Rio 2016-How to Style Like a Brazilian



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.


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!


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.



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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Rio 2016-How To Eat Like A Brazilian

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Rio 2016 is on! The Olympic Opening Ceremony started the event with a bang last weekend and that means Olympic Fever for the next three weeks.

In 2012 the whole world went London crazy, so this August we’ll be taking a look at Rio and what it means to be from this amazing Brazilian city.

Their sense of style is undeniable and their food looks just as bright and colourful. Here are a few facts about the food of Brazil that you might not know .

Did you know that cashews come from a fruit?


Brazilians grow and eat a great many different fruits in large quantities.

The most common type of fruits are; mango, guava, pineapple, passion fruit, orange, plum and banana.

There are also many more that we might not have heard of: guarana, acai, caju (cashew fruit), guava, jackfruit, carambola, mamao, dragon fruit, jaboticaba, sapoti and pitanga!  More than 300 different fruits!

If you want to try some acai berries but don’t quite know what to do, have a look at this Hemsley and Hemsley recipe for Acai Breakfast Bowls

Meat and cheese

In Rio,  feijoada (a black bean and meat stew) is popular especially as a Wednesday or Saturday lunch. Also consumed frequently is picadinho (literally, diced meat) or rice and beans.

Besides the feijoada, a popular plate is any variation of grilled beef fillet, rice and beans, farofa and fries, commonly called Filé à Osvaldo Aranha. Seafood is very popular in coastal areas, as is roasted chicken (galeto).

Cheese is also big business, with cheese bread being a firm favourite, have a look at some recipes on our Rio Pinterest Board if you are feeling adventurous.


Sweet Tooth


Brazilians are also known for their sweet tooth! Brigadeiros are chocolate fudge bombs that sound just heavenly, check out these recipes to make them at home!



Life wouldn’t be complete without a cup of strong coffee, and it’s certainly no different in Rio.

A recent survey by IBGE revealed that coffee is the most consumed product on a daily basis by the Brazilian population above the age of 10.  That equals  79.7 litres of coffee drank per inhabitant per year. Wow!

Brazil is also the world’s largest coffee producer, growing around a third of global coffee production.

Thanks Brazil!



If you want to go Brazilian the easy way this weekend, a bbq is the way to go. Our BBQ Pinterest board has all the inspiration you need and advice on how to use a churrascaria.

Enjoy eating and drinking the Brazilian way- Bom apetite!


Slug and Snail Free, Naturally

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Do you live in fear of these terrifying predators? Does your life revolve around finding ways to banish these destructive pests from your garden? Do you wander around your garden at dusk in your slippers clutching a pair of scissors and a pot?

Sounds like you might be a British gardener then!

I have been growing fruit and vegetables for over 20 years and I have tried hundreds of different ways to prevent slug and snail damage, sometimes with a little success. I don’t use slug pellets or any other pesticides in my garden, so any solution has to be natural.

I have compiled a few of the more successful methods I have tried over the years:

Physical barriers

These stop the slugs reaching the plants either because it’s uncomfortable to move over them, or because they cause an unpleasant reaction. Care must be taken not to poison plants with too much salt or coffee and, of course they will be washed away when it rains. For more information check out Eartheasy.

  • Copper wire
  • Sand and grit
  • Coffee grounds
  • Salt
  • Beer traps

Biological control

  • Nematodes- Slugs are subject to attack from a specific microscopic nematode called nemaslug. Watering these into the soil can keep beds slug free for up to six weeks, but  they don’t work on snails!
  • Some birds, frogs, toads, hedgehogs, slow-worms and ground beetles eat slugs and these predators can easily be encouraged into your garden. Find out how here.

Chemical control

  • Organic slug pellets are based on ferric phosphate which is broken down by micro-organisms to iron and phosphate in the soil, both beneficial for plant growth.
  • Homemade slug sprays.  Make your own from organic soapnuts, find out more here.

But sometimes the only defence is offence!


I found these little blighters on one yukka plant, where they hid out during the day, coming out in the early evening to munch on any softer plants around them.

Collecting them up whilst they were all gathered together and, ahem, disposing of them helped rescue the seedlings nearby.

Retreat or defeat?


Other times it’s best to just accept defeat. That doesn’t mean giving in, simply adapt to your limitations and grow what you can.

With ornamental plants I am much more willing to do this. Instead of crying in your empty border over lost hostas, why not grow foxgloves or geraniums?

Check out this list or visit your local garden centre for advice on what to plant to outwit these fearsome beasts!


Elderflower anyone?


Long summer evenings, the sounds of buzzing bees and children playing outside, the smell of honeysuckle or the thrill of Wimbledon. We all have something that says to us that the summer has begun, even if it’s not the weather!

For me, it’s the Elderflower bursting out of the hedgerows, with it’s beautiful white flowers like little clouds of deliciousness. The very essence of British summertime.

