Explore Live

8 hours in Bristol: where to eat, drink, browse and explore

Photo source: CEREAL

I recently took a short trip to Bristol for my brother’s Graduation (well done, little bro!) and had a half a day to myself to explore. There were a couple of shops and eateries on my list to visit, but the rest were lucky finds. I personally love reading a city guide before I go, so I thought I’d share my highlights in case you’re in Bristol anytime soon…


Photo source: Visit Bristol



This long, graffiti-covered street is home to lots of cool coffee shops, cafes and homeware independents, as well as vintage and second-hand stores.

Poco Tapas Bar

I ventured down Stokes Croft in search for Poco, a tapas bar renowned for its sustainability credentials. Poco’s menu is 100% seasonal, organic and locally grown. They aim to be zero waste by respecting their incredible ingredients, purchasing less packaging, recycling and composting. Inside the restaurant they have a large black board detailing those producing the ingredients used that day.

As it was coming up to midday I ordered the vegan brunch (mushrooms, greens and harissa beans on sourdough), which tasted fresh and nutritious. I quenched my thirst with a delicious, homemade lemonade. The atmosphere was inviting, bright and airy with kind staff and a calming playlist. I wish I could’ve stayed there all day, reading and eating in a continuous cycle. Maybe on my next visit to Bristol… I definitely want to return for the tapas menu in the evening that’s for certain!


Triple Co Roast


Photo source: Konichiwa PR

As is now tradition whenever I go away without Ollie, I bring back either coffee or chocolate. It was coffee this time and I opted for Triple Co Roast, a roastery on Stokes Croft aiming to roast high-quality beans through direct trade with bean farmers. They believe in an ethical supply chain that rewards farmers and pays out bigger premiums for their hard work.

I went for their latest Costa Rican coffee from La Trinidad. The beans are farmed through a Community Coffee program with CoopeTarrazu, which encourages greater attention to traceability and provides opportunities for small producers to achieve recognition for their coffees. Whilst I’m no coffee connoisseur, I can tell you it’s amazing smelling and tasting coffee!


Photo source: Mapio



Clifton is full of cafes, restaurants, boutiques and salons. Its beautiful, traditional Georgian architecture and nearby parks and gardens makes it the perfect area to stroll around on a sunny day.



Photo source: The Project Lifestyle

I was drawn to Clifton Village by the stationers heaven that is Papersmiths. This Instagrammable store is filled with everything you could want for your writing and reading pleasure. I spent a good 30-minutes fawning over every other pen, pencil and pot of ink. As a serious card lover, I can say they have a great selection – though I didn’t spot my favourites (ola studio and Hanna Werning)! There were a number of coffee table books and magazines I had my eyes on too, though sadly Ollie and I are on a book ban until we’ve moved house! I did, however, have room in my holdall case for a Walk With Me pencil case made from a single piece of recycled leather and an old issue of Renaissance, the magazine exploring the beauty of age with only models over 40. Discounted magazines don’t count within the book ban, right?!


Wainwright’s Coffee


Photo source: Best Coffee Guide

I fell upon Wainwright’s on my way out of Clifton when I fancied an iced coffee to keep me cool and caffeinated on my hot journey back to London during the summer heatwave. Wainwright’s focus is on speciality coffee and seasonal food, seeking to serve on ethically-sourced coffee from Clifton Coffee Roasters and Triple Co Roast. It’s the perfect spot to relax and refresh.




Photo source: CEREAL

HOKO is a minimalist, independent boutique stocking a curated selection premium mens and womenswear by the likes of Baserange, Margaret Howell, Aries and Our Legacy. Scented with and stocking Aesop, there’s also a small collection of fragrance, skincare and homeware. It’s definitely worth a browse if you’re in the area as they regularly release small new collections.


Clifton Suspension Bridge

You can’t visit Clifton Village without a stop at the suspension bridge, connecting Bristol to Leigh Woods. This glorious bridge provides a stunning view of the Avon Gorge river and its cliffs.

The bridge opened in 1864 and has been a landmark since. It was designed by the Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who died in 1859 before the bridge had been completed. The bridge is said to have been completed as his memorial and is known as Brunel’s bridge.


They were the highlights from my half day in Bristol, but I’d love to know yours. Where should I go next time I’m in the city? Let me know by leaving a comment.


Get clean with caffeine: An interview with Optiat


Optiat: One Person’s Trash Is Another’s Treasure

I discovered this amazing beauty brand who use coffee waste to create natural, effective, high-quality scrubs at Stylist Live in 2017. Attracted by the energising scent of the lemongrass scrub, I bought one to test at home. I absolutely love how soft and smooth my skin feels after using it, and the fact that it squeezes out of a tube so you waste hardly any of the product compared to typical coffee scrubs packaged in pouches. My boyfriend, Ollie, is a big fan too – I frequently hear him call from the shower “I’m just going to use a bit of your coffee scrub”!

With their product range expanding, I caught up with co-founder Anna to find out a little more about Optiat started, what goes into their products and plans for the future…


Hey Anna, how are you? What have you been up to lately?

I’m very well thanks, I’ve been really busy recently with all sorts. We are expanding our website as our range grows, so I’ve spent lots of time last week on a product photoshoot getting some beautiful photos for the site. We were also at Vevolution Festival this weekend where we pitched at a dragons’ den competition against five other vegan brands. We ended up being selected as the winner which was extremely exciting! It was my first experience getting to hold a giant cheque so that was a nice box to tick!

Amazing! So you and your brother William set up Optiat – how did it all begin?

