Tag Archives: The Frugally Fabulous Year

Guest Post: Getting Crafty with Duck Tape Decorating

Who knew there was so much you could do with Duck Tape?  After a recent conversation with Ruth, who works with Duck Tape Colours; stocking a fabulous array of ducktape for all your crafting needs, I just HAD to get her to guest post on here.  Here are some inventive, colourful and creative ways of using Duck Tape in your household and interior crafting, look out for some more tutorials on Frugally Peachy coming up!  Thanks Ruth for your post – it’s inspiring!

Duck Tape has been known for years as something your Dad might keep in the garage for DIY jobs, but did you know the product now comes in all sorts of colours and patterns for crafters? It’s perfect for interior design on a budget. All you need is a bit of creativity!

I’m Ruth and I work with Duck Tape and I wanted to introduce you to a couple of the fab things you can now do with it. But first of all, the products. No more plain grey for this feathered friend – Duck is now leopard print, bright green, yellow, pink, zebra print.  It’s water resistant and can be cut or torn by hand so is also great for use with the kids.

Just some of the things that the Duck Team have been creating are…

 

Picture Frames

New ImageFor this you’ll just need Duck Tape, scissors, a
 ruler
and your picture to frame. If you fancy, you could add stickers and magnetic strips.

Step 1: 
Cut 2 x long pieces of Duck Tape and lay them both sticky side up on your work surface.

New Image1Step 2: 
Take one of the strips of tape and place it sticky side down on tope of the other piece of tape, creating a Duck Tape strip. Repeat to get 2 strips the same length.

Step 3
: Make two double sides strips that are shorter in length the same way as you did in  Steps 1-2.

Step 4: 
Form the picture frame with the 4 strips by placing the shorter pieces in between the longer pieces.

Frame 3 Step 5: 
Cut 4 x 1 inch strips and use them to tape the frame together where the long and short strips meet – these are called place holders.

Step 6: 
Cut a strip of Duck Tape slightly longer than your short strip and place it directly over the shorter side of the frame, covering the place holder. Fold the extra tape onto the back.

Frame 4Step 7
: Repeat Step 6 on the opposite short side.

Frame 2

Step 8
: Flip the picture frame over. Centre your photo face down over the frame’s window. Secure the photo in place using Duck Tape. Turn the photo frame round!
You could use stickers or extra pieces of Duck Tape to decorate or add magnetic strips to the back to hang your photo on a fridge. Attach string to the back to hang your photo frame, or make a standing frame by taping a piece of cardboard onto the back.

Frame 6You could also create this fab cushion, which is so easy and cheap to do.

Cushion - to useadccb56bf1cb7a73c69c111dd08d0624b551ad0d

b144fbd3811cf72629178fcbc1abea0dc4be7a341b2b8b73f192300eafd794190bf944490eb6471c4d1bc954577c836c5d28bddde365e9e4a1d25af9Check out these images for a quick how-to and don’t forget to check out our website for all your duck tape needs – we look forward to seeing you! http://www.ducktapecolours.co.uk

 

 

 

Reflections: Six Months In….

love financesWell, I feel as if I’ve barely scratched the surface of creating a ‘homemade life’ and I’ve just realised I’m six months in to my Frugally Fabulous Year already.  And what a year it has been!

This month has really been a time to reflect on the past six months and, amongst all the list-making, I do feel that I’m starting to re-evaluate my goals for this year and make some long term plans for me and D, my career, our house (mostly patchworking) and our future,

With that, comes the ever-present need to continue watching, monitoring and (hopefully) growing our finances.  So what exactly is it that I’m ‘saving’ on this year??  I think I gotta get serious with the ‘nitty gritty’ side of being frugally fabulous – when I write about my ‘previous London life’, it seems almost a million years ago.  All that Starbucks-guzzling, Whistles-wardrobe-stuffing and band-chasing seems lost in the midst of time, babies and DIY-obsessing.  So how do I really know HOW to save on what I’ve already cut back?  So, six months in, I gave myself a little financial refresh – here’s what I’m doing…

BE METICULOUS – OFTEN

It seems like the most BORING job in the world, but someone has to do it.  And until you can afford an accountant to balance your incomings and outgoings, it needs to be YOU.  At the moment, I am finding it easiest to manage my finances on a fortnightly basis.  Every two weeks, I painstakingly go through my bills to stay on top of my finances.  YAWNSVILLE, I know BUT – at this point in the year I have paid off 75% of my overall debt, so it’s gotta be worth doing, right?

joy jarREMEMBER YOUR JOY JAR!

I had this Joy Jar idea back along – a little jar (beautifully decorated with lace, it was) for all the money you save each month (no matter how little).  Despite my retirement from High Street shopping, I’m still a great believer in treating yourself to something off the wishlist.  So, whatever the dream, keep your joy jar brimming with whatever you manage to save and that necklace, vintage dress or holiday will seem that little bit closer!

GIVE YOUR HOUSEHOLD BILLS A SPRING CLEAN

With my break up, came all the necessary paperwork, bills transfers and a new consetina file to stuff it all in.  BUT, it was also a great opportunity to give my bills a bit of an overhaul and I managed to lower my electricity and gas bill by £12 a month – based on current meter readings and usage over the past 6 months.  What’s more?  My electricity and gas company of choice, also recommend a re-check every 3 months so, to get the best out of your bills, take advantage of this regular overhaul.

LITTLE LISTS…LITTLE LIFESAVERS

List-making is a way of life for me! Shopping lists save time and idle wandering, meal planning saves precious time with Miss D and a little extra cash in the bank (not to mention space in the wastebin) and even wishlists give you a, sort of, focus.  Lists provide the limits that we need, sometimes BUT they are, in themselves, limitless.  Starting small, I’m in the process of setting myself daily, weekly and monthly goals and so on and so forth.  These aren’t all financial, it has to be said, but does put the four quarters of life into a stark (and often exciting) reality.

receipt reflectionsAnd FINALLY…THE BEST EBAY BUYS ARE SEASONS AHEAD

If there’s one thing to take from years in fashion retail, as discussed with my equally fabulous friend this week, who is busy scaling the dizzy heights of Liberty these days, it’s that you possess the unequalled ability to shop SEASONS AHEAD!  Once a fashion retail muggle, you will forever be shopping the trends rather than what’s just hitting the shops…so how does this save money?  Well, whatever your shopping style, you’re bound to find the best out-of-season bargains exactly then, out of season.  If you’re serious about bargain hunting in the wardrobe department, why not take a little bit of Pinterest and Vogue around with you and keep your eyes open for winter coats in the heat of Summer and Summer skirts in the January sales.  My mind is already turning to customising one of my favourite winter capes and just how I could integrate some Bradshaw-inspired dusk pink into my blacker than black wardrobe!

Do you feel the need for a little financial overhaul?  What tips do you have for penny pinching?

IMG_20140604_164025Stay Peachy x

 

 

 

Reflections: Exhausted Workers and ‘Vintage’ Overuse

Wardrobe 1Last night, I decided to opt for some quiet time and recorded the new programme ‘This Old Thing'; in which the ever-wonderful Dawn O’Porter tried to convince fashion and High Street lovers that Vintage is the way forward.  I had some great feedback about the programme from friends and visitors to my FB page, so great that, in fact, I thought there was just too much media fodder NOT to talk about the art of vintage/secondhand shopping.

In truth, has there ever been more of a prevalent time to shop second hand and source your clothes from somewhere other than the High Street, than now?  I’m not talking economic downturns, I’m talking about the shocking story in the media this week about the Primark shopper who found this rather sobering label in her recent purchase, presumably written by a despairing over-worked employee in one of their sweatshops, or a bunch of guerrilla crafty-minded activists. 6213002-large Sadly, this isn’t the only case like this that has been reported, yet Primark and its other fast-fashion conglomerates continue to rake in profits like no tomorrow whilst shoppers give little or no thought to how or why their beautiful, affordable clothing really are SO cheap.  Everything, no matter which way you look at it, or what side of the world you are fortunate to live on, comes at a price.

After catching up with ‘This Old Thing’, some of the attitudes of not-easily-persuaded shoppers feel almost alien to me, as someone who revels in rummaging through charity shops and thrives on the adrenalin of eBay bids.  I’ve said it plenty before on this blog and I’ll say it again, for all its fast fixes – I don’t miss the High Street at all.  But it does lead me to question, is a love of vintage and secondhand really innate, does it grow with your own personal style?  Or can it be taught?

Firstly, like some of my Facebook Peachy People, I’m not sure I like the word ‘Vintage’ being banded around as often as it is.  It is, after all, mostly a euphemism for ‘second hand’, just as ‘Nouvelle Cuisine’ was a euphemism for ‘hardly anything on your freakin’ plate’.  My love of vintage stems from my desire to not look like anyone else and the freedom a mix and match wardrobe of good quality pieces from all the very best decades can bring you.  I’m in love with fashion in the same way that Coco Chanel was, I love how clothes can accentuate your personality and make you feel.  I’m not a follower of trends, I like to think I look comfortable in my own skin and I like to feel unique, that has been a lifelong desire of mine.

I don’t think about whose bodies my clothes have previously encapsulated my ‘vintage’ finds, a common concern for the guests on Dawn O’s show.  I have a washing machine after all.  I really do enjoy the process of rummaging through the bits and bobs, as I know many people do.  I like the feeling of authenticity in my pieces, I love the stories and tales that could be hidden, pressed into each thread, I like that my wardrobe is a mish mash of one-offs and  quirky tastes.  It is a more rewarding hobby, in my opinion, to find your own fashion in the treasures of people’s pasts than in the racks of monotony.  But that’s just me.

Becoming a lover of vintage secondhand, in favour of all things High Street, is not a learned behaviour, I don’t think.  I think one has to feel connected to the past, long to relive decades gone by, to find their own sense of personal style in everything that has, sort of, been already.  Yes, you can do the ‘Mad Men’ trend, for as long as H&M stocks that shape, but a love of real secondhand fashion takes dedication, focus and a little bit of disappointment, sometimes.  Which simply isn’t for everyone.

But, with all this news of hidden labels and cries for help, can we really afford to be so in love with fast fashion anymore?  With news that H&M has a sweatshop running in the UK, the problems faced by these exploited workers – all in aid of all things ‘affordable’ – are even closer to home than we like to imagine.  So, with that in mind, I’d like to fly the flag for all things vintage, secondhand and even me-made, safe in the knowledge that I won’t be finding any hidden labels in my clothes anytime soon.

Are you following a Frugally Fabulous Year?  Fancy doing it?  Keep it here for more handy tips on life without the High Street!

meStay Peachy x

 

#Project34 Week 5 – The Tunic To Skirt Hack

IMG_20140604_164025#Project34 Week 5 – The Ultimate Tunic Skirt Hack

 Time Taken – 45 minutes before teatime!

So, what with my new found love for my sewing machine, I thought it was high time I started a bit of work ‘that there wardrobe of mine’.  The truth?  Not giving yourself the freedom to pop into H&M for a quick update is HARD – I’m still between sizes but, with the weather warming up as it so irregularly is, I’m in need of a constant wardrobe update!

IMG_20140604_163938Being that as I am, I tend to steer clear of Summer pastels and crop tops – they just aren’t me, the last time I wore flip flops I was trudging between lectures at uni and I have one pair of trusty Dior sunglasses that I simply couldn’t live without.  I’m not very, well, ‘Summery’.  I was, however, in possession of two rather gorgeous velvet tunics that felt a little short – which gave me a brainwave!

You might remember I wrote a little post about hacking a black tunic up to make a sumptuous velvet skirt – well, I did the same with my burgundy version and here is a ‘sort of’ tutorial if you fancy hacking up your own wardrobe!

As much as I’m a dress girl through and through, the versatility of skirts is just astonishing when you are a) on a budget or b) bored of your wardrobe.  Since their creation, my velvet mateys have been invaluable in creating new looks and styling up with various charity-shop bought tops and blouses that I have.  I ended up replacing the elastic in my original black skirt hack with a thinner, softer elastic and opted for more of a ‘pencil’ length with my burgundy one.  Read on to find out more!

You Will Need

An old tunic

Soft elastic – around 1.5 inches thick

Matching thread.

Now Do This

Choose the length you want your skirt to be and cut the top off your tunic to the desired length – I opted to cut just below the arms and work lower if I wanted to.

IMG_20140604_163909Measuring your waist, cut a length of elastic and around the waist-line of your new skirt.  Thread your sewing machine with matching thread and, using a straight stitch, stitch along the top line, securing the elastic to the waistline.

Once this is completed, turn your waistline over (the same thickness as the elastic) to create a neater edge and stitch again along the top line to secure in place.

IMG_20140604_163847That is it, you are good to go – providing your stitches are secure you have one rather beautiful skirt and a whole new world of stylish opportunities!

That's me on the left...with the Absinthe Fairy

That’s me on the left…with the Absinthe Fairy

Stay Peachy x

The ‘Move More Challenge’

movemore2With Summer well and truly on its way well, occasionally, it’s getting easier to get out and about with Little D.  Always conscious of beating ‘cabin fever’, getting my own exercise and mingling in amongst nature, I’m a walker – even in the pre-pram days.  Being as accustomed as I am to the rain and gloom of England, one cannot help but be a little bit in love with the dry, especially with a tottering 15 month old, who gets bored easily.

I’m a pretty active lady, I walk EVERYWHERE and try to put as much energy as I can into our daily routine.  As an ex-dancer, I’m only too aware of how energy levels can slump and becoming a mama, does throw your so-called lifestyle out the window.  Gyms and classes are out of the question, so it’s down to keeping active in my daily life.  So I was really interested to be contacted by a representative from World Cancer Research Fund, who have just launched their new campaign, the Move More Challenge, to get families out and about and improve their health.

movemore3Following Cancer Prevention week, the World Cancer Research Fund, is encouraging families to sign up to an interactive, two week challenge – the Move More Challenge – supported by a website full of ideas to help you get out, about and stay fit and healthy, whatever your lifestyle.  Research from the University of Bristol has shown that time spent outdoors can have the most positive effect on children; however the researchers concluded that most children spend their afterschool hours indoors alone, or with parents.

So, somewhere in between struggling to find easy ways to stay fit with a tiny in tow and wanting to keep my fitness levels up and shift a bit of post-baby weight, I decided to sign up for the two week challenge and I’m starting today!

By just taking a simple questionnaire, the website has offered several indoors and outdoors activities to undertake with D – from beanbag games to treasure hunts, I’m looking forward to adapting some of these suggestions for a younger babe and seeing how much better I feel after two weeks.  Being out and about doesn’t have to cost the earth, or anything, if you’re lucky enough to have a fair-sized garden (no chance) or a decent park nearby (thank God).  With the Move More Challenge, you are encouraged to try new ideas that help you get a little bit more exercise, without signing up to a fitness regime that doesn’t work with you or your life, whilst setting a healthy example for the whole family.

So, if you’re looking for new ways to get your family out and about, or just an excuse to get out in the sunshine, why not sign up for the two week challenge yourself?

movemore1Stay Peachy x

The Importance of Happy Mail!

flowers in springWhat do you like to do when you’re relaxing?  Do you like to take time to connect or reconnect with people?  Today I thought I’d pop a little post up about Happy Mail and the art of sending letters!

Over Easter, I took part in a lovely little Mug Swap, held by Hannah over at Cupcake Mumma.  The rules?  You were given a swap partner and send them a present – which should consist of a mug!  You had the opportunity to send a few likes and dislikes to each other – I always pity anyone who gets me – my tastes can be off the wall to say the least!  I thought this was a lovely idea – I have some incredible friends around the country, and a very lovely penpal in America – who I don’t write to often enough; not to mention some of the fabulous tweeple I regularly chat to on the Twittersphere.  I always have great ideas to send postcards and bits and bobs to people I don’t see regularly, no matter how often I see some of my closest friends, they are always on my mind and I wish I had more time to spend with them!  So this mug swap with a new snail mail friend would prove to be a turning point!

mug swapThe lovely Sarah from Young Ones Five was my swap partner and I was thrilled to receive this lovely big red mug with the word ‘Love’ on and some wonderful Easter-themed chocolates and a little notecard.  I’m happy to say I use my mug every day – it’s perfect for the first brew of the day!  So a huge thank you to Sarah for her lovely gift and I’m SO PLEASED she liked mine! You can read Sarah’s post about the swap HERE and I was so pleased to receive another postcard from Sarah from her holiday in gorgeous Clovelly, the week after!

I plan to do a LOT more letter writing in the coming weeks – I love getting old-school mail and it’s such a great way of making new friends as well as letting our long-standing loved ones know they are always with us!  So next time you have a spare five minutes and a stamp, why not get creative and handwrite a bit of happy mail?!

Stay Peachy x

The Frugal Kitchen: Avocado Brownies!

mixtureAVOCADO…what now?!?!  Yup, that’s right…and guess what?? They are deliciousness personified!

It’s been a little while since I got creative in the kitchen, I’ve been busy readying meals for me and D, plus trying to eat healthily and shed a teeny bit of weight.  When the chocolate cravings call though, one must act – so I decided to try something a little different!

I’ve had an interest in this amazing cross-genre baking for a while, I tried sweet potato brownies a while back, which were gorgeous and cakey, and low in calories!  avocadoAfter reading several sweet recipes using avocados, I decided to try my hand at a quick, simple and healthier alternative to a full-fat brownie!

When it comes to a bit of frugal baking, I like to use as little ingredients but without sacrificing taste.  A classic brownie recipe should be fuss-free, gooey and satisfying.  We keep avocadoes in abundance in our house; D loves them and I am on a continued quest for long, ebony Priscilla-locks, so they do their bit for me as well!  The recipe below took about ten minutes to mix (once the chocolate had melted) and about 20 minutes in the oven.  The result?  Beautifully rich, gooey, chocolatey goodness and (if you’re a calorie counter – which I, sadly, am) they come in at abotu 272 calories for a large slice!  Go on…give ’em a go!

You Will Need (To Make 10 Large Brownies):

100g Dark Chocolate

4 Eggs

100g Dessicated Coconut

100g Caster Sugar

100g Demerara Sugar

2 tsp Vanilla Extract

70g Cocoa Powder

Handful of Flaked Almonds

1 Large Avocado – mashed

ready to bakeMethod

Over a pan of boiling water, melt your chocolate.  Preheat your oven to 180 C and grease a baking tin (ideally square).

In a bowl, mix your flour, sugars, cocoa powder and vanilla extract.  Pour your melted chocolate and add the eggs and mix until combined.

Finally, add in your mashed avocado and continue to mix until your batter is combined, brown (!) and fairly smooth!

Transfer to your prepared baking tray, sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake for approximately 20 minutes.  Your brownies should be very dark in colour and slightly gooey on the inside.  Remove and leave to cool – or shovel one in straightaway!

finishedStay Peachy x

 

Time Out From The World…

ButtercupsWell, what an eventful few weeks it has been.  I’m sorry I took an unplanned hiatus last week – but the good news is I’m BACK and it’s time to look forward and, after a bit of deliberation, I have decided that Frugally Peachy is still a big part of that move forward!  Grab a cuppa dudes….this is a long one!

I think all bloggers, writers, anyone who takes great pleasure in putting thoughts out on the web-osphere, find themselves at a stumbling block every now and again.  I’ve been through just that, more than once actually, but this one really needed some careful consideration.   I’ve been in limbo-land a little since the split and I’ve been spending a bit of time trying to re-find myself.  I haven’t felt like writing my blog, I haven’t felt like tweeting much or even giving myself much time to get creative.  Which left me with a million half-finished projects, a whole head of ideas and a heap of anxiety over how to get on with things!  So when the opportunity arose for me and D to spend a week with my parents in sunny Somerset, where I grew up, I jumped at the chance to escape and regroup for a while.

It was the one thing I really needed, a change from the norm, a chance to catch up with my thoughts and start seriously thinking about putting plans into action. THE CAKE Mostly, it gave me the chance to just ‘be’ for a bit – something I really needed to do and need to do a lot more often than I do!  I spent some time catching up with my parents, cooking, hanging with the little one and my week even coincided with my best friend Rachel’s very last-minute visit from Australia – so we had a fab day out with our other bestie, Cat, enjoying the sites of Honiton, a lovely little village with indie shops a-plenty and a spectacular Boston Tea Party.  We caught up, we ate the world, got giddy staring through the window of the (sadly closed) bridal shop, from which Cat will soon be picking up her WEDDING DRESS and talked all things ‘baby’ – as Rachel is due to have her first baby in September.  My Mum very kindly took Daisy for the day, so it was lovely to hang out with the girls and be ‘myself’ for a bit – which isn’t so different, maybe a little more loose-tongued AND it does mean I can have full conversations without having to chase after or restrain a small person. Me, Cat, Rach Here we all are enjoying some rather indulgent cakes at the Boston Tea Party – this year we will have known each other for 12 years – we have survived many many deadlines, late nights, bad dates, good dates, love, loss, hundreds of nights on cheap alcohol, one trip around the world, one wedding, one turbulent 2/12 years in London and one rather huge, permanent move half way around the world!

I took advantage of the beautiful surroundings around where I grew up also, this week.  With my Mum at work on Thursday, and a little bit of inspiration from the lovely Sonia from Layoutlines, I took a long walk with Daisy along Dyers Lane in the warm weather – and the best thing?  I didn’t melt OR set on fire in the heat!

Swingbridge Cottage

Canal RightMy parent’s live on a lovely estate a little way out of Taunton and these beautiful scenes are situated just across the road from them, a gorgeous lane that crosses part of the Taunton to Bridgwater Canal.Daisy Canal  I used to walk home from my college bus this way and have always loved the quirky cottages that line the edge of the canal – the flowers and scenery looked so idyllic in the sunshine and I was instantly reminded of why I’ve always wanted to live in a cottage.  It gave me some great ideas for my little garden and made me resolve to make regular trips to the countryside too! Swan-age We stopped along the canal to watch the swans – D has just added ‘Duck’ to her vocabulary, then made our way back home for avocado on toast, with a much clearer head and a determination to kick life’s ass on my return to The Midlands.

Well I arrived back in Notts on Saturday afternoon, ready to get on with life.  I’m still taking each day, each week as it comes, I have long-term goals and short term goals – from Interior Decorating to Wardrobe Injections, staking my claim in the world of FICTION, Random Acts of Kindness and trips to the seaside!  Right now, I have a list of projects to finish, a little bit of #craftblogclub excitement AND some snail mail lovin to write!

Blue CottageI’m so grateful that people are still reading and enjoying Frugally Peachy, my blog is something I’m proud of and I want to continue to showcase my craft projects and write about my year without shopping on the High Street.  Thank you for sticking with me – I’m more determined that ever to make 2014 the best year yet – I hope you’ll continue to enjoy my journey!

FlowersStay Peachy x

What exactly MAKES the World’s Most Ethical Company??

Recently, Swedish brand H&M was awarded a ‘2014’s Most Ethical Company’ award.  I was surprised to hear this, especially since it came just a short while after yet another factory fire, in which H&M’s name was implicated.  So I decided to go a little further and research what, exactly, has made them the ‘Most Ethical’ Company this year?

If you have read my blog from its conception, you will be aware that one of the reasons I decided to sack off the High Street at the start of the year, was down to my sheer frustration with the inethical way in which High Street shops churn out low-quality clothing; whilst their factory workers are forced to work in dangerous conditions for, quite frankly, pittance.  It has long been an issue of mine and is something I wanted to raise here on Frugally Peachy, particularly with all the ‘hauls’ I often read on other blogs.  It has long grated on me that brands such as Primark can win ‘High Street Retailer of the Year’ awards, yet turn a blind eye to the plight of their Bangladeshi workers who have suffered at the hands of poor health and safety in one of their factories (that we know of).  Which is why I had to question the criteria behind H&M’s latest award because, whilst on the surface it may appear our favourite go to for vibrant print tunics and cute, washable, kids’ clothes is, in fact, ticking all our ethical boxes – the truth really isn’t that simple!

H&M have always stood me in great stead and, whilst I don’t shop there for myself during the Frugally Fabulous Year, it has always been my one stop shop for Daisy’s bits.  Why?  Aside from having really cute collections, I find H&M’s kids’ stuff is wearable and washes up really well.  It is one of the few brands whose clothes have stood the test of time (‘time’ being 3 or 6 months) and have still emerged, wash after wash, looking half decent after Daisy’s constant crawling, scraping and spilling.  Not only that, their cotton quality is organic in many cases and superior to other clothing brands AND everything is reasonably priced.  What’s not to love?  Then you hear about the factory business that has been, unsurprisingly, brushed under the carpet and it comes as a harsh reminder that us lucky folks who dwell in the Western world, really know nothing of HOW our clothes come to be so reasonable without compromising on quality.

H&M’s recent award for being ethically sound, has been awarded courtesy of Ethisphere, a research institute with a focus on ethical best practice and anti-corruption policies; supposedly there to sort the wheat from the chaff in terms of compliance, best practice and ethical verification.  Excellent.  Or so you may think.

When it comes to the Most Ethical award, Ethisphere award in several categories – from Chemicals to Banking, Retail to Food – companies that show best practice against the criteria set by the institute, are awarded for their efforts.  What surprised me at first, was that H&M was right up there in the retail sector…with GAP??

This led me straight to the criteria and scoring section of Ethisphere’s website – I mean, you’d have to be living in a cave not to know the hot water GAP found themselves in over their use of sweatshops.  And it was here, I found the very reason for why this award didn’t ‘sit quite right’ with me – throughout Ethisphere’s criteria, there was absolutely no consideration of the manufacturing process or labour, why not check for yourself here!

The truth, in fact, is that the page contains most of the jargon I’ve had to sit through during my 13 year unintentional retail career; practices, phrases and talks of compliance are sort of shoved on a page without really answering any questions.  I bored myself starting to type up my take on the existing criteria, so I figured you can read it at your leisure, carefully mapped out in nonsense for you!  So I guess, after all that, brands like H&M and GAP are sourcing organic cotton, a process which makes them more ethically viable than their cheaper counterparts.  World’s Most Ethical Companies?  Bullshit, I say.

In my opinion, an ethical company deserving of this award, would be one that could quite confidently map the journey of the clothes you purchase from them, from design process to shop, without the use of David Brent-style business speak to cover up a whole load of ‘necessary’ evils in the modern world.  I feel somewhat deceived at H&M winning this award, thought confident in the quality of their cotton, admittedly!  So why do I care?  Ultimately, this isn’t a post written to judge the shopping habits of anyone else, it just doesn’t sit right with me that we, here in the UK, wouldn’t get out of bed for 7p an hour, neither would we work our fingers to the bone, in dangerous conditions, because we had no choice but to do so – at the risk of losing their livelihood.  So why are we expecting other countries to do it for us?  Simply put, exploitation in the fashion industry exists, even though we can’t directly see or feel it.

It is often argued, in my circle of friends, that ‘everywhere’ uses sweatshops and, if you can’t beat them, then join them.  Taking on this challenge has, so far, proven to be more difficult as the year has gone on.  But news like this has made me even more determined to not hand over my money to companies, that are simply ignoring the plight of sweatshop workers – two wrongs don’t make a right, in my mind.  You can argue that disused Primark and H&M garments line the charity and secondhand shops that I’ve come to rely on during my Frugally Fabulous Year, not to mention the virtual shopping aisles of eBay and you’d be 100% right.  But at least, sacking off the High Street for my own wardrobe, I’m confident that my money isn’t going directly to fund brands that use sweatshops, a thoroughly unethical process in our modern world, in my opinion.

What do you think?  Do you think sweatshops are a problem?  Would you like to see more of this type of post on Frugally Peachy?

Thanks for taking the time to read this – your thoughts and opinions really do mean a lot!

 

Winners…and Little Steps

2014 listWell, as expected my blog has taken an unintentional break – I do hope you’re all still out there reading my drivel!  I intend to keep posting as often as possible, but, in light of recent events, I’ve come to the conclusion that setting myself little, weekly goals, is the key to both inevitable world literature domination AND getting through the next few months and the inevitable changes to our family.

Things are grand, really, since my ‘Conscious Uncoupling’.  Last week I ventured out to see one of my favourite local blues acts (hell, I’ve missed going out),  I’ve had the headspace to contemplate quite a bit and get my head down (hence the lack of posts), I’ve had some phenomenal support from friends and family and little D has adjusted really well to our new set-up.  There has been a lot of picture hanging, test-pot painting and LOADS of list-making – but not all blog-worthy at the moment!

Sometimes these little goals are all you need to kickstart things again though, I have two steaming, unfinished manuscripts to work on AND I’ve taken up an obsession with trying needle-felting.  I’m looking forward to a week in sleepy Somerset to catch up with my family and put a few more plans in action – home improvements, handmade gifts and, of course, our #CraftBlogClub challenges at the end of the month!  For now….I have a few WIPs, I shall share a little more later in the week!

hanging heart 1Today, I mostly wanted to announce the winners of my handmade giveaway for Mother’s Day.  It was lovely to see pictures of some of the Hanging Hearts my lovely readers made for Mother’s Day – my Mum loved hers and I’m so glad you guys enjoyed the tutorial!  Well, as promised, I have TWO knitted hearts to give away and the winners are….

ELLIE AINDOW and SARAH CLARKE!

Please drop me an email with your addresses and I’ll get your hearts shipped out in the next few days!  Congratulations!

Well I guess that’s about it for now – wishing you all a Happy Hump Day and I look forward to catching up with some of my favourite blogs (one of those little goals) and showing you my needle felting progress soon!

Stay Peachy x

Have you checked out my blog sale?  I’m having a clearout and there are loads of bargains to be had – check out the page HERE