Make the most of your picnics – and make them waste-free too!

Summer is finally here and to celebrate we have been looking at ways of enjoying fantastic waste-free alfresco food. With just a little bit of planning it really is possible to cut out plastic from our picnics, as well as improving how tasty, vibrant and healthy the food choices are.  The key to doing this is to invest in a few reusable bottles and containers (from Green Tulip of course!) and prepare your food and drink at home.

This then gives you unlimited freedom to transport any items that take your fancy. Don’t home-mixed Mojito, honey & mustard oven-roasted sausages and watermelon and feta salad sound a bit tastier than shop bought soggy sausage rolls?! The only limit to the food and drink that you can enjoy on your picnic is your imagination.

We have put together a few ideas that you might like to try wherever you are this summer…

Seaside picnics

We love our seaside picnics – and by using reusable items to transport your food and drink, there is fantastic picnic fun to be had. And it doesn’t just need to be lunch on the beach – why not ditch the sandy sandwiches and make a day of it? How about dining on the beach for breakfast, lunch and dinner:

For Breakfast try using an insulated food jar to layer up fruit, yogurt, granola etc to make a tasty breakfast to enjoy on the beach – or use it to keep homemade baked beans warm on those chilly surfing mornings!

Alternatively you could try out a delicious ‘overnight oats’ recipe?  They look fab in a glass jar, taste even better and give you limitless options for a healthy, filling breakfast to set you up for a day on the beach – in a container that can be used again and again.

For Lunch maybe set yourself a challenge to prepare a bread-free meal. You could put together a few salads, olives, dips etc – using couscous, rice, pasta etc for a spread of delicious things that will get your taste buds going!  Our two-tier rectangle container is perfect for transporting a selection of dips and vegetables.

As the day turns to evening and it’s Dinner time, you can’t beat the feeling of snuggling up on a blanket in your cosy knit, opening a beer and indulging in a BBQ. These beaches permit barbecues and allow for the classic combination of ‘Sun, Sea and Sausage’!

Park (and desk!) picnics

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The joy of picnics is that you don’t have to be on holiday to indulge in an alfresco lunch. Lunch in the park – or even lunch at your desk if you can’t get outside – needn’t be the same old limp sandwich.  There are lots of fantastic products out there that can enable you to transport (and keep cool) all sorts of inventive and healthy lunches to tantalise your taste buds.

Investing in a reusable bag will help you stay sustainable and stylish.  A lunch bag + an ice pack is an ideal way to transport your food in style – as well as keeping treats such as fruit and chocolate cool. These blue coloured ice packs and lunch bags are perfect for making you feel all summery.

A few good containers and refillable bottles can provide you with affordable and sustainable ways of taking any lunch choices that you like ‘on the road’. Green Tulip has everything you need!

You can also take a look here for some great ‘packed lunch’ ideas that will certainly brighten up a day in the office!

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Family picnics

One of the most fun things about picnics is taking the whole family along. And you can even get the kids into the picnic spirit before they even leave the house by getting them involved in preparing and putting together their own food.

For a varied fruit salad to take on the picnic, challenge them to include all of the colours of the rainbow! Or try cutting sandwiches and baking biscuits into shapes. Our reusable snack packs are perfect for transporting snacks and biscuits, and can be washed and reused over and over again.

Children also love having their own ‘packed lunch’ to take to the beach.  Use a lunch bag to keep their food portion individual and tasting great – and they might even carry it themselves!

Happy picnicking!

I hope we have inspired you with some fun ways to revitalise your food choices this summer.  There are also some more ideas on our ‘summer picnics – naturally’ Pinterest board that we have put together for you to try.

Meet the Author - Cat

Make Time For Tea

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Tea is often thought of as being a quintessentially British drink, and we have been drinking it here for over 350 years. But in fact the history of tea goes much further back.

The story of tea begins in China. According to legend, in 2737 BC, the Chinese emperor Shen Nung was sitting beneath a tree with his servant boiled drinking water, when some leaves from the tree blew into the water. Shen Nung, a renowned herbalist, decided to try the infusion that his servant had accidentally created. The tree was a Camellia sinensis, and the resulting drink was what we now call tea.

Tea was then thought to have been introduced to Britain in the mid 1600’s and it was in 1664 that King Charles II married a Portuguese princess who was a renowned tea addict. Tea then became the most fashionable beverage amongst the wealthy classes. The British took to tea with an enthusiasm that continues to the present day. High tea taxes in the 17th & 18th centuries led to the famous smuggling industry and also extra ‘flavours’ like sheep’s dung being added!

Still, the British persevered and we are very definitely a nation of tea lovers. So we thought we’d share a bit more about some of the new tea ranges we’ve just started stocking here at Green Tulip.

‘Proper’ Tea

Our new Brew Tea is quite simply the tastiest tea we have ever tasted. With whole rolled leaves and all natural ingredients not only is it delicious, but you’ll also find no dusty detritus in the bottom of the box!

 

Each of the Brew Teas also has associated health benefits – so as well as being refreshing and reviving it is also good for you. Here are some of the positive side effects:

  • English Breakfast– contains antioxidants linked to heart health, bone strength, healthy immune system and many more benefits.
  • Green tea–  is also loaded with antioxidants and nutrients and has been linked to maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Earl Grey– contains fragrant bergamot, linked to helping to relieve anxiety and stress.
  • Moroccan Mint– can improve digestion, reduce pain, eliminate inflammation, relax the body and mind, cure bad breath, aid in weight loss and boost the immune system! Wow!
  • Chai Tea – is a powerful blend of tea, herbs and spices, it has been cherished for centuries in India to preserve health and increase peace of mind.
  • Fruit Punch – with hibiscus, rosehip, apple, blueberry, lemongrass & orange peel this tea is naturally sweet and packed with vitamins and antioxidants.
  • Lemon & Ginger – sweet and spicy, this tea has high levels of vitamin C and magnesium for a healthy immune system.
  • Decaffeinated Tea – Naturally decaffeinated with CO2 and full of antioxidants without the caffeine, this tea is just as tasty and refreshingly good for you!

Tea on the go

Of course most of us drink a lot of tea at home, but don’t we also want to be able to take it out and about with us (and not have to buy an overpriced cuppa!). Our Qwetch insulated tea flasks come in stainless steel and in glass and include two independent filters which are used for different types of infusion:

  • Long filter basket for short infusion – Fill basket with tea leaves, fit into neck of flask and pour hot water over to infuse.  Remove before drinking.
  • Short filter for long-lasting infusion – Fill flask with a few tea leaves, herbs or fruit pieces, place the small filter on top and then add hot or cold water.

Fruit Infused Water

If you are finding it too hot for tea (is it ever too hot for tea!?) fruit infused waters are flavour-packed drinks rich in vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. They are a much healthier alternative to store-bought fruit drinks, energy drinks and sodas, and much more appealing than plain water. They can help to combat illness like colds, diabetes and heart disease. Their antioxidants help combat ageing, boost your metabolism, aid digestion, satisfy a sweet tooth and re-hydrate you!  Just to name a few of their benefits! Try these refreshing combinations:

  • Strawberry Mint Water
    • 6 – 8 sliced strawberries
    • 1 cup of mint leaves
    •  Cold filtered water
    • Ice 
  • Cucumber Lemon Water
    • 1/2 Lemon thinly sliced
    • 1/4 Cucumber thinly sliced
    • Ice
    • Cold filtered water

Just mix all the ingredients in a jug or pitcher and they are ready to drink. Our Qwetch insulated flasks are perfect for taking these refreshing drinks out and about – and look very pretty too!

If you want to know more about which tea is good for which mood or condition and more fruit infused waters to try, our Pinterest board is packed with recipes and ideas.

So now we know how to beat the blues, keep healthy and hydrated- let’s put the kettle on! #Timefortea #HappyBlues 🍵☕️

Meet the Author - Kate

Inspiring the kids to #GetOutdoors!

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Whether you live in the most rural or urban of locations – inspiring and enabling your kids to explore and appreciate the natural world can bring them countless benefits in terms of health and happiness.  But how can you motivate them to get moving and leave the comforts of home (and their electronics) behind?! I hope these ideas will take the hard work out of getting your children out and about each day to do something outdoors – whether it’s hunting for bugs, collecting natural items to make artwork or just observing seasonal changes whilst scooting along!

You are never too young to #GetOutdoors

Babies

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Our first experiences of the outside world are generally of a sensory nature and these form how we interact with the natural world as we grow.  Getting outdoors with your baby can have huge benefits for you both.  Try lying your baby on a rug on the grass, they will be able to feel the breeze on their faces and the sensation of being gently warmed by the sun.  The variations of scent and light that the garden can provide are stimulating in so many ways.  Position your baby under a tree for shade and to watch and enjoy the dappled light.   Older babies can be surrounded by safe toys and natural items in order to begin to explore the world in miniature.  Maybe try making a sensory playmat for your baby, using recycled items? This article has some great guidelines for how you can help your baby or child safely enjoy the outdoors. 

Toddlers and young children

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Whether you have a huge garden, or the tiniest of urban spaces, helping young children to plant and grow their own flowers is a great way to inspire them to love and understand the natural world.  It’s best to choose plants that grow quickly, to pique your child’s interest.  My son watched with daily excitement as the sunflowers that we planted grew and grew!  I like this list of easy plants to grow for children.

If you have pets – or even just meeting other people’s dogs out-and-about on walks, observing how you behave with the insects and animals that you encounter will teach your children to manage and respect creatures.  Try a ‘mini-beast’ hunt in an open space near you – remember to look underneath logs to spot woodlice etc.  For more ideas about fantastic things to do outdoors with children, why not visit our Pinterest board:

Older Children and Teenagers

Whatever the weather, as long as your child has some wellies, there is fun to be had!

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Why not try appealing to their competitive side? Get out and get active – by using a pedometer to track their adventures?  Setting targets can really motive older children to get out-and-about – whether its trekking to the top of a hill – or just to the other side of the park and back.

One of my boys’ favourite activities is to take a selection of their toy characters to our local nature reserve (you can find your nearest nature reserve here).  My boys like to take turns to hide them and direct the other to find them with shouts of ‘getting hotter, getting colder’ etc to direct the other.  Running around and getting exercise without even noticing, as they are having such a good time.

Making a shelter or den can really appeal to an older child.  Making it a ‘base’ for explorers, army, fairies, etc can make it a game that will capture their imagination and it could last all day.

Providing your kids with junk materials and setting them a challenge to make something can produce great results.  Sticks can become ‘wands’ and boxes, fairy houses, guitars etc – the list is endless.  Giving your child a container full of water can result in a fun water-fight.  Or try encouraging them pick some natural materials: grass, leaves mud, fallen pine cones to their own ‘witches brew’ or perfume.

‘Wild art’ is another good way to capture their imagination and make use of things found on a walk:

Woodland Art #GetOutdoors

For older teenagers, ‘geocaching’ is a great activity that will capture the interest and imagination of the even the most ‘Kevin’ of teenagers! : )  The National Trust brilliantly describes geocaching as “…treasure hunt for the digital generation” and gives a great list of the best places to hunt.

Another brilliant way to motivate teenagers to want to go on walk is to give them a challenge to capture what they see, digitally (like the ‘troll’ below).  Try giving them a camera or smartphone and they can take images of interesting images that they encounter – or even post their own You Tube video!

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The opportunities for outdoor play and exploration are infinite and the possible benefits are many.  As long as we observe a few basic rules, our outdoor spaces can afford endless fun and provide us and our children with a fantastic playground – let’s go!

#Takeonlymemoriesandleaveonlyfootprints #GetOutside

Meet the Author - Cat

The Benefits Of Getting Outdoors

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Here at the Green Tulip office, we are lucky to be surrounded by the rolling green hills of rural Wiltshire. The view from the first floor wall of windows is always interesting; sometimes sunny, with the hills painted in greens and yellows, sometimes dark and brooding with a weather front approaching us over the ridge of Roundway hill. There’s always the temptation to go for a hike, and it inspired me to set myself the target of spending an hour on outdoor exercise or activity every day of the week, come rain or shine! ☀️ 🌤 🌧

Why #GetOutdoors?

So why is spending time outdoors so good for us?

Scientists have shown that the benefits of spending time outdoors are manyfold. Here are a few of the main benefits:

  • You tend to exercise for longer, and it’s more enjoyable!
  • Improves mental and physical health and reduces stress.
  • Increases Vitamin D intake (important for keeping bones and muscles healthy).
  • Improves your mood and self esteem.
  • Increases attention and memory span.
  • Strengthens immunity.
  • Improves sleep quality.
  • Helps weight management.
  • You’ll age better (we like this one!)

This article has all the details of how and why.

How to #GetOutdoors

So, how can you squeeze the time outdoors in your day’s busy, often hectic schedule?

  • Take a walk, the best and easiest exercise (in my opinion). If you run out of time during the day, then an evening stroll will set you up for a good night’s sleep. Or an early morning pre-breakfast walk will help to blow away the cobwebs!
  • Take your breaks outdoors- if you are working or studying, move away from your desk and try to find a space to drink your coffee or eat your lunch outdoors.
  • Meeting up with friends? Instead of the coffee shop, why not meet at a local beauty spot or nature reserve and walk while you talk.
  • Take up an outdoor hobby; gardening will get you outside every day! Outdoor photography, bird watching or golfing are also great at getting you out and about.
  • Walk or cycle to work or school, or use public transport. Your pocket and the planet will thank you for it!
  • Do your indoor activities outdoors! As simple as it sounds; read a book, knitting, cooking or food prep and yoga will be more fun outdoors.

And, lastly… your best friend will thank you for it 🐶

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#GetOutdoors all year round?

Yes, it is possible, if a little harder to get outside all year round. With bad weather and shorter days, the winter seems the prefect time to snuggle up on the sofa with a cuppa and a box set. But, this is probably the most important time of the year to make an effort. Public health advice in the UK recommends everyone to take Vitamin D supplements in the autumn and winter as our outdoor time is decreased and light levels are low. But even weak sunlight will increase our absorption of this vital vitamin and boost your mood.  Here’s how I do it:

  • I have a dog, not possible for every household, I understand. Walking everyday is therefore essential. Walking a friend’s dog or websites like Borrow My Doggy will get you out there!
  • Wrap up warm. Warm and waterproof clothing and footwear is a must in the UK. Nothing is more likely to put you off going out again than if you got cold and wet the last time!
  • I walk with my son to school, I refuse to add to the local traffic congestion and I remain deaf to his complaints on rainy days (it’s character building!).
  • We plan outdoor weekend activities, including eating outdoors. There is nothing like the smell of the forest in the rain and we take thermos full of hot chocolate and even sausages to cook on the camping stove where permitted!

Has #GetOutdoors worked?

My health has benefitted form the extra time outdoors, and the extra exercise. My children share my commitment and it helps to get them away from their screens. I don’t manage an hour every single day, but over the week it balances out. I now regard getting outdoors as essential as sleeping or eating and I no longer find it a struggle to find the time.

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I can heartily recommend making the effort to get outdoors and make it part of your daily routine!

My inspiration: The view from the office!

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Meet the Author - Kate

Continuing The Revolution. Fashion With Thought.

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Fashion Revolution Week: 24th – 30th April 2017

This week we are celebrating Fashion Revolution Week, which is in it’s third year. The campaign encourages millions of people to ask brands ‘who made my clothes’ and to demand greater transparency in the fashion supply chain. Read more about their mission here.

At Green Tulip we think carefully about sourcing the beautiful gifts we offer for sale. How are our they made?  Who makes them and is their well-being taken into consideration? Last year in our blog we featured how the campaign was set up to highlight the plight of those workers who lost their lives in the Rana Plaza factory collapse.  This year we would like to tell you about some of our brands who support this campaign and share the story of one incredible lady who makes our jewellery!

Our Fashion Revolution Brands

Earth Squared support the campaign with a passion! Their bags and accessories are handmade in Northern Vietnam by a fair trade certified organisation.  Earth Squared has been working closely with this organisation for the past 13 years. All employees are over 18 years old, are paid 4 times the national minimum wage and working conditions all abide by fair trade criteria. We love the picture of some of their team shown above!

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Just Trade is another of our brands that have joined the campaign: “We’re proud to say that at Just Trade we make all our jewellery and accessories in sustainable, fair trade projects in India, Ecuador, Peru and Vietnam. We support workers in their fight for safe working conditions, sustainable practices and fair pay. ”

A Beautiful Story is an ethical jewellery brand that produces stunning pieces. They believe it is paramount that every person in the chain receives an honest salary for their work or participation and work in close collaboration with a small number of producers in developing countries to achieve a long-term business relationship.  They provide support to their producers in Nepal and are establishing new collaborations in Peru, Bolivia and Bangladesh.

In celebrating Fashion Revolution Week, we would like to share Nimdiki’s story:

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Meet Nimdiki

We would like to introduce you to someone who is very important to A Beautiful Story, meet Nimdiki. Nimdiki Sherpa is one of their angels in Nepal. For ten years this strong -willed lady has represented the heart and soul of A Beautiful Story. As a true entrepreneur, she made her dream come true: establishing her own jewellery factory to empower Nepalese women.

48 years ago Nimdiki was born in Darjeeling, India and comes from a wealthy family. She was fortunate enough to receive proper schooling and developed herself into an ambitious, structured and warm-hearted lady.  She got married to a Nepalese man.

Beads for life

Growing up she realised that not all women in Nepal society were quite as lucky as she was. Her desire to change this situation grew. She started her own workshop “Beads for Life”. Her workshop focuses on helping women in difficult economic situations.

In the beginning, she worked with five women who made traditional necklaces for tourists. Some of these women had lost their husbands or were born in a poor family. Beads for Life allows the women to earn their own money and to become independent within the Nepalese society.

An example to us all

A Beautiful Story got to know Nimidiki in 2007 and were inspired by her strong mentality. A long-lasting collaboration started and Beads for Life expanded to 30 artisans. Ambitious Nimdiki created a place where you can hear sounds of cheerful chatter and laughter. The women truly enjoy working there. Now, Nimdiki runs her workshop together with Santosh, who came to Kathmandu to study. He is also one of the friends of her eldest son.

Her eye for detail and design is remarkable. She translates the designs like no other and throws in a little special Nimdiki magic. She aims for perfection. Her work is refined and her contribution to A Beautiful Story is priceless. With her great enthusiasm and caring character, she is an example for all of us.

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If you feel inspired, join the Fashion Revolution with us at Green Tulip!

#imadeyourjewellery #fashionrevolution #whomademyclothes

Meet the Author - Cat

More Mother’s Day Gift Ideas!

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Following on from our blog last week showcasing Green Tulip’s lovely pampering gifts, this week we thought we’d highlight some of our ethical fashion accessories. We’ve put together a selection focused on this season’s pretty dusty pink fashion theme which will hopefully appeal to all those stylish mums out there!

Our A Beautiful Story Rose Quartz range includes the Lilly Rose Quartz Silver Bracelet (£12) – an elasticated bracelet with white metal beads, a rose quartz chip gemstone and a pale pink tassel. The rose quartz gemstone symbolises love, harmony and inner balance and is based on the ‘air’ element of nature. ‘Air’ is believed to hold the key to the power of the mind such as ideas, knowledge, dreams, wishes, new life and new possibilities.

Also from the same range the Luna Rose Quartz Silver Necklace (£35) is a silver-plated brass pendant necklace with a drop -shaped rose quartz gemstone, encased in a metal coiled wire and claw clasp fastener and beautifully complements the bracelet.  These are both traditionally made by skilled artisans through a fair trade project in Nepal, and come beautifully presented in a cardboard gift box.

New this season, this simple Bamboo Print Messenger Bag (£30) is a cross-body, messenger style bag is made in a grey bamboo print and would tone nicely with most outfit choices.  Practical and stylish, the bag is made in wipe-clean, water-resistant coated cotton and is hand-made through a fair trade project in Vietnam. Perfect for a mum on the go!

Our final choice is a pretty Silk & Linen Stripe Scarf (£10) which is made from made from a mix of soft pink linen/silk and slubby pure silk, with tassels at each end. The ideal weight for Spring it is hand-woven through a Fair Trade project in Vietnam using 30% linen/70% ‘tassel’ silk and coloured using eco friendly AZO free dyes.

So why not treat your hard working mother to a couple of stylish items from this lovely quartet and that’s mother’s days 2017 sorted!

PS we can even wrap it for you and send it directly to your mother – just select one of our gift wrap options here. deborah

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas

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Whether you want to show your wife what a great Mum she is, choose a gift from the kids or spoil your own Mum, Green Tulip can help you find a gift that is thoughtful, beautiful and ethical.

Leading up to Mother’s Day this year, we think the Mums in our lives could do with a little pampering…

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Mums are great! They might be juggling work and children or a busy home life, but they never seem to have enough time to relax and treat themselves. You can help with a gift to pamper her, get her to relax in the bath or put her feet up for at least 5 minutes!

Our Gift Sets  are a perfect way to provide a fragrant and delicious treat. Featured here are our Natural Rose Gift set (£14) and our Ultimate Lavender Natural Gift Set (£25) .  We love the calming fragrance of lavender, it can help to relax, soothe and prepare for a great night’s sleep. Packed full of fragrant and natural hand-picked products and beautifully presented as a ready made gift.

Another way to relax and wind down is with a Gin & Tonic scented candle (£19.50). Our luxury natural wax candles are blended with a Gin & Tonic fragrance of juniper and hints of Tuscan lemon. They are presented in a glass container which has been repurposed from a green wine bottle with the rim polished by flame to give a perfect finish.

Lemongrass and Cedarwood Hand Lotion (£15) from The Handmade Soap company is the ultimate treat for hard working hands. A beautifully packaged light and creamy natural hand lotion with the fresh scent of oriental Lemongrass and earthy Cedarwood combined with warming May Chang.  It is hand made in small batches using the finest natural botanical ingredients in County Meath, Ireland and free from all parabens, SLS’s, petrochemicals and synthetic colours and fragrances.

Whatever you choose, Mums are worth a little something special today and everyday!

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