Woman and Home Food Bloggers

My ‘Healthy Eating For Rubbish Cooks’ has been featured in Woman and Home Magazine

Woman and Home Food BloggersOk, so don’t choke on your coffee, but I’ve been picked as one of Woman and Home’s BEST FOOD BLOGS!

Yes, I know that’s a bit ironic as I’m a rubbish cook.

And I really hope the other foodies aren’t upset, as I know that food blogging is a serious thing in the UK!

But I’m really chuffed.

It’s because of my features about ‘Healthy Eating For Rubbish Cooks‘.

I must admit that after writing a few background blog posts I got a little distracted.  But I’m back in the game and over the next 6 months I’ll be adding all the basic recipes I use to feed my family in a healthy way, but without any cooking ability or more than 3 ingredients at a time.  (hint hint, subscribe now so that you don’t miss out).

 

I’m very passionate about teaching people that healthy eating doesn’t have to be as extreme as eating cardboard, that treats are fine in moderation and that diets are NOT necessary when you are eating healthily.

The media only loves an extreme story (normally), so I’m incredibly chuffed that Woman and Home magazine have noticed me, even just a little bit.

 

I don’t know why chefs have to over complicate things and have more than 3 ingredients in every recipe.  But there is a serious ramification; it puts people who are rubbish off cooking and sends them straight to the ready meal section.

The majority also seem incapable of putting together a meal which actually has healthy proportions of food.  So people aren’t even used to seeing a balanced plate.

Jamie Olivers 15 minute meals are plainly more like an hour for someone as incompetent as me (I do love you though Jamie!).

I thought that maybe Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall might be onto something with ‘3 Good Things’; but that should be called ‘3 Things I wouldn’t want to eat anyway’.

Nigella is gorgeous, but her food would kill me of diabetes and heart attack really quickly.

Oh and don’t get me talking about Annabel Karmel, just note that when she is dolled up to the nines cooking her ‘easy’ meals, there isn’t a toddler clinging to her leg!

 

So rubbish cooks never fear; I am here and I’m going to get you healthy!

Good Cooks, you might want to check my stuff out anyway; you can always add extra ingredients to make the recipes clever!

And Congrats to all the ‘proper’ cooks in the list!

 

Vote For Tutbury Eco Power In Energyshare’s competition and help a Primary School Cut Costs


At the weekend I told you all about the exciting project I’ve been asked to be involved in, where I am supporting Tutbury Eco Power in Staffordshire, in their bid to win £75,000 in the competition hosted by Energyshare (whose founding partners are River Cottage and British Gas).  If you are a fan of Three Hungry Boys on Channel 4, then you’ll have seen the competition being kicked off on their television show.

Tutbury have done really well so far to go from 1 in a thousand to 1 in a group of six.  But now they need your help!

You’ve got until Dec 3rd at 5pm to vote!

(Remember when you vote, that you need to make sure you have voted by trying again; some people are only subscribing and forgetting to vote.  Check you have clicked on the activation email, and test it by trying to vote again, or read their description of how to vote here.).

What will they do with the money?  They are going to put solar panels on local community buildings, so that important buildings for the community can cut their costs and spend more money on things that the community can gain from.

The first 3 buildings to gain from this project will be:

  1. The local primary school – well you can imagine what they will be able to spend the money on, as schools always need more money to help the kids learn.
  2. The old school building – where they have the pre-school and scouts/guides
  3. The village hall – where they run fab things like Tai Quan Do, Yoga classes, and the Women’s Institute.
I had a chat with the local primary school head teacher (a fellow mummy blogger too!) and she had this to say …“I must say I am very passionate about the project. The idea of solar panels saving us money was good enough, but then I thought of the economic teaching and learning aspect for the older children. I see that part being a Young Enterprise project – the children would work out the savings; they could work out price per unit, etc. The costing type exercises, I believe would benefit our Y6 children tremendously.    The actual solar panels would generate much speaking and listening and lead to learning about renewable energy – what other sources there are, etc. There is a lot of educational value behind this project, so I dearly hope we get many more votes.”

