Saturday, 30 September 2017

Talking Travel and Ethical Style with Daphne Pfumojena

Hello! I am very excited to share my first interview with you.  Each of them will focus on a person with wonderful ideas, a creative style and/or an ethical brand who has inspired me and I hope will inspire you too. I first came across Daphne Pfumojena's Instagram account (@daphne_pfumojena) a few months ago and it instantly became a favourite. It is filled with colourful photos of Daphne in places around the world, wearing beautiful outfits and often her amazing yellow Doc Martens (I have recently started looking out for a pair of my own).  Daphne is a registered nurse with a love for travelling and making. Her brand 'The Washing Line' is sustainable and ethical with a range of lovely cotton and linen shirt dresses.

1. What inspired you to make a brand that is ethical and sustainable?

I like the idea of being part of a system which respects and supports everyone in the channel of clothes making. When you buy cheap, fast fashion, someone out there is paying the price.

2. How have the places that you have travelled to, influenced your style? Does your style change when you are in different countries?

Travelling has certainly influenced my style. Often my clothes are a collection of items that I have brought from my travels and my style certainly changes with each country or place.
Some places I feel I have to tone it down a little. I have a pair of second-hand bright yellow Doc Martens, which I wear all the time, and I have come to realise they attract too much attention, particularly when visiting small towns and villages.
However, when in big cosmopolitan cities like London and Berlin you can truly express yourself, style wise.

3. Do you often change your shopping habits?

I have, and continue to transition into a more minimalistic lifestyle. I try to put some thought into my buying habits, and read more about who I am buying from.
I also try and find out if someone I know of, is making what I am after, before heading to the big sellers.

4. Where are the clothes from 'The Washing Line' produced?

The Washing Line is produced in Bali, Indonesia. I work with a tailor called Sukarno. He doesn't speak much English and I can just about say a few words in Indonesia Bahasa so we rely on Google Translate. He is a lovely and patient guy so it makes working together easier.

5. Where is your favourite place?

That's a pickle as I have a few! Zimbabwe is one, as that's my home country, I love Bali because...well, because it's Bali. Last year I spent time on Atauro Island in Timor Leste. No connection with the outside world. Only surrounded by nature. Absolute Bliss.

I often spend time in a French village called Ramatuelle, in a very minimalistic old house with just essentials, a stone throw from the beach, surrounded by nature. Again, utterly blissful.

6.What is your favourite item of clothing that you own?

  A peach linen dress I made. It's oversized, easy to wear and good fabric.

Thank you again to Daphne for answering my questions. I loved finding out who makes the clothes for your brand and about your style. I definitely want to visit Bali sometime! Make sure you have a look at Daphne's brand 'The Washing Line'.

                                                                                 Beccy x

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Wardrobe Swapping (with my sister)

A few months ago I had an idea, which I suggested to my sister, Lauren. Why don't we swap some of our clothes? It's quite a simple idea, but I didn’t realise how effective it would be. Lauren and I are lucky, as we have quite a similar style and there is a cross over in the types of clothes we like to wear (occasionally, we pick up the same thing in a shop without realising!). We fit most of the same things, so we have borrowed clothes before. There were things we’d seen each other wear that we’d had our eyes on for a while...
So this was our chance to do some bargaining!   

I went to rummage in the wardrobe, and I had quickly stacked up several heavy coat-hangers onto the side of Lauren’s door. I was interested in what Lauren had selected – she chose some things that I had almost forgotten I owned. According to Lucy Siegle (ethical writer for the guardian and author), every woman owns roughly 22 items of clothing in her wardrobe that she’s never worn!
It was lots of fun to try on each other’s clothes. I could imagine some items in my wardrobe being worn by Lauren more often, so I was pleased that they might be used again. In the world today over 80 billion clothes are consumed a year, and a large percentage of that gets chucked out. Imagine how many clothes go to landfill, which could be reworn or fill the gap in someone else’s wardrobe.

At the end of our successful swap, we both had new-to-us clothes to wear that hadn’t cost us anything which is incredibly satisfying! However, even if you don’t know a person who wants to swap their clothes or has a similar style to you, there are other ways to exchange – ‘swishing’ being one (a public swapping event). You could find a swishing event near you or even organise one yourself. 'Stories Behind Things' is a London-based organisation that hosts eco-focused events, founded in 2016 by two friends. They host an event called 'The Big Clothes Switch' where you can swap and shop in their sustainable marketplace, whilst listening to a live DJ and munching on food - the second switch takes place today (23rd September 2017)!

           Next time we need to rediscover what we own, I think we'll have to do a clothes swap again...

                                                            Have you ever swapped any of your clothes?
                                                                                         Beccy x


Saturday, 16 September 2017

Bordeaux - Where To Visit And What To Do

I love Paris, but Bordeaux has to be my favourite city that I've visited in France, if not anywhere! This year is our 3rd time in Bordeaux and that probably speaks for itself in saying that we couldn't ever get tired of it. Bordeaux doesn't really seem touristy (the tourists are mainly French)- maybe it is overshadowed by Paris, or hasn't had time to establish itself in the same way to tourists since it was redeveloped over the last few decades. Either way, I'm really glad that it isn't constantly heaving with people, as its easier to get a feel of the way the Bordelaise do things and feel immersed in the culture without it being altered too much to make sales.
Every Bordelais I have met there has been friendly and there is a mellow vibe that you can't help but soak up. Bordeaux has similar tall and distinctive apartments to Paris, with fancy black metal balconies. The stones of the buildings in Bordeaux are more honey-coloured, but the roofs are terracotta, instead of slate, and Bordeaux has a warmer climate.

