Monthly Archives: February 2012

World’s First Loving Hut Vegan Hotel

World’s First Loving Hut Inn

Loving Hut Inn is the first vegan inn in world with the unique concept of the vegan Loving Hut chain of restaurants. Loving Hut Inn is a completely vegan, non-smoking inn located in the heart of Carinthia, Austria on Lake Klopein. Situated on Lake Klopein, 1.8 kilometer long and 800 meters in width, with a depth of 48 meters and temperature of 28°C, one of Europe’s warmest lakes for swimming. The region’s beautiful scenery makes it one of the most popular holiday destinations in Europe.

100% vegan, not just food and beverage, but also lifestyle. Loving Hut Inn has been lovingly and attentively arranged and is as an example of the practical application of the environmental vegan lifestyle in areas extending beyond nutrition. So, Loving Hut Inn have been careful in decor, to use no products or components of animal origin. In addition, all items such as soap, shampoos, and cleaning products are free of components and, of course, animal experimentation and are chosen preferably from natural and environmentally friendly ingredients.

Food & Beverages

In this restaurant you will find a large menu with many local and international dishes. All the food is prepared fresh, guaranteed 100 % vegan and from ingredients that are not genetically modified as they have checked all ingredients and contents. When possible, vegetables and fruits are obtained from organic farmers in the region. In addition, mainly use organic, fair-trade products. Loving Hut offers non-alcoholic, organic wine and beer, organic sodas, organic soy milk shakes, fruit juices as well as a variety of teas and coffee beverages.

The inn also has a small vegan store with a library in which, in addition to alternative food items, you can find vegan cosmetics, clothing and accessories as well as cookbooks and informational books on vegan nutrition and lifestyle. There is also a wide range of free information, recipes, and tips for the vegan lifestyle.

A vegan breakfast buffet rounds out our service so their guests, in good conscious, can enjoy their vacation in a relaxing and healthy environment. They want to give an example of an alternative that is advantageous to health, animals and the environment while greatly increasing quality of life through small lifestyle changes. All of the dishes in restaurant are purely plant-based (vegan), lovingly prepared, and served in a beautiful, friendly and tranquil atmosphere. Loving Hut do not serve alcohol but offer many non-alcoholic beverages.

Loving Hut is leading the way in promoting an alternative, sustainable lifestyle on our planet. Loving Hut stands for love, peace, compassion, ecology and healthy eating every day of our lives!

Next time, when you travel to Austria, this would be the best place to relax and spend a few days there. Below, I will show you a few tourist attractions.


New Update!
Vegan Ice cream!!!
Lactose and cholersterol free!
Vanilla, Choco, Strawberry, Hazelnut, Blueberry, Yoghurt-mango, Raffaello-coconut!
Made from soy & Made in Austria!

Article excerpted from

Can Organic Food Reverse Cancer?

When my melanoma recurred in the lymph nodes under my arm, I was told by my oncologist that chemotherapy was pretty useless for melanoma, so they’d whip out the affected nodes and we’d hope for the best.

Post-op, I was lying in my hospital bed when two — quite separate — friends gave me A Time to Heal by Beata Bishop, the story of her healing her own melanoma almost 30 years ago using the Gerson Therapy. I knew I had to do something and her book convinced me that Gerson was it.

The therapy looked like a bit of a beast to do — 13 freshly-squeezed organic vegetable and fruit juices per day plus five coffee enemas, every day for at least 18 months to two years. On the diet front everything was organic. There was a thick vegetable soup to be eaten twice daily, and lunch and dinner consisted of a baked potato and vegetables and salad. A little oatmeal was permitted at breakfast. Everything else was forbidden. I couldn’t even wear make-up (though a little beetroot juice on the cheeks helped), and any chemical household products were banned. There was also some supplementation, including potassium and Lugol’s solution, some pancreatic enzymes, niacin and injectable B12.

The purpose of the therapy, devised by Max Gerson more than 60 years ago, is to massively detoxify the body thus helping the immune system to do the job it is designed to do. Their website describes it as “naturally reactivating your body’s magnificent ability to heal itself — with no damaging side effects.”

