them are even from the telly. You may scoff but I am not ashamed, and recently I have even been feeling vindicated with so many people crushing on characters like Joan from Mad Men!

Anyway, when it comes to knitwear my very favourite style icon is the queen of the cardigan herself, Rose from Two and a Half Men. Her penchant for wonderful woolies is a constant source of wonderment in my life! If you have ever caught the show you will know exactly what I mean - boy can that girl rock a cardie!

Here are a few of my current favourite cardigans, I'm pretty sure Rose would approve!

Bring a touch of 1940's glamour into your life with the Miss Lemon Cardigan from Flossy and Dossy, available from their Folksy shop, comes in UK sizes 8 to 16. Each cardigan is hand-knitted to order and cost just £45.

I love all the detailing on this cardigan, from gingham bows to crotched strawberries, this one is going to keep you feeling snug and looking cute! The JoJo & Mac Alice Cardigan is available from Dollydagger and costs £55. The cardigan is one size, fitting UK size 8 to 16.
Last up is the Darling Sasha Cardigan with its rather fab pearl and bow trim. It costs £45 and is available from Aspire Style in sizes 8 to 14.

So will you be chanelling your inner Rose this autumn? I shall look forward to hearing which cardies you'll all be rocking!

Under a Fiver: Miniature Bird Houses

The Chic Country Home is one of the many interiors shops that are on my radar due to the whole 'vintage vibe'. Shabby chic is sticking around, and interiors shops like this are perfect for those little bits and bobs to complete the look.

These little miniature bird houses are perfect for just that. Of course, they're utterly pointless. But they're utterly pretty as well. And each one is £2. You can order in two different sizes, and you'll get one of the colours shown. Mix them up, and pop them on any little shelf you haven't found a use for yet.

Shoe Porn: Cleo B Wedges

Just when I think I've seen every little shoe boutique in London, another pops into my life and I get all excited again. And Cleo B did just that about an hour ago. Already dividing opinion in the Domestic Sluttery team (Alex S says no, Gemma says yes), these black wedges have me smitten. The shape, the rock star stripes (that continue around the heel), the little tiny bit of ostentation. I love everything about them. They're the perfect mix of showy and elegant.

They're also in the sale. Which means they're down from £250 to £100. And they're in my size. I can very very very nearly afford them. I'm certain I'd go out dancing all night if I bought these. That instantly makes Cleo B my new favourite shoe shop.

Rob Ryan Notebook

I actually spotted this Rob Ryan notebook over on Little Thoughts and Randomness late one evening. Then I had my beauty sleep and promptly forgot where I saw it. It's been bugging me ever since. Now I've found it, I'm super excited and I fully intend on ordering just as soon as I've finished typing this post.

The Domestic Sluts' collective love for Rob Ryan is getting a little bit embarrassing these days (has he taken out a restraining order on us yet?) but we never get bored of his work. And we never get bored of his work sneaking it's way into our days, making us smile and sometimes, even creeping us out.

This little notebook is A6 sized and £7.95 (not £11.95 as I originally stated). It'll fit into even the tiniest of handbags and pockets, meaning that we can record all of our secret thoughts and happy things on the go. You can buy this in blue and pink from Bloomsbury & Co.

Roarsome: T-Rex pendant by Youreyeslie

Though they became extinct many millions of years ago, we've long established that dinosaurs still rule.

That's why this pendant sends me into T-rextasy ecstasy. Like a more portable version of one of the Natural History Museum's skeletons, this dino is poised on its back legs ready to pounce. Port this brass beauty upon your person and I reckon you'll be instantly emboldened. You know, I am woman, hear me ROAR. That kind of thing.

Brilliantly, it's made by Youreyeslie and so is also a great excuse to trot out the old 'do-you-think-he-saw-us' gag.

Instant sass and a cheap pun, all for a 'would-ya-believe-us' £34.

