Is it just me, or does the whole year feel like it’s geared towards Christmas? We seem to spend the first few months of the year paying off the Christmas credit card debt and beating ourselves up for overspending, yet again! Then it’s time to get ‘bikini-fit’ and work off the extra Christmas girth we accumulated thanks to our total inability to resist temptation. Then, before you know it, and earlier every year, the shops are filled with Christmas carols, Christmas cards and twinkly decorations all in time to start the whole process over again!
It also seems a time of year when everyone aims to get their homes ‘Christmas perfect’ for the many parties and guests we will be accommodating. Whether it’s re-painting the living room, ordering new furniture or a new TV, or just having a general Christmas tidy-up, we all like to feel our homes are ready for the family and friends descending on us.
In fact, the Christmas rush starts at home! So here a few home ideas to make it all a bit easier.
If you are tight for space, or have been a little over generous with the guest invites, then our wonderfully handy roll-up bed could be the perfect solution. The beds are ethically made in Kerala from organic cotton and stuffed with a hardwearing man-made fibre to ensure your guests have a blissful night’s sleep. Once used, the beds can be quickly rolled up and stowed away or even used again in the summertime for camping or holiday trips.
To match the roll up beds, and also from our ethical factory in India, we have beautifully soft sleeping bags to make sure your guests are kept toasty warm in the depths of winter.
For the extra-considerate host, why not supply a lovely carafe of water on the bedside table. Especially suitable for the guest who may have consumed a little too much alcohol over the course of the evening!! It’s made from recycled glass of course!
Prepare yourself for the endless onslaught of sheet changing and towel washing by stocking up on extra towels. Our wonderfully soft, organic cotton fair trade towels are bound to make your guests feel welcome and at home.
Finally, why not prepare your guest room or living room with a beautifully handmade English scented candle. My particular favourite is the True Grace Fig Candle which is a lovely warm and deep fragrance of Musk, Cedarwood & Mandarin. A perfect, warming winter fragrance.And by the way, even if you own home doesn’t need any of these lovely things, they do make great Christmas gifts for someone near and dear to you!
I have recently come across a lovely new boutique and online ethical store call Magic Number Three.
Magic Number Three (MN3) is an independent fashion boutique that features seasonal collections by leading ethical designer brands. MN3 provides conscientious style choices for a discerning clientele, including luxury local tweeds, upcycled everyday wear, workwear separates in organic fabrics, and statement occasionwear made in the UK.
The store has some lovely pieces and it’s now firmly marked in my Favourites list!
Plus coming up this week the store is running a Week Of Fashion. This will involve a whole week of fashion events to celebrate the MN3 sponsorship of Leeds Fashion Show and to showcase just how this ethical womenswear boutique is making change for good in fashion.
The full programme listing can be found at www.magicnumberthree.co.uk/whatson
There looks to be some fantastic ethical fashion events so if you are in the Yorkshire area, take a look at the link above to see what’s on and when.
Here at Biome we decided it was about time we headed back to our roots and headed North! Been born and bred in Yorkshire, it seems only right that our stock, customer service and dispacth all occurs in this great county!
The move took much longer than expected, partly thanks to our poor HGV drivers van being destroyed in the Birmingham riots in the process (talk about the wrong place at the wrong time!) but we are in and settled (almost!) so service should now resume as usual.
After all, the more we grow the more our small designers, artisans and fair-trade units will prosper too! Here’s to the future!
We have been super busy here at Biome over the past few weeks preparing for Christmas. Yes Christmas in summer, you read that correct!
So whilst the sun has been shining (sometimes!) outside, we have been preparing new wreaths, Christmas stockings, crackers and lots of other goodies for the Festive Season.
The highlight of the past few weeks was our attendance at Modus Publicity‘s Christmas Press Day. The event was held at The Westbury Gallery in London to showcase Modus’ usual clients and a few small, up & coming brands like Biome! We had a great day and met lots of lovely people who seemed to love some of Biome’s new range. There were lots of fantastic companies exhibiting from Calvin Klein Jeans to Toast and also one of my favourite beauty brands, the wonderful Liz Earle!
It was a long but fun day and during the chattering to journalists and other suppliers I managed to snap a few pics of the day.
At the end of the event it was time for a quick glass of champagne before bundling everything into boxes & heading home for a long & much-deserved soak in the bath!
Memory is a funny thing. Mine’s very selective, for example, and my clear vivid memories are all of great times. My friend has a highly developed food-related memory; ask him what he and his wife had for dinner on the seventh evening of their trip to South Africa, and he’ll tell you. My wife can remember colours. More than that, she can match them in her head with colours she sees around her. Amazing.
One of my own vivid, happy memories is of a camping holiday in Brittany. My dad was driving an old Triumph Herald convertible, and I remember that the sun shone every day, and we never had the hood up. Now does that seem likely? Not a hint of rain, for two weeks in Brittany? No, it really doesn’t. You can see why the Police term for an unreliable eyewitness is ……..“an eyewitness”!
