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Eco-friendly cycle wear from new label VELECO

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We're great fans of cycling here at Hippyshopper; not only is cycling a great way to get around the London traffic (beware of motorists and pedestrians mind!), it keeps us fit!

Most of the time we'll just wear our normal clothes but sometimes that just doesn't seem right. What if we could have some ethically made garments made especially for our bike rides - that doesn't necessarily involve extremely tight fitting and unflattering lycra?

Well Jamie and John, the guys behind VELECO have just the answer! With what they claim to be the world's first fairtrade and eco-friendly cycle wear company (if anyone beg to differ, let us know in the comments below), they hope to change cycle wear across the world by making it more ethical.

Using natural, organic and recycled materials wherever possible, a 15% fairtrade premium is paid on every garment made, which is pushed back into health and welfare projects for VELECO's workers and their families in Pakistan.

The current collection consists of cycling jackets, t-shirts and hoodies as well as a selection of accessories including cycling caps, cotton bags, recycled tyre and tube belts as well as green oil. Plans are in motion to launch more technical wear in 2013, which will include shorts, trousers, more jackets and bags for urban cyclists and commuters!

Take a look at the collection below.

It's a hot summer day and we will forgive you for thinking more about ice creams and froyos than chocolate. But if you, like us, are a bit chocolate obsessed, we thought you'd might be interested in which bars and truffles out there can help you satisfy that sweet tooth in a more sustainable way through fairtrade.

What is fairtrade?

Fairtrade is about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Read more about it on the Fairtrade Foundation website.

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You already know what a great thing fairtrade is and how vital it is in helping overcome poverty and suffering, and make a difference to the farmers and their families in the developing world who work hard to ensure you get the products needed.

Charity Oxfam were the first to supply products with the fairtrade mark, making their brands fairtrade pioneers. Since then, the range of fairtrade products have just grown and you'll be able to find a varied selection of produce in your preferred supermarkets.

However, by supporting Oxfam, you're technically supporting two organisations at once - and it doesn't get better than that!

This Fairtrade Fortnight, why not show support by sending a perishable gift that will bring lots of joy and that is sustainable.

For more information visit www.oxfam.org.com/shop.

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Who says life's little luxuries cannot be enjoyed in an ethically way?

Last night Hippyshopper was introduced to FAIR. Spirits, the world's first fairtrade ultra-premium spirits company. We're not quite sure how its name has escaped us until now - FAIR has been available in the UK since 2009 - but that is really just our loss.

With a backdrop fitting to such a premium label - London by night seen from above - FAIR. Spirits announced its collaboration with the Fairtrade Foundation this Fairtrade Fortnight, 27 February to 11 March 2012.

Available at selected London cocktail bars, such as Searcys at The Gherkin and many more, £2 of each cocktail sold during Fairtrade Fortnight goes directly to the Fairtrade Foundation.

FAIR is the first fairtrade spirits brand in the world, with all of its spirits produced from fairtrade certified ingredients that comply with organic farming methods.

The range currently includes Quinoa Vodka, Goji Liqueur (the first and only liqueur made from goji berries, known for their health benefits), and Café Liqueur.

For more information visit www.fairspirits.com and www.fairtrade.org.uk.

Cafe-Nueva-lifestyle.jpgAs a coffee lover, buying your daily fixes of caffeine in your keep cup can become an expensive habit. Especially when you go for the best of the bunch, those that are ethical and fairtrade and so on. So it is welcome news that a new instant triple certified coffee, which protects people, planet and product is now available to pick up from your local supermarket.

Café Nueva must be the most fair ethical coffee ever sold in UK supermarkets that you can buy responsibly without having to compromise on taste, quality or price. It is triple certified; with Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance and Organic certification, Café Nueva is the UK's first triple certified freeze dried coffee. This means that you can enjoy your morning cup of java with the peace of mind that coffee farmers and their families are fairly rewarded and that the environment in which the coffee beans are grown is protected and respected.

Café Nueva is made from the finest Peruvian beans and has an intense, rounded and smooth taste with chocolatey notes. Actually we could do with a bit of organic chocolate on the side! There is also an interesting smoky aftertaste which adds to the coffee experience.

Café Nueva is now available from selected Waitrose and Budgens stores in 100g jars from £3.29.

ECO CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE: Gifts for her

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Getting Christmas presents for girls can be easy, just head to the nearest beauty section and you'll be safe. But if you're looking to get something a bit more unique - and not to mention - eco-friendly, then you've come to the right place. I've waded through the froth to find some of the more desirable and sustainable presents for her out there. If organic knitwear, limited handmade pieces and fairtrade scarves are her things, look no further!

Five tips to have a green Halloween

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Don't you dare to dust away those cobwebs - Halloween is almost here! At the end of the month it's time for trick-or-treating, scary costumes and sweets, lots and lots of sweets. A big business in America, this 'holiday' is catching on over here in England too but unfortunately can be one of the most wasteful times of the year. Just thinking about all those individually wrapped sweeties that get given out and the plastic decorations bought at the local pound shop only to be thrown out afterwards makes us feel bad. That said, we're not saying you shouldn't enjoy the festivities, so here are some tricks to have a greener Halloween.