Wednesday 29 September 2010

The Prettiest Pants

Sometimes, for no reason, buying myself a lovely treat is fun. And this week, that treat might be some very pretty (albeit not very cheap) pants. No reason, no hot date, no special event. Just because I feel like it.

These jade briefs from Bordello are just beautiful. Just the right side of sexy. Yes, they're £45, but they'll make you feel fabulous.

Yes, these silk hipster briefs from Myla are really simple. But they're so well cut, and the silk and simple shape is actually what makes them sexy. They're £29.

Want something a little more daring? These sheer shorts are from Coco de Mer and they're £60. I love the lace trim.

Of course, whether anyone else sees them or not is up to you...

Wallpaper Wednesday: Anthropologie Paperback Paper

Books an interiors go together so happily. There's nothing that I like more than curling up with a decent book for an hour (even if now that's more of a snatched ten minutes on the bus). Books make us feel happy and at home. And the Domestic Sluts have an awful lot of them. I'm reading Tender is the Night at the moment. Glamour and craziness combined. It's excellent.

This paperback-inspired wallpaper is from Anthropologie. Of course, that means that it's on the VERY side of expensive at £128, but it's pretty isn't it? I'm inspired to take vintage looking photos of my oldest books and frame the prints. They'll even be personal to me which makes it even more special.

Book Review: What Shall I Wear Today by Fifi Lapin

Fifi Lapin, in case you haven't heard of her before, is the world's most fashionable bunny blogger. And as well as a blog that keeps thousands of fashionistas in ecstasy with her daily posts from catwalks the world over, the rabbit-shaped socialite (who claims she is spoilt rotten, spending an obscene amount of her father's fortune "which he made playing fast and loose with carrot and lettuce shares on the international stock market") has just had a book published too.

What Shall I Wear Today? Style Secrets of a Furry Fashionista was published by Sceptre earlier this month, and is the perfect accompaniment to Fifi's blog. Featuring gorgeous photography and illustration alongside interviews with designers and practical fashion advice for every occasion, this is an inventive and adorable twist on the traditional and somewhat tired style bible format.

And because there's such a wide-ranging assortment of designers involved, from Betsey Johnson and Vivienne Westwood to Marc Jacobs and Julien Macdonald, the credibility associated with those major names easily elevates it beyond quirky vanity project to a book which is both beautiful and useful.

Not everyone will be impressed by Fifi, but for those who aren't inclined to take style tips from a fictional rabbit fashionista, this would never be the right book for them anyway. For fans of Fifi's, or for an audience that haven't encountered her before but are likely to be taken with the scrapbook-style format, original illustrations and photography, this would make a perfect present.

The RRP is £12.99, but you can buy it from Amazon for £7.57.

Blogs We Love: Conversation Pieces

Zoe lives in Edinburgh. She's getting married and she's doing up her home. As someone who doesn't own my own place yet, and still finds weddings a bit much (although I'm sure that's because nobody I know has gone for bunting and vintage dresses), it says a lot for her warm writing and beautiful images that her blog Conversation Pieces is one of my favourites.

Here's Zoe, wearing a Where The Wild Things Are suit that her sister handmade her for Christmas. Cool, huh?

When she's not blogging about furry, woman-sized suits and the super-cute save the date video she and her OH made, Zoe's rewarding her readers with giveaways of gorgeous products from, amongst others, Emily Hogarth, Hannah Zakari, Cut Copy Create and Nikki McWilliam's Tunnock tea cake cushions (which might deserve their own post). As so many of the blogs I read are based in the capital, I love hearing about Scottish craftsters. Time to plan a trip up North...

Etsy Pick: Marco Polo Badges

I’ve come to the conclusion that I am well into Operation Embrace Badges. It was a surprise mission, but not an unwelcome one. I’ve discovered Beanforest on Etsy, and have claimed him as my new best friend. His badges inspire a sly ‘tee hee hee’ in me, and I actually want them all.

My latest favourite is this Marco Polo badge set, which is a teensy $2.00 USD (£1.31!!!!!) I just love it. You could give one to a friend, or if you’re feeling crafty of an afternoon, you could fashion them into earrings. The possibilities are endless!

