Discover Ethical Products Every Month by Subscription

Subscription boxes are definitely hot right now. It’s not unusual to have a regular veg box delivered to your door, but you can also get monthly deliveries of tea, razors and socks. These aren’t particularly fun things though are they? (although I do love tea and socks).

May contents of This Good Box

May contents of This Good Box

I had a very nice delivery recently, a small box of ethical goodies from This Good Box. This Good Box makes it easy to discover fantastic ethical or natural products as you sign up to have a small selection posted to you (or a friend) every month. You can also buy individual boxes without subscribing, and each month is focused on a theme.

May = CREATE. And this was the box I received recently through my letter box.

The box exceeded my expectations – at first I wasn’t sure whether a regular supply of more ‘stuff’ sat comfortably with the slow consumption cause but looking through the contents I soon realised it offered so much more than just stuff. Founder, Lianne Howard-Dace, wanted to encourage the contents to be shared. As part of my ‘Create’ box I had some yummy Fairtrade organic chocolate from Chocolate and Love, a natural cuticle butter by Filbert of Dorset, a felt brooch making set, Sarah Corbett’s ‘A Little Book of Craftivism’ (worth checking out) and fabric pens to decorate my own plain bag. A note inside provides suggestions of ways to share the contents and spread the word, by sharing the chocolate with someone I haven’t spoken to before, or making the brooch to pass to a friend. At the moment it’s aimed at women but they hope to launch a men’s box in the future.

Craftivism and fabric pens from this good box
Chocolate and love Fairtrade
This Good Box

I hadn’t heard about the chocolate company before, so it’s a great way to promote small brands and ethical products. Keen to speak to Lianne about This Good Box, she happily answered my eager questions (and offered an exclusive discount code, see the end of the post!) –

1. Where did the idea for This Good Box come from?

It came from something in my own life really. I wanted to live in a better way and learn where to find great ethical products – at the same time I was enjoying receiving several subscription boxes and had the idea to bring the two things together. I just had to see if anyone else would want to buy it as well and it looks like they do!

2. How do you source the products each month?

Sometimes I’ll think of a useful item that works for the month’s theme and set out to find an ethical version which is easier with some products than others! Other times I’ll discover a brand and know I need to get it in the box or a social enterprise might contact me and we’ll see how they might fit with future boxes. Everything has to be able to fit through the letterbox as well so it’s a big challenge but one of my favourite parts of running This Good Box.

3. The box offers ideas of ways to share it’s contents, why do you think this is important?

From the offset I wanted a random acts of kindness vibe to run through what we’re doing and the products are so shareable it really lends itself to that. I can be quite introverted by nature but I really believe that connectivity with the people around us is so important; we can’t solve the problems facing our world without each other. Community is really important in my life so I want to find little ways for people to build a sense of it in their own lives. Sometimes getting out of our comfort zone is incredibly rewarding!

*DISCOUNT* This Good Box have kindly offered a promo code for any readers of my blog to get £10 off your first box. Use EMMAGOODBOX1 to get £10 off a one-off purchase and EMMAGOODBOX to get £10 off any subscription plan. That equates to a box of ethical goodies for just £7.50 + P&P! Get yours from www.thisgoodbox.co.uk

Filberts of Dorset natural beauty

Post to Twitter

Posted in Environment, Fair trade, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mindful, Fair Trade Jewellery by Mosami

clover2

Jewellery can be so much more than adornment. Often we attach deep meaning to pieces because they were a gift, an heirloom, a memory, a way of saying thank you, well done or I love you. The pieces by Mosami can mean all of these things, but importantly they also come with a symbolism of their own. Mosami is a brand combining beautiful jewellery design with the benefits of mindfulness, a feature I find captivating. If you seek to find greater courage, success or happiness, there is an ethically crafted piece to suit your mood along with an accompanying simple mindfulness ritual to practice whenever the moment takes you.

Mosami was founded by Sarah Greenaway, a woman passionate about sustainability, peace and beautiful things. We met up over coffee to chat about her plans for Mosami, my plans for Ethical High Street and the global need to continue moving towards a greener economy. Mosami pieces (necklaces, earrings and bracelets) are made from recycled or Fairtrade silver. As Sarah explained, she’d like to use more Fairtrade silver but as it is fairly new on the market, availability cannot currently keep pace with demand. In fact, with just one Fairtrade certified mine in the world, Sarah is part of a small group pioneering the Fairtrade metal. The silver is sourced from Sotrami, a mine in Peru where a dedicated team have worked hard to gain Fairtrade accreditation.

