In an attempt to start the year right our Portlebay team decided that we would chose an active and energetic team building activity. Living in beautiful Devon, surrounded by beaches and water based activities, our team couldn’t quite reach a consensus to jump in the water during this cold, drizzly winter period, and so, we decided Clip n Climb was the perfect group activity!
If you aren’t familiar with Clip n Climb then you certainly need to be! A bright and colourful world of climbing challenges, which although has been designed for the youngsters of today, is a truly great and enjoyable challenge. With over 30 climbing walls and obstacles to chose from and more than 35 Clip n Climb centres in the UK, this really is something we would recommend for all adults and kids (even if you don’t have little ones!). If you are also looking for a holiday activity when abroad look out for Clip n Climb, as the centres which started all the way over in New Zealand, are now all over the world! Ohhhhh, cool!
Our team pulled on our favourite Portlebay tops, laced up our trainers and very excitedly headed to Clip n Climb. Once we arrived we were greeted by the marvellous array of colours and very friendly smiling staff! After a quick briefing, we hopped into our harnesses and were let loose! Straight away there was an intense air of competition between all of the staff. We battled against each other on the timer, speed wall, the see-through, Face To Face wall which allows you to see your component on the other side and the ultimate, The Stair Way to Heaven. The Stair Way to Heaven (in the picture below) was our favourite climb.
Although it was a climb that only one person could do at a time, we each watched and cheered each other on, as we conquered the very intense green poles. One by one we took a deep breath and marched (or bum shuffled) our way to the top pole, where you then have to jump down to be reunited with the floor. This really highlighted who was a brave Portlebay warrior and who was… less of a warrior.
As you can tell we all had such a great time, even those that were a little unsure at first, and we will definitely be returning to improve our climbing skillz.
Our Portlebay team is a small and passionate group of individuals that adore popcorn and all things to do with the beach, outdoors and anything that will make us giggle! This is certainly accurate for our most jolly team member, Bob, our mighty mascot!
If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting this cheeky chap, then say ‘hello’ to Bob the seagull! Along with his knobbly knees and beak full of popcorn, you may notice his very stylish American themed sailor hat. This quirky little addition represents the dawn of Portlebay Popcorn, when our wonderful Chief Pop-Meisters went on a great adventure to America and found their inspiration to start hand-popping delicious popcorn in Sunny little Devon.
Bob’s Fact File:
Birthday: 12th March
Birth place: Born and bred in Sunny Cove, East Portlemouth
Height: Average seagull size
Favourite Colour: Navy blue and even better if it’s striped!
Favourite Activities: Bobbing on the sea waves, sneaking popcorn from The Poppery and chasing all the gulls!
Favourite Popcorn Flavour: Lightly Sea Salted
Most Annoying Habit: Distracting and playing tricks on the Portlebay team (ALL THE TIME!)
Look out for Bob on our social media channels, he can be quite a cheeky bird but does love all the attention he can get!
Our small Portlebay team are proud of our all natural popcorn that we hand pop ourselves. Our range has been carefully crafted to reduce any allergens, to cater for those that are vegetarian and vegan, and to offer a healthier snack alternative to crisps and other popular snacks. Along our quest to create tasty treats, we also endeavour to be conscious and thoughtful with our actions, in order to conserve and safeguard our beautiful home and those that inhabit it. For these reasons palm oil is a big no no and we strongly dislike the stuff!
What is Palm Oil?
Palm oil is type of vegetable oil, that is traded globally and is present in many of the products we see on the supermarket shelves. The oil is derived from the palm fruit, which grows on the African Oil Palm Tree. Today palm oil is grown throughout Africa, Asia, North America, and South America. Currently, the majority of palm oil is produced and exported from Indonesia and Malaysia. As noted by the activist group of Say No To Palm Oil, the demand for the oil has very rapidly increased in recent decades, as it has been made widely available, is inexspensive (due to small production costs) and is a diverse product with regards to its uses. The group also highlighted, that the oil is found in a huge amount of household products including baked goods, confectionery, shampoo, cosmetics, cleaning products, washing detergents and toothpaste, leaving the average Western citizen consuming more than 10kg of palm oil annually.
What are the issues with palm oil?
A great proportion of palm oil development occurs at the expense of the environments in which the palm oil is sourced. As identified by the WWF, palm oil plantations have a number of environmental impacts including:
large scale forest conversion
soil and water pollution
The most significant issue of these is the large scale forest conversion. In Indonesia and Malaysia there is a direct relationship between the growth of palm oil plantations and deforestation. In 2007 the United Nations Environment Programme published a report which professes that oil palm plantations are the leading cause of rainforest devastation in the two countries. The extensive forest devastation of palm oil plantations is resulting in calamitous effects for a large number of plant and animal species.
