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Wednesday 31 August 2011

Sluttishly Easy: Vanilla Vodka

I was wandering around the supermarket, bemoaning the fact that you can always find a good deal on ordinary vodka but my favourite vanilla vodka is always at least £15, when I realised how easy it would be to make it. The clue's in the title: vanilla + vodka = vanilla vodka.

Waiting for the vanilla pods to work their magic doesn't have the instant gratification of picking up a bottle of Absolut Vanilla, but be patient and the result is lush. Plus you're less likely to guzzle it once you remember how long it took to create.

This is also a great way to use up leftover vanilla pods from baking. Those things cost a fortune so I can never bear to throw them away.

Vanilla vodka

You will need:

70cl vodka
2 vanilla pods (add more for a more intense flavour)

Make it!

Slit the pods down the middle, drop them into the vodka, shake well and leave to infuse. It'll be ready to drink after 3-4 weeks. Strain if necessary - sometimes the pods break up - and serve over ice.

Oasis 90 minute delivery for 90p

I'ts not often I jump on email alerts, but after battling with html for ooooh ten minutes, the Oasis email offering their (from) 90 minute delivery for 90p caught my attention. How could it not? They've promised me that these shoes will be with me by 4pm. How exciting! Sluttery HQ isn't exactly in the sticks, but new shoes delivered while I work from my sofa is very fun indeed. Let's have a look at what other pretty things you can buy in the new collection.

I love the print on this print dress. Retro hearts a go go and it'll see you right through Autumn. I've made my peace with summer being over now, give me jewelled colours, opaque tights and snuggly scarves. It's £45.

These were my second choice of shoe. They're a gorgeous leather and they're just £35.

In just over an hour you could be throwing soup down this sexy white dress. It's £60.

Oasis' from 90 minute delivery will usually cost you £9.99 and it's available in major cities throughout the country (I think they're planning on rolling it out to more). I happen to think that's a bargain anyway - especially if you order lots of choices for a special lastminute night out. Who hasn't ironed a hole in the dress they were planning to wear, or have a washing machine malfunction the same morning? I'll update to tell you what time they arrive (and if I like my shoes), you guys get shopping!

*Update* The shoes arrived earlier than estimated at 3:20pm. They were delivered by a friendly man who asked me to check my order before he whooshed off again and very pretty they are too. The best thing is being able to track your order - quite literally as the courier is driving down the road. Very handy if you need to pop to the shop for a pint of milk. I'm impressed. And I like my new shoes.

Supernice Nintendo wall decals

I recently went to review an 80s bar in Fulham called Maggie's which had a cocktail inspired by the Super Mario Bros and an entire wall of Nintendo graffiti. This was so cool that, had I not been sitting on a stool shaped like a Rubix cube at the time, I'd probably have passed out.

But however cool the graffiti, these new decals from Supernice have the edge. There are three sets to choose from, the DS's New Super Mario Bros game, NES's Donkey Kong and the original NES Super Mario. It's a little 8-bit awesome! Unlike that incredibly tenuous pun!

These would be absolutely amazing for a child's room. When I say room, I mean bar. And when I say child, I mean me.

They're £60 each and for that you get up to 48 stickers that you can position and reuse. They're made from something called Blik Re-Stik and are completely reusable so you shouldn't have to worry about spending hours with a scraper trying to get them off again.

Sluttishly Savoury: Ham, Pea Puree and Cheddar Puff

It was 2pm on Saturday - slap bang in the middle of the Bank Holiday when we realised we'd been chained to our computers all day and hadn't even contemplated lunch. Now, this is a completely intolerable state of affairs. Luckily for my much better half, as a foodie extrordinare I always have something up my sleeve. With a flourish of pastry and a little sleight of hand, Hey Presto! Lunch was served.

To impress the love of your life (with minimal effort) ...

You'll need:
  • Half a pack of ready-to-go puff pastry
  • Large handful of peas
  • 6 cherry tomatoes (halved)
  • Four slices of thick cut honey roast ham (or similar)
  • Large chunk of cheddar cheese
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
Make it!
  • Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees C. You can decide what colour you're going to paint your nails next whilst you do this, if you like.
  • Boil a little water and add the peas -- cook until tender. Whilst you're at it, chop and fry the onion and garlic in a little butter until they begin to brown and melt.
  • Take your puff pastry and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Once its about six inches long and six wide, slice through the middle. You're looking for two rectangle shapes about 6 inches long by 3 inches wide.
  • Line a large baking tray with grease proof paper and pop the pastry onto the tray. Leave a gap in-between the slices.
  • Drain the peas and roughly blend in a food processor. Add a touch of fresh mint if you have it.
  • Lay the peas across the middle of both the pieces of pastry. On top of the peas add the garlic/onion, then place on the chopped ham, sprinkle some grated cheese and top with the cherry tomato halves.
  • Pop into the oven for ten minutes, or until the puff pastry has risen and is golden brown.
  • Serve with a light salad.

