Ethical Christmas Gift Guide

It is lovely to buy ethcial christmas gifts for friends and family. Not only will they show them how much you care but will also help to have a postive impact on peoples lives around the world and help to minimise your impact on the environment. Christmas can be a time when a huge amount of waste is created but by choosing your presents with care, you can ensure that they are cherished for a long time to come and don’t end up in landfill by the new year! Here are few of my favourite ethical gift ideas for this year that I think my family and friends would love to recieve.

sustainable scarf

Check Scarf by Thought

This cosy and colourful scarf by sustainable and ethical fashion brand is perfect for brightening up a winter outfit. It is made from a supersoft material made from recycled plastic bottles and comes packaged in a lovely gift box.

Toms slipper

Multi-coloured Tassel Mule Slipper by TOMS

These slippers strike just the right balance between style and comfort with a colourful boho feel and cosy faux shearling lining. TOMS give away £1 for every £3 profit that they make, providing shoes and grants to local partners around the world trying to create change by ensuring that people are physically safe, mentally healthy and given equal access to opportunity.

plastic free beauty products

Beauty Kitchen Plastic Free Gift Set

Christmas bath sets often contain lots of plastic packaging which is not good for the environment. This lovely gift set by Beauty kitchen features bars not bottles helping to cut down on disposable palstics. It also filled with natural skin and haircare products made in the UK that are both kind to you and the planet, and that will leave your skin and hair squeaky clean and super hydrated.

rock and roll scarf

Rock and roll scarf by Saint + Sofia

Saint + Sofia are a stylish brand proving that their is nothing fuddy duddy about sustainable fashion. This limited edition scarf is made from quality yarns, alpaca and wool. It is designed in London and made in Italy with care taken to ensure minimal environmental impact.

fairtrade chocolate

Sourced by Oxfam

The Oxfam online shop is not just a great place to buy second hand clothes, books and homewares but it also has a great selection for ethically sourced products to buy including Fairtrade chocolate, reusable bottles and cups and stationery, all of which make great ethical christmas presents.

Timberland Tee shirt

Timberland Tee

This organic cotton t-shirt by sustainable boot brand Timberland is like a ray of sunshine on a dark winters day. It is cropped with a relaxed fit making it perfect for layering with jumpers. Choosing organic cotton over conventional cotton is better for the farmers and better for the environment and by shopping with Timberland you are helping them in their goal of planting 50 million trees by 2025.

bamboo razor

Bamboo platic free safety razor

For the man in your life this plastic free essential is a great way to cut down on disposable plastics that are choking the planet. A bamboo razor made with a minimal eco footprint under fair conditions. What’s not to love about this useful stocking filler?

bamboo socks

Bamboo Socks by Thought

Socks may be a little cliche as a Christmas present but let’s face it for those difficult to buy for people, at least they are useful! Thought have a great selection of socks in fun designs made from sustainable fabrics like bamboo and organic cotton making them breathable and long lasting for happy feet. They also have some great little gift boxes.

vegan biker jacket

Vegan Biker Jacket by Dauntless

Biker jackets don’t have to be leather to be stylish. This soft and sustainable baby blue biker jacket would make an amazing present for a vegan friend.

Recycled Polyester Clothes

Finnisterre natural History board shorts

Vintage top – ASOS Marketplace
Shorts – Finnisterre

I have seen recycled polyester clothing appearing more and more particularly for sports and outdoor wear brands. For those of us that have an active lifestyle and are committed to shopping sustainably, it seems like god send but I wanted to write a post to look into it a bit further and how good for the planet, it really is. As I see it, here are some of the key pro’s and con’s to recycled plastic clothing.