Despite the program’s rigidity, I seemed to be able to surrender to the routine of it. I had help with the juicing. And basically it was my job for those 18 months. The Gerson people counsel rest and even discouraged any exercise back in the mid-90s when I did it. But I liked the juices, I loved the enemas (designed to detoxify the liver) and even the food was doable. I finished my 18 months full-on and six months of a reduced program and, convinced I had put paid to the melanoma for good, I went back to my life.

Unfortunately the melanoma did come back around five years later, and that was the big nasty one when it recurred in my brain, spleen, stomach and lungs.

So why didn’t Gerson work for me? And how come I am still a proponent of using natural and alternative methods to heal cancer? Well, I still agree with the principles of the therapy. (The program that subsequently did the trick 10 years ago was based on similar principles, but with way more specific and targeted supplementation). And that, for me, is the key.

Cancer shows up in a toxic body. So to clean up, nourish and encourage it to work properly still seems completely logical to me. My theory — unproven — is that over the last 60 years or so our soil has got much more toxic and less fertile — even the soil that organic produce is grown in. Graham Harvey, author of We Want Real Food, told me that in the UK the supermarkets have encouraged their large scale growers to turn over some of their land to cash in on the demand for organic produce, and this has been done by obeying the minimum rules of organic farming rather than the spirit. Soil fertility is not something quickly achieved.

That, combined with the huge array of chemicals our 21st century bodies have to contend with, makes healing cancer through food alone a harder job and why I believe intense supplementation on top of a really clean organic regime is what worked for me. I would love to hear your experiences.

Article excerpted from

Shedding some light on eco-friendly bulbs

Jake Wallis Simons untangles the mystery of the modern light bulb

The room above demonstrates how different types of bulb are suited to different purposes. The table lamp on the right is fitted with an Osram Classic A Energy Saving bulb, for warmth and atmosphere. The central spot and strip lighting in the shelves are energy efficient LEDs, as is the uplighter against the garden wall (which uses only 1 watt of power). An old fashioned incandescent spot is used for the artwork, where colour rendition is paramount

The simple act of buying a light bulb has become unimaginably stressful. Before European regulations were introduced, the only challenge was remembering whether the fittings were bayonet or screw-in. These days, however, we are faced with a bewildering array of white curly things that take ages to warm up and give our homes all the cosiness of a morgue. Just deciphering the terminology – Energy Saving, Energy Efficient, Warm White, White – is almost impossible, as it has not yet been standardised across brands.

According to Lucy Martin, design director at the specialist lighting company John Cullen, there are many good, eco-friendly bulbs that people are simply unaware of. The key, she says, is learning what options are available and how to use them.

But first a word about the traditional, incandescent light bulb. Wasn’t it a thing of beauty? The light was golden and welcoming at 100 watts, and bronzed and intimate in the dimmer ranges. However, 90 per cent of its energy was wasted through heat leakage. So the main challenge facing modern manufacturers is to match the light quality of the incandescent bulb by using greener technologies.

Which is where those curly fluorescent things come in. These bulbs, which last much longer and provide better value for money, can generate the same amount of light as the old bulbs while using at least 45 per cent less energy. The problem is the quality of that light: deathly white at the brighter end of the spectrum, ashen grey at the dimmer end. And there are more sinister implications, too. Fluorescent bulbs contain traces of toxic mercury, so unless they are recycled by a specialist, this is released into the ground and eventually into the water supply. According to Lucy, they should only be used in utility rooms.

Luckily, there are better options. The first – and nicest – is an Energy Saving (as opposed to Energy Efficient), infrared-coated halogen bulb. It looks almost identical to the old incandescent bulb, responds well to a dimmer, and emits almost as good quality of light. The technical difference is on the inside. Rather than a coil of filament, it has a small, transparent lozenge.

“The invisible coating of infrared helps to retain the heat,” says Lucy. “It is also filled with Xenon, an inert gas, which makes it more efficient.” This allows energy savings of around 30 per cent. The best, in her opinion, is made by Osram and is known as the ES Classic A (Classic B is the candle version, and Classic P is the shape of a golf ball). These can be recycled normally, and are available on the high street at around £1.80 (

The final alternative is LED. It is extraordinarily efficient, with a single watt of power producing a very bright light. And as the luminescence is emitted by tiny chips rather than bulbs, they can be inserted almost anywhere (see example above). John Cullen has just launched a new LED spotlight called Polestar 4, which offers 90 per cent of the light quality of a regular spotlight while using a fraction of the energy.

