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Cookie Girl launches new cupcake book 23 March, 2010

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The sweet-toothed residents of Notting Hill have loved her from their first delicious mouthful and she now has the likes of Annie Lennox, Take That, Russell Brand (‘I’m in love!’), and Grecian Princesses amongst her fanbase. Even Scrooge will be licking his lips before Christmas. No, it’s not Mother Theresa’s cook whisking up good cheer, but Cookie Girl taking the world of baking by a buttercream storm.

Cookie Girl and her new cupcake book

Image credit: Ebury Press

Otherwise known as Xanthe Milton, (above, left) Cookie Girl started off by donning Alice in Wonderland-esque costumes and knocking on the doors of Notting Hill. To cut the story short, since then her success and popularity has risen as perfectly as her delicious cakes. (I’ve gobbled a few myself so this analogy is spot on, believe me).

She’s just launched her very first book, EAT ME! – a self-confessed ‘stupendous, self-raising world of cupcakes and bakes’. mydeco got in touch to ask her about the launch’s Alice in Wonderland theme: ‘I couldn’t think of a better venue than the Paradise By Way of Kensal Green pub with its over sized lampshades and whimsical interior; it was just magical and fitted with the book’s fairy tale style.’

delicious Eat Me! cupcakes by Cookie Girl

Image Credit: Eat Me! cupcakes from Ebury Press

‘At the launch I read a couple of pages of scene setting [from the book] which made people realise that this was no ordinary recipe book,’ enthused Xanthe. And it really isn’t – from the cocktail inspired (pina colada, margarita), to desert inspired (tiramisu? Yes please!) to seasonal Easter nests – there are 80 delicious and imaginative recipes to drool over.

‘What made it extra special was having so many people there that know me as ‘Cookie Girl’ from back in the days when I was knocking on their doors selling them cookies,’ she added. ‘It felt like we had all been on this journey together.’

chic cakestand by Undergrowth Design at design boutique

Image credit: Undergrowth Design at design boutique

When you embark upon your own cupcake journey, make sure the presentation of your delicious wares do the Eat Me! recipes justice. mydeco has a huge selection of cute and stylish cake stands and our design boutique cake stands, (above, by Undergrowth Design) are my favourite.

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Love Cath Kidston? View the new Spring range: 28 January, 2010

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Seeing as Christmas was so last year (quite literally!), it’s hardly surprising that our Cath Kidston Christmas catalogue looks as used and as worn as my favourite Cath Kidston mini dot bucket bag.

With this in mind, Kidston’s new Spring collection couldn’t be more welcome.

Image credit: Cath Kidston

If you haven’t had enough of briar roses, candy flowers and cherries then you’ll like her new Spring range. It focuses on what she does best – making pretty floral and chintzy patterns look young and iconic for the fashionable domestic goddess.

Bags, kitchenware and a sprig of floral clothing are the main categories to get your oven-mitts on. With a few words of Kidston-wisdom – ‘make this your year for domestic bliss’ ( a motto as sweet as her designs) –  take a look at her kitchen range, above. This sample of colourful, uplifting and feminine designs are just the cup of tea for every Kidston fan.

I like her Cherry and Placement spot tea towels, set of two for £10, though I’ve given up trying to decipher what ‘placement’ means in this context? If you have an inkling, please post the answer to this conundrum below.

The Provence rose cereal bowls, top right, are a snip at £20 for four. Complete the set with a Provence rose milk jug (£5) and printed spoons (£15). I won’t mention the Provence rose sugar bowl – this little collection is sweet enough as it is. Oops, I guess I just did… FYI it’s only £4 and dishwasher safe.

Image credit: Cath Kidston

My favourites of the Spring collection have to be her London pieces; she’s combined the big trend of this year, London icons, (which will be prevalent up until the Olympics at the least),  with her trademark prints.

As well as the selection above, there’s jewellery, hankies, umbrellas and – wait for it – a cag in a bag. One word – genius. Forget Regatta pack-a-mac’s, protect yourself from drizzle in style (I’m buying one for my sister – she’s climbing Mount Kilimanjaro this year and this will be perfect for the rescue helicopters to spot).

What do you think of Cath’s new collection so far? Let us know below. We’ve got more Cath Kidston products, from her new range and her previous collections to peruse at your leisure.

Chris Evans vs Terry Wogan for breakfast radio 12 January, 2010

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Who wins, you decide…

Looks like Terry Wogan’s fan already have – poor old Evans took over the mighty Breakfast show reigns on Radio 2 on Sunday with the optimistic ‘All You Need is Love’ by the Beatles. But Terry’s Old Geezers (aka TOG’s) bit back with the chant ‘All you need is Sir Terry Wogan’. Oh deary me.

Image credit: Shutterstock

In my books (or radios would be more apt…) there isn’t actually much competition as I never became a TOG (Terry Wogan was a little too snail-paced for my liking even though his soothing tones endeared to him many a fan – 8 million to be exact). Nevertheless, I felt compelled to tune in to the first few days of Chris Evans’ breakfast show, now that the silver snail has said his Radio 2 farewell, to see what all the hype predicted to come would be about.

