Charity Shop Outfit and Festival Survival

charity shop outfit

charity shop outfit

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Dress – Oxfam
Denim and leather waistcoat – Oxfam
Beaded bag – People Tree
Boots – Minnetonka
Feather necklace and bracelet – presents

Wooden watch – JORD

Last weekend we went into town for food and I decided to wear some of the charity shop outfit that I recently treated myself to from Oxfam. I have been trying to limit the amount of new clothes that I buy but when I got some money for my birthday, I couldn’t resist treating myself to a few charity shop items to refresh my wardrobe. I managed to buy 5 new dresses and a denim waistcoat for under £90. Whilst buying from Oxfam online is not neccasserily quite as cheap as buying from a high street charity shop, it is still significantly cheaper than many fast fashion shops and the quality of the clothes is much better (if you choose carefully). There is also an amazing selection of clothes and the online search facility makes it really quick and easy for me to find what I want by searching by item, size, colour, brand and decade for vintage. Also, I really want to support the vital work that Oxfam do around the world and buying second hand is a more sustainable option than buying new.

The denim waistcoat has leather panels and I love it for layering over lots of different dresses but thought it went well with this white dress for a layered boho look. It also seemed like the perfect opportunity to get some more wear out of the Minnetonka boots that I got for my birthday. Lady decided to photo bomb, she definitely loves being the centre of attention!

Finally summer has arrived and Glastonbury this weekend signals the beginnng of festival season. I am not sure where I am glad or sorry not to be going to Glastonbury this with the traffic and mud, I think our old campervan, Roberta would definitely find it a challenge. We do have a few other options up our sleeve for the summer though. If you have never been to a festival, I would definitely recommend it, it is a lot of fun and there are so many different options to choose from. You can check out the Festival Survival Guide that I have just written for Oxfam Fashion here.

What are you doing this weekend? Have a lovely time!

With warmest wishes


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Holiday in Calabria, Italy and Buying Less

buying less

Dress – Frank and Faith
Shoes – Geox
Bag – Stella and Dot

Last week I went on a lovely holiday to Calabria, Italy. We stayed at the Club Med Napitia resort which was a totally amazing place. A beautiful beach, flowers everywhere, loads of activities to do including exercise classes, sailing, archery and tennis, shows and dancing every night, really delicious food and drink and really amazing staff that made us feel incredibly welcome. I was really sad to come home!

Of course with so much going on, I didn’t manage to get many outfit photos except the one above. The clutch bag was a birthday present from my friends at work. I had never heard of Stella and Dot but was really pleased to see on their website that they have a very comprehensive social responsibility policy. All of the clothes that I wore apart from the bag, a new bikini and pair of flipflops were clothes that I have had for a number of years and have been featured on this blog multiple times which got me thinking about holidays and buying less.

Every year when I go on holiday there is a strong temptation to buy new clothes. Not sure why the temptation to buy clothes for holiday is so great as the summer in the UK seems to be fairly short and holiday only usually last a week or two. I do usually manage to  rationalise and stop myself from buying lots of clothes for holiday so I thought that I would share a thoughts and ideas on buying less and sustainably for holidays.

  • Pay slightly more for high quality summer clothes that will last for years to come.
  • Avoid very on trend looks that are likely to look ridiculous in a years time.
  • At the end of the summer, wash, iron and carefully pack away summer clothes with moth balls/ repellent to stop them getting eaten.
  • Have a full review of what I have before buying anything new as it is easy to forget when you haven’t worn it for a year.
  • Sustainable fabrics are particularly good for summer as organic cotton and bamboo are breathable and cool to wear.
  • Look out for fair trade accessories also often features intricate embellishments and are great for adding a bit of colour and interest to a summer wardrobe.

What do you think? Do you find yourself buying lots of new clothes for holidays? Do you have any tips to buy less?

Here are a few of my holiday instagrams

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With warmest wishes


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A Woodstock Party

Woodstock Party Outfit

Vintage dress – Etsy
Boots – Minnetonka
Watch – Jord

Last weekend I had a Woodstock themed party (a belated 40th birthday celebration).I took the opportunity to invest in a vintage dress, that I know I will wear again lots in the future, to wear with my Minnetonka boots that Mr S bought for my birthday.

