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Friday 1 August 2014

Thanks for all the Gin

Now that we've reminisced, got nostalgic, celebrated the last five and a half years and maybe had a bit of a cry, there’s just one last thing for us to do before we go and that’s thank our brilliant readers.

Thank you to all of you for commenting on our posts, buying the brilliant things that we've written about, helping us to champion brilliant independent designers. Thank you for recreating our recipes each week. Thank you for telling us what you’re up to on and telling us about your weekend adventures and what you’ve had for your tea.

Thank you for helping us raise over £10,000 for charity and for coming to our picnics, blogging panels and events. Thank you for buying our book, for telling your friends about us, for arguing with us, for recommending your favourite shops and designers, for being part of Domestic Sluttery. Thank you for making us want to work hard to create the best site we possibly could.

Finally, thank you for your kind and thoughtful messages this week. We're tried to reply to as many as possible and we've read every single one. They’ve meant so much to all of us and we really do know how much the site means to you. We hope you know how much our readers mean to us, you’ve helped make Domestic Sluttery everything we hoped it could be.

Goodbye for now,
Sian, Frances, Gemma, Kat, Sara, Laura B, Laura H, Katie, Alice and of course, Cocktail Nick.


PS - Thanks to Nana B Agyei on Flickr for this brilliant party popper image. We've opened the champagne and we'll be raising a glass to all of you this evening.

The boy and his poison: The Domestic Spritz

Domestic Sluttery might be drawing to a close this afternoon but the show isn’t over ‘til the sardonic cocktail correspondent sings. Firstly let's celebrate Team DS's occasionally questionable drink tastes. Laura B went for the whisky sour, Caleigh is into a cheeky Godfather and I swooned at Laura H and Frances's gin focused French 75/Bramble conundrum. Gemma made a heartfelt plea for the promise of a decently made Cosmo and Sara championed the Pornstar Martini (it makes one HELL of a shooter).

What about your editor in chief, the original Domestic Slut? It turns out that Sian has a thing for the retro erm... 'classic' – the Piña Colada. She'll help save your Dad’s Christmas present, pick that perfect first date restaurant, find the perfect interior design goodies and make you an incredible sandwich but she still can't choose a classy cocktail. No matter, I’m issuing a ‘pass go and collect £200 worth of pina coladas’ card especially for her; Let's rustle up the coconut cream and get that rum going.

I can’t say goodbye to this amazing blog without a bespoke drink to unite this stylish but disparate crowd. Tonight we shall be drinking more than one Domestic Spritz.

There had to be bubbles. This is something of a bittersweet goodbye so there’s some Aperol and sugar syrup in there too. And what would a summer drink be without some strawberries? I hope I did everyone justice in this final drink and if anyone needs a suave dipsomaniac, I'm @nicksmith on Twitter. Raise a glass and keep it tipsy, everyone.

The Domestic Spritz (makes one, but surely you know how this goes)
You’ll need:
  • 5 medium strawberries
  • 25ml Aperol
  • 25ml Sugar syrup
  • Prosecco to top up
  • Strawberry to garnish
Make it:
  1. Add the strawberries and aperol to a cocktail shaker or something you can bash them to death in
  2. Pulp the strawberries. You can do this either in a blender or by pummelling them with a rolling pin in a cocktail shaker
  3. Strain the pulp in a sieve
  4. Add 25ml of the strained pulp to a champagne glass
  5. Add 25ml of sugar syrup to the glass
  6. Top up with champagne
  7. Garnish with a strawberry
  8. Shed a tear in memory of an awesome blog and smile.

