Monday, 9 September 2013

The Dragon Awakens

Oh my goodness I am scared of China!

I recently watched Red Obsession at the cinema.

It is a documentary about the desire for sheer luxe that is virally spreading among China’s elite; an exclusive group of billionaires who indulge in adorning themselves with western-style symbols of wealth.

The latest status symbol to be seen with is a multi-million pound bottle of first-growth Chateau Latour or Lafite-Rothschild red. Indeed, whereas Bordeaux chateau owners and western wine drinkers associate wine taste with the terroir, the area in which the grape was grown, aka the LAND, the Chinese are more concerned with the BRAND.

And it doesn’t stop there. Apparently there are now almost 300 recorded billionaires in China, up from 1 a decade ago. And even then, this is said to be the tip of the iceberg, with much ‘hidden wealth’ in China.

They are not only amassing personal collections of (mainly Bordeaux) wines with a value of $60 million per individual, but they are purchasing the actual centuries-old Bordeaux chateaux, or even creating replica chateaux in their homeland complete with extensive vineyards.

Dominic Barton, the Global Head of McKinsey & Co. recently reported that with the rise of Africa and Asia, we are going to have 3 billion new middle class consumers in the world by 2030. He predicts that about 75 new Proctor & Gamble sized corporations will need to be developed just to service their daily needs and wants.

Like Barton, I believe that regardless of the size of the company or clientele that they service, businesses need to retain their social licence to operate. Of course, whilst China’s wealth is growing enormously in some sectors, the net earnings of the vast majority of China’s population remains much, much lower.

The scale of this shocks me. And leads me to believe that we actually need to re-think the entire global consumer system, at both quotidian and luxury level, to meet the needs of all people into the future.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

I am a girl

I am a girl is a documentary really worth watching if you can get to a screening or set up your own.

Made independently in Australia, it follows six girls aged around 16 from very different backgrounds around the world. The documentary is beautifully made and is very powerful as a result.

There are various issues highlighted including family planning, poverty, domestic violence, prostitution, female education, cyber bullying and depression. Of course, these issues are not exclusive to girls, however they are particularly impactful for girls during their transition to adulthood and these girls create a poignant and emotional link to worlds otherwise unbeknown to us.

In addition, various gender and microfinance studies have shown that it is female entrepreneurs in developing countries who can make a positive difference to themselves, their family and communities. If it is the man in the family who earns or is in charge of the money, it is less likely to benefit others in the same way. For this reason it is particularly important that young girls are given the right opportunities to lead them to fulfil their potential.

One thing I picked up was that, up to a point, the level of freedom of choice that you have and the level of control that you have over the situations you are put in is not necessarily correlated with your happiness. Many of the girls had overcome circumstances that many of us would deem as extremely challenging, but had made a choice to come through it and were happy and striving for greater things as a consequence.

I say up to a point because the girl depicted in what is arguably the worst situation probably needs to get out of that situation before she can be truly happy. Kimsey in Cambodia, who sells her body to pay for her mother's medicine and has an abusive partner whom she has a baby with, is sadly just one girl of many thousands in similar situations.

After the first Sydney viewing of I am a girl, I asked the director of the documentary what her hope is for the tangible actions that will come of it. She responded that beyond merely raising awareness which in itself can create change, there is a 'Do Something' tab on the website where you can directly donate to charities related to each issue highlighted, and here it is.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Tavi's Big Big World

I'll admit that the first time I looked at Tavi Gevinson's blog was this afternoon, on my phone, sat on the steps of the Sydney Opera House, waiting for my friends.

From 2.30pm and for the next hour and a half we heard 17 year old Tavi's musings on life through her own eyes- through, I discovered, the eyes of an extremely self aware, bright, quick witted, considered, deep and critical thinker.

What I knew of Tavi prior to this amazing talk and interview was that she had started a fashion blog called The Style Rookie aged 11 and for some reason it was picked up by the creative directors of several international fashion houses. I recall seeing images of a very small, timid looking creature, sat on the front row of most designer shows, or engulfed by the arms of Karl Lagerfeld who quickly named Tavi his NBFF.

