How Pinterest has changed my life (or at least been super useful for work)

How Pinterest has changed my life (or at least been super useful for work)

Are you on Pinterest?

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).

How Pinterest has changed my life (or at least been super useful for work)

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.

No more random post-it notes in bags, on fridges and in diaries with scribbled names of books.

How Pinterest has changed my life (or at least been super useful for work)

Friends, now I can read things and know I have a safe place to store them – a safe place that looks pretty when I go back to it!

The boards may also be of interest to you as I most regularly add links related to my professional interests and the topics that I write about:

How Pinterest changed my life (or at least has been super useful for work)Ethical beautyEthical jewelleryLiving ethically

Maybe you’re also into ethical and sustainable fashion – or ethical beauty, ethical jewellery, ethical lifestyle

How Pinterest changed my life (or at least has been super useful for work)

Maybe you also want to know what’s happening in the fashion industry at large

 

How Pinterest changed my life (or at least has been super useful for work)

Maybe you’re also self-employed

Magazines

Maybe you’re also a magazine geek or want to learn about the latest news from the magazine publishing world

How Pinterest has changed my life (or at least been super useful for work)

Maybe you also don’t drink – or are thinking about not drinking

How Pinterest has changed my life (or at least been super useful for work)

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.

How Pinterest has changed my life (or at least been super useful for work)

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!

Jackie Kennedy

The same applies to all the other topics that I love knowing about for no reason other than curiosity (Jackie Kennedy) or may one day wish to write about (Jane Fonda, soap operas, the royal family and fashion).

What could you start a Pinterest board for?

How Pinterest has changed my life (or at least been super useful for work)Soap operasFashion and the royal fashion

 

 

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Writing, reading, listening: also known as what I’ve been doing for six months

 

Writing, reading, listening: Also known as what I've been doing for six months
Writing, reading, listening: Also known as what I’ve been doing for six months

When a PR recently mentioned that she’d been reading my blog, I broke out into verbal spasms. ‘No!’, I cried. ‘No! Don’t do that! No, what I mean is yes, please read it but I haven’t updated it for ages and honestly it’s a bit embarrassing to have not posted in so long and… and…’

The PR was very polite and insisted she loved reading the story about my niece rescuing Christmas. Even in June.

If not blogging, what have I been doing for the last six months?

Writing, reading, listening: Also known as what I've been doing for six months
In other news: I picked up some new glasses. What do you think?

Writing

The first half of 2018 has been full of writing, just none of it for the blog. Magazine writing, and latterly copywriting for corporate clients, has taken precedence. I’m in no way complaining about that, and I love the variety that comes with the freelance life.

Here are some of my highlights:

‘Say no to plastics in your bathroom’ in Planet Mindful, Spring 2018– print only but if you’re quick then I think this is still available.

‘Get your scarlet pout on with these ethical red lipsticks’ for The Ethicalist

‘Everything you need to know about Fairtrade’ for teen magazine Betty.

A full list of my recent publications is available on my Writing page.

 

Writing, reading, listening: Also known as what I've been doing for six months
In other news: I went to a press launch at The Ritz. Not the worse day of my working life.

 

Reading

I’ve also spent a lot of the year reading. My top picks, not all new releases, include:

Eat up: food, appetite and eating what you want by Ruby Tandoh: philosophical and practical, I ate it up in two sittings.

Roman Holiday: the secret life of Hollywood in Rome by Caroline Young: a page turner that draws you into la dolce vita of Hollywood’s golden days in Rome – it’ll make you want to hire a Fiat 500 and cruise the streets of the Italian capital.

An atlas of countries that don’t exist: a compendium of fifty unrecognized and largely unnoticed states by Nick Middleton: a tantalising tour of places that challenge our easy assumptions about politics, geography and statehood.

I post my reads, along with a one-sentence review, on a dedicated Pinterest board, should you be looking for any recommendations.

