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Monday 31 January 2011

Sluttery Travels: Belle Grove Barns, Suffolk

I’m off to Singapore on Tuesday, so in case my worst fears come true and I get pulled into the Asian equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle and never return, let me leave you with the very best holiday destination I know of – and hurrah! It’s in England!

Finding somewhere really special to rent for a holiday is a total nightmare – I know, because I spent two solid weeks staring at websites of chintz before I found Belle Grove Barns. It’s in Suffolk, wonderful partly because it’s flat, and wonderful because there is a horse named after it. Belle Grove is just outside Halesworth, and it’s the most staggeringly beautiful place I have ever stayed. Ever.

The barns have all been converted by Belle Grove's owners, Nick and Jo, who ran safaris in Africa for 30 years and have spent the last few combing places like Rajasthan and Morocco for beautiful jewel-like pieces to decorate with.

Gorgeous. Just gorgeous. And probably time to gorge yourself on all the pictures on Belle Grove's gallery as well. From the guestbooks to the cushions, curtains and throws, every bit of every barn feels like you've just fallen into Arabian Nights. And no chintz in sight.

As well as looking a million dollars, staying at Belle Grove feels like it too. Cake and booze treats await you on arrival, along with underfloor heating, hotel quality linens, little Lindt truffles around the bed and a kitchen to die for. My boyfriend and I have been coming here for two years now and adore it – although, if you bring a car, be mindful of the time of year as we got hilariously snowed in when we visited in November:

Accommodation ranges from the small two-person Stable to the fairly massive Upper Barn which can handle up to eight. Dogs and children are all allowed, and you can even get the key to a little beach hut in Southwold if you go in summer. If you go to the wonderful Latitude festival nearby, and have money to splash, this would be a truly splendid way to avoid the nightmare that is wandering around past ‘quirky’ tent pegs at 4am.

If you're not off to Latitude, there's plenty to check out in the surrounding area, but it's definitely worth taking a car as the nearest supermarket is in Halesworth, a few miles away.

Prices range from £575 - £1305 per week - keep an eye out for the amazing house Nick and Jo have built for themselves too, complete with their very own dragon nesting on the roof!

Dream Dress: Trollied Dolly Polka Dot Shift

If there was such a thing as Sluttery Airways, this is probably the dress our air hostesses would wear. They'd serve martinis and we'd have interiors inflight magazines too. And the whole plane would be first class. It would be excellent. We promise we'll look into it, OK? And in the meantime we'll learn all of the safety announcements so you know where the exits are. We're probably not very good at flying planes.

But until we actually can set up our own airline, I'm going to have to settle for just the dress. It's by Trollied Dolly. The buttons and pussy bow at the collar are perfect details for preppy cuteness. Like it? It's £47 and you can buy it here.

Love Birds

It's very very very nearly February. I'm so excited about this, I can't see straight. February means it's not January anymore. And that makes it the most exciting month. We're even getting a bit loved up in favour of V-day.

And this card is the prettiest that I've found (although I'll admit, it doesn't mention bacon). It's from the always exciting Nonesuchthings and was created by Christina Wilson who does all of the website's photography. They've got some very lovely things in the new spring range, but this card is my favourite.

I'm going to spend much more time looking at flocks of birds now, just to see if they're flying in heart shapes. If you like this, it's £2 from Nonesuchthings. You can buy the print direct from Christina Wilson too.

Cute or Creepy: Twisted Twee's Royal Pants

Of all the things I want on my pants, historical figures wasn't the first thing that I thought of. But I can't help but like these (this might have had something to do with watching old costume dramas last night).

These pants were created for Betty Jackson by Twisted Twee and depict everyone from good ol' Henry VIII to his many many wives. That's Anne Boleyn. She's my favourite of the bunch.

You can choose the colours, and you can even decide if you want Lizzie the first on your front or your bum. They're £15 each and all your have to do is choose which Queen you want. Or, you could go for the American President instead.

Want do you think? Cute or creepy?

