The Magic of Twitter

Last night I was aimlessly scrolling through Twitter, when a purple and white patterned teapot caught my eye…

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It turns out, I have this teapot (a hand-me-down from my parents when I moved out) and barely use it. So I messaged Marks & Spencers to let them know I had a lid and was happy to part with it.

One day later, the teapot is wrapped up and ready to be posted.

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Social media often gets bad press, but this week, it has definitely done good!

I hope this lid brings happy tea brewing to it’s new owner, an early Christmas present from one stranger to another.

Happy Blogiversary toooo meeee!

A year ago today I embarked on my Bella Green journey and published my first ever blog post.

To mark to the occasion I’d like to take some writing space to thank those who have supported, followed and inspired me to continue. At times it has been tough. Making time to research and write whilst juggling a job, the gym, learning German and a social life (aka beer and binge watching Netflix) hasn’t always been easy. But your kind words have jeered me along.

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Photo credit: Taken by Fiona (sister) – Recycled business cards Moo  –  Fairtrade and organic cotton Christmas jumper ‘Bah Humbug’ Twisted Twee

Since starting the blog I have changed how I consume ALOT.

  • I no longer buy stuff I don’t need
  • Only buy cruelty free and natural beauty products
  • Think about packaging and plastic ALL THE TIME
  • The majority of clothes I buy are either locally made, vintage, second hand or ethically made
  • And I buy organic, fairtrade and package free food where possible.

Keeping a blog reminds me to think, who made this, where has it come from, what are it’s effects, how was it made?

My five favourite posts this past year have been:

They were the most interesting to research and satisfying to write.

Next year will definitely be a different one for me. Full of changes. I will be moving in with my parents for a few months and have a HUGE, exciting adventure up my sleeve. The blog may morph as time goes on, but always at the heart of it will be sustainability.

If you would like to work with me or put forward a topic for me to cover, please let me know!

I’m now about to have a ‘Fake Christmas Day’ with my family. Lots of food and Secret Santa presents await. I hope you have a great Sunday.

Love Anna x

p.s it amazingly is a WHITE CHRISTMAS!

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Christmas Gifts: 10 Ethical Ideas

 

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  1. The most ethical gift of all is the gift of Nothing. Often we are given gifts that we do not need, nor want. The gift of nothing saves money, prevents waste (both gift and packaging wise) and puts more emphasis on having a good time, rather than a materialistic Christmas.
  2. If you have a large family or a big group of friends Secret Santa is a great solution. Instead of giving many pointless gifts you give one meaningful one. My family are doing this for the first time this Christmas. We have each picked a name out of a hat and set a budget of £10. Unfortunately the whole ‘secret’ part of Secret Santa has failed a little bit, but it is the thought that counts…
  3. Make Smthng Week runs from 2nd – 10th December. It follows the mass consumerism of Black Friday and encourages people to Make Something. Why not bake some mince pies, make a cushion or toy out of old clothes, fix a broken game, paint and oil an old bike?9bccce7e78018250c8f3f5b773b0ced1.jpg
  4. Instead of giving something, Do Something. It is better to collect moments not things. Treat your loved ones to a meal out, or a trip to the theatre, or a spa day, or a weekend away. Me and Fiona (my sister) have done this for the past few years. Last year it was a trip to Warsaw, the year before a trip to Budapest, this year we’re going to go to the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition at the British Library.
  5. Buy from a Charity shop or give a charity gift. Oxfam have some great suggestions, for example you can shelter a refugee for £15 or for £9 buy a tap to provide safe water. This year at work, instead of doing Secret Santa, we are each buying a toy and donating it to Cash for Kids.
  6. Purchase an Ethical Product. Ethical Superstore is a great site to go to for all sorts of gifts ranging from beauty products, to chocolates and gadgets.
  7. This time of year there are Christmas Markets left right and centre. Visit these markets and Shop Local. When you support an independent shop, small business or local store you are supporting someone’s dream. House of Habit Jewellery and Sweet Memory Lane are two of my favourites.Screen Shot 2017-12-02 at 17.35.18.png
  8. Head to Etsy and Shop Handmade. I may (or may not…) have gotten my Secret Santa gift from here. Similar to shopping local, by buying something handmade you are supporting a person rather than a corporation. It means much more to know that time and effort has gone into the item, rather than it rolling off a production line.
  9. Books are a favourite at Christmas. It’s always best to try and buy second-hand books saving money and trees. For new books use a local independent shop or head to Hive to buy online.
  10. Get someone a Subscription. Subscribe someone to a monthly delivery of socks, natural beauty products or curry spices. Check out The London Sock Exchange they not only deliver new socks but recycle old.hero-box-ginger_1920x.jpg

5 Fairtrade Faves

Happy Friday guys!

