Topshop going green with eco capsule line; Aims to encourage sustainability within the fashion industry
Following hot on the heels of H&M’s sustainable Glamour Conscious Collection, high street retailer Topshop has teamed up with eco fashion brand Reclaim To Wear to create a debut upcycled capsule collection made entirely from discarded materials.
Materials including surplus stock and production off-cuts have gone into the line, which comprises on-trend pieces including ombre bleached denim shorts and color block panel mini and maxi dresses.
On sale from June 8 at the retailer’s London Oxford Circus store and online, the line aims to encourage sustainability within the fashion industry.
Aiming to solve the problem of textile waste, Reclaim To Wear was founded in 1997. The brand’s creative director Orsola de Castro and managing director Filippo Ricci shared their knowledge with Topshop when collaborating on the line.
“This is the first step towards the creation of zero waste design collections. I trust that the Topshop team’s commitment to new sustainable solutions will lead to the reconsidering of consumption versus disposal throughout the whole fashion industry supply chain,” said de Castro.
The new eco friendly Topshop line follows a general shift in the fashion industry towards upcycling and sustainable fashion. On the high street H&M launched its Glamour Conscious Collection back in March, comprising pieces made using sustainable materials including organic cotton, hemp and recycled polyester.
Big name designers have also been getting in on the act, with a host of labels including Valentino and Lanvin signing up to film producer Livia Firth’s Green Carpet Challenge initiative ahead of the awards ceremony season earlier this year.
Highlights on the Oscars red carpet included best actress winner Meryl Streep’s gold draped Lanvin dress made out of eco-certified sourced fabric and Firth’s red Valentino gown made of recycled polyester sourced from plastic bottles.
Article excerpted from www.nydailynews.com
Break out the green food coloring. It’s time to create a little St. Patrick’s Day fun in the kitchen.
“St. Patrick’s Day is a perfect occasion to get playful with bold colors and bright flavors,” says Mark Garcia, a chef at the McCormick & Company’s McCormick Kitchens.
“Our easy recipes take favorite treats, like cupcakes, shakes and brownies and add a bright green twist to make them a perfect fit for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations.”
To bring bright hues to your entire St. Patrick’s Day spread, add a few drops o’ green to your favorite beverages and store-bought items. The experts in the McCormick Kitchen suggest adding five-six drops of green food coloring to 12 ounces of beer; six drops to an 8-ounce lemon-lime soda; 10-12 drops to a 1‚-2 cup of blue cheese dressing (for chicken wings); and 10-12 drops to a 1‚-2 cup of ranch or Franch onion dip (for chips, veggies and potato wedges).
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Refrigerate: 2 hours
Makes 4 dozen cake pops
1 package (18’ªø1‚-4 ounces) yellow cake mix
2 teaspoons green food color
3‚-4 cup marshmallow creme
1 bag (14 ounces) white confectionery coating wafers
Green sprinkles (optional)
1. Prepare cake mix as directed on package, adding food color. Bake as directed on package for 13- by 9-inch baking pan. Cool completely on wire rack.
2. Crumble cake into large bowl. Add marshmallow creme; mix until well blended. Shape into 1-inch balls. Refrigerate 2 hours.
3. Melt coating wafers as directed on package. For each Cake Pop, dip 1‚-2 inch of lollipop stick into melted coating. Insert dipped end of lollipop stick halfway into cake ball. Let stand until coating is set. Dip each cake pop into melted coating. Shake gently to remove excess coating. Sprinkle or roll cake pops in green sprinkles, if desired. Place cake pops in Styrofoam blocks. Let stand until coating is set.
Test kitchen tips: Substitute 1‚-2 cup canned vanilla frosting for the marshmallow creme. If Styrofoam blocks are not available, use upside-down foam egg cartons or a cardboard box to hold the cake pops.
Nutrition information per serving: 226 calories, fat 10g, carbohydrates 32g, cholesterol 23mg, sodium 176mg, fiber 0g, protein 2g.
