The first official post of 2013

Yesterday was our first proper day living totally British. Since there was little to nothing open yesterday, we decided to put off blogging about our first day until now.

We went to Tunbridge Wells before New Year and Bromley today. Both times we came away having bought nothing. We noticed that, particularly in Bromley, there were almost no independent shops. While not the focus of our challenge, is is hard not to get upset about the declining character of our high streets. All the same shops filled with the same brands. Tunbridge Wells High Street was not much better, although I know that there is more independence and so more Britishness, to be found in the Pantiles. This will be a visit for later on in the year. One thing that is immediately apparent is that the task of buying just British would be impossible if were were to rely on the high street alone. Thank god for the interwebs!

Our Twitter followers keep suggesting British goods that we simply cannot resist. I can see this costing us a fortune.  Based on Twitter recommendations I have ordered some Chelsea boots from Yull, and I honestly could not be more excited about them arriving. I will be posting a video review when they arrive to show them off in all their glory. James has ordered some socks from Marko John’s, in a fetching Lavender colour. We are waiting for them to arrive too.

Today we visited Coolings Garden Centre, Knockholt on our way back from Bromley and found a real mix of British and non. It is a shame though that they obviously have no official commitment to stock British goods.  An example of this is that of our new Twitter friends Rainbow Trugs, a British manufacturer plastic trugs made in Britain (on whose behalf we did a little reconnaissance). However, Coolings have choosen to stock a Spanish made alternative rather than this great British Manufacturer.  We have alerted Coolings to this via Twitter and would like to get a response from them. It would be nice to see them adopt a Buy British policy, but even if they could change their Trug stockist that would be a start. We will follow this up with Coolings and attempt to get an official response. While at Coolings we did however find some superb British tools, which were not massively expensive and look and feel fabulous. They are made by Joseph Bentley in Sheffield but they seem to be hiding this under a bushel. These is no indication  on their packaging of their British credentials. The only mention of thier British manufacturing is buried deep in their website. Joseph Bentley – Be proud to still manufacture in  the UK!!!

Its been an eye opening start to 2013 and we are very excited by the prospect of living British. Getting over or barging straight through the hurdles that we meet and blogging about it all the way is all part of the fun. Happy New Year everyone 🙂



  1. When digging growing space for veg, remember that the soil is full of weed seeds that will germinate shortly after the soil is turned. Once you have got some growing space under cultivation, you may want to use a combined hoe/fork hand tool to weed between the rows, maybe the plants with care, and a Canterbury fork to clear through a patch before replanting. The rhythm and movement is different, but these tools will remove weeds without turning the soil over: a Canterbury fork is particularly good for removing couch grass and bindweed if you should be so unfortunate as to get any in your garden. This lengthy explanation comes with a bit of good news: there is a good range available from the manufacturer in Willenhall and they are sold online. Here is a link for the Canterbury fork:

    Oh yes, and have you tried lamb’s lettuce (corn salad) as a winter salad? From an autumn sowing you can get the makings of a sandwich through the winter, although you’ll need to wait for better weather to plant any now, unless you’ve got any room left in your trug-planter. Runs to seed easily over the summer, but you’ll have other options by then.

    Ebay is good for seeds and vegetable plugs, some of which you may be able to collect from locally. Good luck with the food side of your venture!

  2. Try and stick to seasonal fruit and veg.

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