Thrify Thursday – Buying Less

DSCN4104 2 Thrify Thursday   Buying Less
Dress – Cardigan
Orla Kiely Print Dress
Shoes – Swedish Hasbeens

A new season often can mean new clothes or a whole wardrobe revamp to keep up with the latest fashion. Not for me! This year I have committed to buying no new clothes for a year. Which I will have to say has been surprisingly easy, so far. Although I have had some pressies, which I haven’t counted in the challenge.

Now the weather has warmed up a bit (although hopefully it still has a way to go) I have switched around my summer and winter wardrobes. The dress and cardigan are by my favourite ethical fashion brand People Tree and the shoes by Swedish Hasbeens.You may recognise them as they have been featured on the blog before.

I love buying from brands like People Tree because the styles don’t go out of date and the high quality means that they last well. Although they are a little more expensive than some of the budget high street shops, they stay in my wardrobe for years, making them much more economic in cost per wear (and of course they are ethically made which is important to me). Shopping in this way is also much better for the environment as it doesn’t contribute to the mountains of fast fashion that go into landfill after only a few wears.

Buying less clothes means more money for having fun and this summer,we have our usual line up of festivals and camping trips lined up. We have already had weekends away in Weston Super Mare, my favourite place for donkey rides (the children not me!), icecream and walks along the pier. On our latest trip, we unintentionally stumbled upon a Mod and biker weekend, both at the same time, although apparently not intentionally. The campsite and seafront were filled with Scooters and Harley Davidson motorbikes, which of course I had to Instagram.

scooter Thrify Thursday   Buying Less

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Here are my tips for buying less:

  • Always opt for quality over quantity. A well made piece of clothing will feel much nicer to wear.
  • Keep a note of how much money you are saving by not buying clothes compare to previous months and use the money do something really fun that will enhance you life and make you a happier person e.g. like dinner with friends or a spa day.
  • When buying new clothes, think at least a 6 months down the line, are you still likely to wearing and enjoying the piece of clothing you are considering. If the answer is no, walk away.
  • Never allow yourself to go shopping without having a good look in your wardrobe to see what you already have.
  • Always wait a week before buying something to give you time to consider if you really want it or need it.

Have you ever considered buying less clothes? Do you have any tips to share.

With warmest wishes

No New Clothes for a Year

No New Clothes for a Year1 No New Clothes for a Year

I am perhaps a little late jumping on the band wagon but I have decided to take up the challenge, which has already been taken up by a number of other bloggers, for ‘no new clothes for a year’. I am hoping that it won’t be a particularly tough challenge as I have as many clothes as I need and I love vintage clothes and charity shopping. I am still going to write about ethical fashion brands for the blog but my outfits (and all the clothes that I wear in general) will be clothes that I already have plus the occasional ‘new’ vintage or second hand pieces. It will also be made much easier by the many places to go for tips including:

My Make Do and Mend Year

Vintage Vixen

Eco Warrior Princess – Buy Nothing New Challenge Its Easier Than You Think

Yummy Green Mummy – 2015 – Giving Up Buying New

Westy Writes – No New Clothes for 2014

If you know of any more no new clothes blogs or posts please let me know in the comments.

I will also be using the ‘No New Clothes for a Year’ challenge to introduce a greater focus on buying less and second hand clothes to this blog and hope to be posting more DIY / upcyced fashion posts to this blog as well as a weekly ‘thrifty Thursday’ feature. I hope to get the challenge off to a good start by having a massive clear out of my wardrobe and sorting out a pile of clothes to mend, alter and upcycle.

My ‘no new clothes for a year’ challenge will have a few little get outs though. I will if I need to buy new underwear and fitness clothes as these are not things that I would be happy buying second hand, but for these I will of course try and stick to my usual principles of buying from ethical and sustainable brands. And of course presents don’t count because it would be rude not to accept a pressy but I won’t active encourage anyone to buy me anything new as a present and if asked will suggest second hand or vintage choices.

So there I have done it! I have committed to no new clothes for a year. Are you doing any sustainable or  fashion challenges this year?

With warmest wishes

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A Vintage Dress, a Black Tie Party, Buying Less and Living More!