 

Writing, reading, listening: Also known as what I've been doing for six months
In other news: I’ve been to a CoverFX workshop. Creating foundation is harder than it sounds!

Listening

Right now I’m mainly listening World Cup coverage on the radio but generally I’ve been ploughing through podcasts, particularly as I’ve spent a lot of time gazing out of the window on trains.

Three of my favourites are:

Happier by Gretchen Rubin: the hosts, New York Times best-selling author Gretchen Rubin and her TV writer sister Elizabeth Craft, feel like my friends. Sad but possibly the sign of a great podcast.

Layers: a podcast of stories about style and how we get dressed: the pilot episode inspired me to don my favourite hat when nipping out of the house – and I bumped into an ex that I hadn’t seen in over fifteen years. Enough said.

#Amwriting with Jess and KJ: a show about writing, reading and getting (some) things done: I wish I’d discovered this podcast earlier in my freelancing life.

 

Trying to escape the shoulds: the self-imposed pressure of Christmas & New Year

Try to escape the shoulds: the self-imposed pressure of Christmas & New Year || raeritchie.com

Looking back at December last year, I clearly was going through some kind of jedi like phase of great wisdom because there are several blog posts from then that I’ve felt moved to share again this year.

(An alternative reading is that I’ve not been able to dedicate the same time and thought to the blog this year because I’ve been busy writing commissions).

This particular posts spoke to me today as I’m definitely feeling the pressure of the Christmas shoulds.  I should have done so many things for Christmas, from make a cake to put up decorations to craft my own wreath from pom-poms (okay, so the latter is somethin

g that I really *want* to do).

I haven’t done these things and more and while deep down I know this isn’t a problem,

I’m still getting stressed about it.

So here’s a reminder as much for myself as anyone else that use of the word ‘should’ is not a good sign.  If you enjoy the post or find it useful, please do let me know!  You can share it on social media using the buttons below too.

***

When this post is published, I shall be holed up with my partner is a cottage on the beach on the south coast.

Back in August, we decided to have a getaway from Christmas Day until New Year’s Eve.  We found the right accommodation on the same day and booked up immediately.

It’s only as Christmas has drawn closer that I’ve begun to question our decision.  I’ve never regretted our choice – on the contrary, I think it’s a brilliant idea, all the fun of the festive build up but none of the hassle and anti-climax – but it has raised big questions about my sense of obligation.

Should a good daughter not see her parents on at least one of these days?

Should a good auntie miss Christmas with the fast growing children?

Should a good daughter-in-law whisk her partner away from his family at this time of year?

Should I be allowed to do what I want rather than what others expect of me?

The cunning among you may have spotted that all these questions are united by that most dreaded of compulsions, ‘should’.

As any pop-psychology book will tell you, use of the word should (and its close cousin, ought) is a sure sign that you don’t actually want to do something but feel somehow compelled to by pressure, be it societal, familial or even internal.

Christmas is a classic time when should based decisions come to the fore.  

You may want to stop at home with your young children but feel obliged to drag them round all the grandparents instead.

You may want to cut down on your spending but feel it would cause uproar if you stopped buying gifts for all the extended family.

You may want to opt out of Secret Santa at work but fear you’ll look like killjoy if you do.

I could list fifty more examples off the top of my head.

Alas the Christmas shoulds are compounded by the New Year ones.  

It is a rare person who hasn’t at some point in their lives made a resolution at the end of December based on something they feel they should do.

The perennial favourite is weight; many of us know that feeling that we should lose a stone – or three.  

My personal bete noir has been growing my nails.  I’ve felt obliged to quit picking my nails since at least age six.  Every year I’d vow that was it with my disgusting habit.  For the start of 1999, I even vowed that I would ‘Grow my nails like Jenni’s’, Jenni being a friend at college whose hands I greatly admired.

It took me sixteen years, yes sixteen years, to fully acknowledge how ridiculous that particular variant of the resolution was.  My own sheer willpower is not enough to overcome genetics.

