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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Burnt Sugar Fair Trade Confections

Written by Sarah Barnes

My climate camp adventure started with the realisation that I’d have to spend a night in camp alone after a little mis-communication with my fellow interns. While the prospect of sleeping in a tent, sildenafil rx alone, pill for the first time in my life scared the hell out of me, I’m glad I didn’t bottle out, as I would have missed out on a once in a lifetime experience.

Wednesday evening at camp started off with a surprisingly filling slap-up vegan meal supplied by the hardworking volunteers in the London tent.

Volunteer making food and wearing one of the aprons made by Emma

Me chumping down on my food

After bidding a brief farewell to fellow intern, Emma, I gathered with the rest of the campers under the stars to listen to the captivating words of performance poet Ben Mellor. As we sat absorbing his witty words on society and the mind numbing nature of television, whilst watching the sky light up with flashes of lightening, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of pride at the strong feeling of community and goodwill shared by all the campers.Wednesday evening was Latin American night at Climate camp, so after Ben’s words of wisdom, we all made our way to the main tent to dance the rest of the night away with the help of a brilliant Bolivian band.

The brilliant band which kept us on our feet all night

A Bolivian dance group

Emma and a couple other campers practiced a Bolivian dance routine earlier on in the day

I was up bright an early on the Thursday morning after a bit of rough night alone in the tent. Thankfully Kate had left her sleeping bag behind as quite stupidly I’d completely forgotten to bring any bedding of my own. Unfortunately after warning shouts of a police raid at 5:30 in the morning (which turned out to be a false alarm), I found it a little hard to get back to sleep.

There were absolutely loads of workshops that I liked the sound of, each of them employing different angles to tackle the issue of climate change. I went along to one organised by the Student Climate Project called Guerilla Art, which promised to illustrate how we could use creative means, such as art, to fight against climate change. Unfortunately in order to protect the SCP I can’t go into exact details on everything that we discussed. What I will say, however, is that I went in there expecting a discussion on producing traditional artwork that incorporates messages of environmental dangers, but was delighted at the more contemporary, dare I say radical, approaches that we examined. The coordinators started off by discussing artists such as Banksy who have used more direct means to raise public awareness of social issues, before instructing us to get into groups and produce some artwork of our own. I loved the proactive nature of this workshop, particularly because passive attempts to change public opinion can often feel a little futile in my opinion.


Myself, and the remaining members of Team Amelia said our goodbyes and made tracks to leave late Thursday afternoon. I couldn’t help, but feel a funny sense of nostalgia – in a strange way, it almost felt like I was leaving home. I have to admit the whole experience of being at protest was pretty new to me – but I loved being a part of it.

Myself, Kate and Sarah packing up the tent – it felt like we were leaving home!



There was a time when I used to watch, see point and laugh at eighties music videos on MTV… oversized shoulder pads, viagra leg warmers, ed parachute pants need I go on?!
I remember this as I catch myself gazing longingly at the golden silvery lead, admiring his Esser-outdoing mop, and instead a smile to cross my face as the Spandeau Ballet video for True springs to mind.

The sound quality at The Macbeth certainly is awarded a 10/10 (even if these trendy bums and their clumsy footsteps do begin to grate on me). After a couple more tunes (and beers) my moves loosen up and I could even be accused of stamping on their feet a couple of times. Effortlessly punching the keys of his keyboard, dreamily humming his tales of love and loss there is no doubt these tunes are as catchy as velcro yet, perhaps a little limited in content. After all, there is more to life than just girls, boys and heartache (or perhaps that’s because I’m a bitter spinster)?

Golden Silvers sound like a splash of Duran Duran mixed with sugar sweet melodies, rippled with spicy synth action, a dash of Talking Heads and a slight pinch of Pete Doherty’s voice… shaken up in a disco ball. Great live acts, but possibly not the most varied poetry to have on your headphones.

The finale of Arrows of Eros with a guest guitarist

What a wonderfully British week we’re having; deceptively sunny mornings followed by torrential rain, recipe thunder, there lightning and flood warnings by tea-time. As we say goodbye to the sad excuse for a summer we’ve had, we can at least look forward to investing in one of this winter’s fashion staples; tights. I’m maybe slightly over enthusiastic about tights thanks to a deprived childhood where my mother would make me wear socks with my school uniform well into January, when she would finally acknowledge that it was cold enough for tights. As a result, I get really excited about autumn/winter fashion, particularly when tights feature as prominently on the catwalk as they do this season.

Top of my wish list would have to be a pair of Chanel’s two tone stockings; not only do they go with everything, but they are also ridiculously slimming as the black section makes your calves seem narrower. What more could you want?

