Green Gift Guide – day five – subscription gifts…

Day five on our green gift guide and we are into the panic week where we all realise we have missed the last delivery dates for the lovely independent makers. Sooo… instead of panicking and heading to your nearest generic high street, why not think about a subscription to a great magazine, charity or supporting a good cause instead? And if a note doesn’t arrive in time to explain it to your giftee, well, write something in a card to let them know what is on it’s way. Plus, this is the gift that can keep giving throughout the year…

Welcome to day five – subscription gifts…

1 – a Protect Our Waves membership for Surfers Against Sewage – we are really proud to have a few SAS members amongst us – supporting this great charity who do fantastic work at not only highlighting and tackling the issues of water pollution around our shores, but do a sterling job in bringing marine litter to our attention, organising beach clean-ups and generally caring for our seas. Memberships can be bought for individuals, families and you can even sign up to help as a business too. Claire is a Protect Our Waves Guardian – see below for the great stuff you get in a membership pack, along with the lovely regular Pipeline magazine delivered to your door too… from £36 as shown 

2 – Adopt – a – Beehive – one twelfth share – buying a share in a beehive is a way to support bees and earn some honey too… because, of course, Bees matter. Most fruit and vegetables, nuts and seeds, as well as food crops for farmed animals, depend on bees. But bees are in crisis with their numbers dwindling at an alarming rate.The problem is not so apparent in urban gardens, but in the countryside, where bees are under attack from viruses, pesticides and mites, but most of us don’t have the inclination or the opportunity to keep bees, so here’s an easier way for you to help: Adopt a beehive and help start a new bee colony. For each yearly share you get 1lb of honey made by your adopted bees in September each year along with regular updates from your beekeeper and each shareholder has the option to visit the hive too… £29.99 per yearly share from Nigel’s Eco Store

3 – Montezuma’s Real Chocolate Club – ok – so what could possibly be better than getting a selection of good, organic real chocolate through your letterbox each month? Not a lot. And using very nifty boxes that easily fit through the letterbox (so you will never miss it), you, or your giftee are guaranteed a lovely, delicious surprise. £19.99 per month (you can choose the length of your subscription too)

4 – Another Escape Magazine – just like we reported in our Green Gift Guide day two, print is certainly not dead, and another of our favourites is the quite stunning Another Escape. Outdoor lifestyle, creative culture and sustainable living? Three ticks from us. With engaging stories and eye-wateringly beautiful imagery, this is a real treat for the eyes and mind. Get a range of subscriptions on their shop page here, from current editions, past editions and future ones too…

Another Escape vol6 cover border

5 – Coffee subscription to Small Batch Coffee Company – as well as good chocolate, life is certainly too short to have anything other than great coffee. And here in Brighton we are really lucky to have Small Batch Coffee Company, who source great coffee cherries from reputable suppliers and wash and roast them with love. We are rather partial to their flat whites. But what if your giftee doesn’t live in Brighton? No fear, you can gift a subscription to their postal ground coffee service to someone for anything from 3 months, anywhere in the UK, where they will receive a fresh 250g bag of coffee every two weeks for 12 weeks. And you can choose how you would like it ground – from cafitieres, to stovetop makers… delish. From £42.50 for three months.

3 Month Subscription

So, missing the last postal date does not mean you have to panic. You can still gift something great…

(images via associated brands)

Green Gift Guide – day four – stuff for the home…

Today on day three of our Green Gift Guide, we are looking at nice stuff for the home and garden, which will eco up a space very nicely indeed – and some in very different ways than you may think…

1 – Eco Filament bulb by Urban Cottage Industries – Filament bulbs have been the go-to fitting for a few seasons now to create that popular industrial style interior, but despite looking great, they are certainly not great for energy efficiency. But, thankfully, there is now an option which combines the looks of old style filaments with the energy efficiency we should all be striving for. The Eco Filament by Urban Cottage Industries is A-rated and has a life of 25,000 hours, which equates to 11 years at 6 hours per day… fantastic. from £30.60 inc delivery

Caret lamp eco-filament E27

2 – Hessian covered lighting cable by Urban Cottage Industries – we are sticking with Urban Cottage Industries for the next of our green things for the house, and whilst many people would argue that lighting cable is not sexy, we would beg to differ. The shade gets all the attention, the bulb partly so, but the cable often gets forgotten… bring your lighting up to scratch with some of this brand new hessian covered lighting cable from Urban Cottage Industries – £4.80 per metre (order a bit more and give it a decorative loop we say)