I thought I would recommend a few of my favourite places, shops, streets, markets and things to do, that we can't help but revisit each year...

Jardin Public is a large green public park in the centre of Bordeaux. There is a botanical garden, a carousel and plenty of green space filled with people reading, having picnics and relaxing. When it gets a bit too hot in the middle of the day it is the perfect place to go.


Marché des Capucins - Place des Capucins, 33800 Bordeaux
This is a covered market full of colourful fresh food and flowers. It's open from 5:30am - 2:30pm on the Saturday and Sunday, closed on Monday, and open from 6am - 1pm Tuesday to Friday.

                                      Les Puces de St Michel - 17 Rue des Faures, 33800 Bordeaux, France
 Just down the street from Marché des Capucins, this is a flea market that takes place on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, with stalls that vary from day to day. It sells old books, haberdashery, second hand clothes, accessories and art.

                                      Marché des Quais - 142 Quai des Chartrons, 33000 Bordeaux, France
Marchés des Quais is the market in the pictures above and below. It smells amazing, with plenty of hot food, fresh bread, fruit and vegetables. As it is just next to the Quai alongside the Gargonne river, it has a brilliant atmosphere.

Food - Below I have gathered some of my favourite places to get food in Bordeaux, restaurants and shops, and some places that are popular that I have yet to visit...

Cafés, boulangeries and restaurants
La Fabrique Pains et Bricoles -  47 Rue du Pas-Saint-Georges
Le Pain de Soleil - 18 Place Fernand Lafargue
Books & Coffee - 26 Rue Saint-James
Personne n'est parfait (no-one is perfect) - 57 Rue des Ayres
La Brasserie du Passage Saint-Michel - 14 Place Canteloup
Le Michel's - 15 Rue du Pas-Saint-Georges

Transport - Bordeaux has the best and easiest network of trams, buses and boats that I have been on. We buy the week passes which cost very little - only €13.40 .Considering how much we used it, we certainly got our money's worth! You can take the boat bus (called the BAT boat) from Stalingrad to the other side of the river at Place de la Bourse, and all the way up the river, where it stops at La Cité du Vin - even if you aren't interested in wine tasting, the building is pretty spectacular and its design was inspired by the shape that wine creates as it's poured into a glass.  Compared to a river cruise down the Seine in Paris it is outstandingly good value.

The picture below was taken just as a thunder storm had begun to rumble overhead.

La Base Sous-Marine - This old WW2 German submarine base most likely isn't the first place that you would think of when exploring a beautiful city, and although an art exhibition with echo-y whale sound effects contributed to making it the creepiest place I have been to, I found it extremely interesting all the same. It has been left just about untouched since the end of the war and you can still read the warning signs painted on the walls.

Place de la Bourse - It is probarbly inevitable that by visiting Bordeaux you will end up at one time or another in Place de la Bourse. You just have to follow the flow of people in the evening, walking, rollerskating, skateboarding and cycling towards the Quai that runs alongside the Garonne river - families and groups of friends meet on the grassy garden area beside it for picnics, to chat and play musical instruments together.

Festivals - Each year we have been very lucky to arrive in Bordeaux during the music and dance festival 'Dansons sur les Quais'  that happens from July to August. A platform on the Quai is filled with dancing of a different style each night, from Salsa and Jive to Country and Swing.

Also, there is 'Relache' - a festival with a range of free music concerts in the city from July to September, organised by 'Allez Les Filles' (Go Girls!), a group that promote alternative music and want to make live music available for everyone. Since 1996, they have hosted over 1000 concerts. We were very lucky to go a 'Shaun Holt and the Teardrops' soul concert across the river at Stalingrad - the atmosphere was amazing.
Below is a photo of Jérémy Dupouy. We bought his album last August and listened to it all year, so seeing him again this time was funny, since we knew all the songs. A large crowd gathered around him and everyone joined in on 'All you need is love' and 'Don't look back in anger'. Some couples even started dancing.

Bordeaux has a range of interesting artisan food, craft and high street shops (located on the main street). I have listed a few of my favourites. I absolutely love bookshops and there is a large chain store bookshop that stretches the length of  Rue Vital Carles, called 'Mallot'. We came across a completely different type of bookshop by accident called 'Au Petit Coin' - a beautiful second hand bookshop, which, when inside you couldn't move for books - quite literally. It was packed, so it was lucky the shopkeeper knew where eveything was...

Librairie Mallot - 15 Rue Vital Carles
 La Machine à Lire - 8 place du Parlement
Au Petit Coin - 31 Place de la Ferme Richemont

A few shops...
Le Petit Souk - 26 Rue du Pas-Saint-Georges (beautiful children's homeware and accessories)
LODGE - 26 Rue du Pas-Saint-Georges (ceramics and homeware shop)
Steack Fripes - 62 Rue du Mirail (Vintage shop, packed with clothes)
Mieux - 37 rue Saint-James (Very pretty but expencive)
Des Petits Hauts - 5 bis rue de Grassi 

I hope this helps give you a few ideas of things to do, although the way that we mainly found all these lovely places was by not sticking to a set plan but by wandering the streets. If you visit Bordeaux, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did...

Do you have a favourite city?

Beccy x

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