Mid-week Hump

I don't even know how I found Skirt. I think I was looking for pretty dresses (always a safe assumption). But now all I can think is OH MY GOD I WANT A CAMEL SCARF.

Isn't it weird and lovely? That's a definite thumbs up when it comes to scarves. Actually, I'd quite like it if all of my accessories were both lovely and weird. None of my other scarves have animals on, and of all of the animals I want on something, camels come a close second (after giraffes, obviously). Kangaroos follow closely behind.

It's entirely possible that I've put too much thought into this.

It's £69 though. That's expensive even for camels. But I've also really want this sheer blouse. It's in the sale so is only available in a medium. It's got a whopping £100 off and it's down to £45. I'm definitely going to be keeping an eye on Skirt from now on, they're like a more grown-up Urban Outfitters.

Wallpaper Wednesday: Barneby Gates Bugs and Butterflies

There's something rather quaint about butterflies on wallpaper. It depends on the design, but I find that sometimes they can be a little too chintzy, or sway entirely the other way into 'little girl room' territory.

But Barneby Gates' bugs and butterflies wallpaper is different. You can see the lovely butterfly design from afar (which is actually rather lovely, and not at all cutesy), but then when you look at it close up...

Check out the bugs in the background! Ants and spiders and centipedes all secretly crawling up the paper. I like this indeed. It's £78 a roll from Rockett St George and it's one of my favourite recent Wallpaper Wednesdays. 

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Sluttery Travels: Hotel du Moulin Petit, Paris

Christian Lacroix gets everywhere, doesn't he? One minute he's on our (dream) couture dresses, the next he's on our stationery and now he's popping up on Sluttery Travels with the throughly gorgeous Hotel du Moulin Petit in Paris.

Hotel du Moulin Petit isn't just a boutique hotel (there are just 17 rooms), it's also a cute little cafe bar. But as lovely as the bar looks, I'm most smitten with the gorgeous details in the rooms. How much do you want to sink into this bath?

I'm in love with this wall. Just love it. Apparently the 17 rooms have '17 atmospheres for 17 ways to explore Le Marias' where the hotel is based.

The building dates back to the 17th century, and was once an old bakery. Now it's a touch more flashy. This mirror is the perfect nod to the designer.

I would love to curl up in this bed. It looks divine. Hotel du Moulin Petit looks like a gorgeous base for exploring Paris (something that I definitely need to do more of).

How much for a stay in this very pretty pile of Parisian bricks? Rates start at €190 euros per night, and go up to €350 for a delux room. Not what you'd call cheap, but not too pricey given the design and the Lacroix name attached. Anyone fancy taking me to Paris?

Shoe Porn: Kurt Geiger Snakeskin Courts

The 'news' that snakeskin is apparently the new leopard print hasn't been welcomed by several of the Domestic Sluts. Y'see, a couple of us live in leopard print. You can never have too much of it, and if you took all of the leopard print dresses out of my wardrobe, I would probably be at a loss.

But while I'm in denial and fully intend on wearing more leopard print in protest, I do really like the snakeskin stuff I've seen recently. Especially these Miss KG stilettos at Kurt Geiger. These are fierce. I think I've realised that I only like snakeskin in small doses - it rarely works for me on a large scale (that large scale being my stomach after I've eaten too many chips). But the small snakeskin detail on these gorgeous shoes works very well.

These are so sexy, even in all black these shoes would be sexy, but the snakeskin is a perfect touch. I might not be 100% sold on snakeskin prints yet, but I am sold on these shoes. At least, I would be if I had £130.

Cute or Creepy: Thelermont Upton Utter Mouth Pots

Every single time I look at this little Utter Mouth Pot by Thelermont Upton, I laugh. That's not to say that it doesn't creep me out a little (homewares involving any kind of human body parts is a bit creepy),  but I also find it absolutely wonderful. I want to put things in it. I'd laugh every single time I did. And there's a little part of my that would hope the mouth talked back to me. Frankly that's both a little creepy and a little awesome.

