Looking for Books? Here is a Sustainable Way of Getting Them.


Along with clothes, books are one of the most thrown away items that clog up our landfills each year. An enormous amount of novels get published in a year but the number of them actually being well received and bought, unfortunately, isn’t high.

How can you help solve this? Well, A Box of Stories, have come up with a helpful way in which you can stop a select amount ending up in the landfill.

As the company states, 177,000,000 books get destroyed every year in the UK alone. Purely because only 17% are lucky enough to receive a decent marketing budget. Due to this a large proportion of decent, well written books don’t make the shelves and therefore don’t end up in peoples hands.

As a lover of books and escaping into the world of the next cleverly thought out universe it is a shame that such hard work can be put to waste. That is why when you buy a box of books from A Box of Stories, you are saving 4 from getting destroyed.

So, are you still confused as to what I am talking about? Let me explain…

The company offers a range of different boxes that include 4 different books. The cheaper options are a mixed box of fiction or a general mixed box (of fiction and non fiction), both at £14.99 (£3.75 a book!!!).

Or if you want to hone in on a certain genre they offer boxes of 4 books from these different genres; Crime Thriller & Mystery, Young Adult (YA), light reads, Historical fiction and non fiction.

Each of these boxes which are curated around a certain genre are £21.99 each (£5.50 per book).

Now are you wondering how they sort the books or are concerned you’ll end up with a novel that just isn’t quite up to scratch? Don’t panic, they curate books that have sold in decent numbers and then use an algorithm that sorts them on the basis of book reviews, blog posts and critics reviews etc. so they can put them in boxes to delight book lovers across the globe. So you are getting quality at a great price!

To add to this you are getting a surprise right to your door and allowing yourself to read things that you might have never picked up before. It’s a win win right?

My Experience

I must admit it was my mum who really wanted to order the box, however I was more than happy to share it considering the idea behind it is great! Plus who doesn’t love books!?

The ordering experience was very easy and it didn’t take long to arrive. We chose the mixed box of fiction and I have to say I was quite intrigued by the contents of the box.

*As a quick disclaimer I must say that I haven’t had time to read the books myself, I am currently preparing for uni while trying to sort my business out however when I get the chance (which could be Christmas time) I’ll be sure to give them a read. What I have done however is read the blurbs, asked for my mums perspective on the one she has read and done some research. Either way if I don’t get a chance they’ll be passed onto another book lover.*

Book 1 – The Floating Theatre by Martha Conway

Without copying the blurb the book is set in 1838 and tells the story of a young seamstress May Bedloe who is dirt poor and abandoned on the shore of the Ohio River. This is when she takes on work from the famous Floating Theatre, filled with colourful personalities and characters. However, it is not all as it appears to be as she travels the boarder between the slave-holding South and the ‘free’ North. She is duty bound to transport secret passengers across the river and along the Underground Railroad, which not only endangers herself but those close to her.

  • This particular story enticed me the most, a piece of historical fiction with a gripping storyline based on fear, love and bravery, it sounds like it tells much more than just a story of a lost woman. From reviews I have read the novel depicts slavery in a new and interesting way (I do not mean that in the sense that slavery is not interesting in the first place, it’s an issue that everyone should be well versed in). Historical fiction, although not always completely accurate and can often be romanticised for the sake of storytelling, is a good way to learn if you want a starting point.

This is a novel I definitely want to read. A pleasant surprise for Book 1 from the box.


Book 2 – The Anomaly by Michael Rutger

The novel tells the story of Nolan Moore, a ‘rogue’ archaeologist hosting a documentary shunned by the experts but loved by conspiracy theorists. He is retracing the steps of an explorer in 1909 who found a mysterious cavern in the Grand Canyon. When he finds what he assumes is this cavern, it begins to take a nasty turn on him in odd ways. This tale then turns into one of survival, against odds that seem to be well out of his reach. Leaving the reader with several questions. (description based on a blurb from Good Reads)

  • A story that combines both the Thriller and Sci-Fi genre, which is part of a series that is dubbed to be put onto the big screen (yet to happen). From research the author was a bit of a mystery at the beginning. Turns out it is by Michael Marshall Smith, who now also goes by Michael Rutger apparently. He has won several awards under his actual name while also collaborating on several film/TV projects under the Sci-Fi, Comedy and thriller genres.