Organic month: food & drink

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It's almost the end of Organic Month, but we can't leave it behind without looking at what food and drink products are available. Beauty as they say come from within, so it is important that what you eat and drink is as natural as possible. Choosing organic produce is a great way of ensuring that you're treating your body - and mind - nicely from within as well helping contribute to the protection of wildlife and the environment.

Opting for organic means there is no hidden nasties in the product, such as artificial colourings or sweeteners, so what you see on the box is what you get. Visit the Soil Association for more info on living more organically.

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Pukka Herbs Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (£7.95)

Drinking coconut water to re-hydrate and allegedly control weight has been a favourite among celebrities for a while now, so I was curious about the benefits of coconut oil which is Miranda Kerr's secret to looking good. Kerr credits her slim figure to daily doses of coconut oil in her cooking, on her salad or in her cups of green tea.

This must surely mean that organic coconut oil is the ultimate beauty secret? Coconut is a highly nutritious food, rich in vitamins (Vitamin C, Riboflavin and Thiamine) and minerals (calcium, iron and phosphorus), and contains high levels of a particular type of fatty acid (lauric) that is known to help increase metabolism.

After you've gotten used to all your food having a slight taste of coconut, cooking with coconut oil is a delight. Especially as a little goes a long way, so you don't feel like your blood veins will clog with unhealthy fat. Have yet to try it on toast, but am sure it's delicious!

Available from Pukka Herbs.

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Rachel's Organic Yoghurt

Whether it is a sweet treat you're after or something to have on your cereal in the morning, organic yoghurt is a great addition to your daily diet - and the best at that is Rachel's Organic. Britain's first organic dairy and pioneer of branded organic dairy produce, Rachel's offer a wide range of scrumptious yoghurts. These thick and creamy yoghurts are definitely a favourite of mine!

Rachel's seasonal Special Edition Winter Fruits multipack comes in two delicious flavours; Apple and Cinnamon and Apple and Rhubarb which are perfect for an autumn treat. They're also bringing out a new Limited Edition Pineapple, Coconut & Banana flavour - certain to bring a feel of the Caribbean to the dark winter days. Yum!

Rachel's Winter Fruits multipack is available in Waitrose for £1.69, while the Pineapple, Coconut & Banana Limited Edition costs £1.59 and is available in leading supermarkets nationwide.

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Green & Black's Organics Chocolate

What better treat this autumn that some organic chocolate from Green & Black's? New of the year is that the full range of block bars and beverage products will carry a fair trade certification, with the brand having increased its financial commitment to ensuring the sustainability of the cocoa-growing communities Green & Black's rely on to source cocoa for its delicious products.

The first in organic and fair trade chocolate, Green & Black's is launching a new selection box with 12 minature signature flavour bars just in time for Christmas as well as going pink for Breakthrough Breast Cancer in October with a mouth-watering hot pink Raisin & Hazelnut bar.

The collection box is priced at £5.49 and the pink bar costs £2.29. Available in leading supermarkets nationwide or shop online.

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What's This...? Anti-oxidant Drink (£2.75/330ml)

Many will have heard of the skincare properties of aloe vera, but what about its wild cousin aloe ferox? With twice the potency of aloe vera, I was super excited to hear about a new anti-oxidant drink called What's This...? that is made with natural aloe ferox - increasingly regarded as a new superfood.

Aloe ferox is linked to many benefits, including anti-aging, reducing the risk of heart disease, cleansing the digestive system and detoxifying the body as well as soothing, healing and moisturising the skin.

The 100% natural super-ingredient drink which main ingredient is aloe ferox must be a must-have for all health conscious out there. I tried the Baobab and aloe ferox which tasted like a thick fruit juice; it was delicious. Baobab contains important vitamins, fibre and anti-oxidants and THREE times the level of calcium found in milk!

What's This...? comes in four varieties: Baobab & aloe ferox, Green rooibos & aloe ferox, Pomegranate, hibiscus & aloe ferox and Mango & aloe ferox, and is widely available in UK health food stores.

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Pukka Herbs Organic Tea (from £2.09)

Working in an office can often cause high intake levels of caffeine through a continuous supply of tea and coffee throughout the week - or is that just my office? Instead of experiencing caffeine headaches and sleepless nights, why not swap it for organic herbal teas? Specially blended by master herbalist Sebastian Pole, each of the blends is full of flavour and rich in therapeutic benefits - all designed to match your every mood and moment.

For Organic Month I tested the Three Fennel and Detox; the former one winning the coveted 'three gold stars award' and the 2011 Gold Taste Awards as well as Best Organic Food Product at this year's Natural & Organic Products show.

The Three Fennel is a blend of organic sweet fennel, wild fennel and fennel leaf tea which is specially blended to soothe digestion and reduce bloating - perfect for busy people who eat on the go and for after a heavy meal.

Both were easy on the palate and I fully enjoyed sipping them while at work and in the evenings, swapping it for my much loved coffee. Pukka Herb teas are sold in selected stores nationwide or through its website.

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The say a girl can never have too many shoes... or reusable bags!

