Bridlington online Vegan Festival!

Roll up roll up! It’s time for the annual Bridlington Vegan Festival!

Normally it’s held at Bridlington Spa – oh don’t you wish you were there right now? 😀 – but this year, for obvious reasons, it’s going to be online so that means that even if you can’t get to Bridlington on Sunday, you don’t have to miss out 😀

What’s on at the 2020 Bridlington Vegan Online Festival I hear you ask?
Well, if you pop over here you’ll find out that there’s going to be posts from and/or links to:
* delicious vegan food providers
* businesses providing vegan, ethical, eco-friendly products and holistic therapies
* Information and advice about following a vegan lifestyle
* Local and national groups campaigning to help people, animals and the environment.

But that’s not all 😀

You can also enjoy:
Inspirational speakers,
Music from Tess Fletcher, Barbara Helen and His Witch

Cookery demonstrations
& Relaxing yoga sessions

And still there’s more!

If you go to the Bridlington Vegan Festival 2020 page you can see the whole timetable.

There will be instagram posts to enjoy from 9am onwards. There’s going to be sing-alongs, and yoga [via zoom and in real life on the beach!] There’s a children’s drama workshop and lots of other things for children to join in with. There’s even a juggler!

So come on down (to your settee) and enjoy this happy event 😀

Sunday 11th October, 9am – be there!

Homemade Raw Bars

After giving up refined sugar I got hooked on these things.  They are an absolutely delicious, feel-good treat (Pulsin is on the ethical chocolate list) which is almost guilt-free.  Almost.  Unfortunately they’re wrapped in plastic.  So, to avoid that, I decided to make my own – and they are equally yummy, if I do say so myself 😀

I ordered my supplies from the Zero Waste Club – a wonderful new company from whom you can order all sorts of healthy staples without plastic wrapping.  The following is my first attempt and it made a lot of bars.  In future I’ll halve these measurements 🙂

Ingredients:

  • Almost 3 mugs full (500g) of organic pitted dates
  • About 2 mugs full (about 350g) of organic cashews
  • About 1 mug full of organic raisins
  • About half a mug full of organic cocoa powder (to be truly raw, substitute raw cacao)
  • About a mug full of organic cacao nibs
  • Some organic oats (to be truly raw, omit these)

First soak the dates and the cashews in water (separately) in the fridge for a couple of hours to soften.  Afterwards, drain and rinse the cashews in a colander.

I don’t have a food processor (I used to have one but it broke and I refuse to buy another one which will also break at some point and add more plastic to landfill) so I used my beloved manual juicer to process these ingredients.  This is a simple, hand-crank machine made of stainless steel which I believe will last me a life time.  I highly recommend it 😀 (BL-30 Manual Stainless Steel Wheat Grass and Vegetable Juicer)

  1.  Process the softened dates into mush and put them in a large mixing bowl.2.  Process the softened cashews into mush and add them to the bowl with the dates.3.  Mix the stiff mixture of dates and cashews until thoroughly combined.4.  Process the raisins into mush and mix them into the mixture.5.  Add the cocoa and the cacao nibs and mix until everything is fully combined into a lovely chocolatey mixture.6.  If you don’t want to add the oats, you’re finished so you can spread the mixture into a tin or onto a plate or container.  It is delicious now but you won’t be able to pick it up with your fingers to eat it, like a shop-bought bar.  You’ll need a plate and a fork coz it’s mushy.  So, I added a few oats to stiffen it up.  Just add a few at a time and mix them in until you’ve got the consistency you want.7.  When the mixture is the right consistency, spread it onto a lined cookie sheet (I lined it with eco-friendly grease proof paper from If You Care)  Flatten it with  the back of  a wet spoon.8.  Then cut it into bars and chill in the fridge.  Easy 😀 Yum 😀

 

Bridlington Vegan Festival

Don’t forget – this Sunday is the Bridlington Vegan Festival – their first ever!

There’ll be delicious vegan food, live music, speakers, yoga, holistic therapies, cookery demonstrations, local vegan crafts, children’s entertainment and activities, and stalls full of ethical, eco-friendly, vegan products for sale, ie clothing, cosmetics, toiletries, food, household items and books – including our vegan books for children! 😀

So if you fancy a lovely day at the seaside and are able to get to East Yorkshire on Sunday, why not buy your tickets here and tell your friends for the chance to win a £20 voucher for Planetwise, Bridlington’s own vegan store 😀 Advance tickets are £3, or it’s £5 on the door. Under 16s accompanied by an adult get in for free! 😀

Bridlington’s here by the way:

For more information check out our What’s On page 🙂 and make the most of the opportunity to have some fun at the seaside.

One day only – Don’t miss it! 😉

 

Planetwise at Bridlington

If you happen to be anywhere near to Bridlington on the East Yorkshire coast, you might like to pop in to a lovely vegan shop called Planetwise at 12 Prospect Street 🙂

They sell all sorts of vegan staples in the way of food as well as clothes and other essentials like story books 😉

Ok, that picture’s a bit blurry, hang on, let me find another one ….

There, that’s better – look at those lovely books to browse and buy.  Don’t they look familiar? 😉  Ooh, is that an ice cream freezer in the background there? Vegan ice cream on a hot day.  What could be better?

So, Planetwise looks like a great place to visit doesn’t it?  Food, clothes, quality reading material, and perhaps a bit of yoga?  Oh, I forgot to mention, Planetwise is also a yoga studio!

If you’re nowhere near East Yorkshire you might consider taking a trip up there on Sunday August 5th for Bridlington’s first ever vegan festival!  There’ll be delicious vegan food, live music, speakers, holistic therapies, cookery demonstrations, local vegan crafts, children’s entertainment and activities, and lots of stalls selling ethical, vegan, eco-friendly products like clothes, books, toiletries and food.  Tickets available from the Bridlington Spa website 🙂

Check out our new What’s On page to find out more 😀

More Plastic-Free Easter Eggs!

This time it’s from good ole Plamil – and they’re shouting from the rooftops about its plastic-freeness 😀

Of course we wouldn’t be recommending it if it wasn’t also vegan, organic and fair trade, but it is, so we are 😀

We also wouldn’t be recommending it if it wasn’t absolutely scrummy.  And it is 🙂 so we are!

