Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Dream Garden

The latest version of Neet Magazine includes a feature on bloggers' gardens.

This garden, belonging to Ingrid of is just my dream crocheting spot.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Post aus Frankreich

A very exciting package arrived from France this week!
Marie can't make it to the party so she's sent me a lovely copy of Marie Claire Idees to get some inspiration for decorations!

I'm looking forward to getting started on some bunting and other pretty things!

Sunday, 26 June 2011


Reducing Waste in Brighton and Hove

Went to see Jason Kitcat on Tuesday at St Mary Magdalen Community Centre. He came to talk about the new Green Council and address any concerns we might have.

The UK’s first Green council has some challenges ahead of it. An £84m budget reduction over the next 4 years, a 10 year life expectancy difference between wards, and this amid increasing uncertainty on the size of future budgets to be set by the coalition.

To begin with, Kitcat clarified the 3 main aims of the Greens in Brighton and Hove

- To reduce inequality

- To make B&H the UK’s greenest city

- To create more openness in the way the council works.

He then shared council plans for a potential 20mile/hour speed limit in the city centre, a fairer balance between the highest and lowest paid council workers, some upcoming recycling pilot schemes, including a food waste collection service which is being trialled, the potential of more communal recycling bins, and a heavier use of the internet and social media to publicise the work of the council and publish information on recycling and energy usage.

This year’s Green Party local manifesto for Brighton & Hove stated “we will promote city-wide waste reduction and food waste collection, encourage more residents to compost their garden waste and continue to campaign for reduced packaging of goods” and defined a drive to “ensure 70% of the B&H domestic waste is recycled by 2015 as a move towards a zero waste city “. A tall order indeed considering we managed to recycle only 27.45% in 2009/10. Kitcat highlighted the need to first encourage reduction of waste, maintaining the Greens’ approach of “reduce, reuse and only then recycle”, a rational and optimistic line which Caroline Lucas tirelessly repeats almost as frequently as the already worn-out coalition mantra of “we’re all in this together”.

Kitcat highlighted that landfill or incineration can cost over £80 per tonne (including the corresponding taxes) compared with around £30 a tonne to recycle.

35% of our household waste is food, which is even more costly to incinerate due to the high levels of moisture. The council will work with Harvest B&H to teach residents about the food we eat and to encourage people to waste less to begin with. This will be combined with a food waste collection system looking at examples set by other countries. I hope the relevant cabinet member has read the fabulous “Waste” by Tristram Stuart, winner of this year’s Sophie Award for his “innovative, energetic, humorous and thoughtful contributions” to increase awareness of the Food Waste scandal. The book examines the extent of the problem and looks at how other countries have successfully implemented systems to deal with food waste; Biomull organic waste collections in Germany; the strict legislation prohibiting food waste in South Korea and the Japanese concept of Mottainai – a word to describe the condemnation of wastefulness. The book contains information from WRAP, an organisation whose vision is a world without waste and who reminds us that on average each UK household throws away £480 of food each year. You can read their 2009 report on household food waste here.

The Greens have long been the party for grassroots consultation and the people of B&H have proven that the issue of waste reduction is high on their agenda. Following the unfortunate closure of The Mound , the Brighthelm Centre will become the next community garden on 7th July, a welcome addition to the many recycling and gardening projects around the city.

The reaction from the residents in attendance on Tuesday was passionate and in the most part encouraging. There were questions, suggestions, and the inevitable complaints.

Impressively, the questions were all relevant, in contrast to the time that Caroline Lucas came to talk to the community at St Nicolas Church and her series of tales about life as the UK’s first Green MP descended into a lengthy discussion on parking permits. Questions included the feasibility of placing solar panels on listed buildings, the effects of the localism bill and whether community composting sites might be looted by yobbos (although I should think that seagulls are more likely to be a problem).

After just a month in charge, few fixed solutions were ready to be presented to the public, but Kitcat was able to confirm that solar panels have already been approved on 40 public buildings around town and he reiterated the Green party commitment to support residents in reducing their carbon footprint in any way they can.

The people of Brighton and Hove remain consistent in their demand for change.

With the vision and dedication of our new council I feel optimistic that our city can and will become a beacon of Mottainai, condemning wastefulness and showing appreciation for our planet's precious resources.

Sunny Sunday

The sun has finally come back, so I've made some raspberry cordial with dreams of drinking it on the beach.

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


Beautiful picture taken by Jonathan in Alsace

Monday, 20 June 2011

A Talking Bouquet

Look at this idea from designsponge. A talking bouquet filled with tiny flowers and plants with a story belonging to each one. So much nicer than a normal bouquet and you can really personalise it. And of course any excuse to rifle through some second hand shops looking for tiny containers is very welcome.

