Wednesday, 4 November 2009

National Ethical Investment Week

National Ethical Investment Week takes place next week (8-14 November). NEIW is a campaign which aims to raise awareness of green and ethical finance and investment choices.

There are a large number of people who are concerned about the green and ethical credentials of the purchases they make and yet they never stop and consider what their money may be financing in terms of where they bank and where they invest there savings. There are a wide and constantly expanding range of options available for people concerned about what their investments are financing.

Visit for some more information about the campaign and green and ethical investing in general.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

3 of the best.....natural cold and flu relievers

In keeping with the general illness theme which I established last week, I thought I would highlight ‘3 of the best’ natural cold and flu relievers (I say relievers because I can’t really vouch for these as remedies….during my own recent germ-struggles I have found the following quite helpful although not cures…the best cure for flu is most often time and rest).

Ginger, honey and lemon tea – ginger is a natural antiviral plant and has long been used to treat asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory problems as well as assisting with digestion and easing nausea. One of the easiest ways to take it is as a tea by steeping shavings of fresh ginger in hot water and adding honey and lemon to taste.

Tomato Soup – ok so this may be more psychosomatic than anything else as a warm bowl of soup is essentially comforting but tomatoes contain high levels of vitamin c and are generally a good source of vitamins. Soup is easily digested which is helpful for someone who is generally worn down. Heavy meals require energy to digest and for someone ill, this energy can be best utilised by the body for getting better.

Steam – steam moisturises and soothes your nasal passages which can be a huge relief when suffering from a cold or flu. The easiest way to get a dose of steam is obviously to have a hot shower. Steam can also help ease congestion and help you expel phlegm.
Ok, I am going to stop going on about being ill now......I promise!

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Lurgy, laziness and London Borough Market

I have been a very neglectful blogger of late. The past few weeks have flown by in a haze of fuzzy-headedness and a desire to do as little as possible brought on by an indeterminate illness. So I a) haven’t actually done anything worth sharing and b) have spent any time while not at work sleeping, in the bath or lying on the sofa feeling vaguely sorry for myself.

The one thing I did do before the rot set in was visit London Borough Market. Now is not the best time for a first visit as construction is well under way on one of the market’s main sections….so it is even more crowded than usual and rather difficult to navigate without getting stuck in bottle necks but for anyone who likes food (and I find it hard to imagine how anyone could not) it is still worth a visit.

While there I feasted on raclette, numerous bits of cheese and bread with various olive oils, and fresh cranberry and apple juice. I went home with toffee-pecan cheesecake (oh my word, this is amazing, trust me on this one), Spanish hot sauce (the exact name of which escapes me), chipotle paste, sausages, dry-cure bacon and various herbs and vegetables. Whenever I buy food from Borough I am always amazed at how well dishes turn out and what a difference it makes buying things that are fresh and in season rather than from the supermarket. It’s not possible, unfortunately, for me to do day-to-day shopping at a market but I think it really is worth doing as often as possible.

Thursday, 17 September 2009


Ok, so I am not sure why either, but online ethical retailer and brand Adili have changed their name to Ascension. Go figure. But what is actually kind of cool is…. they are launching a flagship London store. It will be opening in central London (exact location tbc) in early November. Let’s hope it is the first of many!

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

3 of the best....ethical shoes

Although I have had a strong word with myself and have vowed (to try my very best) to go easy on the doesn't hurt to look! And share with others. So here are 3 of my favourite ethical shoes available at the moment:

Boots: Terra Plana Birch Chocolate Waxed Leather (£170 at Terra Plana)

Heels: Beyond Skin Ruby Shoes (£97 at Equa)

Trainers: Veja Women's (£72 at Ascension)

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Food news....

Although I actually love general grocery shopping (which may sound very odd to some people), I also like looking at and buying unusual ingredients and online food shopping opens up a whole new avenue for this. Online food shopping doesn't, in my mind, compare to having a wonder around an actual market (especially Borough market which may just be one of my favourite places in London) but sometimes when that isn't possible online browsing can be the next best thing.

