Day 190 / 365

Zero Waste Challenge Day 11 of 14.
Date: October 11th
Location: London, UK
Read: About The Challenge HERE | Day 1 HERE | 
Day 2 HERE | Day 3 HERE | Day 4 HERE | Day 5 HERE | Day 6 HERE | Day 7 HERE | Day 8 HERE | Day 9 HERE | Day 10 HERE

I got up WAY earlier than normal to scoot into Soho for an event Positive Luxury had invited me to. It was held at The House of St Barnabas, a very British venue (which doubles as a charity) attached to a very ancient chapel. It was a beautiful, but the strange setting in some ways, to have a panel of businessmen in suits haloed by the light streaming in from stained-glass saints.

Amongst the invitees were some of the people I most respect in the UK industry, and the event itself was lovely, but lacking, for me, in some ways. Perhaps my expectations of those defining themselves as sustainable are unconscionable, but I had gone there hoping to be dazzled by the unknown. And though the companies represented (Joel Paix, CEO of Feel Unique, Stephen Lussier, CEO of Forever Mark, Stephen Webster, Founder of Stephen Webster and Chairman of Garrard, and Paul Van Zyl, Co-Founder and CEO of Maiyet) are thoughtful in many ways, not all of them were exemplary by my (admittedly high) standards. I acknowledge how difficult it is for established companies to back peddle through the muck of conventional commerce, with their boards and investors weighing in on decisions and spends, to make their businesses completely conscious; and there are some industries, like the world of jewellery, where perfection is yet to become a possibility, so valid excuses can be made.

I agree, to a certain extent with what Diana Verde Nieto’s (CEO and Co-Founder of Positive Luxury) plea at the event, saying “journalists shouldn’t be so hard on brands” as the spin becomes too negative and anyone, person or brand held under a microscope for long enough will be found with flaws eventually. These big brands could be doing a heck of a lot worse, and they could also do a heck of a lot better, but they're choosing to push towards change, and that's great. My only worry is, that too much celebration of mediocrity doesn’t encourage growth, it solidifies stagnancy. I think the conversation should be left open, always, when it comes to us as individuals, as collectives, or as companies, there is always room for improvement if the goal is to have improvements made. Positive Luxury celebrates a lot of brands I respect and look up to, and a few who I feel are greenwashers too, but it does so with the hope that uniting these brands will help them to continue to inspire change within their sub-communities as well, and that's a beautiful thing.
I didn’t stay to mingle after the event as I wanted to catch up with Fran from Ethical Unicorn who is about to take off on a dancing adventure across the world. I walked her to Oxford Circus then went to go check out an organic vegetarian restaurant, one of the few places in Soho open in the early hours. Positive Luxury had generously offered coffee, pastries and tea, on china cups and plates making it easy for me to maintain the zero waste way, but I hadn’t arrived early enough to get my hands on the food and had accidentally (on purpose) downed a coffee with caffeine in it, and how had the shakes.  

The restaurant I shivered my way into was Tibits, a vegetarian and vegan spot tucked just off Regent Street between Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus. It is decorated like a pinterest board but its cuteness is juxtaposed with cafeteria-esque buffet-style offerings. The food was good and healthy and I managed to remain undistracted enough to say 'no napkins, no straw, no receipt' at the cashier, allowing me to eat my meal completely waste-free. I sat there answering emails until Alison Baker from Aly Bee (who had also been at the Positive Luxury event) called me saying Maiyet (that brand I really like) had a pop-up store (41 Conduit Street, open til December 2016) but a few blocks away. Though I should have probably stayed, I was curious, so I packed up my stuff and was on my way.

The CEO, Paul Van Zyi, who had spoken as part of the Positive Luxury panel at the event was posted at the door but it took me too long to recognize him and I rudely brushed by him without saying hello (sorry Paul!). The shop was super well-styled, nestled in the foyer of a fancy hotel, which lent its majestic mosaic floors, vintage mirrored walls, and high ceilings to it well. The staff was kind, French, and informed, offering interesting information about each product we showed interest in, alongside Maiyet’s magnificent creations were other handcrafted items from beautiful brands like Tom Dixon, Tuk Tuk Flower Studio, Soho Bespoke, Phaidon books, Tata Harper, Yosuzi, Maison De Mode, Madhuri Parson, and ayurvedic food from the gilded cafĂ© bar at the back, complete with dapper wait staff.
Alison and I wandered off and on our way to part grabbed a coffee at Kaffeine, Alison runs Ally Bee (sweater pictured above), is a huge part of London’s conscious community, and a good friend and resource to me. We were both exhausted but caught up on the happenings of the previous weeks before rushing off our separate ways.

I caught the tube down to Clapham to have a play with the kiddies before I left London. We stopped off at Gails Bakery to get a snack and I made my little family members sit down and eat with me so I could avoid creating waste.

When we got to the park, my sister discovered she had forgotten my nephew’s bucket and spade so we improvised with my Keep Cup and Spork to keep his tantrums at bay. It was a stunning sunny day and there were plenty of kids with their parents in the park, my sister guarded our belongings while I ruffed around with her sproggette. Randomly, near the end of our play, a guy came up and started chatting to me. I’ve never been one to be cold to those who might socialize differently than me, but things got weird fast, especially as this was a playground, he didn’t have a child, and he was choosing to stand less than a centimetre away from me and my nephew. He was probably about 5-10 years younger than me and while I was clearly helping my nephew on the monkey bars, he insisted on striking up conversations about my sunglasses that was bound for nowhere from the start. I indulged him for a few minutes, hoping multiple mentions of my husband would make him lose interest and find some other prey, but it took my nephew saying “NO! I don’t like it, stop talking, that’s MY Auntie Lolly, go away” before I worked up the courage to politely tell him I’d prefer to just speak to my nephew and could he please back away. Another kid’s posh grandmother who had been watching the impending awkwardness walked over and told him in the Queen’s own English “you’d do well to be on your way”, and before I knew it a lynch gang of parents had formed shuffling the poor creepy soul off and away.

The whole event killed the cosy playground vibe so we left and had a run around the bandstand before kissed them goodbye and made my way back to Tooting to grab my stuff. I was meant to go out to my dad’s to spend another evening with him and my step-mother before heading to Barcelona the next day, but upon arriving back, discovered the trains were on strike, and apart from an astronomical uber ride, there really was no way.

As much as I wanted to see my dad and step mum, I was happy to stay and snuggle in with my brother, sister-in-law and niece as I hadn’t really had a night alone with them yet. My sister-in-law, who is an incredible cook, made us a delicious dinner, then I bathed, pyjama-ed and storied my 9-month-old niece, passed her off to her mama, and noticing I had met my witching hour, sent myself off to sleep.  


3 Card Receipts

My Klean Kanteen
My Keep Cup 
My Spork

1 Section of silk dental floss 


A Bunch of my blogger buddies at EWC are participating in the challenge too, follow their reflections here (in alphabetical order):