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Thursday 31 March 2011

Shoe Porn: Topshop Silver T-Bars

It's not often I go in for the whole ridiculous shoe thing. But it's the Domestic Sluttery birthday party tomorrow and I just don't think I can resist such a sparkly and shiny pair of shoes.

If I was a very glamourous but cool super hero from space (shut up, go with it), these are the shoes that I would wear. Now I've picked the shoes, I can't help but be a bit sad that I'm not a cool super hero from space. I'd get to wear a silver cape and everything.

OK, so I don't have magical powers. In lieu of those, I'm going to have to settle for excellent shoes. These are brilliant adventuring shoes for brilliant adventures. You'd no doubt get your own ironic sidekick if you wore these. You'd probably even get your own super hero TV show.

That is the power of the silver t-bar shoes. They're £60 from Topshop and they're magic.

Vintage I Love Retro Posters

For me, posters conjour up images of tearing out pictures of Let Loose from Smash Hits! magazine and putting them on my wall. But now, they're interesting and cool. Only if they're framed though. Blu-Tak is not your friend.

I've got my eye on these vintage style posters from I Love Retro:

Yes, do mind your manners. The posters are all printed on a vintage press, and this bright yellow will pop on any wall.

Hang this kissing booth poster above your bed, or your favourite comfy chair.

This silver lining one is my favourite. Each print is £32.95 and you can buy them all from Brighton POD. There's only a few of each one so be quick if you want one.

L.Arden by Polly George

I didn't think Polly George's ceramics could get any better. I love the little white butterflies on her ceramics and already think they're pretty perfect. But then when I wasn't looking (I was probably watching The Model Agency and shouting at the telly), she big fat went and made it all even more glorious.

Little tiny bits of colour and print suddenly make the L.Arden range pop. The patterns are actually the work of Polly's Grandfather, Lesley Arden and she's been wanting to do something with his work for a while now.

L.Arden is the result of that collaboration. Each piece is lovely, but especially this teapot which is most definitely my favourite (I also trust that Ms. George would not approve of a dribbly spout). It's £80 though, so certainly a statement piece. Or perhaps a very special gift for Mother's day. A late one though, the pieces are all made to order.

Polly George is going to be doing some amazing things this year, and will no doubt keep taking me totally by surprise. I can't wait.

Design Porn: Peanut bowl

Who says marble should only be used to create grand statues or posh kitchen worktops? How about using it for something cheaper that us ordinary folks might be able to afford? Something that will cost peanuts...

... or even better is made from peanuts? Well, you're in luck because this weird, knobbly and completely fascinating bowl is actually made by casting humble peanuts in marble and resin. Measuring just over 13cm across, it's perfectly sized and shaped to hold all of your favourite nibbles.

It's designed by Harry Allen who has applied this technique to other household ingredients: there's also an almond bowl available, as well as an alternative take on the fruit bowl.

Though not exactly costing peanuts, this bowl is certainly cheaper than your average statue, priced at £31.95 from Magma. It'll look pretty good sat on your kitchen worktop too.

Kittenwar - The Card Game

Do you remember playing Top Trumps when you were a child? Well now you can do battle with cute kitties with this card game which features kittens from the popular website Kittenwar.

Build your kitten army by compare stats including paw to paw combat and avian observation tactics. May the cutest kitten win!

Kittenwar costs £7.99 and is available from the rather wonderful folk over at Culture Label

Book Review: Modern Vintage Style

If you can't go into a charity shop without coming out with a pile of old paperbacks and mismatched salt and pepper pots, or if your idea of a fun evening involves trawling through eBay, you'll love this new book Modern Vintage Style. If, on the other hand, you can't relax unless your sofa matches your chairs and your tea cups match your plates, avoid this title at all costs as it'll give you serious brain ache. Still unsure? Take a peek at the Caravan shop, as the author Emily Chalmers is also the lady behind that. You'll soon get an idea of Emily's style and the kind of look that runs through the pages of this book.

