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A blog for Ethical Foodies

0 Posted by in Food & drink, Gifts, Inspiration on December 19th 2014

Let’s be honest, we all love food. Delicious food in pretty packaging is just absolutely irresistible, it can make a perfect present or a treat for yourself, and whether you want savoury preserves, chutneys and dips or sweet jam, tasty biscuits and melt-in-the-mouth chocolate. Over the past few months we’ve found some new brands that will excite any foodie, with ridiculously tasty products presented in gorgeous packaging.

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How to indulge when you’re dairy free

0 Posted by in Dairy free, Food & drink on December 15th 2014

How to indulge when you’re dairy free

We all need to indulge from time to time, but when you’re dairy free straying from your normal diet can be more of a challenge. Unfortunately many of the foods we class as indulgences also contain milk. That means chocolate, cake, pizza and many other dishes are all off the menu.

So where does that leave the dairy free among you? Can you never comfort eat again? The good news is that you can indulge just as much as before but you
have to be smart about it. This means finding alternatives to traditional treats or adapting your favourites so they no longer contain dairy. Here are a few tricks and recipes so you can still indulge without dairy.

Make dairy free chocolate your new best friend

When most of us think about indulging, we think of chocolate and for many the worst thing about having to go dairy free is saying goodbye to this particular treat. Luckily there is a dairy free alternative. Dairy free chocolate is brilliant and there are lots of different flavours and treats available to suit your fancy. For a delicious dessert, melt your dairy free chocolate, cover some strawberries in it and allow them to set in the fridge.

Get festive with roasted nuts

Roasted nuts are a sweet, dairy free treat that are perfect for this time of year. Chestnuts are a Christmas classic but other great choices include almonds, cashews and soy nuts. Add a bit of spice to the mix for a slightly different flavour.

Learn how to make dairy free pizza

Dairy free pizza is super easy to make. Simply buy a ready made dairy free pizza dough or find a recipe you’re happy with. Add tomato puree to the base and then cover with dairy free Mozzarella. If you want other toppings, such as vegetables or meat, add them to the top too.

Stock up on dairy free ice cream

Dairy free ice cream is a brilliant alternative and is must-have comfort food to have in the house. Eat with berries for a refreshingly luxurious snack.

Try dairy free coconut cheesecake

This is a great recipe that uses nuts to create flavour. Begin by soaking 300g of cashew nuts in a bowl of cold water overnight. The next morning cover a cake tin in margarine, sprinkle two tablespoons of desiccated coconut, ensuring it is distributed evenly. Put 200g of pitted dates in a bowl of warm water and allow to soak until softened. Add to a food processor and blitz until they have turned into a paste. Add 150g of almonds and 100g of blanched hazelnuts. Blitz again until there is a crumb consistency. Put the mixture into the cake tin, pat and smooth it with wet hands so it is even. Clean and dry the food processor, drain the cashew nuts and add them to the processor. Add the juice of four lemons, 250ml of runny honey and 165ml of coconut oil. Scape out the seeds of two vanilla pods and add to the processor, throwing away the pods. Blitz the mixture until smooth. Pour the cashew mixture over the crumb base, smooth evening, place on a tray, then gently tap it on a work surface to get rid of bubbles. Leave the cheesecake in the freezer until set.

I’m dreaming of an ethical Christmas

0 Posted by in Awareness, Inspiration on December 8th 2014

The festive season is now upon us, and as our thoughts turn to piles of gifts and food how do we make sure we can have an ethical Christmas? Is such a thing even possible?

Of course it depends on what your ethical views are – maybe you focus on the environment, seek out cruelty-free products, or make sure those who made your lovely gifts and food are paid fairly and don’t suffer in their working conditions. Many dedicated folks go the whole hog and try to adhere to all of these – so how hard is it?