Baking for Beginners: Millionaire's Mud Cake

There's plain old shortbread, and then there's millionaire's shortbread. Adding caramel somehow makes it ten times better and worthy of a snazzy title.

I decided to give Mud Cake the same makeover. Not to say Mud Cake isn't decadent, but this one goes one sweet step further. It's a caramel white chocolate mud cake from heaven. Ultra sweet and moist, with a molasses hit from the muscavado sugar. The ganache covering is sticky and golden, and tastes a bit like Caramac (remember Caramac?!).

I took my inspiration from Aussie blogger Almost Bourdain's Caramel Mud Cake, who makes a lovely refined cake simply dusted with icing sugar. I tweaked it, simplified it (who wants to faff around with plain flour AND self raising in the same recipe?) and added lashings of sumptuous white chocolate caramel ganache. And then I went nuts and topped it with white chocolate Maltesers, but this part is optional.

The ganache is very sticky, so if you're clumsy or you're pedantic about crumbs in your icing, I'd recommend you double the frosting recipe so you can do two layers.

Who wants to be a millionaire? Me, if you get cake like this.

You'll need:

For the cake
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 200g dark brown muscavado sugar
  • 200g butter
  • 200ml full fat milk
  • 1tbsp golden syrup
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 300g plain flour
  • 2tsp baking powder
For the ganache frosting
  • 75g caster sugar
  • 200ml double cream
  • 200g white chocolate
Make it!

The cake
  • Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan/Gas 4.
  • Grease and line a 23cm round or 20cm square tin. Don't skip this step as the mixture is quite sticky and you'll never get it out of the tin.
  • Melt together the chocolate, butter, sugar, milk, syrup and vanilla in a saucepan over a low heat. Keep stirring until it's nice and smooth, then leave it until it's at room temperature.
  • Lightly beat the eggs, then stir into the chocolate mixture. Don't do this too soon, or you'll end up with a horrible scrambled egg & chocolate mess.
  • Sift the flour and baking powder into the mixture and stir in until you have a smooth batter.
  • Bake for 1 hour, or until the cake is fully cooked and a cocktail stick poked into the middle comes out clean.
  • Leave it to cool in the tin for 15 minutes or so, before turning it out on a rack.
The frosting
  • Put the caster sugar into a large, heavy bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. Try to get it in an even layer and let it completely melt and caramelise without stirring. If you need to, you can swirl it around the pan, but DO NOT STIR! It should be a kind of rusty colour.
  • While this is happening, break up the chocolate into a large bowl and bring the cream and salt to the boil in another pan. Keep one eye on the caramel.
  • Once the caramel is ready, pour in the cream. It might spit, so stand back. Give it a stir.
  • Pour the hot caramel mixture over the chocolate and beat it with a wooden spoon until smooth. Leave to cool before frosting the cake.

Crazy Horses: Concetta Mug from Habitat

When I told you about Sexy Bovril, you weren't all convinced by the concept. But we agreed on one thing: the mug in the photo was awesome. Where is it from, you all cried (all right, one reader left a comment)? The answer is Habitat, part of their gloriously odd Concetta range.

The mug is just £8.50, and mixes line drawings with photos, scratchy pictures and blocks of colour, to create a pleasingly strange print. It's unusual but not disconcerting, and frankly anything that can brighten up my rushed weekday breakfast is worth investing in.

Check out the rest of the Concetta range, especially the tea pot which would brighten up any table in a happy, messy Mad Hatter's Tea Party sort of way.

Friday 28 January 2011

Crumpet & Skirt's Pin Up Wrapping Paper

We do like a bit of Crumpet & Skirt. Their cups and saucers are cheeky and fabulous and we're a big fan of the whole pin up girl thing in general. Now you can get a bit of Crumpet and Skit on your wrapping paper too. This is fantastic if you're like me and often put as much thought into gift-wrapping as you do the gift itself. I can spend forever choosing giftbags and boxes, just to make presents even more perfect.

Until today, my presents didn't have pretty ladies on them. Now they will and that makes them instantly more exciting and all the better for giving. It's not cheap at £8.50 for four sheets (you can mix and match colours or buy the whole range for £17), so you'll just have to save it for your very favourite friends. Or gifts for me.

