Friday, January 13, 2017

FINDING QUALITY SECOND HAND ITEMS



If there was one thing that first bonded us together, it would have to be our love for vintage and boot fairs and charity shops. We both had a similar mind-set when it came to purchasing things, even before our minimalist journey started.

We always aimed for quality items, but we weren’t fans of their price tags. That meant we often looked for said items in charity shops, car boot sales and occasional vintage fairs as well. Little we knew that it was also the most sustainable way to acquire material things in our society!

When looking for a particular item, there are a few guidelines we use that make the search faster and more direct. We will separate them in categories and make a little series with detailed explanations of how to spot certain items amongst so many low quality products out there.

Here are a few general tips for when looking for durable clothes or household items:


  • Stick to natural materials: cotton, linen and vintage wool for clothing items and cast iron, enamel and stainless steel for household items. Not only these are high quality materials comparing to synthetics, but also they are better for the environment when it is finally time to say goodbye to them. 

  • Look for where the item is coming from: There is a reason why people buy wool from Scotland or cast iron from Japan. Do some research and learn which countries are naturally abundant with each material and go from there, chances are that a product made in the country which its material is sourced will be of higher quality than the product made with imported material.

  • Don’t be afraid to dig in deep: If you find one or a couple of good items within a charity shop/fair stall, you will probably find more of the same if you keep looking for them. This is because people normally declutter in chunks; so it is most likely for them to donate/sell a few items at a time instead of the odd one.


We hope that these initial tips will get you inspired to look into your local thrift and charity shops with a different eye and that you will stick around for our more detailed posts that are to come.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

2017



This is 2017. Our plans to get started with this blog in 2016 didn’t quite work, but better to be back later than never.

2016 was a year of adaptation and huge changes in our routine and lifestyle. Whilst we had to give in and let go some of our intentions – like strictly shopping locally sourced produce – we managed to solidify our core values more than ever in the previous years.

In the past year, we have learnt a lot about how to be a more conscious consumer and better human beings in general. Our meals became more flavoursome and meaningful, our home became less cluttered and so did our minds.

There is something that draws people into starting fresh in the New Year. Having this imaginary clean slate is sometimes essential as an initial push to let go of past frustrations and goals that weren’t fulfilled until then.

Speaking of goals, our ones are forever changing, transforming. We have a few that we always try to accomplish year after year: read a book a month, exercise more, grow as a person, etc.

This year, I am keeping things simpler with my specialised goals. I, Camila, want to finally get a driving licence and be consistent with blog and youtube. I also intend to jog more often and to do a one-month yoga challenge at some point this year.

Paul seems to really want to focus on his health and exercise right now, also pursue his music career like every single year.

New Year resolutions don’t need to be daunting - they are supposed to be guidelines for the life you wish to live, in your most ideal conditions. After all, it’s not a calendar change that will make you change, being that as symbolic as it is.

We hope that you had a great start to the year and that together, we can share more of our goals and ways to make them as feasible as possible. Thank you for coming by and see you very soon.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

NESTING



We are homebodies. An ideal day for us consists of going out in the morning for groceries and then coming back home to cook and hang around the house all day.

Every time we have a whole day together, we like to go around our flat and reassess the stuff we own. During the past year we have pared down so much, I would say we have around a third of the amount of our original possessions.



Pruning our home and curating everything we would like to keep in our lives is a way to show we care about the environment in which we live in. Nesting is the result of a mind-set focused on gratitude and appreciating the space you inhabit.

Accumulating items that are not necessary for your day-to-day existence soon clutters up your living space – both physically and in other ways too. We find that removing such things can be very satisfying on many levels. In practical terms, there is less housework to take up your precious time - what with constant dusting, cleaning and what not.

There is also a pleasant feeling of release when you finally get rid of objects that aren’t essential (or in regular use). By ‘getting rid’, we don’t imply throwing stuff in the bin – far from it. We would normally sell, give away to friends/family, donate to charity shops, or simply leave on the street for anyone who wants them.

Overall, nesting is a habit worth acquiring. Appreciating every corner of your home, no matter how small, makes living in the now much easier. Letting go of unimportant things can be a very liberating experience.



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

EASY VEGAN SUSHI



If there is a cuisine other than Brazilian that can truly make me feel nostalgic, that would be Japanese cuisine.

Growing up in São Paulo, which has one of the biggest Japanese colonies in the world, I was immersed in their culture since a small child.

I remember going to a brilliant Japanese restaurant in our neighbourhood every weekend and between making origami animals and eating Shimeji mushrooms, I learned to love sushi.

What I love about this recipe is that it is very simple, the secret is all in how you prepare the rice – after that I promise that even a child can roll these bad boys without any need of tools.



SUSHI RICE INGRIDIENTS:

1 cup of Japanese high glutinous rice
1 and ½ cups of water
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
½ tablespoon of sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste



METHOD:

- Soak the rice for around 10-30 minutes and rinse in cold water until the water becomes more or less clear.
- Cook the rice in the water in a medium-high heat and stir every minute or so.
- When the water starts to boil, turn the heat down to low and cover the pan.
- Check the rice every few minutes until the water has evaporated.
- Remove the rice gently from the pan with a wooden spoon; don’t remove any rice that has stuck in the bottom of the pan.
- In a bowl, mix rice vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper together with the rice and let it cool in the fridge for around 30 minutes.

Now to assemble the sushi, cut your favourite veggies into fine long strips – we have used carrots, cucumber and avocado this time.

Each nori sheet takes around 2-3 tablespoons of rice, which should be spread as a half centimetre layer on the half bottom of the sheet.



Place 2-3 lines of veggie strips on the centre of the rice bed and using water, wet the edge of the nori sheet to create a seal.



To roll the sushi, all you have to do is to press tightly in the first turn and keep rolling at once until you reach the ‘seal’ you created. After that, you can lightly roll back and forth to create a nice round shape.



To cut the sushi, I recommend wetting your knife’s blade – it makes the process easier because of the texture from the nori sheet.


Sunday, May 29, 2016

DIY Face Oil – minimalist skincare




I never really enjoyed putting too many things on my face. As a teenager, I felt pressured to implement a regimen of lotions and potions; meanwhile my skin had always behaved perfectly normal, with me washing it with soap and water.

After having horrible breakouts for misusing harsh products that my skin didn’t need, it became quite dry and dull looking. I learned that rich, natural moisturising products really helped out with these problems and I have stuck to brands like Lush and Weleda for years.

In our journey towards a more zero waste lifestyle, we have eliminated face washes, scrubs, toners and pomades and now we stick to 2-3 items for our faces.

Paul and I have different skin types, but we have found a routine that works great for us both, which is great, because it means we can share every product!

We will go into detail about our skincare routine at some point, so with no further due, here’s the 'recipe' for the face oil we use as our day and night moisturiser:



INGREDIENTS (FOR 30ML BOTTLE):

Carrier oils (the majority of the oil, with moisturising proprieties):

15ML (fill half the bottle) of Evening Primrose oil
10ML Avocado oil

Essential oils (oils with targeting proprieties):
10 drops of Lavender oil
12 drops of Geranium oil



This oil mixture is great for anyone with dry and combination skin. Evening Primrose has great anti-acne agents and helps to reduce eczema and psoriasis symptoms. Avocado oil is very hydrating and good for sensitive skin.

Geranium is a potent anti-aging oil and helps with fine lines, while Lavender oil helps to sooth troubled areas and calm redness.

The great thing about making your own face oil is that you can change it around until you find the perfect one for your skin. The initial cost of all the ingredients comes up to £20-30, but you will have enough product to refill your bottle at least 4 times – much cheaper than buying the ready made stuff.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

CONSCIOUS SHOPPING - FOODSHED



Since going for a daytrip to Brighton in February, we’ve decided to go back there every month. In March, we have discovered a plethora of hidden gems from this peculiar town.

Their consciousness and sense of community is endearing and both of us could see ourselves living there easily.

We’ve chosen Foodshed as our first featured shop/collective for this segment of the blog because their values really resonate with ours.

