Paguro Upcycle Necklace Review

Paguro Upcycle Feather Necklace

I was recently contacted by Paguro Upcycle a Nottingham based brand selling accessories made from recycled and upcycled materials to see if I would like to review an item from their website. All of their products are made by artisanal producers in Cambodia, Indonesia and the UK with each enterprise aiming to support their local communities by offering fair working conditions and wages, as well as other benefits such as free daycare for their employees’ children.

Of course, I jumped at the chance, to try something out, as they seem to be the perfect mix of ethics, sustainability and style, with unique and individual pieces that are certainly very different to what you would find on the highstreet. What’s not to love?

feather necklace

It didn’t take me long to decide on this feather necklace which is made from recycled inner tube. I already have a clutch bag made from inner tube and I love how it looks. The detailed feather cut from the inner tube makes for a real statement piece which is great for adding interest to a basic outfit like this M&S Fairtrade cotton vest top which I am wearing with some skinny jeans  from Oxfam. I loved the quality of the necklace with a magnetic clasp making it really easy to fasten. I have already worn it a few times. I think it would look really good with a high neck simple white or colour top which would really show it off the detail of the feather.

This necklace is made by Sapu, a creative collective, based in the Indonesian town of Salatiga, comprises a diverse range of talented people: designers, artists, craftsmen and recyclists, most of whom originate from central Java or Australia. They aim to make use of the world’s abundant and unwanted man-made materials, using recycled tyre inner tubes, army tent, plastic bottles and magazines to create something beautiful. By doing so they hope to inspire environmental change by changing attitudes of those that come into contact with their creations. I think this necklace is definitely a conversation starter which is great to get people talking about both sustainability and style.

The Paguro Upcycle website also features fashion accessories by Smarteria, a social enterprise taking inspiration from the streets and markets of Cambodias capital, Phomn Penh. Traditional Cambodian weaving techniques are used by artisans to create bags in elaborate designs using repurposed netting and carrier bags. Smarteria aim to make a positive difference to the lives of their employees through living wages, benefits and progressive working practices.

What do you think? Do you like interesting accessories? If so I would definitely recommend checking out Paguro Upcycle.

Have an amazing weekend!

With warmest wishes


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Charity Shop Treasures

charity shopping

Vintage dress – Oxfam Fashion (online)
Bangle – Oxfam Bath
Necklace – Made UK

Cowboy boots (at least 15 years old) – high street
Bag (at least 10 years old) – Accessorize

I was recently contacted by Safe Store to see if I would like to take part in a campaign focusing on charity shop treasures. The best bit, I get to do a little charity shopping,one of my favourite activities, and then share my outfit. Safe Store supports Scope which is their charity of the year but as I don’t have a Scope Charity shop in my home town, they were also happy to support other charities by treating me to an outfit from another charity shop. Scope is a fantastic charity who work with disabled individuals and their families, providing support, advice, short breaks and much more, I hope to check out one of their stores in a nearby town soon. They have 232 stores across the UK, if you would like to find the nearest, you can do so here.

Due to my usual lack of time, I chose to go online to Oxfam Fashion (the online shop) as I know that I can always find something amazing there and it is super quick and easy to search by size, brand, colour and decade for vintage. I decided to check out the vintage seventies section and couldn’t resist this dress. The cowboy boots have been in my wardrobe for years. I went off them  for a while but in true hoarder style, I couldn’t part with them, which is a  good thing as I have fallen in love with them again. I think they are going to get a lot more wear this summer.

You can follow Safe Store on Twitter to keep up with the Charity Shop Treasure campaign here.

I hope that you are having a lovely and relaxing Easter weekend and eating lots of Easter eggs.

With warmest wishes


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Vintage Fashion – Seventies Style

Oxfam Decades of Styleseventies maxi dress

Vintage dress – ebay
Vintage jacket – Rockit Vintage
Shoes – high street

I haven’t had much of an opportunity to wear my vintage clothes lately as I only seem to go out to work and exercise classes. But I have finally finished my CIM diploma in digital marketing and the building work and constant tidying of the house that it caused is also finished. I am hoping to start getting out and about a bit more in the spring giving me the chance to wear my vintage clothes again. I already have a few trips planned to vintage fairs as well as a weekend away.

