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!
As a writer, I get a lot of press releases. A lot. And of varying quality.
Many of these are linked to the various awareness days that pepper the year. You know the sort of thing: Mental Health Awareness Week, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, International Talk Like A Pirate Day.*
Wednesday 27th June 2018 is International Sunglasses Day so I’ve been dutifully waiting for the onslaught of related press releases – to no avail.
As yet, nothing has arrived. Not a single email about sunglasses, whether linked to the day’s actual purpose of promoting the importance of wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays or simply hawking a new range.
Most odd. I’m wondering if something is actually wrong with my Inbox.
The world’s most popular sunglasses brand is, unsurprisingly, Ray-Ban. In 2016, they commanded 5 per cent of the global eye wear market while in 2017, parent company Luxottica made an enormous 9.16 million euros in net sales. Having spent a summer seeing them everywhere (including my own face), last September I wrote a reflection on what makes them so popular.
Now I’m wondering if we’ve hit peak Ray-Ban (prayban, maybe?!). Have they reached the point of ubiquity where they lose all their cool? Or has that moment already long past? Maybe I’m alone feeling a bit, well, bored by them.
If you’re looking for an alternative, there are some great ethical brands whose sunglasses not only look good but do good. Here are four options:
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?
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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!
£4 for the blouse
£9 for the skirt (complete with original tag saying £25 from Next)
Love this example of Christmas clothing – check out the detail on the blouse for what makes it perfect for December!
£4.00 for the bauble blouse
£7.00 for the skirt
#OOTD Number Three
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!
£25.00 for the cape
£25.00 for the trousers
Total = £50.00
#OOTD Number Four
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!
£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
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!
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.
£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
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.
£6.00 for the dress
£25.00 for the wear-forever Levi jacket
£8.00 for the boots
Total = £39.00
#OOTD Number Seven
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!
£35.00 for the coat
£6.00 for the Marks and Spencer Autograph dress
£6.00 for the shoes
Total = £47.00
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October seems to be a bumper month for awareness campaigns. As well as yesterday’s World Mental Health Day, we are mid way through Hospice Care Week.
Hospices provide palliative care to those with life limiting illnesses. This means that patients admitted to hospices do not recover or leave the facility, except perhaps to spend their final few hours at home.
The annual Hospice Care Week is a time of celebration and action intended to raise the profile of hospice care in the UK and change people’s perceptions of them.
My paternal grandmother and aunt were both cared for by a local hospice, as was a friend’s mum. I know that they provide vital emotional support as well as medical supervision during the darkest time that individuals and families face.
Hospices are staffed by doctors, nurses and volunteers, but unlike NHS hospitals, they only receive around one-third of their funding from the government.
As a result, hospices throughout the country rely heavily on charitable giving.
An easy way to support your local hospice during Hospice Care Week and beyond is to frequent their nearest charity shop.
I was delighted when The Myton Hospices, a charity operating three hospices in my area, invited to me to undertake a style challenge at their newest store, Myton Fargo, on Far Gosford Street in Coventry.
Shortly afterwards, I returned to Myton Fargo with a view to shopping for myself. In honour of Hospice Care Week, I thought I’d share two items from that haul with you. Both chime with current and emerging trends from the catwalk, demonstrating that second hand doesn’t mean out of date.
You can use second hand clothes to create first rate fashion.
AW17 Trend: The Cardigan
I’m not a slavish follower of fashion trends but I do love to watch what’s happening on the catwalks as they can (can, not always!) be a great source of creative inspiration.
However distinctive our own style, we could all do with a new twist or turn sometimes. One way to do this is to see what top designers are doing and integrate elements of that into our look.
It’s not about replicating an outfit top-to-toe, even if we could afford to; rather it’s seeing an idea with fresh eyes.
Case in point this season: cardigans.
For the last decade, they’ve been safe in the stylish hands of Michelle Obama while we all donned sweatershirts and jumpers.
Now, as always happens, the fashion tide has turned. It’s all about cardigans again!
Even as an ethical and minimalist dresser, this lured me in like a siren. Oo yes, I thought. A cardigan is just the thing! (Easily influenced? Me? Perhaps).
Myton Fargo provided just the thing: a gorgeous red wine coloured number. It’s chunky knit incorporates interesting detailing, including what I think is moss stitch on the sleeves (I may be wrong on that!).
It’s an easy wardrobe update that’s also warm and comfortable.
Just look at those buttons!
SS17 Trend: Princess Diana
Princess Diana was a huge style icon during her lifetime and twenty years after her death, her influence is having a renaissance.
I love nothing more than a good rummage in a charity shop so was super excited when Myton Hospices invited me to do a style challenge in their latest store, vintage fashion focused Myton Fargo, Coventry.
Myton Hospices is a charity based in and around Coventry, near to where I live in Warwickshire – right in the centre of England. For the last thirty-five years, their three hospices have provided palliative, end-of-life care to local people. In the UK, although hospices provide vital support to the NHS (National Health Service), they don’t receive any government money. They therefore rely on fundraising to cover all their costs.
