How’s January going for ya?
In a recent reflective moment, I found myself thinking of the moments that made 2017 pretty awesome on a personal level. A few of my highlights included:
Meeting Bea Johnson – you know how they say you should never meet your idols? Well, screw that! Especially if they’re as awesome as Bea was. We chatted lots, had a similar sense of humour and she was kind enough to sit and film a little Q&A for my YouTube channel, despite coming straight off a plane to do two, hour long talks. We ate out at a nearby restaurant after the event and it was just such a pleasure so have a good laugh with her. She officially rocks and even my husband came away with adoration for her enthusiasm and energy. His new slogan? “What would Bea do?”
It was also a delight to host the event. Despite being a TV presenter for many years, I still get nervous standing up in front of a room of people and talking. But I’m so glad I did it! Thanks to everyone who came along the Zero Waste Event. You can watch my interview with Bea Johnson, here:
Making a Mini-Documentary – not sure how I managed to cobble this together in time and I had seriously square eyes after editing it all. Thanks to the Soil Association, for whom I am a proud ambassador (an unpaid role!), I had the opportunity to interview some seriously big players in the world of organic textiles, including Safia Minney, Peter Melchett and William Lana to name a few. I was keen to delve into why choosing organic, especially cotton, really matters and let’s just say, I thought I knew it all, but I certainly learned a lot! If you have a spare 40 minutes, make yourself a cuppa and enjoy…
Picking Up Trash (on a Stand Up Paddle Board!) – I met up with ethical fashion designer, Alison (aka Ally Bee) in Petersham Nurseries and after a couple of beers and a spot of lunch we she invited me to go litter picking on a paddle board on the Thames. I’ve been itching to start being more active and picking up trash was on my agenda. It was so much fun! And, I didn’t fall in! You can watch our antics here WATCH HERE
Copenhagen – In November, for my birthday, my husband whisked us away to Copenhagen. We stayed in the nicest eco hotel (where they serve an incredible organic breakfast each morning), ate a lot of amazing organic food and stumbled upon some chic eco-fashion boutiques too. One of the many highlights was enjoying a roof top meal with 20 guests in the middle of a community garden. The food was locally sourced, the chefs were passionate and I’m actually salivating as I think about it now. It was such a beautiful city and we’re both excited to re-visit again soon. Full blog post with all the deets, on its way!
Writing My Food-losophy – I finally sat down and wrote about my experience as a vegetarian for 13 years and why I now fully support eating organic meat, for my health and the health of the planet. I dug deeper on questions surrounding veganism and found it’s not as sustainable as many may think (although if you’re not cool with eating animals, I get it. I was like that, once… you do you!). You can read it here if you like.
Discovering Earth Food Love – I’m rarely speechless, but accidentally discovering a zero waste grocery shop in Devon was a dream come true. I had somehow hit the jackpot! Ever since Unpackaged closed soon after I embarked on this lifestyle (Unpackaged was the original zero waste store but has since teamed up with Planet Organic to create a limited bulk section), I had wished for a new, all-in-one bulk shop to appear.
The interiors are warm and inviting and I found my eyes darting from one wall to the next, in utter amazement at the amount of bulk items they had available. All organic too! Everything from dry goods such as pasta, grains, pulses, lentils, chocolates and popcorn to organic cleaning products, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, herbs, spices, teas, flour and some unusual items too such as seaweed flakes. There were glass jars and bottles to purchase and a small selection of reusables too.
Camping in Cornwall – Despite the weather being torrential and me getting a bout of epic food poisoning from a restaurant which meant I spent most of the second night glued to a composting loo (finding them in the rain and pitch black was interesting!) followed by some serious hurling, I’m so pleased we took our tent out for a few days. The campsite we pitched up at was Cornish Tipis, which has a really lovely vibe.
I did some wild swimming in the lake, we hiked when the sun came out and my husband tried a little surfing. The onsite breakfast was so good! We took cover from the downpour in the polytunnel, which house a plethora of home grown fruits, veggies, herbs and edible flowers. Sitting amongst the plant, we slurped on hot coffee and ate free range bacon butties.
Meeting Holly Rose, AKA, Leotie Lovely – We had stalked each other on instagram for some time and were finally introduced via our mutual friend Alison, from Ally Bee. We clicked big time. Sometimes in life, you meet people who have a wise-ness to them. Holly is very wise. And creative, funny and super easy to talk to. We’ve only hung out three times yet I feel I’ve known her for waaaaay longer.
I’ve read A LOT – so many good books! And thus, I’ve learned a lot too. I’m naturally curious, especially when it comes to topics I’m passionate about and reading about them fills my cup! I’ll do an updated blog post on my recent reads soon, but in the meantime, you can find some of my faves here.
London launched not one, but TWO bulk stores – First came Bulk Market, in Hackney which has everything you could possibly want all under one roof. Even hard to find bulk items such as essential oils, dog food, cream, yoghurt and maple syrup. In fact, Bulk Market is currently crowdfunding for a permanent location with an even larger offering. Check out my side bar to donate. Here’s what happened when I took Sarah, from Hubbub, on her first ever zero waste grocery shopping experience! WATCH NOW
Then came hetu – a vegan, zero waste bulk shop in Clapham. When I first met Laura, the owner, it was like having a really good first date! We got on so well! Determined to give bulk stores a new image, Laura has kitted hetu out in beautifully crafted glass gravity bins, decorative glass jars and even has a bespoke kombucha refill station.
The vegetables are supplied by Oddbox and the juice pulp crackers are insanely moreish! My Mum kept saying how good they were when I took some over for Christmas. So happy to have another bulk location!
My accidental wheat – I love growing herbs and some food items (such as potatoes – so easy!) on my small balcony. What I hadn’t expected, was to be harvesting wheat from a small box of soil I had turned into an extra compost heap. Basically, I cooked too many organic wheat grains and as we were leaving for Cornwall the next day, I put them on to the pile and forgot about them. The next thing I know, I have a wheat harvest! So cool and oddly therapeutic picking the wheat grain from the grass. Just call me Farmer Arnell!
Supper at the Riverford Field Kitchen – We were travelling back to London from Cornwal, via Devon (stopping for the night after filming an interview with Naturalmat). I couldn’t resist booking a table at the Riverford Field Kitchen which was such a wonderful experience. Shared tables, but still some privacy, incredible plates of food, where vegetables really are the star of the show and puds galore! Highly recommend!
Visiting Scotland – I had arranged to visit New Lanark Mills who make the only certified organic tartan as part of the mini-documentary I was making. I stopped off in Glasgow for a spot of lunch at a new organic cafe where I had an beautiful organic harissa chicken sandwich before heading off to New Lanark. The location was simply stunning, with a nearby forest trail to explore and waterfalls to marvel at. The sun was out and the air was clean! I think Scotland will be seeing a lot more of me in 2018.
Positive feedback from you guys – when did this blog get so cheesy? Seriously though, it can be a bit weird putting yourself out there on the inter-web and often times, I ask myself what on earth am I doing? Does anyone really care? Have I even made that many changes? Can I really call myself zero waste? Just when I start to get a little unsure of myself, almost without fail, I get a seriously uplifting message from one of you who has somehow stumbled upon my blog or youtube channel and felt inspired enough to take step to reducing waste and choosing organic… thanks for laughing along with my bad puns and random upload schedule. You rock.
Excited to see what 2018 holds! Let’s do this!