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The invites described the dress code as sixties, hippy and festival inspired giving guests the opportunity to dress up as much or as little as they liked. It was great to see the colourful  and creative outfits that everyone came up with. Here is me with my sister.

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My birthday was in April but I decided to wait until May for my party in the hope that the weather would be better. I was so glad that I did, despite a few showers in the afternoon, the weather was amazing! Which is great as a key part of my Woodstock party plans, involved decorating the garden. I had been planning for quite a few months checking out Pinterest for ways to try and create my own mini Woodstock in the back garden. This floral CND sign was made by my daughter using a cardboard template that she cut out covered with tissue paper flowers that she made.

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We put up a small marquee/ tent in the garden and hung printed sheets which I bought from Amazon. These sheets will be reused for picnic blankets when we go campervanning.

Woodstock party

I created a meditation area using a printed sheet and old campervan cushions with a sign drawn by the children on an old chalk board.

Woodstock Party

I invested in some some love crocheted blankets to cover our old plastic chairs and for guests to wrap up in later in the evening if it got cold. After the party, these will also be moved to the campervan ready for chilly summer evenings camping and festivals.

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I ordered some reproduction Woodstock posters from Amazon to pin to the fence. For music, I found a local (Bristol) singer/ acoustic guitar player to play music from the sixties and seventies. He was amazing and really gave the party a great atmosphere with guests (including me) dancing and playing the tambourine. I also put together a Spotify playlist with lots of Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, The Kinks, which was fun to make.

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The Wooden hand furniture was a birthday pressy for Mr S bought at a festival last year. The garden was also decorated with numerous fairy lights, lanterns and candles which looked amazing once it got dark. Unfortunately I didn’t really manage to capture this on camera.

sign for woodstock party

I ordered this sign from Amazon. It is now a permanenet fixture on our garden fence.

sweets

For food we had a BBQ followed by salt caramel profiteroles, strawberries and mini cupcakes. I also put out some retro sweets incase anyone got a sugar craving later on.

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I had an amazing night! Probably drunk too much and unfortunately the time seemed to fly by too quickly. I have lots of lovely photos and happy memories though.

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Mr S bought me this forty sign  for my birthday for everyone to sign.

Admitedly the clear up operation was fairly extensive but we managed to get cleared up by lunch time Sunday, just before the next group of friends and family arrived for another BBQ to make sure we used up all of the leftover food. I won’t lie, it has been a tough week at work, after such a busy and fun weekend.

I hope that you have been enjoying the amazing weather.  What have you been up to?

With warmest wishes


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The Big Four Oh

DSCN4981 (3)Hat – Pachacuti
Dress – Komodo
Leggings – Braintree
Shoes – Veja
Bag – Owen Barry
Necklace and bracelet – present

On Sunday it was my 40th birthday! Whilst many like to pretend that a big birthday is not happening and try to keep it as low key as possible, I like to do the opposite and drag the celebrations on for as long as I possibly can. This year I am celebrating in lots of different ways. On Sunday, my daughter and I met with my friend and her daughter for tea and cake at the lovely Bea’s vintage tea rooms  in Bath. We then went for a wander around the vintage fair before meeting with Mr S and my other daughter for dinner at Jamies Italian. I also have a party and holiday planned and a weekend away with friends later in the year.

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Mr S bought me to the Laughing Buddha Statue which you can see in the garden behind me and also some Minnetonka tasselled boots. I had lots of other lovely presents including the coin necklace I am wearing in this outfit. The other items featured in my outfit are all at least a year old, you may recognise  them from previous blog posts. I am trying not  too buy too much as I already have lots of clothes.

My birthday also just happens to coincide with Fashion Revolution and I have been busy following all that has been happening on social media over the last week. It is great to see so many people showing an interest in ethical fashion and working towards a more ethical fashion industry.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get a response to my post and tweets asking Marks and Spencers #WhoMadeMyClothes? Next time I need some new clothes, I will be  thining very carefully about where I buy them. In terms of sustainability, second hand definitely seems like the best option and for ethical, brands like People Tree, Nancy Dee and Komodo are pretty amazing with some really lovely clothes. I also feel a lot more comfortable with the transparency of these brands.