A great site I came across recently is Goodness Direct. The site has all sorts of information, an interesting blog (which recently featured a post about ethical food) and a number of different food categories such as fairtrade and raw foods and they only use biodegradable and/or recyclable packaging.

In other foodie news, it is currently Organic Fortnight so visit the Soil Association's website, for some more information about the campaign to promote awareness about organic products.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Sign up to 10:10 today....

10:10 is a new initiative (the launch event of which is today actually, so if you can, get down to the Tate Modern from 4pm) which calls on individuals, companies and other organisations to cut carbon emissions by 10% in 2010.

There is plenty of information on the website, about why this is a good thing and how we can all go about achieving this target (in our homes and in the workplace) so I am not going to go on about it here. I just suggest you support the campaign by signing up on the website as soon as you can.....

Friday, 21 August 2009

Wish list...

A website I recently came across, and have been visiting frequently lately, is Devidoll London. Every label they stock meets at least one of the following criteria: "made from organic fabric OR made from alternative fabric (including soya, hemp, bamboo, peace silk, modal and more) OR helps revive traditional handicraft among local populations OR especially benefits women and/or children OR made from vintage or repurposed materials".

Some of the items I am currently coveting:

Friday, 7 August 2009

London's Eco-finest....

Coco Eco Magazine’s latest issue features an eco-guide to London. The article highlights some of London’s top eco-restaurants, hotels and shops. ‘London Goes Eco Chic’ was written by Tara of great eco-blog ‘Green Lashes and Fashion’ and is definitely worth a read if you’re planning a visit to London or are a jaded Londoner looking for some eco-inspiration…

Friday, 31 July 2009

Organic debate (en)rages....

There has been a great deal of coverage in the media this week regarding the FSA’s recently published ‘Organic nutrient content review’. The Review concludes that there is no significant nutritional difference between organic and conventionally produced food and that there is no evidence to suggest eating organic food has any additional health benefits.

As someone who has always favoured organic food (if not always able to buy it due to budget constraints) I was quite interested to read the subsequent articles and comments which have followed the release of these findings. Interestingly, the study doesn’t take into account the effects of fertiliser and pesticide traces in food. This to me, kind of makes the whole report a bit of a cop-out really. Personally, I try to buy organic for environmental reasons rather than nutritional ones (after all, if I was so concerned about nutrition, I wouldn’t consume vast amounts of Wotsits on a shamefully regular basis). However, surely any study on how nutritious organic food is in comparison to ‘regular’ food should take into account chemicals found on and hormones found in conventionally produced food? Although my motivation is environmental, I do still like the idea that I am not ingesting potentially harmful chemicals when chomping on an organic apple….for example.

This is also, to keep things in perspective, one study among many others which have different conclusions. It is very difficult for us (and by us I mean those not in a position to test the nutritional content of our food which I feel fairly safe to assume is quite a large group) to know which study to believe and how accurate the information that filters down to us really is. One thing which really interests me is the level of hostility which some seem to feel towards those who buy organic food calling them ‘smug’ ‘rich’ ‘stupid’ and my favourite ‘middle class trendies in the west with more money than sense’. I wish I had more money than sense! Why such anger and contempt? The Soil Association suggests a number of benefits to ‘going organic’. Nutritional arguments aside, these include that organic farmers use natural methods to feed soil and limit pests rather than harmful chemicals such as nitrogen fertiliser which contributes towards greenhouse gas emissions. Organic food avoids pesticides and I don’t know about you but I would like to consume as little of those as possible. Animal welfare is also an important part of organic farming. Organic animal rearing standards prohibit cruelty and guarantee free-range conditions. And, according to the Soil Association’s website, “The UK Government’s own advisors found that plant, insect and bird life is up to 50% greater on organic farms”. Now to me all these things sounds like something I’d like to encourage as much as I can.

If I had the money, I would only buy organic produce. I don’t do it to be smug or to assuage my conscience. It’s because all of the above sounds good to me. So I don’t really understand the anger. I think discourse on the issue is important and the more information available the better. I personally would like to know whether the higher price charged for organic goods is actually justified or if part of it is cynical retailers knowing they can make money from us smug, middle class trendies… perhaps we can move forward this debate with a little less name-calling and a little more thought regarding what kind of farming practices we’d like to support and the best way to go about this….