040a A Vintage Dress, a Black Tie Party, Buying Less and Living More!
On the weekend, I was lucky enough to be invited to a 40th birthday party of our neighbours. It was a fairly lavish do with a large marquee, champagne, lots of live music, some fantastic singing and even some posh portaloos! The dress code was black tie which was ideal for me as I haven’t had the chance to get properly dressed up in ages. I also love love seeing everyone dressed up in their dickie bows and best dresses.

Rather than buy a new dress (it could be a while before I get to wear it again), I decided to make use of something that I already had in my wardrobe. I got this dress from a vintage fair in Bath a few years ago and have not had nearly enough opportunities to wear it. I have no idea how old it is as the label says ‘Richard shops’. Hopefully I don’t giveaway my age when I say that I remember my mum buying clothes from Richard shops and possibly even bought a few pieces myself back in the day. According to Wikipedia the brand was popular through from the sixties to 1992 when the shops finally closed. My earrings were a present from Mr S to wear on my wedding day 15 years ago and the tights have been in my drawer for at least a few years and got me lots of compliments. The shoes are at least  4 or 5 years old aswell. All in all I was pleased that I managed to put together an outfit for a black tie party without buying anything new. I think I could probably have searched the high street for hours (which I just don’t have time for) and not managed to find an outfit that made me as happy as the old one I wore!

buy less live more A Vintage Dress, a Black Tie Party, Buying Less and Living More!This summer has been pretty amazing so far we have been out and about doing so many fun things and we have lots more planned including holidays, spa days and festivals. As much as I love buying clothes, there really is no point in doing so if you never get out and about to show them off. Hence my new motto, ‘Buy Less, Live More!’. I think doing stuff is so much more fun than buying stuff.

What do your or would you wear to a black tie party? do you have something amazing in your wardrobe that is just waiting for a special occassion?

With warmest wishes

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Gregory Freia Backpack Review

gregory freia 30 backpack for women in ink blackp5477f 011500.3 1 Gregory Freia Backpack Review

In my last post, I blogged about my adventures at Trekfest, (32 miles across the Brecon Beacons in just under 13 hours) ,but I also wanted to post about the kit that I needed to get, which turned out it be a whole mini challenge in itself.

The kitlist for Trekfest was fairly extensive but luckily I managed to borrow or make use of stuff that I already had. One of the things that I did have to buy was a 30 litre backpack to carry waterproofs, emergency supplies, drinks etc. I wanted to share with you a little review of the backpack that I chose. I did a fair amount of research trying to find just the right backpack as I wanted one with a waist and chest strap but also one that was ethically made and not to expensive.

The Ethical Consumer backpack guide was a really useful resource and I decided to go for the Gregory Freia Backpack, a brand which was ranked third highest in the guide for a combination of its resposibility towards animals, people, environment, politics and product sustainability. I managed to find one in the sale at Blacks reduced from £85 to £30.

It was in my opinion great value for money. It had a chest and waist strap and sat quite comfortably on my back for the duration of the 32 mile walk/climb. It also allowed the air to circulate around my back which was quite important on such a warm and muggy day. It had 2 pockets in the top with a handy clip for my car keys and 2 mesh pockets in the side for easily accessible drinks etc. Only after I got back from my trek did I realise that there is also a big pocket on the back of the backpack which would have been ideal for my map. For me the Gregroy Freia Backpack strikes just the right balance between having enough places for storage and not having too many which would have lead me to forgetting where I had put everything. It also had space for a hydration pack and places to clip walking poles.

Do you consider the ethics/ sustainability of everything you buy? how do you choose which brands to buy from?

With warmest wishes

Ethical Workwear

014 Ethical Workwear
Dress – People Tree
Jacket – People Tree
Shoes – Dream in Green

When I started working in an office in September, instead of running my own business from home, I did wonder how difficult it would be to keep up with my policy of only buying ethical and sustainable clothing. I needn’t have worried as People Tree have a great selection of work friendly ethical clothing. I treated myself to a new dress and jacket (pictured above) but also managed to make use of some of the clothes that I already have and found a few pieces in charity shops. Actually it has been much easier than I though. In our office we wear a kind of smart casual dress, so I don’t have to wear a suit but prefer to wear a dress and jacket or cardigan if it is really cold. I am actually really enjoying the chance to get dressed up for work every day but finding I have much less opportunity to be creative with what I wear than before. Some of my slightly more quirky accessories or outfits are having to wait until the weekends before they get worn. Do you find you tend to dress more conservatively for work?

Anyway, that’s enough about work as it is Friday and I am more than ready for the weekend. After lots of socialising last weekend, I am ready for a super relaxed and chilled out weekend with the family. I will be eating tapas, drinking wine, then working it all off with an exercise class or two. What are you up to this weekend?

In case you fancied a little weekend reading….

This week I have posted on Triple Pundit about why I think sustainable fashion has to be about individual style and was featured in a post – Ethical Fashion – 15 People and Organisations Leading the Way in 2014. You can also read my post on fashion and food for Fairtrade fortnight over on style-is.co.uk with some great offers for chocolate lovers.

With warmest wishes

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Recycled Jewellery at OrnateMe

0061 Recycled Jewellery at OrnateMe
018 Recycled Jewellery at OrnateMe
I love jewellery and can’t help but constantly refresh my collection to allow me to refresh and accessorise my outfits in lots of different ways. I try to buy upcycled, fair trade and sustainable jewellery, but it has always bothered me that buying too much costume or fashion jewellery is wasteful. It seems a real shame that such a lot of the lovely costume jewellery bought in the shops will probably end up in landfill. This is where OrnateMe a fab new website concieved by Paul Tully in response to his concern about the unsustainability of the current fashion industry and the throw away attitude driven by low cost products. He hopes that through the success of his business, he will help high street retailers to adopt more sustainable retailing models.

The idea behind OrnateMe is simple. It provides an easy way for customers to upcycle their old costume jewellery. You just need to put your old jewellery into a prepaid envelope and send it in. For each piece of jewellery that is resaleable, you recieve points which can be used towards a piece of jewellery that you would like to buy on the site. Pieces that are not resellable are upcycled.

The website also has a great selection of recycled jewellery to buy and of course I couldn’t help but have a little browse. I have been on the look out for friendship and boho bracelets to wear with casual clothes for the summer and when I spotted these two picture above, I couldn’t resist getting them. They arrived in an envelope which I can then reuse to send back any of my unwanted jewellery. I just need to make a little time to have a clear out of my jewellery collection and decide what I no longer wear.

What do you think of this idea? Do you have any jewellery to recycle and do you love the idea of getting credits to buy a piece of recycled jewellery?

With warmest wishes

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Family Heirlooms

059 Family Heirlooms
small Family Heirloomscup Family HeirloomsA Family Heirloom: A family possession handed down from generation to generation.

I love the idea of family heirlooms which go against the whole idea of a throwaway society and mass consumerism. Last weekend I had a tea party with a beautiful tea set that I was given recently, after my Grandma had to move out of her home. I couldn’t bear to see something so beautiful that my Grandma had looked after for so many years go to a charity shop. I hope that I will look after this tea set as well as my Grandma and eventually pass it on to my children or perhaps even grandchildren. I also have a gingham table cloth and jelly mould which I am already making good use of as my girls love jelly (as do I). With money that I was given for Christmas I have also invested in a new teapot from Notonthestreet.com that sort of matches/ mismatches the tea set.

I have so many happy memories of holiday by the seaside in West Wales with my Grandma and Grandpa,fresh bread and Welsh cakes baked by my Grandma and lots of ice cream, this tea set is a great reminder.

026 Family Heirlooms
I was also given this lovely fur coat which is so comforting, warm and cosy. Family heirlooms and clothes that have been given to me by family give me so much more enjoyment than buying new!

Do you have any family heirlooms or clothes given to you by family that you really treasure? Is old better than new for you?

With warmest wishes

Christmas!

This year we spent Christmas with my family in Cardiff which was lovely. Unfortunately we had to cancel our break between Christmas and new year in a luxury hotel in Port Merion in North Wales because of the terrible weather. I was pretty disappointed to start with but decided to make a best of  a bad situation by having a staycation at home. Yesterday we went out for a yummy Thai meal and today for brunch in Bath followed by crazy golf in the park, I have  a few more plans before returning to work in the new year.
026 Christmas!002 Christmas!
Coat – My Grandma’s
Bag – Reclaim Bags
Dress – SkunkFunk
Shoes – Clarks

010 Christmas! Christmas!

Jumper – Seasalt Cornwall
Jeggings – Oxfam Fashion
Scarf – Handknitted in Wales
Boots – Clarks

I was definitely spoilt this year with some lovely Christmas pressies including this clucth made from recycled tyres by Reclaim Bags. I wanted a large clutch that I could use for both daytime and evening and this one which Mr S gave me was perfect. I also had this lovely warm jumper from Seasalt Cornwall from my Mum and Dad. The handknitted scarf, again from my mum and dad, went perfectly with it. I really love that my mum went to a special effort to pick out beautiful and unique handmade accessories from her travels in both the UK and abroad for my Christmas pressies.