The idea to make sustainable coffee scrubs from repurposed used coffee grounds came about from a culmination of different things. Firstly, William was bought a cafetiere and was making his own coffee every morning. He lived in central London with no garden and so didn’t have plants to put the grounds on (as with many) so instead he was simply throwing them away. He got to thinking that if he alone was throwing away so many coffee grounds each morning, then, given the size of the coffee industry, on a wider scale there must be an awful lot of waste – and he was right! After research we learnt that we are throwing away 500,000 tonnes of coffee to landfill each year in the UK alone. If we could create a product which could help to minimize this then that could only be a good thing!

We were also aware that people have been using coffee on their skin for many years around the world and that it was something that had taken off particularly well in Australia in recent years. However, no one seemed to be making coffee scrubs from used coffee grounds. All of this came in parallel to the huge rise in awareness of the devastating impact of microbeads on our environment. As we all look towards natural alternatives for our exfoliators, repurposed coffee seemed like a brilliant option!

We are throwing away 500,000 tonnes of coffee to landfill each year in the UK alone

What did you and William do before going into business together?

Before forming Optiat my brother was working in finance for a hedge fund and I was working as an area manager for a supermarket managing several stores. My job gave me great insight into things like analysing trends, forecasting sales, warehouse management, stock control and staffing. My brother and I have very different strengths, so we really compliment each other when it comes to heading up our own business.


How are you finding working together? What are the best and worst parts of going into business with your sibling?

People often ask what it’s like to work with a sibling! I guess you have to be wary of mixing family life and work life, but honestly for us it works really well. There can be disagreements and the odd argument, but we are able to speak our minds freely with each other so the resolution is always speedy. The worst part is that we have to be pretty disciplined when it comes to professionalism – we’re still working on that! As we take on our first staff members in 2018, I think any bickering will have to be quickly eliminated! The best part is that it’s so much fun, we laugh a lot and take great joy in being able to share Optiat’s success with the rest of our family.

Tell us more about Optiat and why you wanted to start a skincare company with a positive environmental impact?

Optiat products are made from ingredients which would otherwise be discarded. We create natural, vegan skincare products by breathing new life into these unloved ingredients. Fundamentally we wanted our brand to be totally unique, we wanted to be doing something which no one else is doing and we wanted to prove that there can still be great value in the things that we are choosing to simply dispose of. This ethos is appealing to customers as they are increasingly looking into the provenance of the ingredients of the products which they are choosing to buy. Consumers are beginning to shop in a much more conscious and critical way. We encourage our customers to ask us about what has gone into the making of our products, what is the process? What are the ingredients? Where are the ingredients from? Increased transparency and knowledge for the customer about a product and its ingredients allows the customer to make more informed choices about the brands they choose to buy from and the products they choose to use. It is beauty with a conscience, our customers don’t have to worry about what will happen when our products eventually are washed down the drains as the ingredients are natural and chemical-free. Keeping our ethics at the forefront of what we do is incredibly important to us, we will never compromise on our mission to have a positive environmental impact.

There can still be great value in the things that we are choosing to simply dispose of.

How did you discover the beauty benefits of leftover coffee waste?

Research, research and more research! We spent many many months absorbing as much information as we could. We then launched an initial range of three scrubs, gathering feedback from our initial customers before launching our current range in November 2016. This whole process was more than a year.

We began approaching coffee shops and asking them what they did with their coffee waste, they explained to us that it was simply thrown away. We gradually built up a portfolio of restaurants, bars and cafes and now we collect from around 50 coffee shops in London. The world has finite resources, and we as humans produce a significant amount of waste. For example, more than 9 million tonnes of coffee grounds are sent to landfill every year globally. This has significant consequences as the coffee grounds decompose to produce methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times worse than carbon dioxide! Just because we don’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening!

The ingredients that we repurpose into our products retain their quality. Coffee, for example, has been shown to be higher in antioxidants once it has been brewed than beforehand, so the used coffee grounds that make up our scrubs are just as good (if not better) for your skin! The fact that it is collected from artisanal coffee shops and restaurants also means that it is the highest-quality Arabica coffee, as opposed to the lower-grade, cheaper Robusta coffee found in most coffee scrubs.

The caffeine in coffee helps stimulate blood flow, effective against skin conditions such as acne, eczema, cellulite and stretch marks, addressing those areas in need of renewal and regeneration. The caffeine can also help to brighten up your complexion, leaving you with a fresh looking glow, plus coffee is the same pH as your skin – meaning it won’t leave it feeling dry.

That’s a whole lot of skin goodness to be throwing to landfill!

More than 9 million tonnes of coffee grounds are sent to landfill every year globally.

Can you tell us more about your body scrubs and face masks and what they’re made of?

We like to keep our ingredients as simple as we can, and so all our scrubs are made using natural vegan ingredients. We believe you should be able to understand the ingredients on the labels of the food and cosmetics that you put in contact with your body.

The core ingredients in all our scrubs are the same, the only thing which we vary from scent to scent is the essential oils which we use to naturally fragrance each scrub. The essential oils included in our scrubs are: mandarin, lemongrass, peppermint, coconut, rosemary, orange, lime, eucalyptus and vanilla extract.

The base ingredient of our scrubs is the repurposed Arabica coffee grounds which give our scrubs their distinctive dark colour and unique smell. Arabica beans are only grown in mountain shade at altitudes above 600m. As a result, they are much harder to grow. They are more expensive but they taste way better too! We believe that if you wouldn’t eat or drink something, why would you be happy to put it on your skin? That’s why we only use Arabica grounds.

Added to these repurposed grounds are brown sugar and sea salt. These ingredients aid in the exfoliation and the sea salt acts as a natural antiseptic, preventing redness and breakouts and protecting any abrasions you may have on your skin. Next, we add almond oil and whipped shea butter, these ingredients help to form our scrubs into the gel-like consistency in which it comes. Not only this, but it is because of these ingredients that our scrubs are richly moisturizing, unlike a lot of exfoliators which can leave your skin feeling tight and dry.

