If so, how do you use it? As the ultimate time suck, spending whole evenings pinning first birthday party décor schemes (even though you don’t have children) and searching for inspirational quotes (because that’s easier than actually getting on with the task you’re dreading)?
Or in a professional capacity, driving traffic to your blog and sales to your funnel?
As you may be able to guess, I don’t use Pinterest for the latter. But some folks, such as Sarah Von Bargen of the Yes and Yes blog, do so with huge success.
I don’t use Pinterest for the former either. Well, not much. I did once end up down a rabbit hole about Turkey Cake (even though I don’t celebrate Thanksgiving).
However, I do use Pinterest a lot – pretty much daily, in fact.
I use it as a pin-board.
It’s hardly revolutionary, I know. The name of the platform suggests that’s what it’s there for.
However I don’t pin a huge amount of content from within Pinterest. The majority of what I add to my boards comes from other websites. In the same way that back in the day, you might have torn an article out of a magazine and literally tacked it to a cork-board, I electronically stick all of the stuff I read and find interesting into Pinterest.
I’m telling you this because It. Has. Changed. My. Life.
No more searching through my browser history trying to find the article I mention to a friend and they are really interested in (I’m sure it was the New York Times. Hmm, may be it was the New Yorker…).
No more unwieldly Internet browser bookmark folders with lists so long that I can’t find anything and filing systems that I forget I’ve introduced.
No more giving up and accepting that the amazing content I find online is then destined to disappear into the ether, never to be seen again.
Maybe you also don’t drink – or are thinking about not drinking
Maybe you also take an interest in mental health advice and experiences
If your work in anyway involves online material, I honestly can’t recommend starting some dedicated Pinterest boards enough.
They’re also a great way to curate content linked to random interests, hobbies or fandom that you have.
For example, I’ve long been obsessed with names and naming practices. As a tween and teen, I’d check baby name dictionaries out of the library and read them cover-to-cover. Now I have a special Pinterest board so rather than just being some random part of my brain, I have a little Names collection going on!
Last week, I attended the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival in Harrogate. It’s a huge event, made up of many producers and even more retailers looking to add new lines to their sites, stores and stalls in the autumn.
As with previous events trade events I’ve attended, my goal was to seek out those makers with an eco, ethical or sustainable tale to tell. I thus set off on the organised ‘Eco Trail’ but I was defeated by the size of the show, covering only around two-thirds of it.
Even so, I met some awesome brands that I’m excited to tell you about!
Big Green Tree is a family owned business that designs and manufacturers its natural skincare products on the edge of the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire. They offer a broad range of paraben and SLS free products, along with a diffusion line of men’s skincare items such as shaving soap and post-shave balm. As well as the friendliness and knowledge of owner Helen, what impressed me was that when they do use plastic bottles, they are recyclable. Good to know for certain!
The Magic Organic Apothecary was established in 2010, creating natural skincare products with close links to old folklore. Their key ingredient is herb yarrow (Achillea millefolium), commonly found in English hedgerows. MOA grow their own in Somerset, where they plant seeds by hand! The products combine yarrow with other herbs and essential oils, such as tea tree and damask rose. The original multi-purpose balm has now been joined by a cleanser, bath potion and facial oil.
In my defence, parent company L’Oreal announced at the end of April that they were withdrawing the Japanese beauty brand from the UK and already the products are vanishing. In a panic about losing access to what are universally regarded as the best lash curlers on the market, I felt compelled to hoard.
I think I’ll probably now be okay until at least my next birthday ending in a zero.
Each pair lasts for ages. They come with a replacement pad and regular replacement pads fit too. I’m only on my second set in what must over a decade of use. How many mascaras have I got through in the same time?
This longevity is a key factor in why I love eyelash curlers, specifically the Shu Uemura ones, so much. Plus they really make a difference even if you use them alone, as I do 99 percent of the time as I get a monthly eyelash tint.
Using curlers drastically reduces the amount of other eye makeup that I buy and use, which is important to me. There’s little point in committing to feature eco, ethical and sustainable brands from the world of fashion and beauty in my work if I’m not careful and considered in my own use of resources.
Eyelash curlers are one of several long-lasting tools that I use in lieu of a product with a shorter shelf life.
The other two that top my favourites list are:
Thanks to Danielle the beautician for this tip, which she passed on as a solution to ingrown hairs (possibly TMI).
Rather than rubbing yourself down with a pot of body scrub or even a currently popular dry body brush, exchange your sponge or puff for a long lasting textured glove (£3.00 from Boots). You save time and effort by exfoliating while you wash. The floor of your shower isn’t left covered with slippery grit.
Plus you get to channel your inner Michael Jackson by prancing round with one white glove on!
Bonus tip: make sure you buy exfoliating glove rather than just a body wash one as the latter aren’t rough enough to slough your skin.
360 foot file
A friend bought me one of these last summer, which sounds like a weird gift now I’ve written it down!
Anyhow, I’ve tried a lot of creams and gadgets for hard skin on the feet over the years but none have been as effective as this spongy scrubber (£5.49 also at Boots). I use it at the end of my shower each day. It even works better than the classic pumice stone and has a satisfying squishiness.
I love these products so much that I wanted to share them with you too, so I’m offering a special giveaway!
You can win a set of my three favourite tools (Shu Uemura eyelash curlers, a pair of exfoliating gloves and a 360 foot file).
All you have to do is share your favourite article by me, either from my blog or elsewhere, on social media and tag me so that I see it (you can find a collected list of my other writing over here).
The winner will be chosen on Wednesday 7th June at 18.00 BST.
Hello all! An especially warm welcome to the new readers who’ve come over from Midlands Minimalist. Good to have you here!
How’s your long weekend going? Been up to much? It seems that pretty much everyone I know is having a quiet one; aside from a few friends who’ve gone on holiday, there’s lots of talk of gardens and family meals and switching off alarm clocks.
This has certainly been the rhythm of my weekend so far. It’s now 4pm on Sunday afternoon and I’ve been mainly occupied with eating and sleeping. In that order.
I’ve also been doing some gentle reading. While flicking through the pages of a couple of magazines, I’ve been thrilled to spot some good recommendations for the conscious consumer. There’s definitely a movement towards greater mindfulness around what we buy – something that we’ve seen for a few years in food but is spreading into other areas too.
If the recent good weather has got you searching for some new outdoor furniture, I spied some FSC certified eucalyptus deckchair frames in the John Lewis Edition summer issue. They are £34 each and you can select a fabric sling for an additional £9.
Initially I was drawn to the gorgeous old school style: ethics don’t have to mean compromising aesthetics.
Also beautifully designed is the bamboo lunch pot (£16) that appears a few pages later. Made by food brand Leon, the bamboo is biodegradable, sustainable and naturally anti-microbial.
The red box would look fab at any picnic or, more likely, perk up lunch at your desk when it starts raining again!
There are many other amazing ethical, eco and sustainable brands that you can buy from listed in my blog post last week, where I offer a round up of the companies that I met at a recent trade exhibition.
While the sun shone down gloriously on London this Tuesday, I spent the day in the giant greenhouse that is Kensington Olympia. I was there for a trade show featuring lots (and I mean *lots*) of companies looking for new retail outlets; imagine the Clothes Show or the Ideal Home exhibition without being able to buy any of the goods. This is probably a good thing as I wanted so much, from sea shell earrings to several different kinds of bag to some oversize pink earrings!
Window shopping opportunities aside, I was there on a specific mission.
In my fashion and beauty writing, I’m committed to featuring eco, ethical and sustainable firms as much as I possibly can. In particular, I want to highlight the many innovative and stylish small brands working in this area – brands that don’t have huge publicity budgets but deserve exposure.
At Olympia, I was looking for companies doing good work in terms of conscious consumption so that I could share them with you.
Boy did I find some! Below I’ve detailed my highlights in five categories (beauty, candles, fashion, jewellery and other). I hope that you like their look, and their ethos, as much as I did. Visit their websites, follow them on social media (check out my following lists on Twitter and Instagram if you like) and next time you’re making a purchase, consider buying from one of them.
‘The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’ Lao Tzu
Do you have any brands that you like to recommend? Tell me about them! You can comment below. Plus if you enjoyed reading this post, please do tell others about it on social media – it really helps! Sharing buttons are also below.
Natural, organic handcrafted and vegan friendly, never animal tested, ethically sourced and eco-friendly handmade products in recyclable packaging. Also free from SLS, parabens, synthetic fragrance, petroleum and mineral oils [That’s quite a list!].
Small batches of handcrafted botanical skincare and essential oils candles made using completely natural and organic ingredients [These aren’t a new discovery – I love their soap, as I mentioned last week – but they definitely warrant a mention].
Each product is created by handicraft charity units or World Fair Trade Organization producer groups in Nepal, giving local people an income in line with fair trade principles along with a continually developing commitment to minimising environmental impact as much as possible.
Focused on fair trading and supporting Columbian artisans, particularly women with no other employment options, while also using suppliers certified by the Administrative Department of the Environment in Columbia.
Just Trade collaborates directly with eight groups of artisans in Peru, Ecuador and India to create handmade jewellery that is fairly traded and crafted from locally-sourced and ethical materials where possible.
The Revival Collection of home accessories is made using off-cuts from the fast fashion t-shirt industry that are saved, sorted, shredded, woven and then reused by Indian families working in good conditions.
Seedballs are designed to encourage bees and butterflies by making it easier for everyone to grow either wildflowers or herbs or salad. They’ve been designed specifically for a north eastern European climate and each one containing of these British made balls contains a mini ecosystem of seeds, clay, peat-free compost and a little chilli powder to deter predators! This is a new concept in the UK but seed balls have been used in ecological restoration projects around the world.
It’s Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week! Yes, really! Under the lead of the Soil Association, 15th to 21st May 2017 is an awareness week dedicated to celebrating beauty brands that are certified organic.
‘there is currently no legal standard in place for organic cosmetics, meaning that any brand can make organic claims on packaging without needing to contain any organic ingredients.’
Unsurprisingly this makes sourcing organic beauty even more complicated. However dedicated we are to this mission, it unfortunately seems that there are firms out there who are willing to dupe us with misleading branding and hard to decipher ingredients lists.
So what can I do? What can each of us do?
1) Get clear about our own priorities
For a start, get clear about our own priorities. Organic Beauty and Wellbeing Week is, unsurprisingly, focused on organics – but maybe your biggest concern is with animal welfare. Cruelty free is a related but not identical issue. Likewise, you might be trying to use fairly traded products as much as you can; this may or may not map neatly on to organic products. Alternatively if you’re looking for British made then you’ll have different criteria again.
This might seem like trying to rank equally worthy objectives, but it is necessary. Otherwise you’ll be stood at the counter trying do weigh up the merits of a possibly smaller carbon footprint versus fairly traded ingredients from further afield while also needing to decide what food to pick up during your lunch break.
In a complex web of competing factors, we need to make our choices as easy as possible.
2) Do some basic research
We can also do some basic research into the area that most concerns us. The internet, as well as online shopping, makes accessing niche brands and products easier than ever. We can check out a firm’s credentials (as I need to do) and buy what we are after with just a few clicks.
There are plenty of resources out there to support this. The Soil Association, for instance, lists the brands that they have certified as organic. There are also apps that can help, such as Skin Matters by Joanne Evans (unfortunately for IOS only at this stage). This doesn’t focus on ethical issues directly but allows you to find out more about the components in your skincare, including those chemicals best avoided.
I was asked last week if I could recommend a nail varnish that doesn’t destroy weak nails. When thinking about my reply, I decided to widen the response and talk about the subject generally as it’s something I’ve encountered with my own hands.
Here are my five top tips for dealing with yours:
1) Take a supplement to ensure that you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need to maintain healthy nails. There are lots of expensive ‘beauty’ versions on the market but I stick to Sainsbury’s own brand women’s capsules, which have the RDA of pretty much everything your body needs.
2) Wear your nails short. It’s an obvious recommendation but nails get weaker with length. A lot of advice says to keep them no longer than the end of your finger but I’d be lucky to grow my even to there!
3) Use a strengthening treatment to nurture nails as they grow. A couple of years ago The Independent featured a great round up of options from £2.50 up to £40. I buy Nurture Oil from my beautician and I absolutely swear by it. Since starting to use just a drop a day on each cuticle, my nails have been in the best condition ever. Get some! You can buy a bottle here, although there are lots of similar generic oils on the market. And if you wanted to go to the queen of hand and foot care, try out Margaret Dabbs’ Nail and Cuticle Serum, £12.00 at Space.NK.
5) Switch to a nourishing nail varnish. A number of brands now offer colours that they claim will help nails. Nail specialists Essie have just launched their Treat Love and Colour range (£8.99 each, available at Boots), made of up three pastel shade varnishes which, they claim, give you ‘beautiful sheer colour without sacrificing the health of your nails! In fact, it aims to improve it!’. If you’re looking for a wide selection of colours then check out Liz Earle’s Strengthening Nail Colour options (£8.50). There are seven shade that cover a pale to dark spectrum and each contains two kinds of oil – hence the claim to being strengthening.
And I couldn’t do a piece on nails without giving a shout out to the fab team at WAH Nails. Their Soho salon is a great place to visit if your after a top notch manicure or fancy some crazy nail art – they can do it all in their fun and interactive space. Perhaps it could be a goal once your nails feel stronger?!