Friday, 31 July 2009

where do they come from?

I first met Pankaj when he was four years old, I was visiting a colony of homes whilst on holiday in India. Pankaj has quite a posh house compared to some, it has mud walls and a tin roof. I don’t think the colony was often visited by tourists, so many children came up to see this novelty! i said hello to everyone… Pankaj appeared from under the bed with his school book, signalled to me to sit down and proceeded to show me his work. he didn’t learn english at his school but he was really proud because he knew one, two and three in english. he made me sit until I had learnt my name and one two and three in hindi! I find it very difficult to decide which one of us has everything and which one of us has nothing in our relationship, but I do know that he is one clever boy – he saw an opportunity and grabbed it!

whats this got to do with flowers then?

well the sale of flowers, (you can buy them in our fabulous online boutique) has supported pankaj through school, because he has worked so hard, last year we went to see his headmaster and agreed to transfer him to an english school. recently he told me in english he had achieved his first ever 1st class pass, so excited he dived under his mattress to find the certificate to show me… all i managed to do was burst into tears because he had told me in english, that totally confused him but luckily the international language of laughter got me out of that hole!

Our flowers aren’t just great because they pay for the school fees for several children now they are also made in a special way. You see when we make them it is done from the fleece from our sheep, which is good because it is natural. Then they are felted completely by hand, which is really hard work for lots of people, which is good because it creates jobs and makes people feel better about themselves. we don’t need electricity to make our flowers which is good because we don’t want to be greedy and use up the earths resources on fun things. Even better we don’t create any waste when we make our flowers because what’s the point!

next time you go to make a purchase ask where it came from...

read more of our story here or have a look at some pictures here

Monday, 27 July 2009

The Walker’s take on a Victoria Sponge (i.e it’s my mum’s recipe)

I’m really enjoying #elevensestime (when I’m not pulled away for a meeting) and I thought you might like a recipe for the blog. It’s a little more high tea than elevenses, but if it was a special day, I think it could squeeze in!
7” cake tins [2]
Oven [1]
Resting rack (could use a grill tray) [1]
Big mixing bowl [1]
Smaller mixing bowl [1]
Mixing device (electric beaters or hand whisk) [1]
Pretty big spoon [1]
Washing up sink ready to wash pots.
Cocktail stick [1]
Fresh strawberries or jam to taste.
The flattest plate you have over 7” across or a big round chocolate tin lid.
Self-raising flour [8oz]
Margarine [12oz]
Caster sugar [8oz]
Medium eggs [2]
Icing Sugar [4oz]
Vanilla extract [2 drops]

Pre-heat the oven to 190°C (for fan assisted). Grease the cake tins (if you need to).
Put 8oz of margarine in the big mixing bowl. Add 8oz of caster sugar to the big mixing bowl. Mix the margarine and caster sugar. Break the eggs into the smaller bowl. Whisk the eggs. Start adding small amounts of the egg to the big bowl and mix it in. This will make the egg curdle, so add flour to the big bowl and mix it to bring the mix back. Continue until all the flour and egg has been added to the big bowl.
Spoon the mix into the two cake tins so they have equal amounts of mix. Level the mix out in the tins, but try to have a little more around the edges and less in the middle (it rises more in the middle and cooks slower so doing this will lead to a more level sponge).
If the oven is stable at temperature, put the filled cake tins in and start a 15 minute timer (if not, carry on with instructions until it is).
Wash the smaller bowl (we’ll need it again soon). Wash the big bowl and put it away. Wash the mixing device. Put the remaining 4oz of margarine in the smaller bowl. Mix the margarine to smooth it and make later mixing easier. Put small amounts (table spoon sized) of icing sugar in the smaller bowl and mix it in (if you add lots you will make a big cloud of icing sugar dust).
Continue until about 3oz of icing sugar has been mixed with the margarine. Add 2 drops of vanilla extract to the smaller bowl and mix it in.Taste the mix and decide if you need more icing sugar, keep adding sugar to taste. Put the smaller bowl in the fridge to cool until the cake is ready. When the cake is ready it will be golden and when you slide the cocktail stick in it will come out with no cake mix left on it. Once the cakes are ready, take the tins out of the oven (but not the cakes out of the tin!). Let the tins cool for 5-10 minutes. The cake should now have shrunk and the tins cooled enough to remove them from the tins and put them on the rack.Leave for another 5-10 minutes to cool more.
Choose the flattest sponge as the one for the bottom. Put the bottom sponge on the plate / upside-down lid.
With jam: Smear the jam over the top of the lower sponge.
Smear 2/3 of the butter icing over the jam.
With fruit:Wash then slice the strawberries up.
Smear the top of the lower sponge with 2/3 of the butter icing.Place ¾ of the strawberries on top of the butter icing. Place the top sponge on top. Smear the last of the butter icing over the top sponge. With fruit:Place the last of the strawberries on top of the butter icing. Put it all in the fridge for 15 minutes for the icing to harden up.

Enjoy it all with a nice cup of tea at #elevensestime

Kindest regards, StoatWithToast (aka Dave) Dave Walker

Friday, 17 July 2009

mygreenlipstick launches their upcycled collection

"It's no longer big news that ethics & aesthetics are starting to mingle:.... But even in an increasingly greened-up fashionscape, who has the time, energy or specialist knowledge to weed out the baggy bamboo pinafores from the sassy organic silk slips? Enter, an online ethical fashion store with style credentials & eco endorsements in equal measures....."Time Out - London.

mygreenlipstick has just launched their upcyled collection comprising exclusive designs made from vintage fabrics, lace & trimmings, in limited numbers, creating a range that is not only 'green' but exclusive too! Vintage pieces are 'lipsticked' as a unique style is added to each piece making it truely adorable & distinctive at the end of its upcycling journey. These pieces are one-offs, made from refashioned, recycled materials including repurposed garments, vintage silk scarves, vintage buttons & buckles & sustainable materials such as organic cotton & silk; all waiting to start a new life!

mygreenlipstick are proud of their environmental responsibility within their cutting-edge designs working their fashion magic with a mixture of vintage fabrics & lace & accessories. The results are as striking as they are ecologically sensitive.

The collection has a uniqueness all of it's own but works well with the other designers that mygreenlipstick have brought together, already proud to have celebrities as clients. Kate Moss, Keira Knightley, Gwen Stefani, Cheryl Cole, Paris Hilton, Rihanna, & Sienna Miller are just some of the celebrities who are loving 'green'.

"The big names are there - from Hollywood eco-darling Deborah Lindquist to ethical editors fave Ciel' Time Out - London.

The beautiful collection looks & feels great & will leave you wanting to add more to your wardrobe. Go on line and view the complete collection today at! You'll find yourself making time in your diary to visit again.