What do you think? Silly, but ultimately cool and cute? Or are talking vases just plain creepy? If you go with the former, you can buy this from Bouf for £39. If you go with the latter, well that's what the comments are for.

Design Porn:

Having recently moved house, I had resigned myself to buying everything from IKEA - and while I adore their affordable furnishings, I didn't want my entire home to look like everyone else's.

That's where comes in. They work directly with furniture manufacturers to keep costs lower - much lower - than the high street. Fresh new designs at a price that won't make my overdraft explode? YES PLEASE.

This azure blue commode has a distressed finish that would look make my friends assume I'd dropped it down the stairs, but would look stunning in the right home. It's £149 and you'd love it forever.

Love the simplicity of this oak bedside table, and the deep drawer ready to be filled with fripperies. It's £99.

This Bouji chair. Is it...nice? I honestly can't decide. I love the colour contrast, but the castors? The castors are a stumbling block. Hmm. It's £169 as opposed to £799 on the high street, mind.

The downside to all this (apart from the fact that the model has misplaced her clothes in every photo on the website)? Your bargainous designer goods will take anywhere from 10-18 weeks to arrive. That's because they combine all the orders once a week and only manufacture what's been requested. But with a bit of luck you'll have forgotten quite how beautiful your furniture is until it turns up on your doorstep in four months.

And some pieces, like this comfy Jazz Club chair, are available right now if you've got £249 and urgently need somewhere to listen to your Ella Fitzgerald records.

Have a browse, try not to roll your eyes at that bloody naked model, and tell us about your favourites.

Great tape: Gemma Correll's Animal Parade

I thought the Pugs Not Drugs bag had to be the peak of my love for Gemma Correll. I was wrong. Imagine that you're generously giving that bag to a friend as a present: what is the only suitable way to package it up that could possibly equal the joy contained inside? Why surely some of her animal parade tape of course!

This tape is 33 metres of pure joy: it's covered with a typically cute Correll illustration showing some curious creatures, apparently on their way to a party. There are cats, there are rabbits, there are elephants and - yes, of course - there are pugs.

Put some on your friend's present and you know there will be a lot of squealing before they get to the present itself; put some on the edge of a shelf and it'll cheer you up every time you look at it: not bad for £4.95.

It comes from the shop Betty and Dupree. Aside from having a brilliant name, they're a Bristol based company, working with contemporary illustrators. At the moment, they mainly stock (very nice) but with things like this tape, I'm excited to see who they will work with next, and on what.

K is for... Kryptonite

Everyone secretly wishes that they were a super hero. Even if only for a day. Not a day that the world was ending, that's a whole lot of pressure. Just a normal day, where you could whoosh into a phone booth and come out in a fabulous outfit and kick some bad guy butt.

OK, perhaps not everyone wishes that. But I do. Until I discover super powers other than fabulous taste in shoes and making a decent cuppa, I'm going to channel my super hero love into my home with these gorgeous vintage comic letters from The Letteroom.

Each letter is handmade to order from recycled card and vintage comics. Currently there's a choice of Beano, Superman, Batman and the very retro Bunty. Now, Bunty isn't as cool as Batman but they'll also try and hunt down any vintage comic you have your eye on.

Each letter is £38 and will make a perfect personalised present. There are also sheet music letters, but they don't say Kapow! on them.

Friday 26 August 2011

Shop in the Spotlight: Kiki's Boutique

Discovering Kiki's Boutique is like discovering my imaginary wardrobe. They've got such gorgeous brands and they're just temping me to accidentally spend all of my money today just because I'm a little bit hungover and I remembered to post that letter that's been in my bag for two months so I feel like I deserve a treat. My treat might be this:

I love the off the shoulder thing - it's very Olivia Newton-John. This dress is £35 in the sale and there's only a couple left. So I might have to buy this one instead.

Oh, what cute candy stripes. I adore this print. This dress is £42 in the sale. There's surprisingly lots left. If I'm feeling extra generous, I might also treat myself to this as well:

I really like this animal print version. Someone told me this week that snakeskin was the new leopard print. I refuse to believe them. I'll wear this dress in denial. Ha.

I can't decide. Might have to buy everything. Kiki's Boutique is getting exciting new stock soon, but until then I'm going to be snapping up everything in the sale.