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Wish list....

Ethical fashion retailer FASHION-CONSCIENCE.COM are currently having a sale. This Betty Jackson Organic cotton t-shirt is firmly on my wishlist. It was £32 and is now £22.40. This shirt is 100% organic cotton and as a bonus a percentage of the profits from this tee go to the Environmental Justice Foundation.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Ditch the plastic...

One of the ‘green resolutions’ I have actually managed to keep this year is not buying bottled water. I use to buy a bottle of water pretty much every day and I have managed to cut that right down. As an incentive to make sure I stuck with my vow not to buy bottled water, I bought this SIGG water bottle from Obviously I could have just used a glass but that didn’t seem as fun somehow!

Apparently in the UK alone the plastic bottles generated by our bottled water habit in one year would fill the Wembley Stadium 3 times over. Which just seems so unnecessary considering our tap water is safe to drink…

Friday, 17 July 2009

Loving Lovelula.....

My first purchase from online beauty store (‘the organic apothecary’) arrived last week. I bought Burt’s Bees Pore Refining Mask after reading its many rave reviews on make-up alley (my own review to follow later once I have been using it for a while but first impression was a good one!). I must say I am really impressed with Lovelula. Their range of natural and organic beauty products is excellent. They provide a great deal of information on a product’s ingredients and organic/natural credentials and are extremely helpful if you have any further questions about a product or range.

My order arrived quicker than I thought it would and best of all, with each order you can also choose up to 3 free samples of certain products. I opted for John Masters Organics Honey and Hibiscus Hair Reconstructor and Reconstructing Shampoo. John Masters Organics are quite a pricey brand so it’s great to be able to try them out before purchasing. I also chose a sample of Elysambre Organic Pre-makeup Base Cream which is a brand I have never tried before.

Monday, 13 July 2009


Ethical online retailer are in the midst of a sale with certain items up to 50% off. My favourites are:
Colourful embroidered dress
£66.50 [was £95.00]
Chenna's quilt pumps
£45 [was £90]

Silk mix button waist coat
£63.70 [was £91]

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Second-hand style....

As an ardent shopper one of the things I really battle with in my bid towards greener living is the idea that I shouldn’t really be buying stuff I don’t need. And to be strictly honest, at this point in my life, when it comes to bags, shoes, clothes and jewellery I don’t actually need anything. Even if it is fairtrade/ethically sourced/organic….or any of the above. It is one thing acknowledging this and another trying to live by it so in the meantime, one of the ways to assuage my conscience somewhat is charity shop shopping! Because if I’m buying something pre-owned then I am really just contributing towards the recycling process….right? Don’t disillusion me please, I am sure this theory has its own flaws, but let me just have this one for now….

Historically I’ve only really scoured the charity shops for books. But recently I’ve broadened my outlook somewhat and realised that with a little patience and regular check-ins they can be the source of all sorts of goodies. I bought a gorgeous striped-glass jug with two matching glasses recently for £2. So effectively what I’ve bought is recycled glass, I’ve just cut out the middle man!

I have also just ordered my first purchase from Oxfam’s online second-hand shop. The beauty of this option is that you don’t need to keep visiting a shop (which is a necessary component of an effective charity shopping strategy if you want to find something great) which can be time consuming. The online option means you can easily narrow down your search to your size, price range and/or category. And even better, you can then narrow it down by the condition of the item. So you can just search the Used: As New category if you so choose, or if you’re exta fussy, there is also a ‘with tags’ category so you’re essentially buying a new item. As an added bonus, all purchases from the second-hand store come with free delivery until the 20th of July. So check it out for some guilt free shopping that is also easy on the wallet……

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Enjoying London doesn't have to cost the earth....

I agree so much with the general premise of this article ‘Bargain London’ [guardian website travel blog]. Check out the comments to this as well for a whole lot of ideas on what to do in London when money is tight.

London can be incredibly expensive, as can most major cities, but there is also plenty to do on a budget. I am just too lazy to get out and do these things most of the time but as this article mentions, there are a host of websites and guides that can offer inspiration. On a ‘green’ note (just cause I can ;) Visit London even has a ‘green’ section of their website: which not only has ideas on where to go and what to eat, but also tips on how to make sure you’re a ‘responsible tourist’ (which doesn’t sound particularly exciting I’ll admit but is more along the lines of throw away your litter and respect your environment rather than prohibiting any wild behaviour!).

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Keep one Onya (groan....)......

I am truly appalling at remembering to take my own bags with me when I go grocery shopping. Although I generally do manage to take my own bags along when doing a ‘big shop’, I tend to forget when it’s just a general popping in to get a few groceries, or when it’s not for groceries at all but clothes or books or toiletries etc. And I have all manner of cloth/hemp/plastic shopping bags but the issue is just that I don’t take them with me when I’m not anticipating a major shopping trip.

Hence my purchase of an Onya bag. It’s the best ‘fold-up’ bag I’ve seen/bought predominantly because it’s made out of parachute material so it can be stuffed into its own little pouch in a couple of seconds (I used to have another synthetic fold-up bag but it seemed to require advanced engineering skills to return it, folded and neat, into the little pouch it came with). Visit to check out their range. I have the original Onya which is the perfect size to keep in my bag for general purchases.

Plastic bags just seem such a ridiculous way of causing environmental damage when really, they’re so easily avoided. I still forget to carry my Onya bag with me sometimes, and have to use plastic ones, but I’ve definitely cut down and managed to avoid unnecessary leftist environmental guilt! ;)

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Kind of cool....

Chicza, organic rainforest gum, is now available at Waitrose. I haven't actually tried it yet but as a sporadic gum chewer I am definitely intrigued.

Chicza is not only biodegradable (the lifespan of a wad of ordinary chewed gum is anything up to 5 years where as Chicza apparently dissolves in about a month, causing no environmental damage) but it is also the first certified organic chewing gum and is produced by 56 cooperatives with the sustainability of natural resources of extreme importance. Visit for more information on how the gum is produced.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Tube strike madness....

Well I like complaining about the tube as much as the next Londoner, I really do. Tube ranting is one of my favourites. But I now have tube strike fatigue to be honest. The guardian even felt the need to blog about it and to share their journalists' journeys via twitter...and oh god, now I am talking about it too. So I will keep this brief...

I have no idea about my official position (and I know people are dying to know) on the strike. I think it's just not possible for a member of the general public (i.e. me) to really know what is going with regards to who is being the most unreasonable....and I don't really care. But I do like this website: which I consulted so that I wouldn't have to use the tube to get to work. While forgoing my little tube commute only prevented (or avoided as the website prefers to say) 0.06kg of CO2 emissions, I have realised that the walk is far quicker than I anticipated and about a hundred times more pleasant than my usual Circle Line experience. So strike/don't strike...I don't really mind, just please don't tell me any more about it.

Friday, 5 June 2009


Adili, one of my favourite ethical online retailers, has a number of dresses that I am coveting at the moment. This is (probably) my favourite. It is by People Tree, which has recently won the Observer Ethical Awards for Fashion.

Ethical fashion options just keep on growing, a great thing for the world in general but a bit of an issue for my wallet......

Friday, 29 May 2009

Interesting, if not cheerful, weekend reading.....

'The Anatomy of a Silent Crisis' has just been released by the Global Humanitarian Forum. This is the first comprehensive study which quantifies the effect of climate change on humanity. According to the report climate change is already responsible for 300 000 deaths per year. Of course the naysayers will have their own opinions and dismiss this as just another lefty-liberal treehugging fuss about nothing (still boggles my mind when I hear/read the 'what climate change?' view but I won't launch into rant mode or we'll be here all day) but for some of us it makes quite chilling reading....

Monday, 25 May 2009


Despite the occasionally over-enthusiastic sales people, I really rate Lush for their general philosophy on organics, recycling and animal testing. Lush products have minimal preservatives and packaging and they tend to use mostly organic ingredients.

I was puzzled as to why they are not listed on as a PETA approved 'no animal testing' organisation so I wrote to them to find out why and they actually had a plausible explanation. They sent me a fact sheet on Lush's stance on testing, which explains their Supplier Specific Boycott Policy. It explains the benefits to this policy, which is different from the Fixed Cut-off Date policy employed by the Humane Cosmetics Standard. Lush are not included on PETA's approved list because of this policy difference but they are actually specifically mentioned on the Go Cruelty Free website as a recommended retailer and cites the same explanation for their exclusion from the BUAV (British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection) list.

Lush products use minimal packaging which makes a refreshing change from many cosmetic's companies. Although I find some of their products overwhelming in terms of scent and underwhelming in terms of effect, they also have some great stuff.

My favourites are:
Lush are a great example of a company that manages to combine numerous ethical considerations at the same time, which is great for a concerned consumer as it takes the guess-work out of purchases. However, just because a shop or company is perceived to be 'good' it certainly doesn't mean they are so it is a good idea to ask questions if something doesn't make sense. It also lets them know that people are genuinely concerned and they can't just get away with vague claims about their ethical credentials.

Thursday, 14 May 2009 can eat...yeah!

I know that it is incredibly girly of me but I love the idea of eating flowers. I went to Saf, the vegetarian, organic, generally virtuous restaurant a few weeks ago for lunch (food was great, service was not but that's another story) and had, among other things, the 'greens and flowers' salad which made me even more excited about my nasturtium seedlings growing in the garden. I planted them from seed and they've been completely hassle free. The vivid orange flowers can be used in salads or added to vinaigrettes and they have a distinct spicy/peppery flavour as well as looking beautiful. They don't even need to be in the garden but can be grown in medium to large containers. A pack of seeds cost about a quid so in keeping with the current spirit of thrift and grow-your-own I would recommend adding this to your next list of things-to-do....

Friday, 8 May 2009

Wish list....

I cannot, however hard I may try, justify the purchase of another pair of trainers at the moment. Not even by my vast imagination when it comes to the necessariness (I don't think this is really a word) of another pair of shoes do I need another pair of trainers. But if I did, and could overlook the fairly hefty £73 price tag, then these retro, Veja Volley Trainers would be mine...all mine! Oh, and they're also fairly traded, sustainable and made with organic cotton as an added bonus.

Find them online at and to name but two....

Thursday, 7 May 2009

World Fair Trade Day: Saturday 09 May...

This Saturday is World Fair Trade Day. I am, like many of us I suspect, guilty of being a bit of a fairweather fair trade buyer. I tend to go for the usual fair trade suspects like bananas, coffee, tea and chocolate. These tend to be the easiest and most visible/publicised fair trade products. But there is actually a suprisingly wide range of fair trade stuff out there, and not just from stores like Ethical Superstore, but also from online grocery stores like Waitrose and Sainsbury's, who tend to have a wider range available online than in-store which will hopefully change in future. And it's not just groceries that you should consider but clothes, accessories and household items.

The Fairtrade Foundation are suggesting we get involved with a fair trade breakfast which sounds like a cool idea to me. But even if you can't manage that, try adding a few extra fair trade items to your shopping basket in the next week or so and it might even become a habit....

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Changing the way we behave....

I read an interesting article in the New York Times Magazine recently entitled 'Why Isn't the Brain Green' by Jon Gertner. Although it gets quite technical in terms of behavioral psychology, I think the basic question Gertner asks is intriguing. Why aren't we all more concerned about climate change? Why is there very little sense of urgency among the majority of the population?

I don't know the answer to this. I just know that personally, inaction is often due to a combination of ignorance and laziness. As the article concludes, unfortunately, human beings don't always act in their own/society's best interests. Hence the need for greater incentives and stricter laws. I am no fan of being told what to do but sometimes it seems to me that if we can't be trusted to help ourselves, we need some significant pushes in the right direction...

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

How green is a barbeque?

After a lovely, sunny bank holiday weekend consisting of 3 barbeques, 1 hosted by moi and 2 by friends, my boyfriend gave me a mild rebuke regarding my love of barbeques considering that they 'are not exactly environmentally friendly'.

I must confess that I do love bbqs, mainly just because of the fact that I get to spend more time outside, chilling in the sun with a beverage, which seems a much more pleasant way to cook when the weather is warm and the evenings are long. However, I hadn't honestly considered the 'green' concerns. As always, the internet saves the day with some useful information on how to green your bbq. Thankfully, I've not come across any sites which have vetoed them outright which is encouraging, as I'm not sure I could manage that.

Ethical Super Store stock 'BioRegional HomeGrown FSC Certified Charcoal' which is a good start, ie making sure that the charcoal you use is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified. I was quite chuffed to come across a tip on Planet Green's 'How to go Green: Barbeque' pages which my family have always done, not because it's green but because it's very effective and that is to use a raw onion sliced in half to clean the grill rather than a chemical spray of some sort.

Sierra Magazine's website also has some great green bbq tips in their article, The Green Life: Get your grill on.

So it seems that bbqs are allowed, which is cool as I've already been to 3 and Summer has only just begun....

Update: The Telegraphs' eco-friendly barbeques articles states that the following sell charcoal with the FSC logo: Waitrose (Big K brand), Morrisons (own label 'Instant Light' only); Co-Op (own label), Asda (own label). This is quite an old article though so there are probably more available now. Waitrose definately still sell the Big K Brand, which is still FSC certified.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Latest cookbook purchase....

I love cookbooks so much that I try not to look at them too often....I would fill my house with cookbooks given half the chance and really, I can only cook so many things. In fact half the time, I just like reading them, even if I don't actually end up directly following any of the recipes!

I am quite excitedly awaiting the arrival of Sophie Dahl's new recipe book. I liked the idea that she has divided the recipes into seasons so you can make the recipe when the ingredients are accessible.

Will keep you posted on how it turns out!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Recycle now....

Phase 1 of my recycling drive has finally kicked off with the arrival of a home composting bin and kitchen waste caddy. The most thrilling, yes thrilling, part of this arrival is that they together cost me £8, inlcuding delivery! When I decided I wanted to start composting in our small garden I looked into purchasing a composting bin and kitchen caddy from Ethical Superstore. The bin was going to cost around £45 and the caddy around £5. Before I actually ordered it though I, luckily, came across the Recycle Now website. After entering my postcode into the Composting section of the site I found that I could purchase a composting bin for £8 including delivery, plus a free kitchen caddy. I think it is great that councils are encouraging home composting, I just think they should spread the word a bit more. The difference between spending £50 and £8 is huge for most people and if we were all more aware of schemes like this we might take advantage of them.

Not only does composting reduce waste that eventually goes to landfills but home composting for a year can also save global warming gas emissions equivalent to the CO2 produced by a kettle used for an entire year or a washing machine for three months.

This 'It's easy to make your own compost' booklet is quite a useful source of information with a handy, simplified list of what you should and should not put in the composting bin.

Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Harsh but fair....

I know it's mean to laugh at the misfortunes of others but as I see it, if they didn't want to be laughed at they would share on a website appropriately called FMyLife. Check it out for a daily dose of schadenfreude.....

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Shopping fail...

I recently needed to buy a new crockery set. I just wanted a basic, dinnerware set with some dinner plates, side plates, bowls and possibly mugs or glasses. As is always my first instinct, I thought I'd try and find a, in some way, green and/or ethical product.....fairtrade, recycled, etc....I just think, if I am buying something it may as well not have been involved in any penguin deaths; mistreatment of children/workers; pumping of noxious black cancer-causing fumes into the environment (delete as applicable).

However, my search was less than satisfactory. I'm sorry (not sure to whom but I am sorry) but I am not prepared, or able, at the moment to spend double the amount of money on something because it is recycled. I am also not prepared to use bamboo/ill-shapen clay pots as a dinner service. One of the problems with us humans, myself very much included, is our inherent laziness. If it is easy to make a green and ethical choice, we probably will. But after a fair amount of research, I honestly couldn't find something I was happy with that wasn't going to cost me more than double (sometimes a lot more than double) the price.

Below are a few of the options I could find.....bearing in mind the cost of the set I found at John Lewis which is exactly what I am looking for:

Basic John Lewis stoneware dinner set: £25
(Consists of 4 of each mugs, dinner plates, side plates and bowls)

Ecotopia: No suitable tableware
(although they did have some disposable plate alternatives made out of palm leaf)

Ethical Superstore: No suitable tableware

EcoCentric: £104
Really modern, stylish range of recycled glass plates and bowls. However, to purchase a complete set of 4 of each of the items available in a 'normal' dinner set (included some recycled tumblers in my costing as they didn't have mugs in the range) is well above my price range I'm afraid.

Biome Lifestyle: £152(!)
Biome have a range of Aster recycled glass tableware but even if I did want to spend the £152 I would need to make up a set of 4, I am not overly fond of the lurid colours available.

The Recycled Warehouse: £69
The most promising option I could find. Recycled Warehouse also have a range of Aster recycled glass. It is very different, and a lot cheaper, than the biome range though. The plates, bowls and tumblers available are clear glass and rather pretty. However, the price difference when compared to other, mainstream tableware is still significant at almost triple the cost.

So I am afraid that I have taken the easy, and thrifty! option and gone for the John Lewis set. Which I am disappointed with but to be honest, I didn't really have time to go through any more websites trying to find something better. Which is a pity really and it seems to me that there is an increasing need for green and/or ethically sourced goods that can compare in price (or at the very least not be more than 10/15% more expensive) than mainstream ones.

Friday, 3 April 2009

One soap fits all....

I will confess something and that is...I have not actually used Dr Bronner's organic liquid soaps because, alas, I do not as yet own any. However, in my 'research' (ie blatant internet surfing/time wasting to avoid doing actual work/chores/constructive activities etc.) lately I keep coming across this miraculous sounding soap. According to its many fans it can be used as: facial wash; dishwashing liquid; shampoo; bathroom cleaner; pet wash; baby wash; and the list goes on....and on. It also boasts an impressive array of green and ethical credentials such as:
  • Completely biodegradable and vegetable-based
  • Made with certified Fair Trade and organic oils
  • No synthetic foaming agents, thickeners or preservatives
  • 100% Post-Consumer Recycled (PCR) cylinder bottles and paper labels

So even though I haven't tried them yet, I am already super impressed. Other retailers and manufacturers are often so full of excuses about why they can't produce products with even one of the above criteria and Dr Bronner's manage all of these.

Dr Bronner's website gives a full product list, online store and other info but for UK residents some places to purchase online are:;; and

Sunday, 29 March 2009

If life gives you lemons....

Homemade lemon cordial....

Ingredients: 4 lemons (unwaxed, organic lemons are best); 1 orange; 500g organic sugar; 12.5g citric acid; 1.5 pints boiling water

Grate the rind of the lemons using the fine holes on a grater. Squeeze the juice from all four lemons and the orange. In a large pot dissolve the sugar and citric acid in the water, add the lemon and orange juice, rind and squeezed lemons and orange (chopped into quarters). Allow to cool completely before bottling.

To drink: dilute the syrup with water, approx. 1 part syrup to 5 parts water. This is a great syrup to use for cocktails and makes a great mixer with vodka. Enjoy....

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Earth Hour....

I have heard some interesting opinions, of support and derision, regarding WWF's Earth Hour this year. According to the official Earth Hour website, over 2800 cities from 83 countries have signed up to the initiative, part of WWF's global deal campaign which hopes to inspire regulators to agree on effective climate change policies.

Personally, I feel that the important part of supporting Earth Hour is not switching your lights off for an hour as much as signing up as a supporter on the website and the concept of 'Your light switch is your vote'. As the website puts it 'every single person who signs up to WWF's Earth Hour sends the message that they want action to tackle climate change'. The success of the event sends a message to the governments who will meet in Copenhagen at the end of the year (Copenhagen Climate Change Conference 2009) to decide on how the threat of climate change will be dealt with in the future.

I am going to be switching off as well though, and enjoying dinner by candlelight, I hope you are all doing the same....

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

More Shoreditch graffiti....

More mobile phone graffiti shots....

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Spring inspiration...

I love London in Springtime. It's almost as if the great collective mood of the city shifts and suddenly, after the first sunny weekend in March, everyone is looking around for things to do and places to chill and enjoy any rays of sunshine that the gods of weather may choose to bestow.
Here are some of the things Spring has inspired me to do.... 1.) Take a walk in the woods (photographic evidence attached) 2.) Begin a new, more serious home recycling initiative (more to follow on this later in the week and yes, I am aware that home recycling initiative does not, in any way, sound cool and for that I apologise) 3.) Check out one of London's secret gardens 4.) Grow my own herbs for a variety of uses, culinary and otherwise (I found this website particularly helpful but there is a wealth of information online regarding growing and using herbs) and 5.) Buy a dress, preferably from one of my latest favourite ethical online shopping retailers Adili (

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Would someone like to buy me......

.....a green (in many senses of the word) Robert SolarDAB Radio? There is something so appealing about its toylike design. Once fully sunlight charged, the batteries last for up to 27 hours. It's available on Amazon at the moment for the bargain price of £66.11. I want one!
I did actually have a point besides just expressing my craving. The reason I wanted to highlight this is because, to me, it is a good example of a 'green' product which is both functional and appealing design-wise. More and more we are seeing products which manage to combine both which is, in my humble opinion, an excellent sign that considering the environmental impacts of a purchase is becomingly increasingly mainstream.

Monday, 16 March 2009

How to Shop?

Without getting at all carried away, I do like to have a vague idea of what my cash is contributing towards when I make a fashion purchase (and I use the term fashion loosely to include everything from a fabulous granite-black trench coat for Spring to some good old cotton knickers). I confess that if I see something and fall in love with it, even if I don't know anything about the store's buying policies, I am probably going to get it anyway. But I like to at least try to ensure my buyer's remorse doesn't include any unnecessary guilt.

There are a number of schools of thought regarding ethical shopping approaches. One is, buy whatever you like wherever you like and then make sure you do your research and voice your concerns, with the added credence of being a customer, to the company. Another is obviously being very careful about where you shop and use one of the many 'ethical' stores which are now available, predominantly online. I don't have strong views on which is better. I know that for me it is, in all honesty, a question of cost most of the time. If I could afford to, I would love to order more from ethical retailers online but often this is an expensive route.

Some of my favourites are:

"The way to help workers is not to boycott one company in favour of another; it's to shift from being a passive consumer to an active one." - Clean up Fashion

If you are hitting the highstreet though, which I frequently do, then an excellent source of information is Clean up Fashion where you can find info on various well-known retailers regarding how they treat the people making the clothes we wear and some practical advice on becoming an active consumer. Have a look and then make your own decisions on where and how to shop.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Shoreditch graffiti....

I took these pictures in and around Hoxton, on my mobile phone, fully intending to go back and take proper camera shots but alas, London is ever changing and nearly all of these are now gone or painted over.

And so it begins.....

I like stuff. I have way too much stuff, too much make-up, too many handbags, too many pairs of shoes and I know, in my heart…..that it’s wrong. I should, we all should, be living lives of 21st century-style simplicity, eschewing material possessions and Marks and Spencer ready meals and living off the land, shopping in Oxfam and making our own lip and cheek stains out of beetroot juice and rose water. Personally however, I like stuff too much. I love living in London and the opportunities that this allows for the purchasing of and doing of and seeing of stuff.

I am hoping that this blog will be a way for me to exorcise some of my stuff demons. Perhaps writing about some of the things I covet will lessen the coveting. I am not making any promises about the environmental and ethical nature of the things I write about so please, don’t shout at me. I am sure many will think I am a disgusting capitalist pig but to be honest, my conscience is more in the nature of a ladybug than a full-blown Jiminy Cricket so even if you do shout at me, I probably won’t care. I recycle, I work for a non-profit organisation that, without getting into details, I believe does very important work and I will certainly add to this blog any green and ethical information I have or have researched about the stuff that I am writing about but ultimately, this is a blog about stuff that I find interesting/useful/inspiring/worth owning/any combination of these things. I hope you enjoy it…..