Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Shoe Porn: Miss Selfridge Green Strappy Clogs


I know you'll only get about two weeks wear out of these before your toes freeze. But until the high street sorts itself out and decides what season it is, I'm sticking with summer. It's hard not to when these strappy shoes are such a lovely colour.


I own only one pair of green shoes, which is really something I feel I should rectify (especially when I discovered at the weekend that I own no less than eight purple pairs). Green shoes are really very lovely. And I'm thinking these might go with that whole 'socks and shoes' trend that I'm too much of a wuss to try.

If you're not, or you happen to be whooshing off somewhere sunny very soon, you can buy these from Miss Selfridge for £45.

Design Porn: Lisa Stickley's Ivory Text Bedspread

We love homeware craftster Lisa Stickley here at Domestic Sluts and her Debenhams range, which has just hit stores, is going to spread the quirky Stickley word across the UK. It's full of cuteness but my absolute favourite is this Ivory Text bedspread.
I'm kind of a word-a-holic. Not content with choosing a job where I get to play with words daily, I live on top of a mountain of glossies and novels. Most of my pictures and posters have words on, and the idea of wrapping myself up cosily with yet more text is just perfect. It's not cheap at £125 but, if this is the kind of summer we're suffering, imagine the winter to come. IMAGINE.

Time for tea: Tea Submarine


We all live in a yellow submarine! A yellow submarine! A yellow submarine!

OK I'll stop now. Sorry. This submarine tea infuser is so brilliant. Let's face it, playing with your food is fun (that's why we show you robot salt and pepper pots and dinosaur sandwich cutters). But it's not very often you get to play with your tea. Until now anyway.

Just fill the little submarine with your favourite loose tea, pop in hot water and watch him swim around your mug (best make it see through) and do his swimmy tea magic. He's £6.99 from play.com. He's not available until October, but you can pre-order and you'll be the first to get one.

Tea Towel Tuesday: Gillian Kyle's Tunnock's Teacake


I do love a Tunnock's Teacake. They're an easily forgotten treat, and if you're anything like me you'll only pick them up at Christmas. Or if they're carefully positioned by the counter as they're going out of date. Then you're forced to eat them all in one weekend, oh dear. Mmmm... gooey marshmallow.

This Tunnock's-inspired tea towel is by Gillian Kyle. It's so very wonderful. Perfectly nostalgic, bright and fun and a bargain price of £6.50 too. Cheaps! Everything you want from a tea towel really. Drying dishes is very much the last thing on my mind when the tea towel is this pretty, but I'm pretty sure it'll do that too.

Puffin Anniversary Classics


You know by now that the Domestic Sluts are book geeks (seriously, have you seen Jane's website For Books' Sake?) So I did gasp when I saw these Puffin anniversary editions in The Times supplements on Sunday. That's a specially designed copy of The Secret Garden, doesn't it look fabulous?


This copy of James and the Giant Peach is unmistakable by Antony Gormley. I haven't read that book in years.


Looking for something a little more classic? Little Women has been redesigned by Orla Kiely.

The editions aren't available just yet (you'll have to wait until September 2nd), and the bad news is they're £100 each. But, they're limited edition, beautifully designed and if your favourite is among them, well worth investing in. You'll treasure them forever.

Hello Birdy: The Tudor Mansion Bird House

Bluetits and sparrows are fussy little trollops these days. Not content with the seeds, breadcrumbs and odd rind of bacon fat that they were happy to feast on in days gone by, nowadays it's all about having a bitching crib to go with that decadent diet. Or at least, that's what I imagine must be the case if the premium avian properties being knocked up by Lindleywood are anything to go by.

If you fancy treating the feathered critters in your garden to a life of luxury, this Tudor mansion bird house will set you back £49. Each one is handmade to order, and if Tudor architecture isn't to your taste, you've also got the option of a fairytale castle, wedding chapel, pub, fire engine, or even a cat's bottom. But beware, kit the birds in your garden out with a pad as swish as this and they might start flocking from miles around. Domestic Sluttery accepts no responsibility if it all ends up looking like a scene from The Birds...

Friday, 27 August 2010

Cocktail Hour: Pink Cadillac

So, as you are probably all now aware, last week I was off jet setting in Las Vegas getting married. Whilst there I obviously did lots of cocktail drinking on your behalf, purely as research you understand!

