Tuesday, 27 November 2018

ASIOX Ethical Christmas Shopping Event

Saturday was a very exciting day as I got to attend the ASIOX (Anti-Slavery Initiative Oxford) Christmas Shopping Event and give a talk on ethical fashion. As you guys know I love any chance to share my passion for ethical and sustainable fashion and Saturday was such great opportunity to come out from behind my computer screen and do it in person.

The talk itself went really well and people were very receptive to the message. I was asked a lot of questions afterwards and people were genuinely interested in how they could change their own shopping habits to help the world. It was a really encouraging evening.

On top of the two talks given that evening there were also a load of different stalls selling the most beautiful gifts with amazing stories behind each brand. I went looking for others Christmas presents but ended up buying quite a few little gifts for myself (oops!)

Traidcraft were there with some gorgeous gifts and Christmas decorations. I particularly loved this set of NOEL letters and had already spied them in my local Fair-trade shop. I didn't get them this time but I might have to take another look when we pop into Headington Fairtrade for some Christmas shopping...

There was also a stand from Refuge Resource Oxford who work with Refugees women. The women have created a cookery book to help fund for their community groups and events. 

I absolutely loved meeting Caragh one of the founders of Tribe and Glory. She had such a passion for what the company was doing and it was amazing to hear her story. Tribe and Glory are based in Uganda where they work with women who are at high risk of being trafficked. These women make the most stunning jewellery from the horn of a cow, a surplus material as the meat is eaten but the horn often isn't used. I fell in love with their beautiful products and ended up with quite a few stars for my Christmas tree. 

These handwoven baskets from Africa were just gorgeous. I desperately wanted a pink one but had to concede I'd probably bought enough. There's always next time though! 

Another amazing brand I loved that night was Lux Luz London. They are a social enterprise who make eco-soy candles, the profits from which are used to support women suffering from domestic violence. Such an amazing idea! The products themselves were so chic and the smells were just amazing. My husband and I chose a lovely fig scented one to burn during the Christmas season but I definitely have my eye on their Lime and Basil scent for the summer. 

It was such a fantastic evening and a chance to really celebrate what Christmas is all about. I really hope to see more ethical shopping events in the future. We all spend quite a lot at Christmas so imagine the difference if we choose to spend it on gifts that really make a difference. Think how many lives we could change in one Christmas. I hope this has inspired you to buy differently this Christmas. 

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Thursday, 22 November 2018

Why I Won’t Be Buying Into Black Friday

Today is Black Friday but I won’t be buying anything. For me I find this day to be a sad day. Here in the UK we used to watch in horror as videos from the U.S showed hoards of crowds surging into shops at 6am, trampling each other under foot and elbowing each other out the way just for a discounted TV. We laughed at the Americans weird tradition of discounting everything before Christmas. And then it came over here. 

I’m not quite sure exactly what year the Black Friday sales started to appear but soon everywhere you looked there were promises of huge discounts and great savings on things we hadn’t even really thought about buying. 

We live in a consumerist culture where we are repeatedly sold material things by advertisers telling us they will somehow give us a better life. If only you had that TV, or that new dress, then you’d be happy. The catch being that as soon as you have that one thing there is always ten more things popping up to supposedly fulfil you. For me Black Friday is the epitome of this. Just a few weeks before Christmas, a day where most of us will receive multiple sparkly brand new things, we’ve decided to have a day to buy ourselves loads of extra stuff too. It is pure consumerism at its best. 

This Black Friday I urge you to think about our planet. I urge you to look at the fact that if we in the West continue to consume at the rate we are going then we will need three more earths to produce at that level. I urge you to think how is it possible a dress that only yesterday cost £40 is now only £15. I urge you to remember that nothing is ever free, some one somewhere is paying for you to buy discounted goods. They are most likely a she, they have most likely worked a 16 hour day and they have most likely not been paid a fair wage or at all. 

Events like Black Friday are exactly what is keeping us from a fairer world where people are given the basic human right of earning enough to feed, clothe and house themselves. We as consumers demand a day to buy at discount, the brands therefore demand a lower price for their products from factories and the factory owners order the workers to work for less. Your actions have consequences and never believe otherwise. 

If there is genuinely something you’ve been desperately needing and wanting for a long time, perhaps a winter coat or a party dress than I realise it makes sense to buy it now at a more affordable price. But please do not just buy for the sake of buying because it is on sale. Buy things that you love and will treasure for a long time to come. 

Many of my favourite brands are doing wonderful things this year. People Tree have shared much about how they offer discounts and how it won’t adversely effect their partners. Thought are giving away a percentage of sales to charity. Fatface are also giving money away from sales to their own foundation that supports many charities. I love these alternatives to Black Friday and I urge you if you are to buy something please buy from a brand that is doing something more. 