I was leaning over my neighbour’s fence one afternoon last week to give him some of my abundance of radishes and I noticed he had an elderflower hanging over his fence. Ten minutes later, I was in possession of a basket of elderflower heads, a recipe that has been followed for 40 years and a bottle of homemade cordial to try!


Whilst I have always enjoyed their scent and their pretty flowers, I have never made anything with them, thinking it would be too complicated. Turns out, I was wrong, and elderflower cordial is as easy to make as it is delicious!

This generations old recipe is as follows:

  • 3 lemons
  • 4 pints water
  • 3 lbs sugar
  • 20-25 elderflower heads
  • 3 oz citric or tartaric acid

I had no idea where to buy citric or tartaric acid, but luckily my neighbour told me our local chemist sells citric acid in 50g packs and that would do the trick nicely.

The instructions were relatively simple:

  • Pick elderflowers when the sun is on them.
  • Squeeze lemons, then chop up skins and put in pan with sugar, dissolve and bring to the boil.
  • Add elderflower heads and bring to the boil again, add citric acid and lemon juice.
  • Squeeze lemons and elderflower heads.
  • Strain and bottle when cool. Store in the refrigerator.

So after a relatively short time I had 2 and a half litres (I’m from the metric generation!) of delicious, fresh, summer tasting elderflower cordial.


Enjoy yours with cold fresh water or some fizzy water for a delicious homemade presse. Or of course you could add some to your favourite bottle of bubbly with mint and cucumber for a fantastic summer evening cocktail.

Tennis, anyone?


Picnicking From The Past


We Brits love our picnics, just a hint of sunshine and we can be found reaching for the hamper and rug and heading for the nearest beauty spot, or even just our back garden for a spot of al fresco dining.

But do you know the history of the humble picnic?

Historians agree that the English word “picnic” comes from the French term “pique-nique”, which was used from the mid-1600s on to describe gourmands who brought their own wine when dining out. But elegant meals outdoors were probably first eaten during the Middle Ages, when hunting became a favoured pursuit of the leisure class.

Up until Victorian times, picnics were primarily a pursuit of the wealthy but popularity grew as leisure time and food availability increased across class boundaries.

The seminal book on British cooking and housekeeping, Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management, gave detailed instructions on how to hold a picnic:

For 40 people Mrs. Beeton insisted on, among many other things, cold roast beef, four meat pies, four roast chickens, two roast ducks, four dozen cheesecakes and one large cold plum pudding. To quench the picnickers’ thirst, three dozen quart bottles of beer were on the menu, as well as claret, sherry and brandy.

Of course tastes have changed somewhat over the years – after all not many of us have a housekeeper to prepare the feast for us! Strawberries, sandwiches and carrot sticks with houmous have replaced the whole roast ducks and cold plum pudding. But unfortunately these days picnicking can often be about picking up ready prepared convenience foods from the supermarket – resulting in a whole stack of plastic packaging waste.

So at Green Tulip we are championing the idea of going back to the picnics of the past (don’t worry we mean from the point of view of preparing a zero waste picnic NOT preparing two roast ducks and four dozen cheesecakes!).

Here are a few ways we can help with this:

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Why not try reusable snack bags from Keep Leaf  and food wraps from Abeego to keep your food fresh.

Or if you have a big group try buying whole baguettes and taking along cheeses and cold meats to cater for all tastes (and let people make their own sandwiches!).

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Salads and fruits in reusable containers like these A Slice of Green ones will ensure you are not filling your bins at home or trying to stuff the overflowing park bin with more than it can possibly handle on a sunny Sunday afternoon!

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Add in a few drinks and a beautiful ReSpiin throw to relax on and you have the recipe for a perfect British picnic! Now, where did that sunshine go? 🌞 ☔️


And Finally Some Picnic ‘Advice’ From The Past…

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The American Bill of Fare for a picnic in the late 1800s had some ‘good advice’ for those contemplating a picnic. Here are some brief excerpts:

  • “If the party is to drive or ride, let not the distance be too great. There should be a stream or spring of pure water, materials for a fire, shade intermingled with sunshine, and a reasonable freedom from tormenting insect life.”
  • “Be careful to dress for the entertainment, after consulting the barometer and the thermometer, and after learning the geography of the objective point of the day.”
  • “Two or three hammocks, providing the picnic be in a forest; a few closely-folding camp-chairs, and a spirit-lamp or two for extra tea or coffee, are comforts that require no space worth considering, and only a little remembrance when packing up, while they really increase to a large degree the agreeable favour of a day in the woods.”
  • “When providing food for the party, pray do not forget to supply at least double the quantity which would be served at home for the same number of people, and then be sure to add a little more. To be hungry, ravenously hungry, while in the woods, proves to us that fresh air is wholesome and that nature encourages vigorous appetites. Therefore, even if they were convenient of transport, soups would not be a necessary stimulant to digestion.”
  • “The best and most convenient of all out-of-door edibles, is the sandwich. Not the one with slips of meat laid between slices of buttered bread, so that when a bit of bread is taken, all the enclosed meat is dragged out, unless a serious contest takes place in its behalf between the teeth and fingers, which, to confess the truth, is not an attractive conflict…To make sandwich that leave none but pleasant memories and provoke no temper while in transit from the basket to the gastric regions, always grind the meat or chop it when cold to very nearly a pulp. Make a thick mayonnaise, and mix it with the meat until it is about the consistency of marmalade. Store and carry this most agreeable preparation in a covered dish or close jar.”

Who knew so much thought used to go into a humble picnic!



Green Tulip is going nutty for Soapnuts!

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A few weeks ago Charity popped a bag of soapnuts on my desk – one of the products in new Living Naturally range we’ve just introduced at Green Tulip.

To be honest at first glance these clever little gems look a bit like shrivelled-up conkers that have been in a schoolboy’s pocket for about 3 years! However, as I quickly learnt, they are actually the dried shells or husks from soapberries, a fruit related to the lychee.

Soapberry shells contain saponin a substance that is a 100% natural alternative to chemical laundry detergent and cleansers. It’s completely free from synthetic and toxic ingredients and therefore perfect for those with sensitive skins and allergies. As it is technically a fruit and not actually a nut, it is also safe for nut allergy sufferers.

As a long term dermatitis sufferer I was absolutely amazed at this and had to find out more…

Where do they come from?

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The soapberry tree is relatively hardy and grows uncultivated in poor quality soil primarily in northern India and Nepal. The tree grows to 10 to 20 meters in height and begins flowering and bearing fruit after about 9 years. Local farmers harvest the fruit after it falls from the tree, spreading linen under the branches to catch the mature fruits as they fall.

The berries are then dried in the sun and the seeds removed and replanted, so just the shells are left. No commercial manufacturing processes are required in any way for the soapnut to become effective and of course the sale of the soap nuts provide much needed income to the local population.

One of the things that really made me respect the old soapnut is its versatility. The shells can be ground into a powder and blended into soap bars and bath products, or boiled to make a liquid which can be infused into shampoos, moisturisers, balms and liquid soaps. If that wasn’t enough their anti-fungal properties mean they have also been used for many years for cleaning both laundry and around the house (and as they repel lice and fleas can even be used to wash the dog!).

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So there you have it – the pure wonder of the soapnut. Here are just a few ways you can use it at home…

  • Pop around 5/6 shells into a muslin bag and place into drum of washing machine with clothes. Save used shells, they can be reused up to 4 more times.
  • To make a liquid wash simple place 15 shells (50g) into 2 litres of water, cover and boil for 10 minutes. Store your strained soapnuts in the fridge, they can be boiled at least 3 more times.
  • After being used about 5 times the soapnuts will start to break up and and lose their colour slightly. They can be disposed of with the food waste recycling – or pop onto the garden to fertilise soil and keep slugs and snails at bay.

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You can buy a 500g (240 washes) bag here. Go on – give them a try!


Fashion Revolution

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The fashion industry has one of the most complicated supply chains in the world; it secures livelihoods, grows crops, applies emerging technologies, but does so with huge environmental and social costs.

On 24 April 2013, 1134 people  were killed and over 2500 injured when the Rana Plaza complex collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. They were all working in the fashion industry. That is when Fashion Revolution was born.

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Fashion Revolution says ‘enough is enough’. It is about standing up for the rights of the makers and designers and asks us as wearers and consumers of fashion to re-connect with and celebrate the skills and ambitions of all involved in this incredible industry.

We need transparency and that is why we are supporting #whomademyclothes 

Lack of transparency costs lives. It’s impossible for companies to make sure human rights are respected and that environmental practices are sound without knowing where their products are made. That’s why transparency is essential. Transparency means companies know who makes their clothes – at least where they are stitched as a first step – and communicate this to their customers, shareholders and staff.

This is what Fashion Revolution is asking for.
Knowledge, information, honesty.

Joyn India

Joyn India believe that each set of hands that touch a product during it’s manufacture should bring another job, another livelihood. You will see this transparency and commitment reflected on their labels where the maker who carries out each stage of the manufacturing process signs their name.

At the heart of JOYN lies a desire to see lives changed. To see those crippled by poverty and hardship dance for joy. To do this, JOYN provides employees with not only steady jobs and a good work environment, but a daily meal plan, education for their children, English and vocational training, and medical care.  Lives are changing as a result.


Check with Fashion Revolution here to see why it matters and how your favourite clothes brands are performing. Use your purchasing power to help this movement gain momentum and make some real and lasting changes in the fashion industry. It is within our power!