Palm Oil Investigations, a non profit organisation which focuses on educating and raising awareness about the hazards of palm oil, passionately talk about the species which are edging towards extinction, as a result of the habitat destruction that is taking place during the production of palm oil.
Both the Bornean and Sumatran orangutans are critically endangered due to palm oil plantations. Orangutans create nests to sleep in during the night, and reside in smaller nests during the day time. In order to survive orangutans need trees and forestry, however the higher the demand for palm oil the less forestry there is for the orangutan.
The Bornean orangutan is a Borneo native, which today is a protected specie, with specific ares of Borneo specially protected, however it has become apparent that a large majority of these orangutans currently
are living outside of these protected areas. The distribution of the Bornean organutan is extremely patchy throughout the island, with fewer than an estimated 60,000 left in the wild. This figure is significantly declining, with the rapid expansion of palm oil plantations in Borneo, as the lack of forestry leaves the orangutans vulnerable to poachers. The demolition of forestry is forcing the orangutan populations to shrink and making the creatures more prone to genetic drift and inbreeding.
The Sumatran Orangutan are being threatened by both illegal and legal logging, the conversion of forest land to agricultural land and palm oil plantations. Sumatran orangutans are currently forecasted to be one of the first Great Apes to become extinct, with there being less than 6,000 remaining in the wild.
The Sumatran elephant is native to the Indonesia island of Sumatra and are smaller than African elephants. These elephants are being threaten by habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation, and poaching. Subsequently, there less than 2,500 Sumatran elephants remaining in the wild. In the last 25 years 69% of potential elephant habitat has been lost, leaving much of the remaining forest in limited sections which are too small for elephant populations to live in.
Due to habitat loss and a lack of food, elephants are frequently being poisoned as they are forced to stray into plantations and villages which have strategies to prevent elephants impeding on the areas. This conflict between humans and elephants is becoming more frequent as habitats are cleared for palm oil, putting the Sumatran elephants at even more risk.
Sumatran tigers are the smallest of all tigers and have more of beard and mane than most. The Sumatran tiger resides in the forest of the Sumatran Island where they are fighting for survival.
Currently there are approximately 300 Sumatran tigers existing in the wild. With the acceleration of deforestation for palm oil and poaching, the tigers could in time be extinct. The deforestation is not only depriving the tigers of a habitat but also of food. With both poaching and deforestation showing no sign of slowing the tigers are increasingly at threat. Other Animals
There are even more animals which are being threatened by the palm oil plantations, including:
Sunda Clouded Leopard
Crested Black Macaque
None of these creatures should be disregarded and certainly not pushed to extinction as a consequent of our own actions.
Survival, a global group devoted to fighting for tribal people’s rights, passionately notes that many indigenous tribes are under great threat from palm oil plantations. One woman from the Penan tribe (a group of hunter-gathers) from Malaysia told Survival, ‘The forest is my roof and my shelter and the forest is also where I can find food to eat. But when the oil palm comes in, everything will be gone.’
Although palm oil plantations frequently promote bringing development to rural areas and providing employment for some locals, the impact of the plantations have also had devastating effects on locals living around the affected areas.
As the plantations are destroying the rainforest, the local people are having no other choice but to work for and depend on the income from the plantations. These working conditions are of a poor standard and many of the workers do not earn enough to support their families. Furthering this, child labour has also become an issue in some areas, with children suffering from heat exhaustion and gaining injuries from climbing thorny oil palms.
Although it has been evident that indigenous people have in some cases benefited from the palm oil industry in Indonesia, these situations are particularly rare. Palm oil has on frequent occasions had a long lasting negative effects, which has subsequently altered the lifestyle of many. More often than not indigenous people have become subject to cruel and greedy palm oil labour, with little choice in the matter.
Is palm oil bad for your health too?
A Common Ingredient
As mentioned by the organisation Live Strong, which provides expert information on all topics that contribute towards a healthy lifestyle, palm oil is less expensive than many other oils and can be utilised to extend the shelf life of processed foods, as a result of this it is often found in our supermarkets and often a substance that we consume.
The organisation further this stating that palm oil in an oxidised state can be a danger to our physiological and biochemical functions. Manufacturers of processed goods do often oxidise palm oil found in these products for culinary reasons, which consequently means a great deal of the palm oil consumed by shoppers is in this oxidised state. The threats of oxidized palm oil include organotoxicity of the heart, kidney, liver and lungs and reproductive toxicity. Not nice.