I did make a purchase (just a tiny one!), just because I thought it was irresistible.

I will be parading the politically questionable Let Us Eat Cake badge within the week. For a revolutionary (ha!) 66p

Tuesday 28 September 2010

Cocktail Hour: The Sluttery Pitcher

Earlier this month, we had a little party at Domestic Sluttery HQ. Most of the time, we whip up a simple cocktail or drink bubbly. But this time, I decided to make something a little more interesting. By that, I mean that we had a bottle of vodka and I wanted to do something with it. So I made a cocktail pitcher that shall now be forever known as The Sluttery.

I warn you, this is a strong cocktail. But it tastes of nothing but fruit juice. Which means that when you're not looking, your guests have made some more, and topped up with more vodka and before you know it, you've gone through the entire bottle within an hour. The drunken lushes.

You'll need:
  • 150ml Vodka (you will use more, but let's start off small)
  • 50ml Grand Marnier
  • 300ml orange juice
  • 200ml cranberry juice
Make it!

Add ice to a large jug, pour in the vodka and Grand Marnier. Stir, and top up with the fruit juice. If you need a little more cranberry, add a splash more (the evening is hazy, I'm not entirely sure of the measurements). Start off small, with the right ratios and add if needed. If you want to make this in cocktail glasses, go with 50ml vodka and 15ml Grand Marnier and top up from there. And once you've made a pitcher, hide the rest of the vodka from your friends...

Flickr image from StuartWebster's photostream. Your cocktail will look a lot like that, and I bet you get too tipsy to take a photo.

Dream Dress: New Look Crochet Dress

Oh, Autumn. You've ruined my wardrobe plans. I have no idea what to wear in September. If I go out in a little blazer, it's freezing. If I go out in a scarf and a hat I'm sweltering in minutes. I don't understand. But this pretty crochet trim dress might just solve all of my problems. It's from New Look, and it's certainly one of the most casual dresses we've featured. One of the cheapest too, it's only £26.

I like the crochet trims, and the dark grey is a perfect Autumn-y colour. But best of all, when it gets all toasty in your coat, you can wear this in the sunshine and still feel warm. It won't look like you've just thrown a winter coat over your summer dress. No matter how hard I try, that little trick just doesn't work as well as it should.

Tea Towel Tuesday: H&M Home Bargains

Despite the initial excitement, I haven't been that blown away by H&M home. I like some of the items, but the range isn't huge. And I feel a bit cheated that they're only doing textiles. But, as always, despite my misgivings I've found something that I really like.

The tea towels in the range are lovely. This one is most definitely my favourite.

I like the traditional print on this one. It's on lots of their homestuffs.

The best thing? Each tea towel is just £2.99 which makes these the cheapest tea towels I've featured. That's the thing about H&M. You might not like everything they have, but when you do find something, it'll be a bargain.

Sluttishly Savoury: Bacon Salt

I am vegetarian. My boyfriend, however, is not. He will eat any and all kinds of meat, including the grim bits like kidneys and ox cheek. Blee. This can create a dilemma at tea time if I'm in charge of cooking. He has three options: eat my delicious and awesome vegetarian meal, add some meat to it, cook something else.

Until now. Because now the world has given us option four: bacon salt.

Finally, everything can taste of bacon. It's suitable for vegetarians so I can report that it's smoky and salty and great on potato wedges. I have no idea whether it replicates the exact bacon taste but it is good, in a dirty sort of way.

We've got the original version but it comes in a range of flavours including hickory, jalapeno and applewood (no, me either). It's £2.95 for a jar or £6.99 for a pack of three.

Design Porn: From London With Love necklace

Winter's here. Not glamorous, chic winter like in New York or Switzerland, where you can swan around in fake fur in the snow drinking hot chocolate, but relentless, rubbish winter where you get rain in your ballet pumps and the person who sits next to you at work has a constant sniffle. It would be pretty easy to be down on the UK right now (especially as my baby brother keeps sending me pictures of his scorchio Sardinian holiday) but I think we need to celebrate. Let's celebrate custard, repression, smog, self-loathing comedy and all the things that make this nation great.

