Saturday, 24 November 2018

Why should I support local, when local doesn't support the environment?

This is a subject that really grates on me, and if I allow myself to think about it too much I want to gather some fellow environmentally aware people, and stage some sort of protest outside these little shops in a bid to open their eyes!

Big companies often feel pressure from the government to clean up their act and show how they are taking measures to minimise their impact. We are living in the era when plastic consumption is rife, and awareness on how we can and should be reducing it is being documented everywhere. Yet when I walk into a very busy local food shop in Chelmsford I am constantly met with their total ignorance to the impact they are making to this issue, and it really angers me to the point where I don't feel I should support them.

On the couple of occasions I've asked what ingredients are in their packaged food the young girl behind the counter gawks at me like I've got 2 heads!
Now I could be entirely wrong but it doesn't seem ethical to be selling food without a clue what's in it, what about it containing allergens? I happen to think they have a duty of care to their customers to be able to inform them what's in their food and I'm pretty disgusted that they don't feel it important to do so. They regularly put items out on their shelves with no label whatsoever, so I guess customers are supposed to guess the contents?

My next issue is plastic upon plastic, everything this shop sells is packaged in so much plastic. This place seems to be a popular choice amongst local workers for lunch options; sandwiches, salads and such, and from the huge piles of packaged food they always have in their chillers they appear to be selling it in boatloads yet they don't feel any responsibility to package it in a less harmful manner.

Every sandwich and salad is in a cheap vile plastic package and every meal meant to be heated is in a plastic box. The sheer amount of waste that this one local shop is creating is truly shocking, and I don't know how I'm supposed to get behind a place like this and support it.

My latest gripe with particular shop came when I went in on a recent Saturday morning to get a cup of coffee. They do serve soya milk which I will always appreciate small shops doing, however I always try to use my own reusable cup when getting take away coffee and this day was like any other. I asked for a soya latte and handed the man my cup, he then turned to the coffee machine and proceeded to use a PAPER CUP to make the espresso in!!! I couldn't believe my eyes, was this person really going to waste a paper cup to make espresso, when on top of the coffee machine they have piles of china cups. But yes, that is exactly what he did! He then poured the espresso into my cup, and threw the paper cup into the bin! I was utterly dumbfounded and couldn't help myself saying something to him. When he handed me the coffee I said "you know it defeats the purpose of me using a reusable cup if you are going to make the espresso in a paper cup and throw it away anyway!" To which he looked at me blankly and said "ok". I would place a bet that it went in one ear and out the other!

We are encouraged to support local as it's good for the local economy, but the problem with local independent stores is they don't really have to answer to anyone or be seen to investing in or looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint the same as the big companies do. A lot of the local run shops are the worst culprits for waste and terrible packaging. They fall under the radar of the 5p plastic bag charge, don't encourage people to use their own bags, and don't support reducing take away cups the same as the big coffee shop chains do. They may think they are small and their impact is minimal, but if you take all of the small coffee shops and sandwich shops across even one town the amount of waste they are producing will be as much as any of the chains.

What can we do? I've thought about writing a letter to the stores and suggesting they make changes, if they have a conscience they might consider making them. We can only try.

If you are wondering why I'm harping on about plastic, this is a good site to go and have a look at to get an idea of why it's so important: The Plastic Tide

I also wrote about the benefits of buying and using your own cup for take away coffee here.




If you are in the market for a reusable coffee cup so you can take advantage of the 25p discount on your morning coffee then check out my top picks below.









Saturday, 3 November 2018

Apple Day at Lathcoats Farm

pumpkin patch, apple day, lathcoates farm, essex, chelmsford


I haven't always been the best at keeping up with all my local area has to offer. I am signed up to emails about events in London but when it comes to what's happening in Essex I have to remember to search for it high and low on the internet.

Luckily someone at work mentioned Apple Day and I had no clue what it was all about other than it might include apples (duh). I decided to have a look on the internet and seeing as entry was free to the event I decided to go and check it out.

Lathcoats farm apple day


It was a perfect October day, dry, sunny with blue skies which made the day even better because it's pretty much all outside. Once we got to Lathcoates Farm they had several different areas to go off and explore, with a huge variety of pumpkins large and small and in all colours. I bloody love pumpkins and found it really hard to just choose a few, I literally wanted them all!!

lathcoats farm apple day, essex

grey pumpkins, lathcoats farm, apple day


They had a craft area where they were making wreaths amongst other things, a huge apple tasting tent where you could go and learn about the different varieties of apples they grow and taste them, cider and apple juice tasting where they were serving a cocktail of apple juice, elderflower cordial and gin which was amazing and definitely going to be recreated at home.

apple cocktail, apple day, essex, lathcoats farm


The little food market area was nice to wander around, I got to try some vegan Christmas pudding by Lillypuds and bought some lovely fresh bread, they had stalls which were selling lovely foods that would be great to stash away for Christmas.

There were a few activities for children such as the crafting area, a chance to try archery, and swings and needless to say the kids were loving the pumpkin patch and the animals. It's such a great way to spend a couple of hours especially if you have children, and Lathcoats also have an amazing farm shop that is full of amazing food and lots of vegan items which I was shocked and amazed to see, but I will definitely be going back to buy more goodies!

pumpkins, lathcoats farm, apple day, essex


Lathcoats Farm,
Beehive Lane
Chelmsford
CM2 8LX


Sunday, 28 October 2018

My Halloween Display

Halloween has been one of my favourite times of year since I was young. Sadly my parent's didn't really celebrate it, and when I was little I would be lucky if we got a pumpkin to carve, let alone decorations or trick or treating! I was 13 the first time I went trick or treating, yes THIRTEEN! That was only because I was deemed old enough to go out alone with a friend that year and my mum had arranged that we would walk to the other end of our town to my uncles house and she would come and collect us.

Back when I was a kid there wasn't a huge amount of the community that took part in Halloween and there weren't many kids out trick or treating but dear lord did we come home with some serious bounty!! That first year we got so many sweets and chocolates and even quite a lot of money, we thought it was the most amazing night of our lives!



I grew up watching movies like hocus pocus where it seemed like towns came alive at Halloween and every household took part with decorating and trick or treating and I was so jealous and vowed that when I was a grown up I would partake 100%.




Sadly the UK still isn't quite up to the US standards of celebrating and most houses are left undecorated at this time of year. Halloween decorations have always been limited to the cheap tack you get in the card stores, so when I started reading blogs years ago and saw how real homes were decorated in America for Autumn I was hooked. I knew it was just what I wanted to be able to do but finding the quality decorations was not easy. Luckily in the last couple of years some more classy decorations have started sneaking in thanks to stores like TK Maxx and HomeSense where the goods are of course being shipped over from America. I'm sure in years to come we will have a wide choice of decorations and I look forward to being able to go around the stores and filling up my trolley with lots of spooky stuff.

Rae Dunn Halloween
 


I am slowly building up a collection and have bought a few items this year and have enjoyed having them displayed in my home. Next year I will be moving onto bigger and better things and have big plans, I just need to figure out where to store all of this stuff come November 1st.....


rae dunn halloween mug


My collection is made up of items from various shops and I even struck it lucky whilst in TK Maxx and HomeSense because I got some Rae Dunn halloween cups and mixing bowl. I can't wait to add more items next year!

How do you decorate for Halloween?

Sunday, 21 October 2018

Fudge Kitchen Cambridge

Cambridge is a beautiful place to visit, it's an array of intertwining cobbled streets choc full of gorgeous shops where even the chains manage to fit in with the unique style of the city by keeping the old building fronts in tact. It's so easy to lose hours whilst wandering around what feels like a real life Harry Potter-esque set. The buildings have a mix of Tudor and more Gothic style architecture which looks especially stunning during autumn with all the red and gold leaves blowing around on the streets and the burgundy ivy growing up the walls of the buildings.

The Fudge Kitchen stands proudly in the centre of Cambridge where they hand make fudge in an array of wonderful flavours, they even have 2 vegan ones! Seeing as I don't visit Cambridge very often I decided to splurge and buy a chunk of both the coconut vanilla and salted caramel fudge because trust me they are both so creamy and delicious. The salted caramel flavour is made with a soy milk base, the texture of this fudge is quite gooey which I personally really love. The coconut vanilla flavour is made with a coconut cream base so is good for people with a soy allergy, the texture is a little firmer and slightly more crumbley. My personal favourite is the caramel because well.... salted caramel need I say more!

vegan fudge, fudge kitchen cambridge


Whilst in the shop one of the guys told me they are happy to make custom fudge flavours for you and he mentioned chocolate orange and maple both of which would be right up my street.

Their packaging is so cute and totally gift worthy if you have a friend or family member who's partial to some fudge. The little paper bags are adorned with very true phrases like "hey! You lookin' at my fudge" and "not gonna make it home in one piece"

vegan fudge, fudge kitchen, salted caramel fudge

vegan fudge, fudge kitchen, salted caramel fudge


It's so lovely to see smaller businesses catering for vegans, I'm finding it more and more now that I will be somewhere and find vegan products unexpectedly which is a world away from what it was like when I first went vegan and most restaurants didn't cater and the supermarkets had little to no vegan products, let alone a small independent shop.

Cambridge has some really lovely eateries that make vegan food, stay tuned to my blog for the most amazing vegan meal I had whilst there, blog post coming soon.

vegan fudge, fudge kitchen, salted caramel fudge

vegan fudge, fudge kitchen, coconut vanilla fudge


The Fudge Kitchen
11 Kings Parade,
Cambridge
CB2 1SJ

www.fudgekitchen.co.uk/en
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