My own vision of ‘how things should be’ will not override the reality of how my nails look.

I finally realised this and accepted the truth of my hands when using the bathroom on a research trip to UC Davis in July 2015.

It was a very precise moment, like a thunderbolt.  This is how my hands are, I thought, and how much more mental energy do I want to expend fighting that?  Not a lot, it turns out, and I’ve had a more harmonious relationship with the bits on the ends of my arms since.

If only it were so easy with every other ‘should’ that crosses my mind!

That said, there is one useful lesson I have learnt from overcoming my belief that I should grow my nails like Jenni’s:

Naming the sense of obligation can help to dispel it.  

Externalising it, rather than keeping it in our heads and our hearts like a dirty secret that we are betraying, can seriously undermine its power.

I don’t just believe that this applies to me; I feel that anyone could benefit from talking about their most controlling sense of should with another person or even journalling about it.

Therefore ahead of this New Year’s Eve, I encourage you to make a list of the 12 Great Shoulds in your life – one for each month of the year.

What dozen shoulds or oughts make you feel obliged and trapped?  

As my example of ‘growing my nails like Jenni’s’ suggests, the more ludicrous the better!

Here are the 12 Great Shoulds that continue to taunt me:

  1. I should be 7.5 stone because that’s the weight I was at some point in 1997 (aged 15)
  2. I should always have a tidy basket of spare towels, perfectly folded and stacked
  3. My car footwells should always look like they’ve just been vacuumed
  4. I should never ever miss the birthday of a friend or family member because this makes me an evil and uncaring person (this has been an especially tough one in 2016 as my mental health struggles have made remembering birthdays and getting to send cards difficult)
  5. I should maintain every aspect of my house to an exacting standard of cleanliness and taste.  Every. Single. Thing.
  6. I should be better at yoga than I am.  In fact, I should be considering yogi training.
  7. I should always have a completely full tank of petrol.  Even when I’ve just returned from a long journey, I ought to have filled to the very top again en route.
  8. I should never ever need to use an ATM but ought to have a reasonable quantity of cash upon my at all times.
  9. I should always have six months of savings put to one side
  10. I should not display any pictures of myself or of me and my partner together anywhere in our home
  11. I should pack away all the garden furniture and plant tubs at the onset of autumn and not leave them out over winter (can you tell that’s a current nagging guilt?)
  12. I should not experience or display any sign of human nature but rather maintain an aura of complete perfection at all times and on every occasion.  To reveal even the slightest weakness or flaw amounts to total failure.

 

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Three Ethical Christmas Companies

The Recycled Candle Company stall - Three Ethical Christmas Companies || raeritchie.com
Three Ethical Christmas Companies || raeritchie.com

Back in July, I visited the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival in Harrogate.  It’s a huge trade event where producers display their wares to the retailers and buyers looking to add new lines to add to their websites and shops later in the year.  I wrote a series of posts featuring those makers that I met on the exhibition’s ‘Eco Trail’, including some fantastic festive themed firms.

Somehow it’s now December (how?!) and it seems like a great time to draw attention to those companies with a seasonal edge again.  Keep This Cracker, Nauseni and The Recycled Candle Company have great stocking fillers as well as everything you need for your Christmas centrepiece.

 

 

Let me know what purchases you make!

You can comment below or on social media.  And if you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do share – it really does make a huge difference!

Thank you for reading 🙂

Christmas (yes in July): Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

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Keep this cracker

Upon realising the amount of waste generated each Christmas by single use crackers, Bea Thackeray came up with her own solution: reusable ones!

After some experimentation, she perfected her model.  You fill the gift box centre with whatever your choose, thread the snap through and pull as normal – except the whole thing slides apart rather than rips, so you can use them again!  All you have to replace are the snaps, which she also sells.  Genius!

There are also options for wedding favours and other occasions.

From £3.10 for the crackers; £1.10 for six replacement snaps.

