Just how DO you buy ethically without spending loads of dosh?

4 July, 2014

Every so often on this blog I get to work with companies that I am one hundred million per cent behind*. (Yes, yes one hundred million doesn’t exist, bla de bla *yawn*)

I am well excited to be introducing you to Muddy Carrot. They are the answer to the title’s question! They are a family team -run from their kitchen table- and they work hard to source the most creative and ethical products out there. I love any company that makes ethical shopping easier because, flip, we don’t need any more barriers in the way, that is for sure. I ESPECIALLY love a company that have a range of green AND affordable products.

What a salve it is, in a week where a factory worker stiches a cry for help in the label of a dress, to discover a company where the products stocked have the actual aim of healing the world, rather than destroying it.

Let me point out some of my favourite bits and pieces- please do bookmark this page for your Christmas shopping (ARGH! I JUST SAID CHRISTMAS!) as I reckon you could nip on here and nail your stocking shopping in just a few clicks.

1. Heavenly Hedgerows

The Heavenly Hedgerows range combines my two favourite things- foraging and eating. (I am a frugal glutton, pahahaha.)

“Heavenly Hedgerows was born of a love of foraging for wild food, inspired by a free-range New Zealand childhood and the delights of the West Country’s bountiful seasons. We hand-pick all our key ingredients from local hedgerows and prepare and bottle them in small batches in our farmhouse. We are passionate about good quality, locally produced food. From jellies and jams, West Country Honey, to delicious liqueurs – all our products are made from wild fruits and berries, hand picked by us and made in our farmhouse in Keynsham.”

The Bramble Vodka and Lavender Jelly would make ideal small, quirky gifts. Lavender-Jelly

2. Granny Marmalade
How many different kinds of marmalade are possible, do you think? Muddy Carrot stock three kinds – three-fruit with cinnamon, orange, lemon and ginger, and three-fruit marmalade.

3. The Harrogate Cake Co.
One day, I’d like to receive a cake in the post. That would be the very best day of my life. Each cake here is made in the Harrogate Bakery by hand and every once can be FREELY parcelled up and delivered to your favourite person on a special day. Order a tea loaf for a chum and then turn up that afternoon… “Oooh, what is this? Cake? Oh, I mustn’t. Okay, I will…”ethical cake

4. Cyril’s Soap Shed
A beauty range of handmade goats milk soaps – there is a number for everyone here. Bust out some of this gardeners soap for the weed wacker in your life and they will love you FOREVER. (Money can’t buy you love, eh? Whatever, Beatles!)ethical soap

5. Little Travellers
Little Travellers is the most delightful range of jewellery and homeware made by AIDS victims. I love the large dark bead necklace, teaspoons, and this lush bracelet.ethical teaspoons

Quick! Pretend it’s Christmas and buy cake and jam and then forget that you did it and scoff it all for tea!

This post was in collaboration with Muddy Carrot- please check out my disclosure for more on that…

*Every so often I drop a link for people I am not completely and utterly behind too – I justify this compromise by telling myself that this is what allows me to mostly stay home with the kiddos and work on things like the Social Justice and Childhood Initiative etc. I will always disclose, never sneak a link in… But I don’t feel perfectly comfortable about it. It would be interesting to hear what you think about that – whether I should remain more idealist than realist in the administration of this here blog!!

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  • Reply Lisa 4 July, 2014 at 2:45 pm

    Man * that’s an interesting question!

    I am fully supportive of people earning a living and the finances to care for their family or improve the quality of family life.

    Interesting though isn’t it – you could probably work at a company that produces the crappest, chemical filled rubbish but you wouldn’t face the same moral dilemma – because you’re not personally encouraging people to purchase it. On a blog however, you are, through the trust you’ve gained with your readership.

    Hmm, how to navigate? I guess if the items are good but just not to your taste I’d think that was ok – especially if you were able to say that? Like there are some kids clothes that are great quality and ethically made but I just wouldn’t put them on my kids. Be ok to support those even if I wasn’t 100% behind them I reckon (unless I’d built a following on the strength of my style advice – no chance of that for me).

    I guess the question is whether you’re comfortable with how the product was created and that people would still find value in them and you’re not misleading them in terms of the description of the item or your level of support for it, it would still be alright. Especially if you could be upfront about it..

  • Reply becky 4 July, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    I love your honesty and transparency Lucy!
    becky recently posted…How to Make Your Home Uplifting on a BudgetMy Profile

  • Reply Pinkoddy 4 July, 2014 at 5:38 pm

    I am loving the Christmas inspiration ideas. I am all a bit Christmassy at the moment after doing a one day stint of Christmas in July.