Here are a few of my Instagrams from the last week.

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Tea and pastries for my birthday

veja daps

My Veja daps, they are so comfy

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My interview about ethical fashion in Bristol Magazine.

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The perfect garden fry up, my favourite breakfast from the new Deliciously Ella cookbook.

With warmest wishes


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Fashion Revolution Week

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DSCN4974 (4)sDress – Nancy Dee
Jacket – charity shop
Shoes – Dream in Green
Bag – What Daisy Did

Today is the start of Fashion Revolution Week! A time when consumers around the globe ask #whomademyclothes? and a movement of ethical fashion advocates and campaigners come together to raise awareness of unethical practice in the fashion industry and work towards change.

As part of the Ethical Fashion Bloggers, Fashion Revolution round up, I wanted to share this outfit which I think fits particularly well with the principles of sustainable fashion described by Vivienne Westwood as ‘buy less, choose well, make it last’.

The jacket is from a local charity shop and the fun print immediatley jumped out at me. It makes a great alternative to a plain black jacket. The dress is from one of my favourite  brands, Nancy Dee and is ethically made in the UK from organic cotton. The shoes are made by Dream in Green, another favourite brand of mine with a great selection of shoes and boots made ethically from vegetable tanned leather. Last but not least, my colourful handbag is ethically made in India by What Daisy Did using upcycled leather. You can read more about the brand in my post here.

Last week I asked #WhoMadeMyClothes? of high street retailer Marks and Spencers here. No answer yet but I will keep you posted and let you know if and when I get answer. As a consumer, it can be difficult to find out and understand exactly what brands are doing to ensure sustainability and ethics in their supply chains which is why transparency is so important. Fashion Revolution have just launched a transparency index in partnership with Ethical Consumer which improving social and environmental standards and how much of that information they share with the public you can download it here.

Fashion Revolution Week

If you like the idea of a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry, there are lots of ways you can get involved. Visit the Fashion Revolution website to find out more.

What will you be wearing for Fashion Revolution Week?

With warmest wishes


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Marks and Spencers #WhoMadeMyClothes?

Marks and Spencers dressDress – Marks and Spencers
Earrings – People Tree
Bag – vintage (Oxfam I think)
Shoes – Geox

Not long to go until Fashion Revolution Week and I thought I would get involved by asking Marks and Spencers, #whomademyclothes?

Just before Christmas I won an award at work and got to choose a £50 voucher from a high street shop to recieve. I generally consider Marks and Spencers to be one of the most ethical and sustainable options on the high street and on popping into Bath decided on this dress as it has such a comfy and flattering cut and will work well for both in and out of work for the spring and summer.

I was quite surprised to read on Morale Fibres that M&S had scored just 5 out of 20 in the Ethical Consumer Scorecard. It was explained that the score was largely as a result of the companies wider ethics and sourcing policies and did not apply exclusviely to its clothing. This did however prompt me to think about whether I should be asking more of Marks and Spencers and how ethical their clothing is, so I did a little research.

On the plus side Marks and Spencers have shown themselves to be committed to improving their sustsainability through their Plan A through which they provide detailed information on their website including exactly what they have and haven’t achieved. Amongst the achievements of Plan A so far are:

  • 32% of their cotton coming from better cotton initiative, fair trade, organic or recycled sources.
  • They have trained more than 652,000 workers in general merchandising supply chain since 2010 covering employment rights, health and financial literacy.
  • Global Sourcing Principles now cover a wider range of human rights issues. Launched on Human Rights Day in December 2014, They are now working with their suppliers to help them meet these requirements.
  • They have established a community Global Community Programme to benefit people in the key regions of the world where M&S products are sourced to strengthen the resilience of communities and security of supply by 2020 e.g. 8000 have been trained in Kenya and South Africa for the Emerging Leadership Initiative and the Project Hope Health Programme in Cambodia which has laready benefitted 14,500 workers.

