A Good Meal

FoodCycle: AGoodMeal

Yesterday I went to a dinner hosted by FoodCycle. It was not your usual PR dinner: it was staged in the corner of an empty office, the furniture, plates, cutlery were all a random collection of things from charity shops, the cups were Royal Wedding left-overs and most importantly the food was all made up of things that would otherwise have been thrown away.

Each year, the UK food retail industry sends 1.6 million tonnes of food to the landfill. An estimated 25% of this food can be collected to make quality meals. At the same time, there are 4 million people affected by food poverty in the UK.

What we were treated to last night was cheese and (home made) chutney for starters, vegetarian fajitas with all the trimmings for the main and a banana/strawberry/cinnamon cake. And it was all great, and thoroughly tasty and there was no reason why this stuff should be going to waste.

What FoodCycle do on a day to day basis is empower people to start their own projects, where surplus food and idle kitchen spaces can be brought together to provide good meals for people affected by food poverty. By doing this waste to landfill is reduced, people who might not get a nutritious meal get one and a community can come together to help itself.

I thought it was really inspirational what FoodCycle are doing, both from an environmental and a social perspective. And I think that is really important, if you look at just one and not the other, you risk setting yourself up for failure.


Why I joined the slutwalk

Slutwalk at Trafalgar Square

On Saturday I stomped into town to to take part in Slutwalk London.

There has been a lot of talk about the slutwalk movement being about reclaiming the word Slut, and that’s really not the point. What it is much more about is addressing the culture of victim blaming – if I get sexually assaulted it’s not my fault, it’s the fault of the person who assaulted me.

There are a huge number of flaws with the idea that by not dressing provocatively, you won’t be assaulted. I’m not a model like figure, but I have been assaulted on a packed tube train, wearing a suit. What should I have done differently to avoid that from happening? It was entirely his responsibility. It was not my fault. But that doesn’t stop it from being something that still effects me now, 4 years later. I was very fortunate in that it wasn’t something even more serious.

I also find the idea that it is always the woman’s fault for being provocative is really demeaning to the majority of men who don’t rape and assault people. Suggesting that all men are just animals that can’t help but pounce as soon as they see a little bit of flesh is disgusting and unfair to men. I was really glad to see quite a lot of men taking part in the Slutwalk too.

The last point that I want to make today, is the double and triple standards that are around, particularly in the media. Women are constantly bombarded with people telling us we should be thinner, sexier, better looking. We should apply make-up, lose weight, get boob jobs, wear glamorous and revealing clothes or we get labelled with being ugly fat cows. But if we do do all those things, then we’re sluts. And of course if a man has lots of sexual partners, he’s a stud. If a woman has even a few more than is considered ‘normal’, she’s a slut.

I think the estimate for how many took part in the London Slutwalk was about 3000 people, which was really good to see. Let’s hope that one day we won’t need events like this.

BBC news report: Yes means yes, and no means no


The joy of a bank holiday

Yesterday we decided to go out on the trail of another geocache, mostly as an excuse to get us out of the house. In the process we found a park in a neighbouring town that we had never heard of before.

We were really quite impressed and managed to spot a (for us) huge variety of wildlife:

  • Swans and cygnets
  • Mallards
  • Aylesbury ducks and babies
  • Mandarin ducks
  • Jay
  • Grey wagtail
  • Wood Pigeons
  • Rock dove
  • Coots and babies
  • Canada geese
  • Geese and babies
  • Magpies
  • Crows
  • Robin
  • Tufted ducks
  • Black bird
  • Heard a woodpecker
  • Bloody big fish
  • Lots of squirrels
  • Ring necked parakeets
  • Little Grebe
  • Moorhen
  • Muscovy ducks
  • Long tailed tits
  • Wren
  • Little blue butterflies
  • White butterflies
  • And a cat – sat next to a bench that a couple was perched on, not sure if they had brought it out for a walk.

And herons. Lots of herons. I’ve never seen so many herons in my life. We think we spotted at least 25, but we couldn’t see all the way around the little Island that they were mostly calling home, so there could very well have been more. We promptly sent a message to our most bird knowledgeable, who immediately started sulking that he was in a pub when he could have been birding.

Oh, and we found the geocache that was the initial reason for us going out there. This was made a lot easier by the fact that as we approached the spot where we believed it to be hidden, we noticed two other people already lurking there, trying to find something hidden in the rocks – a bit of a hint as to where to start looking.


Swishy swishy swish

Just a quick heads up to anyone in or near London on Thursday… I’m running a swish with the Green Team at my office where there will be the opportunity to pick up some wonderful ‘pre-loved’ goods including clothes, books, DVDs records, shoes, jewellery etc.

It would be great to see any of you (boys and girls) there, for more info, just have a look at:


Global Action Plan Swish


Sunday Baking

I was talking to FoodieEmma about the upcoming new series of the Great British Bake Off, and it gave me a definite hankering to do something with flour. A quick recipe check later and I’m whipping up cheese scones in the kitchen.

I thoroughly enjoy baking, but it is something that gets put to the back of my mind when it’s dark in the evenings, when I have no surface space in the kitchen, when I can’t face the washing up…. but I do enjoy it when I’m doing it. And it’s always good when you enjoy the results as well. Nom.

Cheese sconesCheese scones