Flick through the pages and the first impression is that achieving 'modern vintage style' requires a lot of stuff. Its pages are bursting with patterns, colours, fabrics, furniture and all sorts of other bits and bobs. Look a bit closer and you'll realise there's method in the madness - Emily's idea of 'modern vintage style' is the artful pick and mix of pieces from different eras to create your own unique home. Her ideas are illustrated using beautiful photographs of stunning homes, selected from places in Britain, France and the States. Each place has their own look but they all share the fact that their contents have been cherished and carefully built up over years. They've been decorated using high street stuff for sure, and probably some designer pieces too - the important bit is that these are carefully balanced by an inherited bed spread here, a flea market buy there, so the origins of each individual piece is no longer obvious or indeed important. It's a look requiring lots of bits that you love.

Don't let yourself be fooled into thinking this is an easy look to pull off. After all, one girl's vintage is another girl's cast-offs. Look at any of the rooms pictured and you'll realise that the arrangement of such a wide array of stuff requires a huge degree of self-control, if not obsessiveness. Pleasingly, they seem to have got it just about right - the look of most of these homes is also really warm and welcoming: I'd move into Petra Boase's home (that's the one pictured on the cover of the book) like a shot.

If you like your crafts, you'll be swooning over some of the knitted lampshades, crochet throws and patchwork coverlets that feature in the rooms. There are lots of ideas to inspire you (i.e. to nick) for your own home, like Ann Shore's breathtaking living room where the florals of her textiles are enhanced by a simple row of flower postcards placed on her mantelpiece. The book features an inspiring mix that will have you looking at your own space and things in a whole new way, even the tiny stuff you don't normally fuss over. After reading this book, I wanted to go and re-arrange my cutlery and, believe me, this isn't an idea that occurs to me everyday.

The free spirited nature of the homes which came through in the photographs was sometimes let down a bit by the text. One piece of advice read "If you've already invested in a high street buy, just give it a vintage make-over with hipster fabrics". What exactly are hipster fabrics? Does that mean vintage, or (to use a seemingly forgotten term) second-hand fabrics? If it's all about creating a unique look you love, why bring the dreaded 'h' word into it?

That minor grumble aside, I fell madly in love with most of Modern Vintage Style. The gorgeous pages of this book are packed as full of inspiration for your home as the houses that it features and, importantly, ideas that aren't dependent on having lots of cash to splash.

Now, if you excuse me, I've got a cutlery drawer to rearrange...

Modern Vintage Style has a recommended price of £19.99 but is currently available on Amazon for £10.95

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Etsy Pick: Whale Tissue Holder

I've been feeling a bit sniffly this last week so what better way to help me smile through my sneezes than pulling my tissues from the blowhole of this rather wonderful Whale Tissue holder. It costs $39.99 and is available in a range of lovely colours from gnomesweeeetgnome's Etsy shop.

Once you add on the $15 postage to get this fella safely across the ocean it does all start getting a bit expensive but I am truly smitten. Or maybe it's the Hot Toddies talking.

Ceramic Crush: The Cups, Jo Davies

When I write about cups and saucers, my eye tends to go to the pretty things, the cute and quirky. I'm not a minimalist girl. But then I saw The Cups. Oh my goodness, The Cups. They're plain, they're simple, they're absolutely frickin' beautiful.

Each one is wheel thrown by Jo Davies, and they're all unique because of it. I want them all lined up in a little row. I'll use them for tea drinking, sake drinking, putting flowers in. All of those things.

Diddy ones are £6 each, they're my favourite. They're from bouf, but you can check out more of Jo's ceramics on her website. Her lighting is rather beautiful too.

Laser-cut Wizard of Oz brooches

It will eventually become glaringly obvious that I harbour a lifetime obsession with The Wizard of Oz. I won't go into details, but suffice it to say that I own the limited edition Dorothy Gale Barbie doll AND the limited edition Wicked Witch Barbie doll.