Pro’s

  • Comfortable to wear, practical and ideal for sports and outdoor activities
  • Long lasting and durable
  • Requires less energy to wash and dry
  • Does not requires as much energy and non renewable resourses to make as virgin polyester
  • Helps save post consumer waste (plastics) from landfill
  • Can be recycled at end of its useful life (closed loop)
  • Nets collected from sea to create clothing by some brands can help to clean up the oceans

Con’s

  • May shed fibres and enter the water table
  • Energy still required to recycle into a usable fabric
  • Could lead to complacency over use of single use plastics
  • Still has an issue at end of life if not recycled or disposed of correctly

I definitely welcome the additional choice available and clothes made which help me to live my life the way that I want to live it. Each sustainable choice has its pros and cons and there are certainly trade offs to be made. I think it is  worth investing in a few carefully chosen pieces of clothing that will last me for ages and are made from recycled Polyester however buying nothing and wearing what you already have always has to be the most sustainable choice followed by shopping second hand.

The shorts in the above outfit are made from recycled polyester using post consumer waste from my favourite Cornish sustainable brand Finnisterre and are part of a Natural History Museum Collaboration featuring the hand-selected illustrations from the work of pioneering 17th century naturalist Maria Sibylla Merian.As these fabrics can be recycled repeatedly, they are helping to close the loop on plastic production.

What do you think? Is recycled polyester clothing a good sustainable option?
With warmest wishes

Ethical Fashion and Life in Lock Down

biker style

Denim waistcoat – Oxfam fashion
Organic cotton t shirt – A question of
Organic cotton jeans – Weekday
Necklace – Made UK

Patagonia hat

Cap – Patagonia
Vintage jacket – Married to the Sea (Newquay)
Trousers – Nomads

It has only been a little while since I last posted, but so much has changed since then. The corona virus crisis has being a game changer for so many different people in so many different ways. With so many people now in lockdown, we are having to adapt to a completely different lifestyle.

For me things are not too bad. I have my closest family around me and plenty to keep me occupied. I am making good use of the extra time that I have by trying to so some of the things that I usually don’t have time for.

Here are some of the things that I am doing to stay happy and healthy:

  • Healthy eating – with plenty of time on my hands, I am trying to cook from scratch with plenty of fruit and veg.
  • Exercise – I usually go to 8-10 fitness classes a week which I really miss. Instead I am doing online versions of Les Mills body pump, combat,balance and grit.
  • Fresh air and sunshine – I am very lucky to have a  garden to sit in when the sun is out.
  • Living in the moment – I am trying not to think too far ahead or worry about what the future holds. I am just taking each day as it comes.
  • Getting creative– I don’t usually have time to be creative so I am making the most of the opportunity to do some art and painting.
  • Sticking to routines – I am trying to to bed at my usual time and wake up at near my usual time. This stops me getting tired and sad.
  • Limiting alcohol – I have decided to limit my alcohol intake at the moment as otherwise I could easily fall into bad habits. I definitely don’t need hangzeity at the moment. This doesn’t include a glass or two on Easter weekend and my birthday to celebrate.
  • Ticking off my ‘to do list’ – As a full time working mum, I spend a lot of time thinking about all the things that need doing and I never have time to do. I am making the most of my time on furlough from work to tick off at least one thing a day. This not only gives me a sense of achievement but also means once lockdown is over, I can live life to the full without feeling guilty about chores that need doing.
  • Enjoying time with my family – usually we are all so busy, we are like ships passing in the night. I am really enjoying cooking, watching films and playing games together.
  • Connecting with friends and family on Skype – I miss seeing my friends and family but I am making the most of technology to keep in touch as much as possible.
  • Helping others – I’m not doing as much as some people to help but trying to get shopping and prescriptions for neighbours and family to make sure they don’t need to leave their houses.
  • Making some ‘me time’ – all being in the house together can get exhausting at times and so I am also making quiet time for myself, usually reading my book in bed or the garden.
  • Feeling grateful – after being very ill about 3 weeks ago and now being recovered, I feel very grateful for my health and also to have my immediate family safe and close.
  • Finding time to do some blogging and finally getting time to post these outfits! You can check out my Instagram here for more outfits and food posts.

I am hoping that over the next few weeks I will find time to do some updates to my ethical fashion directory, something that I have been meaning to do for ages. So watch this space!