    I don’t think it’s the link it’s the words you put with it. I personally wouldn’t say have a link for a payday loan company on my blog because I wouldn’t even want to risk a vulnerable person clicking on it and using it. I have in my earlier days had a casino link on though as they made the post about breast cancer and how they were helping to support it.
    Pinkoddy recently posted…£9.50 Sun Holidays July 2014 – Price Guaranteed ListMy Profile

  • Reply Ali 4 July, 2014 at 6:13 pm

    Interesting dilemma!
    I work for a charity that’s funded by the government meaning targets and limitations are put in place that I simply dont agree with- not a day goes by when my blood doesn’t boil about something at work. BUT at the core of it all is the fact that every year a huge amount of abused people are getting help that they simply couldn’t have got elsewhere ( thanks to all the government cuts!).
    You do what you can and what you have to with the bigger picture in mind. As long as you are doing no harm, I can’t see many of us have much of a choice to do things another way.
    I wouldn’t want to see links on here that were totally against your core principles ( The BNP havent approached you have they?!) but as you’re honest I can’t see too much of an issue!
    Just work towards the bigger picture.

  • Reply Jill 4 July, 2014 at 7:23 pm

    To be honest, the posts you do that are centred around a product you don’t love are sort of obvious. They’re not as fun to read because you’re usually a teensy bit passionate when you write..

    That said, I just think “ok it’s a sponsored post” and then move on. If it is helping you stay at home then I think that’s great! I mean, what’s the alternative? However, it sounds like you just aren’t really comfortable with this moral quandary so perhaps you want your readers to tell you not to do it???!? And in my understanding of your personality (from reading this blog! Haha) you will find a way to make money without doing something that you feel guilty about. Dunno, either way, I don’t think anyone minds too much so do what is most right for you!

  • Reply Anna 5 July, 2014 at 4:33 am

    I remember Stephen Fry (or was it Pauline Quirke…?) defending voice over work for some naff product years ago. The answer was that at certain points in their career, if they hadn’t taken that work they would have not have been able to take time out to write/perform in theatre etc. Life is a compromise and a juggling act of managing priorities. You do what you can. There are probably folk who think to be true to the Eco cause you have to live in a cave and only hunt or gather and shun everything to do with modern life! As long as you retain transparency and are happy with your own priorities then let other people have their own opinions!

    My prize arrived! Woo hoo! Thanks!
    Anna recently posted…Gadzooks! & Stuff*My Profile

  • Reply Aly 5 July, 2014 at 8:04 am

    Is there a way of sourcing income from ethical means? Can you start making things to sell short term as well as taking sponsored posts until you have your business up and running? It is hard offline and online to make a compromise but maybe it’s something you can work towards?
    Aly recently posted…I Want An Itchy Wow Wow!My Profile

  • Reply Nikki Thomas 5 July, 2014 at 8:09 am

    Oh I love those teaspoons!! The whole link thing is a tricky one, I don’t include links I don’t like as Joy said, I would hate someone to get into something through a link on my site. But we all have bills to pay too and spoons to buy! It is about finding a balance and you are obviously very honest which is important
    Nikki Thomas recently posted…House rulesMy Profile

  • Reply Carolin 5 July, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    I agree, it’s an incredibly tricky and also individual question as it depends very much on your very own interpretation of what ethical means to you. In terms of sponsored posts, sometimes I’m not in love with the companies either, but they pay for the bill and I always try to write balanced articles rather than a post that glorifies a company and their products. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that.
    Carolin recently posted…Medical negligence – the factsMy Profile

  • Reply Minisaurus 6 July, 2014 at 4:05 am

    First of all loving these products – especially the look of that soap, having spent a lot of time around lavender this week I’m feeling drawn to it!

    Sponsored post wise, it’s always tricky. I try and read blogs without my judgy pants on. To be honest if I suss any post is sponsored I tend to just move on and not read it. Moving on if people don’t like something is easy enough to do. In an ideal world we’d be able to earn money without compromising on our ethics – but we don’t live in an ideal world x
    Minisaurus recently posted…Expressions: ContentMy Profile

  • Reply otilia 6 July, 2014 at 5:15 am

    So many unique products! This is my dream that one day I have a shop/cafe full of my family handmade stuff :)

  • Reply Penny Carr 6 July, 2014 at 8:04 am

    It’s a tricky question that you pose at the end and one that I struggle with. In an ideal world I’d like to only ever work with ethical green companies that I support. And in a really ideal world they’d all be local to me too. The reality is that I need to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table. That has to be my number one priority. There are some companies that I choose not to work with, but I just can’t afford to turn down all offers of work and to be honest as long as people disclose and don’t lie at all then I don’t have a problem with it.

  • Reply Amanda 8 July, 2014 at 12:05 am

    I’m not going to answer the question, as I really don’t know the answer to it. I am going to say though, that I love your blog, and love to read your spin on things, whatever the subject matter ethical or not. So for me, carry on what you are doing 😀
    Amanda recently posted…Canvas Holidays : Camping la Croix du Vieux Pont, Berny Rivière ReviewMy Profile

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