Ethical clothing.

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Finisterre Clothing (Source)

Yes people. It’s all very well trying to buy environmentally friendly fabrics, and not use animal products, but it all means nothing if you’re still buying into businesses that effectively use slave labour. (That was a bit more direct than I thought it would be, but there’s nothing like a little harsh truth!) As it’s Fashion Revolution week, and the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster, I figured it might be good to share something.

Now I’m an advocate of the largely secondhand wardrobe, because not only does it contribute to good in the world, (if it comes from a charity shop you are making a donation to their work) but it means that instead of garments going on a one-way path to the garbage heap, they become part of a loop economy. Products that can be used again by someone new, avoid the fate of landfill and all the horrible dangers associated with it. When you buy secondhand you don’t require anything to be made from scratch in a factory, so no energy is wasted to create it. There’s enough already in existence to mean we shouldn’t need to buy very much completely new! It can go round and round the loop until it can’t be used any more!

However, sometimes you can’t be searching high and low for things. Also, there’s something to be said for encouraging and supporting ethical businesses with our money. So without further ado, here is a list of ethical clothes manufacturers on my radar…

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The White T-shirt Co.

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Good quality t-shirts designed to last a lifetime, they can even be tailored to your requirements.

Credentials: Organic, Fair trade, Vegan

Prices: ££

Hiut Denim

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Good quality jeans produced in a small factory (they make 100 per week!) They commit to repairing any jeans you buy from them for free for life!

Credentials: Fair trade, (Some) Organic, Repairs for life

Prices: £££

Finisterre

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Casual clothing with a focus on outdoor activity wear. Very good knitwear, jackets, base layers. Committed to eco-friendly initiatives.

Credentials: (Some) Organic, Fair trade, (Some) Recycled materials

Prices: £

Monkee Genes

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Organic jeans in a large range of styles and colours.

Credentials: Organic, Fair trade, Living wage, Vegan, (Some) Recycled materials

Prices: £

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Beaumont Organic

Beaumont Organic

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Casual/luxury clothing made from organic materials

Credentials: Organic, Fair trade

Prices: £££

Rapanui Clothing

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Organic t-shirts and hoodies

Credentials: Organic, Fair trade

Prices: £

Sea Salt Cornwall

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Casualwear, shoes and accessories

Credentials: (Some) Organic, Fair trade

Prices: ££

Swedish Stockings

Based in: Sweden

Specialises in: Sustainable hosiery made to last, using eco-friendly practices and materials. They also accept any brand of hosiery for recycling to divert them from landfill!

Credentials: Fair trade, Recycled materials, Eco-friendly practices, Zero Waste

Prices: ££

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Bibico

Bibico

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Ethical casual clothing using natural fibres

Credentials: (Some) Organic, Fair trade

Prices: ££

Green Fibres

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Organic underwear, nightwear and outerwear

Credentials: Organic, Fair trade

Prices: ££

Lowie

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Casual clothing and accessories committed to introducing organic and eco-friendly materials to their range. They offer free repairs on all purchases too!

Credentials: (Some) Organic, Fair trade, Repairs for life

Prices: £££

The Keep Boutique

Based in: UK

Specialises in: Ethical brands offering casualwear and accessories

Credentials: (Some) Organic, Fair trade

Prices: ££

Minimalist bathroom + make-up tips.

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the superstars.

I’m still working out what an ideal amount of toiletries is for me, so by no means consider this the final edit. However, there are a few things I’ve learned when narrowing down my collection which you might find useful. The following tips are things that I do to keep my bathroom products to a minimum…

Water for face + hair washing:

Yep, you heard me- no shampoo or face wash! Apart from my skin and hair completely thriving on water alone (after a transition period. I will be writing separate posts on these soon!) the best thing about it is that I don’t have to pack anything up to go away. Water is everywhere! More bag space and less expense and complication, WOO!

 

2-in-1 eyeliner:

If you have an eyeliner pencil, you can use it normally for a soft line, or to make your lashes look thicker,  hold a lighter 1-2cm from the tip for a few seconds, it softens the consistency and it makes more of a gel or liquid liner. The black gets bolder too. If you’re an eyeliner fan, trust me, this will blow ya mind 🙂 Now you only need one!

