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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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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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.

Star Wars™ Falcon Sneakers by Po-Zu

Star wars sneakers by Po-Zu

Dress – SkunkFunk
Denin waistcoat – Oxfam (Karen Millen)
Bag – Reclaim (made from recycled rubber inner tubes)
Shoes – Po-Zu

Sneakers or daps as I like to call them have recently become my footwear of choice. They are comfy and practical and a great way to dress down a dress for a casual outfit. My last pair of daps has been quite literally worn to the end having been glued back together 2 or 3 times. So I was pretty excited when Po-Zu got in touch and asked whether I would like to review some from their iconic Star Wars™ collection.

If truth be told, I am not  the world’s biggest Star wars fan, although I will have to admit the design does make me feel a bit nostalgic and the arrival of my new daps has inspired me to watch the films with the children perhaps on a rainy afternoon . I do reallly love the line drawing and the detail on these trainers and the black and white colours make them so perfect for wearing with so many of my clothes. I also love the idea of the Star Wars™ designs as something a bit different and unique which won’t go out of fashion as so many other styles do.

Po-Zu Daps

Po-Zu Shoe box

Po-Zu are a favourite ethical brand of mine, you may have spotted me wearing my Po-Zu boots that I have had for at least 5 years. Po-Zu are all about transparency, minimising environmental impact and ethical manufacture. These sneakers were hand made in Sri Lanka with organic cotton and fair trade natural soles, helping to improve the lives of the people making them in Southern Sri Lanka.

Shoes have recently become more of a commodity, somehing that people buy cheaply and throw away quickly. The quest for cheaper and faster production has also encouraged the exploitation of vulnerable workers through long hours, low pay and dangerous working conditions. Po-Zu are bucking this trend with shoes that are created to last and with comfort (as well as style) in mind at the same time respecting traditonal craft communities.

They also feature a unique coconut fibre foot-mattress that moulds to the shape of your foot. I can vouch for the fact that these really are super comfy as are the boots that I already own making them perfect for me as I walk a lot.

I like to know about where, how and who has made my shoes and Po-Zu makes this information easy to find.You can see more on the video below.

There are also some other pretty cute designs in the Star Wars™ collection. For autumn/ winter I am loving the Rey.

Rey boot

And of course Po-Zu also have a pretty fantastic collection of non Star Wars shoes. These are definitely on my wish list.

What do you think of the Star Wars collection by Po-Zu? Are you a Star Wars fan?

With warmest wishes


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Charity Shop Dress – Oxfam

Oxfam dress and jacket

Dress – Oxfam
Denim jacket – a clothes swap
Shoes – Swedish Hasbeens
Necklace (Fair Trade) – Ethical Superstore

Oxfam dress

With spring finally here and some lovely warm weather, I felt the need to brighten up my wardrobe a little bit. Winter feels like it has been pretty dull nad dark and I was getting a definite craving for some colour. As I am trying to complete a no new clothes challenge during 2018, Oxfam was the perfect solution allowing me to refresh my wardrobe whilst avoiding something new and also recycling something old and providing a charitable donation.

I have probably raved about Oxfam before in the past but never mind I am going to do so again. Shopping online with Oxfam is perfect for someone like myself that wants to reduce their environmental footprint but doesn’t have time to trawl the charity shops. I find the Oxfam website really quick and easy to search and find what I want with lots of different filters to choose from including colour, size and brand. Oxfam also have a returns policy which is great if you are worried about whether an item will fit.

I have also treated myself to a few other items from Oxfam recently incluisng a spotty dress for work and some vest tops to wear with jeans.Generally the challenge is going well and I have managed to stick to it completely up until now. I have however relaxed it a little bit wih regard to birthday presents, it would be a bit awkward and rude not to accept them!

The jacket that I am wearing is one of my favourites and came from a clothes swap through a clothes swap website that I used to run quite a few years ago. The shoes and necklaces were bought a few years ago and I am pleased to say have had lots of wear.

In other news, I have been pretty busy since I last posted. I have taken up a new hobby, surfing and also competed a refresher course for an old hobby, diving. I have been spending quite a bit of time in Cornwall and am loving being outdoors walking, surfing and diving.

I will be posting another update on my single use plastics soon. I have been finding this particularly challenging but have made some really postive steps forward which I can’t wait to share.

I hope you are enjoying the warmer weather. Do you feel the need to wear brighter clothes as we move into spring and summer?

With warmest wishes


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Sunday Brunch Outfit

Sunday Brunch Outfit

Dress – Nancy Dee
Boots – TOMS

Last Sunday, me and Mr S had a rare opportunity for some time together so we popped into town for some Sunday brunch accompanies by a bottle of prosecco. I wore the new dress that I got for Christmas and my last new piece of clothing before starting on the no new clothes for a year challenge. Nancy Dee is one of my favourite ethical retailers, ticking all of the boxes of comfortable, flattering, timeless styles, ethically made in the UK, minimal waste and made from sustainable fabrics including organic cotton and modal. Although a bit higher price than some of the high street retailers, I look at Nancy Dee pieces as a great investment. I already have quite a few dresses and organic cotton jersey jackets that I wear all the time.

The No New Clothes for a Year Challenge Update

This time around (I did the challenge a few years back), I am hoping the challenge is going to be fairly straight forward. I think my clothes buying habits have really changed over the last 5 – 10 years. When I do buy new clothes I spend a bit more and go for items that will last in terms of quality and style. I think this has paid off as I now don’t often need to buy new clothes, my wardrobe is packedwith clothes that I never want to throw away. If I do need something, I usually find it is quite easy to find work wear or perhaps a new party dress as a treat from Oxfam online. I also treat myself to the ocassional vintage piece when I am looking for something a bit different.

Oxfam online  has become a real go to for me. As much as I love trawling the charity shops, these days, I am at work all week and just don’t have the time to get into town on the weekends. It offers a massive selection of clothes and you can quickly zone in on exactly what you are looking for using filters which include size, colour and brand. My daughter even managed to find a tweed jacket to create her Doctor Who, World Book Day outfit instead of opting for the fast fashion fancy dress alternative. Didn’t know Doctor who was a book? no me neither!

No Single Use Plastics Update

I will be honest I have had good weeks and bad weeks so far with this challenge. It has taken quite a bit of time researching to try and find usable alternatives to plastic covered products. I ams till very much focussing on food at the moment as I still have so much more to do with this. I am finding some of the changes that I am making e.g. making soup, cakes and visiting different shops really time consuming and sometimes I just haven’t had the time and have had to resort to a piece of plastic packed brocolli or ready made cakes and biscuits for the children.

I have however made one fantastic discovery, the local market on a Saturday morning. There is a fruit and vegtable stall which sells bowls of fruit and veg for a pound each. This works out pretty cheap compare to what I pay in the supermarket and the friendly chap that runs the satll is more than happy tipping the bowls straight into my reusable bag making it a lot quicking than buying individual fruit items in a supermarket. There is also a stall selling fresh bread which they will put in a paper bag for me.

How is 2018 going for you so far? have you taken on any challenges?

With warmest wishes


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