Creamy Irish Coffee Martini
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Makes 1 serving
2 ounces Irish cream liqueur
2 ounces Irish whiskey
2 ounces chilled brewed strong coffee
1‚-4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Vanilla Whipped Cream (recipe follows)
Green sprinkles (optional)
1. Fill cocktail shaker half full with ice. Add first 4 ingredients; shake until well mixed and chilled. Strain into martini glass.
2. Top with a dollop of Vanilla Whipped Cream and green sprinkles, if desired.
Vanilla Whipped Cream: Beat 1 cup heavy cream, 1‚-4 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Makes about 2 cups.
Test kitchen tip: Wet outside rim of martini glass with pure peppermint extract. Dip glass in coarse sugar to lightly coat.
Peppermint Paddy Martini
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Makes 4 servings
8 ounces Irish cream liqueur
2 ounces cr√®me de cacao liqueur
2 ounces vanilla vodka
2 ounces heavy cream
1‚-4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
Peppermint Whipped Cream, recipe follows (optional)
1. Fill cocktail shaker 1‚-3 full with ice. Add first 5 ingredients; shake until well mixed and chilled. Strain into martini glasses.
2. Top each with a dollop of Peppermint Whipped Cream, if desired.
Peppermint Whipped Cream: Beat 1 cup heavy cream, 1‚-4 cup confectioners’ sugar and 1‚-4 teaspoon pure peppermint extract in medium bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff peaks form. Makes about 2 cups.
Test kitchen tip: Wet outside rim of martini glass with pure peppermint extract. Dip glass in coarse sugar to lightly coat.
Emerald Mint Milkshake
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Makes 3 servings
1 pint (2 cups) vanilla ice cream
1 cup milk
1‚-2 teaspoon McCormick pure peppermint extract
1‚-4 teaspoon McCormick green food color
Whipped cream and green sprinkles (optional)
1. Place ice cream, milk, peppermint extract and green food color in blender; cover. Blend on high speed until smooth.
2. Pour into glasses. Top with whipped cream and sprinkles, if desired. Serve immediately.
Test kitchen tip: For easier measurement, 1‚-4 teaspoon food color is equal to 20-25 drops.
Nutrition information per serving: 247 calories, fat 15g, carbohydrates 23g, cholesterol 53mg, sodium 85mg, fiber 0g, protein 5g.
Irish Cream Swirl Brownies
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Makes 16 servings
1 package (18-20 ounces) fudge brownie mix
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1‚-4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1‚-4 cup Irish cream liqueur
1‚-4 teaspoon green food color
1. Prepare brownie mix as directed on package, adding vanilla. Reserve 1 cup batter. Spread remaining batter in greased 9-inch square baking pan.
2. Beat cream cheese, flour and sugar in medium bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Add Irish cream liqueur, egg and food color; beat until well blended. Pour over brownie layer in pan. Drop reserved 1 cup batter by spoonfuls over cream cheese layer. Cut through batter with knife several times for marble effect.
3. Bake as directed on package for 9-inch square baking pan. Cool in pan on wire rack. Cut into squares. Serve with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream, if desired.
Test kitchen tips: For easy clean-up, line pan with foil with ends of foil extending over sides of pan. Use foil handles to remove brownie from pan. Place on cutting board and cut into squares.
If desired, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract may be used in place of the Irish cream liqueur. Omit flour.
Nutrition information per serving: 292 calories, fat 16g, carbohydrates 34g, cholesterol 53mg, sodium 179mg, fiber 1g, protein 3g.
Green with Envy Cheesecake Bars
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Refrigerate: 4 hours
Makes 24 servings
1’ªø1‚-2 cups chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (about 30 cookies)
1‚-3 cup butter, melted
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1‚-2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
1‚-2 teaspoon green food color
2 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted
1. Preheat oven to 350∞F. Mix cookie crumbs and butter. Press firmly onto bottom of foil-lined 9-inch square baking pan. Refrigerate until ready to use.
2. Beat cream cheese and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add sour cream and peppermint extract; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended. Pour 1‚-2 of the batter over crust. Tint remaining batter green with food color. Pour over batter in pan.
3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool completely on wire rack.
4. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Lift out of pan onto cutting board. Cut into bars. Drizzle bars with melted chocolate. Store leftover bars in refrigerator.
Nutrition information per serving: 215 calories, fat 15g, carbohydrates 16g, cholesterol 69mg, sodium 184mg, fiber 0g, protein 4g.
Article excerpted from www.hometownlife.com
JUSTIN Bieber has been given an eco-friendly runaround for his birthday.
The Baby singer, who turned 18 today, was presented with the luxury Fisker Karma vehicle with a solar-panelled roof by his manager Scooter on a US chat show.
And Scooter told the teen star he had broken his own rule to avoid anything ‘flashy’ and revealed the car — which cost between £64,000 and £72,000 — was from himself and Justin’s mentor, Usher.
He said: “You work really, really hard. I always yell at you don’t get anything flashy. You know, we’re not about that. Be humble, be humble and I kind of broke my own rule.
“So we wanted to make sure you were environmentally friendly and we wanted to make sure since you love cars that when you’re on the road you are always environmentally friendly and we decided to get you a car that would make you stand out.
“I think you know where I’m going and you’re kind of freaking out right now.”
And host Ellen DeGeneres presented the teen idol with her own birthday presents – a windscreen shield with her face and his in a heart, and an Ellen bobble-head for his dashboard.
The Canadian crooner, who is dating Selena Gomez, has been collecting luxury motors since he turned 16, the legal driving age in the US.
Last year, he treated himself to a £100,000 customised Range Rover, which had a sound system worth £50,000, leather interior, modified paintwork and a Cosworth engine.
He also owns a Batman-themed customised Cadillac and a Ferrari.
Justin received a birthday tweet from Cheryl Cole on his big day.
She wrote: “Happy Birthday @justinbieber ! I hope you have an Amazing 18th that you never forget.. *kisses*
But girlfriend Selena, who is away filming in Florida, has so far failed to mention his birthday.
Maybe she’s keeping her birthday messages strictly private.
Article excerpted from www.thesun.co.uk
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 www.irishtimes.com
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 www.ecorazzi.com
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.
Find out more: www.canopyandstars.co.uk
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.
Find out more: www.naturalretreats.co.uk
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.
Find out more: www.jersey.com
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.
Find out more: www.wildernessscotland.com
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.
Find out more: www.hellbay.co.uk
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.
Find out more: www.hastingshotels.com
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.
Find out more: www.crabtreeandcrabtree.com
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.
Find out more: www.beachtomato.co.uk
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.
Find out more: www.limewoodhotel.co.uk
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.
Find out more: www.canopyandstars.co.uk
Article excerpted from www.theecologist.org
Interface Studio Architects won TreeHugger’s Best of Green prize in 2010 for their gritty urban work. They demonstrated a paradigm-busting playfulness with their frenetic Granary project. They write: “We believe that creativity and innovation are triggered by limitations.”
But clearly, when there are no limitations, they go a bit wild and crazy, as they appear to have while competing to design a parking garage in Hong Kong. They describe the project:
This brief requested an innovative, integrated, and flamboyant approach to structured automobile parking. Our proposal looks to weave parking with other dynamic urban programs such as an athletic field, shopping, cafes, stormwater management, and green spaces. The 1,200 space garage is driven by an internal slope logic of cars, water and people that is deformed by urban forces such as key physical connections and views. The project aims to demonstrate a method of taking mundane urban programming through a remixing and amplification process resulting in something uniquely Hong Kong.
Most parking lots are pretty tedious places, simply storage. ISA turns it into an experience, a scenic drive, telling ArchDaily:
Unlike more typical new developments which continue to emulate western approaches to hiding cars, our proposal looks to capture new potentials for Hong Kong’s infrastructural personality by integrating the ritual of “the drive” with mixed programs.
I am not fond of above grade parking garages, particularly when they toss around the word “sustainable,” which appeared on ArchDaily. But this one seems like it would be rather fun, with its athletic field, shopping, cafes and green spaces, like a giant vertical drive-in in a city where nobody drives. More at Interface Studio Architects
Article excerpted from www.treehugger.com