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From locally sourced food to hand made crafts, The National Trust is hosting an array of Christmas markets up and down the UK.

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Arlington Court and the National Trust Carriage Museum, Devon

Victorian Christmas fair with Wind in the Willows, 4-5 December 11am – 3pm

Old-fashioned festive fun, with special guests Toady, Moley, Ratty and Badger and Father Christmas too. The house will be decorated for Christmas, plus there’ll be a brass ensemble, Shetland pony rides (weather permitting), craft tent and food court.

Special ‘Pay what you think it was worth’ event.

Booking is not required for this event. For more information please call 01271 850296.

 

Attingham Park, Shropshire

Frost fair, 4-5 December 10am – 4pm

Avoid the crowded shopping centres this year and make Christmas shopping an enjoyable experience at Attingham with high quality local craft and food stalls in the historic setting of Attingham’s house and grounds.

Normal admission charges apply but there are no additional event charges

Booking is not required for this event. For more information please call 01743 708123.

 

Erddig, Wrexham

Christmas Market and Father Christmas’s winter wonderland, 4-5, 11-12 & 18-19 December 10am – 5pm

Enjoy a traditional Christmas market with food and drink, plus live music creating a wonderful Christmas shopping experience. Wander around and find those special and unusual Christmas presents. Browse over thirty stalls picturesque wooden chalets and stalls offering hand crafted gifts. Father Christmas will also be in his Winter Wonderland- complete with his toy workshop.

Free entry to the market, plus adult £2 and child £4 to enter the Winter Wonderland. For more information please call 01978 355314.

Ham House and Garden, Surrey

Ham House Christmas fair, 4-5, 11-12 & 18-19 December 11am – 5pm

A unique opportunity to find exciting and original Christmas gift ideas from the National Trust and from local artisans and traders.

Adult £3.50, child £2.35 and family £9.25 (2 adults + 2 children).

National Trust Members go free.

Booking is not required for this event. For more information please call 020 8940 1950.

 

Osterley Park and House, Middlesex

Christmas craft fair, 4-5, 11-12 & 18-19 December 12pm – 3.30pm

A chance to purchase some unique Christmas gifts made by local artists and crafts people.

Free admission.

Booking is not required for this event. For more information please call 020 8232 5050.

 

Rufford Old Hall, Lancashire

Victorian Christmas fair, 4-5 December 11am – 4pm

Kick start your festive mood with our seasonal two day fair. Browse the market offering traditional Christmas gifts, visit Father Christmas, take part in a magic show and listen to Tarleton and District Brass Band performing in front of the Great Hall.

National Trust tea room and shop will also be open.

£2.50 per car, £0.75 per pedestrian.

Booking is not required for this event. For more information please call 01704 823812.

Rowallane Garden, Co. Down

Yuletide market, 11-12 December 2010 12-5pm

The original Christmas Market with craft stalls and food to suit all the family. Mulled wine, Christmas trees, wreaths and floral art to decorate your home will be just some of the things you can buy so come along and soak up the festive atmosphere.

Adult £5.50, child £2.70 and family £13.70.

National Trust members go free.

Booking is not required for this event. For more information please call 028 9751 0131.

Wimpole Home Farm, Cambridgeshire

Farmers market, 11 December 11am – 3pm

Held the second Saturday of month in the Stableyard at Wimpole, they’ll be fresh local produce available to buy direct from the producers: cheese, free range chicken, wild game, eggs and chutneys.  National Trust shop, Garden Shop, toyshop and Farm shop will also be open.

Normal admission charges apply but there are no additional event charges.

Booking is not required for this event. For more information please call 01223 206000.

Gibside, Tyne and Wear

Christmas farmers market, 18 December 10am – 3pm

Why not source your Christmas dinner from tasty local, seasonal produce or make your own festive food hampers for loved ones? Come for bustling stalls, as well as roasted chestnuts and mulled wine.

Free entry. For more information please call 01207 541820.

Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire

Food fair, 18-19 December 11am – 5pm

Join us as we transform Clumber’s Stableyard into a market place, with a variety of tempting produce for you to try and buy, fresh from a selection of local producers.

Normal admission charges apply but there are no additional event charges.

Booking is not required for this event. For more information please call 01909 544917.

Image courtest of NTPL, David Levenson.

Christmas is a time of joy, laughter and happiness with family and friends coming together to celebrate together. Now and again some of our Christmas habits can inflict mayhem on the environment with tons of extra rubbish, increased energy usage from lights and the millions of un-recycled trees.  Let’s look to go green this Christmas!

