Helen, we continued our journey south to go back to Brighton, on the south coast of England. We stayed there back in September for a couple of nights and found the best vegetarian restaurant we have ever been to Terre a Terre . So it was the thought of visiting this and knowing that I had also discovered some great fairtrade shops that we decided to go back. I had time to prepare myself this time so spent a few hours surfing the net the day before we went, finding the Fair trade shops that I wanted to visit and marking them on a map so that I wouldn't forget where they were.
We arrived late, booked into the same hotel as before (we are such creatures of habit!). Fortunately they had space we hadn't dared to book anything as the weather had been so unpredictable and there was still lots of snow on the ground. After a quick freshen up and a cup of tea we made our way down to the restaurant.
We both had potato rosti's, mine with spinach and poached egg, my husbands with spicy halumi tika, this was washed down with a fine local West Sussex white wine. We then treated ourselves to one of their yummy puddings. I had a cheese cake that was accompanied with a lemon and rosemary sauce which was just divine, while my husband had something very very chocolaty. My husband brought me their cookbook for my birthday at the end of last year and so I now feel re-inspired to get it out and get cooking.
After a very warm nights sleep (we could not cool the room down, even with the window open!), we went off for a days shopping map in hand.
First we went to Gossypium which is a shop I have brought from by mail order many a time, they do a superb selection of fairtrade fabrics. It was lovely to browse, I was interested to see if they had any sale items as they are usually a little bit pricy. Unfortunately the only bargain I found didn't fit, but I enjoyed the looking.
There are lots of little gift shops in The Lanes, many of which stock fairtrade products, so I enjoyed having a little look around these.
We then walked up Bond Street in the North Laines area. Here we visited a small gift shop called Evolution, they are almost all fairtrade, and we managed to pick up 3 lap trays for the children that were a little damaged but had their prices cut from £10 each to £2.00 each. So we got those! I loved looking at all their FT jewelry, but resisted it knowing I was going to the bead shop.
We passed another shop that I noticed had clothing by Nomads on a rail outside. So I went inside.... there I found right at the back a whole rail of sale items and managed to pick myself up a lovely white long sleeved shirt (my husband loves me wearing white) for £15. Another succesful purchase.
From here we went to my very favourite shop Infinity Foods for an organic ethical vegetarian you just cannot get any better. Here we stocked up on lots of house hold items, chocolate shampoo, seaweed shampoo, lavender bath soak, Weleda rose cleansing lotion, replaceable head toothbrushes for my youngest - we got these last time we came and were very very impressed. We then went into the food section and brought some Vegan Worcestershire sauce, which I didn't know existed, the normal variety, used alot in sauces has fish in it.
We were now laden down with 'stuff', so my husband offered to take it all back to the car while I went on the a bead shop that I wanted to visit. I eventually found it and spent 20 minutes in my heaven! I was very restrained, I just picked up a few bits, jewelry fastners, earing hoops and a few packets of seed beeds in colours I had never seen before. This restraint cost me £6.50, and I have enough 'bits' to keep me going for quite some time, so watch out for some more making.
We then went into Costa Coffee for a lovely fairtrade Late, shared a sandwich and lovely crunchy granola bar. After a much needed sit down and rest we had a little wonder around the book shop we were in, I managed to find 'The Secret Life of Bees' by Sue Monk Kidd for my mum, I read this several years ago and thought so many bits reasonated with my mums growing up years that she would really enjoy it. This made the perfect little gift to give her for looking after the children for us.
There was not much energy left in me after this, my husband on his way back from dropping the goodies at the car had managed to find a second hand copy of a jazz cd which had lots of clarinet playing on it - so he got this for our eldest (who has been asked to join the school jazz band). He had also passed a second hand book stall and saw copies of the original Dr Who books, so he purchased one of these for our son.
I just had a couple of shops left on my list, on the way to one we passed a small tucked away shop called Fair Play, they did not have a huge collection, they had some People Tree clothing and lots of gifty bits. What did catch my eye was bedding. This is something we were looking out for for our bedroom, they had some gorgeous sets, but didn't have the one I liked best in King size which we needed. I got talking to the sales lady who gave me the details of where they purchased them from. This is the set from Fairly covered that we are going to order. It goes just perfectly with the husky pink and deep ruby reds we have in our bedroom.
There was just one shop left on my list but I knew that would be a car ride to make, so we went back to the car and headed off. Kolkata has some very unique fairtrade clothing and gifts. What I did find here that I have found no where else is fairtrade wools and cottons for knitting with. We got a small hair band for my youngest, so that they all had a little gift, and headed home. We were just commenting on how lovely it had been to spend so much time shopping in our kind of shops when I noticed a huge Co-operative Supermarket shop. This store is a big favourite as they sell lots of fairtrade produce and we also use them for their ethical banking and insurance. I remembered that I had a cheque in my purse that needed to be paid in so we pulled the car into the car park and my husband whisked the cheque in.
This made me realise, that if I had to move anywhere in the UK then Brighton would probably be my choice, just because it seems to so support the life style that we have chosen to live. Moving is not something that I particularly want or would like to do, so for now, I shall just treasure a lovely time away with my husband, chatting, shopping and eating. I shall also continue to pray that the area of Hampshire in which we live might be transformed into a similar ethical living style one day.
It was fab to get home and discover there had been no upsets, the eldest went off to her Church run Youth Group, the younger ones went off to bed and we settled down to a nice treat of an Indian takeaway with my mum and dad before heading off for an early night in our own, cosy bed. Perfect.