I am also organising a birthday party for my 40th with a Woodstock theme so have been thinking about sixties/ seventies style and what to wear. I decided to try this vintage seventies dress on again although I don’t think it is my final choice of outfit. I think I will opt for something slightly more hippyish. I am also entering the Oxfam Fashion decades of vintage fashion and style competition.

I want to decorate the garden like a festival so will be spending the next few months scouring amazon and charity shops for the things I need. As it can get a little cold in the evening and I wanted to cover up the plastic chairs in the garden, I have invested in some crochet / knitted blankets from Oxfam. I have been obsessed with these blankets for a while and finally have an excuse to buy some. With Oxfam doing such great work, I am also always pleased to buy from them. After the party,they will also be great for the campervan and wrapping up on a cold evening. If you have any other ideas for a Woodstock themed party, please leave a comment below.

So now I have finally got my life back, I hope to be doing at lot more blogging as well as getting back up to date with Ethical Fashion Bloggers. Apologies to anyone who has emailed and I haven’t replied but I will do very soon.

Here are a few of my recent instagrams.

lady 5

Lady is looking fairly unimpressed by the building works!

extension

Finally the new extension is finished

mothers day

Mother’s Day treats

What have you been up to lately and what plans do you have for the spring?

With warmest wishes


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A Crop Top!

One Boutique

crop top One Boutique

I was recently contacted to see if I would like to stye some pieces by One Boutique. Their clothes are ethically made in the UK using the opposite of a mass production model with each piece being overseen by one person ensuring a high quality piece of clothing. The pieces are made to last for years with creative cutting and a clean aesthetic.

I can’t help loving the style of this brand so couldn’t wait to pick out some pieces to style. I chose this black crop top to layer with the black mesh top. It is definitely much more edgy than the clothes I usually wear and at very nearly forty, I was a little doubtful that I could pull off a crop top but the mesh layer makes it feel slightly less daring so I am going to give it a try (midlife crisis here I come!). It’s also a great incentive to keep up the effort in my gym classes. I decided to wear it with some printed trousers by Nancy Dee but would just as happily wear them with a pair of skinny jeans or black trousers. The mesh top could also be layered over a simple little black dress giving it a new look, so definitely gets top marks for versatility.  I resisted the urge to add jewellery to keep the look quite simple, I will have to admit this was quite difficult as I am something of an accessories addict.

In other news, I haven’t been blogging much so far in 2016, mainly because I am in the final stages of exam for a CIM Diploma in digital marketing. We have also been having building work on our house so things have been a bit disorganised. Thankfully with both nearly complete, I will be able to get back to it soon.

I hope that you are having a fab February, What have you been up to?

With warmest wishes

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5 Facts to Make you Re-think your Desire for Denim

slow jeans

Jeans have enjoyed a long and varied history. Today they are considered casual attire and the skinny and ripped trend seems to dominate the catwalk. However, once upon a time, durable denims were the staple choice of workmen across the western world.

Jean companies today strive to replicate this ‘authentic’ look. The process of pre-fading, dyeing and even tearing denim has destroyed the enduring quality of jeans.

We reveal five alarming facts about the Jean industry:

1. Deadly Denim

Ever wondered how your Jeans get their pre-worn look? Sand particles are used to blast jeans with a jet of air. Campaigners brought our attention to this deadly practice which can cause lung silicosis, if workers fail to receive adequate safety measures.

Since the campaign, many high street retailers have banned sandblasting in their production cycle. These include M&S, Arcadia, Primark, New Look, H&M and Calvin Klein.

2. Alarming Water consumption

It takes around 11,000 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans. The production process includes growing cotton and wet processing such as dyeing, treating and washing the fabric which all proves thirsty work.