And I found myself nodding along sagely (it is Radio 2 breakfast) with the new boy, who opened his show promising listeners a ‘long but pleasant ride’ and with far less ‘turbulence’ than was experienced on his previous breakfast shows (which did get him sacked once upon a time). Who could turn their noses up at that?

Chris Evans did receive some hearty welcome’s and well done’s on the Beeb’s blog – which would no doubt have lain a few strawberry blonde hairs to rest on the back of his neck – although he was a little ‘raucous’ and ‘bit too manic’ for a couple TOG’s used to the fluffy wake-up-warmth of the Wogan era. Oh, what japes Evans’ must have been having!

Image credit: Graham & Green

I say give him a chance – though we have heard that before on his afternoon show… as long as he retains his award-winning personality with which he garnered his own 5 million strong fan base during his tea time slot, he won’t fall out of Wogan’s big shoes just yet. And if he slides in a few velvety ‘ho ho ho’ chuckles, deeply content sighs and Frank Sinatra smoothies, he may not lose too many of the 8 million that Tezza finished his show with in December.

Though I know whose shoes I’d rather be in – the sand covered boaters of a certain vintage ex-radio presenter now basking on a beach along the French coastline…

Why not judge for yourself on a Roberts digital radio – and let us know your verdict by posting a comment below!

Feeling the cold? It’s snow joke but we’ll warm you up 8 January, 2010

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Brrrr,  just the thought of walking home from work is making my chilblains do a tingly dance on my toes!

Image credit: Shutterstock

To paint a rather nicer picture, the sparkling snow heaped upon our windowsills has turned Britain into a Christmas card. And what’s been dubbed as the ‘big freeze’ is going to get even more bone-chilling this weekend, with a huge snowfall predicted for Sunday across the country.

For days now, the MET have warned us not to venture outside unless we have to – and with sales of Durex condoms soaring we’re obviously taking their advice to heart…

The thought of taking your clothes off giving you goose bumps? Get under a soft throw and snuggly duvet and let’s get those sales snowballing!

If getting jiggy isn’t part of your ‘big freeze’ survival kit, we’ve got a snowload of funky hot water bottles, thick blankets, warming heaters, electric blankets and even hip flasks to keep the cold on the outside of your homey igloo. Take a look at our top ten hot water bottles and top ten winter warmers for our favourites.

Image credit: Shutterstock

Everyone’s out sledging (even my mum’s taken a spin on a chopping board) and many sledge companies have sold out completely.

But this cold snap is snow joke – with temperatures plummeting to minus 22.1 in the Scottish Highlands last night (only 0.8 degrees warmer than the South Pole!) the snowfall and ice has brought Britain to a standstill. Schools have closed and flights cancelled; food is being rationed in snowed-under villages; many dependent on home-help have had to sleep in their wheelchairs and go unwashed; and we’ve all got drippy noses and freezing our tooshies off just looking out the window.

I’ve always preferred a snowball in a cocktail glass rather than my face… the best way forward? Stay home and dive under those covers!

Got any snow stories? Or top tips for keeping your home snug as a bug? Just post them below >

mydeco WIN Online Retail Award! 6 January, 2010

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We’ve kick-started 2010 in superb style (hey, that’s what we do…) by winning the Home and DIY category in the 2009 Online Retail Awards!

The Online Retail Awards sought to reward excellent online experiences, best practice and customer service from retailers around the world and we’re thrilled to be recognised from amongst the global competition.

Our community members love our innovative 3D room planner tool, which allows people of any ability to create the room of their dreams. We love the monochromatic decor with amethyst features in this spacious Sticky Bathroom, created by 3rdfloor:

Image credit: 3rdfloor

One in five awards went to US retailers which makes our win even sweeter, especially as we were up against US retail giants such as Amazon.com and Target.com. The latter received a Commendation in our category, Home and DIY, as well as Ochre & Ochre and The White Company.

Giving the award, the judges said: ‘The inspirational new offering from Brent Hoberman, co-founder of lastminute.com, is breath-taking in its scope, friendliness, ease of engagement and phenomenal one million plus product offering.

‘In the year from launch (Feb ’08 – Feb ’09), mydeco has experienced exponential growth. Traffic has risen to approximately 750,000 monthly unique users, the volume of traffic sent through to retailers has increased 30 times, and over 200,000 people have signed up to the weekly newsletter.’

If you want to see what all the fuss is about (and receive all the latest design exclusives, competitions, trends and discounts), simply sign up to our Newsletter and Sale Scoop.

The Online Retail Awards are only in their baby years, 2009 being their very first year, but they’re already showing great taste… all joking aside, the Awards are impartial, independent and objective and saw many great names nominated, from the smallest to the largest retailers.

Other category winners included John Lewis for Multiple Online Retailer, BrandAlley for Marketing Campaign of the Year), Blackwell’s for  Books, Magazines and Newspapers, and Apple for  Computers and Telecommunications. As you can see, we’re among some great company.

Last year, our New Business Development Manager Jenna Anians, above, won two awards at the Retail Week’s Rising Star awards. For more details, go to our Retail Week’s Rising Star Award blog.

