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Archive for January, 2010

Valentines is a day of romance and a day to evoke the senses – so here are some creative ideas to make sure all of the five senses get a look in this Valentines Day.

Smell
Evoke the sense of smell with a pure, clean organic perfume free from nasty chemicals – there is a variety out there that are made from organic oils, natural extracts and all animal friendly. I love the solid perfumes that come in antique cases or sustainable wood, saving on excessive glass and plastic packaging. GreenMyStyle have come up with their top 10 fragrances to help you choose.

Sound
Avoid buying into the hype of expensive gifts by making the classic ‘mix tape’ (or iPod playlist or CD…) from your collection – ‘songs that remind me of you’, songs that have meant something from your relationship…not only will it save you a buck but will also mean a lot to you both – and it is the thought that counts!

Sight
We ladies love the way gorgeous lingerie makes us feel – and our partners love the way we look – a gift for both of you…  Underwear from enamore is not only sexy and beautifully soft, but also made from bamboo – one of the worlds most sustainable fibres.

Taste
Everyone knows that chocolate is the food of love (it is for me anyway…) and gladly chocolate in any recipe can be upped a notch by using Fairtrade certified chocolate (Green and Blacks will be making all their bars Fairtrade very soon). Make a Fairtrade chocolate dessert (Fairtrade Foundation and Divine both have loads of recipes on their websites) – all Co-op own brand chocolate is Fairtrade if you are going for a budget option.

Home made gifts are great as they show value in the time taken over them – insert vouchers in their card for homemade goodies over a period of time – Valentines is not just for one day. It falls on a Sunday so laze around followed by a delicious cooked breakfast…

Touch
Very much linked to the sense of sight, but can be enhanced by removing it – think of blindfolded surprises – so much fun! Make your partner guess what the gift is with their eyes closed. Give or use silk scarves made from softest ‘peace’ or Tassel silk such as these from Nobuntu, and tantalise with the softest touch…use your imagination…

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Undercover agent

There is more to your wedding than what your guests see – the gorgeous flowers, scrummy cake and, of course, your beautiful dress… But what goes on underneath it?

I am yet to find an ethical bra that I want to buy. To me, they just don’t cut it. There are certain criteria that need to be filled – support, prettiness, and giving me the right sillouette once I’m dressed… A practical, pretty ethical bra seems to be asking too much.

Don’t get me wrong, there is some gorgeous lingerie out there, such as the lacy cami sets from Enamore, or everyday organic cotton panties from People Tree.  Knickers seem much easier to make – a bra requires an arcitecture qualification…

Which is why I was so pleased to hear that DaisyGreen are doing something about it – their Big Green Boob survey is asking girls up and down the country to say what is important when buying a bra, and then will be used to challenge bra manufactures to give us waht we want – they obviously get the added bonus of us buying their bra…win-win!

So head on down to www.daisygreenmagazine.co.uk to have your say, and be in with the chance to win £50 of fairtrade knickers…just awaiting the matching bra, then…

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I love the glamour of the next few weeks with all the film awards ceremonies and to-die-for dresses. Last year we were wowed by the white red-carpet dresses which inspired many hollywood-style weddings.

Livia in her upcycled couture wedding dressWith a twist on this, at the Golden Globes this week Livia Firth, actor Colin Firths wife, wore a vintage Christian Couture wedding dress with a contrast black sash, wowing the press. What makes it more exciting, is that this dress was the first in a challenge that Livia has set herself to only wear ethical and sustainable fashion for the entire awards season, blogging about it on Vogue.com. (Photographs by Caroline Schiff.)

Sustainable fashion has come on in leaps and bounds in recent times, but has never before made it onto the red carpet. Livia, co-founder of Eco-Age, an eco homewares store in West London (take a trip for some inspiration for your wedding gift list) has set herself the challenge to wear sustainable, eco or ethical rags to all the events she goes to, accompanying her husband on his own quest to scoop awards that he really deserves.

With all the a-listers in couture dresses it could be really tempting to get new dresses made for all these events, but Livia has really stuck with her passion for sustainnability in all aspects of her life, not compromising on these, or style, for anything. With the Golden Globes already under her belt, and the Screen Actors Guild tonight, there are more opportunities for Livia to fly the flag for gorgeous sustainable fashion.

Livia says on the Vogue.com blog The re-purposed Christiana Couture wedding dress was a HUGE success in the sense that I don’t think I’ve ever had so many compliments for a dress in one night. But people here do not seem to understand the concept of ethical fashion – they loved the dress but when I revealed the origin they sort of switch off as if it’s not cool anymore because it was once a wedding dress. It’s made me realise that althought repurposing and vintage are great, we need to go one step further and make a really strong ethical fashion statement.’

Oh, and she kissed George Clooney on the cheek…

The great news is that it has just been announced that Colin is up for ‘Best Actor’ at the BAFTAs so we we will be seeing Livia’s response to the challenge much closer to home on 21st February.

I would really love to see her champion British design on the red (or green) carpet here – my wish list would be CRED jewellery, Beyond Skin shoes (already a favourite of Natalie Portman), clutch from fashion conscience and maybe even a gown made from recycled suits or shirts from Junky Styling

If you were Lupe Castro, ethical stylist to the stars, how would you style Livia Firth for the BAFTAs?

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Fairtrade flowers

With Valentines and Mothering Sunday just around the corner, there are many reasons to want to buy the best beautiful flowers, not just the large quantity needed for a wedding.

Better Blooms

– If you have the space to grow your own, these will no doubt last longer once cut. If you plan ahead you can grow certain plants that you know will be in bloom at a particular time of year. OK for one off occasions, like for Mothers Day flowers, but harder when growing for a whole wedding… time to enlist some help?

– For giving flowers as a gift, why not give a houseplant which will last much longer and can often be cheaper. It will be a lasting reminder of your care.

– Check out this chart of what flowers in season so you are more likely to be able to get locally grown flowers for the time of year you are buying. Ask your florist where their flowers are sourced from to encourage them to think local too.

– Buy fairtrade blooms. The fairtrade certification for flowers works in a similar way to food. The producers are paid a fair wage, local communities are supported, and the products made in environmentally friendly ways. (For more info visit www.fairtrade.org.uk)
But where to find fairtrade flowers? Every so often my local supermarket will have a bunch with a Fairtrade sticker on, but it is unpredictable… This may be ok for getting one off bunches as a gift, but for sourcing larger quantities for a big event, see the Fairtrade Foundation website for a list of fairtrade flower stockists.

Many of the standard cut flowers we buy in this country are imported from Africa where they are grown under chemical duress, causing harm not only to the environment (plus airmiles) but also to the health of the growers. You may also find that to get a better look, the scent has been compromised. So local, fairtrade and homegrown flowers are going to give you the best value and quality for your money.

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