Single Use Plastic – An Update

plastic free

Dress and Scarf – SkunkFunk
Shoes – Po-Zu

Backpack – Brag Vintage

At the begining of the year I pledged to try and stop using single use plastics! Now 7 months into 2018, I thought it was time for a little update.

I knew when I pledged to give up single use plastics, I was possibly setting myself up to fail but I had completely underestimated how difficult it would be. Everything is wrapped in plastic  from fruit and veg to meat, shampoo, toiletries and pretty much just about everything that you could possibly buy. Moving away buying items wrapped in plastics has required a monumental change in the way that I shop.

Previously, all of my food for the week was bought online at a well known supermarket and delivered. Visiting a supermarket to shop each week is one of those activities that I consider life too short to waste doing. However the well known supermarket make it near on impossible to reduce plastic use. Even if I try and by individual pieces of fruit, guess what they put it in a plastic bag. If I buy meat already packaged in plastic, guess what they insist in packing it in another plastic bag. Disgusting!

I spent quite a bit of time at the beginning of the year looking for alternatives to my weekly supermarket delivery. The first and most successful has been the local market on a saturday which I have carried on with. I actually really enjoy going down there and feel pretty pleased with myself for the ridiculous amount of lovely fresh fruit and veg that I buy for £12-£15. The meat has been a bit more tricky. I have heard that Morrisons will put items from the meat counter into reusable boxes but truthfully, I just don’t have time to go right across town to buy meat on a weekend. I do sometimes manage to get boxes refilled from a meat van at the local market but the choice of unwrapped meat is often pretty limited. I have also tried to cut back a little on the meat we eat which helps a bit.

About a month ago I moved to a new job and started working full time which means that I have less time and do sometimes find myself falling into the convenience trap, just because I don’t have time for anything else. Once I am back from summer holidays and we start to get back into routine again, I plan to start a renewed effort to reduce plastic use with homemade snacks rather than shop bought and cooking as much as possible from scratch again.

plastic free chilly's bottle

I have however continued with making lunch in reusable containers and a reusable water bottle for work and the gym (as I always have). I find the reusable plastic bottles don’t last that well and often start leaking so decided to invest in a Chilly bottle with the added benefit of keeping my water ice cold which has definitely been a benefit over the summer months. Although fairly pricey, I would definitely recommend.

I am afraid to see after a few months of using solid shampoos and conditioners, I have reverted back to  my old shampoo and coonditioner in a bottle. Whilst the solid ones seemed ok to start with, I think they did possibly affect the condition of my hair after using them for a while. If you have found any good options for plastic free hair care, please do share.

Newquay Beach

Despite some of the set backs, I am continuing to persevere. I have also taken part in some beach cleans in Newquay with my daughter. This is a great way to get involved and encourage a responsible attitude to rubbish!

I am going to continue to research and work towards single use plastic alternatives and hope publish a full list/guide to reducing plastic here before the end of the year. I also think that encouraging brands to take a more sustainable approach to packaging via social media particularly Twitter. There are also a few organisations which are great for info on going plastic free:

Surfers Against Sewage Plastic Free Coast Lines

Friends of the Earth

Plastic Pollution Coalition

Plastic Free July

Less Plastic

If you have any great tips to share in the comments, I would love to know!

With warmest wishes


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Sourced by Oxfam

Sourced by Oxfam
Tropical Leaf Necklace – Oxfam online
Dress – People Tree

I was recently sent this lovely necklace by Oxfam. I am a big fan of the Oxfam online shop for buying second hand clothing as you will have probbaly guessed from my previous #foundinOxfam posts but didn’t realise what a great selection of ethically made accessories they also sell in their ‘Sourced by Oxfam‘ section. I really liked the design of this necklace which is a collaboration with jewellery brand Lima Lima. Each piece of jewellery in the collection is handmade in Bristol, using real brass and a sterling silver plated chain.

The founder of Lima Lima is Rhi, a strong supporter of the slow fashion movement. She applies this ethos to her work carefully hand crafting each piece by hand using locally sourced and recycled materials wherever possible, and designs her pieces with longevity in mind. The ‘Sourced by Oxfam’ Collection also features tropical leaf bracelets and earrings aswell as a range of other beautifully handcrafted pieces of jewellery and accessories.