Our face masks are made from repurposed hemp husks which we collect from an organic farm in Oxfordshire. Relatively known as a superfood, hemp is a holistic ingredient used for a variety of purposes including for fuel, protein, fibre and medicine. The hulls are an excellent source of minerals and a rare source of insoluble fibre. When used topically, the hemp husks act as a gentle exfoliator to lightly buff away dead skin cells and cleanse your skin for a glowing complexion. We also use activated charcoal in our masks, an ingredient which is great for drawing out toxins from your skin. Activated charcoal has the ability to bind to toxins, which is why it is often used in the medical field as a treatment for poisoning, as the activated charcoal can bind to toxins to prevent the body from absorbing them. The same logic applies to drawing our toxins from your skin. Using activated charcoal as an ingredient in a face mask can help to detoxify your skin and unclog your pores helping to even your skin tone, reduce acne and redness and give you a brighter looking complexion.

Where are your products made and who by?

Our products are all made in the UK by hand. Originally we were making all of our products ourselves, but we simply cannot manage doing all of the manufacture on top of everything else anymore. We now have a manufacturer based in Dorset, a small team produce our products there amid a setting of rolling hills and fields of cows! It’s beautiful!

What plans do you have for Optiat for the future?

There are so many wonderful natural ingredients which are unfortunately going unused. We are keen to rescue these unloved, unwanted ingredients and continue to develop more skincare products from them. Without wanting to give too much away, we will soon be releasing a lovely new range of products made from brewed chai spices which were previously used to make chai tea. By the time the chai production process is over, the spices are no longer needed yet they still smell amazing! We have taken the chai spices and used them as the core ingredient for an exciting new range. As always, our new products are vegan, cruelty-free, sustainable and 100% natural.

We are also revisiting our coffee scrubs and exploring some exciting new scents, we’ve been using our social media to ask our #ScrubSquad what scents they would like to see next!

For those who don’t know, our brand name Optiat is an acronym for “One Person’s Trash Is Another’s Treasure”. It is our focus on sustainability and making something out of nothing that we feel really sets us apart from the rest – and so this is what we will continue to do! We aim to show people that these unloved ingredients still have a huge amount to offer us. If we can produce high quality, effective skincare products by promoting sustainability as our core message, our hope is to demonstrate that we can all be more resourceful, that we can promote a circular economy and to inspire the beauty industry as a whole to be less wasteful.

For anyone wishing to use up their leftover coffee grounds at home, what can you suggest?

Go for it! Keep it simple and natural. All you really need is a nice oil to mix in with the grounds – something like coconut oil, almond oil or even olive oil should work nicely! You can also add a bit of sea salt if you’re prone to breakouts. Use a few drops of an essential oil of your choice, but try to choose one which compliments the scent of the coffee. Our four coffee scrub variants are vanilla, mandarin, lemongrass and peppermint. Lavender also works wonderfully! You can keep your scrub in a small kilner or old jam jar. Enjoy!

Finally, what are your top tips for shopping with people and planet in mind?

As a brand, we are committed to changing our current ‘take, make, dispose’ world by promoting a circular economy: keeping things in use for as long as possible before restoring them at the end of their lives. So, if products have the word ‘disposable’ in them, like disposable razors, or disposable cutlery, they are best avoided. Living an eco-conscious lifestyle is all about trying to minimise the impact we humans have on our wider environment. We currently live in a world where we are bombarded with negative headlines about climate change, pollution and our overuse of scarce resources, but we can all make changes that can make a difference. Here are just a few simple things you can do to create a greener beauty regime:

  • Swap your plastic toothbrush for a compostable bamboo one. Toothbrushes are increasingly being found washed up on beaches in the most remote areas of the planet.
  • Make sure you are not using a toothpaste or exfoliator which has microbeads in it – our scrubs are the perfect solution to that (*wink wink*)!
  • Avoid products which contain palm oil in both your beauty products and your food items, as the production of palm oil causes deforestation, destroying the habitat of endangered species like elephants and rhinos.
  • Try to introduce soap bars into your regime rather than just always using liquid soap. Soap bars last much longer and tend to have a lot less packaging. We are excited to be bringing out a new range of soap bars soon, so keep an eye out!
  • Try to avoid beauty products which spray out of a can, opt for a perfume / deodorant stick instead. They last a lot longer and are much less likely to be laden with harmful chemicals.
  • Choose products with recyclable packaging and responsibly sourced and organic ingredients wherever possible.

Thank you Anna!

Chai Soap Block Crowdfunder


Optiat have just released a Crowdfunder for their exciting new product range, chai soap blocks! For this new range, they have partnered with Henny and Joe’s to collect the brewed chai spices that have been used to make their chai tea syrup. By the time the chai production process is over, the spices are no longer needed yet they still smell amazing! Chai tea spices have a number of skin benefits as they’re packed with antioxidants; from fighting free radicals, firming skin and reduce signs of skin aging, to gently drawing out toxins, removing impurities and purifying the skin. As always, their soaps will be vegan, cruelty-free and 100% natural.

Find out more and support their Crowdfunder here.


Exercise Live

Detoxifying your deodorant with Elsa’s Organics

I recently interviewed Elsa’s Organics founder Henrietta Lampkin to find out a little more about how and why she launched the brand and the benefits of a deodorant made up of natural and organic ingredients. Read what we discussed below…

Hey Henrietta, how are you? How is 2018 treating you and Elsa’s Organics so far?  

I am very well and excited by all of the possibilities this new little brand is bringing me!

Why did you start Elsa’s Organics?   

After searching long and hard for a truly natural deodorant that was effective and long-lasting for myself and my daughters, I was left frustrated. I gave up my search and decided to create my own recipes. As a mum of four girls, I knew this was something I had to do!

Why deodorant?  

I saw a gap in the market as the existing “natural” deodorants weren’t that effective and had questionable ingredients.

What are some of the typical health and environmental issues associated with conventional deodorant?

All conventional antiperspirants and a vast majority of “natural” deodorants contain Aluminium in one form or another. Some contain up to 25% by volume of Aluminium salts! This is a toxin that your body has no use for in any amount. It has also been linked to diseases such as breast cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, bone disorders and kidney problems, as do Parabens which are also frequently found in conventional deodorants. Studies have shown that Aluminium accumulates in the breast tissue of women, with high incidence in the upper, outer quadrant of the breast, nearest to where antiperspirants are applied (Exley et al., 2007; McGrath, 2003). Parabens are also suspected to be endocrine disruptors (EWG, 2018).


Photo credit: We Were Raised By Wolves

Why organic ingredients?

The skin around your under arm is sensitive, with some studies finding a 100% absorption rate. It’s therefore critical to use as pure and natural ingredients as possible as what you put on your underarm will be absorbed into your body.


“What you put on your underarm will be absorbed into your body”


What percentage of your deodorant stick ingredients are certified organic? Do you think you will go for Soil Association certification at any point? 

Of the ingredients in my deodorant sticks, 68% are certified organic. The remainder are clays, ocean minerals and Himalayan salts which can’t be certified as they aren’t agricultural. We’re currently working on getting our products fully organic certified by the Soil Association!

What ingredients do you use in your deodorant sticks and why? What are they good for? 

  • Detoxifies

Himalayan Pink Salt is a gentle detoxifier and deodoriser. It is readily absorbed into the skin and contains 84 minerals and elements that can naturally be found within the human body.

  • Nourishes

Castor Oil is found to have natural healing abilities, moving through the lymphatic channels within the body and breaking up any congestion. It’s been shown to be effective in preventing the growth of numerous species of bacteria and is also high in Vitamin E and beneficial fatty acids Omega 6 and 9!

  • Deodorises

Magnesium is involved in over 300 regularly occurring transactions in the human body, making it the most important nutrient for your body’s performance! It’s best absorbed through the skin and helps to neutralise bad odours! Essential oils are also great at adding a natural fragrance and keep you smelling sweet.

  • Soothes

Coconut Oil has many qualities, including it’s soothing nature. It also has great antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, making it perfect for a deodorant. Arrowroot powder is also thought to have soothing and anti-microbial properties.

  • Softens

Shea butter is rich in essential fatty acids and is praised for softening the skin.


Photo credit: Love Lula

Where are your products made and by who? 

I formulate all products in my kitchen and they are now made in a small manufacturing plant in Scotland!

What do you have planned for Elsa’s Organics in the future? 

We will be launching a fun pre-teen zero waste creme deodorant and a charcoal-based arm-pit detox kit in May so keep an eye out for those.

What tips do you have for readers for more conscious shopping? 

Here are my top 3 tips:

  1. Read the labels and research any unfamiliar ingredients
  2. Aim for zero-waste where possible
  3. Go organic for skincare and food


Thank you Henrietta!




Talking ‘Clean Beauty’ with the KINN Living co-founders 

I first discovered KINN Living at the Soil Association ‘Careers with a Conscience’ talk (which I wrote about here), where I received a gorgeous sample of their body oil. After following their Instagram page, fawning over their beautiful posts, and falling in love with their ethos, I reached out to them to see if they could support my barre class fundraising events. Luckily they were keen to support my efforts to raise awareness of sustainability-conscious brands, so the attendees of my last event in 2017 (read more here) received a gentle yet refreshing shower gel. This is now my favourite shower gel for every day use, leaving you feeling soft, clean and ready for the day ahead!

Pleased with my products, I got in touch with Marie and Sophie, the mother and daughter duo behind the brand, to find out a little more about KINN, how it all started, and what they’ve got planned for the future…

Hey Marie, Sophie, how are you both? What have you been up to lately?

Hi Zara. We’re really good, busy with lots of planning. Our home range launches into Waitrose next month so we’re excited about that and we’re working on bringing out a couple more ranges later in the year.

How exciting! So together you founded KINN Living – how did it all begin?

Marie – KINN originally began when I had just had Sophie. The typical cliché – I was looking for products that I thought would be best for my new baby. My searches for natural and organic products came up empty, so I decided to take matters into my own hands. My uncle had a company in The States selling aromatherapy-based products and I thought that those would be great to bring to the UK. However, for one reason or another, I ended up having to shelve the project.

Sophie – So when I started uni I had no idea what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted to work for myself. I could see already that the clean living lifestyle was a growing trend and that’s when I thought about my uncle’s company (no longer trading) and the products my mum had tried to develop in the 90’s. After a lot of bugging, I managed to convince mum to let me put my degree on hold and we began to work on KINN full-time. It quickly evolved from this idea of selling aromatherapy-based organic products, to this larger variety of lifestyle products and the idea of Clean Beauty™ for you, your family and your home.

“It quickly evolved from this idea of selling aromatherapy-based organic products, to this larger variety of lifestyle products and the idea of Clean Beauty™ for you, your family and your home.”

What did you both do before going into business together?

Marie – I worked in property developing and was lucky enough to create everything from bespoke multi-million pound properties to smaller developments such as starter homes. I fell into this career path in my 20’s when I bought my first house with Sophie’s father and decided that I wanted to rip out all of the walls, extend the back, and create an open plan home. Sophie jokingly says that I’m an extreme decorator!

Sophie – Before KINN, I was studying English Lit at uni and training to become an interior designer at KLC. I originally thought I would follow my mum into property, but through the interior design route rather than developing. I was lucky enough to have some great work experience that included running a pop-up fine art gallery in Mayfair for two months (art is my first love, having studied Art History at School) and working with the designers who created George Northwoods flagship salon. However, the more I thought about KINN, the more I thought the time was perfect for a company like it to exist!


Photo Source: KINN Living

How are you finding working together? What are the best and worst parts of going into business with your mother/daughter?

Marie – Sophie is someone that I spend a huge amount of time laughing with, and we’re very alike in many ways, so the thought of building this company with my daughter, who was the main reason I wanted to do this back in the 90’s, made perfect sense!

Sophie – I love working with my mum. She’s honestly my best friend and I feel very lucky that we have a relationship that allows us to work together as well as go off on our travels together. I can’t really think of any downsides. I think the only thing is perhaps having that some outsiders find it hard to see us separately as business women, beyond our mother-daughter team.

Tell us more about KINN Living and why you wanted to start an organic beauty company?

So for us, organic has always just been a part of life and was never a trend or fad. Half of our family come from the South of France and have organic farms. It’s very much the normal thing for us to eat seasonally, to avoid harsh chemicals, and to shop organically. More recently, we started to find that with the growing trend of “clean living” the lines were getting blurred between what was really natural and organic, and what was just greenwashing. We wanted to create a company people could trust wouldn’t greenwash; what we say we are, we are.

“So for us, organic has always just been a part of life and was never a trend or fad.”

Marie – When I would be with my grandmother in France, she would send me out to fetch the eggs from the chickens or get fresh milk from the dairy farm across from us. Everything we had was very fresh and simple; we would often pick tomatoes to eat that night. Always searching for organic products, my friends back in the U.K. used to think I was a little bit bonkers, but it just wouldn’t cross my mind to want any other products!

Sophie – Like mum, I would go and spend time with my great-grandmother in France, and I would go fetch the milk fresh from the farm or help with the chickens. I spent a lot of time in nature with my cousins and I don’t really remember ever being able to have junk food or sit in front of the television for hours; we were always outside playing on the farms. So again, my friends would think I was a little bit odd when I’d turn up to uni with a bag stuffed full of misshapen vegetables to take home and chocolate mousse made using avocado, but it just wasn’t odd to me!

Photo Source: KINN Living 

Your ethos is ‘Clean Beauty’ – what does that mean to you?

So Clean Beauty™ to us is not just about what you put on your skin, but about what you treat your homes with, what you eat. Why should the notion of beauty only extend to a ‘beauty regime’? Why would we not treat everything else with the same care? We think our homes deserve to have a ‘beauty regime’ of their own that is free from harsh chemicals. After all, we think it’s a little bit crazy to make the effort to have an organic oil filled bath when you cleaned that bath with a load of harsh chemicals earlier that day!

 “Why should the notion of beauty only extend to a ‘beauty regime’? Why would we not treat everything else with the same care?”

Can you tell me more about where your products are made and who makes them?

Our products are all made in the U.K.

My uncle (Marie’s uncle, Sophie’s Great uncle), who originally had his aromatherapy company, is the brains behind the body care formulas. He makes sure that the right ingredients are included to stimulate certain feelings when using our products; for example, the lavender in our body oil helps you to relax and unwind. He really is amazing at what he does and is one of the reasons aromatherapy is what it is today!

How about where your ingredients are sourced from?

All of our ingredients are fully traceable, a prerequisite for the Soil Association COSMOS certification of our body care products. The essential oils come from all over the world and help to support smaller farmers who harvest these crops, choosing to not spray their fields in pesticides. It’s so important to support these people as they have a hard battle with larger conglomerates who try to force them into using their pesticides.

Photo Source: Pretty Green Tea

You have a huge range of products, from bath and beauty to household cleaning – which are you best sellers and your personal favourites?

Marie – I actually find it hard to pick as we’re creating our dream products! I love relaxing with our bath oils, but equally I enjoy starting the day with the body wash. When it comes to the cleaning, I love the smell that the floor wash leaves.

Sophie – I am a big fan of the body oil; I use it pretty much daily as it sinks in so nicely and doesn’t leave me sticky and fighting to get my skinny jeans on! I also love the kitchen spray, I’ve pretty much invaded my boyfriend’s apartment with the KINN products!

I don’t blame you – I’m trying to invade my own apartment with them!

What plans do you have for KINN Living for the future?

We would like to see the range of products KINN Living offers grow so that it really does become a place you can shop, with trust, for products for you, your family and your home. Who knows, maybe we’ll even have our own stores one day! We think the sky is the limit and that it’s just so great that people are really getting behind natural, organic and eco products!

For anyone wanting to go organic on a budget, what would you suggest?

For beauty, we would suggest that they look out for products that are Soil Association certified. There is currently a real problem with companies greenwashing on their labels, saying they’re organic when really their ingredients aren’t. They can get away with it as there are no labelling laws for ‘natural’ or ‘organic’ products in the UK yet.

With cleaning products, look out synthetic fragrances and products using unnecessary ingredients such as dyes and sodium lauryl sulphate.

Finally, what are your top tips for shopping with people and planet in mind?

Try to support smaller businesses rather than rushing straight to a large chain brand – some supermarkets are really great at championing the little guys on their shelves. We know it’s not always easy, especially when you don’t live in a large town.

Thank you Marie and Sophie!

To find out more and browse their collection, visit their website:

Dress Exercise Live Previous Classes

Winter Wellness Day: Barre, brunch and ethical fashion brands

On Saturday 2nd December I took part in Sports Philosophy‘s Winter Wellness Day fundraising for their charity Freedom For Children Foundation. This was part of a project to fund a school bus in Myanmar, enabling children to get the education they need to lift themselves out of poverty.

