Outsider

I was recently contacted by the lovely Noorin of Outsider Fashion to see if I would like to pick out a piece to style from the Outsider website. I immediately accepted as I love the versatile and timeless style of Outsider just as much as I love the philosophy of the brand.

Noorin has also given me a fab offer to share with you! 25% off all orders over £100 with code PARTY until the 30th December.

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Dress – Outsider
Necklace – People Tree
Bag and boots as before.
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Dress – Outsider
Belt – Handmade
Bag – Junky Styling
Boots – as before

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Dress – Outsider
Necklace – MADE
Jeans – Oxfam
Shoes – Clarks
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Scarf – Oxfam (upcycled with pompom trim)
bag from Reclaim Bags (made of rubber from recycled inner tubes)
ankle boots (vegetable tanned leather) – Dream in Green.

I choose the amazing T shirt dress which is easily the most versatile item that I have in my wardrobe. I have styled it in a number of different ways and I am sure that there are many more ways that I will be wearing it in the future. As you can see it can be dressed up for the evening but also works for work and with jeans/ leggings for a more casual look. It is made from the softest organic cotton and bamboo and feels super comfy to wear.

Noorin is passionate about using sustainable fabrics in her designs as opposed to fibres made from oil or cotton grown use large amounts of water and dangerous pesticides. She uses a range of fabrics including organic cotton, Merino wool, hemp silk and bamboo. But she also firmly believes that eco and ethical fashion should look just like any other fashion and should not involve any compromise in terms of style or quality. Her aim to create beautiful garments with a thoughtful approach.

To quote the Outsider Fashion website

Is it possible to run a successful company and still have a heart?

Yes, with determination and strong beliefs anything is possible.

It just takes one OUTSIDER to make a difference.

Outsider clothes are also manufactured ethically with about 50% being created locally in the UK. They also make use of the great skills of people in Macedonia to tailor pieces using silk and wool from Italy, whilst supporting economic growth and democratic modernisation in the area. By manufacturing in India, Outsider also have the opportunity to make a difference in a developing country whilst creating high quality clothing using organic cotton, sourced locally.

Noorin has witnessed the impact of fashion after working for a number bigger brands. She spent several years researching sustainable fabrics and production processes and visiting factories in Pakistan, Cambodia and India before setting up Outsider. In addition to running a her brand which is worn by actresses including Emma Thompson and Elizabeth Moss plus Livia Firth of Ecoage, she also works with students to encourage the next generation of designers to create in a more sustainable and responsible way and is a member of the design group working on WRAP’s Sustainable Clothing Action Plan.

What do you think of Outsider? Have you checked out the website yet?

You can also read my interview on the Outsider blog.
With warmest wishes

#Secondhandfirst Week and an EFB Outfit Challenge

DSCN3441 2 #Secondhandfirst Week and an EFB Outfit Challenge

Coat- secondhand
Scarf – Oxfam (upcycled with pompom trim)
Jeggings – Oxfam
Top – SkunkFunk
Shoes – Clarks

Next week is #SecondhandFirst week, a event organised by the textile recycling charity TRAID to celebrate all things secondhand while committing to using more of our existing resources, rather than buying new. It will be marked by a week of events, workshops and initiatives between 17th – 23rd November in London.

But even if you don’t live in London, their are tonnes of ways that you can get involved, not least by wearing all or some secondhand clothes for the week and taking the #SecondhandFirst pledge to commit to buying a percentage of your clothes secondhand  and keeping clothes and other resources in circulation for longer by lending, swapping, mending and donating, visiting your local charity shop, running your own clothes swap.

Over at Ethical Fashion Bloggers we are also running a #secondhandfirst outfit challenge to create an outfit containing some or all secondhand clothes. You can see my outfit for the challenge above which features a pair of jeggings from Oxfam, my latest buy, a parka from Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair and a silk scarf from Oxfam which has been upcycled with a pompom trim. The chair I am sitting on is also made from recycled saris.

