Green Cosmetics

September 10th, 2008

I recently went to a ‘green’ fashion show in Camden town. It was part lecture and part glamour. And although I left feeling slightly like I had been to church to get a telling off, (instead of for adultery, it was for wearing cotton) it gave me a real insight into being an ethical buyer. So now I am fully aware of where to buy my fair trade t shirts. But what about cosmetics?

The fact remains that we can actually make a difference by carefully choosing our cosmetics, whether for reasons of a political, ethical, or even vain nature. The trick is finding the products that a) work, and b) don’t have a hefty price tag. I am loathed to spend three times the amount on something just because it has the word ‘organic’ on the packaging as ‘organic’ now seems to be a brand, and a big successful brand at that.

So I have taken the time to find some of the best ‘green’ products around, starting with the Green People. The Green People make cosmetics, hair and body products, baby care products, the lot. The founder of Green People, Charlotte Vøhtz, started the company because of her daughters eczema condition. “I realised that we all are children of the chemical age and that man-made chemicals found everywhere, combined with changing dietary habits, profoundly affect us all.”
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Shopping for the Good of the World – Ethical Retail

August 11th, 2008

Wouldn’t it be great if you could tell hubby that you’re shopping to make the world a better place? Well, you can if you buy from ethical retailers.

Ethical shopping doesn’t have to mean wearing veggie shoes teamed with untailored hemp clothing. Ethical shopping means choosing to buy from retailers that use ethical practices.

Do they:

  • give their employees a fair wage?
  • buy from manufacturers that give their employees a fair wage (don’t give me any of that “we didn’t know” business)?
  • stay far, far away from using child labour?
  • refrain from animal testing?
  • use methods of manufacturing and waste disposal that are safe for both humans and the environment?
  • have an environmental or recycling policy?
  • use readily available and easily renewable materials?

An oft cited example of an ethical retailer is BodyShop. They have milked their green, animal loving, fair trade credentials for all they’re worth and rightly so. People are generally willing to pay a bit extra in order to feel good about what they buy (the lovely smells coming from the shops don’t hurt either).
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Surviving the Summer Sales

July 18th, 2008

We just barely made it through the January sales with its huge queues and confusion about which line we were supposed to be in – the normal one, the sale line or the one with those returning unwanted Christmas gifts.

Now that the sun is starting to shine and the flowers are blooming it will soon be time to face the next battle: the summer sales.

Although nowhere near as bad as the battlefield we see just after Christmas, the summer sales can be tricky to negotiate. You won’t need quite as much armour but a good thick skin wouldn’t go amiss. Here’s some tried and proven tactics to help you win the battle and bag that bargain.

Keep your eyes open for which shops are doing sales and when. Not all open their summer sales at the same time, although they usually do it within a week or so of each other.
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Shopping for Summer Sun Protection

June 10th, 2008

Summer is a time of fun and frolic — lots of sunning and swimming to be done! However, summer can be a dangerous time of year for your skin, especially if you don’t properly protect yourself with sunscreen.

Summer skincare routines can vary depending on skin type. If your skin is oily, then you may experience more breakouts than usual. If your skin is dry, the heat could prove even more drying.

When choosing a sunscreen for your face, take your skin type into consideration. For oily skin, choose sunscreen that’s designed not to clog pores or cause breakouts. Good choices are sunscreens in mist or spray form, which are naturally light. You can also try a sunblock made for children’s sensitive skin. One good, economical choice is SunSense Toddler Milk SPF 50 Roll On, available for around £5.99.
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America’s Next Top Model – Cat fights on the Cat Walk

April 10th, 2008

I’m addicted to America’s Next Top Model, created by Tyra Banks. Young hopefuls battle it out for a modelling contract, pitted against each other in a Big Brother style house with tasks to achieve and contests to win. Watching these beautiful girls scheme, plot, cry and argue is just too much entertainment, and add to that the show’s judging panel and you will either be rolling about laughing or cringing in embarrassment.

Tyra seems to get more outlandish with each series, or ‘cycle’ as she calls it. I feared for her sanity slightly when she play acted a ‘diva’ skit, it really was a case of perhaps a white coat may suit you best.

Twiggy, ‘fashion icon and living legend’ is down to earth, while the shows Miss J. Alexander, a very talented cat walk coach, flounces about in alarming outfits certainly not flattering to his frame. Nigel Barker, famed photographer and former (hot, oh yes) model, adds a good balance.
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A Bra isn’t Just a Bra

January 23rd, 2008

You can buy a bra in any high street shop, from any catalogue shop and most online clothing stores. That’s not the hard part. The difficult part is knowing which one to pick.

There are a wide variety of styles to choose from, each one claiming to do something fantastic and some of them actually doing it.

The Wonderbra for example is indeed wonderful. Although some of the styles just don’t work for me and actually seem to do the opposite of what they’re supposed to.

Could this be because I’m wearing the wrong size? Maybe. It could also be because everyone wants something different and nowadays there are at least 50 bras in various colours to cater for any task.
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Buying Clothes for Boys

October 12th, 2007

It’s just not fair. I see my sister in law having a fantastic time buying pretty dresses, tops, skirts and outfits in pink, yellow and lilac for her little girl and all I get to choose from are shorts, trousers and t-shirts. And it’s all brown, black, grey and green. BORING!

It’s bad enough in the high street stores but try buying clothes for boys on eBay and you realise that there are some categories that don’t have 5000 sellers. I can find over 1000 dresses in my niece’s size selling today which is only slightly less than the total amount of items listed in boys for my son’s size.

And you can forget car boots or charity shops. By the time an item of boys clothing hits the tarmac it’s been so well worn it’s not much good for anything. This is in stark contrast to girls clothes which can often be passed down to several sisters before wearing out.

On and offline, new or used – the choice for boys clothes is strictly limited.

So what can you do? Well, first of all it bothers me more than him that all he has is track suits, shorts, t-shirts and school uniforms. He actually likes it that way and is more than happy to wear the same thing again and again. I would expect that a lot of boys feel the same. And this is probably why there isn’t the huge range of styles and colours for boys as there is for girls. There simply isn’t the demand.
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The Posh V Kate Debate – Our English Roses

September 17th, 2007

Fashion Icons, women you want to emulate, drop dead gorgeous and dripping with effortless style… Or are they? Is it really as easy as Kate makes it look? Does Vicky Beckham have a team of stylists working round the clock to keep her looking amazing?

If you had the choice, who would you like to be when you grow up? Miss Moss or Mrs. Goldenballs? As for me, it will always be Kate, the goddess, the trendsetter, the girl who brought us skinny jeans! Try to prise mine from me and I’m likely to go feral.

There are some very big differences between Kate and Posh, though you can’t pick up a paper or magazine without seeing at least one of them.

Kate is the uber Supermodel, Posh the former Spice Girl who married a footballer done good. They are both involved in their own fashion lines, with Victoria’s range of VDB jeans, sunglasses, handbags and jewellery and Kate soon to launching one of her own, which I await with baited breath. Both of these lovely ladies have their own style and following, though I feel that Kate has more of a down to earth look we can all try to copy, whereas Posh seems to wear couture which is impossible for mere mortals to achieve.

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Shopping for School Uniforms

August 24th, 2007

Shopping for school uniform can be as painful as pulling teeth while standing on hot coals, especially when you take your lil darlings with you on your expedition into what can feel like a war zone.

You do not want to leave it to the last minute, when all the other parents are grabbing the items off the shelves and running for the hills, I mean tills. Shopping early can save a lot of tears and tantrums, from the parents at least.

Personally, I’m a great believer in shopping online. You can tick a few boxes, click a couple of times on your mouse, and hey presto just like magic in a few working days you have everything you need for your kids to start school (who needs Harry Potter?).

There are some great online versions of the high street stores, and here are some I would recommend.
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What Do I Think of La Redoute?

July 19th, 2007

Do I or do I not like La Redoute. Well, let’s examine that question, shall we?

La Redoute first caught my eye when I saw the catalogue at a friend’s house a few years ago. It’s a catalogue shop with a difference. It’s French. That means lovely styles, different models (Grattan, Additions, Choice all seem to use the same ones) and a different way of organising the catalogue. All in all, a very nice change.

The problem, I later found out, is that they also have a different way of handling fulfillment and customer support.

I have ordered from La Redoute 5 or 6 times now over the last few years. And while that may not be enough to give me the label of an expert it means I do have some experience with the mail order company. I usually order from the website although the ordering is more often than not the result of the print catalogue or an “order now and get this free” offer put through the letterbox.
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