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My organic muslin face cloth for wiping off make-up. Bought here

Oil:

Be it coconut oil, olive oil or argan oil, (to name but a few) they all make great make-up removers. Just rub a few drops over the area then wipe away with a cloth. Now that my skin is natural, it tends to regulate itself in terms of moisture, but occasionally it gets dry. This is where the oil comes into its own again. Rubbing a teeny bit of oil (sometimes diluted with water for a lighter effect) is all I need to revive a dry patch. Having one product that serves many purposes is the best way of saving space and simplifying.

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Left to right, top to bottom: ‘lust’ solid perfume, LUSH; pina colada flavour lip balm, gift; homemade mascara, recipe here; lighter; argan oil, ClementsClements; eyebrow brush, Ecotools; Kohl eyeliner pencil, Boots

Refine:

Remove items from collection and store somewhere else. If you don’t miss them after a few months, get rid (donate, give to friend, chuck). It’s easy to keep products that you think you might need for an occasion, but it’s very eye-opening to discover that you only actually tend to use a fraction of the things you have.

No duplicates, this is not the apocalypse:

You don’t need to stock up. There isn’t going to suddenly be a shortage. Also, if you decide you no longer want to use a certain brand/product, you can easily change because you don’t have 10 duplicates in your drawer waiting to be used up. Replace when you are really close to running out/have already run out. Vow that you’re not going to buy another shampoo until you’ve used up what you have, or if you do fancy starting fresh immediately, donate the unused stock.

5 things this Monday…

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Would you look at that soapy goodness. (Source)

Hello friends! Some things that inspired me this week…

  1. Imy from Sustainably Vegan shares how to buy from bulk shops using your own bags and jars. Her style is so laid back and inviting! I have been meaning to try out Wholefoods when I’m in London but I have to admit I’ve been scared to just rock up with my containers when I don’t know their systems. Now I know I was just being silly, and I can’t wait to walk into that room choc full of everything you could ever want package-free! Check out the video, it looks great!
  2. When I read this homage to bar soap, I got that feeling. You know when you read something that is so you that you have to do a double take?! (tell me I’m not the only one!) I guess what I mean is, I kind wish I’d written this! I am the world’s biggest convert to bar soap, there’s nothing getting between us, and it totally deserves a massive article just to sing its praises. If you’re not yet convinced, give it a read. I dare ya.
  3. Forbes online tells us 9 things we can do about climate change. What I like about these suggestions is that they’re nice and simple. I’m planning on focusing on a few at a time and becoming more conscious when I’m shopping and travelling etc.
  4. This article dissects the craziness of our society which has taken disposables to a ridiculous level of superiority. Let’s be honest, when did we ever really need the invention of disposable plates or kitchen roll anyway? Some of the things we no longer even notice, actually have reusable alternatives, and it doesn’t mean a reduction in comfort or convenience.
  5. And finally, this post had me at its title: DIY chocolate tooth powder! CHOCOLATE GUYS! When I run out of my bicarb and coconut oil toothpaste, I’m switching over to this for the spring 🙂

1 year on: Ecoegg laundry egg

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(Source)

It’s been a while since I reviewed a green product, and this’ll be the first non-toiletry related ‘1 year on’ I’ve done too! Ecoegg is a replacement for washing detergent, and is a hollow egg shape filled with pellets. As your machine fills with water, the pellets release a natural foam and mild fragrance to make your washing clean and fresh. I bought my Ecoegg just before I moved to France, and it was super useful not to have to worry about buying washing powder/tabs/whatever at all during my time there. Here’s what I think after over a year of using this.

Price:

I bought mine on Ebay for £18, which is more or less retail price. As is the case for many of my other reviewed products, I did have to initially spend more than I usually would in one go, but when you consider that what I bought should last me approx. 720 washes, you can imagine the saving! (Ecoegg calculates their product to cost about 3p per wash)

Durability:

So how it works is that you buy the egg along with refill pellets (I bought 10 refills which you replace every 72 washes, hence it all lasting me 720 washes). The mineral pellets should wear down by 72 washes, so then you just top it up with another refill. After all my pellets have run out I simply have to buy more to refill my egg 🙂 The egg itself will last a lifetime- that’s as reusable as I could hope to be!

