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What's this blog all about?

Hi, I'm Nicola - welcome to a blog about family travel around the world, without leaving the UK.
I love travel adventures, but to save cash and keep my family's carbon footprint lower, I dreamt up a unique stay-at-home travel experience. So far I've visited 110 countries... without leaving the UK. Join me exploring the next 86! Or have a look at the "countries" you can discover within the UK by scrolling the labels (below right). Here's to happy travel from our doorsteps. See www.nicolabaird.com for info about the seven books I've written, a link to my other blog on thrifty, creative childcare (homemadekids.wordpress.com) or to contact me.

Thursday, 17 January 2008

Cutting our carbon footprint

Pete, Nicola, Lola, 9, and Nell, 6, spent three happy months during summer of 2007 traveling around Britain. Now we’re home, but the travel bug is still there. Join us for the occasional sightseeing plus tips on how to shrink your carbon footprint. This post is the first of 2008 and it is from Nicola.

My new year promise is putting me under some pressure.

Easy as it will be "to do something positive about tackling climate change every day and explain/share these actions with others in a non-hectoring way”, when I am back at work three days a week for Friends of the Earth later on in January, what do I do on the other days? More specifically how can Pete and I go out on a date and still be doing some climate good?

Visiting London’s first eco restaurant, Acorn House – currently Observer Restaurant of the Year (newcomer) – seemed to be the answer. It’s a newish eatery near King’s Cross which The Times food critic reckons is “the most important restaurant to open in London in the past 200 years.” That’s because it keeps a light carbon footprint, sources all food from the nearest farmers/growers (not quite inside the M25 but nearly) and trains 10 new eco restaurateurs a year who look set to go on and set up their own environmentally aware kitchens serving sustainably sourced produce and recycling as much kitchen waste as possible.

The two of us spent a heinous amount of money on lunch (#82!) but we ate three courses each and definitely were a bit greedy drinking the Bacchus Chapel Down white from Kent. For foodies the dishes were celeriac, chestnut and horseradish soup followed by a pumpkin tartine and a cheddar cheese board (for me). Pete had the same but went for the ginger sponge as pudding.

I tried to get the staff to show they loved veg by quizzing them about where the celeriac came from etc. Their answers lacked the specificness of farmers’ markets, “England?”, but at least it was localish.

Best of all Pete and I were able to enjoy a hot lunch date at the most eco venue in the big smoke. Thank goodness I’ve managed to live up to my new year pledge today, all I've got to do now is dream up something for the weekend…