It's no secret that I love nature, magic, and folklore; so when I won a giveaway hosted by the lovely Karen of Flower & Fable, I was ecstatic. I've been following Karen's Instagram page for quite awhile now, and am constantly impressed by her brand and everything it stands for.
I once lived in England, and still consider the British countryside to be HOME. Flower & Fable is inspired by Karen's own home base in Wales. She uses real botanical flowers, which she lost wax cast in sterling silver. She includes folkore about each flower too. Mine is of a gorse blossom, one of my very favorite plants. I always adored these cheerful yellow flowers, especially in the springtime when pregnant ponies devour the pina colada scented blossoms.
I have been curating seasonal capsule wardrobes for a couple years now, so it is important to me that every item I add to my wardrobe should be meaningful to me. This is a necklace I know I will always cherish. For one, it reminds me of my ancestral home. Secondly, it is my exact style. It is simple, elegant, nature inspired. Thirdly, it is made by someone I admire, whose way of being present in nature is similar to my own.
I chose the smaller sized pendant on a chain, but Karen also offers earrings, larger pendants, and bracelets. She even offers child-sized jewelry. Everything is beautifully packaged in a sustainable way too. There was no wasteful packaging to deal with.
I highly recommend this brand, and plan on purchasing more items from Flower & Fable. They would make lovely gifts for all sorts of occasions, or just to treat yourself! I have my eye on the motherhood bangle!
My gorse necklace is one of my everyday staples now, and will be included in my spring capsule wardrobe and my summer capsule wardrobe. I absolutely love it. I adore that one of the symbolic meanings of gorse is INDEPENDENCE. This is so appropriate, as I am working towards crafting my own, unique life. I'm weaving my own fate! This gorse blossom necklace will be a constant reminder that I am my own authority. Thank you dear Karen for sending it my way. Flower & Fable can be found on Instagram www.instagram.com/flower_and_fable/ and on the web www.flowerandfable.co.uk/
How to not go crazy when winter drags on. A slow living guide for appreciating winter as we transition to spring—Caitlin Gemmell.
In my corner of the world, on the top of a hill in a cold Northern place, winter is still howling and raging. Many of you are posting beautiful springtime photos of snowdrops, crocuses, and even daffodils. I admit I was feeling a tad resentful, and unhappy to be living in such a harsh climate. I grew up in warm and mild climates (Southern England and Oklahoma), so it’s easy for me to compare the first 18 years of my life with the past decade or so of living in the Northeastern USA, and to feel wistful for warmer places that actually get springtime weather.
But then, on a warmer day, I walked in the wood surrounding my house and I felt so much gratitude for the beautiful nature in my own backyard. We may only get a month of spring weather at the most, before summer arrives in a frenzy, but I sure feel appreciative of this winter wonderland.
So while some of you are out there enjoying mild weather and the first flowers of the season, I am still curled up in my winter nest with plenty of hot tea, warm blankets, and good books. Hygge living for the win! I might still crave spring as intensely as Rapunzel’s mother craved that green of the same name, but I have found ways to cope—to slow down and appreciate these final two months of winter.
If you find yourself in the same boat, or are just curious about my slow living tips, read on!
•Immerse yourself in a good book. I’ve been reading Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy. I recently completed The Bear and the Nightingale and The Girl in the Tower. Both are set in medieval Russia and feature a Winter King. The winter scenes are so hauntingly beautiful. As I lose myself in these incredible fairytales, I find myself looking up at the snowy scene outside my own window. These books help me to appreciate winter again, if even just enough to make it bearable.
•Have an indoor picnic. Are you yearning for spring, but it’s still only 20 degrees Fahrenheit? How about creating an indoor picnic? My son and I did this today. I boiled some eggs, sliced some fruits and veggies, and made a thermos of tea. We spread our picnic blanket on the floor and had a lovely indoor picnic.
• Treat yourself to a facial, herbal bath, or foot soak. The hot water is so soothing and comforting when it’s bitterly cold outside. If you add fresh, floral essential oils you can pretend it’s spring for a moment.
• If you have seasonal capsule wardrobes like me, try to pack away some of your winter clothes and get out just a few spring pieces that you can layer with your winter clothes. I added some spring floral scarves to my wardrobe and packed away my heavy winter plaid scarves. It’s a simple change, but one that helps me embrace the spring feeling even when it’s too cold to fully dress in spring clothes.
•Get a bouquet of flowers from your local grocery, or try planting indoor bulbs (like paper whites). It’s so helpful having green, growing things indoors.
• Make tea, chocolate, or coffee in your most beautiful, extravagant cup and sip it slowly. Be present. Enjoy every single sip.
