Striving for a greener, more ethical life

Archive for the month “November, 2011”

Cheap Place in Pyrenees for skiing this winter

Looks like my ‘underemployment’ situation is going to mean we can’t use our studio in Cauterets in the Pyrenees, France. It is such a beautiful town and a really good ski resort which is not crowded like the alp resorts.  If anyone would like to rent it over the winter season it is really reasonable and makes for a much cheaper ski holiday.






Why Fairtrade Is So Important To Me

I’ve been involved with the Fairtrade movement for many years and have been buying Fairtrade for even longer. It really is the most simple thing you can do on a daily basis that will benefit people miles away. I admire people who can avoid tea, coffee, sugar, chocolate etc but I can’t (and I can’t grow most them in London) so I feel I need to make sure that my purchases for what are essentially luxury items don’t adversely affect the farmers and growers.

The products I’m most passionate about are those that have additional benefits to the producers where they own shares in the company. Supermarket own brand Fairtrade products are better than non-Fairtrade (ie. potentially unfair products) but the ones I really support are those small and special companies like:

Divine Chocolate (  ): The cocoa farmers and growers own 45% of the company so they get their Fairtrade price for every kg of cocoa, they get their community Fairtrade premium (usually spent on projects like schools, infrastructure, healthcare) and if the company makes a profit they get a share. My favourite Divine products are their Dark Chocolate with Raspberry, and their Dark Chocolate Coated Mango Pieces. I actually love everything they make. Their website has some amazing recipes.

Zaytoun Olive Oil and other products ( ) : I love this company. They have been working with Palestinian farmers for many years and now have a range of Fairtrade and Organic certified prodcuts. Their goal is ‘Enabling marginalised Palestinian olive farmers to access new markets.’ and they now have a range of products. I love all of them but my particular favourites are the olive oil (which I use everyday) and the Medjoul dates.

CafeDirect ( ): Another farmer owned company who have produced some of the first Fairtrade products in the UK. I really loved their Gold tea (which has now been discontinued) and their everyday tea. I love their Machu Pichu organic and Fairtrade coffee and their espresso beans.


I love to mark the season changes and this year as I am
underemployed I am spending a lot of time at home and want to have interesting
things around me. I found some really nice Halloween decorations in a shop in
Blackheath, London and added them to my existing decorations. I wanted to
display my existing spider collection (not sure how I managed to accumulate so
many spiders!) in a bowl but didn’t feel any of my bowls looked right so I had
a brain wave and decided to display them under a glass cake dome.  I love them under the dome as they look like
scientific specimens. At this time of year the garden is full of cobwebs and
big spiders who always seem to prefer the paths that I need to take so I think
they fit well with the Halloween theme.

spider collection under glass dome














Halloween is about moving into the dark part of the year and
celebrating the ancestors that have gone before – encouraging their good
spirits to come and bless us and it’s a perfect opportunity to take time and
remember those who are gone but still shape who we are.

The skeletons in my décor make me smile as they dance on the
branches and I guess it is important to see death as an important part of life.
My mum made the black pot in the 1970’s and I have always loved it’s shape.

As I have a lot of Nepali neighbours Diwali this year has been spectacular and it
is interesting to see the parallels between this festival of light and ours of
Halloween. It is so beautiful to see candles and lights and doorstep
decorations in the sudden gloom after the clocks go back.

Post Navigation