Monday, 9 November 2009

Carry a Christmas Shopping Bag

Last week was a bit of a milestone for plastic bags as the Welsh environment minister announced her intention to make it law in Wales for retailers to charge customers between 5p-15p (maybe 5p for useless bags and 15p for really smart ones?) for every plastic bag they use. She gets my vote - even though I'm not eligible to vote in Wales. Reading Lucy Siegel's column in the Observer yesterday I detected that she has moved on to greater issues and was a bit dismissive about the importance of refusing plastic bags in a saving the planet sort of way. It would be a shame if now that 'ordinary folk' have taken the idea to heart it has loses some of its momentum - I hope I misread between the lines. She did however remind us that each bag takes 1000 years to bio-degrade so we should re-use the ones we have over and over again. I'm with her on that and I have no doubt that if its raining and I've just bought some presents I will want the waterproof properties of plastic - so I'll be carrying the best of the under-sink stash from back in the day with me when I shop this Christmas instead of saying yes to any new ones.
Six weeks to go!
love & peace

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

New venture for Autumn.

I have neglected the blog for a very good reason - I've been writing a book - well not so much writing more 'putting together'. Three of us have formed a small publishing company called SeaSaw Books - because we live by the sea and this is what we saw. Our first book arrived back from the printers on Friday and we launched it last weekend at the local Seafood & Wine Festival. A whopping success it was too!
It is called the Little Hastings Fish Cook Book and it features more than fifty recipe contributions from family, friends, fishmongers and chefs with the focus being on the fish our local fleet brings ashore each day. They are not permitted to land any cod until March 2010 because of the EU quota system. It allows them to catch a certain amount of cod each year and because it is quite plentiful around Hastings they have already caught theirs! Now they have to throw back all the cod they catch - dead. How crazy and disrespectful is that?
Our idea was to encourage people to buy the less usual choices such as Gurnard, Huss, Squid and Coley as well as Sole, Plaice and even Lobster - which are all caught in these waters. We have had such fun reading and testing recipes and my husband Stewart has been doing the illustrations on the beach. Debi Angel our world famous designer has put all of this together to make a perfect little cook book for a fiver - Can't say fairer than that guv! Our website is up and soon there will be a Paypal checkout where you can get your copy - a perfect stocking filler. Oh I am SO proud of this! And dear friends ...on the inside back page I sneaked in a little message to ask people not to use plastic bags.

Happy Autumn
love & peace
Sally xx

Tuesday, 4 August 2009


I love nature and wild creatures but its so hard to love seagulls when you live by the sea. Especially on a Tuesday.
Tuesday is rubbish collection day and people put bags out on the pavement when they go out
to work. Seagulls know this. As soon as one bag is spotted the call goes out "Come on down guys and let's see what's on the menu!" They circle, they swoop, they strut about screeching while one of them attacks the plastic bag - it only takes a well-aimed peck or two and the contents are spilled all over the street. There are no secrets anymore - we know how many plastic bags they throw away each week at NÂș6 and how many cans of strong lager the chap in the upstairs flat doesn't bother to separate out for recycling. We know who throws out their bills unopened and so many other things we didn't want to know about our neighbours.
By lunchtime the seagulls will have devoured anything they can eat and the wind will have picked up the empty plastic bags and blown them into the trees - the tin cans roll about noisily on the street until crushed by a passing car. The lorry comes along eventually and the heroic 'binmen' jump out with brooms and sweep up what's left and the seagulls move away to another street where the bins are collected on a different day. And so it goes.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009


Followers of this blog will know by now that I simply cannot resist a long weekend in a tent in a field at a festival so I've been to Glastonbury and it was ....lovely. The family were with me and we all carried our bags, used sunscreen and wore wellies. If only everyday life was just a little more like Glastonbury where strangers smile and hold out a helping hand when you need help jumping over a puddle. The Love the Farm - Leave No Trace slogan is having an impact and there is far less mess than there used to be. Perhaps now that we recycle at home we are all more aware of the work involved
in collecting and sorting through litter. And when you've paid good money to live alongside 150,000 other music fans in a field you quickly realize the sense in keeping your space tidy.
I wish everyone on the beach would leave no trace. Instead they bring bottles and cans of beer that are lined up for pebble target practice, spare nappies that are thrown aside and polystyrene containers of fish and chips are abandoned to the gulls.

Perhaps our council should start a Love the Beach - Leave No Trace campaign.

love & peace


Monday, 15 June 2009


I love the sunshine, it makes the flowers grow. While we've been stuck inside waiting for
warmer weather I have been hard at work making a huge new batch of vintage floral bags.
The colours and patterns are scrumptious and I'll be loading them all up onto my website tomorrow. They are very limited edition - sometimes just enough old fabric for one big bag
especially when the pattern repeats are huge I can't bear to cut into them so the bag sizes
are adjusted accordingly.
Take a peep at the Specials on my website in the next day or so and you'll also get a glimpse of my garden which I have to say is looking ravishing!
love & peace

Saturday, 23 May 2009


I've been super-busy making banners for The Conran Shop to use in their Summer Promotion called HOLIDAY AT HOME. It was the best fun job ever involving everything I love about vintage fabric patterns, printing and stitching.
And so rewarding to see them surrounded by great design.
I can't stop now and will be making banners to order from the website - so if you have a message that needs to be writ large like .......MARRY ME or DANCE TILL YOU DROP then email me and let's get this party started.
love & peace
via the website

Friday, 8 May 2009

Bags, Bottles and Bin Liners

In my last post I made a rash statement about trying to live plastic-free and I have to say that until I actually tried it I'd have thought it was do-able without too many adjustments. Dream on.
The next day I got up and into the shower reached for the shampoo and wondered what the alternative would be...I used to buy a solid shampoo bar from Cosmetics to Go but I think they've gone (I'll check that). Out of the shower into the bathroom where I reached for my toothbrush ... perhaps I could get one with a wooden handle next time? and the tube of toothpaste (I will buy metal not plastic next time). Picked up my comb (change to metal or wood?) and then moisturiser, foundation, mascara, lipstick ...oh dear and then there's the hairdryer. Dressed and downstairs in the kitchen I took the milk out of the fridge..............

I think you get the idea and it certainly would not be a good idea to throw this lot out and replace them before they have been used up or worn out, so I'm changing my commitment to something more manageable. I will look for alternative non-plastic versions of these everyday containers and products and definitely re-use my plastic then ultimately recycle it. And whenever I find a replacement that is less plastic and more natural I will pass the good news on.
In the meantime I feel better for 'fessing up to my failures.
love & peace


Annecka Griffith - Camden Crawl

Annecka Griffith, photographed by Aimee Farrell

30 April 2009, 07:00AM

Camden Crawl – Island Records Party

Annecka Griffith, 23, music PR

"My jacket is by Rag & Bone and my floral bag is from CARRY-A-BAG.COM. My boots are from Russell and Bromley. I would describe my style as being haphazard. I love the Fifties era, so I go to Old Hat on the Fulham Road quite often - it's a Fifties dressmaker. I like wearing dresses because I'm lazy and with dresses I don't have to think about matching everything."

Saturday, 25 April 2009


In my small world I had begun to think that the anti-plastic message had got through. Not everyone, but quite a good proportion of people at the checkouts seem to have brought their bags along and people walking in the street had their own bags...I was feeling optimistic.
Well I am not feeling good any more.
I have just read an article about the PLASTIKI expedition and urge everyone to go to the website and sign up to follow their progress. They are sailing a boat made from recycled plastic to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch where an island of plastic particles the size of France is growing bigger every day. Plastic bags are one of the key contributors to this pollution and we have to stop using them. Plastic water bottles are equally bad - they are the second worst polluter and we don't need to buy them. Our water is clean and delicious.
I'm committing to a great big effort not to buy any more plastic and out there in the oceans there are billions of tons of reasons why we should all TRY to live a plastic-free life - the stuff was only invented in the last century and it was never something we needed, just something convenient. For us perhaps but not for our planet.
love & peace

Friday, 10 April 2009

Happy Easter Everyone

This may be one of the first weekends when families get out into the sunshine together ...actually it's raining already...but it may brighten up. I am making little Easter Egg bags with shiny fabric and will fill them with small chocolate eggs. It's a good time to support the Fairtrade and organic farmers by choosing Divine, Co-op or Green & Black's if you can find any at this late stage. Recycle the packaging too and when you're out for that Spring walk remember to take a litter bag and pick up as you go. Not everyone is on-message about not throwing their rubbish about and it feels good to leave a litter-free path behind you.


love & peace

Tuesday, 17 February 2009


I heard a story on Breakfast News today that supermarkets are still massively over-packaging despite claiming green concern with boastful anti-plastic bag initiatives. Our bins are loaded with plastic and cardboard boxes and less than half of this packaging is recyclable.
We are paying extra for goods to cover the cost of the packaging and then paying extra on our council taxes to pay for its disposal
Here is a pretty good idea.....
When you do the 'big shop' in your car take your own boxes along but don't take them into the shop - keep them in the car.
Then before you leave the car park
unwrap your goods and load them into your boxes
then leave all the packaging in the trolley. The supermarkets will have to clear the trolleys, store the rubbish and also pay to have it taken away. Ka-ching!!!!
If loads of us do this the message will soon get through.

love, peace & happiness

Friday, 13 February 2009

Tabloid News!

A very nice article about making beautiful things from cast-offs.
with love
Sally Walton

Thursday, 29 January 2009


India is waking up to the health and environmental threat posed by the proliferation of plastic bags and they are not messing about with ASKING people not to use plastic bags ....this article from the Guardian tells how they are enforcing the ban....
plastic bags

An open drain filled with plastic bags and other waste flows alongside a slum settlement in New Delhi, India. Photograph: Amit Bhargava/Amit Bhargava/Corbis for The Guardian

Carry a plastic bag in Delhi and you could be imprisoned for five years. Officials in India's capital have decided that the only way to stem the rising tide of poly­thene is to outlaw the plastic shopping bag.

According to the official note, the "use, storage and sale" of plastic bags of any kind or thickness will be banned. The new guideline means that customers, shopkeepers, hoteliers and hospital staff face a 100,000 rupee fine (£1,370) and a possible jail sentence for using non-biodegradable bags.

Delhi has been quietly filling up with plastic bags in recent years as the economy boomed and western-style shopping malls sprang up in the city. There are no reliable figures for bag use but environmentalists say more than 10m a day are used in the capital every day. Not only are the streets littered with them, but polythene takes hundreds of years to decompose and creates demand for oil, which is used to make plastics.

At first the ban will be lightly implemented, giving people time to switch to jute, cotton, recycled-paper and compostable bags.

Newspapers in India quoted city officials as saying that the authorities did not "want people to be harassed and no prosecution will take place immediately; [once they] understand that by using plastic bags they will be in contempt of court, they will start using other material". The first targets in Delhi will be the industrial units that manufacture the plastic bags in the capital, which officials say will be closed down.

Civil servants said that punitive measures were needed after a law prohibiting all but the thinnest plastic bags – no thicker than 0.04mm – was ignored.

Although the government had originally concluded that plastic bags were too cheap and convenient to be disposed of, the authorities appear to have been swayed by environmentalists who pointed out that used bags were clogging drains and so providing breeding grounds for malaria and dengue fever. There is evidence that prohibition of plastic bags can work. Countries such as Rwanda, Bhutan and Bangladesh have all had bans enforced.

I wonder how that would go down over here? I have been keeping an eye on shoppers at the tills and think a few big fines might sort this one out! The automatic response of the person manning checkout is still to peel off four or so bags as a customer passes through to load the goods. We still have a way to go.

love & peace



Friday, 16 January 2009


What's news on the plastic bag front?
Well M&S have a window display saying they have saved the world from millions of plastic bags - that's good. I do think that people who walk to the shops in this country have taken the no more plastic bag message to heart - but I'm not so sure about those who drive to big supermarkets. Maybe the walking shoppers understand the need for a strong bag that is comfortable to carry and the trolley-to-car brigade simply don't. If you do have plastic bags at home please take them along to your local charity shops who will really appreciate them.

Winter looks so drab unless there is a frost or better still snow, but most days are a dull grey.
Not good for lifting the spirits and business is far from booming, so what to do?
Make marmalade of course!
Its another seasonal must and well worth making even if you don't like the stuff - a gift of a jar of home-made marmalade is always appreciated and you will be quietly thanked every morning at toast-time until their jar is empty. Make it for the delicious citrus aroma when you boil the mixture for a couple of hours. It fills the house and is better than the most expensive perfumed candle because the result is something delicious to eat. And for me making the labels is all part of the fun - my letters are too big or labels too small so I make M.M.Lade ; M.mlade ; Seville or Mama Made.
All we need now is TOAST and TEA.

Love & Peace


About Me

My photo
Hastings, East Sussex, United Kingdom
Carry-a-bag began about five ago when I was fuming about plastic carrier bags stuck in trees, washed up on the beach and generally messing up the planet. It began as a little idea but one morning I woke up thinking "don't take a carrier bag just remember to carry a bag. And now I make bags all the time.


Take it shopping or digging...

September 11th 2007

September 11th 2007
Blue sky day


time to save the planet dudes + me in the hat