Along with events, charity shops (also known as thrift stores, op shops and Goodwill elsewhere in the world) are a central to these fundraising efforts. In 2016, Myton Hospices raised £8.8 million to ensure their essential work could continue (that’s $11.9 million, €9.96 million, ¥1.325 million, AED 43.8 million).
Vintage fashion focus in Myton Fargo
They have twenty-one charity shops around the Coventry and Warwickshire area, and Myton Fargo is the latest, having only opened three weeks ago. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you may remember my delight and despair on the launch day: delight at the amazing stock, despair at the Carvela loafers that weren’t in my size!
Myton Fargo takes its name from its location on Far Gosford Street. This is the heart of Coventry’s new creative quarter. The shop is directly opposite FarGo Village, a collection of independent businesses including vintage stores, a second hand bookshop, a sustainable clothing manufacturer ethical eateries and a micro-brewery (I’ve previously written about tenants Heaven Vintage and Positive Clothing).
The area’s vibe continues in the Myton Fargo store. The shop is specifically focused on vintage fashion and retro goods, although there some excellent new and nearly new items on the racks and shelves too. Manager Angela had her own vintage fashion business so has an eye for what to stock and every item is hand selected, much of it from the charity’s central storage facility.
The charity shop shopping adventure
My brief to style one outfit with a budget of £20.00 ($27.00, €23.00, ¥3,000, AED 100.00) went out the window within minutes of arriving at Myton Fargo on Saturday morning. There was so much treasure in there that I wanted to showcase more than just one ensemble!
Instead I put together eight looks that I’m featuring on Instagram and Twitter every day this week. Head over and take a look! I’m asking people to guess how much they think each outfit costs and would love to hear your estimates.
And because these eight outfits *still* weren’t enough to do Myton Fargo justice, below are some other examples of their awesome stock.
I want to highlight the range of clothing available in charity shops / thrift stores / op shops. You don’t have to be into vintage to love them! They’re a great place to experiment with new styles, whether vintage or otherwise. You can also pick up pieces that nail current trends without turning to the high street and fast fashion. Plus as you’ll see, workwear and special occasions are catered for as well!
At this risk of stating the obvious, it’s worth reiterating the sustainable element to charity shop shopping too. By buying second hand, you’re keeping textiles out of landfill and recycling perfectly good materials while putting much needed coppers in the pockets of the charity in question.
If you live near to the English Midlands, I’d encourage you to find your nearest Myton Hospices shop and check them out for yourself. Wherever you live, pay your local charity shop a visit and support a good cause while securing a bit of loveliness for yourself!
Your favourite charity shops
Where are your favourite charity shops, thrift stores and op shops? I’m always looking for recommendations so comment below or on social media to share your suggestions. I’d also love to hear about your experiences of charity shopping. What’s been your best bargain? What little gem have you snapped up?
What I found in Myton Fargo charity shop…
This season’s trends
What really stood out for me during my five hours in the Myton Fargo charity shop (yes really – five hours!) was the amount of stock that ticked this season’s fashion boxes. Here are some of my favourite examples!
Red and pink options to try in Myton Fargo charity shop, Coventry
Red and pink options to try in Myton Fargo charity shop, Coventry
Two of the big colours at the moment are red and pink, both of which have a reputation as being difficult to wear. Uncertain as to whether they are for you? Buy something suitably hued from a charity shop and you have a great cheap way to play.
Colour without commitment!
Winter floral midi dress? Yes please! One of the amazing vintage dresses at Myton Fargo charity shop, Coventry
Patterned midi dress? Yes please! Totally on trend, totally a bargain! Size XXL but vintage clothing usually comes up small, plus this could be belted. Cost: £15.00!
I’m normally a bit reluctant to feature Primark clothing in my discussions of second hand clothing, partly because I think even buying used supports fast throwaway fashion, partly because the quality isn’t there. However I couldn’t resist giving this beautiful beaded collar a shout out! It’s an easy way to get on board with the fashion world’s newly rediscovered love of pearls.
The selection of accessories in Myton Fargo was as lust inducing as the clothing, with a whole range of tastes catered for too. I’m again having not-buying-shoes regret but I was so preoccupied with what I could you show you lovely people that I didn’t have the brain space to consider charity shop shopping for myself!
Even if we don’t work in an office with a dress code, sometimes we all need an outfit that’s a little bit smarter. Charity shops can help us achieve that without having to spend full price – but still snapping up some reputable brands. Here are Myton Fargo highlights!
Marks and Spencer Autograph retro style dress, size fourteen, £8.00 ($11.00, €9.00, ¥1200, AED 40.00).
Yes, the C-word in September! But there’s less than one hundred days to go now and I believe that it’s never too early to begin planning for it – especially if it helps avoid a last-minute panic that results in over-spending on something itchy and ill-fitting that you only wear once.
Myton Fargo stocked plenty that would be perfect for a Christmas party or a more formal event. There will be more about this on Instagram and Twitter this week, but for now here’s just one example: never has the Mrs Santa look been so retro fabulous (nor demure!).
Vintage fashion does Christmas in Myton Fargo charity shop, Coventry
Cost for this size small, unlabelled vintage dress: £15.00 ($20.00, €17.00, ¥2.260, AED75.00)