I’m sure you’re all looking forward to when the weather settles down and you can drag the BBQ out of storage, kick the gumboots (wellys) off and feel that fresh green grass between your toes. But as I’m writing this it is only about 5 degrees outside, dark and pouring with rain. Only a week ago I was putting on sunscreen and shopping for sun hats!
All the while, here in Putney, breakfast rumbles on. After a long period of peaceful stability there’s been some changes at T&T. Sadly our head chef Massi decided it was time for a new challenge and has left us for Carluccios (still in Putney!)
Luckily this has created the opportunity for Chris to step up into the role. We look forward to working with him to bring some new dishes to the menu over summer.
In other (very important news) April 14th just past was Patrick’s fifth anniversary of working with us here at T&T.
Anyone who has ever started a business will know that it is sometimes a long, isolated and lonely road. However, with Patrick as my right hand man I’ve had someone beside me who cares as much about T&T as I do.
Thank you Patrick for your contribution to T&T over these last 5 years from me and all the wider T&T family!
A momentous date passed in April. Our manager Patrick has been working with us for 5 Years!
Patrick is such as massive part of the T&T story I can’t imagine the business without him.
Always up for a robust debate and a thorough dissection of any issue, planned change or efficiency in the café, Patrick could never be described as a YES man.
But this comes from a passion for hospitality, food and drink and a customer first perspective that ensures the guest is central in everything we do.
Thank you Patrick for all your hard work. It’s been a blast!
Thank you Massi
Massimiliano Cocciu joined T&T back in 2016 taking over from our previous head chef Anna. A talented chef (and a mean pizzaiolo!) Massi brought his passion for food and business to the T&T kitchen.
We will miss his professionalism, creativity and his big, friendly smile. We wish Massi all the best as he advances his career at Carluccios. Cheers Massi!
Business we Love: Stone Hair & Mr Mullan's General Store Kingston upon Thames
One thing is certain: Stone Hair is more than just a salon. Nestled on Old London Road in Kingston Upon Thames, one’s first steps into Stone signal a break from the expected and a collision with cool. From the golden Astoria espresso machine in the front to the handcrafted canoe adorning the wall in the back, there’s not a dull corner to be found.
Greeted by Flora and Rotten, the shop’s canine welcoming committee, one immediately feels at ease in the company of John Mullan, the man behind the beard and the brand, and his team of stylists. It’s no wonder the salon boasts loyal customers of up to 25 years, when its Kingston doors first opened.
Hailing from Belfast and with the charm to prove it, John started his London career in Shoreditch, but its transience didn’t support his vision of developing personal relationships and a strong community presence.
Now Stone has made a home for itself and grown from haircuts and coffee to a complete, curated lifestyle collection, carrying everything from dog collars to all-weather ponchos and featuring Mr Mullan’s own beard and grooming products. John jet sets around the globe, “working on high profile ad campaigns, coiffing the hair of models for luxury fashion editorials and styling GQ's Style of the year award winner Mark Ronson,” where he uncovers the latest bespoke goods to stock the shelves of Stone Hair in Kingston, Mr Mullans General Store in Richmond and his stylishly luxe online shop.
When first following his passion for hairdressing excellence, John couldn’t have dreamt of this dynamic development; rather he describes the growth as an organic expansion that’s flourished over the years. Starting out with his own handcrafted beard oil, the Stone brand now offers clientele carefully selected items of every kind that can’t be found on the high street.
It lives up to his personal philosophy and approach of “progression, education, evolution, [and] moving forward together. We have always enjoyed taking our own path and having fun with it!”
To browse John’s personally sourced collection of wares go to www.mrmullans.com or to have your tresses treated by the best, contact the renowned Stone Hair salon at 020 8549 3227. Stay tuned for upcoming offers and collaborations with John that you won’t want to miss! LSC
Growing up in Putney: The PowerPot
Ah! The glamorous world of hydroponics- all that water, all those roots! I may not be an expert on hydroculture and my thumbs are not particularly green, but I’ve got a healthy curiosity and a Putney resident to guide me through the undergrowth.
Nick Outram, founder of VictoryGrow and developer of the PowerPot, was kind enough to answer my questions and help all of us who are late to the gardening game.
A quick glance at Wikipedia will tell you that hydroponics is a method of growing plants in nutrient-rich water solutions without the use of soil. Oh, but it’s so much more than that!
“Hydroponics itself was invented by NASA back in the 70s as a way to grow stuff in Space, maximising precious water supplies,” explains Nick, whose interest in hydroponics began a decade ago. “I'm a firm believer that we can solve many of our problems with technology, and hydroponics fits the bill nicely, being space and energy efficient.”
For those of us without the luxury of a garden, this process of growing is clean, simple, efficient, and lets anybody have fresh small plants and herbs right within reach.
Nick’s company VictoryGrow is launching its brilliantly designed PowerPots this year, with CrowdSource production this month and an exhibition at 100% Design in Olympia in September. These devices not only make indoor-growing a cinch for individuals and businesses everywhere, they’re compact, customizable and easy on the eyes. Nick assures, “they are designed to be super-simple to use and come with an easy to follow instruction leaflet -not a 100 page manual!”
Apart from ease, its form and function are primary, meaning PowerPots are USB-powered with built-in LED lighting, interchangeable coloured face rings to suit any surroundings, and a lifelong motor that assists root oxygenation, nutrient circulation and water filtration.
Impressed and intrigued, I questioned Nick about the inspiration behind this groundbreaking product. “I wanted to make a solution that was 'plug and play' easy to grow stuff. Also, I always thought that it would be possible to use the parts of consumables that we usually just throw away -for example a sandwich carton- as an inherent part of the product, so that's what the PowerPot does; it uses interchangeable 'seed trays', a sort of 21st Century seed packet. Later I added a light so you could see the roots grow, and you can also change the colour of the light so the design has morphed into something both useful and attractive.”
Simple, sustainable and stylish? I’m sold. But that’s not all that PowerPot’s got to offer; these designer growing systems are intended to change the very way that people interact with plants, particularly us “garden deficient Urbanites.”
As Nick describes, “we are fed up of spending hard cash on herbs imported from the other side of the planet at great expense to the environment.
If you check out many of the supermarket-bought herbs you will find they come from far away places, so we are flying these things all over the world to satisfy demand when we have perfectly good ways to grow them locally and save 'fuel miles'.” Which makes these PowerPots green in more ways than one.
And the sky’s the limit when it comes to their potential. “In general, the one thing we lack in cities is cheap space, so any design for local food production must also maximise growth per unit area, for example by stacking vertically ("3D farming").
The PowerPot while small is able to produce lots of crops and not take up much space.” Which is why with success, “VictoryGrow aims to launch a range of efficient hydroponic systems including wall mounted units.”
Nick is optimistic that VictoryGrow will become one of the premier providers of simple, at-home hydroponic systems.
After learning about the innovation of hydroculture and the strategic and stylish PowerPot, I have every reason to believe it will. ”Growing things hydroponically is the smart, efficient and mess-free way to grow and as well as looking cool, it's also educational and even being taught as a lesson in some schools now.” It’s the one-stop Pot that teaches, conserves, connects you to nature and gives the gift of a garden right on your own windowsill.
And there’s more good news: Tried & True will soon acquire its own PowerPot unit to supply fresh, in-house grown fragrant greens and lively chilies for your favourite dishes and specials. Stay tuned!
Now that the elusive Spring has finally blessed us with its semi-permanent presence, without getting our hopes up too very much, here’s a list of some springtime pleasures for us to bask in before it’s too late!
1. Iced coffees in the Tried & True garden (or a cheeky craft ale or two.)
2. Find an outdoor cinema where the air is as fresh as the popcorn.
3. Picnic in the park (Don’t forget the prosecco!)
4. Visit a city farm and make friends with the animals.
5. Been to any rooftops lately? What’re you waiting for?! #sunset
6. Get high in London via cable car, zipline or the Shard. The sky’s the limit!
7. Time for a day at the Seaside! (Or at least a few hours.)
8. Feed the ducks in Kingston (I’ve heard they’re fans of sourdough.)
9. Two words: Beer Garden.
10. Kayaking on the Thames – the view you never knew until now.
Don't Panic - There's an App for That!
Now I don’t know about you, but I tend to be fairly aware of my stress year-round. In fact just when I think I’ve forgotten about it, I turn around to find it staring me menacingly in the face. But seeing as April was Stress Awareness Month (you knew that, right?) I avoided aggravating my anxiety by getting all the hot new tips for managing my meltdowns.
So everyone mark your calendars, amend the to-do lists and finally sign up for that Head Space app everyone’s been talking about, because the time for tension relief is NOW!
Many healthcare advisors have shared behaviors to help ease our distress. For example, one site suggests:
Talk about stress and its effects
Share your coping mechanisms
Be nice to those who are stressed and anxious
Share openly where you can get help
Look after yourself
When those don’t work, don’t worry! I’ve compiled a list of easy, stress-free ways to lighten your spirit and brighten your day.
1. Catch up with friends at your neighborhood café – listening to other people’s problems can help put yours into perspective.
2. Buy a pass to the local cinema – your troubles can’t find you in the dark!
3. Frequent All-You-Can-Eat Buffets – whenever stress creeps in, go back for more spring rolls.
4. Play simulation games – project all of your worries onto fictional characters.
5. Go shopping – they wouldn’t call it retail therapy if it weren’t an accredited cure.
6. Contribute to the community – that corner pub isn’t going to stay afloat on its own. LSC
7. Try dissociation – take your mind of your troubles but completely detaching from reality!