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Buy an organic turkey – 10 million turkeys are eaten every year! Wouldn’t it be nicer if yours didn’t taste mass produced? If you buy a free range organic turkey, not only will it taste better but you are supporting local farmers too. If you buy all your Christmas food locally it will be chemical free, there will be a reduction in food miles and CO2 emissions and a reduced dependence on oil. Buying locally also boosts rural jobs!

Christmas trees – surprisingly there is a big debate surrounding Christmas trees after Christmas. Research shows that real trees are in fact the better option. Real trees biodegrade and grow every year using natural resources whereas artificial ones use toxic materials and petrochemicals in its plastics. They also take a lot of energy to produce and travel from the Far East – perhaps the artificial trees aren’t so green after all!

Decorate your home with natural and recyclable materials;

*Use sprigs and branches with berries such as Holly, fir tree and pinecones to create a wreath
*Use old jars to create lanterns
*Use low energy LED fairy lights as they use a fraction of energy compared to the standard lights
*Use old decorations – don’t re-buy every year. You can also make your own decorations!
*Use hand cut wooden letters to spell out ‘love,’ ‘joy,’ and ‘peace’

Dispose of your Christmas tree properly – 6 million trees were brought last year creating 9000 tonnes of rubbish. Garden centres amongst other green places have disposal systems in place.

Recycle – Over the Christmas period we all use an extra 750 million bottles and over 500 million drinks cans. To reduce this high volume, buy larger bottles to save on packaging, but either way, make sure it all makes its way to the recycling bins!

FACT: We will create 3 million tonnes of rubbish the Christmas in Britain – that’s equivalent to 400,000 double decker buses. Over half of this can be recycled.

Here are a few other ideas to help you on your way to eco-friendly Christmas…

*Set yourself a challenge – how empty can you keep your bin? Buy long lasting items instead of disposable ones
*Pass unwanted presents onto charity shops – someone will want them
*Buy recycled wrapping paper and use string or ribbon or wool for wrapping gifts. Use shoe boxes to give larger presents

Have an eco-friendly Christmas and go green!

Christmas has been and gone. A time of celebration and goodwill, often accompanied by increases in eating, drinking and spending. If all has gone well this combination will have resulted in a lot of merriment, but unfortunately it will can also result in an estimated 3 million tonnes of waste.

Topical heat
Topical heat

It is estimated that up to 1 billion Christmas cards could end up in the bins across the UK, and combined with the all the wrapping paper, extra drink bottles, cans and containers, it is no wonder that overflowing dustbins and extra bags of rubbish are a common sight after in the New Year.

However it would appear that it is not just in our homes that waste needs to be minimised.

Recent news reports have shown that high street stores have been accused of an astonishing waste of energy and money after an investigation found that some of them are as hot as tropical holiday destinations.

A survey of the major chains on Oxford Street found the Topshop branch had a temperature of 80.9F or 27.2C.   That is more than ten degrees warmer than the ideal ambient shopping temperature of 64.4F or 18C, as recommended by the Chartered Institute for Building Services Engineers.  Other stores found with temperatures above 77F (25C) included Bodyshop, Debenhams, Esprit, HMV, Clinton Cards, Boots and Monsoon.

Why do the shops maintain such high temperatures in the winter?

According to Professor Ken Parsons, head of Loughborough University’s Human Thermal Environments Laboratory, one of the reasons stores choose to maintain the hot temperatures is because they may see it as a way of enticing potential customers in from the cold.

He also added: “It may be because the workers wish to wear light fashionable clothing or provide what is called ‘thermal pleasure’ to customers.  Thermal pleasure is a transient phenomenon felt when a person moves into a cold environment when too hot or into a warm environment when too cold. In the winter the first impression for the shopper who may be generally cold or have cold skin on the hands and face for example, will be the pleasure of moving to a warm and hence welcoming environment.”

But he warned: “After twenty minutes or so, this affect will wear off and unless clothing is reduced the customer may well become unpleasantly hot and even sticky.”

However it is not just the issue of an unpleasant shopping experience that needs to be considered.  With many stores cranking up the heating and yet leaving their doors wide open, a thought needs to be given to the millions of pounds being wasted, and also the damaging effects on the environment.