Hessian Fabric Cable | Cloth Covered Wire | 3 Core Round

2 – Home Hack kit by Sugru – there is barely a day goes by when we do not mention Sugru and what we could do with it here in the studio. We have a tin of this wonder stuff in every colour possible in the studio and we use it on everything from in-house repairs to client projects. Sugru – the self setting silicon based rubber has grown into a community, with people posting their hacks and repairs online – proudly showing how they have fixed their stuff. And now Sugru has started a home hack kit, complete with other useful things which you can combine with the mouldable coloured Sugru such as magnets, bits of lego and tennis balls… we love this stuff. Perfect for a DIY enthusiast in your life. Or actually anyone. £17 plus shipping
Home Hacks Made Easy — The Kit

4 – seeds from The Garden House from What You Sow – The beautiful online store What you Sow has everything you would need for those with green fingers – from tools to twine, but it is the seeds from The Garden House, with their stunningly simple illustrations that we adore. With a variety of edibles and flowers to choose from, we say get a bundle of seeds, then also buy your giftee a lovely secondhand frame too, so they can frame up those great illustrations after planting. from 2.95 each plus shipping (final orders 18th Dec!)

Garden House Seeds at What You Sow

5 – recycled card light shades from Tabitha Bargh – possibly the most ‘obvious’ eco choice on our Green Gift Guide today, these lovely lampshades take recycled cardboard to a whole new level. Clean and precise, this is how sustainable materials can and should be used – perfect in any modern interior. In fact, we are looking at using these for a project we have got coming up in 2016… from £75 each

So – five eco ideas that may be a little different from your usual options for the home…

(images via associated brands)

december wish list day 16 – Montezuma’s Chocolate…

If there is one time of year when you can legitimately eat mince pies and chocolate for breakfast – and nobody can say anything at all, it is Christmas. But, the fussy ones that we are, we do not want any old chocolate – we want chocolate that is organic and has strange flavours. We would like Montezuma’s Chocolate please…

Dark with Orange & Geranium

Based in West Sussex, Montezuma’s Chocolate started with one shop in Brighton in 2000 (and I actually happened to be in town that very day – and got to sample one of the best truffles I have ever tasted). Since then, Montezuma’s Chocolate has grown – and their bars can now be found in multiple locations as well as in Waitrose and other selected stores (like hiSbe) – which is an excellent thing indeed.

Treacle Tart

With flavours ranging from the standard milk, white and dark to orange and geranium, chilli and lime and treacle tart, these are certainly chocolate bars to be savoured. But, at around £2.49 or so a bar, they will not break the bank and are the absolute perfect treat for a Christmas stocking.

Sea Dog

Which one will we be hoping for? The Sea Dog – a mix of dark chocolate, lime and sea salt. Pretty much perfect…

So, if you can’t make it to one of their shops to sample the full range of buttons, truffles and other delicacies, head to one of their other stockists and grab the bars…

(images via Montezuma’s Chocolate)

december wish list day 12 – a bag from Freitag…

It has been said that I have a bit of a ‘thing’ about bags. If a ‘thing’ means that I am drawn to all manner of things satchel like… er, yes. Not bothered with shoes necessarily, but give me a new satchel and I am like a seagull with a chip. Tasty. And as tasty bags go, there is a particular brand which ticks our boxes of not only being creators of beautiful pieces of useful design, they are responsible and care for what they do. With each bag being completely unique from the next, and made from recycled materials, Freitag is a marvellous brand indeed.

F202 LELAND

Created from old transportation lorry tarps, the bags are hard wearing and individual – showing little glimpses into the previous lives that they had and little hints as to who or what they used to advertise. This material reuse is relatively standard now, with many manufacturers creating completely new products from old items – hence the increase of the term ‘upcycling’ in our vocabulary.

But Freitag has another term for this reuse, which fittingly they have also created – ‘recontexturalising’ – in the world of Freitag is all about the removing of a former life and putting a new context on a material and product.

Another element which makes us rate Freitag so highly is their complete transparency of creation, which is very hands on. The tarps arrive after 5-10 years on the roads, they are de-buckled, washed and laid on huge cutting boards where each bag is cut by hand – with the designers working on the floor to create the best combinations of colours, forms and lettering. Each one is highly considered and beautifully well thought out.