This Christmas definitely felt less consumeristic than previous years. I just had a few carefully chosen pressies and I tried to do the same for my friends and family. I have also noticed a lot of people trying to buy less, locally and more unique and special gifts. I have tried to spend more time with the children going iceskating, to the cinema and playing games rather than buying too many pressies (although they certainly had quite a few new things).

What have you been up to over Christmas and what were your favourite pressies?

The Weekend Before Christmas

009 The Weekend Before Christmas
Dress – really old (from the high street)
Cardigan – Oxfam Fashion
Shoes- Clarks

Much as I love my job, I couldn’t help feel a sense of excitement and relief when I finished work on Friday for almost 2 weeks. Despite plans for complete relaxation, I haven’t actually managed to sit down once yet but I have had a fun filled weekend going to see santa with my youngest, to the in laws for lunch and to the cinema to to see Frozen (which was fab!).

The dress I wore on Sunday (pictured above) was really old, bought on the high street long before I committed to buying ethically, but I had forgotton how much I loved its fit and secretely quite pleased that I can still manage to fit into it. For me sustainability is as much about making do with what you have already got (something I need to do much more of in 2014) as buying new things that have been made in a sustainable way.

Some of the highlights of the last week on Instagram

sat The Weekend Before Christmas Saturday night in watching Elf, drinking Fruit Broo (as recommended by Laura) and eating gingerbread from Lidl with the girls.

pressy The Weekend Before Christmas
The pressy wrappinging seemed to go on and on but finally now I am ready for Christmas!

I have also recently written a post for Style-is.co.uk – 3 Ethical Fashion Brands to watch for 2014!

How are you spending Christmas this year and what have you been doing to celebrate? I hope you have a fab Christmas and new year!

Refresh your Wardrobe by Recycling

clothes Refresh your Wardrobe by Recycling

If you fancy a new wardrobe but not the associated price-tags, why not recycle your old clothes and make yourself some cash? It’s easier than ever and you can earn real money by recycling clothes you no longer wear.

Make money from un-loved clothes

We’ve all been guilty of buying something on impulse. Sometimes we see something on offer and think it seems too much of a bargain to leave on the rail. On other occasions, we fall in love with an item of clothing and buy it without trying it on. It’s only when we get it home, we realise it’s completely wrong for us and we’ll never be wearing it. If you’re organised, you’ll probably return your unwanted clothes to the shop for a refund, but all too often this is forgotten and unworn clothes languish at the back of the wardrobe with tags still attached

By recycling your unused clothes for cash, you can replenish your wardrobe with the latest fashions!

Get cash for pre-loved clothes

It’s not just brand new, unworn clothes you can get cash for; used clothes can also make you money. If you’ve fallen out of love with last winter’s coat or your favourite dress no longer fits like it used to, simply recycle it for cash and have a night out with your friends with the proceeds. If you decide to recycle clothes for some extra cash, you will also make room in your wardrobe for the new additions.

Just about any clothes in good condition can be recycled for cash so go through your wardrobe, dig out anything you haven’t worn in the past few months and make some useful money from your unwanted clothes.

Deciding what to recycle

A good way of establishing which clothes you no longer want is to implement a simple wardrobe system. Place a marker, such as a distinctive clothes hanger or a bright scarf or length of ribbon at the very end of your clothes rail so that all your clothes are hanging to one side of it. Every time you wear something and put it back in the wardrobe, put it back on the other side of your marker. After a set amount of time, say six months, you will be able to see at a glance all the clothes you have worn over the past six months. Everything to the other side of your marker hasn’t been worn so it’s probably fairly safe to say you won’t miss it.

We often buy clothes that aren’t a perfect fit, with the aim of “shrinking” into them. While you might think this is a good motivating tool to help you shed pounds, it rarely works and can make you feel like a failure. Rather than holding onto clothes that have never fitted, package them up and recycle them for cash today or donate them to your local charity shop.

You could also think about having a swishing party with friends. Everyone brings along their unwanted clothes and swaps them for other people’s unloved garments.