Wear your love around your neck with Mockinghorse's From London With Love necklace. A slice of the capital, etched in plastic and jauntily lodged around your neck. Nice.

And this week only, until 1 October, you can buy the necklace for £9.99 rather than £15. You could spend the £5 you've saved on two quintessential slices of Britishness: a gin and tonic in a can, and a pair of Union Jack pants.

We're Jammin': Jam tips from the WI

I love a bit of jam on my porridge, on a scone or just surreptitiously scooped out of the jar with a spoon. So when I was invited up to the Good Housekeeping Institute to learn the tricks of the trade with Stoves and the W.I. I jumped at the chance.

I was tutored by the lovely Kath Mepham (with husband Peter on the washing up), a jam veteran of several decades and a Women's Institute judge. Jam is a great way of preserving fruit for the winter, and it's surprisingly easy once you get the hang of it. Here are Kath's top tips for a great pot of the sweet stuff.

Kath's top tips for jam

  • DO use new lids on your jams - the taste of your jam can be affected by a nasty old lid, especially if it's been covering something vinegary beforehand. It's fine to recycle jam jars though.
  • DON'T forget to sterilise your jam jars. It's not tricky  - just bung them in the dishwasher or in hot soapy water, rinse and put in the oven at 180c / Gas 4 for ten minutes. Then keep them warm until you're ready to fill them. Sterilising ensures your jam will keep for over a year unopened.
  • DO warm the sugar before stirring it into the fruit. This helps the sugar dissolve quickly, so you don't have to cook the fruit for so long and the flavour stays vibrant.
  • DON'T use aluminium pans - they can taint the flavour. If you're really into jam, a stainless steel preserving pan is a very useful bit of kit.
  • DO add a tiny touch of butter if there's scum on your jam - this helps to disperse it and gives a glossy finish. Don't go nuts though, or it's get a bit greasy.
  • DON'T add the sugar until the fruit is soft, especially with tougher skinned fruits like plums or blackcurrants.

For recipe inspiration, why not try Jane's Scones with Blackcurrant Jam.

With Kath's expert guidance I made two very respectable jars of raspberry jam. I was so inspired that I decided to enter my jam in the WI Real Jam Festival. If you're inspired too, and fancy winning this groovy jam-inspired Stoves oven, entries open on Friday 1 October and close on November 12. Better get jammin!

Monday 27 September 2010

Bag Lust: Ollie & Nic Sale

Ollie & Nic make bags that I want to keep forever. It's rare I go into a shop and want to choose everything on the shelves. But Ollie & Nic are different. The range isn't huge, but everything is covetable. They're smart, so perfect for work or meetings. The problem with them is that they're not very cheap. And then I stumbled across their sale. The sale included this brown tote bag that I've been using for the last few months (perfect laptop size), and this mustard satchel as well.

And, then there's this little collection of loveliness:

This satchel is beautiful, and it's real leather. Now it's just £63.

Want something a little more colourful? This embossed teal bag is now just £56.

I first spotted this circular bag over on Sarah's Enchanted Hunters, but now it's in the sale and it's very cute indeed.

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Squash, spinach & goats' cheese risotto

Risotto is a lovely winter comfort dish, and although it's a bit of a faff, it's really not difficult. I actually find standing in front of the hob stirring quite relaxing, and once you've got the basic onion-rice-booze-stock combo down it's very easy to make whatever variety of risotto you like.

Please make sure you use proper risotto rice though (I use either Carnaroli or Arborio, although you can also get a variety called Vialo Nanone) as otherwise you won't get that lovely creamy texture that makes risotto great.

And I know putting Amaretto in a savoury risotto sounds funny, but trust me - it's good! It gives an underlying flavour that goes really well with the squash, but if you prefer you can substitute another spirit like vermouth.