Imagine my delight upon arriving at our hotel to discover it housed a delightful bar, namely Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, home to several of my very favourite things, namely tequila and mexican food! I politely informed my lovely hubs that should he ever be unable to find me I would more than likely be found in residence at the bar with a cocktail and nacho mountain keeping me company! Well, its always important to have a pre-defined meeting point in case of separation, no?

So let me introduce you to one of our very favourite concoctions from our 'local' - even the hubs liked this one and he is not a massive fan of tequila (I know, I know but his other attributes far outweigh this minor flaw!).

I give you The Pink Cadillac (adapted from Jimmy Buffett's Pink Cadillac Margarita recipe)


You'll Need:
  • 45ml Tequila
  • 15ml Cointreau
  • 100ml Margarita Mix
  • Splash of cranberry juice, to taste

Shake It!

Combine the ingredients in a cocktail shaker and get shaking. Serve over ice, preferably in a margarita glass, with a slice of orange. Salted rim optional!

Etsy Pick: Origami Tights at Verdunch


Printed tights are very much a Marmite thing, aren't they? You either love them, or you hate them. Or perhaps they're either really very ugly, or very pretty. I think these origami tights from Verdunch on Etsy easily fall into the pretty category. I love origami birds and they've made a really subtle and pretty design.

You wouldn't notice them straight away, but the images are clear enough to not look like you've gone to town with a biro. Always a plus. They're $22 a pair, and you'll need to pay $3 shipping from Israel too.

Sexy Stationery: Ahoy there Circusville!

Do gift tags count as stationery? I guess that may be up for debate but these ones are most definitely sexy! Attach one to any gift and i'm pretty darn sure it will get you an extra squee of excitement from the recipient! These fabulous anchor gift tags are from Folksy seller Circusville, and cost just £2.50 for a set of four. I am also loving the rather wonderful swallow tags, which come in a set of six and cost £3.50


And just because I know not everyone is as obsessed with all things vintage tattoo as I am (you strange people you!) check out these wonderful vintage typewriter tags, £3.50 for a set of six tags


For lots more lovely designs head straight on over to Circusville's Folksy shop right now!

Sluttishly Savoury: Prawn wontons

About five minutes from Domestic Sluttery HQ is an oriental supermarket. See Woo has been there for years, but for some reason, I've never been. But, a recent trip (about time too) meant that I left with lots of treaty things (mmmm crispy duck, mmmmm heart attack), and a bamboo steamer. Something I'd been meaning to buy for ages.

Armed with my steamer, and some wonton wrappers, Miss Alex S and I set about making some very tasty steamed wontons. As our first attempt at dimsum goes, they were actually very tasty. A couple more attempts and we'll be well away. They're probably not the most authentic, but they're tasty. The only downside is that you have to eat them in stages. You can only steam so many at once!

You'll need (for about 20 dimsum):
  • 150g prawns, all mushed up (we also made some with chicken cut into tiny pieces)
  • 1/2 tin water chestnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 chilli
  • 1 spring onion
  • Handful of coriander stalks, finely chopped
  • 1Tsp soy sauce
  • Dash fish sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • Splash of water
  • Wonton wrappers
  • Milk
Make it!
  • Mash everything together making sure you've got it all mixed up. Add water if necessary - once you put the filling on the wonton wrappers it should stay put.
  • Pop a teaspoon of the mixture on a wonton wrapper. Don't be tempted to overfill - they'll get too heavy and break when you lift them out of the steamer.
  • Dab a little milk on the edges of the wrapper, and fold up, squishing all the edges together.
  • Put some greaseproof paper in the bottom of your steamer and rest over a pan of boiling water. Two things: Steam is hot, don't burn yourself like I did. And make sure you don't let the pan burn dry, you'll set off the smoke alarm. Ooops.
  • Add the dimsum carefully, making sure none of them are touching. Pop the lid on and leave for about ten minutes.
  • Remove from the heat, lift out carefully and munch them all immediately. The soy and fish sauce makes a little broth in the parcel, but if they need it, dip in more soy sauce or a chilli dip.
  • Start the process all over again until you're full up. Wish I'd bought more steamers though. The whole stop start process wasn't very fun. They stack together, right?
Flickr image from thebittenword.com's photostream. Ours looked a little like this, but then we ate them. I promise to stop doing that.

