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Monday 30 April 2012

Sluttery Travels: The Old Rectory, Hastings

After spending all of last week writing about Yorkshire, I decided that Sluttery Travels needed to move down south. I've settled on The Old Rectory in Hastings. An 18th Century B&B that manages to have the perfect location - close to town and still surrounded by stunning countryside and the beach. Come on now, that's just showing off.

The feel of the place is very 'elegant countryside'. Seriously, it's like something straight out off Elle Decoration.

Each room has a similar feel, but the blue details in this one are particularly cute.

They promise that they'll add any extra touches you ask for, which means bottles of bubbly on arrival and chocolates and good stuff. They've also got free internet access (still a massive bugbear across B&Bs in general) and there's a free DVD library.

They've got two lounges so they're popular for weddings. Oh, and they've got a really gobsmacking view that makes me want to sack off the rest of the day and jump on a train.

Just an hour and a half away from London, prices start at £100 a night for two including breakfast. Surprisingly, single occupancy doesn't have a supplement - it's actually about £30 cheaper. I've got a feeling this little B&B is going to have a reservation in my name soon.

It's An International Timely Thing

It is fair to say that I am not as international as I'd like to be but that doesn't stop me being fascinated by time zones. I love that when I'm having my lunch, someone else has only just got up to have their breakfast or is on their way to bed after a long day. I also love places that have different clocks showing the time in different places. They seem to have some sort of retro glamour. Which is why I want this clock from Urban Outfitters.
I totally need to know the time in Paris, Tokyo and New York while I'm eating my cornflakes or doing the laundry. Just in case...

World clock, £75 from Urban Outfitters

Sluttishly Sweet: Lemon and Lime Sorbet

Why, oh why, have I never thought to make sorbet before?! It is simple to make and delicious to eat - two of my favourite things.

On Sunday I whipped up this easy lemon and lime sorbet for my roast dinner comedown and it was a revelation (possible over-exaggeration, but you know what I mean). And all this came about as I had bought about a gazillion lemons and limes recently with the hope of summery weather. Instead with puddles turning into lakes outside, we are all cooped up by the fire.
So whilst this might not be the first thought for pudding when misery ensues outside, it was actually rather lovely to bring a bit of zest (I know, I know…sorry) to our sleepy Sunday meal.

If, like me, you have never made sorbet, give this a whirl. It was so easy to prepare and it tastes really sweet and tangy.

Lemon and Lime Sorbet (serves 6-8) (adapted from Jamie Oliver)
You will need:
  • 200g sugar
  • 275ml water
  • zest and juice of 3 limes
  • zest and juice of 3 lemons
Make it!
  • In a small pan bring the sugar and water to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and allow to cool a little.
  • Meanwhile, zest and juice the lemons and limes.
  • Combine everything together in a large-bottomed tupperware box with a fork and then place in the freezer.
  • Allow the sorbet to set for at least 2 hours but try and stir it every 30 minutes.
  • Serve in a twee teacup and saucer (this part is optional).

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Cauliflower Poppers

I have to confess: I could count the number of times I've had my five-a-day on the fingers of one hand. Why don't potatoes count? Why does fruit juice only count as one portion, even if you drink a litre? Hnng.

So, I welcome anything I can do to boost my fruit and veg count. When I heard people on Twitter talking about cauliflower poppers, I had to investigate. Turns out they're not only delicious and low-carb, they're incredibly easy to make. I'm not someone who regularly munches on vegetables - you won't catch me dipping celery into hummous, not when pitta bread exists, thank you - but these are now my healthy snack of choice.

I've added Indian spices, but you could mix in whatever you like to give them a kick.

Cauliflower poppers (serves 2)

You will need:
  • 1 cauliflower head
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Garam masala
  • Cayenne pepper
Make it!
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.
  2. Wash the cauliflower head and break into florets. Pop them into a large bowl and add enough olive oil to coat them. Sprinkle on the salt and pepper, and add garam masala and cayenne pepper to taste. Mix well with your hands.
  3. Spread the florets on the baking tray and roast for an hour, turning twice. They might not need the full hour, but they're done when brown and crispy.
Eat with salsa or ketchup when your body really wants crisps but your brain has over-ruled it. In your FACE, body!