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Christmas (yes in July): Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Nauseni

Founded in response to the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Nauseni (now-se-ni) strives to empower Nepalese women by offering skill development and income generating opportunities.  The firm works closely with teams of women artisans who they have trained to produce needle felted ornaments that reflect the centuries of wool making crafts in the Himalayas.

 

Candles: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 201720170717_13183120170717_131842

The Recycled Candle Company

You know how there’s wax leftover whenever you’ve finished burning a candle?  Well the clever chaps at The Recycled Candle Company go round collecting this seeming waste product from London churches, pubs and hotels then they recycle all the bits into beautiful new ones.  Isn’t this the greatest recycling story that you’ve ever heard?!

All of their candles, votives and firelighters are beautiful but check out their miniature Christmas trees!

From £6.00.

For more from me straight to your inbox, sign up for my monthly mailing.  It includes exclusive offers and giveaways! Every single subscription makes a real difference to me and my work.

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A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III

A week of second hand style- my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III

When Myton Hospices invited me to undertake a style challenge at their new vintage fashion focused Myton Fargo charity shop (so named because of its location on Far Gosford Street, the new creative quarter in Coventry), I got somewhat carried away in creating outfits from their amazing vintage, retro and second hand stock.

As well as my round up feature the other week, and the insight into my own haul when I returned to the shop recently (okay so I’ve been back several times, but only blogged about one of trip!), I included a week’s worth of second hand style courtesy of their racks on my Instagram.

Aside from putting together a few separates, these outfits required approximately zero styling on my part.

The garments speak for themselves. 

Covering a range of styles and eras, as well as different price points, they highlight the fantastic stock curated by store manager Angela at Myton Fargo.

They also show the huge possibilities that are available if you decide to shop and dress second hand.

To showcase this, I thought I’d bring all these outfits together side by side.

According to my research at the weekend (that’s the kind of dedication I’m willing to undertake for you, dear readers #mayhaveboughtadresswhileIwasthere), a few of these pieces are still available.

But rather than focusing on the specifics, however fab they are, I want to emphasise what you can do with second hand clothes – and some of this is definitely second hand, rather than it’s trendier sibling, vintage.

It may take a bit of effort and commitment to dress this way, but the rewards are huge.  Second hand clothes are cheaper, individual and arguably the best way to build an ethical wardrobe.

If you don’t already shop second hand, pop into your local charity shop when you have half an hour to spare and see what takes your fancy.

And please do share with me what you come away with!  I’d love to see the results.

Here’s the best of what I found at Myton Fargo.

#OOTD Number One

 

#OOTD Number 1 - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

I fell in love with this blouse as soon as I saw it tucked on the rack. What I wanted to show with this combo is that wearing vintage doesn’t mean impracticality or looking outre – it’s totally possible to mix gorgeous old clothes into a wearable for work look.

At the same time, the unique older pieces stop officewear looking boring. Win win!

The cost?

£4 for the blouse

£9 for the skirt (complete with original tag saying £25 from Next)

£7 for the shoes

Total = £20.00

#OOTD Number Two

#OOTD Number 2 - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

Don’t eye roll at me for mentioning Christmas in October!  As I mention in the original post about my Myton adventure, charity shops can be a great place to pick up some festive fashion without fast fashion.

Love this example of Christmas clothing  – check out the detail on the blouse for what makes it perfect for December!

The cost?

£4.00 for the bauble blouse

£7.00 for the skirt

#OOTD Number Three

#OOTD Number 3 - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

I labelled ‘Visit to a country pub outfit’ when I was making notes on my choices – sometimes I really do think in fashionese!

Wherever you’d wear this, the two high end items are absolute gems. The Johnstons cape is made of the softest wool; it’s like wearing a blanket. The trousers are an archetypal example of Ralph Lauren – I can’t believe they showed up in the English midlands!

The cost?