The Final Wishlist: Gorgeous things you'll want to buy/read/eat RIGHT NOW

The perfect dinosaur dress. £121 from Polka Dot Polly.
Caleigh: Of all the fashion pieces we've covered, two have caused me to immediately buy their products. This first was Sara's Lady Vintage discovery, the second was Laura B's Polka Dot Polly feature (my bespoke dress will be with me soon!) I absolutely love Hey Sailor! and several of their gorgeous pieces are on my birthday present list. When it comes to recipes, I feel like I met my food spirit animals in Hazel and Alice. Cucumber and red onion pickle got me through my pregnancy, I craved it above all other things. Alice's buttermilk fried chicken is the best thing I've eaten. I wasn't even that fond of fried chicken until I made this. Can I also have her sweetcorn and halloumi fritters, please? There are some weeks when I live on these.

The perfect seafood stew.
Laura B: Recipe-wise, Sian's steak and chorizo chilli is one I come back to time and time again, as is her Spanish seafood stew. I must also mention Sara's Sexy Bovril, though - a recipe that's much-championed by its author, and consistently overlooked (to the amusement of us all behind-the-scenes) in recipe round-ups. She doesn't actually know that it was actually the post that first brought me to DS as a reader all those years ago.

The perfect cartoon bag. £89.95 from Jump from Paper.
As for stuff, I've bought and coveted so much. I've lost count of how often a stranger has admired my Jump from Paper bag. And Sara's Love From Hetty And Dave post alerted me to the existence of Monty the monocled slug draught excluder (he'll be coming to live with me soon), as well as being filled with the sort of clever, funny writing that she and the whole team are so bloody good at. Their witticisms sometimes pop into my head while I'm walking down the street, and make me guffaw anew.

The perfect bikini. £65 from For Luna.
Kat: What I've always loved about DS is how diverse our tastes are. I've been introduced to endless shops I had no idea existed, and subsequently fallen in love with. My For Luna swimsuit is my favourite Sluttery purchase, bought way before I joined the site, and the little boxes of instant comfort made by Kim's Little Monsters are gorgeously charming. And I just bloody adored Calligraphuck's cards because, well, obviously.
The perfect greetings card. £4 from Calligraphuck.
I prefer the internet to printed cookbooks, and DS has been a source of so many happy dinners over the years. My office goes insane whenever I make Sara's malteser tiffin (OMG SO GOOD) and Hazel's hot cross cheesecake has left all my Easter lunch guests in fits of ecstasy, and Alice's incredible slaw is my go to salad for 100% guaranteed tastiness.

The perfect hot cross bun cheesecake.
It has been so hard narrowing down my favourite DS posts, but looking back through the site this week has given me so many happy reminders and made my wishlist of goodies even more of an unwieldy bloody nightmare. Thanks Sluttery girls past and present - you are tasteful, fabulous geniuses, every one.

The perfect statement necklace. £20 from Paisie.
Sara: When Laura B wrote about a unicornicopia of magical delights, I knew we were soul sisters. I'd already suspected this was the case when she told us about shoe clips - an entirely new, untapped area to accessorise. Frances brought us the delights of Paisie and their beautiful sunshine jewellery (and a glitter kitten dress, ie all my favourite things, all at once). And I couldn't go without a shout-out to the much maligned Sexy Bovril: so tragically overlooked in our food round-ups, but surely the best cocktail we've ever brought you.
The perfect gingerbread TARDIS.
Gemma: My favourite ever DS recipes are salt & pepper chicken wings and cheesecake brownies. Both so easy to do, such crowd pleasers. My best stuff is always retro-related but I also loved doing my plus size posts, and loved the conversation that started around a post I wrote about screwing the rules and wearing what you want no matter what size you are. As a bit of a Whovian, the Doctor Who week was one of my favourite moments, we'll never forget the Gingerbread TARDIS.

The perfect dress collaboration. £79 from Coco Fennell with Karen Mabon.
Frances: I must have lived in an empty flat with an empty wardrobe and eaten beans on toast every night before I discovered Domestic Sluttery (one of those is actually still true), as I owe so many purchases to the site. Of all the many, many amazing frocks we’ve featured on the site my all time favourite has to be Coco Fennell. That’s how I want to dress when I grow up, please. And as for her collaboration with Karen Mabon? The stuff of my terribly materialistic dreams.

