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MAD Blog Awards 2011

Pledge4Plastics - limited edition designer phone case made from recycled plastic bottles
Pledge 4 Plastics, a new government backed campaign created to significantly increase the collection of plastic packaging for recycling, has teamed up with internationally renowned designer, stylist and author, Abigail Ahern, for an exciting new collaboration that aims to get recycling back on the household agenda.

Knowing that five billion plastic bottles were sent to UK landfill sites last year, the initiative has joined forces with Abigail Ahern to launch #Pledge4Plastics, a campaign that is urging people to make a promise to recycle just one extra plastic bottle per household each week.

To highlight the many ways plastic can be given a new life if recycled correctly, Abigail Ahern, has channelled her uniquely quirky and recognisable style to design her first ever bespoke phone cover, which is made from 80 percent recycled plastic bottles. Internationally acclaimed for her own retail ranges and unswerving design taste, this is the first time Abigail Ahern has turned her hand to fashion accessories.

One thousand limited edition phone covers, available for iPhone 5C/S and Samsung S5, have been designed exclusively for #Pledge4Plastics, to reward those who register their support online throughout September at or tweet @pledge4plastics.

Pledge4Plastics - limited edition designer phone case made from recycled plastic bottles

Abigail Ahernsaid: “As a designer, I’m always looking for creative ways to produce beautiful things. I find it most inspiring to discover new materials and production methods.

“It’s been amazing to work on creating a design for something that’s going to be made out of recycled plastic bottles. The #Pledge4Plastics campaign is a great way to demonstrate that what people often think of as ‘just’ rubbish can actually be made into a fabulous new object of desire.”

Abigail AhernIt’s important to remember that #Pledge4Plastics is not just about recycling water and drinks bottles, it includes all types of plastic bottles, from every room in the house, ranging from shampoo bottles and shower gels to domestic bleach bottles and cooking oil. Not forgetting to recycle food pots, tubs and trays (like yoghurt pots, margarine tubs and lasagne trays), where Local Authorities collect them for recycling, will help to reduce the amount of plastics that goes to landfill.

Kerbside recycling schemes and dedicated recycling centres run by every local authority in the country, along with plenty of information available online at, mean there are lots of easy ways for people to support the campaign at home.

Led by Recoup, a longstanding plastics recycling charity, the National Plastics Recycling Initiative is supported by partners including, Coca Cola Enterprises, Marks & Spencer, Unilever, Nestle Waters, Nestle UK, RPC, Veolia, Closed Loop Recycling, Valpak, Kent Resource Partnership, Surrey County Council, PlasticsEurope, WRAP and Defra. The steering group has been formed to tackle the serious issue of plastic packaging recycling in the UK and help to meet the challenging targets set by the UK government.

Stuart Foster, CEO of Recoup, said: “The #Pledge4Plastics campaign aims to encourage people to think and act differently and rewards them for doing so. We want to highlight how great things can come from recycling unwanted plastic. The fantastic phone cover that Abigail Ahern has designed for the campaign is made with recycled plastic and provides just one example of what can become of recycled bottles.”

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Heatkeeper pack and panels - save energy, reduce heat loss

Despite late September bringing us cooler evenings and chiller mornings, many households faced with ever-rising fuel bills remain resolute that 1st October, or Central Heating Day as it has also been coined, is the earliest their central heating will go back on.

There are, of course, lots of simple ways we can reduce our household energy consumption including lowering our thermostats, switching off radiators in rooms which are not used often and fitting draught excluders and chimney balloons to reduce heating from escaping out of our homes.

We can also invest in heat-saving devices to ensure we get the most from the heat we are paying for. One company who can help us with just this is Lake Renewable Energy and their latest product, Heatkeeper Radiator Reflectors.

To tell us more about their company and latest product, here’s my interview with Lake Renewable Energy’s, Lee Wiper.

Firstly, tell me about your business and it’s background

Lake Renewable Energy is a UK based company established in 2007 specialising in the retail of leisure batteries, energy saving and eco-friendly products designed to save you money and energy. Since June 2014 as Lake Manufacturing Ltd. we are now the proud owners and manufacturers of Heatkeeper Radiator Reflectors Panels.

Can you explain what your product is and how it saves energy?

Heatkeeper Radiator Reflectors are an energy saving reflector panel designed to be placed behind household radiators. HEATKEEPER Radiator Reflector Panels can save as much as 20% on heating costs where the panels are fitted to all radiators throughout the home. The panels work in three ways to save energy, money and improve the comfort and feel of your rooms.

• Insulating the Wall

how a radiator reflector panel worksThe moulded shape of the Heatkeeper Radiator Reflectors creates an air space between the radiator and the wall surface creating a thermal barrier.

• Reflective Surface

The highly reflective surface of the panel acts as a radiant agent and reflects heat back into the radiator, which returns the water to the boiler at a higher temperature, therefore the heating system requires less energy to reheat the water in the boiler.

• Saw Tooth Profile

The saw- tooth profiles of the Heatkeeper panels are designed to stimulate convection currents which improve heat circulation, helping to eliminate cold spots in the room.

What else have you introduced in 2014?

2014 saw the introduction of a new hanging NEW alternative “Easy-Fit” method for HEATKEEPER Panels. Simply hang HEATKEEPER Panels from your radiator brackets ideal for radiators where the traditional fitting method may be difficult.

Fitting Heatkeeper radiator reflector panel

What has been your biggest success to date?

Heatkeeper Radiator Panels have been independently tested by world-renowned industry experts such as the Building Research & Industry Association, the United Kingdom Atomic Energy Authority, the Scottish Energy Centre and Queen’s University Belfast and are endorsed by the Energy Saving Trust.

Manufactured in the UK, Heatkeepers are a permanent energy saving solution to improve the heating efficiency of your household radiators. They are easily adhered to the wall behind the radiator and now with the alternative hanging method for those hard to reach areas under sills or behind radiators with small gaps.

Where can people buy/ find out more about your product?

Customers can purchase Heatkeeper Radiator Reflector Panels online at our website or in our showroom at 27 Phoenix Road, Crowther, Washington, Tyne & Wear, NE38 0AD.


I am pleased to announce  I have teamed up with Lake Renewable Energy to give

5 lucky Queen of Easy Green readers the chance to win a 10 pack of Heatkeeper radiator reflector panels worth £32 each.

For your chance to win, simply complete the Rafflecopter box below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Gift Your Gear - donate your unwanted outdoor gear

As Ranulph Fiennes famously said, ‘There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing,’ and that is never truer than when it comes to partaking in outdoor activities.

So, why not help the next generation get outdoors, whatever the weather, by donating your unwanted outdoor gear.

Donate your unwanted outdoor gear

Gift Your Gear, the award-winning nationwide initiative that provides outdoor clothing and equipment to UK community organisations, youth groups and charities working with young people in the outdoors has again joined forces with Rohan, the travel and outdoor clothing company, to take your unwanted outdoor gear in return for a handsome discount.

Gift Your Gear helping the next generation get outdoorsTo join in, simply take your unwanted outdoor clothing to any Rohan shop during the month of September, that’s all outdoor clothing, rucksacks and includes children’s clothing regardless of brand and receive 15% off any full price purchase made on the same day. Offer ends 30th September 2014.

Founded by Sarah Howcroft, Gift Your Gear was set up to encourage people to donate unwanted outdoor gear they no longer want or need and to build on the success of last year, Sarah is keen to increase the number of groups Gift Your Gear can help again.

“To date Gift Your Gear has supported over 250 community organisations, youth groups and charities who work with young people in the outdoors. I hope that we can increase this number to 350 by the end of the Gift Your Gear – Rohan event”.

The outdoor gear you donate will make a real difference to the community organisations, youth groups and charities who receive it. Enabling others to benefit from life changing experiences in the great outdoors regardless of their circumstances.

So go on, dig out those unwanted clothes, help more young people enjoy the great outdoors and treat yourself into the bargain.

To find out more about Gift Your Gear and who they support head over to and for the latest updates you can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter

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Weleda 100% natural health and beauty products

If you are a hayfever sufferer like me, you’ll know that the arrival of summer can indeed come with mixed blessings.

On one hand it’s wonderful to be able to enjoy long summer evenings in the garden, whereas on the other hand tossing and turning in bed all night with itching eyes and a sneezy nose is no fun for anyone.

In the past I’ve tried allsorts of treatments to try and alleviate the symptoms, ranging from applying petroleum jelly inside of my nose (not nice), keeping my windows shut, pillows covered and washing my hair each night before I go to bed (great if you’re super-organized, and I’m not , always!), eyebaths (not compatible with my contact lenses), nasal sprays (okay, but had limited effect on my itchy eyes) and herbal hayfever tablets which barely had any effect at all.

After trying all of these I have reluctantly moved onto Antihistamine tablets, but as I am conscious of what I’m putting into my body, looking for a more natural alternative is always on my agenda.

Now if you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, you would have seen that a week or so ago I was lucky enough to be invited to one of Weleda’s, natural, biodynamic cosmetic and pharmaceutical company, Insight Days – #WeledaInsightDays.

Weleda 100% natural health and beauty products

The day, which took place at Weleda’s headquarters and gardens in Derbyshire, gave me an opportunity to have a tour of their famous medicinal gardens, chat with head gardeners and learn how Weleda make their natural tinctures which form the basis of their 100% certified natural beauty and wellbeing products.

Meeting the team and learning about their NaTrue certified natural and organic facial skincare, bodycare, juices and elixirs, Weleda also announced what was new for 2014. New arrivals include the divine smelling, therapeutic Wild Rose Cream Bath Milk (you may have heard the ever-so sweet smelling Simon Cowell extol the virtues of Weleda’s Citrus Refreshing Bath Milk – here he is),

nourishing and refreshing Citrus Hand Cream, made with fairtrade lemons sourced from biodynamic lemon farms across Sicily and their new range of homeopathic oral sprays, including Dry Skin and Eczema Relief spray and their new Hayfever Relief oral spray.

Weleda New Hayfever Relief Spray

Containing 6 x potencies of Euphrasia (Eyebright – traditionally prescribed to soothe stingy, red, watering eyes associated with allergic rhinitis), Allium cepa (Red onion – a homeopathic remedy for relief of streaming eyes and nose) and Gelsemium (Yellow jasmine – favoured by homeopaths to relieve ‘heavy head’ symptoms and itching at the back of the throat), Weleda’s new Hayfever Relief spray provides symptomatic relief of hayfever and other forms of allergic rhinitis.

Just one or two squirts on the tongue, three times a day, the spray is virtually taste-less, except for a faint hint of alcohol, which is from the ethanol (made from organic grain alcohol).

So does it work – well, I’ve been using this for a week now and can confirm that yes, for me, it works really well? Spraying first thing in the morning, then again in the afternoon, the spray has kept my symptoms at bay, despite walks through the woods (my usual hayfever ‘flash point’), cutting grass, enjoying a late summer evening social and working with my office door wide open with the wind blowing directly at me.

As well as working efficiently, unlike my usual antihistamine tablets that dry my mouth, nose and eyes, Weleda’s natural homeopathic hayfever relief spray leaves my eyes and nose feeling naturally hydrated.

Of course, I still sneeze a little, especially when there is a high pollen count, but if this does become a problem, I simply have another spray (ensuring, of course, I don’t exceed the recommended 3 doses a day).

Suitable for children over 12 years old, Weleda Hayfever Relief natural homeopathic spray comes in a handy little pocket sized bottle and can quickly and effectively be used whenever you are hit with the sneezes.

At only £9.95 for a 20ml body, I really like it and will certainly be using and recommending this natural hayfever remedy alternative to fellow suffers for summers to come.

To find out more about Weleda and their 100% natural, health and wellbeing products head over to

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U Little Beauty natural self tan

Okay, I have to relent, the sun has won and it’s now time to expose my legs to the world. Unfortunately, having an ‘English Rose’ kind of complexion, my pins give the sun a run for it’s money where brightness is concerned, so faking it is the only way.

The good news is I don’t have to ‘fake it’ where natural self-tan is concerned, especially with this green beauty find, U Little Beauty luxurious natural self-tanning cream.

Made in the land of sunshine itself, Australia, U Little Beauty is 100% natural and contains certified organic ingredients including Avocado Oil and Macadamia seed oil that moisturise and nourish the skin whilst developing a naturally beautiful tan.

Of course, whenever you think of fake tan, you’re instantly reminded of that familiar overwhelming fake tan, ‘biscuity’ smell. That is certainly not the case with U Little Beauty, on application it has a subtle ‘woody’ rose scent from the Rose, Rosewood and Rose Geranium flower oil it contains, on developing however, this does subside and a slight ‘fake tan’ scent can be ever so faintly detected – but on a scale of pungency this would barely register.

100% natural, certified organic self tan - before and after applicationApplication, having many fake tanning disasters in the past, for example where I’ve managed to stain clothes, bed sheets and unintentionally ‘tanned’ parts of my body I was trying to avoid, applying U Little Beauty is a synch. White in colour, the cream goes on clear and is incredibly easy to apply and is quick to absorb, which means you can apply it with confidence, sure in the knowledge it won’t stain your clothes or bedsheets. Also, as mentioned, U Little Beauty is so rich in natural oils that not only is it easy to apply, it leaves your skin feeling silky smooth and totally moisturised – not what you usually experience from fake tanning.

Once applied the cream is left for 8 hours after which time a beautiful golden honey-coloured tan develops. It can then be washed off to reveal an even, streak-free tan that looks like you’ve just been kissed by the sun.

I really like U Little Beauty for lots of reasons, first and foremost it is a fabulous example of a green beauty product. It is paraben-free and SLS-free, plus it doesn’t contain any nasty chemicals you might expect to find. U Little Beauty contains no petrochemicals, no artificial fragrances, no artificial colours and no artificial preservatives.

The second reason I really like U Little Beauty is because it just works –it was easy to apply,  my skin went a lovely natural, subtle honey colour plus my skin felt super soft and smooth to the touch.

I also love that U Little Beauty’s products are not tested on animals, that all of their packaging is recyclable and that their beauty range is approved by the UK Vegan Society. Did I also mention that U Little Beauty luxurious natural self tan is totally affordable at just £13.50 for 150ml.

Ladies, I think you will agree, it’s time to reveal your own naturally beautiful skin!

For further information visit

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