To celebrate world Friendship Day yesterday, Oxfam also have a lovely discount code which is valid until 3pm tommorrow! Details are below

20% OFF for you and your bestie
Share the love with code: FRIENDS20

30th July – 3pm 1st August 2018.
This offer is only valid for orders placed online.
Only valid for items priced £2.99-£200.
This offer excludes Bridal and Unwrapped items.
Oxfam reserves the right to end this promotion at any time.
Offer available subject to availability.

With warmest wishes


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Weekday – Ethical Fashion

weekday

Jacket – M&S via Oxfam (Secondhand)
Tops – One Boutique (Made in the UK)
Jeans – Weekday (Organic cotton) via ASOS
Shoes – Clarks

I got this pair of black jeans by Weekday for my birthday a while back. Weekday is a fresh modern brand with some eyecatching but wearable pieces combined with some great basics including jeans in a range of colours fits and styles. I have never owned a pair of high waisted jeans before but was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable and flattering they are. The prices are also surprisingly affordable and their ethics seem to be pretty good.

Weekday have a comprehensive sustainable commitment which goes beyond compliance with human rights and sets out aspirations in terms of working conditions, working enviroments and sustainability. They place an emphasis on partnering with suppliers on a journey of continous improvement towards fair and sustainable production. My jeans are made from organic cotton. Weekday are constantly looking for sustainable materials to use in their clothing and are aiming for all cotton in their range to come from recycled or sustainable sources by 2020.

Having fully read Weekday’s environmental and sustainable policies, I think they are generally a great brand to invest in for the ocassional piece of clothing when second hand is not available. However, I think it is worth mentioning that they are owned by H&M. I am not sure if this is a pro or a con. On the one hand, the fast fashion model of business operated by H&M goes against all of my values. But…their investment in trying to create large scale sustainable choices for the consumer can’t be an altogether bad thing? While second hand is always the best option, it would be unrealistic to think that we can change the buying habits of the masses completely at this time, so any thing that makes a difference goes someway to helping towards the massive issue of  unethically manufactured and unsustainable fashion.

I would be really interested to hear your thoughts in the comments below?

With warmest wishes


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P.s This post does contain affiliate links. You can read more about my advertising policy here.

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#FoundinOxfam

foundinoxfam

Floral dress/ tunic – Oxfam (originally M&S)
Shoes – Clarks
Organic cotton leggings – Thought

Armed with some money that I have been given for my birthday and an excuse of needing newwork clothes to wear for my new job, I was just about to fail on my no new new clothes for a year challenge!

But…. I managed to pull myself back from the brink of disaster just in time with a quick visit to the Oxfam online shop where I found exactly what I needed for my new job and some more.The problem with clothes shopping is that you can always find a reason to buy something new if that is what you want.I had convinced myself that only new would do if I wanted to look professional in my new job, but who was I kidding! Oxfam has some fantastic second hand clothes, many are almost as good as new. They also have a great search function on the website, making it super quick and easy to find the style, brand and size that I want.

If you think that charity shopping only offers limited styles and you probably won’t find what you want, I challenge you to check out the Oxfam online shop, they have a massive amount of stock.

Oxf

Floral dress- originally from M&S

I am not sure I will wear this to work. It will probably work better for me for a going out dress! The stitching had come undone a little at the back, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed in about 5 mins with the sewing machine, making it good as new to wear.

Oxfam dress

This dress is definitely for work. Again it was originally from Marks and Spencers. I am a big M&S fan as the clothes just seem to fit me well and they are also good quality and last for ages.

vest top

vest top

Finally I invested in 2 new vest tops which are just great for wearing with jeans and a statement necklace or scrarf. The necklaces are from Ethical Super Store and Made UK.

It is only a few weeks to go now until I get back to the coast in Newquay for some surfing followed by starting my new job. Lots to look forward to this summer! What are you looking forward to for summer?

With warmest wishes


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Leather Back Pack – Brag Vintage

vintage

Back pack – Brag vintage
Jeans – Oxfam

Shoes – TOMS
Bracelet – Swarovski

I have been lusting after this back pack on Brag vintage for some time and keeping my fingers crossed that it wouldn’t get bough before I had  a reason to buy it. Then along came my birthday and some birthday money as my mother considers me far too fussy to choose pressies for these days! I ordered it straight away making the use of the 15% discount code that I was given when I wrote this post about my NYE dress from Brag Vintage.

I don’t have too much more to say about my fab new backpack accept that I love it, because…

  • I love the style
  • It makes a change from carrying a handback and is super practical especially when walking longer distances.
  • It is leather which is hard wearing
  • It is second hand/vintage which means that by buying it I have had no impact on the environment (accept the delivery and packaging) and I have prevented an unwanted item from going to landfill

I am pretty sure that I am going to use it loads.