Usefully, LEDs now also come in the form of bulbs. Well, sort of. The Phillips MyAmbiance LED Bulb, which is currently only available in a 12 watt version (but emits 60 watts worth of light), looks more like a racing car gearstick than a light bulb. But it gives a nice, warm glow, so long as you don’t use a dimmer. It may cost £54.99 but it will last a lifetime, is extremely energy efficient, and is easy on the electricity bill (

Finally, a secret. Current building regulations state that 25 per cent of your home lighting can still be energy inefficient. So, according to Lucy Martin, when you want the very best light – to draw attention to fine artworks, for instance – a little bit of “naughty lighting” wouldn’t do anyone any harm.

John Cullen Lighting runs masterclasses on energy efficient lighting at their Chelsea showroom (

Article excerpted from

Niagara Falls to turn green on March 17th

Niagara Falls will go green on both the Canadian and the US sides on St Patrick's Day.Photograph: Tourism Ireland

NIAGARA FALLS will turn green for the first time this year to mark St Patrick’s Day, Tourism Ireland has announced.

This will be the third year of the tourism agencys “greening” initiative which sees famous landmarks lit up in green in honour of Ireland’s patron saint.

Some 32 cities are involved in this year’s campaign. The London Eye; the Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai; Table Mountain in South Africa; the Empire State Building in New York; the Sky Tower in Auckland; and the TV tower in Berlin’s Alexanderplatz are among the attractions which will go green.

The fountains at the White House will go green as will five skyscrapers in Stockholm. Tourism Ireland’s new “Jump into Ireland” advertising campaign will also be shown on the famous Fox screen on Times Square on March 17th.

Tourism Ireland’s chief executive Niall Gibbons said the initiative garnered very valuable publicity for Ireland while costing very little to organise. The publicity value in Britain alone was worth more than €2 million last year with coverage in newspapers such as the Telegraph and the Guardian .

“Our aim is to bring a smile to the world and to convey the message that Ireland continues to offer a warm welcome, fun and spontaneity, alongside fantastic scenery and cultural activities . . .”

The St Patrick’s Day celebrations are seen as the start of Ireland’s tourism season. Minister for Tourism Leo Varadkar said St Patrick’s Day provided “a unique shop window for Ireland around the world, for Irish tourism and for trade and investment”.

He said this year’s event would be used abroad to launch The Gathering 2013. This will be a year-long programme of events, festivals and fun designed to encourage people to reconnect with Ireland. It has been described as the biggest tourism initiative ever staged here and Mr Varadkar said it had the potential to attract 325,000 extra visitors.

The Central Statistics Office recorded a 7.8 per cent increase in visitor numbers here last year. Mr Gibbons said this was “a welcome return to growth” after a difficult few years. It was a record year for Australia and developing markets – they were up by 18 per cent – and Mr Gibbons said 2012 should be another strong year.

The visa waiver scheme introduced last year was already having a positive effect, he said. Tourists from certain countries, who previously required a visa to holiday in Ireland, now do not need one as long as they hold a visa to enter Britain. Some of the countries covered by the waiver include Russia, the United Arab Emirates, India and China.

Mr Gibbons said the potential for business was very strong.

“For example there are 24 tour operators in Asia now who previously only programmed the UK that are now programming the UK and Ireland because once you get your UK visa you can come to Ireland for free and it makes sense for them to add Irish itineraries on to their programmes.”

Tourism Ireland has undertaken a number of travel trade missions in recent weeks to places such as Moscow and St Petersburg, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Mumbai and Delhi.

“In China, Tourism Ireland will work to maximise the tourism potential of the visit of the Chinese vice president, urging potential holiday-makers there to come and follow in the footsteps of Mr Xi,” he said.

Article excerpted from

Five Ways 2012 Academy Awards are Going Green

One of the most prestigious entertainment award shows is right around the corner. Actors, actresses, directors, writers and many other Hollywood moguls will unite at the 2012 Academy Awards on Sunday, so to help celebrate we’ve gathered the top five ways this year’s ceremony contributes to the environment. From dresses to gift bags to preparing for next year, the Oscars is sure to be a green hit.