Ethics and sustainability are never going to be a simple matter for such a large retailers with such a complex supply chain and there is no doubt that Marks and Spencers are making some really postive improvements.

My dress  is made in Turkey, so I looked for further information on factories used by Marks and Spencers in Turkey. There isn’t much information available on the M&S website.

I have since read about the use of Syrian refugee children in clothing factories in Turkey. Marks and Spencers have not been implicated in any way or found to be using child labour in their supply chain. But they were asked by Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), a non-profit organisation that monitors company ethics, about their Turkish suppliers and their strategies for combating the exploitation of Syrian children and adults. Marks and Spencers didn’t answer this questionaire but you can read their response here.  I feel like I would like to know a bit more.

So I am asking the question, Marks and Spencers #WhoMadeMyClothes?

I will let you know if I get an answer.

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Fashion Revolution Week is on 18th-24th April and there are lots ways that you can get involved from asking your favourite brand #WhoMadeMyClothes to making your own haulternative video. Wouldn’t it be amazing to know more about who has made you clothes?

You can find out more on the website fashionrevolution.org

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With warmest wishes


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Minnetonka Mocassins – Story Behind the Brand

massai

Today I wanted to post about Minnetonka Mocassins, an American brand that I have been interested in for some time. The brand has been around since 1946 but has become popular in the last decade as the festival footwear choice of celebs.

Minnetonka shoes are beautifully handcrafted and if looked after, they should last well, growing more comfortable with wear.The website provides some tips on how to care for your Minnetonka shoes or boots to ensure that they last for a long time. Most of the shoes and boots are made in a factory in Minnetonka’s own factory in the Dominican Republic using materials from the US.

Through the Mocs with Meaning initiative, Minnetonka have partnered with Me to We to help empower mamas in Kenya. Each pair of Mocs with Meaning shoes are hand beaded by  Mama in Kenya, providing her with a sustainable income and an opportunity to support her family. Minnetonka also provided a $10,000 donation to build the ME to WE Empowerment Centre in Kenya providing a safe place for the women to work. Financial literacy training is also provided to help with overcoming economic challenges. The Me to We website states that 80+ mamas are employed full time in Kenya as part of this initiative. Each pair of ‘Mocs with Meaning’ shoes has a unique code that can be tracked with trackyourimpact.com so that customers can see the positive impact that their purchase is making.

Minnetonka have also donated to Free the Children with funds being used to build a rain catchment system to provide clean water in Haiti and to build a school room in the Marialapa community.

On balance…

There are lots of reasons I love the Minnetonka brand, however they are made from animal skins so for someone who is vegan and does not want to wear leather/ suede shoes, they would not represent an ethical choice.

What do you think of Minnetonka Mocassins?

With warmest wishes


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Paguro Upcycle Necklace Review

Paguro Upcycle Feather Necklace

I was recently contacted by Paguro Upcycle a Nottingham based brand selling accessories made from recycled and upcycled materials to see if I would like to review an item from their website. All of their products are made by artisanal producers in Cambodia, Indonesia and the UK with each enterprise aiming to support their local communities by offering fair working conditions and wages, as well as other benefits such as free daycare for their employees’ children.

Of course, I jumped at the chance, to try something out, as they seem to be the perfect mix of ethics, sustainability and style, with unique and individual pieces that are certainly very different to what you would find on the highstreet. What’s not to love?

feather necklace

It didn’t take me long to decide on this feather necklace which is made from recycled inner tube. I already have a clutch bag made from inner tube and I love how it looks. The detailed feather cut from the inner tube makes for a real statement piece which is great for adding interest to a basic outfit like this M&S Fairtrade cotton vest top which I am wearing with some skinny jeans  from Oxfam. I loved the quality of the necklace with a magnetic clasp making it really easy to fasten. I have already worn it a few times. I think it would look really good with a high neck simple white or colour top which would really show it off the detail of the feather.

