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Feel-good shopping

Feel-good shopping

Eco-friendly. Upcycled. Community-focused. Artisanal.

No, we’re not playing buzz-word bingo. These are the four categories of product stocked in Nordstrom’s new shop within a shop: TMRW TGTHR. (That’s ‘tomorrow together’ for anyone who hasn’t used a mobile phone.)

The pop-up only stocks brands that create a positive impact, either through their materials, production process or the people who made them. For example, Krochet Kids is a brand of children’s clothing made by women in Northern Uganda and Peru. Black + blum creates water bottles with charcoal filters. And ECOALF makes coats from recycled fishing nets.

Shop the four categories here:

And feel a warm glow with every item you add to your trolley.



Goodbye ads, hello Ello

Goodbye ads

19 Signs You’re a Crazy Dog Person! 5 Steps To Getting A Six Pack Like Ryan! 22 Things That Shouldn’t Exist But Do! 14 Networks Run By Advertisers! If you’re a Facebooker then the 1 Thing You Really Need To Get Rid Of! is the increasing number of ads and sponsored links in your feed.

The same goes for pretty much every social media platform, and with Instagram announcing they’re now selling ad space, the backlash has begun with Ello. ‘You are not a product’ is the message at the heart of the new ad-free network, which was set up by a group of artists and designers who were fed up with the ‘creepy and unethical’ approach of the major networks.

“Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data,” says their website. “Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.”

Sign up is currently by invitation only, but if you’re fed up with having your private life being turned into data, it’s definitely time to say Ello.



Another dimension for 3D printing

Another dimension

It all began in 1984 when Charles Hull (Chuck to his mates) created the first 3D printer. In the thirty years since we’ve seen toys, bikes, cars, prosthetic limbs and replacement hips run off the 3D production line. Someone’s even created a 3D printer that prints 3D printers.

As both the technology and the software behind the printers becomes more and more advanced, so brands are finding more and more innovative ways to use them. Normal is a New York-based start-up that has recently raised more than $5 million from investors for their range of 3D printed earphones – each pair printed to the exact shape of your ear.

And GE have recently partnered with Stratasys 3D to help crowdsource the next generation of 3D printed household appliances. Proof, if ever it was needed, that you can now print everything, including the kitchen sink.



Joined at the app


The cab’s waiting. That final Jaegerbomb is rapidly starting to feel like a bad idea. And you’re all ready to call it a night. But where on earth is Bob?

If your friends have an annoying habit of wandering off / falling asleep in a corner / getting lucky, then you need Buddy Check, a new app from Absolut Vodka. It uses A-GPS to pinpoint your friends’ exact location on a night out, and even sends an alert when someone crosses a virtual geofence.

To get started, everyone in the group downloads the app. With a simple tap of phones, the system connects you so you can see everyone’s location. Then throughout the night, the app asks you to do a ‘Buddy Bump’ where you have to find a specific friend before the timer stops and bump phones to get points.

Don’t worry, though. If the music suddenly swings from half-decent to 90s cheese, you can just press ‘leave’ to break the connection and make a sharpish getaway. Phew.


Food that goes bump in the night


A report released in 2013 showed that over 80% of the world’s fridges contain at least two sticks of mouldy celery, half a pot of old houmous and an out-of-date coconut yoghurt. OK, so we made that up, but the survey did reveal that £1bn (€1.3bn, $1.6bn) of edible food is wasted in the UK each year.

So food manufacturers will be interested to read about Solveiga Pakstaite’s new prototype bio-reactive Bump Mark, which lets people feel when food has passed its use-by date. The label contains a layer of gelatine over a bumpy surface; as the gelatine decomposes the bumps can be felt through the layer. Different ‘strengths’ of gelatine can be used for longer or shorter use-by dates.

23 year-old Miss Pakstaite, who has just finished her degree in Industrial Design and Technology, was inspired to create the project after working with visually impaired people on her course. And, having just picked up the James Dyson Foundation award for innovation, we’d guess she’s definitely feeling at her best.