Finch and Fouracre's Model Ice Cream Van

It might be the end of April, but it's safe to say it's not getting warm out any time soon. Which means no ice cream vans for a while (although sometimes there's a very stubborn guy in Greenwich, come rain or shine). My Granddad was an ice cream driver for a couple of summers when I was a kid. I'd get a free 99 every Saturday, with extra strawberry sauce. I was the coolest kid in the street for the exact time the ice cream lasted.

I'm in the mood for ice cream today, and especially from an ice cream van. So I'm going to make my own. This little make your own ice cream van kit is from Glaswegian model makers Finch and Fouracre. You just slot the pieces together, get decorative with stickers, and make ice cream jingle noises as you eat Ben & Jerry's.

It's £9.50, you can buy it from Culture Label and it's probably the closest thing you'll get to an ice cream van until July.

Luscious Lingerie: Fleur of England

I spent yesterday evening clearing out my underwear drawer (yes, it was a very rock 'n' roll weekend, thanks for asking). I hoard old underwear and have no idea why. So I'm in the market for some new smalls, and I'm going to treat myself to some from Fleur of England.

I didn't know I'd be in the market for lime green underwear, but I am. I really, really am. It's gorgeous. The briefs are £39 and the bra £79, so this isn't your average lingerie set. But I'm bored of fancy underwear being in boring colours.

The briefs have side straps, the suspender belt is bold and the balcony bra will be super flattering. And they're lime green for cryin' out loud. You'd be unstoppable in this underwear. On a Monday. When it's raining. In fact, you could probably take over the world.

Friday 27 April 2012

The Boy and his Poison: The Parkin

Today is the final day of our Yorkshire week here at Domestic Sluttery and the contributions have been incredible. That said, when it dawned on me that I would also have to root out or concoct a drink that would hold its own with everybody else's amazing discoveries I was struck with a touch of fear. Spoiler alert: Yorkshire isn't renowned for its local cocktails… great bars and well-versed bartenders yes, but drinks synonymous with the area, less so.

It was this recipe for Yorkshire Parkin that ended up inspiring the solution. The dark molasses taste of treacle and spice of the ginger got me thinking. So, I present the Parkin - a North-European cousin to the Moscow Mule. Imagine all the kick of the mule but with a hint of Yorkshire spice and sweetness. It’s one of those 'any-time' cocktails that’s equally capable of shielding you from the rain as it is easing you into some afternoon sun.

You'll need:
  • 50ml vodka (its Yorkshire week so I went for the British Chase Vodka)
  • 50ml Black Sheep ale
  • 25ml lime juice
  • 12.5ml (half a shot) treacle
  • Ginger beer (not ale)
Then make
  • Stir the treacle and lime juice in a shaker till they're thoroughly mixed and the treacle has dissolved
  • Add the beer and vodka 
  • Pour the mixture over an ice filled long glass
  • Top up with ginger beer
  • Garnish with a lime wedge

The Preloved Designer Sale

We've told you about travel ideas, we've given you Yorkshire inspired recipes and discovered some gorgeous shops. Yorkshire week has been packed full of exciting things. There are some very cool events coming up as well, not least the Preloved Designer Sale.

Taking place at the wonderful boutique-y centre Leeds Corn Exchange on June 15th-17th, there are going to be around 1000 designer pieces for sale at bargain prices. I've been promised there will be everything from Reiss to Versace and Alexander McQueen. I want to be there, and I want to buy everything. I can't buy real priced designer stuff. Some weeks I can barely afford broccoli.

Prices are starting at just £5 (A FIVER!) and if you've got some designer clobber you can get involved as well - you don't need to be there, just drop your stuff off and then collect your cash later that week.

Who wants to come shopping with me?

Sluttishly savoury: Wensleydale Mushrooms

Mushrooms, bacon and cheese: three ingredients that are making me very happy this lunchtime. Wensleydale mushrooms is one of those recipes that throws together everything you've got leftover in your fridge and turns it into grilled comfort food. You absollutely have to use plain Wensleydale in this dish, which the supermarkets seem to hide away in favour of varieties with cranberries and apricots in (I even found Wensleydale with ginger, yuck). Once you've got the cheese sorted, this posh pub favourite is a very simple recipe to whip up. I used the BBC recipe as a reminder, but really it's melting cheese and frying tasty stuff.