Shop In The Spotlight: Suddenly, It's Real!

You know how it is. Some mornings, it only takes a late train to set the bad-tempered tone for the rest of the day; other days, one little kindness puts a smile on my face that doesn't leave. Suddenly, It's Real! have been one of my Etsy bookmarks (filed under 'buy when I can afford') for ages, but when I checked over Christmas, they'd vanished.

I'd come to love Ben and Natalie's amazing products and kooky projects (documented on the blog), so it absolutely made my day when I got a email from them yesterday saying that they'd been away working on their greatest creative project yet - their son Oscar!

Awesome, eh? Selfishly, it's even more awesome that the shop has re-opened and I can share some slices of gorgeousness with you.

Yes, yes, moustaches have been done to death and even dear old BHS is (probably) bringing out a range of 'tache mugs but that doesn't mean I don't have room for one more piece. I'm a sucker for interesting design brightening up boring objects, and this Brown Moustache Key Rack is a perfect example of that.

Cute, practical, $45 and it'll make me smile on a daily basis, every time I hang up my keys rather than leave them in the labyrinthian recesses of my latest enormo bag.

Similarly, this Whale Chalkboard may eradicate my constant urge to leave scrappy bits of paper lying around the kitchen, and all for a mere $40.

And, cutest of all, the Suddenly, It's Real onesie modelled on little Oscar. They've had so many orders for this romper that they're taking a break right now - which might give me long enough to persuade one of my nearest and dearest to get knocked up so I can gift her this.

Etsy Pick: Retro NES External Hard Drive

Greetings everyone! I’m Kat, the newest Domestic Slut. Things I love? Musicals, The Archers, Sidecars, Gin Fizzes, blue cheese, computer games and comics. Things I hate: bananas. Literally, that’s it. They’re Satan’s fruit.

My first post was going to be booze-based (they hired me for a reason and that reason was mainly gin). But then I found out that there’s a Nintendo-themed club night in London which is AMAZING. I started Googling retro gadgetry and subsequently got totally distracted by this amazing bit of kit:

Wow. Isn’t it gorgeous? The external drive I have at the moment is like carting an enormous coffin around – this one doesn’t have to be plugged in, so you can save and go. Just like on a Gameboy, hurrah!

This would be such a cool Valentine’s present for the long-term geek in your life – it’s a bit pricey to waste on somebody you don’t know likes you yet. If the geek is you, so much the better!

If you don’t like X-Men, the shop will take any old NES game you have and give them a new lease of life by adding a nice Toshiba 500GB drive and USB cable. Larger capacity drives are available if you want to whack all your telly and films and important stuff on. They also do super-cute Gameboy cartridge USB sticks and Nintendo-themed mousemats if you’re already hard drived-up.

It’s $129.99 (around £83) plus shipping from 8bitmemory.

Sluttishly Simple: No Knead Nutella Bread

I love bread. I have often been heard to say that if I could only pick one food to eat for the rest of my life it would be freshly made bread slathered with butter. And with it I would drink only the finest of wines.

Unfortunately my pathetically weak wrists are not quite so keen on bread, more specifically the whole kneading thing. This has resulted in largely disappointing experimentation in bread making. I even went so far as to buy a breadmaker to no avail. Then, slightly late to the party, I recently discovered the wonderful No Knead Bread recipe over on Steamy Kitchen. I have found my nirvana - the only possible downside being that having to leave the dough to do it's magic overnight means I can have a loaf instantly whenever it takes my fancy.

As I was browsing the site I came across a recipe that sounded so delicious it was positively screaming at me to try it. Seriously who could resist No Knead Nutella and Roasted Hazelnut Challah? Yes, that's right, bread with built in nutella.

No Knead Nutella and Roasted Hazelnut Challah (from Steamy Kitchen)

You will need:
For the challah dough (via Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day)
This makes enough dough for about 3 loaves
  • 350ml lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (I used rock salt)
  • 4 large eggs
  • 175g runny honey
  • 80g butter, melted
  • 950g plain flour
For the filling
  • 4 1/2 tablespoons of Nutella
  • Handful of roasted hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • Egg wash, made using an egg and a tablespoon of water
Make it!

