Sarah Backhouse

Sarah Backhouse

Ethnically ambiguous with the accent to prove it, I’m thrilled to be on the cutting edge of this brave, new green world.

In The Bag | Heather Heron

heather heron handbag 02 In The Bag | Heather Heron

Embracing the “G” lifestyle in most areas of my life is a no-brainer: plant-based food? Delish. Organic cotton tees? Stock me up. Non-toxic cleaning products? Nothing but.

But “eco-friendly” PVC bags? No, no and no.

While I admire the intention of this new breed of animal-free bag designers, the faux leather aesthetic is just not for me. On top of that, I don’t completely understand the logic: they say PVC is better than leather, but how much so? I think we can do better than that, and thankfully some of us are.

heather heron handbag 01 In The Bag | Heather Heron

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Uphill Gains | Triple Your Energy

running uphill high intensity interval training 01 Uphill Gains | Triple Your Energy

If you wanna be stronger, faster and fitter, not to mention richer, smarter and more good looking (okay, I made up those last three), I have some good news and bad news. The good news? It’ll only take you 10 seconds. The bad news? It involves one of my personal top three un-fun things to do: running uphill. But according to former world championship competitor Brad Hudson, “there’s nothing better for developing speed and muscle power”.

When Hudson starting coaching a few years ago, he noticed that “hill work” was the common denominator in successful training programs. And hill work works; resulting in “a jump in leg strength, running economy (how efficiently your body uses oxygen) and aerobic capacity”. After reading about the science, Hudson saw the results in the athletes he trained: James Carney improved his 10K personal, which put him in contention for the U.S. Olympic team; while Dathan Ritzenhein, who ran “2:14:01 last year in his debut marathon, believes hills have made him less injury-prone.”

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Filed Under Fitness/Diet, G Living

Saiga | Is the End in Sight?

saiga antelope1 Saiga | Is the End in Sight?

If you type “saiga” into the fountain of all knowledge (I refer you to the infamous Wikipedia), it redirects you to the Saiga Antelope, adding: “For the shotgun named after the antelope, see Saiga-12”. Which is ironic when you think about it, as poaching is one of the main reasons this beautiful creature is now an endangered species. With its population dwindling a staggering “95% in just 20 years” — from one million in 1988 to a mere 50,000 today — the saiga is facing the threat of extinction Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Jason Bateman| Juno to Hydrogen

jason bateman bmw hydrogen 7 Jason Bateman| Juno to Hydrogen

Here’s a good one: What does yours truly have in common with Jay Leno, Will Ferrell and now Jason Bateman? Is it that we’re all hugely successful media sensations? Yeah, right. Or that we’re all (formerly) brunettes? Getting closer. The answer? We’ve all test driven the BMW 7 series hydrogen car. (That my test drive was only for a few hours as opposed to a few months is a minor detail and kind of a nuisance to this story.)

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The Outdoor Elegance of Diamond Teak

benchairssystem 01 The Outdoor Elegance of Diamond Teak

I’m not the type to get excited about outdoor furniture. To be honest, so long as a bird hasn’t visited it in advance, I’m not bothered by the style of bench I’m sitting on. But obviously I haven’t been invited to the right garden parties, because I didn’t know benches of the calibre of Diamond Teak even existed.

Part art installation, part optical illusion, Diamond Teak’s Spirit Song collection must be seen to be believed. The elegant curves are handcrafted by the design duo of Tiffany and Tiffany, using golden teak and stainless steel to create an elegant timelessness. Functional and durable with a lashing of aesthetic appeal, the collection of benches, chairs, tables and ottomans would look at home in “(posh) gardens, fine homes, snowy mountaintop retreats and tropical island resorts.”

benchairssystem 02 The Outdoor Elegance of Diamond Teak

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Cloud City | An Uplifting Concept?

cloud city 02 Cloud City | An Uplifting Concept?