They have made theirs for Father's Day but I think this might make a lovely gift for a friend.

So cute.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Writing workshop at Hove Library

It took me a long time to understand the point of twitter. Jonathan is a very active member of the twitterati and often sees people out and about who he follows and who follow him, although no personal contact has actually been made. Despite my suggestion that he should just go and say hello to these people, he has always insisted that such an action would be unthinkable.

A month or so ago I joined twitter for myself and realised what all the fuss was about. Without a doubt it’s the best way to get the most up to date information on things that you care about. But talk about information overload. You sign up to follow people and organisations that you’re interested in and every few minutes, your news feed updates you with new information shared by them.

The reason I mention this now is that I’ve started to follow a number of Brighton based organisations; The Great Escape, The Duke of Yorks, The Green Door Store and Brighton and Hove Libraries.

And so it was that I heard of the writing workshop at Hove Library on Saturday lunchtime 2 weeks ago. I had encountered Kay Sexton’s name at the seed swap back in February where I had picked up a packet of her alpine strawberry seeds, so knowing that she was a fellow allotment holder, I was immediately interested in what she had to share.

There were around 12 of us at the workshop, and by the time I arrived, inevitably late, our teacher had already begun, and was quoting an example of reflective writing from her book. A number of exercises followed, where we were each encouraged to try writing our own paragraphs, and were provided with information about persuasive writing and tips on how to address our audience. I hope to practice some of the techniques in this blog over the next few weeks!

It was lovely spending a few hours with people so keen on gardening and was nice to hear their memories and thoughts on all things green. Kay had baked some tasty allotment treats for the half-time break and the session ended with each of us producing a persuasive piece on our favourite (real or imagined) plant.

I wrote about Red-Orange Poppies, my current favourite flowers owing to the amazing colour and the fact that they will mostly self-seed and find their own way to survive. So I was delighted the next day when I spotted some amongst the rubbish at the back of Brighton station, doing just that!


Been busy crocheting...

The crocheting obsession is sort of taking over my life. Here are a couple more pictures of the tiny things I've been making.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Elderflower Cordial

Working where I work can often be a pain. Most of you know that I rarely feel rewarded by the duties I carry out, and often feel frustrated by the decisions made by those in positions of power.

But I’ve reached a point where other aspects of my working life contribute more to my overall happiness than the few hours spent at my desk. My colleagues are fab, the company actively supports community volunteering and the canteen does a cracking fried breakfast.

The site is incredibly impressive too. Aside from the allotments and greenhouse, which provide me with so much enjoyment it’s hard to contemplate ever leaving, we have onsite bee hives and an ongoing programme to create natural habitats attracting beneficial wildlife to the area. In addition, there are apples trees and huge blackberry hedges, and around a dozen elder bushes on the approach to the allotments.

It was from these elder bushes that the chief ingredient for this week’s kitchen experiment came...

Elderflower cordial was a lot less complicated than I thought it should be. Pour boiling water onto the flower heads, put in a terrifying amount of sugar, add slices of lemon and zest and leave to infuse for 48 hours.

And infusing in a cool, dark place is where we shall leave this story for now. Update due soon when it’s ready to drink...

This too shall pass

Chloe is staying with me at the moment, while she searches for a flat for herself and her two sweet little cats.

To me, Chloe is red and black, and stripey socks, and gin, and patience, and resilience.

It seems she is many of these things to others too, as demonstrated by her new tattoo, designed specially for her by a friend.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Best Hobby Forever

In case you're wondering which current obsession is preventing me from being very active on the blog, I think this says it all...

I'm back into my new favourite hobby. This bunting is for someone special but I'm hoping to make some more to see if anyone on Etsy is interested.
These flags are made from the most amazing yarn. It's beautiful and smooth, and made of 80% bamboo, one of the most sustainable plants on this planet; fast growing and suited to warmer climates, so will come in handy when the temperature inevitably rises by 2 degrees some time soon.

Anyway, I digress. The bamboo yarn is lovely and I hope to have an etsy update for you soon.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Treacle & Co

Your thoughts please on spending £35 on a cake for my birthday party.

Is £35 excessive?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

New seedlings!

The first batch of rocket in my salad boxes bolted, but I planted a new lot and some spinach last week and they're starting to sprout already.
I've already eaten loads of mibuna, red giant mustard and the lettuces will be ready in a couple of weeks.

Still lots of time to plant things if you haven't yet. Think of all the packaging, CO2 and money you'll save.