The Best of UK Small Businesses

Over the course of coronavirus restrictions, I have learnt not only the value of shopping small but also how much I love it. Connecting with the faces behind these small businesses is something I have also learnt to appreciate. Here are some of my favourite, UK-based, small businesses to support, and the people behind them, regardless of what the future of shopping looks like. 

Holly Grows

First up is Holly Grows, Holly sells the loveliest plants, and even candles as well! If you’re looking for ways to beautify your home, then this is the shop for you! Holly also heavily focuses on sustainability which is something that I’m sure everyone can appreciate! Not to mention Holly is currently renovating her first shop in Edinburgh which I will be running to on opening day!

IG: @hollygrows

The voice behind the brand: ‘Holly Grows was born out of a love of interior design and house plants. Sustainability is incredibly important to us and we promise to provide continued support to help you care for your plants.’

Kiss My Case

Next, we have the dreamiest phone cases, with owner Beth stating their idols as Casetify. Not to mention they have the most aesthetically pleasing branding that I’ve seen recently. My personal favourite of their products is the affirmation which is customisable! Although I am a sucker for their increasingly popular character cases as well!

IG: @kissmycase_

The voice behind the brand: ‘My brand started nearly a year ago during lockdown, it has kept me super busy and motivated. The cases can be edited to fit your style and can make amazing, meaningful gifts.’ 

Pepper Peach

Based in Edinburgh is the business of graphic designer, Emmy. Specialising in greeting cards, and recently expanding to include the cutest stickers and daily planners as well. Ranging from Mother’s Day to birthday’s, they cover every theme in the sweetest way. These gorgeous designs are even printed on recycled paper! I think my favourite has to be the ‘I love you past the moon’ cards. 

IG: @pepperpeachillustrations

The voice behind the brand: ‘I started Pepper Peach in 2020 after I graduated from my Graphic Design bachelors at Edinburgh Napier University. I entered a YCN contest which was a design competition and the entire class had to create and entry as part of our assignment. I chose the UK Greetings brief and I actually won it and the entire project made me fall in love with illustration and card design. When the first lockdown started, I thought it would be so nice to be able to write to our friends and family as it’s something a bit more meaningful than just a text, so I started planning Pepper Peach. 6 months later we launched and now my sister Sophie helps me run it: I do all the designing and posting, and she takes creative control of the social media content and helps ship out all the orders. We don’t even live together so we have split the stock over our households and have weekly zoom meetings to keep up with it. It was a passion project which is now my job and I love it so much! Hoping in the future to bring out planners, notebooks, stickers and so many more things.’

Jewellery by Liv: Depop / Etsy

For all of the jewellery lovers out there I want to recommend Liv’s jewellery to you. These handmade resin pieces are to die for. You can really tell how much Liv, herself, loves her creations which makes the experience shopping from her so much more special. 

IG: @jewellerybyliv

The voice behind the brand: ‘Starting my small business was a very organic process, for me it all stemmed from being bored in lockdown and needing a creative outlet. When starting my jewellery business, it was so important to me that everything I made was something that I really loved, my business has evolved so much in a short space of time but being able to make designs for people who love them too is so insanely rewarding.’

There you have it, a selection of some of the best UK small businesses for you to shop and appreciate, so fill up your baskets and enjoy!

10 Easy Sustainable Swaps for Your Beauty Routine

Beauty routines exist as form of self-care, treating your mind and your body, but it’s no secret that this often comes at a cost to the environment.  However, doing something about this is actually easily done with a number of easy, often cost-efficient swaps. Even implementing just one or two of these in your own personal routine is a step in the right direction.

Here’s 10 ways that you can treat the earth as much as you’re treating yourself.

Solid Shampoo/Conditioner

Consider how many plastic bottles of shampoo and conditioner you make your way through in a year, and how much plastic waste this equates to. This is why solid shampoo could be the swap for you. They’re also incredibly travel-friendly, meaning you can avoid buying plastic minis as well.

Alternatives to Face Wipes

It’s scary how damaging to the environment face wipes are, contributing to 93% of blockages in Britain’s drains, not to mention the effect on your skin with the inefficient cleansing that they do. Cutting these from your routine is much easier than you may think with a number of alternatives. 

Firstly, products such as the makeup eraser or face halo which remove your makeup in a similar way to a wipe however can be washed and reused instead of thrown out. However, my personal favourite alternative is an oil cleanser, not only does it give you a deeper cleanse, but it doesn’t require any other wasteful, single-use products. Opting for one of these alternatives can also save you money from frequently re-purchasing wipes.

Loyal to Your Wipes?

However, if you don’t want to abandon your trusty face wipes then instead opt for biodegradable wipes – more brands are selling these so chances are your favourite brand may already have some!

Say Bye to Cotton Pads

Instead of throwing out a cotton pad whenever you use micellar water or apply your favourite toner, instead grab some bamboo pads which can be used and washed ready to reuse. Again, an investment which will save you money.

Bamboo Cotton Buds Rather Than Plastic

Whether it’s for cleaning up the edge of your eyeliner or your nail polish, cotton buds are a staple for most people. However, consider switching to the bamboo, or paper-stemmed versions rather than the standard plastic. There’s even silicone versions now too!

Bamboo Toothbrush’s

Another way bamboo can sustainably transform your beauty routine is by switching out your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one. Therefore, reducing the plastic waste when it’s time to replace it.

Biodegradable Dental Floss

Continuing with the theme of dental hygiene is dental floss. Try to avoid single-use floss and instead opt for plastic-free, compostable options such as Eco Floss which is also vegan-friendly!

Mouthwash Tablets 

As bottles of mouthwash adds to the amount of plastic waste instead try mouthwash tablets which simply dissolve in water. These often don’t include alcohol making them especially beneficial to those with sensitive gums. If that doesn’t appeal to you then you can simply switch to glass-bottled mouthwash instead.

Solid/Powder Deodorant

Environmentally friendly deodorant is often something people are scared of, however they are just as effective as your typical aerosal’s or roll-ons minus the plastic waste and co2 emissions. Lush’s deodorant powder, or solid deodorant bars are great options for this as well as refillable deodorants like those made by Wild which are plastic-free and compostable.

Say No to Sheet Masks

Similarly, to the issue with face wipes is that of single-use sheet masks. Not only does the mask itself add to the plastic waste, but often so does the packaging. Not to mention the fact that these masks are often just serum being applied via the mask when you could just be applying the serum and seeing the same if not more benefits. Instead invest in masks in tubes or jars which will last longer and save you money!

Even choosing just one of these to swap out would be an incredible step in reducing waste and taking care of the environment.

Written by: Tamara Kettles