All of the Mosami pieces are designed by British designers and made by men and women highly skilled in their craft. Mosami aims to raise awareness of the shocking environmental impact of artisanal mining, offering jewellery that is beautiful to wear, and made with respect for people and planet.

So how does Mosami team jewellery with mindfulness?

“With a little practice jewellery can do more than just remind us of happy times passed, it can remind us to make positive choices for a happy future too. Mosami pieces are created to inspire beautiful personal rituals that blend empowering thought patterns with everyday routine”

Just as Buddhist prayer beads help aid meditation, Mosami show you how to use their pieces to take time out and focus your thoughts. I love the Wisdom Cuff (£125) that Sarah was wearing when we met. Made from 100% Fairtrade silver the “Words to Live By” cuffs are a tribute to the Celtic reverence for the wise oak. Each is decorated with oak leaves and acorns, and discreetly inscribed with words of wisdom from icons of more recent times.

WisdomCuff_Mosami
Not only do the inscribed quotes by Mother Theresa, Mahatma Ghandi and Charlie Chaplin provide a mindful thought to empower you through the day, but the bracelet itself can provide reminder to be true to your own wisdom as you gently touch the hand-beaten metal as a reminder to slow down and take a mindful moment.

Browsing online you can shop by product, wish and ritual. So –

to improve positive thinking and to feel lucky every day try the Lucky Day Clover Necklace (£70) and accompanying Lucky Day ritual.

Clover_mosami

Or be reminded of your inner happiness with the Marigold necklace (£60) and accompanying happiness ritual.

marigold_Mosami

You can shop Mosami online at: www.mosami.co.uk

Post to Twitter

Posted in Ethical Fashion, Fair trade, Fashion | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Uni Project Turned Brit Business: Get Made in Britain Clothes Online

British manufacturing UK design shirt

The British Clothing Co is a brand new online retailer of sustainably sourced, British manufactured accessories and clothing.

The idea was originally dreamed up as part of a university project in 2013, as Hollie, then studying Fashion Marketing at Nottingham Trent, wanted to research into an area she felt strongly about; ethical and sustainable fashion. At the time, there was becoming slightly more awareness of British manufacturing due to the likes of Mary Portas’ “Kinky Knickers” campaign, along with some major retailers releasing British made ranges.

From here she researched into consumer attitudes towards fashion consumption, whilst also speaking to a range of manufacturers within the British Isles. She found that most of these manufacture small-scale production lines and even bespoke products, making sure they are of the highest quality, and meaning they will last for season after season. This is the complete antithesis of the disposable, fast-fashion many British consumers have become accustomed too.

After graduating, gaining industry experience and doing some traveling, Hollie decided in early 2015 to put the ideas into action and started The British Clothing Co. Putting together a brand with a strong ethos and range of suppliers who resonate the same values of quality and craftsmanship. The mission being to educate and inspire consumers of the wide selection of quality garments produced from a variety of brands within Britain, proving that fashion can be sustainable, for the environment and their local economy.

At present, The British Clothing Co stocks pieces from a variety of brands from across the British Isles. For the sartorial gentleman they stock garments by Meccanica Cycles and Quantock Clothing, including Chinos, Polo Shirts, Merino Knitwear and Polo Shirts, along with a small preview-collection from Living in Light. For the classically stylish woman, there is a wider range of boho-inspired dresses from Living In Light, along with Hugget Jackets and incredibly feminine workwear by Client London. Along with accessories, including hard-wearing canvas backpacks by Sidewinder Apparel and up-cycled clutch bags by Reniqlo.

Check out these pieces and more at www.thebritishclothingco.co.uk. Additional lines to be added soon!

100% British wool pencil skirt, £69

100% British wool pencil skirt, £69

Made in London stripe backpack, £139

Made in London stripe backpack, £139

Made in Britain menswear

Made in Britain menswear

Post to Twitter

Posted in Ethical Fashion, Fashion, Sustainable textiles | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mother’s Day: Just another greeting card day or a chance to say I love you?

original_love-hearts-card

When I popped into my local shop this morning to pick up the paper there was a queue of people in front of me buying flowers, chocolates, and greeting cards. It could be any celebratory day: Valentine’s, Christmas, birthday, but it is in fact, Mother’s Day. Over on Ethical High Street I wrote about gift ideas for Mother’s Day that didn’t involve buying a lot of stuff, but that doesn’t mean buying stuff for special occasions is a bad thing. Consumerism is often thought of as a dirty word and ‘greeting card days’ just a chance for shops to push their well, greetings cards. What though, if we consider shopping as an act of love?

