Green Fashion

    Chilote: “Warm feet & Happy Soul”

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    Slow-fashion is more than just wearing higher quality clothing, shoes, bags and accessories . Slow-fashion can and does have a direct impact on the lives of the maker.

    In the absence of sweatshop conditions, the workers, makers and crafts people  receive  fair pay, rights, and respect. And why we ever  thought its OK to exploit in lands far away is beyond comrehension.

    In the age of fast-everything, we need to take stock and reflect on our consumerist behaviour. Much of which has been a driving force in the resultant environmental turmoil we now find ourselves in. Environmental and humanitarian injustice are often interlinked.

    Our hunger for an ever-changing wardrobe has meant that people living in poor countries have been exploited: paid little, shown a disregard for the quality of their lives and mistreated in a way that would be illegal in the countries where the clothes are then sold, and the profits reaped. Fast-fashion puts pressure on resources, disregards the environments, often favours man-made (plastic based) fabics due to cheapness, that will ultimately become poor, finite items of clothing that will be rendered unwanted faster than you can say:  capsule wardrobe.

    With all this negative press reminding us that we all have blood on our hands, let us turn to the co-ops , individuals and small organisations that are proactively trying to bring slow-fashion to the main, and encourage shoppers to participate in this very important movement.

    I have been an advocate and participant of handmade, slow-fashion for a long time (and when I can’t buy ethical, I buy preloved). That’s why, when I found out about Chilote Slippers I knew I wanted to work with them.

    About Chilote?

    1. Positive impact
    2. Premium renewable materials
    3. Ethical and transparent
    4. Part of the artisan coop network

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    Chilote Shoes are beautiful slippers that have a positive impact on the lives of the women who make them as well as the environment.

    Made Fair in Chile

    Hand made in Patagonia, Chile, indigenous women are facilitated by a coop scheme for the production of slow, ethical products. These women reside on the edge of a beautiful lake, where they knit and assemble the slippers (also known as house shoes) using locally sourced materials.

    “Buy and Empower”

    “Buy and Empower” encapsulates the brands objectives and reminds the consumer of the power vested in us, to be good and to be bad. Therefore, by buying  Chilote slippers, we are contributing directly to an individual’s livelihood. Chilote have made their mission transparent, and actively encourage their buyers to learn all about the maker by attaching a unique QR code to every box, that directs you to a page all about the maker. (mine has yet to work, but will keep trying, and will add once it has).

    “Warm Feet and Happy Slow”

    Made using local sheep wool and sustainable ‘upcycled’ salmon leather, each pair of Chilote shoes are zerowaste bi-products and a no- sweatshop approach to fashion that proves that another shopping experience- a more personal, planet-kind and humane one- isn’t just a pipe-dream, but is already a reality.

    “There is no factory so each pair is made “slow” with care and pride by independent artisan women doing what they know & love – knitting. 

    Check them out: www.chiloteshoes.com

     

     

    Green Earth

    Ecosia

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    A few years ago, Google (along with other big corps) became very unpopular when their tax avoidance scandal came to light. Feeling cheated by their greed, Internet users started a boycott of the search engine- the most ubiquitous and popular in the Western world. I think I may even have joined in by switching to Explorer or Jeeves (was the latter still around then). But gradually, as the furore died down, internet users began turning to the comprehensive search engine. And happily Google put the nasty business behind them, and continued business as usual. Although for some, the embers of the scandal were never fully extinguished, and Google’s reputation has been permanently tarnished.

    But how’s this for a change in direction: a search engine with a moral centre, one that has reevaluated how it will spend its advertising revenue? Sound too good to be true? Cue Ecosia.

    Ecosia is a search engine that spends its money on trees. Featured on my Facebook news stream as a sponsored post, I was drawn to their concept ‘every time you search a tree is planted’? I knew I needed to know more. If there’s an opportunity for this sometimes idle, often necessary pastime to transpire into a tree being planted, surely this can only be a positive move. So, I visited their platform to learn more.

    Ecosia is the search engine that plants trees with its ad revenue. Get the free browser extension and use Ecosia every time you search.

    Ecosia, a social business, are attempting to save our planet by increasing her lung capacity by planting much needed trees and I say: “bring it on!” I only hope that this ludicrously SUPERB idea receives widespread participation.

    But how will Ecosia sustain their concept?

    The money derived from  advertising revenue will be spent on planting trees. 80% in fact. Simple as that.

    At the time of writing, 5, 596, 287 trees had been planted.

    Ecosia aim to plant 1billion trees by 2020.

    Why trees?

    By planting a tree, you can fight climate change, restart water cycles, turn deserts back into fertile forests and provide nutrition, employment, education, medical assistance and political as well as economic stability. Mind-boggling, isn’t it?

    Sold!

    Go forth and search using Ecosia as your default search engine.

    🌲🌳🌿

    Do it for the planet.🌍

    Green Eats/Health

    Golden milk (Sunshine in the winter)

    Golden milk

    ⬆Obsessed⬆

    While queuing for a coffee the other day, I noticed that Better Foods are now offering their own Golden Lattes/Milk, which jogged my memory*, and as I was buying fresh turmeric (I use it in most of my cooking) I decided I’d go home and try it again, surfing the net for a bit of inspo.

    It’s not the first time I’ve made ‘Golden Milk’. I tried it out a few time in our old flat using ground turmeric and it would always taste a little sour.

    But, drawn to the idea of a warming winter drink that doesn’t include sugar and yellow, I decided I’d have another go, only this time I will you fresh grated turmeric. A few trials and I discovered how to get the best from the fresh turmeric and balance the flavour with other spices, that give it a gorgeous warming flavour. I am actually in love, and renaming it:  ‘Sunshine in my Winter’.

    *My interest in turmeric began when I read how it can help memory. In early motherhood, most new mother’s find that the sleep deprivation is very intense, and cause short term memory loss. At one point, I thought I was losing my mind, and invested in a jar of Viridian Turmeric tablets.

    What’s all the hype about turmeric?

    According to ‘Authority Nutrition‘, turmeric contains 10 proven benefits. Click on the link to find out more. I am going to talk about the bioactive compound curcumin. Curcumin has been identified as one of the most important curcuminoids found in turmeric, known to have a number of positive health benefits.

    While it is only found in small quantities in the turmeric plant, when consumed with black pepper (because it contains  piperine)- it can help to enhance the body’s ability to absorb curcumin by 2000%. It’s recommended therefore, to take them together.

    Curcumin is also considered to be anti-inflammatory. Long-term inflammation is thought to pose a host of problems  to general health, and play a contributing role in common illness and disease.

    Furthermore, curcumin is high in antioxidants, which are vital if you want your body to fight off free radicals that otherwise lurk in the body, contributing to ill-health. This is why any recipe that includes turmeric such as ‘Golden Milk’ is especially important to preempt and stave off ill-health.

    Golden Milk Recipe, what you need

    Ingredients:-

    • Milk (I use oat)1 cup per person
    • Freshly grated turmeric *about 1cm per person
    • Cinnamon stick
    • 1 Bashed pepper pod (pepper helps your body absorb curcumin)
    • Snip of slit vanilla pod
    • Honey or date syrup to sweeten as desired
    • Grated ginger if you fancy, and especially if you have a cold

    Method:

    Gather the above and add  to a saucepan of milk (1 cup of milk per person), gradually bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer until milk has turned a golden colour.

    This really is the perfect winter drink, not least because its delicious, but contains a potent blend of health boosting ingredients making it a good alternative to hot chocolate. Its vibrant colour will  brighten up the dark days and long nights.

    Green Cleaning Green Homes and Interiors

    Christmas in an air freshener

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    Because the first batch of Christmas in a cleaner (vinegar infused with Christmas smells) was so gorgeous, and moving with the Christmas theme, I wanted to try out my first air freshener, nostalgic of everyone’s favourite Winter festival.

    I did a quick ecosia (instead of Google! and planted another tree in the process hihi!) and happened upon a very, very simple recipe. And, seeing as its my first attempt, its raining cats and dogs and I have the two ingredients the recipe required, it seemed obvious to experiment with this one first.

    I have edited it bit however, by adding leftover whole spice and baked and dried orange peel, I have from the first batch of Christmas cleaner.

    You will need:

    • A jar
    • 2tsp baking powder
    • Whole spice and/or Christmas essential oils. I used tangerine
    • Water
    • A spray bottle

     

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    As simple as ABC:

    Put all of your ingredients in a jar. Shake and open the lid to release some of the gas. Leave for about 24 hours. Use the funnel to sieve out the whole spice and transfer to an empty spray bottle. It really is as simple as that!

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    Green Cleaning Green Homes and Interiors

    Christmas in a cleaner

    Winter cleaning spray

    I have infused a blend of vinegar and water with the smells that denote winter and Christmas meaning with each spray, you are enveloped by the nostalgic cosy scents that are always in abundence at this time of year. Its gorgeous ❤.

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    I have infused vinegar’s before with rose, lemon balm  and lemon peel. But this one is by far the best of all the infusions so far!

    I am still on a journey to creating and maintaining a toxic-free home, which means I am still very much in the early, experimentation stage. A stage I actually really enjoy! I think I have it sussed with regards to the general household anti-bac spray; I just need to do a bit more research and exploration into the following:

    • shower soap/wash
    • no-poo shampoos/conditioners
    • hand-soaps

    …if I intend to go totally chemical-free.

    In making homemade products, you are also able to cut-down on your plastic consumption in addition to reducing toxins you aren’t sure are good for your skin or general health. I can remember working as a dishwasher while studying my art foundation course in Swansea, many moons ago now. In order to make the plates and cutlery extra shiny, I was instructed by the boss to use **bleach**. Not only does bleach smell horrific, it also had a terrible effect on my skin: my hands became blistered and very sore.

    While I wasn’t there very long, the restaurant didn’t own washing-up gloves to protect my hands, so the  overall  experience while really bad at the time, has actually reinforced my desire to rid my house of these nasty chemicals. I mean you can actually drink this Christmas cleaner, where as I am pretty sure drinking bleach would harm if not, kill you-yikes! If memory serves, I think the female victim in ‘An Inspector Calls’ died from drinking bleach:(

    The result of this Christmas fusion is so good I plan to make more and distribute  among friends and family. You can also use as a hair conditioner, and why not?!

    What you’ll need to bottle  Christmas:-

    •Empty spray bottle

    •Orange peel

    •Cinnamon bark

    • Tsp of cloves

    •Tangerine or frankincense essential oils

    •Cider or white vinegar

    •Water

    Method:-

    Bake the orange peel and cinnamon in the oven at 150 degrees for about 15-mins or until the orange peel has dried out.

    Then, add 1 part vinegar to 5 parts water to your empty clean spray bottle.

    Add your cloves, peel cinnamon and essential oils.

    Leave to infuse for about 24 hours to appreciate the smells, although its immediately useable as an antibac spray!

    If like so many others (including my husband) you still feel uncertain about the powers of vinegar in zapping your bacteria, then read my post ‘Infused vinegar‘ to get the lowdown on what vinegar contains to make it so effective. Trust me, it WORKS!

    And if you are worried how your spices and peel will come out of the spray bottle, you could just use a large jar. This would make it much easier to replace the dry ingredients once they’ve lost their potency. You can then compost these 👍

     

     

    Green Eats/Health

    Celeriac LOVE

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    I am a little bit in love with the root vegetable that appears each Autumn looking like a disgruntled brain: the celeriac. I have already made two big pots of soup, one of which my Mum described as  like eating “velvet” (thank you celeriac and my much loved nutri-bullet).

    And I only feel compelled to making more dishes with it: roasted, mashed with potatoes, curried, soup, yes! lots and lots more soup (after all, if you can overdose on soup in the Autumn/Winter, then when can you?!).

    Why do I love it so much? 

    It’s not always easy to relay to someone why you love a taste. Celeriac possesses a truly unique flavour- like a peppery, slightly bitter celery. I also love its texture, similar to a white potatoe or parsnip, making it a versatile and adaptable vegetable.  You could even make chips with it. In France we had a celeriac coleslaw which was divine.

    The SOUP: 

    Inspired by the days visit to St.Werburgh’s City Farm cafe, I made vegan celeriac and cauliflower soup. In a hot dry pan I toasted cumin and garlic until golden, then  added about 5/6 of  chopped celeriac, cauliflower leaves and just a  handful of mini cauliflower florets. Added a sprinkling of salt, pepper and veg bouillon, I left it to boil away, before waiting for it to cool, so it could be blitzed into “velvet” and served with a tiny slice of my fav, rye bread from the Bread shop on Gloucester Road.

    Nutrition:

    To make sure I’m not doing myself or my loved ones any harm by stockpiling and meal planning a celeriac themed Autumn/Winter, I thought it wise to research what goodness the humble root vegetable contains and how it might benefit us, and delightedly I found the following:

    Vitamins:

    • High source of vitamin K (which in my book is a rare and wonderful find)
    • Contains some B-complex vitamins such as pyridoxine, pantothenic acid, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin
    • Root also provides moderate amounts of vitamin C (8 mg/100 g)

    Minerals: 

    • Good source of minerals: phosphorus, iron, calcium, copper, and manganese

    And its: 

    • Very low in calories (which is always a bonus when something is this uniquely delicious)

    Sourced the above from: Nutrition and You

    Other awesome points to consider are:

    • It’s seasonal (as in, enjoy it as its only grown certain times of the year)
    • Can be easily grown and sourced here in the UK which means limited carbon emissions. I sourced mine from a green grocer who sources his veg from a local farm 🙂
    • Rarely if ever are they packed or wrapped in plastic (don’t forget to take your own reusable shopper)
    • And best of all, while they are in season, they are available in abundance! (that’s if I don’t get there first -wahahaha!!)