1. Missi Pyle to Wear Sustainable Dress

The red carpet is always full of fabulous dresses. One to keep an eye on this year is Missi Pyle’s sustainable gown designed by Valentina Delfino, winner of the Red Carpet Green Dress design contest. Founded by James Cameron’s wife, Suzy Amis Cameron, the contest gives aspiring designers the chance to craft a sustainable dress for the Oscar red carpet. Delfino is this year’s lucky winner and now “The Artist” star will strut her stuff in the gown made from silk peace chiffon, recycled polyester and natural mineral dye. “It is an incredible honor for me to walk the most glamorous red carpet in the world in such a stunning and meaningful dress,” Pyle said.

2. Celebs Dine with Fresh California Cuisine

After hours of sitting in the audience, Academy Award attendees get famished, so thankfully they have Wolfgang Puck preparing delicious food. The famous chef will be cooking over 50 dishes for 1,500 guests at the Governors Ball in the Hollywood & Highland’s Grand Ballroom. For the past 18 years, Puck has showcased his talent and this year his buffet and lounge style food will feature fresh California produce and sustainable seafood. The menu includes beet salad with pistachio butter, burrata and citrus balsamic, lobster tacos and traditional favorites like macaroni and cheese. However, for dessert he is serving gold-dusted chocolate Oscars, which may cause some controversy like this year’s Golden Globes.

3. Actors and Actresses Celebrate with Green Parties

It wouldn’t be the Academy Awards without a magnificent party, especially before the show even begins! With several pre-parties to choose from, two sound worthwhile. First, Global Green USA hosted its ninth annual event with favorite green celebs in attendance like Adrian Grenier, Kyra Sedgwick, Ed Begley Jr. and Sophia Bush. Bush even showed up in a Chevy Volt electric car. In addition to promoting eco-awareness, an electric Xenon “lightcycle” from Evolve will was auctioned off. Can you say sweet?! The event also raised money for Global Green’s National Green Schools initiative and the launch of its Rio Earth Summit.

The second party that was an eco-hit was the Oxfam America Dinner hosted by Vanity Fair, Zenga clothing and Colin and Livia Firth. Colin may be an Oscar-winner for his role in “The King’s Speech,” but his wife deserves an award for her eco-fashion efforts. This particular dinner benefits not only Oxfam’s international relief efforts, but also Livia’s Green Carpet Challenge that has tried to get top designers to jump on the sustainable design bandwagon. If you remember, Livia made a fashion statement at the Golden Globes with her eco-friendly Armani dress. Livia also took time to tweet about her sustainable evening wear, “Wearing gorgeous dress #BeulahLondon #GCC2012 perfect as example of relieve women out of poverty @Oxfam India.” Hopefully, we’ll see more of this on Sunday.

4. Green Gift Bags Offered to Nominees

If being nominated for an Oscar isn’t enough, nominees also receive plentiful gift bags filled with goodies. This year, organic, eco-friendly and non-toxic gifts will be given away. For the nominees in major categories who don’t win, they will receive non-toxic, food safe kitchen products from Essential Safe Productsin their “Everybody Wins at the Oscars®” nominee gift baskets. Valued at over $250, the baskets include reusable items like produce bags, stainless steel snack containers and bamboo utensil sets. A $200 ESP gift certificate will also be inside.

Academy Award nominees and presenters will luckily take home an “Academy Awards Celebrity Gift Box” from Green PolkaDot Box, a company that provides organic and natural goods. The recycled boxes will be stuffed with a one-year GPDB savings membership, $75 in reward points and 48 organic products, such as Eden’s Pumpkin Seeds, Vermont Soap’s Oatmeal Lavender bars and St. Dalfour’s Black Raspberry Conserves. Well, at least the noms (who don’t win) won’t go empty-handed, but of course I’d rather go home with an Oscar.

5. Oscars Prepare Greenness for Next Year

The Oscars aren’t even here yet, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is already planning for next year. They’ve partnered with Everyone Counts Inc. to develop an electronic voting system, rather than a paper one. This new electronic ballot will not change the traditional tabulation of Academy members’ votes. It will also remain tightly secured. Sounds like the 85th awards show is off to a good start!

It’s nice to see how the Academy Awards contribute to the environment, even in the smallest of ways. Also, be sure to check out our other gallery of “The Ten Most Charitable Oscar Nominees” and see how the most talented actors and actresses are giving back to others.

