Weekend Conversations Vol. 2


Happy Friday everybody! Can you believe that another week flew by already? Probably a sentence I will repeat every week in these posts, but it’s true: time is RUNNING at the moment. It’s all good though, life is fun! This weekend there are two birthday parties I’m looking forward to, frozen yoghurt is waiting this afternoon and I’m going to visit a friend in Cologne in her new flat for the first time for a sleep-over (and breakfast deluxe!). Fun times – what about you? Here’s this week’s conversation topic (and question to dream about, because who doesn’t like to explore?):

What would you like to explore next?

You all probably know that I’ve got the travel itch – badly. I could spend my life just traveling the world, meeting new friends, tasting great foreign food, seeing places I only know from the movies, growing and learning. I’m going on a week-long road trip in only a few weeks (actually camping!), which I’m really excited about. But still, I’m itching to get further away though: Chile and Peru are the places that I can’t wait to see at the moment! I’ve only heard great stories about those countries (Argentina as well), so a South America round-trip would be a total dream (maybe even in an old orange VW as pictured above). Did anyone of you go yet? Any tips?

What about you? Where do you want to go next?

Picture via Death to the Stockphoto.

On why you should support Fair Trade brands


First of all, happy bank holiday everyone! Are you enjoying the additional day of? I certainly am! I just returned home from a day out and about with my family, eating ice cream and drinking coffee, and I’m about to go out for a fun evening watching Pitch Perfect 2. Living the life, as some would say.

In between social engagements (haha), I wanted to share with you a little Fair Trade fact I read about recently. Who else is a chocoholic out there and quite happy about the fact, that there are more and more supermarket/discounter brands with a Fairtrade logo? The perfect match – same price, but good working conditions. Well, sadly it’s not quite as easy. I read (and you can too by googling ‘Fairtrade chocolate percentage’, there’s tons of articles) that to get a Fairtrade logo, brands only have to buy a certain percentage of Fairtrade cocoa. That means, that you might buy a Fairtrade (discounter) chocolate bar, that doesn’t actually have any Fairtrade chocolate beans in it (on the other hand, you might buy a 100 percent Fairtrade one, but you never know). Don’t get me wrong here, a small percentage of Fair Trade is still better than nothing, but it’s also not ideal or what we should be pushing for as consumers. So, what’s the solution? Just continue buying certified and well-known Fair Trade brands, that have been working in that field for a couple of years. That might be GEPA in Germany, Divine Chocolate or Green & Black (update: apparently G&B is owned by  Mondelēz International/Kraft Foods, so they are probably not a safe bet either! Thanks for the hint, Beanie) in the UK and probably lots of other brands in other countries (researching this should be easy enough).

This way, you might pay a bit more, but you can be certain to enjoy fairly produced chocolate (which totally justifies eating a whole bar, no?)!

What’s your favourite fair chocolate brand?

Weekend Conversation Vol. 1

Friday Conversations Vol.1

TGIF, everybody! How has your past week been? Mine flew by in a second, like almost all weeks at the moment. Seriously, where is 2015 going? How is May already almost over?

Anyway, I wanted to introduce you to a new series on this blog today. Since Hanna’s Places isn’t only about making a green and socially responsible lifestyle easy and accessible, but also about community, I was trying to come up with an easy way to find this community. And voila: Weekend conversations were born. I want to get to know you guys better and discuss one fun question every week. Here goes!

1 | What are some basic facts about you?

Well, you all know my name’s Hanna, I’m 21 and a student from Germany!

2 | What’s your latest (sustainable) creative project?

Lately, I’ve really wanted to get back into sewing again. I’ve bought a book explaining simple dress-making (this one if anyone’s interested) and can’t wait to get started. The projects actually look good and like something I would personally wear, which doesn’t really happen all that often with sewing books I think. I can’t wait to start wearing dresses I have completely made myself and also to start transforming pieces that don’t really fit. Vintage and second-hand shopping would be so much easier if I could just make everything fit perfectly. Now, I just need to get my hands on a working sewing-machine and I can get going.

What about you? What creative project would you like to tackle this summer? Can’t wait to read your answers!


Picture via Stocksnap.

Everlasting Apparel – Samantha Heather

Samantha Heather for Everlasting Apparel Samantha Heather for Everlasting Apparel

Happy Monday everybody! I hope you had a good (long) weekend – I visited one of my friends in Spain and we had such a good time. I even went surfing for the first time! With five days of all play and no work, it’s time to work on that to-do list now though. Before I get started, let me introduce you to Samantha Heather though. I’m so so honored and thrilled that she decided to take part in Everlasting Apparel, because her blog has been one of my favourites reads almost ever since she started it two years ago. Samantha is an incredible photographer, follower of Christ and such an inspiring soul, sharing her beautiful photographs along with inspiring words that have helped me on more than one occassion. So without further ado, Sam and her Everlasting outfit:

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Social Change-Makers You Need to Know – Rootless Garden


Let me introduce you guys to yet another new column on this blog (one I am really excited about!). I’m going to be interviewing young social entrepreneurs in their 20s who had an awesome idea to change the world and make it a little bit better (yeah I know that sounds cheesy) and actually made it work! First up: Indie from Rootless Garden, an awesome initiative for older people.