Squash, Spinach & Goats' Cheese Risotto (serves 2)

You'll need:
  • 1 squash - any type (I used an onion squash)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 750ml vegetable stock
  • A pinch of cumin, nutmeg and cinnamon
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 150g risotto rice
  • 50ml Amaretto liqueur
  • 1 small chunk of goats' cheese, chopped or torn up
  • 1 small bag of baby spinach, washed
Make it!

  • Preheat the oven to 180c / Gas 4. Cut the squash in half and scoop the seeds and stringy bits out with a spoon. Rub the halves with olive oil, sprinkle over some salt and pepper. Bung them in the oven for 45 minutes until soft.
  • Once the squash is cooked, let it cool a bit before scooping the flesh out of the skin and chopping roughly, set aside.
  • Put a bit of oil into a saucepan and sweat the onion until it's soft but not coloured. While you're doing this, put the stock into another saucepan and warm it through. It shouldn't be boiling madly, but it needs to be hot.
  • Add the spices and risotto rice to the onion and stir well to coat the grains with oil. Fry for a couple of minutes until the spices are nice and fragrant.
  • Slosh in the Amaretto and let it bubble away until it's almost dry.
  • Now for the stirring. Add a ladle of hot stock and stir, stir, stir while the risotto simmers away.
  • Once the stock has been absorbed, add another ladleful and keep stirring.
  • Keep going for around 20 minutes. Test the rice to see if it's cooked - it shouldn't be crunchy! The risotto rice will give a nice, natural creaminess.
  • Once the rice is cooked stir through the cheese, spinach and squash to melt the cheese, wilt the spinach and warm the squash.

Mocktail Hour: Bottlegreen Soft Drinks

I've made no secret about the fact that I don't like anything that tastes of flowers. And when Bottlegreen sent me some limited edition sparkling elderflower and pomegranate presse, I fully expected to share it with Alex S instead of slurping away at it all.

But it's really really nice. Much lighter than I expected. The flavour wasn't overpowering, and it tasted like an interesting sparkling water, rather than a sugary soft drink. Now, I might have called this post 'Mocktail Hour' but I should admit to us mixing it with vodka. Ahem. Went down very well too. There isn't often a good non-alcoholic option at a party, unless your guests bring something themselves. Usually, they're left with boring mixers and fruit juice. Get in a bottle of this and they'll be happy.

Bottlegreen isn't an option that I would buy in my weekly shop, but I'd pick up a bottle from the supermarket if I was having a party (they're about £2). And I might sneak it into cocktails when no one is looking.

Cute or Creepy? Can you see I love you?

I do really like this t-shirt. Eye-test designs often leave me a little bit cold, but it's the slight creepiness of the 'can you see I love you?' slogan that makes this interesting (I also love the exposed zip at the back). It's a cosy little number perfect for lazy Sundays and snuggling up. Topshop are very good at snuggly cotton t-shirts.

But it's only lovely if you're not snuggling up with your boy. This t-shirt is absolutely fine, until you're walking down the street and you bump into the guy you fancy. Then, it's just a wee bit creepy. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is one thing, but do wear this t-shirt with caution. It might be cute, but it could cause all sorts of trouble. If you really want it anyway (and I do), it's £28 from Topshop.

A Really Good Idea: Chocolate and Love

Living out in the proverbial sticks as I do, my access to chocolate has decreased at a rate that alarms me. It’s not that I am particularly addicted to sweet things, rather that the more I know that something is unavailable, the more I go to sleep dreaming about it. Sweet, sweet chocolatey dreams.

So it will come as no surprise to you, that when offered the chance to sample the wares of Chocolate and Love, an online chocolate boutique, my answer was a resounding YES PLEASE SIAN stop SEND IMMEDIATELY stop. Or, y’know, something along those lines - and in telegraph form.