£25.00 for the cape

£25.00 for the trousers

Total = £50.00

#OOTD Number Four

#OOTD Number 4 - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

Another day, another insight into the fantasy scenarios I create in my head. I named this ensemble the ‘Someret House ice skating outfit’ (although it’s totally okay to switch that to the Rockerfeller Center ice skating outfit if you prefer!).

The presence of actual ice skating boots makes this slightly less strange, I guess – and they epitomise how diverse the @mytonfargoshop stock really is!

The cost?

£20.00 for the dress (brand new with labels)

£12.00 for the Topshop faux fur gilet

£10.00 for the ice skates

Total = £42.00

#OOTD Number Five

#OOTD Number 5 - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

This Studio 54 esque look is perfect for injecting some disco glamour into your wardrobe at any time of the year – glitz *and* shiny patent flat shoes to dance the night away in.

This was one of the first dresses I spotted during my Myton Fargo adventure and I knew immediately it had to feature.  The dress ticks the sequins trend, which will be big this season and for SS18.  And of course they are fab for Christmas!

#OOTD Number 5, label details - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com
I always look out for original Next labels such as this (usually without the fraying). A sign of great quality & design!

This outfit also demonstrates what great buys high street vintage can be.  The dress has the original 1980s/90s Next silk label inside.  Anything with this is in a sign of quality. Their clothes were far pricier then than today and signalled a good investment.

This is something I always look out for.

The cost?

£10.00 for the dress

£12.00 for the shoes, which are Marks and Spencer Limited Collection and look barely worn.

Total = £22.00

#OOTD Number Six

#OOTD Number Six - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

Of all the Myton Fargo outfits I’ve featured, this is one of my faves as each of the three elements is so effing awesome!

1) Vintage midi-dress with a winter floral pattern. The attention to detail is fantastic, and it has a concealed zip under a buttoned top section.

2) Levi jean jacket in a classic style. You’ll never wear this baby out!

3) Gorgeous tan boots. No other description needed.

The cost?

£6.00 for the dress

£25.00 for the wear-forever Levi jacket

£8.00 for the boots

Total = £39.00

#OOTD Number Seven

#OOTD Number Seven - A week of second hand style: my Myton Fargo vintage fashion style challenge part III || raeritchie.com

I love this combo but that’s true about every single item I’ve included!  The coat was amazing quality as well as just all round fabulous.  It ended up going home with a volunteer after her first shift at the store!

The cost?

£35.00 for the coat

£6.00 for the Marks and Spencer Autograph dress

£6.00 for the shoes

Total = £47.00

If you enjoyed this post or found it useful, please do share it using the social media buttons below!

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The round-up: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival 2017

After a week of posts featuring different categories, here is the final collected round-up.  All of the stalls that I visited on the eco trail at the Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival in Harrogate on 17th July: seventeen in total, although there were others that I didn’t get to in my one day visit!

I’ve been so glad to share these awesome eco, ethical and sustainable brands with you.

(I’ve previously done a round-up of the eco, ethical & sustainable firms at the Pulse show too).

Beauty & skincare, fashion accessories & jewellery, gifts, greetings cards & stationery, candles, Christmas: they’re all listed below.

I hope that you’ve found some new companies to consciously shop with.  Let me know what purchases you make from them!

You can comment below or on social media.  And if you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do share – it really does make a huge difference!

Thank you for reading 🙂

Beauty & skincare

 

Big Green Tree

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!

Starting from around £12.00.

Sorry I didn’t get any pictures from this stall!  

Beauty & Skincare: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

MOA

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.

Prices from £4.00.

 

Fashion accessories & jewellery

Earth Squared

Scarves, hats, gloves, bags, purses: Earth Squared offer them all under the slogan ‘fair trade and fabulous’.  They certainly are both!  A member of BAFTS (the British Association for Fair Trade Shops and Suppliers), they work with fair trade accredited producers.  Among their huge selection of products, there will be something for everyone but my personal favourites were the tweed purses, velvet scarves and knitted bobble hats – although I also have my eye on a navy wool sling bag 🙂

From £5.99.

