The coronavirus pandemic is affecting the lives of millions of people. In an alarmingly short space of time we have been forced to make huge changes to our lifestyles in order to protect health services across the globe and to safeguard the most vulnerable among us.
Sitting at home, often with only our phones, laptops and televisions for company, it can be easy to feel panicked and out of control as newsfeeds fill us in on the latest developments around the world. Deprived of most human contact and largely confined to our homes, we need to actively stave off negativity in times like these. With this in mind, we have put together a list of nine things you can do to lift your mood during a lockdown.1. Buy something from a small business
Times are tough and finances have taken a hit for many of us as the coronavirus crisis has escalated. However, when you do find that you need to buy something, consider getting it from a small business. Big multi-nationals will be able to weather this storm a lot more easily than independents, many of which may not survive the months of disruption and uncertainty without a bit of support.
Many businesses have adapted their processes to conform to new social distancing guidelines; some businesses that previously relied on face-to-face contact have taken their operations online and many food outlets are now offering contact-free delivery services to get their products to consumers at minimum risk.
If your favourite small business has had to cease operations in the short term, support them by buying gift cards and vouchers to inject some cash into the business during this difficult time. If you have a paid a deposit or the full balance for a booking with a small business that it can no longer honour due to the measures in place to combat coronavirus, consider postponing your arrangement, rather than cancelling, so that you aren't taking money from the business at this time. Finally, now that we all have a bit more time on our hands, it is a good time to write online reviews for all our favourite small businesses. It may just give the owner the strength to persevere until normality resumes.2. Check in on a Friend
Social distancing is hard for most of us, but the majority of us will be able to muddle through with just the occasional wobble or bad day. Some people will find it harder than others though, and we need to be vigilant and make sure that our friends and family know we are there for them. If you see a troubling update on social media or you notice a friend by their absence on a platform that they are usually regularly updating, drop them a message or give them a call to make sure they are okay. The focus of the world at this time is on workers providing essential services and on the health impaired who are most vulnerable, it is up to the rest of us to look after each other (from a distance!)3. Take a Break from Social Media
In the same breath as I say the above, it is also advisable to take a break from catching up on news and policing the mental health of our friends and family online. Over the coming months social media will help us to feel connected to the outside world and part of a global community fighting coronavirus, but it is also easy for it take make you feel angry, panicky and out of control. Try to distance yourself from it for at least a few hours each day, so that is doesn't completely take over your life!4. Get Outside
Even if you have to stay in your home, get out into the garden, onto the balcony (or even just stick your head out of the window) each day for some fresh air. Seeing a few people on the street outside (hopefully maintaining social distancing guidelines), hearing birds sing and, if you are lucky, feeling the sunshine on your face will remind you that you are part of a bigger world and should help to lift your mood for a while.5. Do a Workout
Exercise is one of the best ways to get the endorphins flowing. If you are starting to feel overwhelmed by lockdown life, put your trainers on and go out for a run or a bike ride or do an online workout in your living room. It's amazing how things that seemed insurmountable before exercise suddenly seem a bit easier to deal with afterwards.6. Have a Sort Out
Now is probably not the time to sort out a lot of bags of clothes and other unwanted items to take to the charity shop (as they have closed their doors for the duration and delivering second-hand good is not on the list of permissible reasons to leave your house). However, if you have a backlog of filing, a spare room that has started to look like a dumping ground or a shed that was last in good order in 2008, now is a great time to impose some order on a small bit of chaos that you do have control over!7. Plan a Trip
Finances may be tight and the end to this crisis impossible to pin down, so it is probably not a good time to actually book your next trip away, but there is no harm in planning and dreaming your way to your next destination. Going a few miles down the road to the supermarket may feel like a worrying trip into uncharted territory at the moment, but it won't always be like this and you will be able to actually book the trip you have been daydreaming about in the not-too-distant-future. In the meantime, what harm can it do to delve into the possibilities for adventure that other parts of the world can offer?8. Indulge in Some of your Favourite Things
In these times where it is all too easy to focus on the deprivation we are experiencing thanks to coronavirus and the measures imposed to combat its spread, we need to remind ourselves of the things we can enjoy. Read your favourite authors new book, re-watch your all-time favourite films and cook some of your favourite meals. How many times in the past have you said "I wish I wasn't so busy and had some time to..."? Well, this is our opportunity to slow down, spend time with other members of our household and wait for the storm to pass. We may never have chosen lockdown life, but it will pass more quickly and more enjoyably if we make an effort to see it in a positive light.9. Forgive Yourself and Move on
It will not always be possible to be positive, so when the stress levels reach the red zone, go into the garden/bathroom/spare room, have a little scream or a big cry, rage at the world and allow yourself to not feel good. Giving it an outlet will allow you to feel better more quickly that if you bottle it up. You can always avoid video chats for a couple of hours afterwards if your face is a bit red and blotchy and you don't want to explain yourself to anyone.
