Category Archives: Eco Friendly

An Interview With WAySTEaD

All the way from Japan, my guest this week is Japanese photographer, Hideyuki Hayashi, and designer/founder of Japanese fashion label WAySTEaD. By upcycling hot air balloons, seatbelts, air bags and plastic bottles into trendy coats, jackets and t – shirts, Hideyuki’s mission is to transform waste all over the world into treasures through fashion design. Hi Hideyuki and welcome 😊

Hello. This is Hideyuki Hayashi, the director of WAySTEaD and photographer from Tokyo, Japan.

What inspired the launch of WAySTEaD?

Firstly I launched my own small web media called TELLERS which represents the mixture of journalism and creativity. But I noticed that it was really tough to make profit out of it and will take quite long time to make it happen. So I decided to run another small business that related to the concept of media as a part of it. Since the concept of the media is something related to social issues and my background is fashion (my first career was as a fashion stylist) so the idea of up-cycling fashion popped up into my mind.

Have you always had an interest in fashion designing or did you have other career plans whilst growing up?

My first career was as a fashion stylist for around 10 years. Then I became a photographer but I kept my passion for fashion by taking fashion photos mainly. But I never imagined that I would be launching my own fashion label at that point.

I’m interested in your brand name – WAySTEaD – why did you specifically pick that name? Were there any other contenders?

The word is a mixture of Wasted and Way and Stead. I really can’t remember the process to deciding the brand name, but I do remember that I didn’t want to make it that clean and beautiful, so I decided to use the word “Waste”. I’m quite an intuitive person and the idea came suddenly and I decided to go with it quickly so I guess there weren’t other contenders.

I love the ideas of upcycling Hot Air Balloons, seatbelts, airbags and plastic bottles into wearable items!  How difficult is it to upcycle these products ready to wear as clothing?  What processes are involved?

It was absolutely tough to make it happen. There are lots of brands that make bags or shoes and other accessories, but making clothing is completely different. Basically these materials are really hard to be transformed. Sometimes they are stiff and unprintable. And clothing is basically composed of very complicated patterns (especially our brand’s one is crazy). So it was like sewing complicated clothing using leather bag machines. Also, they are not organised in rolls like ordinary fabrics sold in stores so it’s not suitable for mass production and it’s more like the couture process. So, some people might think that the price of our products is not reasonable but actually our cost ratio is higher than ordinary fashion labels.


Do you have a favourite item from your collection?

It is too hard to select which is my favourite, which is like selecting my favourite out of my kids. All of them were really hard to give birth to and I love all of them.

As you are based in Japan,  are your items available to purchase overseas?

Yes we are going to be taking pre-orders from international markets on our website soon. I also want to distribute them in retail stores overseas, so am looking for sales agency as well.

You are also a photographer. What or who inspired you to take up photography? What genre of photography do you prefer to indulge in?

I always been fascinated by fashion photography. I especially love producing and being inspired by something unseen. When I was working as a fashion stylist in Dubai, the owner of my rep, who was a photographer, suggested to me to start photography and lent me his camera. At that point I used to be working like creative director rather than stylist, so he thought that it would be better that I utilised my perspective into photography directly.

If you could visit any place in the world to do a photography shoot, where would you go and why?

I don’t have a certain place that I want to visit taking photos at this moment, but I guess I want nature to play a part.


WAySTEaD’s mission is to transform waste all over the world into treasures through fashion design. So, you already have upcycled hot air balloons, seatbelts, airbags and plastic bottles –  what other items do you hope to upcycle in the future?

Yes, I think I need to keep finding other wasted materials and creating new products. Now I’m trying to develop new stuff with LAN cables that has been carved out in production and more ideas to come. But the most crucial thing at this point is selling the products that I’ve already produced because inventing new products costs a lot and is time consuming.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I mostly wear vintage or second hand clothing these days. I used to wear only black outfits before, but after I started to tackle this project, I found the joy of wearing colour, logos and graphics.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own)

Not really, currently. I find American vintage stuff on ebay sometimes. I found an amazing Jeff Hamilton stadium jacket with a Mountain Dew logo patch on there recently.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Vintage painter pants which are incredibly wide.

Boots or Shoes?

I used to be pretty much a boots person, but now I’m shoes person for these last few years. Simply because when I moved to Dubai, boots were too hot (I’ve still put on boots sometimes though).

For Pinning Later

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about WAySTEaD.

https://way-stead.com/

https://www.instagram.com/waystead_official/

https://www.hideyukihayashi.com/

https://www.teller-s.com/

Thank you Hideyuki !


Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Hideyuki Hayashi

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An Interview With Handmade By Tinni

This week I’m featuring a brand – Handmade By Tinni – that is all about sustainability and joyful colours – jewellery and home decor signs using organic cotton rope and yarn. Let me introduce the lovely designer Paulomi Debnath onto the blog….

Hello, I’m Paulomi and I am a textile jewellery designer and the face behind Handmade by Tinni. I create colourful, bold pieces of designs that brings joy and inspire confidence. I am a coffee lover, passionate about jewellery (read obsessed!), slightly eccentric, a pretty good cook (Asian mainly and certified by my other half!) and a proud small independent business owner.

I was born in Kolkata, India, a colonial city with a rich heritage and history. Charming and extremely busy, my birth city holds a special place in my heart forever. When I set up my brand finally in 2020, I drew my design inspiration from the bright colours of nature, amazing places that I have travelled to over the years and most importantly from the rich heritage of India.I studied sales and marketing and started my career in hotel sales in India. I am passionate about travelling and have always found great pleasure in promoting hotels and destinations.

In 2004, I met the love of my life and in 2006, we got married in Kolkata. We both belong to this ‘City of Joy’ and very proud to have strong roots there. Soon, I joined my husband in London to start a new chapter of our journey together. With my experience in hotel sales, I was back in hotel sales management.

It has been a challenge – managing a creative business while working full time as a Senior Buyer, a wife and a mother of a 10-year-old boy (who always keeps me on my toes). You constantly need to learn to juggle a busy work & social life with loads of multitasking. But with constant support from my family, I always have been able to overcome that. When it has come to living my dream, I don’t want to resign into a life of missed callings and dreams.

My brand is all about sustainability and joyful colour. My vibrant, bold designs bring joy & inspire ethical living. I am based in London and make all my designs from my home studio.

What inspired the brand name of “Handmade ByTinni”? What made you decide to concentrate on textile jewellery? 

Tinni is my nickname that my family lovingly call me. It is like my alternate personality – cheeky, full of fun and colourful! When I was searching for an ideal brand name, I really wanted it to represent my soul and my passion for Jewellery. AND…… I am totally addicted to jewellery. My mum often teases me, and says that I am building a secret jewellery museum. And being an Indian by origin, I am spoilt for choices. I am extremely proud of my eccentric collection which is a mix of vintage and contemporary design. 

So, my brand name is my cheeky pet name and echoes that I design every piece of my jewellery home studio based in London. When I started Handmade By Tinni last year, I wasn’t even sure how far I could go with it, because everything was uncertain at the time. But I knew that I wanted a brand name that would mirror my passion and my hard work. My designs are handmade, and hence, it’s Handmade by Tinni. 

I also launched my home décor designs a year back and they have been very popular too. 

I love the Red Knotted Statement Cotton Necklace as well as the home decor signs. What items/colours are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

Thank you, Linda. That Red Knotted Necklace – Maya Necklace is one of my first designs and a all time favourite. The design is simple yet classic and very easy wear for all occasion. And not just in red, this necklace (and all others) is available in twenty-eight colours, which makes it popular as a gift too. 

In terms of colour, currently I am seeing an increased demand for Mustard, Fuchsia, Turquoise and Emerald Green. These colours are very vibrant and add glamour to any outfit. So, a great choice if you want something new that is not Red or Black. 

In terms of designs, I am so excited to see customers are increasingly embracing colours and experimentation. I am receiving more and more custom requests with design details, colours, shapes, and whole array of words when buying our custom word necklaces. I would forecast a lot more experimentation and adding a bit of glitz and glamour to classic designs. More and more customers are being open to statement pieces to show off their individual styles. This fashion forwardness really inspires me to create unique designs knowing there are accessory lovers who admire statement niche designs. 

Being a small independent brand, customers are also feeling confidant in approaching the designer to commission a custom, unique design that they will treasure forever. I am blessed to make someone’s dream design for them!

Out of all your collection, do you have any favourites?

It is very hard to pick among all your creations as you put little bit of your soul in each of them. However, if I really must, I will choose the ‘Love’ word necklace.

This was the first design that really earned my place in our creative community and became my signature design. I have since created several custom word necklaces as I can make any word (4/5 letters max recommended) like your name or belief or fun words, into wearable pieces.

This is a unique piece of jewellery which is perfect to gift to a loved one. It makes a great valentine’s day gift, a Mother’s Day gift or a anniversary gift.


As you are based in London, are your products available to purchase overseas? 

Absolutely. We can deliver worldwide. I would always recommend choosing tracked shipping when buying from international designer for additional peace of mind. 

We are also stocked at various boutiques in Florida, Virginia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, France, Italy and of course in UK. 

It always gives me greatest pleasure if I am introduced to a jewellery lover from overseas. Just a little appreciation for social media here, as without that, many small designers like myself might not have achieved a bit of global recognition. My own Instagram is so colourful with stunning, inspiring posts from all over the world, makers and buyers combined. Just make me very happy to see so much love for small creative industry especially over last 2 years. 

When designing jewellery to add to your collection, do you take into account your own tastes, your customer base, requests, or bits of all those?

When designing a new collection, I do not follow any rules. I am influenced by nature and colours around nature. I keep myself updated around the colour trends and design influences around the world like minimalistic or geometric and incorporate that in my designs. I do rely on Pantone colour trends and colour charts when considering new colour collections. 

My custom designs are really a mixture of what the client envisioned and my creativity. It is so exciting to create someone’s dream design with a bit of my own twist. 

What do you enjoy most about making textile jewellery? What was the hardest piece of jewellery to make or the most unusual request you have had? 

There are some who would say you don’t choose the craft; the craft chooses you.

I love the whole look and feel of knotted jewellery but I am also very drawn to the art of repetition. I love the feel of knotting, the comfort of making the same movement over and over, and the oozy happiness when you create something with it. I take great pride in making modern wearable pieces of art using this traditional craft technique.

I’m self-taught in the art of rope knotting and I spent many days perfecting and learning the craft. Even today, I get excited about learning a new knotting technique, which I may or may not be able to use in my upcoming designs, but it is thrilling to do something new. The experimentation of mixing and matching different knots excites me too. Some of these techniques are ones I learned when I was trekking in the Himalayas.  

Hardest piece of Jewellery – Without a doubt my cotton wrapped collection. This wrapping technique is time intensive and requires precision. Each piece is unique and timeless. The delicate craftmanship makes them really ‘hard to find’ jewellery pieces. 

Most unusual request – I have designed plenty of custom designs and each are unique. From brand name to first name to their favourite word to special tangled designs, I have really done a spectrum of unusual designs. This particular designwas6 unusual as it challenged me to recreate a necklace design to a pair of anklets for a special customer. I had to carefully redesign to make it as close as to the original design they loved. 

 What are your top tips on looking after your Statement Textile Jewellery?

Very good question and I have a website section dedicated to product care

Please treat your jewellery / accessories with care, whilst it is durable, handmade jewellery / accessory still needs love and care! So, look after it well & it will last a long time.
 • Avoid contact with water, oil, lotions, insect repellents & perfume

• Please store away from extreme heat, strong sunlight, water or high levels of moisture & try not to drop it!

• To keep your Textile jewellery shiny clean, always use a super soft cloth to get rid of any smears & smudges. A microfibre cloth, similar to the sort you get with your reading glasses is a good choice  

• Jewellery with Magnetic Closures – Kindly open and close the magnetic clasps by holding the metal section only. Try not to pull the rope endings. They are glued and strong pull might unglue the magnets

. • Always ensure the cloth is clean, dust free & rub lightly to avoid losing the shape of the product. For more stubborn marks, a little bit of water or baby wipe should help

  • Avoid contact with body oils, and other chemicals, including household cleaners. 

• Remove when sleeping, exercising, or doing other physically strenuous activities

• Do not use chemical jewellery cleaners.(

• Do not wash. 

Storing jewellery whilst not in use: 

• Kindly always store the necklaces flat when not in use to maintain shape. 
• Try to keep them away from children’s hands as the shape is written in calligraphy way and manhandling can ruin the letters and / or writing.

• Store your accessory in a cool dry place.

Your company has partnered with Ecologi. What does that involve? 

When I began creating my statement jewellery, I knew that I had to do so sustainably. Protecting our planet is no longer an option, it’s essential. As a small business, I ensure I’m eco-conscious in every decision I make. I chose cotton as my main design medium as it is sustainable & bio-degradable, soft to wear and anti-allergic. My zero-waste collection ensures that every offcut is used so that I’m not wasting materials. Handmade By Tinni is also committed to sourcing materials ethically and continuing to find ways to reduce my business’s carbon footprint. One way we do this is by supporting Ecologi, a wonderful organisation dedicated to reforestation. Together with Ecologi, Handmade By Tinni enables the planting of 32 trees per month.

See Handmade by Tinni Forest here.

Growing up, did you always want to be a jewellery designer or did your aspirations lie elsewhere?

I am totally addicted to jewellery from early days!  I designed and dressed up my own collection. My aspiration was always around jewellery and I wanted to become one as soon as I finished studies. However, I followed my second passion at that time and started working in travel industry. 

I am a bohemian traveller at heart, and I have been very lucky to have travelled to many places over the years due to my work or simply holidays. Nothing inspires you more than the multitude of traditional art and craft, the people and textiles from different countries and cultures.

So, imagine my excitement when I could finally launch my own jewellery brand inspired by nature and the places that I have travelled over the year. 

Could you explain your creative process?

I am a dreamer! I dream a design and then work my way to it. Ideas can hit me at any time, so I carry my small sketchbook with my everywhere. It’s full of scribbles and sketches of designs. I also keep an eye on popular colour trends (Pantone has a helpful library of colour palettes to experiment with). Once I have an idea, I play around with the material, colours, different knots and patterns to find the best combination to create a wearable piece – although some of my designs are so intricate, they are only for galleries and exhibitions.

I like to find a quiet corner and just get busy with my ropes and accessories. Some days it’s easy and I can make the final design in one go. However, there are days when I need to work longer and harder before I can transform that thought in my mind into a design. Some days, I must start again from scratch. I guess that’s the life of an artist! It’s the best feeling, though, when you see your idea coming to life exactly how you imagined it

For pinning later

Hypothetically speaking, if you could nominate a famous person (dead or alive) to be the “Face of Handmade By Tinni” who would you pick to represent your brand and why?

I am a HUGE fan of Iris Apfel. Her trend setting eclectic style of layering bright colors and patterns while pairing oversized accessories together, especially her signature black glasses, just makes me supercharged and inspired. Every time I see an image of Iris, I find myself just ogling! 

Given a chance, I would love to raid her wardrobe and just amass every accessory! (Iris Mam, if you are reading this blog, don’t judge me please. Many fashionistas have the same dream, believe me!)

So, it is only my dream to have Iris Apfel as the face of Handmade by Tinni. 

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

My brand reflects my personal style. Colourful, edgy, structured! 

Work-wear – I am huge fan of vibrant colours paired with eternal classics like blue denim or pleated skirt. For a more polished look, I just pair my outfit with a cotton blazer. I own quite a few structured jackets in an array of colours. 

Another look that I really love is printed dresses paired with jackets or blazers. 

I love prints and abstract colour combination. Most of my clothes are handpicked and from good brands to ensure long shelf life. 

Of course I always pair all my outfits with statement jewellery pieces. 

Holiday Look – Floaty dresses, pair of classy shades, long beaded / tassel necklaces and dark lippy. 

Indian wear – Due to my heritage, I am fortunate to own a huge collection of handloom sarees and Indian dresses. They are handcrafted, some are handstitched all over the body and just purely stunning. I dress up quite often when attending cultural events. 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

I am a huge fan of Kate Spade New York and Desigual. I have a weakness towards designer bags, and I celebrate my big wins with a fancy purse few times. I have a Desigual coat, and it is a head turner! Whenever I wear that, I get compliments, and everyone wants to know where I got it from. Ted Baker – OMG! I love their design essence and own quite a few dresses, skirts, tops etc. Just love the simple, classic yet colourful designs. 

Is the rest of your personal jewellery collection is as bold and colourful as your work?

I have always been an avid collector of antique and hand-crafted jewellery. Here are some of the pieces from my own collection that are truly treasured and valued antiques. They hold very dear memories for me…

Pic 1: Gifted on my wedding by my Grandmother-in-law, who received this as a wedding gift from her mother-in-law. This armlet is at least 100 years. It is one of my treasured vintage pieces. I am truly humbled to own it.

Pic 2: Another weird-shaped silver piece! This was part of an elaborate Indian anklet. I only received this part and wear it as a choker. Thankfully, I don’t have thick neck!

Pic 3: This was a gift from my mother-in-law. The armlet belonged to her great grandmother. The main piece of the earring is a bit bent as it is part of an armlet (I only got them as those pieces) and I then designed it as a earring pair.

Pic 4: This was an heirloom hair accessory used by aristocratic ladies in a traditional Indian household. I transformed it into a statement neckpiece.

Pic 5: An original piece of antique Afghan jewellery, I bought this necklace and anklet set on a trip to Dubai, from a little shop in the souk. I absolutely love this piece – it’s entirely unique and was very hard to find. 

Pic 6: Look at this riot of colours! This awesome piece is from Sorrento in Italy. It features original Italian semi-precious stones and is very heavy but such a head-turner. 

Pic 7: An amazing piece given to me from my sister who bought it from a local designer in my hometown of Kolkata. I love the colours and simplicity.

Pic 8: This is another gift from my sister and was chosen by my little boy. My darling sister took him to a jewellery exhibition and apparently, he wouldn’t leave until my sister bought this necklace for his mumma. He knows I would LOVE it.

Pic 9: This is pure silver jhumka. It is extremely dear to me, although it’s quite heavy and not for the faint hearted! Gifted by my Ma.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I have spotted a Kate Spade quilted bag and that is definitely on my shopping list.  Also, I am eying the Kurt Geiger rainbow bag that is a stunning showstopper.

Boots or Shoes? 

It used to be shoes but slowly and steadily I am moving away from pointy heels, stilettos and replacing them with comfy, stylish boots or flat slip-ons. I own a pair of Kate Spade sparkly boots and a pair of Mulberry flats. Really comfortable and awesome style quotient. Love them both.

Links you would like to share e.g.website/Facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Handmade By Tinni. 

Website – https://www.handmadebytinni.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/HandmadebyTinni

Twitter – https://twitter.com/ByTinni

Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/handmade.bytinni/

What exquisite jewellery and I just love the colourful vibes! Thank you Paulomi for the wonderful tour of your jewellery loves and lusts!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Handmade By Tinni

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An Interview With Perfino

What do you get when you cross essential oil scents with jewellery? Perfino, of course! Perfino is an innovative natural scent jewellery brand that combines expertly blended, 100% natural pure essential oils with exquisite jewellery. Intrigued? I caught up with founder Kim Brookes to find out more. Hi Kim and welcome…

Hello! My name is Kim, founder of Perfino natural scent jewellery and a natural fragrance obsessive. It’s on the gentler end of addiction but I find it hard to walk past a flower without putting my nose in it and just love the smells of nature.

What inspired the setting up of “Perfino”?

I was always a big fan of perfume until I realised how harmful it can be. 

Most perfumes are made of mass-produced synthetic chemicals. It may call itself rose but it won’t have any rose in it. In fact, you won’t know what is in it as ingredients are not disclosed. It seems strange that we are so careful what we put in our bodies but pay little attention to the synthetic chemicals we put on our bodies, some of which can be absorbed into the bloodstream.

So, I looked for a new way to wear natural fragrance so we could still enjoy great scents without compromising our bodies. I worked with some incredible jewellery artisans to find the perfect way to encapsulate natural essential oil blends into jewellery in a sustainable way,and immersed myself in the blending of natural essential oils, until I found the solution, which is Perfino.

I love the idea of natural scent jewellery – wearing scent all day without chemicals touching your skin!  Let’s get down to the basics – what does the jewellery set comprise of and where do you put the essential oils? 

The set includes a recycled solid silver or gold vermeil necklace, six super absorbent lava stones straight from mother earth, and 10ml of pure natural essential oil which has been blended to provide a fabulous scent. You simply add a drop of the oil to the stone which sits inside the necklace, close it, and wear it. Our essential oil blends give out a much gentler and natural fragrance than perfume, and one that can last all day long. The scent is gentle, discreet, and for the wearer’s own personal enjoyment.

Out of all your essential oils collection, do you have any favourites? What are the popular scents amongst your customers? 

My personal favourite is “…and breathe” as it is led by rose absolute, a gorgeous but very precious oil. It takes around 10,000 roses to produce a teaspoon of rose absolute, which I have blended with ingredients which compliment this incredible fragrance.

My customers really love “…deep love”, possibly as it has some wonderful neroli oil in there making it quite romantic and dreamy. It’s very popular as a gift for loved ones as it says it all.

As you are based in the UK, are your products available to purchase overseas? 

Yes, we are based in the Somerset but we sell all over the world and have had orders from San Francisco to the Seychelles as there’s really nothing quite like Perfino out there.

A couple of hypothetical questions now!  Firstly, if you could go anywhere in the world for inspiration to create a new collection or to capture a new fragrance, where would you  goand why?

That’s a tricky one as the essential oils come from all over the world, often in very exotic sounding locations but ones where the harvesting provides badly needed fair trade income to the agricultural workers or pickers. I would love to go to deepest darkest Brazil where they continue to discover new plants and fragrances, and where there is a growing appreciation of how these should be protected.

Secondly, which famous lady would you pick to be the “Face” Of Perfino and why?

 Well, like Perfino she’d have to have a cool and subtle style and be a force for good …so I’d pick the Emma Watson, a truly fragrant woman of substance.

Growing up, did you always want to be a jewellery designer or did your career aspirations lie elsewhere? 

As a child I loved fabrics and in my dream other life I might have been a fashion or textile designer. I made clothes for my teddy, then myself, and then my kids, but for jewellery design I have been able to spot talent in others rather than being the talent myself!

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing? 

I have a mania for natural fabrics particularly linens and silks, and comfort – so anything that hangs well with a pop of colour, and a lovely scented necklace of course! As for shoes, I just adore Superga, but cannot resist a rubber fleece lined Tretorn Chelsea boot, whatever the weather.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!) 

I am a big fan of Ebay as it is such a great way to recycle, and many items are brand new. I enjoy Sezanefor great French style, and am in heaven immersed in any far away market.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list? 

A huge warm coat for immersing myself in after wild swimming which I am dabbling in but not yet convinced…and a new pair of Tretorns.

Boots or Shoes? ( & Why?) 

Shoes – boots make me think of winter and I am definitely a summer person

For Pinning Later

Links you would like to share e.g.website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Perfino 

https://www.perfino.co.uk 

Instagram @perfinouk

Facebook @perfinouk 

Fabulous chatting to you about a fabulous product, Kim! I love it ❤️

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Kim Brookes/Perfino

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Review: Sfizzio Tea Infusers

DISCLAIMER ALERT: The Sfizzio Tea Infusers have been supplied by Sfizzio for the purpose of this review however all opinions expressed are 100% mine.

I love a cup of tea. I love a mug of tea. Breakfast tea with milk, whatever time of the day. I don’t mind an Earl Grey or an iced tea too on occasions. Flavoured teas are not my “cup of tea”though. Whatever your brew of choice, a good cup of tea is of paramount importance . I was therefore thrilled to receive a set of 3 cute Daisy Tea Infusers from Sfizzio to review… a teaholic’s dream review job!

THE BRAND

Sfizzio is a London based company that sells its tea infusers via Amazon (both in the USA & UK). The name Sfizzio was inspired by the Italian word which means whimsical or for fun. These tea infusers are definitely cute and add a fun look to your kitchen shelf as well as being practical too.

THE PRODUCT

The tea infusers come as a set of 3 Daisy tea infusers each with its own flower pot drip tray. The brightly coloured petals serve as a stirring spoon, and can hook onto the rim of your cup while the tea leaves are steeping. The small holes on top of the stem allow full immersion. The specially designed bulb is ideal for medium to large leaf teas, preventing unwanted tea leaves from seeping into your cup but allowing the tea to infuse.

THE TEA TEST

The tea infusers are made from BPA-free silicone and the bulb was extremely easy to fill with the loose tea. I filled the bulb up to the brim with loose tea and fixed the stem on. I hooked the tea infuser onto my cup’s rim and poured in my boiling water. I used the infuser to stir the water allowing the tea to brew. Very quick and easy.

THE CLEANING TEST

Cleaning used tea leaves out tea strainers/tea infusers isn’t a pleasant job at the best of times. I compared cleaning the Sfizzio tea infuser with cleaning a rigid metal tea strainer:

(a) emptying the used tea leaves into the food recycle caddy. With the metal strainer, it was a couple of taps on the edge of the food bin and the bulk of the tea leaves went into the bin. With Sfizzio, the flexible silicone means that you can turn it inside out – all the tea leaves went …. in the caddy, on the floor, up the walls ….. oops!
(b) Putting the infusers into a washing up bowl of hot soapy water to clean, the metal strainer took a bit of time as stray tea leaves were stuck onto the wire edges; the Sfizzio tea infuser cleaned, no problem. The Sfizzio tea infusers are also said to be dishwasher safe although I haven’t tested them in the dishwasher.

ECO FRIENDLY MERITS

There are a few eco benefits of using Sfizzio tea infusers :

  • The tea infusers are reusable.
  • Many teabags contain microplastics which are not present in loose leaf tea.
  • Sfizzio tea infusers are made from BPA -free silicone.

CONCLUSION

My previous experiences in making tea from tea leaves in a cup using a metal infuser left a lot to be desired so I was very impressed that (a) although I had almost overfilled the bulb not one tea leaf escaped into my cup; (b) the flower pot drip tray proved very useful; and (c) a decent cup of tea was made in a teacup rather than via a teapot with the minimum of fuss.

Sfizzio Tea Infusers are available from both Amazon UK & Amazon US.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B07YHXLWJL?ref=myi_title_dp

https://www.Amazon.com/dp/B07YHXLWJL?ref=myi_title_dp

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My thanks to Sfizzio for the cute tea infusers.

Linda x

Photographs are by Linda Hobden.

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An Interview With Sussex Special Candles

Have you ever wanted to capture the unique scent blend of your favourite place ? To bottle up that essence of the sea, the spices, the woods, the flora? My guest this week is Maria Hallas, founder of Sussex Special Candles, and she has made some highly scented candles inspired by the English county of Sussex and also her personal experiences of her travels around the world….from Brighton beach to the smells of the Orient. I was sent the Brighton Essence and the Dark Nights candles to review (read my thoughts later in the post) and needless to say I was looking forward to chatting to Maria about her delightful products. Hi Maria….

Hello 😊 My name is Maria Hallas. I’m the founder and the owner of Sussex Special Candles, an entrepreneur and pastry chef by profession. 

What inspired the founding of your company, Sussex Special Candles?

The company was inspired by my family, as a stay-at-home mother with a young toddler I wanted to do something to support my family, that at the same time allows me to continue to be creative and artsy. 

You have 5 distinct collections: Sussex Special; Boutique; Limited Edition;Treasures; Charisma.  What are the main characteristics that set each collection apart from each other?

Sussex Special collection is inspired by iconic places around Sussex with the desire to experience the spirit and to bring this great outdoors inside in the comfort of our homes. 
Boutique collection is a collection with our first signature bestsellers with scents which are mirroring emotions and occasions. 
Limited Edition collection is for experimental and seasonal candles. For limited time we release some of the candles, in this collection you might also find our holiday themed candles. 
Treasures is a collection inspired by personal journeys around the world. 
Charisma is a collection created with the idea to bring charm and beauty through the fragrance of the candles. 

What is currently the most popular candle fragrance and/or collection?

The most popular collection naturally is The Sussex Special collection as the most purchased candles are the Brighton Essence and Enchanted Forest candles. 

What’s your most favourite candle fragrance or collection?

My most favourite collection is the Sussex Special collection, this is the collection that so far is the result of our longest labour and is the most intertwined with memories, emotions and experiences. As my most favourite candle fragrances are the floral River Adur, the citrusy Elegant Touch, the fruity Lucious Gem and the musky Golden Rush. 

When deciding fragrances to add to your soy wax candle collections, do you select by what has proved popular with other candle makers, current trends, customer requests, personal preferences or all of those things?

I believe that a successful candle business is original and unique and must craft products that are different from what’s already available on the market. That been said Sussex Special is a customer orientated company and we do listen to our customers, for instance the Hurst Meadow candle is inspired from a customer who was looking for a freshly cut grass candle. 

What do you like most about using soy wax for your candles? Do you find candle making therapeutic? 

As a consumer I do enjoy the clean and the long burn of a soy candle and as a candle maker I appreciate the lack of any odour in the soy wax that might eventually interfere with the fragrance oil and affect the finished product. Candle making as a hobby might be therapeutic, but as a business owner, the therapy of making candles is somewhere lost along the lines. 

As Sussex Special is based in the UK, are your products on the website available to purchase & ship worldwide? 

Our online shop is hosted on Shopify, we do also have Etsy and Amazon shops and our candles are available for purchase worldwide. 

Hypothetically speaking, if you could travel to any place to inspire a new candle collection, where would you go and why?

I loved this question, thank you for asking! As a matter of fact, I have already been inspired and I’m currently working on a new collection that will be ready in the next couple of months. So if I were to be newly inspired, I would love to travel to Asia to experience a burst of spices, flavours, smells, colours, and textures. I’m absolutely fascinated by the Asian culture and so far, we have 2 Asian influenced candles Oriental Delight and Dragon Heart. 

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Normally I wear smart-casual with outweigh on jeans, t-shirts, and trainers. 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

In our family we mainly shop online, from a variety of online stores. My latest obsessions are the home décor items, which I’m using for props, since at the moment I’m the photographer and the content creator of Sussex Special. We also do quite a bit of Amazon and eBay shopping purely because of the convenience. 


What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Dresses and jackets are always on my wish list, I just love a nice, feminine, and elegant dress combined with a chic jacket. 

Boots or Shoes?

To be honest, before I dived into the motherhood, I had a shoe addiction, I was the type of woman who bought shoes for the sake of buying shoes, as most of them has never been worn and were still packed in their boxes. But since motherhood creates substantial lifestyle changes, I would now answer boots to this question, mostly because of the weather in the UK. 

For pinning later


Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about Sussex Special Candles

Our website is: https://www.sussexspecial.co.uk/ 
As you might also follow us on the social media:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sussexcandles/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sussexspecial/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sussexcandles

MY REVIEW

DISCLAIMER ALERT: The candles have been supplied by Sussex Special Candles for the purpose of this review however all opinions expressed are 100% mine.

Hmmm…. Candles! These are certainly one of a kind. Smartly presented in glass jars – I particularly liked the fragrance notes that come with each fragrance. A bit like a wine connoisseur- you can read the fragrance notes, take a good sniff, light the wick and then take your bath luxuriating in your bubbles and the heady aroma. Out of the two candles I tried, Brighton Essence was a favourite with both myself and my daughter. You can definitely smell the jasmine, sea salt, and other fruity aromas …. I just love the smell of jasmine! I can’t decide which fragrance to try next … possibly the Mountain Dream limited edition 😊. Thanks to Sussex Special Candles.

Linda x

All photographs (apart from the featured /header/Pinterest photo of Brighton Essence/Dark Skies – that was taken by Linda Hobden) have been published with kind permission of Sussex Special Candles.

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An Interview With Simply Soaperior

Bath bombs, wax melts and shampoo bars …. this week I am interviewing Vicky from Simply Soaperior who makes the most delightful artisanal bath products! My teenage son adores the bath bombs, my niece is a Mrs Hinch fanatic so she uses the Mrs Hinch style wax melts and me? Well, I adore the shampoo bars that are specially formulated for different hair types. Hello Vicky and welcome…

Hi! My name is Vicky. I’m 36 with one daughter, who is 11 and called Ella. I moved to Newquay Cornwall from Cheshire 12 years ago, and that was the start of a completely new life for me and a new adventure. 

What inspired you to launch Simply Soaperior?

Probably not what you would expect.. Once moving to Cornwall, I began cleaning holiday homes (something I never thought I would do after being a hairdresser in the past) I wanted to do something a little special and add handmade soap for guests, but I thought to my self, I could do that. It became an addiction to making new items and wanting to try new things. I was fortunate that people loved what I made, so it became a completely different business, and 10 years on, I’m still doing something I love, and it is still an addiction. I can’t say I ever have the dread to work!

 I love the Mermaids Glamour Bath Bomb & the Yippy Hippy Bath Bomb! What products are proving most popular amongst your customers this year?

The two most popular products are the Shark Attack Bath Bomb, and the Mrs Hinch Inspired Wax Melt Selection, I would say the mermaid’s Glamour is 3rd in line though. 
 

Have you got a personal favourite from your range?

I love a bubble Bar! I’m all about bubbles and feeling all soft after the bath and that is exactly how they make you feel. I’m also a solid shampoo lover, it was my love for them that made me start to make them, I spent nearly 2 years formulation them till they were exactly how I wanted them. so many benefits from zero waste – they have a lower PH to work with hair and scalp unlike soap and a lot of bottle shampoos. 

Apart from bath products, you also produce “wax melts”.  What are wax melts?  

Wax melts are scented, pieces of wax that when gently melted by a wax warmer will  fill the surrounding area with a delightful aroma, a scent  as pleasant as any candle but without a naked flame (if using an electric warmer)

Have you any other new products in the pipeline to add to your range in the pipeline for 2021/2022?

We are making new bath bombs all time, but our big launch was the solid shampoo bars that went live at the end of May. Living by the sea and trying to do my bit on plastic everyone must try I’m sure you will make the swap!! 

Have you always been interested in cosmetics, or did your career aspirations lie elsewhere?

I have always been crafty and loved making things, as a child I use to spend hours in lush and body shop, but I never would have thought it would be what I did for a job but once I started I just couldn’t stop! There’s a lot of science behind making cosmetics so its not as simple as some people think. 


As you are based in UK, are your products available to purchase overseas?

It’s something I will offer soon hopefully but after leaving the EU it’s not quite as simple as it was.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

In the winter I would be ugg boots, jeans and normally a t-shirt or jumper. 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I’m an Abercrombie jean lover, and I love scrolling through Etsy, its great for inspiration and to buy unique things.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Sandals and flip flops, one thing you must have when living by the beach.  

Boots or Shoes?

Boots ,trainers or sandals, because I’m all about comfort.    

For pinning later

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Simply Soaperior
www.simplysoaperior.co.uk
www.instagram.com/simply_soaperior
www.facebook.com/simplysoaperior

After this interview took place, Vicky kindly sent me a couple of bath bombs, wax melts and shampoo bar. They are wonderful – I was especially impressed with the bath bombs ! Thank you very much Vicky.

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Soaperior apart from the header photo and Pinterest photo which are by Linda Hobden.

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An Interview With Breast Dressed

With Mothers Day approaching this weekend in the UK, it seems to me entirely appropriate to introduce “Breast Dressed” – a brand of sustainable maternity and breast feeding clothing to cover all stages of modern mum-hood. The company was launched in June 2020 by Hester who has worked in the fashion industry for over 12 years. I caught up with Hester recently to find out more. Hi Hester & welcome…

Hi! I’m Hester and I’m the founder and designer of breast dressed. I currently live in London after a 6 year stint of living in Hong Kong. I live with my husband and my cat Stu who we fostered in Hong Kong and brought back with us so he could experience the outdoors, and he loves it! I am a fashion designer and have been in the industry for 12+ years. I enjoy HIIT classes, going to the theatre and ice skating – although I am pretty terrible at it!

What inspired the launch of Breast Dressed?

I have always known that one day I wanted to have my own brand I just wasn’t sure what that brand would be. When I moved to London I started to feel unfulfilled so it was then that I really started to pin down what I wanted to do. A lot of my friends had started to become pregnant and have babies and they kept saying how little choice of maternity clothing was out there, and then how even less choice of breast feeding friendly clothing was out there. I did some market research and found everything looked the same, it was all frumpy, mostly striped jersey dresses and it just was all a bit ‘mumsy’. So I thought right, let’s do this! It took me a long time to take the plunge from the safety of my full time job, but I now work part time and do freelance work to help support my dream of growing breast dressed.

Have you always had an interest in fashion  designing or did you have other career plans whilst growing up? 

My mother and father both worked in the fashion industry, they actually met whilst they were both working at Speedo. My mum was a swimwear designer and then had her own business designing ice skating dresses and my father was a marketing director and then became a wholesale distributer. So I have always grown up surrounded by the industry. As kids we used to attend trade shows, have boxes of samples lying around the house, help with sample sales etc. My mum’s studio was at home so I remember when I was poorly and off school I would lie under her cutting table on all her piles of fabric and fall asleep to the sound of her cutting scissors clanging against the table and the rumble of her sewing machines, a noise I still find super comforting. So I feel it was a given I would go in to the industry, I always loved art and textiles at school, so after A-levels I did my art foundation and then went on to study fashion design at Uni.

What are the sort of things you have to consider when designing maternity clothes as opposed to designing clothes for the non pregnant woman?  

I guess the main thing is comfort, it’s so important that my customers feel comfortable wearing my garments. I strive to make my styles as versatile as possible so I actually design them to be suitable for all stages of pregnancy and breastfeeding and for before and after pregnancy too so that they have longevity. Sustainability is key to my brand so I want my styles to be able to be worn for a long time and to want to be worn for a long time. Each style supports your growing bump, up to full term, and they all have easy breast feeding access which is subtle enough that these styles can then be worn and loved long after pregnancy and not look like they are your typical maternity dress. 

I love the Ada Jumpsuit from your collection. It is just the sort of garment I would have wanted to wear when I was pregnant (many moons ago!)  What products/designs are most popular at the moment? 

The Ada is definitely one our most popular styles as is the Lucy dress. I think they are both so easy to wear and style up or down and the suit all body shapes. We just launched the Margot Mummy Collars too which are made from our scrap fabrics and they are proving to be a popular accessory.

 Do you have a favourite style from your collection? 

My favourite is the Ada Jumpsuit – I have it in a few different colours. It’s just so comfortable and easy to wear and I feel really stylish in it too. I wear with my Dr Martens in the winter and my sandals in the summer. Eek, I also love the Airi dress, I feel so feminine in it and our deadstock navy gingham fabric is fab, it’s a printed gingham so feels really unique and its so easy to wash and requires very little ironing so its really practical, a really good throw on style when you don’t know what to wear but want to feel a bit glam.

When designing items to go into your collection, do you go for popular trendy styles and colours, customer requests, personal favourites or do you take all 3 into account?

I take all 3 into account, I think it’s really important to listen to your customers but also mix it with my knowledge of design to try and create something unique and new that’s not already out there. Before I began designing I did a big questionnaire asking peoples favourite kind of styles, colours, prints etc and I still refer back to that when looking at designing new pieces. As I want my styles to have longevity and be trans-seasonal I do try to make them classic shapes that will never go out of style but bring in an element of trend. Collars are a hot trend at the moment so we created out Margot Mummy Collars using our scrap fabrics and designed them to fit in to a mummy life style. 

As you are based in the UK, are your items available to purchase overseas?

Yes we ship worldwide through our website www.breastdressed.co.uk. So far I have sold styles to Australia, Singapore, Switzerland and Canada, It’s super exciting knowing that breast dressed is out in the world!

You have a Re:Loved collection – I have heard of preloved clothing, so what is re:loved? 

Yes so we source pre-loved garments from Ebay etc and we unpick them and mix them together to create new pieces that can then be re-loved by our customers. I love denim so I wanted to incorporate denim in to the breast dressed collection. But it can be costly to produce as you need special machinery for the heavy washes and I didn’t want to use raw denim as it can be quite stiff and I want all my garments to be soft to touch. So this was the perfect sustainable way to be able to incorporate denim in to our brand. We re-invent, re-wear and re-love. The other positive of this collection is that all profits go to charity. Giving back to the community is a long term goal and one we want to keep building on as a brand.

Your brand is striving to become a no waste company – so how are you achieving that aim?  

We use all of our scrap/waste fabrics left over from the pattern cutting of the main garments to create scrunchies, our Margot Mummy collars and brand labels so that our waste is very little. All of our packaging is sustainable and/or biodegradeable. We source fabrics and trims from deadstock suppliers in the U.K, so one man’s waste is our treasure. And we work on a made to order basis so we are only making stock that has been sold. We manufacture in the U.K which is also helping reduce our carbon footprint as the seamstress I work with is local to me so I don’t need to travel far to collect the garments. This will be an ever evolving mission and we are always learning of new things we can do to keep being as sustainable as possible.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Oooh, I’m a sucker for some high waist Levi’s, a boxy tee and high tops or Teva sandals! I do enjoy dressing up too but that feels like a distant memory during these current times!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own)

Since launching breast dressed I’ve learnt what it’s like to be a small brand so I’m trying to explore new brands and shop from them. I love Paynter, their business model is really refreshing and their approach and customer interaction is brilliant. I also love Gung Ho London who raise awareness of global issues through their clothing.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

My Paynter jacket! I am so excited, it was my main investment in 2020 and I know it will last a lifetime. I get a weekly update from the brand, last week it was being sewn!

Boots or Shoes?

Hmmm, can I break the mould and choose sandals? I hate wearing socks so yeh a pair of comfy sandals are winners for me!

Processed with VSCO with a4 preset


Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Breast Dressed

www.breastdressed.co.uk

https://www.instagram.com/breast.dressed/

https://www.facebook.com/breastdressedlondon

Fabulous chatting to you Hester! Your designs are so wearable and desirable, pregnant or not!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Hester/ Breast Dressed

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An Interview With Una Organic

On my blog this week I am featuring an exciting up and coming mattress brand, Una Organic. This mattress company uses only 100% certified organic materials, each mattress is Fair & Social certified and they are one of only a few mattress brands that have a negative carbon footprint helping to fight climate change …. and some are adjustable to adjust the firmness on each side of the mattress! I caught up with founder Roger van der Matten to find out more. Welcome Roger!

Hello! My name is Roger van der Matten. I am  Dutch, 46 and married with 3 children and the founder of Una Organic. For my sanity I love spending time with my wife and kids and to be out in nature jogging and walking and I also do yoga.

What inspired the founding of Una Organic?

I noticed that mattresses are the single largest home product that is made of non-recyclable fossil fuel foam, glues and (poly) micro plastic shedding fabrics and 7 million of them end up in landfill in the UK every single year. I also noticed that the one-mattress-suits-all concept of current (internet) mattress brands wasn’t really designed with the customer in mind.

What is the most popular mattress/product in your range? 

The Una Organic Delux adjustable mattress and our Organic adjustable pillow are the two most popular items in our range. Although the Organic Essential mattress, kids mattress and extra soft topper are not far off.

Your mattresses are made of 100% certified organic materials – including using strictly organic certified latex.  What are the advantages of using organic mattresses?

The advantage for our customer is knowing guaranteed through independent certification) you are sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t contain and off-gas VOC’s, fire retardant chemicals and other nasties that you end up breathing in. The advantage for our planet is that organic certified materials are renewable, biodegradable and sustainably grown without the use of biodiversity killing pesticides

Your mattresses can be adjusted for firmness – including on each side of the mattress. Was it difficult to design a mattress to suit everybody’s preferences? What made you decide to make an adjustable mattress?

There are many internet mattress brands that claim their mattress suits everyone but in reality this is not the case. With Una I set out to create an adjustable mattress which solves two issues. The first issue is that partners sharing a mattress often have different preferences and needs. With Una they don’t have to compromise and each can have their own firmness within one seamless mattress. The 2nd issue is that our needs change. We may need a different firmness during pregnancy or with a (sports) injury or back pain. With Una you have an incredibly long lasting mattress (lasts as long as 3-4 cheap synthetic foam mattresses) that allows you to easily change the firmness at any time.

Firm or soft – do you have a personal preference for your own mattress?  

My Una has the medium firmness on top, soft in the middle and firm on the bottom.

Each Una Mattress is also “Fair & Social Certified”.  What does this mean? 

Being certified by CU Fair Choice is a guarantee that companies are committed to sustainable development and the improvement of social conditions, meeting the demands of a growing number of environmentally conscious consumers.

As Una Organic is based in the UK, are your products available to purchase and order worldwide?

Una Organic is based in the UK and Germany and available across the UK and Europe.

Have you always wanted a career in mattress making/designing, or did you have ambitions elsewhere?

My passion is to grow a company that has a positive impact on its staff, customers and the planet which is why Una is a member of 1% for the Planet, pending B Corporation certified, Climate Neutral certified as well as Fair Choice certified.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Casual clothing. I like Esprit who offers many clothing items made from more sustainable organic cotton. I just bought a pair of vegan leather boots from them too.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Esprit, Able & Cole.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

A new ski/snow jacket and trousers 🙂

Boots or Shoes?

Boots in winter nice and dry and warm. Flip flops in the summer.

For Pinning Later


Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers ncan find out more about Una Organic.

For EU readers www.una-organic.com for UK readers www.unamattress.co.uk on FB and Insta @unaorganic.

Fabulous to chat to you Roger! I never realised what a difference there was health wise between a synthetic mattress and a natural one!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Roger van der Matten ( apart from the Pinterest photo, which was taken by Linda Hobden)

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An Interview With Jungle Culture

On the blog this week is Jungle Culture whose philosophy is to inspire people to see the beauty and purpose in nature. Having spent a few years living in Vietnam, Jamie, co founder of Jungle Culture, is determined to show people the beauty of Vietnam and its beautiful craftsmanship when it comes to making products from bamboo and bowls made from upcycled reclaimed coconuts. I caught up with Jamie to find out more. Hi Jamie!

Jamie (on the left) & co-founder Chris at a bamboo farm in Vietnam


Hi, my name is Jamie and I am a co-founder of Jungle Culture! We work with small farms, craft workshops and ethical factories to produce a range of handicrafts and plastic alternatives that encourage a healthy, waste-free lifestyle.

What inspired the setting up of your company, Jungle Culture?

We were inspired after watching the David Attenborough documentary which highlighted the effects that single-use plastics were having on our oceans. At the time, my business partner Chris was based in Vietnam and saw that local restaurants used bamboo straws. We decided to do our bit and bamboo straws became our first product!

You have a great variety of eco products – bamboo straws, safety razors, coconut bowls, bamboo cutlery.  What are your most popular sellers?

Thanks! All of our products sell really well and people are generally so enthusiastic about swapping to a plastic-free alternative. We started our company life as a straw company and this remains our best-selling product! We currently sell more than a million straws a year and it’s nice to think that each one prevented multiple pieces of plastic from entering the ocean.


Have you got a favourite item from your collection?

I have lots of favourites and I use most of our products on a daily basis, but safety razors are definitely one product that I would recommend to absolutely everyone, with no exceptions. I always hated using disposable razors because of the environmental impact and the cost is quite frankly outrageous…. Prior to starting Jungle Culture I actually learned to use a cut throat razor and it was okay, but occasionally I would cut myself fairly badly. Safety razors don’t really have this problem. They are insanely easy for anyone to use, they last a lifetime and there’s little to no environmental impact. On top of that, at £0.30 a blade (lasts 16 shaves) everyone could be saving a ton of money!

Your bamboo straws and cutlery hail from Northern Vietnam.  What are the benefits of using bamboo?

 In Northern Vietnam bamboo is seen as a weed. It grows so quickly and so plentifully that supply of bamboo in Vietnam far outstrips the demand. Using bamboo to make something useful and waste-free allows farmers in impoverished regions to earn an income and start a business, whilst at the same time it gives consumers a viable alternative to single-use plastics in their homes and while they’re out and about. Just to clarify, there are no pandas in Vietnam, their habitats are unaffected! (We get asked a lot).


As your HQ is  based in the UK, are your products available to purchase internationally?

Yes, absolutely. You can buy from our website and Etsy store from anywhere in the world or if you send us a message, we’ll send you the location of our nearest stockist. 

Your coconut bowls are very user friendly and have been upcycled from reclaimed coconuts.  What are the dos and don’ts when it comes to caring for your bowls?

Do use them as motivation to eat healthier and improve your diet. Do nourish them from time to time with an oil… coconut oil, linseed oil etc. Do keep sending us wonderful pics of your creations on instagram. We’ll throw you a shoutout! Definitely do treat them with love and care. Natural products are a bit more fragile than man-made products and try as we might, we cannot always prevent faults. But if anything happens to any products that you buy from us, send us a message and we’ll replace them free of charge. Don’t microwave, dishwash or refrigerate/freeze. Treat your bowl like the piece of wood that it is…. when wood is exposed to high temperatures, low temperatures or dramatic shifts in temperature it can expand. 

Your coconut bowls have created a stir on social media with your customers posting recipe/foodie ideas using your bowls?  What has been the most unusual recipes/uses that you have come across?

I am always impressed with recipes that are more art than food. It’s incredible how people are able to create a beach scene, jungle or mountain range using blended fruit and seeds.

As a brand, Jungle Culture, is a member of the 1% for the Planet Foundation. What does that membership entail?

It means that for everything that is purchased from our business we give 1% to a charity that aims to replenish the Earth. We are nearing the end of our first year as 1% members and we’re just getting ready to pick our charity for the year, so stay tuned for updates on who we choose!

Although you are based in the UK,  you have spent a couple of years in Vietnam. What 5 must see places would you recommend a tourist visit whilst in Vietnam? Any advice for first time visitors?

Vietnam has become like a second home to us. Over the course of 2 years, we were lucky enough to visit pretty much every region, visit small farms, taste local delicacies and sleep in bamboo houses under the stars! It was awesome! 5 places to visit = The North (by motorbike if possible), Hanoi (for big city life, street food and madness), Ninh Binh (for stunning scenery), Hue (for incredible Vietnamese food), Hoi An (for the only preserved ancient town in Vietnam and our home for 2 years). Advice = Rent a motorbike…. it’s terrifying, but it’s the best way to travel in Vietnam. Go slow and be prepared for people driving the wrong way on highways, cows crossing the roads unattended, people carrying fridges on the backs of bikes and everything in between. 

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

When I am in a cold country like the UK, I normally wear some red/purpley Doc Martens, black Levi’s jeans and my Jungle Culture black hoodie! In hot countries like Vietnam, I have a few good long-lasting pairs of jean shorts and linen shirts with a comfy pair of flip flops.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I try to buy from small businesses for every day items because I know what a big impact it has in the owner’s lives. For everyday items I typically buy from a local shop and for fashion items I buy from a select few brands that I know represent quality, long-lasting products. I hate fast fashion and don’t buy anything that lasts less than a few years.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I have always wanted to own one of those old style Barbour jackets. They sell second hand ones all the time at the vintage markets in Brick Lane, London. They are quite iconic in the UK and nowadays they are pretty expensive too. I’ll pick one up next winter maybe!

Boots or Shoes?

Boots 100%. I haven’t owned a pair of shoes for 5+ years. I am all about the boot life. I don’t know why though… it’s just me!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Jungle Culture

 www.jungleculture.eco – Our website. Check it out if you want to learn more about how we source ethically, how we give back and how you can join the fight against waste.https://www.instagram.com/jungleculture.eco/ – Connect with us and if our products have helped you, let us know. We read every message and they really do make our day!

Fabulous chatting to you Jamie – your bowls are gorgeous and I am totally bemused by the bamboo razor!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Jungle Culture

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An Interview With Foxes & Angels

At this time of year we are all looking for cards …. Valentines, Easter, Mother’s Day, Fathers Day, Congratulations, Happy Birthday or just a note to say, “I’m thinking about you”. It is even lovelier when you come across cards that have been thoughtfully illustrated and Besheer, who runs card company Foxes & Angels alongside Clare, is a very talented illustrator indeed. I caught up with Besheer and Clare to celebrate their first year as “Foxes & Angels” … Hi & welcome!

Hi! We’re Besheer and Clare. We run a fledgling greeting card and gift wrap company called Foxes & Angels that we started back in January 2020. We’re almost at our first anniversary!

What inspired you to set up “Foxes & Angels”?

Besheer: I’ve worked as an illustrator for over 15 years for magazines, national newspapers and book covers before turning to teaching and illustrating for greeting card companies. I realised that if I started a company for myself I could really design my dream cards and work to my own schedule.

I am always curious to know the origins of brand names, so why did you choose “Foxes & Angels”? Did you consider other names?

B: Hmmm… yes  we considered loads of names! Words using orange (one of my favourite colours, paper mill and card foundry, Hullabaloo. My first card collection had a strong theme of Foxes and Angels and so the name was born.

You have a lovely variety of card and gift wrap designs. What card designs are proving popular amongst your customers so far?

We recently held our first ‘virtual’ Christmas Fair and our ‘Christmas Outdoors’ premium card back sold out out in a matter of hours. The cards were inspired by people striving to get outdoors and appreciation for our London parks, more than ever, during this very unusual year we’ve had.

You use a variety of methods to illustrate and create your cards – Lino prints, drawing and painting.  Have you got a favourite medium though to use? Favourite card? 

B:I love the process of linocut printing. Cutting the soft lino blocks, rolling the ink and the magic of pulling off your first print after hours of planning and cutting is an absolute pleasure. 

My favourite card at the moment is our Meadow Fox card that came out this summer and did very well. I’ve been obsessed with warm dusty pink colours juxtaposed with greys and whites.

As you are based in the UK, are your products available to purchase overseas? 

Our products will be available overseas in 2021 and we have been approached by an American distributor which is very exciting. 

What inspires your illustrations? Do you go out with an idea to look for something specific to draw? Do you draw in situ or do you take photos and illustrate from there? 

B: I’m inspired by going for walks in nature and I absolutely love mid century art and design, particularly the Grosvenor School of printmakers. I also get inspiration by looking at old children’s illustrated books.

Besheer, being an illustrator, some things must be easier to draw and create than others. What was the hardest or most unusual piece of illustration you’ve created so far?  

B:I was asked to do a book cover illustration a few years ago for a collection of 18th Century Irish poems. It was a large panoramic beach scene. After doing lots of research and drawings I completed the illustration which featured a woman carrying an umbrella on a rainy beach. It was quite a detailed piece. Greeting cards are both easier and harder as you are working with such a small space.

I was asked to digitally erase the umbrella as it turns out that only the very wealthy people in society carried umbrellas until the 19th Century!

Have you always wanted to be an illustrator or did your career aspirations lay elsewhere?

B: I was always going to be an artist or musician. My parents and grandparents were all one or the other so it’s in the blood! Going to art school just felt like a natural progression from school.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

B: As it’s mid winter I’m usually wearing old denim jeans and my dad’s old cream Arran double knit collar neck. The jumper is older than me and in better condition than some clothes I bought in the last year!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

B: I love  Adolfo Dominguez for clothes (when I can afford them) and stationery shops like ‘Choosing Keeping’, it’s one of those shops that just looks enticing in the early evening. Clare loves White Stuff, Fatface and charity shops.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

B: I’m trying to find the perfect hat.

Boots or Shoes?

B: Do Desert boots counts as boots? Definitely boots for me. They’re more cosy.  

Clare: Boots for me too. Besheer bought me a lovely pair last year from Josef Seibel in Covent Garden.

For Pinning Later

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Foxes & Angels

www.foxesandangels.com

@foxesandangels

Thanks so much Besheer & Clare for chatting to me! Congratulations on reaching your 1st Foxes & Angels Birthday and although 2020 was the strangest of years, well done in sticking with your dream and I wish you all the best in the future.

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Besheer & Clare.

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