Handy Squad: Don't Do It Yourself

Picture the scene six years ago, I'm sweaty, dishevelled but I'm triumphant. Armed with just a screwdriver I've managed to assemble a flat-pack chest of drawers bought on the cheap from Argos. I'm feeling extra smug as I've also changed the handles so it looks a bit posher.

Flash forward to now and here's the results of my handiwork.


Oh dearie dear. It's missing a drawer front, several drawers are collapsing (nothing to do with the amount of clothes I have, honest) and I have to lift the top drawer out each time I want to get something out of the second drawer. And, yet, through a combination of laziness and cluelessness, I've been living with it in this state for about three years.

I think most people have a list of things around their house that really aren't perfect but they just don't have the time, inclination or knowledge to fix up. As you might guess from the state of my chest of drawers, my own list is quite long. And that's why I was delighted to learn about the service of the Handy Squad.

They're a troop of about 15 yellow clad, scooter driving men you can hire to do exactly that kind of job. Sadly, only London based, the Handy Squad can hang pictures, change light bulbs or paint a wall for you amongst their many talents. So, when Bill arrived at my flat, I knew exactly what he should turn his hand to.


Fixed. And that only took 30 minutes. That service would have cost me £20 but in reality it saved me having to fork out for a new chest of drawers. I also learnt that the Handy Squad will also put flat pack furniture up from scratch - if only I'd known that six years ago!

I then asked him to hang the mirror that's been hanging round our living room for a good few months - done in a matter of minutes. Ta da...


If there had been longer, I might have asked him to have a crack our half-completed attempt to seal around our bath - I'm seriously tempted to fork out for the half a day rate to get it done. Added to that, he was polite and very easy to have around while I was attempting to get on with some work. Looking at the Handy Squad website, I realised Bill had also been praised by none other than Samantha Cameron. Now, while I'm sure there's many similarities between my Tooting residence and Cameron mansions, I felt that there was no judgement from him about my slightly scruffy abode and there was no job or flat too small for the Handy Squad to tackle.

So, my advice, for those tasks that in your heart of hearts you know you aren't going to tackle yourself, just hire the handy squad, get it done and then you can get on with your life. In my case, the bonus is that an extra set of drawers is also the perfect excuse to buy a few more clothes.

Hiring a member of the Handy Squad costs £20 for half an hour on weekdays and £30 on evenings and weekends (there's also a £20 call out charge and all prices are subject to VAT). You can also hire them for half a day for £160. Take a look at their website for more details.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Cocktail Hour: Hurricane

The hurricane cocktail became popular in America in the 40s. So named because of the shape of the glasses, not because it'll make you feel like you're in one when you've had a couple. It's a simple drink to make, but you're going to need a pretty well stocked bar. Best make this one after you've been shopping. There are variations on this recipe - no reason why you can't use gin and vodka as well.

You'll need:
  • 50ml light rum
  • 50ml dark rum
  • 50ml passionfruit juice or pineapple juice if you can't find any
  • 25ml orange juice
  • lime juice
  • 1tsp grenadine
  • Orange slice
  • Cherries for garnish
Shake it!

Start with the lime juice over ice in a cocktail shaker. Add the rest of the liquid ingredients. Shake well, strain into a hurricane glass (they're the one that are fat at the bottom and go in a slim curve to the top). Add the orange slices and cherries. And a funny twirly straw, just for fun.

Flickr image from Cordey's photostream.

Simply Charming: Louise Pringle Charm Necklace



This seahorse charm necklace gives serious pleasure to mine eye. It’s been handmade by a lovely Scottish designer by the name of Louise Pringle, who’s specialty is reinventing vintage jewellery. Every piece is a one-off, individual and guaranteed work of charm-art. It’s my new favourite thing.

The even-more-brilliant-than-you-could-imagine bit is that you can even send off your own bits and pieces to Louise and have them fashioned into something fantastic and new. It’s a delight from start to finish, and hey, I think it’s even environmentally conscious. You’re recycling! (keep telling yourself that).

It's £49.46, which is on the not-very-cheap side of things, but in this case you are paying for quality and expertise.

I do think it’s wonderful, especially having a real artisan transforming your old bits and bobs that you don’t even wear anymore, into something vintage, on trend and lovely that you know everyone is going to comment on, every single time you wear it.