Levi’s, the pioneers of the pre-faded blue design, have reacted to criticism and launched Water

3. The Problem with Cotton

As discussed above, cotton requires a lot of water to grow. However, the problem with cotton is not restricted just to the issue of water consumption. Only 2.4% of agriculture land is planted with cotton. However, it accounts for 11% of global pesticide sales. These pesticides which are used to kill cotton pests can also seriously damage farmers who come into contact with them. Ethical Fashion Forum (http://www.ethicalfashionforum.com/the-issues/pesticides) states that between 1 and 3% of agriculture farmers suffer from acute pesticide poisoning. This figure translates into between 25 million and 77 million farmers worldwide. Symptoms of the poisoning range from vomiting to death.

These appalling figures highlight the necessity of naturally grown cotton. Unfortunately, the sale of fair trade cotton dropped by 38% in 2015. Ethical Consumer’s research into Jean retailers confirms this decline as none of the brands in our shopping guide (http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/clothing/jeans.aspx) use fair trade cotton to produce their jeans.

While fair trade cotton currently appears to be in decline, the growth in use of GM and toxic-free organic cotton keeps us optimistic. For example, Jean brand, Nudie have achieved its target to use 100% organic cotton in its denim.

4. Lagging behind

Our recent research into Jean retailers (http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/buyersguides/clothing/jeans.aspx) confirms that Guess and Diesel, two of the most popular Jean companies, have received shockingly low results in our ethical shopping guide.

Many clothing companies have accepted new initiatives to improve supply chains and have committed to the use of more sustainable materials. However, both Guess and Diesel have kept quiet about supporting new efforts to make a fairer fashion industry that respects its workers and the environment.

5. Overseas production

Clothing production in the UK plummeted in the 1990s as financially focused companies outsourced production overseas to sweatshops with low wages and poor working conditions.

Prior to this transition, Cardigan in Wales, was recognised as a leading Jeans manufacturer. Dewhirst produced Jeans for a number of companies such as M&S. However, when M&S jumped on the immoral bandwagon and moved production to Morocco, the factory was left derelict.

We welcome an exciting new brand, Hiut Jeans, which has brought Jeans production back to Britain and specifically back to Cardigan. This company, which ranks in our top 5 ethical Jean retailers, uses organic cotton and prides itself to ‘make the best jeans we can and not the most jeans we can.”

These 5 facts reveal that some of the most recognised Jean retailers on the high street are failing their workers, consumers and the planet.

For ways in which you can prolong the life of your favourite pair of jeans, head to the Ethical Consumer website for our piece on ‘Slow Jeans’.

http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/ethicalreports/fashionindustry/slowjeans.aspx

This post was written by Georgina Rawes of Ethical Consumer magazine

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New Year in Watergate Bay

New year now feels like a distant memory but life has been pretty crazy, hence why I am only just getting round to posting about it now!

For new year, we went to Watergate Bay which was amazing apart from getting a very bad cold which meant I didn’t feel like doing very much. Fortunately I managed a few walks along an incredibly wind swept beach and New Years Eve at the Beach Hut. We had a lovely evening but I was far too exhausted to stay out until midnight. We had the most amazing views over Watergate bay and when we weren’t snuggled up watching films, we could sit by the window and watch the massive waves roll in over the beach.

Nomads clothing dressDress – Nomads
Boots – Dream in Green

The dress and the trousers were both Christmas pressies, this is the first chance I have had to wear them. Unfortunately with the light not being great and my camera failing, you can’t see the beautiful embroidery on the dress. It is made by Nomads, a brand which I love for its beautiful prints and handcrafted clothes and its committment to fair trade.

DSCN4860 (4)

Scarf – Marks and Spencers
Vest top (fairtrade cotton) – Marks and Spencers
Trousers – Outsider

The trousers are amazingly comfortable to wear and perfect for lazing around the house, but are also smart enough to pop out in or if friends unexpectedly drop in. They are from a lovely ethical and sustainable brand, Outsider.