Leaving memories to one side, the 2011 camping season is well underway. Now, it seems a pity that so much of the stuff you need on a camping trip is essentially not ethically or environmentally friendly. So if you want to commune with nature without destroying it, here are a few ideas for eco-friendly camping equipment. And they do make great eco-gift ideas as well!
How about using the sun’s energy during the day, to heat up your evening shower? A solar shower is about the best idea around, and they really do work! I’ve used one on a yacht, and you see lots of them around the festival campsites, where hot showers are just not available. It doesn’t even need to be a brilliantly sunny day to warm the water up. And there’s a bonus; until you’ve seen the joy of a bunch of children scampering around under a warm shower, in the garden or on the beach, you just haven’t lived!
Also, you’re going to need some plates and mugs when you go camping, or even just for a picnic when the warmer weather gets here. Plastic is best, to avoid breakages. Now the great thing about plastic is that it can be re-cycled, but the disappointing thing is, how seldom you see recycled plastic made into consumer articles. But you can find recycled plastic mugs and plates if you search hard enough!
Finally, you will need something comfy to sleep on… Forget about the lumpy camp mats, why not try one of our roll-up beds? I can vouch I had a great nights sleep last year at a festival on one and I am sure it was down to the mattress making me sleep, rather than the booze… (ahem).
So enjoy your camping this year, and stack up some wonderful memories.
I have just completed my first online shop at www.abelandcole.com.
Abel and Cole is an award winning organic food delivery company. I have friend who rave about the service and the quality of the food so I will keep you posted… I certainly like their website so that’s a good start! It’s great to read about where products are sourced from and made, I could look through all their tasty items for hours!
They have an amazing range of fish, meat, cheeses, fruit and veg and some very tempting desserts too.. mmm. Plus they also have a lovely section on their website dedicated to recipes. I also love their ‘how to section’, such as how to make marmalade, how to cook the perfect steak… May seeme simple but it’s always great to know how to do things better!
I can’t resist trawling through recipes so here is my favourite pick from their list, which I will be sure to try on the BBQ this weekend! For more amazing recipe ideas go to: http://www.abelandcole.co.uk/recipes
I bet you can’t resist ordering once you are on their website though, so be warned! xx
Moroccan Lamb Burgers with Roasted Red Pepper
Lamb mince makes wonderful burgers. The mint and cumin add a nice, exotic touch. and the red peppers are a delicious alternative to tomato slices. Makes 4 large, or 6 smaller burgers.
- 2 red peppers
- 500g lamb mince
- 20g fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped
- 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, ground in a pestle and mortar
- 2 tsp Abel & Cole’s red chilli jam
- 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
- A pinch of sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 800g Farmhouse loaf
Preheat the oven to 200°C. Place the whole peppers in the oven on a rack in the middle with a baking tray underneath them, to catch any juices that fall from the peppers. Roast for 20-30 minutes, rotating once or twice, until blackened a bit and fully softened. Once cooked, place in a sauce pan with a lid or a paper bag to sweat the peppers – this will allow you to pull the skin off easily. Peel the skin, discard the seeds and cut into 1cm thick ribbons. Set aside while you make the burgers.
Mix the mince with the mint, onion, cumin, red chilli jam, garlic, salt and pepper. Divide into 4 burger patties. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the burgers for about 7 minutes each side, until cooked through. Pop in a 180°C oven to cook further, if needed. Or, place a lid (or use another pan as a lid) over the frying pan to help cook them through.
Slice the farmhouse loaf into 1-inch thick slices. Then cut, using a scone or cookie cutter – or the rim of a glass, into bun-like circles. Try to get 2 circles out of each slice of bread. (Use the leftover bread to make bread and butter pudding – or to make breadcrumbs for coating fish or chicken.) Toast lightly, if you like, and use to sandwich burgers, along with the red pepper ribbons and some fresh avocado slices, if you like. Serve warm.
How nice have the recent bouts of sunshine been?!
When the sun is shining, life always seems so much brighter!
For those of you have lovely summer holidays booked either abroad or in the UK (lucky you!) then I have picked a few of my favourite ethical summer buys!
My next holiday is sadly not until September, so these holiday buys will be sat in my suitcase for a good few weeks to come! Roll on holidays!
I was delighted to see images earlier this week of the lovely Joanna Lumley posing in an amazing gold & diamond encrusted Shere Khan necklace, with the aim of raising over £300,000 for the fantastic Born Free Foundation.
Designed by award-winning jeweller Catherine Best to depict the tiger in Rudyard Kipling’s ‘Jungle Book’, the jewellery holds 182 precious stones set in nearly a kilo of 18ct gold and has been independently valued at more than £500,000.
The Sher Khan Necklace will be auctioned worldwide from yesterday May 31 until June 17, when a gala evening will be held at the Savoy Hotel in London to mark the 80th birthday of actress Virginia McKenna, who founded the Born Free Foundation.
The Born Free Foundation is an amazing international wildlife charity working throughout the world to stop individual wild animal suffering and protect threatened species in the wild. Some of you may remember the film Born Free, which stared the founder of the charity Virginia McKenna. I watched this film so many times when I was younger and recently bought the DVD so I can watch it again!
Well done Joanna, it’s great to see you are supporting fantastic causes, again!