Wool and the Gang

I was recently contacted by Wool and the Gang to see if I would like to try out one of their kits. I have to admit, I have never actually knitted before, well not since I was about 7 and that was probably with a fair amount of help from my Grandma, who was an expert knitter.

But I was interested by the sustainable approach of this brand, that advocates fashion that is #MadeUnique by a community of knitters around the world, the complete opposite to the usual mass produced fashion that is sold all over the high street. Wool and the Gang is very much about slow fashion. A hand knitted piece of clothing can’t be rushed but needs to be crafted with care. Wool and the Gang hopes to bring back knitting as a means of production for generations to come. Their real wool is an eco friendly material as it is natural and biodegradable and they also work with fashion factories to repurpose their waste into yarn and reduce landfill.

When I look at their collection of stylish but timeless patterns and chunky yarns, I can completely accept that knitting is not just for Grannies. It is for anyone. Wool and the Gang refer to their knitters as Gangstas and recognise the benefits of knitting as going beyond just fashion. They declare that knitting is the new yoga redeucing stress and anxiety, increasing creativity and memory. Knitting can even be really sociable with a ‘gang culture’ of knitting parties around the world and a online movement sharing their knits on social media. For those that just haven’t got the time or incination to knit their own clothes, there is also the opportunity for them to support other Gangstas by buying their handmade pieces.

A little pressie from @woolandthegang ! Should keep me busy for a bit #slowfashion #madeunique

A post shared by Ceri Heathcote (@styleeyes) on

Anyway, after much deliberation and browsing of the website, I decided to choose the Calvin top, a crochet top to make using 100% upcycled Billie Jean yarn. I have never crocheted before but the website informed me that this project was an ‘easy’ level. I am also reassured to see that the website has a number of video tutorials to help me get the hang of it.

I can’t wait to get started and look forward to sharing my finished top. Have you ever knitted or crocheted anything? or would you like to give it a go?

Getting started #woolandthegang

A post shared by Ceri Heathcote (@styleeyes) on

You can check out the Wool and the Gang Website here

With warmest wishes


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Stylish Ways to Help Reduce Plastic Pollution

Backpack by Timberland Thread

As I mentioned in my last post, I have recently read a few articles that have really concerned me about the levels of plastic usage and pollution and its impact on both the environment and humans. Plastic packaging in particular has an incredibly short useful life most often being used just once, sometimes in the case of plastic bags for just a few minutes before being discarded but it persists in the environment for much longer and is having a catastrophic effect on the environment, particularly marine habitats.

If you would like to find out more, you can watch Plastic Oceans, the film here. It is a documentary which puts the scale of the problem into context, showing how in the center of the Pacific Ocean gyre, researchers found more plastic than plankton!

So I thought I would put together a list of ways that I can help to reduce plastic pollution and thought it was worth sharing for anyone else that shares my concerns and wants to do something about it.

Resuable shopping bags – never go out without them!

I have a reusable shopping bag but the biggest challenge is to ensure that I  always have it with me when I need it! This is one the simplest changes that you can make that will make a huge difference. Just get yourself a reusable bag that folds up small and take it with you in your handbag wherever you go. A backpack also makes a much more comfortable alternative to a plastic bag.

Don’t use drinking straws

Drinking straws aren’t essential, they aren’t even important, so just avoid using them. I the US they use 5 million straws a day. I don’t have the figure for the UK but whatever it is, reducing it will help reduce plastic pollution, another quick and pretty easy win for the environment.

Reusable boxes and bottles for packed lunches and drinks

Making your own lunch and taking your own drinks to work might seem like hard work but it will save you loads of money and allow you to make healthier choices. It will also cut down on the amount of plastic waste that you create. Ethical Superstore have a good range of containers for transporting your lunch in style.

The bathroom cupboard

Tiny plastic beads used in cosmetics, face washes and tooth pastes may help to exfoliate and leave you sparkling clean but they are also a big problem for the environment. Look out for ingredients like “polypropylene” or “polyethylene”! Switching from disposable razors to reusable razors will also cut down your plastic usage. If you want to buy beauty products from a brand that actively minimises its packaging, check out Lush, with the added benefit that their products smell amazing!

