Five easy eco-friendly swaps you can do in your bathroom right now

Shampoo bottles, make-up wipes, toothbrushes, period pads, shower gel and razors…go and count the amount of plastic and wasteful items you have in your bathroom today. I know, right? But do you know it is actually not that hard to avoid single-use and plastic bath and beauty products and swap them for stuff that doesn’t harm the planet? I mean, people went without plastic for centuries before us, so surely we can do it again. Next time you need to get some new supplies, consider not buying your usual brands and products, but instead try this. Here are five easy zero-waste suggestions for your bathroom.

1. Shampoo bars

Lush has been selling these for years. I am currently using Lush’s Seanik shampoo bar, which smells lovely, gives plenty of lather and leaves my (slightly oily) hair clean and soft. There are plenty of other shops selling them too and you may also find shampoo bars on your local craft markets and Etsy, handmade by soap making fans. Or why not have a go at making them yourself?. Shampoo bars are basically are soap bars, with natural ingredients good for cleaning hair. Rub them on your wet hair in the shower and wash your hair as normal. It is handy to buy a metal tin with it to keep the shampoo bar clean and intact and make it easier to take with you to the gym or trips away. And not just shampoo comes in bars, conditioner is available too, as is of course normal soap. Nothing needs to come home in a plastic bottle no more. Let’s go back to the bar!

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2. Bamboo tooth brushes

Imagine how many tooth brushes you have used in your lifetime. Now imagine where they all are in the world right now. Because they are not biodegradable. Time to rethink the brush! If you are using an electrical brush, this won’t be an option (or maybe yes!), but these lovely bamboo tooth brushes do an excellent job in caring for your teeth and for the planet. I have just started using my first ever bamboo brush and it works perfectly.

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Buy a family pack bamboo tooth brushes on Etsy

3. Metal razors

My husband needs to shave pretty much daily and recently decided to ditch the plastic throwaway razors in favour of an old fashioned, durable metal safety razor, with doubled edge blades. Of course it also comes with a bowl, soap and a nice brush. Take extra care, these double edged blades are sharp and shaving may turn into a bit of a dangerous act if you expect the same job as your plastic razor. But a lovely smooth shave it gives. You’ll never want to look at Gilette again. Try specialist shops in town or online, the better department stores or Amazon.

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4. Plastic free periods!

Someone on Facebook posted a funny video about menstrual cups a few years ago, so I got curious and decided to buy one. My goodness, what a life changer! Best thing since sliced bread. Day 1 still requires a backup pad, but that would be the same with tampons if you have a heavy flow. For this I have just bought some pretty fabric washable pads or you can get organic pads that are biodegradable. There’s even period-proof underwear. You don’t notice the cup at all, making your period a complete breeze. You empty the cup once or twice a day, clean it under the tap, and use it again. The cups are made of silicon, a very safe material that does not contain chemicals nor harbour bacteria like tampons would. It does take a bit of practice and some brands may suit you better than others. There are quite a few different ones on the market (here is lots of information on how to choose the perfect one for you. There are also heaps of videos on Youtube explaining the use. I am personally very happy with my Divacup.). Also, you will get very familiar with your female body parts, which you will have to feel comfortable about. But I will never go back to tampons, that’s for sure.

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5. Make-up removal pads

Do you use throwaway face wipes to get your makeup off at night? Maybe time for a rethink, especially after reading this article. How hard is it to just have a jar of reusable cloths and make-up pads sitting in a jar or basket on your dressing table? Throw them in the wash and use them again. Not rocket science and really something we should all be doing right now. No more throwaway plastic wipes. Not difficult to make yourself some washable face cloths, from some jersey fabric or old towels cut into squares or circles. Or just use simple shop bought terry wash cloths.

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Set of seven pads available on Etsy


A few online ethical / organic stores to check out

Etsy – the eco-friendly bathroom selection
The Ethical Superstore
Big Green Smile UK
Green People


 

No Plastic Christmas gifts: stoneware mugs

In this time of trying to be plastic-free, it is nice to also shop for no plastic Christmas gifts. I love ceramics and pottery and it is incredible how many gorgeous examples you can find when looking around.