Mmmmmm, this won’t last long 😉

Get some from your local health food shop now 😀

Plastic Avoidance: Part 6

Toiletries

Toothbrushes

According to the Australian Environmental Toothbrush website, over 30 million toothbrushes are used and disposed of by Australians annually, amounting to approximately 1000 tonnes of landfill each year. The plastic they’re made of won’t break down in our lifetime.  Nor within the lifetime of our children. Imagine that on a global scale.  This is what inspired a Brisbane dentist to invent the wonderful Environmental toothbrush.

Thankfully they are easy to get hold of in this country too and you may well find them in your local health food store.  If not you can get them from Living Naturally (the soapnut people) and of course they sell them on Amazon 🙂 I recommend ordering a few from Living Naturally when you get your soapnuts 😉

These toothbrushes are lovely and they come wrapped in nothing but a little cardboard box.  Being made of bamboo they are safely compostable if you remove the bristles – they haven’t been able to find natural bristles yet so they’re made of a BPA-free polymer, as they explain here, but still this toothbrush is far superior to one made entirely of plastic.

We use our toothbrushes for cleaning the bathroom when our teeth have finished with them.

Toothpaste

Toothpaste is very difficult to find without plastic, so let us know if you find any.  We’ve just discovered Remineralizing Tooth Salve, haven’t tried it yet but it looks very promising.  It’s made by Ophir Naturals and we came across it at Living Naturally.  These little tabs come in a glass jar (unfortunately it does have a plastic lid) and according to the manufacturer, they enable the teeth to re-propogate enamel through the process of remineralization (you can read the scientific details here).  They’re vegan, sustainable and fair trade;  and their customer testimonials are very impressive.  It’s quite expensive but if it does as it claims it’ll be worth every penny for what you’ll save on dental work.  I’m really looking forward to trying these – I’ll let you know how we get on 🙂

post script:  10.42pm – we’ve now tried them and, well, the soapy taste is gonna take some getting used to – Miranda ate a cake afterwards to get rid of the taste 😉 – but I’m so encouraged by the testimonials on their website that I have high-hopes for their effect on my teeth and I will continue using them 😀 

pps: Just wanted to add that I’m now really enjoying Ophir Remineralizing tooth salve – it’s so soft on my teeth and I got used to the taste very quickly.  Good stuff! 😀

Update:

We are now lucky enough to have found a zero waste pop up shop in Ashford called Bare Bazaar and from them we can buy lots of unpackaged staples including Denttabs!

dent tabs

They come packaged in nothing but a plain brown envelope so you can decant them into a jar when you get home to keep them dry.  They taste great and do a lovely job on your teeth.  Maybe there’s somewhere near you that sells them, or if not, you could contact Bare Bazaar for advice as to where to get hold of them.  They’re made in Germany apparently.  😀

Plastic-free VEGAN floss

floss.jpg

Georganics Charcoal Dental Floss is a natural floss made with bamboo charcoal fibre, candelilla wax and peppermint essential oil. This 30 metres floss clew is packed in a zero-waste and plastic-free glass container with a metal dispensing lid to allow you to easily cut the floss. When you’ve used up all the dental floss you buy refills to put in your little glass dispenser.  We found this in Infinity Foods health food shop in Brighton so check out your local health food store and if you can’t find it there you can order it online 😀

Deodorant

We use natural volcanic alum stone instead of packaged deodorant and we get on very well with it.  After washing and drying your skin, you just wet the stone, rub it under your arms and leave your skin to air dry.  Rinse the stone, dry it and put it somewhere safe for next time.  One stone will last for months.  This really works!

Admittedly I don’t often do activities that make me sweat but when I occasionally do get hot and sweaty and have been a bit worried that I’m starting to smell, I notice a few minutes later that the smell has completely gone.  It’s like the alum, which inhibits the growth of the microbes which cause the smell, takes a couple of minutes to neutralise them.  So even if you get sweaty and start to notice an unwelcome odour, you’ll find that it disappears after a few minutes 😀  When this has happened to me I check my skin again at the end of the day and find it smells lovely and clean, not a suggestion of anything unpleasant.  The only thing to be aware of is that your clothes may start to smell if they are in close contact with your armpits, so it’s best to wear things that are loose under your arms so that they don’t become contaminated if you do sweat.  The stone will only keep your skin smelling sweet, not the fabric that sticks to it 😉

You can get the potassium alum stone from Natural Spa Supplies – and you’ll find a lot of other gorgeous stuff in their shop too.   “Alum stone can also be used as a fantastic natural aftershave, ideal for sensitive skin, which reduces the appearance of shaving burn, and can help stem bleeding from nicks.  Alum styptic have long been used by traditional barbers.  In addition, Alum stone can also be used to relieve insect bites.”  They send it to you wrapped in paper and an eco-friendly paper padded envelope 😀

For those who feel they need a little more protection, Miranda uses this in the summer when she’s cycling.  She gets really sweaty and says this works brilliantly.  It’s a lovely cream which goes a long way because you only need a very thin layer on your skin.  Packaged in a glass jar with a metal lid, it is provided by the lovely people at Living Naturally.  It comes in Rose & Lavender, Citrus & Ylang, or fragrance-free.

The curse

There’s no longer any need to use disposable products for your monthly curse – go to Earthwise Girls to get everything you need in terms of washable, reusable, organic, natural, eco-friendly alternatives 😀

Hand Creams and Moisturisers

This cream is gorgeous.  It’s organic, it’s vegan and it’s the best moisturising cream I’ve found.  It’s perfect for making dry skin (hands and body) silky smooth (I used it on my tattoo and it was perfect for the job), and it says on the tin you can also use it on your face.  It smells heavenly and comes in a tin with a foil seal over the top.  No plastic at all.  You can get it from Holland & Barrett 😀

Alternatively, you can get a selection of soapnut moisturisers in glass jars from Living Naturally 🙂

Soap

For those who don’t want to wash their hair and bodies with soapnut water, Living Naturally provides lovely soap and shampoo bars.  You can buy all sorts of varieties, singly or 5 at a time.  If you buy one singly, it comes it a little drawstring linen bag; if you buy 5 for a little discount, they come wrapped together in a single sheet of paper.

