KuSan – Their Story

hat-collageThe new range of KuSan hats, gloves and accessories have arrived in the Green Tulip office. They have been thoroughly admired and oo’d and ahh’d over with each of us choosing our favourite (*It appears I live in mine!).

We love the fresh designs and colours this year combined with the beautiful natural feel of the wool, but what we love most of all about Kusan is their story.

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KuSan is Fair Trade

KuSan firmly believe that contented workers make better knitwear. Their philosophy has always been to work honestly and ethically with their factories in Nepal and they seek to ensure the integrity of all products bearing the KuSan label and take their social and corporate responsibility very seriously.

All staff involved with KuSan receive good wages and work fair hours in a healthy and safe environment. Sufficient breaks, free staff food and the encouragement of collective bargaining and freedom of association further instil a sense of self-worth and pride.

KuSan believe their hand knitters are the best in the world – many have been with the company since they started. You can be assured that there is absolutely no child labour associated with KuSan. Outside the workplace, each year KuSan contribute to community initiatives within the Kathmandu Valley.

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KuSan are now in their fourth year of collaboration with MADE-BY, the independent European consumer label for fashion companies who are transparent about the social, economic and ecological conditions throughout the whole supply chain of their collections. Its mission is to make sustainable fashion common practice. The MADE-BY accreditation gives consumers the assurance that a brand produces with respect for people and planet to its best efforts.

With MADE-BY’s support, KuSan are improving every element in their supply chain. They have spent three years working on their home worker cooperative project and with their factory in Nepal with the aim to achieve international social and environmental accreditation, helping KuSan towards even more sustainable and responsible production.

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KuSan is Sustainable

KuSan is also doing it’s bit for the environment. They ship their products by sea and use air freight as a last resort when seasonal deliveries are needed in time to meet their customers’ deadlines.

The fact that KuSan accessories are hand crafted goes a long way, but they cannot combat the emissions they create transporting their products on their own, so they make an annual contribution to Carbon Footprint. Pledges to Carbon Footprint Offsets are used to support projects that will reduce carbon dioxide emissions and alleviate global warming.

These funds also support projects for energy efficiency and sustainable energy technology development. Carbon Footprint supports a range of sustainable energy projects around the world, including wind power, solar generation and biomass.

These projects also provide jobs in disadvantaged regions of the World. To find out more, please visit  www.carbonfootprint.com.

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KuSan is Style

The 2016 Kusan range is now available on our website for you to oo and ahh over too. Choosing KuSan as a gift or a treat for yourself is a great way to make you feel cosy inside and out.author_kate3

Joyn India – Their Story

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Here at Green Tulip we love beautiful design so when we discovered Joyn India 18 months ago we were delighted by their gorgeous prints and designs. But there is so much more to Joyn India than simply producing high quality handbags and accessories and this, to us, is where the real beauty lies.

In 2010 Melody and Dave Murray moved to Rajpur, India where they discovered talented artisans who made beautiful textile products but lacked access to markets. The Murrays were determined to employ as many people as possible in a sustainable and fair trade business and Joyn India was born.

JOYN found that the people living in Rajpur are some of the neediest people on the planet.  Many of them grow up begging on the streets and have no skills, education, identities, or even birthdays. They suffer from hunger, abuse, leprosy, drug addiction, and chronic illnesses.

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The manufacturing process of JOYN products starts with pure cotton, which is carded and cleaned, then hand-spun in 7 stages to complete the thread and hand-woven into fabric.  The cotton fabric then has fabric dye pressed onto it using a hand-carved wooden block. When it is dry it is cut and stitched by hand.

Every finished product has a swing tag with the signature of each artisan responsible for the different processes – weaving, printing and stitching.

joyn-labelYou can see the latest Joyn India collection here and we look forward to working with them for many years to come…

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British Food Favourite – Onion Chutney

 

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It’s British Food Fortnight and we think British food is worth celebrating! Held every year at the same time as harvest festival, British Food Fortnight is the biggest national celebration of British food and drink.

Since its beginnings in 2002, British Food Fortnight has become an opportunity to promote the benefits of buying and eating a huge variety of different foods that have been grown and produced to the highest of standards.

Did you know, for instance that Britain produces more types of cheese than France?  And what could be more British than cheese and homemade chutney, especially at Christmas?

Onion Chutney

This Autumn has meant the usual glut of homegrown vegetables. Last year’s plum chutney went down a storm for Christmas presents (or so my friends tell me!) but this year, it’s onions galore.