•Grab a pair of binoculars, bundle up, and go on a nature observation walk. Record how many plants you can identify, birds you spot, other wildlife you come across. Perhaps you will even see the first signs of spring.
• Keep a gratitude journal. I’ll be posting on Instagram about a month long gratitude journal challenge for the month of March. Want to join in? Stay tuned for more info, or join my email list to be notified when this challenge begins.
When I was a teenager, I had a huge walk-in closet jam-packed with random clothing items and yet I felt like I had nothing to wear. Sound familiar? Although my family was already embracing a greener lifestyle by eating organic food and using eco-friendly cleaning products, we were far from being conscious consumers.
It wasn’t until my early twenties when I moved to a forward thinking college town in the Northeastern USA that I really examined my lifestyle and decided to CHOOSE a better way.
Fast forward ten(ish) years and I’ve learned a lot about eco-friendly slow fashion, zero waste living, and have refined my style so it suits ME rather than what the conventional world thinks a “mompreneur” should look like.
I’ve been on this journey for many years now, but I still have a long way to go. It was only earlier last year that I swapped my recycled plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one after all. 🙊
Here are some tips for finding your signature style and making healthy, responsible fashion choices. I’m also sharing some of my favorite slow fashion brands (not sponsored, just ones I personally love).
•Step one: find your style! When I was younger I tended to like a hodgepodge of different styles. My closest was a mess! Nothing went with anything else. It’s only been the past few years that I’ve really refined my style and discovered what works for me. I recommend using Pinterest to start tracking the styles you like. When you start noticing a pattern make note of the key words used to describe those similar styles that keep cropping up on your style board. I noticed I like certain colors, textures, fabrics, asymmetrical cuts. I’ve learned that my style is mostly a blend of ethereal faerie with earthy eco-chic and British countryside. See if you can come up with some keywords for your style.
•Don’t buy ANY new clothes for three months. I know this seems difficult, but it will help you to notice what clothes you wear again and again. At the end of the three months donate all of the items you didn’t wear (keep items you didn’t wear but might need at some point —wedding guest dresses as an example. Only keep one or two of these every once in awhile items).
•Now that you have only items you love in your closet, make a list of what you need to fill it in. Try to stick to a cohesive color palette to make life simpler.
•Try to buy what you need from secondhand stores, or through clothing swaps to reduce waste. If you must buy new items try purchasing from slow fashion/eco fashion brands. If you buy out of season you can usually find things on sale.
Here are a list of some of my favorite brands.
Easy Living Hats. Olivia’s eco-friendly handmade hats are some of my wardrobe staples. I have one in dusty blue and one in poppy red. These hats last for years and years and are so stylish! Choose well-made, stylish items over poorly made trendy items always!
Easy Living Hats can be found on Instagram
Another slow fashion advocate I admire is Haley of Atonement Design. I have partnered with Haley in the past, but this post is in no way sponsored. Her work is really amazing and I highly recommend her jewelry. I have my eye on one of her dresses for summertime. A percentage of proceeds are donated to help stop human trafficking. Fashion with a cause? Yes please!
Atonement Design is also on Instagram
Another eco-clothing company I admire is Christy Dawn. They make small batches of dresses using deadstock—the discarded leftover fabric from fashion houses.
Hands down, the best shoe company I’ve found is Nisolo. They are sustainably made, elegant, chic, earthy, and made to last.
I LIVED in a Gaia Conceptions skirt for years, until it began to fall apart. I absolutely love the earthy elegance of Gaia Conceptions designs, the eco-friendly hemp fabric, and low impact dyes.
I’ll share some more favorites in my next newsletter. In the meantime, do you have any tips you’d like to share for living a sustainable lifestyle? Share your #enchantedsimplicity posts on Instagram.
*Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for gifting me a copy of “The Wartime Sisters.”*
”The Wartime Sisters” follows the lives of two Jewish sisters growing up in Brooklyn, and later at an armory in Springfield during WWII. Ruth is the practical, plain, older sister. Millie is their mother’s darling, the perfect child. Much of this book focuses on the complicated relationship between these two sisters, but there are also two other story lines involving the wife of the commanding officer at the armory and an Italian singer who works in the cafeteria.
Lynda Cohen Loigman provides just enough historical details to satisfy readers of historical fiction, but the focus is clearly about complicated family ties, the bonds of friendship, and solidarity between women. I found myself emotionally invested in the characters. This book was hard to put down. I think I read it in two sittings.
“The Wartime Sisters” is sure to satisfy one’s craving for a book about sisters and women’s issues that is firmly rooted in historical fiction as well.
This is was a solid 3⭐️ read!
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