Charity Shops, artist’s studios and Etsy for no plastic Christmas gifts

I used to regularly visit charity shops in Scotland to find vintage and more modern studio pottery, but unfortunately in Spain it is not that easy to find second-hand stuff. Luckily there is always Pinterest and Etsy to get my ceramic fix. Plus of course, nothing beats popping into an artist’s studio or gallery to see ceramics up close and – if allowed – touch those beautiful tactile textures. The fact that they are handmade by someone and that none of them is exactly the same, makes it extra special. Do I sound like I’m obsessed? I guess I am. Today I am sharing some beauties I have come across lately, available on Etsy with international shipping. Ideal as no plastic Christmas gifts.
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Ceramic Espresso Cup Set, €37.21
This unique ceramic cup set features hand-painted details in yellow, white, and blue splatters. The perfect combination of a minimalist aesthetic with a rustic homespun charm. Very striking.
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Mug without handle, with saucer.  €27.00
I love textures and shaped in ceramics. You can almost imagine what it feels like to hold this chunky mug. It comes in a beautiful blue-ish glazing, with a small unglazed border at the bottom of the cup. This mug has no handle.
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Ceramic coffee mug. €21.39
The white glaze on the interior of these lovely mugs overlaps and bleeds lightly into the colour on the outside. These mugs are ideal coffee mugs or tea mugs and work perfectly on their own or as a set in a combination of colours. no plastic christmas gifts Frosty blue stoneware mug €26.22 Warm your cockles with a steaming cup of tea from this beautiful, rustic mug glazed in a wintery matt blue-green glaze.
ceramic mug etsy
Skylight large pale blue green gloss mug. €35.65
This mug is the perfect shape to get a good hug round your coffee. The handle is large and comfortable, and can fit either two or three fingers in, depending how you like to hold your drink.
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Set of 2 ceramic beaker cups. €39.00
This set is made of speckled stoneware and colored clay in pink. Glazed internally and on the edge in a glossy transparent lead-free glaze and left unglazed on the outside with a raw matt texture. A wonderful texture and lovely soft colour palette.
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Botanical Leaf Ceramic Coffee Mug. €45.60
Bring a spark of nature to your morning coffee or afternoon tea. This mug is hand formed in white stoneware with leaves painted and carved in speckled stoneware. The body is glazed in glossy white and the bottom is unglazed. The perfect mug or tea cup for your kitchen, office, or as a gift.

Eco friendly transport around town: adult scooters

I can’t tell you how amazing it felt to scoot away on my brand new ‘patinete’ or adult scooter, when I bought it in Valencia this spring. I felt like a kid again! Living in a city where you use public transport a lot and distances are sometimes a little bit far to walk (and arrive on time), it is extremely handy to have a portable vehicle to get yourself from A to B just that little bit faster. Adult scooters are perfect for short journeys, the school run or your daily commute with public transport.

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My trusted Oxelo scooter


My little boys have scooters and yes, they are usually associated with children’s activities, but believe me, the adult version is just as much fun. Wind in your hair, stepping away, gliding with ease, passing pedestrians and saving time. What’s not to like?

Scooters or patinetes (for the Spanish people among us) come in all shapes and sizes, with or without hand brakes. I bought an Oxelo adult scooter from Decathlon recently, for 119 euro. No hand brakes (instead you have a foot brake – you slow down by pushing the mud guard down on the back wheel with your foot), but it is foldable with a strap for easy carrying.  Even the handle bars fold inwards so you basically carry a scooter over your shoulder the size of a large bag. And not too heavy.  Very useful when getting on public transport! You can get actual carrier bags too if you want to take your scooter with you on longer journeys.

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Electric scooters

There are also electric scooter available these days, which I must admit, look very attractive, especially at times when I am trying to push my non-electric scooter uphill, in 32 degrees heat. They are quite a lot more expensive, but would be a good option if you have difficulty walking long distances or need something a bit faster but still portable and easy to manoeuvre.

Which surfaces are best for adult scooters

Non electric scooters are particularly great on the flat or downhill, on smooth surfaces. Unless your scooter has big rubber tyres, don’t ride with them on old cobbled streets or very uneven roads. You get the idea, bumpetybump. Not great. Tiled paths are fine, although the bigger the tiles the better. In quiet residential streets I sometimes ride on the tarmac, as this surface is obviously ideal. Just make sure you watch the traffic and get back onto the pavement when it gets busy (yes, mum).

Wearing a helmet is always a good safety measure. If you live on a hill, it is a must. These scooters gain speed fast when going downhill, especially with a 75kg/150lbs adult on it. You really don’t want to hit a rock or curb and go flying without being protected.