You can take a look at her other necklaces here.

Shoe Porn: Satin Ted Baker Peep-toes

Nope, I'm still not sick of peep-toes. They're easily the most elegant things you can pop your toes into (contrasting tights too, please). These Ted Baker shoes from Office are making me very happy indeed.

They're slightly weddingy. In fact, in any of the other colours, they're very weddingy. But the clashing shades of the blue version make them just cool enough to wear out and about. Well, out and about at fancy places anyway. They're not exactly shoes for running about in, but they are shoes for being whisked off to fancy cocktail bars in. Now if you I could just find someone to whisk me away...

They're £75, but they're leather lined so they'll not only last for ages and keep their shape, they'll be super super comfy as well.

Sluttishly Vegetarian: Chickpea and Cashew Madras with Saffron Rice


I've been getting really into vegetarian curries recently. They're pretty healthy but the spices make them interesting and they can be jazzed up anyway you like. This is a cheat's version - its very quick and easy as it uses ready-made curry paste. It should really be a korma, as it has coconut milk in, but I like to spice it up with madras paste.

Saffron is pretty expensive stuff, but you only need a pinch for this recipe so I think it's worth splashing out on. And there's something very decadent about putting a substance that's worth more by the kilo than gold into a weekday dinner...

Chickpea and Cashew Madras with Saffron Rice (serves 4)

You'll need:
  • 200g basmati rice
  • 5 curry leaves
  • A pinch of saffron
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp Madras curry paste (I like Patak's)
  • 200ml coconut milk
  • 1 tin of chickpeas, drained
  • 200g spinach, washed
  • 100g plain cashew nuts

Make it!
  • First, get the saffron rice ready. Rinse the rice and add it to a saucepan with the curry leaves, saffron and a pinch of salt. Add water until the rice is covered by about 1cm.
  • Bring the water to the boil and then reduce to a simmer for 8 minutes. Now take it off the heat, cover with a clean tea towel and put the lid on. Leave it while you make the curry, and don't take the lid off to check until the end or you'll let all the lovely steam out and stop it cooking.
  • Heat 1tbsp oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and sweat it gently until it's soft and translucent. This should take around 8 minutes
  • Add the curry paste and cook for a couple of minutes until fragrant.
  • Add the coconut milk, give it a stir and bring the mixture up to a simmer.
  • Add the chickpeas, spinach and cashews. Simmer for five minutes.
  • Add salt to taste. Check the rice - it should be done by now. Serve it up!

Guest Post: Claire Nelson's Fabulous Computer Finds

This guest post is from the wonderful Claire Nelson. You should read her blog The Comment Tree. You should definitely follow her on Twitter. And yes, she is for hire (journalistically speaking), so you should do that too.


It’s not clear exactly when or why people started thinking that being a freelance writer was a glamorous vocation, but I blame Carrie Bradshaw. Most freelance writers wear sweatpants and slippers, and stay up all night eating toast while trying to write something that they don’t completely hate. You are more likely to see me with unbrushed hair and crumbs on my cheek than sitting in a cocktail bar in a Prada dress. That’s right folks - there are no wardrobes full of designer shoes, or long days spent lunching and shopping with girlfriends. (Although hey, a girl can dream.)

In fact, as a freelance writer I spend more hours with one particular friend than any other. My
laptop, Bluey. (Yes, it’s blue. Don’t laugh.) In fact, I spend so much time at my desk with my laptop that instead of trawling shops for shoes and handbags, I have started lusting after mousepads and laptop cases. Forget jewellery, it’s all about pretty laptop accessories for me. I’m looking for lovely things to make my working space more desirable. (Having nice things around me will make me write better, see?)


Such as this laptop case from Dennis and McGregor that LOOKS LIKE A BOOK. A writer couldn’t ask for a more inspirational laptop case! Admittedly, it’s designed specifically for Macbooks, but I bet I could stuff my Dell laptop in there if I really, really tried…

I also discovered Mousenvy via Twitter some months ago, and ever since have been daydreaming about the day I can stop using the frustrating track pad on my laptop and buy the OH SO STYLISH monochrome mouse at the top of the post. For US$19.99 it’s a steal, and they even ship to the UK, bless ‘em.