Article excerpted from

The hot list: 10 hip and green UK destinations for 2012

Forget France; the UK is home to some of the coolest holiday spots on the planet. Whether you want scenery, natural phenomena or a dose of eco-luxury, there’s a British break to suit you

Not only does the UK boast some of the world’s most beautiful scenery, it also has wildlife watching opportunities galore and a wealth of historical sites. So why then, is the country so frequently written off as the ‘cheap’ option or the ‘green’ one? It’s both of these things of course but whatever you’re looking for, Great Britain has more going for it than flight-free and low-cost travel. ‘The only way to educate people is to do it in the location,’ comments Matt Spence, CEO of UK eco-tourism specialists, Natural Retreats. ‘When people see [what the UK has to offer], they start to understand.’ After a stellar 2009, domestic tourism has fallen slightly according to statistics released by Visit Britain, with around 96.4 million overnight stays taken by Brits in the UK last year. That might sound like a lot but it still represents a fall, with more of us than ever heading abroad.

In part, this is down to the quest for value (one of CheapFlights CEO Hugo Burge’s top travel trends for 2012) – with the UK often regarded as overpriced – but it’s also the result of a lack of knowledge about Britain’s beauties. Who knew, for instance, that the Northern Lights could be seen in Britain, or that the seas off the top of Scotland offer some of the best whale watching experiences in the world? ‘Up in John O’ Groats you can see the one of world’s largest predators (the killer whale) from the beach,’ says Spence. ‘There’s seals and you can go scuba diving to look at shipwrecks. What we have here is a pristine wilderness area that people really need to see.’ John O’Groats is the location for Natural Retreats’ newest venture – the retrofitted and renovated John O’Groats Hotel – but it’s not the only British destination that looks set to become a must-visit this year. From Cornish beach huts to Cambrian mountain cabins, the UK has something for everyone, whether you’re travelling with children or looking for a romantic retreat. We’ve rounded up 10 hip hotspots that offer combine chic surroundings with an emerald green eco ethos – and they’re all a short train ride away. If this doesn’t get you thinking about a British break, nothing will.











Orchard Carriage, Somerset

Why it’s cool: One for locomotive enthusiasts and lovers of all things quirky alike; until the mid-1900s, the Orchard Carriage was exactly that – a train carriage on the local branch line. After being decommissioned, it was used as a storage container for the Village Hall in nearby Bruton before being rescued and restored to its former glory. Set in a pretty orchard on a biodynamic smallholding, it boasts sensational Somerset views, a comfy double bed and has its own wood-fired sauna. In the area you’ll find a wealth of walking opportunities, plenty of pretty villiages to explore and some wonderful old pubs. Try the Archangel in nearby Frome, which offers seasonal, locally sourced fare in a historic building – parts of which date as far back as the Domesday Book.

Green credentials: Owners Zoe and Jonno have kept fossil fuel use to a minimum by using a combination of solar power and a woodburning stove for heating and lighting. Outside, you’ll find a compost toilet and the aforementioned wood-fired sauna.
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Natural Retreats, John O’Groats

Why it’s cool: Surprisingly for a town that’s so well known, John O’Groats has little in the way of decent accommodation and even less going for it in the eco department. All that however, is going to change when Natural Retreats launches its newest property in June. In partnership with Heritage Great Britain, the eco holiday specialist is giving a green makeover to the historic John O’Groats hotel, with local materials and green construction techniques incorporated into the build. The most northerly town in the UK, John O’Groats boasts a wonderfully wild coastline, with plenty of seals, whales and dolphins to spot. If you go in winter, you might just get a glimpse of the awe-inspiring Aurora Borealis.

Green credentials: Like the rest of the Natural Retreats portfolio, the John O’Groats property will be run along eco-friendly lines. Locally sourced, sustainable materials and local craftsmen are being used to complete the refit.
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Why it’s cool: It might be famous for its golden sand and creamy milk but 2012 looks set to be the year that Jersey becomes known for more than cows and beaches. With a packed events calendar that ranges from the charming (Battle of Flowers) to the choral (Tennerfest), there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Other top picks include the convivial La Faîs’sie d’Cidre (Cider Festival) and the June in Bloom Floral Festival. Away from the festivities, spend some time enjoying the island’s balmy climate on one of its many sandy beaches or hire a bike and take a trip round the island using its ‘green lanes’, where cyclists have priority over car drivers. Also worth visiting is the magnificent Mont Orgueil Castle, which offers wonderful sea views and a network of towers and spiral staircases to explore.