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Micro-scooters is another great shop to find your ideal portable adult (or kid) scooter. Micro-scooter


Scoot to the gate: your micro scooter with built-in case

For the geeks among us, or rather the commuters who are traveling a lot, there is the Micro Luggage Scooter. No more running to the gate at the airport pulling your trolley case on wheels or clutching your cabin bag. And killing time waiting for your flight will never be the same again. Imagine the smooth surfaces in that departure lounge…

Happy scooting!

micro luggage scooter

 

Velvet inspiration: soften up your decor

Velvet is the one fabric I can’t walk past without touching it. Can you? It is very much on trend just now and many home interior stores are selling cushions, upholstered furniture and soft furnishings in this luxurious material. Here is some velvet inspiration to soften up your decor. A roundup of some gorgeous products for the next season. Enjoy!


Velvet fabrics for soft furnishings

velvet in home decor
Image: Dekoria


Rich velvet-like texture gives a luxurious look with irresistible soft to touch feel. Go for a decadent interior or bejewel a room with a few velvety touches for a must have look of 2018. Embrace the velvety look and give your living room or bedroom an on-trend plush update.

Where to buy velvet fabric?

Dekoria has a fabulous collection of fabrics that are – very useful – washable at 30 degrees. Affordable too at £17.00 / metre.


Luxurious velvet sofas

velvet sofa chesterfield in home decor
The Wellingtone sofa from Graham and Green


If you are looking for a beautiful luxurious sofa to make that grand statement in your interior, Graham and Green have a good selection. The one pictures shows the ‘Wellington 3-seater, a timeless sofa inspired by the classic chesterfield, in a royal blue velvet material. Luxury meets comfort here. It has beautiful scrolled arms and a plush button back finish creating a decadent focal point for your living room. Request a free swatch of your favourite colours to see and feel the material up close.

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Image: Homelia

 

I really love this one, looking very midcentury modern and sleek. A long, rectangular 3-seater sofa from Homelia, online destination for luxury & designer homeware and furniture. The silhouette adds structure and style to a room whilst its plump back and seat cushions offer sink-in comfort as you completely stretch your legs out along its length. The small, angled legs in varnished chestnut add design-led flair.


Make a statement with a velvet armchair

If a 3-seater sofa is bit too much for you, why not go for a single armchair to add a smaller sophisticated statement to your interior? There are many shapes and sizes and with just the one chair you could go for something a bit more daring and different.

Knoll velvet dining chairs
Image: Knoll

A true vintage classic, these gold Platner armchairs by Knoll. No boring interior for you if you invest in one of those. Place them around the dining table or add a single one to your sitting corner for a wow factor.


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Image: Made.com


MADE
has a great selection of velvet armchairs, in both minimalist and bolder styles. I like this one with the elegant copper metal frame.

 


Snuggle up under a velvet blanket

velvet quilts
Image: Graham and Green


Because the evenings are getting chillier, little feels more luxurious and comforting than to snuggle up under a super soft blanket. These  Quilts With Printed Reverse (240 x 220cm) by Graham and Green are double sided and welcoming in every way. Besides that, the two colourways, Coral Red and Slate Blue are perfect colours for the winter months, treating your bedroom to warm tones while while the nights are getting colder. The quilt is soft to touch and showcases a neutral cotton reverse that has been embellished with hand block print work in a pale blue, inspired by floral Indian patterns. I’m sure I’d be loving these for a very long time, possibly forever.


 

Top 10 Vintage shops in Valencia

Valencia is a city where you can walk around aimlessly for days and still not get bored of the abundance and vibrancy of colours, street art, cafe’s, parks and many different little shops. Of course, with such a great vibe, there’s bound to be some real vintage treasures to be found. Do you love vintage shopping and finding a unique vintage souvenir when visiting a different city? Here is my Top 10 of vintage shops in Valencia.


vintage shops in valencia


1. Madame Mim

Calle Puerto Rico 30, Russafa, Valencia 46006
Hours 11:00 AM – 2:30 PM, 5:30 PM – 9:30 PM
Facebook page

Dimly lit as if entering the costume department of a 1920s theatre, you will find a weird and wonderful cabinet of curiosities. Glamourous sequined evening wear from bygone eras, retro telephones, a wall full of shoes, sparkly jewellery and racks of wearable vintage fashion, all reasonably priced. They call themselves a ‘second hand freak shop‘, but this is certainly one of the best vintage shops in Valencia.

