Friday, May 27, 2011

1, 2, 3

Images courtesy of Weheartit and 2 minutes in photoshop.

Thanks to all my lovely friends who re-posted, linked or spoke to me personally about my blogpost on fair trade food and fashion. It was great to hear everyone so positive about making small changes in their lives. This encouraged me to do a little more research into the fair trade arena and you can expect to read a bit more about it on this blog so I hope that’s ok with you all!

So let’s get to it shall we?

To me, fair trade is simple. Make a small change and have big impact. Easy right?

So why not make 3 small changes?

In 2008 Oxfam Australia launched 3 things, an initiative aimed at encouraging people to nominate 3 things they can change in their daily lives that can help make a difference to global problems.
Poverty, inequality, climate change, human rights…such big issues frequently feel too overwhelming to tackle and it seems impossible to imagine yourself making a difference, but it’s mathematical. Lots of small things add up to something BIGGER! 

So why not think about what three things you could do that can make the world a better place (mine are pretty much along the lines of my last fair-trade post)
  1. Buy Fair trade and ethical products
  2. Recycle, Re-use and remix what I already have
  3. Destroy the machine that is Australia’s Got Talent. Oops I mean use my voice to stand up for others (although I do think the world would be a better place without ‘talent’ shows).
See. Easy as A.B.C.

Happy ears

I can not stop listening to 'Lose it' by Canadian three piece Austra. Katie Stelmanis has an incredible and unique voice (although The Boy thinks she sounds like Florence Welch so I guess that's a matter of opinion) and I can't wait to get my hands on their album.

And don't they just look so damn cool?






Sunday, May 22, 2011

Easy Peasy: Chocolate Chip Cookies

Have 30 minutes? Want a quick and easy recipe with mouthwatering results?  Look no further because....
You can make these!!

I have been making these Chocolate Chip Biscuits since I was about 15 and they never fail me. This weekend I made them for my book club to discuss Persuasion by Jane Austen...which I didn't actually get around to reading. Anyone got a plot synopsis for me?

Anyway, now you can make these deliciously simple biscuits too...all you have to do is read on!

What you need:

  • 1 and 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips - I prefer dark but you can use any
  • 1/2 cup nuts or fruit (this time I used flaked almonds but I've also used walnuts, raisins, dried cranberries, macadamias and glace cherries - let your imagination run wild people!)
  • 1 Bowl to put everything in and 30 minutes (max).

What to do:
1. Cream butter and combine with sugar and vanilla. Beat in egg.
2. Fold in flour, chocolate chips and nuts.
3. Place small balls of cookie dough on baking trays. Don't panic if your dough isn't as firm as you're used to.
4. Place in 180 Celcius oven for 15 minutes.
5. Remove from oven and BOOM! You've got yourself some tasty cookies and only one bowl to clean. Enjoy your delectable morsels of chocolatey goodness and show off your superior baking skills to all your friends!

    Sunday, May 15, 2011

    Sundays are for relaxing

    So this is how I spent my Sunday

    2:45 am: Spill drink on my tights.
    3:00 am: Realise my wedges will soon cut off the circulation in my toes if I keep dancing.
    3:30 am: Retreat home.
    3:45 am: Crawl into bed. 
    7:00 am: Curse my body clock then go back to sleep.
    9:30 am: Get out of bed and try to turn myself into a human being.
    11:00 - 1:00 pm: Restorative brunch including a (free!!) Banoffee Milkshake.
    1:00- 2:00 pm: Bliss out on a sugar high.
    2:01 - 6:00pm: Umm........................??
    6:00 pm: Talk to the Boy. He makes me warm and fuzzy.
    9:00 pm: Attempt to work on follow up to ethical blog.
    9:10 pm: Give up and spend half an hour on weheartit so I can post pretty pictures instead.

    All of the following pictures can be found on weheartit







    How easy (lazy?) was that. Hope you had a lovely Sunday.

    Saturday, May 14, 2011

    Blair's flair

    I have been watching new season Gossip Girl and have fallen in love with Blair all over again. She is by far the best character on the show and in my opinion has the best wardrobe on TV.

    Just look at these beauties. If my wardrobe can become even 1/8th as beautiful as hers I will die a happy woman.

    So much colour! So many beautiful and luxe fabrics! Look at those accessories! She is utter polished perfection. And I'm not going to lie. I strive to have her hair pretty much every day.

