Handmade Christmas Gifts – Not on the High Street

In the second part of my handmade Christmas gift guides I have chosen some lovely pieces from Not on the High Street, one of my favourite online retailers at the moment. They have so many amazing and unusual gift ideas and quite a few eco friendly options too. I have already bought quite a few of my Christmas pressies from NOTHS!
original silver leaf necklace Handmade Christmas Gifts   Not on the High Street
Handmade silver leaf necklace by Sonja Bessant , a self-taught jewellery designer maker from South London who makes high quality, contemporary, handmade jewellery.

original spotty fingerless gloves and hat set Handmade Christmas Gifts   Not on the High Street
Hand knitted hats and gloves by Lowie are a lovely colour that will go with everything with cute heart details and pompoms. Lowie are a fashion brand that focuses on handmade accessories with the aim of creating them as ethically as possible, without jeopardising design. Where possible, they use organic or sustainable raw materials.

original hand knitted red wool socks Handmade Christmas Gifts   Not on the High Street
Bibico also create some beautiful and ethical hand knitted pieces. These handknitted snowflake print socks are a really cosy treat. They are made from 100% wool under fair trade principles in Nepal.

normal tribal arrowhead necklace Handmade Christmas Gifts   Not on the High StreetThis Tribal Arrow Head Necklace by Lucie Ellen is handcut from plywood in Lucies Garden Studio in East London. Where ever possible she tries to use reclaimed and eco friendly materials in her designs.

normal pussy cats handmade clutch bag Handmade Christmas Gifts   Not on the High Street

I love siamese cats and this cute bag would definitely be a very welcome Christmas pressy! It is made from boiled wool and unbleached cotton by Sarah Culleton in her home studio in Derbyshire. It is made from boiled wool,unbleached. Her store also features lovely purses and glasses cases which would make lovely stocking fillers.

Have you started Christmas shopping yet or do you prefer to leave it a bit nearer the time?

You can check out my other Handmade Christmas Gift Guide here.

With warmest wishes

Win a JORD Wood Watch

ely 10 front angled noshadow Win a JORD Wood Watch

Today I am teaming up with the fantastic sustainable watch brand JORD with a giveaway to win a gift certificate for the JORD website worth $129 plus free shipping.You can pick out your favourite from the lovely selection of wood watches using the certificate for full or part payment depending on the watch that you want.

JORD watches offer a natural alernative to the plastic and metal materials that most watches are made from. Each piece is unique, handcrafted from sustainable wood.

You can check out the full range here on the website.

The Giveaway closes on Monday 1st December 2014, so don’t delay enter it today!

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JORD Wood Watch Review

DSCN3381 21 JORD Wood Watch Review

 

DSCN3356 3 JORD Wood Watch ReviewDSCN3321 21 JORD Wood Watch ReviewI was recently contacted by JORD to see if I would like to check out one of their wooden watches. I lost my last watch in June last year whilst participating in Trekfest in the Brecon Beacons so was more than happy to accept. I was also intrigued by what a wooden watch would be like as it is so different to any other watch I have ever owned.

I chose the Ely maple design. The neutral colours are perfect for wearing with everything from a minimalistic outfit to a more busy mix of prints and colours. The website describes it as ‘understated and effortless’. When the summer arrives I will be wearing my watch with brightly coloured friendship bracelets and for the winter will be teaming it with chunky knits. Pictured above, I am wearing it with my favourite paisley pom pom scarf. I love the unusual look of my new watch, it both stands out from the norm but in a subtle way. It also feels much lighter on my wrist than a similarly chunky style of watch made from metal or plastic making it perfect for everyday wear.

JORD watches are designed to take people back to nature and away from the metal, rubber and plastic that most people wear on their wrist. They are designed using a diverse range of woods from all over the world, combining their colours and grains to create a collection of watches with each being unique. Although I couldn’t completely capture it in the photographs, the watch is handcrafted in a beautiful quality from sustainable materials.

What do you think of wood watches?

If you are in need of a new watch, I would definitely recommend checking out the JORD Wood Watches website as they have great range of styles and colours for men and women.

With warmest wishes

Marks and Spencers – Best of British Dress Review


DSCN3282 2 Marks and Spencers   Best of British Dress Review

I decided to treat myself to a new dress from the Marks and Spencers Best of British Collection. I was particularly in love with the swirly print on the dress and its super comfy fit which is so perfect for work. It is also quite cosy for work. I wouldn’t usually wear anything this body con by the 2 layers of fabric and ruching around the stomach make it much more flattering than other body con styles that I have tried in the past. At £59 for a high quality and well made dress, I consider it to be quite good value.

Whilst Marks and Spencers does not spring immediatley to mind when you think about sustainable and ethical clothing, there are a number of factors which mean that their clothes work for me.

Firstly Marks and Spencers clothes alway fit well and last for ages. This dress is incredibly comfy and warm and washes really well. The Best of British Collection is helping to preserve the British manufacturing industry. This dress was made Lee Ann, an ethically and environmentally responsible manufacturer based in Lecietershire. The dress was not only made at their UK factory but the fabric was also knitted, dyed and printed there.

label Marks and Spencers   Best of British Dress Review

Marks and Spencers are also committed to sustainabilityand improving the environmental performance of their operations through plan A.

Marks and Spencers have also recieved the Carbon Trust Triple Award 2014 with its accolades including zero waste to landfill and becoming a zero carbon company. By 2020 Marks and Spencers aim is to be the worlds most sustainable major retailer. The plan includes procuring 50% of cotton from sustainable sources and publishing an annual list of clothing suppliers across the world. They also support local charities through their UK stores and national initiatives like Macmillan coffee mornings, beach cleans for the Marine Conservation Society and Shwopping where they work with Oxfam to reuse and recycle clothes.

The dress is made from Modal, elastane and polyester. Modal is a a cellulose fibre from beech trees. It is a renewable and biodegradable fibre and much better than cotton in terms of the crop yield needed. Beech trees do not require irrigation or pesticides and are grown on marginal, non-agricultural land unlike cotton. The polyester lining of the dress is not ideal environmentally although it does mean that it requires less energy to launder as it dries quickly and doesn’t require ironing.

What do you think of Marks and Spencers? would you consider their clothing to be sustainable?

With warmest wishes

Ps Just to let you know that I bought the dress myself and have not recieved any payment for this review. Although I do sometimes work with M&S and many other retailer through their affiliate programs and this post does contain affiliate links.

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Handmade Christmas Gifts – Etsy

In the first part of my festive series about handmade Christmas gifts, I will be sharing some Etsy finds for anyone looking for something a little different to the mass produced stuff that you see everywhere.

I know it is quite early to be thinking about Christmas but I do like give myself plenty of time so that I kind find the perfect handmade Christmas gifts!

owl and otter 3 Handmade Christmas Gifts   Etsy
owl and otter 1 Handmade Christmas Gifts   Etsy


Owl and Otter
are based in Brighton and create cute handmade jewellery from bamboo, a sustainable material which is both renewable and biodegradable

dandelion necklace Handmade Christmas Gifts   Etsy
There is something magical about Dandelion clocks and I love how Natural Pretty Things has captured that as well as other little pieces of nature like daisies in this hand made and polished resin jewellery.

bow tie Handmade Christmas Gifts   Etsy

collar Handmade Christmas Gifts   Etsy

heart necklace Handmade Christmas Gifts   Etsy

hare cushion Handmade Christmas Gifts   Etsy

Copley & Holdsworth hand make unique clothing, accessories and homeware using recycled leather.

moasico Handmade Christmas Gifts   Etsy

Morganacrea Handmade Christmas Gifts   Etsy

For something a little unusual, I love the recycled inner tube jewellery by Morgana Crea. Not that you would ever guess that is was made from something that would otherwise be waste as it looks so amazing. The jewellery is made in Turin but shipped worldwide.

glitter eye Handmade Christmas Gifts   EtsyThis amazing glitter eye handbag is made by Kirsty at Luna on the Moon in East London.

deer Handmade Christmas Gifts   Etsy

 

panda Handmade Christmas Gifts   EtsyEthical History Museum also have some very cute brooches which would make great little handmade Christmas gifts, secret santa pressies or stocking fillers. 15% of profits go to animal conservation and protection.

lh Handmade Christmas Gifts   Etsy

 

pjs Handmade Christmas Gifts   EtsyLast but most definitely not least is Luva Huva, which contains at least a few items that will be on my list this Christmas. Luva Huva handmake beautiful lingerie and lounge wear from organic cotton, in the UK.

Have you started thinking about Christmas pressies yet?

With warmest wishes

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Ethical Fashion – My Holiday Packing List

236 Ethical Fashion   My Holiday Packing List
I got back from holiday less than a week ago but after a couple of days back at work it feels like forever ago! This year I thought that I would share with you my favourite sustainable and ethical fashion pieces for taking on holiday with me. In the true spirit of sustainability, I try not to buy new things each year for holiday, after all it is only 2 weeks and I have lots of clothes. I would rather spend my money on a lovely meal at our favourite Italian restaurant where we can watch the sunsetting and the waves crashing over the rocks. I did however treat myself to a dress from Oxfam Fashion by Monsoon, just because I couldn’t resist it and I knew it would be comfy and cool for the lovely hot weather in Tenerife and a pair of flip flops because my old ones had worn out. In the picture above are a few of my summer holiday staples.

Fairtrade cotton vest tops – Marks and Spencers
Marks and Spencers have a small selection of Fairtrade cotton vest tops but they are really versatile and cool for hols. Marks and Spencers are also doing quite well in terms of ethics and sustainability as reported by Ethical Consumer.

Necklaces – Made
Made are an ethical jewellery company creating beautiful jewellery in their workshops in Kenya with a view to harnessing the talent and skills of local artisans, whilst providing a safe working environment, long-term job security and training.

Cut off Jeans
Not overly inventive, but a great way to extend the life of a piece of clothing. When my jeans started to wear out, instead of throwing them away, I made them into shorts.

Friendship Bracelets
I love wearing friendship bracelets. I got these ones from a website for recycling jewellery.

Hat – Pachacuti
I love Pachacuti hats, not only do they look great and keep the sun off my face but are also helping to preserve traditional artisanal skills in the Andes by combining high quality, environmentally-friendly materials with Fair Trade working practices.

Sunglasses – Colin Lesley Eyewear
These sunglasses are made from a combination of sustainable bamboo and recycled acetate and plastic.

Gandys FlipFlops
I wrote about the story behind the brand for Gandy Flip Flops in my last post.

Sarong
I bought this sarong nearly 20 years ago when I went on a conservation diving expedition to Belize. To me a piece of clothing that last 20 years is pretty sustainable. I love that it also  reminds me of the amazing time I had spending 2 months on a desert island in Belize.

Along with these staples, I also took some of my favourite ethical dresses most of which have been regularly featured on this blog.

096a Ethical Fashion   My Holiday Packing List
Dress – Monsoon

102a1 Ethical Fashion   My Holiday Packing List
Dress – Oxfam Fashion

192a Ethical Fashion   My Holiday Packing List
Earth Kind Originals

215a Ethical Fashion   My Holiday Packing List

Dress – Ruby Rocks

What do you usually pack for hols? which are your holiday staples that you take with you year after year?

With warmest wishes

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Gregory Freia Backpack Review

gregory freia 30 backpack for women in ink blackp5477f 011500.3 1 Gregory Freia Backpack Review

In my last post, I blogged about my adventures at Trekfest, (32 miles across the Brecon Beacons in just under 13 hours) ,but I also wanted to post about the kit that I needed to get, which turned out it be a whole mini challenge in itself.

The kitlist for Trekfest was fairly extensive but luckily I managed to borrow or make use of stuff that I already had. One of the things that I did have to buy was a 30 litre backpack to carry waterproofs, emergency supplies, drinks etc. I wanted to share with you a little review of the backpack that I chose. I did a fair amount of research trying to find just the right backpack as I wanted one with a waist and chest strap but also one that was ethically made and not to expensive.

The Ethical Consumer backpack guide was a really useful resource and I decided to go for the Gregory Freia Backpack, a brand which was ranked third highest in the guide for a combination of its resposibility towards animals, people, environment, politics and product sustainability. I managed to find one in the sale at Blacks reduced from £85 to £30.

It was in my opinion great value for money. It had a chest and waist strap and sat quite comfortably on my back for the duration of the 32 mile walk/climb. It also allowed the air to circulate around my back which was quite important on such a warm and muggy day. It had 2 pockets in the top with a handy clip for my car keys and 2 mesh pockets in the side for easily accessible drinks etc. Only after I got back from my trek did I realise that there is also a big pocket on the back of the backpack which would have been ideal for my map. For me the Gregroy Freia Backpack strikes just the right balance between having enough places for storage and not having too many which would have lead me to forgetting where I had put everything. It also had space for a hydration pack and places to clip walking poles.

Do you consider the ethics/ sustainability of everything you buy? how do you choose which brands to buy from?

With warmest wishes

Trekfest 2014 – The Brecon Beacons


004 Trekfest 2014   The Brecon Beacons

011 Trekfest 2014   The Brecon Beacons

013 Trekfest 2014   The Brecon Beacons

017 Trekfest 2014   The Brecon Beacons

020 Trekfest 2014   The Brecon BeaconsI have been a little lazy with the blog posts over the last few months, partly because I have been working on a few changes to my sites (hopefully soon to be revealed) but also because I have been in training for Trekfest. I took part in Trekfest last Saturday, a 32 mile (not 27 as I had originally thought) trek across and over the Brecon Beacons including a breathtaking (literally) climb up Pen Y Fan and some spectacular views. I managed to raise £360 for Naomi House Children’s Hospice.Unfortunately the other half of Team Kerri and my lovely friend and collegue Kerry was forced to retire with a painful knee injury at the half way point. I decided to continue alone although that fact that there were about 600 other Trekers taking part meant that I wan’t really alone at all!

It was good to meet so many people along the way and there was definitely a great sense of camaraderie and team spirit with everyone helping each other out. So disappointed that I couldn’t cross the finish line with Kerry but also pleased to have finished in just under 13 hours despite the difficulties and unexpected mileage. I arrived back covered head to toe in mud, definitely not my most glamorous of moments but I was so pleased to get across the finish line I couldn’t have cared less. It was an amazing experience and I am already making plans for another challenge next year. There are lots more pictures of the event here incase you were interested.

I am really looking forward to this weekend for lots of rest, spending time with family and catching up on some blog posts/ blog reading that I have been missing out on over the last few crazy weeks. I will also be writing a review of the backpack by an ethical brand that I bought for Trekfest. How will you be enjoying the sunshine this weekend?

With warmest wishes

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Recycled Jewellery at OrnateMe

0061 Recycled Jewellery at OrnateMe
018 Recycled Jewellery at OrnateMe
I love jewellery and can’t help but constantly refresh my collection to allow me to refresh and accessorise my outfits in lots of different ways. I try to buy upcycled, fair trade and sustainable jewellery, but it has always bothered me that buying too much costume or fashion jewellery is wasteful. It seems a real shame that such a lot of the lovely costume jewellery bought in the shops will probably end up in landfill. This is where OrnateMe a fab new website concieved by Paul Tully in response to his concern about the unsustainability of the current fashion industry and the throw away attitude driven by low cost products. He hopes that through the success of his business, he will help high street retailers to adopt more sustainable retailing models.

The idea behind OrnateMe is simple. It provides an easy way for customers to upcycle their old costume jewellery. You just need to put your old jewellery into a prepaid envelope and send it in. For each piece of jewellery that is resaleable, you recieve points which can be used towards a piece of jewellery that you would like to buy on the site. Pieces that are not resellable are upcycled.

The website also has a great selection of recycled jewellery to buy and of course I couldn’t help but have a little browse. I have been on the look out for friendship and boho bracelets to wear with casual clothes for the summer and when I spotted these two picture above, I couldn’t resist getting them. They arrived in an envelope which I can then reuse to send back any of my unwanted jewellery. I just need to make a little time to have a clear out of my jewellery collection and decide what I no longer wear.

What do you think of this idea? Do you have any jewellery to recycle and do you love the idea of getting credits to buy a piece of recycled jewellery?

With warmest wishes

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Natural Beauty Spot – Christmas Gift Guide

nb Natural Beauty Spot   Christmas Gift Guide

Today’s Christmas Gift Guide is all about natural beauty. I like to try and minimise the chemicals that I put into and onto my body but don’t like to compromise on less than lovely beauty products. Here are some of the natural beauty products that I have come across that I  thought would make luxurious Christmas gifts.

Blue Beards Revenge Shaving Kit –  Ethical Superstore

The ideal gift for that hairy man in your life, this Blue Beard’s Revenge shaving kit contains contemporary shaving products for the modern man including a paraben free shaving balm.

TSI-LA Organics Kesu Eau de Parfum – The Natural Store

This perfume is vegan and free from chemical nasties including synthetic compounds, preservatives and colourants.  It is 100% Flower and Plant Based and made from a blend of Plant Essences And Raw Organic Oils. It is described as an elegant fragrance with warm amber and precious rare woods are combined with seductive, smoky incense, a hint of Egyptian jasmine, davana, exotic spices, and fresh lime. It can be used by men or women and is in a handy roll on bottle which is perfect for popping in your handbag and reapplying throughout the day.

Snow Fairy Gift Box – Lush

Lush is always one of my favourite places to buy Christmas pressies. The amazing smell bursts out even before they get the chance to unwrap the present. I usually love to buy the Lush products with minimal packaging but for Christmas, this gift box is a lovely treat. Lush products are made from  fresh, organic fruit and vegetables, the finest essential oils and safe synthetics.

M & J London Soya Candle – Ethical Superstore

This beautfully luxurious candle makes a perfect Christmas gift for a female friend or relative. The candles are made from finest soya wax and scented with essential oils and aroma compounds. I love the sound of Left Bank Martini which combines Elderflower, Lemongrass, Gooseberry and Juniper. Even the glass is recycled and the packaging sustainable.

Organic Skincare Gift Pack – Green People

This organic skincare gift pack is perfect for nourishing winter skin. It is packed with nutrients and vitamins for a revitalised and rejuvenated complexion. People Tree products are free of Parabens, Lanolin, alcohol (ethyl alcohol, ethanol), artificial perfumes, petrochemicals, phthalates and colourants. Instead this gift set contains natural products like Evening Primrose, Avocado and Green Tea.

How are you doing with your Christmas shopping? What pressies are you getting for your family and friends this year?

With warmest wishes

 
PS Sorry I haven’t been posting much or visiting my favourite blogs much lately. Have been super busy but hope to get back to normal soon!

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