Stay safe and as happy as possible everyone!
National Storytelling Week took place earlier this month (1st - 8th February), celebrating the wonderful tradition of painting a picture with words. Excitingly distinct from the exhaustive history or the factual bulletin, storytelling extracts the essence of narrative with a few well-chosen words. For the listener or reader, it fires the imagination and provides access to other places, both real and imaginary.
A well told story can construct the physical and emotional heart of a time or place, allowing you to empathise with characters living very different lives, in places a world away from your own. As marketers, we feel that creative writing should also be able to expose the true heart of a brand, complementing great photography, a wonderful product range, great customer service and robust manufacturing processes, in order to create a strong brand with which customers feel a real affinity.
With this in mind, we have set ourselves the challenge of telling the story of Salted Clothing, not in the potted history style of an About Us page, but in the more creative tradition of storytelling...What we are not...
The sky is grey and the city beneath seems camouflaged to match. It is unwelcomingly cold and full of hard surfaces and sharp, man-made edges. The bustle of urban life is punctured with loud, mechanical noises, cloaked in cloying fumes and populated by people whose shoulders are up and whose heads are down, as they hurry along the crowded streets.
A woman is walking along the pavement, the pin-points of her stilettos rapping out a harsh rhythm on the cold, damp slabs. Her pencil skirt is tight, restricting her movements and digging in at her waist. The white skirt she wears on top gaps open a little bit at the chest and she is self-conscious, pulling her work jacket around herself to preserve her modesty and to keep out the cold air. She is hurrying purposefully to an office where her computer is waiting to be fired up and her keyboard ready to take over from her uncomfortable shoes in creating the monotonous percussion beat of her working day.What are we...
No alarm clock is ever needed in this room. You wake up slowly each morning, sunshine pouring in through the open window, birds singing in the trees outside. No mental to-do list springs you unceremoniously from your sleep. Instead the sunshine warms you limbs and fills you with a desire to get up, to experience the world beyond your window, to put your hand under cool, fresh, flowing water, to close your eyes and inhale the perfume of freshly opened blossom, to bite into a piece of perfectly ripe fruit and to feel the breeze in your hair. You are going to love this day, not just survive it.The moral of the story...
We all strive for a life that 'fits' as well as our favourite dress. A life that feels like that first day of a holiday-of-a-lifetime, an existence where we have the liberty to live simply but well and also to give something back by doing something good. This is not just a way of life that simply happens to some lucky people, it is something you have to create, consciously striping away the unnecessary stresses and complexities of modern life and reverting to simplicity wherever possible.
This philosophy is at the heart of Salted Clothing. Unless you really want to, we are not suggesting that you reject the 21st century all together and go and live a basic existence in the woods or on the beach (though some days, that really does sound appealing!). Our ethos embraces the opportunities that communication and travel offer, but does so consciously, knowing that our international flight to a tropical paradise or our reliance on a smartphone to communicate with others has an impact on the environment and attempting to offset that by doing something positive too.A little more detail in a more conventional format...
Born in South Africa and now based in the Cotswolds, Salted Clothing is owned and managed by Des. Also South African by birth, her passion lies in order, restoration and the discovery and creation of beautiful things. This has manifested itself in a number of ways throughout her life, from five years creating sumptuous bouquets as a florist, to restoring and re-modelling historic houses and turning them into functional yet beautiful modern homes.