Their stores are just as wonderful, and we will be writing about them in 2015. How do you create a sleek store design where every item is a different colour? They will show you how…

This is recycling and reuse on a wonderful scale – creating great bags, laptop sleeves and accessories. Freitag is a pioneer of designing within the circular economy.

Day 12 of our december wish list – anything from Freitag (but we particularly like this one…)

(image via Freitag)

december wish list day 11 – a KeepCup Brew limited edition cup…

As many of you know, we are fully committed members of the reduce and reuse community. If we can try and reduce the amount that we consume and of course, reuse as much as we can, the little actions really do add up to a much bigger action. This is why, along with the fact that we tend to be running in between sites with our coffees, that we are huge fans of the KeepCup. We have one each, and not a day goes by when we do not use them to have our drinks on the go, so for today’s wish list, we have chosen one of the new KeepCup Brew limited edition cups…

KeepCup Brew limited edition cup

Now, this is a different beast to my black and lime green plastic KeepCup – a heavier and more sophisticated version in glass, plastic and cork, the KeepCup Brew is rather lovely indeed. But, like all KeepCups, the size is barista standard (8oz or 12oz), so you are able to hand your cup over any coffee counter and get it filled without any bother at all.

At some places we have even got a discount for using our own cup – double winner.

Plus, unlike many drink on the go cups, the KeepCup is easy to drink from. We know that this should be a standard requirement for a cup, but as many of us know, this is not always the case and many occasions have found us with spillages, leaks and drips.

So, as well as getting a cup that looks beautiful, is refillable (easily) and can be drunk from, the KeepCup has a low environmental impact. The plastic versions for example, contain the same amount of plastic as 20 standard disposable polyethylene lined cups and polystyrene lids. That is not that many lattes before you are ahead in the plastic stakes, let alone the fact that the plastic is staying firmly out of landfill. And when it gets the end of it’s life – each part of the cup can be split into separate parts – easily and quickly – for recycling.

And the KeepCup Brew limited edition also has a cork band – another great material not only for it’s insulative properties but also the fact that cork has to be harvested from the cork Oak for the tree to survive. Literally use it or lose it.

A great, useful, responsible present – and one that will do good and not break the bank too.

Check out the KeepCup website for details on the range…

december wish list day 10 – a walnut bird from Jacob Pugh…

Today on our wish list we have chosen a lovely decoration – even though, typically, we do not go in for the whole ‘decoration’ thing. But, there are occasions when a nice thing on your desk to make your smile is exactly the thing that you need. Plus, we decorated our tree over the weekend, which has a distinctive woodland theme, so this lovely walnut bird from Jacob Pugh would be right at home.

Walnut Bird by Jacob Pugh

Designed and handcrafted in the UK, these lovely little birds are finished with metal leaf in gold or copper and are quite beautiful. Plus, at £38, they are not too bad at all, especially considering their hand crafted nature. We will have a flock of these lovely birds on our desks please. Not sure exactly which bird they are – yellowhammers perhaps, but anyways…

Available now at the Design Museum shop…

(image via the Design Museum)

december wish list day 9 – a personalised moleskine from Urban Cottage Industries…

Today, I was part of a photoshoot of ‘makers’ in Brighton, where we were all photographed in a portrait fashion with items representative of our craft. First off, I thought that this would be rather hard, but when I looked at the items I used on a near daily basis, there were a few that stuck out. My mechanical pencil, my hard hat and my little black moleskine notebook. 

 

And I am certainly not alone. Many designers become very attached to their notebooks even though we are also surrounded with digital devices that can record our thoughts, notes and musings. There is something special about a bit of paper and a pencil.

But what is more special than a black notebook? How about a personalised moleskine notebook, with your choice of message, embossed in the traditional way? Well. Our friends over at Urban Cottage Industries have just the thing…

Their personalised moleskine notebooks come in a variety of sizes, colours, plain, lined and as diaries or address books and once you have chosen your 30 character message, it will be embossed using a 1930’s sans serif font. They really are things of beauty.

Want to ensure that nobody steals the notebook? Or want to gift a creative a notebook with an inspirational message on? This is the place.

Plus, there is something even more special about receiving a personalised gift, as the giver really has to think about what to put. There is extra thought in there, and with this very traditional, hand-made process, you are giving something with history and tradition of craft also.