Erica Kannall, a registered dietitian and certified health/fitness specialist, emphasised that palm oil is notably high in saturated fat. Diets which are high in this saturated fat can contribute to high levels of cholesterol and also a build up of plaque in the arteries. If the consumption of saturated fat is continued for a long duration it could lead to a heart attack or stroke. The NHS recommend that the average man should not eat any more than 30g of saturated fat per day and no more than 20g of saturated fat per day for the average woman. One tablespoon of palm oil contains 7g of saturated fat. This means, a person consuming products containing palm oil could easily reach their recommended limit, without even considering products with no palm oil but still high in saturated fat.
What do we use instead of Palm Oil then?
During the process of hand popping our delicious popcorn we use rapeseed oil instead of palm oil. Our rapeseed oil is both grown and produced in the UK and so doesn’t travel far before arriving at our little Poppery! At all stages of the rapeseed oil creation process no people or animals are threatened or harmed.
Rapeseed oil is also low in saturated fat and so is far less likely to cause a build up of plaque in the arteries. Not only is rapeseed oil
low in saturated fat but, as stated by BBC Good Food, it has been acknowledge for having a range of health and nutritional benefits. This includes the oil containing omega 3, 6 and 9, which helps to reduce cholesterol and also maintain healthy joints, brain and heart functions.
We believe that our popcorn should be created with the best natural ingredients, that can be enjoyed and consumed without contributing to any health issues. We also aim to be conscious and thoughtful with our decisions throughout the popcorn process, as we live in a beautiful world, with many beautiful creatures which we would hate to harm or deprive in any way.
As it’s the start of a new year , there’s no better time to take up a new hobby and set yourself some achievable and exciting goals for the year. We have reached out to the fabulous Christie who has told us a little about her and her photography, which started as a hobby but today is much more!
Christie of Brahma Studios works closely with those beginning new business adventures and specialises in photography, videography and graphic design. We adore her ‘photography for the wild folk’ which you can checkout on her instagram here!
Over to Christie…
Photography and design experience to date
I began experimenting with photography from a relatively young age. My dad had an old Olympus OM-1 that he let me play around with, I’d snap up some point and shoot bargains from charity shops and some cheap film from the pound shop. I really enjoyed the developing process and that the results were always really exciting and unique.
How I got into photography and design
I actually don’t have a definitive answer for this one. I was definitely the creative one of my family, possibly a trait I got from my dad and grandad. I was always doodling, painting, writing and then came the camera.
What inspires me?
My inspiration often comes from the places I visit – especially coastal areas. I particularly love Cornwall and it’s rugged coastline, I’m really lucky to live in the south west and have the coast so close to me. I always feel inspired when I get back from a successful trip away. I’ve just got back from Bali, it’s such an inspirational place, I came back with lots of ideas.
The equipment I used when I was a beginner
I had a relatively basic SLR when I started college, before this I was using a bog standard camera that my parents bought me for school trips, it was probably about 5 mega pixels!
An entry level SLR will do just fine, cameras are so advanced now it all depends what you want to achieve, decide your budget and talk to photographers about their experiences with their kit. Once you’ve bought your camera, maybe go to a few workshops on how to use it, personally I find it’s so much easier to learn from playing around with your gear rather than reading a manual.
Again, workshops are really useful for this. So book yourself into one to learn the basics, I have learnt A LOT from other people teaching me their tricks.
Once you’re comfortable with your kit, go out and find your inspiration, I have covered a range of subjects over my time, including fashion, portraiture, landscapes and more recently food!
I found that getting out of my comfort zone was really rewarding, as someone who is naturally shy, meeting up with models was unthought of. I forced myself to break out of the comfort and meet people, message small companies and even get involved with competitions, something a few years ago I would never have dreamt doing.
In life I believe you should find what you love doing and really explore it, whether it’s photography, dance, a sport, writing poetry, travel, there is so much out there to really get stuck into.
We are very fond of Christie’s work, and hope that if you haven’t already, you feel inspired to wake-up tomorrow morning and pursue something new and totally thrilling!
Don’t forget to have a peak at Brahma Studios website for extra inspiration!
Recently, Portlebay Popcorn asked me to create a recipe with their popcorn, and I just had to say yes! Popcorn is one of my favourite snacks and their delicious and innovative flavours were just too good to not try. I wanted to use one of the more unusual flavours and what is more exciting than lemon sherbet popcorn? Therefore, these chocolate lemon biscuit bites were formed.
I am not going to lie to you, this was one of those recipes where I just made it up as I went along and it turned out pretty darn good. A cheesecake style biscuit base with a chewy lemon cashew middle and a crispy chocolate topping. But of course the crème de la crème of this recipe is the lemon sherbet popcorn, that proudly sits on top.