What was your vision behind founding Rootless Garden?

Our vision is that no older person suffers from being lonely.

Rootless Garden was born out of my business partner and my experience of working in elderly care where we found that many older people were lonely and disconnected from the outside world. But, what we also found was that those who were a part of a friendship group, a club, or a part of something were happiest. What struck us the most however, was that older people who had regular contact with the outside world, plants, flowers; even indoor plants were so much happier and healthier than those who didn’t.

We started to investigate, and it turns out that there is an entire school of thought based around nature therapy and the wonderful effects that being in contact with nature can have on a person – young and old alike. Nature is so present, but we ignore it, and like loneliness it affects us all beyond what we consciously recognize.

So we thought, why not use nature to fight loneliness amongst older people. And there we have it, Rootless Garden.

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Can you remember the first day of Rootless Garden?

I don’t think there ever way a first day…we didn’t ever sit down and establish ourselves with a today is the day talk. It just sort of happened. It started with our experience in elderly care, our ideas, the stories we’d heard and the fun we’d had and then before we knew we were applying for grants, taking on contracts and really becoming Rootless Garden.

The first day of Rootless Garden that I can remember, however, it rocking up at a residential care home in Essex. Naturally, 15 minutes late, in the back of a black cab that got lost, loaded with all sorts of plants, bags of soil, sachets of teas, gloves, trowels and spades. We were so nervous, we thought it would be a disaster, and that would be the end. We were wheeling around a trolley full of plants in the care home and getting some pretty funny looks from people. At first there wasn’t much interaction beyond laughter, but when we started setting up our activity it was great. We transformed a room that a resident was staying in by bringing in herbs and plants and making his room like a garden – he loved it! It was such a great feeling to realise that what you envisioned, your idea, your concept works!

How did people react at first, when you told them you wanted to start Rootless Garden?

At first people kind of looked at us like we were mad – mainly because the name doesn’t give much indication of what we do – gardeners? Landscapers? Florists? Nope. We work with older people. But once we explained it, and people got it, they loved it! People are always so impressed with the beautiful simplicity of our concept, and how we’ve managed to encapsulate the essence of nature to combat loneliness for older people. And then we explain our activities and the creative part…most people pause when we tell them about our botanical tea and cocktail making…and that’s when they want to sign up and volunteer with us!
When was the moment you thought ‘yes we are actually making a difference’?

We have a lady called Jane (I’ve changed her name for this) who was one of the first ever members at our W4 Social Club in Chiswick. She has been a member of the club for over a year now and we’ve seen such a huge difference in the way she is. At the start she was very withdrawn, and sometimes quite aggressive and rude. But she continued to come to the club, week after week. And over time we’ve noticed so many changes in her. Where she used to sit alone in the corner just observing, she is now an active member of the group, greeting everyone as she comes in, smiling, and generally a nice person to be around. The ‘yes’ moment came with her when we compared her ‘before’ and ‘after’ feedback forms (questionnaires that measure wellbeing and happiness that we give to members when they join, and then again after some time has passed). Her first form had an average score of 1.5 out of 5, a few months later her score was 4.7! I could have cried with happiness! She told us how much coming to our club made her happy every week. That was the moment!

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What are your biggest struggles?

Getting up in the morning! No seriously, I think it is knowing when to stop working. It is so hard to not think about Rootless Garden every second of the day, and night, and in between! There is very little work/life separation, but that is because when you love something this much, it becomes your life.

On a sector specific level, I think the biggest struggle is how little money there is in older peoples service, and how little attention they get. There are so many people out there trying to do such amazing work to help older people, but that becomes so difficult when you’re constantly faced with rejections because of finances.
What is the best story you can tell us of your work with older people?

There are so many awesome stories that I’ve collected over my time working on Rootless Garden – I’m not sure if I have a best one! But my favourite memories come from our project at The Bradbury Centre in Kingston where we ran a 12-week gardening club to transform the garden at the centre. The best day was when we had all of the volunteers and older people put on full body suits to protect them from the paint, and paint the garden fence purple! We have our little group busying away, and a load of spectators from inside the club! The older people were so proud of the work they were doing, and over 12-weeks it got more and more beautiful. We paired up with a local mosaic artist to co-create a centre piece for the garden, built a raised bed for veggies, hung multi-coloured bird houses, and planted some beautiful flowers. And we won Kingston in Bloom – a local gardening competition, and even had tea with the Mayor to congratulate us!

What is the best advice you could give people who want to start out as social entrepreneurs?

It is so hard not to run off a load of clichés here…but I suppose they’re clichés for a reason, right? Everyone’s experience is so different, so intense that I think you’ve just got to embrace the adventure, the good and bad parts, of which there will be many! And connect with everyone around you, it is beautiful how much people will want to help you on your way, other people are your biggest asset, so don’t forget them!

But most of all, I think I’d say really make sure you’re connected to your cause. It doesn’t matter how great your idea is, unless you REALLY care about the end result, the beneficiaries, clients, whatever you want to call them, just make sure that they are at the heart of every decision you make.

Thank you so much Indie for taking the time for this and best of luck with your next steps! If you want to find out more about Rootless Garden, please go here.