You'll understand, then, why I let out a tiny squee only dogs could hear when I stumbled upon these little beauties from Australian designers Made By White.

They were $AUD30 each, but are currently on sale for $AUD20, except the adorable ruby slippers one, which is $AUD35.

If anyone in my family is reading this, take note: I really like the slippers and the Wicked Witch.

Oh, and the Tin Man.

Also, Scarecrow. I want him most of all.

Oooh! And Cowardly Lion. Please buy me all of these brooches. Thanks.

Bag Lust: River Island

I don't think I've ever seen a high street transformation quite as impressive as River Island's. They've always had a good shoe selection, but their clothes? Pretty trashy sometimes. And their bags? I think they're the only shop I don't own a bag from. But now? Something happened to River Island and not only are their clothes wonderful flirty and covetable, but their bags are pretty damn lovely too. I find myself in a shop I've never really liked before.

This brown bag is cute. There are a couple of little satchels that still have the River Island touch (check out the lining), but this one has a navy lining. Perfect school style. It's £24.99.

Love the briefcase feel to this bag, but I really like the cross body strap too. It's £32.99.

Really like the art deco style embellishments on this patent navy bag. It's £39.99.

I also really like this one, this one, this one and this one. Impressive turnaround, River Island.

Wallpaper Wednesday: Wild West Toile by Yukari Sweeney

Howdy, partner. Feel like donning your spurred cowboy boots and Stetson for a shootout followed by some moonshine in the local saloon? If you want a nod to the Wild West without the tumbleweed or pistols at dawn, then you could do much worse than this Wild West Toile wallpaper. Designed by Yukari Sweeney, it features horse-riding cowboys, cacti, flowers and eagles in white on black. Available exclusively from Garrenderry Lane Interiors, it'll set you back £115 per roll.

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Tea Towel Tuesday: Snowden Flood

I really like the simplicity of Snowden Flood's designs. They're iconic, you instantly recognise where they are. But it's not the obvious ones that I like. Sure, the St. Paul's design is great, but their tea towel designs are much more striking.

I wasn't expecting to want a motorway tea towel, but I kinda do.

Or what about this Albert Bridge design?

This cable cars one is lovely. Cable cars are so much fun, and they remind me of a little town in Sicily.

Each tea towel is £8.50. I think the motorway one is my favourite, and that's strange. Nice work, Snowden Flood.

You make the best Roast Potatoes in the World

There's not really much else I want to say to my mum on Mother's day. She does indeed make the best roast potatoes in the world. But everyone's mum does. Only once have I made roasties that my mum would be impressed by. I called her to tell her. But they weren't as good as hers, they never are.

There are loads of things I should tell my mum, all starting and ending with how amazing she is. But roast potatoes are a good place to start, aren't they?

This absolutely perfect card is £3 from Door 77.

Spring Forward

The only thing people don't like about spring? The clocks jumping forward so you lose an hour's sleep at the weekend (actually, I had no idea the clocks went forward until I woke up on Sunday). But now it's Tuesday and everyone has finally got 'round to knowing what time it is (2pm).

So today my mind is on clocks (careful spell-checking). Specifically this acrylic one from Folly & Glee. I love the bamboo backing, and the chocolate brown hands are a lovely touch. There's some really beautiful preloved and vintage finds on the website, but this clock (£48) is definitely mt favourite.

Event Preview: Coquette, London

When 40 Winks owner David Carter decided to set his sights on a bigger destination for an event, Kettners in Soho was the obvious choice. We love the 40 winks events, and our trip to TART last year was fabulously girly. But there are only so many pretty girls that you can fit in to a little boutique B&B in Stepney Green.

Enter Coquette.

Coquette's will be getting its perfectly pedicured feet under the table at Kettner's from April 9th. The restaurant was opened in 1867 and it's the perfect setting for such a glam shindig. The setup is not unlike TART, but bigger, brighter and space for lots more Domestic Sluts and London Ladies to enjoy the fun.

What can you expect from the afternoon? (Oh yes, the event is from 1-5pm, afternoon glamour is so much classier.) You'll be spoilt with more cakes and afternoon tea treats than you can imagine, all served with cocktails and champagne, of course. The whole afternoon is dedicated to you spoiling yourself.

You'll get your hair and make-up done by the girls from Benefit and Lipstick & Curls, and they'll turn you into your prettiest self. You might even get to win a collection of Benefit make-up worth £300. You'll then get to try on some beautiful vintage clothes, and do some prancing and twirling about in the dance classes.

Still want more? Then why not get your fortune read, or try a cocktail making masterclass? And of course, make sure you have your photo taken with the dashing and charming Mr. Carter. Prizes for the most flirtatious, naturally.

The location might be bigger, but it's still an exclusive event so there's only 60 spaces available at each afternoon. Tickets are £90 and you'll also get to take home a wonderful goodie bag too (already imagining what glamourous goodies might be in it). Pricey it is. But if David's previous events are any indicator, worth every penny. Can't make the April date? There's events running through the year on 18th June, 20th August, 15th October and 3rd December. I might be tempted to go to every single one.

Want to go? Drop David a line at [email protected] or call 0207 790 0259. Or, make a reservation at 40 Winks, because it's really really pretty.

Easter Gifts: Lazy Oaf's Rabbit Ring

It's just under a month until Easter now (24 April this year, dontcha know)... so does that mean we can start dropping hints about what we want? Here's my hint: it's not chocolate.

This big, adorable, bold, gold, emerald-eyed bunny is the thing I most want the Easter Bunny to leave at the end of my bed this year. It's £25 from Lazy Oaf. Look at its little face!

Too early, you say? Well it's also the Chinese Year of the Rabbit, so stuff you.

Dream Dress: Ochre Maxi Dress

I've been flitting back and forth with this maxi dress for weeks now. Maybe it just didn't scream 'buy me!' when it was -3 degrees outside. But now the days are longer, I can see this little number looking really pretty. Ochre isn't an easy colour to pull off, but that shape is really sexy. Just check out the video on the site to see how amazing the model's ass figure looks.

The downside to this post? I faffed about trying to make up my mind about it, it's only left in a size ten on the Miss Selfridge website. The upside? You'll probably still find it in the shops, and if you do find your size, you'll pay £35 instead of £65.

Monday 28 March 2011

Marvellous Macs

The clocks have sprung forward, no one has any idea what time it is and the sun is almost shining. But not really. So it's too warm for your winter coat, but too cold to pop to the shop without one (I tried that earlier, it was STUPID). The mac is the solution. They're damn sexy too, in a kinda lady detective way.

How is this ruched shoulder mac just £35? It's gorgeous. Next have really outshone themselves here.

Oh ASOS, if ever there was proof of just how sexy a mac can be, here it is.

I've had my eye on this duck egg blue mac for a while now. I've even popped to my local JOY to try it on (looks fab, loving the asymmetric buttons). It's £69.00, though.

Not a fan of the pastels? How about this navy trench from Topshop? It's £89.99.

Cox & Cox platters

Platters mean good food. You can't put boring cereal or soup on a platter. Oh no. Platters mean cheese, platters mean meat. And cheese and some more cheese and a little bit more meat. Nothing bad has ever been served on a platter.

So I want one.

See? Cox & Cox are only showing their large platter with yummy things on. Look at all the bread! All for me! This one is £25, and arrives in mid April (you can order in advance though, and plan all the tasty things you'll buy to put on it).

Nothing that's basically invented for carrying cheese can be a bad thing. This small platter is £15.

If you need me, I'll be in the fridge eating cheese.

Shoe Porn: Office Denim Platforms

Office are doing some excellent shoes at the minute (and erm, one incredibly ugly pair that there's no excuse for). Usually, the idea of denim anywhere near my shoes makes me come out in a rash. But not with these denim platforms. These ankle-breaking pretty platforms aren't yummy mummy-ish in the slightest. You couldn't run to a coffee morning in these, you'd fall over.

The heel pattern is so cute. I'm a sucker for anything that mixes stripes and checks with florals. I'm also very pleased that these have got an ankle strap. Am I the only person who can't walk in slingbacks without the straps coming lose?

So Office are ticking all the boxes at the moment. And then they go and ruin it. With their damn prices. When did they get so expensive? These babies are £72! This time last year you could buy a pair of shoes in Office for £50, but they think we've forgotten this. Have they started employing fairies to do their shoe making? Did I miss a press release?

Damn you, Office. We're not friends anymore.

Sluttery Travels: Indietracks

A different Sluttery Travels destination for you: not a hotel, but a festival. And not your traditional muddy campsite, overpriced food and warm beer festival either: Indietracks takes place at a railway museum in Derby. Choo choo!

Combining steam trains and indiepop, this is the ideal festival for the twee pop kids amongst you. As well as the main outdoor stage, bands play in the railway shed, in the on-site church, and on steam trains. ON THE ACTUAL TRAINS! There's something magical about crowding into a carriage and watching a band do an acoustic set as the countryside rolls by.

Artists announced so far include The Hidden Cameras, Jeffrey Lewis, Math and Physics Club, The Sweet Nothings and The Wendy Darlings. Haven't heard of them? You'll be so caught up in the friendly, welcoming atmosphere of the festival that it won't matter that you don't know the headliners. Join one of the craft or knitting workshops if you want a break from the music.

If you hate camping as much as I do, then stay in one of the nearby budget hotels. Either pay a few quid for a local taxi driver to take you (bonus: he'll call you 'me duck') or walk to the local station and take a free steam train to the site.

All this, and it's a mere £60 for the weekend if you book before 7 May. What's not to love? No sprawling festival site (Glastonbury), no toilets getting set on fire (Reading), no extortionate booze costs (every festival), awesome food whether you want a fry-up or a veggie curry, wonderful swoonsome music and the chance to have a disco in your hotel room and fall asleep in an actual bed. A few of us Domestic Sluts are going - I'm already hyperventilating with excitement - so say hello if you spot us (and feel free to buy us a pint of cider).

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Aubergine Hummus Wraps

I was looking for a tasty vegan canape, and came across this recipe in Leiths Vegetable Bible. It's dead simple and moreish enough to tempt the most ferocious of carnivores. In fact, the most difficult thing about it is stopping yourself from scoffing them as you make them.

If you're feeling crafty, you could spread the aubergine slices with Sara's Frijolemole. But if you just buy a tub of hummus from Sainsbury's, I won't tell anyone.
Aubergine Hummus Wraps

You'll need:
  • 2 or 3 large aubergines
  • 200g hummus
  • Olive oil
Make it!
  • Pre-heat the grill.
  • Top and tail the aubergines, then cut them lengthways into long slices about 1cm thick.
  • Brush the slices with olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Grill the aubergine slices for 5 minutes or until golden, then turn them over and grill the other side.
  • Let the aubergine slices cool a little, then spread them with hummus and roll up. Secure with a cocktail stick if they look wobbly.

LEGO Love: LEGO Lunchbox

Kitchen scales, torches, alarm clocks, art and storage boxes: it seems our plastic brick-building love affair knows no bounds. And long may our obsession with the iconic Danish toys continue, especially now that we've found these LEGO lunchboxes. Available in an assortment of colours from Firebox, they'll give your sad sandwich or last night's leftovers some retro razzle-dazzle for only £9.99.

Friday 25 March 2011

Cornish Blue Ware Measuring Jug

There's a little kitchenware shop in Greenwich called Burt & Betty. Sells all sorts of cute baking stuffs (and randomly, paintbrushes and screwdrivers too). They stock a few pieces of Cornish Blue Ware, including this measuring jug.

