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

20170717_160129

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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.

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.

 

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.

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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.

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.

 

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.

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

Candles: 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, and gifts, greetings cards & stationery 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 🙂

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.

 

Tuesday Reviews Day 3rd January 2017: This column won’t change your life but it might make you feel a little bit better

Diptyque Baies & more || Tuesday Reviews Day 03-01-2017 || raeritchie.com

It’s the third day of the new year.  Maybe you’re excited about the twelve months ahead.  Perhaps you’re just hoping that they will be better than the last lot.  You may have made some resolutions for 2017.  You may have already stumbled over your resolutions for 2017.  You may know better than to make any resolutions for 2017, or any other year.

I stopped making resolutions years ago.  I switched instead to coming up with a few plans, maybe the odd goal or two, and choosing a word to guide and inspire me.  Around the same time as I made this change, my views on the inevitable media onslaught of ‘New Year, New You’ features filling the pages of newspapers and magazines, and increasingly filling our TV screens too, shifted.  I’d always loved them, the certainty of their tone and direction, but now their exhortations spark my ire.  We get enough of the ‘you’re not good enough’ messages all year round; we don’t need an intensive extra dose as we attempt re-entry after what is often the gluttonous chaos December.

As a result, I was thrilled to be asked to contribute to online teen magazine Betty‘s new year theme of ‘New year, same you’.  What a brilliant message to women of any age!  We are ourselves, whatever the time of year, despite our wishing otherwise.

At the same time, I also recognise that it’s not nice when we feel frankly sh*tty.  There are probably a lot of us out there who are feeling that way right now.  January can be a shock to the system after the bright lights and heavily laden dinner plates of December.  We are left overweight, overwrought and overspent.

I wanted to tackle this crappy feeling without straying anywhere near ‘New Year, New You’ territory and Tuesday Reviews Day seemed like the right forum for my offering (for more on the original vision for this feature, check out the first Tuesday Reviews Day post back in November).  So here I am offering you six recommendations, three for the home and three for yourself – by which I really mean your appearance, as that is an area that can often spark particular discontent at this time of year.

This list is not going to change your life.  It’s not going to change you.  But it might just help you out a little bit.  You might feel a little bit less sh*t if you take up one of the suggestions.  You might find one of them puts a smile on your face for an hour.  That to me is good enough.  An hour is that place to start.  We can work on the rest of the year some other time.

Let me know how you get on!  And don’t forget that if you like this post then please do share it on social media.  It really makes a difference.

 

For the Home

Along with the sights and sounds of Christmas come some distinctive scents too.  Cinnamon, gingerbread, roasted meat and vegetables – all of these aromas and more can linger for days.  At the time we love them, drawing on their proustian power to evoke nostalgia and connection.

Come January, we loathe them.  Like the decorations, we want them out of house.  We need a break from their richness.  One way to really draw a sensory (and emotional) line is to introduce a new smell to your home, particularly if it’s a fresh scent that contrasts with the festive ones.  I.e. get a new candle!

My three recommendations to give your home a clean, crisp January feeling are:

£  Ikea’s vanilla candles: these are so reasonably priced that with one trip you can stockpile enough to last to 2018!  Unlike other cheap candles, they don’t leave you with a smoky bacon stench after five minutes; rather they envelope the space in a light cloud of loveliness.  I would use these all the time except I used burn them in my old work office all the time and I don’t want to bring that olfactory association into my home!

££  I asked a candle expert from Diptyque for a suitable suggestion and they selected Baies.  According to their literature, this combines the sweetness of blackcurrant leaves with the freshness of a bouquet of roses.  I’m a big fan as it manages to be both fresh and warm, which is what you want when those of us in the northern hemisphere are still in the winter months.  Something about it reminds me of old-fashioned laundry, in a really good way.

£££ Shoyeido is a traditional Japanese incense company who used to supply the Emperor’s palace.  Their shop in Kyoto is still near to the imperial compound.  Since my partner and I visited their store, we’ve been burning their daily incense Enmei (Circle), well, pretty much everyday.  Their products are pricey but worth the extra outlay if you can stretch to it.  They have a Japanese website and one based in the US.

 

For Your Appearance

£  Clean all your shoes, even if you only have kitchen roll and some furniture polish in the house.  Gather them all up together on the draining board then remove the dirt and scuffs with a lightly damp cloth before buffing them up to (almost) their former glory.  I swear by this as a feelgood boost.

££ Get a brow lash and tint.  In the world of beauty treatments, a tint is probably one of the cheapest and quickest options.  It’s not as luxurious as say a massage or even a manicure, but it also doesn’t cost as much, which is a major bonus in January.  I also think it delivers a strong return; you just feel more groomed with them done.  It’s the only treatment I have done regularly (every five weeks).  I also swear by this as a feelgood boost!

£££  Have a hair cut.  This doesn’t have to be a major restyle or dramatic colour change.  Even just getting a basic trim and a blow out will help to banish the new year blues because whoever hasn’t felt better for a good haircut?  I swear by this as a feelgood boost too 🙂

If you enjoyed this post, I’d really appreciate it if you could share it on social media using the buttons below.  

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.