Funding a school truck

Freedom for Children Foundation are supporting the myME Project in Myanmar which aims to improve children’s access to education, enabling them to get better jobs and move out of poverty. Currently, over 500,000 students drop out of the formal education in Myanmar each year. Too often parents take their kids out of school to help out on local farms or send them to nearby cities to work. MyME provide practical education and vocational skills to child labourers at their workplace in collaboration with the business owners, often teashops, to improve literacy and develop basic computer skills. Whilst this doesn’t end child labour, it does enable children to get the education they need to find a job with higher pay and fairer and safer working conditions. By helping them to move out of poverty, myME hope that future generations will not be taken out of education to work, reducing child labour.

42 Acres Shoreditch

The event took place at the incredible 42 Acres space in Shoreditch. It is a truly beautiful venue, with gorgeous, large arched windows, natural furnishings and plants aplenty – by far the most aesthetically pleasing place I’ve ever taught at, feeling like a sanctuary for wellness within the city! As well as an events venue, it also acts as a conscious co-working space designed to provide a healthy, happy working environment for individuals and organisations alike. 42 Acres also have a focus on sustainability, procuring products and services that are both environmentally and socially conscious. I am hoping to return in 2018 for more events and would absolutely love to visit their Somerset retreat – thoroughly recommend attending an event or co-working in the Shoreditch location!


My barre class

As part of the event, I lead a mat-based barre class. I teach Chiara Pellegrino’s BarreBodyLondon method which combines ballet, Pilates, yoga and resistance training movements for a full body workout that you’ll definitely feel the next day! For this class, we used our own body weight and Manuka Life eco bands to sculpt and tone all major muscle groups. It was amazing to have a full class of super strong ladies who brought great energy on this early Saturday morning – perhaps powered by the couple of cheesy Christmas songs I snuck into the playlist!  I loved seeing some of my regulars and close friends as well as lots of new faces – a big thank you to all that joined!

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Ethical brand Q&A

After my class came a Q&A session with companies conscious of their ethics. The speaker line-up included Sports Philosophy founder Stella Heng, AmaElla co-founder Julie Kervadec, Rêve En Vert co-founder Cora Hilts and Araminta Marketing founder Minty Sheridan. Talking ethical fashion, they covered the issues in the industry, how to shop more ethically and how to build your own business.



Then it was on to a mouth-watering brunch spread (I’m drooling just look at the photos!). From granola and smoothies to mini open sandwiches and vegan cakes, it was an absolute feast. Stella and team – you did an excellent job!

Ethical brand pop-up shop

And whilst munching on the delicious, nutritious brunch buffet, we were also able to browse the ethical brand pop-up shop. Stocking Sports Philosophy, Rêve En Vert, AmaElla and Lola’s Apothecary, it made the perfect place to pick up a conscious Christmas gift for a loved one. Or in my case, a gift for myself – I couldn’t help it, the AmaElla lingerie is so beautifully elegant and I’d been considering getting a set for a while.

AmaElla is a small organic cotton lingerie and nightwear brand based in Cambridge, founded by best friends Julie and Lara. Spotting a gap in the market for delicate, sexy and ethically-made underwear, AmaElla was launched. With a focus on fair and safe working conditions throughout the supply chain, they work with two manufacturers – one in the UK and one in Portugal. The UK partner is a non-profit social enterprise training young women, and their Portuguese partner only employs women in the local area to maintain the rich textile heritage of the community. They also care deeply about the health of society and of the environment, so all of their products are made from Global Organic Textiles Standard (GOTS) certified cotton. GOTS cotton is requires significantly less water and is free from harmful chemicals and pesticides unlike regular cotton.

Sports Philosophy is an Activewear brand aiming to end child labour. When founding the company, Stella and partner in business and in life Matthias also set up their charity Freedom for Children Foundation to fight child labour across the world. A percentage of the profits from the Activewear company are donated to the foundation, which works to develop community-led solutions relieving poverty and allowing children to gain an education instead of having to work. The brand also aims to offer high-quality workout wear to last the test of time, with just one collection released each year. As an ambassador for this wonderful brand, I have an exclusive discount code to give you 15% off: ZARA01SP – enjoy!

Rêve En Vert is a platform for sustainable luxury, offering long-lasting fashion you can feel good about. Having struggled to find fashion and lifestyle pieces that combine aesthetics with ethics in their own lives, Cora Hilts and Natasha Tucker decided to provide a solution for others experiencing the same problem. They refuse to compromise on style for sustainability, so everything they stock has been carefully curated to meet both their social, environmental and visual standards.

Lola’s Apothecary handcraft delicate, luxury beauty products with natural, botanical ingredients in their farm kitchen in the Devonshire countryside. Focused on high-quality skincare, their essential oil based products are free from artificial preservatives, synthetic fragrances, mineral oils, sulphates, parabens and other undesirable chemicals. Each fragrance has been developed to suit your mood, from calm and clarity to energy and romance. Many of their bottles contain pretty petals or springs for a beautiful, elegant appearance making a gorgeous gift for a loved one.

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Dress Live

A gift guide for conscious consumers

(Photo credit: Trouva)

This December, treat your loved ones to something special that has been mindfully made, considerate of people and planet. To help you find something you know they’ll get great use out of, I’ve rounded up a selection of consciously crafted gift ideas to inspire you in your search – I hope it helps!


For fashion lovers:



For houseproud entertainers:


For beauty queens:


For male grooming:


For zero-waste warriors:



For wellness seekers:

Eat Live

Sustainable subscriptions – gifts that keep on giving!

