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9 Earth Friendly Valentine's Day Gifts

Chocosol Traders Fair Trade Chocolate Bar / Tropical House Plant Bundle via Plant Collective / Healing Oil Balm via Maison Apothecare / Vintage Tassel Necklace via Pacific NorthRust on Etsy  / Prosecco / Vintage Plaid Throw Blanket via Pacific NorthRust on Etsy / Box Tote Tiili via Bookhou Design / Card via Fat Cat Greetings / Mimosa Candle by Dimanche Matin on Fabrique 1840 /


If you plan on picking up a little something for your sweetheart this Valentine's Day why not show the earth some love too and choose something a little more sustainable. Sharing the love, some tips and a shopping guide today...

Buy Fair Trade

When possible, choose fair trade chocolate which is produced under ethical standards and priced to give farmers and labourers a living and sustainable wage. You can read more about fair trade chocolate here. Local brands like Chocosol Traders in Toronto makes fair trade chocolate with packaging that they say is fully biodegradable.

Give Living Plants

A bouquet of flowers is always welcome but a plant will last as long as you give it love. Yes they are often tropical but they do help clean the air. This bundle of plants from Plant Collective makes a great gift for the plant people in your life. You can order online too! If you do go the route of buying blooms, ask for locally sourced greenhouse grown flowers. They're out there you just need to ask. Check out this story I wrote for The Toronto Star about the Local Flower Movement in Toronto.

Look for natural beauty and skincare products

I have many favourites when it comes to natural skincare products. My newest is this Healing Oil Balm from Maison Apothecare. It's all natural ingredients include Olive Oil, Beeswax, Vitamin E, Neroli essential oil, and Borage Oil. It comes in an aluminum tin which can be reused or recycled.

 Drinkable gifts 

A bottle of bubbly will always win. Choose a bottle with minimal packaging unlike the one I show here which has a wrap of some kind but looks good in the round-up. Oops. Glass bottles are recyclable. For extra points choose a local vintage.

Buy Vintage

Enough said. Keeps stuff out of landfills and vintage gifts are often one-of-a-kind. Lots of amazing vintage jewelry like that great tassle necklace and home decor like this cozy throw can be found on Etsy.

Buy Handmade

 Small batch products made by artisans are often made more sustainably. Head to your local craft market, pop-up or Etsy to shop for handmade gifts. Etsy is great because you can also shop local, choosing where you want to search for products. I have a soft spot for small stationers and love this card by Fat Cat Greetings. Another spot to shop for handmade and artisanal gifts is online at Fabrique 1840. Kudos to Simons for giving shoppers the handmade, small batch option. Love this candle and this fab bag by the talented Arounna at Bookhou Design.

*Just a heads up that although there is NO sponsored content in this post, there are a few affiliate links. If you make a purchase I will get a small commission but at no extra cost to you. Thanks for reading.





Create a cozy and colourful nook to practice self-care

Art via Celadon Art / Table Lamp via Schoolhouse / Side Table via CB2 / Candle and plant in headvase via Homesense / Essential Oil via Saje / Green velvet chair via Article / Schlage Encode Smart Wifi lock via Schlage Canada / Vintage rug via Tonic Living / Potted plant via Ikea / Book via Indigo / Linen throw via Wills & Prior / Pillow via Tonic Living

Cold winter nights make me crave a cozy spot to relax at the end of the day. There's no better way to unwind than to steal away by yourself with a good book.

I've partnered with Schlage Canada to put together an inspiration board with ideas for carving out a cozy nook to create a space that is focused on wellness and comfort.

Whether it's a corner reading nook or a room that you can call your own (lucky you!) fill it with all the things that you love and will help to create a sense of calm.  A comfy chair, a cozy throw and a rug to keep your feet warm are just a few of the things that will help you create a comfortable space.

One of the most important things you can do is to put away the phone. It's easy to fall into a rut of using your down time to mindlessly scroll through Instagram, I'm guilty of that too, but studies show it's definitely not contributing to our overall well being. So create a spot where you can relax, light a candle,  read a book (I'm just finishing a book called Mudlark, about the history of the River Thames in London and the treasures in it's mud), spend some time drawing, journaling or even meditate. It's just important to decompress, get your mind off of what stresses you.

Here's how to create a chill out space...

Carve out an area that is (relatively) free of distraction. If that doesn't exist in your house then you'll want to add a good set of noise canceling headphones to your list.

Somewhere to sit

A comfy chair is key. Look for fabrics that are plush, soft, something that you can sink into. Velvet will give you that. If meditation is your thing than look for a comfy floor pillow.

Warm floors

It's hardly a revelation that rugs add warmth to a space so find one that you love, natural fibres are best, your feet will be happy.

