Co-founder of, Raquel is on a mission to live a more sustainable lifestyle

Saturday, 18 February 2017

This week I took some time out to meet Natalie, the business woman behind the vegan and cruelty free cosmetic brand Fairypants. 

Natalie prides herself on making things you won't ever find on the high street. I like to think of her as the female Willy Wonka of beauty products. Natalie's fun and fresh take on cosmetics includes products such as Parma Violet Perfume, Mojito Lip Balms and Cola Bottle Scented Body Butter.  It's hard not to feel like a kid in a sweetshop when faced with these choices. 

So we quizzed Natalie about how she comes up with her scents and the importance of being a vegan brand. 

Q. Tell us a bit about Fairy Pants

I'm Natalie, and I'm based in Chester, UK. I make all sorts of vegan goodies - specialising in cosmetics, skincare, and perfume. I'm a bit of a one-woman machine - though I have a lot of help from friends and family.  One day I'd like a shop - and a huge team of like minded lovelies!

Q. How did you start your brand?

It all started in 2009 - I graduated from Uni and was sick of having no money - I'd had a lot of disposable income whilst studying and I really missed treating myself. I'd always worked at Superdrug while I was doing my degree and I was obsessed with make-up. I found a recipe for lipbalm - and that was it, I was away! I added new products each year, and now we've got a really great range for our customers, and it improves all the time.

Q. Your products are all made using Vegan ingredients, how important was this to you when launching your brand?

Super important. To my mind, it really doesn't matter if you're a vegan or not - surely you don't want to put animal bits on your face? Also, my products are all Cruelty Free which is equally important - bunnies shouldn't suffer for your lippy. 

Q. Why should people consider using your products over the high street options?

We're proudly #vegannotboring and we're proving that vegan and cruelty free beauty aren't limited - in fact, it's far more exciting than your average high street options. If you want Parma Violet perfume or Mojito lipbalm, you come to us - and you can do it guilt free. We're also proud of our prices, and our British background. Shop local, and shop Vegan! Everyone's a winner.

Q. You have a great range of skincare products and perfume, from Pina Colada Body Butter to Turkish Delight Sugar Lip Scrub. How do you come up with your awesome range of scents and how much testing is involved to getting it just right?

Everything comes from my strange imagination. I wake up one day and think 'wouldn't it be awesome if you could get a perfume that smells of Rhubarb and Custard'. So then it takes a while to get through the red tape - I have to work out a recipe, test it on myself. Then I get it lab tested for safety, and usually, I will then call out for testers from my community of customers. I take on board any feedback, before working out packaging and labelingLabeling is quite important - especially for flammable items like my nail varnishes and perfumes. Then it's ready to go - and hopefully loads of people love it as much as I do.

Q. What’s your top tip to for longer lasting painted nails?

It's all about the prep! If you're removing old nail varnish first then use some of our scented Nail Varnish Remover to get rid. Then it's time to use some Cuticle Oil if your fingers are looking a bit unloved. You can use it on naked nails (though you may need to re-swipe your nail with varnish remover to get rid of any grease) or you can use it once you've manicured to keep your cuticle skin soft and supple. Pop on a coat of our quick drying base coat - by the time you've finished the last nail, the first nail will be ready for colour. 

Depending on the polish you'll usually need 1-2 coats for a good coverage. Then use our new Dry Drops sparingly- they will help your polish to dry in double quick time. Finally, top with one of our top coats - Gel, Matte or Gloss. These should ensure your mani lasts as long as possible - especially if you take it slightly over the tip of your nail. This will help the colour to seal in. 

To find out more info about the products or view Fairypants entire collection click here

Thursday, 16 February 2017

I came across this story via The Guardian and I really wanted to share it with you. It's a wonderfully inspiring story about four friends with Down's Syndrome, who overcame social and work-discrimination by starting their own pizza business.

Less than one year later they have a successful company, employing 24 people and catering for parties across Buenos Aires, this is their story...

For more info you can follow Los Perejiles Facebook page HERE

Friday, 10 February 2017

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing Benjamin Partridge from The Owlery.  Producing bold homewares and gifts, Benjamin uses original lino cut and screen print surface designs featuring British woodland and coastal motifs.

In a challenging and competitive retail world, The Owlery offers more than just homewares. Quality manufacturing and an eco-view on the environment makes this maker very different to your average high street offering.  I spoke with Benjamin about how David Attenborough inspired his work, his thoughts on conservationism and his advice to fellow illustrators wanting to start their own business.

Q. Tell us a bit about The Owlery

The Owlery is the trade name for me, Benjamin Partridge. I am a printmaker and I specialise in traditional lino cut and screen printing methods. I work primarily with textiles and paper, however I also work with wood and ceramics, while some of my work is illustrative I have a bold, block printed style. 

I am based in Sheffield and work from my studio in Yorkshire ArtSpace, fact... is (or at least was), the only purpose built studio complex in the UK.  It is home to hundreds of independent designs, maker and artists. 