A monthly subscription box is a great way to show your loved ones how much they mean to you all year round. Whether they’re coffee connoisseurs, vegan snackers or clean beauty queens, there’s something out there for everyone. And fear not, you won’t have to compromise on your ethics as there are many companies catering for the sustainability minded, gathering a month’s supply of goodies respectful of people and planet. Here are my five favourite subscription box discoveries…

Old Spike Roastery


As well as supplying some of the finest, freshly roasted, seasonal coffee in the UK, this social enterprise provides training, jobs and housing support for people experiencing homelessness across the UK.


Skin Organics Beauty Box

Skin Organics Beauty box

Each beauty box is filled with carefully selected organic, natural, non-toxic and cruelty-free products, delivered to your doorstep beautifully wrapped within eco-friendly packing. The boxes contain five travel size items allowing you to test out some of the latest sustainability-conscious skincare companies around.




Healthy snacks delivered to your door? Yes please! SourcedBox curate a selection of health-conscious treats using only simple and natural ingredients to keep you fuelled throughout the four weeks of each month (ok, so maybe more likely 1 week for super snackers like myself, but still – who doesn’t want a box of delicious, nutritious snacks?!).


The Box of.


Treat a loved one to a monthly dose of self-care with The Box of., containing handy tips and tools that guide you to relax and recharge in a chaotic, non-stop world. Combining aromatherapy and crafts, founders Rochelle and Shana aim to inspire a focus on the positives for a healthier and happier life.


Abel & Cole


A subscription classic – an Abel & Cole veg box is the perfect present for any self-proclaimed foodie, wellness seeker or wannabe chef, bundling the best seasonal, organic and wild produce around into a recyclable or returned box. They deliver fruit, veg, meat, fish or meal kit boxes on a weekly or one-off basis, with monthly subscriptions available for wine or cheese (both please!).


Thank you for taking the time to read my post – I hope you enjoyed it! Do you receive any subscription boxes? Which do you have your eyes on? Let me know by commenting! Zara x


Searching for more sustainable gifts – consciously curated online shopping platforms

(Photo credit: Trouva)

With the festive season full steam ahead, I thought it might be useful to share my favourite online shopping platforms to help you in your search for sustainability-conscious gifts. Covering clothing, accessories, homeware and beauty, you’ll find something for everyone (and a lot for yourself!!) – happy browsing!


An online department store gathering a range of lifestyle pieces that care about people and planet, combining style and substance. You can shop by item category or value, for example by ‘biodegradable’, ‘vegan’ or ‘social contribution’, making it easier to find companies with the same values as you or your loved ones.

Use code ZARAWILLIAMS for 10% off!

Here’s whats on my wishlist:

FSC Pegboard (£115),  Georganics Bamboo Toothbrush (£3.90), Georganics Coconut Oil Toothpaste (£6.90), Soap Co Hand Trio (£32), Geometric Linen Cushion Cover (£37.70)



This social enterprise brings together life-improving homewares crafted by people in the UK facing social challenges. From those experiencing mental health issues to those that often experience barriers to work, such as language skills and learning disabilities, Aerende provides fantastic opportunities for their talented makers. Each item stocked exemplifies Aerende’s commitment to beauty, utility, and integrity, using environmentally-conscious materials made to last.

A few personal favourites:

Bather Gift Set (£42.50), Wool Blanket (£95), Striped Linen Napkin (£9.50), Ceramic Glazed Beaker (£13), Soy Wax Candle (£13)



Trouva provide a platform for independent boutiques to compete on a global scale. Their carefully curated selection of high-quality, design-led homeware and lifestyle products allow you to support independent brick-and-mortar retailers from the comfort of your home (let’s face it – from your bed!).

Here are my top picks:

Kjaer Weis Mascara (£33, Wild Swans Islington), Iris Hantverk Organic Bath Towel (£55, Coastal Scandi), AmaElla Organic Cotton Knickers (£29, Elegant Atelier), The Kinfolk Home (£25, Fox + Feather), Hampson Woods Serving Board (£80, Tea and Kate), Earl of East London Soy Candle (£20, Bonds Hackney)



London’s leading organic and natural apothecary, Content, has everything you need to meet your beauty and wellbeing needs. Showcasing some of the most advanced organics skincare brands, it’s the perfect platform for seeking out more sustainable skincare gifts.

Here’s what’s I’ve got my eyes on:

Kjaer Weis Captivate Lip Tint (£35), Kure Bazaar Cappuccino Polish (£15), Kure Bazaar Rose Polish Remover (£30), Stelton Lavender Coffee Cup (£24.95), Bambu Stripe Utensil Set (£13)


The Acey

Looking for contemporary clothing combining style and substance? The-Acey have got you covered! With womenswear and lifestyle products uniting integrity and innovation, you can be content knowing you don’t have to compromise on your ethics for aesthetics.

My wish list includes:

Dress With Sense Book (£14.95), The Acey Grey Fleck Wool Sweater (£180), Karigar Grey Wool/Silk Scarf (£109), Alice Chandler Sterling Silver Earrings (£20), Kings Of Indigo Wrap Organic Skirt (£110)


Know The Origin

Building a business without human rights abuses or environmental degradation was the mission of founder Charlotte when starting Know The Origin. Now stocking their purpose-led products alongside those of trusted brands, Know The Origin offer ethically made clothing and accessories for men and women.

Here are my firm favourites:

Fashion Revolution Fanzinee 002 (£15), Jollie’s Socks (£15), Ethos Magazine (£5), Soothe Me Activated Charcoal Mask (£12), Navy Breton Stripe Organic Top (£30), Idioma Fernweh Sweatshirt (£56)


Department Store for the Mind

Aiming to help you live happier, the Department Store for the Mind designs homeware and stationary to evoke thought and inspire more mindful lifestyles. Searching by mood enables you to discover thought-provoking tools encouraging you to be content with yourself despite the stresses of everyday life.