The tree

Christmas tree recycling and ethical Christmas
The centrepiece of our festive home decor is no stranger to debate. Cut down a real tree every single year, or go faux and invest in an artificial tree? Many trees we assume to be grown in the UK are actually grown across Europe incurring an additional carbon footprint in its travel, although we get many local trees from Kielder and farms in the UK. Real trees require between 6-10 years of growth (many more for larger trees) and potentially pesticides and other chemicals along the way – but of course in that lifetime the tree provides a service to our atmosphere.

People point out that a fake tree is usually made from non-recycled plastic and ends up in landfill, whereas studies found that using an artificial tree for at least 10 years is better for the environment than using real trees – so if you do use one hang on to that plastic and make sure you get the absolute maximum out of it. My mother is going for that record with our family tree lasting 22 years!

There’s another alternative – get creative with your decorating and take a look at these brilliant examples of Christmas trees using other materials. If you have trees in your garden you could also decorate them, and make use of the view while allowing the tree to carry on its invaluable service to our atmosphere!

Don’t forget the decorations on your lovely tree – tinsel, beads and all the ornaments! Buying made to last, beautifully made ornaments that can be treasured for years (and even passed down to the next generation) helps reduce the waste. I have found some stunning handcrafted glass baubles over the years, along with lovely traditional wooden designs which are popular across northern Europe, which have lasted for years already and look way better than plastic.

The gifts, the cards, the wrap

Ethical Christmas gifts
Gifts bought for loved ones all come with a story – materials for them have to be sourced, the gifts need to be made by people somewhere along their manufacture plus transported to a shop, to you, and then on to your recipient if you’re posting the gifts on! You can avoid the horrors of sweatshop conditions by finding fair trade gifts that guarantees producers across the world were paid a fair price, in decent working conditions. For the inevitable toiletries and cosmetic gifts sets, cruelty free and no animal testing makes sure no creatures were harmed for your gift. Organic or paraben-free beauty products help avoid pesticides and harmful chemicals. Watch out for products presented in excess packaging, especially plastic that only ends up in landfill after its brief use and avoid re-wrapping gifts that come in packaging lovely enough to sit under the tree.

Another difficult issue can be avoiding products that cause a high environmental impact – there are many things to consider such as the product’s materials and where they come from, the material’s scarcity, the expected lifespan and whether it is even needed in the first place. While a plastic necklace can have a higher carbon footprint, it may possibly be treasured for years – but do you really need a pointless plastic ball of nothing?

Initiatives such as Small Business Saturday encourage consumers to buy from local and small businesses, highlighting such issues as large corporation tax avoidance. While this is no guarantee you can avoid products produced in unfair working conditions or without environmental damage, it’s a nice idea to support your local economy and potentially reduce product mileage.

Don’t forget the cards and wrap – in the UK we throw away a whopping 30% more rubbish over the festive period and over just the Christmas week will have binned 227,000 miles of Christmas paper — enough to go round the world nine times!

While councils give handy tips on recycling, you can reduce the waste in the first place with eco-friendly wrapping ideas and using already recycled paper.

Some of our favourite ethical gift ideas:
La Jewellery – recycled and gorgeous!
WeWOOD wooden watches
Plush fair trade chocolates
Wilby and Matt & Nat cruelty-free bags
Grow your own with Espresso Mushroom Company
FSC certified cards
Fair trade gift wrap

The food

Christmas food and avoiding waste
We can all be guilty of a little excess in the food department over the holiday season (or a lot depending on how bad your mince pie addiction is). But how much of that food goes to waste? Making use of the leftovers is a great British tradition but we can all still make sure less goes in the bin.

There’s also a wide choice of fair trade, organic and vegetarian or vegan food out there meaning our ethical choices can be much easier these days – even for the hallowed mince pie. Buying local produce can also massively cut down on food miles and also help to support your local economy – organic veg box anyone?

Some of our favourite recipe ideas:
Divine Chocolate truffles and treats
Jamie Oliver’s Vegan Christmas
Celebratory Nut Roast recipe by Suma
Organic ginger Christmas Cake – (or cheat and buy the delicious Traidcraft cake!)

