Month: April 2016

Mallorca’s perfect.

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Don’t you miss London? It’s something I get asked now and again, and I can honestly say No, I don’t miss it. I still love it, but I don’t want to live there anymore. I’ve got plenty of things to keep me happy, occupied and stimulated right here on my doorstep.

Over the years I’ve been fortunate enough to have the chance to photograph many concerts and DJs at BH Mallorca Hotel (formerly Mallorca Rocks Hotel). It was quite a different experience last Sunday evening when I arrived with my cameras. Instead of hordes of young people and pumping loud music I was greeted by neat rows of silver haired music lovers seated on chairs with blankets over their knees. It was a little like stepping into a different dimension, it looked familiar but something very different was going on. It wasn’t long before I was approached by a man sporting a bowler hat with feathers sprouting out of it. “Hi, my name is Robin, are you from the papers?” I guess the big camera gave it away, that and the fact I was definitely NOT the oldest person in the venue, another change from my normal BH experience when I certainly feel a bit on the elderly side. Robin briefly introduced me to Gerry Flynn, the festival organiser who told me that they were delighted to be in Magaluf and that they were thrilled with BH Mallorca and how the festival was going. “We’ll definitely be back with twice as many people next year,” he told me, “it’s perfect for our needs. We’ve basically got a large space which functions as a festival field and then hotel rooms around it.” “Like extreme glamping?” “Yes, exactly that.”

Eddie Reader and Band performing in Magaluf last weekend PHOTO CREDIT VICKI MCLEOD PHOENIX MEDIA -9654

I’d arrived in time to see Eddie Reader and her band. Would her voice be as beautiful and clear as it had been when singing on hits such as “Perfect” back in 1988? Yes it was. She and her band gave a fantastic hour long performance of songs spreading across several genres including folk, pop and jazz finishing off with a beautiful closing rendition of “Moon River”. I really enjoyed the performance of one of the songs of my youth, Patience of Angels, which was sung by its original writer, Boo Hewerdine (who has a long association with Eddie). Then after a short break, where I wished I’d brought my own blanket, The Lindisfarne Story began their set and knocked out some tunes even I recognised before I decided to call it a night and leave the revellers to their party. You can follow the organisers’ plans for next year at http://www.costadelfolk.co.uk.

Morcheeba are headlining this weekend coming in Palma

Next up in Mallorca we’ve got another festival this weekend. This time at Son Fusteret in Palma. You can see that line-up at http://www.mallorcalivefestival.com. Not sure how many silver haired rockers there will be there, but the organisers promise three consecutive stages with indie, rock, world music and electronica all going off over the weekend. Headlining acts include Morcheeba, Nic Fanciulli, Booka Shade, Fuel Fandango and Laura Jones. Or if you don’t fancy that, there’s the Palma Boat Show, or the Beach Rugby back down on Magaluf beach…. Looks like 2016 has finally begun! mallorcamatters.com

From farm to fashion

The yoga bra

Are there toxins in your sportswear? We all know that doing yoga and keeping active is good for your health, but could your trendy sports gear be sabotaging your efforts? According to Greenpeace sportswear companies aren’t regulating the use of hazardous chemicals in their clothing. Glossy finishes applied to synthetic fabrics contain highly toxic substances (Phthalats (PFCs) Dimethylformarmide (DMF) Nonylphenol ethoxylates (NPEs) and Nonylphenols (NPs). These chemicals have been linked to cancer, obesity and developmental disabilities. Making sports bras sweat, grease and stain proof can come at a serious cost to your health. Especially as sweat and friction during exercise can prompt more rapid absorption of these toxins through your skin’s pores into the body. We wouldn’t eat toxic chemicals so why do we wear them?

Su Dodd, founder of FROM Clothing, has launched a “Yoga Bra” free of chemicals and made from organic cotton. Recently featured on Huffington Post, and gaining interest and followers from around the world From Clothing is the natural next step in a life of adventure. “I had an ambition to dance professionally which gave me a lifelong passion for physical activity and a subsequent addiction to its associated well-being effects on the body. Passing this on to others, via a first career in teaching, was an easy option with one single mantra ‘find that thing that flicks your switch, then staying active becomes a lifelong joy, not a hindrance’.