So why vote for this project and not the others?  Because …

  • These guys are Passionate about their local community with a capital P.  It’s not just about Eco-ness for them.  It’s about giving back and helping their community.
  • You could win a River cottage cookery book, as 5 are being given away each day
  • They are going to be helping the local primary school.  In all of these buildings, there will be Mums and kids gaining.  So these people have clearly got their priorities right!
  • They will be able to help more than one building and community project, whereas other competitors are only helping one group.
  • Their logo was designed by the local kids, which is an example of how they are constantly engaging with the local children and getting them interested in community and eco knowledge and has a big ‘ahhhh’ factor.
  • They have a proven track record and are already developing a hydro project for the community
  • This solar power project is both practical and effective, without affecting the community’s beauty or having some of the downsides of the other types of renewable energy.  It’s considered the most financially efficient as well, so you will definitely be making sure that your vote gives the most KW’s for the competition prize money.
  • They’ve found a way to combine a beautiful old village with renewable energy by being really sensitive to their surroundings.  So they won’t be affecting the beauty of the village, but will be making one of the villages from the Doomsday book leap into the future with the use of renewable energy.
  • There are no problems in the way; they’ve got all the necessary local groups/organisations involved, like the council, housing association etc, etc, so they are ready to rock and roll and you can be sure of their success.
  • They’ve got the whole community behind them by listening to all the concerns that have been voiced and making sure that it was done thoughtfully.  For instance, they have purposely decided to not consider wind (massive great big turbines) or anything that would require a big unsightly building.
  • They meet in the pub; another sign they are a good bunch of people!
  • By voting in this energy share project we are showing British Gas that we are interested in renewable energy
  • Other organisations have shown their belief in them by giving these awards: Trent and Dove Housing Association Impact On Community 2011 and Heart of England In Bloom Environmental Award 2011, and been registered with the FSA as an IPS.
  • In a way they need you more, because they are a well established group, but have been focussing on connections with the local community, so they haven’t got the social media influence going yet  (i.e they are just learning about twitter, Facebook and blogging!).
  • They are all volunteers and none of them are being paid for all this work that they are doing for the community.
  • Because I asked you too ;o)
Feeling cynical still?  I met with Gary Rowe from Tutbury this week and any concerns I might have had about this project purely being to promote Energy Share have flown out of the window.  They are a really inspiring, lovely group of people, who have a massive commitment to their community.  They have done so many things, I’m gobsmacked by them.  After reading so much depressing stuff in the media recently, you would never know that there are people out there who give so much of their time and expertise for people that they haven’t actually met.  He really worries about Tutbury, the people, the elderly and the kids.  He explained to me about fuel poverty and how they are working closely with the local Housing Association to make sure that they can start to reduce or remove it totally by using schemes like this solar panel one.  They won a grant and made a pile of eco friendly toys (like solar powered helicopters) which the school looks after and then lends back to the group for shows.  They go to shows to share what they know and have learnt about renewable projects, without expecting anything in return for their knowledge and consultancy.  They are packed full of ideas for the future.
So I know they will make the most of the money if they win, and I know it will be in safe hands, and I know that the community really will benefit.
Got any questions about it, feel free to comment.  Otherwise, go on, you know you want to do it, and it’ll only take a couple of minutes of your time.  VOTE HERE or click on the widget above, and double check you have voted by trying again.  If you have any problems with voting check out their description about the process here.
Just as I mentioned in my previous post, this is a sponsored post, but if I didn’t believe in the project I wouldn’t have taken it on.  Plus I was only paid to do one post, and a few tweets, so I clearly feel strongly about them as I’ve done loads more than that.

Learning About Solar Energy with Tutbury Eco Power and Energyshare

I might not have the best Eco credentials in the world as a blogger, in fact I’ve looked briefly at politics and the riots, but I don’t think I’ve covered green issues yet, although I do love saving money and recycling has always appeared to be sensible to me, with or without global warming.  Well that is all going to change!  Hold onto your hats as I learn about Solar Power and Hydro stuff, and then convince you to vote for my guys Tutbury Eco Power.  (And when you vote, make sure you have voted and not just subscribed – check by trying to vote again!)

So what’s this all about?  And why should you be bothered?  Because by voting you could win River Cottage books, and because all of these projects are great ideas on how to make local energy that then saves money for or gets used in the local community.  Plus it’s projects like this that are going to be important in making sure there is energy left for our kids to use.