Founder and chief creative officer of Jimmy Choo Tamara Mellon OBE has designed an exclusive reusable bag to support The Body Shop and ECPAT's global Stop Sex Trafficking of Children and Young People (SST) campaign.

The bag will be available in a limited edition from 6th October at The Body Shop nationwide.

Tamara-Mellon-STOP-bag-launch.jpgThe STOP bag is decorated with personalised handprints from Oscar winning actress Nicole Kidman, Ab Fab actress, TV personality and animal rights campaigner Joanna Lumley (who is Absolutely lovely by the way!), formerly 'naked' chef Jamie Oliver, musician and producer extraordinaire Mark Ronson, Oscar winner and UN Goodwill Ambassador Mira Sorvino as well as CNN Piers Morgan who have all pledged their support for the campaign.

Tamara Mellon OBE says: "I am thrilled to have worked with The Body Shop to design The STOP bag and raise awareness of the SST campaign. I feel very strongly about prohibiting sex trafficking and knowing that the profits will help to end this modern day slavery and safeguard children makes the project even more worthwhile."

Retailing at £4.00, profits from the sale of The STOP bag will be used to combat and raise awareness of sex trafficking of children and young people.

The bag is made from raw 100% community fair trade cotton and feature a fuschia trim and shoulder strap which is certain to brighten up those shopping trips in the winter months!

Eco Fashion Focus: Liv

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Ethical fashion label Liv offers a great range of super-soft separates made from Fairtrade organic cotton and hand-knitted Alpaca wool for you, your man and the baby!

Liv originated in 2005 from an idea to create ecologically and socially sustainable lifestyle brand and the entire collection is made up of comfortable, yet stylish eco-friendly clothes that have the Fairtrade stamp of approval.

Oh and did we mention they also do a homeware range...

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Festival chic the eco way

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Festival season has begun! It's time for weeks and weeks of enjoying live music and chilling with your friends with an organic cider or three. Festivals also mean camping - unless you've booked yourself in at a local B&B - and having your usual beauty routine put on hold.

If you're heading off to Glastonbury next week or any of the other happenings this summer, we've gone searching for gadgets and clothes that let you enjoy the days while still being environmentally friendly.

Waitrose to sell Fairtrade condoms

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fairsquared condoms.pngUK supermarket chain Waitrose is expanding on its commitment to source its products from sustainable producers as it aims to attract more eco-conscious shoppers.

The ultra-thin condoms, made from Fairtrade rubber from South India and supplied in the UK by Newcastle based ethical supplier Fairsquared, will be available at selected Waitrose branches from 4th April 2011 and will cost £6.99 for a pack of 12.

Siobhan Bowie, Waitrose buyer, said: "We have come a long way since the days of people thinking Fairtrade is just about bananas and coffee, so it makes perfect sense to start introducing customers to more innovative and fairly traded products."

I went for a wander yesterday in a central London Waitrose branch and must say that the supermarket chain certainly accommodates for the eco conscious shopper. The amount of vegetarian, vegan, organic, Fairtrade, "free for", and locally sourced products on display were just a food lover's heaven.

Fairtrade Fortnight starts 28th February.

Ethical Valentine's Day Gifts For Him

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Thinking about what to get your man this Valentine's Day that it both romantic and eco-friendly? Hippyshopper has put together this gift guide to make your shopping easier, even if buying for Mr Have It All.

Will You Be My Eco Valentine?

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If you're planning on celebrating Valentine's Day this month, why not make it more eco-friendly. One way of doing it would be to create your own cards instead of opting for mass-produced cards with impersonal poems of love, or give a whole plant instead of a bunch of cut-off flowers.

If you are struggling for ideas of ethical gifts to get your love we've put together these handy gift guides for him and her.

But here are a few tips for a greener Valentine's Day:

- If you're buying a card, make it one made out of recycled paper. Or earn brownie points and make your own!

- Looking for flowers? Buy locally grown ones or if your sweetheart has green fingers why not give him or her a 'grow-your-own' set. Or buy a lovely plant that will bloom many times over.

- Buy fair-trade, ethically or locally produced chocolate - cocoa can be the big eco sinner so choose well.

We of course love presents - who doesn't - and with a bit of thought it is possible to buy or make something that truly shows your affection. Or you could do something romantic like going for a walk or running a bath for your other half.

Happy Eco Valentine's Day!

Valentine's gifts for him.

Valentine's gifts for her.

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While we all are aware of ethical products and Fairtrade initiatives, many of us over look green or ethical choices when it comes to our investments. This week marks National Ethical Investment Week and Nick Scarrett, head of investment and pensions at Fair Investment Company, explains why making green and ethical financial choices is just as important as drinking Fairtrade coffee.

He states that "While many of us would go out of our way to avoid unethical products, ethics are often not considered when it comes to finances, but the same principles should apply. If you care where the coffee you drink comes from, then you should care how your money is being invested."

Ethical and green finance products are becoming increasingly popular in the UK, with almost 100 green and ethical funds available to UK investors. The purpose of National Ethical Investment Week is to help raise awareness of the variety of options that are now out there, that will allow investors to make money and make a difference.

To find out more about National Ethical Investment Week check out their website here.

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