Verdict:

I appreciate the simplicity of the Ecoegg; now all I need to remember is that (and the clothes obviously hah) not to mention it makes travelling a doddle.  I can’t imagine having to even think about regularly buying detergent! They both go in the drum and no need to worry about fabric softener either! The pellets are made from natural minerals and are 100% hypoallergenic- so if you have sensitive skin or babies, no problem 🙂 My only gripe is that the pellet refills came portioned out in 10 small plastic wrappers. If it wasn’t for that, they would’ve been completely waste-free! ARGH! Even so, it’s less plastic than individually wrapped tablets or bottles of fabric softener. I will however be shooting them my feedback via email after this to see if something can be done about the wrappers 😉

My natural christmas tree.

Guys! It’s the first of December! In my house that means Christmas music on loop and going into full festive mode 🙂 I’ve had my tree up for about a week now, but I thought it was about time I shared…

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the tree after I put it up in our living room

I was inspired by the smart people of Pinterest (what was life before Pinterest..?) who did a similar thing. I think I started collecting sticks from about the beginning of November. It was easy to get most of them, but the two longest ones at the bottom I had to really scavenge for in the park! Then I used a natural twine I had in the house to tie them together. They could’ve been arranged more neatly, but I really like how it turned out- it has character! I used some foil chocolate wrappers wrapped around a cardboard cut-out I made to get the star.

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Gold foil star 🙂

I’m trying to decide if I should decorate it, and if so, what with. But yeah, I hope you feel inspired to use what you have around you to have a bit of fun and decorate for the holiday season! The best thing about this tree is that when Christmas is over nothing goes in the bin- the sticks go back to the park, and string goes back in my stash 🙂

 

Thanks for reading!

Packed lunch.

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In an attempt to save money and avoid the temptation of buying packaged things, I’ve been taking a proper packed lunch. A properly organised packed lunch! Me!

Lunch is my least favourite meal. I’ve got breakfast down, and it’s a chuck-it-all-in-the-bowl scenario so it’s easy. Dinner is the fun one, when I get to try out new things and invest my time and energy into making something I’m proud of. Lunch on the other hand… What even is lunch? Anyway, that’s a question for another time.

After working out a lunch that is sufficiently filling and easy/quick to prepare, this is my current set-up along with the products that help me avoid rubbish and plastic!

First up, I make a sandwich with the baguette I buy package-free at the market, and fill it with peanut butter and jam. I have this pouch from Keep Leaf which seals with velcro, then folds out to a handy mat so that I don’t leave crumbs wherever I’m eating (usually a desk or in the café). I normally just brush off the crumbs and wipe the inside down with a wet cloth when I get home and it’s good to go again! It can also go through the washing machine I believe. It’s a great alternative to foil/cling film/sandwich bags which all end up in landfill.

I buy dry goods package-free every two weeks and I tend to alternate between almonds, cashews and brazil nuts. So whichever of these I have in that week, I wrap up a handful in a hanky to take with me. To tie up the hanky you simply take opposite diagonal corners and knot them together so that the ends of are laying over the remaining two corners (top right picture above). Then you make a second knot with the remaining two corners. It works a treat!

 

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Finally an apple and an orange go in. I then put all of the bits in my Keep Leaf lunchbag. Keep Leaf specialises in using organic fabric to make eco-friendly products and I think it’s  awesome. The food pouch/mat is a particular favourite and comes in useful all the time! Lunch sorted.

Little things.