I will also be trying to wear as many secondhand pieces next week and will hopefully share them via Twitter and Instagram. Quite a large proportion of my wardrobe already consists of secondhand clothes but from now on, I am commiting to try source more second hand instead of new (when I need to buy something).

Will you be wearing anything secondhand next week? Do you have any great tips for buying secondhand clothes?

With warmest wishes

Marks and Spencers – Best of British Dress Review


DSCN3282 2 Marks and Spencers   Best of British Dress Review

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

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

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

label Marks and Spencers   Best of British Dress Review

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

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

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

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

With warmest wishes

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

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Traidcraft Paisley Shawl

DSCN3113 3 Traidcraft Paisley Shawl

Shawl – Traidcraft
Hat – Pachacuti

Necklace -Made
Jeans – Oxfam (originally M&S)
Fairtrade cotton vest top – M&S
Shoes – TOMS

Quite a few years ago I stopped shopping on the high street. I now do most of my clothes shopping online as it not only allows me access to a much greater  choice of ethical and sustainable clothes but it also allows me to find different clothes that are a little bit more unique and individual than you can often find on the high street. I don’t really follow trends any more but lovely finding really lovely pieces of clothing often in places I may not expect to find them.

Traidcraft was one of those places that I knew about but had never really considered buying clothes from. Traidcraft is a fairtrade organisation which I knew about for their coffee, delicious chocolate and gifts but I was surprised to find out that they actually sell quite a few clothes and accessories too. I was recently contacted to ask if I would like to recieve a piece from the website and was instantly drawn to this lovely paisley shawl. I have already had several compliments when I have worn it. I really love that I can find out exactly how and where it was made.

It was handwoven in India by Manjeen Handicrafts is an organisation with a vision to promote an alternative trade system in the form of Fair Trade at grassroot levels to bring structural changes in the contemporary mode of trade, and increase the choice among the marganilsed artisans and their families for an improved quality of life, to help educate their children.

The Traidcraft website also has some other great pieces from hand knitted and alpaca jumpers to organic cotton pieces, colourful bags, leather bags and bamboo socks. They also have some really unique handmade gifts if you are looking for nice Christmas pressies. I know the words ‘fairtrade’ don’t always make you think of something fashionable and stylish but I am not going to let such preconceptions get in the way of finding beautifully made and unique pieces of clothing.

What do you think? Do you love finding unique and individual pieces to wear? Doesn’t it make it even more satisfying to buy something that has been created with respect for people and the planet.

With warmest wishes

The People Tree Lulu Moon Print Dress

DSCN3111 4 The People Tree Lulu Moon Print Dress
Dress – People Tree
Shoes – Dream in Green
Necklace – Vintage

Ok so you probably know that I am a mahusive fan of People Tree! Well imagine my delight when they asked me to pick out a piece from their latest collection to try out. It took me a while to decide (bit like a child in a sweetie shop) but I finally managed to settle on the Lulu moon print dress.

I loved the flattering style and lovely print on the dress and knew it would work for work which is the time when I have the most of those got nothing to wear days. I also love the colour which is great as an equally slimming alternative to black.  It fitted perfectly and is probably one of my favourite dresses in my wardrobe.

Do you want to know a little more about the dress?

It is made from organic cotton which ensures a better deal for the farmers and a crop grown without the use of pesticides which are damaging to the environment and to the health of humans.

The dress was made by a social enterprise called Creative Hands which works with disadvantaged women of the slum communities of Mumbai, India giving them a sustainable livelihood and helping to empower them. The mission of Creative Handicrafts is to build sustainable communities where respect for people is held high and there is no differentiation based on caste, gender or religion. Hundreds of women who have learnt skills with Creative Hands have either started their own businesses or continued to work within Creative Hands co operatives with benefits including creches and daycare for their children.

If you haven’t already checked out the People Tree Autumn Winter collection, it is definitely worth a peep with some lovely prints as well as work wear and even lounge wear and PJs.

People Tree have kindly offered me a discount code to share with my readers just enter HEATH10 at checkout for 10% off.

I am looking forward to a relaxing weekend doing not too much at all. What will you be doing this weekend? Hope that you have a lovely time.

With warmest wishes

That Ruby Rocks Dress Again!

DSCN3054 2 That Ruby Rocks Dress Again!
Dress – Ruby Rocks
Leggings – People Tree
Jacket – M&S
Shoes – Melissa

Yesterday we went for a family lunch at a nearby Georgian Manor house. It was the perfect preparation for the new season of Downton Abbey (definitely something to cheer me up despite it being the end of the summer). Actually when I went wandering around the corridors to find the toilets, I found a row of servants bells just like in Downton Abbey! After lunch we just about had time for a wander around the beautifully kept gardens.

Despite the slightly cooler weather,I decided to get what will probably be the last wear of the year out of one of my favourite dresses by ethical brand Ruby Rocks. I love the bright tropical print beats plain old black for me any day! I added leggings and a bolero/ jacket to add a little warmth and cover up the open back.

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h2 That Ruby Rocks Dress Again!h3 That Ruby Rocks Dress Again!The weekend before, Mr S and I celebrated 15 years of marriage with a spa break at Charlton House in Somerset. I didn’t take any photos of my outfits as I was far too busy lounging around the spa in bath robes. It was an amazing place with delicious food, incredibly helpful staff and yet more interesting history.The hotel was previously owned by Mulberry owner Roger Saul. The decor inside was lovely and our room had a mezzanine with the bathroom upstairs. I would definitely recommend a trip if you are feeling in need of time to relax and be pampered.

ch1 That Ruby Rocks Dress Again!

 

ch2 That Ruby Rocks Dress Again!ch3 That Ruby Rocks Dress Again!
Apart from swanning around beautiful country houses and hotels, I have also been busy picking blackberries. I just can’t get enough of free food.My freezer is stuffed full but I prefer to eat them fresh if possible. I also made my own version of the blackberry tart in my Jamie Oliver Italian cookbook (I used ready vanilla flavoured quark instead of marscapone).

blackberries That Ruby Rocks Dress Again!
blackberry tart That Ruby Rocks Dress Again!
Are you feeling sad that the summer is coming to an end? or are you looking forward to an autumn of cooking up comfort food, cosying up to watch Downton Abbey?

With warmest wishes

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Ethical Fashion – My Holiday Packing List

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

096a Ethical Fashion   My Holiday Packing List
Dress – Monsoon

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Dress – Oxfam Fashion

192a Ethical Fashion   My Holiday Packing List
Earth Kind Originals

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Dress – Ruby Rocks

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

With warmest wishes

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Ethical Workwear – Summer

042 Ethical Workwear   Summer
Dress and Scarf – Braintree Clothing

I hope you are enjoying the summer! I am loving the gorgeous weather everything just seems to much happier. The warm weather can throw up a few challenges in finding ethical workwear though. The office can get quite warm despite the air conditioning and so I like to wear sleeveless dresses but also want to look reasonably smart and would feel uncomfortable in anything too skimpy.

I invested in this dress a few months back and it fits the bill perfectly as it is really lightweight and cool but also below the knee. I ordered a size up than I usually might wear for a really comfy loose fit. The dress is by Braintree Clothing, a brand which I love for their ability to create relaxed but pretty clothes with just a hint of boho. The SS14 collection features some of my favourite colours in soft comfy separates and unique prints. I love that the style of the dress will not really date so I will be able to wear it year after year on hot summer days in the office. If you are looking for affordable clothes that are ethical and sustainable, I would definitely recommend checking them out. The clothes are ethically made from hemp, bamboo and organic cotton, all of which feel great against the skin especially in hot weather.

Which are your favourite ethical brands for summer?

Things have been pretty busy lately, but I have managed to steal a bit of time to work on creating a new store for my blog which you can check out here. The store contains a large selection of ethically and sustainably made clothes including vintage, upcycled, organic, fair trade and vegan. I am hoping to make shopping a little easier for anyone who loves fashion but does not want to compromise on ethics. There are plenty of amazing brands out there but sometimes it can be a little difficult to know where to look. The store is a work in progress so I hope to continue developing and improving it. I would love to know what you think.

With warmest wishes

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Truck Festival

010a Truck Festival
Crochet Waistcoat – Marks and Spencers
Dress – Komodo
Baseball Boots – Ethletic

32a Truck Festival
Headdress – Little Wings
Dress – Skunk
Funk

On the weekend, we went to Truck Festival. It was the first time that we had been but it came highly recommended by some friends. We had a fantastic time and the pretty dramatic weather conditions didn’t spoil it one bit. On Friday night we had loads of rain but as we were tucked up in bed by that point, it didn’t bother us much except for the odd drip through the slightly leaky campervan roof.

i1 Truck Festival
On saturday, we saw Dodgy on the main stage (remember them, staying out for the summer!). The sky turned black and the wind suddenly picked up. Luckily the storm passed us by but not before I got the chance to take some pictures of the dramatic skies.
i4 Truck Festival
Once the skies had cleared and after much nagging by my daughter, I managed to put aside my fear of heights and for a ride on the ferris wheel. I will have to admit the views were pretty amazing even though I was terrified.

i3 Truck Festival
We chilled out with cocktails and watched the sunset and then headed over to check out Roots Manuva on the market stage. Finally I treated myself to a Truckers curry from the foodstall. It was amazing lentil dahl, chappatti and 2 freshly cooked onion bhajis for a fiver!

Overall I was pretty impressed with Truck Festival. It was really chilled out and whilst I hadn’t heard of many of the bands playing, I enjoyed listening to the music anyway. All of the food stalls were run by local charities organisations like Rotary so not only was the food great value but buying the food also meant you were helping a good cause. The festival was quite small and the campervan field wasn’t too packed giving us plenty of space. The tickets are pretty reasonabley priced too. Dare I say it, we had a trucking good time!

i6 Truck Festival
I love a festival as it gives me the chance to wear some of my more unusual clothes that I don’t often get the chance to wear at home. I treated myself to a necklace from ethical brand Made UK in the ASOS sale which I wore with a fairtrade cotton vest top from good old M & S with some cut off jeans. Actually I don’t want to keep this just for festivals though, I wonder whether it is possible to get away with neon for work!
i5 Truck Festival

Anyway we are home and back to work feeling pretty tired after such a busy weekend. Roll on next weekend!

What have you been up to? Have you been to any good festivals this year?

With warmest wishes

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A People Tree Dress for Work

001 A People Tree Dress for Work
I have blogged before about how I love People Tree dresses for work and the Evette Green Tree Dress (which also features in my new blog store!) is one which I am definitely getting plenty of wear out of this year. I bought it a month or so ago when I found that the temperature in the office was getting too much for me and I just needed something cool and comfy to wear that also looks quite smart. I love the print, I love the length and I love the collar, but most of all I love the fact that it is made from jersey so is lovely to wear. Comfort has to be my one of my main priorities these days or life just becomes to hard work and I end up a flustered mess.

I have had the shoes for about 10 years, they were from a high street shop that I would never step foot in these days as the quality is so bad and the ethics questionable but actually these have lasted me pretty well and it would certainly be wasteful to throwout a perfectly good pair of shoes.

The last few weeks have been relatively quiet, although I still don’t feel like I have had time to do anything much. I have been trying my best to get organised ready for phase 2 of my busiest summer ever!

I hope that you are having a fabulous summer. What are your favourite outfits for the warmer weather?

If you have been posting about any festivals,I would love to read about them. Also I am in desparate need of outfit inspiration, please link in the comments section so that I can check out your posts and outfits.

With warmest wishes