This is exactly what Danny Miller proposed in his book A Theory of Shopping (1999). An anthropologist at University College London he was the first person to talk about shopping in this way; shopping as a way of showing love. Miller argues for the importance of the relationship between people and things and how this affects every day social and family life. The type of shopping that Miller talks of is not so much shopping for televisions and fashionable party dresses, but rather the type of shopping needed for everyday provisioning such as for food and basic clothes. Miller argues that everyday consumption practices are more than just fulfilling the most basic physical needs, but they are also linked to social relations, love and care. This is just the kind of shopping a mother does, so on Mother’s Day it’s no surprised we’d want to give something back. Flowers and chocolates say ‘I’m thinking of you’ and a simple ‘thank you’.

Whether we’re buying food for the family or jewellery for a friend’s birthday, shopping is both a form of nurturing and a message to say we care. It’s a way of spreading love through something material. If we give the right gift it can be something the receiver keeps forever, as a reminder of a particular time, place and person. Memory lockets are an example of a thoughtful gift because they are timeless. The same is true for collectable items, books or family heirlooms. Although I’m sure the best gift a mum could receive is the chance to put her feet up.

Post to Twitter

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Competition: Inspire the Next Wolftress Collection

Native Roots by Wolftress

Native Roots by Wolftress

Wolftress is an Australian fashion label that discovers traditional textiles hidden among indigenous cultures and aims to preserve the dying crafts through fashion. By collaborating with local artisans Wolftress support these crafts and give us all the chance to buy into their beautiful cultures. Each Wolftress collections aims to support the economic sustainability of the producers, whilst supporting the environmental sustainability of the environment.

The 2014/15 collection featured the Highlands of Ecuador. Alpaca plain weaves were created in the town of Quinchuqui where Wolftress collaborated with one single family to spin the cloth. Intricately woven colourful cotton weaves were created in the town of Agato and hand moulded felt hats were created in a town called Iluman. The result of these collaborations was a rich and intricate collection of alpaca cover-ups, trendy fedora style hats and solid silver contemporary jewellery.

So what’s the competition about?

Wolftress are on the hunt for their next inspiration and want your help. Where should they travel to next? Where will they find hidden talents of artisan craft?

Wolftress also design jewellery

Wolftress also design jewellery

How to enter the competition

Starting today, you can inspire Wolftress by sharing a travel photo on Instagram of a place where you think Wolftress should explore for theirr next collection #inspirewolftress and tag @wolftresspack

The image that inspires Wolftress the most will be the location where Wolftress will explore and base their upcoming collection on.

The winner receives a $150 voucher to spend on the upcoming collection.

The winner will be announced on the 25/03/15.

www.wolftress.com

Post to Twitter

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Why I Went Veggie

About six months ago I woke up one morning and decided I didn’t want to eat meat anymore. If you’d said to me even seven months ago that that would happen I’d have been incredibly sceptical. A life without meat? Why would I want that? Half a year later and the transition has been remarkably easy. I can’t entirely say I haven’t missed meat, but I’ve certainly never been tempted to actually put it in my mouth.

And this is the thing, it doesn’t really feel like a conscious decision of mine to not eat meat. I’d long considered the benefits of being vegetarian for environmental and sustainability reasons. According to the Soil Association 35–40% of all cereals produced worldwide are fed to livestock, and this could rise to 50% by 2050 if meat consumption continues to rise as predicted. But if all cereals were fed to people not animals, we could feed an extra 3.5 billion people. With this in mind I do think it’s irresponsible and unnecessary to eat a lot of meat. For these reasons and of course due to the expense I haven’t eaten much meat for years. Maybe once a week at home and more often if I was eating out, so why didn’t I just continue like that?

