Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Being green

Remember these? In April they were only an inch high and not long after they had grown into some respectable shoots. In August however there was no sign of any fruits andI was told I was the only Dutch person who could not grow a tomato. By September they had grown into something monstrous but not in a successful way.

And as the conservatory was starting to feel like the Day of the Triffids with six of these all around my I was on the verge of throwing them out. Watering them felt like a real waste and then all of a sudden I noticed one small tomato growing. In the meantime this one has been eaten; shared between me and the monkeys. However boy monkey told me tonight that we've got 13 tomatoes growing! Well that is not bad going for an initial layout of about a pound.

On another green note I have really enjoyed trying these Ecover products. Regular readers might know that I am a very keen supporter of green cleaning products due to my monkeys' sensitive skin but also I really like the smell; so much better than all the chemical ones.

Anyway I will not go on about how wonderfully clean my house is now and how fresh it smells but I just wanted to let you all know that Ecover is giving away two iPads every two weeks until December, when a grand prizer winner will also receive a holiday. All you have to do is photograph youself enjoying the 'Ecover effect' and register your entries on Ecover's online magazine: www.the-splash.co.uk. The competition celebrates Ecover's all new plant-based packaging and will be decided by public vote. I think I might check this out myself and see if one of the monkeys can take a decent picture of me that doesn't just show my legs and is blurred.

Oooh that looks nice !

I know that many of you are very keen on self-sufficiency, crafts and the 'make do and mend' trend. This vogue seemed to have really caught on in the last decade and hopefully will keep going strong for a long time to come. What with all the cuts and the *brilliant* politics provided by the teletories, no doubt we have no choice but to join in.

However, as with festivals, I have noticed a waning interest in craft fairs. There seem to be too many rules and regulations to keep some going and at times it feels that the interest is stabilising rather than growing. Do we think that making items and selling them for a marginal profit is not sustainable? Are the running costs and fees for market rights becoming too high? Has it taken the WI feeling out of the fun. Or have we come to a conclusion that we really are not living in the 50's any more and we also need to keep up with what modern D&T is producing? I always said I would have loved to live in the 50's, would have made my life so much easier I think with everyone knowing their place in society, families staying close and not moving too far away (let alone to another country!). Or am I living in a dream world? Whatever it is, whatever anyone feels about bygone times and the eagerness to make and mend, one thing that seems to be on the up is the vintage style packaging of goods in the supermarkets.

Cath Kidston seems to have had a big influence here and many magazines and shops do not just show and stock her items (it's becoming a bit too much almost, at some point they were exclusive, last year Tesco's had her bags!) but her flair for florals and chintzes are evident in many photo shoots and shop windows.

(I know I have used this image before but it is a lovely happy image. Just like my kitchen, full of bunting and cakes :-)!).

But when it comes to packaging in shops I noticed Marks and Spencers started with pretty cakes in lovely 50's inspired boxes. Today I saw this lovely box of chocolate eclairs at the Coop. It would have look good in any tea room so obviously I could not refuse to buy one. Mind you I did share.....

And then the other day I received this lovely parcel:

Initially I thought it looked like a lovely box of soaps and tissues but much to my surprise it was a box of feminine goodies. Lil-lets have asked for the advice of a group of young girls and have clearly gone to town with their new packaging. All wrappers can be taken off and no one can guess what's inside! Products even come in 'whisper' wrappers. The teenage market will be delighted. I know how embarrassed my little one can get at times when this topic is mentioned but with this new pretty packaging that doesn't scream about WHAT YOU HAVE GOT IN YOUR BAG, no doubt this range will catch on.

They've even done away with the obvious blue cords (that seem to stick out of bikinis at times when you are trying to be cool) and replaced those with a pretty "Candystripe" red & white garden twine like cord. And the best bit of all: lovely ribbons. Can I suggest other manufacturers have a look at this and get inspired?