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Click for PLASTIC AVOIDANCE parts twothreefour, five and seven 😀

Plastic Avoidance: Part 4

Personal and domestic hygiene

Soapnuts are fantastic!

You can find out all about soapnuts here 🙂 We love ’em and have used them for years.  We started using them as a laundry detergent, as directed by the vendors at Living Naturally (soapnuts.co.uk) but soon found they could serve all our soap needs.  We now use them to wash the dishes, to wash ourselves, and to wash our hair.

Living Naturally Soapnuts (dried fruit shells which contain natural saponin) are a natural, non-polluting, compostable, alternative to conventional laundry detergents and synthetic soaps. No fillers, foaming agents, bleach, phthlates, phosphates or parabens.

For the laundry:

Put about 6 soapnut shells (or 12 half shells) into the little linen bag provided when you order your soapnuts from Living Naturally, and bung it into the machine with your wash.  That’s it.  Oh, if you’re doing a cold wash, or a quick wash, it’s probably a good idea to put the little bag of shells into a glass of warm water and let them soak for twenty minutes first.  Then put the bag and the soaking water into the machine and start the cycle.  When the cycle is finished take the bag of shells out and use them again for your next load.  You can usually use the same shells two or three times, unless you do a boil wash.  I’ve found that if I do a boil wash it uses them up.  Anyway, you can tell when they’re used up when they go soft and beige, and when that happens, just bung them in your compost bin.  Oh, by the way, if you don’t have a little linen bag, you can put the shells in a sock and tie a knot in the open end.

For the washing up:

Put 4 soapnut shells in a clean jar and cover them with water.  Leave to soak for at least an hour, but preferably several hours.  Then tip the whole jar (water and shells) into your washing up bowl and add fast flowing hot water.  Look what happens:

Do the washing up 🙂 Don’t worry if the bubbles disappear while you’re doing it because you know the soap is in the water.  Artificial detergents add foaming agents to make it seem soapier – don’t let them fool you.  You only need as much as the soapnuts provide.  We’ve even found they’re great with greasy things.  You shouldn’t put anything oily or greasy directly into your water for obvious reasons, but if you wipe off as much as you can with kitchen roll, then vigorously rub a single soapnut all over the greasy surface, it will cut through the remaining grease and will be lovely and clean when you rinse it with clean water.  You can put that particular soapnut into the compost, but the others in your bowl can be put back into the soaking jar and covered with water to be used again tomorrow.  You should be able to use them two or three times before they need composting and replacing.

For washing hands, bodies and hair:

For this you need a plastic bottle but you don’t have to buy one – just walk down any street and before long you’ll find a discarded plastic bottle (we found these on the beach).  Bring them home, wash them and stab a few holes in the lid (you can use a sewing needle for this but it’s difficult and potentially painful.  The most effective tool we found was a stitch ripper).

Now, you might be thinking that the lid on the bottle in the photo looks rather dirty and unpleasant.  It isn’t, it’s just a bit brown from the soapnut liquid.  You can see from the bottle on the left that the shells will turn the water brown.  It’s not dirty, just soapy.

Okay, once you’ve got your clean bottle with holes in the lid, put a few shells in it.  For these bottles (600ml) we put 4 to 6 whole shells in.  Fill it with water and leave it to stand for at least 24 hours.

When they have soaked for at least a day they should be ready to use.  Put your hand over the lid and turn the bottle upside down to mix the clear water with the brown and there you have it.  Tip some of the soapnut liquid into your hand, rub your hands together, rinse and repeat.  You’ll probably notice it’s a bit lathery when you rub your hands together the second time.  Rinse and dry.  Put some more shells to soak in another bottle so that you’ve got some ready when you’ve used up the first one.  If you find your skin starts to become dry after washing with soapnut liquid, just put less shells in your bottle.  Adjust to the right concentration for you.

We also use our soapnut liquid for showering and washing our hair.  I used to wash my hair every day but now I only do it twice a week.  Be aware it might take your hair a couple of weeks to get shampoo out of its system (those products make your hair very needy) and you might have to put up with it being a bit greasier than you’re used to at first, but after a couple of weeks of using soapnut water you’ll find your hair looks and feels as soft and clean as it ever did with shampoo and you might find, like me, that you don’t need to wash it so often.  Oh, I should mention that your hair won’t lather up when you use soapnut water, but that doesn’t matter.  Just massage it in like you would shampoo, leave it in for a couple of minutes while you continue with your shower, rinse and repeat.  After the second rinse you’ll notice that your hair squeaks when you rub it, – it’s squeaky clean.

WARNING:  WHEN WASHING YOUR HAIR WITH SOAPNUT WATER, TILT YOUR HEAD BACK AND KEEP YOUR EYES CLOSED.  IF YOU GET IT IN YOUR EYES IT WILL STING!!!

Don’t worry, we’ve got it in our eyes more than once and the stinging subsides after a couple of hours and vision goes completely back to normal, but still, for your own comfort, it’s best avoided 😀

So there you have it – not only plastic-free, but completely compostable when finished with.  It doesn’t get any greener than that.

We’ve bought soapnuts from a couple of places but Living Naturally are the best because they don’t use any plastic in their packaging.  Well, if you do get plastic outer packaging in the post from them it’s only because they’ve re-used plastic that they’ve been sent, and they do give you the option to request no plastic when you order 🙂

Check them out, they’re brilliant 😀

Multi-surface cleaner

Vinegar makes a great multi-surface cleaner – for bathrooms, toilets, sinks, windows and paintwork, we’ve used it for years.  Plus, if you’ve got any black mould trying to tattoo your walls and ceilings this winter, zap it with vinegar and scrub it off.   Vinegar is mild acid which can kill 82% of mold species.

