Fabled by Marie Claire
Natural skincare at Fabled by Marie Claire
Origins at Fabled by Marie Claire
Touch screen advice Fabled by Marie Claire

When I first arrived in London, the lack of natural beauty products on the high street was one of the things I was disappointed by. There's not much I can say about London that is negative, but I was so surprised that natural beauty and skincare weren't already a thing!

Considering there's so much chatter around it online, from boutiques to bloggers and many retailers offering greener skincare, it's still sad to wander into a Boots and realise there's not much choice in "real life".

Well, no more! I recently visited Fabled by Marie Claire on its launch day, and was spoilt for choice. The premise is that all products recommended by Marie Claire (who generally has its thumb on new beauty trends, inspiration, and advice) will be stocked in the shop. More than that, these products will come with their bespoke recommendations from the mag, and you'll find them lined up in comparison with one another, something I really love.

On launch day, there was a real ruckus around the event - there must have been hundreds of us crammed into the store, and upon arrival I was really quite overwhelmed. (Shoutout to Megan from Origins who kept me company!) It's also odd to walk into the store and be confronted by all the usual beauty brands without any real indication of the alternative bits and bobs. Sadly, other than the pseudo-green-beauty from Bare Minerals, us natural beauty junkies have been relegated to the back of the shop on the first floor, for a dabble in skincare and wellness products alone.

However, once you're there, you'll find a lot to love. There's a melting pot of natural, vegan, cruelty-free and natural brands (all distinctly different qualifiers!) Some of my favourite bottles sit side-by-side, including: AlchemyAromatherapy Associates, bkrDr. Hauschka, Elemental Herbology, OriginsKorres, and Neom.

Near the natural skincare and wellness sections are what I've dubbed 'advice counters' such as the one pictured. These have a number of items lined up together to compare and contrast them depending on skin type and use, or show how they can all work well together. I love this personalised insight from the Fabled and Marie Claire teams, as it means you can walk in without having done a lot of background research and still walk away with the products that suit you best and leave you informed of their benefits for you.

In the future, it would be nice to see this spread to the clean, minimalist, Fabled website, as well as an option to sort products by what you think is important (be it natural skincare, organic certification, cruelty-free brands, etc.) akin to their Wellness section.
RMS organic beauty products

RMS Beauty may just be the holy grail of organic beauty products. I've coveted them for a long while - minimalistic, versatile, and made from certified organic ingredients, they are as beautiful to look at as to apply.

The unique philosophy behind RMS is that their makeup doubles as skincare. Nourishing the skin with a base of organic plant-based oils, cocoa butter and beeswax, I've already started cutting back on the skin oils and face serums I apply before I get round to applying these pretty little pots.

So far in my collection is RMS Beauty Lipshine* in the shade Content and RMS Beauty "Un" Cover-up* in Colour 11. The lipshine was my first foray into RMS and I was amazed at its staying power when wearing it over the summer. Ignoring my lip-licking tendencies, the deep red colour stayed put on some hot sunny days, despite its soft base of castor seed and coconut oil. I also like that it works when applied softly, or given a little more oomph for a sultry night out.

The "Un" Cover-up is my newest beauty addition, and while I've only worn it three times so far, I've started to see how the range interacts with one another. I'm loving that this too can be applied as little or as much as I like, to be treated as a concealer or a foundation depending on your mood (and skin!) The final piece I need in my collection to perfect these is the RMS Beauty "Un" Powder as I've been finding my nose gets a little too shiny using the "Un" Cover-up alone.

As the shallow natural beauty junkie that I am, I love that these come in uniform brushed glass and metal lidded pots, packaging perfect for a tiny makeup bag or to sit out on my beauty counter. I also love how these are intended to be applied with your fingertips. It makes me feel dainty and also a little more connected with my skin when applying in the mirror most mornings, plus it's good to see how my skin is feeling. I'm almost hyper aware of the sensitivity of the skin on my face, adapting my daily routine based on the weather and its condition after cleansing. For example, this week in London has taken us from grey humidity to jumper weather, meaning that my skin is immediately crying out for a good night cream and a deep moisturising face mask on the weekend (I'm looking forward to it!)

While I write about natural beauty all year round, I thought it would good timing to feature my new love for RMS during Organic Beauty Week. This is Soil Association's annual week to raise awareness for certified organic products (which is a thinly veiled push for more upcoming organic brands to get certified by them) but there is good reason for organic certification. As expensive as it may be, it's one of the only ways consumers can truly trust natural beauty companies to produce safe, toxic-free products fit for our skin and the bloodstream it sinks into. Sadly, RMS is not yet certified organic, and considering the price and how established its products are, I'd really expect it to be approved by at least one independent body (in America, this is commonly the USDA, and Ecocert in Europe). I'm hoping that seeing how well established these certification bodies have become, and their adaptation to certifying beauty products too, brands such as RMS make that leap. My fingers are crossed!


