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Mother's Day: An Ethical Gift Guide
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Mother's Day is just around the corner. Can you believe that it's already March? If you're still struggling for March 11th gift ideas that fit your ethical mantra, look no further. I've scoured Etsy - the internet's haven for handmade ethical and eco-friendly goods - for some perfect gift ideas that are thoughtful, high-quality, and easy on the environment. Check them out below and psst... all images have been borrowed from their respective sellers.

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A great way to ensure your gifts will be continually used and loved is to make them practical. We've all received presents that are pretty but useless and so they sit around unused for years on end until we finally feel able to throw them away with only a small pang of guilt endured.

Reusable washable cotton rounds like these from Leave No Traces are a great option because almost everyone's mum will use them occasionally. Not only are these cotton rounds well-presented in their own pretty wash bag, but they ensure that we aren't going through obscene amounts of throwaway cotton - a fibre with its own environmental baggage.

These are great for using with a natural makeup remover, like this Purity Facial Cleanser (in glass) from Ravenscourt Apothecary. This cleansing oil is made from 100% natural ingredients and can be customised in terms of which essential oils are used for the scent. Ravenscourt have been a favourite of mine for a while and I also love the look of this cute tea-themed perfume sampler set. These are also scented with nothing but essential oils and tea infusions.

Another practical yet thoughtful option comes in the form of this vintage wicker wine holder picked by Fetch and Sow. I've been browsing this Etsy store for a while as I love their funky vintage homeware picks. Buying secondhand is one of the most sustainable ways of shopping and something like this would be valued by any style-conscious wine lover.

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If you're not so confident with something so practical, you can never lose with a good candle. I have chosen this 100% soy coffee candle from Octo London as it's 100% vegan-friendly and it comes in a glass jar that can be easily cleaned out and reused after the candle has been burnt. Octo London have a varied range of these beautiful natural candles, again all scented with nothing but essential oils.

For the new mums, a beautiful hand-dyed and handmade muslin blanket, like this one from Cocoon and Butterfly makes the perfect gift. The blankets are made-to-order and are all dyed using plants. This lovely dusty pink colour comes from avocado stones. This blanket can be used for a variety of things such as a baby swaddle, a nursing cover, or a changing mat. 

If you're into giving cards, why not this one from UniqueCardsandArt made from recycled card and seeds. That's right - this card can be planted after it has been enjoyed. With a bit of love (and water) this card will break down and grow into wildflowers. Perfect for a mother who loves gardening.

Finally, I've chosen these recycled silver hoop earrings from Nude Ethics. I love the design and style of these earrings and I feel they're classic but also trendy enough to work for all kinds of mums. Recycled silver is great as it allows for some gorgeous high-quality jewellery while still being better for the environment.

Hopefully you've now got some fab gift ideas for Mother's Day that are both thoughtful and ethical. For more ideas you can check out Etsy's own Mother's Day edit. I'd love to hear any additional ideas you have in the comments below! 

This post contains affiliate links. 
Thank you in advance if you choose to use one!

Conscious Changes
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Today I wanted to talk about a bit of a hot topic, and that's the idea of living slower and more consciously. I have touched on this before in my posts on easy zero waste changes and my 2017 good intentions. 2018 is going to be a big year: I shall my finishing my Masters degree and hopefully, by the autumn, my boyfriend and I will have moved in to a place of our own.

Some of my goals for 2017 included keeping up with my fitness, increasing my use of reusables, and buying less fast fashion. As much as I do thing there was a bit of a dip mid-year, at this point in 2018 and I am doing all these things. I now go to the gym for weight training 3-5 times a week, I use reusables 99.9% of the time (I even bought a safety razor), and I have rarely had to resort to fast fashion. I bought a few naughty things before my holiday in June after freaking out about finding clothes for the hot weather but, other than that a few recycled pieces from Monki/Weekday, all my purchases have been second-hand. A particular highlight are my amazing vegan Dr Marten boots that I purchased very lightly used from a seller on Depop (my new favourite app). I've also picked up a few really lovely pieces of workout wear from ethical and recycled brand Sundried via their Amazon shop. I've been super impressed with everything and I definitely plan on doing a post about a few more sustainable activewear brands.

I've been trying to pare down my belongings (and my environmental impact) this year in preparation for moving out around autumn-time. This seems like a never-ending process. My life still seems to create a lot of waste and so I feel like I am forever getting rid of bags of stuff but not actually getting anywhere in terms of de-cluttering my belongings. For now, I have another wardrobe purge planned for this month and then hopefully I can tackle one area of my life a month until I see some improvements. One area that I have managed to pare down is my beauty drawer and so you may be seeing less and less beauty posts in these parts. I have a few reviews to get out but after that, I plan on really only buying what I need and buying them as sustainably as possible. One makeup brand that is particularly intriguing me for this reason is Canadian brand Elate Cosmetics but unfortunately there is not currently an EU/UK stockist. They use sustainable bamboo packaging and many of their products (also vegan) are available as refills. If I'm honest, I've just got a bit sick of all the plastic in the green beauty space.

This was just a short update but hopefully soon you'll be seeing lots of lovely new content on KV. As ever, if you have any suggestions for content - especially in the fields of sustainability and minimalist-type stuff - please let me know either by email or via Twitter!

 

5 Ethical Wardrobe Resolutions for the New Year

So the New Year is a’coming and if you haven’t already started thinking about resolutions, why not give your wardrobe a makeover in 2017? Now I’m not talking about a complete overhaul but some little changes here and there can help your wardrobe to be a little more sustainable and green. I’ll definitely be following some of my own suggestions next year.

1.       Leggings – Leggings are a really easy thing to change when it comes to sustainability. If you wear them as often as I do, then it won’t take you much convincing to see why buying a more high quality, environmentally-friendly pair is the way to go. I’ve been eyeing this pair from Cossac. I was introduced to Cossac by the ladies over at Clean Cult and I’ve been lusting over a couple of their pieces, including these leggings. A major issue though is that they only come in one size (totally not cool). If you find yourself left out, other options include People Tree and Braintree. If these are a little too expensive for your taste then Sainsbury’s offer leggings made from Modal, a relatively environmentally-friendly fibre. It’s not anything to write home about (and doesn’t guarantee the sustainability of the manufacturing process) but it’s definitely a better alternative to Primark or Topshop.

2.       Jumpers – Looking at all of jumpers in my wardrobe (and there’s a lot), about 95% of them came from charity shops. Charity shops are still totally underrated and they are especially worthwhile for knitted garments like jumpers and cardigans. It’s easy to spot something of a highly quality and you can’t get more sustainable than buying second-hand. Many of my favourite jumpers come from charity shops and they still look as new as the day they were originally bought.

3.       Bags – For me, a sustainable bag – or any kind of bag – needs to be vegan. My favourite brand is Matt & Nat and I’ve had amazing experiences with both a purse and a backpack that I have from them. Both are still going strong a year or two after purchase and look relatively brand new. I have the Motiv SM purse in Chestnut (not available at the moment) and the Katherine bag in Black. Matt and Nat are often on sale on ASOS and I managed to pick up the purse for about £25. The bag was a gift bought at full price but it’s incredibly well made and I’m still really in love with it. All of their bags are made from super high quality vegan synthetic leather and the linings and/or canvas selections are made from recycled bottles.

4.       Pyjamas – This is a suggestion that I really need to take on myself. My pyjama collection is ridiculous and really needs editing. I’ve got my eye on some lovely People Tree organic cotton pyjamas; super soft and they come in a large range of colours and patterns. I'm very tempted by the grey star selections currently on sale. A more simple change would be ensuring that you repurpose old t-shirts for pyjamas and loungewear instead of buying dedicated sets. 

5.       Jewellery -  This seems like an odd one, but committing to only buying high quality, ethically-made jewellery can make a big difference, to the environment and to your bank balance. I no longer buy cheap costume jewellery and only invest money in well made pieces that are at least sterling silver. Less plastic = good for the environment, and it's nice to have a wardrobe category safe from dreaded impulse purchases. My absolute favourite brand for this purpose is Oh My Clumsy Heart. I only own one piece at the moment, but it's seen me through thick and thin and despite breaking four times (my fault entirely), I absolutely adore it. Sophie from OMCH has repaired it for me twice and I must get round to repairing it myself soon so I can start wearing it again. I have a horrible habit of trying to take my jumpers off without taking my glasses off first... Unfortunately you can no longer buy the necklace I have but I have my eye on some newer pieces: the Tiny Sterling Silver Studs, Sterling Silver Tube Necklace, and the Sterling Silver Circle Earrings.