Viva Vegetables

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Viva Vegetables medium tote bags

Win one of these gorgeous tote bags – they’re from the Viva Vegetables range, one of the new Spring 2015 collections from the folks at Talented.

Even if you’re a complete carnivore, you’ll love this quirky range of colourful canvas bags. They’re both attractive and versatile.

Talented is an eco-company based in Sheffield specialising in creatively driven, sustainable accessories and tote bags. The brand celebrates the bag as an art form and collaborates with upcoming British artists, designers and print makers on a seasonal rotation.

Viva Vegetables is designed by American crafter Leslie Astor who now lives here in the UK. Leslie’s four designs pay homage to a few of Britain’s favourite vegetables. Large-scale prints of broccoli, carrots, beetroot and asparagus adorn the colourfully dyed canvas tote bags. Viva Vegetables small tote bags

The collection is inspired by the farmers’ market at Grand Army Plaza in New York City. When Leslie lived in Brooklyn, she and her family would visit the market every Saturday.

Leslie said:

“A tote bag gets out and about and exposed to a lot of eyes in a lot of different contexts: the subway, the office, the grocery store, the park – maybe all of those places in a day. Given that fact, I wanted my series of totes to be conversation starters, and I think they are.”

Viva Vegetables are made and printed at a fair-trade certified factory in India and are available in 2 sizes – medium tote bag and mini tote bag. They’re available to buy from the doodle bag website.

For your chance to win one, just comment below telling us which size & design you’d like and how you’d use it. To carry your lunch to work? A school bag for your child? To pop to the shops? Something else entirely? 🙂

Viva Vegetables tote bag

Growing our own

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flat leaf parsley and coriander growing on a windowsill

This year we decided to grow more of our own – and we’ve got no excuse, as Todmorden‘s the home of Incredible Edible.

strawberries growing in a vintage terracotta strawberry pot

We have a variety of crops to look forward to in the coming weeks.

homegrown beetroot in vintage enamel breadbinhomegrown peashoots grown in vintage metal bucket

Most of them are growing in containers as much of our garden is paved with stone cobbles. It also makes protecting them from the ubiquitous slugs & snails much easier.

tomato plants growing in a vintage mini greenhouse

We use lots of the old galvanised metal ‘dolly tubs’, buckets and bins.

courgette flowers in a vintage metal dolly tub

The plants seem to like it!

potato plants overflowing from a vintage metal dolly tub just outside the kitchen doorpink stems of rhubarb growing out of a vintage metal dolly tub

Potatoes, beetroot, carrots, tomatoes, rhubarb, strawberries, broccoli, courgettes, squash, peashoots, salad leaves, a variety of herbs – and yes, those are figs.

tiny fruits growing on a fig tree

There’s still a little room for some flowers.

lilac coloured osteospermum growing in a vintage metal bucket

pink lupins growing in a vintage dolly tubpink lupins growing in a vintage dolly tub

Perennials like the hostas, astilbes and lupins return each year like old friends. Although this year’s harsh winter saw a few losses.

purple lobelia growing in a vintage metal bucket

red geraniums just about ready to flower

To these we add a few annuals – osteospermums,  lobelia and the like.

hosta leaves

pink fox glove about to flower growing next to a giant ribbed terracotta urnyoung purple shoots of astilbe plants

We’ve enjoyed working in the garden this year. We don’t think self-sufficiency is here just yet – but hopefully we’ll reap some rewards!