Plastic fashion

Manmade fabrics are also damaging to the environment. Look out on the labels for polyester, nylon and acrylic, all of which don’t break down and persist in the environment. The are also made using nonrenewable resources (oil) and an energy intensive processes. Natural alternatives such as organic cotton, hemp, silk, wool and tencel are all better alternatives for the environment.Second hand is also a great option as it doesn’t involve use of virgin materials. You can find lots of brandsselling natural and upcycled materials in my ethical fashion brand directory.

However if like me you find that sometimes you need clothes that are easy to wash and dry and don’t need ironing, there are some brands creating clothing from recycled polyester which is also a great alternative.

Timberland has recently teamed up with Thread for a collection of shoes and bags made from recycled bottles.

Patagonia Active Bra

By using PCR fleece and other fabrics made from recycled polyester, Patagonia has saved in excess of 86 million plastic bottles from landfill.

Pol

Polyester raincoat by SkunkFunk

Skunk Funk use recycled polyester in their clothes and use eo packagaing and tagging. Read  more here

M&S use polyester extracted from recycled plastic across their womenswear, lingerie, menswear, childrenswear and homeware ranges. Read more here.

There are probably lots more brands that are doing their bit for the environment by avoiding synthetic fabrics in their fashion, minimising waste and utilising recycled materials.If you know of any or have any tips for reducing plastic pollution, please comment below!

With warmest wishes


Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.

Uncommon Goods

dreamcatcher wall clock

Sponsored post

I have quite a few birthdays coming up in January and February so have been on the look out for some lovely and also ethical birthday gifts to give to my friends. I was interested to get an email from Uncommon Goods, an interesting online retailer with a mission to change the way business is done by making sustainability a part of every decision that they make. They continue to strive to become more socially responsible, environmentally friendly and an ever more rewarding place to work by treating individuals with dignity and respect, paying a fair wage and selling products made from handmade, organic and recycled materials.Here are just a few of the lovely gifts for women that I found and that I know my friends and family would love to recieve.

The unusual dreamcatcher wall clock shown above features in the ethical home decor section alongside some other really lovely pieces including pretty tea light holders, animal bookends and fun lights and nightlights.

latitude and longitude necklace

This simple but pretty necklace is handmade of silver in Washington. I love that you can have it personalised to feature the actual longitude and latitude of somewhere special in the world.

wooden martini glasses

These wooden glasses are definitely a really usuual way to serve a martini. They are handcrafted in Colarado from richly grained walnut. Whilst a wooden glass might not be the most obvious thing to drink from, the wood is actually a better insulator than glass, so they will keep your cocktail cooler for longer as well as looking amazing.

upcycled cotton sari robe

I love bright prints and vibrant colours of this upcycled cotton sari robe. It has been handmade in India by Rags to Riches, a cooperative of artisans in a village outside of Rajasthan, India.

Do any of the unusual gifts at Uncommon Goods look like something your friends and family would like to receive?

With warmest wishes


Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.

Ethical Fashion Brands to Follow on Instagram

I have been pretty busy lately and whilst I haven’t had as much time for blogging as I would like, I have found Instagram to be really convenient for posting stuff and getting inspired. I have also started to discover some great ethical fashion brands to follow on Instagram and love the stories that they have to tell. Here are just a few of them.

Nomads clothing features some of the inspiration behind their beautiful prints as well as their clothes and a narrative of how they are made.


Patagonia’s feed features interesting photographs from the great outdoors.

Sweet Pea-ton. Have a great weekend everyone, we’ll see ya out there! Photo: @mhansonphoto

A photo posted by Patagonia (@patagonia) on


Veja features photos of life from an interesting angle plus shoes.

REFLECTION Symmetry vs. Asymmetry / Abraxas, Noisy Le grand #veja #vejashoes ?: @vincentdesailly

A photo posted by VEJA – OFFICIAL ACCOUNT (@veja) on


Gather and See is a carefully curated collection of ethical and sustainable clothing. Their feed features pictures of clothes and life.


Madia Matilda is a British brand specialising in luxurious upcycled and sustainable fashion.

Lacey Solutions #madiamatilda #lace #cute #fashion #girl #tshirt #style #grey #madeinBritain #white #casual #outfit #adorable

A photo posted by M a d i a & M a t i l d a (@madiamatilda) on


Ikat Official – I have fallen in love with these shoes and seemly never tire of seeing more pictures of them!


