The Magic of Twitter

Last night I was aimlessly scrolling through Twitter, when a purple and white patterned teapot caught my eye…

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It turns out, I have this teapot (a hand-me-down from my parents when I moved out) and barely use it. So I messaged Marks & Spencers to let them know I had a lid and was happy to part with it.

One day later, the teapot is wrapped up and ready to be posted.

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Social media often gets bad press, but this week, it has definitely done good!

I hope this lid brings happy tea brewing to it’s new owner, an early Christmas present from one stranger to another.

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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Christmas Gifts: 10 Ethical Ideas

 

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  1. The most ethical gift of all is the gift of Nothing. Often we are given gifts that we do not need, nor want. The gift of nothing saves money, prevents waste (both gift and packaging wise) and puts more emphasis on having a good time, rather than a materialistic Christmas.
  2. If you have a large family or a big group of friends Secret Santa is a great solution. Instead of giving many pointless gifts you give one meaningful one. My family are doing this for the first time this Christmas. We have each picked a name out of a hat and set a budget of £10. Unfortunately the whole ‘secret’ part of Secret Santa has failed a little bit, but it is the thought that counts…
  3. Make Smthng Week runs from 2nd – 10th December. It follows the mass consumerism of Black Friday and encourages people to Make Something. Why not bake some mince pies, make a cushion or toy out of old clothes, fix a broken game, paint and oil an old bike?9bccce7e78018250c8f3f5b773b0ced1.jpg
  4. Instead of giving something, Do Something. It is better to collect moments not things. Treat your loved ones to a meal out, or a trip to the theatre, or a spa day, or a weekend away. Me and Fiona (my sister) have done this for the past few years. Last year it was a trip to Warsaw, the year before a trip to Budapest, this year we’re going to go to the Harry Potter: A History of Magic exhibition at the British Library.
  5. Buy from a Charity shop or give a charity gift. Oxfam have some great suggestions, for example you can shelter a refugee for £15 or for £9 buy a tap to provide safe water. This year at work, instead of doing Secret Santa, we are each buying a toy and donating it to Cash for Kids.
  6. Purchase an Ethical Product. Ethical Superstore is a great site to go to for all sorts of gifts ranging from beauty products, to chocolates and gadgets.
  7. This time of year there are Christmas Markets left right and centre. Visit these markets and Shop Local. When you support an independent shop, small business or local store you are supporting someone’s dream. House of Habit Jewellery and Sweet Memory Lane are two of my favourites.Screen Shot 2017-12-02 at 17.35.18.png
  8. Head to Etsy and Shop Handmade. I may (or may not…) have gotten my Secret Santa gift from here. Similar to shopping local, by buying something handmade you are supporting a person rather than a corporation. It means much more to know that time and effort has gone into the item, rather than it rolling off a production line.
  9. Books are a favourite at Christmas. It’s always best to try and buy second-hand books saving money and trees. For new books use a local independent shop or head to Hive to buy online.
  10. Get someone a Subscription. Subscribe someone to a monthly delivery of socks, natural beauty products or curry spices. Check out The London Sock Exchange they not only deliver new socks but recycle old.hero-box-ginger_1920x.jpg

Turtle Doves: recycled cashmere

Turtle Doves is a British brand that buys woollen items from charity shops and turns them into new products. This is great for so many reasons and their story of success is inspiring. Turtle Doves started very small but now employs over 20 people, including ex-Laura Ashley seamstresses whose jobs disappeared when production was moved to the Far East.

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I suffer really badly with cold hands (cheers Raynaurd’s disease) and a few months ago my Mam surprised me with some Turtle Doves finger-less gloves (rhymes!). Considering they are finger-less they amazingly cure ‘white finger’.

 

Turtle Doves don’t just make finger-less gloves, they do all sorts of top quality, cosy and ethical products. It’s getting colder every day and Christmas is looming closer and closer, Turtle Doves would make a great present and if you join their Friends Club they’ll give you 10% off your next order.

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.

Live Coco

Every year, the world uses over 3.6 billion toothbrushes. Every year, we throw about 2 billion of them away – most of them end up in landfills and oceans. The majority are made from plastic which does not biodegrade.

In my music festival post a few months back I mentioned my Humble Brush (made from a biodegradable bamboo handle and nylon-6 bristles) which I use for holidays, weekends away and work trips, but whilst at home I use an electric toothbrush. You’re supposed to change your electric toothbrush head every 3 months, so again, that is a lot of plastic going to waste.

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I spent some time searching for an electric toothbrush head solution and came across Live Coco, who provide an Oral B toothbrush head that is 100% recyclable and biodegradable. It’s also made with charcoal bristles which are supposed to help with whitening and removing bacteria.

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Luckily I have an Oral B toothbrush, so these heads are perfect for me. Unfortunately though I haven’t managed to find any other brand solutions that are reasonably priced out there. I’ll keep looking, and when I find some I’ll share with you. Or better still… if you’ve managed to find any, comment below!