FROM Clothing cotton yoga clothes

An entrepreneurial, tenacious spirit took Su on an adventurous business path from opening a 1000 private membership holistic health club, to co-founding a Pilates Studio, to establishing an RYA sailing school, to training and examining instructors. With her  ‘work hard; play hard, life is precious’ attitude she was inspired by the big outdoors.  A more recent venture, in organic soft fruit farming, truly connected her with the environment. “I learnt how everything we did had an impact on our land’s delicate eco systems and ultimately it’s produce. It broadened my perspective on global agriculture, and how conventional farming has little respect for the natural health of soil, it’s ecosystems and local communities”.

From this background grew “FROM Clothing” which she describes as an emerging ethical fashion brand. “It is a collaboration of these experiences, born out of concern for the planet’s fragility. It is a demonstration of how an integrated socially responsible approach to business can work towards ‘giving back’ and make a difference, contributing to the well being of our planet to help protect it for futures to come”.

FROM only uses certified organic cotton

Committed to product provenance FROM Clothing creates, designs and manufactures eco friendly clothing for the active and yoga lifestyle. Multifunctional, sports luxury active wear that will take you effortlessly from yoga, to the office, onto the evening. Eco yoga wear that uses beautiful fabrications, feels soft against the skin, is kind to the environment, and sourced from sustainable resources. A minimum of 90% of the raw materials used in their designs are made from ethically sourced, certified organic and sustainable sources. Classic, timeless, wardrobe staples that impact far beyond your yoga class. They use a range of GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified organic cotton which is grown and harvested in India. It is then shipped to Portugal for manufacturing into the active-wear and yoga clothing. Using organic cotton means GOTS cotton farmers are treated fairly and receive a fair wage for their produce, in addition their communities are not exposed to the toxins and chemicals used in conventional cotton farming.

FROM’s Organic Cotton Yoga Bra helps women sustain themselves by raising awareness to the potential harmful chemicals found in modern day synthetic sportswear. But Breast Cancer Now, the UK’s largest breast cancer research charity, removed FROM’s Organic Cotton Bra from this year’s corporate partner list because, “The charity couldn’t be seen to be supporting the concept that organic fabric was better than other fabrics, and because their other promotional clothing partners weren’t organic,” says Su. She was asked to drop references to organic clothing which she refused to do. “As a small brand this messaging was integral to our values, and we weren’t able to ignore what was clearly information applicable to half of the global population.” With breast cancer rates increasing, FROM wanted to raise awareness to the potential risks associated with wearing tight fitting, synthetic sports bras, especially during physical activity when the skin’s pores are open and more receptive to absorption.

“It’s a beautiful, classic shaped Yoga Bra, made from 95% GOTS certified organic cotton, giving you a super soft hand feel, that’s kind to your skin and the environment” Su explains. It’s multi functional, lightweight support, with double layer fabric at front, pretty straps and self-panel stitching detail. Ideal for Yoga, Pilates and all low impact activities, on its own, or great layered under your favourite t-shirt or yoga vest. When Greenpeace recently released a report on ‘Toxins In Sportswear,’ it was clear to us, as an emerging ethical fashion brand specialising in organic and sustainable active wear, that women needed a more natural fabric to wear during physical activity, particularly against the breasts, which is why we also support Breast Cancer Awareness”. Made with super-soft organic cotton, the fabric is certified by GOTS, the Global Organic Textile Standard, which prohibits the use of allergenic, carcinogenic and toxic chemicals in all stages of production making the Yoga Bra 95% chemical and toxin free, giving the wearer assurance that while they’re working out, their yoga bra isn’t affecting their health.

“We are a young business with old heads. We are trying to do what we aspire and believe in. We are realistic and have had to ‘tame’ some of our initial objectives until we are suitably resourced to widen our ‘reach.’ We have and will make mistakes but we will continue to do what we think is right by people, the planet and it’s environment. True to our core values, we aren’t bystanders and will break the mould, and will take risks to achieve our aims. We are creative innovators, solutionists, and give conscious thought to the social and environmental impact of all our business activities on every level – a business with purpose, not just for profit”.

But it’s not just down to the suppliers, it’s also down to us, the consumers. We have to educate ourselves and make informed choices. The information is out there; you just have to ask the tough questions. You can start with checking out http://www.fromclothing.com

More stories about Majorca: mallorcamatters.com

The Best Job In The World

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There’s this thing about being a parent which I didn’t realise would be such a joy. Maybe you’ve experienced it. It’s that moment that comes when you have been teaching your child something you want them to learn, you know you could just do it for them, but you also know that when they learn it they will have really achieved something. It’s not the same as the experience of watching your baby walking for the first time, or uttering their first word, they should do that naturally if you’re lucky enough that they are developing as they should. That’s exciting, but it’s not really got much to do with you has it? They are going to learn these things because they are programmed to.

No, I’m thinking about more specific things like learning to say “Please” and “Thank you”. I remember when my husband and I drilled it into our daughter every single day, probably every hour on the hour. We’d remind her time and again to say the magic words. Why? Because it’s part of our own upbringing I guess, and because we think it’s important to be polite. The day when she spontaneously said Please without being prompted was a good one I’ve got to admit. Being the mum of a ten year old means that I don’t have to remind her to mind her manners anymore, but helping her to navigate more delicate and difficult subjects has become crucial. There are tougher and tougher things to be taught and to learn and as she grows she’s having to deal with bigger issues. Coping with difficult people, being able to forgive, behaving kindly, acting with integrity and honesty, these are all things that we as adults sometimes can’t do, and we’re certainly into that territory now with her.

It was English Mother’s Day and Spanish Father’s Day recently as you probably know, and it’s to her credit that she didn’t need reminding to prepare a card, to bring breakfast in bed, to do all those little touches that make the day special. But really, it’s the other days which stand out for me, the day when she improved her maths grade, because she’d realised that if she did what had been suggested and studied a little more then she’d see the results, or the day when despite having been involved in a big row with some of her friends she acted the diplomat and negotiated a truce. When I think about what I do for a living, and what I do in general I’m beginning to realise that the most important things that I do aren’t the things which I get paid for. Being a good mum and a wife are top of the list whereas when I was younger, and dumber, I don’t think I appreciated that they are the best jobs in the world. We all like to ask children what they want to be when they grow up, I’m trying to raise a child who, when asked that question, will answer “Happy”. mallorcamatters.com

 

Get Outside

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Here’s the thing. I read this week about children spending less time outdoors than prisoners. Can that be true? Given that I first saw it when someone shared a Daily Mail article online I could imagine that the truth has been massaged, but even so, children have to go outside in playgrounds at school don’t they? The study from the Play In Balance report by Persil’s Dirt Is Good campaign said that 18% of children never play outside at any point. “One in ten mothers and fathers have never been on an outdoor adventure with their child”. Is that more to do with the motivation of the parents than anything particularly preventing them from going outside and getting involved, or is it to do with our work life balances being so out of kilter that there is literally no daylight left in which to do things with our offspring?  The kids are still playing, but on computers, or indoors in less adventurous circumstances. This has led to a response from many people about how, in their “day” this was not the case, we were thrown out of the front door at 8am with a cheese sandwich in our pocket and not let back in until teatime. The big question, I guess is would this have a negative effect on children long term, or is it just us oldsters freaking out about how we think things should be versus how they actually are? The people who participated in this report probably didn’t remember the TV programme “Why Don’t You?” which was specifically aimed at me and my little brothers to inspire us to stop watching the TV and go and make spaceships out of toilet rolls. Things haven’t changed THAT much, in my opinion. You have to encourage children to do things, they need their mums and dads to be passionate about hobbies, these things are contagious in my experience.

The fact is that life, and (some) times, have changed. Although I have been known to send my daughter out with the dog on a mission (yesterday she went to our village chemist on her own to get some sunscreen as the weather is improving and she has to slap on the block every day) I send her out with a phone, an itinerary and a clear understanding of when she is expected back home. That is very different to the way I grew up when we did disappear for hours on end, fall in rivers, come home without shoes, end up on the wrong side of the motorway, and other tales of disaster which perhaps one day you will know about. I wouldn’t send my daughter outside to play randomly, she would be going to see a friend, whose parents would also know about the plan, or she would be going to an prearranged date at the stables, or with my Dad to go sailing. Apart from lacking spontaneity what’s wrong with that? It’s another example of us taking advantage of the things which Mallorca has on offer, but it’s done with a deliberate focus to keep her off of You Tube but not out of my hair. What do you think? http://www.mallorcamatters.com