Find my top picks:

No Need To Hurry Virginia Wolf Poster (£12), Do Sourdough Book (£8.99) Don’t Overthink It Enamel Badge (£7.50), A Record Of Good Things Journal (£10), Proud Of Your Roots Tea Towel (£12)

Thank you for reading – I hope this post was useful. I’d love to know which online shopping platforms you like best and any brand/product discoveries so please comment below! Z x


Careers with a Conscience


This week I attended the ‘Careers with a Conscience’ panel discussion that the Soil Association hosted at The Hoxton in Shoreditch, aiming to provide advice to those trying to carve out a career without compromising on their core values.

After entering the chic, apartment-style rooms, we collected a delightful vodka cocktail containing Rebel Kitchen’s coconut water before taking our seats. Placed upon each seat was a goody bag filled with consciously-produced items from brands with the Soil Association organic certification; including Pai skincare in a sweet cloth bag, a Naveen face mask, Kinn Living body oil, Rebel Kitchen chai drink and Pukka tea bags – all of which I’m super excited to test out!


The panel included:

  • Lauren Bartley – Business Development Manager, Soil Association (Chair)
  • Natasha Harden – Head of Marketing, Rebel Kitchen
  • Sarah Brown – Founder, Pai
  • Gabriella May – Head of E-commerce, People Tree
  • Tom Mitchell – Funding Specialist, GapCap

These five speakers have all made conscious career changes, opting to work for purposeful brands that share their values. Based on their experiences, they stressed the importance of working for a company that you truly believe in in order to be fully satisfied with your role and to perform to the best of your ability. To follow Sarah in quoting Steve Jobs:

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”

Here are some of the highlights from the night’s discussions…

Principles of Pai

Sarah spoke of the journey she went on when launching Pai and some of the challenges she’s faced along the way. It was very clear that Pai has a real purpose – to provide effective and natural solutions to those that suffer with sensitive skin. Sarah herself battled with troubled skin for a number of years and tried numerous different medications, creams and other treatments to fight it. Left feeling self-conscious and powerless, she wanted to take back control of her skin and this is where Pai began. Now, she no longer wakes up wondering what her skin will look like that day (and I can tell you – it looked flawless at the event!) and is proud to run a business that provides products customers can trust and depend upon to banish their skin woes. It was really refreshing to hear from someone that cares deeply about the mission of their business and takes real responsibility for ensuring all products created are of a high-quality – from ignoring the passing beauty trends to ensuring all manufacturing remains in-house allowing Sarah to keep her ‘duty of care’ intact.  As someone that suffers from distressed skin I’m really looking forward to trying out the samples I received and purchasing Pai when my current products run out.

Being a rebel

Natasha from Rebel Kitchen is the ultimate rebel – aiming to shake things up in the food industry by proving that healthy, sustainability-conscious brands can be sexy and successful! She quite clearly lives and breathes the Rebel Kitchen lifestyle and has fully bought into the purpose of the company, which drives her to work her hardest and keeps her content in her career. She talked about Rebel Kitchen’s mission to drive change by questioning the norm and always aspiring to do better, mentioning their aim to make all drinks bottles compostable in the future. She’s also extremely inspiring in her own right – a confident, intelligent, driven, principled, and not to mention gorgeous, individual striving to make the world a better place one coconut-based drink at a time. Rebel Kitchen has always been my first choice when it comes to coconut water, and the occasional comforting carton of chocolate milk, and now I have even more reason to love it!

Staying sustainable and remaining relevant

All speakers were united in their thinking on how a brand can remain relevant in over-saturated markets – by staying true to its sole purpose and engaging with customers. Gabriella even let us in on the news of the soon-to-be-released mens t-shirt line People Tree have developed following customer requests!

Driving change in your workplace

So what advice did they have for those wanting to challenge their employer to be more ethical? Natasha’s suggested to start by being the change and leading the way, inspiring others to follow. Gabriella encouraged asking lots of questions, as you may get the answer you want or you may prompt further conversation on the topic. Based on her own experience, Sarah proposed preparing a business case for an initiative you want to put forward – with her employees suggesting great ideas she couldn’t refuse, from sending discontinued products to women’s refuges to running mental health awareness sessions at work. Whilst Tom recommended seeking advise or partnerships to drive change on a larger scale.

“Start by being the change and leading the way”


I hope you enjoyed hearing about the event – thank you for reading!

Zara x


Eat Live

Small Change, Big Difference – Fighting food waste with Hackney Council

Last night I attended a food waste fighting feast hosted by Hackney Council at Wringer & Mangle in London Fields. The meal aimed to resemble the scale of food wasted by the average household in UK, providing a delicious three course meal to 100 of the borough’s residents.

This was part of a new London-wide campaign, Small Change, Big Difference, helping people to eat in way that is better for both their bodies and the environment. Current research has found the average London household throws away a whopping 890,000 tonnes of food each year. Of this, 60% is considered ‘avoidable’ food waste. If we all make simple lifestyle changes, we can make a massive difference and can stop wasting our resources, money and land unnecessarily!

Here are a few of the top tips from the night:

We also went home with some great food waste preventing gadgets, including a food bag sealing clip and a Food Minder. I’d never heard of a Food Minder before and I’m really excited to try it out! It’s a battery-powered visual reminder of the expiry of food and drink, flashing different colours depending on how close the item is to it’s expiry date, helping to keep you aware of when your food is expected to go off. You should, however, aim to use these with ‘expiry’ or ‘use by’ dates only as these resemble when the food is safe to eat, instead of ‘best before’ or ‘display until’ dates which refer to quality not safety.

Image result for food minder

Check out Small Change, Big Difference to find out more about how to eat with your health and health of the planet in mind and their upcoming events: