Thursday, 17 July 2014

The sun is shining – the weather is sweet. It’s time to do what us Britons do best – BBQ!

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Just in case you needed an excuse to dust off the tongs and fire the barby up - this weekend Cancer Research are planning a nationwide BBQ extravaganza in the fight against cancer. Invite your workmates, neighbours, family and friends – all they have to do is to donate to attend which they can do online.

In the 1970s only a quarter of people survived cancer. Today, more than half will survive for at least ten years and this is thanks to a substantial increase in investment in areas like prevention, new therapies and early diagnosis research.

We’ve included our top tips and recipes below to make sure your BBQ’s are a raging success so you can support this campaign which touches nearly every one of us.

Give yourself enough preparation time and get the barbie warmed up before your guests arrive. There's nothing worse than a pressured cook and a lot of hungry guests so get started nice and early - the nice thing about a BBQ is it's very sociable; you'll probably have a line of guests who want to have their turn at being chef.

Buying good quality sausages and meat is key to a successful barby: if you’re willing to spend a bit more and go organic you will definitely see - and taste - the difference. If you want the meat to go round a large party it's easier to cook and works out better value to buy bigger joints.

Make an array of salads: the more the better. A huge pasta salad is simple to make and tastes delicious. Add salad and vegetables that are in season to make it a bright and colourful treat. Avocados, basil and bell peppers are ripe this time of the year. If pasta isn’t your thing or you want an alternative, a cous cous or potato salad will always go down well or you could try a chickpea, coriander and tomato option. Designed to resemble the Italian flag, a caprese salad is a delicious accompaniment: mozzarella, tomato, basil, olive oil and cracked black pepper is a winning combination.

Ditch the fizzy pop for mocktails and cocktails: they’ll cool you down and provide a refreshing respite to all of the food. Take loads of ice with you – if you’re heading to the beach make sure you pack your cool bag. Mojitos are a great summer time option.

Try grilling halloumi: if you’re hosting the BBQ in your garden this is a great one to try though it’s probably best done on a grill to save the equipment becoming very sticky! Halloumi kebabs with thyme and lemon are perfect served with warm pitta - guaranteed to keep the vegetarians and the meat eaters coming back for more.

Fish grilled on an open flame tastes great: whether it's Mackerel or trout, tuna steak or sea bass, your BBQ is the perfect opportunity to get your Omega three fix. Have some lemon and lime on the side to add flavour before serving.

If you’re hosting a BBQ in the garden get creative and decorate it with lanterns and fairy lights. As the evening draws in and the sun goes down your guests won’t want to leave. Blankets are a good idea if you’re planning to continue the party in to the early hours...

Spice up your plate with an array of exciting sauces and relishes: we love sriracha: it’s got a spicy kick without being over the top.

If you’ve got a big space then rally the troops and enjoy a game of cricket or rounders. What could be more quintessentially English? Though maybe do this before you eat to avoid indigestion!

We hope that gets you in the BBQ mood. Whether you join the nation this weekend or choose another date, you can request your pack from here here: and join the country in raising lots of cash which will fund research to help beat cancer sooner.

- By Emma Calway

Thursday, 10 July 2014

“When they see me on the streets, they say I am a street child, when they see me playing football, they say I am a person” By Emma Willis

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In light of the World Cup - currently dominating screens and column inches around the globe - the Makerble team thought about how the beautiful game can change lives - for the better.

In the shadows of the stadia where some of the world's richest footballers are playing this summer, life for many is a struggle against poverty, drugs and murder. In the wake of the World Cup, the new infrastructural developments and construction of stadia have left Brazilian taxpayers with a considerable bill. With protestors having limited political representation and the promise of economic gain taking precedent over the monetary and social costs for the poor, the slum dwellers can only hope the Brazilian government spend their profits on providing better education and health care. 
Brazil fans had been praying that their team would win the World Cup on home soil to erase the bitter memories of the 1950 final where they were beaten by Uruguay in the Maracana, but those dreams were shattered in Belo Horizonte this week as the hosts suffered the most humiliating defeat in their history.

