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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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.

#FoundinOxfam

foundinoxfam

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

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

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

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

Oxf

Floral dress- originally from M&S

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

Oxfam dress

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

vest top

vest top

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

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

With warmest wishes


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Teaching Resources: Ethical and Sustainable Fashion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Eco Undies, Swim and Fitness Wear!

One of my favourite eco fashion discoveries of late is ColiCo on Etsy! If you want to treat yourself to some new underwear that is beautifully and ethically handmade in Portugal, I really recommend this store. There is a massive selection of lovely designs to suit all different shapes, sizes and tastes. You can even pick from an array of different patterned fabrics to have your choice made to order.

I also really love the ColieCo swimwear and fitness wear with a range of different bikini styles, swimming costumes and crop top/bras, again made to order in your choice of fabrics. If you aren’t a standard size (let’s face it, who is?) you can order different size tops and bottoms. I wasn’t quite sure on sizing so emailed the owner Nicole for some help which resulted in a perfectly fitting bikini for my hols in May. I chose the palm tree print in the style pictured below.

I also treated myself to some other pieces from the ColieCo store back in April and was really pleased with the quality of both the fabrics and manufacture. This Porto cut out sports bra (pictured below) was one of my purchases. It is perfect for wearing with leggings for super sweaty summer workouts, when it is really hot, particularly on hols. They even do a pair of leggings in the same fabric, if you like to coordinate your whole workout outfit.

It is made from RPET recycled polyester fabric which helps to minimise its environmental impact. Not only does it make a really nice difference to wear a unique style and print instead of the usual sportwear brands that I so many people wearing. I also feel much happier knowing where and how it has been made. In making items to order ColieCo’s production processes focus on minimising waste and saving energy.

Next on my wishlist is the Layla sport bra (below)

Layla sports bra

I would definitely recommend checking out the store as there are so many lovely styles, colours and patterns!

This post does contain affiliate links however all items bought from this store and reviewed /mentioned in this post were bought by myself and this post contains my honest opinion. You can read more about my affiliate links here.

With warmest wishes


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Fashion Revolution Week #Whomademyclothes

fashion revolution day
Necklace – People Tree
Dress- SkunkFunk
Leggings – Thought clothing
Shoes – Veja
Bag – Furla

Today marks the beginning of Fashion Revolution Week. 4 years ago, when the Rana Plaza building collapsed in Bangladesh killing 1138 people and injuring 2500, it became the worlds fourth biggest industrial disaster ever. But Rana Plaza was a big wake up call, any deaths in the name of fashion is devastating but this number of deaths is completely unacceptable. Since that awful day, Fashion Revolution has become a yearly event when a movement of people wanting change come together to raise awareness of the issues associated with the supply chain and to encouraging people to break their habit for buying fast fashion and to seek out more information about the clothes that they are buying. The #WhoMadeMyClothes campaign is a key part of fashion revolution week. It is a simple question that makes us think about the farmers, factory workers and artisans that are involved in making our clothes but more importantly to ask this question to brands, demanding more transparency and accountability.

I actively try to ensure that I buy all of my clothes from ethical and sustainable brands, so today I am going to ask and answer the question, #whomademyclothes?

SkunkFunk
Skunkfunk is one of my favourite ethical and sustainable brands. I think they have struck the perfect balance of fresh and timeless styles combined with great ethics and sustainable fabrics. Their clothes are made in factories in Portugal, China and India. Their website provides some great information about their makers, you can meet them here.

People Tree
When it comes to ethical fashion, People Tree are probably one of the best known brands. Their beautiful clothing makes the most of handbeading and traditional techniques to create beautiful clothing and accessories. People Tree clothing is labelled so you know where it has been made and who it has been made by. Their website also has a dedicated ‘meet the makers‘ page with lots of information about the fairtrade farmers, artisans and producers.

Veja
Veja is a transparent shoe brand that creates some amazing trainers. The trainers are made in Brazil in factories where workers are paid well above the legal minimum wage and where workers rights are well respected. You can find out more about their producers, factories and workers here.

Thought Clothing
Thought Clothing work in partnership with producers to share growth,share the same vision and create more jobs, protect wages, and develop skills as well as businesses. You can read more about their supply chain here.

Are you getting involved in Fashion Revolution Week?

With Warmest wishes


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The Leopard Dress

DSCN5757 (3)

Leopard dress – Johari (a social enterprise in Kenya), I can no longer find the online store but you can read more about this brand here.
Organic cotton leggings – Thought
Shoes – Veja 
Scarf – Oxfam, then upcycled

A few weeks ago, we went out for a weekend walk followed by dinner at the local carvery. I decided to combine comfy shoes by Veja and organic cotton leggings with something bright and colourful to cheer me up. I have had more than enough of dark dull winter clothes and am feeling more than ready for spring.

It makes me happy to make good use of the clothes that I have instead of buying new each season. This leopard dress is 3 or 4 years old and I still love the easy to wear cut, the bright pink colour and the leopard face on it. I have tryed to give it a fresh look by adding the scarf from Oxfam that I upcycled with orange pom pom trim a while back. I love combining pink and orange, the combination definitely reminds me of holidays to tropical destinations!

Whilst buying less is a good way of minimising my impact on the environment, I have recently seen a few articles about plastic pollution that is probably an even bigger environmental issue than fashion.  Whilst I already try and avoid using plastic bags, I am determined to try and cut down on the plastic that I use in other ways. According to Plastic Oceans, we use over 300 million tonnes of new plastic every year.  Half of this we use just once and usually for less than 12 minutes.  8 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in the ocean every year. I am planning a post about the ways to reduce plastic use, if you have any ideas that I could include, please do get in touch.

I hope that you are having a lovely weekend and enjoying the sunshine, if you have any. What are your favourite clothes that you have owned for years?

With warmest wishes


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