In case you fancy anything new (but old) from Brag don’t forget to use my discount code STYLEEYES at checkout!

 With warmest wishes


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Star Wars™ Falcon Sneakers by Po-Zu

Star wars sneakers by Po-Zu

Dress – SkunkFunk
Denin waistcoat – Oxfam (Karen Millen)
Bag – Reclaim (made from recycled rubber inner tubes)
Shoes – Po-Zu

Sneakers or daps as I like to call them have recently become my footwear of choice. They are comfy and practical and a great way to dress down a dress for a casual outfit. My last pair of daps has been quite literally worn to the end having been glued back together 2 or 3 times. So I was pretty excited when Po-Zu got in touch and asked whether I would like to review some from their iconic Star Wars™ collection.

If truth be told, I am not  the world’s biggest Star wars fan, although I will have to admit the design does make me feel a bit nostalgic and the arrival of my new daps has inspired me to watch the films with the children perhaps on a rainy afternoon . I do reallly love the line drawing and the detail on these trainers and the black and white colours make them so perfect for wearing with so many of my clothes. I also love the idea of the Star Wars™ designs as something a bit different and unique which won’t go out of fashion as so many other styles do.

Po-Zu Daps

Po-Zu Shoe box

Po-Zu are a favourite ethical brand of mine, you may have spotted me wearing my Po-Zu boots that I have had for at least 5 years. Po-Zu are all about transparency, minimising environmental impact and ethical manufacture. These sneakers were hand made in Sri Lanka with organic cotton and fair trade natural soles, helping to improve the lives of the people making them in Southern Sri Lanka.

Shoes have recently become more of a commodity, somehing that people buy cheaply and throw away quickly. The quest for cheaper and faster production has also encouraged the exploitation of vulnerable workers through long hours, low pay and dangerous working conditions. Po-Zu are bucking this trend with shoes that are created to last and with comfort (as well as style) in mind at the same time respecting traditonal craft communities.

They also feature a unique coconut fibre foot-mattress that moulds to the shape of your foot. I can vouch for the fact that these really are super comfy as are the boots that I already own making them perfect for me as I walk a lot.

I like to know about where, how and who has made my shoes and Po-Zu makes this information easy to find.You can see more on the video below.

There are also some other pretty cute designs in the Star Wars™ collection. For autumn/ winter I am loving the Rey.

Rey boot

And of course Po-Zu also have a pretty fantastic collection of non Star Wars shoes. These are definitely on my wish list.

What do you think of the Star Wars collection by Po-Zu? Are you a Star Wars fan?

With warmest wishes


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Plastic Free – Lush Shampoo and Conditioner Bars and Soap

Lush shampoo bar

In my quest to reduce my usage (and ultimately eliminate) single use packages, I have discovered a way to cut out the plastic bottles that are filled with shampoo, conditoner and shower gel by using solid soap, conditioner and shampoo bars. Lush was the most obvious place to try out first as I am a big fan of their products already, been unable to resist the fragrant smell and enthusiatic staff every time and wander into a shop.

After perusing the Lush website for a bit and reading the reviews for a variety of different solid bar products, I decided to buy the following 3 products as a trial to see if I could be persuaded to make the switch away from single use plastic bottles.

Jason and the Argan Oil shampoo bar

Big Solid Conditioner

Maypole Soap

I also decided to try out this Sea Spray Hair Mist  It is not exactly plastic free but the bottle is made using plastic with their closed loop scheme. This means that the bottle can be refilled and reused and then returned to Lush to be recycled into a new container.

So what did I think of the Lush products?

Effectiveness 

I was a little worried a about the impact of solid shampoo and conditioner on my hair as it can get pretty dry. I also only brush my hair through when I wash it and have put in conditioner as it gets quite tangly. I was definitely pleasantly surprised with both the shampoo and conditioner bars. Generally my hair seems to feel a lot more managable and sets into more defined curls after using them although this could also be due to the sea spray mist that I have also started using. I am also convinced that the hair colour I use seems to last longer and looks more vibrant since I have started using these products. The soap feels slightly drying in my skin but not enough to bother me. All of the products smelt amazing and left a lasting fragrance in my hair and bathroom.

