Happy Blogiversary toooo meeee!

A year ago today I embarked on my Bella Green journey and published my first ever blog post.

To mark to the occasion I’d like to take some writing space to thank those who have supported, followed and inspired me to continue. At times it has been tough. Making time to research and write whilst juggling a job, the gym, learning German and a social life (aka beer and binge watching Netflix) hasn’t always been easy. But your kind words have jeered me along.

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Photo credit: Taken by Fiona (sister) – Recycled business cards Moo  –  Fairtrade and organic cotton Christmas jumper ‘Bah Humbug’ Twisted Twee

Since starting the blog I have changed how I consume ALOT.

  • I no longer buy stuff I don’t need
  • Only buy cruelty free and natural beauty products
  • Think about packaging and plastic ALL THE TIME
  • The majority of clothes I buy are either locally made, vintage, second hand or ethically made
  • And I buy organic, fairtrade and package free food where possible.

Keeping a blog reminds me to think, who made this, where has it come from, what are it’s effects, how was it made?

My five favourite posts this past year have been:

They were the most interesting to research and satisfying to write.

Next year will definitely be a different one for me. Full of changes. I will be moving in with my parents for a few months and have a HUGE, exciting adventure up my sleeve. The blog may morph as time goes on, but always at the heart of it will be sustainability.

If you would like to work with me or put forward a topic for me to cover, please let me know!

I’m now about to have a ‘Fake Christmas Day’ with my family. Lots of food and Secret Santa presents await. I hope you have a great Sunday.

Love Anna x

p.s it amazingly is a WHITE CHRISTMAS!

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Ethical Men’s Clothing

On Sunday it was International Men’s Day. To show appreciation for my male followers, I thought I’d share some ethical men’s clothing (also ladies… Christmas is coming up… present suggestions for your Dad, Brother, Boyfriend?).

Brothers We Stand

Providing the basic essentials made in a wind-powered factory from organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles.

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Ecoalf

Making products out of things like plastic bottles, old coffee grounds and fishing nets.

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Idioma

Have an aim to enhance foreign language learning and cultural awareness through ethical clothing.

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Thought

Contemporary pieces that are effortless to wear and sustainably made. Pieces designed to be love-forever classics.

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Know the Origin

Made from organic and fair-trade cotton, KTO shows full traceability from seed to shop.

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Cock and Bull

Using organic, recycled, reclaimed, locally sourced and Artisan textiles and collections predominantly made in the UK.

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Winter Coats

I suddenly realised earlier this month, when it started to get cold, that I didn’t actually own a winter coat. And so… the hunt began. All I wanted was a plain, black, warm coat. Not much to ask you’d of thought?!

What I found was a great selection of ethically made coats, but they were wayyyyyy out of my price range. Here’s some of my favourites:

 

Lanius – €299,90

 

Jan’n June – €230

 

Langerchen – €279

 

Lowie – £389

As these lovely coats we’re a tad (*cough cough*) too expensive for me, I admitted defeat and looked at high street brands. I had a 20% off Sparks voucher for Marks & Spencers to use and so bit the bullet and bought a coat from there.

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In theory, this coat is exactly what I wanted. Plain, black and warm. It comes in 8 different colours and is a fraction of the cost compared to the coats mentioned earlier (£119, but I got it for £95 with my voucher).

 

M&S aren’t the worst offenders in the fast fashion industry. They have very good policies, are one of the first high street retailers to start being transparent and even have an interactive map on their website where you can find information on their supply chain. But as mentioned in one of my previous posts where I investigated into ‘Who made my clothes?’ for an M&S shirt, there have been some scandals regarding sweatshop conditions, using Syrian refugees for labour and UK worker union issues.

My search for a winter coat has proven that sometimes the ethical choice is much more expensive. But I shan’t feel guilty for this high street purchase. It is not just buying from ethical brands that will encourage fast fashion retailers to become more ethical, it is about buying less and asking brands the question ‘who made my clothes?’ over and over again.

This is a coat I love. It will be taken care of and worn for years to come. Moral of the story; if you cannot buy ethical, buy less, and buy something you love.

Taking a break. Getting a balance.

Dear Readers,

It’s been a full week since my last post, and it will be even longer till my next…

I am taking a break from blogging. I do love blogging, I really do. But at the moment I’m struggling to get the right balance. And in all honesty it’s been messing with my head!

Recently I’ve been given extra responsibility at work, I have a very busy social life and I feel I can’t fully enjoy that at the moment with the added pressure of writing blogs. The last thing I want is to not enjoy writing them, so for September I will be hanging up the keyboard and focusing on my friends and family, my work and myself.

Taking a break. Getting a balance.

But do not fear (or be so relieved), I will be back in October! But in the meantime my September step back is starting well, right now I’m on a train heading to London for a weekend with Rob. Next weekend I’m off to walk Hadrian’s Wall for charity. The weekend after that it’s Rob’s birthday. Then finallyyyyyy I’m off on holiday to Dubrovnik for a week.

In the meantime here are some things I was going to talk about through September that I’ve gotten for my holidays. I’ll let you have a sneaky peak at my sustainable buys without my waffle.

Auria London bikini

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Jyoti skirt

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People Tree dress

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Sundried shorts

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Sometimes taking a break is essential. Have a great September yourself, and make sure you get a good balance!

Cya in October!

Ciao Bella’s xxx

Natural Shampoo

Converting to a natural shampoo that does not recommend the use of a conditioner around the time of dying my hair made me very nervous. Very nervous indeed.

But I really needn’t of been.

Odylique’s Gentle Herb Shampoo is great!

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It is 100% natural and 70% organic. It is free from animal testing, sulfates, fragrance, artificial preservatives and salt and it comes in a 100% recycled UK-made bottle.

To get the best out of the shampoo I put a couple of pumps in my hands and lather onto my hair and scalp, leave to soak for about 2-3 minutes, then rinse. Leaving the shampoo in gives the hair a chance to absorb the active ingredients. This is what takes away the need for a conditioner and still works on sensitive scalps and dyed hair.

Please be aware that because this shampoo is sulfate free, it does not lather as much as a ‘normal’ shampoo, this does not mean you haven’t used enough.

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INGREDIENTS: ALOE VERA JUICE, COCONUT AND CORN GLUCOSE, COCONUT OIL, CHAMOMILE, NETTLE, HORSETAIL, ROSEMARY, SUNFLOWER, SUGAR CANE, PLANT STABILISERS

My hair is in great condition at the moment, I find a wash now lasts two days instead of one and I’m saving money/creating less waste on not using a conditioner.

Cheers Odylique!

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

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