I have a hand in almost every part of my business. I design everything in my studio and make the majority of my items here too by hand. I have a few items that are manufactured in small batches by local companies but I am very conscious about supporting local business so nothing is made outside of Yorkshire and Derbyshire. 

Q. How did it all come about?

There is a long and a short answer to this. 

The short answer is, I built the business from my kitchen table over the past 3 1/2 years and have periodically moved to bigger and bigger space, building my output and skills along the way. 

The long answer takes us back a few years when I was training to become a teacher. I worked as a special needs teacher full time while running my business initially and no work part time alongside running the business and the studio. My love of printmaking was developed from teacher training and running projects with students in school and via the kitchen table has evolved into me running my own print studio in Sheffield.

My love of nature is deep rooted in a childhood spent watching David Attenborough documentaries and and reading children's storied about animals. 

I also have very vivid memories of being very scared of classic animal based films such as Jurassic Park and Jaws (among other nightmare inducing movies which I am now obsessed with). Oh and I may or may not have also had a teddy bear which was a badger wearing green dungarees. I may or may not still have this.

Q. With your illustrations you seem to draw inspiration from British wildlife, how important is conservation and the environment to you?

I gain a lot of inspiration from ethical issues related to conservation and my bee design was drawn from issues related to the plight of the honey bee and the badger design from the badger cull. 

I try not to let these issues come out through design and allow it to speak for itself. More recently I have been considering some 'under the sea' themed designs which are inspired by issues related to plastic pollution in our seas and water.

When I create my work, it is important to me that each item has the smallest environmental impact as is possible. I ensure that all my work uses Eco friendly inks and where possible my papers are recycled or from stock which is replenished. 

"it is important to me that each item has the smallest environmental impact as is possible"

Q. What inspires you when coming up with your creations?

The natural world is a big inspiration and there is no one finer to refer to at this point than Sir David Attenborough! He has always been a hero of mine and his work in TV has inspired a lot of my design work and my ethical standpoints. 

I spend far too much time watching Attenborough documentaries and not actually working in the studio but I can call it research right?

Q. Why should people consider your homewares over the high street alternatives?

The one thing I can guarantee when buying my work is bold, bright, original design and quality craftsmanship. Each piece is lovingly handmade by my own fair hand and this attention to detail is something you will not find on the high street. 

Every time you buy a piece of my work you are supporting an individual, not a huge corporation. You help me to build a business, support a family and buy lots of nature DVD's.

"Each piece is lovingly handmade by my own fair hand, this attention to detail is something you will not find on the high street"

Q. What’s your top tip for any illustrators out there wanting to make a career of their skills?

Don't be afraid to just go for it and don't put limitations on yourself. 

I hear so many people say 'I'm not ready for that' or 'I can't do that' but why? 

Just take on the opportunities, throw yourself into the next challenge and yeah you are not always going to come out on top. You won't always feel like you know what you are doing, but if you did know it all then you wouldn't be challenging yourself. 

Throwing yourself into a career in illustration will provide you with experiences that you wouldn't get in a 9-5 job.

>>> For more info or to see the full collection click here <<<

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Today we meet Antonio Vicente (via 60 Seconds Doc) the man from Pouso de Rochedo, Brasil, who restored and brought life back to his rain forest one tree at a time.

Monday, 6 February 2017

Today I came across this wonderful story of 9 year old Jahkil Jackson, a boy who wanted to help is community. 

After a day of feeding the homeless with his Aunt and seeing how the they lived, Jahkil decided he wanted to get up and do something to help.  Together with his mother they founded a not-for-profit where they create “Blessing Bags” consisting of every day items a person needs (such as toothbrushes, socks, deodorant and soap) Jahkil, with a little help from his family, then distributes these to the homeless community.  

Below is Jahkil's story via HumanKind, so far he has distributed 2,000 Blessing Bags and his goal is to grow this to 5,000 bags by the end of 2017.

Monday, 23 January 2017

(image source)

Continuing my resolution to find positive stories for 2017, I came across this awesome duo. Sisters Melati and Isabel are fighting the war against plastic. Together they have worked hard to convince Bali to ban plastic bags by 2018, get ready to feel inspired and watch their story below.

"We, children, might only be 25% of the world's population, but we are 100% of the future." 

(via Now This)

(let's make sexy time valentine's day card: source)

This year you could buy someone you love the usual mushy card, but I figure why do that when you can tell them you love them in an altogether quirkier way. OK, so some may not be the most romantic, some may be a little straight to the point but where's the harm in that?! 

Whether it's big bums or hairy legs you're into, here are my pick of the funniest Valentine's Day cards for your loved one.