Really stumped as to what to put? Don’t worry. They also do gift vouchers

(images via Urban Cottage Industries)

December wish list – day three… Who Made Your Pants…

We included the fantastic Who Made Your Pants on our Wish List last year and we thought they were very worthy to be included on our wish list for 2014 too. It ticks the boxes of being lovely, ethical and you can get pants all year…

who made your pants

And getting underwear is a pretty standard thing for a lot of us at this time of the year, but as we are very discerning folk, we do not just want any old pants. Oh no. We want beautiful, ethical pants, made by people who care. Fortunately, there is the fabulous Who Made Your Pants?, based in Southampton.

Lunah

ShockerBasically, Who Made Your Pants? create ‘amazing pants by amazing women’ – using fabrics that are left over at the end of the season from other lingerie companies, all made with care by women who have had a pretty rough time in their lives. They are given training and a safe place to work with scope for development. A wonderful company indeed.

But as well as having fabulous ethics, Who Made Your Pants? also create the most fabulous pants. Pants that you would love to receive and wear. They are beautiful and they are obscenely comfortable too – in glorious colours and none of the dreaded VPL. They are packaged with care and you even get to know the name of the person who made your pants. We love them.

Something Blue

Brilliant Black

So – if you are looking for a gift of pants this year, take a look. And looking for a gift that keeps giving past the season? Sign your giftee up to the subscription package of a year of pants, when a special package will arrive each month, with a new pair of pants.

Yes please. 

(images from Who Made Your Pants)

SPOTTED – picking our Christmas tree at Wilderness Wood…

We are suckers for a bit of tradition. Especially when it is a nice tradition – and really, we are heading full whack into one of the busiest times of year as far as tradition goes. We apologise in advance for using the C word in November, but hey. Christmas. Someone told me yesterday that there are only six weekends until Christmas. Six. Somehow that put the panic in a little bit, but we are safe in the knowledge that we have already bagged our tree. We went and reserved it at Wilderness Wood…wilderness wood 1

Some of you may know about our traditional trip up to the working wood, Wilderness Wood in Sussex – where every November (second weekend) we head up to get a tag, pay our £10 deposit and choose our tree in the Christmas tree plantation.

This year, was no different. We headed up on a sunny Sunday, boots at the ready, filled with excitement that was tinged with a little bit of apprehension. This was to be the first year that the wood was under new ownership after the Yarrow’s, who had founded the working wood in the 1970’s decided to retire. Would it be the same? Would the pots of tea be as huge, the cake so delicious and the atmosphere so friendly and welcoming?wilderness wood 2

Well, yes. We needn’t have worried. The barn was as packed as usual, the tea and the cake were both huge and delicious and the Christmas tree plantation was as we had expected.wilderness wood 3

With number 232 on our tag, there were lots of families and members who had reserved their trees before us, but there was still loads of selection available. Unfortunately, not the Douglas Fir that we have grown to love for its soft, fragrant, limey green needles, but still lots in the fir and spruce categories. Like the children in the plantation, we scooted up and down the hill, trying to find ‘the one’. There were a few contenders, but we eventually settled on one – a lovely Nordmann Fir – an excellent needle keeper, even when cut. Wilderness Wood has good Blue Spruces this year too, so if you are looking for one of these, ethically produced, then it is a good possibility.wilderness wood 4

Now, many of you will question whether driving to choose, then harvest a tree is perhaps the most ‘eco’ way to get a Christmas tree – and even if a real tree is perhaps the best choice. But we believe that this is not only about the tree, but the tradition of picking one – safe in the knowledge that it has been cared for in the right way. It is as ethical as possible. Plus, as we will compost the tree after, the tree becomes a biological nutrient for our own studio garden.

So. Full of tea, cake and with our tree reserved, we headed home. And we will go back in about a month and cut him down, bring him to the studio for Christmas. Ironically, we have named him Doug.

(go to the Wilderness Wood website for full details of their pick your own Christmas trees. all photos by claire potter)

Monday musings – this years Chelsea Fringe event announced…

Well, well, well. Where exactly has this year gone? We honestly cannot believe that it is a year since we did our Edible City foraging walk for the Chelsea Fringe festival last year. So – what are we planning on doing this year Another Edible City foraging walk, but this year, we are planning a few little extras, which we will be revealing over the next week or so…

Chelsea Fringe 2014 Flyer merged

Yep. A foraging walk, a free map and even a foraged drink at the end…

Extra details coming very soon…

december design wish list day 12 – the bubble wrap calendar

We recently saw a quote which stated ‘everyone is grown up until the bubble wrap comes out’. This is rather true. We re-use all of the bubble wrap which arrives at the studio in our own packaging (unless we are using straw / hay) and there are always a few stray bubbles which accidentally get popped along the way. And it is this intense satisfaction which gives the bubble wrap calendar real appeal.