Sessun – the feed for this French sustainable fashion brand features clothes, photo shoots and beautiful stuff.


Luva Huva sell gorgeous ethical lingerie and lounge wear but their feed features lots more than this.


That is just a few of the ethical fashion brands that I follow on Instagram. You can check out my account here to see more.

So here is a bit more of what I have been up to over the last few weeks via Instagram.

Camper van kitty, think she wants to come camping!

A photo posted by @styleeyes on

Had a little visit today from the kitten next door!

A photo posted by @styleeyes on

Post work out dinner!

A photo posted by @styleeyes on


I hope you are having a great summer. Do you follow any amazing brands on Instagram that I ought to know about?
With warmest wishes


Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.

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


Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.

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

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


Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.

Seasonal Food – Autumn Eating

autumn food

I have been waiting to post this post about seasonal eating and autumn food for some time. Now that I have finally finished for the exam assignment of my course, I have a little breathing space and time to catch up. I wanted to post about seasonal food, not only because I love autumn food, but because it makes sense to buy food that is in season rather than flown across the world, at great expense to the environment. So here are just a few of the seasonal autumn treats that I have been cooking up.

apple and blackberry compote

Apple and Blackberry Compote

At this time of year, I can usually manage to aquire some cooking apples and blackberries for nothing. I decided to add a taste of autumn to my breakfasts ny cooking them up into an apple and blackberry compote which I could then layer with greek yoghurt and top with a seed sprinkle or mix with porridge. This is super easy to make by peeling apples before cooking in a pan with blackberries and a little maple syrup and water.

macaroni cheese and kale

Macaroni Cheese

I love kale and it is perfect for adding a bit of veggie goodness to a warming dish of macaroni cheese. My children love eating veggies anyway but adding them to something like this means they eat even more of them. I didn’t really use a recipe. I just made a white sauce with milk a little oil and flour, then  adding a few teaspoons of djion mustard, cheese and steamed kale and cooked macaroni, topped with a little more cheese and baked in the oven.

DSCN4675 (2)

Leek and Potato Soup

I always look forward to autumn for cooking up some warming leek and potato soup. It is the one thing that can be guarenteed to help when I want to lose a bit of weight as it is so healthy and satisfying. This year I have discovered an amazing new addition to my soup, green lentils, which makes it even more filling. I just wash chop and fry lots of leeks, then add vegetable stock potatoe and a bag of washed green lentils and boil it up for about half an hour. Once it is cool I blend it a bit and then keep it in the fridge. I make enough for the week and keep it in the fridge heating it up with a few drops of worcestershire sauce and take it to work in a thermos for lunch.

For a list of which foods are in season in Novemember and other months, check out Eat the Seasons Website.

I couldn’t post about sustainability and food this week without a mention of Hugh’s War on Waste programme this week. If you didn’t see it, you can check it out here. I was really shocked to hear that a third of the food in the UK never gets eaten, disgusting when there are so many hungry people in the world. But I was also pleased to see that this issue is getting so much attention through this programme and hope that it helps to change attitudes. I have definitely made it a priority to make sure that no food gets wasted in my house. This week I will be using up leftover veggies with a sweet potato, spinach and red onion soup, perhaps spiced up with a little curry powder for next weeks lunches. Do you had any good ideas for making use of leftover food to share? I am also trying to make the effort to try out an organic veg box as an alternative to supermarket shopping.

Look out for next Mondays episode of War on Waste which looks at clothes!

Finally here are a few of my autumn instagrams.

tinkerbell pumpkin

My daughter carved this Tinkerbell pumpkin with a drill!

autumn leavesI couldn’t resist an autumn leaves picture. Shoes are Dream in Green and the dress by People Tree.

charity shop cardigan

I treated myself to a cosy new charity shop cardigan which cost me just a fiver from Oxfam and was perfect for dress down Friday at work.

food

Yet more food! Avocado and mushrooms on toast, the perfect way to fuel up before a 3 hour body combat session.

matcha green tea

Matcha green tea is the latest addition to my healthy eating plan. I have been enjoying it with apple juice and lime. Does anyone have any other good ways to drink/ prepare it?

Are you on Instagram? you can follow my Instagram account here or leave you link in the comments so that I can follow you.

I hope that you are havng a lovely autumn!

With warmest wishes


Visit StyleEyes’s profile on Pinterest.