Located inside the famous Open Market in Brighton, Foodshed is a small and yet well curated co-op that sells locally produced organic and natural products and has an extensive variety of good in bulk.

The ladies who run the shop have an extensive knowledge of their products and came up with creative ideas to make their shop as intentional as possible.

Their pamphlets and cards are made of recyclable fibers printed with vegetable Ink. They also supply customers with reusable glass jars and bottles, an alternative to those who don’t want to use paper bags for their bulk produce.

Overall, we were very impressed with Foodshed – highlight to their cleaning bulk section, which has soap nuts in bulk – a rare sight for UK folk!






Find more about Foodshed here: Facebook | Website

VEGAN FALAFEL MEAL



This is a quick and simple, yet tasty (and reasonably healthy) meal. There is very little actual cooking involved - you need a food processor/blender and you're away! It is ideal for small dinner parties with friends - especially during the Summer months. Even carnivorous friends will be impressed with the tasty treats on offer here...


Portions to feed 4:



COUS-COUS:

• 2 mugs of cous-cous
• Bunch of fresh parsley
• 1/2 spring onions
• 1/2 fresh tomatoes
• 1 quarter of preserved lemon (or juice from one whole lemon)
• Juice of half a lemon/lemon zest
• Half a red chilli pepper (depending on your taste)
• Salt (around 2 teaspoons of Himalayan rock salt or similar)
• Black pepper (around a half teaspoon, according to taste)
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil • 3/4 pint of boiling water
• Teaspoon of paprika (smoked or sweet)
• (Optional: diced cucumber, other herbs such as coriander)

METHOD:

Very quick and easy. First, chop all of your vegetables and set aside. Boil a kettle, put your cous-cous into a large bowl/pan. Add the boiling water to the cou-cous and stir. Cover and leave it for around 2 minutes. Then, simply stir in all of the vegetables and other items and adjust to your own tastes. This is a staple in our house, as it is ideal for packed lunches.



FALAFEL MIXTURE:

• 2 mugs of chick peas
• Small bunch of parsley/coriander
• Half a chilli pepper
• A small/medium onion
• 1/2 garlic cloves
• Salt(teaspoon or so)
• Black pepper (around half a teaspoon)
• 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon of paprika (any sort)
• Half teaspoon of ground turmeric
• Quarter teaspoon of allspice (or try Garam Masala)
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil
• (Optional) Half a mug of whole porridge oats (to help with texture)
• (Optional) linseed/water combination*

METHOD:

Add your ingredients to a blender and blast away! Do it gradually if your machine can't cope with large amounts. Keep testing and adding seasoning to your own requirements.

Once you are happy with the taste and consistency, try to leave the mixture in the fridge for as long as possible before cooking to allow for easier moulding of the falafel balls. If the mixture is too gooey - gradually add some flour.

Once you are ready to start cooking, form the falafels into whatever size/shapes you want and put into a lightly greased baking tray: cook for around 30 minutes, or until they are golden brown/crispy. You could also fry them, which would taste great - but would not be so healthy of course. We recently tried rolling the falafel balls in sesame seeds prior to cooking - which worked very well.



SALSA:

• 3/4 medium tomatoes
• 1/4 a chilli
• 1 spring onion (or half a small onion)
• 1teaspoon of tomato puree
• Salt and pepper to taste
• A dash of paprika if desired

METHOD:

Simply chop your tomatoes as finely/roughly as you wish. Chop the other items and add everything together: feel free to customise it your own way.



HUMMUS:

• 1 + half mug of chick peas
• 1 garlic clove
• 1 tablespoon of olive oil
• Juice of half a lemon
• Salt and pepper to taste
• Tablespoon of tahini
• Half teaspoon of ground cumin
• A dash of water

METHOD:

Using your blender once again, add everything together and blitz. Taste the mixture and add more salt and pepper if desired. For the consistency, you can add more olive oil or water - it depends on how you like it. Enjoy!


FLATBREAD/PITTA BREAD:

• Any sort will do: but maybe try our recipe for making your own (coming soon!) - they are surprisingly easy and you can make up a large batch and freeze them.