Wednesday, 12 September 2018

National Quietness Day




Today is National Quietness Day and I wanted to share a few tips on quietness and why it’s important to be quiet once in a while. We live in a very busy, hectic and loud world where we rush from one thing to next never taking time out to breath and simply be. Over the years I have seen just how detrimental living life in this way can be and so I try to make sure I take time out to be quiet and to be still. I would really like to encourage you to do the same and I can promise you will find yourself in a better place mentally and physically.

Switch Off Your Phone;

This is the first tip for being quiet. We don’t have to be physically speaking to be a part of the noise of the world. The rise of social media has meant the worlds noise never switches off and I know I am guilty of using that noise to drown out what I am actually feeling. This is such an unhealthy way to live and I would really encourage you to take time away from your phone, away from social media and learn to be quiet and still within yourself.

Look Away from the Screen:

Just like phones, things like TV’s and laptops can drown out your thoughts and feelings. Try switching them off for a little bit and opt instead for a book. There is something so beautifully peaceful about sitting quietly in the corner reading and it will refresh you so much more than mindlessly sitting in front of the television.

Use Your Hands:

Do something that uses your hands like knitting, painting, colouring, cooking. Quietly focusing on a task can be so rewarding and also relaxing after a long day outside in the busy world. You also get the added bonus of creating something with your own hands.

Yoga and Meditation:

I love my yoga sessions. One of the most beautiful yoga sessions I have had was when I was on holiday recently. I decided to do my yoga outside by the water. It was silent accept for the sound of birds and water lapping at the shore. It was so peaceful just focusing on my breathing and movement as the world was quiet all around me.

Likewise, with meditation, just sitting calmly and quietly by yourself focusing on the present can be such a wonderful way to feel restored. Try using a mindfulness app or take yourself out to a beautiful spot in nature and watch the waves lapping or the trees swaying.    

Go Out into Nature:

I find it very hard to find quietness in the city. Going into nature can be so restorative and the beautiful stillness and quietness of a wood or a lake can really help to centre you in the present and help still your mind. If you struggle to stop thoughts buzzing around all the time I would really suggest a quiet solitary walk in nature or just sitting in a place of natural beauty and listening to the stillness of the world.

These are just a few ideas of how to enjoy quietness. I would really encourage you to try some of these today for National Quietness Day. If you have any of your own ideas I’d love to hear them in the comments.     

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Friday, 31 August 2018

How I Shop for Clothes Ethically



I really love reading about other people’s journeys to becoming more ethical and sustainable particularly in terms of fashion. I don’t feel like I will ever reach a point in my life where I think I am doing everything I can to help the planet, I will always love to learn more and develop my lifestyle more as I learn and so I always find it interesting to see what others are doing.

Trying to build a more ethical wardrobe has been quite hard. I have always loved fashion, since I was little I have been putting together outfits as an expression of who I am and how I feel that day and I didn’t want that to change when switching to a more ethical wardrobe. I also didn’t want to keep buying cheap fast fashion in huge quantities knowing about the effect it is having on the planet and the exploitation of people, mainly women. I’ve been driven by a strong desire to change the world but in a way that allows me to enjoy fashion as I always have done.

I still have quite a big wardrobe of clothes, but I can safely say that 90% of it has been worn at least 30 times, some of it probably nearing 70+ times. I now take care of my clothes, wear them a lot and only buy things I feel I will get a lot of use out of. I love finding ways to style old clothes in new ways and there is nothing in my wardrobe that I don’t love to wear.  

This is how I shop for clothes ethically. Of course, we are all different and will have different ways of approaching this, but I hope this will help to inspire you as I have been inspired and shaped by others shopping habits.


Buy what you love:

This for me is the most important. I only buy clothes that I really like, if I’m not 100% sold or it doesn’t fit perfectly then I don’t buy it. This means that every piece in my wardrobe I am happy to wear again and again. I have quite a few dresses, but they are all different, comfortable and make me feel gorgeous. If like me you’re not into the capsule wardrobe buying only exciting pieces that you love and can wear every day is such a great way of not ever buying too much or something that you will only wear once.

Buy from ethical and sustainable brands:

This is often my first port of call when I need or want something new. I love People Tree and have been wearing one of their dresses repeatedly over summer. I am also a big fan of Thought clothing for basics. It feels great to buy from these brands as I know they will be paying every person who touches my garment a fair wage as well as making sure the impact is low on environment.

Buy from ethical high-street stores:

As much as I love People Tree and Thought, they can be a little pricey and sometimes they just haven’t got something in the style I want. One of my favourite brands is actually Marks and Spencer’s. I have quite a classic style and I love that their clothes are elegant and classic in a way that won’t go out of style. They are also well known to be one of the best in terms of ethical and sustainable fashion on the high-street. Another favourite is Fatface, their jeans are great quality and they do some super cute, comfy basics. Both M&S and Fatface produce really good quality clothes that have lasted me years and years at affordable prices. When it comes to the high-street I will avoid fast fashion outlets like H&M, Zara and Primark. This was hard at first because I knew going into those shops would get me a lot more for my money but now I am happier with a smaller, higher quality wardrobe that lasts me years.

