January 24th, 2012 §
Say hello to the newbies!
I’m delighted to welcome Darby & Joan, Hackwood Farm Shop & Gorgeously Organic to fabulousplaces.co.uk!
Hackwood Farm Shop & Cafe based in Radbourne is it’s first year of business and is a great addition to Derbyshire’s collection of fabulous places. Click here to read more!
Darby & Joan are a fabulous Vintage China Hire & Styling Service based in Derbyshire. Click here to read more!
Derbyshire based Gorgeously Organic are a family run skin care business. Click here to find out more!
If you’re out and spot a fabulous place or maker, click here to let me!
April 8th, 2010 §
Recipe time…FP Club member, Claire, has very kindly donated another recipe for you to try. This time is courgette soup and I’ve had the pleasure of trying it during the week were taking part in the BBC Radio Derby’s Ed to Head Challenge…which we won! Claire grows her own veggies and the courgettes are from her own garden, along with many of the other ingredients.
Courgette Soup is a very simple recipe, which makes a pretty, creamy pale green soup:
- Slice and gently sauté an onion, a stick of celery, 2 cloves of garlic
- Slice and add 5, or more, courgettes of the 6” or so size
- When all are softened and starting to brown add a pint or so of chicken or vegetable stock
- Simmer for 20 minutes until the courgettes squash easily on the side of the pan
- Take off the heat and blitz up with a hand blender
- Add a handful or two of freshly grated parmesan and a glug of garlic olive oil
- Add plenty of salt and pepper to taste and blitz up again
We serve it with crispy pancetta on top and a drizzle of garlic olive oil and some parmesan shavings.
To speed this up even more use a few shallots which are quick to slice and cook, a stock cube instead of fresh stock and a big slice from a fresh green garlic head instead of cloves. Here’s a link through to the recipe on Claire’s blog, Things We Make. Here is a link through to the post where Claire shows you how to make the bread bowls.
Growing your own courgettes is pretty easy and this weekend is ideal to plant seeds. Here’s a link to the BBC website where there is some useful information about growing courgettes.
Click here to go to fabulousplaces.co.uk.
February 3rd, 2010 §
I decided earlier this week that the next blog would have a green theme and straight away contacted the lovely Alison, owner of eco eco in Hope to ask for her advice. Alison owns the fabulous eco eco home & eco eco clothing in Hope, Derbyshire.
I would categorise myself as a beginner when it comes to being green…I’ve made lots of changes to the way I live over the past 12 months and proudly own a monitor that tells me how much electricity I’m using around my home at any one time, which is absolutely fantastic and, frankly, lifestyle changing! Saying that, I know there are many more changes I can make.
Here are some tips and advice from Alison to help you if you’re wondering how you can make some changes to your lifestyle:
The distance travelled by much of our food is pretty scary. Do we REALLY need to buy strawberries from Africa in the middle of winter? Click here to read up on the implications of long-haul veggies.
Consider buying seasonal and local produce where possible. The Big Barn website can help you find sources in your area and also provides recipes using seasonal ingredients.
The fabulousplaces.co.uk website can help you find local producers, like The Loaf in Crich, Bluebells Dairy in Spondon, Crow Wood Farm in Spondon & I Should Cocoa in Belper.
Local box schemes are a good idea as they usually concentrate on sourcing food from local producers. Search for one near you at the Find A Box Scheme website.
Reducing the amount you travel doesn’t have to mean staying at home. Opt for public transport where available, ride a bike to reduce your carbon footprint (with the added advantage of improving fitness), or try car-sharing. Journeys with only one person per vehicle are wasteful and have a large environmental impact so share the journey and the cost of the trip between the passengers.
Before you travel consider each journey – is it really necessary? Don’t pop down to the shops for one or two items but wait until you need to do a proper shop. Alternatively walk instead of taking the car; another way to save money, get fit and reduce your carbon footprint.
Buy less, make more
Unfortunately we seem to live in a society where shopping is considered a recreation. There is increasing pressure to buy new products even when we don’t really need them; one might argue we don’t even want them until we’re told we do! Buying a new phone just because it’s a prettier colour or has an interesting feature that we’ll never use is not a good use of our money. When you go shopping think carefully about everything you buy. If necessary go off and have a coffee before committing; perhaps the desire to buy will wear off!
Alternatively have a go at making things yourself. Knitting, crochet, dressmaking and DIY are enjoyable and constructive and you can create items that are far more interesting and individual than the mass-produced goods available from shops. Instead of buying gifts, spend a little time poring over books or wandering round the internet to find ideas for things to make. Home-made presents show more thought. Even if you can’t knit or sew, a jar full of cookie mix or a plant from your garden is a lovely and unexpected treat that will be enjoyed far more than yet another corporate bodycare product.
Some useful websites full of ideas include the Martha Stewart website and allaboutyou.com.
When you do need to buy, consider where and how the product was made. Instead of buying something that is disposable, can you find a similar item that will last? How about looking at second-hand furniture instead of just rushing to IKEA again? Alternatively, support local craftspeople and makers by buying goods that are made with skill and care, giving pleasure every time you look at them. Bear in mind that cheap products were probably made by companies with less than ethical policies. That two quid t-shirt might seem like a bargain but how long will it last and how many people suffered to make it? Start thinking rather than just shopping.