It was an accumulation of factors I think. There’s so much evil in the world (and good as well), but it was the evil that got me thinking – how can humans be so dramatically different as a species? How can people who commit murder be in any way the same as me? Some animals show more kindness than some people. And that’s what got me; suddenly the divides of species-ism blurred and meat didn’t look like meat anymore, it looked like flesh. And I couldn’t eat it. I think I would be sick if I were made to eat meat. I do eat fish, although I’m not sure how long that will last.

Cultural norms, we follow like sheep

Culture is a strange thing. We balk at the thought of horse meat but routinely eat cows. They eat guinea pig in parts of South America, yet that horrifies us because we think of them as cute pets. People have sheep and pigs as pets, and they’re cute too, but pork and lamb are still staple foods for us in the UK. Men were selling their wives at auction right up until the early 20th Century. Not quite like animals, but they were still treated like meat. Our thoughts and behaviours are innately influenced by cultural norms. Vegetarianism currently goes against that cultural norm in the UK (although I’d anecdotally say it’s growing), but it’s perfectly plausible that in 200 years time people will look back and consider it primitive that we ate meat, such like we consider wife-selling barbaric.

Happy potato

I’ve been reading a lot of academic work on posthumanism over the last 18 months which does away with nature-culture/human-nonhuman dualisms. This led me to the philosophical thought of Spinoza, a philosopher who held a monistic worldview, i.e. nature is all things and unbiased towards all things, humans are no more important than the non-human. Spinoza is often cited as equating God with Nature, but this should not be confused with a religious God per say, but more that there is a unity of all that exists. I’m not religious anymore, but I am a spiritual person. We don’t know anything about life really which is why I do my best to put positive energy out into the world and limit the harm I do, to people, planet and animals.

There are lots of good reasons to not eat meat (like the facts listed below) but – having self-analysed myself – for me it has to about control, linked to what we do and what we don’t know as I’ve tried to explain above. I can’t control much in the world but I can choose not to contribute to the bad things, in this case killing animals for meat.

If I wake up one morning and decide I want to eat meat then fine, I’ll eat meat (ideally organic, certainly responsibly farmed) but that doesn’t seem likely soon.

Vegetarian resources

Going veggie will make you a better cook (with some effort).

I care greatly about health and fitness so it’s important to me to make sure my body is getting the fuel it needs. I went veggie just weeks before I ran my first half-marathon so that was an incentive to look into the nutritional values of various foods and make sure I got the vitamins and minerals I needed along with protein. I did get really run down and ill just before Christmas which I’m sure had nothing at all to do with going veggie but I started taking multi-vitamins with zinc to boost my immune system. Generally I don’t think supplements are necessary.

The Jamie Oliver website is brilliant for recipes. There are vegetarian and vegan sections filled with colourful images and easy to follow ideas (check out the baking too). BBC Food is a great go-to place for searching for particular recipes. I used their nutroast recipe for my Christmas dinner, see below!

Nut roast

If you really struggle with finding the time and enthusiasm to cook, you could sign up to one of the box-delivery services. Gousto (as seen on Dragon’s Den so I believe) deliver to your door everything you need to make delicious healthy meals. Just use their website to select the number of people you need to feed and which recipes you’d like to make. They have meat and vegetarian options. Click here for £15 off your first order with the code HOORAY.

Facts and figures

• In the UK over 2.5 million land animals are slaughtered daily and 600,000 tonnes of fish are killed each year (https://www.vegsoc.org/goveggie).

• 760 million tonnes of grain are fed to animals on factory farms each year and it can take up to 16kg of grain to produce just 1kg of meat. The world’s cattle alone consume a quantity of food equal to the caloric needs of 8.7 billion people. Basically, we can feed everyone on Earth for that (http://www.peta.org.uk/issues/animals-are-not-ours-to-eat/meat-and-the-environment/).

• You can feed 20 vegetarians on the amount of land needed to feed one person on a meat-based diet (http://www.peta.org.uk/issues/animals-are-not-ours-to-eat/how-meat-harms-humans/).

• Cattle-rearing generates more global warming greenhouse gases, as measured in CO2 equivalent, than transportation (http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=20772#.VPsIL7OsXjY).

Find out more

The Vegetarian Society – Friendly and non-preachy website with advice and information for going veggie www.vegsoc.org

Peta – More preachy, but with loads of information www.peta.org.uk

Farms not Factories – A campaign to encourage less and more ethical meat consumption if you don’t want to go veggie but want to create change farmsnotfactories.org

Post to Twitter

Posted in Animal Cruelty, Environment, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment