Summer Essentials

In the UK summer tends to just pop up unexpectedly. Our wardrobes, skin and nasal passages are never fully ready for the sun to shine and pollen to flourish. This year I tried to make sure I was prepared for that odd heat wave and this weekend is the perfect chance to try and test those summer essentials.

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Jason Suncream SPF30

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INGREDIENTS: ZINC OXIDE, TITANIUM DIOXIDE, ORGANIC SUNFLOWER SEED OIL, JOJOBA SEED OIL, ALOE LEAF JUICE, CALENDULA FLOWER EXTRACT, CAMELLIA LEAF EXTRACT and CHAMOMILLA FLOWER EXTRACT, WATER, CAPRIC TRIGLYCERIDE, DIMETHICONE, ETHYLHEXYL PALMITATE, SORITAN SESQUIOLEATE, GLYCERIN, GLYCERYL ISOSTEARATE, SHEA BUTTER, POLYGLYCERYL3 RICINOLEATE, ALCOHOL, MAGNESIUM SULPHATE, SILICA, SODIUM CHLORIDE, PHENOXYETHANOL, POLYHYDROSTEARIC ACID

Paraben free, no animal testing and containing 6 organic ingredients this spf30 suncream is waterproof and great for sensitive skin. I catch the sun very easily and today I’ve been on a 12km walk in direct sunlight and haven’t burnt one bit. It applies quite thickly but soon soaks in. One gripe I have with this suncream is that is isn’t scented so it doesn’t give off that nostalgic suncream summer smell.

John Masters Organics Sea Mist Sea Salt Spray with Lavender

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INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC CASTOR SEED OIL, SHEA BUTTER, VANILLA FRUIT OIL, ORANGE FLOWER OIL, TANGERINE PEEL OIL, GRAPEFRUIT PEEL OIL, ROSEMARY LEAF EXTRACT AND SUNFLOWER SEED OIL, GLYCERIN, SORBITOL, PANTHENOL, PHYTIC ACID

I’m a very lazy person when it comes to my hair. I like it easy to do and messy. This sea salt spray is great to get that ‘straight out the sea’ – ‘surfer’ look. All you have to do is spray it on nearly dry/dry hair and scrunch. It gives a natural wave with texture. And it smells amazing! The bottles are made from recycled materials, 9 organic ingredients are used and it is paraben and animal testing free.

Weleda Hayfever Remedies

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Hayfever relief oral spray – This vegan oral spray is homeopathic and helps with hayfever symptoms.

Rhinodoron nasal spray – Made from 100% natural ingredients of aloe vera and saline solution rhinodoron works to break down nasal congestion.

These natural medicines both help alleviate the symptoms of hayfever, but only to a certain extent. If you get a mild case of the allergy then these will be great. However if like me you really do suffer, more chemical methods would be recommended.

Fair Squared Razor

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For the majority of the year my legs are unseen, and so therefore untouched by a razor, it can be a hectic moment when it comes to wearing dresses and shorts. The first glimmer of sun I decided to invest in a new pack of razors. Fair Squared produce a range of fairtrade products from shampoo, to razors, to body lotion all in a carbon neutral factory in Germany. I used this razor for the first time this morning before donning a pair of dungarees for the walk. It moisturised and I didn’t butcher myself. Result!

People Tree Summer Staples

Earlier this year I had a massive clear out of my wardrobe, only keeping what I actually wear. Then as soon as the sun came out I realised I didn’t have any tops to go with my summery bottoms.

Red brenton top – made from 100% organic fairtrade cotton at Fusion Clothing in India who create well-made clothing that uses the planet’s resources intelligently, provides safe working conditions, and gives back to communities that manufacture the garments.

Black t-shirt – made from 95% organic cotton at Rajlakshmi Cottom Mills in India who are pioneers in organic garment manufacturing combining high quality tailoring with a fair deal for farmers and workers, whilst supporting local environmental and social projects.

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Today in Derbyshire the sun is certainly shining. It’s my Granda’s birthday so as soon as this blog post is sent I’ll be off out into the garden for a few beers to celebrate. Hope you all enjoy the sunny weather… while it lasts! x

Super Sunday Swap Shop

People now buy four times more clothes than they did in the 80’s. To meet these increasing demands fashion brands are cutting corners in regards to worker rights, pay and safety. It also has huge consequences for the environment, on average UK consumers send 30kg of clothing to landfill each year.

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Labour Behind the Label are a charity that are dedicated to changing this. Throughout the year I’m doing a couple of challenges to raise money for them and today I held a Swap Shop to encourage the reuse of clothes and raise awareness of the issue.

A Swap Shop is simple, people bring any unwanted clothes, jewellery, books, toiletries etc. to swap. Anything that takes your fancy you can take and any left over bits will be donated to charity. One man/woman’s trash is another man/woman’s treasure.

With support from my amazing friends and family on the day we managed to raise a whopping £123!!!! It was great fun and we took away some cool pieces. My personal favourite is a demin jacket my mate Niamh brought. She had bought it from Dawn O’Porter who sold it on instagram for charity. And now it has been swapped, again for charity! A jacket that just keeps on giving.