It is now the responsibility of those passionate about football to explore the possibilities of utilising the beautiful game to benefit the entire community. The favelas hold a particular significance to the footballing culture in Brazil, big names in the game including Ronaldo, Zico and Romário all started out by playing football in the small shanty towns they called home. Jair Ventura Filho, better known as Jairzinho, is recognised for being the only player to score at every stage of the World Cup, but now he is a legend in the favelas for the free football training he offers to poor carioca youngsters, who are seeking escape through football.

This idea of providing an alternative for underprivileged children at risk of falling into organised crime has led to the creation of football based education projects all over Brazil. The Football Beyond Borders Legacy Project supported local families to provide accommodation to international fans during the World Cup, as well as organising a 'Favela World Cup' for residents of local communities to play against international fans. As a result, 40 young people from the community have reached a basic conversational level of English and £3000 of direct investment went into placing roads into the accommodation so tourists can continue to stay in the future.

Street Child World Cup
(in association with Save the Children) is a global movement for street children to receive the protection, rehabilitation and opportunities that all children are entitled to. In April 2014 over 230 former street children from 19 countries participated in a football tournament in Rio de Janeiro to promote the importance of children’s rights.

Favela Street
operating under the wings of IBISS) uses football as a tool to improve the communicative, organisational and social skills of ex-soldados who have turned their life around. Using a four-month program, these youngsters learn to become good sports coaches and act as role models for children of the project, who can only join in if they go to school. As a result of the Favela Street project, attendance in schools has risen from 40% to 98% since the program started, encouraging more children to make the right decisions and avoid the crimes that may have led to the death of their friends and family.

Young people who have suffered trauma, abuse or neglect lose touch with their instinctive and childish urge to hope, dream and express themselves. In every Favela there is always room for a football pitch, always space for a goal made from two flip flops, and always plenty to see for spectators with the power to change a child's life, for good.


Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Our Ten Favourite Coffee Spots in West London

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At Makerble we love coffee. Not only because of its taste but because of the extra energy it gives us to help you change the world your way! Here are our ten favourite hangouts to drink coffee in West London:

1. Flatplanet, Carnaby Street

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Central London is full of coffee shops and around Regent Street you can find all the regular coffee chains such as Prét a Manager, Costa Coffee and Starbucks. If you are looking for something different, Flatplanet is it. Located around the corner from Carnaby Street, Flatplanet serves maybe central London’s best coffee as well as delicious food - served on their organic english spelt flatbread.

2. Cocomaya, Connaught Street

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Cocomaya has possibly everything you can ask for when looking for the perfect coffee place: friendly staff, gorgeous coffee cups plus enough sweets and pastries to make anyone forget about their diet. It also boasts a romantic outdoor space. You can find Cocomaya at a few different locations around London - our favourite is off Edgware Road on number 12 Connaught Street.

3. 202, Westbourne Grove

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If you are in Notting Hill and want to get away from a crowded Portobello Road, take a right into Westbourne Grove and you will find 202 and other coffee shops where the locals gather when they get a minute free. All dishes are organic and they have space both inside or outside where you can soak up the afternoon sun.

4. Lisa’s, Ladbroke Grove

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The Swedish owned kitchen and bar “Lisa’s” opened this year at the end of Portobello Road. Having a coffee break is such an important thing for the Swedes, they even have a word for it called “Fika” which basically means “to drink coffee/tea/” usually accompanied by something sweet. The owners of Lisa certainly knows what to takes for a pleasant “Fika” and how to make great coffee.

5. Bluebird, Chelsea

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Bluebird Café in Chelsea is one of our favourite coffee places (even though it for some strange reason it tends to attract more wine drinkers than coffee lovers!) - they serve amazing brunch and the place is always buzzing at the weekends; they also have a restaurant and bar upstairs and more seating inside.

6. Talkhouse Coffee, Notting Hill


At Talkhouse they know their coffee. It this was a list purely based on how good the coffee tastes, Talkhouse would be at number one. The place  is a perfect spot to checkout the latest fashion trends in the area, grab some lunch or just hang out to feel a little bit extra hip, young and trendy. You find Talkhouse on number 275 Portobello Road.

