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.

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

Turtle Doves: recycled cashmere

Turtle Doves is a British brand that buys woollen items from charity shops and turns them into new products. This is great for so many reasons and their story of success is inspiring. Turtle Doves started very small but now employs over 20 people, including ex-Laura Ashley seamstresses whose jobs disappeared when production was moved to the Far East.

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I suffer really badly with cold hands (cheers Raynaurd’s disease) and a few months ago my Mam surprised me with some Turtle Doves finger-less gloves (rhymes!). Considering they are finger-less they amazingly cure ‘white finger’.

 

Turtle Doves don’t just make finger-less gloves, they do all sorts of top quality, cosy and ethical products. It’s getting colder every day and Christmas is looming closer and closer, Turtle Doves would make a great present and if you join their Friends Club they’ll give you 10% off your next order.

Sustainable Sports Stadium

The amazing London 2012 Olympics took place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Park was developed with a very sustainable vision. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it to the Olympics back in 2012, however on Saturday I was lucky enough to be at the World Athletics Championships held at the Park and managed to see first hand how the sustainability legacy of the games was holding up.

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The first thing I noticed when walking to the Park from Hackney Wick station was the area’s development. There were loads of brand new residential areas which I am told are low energy, low water and made from non-toxic materials. They were surrounded by cycle lanes, a pretty canal and plenty greenery supporting both sustainable transport and biodiversity.

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Arriving at the Park I was astonished by the organisation. Every block of seats had toilets and a food stall. No queues in sight! Most corners hosted bins which were clearly labelled for either general or recycled waste. There were plenty of points to refill water bottles encouraging the reduction in single use plastic bottles and when I treated myself to a tasty hot dog I was pleased to see that the packaging was fully recyclable.

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Once the morning athletics session was over I ventured over to the ‘Hero Village’ which was full of fun activities. One activity really caught my eye. The ‘Blue Badge Park Tour’ gave children wheelchairs and tasked them to navigate ramps, doorways and corners to become more aware of what it is like for those with disabilities.

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From what I can see the sustainable vision for the Park is still going strong.

Did you know?

  • By 2025 there will be 15,000 jobs created
  • More than 5,000 people (30 per cent from the local area) worked on the Park during its transformation – including 60 apprentices
  • Planning permission has been granted for 6,800 homes
  • There are 525 bird boxes and 150 bat boxes
  • Over 4,000 trees, 74,000 plants, 60,000 bulbs and 240,000 wetland plants have/will be planted
  • The venues use 56% less drinking water than equivalent buildings

After the athletics I headed to the ArcelorMittal Orbit for a look around and a journey down their world’s highest and longest tunnel slide (178 metres!). Designed by sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond, the ArcelorMittal Orbit is just outside the Park. It’s made of 60% recycled steel, including washing machines and used cars. At the top of the building you get a 20 mile view of the Olympic Park and the London skyline. Once at the top you can either walk down the outer staircase, abseil down or do what I did and slide down. It was so fun!!!

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Whilst the likelihood is very slim that an Olympic Games or World Championship will ever be at the Park again in my lifetime it is still worth a visit as there is so much to do in the area. You can take a stadium tour, go for a walk or bike ride, check out the Energy Centre, take a boat ride, have some delicious food or drinks by the canal, see some art… the list goes on and on!

Save Our Seas

It’s pledge time again!

This time it’s to pledge to help marine wildlife. Every year The Wildlife Trust host National Marine Week and this year it is running 29th July until 13th August (right now!).

If you have seen Chasing Coral you will understand the devastation our every day lives have on our seas. If you haven’t seen it… you really should! It’s a great documentary, just head to Netflix and press play.

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Fishing, waste, pollution and climate change are all contributing to major issues with our waters and the life that lives there.

Did you know?

  • The oceans have absorbed a third of all the carbon dioxide emitted since the Industrial Revolution, causing seawater acidity to rise faster than at any time in the last 55 million years
  • Sea levels really are rising. Over the last 50 years they rose approximately 1.8mm per year however in the 90’s this increased to 3.1mm per year
  • Plastic is often mistaken for food by marine animals. Plastic material has been found blocking the breathing passages and stomachs of many species, including whales, dolphins, seals, puffins, and turtles
  • Fertiliser runoff creates eutrophication that increases the amount of algae in the water which depletes the oxygen content, suffocating marine wildlife
  •  Eating contaminated seafood can cause serious health problems such as cancer

The list of shocking facts could go on and on and on, you simply just have to google ‘ocean’ and the top story found is about a rubbish patch in the Pacific that is bigger than Mexico…

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What can we pledge?

  • Stop using single use plastic like bottles and packaging
  • Pick up litter and put it in recycling or a bin to stop it drifting into the ocean
  • Watch out for microbeads in products such as tooth paste and exfoliators
  • Reduce your carbon footprint; walk more, eat less meat and switch lights off
  • Eat less fish and ensure the fish you do eat comes from a sustainable source

It may not seem like a lot, but if many of us make little changes there is a possibility we can reverse some of the effects our planet’s actions are having on the seas.

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