Ingredients: Makes 9 bites
100g Cashew Butter
2 tbsp Desiccated Coconut
3 tsp Lemon Extract (can adapt to taste)
1 tbsp of Coconut Flour (or Ground Almonds works well too)
150g Dark Chocolate
100g Digestive biscuits
Start by mixing together the cashew butter, coconut, lemon extract and coconut flour in a bowl.
If the mixture is a little thick you can add a splash of water and mix again.
Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of boiling water – be careful not to burn the chocolate.
In a separate bowl crush the digestives with a rolling pin until they resemble a fine crumb.
Melt the butter in a saucepan and then add to the biscuit crumb. Mix together until the biscuit is coated in butter and sticking together.
Evenly distribute the biscuit mix between 9 round silicon moulds – press it into the bottom.
Next add 1tsp of cashew mixture onto the biscuit base and spread evenly.
Finally add a spoonful of melted chocolate to the top and then a sprinkle of Portlebay Lemon Sherbet Popcorn.
Leave to set in the freezer for about 30 mins before tucking in!
Don’t forget to checkout Fran’s gorgeous Instagram page and blog for many more delicious and creative recipes, they’re amazing!
Popcorn granola? YES PLEASE! The very cool and talented vegan recipe blogger Steph, also known as StephiDFitness, created this wonderful recipe which we think is super fun and guaranteed to help shift those January blues!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes Yields: 4 portions or 12 balls
Storage: Sealed container (for the granola) or fridge (for the balls)
150g rolled oats
50g almonds – lightly crushed (or other nuts)
40g hazelnuts – lightly crushed (or other nuts)
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
2 tbsp. maple syrup
30g desiccated coconut
20g dried cranberries (or other dried fruit)
20g dried goji berries (or other dried fruit)
25g Sweet and Salted Portlebay Popcorn
For Granola Balls:
200g pitted dates (blended into a paste)
3 tbsp. golden syrup
Pre-heat your oven to 150*C (fan oven)
Add the oats, almonds, hazelnuts, oil and maple syrup and stir until thoroughly mixed
Line a baking tray with baking paper and spread the oat mixture and bake for about 15 minutes until brown (make sure it doesn’t burn!)
Then, in a bowl, stir in the rest of the ingredients
Enjoy warm or cooled!
For granola balls:
6. Mix in the dates and golden syrup until all the dates are coated and sticky
7. Use your hands to form balls by squashing the mixture together
8. Optional: dip in vegan chocolate to finish and enjoy!
Do checkout The Vegan Recipe Blog, for many more sweet and savoury vegan friendly treats created by Steph! Be prepared to be made very very hungry! Also checkout her super inspiring Instagram page here!
The final competition of our Portlebay Advent is truly something not to be missed! Day 24, along with a box of Portlebay Popcorn, is offering two vouchers for Fistral Surf School AND a £100 voucher for the clothing company Joules! OHH LA LA! If you want to be in with a chance of winning this magnificent prize head on over to our social media pages (Facebook,Instagram or Twitter) and follow the instructions!
Here’s a Little Bit of Information About These Two Lovely Brands….
Fistral Surf School
As we are very lucky and live in Devon, we are surrounded by many beautiful beaches! Although the beach is normally a sunny destination, a winter beach is just as charming and many of us popcorn-enthusiats visit all year round! We even have some wild members of our team that have no reservations about jumping in the sea and will spend a couple hours splashing about on surf boards! (Others prefer to just spectate and keep warm in our woolly hats and gloves!)
With our love of the beach in mind, we are absolutely thrilled that The Fistral Surf School have partnered with us! Fistral Beach is the undisputed home for British surfing with its big sandy beach and famous waves. Sitting at the top of the beach is Fistral Beach Surf School, a family run business that has its doors open all year. The school offers surf, bodyboarding and stand up paddle boarding coaching to all ranges of abilities and ages. Their dedicated and friendly team have over 20 years of experience, and strive to provide professional coaching. All equipment has been carefully handpicked, providing the best quality possible to ensure that you have maximum satisfaction and all equipment is included in the lesson prices. Open all year round, the surf school and hire centre has all the equipment to keep you stoked and toasty no matter what the Atlantic Ocean throws at you, from toasty summers to frosty winters the hire centre has you covered.
Joules, the very lovely clothing company that is all about family and colour, started over 25 wonderful years ago when Tom Joule started selling clothing at country fairs and events. As our Portlebay Poppery is located in a rather rural part of the country and we looooooove the countryside life, we have to admit Joules is a big YES from us!
The brand have created bright and typically British clothing for all family members (including dogs!) and today they have even expanded to home and footwear!
Don’t forget to enter our last Christmas Competition on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, oh and…HAPPY CHRISTMAS FOR TOMORROW!