It’s easy to get organic vinegar in a glass bottle with metal lid, and if you’ve got an old plastic spray bottle from a previously-bought multi-surface cleaner, then you can just wash it out, fill it with vinegar and you’re all set.  Cider vinegar is just as good, but we switched to white wine vinegar because cider vinegar can leave a yellowish discolouration on white paintwork 🙂

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Click for PLASTIC AVOIDANCE parts two, threefive six and seven 😀

Plastic Avoidance: Part 3

Real Food

Once you’ve accepted that you can’t always get organic, it’s not difficult to avoid plastic.  If you can’t find enough loose produce at your usual supermarket, find out if there’s a good old fashioned market in your town.  We’ve found one which is just a big fruit and veg stall in the town centre, once or twice a week.  The guys who run it are really friendly, they sell quality seasonal fruit and vegetables, provide small (compostable) paper bags to fill, and it’s very good value for money – much better even than the supermarkets.  Just take your own shopping bags and get them to weigh as much as you need.  We bought a big 12.5 kg sack of Desiree potatoes from them for just £5!

We also have a health food shop not too far away which sells a small selection of loose organic produce which is great although we can’t get there every week.

Or you might be able to find a local organic produce grower who operates a veg box scheme whereby you order a weekly veg box from them and they deliver it to your door.  They will be happy to leave the box in a designated safe place if you’re going to be out and you’ll get a great selection of whatever is in season. The soil Association will help you find a scheme near you 🙂

As for other necessary staples – you can probably get most of them in glass jars or tins.  We used to buy lentils, sultanas, pasta, tofu, cereal etc etc in plastic packets because we thought we couldn’t avoid it, but now we’re getting our lentils in tins and we’ll manage without cereal, pasta and dried fruit.  We buy organic oats in paper bags and I’ll mix them with fresh fruit for my breakfast instead of sultanas.

*Since writing this I have discovered the Zero Waste Club – a wonderful mail order company in London from whom you can order organic dried fruit, nuts, grains, pasta, sugar, pulses, seeds, cocoa, popcorn, herbs and spices and more! You order it by weight and they mail it to you wrapped in paper bags.  See Plastic Avoidance: Part 7.

Things like vinegar, ketchup and oil are easy to get in glass bottles, although sadly I don’t think there’s any way of avoiding the plastic pouring spout they put in the oil bottles.  But I always think, even if everything is not as perfect as you’d like it to be, the world would be a better place if everyone at least did this.  Same goes for things like cocoa powder and gravy granules – they come in cardboard tubs with metal bottoms and a plastic lid.  Sometimes mostly plastic-free is the best you can do.

Lots of other staples that have always been wrapped in paper, still are.  You can get bread in paper bags from a bakery, or you can make your own.  I haven’t been able to buy salt without plastic wrapping but if you buy things with salt already added – like the stock cubes above (paper-wrapped in a cardboard box) – then you can manage without it.Something else to be aware of is that tea bags (which are supposed to be compostable) are actually made of 20% plastic.  See here for a great post with more details about that and sign this petition aimed at getting Unilever to remove all plastic from their tea bags.  Be aware though, it’s not just Unilever that does it, this is common practice.  The only way to be sure you’re not getting plastic is to buy loose tea leaves 🙂 And if you check this out you’ll see that there are a lot more uses for tea leaves than just a relaxing drink.

Need a meal in a hurry?  Well, you can’t buy hash browns or oven chips anymore, but look what you can buy!  There are all sorts of delicious and convenient ready-prepared vegan goodies in cardboard containers in the freezer section of your supermarket.

So whadaya need plastic for?

Not much!

ps I’ve just found out you can even buy plastic-free crisps 😀

Click for PLASTIC AVOIDANCE parts twofourfive,  six and seven

PS:

Now you can get frozen ORGANIC veg that’s just packaged in a cardboard box – no plastic bag inside! 😀

veg group reduced

Look for it at your local health food shop and if they don’t have it, ask them to stock it 😀

Plastic Avoidance: Part Two

Sweet Treats

Doing without plastic doesn’t have to mean doing without.

Let’s get our priorities straight and start with chocolate 😀

The chocolates pictured above tick all the right boxes:

1.  They’re vegan

2.   They’re fair trade (included on the ethical chocolate list)

3.  They’re organic

and

4.  They’re wrapped the old-fashioned way: in foil and paper 😀

  • Since I wrote this, Vivani have replaced the aluminium foil in their chocolate wrappers with a new clear film called natureflex foil.  It is a completely sustainable film made on the basis of wood fibre which is fully compostable (in good composting conditions approximately within 40 days).

In fact, as far as we can tell, there is only one downside to these particular chocolates – they don’t last long! 😉

Vivani is new to us and we’re so glad we found them.  Their chocolate is absolutely gorgeous – I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate over the years and I think I can confidently say that this is the best ever!  My favourite is the White Nougat Crisp, no, the Mandel Orange Rice Choc, no no, it’s the Crispy Corn Flakes Rice Choc …. no, I can’t choose between them, their entire vegan range is completely amazing (be aware that sadly not all their products are vegan, but a lot of them are).  Check out their whole range here 🙂

The Ombars are gorgeous too – especially for those who like their chocolate rich and dark and nutritious, coz it’s raw 🙂 Everything is wonderfully vegan and look what they say about their packaging:

“Like you, we believe in recycling.  So we wrap our bars in recyclable aluminium foil and paper, and ship them in fully-recyclable cardboard. Did you know our button bags are fully compostable? Just throw them in your compost bin with vegetable peelings – within a few weeks the bag will have completely broken down and returned to nature.” (see their FAQs)

We got all these treats from our local Health Food Shop, and we’ve seen Ombars in Waitrose, but if you can’t find them near you, you can buy Ombars online here and Vivani lists their worldwide stockists here 🙂 And of course you can probably find them on Amazon 😉

Fingers crossed whoever mails them to you doesn’t use plastic 😮

But, if you’re having trouble getting hold of those, why not pick up a big bar of vegan, organic, fair trade cooking chocolate from the supermarket?  Good ole Green & Black’s Dark Cooking chocolate is also only wrapped in foil and paper and it’s absolutely delicious in home baked chocolate chip cookies 😀

Speaking of baking, if you want more than just chocolate in your plastic-free sweet treat artillery you can make cakes and biscuits yourself.  Vegan recipes use oil instead of margarine, which can be bought organic in glass bottles; flour comes in paper bags and sugar … well, I have in recent years felt compelled to buy sugar in plastic bags because I wanted organic fair trade.  However, in prioritising plastic avoidance, I have discovered that I can buy paper-wrapped sugar that is pretty ethical 🙂  I had mistakenly believed that all white sugar had been whitened with bone-char.  However, it seems that’s just cane sugar, not sugar beet.  Sugar from sugar beet is vegan!

