Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018

It’s that time of the year again when we get frantic about finishing all the work, preparing for relaxation time and trying to find everybody some presents. My best tip is to check a couple of tip posts or articles out, for some inspiration, and especially the ones for ethical and sustainable presents, there are many of them this year! And then listen to your friends and family and what are they looking for. I think often the best presents are time and being together with somebody, or giving them an unforgettable experience, and that post I will be posting up soon, however, for those who want to give products I am sharing some great brands here where you can find absolutely amazing products that are ethical and/or sustainable, and there are options for different price points as well! Do remember that the most ethical present (in items) is something that the person wants and will use years to come.

You can check an alternative Sustainable Gift Guide that I wrote last year from here and the post about gifting experiences can be found here. The decorations and seeds seen in this posts are from LA Juniper online store and part of the presents I am giving.

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Fashion and Homeware Gifts

Mavolu – An online shop based in Germany selling fashion, accessories and home products made with sustainable textiles.

Gaia & Dubos – A Canadian sustainable fashion company selling beautiful products, teaching how to care for them. In addition, they offer a bunch of tutorials for caring for your clothes.

La Juniper – A beautiful online store for homeware, stationery and gift products all ethically made.

Alicas – This is a Scottish brand working on providing women in crisis new clothes by repurposing surplus stock from retailers. They are selling ethical items with beautiful illustrations, right now to fund their amazing project.

Elvis and Kresse – Make amazing accessories from repurposed fire hydrants and off-cut leather. In addition, they give 50% of their profits to charity. This is one of my favourite brands at the moment and their accessories are on my Christmas wishlist!

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Wild Tussah – Ethical accessory brand made by artisans.

Nandi Berlin – Ethical homeware store with items made by artisans.

Buy Me Once – Fashion,  homeware and gift that will last a long time, are high quality and look great.

Gather and See – Sustainable and ethical fashion from around the world.

LiiL – British made Giclee prints and ethically made sleep masks and homeware.

Primrose and Pixie – Ethical and sustainable lingerie from Scotland.

Studio Emma – Beautiful and colourful homewares made out of concrete.

Maik London – Homewares that are sustainably sourced and ethically made in beautiful prints. I especially like their socks!

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Beauty Gifts

Acala – Zero waste beauty shop selling everything to women and men.

MyPure – Natural beauty shop for women, men and children.

Evolve – Natural and organic beauty brand, which is one of my favourites.

 

Zero Waste Supplies

White Spring – Sell high-quality bamboo straws, which are a great present for anybody who likes to drink with straws.

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Better Subscription Gifts

Green EcoBox – They have a natural beauty and gourmet food-related subscription boxes which give back. These boxes are amazing for somebody who likes to try new products which are of high quality and from small brands. If you don’t want to get the whole box or a subscription then you can check just the products on their websites. They are amazing!

Sourced Box – A subscription box full of healthy treats and for Christmas, they bring in a healthy chocolate box which looks so delicious I might just have to order one for myself!

Ethical Consumer – A subscription to this magazine will support ethical consumer magazine and bringing information about ethical businesses. It is a great magazine which I like to support.

Willoughby Book Club – or any other book subscription. At Willoughby, you can choose how long subscription and what type you want to order.

Spotify – or any other music service. Having the premium service can be a nice difference when you don’t have to listen to the constant advertising.

Netflix – or any other video service. There are so many options and so many of us watch tv on a daily basis.

Who Gives A Crap – Why not gift somebody, especially those who might need it, a subscription of toilet paper which is better for the environment as well. I know this might be a controversial present, but I also know that some people would love this present!

Ethical Christmas Gift Tips 2018 - byLiiL

Let me know if you have any other great shops or tips for Christmas!

With love,

Lii

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Happy Favourites of November 2018

My Cats – Welcoming a kitten into your home is wonderful but can be a bit tricky if you already have a cat. Cat’s don’t always get along, and especially if your kitten is like a hurricane. Thankfully after a few bumps for the first month, my Ninja has accepted little Tiger into her space and likes to play with him and sleep next to him. She is more like herself again and Tiger has accepted a role as a rascal cutie pie who melts everybody’s hearts!

Happy Favourites of November 2018 - byLiiL

New Plants – My plant shopping has died down almost completely because of our little Tiger. He seems to like to eat everything, likes to pull plants out of the soil or plays with the flower petals. All good, as long as my plants are not toxic to cats, but I do like them to survive this little curious case as well. I did, however, manage to get myself a couple of Calatheas, which are non-toxic to cats and finally an air plant in a jar, which is nearly impossible to get out of the jar. That might be it for now though until I come up with a better solution for my plants to keep them away from the little hurricane kitty.

Figure Skating – This old hobby of mine is exciting me again. I usually wait until the World Championships to watch them, but now I found a youtube channel that shows me Grand Prix competitions as well, and I am completely enthralled in the world of Figure Skating again!

Happy Favourites of November 2018 - byLiiL

Sleep Sounds App – I am a fairly light sleeper and have trouble falling asleep if there are any annoying sounds around. This app has made me concentrate more on the sounds from the app rather than any other sounds and therefore I’ve been falling asleep easier. It is a free app that I recommend trying!

Insights Timer App – This app, on the other hand, has helped me to quieten my mind and has helped with my yoga practice. Whenever I notice myself getting carried away in my mind I put this on and take a few minutes to quieten, make myself happy and content again. It has music, sounds, meditations and much more. A big part of the app is free, but there are parts that you need to pay for as well.

Happy Favourites of November 2018 - byLiiL

Visit A New Place – Every once in a while getting out of the town and out of your usual surroundings. This doesn’t always require a holiday, just a day trip to the countryside or to a museum. I went to check of the castles in Scotland (we have many of them here). Bothwell Castle is interesting in its history, but its surroundings are what makes the visit worthwhile. It is set by a river with walks around it in the forests. I would imagine the place would be stunning in the summer or in the autumn when the leaves are still yellow and orange.

Black Friday – I thought Black Friday was a week earlier than it was and the following comment was from my experience of that week: *Or rather the absence of it. I am not a big fan of retailers trying to sell consumers more products with discounts that aren’t really there and was so happy to notice that apart from Amazon I didn’t really notice Black Friday anywhere. Hurray!* A week later I did notice Black Friday quite strongly and although many were saying how they found their Black Friday finds from ethical companies, I was saddened by the fact that those companies felt the pressure to participate in this commercial day. Then again, I do understand that not everybody can afford to buy ethically ( I can’t for example) and this is their chance to do so. I am cross with what this day represents but happy about the opportunities it presents. What do you think?

Happy Favourites of November 2018 - byLiiL

New Jurassic World Movie – I love dinosaurs and actually one of my dream professions when younger was an archaeologist. And so I had been waiting eagerly for the new Jurassic world movie, which however disappointed me a bit. The movie was as though built from jigsaw puzzles and has scenes that didn’t make sense to me. I also really didn’t like seeing dinosaurs dying! What the movie did well though is present how animal smuggling and sales are still happening widely as long as there is a buyer for them.

Happy Favourites of November 2018 - byLiiL

What were your Happy Favourites of November?

With love,

Lii

Want An Ethical Advent Calendar?

Everybody loves Advent Calendars, from the basic picture ones to the chocolate ones and now we have different beauty, alcohol, tea, you name it. However, they are not always the most ethical or sustainable options. If you want to be surprised you don’t check what’s in them and can end up getting products that don’t match your values, and this is before all the packaging involved with the calendars and how expensive they can get. There are many great alternatives though and some that don’t have to cost you a fortune.

Want An Ethical Advent Calendar? - byLiiL

Buy an Ethical Advent Calendar

This Natural Bee shares 3 natural and organic beauty calendars which do sound beautiful and great for trying out new products.

Ecco Verde has great options for natural and organic beauty, chocolate and tea calendars.

Want An Ethical Advent Calendar? - byLiiL

Make Your Own Advent Calendar

Mindful Mom Blographer shares excellent options and ideas for making your own that also gives back and is activity based. It is a great option for families with younger children, but why not to couples and friend groups as well as it encourages spending time together!

Lego Calendar doesn’t have to be bought as the calendar lego has created. Those calendars don’t offer much to build and have excessive packaging. What you can do is get an old advent calendar with drawers or pouches, get a full lego set, spread it into 24 or 25 days so that each day there is a little bit of building to do. Take pictures of the instructions and add them to appropriate days into the advent calendar or send the pictures on the day. Now you have yourself (or for somebody else) a bit more affordable but fun lego calendar which will definitely be liked.

Want An Ethical Advent Calendar? - byLiiL

Story calendar is one I have been doing for a couple of years already for my friends and family who live a bit further away from me, but who I want to cheer up before Christmas. I write up a short story with 24/25 “chapters” in it. Each chapter is short enough that they have the time to read it during the busy period, but still has enough story to them to keep the readers interested. This also makes me practice my English writing, storytelling and research for the stories. And I’ve learned that this is something my friends and family love each December and can’t wait for. It doesn’t cost much but your time.

Alternatively, you can either fill each day with different ethical or sustainable treats such as chocolates, zero waste products, mindfulness quotes, little beautiful loving notes, poems, send a great song per day, you can fill it with anything that you or a person you are making it for likes. To make it sustainable make sure you can reuse the packaging for next year or for something else, or even better do it from recycled materials such as toilet paper rolls. I compiled some good examples on a Pinterest board here.

Want An Ethical Advent Calendar? - byLiiL

After all, Christmas is not about spending lots of money, but rather about sharing love and kindness, forgiving people and yourselves. The advent calendars should mirror exactly that! I hope you found some inspiration from here, but I would also love to hear about your tips.

What kind of ethical advent calendar do you like?

Want An Ethical Advent Calendar? - byLiiL

With love,

Lii

Bamboo Straw Review And A Discount Code

[I was kindly gifted with these bamboo straws in exchange for my honest review.]

After attending the Circular Economy conference I got a better understanding of how recycling and especially plastic recycling works, and why it doesn’t often work, and it has provided me with a better picture of what plastic should or shouldn’t be used for.

Plastic can be a wonderful material for certain uses, but there are many uses for which there are more cons than pros and such is plastic used in food packaging or as utensils. Food contaminates plastic which makes it more difficult to recycle, as the food contamination lowers the quality of plastic that it can be recycled into and therefore single-use plastic often end up on the landfills or being incinerated. How plastic contaminates food is another matter as plastic can’t be tested for everything at the same time, but rather it can be tested for certain “leaks”. Therefore you might want to use compostable or reusable packaging and utensils when possible. One of the great materials used in reusable utensils is bamboo. It provides some wonderful benefits whilst not costing too much to the planet.

Bamboo Straw Review And A Discount Code - byLiiL

Bamboo

Bamboo grows quickly without pesticides and when grown with responsible forestry it can be a fairly sustainable material. Bamboo is free of all the chemicals used in plastic straws and is naturally anti-bacterial. At the end of use, bamboo is biodegradable and can be composted in industrial compost. For straws bamboo is an excellent material, although it often varies in shape, it is durable when properly cared for.

Bamboo Straw Review And A Discount Code - byLiiL

Alternative to Bamboo Straws
  • Plastic – We are used to the feel of plastic straws in our mouths and therefore prefer them, however, this perception can be changed. Nevertheless, plastic straws can be useful for when other alternatives are not suitable.
  • Silicon – Is a great alternative and can be recycled, but is not biodegradable.
  • Stainless steel – It requires quite a lot of energy to produce and can leave a metallic aftertaste, although it could be recycled.
  • Paper – Is a single-use alternative, which could potentially be recycled, however, it faces a similar problem with plastic and food contamination and therefore many councils do not accept them into their recycling.
  • Glass – It again requires quite a lot of energy to produce and it can be very fragile.

Bamboo Straw Review And A Discount Code - byLiiL

White Springs Bamboo Straws

White Springs want to use bamboo as an alternative to single-use plastic. They pride in creating straws which are compostable whilst still being high-quality compared to many others on the market and truly they are durable, do not crack and feel nice and smooth in your mouth. In addition, they strive to pick bamboo with fairly similar internal diameter. With your bamboo straws, you get two cleaning brushes and an organic cotton bag where you can store them, or carry them with you. You get 8 straws and two cleaning brushes in the pack.

 

My Review
  • I like them, but the thickness is something I have to get used to, it isn’t unpleasant though. I love that they are reusable, organic, made out of natural materials and that they are compostable though!
  • My partner said he felt they brought the taste of wood to his drink, but I found it didn’t affect the taste of my drink in any way, I rather liked it.
  • Cleaning them the brush goes nicely all the way through, however, feels a bit tight. It still cleans the straws very well and airdrying them is fairly quick. They are dishwasher safe as well! From previous experience with bamboo products, I wouldn’t leave the straws soaking in water, as long periods of moisture can create mould. I didn’t experience it with these straws but I am mindful of it.
  • They feel really durable, smooth and nice to use.
  • The bag fits the straws well but doesn’t feel cramped, and I love that I have something to carry them with me if I need to.
  • There is no plastic when you receive your straws. Straws and brushes are in the carry bag and the carry bag is in a neat cardboard box.
  • The straws work very well for most cold drinks, however, for some reason with carbonated drinks they float a little bit and it pushes the bubbles up, although it doesn’t much affect drinking them either.
  • The straws vary in size, but it doesn’t matter to me. Different sizes can be pleasing to different people or different drinks.
  • My kitten was really excited about them as well. Compared to plastic I am not afraid if he plays around a bit with the bamboo as then he won’t be swallowing pieces of plastic. The bamboo is durable enough so he shouldn’t be able to break and eat pieces of it.

Bamboo Straw Review And A Discount Code - byLiiL

 

White Springs has kindly offered a discount code for my byLiiL readers, for UK customers only. You can use the code: WS324977 for a single purchase (it is valid until the 31st of December), which you can apply at checkout, and you can order your very own White Springs bamboo straws here. Do check their website out for more information! You can also find them on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.

 

White Spring Add

Have you tried bamboo straws before?

With love,

Lii

Happy Favourites of October 2018

Tiger – October has flown by so quickly I didn’t even realise it started. This is largely due to one reason – Tiger. If you follow me on Instagram you already know that at the beginning of the month I got a small addition to my family in the form of our ginger kitten Tiger. He is the cutest, the friendliest, the liveliest, the craziest and the hungriest little creature, who is making us smile every day and has us sleep deprived ( who would’ve thought …). He loves to sleep in any human lap and if you put him down he either crawls back into your lap or starts running around like crazy. Also, he has a lovely loud purr that relaxes everybody. It is very difficult to leave the house with such cuteness in it!

Happy Favourites of October 2018 - byLiiL

Friends’ Wedding – My friends got married in the beginning of October and I was lucky to witness their beautiful ceremony and fun party. It was definitely a day of love and merriness and left everybody feeling happy.

Taking care of Cats – And following the wedding me and my fiance got to take care of their cats. We luckily live close to them and therefore were able to spend every day a bit of time with the wonderful felines. Meeting new animals and winning their trust is quite a wonderful experience!

Circular Economy Hotspot Conference – I got an opportunity to attend the Circular Economy Hotspot conference held in Glasgow and I was so impressed with how motivated everybody was to make our planet a better place. I got to hear a talk from Scottish First Minister about their plans for Circular Scotland, from organisations working on circular Glasgow and what the chair of United Nations Environmental Protection is planning. I also learned why recycling plastic is problematic at the moment and what innovations there are to replace plastic in Scotland. I am really impressed with all the companies collaborating to make Scottish businesses more circular! Overall the experience was amazing and really inspiring!

Happy Favourites of October 2018 - byLiiL

Watch

Fashion’s Dirty Secret – Talks, investigates and reveals some of the secrets fashion industry has and how they impact the planet. Everybody should see it to understand the enormity of the problem! I was surprised that people didn’t know there is a problem with the fashion industry. However, not so surprised to see the big brands refusing to even talk about these issues nevertheless of talking sustainability at Copenhagen Fashion Summit. Makes me a bit scared for leaving a big amount of sustainability into their hands. Watch this (available on BBC iPlayer) and then send an email to your local governmental representative requesting legislation to keep our planet safe!

Emma Watson Interviews Reni Eddo-Lodge – Emma interviews the author of “Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race”. They discuss feminism and race and how why these topics are still important in our today’s society.

The Ivory Game – A documentary on Netflix telling why and how the elephants are in danger of dying of our planet. It is devastating but also very informative.

I Tonya – I watched it because of figure skating, however, there was very little figure skating in the movie. Instead, it showed how pr and branding orientated the United States is (or was I am not sure) to the point that they will not send the best athlete to the world podiums just because of their image. And how they put down the people with a bad image. It was sad and showed the problems of the poor, different and women.

Support

Bristol Cloth Crowdfunder -“What’s missing from the UK is a locally-sourced and manufactured cloth for designers to work with, and we’re setting out to change this by creating the Bristol Cloth: A sustainable, bioregional material that regenerates rather than degrades our land and natural resources.” Sounds great, doesn’t it!

Right to Repair – It is time that technology companies would let us repair our devices to lengthen their lifecycle, instead of having to buy a new one all of the time.

What were the happy favourites of your October?

With love,

Lii

Sustainable News Nr.3

Climate Change

Global Warming of 1.5°C – The already famous report about the future of our planet in 12 years if nothing is changed at the moment.

UN Says Climate Genocide Is Coming. It’s Actually Worse Than That – And this article explains the report in a clearer language, albeit in a bit on the side of fright tactic, however, at this point that might be needed to put pressure on decision-makers to reinforce new laws to protect the environment and reverse climate change.

6 Selfish Reasons You Should Care About The Rainforest and 10 Easy Ways You Can Protect It – Holly writes very comprehensively about the issues we face from deforestation of the rainforest and provides very easy solutions that each of us can do.

Biodynamic Farming – What Is It? – Interesting different type of farming. Can it reverse the climate change or reduce our emissions?

Sustainable News Nr.3 - byLiiL

Europe’s Meat and Dairy Production Must Half By 2050, Expert Warns – Even if we won’t all become vegetarians or vegans we should be consuming meat and dairy at a more conscious level. Do we all really need meat at every meal?

Capitalism and Climate Change – Interesting read into the economics of the future with climate change and sustainability.

A New Frontier In Wind Energy On Native American Land, Cultivated By Six Sioux Tribes – Amazing to read about!

Bill Gates Backs Innovative New Carbon Fee In Washington – “Companies openly opposed to the bill include oil companies, such as BP, Chevron, Phillips, and Andeavor, have raised $22.45 million to challenge it”. It is quite clear who would benefit from this not going forward and it is appaling to see that they are the ones who can put a lot of money to it, money that they could spend on innovating themselves! I wish the bill will pass and many others appear around the US and the rest of the world, we need it!

Confused By Climate Change, Japan’s Famous Cherry Blossoms Bloom Six Months Early – climate change affects more than people and animals, nature as well!

Sustainable News Nr.3 - byLiiL

Social

The True Story Of Fatima Al-Fihri , the Founder of the Worlds First Known University – It is quite incredible to think that the first known university is founded by a woman and not in Europe as well. Women have always been able to do anything they wish!

The Female Price Of Male Pleasure – Great insight into why we shouldn’t always question why did the woman not get out of the uncomfortable situation.

India’s Unplanned Pregnancies Are Down Thanks To Better Health And Education: UN – An example of how caring for women and education can be good for climate change and the economy as well.

Sustainable News Nr.3 - byLiiL

Fashion

The Environment’s New Clothes: Biodegradable Textiles Grown From Live Organisms – This is not new, but I am happy to see this being talked more and more about, maybe someday in the future, it will become more mainstream?

Dirty Fashion – Reports discussing the toxicity of fibres in the fashion supply chain and what is being done about them.

Inside Italy’s Shadow Economy – The hidden labour that is hard to uncover and although this article only dives into the problem in Italy, this is the way many it happens in many other countries as well. It is how employees can go underpaid in the UK where a minimum wage has been set.

Study Calls For Microplastic Weighting In Fibre Scoring Tools – This definitely should be done and I am surprised it is already weighted.

Albini Group Collaborates With Oritane For 100% Traceable Cotton Production – And they collaborate with Kering group to show an example of how textile manufacturing can be traceable.

Sustainable News Nr.3 - byLiiL

Other

A Third Of EU Chemical Imports Break REACH Laws, Claims Study – Study conducted by German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment found that many companies fail to inform of risky chemicals found in the products Europeans consume. This again is one of the reasons we need to make sure companies are transparent and we should be able to know what our products contain always!

When It Comes To Smartphone Lifespan, Brand Name Matters More Than Hardware – A study found that Apple phones are more likely to be bought second hand than any other brands of phones. The thing they do not talk about in the article is the price of Apple phones, which is the reason why they are often bought second hand. Nevertheless, it brings up an interesting point of view in the sustainability of mobile phones.

 

With love,

Lii