Des has an enduring interest in clothing and fashion but has never felt comfortable with the destructive principles of the fast fashion industry. Valuing classic styling and longevity over faddy fashion trends, Des' own wardrobe is based around the Salted collection (with some warmer weather garments for facing the vicissitudes of the British climate!).
Whilst she acknowledges that impulse purchases can be thrilling, Des believes in really doing your homework before you buy. By doing this you are more likely to purchase something you genuinely love and that really suits your figure and colouring. It also gives you the opportunity to find out if the garment is made in a way that aligns with your own values. A well-made dress that has been ethically produced is better for the planet, will last a lot longer than a cheap, poorly made alternative and will make you smile every time you put it on.Our Top Tips to Help You Live a Salted Lifestyle
Wear clothes that are so comfortable that you do not think of them again all day. Clothing should facilitate an enjoyable life, not impede your movement or make you feel self-conscious.
Stop to appreciate beautiful things. Whether that is a painting, a flower or a sunset, don't be so busy that you become immune to stopping and staring or standing still with your eyes closed and inhaling the scent of newly opened blossoms on a nearby tree.
Slow down! Whether you go for a walk to gather your thoughts or take a yoga class to focus on your breathing and the way your body moves, don't let being busy turning into a 'human doing' rather than a 'human being'.
Try to create a balance. If you need to do something that puts someone out or has a negative impact on the planet, counter that with something positive. That can be anything from donating to charity, helping out a friend or volunteering your time to a conservation project. This will make you feel better in yourself and will benefit society as a whole. You don't have to be perfect to make positive changes.
The sustainable way to give your wardrobe a makeover for 2020
What you wear can make a big difference to how you feel. Making do with ill-fitting, unflattering, uncomfortable clothing can affect your mood and erode your self-confidence. However, in an age where we are becoming increasingly aware of the detrimental impact that the fashion industry has on the environment, it is hard not to feel guilty about going on a shopping spree to rejuvenate a tired-looking wardrobe of clothes that you no longer enjoy wearing.
The "fast fashion" clothing industry stats are pretty shocking and is worth taking a quick look at the damage it causes before exploring ways in which we can acquire clothing that we love in a more ethical way..How does the fast fashion industry harm the environment?
The term "fast fashion" refers to the cheaply produced collections that appear both on the high street and online. They are usually on a tight seasonal cycle and tend to mirror catwalk looks and celebrity trends. The pressure on manufacturers and retailers to get the clothing from concept to store quickly means that corners are more likely to be cut in production and both the environment and the human rights of the people who make the garments are prone to suffer in the course of their manufacture.Water pollution
The vibrant colours of much of today's fast fashion are created using toxic chemicals, which find their ways into waterways during the course of production. After agriculture, textile dying is one of the largest polluters of clean water.
It is not just the dying process that pollutes our water. Polyester, one of the most popular fabrics in today's clothing industry, releases microfibres when it is washed in a domestic machine. The minute particles easily pass through filters at water treatment plants and ultimately end up in the oceans, where they do not biodegrade. Plastic micro-particles pose a real threat to marine life and they also find their way into the human food chain via our consumption of many ocean-harvested foodstuffs.The trust cost of cotton
Cotton is another hugely popular material in today's fashion industry. It is a natural fibre that has a less damaging impact post-production than man-made fibres such as polyester. However, a huge amount of water and pesticides are required to guard against crop failure. This can result in serious human rights abuses and environmental damage in developing countries, where the resources are not available to invest in a sustainable cotton production process.
To put things in perspective, it takes 20,000 litres of water to create 1kg of cotton (the equivalent of a t-shirt and a pair of jeans).Increasing levels of textile waste
15% of all fabric produced ends up on the cutting room floor as wastage and 60% of all the clothing produced globally ends up in landfill before it is a year old. It wasn't always like this. In the 14 years between 2000 and 2014, clothing production doubled, with the average consumer buying 60% more garments compared to 15 years ago.What can we do to make our wardrobe choices more ethical?
