from: Flor + Cesta
In this segment of A New Perspective, Hanna Pumfrey, a London-based blogger, gives us some great tips on living more sustainably, slowly, and consciously.
Adoshi: Where did the inspiration for Flor + Cesta start? Do you have a favorite recent blog post?
Hanna: Growing up with a mother who ran her own gardening business and always being surrounded by plugs and germinating plants (literally, every surface was covered with them near Spring time!), I have a always taken an interest in 'growing your own', eating local, and being self-sustaining in the sense of food. We were also always taught to use reusable water bottles and to pick the non-plastic option wherever possible, so I think minimal waste and plastic free living are things that were ingrained in me from an early age.
It wasn't until much more recently, though, that I really started to become aware of environmental issues and the scale of our plastic problem and the impact of the textiles and garment industry. I will admit that when I was fresh out of university on a low income in London, price was always the priority for me when it came to clothes shopping! I was completely unaware of the concept of fast fashion until documentaries like The True Cost came onto the scene.
Since becoming aware of these issues, though, I made a promise to myself to never shop on the high street again. I now shop much less in general and usually buy second hand. A few times a year I will splash out on an ethical fashion piece that I love and know will be worn across seasons and for many years to come. When speaking to colleagues and friends, it was clear to me that, although many wanted to make a change in the way they shopped, they didn’t know how.
The turning point for me came after a few years working in the city. I would watch the rubbish bins in my office fill up every day with paper cups and lunch bag wrappers as we all rushed blindly from meeting to meeting, completely unconscious to the amount of waste we were contributing to the landfill on a daily basis. I thought that there must be a better way to do this. So, I decided to start Flor + Cesta. For me, it is a public commitment to living a sustainable lifestyle and a way to engage others in important topics while showing that living sustainably is fun! The goal of the site is to arm readers with all the knowledge to make easy and informed changes every day that fit within their lifestyles.
It’s very hard to choose a favorite article, but I’m super excited to have just launched the ‘Responsible Recipes’ section, where I’ll be sharing lots of plant based recipe inspiration from brunch treats to easy dinners. For me, it’s not about labels and I don’t call myself a vegan, although I largely eat a vegan diet. It’s about making responsible choices to eat seasonally and locally.
Adoshi: What can one expect to gain from subscribing to your “Sustainability Starter Kits”?
Hanna: So, this is a new section of the site that I have been toying with for a little while. As the goal of F + C is to make it as easy as possible for people to make eco-friendly switches and lifestyle choices, I wanted to create a resource where people could buy everything they need to get started with sustainable living. The idea is that it will stock products all pre-vetted by me so that my readers don’t have to think about it, and they can just purchase them feeling safe in the knowledge that this product switch is the greenest out there.
Ultimately, I would like visitors to be able to purchase the starter kits directly from F + C, but to be totally transparent, I need to assess demand for this service first before I start stocking products. So, initially, I will work with partners to provide the products.
Adoshi: Do you have any major plans/projects for your blog that we can expect to see in 2018?
Hanna: I hope that you will see the Starter Kits evolve! I want this to be led by the F +C readers so I will be taking them along the journey with me to create a service for them. In 2018 I’d love to take more of the relationships and community that I have built online, offline and get people together to build support and sharing networks that help people to live their lives more sustainably. The majority of F +C readers are London based, so I think this is where I will start and build up from there!
Adoshi: What are things you do in your life to relax? Any morning routines or exercise regiments that help?
Hanna: Yoga. Yoga is my lifesaver. I have a very hectic life. I work a demanding full time job in the City of London, run F +C, volunteer as a mentor to refugees who have settled in London, as well as make time for friends and family. It can really take a toll both mentally and physically.
I took up yoga properly about two years ago and I have noticed a huge change in both my mental and physical body. At least twice a week I do a rocket yoga class, followed by a Yin practice. The rocket helps keep my body get strong and relaxed after hours sitting at a laptop, and the Yin gives me space to continually bring myself back to what is truly important in life and to relax and bring balance to my week. I couldn’t recommend it enough!
Outside of that, I love to be outside as much as I can. My boyfriend and I spend a lot of time walking, usually ending up in a local pub! Being outside in nature is an immediate relaxant for me.
Adoshi: Are there any other bloggers/blogs that inspire you in your own work?
Hanna: So many! I love Stevie of @stevieyaaaay on Instagram. Stevie is a New York based blogger who focuses on zero waste and palm oil free living. She just does it in such a fun way! She’s a very cool woman and an absolute inspiration on the thrift shop shopping front. Her style is amazing! Another blogger who is a thrift shop queen and has the most unique style is @SophieBenson.
I’m also a big fan of Holly Rose who can be found @LeotieLovely on Instagram. Holly embodies all that it is to be a free spirit and really embraces minimal living. She reminds me on a daily basis that there is so much more to life than money and things. She is completely transparent about her life choices and I really admire that.
Adoshi: What are some of your favorite restaurants in London?
Hanna: London has really upped its game on the vegan and sustainable restaurant front in the last year. For brunch or lunch my favorite spot is Mother Works in Hackney Wick, a vegan café serving everything from Kombucha and Buddha bowls to vegan nachos, chilli, and delicious smoothies. For dinner, I love Tiny Leaf in Mercado Metropolitano. It’s a zero waste vegan burger stand in an indoor market.
If you’re looking for great drink spots there is a zero waste cocktail bar called Nine Lives near London Bridge. Or if you’re looking for something fancy, I’d recommend organic wine bar Antidote. Their natural wines are delicious, if a little on the expensive side!
For more recommendations on eco eats and drinks in London you can check out my Conscious Map!
Adoshi: Where do you get your news from?
Hanna: I am subscribed to Google alerts on key search terms in all things sustainable living and tend to check these on my commute in the morning. I am also an avid reader of The Guardian, which has a big focus on the environment and has great articles from environmental journalists like Lucy Siegle.
There are also some great groups and communities on Facebook with wonderful tips on local events.
Adoshi: Any words of advice or encouragement for those reading who think living an "eco-friendly lifestyle" would be too difficult for them?
Hanna: It’s all a journey and perfection is impossible. These would be the key things I would say to people. When I first started trying to live more consciously I felt paralyzed to the point of thinking I could probably never leave the house again! It is overwhelming and you’re not going to crack it all at once. I would suggest breaking it down into chunks and focusing on the small achievements that lead to a bigger picture. An easy start that means everyone can get through a day zero waste is to buy a reusable cup, a reusable water bottle, and a lunchbox to take their lunch into work with their own cutlery. And if you think you haven’t got time to make your lunch- bulk cooking, my friends! Cook in bulk and freeze it so that you always have something ready in the freezer.