London Fashion week saw tights worn as a statement piece in Emma Cook’s Autumn/Winter 08 collection. Like most of her designs, they were richly textured and feminine, laced with stars and intricate abstract patterns.


?Designers Mhairi McNichol and Chloe Patience have collaborated to bring us an innovative take on modern hosiery at The Shop Floor Project. One pair of their handprinted stockings will set you back £54, but they are a genuine works of art. Embellished with beads and sequins, the tights feature quirky and intricate drawings by Chloe alongside Mhairi’s intricate embroidery.



Sisters Kate and Laura Mulleavy of New York fashion label Rodarte have managed to cross breed the classic fishnet with thick cable tights, creating their large weave hosiery, reminiscent of a spiders web. The Gothic take on knitwear was inspired by Japanese horror films, and is bang on trend for those wanting to have a go at that ‘good girl gone bad’ look set to be big this autumn.


Last, but not least, for all your hosiery needs, the one stop shop has to be the Tights Please website, where you can find all the best brands and styles, including industry staples such as Falke and Jonathan Aston. £20 may seem a lot to spend on one pair of tights, but it’s definitely worth investing in well made labels that can transform a whole outfit and will last all winter, snag-free. Besides, think of all the money you’re saving on waxing and fake tans.


Lunch time gigs are something I’ve very rarely experienced, approved but if there is one thing I know about them it’s that unless the band are more than captivating you’ll find your mind will drift off into thoughts about sandwiches. I will therefore remember Cut Off Your Hands as being more entertaining than lunch; quite an accolade I think.

Kate and myself arrived at puregroove to find a nice little turn out for a daytime gig. Cut Off Your Hands are not the most known of bands, and I couldn’t help but think how almost criminal this is. What they may lack in originality, they make up for by simply offering perfectionist pop punk that rivals The Cribs.

Their hyperactive stage presents could strike some as sickly, they certainly appear to have eaten one too many smarties, bouncing around like children full of E numbers. Being twee always seems to split the crowd, and I’m often left feeling that presenting yourself in such an inoffensive manner isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just makes creating music that interesting a lot more difficult.

With want of a better expression, they could definitely make a record label a lot of money quite easily. There’s a market for them, and although it’s ever so slightly saturated, they are a lot better than most bands they would sit alongside. Put it this way, if people who love The Pigeon Detectives loved these instead, and there were an awful lot more canvas bags with their faces on, and the number of cd-r’s made by local indie disco djs had their tracks on increased – then I’d find the NME ever so slightly more readable.

I got an email a while ago tempting me to go to the ‘Art in mind’ exhibition at Brick Lane Gallery. What drew me were Sarah Beetson‘s illustrations, ampoule which contain a dollop of fun, viagra order a spoonful of neon attack and a dash of imagination. So after work I convinced the crew to join me in some arty fun, hospital after all the gallery is only round the corner from work, which is handy!


Peter Ellison‘s mixed media pieces involve photography, printing and painting resulting in expressive pieces, which are inspired by fashion and advertising images.

peter ellison art work

Steve Rack‘s friendly world of acrylic creations allowed us to momentarily return to our childhood; to remember a simpler world where crayola colours, hope, happiness and bouncy characters littered children’s tv. He describes his work as containing a ‘glimpse into a magical world where anything is possible’.

steve rack

Donald Cameron’s black and white photography is really quite beautiful. Silence, surfaces and textures are documented to serenade your senses.

david camero

Sarah Beetson‘s illustrations were the best thing in the exhibition. Small illustrations hung from the wall. Her naughty sense of adventure was pungent in the half naked figures parading perfectly perky breasts adorned with neon gell colours. Some frisky fun indeed!


sarah beetson illustrations

Downstairs there wasn’t that much to see. Whilst upstairs felt modern, downstairs felt like a trip to the past-to galleries where the sort of art you’re meant to ‘appreciate’ for your GCSE projects.

gary monitto

‘internal bleeding’ by Jaufran

esti eini

us posing for the camera

If you do happen to go to ‘Art in mind’ make sure you keep an eye out for Beetson’s illustrations.

You know how it goes, find first the slowness, then the grinding and eventually the total no show of anything. Shit, hard drive where have you gone?! Thus it went with my Powerbook laptop early on Sunday morning as I was trying to upload wedding photos onto Facebook. Rats! I took it to show my dad who can sometimes take computers apart, but he laughed and said I need to go to the Mac fixer, whoever that magic little gnome might be.
Luckily I live close to Mac1, an eccentric little repair shop opposite Spitalfields market which is perversely housed underneath a messy antiques shop. But it turned out that most of their staff were away on holiday and thus I found myself peddling like a mad woman into town to visit their West End branch first thing on Monday morning.


And spending most of the day reading a fine book by Doug Macdougall, Frozen Earth: The Once and Future Story of Ice Ages, whilst sat on a lovely wooden rocking chair underneath an oversized ficus plant (real and all). Sure, I desperately needed that computer back online, but hell, it’s not often that I get to immerse myself in a good book for any length of time, well at least not without feeling unnecessarily guilty and that I should be doing something else. So the experience was not altogether bad.
After several false starts the pesky business of transferring info hard drive to hard drive began, but once that was all completed the fan started whirring away again like a noisy little gremlin in my keyboard, prompting us to wonder if that had been the problem all along. No matter, a fan transplant later all seemed to be okay, except now of course my desktop is all wierd and not how it used to be.
Mac1 director Marc was extremely pleasant to me even though I took up most of his day, and I witnessed him time and again tending to customers with ridiculous queries with the utmost grace and patience, whilst artfully tending to my sick computer with one hand. Meanwhile his son Julian played quietly on his game, having been dragged unceremoniously from the surf in gorgeous Cornwall and plonked down in grotty central London.


Mac1 serves as a handy alternative pit stop for all the frustrated Mac customers who have just been told that there will be a 10 day wait if they put their beloved in for treatment at the Regent Street Mac store. At Mac1 you are likely to get your problem sorted within in the day, and with none of the tedious corporate bollocks that Mac likes to peddle as a unique experience. Mac1 sounds to me like something you do in a fighter plane, oooh I’m coming over all Top Gun all of a sudden – but for all your Mac problems, it is definitely the way to go.


For those who like to enjoy their tasty treats without having an unsavoury impact on those involved in the production of their sweeties, cost Burnt Sugar is set to become a firm favourite. Lauded by all and sundry (the Telegraph had said that they ‘may be set to do for the sweet market what Green & Blacks have done for chocolate’) the FairTrade certified brand, set up by Justine Cather in 2001, seems to be going from strength to strength. This should be no surprise really as, for starters, their ethical stance is exemplary. Sourcing their unrefined sugar (no nasty chemicals used this way!) from West Kenyan sugar farming co-operative WEKO, the company supports small local businesses and provides premiums so that communities can enrich their villages with water pipelines and electricity. Burnt Sugar has also become ‘Carbon Zero’ by offsetting their carbon dioxide emissions through energy efficiency projects, such as providing Solar Stoves and energy efficient light bulbs to communities in Africa. Even their West Kenyan sugar mill is energy self sufficient, since the sugar cane (once crushed and squeezed of it’s sugary juice) can be burnt to provide heat for the evaporation process.

Now, this is all well and good and fine and dandy, but a sweet company will never get far if it’s goodies aren’t so good. This is why I insisted on a few taste tests before bigging up Burnt Sugar (it’s a perk of the job, what can I say?). I’m not usually one for fudge but The Observer Food Monthly deemed Burnt Sugar’s ‘Original Crumbly Fudge’ to be the world’s best fudge, so I put aside my preconceptions and popped a piece in my mouth. The verdict? I’m a fudge convert! This grown up fudge has a surprisingly malty smell, like snuffling at a slice of Soreen or a particularly dense Christmas cake. It’s juicy as well, something I wasn’t expecting, with treacly, syrupy juice lending each chunk a really dark copper tone. It’s crumbly and melt in the mouth; like eating home-made biccies but with all of the sugar and none of the substance.

We were also given a packet of ‘Original Chocolate Honeycomb’ which Amelia sampled and deemed ‘lovely’. A little research on the Burnt Sugar site reveals that their confectionary collection is almost as big as Willy Wonker’s; There’s chocolate crumbly fudge, dark chocolate covered caramel crunch, strawberry and white chocolate crumbly fudge, coconut ice… I could go on, but I’d start dribbling on my keyboard. Burnt Sugar have packaged their products in larger pouches and tubs for sharing (yeah, right!), smaller trinket sized boxes for giving (what!?) and little bars to indulge in all alone (that’s more like it!).

I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for Burnt Sugar when I’m next grocery shopping. I may even take Burnt Sugar’s advice and indulge in their not-so-guilty pleasures whilst I’m curled up with a good book, a past-time the company love so much that they even created their own online book club! But, wouldn’t you know it, this is yet another initiative to make the world a better place; they simultaneously use the book group to draw attention to Book Aid International (who support literacy, education and training in the developing world). Burnt Sugar founder, Justine Cather, says; “I love the idea that our book club is a fun thing for our consumers to join and at the same time it helps promote the great work that Book Aid International are doing in the Sub-Saharan African communities, especially as this is where our Fairtrade sugar is grown”.

Burnt Sugar look to be a confectionary company with delicious products and a wholesome work ethic. Could it get any sweeter?

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