Turns out that between now and then, Tavi has grown in her style and broadened her thinking to global ideas, which include fashion, but also many other things. Aged 15 she started the widely-popular online mag Rookie and has spoken for TED.

Tavi is a feminist and a Fangirl. The latter, I believe, refers to a girl who is a fan of something or someone like a building, image, event, pop group, an artist, poet, brand, philosopher, astrophysicist, inventor or museum curator. 

What I like about her ownership of the positive side of the admiration of others is her learning that "it is OK if your own creativity is the sum of what you admire in your heroes". In other words, it is OK to not be entirely unique, innovative and original every second of every day. It is in fact fairly difficult to write something completely new; you have to use a selection of words that are already in existence unless you wanted to make words up, but then it would not make sense to the reader. You should not be scared to try, just because your heroes said and did awesome things before you.

Tavi says "heroes are human and you have a place next to them".

In line with this view, Tavi referenced someone else's work and suggested we view Pressure, Power and Punk Rock.

Indeed, over that hour and a half I came to know Tavi as somewhat of a guru on how to live your life. She does not subscribe to the conventional idea of success, rather she argues that "it is about what's important to you. You'll get there eventually so take it easy on yourself". 

She also advised to think carefully about how you spend your time, because even wasting time online, over time, adds up and starts to become a part of you. For this the remedy is to rid yourself of the 'band-aid' solutions associated with the instant gratification of Facebook likes and similar and to do things you really enjoy.

One of my favourite Tavi quotes was: "who you are is not made up of how others see you, it is how you see the world". Of course, that is probably an amalgamation of quotes from her own heroes.

Tavi champions learning to love uncertainty and embracing your ignorance of some areas of the world. She advices allowing yourself to change. Things influence us in different ways during those moments of change. The magic you first felt from reading your favourite poem does not come from the words on the page but from the link you made within yourself to what you were reading and experiencing at that time in your life.

She also referenced that some things in life are more mystical from afar. I do not support the notion that daydreaming is always more satisfying than real experience, however I can see that some things probably appear more glamorous before you experience them in reality.

I think Tavi is brilliant. That I want to say foremost because I am also aware that I have made some amateur psychoanalytical comments below, none of which are meant as criticism. Tavi herself was honest enough to reveal that last November she was diagnosed with depression. This she describes as horrible and not feeling good enough or worthy enough, but at least she felt she could now only partly ironically celebrate being a 'tormented artist'.

Afterward a friend offered that perhaps she is so brilliant because she is in fact autistic. Tavi did make several references to enjoying being on her own. I really relished her honesty when she said it was great being invited to the front row of Chanel, Dior and the like, but because of all the hype and people around she actually preferred to appreciate fashion at home online or through looking in magazines. It is possible of course that she has some of the characteristics of someone who has aspergers syndrome, but even if she is slightly on the autistic spectrum then I think she is certainly high in functioning. Equally, she is probably right that many fashion shows are actually less about fashion and more about who said what about who.

When asked how she juggles school, managing teams of people at her online magazine and travelling the world for events like today at the Opera House, Tavi claims she has simply stopped procrastinating (which, she explains, for her was spending time online and being jealous of people). Everything she does is of value to where she is going, including allowing herself time to rest in front of the TV sometimes.

When questioned about the weight of her responsibilities she was honest and admitted that she does feel the pressure to perform now that she is in the pubic eye, as well as the pressure of ensuring that her own impressionable Fangirls are given insightful and inspiring reads on Rookie. 

A slightly obsessive side of Tavi was shown when she spoke of her journal writing where she has written out song lyrics and highlighted similar words then colour-coded them. In one case, when she chose to highlight words associated with light (for example, headlight, glow, lightening), Tavi produced call cards for each type of light she found and stuck them on her wall with references to each song and band that mentioned them. The good thing is that she is able to channel this obsessive behaviour positively and creatively. She enjoys showcasing things that she loves in a variety of ways.

If you are ever feeling as though the world is short of wonder, or if it is in fact full of wonder but you are losing the ability to see it, Tavi advises that you not only stay open and connected, but that you search for that wonder. A fan of someone or something is open, loves things and wants to feel connected. I am now a fan of Tavi.

Having entered the auditorium largely unaware of what the originally mousey-haired girl (with pudding-bowl hair cut, large bow on her head and jam jar glasses- although she now has a more sophisticated blonde bob) was all about, I left thoroughly intrigued as to what she will do next. 

Is Tavi the future of journalism, as Lady GaGa says?

Tavi answered one question: "All I am saying is that I have a folder entitled 'World Domination' on my desktop..."

However, she later went on to acknowledge that sometimes we can have too much big picture thinking and we need to focus closer to home for a while.

Having had the privilege of listening to the way that Tavi articulates her thought processes when answering often complex questions, I have no doubt that she has the potential to be a great future leader. She has been heralded as a child prodigy compared to the likes of Kate Bush and even Mozart and I started to believe that she is (was- she is certainly well into her teens now and is wiser beyond those years). My prediction is that she will study PPE at Oxford, or a similar subject closer to home in the US, before either setting up a social enterprise similar to TOMS shoes, or entering into politics. Naturally I hope that she will use her gifts as a writer and leader to do something awesome for the world.

So there you go. In the spirit of Tavi herself, I am writing (in an obsessively long way) about someone that I think is fantastic. Like Tavi's big, big world, all of our big, big worlds are made up of little things like memories and insights from those we admire. Sharing these with other people is what is important.

Monday, 22 July 2013

Frostbite 25 times?!


It is getting pretty chilly here in Sydney but I am not talking about me with the frostbite thing!

I am talking about the amazing, globally renowned National Geographic photojournalist and conservationist Paul Nicklen.

Paul works mainly in the Arctic Circle and is passionate about taking beautiful images that speak to environmental causes, images that will draw people into a story.

Check out his new Sea Legacy organisation and gorgeous images on instagram.

This weekend I listened with an open mouth and unblinking eyes to his talesof adventure at the Sydney Opera House and was blown away by the risks he takes to get the perfect wildlife shot!

Paul has been knocked out by emperor penguins flying out of the water, has crashed a sea plane and has had hypothermia after spending over an hour diving with whales at 40m depth in below freezing temperatures.

Although he frequently falls through the ice, his worst moment was when he really did plunge ‘into the icy realms’ and fell through the middle of two rolling icebergs each the size of a car. He grabbed the rope attached to his sled as he fell and became trapped underwater, which dislocated his shoulder. Luckily a local hunter pulled him out before he had ran out of breath. Despite it taking two hours to pop his shoulder back in again, he was grinning the whole time as they had just got some incredible narwhal images that they had been waiting for over two months for. The 'long wait' is not uncommon and includes camping in a very cold tent and eating raw mutton and seal meat that is kept cold and cured by the outside saltwater air.

I loved Paul’s story of a leopard seal trying to make friends with him by repeatedly offering penguins for him to eat, and attempting to force feed him when he did not eat them.

During his fantastic talk, I learnt about how ring seals are the only animal to give birth actually in the ice and are crucial to the polar ecosystem. The ice is like an inverted garden with 300 species of microorganisms contained in it. Polar bears also need ice to live and are the best animal to use to communicate about sea ice melting as we as humans can relate to the personas captured in their faces.

When you are staring into the face of a 15-20m bowhead whale that was born in 1760 (!), Paul states that “you’re looking at art, science and conservation”. This incredible creature has survived the industrial revolution, whaling and world wars, but now its biggest threat is sea ice loss.

I was reminded that the speed of sea ice melt accelerates because the albedo of water is lower than the highly reflective ice, so as there is more melt and therefore more water, more of the sun’s heat is attracted to the area, melting any ice there much faster.

Paul, I applaud you for your bravery in pursuit of communicating messages of environmental degradation to the world. I truly hope that your hard work helps speed up global climate change mitigation processes and preventative actions against sea ice melt.

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Indigenous Talent in Australia

We have come to the end of NAIDOC week, but the work to improve the lives of the indigenous population continues.

For my latest article in Ethical Corporation on overcoming the challenges of sustainable Australian indigenous employment, Part 2 in a two-part indigenous talent series, I had the pleasure of speaking with Sean Armistead.

“Where’s your mob from?” is a question regularly asked to Sean, the Indigenous Employment Programme Manager at Crown in Melbourne, the largest leisure complex in Victoria. With ‘mob’ referring to one’s extended family in Australian Aboriginal English, Sean usually responds that his mother is from an old traditional station in South East Australia called (Potaruwutj) Padthaway. 

When talking to Sean, his passion for improving the prospects of not only his mob but the wider Australian Indigenous community shines through and his own story led him to this. When Sean finished school and up until the age of 26 he went from job to job. Whilst he built up a broad skillset, he was harbouring much larger ambitions. However, Sean quickly came to realise that there was not enough help available to connect such life aims with jobs.

After studying law and commerce, Sean co-founded the not-for-profit CareerTrackers, which aims to help create career pathways for Indigenous university students through structured internship programs. The best thing about it, says Sean, is that it emphasises the individual and what they want to do in life.

This kind of passion is taking Sean to great places: he is currently running for election in Melbourne.

Saturday, 13 July 2013

A Royal Baby Girl?

As we excitedly await the arrival of a British bundle of joy, I would like to stick my neck out there and predict that the baby will be a girl.

If the privileged baby is a girl, she will be born into a developed society where she can potentially become queen one day, where the fight for equal rights for the sexes continues, but where much progress has been made. She will be expected to undertake public duties including engaging in philanthropic and community-based development.

My hope is that she (or he, if it is a boy), will feel compelled to support women in less privileged positions.

Earlier this week I went to a fantastic talk organised by UN Women and the Australian Institute of International Affairs- the first in a Youth Event series. A wonderful and truly inspiring young woman of only 25 years old named Preethi Sandaram spoke of her two years volunteering through Indicorps in a village of just 25 houses on the Indo-Pakistani boarder.

Like Preethi, I have seen how some women live in developing countries through my three months volunteering with Raleigh International in Borneo. For one third of that time I was part of a team installing taps in remote village houses so that everyone in the village could benefit from clean, fresh drinking water from a gravity-fed water filter system. All of the village men worked in palm oil plantations during the day, leaving their wives at home to cook, clean and look after their (often many) children. A few weeks into the project, we discovered a situation where a male village elder was taking advantage of the fact that these women were on their own at home during the day without their husbands around. He had been threatening them with a perang (a large knife), demanding that they pay him a week’s worth of their husbands wages if they wanted a tap installed. Of course, this was dealt with as soon as it was discovered. It was explained to all villagers that no one was to be victimised in such a way and that everyone could have a tap for free.

This gender discrimination that I experienced was small-fry compared to Preethi’s experience in a small Indian village. In her hour-long talk she described how women barely left their homes at all and certainly did not leave the village. The biggest barrier to their movement in this post-conflict area was the high threat of violence- especially sexual violence. Over the two years that Preethi was there, four rapes, including one gang rape occurred. Speaking to the village women, she discovered that ‘domestic violence’ was not a concept that they understood there, because it was so much the norm.

Baby girls born into that village are certainly not Royal Babies.

Baby girls born into that village are born into a society where women have a very low status; growing up as young girls they cannot go to school for the risk of attack, cannot be seen out and certainly cannot be seen interacting with males. Another factor is that the village is a known through-way for heroin from Afghanistan- a country that produces around 90% of the world’s heroin. Many village men are addicts, or alcoholics. Drug smuggling is one of the highest paid industries men can be in (much better paid than taxi driving) so the young village boys have that as their greatest aspiration.

Preethi’s work and level of dedication are nothing short of incredible. During her two years (which in itself is unbelievably impressive), she set up many schemes to alleviate some of the issues faced there. At the age of 23 and undertaking the project work largely alone, Preethi established a new education system where boys and girls could learn key subjects and sports together. Preethi also established a new fashion business using the village women’s existing sewing skills. For the latter, Preethi worked hard to set up bank accounts for these women (which took three months in itself) and to negotiate with the women’s husbands so that they could be allowed to travel into the next town to buy textiles and to sell their garments. Her schemes have gone from strength to strength and have made a huge positive difference.

With regards to the rapes (this was the most shocking part of Preethi’s story for me), work is being done to encourage women to report them, for example through having more female police officers and educating both male and female officers in handling rape cases appropriately.

Of course, this village is just one of many facing similar difficulties not only in India but across other post-conflict areas around the globe.

My message to the British Royal Baby, male or female, is: "Welcome! The world is beautiful. Please, as you grow and learn about our world, make use of your privileged position to help alleviate the pain felt by less privileged women and girls around the world".

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Alota Baloney

I was recently pleasantly surprised to be ironically inspired by a rather spirited yet somewhat evil lady named Alota Baloney.

This was during the Fish Detectives sea lion show at Sea World on the Gold Coast. Having been told upon enquiry at the front desk that a big fat zero of my $90 (yes $90!) entry fee was going towards marine conservation projects, I took a little bit of comfort in knowing that hundreds of families per day are being exposed to the environmental message of the sea lion show.

Please stop reading now if you are about to visit Sea World on the Gold Coast and don't want the Fish Detectives story spoilt! Alota Baloney is a sneaky mafia-style business woman who is found to be overfishing the local harbour in order to make more and more money for her fish business. In summary, upon capture by the Fish Detectives, Alota Baloney is offered an ultimatum: go to jail, or shut down her business and set up a fish sanctuary in the harbour to replenish the now dwindling fish stocks. Happily and obviously she chooses the latter.

Thankfully Sea World does have a Research and Rescue Foundation, which focuses upon scientific research. I just spoke to a representative who said that the Foundation funding does actually come from Sea World corporation- whose funds come through the gate entry fees. The only other ways to donate are by sending a cheque or by dropping cash into several boxes around the Sea World park.

Whilst the sea lion show represents a fun way to become aware about the problem of overfishing, it does carry with it a hugely important message because overfishing is a global phenomenon that can be stopped. If you would like to learn Alota more (sorry) about overfishing, please see Greenpeace and who can explain it Alota more (sorry again) eloquently than I.

Undress Brisbane

My UB bow seeing the sites- the Brisbane wheel.

Undress Brisbane is a very sexy sustainable fashion show that takes place in- you've guessed it- Brisbane, Australia. Now in its third year, on 13 October 2013 the city will be awash with all things excellent and ethical from hot-right-now designers such as Rachael Cassar and Holloway Eyewear. This year the spectacle promises to be even more marvellous and magical.

The concept behind Undress is that if you don't know where your clothes or accessories were made or what they are made from, you should take them off! Check out some of the beautiful videos on their website.

I was recently lucky enough to meet with Edda and Anna from the hardworking UB team and following our meeting they kindly gave me an iconic UB bow! This bow can be worn as a bow tie (as in #bowtieforbranson- check it out!) or a hair clip. It is made from pre-loved materials, natch. Thank you Edda and Anna!

My UB bow came with me to Banana Lounge for an organic lunch.

My UB bow having a sunbathe.

More to come re UB soon...

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Reef Brief

Having very recently dived the beautiful Great Barrier Reef, I feel compelled to let you know that you can help stop harmful dredging in the area by taking 30 seconds to sign this Greenpeace petition.

Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Happy Wed-day

No I haven't got a cold and yes it is a Wednesday but I am talking about WED: World Environment Day!

WED has a pretty funky and informative website which I would urge you to take a look at- especially the activities to do.

Thursday, 30 May 2013


One of my 'must do's during my time here in Australia was to learn more about the indigenous population; their fascinating history as well as what the current situation is.

Thank you to Jacqueline Minney for helping me achieve this. I interviewed Jacqueline, a Yamatji Malgana woman from Western Australia and Director of consultancy Opportunities Without Boundaries, to help produce my most recent article for Ethical Corporation on indigenous talent.

The work that is being done is great, but many improvements can still be made and it is events like National Reconciliation Week (this week!) highlight that.

If you enjoy reading the above article, then rest assured there is a 'part 2', including input from another indigenous employment expert, to be published on Ethical Corp trĂ©s soon.

Image above from Australian Geographic.

Friday, 24 May 2013

Sassy & Bide

Australian label Sass & Bide are sassy today. They are engaging in inclusive business activities in Nairobi, having joined the International Trade Centre’s Ethical Fashion Initiative.  The Initiative seeks to provide fashion supply chain workers with fair wages, training and ultimately sustainable employment enabling an enhancement of quality of life.

For luxury fashion brands, ethical production is certainly achievable. In the wake of disastrously fatal factory fires/collapses in Bangladesh, the hope is that more of the high street fashion labels will take action and not only the likes of Stella McCartney and Sass & Bide. 

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Making good use of the things that we find

(/are given)...

Whilst wombling around the place t'other day my neighbour bestowed on me a ripe ol' bundle of limes fresh from his tree- he simply had too many!

"Well, we can't let those go to waste", said I. And thus it began...would you believe that those very limes became lime marmalade and a lime and pistachio cake?

Oh and of course a few slices went very nicely with Coronas/white wine sangria. Living like the wonderful people at #growitlocal who fed TEDx Sydney yesterday.

I once came up with a new idea for a We Are What We Do Action, and I think this illustrates it beautifully: 'make too much of something'. In this case it is 'grow too much of something'- that way, you will have to share your fruitful delights! I did in the end make 'too much' lime and pistachio cake, which enabled the feeding of many, many hungry bellies.

That is the end of this short tale.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Swapsies in Patagonia

Laura and I tagging up clothes as people came through the door

This Tuesday evening's swish went swimmingly well as hoards of people turned up to central Sydney to swap their fashion items, accessories and outdoor wear.

A fashionable way to save landfill space, clothes swapping events are also incredibly sociable. Over a glass of wine, people shared their clothing stories, which they wrote on tags attached to each item. Here are some interesting ones:

“This knows a lot of the bars and nightclubs of France”
A pre-loved Patagonia hat: "summited Denali in Alaska May 24 2011"
"Winter bag for the impending colder days"
 “This went to Colombia!”
“Too little for me L enjoy J !”
“Skirt from Boston”
“Bought and worn once. Deserves a better home x”
“From the Big Apple”
“Handmade dress found in the treasure troves of Sydney”
 “This has raced up Austrian mountains”

There was a gilet labelled as someone’s granpa’s favourite old top, a pair of trousers that had been up Everest and a cardigan labelled as “I met my husband wearing this!” These beautiful and inspiring stories added to the feeling that clothes are things that should be built to last and should be treasured. Of course, should you ever get bored of them, they can be swapped! 

 Making more tags for the incoming items: cream (fashion items), red (designer or new with tags), blue (outdoor wear)
Helen Spoor and Tom (Patagonia) spreading the good word of clothes swapping

Thank you to Patagonia for providing a great venue for the clothes swap. It was very handy to have an existing shop environment, rails, shelves and changing rooms to showcase the items! Thank you to Helen Spoor- the main organiser- and to my fellow ‘helper outers’ for doing a spiffing job.

There are a few more great images of the night out there on Becky’sblog and Bethan’s instagram.

Having a mingle and a browse

I came away with a lovely new (to me) skirt, which I can wear to work and which is also both smart and cool enough to wear to a jazz club this evening- perfect!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Swish Sydney Fashion

On the evening of Tuesday 23 April (this coming Tuesday), SWISHING hits Sydney!

Swishing, aka clothes swapping, is fast becoming the most attractive thing to be doing on a week night.

You know the date, now here are the details (also on the facebook page):

Location: Patagonia, 93 Bathurst Street, Sydney NSW 2000

Time: 6.30-9pm (clothes drop-off deadline 7pm)

What to bring: Bring up to 3 items of quality clothing. This includes fashion items, or adventure gear if you have any. Clothes include jackets, trousers, dresses, skirts (no tees). Accessories (bags, belts, scarfs, hats) and shoes also fit the bill!

Cost: Free

Added benefits: A drink or two and entertainment.

Clothes at the end: It is likely that someone will find your items valuable and you will find another treasure for yourself in return (you don't have to swap one for one as all clothes are handed in together so that you can browse and select from all items handed in). However, if any of your clothes are left over, you can take them home again or there will be the option to give the items to a local charity on the night.

Every great item of clothing has a story to tell. A jacket that’s trekked the himalayas, or a pair of shoes that have wanted to keep dancing when your feet just can’t any more. 

Join us for our first Sydney Swish and celebrate our love of quality clothing.

Bring along an item you’d be proud to pass onto someone else, and get another one completely free in return!

Drop your clothes off anytime between 6:30pm-7:00pm, grab a drink, check out the entertainment, and get ready for the Swish to start! Guys and gals welcome!

Saturday, 30 March 2013

A rather racy get-up

We had a marvellous day at the Rosehill Ladies' Day races in Sydney recently- who doesn't love horsing about, quaffing bubbly and pretending that you chose to put all your money on 'Rock N Roll' because of all those technical codes and predictions you knew about and not because of the cool name...

But most of all, especially on Ladies' Day, we love the FASHION!

My top and skirt are from the 'nearly new' (an exciting way of saying second-hand) 'Shop A' The Top' in Top O The Steps, Modbury, South Devon. I have had them for a few years now.

My fascinator is borrowed from a kindly neighbour in the spirit of collaborative consumption.

My lovely handbag is from Paper Dress Vintage in Shoreditch, London. Again, it has been a treasure of mine and had a lot of use for a good few years.

I was out there representing SLOW and sexy fashion, which in my opinion, is far better than new and cheap and makes anyone a WINNER!

So fresh, so sexy

New season, new wardrobe?

Not so...

Check out my latest ethical fashion advice via Indigo Bazaar.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

This girl is super cute

Stumbled across the most magical blog of Rosalind Jana- Clothes, Cameras and Coffee.

She has a classic beauty, the clothes are wonderful, she has the same name as me and is also from the British countryside.

I especially love this blog post about ethical fashion, including her excellent contribution to Eco Age's Fru-Gal and an interview with eco chic extraordinaire Lucy Siegle.

I am thoroughly impressed, applaud you and urge you to keep going with the ethical fashion side of things Rosalind!

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Nice to MEAT you

Here in Australia we are two days into meat free week.

And I have eaten meat.

Both yesterday and today.

But wait! Before you yell “EPIC FAIL” or other rude things, I would like to make a few points.

Firstly, the meat was already cooked last week and would have gone to waste otherwise.

Secondly, like a lot of the international days and weeks that are now in existence, whilst it is great if you are able to fully commit and partake, the actual aim is to raise awareness and potentially change some behaviours in the longer term.

It isn’t just a week of a few vegetarians saying ‘it’s meat free week!’ Nor, realistically, is this week alone going to make a huge amount of measurable difference to the carbon emitted globally in meat production, the obesity levels in Australia or the actual, physical and shocking animal welfare issues faced across the meat industry (this campaign is focusing on factory farming).

However, what meat free week IS doing do is putting a label on something that we take for granted (having meat on our plates, from somewhere or other) and highlighting some of the things that we may not have previously thought about. And that CAN make a difference that stretches way beyond the week.

As it says on the website:

“So, after Meat Free Week is over, we're hoping you'll do two things:
1.       Commit to eating less meat, thereby reduce the demand for factory farming, take the pressure off our environment and improve your health
2.       When you do eat meat, make the choice to buy/eat meat this is ethically produced and sourced”

With regards to point 1, start by having one or two days per week when you don’t eat any meat. True meat-lovers are rarely convinced by messages such as ‘try these great vege recipes, they are simply delicious’, but I would honestly urge those people to try, as they may be surprised! I am a great believer that living a more sustainable life should not mean that you have to go without- and these as well as many, many other vegetarian and even vegan recipes are certainly not lacking in taste, texture or nutritional value.

With point 2, cost is often an issue. Take baby steps towards this commitment by starting with one meat item that is free-range/organic and locally-sourced in your basket per week.

You may find that you actually prefer to eat ethically-produced meat after that as it can taste better and have a better quality when you know the animal was treated fairly.