Jonathan Elliott, the managing director of Make it Cheaper, commented: “Retailers wanting to outdo each other in creating the most enticing Christmas shopping experiences are wasting huge amounts of energy.   Even in hard times, this is the stage of the year when retailers literally throw caution to the wind, no matter how Arctic it is, opening their doors – wide open in most cases – and crank up the heating.  Throw extra lights into the equation and extended opening hours, and you have exceptionally heavy business electricity consumption for the entire Christmas season.”

However, Tom Ironside, the British Retail Consortium’s business environment director, said: “Retailers want to minimise energy waste as it leads to environmental and financial costs. Individual shops make store temperature judgments based on a range of factors, including customer and staff comfort as well as product requirements.”

Yet, can such tropical temperature levels in stores really be justified?

Personally I would have to say no, however, this year I think I shall take a break from the traditional high street shopping experience and high temperatures, and perhaps try the online virtual oxford street shopping experience provided by Near.

Using the latest 3D video-game technology Near enables you to walk the streets, browse and buy from retailers, watch concerts and films and share information with your friends, all in a beautifully realised environment, and all from the comfort of your own home.

Not only will this mode of shopping save you time and travel costs, but you will also not have to endure the soaring store temperatures and hustle and bustle of the mass of New Year bargain shoppers!   Check it out here.

This year the team have been searching for a range of gifts that are ethical, interesting and not too pricey. Take a look at the Hello Eco Living Christmas gift guide 2009…

Bnatural gift set

bnatural contains no artificial colours, mineral oils or parabens and uses 100% natural fragrances. It’s less expensive than many brands out there, but still feels great on your skin. As an added bonus, it’s suitable for vegetarians and contains naturally active botanicals and organic aloe vera certified by the Soil Association.

Gorgeous natural gift set
Gorgeous natural gift set

The gift basket contains a great selection;

  • Brightening shower scrub: Naturally brightening, with antioxidant green tea, moisturising honey and soothing organic aloe vera.
  • Skin reviving shower wash: Naturally uplifting ginger and green tea to stimulate, moisturising honey and soothing aloe vera.
  • Skin quenching body milk: Naturally conditioning balm mint and aloe vera to soothe, jojoba oil to retain skin softness and moisturising cocoa butter.
  • Sleep time hand cream: Naturally sleep promoting with lavender to unwind, hops to relax and valerian to help calm and moisture retaining jojoba oil and cocoa butter.

Corrymoor mohair socks

Dare to be different
Dare to be different

Socks are a classic for Christmas, but let’s not dash down the high street for a boring pack of five  when there are some fantastic socks to be had this festive season.

Corrymoor is a family farm based business, it was one of the first organic farms in the UK and Steve and Jenny Whitely started the farm without any farming experience. They met on the Falklands more than twenty five years ago, he was a vet, she an ecologist. Back in the UK at Corrymoor, Jenny started knitting socks in her kitchen and then brought in a team of knitters before the business became too great and the socks are now knitted by an old family firm in the Midlands.

These socks are pretty special because of the mohair which does not absorb sweat, bacteria and moisture in the same way as sheep’s wool does so you don’t have to wash the socks so much, how environmentally sound and lazy is that! It also means because they are a natural fibre that they keep your feet cool in summer and warm in winter.

Available in sizes 1-13 in 15 different colours. Prices from £8.90 a pair

Dr Bronner’s magic soaps

Make up artist Bobbi Brown championed Dr Bronner’s on The Oprah Show “It’s probably the finest soap in the universe. I’m obsessed with it. I cannot get enough of it!”

A top pick this Christmas
A top pick this Christmas

The team at Hello Eco Living are going wild for this product too. It has 18 uses from one small bottle – you can use it to wash yourself, your clothes, clean your floors and even brush your teeth. It’s fair trade and organic and it smells delicious. Out of all of the natural products we’re tested over the past few months Dr Bronner’s sits proudly at the top of our list. Love, love, love it!

A few more eco inspirations

Our lovely writer Grace has been on the hunt for Christmas gifts too… check out her suggestions here…

BaByliss Eco Hair dryer coming in at £19.95 with this cutting edge hair dryer you will defiantly cut your impact on the environment. Using the BaByliss Eco Dry for 10 minutes everyday, instead of an ordinary 2000W dryer, saves enough energy to make seven cups of tea or 11 slices of toast per day, but still leaving you looking like the green goddess you desire to be.

Next we have a shopping bag with a bit of attitude, ‘Plastic Ain’t my Bag’ shopping bag is comes in Green, Blue and Pink is great as it’s only £6, perfect for a day to day use and funky little stocking filler; available from love-eco.co.uk.