Green credentials: Along with its network of green lanes, Jersey remains largely unspoilt and as a result is home to a wealth of rare flora and fauna, including a puffin colony on the Piemont Headland. Although eco accommodation options are limited – think camping – the island does have an Eco-Active scheme to encourage businesses to do more to protect the environment and biodiversity. The Radisson-Blu St Helier is signed up.
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The Hebridean Trail, Outer Hebrides

Why it’s cool: A new experience launched for summer 2012 by eco travel specialists, Wilderness Scotland, the Hebridean Trail is a seven-day mountain biking trip through the Outer Hebrides, with local guides, ferry transport and accommodation all thrown in. The seven islands that make up the Outer Hebrides remain relatively untouched, with stunning coastline and plentiful wildlife spotting opportunities on offer. Among the non-human residents are the golden eagle and the red deer, and you’ll also get the opportunity to get to grips with the islands’ unique, Gaelic-speaking culture.

Green credentials: Carbon emissions are kept to a minimum with all transportation done by bike or ferry. Wilderness Scotland are also willing to collect visitors from Inverness station – the nearest mainline station to the Hebrides – which means you can leave the car at home and rule out the plane entirely.
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Hell Bay, Bryher

Why it’s cool: Despite the apocalyptic name, nowhere could be further from hell than the Hell Bay hotel, located on the glorious Bryher island. One of the Scilly Islands, Bryher is home to thousands of seabirds and boasts some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK, along with the world-famous Abbey clifftop gardens on the nearby Tresco. Perched on a clifftop with spectacular sea views is the Hell Bay Hotel, which boasts an impressive CSR policy, ultra chic rooms and a restaurant specialising in local fare. Art lovers will adore the plethora of locally made artwork, including pieces by Barbara Hepworth, while for wildlife fans, the hotel can arrange boat trips and diving excursions.

Green credentials: Hell Bay’s exhaustive stable of green initiatives, includes everything from composting food and paper waste to eco-friendly cleaning products. Use of plastics is kept to a minimum, while old glass is crushed and used as aggregate. The hotel also encourages water conservation and uses recycled rainwater as much as it can.
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The Culloden Estate and Spa, Belfast

Why it’s cool: With the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic just over two months away, all eyes are turning to Belfast where the doomed liner was built. The Titanic Belfast, a spectacular new museum and community arts centre designed with the shape of the ship’s funnel in mind, opens in spring, and will play host to a number of commemorative events, including the Titanic Light Show, from the 7th to 12th April, and the Titanic Proms on the 8th September. Away from the city, head to the Culloden Estate and Spa – a sympathetically restored manor house perched on Belfast Lough, five miles outside of the city centre. Not only is it within striking distance of Belfast’s nightlife and attractions, it’s a great base for exploring the surrounding emerald green countryside.

Green credentials: The Grade I listed house has been sympathetically restored using local materials and antique furniture, while the spa uses holistic naturals brand, ESPA.
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The Potting Shed, Tweed Valley

Why it’s cool: If you’re the sort of person who escapes to the garden shed when the going gets tough at home, then the quirky Potting Shed in Scotland’s Tweed Valley could be exactly what you need. You won’t be sharing space with the owner’s tool collection though, as the former shed has been totally revamped, with an open-plan living space, a bright bedroom (complete with linen bedsheets) and wonderful views of the River Tweed, courtesy of floor-to-ceiling windows. Often overlooked in favour of the Highlands, the Tweed Valley has plenty for nature fans to get excited about, and there are plenty of biking and hiking trails to choose from. The pretty town of Melrose is within hiking distance of the Potting Shed, while a short bus trip will take you to the historic town of Bamburgh with its magnificent mediaeval castle and vast stretches of golden sandy beach. If you’re feeling adventurous, there’s also the chance to take a boat trip to Lindisfarne where you can take a closer look at the island’s famous gospels and the ancient ruins of the abbey.

Green credentials: Heating at the Potting Shed comes courtesy of a wood-burning stove and an ultra efficient Everhot electric heat storage unit, which also provides power for the cooker. Organic Sedburgh toiletries are also provided.
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The Beach Hut, Cornwall

Why it’s cool: Forget visions of candy-striped beachside boxes; this beach hut is more of a cottage than a changing room. Built in 1920, the grey clapperboard cottage is set in the middle of a 52-acre property near Bude and boasts spectacular sea views plus doorstep access to a vast sandy surfing beach. Inside, the single room cottage has a king size double bed, a small kitchen area and stripped back décor, with a wood-burning stove taking pride of place. Perfect for surfers, the Beach Hut also works brilliantly for wildlife fans, with trips to view the endangered Basking shark available upon request. Miles of coastal paths offer ample cycling and walking opportunities, while the Eden Project is within striking distance.

Green credentials: A wood burning stove heats the property, and although logs are supplied, you can just as easily use driftwood foraged from the beach. A hamper packed with local goodies, including Cornish sea salt is provided.
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Limewood, New Forest

Why it’s cool: If you’ve ever wanted to try your hand at foraging, the New Forest with its diverse array of habitats and carefully preserved coppices is the place to start. Limewood, an eco-chic retreat deep in the heart of the forest, offers bespoke foraging trips with resident expert, Garry Eveleigh. Expect to find wild berries, nuts and fungi, all of which can then be turned into something spectacular by chef, Luke Holder, on your return. If the thought of a woodland pick your own session hasn’t whetted your appetite, then maybe the idea of cycling, hiking and riding through some of the best-preserved ancient woodland in England will. There’s plenty of unique fauna to see en route, including red deer, fallow deer, adders, lizards, badgers, foxes and of course, the New Forest pony.

Green credentials: The Regency house has been carefully restored, with the environment in mind, while the restaurant serves up locally sourced and foraged fare. The spa uses British organic brand, Bamford, and has its own ‘herbary’, where it grows herbs for use in treatments.
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The Cabin, Cambrian Mountains

Why it’s cool: Located in a pretty wooded glade, the Cabin looks like a cross between an old-fashioned pavilion and an ultra luxe garden shed. What’s not retro, however, is the ridiculously chic Moroccan style interior, which wouldn’t look out of place in a Wallpaper spread. What’s more, with hydro powered amenities, local timber walls and wood-powered heating, it’s gorgeously green. Nant yr Onnen also has plenty for bird enthusiasts to love, with edkites, cuckoos, woodpeckers, nuthatches, buzzards, henharriers, goshawks and sparrowhawks all to be seen from the kitchen window. In the surrounding area, you’ll find the Upper Towy Valley, with its myriad walking and biking opportunities, the Dinas Nature Reserve and the spectacular Carreg Cennen castle, which sits on a rocky outcrop that commands stunning views of the nearby Black Mountain and Towy Valley.

Green credentials: The planet is a priority for owners, Fiona and Tim, who generate their own electricity using a micro hydro generator, and use their own sustainable timber in their wood burning stoves. The Cabin also has a compost toilet, while water comes direct from one of the springs on the property and is stored behind the owners’ cottage in an old milk tanker.
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Baking up vegan delights

Doron Petersan, owner of Sticky Fingers Bakery in Washington, D.C

Driven by a love of animals, Doron Petersan went vegan more than a decade ago.

But memories of her favorite treats haunted her. But this vegan wasn’t about to let a lack of butter or eggs stop her.

“There was a real lack of decadent and tasty vegan baked goods at the time,” Petersan said. “I realized a lot of the things we were missing could be made vegan, so I started experimenting.”

Friends started asking her to bake for them, too, and a bakery was born. In 2002, she opened Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats, the first vegan bakery in Washington, D.C.

Building on 10 years of recipes, she’s been taking on traditional ingredients and showing up the competition on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars,” which airs at 7 p.m. Sundays. Pitting her vegan recipes – no eggs, butter, dairy or animal products of any kind – against traditional favorites, her vegan cupcakes won top honors. Twice.

Now she shares recipes for vegan favorites including sticky buns, cheesecakes, tiramisu and her bakery’s popular Little Devils (inspired by Devil Dogs).

From which flours work best to egg replacers and dairy-free ingredients, Petersan offers solid baking advice in her first cookbook, “Sticky Fingers’ Sweets: 100 Super-Secret Vegan Recipes” ($27.50, Avery) available in stores Thursday.

