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March Secret Sevens

In case you hadn't already noticed, the sun is finally shining! Hurrah. It's been a busy month preparing for new collections launching and other exciting launches (coming very soon).

Here's a handful of the things that we really, really liked in March. We think you will too, so have a look...

Loving

Spring. In particular the beautiful magnolia that has appeared everywhere. If the sky is blue and magnolia is out it just needs to be photographed. Molly took this photo of a flowering tree near her home and it doesn't get much more like spring, does it?

MAGNOLIA

Reading

If you need a book that's a real page turner, Jodie can't stop recommending The Girl Before by JP Delaney.

Another favourite book we've picked up this month is the new Womans Hour book, full of words from the wise, witty and wonderful women that have been featured on the show. A great book for a little inspiration on a Sunday afternoon, or to dive into for 10 minutes before bed.

Watching

Netflix Original. Abstract: The Art of Design.

Molly is the designer here, so there's no surprise that she's been recommending this show to everyone that steps into the office. The series focuses on creative and inspiring individuals. Molly's favourite episode (so if you only watch one, make it this)... Paula Scher: Graphic Design. An amazing person, with patience, skill and love for maps and words that was really captivating. Molly says the show comes with a warning... she struggled to get through a whole episode without wanting to jump up and go and paint something instead.

Paula Scher

Paula Scher

Following

Artist Javier Perez takes everyday bits and bobs and makes them into something fun. His Instagram feed is the perfect place for a little midday pick me up.

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Visiting

Three of us took a trip all the way up to Scotland to visit to a new factory. We spent the day chatting to Bernard who was teaching us all about a new product we have coming very soon. Ssshhh, it's a secret, but we'll give you a clue...It's going to mean even more comfy sleep from the Secret Linen Store.

Although it was just a flying visit, we took a little drive and the scenery was beautiful. Beautiful enough to convince us all that we must visit another time and have a proper look around.

Celebrating

We know... we included our Little Dresses for Africa project as one of our favourite things last month. However that was to shout about the amazing Sylivia and her wonderful dresses. This month it's to say we have reached 500 dresses. We'd hoped to get to 1000 by the end of this year and it looks like we're well on the way. We're overwhelmed on a daily basis by your generosity and kindness, and receiving the dresses is one of our perks.

LDFA 500

Baking

Jamie Olivers Bakewell tart with Mollys plum twist.

"I cant follow a recipe, I’m not great at doing that. I like to change a few things and see what happens. We all got together at Harriet’s for Mother’s day and I made a great big Bakewell tart.

I swapped the cranberries for plums. It was pretty good (it must have been... it's all gone). We get our sweet tooth's from our Dad, who still uses a teaspoon to eat his puddings, because it lasts longer. Thanks Dad!

Plum bakewell tart

Make your own

For the frangipane

  • 100g blanched hazelnuts
  • 100g shelled walnuts
  • 250g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 orange
  • 3 large free-range eggs
  • 60g plain flour

For the pastry

  • 250g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 100g icing sugar, sifted
  • 125g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 1 orange
  • 1 large free-range egg, beaten
  • a splash of milk

For the cranberry jam

  • 500g fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 2 oranges

Sift the flour and half the icing sugar into a large bowl, then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the zest of the orange, add the beaten egg and a splash of milk, mix together until you have a ball of dough. Don’t work it too much.

Lightly flour the dough, wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. Then roll the pastry out on a clean floured surface until it’s about 0.5cm thick. Loosely roll it around the rolling pin, then unroll it over a 25cm loose-bottomed tart tin. Ease the pastry into the tin, pushing it into the corners. Trim off excess overhanging pastry. Prick the base of the tart with a fork. Cover with cling film and chill in the fridge for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Remove the cling film from the base, then line it with scrunched-up grease proof paper and dried rice. Blind

bake for 12 minutes, then remove the paper and rice and bake for another 5 minutes. Meanwhile, put a large pan on a medium heat and add the cranberries (or plums, if you're Molly!), sugar and the zest and juice from 1 1/2 oranges. Bring to the boil, reduce and simmer and cook for 15 minutes, until lovely and jammy. Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool.

Blitz the nuts in a food processor until fine. Take out the nuts, put the butter and sugar into the food processor and whiz until fluffy. Grate the zest of the lemon and orange into the food processor, crack in the eggs, keep the food processor running until well mixed. Put the nuts back into the food processor, with the flour, and mix.

Spread a third of your cranberry jam mixture over the base of your pastry case, then spoon on the frangipane and spread it out. Dot a few blobs of cranberry jam on top, and put the rest aside (it's delicious on toast). Cook the tart  for 45 to 50 minutes and set. Once cooked, leave to cool, then transfer to a wire rack while you make the icing. Serve the tart with a little dollop of cream, if you like.

Have a lovely April

The SLS Team (Molly, Harriet, Sally and Jodie)

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