1. Add all the bread ingredients except the flour into a bowl and give it a good mix. Then add the flour and stir that baby like you have never stirred before. Once you are all stirred out cover the bowl and pop in the fridge overnight, where it will stay quite happily for up to four days if needed. However if you simply cannot wait for chocolate hazelnut heaven then leave it out to rise on the worktop for two hours, the bread just wont be as flavoursome.

2. Take the dough out of the fridge. You will need a lump the size of a grapefruit, about 1lb in weight. Flour your hands and the dough then stretch the surface and tucking it underneath to form a nice taut ball. Leave to stand for a five minutes to take the chill off.

3. Roll dough into a long even log shape and then cut into three even sized pieces. Roll each piece into a long 4cm thick rope shape, mine were just over 30cm long.

4. Now for the messy bit. Take one of the 'ropes' making a indent or channel along it's length. Spread 1.5 tablespoons of nutella evenly along the indent than bring up the sides of the dough to encase the nutella and pinch closed. Repeat with the other two 'ropes'. You will now have three lovely nutella filled pieces of dough rope.

5. Lay out your three dough ropes and braid together. Start in the middle and work towards one end, pinching the ends together and tucking under. Repeat to the other end. Braiding from the middle helps to ensure the bread tapers nicely at each end.

6. Cover with a clean dry towel and leave to rest for 1 1/2 hours. Twenty minutes prior to baking preheat your oven to 180C/350F/GM 4.

7. Brush the dough with egg wash and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and try not to burn your fingers and mouth in your eagerness to have a pice before it has had chance to cool!

Fred and Friends Ms Food Face Plates

When I was a little girl, I was told NEVER to play with my food.

I didn't listen though, and that's why I love these plates by Fred and Friends. Yes, they're technically for children, but they are made of proper ceramic and that's adult enough for me.

What better way to serve up dinner, get creative and try out a new hairstyle all in one go? Admittedly I can't see myself going for the asparagus mohican any time soon, but I think I'd still have quite a lot of fun with these.

The plates are available from Cubic for £9.95. There is also a more manly version, if there's a Mr Food Face in your life in need of crockery.

Cool Coats: ASOS striped Mac

As is often the way with ASOS, I hopped onto the site to find something entirely different. And then I saw this, fell totally head over stripey heels and have now forgotten what I was looking for in the first place. Really, I have no idea. I'm all about the stripey mac now. All other coats have paled in comparison. None of my coats have stripes on them. Everyone knows that things that are striped are better than things that aren't.

If you happen to agree, and you're now looking at your coat thinking it could do with a little bit of horizontal action, you can buy this from ASOS for £75. It's utterly perfect for April showers. So much so that if I had this, I'd probably hope for rain.

Thursday 27 January 2011

Etsy Pick: Mixtape Phone Case

As regular readers are probably more than aware we are pretty big fans of mixtapes here at Domestic Sluttery and have featured them on everything from USB sticks, to tea-towels and even some on pretty awesome wallpaper.

This fabulous Mixtape iPhone Case costs £12.90 from Crank Cases' Etsy store and would make the perfect gift to go with the mixtape card from Siany's Cool Valentine's Day card selection this morning.

The cases are hand made from start to finish so don't worry if your honey doesn't have an iPhone. Just drop them a line and they will custom make one whatever the handset.

Neuhaus Lady Chefs Collection at Harrods

The Neuhaus Lady Chefs Collection is certainly one of the prettiest boxes of chocolates I've ever seen (thank you to the friendly people at Harrods for trying to woo me, it's totally working). Absolutely perfect for Valentine's prettiness. The pink padded box will no doubt get used again for presents too.

The selection of 9 chocolates (two of each in my box) have been created by lady chefs around the world (including Sluttery favourite Thomasina Miers of Masterchef and Wahaca fame). They've gone with their own style, and the pralines use everything from herbs and nuts to chilli and orange. They're a little bit different. And I wanted to absolutely love every single one. But I can't tell which is which.