Cocktail Hour: Jack Rose

Applejack isn't just the name of a My Little Pony, it's is one of the most interesting spirits. It's also one of the most forgotten about. You'll find it in shops with a good booze section. If you've got a think about apples and brandy, it's the perfect tipple. It's popular in secret speakeasy bars and this Jack Rose cocktail dates all the way back to the 1920s.

You'll need:
  • 70ml Applejack
  • 30ml lemon juice
  • 2 dashes grenadine
Shake it!

Shake over ice and strain into a martini glass straight up. Then pour another. And maybe just one more for good measure.

Flickr image from Frames-of-Mind.

Time for Tea: The TeaShed

I really really really love tea. I drink about ten cups a day at least. My very favourite tea is Yorkshire Tea but I must confess I am totally smitten with the range of teas from The TeaShed. I, for one, am generally very much in need of a mug of Pick Me Up at 3 tea come mid-afternoon.

I'm now even looking forward to the nights drawing in so I have an excuse to try some Baby It's Cold Outside.

And as a northern lass born and bred I shall definitely have to give the Northern Brew tea a go.

The 4am tea should also come in pretty useful as I am partial to a good cuppa just before I retire for the night.

The teas all cost £3.50 for 20 teabags, except the 4am tea which costs £4.50 for 20 teabags. You can even take the sleeve off and use the cardboard cup for your first emergency brew.

Baby, You Can Drive My... Tent?

Festival and holiday season may be coming to a close but there's no reason not to start planning ahead. I recently spent a week camping in Cornwall in a very functional tent and envying people pootling round in VW Camper vans. I can't afford a camper van but if I needed a new tent, I could afford this which is *almost* as good. A camper van tent! Amazing.

As well as looking cool, it's also practical. It's based on the same dimensions as a 1965 T1 Camper Van and sleeps up to four people. It also has a sewn in ground sheet and two separate rooms. It'd certainly stand out and makes a nice change to all those Cath Kidson and Union Flag tents.

If you want one, they come in red, yellow or blue and are available for pre-order from Firebox for £299.99

My Little Rogue Pony

The ongoing nightmare that is the purchase of my first flat seems to be coming together.


So I bet you're all wondering. What, of all the gorgeous not-made-of-gold-or-cats things that I could possibly buy for this much longed-for apartment, would be the first?

It's this.

Bear with me.

The bed and sofa can come later, a Mari Kasurinen modded My Little Pony of my favourite X-Men character, Rogue, seemed like much the best choice. Plus, I'd ordered it back in 2008 but couldn't afford it then. Growing old score!

Think of any pop culture character - Alien, GaGa, Andy Warhol, Rorschach, Princess Leia, Catwoman, Jack Skellington - and Kasurinen will have made them perfectly out of a My Little Pony. It sounds mental, but it looks great. Feast your eyes my dears.

Have a lovely weekend!

Beautiful Brass: Elsie Belle Jewellery

Recently, I've gone a bit doolally in my quest for some new statement jewellery. I can't stop trawling the net for something kooky-chic that will attract the attention of strangers on the train, or spark sporadic conversations with people in awkward silences.

So it was a very good day indeed when I found Bristol-based Elsie Belle. Their brass vintage and vintage-inspired designs have adorned the neck of many a quirky celeb, and that's not surprising when you see how beautifully-made they are.

Take this happy-looking whale, for instance. I love him and his gorgeous shape. I might even name him (William, of course). The attention to detail with the three little beads looking like bubbles from his blowhole is just adorable. It's enough to make you blubber. (Blubber, get it? See what I did there? Ahem, anyway. He's £16.95.)

These cute dinosaur earrings rock my socks. I love that you get two different dino-breeds for your money here, and I rather fancy adorning my lobes with some of this Jurassic-chic. They're £10.95.

This hot air balloon necklace is just dreamy. The detail is exquisite, and that little blue rose make it even more charming. It's £13.95, and as this - like most of Elsie Belle's pieces - comes in a pretty gift box too, I'd say that was money well spent.

Thursday 25 August 2011

Ask the Sluts: What beer do you drink?

People are often surprised that a lot of the Domestic Sluts drink beer. Actually, finances often dictate that we drink more beer than we do cocktails. It's (thankfully) not unusual for women to drink beer these days, and to know a little bit more about it than the price of a pint of Stella. We care just as much about what our beer tastes like as we do our gin. We're also certain that there's a beer out there for everybody, you just have to know what it is that you do and don't like. Here's what you'll find us drinking in the pub.