During moments of inspiration (usually at 3am) I need to put my earphones in. Good for blocking out distracting noise, and even better for listening to Eye Of The Tiger on full blast. I can’t help but love these skull earbuds from Urban Outfitters. At £15, it’s a little bling without the massive pricetag. See? You don’t need a made-up Carrie Bradshaw lifestyle to surround yourself with fabulousness.

Although if I really WAS Carrie Bradshaw, I’d buy this Alexander McQueen laptop case, at £250.

But I’m not.
Sigh.

Stripes and sequins


Despite popular belief, horizontal stripes don't make you look fat (Stephen Fry proved this on QI). I wear horizontal stripes a lot and actually, they can look pretty flattering. Not just flattering, but in the case of this sequinned sweater, PRETTY!

I love that Miss Selfridge have taken a lovely preppy sweater and turned it into something a little more special with just a few sequins. The colours are lovely, and it's perfect for chilly summery everything. It doesn't look like the thickest jumper in the world (so it's tad pricey at £40), and you might want something snugglier on very cold days, but this is the perfect 'casual pretty Sunday' sweater I've found. I will wear it with a smile on dates with cute boys.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Wallpaper Wednesday: Belynda Sharples

How have I only just discovered The Art of Wallpaper? How exciting! All sorts of new designs to perve over! Currently, I'm loving the Belynda Sharples' caravan range.


Don't the caravans remind you of little English seaside villages? Perfect in time for the bank holiday.


There's five different designs, all of them very lovely. They'd look excellent in a living room. Decorating with just a little bit of irony.


Each one is £55 a roll. Not the cheapest wallpaper you'll find, but for a unique design, it's certainly one of the more fairly priced I've seen recently. And it's so very very pretty.

Etsy Pick: MotherWasRight Accessories

It’s not so often that you come across something that gets you so enthusiastic that you keep talking about it for the rest of the day. The BF and I were traipsing around the West End Fair markets in Edinburgh last week and came across the lovely Evelyn of MotherWasRight.

Evelyn makes gorgeous bottle cap jewellery. Doesn’t sound like your cup of tea? Well see for yourself:


This Poppy Field Poppy Ring takes me straight back to cartwheels-in-summer-don’t-let-the-boys-see-your-pants time of childhood. It’s attached to a rather handy silver plated adjustable ring.

As aforementioned (say that with a Scottish accent), it’s made with a bottle cap, but also with teensy hand painted architects models enveloped in resin. The backgrounds are photos from the artist’s own travels. Best bit? It’s only £17.99! But wait! There’s More! (there isn’t really)

Neato, huh? You can even get something custom made! Although I have to say, I’m also quite partial to her Roller Girl Ruth Pendant:


This is pretty much the sassiest thing ever. It’s a mere £16.66.

I love the whole range. I want the whole range. I love that I’ve never seen something like it before. I want everyone to know about her and nobody so that I can be the only person with all these amazing pieces of jewellery. Gah!

Check her out on Etsy. Do.

Bag Lust: Leather Buckle Satchel


I'm apparently not over my love for brown leather accessories that look like they should belong to school girls. I'm OK with that. This leather satchel from Warehouse is mighty fine. It'll fit all of my important writery documents crap in it and I'll wear it with cute dresses. It looks like the strap will extend enough to go across the body as well which is perfect.

Yes, it's £85. And yes that's pricey for a bag. But, a decent leather bag will last for decades. You'll still be using this twenty years on, and it'll still look fabulous then. Look after it, and it'll be the best thing you ever invest in.

Pom poms with aplomb: t.b.a. skirt


This skirt from t.b.a. is surely the clothing equivalent of the prim and proper secretary who undoes her ponytail, adds some tinsel and goes wild on the sherry at the office Christmas party.

The skirt's a demure shape, a safe black colour, a modest length and made from a very grown-up silk. So far quite classic but, like our secretary stereotype, possibly a bit dull.

But, whoa there, hold on a second. The skirt's obviously got a crazy party side too ... yes, check out its added mini pom poms. Like when 'Plain' Jane from Neighbours took off her glasses, this simple move transforms the skirt from so-so into a bit of a show stopper. How can any skirt with added fluffy balls fail to get the party started?

Though it's only August, if Ms. Secretary she wants to make a pom pom-aided splash this Christmas she'd better save up her pennies - the skirt costs £115. I plan on doing the same.