Now for a personal touch for that special person in your life, a fair trade Birthstone Necklace’s available in the following stones: Carnelian, Rose Quartz, Amethyst, Garnet, Jade, Moonstone. The necklaces are sold for £15.99 and comes from allthingsgreen.net

Heard of the Make Poverty History white band? Well get ready for Pants to Poverty pants, yes that’s right pants, Made from organic and fair traded cotton, these pants add a little bit of cheekiness to charity. Pants to Poverty pants will cost you £10 a perfect stocking filler and available from love-eco.co.uk

So with a few fab ideas for Christmas presents we can’t exactly let you down on the wrapping ideas can we? So why not get onto Nigel’s Eco Store. The paper is made with vegetable derived inks in UK and all papers are recycled, this site also offers you five great designs to jazz up your presents up even more.

So once you have got your super eco friendly gifts wrapped in your incredibly eco wrapping paper remember to have a very Merry Eco Christmas!

Most of us want a decent tipple this Christmas and if you’re anything like the team at Hello Eco Living you want the best ethical, organic or fair trade wines and beers out there.

Organic grapes for gorgeous ethical wine
Organic grapes for gorgeous ethical wine

We’ve spent the last couple of months sampling some fantastic drinks that you can enjoy this festive season without questioning your eco credentials. From wine to Port and over to larger we have found a collection of taste sensations  for Christmas 2009. Enjoy…

 

Pomegranate Wine – This year’s “must talk about” wine

Wow, Pomegranate wine – this is really different and such a treat. In fact we think that this would make a really great Christmas pressie and will have you being the centre of attention for bringing the most imaginative drink to the table.

Our Chris gave it his verdict: “On the nose notes of cherry and pomegranate dominate the lively bouquet. A fairly dry wine bursting with complexity and fairly a high alcohol content of 13.8 percent. It could pair well with a rich Italian dish, though we drank it with salmon and cheese and it did not over power. The pomegranate fruit is an unusual flavour for wine but becomes increasingly pleasing and familiar with each sip – we will be certainly drinking more of it in time.”

This corker comes from the Rimon Winery in Galilee and combines the health benefits of pomegranates (lots of antioxidants) with the pleasure of enjoying an unusual wine.

Pomegranate Dry wine RRP £21.99

Terra Prima Reserve Port – Hello Eco Living’s Top Pick!

We’re a bit addicted to this sweet, smooth tasting port and will be well on our way to ordering a batch for our Festive Season.

Terra Prima Reserve is an organically produced Port by Fonseca.  We’re impressed that it’s the only organic Port to be found on UK shelves and is available in a stylish green box (although we didn’t get to experience the box, boo). It’s also vegan and vegetarian friendly.

When we asked Chris to give his verdict he said:

A delight to drink and pick of the review – at £14.99 this port can rival those double it’s price – it’s fairly sweet, but full of mouth watering fruits, also good depth and complexity, a true gem, an ideal match with the christmas pud on the 25th or after dinner cheese and crackers.

Fonseca Port has great eco credentials and has long been recognised as a pioneer of bio-diversity and organic production in its native Portugal.  Winning the BES Biodiversity Prize earlier this year for its viticultural practices is a sign that Fonseca has earned its place amongst the great green pioneers of the world.

Terra Prima Reserve Port £14.49 in Waitrose or Booths

2008 Von Buhl Deidesheimer Herrgottsacker Riesling – A German Gem

In our household we’ve been cracking open red wines for possibly the past 6 months, since our fascination with Bordeaux began. So when a white gets mentioned I jump to attention – I love white wine but it’s often tough to find a good one. This one is definitely up there. It is so moreish. We drank and we simply wanted more.

A bit of background on this particular Riesling – Since 2007, Germany’s organic wine growing area has grown by 60% and now, almost 5% of all German vineyards are organically farmed. However, for them it’s not just about consumer demand, but about quality and respect for the environment. Changing the way they farm to become organic or biodynamic is no small feat – it requires commitment and significant cost but those that make the switch are convinced that by doingso, their wines will better reflect the “terroir” on which they are grown, resulting in a purer, more complex wine with more balance and natural character.

2008 Von Buhl Deidesheimer Herrgottsacker Riesling – £13.50, Jascots Wine Merchants

Freedom Organic Larger – Right here in the UK

We’re not just all about wine and port this festive season; we’ve also catered for the larger drinker. Freedom Brewery has a lovely story as well as being a tasty beer.