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Thank you so much to everyone who has supported this so far. You’re all absolute legends. Especially my Mam, Alison, who today was a superstar! If you would like to donate click here.  Also, keep your ears to the ground as I’ll be hosting another Swap Shop soon!

Hope you’ve all had a great weekend, I know I certainly have. Good night x

 

Super Simple Vegan Flapjack

On Sunday I’m hosting a Swap Shop to raise money for Labour Behind the Label (details of the event can be found here) and for the occasion I’m baking a whole load of sweet stuff. One of the easiest pieces, which I’ve just made, is a vegan flapjack.

Here is the recipe!

INGREDIENTS:

METHOD:

  • Preheat oven to 180°C/gas mark 4 and grease a 28cmx18cm baking tray, lining with baking paper
  • Put the spread, brown sugar and golden syrup into a pan on medium heat and mix until the spread and sugar dissolves
  • Remove the pan from the heat, add the porridge oats and sultanas and mix until they are fully coated
  • Press the mixture into the baking tray
  • Bake for 30 minutes until golden brown
  • Let the flapjack cool in the tray for 5 minutes then turn it out from the tray and let it cool on a cooling rack
  • Cut into squares, and voila! Done.

Cheap, easy and super simple to make. The flapjacks can also last for up to a week in a container. Perfect for my Swap Shop. And the crumbly bits off the side, I can enjoy now!

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The Yorkshire Soap Company

Last bank holiday I headed up to Harrogate to visit my boyfriend’s parents. On Saturday we popped into Knaresborough and discovered The Yorkshire Soap Company.

The Yorkshire Soap Company has six shops dotted around the region selling natural handmade soaps, when you walk in the shop its like a fancy patisserie. Loads of pretty designs, colours and smells.

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I could of bought all sorts. But managed to settle on two bars.

INGREDIENTS: Ylang ylang and yorkshire heather – Sodium Palmate, Sodium Palmkernalate, Aqua, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Ylang Ylang, Heather. Orange, carrot and calendula – Sodium Palmate, Sodium Palmkernalate, Aqua, Sodium Chloride, Glycerin, Carrot, Calendula, Carotene.

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All products are free from animal testing, handmade in Yorkshire and suitable for vegetarians. They don’t just make soaps but also bath bombs, body lotions and shampoo. Everything is very reasonably priced considering the products are natural and handmade, the bars I got were just £3 each. Along with their great selection they do some cool gift packages. The above ‘yorkshire lass’ hamper would make a perfect pressie!

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Is High Fashion Slow Fashion?

Those who know me know just how much I adore Alexa Chung’s style. A mix of band t-shirts, 60’s mod, English eccentric, scruffy hair, pumps, satchels and high waisted jeans.

So today when she launched her very own fashion label I was eager to see what was on offer.

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I headed to the website and what I found was a great selection of clothes, shoes and accessories but at ridiculously high prices… And this made me think about the ethics and transparency behind high fashion labels. They charge the earth, but why, is it merely because of a brand name? OR Does the garment truly cost that much? Are the cotton farmers, factory workers, shipping merchants, leather dyers paid a fair wage? Given good working conditions? Are the materials extremely good quality? Grown organically? Sourced locally? Rare? Handmade? Do they even know who their suppliers are? Where they are? What conditions they are working in?

Much of the ethical focus is on those fast fashion brands (Primark, H&M, ASOS, Boohoo etc.) because they are cheap and mass produced. Many investigations have been carried out and widely published in the media. However high fashion brands seem to have been left untouched and unscathed.

Is high fashion slow fashion?

I decided to send an email. Within 15 minutes I had a response:

“We understand your concerns. All factories had been visited and approved by our team.

We are also part of the UN Global Compact Program. 

We are happy to make fashion and to make it right as fair as we can.

Here is the link to UN Global Compact website if you want to learn more about it.

This response was a good first step, it shows they believe in making fashion fairly, but it merely just generated more questions. “Where are your factories? What did you find on your visits? How did the workers seem? What about the farmers? Where did the materials come from?”… So I will keep pestering until I get those answers.

But I am only one person. The only way we can get brands to own up and be transparent about where their clothes come from, the only way we can then get brands to ensure where their clothes come from is fair is by all of us asking those questions before we buy. If we keep asking brands the questions and not buying from them until they answer those questions well, they will be forced to ensure their clothes are made ethically.

Petals, keep on asking #whomademyclothes xxx

The Beauty of Simplicity

About a week ago I was well excited to receive my first ever monthly delivery from The Natural Beauty Box.

The Natural Beauty Box is a monthly subscription box of natural, vegan and cruelty-free skincare and beauty products. It’s a great way to try out new things and discover different brands.

Box subscription is only £24.95 per month (which is a bargain as boxes have an actual value of £50) and for every box sold there is a 50p charity donation. Also, with my promo code “BELLA3” you can get £3 off your very own subscription.

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May’s box “the beauty of simplicity” contains six super products which I’ve tried and tested over the past week.

Balm Balm Coconut Cleanser

INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC COCONUT OIL

I’m already a lover of coconut oil and have found this spray cleanser is great for a deep facial cleanse and to remove eye make up. To use it as an eye make up remover all you have to do is spray a couple of squirts into the palms of your hand, rub onto your closed eyes and let it soak for 30 seconds. Then use a warm, wet cotton pad or muslin cloth and the make up just slides off. Unlike other eye make up removers using coconut oil does not sting and leaves the eye area nice and moisturised.

Balm Balm Little Miracle Rosehip Serum

INGREDIENTS: ALL ORGANIC – ROSEHIP, JOJOBA, BORAGE, FRANKINCENSE, ROSE GERANIUM, PALMAROSA, JUNIPER BERRY, MANDARIN

This serum smells amazing, just look at the ingredients, is there really any wonder?! I’ve been using a couple of drops of this every other night before bed on my face. It’s a little oily, so maybe not great for people with oily skin, but after a few days of sunshine the past week this deep moisturising serum has been perfect.

Alchemy Oils Grapefruit Hair Remedy

INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC CASTOIR OIL, COCONUT OIL, ORGANIC AVOCADO OIL, SWEET ALMOND OIL, GRAPEFRUIT WHITE ESSENTIAL OIL

Again, like the serum, this smells great. Fruity and fresh. I’ve only used this once as my hair tends to get greasy with too much product, but it was a lovely treatment. Using a couple of drops to massage into the scalp and through to the ends, then leave in over night. The next day my hair didn’t just feel in better condition but also cleaner.

Kathy Sue-Ann’s Organic Lip Scrub

INGREDIENTS: ORGANIC PALM SUGAR, COCONUT OIL, SWEET ALMOND OIL, VITAMIN E

This little pot is brilliant. Not only does it really work on removing dry skin from lips, but the little pot will last forever as all you need is a tiny dab to do the job. Basically all you do is get a smidgen of it onto your finger and massage onto your lips for about a minute, wash it off and put on some lip balm. Super soft.

Skin Elixir Frankincense and May Chang Moisturiser

INGREDIENTS: ALL ORGANIC – SWEET ALMOND OIL, SHEA BUTTER, BLACK SEED, FRANKINCENSE, MAY CHANG, VITAMIN E

I’ve been alternating this moisturiser with the rosehip serum on an evening as a face cream, but it can also be used on your hands and body. It smells exotic and a little goes a long way. You wake up with your skin feeling totally refreshed.

Indigenous Beauty Uplifting Natural Deodorant Cream

INGREDIENTS: BICARBONATE OF SODA, ARROWROOT, COCONUT OIL, SHEA BUTTER, VITAMIN E

I’m not yet fully convinced on natural deodorant. I do a fair bit of sports and with hotter weather on it’s way I’m not entirely confident that it works. I feel I need to be able to do some more research into natural deodorants to be able to form an opinion on this product. Possibly a future blog post on the horizon…

If you’re thinking of transitioning your beauty regime to more natural and ethical products then The Natural Beauty Box is a great way to start (don’t forget with my promo code “BELLA3” you can get £3 off your very own subscription).

Personally I’m already looking forward to the June delivery, thanks TNBB! x

What is a Flexitarian?

At the start of the year I took part in Veganuary. Then for Lent I gave up meat.

I enjoyed being veggie so much that I extended my non-meat eating period until a weekend in Berlin where lots of beer weakened my resistance to currywurst (oops). Since then I have only been eating meat on the odd occasion.

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It turns out eating meat ‘on the odd occasion’ is actually a thing. It’s called flexitarianism.

Described as vegetarians with benefits, flexitarians are people whose diet is mostly vegetarian but sometimes includes meat. Many vegetarians and vegans consider flexitarianism as cheating, but research shows that the diet just might be one of the best ways to reduce environmental impact and improve health.

Mostly my diet contains no meat but I now allow myself an exception if I really fancy some when I’m eating out or I know that it is good quality.

For example last week I was working in London. On Tuesday evening I had Moroccan food, lots of tasty veggie mezze at Oasis in East Finchley. Then on Wednesday I went to Flat Iron in Soho for one of their famous steaks because I knew it was going to be a) good quality b) ethically sourced from their own herd in Yorkshire and b) absolutely delicious!

Personally I think giving this way of eating a title is abit silly. I can however vouch that having this type of diet certainly comes with benefits.

Benefits of being flexitarian:

  • Less meat = less cost – meaning more money left to spend on good quality meat when you fancy it instead of processed or chemically enhanced
  • Improved health – it’s a win-win as you still get the protein that comes from eating meat occasionally but also have the nutritional benefits from a plant based diet
  • Reduced environmental impact – livestock requires more food, water, land and energy to grow and transport than plants

Next week I’ll post some of my favourite  veggie recipes for you to try. But for now, I’m off work and heading out into the sunshine to kick start my bank holiday weekend with a delicious brekkie from The Farm in Harrogate.

Have a gooden! x

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