August shopping: summertime retail therapy

August shopping: summertime retail therapy

We love shopping at charity shops and auctions above all else but don't feel bad if we buy new from time to time. We've got some ideas for the eco home dweller and have been testing a few products out too, so share our thoughts

Nour Luxury organic cotton bedlinen

Great that lots of organic cotton bedlinen brands are springing up such as Square Flower, Little Leaf Organic, fou furnishings, Their Story and, pictured above, Nour Luxury. Organic cotton is much more environmentally-friendly than conventionally produced cotton, says The Soil Association, and it's urging us to switch to it the next time we need bedlinen. And for good value organic cotton sheets and duvet covers, check out La Redoute.

*click on images in the article to see them in larger format

The fashion industry is starting to champion organic cotton - M&S does excellent organic cotton T shirts as does H&M and other high street brands. But homewares brands have been relatively slow off the mark, despite the huge amount of research done which shows how much more eco friendly organic cotton is compared to conventionally produced cotton. So well done to the new companies selling organic cotton bedlinen. Joining Glasgow's fou furnishings is Nour Luxury, Square Flower and fair trade/ethical Their Story. Come on, there's no excuse for not switching, especially with summer sales coming up...

Lotions and potions

Suncream is a summer essential and if you're trying to minimise the amont of plastic you buy, look to Green People, which is selling its sun lotions in new packaging made from biodegradable sugar cane. 

For handcream made in the UK from sustainable natural ingredients, can we recommend Seams. We've been testing it and reckon it's really very good. Keeps ageing hands soft and smooth if used daily. Seams handcream was developed for seamstresses whose hands take a battering from needles, bobbins, scissors and pinking shears. £14 for 75ml tube.

Leeds-based Prime Decking makes its decking planks made from waste plastic and wood
Two is made from wool woven from the fleece of Whiteface Dartmoor sheep. No gardener should be without a spool. Lots of colours, 100m roll £6.50.
Dalefoot Composts are made from Lake District The wool and bracken. Peat free, super eco.
Green People sun screens now come in packaging made from bio-degradable sugar cane, not plastic. From £18.
Seams hand cream is really really good stuff. Very soothing and long lasting moisture.  £14 for 75ml
Great for summer, jute tote bags with hand-embroidered linen front pocket, £48 from Sep Jordan works with Palestinian refugee women, who make beautiful products including bags and cushions
Wooden wall hooks from Chocolate Creative, from £10.
Food grade steel Sucka re-useable straws. £9.99 for 3.
Such a good idea...Pokito collapsible re-useable plastic cup for when you're on the go. Made in Britain. £15.
New colour block Bowls of Plenty ceramic tableware from Royal Doulton. Set of 4 dinner plates £40.
Hanging plant pot from fair trade The Elephant Head, £20. Made in Jaipur.

Garden focus

Thinking about decking? Liverpool-based Composite Prime is a high-end, garden and landscaping product that does not cost the earth. Made from recycled plastic (280 plastic milk bottles used per m2) and end of life FSC 100 per cent certified timber, Composite Prime is a natural wood-grain composite decking that's environmentally friendly, slip resistant and free from hazardous substances. The composite decking won’t rot or decay and comes with a protective layer to offer protection against stains and the elements. A safe, low maintenance and long-life alternative to traditional timber decks.

Whether you have a huge garden or space only for some pots, plants grow best with good fertiliser. Dalefoot Composts is a Lake District-based company that produces compost from waste wool from local sheep and bracken from the region. It is of course peat free. Dalefood has different 'blends' according to what you're growing. We have been testing the tomato compost - our tomato plants are huge - and we have lakeland gold for containers and the flowers therein are blooming. The Deco team can't claim to be great gardeners but we do love these composts and feel our thriving plants are down to them. 30L bag £10.99

At the other end of the country, Devon-based Twool makes garden twine using wool from Whiteface Dartmoor sheep. The twines cost £6.50 for a 100m spool and come in a variety of colours to suit your plants. A lovely product, supporting Dartmoor sheep breeders. 

Zero waste

Single use plastic cutlery, cups, plates, straws, and bottles are terrible for the planet because many of them end up in whole or fragmented form in our seas or on our beaches. The waste is horrendous so it's very good to see so new re-useable products hitting the shops that should help to reduce plastic waste. If you love drinking through a straw try Sucka reuseable metal straws, which come in lovely colours and bags of three (£9.99). Or check out washable sillicone straws, such as Hip CleanStraw.

And if you're a coffee aficionado, take your own collapsible cup into Pret or Costa, because not only do you get a discount on the drink but you're doing the earth a favour by not using a disposible non-recyclable cup. Pokito cups are very portable - they fold right down so take up no room in a bag, and they're endlessly reuseable. £15. An investment worth making.  

Hooks and plants and pots

Chocolate Creative makes really fun painted wall hooks which you can use to hang tiny cacti and succulents across your walls. 

And hanging planters are all the rage, so for larger vessels, check out the Elephant Head's fair trade ceramic hanging plant pots, made in Jaipur. They cost £20 and are very pretty.