The much-anticipated package arrived within the week, and this is what arrived:

My favourite (just!) of the two that were sent was the heavenly Crushed Diamonds, which was organic dark chocolate with cacao nibs. I’m an absolute sucker for dark chocolate, and the cacao nibs added some extra texture, without having too intense a flavour.

Also included was the equally delicious The Coffee Affair, which had the taste of real coffee. It tasted expensive. They were both incredibly rich, in a way that makes you not need more than a few squares at once. Which is good, especially if, *ahem*, you’re a greedy-type person.

I have to say I wasn’t too worried about not liking the chocolate, especially since there is so much competition out there. They are both £3.20 for 100g, which is not especially cheap, but not outrageously expensive. Really, they were both great, I can’t fault them at all. But, surprisingly, the chocolate’s not the best part about this product. The best bit is the anticipation.

I actually cannot describe the sheer pleasure I felt at having a parcel arrive, on a bleak Welsh day, and seeing that it was from Chocolate and Love. I ripped that baby open and gave an uncharacteristic squeal. It was almost too exciting!

The online ordering is the genius behind the deliciousness. Knowing me, I would order it, wait impatiently for a day, then forget, and a few days later have the best kind of mail delivered. It’s almost as if you had a chocolate guardian angel, and wouldn’t that be the best thing ever?

Design Porn: Unicorn Ring

In quiet moments, I like typing 'unicorn jewellery' into Google and cooing over the pretty things it uncovers. That's how I found this silver and enamel ring by Mark Poulin, over on US website Shana Logic (warning: it is full of cute accessories made by independent designers. You will want it ALL). I love the simple line drawing, the way it fits beautifully even on my spindly fingers, and the happy comments I get from other people who spot it. It's $65 - about £40 - but you'll want to wear it forever.

Rumours that I sometimes close my eyes, place one finger on the ring and make a wish while whispering 'unicorn power' remain unconfirmed.

Friday 24 September 2010

Home Office: Perpetual Ball Calendar

This might just be the coolest calendar I've ever seen. Yep, it's a calendar. A perpetual one at that (well, it's £60, you'd hope so, wouldn't you?) Like all of the best stationery and office goodies, it's from Present & Correct and I'm going to covet it until it's mine.

I love that the days are in French. I was even quite surprised that I could remember all of them from my school days. It won't help me remember anyone's birthday, but it will look lovely on my desk and make sure I date my invoices properly.

A tiny dash of...

I'm a kind of splash everything in, kind of baker. I've been baking for a while now, and most of the time, I get it just about right. But some of you hate it when I write in my recipes 'a tiny dash of something or other'. And I can see your point. So, for all of you who are sticklers for exact measurements and getting things just so, here's a little mini measurer from Pedlars. One will cost you £4.50 and everything will be measured perfectly from now on.

Shop in the spotlight: Found Interiors

I wish I could remember where I found Found Interiors (possibly Home Shopping Spy? They always have good stuff over there). Wherever it was, I really rather like them. Unique pieces, rather then generic mass produced stuff. They have a shop in Kent, but even their website feels like it's a little local place that you want to keep a secret. My favourite pieces are their office stuffs.

Short on office space? This wall hung desk is perfect. It folds up so you can put away all of your work at the end of the day. I'd totally put wall sticks on the underside too. It's £349.

I love these Pantone storage tins. Perfect for keeping pens and pencils in on my desk. They're A4 sized and £13 each.

This desk tidy is so lovely. Much more unique than that plastic one you've had for years. It might be £45 but you'll use it always.

Lace and Pearls

There isn't a more classic combination than lace and pearls. But this beaded bib necklace from Miss Selfridge is a little more unusual than most. I love that it looks delicate, but I bet when you're wearing it it packs a punch. It's romantic, it's floaty, it's elegant. And blimey, because it's in the sale, it's only £5 reduced from £18. There's a black and white version as well, but I think this one is much prettier. Buy one now, before it's gone forever.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Piss off, I'm busy

Well, this 'Piss off, I'm busy' sign just about says it all, doesn't it? By busy, I obviously mean drinking tea, dancing about my room and reading magazines instead of tidying up or doing Important Things. All of those are me being busy and you can't argue with me! Especially not if the door is shut and I won't let you in. This little sign is £7.95 from Hunkerdown.