    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Fashion and food for thought

    Aside from Skins, Heston and Gossip girl I don’t watch a lot of television. However, recently I’ve become addicted to one particular reality TV show.

    Before you judge me quicker than a contestant on Big Brother, let me just say that the show is made by the BBC and it combines fashion, luxuries and travel albeit in a very unique way.
    The Blood, Sweat and Luxuries participants at a Madagascan Saphire mine
    I’m talking about Blood, Sweat and Luxuries of course -the third season of the ‘Blood, Sweat’ series following 2008’s Blood, Sweat and T-shirts and 2009’s Blood, Sweat and Takeaways. The last episode is due to air on ABC2 this Wednesday night at 8:30pm so you should definitely catch it if you can. I think it’s also still available to view on ABC’s iView if you’re interested.

    This documentary/reality series follows a group of young Brit’s to some of the poorest countries in the world to see where their luxury goods and disposable fashion are made. They work in factories and sweat shops alongside local workers, live with local people or in the same conditions as local people and essentially gain a greater understanding of the ‘food chain’ involved in the creation of that French Connection coat or that H&M caftan.

    The content of the program can at times be quite shocking and it frequently leaves me in tears/fits of rage/feeling guilty but it is also forcing me to consider my actions as a consumer and to question where my money is going when I buy into the fashion and luxury industries.
    Coffee Plantation workers - sorting beans by hand
    It is clearly apparent - and a widely known fact - that the western world exploits the developing world to feed the ever-raging hunger of consumers. Garments are made by Indian children who earn barely enough to survive and then sold to western consumers with astronomical mark ups. Diamonds are mined in ‘prehistoric’ conditions throughout Africa by workers earning just enough to support their families, yet they fetch thousands of dollars in western markets. Coffee plantation workers work backbreaking 16 hour days, so we can enjoy our daily morning luxury - their weekly wages equivalent to the cost of a Skinny latte at Starbucks.

    This isn’t new information and I am the first to admit I am most certainly not an expert on this situation, but I am asking what can I do about it? Why is it happening and is western society to blame?

    As a fashion lover and typical twenty-something, I like to shop. It’s no secret. Almost everyone I know does. We work hard, play hard and enjoy spending our earnings. Is that so wrong? Consumerism is engrained in our culture but this program has made me question if this in itself is always a bad thing.

    Whilst, I hate contributing to the exploitation of third-world workers (seriously who wouldn’t), the sad fact is that if we stop buying thousands of jobs will be lost and the people and communities that rely on the fashion and luxury industries to survive will suffer.

    So what can I do as an individual, that will improve the lives of workers in developing countries?

    I’m going for the two-pronged attack.

    1. Swap regular products for fair trade products where possible
    2. Op-shop more and seek out ethical fashion.

    Swapping to fair trade products
    By purchasing fair trade or locally grown/produced products accredited by the Fair Trade Association of Australia and New Zealand I can be assured that workers who contributed to the product are receiving an adequate wage for their work and safe working conditions. In my experience these products are of equal quality to non Fair-trade brands and not overly expensive like they used to be. Their one downfall is availability.

    I was appalled, when a recent trip to my local Woolworths (the BIG one at Ashgrove) revealed the supermarket stocked only 1 fair trade chocolate product (Black and Green’s Orange Chocolate – the rest of the B&G range is not fair trade) and 1 fair trade instant coffee product (there were a few more fair trade filter coffees/coffee beans though).

    Why is this the case when iconic brands like Cadbury now offer a small range of Fair trade products like their famous Dairy Milk Chocolate?
    Sites like Fairly Local allow you to look for stores and cafes that stock fair trade products in your local area but the array of products available is fairly limited. Like any market, there needs to be more demand for these products for supermarkets to ‘justify’ stocking them.
    So get the word out. Make a small change if you can in your own purchasing habits or simply become more aware about what you’re buying.

    Embracing ethical fashion.
    Buying fair trade also gives you the perfect excuse to op-shop to your heart’s content. Pre-loved garments, jewellery and handbags may have originated in developing countries years ago but they aren’t contributing to the current labour market in developing worlds and giving them a new home means they won’t end up as land fill any time soon.

    But you can’t give up your designers? You still want that new season Collette Dinnigan dress and a pair of Nobody jeans for winter wouldn’t go astray?
    Well you can have them!
    Lucky for us we are also able to stock our wardrobes with ethically approved clothing by the likes of Cue, Ginger and Smart, Bardot, Collette Dinnigan and Nobody to name a few. Check out Ethical Clothing Australia for a more comprehensive list of brands and designers with the ethical seal of approval. Who needs an excuse to go shopping now? 
    If you read this blog occasionally, then you’ll know this is an unusual post for me and I honestly never intended to voice these concerns in this kind of arena. My decision to do so was spurred because I feel passionately about injustice and inequality and I really just felt it was an appropriate time to talk about this issue being that it is Fair Trade Fortnight from May 7 – 22 May. Fair Trade Fortnight is aimed at encouraging Australian’s to swap their ‘coffee, chocolate and cuppas’ for fair trade alternatives…why not try it yourself?

    So after all for that what are your thoughts? Already munching on Cadbury chocolate while shopping online at Ginger and Smart? I hope so…

    Saturday, May 7, 2011

    The Drums

    On Wednesday night I met my friend H and her boyfriend at the Hi-Fi Bar to see The Drums play live. We stood at the front of the balcony (hence my rubbish photographs -you can see some professional photos from the gig here) which gave us unobstructed view of the New York City hipsters otherwise known as The Drums. Their set was brilliant and made me beyond happy. I literally could not stop smiling the whole night!

    They were supported by a band called Tiger Choir from Tasmania who had a really interesting sound. I love discovering new things to listen to at festivals and gigs :) Anyway here are some dodgy photos taken with my trusty Canon Ixus. Enjoy!


    Tuesday, May 3, 2011

    A-dressing a dilemma - Part 2

    From Blondie's love of leather pants to the platform shoes of the Spice Girls, you can’t deny that fashion and music go hand in hand.

    In recent years, the enduring and constantly evolving romance between the two has given us sparkly leotards (thanks Karen O), latex dresses (no thanks Katy Perry) and of course the ubiquitous skinny jean/leather jacket combo of indie bands everywhere.Photobucket

    I think it's pretty obvious when I say that in this partnership, boundaries don't exist. The lovechild of self expression means you can flirt with pretty much whatever style you want and it's this that makes dressing for gigs and festivals especially long as you don't go overboard.

    Personally, I think that expensive frocks, heels of any kind and that 'fashionable' feathered headdress are best avoided as they will get trashed and look ridiculous on a muddy field/in a sweaty bar.

    So what do you wear to a gig, that is both fashion forward and comfortable?

    I need a quick answer to this question if I'm going to kill it at The Drums tomorrow night! I've tried turning to my favourite It girls but as I haven't been blessed with their twiggy arms and endless legs I find 'channeling' their look rather difficult at time. The Asos' 2011 Festival shop which has recently launched for the northern Summer, is brimming with micro denim shorts, baggy singlets and fedoras, outfits well known to the indie hipster...but again not really my most flattering friends. So what to wear?


    I think I'm going to go with black. I know, not exactly original - but rest-assured there will be leopard print and red involved too. I can see you rolling your eyes again...'but it's just so "done"' you say. Well I don't care! It will still be fabulous like!

    The wolf ring is the only thing I've decided on. I'm torn between three options that inspired/are inspired by (you can do both people) the below picture board:

    1. My leopard print Motel dress, gladiators and jacket/cardigan.
    2. My grey-spotted Motel dress with ballet flats/brown boots plus cardigan
    3. My adored Motel 'Patty' dress (are we seeing a pattern here?) OR
    4. Skinny jeans, t-shirt, leather jacket.

    So what will it be?? Any new ideas for me? Am I a walking, talking cliche wearing any of these?? HELP!

    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    High tea, wedding edition

    I know there's no small amount of Royal Wedding posts on the internet right now but isn't being a little fashionably late ok?
    I personally adored Kate's dress. She looked classic, elegant and beautiful - most definitely like a princess. I do agree that the dress wasn't particularly "show-stopping" but it was timeless and perfectly suited for a Royal Wedding.
    The wedding itself I found a little dull (aside from Dame Edna's coverage of it on channel nine!) but I suppose that was to be expected. Harry is such a fox and Pippa looked stunning and chic - LOVED her dress possibly more than Kate's!

    In the true spirit of the occasion my mum and I put together a little high tea with sandwiches, scones and cupcakes, washed down with Champagne and tea.
    Vanilla cupcakes with multi-coloured icing. They were imperfect but perfectly delicious!
    I wasn't allowed to use the 'good' china so this was it
    The Spread
    Yummy! So much sugar....

    We still have roses growing in the garden!
    Who doesn't love an excuse to have high tea??