This is when the box comes in handy. The novel is definitely not what I would reach for in a store however that is not to say I wouldn’t like it. I am all for trying something new and if I didn’t like it, it could easily be turned into a gift for someone who would.


Book 3 – The Moon Pool by Sophie Littlefield

A tale about the loss of two boys from the perspective of their mothers. Colleen lost her boy to the snowy, oil filled landscape of North Dakota which she describes as both beautiful but disastrous. In the same town, another mother is out searching for her boy, who also disappeared in the oilfields which he worked at. Alone they are both lost in grief without answers but together they could help each other and find out the long-awaited answers they’ve been searching for.

  • A Crime novel which from the blurb describes both the landscape and grief with a deep sense of sensitivity and kindness. Although, from reading the blurb and what you might have gathered form my rewritten description, the oil industry appears to take centre stage but from reading reviews actually has little importance to the narrative. Which is a shame.

A book which goes into themes of motherhood, crime and grief which I must admit is not something I’d jump at reading and will probably have to be in a certain mood for. However, I do like the crime genre, in particular in TV, so it’s not to say that I won’t like it.


Book 4 – The Secrets of Primrose Hill by Claudia Carroll

A story detailing the lives of those behind the doors in Primrose Hill, Dublin. A mother is grieving for her child as she waits silently outside the house of the boy she thinks is responsible. Across the street, a young woman has just moved in. She is an aspiring director who is running away from a scandal while simultaneously possibly running into another one; her landlord is absent and doesn’t quite add up. Then a few doors down a widow sits alone in her bedroom. She has just told her family something rather surprising, meaning her life is about to change forever.

  • A heart-warming story about neighbours, their difficulties and how they come together to support each other. One reader, who stated on Good Reads, said the novel was usually not for her as she labelled it a ‘chick-flick’ before reading it. However, it surprised her with its tenderness and how there were moments for humour but also for sadness.

This was the book my mum has started and although she isn’t anywhere near finished it, she has said she’s enjoying it and is going to carry on reading. I must admit this is also a book I would pick up for some easy, light reading. I like escaping into the normality of other people lives, so I will definitely give it a read when I get the chance.


General Notes on the books we received: They are all paperback and in pristine quality. Actually, what surprised me is how big the novels are. They aren’t the typical size of those on the shelves, they appear to be longer. Probably hardback in size, so not the most portable.

To buy your own box or find out more info on A Box Of Stories click here.


So if you are looking for some new books but don’t know what to go for or are stuck for inspiration why not get surprised. The boxes are also great for gifting to someone, either as an individual book or a whole box.

Alternatively, if you are new to reading (welcome!) and don’t know what genre to go for or get a bit overwhelmed in a book shop then this is perfect for you!

I might add that if you are looking for a specific book or want to try one of the ones mentioned above why not go on Amazon or eBay and buy them second hand, this way you are using ones already in circulation and looking to be rehomed. This can also be done in a charity shop if you’re looking for a new read but don’t have any idea of what you want. You can also go to your local independent book store and support them in this much needed time.

Let me know if you end up ordering a box or if you have any thoughts on the initiative.

Much love,

Sophie x


10 Affordable Sustainable Fashion Brands

When it comes to shopping, the word ‘affordable’ is key for a lot of people, me being one of them. Sustainability is something a lot of people don’t tend to associate affordability with, mainly because it is marketed as ‘if you want something sustainable then it has to be more expensive so those making them can be paid fairly.’ This sentiment I fully agree with, however it does not mean a garment such as a simple T-Shirt has to cost £100. When shopping sustainably is a must have for our environment, it needs to accommodate those who simply can’t afford the £100 T-Shirt.

If you want to hear more of my opinions on sustainability, how to achieve it without spending more money and some views on its marketing check out my recent post here.

With this in mind, I have accumulated some affordable brands from a varying price point (never being far too expensive) and sellers perspective. Some being very commercial others reselling clothing and making items by hand. Both equally important to achieving a sustainable wardrobe and mindset.

I asked over on instagram (@sophieseditblog) for some recommendations, so thanks for sending some in! If they weren’t included its purely because either they were a bit out of the price range or I couldn’t find any sustainable information on them.


Nu-in Fashion.

Nu-in Fashion is relatively new (no pun intended), but in its short time span I’ve noticed them making waves in the fashion industry. Their ethos is ‘Fashion. Sustainably Driven’ making ‘Beautiful clothing that doesn’t cost the earth.’

