Top shop; Accessorize; Muse, everyone has heard of these high street shops, right? What about Flip Flop? Never heard of it? Well I think it’s about time you do. If you want custom made handbags; bracelets; necklaces that are all made from recycle flip flops, yes flip flops, then you found it in UniquEco.

Flip flops washed up and reused
Flip flops washed up and reused

UniquEco is a foundation set up from East Africa; the project was founded by the woman of Kiwayu, which is a small island in Northern Kenyan Coastline. Not only does this project help the environment it gives the women of Kiwayu, who live in Africa a source of power. In the remote areas of Africa there are very few ways to earn a living; now woman’s roles in the community have grown; they are now economic decision markers paying for households; food and education for the families.

Why flip flops then, why not plastic or snack wrappers? Well flip flops are washed up on East African Beaches. Waste is a problem all around the world but in East Africa it was becoming a real big problem and the locals needed to do something with the sudden growth of rubbish on their beaches.

So what does this organisation do then? UniquEco collects the flip flops; recycles and cleans everything they find; create their wonderful work; sells all the products to tourist and local residents in all the shops and craft fairs; amazingly 80% of their goods are exported all over the world; the sales generated are put into buying more flip flops and getting 150 people employed; it rises education in Africa, by recycling all rubbish and flip flops that end up on the beaches. UniquEco are spreading the word about recycling and making everyone think we should do something about it.

So from all this do you still think high Street is the best? With companies like UniquEco around that are helping the environment and have such good intentions behind them not just to making you look good. Then is it really a good plan to splash your hard earned money on a £25 bracelet that might only last a few weeks in the cutting edge of fashion or your money on something that will look good all year round and that is made with love and attention.

At hello eco living we review a wide range of products so that you can find out from real people exactly what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to living a more eco life.

Last month I was sent the most delightful package. It was wrapped in an organic cotton drawstring bag (which now doubles up as a lap top cover – perfect size). Inside sat was the most delicious crisp white duvet cover – organic cotton and delicate to touch. Within minutes I was racing up the stairs to pop this baby on my bed, pillow cases too.

The range is called Elsa from a company called Fou Furnishings. It has a 400 thread count (in a nutshell I think this means it’s really good). I felt as though I was sleeping on a cloud, or at least in a really swish boutique hotel. The product washes really well too.

I’ve gone organic in various parts of my life, but before now never contemplated bedding. It makes sense. Why would you want to sleep in something that has been poorly made by underpaid staff and seeped in chemicals? You wouldn’t. So it’s organic bedding all the way for me, and I hope you too.

As much as we don’t want to save “bye bye” to the British summer time, we’re going to have to. It’s time to dig out your mittens and brace yourself for colder times.

Treat yourself
Treat yourself with Abahna

It’s also time to start looking after your skin which can often turn really dry in winter months – cold weather coupled with central heating tends to take the moisture right out of your skin.

Why not treat yourself to a nice warm bath? You may want to take a look at these lovely bathing tips too…

  • Try taking a warm bath as a hot one can dry out the skin
  • Soak yourself for up to 20mins then hop out – if you wallow too long then your skin and energy will feel zapped
  • Treat your body to a moisturise after your bath
  • Try to avoid having a bath just before you go to bed – it increases your heart rate and can make it difficult to sleep.

If you’re looking for something scrumptious to make your bath extra special, then why not splash out on a few “Abahna” products? We’re loving them this month – from their bath oils, to bathing ritual boxes. What’s great is that they have taken gorgeously scented pure essential oils and combined them with organic botanical extracts to create natural, UK made products.

There’s a whole bunch of things to keep children amused, and you can find them in your garden!

An eco summer for the kids

A lovely garden centre called Notcutts has been taking the advice of children this summer, asking their advice about what makes their ‘perfect garden’. You’re bound to find this interesting if you have little ones to be amused over the long summer holidays – what’s best – it can all be done on a budget!

Notcutts conducted a research panel comprising of very opinionated 6-7 year old school children from East Anglia asking them all about their perfect garden.

So, what do the children themselves want to keep them amused this summer?

Wellies, buckets and waterproof games! Bad weather isn’t a deterrent: kids love playing in the rain, with 80% of them finding it as much fun as the sun!

‘A bit of garden to call my own’ was a popular request, with 90% of the panel wanting even the smallest area earmarked for their own gardening project.

Treehouses or dens also proved popular, with 60% of kids wanting somewhere specific to play in. (A low cost alternative would involve a card board box – my Mum always reminds me that I was more intrigued playing with the boxes my pressie came in rather than the pressie itself)

Weeding!! – apparently kids think this is fun and tops the list of gardening activity, above planting and watering! Just give them some pointers and watch them go, takes the pressure off Mum and Dad!

To make things a bit more fun for them, you could invest in some nice children’s gardening tools – there’s some cute items available from Notcutts as well as other garden centres – and when you’re children grow out using spades with ladybugs on, then you can be sure to pass them on to another young child who is discovering the wonders of exploring the back garden!