7. Jaks, Kings Road

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Everyone loves Jaks and it is not hard to see why. If you are looking for a place to hang out for hours you can get comfy in one of their sofas while ordering fresh juices, coffee, food or later on - if you still haven’t left - cocktails. This is Chelsea’s answer to the coffee shop “Central Perk” from Friends.

8. Joe and The Juice, Oxford Circus

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Joe & The Juice might be famous for their juices but they also serve amazing coffee. Our favourite Joe’s is near Oxford Street on number 281 Regent Street.

9. Radio Rooftop, Strand


Summer is coming up - the number one place to be on a sunny day is the terrace on top of Me Hotel by Strand. The tables overlook London and at the weekends you will find a mixed crowd enjoying daytime cocktails whilst listening to the latest house tunes.

10. The famous nespresso machine - What If Innovation


Fancy rooftops, organic coffee beans, sofas and pastries have nothing on What If’s nespresso machine - the Makerble team owe this creation a lot for getting us through the day and one step closer to the launch!

You love coffee
We love coffee
Let's share what we enjoy with the causes we care about in real life
On Makerble you can spend the price of a cup of coffee on projects that will show you what your Makerble Coffee achieved.
It's just one of the ways we help you change the world your way. 

Watch our video to find out how to Change The World YOUR Way


Friday, 28 February 2014

10 “CHIECO” FASHION WARRIORS by Sophia Parsons

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With fashion week having just passed, once again we have seen the industry face media scrutiny.
The whole process - from sourcing to manufacture - has been questioned and the ethics of fashion has been the subject of countless articles. This is not one of them. Although serious issues remain, it’s not all doom and gloom out there in the ever-evolving world of glamour. To restore your faith in clothing kind we bring you 10 “chieco” (pronounced chic-o) warriors that are changing the principles of fashion one garment at a time.
1) Stella McCartney An ardent animal rights campaigner, McCartney is the face of virtuous luxury fashion, creating clothes free of leather and fur. Her ‘eco-collection’ is comprised only of organic and recycled fabrics and uses low impact dyes. McCartney firmly believes that designers should completely avoid using animal products; a sentiment that she feels should also be applied to both the food and beauty industries.
2) ASOS Green Room Perhaps surprisingly, one of the biggest online shopping outlets is also adjusting its policies by taking the environment into account. The ASOS green Room is a platform “dedicated to collections with an ethical or eco-conscious story to tell.” The Green Room provides a glossary that explains why each product is regarded as an ethical or eco-conscious garment. Launched in 2010, the Green Room has been hugely successful, now housing some of the most talked about labels in sustainable fashion.
3) Blue Q Brothers Mitch and Seth Nash are the creative minds behind the label Blue Q. They make some fabulous environmentally friendly bags from 95% post consumer material. Furthermore, they don’t test on animals and neither do the manufacturers they work with. A clean sweep all round!
4) From Somewhere This is a designer brand that combines sustainable thinking with fashion forward design by working with “pre consumer surplus from the manufacturing houses and textile mills of the luxury fashion industry.” Although they describe their work as “exquisite rubbish” we couldn’t disagree more! Just check out this jumper:
5) Estethica Founded by the British Fashion Council, Estethica showcases the movement of designers committed to working sustainably, evolving to become the hub of the London ethical fashion industry. All Estethica designers must adhere to one of the three Estethica principles of fair-trade, ethical practices or use of organic and recycled materials.
6) Bottletop This is a little label, doing big things. Bottletop creates chic handbags out of... you guessed it, bottle tops! Bottletop are included under the Estethica tag for their contribution and commitment to sustainable fashion. Their products are created both by highly skilled artisans around the world and also by people that have been trained to make them, providing fair wages to families in the process.
7) Katrien Van Hecke Creating organic hand dyed and hand woven artisan garments, Van Hecke also possesses the Estethica tag. Her ideal clients are those who are aware of the unique workmanship that goes into her products.
8) Pachacuti This is a company that creates contemporary Panama hats through fair-trade production and promotion. Their mission is to “redress the inequalities in the global fashion industry through demonstrating that it is possible to run a successful retail and wholesale clothing business which benefits the producers and is environmentally friendly.”
9) EABURNS Specialising in high impact, modern statement accessories, this is a British brand that prides itself on both its style and green credentials. EABURNS recently introduced a range that is manufactured from 100% recycled silver and 18 carat gold vermeil (a metal made by coating a base of sterling silver with gold). They also source their leather from discarded scraps that other UK manufacturers find too small to be useful.
10) Lost Property of London Taking salvaged fabric, Lost Property of London transforms it into stylish yet practical accessories. Their ethos, to create stylish pieces that are kind to the environment, is strengthened by their commitment to only source vegetable tanned leather.
We hope that these ten “chieco” fashion warriors have given you a little more faith in fashion and have eased some of your grievances with the style world. What’s more is that this is just the tip of the iceberg, for environmentally conscious style is gaining momentum within the industry. Especially as a growing number of celebrities campaign against the use of fur, testing on animals and the impact of fast fashion. Although we cannot discount the issues within the fashion industry that we see so often in the media, it’s great to see companies taking a stand on issues that ultimately impact the whole planet.
Follow Sophia Parsons on Twitter here
Picture Sources: Stella McCartney ASOS Green Room ASOS Green Room Glossary Blue Q From Somewhere Estethica Bottletop Katrien Van Hecke Pachacuti EABURNS Lost Property of London