Dream Dress: Joy One Shoulder Dress

I've stared at this one shoulder dress for a long time. I'm drawn to the colour like a little teal-loving magpie. But it's the shape I couldn't get my head around. I've seen it in the flesh (at the Southwark branch of Joy), and I still couldn't decide. But then I saw this photo. And yes, it's lovely. It's just one of those frocks that will always look better on (and if you stick your arm out for the entire evening).

But! You'll stick your arm out much more than you'd imagine! Getting a drink, dancing about, being a smokey smokerson (ahem). You're practically walking about with your arms all over the place. So it's totally worth the £45, isn't it? It would be more expensive if it had two arms.

Alphabet Ice Cubes

Some people I know utterly hate novelty ice cubes. But I don't. I like them because they're silly. My favourite being the guitar-shaped ice coolers in Sluttery HQ, but they belong to my housemate. These alphabet ice cube trays are going to come a close second though. I've could use them to make a Siany cocktail! And that, is reason enough to buy them.

They're £20 for the three trays from Suck UK. I'll even share a new cocktail recipe with you later so you can use them.

Bag Lust: Accessorize Woodland Weekend Bag

I want to book a weekend away just so I have an excuse to buy this weekend bag. It's from Accessorize, and it's £38 and it's utter loveliness. I have a weekend bag from these guys already. They're excellent, last for years and they're big enough for all of your bits and bobs. I've used mine for week long holidays too (I'm a light packer).

But mine doesn't have woodland creatures on it. There's no pictures of deer or bunnies or butterflies on mine. Obviously I need an upgrade, right? Yes. Most definitely.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Sluttishly Savoury: Cucumber Chutney

I’m a recent convert to the Church of Chutney. For many a year, I maintained that they were, in a word, foul. Oh how wrong I was. You will need to either buy some new jam jars, or collect some old ones and sterilise them

This chutney is super easy, quick and packs a real punch. It’s the perfect solution for a lunch that needs jazzing up. (Jazzing up? Someone’s stuck in the 90’s.)

You Will Need:
  • Approximately 6 jam jars (quantity depends of jar sizes)
  • 2kgs Cucumber
  • 2 onions
  • 1 small cabbage (green, or red if you want a pinky chutney)
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 cups of vinegar
  • 125g brown sugar
  • 1 tbs cornflour
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1 tbs tumeric
  • 1 tbs chilli powder
Make it!
  • Chop the garlic finely and all your vegetables into bite sized pieces
  • Add to a large pot with vinegar, sugar, cornflour, salt, turmeric and chilli
  • On a high heat, bring mixture to boil
  • Once boiling, simmer for 20mins
  • Arrange your jars on a baking tray, and put them in a low oven for 10 mins
  • Once the chutney is ready, carefully ladle into the warm jars
Some Hot Tips:
  1. It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it’s so quick to organise that it’s not a problem at all
  2. Keep a close eye on the jars in the oven - I had several disasters when making this. If they’re too hot they’ll crack as soon as you ladle in the chutney
  3. Put the lids on as soon as you can, and turn the jars upside down. This will help create an airtight seal, which will make you chutney last longer
  4. This tastes wonderful when it’s slightly crunchy, so don’t overcook!

Design Porn: Katie Adams Ceramics

I wish I could remember when I came across Katie Adams, but whenever it was, I'm pleased I found her. I love her ceramics. It's safe to assume by now that I'm constantly inspired by the London skyline, but I like it when people do something new with it. But new doesn't have to be outlandish and. It can just be really beautiful.

Cereal bowls this pretty would remind me to eat my Frosties.

Battersea is such an iconic place now, and I want Battersea cups!

And obviously I need these to go with the matching tea set.
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