holidays

An Eco-Friendly Gift Guide For 2019

It’s time for another festive gift guide! This list is all about gifts that are sustainable, recycled or eco-friendly in some way.

I know I’ve got some eco items on my Christmas list this year, so I thought I’d share some of my favourites that might inspire you, whether shopping for a loved one or looking to treat yourself (or both!).

BATOKO Lobster Swimsuit, £50

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While the entire collection of recycled plastic swimsuits from BATOKO are brilliant and stylish, the vegan-friendly brand recently partnered with the National Lobster Hatchery in Padstow, Cornwall who will release a baby lobster back into the sea for every one of these swimsuits bought. A double win!

 

TALA Activewear, from £25

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The second of influencer Grace Beverley’s three successful business ventures, six-month-old TALA aims to create not just sustainable but stylish and inclusive activewear. Their products are almost entirely upcycled (from plastic bottles and factory offcuts) with completely recycled and recyclable packaging.  Their tops and bottoms are on-trend and suit all figures so make a great gift for the sporty person in your life.

 

BECO Soaps, from £2.50

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Made in Britain, BECO soap bars, shampoo bars, and soap bottles are 97% organic and 100% eco-friendly, vegan, cruelty-free and hypoallergenic. One of the best things about BECO is that 80% of their staff are disabled when over a million disabled people are out of work, and the brand is encouraging other businesses to do the same. BECO’s products make a great stocking filler and are available in Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Co-op, and Boots.

 

KeepCup, from £10

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KeepCups have been around for a decade, and are probably one of the most popular ecofriendly brands about. That being said, they are a fantastic brand who are still working incredibly hard to spread change by providing products to cafes going plastic-free, or larger scale companies hoping to reduce wastage. I prefer the glass cups, but they have a huge range of products in a variety of colours – you can even customise a cup with someone’s favourite colours.

 

Face Halo Makeup Remover, from £7

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I got a pack of Face Halo pads for Christmas last year, and I haven’t had to use a cotton pad since. If you know anyone who wears makeup (and I’m certain you do), then this is an easy win. Available online or from stores like Boots, these reusable makeup remover pads are washable; not just a rinse under the tap after use, but can actually be put in the wash. They can be washed up to 200 times and should replace the use of 500 traditional wipes – they can even be recycled when you’re done with it!

 

Zao Makeup, from £9

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Zao Makeup’s range of bamboo and refillable makeup products are quickly making a name for themselves for ridding their products of toxic ingredients and for being cruelty-free and vegan. It is unusual to find not only a bamboo makeup collection but also a refillable one. Zao stock everything you could want, from lipsticks and nail polish to foundation and blusher. They really have everything and are available on sites like Plastic Freedom, Beautifully Organic and Ecco Verde.

 

Smidge Bottle, from £10.99

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Similar to the KeepCup, reusable metal bottles like the ones made by Smidge are slowly taking over. I’ve definitely been guilty of buying multiple plastic bottles of water in a week, and when colourful bottles like this exist, there’s not really an excuse. Another great thing about Smidge bottles is that they keep your water cold all day, so they’re perfect for taking to work or school. Smidge also sell reusable camping and picnic gear if there’s an outdoorsy person in your life!

 

Critically Endangered Socks Amur Leopard Sock, £12

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Made from a blend of sustainable cotton and bamboo, there are currently 5 different pairs of animal socks available from Critically Endangered Socks; the Borneo orangutan, the Amur leopard, the Maui dolphin, the Sumatran elephant and the Hawksbill turtle. They produce a limited number of each style and donate 20% of the total sale price to a charity depending on the style you buy, so if you’re particularly passionate about the WildCats Conservation Alliance, you can purchase a pair of these leopard socks!

 

Wild Case Biodegradable Bamboo Phone Case, £11.20

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I didn’t know phone cases presented a problem with regards to waste and the climate until recently, and I definitely didn’t know biodegradable phone cases existed. My brother and sister-in-law were the ones who introduced me to them. They are a small market right now, and the leading brand seems to be Pela, who offer a massive range of nice colours but in the price range of £35-40. Wild Case offer just one colour and currently only fit iPhones but are available for a fraction of the price on Etsy.

 

Tabitha Eve Zero Waste Self Care Gift Set, £20

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Tabitha Eve creates plastic-free alternative products from ethically sourced fabrics. They promise good quality alternatives for your bathroom, kitchen, travel kit, and even for new parents. They offer three different zero waste gift sets, all at £20. The Self-Care set pictured above features 5 make up rounds, 5 nail varnish remover pads, 5 Loofah facial discs, and a Cotton & Linen Bath Pouf. All their gift sets also come with a free £5 voucher and are gift wrapped in a reusable 100% cotton furoshiki wrap.

 

Koi Footwear Vegan Shoes, from £20

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Koi Footwear‘s tagline is ‘100% Vegan Footwear’ and that’s really all you need to know. They make sandals, shoes, heels and boots that are completely vegan and PETA approved. Not only are they a brand who are trying to become more sustainable where they can but they have a huge selection of on-trend shoes that even go up to a women’s size 10 and 11. On top of all that, they have ASDA donation points around the country for you to recycle your old shoes.

 

Keep Leaf Reusable Sandwich Bag, £6

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These adorable little pouches from KeepLeaf are available on Not On The High Street and The Kind Store in the UK and are made of 100% cotton with a water-resistant polyester lining and velcro closure. Not only do they reduce single-use plastic wastage, but they are made through a women’s co-operative in India, giving them the opportunity to work and earn. The pouches are great for those packing lunches ahead of work or school, and can be washed under the tap, in the dishwasher or in a washing machine!

 

Thanks so much for reading this special gift guide on Anthem. I hope you’ve been able to tick some things off your list, or maybe add some to your own wish list.

Wishing you all a happy holidays from Anthem!

 

Words by Briony Brake for Anthem Online.
Images from BATOKO, TALA, BECO, KeepCup, Face Halo, Zao Makeup, Smidge, Critically Endangered Socks, Wild Case, Tabitha Eve, Koi Footwear and Keep Leaf/Not ON The High Street.

Wellbeing and Winter

For a lot of us, it can be difficult to feel on top form during the colder months. Even if you are a winter fanatic, love all things Christmassy and get excited about what comes with the new year, it can still be difficult to manage wellness on cold and gloomy days. So, in anticipation of the winter blues/January blues/Monday blues/basically any unwanted blueness, I’ve worked up a checklist of things to help prioritise our wellbeing this winter.*

((*Note: This article isn’t medical advice. If you’re looking for more specific mental health material – check out the links at the end!))

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Diet and Nutrients

No, I’m not going to tell you to chuck out all the Christmas choccies! This isn’t about having an immaculate diet; what I suggest here is just keeping a mental note of when you last said ‘Hi’ to some fruit and veg. As we head into December and beyond, it can be tricky to keep on top of doing a healthy food shop – especially when there are so many tempting treats. Indulgence is fun, especially in the festive period, but do make sure to balance it out.

Our digestive system and brain are linked by the vagus nerve, and long story short (and all science averted because I don’t really get it), what we eat contributes to how we think and feel. As good old Saint Nick gets ready to do the rounds, by all means, head to the Quality Street! The praline triangles aren’t going to steal themselves. But remember to get in those greens and some vitamin C too. Similarly, because we lack so much sunlight during this time of year, if you’re someone who gets particularly down in the darker months, it could be worth picking up some vitamin D as well!

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Exercise

NO GYM REQUIRED. Fear not- this isn’t a you-must-start-a-spinning-class-and-go-to-boxercise-every-day article. Just get out and about. It doesn’t have to be a lot and it doesn’t have to be the same thing each time. In fact – the more variety the better. If you’re someone who likes exercise or sport then fab! Doing what you enjoy is a great way to get out of the house. It can be gross to go into *nature* when it’s cold and wet and windy, but when the weather is relatively calm, jump at the chance to go out and explore. Anything from a quick stroll to a little micro adventure to a local park.

Remember the Vitamin D we talked about earlier – making the most of the daylight hours is key when it is of limited availability. If you have a hobby that you can adapt to doing outside then use it as an excuse for a change of scenery. For example, photography or other artistic pursuits are a great way to explore outside and get some exercise in at the same time.

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The Power of Plants

There’s a lot of research to show that plants can have a positive effect on us. Having some greenery or flowers around the place can be a mood booster. Equally, having to care for a plant reminds us to care for ourselves. When we’re watering or feeding the plants, and making sure they get enough sunlight, it’s a casual reminder to make sure we pay attention to our own needs. Caring for something else and having that small responsibility with plants can also make us feel good and remind us that we are accomplishing things even if they’re small. (Also, they look really cute!!) 

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Another thing about FOOD

If you’re someone (like me) who finds it a drag to prepare food when your wellbeing isn’t amazing, here are some ideas. Find foods that minimise prep time and are good for you. For instance, yoghurts require zero effort and can be eaten whenever. Also, consider fresh veg and fruit that is in season and doesn’t need a lot of intervention. (And when you do feel like making stuff, stews are great, because they use all the in-season veg, you just leave the pot to do its thing, and you can freeze portions for ages.) Lastly, meal replacement powders (not weight-loss ones – just complete nutrient ones) could also be a solution for some people – I find them handy when my work schedule is a bit crazy or if I don’t have the energy for a big food shop.

In the new year, when everyone’s insisting they’ll start going to the gym, hating going back to work, and remembering how cold February is, this can all be handy to remember. Having quick fix food around that is not just junk food makes it much easier to look after yourself.

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Reach out!

We shouldn’t leave it until we’re actually feeling unwell or not taking care of ourselves to reach out to others. Make sure you check in with your loved ones over the winter period. This can be especially important if you live away from the rest of your family or are a university student away for the holidays. Reach out to close friends and make an effort to get together, or at least call for a catch-up.

Socialising can be difficult to organise over the Christmas period when people can be quite busy and public transport ceases to function, but come the new year when everyone’s aligning themselves with the ‘normal,’ it’s really important to make sure you’re maintaining those connections with people.

Depending on individual needs, doing what you love either solo or sharing it with friends can give you some well-needed space to relax – which does wonders for wellbeing.

Remember not to put your wellbeing on hold just because normality gets a bit suspended during Christmas and New Year, and opportunities to get out and about can seem to dwindle during winter as a whole. When considering your self-care regime, factor both your physical and mental wellness into it!

 

I hope this gets the ball rolling with some ideas you can utilise for maintaining wellbeing this winter. Below are some further sources of wellbeing advice, and also more distinct mental health resources:

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/tips-for-everyday-living/wellbeing/#.W_24Yq2cbPA
https://www.wellbeingnands.co.uk
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/improve-mental-wellbeing/
https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/blog/what-wellbeing-how-can-we-measure-it-and-how-can-we-support-people-improve-it
https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/things-to-do-this-weekend-to-boost-your-mental-wellbeing_uk_5bd2d714e4b0a8f17ef6413f?utm_hp_ref=uk-wellbeing
 

Words by Lauren Barnard for Anthem Online.
Images from Be Brain Fit, Mental Health Zen, Garden Collage, The Best Brain Possible and Practice Business.