As January so far has been a whirlwind or assignments and exams for my diploma, I haven’t had a chance to think too much about plans and resolutions for the new year. I will be really glad when it is finished now and I can go back to relaxing and blogging in the evenings after work!

Did you make any plans or resolutions for 2016?

With warmest wishes

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Ethical Fashion Brands for Christmas

Earth Kind Originals Dress

Organic cotton dress – Earth Kind Originals
Necklace – Tatty Devine
Vegetable dyed leather boots – Dream in Green
Bag – Reclaim

I hope that you have had a lovely Christmas!

I definitely feel realy spoilt this year. Not only did I receive lots of lovely pressies from family and friends but I was also invited to Christmas lunch at my mother and fathers in laws. This meant that instead of spending all day in the kitchen cooking, I got time to play with the children and spend Christmas eve cuddled up on the sofa with a glass of bucks fizz and a pile of children and a cat watching a Santa Claws (a laughably bad Christmas film). As I was working on Christmas eve it really took the pressure off not to have to worry about shopping and food prep. We even managed to get out for a walk on Christmas morning before lunch.

My family know that I am just a little bit fussy when it comes to clothes so always ask for present ideas in advance. This means I usually get lovely pressies made by ethical brands that I know I will get lots of wear from. Mr S treated me to this embroidered boho dress from Nomads clothing , a white gold bangle (which was a lovely surprise) and some eco make up brushes. My mum and dad got me the organic cotton dress that I am wearing above from EKO, a sustainable fashion brand based in Cornwall. The clothes are lovely and comfortable to wear, making the dress perfect for Christmas day when I knew I was likely to be eating more turkey, pudding and chocs than I really should. I am planning to wear it again for New Years eve.

I also got this pair of supremely comfortable trousers from Outsider Fashion. They are ethically made from eco Tencel and organic merino wool. I can’t wait to wear them on New Years Day for a great big brunch with the family to welcome in the new year followed a nice long walk before snuggling up to watch a film of two.

I have had  a lovely relaxing break and had the opportunity to spend some lovely time with family and friends. I am really looking forward to New Year and the last few days of my break before its back to work.

How have you spent Christmas this year and do you have anything fun planned for New Years Eve?

I will finish up by sharing a few of my Christmas instagrams.

cat in tree

A very naughty cat climbing in the Christmas tree!

gingerbread house

A gingerbread house made by the children.

hot chocolate

Hot chocolate – one of my favourite things about this time of year.

dress labels

I have to admit to being just a little bit geeky about reading the labels on clothes.

With warmest wishes

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The Weekend Before Christmas

festive bunting

Nearly there! Christmas is less than a week away but this year I have been struggling to feel properly Christmassy, perhaps because of the unseasonaly warm weather. That is until this weekend when I recieved a festive package from White Stuff with a lovely tunic and some Christmas goodies which definitely got me in the Christmas spirit. The Ho Ho Ho bunting is probably my favourite Christmas decoration ever and definitely beats a bit of old tinsel, although we have plenty of that too.

DSCN4801 (4)

White Stuff clothing are made from high quality ethically sourced materials. They are also members of the ethical trade initiative. White Stuff also donate 1% of their profits to local charities as well as time and material support. I know I will be getting lots of wear out this tunic.

tree

It is a family tradition for us to get a new Christmas decoration for both of the girls for the tree each year. Over the years we have built up quite a collection of Christmas decorations which are also contributed to by grandmas, friends and teachers at school aswell as some homemade ones. The children usually decorate the Christmas tree with the help of Mr S to untangle the fairy lights. I don’t like a Christmas tree to look too neat and tidy, I much prefer a really busy mish mash of colour and different decorations which is quite lucky as that is how it always turns out. The branches of our tree are practically creaking under the strain of all the decorations!

whitestuff christmas

Whitestuff decorations

These lovely little fellas from White Stuff are the perfect addition to our ‘interesting’ Christmas tree. I am particularly in love with the mouse in his cute little scarf.

