Hi everyone, we’re almost at the end of Second Hand September - an initiative by Oxfam.

It’s all about shopping only second hand for 30 days or more, in order to give clothes a longer life by keeping them from landfill. 

Why is that important? 

There’s a whole bunch of reasons but one of the bigger ones is to reduce the need to build more landfills ‘cos they take up valuable space and are a source of air and water pollution. 

Reduce our waste and we conserve our resources, AND reduce our exposure to methane - a greenhouse gas more potent than carbon. Methane comes from rotting clothing that sits in landfills for up to 200 years. Yikes.

How to do it:

Buying second hand is super easy and even considered cool now. You only have to look at second hand selling sites such as Depop and Re-Fashion to see that. 

There is also a growing number of sustainable fashion labels available. I find them to be quite pricey, overall out-pricing me sadly, but this is improving and the more ‘mainstream’ ethical fashion becomes, the easier it will be for brands to diversity their pricing brackets. 

There's currently 7.9 million+ posts on Instagram using the hashtag #sustainablefashion - follow that so you can start to curate your own feed of content and preferences. The labels will find you!

One label in particular deserves a shout out. Sustainable activewear label, Gnger Bees is the first fashion brand to name everyone in their supply chain. I love everything about this - pioneering, campaigning for transparency while also empowering people through recognising the hard work and individuality of every person involved in making each item.

A Gngr Bees clothing label.

Get your swap on

My swapping community, run on Instagram, is easy to join, just follow @regardinglife.co.uk,  watch the highlights or visit the link in the bio. 

*You can join the private swapping groups led on DMs

*You can watch the videos of my preloved curated collections (second hand clothing I’ve sourced or received by donation)

*You can follow just for the fashion tips and sustainable content

I’ve also now evolved my styling services to become more sustainable. So I now offer personal shopping experiences with a slow fashion spin my hosting shopping experiences with the following considerations:

*Shopping trips at charity stores and second hand or vintage stores

*Preloved collections that I curate myself

*Sustainable fashion brands

*Mindful clothes swapping partiesMy online communities (there’s more coming but this Insta group is the first)

*Independent stores that can tell me all about their ethical supply chain

I get it, it’s easy to ignore the wider issues and, if you don’t know about the truth, I get why you might assume all is well, but we all desperately need to change. We’re conditioned to love and trust brands, and the temptation of those shoes and that t-shirt is strong.

You only have to look down my personal Instagram feed to see I wasn’t always like this, but I’ve had a huge awakening of the crisis our planet is in and, if I can do it, you can do it to.

The shoes ain’t worth it. Our planet and all who live on it are though.

Who is with me? 

One thing the pandemic has proved to us all is that change can happen, unannounced and it can happen at super speed.

Though some fear change as it catapults you into the unknown, or makes you feel out of control, I've always enjoyed change. I find it exciting; an opportunity to create or try something new.

I'm addicted to trying new things. It gives me the sense of adventure that I seek in my every day.

While I don't see the pandemic as an adventure of course, I'm not writing off 2020 altogether like I hear so many people have. 2020 could be your year of opportunity. You could see the change brought by C-19 as time to reflect, look inward and make the changes you know you needed to make all along. Because when your life is stripped back to basics, when there are no distractions, when the shit hits the fan and you're worried for your life and future - that certainly makes me sit up and notice.

So let's get the show on the road.

The need for adventure.

I have been hooked on adventure for as long as I can remember. As a child, the light only flickered. I found a sense of adventure in being outside; I'd spend all day playing in the mud, running around, climbing, playing chase. But then, most kids did.

As I grew older, my sense of adventure moved to curiosity and I became more and more aware of the big wide world, and all its beauty. I wanted to protect it. At the age of eight, I set up a club of other kids called The Ozone Gang. Embarrassing I know, but our mission was to literally clean up our estate in my naive yet passionate attempt to clean up the world. I'd march everyone around the place, scrubbing off graffiti from walls, asking for homes to donate cleaning products, campaign against littering while galvanising others to pick it up.

As a young woman, my perception of adventure grew to squeezing every last drop out of every moment - with a dose of debauchery thrown in.

I'd savour travel, holidays, camping, working all hours followed by partying all hours; burning the candle at both ends. I'm not advocating this by the way, but this earnest taught me a powerful realisation.

The excitement these experience brought; that I created myself, made me realise I had the power to feel this fulfilled; this alive at any given moment.

All I had to do was decide, then leap.

The time it all changed.

These days, in addition to variations of all of the above, I feel a sense of adventure through learning a new skill, taking a risk and through my two children.

Yes they can give me a headache, yes they can seem like little ungrateful pricks at times, but to me - children are the greatest teachers. The way they look at life; wide-eyed, untarnished, curious and exploratory - is admirable and magical. I often look at the world through their eyes and listen to the way they describe something that I might ordinarily not notice, possibly avoid or even fear. They help me care less about the stuff I should care less about.

