Do you care about ethical clothing?

The 2018 Ethical Fashion Guide just came out! This guide is such a good way for us in New Zealand to get insight into how responsible companies are when it comes to looking after the people who make our clothes. It grades companies on four key areas, and where a company chooses not to participate it does its best with publicly available information. It also doesn't only focus on Australasia – international companies are often included, like TopShop and Victoria's Secret.

 An ethical, well-priced, super-cute top. Image:  Kowtow

An ethical, well-priced, super-cute top. Image: Kowtow

I was so pleased to see some of my favourite brands doing well (yay Kowtow, Zara and Witchery!)  As I looked at the report I did a little mental assessment of what I was wearing right then and was pretty happy with the ticks (Witchery top, Everlane trousers – not rated in this report but radically transparent, and, ahem, ethical underwear too!) 

I take this sort of thing moderately seriously. I'm far from perfect, but it's important to me, so I work at it. Some of my regular go-to brands are from the States and it can be harder to find information on them, but I still do try. I try to support brands that make an effort in their local communities, whether that be New Zealand or elsewhere. And – and this probably has the most impact – I do my best to shop thoughtfully, making sure that I truly love what I buy, know what I'm going to wear it with, and ideally, can sell it on when I'm done with it rather than putting it in a clothing bin.

That last one is an interesting point because there seems to be no correlation between the cost of clothes and how ethical they are. You can't consign brands like Glassons and H&M – there's no market because their clothes are so inexpensive in the first place – but both of those brands perform considerably better in the report than some brands that are easy to consign, e.g. Karen Walker and Trelise Cooper. To be honest, this just irritates me no end. If you're charging more for your clothes, it should be easier to ensure you're acting ethically, all the way along the whole supply chain. There really are no excuses for those companies.

I don't claim to have all the right answers or the perfect strategy, but I am glad this sort of information is becoming more accessible and more considered, by lots of different people. I like knowing this stuff and I like that we live in a world where it's not too difficult to make more ethical decisions when you have the right information. I've decided to keep doing what I started last year, and avoid shopping anywhere that got less than a B- in this year's report. That means no Karen Walker, no Ruby and no Ralph Lauren – but the good news is I have plenty of other options when I do want to buy something. 

What about you – do you have a strategy to shop ethically? Will this report change any of your behaviour?

 

Amelie at eighteen months old

 Couldn't resist putting this one in even though it's blurry. That smile!

Couldn't resist putting this one in even though it's blurry. That smile!

Amelie turned eighteen months last week! A picture of her holding her six month sign came up in my Facebook memories and I just can't believe a whole year has gone by since then. Everyone says time flies, but to be honest that wasn't my experience at all when I was on maternity leave. Ever since I went back to work though time has indeed just somehow dissipated, and now somehow I am the mother to a full-blown toddler.

 Determined Amelie.

Determined Amelie.

 Making art at the art gallery.

Making art at the art gallery.

Amelie is possibly the most strong-willed person on the planet. She has very firm ideas about what she wants and doesn't want, and isn't afraid to yell at the top of her lungs if we get it wrong (or it's just something she's not allowed). The flip side of that is that she is just so thrilled with herself for communicating successfully if we do get it right. 

Being able to 'talk' to us is one of Amelie's biggest joys. She's incredibly verbal but we don't always understand, and I think this is a source of much frustration for her. She has a few words that are totally clear – Mama, Daddy, Cuper, bubble, ball, blower (as in leaf blower – she can see the street cleaners using it from her daycare windows and it's amazing to her); some that require us to interpret for her – Alex (one of her good friends), more, please, grandma, granddad; and some where we have no idea. Her catch-all is deedoo. We don't know what it means, but it gets used a lot, for a whole variety of things. It is to Amelie what prego is to Italians.

 Watching the lawnmower man at the country house.

Watching the lawnmower man at the country house.

Amelie's favourite things are her Duplo, her pull-along toys, her Opie, her bike helmet, and my handbag. Oh, and also everything she's not allowed, especially if it's incredibly dangerous. She's never still, unless she's in a new environment, which I'm pretty sure is only because she's planning how to cause the most destruction in the smallest amount of time. My standard warning to anyone else looking after her is that she can run faster, climb higher and move further than you'd think she should be able to. 

 Playing with the toys at the Volvo Ocean Race.

Playing with the toys at the Volvo Ocean Race.

Amelie loves to give us big hugs, which are so very lovely while they last (a couple of seconds usually). She gives us kisses as well, but much prefers us to kiss her. She cuddles into us to read books, and those are some of my favourite times (hers too I think). She gives us enormous smiles when we get her up in the morning and when we put her down to sleep, and no matter which one of us she's with she's asking about the other one. H1 and I really do split the parenting load 50/50 (and honestly, recently it's been more like 60/40 due to a crazy schedule for me these days). I think that comes through in how much she loves both of us. 

She is, obviously, the best child in the world and I'm so happy she is who she is. 

 Taking a break to have a snack.

Taking a break to have a snack.

A weekend of summer

 Image via  Homelife

Image via Homelife

Summer is well and truly over but nobody has told the weather. I'm not complaining...this is a pretty sensational start to autumn! I'm hoping to make the most of it with H1 and Amelie this weekend in a fairly chilled way. A weekend close to home is sounding like absolute bliss to me (but I reserve the right to change my mind and go exploring!) What are your plans? 