How are you spending your time in lockdown?  What are you doing to stay happy and healthy?

Stay home and stay safe!

With warmest wishes

Sustainability at Gant

Sponsored post

Durability and longevity have always been part of fashion brand, Gant’s DNA. Since 1949, GANT has designed timeless pieces made to last, made from 89% natural materials and inspired by classics that never go out of style.This is really important to me as I have always considered buying clothes that you plan to keep forever as one of the most important parts of shopping sustainably. But I was also really pleased to hear that Gant are planning to take the sustainability of their brand to the next level with to some ambitious commitments!

Their goals are clear, well set out and aiming high:

2020 – nearly 80% of GANT’s collections will be sustainably sourced and labeled
2022 – GANT´s cotton will be 100% sustainably sourced
2025 – GANT will reduce its water use in manufacturing by 50%
2025 – GANT’s key materials will be 100% sustainably sourced
2030 – GANT will reduce its climate footprint by 30% throughout all operations

But sustainability isn’t just about fashion brands making changes to the way they work. It’s a 2 way street and consumers need to make changes too. Gant’s global initiative encourages their customers to take joint responsibility for the impact of their clothing on the world with their 7 rules. These 7 rules make complete sense to me, as I am sure they will do to the many other sustainable fashionistas out there.

I love that Gant is turning the traditional model of fast fashion marketing on its head. Instead of encouraging consumers to buy more and more, they help to ensure that a piece of Gant clothing will only be bought when neccessary and will go on for many years to come and reach its full potential. This is the only way to be truly sustainable with your fashion. So here are their 7 rules…

  1. Refresh – tips and tools will be provided to keep clothing in tip top condition
  2. Repair – lifelong repairs will be offered for jeans made in 2020
  3. Reuse – Gant Archive pieces have been auctioned to raise money for WaterAid
  4. Rent – will be available in selected stores from May
  5. Regive – donations will be made to Water Aid
  6. Remake – encouraging customers to see forgotton pieces in a new light
  7. Recycle – this will be available in selected stores from November

Find out more about Sustainability at Gant

It would be great to see some other brands following suit and commiting to be sustainable, giving consumers the opportunity to make the right choice!

What do you think?

With warmest wishes

Goodbye 2019, Hello 2020!

vintage poncho

Vintage poncho – Etsy
Jeans – Cheap Monday
Shoes – Po-Zu

charity shop jacket

Top and Jacket – charity shop
Trousers – M&S
Shoes – Toms

oxfam dress

Dress – Oxfam
Denim jacket – swapped many years ago
Trainers – Veja

Lucy and Yak dungarees

Dungarees – Lucy and Yak (a Christmas present)
Vest top – charity shop

Top – swapped many years ago
Trousers – Nomads clothing
Boots – Timberland (A Christmas present)

2019 had had its ups and downs but overall it has been a good year for me. Here are a few outfit pictures from the later half of 2019 that I haven’t had the chance to post yet.

No New Clothes for a Year

I have completed another no new clothes for a year challenge and whilst I may have caved in and bought something new at least once and have had some dungarees and boots as Chriistnas presents, it has been really useful in reminding me that I really don’t need anything new and I already have plenty in my wardrobe to wear. I can also find lots of lovely items second hand clothes in charity shops and vintage shops and websites. Whilst I am not going to be doing the challenge again this year, I am confident that I have overcome the habit of shopping for the sake of it for now at least and will be continuing to buy as little as possible and look for second hand first in 2020. Of course I will occasionally need to buy something new and for that I will be sticking with ethical and sustainable brands (as always).

Reduction of Single Use Plastics

As far as my no single use plastics pledge is going, I am not so sure ho things are going! I am still buying my fruit and veg plastic free from the market but I have had to abandon the milk bottle delivery due to the expense and have really struggled to make as many positive changes as I had hoped. I couldn’t get on with the conditioner bars for my hair as it became so dry and knotted, unfortunatley and have reverted back to bottles. Generally I do try and buy products with less packaging but I am a very long way from going single use plastic free. I am ready to start again in 2020 but I am going to need a bit of a rethink about the areas where I can make the most difference to our plastic usage. I also hope that supermarkets and companies are goig to start to offer more options to help and encourage consumers to go plastic free.

For 2020, I am not making new years resolutions as such, but want to try and find ways to make more time for doing what I enjoy. I want to surf more and improve lots. I already have some trips and weekends planned and I am sure there will be lots more as the year progresses.

I also got a skateboard/ longboard for Christmas and I love it. I want to take up yoga in additon to the 10 other exercise classes I do each week. This may seem like a lot but it makes sense to do what makes me happy, which is being active.

What are your favourite memories of 2019 and plans for 2020?

With warmest wishes

Sustainable and Ethical Swimwear

With a surf holiday coming up soon and my old swimwear pretty much worn out from repeated wear and exposure to chlorine, saltwater and lots of sunshine, I have decided to invest in some new sustainable and ethical swimwear.

In the past I have found it quite difficult to find sustainable and ethical swimwear but lately I have been quite surprised by the number of sustaianble and ethical swimwear options particularly those which upcycle plastic nets that have been found in the oceans. Econyl in particular seems to be growing in popularity for swimwear. If you would like to find out more about this innovative and sustainable fabric, you can do so here.

Fourth Element

Fourth element is my latest discovery and I liked the brand so much that I have invested in 2 new bikinis from Fourth Element for my holiday. Apart from their swimwear being made from 78% recycled materials including post consumer waste like plastic bottles and fishing nets recovered from the oceans, it has also been designed with scuba divers in mind making it comfortable and practical fro wearing under a wetsuit. Perfect for surfing! The packaging is also compostable.

Ruby Moon ethical swimwear

Ruby Moon

Ruby Moon are a Brighton based Eco swimwear brand with a small but lovely collection of multi tasking pieces as part of their GymToSwim® collection. I love this idea for getting the most out of your clothing. The sports fit is also comfy and practical. Sustainability wise, their swimwear is again made from fabric created using reclaimed fishing nets and plastic waste.

Finnesterre eco swimwear

Finnesterre

I have posted about Finnesterre in a previous post about ethical surfwear. They have a small but well designed collection of swimwear and wetsuits. Again created from sustainable fabric made from plastic waste. They also donate 10% of profits from their True North swimwear collection to Surfers Against Sewage.

Colieco bikini

Colie eco

Colie Eco are predominantly a lingerie brand but also make beautiful handmade swimwear. I already have a bikini by Colie eco and can definitely vouch for the quality of their product. Each piece is handmade to order in a homebased studio in Portugal and each style is available in a choice of fabrics for a bright and individual style on the beach.

Zoggs

Just today, I also noticed a display of Zoggs Ecolast swimwear which is also made from  from recycled plastics that is made to last a lifetime.This swimwear looks particularly good for those that swim in a swimming pool regularly.

 

Have you seen any other sustainable or ethical swimwear brands that you love? If so i’d love to hear about them!

With warmest wishes

p.s this post contains some affiliate links

Goodbye 2018, Hello 2019

nye charity shop outfit

New Years Eve Oufit

Dress – Oxfam
Necklace – Sourced by Oxfam
Shoes – Veja
Bag – Reclaim

It has been lovely to have a whole 10 days off work over the Christmas break allowing time to recharge the batteries, reflect on 2018 and make plans for 2019. We spent Christmas in Cornwall walking, surfing, eating and drinking way too much and spending time with family. For New Years Eve this year, we are opting for a quiet night with a few drinks in town.

Looking back at 2018

2018 has been another super busy year. I am slowly learning that, that is the way I like it and that list of stuff that just never gets done because I don’t have time, probably just isn’t that important. I think I am perfecting the skill of juggling and prioritising the important stuff so who cares about the rest.

2018 was the year that I learned to surf and swapped foreign holidays for Cornwall, that I took the plunge and left a job that I loved to try something else with full time job, instead of waiting it out for the almost certain prospect of redundancy (so glad that I did!)

Plastic free

2018 was also very much about the environment for me. David Attenborough has helped to bring the issue of plastic pollution into the mainstream and at the beginning of 2018 with publicity around his Blue Planet 2 series I started to work towards becoming single use plastic free. I am not sure I realised how difficult it would be. Looking back over the year, I have made some really positive changes to our life (you can read my latest update here) but we still have a long way to go. Looking at the large amount of waste created over Christmas (albeit much less than previous years) has renewed my motivation to keep making small changes which all add up to a big difference. I will be sharing more of these soon.

No new clothes for a year

Another big environmental issue that has also been highlighted in 2018 was fast fashion with Stacey Dooley’s documentary Fashion’s Dirty Secrets presneting the issue in a fresh and compelling way. Whilst I have not bought fast fashion for many years now, in 2018 I took part in the ‘no new clothes for a year’ challenge to further reduce my consumption and help to show that it is possible to live quite happily without buying new clothes. In complete honesty, I didn’t quite manage the challenge this time. I did invest in a few new clothes by ethical and sustainable brands including shoes and fitness clothing that whilst not completely essential will be worn continually. Despite this I think the challenge has really helped me to carefully consider and reduce my consumption of clothes this year. For 2019, I have decided to keep a clothes log of any new clothes bought including the reasons and ethical credentials. I hope that this will help me to be more mindful of my purchases.

Plans for 2019

My big focuses for 2019 will be quality time with family and friends, living in the moment, improving my surfing, continuing to reduce the impact of my clothing on the environment and reduce our single use plastic consumption, whilst hopefully inspiring others to the same with this blog and social media.

Happy new year! What are your highlights of 2018 and plans for 2019?

With warmest wishes

Sustainable Fitness Clothing

ethical fitness wear

Top and leggings – Teeki
Trainers – Veja

This post is a collaboration with The Sports Edit.

The search for sustainable fitness clothing

I have been wanting to write a post about sustainable fitness clothing for quite a while! The truth is I have put it off because I have struggled to find any fitness clothes that really work for me and tick the ethical an sustainable boxes. Fitness and workouts are a really important part of my life. On an average week I do between 8 and 10 classes including a combination of Body combat, my favourite along with Grit, Body Pump and body balance. If I had time to do more I definitely would!

I spend a lot of time in fitness wear and I really need high peformance clothing that washes and dries quickly, is flattering, comfortable and easy to wear leaving me confident to get on with my routine. Typically lycra and polyester are perfect for fitness clothing but not so great for the environment.

recycled plastic yoga wear

An exciting collaboration

So I was really excited to be asked by The Sports Edit to collaborate with them to share my thoughts on some of the ethical and sustainable brands that they stock. Teeki is just what I have been looking for as it combines high performance and a flattering style with sustainability and ethics. Teeki yoga wear is handmade from recycled plastic bottles in the US. Whilst Teeki is described as a yoga brand, I am pretty sure that I won’t just be keeping this top and trousers just for yoga, I think they could work well for other classes too. I love that Teeki has helped to get me out of a style rut with my fitness clothing which has resulted in me wearing black all of the time. They have a fantastic selection of fun pattered leggings and shorts.

Plastic in the ocean

Plastic in the environment and the ocean is a big thing. Plasticoceans.org have some pretty shocking facts. Over 500 million plastic bottles are used every year. Many of which will end up in our oceans. But its not just bottles and plastic bags that are an issue, its clothing too. With fast disposable fashion made from synthetic materials such as polyester, there is a growing amount of clothing waste containing particles which can also be washed into waterways, rivers and eventually the sea.  Sir David Attenborough told us during Blue Planet 2 that “we dump eight million tonnes of plastic into the sea every year”. It’s choking our seas, killing and harming marine life.

As you will know if you regularly visit my blog, I am attempting to drastically reduce my use of single use plastics if not completely stop using them. It makes sense that if I really have to buy clothing that is made from synthetic fabrics, that I choose an option not made from virgin fabrics. This helps to find a use for old single use plastics such as plastic bottles helping to prevent it finding its way into landfil and oceans. Whilst I am well aware that buying nothing is usually the most ecofriendly choice, there are times when this isn’t always an option or at least would be very impractical.

ethical fitness clothing

Ethical Sports Shoes

Veja are most defintely one of my favourite brands of trainer. The styles are practical and comfortable but also super stylish. The two pairs that I already own are by far the most worn shoes in my wardrobe. I was excited to be able to try out this amazing gold pair which are not only great for the journey to and from yoga classes but also for a night (I really can’t do heels very often these days!). Veja are an environmentally responsible and transparent brand that use a variety of ecologically friendly materials  in their trainers including wild fairtrade rubber from the Amazonian Rain Forest and organic cotton and leather tanned with non toxic methods. The great thing about getting your Veja trainers from The Sports Edit is that they are UK based you can avoid the hassle and difficult of international shipping that you would get with buying direct.

Reusable water bottles

A final but very important accessoryfor every single work out that I do is my reusable water bottle. I keep this in my kitbag permanently and refill as needed to avoid buying plastic bottles of water. Keeping hydrated is really important for workouts and I prefer to use a water bottle that is free of nasty plastic chemicals and keeps my water cool helping me to keep cool. S’Well are a great brand (also stocked at The Sports Edit). They are light weight and made of stainless steel, available in some very stylish designs and also BPA free. You can check out the full range here.

Reasons to train

Finally I just wanted share with you some of the reasons I love fitness and excercise classes so much.

  • Happiness – I can’t explain it but I always feel happy after a class
  • Energy – if I have to miss out on classes, I don’t feel as energised
  • Confidence – I feel much stronger and more confident when I have been training
  • Friends – I have made so many friends through my fitness classes

Losing weight or becoming thinner has never been one of my exercise goals. I definitely take part for enjoyment and don’t see it as a chore in anyway.

I would definitely recommend giving them a go! Do you do any fitness classes? Have you ever considered planet friendly fitness wear instead of the obvious big name fitness brands? I ‘d love to know your thoughts!

With warmest wishes

Green Friday and Sustainable, Ethical Christmas Shopping

green friday Oxfam dress

Workwear outfit
Dress – Oxfam Online
Boots – Toms
Bag – What Daisy did (upcycled leather)

This year as in previous years I ignored Black Friday in favour of Green Friday which is basically no different to any other Friday.

I have started to think about Christmas shopping but I already know what I want to get so have no interest in tempting myself to buy any more with discounts.

I am trying to scale back Christmas this year buying a lot less. With the presents that I do buy, I am trying to buy ethical, sustainable, minimal packaging and from local small businesses. I want Christmas to be about the experiences more than the presents so I am hoping we can have lots of fun times with family and friends instead of accumalating more stuff that we don’t really need. That said, I couldn’t not buy a little something for my family.

Here are some of the places that I have shopped online for Christmas presents.

  • Seasalt Cornwall – some lovely accessories including scarves and socks
  • Rapanui – organic cotton t shirts and hoodies as well as lots of other surf inspired clothing
  • Ethical Superstore – a fantastic range of home wear, clothing, accessories, food, you name it!
  • Luva Huva – beautiful lingerie and night wear
  • Etsy – so many beautifully handmade items!

I am also venturing out to the Christmas market in Bath in the hope of finding some nice handmade and unique gifts and locally made foods if I can cope with the hoards of people. I will let you know how I get on!

The picture above is my work outfit on Friday. I used to think dressing ethically and sustainably for work was difficult but I have now completely changed my mind. Oxfam online shop is my first port of call for amazing shift dresses. Which means I have been able to top up my work dresses even though I am on the non new clothes for a year challenge.

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? where will you be shopping?


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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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