The perfect Creme Egg cupcakes.
As I’m not a very confident cook (go on, why not check out the one and only recipe I made for the site?), I cannot overstate my admiration enough for the mistresses of the kitchen who write for Domestic Sluttery. All cakes should glow in the dark. All cakes should have hidden sweets. Or hidden cream eggs at the very least. But it’s Sian’s lemon and garlic chicken I’ve probably made the most from the site. And, as from now on, how the hell am I going to know what I want to buy RIGHT NOW without the Friday wishlist telling me so?

The perfect rolling pin. £24.43 from Valek.
Laura H: I have record store shop syndrome: my mind has gone blank as soon as I try and think of one favourite Domestic Sluttery post, so here are a few that spring to mind. Glasgow boutique La La Land kept me stocked with present ideas for MONTHS. Includes healthy dose of Ryan Gosling. I'm now officially obsessed with dinosaur embossed Valek Rolling Pins, too. 

The perfect whisky cocktail.
Since I'm vegetarian, I can't resist the lure of Sara's beautiful Laska (look at it!) while This Five Minute Ice Cream is pure alchemy genius (if you haven't tried it, WHY NOT?) You can be guaranteed to find me whiling away these long, hot Gatsby days with The Boy and his Poison's Whiskey Daisy and lusting after everything by Coco Fennell.

The perfect muesli bars.
Katie: This recipe for no bake chocolate ginger muesli bites ticks all my boxes. I also regularly go back our top ten ginger recipes especially around Christmas time when I just want ginger in everything. Make sure you try Laura B's gingerbread mug house recipe complete with handy, downloadable template. Oh, the results are amusing when you've not used any maths!

I actually studied archaeology at university, which makes me want to put any of these cave hotels at the top of my holiday wish-list.

The (practically) perfect book. £11.99 from Amazon.
I also have to mention the Domestic Sluttery book. I wasn't part of the team when the book was published, but it never leaves my bedside table. It's perfect for that period before you're going to bed, when you know you're supposed to be off your laptop or iPad because of all that blue-light-stopping-you-sleep jazz, but you really want to browse through some lovely, inspirational blog posts. And this is it really, but in a book. I dip in and out of it again and again and buy it for every teenager I know because I bloody wish I'd had it when I was 18.
Nick: Let's keep this short and sweet. The Boathouse in The Lake District. It's probably the best holiday I've ever been on and a return trip will forever be at the top on my wishlist.

The perfect Hendrick's gin sorbet.
Sian: Picking my favourite Domestic Sluttery posts is like choosing a favourite child (obviously you pick the cutest, right?) but there are some that definitely stand out. Our Hendrick's gin sorbet, obviously. Our drunken spaghetti for being why-didn't-we-think-of-that-before genius and Kat's adventures with ginger soup, for all the wrong reasons. Our recent feature on unusual museums went all around the UK uncovering some brilliant gems and our Ginterview with the inimitable Pip McCormac is wonderful. He's scared of cats and thinks Spice World is a Christmas film.
The perfect art project. Wonderland by Yoendoo Jung.
My absolute favourite ever piece, is from all the way back in 2009. It's a design piece about Korean artist Yeondoo Jung, who turns children's drawings into photography. I loved that project so much and it was the moment when there was a noticeable turning point in the site and we became more about design than 'pretty stuff'.
The perfect cup and saucer. £100 from Richard Brendon.

And there's just time for some last minute favourites. I've made so many brilliant design discoveries since starting the site, but special mentions must go to Rachel Boston, Richard Brendon and Chloe Croft. I will remain forever in awe of their talent, which is really what Domestic Sluttery has been about.

Come on, it's your turn to take a trip down memory lane. Dive into those archives and tell us: what's your favourite ever Domestic Sluttery piece?

Sluttery Sales Spy: Everything Must Go!

GUYS. Sale it ain't so. Hilary's refusing to come out of my handbag, Derren's sobbing quietly under a taxidermy tiger, and I've already had to put myself in a jar of uncooked rice overnight to absorb my excess tears. 


Heidi wiggle dress, £22.99 (was £29.99), Lindy Bop

This is my dream dress. It's so dreamy, I don't know whether I've featured it in Sales Spy before, or if I dreamed that too. There's a lot of dreaming going on over here. It has, as you can see, many excellent qualities, and it is also perfect match day attire for glamorous Aston Villa fans - Prince William, David Cameron, Tom Hanks and Father Ted's Pauline McLynn, to name but a few. Pretty sure they all read Domestic Sluttery, so you'd better be quick if you want to beat them to the dress.

Lolly dress, £25 (was £36), Sugarhill Boutique

Do you remember the pictures we used to make as kids? (It sounds like I'm about to break into nostalgic song here, and I might have done if I could think of anything but lids to rhyme with kids.*) You know, the ones that called for layer upon layer of multicoloured wax crayon, topped with black poster paint, which we then maniacally scraped at until we had some vestige of a violently allergic dolphin or a hideously bruised trout? You probably made one just after designing a "clock" using a paper plate and a twirly paper fastener, and right before you filled that cat litter tray (the one you were told to bring in on your first day) with sand. Or maybe yours wasn't a school for wannabe cats, as mine clearly was.

ANYWAY: good. You remember the pictures. This lolly dress from Sugarhill Boutique is the fabric version of those, perhaps with a less waxy smell. I love it. HOWEVER. Those are NOT lollies. They're ice creams. Either way, I'm hungry for a frozen treat.

* I later thought of bids, grids, skids, forbids, and rids, but none of those made for a particularly inspiring or uplifting song. We have no time for dirges today.


Park Lane cat shoes, £28 (was £40), ASOS

I can't work out which famous person this tiny grey cat looks like. I'm getting hints of a downcast Tobey Maguire, a dash of bored Jake Gyllenhaal, a soupçon of unimpressed Joaquin Phoenix, and undertones of one of the BBC's weather forecasters (name unknown) when there's an area of low pressure over the Atlantic heading towards Wales. Maybe it's the lovekitten of all four. Suggestions down in the comments, please.

Irregular Choice Veja Du shoes, £55.50 (was £109), Let's Buy Shoes

If you've ever wanted your feet to convey the message HAPPY LO♥VE - and I'm certain that you have - today is your lucky day, my friend. Irregular Choice's Veja Du shoes are currently hovering around the half-price mark at their outlet store, Let's Buy Shoes. And if for some peculiar reason HAPPY LO♥VE is not your shoe slogan of (irregular) choice, they come with all these options:


A poem by Laura Brown

The Leather Satchel Co. 14-inch mint satchel, £50 (was £131), Brand Alley

My front door is this colour! Or at least it was, until a small child squirted it with Ribena. Probably the same child who posts the remnants of her lunch through my letterbox on the way home from school; a half-eaten sandwich here, a banana peel there, sometimes a segment or two of satsuma or the sticky remains of a Wham bar. Occasionally these are accompanied by a small-but-entertaining sketch, usually involving a cat. Once, when she unfortunately timed the posting of her empty yoghurt carton with my opening of the door, she simply burst into a jolly song about my shoes, the chorus of which was the lyrically perfect "Shoes! Shoes! Shoes! TWO SHOES!". It's hard to feel annoyed in the face of such brilliance. 

Moral of this story: keep your new mint green satchel firmly closed when small singing children walk by clutching their lunchboxes. 

Tunnock's teacake wrapper tote bag, £12.35 (was £16.50), Gillian Kyle

Tunnock's teacakes have always been a Sluttery favourite. I'm partial to the dark chocolate ones - in fact, I just ate a squashed one that I found in the bottom of my handbag (I tried to tempt Hilary with it, but she's more of a caramel log girl, apparently). If you visit Uddingston, near Glasgow, you can tour the Tunnock's factory (fully booked until 2016, though) and go to the Tunnock's tearoom where you can buy RARE and HARD-TO-FIND Tunnock's creations such as the Florida orange wafer (10/10, would recommend). Failing that, you could buy yourself a giant one (inedible), or - more sensibly - snap up Gillian Kyle's teacake tote bag in the sale. FACT: Tunnock's sent Gillian 500 teacakes to use as her wedding cake.


World map flask, £7 (was £14), Urban Outfitters

I already have a perfectly good flask or three, but I do not have one covered in THE WORLD. This is the perfect way to caffeinate your adventures. Sit on a rock, pour yourself a coffee, and plot journeys to faraway lands. It doesn't matter if the rock's just in your back garden - mighty oaks from little acorns grow.

Little bit of gardening advice for you there, since you're outside on the rock anyway.

Condiment crayons, £6 (was £12), Urban Outfitters

GIANT condimental crayons for making a GIANT bruised trout picture! Black paint, scratching implement and cat litter tray not included.


Love & Hate elbow patch sweater, £14 (was £20) and floral Bardot dress, £33 (was £55), both ASOS Petite

Tall girls got a very special farewell present yesterday in the form of Kat's ultimate shopping guide. Petite girls: I have found you this most excellent sweater (I know it's not sweater weather, but since Christmas decorations will start going up in shops NEXT MONTH, I am forward planning on your behalf). Avid caption-readers will know already that the elbow we can't see says HATE. We have no room for hate today, so I chose the one-elbowed photo. 

Slightly more summer-appropriate is this beautiful Bardot dress, another ASOS Petite find. I love this. If only I wasn't 5'8", it would be mine. Go forth, petites, and make me jealous. No, I'll be fine. Go on.


Safari skater dress, £19 (was £28) and vintage floral sundress, £21 (was £39), both ASOS Curve 

And you, my plus-size pals, don't go away empty-handed either. No, you get this lovely gold-plated carriage clock and a Blankety-Blank chequebook and pen safari dress. I've written about this dress before, but the Curve version is nicer, with longer sleeves and MORE ANIMALS! And I love this floral sundress - the straps are wide enough to hide a decent bra, and the pattern means you can loll about for the rest of the summer sipping an array of fabulous cocktails without fear of spilling. You can pour those drinks down your front and no-one will know. Probably not the best idea you've ever had, but whatever. 

And that, my dear Spyettes, is that. I have absolutely loved bringing you the best of the sales every Friday lunchtime - it's been a hoot, and you've been a gloriously funny, enthusiastic and encouraging audience. But this is not the end of Sales Spy, oh no. I'm not sure I want to exist in a world where my Thursday evenings don't involve scouring the internet for bargains and being sarcastic about Anthropologie product descriptions - plus I've got a certain pallet entrepreneur and illusionist to worry about. Mama B would be devastated if I abandoned my two handbag housemates. So I'm going to carve out my own little corner of the internet, and continue writing over there, wherever that may be. Follow me on Twitter @enchantedtrifle, and I promise to keep you posted.

Thank you all for reading, and for being so damn great.

Laura, Hilary & Derren 

Let Her Eat Cake: Black Forest Gateau Cake

I was looking back through some of the amazing Domestic Sluttery cakey posts over the years (whilst cramming my face with cake and sobbing along to All By Myself) and was shocked, nay, DISMAYED to discover that the pinnacle of 80s desserts, the black forest gateau, had only featured in cookie form. We simply couldn't leave without honouring the kitschiest of puddings.

This is a beast of a cake. Two layers of vanilla sponge, two layers of kirsch-soaked chocolate cake, kirsch-and-jam-laden-fresh cherries, whipped cream, oh, and a dark chocolate cherry ganache as well. It's a beast of epic proportions and the final cake recipe. I will miss everything about DS, but the people most of all, so do come and say hello over @esthercrumpet or at

Black Forest Gateau Cake (serves absolutely everybody you know)
Preparation time: 2-3 hours
Baking time: 1 hour (for both cakes)

You will need:
The vanilla batter:
  • 400g butter, softened
  • 400g caster sugar
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 400g self-raising flour
  • Seeds from 1 vanilla pod (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 25ml milk
For the chocolate batter:
  • 150g good quality dark chocolate
  • 3 heaped tbsp cocoa powder
  • 175g butter
  • 4 free-range eggs
  • 300g caster sugar
  • 3 tbsp kirsch or cherry brandy
  • 175g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tbsp plain or Greek yoghurt 
For the dark chocolate ganache:
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate
  • 280ml double cream
  • 2 tbsp kirsch or cherry brandy
For the filling and decoration:
  • 200g fresh cherries, stoned
  • 5 tbsp berry jam
  • 3 tbsp kirsch
To decorate:
  • 600ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp icing sugar
  • A few drops of vanilla extract / seeds from a vanilla pod
  • White chocolate fingers
  • Fresh cherries
Make it!
The vanilla layers:
  1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F / Gas Mark 4. Grease and line four cake tins: I used 23cm one, a 22cm one, a 20cm one and an 18cm one. 
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the eggs one at a time, with a tablespoon of the flour and beat well. Repeat with rest of the eggs, beating well in between. 
  4. Stir in the vanilla.
  5. Add the rest of the flour in thirds, folding in lightly in between until it is just incorporated and no streaks are showing.
  6. Add the milk in splashes, so that the cake has a dropping texture. (You might not need all of it).
  7. Dollop into the largest and second smallest tin (the 1st and the 3rd, counting from the bottom). 
  8. Smooth over the top and bake for around 35-40 minutes, or until it's golden and risen, and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
  9. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, before turning out to cool on a wire rack.
The chocolate layers:
  1. Chop the chocolate roughly and place in a large bowl with the cocoa powder. 
  2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter. 
  3. Pour the butter over the chocolate and cocoa, stirring until smooth and combined. (Give it a 10 second blast in the microwave if it hasn't all melted)
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and caster sugar, then pour into the chocolate mixture and stir until well combined. Add the kirsch.
  5. Gently fold in the flour and baking soda, the stir in the yoghurt.
  6. Spoon into the cake tins and bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow to cool in the tins for a few minutes.
  7. Poke a few holes in the still warm cakes with a skewer, and drizzle over a few tablespoons of kirsch. 
The dark chocolate ganache:
  1. While the second lot of cakes are cooking, break the dark chocolate in small chunks and place in a bowl.
  2. Place the cream in a small saucepan and heat gently until it is almost at boiling point.
  3. Pour over the chocolate, stirring well until all the lumps have dissolved. 
  4. Add another tablespoon of kirsch here, if you want your cake extra boozy. You probably do. 
  5. Cover and set aside to cool. 
The cherry filling:
  1. Throw the cherries, jam and kirsch in a small saucepan and set over a low heat. 
  2. Cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until reduced and sticky. Set aside.
  1. Place the cream, icing sugar and vanilla in a bowl and whip until it reaches a stiff-ish, spreadable consistency. 
  2. Spread the bottom cake (vanilla) with a layer of the cherry filling, then spoon over a 1/4 of the ganache and finally a 1/4 of the cream. Sandwich the next layer (chocolate) and repeat the process until you have a TOWER of delicious. 
  3. Use the remaining cream to lightly frost the sides of the cake, to catch any crumbs. 
  4. Use white chocolate fingers to line the sides of the cake, before decorating the top with fresh cherries. 
  5. Eat in huge slices whilst sobbing loudly and unashamedly to our karaoke favourite, the 1984 Foreigner classic 'I wanna know what love isssss...'
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