As is often the way with posh chocolates, raspberry is a feature. I have to double check this as I have a berry allergy. I couldn't honestly tell you, after studying the guide very closely which chocolates belonged to which chef. The chocolates are all printed with swirly writing in different colours (pretty little details like that make me very happy), but even with each chef having their initials on them, it's unclear which belongs to each chef. Chocolate roulette isn't as fun as it sounds.

The other issue is that I can't really taste the difference between them. That's not to say that they're not tasty. Oh no. I've polished off most of the box. But they're subtle. A hint of chilli really means just that. I guess I'm used to something with a bit more of a kick. A lot of the chocolates are herb and spice-based but as I couldn't tell which they were, I couldn't distinguish the flavours very easily.

I wanted to like these so much. And I'm very nearly won over by their plus points. The box is a treat, the idea behind them is great and the chocolates are the prettiest I've seen. But I was left bit confused and perhaps need my chocolates to have a stronger taste to them. But if you like all things subtle and pretty (horses for courses and all that), you can buy these for £30 from Harrods. And make sure you check out the rest of their chocolate range too.

Rosita Bonita Hummingbird Necklace

Oh this necklace is special. This necklace is the kind of necklace that's going to make me forget I own any others. I'll wear it with things it clashes with, just because wearing it is so much fun. It's made from leather, but Rosita Bonita screenprints her pieces in lovely bright colours and awesome designs. This hummingbird piece is my favourite of her designs. It'll go with nothing. I don't care even a little bit.

It's £84 (but oh so pretty) and you can buy it from Culture Label. Can 84 of you send me a pound please?

Etsy Pick: Cool Valentine's Day Cards

Like it or not, V-day is two weeks away (that's why adverts are all over the place, you must absolutely definitely not be single in two weeks time). So if you are going to send cards to the object of your affections, make it one of these.

You can't argue with Dr. Seuss. The guy is a genius. This card is $4 from ThePaperPeony (with $2.45 shipping all the way from Chicago).

If you really must litter everything with love hearts, then at least throw in some 3D glasses. This 3D heart card is $7 from Wit and Whistle and yes, it does come with the glasses.

Bacon is loads better than Valentine's day. If this bacon card was delivered without a bacon sandwich, I'd be sad. It's $3.75 from 4/Four Cards with $3 shipping to the UK.

Mixtapes are like musical foreplay. This card is almost as good. It's $4 from Cool Jane Designs. It'll cost you $3.25 to get it the Blighty.

I want to go on adventures! I love this card. It's the most romantic of the bunch, but the typography stops it being sappy. Now go on, go be adventurers. It's $4.50 from Fifi du Vie and it'll cost $3 in shipping.

Nice Knitwear: Woolies for the rest of winter

Though magazines are conspiring to convince me that spring is just around, there's no denying that it's still mighty cold out there. How to make it through this gloomy period? I'm convinced that nice knitwear is the answer. That and regular tea and cake. Pull on a cheerful patterned jumper, like one of the styles that I've picked out here, and it's bound to banish away the grey days. 

Especially if the knitwear is covered with hearts, like the above jumper from ASOS. It's £24. To point out the obvious Valentines Day is just a few weeks away and, if you wanted a themed jumper for the day, this could be pretty awesome. 

Slightly more subdued is this striped Vila Ova Knit cardigan. I especially like the contrasting brown pockets which look suspiciously practical. This is £35 from Edinburgh-based shop Bohemia. They're bound to know a thing or two about layering up in the cold. 

I'm simply dotty for the Doris sweater from Whistles. Like all the stuff they seem to be doing at the moment it's got that serious 'oooh' factor. Unfortunately it's also got the ouch factor of the £85 price tag. 

Dots, stripes and hearts don't do it for you? How about skulls? 

I'm a huge fan of the menswear designs of Sibling. Boys in jumpers that are covered in fluro lighting bolts and leopard skin? Yes, please. Hurrah for Topshop, as they've managed to convince them to do a limited range for girls too. This grey skull cardigan is a fine example of their work. It's got skulls, it's got glitter, yet somehow it manages to look quite restrained and pretty. It's also £95. However, cost-per-wear between now and proper sunshine? Knowing the British weather, it's probably down in the pence. My advice is to stock up now and have spring in your step through the rest of winter.

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Shop in the Spotlight: The Old Lamp Shed

The Old Lamp Shed is a great little find for unusual gifts. I never underestimate the importance of a good bedside lamp. As much as I like my little fairy lights, they're not good for my eyes when I'm reading books. I use my Wake-up light as a lamp, but I'll admit it's not the prettiest thing in the world. Here are my favourite finds from the Old Lamp Shed.

This one is my favourite. It's perfect in a library, or next to your comfiest reading chair. The shade is linen, and prices start at £28 depending on which size you go for.

You can get your own message printed on this one. Such a great idea as a gift for someone, with a lovely song lyric or phrase on it. It's secret too as you won't see it until it's all lit up. This one starts at £25.

I really like this scientific lampshade. But if you buy it, please put it on a base nicer than the one in the picture. It starts at £23.

These lampshades all came from the 'manly' section of the Old Lamp Shed's website (science is manly, OK?). I much prefer them to the floral and tradition options, but they have those too. They'll also make you a lampshade from your own fabric.

Cute or Creepy? Fanny Shorter Anatomical Cushion

On first glance you may wonder what could possibly be creepy about these rather beautiful cushions from Fanny Shorter. But take a good close look and the more medically minded of you may recognise the rather anatomical origins of those rather wonderful patterns.
First up I give you the Womb Cushion - who knew they were quite so pretty?
Or perhaps you would prefer a Kidney Cushion?
Or how about this rather fabulous Coronal Cushion?

The cushions, available from Culture Label, cost £60 each and as they are all hand screen-printed each one is it's very own little piece of art.

Personally I am in complete textile lust but what do you think? Can you overcome potential squeamishness and see the inner beauty of your internal organs or are they just *too* medical?

Full Marks: Fashion Vintage range at Marks & Spencer

There's something quite nice about this time of year in the shopping world. The piles of unwanted sales stock finally leave the shops and there's exciting new pretty products working their way into stores and into my affections instead. One shop that's got me really looking forward to the first blossom of Spring is, to my surprise Marks and Spencer. Their new 'fashion vintage' collection is, simply put, blooming marvellous.

The floral cushion pictured above is surely the acid test as to whether you'll like the 'fashion vintage' look. If the use of pink and giant florals sends a shiver down your spine, I suggest you look away now. If on the other hand, it has you clapping your hands with glee and plotting whether you can squeeze another cushion onto the sofa, you are going to love this collection. It's all very pretty, extremely girly and covers everything from picture frames to tea light holders. And it's quite reasonably priced too - the cushion would set you back just £19.50.

This Elizabeth cup and saucer is taken from their range of crockery, all decorated with those wonderful painterly florals. This costs £7.50.

Another of my favourite from the vast collection is this simple bed spread, also something of a bargain at £19.50 for a double. Sweet dreams should be guaranteed.

And ensure your bathroom looks - if maybe not smells - as sweet as roses with one of these bath mats for £15.

There are a few pricier items too to get your pulses racing, such as this adorable Crochet rug. For £250, I suspect I'd be better start trying to do it myself. With Spring still a while away, it's possibly achievable time wise. I just need to tear myself away from the M&S website first!

Sluttishly Savoury: Whiskied Green Beans

Green beans can be boring, but I happen to believe there's not much that a bit of booze and bacon can't sex up. This recipe is slightly more work than just boiling the bejesus out of the beans, but it's a very versatile dish and is really quite easy.

Blanching the beans first serves two purposes. It's part of the cooking process, but also it keeps the beans fresh and bright green and appetising looking. First bring some heavily salted water to the boil (the salt is important to keep the colour) and bung the beans in for a few minutes. Then refresh them by draining and popping them into a bowl of cold, preferably iced, water. This stops the cooking process in its tracks and prevents your beans from being overdone (nobody likes a has-bean - geddit!)