Siany: I'm a hoppy girl. I not really a fan of dark ales, they're too heavy for me even in winter. Instead I'm all about IPAs (not Green King, avoid that like the plague). Anything pale and refreshing suits me. But I need it to have a bit of a punch as well. Waggle Dance is a favourite, as is Mad Goose. Meantime do a fantastic pint too. And while I don't really go in for fruit beers, I'll happily drink Leifmans cherry beer until I can't stand (usually about six bottles in).

Kat: I don't know what weird process happens to beer when it crosses the Channel, but with the exceptions of Kirin and Corona (bottled) and most wheat beers, I always seem to get a really vile, stinging aftertaste when I drink it. So I drink gin instead. My all-time favourite beer, and place to drink it, is in Les Brasseurs in Geneva. I spent most of my university summer holidays in Switzerland, and Les Brasseurs, with its great colonnes, was blissful (a colonne is basically a huge tube of beer with a tap to siphon it off). Their biere blanche was the reason I kept asking for white beer, rather than wheat beer, when I moved to London, and so kept on getting looked at as though I'd just escaped from one of Oxford Street's more rubbish English schools.

Carrie: One of my first "proper" jobs was managing a pub in Falmouth, Cornwall. It was there that I discovered (and ordered many-a-keg of) Skinners. This Cornish brewery is my total favourite, and I've never been known to turn down a pint of their gorgeous blonde ale; Cornish Knocker (plus, it has a picture of a flasher on the label that always makes me laugh!). If you like something a little darker then Skinner's Betty Stoggs is another fantastically tasty beer.

Sara: Beers that make my male companion say "I'm not bloody asking for that, you order it." Mainly fruit beers like Fruli, Kriek, Meantime raspberry or Sam Smith's cherry beer. Anything bright red that doesn't really taste like beer, basically.

Sel: As I work in a real ale pub, I get to drink quite a lot of beer. It's research, honest. My favourite at the moment is Citra by Oakham Ales. It has quite a zesty taste which makes for perfect summer drinking. I'm also quite partial to a Rauchbier which is basically smoked beer. We always try to have Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen in stock. If you see it and want to try something different, get it!

Sarah D: What is it with us Sara's? Just like Sara, I'm not a big beer drinker: blame growing up in the Cotswolds, a job in a real ale pub and more eye-splitting barn dance scrumpy hangovers than I can shake a stick at. But show me a cherry-coloured sherberty beer like Meantime raspberry.

Frances: Seeing as all the other ladies have already rhapsodised about my favourites (Meantime and Kriek if you want to buy me a pint), I was forced to go to the pub last night to try and find something new to write about. And I was very much enjoying this: Freedom.

Michelle: In my younger days I used to be quite a big real ale fan, mainly as I am a good traditional Yorkshire gal and frequented lots of real ale pubs. However, significant blame must fall at the feet of Hull's old town and the Merchant Navy as I was led astray by some lovely old navvies who introduced me to the delights of Theakstons Old Peculiar followed by a cheeky peach schnapps chaser during my student days.

Got a favourite beer? Tell us in the comments!

Flickr image from James Cridland.

Sluttishly Savoury: Spicy Sausage Student-Style Spaghetti Sauce

I have a shocking confession to make. This weekend I was ... wait for it ... hungover. I know, I know, it's unheard of for a Slut to partake of the evil liquor, but it was my friend's birthday and there was gin and cocktails and dancing and ... well, there's no excuse, of course. But, my penance for partying came sadly on Sunday when I was cruelly rendered home alone with little in the way of supplies and a desire for some seriously hearty food.

No kidding. Carb-o-rama.

I had to delve deep into my mind (and into my cupboards); remembering those heady student days when you spent approximately £7.66 a week on food and about £766 on booze.

The result? Something delightfully simple, delightfully spicy and delightfully delicious.

You'll need:
  • Two frankfurter sausages

  • Handful of peas (fresh if you can, frozen if you have them, tinned if you are a real student)

  • Handful of sweetcorn (as above)

  • Tin of tomatoes (cherry for us, Tesco Value for the students)

  • 2 or 3 cloves of garlic

  • One small onion

  • Splash of olive oil

  • Chili (one or two, depending if you intend to try and sweat your hangover out or not)

  • Squirt of tomato puree

  • A good pinch of oregano (no excuse not to have this, student or not)

  • Spaghetti (you cannot get away with tinned with this one!)

Make it!
  • Heat your olive oil in a deep saucepan or wok. You can wish you didn't feel nauseous from too much gin whilst you do this, if you want (I did).

