Patagonia – Buying Less and Living More

Patagonia shirt

No new clothes for a year

Shirt – Patagonia
Hat – Ricefield Collective
Vest top – Fairtrade cotton (M&S)
Jeans – Oxfam 
Shoes –  Po-zu (Star Wars™ collection)

I am just back from a lovely week in Cornwall surfing, walking, spending time with the people that  matter most to me and eating and drinking a bit too much. This outfit is super comfy and warm, which just what I needed for the cold but sunny days. The shirt by Patagonia is quite a few years old and I believe was an item that I picked out to review back in 2012 (wow does time fly by!). Patagonia is a brand that I love for being poles apart from so many of the fast fashion brands. Why? because instead of encouraging their customers to buy more clothes, they encourage them to buy less and make them last. Patagonia’s mission: Build the best product, do no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis. You can read more about it here. With their practical focus on  an outdoor lifestyle, Patagonia clothes are definitely about buying less and living more, something I am trying really hard to stick to.

Taking part in the no new clothes for  a year challenge has been a great way to appreciate the many clothes that I have already got in my wardrobe. Recent news stories have highlighted some major environmental issues of which fast fashion is a contributor. It is a big problem! British shoppers are buying twice as many clothes as they did ten years  ago. Not only is the fashion industry a major source of greenhouse gases that are contributing to climate change, landfill sites are filled with unwanted clothes and synthetic fibres from our clothing is washing into the oceans. Buying clothes that are only worn once or twice or even worse never at all seems like craziness especially when these clothes are made from synthetic fibres that will not biodegrade.

But it is so easy to get persuaded that you really need to buy something. In fact, I will have to admit, I haven’t managed to completely stick to the no new clothes challenge this year. I have bought a few new items over the summer. Proof of just how difficult it can be to change old habits. I will be ensuring that these clothes get plenty of wear and I have now renewed my focus again on buying less and living more with a big benefit that I spending less on clothes means I have more money to spend on enjoying myself.

Have the recent news stories about climate change and ocean plastics changed the way you shop?


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Eco-Friendly Surf Brands

eco friendly surf brands

I can’t believe I have only just tried surfing for this first time in April this year. I have always loved water sports including sailing and diving and body boarding but have never tried surfing until then. I am now completely hooked. Not sure I can really explain it but it is completely addictive. I feel so alive when I am surfing and all my worries wash away.

So as I now spend so much of my time at Fistral beach in Cornwall, I thought it was about time I posted about some eco-friendly surf brands. It kind of makes sense that surfers should do their bit for the environment (as should everyone else!). Spending so much time out doors makes you feel more connected and appreciative of the environment and being in the sea regularly, makes you really concerned about water quality. So eco friendly surf brands really make sense but actually it can some times be difficult to find just what you want.

When I am surfing in the UK I obviously need a wetsuit but also swimwear and shorts for the beach in the summer months and warm comfy clothes to wear apres surf in the colder weather.

So here are some of my favourite eco-friendly surf brands…

Patagonia

I love the philosophy of Patagonia which is to create the best products that cause no uneccesary harm and help to solve the enviromental crisis. Their products are all about performance and are made to last. They actively encourage customers to repair and repurpose clothing once it becomes damaged or unused with their ‘worn wear’ initiative, a very different approach to most clothing companies! In fact Patagonia’s Worn Wear tour recently visited Newquay with the offer of fixing and repairing wetsuits no matter what brand they are. For wetsuits the Patagonia Yulex™ full suits are made from a renewable plant based material. They light and stretchy, neoprene free and Fair Trade Certified™. Just check out the video above for more information. They also sell a massive range of other outdoor clothing.

Finisterre

Finisterre is another outdoor brand with sustainability at its heart. It’s ECONYL® swimwear is helping to tackle plastic pollution byplastic pollution in our oceans by taking nylon waste, from carpet offcuts to discarded fishing nets, and turning it into something new and useful. Based in Cornwall, Finisterre and set up specifically for surfers, Finisterre are ideally placed to understand the performance requirements of their customers. Again their philosphy is about  creating sustainable high performance products that last. They have an inhouse repair service to maximise the life of their clothes.

At

Atlantic Surf Company

I discovered Atlantic Surf Company, a Devon based eco friendly surf brand on Instagram. The brand was started by surfers as an alternative to the mass produced surf clothing that is seen everywhere. Their clothing is screen pulled by hand, using ethically traded clothing and eco-friendly ink, with 20% of their profits going to The Wave Project, a fantastic charity that I regularly see in action on my visits to Newquay.

Rapanui towel

Rapanui

Rapanui clothing is certified organic and produced using a factory powered by renewable energy in the Isle of Wight. Founded by free diving enthusiasts, the brand has environmental protection very close to its heart and has collaborated with the Marine Conservation Society to help raise funds and awareness. Whilst they aren’t necessarily a ‘surf brand’ Rapanui clothing is well suited for anything outdoors and their tee shirts slogans are all about saving the oceans. I love their surf towels which make for easy and warm changing on the beach.

Swami’s

Swami’s is a brand new discovery for me. A brand that celebrates a lifestyle lived in nature. They strive for sustainability in their products in many different ways from organic cotton to reclaimed materials, vegetable tanning and water based inks. All of which are clearly explained on their website. Their collection features sarongs, bikinis, board shorts, tee shirts and lovely beach blankets, made in the Cotwolds. They are also leading the way in green surf boards with their use of Biofoam, which is as lightweight and as strong as any foam blank on the market. Production results in 36% less global warming emissions compared to standard polyurethane boards. When coupled with a bio-resin and hemp cloth this makes for the greenest of surfboards.

hangzen swimwear

Hangzen

Hangzen is described as swimwear designed for active and eco minded water women. Designed by Emily a surfer and surf instructor from South Devon, the swimwear is created to solve 2 issues that really resonate with me: beautiful swimwear that empowers girls by being comfortable to wear and staying on in the waves and ocean plastic pollution. The ‘surf proof’ collection is made from a sustainable techno-fabric made using a nylon yarn that has been upcycled from ocean plastics such as fishing nets and other post consumer waste plastics. The website shows drawings rather than photos of the bikinis but you can find photos on the Facebook and Instagram pages.

Riz board shorts

Riz Board Shorts

Riz board shorts make amazing board shorts for men from plastic bottles which have been converted into 100% recycled and recyclable fabric. They encourage customers to return old unwanted shorts to be repaired, recycled or rehomed with a 25% for new shorts. They also support the work of the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) by partnering with them at beach clean events and directly donate £1 from every pair of our shorts sold to help fund their important ongoing efforts to protect our marine environment. The prints are amazing, just a shame they don’t do a women’s version!

surfers against sewage

Surfers Against Sewage

Of course a post about surfing and sustainability wouldn’t be complete without a mention of the charity Surfers Against Sewage. Originally set up to help tackle sewage pollution which was a big problem for surfers, the charity is now also turning its efforts to plastic pollution which is one of the greatest issues facing the marine environment. It uses campaigning, education and beach cleans to make a difference to the coastlines of the UK and beyond. Their online shop features some great eco friendly tshirts and hoodies to help promote their cause as well as eco living items such as bamboo tooth brushes and refillable water bottles to help reduce plastic use.

So that’s it for now. I hope to share more eco-friendly surf brands with you as I discover them and if you know of any, please do share in the comments. Finally I just wanted to share a few photos of my happy place by the sea!

 

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Was going to go surfing and then I had wine

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Sunset bbq #fistral #newquay

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Clean Up Coffee

Clean up coffee

Clean up coffee is a campaign for recyclable coffee cups.

To celebrate the campaign and help spread the word Percol have sent me some lovely coffee related gifts which could well help me in reducing my waste.

By far my favourite out of the package was the protein iced coffee which was perfect for getting me through a 3 hour fitness session on a Sunday morning, I was genuinly surprised by how good it tasted. I would usually steer well clear of individually portioned drinks where possible because of the packaging and waste.I was pleased to learn that this packaging is fully recyclable as paper and 30% more ecofriendly to produce than aluminium cans so great for an occasional pick me up when you are on the go. It would be great if this packaging caught on for other drinks as it is also a better alternative to plastic bottles. The coffee is also organic and Fairtrade.

I virtually never buy coffee in disposable cups and for work, car and gym I always make use of a reusable coffee cup so the plastic reusable cup was definitely useful. In my quest to reduce my plastic use, gaining new plastic items does seem a little oxymoronic but on the other hand when you look at the alternative (lots of disposable coffee cup waste) it is defintiely a better option.

Coffee capsules or pods have always really bothered me. They seem to create such a lot of plastic waste for just a single cup of coffee. These plant based coffee pods offer a great alternative but as I don’t have a coffee machine, I wasn’t able to try them out.

Whilst Percol haven’t quite found the perfect zero impact packaging for their products, they are definitely taking steps in the right direction and giving consumers more options when it comes to low waste/ recyclable packaging. Their coffee is Fairtrade and they support a number of initiatives including Fairtrade Foundation, the Rainforest Alliance and the Soil Association. They are also part of Next Generation Coffee project, which helps the new generation of farmers see a positive future in coffee growing, by providing education about climate change, and offering training in growing techniques and sustainability.

If you would like to sign the Clean up Coffee petition you can do so here. The petition asks for big brands like Starbucks, Costa and Nero to be forced to clean up their act with legislative change to enforce the use of eco alternatives by 2020 and introduce recyclable alternatives, as sustainable solutions already exist!

What do you think? why shouldn’t coffee cups be reusable or recyclable?


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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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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.

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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Cutting Out Single Use Plastics for 2018

no new clothes for a year

Dress – SkunkFunk
Jacket – Rokit Vintage
Leggings – Thought Clothing
Necklace – People Tree
Trainers – Veja

There has been lots in the news recently about the environmental damage caused by single use plastics especially pollution of the oceans. The final episode of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 showed shocking scenes of the havoc wreaked to sealife and he has since stressed the threat to our oceans from plastics, explaining that it is putting the whole of himanity at risk.

I don’t usually bother with new year resolutions much but this year I was determined to do something to help reduce the amount of plastics that we throw away each week. I was further encouraged with this mission after seeing the pile of rubbish that we created over the Christmas break, much of it being from food.

So on January 1st, I started the new year with a plan in addition to the No New Clothes for a Year challenge again to stop using and throwing away single use plastics. I had no idea how I was going to do this but in the same way that changing to only wearing ethical and sustainable clothing, I knew it was going to take a bit of thought, online research and trial and error.

So nearly 2 weeks in and I have spent quite a bit of time thinking, researching and trialling different options.I havemainly concentrated on food to start with as I thought that this is the area where I could make the most difference.

The bad news: I don’t think it is possible for us to go completely single use plastic free. Not without being almost self sufficient. The busy lifestyle that we lead would make this very difficult.

The good news: We have already made some massive reductions in the amount of non recyclable plastic waste that we are creating.

The wins

There are some really positive changes that we have made:

  • Swapping shop bought sweet treats, biscuits and cakes for homemade options The main ingredients for these are available in paper or cardboard packaging (flour, sugar, butter eggs). It does take a bit more time but the children enjoy making them, they are much tastier than shop bought and possibly even a bit healthier.
  • Swapping ready made soup for homemade soup. In colder weather I eat soup most days for lunch and often for dinner. I tended to buy the plastic containers or cartons of readymade soup. This year I have got back to making my own soups which are also really healthy. My favourites: Leek and potatoe and Celariac and apple.
  • Buying in bulk. It’s pretty obvious really but if you buy food (or anything in bigger packs) there is less packaging. In particular, I have started buying big paper sacks of potatoes from the local farm shop rather than small plastic bags from the local super market. It also works out cheaper this way.
  • Opting for card/paper over plastic – for some products, it is possible to buy options packaged in paper and  card rather than plastic for example eggs, pasta, rice, mushrooms, puy lentils, icecream and fresh bread (instead of sliced)
  • Buying fruit and vegetables separately without plastic bags. The local farm shop and Morrisons have both proved good places to buy some fruit and veg not in plastic packaging including apples, carrots, bananas, kiwi, brocolli, peppers and tomatoes etc without plastic. I have also have also trialled an organic veg scheme with mixed sucess as some items were still in plastic bags.
  • Frozen items There are quite a few frozen items available in cardboard boxes rather than plastic. Particulary vegetarian and fish which I eat quite a lot of.
  • Reusable shopping bags I have been using my bag for life for some time but I am now being extra carefully to make sure that I always have it with me when shopping.
  • Packed lunches – not really any change here but I have always recycled plastic containers for pack lunches and filled reusable bottles with water to avoid buying packaged sandwiches and drinks. With the obvious benefits of saving money and being more healthy too.

The more tricky bits

  • Certain veg can be difficult buy plastic free. In particular cucumber, spinach, kale and lettuce. I have not completely gievn up on the idea of organic veg boxes and may try again to see if I can get a more plastic free option.
  • Meat– I have actually found it impossible to buy fresh meat plastic free. I have tried supermarkets, organic deliveries and the farm shop. All are wrapped in plastic. The local farm shop did however say that it should be ok to bring my own reusable plastic containers for them to put meat from the counter into. I hope to be able to try this out soon. In the mean time, I am buying meat in bulk to minimise packaging e.g. if I roast a whole chicken and slice for children’s sandwiches, there is much less packaging than individual packs of sliced meat.
  • Petrol- previously I have ordered all of my food in one supermarket delivery from one place. Trying to go plastic free has meant a lot more mixing and matching which ultimately means more driving around and more petrol and time.I hope to try and minimise this when possible by careful planning, bulk buying and popping into relevant shops when I am nearby.

I will update again soon with my progress on reducing single use plastics also on my no new clothes challenge in 2018.

Do you have any new years resolutions for 2018? If you are trying to reduce or cut out plastic, I would love to know how you are getting on and any tips or ideas!

With warmest wishes


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Wool and the Gang

I was recently contacted by Wool and the Gang to see if I would like to try out one of their kits. I have to admit, I have never actually knitted before, well not since I was about 7 and that was probably with a fair amount of help from my Grandma, who was an expert knitter.

But I was interested by the sustainable approach of this brand, that advocates fashion that is #MadeUnique by a community of knitters around the world, the complete opposite to the usual mass produced fashion that is sold all over the high street. Wool and the Gang is very much about slow fashion. A hand knitted piece of clothing can’t be rushed but needs to be crafted with care. Wool and the Gang hopes to bring back knitting as a means of production for generations to come. Their real wool is an eco friendly material as it is natural and biodegradable and they also work with fashion factories to repurpose their waste into yarn and reduce landfill.

When I look at their collection of stylish but timeless patterns and chunky yarns, I can completely accept that knitting is not just for Grannies. It is for anyone. Wool and the Gang refer to their knitters as Gangstas and recognise the benefits of knitting as going beyond just fashion. They declare that knitting is the new yoga redeucing stress and anxiety, increasing creativity and memory. Knitting can even be really sociable with a ‘gang culture’ of knitting parties around the world and a online movement sharing their knits on social media. For those that just haven’t got the time or incination to knit their own clothes, there is also the opportunity for them to support other Gangstas by buying their handmade pieces.

A little pressie from @woolandthegang ! Should keep me busy for a bit #slowfashion #madeunique

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Anyway, after much deliberation and browsing of the website, I decided to choose the Calvin top, a crochet top to make using 100% upcycled Billie Jean yarn. I have never crocheted before but the website informed me that this project was an ‘easy’ level. I am also reassured to see that the website has a number of video tutorials to help me get the hang of it.

I can’t wait to get started and look forward to sharing my finished top. Have you ever knitted or crocheted anything? or would you like to give it a go?

Getting started #woolandthegang

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You can check out the Wool and the Gang Website here

With warmest wishes


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Stylish Ways to Help Reduce Plastic Pollution

Backpack by Timberland Thread

As I mentioned in my last post, I have recently read a few articles that have really concerned me about the levels of plastic usage and pollution and its impact on both the environment and humans. Plastic packaging in particular has an incredibly short useful life most often being used just once, sometimes in the case of plastic bags for just a few minutes before being discarded but it persists in the environment for much longer and is having a catastrophic effect on the environment, particularly marine habitats.

If you would like to find out more, you can watch Plastic Oceans, the film here. It is a documentary which puts the scale of the problem into context, showing how in the center of the Pacific Ocean gyre, researchers found more plastic than plankton!

So I thought I would put together a list of ways that I can help to reduce plastic pollution and thought it was worth sharing for anyone else that shares my concerns and wants to do something about it.

Resuable shopping bags – never go out without them!

I have a reusable shopping bag but the biggest challenge is to ensure that I  always have it with me when I need it! This is one the simplest changes that you can make that will make a huge difference. Just get yourself a reusable bag that folds up small and take it with you in your handbag wherever you go. A backpack also makes a much more comfortable alternative to a plastic bag.

Don’t use drinking straws

Drinking straws aren’t essential, they aren’t even important, so just avoid using them. I the US they use 5 million straws a day. I don’t have the figure for the UK but whatever it is, reducing it will help reduce plastic pollution, another quick and pretty easy win for the environment.

Reusable boxes and bottles for packed lunches and drinks

Making your own lunch and taking your own drinks to work might seem like hard work but it will save you loads of money and allow you to make healthier choices. It will also cut down on the amount of plastic waste that you create. Ethical Superstore have a good range of containers for transporting your lunch in style.

The bathroom cupboard

Tiny plastic beads used in cosmetics, face washes and tooth pastes may help to exfoliate and leave you sparkling clean but they are also a big problem for the environment. Look out for ingredients like “polypropylene” or “polyethylene”! Switching from disposable razors to reusable razors will also cut down your plastic usage. If you want to buy beauty products from a brand that actively minimises its packaging, check out Lush, with the added benefit that their products smell amazing!

Plastic fashion

Manmade fabrics are also damaging to the environment. Look out on the labels for polyester, nylon and acrylic, all of which don’t break down and persist in the environment. The are also made using nonrenewable resources (oil) and an energy intensive processes. Natural alternatives such as organic cotton, hemp, silk, wool and tencel are all better alternatives for the environment.Second hand is also a great option as it doesn’t involve use of virgin materials. You can find lots of brandsselling natural and upcycled materials in my ethical fashion brand directory.

However if like me you find that sometimes you need clothes that are easy to wash and dry and don’t need ironing, there are some brands creating clothing from recycled polyester which is also a great alternative.

Timberland has recently teamed up with Thread for a collection of shoes and bags made from recycled bottles.

Patagonia Active Bra

By using PCR fleece and other fabrics made from recycled polyester, Patagonia has saved in excess of 86 million plastic bottles from landfill.

Pol

Polyester raincoat by SkunkFunk

Skunk Funk use recycled polyester in their clothes and use eo packagaing and tagging. Read  more here

M&S use polyester extracted from recycled plastic across their womenswear, lingerie, menswear, childrenswear and homeware ranges. Read more here.

There are probably lots more brands that are doing their bit for the environment by avoiding synthetic fabrics in their fashion, minimising waste and utilising recycled materials.If you know of any or have any tips for reducing plastic pollution, please comment below!

With warmest wishes


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Birdsong Wishlist

I usually try not to make wish lists as they kind of go against my policy of trying to ‘buy less’. However when I came across Birdsong whilst reading Style Bubble this weekend, I just couldn’t help myself. Not only are the clothes and accessories on the site a careful selection of beautiful and unique pieces, they also each have a lovely story to go with them. With slogans on their home page like ‘no sweatshops, no photoshop’, and ‘expect more from your wardrobe’, I kind of knew I was going to love everything about this online store!

Whilst there is generally quite a good selection of clothes and retailer out there that can be considered ethical and/or sustainable in some way, there are still some items that I still struggle with namely sports wear and work wear. So I will start with my Birdsong, favourites in these departments.

ethical sports bra

This sports bra is made by US lingerie brand, Naja which empowers single mothers by giving them work and creates amazing and eco friendly undies at the same time. I would defintiely recommend you check out the brands website to see their full awesomeness however the shipping from the US makes buying from them complicated so Birdsong is a better alternative. I spend a lot of time at fitness classes so whilst this bra is a little pricey, I don’t really object to the investment. It goes without saying that a sports bra this amazing should get seen and not hidden away, a good incentive for me to work hard on toning my abs and uncovering the six pack that I am sure is hiding away somewhere ready for the summer months.

Navy jacket

I like to look smart for work but generally feel a bit boring in a conventional suit and don’t really feel like me. I prefer to try and do my own take on smart so am always on the look out for ways to achieve this. This embroidered navy jacket is by a brand called Two Neighbours with the ethos of ‘peace through the eye of a needle’. It is made by women on both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, to provide a livelihood, money for fresh water and food for their families.

handknitted jumper

Handknitted clothes are the ultimate in slow fashion, they take time and dedication to make, sadly something I don’t have a lot of at the moment. I love that this jumper is made by Bradbury knitting an organisation which faciliates the creation of lovely woolies by elderley ladies at the Bradbury Centre in Kingston, and the Knit & Natter group in Enfield. This not only gives them a sense of purpose and wellbeing but also helps a worthy cause of their choice each month with revenue being donated to charities.

There are lots of other lovely clothes on the Birdsong website, but in the interests of quality over quantity and not buying lots of clothes that I don’t need, I am keeping my wish list short and sweet.

In case you are interested, I haven’t been paid in anyway or asked to write this post. It is my own opinion and something that I just couldn’t resist sharing!

What do you think of these pieces and the lovely empowering stories behind them?

With warmest wishes


Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.