Whiskied Green Beans (serves 2-4 as a side dish)

You'll need:
  • 200g green beans, topped and tailed
  • 50g pancetta or streaky bacon, diced
  • 1/2 a small onion
  • A splash of whiskey
  • A knob of butter
  • A small handful of toasted pinenuts
Make it!
  • First blanch the green beans. Bring some heavily salted water to the boil, and blanch for 4 minutes. Refresh in iced water, drain and set to one side.
  • Fry the bacon or pancetta until nice and crispy. Set to one side, keeping some of the bacon fat in the pan.
  • Cook the onion in the bacon fat until soft but not coloured.
  • Throw in a good splash of whiskey. Let it bubble away until there is only a little liquid left.
  • Add the drained beans, pancetta, a good knob of butter and a sprinkling of pinenuts to the pan.
  • Stir through until the beans are nice and hot and coated with the sauce. Season and serve.

Wallpaper Wednesday: Ohoy by Fine Little Day

I have had somewhat of a love/hate relationship with wallpaper ever since my last attempt at hanging the stuff ended in tears. I am, however, a complete sucker for all things nautical so I was pretty much instantly smitten by this wonderful Ohoy wallpaper from Fine Little Day.

It costs €25 per m2 and, most importantly for the wallpaper-challenged amongst us, it can be ordered in pre-cut lengths to fit your walls exactly and is made from a durable non-woven material that is apparently really simple to hang.

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Design Porn: Pedlars Drawer Unit

This metal drawer unit is going right to the top of my 'when I live in my own home' list. It's just so very wonderful. It's colourful, it's industrial, it's pretty, it's a little bit ugly. It's even boy friendly. It's everything. And it's great for hiding all of my junk. And goodness knows I have a lot of that.

You can shimmy the drawers about, so every week or so you can change the colours in your room. That's brilliant. I'd double check what the insides of the drawers are like before putting anything pale coloured in them (or perhaps line them with some very cool paper) but these drawers are fantastic and one day they shall be mine.

Or yours, if you happen to have £995 and can make your way over to the Pedlars website.

Shop in the Spotlight: Luva Huva

Luva Huva's lingerie and sleepwear looks very snuggly indeed. I do like the sexy get-up, but sometimes lounging about is more fun, and that's not easy in stockings and a corset. The cottons and silks that Luva Huva use are ethical and wherever possible they're locally sourced in Suffolk. You'll also find eco-friendly hemp and bamboo being used in some of the collections.

All their cotton jersey looks so relaxed. The boy shorts are £17 and the camisole £28 in the sale.

This bra set isn't great if you're top heavy (and I am). But if you don't need much support this is really cute. The bra is £30, the pants £15. Both are handmade.

And I want this striped t-shirt too. It's perfect for Sunday lounging, even if the photo does make my eyes go a bit funny. It's £24 reduced from £31. Not bad for smalls that are pretty, sexy, comfy and ethical.

Sluttery Travels: Snowdonia Manor, Wales

Plas y Dduallt (no, I probably can't pronounce it, I'm Welsh only in name) is in the heart of Snowdonia. It's the perfect base for countryside seclusion, and the two bedroom cottage is beautiful. It's Grade II listed and tucked into 140 acres of parkland. With very pretty views.

And some very happy friends in the garden. They'll lay you eggs for breakfast.

It's pretty, it's traditional, it's everything you'd expect from a country cottage in the Welsh hills. Just with one very special twist...

See that exciting steam train? You can get on that if you fancy. Not by booking on The Train Line, though. You can stand on your private halt 'Campbell's Platform' and stick out your hand and the train will stop. That's brilliant. Pack a picnic, stick our your hand and jump on the train to wherever you feel like going! You can buy a ticket for a week for £18.50.

How much will this pretty little cottage set you back? Just £360 to £590 per week depending on when in the year you book. Considering that the cottage can sleep four, that's a fantastic price for playing on trains and rolling down hills.
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