Cupboard Lust: Baby Blue Francis Francis X1 Espresso Machine


I'm not much of a coffee drinker (mainly because instant coffee makes me upset, and I'm too lazy to make proper coffee unless I'm in a near-zombie state of exhaustion and prepared to do anything if it means eventually imbibing copious amounts of caffeine). But even so, this Francis Francis X1 Espresso Machine still has me sighing like a 90s schoolgirl over Lee from 911 or Adam Rickitt.

The retro-futuristic design is by Italian architect Lucca Trazzi, and comes in a rainbow of colours from this baby blue to black, grey, almond, red, yellow and orange, so whatever your kitchen colour scheme, there'll be one to suit you. It features the latest electronics to control the coffee and steam temperatures, along with a brass boiler and cup-warming rail.

The machine also comes with all the accessories you need, including a milk jug, coffee tamper, and two bags of illy ground coffee. It's £399 from Espresso Crazy. That might sound like a lot, but it's over £100 cheaper than I've seen the same machine being sold for elsewhere on the interweb, and there's free delivery on all orders too.

Design Porn: Lizzie Prestt


Lizzie Prestt is officially my new favourite designer. She suggests that you get a cup of tea before looking through her website. Which is full of lovely things by the way. Black and white cityscapes on ceramics, vintage inspired cushsions, and lovely wallpaper.


How much do you want this cushion? You'll have to (pillow) fight me for it.


Love the crane designs on these beakers. LOVE.


There's even a beachy design if you prefer. Nice, isn't it? Go pop the kettle on and check out the rest of her work.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Sluttishly Easy: Tom Yam Gai soup


I wasn't expecting to have to write soup recipes in August, but have you been outside? It's hardly bikini and Pimms weather, is it? Humph. So I'll stay in and be cosy and make soup. I love making soup though. It's one of my most favourite things. There's nothing that can't be cured with a bowl of chicken soup. And this Tom Yam Gai recipe is very tasty.

This was a take on Nigel Slater's recipe. Alex S and I are slowly working our way through his Real Food book making yummy noises at everything we try. But, due to him being off the telly and having a fully stocked fridge, and us not being off the telly at all, we had to make a few changes and alter the ingredients a bit. Either way, it's tasty and light but still filling. And you'll have some for lunch the next day, even after you've fed two hungry bloggers.

You'll need:
  • 1 chicken breast (or the chicken you stripped of the carcass before you made chicken stock, remember?)
  • 1 Litre of chicken stock. We mixed half ours with water as it was pretty strong.
  • 4 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 coves of garlic, crushed up
  • Lemongrass
  • Red chilli - as much as you like. I think this depends on the chilli (Asda's are notoriously RUBBISH).
  • Juice of one lime (this was actually in place of lime leaves, which I couldn't find, I've since found them in a Chinese supermarket).
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • Three handfuls of spring greens. You can never have too many greens.
  • 1 teaspoon sugar.
  • Chopped coriander.
Make it!

If the chicken isn't cooked, bring to the boil in the stock. Just simmering is fine if you're using the chicken you've stripped from your carcass. Throw in your lemongrass, chilli, garlic and spring onions and continue to simmer. Then add the fish sauce and sugar and lime. Throw in the greens and coriander at the last minute - they don't need much cooking (soggy greens do not make good soup). Serve in huge bowls and make slurpy noises.

Tea Towel Tuesday: Tea-rex


Oh this dinosaur tea towel is fabulous. And goes straight into our 'things that are better because they have dinosaurs on' file. Look! It's a T-rex, drinking a cup of tea! It's a tea-rex! You see how awesome this is?

I'm guessing Mr. Tea-Rex likes builders tea (he's got that look about him, hasn't he?) and perhaps a custard cream as well. Whatever leaf he likes, I want to invite him for tea.


This is my favourite tea towel so far, and it's just £9.95 from To Dry For. Whilst you're there, check out the very cool dinosaur meat chart too.

Baking for Beginners: Maple Caramelised peaches

I'm not sure what made me decide to make caramelised peaches. They sounded nice when I read about them in the Guardian, I wanted to cook something sweet, I like caramel. All of those seem like pretty good reasons to me. And they were pretty darn easy too. If you're looking for something to whip up in five minutes, this is it. And it's great if you've got some fruit that needs using up quickly. I'm already eyeing up the rest of the fruit bowl. Can I caramelise a mango?

