Wednesday, 4 February 2009


One of My Eco Self's supporters, Tara from Boutiko, is offering a giveaway over at Tea for Joy, as well as an exclusive discount. Boutiko has lots of sweet ethical, fair trade and organic gifts, so this giveaway isn't to be missed! Competition closes on Sunday!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Top 10 tips for a cut-price Christmas

Thanks to everyone who gave me tips for a cut-price Christmas in the kitchen this year.

This is the result. Please follow the link and post a comment!

Zoe Murphy furniture

My Eco Self quite likes numbers, and spreadsheets, and calculators with big buttons. So when I saw this table, I knew I just had to feature it here.It has been designed by British artist Zoe Murphy, who 'upcycles' pieces of mid-20th Century furniture, using bright colours inspired by her seaside home of Margate, Kent. Even her textiles are recycled; wedding dress silks which have been unpicked, dyed and printed.

Zoe kindly answered a few questions for me.

What inspires you?
I am mostly inspired by the 'everyday' and have always been influenced by designers and artists who turn a concept on its head or make people view things in different ways. Most of my work is focused on trying to draw attention to furniture and textile pieces that are otherwise left unloved and disregarded. As a result I use a lot of recycling in my designs and utilise processes such as veneering and patchworking constantly.

How would you describe your perfect day?
My perfect day - which I get to induldge in almost every Sunday of the summer - is waking up at 6am to get to a bootfair with my mum and rummaging around for an hour or three before retiring to a local cafe for a huge mug of tea and a bacon sandwich. The rest of the day is usually spent cleaning up all of the things I have bought and drawing up ambitious plans to regenerate each of them.

How can someone buy your work?
I mostly create bespoke pieces for individual clients. However, pieces are going into galleries in the UK and Scotland and I am in discussion with a London dept. store who will be taking on some of the work in the new year. Most of the work is made to order but some pieces, such as the Formica and some of the furniture, I will be making and then posting on the site for sale. With so much furniture and textiles gathered over the summer there are a lot of interesting things to come!

Thanks Zoe! Please check out her website for more information and up-to-date pieces for sale.
Originally posted at Tea for Joy.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Eco(nomy) Christmas

My Eco Self is looking for tips for a money-saving Christmas in the kitchen. Do you have any ideas? A cheaper alternative to turkey? Good ideas for leftovers? Telling the relatives to stay at home?

Any ideas welcome.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Vote for Boutiko

My Eco Self's friend, Boutiko, has been nominated for an award at Green England's Green Awards, in the best Fair Trade Company category. Go, Tara!

Please vote for Boutiko, here - it will only take a few seconds!

Rob Pepper and Daily Drawing Diary

My Eco Self has recently discovered the beautiful illustrations of Rob Pepper. He has drawn every day for the last four years, and posted the drawings at The Daily Drawing Diary. his simple images are just what I need when my brain is going fuzzy at blog text overload.

For all you budding artists out there (or even if you're not) Rob is running a two-week trip to Kerala in India with the Responsible Tourism Award-winning company The Blue Yonder in February 2009. A group of 10 will participate in art workshops alongside those of local Indian artists. The trip will offset its carbon by physically planting saplings in a local reforestation project. The trip will also go on a spice tour and learn local cooking.

Monday, 27 October 2008

Eco admission

I have an admission to make. I have been distracted from the eco blog by a new blog I have started. It is at Please have a look. Don't judge me too harshly if you notice that I have occasionally posted the same things on both blogs, but I think there are two different sets of readers.

I have not abandoned my Eco Self, but am taking a short sabbatical. Instead I am writing about lots of lovely, unnecessary things I don't need, as I have a really strong interest in design. Doesn't sound very eco, does it? Still, believe me when I say I still have the rumblings of an eco conscience. Today I went to two fancy dress shops in New York (I'm here as an election tourist), and felt really quite unwell at all the aisles crammed full of plastic use-once for Halloween tat. And then I bought a Cleopatra headress. I promise I will take it home and file it away for future fancy dress reference.

So, if you're wondering where I've gone, that's where I have gone. I'll be back.

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Etsy eco: Allies Adornments

This week's Etsy eco is Allie's Adornments, from San Francisco. She makes one-off pieces of jewellery from 1800s buttons, collected from all over the world. Is it wrong that My Eco Self is somewhat swayed by the photographs as to which is my favourite? Clue: I love the pink flower in the bottom photo.

1800s button bracelet.

1800s button necklace

1800s button bracelet.

Laura Cahill's book vases and lamps

My Eco Self is very taken with these book vases and especially the standard lamp. They are the brainchild of designer Laura Cahill.

Books are notoriously difficult to recycle, because of the glue used in the spine, even though the Confederation of Paper Industries says that it is not impossible. What's your preferred method of disposing of old books? My Eco Self is going through a non-philanthropic stage, due to unemployment, and is selling old books secondhand on Amazon, rather than donating them to a charity shop.

I think that books are not necessarily that much of an ecological disaster (apart from the publisher's returns system, don't get me started) because most people keep their books and display them on their shelves to give off an air of intellectualism.

My Eco Self thinks that it is chick lit which is the greatest environmental liability. Keep this to yourselves, but in recent months My Eco Self has read Chasing Harry Winston and The Manny - but there is no evidence in my flat which would suggest so...Chasing Harry Winston was a throwaway purchase, read on the Eurostar between Paris and London and left behind on the train.

via Tea for Joy

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Rise magazine

This month's Rise magazine has an eco focus.

Check out my feature on the Hyde Farm Climate Action Network - it is a community group in South London which is really involved in lots of energy saving initiatives, including lightbulb libraries, draughtbusting and foraging for fruit on the local common. When I was interviewing Sue, one of the founders of the group, she had to excuse herself to answer a very cloak-and-dagger telephone call. I later found out why - Gordon Brown visited her house three days later!

I also wrote about my experience of joining Food Up Front.