I’ve seen influencers such as @hellooctober endorse the brand and I am eager to get my hands on a piece. Ranging from both mens and women’s wear, I’d say they are on the level of Highstreet brands such as Topshop. But with much better values.

Courtesy of their Instagram @nuinfashion

Shop them here.

TALA

Image Courtesy of their Instagram @wearetala

Shop them here.

Along the same lines as GYMSHARK, TALA has made a considerable difference to the sportswear market, proving these brands can do a lot better. They aim to bridge the gap between fast fashion and sustainability, even though they do produce a high rate of clothing, they plan to create products which are 100% up-cycled and are currently 92% of the way there. Plus they are doing it with recycled packaging and their tags are made from plantable paper.

H&M

A brand I was dubious whether to include but I do believe they are making promising steps to being more conscious and better with their clothing. They have set up a global garment collection initiative where you can hand in old clothes (regardless of condition or brand) and receive a £5 voucher to spend in store. The fashion giant have also released a Conscious Collection and have a goal to use only recycled and sustainably sourced materials by 2030. Although they are not perfect, they are making huge strides when it comes to Highstreet fashion.

Courtesy of their Instagram @hm

Shop them here.

Lost Stock

Image Courtesy of their Instagram @loststock_

Shop them here.

‘Buy a box. Support a worker for a week’. This Edinburgh based company have achieved great success doing something truly commendable. ‘Leading brands have cancelled over $2 billion USD worth of clothes that have already been produced. This leaves millions of workers in countries such as Bangladesh unpaid, and at risk of starvation. With Lost Stock you get a 50% discount on 3 or more pieces of clothing while supporting workers and decreasing waste.’

I currently have a box on the way, the delivery time is long however everything is handpicked to a quiz you take at the beginning. I’ll do a review as soon as it arrives.

Gee-Thanks

Georgia is a friend I made at uni and has her own brilliant business selling sustainably sourced clothing and avidly advocates for sustainability. She is more than happy to help with finding clothing for you and keeps you regularly updated with new pieces via her instagram (@shopgeethanks). More importantly her clothing is sold at affordable price points for quality clothing. My sister has bought a great pair of Levi jeans from her for such a great price, alongside my flatmate buying one of her more popular pieces, a cropped shirt, which looks great!

Image courtesy of their Instagram @shopgeethanks

Shop them here.

Jess Adams Design

Image courtesy of their instagram @jessadamsdesign

A lot of people forget that shopping sustainably can also be done through shopping at small, independent businesses. It is a small step in the right direction. Jess is an independent seller on Etsy and is avidly making changes to her packaging to become more sustainable. She recently reached 5,000 sales and has some very popular items on her store.

Shop them here.

Organic Basics

More on the upper end of Highstreet pricing, Organic Basics focuses on making simple things well. They only partner with factories who care about their environmental impact as well as choosing fabrics that are sustainable. Importantly, they design everything to last. They do activewear, underwear and everyday essentials for both men and women.

Although you may be spending more than the brands suggested above, they are quality items, recently endorsed by fellow Edinburgh student and blogger Nayna Florence.

Image Courtesy of their instagram @organicbasics

Shop them here.

Depop

Image Courtesy of their Instagram @depop

Shop them here.

A bit more of a broad suggestion, however just as important. As a good friend said, ‘If people want fast fashion we should facilitate it with sustainable behaviours.’ This is the perfect place to get it. Instead of buying from shops like Misguided, Boohoo and Pretty Little Thing (to name only a few) why not buy the pieces from Depop instead.

Not only this, a lot of people use the site to sell vintage clothing or pieces they have up-cycled, this way you can truly get something different, for most likely a decent price.

By Megan Crosby

If you are looking for quality, colour and something handmade this is your place to go. Now before you read any further, this isn’t your cheapest option when buying sustainably however I have included it because you are paying for made to measure garments made from sustainable, ethically sourced and organic materials and packaging. You are not only paying for the quality of the material but also the sewing and attention to detail, so if that’s what you’re after, why not give Megan a shout?

Courtesy of their instagram @megancrosby

Shop them here.

Lucy and Yak

Image courtesy of their instagram @lucyandyak

Lucy and Yak are well known for their dungarees but should be appreciated for their entire range of clothing which is made sustainably and ethically. A brand highly focussed on comfort and colour, their garments bring a sense of joy to each user. Check out their website not only for the fabulous clothes but also the great story of how they started!

Shop them here.


I know that shopping sustainably can be daunting and lets be honest there are only a few who are very good at it. No one is perfect but what we can do is try our best. If this post highlights anything, I hope it is that shopping sustainably affordably isn’t impossible and that there are outlets there for absolutely everyone to do better.

Like I said in my previous post, shopping sustainably doesn’t have to mean going out and buying clothes, it means you buy what you need. Look at your wardrobe like a collection for all year round, not just for part of it. More importantly, you do not need to invest in trends, instead invest in yourself and your own personal taste.

Please go and support these brands if you can, or at the very least check them out. They are doing important things in a market which is often looked down upon.

Keep me updated with any of your own sustainable finds and let me know if you end up getting anything from any of the above!

Much love,

Sophie x


A Students Perspective on Sustainable Fashion.

I am in favour of anything sustainable. I am a firm believer that the world needs to take active steps in reducing factors like its carbon footprint to make the world we inhabit last a lot longer. I am not in favour however of guilt tripping people about their habits without knowing their economic reasons, or any reason for that matter, behind their attitude.

Without getting too political it is frustrating as a 20 year old that our government, filled with *mostly* white old men, are too economically driven to see the catastrophic affects their actions have on this planet. Yes they won’t be here to see it, but their kids and grandkids will be. We are the ones who have to deal with the consequences of the naive older generation.

*Might I add that if you are a part of the older generation and get angry at this statement because you ‘aren’t part of this problem’, please take an inward look at your actions and what you are doing/can change. Try and remember who it is that governs us and how very little they are doing*

I’m not here to sound bigger or better than anyone else, because I am not perfect. I am not a poster girl for environmental change but like anyone else I want that change to happen. We can do as much as we can as consumers however there is a much bigger change that is needed and that comes from people in a position of power.

When it comes to sustainability, my insight into it has been largely around the fashion industry and the abundance of fashion brands who produce clothing at affordable rates but in terrible conditions. Brands such as PLT, Boohoo, Missguided and Shein are only a few who are guilty of being extremely harmful to the environment.

Unfortunately there is a stereotype many people brandish our generation with. One which is extremely harmful and purely distasteful to the work that many people are doing. Work that needs to be done. It shouldn’t be brushed off because it is some ‘snowflake’ getting angry about a ‘trendy’ topic. Or people saying ‘It’s just the younger generation trying to be “woke”‘. It is young people taking ownership for YOUR mistakes.

Before I get too angry and go off on a tangent about the misconception of 16-25 year olds, I want to write an honest piece about how you can ‘afford’ sustainable fashion through not going out and buying clothes out-with your budget. I think a lot of people get scared to go off piste when addressing sustainability, however I believe there are major problems with the industry, especially surrounding students (who are one of the major consumers of the brands stated above). There are ways in which you can make changes to the way you shop without feeling guilty about not affording a £200 dress made of organic fabric.

I am a big believer that simply changing your attitude to your closet can stop you from shopping for unnecessary items. This way you can find what you need rather than what you want (or simply buying on impulse).

  • Look Inwards

You wardrobe is full of clothes that can be repurposed in ways that will look completely different to the last time you wore it. Don’t look at a dress purely as just a dress. Why not tuck it into jeans or put a jumper over it. If, unlike me, you are good with a sewing machine, why not completely change something that has been sitting in the back of your wardrobe for 3 years.

At the end of the day your wardrobe should not be a shop.

Mindset

A good way to think differently about the clothes you already own is having a look on sites like Pinterest (my account is linked below) and see how other people style similar pieces to ones you already have. This way you can change your mindset from ‘uh what do I have to wear, I don’t have anything’, to a creative challenge; ‘what can I do differently/switch it up’.

Photos

If you’re in a creative mood or are looking for something to do, another way to look at your wardrobe differently is taking photos of your outfits, so when it comes to being stuck for ideas, you have a folder on your phone for inspiration. Like previously mentioned, turn this into a challenge and see how many ways you can style one item.

  • Charity Shops are your best friend.

Sustainable clothing doesn’t have to be ‘new’. I once got a Ralph Lauren Polo Sweatshirt (Mens) for £10 from a charity shop. It is a great way to add designer items and unique pieces for a fraction of the price. This way it’s not ending up in a landfill.

Charity Shops

Don’t be scared to go into a charity shop and have a good look around. Yes you might not find something every time and yes it probably smells like something out of your grandparents house but the chances of you finding something completely unique, interesting and well-made is a lot higher there than in a cheap Highstreet shop. On top of this, don’t be afraid to go into the mens section. For example that ‘trendy’ oversized blazer would be a perfect find in the mens section.

Online Shopping

Online shopping does not have to encompass stores like the aforementioned ones. Looking at sites like eBay, Etsy and Depop are perfect for when you are looking for pieces you’ve seen on other people but at a smaller price tag. Plus you can repurpose them.

On another note if you have clothes that are in a good condition but are no longer used, why not sell them on one of the sites?

  • Reduce your Shopping Habits.

This is a huge aspect of fashion which I believe once changed is much more attainable than feeling ‘forced’ into buying sustainably. As a student, we have this perception that for every night out you need a different outfit, or for a special occasion you need a new dress. This is extremely harmful to the environment and frankly an outlook which is probably quite harmful to your bank balance: hence the success of brands like Boohoo.

Instead buy what you need not what you want. Buy pieces which will last for years rather than a day or a month (these don’t have to be expensive, they just need well looked after. If you buy from places like Shein however they will only last a short time). Don’t invest in trends, invest in your style and what you feel comfortable in. Simplicity is quite often key to this outlook.

If you want to buy from H&M because it is at an affordable price point, then do so, but don’t go buying 20 pieces because you have a summer holiday coming up or are in need of some winter clothing. Look at your wardrobe as a collection of items for all year round, which are multipurpose. You don’t need a new wardrobe every month. 

Stop spending every month browsing cheap sites and feeling the need to buy something every time you need to go out somewhere special. This will often do more than feeling forced to spend money on more expensive ‘sustainable’ clothing you can’t afford.

On a personal note, this year I haven’t spent much at all on clothing. At most I’ve probably bought one or two items. This is not because I’ve been forced to stop buying clothing excessively, I’ve just looked at what I’ve got differently. It’s purely because I don’t need to buy anything.

  • The Perception of Sustainability

This is something that irks me the most. In a world based around consumership the need to shop sustainably is extremely important, that is something I would never disregard. However, what does annoy me is how guilty I feel even when I am not shopping.

As a student who is not fuelled with money, I can’t support local businesses at the moment, especially when they need it the most. On top of this I can’t afford to buy sustainably because the majority of it is extremely expensive (when buying ‘new’). It’s the same feeling when I go into a supermarket: an organic broccoli for example is always more expensive than the ‘standard’ one.

I recently read an article that Good Housekeeping did called ’20 Sustainable Fashion Brands – Ethical Clothing for Women’, don’t get me wrong I didn’t get through the full list as when the first 4 websites I clicked on were overpriced I was put straight off, purely because a standard t-shirt cost £25-30 (a price point which yes, is great when you have an income that can sustain spending that much for quality, however when your food shop for that week costs the same as one t-shirt, it’s not ideal).

I am scared at most that being sustainable is only a lifestyle attainable for those from middle to upper class backgrounds. I am even more worried that it is looking more like a ‘trend’ than anything else.

On top of this I don’t want people to be put off from even trying to alter their lifestyle slightly because on a large scale they can’t afford it.

Furthermore, like I said before, I also don’t want it attached to those ‘snowflakes’ wanting to be ‘woke’. It is a real life issue which needs addressed in the real world with practical solutions. Not by people applying stereotypes to ignore their own issues.

I’ve decided I am going to accumulate some business that are sustainable but affordable so if you can afford to and are looking for something you have a place to shop.

I can’t vouch for a lot of brands because I can’t afford to shop at them. This goes for any business at the moment. So, don’t feel guilty for not being able to shop sustainably or if you haven’t ‘yet’ done it (Just remember that those cheaper brands work with numbers – the more people that order from them means the more they will produce). Do it when you can, instead look at what you currently have and ignore the trends; they only last a while, instead invest in yourself.

However, what I want to reinforce is that it is your decision. Sustainability, especially when it comes to fashion, does not mean you have to go and shop at the nearest business that uses recycled fabrics etc. It means you change your mindset to what you have, and adapt your outlook to the world of fashion in general rather than feeling bad for not affording what is largely on offer within this market.

I am by no means an expert but have seen enough of people berating others without thought into what their current lifestyle is. You don’t know what happens behind closed doors.

However I hope this helps and changes your mindset on sustainability and what you already have in your wardrobe.

Much love,

Sophie x