EnviroTrend

EnviroTrend sell a variety of bags that are designed to eliminate the use of plastic bags.  They are all lightweight yet strong, and the SAKitToMe™ shopping bags fold up into a size that you can attach to your key-ring – so you never caught out at the checkout without a reusable bag again!

They have also created the INside OUT Umbrella™.  This looks like a regular umbrella and opens the same, but will stand up on its own when down.  It also turns inside out as it is closed, so that the water drains on the inside, meaning no more soaking the side of your leg when walking round with a used brolly!

RRP from £6.00 for the bags; the umbrella £25.00.

Mowgs

Mowgs founder Michal stumbled upon villagers making beautiful baskets while travelling around Myanmar.  Locals produce them when the rainy season prevents farming, using generations old weaving techniques but plastic strapping recycled from used materials around them – meaning each one is unique.  Michal now works closely with the same villagers, bringing a limited number to the retail market.  Unsurprisingly they sell out fast!

RRP from £19.99 to £45.99.

Accessories & Jewellery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Old Willow

Scottish jewellery firm Two Skies source old pieces of the iconic blue-and-white willow pattern china and porcelain then upcycle the pottery into hand crafted, one-of-a-kind pieces.  This includes rings, earrings and necklaces that feature either a bird, a bridge or another part of the classic scene.

Their publicity even tells the ancient love story behind the pattern:

Accessories & Jewellery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

‘A peasant boy and a princess were in love but her father, the king, would not let them marry.  He built a large fence around the palace and arranged a suitable marriage with a duke.  Arriving by boat, the Duke found that the couple had already escaped to an island where the gods had taken pity on them and transformed them into immortal doves’.

Starting at £24.50.

 

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery

 

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Claire Vaughan Designs

Claire’s free-hand artwork is inspired by the garden, the countryside and coast.  These designs then appear cards, coasters, stationery, prints, bottles, homeware and ceramics.  The vast majority of goods are handmade or hand-finished and come from the finest independent UK sources.  I was immediately drawn to the mugs as I’d never seen such beautiful examples; I was unsurprised to learn that these are from The Potteries, Stoke.

From £1.95.

 

Hannah Longmuir

Hannah is a countryside artist whose mainly pencilled drawings record the beauty of hedgerows, woodlands and fields.  These images become cards and stationery that really are works of art.  I don’t need to describe them; the images speak for themselves.

From £2.00.

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Seasonal Soul

Inspired by owner Rhianydd’s own quest for more connection and wellbeing, Seasonal Soul offers small homeware products, stationery and greetings cards designed to help users to relish the season and rekindle their soul.  Designed and made in the UK, the prints, colours and slogans reflect different times of the year, from the ‘For Someone Who’s Just Blooming Fabulous’ summertime card in hot pink to the seasonal journal kit in autumnal greens and oranges.

From £2.00.

Totes Adore

The Adore-A-Bottle range showcases stylish upcycling by recrafting empty alcohol bottles into beautiful new products.  There are chopping boards, lights, candles, nibble bowls and drizzle bottles.  The bottle lights would look great on an outdoor table or nestled on a cocktail bar, while the bespoke option means that you can sentimental bottles (such as champagne from your wedding) converted into a candle with a matching scent.

From £15.00.

Wraptious

Wraptious regularly run competitions to find new artists to contribute to their animal and nature inspired lines of products.  They offer a broad range of designs on items such as greetings cards, notebooks, coasters, placemats, clocks, mugs, cushions and prints.  All are made in the UK.

Retail prices from £2.50.

Gifts, greetings cards & stationery: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

YooJoo Cards

YooJoo’s Monster Cards have a second life as a bookmark: you simply tear the perforations when you’ve finished displaying it.  If that weren’t ingenious enough, owner and illustrator Julie has now added the Plectrum range.  She collects used store cards from shops then makes plectrums from the plastic, adding them to her drawings of acoustic and electric guitars.  Again these can be kept when the card is recycled.

From £2.75

Candles

 

 

Candles: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Light Me Bio-oil Candle

Did you know that 4.3 million people die every year from indoor air pollution?  It was this statistic which inspired the creators of the Light Me Bio-Oil Candle to create their product.  Their alternative maintains the ambience of regular candles but are clean burning, without the soot and melted wax.  They also self-extinguish if knocked over.

From £10.99.

 

Candles: Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Melt

For almost twenty years, Melt have been making hand-poured candles with scents that differ from the usual perfumed options.  From Angel and Aubergine to Verbena and Clary Sage, Violet and Black Pepper, there are many distinctive perfumes available in two jar sizes and three freestanding options.  Furthermore, more than 94% of their ingredients come from the county of Lancashire, where they are based – supporting local business while keeping their carbon footprint to a minimum.

From £8.95.

The Recycled Candle Company

You know how there’s wax leftover whenever you’ve finished burning a candle?  Well the clever chaps at The Recycled Candle Company go round collecting this seeming waste product from London churches, pubs and hotels then they recycle all the bits into beautiful new ones.  Isn’t this the greatest recycling story that you’ve ever heard?!

From £6.00.

Christmas

Keep this cracker

Upon realising the amount of waste generated each Christmas by single use crackers, Bea Thackeray came up with her own solution: reusable ones!  After some experimentation, she perfected her model.  You fill the gift box centre with whatever your choose, thread the snap through and pull as normal – except the whole thing slides apart rather than rips, so you can use them again!  All you have to replace are the snaps, which she also sells.  Genius!

There are also options for wedding favours and other occasions.

From £3.10 for the crackers; £1.10 for six replacement snaps.

20170717_131140

Christmas (yes in July): Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Nauseni

Founded in response to the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Nauseni (now-se-ni) strives to empower Nepalese women by offering skill development and income generating opportunities.  The firm works closely with teams of women artisans who they have trained to produce needle felted ornaments that reflect the centuries of wool making crafts in the Himalayas.

Prices unavailable at present.

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Christmas (yes in July): Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers’ Festival 2017

Christmas (yes in July): Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

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!  

Having realised how mammoth my earlier ethical round-up was, I decided to break this summary up somewhat. There are five parts: beauty & skincare on Monday, accessories & jewellery on Tuesday, gifts, greetings cards & stationery on Wednesday and candles last night  There will also be a collated post on Saturday.  Phew!

I hope that you find some new companies to consciously shop with.  Let me know what purchases you make!

You can comment below or on social media.  And if you’ve enjoyed reading this post, then please do share – it really does make a huge difference!

Thank you for reading 🙂

 

Keep this cracker

Upon realising the amount of waste generated each Christmas by single use crackers, Bea Thackeray came up with her own solution: reusable ones!  After some experimentation, she perfected her model.  You fill the gift box centre with whatever your choose, thread the snap through and pull as normal – except the whole thing slides apart rather than rips, so you can use them again!  All you have to replace are the snaps, which she also sells.  Genius!

There are also options for wedding favours and other occasions.

From £3.10 for the crackers; £1.10 for six replacement snaps.

20170717_131140

Christmas (yes in July): Following the Eco Trail at Home & Gift Buyers' Festival 2017

Nauseni

Founded in response to the 2015 Nepal earthquake, Nauseni (now-se-ni) strives to empower Nepalese women by offering skill development and income generating opportunities.  The firm works closely with teams of women artisans who they have trained to produce needle felted ornaments that reflect the centuries of wool making crafts in the Himalayas.

Prices unavailable at present.

For more from me straight to your inbox, sign up for my monthly mailing.  It includes exclusive offers and giveaways! Every single subscription makes a real difference to me and my work.

You can also follow me and my freelancing adventures on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn.