Seasonal Self Care at Home // State of Liberty

I find the beginning of the year to be one of reflection, nurture, using the time to look after yourself, your body and mind whilst the daylight is scarce and the weather a little cold and bleak.

I have been lucky enough to get to know Lizzie Jones from State of Liberty, who runs her company with our well being firmly at the fore.  State of Liberty retreats are designed so that you can enjoy a retreat experience in the comfort of your own home, how wonderful is that.  The retreats are inspired by nature and aligned with the seasons, each season supports, nourishes and prepares the body for the next season creating a constant cycle of well being.  All very clear and simple, and something we all forget about in our face paced lives that we have chosen to live and consume.  If we stop and take the time to think and compartmentalise we can often see the simpler picture.

Based on the the five seasons used in traditional Chinese medicine, each season correlates to one of the five elements, wood, fire, earth, metal and water.  Influenced by these  five elements, Lizzie has created a retreat, a pamper box and an essential oil blend for each season.

The Seasonal Pamper Box compliments the online retreat content and has been designed specifically to deliver an overwhelming sense of calm directly to your door.  Every purchase you make comes with access to exclusive online content that is there to help you effortlessly incorporate State of Liberty products into you self care routine with ease.

I can honestly say that the Winter Pamper Box is one of the most wonderful gifts I have ever received.  The older I get the more aware I am of looking after myself so I am pretty good at early nights, sleeping well, reducing my screen time and cooking nourishing home made food.  I also swim regularly and walk as much as I can.  One of the nicest things to my routine is bathing and looking after my skin.  So the Winter Pamper Box is perfect for me, I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of making my own simple face mask, lighting the candle and having a hot soak in an epsom salt bath, being intoxicated by the wonderful aroma of the winter blend essential oil of Frankincense, Patchouli and Pettigrain.

To me it’s dedicating the time, going through the ritual of preparing that face mask or bath, switching off from the world and creating your own retreat that is just for you.  Emptying your thoughts concentrating on your breathing and giving yourself over to the sheer bliss of being relaxed and calm.  All of which we are capable of doing if we choose to notice and make an effort to do so.

What is also so delicious about State of Liberty is their attention to detail, the boxes are beautifully designed and crafted with care, all packaging used is eco friendly all bespoke and handmade in the UK using recycled materials.  It is also designed to be reused and you can refill any of the base ingredients in your box by simply returning your empty glass bottles or canvas bags, they will be refilled and posted back to you.  Along with this dedicated service you also have access to the Wellbeing Resource Library where you can get regular updates with expert advice on seasonal living, self care, meditation, yoga, mindfulness, seasonal food, pamper and sleep.  Its good to know if you are finding anything a little stressful that help is just a click away.

If you do find self care difficult you can sign up to the weekly wellbeing toolkit that will guide you gently into integrating wellbeing into your everyday.  What is not to like about having that friendly hand to hold to bring a moments peace and happiness to counteract the busy.

As a thank you State of Liberty are offering my readers a 15% discount on the Winter Pamper Box using the code SOL-TEAWITHRUBY a perfect gift to yourself for the New Year don’t you think?

Jx

With thanks to State of Liberty for gifting the Winter Pamper Box for the purpose of this post.

 

 

The Art of Giving with Edge and Company

Sometimes I think I’m the luckiest girl it the world doing what I do, meeting the talented, amazing people that make my everyday so special.  I would like to introduce you to Edge and Company a well being and lifestyle store selling ethical and innovative products for the home and outdoors with a twist.  This wonderful new company crowd funded to get it off the ground with great success.  All the products you can purchase are handmade, crafted in the UK and worldwide by people living with disabilities, mental health issues and addiction and homelessness, who find it very challenging to access and maintain employment.

Edge and Company have an ethical buying policy which to you and me means we can filter their product range by their five categories, Organic, Upcycled, Eco Friendly and Made in the UK, a simple and effective way of finding the things that are most important to you when shopping.  Along with the filters you can find what you are looking for in the categories, Well Being & Lifestyle, Pantry, Homewares and Art & Culture.  Everything in its place from soap pebbles and ceramics to chocolate and coffee there really is something for everyone.

I absolutely love their tag line Radical Giving something we should take into account every time we invest in something new.  The reasoning behind Radical Giving is that every product sold will help to support organisations that are striving to break perceptions and social stigma, to help build acceptance and provide employment opportunities for  people living with life challenges.

Milly and Steve kindly sent me a gift box that showcases some of their wonderful suppliers, they know me well and chose some of my favourite things to keep me cosy over the holidays, from the toastiest slippers, to candles and hand blended herbal tea to add a little calm over the festive season.

The slippers have been a huge hit and my husband wants to steal them NAUSENI’s handmade felt slippers take their inspirations from the rich cultural heritage and dramatic natural landscape of Nepal.   The brand was founded in response to the Nepal Earthquake of 2015, with a mission to empower women by providing skill development and income generating opportunities for those affected by the Earthquake.

I love candles in any shape or form, these 100% naturally sourced beeswax dinner candles will have pride of place on my Christmas table made by Camphill Village Trust who provide a home within a supportive community for  people who have are living with a range of different disabilities.   The Calming hand poured candle will help me unwind and relax with its heady scent of jasmine, lavender, rosewood and bergamot, it will be perfect when I’m taking a well earned soak in the tub.  Made in collaboration with Beacons Creative who also produce beautiful soaps  all hand made made by people with learning difficulties providing them with a secure environment and employment.

I love a good cup of tea and I can’t wait to try this calming blend by Hackney Herbal who are a social enterprise promoting well being and healthy minds through herbs and nature based activities. The scent as you open the bag is intoxicating and I’m savouring the moment to make a brew.   I also fell in love with the perfect ceramic pot because you all know that ceramics are my weakness.   Hand thrown and glazed by Studio 360 a creative space for those recovering from mental illness.   This beautiful pot has found a home on my table and I found the perfect winter plant to put in it, this tiny white cyclamen fits in wonderfully well with my natural theme this year.

So if you haven’t quite found that elusive Christmas gift yet please do take a look at Edge and Company I’m sure you’ll find that special something, not only will you be giving a loved one a unique gift but also a boost to someone that has faced challenges in their daily life which makes all the difference in the world.

Jx

A Simple Christmas with Rowen & Wren

It is universally known that I adore Christmas, I don’t peak too early but I do like adding little bits and bobs here and there throughout the month of December, more of a celebration of Winter than the festival itself.  I decided a few years ago to go simple, pare back the baubles and let fairy lights and nature be the stars of the show, along with a few hand made, natural decorations that quietly shine without being too ostentatious.

One of my go to places to source those extra beautiful items are Rowen & Wren, their capsule Christmas collection is just that, hand selected pieces that bring the festive season together in harmony, from champagne flutes to  their antiqued brass Christmas tree stand, a delicious array of candle holders, stunning folk wrapping paper and brass bell garlands.  You will find everything you need to create that home spun simplicity with ease, from table to tree and everything in between.

My tree will be looking resplendent in their tree stand again this year, an investment piece that will be used for many years to come, with recycled glass baubles taking pride of place on the tree’s branches exuding hand made charm.  The table will be set using elder wood slice place mats to add that rustic feel to my table, making my black plates and cutlery stand out amongst the many candles and pine foliage.

I’m even simplifying my wreaths this year, I’m going to use the Benni brass wreath rings, Scandinavian in style with added touches of greenery bound around to create a subtle but effective look to my front door.  On the plus side once the festivities are over I will be able to remove the foliage to compost and use the rings over and over again.

Once all the decorations are in place, the wreath on the door and the lights are all twinkling, I’ll be able to curl up on my sofa after a lovely soak and keep my feet warm wearing the softest alpaca socks by Tom Lane.  There is nothing nicer than lounging around over the holidays in a dressing gown and socks, book and mug of hot chocolate not too far away.  I can feel my shoulders dropping at the thought of it and my feet will thank me for it too.

I know its a couple of weeks away but I simply can’t wait, I’m desperately looking forward to Christmas this year and I hope that, with a little help from Rowen & Wren: a 10% discount code TEAWITHRUBY to use at the checkout valid for a month, so will you.

Jx

  • With thanks to Rowen & Wren for gifting the products for the purpose of the post

Embracing Colour // Be Bold by Emily Henson

Before you think I’ve gone mad let me explain.  I know I am normally drawn to subtle greys and monochrome tones but if you scratch the surface you will find that I do love being bold.  My home may not be bright orange, pink and green like the cover of this fabulous book but I think I’ve made some bold choices, such as dark blue walls, funky patterned rugs and cushions and a black ceiling in my bathroom.  Being bold doesn’t necessarily mean bright and this book shows this off to perfection.

It is definitely a matter of perception, I absolutely love this book for its individuality of the homes featured, the home owners are not afraid of making a statement be it through vivid paint or boldness that lies in the details, patterned wall papers and creative layering of accessories.

Emily Henson is one of my favourite stylists and I do own a few of her previous books but I do think this one, along with Modern Rustic, is my favourite.   Be Bold is about embracing this free spirited look and shows us how to translate it to any home, you just have to take that leap of faith. Like the title implies interiors for the brave of heart.

The first section of the book goes into detail with easy ideas to recreate some of the looks in your own home, the second half discovers homes with adventurous, spirited styling that will inspire you to decorate with confidence.  These interiors are for those who love colour and pattern or for those who want to give it a go but are a little scared of the results.  These homes will definitely make you embrace the notion that the bright pink paint you love will make your hallway sing, or those tiles you have your eye on can not only go on the floor but up the wall too, break the rules and have fun!

Of course I am drawn to the homes featured that have more muted tones, the deep rich blues, the blacks and the greens with added accents of a geometric print or rug.  One of my favourites is interior designer Anne Geistdoerfer’s Parisian town house for its rich hues and clever designs.  Also the elegant apartment of Theo-Bert Pot and Jelle van de Schoor in the Hague, eclectic with a sophisticated mix of accessories.

It has opened my eyes again to the possibility that not everything has to be painted white, my next decorating project is my hallway and landing and my mind is a whir filled with colour, I’m taking inspiration from the pages of this book so watch this space!

Another perfect book to go on your Christmas list for sure, you can get a copy here from Ryland Peters & Small it will make a stunning addition to your interior book collection plus will never let you reach for the white paint again when inspiration has faded, its just the boost needed to get creative.

Jx

 

 

Winter Luxuries with Plum & Ashby

Winter is definitely knocking on the door isn’t it, can you quite believe its nearly the end of November, time to slow things down a little before the heady days of festive fun are upon us.  I like nothing better when the nights draw in to make my home cosy and warm after a busy day rushing around there is nothing nicer than giving myself time to soak in a bath and light a scented candle or two to clear my head and unwind properly before climbing into bed.