Buy British:

I love finding little independent British brands who make their products in this country. I often find their back story is really interesting making the item extra special. It also feels great to be supporting local businesses and the economy. Three of my favourite made in Britain brands are; Lady Vintage London, The Pretty Dress Company and The Cambridge SatchelCompany. Not only do these brands make great quality clothing but they also make quite unique styles that you often wouldn’t find on the high-street.

Buy special:

There are also a few brands I absolutely love and will buy from if they have a very special piece that I know I will get a lot of use out of. I always try to buy as ethically as possible but sometimes when you need a particular style you do have to look elsewhere. Two of my favourite smaller British brands are Lindy Bop and Chi Chi London. I have bought a few evening dresses from these two brands and absolutely love them. They are very special items that I take care of and wear for special occasions. For me I think it’s okay to buy a piece of clothing from a non-ethical source as long as it’s good quality, will last and you will get a lot of wear out of it.


So that is how I do my clothes shopping at the moment. As I said earlier this is the system I have developed for myself and it may not work for everyone. People will have different opinions about what is right and wrong in terms of ethical and sustainable fashion and that’s fine, it’s important to make up your own mind about how you want to live and what you want to effect with how you spend your money.

I hope you have found some inspiration. I’d love to hear your shopping tips in the comments below.

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Tuesday, 28 August 2018

The Oxford Diaries: Bank Holiday Adventure

Well that's it, the last bank holiday of summer! It really does feel like summer has ended now here in Oxford. The sun has disappeared and been replaced with a slight chill in the air, the brambles are laden down with blackberries and already the leaves have begun to turn. Of course, I don't mind a bit as autumn is my favourite season of all but it was lovely to have one last weekend of summer before the new season begins. 

We decided to have a very chilled bank holiday Monday and so went to one of our favourite local National Trust properties for a slow walk around the grounds.  




I couldn't believe how autumnal the place felt with leaves strewn across the paths. I think this might have been my last chance to have bare legs and wear sandals. 





As always at Waddesdon Manor the grounds were spectacular. They really do have some of the best flowers of any National Trust we've visited as well as the most beautiful architecture. Every time we visit I feel like I've been swept off into my favourite Disney film, The Beauty and the Beast. 




After a lovely relaxing walk, spending some quality time together chatting about what this new season will bring, we slowly made our way home to watch films and share a delicious curry (M&S of course!). It was the perfect end to a lovely summer.


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Friday, 27 April 2018

Fashion Revolution Week: Ethical Fashion Resources



I thought I would share a few resources that have helped me over the last year or so as I have learnt more about sustainable fashion why we need to slow down our wardrobes. If you have any resources of your own I would love to hear about them so please do leave me a comment!

Books:

To Die For by Lucy Siegle

If you want to know exactly why it is so important to join the sustainable fashion movement then this is the book for you. This book is an extensive look into every aspect of the fashion industry and it's supply chain. Siegle talks about garment workers, cotton pickers, pollution in rivers from dye houses, animal abuse, child labour and so much more giving the reader and in depth view into the huge problems of the fashion industry. This is a must read for everyone.

Slow Fashion by Safia Minney

This book is a great resource to learn all about the slow fashion movement. Why we should do it and how we can do it. It is a really interesting read and full of great tips, advice and articles all about ethical, sustainable fashion and how to build your own sustainable wardrobe.

Slave to Fashion by Safia Minney

This book is an eyeopening account of the modern slavery that goes on within the garment industry. Full of interviews, articles and microdocumentaries with the men, women and children who are enslaved by the fashion industry, this is a powerful read and helps us to understand exactly why we need to change our buying habits and the effect they are having on thousands of people.



Documentaries:

The True Cost

This documentary is on Netflix and a definite must watch for everyone. Like Siegle's book it goes into all the different aspects of the fashion industry and teaches us about the true cost of making the garments we wear.

Udita

This documentary is on Youtube and a really interesting insight into the lives of garment workers who will no longer tolerate the appalling way they are treated. The documentary follows those who have formed unions and are campaigning for a living wage, fair treatment and compensation for factory closures of accidents. It's only an hour and 15 minutes and really worth a watch.




Shopping:

People Tree

This is one of my favourite Fair Trade and ethical brands. Founder Safia Minney, developed the first organic and Fair Trade clothing supply chain so you know that each item has been carefully and thoughtfully made to benefit the planet and those who make it. The quality of their clothes is amazing and they have some beautiful designs. Check them out if you are needing something new for your wardrobe.

Thought Clothing

Another favourite ethical brand these guys are well known for using more sustainable materials like bamboo to make their underwear, socks and tights. I have a couple of pairs of their socks and I can honestly say they are the best socks I have ever owned. They last for ages and stay soft and comfy for years. There clothes are also really gorgeous and made of some interesting materials like hemp.   


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