Viva Organic, Cardiff’s #ZeroWaste Heaven!

You guys! I have been so busy and so Instagram dependant that I haven’t blogged in here as much as I really should. I mean, as a blogger sometimes you even question if anyone is reading. Is this thing on? hello? lol but I have had a few people reach out to me via email and social media lately who reminded me why I blog. Because I love everything green, eco-friendly and sustainable! which I assume is the same reason why you are here too.

So let me start reconnecting by letting you know about this uber cool place in Cardiff. Viva Organic! (what a fantastic name that is)

ZWnBCBUfRN2MFD7NGnSjsA

Viva Organic is located in the Pontcanna area – which is filled with little British houses, trees, small cozy roads with people pedaling along on their bikes and an array of amazing little shops. Pontcanna reminds me a lot of the Montrose area in Houston – sans the heat – but with British accents and Welsh cakes.

Viva Organic is the first of its kind in the area. As a zero waste shop, it offers everything your little environmental hearts can wish for. Organic fruit and veg (without plastic containers or wrapping) juice bar, with cold-pressed juices and delicious smoothies – My 12-year-old son devoured a Tropical smoothie in a matter of minutes and said it was one of the tastiest he ever had.

 

 

They also offer a range of organic wines and beers and coffees. The only thing I didn’t see was Kombucha, however, there was a little sign saying ‘coming soon’.

IMG_7391

The best part of the shop is hidden towards the back. A whole selection of self-serve and pack areas with large glass containers holding grains, pasta, cereals and oils which people can buy and carry home using their own containers ❤ it is just perfection. You can also purchase shampoo and natural soaps along with a range of cleaning household items.

fullsizeoutput_8392

fullsizeoutput_8387The only downside to the place is that I have to travel more than a few miles to get there from the Valleys. But it is definitely worth a visit!

fullsizeoutput_8381

B I G Thank you to Rod (Thomas) owner of the place, for bringing this amazing little place to live! I am absolutely in love with the place, the concept and the ethics behind it. I was also very pleased to see so many young families, and kids in the shop – mine included.

Viva Organic is located at 79 Pontcanna Street, Pontcanna, Cardiff. General opening hours are Tuesday to Friday – 8 am until 6 pm, Saturday – 9 am until 5 pm, Sunday – 11 am until 4 pm. Closed on Mondays.

fullsizeoutput_83d2

Advertisements

Hello Wales! Where is Cardiff & Why is it so Great?

HELLO CAERDYDD!

It’s been two weeks since I landed in Welsh lands and oh boy I am in love. There is so much to this city I don’t even know where to start. Let’s cover a bit of the basics. First and foremost, Helo Cymru.

 

IMG_9274
Cardiff Bay

 

Cardiff, or Caerdydd in Welsh, is the Capital of Wales. Wales is part of the U.K but it is not England – it’s Wales. The story of Wales begins with the Celts. The Celts began migrating from their central European homeland around 1000 BC. The recorded history of Wales begins with the arrival of the Romans on Welsh borders. At that time people spoke a Celtic language – Brythonic, the language that would eventually evolve into Welsh.

The Normans invade England. Wales proves resistant to the Normans’ power and the Welsh rise in revolt. Ah! feisty! By 1100 the Normans had been driven out of Gwynedd, Ceredigion and most of Powys. Fast forward to 1955, Cardiff is officially declared capital of Wales. Cardiff is Europe’s youngest capital city. Oh and you can see it and feel it. Cardiff is vibrant and full of energy but also holds so much historic wisdom. Cardiff its sort of like a young wild wise lady dressed with the scales of a dragon and the spirit of fire.

Fun fact: Neanderthals lived in what is now Wales, or Cymru in Welsh, at least 230,000 years ago, while Homo sapiens arrived by about 31,000 BC. … A number of kingdoms formed in present-day Wales in the post-Roman period.

IMG_9471
Bute Park, Cardiff

 

I love how the city balances green space and city life. It is surrounded by many green well maintain parks and green areas. The city, now in the spring, is buzzing with the bright colors of flowers.  Also, so far everyone has been so friendly and welcoming. I have met a few people thanks to online groups like meetup.com and everyone is lovely and polite. I love it! Diolch everyone! (that means, thank you)

Not far from the city center many suburbs hold hidden treasures, little time capsules. One of my favorite places so far is Radyr. The Parish of Radyr came into existence soon after the Norman Conquest of Wales around the beginning of the 12th century. The area had had a long history before the Conquest. Archaeological findings suggest that the Lesser Garth Cave (behind the Ty Nant Inn) was inhabited from the Stone Age onwards. The place is magical surrounded by forest and historic facts. It’s uphills aligned with colorful houses and it’s air fresh and crisp.

Penarth, I feel deeply in love with. Putting it out there for the universe to hear me. I want to settle in Penarth. Near the sea yet close to Cardiff, this place is my dream. I will dedicate a whole post to Penarth in the next few weeks as I dig into its history and roots. But in the meanwhile, I’ll leave one picture here.

