Happy Favourites of December 2018

Christmas – The time I got to take to just be. The end of December was very busy and a bit stressful, so I took a complete hiatus from social media, blog and work. Instead, I’ve spent time with loved ones, played games, watched a lot of tv, eating great food and too much chocolate, and given my brain a rest.

Seeing My Grandmother – Just before Christmas, I visited Finland to see my Grandmother who is staying for a bit with my mother. It was lovely seeing her after over 10 years and after a day of fumbling with how to behave in each others company we spend a lovely time together.

Happy Favourites of December 2018 - byLiiL

Time To Read – My preferred time to read is the morning before I start working or when I am travelling somewhere, but if I am stressed I rarely have the concentration for reading books. Now with the holidays, I spent every day several hours reading books and how I enjoyed it! I managed to finish 7 books in 7 days and therefore finished the year with 36 books read in 2019, which was my goal for the year.

Organising – I finally managed to purchase a storage shelving unit into our walking wardrobe. I’ve been planning it for several months in hopes that it will help us keep the little storage space we have in order. Until now that space has had a clothes rail and a small bookshelf left by the previous tenant, so all our stuff is piled on top of each other and it was a nightmare to get anything out of there. Now thankfully it looks a lot tidier, more organised and we can actually see what we have in the storage space. Hurray!

Forbidden Island – I received this new board game as a Christmas present and have really enjoyed playing it. It is based on co-operative playing where all the players are trying to survive without sinking with the island. It’s either all win or all lose and although it is stressful it is fun as well!

Recycled Wool Blanket – I’ve wanted one for ages as our flat gets pretty cold in the winter in spite of heating, but I couldn’t find one anywhere until I finally found Future Kept before Christmas! The blanket is so warm and cosy, I absolutely love it!

Illustrated Best News of 2018 – This is an awesome idea and so I wanted the post. Although there is a lot we should know about climate change and the affairs of the world, it is also important to see the progress!

Happy Favourites of December 2018 - byLiiL

Watch

Material Girl – Why I Choose Organic – This video by Kate Arnell (I am a bit late on this as it was published in 2017) is like a short documentary on organic fabrics and other items and why it is better to use them. It is informative, entertaining and just excellent. I really recommend watching it!

Read

Trevor Noah – Born A Crime – I actually listened to it on an audiobook which was narrated by the author himself which I think everybody should ‘read’ the book. Trevor brings depth to his book by narrating it and I felt like I was watching a movie or a documentary. The book is great for explaining what life was like for a mixed race boy in South Africa during and after apartheid. And although it doesn’t sound like the book would be pleasant when it is based at such a time, Trevor discusses his experiences with the naivety of a child with some comments but lacking any judgement. The book is fairly humorous when it explains the differences in culture and race. I can truly say I enjoyed this book a lot!

Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race – This excellent book took me a bit longer to read, but it is so informative not only about race but about our culture in general and what we don’t see or realise is happening. It’s a book that everybody should read!

Girl In The Tower – A second book in the Winternight trilogy which surprisingly I enjoyed even more than the first book (Bear and the Nightingale). The book is still based in Russia and entangles Christianity and old beliefs with magic to create a wonderful adventure which is both gripping and exciting. I didn’t want to put the book down!

Mister Pip – A beautiful and sat book by Lloyd Jones tells about a story about the magic of stories and how they can transfer your anguish and fright to make people and especially children resilient in time and place which is filled with horrible events. It is set on an island which is in the midst of civil war and where the civilians are facing all the struggles of the war.

Happy Favourites of December 2018 - byLiiL

Support

Labour Behind the Label For UK Garment Workers – UK is getting more and more garment workers each year. This helps many small and ethical brands to manufacture locally, however, it also means that fast fashion brands are able to create sought-after clothing faster but with consequences to the labour. Even in the UK, there are problems with companies that are not paying their employees the national minimum wage. The labour is afraid to report about this or might not know that this is not the norm and the companies take advantage of the situation. They might be paid as little as £3.50 an hour. I have a first-hand experience of this, although, at the time I didn’t realise what was happening. I was asked to work as a freelancer, over the busy Christmas time, for a brand in their factory that is claiming to be ethical and sustainable, however, because they wanted to employ me as a freelancer they paid me by the item and not by the hour. I was naive and agreed to it. After a week of working for them, I realised I had been only paid less than £5 an hour, whilst I also travelled to their factory every day.  They asked me to come back to work for them after Christmas, but when I asked to be paid the same amount as the rest of the factory labour I didn’t hear back from them. Only later did I realise that they took advantage of me being naive and young. I would’ve felt different about that pay if I could’ve worked from home, or if they paid for my travel, but they didn’t. Now, as I see that their company is considered very ethical and sustainable I feel sick and I wonder if any other person has experienced with them what I went through. Now you can help by supporting Labour Behind the Label with their initiative!

Happy Favourites of December 2018 - byLiiL

What were your favourites in December?

With love,

Lii

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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

Merry Christmas!

It is finally Christmas! I have been waiting for this little holiday/relaxing time for a long time, and that is exactly what I’m planning to do during the last week of December and 2017; relax, watch movies, eat good food, enjoy good company and play board games. What could be better?

In a typical Finnish style, we are celebrating Christmas already today, on Christmas Eve and will continue it for another two days. Hurray!!

I hope you will have a really lovely Christmas time!!

Merry Christmas - byLiiL

 

Let me know what you got for Christmas later on!

With love,

Lii

Happy Favourites of the Week – Awaiting Christmas

Cheesy Christmas Movies – Lately I’ve been really into watching cheesy Christmas movies. I do an annoyed commentary on top of almost all of the time or smirk and laugh at the poor plot, but still there is something quite comforting in them and apparently, I am still looking for something comforting at all times! I know it’s too early, but then again I don’t really feel like being in a festive spirit just yet.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Awaiting Christmas - byLiiL

My little plant corner – I already shared a picture of my plant corner at the beginning of the week and how happy it makes me, and it still does! My little succulents are loving the light and warmth in that corner and growing much faster. In addition, we got some coconut husk soil which seems to really agree with them!

Seeing my family – It’s been a while since I last saw my family and although this trip of ours is short and doesn’t even cover Christmas it is still always lovely and rejuvenating to spend some quality time with your family. And especially seeing the little Godson again, he is already growing up so fast!

Happy Favourites of the Week - Awaiting Christmas - byLiiL

Snow – I ran away from Finland because of snow and coldness during the winter. So it is funny that snow is one of my favourites this week. But snow once a year on your holiday is lovely, especially when you get this magical scenery that we had this week. But when it will melt or there is too much of it, then it starts to get less than lovely.

December – It’s finally December and I get to cheer my loved ones up with a story advent calendar, which I have made them for the couple last years. They seem to really enjoy it and it makes me want to keep going, even when I am getting stressed with writing it the closer we get to Christmas.

Happy Favourites of the Week - Awaiting Christmas - byLiiL

 

How was your week?

With love,

Lii

 

DIY Gift tags

I am always up for some kind of DIY, especially for Christmas. So when I come up to do something for other I do it, if I have the time. I like to make presents, such as sewing things I know my family will like or make cards. This year I was looking for Christmas tags and when I couldn’t find any that I really liked I came up with the idea of making my own. And it turns out to be super easy, especially when we have such an amazing resource as Pinterest! They are cute, fun to do and personal.

DIY Gift Tags - byLiiL

What I did:

  1. I drew a shape on a paper.
  2. I cut the shape out. If you want the shape to be even, fold the paper and draw only on one side and then cut it folded.
  3. I then traced this shape on a card of my choice. I had nice thick red, green and blue card in my house for doing different crafts.
  4. I then decorated the cards with coloured pens. This year white gel pen has been one of my favourites, as it is fresh and looks good with coloured card. You can also add some sparkle or stickers on the cards.
  5. To make these gift tags more sustainable you can write the name with a pencil and reuse the next year or write the name on a sticker that comes off fairly easily.

 

DIY Gift Tags - byLiiL

 

Happy DIY! Do you have any other DIY ideas under Christmas?

With love,

Lii

Sustainable Christmas Gift Guide

This Christmas I was very adamant to get most of the Christmas presents to be sustainable or ethical, by buying from small and local retailers or buying items that I believe are better. Do you want to give somebody a thoughtful gift that is better for out planet and will introduce them to a new company as well? Here is my compiled list of places where to shop from.

Sustainable Christmas Gift Guide - byLiiL

Ambre – Local natural skin care brand that does not use any chemicals and makes their products in small batches.

Hopscotch London – Soy wax candles and vegan and cruelty-free beauty from an independent seller.

Boodle Boutique – Selling organic cotton t-shirts and jumpers with cool screen printed and animal themed pictures, home decor and Christmas decor.

Post-Couture CollectiveRemember when I told about them before? New clothes for somebody who likes to do DIY.

Sustainable Christmas Gift Guide - byLiiL

Oh My Clumsy Heart – Small independent minimal jewellery, which is made in the UK. It is beautiful and made out of fine metal.

Mintoshi – Soy wax candles and wax melts in delicious scents from the UK.

Ingrid Petrie Design – Giclee prints for any room in your home printed on an FSC certified paper.

MyPure – You can read more about it here. It is a great place to shop for natural beauty products.

Sustainable Christmas Gift Guide - byLiiL

Buy Me Once – A store dedicated to things that should last forever. A perfect present!

The Big Calendar – This is a calendar and diary company that makes their diaries especially for you. You can decide when you would like your diary to start from (January or later) and you can have it un-dated as well. The price is reasonable and they look beautiful. Great for a stationary lover!

Mat&Natt – I’ve told you before about this company and will mention it again. Ethical accessories company that makes beautiful bags, wallets and now shoes as well!

Holly Sharpe – Lovely artwork to your girlboss friend!

Sustainable Christmas Gift Guide - byLiiL

Marieke Jacobs – Not many think that leather goods are ethical or sustainable, however, there are many who do like to shop for leather goods and this shop is the one I would approve of. This is what they say in their description:”I mainly use overproduced and remaining stock leather from the furniture and footwear industry. Every part is used, no leather is waisted out of respect for the material.”

31bits – Also a company I’ve written about before. Alternative but fashionable jewellery. A present to somebody and money for a good cause.

byLiiL – Of course, not forgetting to mention my own little shop on Etsy for colourful Giclee prints.

If you would like to gift somebody with a candle, check this post about some more sustainable candles.

 

Do you have any additional shop or gift recommendations?

With love,

Lii