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2. Flamingos Vintage Kilo

Calle Cadiz 17, Russafa, Valencia 46006
Hours 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM, 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Facebook page

Packed with fashion from mainly the 1980s and 90s, this shop is a great place to stock up on vintage jeans, dungarees, crop tops, maxi skirts and floral dresses. Also the perfect place for guys to get kitted out with a cool hawaiian shirt and denim jacket.

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3. Aiecle vintage store

Calle Cádiz 26, Russafa, Valencia, 46006


Probably the one with the best shop front of any of the vintage shops in Valencia, there is no way you will walk past this one. Aiecle Vintage Store is located just around the corner from Flamingos Vintage Kilo in Russafa. The shop stock is similar, with plenty of colourful 1980s and 90s vintage to choose from. Wearable outfits for OK prices.

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4. Used

Calle Pinzón 1, Old town, Valencia 46003
Hours 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM, 5:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Facebook page

Used is a popular shop, online and offline and sells quality vintage, ranging from 1980s sports wear to vintage Levi’s denims. The hipster in you will drool over its collection. Find Used in the old town in the centre of Valencia.

5. Needles & Pins Vintage

Calle En Bou 3, Old town, Valencia 46001
Hours 10:30 AM – 2:00 PM, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Facebook Page

A gem of a vintage shop right in the middle of the historic city centre of Valencia. Here you will find a colourful collection of vintage and handmade clothing and accessories. Plenty to choose from, whether you are on the hunt for a special summer dress or a cute top.

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6. Ruzafa Vintage

Vintage for the home has not really caught on here in Valencia yet, but there are some great little shops if you look for them. For midcentury furniture and retro accessories, try Ruzafa Vintage in Calle Puerto Rico. A mix of chairs, storage, lots of lighting and smaller items. And a lovely purple shop front.

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7. Second Chance

Gran Vía Germanías 41, Valencia 46006 map
Hours 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM, 5:30 PM – 9:00 PM
Facebook Page

Now don’t be put off by its unattractive shop front, because inside it is a treasure trove. Find anything from Atari computers to 100 year old oil paintings, and from vintage trunks to second-hand bikes. Prices can be a bit steep for some things, but nothing says you can’t try and do a bit of haggling. Worth a browse, for sure. Find it on the edge of Russafa, along the busy Gran Via near Estación del Norte .

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8 Studio vintage

Calle Purisima 8 bajo, Old town, Valencia 46001
Hours 10:30 AM – 2:00 PM, 5:30 PM – 8:00 PM. Closed on weekends.
Facebook page

A lot more upmarket than the previous shop and particularly interesting if you actually live in Valencia and want to invest in some gorgeous midcentury pieces for your home. But we can look, right? This shop sells vintage design from Spain, France, Britain and Scandinavia. Go here for a good sideboard, some funky lighting or a comfy teak Danish armchair.

vintage shops in valencia


9. El Monstruo


Hours: 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM, 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Facebook Page

El Monstruo is one of the vintage shops in Valencia offering a fabulous eclectic mix of vintage, customised and handmade. There is in fact an in-house taylor. You can choose a vintage fabric and get your own shirt made. If you want to browse ready-made clothes, there is plenty on the racks, ranging from 1950s petticoats to cute sixties blouses and much more.

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vintage shops in valencia


10. Sabotage

Calle Purísima 5, Old town, Valencia 46001
Hours 11:00 AM – 2:00 PM, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Facebook Page

This concept store and gallery,  across from Studio Design in the old town of Valencia, has a wonderful mix of art, prints, handmade and vintage finds. Some amazing framed artwork as well as screen printed bags and other handmade items by local artists. Well worth a look.

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How to decorate a rental (without losing your deposit)

Anyone who has ever tried to decorate a rental apartment or house knows it is quite a challenge to make it completely to your taste. Not too bad if you’re only going to live there briefly, but if you are planning to stay longer term, then what do you do? Today I am sharing some great ideas on how to decorate a rental without making your landlord go mad.

HOW TO DECORATE YOUR RENTALWITHOUT LOSING YOUR DEPOSIT


from magnolia to magnificent

Rules about decorating rentals vary per country, as in the Netherlands, where most rentals are unfurnished, it is usually OK to paint walls. You are usually allowed to change other things around the house, as long as it’s put back to what it was before. If it is improving the place somehow you may be able to negotiate a discount on a month’s rent. Laying new flooring for example.