Plum & Ashby create the most beautifully designed, high quality products for your home with an aesthetic that is clean, simple, elegant and considered.  Their entire collection is designed in house where everyone contributes to the ideas and designs, most of their collection is made in England, a fact of which the are very proud.

I don’t think I could be without candles at this time of year, they bring happiness and well being to my home along with that soft glow that makes me relax completely.  I’m certainly keeping the Orange and Clove candle in its beautiful dark brown glass vessel for the Christmas holidays, with it’s rich divine scent evoking the spirit of this time of year.  It will take pride of place on my mantle piece to fill my living room with its intoxicating smell of warmed spiced cloves, bright citrus and juicy berry aromas, softened with musky notes of cinnamon bark  Well that’s the idea anyway I may have to give it few tries before as I don’t think I’ll be able to help myself.

Their votive collections make the perfect gift or stocking filler but I find them perfect for the bathroom, they fit perfectly on the side of my bath.  I don’t like strong bright lights in the bathroom, I like to soak away the day with the golden flickering light that truly soothes and relaxes.  With scents of Wild Fig & Saffron or Lime & Ginger they make the perfect bathing accompaniment.

Talking of bathing, Plum & Ashby create one of the best bath & body ranges you can find on the market.  All the products are made in England to a very high standard boasting beautiful, unique scent combinations.  They come highly recommended as I’ve been an avid fan and user for a few years.   They would make the perfect addition for guests staying over the festive period, or simply to make your bathroom extra special, why not use it every day for that indulgent treat.  I always have a wash lotion in the bathroom so that my skin is left nourished and cleansed.   I simply adore the Wild Fig & Saffron scent, with it’s masculine tones on a woodland note, ripe wild figs and crimson saffron its simply delicious.  All made with natural essential oils perfect to rejuvenate and moisturising which is definitely needed at this time of the year.

If I can’t tempt you with these then I don’t think I can tempt you with anything, they truly are the most luxurious loveliest products and everyone of you should have some Plum & Ashby in your home this festive season.

Jx

  • Plum & Ashby kindly gifted these items for the purpose of this post

 

 

 

Made of Wood // A Review

This book is the perfect book for this time of the year, filled with warm inviting homes that feature wood in many forms and styles and I adore every single one of them.  I can never resist a book written by Mark and Sally Bailey their effortless style and ability to fashion anything out of things they find fascinates me.  I have long been an admirer of their store Baileys Home in the heart of Herefordshire I have visited once a few years ago which is definitely not enough, I need to go back.  I have of course got a few things in my home from them, purchased over the years from chapel chairs to mirrors, Parfait jar lights, our loo seat oak of course and yes even my kitchen sink!

When Ryland Peters & Small asked if I would like to review Mark and Sally’s new publication Made of Wood I jumped at the chance.  I love wood but didn’t really realise how much until I read the book, I started to look around my home and truly noticed all the pieces I have that make our house a home, from Victorian striped pine doors to a French window shutter mantle shelf, hand made bath panels from scaffolding boards and painted floor boards in all the bedrooms, old tables and chairs and the list goes on.

The versatility of this wonderful material is endless and the book focuses on it in all its glory the warmth it brings to a home making it feel grounded either through a homes structure or the items curated within it.

“Made of Wood is a celebration of recycled pieces, age old crafting techniques, clean modern lines and global influences as well as art and tableware with a handmade feel.

The first half of the book Wooden Elements explores the many ways in which we can use wood in our homes, sculpted, left in its natural state, roughly sawn or smoothly planed, recycled or painted.  The second half of the book Wooden Stories contains 12 case studies, each one offering a glimpse into the homes of people who have used this most ancient and versatile of materials in creative and inspiring ways.

Living with wood brings tactile comfort to every day, warms any interior, and will give your home a sense of soul that is so often lacking in this age of mass production.”

I wish I could live in each and every home in this book, each so different from the next but with the one continuous link between them all that being the material that makes them special, wood.  Mark and Sally have such a way with words you understand their passion behind what they do and why, also the elements that make their homes so evocative and inviting from the Welsh Farmhouse to Whitecross Farm both homely and unique.  They believe that surrounding yourself with natural materials is a way of achieving a balanced and peaceful atmosphere in the home, wood being a principal element for harmony and I couldn’t agree more.  It is such a versatile element you can create almost anything from it with many finishes in its raw state, painted or polished, rough, recycled or reclaimed.  I would love to clad the outside of a house in it but that’s another story.

One of my favourite homes featured is The Plough to me its simply perfect with a pared back feel, no fuss just simple and honest, things have been chosen for their patina or sculptural qualities and elements have been left alone and untouched to reveal the history of this beautiful home that once was a pub.

This is definitely a book to invest in, you can get a copy from here directly, it would make a perfect Christmas gift for a loved one or a treat for yourself.  To own a copy to pick up and indulge in whenever you feel like, it will make you feel warm inside and inspire you with ideas to transform parts of your own home with wonderful wood.

Jx

  • Images 4, 6, 7, & 9 kindly supplied by the publishers Ryland Peters & Small, taken from the book Made of Wood written by Mark & Sally Bailey and photographed by Debi Treloar

 

Made + Good // Conscious Homewares

Carrying on slightly from my post last week about nesting for the season of Autumn, I touched on sustainable home wares and mentioned a few of my favourite places to go when you want to replace or update a part of your home without resorting mass produced goods from the high street.    Well this week I would like to introduce you to Made + Good an on line store that is not only ethical, conscious of the environment but all their independent makers are based in the UK, everything is hand crafted, small batch products made with love and hard work.  Another unique point about Made + Good is that they donate 15% of all sales commission to charity.   Did you know that it has been scientifically proven that when you donate to charity it makes you happier and healthier. When you place an order you get to choose which charity you want to give to at the checkout.  So every time an order is placed through Made + Good a charity benefits directly and both the maker and you the consumer can give back with no extra cost to themselves, amazing right!

I asked owner Alex Hayes about how Made + Good came about and what the future holds for her inspirational store.

Generally, setting up Made+Good has made me excited to be part of a move towards more responsible consumerism where customers appreciate original products made by the amazingly skilled craftspeople in the UK – people who design and make with such levels of care and quality that would never be possible in mass production! I am proud to be supporting a more sustainable way of shopping that encourages considered purchases of products that are built to be used and cherished for years to come. Items in the home that show the marks of being hand crafted or are worn with years of use hold so much value within them and can bring such pleasure to everyday rituals.

In terms of future plans… I would obviously like to see M+G grow to take on more Makers and even to incorporate more areas of making such as foods and sustainable clothing. I am really keen to work some collaborations with Makers and I also definitely plan to run some pop-up shops in the future. So lots of ideas still to work on… being less than a year old I feel like Made+Good is still very much in it’s infancy

What I love about Made + Good is the level of detail, you can shop from a carefully selected range of beautiful home, lifestyle and gift products, shipped direct from the studios of the makers straight to your home.   Knowing that you are supporting small independent creative people in the UK is a great thing, one that would never be achievable in mass production.  Everything in the store is hand picked, chosen for its ethics, style and functionality.  These pieces are to be cherished and become part of your home for a long time to bring joy when ever used, hopefully on a daily basis.

Taking the environment into account is a big part of the Made + Good ethos.  Sourcing products that are made from sustainable materials and designed to last, searching for makers who are conscious of their impact on the environment.  Its perfectly normal to find Made + Good makers running their studios on green energy, spoons and bowls carved from reclaimed wood, jewellery made from recycled metals, vegetable based inks and recycled packaging being used to wrap your orders.

The store is very easy to navigate and within each section you can find exactly what you are looking for with one click.  I know this as I have treated myself to one of the Wheat Bags in the Beauty + Wellbeing section under the Lifestyle heading.  It has helped me ease achy limbs at the end of the day and is perfect for when the dreaded time of the month shows its face.  Simply pop it in the microwave for a few minutes and wrap it around the body where needed. A safe and natural way to ease aches.  When not in use the printed design looks wonderful on display on top of a pile of blankets.  The most fascinating thing about these wheat bags is the story behind them knowing exactly where and how each product is made is truly fascinating and makes you appreciate it even more.  They are produced by Blästa Henriët a Scandinavian brand with strong focus on durable design. Their wellbeing products are made from European, hypoallergenic linen that is kind to your skin. With a skill and passion for craftsmanship, each piece is made by hand in their London studio. The linen is Oeko-Tex Certified, the wheat is grown on a farm in Lancashire and the packaging is FSC-certified, made in the UK from renewable resources.

Every item from Made + Good has a story and an authentic provenance which resonates with me greatly.  From the denim aprons crafted with meticulous detail to the hand printed natural linen tea towels and napkins to the one of a kind porcelain stripe pots handmade in East London using a wheel and kiln powered by green energy and with the greatest care for our planet.  Who can resist such wonderful items that will not only bring joy but will be cherished for a lifetime.

I can honestly say I can’t think of a better way of improving our self awareness and well being by investing in a little bit of Made + Good can you?

Jx

  • with thanks to Made + Good for loaning the products for the purpose of this post

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Natural Wellbeing with Essence + Alchemy

When the days start getting shorter and the evenings close in
bringing with it a sense of hibernation and rejuvenation after the heady days of summer;  I like nothing more than to unwind and relax by lighting scented candles or incense sticks to bring peace and tranquillity to my surroundings.  A big mug of tea or glass of wine curled up under a soft throw with a good book, you simply can’t beat these moments.
One of my favourite places to go to treat myself to botanical scented goodness is Essence + Alchemy, from their divine packaging to the heavenly scent of each of the goods, it truly is sublime with an added touch of magic. Lesley really is an alchemist,  bringing to the fore the four elements, fire, water, air and earth the inspiration behind each of her goods.  Everything is handmade in small batches with pure essential oils and packaged in an ethical way, everything has been sourced and produced to have as little impact on the environment as possible, the brands ethos behind what they do  and why is rather wonderful you can read more here.
We all seem to be living more increasingly busy lives but I try very hard to stop on an evening, the phone goes away along with the laptop what doesn’t get done today can wait until tomorrow.  We need time to restore and recharge, learn to breath, slow down our thought patterns and relax.  I find scent be it candles, aroma mists or incense help me focus and do all of the above.  Essence + Alchemy aroma mists and incense are subtle not overpowering but have delicate tones that help aid sleep.  I use the aroma mist before I go to sleep the scent helps me fall asleep quickly and brings with it a restful nights rest.   I am also a huge fan to incense sticks, I find the process of lighting and releasing the smoke into the room has such a powerful effect, the scent lingers for a long while after the stick has gone bringing with it a soothing calmness that helps with my overall well being.
I asked Lesley the founder of Essence + Alchemy became what it is today and how she sees it growing in the future, this is what she said.
“I started out as an Environmental Scientist and after experimenting for many years with botanicals and essential oils for their well-being properties, I decided that this was a true passion and it was time to launch a new venture. I started creating natural candles in my kitchen and then hatched the idea for Essence + Alchemy, which brings together the natural scent and energy of plants (essence) with my scientific and environmental background (alchemy). 
Candle making came about because it was a happy distraction from house renovations and then slowly became an obsession into making the best candles I could with quality materials.  I started E+A alongside my career as a self-employed environmental consultant which was hard work because I was often travelling and away overnight.
Moving into the garden lab earlier this year, I’m still investing a lot of time and resources into that.  I enjoy growing slowly.  I think E+A will always be small-batch, it’s very personal to me and rooted from an idea of sustainability and creating less.  Candles and products are all about wellbeing and aromatherapy so if it was mass production behind the scenes, it really wouldn’t fit with this.
I’ve just launched candle club which is a way of reusing candle beakers so that customers can receive a refill every month in their favourite scents without having to worry about a growing container collection.
Earth products, which is a new apothecary line, is launching end of the month/early October, starting off with bath salts.  I’m a massive bath lover and it’s always been a dream to make my own range.
Continuing to collaborate, I really love working with other makers or businesses on projects, it’s always something a bit different from what I’m usually doing. I’ve got a few exciting collaborations  coming up this year.
For the future, I’d really like one day to have a small space or a travelling space because I have a retro caravan to renovate – a small sanctuary where people can come and breathe in aromas. Maybe next year!”
I can’t image not having the joy that bontanical scent brings to me and my home, to my overall well being, it nourishes my mind and brings calm to my surroundings.  The world would be an altogether sadder place without it.
Jx

Slow Fashion // What’s in your Wardrobe?

How do you shop?  Do you buy seasonally or spontaneously? Do you think about what you are buying or just binge buy?  I used to to be the latter, couldn’t resist the next thing had a wardrobe full of clothes and still didn’t have anything to wear.  You can easily succumb to this way of living because there is always something new and shiny being presented to you.   Now I am the complete opposite and goodness has it taken some time to get here but I am happier and more content than I have ever been about myself, the clothes I wear and who I buy from.

I have streamlined everything, from my wardrobe to how we live in general. It was a concious decision, I wasn’t following any self help fads it just felt like the right time to do it, everything fell into alignment at the same time.  When it came to clothes I decided that rather than shaming myself and emptying the wardrobe I’d start with a simple rule: if I bought something new then two things had to go out to the charity.  It has made such a difference I can see what I own, what I like to wear and now if anything needs replacing then that goes out and something new takes its place.  Using this method I now shop seasonally,  I like treating myself to a new outfit each season and Autumn is definitely one of my favourite times of year to update what I have.  I tend to wear a lot of dresses, ones that can be dressed up and down for any occasion and that can take you through the seasons by adding knitwear or a slim long sleeved top, versatility is key.

I also shop from a small pool, quite often on line these days, I research quite a lot but know my favourite places to go for the perfect garment.   I like quality, sustainability and integrity, well made thoughtful designs that stand the test of time and last more than one season.  Clothes made from natural materials that are modern classics that also make me feel good when I wear them.  The same goes for what goes under my clothes, underwear is so important.  So I thought I’d share a few of my favourite brands that I’m rather fond of.

TOAST

I have shopped at Toast for many years, they suit me and my style down to the ground, beautifully made garments with a genuine passion behind every piece made, they are a joy to wear.  I have my eye on this dress for the coming seasons to add a little colour to my monochrome palette.

PLUMO

I buy all my jumper dresses from Plumo, they are almost a uniform; my comfort blanket clothes, they wash don’t bobble and look good with everything, need I say more.  Plumo work with artisans and designers to create original beautifully crafted designs that are a little more unusual to the high street. Simply perfect for me.

EASTBYEASTWEST

I have followed EastbyEastWest for some time now and I own a beautiful dark blue linen dress that I adore, it is a functional dress that I can wear on any occasion or season and it just works and I love it.   Their new Autumn collection this year is beautiful and I have my eye on one of their knitted dresses in a soft mocha tone, just exquisite.   This is definitely a brand that you invest in, timeless classic pieces that will enhance your wardrobe for years to come.   Owner Sunu designs all the collections herself using natural materials which are not only comfortable but beautiful and can be worn year on year.   They kindly sent me the seed necklace I am wearing with their blue linen dress I bought a few seasons ago.  I love chunky jewellery and this is perfect to pair with my Autumnal knits and dresses, made using coconut seeds all individually hand strung onto cotton ribbon, it is very lightweight but beautifully tactile.

ORGANIC BASICS

I have become increasingly aware of throw away underwear, why wear something shoddy and ill fitting underneath beautifully sourced clothes.  I have not worn under-wired bras for quite a few years now but I have found it quite difficult finding ones that I like and don’t make me feel older than my years!   Thankfully I found Organic Basics, their ethos stands well with how I want to see the fashion industry go.  ‘Basically better made, consciously created, designed to last’ sustainable organic underwear that looks good. The packing is paper and recyclable, not an inch of plastic to be seen!   If like me you want to give organic underwear a go I highly recommend Organic Basics and as an incentive I have a 15% discount code TEAWITHRUBYXOB15 to offer my readers pretty cool right?

Last but not least I have just invested in a new pair of sneakers, I live in them right through to spring and wanted a new pair to take the strain off my old ones.  I’ve heard many a good thing about Veja so thought I’d try a pair out. Mixing minimalist aesthetics and innovative technologies, Veja are sneakers that are made differently. Fabricated using organic or recycled, fair-trade cotton for the canvas and wild, fair-trade rubber for the soles, what’s not to like.  I bought mine from Second Store a female only online sneaker store focusing on interesting and emerging brands who are totally all about girl power.

There are other places I shop for essentials such as Cos and Hush but that is about it, simple effective brands that don’t undermine the consumer.  It truly is a great to feel good in your own skin and the clothes you have made a conscious decision to wear for their integrity and design.

Jx

 

Concrete Chic with Ross & Brown

I do have a confession to make I absolutely love concrete in all its shapes and forms, the minimal urban interior is something I covet, if you follow me on Pinterest you will already have figured that one out!  My dream would be to have cast concrete worktops in my kitchen and a polished concrete floor throughout the downstairs of my house.   For now though this isn’t a reality but I can add touches of it through accessories in my home.
Ross & Brown have just launched a new selection of home wares from LIKEconcrete to give folk like me that little slice of minimal chic to our interiors.  The brand has combined Danish style with refined industrial design using innovative technology to mould concrete in unique ways to create a silk like texture.  All created with organic, sustainable materials to reduce their carbon footprint.  Each of the products has been given an ancient Nordic name.
The Karin tray meaning clean and tidy is perfectly named.   These stunning trays are not only beautifully formed and tactile but are very useful around the home.  I like keeping certain items out on display, things that get used on a daily basis but don’t want to let them scatter all over creating a mess, feeling cluttered.  Having a stylish tray to place things on when not in use is very handy indeed, not only will things not go missing but you can create little vignettes with your things.   They come in three different sizes and colours all in my favourite monochrome tones.
This simple white concrete tray will become one of my favourite new additions, it looks great on the bedside table, keeping your essentials to hand like jewellery, hand cream and reading glasses.  It works equally well keeping all your bathroom lotions and potions essentials together, everything is in one place so you don’t have to go hunting for that precious face mask when needed.   Then again it doesn’t have to be just for storing your bits and bobs, it works equally well grouping your favourite ceramics and house plants on, creating a pleasing display.   Or even as a morning coffee tray, making every day that little bit more enjoyable and oh so stylish.
Along with the LIKEconcrete collection Ross & Brown stock some of the finest designer home wares, selecting brands such as Norman Copenhagen, Bloomingville and House Doctor DK.   The owners Peter Ross and Gary Brown started in the interior design and architecture world. Through their love of sourcing products for specific projects they began exploring the idea of setting up an on line store as a destination from which interior designers and home owners would visit to find new and interesting products.  The store has a minimal Scandinavian feel, filled with beautiful products for the home that make me very envious.  What I like most about Ross & Brown is that Peter and Gary have to love a product before they list it on the site, everything they stock they would have in their homes, as Peter puts it ‘we are essentially designers doing retail, not the other way around’.
So if you are like me and are after something a little different with a contemporary Scandinavian design edge then please do visit Ross & Brown you will certainly not be disappointed.
Jx
*  with thanks to Ross & Brown for gifting the Karin Tray for the purpose of this post

Designer Jewellery with a Conscience // Sacet

I’m quite partial to jewellery, I’m not into flashy or ostentatious pieces, nor am I fussed about the bling.  I like a well crafted piece that reflects my mood on that day, I do feel rather under dressesd if I forget to wear any.

To be quite honest I really don’t know much about the jewellery industry on a whole so I was fascinated to find out more from SACET.

Their motivation started with the awareness that designer jewellery is extremely expensive and that isn’t down to the cost of materials.  Many brands run very steep profit margins, in most cases the products are bought from factories, where fair pay and working conditions often take a back seat.  In the end its the consumer, crafts people, their communities and the planet that suffer.  SACET set out to find a solution that works, they believe that buying designer jewellery should be a good experience not only for you but knowing that your purchase is also doing good for others.  Their mission is to move the industry forward towards a more sustainable approach, focused on three words: people, planet, profit.

All their pieces are ethically and consciously crafted to a very high standard, it most certainly is jewellery with a purpose. The SACET collections are stunning, there is a collection for everyone from bold statement pieces such as Ornate to the fluid lines of Wave, each piece different from the rest.   What I like about SACET is the transparency from knowing who designed your piece to who made it.  Knowing each stage from start to finish makes owning their jewellery even more special.

The bracelet that I am wearing for this post is so delicate but beautifully made, I usually like big and chunky pieces as you probably all well know but this bracelet looks so elegant and pleasing to the eye, so lightweight that you don’t know you are wearing it like spider silk.  It comes from the Marque collection designed by Andrea Tan who practised her craft at the likes of Shaun Leane before being awarded for her intricate and unique designs by the Goldsmiths Craft and Design Council. Andrea was instantly excited by the challenge posed to her by SACET to create a capsule range for the sophisticated, new millennial.    I think she has most certainly succeeded, the small hoop chain bracelet with its delicate twisted design on a fine chain is crafted from 100% recycled silver with an ethically sourced stone, hand finished in an artisan workshop to reduce their carbon footprint.

If you are as passionate as me about ethical shopping then please do take a look at SACET, they would make wonderful birthday gifts or treats for yourself but knowing you are helping the welfare of the industry and the environment with every purchase is rather a good thing and needs to be applauded from the roof tops.

  • with thanks to SACET for gifting the small hoop chain bracelet for the purpose of this post (Image 7 sourced here)

 

 

 

Escape to Croatia at Villa No24

What do you look for when booking a holiday?  I like staying in places that are unusual a bit different , somewhere I know nothing about.  I also like to find holiday homes that are in keeping with my style, that make me feel at home instantly.
Alas I am not going to Croatia this year but if I were Istria would be the place to go and my time would be spent at Villa No24.  Croatia is a place I have always wanted to visit and hopefully one day I will, it seems more untouched tourist wise a hidden gem especially Istria,  full of culture, historical architecture and breath taking scenery surrounded by olive groves and vineyards.
Villa No24 is stunning, the interior is naturally decorated, slubby neutral tones that I adore, a calm peaceful retreat to escape to, owned and renovated by Ita and Žac.  The couple both have fast paced careers and wanted to be able to find a way to combat their high paced lives with something that would be good for their well being.  Their plan for the future is to be able to move to Istria permanently and do what they enjoy the most, renting their haven of a property during the Summer months and in the Winter escape to warmer climbs for rest and relaxation.
Villa No24 is located in a small romantic village in the heart of Istria, set in the most tranquil and peaceful surroundings, the villa was built in 1921 an old stone dwelling that Ita and Žac renovated in 2017 to bring back the charm and elegance of the original building but added contemporary details to make it into a beautiful modern retreat.  It is spacious and open with 3 bedrooms each with their own bathroom, a kitchen inside and out for alfresco dining, a stylish lounge area to relax on an evening and the pièce de résistance the large pool for whiling away many hours basking in the sunshine or snoozing in the shade of the terrace’s canopy.
The rooms are individually decorated with original pieces of art made by Ita, her macramé pieces adorn the walls and light fittings creating a unique look in my favourite colour palettes.  Her macramé work is exceptional and I am the proud owner of one of her wall hangings.
I for one am now rather desperate to find a way to visit Villa No24 not only for the hospitality that Ita would provide but the peaceful beautiful interiors that I would get to stay in.   A simply serene get away in an undiscovered part of the world I would dearly like to visit.   Fingers crossed I will get to visit Croatia very soon.
Jx
* with thanks to Ita for providing the images of Villa No24 for the purpose of this post.

Catherine Hills Jewellery // Bold & Beautiful

The older I get the more confident I become within myself, I have a definite style that I feel good with from the clothes I wear to the tattoos I have to the jewellery I choose to wear.  I don’t like following the crowd I like being a bit different, dare I say it bold.  I like quality not throw away, I like hand crafted and unusual.

I was over the moon when Catherine Hills got in touch as I’ve been an admirer of her work for a long while.  Her beautiful jewellery has a strong identity, it is tactile and sensuous but undoubtedly feminine, these are a small fraction of the reasons why I find it so intriguing, it fits my ethos perfectly.

Catherine works from her atelier and shop in the heart of The Pantiles, in Tunbridge Wells.  The shop itself has a wonderful mix of old and new with a feel of a Victorian Workshop. The cabinets are filled with her diverse collections and as a customer you can also watch Catherine create her beautiful distinctive pieces.

Starting back at the beginning of her career Catherine studied Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery at the Royal College of Art and gained a Masters.  After all her hard work honing her skills she was awarded a prestigious business grant from the Craft Council to establish her own central London studio.  From here she launched her signature collection and grew her portfolio of clients.  Her work has been stocked and showcased in: Harrods, Heals, Selfridges, Dickens and Jones, The V&A, The Gilbert Collection in Somerset House and The Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco.

Not only has Catherine worked with some of the leading names in the design and fashion industry she was hand picked by Warner Bros as the jeweller for the Harry Potter films, which she describes as being the most exciting and probably career enhancing job  she has ever done.  To hand craft Slytherin rings and radish earrings for Luna Lovegood along with many more pieces for the films is beyond exciting. Seeing your work on the big screen and being part of something this big is quite awe inspiring.  Catherine will be seeing her work again on the big screen with an upcoming release of a major feature film, I can’t wait to find out which!

Catherine’s work is a unique insight into hand crafted jewellery she says “I feel that my Atelier and boutique not only gives me a presence on the High Street, but means I can now offer a truly bespoke service, working closely with customers to deliver individual pieces. This is a very exciting time for me”.

Her pieces make me feel good, they are pieces of art that you can wear which is a wondrous thing.  I have had the pleasure to wear the beautiful petal bracelet for this post, it is delicate but also robust, the fine detail on each petal is exquisite and would finish off any outfit to perfection.  I am also a lover of rings, this isn’t a new phase for me, before I was married I had a rare collection but then went down the simple path of wedding and engagement ring for many years.  Now though my itch to have more rings is now being scratched.  I love stacking rings ones that you can wear on the top part of your finger too, I think they are rather unique and always get compliments.  Catherine’s bobbled stacking ring collections is stunning, so versatile and textured I want them all, from the plain bobbled rings to the snake eye, or pollen each fit perfectly with the other creating fabulous combinations.  Even better they come in a choice of metals, silver, oxide silver, gold plated or rose gold plated silver, mix up the colours to create an eye catching effect or simply stack them all up in one block of colour, either way these rings are sublime there to make your hands sing.

Beautiful pieces of jewellery are there to be seen, they make the perfect gift or present to yourself, something that has longevity an heirloom in the making, I think you will all loose your heart a little when you see Catherine’s collections.  I do hope you tell me which ones caught your eye because I know I simply can’t resist their elegant beauty.

Jx

  • with thanks to Catherine Hills for gifting the use of the jewellery for the purpose of this post

Make Waste Beautiful with Brabantia

We all need them so why does your household waste bin need to be ugly and something you want to hide?

I’m not lucky enough to have an integral bin hidden away in a fitted cupboard and I didn’t want a nasty cheap looking bin to sit lurking in the corner of my ktichen so I chose something that was aesthetically pleasing and large enough that it only needs emptying once a week.  As a family we try very hard when it comes to waste management, everything is sorted and recycled to the best of our ability, plastic waste has been reduced hugely but sometimes you still need the dustbin for things that just can’t be recycled.

Brabantia waste bins are leaders in modern, contemporary, sustainable waste bins that come in all shapes and sizes but most they all are design led and technologically savvy.   I have my eye firmly on the Bo Touch bin which not only combines beautiful design credentials with easy waste separation with clever removable inner buckets to keep everything in its place.  It is designed to fit perfectly against a wall and with its stylish legs you can clean around it with no hassle.  The plus side is that the design is modern and contemporary coming in a range of colours that make it hard to resist.

Their newIcon pedal bin is greener than ever, these sustainable bins are made of 40% recycled materials and after use 98% of the bin and packaging is recycable how amazing is that.  Not only is this fabulous pedal bin nice to look at it’s green credentials are punching above their weight.  On top of all that for every newIcon pedal bin purchased you will be supporting The Ocean Cleanup helping towards its mission to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.

After choosing the handsomest waste bin to compliment your style and taste you have to empty and clean it, this is one of those jobs you and your spouse bicker about right, who’s turn is it this week!    Instead of using harsh chemical laden concoctions why not use natural ingredients to keep everything clean and smelling rather pleasant.  Bicarbonate of soda removes unpleasant odours.  A spray infused with distilled vinegar and lemon will keep your bin sparkly and clean with no impact on the environment what so ever.

So next time you think a bin is just a bin think again, lets make waste beautiful.

Jx

Images 2, 4 & 6, all others taken my myself or Brabantia

 

Well Being For You and Your Skin // La Eva

Being mindful of how you are living and taking care of your self come hand in hand.  We as a family have been making big changes over many years to be better in our every day lives, reducing waste, being careful in what we buy and where from ,creating a balance that we are comfortable with.  Now I am focusing on my well being through daily exercise and looking after not only what goes in my body but what goes on it.  I am very lucky that what I do brings me into contact with some fascinating people and today I would like to introduce you to LA-EVA who are definitely transforming the way I am going to nourish and look after my skin.

LA-EVA  a juxtaposition of lae.va meaning left of centre and e:va the female name meaning life, living one, mother of life or full of life.  A natural evolution from specialising in cold process soap making in an artisan studio on the edge of a saw mill in Oxfordshire, owner Louise gradually worked on exploring palettes of scents and the care and attention needed to create something beautiful using natural raw ingredients.  Building relationships with farmers, suppliers and the Soil Association along the way.

By bringing in new elements, blending them with inspiration and collaborations with artists works who’s ethereal textured paintings now decorate the amber glass bottles that LA-EVA produce.  Through this creativity ideas were generated and a careful range of products has emerged, beautiful, organic, universal units of well being. All inspired by sensory experiences and a deep love of art.

I couldn’t put it more perfectly than this quote.

‘LA-EVA stems from a spirit of joie de vivre, builds on artisan roots, and aligns naturally with the organic movementLA-EVA comes together where the senses meet skincare, where luxury is aligned with simplicity and where body & mind are treated as one.’

Not only are the bottles extremely beautiful to look at the elixir inside them is wondrous.  I have had the pleasure to sample the Rosēum wash and lotion along with the Jasmīna oil or liquid gold as my friend describes it.  Both scents are intoxicating, you don’t rush when using them, you slow down, breath and enjoy the process of applying these lotions to your skin.  The integrity of caring for yourself and your overall well being in the knowledge that you are also caring for others and the planet is rather a wonderful thing.

The combination of wash and lotion work so well together, the wash leaving your skin deeply, naturally cleansed and the lotion to soften and hydrate the skin nourishing you with the gentle hue orfrose geranium and citrus notes of petitgrain fusing with warm clove awakening the senses.

I think my favourite is the lightweight oil, I never thought oil would work so well but it soaks into your skin leaving behind its wonderful more masculine scent of jasmine, green thyme and warming black pepper.  It is an amber bottle of joy that has many uses, not only hydrating the skin of your face and body but also can be used to nourish dry hair and nails.  Liquid gold indeed, with many talents.

There are two other scents in the collection, Blū which comes in wash and lotion has woody, smoky undertones of cedar and vetivert fused with the herbaceous aroma of chamomile blue a soothing combination offering peace and clarity.   Spīce is the scent available in shampoo and conditioner, with vitalising ginger blending with amber tones of patchouli and the warming aroma of cinnamon leaf, an invigorating treat for your hair and scalp.

The philosophy behind LA-EVA is simple, that delight can be found in everyday experiences and self care.  Their products are units of well being and recognise that they link body and mind via a sensory pathway.

I wholeheartedly agree with everything LA-EVA are achieving and urge you to take a look and try some of their beautiful, organic, universal units of well being, you’ll thank me for it.

Jx

  • with thanks to LA-EVA for gifting the products that made this post possible.

 

 

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