Today I thought I’d take a leaf out of The Beauty in Simple‘s book and share a list of small things that I am grateful for or excited about at the moment. I really love the fact that you can find beauty and value in the every day, mundane details and I’m trying to get better at it, so here goes…

5 simple things that have made me happy this week:

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  1. On Mondays I get the majority of my food from the market on my uni campus. I bought a beautiful baguette off a very nice lady who complimented me on my baguette-shaped cotton bag. My day was made and it hadn’t even hit 12! snapchat-3653081788801760395
  2. My worm bin finally arrived! Watching all the little wriggly babies settle into their new home and giving them their first load of food scraps was really amazing yesterday. I may have stayed there watching them until the very last one wriggled underneath the surface of the soil before I reluctantly put the lid back on… Expect a post soon about how I’m getting on with this new compost method! snapchat-6525766345540802439
  3. Having a cold really blows, (GET IT!) but since I’ve been using handkerchiefs instead of tissues, I don’t get that sore red nose thing that I thought was inevitable. Plus I keep them in this jar in my room, and all the colours and patterns look so nice together. snapchat-314470562345266043
  4. Today rounded off week 3 of my final year at university, (eek!) and whilst it’s pretty hectic, I’ve managed to minimise the things I take with me. I have one bag (a year ago I would’ve been rotating at least 3) one notebook and one folder for all my lessons. It is really nice not to have to empty and refill my bag and risk forgetting things, because I just carry it all around every day.snapchat-3383675782844297014-1
  5. Breakfast for me consists of jumbo oats soaked overnight in nut milk, 1 chopped banana, 1 chopped date, a handful of nuts and a sprinkle of vanilla/cinnamon. It’s filling, refreshing, yummy, healthy- I can’t think of a better way to start the day!

No spend October

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Yeah… So this is happening.

Somewhat (read: very) reluctantly I have decided to tackle my spending habits head on. In September 2015 I vowed not to buy any more clothes for as long as I could, and with the exception of a coat (honestly a necessity) I lasted the all the way until April 2016. It actually became easy after a while, and I got to know my style- I even got rid of stuff! I’m not technically doing that ‘challenge’ anymore, but I still rarely buy clothes (and now I am far better at knowing whether it’s just an impulse buy to fill a void).

I have noticed however that over the summer, in my quest to build up my eco-friendly homeware collection, I may have just replaced one obsession (clothes and general stuff) with another (wooden stuff, stainless steel and jars). Yes, I may be buying almost exclusively secondhand, but having more than I need isn’t good for me or the planet.

You know you’re onto something when the thought of challenging a habit makes you feel nervous (me right now) whilst the feeling you get from buying yet another jar (I know, I’m sad!) gives me a buzz.

I’m going to start off with a realistic set of rules for this one month challenge, as I don’t want to be so restrictive that it changes the way I socialise, but here’s what I’ve come up with as an initial goal:

CAN SPEND MONEY ON:

  • food
  • drinks/food with friends
  • experiences

CAN’T SPEND MONEY ON:

  • clothes
  • items

My plan is to see how this goes, then feedback at the end of the month. In a weird way I’m both apprehensive and excited for the results!

5 things this Monday…

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  1. First up Pret a manger, a UK-based sandwich shop for anyone international, set up a veggie (all vegetarian/vegan food) pop-up shop for a month in Soho, London. It did so well they kept it open all summer, and that did so well they’re keeping it open for good! It’s so encouraging to know that society is moving in the direction of plant-based food, and that even massive chains are taking note. See the article explaining their decision here.
  2. Talk about blowing my mind, here’s another awesome story: Bundanoon: Australia’s First Bottled Water Free Town. To protest against a bottled water company that planned to truck water from them to sell in Sydney they sent a clear message and banned plastic bottles in 2009. ‘Bundy’ residents can fill up their reusable water bottles at taps all over the town. SO COOL!
  3. Courtney from Be More With Less shares 8 tips for small-space living, that are simple and straight forward, but really useful too. No matter if you live in a small place or not, following this advice will have you on your way to simplicity and freedom from an endless cycle of messing up and tidying up (I know that all too well!)
  4. Brasilian brand Insecta takes on the dominant culture of leather and meat consumption by creating vegan shoes made from vintage clothing (pictured above). The business has been doing really well and it just goes to show that people are eager to support green alternatives. Plus they’re really awesome-looking shoes 🙂
  5. Finally, have you ever wondered how to pack a zero waste picnic? As with everything, it’s all in the preparation. This article explains down to the smallest details how they avoid waste from the food containers to wet wipes. I’m definitely hanging on to this for future reference!