Pictured: Love Stories x H&M
With mindful living fresh in everybody’s minds at the moment, I wanted to take a moment to shine a spotlight on one of the mindful living ‘techniques’ that I’ve adopted this year. I published a post in 2014 that discussed the pitfalls and merits of haul culture and the consumerism that is rife in our industry. But it goes beyond the blogging industry: wherever you look, you’re being encouraged to spend your hard-won cash on everyday frivolities. Whether it’s a bonus £3.99 rip-off candle from Aldi with your weekly shop, the lure of delicious discount codes, spending an extra pound to get a free gift or even the smart Facebook ads that pry on your browsing history to enable you to go back on ASOS and click ‘checkout’, there’s no doubt about it. Spending culture is at its prime.
One of the mindful living things I’m trying to do more of is to shop local (fruit and veg from our local greengrocers is far more delicious than any supermarket conglomerate, and it means I can pop my wares straight into a canvas bag instead of deal with thrice-wrapped tomatoes) and visit the high street wherever I can. Retail and the British high street is dying a death and we can help prevent that. Not only does it boost store sales, it also means a) far less packaging is involved – don’t accept the 5p plastic bag and ask for an email receipt, and b) you can take time trying the pieces on and stop the risk of keeping badly fitted pieces because you can’t be bothered to post the return.
Additionally, I’m also trying to support small businesses online because I know first-hand how tricky it can be to survive when ASOS are running yet another 20% discount and you’ve only managed to make 2 sales on beautifully handcrafted designs. Without further ado, here are 5 of my current favourite online boutiques that you need to know about…
Stone and Strand
I first came across Stone and Strand after the brand was featured a Friday Favourites post on Lauren Conrad’s blog. The minimalist jewellery brand focuses on designing beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces that shake up the typical fine jewellery shopping experience. Never stuffy, always delicate and brilliantly curated, I could spend hours browsing their wares. My current obsession? This Constellation Necklace by Vale Jewelry.
When I returned home from the Blogosphere Magazine Awards, I was thrilled to find a fabric-bound Ponderlily diary in my goodie bag. I absolutely LOVE stationery! As a keen bullet journaller, I re-gifted the diary to my boyfriend’s Mum who was on the cusp of starting a new job but fell in love with their stunning aesthetics. Their Travel Journal has been nudging me gently for weeks…
One of my Christmas presents last year was a vegan leather dot grid journal from Fringe Studio, gifted to me especially for my first foray into the world of bullet journalling. And it lead me to spend hours coveting their stationery and homeware lines. Think Kate Spade but a touch more affordable, and you’ve got it. I can’t seem to find their pieces stocked in the UK anymore, but their mugs and trinket dishes are constantly on my radar.
It’s rare that a targeted Instagram ad sings to me – oh the irony! – but when I spotted a boxy bag made from faux leather in their post, I couldn’t click ‘follow’ fast enough. Mutemuse Global‘s Amuse bag is doing the rounds on Instagram at the moment as you can buy different straps to achieve a fresh look each time. Yes, it’s a little gimmicky, but the bag itself is absolutely gorgeous and would make a great punctuation to my autumn/winter wardrobe. (As if I don’t own enough bags already…)
Last but certainly not least, KLEI Beauty are an all-natural, cruelty-free beauty brand who specialise in clay masks and skin-loving bath soaks. Minimal packaging aside, I really adore their ethos:
“Klei is a natural and cruelty-free self-care line, focused on providing exceptional product with minimal waste. All Klei products are small-batch made from natural ingredients, each of which is carefully researched and chosen for its specific skin-nourishing qualities. All packaging is created with environmental impact taken into account. Klei products are only tested on the founder’s friends and family, never animals.”