Life, With Intent: Mini Break Chic

So this month I joined my husband-to-be on his work trip to Malmö. Just a couple of days for an adventure into Scandinavia promised to be a fun and novel experience.

No flash dash around the High Street for me – just a super frugal £18.28 splurge in the local charity shops meant I was kitted out for all eventualities.
Top tip for travelers – Sweden in April is ridiculously cold. Don’t believe the reassuring weather app – the wind off the sea into Malmö freezes you to the bone.
Nonetheless I prefer to travel in a dress – jeans involve belts which have to be removed and metal rivets which set off alarms. I found this great DKNYC dress for just £6 in the Helen & Douglas House shop. It’s a dry clean only – but I knotted my courage and threw it in the washing machine on a delicates wash – it worked out fine as I remembered to reshape while wet.

I traveled comfortably in this great summer dress, wrapped up in a cream M & S coat bought for me from Oxfam a few months earlier and wearing my trusty Kors leather sandals (I refer you back to my pieces on Ethical 366: Style Me In Seconds and #Ethical366: The May Edit – Shoe Spectacular). I even accessorised with three gorgeous glass bead Shaard bracelets, also from the Helen & Douglas House store, on a 3 for £2.50 deal.

But the cold, Scandinavian air (paired with some odd looks from the locals at my bare legs) became too much so I had to nip to a coffee house toilets to change into my jeans.

Jeans are always a great fall back and, having broken the zip on my favourite skinny jeans I’d picked up these blue rag & bone jeans, a snip at just £2.99 in The British Heart Foundation shop before my trip. I also slipped on a sheer butterfly print Wallis blouse, bought for £4 from Helen & Douglas House. Thankfully I also had a pair of Melissa flats, with heart detail, donated to me by my kind and dear friend Isla.

The second and final day I teamed the jeans with a white Cotton Traders shirt which I’d bought from the British Heart Foundation for just £2.79, an easy match for a smart casual look.

• Why not challenge yourself to a mini-break charity shop trip? I’d love to see the results – share them with me via the comments, Twitter or Facebook!

Life, With Intent: Striving to live a better life

I don’t think I can be alone in thinking that, surely, it can be better than this?

I’m finding that this way of being of a cycle of production and consumption is proving unfulfilling. The idea of being a mindless consumer drone being spoonfed fashion, food trends and culture is now as unappealing as it can be. The idea of being both a resource and a market, on top of being indentured to institutions through debt, is dehumanising and gross.

Surely it can be better than this?

Each time I look at the recycling box, my heart becomes a little heavy. I can see that our consumption alone is weighing down the world with pointless packaging. There is always a cardboard box or sleeve, always plastic film and often a plastic tray. I have a friend who works in the recycling world and she tells me that dark coloured plastics cannot be recycled because the machines in use simply don’t see it. Think on to how many foodstuffs now come to you from the supermarket which are laid enticingly across a black or brown plastic tray. All this stuff to sell us just fresh produce.

Surely it can be better than this?

In exploring Ethical clothing through the Ethical 366 project I found that there was so much more to the supply chain in clothing – clearly the mass production of anything comes with the same compromises in ethics to allow for quantity. I don’t think though it is acceptable that, in producing clothes, children might die or places in the world will be scarred by mass production.

Surely it can be better than this?

Being in a world where large corporations make life altering and ending decisions, snowballing political movements sweeping events before them and where change feels remote it is so very easy to feel small within it.

Sometimes though, the mere act of trying to live a better life, to seek and tell the truth and to accept that, yes, I have room to improve can be a basis of revolution. Having conversations with people around us, in public, challenging wrongdoing and lies can be more revolutionary than political involvement.

Time for me and my family to start our own revolution of living a way in which our good intent is lived out in our choices.