Look Local: Jacob’s Chop House

This Friday a new restaurant/bar is opening in Oxford, Jacob’s Chop House. A new venture for the owners of Jacobs Inn and Jacob & field’s Deli, both in Oxford and both successful small businesses. By the looks of the food and drinks on offer the  Chop House is set to be a tasty success as well. I would love the opportunity to go down for the opening and try some tasty  meats but alas a trip to Oxford is not on the books at the moment :( Since this isn’t a review post the reason I would like to share with you this particular place is that the co-owner Johnny commissioned me to make the aprons for all the staff starting there this week. For me this was a really special moment to do my first custom order other then for friends and family and was able to get my products in a public arena. Although I am very proud, this isn’t a post about blowing my own trumpet, I wanted to share the order with you as I think It is a really important step for my business, their business and the implications it has for all independent businesses.Jacob's Aprons

I believe strongly in the power of small business over huge corporations and love the fact that with the purchase of my aprons, two businesses have cut these huge multi nationals out of the loop. This has allowed one independent maker (i.e. Me) to produce an ethical product and service for another independent business (i.e. Jacob’s). For the handmade and independent business movement it is our ability to stand alone in the economy without major funding and questionable policies that will see more small companies thrive and more people gain a job, that is both worthwhile and pays well. Supporting each other is just as important as promoting your own products and services because the more consumers who shop in a more conscious way the more space there is for the little guy or gal to succeed.

jacob's menuJacob's menu pt 1For small businesses it’s all about being seen. Why would I not want to promote another independent business. The Chop House are offering grilled British meats, fish and veggies with some tasty beers and wines to wash it all down. Though I’ve not been, their pub offers meats that are reared on site and their own homemade chorizo and their deli provides local and seasonal fresh produce all year round. What is not to like! I wish the team all the best of look in the future and look forward to when I can finally make it to oxford and sample their wares myself.

And remember, support your local independent businesses where ever you are

Lorna

x xxx

p.s. Photos courtesy of Jacob’s Chop House restaurant

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In the World: Ethical Superstore

When I talk to people about independent and ethical shopping I often find it can be bizarre ground for a lot of shoppers as we all get use to shopping in a certain way and by nature we don’t like change. For me one of the biggest problems I find is that independent shops don’t label prices consistently or visibly enough and items aren’t always laid out how you would normally find them in your bog standard supermarket or on their website. For more people to be encouraged to shop with the little guys or the eco conscious these retailers need to make it easy for others to transition. A perfect example of this is the ethicalsuperstore.com

ethical superstore shopping

The online retailer specialises in a whole range of products from clothes to food, gardening to beauty all items of which are either fairly traded, organic, eco friendly, promote health and wellness, educational,  locally produced or charitable. These are all worthy causes that I care about so it makes the perfect place for me to find exactly what I want without failing my principles. Each item page has a thorough description of the ethics behind its production or company, each of which you can find out more about on its own page and browse its other products. The clear layout of each page means you can find out the relevant info you might want and see customers reviews at the same time to inform you on its positives and negatives.

ethical superstore brands

I love that the ethical superstore is set up just like a supermarket website as it is really easy to navigate and more often then not they will have the products your looking for as they have such an extensive range of items. They display prices visibly and even offer bulk buying discounts on  most of their food products. They also have offers and sales just like any other store as well as their clearance sections for homewares and clothing making the shopping experience exactly the same as you would find it in any big box store except you can rely on the products being ethically sourced. My only criticism might be that I  wish the free delivery order didn’t have to be as much as £50 but that is because I like a bargain. I think this is definitely the way ethical retailers should go to encourage more people to look at their wonderful products and get them to make the switch.

Lorna

x xxx

Look Local: Bier Huis

green geevesI am very pleased to announce that my  bottle carriers are now being sold in the wonderful shop that is Bier Huis- World of Beer in the town of Ossett, West Yorkshire. It is the perfect outlet for the product because not only do they sell lashings of brilliant bottled beer, they stock Geeves Brewery Bottles which is the brewery where I get the malt sacks to make these wonderful upcycled creations. Obviously I am super proud to be stocked in a bricks and mortar shop but I want to tell you about what a wonderful place it is too as a local independent shop.

Beer, as you can imagine, is everything to David Jones the owner of Bier Huis and this comes through in the top selection of bottled ales there is on offer. You won’t find big brands here but local, small and often rare brews that all taste brilliant. The shop is stocked to the rafters with bottles and makes it feel like a library for the real ale aficionado. You could spend a decent hour perusing the aisles before settling on a bottle or ten for that matter, and i’m sure if you didn’t know where to start Dave would lend you a hand and find you the perfect tipple. There are also plenty from further a field with a hefty selection of world beers to try all with unique styles and tastes. I’ts not all beer though, cider makes a top appearance too especially since it is hard to find real bottle cider that’s not made by big bad Weston’s.

Compared to your regular off license the selection is marvellous and this is true also in the food that is surprisingly sold here too. You’d normally find a few bags of crisps, nuts and maybe even popcorn, in a shop devoted to alcohol but Bier Huis goes much further with local chutneys, mustards, sauces, even some Yorkshire made chorizo … drool! and of course handmade crisps. There is also gifts for sale including beer packages and glasses, brilliant for when you’ve forgot a beer lovers birthday. Its great to see a small shop doing so well and that is no doubt down to picking top quality products and what better job to have then having to quality control beer. If you like your real ales this is the place to go for a good mix and some cracking tastes.

Enjoy the sun this week while you can

Lorna

X xxx

Look Local: Culture Vulture, The Chemic and Me

20130706-160448.jpg

I am happy to share with you my article that has been published on The Culture Vulture website, a Yorkshire focus site which features the best the county has to offer from, where to eat and drink, gigs and fairs coming up and interesting history and news from around the region. I was lucky enough to be shared on the site with a little piece on my previous work place The Chemic Tavern since it is the running a to win Yorkshires Favourite Pub!

The article basically shows what I have experienced being both patron and staff for over five years. I am really proud of what friends Rob and Kate have achieved having taken over the pub 5 months ago and can’t wait to see what they will do next to continue this amazing community pub! The results will be announced on the Tuesday 9th July and I really hope they win! Good luck guys!
For more info, visit http://www.yorkshire.com/pub

Lorna
X xxx

In the World: BrewDog

brew dog sales riseMy in the world series normally looks at interesting and inspiring things I have seen, read or listened to but I am afraid this one it a bit of a grumble but something I feel strongly about. For those of you who follow the news of the UK brewing world you will probably be familiar with BrewDog, for those who are not they are a Scottish brewery based in Aberdeenshire who call themselves punks of the brewing world. They are against corporations and their mass production of fizzy, tasteless lager and the use of chemicals and cheap substitutes.  An admirable cause…if the first part were true.

I find it a tad ironic that these punks who are against corporations have become one themselves in terms of size and money. They have had a 193% growth in 3 years and are continuing to grow in both brewery size and bars (they have 12, soon to be more) I am all for starting and building a successful business and , although some don’t share my politics, without the need to earn a million quid a year, but I can’t see how you can call yourself a punk (an originally anti-establishment movement) and become another part of the capitalist establishment by being a mass producing company. It doesn’t make sense to me.

Furthermore, I hate the arrogance of their presentation (though this might be purely for advertising). They say they are the only ones creating revolutionary beers and are leading the way in craft brewing. There are over 900 breweries in the UK  700 of which you would class as small or micro breweries all of which produce interesting and unique brews. Personally I don’t like most BrewDog beers, they taste odd and are weird for the sake of being weird but that’s my own taste. It particularly stung when they opened a bar in Leeds last year proclaiming that they were finally to ‘bring the craft beer revolution to Leeds’ Excuse my language but what a load of Bollocks! Leeds has had a thriving ale scene for over a decade, with a bountiful amount of pubs and bars offering many a fine beer, I should know I’ve drank in them. The famous North Bar has served hundreds of craft beers from the UK and around the world and they celebrate their 16th Birthday this year, so BrewDog your a little too late.

Ok, Rant over, I just wanted to share with you something I disapprove of; namely a corporation pretending to be ‘your friend’. If however they generally believe they are leading a revolution, one that already happened ten years ago, then they are simply misguided and ignorant of the brilliant UK brewing industry that is far from stagnant.

Lorna

X xxx

Busy Busy

Just a little catch up to say that everything is going fabulously at the pub and we are busy with changing a few things around the pub and planning events for the coming months. I am also incredibly busy decorating our flat as it needs lots of work. Gonna be a little while till its liveable but looking forward to getting it done and moving all our stuff in. Here are a few sneak peaks of the flat in it’s current state and so you will see why there will be lots of diy decorating and upcycling ideas coming your way next month.

stairs living room rubbishlving roomspare room
spare oommaster bed roomkitchen

 

More pics soon after i’ve strippped the walls and ripped the carpets out :D

Lorna

X xxx

Look Local: Primo’s Hot Dogs

dogPrimo’s has been my favourite place to eat in Leeds town center for at least two years and it’s still top of my list whenever i visit whether that’s for breakfast or lunch. Its a relaxed cafe come diner in Leeds Corn Exchange and its main fare are it’s gourmet Hot Dogs. Most of its seating is in the central area of the exchange so you can watch the hustle and bustle of shoppers in the many boutiques and spy on the better off folks dinning at Antony’s open planned restaurant on the basement floor below (extremely over priced, small plates but super tasty).    This really is a simple but one of a kind place

primo outside

A review of this place could not be so if we didn’t talk about the dogs and it’s easy to with this place. I have tried all 8 of their regular menu and i can honestly say i enjoyed them all each with their own unique dog/ toppings but some i keep coming back for more. My favourites are Matador and Picante which are both spicey and full of flavour, especially the Matador which has a chorizo dog as its base.  If you want the classic flavour go for Classic Chicago. Duh. Beef frankfurter with white onion, pickles, tomatoes and lashings of mustard. Nom nom nom, my mouth is just drooling trying to write this. If you can’t decide and your really hungry, buy one hot dog on a Thursday and get another for a pound, or if your trying not be a greedy pig go with a friend. £5.25 for two hot dogs is great and  the drinks are reasonably priced too.

primo inside

Although i’d like some couches to lounge on and i feel its a bit too beige their colour scheme they have some fun posters and advertisements on display which brighten up the place. Better still sit in the main corn exchange area rather then ‘inside’ and you’ll have plenty to look at. The also sell ice cream, lolly pops, jelly beans and a whole host of ‘retro’ sweets and cereals, a rather strange niche but it seems to work. Plus it’s the only place i can get Nerds for a reasonable price not online.


If hot dogs or sweets arn’t your thing then they’ve still got salads, cubanos’ (sandwiches) and sides to order which are all equally tasty and their breakfast range, though small, always hits the spot. Crispy bacon bagel is a perfect Sunday pick me up and doesn’t feel as bad as your standard greasy bacon sarnie, being made from a delicious dry cured bacon that’s deep red and brown. If your the first customer you seems to get quite a bit more bacon too, thanks to the lovely staff. Small team as i always see the same people working but they are all lovely, friendly and fast which is another reason the place feels like such a relaxed place. Food is quick but you never feel the need to rush.

dogs

Primo’s do so well because they have a small but delicious menu and the food is what they focus on. The word gourmet get batted around alot but primo’s is the real deal, amazingly tasty and good quality food but quick like the fast food world intended.

Lorna

X xxx

Shop News: Bottle Carriers

4 pack blue bottle top

Happy Monday every body and what a monday its been. Work at 6 this morning, finished at 9, did the food shop, put away the washing, put more laundary on, general tidy round, cut out pieces ready for sewing some new cool bags and aprons, cheese toasty in hand, writing this short post and it’s only just past 12 o’clock yet.phew! I think it must be one of the first good Monday feelings i’ve had in a while and i might just be because i love my new range of items i’ve been making for the shop. Bottle Carriers.

                                               black full

Made from Maker’s Meadow staple material malt sacks from Geeves Brewery, the bottle carriers came to me like a stroke of genius, even if i do say so myself. The boys at the Brewery have recently started bottling their wares and it seemed like a bottle carrier made from the malt sacks whose previous contents where used to make the bottled beet would be a perfect partner to a few of their tipples. The malt bags are sewn into a circular holder containing 6 or 4 pockets one for each beer. The sacking is super strong, so there is no chance of rips or tears, and the cotton handles make a comfortable strap to carry but are triple stitched to add further security to the holder. Nothing worse then precious beer being spilled.green geeves

We think they make a great present for beer lovers, just add a few of their favourite bevvy’s and you’ve got a ready made gift. If you want to try some of Geeves brewery new beers they are now being stocked online at Best of British Beer & Barley Hops. If your in South/West Yorkshire they are also avaliable at Beer Huis, Ossett,  Yorkshire Ales, Snaith and Blacker Hall Farm, Wakefield as well as many pubs we supply cask to as well. All the bottle carriers are now avaliable online on our Etsy or Folksy Shops and more colours will be avaliable soon.

Any beer fans in the readership today?

Lorna

X xxx

Shop News: Now on Etsy

Just a quick note to say that i will now be selling on Etsy! Another great handmade online market place. Just like Folksy it features work by designers and makers of handmade goodies but it also has a big vintage selling base. You can also buy food and drink from lots of different places and find some unique flavours. I have decided to sell on Etsy as well because alot more people are familiar with it and will provide a bigger customer base for me to reach. It also means that as well as Folksy Friday i will be showing you my favourite picks from the wonderful world of Etsy on my new series called Everyday Etsy, sharing with you even more beautiful handmade goods plus vintage items for you to delight at. Perfect for the upcoming season of gift giving. Visit me at http://www.etsy.com/shop/MakersMeadow

Hope your having a great day
Lorna
X xxx

Just bread for breadline Britain

We are all aware in one way or another that the economic recession has impacted almost every one whether a little bit or drastically. I see it every day and most people i know are struggling in some way. The Guardian Newspaper have been running a series about austerity Britain called Breadline Britain and they have recently highlighted within the series the impact of the recession on the British public’s diet.   Unemployment/ no comparable wage rise coupled with increased living costs means that people need to cut back, however it has gone so far down the line that it is no longer just the ‘luxuries’ we are cutting out but the essentials as well. The Joseph Rowntree Trust reported that food prices have risen by 32% in the last 5 years, 12% in only the last year with spending staying relatively the same but increasingly less and less spent on fresh meat, vegetables and fruit. Furthermore the biggest and ‘best’ deals are on cheap, poor quality, processed foods which doesn’t make it a contest when as one women from the Breadline series put it ‘When four bars of Chocolate are £1, you end up on junk’

I feel i am very lucky when it comes to providing myself and family with thrifty but nutrition food because i can cook relatively well, have slowly collected herbs and spices which always come in handy for livening up a dish and i use my noggin and buy smart without sacrificing on nutrition. So i have compiled a short list of essentials which i personally spend on and scrimp on to show you where you can save on the pennies and spend your pounds on what maybe be a bit pricey but needed. Though this won’t be THE list for everyone depending on what and where you buy and it may not be the most ethical food, but i think for the majority of people who shop at supermarkets and are on an increasingly tight budget  this could really help when it comes to the weekly shop.

SCRIMP

Tinned Tomatoes

I always buy the 33p value plum tomatoes because they simply don’t taste any different and you are most of the time putting them into a sauce or stew so they are mingling with other flavours. I get plum tomatoes because they give you more fruit in them and they are often about 2p cheaper then chopped tomatoes

Baked beans

Now many people are simply brand snobs when it comes to canned stuff but for value beans i have found they taste just as nice but tend to have less sugar and salt in. If you need a tomatoeyer hit just squirt in a half a tablespoon of ketchup which works out so much cheaper then buying the big named brands, i.e. Heinz

Cooking Cheese

I am a massive Cheese fan and do not like to scrimp on the good stuff but for some recipes you can. You can get the cheapest cheddar cheese and use it for cheese sauces and toasties and it adds just as much flavour as it is heated up and you can add other flavours in to it. If eating on crackers though, that is when you want the good stuff .

Spreads and fillings

It can be hit and miss but some value brands have equally delicious products but some are also horrific. Test out a jar of own brand ‘Insert name’  and see what the difference is you might be surprised how delicious it is but equally if it turns out it tastes like horse muck then you have wasted alot less. Don’t be put off by the cheap looking packing all the time.

Value veg and fruit

Once again the packing makes you believe it is of a poorer quality because it is technically ‘Class II’ rather then Class I. The only thing this means is that the peppers in packet numero 2 are little bit funkier looking then packet number 1. See this post for why that shouldn’t and doesn’t matter. The same goes for canned veg as long as its not in brine (too much salt) or fruit which is in juice rather then syrup (too much sugar)

SPEND

Bacon

Firstly, there is more to bacon then just a butty in the morning or a workmens lunch, bacon can be added to so many dishes just to give a little extra meaty depth without having to chuck a whole animal into your meal every night. More importantly though is that you shouldn’t scrimp on it because i have never ever bought cheap/average priced bacon and NOT found it to ave shrunk by at least a half under the grill. Its a mugs game cheap bacon and if you choose to spend just a little more you can get a quality product which will give you the weight in meat that you paid for.

Sausages

Just like bacon you can make a substantial meal out of a packet of sausages but don’t sacrifice health or taste pleasure for some overtly pink, E-number ridden cheap banger. Use your noodle and find the best quality ones, you will be pleased for it. Better still get to your local butcher.

Pasta

Though there are value brands out there that have good pasta, can’t hurt your pocket too much to check, i have often found that the medium or top brands yield the best results.  They are less likely to stick to the pan, don’t take as long to cook and overall taste so much better.

Bread

If you’ve seen this post you’ll know why but briefly: Cheap, mass produced bread is pretty much what is killing Britain, readily available and value for money people are shoveling mountains of the stuff into their gobs each day to keep full. Eat less and spend a little bit more on a local, good quality, real baker and you will reap the benefits later on and so will your purse.

Has the recession affected your diet? what are your tips for eating healthy but at a price you can afford?

Lorna

X xxx