Add plants

Plants make me happy. Adding a dose of green, living things in the dead of winter is good for the soul. They say it's also good for the air. There are many plants that are easy to care for so I urge you to give it a try.  Although there are lots of great looking faux plants, they are plastic. You probably don't need more plastic in your life.

Add textiles

You can never have too many throw blankets and pillows in a cozy space. Make sure they feel good to your touch. Choose pillows that have removable covers, making them easy to wash. It's simple to swap out pillow covers seasonally.

Lighting is key

Ensure you have good task and ambient lighting in your cozy space. A table lamp or sconce adds another layer of lighting beyond the ceiling lights in a room that can be practical too, for reading etc. Then layer in ambient lighting - candles will do the trick.

Essential oils

I love using essential oils. I use a diffuser as well as roll-on oils to treat everything from headaches (peppermint!) to sleep (chamomile or lavender) or to refresh the air.

Art

It's such a personal thing but when you find a piece of art that speaks to you it can life your spirits. I spotted this print at The Toronto Gift Market last week and loved it. I collect vintage books and paper so it caught my eye. Photographs are good too. Maybe you have a shot of your favourite beach that you can print and frame. Sometimes focusing on a piece of art or a photograph can help you relax.

Technology

Although it's good to take a break from your phones technology can also make your life easier. You can use an app your phone to play relaxing music, listen to a podcast or do meditation. There's even an app to unlock your door. Schlage's Encode Smart Wifi Deadbolt lock lets you control the locks on your door using an app, from anywhere. It just makes your life easier. You don't need to use a key or get up from your chill out mode to lock your door when a certain someone doesn't lock it on the way out. You can also set up to 100 access codes for trusted friends or family. For additional convenience, enjoy voice commands via Alexa or Google Assistant. 



Disclosure: I've partnered with Schlage Canada in this sponsored post. All opinions and text are my own. 

An Easy DIY Pom Pom Blanket




Pompoms are a fun way to add a little personality to a plain throw and it’s easy to craft your own using diy Pompoms and an old blanket.

All you need is yarn, an old blanket or throw and a few other tools to make a cute and cozy blanket to keep you warm.



Step 1: Gather supplies


   
We used super bulky yarn for this project. The advantage of this type of yarn is that it can result in a larger, fluffier Pompom in less time. It’s also easier to separate the strands of yarn to fluff them out when it is thicker. Two skeins of bulky yarn make approximately 12 Pompoms depending on size.

The Pompoms are easy to attach the blanket. If you are using a blanket with an open weave, you won’t need the needle and thread. You will be able to tie the Pompoms to the edge of the blanket. If you are using a blanket with a tighter weave, like the blanket we used, you will need to sew the Pompom to the blanket.

I used a vintage blanket found at a thrift shop however; you can pick up a throw from most home d├ęcor retailers.

Yarn – super bulky, 2 skeins
Scissors
Blanket or throw
Cardboard (optional)
Embroidery needle
Embroidery thread

Step 2: Start wrapping!


Wrap the yarn around a piece of cardboard or use your hand. It's up to you.


  
Cardboard method:

Cut a piece of cardboard for wrapping the yarn. The wider the piece of cardboard, the larger the pompom will be. Wrap the yarn around the width of the cardboard until you achieve desired thickness. We wrapped the yarn around approximately 30 times depending on thickness of yarn.

Hand method:

Wrap the yarn around your hand. The larger the hand, the larger the pompom. Wrap the yarn around your hand approximately 30 times or until desired thickness.

Step 3: Tie it up.





Cut a piece of yarn long enough to tie around the middle of the wrapped yarn. Approximately 6 inches.

Cardboard method: Lay the yarn on a table and carefully slide the wound yarn off the cardboard onto the piece of yarn. Tie the piece of yarn around the middle of the wound yarn, very tightly.

Hand method: Take the cut piece of yarn and carefully thread it through your two middle fingers so that it wraps around the middle of the wound yarn. Tightly tie the yarn. You will need to separate those middle fingers enough to let the yarn through.

Step 4: Make the pompom.




Hold the two pieces of loose string from tying the pompom. Using sharp scissors, on one side of the pompom, start cutting through the loops of yarn. Repeat on the other side. Ensure all of the loops are cut. Do not cut the loose yarn strings or the yarn holding the pompom together.

Step 5: Fluff and trim.




After cutting through all the loops of yarn begin separating the strands and fluffing the pompom. Trim away extra yarn to create a ball. Keep trimming and fluffing the pompom to achieve the desired shape.

Step 6: Attach the pompom to the blanket.





If you are using a blanket with a tight weave you will need to sew the pompom to the blanket. To do this, thread an embroidery needle with embroidery thread. Knot the end of the thread. Thread the needle through the pompom, where it is tied, and sew the pompom to the blanket.

If you are using a blanket with an open weave, simply tie the pompom to the blanket. Thread the uncut yarn pieces through an open weave at the edge of the blanket and tie.

And it's done!