The answer lies in the concept of slow fashion, which asks us to look further than a bargain price tag, to interrogate the manufacturing practices of the companies from which we purchase, to accept responsibility for the lifecycle of the items we buy and to reduce, reuse and recycle wherever we can. In practical terms this means:
Buying from retailers who produce their garments with due consideration for human rights and the environment.
Buying clothing made from natural fibres, the crops for which are nurtured without the use of toxic chemicals, in an environmentally sustainable way. Not only are these garments made in a way that is less environmentally damaging, they also biodegrade naturally at the end of their lives (e.g. linen, hemp, organic cotton, tercel and jute).
Seeking out clothing that is coloured using natural dyes. This is easier said than done, as only a small fraction of clothing on the market is treated with natural dyes, but it is growing in popularity, especially with smaller, independent companies who do not need to produce identical garments on a mass scale and who revel in the unique nature of naturally dyed items (one of the disadvantages of natural dyes is the fact that a uniform finish can rarely be guaranteed from one batch to the next).
Buying items made from recycled material. This can either mean items sewn from cloth that has been repurposed in its entirety (up-cycled) or clothing made from fibres that were once used for something else before being broken down and re-constituted (recycled).
Shopping in second-hand stores, both on the high street and online. Some people love the serendipity of occasionally discovering garments and brands that they love as they trawl the charity shops in their local towns and cities. The act of searching is a pastime in itself and they love nothing better than thumbing through hundreds of items in search of their treasure. Others find it a time consuming chore with potentially little reward. Second-hand shopping in the modern world can accommodate both these types of people. If you don't want to spend precious weekend time in the charity shops on your local high street, set a saved search on eBay and get notified when someone lists an item similar to the one you are looking for; it's the perfect way for the time poor to get what they need second-hand (provided you don't need it in a great hurry).
Holding or attending clothes swapping parties. This can be done informally with friends or in a more organised fashion with a company such as Swish
Don't buy into the 'Impulse Purchase High'. Many of today's retailers attempt to get our business by offering limited time discounts. They want us to make getting a bargain our main concern and to buy first and think later. It is at times like this that we are likely to buy things that we don't need and which languish at the back of the wardrobe before being chucked out. The best way to avoid this pattern of purchasing is to ignore sales publicity, both on the high street and online. Of course, it may be that your favourite jumper wears out at just the same moment as the brand has their end of year sale (in which case you have every right to think that the retail gods are favouring you), but don't ever buy something just because it's cheap. It is not a bargain if you didn't need it and you won't wear it.
Take advantage of social media and get to know brands really well before purchasing from them. We are far more likely to enjoy wearing garments from brands with whom we feel an emotional connection and, in an age where most companies - from the smallest start up to the largest multi-national - have Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts, we can get to know how they operate and what is important to them very easily.
Don't buy items that do not suit your body shape just because they are in fashion! Buy clothing that is classic in style and durably made to last for years. It sounds cheesy, but clothes worn with confidence never go out of fashion, and what could give you more confidence than a garment that fits and flatters your body?
Dispose of clothing you no longer want in a mindful way. Take good quality items to charity shops, sell them online or take them to swapping parties. Consider cutting up worn out garments and using them as household cloths. Only as a last resort should you throw something in the bin.
Tips for a More Sustainable Christmas
We generate 30% more rubbish than we normally do over the festive season, but it doesn’t have to be this way and you don’t have to forfeit Christmas fun in order to make your festivities more eco-friendly. Here are our top tips for a more sustainable Christmas:1. Take your reusable bags Christmas shopping with you
It is second nature for most of use to take our reusable bags to the supermarket with us on the majority of our visits, but why not take them with you to the high street too? They are often easier to carry than the throwaway bags given out in shops and using them will cut a bit of the waste out of your Christmas.2. Take responsibility for the life-cycle of your gifts
We all hope that the gifts we buy at Christmas will be loved and (where appropriate) treasured for years to come. However, with an estimated £42 million worth of unwanted Christmas presents ending up in landfill in the UK each year, it seems that we often get it wrong. If you fail to find an inspired gift for some of the people you feel obliged to buy something for at Christmas, make sure that your ‘this will do’ alternative is a sustainable one. Avoid anything that comes in a lot of single use packaging and consider environmentally friendly options such as a plant in an earthenware pot or some homemade biscuits wrapped in greaseproof paper and tied with raffia.3. Teach Children About Sustainability at Christmas
It is undeniable that families with young children are top of the list when it comes to throw-away gifts with short life spans. Advertising on children’s TV channels is dominated by plastic toys and gamesand this has a significant impact on children’s Christmas wishlists. We do not suggest that you just ignore their calls for a giant plastic dinosaur, but maybe you can find a cardboard alternative and explain to them that this option is better because they can decorate it themselves and it can be recycled when they have finished with it. This will not always work, but children learn by watching adults, so if you can show them that you are making sustainable swaps too, they are more likely to accept your gift alternatives for them. If this works for even 50% of parents then there will be 50% fewer giant plastic dinosaurs, which would still be around long after their recipients have grown up and left home!
If there are people on your Christmas gift list who really don’t seem to be wanting for material items – either because they seem to have everything or because they aren’t very materialistic - why not buy them an experience day instead? Red Letter Days and Virgin Experience Days offer a wide range of options for those tricky friends and relatives who don’t want for much materially.5. Switch to eco-friendly wrapping paper
With an average of 227,000 miles of wrapping paper being used in Britain alone each year, how we wrap our gifts is of prime importance to those of us who want to make our Christmas more sustainable. Any wrapping paper that is coated in a plastic film to make it more durable is not recyclable and neither is any card or paper with glitter on it. If you want to ensure that all your wrapping paper is recyclable, opt for plain brown paper and decorate it with stamps, sprigs of greenery and twine (and invest in some eco tape to avoid contaminating your nice recyclable paper with plastic tape).6. Steer clear of buying new plastic decorations
Don’t feel guilty if many of the Christmas decorations you bring down from the loft each year are plastic. Plastics that we reuse over and over again are not really to blame for the world’s plastic pollution crisis. However, if you look at the decorations you have had for years and think they could do with some newer company, consider making your own or looking in second hand shops and on buy and sell Facebook groups before you head to the shops for new ones.7. Ditch traditional Christmas crackers
Christmas crackers are another prime suspect when it comes to festive season waste. The majority cannot be recycled and the toys and trinkets they contain are often thrown away at the end of the meal. There are plastic-free, eco-friendly Christmas crackers available, but if you are seriously looking to up your game, why not provide table presents instead? A soy candle glass, a miniature of the recipients favourite dram or a small bar of their favourite (paper-wrapped) chocolate is more thoughtful and a whole lot more useful than a plastic shoe-horn or a fortune telling fish!8. Wow your guests with an alternative Christmas tree
Each year in the UK we throwaway an average of 8 million Christmas trees. If you’d like to help reduce this number, consider buying a potted Christmas tree that you can bring indoors and decorate each December. Alternatively, why not decorate a naked branch with your favourite decorations? This not only looks great, it also solves the problem of fallen needles making a mess on the floor.9. Reduce your meat consumption
For so many people in the UK, Christmas is about those foods that we traditionally eat at this time of year and, central to that, is the joint of meat we eat for Christmas lunch. Whilst there are some people who would be happy to swap their turkey for a nut roast, many cannot imagine a Christmas day without a meat-centric roast dinner. However, given that we throwaway approximately 54 million platefuls of food in the UK over the festive period, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest that we could overhaul our approach to Christmas food. Swapping a few meat-based side dishes for vegetarian ones and making sure that we eat up our leftovers or freeze them for use later is a far cry from eating tofu instead of roast turkey, but it makes your Christmas a bit more sustainable.10. Shop with Small Local Businesses
Not only a great way to find unique gifts to delight their recipients, shopping with small local businesses invests money back into where you live and fosters a thriving local economy.
Salted Melkbos Jumpsuit- showcasing versatility