six ethical gifts for your miserable mate

Whether it’s anxiety, depression, or the existential dread brought on by Sir David Attenborough stating that humanity is a plague on the earth, we all have a friend who needs a little extra TLC. And though it can be hard to avoid excessive wastefullness in the lead up to the most extravagant time of the year, it is possible to send some great gifts, without destroying the environment. So without further ado, I’m going to be showing you some lovely presents for that friend who needs to feel loved this Christmas.

Anxiety Essential Oil Blend  ・£13.95・MysticMomentsUK

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 According to the mental health charity Mind, mixed anxiety and depression affect 9.7 out of a 100 people in England.  A few drops in the bath can really help regain that sense of calm that can be hard to come by. This blend contains Lavender, Ylang Ylang and Bergamot, and you can even mix it with a carrier, such as Almond Oil and apply it directly to the skin for a relaxing scent all day.

Ambreen Statement Earrings・£49.50・Sjo Accessories

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Channel your inner Frida Kahlo, with these handcrafted earrings that will add some sass to just about any outfit. Not only are these the most day-brightening beauties in existence, they are made by women in Pakistan as part of a business model designed to empower and improve their quality of life. One of these women, named Marvi says “I earn more than my husband now and pay for my son’s school fees and his school books, stationery.” Not just a pretty earring.

Meditation Cushion・£25.39・The Yoga Shop

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After years of thinking that meditation was reserved solely for wearers of tie dye, but thanks to a couple of pushy friends, I am now a convert. (I also own tie dye leggings, for yoga, who have I become?) Luckily, the NHS are also on my side, asserting that mindfullness helps us deal with stress, anxiety and also prevent depression. You can read more about that here. So if someone you know is stressed out, buy them this heart shaped cushion, and as you give it to them, say ‘I heart you.’ They will feel so sorry for you, it will make them feel better about their own life.

Fruit And Nut Frenzy・£16.00・Hotel Chocolat

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This beautifully curvaceous slab of chocolate was the winner of PETA vegan food awards. Crying is great, but what is even better is crying whilst eating chocolate. Why don’t you buy one for your friend and one for yourself, watch Grave of the Fireflies, hit rock bottom, and then move on up from there.

Recycled Socks・£6.95・Braintree

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Don’t believe in reincarnation? Well these socks used to be plastic bottles. What a time to be alive. Your miserable friend can wear these fluffy numbers whilst wondering about their past life. Did Britney Spears drink from them? We will never know for sure.

Silver ‘Beauty’ Necklace・£60.00・Dogeared

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Dogeared are an eco friendly company, whose staff are paid to volunteer at non-profit organizations. This delicate silver necklace comes with a quote from the inspiring poet and activist Maya Angelou. It’s a very sentimental piece that will be loved for a lifetime.

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pink, pink, to make the girls wink

We ask our daughters ‘why not another colour?’ as if liking a typically feminine colour is dangerous. We worry that a little girl wearing a pink princess dress will turn out to be an airhead. And maybe there is some truth in that, and maybe it’s the fact that we are telling our daughters that favouring the ‘girly’ colour is wrong. Maybe we should start telling them they achieve anything they want, even in a pink princess dress.

So in celebration of all things pink, here’s a selection of ethically sourced pieces, to help you escape the chills this winter.

 

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Trousers · £60.00 · Nomads Clothing

Betsy Necklace · $54.99 · Starfish Project

Backpack  · £65.00 · Fjallraven

Beanie Hat · £32.00 · PeopleTree

Loveheart Coat  · £70.00 · Tara Starlet

Scarf · £9.99 · Vito Road

backpacking with a child: part 1

On finding out I was pregnant at 16, I received a lot of knowing looks, coupled with the phrase ‘your life is going to be very different from now on,’ which is a very polite way to say ‘your life is over.’ Being the stubborn teenager I was, I decided this would not be the case.

5 years later, my stubbornness has seen me through. I’ve studied law at University, lived in South America and raised a brilliant (if slightly sassier than I intended) little girl.

And now, the biggest recipe for disaster yet.. I am backpacking with my 5 year old daughter.  If this insane idea appeals to you, here are some helpful pointers on how to make ot happen.