Just DO it.

My kids help me to open my eyes, my mind and my heart. They make me feel alive.

Last week my son wanted to go on the carousel and I instantly put up barriers. 'I can't see the person who works it'. 'I don't have any change'. 'There's no one else on it'. I saw pausing to have fun as an inconvenience.

My son's reply, 'do you want to go on it mummy? Do you think it will be fun?'

To which I replied, 'actually yes, I think it'd be fun'.

'So if you you want to go on it, let's just go on it', he said simply.

And so we did. And guess what? We had so much fun. Y'see, kids just DO stuff. There's less procrastination in their world, less thinking - more doing, being, enjoying. And who doesn't want more of that?

During the pandemic, I was working from home like many of us - running a senior full time job alongside a home with two children, a dog and a husband who also has a senior full time role. My husband also had the actual coronavirus right at the start of all this chaos, so it's fair to say that our household was under immense pressure - suddenly and without warning. It became very apparent that this was not sustainable.

I was pushing my kids away to answer emails (yep, those kids that give my life true meaning), trying to juggle home schooling with work, my husbands work, general house and life duties and nursing my family back to health.

I was desperate for more time with my kids, and they were with me. Being honest, this was not just during lockdown but long before. My husband was understandably ready to implode from too much pressure and, while I felt overwhelmingly sad at the state of the world, my instinct kept screaming at me - MAKE A CHANGE. 

Getting the show on the road.

So...I handed in my notice from my very wonderful, comfortable job in senior management to go with my gut and do something that matched my passion for doing business for good, and on a part time basis so I could see and support my family more, and seek that adventure that I've always needed.

Let me take you through that again.

I handed in my notice. From a comfortable job. With a good salary. At a great company. In the middle of a global pandemic.

Yep, I'm that girl.

While I miss the guys I worked with immensely, I missed adventure more and had too little time and headspace for the things that helped me get it and so, I changed my life.

As Brené Brown said, 'you can have courage or comfort. You can not have both'.

It's not the first time I've placed courage over comfort to put health first, happiness first, family first, me first.

I share some of these bold changes and the gumption it took in my four short stories at the SheSays Brighton event back in March (before it all went pear-shaped and we could be in a crowded room together).

Watch the video here:

Today, I'm now Head of Marketing for The Good Business Club  on a part time basis, I'm taking on other projects and have started to create Regarding Life; the sustainability, styling and coaching bubble that you see unfolding and evolving right here on this blog.

I realised these changes needed to happen to help me live the life I truly want to, and that in turn, benefits the people and causes I care about the most. So it wasn't the job, the company, the expectations. It wasn't even the effects of C-19. It was just the realisation that none of that was me.

You might be thinking, ‘yeah, whatever love – it's easy for you to say, we don't all have the luxury of such choice’.

- and I hear you, but I didn't just go, 'I'm not happy, f*ck it - I'm off'. I calculated a fall-back plan and became strategic about my steps. I hustled. I involved my family in my decision making process - placing them at the heart of it all. I got their support, I built savings and I grew some tits and made it happen.

Easy? Hell no.

Scary? Hell yes.

Crazy? Maybe.

Right? 100%.

My approach Re:life is about unbecoming everything you’re not, identifying what you need then having the tits to go out and get it.

I call this brave living.

Want to make a change? Want to live bravely? Delve in and discover what's coming up in your bravery toolkit.

It's fair to say that Covid has had a profound effect on us all and continues to do so. For me, I've had a huge awakening on the crisis that our planet faces.

My mindset shift has led to me making some tough decisions and epic changes but you only have to scroll down my personal instagram feed to see I haven't always been this way, nor had these beliefs, or practiced these ways. So if I can do it, you can too.

There's tons more to expect from me on this but to kick things off, I visited Supermarket Rebels, HISBE and chatted to the the Co-founder Ruth Anslow who gives us a realistic view of the simple changes we can make to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.

'Aim for good rather than perfect.'

Watch the video:

As part of my maternity fashion video sries with Secret Saviours, the award-winning stretch mark prevention system for pregnant women, my final video focuses on maternity outfits for work, and how to look like you, look professional but also feel comfortable and cool.  I also look at outfit ideas for every day since, when you’re pregnant (and even when you’re not), daily inspiration is always needed, and pulling looks together is the biggest request my clients ask of me as a Stylist. Comfort is always key when you’re pregnant but if your workplace has a more formal dress code, this can be tricky. Invest in a few key pieces and mix and match them throughout your pregnancy.  A pencil skirt or tube skirt can be worn with a maternity shirt or your favourite regular t-shirt, knotted above the bump. Maternity leggings and jeans are key staples for every day and both can be turned into chic work wear with tailored tops.  If the jeans are under the bump, wear your SS band for extra support and as an under layer for tops so you don’t feel exposed. Tailored maternity shorts look great with a button throughout shirt and brogues for the summer, while day dresses can be dressed up or down year-round.  I lived in dresses for both of my pregnancies since they are cool, non-restrictive and versatile. Turn a casual dress into work attire by pairing it with a blazer and kick-ass pointed flats or Chelsea boots.  Wear it as an every-day staple and bring it up to date with pin badges, a statement necklace or a bomber jacket. Accessories and footwear are an easy way to update your wardrobe without breaking the bank, plus you can continue to wear them post pregnancy! My key staples are:
  • A pair of statement trainers to stand out and pull in the compliments (it’s always nice to get an ego boost). I love New Look and Boohoo.com
  • Hats – great for adding instant cool and disguising bad hair days! ASOS and River Island always have great hats
  • A statement necklace to dress up any outfit, try Miss Selfridge for some cool choices
  • A luxurious handbag that fits in all your essentials – don’t be shy on the budget with this, a good handbag will last forever. I love independent label, Bell&Fox
  • Interesting socks – now I know this sounds crazy but people notice the little details, your poor tootsies need luxury and a flash of colour and personality from beneath your jeans will complete your look. TOPSHOP have mastered the quirky socks vibe.
This is one of five maternity style videos, you can watch all the short style films >here<. -- Get your Award-winning Stretch Mark Prevention System for Less Secret Saviours are committed to saving women from getting stretch marks in pregnancy. They can prevent 82% of women getting stretch marks with their innovative new wearable tech (a stretch mark prevention band, covered with pads to stop the skin stretching and tearing).  They’re all about empowering women to take control of their bodies – to help you be the best you. You can get your hands on the kit for yourself with a generous 20% off online now.  Please head to www.secretsaviours.com to find out more. Disclosure: This is not an ad, it is a collaboration between myself and Secret Saviours, a brand I have used with great effect and truly believe in.

As part of my maternity fashion video series with Secret Saviours, the award-winning stretch mark prevention system for pregnant women, my third video focuses on how to dress throughout the trimesters, what with your body shape forever-changing! In summary; Trimester 1 – personally, I wanted the safety net of the 12-week scan before announcing my pregnancy to the world and so, to avoid suspicious looks and probing questions, I dressed to conceal the early signs. Boxy tops and boot cut jeans with my trusty Anti-Stretch Mark Band worked well.  Loose boyfriend style blazers, waterfall trenches and duster jackets that grace over your shape will also camouflage a growing bump and will stay with you throughout your pregnancy, making them good investments.  New Look Maternity and ASOS are my favourites. Trimester 2 – this stage is all about showing off your bump to the world and wearing flattering clothing to help you do so.  It seems as though your shape is changing every week so be sure to support your growing bump with your Secret Saviours band to help prevent stretch marks then choose empire line dresses and tunic tops that cinch in under your bust and float out over your bump. You can also add definition by adding a stretchy belt over any top.  Team with over the bump skinny jeans then dress down with Converse or high-tops and dress up with a very low heel – because this is probably the last time you wear them comfortably for a while! Trimester 3 - as your bump and baby grow larger, you’re carrying precious, heavy cargo and get tired very easily (no kidding).  At this stage, it is all about comfort and ensuring you feel supported. My Secret Saviours band helped me feel held in and supported then I gravitated to over the bump maternity leggings and loose t-shirts or dresses. Choose flat shoes at this stage but there are so many colours and styles around, you don’t have to compromise style for comfort.  You can have both. Finally, add in loads of personality with accessories – you can wear them post pregnancy too and they’re an affordable way of updating your look (not to mention being able to wear them no matter how big your bump gets)!  I used handbags from independent label, Bell & Fox which will last you a lifetime, jewelry from Cheap Frills and pin badges from Café of Curiosities.  These details are what will help you look put together…even if you don’t feel it 😉 This is one of five maternity style videos, and you can watch the first one on what to wear at weddings >here<  Keep checking back for the next one as I’m releasing a new video every Monday and Thursday at 2pm. --   Get your Award-winning Stretch Mark Prevention System for Less Secret Saviours are committed to saving women from getting stretch marks in pregnancy. They can prevent 82% of women getting stretch marks with their innovative new wearable tech (a stretch mark prevention band, covered with pads to stop the skin stretching and tearing).  They’re all about empowering women to take control of their bodies – to help you be the best you.   You can get your hands on the kit for yourself with a generous 20% off online now.  Please head to www.secretsaviours.com to find out more.   Disclosure: This is not an ad, it is a collaboration between myself and Secret Saviours, a brand I have used with great effect and truly believe in.