Belsize Park, London NW3, UK

Thornton’s Budgens Plastic Free-Zone Supermarket

Thornton’s Budgens has been in Belsize Park since my childhood, and along the decades has made so many changes. .
In the last decade or more, Budgens became more environmentally conscious and very much about helping the community and now, well, actually, since 2018, this ideal expanded towards our entire planet and not just one local community.

In 2018,  Budgens  became the second supermarket in the world to have specific plastic free zones. I personally try to buy minimum plastic and to actually be able to go somewhere and pour your own juice or vinegar or oil or milk into a glass bottle and then buy it, is just so refreshing and genius. The question is why don’t other supermarkets do the same?

I suppose a lot has to do with cost. A cucumber, for example, lasts just that bit longer covered in plastic. This should no longer be an argument though, as our planet is in crisis.

The good news is there are more and more stores around the world going in this direction so here’s hoping plastic free zones can be the norm rather than a minority.

Budgens has so many plastic free zones- too many to put in pictures! But they include, cereals, coffee, pick’n’mix, nuts, pastas, olives,  vinegars, and oils to name a few!

 What’s really refreshing is how the plastic free zone doesn’t just end on foods. *Side note to the store manager-  if I were them, I’d put an actual label on the cleaning liquid glass keg; at first glance I thought it was water! Apart from that worrying second, this is just genius! So simple, yet so effective. 

Even washing powder!

Plus, the supermarket make such an effort to ensure a lot of their products are biodegradable, compostable, or recyclable packaging! 

 Bravo Thornton’s Budgens in Belsize Park! I really hope more and more supermarkets follow suit!

Raha xx

December Decluttering

What I’m de-cluttering out of my life....

I have always been a fan of de-cluttering, and this year is no exception!

De-cluttering definitely makes one feel more at peace, gives room for creativity and generally for new things to enter one's life.  I actually de-clutter on a weekly, and sometimes daily basis.

When we think of de-cluttering, a lot of us think of tangible objects, but I believe digital de-cluttering is just as important, as are relationships, the mind, energies and the physical.
So taking all this into consideration, here is what I’ve done and am in the process of doing in the month of December, to make more space for my life.

1.    Facebook - I don’t know about you, but Facebook stresses me out in a subtle way... I scroll to see what’s new, whose doing what/saying what, what’s on, has anyone liked or commented on my post, and have I missed any birthdays.. and along the way I get subjected to content I don’t want to see, news I don’t want to hear and have about 5 birthday wishes a day I have to keep note in my head to wish before the day is through! 
Also, as I scroll through my friends list I notice some ‘friends’ have never engaged with me, they are there because they shared a classroom with me once, others I don’t even know or remember, and some are on there just because they felt the need to add to their numbers or they want to see what’s going on in my life in order to gossip about it. There are people on there who were bit&£*y to me in real life but felt the need to be ‘friends’ on Facebook and I accepted that! How mad is that! Therefore, after many years of worrying about what’s so and so is going to think if I ‘de-friend’ them, I decided to cut my 400 FB ‘friends’ down to 10.   

I started this process by deleting the people I had never engaged with, then the people I didn’t recall, and then slowly, but surely going down to (almost) everyone else. I felt guilty doing this along the way. What will they think of me etc.. but then I came to my senses.. how old am I!? Should getting people off a social media app really have to offend people? I guess the answer is if I feel Facebook is having a negative impact on my life, I’m going to get rid of it! (although I am keeping it for very close friends and family and the few friends I have abroad, plus to edit my other FB pages, such as Deliciously me)
I have deleted 200 ‘friends' so far, and straight away it feels liberating, almost the same feeling as when I get a short hair-cut.
After ‘de-friending’ I have more time on my hands to fill with other things that feed me more, such as, reading a book or phoning/emailing or meeting up with the friend I ‘defriended’ and having a more meaningful, live conversation rather than just ‘liking’ a post of theirs. I also don’t have to worry about accidentally coming across pictures of dead bodies and the like whilst scrolling. I have noticed that the less friends I have, the less posts I see, helping kick the habit of going on FB on auto-pilot. 

Lastly, I have always been an open book but keeping my life more private makes me feel I’m being kinder to myself somehow. Not everyone who is a ‘friend’ is really your friend! 

2.    Instagram - Taking Instagram photos - my phone memory is way beyond my iCloud capacity! Why!? Because for example, I have 10 pictures of the same cup of tea I drank this morning, amongst everything else. I scroll through my pics trying to decide which 2 are the best out of 50 pics I’ve taken of a random car the other day. Soo many pics I’ve kept just in case they’re needed for a new blog post or a dry moment on insta. Here’s some news for myself! If I want to write a blog about something I can take pics for it when that time comes. Also, I will never have a dry Insta moment as all I have to do is take a pic of anything and it becomes something on Instagram. So, apart from Deliciously Me related photos and family and friends photos, I’ve deleted everything! Phew! That feels good!  (I mean looking at the pics below just makes me feel all agitated. All this unnecessary space being filled, when one pic would suffice!)

I started Instagram way before Deliciously me started , just because I missed doing my photography, but instead of doing photography, I somehow got into the habit of taking ‘snaps’ of everything and anything. These pics included where I went, what I did, what I ate, what my view was, and now as of recently, I’m not doing that as often. For example, when I went for a walk today, I didn’t take 50 pictures of every flower and lane along the way, or of the mass of birds that flew so gracefully above me, instead I lived those moments, experienced them fully, in the present, and that felt so much more freeing. From now on, on most part I will set days for purposeful photography, and leave the other days not a slave to my phone camera and digital living.   

3.    Emails- this one is not new to me, I do this probably at least every quarter; I delete all emails apart from any truly important ones. But one thing I tend to do only in December, is have a look at my email subscriptions and only keep the most relevant to my life now, and unsubscribe to the rest. It’s such a thrilling satisfaction when you search one subject or email in your search bar and then ‘select all’ and delete! 

4.    Those VHS and camcorder home videos that take up boxes of space - I promise myself every year that I will digitise them, mainly because some are getting ruined and along with them their memories of childhood, friends, family, and people no longer with us. And every year I find some reason of not justifying the cost. However, as of last week, I promised myself I will get one done every week, and so handed my first one in last week, and second tape today. Apart from being soo excited to see what’s on them, finding some joy and learning from the past, I am getting rid of heavy bulky,dusty, VHS’ and the constant nagging burden at the back of my mind of getting this done!

What are you de-cluttering this December?

Raha x

Island Papaya-Pineapple Soup

We have had some very hot days here in London, quite a lot of mugginess and high pollen and I found myself wanting some relief from it all. My body felt it needed much nutrients and also, to cool down at the same time. Luckily, I came across this recipe from one of my mom's old Bon Appetit magazines from the 1980s!!

This soup used to be an opener at the Westin Kauai Resort Hotel in Hawaii and is such a delight! It instantly cools and lifts and leaves you with excited anticipation for what's next to come your way at the dining table!

So, I thought to share their recipe! 


For 8 Servings:

6 cups peeled, cored and cubed pineapple (approx. 1 1/2 pineapples)
3 cups peeled, seeded and cubed papaya (about 2 papayas)
4 cups fresh orange juice

2 cups fruity white wine 'such as Johannisberg Riesling'
*I used Chardonnay
1/2 cup sugar
*I used just over a quarter instead
4 whole cloves
1/2 stick cinnamon
*I used one- you should still halve it though to get the best flavour out of it
1/2 bay leaf
*I used one and again, halved it

Cheese cloth
Soda water
Fresh mint leaves

And what to do!

  • Puree the papaya & the pineapple in a food processor and pour into a large saucepan.
  • Add the orange juice, wine, sugar and lemon juice. In the magazine it says to wrap the cloves, cinnamon and bay leaf in a cheesecloth and add that to the mixture. *I just chucked them in and didn't use a cheesecloth.
  • Bring the soup to boil, stirring constantly on boil for 5 minutes.
  • Strain the soup (and discard the spice cloth)* I didn't strain my soup as I didn't feel it really needed it as I like a bit of texture and actually it really still came out pretty smooth

*It's also noted to thin the soup to whatever your desired consistency would be with soda water, but my consistency felt just right so I didn't. I did however try it just to see how much of a difference it would make and I personally preferred it without the soda water.

  • Let the pot cool completely and then cover, if not already, and put in the fridge to chill until you are ready to serve. I left it over-night.
  • Ladle into bowls and garnish with mint (and miniature Vanda orchids, if you would like to serve exactly the way the Westin Kauai resort served it!) Just garnishing it with mint, makes such a difference to the appearance as well as the aroma of the dish

I have found much respite from the hot weather and also my allergies this summer, with this chilled, fruity, tropical soup. I love how not one ingredient overtakes and instead give each their moment to suddenly pop up and shine. I have enjoyed this island soup, not only as the opener for which it was intended, but also as a substantial starter, as a dessert and whenever I've felt a pick-me-up and obviously some cooling down! 


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