A Few More Valentine Gift Ideas

And so January is finally over. Did a month ever feel so long? I’m pretty sure it had at least 70 days, and that almost all of them were dismal. But now, thank goodness, it is finally February, a short month of pancakes, half term, love, and the knowledge that Spring is really not that far away.

I’m continuing with my look towards February 14th, which is, of course, St Valentine’s Day, and bring you a few more gift ideas if you are still stuck for what to get for your most beloved. This post features jewellery, toiletries and alcohol, all of which I would be most happy to receive myself, and hopefully may help you if you are still struggling for ideas. Every gift featured is under £30, just in case you are having a frugal February, and come with pretty packaging which means you can save on paper and gift bags.

Enjoy!

Jewellery From Hersey and Son

Jewellery is a bit of a no brainer when it comes to Valentine’s Day, but rather than opt for something large and ostentatious that will only be worn on special occasions, opt for something that will be loved and cherished, but can also be worn every day.

Hersey & Son is one of the few remaining traditional silversmiths in the UK. Set up by Stewart’s Father in 1955, all of their pieces are still manufactured by hand in their London workshop and have been a trade secret for the last 60 years. Including sterling silver tableware, photo frames, wine coasters and now men and women’s jewellery. 95% of the collection can be engraved making them lovely personal gifts. Hersey and Son have a beautiful range that should suit all tastes, and my current favourite, and number one pick has to be the Sterling Silver Star pendant that is a wonderful gift idea for the star in your life.

I love that you can wear this as a simple star, or can add an initial charm or a birthstone charm to build up the look. It is also available in two chain lengths, which I think is also a great idea when it comes to matching someone’s personal style and taste. The necklace also comes beautifully gift boxed, far belying the fact that the necklace is now less than £25.

Humble Natural Beauty Hand Wash and Hand Lotion

If you have a loved one who is a fan of natural beauty, then I would recommend the lovely hand wash and hand soap duo from Humble Beauty, the new range from television presenter Kate Humble. The set, available from Hayes Garden World, is part of a range of natural and biodegradable bath and beauty products.

The fragrance, which is sweet pea and Verbena is fresh and lingering, and leaves the hands feeling really soft. This would work as a pampering product, or could be something that you keep in the kitchen for keen cooks or gardeners. At less than £20 it is another affordable gift that is also thoughtful and beautifully presented.

Blood Orange Vodka from Il Gusto – The Theatre of Taste

Il Gusto have some amazing bottled spirits which can be totally personalised and are perfect for your Valentine. The spirits include flavoured vodka, brandy, gin and rum, as well as balsamic vinegar, cooking oils and salad dressings.

For Valentine’s day, you can opt for a heart shaped bottle that can then be filled with the spirit of your choice (in my case Blood Orange Vodka – as amazing as it sounds.) The bottle can then be personalised with a message of your choice, and you can also opt for complimentary gift wrapping, and decide if you want an ornamental style stopper for your bottle.

This is such a lovely gift idea for a connoisseur of spirits, and of course it is something you can also share on Valentine’s eve, perhaps as a night cap after a lovely meal.

 

 

 

Fashion Icons Who Support Sustainable Style

With London Fashion Week in full flow, it is sometimes hard to believe that an industry that is perceived to be shallow and vanity based can also be doing something good for the planet. But the 21st Century has seen the rise of recycling, re-using and sustainability when it comes to all areas of our shopping lives, and that includes fashion. We re-use out plastic carrier bags, or better style buy an eco bag, we look for organic cottons and fabrics, and there has been a push to buy British to reduce our carbon footprint. Even the most stylish of fashion parties can now be environmentally friendly, with companies like Little Cherry providing biodegradable cutlery and tableware and party supplies in the UK’.

When it comes to fashion Icons, there are a few ladies who lead the way when it comes to caring for the planet. From embracing veganism, to showcasing sustainable design on the red carpet, these ladies show that you can look amazing without it being at a cost to the planet.

Livia Firth

When it comes to sustainable fashion, Liiva Firth is the queen of the Red Carpet. using each event to launch a green carpet assault. This years Met Gala saw her wearing a dress made from pineapple leaves, a by product of the pineapple harvest. She is also one of the founders of Eco Age, which advises big brands on how they can improve their practices to make them more environmentally friendly and sustainable.

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney is one of fashion’s most eco conscious names. The designer, and brand, are vegetarian, and produce a wide range of vegetarian, non leather bags as a real alternative to luxury designer leather goods. The dress worn above by Livia Firth is a Stella design using organic silk, once again as part of the green carpet challenge. Stella has said about her designs:-

I design clothes that are meant to last. I believe in creating pieces that are not going to get burnt, that are not going to landfills and that are not going to damage the environment.

Natalie Portman

Natalie Portman was one of the first high profile names to show that veganism could also be applied to the red carpet. She helped to bring vegan shoe brand Beyond Skin to the forefront as a beautiful brand that showed that red carpet shoes did not have to be leather or suede, and then created her own line of vegan shoes, explaining that:-

“As a vegan, it’s been challenging finding designer shoes made of alternative materials. This collection offers a great selection without compromising quality or style.”

Even if designer labels and collaborations are out of your price range, it is easier than ever to buy into the sustainable fashion message. Charity shops and vintage fashion allow us to reuse and recycle our wardrobes, whilst there are more brands like Gudrun Sjoden who use organic fabrics and look to supporting projects in the developing world that show fashion can be a force for good.

What are your thoughts on sustainable fashion?

 

Fashion With A Heart – Shoes By Shaherazad

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Fashion is often considered to be vacuous, to be all about appearance with very little substance behind it. But sometimes you come across a brand that is aiming to change lives too. Shoes by Shaherazad is doing just that, one step at a time. The ethos of the brand, the brainchild of Shaherazad Umbreen,  is all about empowering women through fashion, both by creating beautiful and elegant heels that can be worn for 18 hours as women work and frankly kick ass without having to sacrifice their femininity and style, but the brand also seeks to empower women and girls living in poverty through the ‘Solidarity by Shaherazad’ programme.

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The idea behind ‘The Eighteen Hour Heel’ is fantastic, a godsend to anyone who has to stand on their feet for long periods of time, and yet still loves the look and feel of wearing heels. Shaharazad has looked at the elegance and grace of flamingos, able to balance on one leg for long periods of time, and has created a shoe which distributes the body weight so that the shoes are comfortable and wearable for much longer periods of time than the average shoe. Another design feature that makes them wearable for 18 hours is that they can be transformed from an elegant, no-nonsense court shoe for day wear, to a beautifully embellished evening shoe through the addition of ‘slip on shoellery’. All this, and they are British made too.

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But I think the really exciting part of purchasing a pair of heels from Shoes by Shaherazad is the philanthropic element, knowing that your shoes are actually making a difference to the life of women and girls around the world.  The ‘Solidarity by Shaherazad’ programme, working in collaboration with Global Giving, directly funds projects that provide sustainable futures for girls, through work and education. Currently women have been empowered in countries such as Kenya, Peru, Pakistan and Palestine. As Shaherazad explains:- “These are heels which have the power to do good and make many women and girls happy.”

Beautiful shoes with a conscience. This can only be a brilliant idea.