Recipe

This recipe is based on a few minutes research and the actual contents of my cupboard, so it is an amalgamation of several recipes, but I think that’s how the best discoveries are made…

  • 1.5 kg onions, peeled and finely sliced
  • 200ml red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • half a chilli
  • 300g muscovado or dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • pinch of salt & pinch of paprika

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Cooking

  • Fry the onions in vegetable or olive oil for about 5 minutes until soft but not brown.
  • Add in 4 tablespoons of the sugar and cook the onions until brown- ie caramelised.
  • Add the rest of the sugar, the vinegars, garlic, chilli, mustard, salt and paprika.
  • Simmer for around 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
  • Spoon into sterilised jars (I found this made 6 jam jar sized portions).
  • Lids on and leave to cool.

Now for the hard part- leave for around three months before eating!

Onion chutney 8.jpgAfter chopping and peeling nearly 20 onions, I was ready to cry, but the sight (and smell) of these six jars of beautiful tasty onion chutney cheered me up! Now to decide which of my friends will be lucky this Christmas?

If you are feeling inspired, our British Food Pinterest page is brimming with popular food ideas and recipes.

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Organic September-Organic Beauty

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Your skin is the largest organ in your body and much of what we place on it will be absorbed into our bloodstream. So it seems to us, it’s just as important to avoid harsh chemicals and go organic as it is to choose to eat organic.

The Soil Association is Britain’s largest and most recognisable trademark for organic produce and it sets one of the highest and most comprehensive organic standards in the world. This is what they have to say about organic beauty products:

‘Unlike organic food, there is no legislation that requires an organic beauty product to be certified. This means that anyone can make an organic claim, no matter how the product was made and how much organic material it actually contains. For example, the product could be 1% organic and contain a number of ingredients which we would not permit but could still be labelled as ‘organic’ or ‘natural’ in its branding.’

At Green Tulip we make sure everything marked as organic has been thoroughly researched.  We share all this information in our ethics  section, enabling you to make an informed choice. Here is a small selection of our organic beauty products- perfect for a gift or as a little treat for your hardworking skin!

 Organic Beauty at Green Tulip

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Emma’s Organic Shea Butter Soap is a fresh and uplifting natural soap bar containing organic shea butter, which is extremely moisturising and gentle on the skin.  The fresh and uplifting essential oil combination balances, cleanses and relaxes whilst uplifting the mind with a zesty scent.  It is hand made in Devon from natural ingredients.

Living Naturally products are 100% vegan, natural, organic and ethically sourced.  They are also free from SLS’s, parabens, mineral oils, artificial additives and fragrances. The ingredients used in the soapnut soap and liquid soap ranges are certified by EcoCert and The Soil Association.  Try the gorgeous Chamomile & Marigold Botanic Liquid Soap.

All Organic Surge products are certified natural and organic by Eco-Cert, the very first certification body to develop standards for “natural and organic cosmetics”. We really love the heavenly scent of the Lavender Meadow Shower Gel.

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With all of these gorgeous organic beauties in your bathroom, you will need a cosmetic bag with a little organic style! Try our  Keep Leaf range of pretty and practical organic cotton toiletry and make up bags. These are certified organic by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). The aim of GOTS is to define requirements to ensure organic status of textiles, from harvesting of raw materials, through environmentally and socially responsible manufacturing up to labelling in order to provide a credible assurance to the consumer.

Recent years have seen a massive growth in the organic skincare and beauty markets- at Green Tulip, you can rest assured that we will always check that our beautiful organic gifts are genuine. So, go on- treat your skin!author_kate3

Don’t just Organic Your September: Organic All Year Round!

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Has the current Soil Association campaign ‘Organic Your September‘ piqued your interest? Here’s what you need to know:

Why choose organic?

The Soil Association  has all the answers, here’s a list of the main reasons:

  • It’s naturally different – Studies show higher levels of some nutrients and lower levels of pesticides and chemical residues in food.
  • Know what your eating – GM ingredients, hydrogenated fats and some artificial colours and preservatives are banned under organic standards.
  • Combat climate change – Organic farming offers the best currently available, practical model for reducing greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture.
  • Protect British Wildlife – Organic farms are havens for wildlife and provide homes for bees, birds, butterflies. There is up to 50% more wildlife than on non-organic farms.
  • Reduce exposure to pesticides – The best way is to buy organic as they will contain overall fewer pesticides.

The future of the organic market looks healthy with a 4.9% increase this year, the third consecutive year of growth.

How to go Organic

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We all have to stick to a budget and deciding to go organic has to be affordable. Here are a few ideas to help increase your organic purchasing without breaking the purse strings!

  • Organic box schemes like Riverford Organic  give a good choice of fruit, vegetables, meat and dairy products, all at market prices.
  • Budget supermarket chain Aldi is expanding it’s organic range whilst keeping the prices low.
  • Look for accreditation, The Soil Association is the main accrediting body for organic products in the UK.
  • Buy less meat; organic meat may be more expensive than cheap supermarket factory farmed meat, but it is better for us, better for the environment and much tastier too!
  • Choose which products to buy. Here is a useful list of the so called ‘Dirty Dozen’ which are foods containing potentially higher levels of pesticides.
  • Don’t forget about household cleaning and clothes washing. Our organic soapnut shells are both organic and wonderfully economic as they can be reused many times.

Organic gifts

What better way to tell someone you care than to buy them a gift that is good for them, good for the environment and beautiful too? Our favourites include:

  • Cardamom and Lavender Lip Balm made with 100% natural, protective and nutritive oils, butters and plant wax. Enhanced with organic soapnut extract, chickweed, calendula and marshmallow to create an anti-inflammatory, healing, softening and nourishing lip balm.
  • Plan Toys Chicken Racer. Made from PlanWood, an innovative material made from sawdust waste blended with organic colour pigments, with rubber wood parts.
  • Montezuma’s mini bar gift set. Six different flavours of delicious, treat-sized organic chocolate tied with green paper raffia ready for giving.

Organic All Year

We hope we’ve inspired you to ‘Organic Your September’ but also your October, November and on! You can visit the Green Tulip website to find out about all the ethical categories we work to and also check out our Pinterest page for lots of organic inspiration.

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A slice of Green Giveaway

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Are you ready for the back to school madness? Make the morning rush a bit calmer with a full lunch set. A Slice of Green are giving away this stylish and ‘green’ set worth over £50 and comprising:

Organic Cotton Insulated Lunch Box – Geo

A Slice of Green 350ml Bottle – Steel – this will be supplied with black plastic lid.

A Slice of Green Square Shallow Container

Kids Konserve Food Kozies – Pk 2 – Sky

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How to enter

Head on over to the A Slice of Green Facebook page and like, comment and share on the giveaway post, as simple as that!

The winner will be picked at random from the entries and the closing date is midnight Sunday 4th September 2016.

For full terms and conditions, click on this link. Good luck!

A Slice of Green

Check out our sister shop, A Slice of Green for all your sustainable and stylish lunch and lifestyle accessories.

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Rio 2016-How to Style Like a Brazilian

 

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We’ve all sat glued to the television for the last couple of weeks as our sports men and women perform amazing feats in Brazil. We know a bit more about Copacabana Beach and Sugarloaf Mountain now but what do we really know about the largest country in South America?

A few facts

  • The name Brazil comes from the brazilwood tree.

  • Brazil is the only country in South America that speaks Portuguese.

  • The capital city is Brasilia (not Rio), while the largest city is Sao Paulo

  • Brazil has a large coastline on the eastern side of South America, stretching 7491 kilometres (4655 miles) in length.

  • Brazil covers 3 time zones.

  • Around 60% of the Amazon rainforest is located in Brazil where the climate is tropical.

  • Brazil is home to a wide range of animals, including armadillo, tapirs, jaguars and pumas.

  • Football is the most popular sport in Brazil with the national team consistently among the best in the world, winning the World Cup a record 5 times.

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Dressing with Rio Style

Flamboyant style, colour, dancing and tropical heat are the main influences in Rio. 

Bright colours are the order of the day, and while you don’t have to dress for a carnival every day, the fashion tends towards showing a lot of skin. At least they have the weather for it!

  • Bikinis, beach shirts and Bermuda shorts are on trend for the Rio beaches.
  • Gauchos, or Southern Brazilian cowboys, wear baggy “bombacha” trousers and ponchos, along with wide-brimmed straw hats.
  • Vaqueiros, Northeastern cowboys are known for their leather chaps and coats.
  • In the Amazon, indigenous populations, eg the Kayapo tribe, can be recognised by their extravagant styles of dress, with feathers, beads and body painting.

Brazilian style, the Green Tulip way!

So if you are tempted to adopt a bit of Brazilian style while watching the goings on in Rio we can give you a few suggestions.

For a bright and colourful look, we love our sequinned pineapple and coral leaf print Lua bags.

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Shopping will feel like a trip to the Brazil markets with our tropical Envirosax shopping bags.

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Why should the little ones miss out on Rio style? They can maraca to the samba with our Plan Toys pineapple maraca!

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Or if you just fancy a taste of Brazil, look at our Fresh and Fruity Gift Set, with acai, pomegranate, coconut and vanilla flavours and scents.

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 Inspiration

Feeling inspired? Take a peek at our Pinterest board for more ideas of Rio style and fashion. Let’s bring some colour to our lives!
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Obrigado!

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