IMG_9351.JPG
Penarth Historic Pier

 

Another fun fact about Cardiff? The 2017 Football Champions League Final will be celebrated here, this June! Exciting!

Wanna know more about Wales, follow me on Instagram and Snapchat @onixjihane

xoxo

Jihane

Books Worth Reading: Sustainability Made Simple

A little while back I was offered a courtesy copy of the book Sustainability Made Simple by Rosaly Byrd and Lauren Demates (March 16, 2017 ISBN: 978-1-4422-6909-5 hardcover $36.00; Rowman & Littlefield). If you have been reading me for some time now you know I am all about sustainability, green living and healthy lifestyles (with a few indulgences now and then, because life is too short)

So I obviously jumped in delight when I heard about this book! Anything that can make my life simple, green and chemical free is always welcomed. However I try to stay critical and real with my choices. This book is perfect for anyone starting the sustainable living journey.

IMG_7110

What I love the most about this book is how practical it is. All of the tips and suggestions are easy enough for the average person to follow. It introduces the readers to a world in which sustainable living is not only possible but achievable. In this day and age in which in some parts of the world the impact to the environment is being ridiculed, it is important to keep informed. Know how to separate fact from opinion and make your own judgement. Remember we have only ONE planet, and it is our responsibility to sustain life in it, not only for us but for generations to follow.

Small changes can make a big difference. If we all act united and together small changes become big changes in the long run. For example, Rosaly Byrd and Lauren Demates, offer small and simple little steps such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator, and to carry reusable cups and water bottles instead of contributing to plastic pollution. Same goes to reusable non-plastic bags for your grocery shopping trips – hemp bags are a brilliant alternative.

IMG_6450
Eco-Lunchbox BPA free and reusable

 

The book is conveniently divided in sections, from household shores to travelling tips that cover all your sustainabe living needs. Best part? It is kid friendly, there are many activities in there you can do with your whole family and kids. Make concious consumers from an early age and you will change the world.

This educational and engaging book is perfect for someone who has heard the term sustainability and is interested in learning what it’s all about, the novice environmentalist looking for new ways to improve their impact, or anyone in between. Case studies and tables highlight interesting information and trends, and an extensive bibliography provides further reading for those who want to learn more about the world of sustainability.

xoxo

Jihane


About the Authors:

Rosaly Byrd is the co-founder and author of the blog The Sustainability Co-Op that works to engage readers on global environmental issues. She also writes as a freelance blogger for the Huffington Post. Rosaly has lived in Haiti and Brazil, working on environmental policy and sustainable development for the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and UN Development Programme (UNDP). Rosaly holds a Master’s degree in International Affairs with a focus on international environmental policy from University of California, San Diego School of Global Policy and Strategy, and a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts from Florida Atlantic University Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College in Jupiter, Florida.

Laurèn DeMates is a sustainability professional committed to improving the environmental impact of government, corporations, and individuals. Her work has included applying behavioral and social science-based strategies to increase energy efficiency in the federal government and assisting companies collect and analyze corporate social responsibility metrics. Laurèn is a LEED Green Associate and a co-founder of The Sustainability Co-Op blog. She graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a Master’s degree in International Affairs, and from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Sciences.

Naturally Clean with Grab Green

 

For some time now I have been searching for natural ways to keep my house clean. Less toxic, more back to basics is my motto. But sometimes life gets busy and making your own cleaning products can be time-consuming (yet gratifying) So I decided to start looking for some greener “ready-made” options and I came across Grab Green.

Grab Green is the project of a lady just like you and me. A mom, an entrepreneur, a woman with a mission to find more natural ways to keep her house and family clean. Co-founder Patricia Spencer discovered how regular cleaning products were full of toxic ingredients such as solvents, ammonia, and bleach. This inspired her into venturing down the path of DIY recipes and find less chemical solutions.

The Grab Green team has spent years developing formulas with just the right balance of naturally-derived plant and mineral ingredients to create non-toxic products that actually work. In fact, Grab Green home cleaning and laundry care solutions are even more effective than the leading conventional brands while remaining gentle on our planet!

Grab Green goes beyond the creation of a product. It follows a whole eco-friendly and sustainable philosophy driven by the want and the need for a better planet. Their packaging uses 98% less plastic than conventional cleaning products, and their products are biodegradable. Even their wet dryer sheets are compostable! And of course, all of their products are cruelty-free, no animal testing. I feel in love, not only with its products and pretty packaging but also with their ethics.

They are truly transparent (if only food labels were this honest!) You can find a full list of ingredients used in their laundry pods by clicking here

Add heading

They sent me two products to try out. The first one I want to talk about is the  3 in 1 laundry detergent in Lavender Vanilla scent.

First impressions: OMG smells like a field of fresh wildflowers and sunshine.