October is Fairtrade month, so here are five of my Fairtrade favourites:

  1. Bananas – I have at least one banana a day, they couldn’t NOT be top of my list. Always make sure they are organic AND Fairtrade (good for the worker and the environment).e39735728ce807279bf68871862cce30
  2. Jyoti Fair Works – Earlier this year I bought a beautiful skirt from Jyoti who are a German-Indian fair fashion label. Seriously check them out because their designs are great and they do some amazing stuff with their workers and supply-chain.
  3. Divine Chocolate – Not just tasty and Fairtrade, Divine scored really highly with Ethical Consumer magazine on their supply-chain management, company ethos, environmental reporting and animal welfare.Divine - Jenny Botwe_Anidasonyame 750x482
  4. People Tree – I’ve got a few People Tree items in my wardrobe now. They are very reasonably priced and stylish, great for wardrobe essentials.fullsizeoutput_fe0
  5. Honeystreet Handmade – You might remember that I’ve written about these guys before, their body butters are just brilliant. wftd6

Well there they are.

Hope you have a great weekend! xxx

Pick Up a Pumpkin: soup recipe

Today we went pumpkin picking at Cattows Farm, Leicestershire. I picked one to cook and one to carve.

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I made soup with the one to cook, here is my vegan pumpkin soup recipe, perfect as the days get chillier and nights get darker.

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  • 1 pumpkin
  • 1 white onion
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Fresh ginger
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Black pepper
  • Salt
  • 2 pints vegetable stock
  1. Pre-heat oven to 240℃
  2. Cut the pumpkin in half through the stalk, scoop out the seeds (save the seeds to roast), then cut each half into chunks
  3. Place onto a baking tray, brush each chunk with rapeseed oil, season with salt and black pepper, then place into the oven for 30 minutes
  4. While the pumpkin is roasting, put a dash of rapeseed oil, chopped onion and ginger in a pan to fry, once the onion has some colour put it on a low heat to simmer for 20 minutes
  5. Scoop out the roasted pumpkin and add to the onions and ginger, then add the vegetable stock, nutmeg, cinnamon and more salt and black pepper to simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes
  6. Finally, blend the soup to a smooth puree

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As mentioned above, save those pumpkin seeds to roast as a tasty topping or snack.

  1. Pre-heat oven to 180℃
  2. Scrape the seeds from the pumpkin, clean off all the pulp and give them a rinse
  3. Spread them onto a baking tray, spray with rapeseed oil and season with salt and black pepper (or any flavour you like!), then place into the oven for 10 minutes

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Bella Green is back.

Wow, September really did fly over. I cannot believe a whole month has gone by since my last post. We’re now into October, and some crazy people have even started talking about the ‘C’ word (local Co-op officially have mince pies on their shelves)!

I took a break from blogging throughout September as my diary was rather chocker.

At the start of September I visited London where I ate lots of scrummy food and supported Team Shearer in the charity football match Game 4 Grenfell.

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I then walked 25 miles along Hadrian’s Wall, my final challenge this year raising money for Labour Behind the Label. It was great meeting new people, working as a team and well and truly blowing the cobwebs off in the Northumberland air.

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Finally my long-awaited holiday to Dubrovnik arrived.

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Fully rejuvenated, I’m now ready to throw myself back into blogging.

As October is Fairtrade month and hosts Anti-Slavery Day I’ll be focusing on these areas for this months posts. If you have anything you specifically would like me to cover, please let me know.

Hope you’re all well. I’m very very happy to be back.

Ciao Bellas xxx

Meaty Impact and Innovations

Lately it seems everyone is talking about meat and the sustainability issues that surround it. So I’m going to join in!

Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve wrote about it, earlier this year I tried Veganuary, then for Lent I gave up meat and now I’d class myself as Flexitarian (or whatever new trendy name it’s been given this week). Basically I go days, weeks even without eating meat.

A few nights ago Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped broadcast a special on the innovations that are making meat healthier for us and better for the planet. It’s definitely worth a watch, but if you haven’t got the time, here are some highlights…

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Did you know?

Cows produce more methane than cars, planes and trains combined. They release about 120kg of methane per year. Methane is a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide (CO2). But the negative effect on the climate of methane is 23 times higher than the effect of CO2. 

33% of cereals grown in the UK are used for meat production.

Most of the world’s soy crop ends up in feed for poultry, pork and cows. The expansion of soy to feed the world’s growing demand for meat contributes to deforestation. 

For 2kg of chicken it takes 4.6kg of feed. For 2kg of pork it takes 6kg of feed. And for 2kg of beef it takes 30kg of feed. That is a lot of crop needed for a small amount of meat!

It takes 15,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of beef but only 1,250 litres for 1kg of wheat.

The innovations for a more ‘sustainable’ meat industry covered were a little bonkers, but it does show that the industry is starting to look at alternative ways in order to protect the planet.

Belgian Super Cows – Apparently these huge muscly cows are bred through natural selection (hmmm) due to an inactive muscle control gene. They produce around 30% more meat than a normal cow and somehow do this through eating the same amount of food as a normal cow.

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Spirulina Algae – Spirulina is an edible microalgae that can be grown in tanks on top of buildings. It’s still new technology but it could be used to replace normal animal feeds freeing up land currently used to grow animal feed to grow human vegetation instead.

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Ostrich Meat – Ostrich’s produce 10 times less methane than cows, they require 3 times less land to graze, can produce 64 tons of meat in a lifetime opposed to a cows 1.72 tons and the water footprint of ostriches is roughly a third of cows.

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If you’re having a BBQ this bank holiday, why not give an ostrich burger a go? Or veggie sausages? My favourite is BBQ’d pineapple. Yum! Whatever you do, have a great long weekend! xxx