Giving a little back

Giving back this Christmas
There are no shortage of charities to donate time and money to, from Shelter to Oxfam. Ethical Superstore will be helping our local foodbank, sadly the most in-demand one in the UK, by increasing your donations by an extra 20%, and you can still donate to our other charities MSF, DEC, Amnesty International and RSPCA through the checkout. We appreciate everything you do to help.

Local initiatives such as Winter Coats NE are helping to give warm winter coats and clothing to the homeless, with similar ideas launched around the country. If you’re supporting one local to you, please let us know in the comments section!

Don’t forget the animals either – animal rescue charities such as the RSPCA and Farplace Rescue note that there are huge increases in abandoned animals over Christmas. Help them and others do great work by donating money, volunteering time or items in need such as pet food, blankets and toys.

Volunteering your time over Christmas can be a great way to give a little back if you don’t have money to spare, charities are always stretched for resources and your time is very much appreciated.

What will be your focus this Christmas? We’d love to hear your ethical tips and tricks for the season, and to see your creative efforts. Here’s to a wonderful ethical Christmas.

Top 5 Ethical Gifts for Him

0 Posted by in Gifts, Inspiration on December 5th 2014

I find shopping for men the most difficult task, especially at Christmas, and leaving it to the last minute never helps! If you find yourself in the same position don’t worry, we’ve got a guide to five ethical gifts you can buy for the men in your life!

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Ethical Superstore supports UK’s most in demand Food Bank

0 Posted by in Charity on December 5th 2014

Support the food bank
When the Newcastle West End Food Bank opened for the first time on 14th March 2013 it provided food to around 30 people per week. It now has the unfortunate distinction of being the biggest in the UK, feeding around 55,000 this last year. To put this into context the number 2 food bank in the country feeds around 10,000.
Michael Nixon explains “Some of that is to do with need, some of that is a pure accident of geography, because as people hit hard times their radius of travel shrinks. They can’t afford bus fares, they can only walk. So people who come to us walk in general, and it’s a radius of about a mile from the foodbank.”
In the six months from April to September the food bank fed almost 22,000 people, around half of which were children. 28% were those experiencing benefits problems. 35% were those actually in work but on low incomes, including many on part time or zero hours contracts. 913,138 people received three days’ emergency food from The Trussell Trust food banks in 2013-14 compared to 346,992 in 2012-13.

How can you help?

Hungry mouths need food, it’s quite simple really. Here’s how you can help. Together we might not be able to fix the problem, but we can certainly help Michael and his team at the West End Food Bank continue their incredible work.
Do your usual shop with us, and at the checkout add a donation to support the Newcastle West End Food Bank.
2. WE ADD 20%
For everything that you donate Ethical Superstore will also contribute an additional 20% – together we can provide more.
We will provide the food bank with tins, dried foods and other requested items of use to those in need.

You can find out more about Newcastle West End Food Bank, and if you’d like to find or help a food bank closer to you find out more from The Trussell Trust.

Top 5 Ethical Gifts for Her

0 Posted by in Gifts, Inspiration on December 4th 2014

Choosing the right Christmas gift for anyone can be a difficult task, and if you’ve left your Christmas shopping until the last minute like me then you’re probably starting to panic. Don’t worry though, we’ve put together a list of the Top 5 Ethical gifts for Her to give you some inspiration so you can buy the perfect Christmas gift for the woman in your life.

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Giving Tuesday

1 Posted by in aid, Awareness, Charity on December 2nd 2014

Britain has seen a busy shopping weekend with reports of fighting and police intervention in supermarkets up and down the country thanks to Black Friday and following sales up until Cyber Monday. Today, ‘Giving Tuesday’ is a day to look at what we do for others rather than what we can get for ourselves.

Last year our customers donated over £20,000 helping charity organisations like Disasters Emergency Committee and Trees for Life, organisations that do important work for communities and our planet – helping everyone in the long run, relying on charitable donations to do this work. So think of others especially today, give to a local charity, agree to a fundraiser or just join in and help spread the joy of Christmas.

You can donate to one of our chosen charities from the checkout when you order from us.

How to be a glam eco warrior

0 Posted by in Beauthy, Health and Wellbeing, Living The Green on November 21st 2014

How to be a glam eco warrior

Be a glam eco warrior

Being environmentally conscious doesn’t mean you have to wave goodbye to luxuries like good makeup and other beauty products.

The days where eco warriors were dreadlocked and makeup free are over and there’s no reason why you can’t be a glam, bohemian princess in environmentally friendly cosmetics. In fact, being boho has never been cooler thanks to the likes of Sienna Miller and Rachel Bilson, so it certainly pays to give this look a try.

Here’s our guide to creating the perfect eco look.

It’s all about the hair

Eco warriors are renowned for their shiny, tousled tresses, so you need to ensure your locks are looking their best to truly get eco style.

Natural products are a great way to make your hair soft to the touch and luxurious. Faith in Nature have a great range of shampoos that are environmentally friendly and great for your locks. Try the coconut shampoo, which will ensure your hair is beautifully smooth. Coconut oil can also stimulate hair growth, so you’re likely to soon get long tresses like Joss Stone and other boho icons.

To really get the eco warrior look, add a cute small braid to your hair, weaving in coloured thread for something a bit different.

Get glowing, natural skin

Being a glam eco warrior is about natural beauty and this comes with having great skin. The best skin care routine is a comprehensive one that is grounded in environmentally friendly products. Be sure to clean your makeup off each night, cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise.

This Faith in Nature Exfoliating Face & Body Polish is brilliant for getting soft and glowing skin all over.

Draw from an earthy colour palette

When it comes to makeup, the best way to create that glam eco warrior look is to use an earthy, slightly metallic colour pallet.

Create a brown-based smokey eye and add a light coating of mascara. Stay away from eye liner, as this often makes the eye look harsh.

A touch of golden bronzer and a dash of lip balm will give your face a luminescence, which is fantastically bohemian.

Keep it simple

Eco warriors are very conscious about where their clothes are sourced, so be sure apparel is ethical. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t be incredibly stylish and on trend.

To get the look we’re going for, the key is to keep it simple. Opt for a t-shirt dress and add a kimono for extra layers now the temperature has dropped.

With a pair of nearly black tights and some ankle boots, you’ll look effortlessly chic. A hobo bag will finish the look.

Alternatively, add a baggy t-shirt or smock top over a pair of skinny jeans and trainers for casual daytime style.

If you’re going for a really glam eco evening look, a black backless dress with shoe boots and gold, warrior inspired jewellery will look amazing. During the summer swap out the shoe boots for diamante sandals.

An eco princess is also all about the statement bag, so don’t be afraid to sport a large shoulder bag on a night out as long as it goes with your look. After all, there is no rule saying that evening wear demands a small clutch.
Practice what you preach

While the glam eco warrior look is in fashion at the moment, it’s important to practice what you preach. In other words, if you’re going to look like a bohemian, environment-saving goddess, be sure to use natural, ethical products in doing so.

Make Your Own Drinks With Kilner

0 Posted by in Food & drink, Gifts, New Product on November 20th 2014

An ethical Christmas isn’t complete without some homemade gifts, so we thought you might like some gorgeous home preserving kits from Kilner so you can make your own jams and chutneys, and even decorate the jars yourself! New from Kilner we have a great range of Drink Works kits, so you can make your own Lager, Red Wine or White Wine which will make an ideal gift for a loved one this Christmas.

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Top 10 Ethical Christmas Toys

1 Posted by in Children, Gifts on November 12th 2014

Today we are bombarded with so many different types of toys that it is difficult to know what is the right one, and even harder to find toys with ethical credentials. Have a look at our own top 10 list of ethical toys that are guaranteed to put a smile on your little one’s face this Christmas, and they won’t cost the earth.

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