I'll be honest, there wasn't much green fashion chatter around London Fashion Week A/W 16. While I may be slowly immersing myself in sustainable style, I had to actively sniff out green collections and initiatives that have made relatively small appearances in the LFW calendar.

However, that being said, there is movement towards better practices, cleaner clothes, and the endorsement by some of the fashion elite. It may be a stark contrast to the Charity Shopping Tips I wrote for Barnardo's blog The Thrift, but I'm invested in ethical and sustainable fashion on all levels (and who doesn't get excited by a week of shows and gorgeous street style?!)

Here's the best sustainable fashion news around LFW this season:

HIGH FASHION BRANDS GET ETHICAL
We've seen it happening the world over. Calls for 'Who made our clothes' has been rattling the fashion industry for a while, and it looks like certain large fashion houses are taking note. As reported by Conscious Magazine, brands are improving their practices from sourcing sustainably to the wellbeing of staff. Picks of the bunch are Rodarte for its eco-friendly dyes, reduced industrial waste, and HQ 'green space', and of course Stella McCartney for its animal-free collection, campaigns against fur, and reducing their textile mills' environmental impact.

GREEN CARPET CHALLENGE
I've been a big fan of Livia Firth for a while (and no, not because she's married to Colin Firth). Her fashion ethics consultancy Eco-age is pioneering industrial change, and doing it in the most luxurious way.

This year, their Green Carpet Challenge saw the high-fashion elite (Anna Wintour, Keira Knightley, Victoria Beckham are just a few Vogue reported on the green carpet) swoon over vintage couture and the world's first ever eco-friendly mannequins, while simultaneously raising the profile of sustainable fashion as a whole.

VOITURE VETEMENTS
...or car clothes in not-so-sexy English. Upcycling fashion brand Felder Felder created a 100% sustainable carbon fibre dress in collaboration with BMW to promote their electric vehicles. If you haven't seen it already, the twin designers have miraculously turned the industrial material into an eclectic shimmering dress that fits well with their eco-rock collection (read more on The Huffington Post).

SEASONLESS FASHION
Possibly my favourite initiative, and one that hasn't really been reported as sustainable, is the seasonless collection put together by Burberry. Inspired by the novel Orlando, the collection spanned time in a way not seen before on the catwalk, but that's not quite what piqued my interest. It might not be eco-friendly, nor promoting any change within the industry, but to my mind it did ask the question of whether fashion has to have seasons. While it's exciting to see clothes change from season to season (or even faster on the high street), perhaps there is power in layering and minimalism? It would be good to see a change in consumer behaviour to key investment pieces and also reducing material waste.

NO MORE ESTETHICA?
On the other end of the scale, it was shocking to realise that sustainable fashion initiative Estethica has seemingly disappeared. Having supported over 100 sustainable fashion designers since being established in 2006, it seems young and up-coming green fashion labels are no longer a highlight of the week. Considering sustainability has been in the public eye more and more over the last few years, it does make me wonder why it's gone underground, and whether anyone else will step up to the plate of curating and representing conscious designers in the future.
You know me and tea. Me and tea, sitting in a tree... I'm a bit of a fanatic. This weekend has seen me boxing up my stuff in anticipation of our flat move, and with that came the realisation that I have far too much of the stuff. I mean, 20+ boxes of tea. I may need tea rehab.

In moving house, I'm learning to cut down my consumption and also prioritise what I really need, and what I can live without. This has actually been a lot more strategic than it first seems, as I've been prioritising things that are good for my health, good for the planet, and generally make me happy. When it comes to tea, this means keeping the ones that are ethically-sourced, healthy, come in biodegradable bags, and are too darn tasty to go without!

Lucky for me, my newly-found Begu teas* are all of these things and more. Their herbal teas are all natural (although lacking in organic certification) and have distinct uses, perfect for pretty much any tea craving you may have:

APETITE
A spicy apple and cinnamon green tea is to be drunk before a meal to help satiate your appetite. I think this is actually quite a good thing, as it's hard to distinguish hunger and thirst, so keeping hydrated with this will also keep you from overeating.

CALM
A caffeine-free alternative, this minty tea is built for finding a moment of calmness when you're feeling a little stressed out. Personally I like using this and the Nightea Night just before bedtime for a moment of peace before drifting off.

CRAVE
This is my favourite out of the lot! A black tea with hints of chocolate and coconut, it's perfect for those 4 o'clock cravings without any extra sugar needed.

MORNING BUZZ
This green tea has a lemon and ginger kick, perfect for warming up your digestive system first thing in the morning and giving you a small caffeine boost too.

NIGHTEA NIGHT
Any nighttime tea worth its salt has valerian root as a core component, which Begu's Nightea Night does. Combining cinnamon, orange and apple for a yummy comforting feeling before bedtime, it takes my Dad's favourite nighttime tea ingredient of cardamoms and mixes it in with sleep-enhancing valerian root and hops.

SYSTEM CLEANSE
I don't think we're ever going to truly get away from teatoxes (I'm not a fan, as they're really natural laxatives masked as a healthy weight-loss drink) but I do like how honest Begu is about their System Cleanse tea. A gentle laxative, it's good for losing weight but also for anyone feeling a little sluggish and in need of a, shall we say, digestive boost.

While I do have my favourites from the range, I have to say that it's the overall care and attention put into the sourcing and throwing away of these bags that make me more than happy to have all of them in my cupboard. And for one lucky reader, they can also have the whole range too!



To enter my giveaway for the entire range of Begu Teas worth over £125, use the widget below. You can do as many or as little of the options as you like, and you can also enter once per day using the Twitter share button. Please make sure you live in the UK so that these can be sent to you! Good luck!

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The other major day out I had on my week off in London was to Kew Gardens. As a new-Londoner, I really want to get to know the city better, and that means both tourist attractions as well as organically finding indie spots!

Kew had been on my go-to list for quite a while, and I knew that I wanted to see it over the summer to catch the plants in bloom. What I wasn't ready for were the intense heats of the greenhouses, the fear-factor treetop walk, or the chirping parakeets that I startled when navigating as-the-crow-flies around the park! Here's a run down of my favourite attractions that I visited on the day; Kew is far too big to see everything in one day so if I've missed any places you've enjoyed, please let me know for my next trip.

PRINCESS OF WALES CONSERVATORY
This was one of my favourite spots on my day out at Kew. With ten climatic zones, the Princess of Wales Conservatory has a beautiful selection of plants growing, showing agave plants in the Palm House, and air-fed orchids in the Orchid House. There was even a little pineapple growing on one of the plants, something I've never seen before! It's possibly my favourite house in the park, but it's pretty hard to choose!

COMPOST HEAP
While it seems slightly outrageous to have a compost heap as a visitor attraction, I did enjoy seeing how Kew recycles its garden waste. By combining woody and herbaceous cuttings with horse manure from the Royal Horse Artillery Stables in St John's Wood, the gardens are somewhat self-sustainable.

THE HIVE
As a sort of limited edition attraction, The Hive was one stop I wasn't going to miss on my first visit. Having recently written about the minimal efforts we can go to in order to save the bees, I was really inspired by the huge wiry structure which represents a bee's home, with lights, audio, and sensors giving an insight into the ways bees communicate in a hive. There was also another jelly-legged moment as part of the floor is completely transparent, which showed the ground (and other visitors) directly beneath my feet!

WATERLILY HOUSE
Does anyone else remember the episode of Blue Peter where they showed the giant waterlilies at Kew? I was so excited entering the Waterlily House to see large lily pads and hanging gourds - so pretty, and the humidity was a fun experience too.

PALM HOUSE
Another amazing and humid greenhouse, Palm House was an extra-special place for me as there were so many plants that I've encountered in one way or another since getting into wellness! Most important was the oil palm, a giant tree that oil is extracted from, and quite controversially is causing intense deforestation due to its value. As Selva Beat magazine taught me - there's so many easy ways to avoid it in food and beauty products, and it's worth looking out for if you're environmentally-conscious.

Other plants in the palm house that were fun to get up and close with: the soap nut tree, which produces natural clothes detergent, the salvadora persica, or toothbrush tree, and a vanilla plant, which was the first time I've seen fresh vanilla!

TREETOP WALKWAY
Having never had a problem with heights, I was so excited to go go on the 18m high treetop walkway. I ran up the steps and reached the top eager to see the trees from a different angle and spot birds flying around. Instead, I was greeted with jelly legs, vertigo, and a genuine fear of the rusty and creeking walkway! It was a long and treacherous 200m walk, with steel pinging and the whole bridge swaying, but when I was able to relax and it was amazing to see bees bumbling around at such a height, and how the trees span across the area.

LITTLE EXTRAS
If you stray off the beaten path, you'll find little delights such as a replica badger sett and of course the flourishing wildlife there. The best attractions were the surprise ones, such as finding a friendly red robin hopping about, and if you're lucky, some Kingston parakeets, feral green parrots that squawk and eat tree fruits.