This necklace is made by Sapu, a creative collective, based in the Indonesian town of Salatiga, comprises a diverse range of talented people: designers, artists, craftsmen and recyclists, most of whom originate from central Java or Australia. They aim to make use of the world’s abundant and unwanted man-made materials, using recycled tyre inner tubes, army tent, plastic bottles and magazines to create something beautiful. By doing so they hope to inspire environmental change by changing attitudes of those that come into contact with their creations. I think this necklace is definitely a conversation starter which is great to get people talking about both sustainability and style.

The Paguro Upcycle website also features fashion accessories by Smarteria, a social enterprise taking inspiration from the streets and markets of Cambodias capital, Phomn Penh. Traditional Cambodian weaving techniques are used by artisans to create bags in elaborate designs using repurposed netting and carrier bags. Smarteria aim to make a positive difference to the lives of their employees through living wages, benefits and progressive working practices.

What do you think? Do you like interesting accessories? If so I would definitely recommend checking out Paguro Upcycle.

Have an amazing weekend!

With warmest wishes


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Charity Shop Treasures

charity shopping

Vintage dress – Oxfam Fashion (online)
Bangle – Oxfam Bath
Necklace – Made UK

Cowboy boots (at least 15 years old) – high street
Bag (at least 10 years old) – Accessorize

I was recently contacted by Safe Store to see if I would like to take part in a campaign focusing on charity shop treasures. The best bit, I get to do a little charity shopping,one of my favourite activities, and then share my outfit. Safe Store supports Scope which is their charity of the year but as I don’t have a Scope Charity shop in my home town, they were also happy to support other charities by treating me to an outfit from another charity shop. Scope is a fantastic charity who work with disabled individuals and their families, providing support, advice, short breaks and much more, I hope to check out one of their stores in a nearby town soon. They have 232 stores across the UK, if you would like to find the nearest, you can do so here.

Due to my usual lack of time, I chose to go online to Oxfam Fashion (the online shop) as I know that I can always find something amazing there and it is super quick and easy to search by size, brand, colour and decade for vintage. I decided to check out the vintage seventies section and couldn’t resist this dress. The cowboy boots have been in my wardrobe for years. I went off them  for a while but in true hoarder style, I couldn’t part with them, which is a  good thing as I have fallen in love with them again. I think they are going to get a lot more wear this summer.

You can follow Safe Store on Twitter to keep up with the Charity Shop Treasure campaign here.

I hope that you are having a lovely and relaxing Easter weekend and eating lots of Easter eggs.

With warmest wishes


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Vintage Fashion – Seventies Style

Oxfam Decades of Styleseventies maxi dress

Vintage dress – ebay
Vintage jacket – Rockit Vintage
Shoes – high street

I haven’t had much of an opportunity to wear my vintage clothes lately as I only seem to go out to work and exercise classes. But I have finally finished my CIM diploma in digital marketing and the building work and constant tidying of the house that it caused is also finished. I am hoping to start getting out and about a bit more in the spring giving me the chance to wear my vintage clothes again. I already have a few trips planned to vintage fairs as well as a weekend away.

I am also organising a birthday party for my 40th with a Woodstock theme so have been thinking about sixties/ seventies style and what to wear. I decided to try this vintage seventies dress on again although I don’t think it is my final choice of outfit. I think I will opt for something slightly more hippyish. I am also entering the Oxfam Fashion decades of vintage fashion and style competition.

I want to decorate the garden like a festival so will be spending the next few months scouring amazon and charity shops for the things I need. As it can get a little cold in the evening and I wanted to cover up the plastic chairs in the garden, I have invested in some crochet / knitted blankets from Oxfam. I have been obsessed with these blankets for a while and finally have an excuse to buy some. With Oxfam doing such great work, I am also always pleased to buy from them. After the party,they will also be great for the campervan and wrapping up on a cold evening. If you have any other ideas for a Woodstock themed party, please leave a comment below.

So now I have finally got my life back, I hope to be doing at lot more blogging as well as getting back up to date with Ethical Fashion Bloggers. Apologies to anyone who has emailed and I haven’t replied but I will do very soon.

Here are a few of my recent instagrams.

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Lady is looking fairly unimpressed by the building works!

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Finally the new extension is finished

mothers day

Mother’s Day treats

What have you been up to lately and what plans do you have for the spring?

With warmest wishes


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