Number of washes V cost

I found that one of the big advantages of using these products was the amount of time that they lasted. Although quite expensive to buy in the first place, I think the number of washes from them made them comparable with if not cheaper than buying bottled products. I think the shampoo has lasted at lleast 3 months and I wash my hair 2 or 3 times a week. The soap has lasted much much longer than that. There is also a lots less waste as I use a fraction of the amount that I would use with product from a bottle.

Application

Applying the solid shampoo and conditioner is very different to using liquid varieties. It has to be first rubbed through the hands in water. I found the shampoo bar was pretty easily disolved in water allowing the lather to be applied to my hair. The conditioner was a little more time consuming and I had ti be careful not to drag over my hair as I didn’t want to pull out to much. It did take a bit longer to apply the conditioner and I had to be more carefull about brushing through as it was quite as easy as when I usually use conditoner but I think I can live with this. I have been doing a deep conditioning treatment once a month to ensure that my hair stays in really good conditon as I have had put my hair through quite an ordeal lately with the salt water and wind when surfing, diving and walking in Cornwall.

Storage

The storage of the bars was a little more tricky. I my bath room at home, I just keep them in a soap dish but if travelling I have stuck with using traditional bottled products so far. I think that you can buy tins from Lush to keep them in so may give this a go in the future.

Packaging

Unfortunatley due to lack of time, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit a Lush store and instead had to order through the website. I was pretty shocked to recieve the parcel filled with lots of packaging.

I asked about the packaging on the website chat and promptly got the following answer…

The boxes are filled with packing peanuts that are made from potato starch that are 100% compost-able. 🙂

Which is great news! I still think it would be best to pick up my Lush products when able to visit a store as everything has some environmental impact even if it is biodegradable. That said making a special visit to Bath just to buy Lush products would also have its own footprint caused by the travel.

Overall I would defintiely continue to use these products and I am also planning on trying some more styling products to replace a plastic bottled product that I currently use. It could be quite tricky to find a replacement as I have been looking for the perfect styling product for my hair for years and my current option is the best that I can find to keep it under control without looking greasy. I will keep you posted on how I get on!

What are your favourite Lush products? Do you have any other recommendations for a plastic free bathroom?

With warmest wishes


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Charity Shop Dress – Oxfam

Oxfam dress and jacket

Dress – Oxfam
Denim jacket – a clothes swap
Shoes – Swedish Hasbeens
Necklace (Fair Trade) – Ethical Superstore

Oxfam dress

With spring finally here and some lovely warm weather, I felt the need to brighten up my wardrobe a little bit. Winter feels like it has been pretty dull nad dark and I was getting a definite craving for some colour. As I am trying to complete a no new clothes challenge during 2018, Oxfam was the perfect solution allowing me to refresh my wardrobe whilst avoiding something new and also recycling something old and providing a charitable donation.

I have probably raved about Oxfam before in the past but never mind I am going to do so again. Shopping online with Oxfam is perfect for someone like myself that wants to reduce their environmental footprint but doesn’t have time to trawl the charity shops. I find the Oxfam website really quick and easy to search and find what I want with lots of different filters to choose from including colour, size and brand. Oxfam also have a returns policy which is great if you are worried about whether an item will fit.

I have also treated myself to a few other items from Oxfam recently incluisng a spotty dress for work and some vest tops to wear with jeans.Generally the challenge is going well and I have managed to stick to it completely up until now. I have however relaxed it a little bit wih regard to birthday presents, it would be a bit awkward and rude not to accept them!

The jacket that I am wearing is one of my favourites and came from a clothes swap through a clothes swap website that I used to run quite a few years ago. The shoes and necklaces were bought a few years ago and I am pleased to say have had lots of wear.

In other news, I have been pretty busy since I last posted. I have taken up a new hobby, surfing and also competed a refresher course for an old hobby, diving. I have been spending quite a bit of time in Cornwall and am loving being outdoors walking, surfing and diving.

I will be posting another update on my single use plastics soon. I have been finding this particularly challenging but have made some really postive steps forward which I can’t wait to share.

I hope you are enjoying the warmer weather. Do you feel the need to wear brighter clothes as we move into spring and summer?

With warmest wishes


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Teaching Resources: Ethical and Sustainable Fashion

With Fashion Revolution Week just around the corner (23rd -29th April), I have been thinking about my children and how I can develop an understanding of the environmental and ethical implications of fashion and help them to make informed choices as they get older. My oldest daughter is studying textiles and so is starting to an understanding of the complexities of the supply chain. My youngest daughter who is still at primary school is beginning to show an interest in fashion but is yet to get a fuller understanding of what is involved in the manufacture of clothing and its impact on the environment. So for any parents or teachers that would like to teach their children more about ethical and sustainable fashion, I have compiled a list of useful teaching resources.

