Just wait...

I had been ‘on the hunt’ all last year looking for a vegan bag. It had to be big enough to hold all my junk (books, lunches and an umbrella), nothing precious (I am not known for being particularly delicate) and be easy to keep clean (I have lots of those eco cotton bags from various emporiums but they always seem to need washing and ironing after a couple of uses).

I’d heard about a trader, Treetap, who supplied Hermès with rubber bags. Alas, they seemed to have stopped trading in bags and instead now supply the rubber for Veja plimsolls. I thought I’d stumbled across a contender via Manchester’s Dojo Ecoshop in the shape of a ‘Bags for Change’ bag, but it seems that they too are no longer sold (and Bags for Change is no longer an on-going organisation). However, at the tail end of last year, browsing, just by chance on ebay, the rubber bag of my dreams emerged, made from a recycled tyre (and under £2). The moral of the story? Always … just wait.


'Later' presents

‘Later’ presents often set the tone for the year. Arriving after the hullaballoo of the festive season itself they sometimes seem to impart more meaning than those appearing in the scrum that is Christmas.

For me, the year never feels it truly starts until I have a calendar and a diary, and it’s always an Oxfam diary, although alas, its monthly pages to helpfully track expenses appear to have disappeared in favour of glossy world map pages. My Christmas present to myself has arrived in the post, a new iridescent Dosa blouse for a mere £30 (an update of the peach one I pictured years ago) and I’ve procured a few New Year bargains. This year it’s been a Dosa inspired double-breasted blouse (£1 from a local charity shop), additional organic unguents, cookery books at bargain prices (I’m guessing unwanted Christmas presents) and a giant wooden plant pot (again, a mere £1)…


2016: Setting the Scene...

A single image often sets the tone for my year. Last year it was a magazine cover of denim and navy (and the interior featured within, pictured, inspiring me to keep paring things down) and my year turned out to be pretty much dominated by the same. This year it’s an old image of jeweller Pippa Small (found whilst tidying up) that’s seeped into my consciousness. Not a huge departure from last year’s navy/denim tones but prettied up with a jangling arm of bangles and tiny ear cuffs. The sentences of the article have helped too in conjuring up my mood for the year (as does the featured recipe, spicy chickpeas and shallots with prunes – yum):

‘Food, for Small, has to be uncomplicated … When speaking of food, she keeps returning to a few key words: simple, natural, authentic.’

‘She is beautiful, tall and exotic-looking with hair in wild tendrils, and a shirt made from gossamer-like fabric bought from a market stall in India.’

‘She is not remotely interested in MagiMixes or Kitchen Aids. “It’s very relaxing to switch off and methodically cut, boil or peel,” she says, slicing a banana shallot to a chorus of crystal and gold.’


Life Itself is the Proper Binge

I’ve written before about how I draw as much inspiration from non-vegan cookbooks as vegan ones. It remains the case, but last year, my two favourite cookbooks both just happened to be vegan.

The first, Vegan Secret Supper by Merida Anderson (pictured) stands out for featuring zero vegan ‘junk’ additions and the second, Coconut Kitchen, features the rather wonderful slogan heading this blog post (there are a few smatterings of honey and bee pollen in the latter, but both are easy to substitute or leave out).

For a more considered summary, the reviews for both say it all.


Christmas goodies...

2015 Christmas goodies. Always … books, organic chocolate (my current favourite is this), a magazine subscription (fashion magazines bore me, but the World of Interiors always has something to inspire me with), ethical wares (from Kuyichi and more yoga vests from Aura Que), something for the kitchen (this year a cast iron pan for flatbreads etc.), something vintage (a ‘hot-air balloon’ 1970s Harrods housecoat to aid my general ‘don’t want to leave the house’ January mood) and the aforementioned bottle of EFA oil.

There is also a ‘later’ presents picture to come…


I read that in Iceland you exchange books and then take them to bed (with chocolate) to read on Christmas Eve. I thought this sounded so cosy and wonderful that I resolved to extend the tradition by doing the very same for as long as possible over the Christmas period. Let’s just say that Christmas 2015 was pretty blissful and I probably ate my way through a kilogram of festive chocolate coins whilst turning the pages of various books.

My other Christmas tradition is equally ‘small child’ like and consists of spreading out my Christmas wares to admire. The image shown is actually from Christmas 2014 and pretty much set the tone for last year: wholefood cooking and yoga (although I concede I thought more of yoga than actually practiced), organic perfumery and unguents, jade prayer beads and ethical clothing. My single concession to a ‘grown up’ Christmas came in the form of a bottle of EFA oil. It’s turned into a Christmas tradition.

2015 Christmas goodies to be featured soon…