Petersan, 39, lives in the Washington, D.C., area with her husband and 7-month-old son. When she’s not baking, she competes in bike races with Team Sticky Fingers.

Want to try her cupcakes? Baked goods ordered from her site,”>, are shipped around the country every Tuesday.

Q.You not only took on traditional cupcakes, but won two challenges on Food Network’s “Cupcake Wars”?

A. “Cupcake Wars” influenced how people perceive us. People who thought, “Eww, vegan baking,” they’re inspired to try us.

We won twice against traditional bakers. We’re not just scooting by because we’re the only game in town. Every single bakery and Whole Foods offer vegan bakery, and that’s competition. We enjoy that. Bring it on.

Q. You studied dietetics at the University of Maryland. Why not culinary school?

A. I’d always worked in restaurants growing up. That’s how I made rent money. I thought I wanted to be a veterinarian. I was volunteering at shelters as a vet tech. That’s how I became vegetarian, working with all these animals. Then I started learning about what it took to be vegetarian and vegan.

I took a class for dietetics that was mandatory. I was fascinated. Some stuff is more difficult than others, but it’s all about the science. There’s no magic to the egg and dairy.

Q. Any non-vegan options you miss?

A. I’m not going to lie. Of course, there are flavors I crave or want. I wouldn’t say I don’t miss anything. You grow up with certain flavors you love. I re-create it. . . .

I do want my mother’s meatballs or lasagna just the way I remember it. That’s what I did with the bakery. I found a recipe for chocolate cake and found a way to tweak it. . . .

We don’t allow any carob in the bakery. We’re not going to win over non-vegans with just really good carob-covered cookies. You need really rich and delicious flavors to capture the memories.

Q. Anything you haven’t been able to re-create?

A. There are certain recipes that are extremely difficult. For instance, cannoli is absolutely one of the things I grew up eating and love. I have a very specific flavor in mind. My grandmother used to make it, very distinct flavors. It’s difficult to get those flavors up front before you taste soy or cornstarch.

We’ve got the shells or the sauce down, but the filling we haven’t. I’ve tasted a million and one cannoli, vegan and non-vegan, but I still haven’t gotten it.

Q. Your baked goods have playful names like Gilbert Ganachefried and Banana Chimp Bread. How does what you call something play into whether people will try it?

A. So much. We discovered people’s perceptions of how it tastes is going to affect the outcome of what they like. If you call it a “soy-based treat with seitan,” that sounds disgusting. People want caramel gooey stuff and things they relate to delicious.

Q. You’ve spent a decade creating vegan treats. What do you want people to know about this cookbook?

A. These recipes are not some magically different baking recipes. These are recipes that any baker can do. It’s about food science and chemistry. . . . It’s not just for people with food allergies. First and foremost these recipes are delicious. Second, they’re vegan.

Q. Have you seen a change in availability of vegan ingredients?

A. Nonhydrogenated margarines and shortenings are much easier to get now. When we started, you could only get Crisco. We’re able to do more in terms of healthier options.

Q. Most popular item in the bakery?

A. In our store specifically, hands down our most popular flavor is chocolate. No matter what we do or come up with, chocolate is the main flavor.

With “Cupcake Wars,” we’ve been on (Food Network) three times, won twice. We always bring the flavors back to the store and see what sells best. We just had Johnny Cashew, a chocolate cupcake with cashew candies on top. We couldn’t keep them on the shelf. Just for a little extra chocolate, people were going nuts.

Q. Why are cupcakes still so popular?

A. I think the popularity of cupcakes in our store and “Cupcake Wars” helps keep the momentum. But it started long before “Cupcake Wars” was a twinkle in someone’s eyes. Hand-held desserts are always popular. You wouldn’t know there was an economic crisis going on by the amount of cupcakes we sell.

Q. You’ve got a bit of a Bettie Page look going on for the book cover, with the addition of a few tattoos. Any tattoos featuring baked goods or for the new book?

A. As far as tattoos, I can’t help it. I’ve always been fascinated. My grandfather was in the Navy. I do have one from “Cupcake Wars,” a cupcake inside a television. What I’ve found as I’ve gotten older, the tattoos hurt more and more. That, and now I have a baby. I don’t have the disposable income I used to.

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