Are you sitting comfortably?

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The deluge of incredible films this month is just outstanding: Birdman, Whiplash, the Theory of Everything, Foxcatcher.

Perfect. January is the ideal month to tuck yourself away in a nice dark room, with a nice big box of popcorn and forget about the cold and the rain outside.

And the Lexi cinema is the perfect place to do so. Not only is Lexi an independent. It’s an independent that gives 100% of its profits to charity and is staffed by passionate local volunteers. So whilst you’re enjoying yourself in a little corner of northwest London, far far away a South African community is also benefiting from your choice.

Lexi support The Sustainability Institute, a sustainable living and learning centre based in rural Stellenbosch, South Africa. The money raised goes towards supporting children in the village with providing school meals, creating after school clubs and developing solar power and water management systems.

And if you’re worried about feeling a little holier than thou, you can remedy that with an anti-detox visit to the cinema bar.

194b Chamberlayne Road, Kensal Rise, London NW10 3JU

“We are all different – but we share the same human spirit. Perhaps it’s human nature that we adapt – and survive.” Stephen Hawking, 2013

January pick-me ups

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It’s cold, it’s dark. It’s January.

It’s all too easy to stay inside, bemoaning a lack of money and the no doubt pelting rain outside.

However here is my promise: to navigate you through the remainder of January with a number of hand-picked events and ideas to tempt you out from underneath the duvet and remind you that there’s still a whole lot of good out there.

I have neglected my dear little blog the last couple of months, distracted by a new job and moving house. However I am excited to reengage with it and its readers (hey Dad), hopefully making it a super social, sustainable 2015.

Reducing my impact on the environment has become far more of a priority over the past 12 months. However, since being back working and in London the temptation of new clothes and jewellery is hard to resist.

The other day I passed by a girl giving out free brownies at London Bridge station, and so naturally stopped for a freebie and to ask why she was there.

Turns out she was promoting a new environmental start-up which is trying to integrate clothes swopping into the lifestyles of busy Londoners: Clotho.

They are currently running a trial period where you select 5 plus items you wish to swop, tell them when/ where to pick them up from and then redeem credit to be used on their online store from the 6th-8th December.

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It sounds like a great idea and with the right quality of clothes I imagine it could be quite the success. As with any entrepreneurs I am so impressed by those who have the drive to turn their idea into a reality, so I hope you all get behind them!

To read more visit their website or drop them an email: vhjtang@gmail.com or call/ text 0703516464

www.clotholondon.co.uk

WANTED: Coats

“While I relish our warm months, winter forms our character and brings out our best.” 

Tom Allen, Politician

A lost coat in richmond park

The clocks have turned back, the temperature has dropped and the inevitable is coming: winter.

However as we welcome the opportunity to don our cable knits and parkas, many are inadequately prepared for the harsh winter months and face hard times ahead.

This is why Wrap Up London are holding collection events across London this week where people can donate no-longer-needed outerwear so that the homeless, elderly, refugees, and other vulnerable people can keep warm this winter.

There will be collections at the following places this week from Wednesday 5th – Friday 7th November, 7am – 11am:

  • Paddington
  • Kings Cross
  • Victoria
  • Waterloo
  • Canary Wharf
  • Charing Cross
  • London Bridge
  • Baker Street
  • Highbury & Islington
  • Marylebone
  • Outside Liverpool Street tube station in the Fulcrum shopping centre, just past Krispy Kreme and Boots

Click here for more information about volunteering for the Wrap Up London campaign or holding your own collection event

Wednesday 5th – Friday 7th November, 7 am – 11am

Bonny Bonnington Cafe

‘If all the world were apple pie
And all the sea were ink
And all the trees were bread and cheese
What would we have to drink?’

Walking to Boninngton Café you take a turn off Vauxhall and are transported to leafy suburbia. Tucked away in among the houses is Bonnington Café enticing you in with its warm lights and echoing out conversation and laughter.

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The ambience of this cooperatively-owned café is right up my street. Relaxed, gently buzzing and friendly (the table next to us even left us the remains of their bottle of wine; it’s BYOB). With a rotating rota of guest cooks the food ranges from the excellent to the mediocre but with a reliably awesome atmosphere and absolute bargain prices (mains are £8, starters and deserts £4) you are certain of an enjoyable evening.

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Bonnington is not only a café, but a community hub. The walls are pinned with notices about yoga classes, art workshops and local initiatives. So when you spend here you spend local as well as enjoying a vegetarian meal made with locally sourced ingredients. Book here.

Bonnington Café, 11 Vauxhall Grove, London, SW8 1TD

South Indian Sundays

“We are not going in circles, we are going upwards. The path is a spiral; we have already climbed many steps.” Herman Hesse, author of Siddhartha

Last year I spent 3 months living in a rural village in southern India. Along with the people, the culture and the landscapes, I fell head over heels for the food.

Food is such a massive part of Indian culture. In fact one politician was reportedly elected into power not because of his promises on healthcare, taxes, or any of the rest, but because he promised every household an electric blender.

Just some of the delicious food I discovered in India

Just some of the delicious food I discovered in India

Papi’s Pickles in Brixton brings the sweet aromas and tastes of South India to South London. A family-run social enterprise, they are inspired by the kindness of the Indian figure Shanthini and echo her beautiful spirit in their commitments to work with unemployed Indian and Sri Lankan women, recognise the importance of women’s work in the home and promote the use of  seasonal, local, organic ingredients.

Previous projects have included working with the non-for-profit We Are What We Do in to provide healthy, tasty and cheap alternatives to fastfood in low-income areas of London.

Until the 2nd November they will be rotating three Sunday brunch menus celebrating traditional Indian festivals Navaratri, Karthikai and Deepavali. Support this fantastic enterprise in the most enjoyable way possible, by tucking into their delicious Indian delights.

65 Brixton Village Market, SW9 8PS

http://www.papispickles.org

OneWorld, OneSie

“We didn’t realise we were making memories, we just knew we were having fun” Unknown

Fancy heading to one of London’s top venues? Fancy partying in ultimate comfort? Fancy splashing your cash on charity as well as cocktails?

Let  me transport you to a place where you can enjoy live music, electric entertainers, an all-night BBQ and a complimentary cocktail, all whilst dressed as a monkey/ cow/ oversized mouse! Is it possible to dream bigger?

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A portion (albeit undisclosed) of the £20 ticket will be going towards War Child as well as the proceeds from a bangin’ raffle where prizes include a year’s membership at The Roof Gardens and a complimentary table for 10 with a bottle of spirits thrown in.

Read more about War Child here, a charity which supports vulnerable children and their families around the globe whose lives have been torn apart by war. And click here for more details about the event.

p.s. Fancy a discount, use the code LATE NIGHT COCKTAIL for 20% off provided by OnePiece (but shhh it’s a secret!)

11th October, 19.45 – 3am, Kensington Rooftop Gardens