Leather Back Pack – Brag Vintage

vintage

Back pack – Brag vintage
Jeans – Oxfam

Shoes – TOMS
Bracelet – Swarovski

I have been lusting after this back pack on Brag vintage for some time and keeping my fingers crossed that it wouldn’t get bough before I had  a reason to buy it. Then along came my birthday and some birthday money as my mother considers me far too fussy to choose pressies for these days! I ordered it straight away making the use of the 15% discount code that I was given when I wrote this post about my NYE dress from Brag Vintage.

I don’t have too much more to say about my fab new backpack accept that I love it, because…

  • I love the style
  • It makes a change from carrying a handback and is super practical especially when walking longer distances.
  • It is leather which is hard wearing
  • It is second hand/vintage which means that by buying it I have had no impact on the environment (accept the delivery and packaging) and I have prevented an unwanted item from going to landfill

I am pretty sure that I am going to use it loads.

In case you fancy anything new (but old) from Brag don’t forget to use my discount code STYLEEYES at checkout!

 With warmest wishes


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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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Plastic Free – Lush Shampoo and Conditioner Bars and Soap

Lush shampoo bar

In my quest to reduce my usage (and ultimately eliminate) single use packages, I have discovered a way to cut out the plastic bottles that are filled with shampoo, conditoner and shower gel by using solid soap, conditioner and shampoo bars. Lush was the most obvious place to try out first as I am a big fan of their products already, been unable to resist the fragrant smell and enthusiatic staff every time and wander into a shop.

After perusing the Lush website for a bit and reading the reviews for a variety of different solid bar products, I decided to buy the following 3 products as a trial to see if I could be persuaded to make the switch away from single use plastic bottles.

Jason and the Argan Oil shampoo bar

Big Solid Conditioner

Maypole Soap

I also decided to try out this Sea Spray Hair Mist  It is not exactly plastic free but the bottle is made using plastic with their closed loop scheme. This means that the bottle can be refilled and reused and then returned to Lush to be recycled into a new container.

So what did I think of the Lush products?

Effectiveness 

I was a little worried a about the impact of solid shampoo and conditioner on my hair as it can get pretty dry. I also only brush my hair through when I wash it and have put in conditioner as it gets quite tangly. I was definitely pleasantly surprised with both the shampoo and conditioner bars. Generally my hair seems to feel a lot more managable and sets into more defined curls after using them although this could also be due to the sea spray mist that I have also started using. I am also convinced that the hair colour I use seems to last longer and looks more vibrant since I have started using these products. The soap feels slightly drying in my skin but not enough to bother me. All of the products smelt amazing and left a lasting fragrance in my hair and bathroom.

Number of washes V cost

I found that one of the big advantages of using these products was the amount of time that they lasted. Although quite expensive to buy in the first place, I think the number of washes from them made them comparable with if not cheaper than buying bottled products. I think the shampoo has lasted at lleast 3 months and I wash my hair 2 or 3 times a week. The soap has lasted much much longer than that. There is also a lots less waste as I use a fraction of the amount that I would use with product from a bottle.

Application

Applying the solid shampoo and conditioner is very different to using liquid varieties. It has to be first rubbed through the hands in water. I found the shampoo bar was pretty easily disolved in water allowing the lather to be applied to my hair. The conditioner was a little more time consuming and I had ti be careful not to drag over my hair as I didn’t want to pull out to much. It did take a bit longer to apply the conditioner and I had to be more carefull about brushing through as it was quite as easy as when I usually use conditoner but I think I can live with this. I have been doing a deep conditioning treatment once a month to ensure that my hair stays in really good conditon as I have had put my hair through quite an ordeal lately with the salt water and wind when surfing, diving and walking in Cornwall.

Storage

The storage of the bars was a little more tricky. I my bath room at home, I just keep them in a soap dish but if travelling I have stuck with using traditional bottled products so far. I think that you can buy tins from Lush to keep them in so may give this a go in the future.

Packaging

Unfortunatley due to lack of time, I didn’t have the opportunity to visit a Lush store and instead had to order through the website. I was pretty shocked to recieve the parcel filled with lots of packaging.

I asked about the packaging on the website chat and promptly got the following answer…

The boxes are filled with packing peanuts that are made from potato starch that are 100% compost-able. 🙂

Which is great news! I still think it would be best to pick up my Lush products when able to visit a store as everything has some environmental impact even if it is biodegradable. That said making a special visit to Bath just to buy Lush products would also have its own footprint caused by the travel.

Overall I would defintiely continue to use these products and I am also planning on trying some more styling products to replace a plastic bottled product that I currently use. It could be quite tricky to find a replacement as I have been looking for the perfect styling product for my hair for years and my current option is the best that I can find to keep it under control without looking greasy. I will keep you posted on how I get on!

What are your favourite Lush products? Do you have any other recommendations for a plastic free bathroom?

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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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!

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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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Cutting Out Single Use Plastics for 2018

no new clothes for a year

Dress – SkunkFunk
Jacket – Rokit Vintage
Leggings – Thought Clothing
Necklace – People Tree
Trainers – Veja

There has been lots in the news recently about the environmental damage caused by single use plastics especially pollution of the oceans. The final episode of David Attenborough’s Blue Planet 2 showed shocking scenes of the havoc wreaked to sealife and he has since stressed the threat to our oceans from plastics, explaining that it is putting the whole of himanity at risk.

I don’t usually bother with new year resolutions much but this year I was determined to do something to help reduce the amount of plastics that we throw away each week. I was further encouraged with this mission after seeing the pile of rubbish that we created over the Christmas break, much of it being from food.

So on January 1st, I started the new year with a plan in addition to the No New Clothes for a Year challenge again to stop using and throwing away single use plastics. I had no idea how I was going to do this but in the same way that changing to only wearing ethical and sustainable clothing, I knew it was going to take a bit of thought, online research and trial and error.

So nearly 2 weeks in and I have spent quite a bit of time thinking, researching and trialling different options.I havemainly concentrated on food to start with as I thought that this is the area where I could make the most difference.

The bad news: I don’t think it is possible for us to go completely single use plastic free. Not without being almost self sufficient. The busy lifestyle that we lead would make this very difficult.

The good news: We have already made some massive reductions in the amount of non recyclable plastic waste that we are creating.

The wins

There are some really positive changes that we have made:

  • Swapping shop bought sweet treats, biscuits and cakes for homemade options The main ingredients for these are available in paper or cardboard packaging (flour, sugar, butter eggs). It does take a bit more time but the children enjoy making them, they are much tastier than shop bought and possibly even a bit healthier.
  • Swapping ready made soup for homemade soup. In colder weather I eat soup most days for lunch and often for dinner. I tended to buy the plastic containers or cartons of readymade soup. This year I have got back to making my own soups which are also really healthy. My favourites: Leek and potatoe and Celariac and apple.
  • Buying in bulk. It’s pretty obvious really but if you buy food (or anything in bigger packs) there is less packaging. In particular, I have started buying big paper sacks of potatoes from the local farm shop rather than small plastic bags from the local super market. It also works out cheaper this way.
  • Opting for card/paper over plastic – for some products, it is possible to buy options packaged in paper and  card rather than plastic for example eggs, pasta, rice, mushrooms, puy lentils, icecream and fresh bread (instead of sliced)
  • Buying fruit and vegetables separately without plastic bags. The local farm shop and Morrisons have both proved good places to buy some fruit and veg not in plastic packaging including apples, carrots, bananas, kiwi, brocolli, peppers and tomatoes etc without plastic. I have also have also trialled an organic veg scheme with mixed sucess as some items were still in plastic bags.
  • Frozen items There are quite a few frozen items available in cardboard boxes rather than plastic. Particulary vegetarian and fish which I eat quite a lot of.
  • Reusable shopping bags I have been using my bag for life for some time but I am now being extra carefully to make sure that I always have it with me when shopping.
  • Packed lunches – not really any change here but I have always recycled plastic containers for pack lunches and filled reusable bottles with water to avoid buying packaged sandwiches and drinks. With the obvious benefits of saving money and being more healthy too.

The more tricky bits

  • Certain veg can be difficult buy plastic free. In particular cucumber, spinach, kale and lettuce. I have not completely gievn up on the idea of organic veg boxes and may try again to see if I can get a more plastic free option.
  • Meat– I have actually found it impossible to buy fresh meat plastic free. I have tried supermarkets, organic deliveries and the farm shop. All are wrapped in plastic. The local farm shop did however say that it should be ok to bring my own reusable plastic containers for them to put meat from the counter into. I hope to be able to try this out soon. In the mean time, I am buying meat in bulk to minimise packaging e.g. if I roast a whole chicken and slice for children’s sandwiches, there is much less packaging than individual packs of sliced meat.
  • Petrol- previously I have ordered all of my food in one supermarket delivery from one place. Trying to go plastic free has meant a lot more mixing and matching which ultimately means more driving around and more petrol and time.I hope to try and minimise this when possible by careful planning, bulk buying and popping into relevant shops when I am nearby.

I will update again soon with my progress on reducing single use plastics also on my no new clothes challenge in 2018.

Do you have any new years resolutions for 2018? If you are trying to reduce or cut out plastic, I would love to know how you are getting on and any tips or ideas!

With warmest wishes


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NYE 2017 – Brag Vintage

vintage dress

I wanted to share my outfit that I will be wearing for new years eve, a lovely vintage maxi dress kindly sent to me by Brag Vintage. When I was asked whether I would like to pick me something out from their online vintage store or ASOS marketplace store, I loved this dress so much I couldn’t resist it but was worried that it might not fit. I usually find that maxi dresses are far too long and vintage sizing can sometimes be difficult to judge but I was happy and surprised when it turned up to find that it fitted perfectly. The sizing on the website was spot on!

Brag Vintage pride themselves on picking out the best high quality second clothing that has been made to last. They offer it a new lease of life by selling it in their online stores with attention to detail in their listings so that you know exactly what you are buying. They classify vintage pieces as being over 20 years old so you can be sure that anything in their stores pre dates the trend for fast fashions is well made enough to have stood the test of time. They also dye, repair and customise items to extend their useful life. They have a great range which includes denim jackets, jeans, vintage jumpers, cardigans, dresses, customised denim shorts and accessories. I have already spotted a few other lovely things that I may treat myself to with money I have been given for Christmas.

The lovely people at Brag Vintage were kind enough to give me a 15% off discount code to share. Just enter  STYLEEYES at checkout!

I was especially pleased to have a ‘new’ old (vintage) dress to wear for New Years Eve as this will mark the start of a ‘no new clothes for a year’ challenge for me in 2018. I  first completed the ‘no new clothes’ challenge in 2015. You can read about it in my posts:

No New Clothes for a Year

No New Clothes for a Year – an Update

This challenge definitely changed the way I think about shopping and it has become much more of a only to do when really needed than a pass time for me ever since. I also managed to find some amazing second hand clothes. In the last 2 years since completing this challenge, I have bought a number of hugh quality pieces of clothing from ethical clothing shop. However it is easy to slip back into bad habits over time and I don’t feel there is anything new that I need at the moment so hopefully it won’t even be too much of a  challenge. For the occasional treat, I can always buy second hand or vintage. I also have another sustainability challenge/new years resolution planned but more about that in another post.

Are you making  any new years resolutions to shop more sustainably in 2018?

Happy New Year, I hope that you have an amazing 2018!

With warmest wishes


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No New Clothes – Family Celebrations and Christmas Parties

vintage dress

The run up to Christmas is always a busy time socially but this year it is especially so for me with some big family birthday celebrations as well as the usual Christmas parties and gatherings. The perfect opportunity to get a bit dressed up but as usual this year I attempting to buy no new clothes for the party season and instead make do with what I have got!

Last weekend was a black tie birthday party. I deliberated over whether to treat myself a new dress but in the end decided I really didn’t need anything new. I have quite a few party dresses and the sad reality is that they don’t get worn nearly as much as they could. So I opted for this dress bought from a vintage fair in Bath quite a few years ago. It has a lace top with a neutral coloured net lining and a chiffon skirt. Last time I wore it was a tad on the snug side, so I was pleased and relieved to find that it fitted much more comfortably this time allowing a little breathing space after a three course meal and wine. The earrings were also from a vintage shop although looked like they had never been worn as they were in the original packaging.

This weekend has been busy too with a works Christmas meal on Friday and a family birthday lunch at the Celtic Manor on Sunday. For the works night out comfort and warmth always has to be an important consideration as I have to get the train there and back. I also had very little time to get ready after work and didn’t want to miss out on the pre dinner drinks. I opted for a safe option of my navy SkunkFunk dress with thick tights and my TOMS boots, layered with a jersey Nancy Dee jacket and dressed it up a bit with statement necklace by Nomads which you can see here worn with a summery dress.

Today, for the family meal I wore this dress from M&S, again with my trusty Nancy Dee jacket again and a vintage handbag given to me by my Grandma.

So that is it for partying and socialising until next weekend. So far I am making the most of the clothes that I have in my wardrobe and managing not to splash out on anything extra.

What do you have planned for the party season ahead?

With warmest wishes


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Dress by SkunkFunk – Crete 2017

Dress – SkunkFunk
Leather belt – Handmade
Shoes – Clarkes
Bag – a gift

We decided to grab the chance for a last bit of sunshine and warmth with a trip to Crete before autumn arrives. It was the perfect opportunity for me to wear my new SkunkFunk dress which I bought earlier in the year but haven’t had much opportunity to wear with the UK weather and the practicalities of our camping holidays in Cornwall.

If you visit my blog regularly, you will no doubt be aware of SkunkFunk which is one of my favourite ethical fashion brands. When you find a brand that just works for your style, shape, size and ethics, it kind of makes sense that you keep going back. I love that the SkunkFunk collections are always feature some interesting styles, colour combinations and prints as well as some great fitting, flattering basics. For this dress it was the neckline that I loved. The dress was a little bit too full for someone of my height but I soon fixed this with this lovely handmade leather obi belt that I have had for ages, which is always perfect for giving a bit of shape to fuller dresses. I am also a big fan of monochrome as it is so easy to accessorise.

I had a lovely time in Crete, swimming, snorkelling, reading, eating and drinking far too much and enjoying some precious family time. Since arriving home, I have been really struggling to get back into the swing of things and keep warm. I have been digging out my warm boots, jumpers, hats and scarves. Look out for more cosy and warm outfit posts coming soon. Autumn always seems to inpsire me to getting cooking on a Sunday afternoon and today I will be making a big batch of celeriac and apple soup and apple cake to see me through the week.

What have you been doing lately? What are your favoruite things about Autumn?

With warmest wishes


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