Thursday, 20 February 2014

Charity begins at home. It doesn’t have to end there. By Niall Palmer

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During the recent UK floods, two well-educated friends recently said to me

“Why are we sending all this aid overseas? We should be spending it at home.”

To my mind that’s like saying “Our roof leaks, so who cares if our neighbour’s house has been washed away?” It may seem to make financial sense to look after number one, but is that really all we’re about? Our leaking roof won’t stop water-borne disease spreading outside. Helping those in the UK and giving foreign aid are not mutually exclusive. Do national borders mean we don’t have a responsibility to one help one another? We’re living in a privileged society, according to the National Institute of Social and Economic Research the UK economy is forecast to grow 2.5% this year, and 2.1% next. The wolf may not be at the door just yet. One day we might be grateful that we have neighbours left to take us in.

There is a great deal of pressure on foreign aid, and it isn’t given away lightly. The UK government is planning to eliminate the foreign aid given to India by 2015 and that’s because India has a strong emerging economy. But that’s not the case everywhere. Foreign aid helps countries like Bangladesh provide clean drinking water and improve health care and sanitation.

In Nigeria, UK aid is working to allow 600,000 girls into education. We should all care about global population increase, but leaving people to starve or live with preventable disease is not the way forward; Nations with a highly educated population see infant mortality fall, but more importantly, birth rates fall even more dramatically. It’s foreign aid that helps us to provide that kind of influence.

It may be easy to convince ourselves that because some aid is abused that every pound we give as a nation is worthless. It’s not. And the same goes for what we do as individuals. That’s where organisations like WaterAid come in. WaterAid was first established in the UK back in 1981. From humble beginnings, they are now helping more than a million people each year gain access to safe water and improved sanitation.

With your fundraising efforts, WaterAid can do even more. The organisation’s crisis statement reads:

“Without safe water or sanitation, people are trapped in a cycle of poverty and disease. Across the developing world, millions of women are wasting precious time collecting dirty water, children are dying from preventable diarrhoeal diseases, and communities have open sewers running through them.”

We are facing a terrible, but temporary flooding crisis in the UK. But imagine if you couldn’t ever turn on a tap and drink clean water, let alone get a broken leg put in plaster or send your children to school. Giving just £15 can provide the tools to build a well and a regular donation of £2 a month could provide a village with a rain collection system. Click here to get involved.

Our society might not be perfect, but it’s not broken. If your home has been flooded, of course you expect help – from your friends, neighbours, family and government. We should use our temporary experience of tough times to remind us that people outside of our country are experiencing hardship every single day.

In time those impacted by the UK floods will see that their lives and homes will be rebuilt. But in other parts of the world these problems will continue to exist. Instead of ignoring them, let’s ask not only what our government can do to help, but what we can contribute to make the lives of our neighbors better.

Follow Niall Palmer on Twitter here