Collaboroo, a teaching community has an interesting lesson idea for debating around fast fashion and its impact including the environment and rights of workers.

Fashion Revolution have a range of ethical fashion resource available to download including a design a Fashion Revolution Day poster, play our Fashion Ethics Trump Card Game or try our Quiz. University students can also get involved by becoming Fashion Revolution Ambassadors.

TRAID is a charity working to stop clothes from being thrown away. They provide a selection of high quality free education resources to support teachers and educators to investigate the impacts of the fashion industry. Most of these resources can be used in informal education settings, as well as in the classroom.

Redress have created a sustainable fashion education pack for higher education. It includes teaching materials, exercises and project briefs and covers a number of topics including a Garment’s Lifecycle, Zero-waste, Up-cycling and Reconstruction.

BBC Northern Ireland has a number of resources about ethical and sustainable fashion for KS3 children. This includes Art and Design – New Clothes from Old, Citizenship – The Cost of Cheap Fashion and Personal Development – Fashion and Self Image

The Clothes Line is a resource by Oxfam exploring cotton production and the textile industry in India for learners aged 7–11. It includes lesson plans covering fairtrade, India, cotton growth and print making.

For secondary teachers, Labour Behind the Label provide a sustainable fashion handbook for educators which includes practical ideas on how to teach about social and environmental responsibility in the fashion industry. It includes ideas for assignments, class based interactive activities, project briefs, course outlines, case studies, teaching experiences and reading lists.

If you know of any other useful resources, please do let me know!

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Sunday Brunch Outfit

Sunday Brunch Outfit

Dress – Nancy Dee
Boots – TOMS

Last Sunday, me and Mr S had a rare opportunity for some time together so we popped into town for some Sunday brunch accompanies by a bottle of prosecco. I wore the new dress that I got for Christmas and my last new piece of clothing before starting on the no new clothes for a year challenge. Nancy Dee is one of my favourite ethical retailers, ticking all of the boxes of comfortable, flattering, timeless styles, ethically made in the UK, minimal waste and made from sustainable fabrics including organic cotton and modal. Although a bit higher price than some of the high street retailers, I look at Nancy Dee pieces as a great investment. I already have quite a few dresses and organic cotton jersey jackets that I wear all the time.

The No New Clothes for a Year Challenge Update

This time around (I did the challenge a few years back), I am hoping the challenge is going to be fairly straight forward. I think my clothes buying habits have really changed over the last 5 – 10 years. When I do buy new clothes I spend a bit more and go for items that will last in terms of quality and style. I think this has paid off as I now don’t often need to buy new clothes, my wardrobe is packedwith clothes that I never want to throw away. If I do need something, I usually find it is quite easy to find work wear or perhaps a new party dress as a treat from Oxfam online. I also treat myself to the ocassional vintage piece when I am looking for something a bit different.

Oxfam online  has become a real go to for me. As much as I love trawling the charity shops, these days, I am at work all week and just don’t have the time to get into town on the weekends. It offers a massive selection of clothes and you can quickly zone in on exactly what you are looking for using filters which include size, colour and brand. My daughter even managed to find a tweed jacket to create her Doctor Who, World Book Day outfit instead of opting for the fast fashion fancy dress alternative. Didn’t know Doctor who was a book? no me neither!

No Single Use Plastics Update

I will be honest I have had good weeks and bad weeks so far with this challenge. It has taken quite a bit of time researching to try and find usable alternatives to plastic covered products. I ams till very much focussing on food at the moment as I still have so much more to do with this. I am finding some of the changes that I am making e.g. making soup, cakes and visiting different shops really time consuming and sometimes I just haven’t had the time and have had to resort to a piece of plastic packed brocolli or ready made cakes and biscuits for the children.

I have however made one fantastic discovery, the local market on a Saturday morning. There is a fruit and vegtable stall which sells bowls of fruit and veg for a pound each. This works out pretty cheap compare to what I pay in the supermarket and the friendly chap that runs the satll is more than happy tipping the bowls straight into my reusable bag making it a lot quicking than buying individual fruit items in a supermarket. There is also a stall selling fresh bread which they will put in a paper bag for me.

How is 2018 going for you so far? have you taken on any challenges?

With warmest wishes


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