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July Roundup

garden blog

garden blog

Do you remember my weekly link round-ups?  ‘ll be honest with you they were proving to be a bit much for me.  They’re a surprising amount of work!  Rather than disband the idea completely, I thought what about a monthly round-up?

There’s a lot to round up – July has been a busy month on the blog.  There was a big focus on ethical fashion this month, with women’s ethical sale picks, men’s ethical sales picks; a guide to ethical sleepwear; an ethical fashion infographic; and I was really pleased to kick off my new ethical style feature, with a great chat with Ceri Heathcote on her ethical style.

There was a focus on the garden with a guide to edible flowers and some wildlife pond ideas.

clafoutis

I shared my gooseberry clafoutis recipe.  Moral Fibres reader Nat had a go at making it and it looks delicious!

I shared Mel Wiggin’s recycled necklace DIY, and Bikeable Jo’s ingenious way for skirt wearers to ride a bike without a red face.

I also looked at environmentally friendly cleaning products that work, shared my natural skincare regime, and last but not least shared a really simple way to save up to 50% of the energy that your dishwasher uses.

Our garden also came good this month (we beat the slugs!) and our courgettes and patty pans are flourishing!  Hooray! We harvested our first courgettes and patty pans and made these delicious halloumi kebabs drizzled in balsamic vinegar for dinner the other night, which I shared on Instagram (before grilling them):

Our beans and cucamelons (first photo in this post) are coming along nicely too after a stunted start.  We had to relocate them to a more favourable spot for them – it seems they like growing behind our shed best!

In other news, this month there is a new sponsor on the blog: SWAGS World®.  SWAGS World is a UK based social enterprise that works with women artisans around the world, combining traditional artisan handicrafts with modern design to create beautiful products that empower women.  As well as partnering with women artisan entrepreneurs to create handmade goods; they also provide education and business opportunities and offer support to the craftswomen.

Currently they have a small but perfectly formed range of ethical goods in their online shop, like these beautiful handcrafted sandals (£28):

swags world

I was also really pleased to have Lost Shapes join us again as a blog sponsor.  In case you’re a new reader to Moral Fibres, Lost Shapes sell beautiful hand printed organic cotton ethical  t-shirts.  All t-shirts are designed by artist Anna Brindle in her Somerset studio, and have such striking and unique prints.

My current favourites are the Pop men’s t-shirt (£18) and the Spy Pigeon women’s t-shirt (£18):

ethical t-shirts

I also read a lot of good things this month:

Some tasty looking vegan recipes: grilled cherry milkshakes and a no-bake chocolate raspberry tart.

Some truly excellent environmental news (the best I’ve heard in a long time): solar out competes coal in Australia and wind power is now the cheapest form of power in Denmark.  High fives all round!

Time-lapse videos of flowers opening – truly stunning.

This moss graffiti is surprisingly pretty!

Elderflower ice-cubes!

Mommy Emu’s inspiring journey to being more eco-friendly.

Lyndsey’s stunning sweet pea balcony.

And finally, I was a bit of an idiot and accidentally deleted my Moral Fibres Google+ page!  Is it just me that finds Google+ so hard to work?  I’ve set up a new page though, so if you’re on Google+ you can join me there!

How was your July?

Personal

Happy New Year!

pirate cake decoration
pirate cake decoration

Happy New Year!  I hope you had a lovely festive season!  I had planned to do some posts between Christmas and New Year, but decided instead to take a little break to celebrate the season, drink my homemade elderflower vodka (recipe to follow later this year) and watch festive telly with my family!  But I’m back now, refreshed and revived and raring to go for 2014, and thought I’d start the year on a personal note.

Did you make any resolutions?  I’m not normally one for resolutions but this year I aim to avoid Amazon as much as I can.  Incidentally, with regards to resolutions I read an interesting article about breaking the year down into quarters to help stay focused on your goals, rather than having them stretch on and on for a whole year.  I don’t know about you, but December feels like a very very long way away, but April, why, it’s a mere stone’s throw away!

Anyway, back to the main focus of Moral Fibres: sustainability.  My daughter turned two last week.  I could lament the passing of the years but instead of boring you (because I know other people’s kids aren’t especially thrilling, especially kids of people you’ve never met!) I’ll instead share some details of her birthday.  We decided to try and make it as sustainable as possible, so for her present I got lucky on eBay and scored a second hand wooden town play set for the princely sum of £11.  I then got lucky again and scored another second hand play set of the same make (Plan City if you’re interested) for £9.

I don’t know about you but I personally don’t mind buying my daughter second hand toys as birthday or Christmas presents.  I think it’s nice to think that the toys have been played with and enjoyed by other children and then get a new lease of life to be enjoyed by another (we watched Toy Story 3 over the holidays and I loved the message it portrayed of passing toys on).  I also want to teach her that there is no stigma attached to secondhand.  There’s also the financial aspect too.  Bought new, the two sets would have cost in the region of £250, which is certainly way way out of our budget, so she benefited in getting a lot lot more than if we were buying the items new.

plan city garage and road

A very very small portion of the wooden town being enjoyed by one happy little girl!

Before you think how virtuous I must be, let me tell you about the great birthday cake disaster.  The night before my tot’s birthday I set up camp in the kitchen with my radio, aiming to make a simple Victoria sponge cake.  Armed with a Mary Berry recipe and all the ingredients I was pretty sure that the next day we’d all be tucking into a tasty slice of cake.  However it soon became apparent that a perfect storm was brewing of a) too little cake batter and b) cake tins that were far too big.  I persevered hoping the cake would rise enough but sadly the whole thing came out as flat as a pancake, with no hope of saving it.  The next morning I had to run over to our local Co-Op and buy a pre-made cake, and you cannot for love nor money buy a pre-made cake that does not come in at least two layers of plastic.  Oh well, you win some you lose some!

pirate birthday cake

I added some paper pirate decorations and some pirate candles for added effect (can you tell what she’s into?!), and we all enjoyed a slice of cake, especially the birthday girl.  Next year I’ll get the cake right – fortunately that involves lots of practice cake baking and eating, which I’m sure I’m up to!

ps: I normally keep Moral Fibres posts informative: as a change I thought I’d write a more personal post.  Would you like to see more of these kinds of posts interspersed with the informative posts?  Or would you rather just stick to the informative posts?  I’d really love your feedback.