Now there are a lot of people involved, so in this post I’m just going to explain the basics, and then I’ll do another about how fabulous Tutbury Ecopower are at the beginning of next week:  (However you can VOTE HERE now in the medium sized category, if you are convinced already, and remember to check that your vote went through by trying again!).

Who is involved in this project?

River Cottage:  Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s has already been involved in people fund.it,  hugh’s fish fight, three hungry boys, landshare, and chicken out.  I love people with a lot of passion, and this guy clearly has it.  He is one of the founding partners of Energy share and well done him for combining his celebrity with something he feels strongly about.

Energy share was founded by river cottage and british gas. It means that you can pay the same for energy from a community as standard energy, rather than having to pay more (i.e not get ripped off).  The project gives “everyone the opportunity to source, use and (when you’re ready…) even generate your own 100% British renewable energy – and save money doing it.  Energyshare brings together people, communities and organisations to turn the system on its head to”.  So that means that aside from this competition, you can actually apply to get a grant for your local community project for creating renewable energy.  Plus you can support the growth of the usage of renewable energy, by signing up for the energy share tariff.

British Gas has a number of tariffs (payment options), and one of them is energy share, which is where some of your energy comes from british renewable energy for the same price as standard energy.  I couldn’t quite understand what all this was about and why you had to ask to go on it.  So I put on my private detective hat and phoned up pretending to be a customer (naughty, maybe, but it was a way for me to check whether this was all above board!).  The BG guy was very helpful.  By signing up for Energy share tariff you are basically telling British Gas that you do want it to look for more renewable energy sources.  If everyone signed up for it, BG would then have to go off and try and find/make loads more renewable ways of getting energy.  The reason why there are separate tariffs seems to be because they are gauging interest.  The difference is that you can instead sign up for a fixed tariff, where you pay extra now, but are promised that the price won’t rise, and this isn’t available on the energy share tariff.  Plus, there is a cancellation fee for coming off the energy share tariff.  I think this fee basically covers the Eco gadget (like an eco-friendly kettle) you get and that £10 pa goes into a fund for energy share.

Three Hungry Boys is a channel 4 program who last year where challenged by river cottage to live without buying food.  This years program is all about renewable energy, so they will be covering the competition.

Now Tutbury Eco Power is one of six contestants in the MEDIUM sized group.  They already have a proven track record with a Hydro Project going, and have won a pile of awards (see next weeks blog).  They are a great example of a community project because they have involved so many parts of the community that I really can’t keep track of everyone I’ve met so far!  There’s the council, the housing association, the local school, and loads of local people and groups.  For this competition they would like to expand their project to add Solar Panels to local buildings (Like schools and village halls).

Solar Power: So I did a bit of research.  If you would love a techie description of solar power go here to wikipedia.  I found a simpler description as well for the kids (and me!) here.  What was amazing was that it said that if we put solar panels in 4% of the worlds deserts, we could power the entire planet; which kind of makes me ask why we haven’t done it already?  The downsides are clouds and that the panels are expensive, but if we made more panels the cost would reduce, and deserts clouds aren’t always around, at least we don’t run out of sun, like we do fossil fuels etc.

Okey dokey that’s me done for today!  More about Tutbury coming next week.  By the way, did I mention they desperately need your votes?  They’ve spent a lot more of their time getting the community involved than learning about social media, so they are a little behind in the voting system.  Go on, give them a boost and VOTE HERE (remember it’s the medium group, and you need to check your vote went through by voting again; some people have found that they only subscribed and didn’t vote).

 

By the way: This is a sponsored opportunity on behalf of Tutbury Eco Power.  Because The River Cottage and Energy share love the concept of community so much, they found bloggers they considered to be great/connected/influential and asked us to support one of the finalists.  We have been paid for our time and expenses.  No projects near me in Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire or London got through to the finals, which is how come I’m supporting a Staffordshire group.  However, if I thought the project I’d be assigned was rubbish, I wouldn’t have continued despite the cash.  Plus having spent a fabulous weekend at the Just So festival in Staffs, at least I can say that I have been there, next year I hope to go back via Tutbury and check out their shiny new solar panels on the local primary school and other buildings!