Pour homme, pour femme, pour down your throat



An office party; a birthday celebration; a few drinks with mates that turned into a few too many. Whatever the excuse, returning home stinking of alcohol is something that many of us have suffered over the years (and doubly so the next morning). But what if someone created a drink that smelled of you?



‘Fragrances’ is the multi-sensory bar in Berlin’s Ritz-Carlton hotel, which, as the name suggests, allows patrons to select their tipple based on their favourite perfume. Whether it’s the aroma of Armani or the fumes of Ferragamo, each drink comes with a visual twist, served in anything from a milk bottle to a ceramic pint glass with pig’s ear handle.


The cocktails are priced at approximately €15 each, meaning you won’t have to pay through the nose for them either.


Un verre d’oh!


Pieter Mondrian was an artist best known for neoplasticism – a grid of primary colours painted on a white background. Homer Simpson is an overweight cartoon, best known for his love of Duff beer and lax attitude towards nuclear power. So you’d be well within your rights to question the creation of a wine inspired by the odd couple.

According to Russian designers and creators Constantin Bolimond and Dmitry Patsukevich, the wine was first bottled in 1987 – the year The Simpsons first hit our screens. Except that there’s no guarantee there’s actually wine inside. The label on the reverse simply states ‘Wine, or maybe not’ and invites you to find out for yourself. As the man himself would say “Mmmmmmmm… something.”


If you’re a fan of Homer and Marge then this is definitely one ‘homage’ (sorry) you don’t want to miss.


Waste makes taste


The saying goes that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Whilst it’s difficult to pinpoint the precise author of this pithicism (possibly Chambers Journal of popular literature, science and arts, 1879) it’s been used as the backbone for many a business in recent years – just look at eBay and Gumtree.

But eco-entrepreneur Joost Bakker has taken the brave step to use it as the basis of his new restaurant, BROTHL in Melbourne. Far from being a place to ‘have a good time’, its focus is on reusing unwanted offal and bones from local restaurants to make a range of tasty, nutrient-rich broths. Customers can then add their own choice of locally grown organic meat and veg.

“Worldwide, nutrients are being dumped into landfill,” says Bakker. “At the same time our food is becoming less nutrient-dense. Limiting organic waste by up cycling these nutrients back into the food system is what BROTHL is about.”

Bakker is no stranger to the world of repurposing ‘waste’ for better purposes. In 2012 he opened The Greenhouse Restaurant, which collected customers’ urine and turned it into crop fertiliser. Yummy.


Equal steaks

Equal steaks

What happens to the feathers of chickens killed to make nuggets? To the wool of lambs slaughtered for Sunday roasts? Or the hide of cows used for meat?

Hang on, we can answer that last one. At least, we can if you live in New York. Husband and wife team Andrew Tarlow and Kate Huling are a restaurateur and leather goods specialist respectively. They both require one common ingredient – cattle – so they use the same cows.

Huling has just opened a pop-up store selling her range of Marlow Goods in the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg, the same hotel which houses Reynard, her husband’s restaurant. So you can pop in to buy a leather handbag then eat a grass-fed burger made from the same cow.

All the produce comes from a slaughterhouse within three hours of New York City, creating a hyper-local, fully transparent framework for both businesses.

Talk about a marriage made in heaven. Could this kind of mutually beneficial partnership form the basis of a new dating site?



Transparent Coke

Transparent Coke

Freshly squeezed carrot juice. Goji berry, lentil and acai smoothie. A can of full-fat Coke. Chances are, if you asked people to name a healthy and nutritious drink, Coca Cola wouldn’t be high up their list.

But what’s a brand to do? Rather than hiding the nutrition of its brown fizz, Coca Cola is now choosing to comply with the UK Government’s front-of-pack nutritional labelling, which is totally voluntary.

The fronts of UK Coca Cola bottles and cans will now be graced with little white labels outlining calories and how much fat, saturated fat, sodium and sugar you’re about to slurp.

Next step: replacing the personalised ‘share a Coke’ names with numbers of local dentists and dieticians.



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