You'll need:
  • 30g butter
  • 200g mushrooms (I used a mix of wild mushrooms, they were cheap in Asda)
  • 100g smoked bacon lardons
  • 30g flour
  • 200ml milk
  • 150g Wensleydale cheese
  • Cracked black pepper
Make it!
  1. Fry the mushrooms and lardons in the butter until they're cooked. Stop eating them.
  2. No, seriously, stop.
  3. Add the flour and stir until it's all cooked through (if it's not, your sauce will split).
  4. Pour in the milk and mix in, cooking until it comes to a simmer.
  5. Stir in about two thirds of the cheese and cook on a low heat until it's all come together in a yummy gooey sauce, then add the black pepper.
  6. Pop the grill on and transfer your mixture into ramekins, or an ovenproof dish. Sprinkle over the rest of the cheese and grill until it's golden and bubbling. (You could always bake the dish if you prefer - my grill is feisty.)
  7. Serve with toasty brown bread.
Flickr image from Annie Mole's photostream.

Weekly Wine: Yorkshire Vineyards

I haven't really championed English wine in the past, believing there to be better value equivalents elsewhere in the world. I just haven't seen enough to excite me into going all patriotic about wine, although global warming and advances in technology do appear to be making British soils (and its producers) more and more suitable to producing really good stuff.

Yorkshire Week here on Domestic Sluttery, however, has unearthed more than enough examples to make me begin to sip my words along with a little portion of humble pie. Being the home of 'Last of the Summer Wine', I probably should have known better.

Leventhorpe Vineyards

If you think winemaking in Yorkshire is a new thing, you'd be totally wrong: George and Janet Bowden of Leventhorpe vineyards near Leeds have been making wine there now for nearly thirty years. For them, it's all about "location, location, location": he chose their five-acre site specifically because of it's unique, brilliant soil and sheltered slope, knowing these conditions could make excellent wine. This concept of 'terroir' is what makes many classic French wines great, and George takes it so seriously that he hasn't expanded the site since they began to grow on it in 1985 because the neighbouring fields don't come up to scratch.

The Bowden's passion is all in the wine-growing: they don't have a website, they don't actively advertise, they haven't developed their precious acres into hotel complexes or twee restaurants to make extra money. They rely on word-of-mouth recommendations, and yet they have an impressive spectrum of high-profile fans: Oz Clarke continues to praise their wine, particularly for its uniquely recognisable character (the holy grail of winemaking to many), Rick Stein included it in his Guide, and their wine has been recommended by Jancis Robinson, several broadsheets, and even Decanter Magazine.

White: Madeleine Angevine, £10.90 from Slurp
Delicate, smooth, peachy wine that is the perfect match for food with a bit of spice.

Sparkling: Leventhorpe Sparkling, £17.00 - direct from vineyard (0113 288 9088)
Light but complex, with both appley fruit and the traditional yeasty biscuit character you'd expect from a fine sparkler. You don't find much decent Champagne at this price though - a bit of a bargain if you're looking for something special and want to support English vineyards.

You can visit Leventhorpe most days, (just get in touch, and they might even let you taste their wines when you get there), but George warned me - despite their reputation that rivals many a French vineyard- not to expect a Chateau. "We do have a shed, though." He's just a bit brilliant.

Ryedale Vineyards

Run by Stuart and Elizabeth Smith, Ryedale vineyards is the most northerly commercial vineyard in England. Like Leventhorpe, Ryedale have also made innovations in Yorkshire winemaking in recent years: they were the first in the region to produce a sparkling rose - named 'A Taste of Paradise' - but they also produce other white, rose and sparkling wines with similarly epic names.

My favourite is Yorkshire Lass - an aromatic white that you can buy direct from Ryedale (01653 658507), but I'm also keen to try a glass of Yorkshire Sunset: a coppery pink wine filled with strawberry character that I would save for a summer evening. It's £9.54 from Yorkshire Vintners.

Other up-and-coming vineyards include Holmfirth - a relatively new venture who are already attracting a lot of attention and winning international awards for their wines. You can purchase their wines direct from their online shop - their Holmfirth Red is catching my eye as you don't see many red wines grown the region. They use the rondo and regent grapes which are popular throughout English wineries, and I'm excited to try it. It's £9.99.

