Tomorrow: Christmas Fayre

Do come and visit me at the Christmas Fayre in Barnstaple Pannier Market tomorrow from 6.30pm 🙂 There will be other stalls, food and drink and carols so should be a really fun Christmas atmosphere. I’ve got lots of Christmassy bits and pieces which will make excellent stocking fillers, gifts and decorations.

See you there!

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What would your clothes say if they could talk?

I recently read a passage from the Bible: ‘Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you…’

What would your clothes cry out?

Because you really do have a choice about the majority of clothing now, a choice about whether to buy into Fast Fashion which often has exploitation lurking in its production and supply chains, or whether to choose items you know have an ethos of justice behind them.

The fact is that many people are still locked into poverty or injustice directly because of us in the West demanding the lowest of low prices, and that just isn’t fair.

Never mind about the emotional and physical implications of being forced to work and not having enough food, the other key impact of being paid too little and working too hard is that you and your children cannot get a solid education. And if you can’t get an education it is much harder to free yourself from unfair employers, and even harder to free yourself from unfair governments. You remain trapped.

Yes, some Fair Trade clothing is marginally more expensive than the fast fashion items in high street stores, and yes it is really tricky to know exactly who is ethically ‘OK’ to buy clothes from and who isn’t. But there are definitely ways you can work around these limitations – and it really is quite easy.

*When looking for a new item, check out the Fair Trade options first. If you really can’t find what you’re looking for even then, then you can think about where to look next. Great places to look are: http://www.peopletree.co.uk and http://www.braintreeclothing.com.

*Buy less so that you can spend a little more per item. Bear in mind that ‘a little more’ does not mean you’ll be paying through the roof, and it is worth it to know that the man or woman who made the item can eat today and is not being beaten up at work, not to mention the presence of ethical work practices in their country can inspire other employers there and bring wider change for more individuals and generations.

*If you are worried about the cost, look out for vouchers (People Tree offer 10% off if you sign up to their newsletter) and sales.

*Write to the shops you love asking them to stock Fair Trade items.

Here are some of my favourite Fair Trade clothing picks from a little browse I did today…

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Clockwise from left: Noel Organic Knitwear Dress, £59.90, Braintree, Ashok Be Loungewear Tee, now in the sale for £19.95, Braintree; Carly Check Dress, £59.90, Braintree,  Slow Fashion Tee, £28, People Tree; Braintree Inkkas Low-top Trainers, £75, Braintree; Small Flowers Socks, £8, Braintree

Why Fair Trade?

In our consumer culture, much of what we buy is imported from the developing world. Often the workers are being paid barely enough to live on. Sometimes they are forced to work in poor conditions. Sometimes they are just children.

When a Fair Trade logo is shown on a product it means that the growers or makers have been paid a fair price, that their community is being invested in and that if they are employed, their employers follow guidelines as to how to treat them.

Chocolate, tea, coffee, rice, pasta, fruit, sugar and sweets are among the ever growing number of groceries that can now be bought Fair Trade. Clothes, jewellery and toys are among other items.

Awareness of the Fair Trade movement has grown hugely since it started and now most supermarkets stock some items, such as tea and coffee. You can also buy Fair Trade products online.

Traidcraft, one of the key suppliers of Fair Trade products, quote Radha Lama, a papercraft worker from Nepal, who says it is good for her community ‘if they buy the goods so we can send our children to school.’

If you choose to buy Fair Trade, you are choosing to treat someone like yourself fairly – giving them the opportunity to feed their families, provide their children with education and improve their quality of life.

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A change of direction…

After some deliberation, I’ve decided to take a break from doing the Tuesday market stalls and to begin to take Hand and Heart in a slightly different direction.

I remain passionate about continuing to promote ethical choices: as western consumers, we really do have the power to impact others’ lives for good or bad. Choosing to buy Fair Trade and handmade means we are no longer accepting child labour, terrible working conditions and unfair pay, all of which lock families into poverty. This is a great film trailer summarising the need to make a stand about this: please do click the link to watch it!

My plan, over time, is to amalgamate this blog and my shareperspective blog, providing regular thoughts, inspiration and resources on buying fair trade as well as the other, more general content you currently find on shareperspective.

Until Christmas, you can still buy from me in the following ways:

  • Come to the Barnstaple Christmas market on Thursday 4th December, from 6.30pm in The Panniers Market. There will be music, entertainment and stalls to create a Christmassy atmosphere.
  • Go to my website www.handandheartlife.com
  • Email me to request products or ask me in person (email: handandheartlife@gmail.com)
  • Order sweets for Halloween, workplace supplies or groceries for your home: see this post for more info.
  • Search Traidcraft and Created and choose from their huge range of Christmas cards. Email me the product codes and I will order them for you and give you 10% off.

Please, please consider making your Christmas this year Fair Trade/handmade! There is now so much on offer so it is an entirely feasible aim. Here are just a few websites selling Fair Trade produce:

If you are local, you can also visit Fair’s Fair to buy some beautiful gifts and clothing as well as groceries like tea and coffee.

Thank you so much for supporting Hand and Heart, which will definitely be continuing, albeit in a new way!

For some of my favourite products which are still available, take a look below. You can click the links to go to my website or email me if you would like to buy anything 🙂

Bex Saunders’ fun gift tags: all cross stitched, these make really personal, quirky keepsakes. Click here to buy from a small selection.

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Floral Bangles. Click here to buy.

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Matchbox Nativity: so cute! Click here to buy.

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Christmas Cards by Created – beautiful scenes at reasonable prices. Click here to buy.

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Lighthouse Vintage Picture. Click here to buy.

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Bracelets made with tumi beads. Click here to buy from a small selection.

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October News: More and More Fair Trade Choices

Well, hasn’t October come around quickly?! Hand and Heart has now been running 2 whole months 🙂 Hand and Heart is all about improving your opportunities to choose to buy Fair Trade, whether that is groceries, Christmas cards, toys for your children or gifts for your friends, and I’m continuing to work hard to improve this.

Please do have a read of the news below – you may find something for you!

NEW PRODUCTS
I have just received some great new products from Created Gifts, who are a part of the charity Tearfund. These include homeware, Christmas cards and jewellery, and several are already up for you to buy on www.handandheartlife.com 🙂 Here are a few of my favourites…

IMG_9426Daisy plate, £9

IMG_9417Curved Nativity, £8.50

IMG_9416Floral Bangles, £3.50 each or 2 for £6.50

HALLOWEEN

I am aware that not everyone celebrates Halloween, but if you want to get sweets for Trick-or-Treaters, why not buy Fair Trade?

Get in touch and I can order you a sweet selection for £10 which will include wrapped fudges, wrapped fruit sweets, 6 mini bags of chocolate buttons and 6 mini bags of smarties.

Email me to order at handandheartlife@gmail.com ASAP.

WORKPLACE SUPPLIES
Why not order Fair Trade supplies for your workplace?

I can provide a small workplace pack for just £10, or a large workplace pack for £20.50. See below for what this includes, and email me to order handandheartlife@gmail.com. This service is only available to those living/working in North Devon, as I will deliver to you for free.

Small Workplace Pack £10:

1 box of 80 teabags, 1 jar of instant coffee, 1 pack of chocolate chip cookies, 1 bag of granulated sugar, 1 pack of ginger cookies.

Large Workplace Pack £20.50:

2 boxes of teabags, 2 jars instant coffee, 2 packs of chocolate chip cookies, 1 bag sugar, 1 pack of ginger cookies, 1 pack of geobar cereal bars.

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HOME SUPPLIES
In the West we generally have enough money to buy basic groceries. This means we have a choice about what we do with that money. Why not choose to buy some of your groceries Fair Trade?www.traidcraftshop.co.uk have a growing selection, e.g. tea, coffee, pasta, honey, sugar, peanut butter, washing up liquid and more.

Why not browse the site, then order with me to get 5% off and free delivery (if you live in Devon)?

Email me the list of products you would like and I will organise this. You can reorder when you run out quickly and easily, and you can pay on delivery by cheque, cash or bank transfer.

OFFERS, OFFERS, OFFERS!

This Autumn, I’m doing a whole range of offers….
Go to the website, come to the stall or email me to buy 🙂

OLD FOLDING MAPS – Maps in slipcases and images in tubes: ONLY £10 each or 2 for £17. This is an absolute bargain as in November they will be going up to £15 each. Offer excludes Lighthouse and Polar Map.

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TRAIDCRAFT – Get a coffee (choose instant or ground) and a box of tea bags for just £5.
TRAIDCRAFT – Buy the tea towels two pack, get a free bottle of washing up liquid.
TRAIDCRAFT – Buy any children’s toy, get a free bag of sweets.
TRAIDCRAFT – 3 bowls for £10
TRAIDCRAFT – 3 handpainted cups for £10
TRAIDCRAFT – 4 recycled glass tumblers for £10

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JEWELLERY – All jewellery only £1.50 per item.

pink shell necklace

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EMMA BARNES – Buy any children’s scarf and get a free hairband.

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SCARF – Buy Traidcraft coral scarf and get a free pair of earrings.

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KINFOLK – Magazines now only £8, The Kinfolk Table Recipe book only £16.50

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All offers are while stock lasts. Enjoy them 🙂

A little update :-)

Life has been very busy lately!

I really appreciated all the support for the Launch Party last Friday, and hope all those who came enjoyed it! The weather was warm enough to start outside, and we all agreed that the Fair Trade wines went down beautifully. I was glad because I got to make my favourite Nigella treat (do click on that link for the recipe – it’s so easy!) with Fair Trade dark chocolate and pistachios, and it was a great opportunity to get to know each other better.

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Today, www.handandheartlife.com got up and running!! There you can buy a selection of the products I’ve been collecting, and more will be added regularly. I’m currently looking into new suppliers of some beautiful products, including Fair Trade homeware, gifts and clothing, so watch this space for those.

Another recent event that has made me happy is that I have finally found a supplier of Fair Trade beads, so that I can get back to making jewellery with materials that really inspire me. Look out for my creations on the stall and website, and in the meantime check out tumijewellery.com to see what will be heading Hand and Heart’s way (and why not support them too?! I’ve got my eye on this ring – what takes your fancy?)

In a quiet spell at the market on Tuesday, I planned our food for the week using some of the Kinfolk recipes and I have LOVED it! On Tuesday night we had the Salt and Vinegar potato skins from the Saltwater Edition, on Wednesday we had the most amazing (and simple) Almond, Rocket and Goats Cheese Pasta from The Kinfolk Table. Today we tried another recipe from the same book – a hearty pearl barley salad with feta, olives and tomatoes. I was so pleased with all the recipes and made enough to have for our lunches at work. My favourite was the pasta as it transported me to Italy for a while, and Andrew liked the pearl barley. It made a surprisingly reasonable weekly food shop, too, and the leftover ingredients provided healthy snacks and desserts like nectarine, cottage cheese and almonds and other fruit/nut/cheese combinations!

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Please keep visiting me on the stall this Autumn (Barnstaple Pannier Market, every Tuesday), and do keep browsing the website for things you or someone you know may enjoy.

If you live in North Devon and I see you regularly, and you buy from the website, do get in touch and I will deliver in person and refund your postage charge.

Thanks again to everyone for your support,

Amy x