Here is some Friday reading for you, to hopefully bring on the weekend just a little sooner!

Does it affect your mood when your clothes don't seem to reflect who you are?

LOVE this house. I kind of want to be the owner/buy all the things she makes.

The truest cartoon I've ever seen.

The lame bitches were right (yes!)

I've wanted this cookbook for ages and this article has tipped me over the edge.

This looks like such a comfortable dress for winter weekends.

Have a lovely weekend! x

A few good things

Happy Easter!

 Easter treats on Sunday morning!

Easter treats on Sunday morning!

Hoping you all have had a great long weekend. We got away up to the country for a few days, which was just so nice and relaxing after a stressful couple of weeks working on an assignment. We also spent Easter Sunday at my parents' house in Parua Bay, hanging with the family, which was lovely. And of course we ate hot cross buns and chocolate!

 The prettiest bottle of rosé.

The prettiest bottle of rosé.

 The most amazing full moon from the country house.

The most amazing full moon from the country house.

 Relaxing with homemade coffee soda and a local magazine.

Relaxing with homemade coffee soda and a local magazine.

 Hanging with my girl over the weekend.

Hanging with my girl over the weekend.

The recipe for a perfect weekend (with children!) in Central Auckland

A few years back I declared that I had discovered the recipe for the perfect weekend, and you know what? It holds up! Even with the addition of children. Here's why the weekend just been was so good...and how you can do it for yourselves with some of the awesome activities Central Auckland has to offer.

 Amelie playing in the Art Gallery

Amelie playing in the Art Gallery

Saturday morning: Exercise

We started Saturday by cycling down to our club to play tennis and then enjoy a short spa. Amelie painted in the crèche. Even without a membership to a tennis club you can do this – Auckland has a number of free tennis courts, like Nicholson Park and Maungawhau. If your children are a bit older you could get them playing a game also, and if they're too small it might mean skipping straight to the water part and swimming at a public pool, such as Parnell Baths.

Saturday lunchtime: Read and relax

May Amelie keep napping for a loooong time yet. We embrace having to stay in for a few hours by putting our feet up on the patio and getting some reading in. I'm reading a good, but rather involved, book at the moment and am balancing that with magazines. I'm such a big magazine fan but can't handle the piles of paper they generate, so I only subscribe to my favourites and read others through RB Digital on my iPad (free for Auckland Libraries members!)

Saturday afternoon: Get some culture, and some chips

 H1 and Amelie doing their part to obliterate a room.

H1 and Amelie doing their part to obliterate a room.

We caught the bus into town and went to take part in The Obliteration Room at Auckland Art Gallery. Turns out Amelie is the perfect age to love this – she kept coming back to H1 to ask for 'mo' (more stickers) and was very careful and particular about where she was placing them. It's still on for a couple more weeks and I promise, it's worth it.

We followed it up with a drink at The Box, a lovely spot to sit outside and people watch in Aotea Square. My only complaint was they didn't do chips (and I really wanted some chips!), so we grabbed some from Double Dutch Fries in Elliott Street before heading home. This place is so good – very very close to the amazing chips in Amsterdam – but because it never seems okay to just randomly eat chips, I pretty much never have them. Elliott Street has a number of good food places along it, so no matter what you feel like you can't just randomly eat, it's likely to be there (bao! Dumplings! Hong Kong egg waffles and ice-cream!)

Saturday evening: Eat something yummy

We were relaxing at home and made falafel, but if I was heading out around Central Auckland for a casual Saturday night it would almost certainly be to Orphan's Kitchen, Pasta e Cuore, Venosa, Ortolana or Gemmayze Street. Can't go wrong with any of them, and while they're all lovely, they're also super-chill. 

Sunday morning: Food and fun

Amelie and I took ourselves off to the playground while H1 went cycling, but not before a stop at Grey Lynn Farmer's Market. We can walk to this one from our house, but another favourite in Central Auckland is La Cigale, in Parnell – or if you really want to stick in the city centre, there's a version at Britomart that's small but cute, and close to good playgrounds at Silo Park and Myers Park.

 Amelie helping me carry my farmer's market flowers.

Amelie helping me carry my farmer's market flowers.

Sunday lunchtime: Organise

I rearranged and tidied our bookshelves, which also involved moving some art, photos and plants around. Then I tidied a few more things and gave the place a vacuum, arranged the flowers I'd bought in the morning, and then I relaxed and enjoyed it. It makes such a difference to my happiness levels – and it's happiness that keeps on giving (I can see my bookshelves right now and sure enough – they are making me happy). I actually have a list of things I want to declutter, and any time I need to perk myself up or I'm feeling at a loose end I hit up that list. I don't want to tell you to use your precious downtime to organise and clean, but I can tell you it makes me feel good.

Sunday afternoon/evening: Picnic with friends in nature

Back to the park! We celebrated our friend's birthday with fish and chips and a couple of beers in the park. It would also be so lovely with some yummy snack foods (Farro is just around the corner!) Hanging out with friends is one of my favourite ways to end Sunday – it staves off those Sunday night blues nicely, and leaves me feeling like I've really soaked every drop of weekend up. And being outside while the weather is still nice enough is also a big win for the soul. 

What does your perfect weekend look like? What have I left off?