1. Drop everything

It’s so easy to get into a mind numbing routine,  and this is true for everyone.  But if you want to take your child backpacking you have to be willing to break out. Although a trip like this takes planning, if you want to make it work you need to set yourself a time scale to leave and stick to it. Contact your landlord, contact the school, make it impossible for yourself to put it off.

2. Sell everything

And I mean everything. I sold all my books, clothes I owned when I was 15 and even used makeup. I moved out of my house and lived at my grandmother’s’s for a month whilst I did this. The costs of childcare and rent in England make it difficult to save if you’re a single parent so I was very lucky to have a rent free month to get everything in order. Although it was difficult at first to part with my beautiful possessions,  every time I sold something it felt like one of the strings holding me still had snapped. Now I can fit everything I own into one backpack and it feels amazing.

3. Workaway is everything

Workaway is a website that allows you to volunteer all over the world in return for full board. You pay a small fee to join for the year which covers everything. If you’re travelling on a budget then workaway is essential. I have tried similar websites and this one is the best,  (I am not a spy for workaway, it is genuinely great website.) Like a relaxing bath and everything else, it is more difficult with a child. Luckily workaway gives you the option to type in keywords like ‘family’ when looking for projects. Families with children are more likely to say yes, and many will be grateful for the chance of a language exchange. You don’t have to apply for a family project, apply for anything that interests you, strawbale builds to surf camp. There are so many amazing projects in every corner of the world and workaway is an incredibly openminded and friendly community.

Do you have any tips for travelling on a budget?

What are your opinions on travelling with children?

 

 

 

 

 

 

brand spotlight: neal’s yard remedies

I’m not someone who often feels stressed. A combination of yoga, mindfulness and motherhood has made me a much calmer person. But deciding to uproot my five year old daughter from her new school and move to Spain has put me pretty high up on the stress scale. My skin has of course turned on me, as skin does in times like this. My usual combination skin is now dry as the Sahara, and adding foundation into the mix creates a sad flaky mess. A forehead that says, I tried, and I failed.

I’ve been meaning to write about Neal’s Yard for a while, solely because of their brilliant reputation.  In 2008, they were the first high street retailer to reduce their carbon footprint to net zero, they never use microbeads, and they are running a campaign to save the bees, alongside many others that you can read about here. I visited the Bury St Edmunds branch to find out a bit more. The ladies in the shop were absolutely amazing and so knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their products.

I was recommended the Wild Rose Beauty Balm which I will without a doubt be purchasing. The scent is both intoxicating and calming; it contains rosehip oil, geranium and starflower to list a few. The texture was surprisingly thick, so  I used a very small amount, which covered my entire face, and the results were incredible. My dry skin vanished instantly and was replaced by pure radiance. It is so rare for me to find a product that exceeds expectations but I am in love with this product. Not superficial love, like my love for Joe Manganiellobut true love.

Next I was keen to try a product from their ‘Bee Lovely’ range, so I went with the Bee Lovely Body Butter. The bee population is declining rapidly due to modern agricultural practices and the pesticides we’re using. Neal’s Yard support the movement to ban neonicotinoids and only use sustainably sourced honey. The body butter itself absorbed very quickly, and had a lovely energising scent, perfect for the morning. It doesn’t have any nasty chemicals either, so I was able to try it out on my daughter, who said it smelt like sunshine. Another firm favourite.

The third product that I got on well with was the White Tea Eye Gel. I very rarely use under eye products as I’m more of a hide-under-a-carpet-of-concealer kind of girl. For me, the eye gel was one of those annoying products that you don’t realise you need until you try it. My eyes looked noticeably brighter and more refreshed. Damn you Neal’s Yard, take my money.

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Wild Rose Beauty Balm ·Bee Lovely Body Butter ·White Tea Eye Gel

(Fellow Bee Lovers: ‘The Year Of The Flood’ by Margaret Atwood and ‘The Bees’ by Laline Paull, are brilliant dystopian novels concerning bee extinction, and also ‘The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History’ is a nonfiction novel by Elizabeth Kolbert, which looks at the impact of humans on animal populations.)

what to pack for a romantic getaway: marrakech

If, like me, you hate February and everything it stands for, you might want to think about heading a little further South. European weather is treacherous and cruel this time of year, but thanks to the beauty of budget airlines, Morocco is very affordable, and the weather will not disappoint.