Is it just me or is the thought of living above a flooded metropolis in a series of pre-fabricated helium balloons just a little — dare I say — out there? I mean, it beats a toxic FEMA trailer, but I’m not convinced. But at the risk of getting all killjoy on you, I’ll let you decide for yourself if this proposal for a water-logged NYC is rooted in logic or merely a flight of fancy Continue Reading / Additional Photos / Videos

Finding the Perfect Little Black Dress

perfect little black dress Finding the Perfect Little Black Dress

We womenfolk don’t need much to keep us in a state of sartorial bliss: a killer pair of heels, a handbag to-die-for, some bling that never goes astray (the blood-free variety, of course) and finally, that perfect LBD.

But for the socially conscious amongst us, where do you turn when you want to ensure that your little black dress doesn’t make a little black mark on the environment? Greenloop is the go-to online shopping destination for hundreds of hot green designers. Here they give us the lowdown on their top four LBDs:

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Eco Sneaks | Sustainable Flats

simpleshoe sugar 04 Eco Sneaks | Sustainable Flats

When it comes to shoes, if it don’t have six inch heels and come with a gimp, I’m normally not interested. But there’s something about Simple that captured my imagination (and hopefully my corn). With a commitment to being 100% sustainable, it’s never been more attractive to don a pair of flats.

simpleshoe sugar 01 Eco Sneaks | Sustainable Flats

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Eco-Posers | Are You Talking To Me?

paris hilton eco poser Eco Posers | Are You Talking To Me?

Of all the new jargon coming atcha from the green space – emissions trading, Chelsea tractor (UK slang for a gas guzzling SUV) and blackwater (that’s the water effluent, not the snipers) to name a few – my new favorite has got to be the “eco-poser”. Don’t play dumb. We all know one. Heck, there may be one looking back at us in the mirror.

A recent article in Alternative Consumer warns of this new breed and lists 13 ways to spot them. Their on-the-money observations include those who have “solar panels installed on the ‘weekend’ house but leave the engine running on the Range Rover when they ‘pop’ into Starbucks for that latte” as well as the people who have “a ‘Made in China’ label sticking out of their 100% jute gladiator sandals”. And then there’s the sort who writes “for an eco-friendly blog, but refuse[s] to fix that dripping faucet in their bathroom”. (I know what you’re thinking, but I called the landlord three times, asking him to take care of it.)

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San Francisco | Future Ecotopia

sf ecotopia 005 San Francisco | Future Ecotopia

The location is San Francisco. The year is 2106. The city is powered by geothermal energy “mushrooms” and algae-harvesting towers produce hydrogen, which is stored and distributed via a series of carbon nanotube walls. Fog catchers capture moisture from the atmosphere to distill fresh water.

A network of above ground and underground systems “fulfill infrastructural needs for the movement of people, water, hover-cars, and energy throughout the city”. Taking cues from nature, a giant super system resembling seaweed and chantrelle mushroom will hold together this network to collect water, power and distribute it across the city.

sf ecotopia 004 San Francisco | Future Ecotopia

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You Bar | It’s All About You

youbar honey cashew You Bar | It’s All About You

As human beings, we crave individuality. We want bespoke suits. We want customized license plates (GLROX, anyone?). We want hand knitted sweaters (as long as our mothers aren’t the designers). And we want our very own made-to-order nutrition bars.

Well, I’m happy to inform you that at least one of our basic human rights is being catered to.

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Germany Labels GM-free Foods

soybeans gm free germany 002 Germany Labels GM free Foods

You’re no doubt aware of the raging debate surrounding genetically modified foods or foods made from genetically modified organisms (GMOs) — foods which have had their DNA altered to in an effort to make them pest-resistant or give them longer shelf life, among other unnatural things.

On the whole, it seems European consumers are much more GMO savvy than their U.S. counterparts. For example, did you know that the majority of the cotton (used in vegetable cooking oil and vegetable feed), maize and soybeans crops grown in North America have been genetically modified? You didn’t? Hmmm… that’s probably because the U.S. food industry has protested against GMO labeling, whereas in the EU, all food containing GMOs are labeled accordingly.

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