Until recently, I had no idea just how much I could obsess over a measuring jug. It's not just that the stripes are pretty (although they are, very). There's measurements in millilitres so I can whip up all of the tasty Domestic Sluttery recipes, but also cup measurements so if I don't have to guess and hope for the best convert things I find on Bitchin' Camero and Joy the Baker.

It's £19 on the Cornish Blue Ware website. A lot to spend on a measuring jug, but I've been thinking about it for three weeks now. Imagine all the tasty things I'd bake once it was mine. Just imagine.

A String of Light

Graham & Green have got some great new products this spring, but these light balls are my favourite. Usually their string lights are flowery, but I've spotted these bauble lights and they're pretty fabulous.

These large baubles are in all sorts of springy colours, and their are 35 balls perfect for draping on stairs and shelves. These are £34.95. There are some smaller strings too.

There's ten smaller balls in this string (they're £15). Really want to put them altogether and turn my living room into a little bit of a circus tent.

Frankie Say Relax with Cute Cushions

Brighton-based designer LoveFrankie ticks all the boxes for me: kitsch, friendly homeware in original designs at prices firmly below the sky-high limits you might expect.

Take their cushions, for example. This limited edition Leopard Cushion really ticks my boxes. It’s a leopard gaily jumping through a cloud. What’s not to love? Plus the pink clouds and lollipop-tree things make this like one giant drug trip made into a cushion. It’s £25 and shipping varies depending on where you’re sending it (though it was actually free when I ordered it to my cottage in North Herts.)

And look at this Senior Burrito cushion. I’m in love with the silliness. Flowery, giddy-looking mules in a rainbow of colours to put a smile on your face even after an ass of a day. An ass of a day? See what I did there? Ahem. It’s only £18.

This was a guest post by our trainee Domestic Slut Laura Vickers. She's got the best cushions for watching scary films behind.

Design Porn: My teapot by Anouk Jansen

Working on the Domestic Sluttery book has meant my time spent on my couch staring at my laptop has dramatically increased. Apart from making my already square eyes even squarer, this has had two main effects: I've been spending far too much money on internet shopping and I've been obsessively thinking about tea, the substance powering my typing efforts. I've already introduced you to Hugo the tea ball this week, so how about a lovely new teapot?

With all the sunshine outside, what could be better than Anouk Jansen's bright yellow teapot? There's something appealing childlike about the mismatched handle and lid. The fact it's called My Teapot reminds me instantly of fun Fisher Price toys - a very good thing indeed - and it makes me want to ring up all my friends (using the Fisher Price wheelie chatter telephone, naturally) and invite them to a tea party.

The teapot is available in two other colour combos and costs £44.99. Even better is that you can buy mugs in the same style for £7.60, in eight amazing colourways, meaning you can mix and match your crockery till your heart's content.

SCP is only selling it in-store which means, if I want one, I'll have to leave my couch and computer to go out and get one. Judging by my all-time high levels of internet shopping and tea consumption for once this is a bonus.

Dream Dress: Polka Dot Dress

Yes, I know a polka dot dress on Domestic Sluttery is hardly a surprise. I have at least three in my wardrobe. But Zara's dresses are such a cute shape, it's hard not to covet them. The little bit of structure, the sexy nipped in waist and the boxy neckline stop this from being just 'another polka dot dress'.

Where am I going to wear this? Just about everywhere I can. The red belt is a cute touch, and adds a bit of a 50s vibe to the modern shape. It's only £39.99 (practicaly a penny per polka dot!) so it's is a great value little number. Want it? You'll have to hurry. Zara's best dresses don't stick around for long.

Shoe Porn: Teeze Flames Shoes

I am completely enamoured with these Teeze Flame Shoes from Lady Luck's Boutique. They are quite expensive at £97.95 and completely impractical with their towering 5 3/4" heels. But when I look at them I just know I would feel like Wonder Woman with them adorning my feet, besides they definitely strike me as the kind of shoes that are less for walking and more for draping in.

What's more they are available in sizes 36 up to 42, which is great news for the larger footed gal like myself.
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