Freedom is Britain’s first lager only producing microbrewery is based on a farm next to a deer sanctuary in Abbots Bromley, Staffordshire (sounds like a very nice place to work!) It is situated on top of a natural underground lake of Burton brewing water – the world’s finest hard water for brewing. Water is drawn from this sustainable source via a bore hole and used without any treatment for the brewing process. The site has Soil Association accreditation for producing organic lager.

The taste is light with hints of caramel – a very pleasant drink for the boys and girls this December.

The products are also suitable for vegetarians and vegans (seaweed is used in the filtration process as opposed to fish based products). Freedom lagers are left to mature for a minimum of 4 weeks to enhance the flavour.

Freedom Organic Lager £24 – direct from the website for a case of 24 x 330ml bottles

 

I read a horrifying statistic the other day- that we in Britain throw away two million tones of clothing every year.

Honesty works this Christmas
Honesty works this Christmas

This really opened my eyes to the extravagances of the Christmas season and how, in order to reduce these statistics, we all need to modify our consumer habits.

There won’t be one of us that can say that they have never received an unwanted gift at Christmas time, and this is particularly true of items of clothing that have been lovingly chosen and given to us by friends and family.

Although the exchanging and returning of unwanted gifts is an option for us all post Christmas there are still lots of us that feel that once given something, the obligation is there to hold on to that item, as we don’t want to offend the giver.

The way to combat this is to be brutally honest with each other by letting people know exactly what item of clothing you wish for.

Isn’t this taking the fun out of Christmas? You’re probably asking.

Well the answer is definitely “no” as we all need to start appreciating that making fashion sustainable and not disposable is an essential part of saving our planet.

If this all seems very serious and un-festive, fear not, as there are lots of ways to  savor that fun, present buying experience, while being safe in the knowledge that you’re doing something worthwhile too.

 

Taking The Pain Out Of Giving And Receiving

Looking at things from the Giver’s perspective, a few basic rules apply:-

  • Remember that for most of us clothes are very personal and go a long way to reflect our personalities.  With this in mind take note of the style of the person you are buying for to enable your choice of gift to reflect this.
  • If you know that the recipient always purchases expensive clothing that would be out of your present buying budget, think of an alternative gift idea.
  • Bear in mind the lifestyle of the recipient so that something unsuitable is not purchased.  The classic example of this are ties which everybody loves giving but not every man loves wearing!
  • Receiving an article of clothing as a gift which co-ordinates well with existing wardrobe pieces is always a joy and is less likely to be rendered redundant.  Having the knowledge of where the recipient usually shops and the brands they buy will dramatically increase your chances of purchasing a well- loved present.

From a receiver’s point of view it is a mistake to think that honesty is an all or nothing phenomenon.  Equipping the giver with a few essential criteria regarding the clothing gift you would like, still allows some element of surprise whilst reducing the chances of it being totally unsuitable and a potentially unworn gift.

Of course, if the thought of all this data gathering and detective work seems overwhelming you can always resort to on-line Christmas wish list companies.  Here, families and social groups can post their Christmas lists for the ultimate, no wastage present buying experience.

If all else fails try Facebook and Twitter to communicate your wishes or there is always the tried and tested gift voucher alternative.

Let’s give it our all this Christmas to try and be less wasteful, but without compromising our fun, after all it has always been a time for giving and receiving so why should that change.

All that remains, is to say a very Merry Christmas to all Hello Eco Living readers from all of us at Swop2Shop.co.uk and here’s to many happy hours of present buying!

The holiday season can bring a lot of challenges to keeping a green lifestyle. The festive parties you used to throw without caution to your carbon footprint are now a public platform for your guests to pick up your eco-habits.

Party in eco pleasure this year
Put the party poppers to one side this year

Endless traditions run through your mind. What people will think if your plastic garland from the 90s ornates the banister? Should you switch your turkey for a tofurkey?

Two experts say don’t give up turkey; it’s the little things that are going to count. Tiffany Dasilva, co-founder of Talen Events in Ontario, Canada and Jaye Graham, event director of It’s Personal Occasions in Ontario, and the producer of Canada’s upcoming Eco Wedding and Lifestyle Show have identified some key points on throwing a green holiday party.

“What people usually think when they are throwing a party and want to stay environmentally friendly is that there are all these thing they can screw up on,” said Dasilva. “We try to tell people every step you make is a step in the right direction. You are being the change that you want to see in the world. “

We’ve narrowed their tips into six categories. We’re calling them the six ingredients to party planning, and these women claim it doesn’t have to be hard to stay inside the green lines.