Second, the packaging is so well made! It keeps pods fresh and fragrant ready to use whenever you need to. Clothes came out looking perfectly clean and fragrant and, more importantly, toxic free! All ingredients are listed on their web page. No phosphates, chlorine, masking agents or dyes. Unlike other natural laundry detergents out there (or the ones you make at home) the Grab Green 3 in 1 laundry detergent is good for use in standard & high efficiency (HE) washing machines. And as they are 3 in 1, you don’t need to use any softener or stain remover.

Add heading-2

3 in 1 Laundry Pods were awarded a rating of excellence with a score of 94% in overall stain removal by a scientific testing center.  Our pods actually outperform Tide in stain and soil removal.

I used them to wash my 10-year-old son clothing which you would imagine comes with mud, twigs, and even the odd glue spot sometimes included. One pod per load does the trick. I also washed my dog’s blanket and the doggy smell disappeared. The blanket came out smelling clean and fresh.

There was no residue in the washing machine nor on the clothes which leads me to believe the pods dissolved completely just as promised.

IMG_9269

Second product sent to me was their Cookware & Bakeware Cleaner Pods in Tangerine & Lemongrass.  Once again the fragrance is amazing. It is fresh, young, vibrant. It leaves your kitchen (and dishes) smelling like freshly cut tangerines in a fresh summer afternoon. Again no dyes, chlorine, or phosphates. It contains natural essential oils that give it not only its antiseptic properties but also delivers its divine fragrance.

IMG_9276

I put the cleaner pods to the ultimate test. I had baked an eggplant lasagna that had left a lot of sticky and slightly burnt/caramelized residue on the pot. I did not feel like scrubbing for hours, so I used these little pods.

Boom! Impressed. Clean results in just one go.

*note I am not including a picture of the dirty pot here simply because I forgot! yes! I know! But I wouldn’t post here if I wasn’t truly impressed by the results. 

IMG_9272

I want to go buy ALL their products. I love their fragrances and the fact that they actually work just as well (or even better because let’s face it natural is always better) than conventional cleaning products.

How about you? How do you keep your house clean?


Grab Green is “green” certified by the following governing bodies

governingBodies2
grabgreenhome.com

 

Repurpose Spring, and Fall into Autumn with IKEA

So spring is far gone, does that mean you can’t keep your gardening herbs on? No, it certainly doesn’t! I keep a healthy basil going all year long and I have been able to do so both while living in England and in the USA.
Looking for some alternatives to indoor herb gardening I found a fantastic little product. IKEA Socker Greenhouse in white ($19.99) provided by IKEA for the purposes of this blog post. (Thank you IKEA)

IMG_7078

The IKEA Socker Greenhouse is small and versatile, perfect or the urban gardener. Easy to assemble and small enough to be part of a small kitchen or windowsill. You can fit around 4 medium size pots, or you can have one medium-big and two small like I did here. It is the perfect way to keep your herbs and small plants cozy during the colder autumn days. You can also open the vents to let air circulate for warmer days. I am in love with it! so versatile it works for both Spring and Fall.

IMG_7081

Keep your eyes open for a Halloween Greenhouse post coming soon!

Planting: I planted a small Stevia plant, yes Stevia the one used for the making of the much more popular Stevia sweetener. You can add Stevia leaves to your drinks, crush them slightly and add a lovely natural and tangy flavor to your beverages. Another great herb to have (not pictured here) is sweet mint, also very delicious when added to water or drinks. You can also make a delicate tea for  or for those colder days by infusing the mint leaves in hot water.

IMG_7079

I also planted basil because i simply love basil even if its more of a summer herb. I use it all year round! the amazing aroma enhances anything with cheese, or tomatoes in it. It is very easy to look after basil I have had so many basil plants all sprouting amazing leaves and flowers all year round, definitely a must have! specially for new herb gardeners since its so easy to manage basil. And last but not least I planted some Aloe Vera. I bought an aloe vera at the start of summer and it has grown so much that I repotting and maybe using as Thanks Giving Presents for close friends. (will post about that too!) Aloe Vera can be used for many purposes from face treatments, burn treatments to digestion aid. Aloe Vera is one of those things that you should always have in my opinion, besides it is very low maintenance, easy to keep up with.

IMG_7080So there! there are many seasonal fruit and veg that can be planted during early fall. Keep your eyes open for lovely red cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, chives, butternut squash, and beets this fall! umm did anyone said recipe ideas time? Oh yes I can savor them all already.

IKEA Socker Greenhouse Product info:

Product dimensions
Depth: 8 ¾ ”
Height: 13 ¾ ”
Width: 17 ¾ ”

Depth: 22 cm
Height: 35 cm
Width: 45 cm
IKEA toll-free phone order number: (800) 434-IKEA (4532)
IKEA web site address: http://www.IKEA.com
*Other materials used for this picture found at Michael’s.
This blog is not sponsored by Michael’s