(NB: Since writing this I have discovered I can buy organic fair trade sugar without plastic wrapping from the Zero Waste Club 🙂 )

Silver Spoon proudly state their commitment to eco-friendliness on their packets:

“Sustainability is nothing new to us – we’ve been working on it for 30 years.  Our sugar beet is homegrown and our bags are recyclable, made with paper from certified forests.  We send nothing to landfill and our excess production energy helps to power British homes.”

 They work directly with 1200 British farmers in East Anglia who grow the beets which are then transported just a short distance to the factory in Bury St Edmunds (also in East Anglia 😀 )

Not bad eh?

So far so plastic-free good.

Click for PLASTIC AVOIDANCE parts three, four, five , six and seven

Keeping warm with odds and ends

handknit  hoodie

You may remember I have already knitted a hoodie like this out of leftover  and unravelled yarn but I gave that to Miranda so I needed another one.  And this one only took me 2 months to make, which is a record for me!

handknit hoodie

Whilst this one is not made of unravelled yarn, I didn’t buy any new stuff because it’s made completely of other people’s leftovers.  Quite a few balls had been given to us of various colours and thicknesses, and I spent a couple of pounds at charity shops buying a mixture of odd balls, so it has cost me next to nothing and I’ve made something useful out of stuff that was being thrown out.  Win-win 😀

handknit hoodie

Ooh, it’s so lovely and warm 😀

Here is the pattern if you’re interested, although it’s rather messed up so I don’t know if you’ll be able to make sense of it.

knitting pattern

knitting pattern

knitting pattern

I made mine really chunky by using 3 strands of DK (or whatever I had) so it came out bigger than the one on the pattern.  Plus I made mine longer.  So, with a pack-a-mac over the top on rainy days, I’ve got a homemade winter coat 🙂

The pattern came from this book  Greetings from Knit Cafe by Suzan Mischer

Quick! Prevent Fracking in Lancashire!

UPDATE:  Lancashire county councillors have rejected Cuadrilla’s application to drill for shale gas at Preston New Road.  Fantastic news and a huge relief!  Thank you to everyone who signed the petition.  Stay in touch with Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth because this is just the beginning.  According to the Guardian article, Cuadrilla will certainly appeal the decision and our Conservative government is extremely pro-fracking.  But we can stop them if we stick together.  A big thanks goes out to all the councillors on the committee who stood strong and voted against Cuadrilla’s application.

dont-frack-future-web

A critical decision on fracking is taking place in Lancashire. County councillors are set to either slam the doors on plans to drill for shale gas, or give way to the fracking industry.

After an initial vote, councillors have hit a deadlock. Seven have come out in support of fracking, with seven other councillors standing against.

A final has been scheduled for Monday, 29 June. So between now and then, we need the councillors on the committee to know that if they take a stand against fracking, we will stand with them.

Please go to the Greenpeace site right now to sign the petition – it only takes a few moments and it could mean the difference between letting the frackers in or seeing them off for good.

Don’t put it off – they’re voting again on Monday!

Thank you xx

Earth Flag

In 1992, Earth Day Canada‘s original Earth Flag campaign collected signatures from 500,000 people and the mosaic flag traveled to the Earth Summit in Rio, when the first international agreement on climate change was signed.

Looking ahead to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris later this year, Earth Day Canada’s 2015 goal is to collect one million signatures – especially those from children and youth, whose future depends on our collective action today!

Time is running short now but if you want to join in and encourage your school or community to contribute to the 2015 Earth flag, click here to find out how 🙂

Babs on a bike

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 bike rides

 bike rides

 bike rides

 bike rides

 bike rides

 bike rides

The Sustrans website will tell you all about the National Cycle Network in the UK which “is a series of traffic-free paths and quiet, on-road cycling and walking routes, that connect to every major town and city.  The Network passes within a mile of half of all UK homes and stretches over 14,000 miles across the UK.”

They also have a shop where you can buy maps, books, clothes and accessories etc, although you might have a good cycle shop in your own neighbourhood where you can get everything you need; or, even better, check out the second hand shops and the shops of animal-friendly charities and re-use something someone else doesn’t need any more (for a fraction of the price).

bike riding

The Princess Who Liked To Be in paperback

The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular

We are delighted to add The Princess Who Liked To Be Popular to our collection of printed books available on Amazon

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

vegan fairy tale

It’s big and colourful – we’re really pleased with how it’s turned out – and everyone we’ve shown it to really likes it 😉

vegan fairy tale

Though some are not quite as enthusiastic as others:

sharing Princess Primrose

A Good Book and some Upcycling

Unqualified Education

When we began our home schooling adventure all those years ago we were very lucky to find this wonderful book.  Unqualified Education is full of inspiring ideas and information, advice and encouragement.  It is an absolute joy and still a great resource after the children have grown up.

contents

We decided to home school when my eldest daughter was just 12 and my youngest was 9.  It was not because they were bullied or anything, and they were not struggling with any of the work.  It was just that life is short, and childhood so short that they should be able to enjoy it all.  In school they were forced to conform to the ‘norm’, to study a set curriculum.  It was so rigid.  My eldest was so stressed.  She got detention for wearing the wrong colour socks for PE; her friend who had cut his hair into a mohican, and had assured his teacher that he would wear it flat and combed tidily for school, was told “Absolutely not!  Shave it all off!”  They simply weren’t allowed to be individuals.

At home we were free.  They could study what they wanted, how they wanted.  We went bike riding and swimming.  We grew vegetables and cooked and sewed and painted and, yes we did maths and English, but we read and read and read – really good books.  We did history and learnt Welsh (a bit).  What I knew I taught them; what I didn’t know we learnt together.  It was the best time.

This book was a wonderful support and inspiration.  Mind you, it’s a good book for anyone, whether home schooling or not.  As you can see from the Contents page, there’s a lot in there, and the recipes in the cooking section are all vegetarian and nearly all vegan!  There is the most amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe – mm mmmmm!

****

Anyway, I needed a new apron so I got out the book, looked up the apron pattern and upcycled myself one:

how to make an apron

(You can click on the pics to enlarge them by the way)

first

first pic

I didn’t have a broadsheet newspaper but luckily Miranda had an old pad of flip-chart paper which she’d rescued from the bin at work and that was just right for this job.

second

second pic

I upcycled an old duvet cover – thoroughly washed of course!  I didn’t do the little pocket because I wanted a big pocket – read on 🙂

cut out

third

fold, pin and hem

You can sew it by hand, it just takes a while.  Luckily I had use of a sewing machine – thanks Mum 🙂

After the hemming was done I attached the ties as shown in the instructions.

vintage tea towel

I decided to make a pocket out of this gorgeous vintage tea towel Miranda bought at the Raystede Christmas fayre a couple of weeks ago (she said I could!)  I cut off the bottom row of dogs and hemmed the raw edge.

fold and hem top edge of pocket

Then I put on the apron so that I could position the pocket and put in a pin to mark the position of the centre of the top of the pocket.

put on apron and mark with pin where centre top of pocket will be

Then I sewed it on.  With a pocket this size you have to sew up the middle, effectively creating two pockets.  No dogs were harmed by this procedure – I was very careful not to sew over any of them 🙂

All done!

finished

finished apron

The Hungry Compost Bin

compost bin

The compost bin was hungry

And it wanted something new.

It’d reduced old fruit and lettuce leaves

To gloopy, slimy goo.

“Enough with all the green waste,

For now I’ve had enough.

I need something dry and brown

Like paper and card and stuff!”

So strips of card were fed to it

And more and more and more,

‘Til finally an old paperback

Was swallowed whole and raw.

paperback swallowed whole

Well Fed Not An Animal Dead

Well Fed Not an Animal Dead

Click on the pic to enlarge and read

 I bought this little book about 4 or 5 years ago at VegFest in Hove and it is the best, most useful little book I’ve got.  You can see from how grubby my copy is that it has been well used!  It’s only 50 pages long and has everything from vegan lifestyle tips, to recipes, to how to grow your own food and brew your own booze.  It also lists vegan sources of essential nutrients (as you can see above), contains advice for mothers and infants and includes addresses of many other vegan resources.  Whether you’re an experienced vegan or just embarking on this journey, this book will definitely be a valuable addition to your reading material.  You can get it here for a mere £3 plus postage.

Well Fed Not an Animal Dead

Click on the pic to enlarge and read

Well Fed Not an Animal Dead

Click on the pic to enlarge and read

Above is one of my favourite recipes – Lentil Pie – absolutely delicious!  I make the pastry with organic spelt to avoid the unpleasant side effects triggered by modern wheat which has been so manipulated since the middle of last century that it bears little resemblance to its natural ancestor and causes negative health affects on the bodies of many people.  We’ve found through trial and error that the ancient relative of wheat, spelt, does not cause the headaches, heartburn or back-pain triggered in us by wheat.  Which is great news because now we can have our cake and eat it!

Well Fed Not an Animal Dead

Click the pic to enlarge and read

And the recipe above is a great favourite with all the family – Lentil Burgers – or as they call them here, The Big Anti-Mac!  These are so utterly delicious you’ll really feel like you’re indulging in naughty fast food but it’s full of nothing but good stuff.  This recipe makes about 12 burgers for us which means we freeze most of them for several quick, healthy, delicious meals in the future.  They can also be baked instead of fried and are just as scrummy! See here

Well Fed Not an Animal Dead

Click to enlarge and read

Last but absolutely not least, I wanted to share with you the simplest, most delicious cake recipe I’ve ever found.  Again we make it with spelt (this time with baking powder added to make it rise).  The cupcake/muffin recipe can be adapted to make one large cake by cooking it slightly cooler for slightly longer than the several small cakes.  You can add chocolate chips and/or cocoa to make a chocolate version.  Whatever you like.  Just use the recipe as a basic template.  Mind you, the recipe is perfect just the way it is anyway.  My husband especially loves these and always wants me to make more when he’s finishing his last one.

I just love this book and I think you’ll love it too 🙂

Javier Culotte loved to wear shoes.

vegetarian shoes

Javier Culotte loved to wear shoes,

He liked them in reds and he loved them in blues.

He sometimes wore tall ones, sometimes they were flat,

But none of them were leather, he made sure of that.

***

“Leather is not natural,” said Javier Culotte,

“It’s been tanned with dangerous chemicals.

The tanning makes sure the skin won’t rot,

So it’s not even bio-degradable.”

***

“The stink and the waste and the toxins from tanning,

Are not pleasant things to live by.

So most of it’s done a long way away,

In poor developing countries.”

***

“They use arsenic and cadmium, chromium and lead,

Mercury, nickel and cobalt.

They use copper and zinc, formaldehyde, nuf said,

Bad for feet, bad for health, bad by default.”

***

“These metals and dyes and organic compounds,

Are present in the leather.

They leak and may poison the skin of the wearer,

Through contact, through sweat, through blister.”

***

“It’s bad for the wearer and bad for the tanner,

And it’s carcinogenic to boot.

When dumped it poisons the Earth and ground water

So wearing it’s not too astute.”

***

“Whatever you want there’s no need for concern,

Vegan footwear has come a long way.

It has the style and function and quality you yearn,

For everything you need day to day.”

vegetarian shoes

Bikers and workers who shun leather gear

Opt for armoured, steel toe-capped synthetics. 

They feel safe in their weather-proof, hi-viz gear

Made from quality, long-lasting fabrics.

***

Javier Culotte loved to wear shoes,

He liked them in reds and he loved them in blues.

He sometimes wore tall ones, sometimes they were flat,

But none of them were leather, he made sure of that.