Hordes of tourists, sexual harassment and very little green space means Marrakech is not the obvious choice for a romantic getaway, and it’s certainly not the relaxing kind of break. If you’re travelling there for romantic purposes, it’s better to see Marrakech as a ‘team building activity.’ If you’re early on in a relationship, you will definitely discover a lot about how you work together as a couple. Marrakech is a challenge, but it is well worth the trouble.

It’s important to remember that Morocco is a Muslim country, and although Marrakech is incredibly cosmopolitan, when you’re out in public, it’s respectful to keep your shoulders covered and wear a long skirt or jeans.  Pack light, because, trust me when I say, you do not want to be lugging a huge bag around the labyrinth of hectic souks.

Below I’ve put together a collection of bits to keep you cool and sane in this crazy city.

 

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Love Tie Front Shirt · £15.00 · Love @ ASOS

Dupatta Scarf · £39 · Chandni Chowk

Cargo Shirt · £19.99 · H&M CONSCIOUS

Barron Sunglasses · £109.99 · TOMS

Sunblock · £8.95 · LUSH

Wool Hat · £22.00 · Christys’ @ ASOS

Quartz Earrings · $28.00 · Soul Flower

Black Suede Boots · £42.00 · Minnetonka @ ASOS

Reclaimed Bralet · £25.00 · Reclaimed Vintage

life’s not fair but my knickers are

When I think back to my best Valentine’s day, it would most probably be waking up with my friend Emily, and us both downing a glass of whiskey 10 minutes into the day. It only got better from thereon in.  I like Valentine’s because if you’re loved up it’s uncomfortably soppy and if you’re single it’s depressing in the most hilarious way. Whatever your status this Valentines, beautiful underwear is essential, for the following reasons:

  1. You can use it to trick people into buying you food
  2. You can wear it whilst eating ice cream alone and feel like a queen
  3.  You can tell a lover/intercourse acquaintance that you are buying them a present, (the present is underwear, for yourself.) They will then feel obliged to get you a present. That means two presents. Well played lady, well played.

The idea of eco undies brings to mind something cotton and beige, but you shouldn’t have to sacrifice sex appeal when shopping ethically.  Though the ethical lingerie market is definitely very limited, there are some amazing brands out there holding the fort. Here are my picks of the sultriest pieces about.

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Bra And Brief Set · £66.00 · LuvaHuva

Peace Silk Bra · £34.00 · Ayten Gasson

Stiletto Red Lipstick · £17.00 · Too Faced

Swarovski Crystal Knickers · £136.00 · Buttress And Snatch

Lip And Cheek Tint · £10.00 · Cheeky @ ASOS

Silk Teddy · £60.00 · Sulis

· What is your go-to seductress outfit?

· What was your most memorable Valentines day?

 

 

 

 

no sweat

I have always had a rough relationship with fashion. At the impressionable age of 10, the poncho trend hit England. I remember walking down the high street, staring in confusion at all the young women draped in these pastel coloured monstrosities, wondering why they had all chosen to wear the same outfit. To me fashion seemed like a uniform.
That’s not to say I don’t love clothes. Like any other materialistic lady, I love putting on something new and becoming a sassy goddess. It’s exciting to feel transformed. But at the same time, I don’t want to be part of an industry that destroys the environment and exploits its workers. If you’re interested in learning more about the fashion industry, watch ‘The True Cost,’ an unnerving documentary directed by Andrew Morgan.
Ethical fashion is a beautiful thing, allowing you to feel stylish and also slightly smug. Even when you’re feeling guilty for spending the last of your money on the sexy dress you bought for the funeral of your still living nemesis, you can comfort yourself in the fact you’ve made a small difference to someone else’s life.

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Satin Maxi Dress · £29.99 · H&M Conscious
Masai Necklace · £24.00 · Hiro + Wolf
Ribbed Turtleneck Top · £8.99 · H&M Conscious
Vintage Pinafore Dress · £45.00 · Milk It @ASOS