Watch this space for more awards  – after all, we’re only on day 6 on 2010!

Deal of the day – 50% off Gordon Ramsay blender 4 January, 2010

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Want a ‘new year, new you’? We can help: For a healthy kick–start, enjoy tasty smoothies and soups made with Gordon Ramsay’s professional blender at Argos.

Argos-blender

Image credit: Argos

Available in silver and black, this easy to clean blender has three speed levels plus a pulse function. And because it’s now half price you can feel good in every way. Right now it’s on sale for £49.99 (was £99.99). Delivery is £5.80.

If you think you can you find an even better bargain–busting deal you should take part in mydeco’s Outlet bargain challenge. Finding the best bargain will also win you that product, courtesy of our brilliant Outlet section! What are you waiting for?

Browse more great discounts on mydeco’s special offers page. In addition to the Deal of the day, check out the top ten deals this week and for all the latest deals and offers, sign up to our Sale Scoop. Happy bargain hunting!

Deal of the day – 40% off Sagaform retro breakfast bowl 12 November, 2009

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That’s right folks, our deal of the day blog is back, and we couldn’t have timed it better. Today mydeco community member almudena won this funky Sagaform retro breakfast bowl at Cookware by CSN – a thank you for all her savvy hunting in our outlet bargain challenge.

If you fancy picking up one of these bowls for yourself, now is the time to do it – it’s on sale for £5.11 (was £8.50), and if you decide to splurge on the whole matching set, delivery is free over £40. You could even give it as a Christmas gift – it would be perfect for a trendy friend with some empty kitchen cupboards to fill!

If you think you can you find an even better bargain–busting deal you should take part in our Outlet bargain challenge. Finding the best deal will also win you that product, courtesy of mydeco’s brilliant Outlet! What are you waiting for?

Browse more great discounts on our special offers page. Happy hunting everyone!

Deal of the day – over 40% off John Lewis wall plate 10 November, 2009

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You can’t eat your dinner off of this limited edition Andrew Tanner chair silhouette plate, available at John Lewis, but with over 40% off the original price it’s certainly a tasty treat for your walls. This great Deal of the day is just £35 (was £69).

deal-of-the-day-john-lewis-plate

Image credit: John Lewis

Designed by Andrew Tanner, this contemporary decorative wall plate is made from bone china and is laser cut to reveal a Baroque–style chair. He’s made only 500 of these quirky plates worldwide so you need to get your bargain mitts on it quick!

If you think you can you find an even better bargain–busting deal you should take part in our Outlet bargain challenge. Finding the best bargain will also win you that product, courtesy of mydeco’s brilliant Outlet! What are you waiting for?

Browse more great discounts on our special offers page. In addition to our Deal of the day, check out our top ten deals this week. Happy bargain hunting!

Deal of the day – over 40% off wine glasses 4 November, 2009

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This Wednesday we have a stunning Deal of the day for you. Great as a table decoration or simply to drink from, this versatile Florentine crimson red wine glass at Watts London is hard-wearing but elegant too. It’s been reduced by a huge 40% so it’s now just £8.95 (was £15).

deal-of-the-day-watts-london-wine-glass

Image credit: Watts London

If this brilliant discount doesn’t quench your thirst for a bargain Watts London have also reduced their Florentine turquoise white wine glass by 50%. Create a bold tabletop statement for only £7.50 (was £15).

The stunning Florentine collection of glassware measures at W8.5 cm x H17.5 cm. The crimson red wine glass is perfect for the Christmas table and the money saved can go on a festive bottle (or two) of wine!

If you think you can you find an even better bargain–busting deal you should take part in our Outlet bargain challenge. Finding the best bargain will also win you that product, courtesy of mydeco’s brilliant Outlet! What are you waiting for?

Browse more great discounts on our special offers page. In addition to our Deal of the day, check out our top ten deals this week. Happy bargain hunting!

Deal of the day – 55% off Laura Ashley 3 November, 2009

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Hello bargain hunters! As we all know, high street darling Laura Ashley is renowned for their charming homeware accessories and mydeco spotted their pretty ceramic bud vase for our Deal of the day.

deal-of-the-day-laura-ashley

Image credit: Laura Ashley

Laura Ashley have reduced their ceramic bud vase, left, by a huge 55% – very charming indeed! It’s now just £5.40 (was £12). And with its white washed finish and trailing leaf design it will get you in the traditional homes style mood. If you like the skinny version with a trailing floral design, right, it’s been reduced too. This rustic floral vase is now just £13.86 (was £22).

If you think you can you find an even better bargain–busting deal you should take part in our Outlet bargain challenge. Finding the best bargain will also win you that product, courtesy of mydeco’s brilliant Outlet! What are you waiting for?

Browse more great discounts on our special offers page. In addition to our Deal of the day, check out our top ten deals this week. Happy bargain hunting!

The ceramic vase has a white washed finish with trailing leaf design to get you in the traditional homes style mood.

This week the vase is on sale at £5.40 (was £12). Delivery is £4.50.