Enjoy nature, reduce consumption
Got a day off with the family? Instead of heading for the high street you could go for a walk together, ending up with a picnic. Even in towns and cities there are points of interest that you might not notice when you drive past, and local parks provide a safe place to finish. Failing that, aim for a local coffee shop or restaurant. If there are children in the party you can create or download nature-based games for them to play from the Wildlife Watch website and the BBC website.
Alternatively spend a little while before going out researching the area. Investigate local buildings and history or make up ‘spotting’ games, awarding points for different categories, perhaps 3 points for a yellow front door, or 1 point for a blue van. Using imagination can make even apparently uninspiring walks fun.
Detoxify your home
Take a look around your house at the cleaning products you use, then examine everything in your bathroom cabinet and make-up bag. Read the labels and then consult some of these sites; www.non-toxic.info and www.ewg.org.
Many of the products we use contain petroleum-based ingredients which will become increasingly expensive if present predictions regarding oil supplies are correct. However, more worryingly, a large number of chemicals in household products and personal care are actually harmful. Be aware of the risks to your health by educating yourself, and bear in mind the environmental impact of products that poison watercourses and kill wildlife.
Consider making your own bodycare and cleaning products from site such as www.ehow.com and www.care2.com.
Alternatively, buy from reputable companies that sell non-toxic alternatives.
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A big thank you to Alison Jackson-Bass from eco eco in Hope for the eco hints and tips! Click here for full information about the fabulous eco eco.
Alison will be exhibiting at the next fabulousplaces.co.uk…a shopping indulgence evening at the gorgeous Blackbrook House nr Belper. Tickets are £5 each and the event will be supporting the Wirksworth Rotary Club’s Aquabox Scheme.
January 18th, 2010 §
I am delighted to welcome the following fabulous businesses to fabulousplaces.co.uk:
The Studio, Mickleover
Portrait & Wedding Photography…click here to find out more.
Jackie Thompson Couture
Wedding dress designers with a difference…click here to find out more.
October 23rd, 2009 §
We’ve had a great week on Ed to Head and scored a total of 24/25, which puts us in joint first place with Ripley Traders! Next week will see the final team attempting to get full scores…if they get one wrong, we’ll be back on Friday for a tiebreaker! How exciting…we’ll be listening in all next week!
Yesterday (Thursday) we were down a team member (Wendy) and we couldn’t find the answer for one of the questions and today Claire (things we make blog) was in London, so I was joined by Wendy Quirky Cookies & Cakes who I welcomed into my home when I spotted these in her arms …. :o)
I would like to say a HUGE thank you to everyone who helped out…the score was achieved through great team work and I appreciate you taking time out to support the ‘fabulous faces’ team! Special thanks to everyone I can think of who have supported us throughout the week: Quirky Cookies & Cakes, The Blossom Tree, Claire Sutton, squarchilli, Cupcake Corner, Eco Eco Hope, Milly & Pip, Domestic Jules…apologies if I’ve missed anyone!
October 21st, 2009 §
3 down 2 to go! We’re on full points – 15 out of 15 & we’re hoping to keep our successful run going through to Friday. We need 25 out of 25 to be in first place…it’s a toughy, but I think we can do it!
Here are 3 of us at my house today for the challenge. From the left we have Claire (things we make blog), me and Wendy from Quirky Cookies & Cakes.
If you’re free between 1pm and 2pm and able to listen into BBC Radio Derby on 104.5fm we would love to hear from you if you can assist with any of the questions. Today Claire was Anneka Rice and jumped in the car to head up to Ripley to find the answer to a question and also David (from squarechilli; the technical whizz behind fabulousplaces.co.uk) headed over to West Hallam to find an answer for us!!
Fingers crossed for the next two days!
May 4th, 2009 §
I’ll be honest, before I launched fabulousplaces.co.uk in July 2008, I wasn’t the most environmentally conscious person, I bought free range eggs and recycled when I remembered to….shamefully, that was about it! Well, over the past year I’ve discovered a whole new passion for making small positive changes to my lifestyle. I’ve met some great people through the website who have shown me how easy it is and after a little effort on my part, I can honestly say I’m feeling pretty good about what I’ve done.
Here are some of the things I’ve been upto:
Electric cost gadget – my partner, David, won an online competition and we’re now the owners of a gadget that tells you how much you’re spending at any time. This has been quite an education! Little did I know how much it costs to boil the kettle and hoover the living room…it’s a gift and a curse, but life changing! lol
Bee boxes & bee friendly plant seeds- I’ve put two bee boxes in the garden and also planted some bee friendly seeds (see photo above).
Vegetables – I’m now the proud owner of a veggie patch (photo above). It was super easy to set up….apart from the two occasions when I found my dog, Toby, having a great time digging in it! I found some great eco chic gardening accessories at the bottlekiln and the alphabet gift shop.
Buying local – I love to visit farmers markets, they’re great for meats, cakes, bread and veggies. Also, you’ll find other local producers like chocolate, crafts and art. Click here for a list of Derbyshire’s farmers markets.
Also, I now check what I buy in the supermarket and buy items produced in the UK wherever possible.
Recycling – this is a no brainer…all councils provide recycling bins now, so we recycle everything we possibly can.
Bags – I have so many eco shopper bags and never use supermarket’s plastic till bags. I’m really pleased to see places like M&S charging for them…now if that’s not an incentive to take your own bag I don’t know what is!
I’ve made all sorts of other changes, but I thought I would share these with you as they were easy peasy changes and if you’re looking to make some…here are some to give you a good kick start! If you have any good tips, do leave them below! :o)