  • Once the oil is hot, add the garlic (finely chopped) and onions (ditto), and let them gently cook.

  • Add the chili (again, finely chopped) when the onions are starting to melt a bit and the garlic is browning slightly.

  • Cook this up for a few minutes then add the tinned tomatoes and puree. Mix well and leave to simmer for about five minutes.

  • Boil a pan of lightly salter water. When the water is boiling add al slug of olive oil and add the spaghetti.

  • Add the oregano, mix, then chuck in the peas, sweetcorn and frankfurters (cut into chunks).

  • Let this all cook up together for about five minutes. Drain your pasta and serve.

Hot cakes! Decorations to be inspired by

When I was at school I read every minute I could. At breakfast, this involved the backs of cereal boxes, but mostly, my mum's collection of party recipe books. I didn't just become obsessed with cake itself, but with the myriad possibilities for decorating cake.

A moment of stunned applause then for what my friend Jess made for her first hosting duties at the book club we belong too, earlier this week.

I KNOW! Literally, when I walked into the flat and saw this cake I made a noise only animals could hear. Oh, and her boyfriend, who threatened to ban me from said flat if I ever made a noise like that again.

Jess has handily blogged about how she made the decorations so I don't need to do that (as, to be honest, I haven't a clue) which leaves me free to post some pictures of my very favourite cakes.

Mario Kart cake by Let Them Eat Cake

My computer game-themed 30th next year is probably the worst-kept party secret in the world, mostly because I keep tweeting food ideas I want to nick for it. This stunning cake was made for a WEDDING. How obscenely cool is that?

I find it deeply unfair that most enormous cakes are deemed to be wedding cakes. What if you just seriously like cake, and have a lot of friends? Brixton baker Maisie Fantaisie makes some deeply lustable confectionary and this one in particular makes me think happy thoughts both of the sunflowers in Plants VS Zombies, and just outside the French town of Lautrec, where huge fields of them follow the sun and look unnervingly like triffids.

Of the ton (and I mean, ton) of shark or Jaws-based cupcake recipes on the web, these are both the simplest and the most effective. While some other cupcakes AWESOMELY have actual sharks coming up out of them, they involve a) a hell of a lot of effort and b) Twinkies, which I'm fairly sure don't exist in the UK. These on the other hand just require card and some decent icing. Win.

I could go on for hours. I realise that a mere four cakes is only whetting the appetite for fondant and fancy, but dude - I want to hear about your favourite cakes. And if you've done any particularly brilliant ones yourselves, link to the pictures in the comments and we'll round up the best ones in our best in show.

Throw it and Grow it: Guerrilla gardening with Seedboms

If you are ever overwhelmed by the desire to bring a bit of colour and life to the drab urban spaces you pass ever day you may very well be tempted to try your hand at a little bit of guerrilla gardening and these wonderful handmade seedboms by kabloom make it simple for even the least green-fingered among us to have a go.

Simply throw them into those neglected spaces and the seedbom will biodegrade leaving behind some beautiful flowers. A four pack of seedboms cost £9.95 or you can buy them individually for £2.95 each.

Ring, Ring: Retro-Style Telephones

I can't lie - ever since I bought myself an original rotary dial telephone (this one from ProtelX is almost identical to mine), I've been regularly inventing reasons to call people just so I can play with all the clicky, whirry goodness. Trust me, it never gets old. It does, however, take about half an hour to dial one number, and also doesn't work if I'm ringing a call-centre with touch-tone options. I like to think it's still worth it.

Here are my pick of the best retro-style phones out there - some more technology-friendly than others.

It's a well known fact* that if you have this phone on your desk, you are ace at fighting crime. This seems to have leapt out of some fifties detective drama, but still has some snazzy modern features to keep it functional. This little beauty is from Oliver Bonas, and is £49.50.

If you're a gadget geek like me, this sexy coral number should definitely press your buttons. Yes, it's got the funky retro shape, but it's cordless and also has a phonebook and answering machine. It's from Dwell, and I think it is worth the £99 price tag.

If you want a real statement phone, I don't think you can beat this patterned phone from Viva Fabric. It's a rotary dial just like mine, but I have to admit mine is not half as eye-catching. It's a tad pricey at £100 with £8 delivery on top of that, but they do them in various fabric designs, each one utterly gorgeous. Now all you need to do is call your friends and invite them to come and stare at its prettiness.

*Okay, it's not, but it should be.
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