For two super hungry people, you'll need:
  • Four peaches
  • Maple syrup
  • Butter
  • Splash of vanilla essence (yes, you could use fresh vanilla, but it's really really expensive)
Make it!

Halve the peaches and remove the stones. Pop a little knob of butter in the hole of each half. Drizzle maple syrup and vanilla over the peaches (you could use honey, but I don't like it). Pop in the over on Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes or so. Once they're all gooey and sticky, serve with double cream or vanilla ice cream, and pour some of the sauce over the top.

This photos is from totalAldo's photostream. I ate all the peaches before I remembered to take a photo of them. Sorry.

Dream Dress: Parrot Print Prom Dress


I do love me a prom dress. But they look out of place in winter, don't they? All of mine are all white and floral and summery. Once the weather turns, I feel a bit silly in them. Now, it's obviously not wintery just yet, but it's the time of year when I don't necessarily want to spend my hard-earned pennies on something I'll only wear for another month.

So, my money is going on this parrot print prom dress from Oasis. The print is all exotic and summery, but it's dark so it'll go really well with tights and warm snuggly things later in the year. it's £65, but how many other dresses do you have with parrots on?

Keeping Cosy: The Crime Scene Scarf



So, it might seem like it's a little early in the year to be eyeing up knitwear and other winter woollens. August isn't over yet, there's barbecues and festivals and other summery merriment taking place whenever it's sunny for more than five minutes. But with this British weather being what it is, I've been wearing my scarf to work most days the past couple of weeks (albeit with a cardigan rather than a coat), so to me that's justification enough for coveting another one. And this crime scene scarf, from Totally Funky looks cosy indeed.

It's just under five feet long (so not much shorter than little old me), so you'll be able to wrap it round several times to keep out the cold, and it's so bright that no-one (not even the police) will miss you on a dark night. Perfect for CSI fans, it's brand new and only £9.99. Sadly does not come with a hunky policeman in uniform.

Monday, 23 August 2010

The Whole World at your Fingertips


Be still my beating heart.

Finding pretty things that I want to buy is a hazard of the job. But it's only the stuff that makes me go 'squeeee' at my laptop screen that I buy. Immediately. And this ring is one of those things. My love for enamel jewellery is no secret, but this enamelled globe ring is special. I imagine I'd look at it on the bus and try and spot all the countries. It's huge, it's a bit garish but it's so very beautiful.

And goodness it's a bargain. £15 from ASOS? It looks like it should cost at least ten times that. Well done, ASOS. Well done.

Cosy Penguins


We've featured this gorgeous penguin wallpaper before. I love the penguin wallpaper. Some of you have even let me know that you've decorated with it (including a kitchen wall, very impressive). But it's the penguin blanket that I'm in love with today. It's all rainy and I want to be cosy and my tatty ol' mohair throw just isn't cutting it today.

I want penguins. Don't they look warm and snuggly? It's from Isak and whilst it's £110, it's also 100% wool as well as being dirt repellent. Everything in the world should be dirt repellent. If you need me for anything today, I'll be snuggling under blankets.

Wibble, Wobble: Jelly Moulds for Every Occasion

You might have worked out by now that we love a bit of wibbling, wobbling jelly-based action. Whether we're infatuated with jellymonger geniuses Bompas & Parr, lampshades made from jelly moulds or making our own jelly in moulds shaped like rabbits, we just can't get enough. So here's a round-up of my favourite moulds for making your own jelly masterpieces. This Zeal mouse mould, for example, is cute, quirky, made from silicone so it'll be easy to clean and only costs £2.75.


If you like the idea of a jelly mould menagerie, you could get the matching cat, and have comedy cartoon-style showdowns all over the kitchen for only £2.99.


This fairytale castle from Nordic Ware is actually a cake pan, but they reckon it will work just as well for jellies too. It's £29.95, made from non-stick aluminium for minimum mess.


Simarly, this jelly mould village is also by Nordic Ware, and can be used for cakes or mousses as well as jelly creations. It's £34.95.

And if all those other options are too whimsical and elaborate for you, then why not just embrace your juvenile side with a novelty pair of cheeky but delicious wobbling jelly breasts? They're £4.99. All from Amazon.
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