2014 Bubble Wrap Calendar

With a bubble for each day, there is real appeal in popping it each morning, so you would never not know what day it is. Got a date that needs saving? We would suggest sticking a dot on it, or even just colouring it in with a sharpie.

A lovely alternative gift to the office diary – and perfect for those with a minimal inclination. Just don’t give it to anyone with kids. We doubt it would last that long…

And actual fact, if you have one and it lasts the year, you have far better self control than we would ever have.

(image via notonthehighstreet.com – £25)

design wish list day 11 – a year of pants – Who Made Your Pants?

Getting underwear is a pretty standard thing for a lot of us at this time of the year, but as we are very discerning folk, we do not just want any old pants. Oh no. We want beautiful, ethical pants, made by people who care. Fortunately, there is the fabulous Who Made Your Pants?, based in Southampton.

Lunah

ShockerBasically, Who Made Your Pants? create ‘amazing pants by amazing women’ – using fabrics that are left over at the end of the season from other lingerie companies, all made with care by women who have had a pretty rough time in their lives. They are given training and a safe place to work with scope for development. A wonderful company indeed.

But as well as having fabulous ethics, Who Made Your Pants? also create the most fabulous pants. Pants that you would love to receive and wear. They are beautiful and they are obscenely comfortable too – in glorious colours and none of the dreaded VPL. They are packaged with care and you even get to know the name of the person who made your pants. We love them.

Something Blue

Brilliant Black

 

 

 

 

So – if you are looking for a gift of pants this year, take a look. And looking for a gift that keeps giving past the season? Sign your giftee up to the subscription package of a year of pants, when a special package will arrive each month, with a new pair of pants.

Yes please. 

Get in there quick to order before their shut down!

(images from Who Made Your Pants)

december design wish list day 10 – the SpeakaBoo bamboo iphone speaker

Day 10 on our December design wish list and we have found a very lovely one indeed – the very eco friendly, bamboo iphone speaker – the SpeakaBoo.

Bamboo speaker for iPhone 4/4s/5/5s/5c.

With the hollow sections of the bamboo, the sound is naturally amplified along the length of the tube, with no need for any electronic assistance. The SpeakaBoo is also designed to allow an iPhone to be plugged in for charging whilst playing.

We love the natural qualities of this bamboo iphone speaker – the ‘leopard’ bamboo creates beautiful, natural patterns and the simplicity of the design is truly wonderful.

Plus, at £28 or so, they will not break the bank for a present for the eco, yet technologically aware person on your list. But, get in there quick – last posting is on 20th December from their Etsy shop…

(image via Bamboo style)

december design wish list day 9 – super manatee by Woah There Pickle

Today on our wish list we are continuing with another brilliant, Brighton based designer – the fabulous printer Vicky Day, aka Woah There Pickle. With loads of whimsical prints to choose from, Woah There Pickle has a great selection of funny pieces, but it was the comical Super Manatee print that caught our eye…

Super Manatee Comic Book Animal Linocut

Created using lino printing, the piece has a lovely conic book feel – plus being printed on lovely grey paper (our favourite colour), it would be a great addition to a kids room.

It is also part of a four piece set within the theme of super hero animals, so you could also choose from the Green Bantam, Spider Monkey, or our other favourite, Bat bat.

Batbat Comic Book Animals Linocut

At £15 each, they are also a very reasonable buy for a piece of handcrafted print, which is exactly why it is on our december design wish list.

Get in there quick for last minute Christmas gifts – check out the Woah There Pickle etsy shop for this plus other lovely pieces…

(images via Woah there Pickle)

december design wish list day 6 – the whisky advent calendar

Ok. We know it is already 12th December (eeesh – where has this month gone?), but after finding this, we could not help but put it on our wish list. The whisky advent calendar.

Whisky Advent Calendar

We are all quite used to opening a door on an advent calendar and finding a tiny chocolate, but how about opening a door and finding a tiny tot of whisky?

Perhaps not one for first thing in the morning, but each of the individual, 3cl bottles of globally produced whisky would be a perfect way to count down the days to Christmas each evening.

Beautiful. 

At £149 it is slightly more indulgent than the half price chocolate one that is currently languishing on the shelves of the local supermarket, but really, the whisky advent calendar is far more preferable.

(image via Master of Malt)