In Britain I have seen that many rentals are furnished and have magnolia (ugh) walls and often are a bit trickier to make you feel at home. In Spain, where we recently moved to, we were lucky to find a house that was unfurnished, which again is not always the case – many rentals are full of other people’s stuff. Unfurnished meant that at least all our own furniture could move in too. But how much can you change in terms of wall colours….hanging pictures, the look of the kitchen and bathroom?

Here are a few tips and ideas on how to jazz up that rental without losing your deposit!


Removable wallpaper to decorate your rental

I have not tried this, but I have heard these wallpapers are as easy to put up as they are to take back down again. Doesn’t this wall look amazing? The shop Betapet on Etsy sells a fantastic collection of self adhesive wallpapers in a wide range of patterns and prints, from subtle geometrics to bold florals.

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Tile decals to decorate your rental

Nothing worse than ugly dated tiles in the kitchen or bathroom, to clash with any nice modern kitchenware or towels you may own. There are many companies nowadays selling tile stickers, self adhesive and easy to stick on and take back off. HomeArtStickers on Etsy has hundreds of different stickers for both floor and wall tiles, so take your pick.

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Curtains…and using fabric as wall covering

Don’t like the curtains in your rental? Fold them up nicely and store them away. Replace them with your own. Job done. But have you ever thought about using fabric as wall covering? Yes! Attaching fabric to the wall can be done in a variety of renter-friendly ways: staple gun, upholstery tacks, upholstery strips, liquid starch and some drawing pins to name a few. When it is time to move out, simply remove the fabric and take it with you. Check out this blog by Sincerely, Sara D, where you can find a handy tutorial on how to DIY a fabric wall.

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decorate your rental with Washi tape

I have seen this done on Pinterest and I love how versatile this stuff is. You can decorate virtually anything with washi tape and it doesn’t leave any damage. Create a confetti wall, a chevron pattern, words, lines, mountain shapes, the options are endless. Decorate walls, but don’t forget the doors, the edges of shelves, the back of cupboards or create ‘picture frames’ with the tape. In kids rooms you can really go to town with this stuff. How about a house? Or a road? Or a bear? With the geometric trend still going strong, your rental flat will look very modern in a flash. To find washi tape try your favourite stationary shop for some or order them in sets from Etsy.

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Change the light shades in your rental

You probably thought of this one yourself, but if not, go and change out your light shades. We arrived in an unfurnished house in Spain, which meant bare wires hanging from the ceiling, so we have to do even more than just changing out a shade (!), but mostly you’ll find dusty old shades or other light fittings that are easily replaceable while you are living there. A nice shade can really set the mood for a room, so pick wisely to make an impact. Try Artisanti for some elegant, quality lighting.


decorate your rental: Cover the floor

Cream carpet? Ugly tiles? Invest in a nice big rug to cover that up. Check Kukoon for some regular offers and free delivery in the UK.

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Self adhesive picture hooks

You may find a few conveniently placed screws in the walls of your rental already, in which case, just hang up your framed artwork straight away. If not, and the landlord doesn’t want you to add any more holes to the walls, try heavy duty self adhesive hooks. There are plenty available from Amazon.

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Happy rental decorating!

 

 

Review: buying affordable art online with Artfinder

Buying affordable art online is something that is becoming quite popular. I regularly post about art, as I believe it brings joy to people’s lives and can add real personality to a home. Art is in fact an important ingredient in my designs for clients and I always suggest to people to invest in some artworks if they don’t own pieces already, and it really doesn’t need to cost the earth. Without it, I feel a room is just not complete! I wrote a blog post recently about how and where to buy art in which I mentioned online galleries as a good way to browse art in a non-threatening way. Today I am reviewing Artfinder.

Discovering original art is becoming a lot easier with sites such as Artfinder popping up on the net, offering a service that takes any barriers out of the buying process. Buying art can feel a little bit alien to some, but just saving images as favourites as if you were on Pinterest makes things a doddle.

buying affordable art online
Hybrid No:19, collage on paper by Leigh Bagley

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Landscape, Acrylic painting on Canvas, by Nadia Moniati


As you are saving your favourites, the site recommends other artists and works you may like, a bit like Spotify, so if you don’t know exactly what your taste in art is, then you may form yourself a much clearer idea after browsing the site for some time and regularly clicking on the ‘like’ button.

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Diamond (Rose), Linocut on Paper, by Liam Roberts


Of course, there is more to art than only large abstract paintings – try browsing the printmaking section for beautiful contemporary graphic pieces for example. I enjoy receiving tailored suggestions or seeing “The daily finds”, as it is a good way of sifting through the huge amount of art that is on offer as well as discovering pieces you may nog have come across otherwise.

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Cat in Teal Green, Screenprint on Paper
by Lu West


You can get an original piece of art on Artfinder from less than £50, so it is very affordable and so much more personal than buying a mass produced canvas from the home section of a high street department store (who buys these things anyway?). The nice thing is also that you get to read about the artist who made it, often with a bit of background about the artwork. Artfinder supports artists from around the world, which means you can buy internationally.

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Through a Courtyard (relief), Relief on Panel / Board / MDF, by Liam Hennessy


Many of the works come framed and ready to hang, which is a welcome bonus. Do double check the sizes though, as many artworks are small. Nothing worse than receiving your purchase in the post and opening a tiny parcel when you expected a huge canvas! Shipping costs are given upfront so you know exactly what you are paying. And if you are looking for an original birthday, graduation or Christmas present, there is always the gift card option.

Do you have any online art sites you like to use?


This post includes affiliate links to Artfinder. This mean that if you like this article and subsequently decide to purchase an artwork through Artfinder by clicking on one of the links in my post, Nina’s Apartment receives a small commission too.

Your Etsy Christmas Gift Guide for gorgeous original gifts

It’s the season to feel festive and drink mulled wine. You snuggle up under a blanket, have the fire on and spend time with family. Then it’s also the season to be bombarded with high street consumerism. In addition to that you get stuck in traffic because everyone is queuing up to get to the malls for their Christmas shopping. How about trying something different this year? Here is your Etsy Christmas Gift Guide for gorgeous original gifts.

Shop consciously

My family are Dutch and we mainly spend our time eating and drinking at Christmas. Presents are not a big thing (in fact, I was told this year to ab-so-lu-te-ly NOT buy anything for anyone! Can you believe it?). Of course most of you readers will probably want to wrap at least a little thoughtful something for your loved ones on Christmas day. I have therefore put a conscious gift guide together, to support the independent makers rather than the big corporates.

Your Etsy Christmas Gift Guide

I would always promote buying or receiving gifts that are useful, beautiful or well made. Etsy has been my go-to site for this kind of thing for years now. I love the fact that by shopping on Etsy you support small businesses and artists, in your own town (check out if your city has a local Etsy market!) or internationally. By buying from them, you make a a hard working designer-maker extremely happy!

Handwritten thank you cards

I love the added bonus that Etsy items often come lovingly wrapped with a handwritten thank you note included. It is also a great place to find items that feel good to give, i.e. not made from plastic, which is what we should all aim for in the end really (and it gives me hope that there is obviously a growing demand for this sort of thing!). I hope you like my picks in my Etsy Christmas Gift Guide. What are you giving your loved ones this Christmas? (Or are you going Dutch this year?)


gifts For the book worm

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These lovely wooden bookmarks are made by IngrainedInc., who I found at a local craft fair in Aberdeenshire recently (I stocked up on a few things by her, including key rings – just so nice!). This bookmark is £8.50


gifts For the one wearing a shirt

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Personalise a set of cufflinks made of brass and glass….with a details of a vintage map. Perhaps the place where you first met? Got married? Birthplace? Possibilities are endless. Recycled map of choice and date engraved. Love this. From £22.95


gifts For the design conscious

Your Etsy Christmas Gift Guide for gorgeous original gifts
Set of 3 geometric art prints, great for the home or the office. Different sizes available, from £22.10

Your Etsy Christmas Gift Guide for gorgeous original gifts
It is hard to pick jewellery on Etsy, there really are so many gorgeous items! I like these contemporary silver earrings by MinimalGeometric. £30.00


gifts For the vegan (or anyone else who loves a good bag)

Your Etsy Christmas Gift Guide for vegan gifts
Cork and Harris Tweed shoulder bag. Great if you have a vegan in the family or just a good looking alternative to leather. Also comes without the wool bit. By MyCottonHouse £105.00


gifts For Mr Hipster

Your Etsy Christmas Gift Guide for gorgeous original gifts
A chunky ring for the outdoor man. By MyliuDesign. £40.00

Your Etsy Christmas Gift Guide for gorgeous original gifts
A nice grooming set for the beardy man in your life. OriginalMonkey £20.00


gifts For the exhausted mum

Your Etsy Christmas Gift Guide for gorgeous original gifts
The gift for your exhausted new mummy friend. £13.39

Your Etsy Christmas Gift Guide for gorgeous original gifts
Grey and mustard….yep, my favourite combo. Great unisex hat by TheDorothyDays. £12


gifts For the vintage collector

Your Etsy Christmas Gift Guide for vintage gifts
For the vintage collector…some fabulous West German pottery (I know I would LOVE a gift like that). AnythingGoesCeramics £45.00

For the vintage collector…some fabulous West German pottery (I know I would LOVE a gift like that). AnythingGoesCeramics £45.00


gifts For the creative

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Frame loom weaving kit by local Aberdeenshire maker LePetitMoose, fab to learn how to make pretty boho wall hangings. £22.00

What to buy the kids this Christmas. Top five guilt-free, no plastic, eco friendly gifts

Every year it’s the same issue. What to buy the kids this Christmas? This blog post gives you some ideas for guilt-free, eco-friendly gifts for children.

Eco friendly Christmas gifts for children

Go plastic-free

We all love Christmas and we all love to give each other something nice. Most of us love a bit of festive shopping, especially when the towns and shops are so beautifully decorated. Children get all excited about Christmas long before autumn and hand you a list of stuff they want from Santa. Now I have two boys who love all sorts of plastic rubbish, including transformer toys, anything with wheels on and of course, Lego. Lego I have a love-hate relationship with, as it kind of keeps its value and gets passed on most of the time once they grow out of it. It will still end up on landfill at some point.

We can’t really get away from the Christmas shopping and we don’t want to see sad little faces because there’s no boxes to open. Therefore I thought I’d give you some ideas for your shopping list as alternatives to the usual gifts. It’s hard getting away from plastic completely, but we can at least try.

To get us started, I put this handy list together:

eco-friendly christmas gifts: seven top tips

Did that get you thinking? There are so many things you could give instead of more ‘stuff’, to both children and adults. Below I have listed my Top Five of guilt-free, non-plastic eco-friendly Christmas gifts.

1. eco-friendly christmas gifts: Framed posters and prints

Posters! Made of paper! Amazing! Get your kid a poster for their bedroom of their favourite superhero, movie star or cartoon this year without any guilt. A world map is also a great idea if you prefer something more educational. GB Posters is a useful site to find a good selection of different posters plus they offer very affordable frames in all sizes.

eco-friendly christmas gifts: art prints and posters

 


2. eco-friendly christmas gifts: Wooden toys

Wooden toys are great for little hands that break stuff constantly. We have several wooden trucks and other toys in our house and I must say, they are all still in one piece – unlike many of the plastic equivalents. They are worth investing in and they make great hand-me-down gifts too in the future. These cute personalised trucks can be found on Etsy.

eco-friendly christmas gifts: wooden toys

Or how about this adorable wooden toy food set? Also found on Etsy.

eco-friendly christmas gifts: wooden toys


3. A personalised book – great for the older child

I often make personalised photo albums or calendars for family members and made an ABC book (in Dutch) to help my eldest son start reading, featuring lots of family photos. Everyone loves being loved and a thoughtful gift is worth more than all the plastic rubbish in the world. I stumbled across The Book of Everyone, maybe you have heard of them, which helps you create a beautiful personalised book for a loved one. I especially like the idea of making one for pre-teens/teenagers, which the site says will be “packed full of smile-inducing wise(ish) words personalised by you. Because your words might just help them make better mistakes”.

eco-friendly christmas gifts: personalised book


4. eco-friendly christmas gifts: Stuff to draw on

I found this amazingly beautiful online store Smallable, with gorgeous high quality toys, clothes and other stuff for kids and the home. Worth a browse. Anyway, I selected these draw-on placemats, which I think are an excellent idea for those kids who are bored waiting for their dinner or just want something to colour in. Oh, and they are of course made of paper…can go straight in the recycle bin once finished (unless your children are true Picassos, then you might want to frame them of course).

eco-friendly christmas gifts: colouring in placemats

For more eco friendly toys on the Smallable website, have a look here: Eco Friendly Toys

eco-friendly christmas gifts: cardboard kitchen


5. eco-friendly christmas gifts: Sew a costume!

I know, I know, time is not always on our hands to get these amazing Pinterest projects realised. We’re not all talented or crafty enough to make stuff look beautiful. But if your child loves dressing up, a beautiful handmade dinosaur tail must be right up there in the Top 3 of awesome eco-friendly Christmas gifts! Go on, get that sewing machine out 😉 Plenty of tutorials on Pinterest. If you are really not the DIY person but still love the idea of a handmade costume, go and support someone who hand makes and sells them on Etsy. That way you make another person happy.

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Bonus tip: Life skills!

Swimming lessons, judo, music tuition, a membership to the climbing wall or local gym, it’s all rather pricey when you add it up. Do they want do do or join something really badly? Why not give your children their membership or lessons at Christmas? Other than that it’s a great ‘experience’ gift, rather than more ‘stuff’, it also shows kids that these things are things to value and are not an automatic given throughout the year as part of the daily routines.

eco-friendly christmas gifts: life skills

I hope this was helpful, I wish you all a jolly good, guilt-free Christmas! Do you have any other ideas for eco-friendly Christmas gifts that are not listed? Feel free to share them for others to see in the comments below  🙂 Thanks! X

Book tips: the most inspiring interiors

Are you always looking for inspiring interiors? Do you love flicking through a beautiful book full of pretty homes? So do I. There is just something nice and wholesome about an actual printed book on your coffee table, rather than scrolling through millions of images on a screen. I love buying books by interior stylists or about certain topics like midcentury design, to brush up on my knowledge. The nice thing about these books is that they also make rather pretty and thoughtful gifts for fellow design enthusiasts amongst your friends (Christmas anyone?).


inspiring interiors: from boho to Scandinavian minimalism

This month I am recommending a few books by stylists who I have been following on social media for quite a while now and whose style I really like, plus a book on beautiful styling with plants. Enjoy reading!



1. Styled. Secrets for Arranging Rooms, from Tabletops to Bookshelves,
Emily Henderson

Emily Henderson is a rather charming home and lifestyle blogger based in California (www.stylebyemilyhenderson.com). She seems down to earth, friendly & fun and honest and has a great flair for styling and decorating. I get very inspired by her eclectic but beautiful mixing of vintage and new. ”Perfection is boring. Let’s get weird” she says in her tagline, and I can very much sympathise with that!

Buy the book

Styled Emily henderson82abac45b2283ca5_Emily_Henderson_s_IZZE_New_Fashioned_Cocktail_2.jpg

Her best-seller book Styled is the ultimate guide to thinking like a stylist. It contains 1,000 design ideas for creating the most beautiful, personal, and liveable rooms. How is that for finding ideas for inspiring interiors? She also uses a lot of vintage in her styling, which of course makes it all the better. The book shows you ten easy steps to styling any space. It also teaches you how to edit out what you don’t love to repurposing what you can’t live without and how to arrange the most eye-catching displays on any surface.

”Even a few little tweaks can transform the way your room feels”… now that is some helpful, practical advice right there.


2. Urban Jungle: Living and Styling with Plants, Igor Josifovic and Judith de Graaff

House plants have really made a comeback in recent years and they sure make a room look good. I love them, even though it is an upward struggle to keep them alive sometimes. This beautiful thick book from the founders of the Urban Jungle Bloggers community is a fantastic. resource full of stunning inspirational photos. The book shows endless styling ideas, making you want to rush straight out and buy some greenery. It guides the reader through different ‘green’ homes in five European countries and shows how beautiful, unique, creative and even artistic living with plants can be. The book also offers easy help for taking care of the plants, which is a bonus.

Buy the book

urban-jungle-bloggers-book-living-and-styling-with-plants-the-future-kept-3_grandeUrban Jungle book


3. The Scandinavian Home: Interiors inspired by light, Niki Brantmark

Oh, you can’t beat Scandinavian styling, now can you? Although I find some of the interiors in this book a bit too monochrome (I like colour!), they are absolutely beautiful. Plenty of inspiring interiors here. White or white washed flooring, white walls, blond wood furniture, vintage finds, black and grey accents, contemporary art, you get the idea. And light, plenty of light, which is the main focus in this book by Niki Brantmark. And I guess that’s what the Scandinavians have in common with Scotland, where I currently live: there is not a lot of it half of the year, so we better make the the daylight we do get.

Buy the book

Niki BrantmarkNiki Brantmark

Nature and the weather are major influences in Scandinavia: homes are made warm and cosy for the freezing winter months – not just literally with log burners, but also through incorporating wood and natural materials. In her book, Niki Brantmark, owner of the interior design blog My Scandinavian Home, presents a wide-ranging collection of these beautiful homes and explores how the Scandinavian lifestyle is reflected in them all.