****

shoes drawing

Sources:

http://www.inspirationgreen.com/toxins-in-leather-shoes.html

http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-clothing/leather-industry/leather-environmental-hazards/

Vegan shoes:

 http://www.vegetarian-shoes.co.uk/

http://www.beyondskin.co.uk/

http://wills-vegan-shoes.com/

http://www.ethicalwares.com/

http://www.freerangers.co.uk/

http://www.mooshoes.com/

http://www.veganchic.com/

Vegan Motorcyclist:

http://www.bebenroth.com/vegan%20motorcyclist/motorcyclist.html

http://www.peta.org/living/fashion/cruelty-free-gear-vegan-motorcyclist/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Vegan-Motorcyclists/129648463741351

Loving the Loving Hut

Loving Hut, The Level, Brighton, UK

Loving Hut, The Level, Brighton, UK

You know we love the Loving Hut,

We’ve told you all before,

There really is no bad there,

We just want more and more.

Loving Hut Londýnská

Loving Hut Londýnská

Loving Hut San Francisco

Loving Hut San Francisco

Loving Hut, Edgware, UK

Loving Hut, Edgware, UK

Loving Hut, Jogjakarta, Indonesia

Loving Hut, Jogjakarta, Indonesia

Loving Hut Honolulu, South King St

Loving Hut Honolulu, South King St

Loving Hut, Paris

Loving Hut, Paris

LovingHutExpress, Vancouver

LovingHutExpress, Vancouver

LovingHut Seoul, South Korea

Loving Hut Seoul, South Korea

Loving Hut, Guangfu Taiwan

Loving Hut, Guangfu Taiwan

Loving-Hut-Vegan Milpitas-CA

Loving-Hut-Vegan Milpitas-CA

Find out here if there’s one near you 🙂

I want a new hat!

sloppy cream hat

I want a new hat,

It’s as simple as that!

But I’ve got no money to buy one.

I know what I’ll do,

I’ve got old hats – two,

I’ll unravel to make a new one.

saggy purple hat

Rose shared a pattern,

A cool beret pattern,

Which I’ll use to make my new hat.

The purple from my sloppy

And the cream from my saggy

Hats will go great together for that!

yarn to reuse

Recycle an old shirt or two

Here’s an idea I got from this book:  Sewing Green Click on the pic find it on Amazon

At least, I think I got it from this one but I gave it away a while ago so I’m not 100% sure.  Anyway, if you’ve got a couple of old shirts – preferably big men’s ones – lying around with nothing to do, why not cut them up and make a new apron?  My husband decided these just weren’t him any more.  Excellent! 😉

1 old shirts

So, you’ve got your hands on a couple of old shirts that nobody wants – actually you could do this with one shirt but it’s nice to have contrasting patterns and colours to work with.

2 cut the back out

Cut out the back of the shirt which is going to be the main piece of your apron.  If, like me, you don’t want to be bothered with hemming or edging, cut outside the seam (as shown here) and then your edge is already hemmed.  Cut up to the arm pit on both sides of the back and then straight across.

3 back

It should look something like this.

4 collar waist band

Cut off the collar of the other shirt (or the same one if you prefer) – this is going to be your apron’s waistband.  You only want the bit that would go around the neck, not the triangle-ish bit.  Again cut outside the stitching so that you don’t need to edge it yourself.

5 unpick collar

Then you need to unpick the bottom edge of the collar …

6 pin collar on

… so that you can slightly gather the top of your apron and fit it inside the collar (now waistband).  Pin it in place.

7 sew waist band on

Sew on the waistband.  I like zigzag but you could easily do this by hand.

8 cut out letters

Now for your design.  You could cut out the breast pocket from one of the shirts and attach it to your apron.  I think that’s what the book tells you to do and it does look lovely but I thought “I don’t need a pocket on my apron” so I decided not to.  You could do anything you like … or nothing at all 🙂 I went with lettering.

Cut your design out of the contrasting material ….

9 pin them in place

… and pin it to your apron.

10 sew the letters on

Sew it in place.

Nearly there.  Now you just need ties.

11 ties

I used the shirt button bands for the simplicity.  They’re already stitched and you can attach them to the collar/waistband with buttons!

12 finished apron

13 button band ties

14 back view

15 front

16 hanging apron

Crafty Vegan

Veganism should be happy and it should be everywhere.

You can say it loud and proud without ever having to open your mouth!

sewing

Show the world your happy veganism by writing it on your stuff!

vegan upcycled bag

vegan upcycled bag front and back

vegan upcycled pencil case

No pattern needed for these make-it-up-as-you-go bags and pencil cases made from upcycled old jeans and shirts.  Just put your imagination behind your scissors and get snipping.  Then sew your designs to your background.  The lettering (above) is made by sewing knitting yarn onto the material with zigzag machine stitch.

vegan smile bag front

This bag is different from the others in that it has no zip at the top.  Instead it has a fold-over flap that keeps your bag closed.  This is easily done by taking a rectangular piece of fabric which is a little wider than you want your bag and a bit longer than three times the depth of your bag.  Place a piece of contrasting material the same size (for the lining) with it’s right side against the right side of the outer fabric.  Then sew around 3 sides of the two of them and turn them right side out.  Tidily sew the open end together with the rough edges tucked in.

Then sew on your design(s).  If you’re doing a design on front, back and flap like this one, make sure each design will be the right way up when the fabric is folded.  Pin it first if you’re not sure.

Now, with your designs on the outside, fold the bottom of this piece up to 2 thirds of the way up – the last third will be your fold-over flap – then sew up the two sides (sew it inside out if you don’t want the stitches to show).  You should now have a bag (minus the strap) with a fold-over flap.

vegan smile bag back

  So, you’ve got your bag, you’ve got your design on your bag, now you just need to cut your strap, sew it together if it’s in two pieces, and attach it.  This “Smile – U R Vegan” bag is made of an old shirt and some oddments of material.  The strap is the button bands of the shirt.  Make sure your stitching is strong but don’t worry about neatly hemming it – I think it looks good being a bit rough around the edges.  Button hole bands are good to use for this because half the work’s done for you as it’s already sewn double thickness.

And that’s pretty much it.  You could have a different one for every day of the week! 🙂

Look what I’ve found!

grow your own trees

Remember when we had a go at growing our own apple trees from seed? (They’re still going strong  by the way).  Well, I’ve just come across this brilliant site which shows you, step by step, how to grow all sorts of different trees from seeds you’ve collected yourself!

grow your own trees

I can’t wait to have a go!

grow your own trees

It just makes you want to plant stuff!

Don’t forget to wave

Prompted by our new and exciting interest in growing our food we’ve found something garden-related for you to enjoy 🙂

And if, after that, you’re feeling inspired, as we are, to indulge in some forest gardening, take a look at this gem of a blog I found yesterday – Of Plums and Pignuts – it’s choc full of inspiration.  This post in particular gives you that “anything’s possible” excitement that makes you want to just get out there and do it! 😉

Forest Gardening

I have a mini-forest in my back garden.  It represents a pioneer experiment in restoring a tiny segment of the primeval Long Forest, which once covered a wide area of the Shropshire Hills bioregion.  Like the natural forest, it comprises a wide diversity of plants, occupying seven levels or ‘storeys’, but, unlike the natural forest, almost all its plants have been carefully chosen to meet human needs.  It is, in fact, an attempt to create a model life-support system, which would enable a family or small community to achieve a considerable degree of self-sufficiency in basic necessities throughout the year, while enjoying health-giving exercise in a beautiful, unpolluted and stimulating environment. – Robert A de J Hart

Forest Gardening by Robert Hart

Those who are concerned with the full implications of the ecological crisis which we now face generally agree that urgent steps should be taken to plant many millions of trees.  …. It occurred to me that there was no reason why many of the desperately needed new trees should not be fruit-trees planted by the owners of town and suburban gardens, who would gain the bonus of growing nourishing food.  If one could persuade 100 000 Londoners to plant just ten fruit-trees each, that would be a million trees – quite a forest!

That’s a great idea Robert! We don’t have a garden of our own, or any prospect of acquiring one, but we still want to join in!  So we’ll just plant them in public places, places where we’ll be able to keep coming back to nurture our trees, and eventually to gather fruit from them, as will anyone else who wants to. 🙂

 

Puddlesplashers

Wetsox Puddlesplasher,

That is my name.

My job is important

But it feels like a game.

***

We clamber through ditches,

And sink in the mud.

We jump down from earth mounds

And land with a thud.

***

Soggybottom Puddlesplasher,

My close relation,

Is my partner at work,

This mucky vocation.

***

litter picking poem

***

litter picking poem

***

But that is no matter,

There’s no turning back.

We have to keep going,

And fill our sack,

With bottles and cans,

Some broken, some shredded,

That were dropped by the stupid,

The thoughtless, wrong-headed.

***

These everyday things,

Used once and tossed out,

Are dangerous now,

To the others about

Their business as usual,

Living their lives.

They step on a shredded can,

That cuts like knives.

They eat plastic pieces

Or cigarette butts,

Which hurt them as much,

As the broken glass cuts.

***

So our job is important

And we’ll always stay

Proud Puddlesplashers,

Day after day.

Save the Bees!

bee on flower

Save the Bees!

Bees don’t just make honey, they are vital to life on earth, every year pollinating 90% of plants and crops and without immediate action, many of our favourite fruits, vegetables, and nuts could vanish from our shelves.

Recent years have seen a massive decline in bee populations around the world and some bee species are already extinct! A key EU agency is saying that toxic pesticides called neonicotinoids could be responsible for the bee deaths. The EU has banned three of these bee-killers, but giant chemical producers like Bayer and Syngenta continue to export their poison across the world.

Bumble Bee

Bumble Bee

Let’s get people power to counter the powerful pesticide lobby and save bees from extinction. Please sign the urgent petition to leaders around the world, and then share it as wide as you can.

Thank you 😉

Re-Knitting

knitting

Knitting is a very enjoyable hobby as well as being a very useful skill.  To be able to make your own clothes, toys and accessories is a brilliant way of being self-reliant and can also be eco-friendly.

As a vegan shopper you won’t want to buy wool or alpaca or silk, but as an eco-minded shopper you won’t want to buy acrylic.  The problem is that organic, eco-friendly, natural yarns are very expensive.

So what do you do if you can’t afford the eco-stuff?  Simple – you Re-Knit!

Browsing in charity shops and second hand shops you’re bound to find knitwear that is a pretty colour, but unattractive design.  If you buy it, wash it and unravel it, you can re-knit that colour into something beautiful.  It’s just another way to recycle, or upcycle if you like, and it’s very enjoyable and satisfying.  Here are a few things we made with unravelled yarn and oddments:

This matching hat and mittens was made by acrylic yarn unravelled from 2 different machine-knit jumpers. The problem with unravelling machine-knits is that the yarn is cut at the end of each row, it's not continuous like with hand-knits. So the ends of the yarn had to knotted together as each row was unravelled. Quite tedious and time-consuming but it results in interesting balls of yarn which, when knitted together, produce a unique effect. Leaving the dangling ends of each knot untrimmed creates a shabby chic effect .

This matching hat and mittens was made with acrylic yarn unravelled from 2 different machine-knit jumpers. The problem with unravelling mass-produced machine-knits is that the yarn is cut at the end of each row, it’s not continuous like with hand-knits. So the ends of the yarn had to knotted together as each row was unravelled. Quite tedious and time-consuming but it results in interesting balls of yarn which, when knitted together, produce a unique effect. Leaving the dangling ends of each knot untrimmed creates a shabby chic effect .

 

Blanket made by sewing together little knitted squares

Blanket made by sewing together little knitted squares

 

The yarn from these saggy old hats was unravelled and knitted into ...

The yarn from these saggy old hats was unravelled and knitted into …

... this gorgeous beret

… this gorgeous beret

An enjoyable way to give new life to old knitwear and keep it out of landfill 🙂

Don’t know how to knit?  No problem – watch this brilliant video:

And for the left-handed:

UPDATE:

I’ve just finished the hoodie I was knitting in the photo at the top.  I wanted a warm chunky knit but didn’t have any thick yarn so this is knitted with 3 strands of unravelled DK acrylic; lots of different colours and oddments.  It’s so soft and warm, like wrapping yourself in a blanket before you go outside.  Now I’ve just got to find a zip for it 🙂

upcycled knitting yarns

upcycled knitting yarns

upcycled knitting yarns

Further update:

I’ve just finished another one here and if you would like to make one yourself, the pattern is at the bottom of this post 🙂