Happy Valentine's Day Knobhead: buy it now

I hate you the least: buy it now

You can keep your socks on: buy it now

I love you with all of my bum: buy it now

You're as lovely as a lemur: buy it now

Fancy a bit of the otter?: buy it now

You're dirty wrong: buy it now

Your prick: buy it now

Let  the sausage see the roll: buy it now

You're growing on me: buy it now

We hate the same things: buy it now

Kanye loves Kanye: buy it now

Banana Pun: buy it now

I love you more: buy it now

I'm grumpy when I'm hungry: buy it now

Like what you see? You can view the whole collection over at, here

Friday, 13 January 2017

(image credit: Fredrik Lerneryd)

This truly is an inspiring story of a ballet school like no other.  Situated in Kibera, Nairobi, a slum home to 700,000 people, this wonderful project is run and supported by Anno's Africa

(image credit: Fredrik Lerneryd)

(image credit: Fredrik Lerneryd)

Students here have been given a chance to become accomplished dancers, some even winning scholarships to further their education. 

See their story in the video below:

(via: The Guardian)

If you'd like to find out more about the charity or how you can donate to projects such as their Ballet School click here for more info.

The stunning photographs above have all been taken by the incredibly talented Nairobi-based photographer Fredrik Lerneryd. Please do visit his website here to view the entire gallery from this Ballet School as part of his on-going project.

Sunday, 1 January 2017

As my regular readers know, we're dedicating 2017 to being inspired by others.

What better way to start than meeting Bernice Dapaah an incredible Ghanaian woman, who has not only built a sustainable business making bikes out of bamboo, but also improves the lives of local children.

(via: AJ+)

Thursday, 29 December 2016

I'd quite comfortably assume that most people are going to be quite happy to say 'Goodbye' to 2016. No matter what your political sway or thoughts, I know for most it's been one of those years that will go down in history for all the wrong reasons.

I'm prepared to let bygones be bygones and move on to 2017 with a positive approach, after all starting a year with negative thinking isn't going to do anyone any good. 

Yes, there may be the odd new year resolution, I'll be starting with Veganuary in an attempt to making 2017 more sustainable.  But in all honesty, perhaps making endless resolutions that we're not feasibly going to reach is just another notch of disappointment. That's not to say you shouldn't have them, but maybe make them reachable and avoid the stress and lows of not accomplishing something that was never really realistic. 

I'm going into 2017 wanting to make it amazing, to make up for the lows of 2016 but also ensure that I am inspired by what others are doing. I want to use that inspiration and creativity to push for my own goals and make some real changes.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Cold temperatures and central heating, can really dry out your skin and hair. I have been busy keeping up on my skin regime with my avocado and olive oil face serum, which I have been using twice every day, including under my night face cream.

Stupidly, I left my hair to it's own devices, which after a visit to my hairdresser was not such a great idea. I went from waist long (dry) locks, to much healthier just below my collar bone hair, in one fell swoop. How did I let it get so dry?!

Cue my lovely hair oil.

I was given this make your own hair oil kit as a gift, and as winter has been slowly creeping in, it has been a godsend. You get to mix your own batch, which includes some great superfood oils such as sweet almond oil, coconut oil & avocado oil, as well as a selection of essential oils.

You only need a tiny amount for each application, I have been adding it to my ends straight after washing my hair, wrapping it up in a warm towel so it soaks in. And since the frost started and the central heating has been on more permanently, I have been adding a tiny amount to ends in the evenings too just before bedtime.

It's a lovely gift set for anyone who loves natural beauty kits or who like to keep their hair at bay, you can watch the video below to see how easy it is to make your very own hair product with the carefully balanced and measured kit.

Find more natural beauty products, all ethically made and 
not tested on animals HERE

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Unique gift ideas for kids with a personalised touch! No fear of double gifting here, as our curation are original gift ideas you won't find on the high street! Surprise a little one in your life with whether they are into baking, superhero memorabilia or dinosaurs. We have something for all personalities made by independent designers and personalised with love.

One thing you'll be sure to see a lot of this Christmas is personalised gifts for her. But they are not always as luxurious as they could be, done cheaply personalised gifts can be a little tacky to say the least. We have been lucky enough to work with wonderful people curating a collection of beautiful ethically made gift ideas some of which can be personalised for an extra special touch.

Made with love by independent designers, with only you in mind, here are a few of my favourites!

To view our full range of unique personalised gifts for women click here

A personalised option is always a good way to add a special touch to your gifts. But they can be a bit hit and miss.  Bought in mass produced products that have dodgy printed lettering are everywhere at the moment. What you want is something personalised without being tacky or cheaply done.

Here's where this list steps in, beautifully made, thoughtful gift ideas for him, all personalised as they were meant to be and not thrown on as an added extra.

view the entire range of personalised gifts for him here

About Us

Ethical Living is your destination for ethical fashion, sustainable living and top tips for an ethical home. With interviews and guest blog posts, it's the perfect addition to your coffee break! Ethical Living is brought to you by

Video of the Day


Inspired to shop better? Pop over to our website, where brands have taken the time to offer you full transparency behind every product.