Instead of Black Friday, this year I will be supporting the Make Smthng campaign. A campaign that encourages us not to buy something new but to make something. I love to knit, so I will be carrying on with my latest knitting project and enjoying the sense of satisfaction that comes with creating something with love that really matters. 

How will you spend your Black Friday? 
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Sunday, 18 November 2018

Saying Goodbye To Autumn

This time is always the saddest time of the year for me when the beautiful autumn leaves start to fall off the trees. I love being surrounded by brightly coloured leaves but it feels like such a short time before the trees are all bare and winter has really set in. This weekend we decided to make the most of the end of autumn before the real winter weather (including snow!) that's forecast settles in.

We were lucky enough to be given the most glorious sunny weekend and although Saturday was a busy day spent in London we were able to enjoy a bit of the weather and our local countryside on Sunday by going for a little walk in a local village.

I've said it many times but autumn is my absolute favourite season for fashion and I love to wear colours that match the leaves. I was lucky enough to win a £100 voucher from Thought and couldn't resist getting this gorgeous autumnal pinafore dress. It's made from such a soft cotton velvet fabric making it one of the warmest and cosiest dresses I own and I know I will get years of use out of it.

Hope you've all had a lovely autumn, can't believe Christmas is almost here!

What I wore...
Dress - Thought | Boots - Clarks | Top - Old 
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Saturday, 10 November 2018

Three Mindfulness Books You Have to Read

I started to read and practise mindfulness when I struggled with anxiety in my second year of uni. As a Christian, I was a little bit dubious about it at first, but I soon found that a lot of the principles of mindfulness and self-care were in fact in line with my faith.

I now practise what I call Christian yoga where I pray and worship during my yoga sessions, I meditate using the word of God as a basis and I take quiet time out to rest and spend time with God. I think mindfulness and self-care can be useful for everyone it’s just about developing what works for you. I apply my faith to everything I read and do and have found mindful living to be such a healthy way to live life.

I wanted to share three mindfulness books I’ve read recently that I have absolutely loved in the hope you might love them too and find them a useful resource.

This book was a birthday present and I loved it so much I read it within two days! It is absolutely jam packed with tips, tricks and knowledge from these two sisters. It is such a useful little book and a great introduction for anyone who is just starting on their journey into self-care or mindfulness. One of the things I really loved about this book was how they normalised self-care. In our culture we are often made to feel selfish for wanting to take care of ourselves, but this book helps to show you how normal and healthy it is to prioritise yourself a little more.

I loved this book so much! I read it on my holiday in Cornwall where I spent a lot of time out in the fresh air, swimming in the sea and soaking up sun rays. It was so great to learn about the positive effects nature and the outdoors have on our physical and mental health as I spent my days outside in the most beautiful scenery.

This book is packed full of information and science behind the positive effects of the outdoors. It is such an interesting and inspiring read filled with tips on how to maximise your time outdoors in any season.

This book is the most beautiful book I’ve ever had on my shelf. Meredith is a fantastic artist and it is full of beautiful illustrations throughout with bright colours and flowers on every page. It is a glorious sight to behold and worth reading just for the beauty of it. It is also, however, full of wonderful information on how to live life well, take care of yourself and live in harmony with nature. I loved reading this book and often find myself dipping back into it regularly for helpful tips and tricks. I especially love all the information on homeopathic remedies like essential oils and herbal teas.

This book is such a great resource for anyone learning about mindfulness or just wanting to take better care of themselves.

There are three books I’ve absolutely loved in the last few months. If you’ve got anymore you’ve enjoyed please do share them in the comments. I am always looking for more books to read!   

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Saturday, 3 November 2018

Thoughtful Autumn Fashion

Oh autumn you are just the prettiest! It seemed like such a quick turn around from long lazy summer days to suddenly the world draped in burnt oranges and golds but I didn't mind one bit. I love this time of year and have been relishing the cold crisp weather we've had here in Oxford recently. It has finally given me the chance to get out a few of my favourite autumn/winter clothes as well as a new item...

When I saw this gorgeous spotty skirt on the Thought Clothing website I fell in love. It was exactly the shape of skirt I was looking for and the bright orange colour was so autumnal I knew I wanted to add it to my autumn wardrobe. Luckily for me whilst I was on holiday in Malvern where my parents live we decided to pop into one of my favourite shops in Ledbury. I discovered Ethos a few months ago when I went shopping with my Mum and was so happy to see they stocked a huge range of sustainable clothing including Thought. I decided to go back during our holiday and found they had a whole collection of gorgeous Thought Clothing from this season including this skirt. 

It is honestly one of the most comfortable skirts I've ever had, it's warm, stretchy in all the right places and can be dressed up or down depending on you. I know I'll get so much wear out of it this season and in years to come. Definitely a new autumn favourite! 

Skirt - Thought | Top - Old | Boots - Clarks

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