Q: How can we keep invitations green?

 Tiffany: There are so many other ways to invite people. There’s e-vites, there’s Facebook, and there’s the long lost phone. Bring it back to talking to people.

Jaye: “There are invitation companies out there that are eco friendly. There are also plantable invitations. You can send an invitation that’s also a tree sapling or a flower if you plant it.

Q: How can we keep transportation to and from our party green?

Tiffany: While you are inviting people, incorporate transportation. If you know someone is coming from one direction ask them to pick grandma up on the way. By taking that extra step you are making them think carpool without telling them: you need to need to be eco friendly to come to my party.

Q: Décor. Christmas decorations are often plastic or synthetic material. Should we keep that stuff in the closet for fear of looking like we didn’t take the time to care?

Jaye: If you’re really crafty you can make garlands out of fabric or yarn, popcorn and cranberries. Try making decorations out of gingerbreads, cookies, and pinecones. Fruit and food make nice centerpieces as well. I think it’s all about going back to the traditional Christmas that our grandparents and great grandparents had. Back then they were thrifty. They made their own stuff, and it was all edible or biodegradable because it was all they had. So think old fashioned. Our grandparents had it right.

Tiffany: I say, in with the old, out with the new. Use what you have. You don’t want to say ok I’m going to be eco-friendly so let me throw away all these things that are bad for the environment. You’ve already purchased it, so you might as well use it until it’s gone.

Jaye: If you want a more modern feel it’s possible. Go with glass decorations. Centerpieces with pebbles and food colorings are nice. Black and white linens are classic and you can use them every year and look really nice with metallic colors like silver.

Tiffany: I think when you bring out the old décor that means something, and it becomes more of a talking piece. Once you go that route, decor is just making people feel more relaxed which is what it’s supposed to do to begin with.

Q: How can lighting be a part of our party?

Jaye: Use LED lights. You can stuff a pile of them in a vase and then they can decorate the table. Whatever you do, don’t use paraffin wax candles. They are a bit cheaper but beeswax and soy are a lot less toxic.

Tiffany: When you see big extravagant parties people always incorporate lighting, but people don’t realize they can do it in their own home. In some rooms, think about just using beeswax candles for a relaxed setting. In another, maybe the only lighting you need is the Christmas tree. You can incorporate lighting, and conserve energy while you are setting your mood.

Jaye: Instead of using scented candles, put a pot of water on the stove on the lowest setting. Put in cinnamon sticks and orange peels. It’ll hydrate the home, and make it smell nice.

Q: How can my food and drink selection be environmentally friendly without having to serve tofu?

 Jaye: Buy fair trade and organic food.  Better yet, make it a potluck. There are lots of organic spirits, wines, and beers. Do your research about them, but anything to encourage companies to be a little bit more mindful is a good idea.

Tiffany: I have a share at a local farm. So every week I can pick up a basket of whatever vegetables they have. Sometimes I get the craziest vegetables you’ve ever seen. It’s fun to tell people about what’s available because they might not know about all their options. This way your food becomes a talking piece. It’s not just a turkey dinner; it’s a turkey dinner from that guy down the street who owns that big farm that we pass by everyday. It’s a way to showcase what the city has and what kind of local foods are available.

Q: Does cleaning up have to be a drag?

Jaye: The biggest thing for home parties is to avoid the disposable anything. Most people have a dishwasher: use it. Don’t be lazy. I’ve seen parties where as soon as they have more than five people over they don’t want to do the dishes. If you are going to spend money on disposables, why not take that money to a thrift store and buy a pile of plates. That way people can take their plates or teacups home afterwards and reuse them.

Tiffany: When we get married we get all this nice dishware, but when people come over they bring out the plastic and disposable stuff. It’s a great time to bring out all your nice stuff. I know that when we have a party we make it an event to clean up afterwards.

Jaye: If you really hate cleaning up, rent. Rent your cutlery and your plates, and the company will pick them up and wash them for you.  If you’ve got a big party that’s what you should do because you won’t be throwing stuff away and it doesn’t cost that much.

Tiffany: Make sure to use green cleaning products. And that pretty much wraps up a great party.

Jaye: Just relax. Take a breath and do what you normally do and try and avoid things that get thrown out. That’s the main thing. Most of all just have a great time.

For more tips on throwing great parties you can check out Talen Event’s blog at http://blog.talenevents.ca/. For lots of other great green ideas Jaye has a blogging venue at http://eco-style-events.blogspot.com/.