Image taken from John-Morgan's photostream under the Creative Commons License

Independent Yorkshire Homewares: Tipling's

I found this ceramic milk bottle in Tipling's, a little indy homewares shop in Ilkley, West Yorkshire. They seem to flit from very fancy stuff that I can't afford to interesting little pieces and gifts that I'd really like. But I can afford these milk bottles. They're £8 each and they'll be pretty whether you use them for milk or just pop flowers in them.

If you can't find something you're looking for, Tipling's promise to help you find it. That's something I'm seeing a lot with the shops in Yorkshire - there's a really personal service in the shops we've featured.

Friendly service and pretty ceramics. All shops should be like this.

Sluttishly Savoury: Ham Hock and Puy Lentils

Ham hock is one of those massively underrated cuts of meat thats really cheap (about £1.50 each) and packed full of flavour. Make sure you buy a gammon hock rather than a plain pork hock though, gammon is raw pork that has been cured, ham is gammon that has been cooked. This is one of those dishes that is perfect for a cold day and the smell of it simmering gently on the hob will ensure you are ravenous by the time its ready!

I have some amazing Puy lentils leftover from my Good Fork Deli Box and thought they would go beautifully with the ham. The leftover ham stock is amazing, use it to add loads of flavour to soups and gravies (it freezes really well too).

You'll need:
  • 1 gammon hock
  • 2 onions 
  • 3 carrots
  • 3 sticks celery
  • peppercorns
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 300g green lentils (Puy are wonderful but any will still be great)
  • big knob of butter
  • parsley
Make it!
  1. Put the hock in a saucepan of cold water and leave overnight to remove most of the salt. Drain, rinse then cover with cold water and add 1 of the onions (quartered) and 2 carrots and 2 sticks of celery cut in half. Then add your bay leaves and about 8 peppercorns. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for 3 hours.  
  2. Remove the hock and put in a big bowl, pour over about 600ml of the stock and leave to cool (this will stop the meat from drying out and keep it lovely and moist). Strain the remaining stock into a large jug and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile dice the remaining onion, carrot and celery and gently fry in butter to soften.
  4. Rinse your lentils then add them to the veg along with about 1L of the strained stock then simmer for about 30- 40 minutes. If it seems dry add some more stock. You want your lentils cooked but still with a bit of bite to them.
  5. Whilst that is simmering strip your hock of its meat and let the meat continue to sit in the stock.
  6. Stir the meat through your cooked lentils, sprinkle with parsley and enjoy with a hunk of crusty bread and a glass of wine.

Thursday 26 April 2012

Sluttery Travels: Yorebridge House, Yorkshire

Tucked away in Wensleydale, Yorebridge House is an impressive building. It's cosy, but without being poky. It was one a village school, but it's been spruced up into a very sexy little hotel.

There are just eleven rooms in the hotel, and this one is absolutely our favourite. The gorgeous attic canopy is making me have kittens. Do you think I could just move in here?

That bathroom is so perfect - the slate grey and purple walls are absolutely stunning. It's like a super swish countryside pad. Basically, my dream bathroom. I just need me a pile of magazines. There's even a little table by the bath. I'd love to think I'd rest a glass of wine on it. It's more likely to be a cuppa and a bag of Monster Munch.

This is the perfect hotel for a weekend getaway. You've got a gorgeous base to explore the dales, or just to cosy up all weekend. I'm not sure you'd get me out of the hotel once I'd arrived.

It's around £200 a night including breakfast via Mr & Mrs Smith. Anyone want to treat me? I promise I know all of the good driving games. And I'll share my Monster Munch*.

*That's a lie.

Design Porn: Don't Feed The Bears

Don't Feed The Bears have a fine name, don't they? They're a t-shirt label based in Sheffield. I discovered them while reading about The Forum - a little place chock-full of indy shops and music and places to grab a cuppa.

I've got a lot of love for this tourist jumper. I like being a tourist, it's fun. This is £27.

This design made me smile. Did I mention kittens? It's £29 for the jumper or £20 on a t-shirt.

This leopard collar top is cute, isn't it? Did I mention kittens? I'm sure I mentioned kittens. Anyway, this is £25.

Did I mention kittens?

Dream Dress: Blonde & Wise Backless Dress

This backless ruffle dress is one of the sexiest dresses I've seen in a long time. It's by Blonde & Wise and available at Moo Designs, who have a little shop in the boutique haven that is Leeds Corn Exchange. Ideally all dresses would look like you just threw them on and didn't put any effort into your outfit at all. This dress suggests that you just happen to look gorgeous all the time. You didn't spend two hours getting ready for a cup of coffee that may or may not be a date.

In Domestic Sluttery terms: it's wardrobe gold.

Just look at the back. *swoooon*

I've died and gone to dress heaven. It's luscious. You'll need one of those bra converter things if you can't go without, but it's such a stunning shape. A little pricier than most of my dresses - it's £95. But then, wardrobe gold is worth paying a little extra for, isn't it? This will be your go to sexy-may-or-may-not-be-a-date dress for years to come.

Everything's smelling of Rose & Co

Elizabeth's mention of the Yorkshire Soap Company reminded me of another Yorkshire company that makes exceedingly good smellies: Rose & Co. I'm a long standing devotee of their rose petal balms which have often made birthday present and stocking filler appearances for my friends and family. When I was last in Leeds I visited their oh-so-pretty Victoria Arcade store but a visit to their Haworth store is definitely also on my agenda: an old druggist full of old-fashioned remedies, packaged-up beautifully.

Moving beyond the rose balm, their whole range is flavoured with things I'd like to consume: jasmine green teaginger and beer and orange flower, just for example. And their Patisserie de Bain range is exquisitely pretty:

These delicious looking cakes are actually bath melts. They're a bit like the bath bombs of yore, but much prettier and probably far less likely to annoy whoever has to clean up the bath after you. A box of 6 fancies costs £14.

Or, after a long exhausting day, popping one of these rose and violet fondants into a hot steaming bath would feel like the ultimate in luxury. Made with shea and cocoa butter, these fondants also promise to disperse a subtle level of glitter as they dissolve. I wholeheartedly approve. A set will cost you £12.

Their new rose and patchouli range includes this £15 gift set, containing bath and shower gel alongside three bath melts. Its pretty packaging is inspired by a vintage kimono.

If you fancy something a little less floral as you soak, take a look at these mustard bath salts. Supposedly offering relief for athletes and gardeners and, though I'm neither of those things, I'm still intrigued. Offered in several varieties including seaweed, milk, football (?!?!) and, of course, rose, they're only £3 a packet.

Sweet Stationery from McDonough and Davies

As someone with a lot to say, I've got a lot of love for simple but effective cards at the moment. My absolute favourite thing about the Yorkshirefolk I know is their direct, no-nonsense approach to life, and this is very much reflected in the succinct but super-sweet messages in the card range by McDonough and Davies.

Based in Bradford, all of their designs are lovingly crafted in Yorkshire by Sarah Davies and Charley McDonough who graduated from Leeds University last year.

My favourite from the range is this 'It will be OK' card. Understated but just the kind of thing you need to send sometimes. Receive, too. It's £2.50.

If you can't resist using Kat's awesome guide to Leeds, you might find yourself hot-footing it on a day-trip some day soon. If you do, you're going to want to drag someone along with you. I reckon they'll love this 'Oh I do love a day out' card. It, too, is £2.50.

Sometimes, you want to say something lovely to someone even lovelier, but you just can't put your heart-fuzz into words. Don't worry, McDonough and Davies have done it for you with their 'Thanks to you, my life is full of roses' card. Give it to someone ace, or, you know, someone that has just bought you loads of roses. It's £2.50 as well.

All of their designs are coming soon to their shop, but for now you can buy them for various awesome shops in the Yorkshire area.

Etsy Pick: sarahlovestocraft

After yesterday's guide of gorgeous places to visit in Leeds, I couldn't tear myself away, so today's wonderful Etsy shop, sarahlovestocraft, is also Leeds-based.

Sarah Tideswell makes these beautiful earrings out of mini plastic hama beads which she melts together and adds to gold ear wires (or silver, you can request a change if you're allergic). I think they're utterly fabulous.

Duck earrings, £3.17
Scrabble tile drop earrings, £2.54
Heart earrings, £3.17
Keyboard earrings, £3.17
Sarah also does a good line in ninjas, broken hearts and Pacman brooches. Simply gorgeous. Want more fabulous craft from up north? Sarah is a member of the West Yorkshire Etsy Team.

Wednesday 25 April 2012

Picador 40th Anniversary Editions

I often use the camera on my phone as a little notebook. I see something in a shop window and take a quick photo and carry on with my day. If you searched through the photos on my phone you'd basically find cocktails, cats and pictures of shoes through windows.

Amongst all the usual snaps, there was a photo of the new designs for Picador's 40th birthday, which I spotted in Amsterdam and had totally forgotten taking until this afternoon.

They've redesigned 12 of their classic books for their birthday, all in black and white, with a touch of navy here and there.

I love the covers, and I love a lot of the books they've chosen to reissue.

I also like that they're paperbacks. So many birthday redesigns are fancy hardbacks and I never buy them - I can't carry a hardback in my bag with all of my stuff.

It was actually Picador's birthday earlier this month, so this range is in the shops now. They're certainly eye-catching enough to start conversations on the train (I'm always happy to have book conversations on the train, FYI).

Since it's Yorkshire week, I had a bit of a search for some independent bookshops in the north east. The Castle Bookshop looks like a very happy shop and Guisborough is a very special place indeed. It's the biggest bookshop in the north east, and they'll source any out of print copy you ask for - that's some dedicated service. If you're after something a little more arty, head to the bookshop in Salts Mill for graphic novels and huge tomes that you'll want to show off on your coffee table.

Bird's Yard, Leeds

When I told people we were doing Yorkshire week, emails poured in telling me about Birds Yard on Kirkgate Road in Leeds. I've never had so many emails about one shop before. Kat even mentioned it in her Leeds guide earlier today. If there's one thing Leeds excels at, it's independent shopping and a quirky boutique or seven. Birds Yard is basically all of that under one roof.

There are three floors to the shop all with tiny little spaces for indy vendors. I want to go and explore all of it, but I'm stuck in South London. Instead, I'm having a little nose through their website. On the ground floor, I've found a gorgeous little vintage shop called Young and Lost, beautiful bags from Holly & Ruby and I really like Brain & Magic and the t-shirts from One 4 Sorrow.

How about the second floor? There are less designers on this floor, but Forever Eva describes itself as 'a little room of fashion and pop culture'. I want to play immediately. They've also got original fashion pieces from Polish designer Bo Carter.

Wait, there's more! There's a couple more shops - another fashion boutique and a homewares shop (neither have particularly enticing websites) and most importantly: the second floor has a hairdressers! The hairdressers specialises in afro hair, and I'm now thinking that all cool shops should have people to give you a blow dry.

Birds Yard looks like a truly special shop, full of interesting designers that change often. It's a bit like a real life Etsy, just with people who want to make your hair pretty.

*Update* I've just been told via Amy on our Facebook page that the ground floor of Bird's Yard is now a tearoom! Seriously, could this place be any more perfect?

A Pandora's Box Guide to Leeds

WARNING: Everything in this is so ridiculously tempting that you will be scrabbling at thetrainline's website crying "Please defile my bank account with your overpriced ticket charges, only take me to Leeds immediately." Be careful opening it with your eyes.

Having stood on Yorkshire soil precisely twice in my life (staring at it from trains to and from university doesn't count, I am told) I sought out the wisdom of a girl who has lived in Leeds for years: Kathryn Hanke, of the tremendous comedy sketch group The Dog-Eared Collective.

Rather than give me a couple of places to check out, Kathryn sent me the most marvellous selection of her favourite places in Leeds so I have compiled a guide of the ones that tempted me most (essentially, all of them) with one or two extra and some comments from Kathryn. "They may not be undiscovered, but they are lovely," she says. Sounds pretty good to me.

Arts Cafe
"This does lovely foody lunches and has a nice tucked away vibe," says Kathryn. "If I was taking out someone artsy - this would be stop no.1!" The website alone looks lovely; delicious sample menus which remind me that I still don't have the slightest clue what a remoulade is. There's a recipe for chilled beetroot & apple soup with goats cheese on the homepage which makes me want to curl up with a book of poetry and feel wholesome. And then get leathered on wine and bark out Voltaire.
Dock Street Market. You can buy that sofa, y'know
Dock Street Market
I spent much of Tuesday staring forlornly at my computer and scratching it in the hope that a home-baked sourdough sandwich would fall out of the speaker: as well as food from their own on-site bakery DSM offers teapot cocktails (the Corpse Bride's take on a classic Zombie sounds wonderful); Bottega Milanese coffee, delicious-sounding food and furniture so lovely that you can literally buy it and take it away with you. They also have a sizeable collection of board games. Homenahomena.

Can we have lunchtime again? -  Little Tokyo
Little Tokyo
Kathryn sent me this before lunch and I had to stop reading it because it was making me foam at the mouth with greed. Enjoy:
"This has been my favourite restaurant for years! It has a massive veggie menu (including everything from tofu steaks to vegetarian duck and mango!) but also extensive meats, and it's a little Japanese den. Probably the most popular things they do are bento boxes (dressed salad, tempura, rice and whatever meat you've chosen) and THESE HAVE ACTUALLY GOT BIGGER SINCE I FIRST STARTED GOING. Truly incredible.

"The restaurant is magical. They have decking over a koi carp pond which you can sit on and watch the fish as you eat, twinkly lights, and staff who wear full Japanese regalia. Finally, they do two of the best puddings ever - really light crispy spring roll parcels filled with warm marshmallows - and profiteroles with ice cream inside and seaweed sauce. It's a revelation."
I have since had lunch, and am foaming at the mouth still.

For drinks, A Nation of Shopkeepers (which rivals York's The House of Trembling Madness for cracking bar name, IMO) and North Bar are both well-stocked with artisan beers and spirits - North Bar has around 50 whiskies which is just about enough to keep the Sluttière crew occupied on a Sunday evening. I'm also jonesing to try The Maven, a speakeasy bar that serves a £25 gin punch bowl cocktail called Mother's Ruin, as well as drinks in teacups on wine stems. Nice.

Beautiful goodies at Birds Yard (picture by Click-Track Heart
And then there's shopping. I am desperately trying to reconcile my lack of funds with my entire lack of summer clothes so have tried to gloss over shops in Leeds, but then Kathryn threw in something which put all my good plans to nought. Birds Yard had me clutching at my desk in a sort of desperate fit: three floors of vintage shops, boutiques, upcycled and recycled and handmade goodies for the home and the wardrobe.

*reconciles self to fact will have to buy extortionate train ticket to Leeds immediately*

The Dog-Eared Collective's show You're Amazing, Now Look at Me is touring, and then 2-26 August at the Underbelly for the Edinburgh Fringe. Find them on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Shop In The Spotlight: Radiance Lighting

While I can always find a new teapot or duvet cover or something else to perk up my house, I always struggle when it comes to lighting. I finally realised I needed to rethink how I view lighting, looking at it more as art than function, so when Elizabeth mentioned Radiance in her guide to Hebden Bridge, I decided to take a closer look.

And oh, is it pretty. We've written about how lovely Hannah Nunn's stuff is before but I still covet this lamp. It's £67 and would look perfect in my bedroom.

Moving away from Hannah's designs, I'm quite taken with this bird lamp by Ken Eardley. You can buy it with the shade for £99 or without for £72.

I'll be saving my pennies for this floor lamp though. £295 is a lot of money to spend on one thing but it's so damn gorgeous and comes in five colours. Each one is custom made so you get what you pay for. I love the curves.

Radiance don't just sell awesome lighting though. They have other lovely bits and bobs. I think my favourite has to be this fox tea towel by Helen Musselwhite. It's £10.

So now I have even more of a reason to go to Hebden Bridge!

Wallpaper Wednesday: Rachael Taylor

Rachael Taylor is actually from Wirral in Merseyside, but she then went on to study textile and fashion design at Leeds University. Her designs aren't just for wallpaper - you'll see them on fabrics as well. Basically, if there's a plain surface, Rachael wants to scribble on it.

The girl doesn't come with the paper. Which is a shame, because we really like her hat. Of course, you can buy clothes from Rachael Taylor. They're all in such fun prints.

Rachael's designs are available all over the world - she's done a lot in a short space of time. Lisa mentioned this morning that some of her pieces are sold in Heart Gallery and you can buy Rachael's work from Bouf as well.

If it's Rachael's wallpaper you're after you can see her entire collection at Wallpaper Direct. I'd be happy with any of these in my home - they're striking, they're bold but they're not way too over the top. They're just right, aren't they?
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