Hey. Just taking a break from my darning to update y'all on my ethical journey so far...

So back in April I decided to try and challenge myself to ditching fast fashion; mind over matter; the planet before pants... To begin with, I opted for the tactic of not buying anything new, ethical or otherwise and those first couple of months were much easier than I expected. However, the arrival of my best friend's lil girl prompted me to set about looking for the perfect ethical baby gift, handmade shoes.

Amy & Ivor is a small British brand handcrafting luxury quality, stylish, leather baby and toddler moccasins. Handmade in England. 

Luckily for me, three of my very good friends have been blessed with some sweet stork parcels this year, and so I have ordered three pairs of gorgeous shoes from Amy & Ivor. As they're made to order, I had to allow 14 days for delivery and the customer service from the team was top notch. Ordering from a small independent brand just feels like there is more of a personal touch. Baby Rosa’s old dear, one quarter of the silliest WhatsApp group in the world, has a little obsession with animal print; can you tell Ms Aldo and I both got the memo?

Amy & Ivor baby moccasins for Rosa
A custom kids coat made for Rosa

For myself, I also invested in some new shoes, in the form of Vegan Dr Martens (see pic, my most liked photograph on Instagram..people don't hate toes after all). Ordinarily, I would have gone for a fake pair, or maybe even pulled the classic move of asking my Mum to get them for my birthday (does anyone ever grow out of that?) but part of the satisfaction in not buying shite is that I can splurge on investment pieces. I'd love to say that I've broken them in and they're the comfiest shoes in the land but we're not quite there yet!

Dr Marten Sandals
I was in a quandary about whether or not this counted but I ordered a rather fetch co-ord from Asos’s collab with SOKO Kenya , ‘Made in Kenya’. Inspired by the “local African landscape and wildlife”, the range is designed by Asos’s in-house team but is cut and manufactured by SOKO, whose great aim is to deliver fair and safe employment to some of Kenya's poorest communities. The partnership between ASOS and SOKO delivers training, practical skills and engagement within the local community, in an effort to help lift locals out of poverty. The clothes look great but unfortunately for me they sent me trousers that were two sizes too small.

The Made in Kenya range is definitely worth checking out. However, I know deep down I’m still shopping fast fashion, even from one of these special collections. The best eco and ethical option : small brands that own their own factories and can guarantee safe conditions and fair pay, or those whose artisans are responsible for their manufacturing process. Transparency is key.

Moving on from this lesson, I thought I would share some top tips for sustainable shopping. Well it’s more of a motto...

· BEG. Tell people that you're shopping sustainably and they’ll feel compelled to gift you with goods they don’t need. Of course you invariably end up with some tat but you also end up with some really great stuff, like a practically new pair of Adidas trainers. Thank you, work uncle. Or how about the fabulous ‘zero waste' purse from my gal, Kerrie Aldo, made from 100 recycled coat trimmings.

· STEAL. Don't steal, I’m joking. Check out jumble sales at summer fetes & community centres, and you'll get such a good deal that you'll feel like someone has been robbed.

· BORROW. Find a couple of friends who share your shoe size/dress size. I attended a wedding recently and borrowed the perfect outfit. Happy days.

· INVEST. You won’t want half a dozen knock offs because you’ll be too proud of the real deal. I’ll not buy another pair of sandals for as long as I live, or until my toes fall off, whichever comes first.

Oh and on top of this, remove yourself from fast fashion mailing lists, the electronic equivalent of window shopping. Urban Outfitters doesn’t really want to be your friend; H&M doesn’t know enough about you to decide if you deserve £5.00 off; TOPSHOP isn’t really thanking you.

Finally, I think I’ll end on this pic; here's what happens when you can’t find your own sunglasses, suffer from ridiculously bad hayfever and need to go to a BBQ - only the best from British Heart Foundation will do (edit: Ray Bans have since turned up, thank God).

Fay x