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

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)

 

 

 

Can You Have Too Many Bags? // Village England

The answer to the above is absolutely not!!  Especially if you own a Village England variety, you really do want them all.  I like a bag that is big enough to cope with all my stuff but one that is equally stylish but will stand the test of time.  Nothing too faddy or in your face but with a touch of quirkiness that compliments my personality, if that makes sense.   It can be a tricky business choosing the right bag especially a very well made one that isn’t cheap and nasty.

Village England are quite unique, their core values are ones of sustainability, striving for better in this age of consumerism and mass production.  They use the most amazing full grain natural leather, luxuriously tactile and buttery but exceedingly hard wearing.  Simple designs that are quite timeless and effortless to wear, all expertly crafted to the highest standard.  Also clever touches such as pockets on the inside and beautiful heavyweight cotton sateen lining, details like this make all the difference.

What is most important to them is not just the bags but the people behind the brand through the design to the leatherworkers who craft the final product, all manufactured in impeccably ethical surroundings by partners who share their core values.  The vision is to be able to trace every bag to the farm it came from, which is an ongoing process that I am sure will be met along with the commitment to improving the health of the UK leatherworking industry too.

Along with their wonderful ethics Village England bags are rather beautiful, yes I definitely agree that a bag can be beautiful, I have a Belthorn and it makes me smile every time I leave the house and has courted quite a few compliments whilst out and about with me too.  It’s the finer details that I love about these bags, from the subtle clasps and fastenings to the small detailed difference throughout each design.  The capsule collections work very well so you can choose a bag the suits you and the purpose it is intended for rather easily.  The colour ways of the leather are stunning too obviously my go to black has a wonderful sheen right through to sumptuous reds and vivid royal blues.

Last year saw Village England launch new categories such as a fine selection of jewellery, purses, pouches and interchangeable straps to work alongside the leather goods.  Also the introduction of a canvas tote bag that is a collaboration with the women’s charity ABC Nepal.  Each bag is made by a woman who has been a victim of trafficking and exploitation who are now vocationally trained in sewing and fabric work by the marvellous team at ABC.  All profits from the sale of each tote goes to ABC Nepal, you will also find the name of the bags maker written on a card attached to the bag.   All these things add up to making a big difference.

So next time you are thinking of investing in a new bag please do take a look at Village England, they come highly recommended by myself on so many levels.  It’s good to know a bag isn’t just a fashion accessory it is so much more.

Jx

  • with thanks to Village England for gifting the Belthorn for the purpose of this post

The Perfect Night Sleep with Leesa

I think you all know by now that I love my bed. I like being asleep, I like sitting with a cup of coffee first thing in the morning waking up slowly, and on a weekend spend hours sat there watching the clouds out of the window or reading books.  So yes I really really do love my bed.

I’m quite lucky when it comes to sleep simply because I can get to sleep very quickly and stay asleep most of the night for at least 7-8 hours; annoying right?   I do think that routine is a big factor. I stop work at 6pm, eat a healthy home cooked meal most evenings, relax and unwind in a warm bath, ignore all technology in the evenings and often read a while before sleep, usually I’ll be in bed before 10pm and never have mobiles or laptops in the room.  Simple things really that are conducive to switching off and relaxing before bed.   I’m also a stickler for preparing for the next day, clothes ready and everything tidy so there is no running around like a crazy thing in the morning!

All this aside you can do all of the above and still not get a good night sleep if your mattress is wrong, get that bit right too and slumber is guaranteed.  Our old mattress was getting up to its recommended change date of 8 years (it was still in good condition so we donated it to the British Heart Foundation rather than put it in landfill).   I have heard many good things about the Leesa mattress not only on the comfort front but their environmental credentials too, so was rather excited to give it a whirl to see if it makes any difference to my sleeping.

Firstly can I tell you when the box arrived I was quite astounded that something that will go on your bed can possibly fit into it.  It’s a lot easier carrying a box up stairs than negotiating every corner and trying not to cause any damage to the house or yourself in the process.  Positioning the compressed roll is quick and easy then it’s the fun bit, slicing open the packaging and watching the Leesa mattress appear before your eyes, truly amazing.  I made a little video for you to see how darn easy it really is.

Now for the techy bit which is also rather fascinating. The Leesa mattress was designed to help you get a better night’s sleep, what makes it different from others on the market is the top layer of Avena foam.  It is a responsive material that allows airflow through the mattress for a cooler night’s sleep and provides just the right amount of bounce for freedom of movement.  There are two more layers in the unique combination of foam that make up these mattresses. Joining the Avena are memory foam and support foam which adapts to your body providing optimum support and comfort.  All the mattresses are also made in the UK and not shipped in from abroad.

The next important factor and another reason I wanted to get involved with Leesa is their ethical programme.  If you are not happy with your purchase the mattress can be returned within a 100 day period and will be donated to a local charity.  Their One-Ten programme also donates one mattress from every 10 sold and the One Earth programme sees a tree planted for every mattress sold to help off set their carbon footprint.   All of this is exceptionally close to my heart and highly commended.

So after all that information the big question, did I sleep well?   The answer is a rather resounding yes.  I can’t tell you how comfortable it is, you feel like you are lying on a cloud that supports every curve, not an ache anywhere when I woke in the morning.  The down side is that you really don’t want to get up when the alarm goes off its simply too good!

Jx

  • with thanks to Leesa for providing the mattress for the purpose of this post

 

Everythings Coming up Cabbages & Roses …

I have a huge soft spot for Cabbages & Roses.  Over the years my home, wardrobe and book shelves have accumulated more and more of their lovely cushions, clothes and beautiful books.

I whole heartedly agree with the Cabbages & Roses 5 core values ~

beauty, simplicity, longevity, integrity and sustainability

This seasons clothing range is soft, fresh and everlasting, their short film evokes a slower pace of life, one that all of us crave, the lookbook makes you want to own every garment .

Lookbook

Images ~ Cabbages & Roses Spring Summer 2012 Lookbook

Veronica

Christina Strutt’s books are most definitely a favourite of mine, I go back to them time and time again.  The restful interiors and sublime photography have a calming effect, showing you that mixing and matching well loved objects and time worn linens create a warm and welcoming home with a nod to reusing, recycling and environmental ethics.

Cabbages & Roses

My copy of the Guide to Natural Housekeeping lives in my kitchen, I have taken to using many of the recipes for cleaning products for my home, lemon dusters are fabulous and it’s amazing what a bit of bi carbonate of soda can do!

Their fabrics, wallpaper and furnishings are timeless …

Cabbages & Roses ~ Website

Cabbages & Roses ~ Facebook

Cabbages & Roses ~ Pinterest

“LIVING LIFE BEAUTIFULLY. Cabbages & Roses is a British retailer of beautiful fabrics, homeware and clothing”

Enjoy

Jane x