Do you like lots of decorations on your Christmas tree or do you have more of a minimalist aproach?

I have had a lovely post Christmas weekend, spending time with family and friends. What have you been up to the weekend before Christmas?


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Ethical Leather Bag Review: What Daisy Did

upcycled leather bag

I have been admiring the amazing carnival collection ethical leather bags by What Daisy Did for a while (since I wrote this Story Behind the brand post in fact). So when Daisy contacted me to see if I would like to pick one out to review I jumped at the chance. Not only are the bags vibrant and colourful but also ethical and upcycled making them them the perfect treat for me during my year of no new clothes.

I picked out the Lucy bag was just the right size big enough room for my essentials but small enough to carry around and pop under my desk at work. I loved the structured feel to it which meant it keep everything neat and there was no chance of anything falling out.

What I loved most about the bag was the mixture of colours which has got me plenty of compliments already and is great for adding a bit of interest when I have opted to play it safe in a boring black or neutral outfit. Each bag is unique in both colour and finish but when you are ordering you can ask for a photo of the available options so that you can pick out the exact one that you would like. The bag is lovely quality and is made from upcycled leather pieces with great attention to detail, it even has a cute hedgehog keyring with it, which I have attached to the strap.

The bags are made in India providing an income for about 60 families many of which lost their jobs with the trade shift to China. Tailors are paid a fair commission with a living wage possible withing normal working hours. Flexible working from home with tools, machinery and electricity provided allows workers to fit their work around other commitments such as parenting and university. The bags are made from locally sourced offcuts of leather and lined with end if roll deadstock cotton that would otherwise be wasted.

ethical leather bag review

what daisy did leather bag

Upcycled ethical leather bag – What Daisy Did
Organic cotton dress -Annie Greenabelle
Organic cotton jacket – Nancy Dee
Organic cotton leggings – Braintree Clothing
Vegetable tanned leather boots – Dream in Green
Necklace (fair trade) – Made UK

What Daisy Did have a great selection of styles including satchels, backbacks, holdalls, laptop bags and weekend bags in both the colourful Carnival collection and the more neutral colours of the Forest Collection which are handmade from naturally tanned goats leather. The are also surprisingly affordable!

You can see the collections and learn more about the story (and ethics) of the brand on the website here: www.whatdaisydid.com

With warmest wishes


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Upcycled Interiors

We are in the process of making a few improvements to our house and so I have been thinking about decor and definitely want to include some upcycled interiors. We are having a bit of a change round of rooms. We are creating a new spare room so that we can have family to stay and instead of sharing a study with Mr S, I am going to be also using the spare room for my study for admin, studying, blogging, sewing and possibly some other creative projects. This means that I will have my own space to decorate as I like so the opportunity to make it look a bit different to the other rooms in the house. I love the idea of using upcycled interiors not only because it is more sustainable than buying new but also because I think they will give the room their own unique character. I am also on the look out for a colourful and comfy chair for the lounge and possibly some decoration for our new eating space (kitchen / diner)

upcycled dresser

I love this upcycled dresser from I Love Retro at Not on the High Street.

original_vintage-1950s-bartolomew-chair-in-chance-velvet

This reburbished 1950’s cocktail chair by Galapagos on Not on the High Street looks stunning and really comfy. The fabric is designed by British designer Parris Wakefield.

vintage mirror

Irish Barn on Etsy has some lovely retro homeware pieces including this lovely vintage mirror.

vintage curtains

Oxfam have a good selection of vintage curtains which you can browse on their website. I love these 1950’s waterlilly curtains!

retro chest of drawers

This mid century chest of drawers from Upcycled Retro on Etsy is a fun way to add a bit of extra storage to a room.

Original Hyatt Dining Table

I love the look of this Hyatt Canning Dining Table from Little Tree Furniture it would be amazing in my new eating area.

Would you consider upcycled interiors?

I hope you are well and enjoying the run up to Christmas! I am looking forward to a lovely relaxing break. What do you have planned over the festive season?

With warmest wishes


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