t Slow luxe Apartments - Slow Luxury Directory - Ethical Hedonist

January Conscious Horoscope by Victor Olliver

Ethical Hedonist astrology


Horoscope by Victor Olliver


January 2019

Visit Victor’s website for a list of astro-services and fees: www.victorolliver.com




March 21-April 20

Tigger the excessively lively tiger lives again through you. And why? Because Mars (planet of dynamism, thrust, determination and push) enters the sign it rules (that’s you, Aries) not long after midnight on 1 January and stays there till mid-February. What a fabulous start to New Year. Whatever you’re fighting for, whatever you really, really want, stands a better chance of success with Mars in the sign in which it excels. You are permitted to be pushy, even bossy, if your intention is to help and guide others. The solar eclipse on the 6th brings a significant new condition to your career or public profile which helps spiritual or caring interests while the lunar eclipse on the 21st brings to the boil a romance or expression of your soul. Intensity is the theme of your January. Yes, you are fiery and still moist.




April 21-May 21

‘Restraint’ is your special word for January – not necessarily in a self-denying way, but in the sense of withholding your power for another time. Relationships of many kinds need careful handling, particularly with ruler Venus moving into Sagittarius on the 7th which brings passion to the fore – and mark the 22nd (and days either side) as a time of major development to do with property, partnerships and/or cash boost. You actually need to do little but wait for things to happen; you are advised to sit tight and then respond to events – go with the flow of things. The solar eclipse on the 6th opens up opportunities to do with overseas, legal matters or publishing, while the lunar eclipse on the 21st brings to a close a major family issue. The start of 2019 brings a great many personal issues to the surface: regard them as a ‘clearance sale’. Time to move on.




May 22-June 21

Deep emotions have been stirred in recent times – the mind is focused on quite profound matters as Saturn, Pluto and your Sun occupy the Sun-sign 8th house, the chart area of mysticism, death and legacy. Fear not! All this emotion is deepening your awareness of life’s scope, making you a lot more robust and canny. When ruler Mercury enters Capricorn on the 5th, much attention turns on matters of ownership, relationships, property, who owns what, taxes and/or other claims on you. Again, there’s nothing to fear: it’s just that 2019 is asking you to sort matters out for your future security. The solar eclipse on the 6th also occurs in your 8th house, ensuring that decisions made at this time will have a long-term effect which strangely benefits your profile and career. OK, this feels a weird time – but be assured that the destination is a new life.




June 22-July 22

Very significant new relationships are forecast for the start of 2019. Especially with the Capricorn solar eclipse on the 6th which takes you into a new orbit and focuses your mind on foreign or legal matters. Mars’ move into your career house right at the start of 2019 assures you much dynamism in pursuit of a new job, status profile or reputational initiative – you will be putting an unusual amount of energy into work or status right into February. The days around 22 January are important because it is in this time that you excel in your caring side, especially towards colleagues or family members. Be flexible in dealing with the unexpected: in improvising to moments (rather than planning) you make progress. Listening to jazz will inspire this approach.




July 23-August 23

The solar eclipse on the 6th is no ordinary New Moon – it accentuates the need to take better care of personal wellbeing, and the cosmic hint is that this is well beyond the competence of that well-known quack Dr Google. The eclipse forms a lovely link with spiritualising planet Neptune which is moving through your house of mysticism and psychology. Much benefit can be obtained from contemplation but also self-examination – all this will help bring you balance now and over the next half year. Then on the 22nd there’s another eclipse, of the lunar variety – in Leo. This marks another major phase which finds you telling your world what you really think about something, probably in personal relationships. The two eclipses are linked by the need to state your perspective through a better understanding of your needs. 2019 can be a transformative year.




August 24-September 22

Virgo is not usually associated with ‘emotionalism’ yet one of the big themes of your New Year is your subjective feelings – or what you feel about certain things. For many of you this may not ‘feel’ comfortable since your default setting is to analyse, dissect and critique. Of course, the heart can never be far away from this process; it’s just you like to think that pure mind is superior to the old blood pump. For may be too long you have followed certain courses of action without properly wondering how really interested you are: the solar eclipse on the 6th brings an event or a situation which taps one of your passions – it needs to be better expressed, whether this be creative, romantic or even parental. With Mars entering your house of self-empowerment on 1 January, and there till mid-February, you will discover in early 2019 that anything you do now is so much more satisfying when it’s done with heart. Let it all out!



September 23-October 23

Intimacy! That’s your word for the start of 2019, what with a solar eclipse in your house of home and family, and Mars moving into your chart realm of partnership or romantic and business association. Put another way, some big changes are required to restore harmony to your life – and where you live and with whom are a big part of this. Now and over the next six months, there’s an enhanced likelihood of a residential move or major domestic refurbishment. Mars certainly brings impetus to special bonds – you are less likely to accommodate anyone who irks you, and this energy will make you a lot more assertive where you feel that all you ever face is obstruction or complaint. Yes, some crockery may fly, but what’s a lost plate or two if one consequence is the exiting of a tiresome troll? Around mid-month your ruler Venus merges with Jupiter in your chart house of sales and communications: look forward to gains from your sweet words.



October 23-November 22

The start of 2019 finds you in a fairly benevolent phase – if only because with Mars moving into the domain of Virgo (but in the sign of Aries) you’d be very wise to avoid confrontation and channel energy into detailed work which requires accuracy. This ought to be a financially promising time – by mid-month Venus and Jupiter are together in your house of income, so expect an opportunity to improve on your tax status or some other kind of expansion with profit potential. Another big Scorpio topic is education or the need to market something: the solar eclipse on the 6th inspires you either to share your knowledge with others or to take up a new study to maximise skills: yes, even you need to learn something new. The lunar eclipse on the 21st brings some kind of completion to a career project: the cosmos is charging up your batteries for some hard but productive work.




November 23-December 21

Well, life certainly looks a lot brighter compared with this time last year. This is partly thanks to having your ruler Jupiter moving through your sign – bringing you a great many more opportunities to grow, travel, learn and excel. Whether in fact this happens is down to you keeping an open mind and a sharp eye on happenings around you. Look out for the days around the 22nd when a blissful conjunction of Venus and Jupiter not only adds charisma to your overall package but brings a chance to make money. And on that topic, there’s major action taking place in your chart house of income, what with the solar eclipse on the 6th ushering in a new phase of financial growth or profit, linked in some way to the home. A feature of this time is the arrival of unsought opportunity – you won’t have to toil too hard to line your pockets. That makes a change!




December 22-January 20

No doubt about it: this is quite a ‘power year’ for Capricorn when there’s a certainty of major new developments in your life. The solar eclipse in Capricorn on the 6th is like a rebirth moment: the potential is to become aware of a greater capacity in yourself to do things, new things especially which in the past you may have dismissed or thought beyond you. The presence of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn also really adds punch to a self-redefinition – and for some of you, this may feel frightening. No need to fear! Jupiter is helping you to acclimatise emotionally and psychologically with personal evolution. So great things in the offing while the home is energised under Mars: domestic matters you may have put off will be addressed, and where there’s an obstruction, expect some fireworks. You are determined to see through a home or family plan: now the cosmos is backing you.




January 21-February 19

Jupiter’s presence in your chart domain will already have brought you new professional contacts and helped raise your profile – a trend that continues right through 2019. Business and humanitarian projects are greatly blessed provided that you manage expectations and do not stray into exaggeration. A big part of life in early 2019 is how you manage secrets or matters to do with confidentiality. This is not helped entirely by Mars’ move into your area of communications: there could be quite a struggle at times not to blurt out things which ought not to be made public. In at least one key area of your life there’s a pronounced need to orchestrate matters behind closed doors away from prying eyes: this could be on behalf of another or in pushing your own interests. So, self-edit more than you usually do. Around the 22nd there’s a wonderful chance to show the world just how talented you are.




February 20-March 20

Personal ideals are not luxuries – for many of us they’re the motivation, the underlying reason why we do anything. It’s this thought that runs through your chart in January and beyond, especially to do with work on behalf of others, perhaps in the field of charity or a political cause. A project with fellow-travellers is certain to take up a lot of your time. Lucky Jupiter is moving slowly through your career house, raising the chance of promotion or some other addition to your status. And on the 22nd Jupiter is joined by Venus, bringing you recognition potentially. Money will be very much on your mind under Mars – you could find yourself spending impulsively but also pushing a lot harder to profit from work. In another sense, Mars will help you in your business or work for others because in astrology the money house is also the place of personal values. You’re not prepared to do anything for money: somehow earnings must derive from true interests and concerns. If this is not apparent to you just yet, it will become so.


Victor Olliver is editor of The Astrological Journal, flagship magazine of the Astrological Association. He can be contacted via: Volliver5@gmail.com.











Win a Sundried Unisex Sustainable Luxury Sportswear Kit

Sundried Triathlete Amy Kilpin

It’s almost Christmas! To celebrate, we’ve got a fabulous competition for you to win £100 worth of unisex sustainable luxury activewear from Sundried, the leaders in high fashion, cutting edge, sustainable sportswear made from recycled bottles and coffee grounds and worn by A-list actor Simon Pegg and triathletes including:  Amy Kilpin, and Ali Trauttmansdorf.  We wanted to create a competition for our style-conscious readers who love to be active and enjoy sports from yoga to athletics to training for a marathon.

Sundried sustainable sportswear is engineered to look good, offer high performance and to be as as eco-friendly as possible, using the latest sustainable fibres and innovative circular materials.

Actor Simon Pegg Gets Fit with Sundried

The Sundried giveaway consists of the following – a sleek unisex eco luxe, sports jacket, a pair of bamboo, touch screen gloves and a portable, eco-friendly coffee or tea cup.

Sundried Unisex Grande Casse Running Jacket

The Sundried Grande Casse Running Jacket is part of the Eco Core range and is made responsibly from recycled plastic bottles.

Sundried Grand Casse Sustainable Sports Jackets

Made from 100% recycled water bottles – do your part to reduce plastic waste

Fully water-resistant for running or cycling outdoors in any weather

Superior sweat-wicking properties and temperature control to keep you cool and dry no matter what the weather throws at you

Reflective trim to the cuffs and chest for training in low light and at night

Subtle secure zip pocket for valuables

Super lightweight and breathable – don’t overheat in summer showers

Easily packs away into its own small bag for easy storage – take with you on a run or bike ride just in case

Super light, anti-tear fabric allows unrestricted movement


Grande Casse Running Jacket – worth £60.00


Sundried Touch Screen Gloves

Touch Screen Gloves made from Bamboo.

Sundried’s black knitted touch screen gloves are the ideal companion for winter sports and activities. Perfect for running, cycling, horse riding, or just any outdoor training, these gloves will soon become an indispensable staple of your winter training wardrobe. The silicone print to the palms gives superior grip for cycling and horse riding. Even if rain or mist has made your handlebars wet, these gloves will stay grippy as you continue to train. Long cuffs keep your wrists draught-free and won’t slip down as you move. The full finger design is perfect for colder temperatures and the insulating material will keep your hands warm down to almost freezing temperatures. With modern touch screen technical capabilities, you will be able to use any smart phone or touch screen device while wearing your cosy gloves. The super soft materials will feel great against your skin while the advanced sweat-wicking technology will prevent sweaty palms.

Silicon print palms for superior grip even in wet weather.

Long cuffs keep wrists draught-free and won’t slip down.

90% bamboo, 10% dry yarn.

Worth £20.00

Sundried Reusable Eco Cup

The Sundried eco-friendly Insulated Double Wall Reusable Coffee Cup is perfect for everyone, from coffee to tea drinkers and everyone in between, whether you’re on the go or just want to save on waste. It is BPA-free and non-toxic and is made without harsh chemicals. It won’t taint the taste of your drink and is dishwasher safe.

A reusable coffee or tea mug that is tough and durable as well as being fully shatter-proof and leak-proof. No need for a sleeve as the double-layered design fully insulates your drink without making the outside hot to touch so this coffee mug is easy to hold and transport.

At such a great price, the breakeven point on this cup is as low as 10 uses. If you care about the environment and saving money, this is the coffee mug for you. This reusable coffee cup looks great with its transparent body and splash-proof sealable lid with adjustable plug at the sipper hole.

The generous volume of 420ml gives plenty of room for your morning coffee to get your day off to a great start. Carry on your commute or between meetings with ease thanks to the ergonomic design.

Worth £20.00

Total Prize worth £100.

Sundried Activewear infographic-emissions

The competition is unisex, and the closing date is December 31st 2018. The winner will be announced in the first week of January. To be in with a chance of winning, share the competition and leave a comment, and or tell us on social media what you form of exercise you love to do to look after your mind and body.

Terms and Conditions –  The editor’s decision is final and there is no cash alternative.

Images Copyright Sundried December 2018, All Rights Reserved.

Pictures show actor Simon Pegg and Sundried Ambassadors and Triathletes Amy Kipin and Ali Trauttmansdorff.






Falling in Love at The British Library, A Christmas Love Story  The first green shoots of a novella by journalist Alison Jane Reid.

The author in a gold, 1930s gown overlooking the English Channel. Picture ???

The author in a vintage gold devore 1930s gown,  pictured overlooking the English Channel. Picture By Chris Cowley.

Reader, Mr Darcy is not dead! He has just changed countries and developed a taste for poetry, fashion, the novels of Iain Banks and er, playing rock guitar. This is the story of how I fell madly in love with a Scottish Mr Darcy, in one of the best kept secrets for finding love in London! The British Library. Now,I bet that will do wonders for attendance in the hallowed reading rooms.  But let’s be serious. I do believe that life should be lived romantically, and that true love changes everything. One day you are just tearing about life, forgetting to buy organic cat food and wondering if you dare buy those gold Mary Jane shoes that would put a smile on your face every time you wear them. But perhaps not the bank manager. A dour, horrid man, who is forever telling you to curb your expenditure on organic chocolate, dresses and fripperies!

Laptops, Deadlines and Keanu Reeves

Then, you decide you really should get a life, and not spend twelve hours a day, every day, chained to a laptop entertaining other people. On impulse you rush off to a rare, lovely event at one of London’s great  bastions of learning, the British Library, and faster than you can say –  Keanu Reeves or Benedict Cumberbatch, you  collide with a real life Mr Darcy – and fall truly, madly, marvellously in love – as if you had tumbled  into a glass of pink champagne!

This is the first instalment of  great love affair that has all the ingredients for a 21st Century Brief Encounter…. I hope you enjoy it. It is a story that isn’t over yet.

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”
― Jane AustenPride And Prejudice

I remember the winter of 2005 as if it was yesterday. It was a cold, harsh, English winter, with ice like lace on the pavements of London. The sort of weather that made me snuggle into my beloved Viscountess coat. A very alluring faux fur coat from a golden age of elegance. The heritage heyday of one of my favourite British fashion brands –  Aquascutum. A coat so lovely, that it always makes me feel film star beautiful…. The mix of hues from blue to gold and dove grey does wonders for a girl’s complexion…..

I was wearing the Viscountess, the night I collided spectacularly with Torquil (not his real name) amid the lofty , historic splendours of the British Library.

Several days earlier, I had been reading Timeout, when I stumbled across an event I felt compelled to attend. The British Library was daringly holding a cocktail evening devoted to the art and science of flirtation – it was called ‘Mingle’. To my dismay, the event had sold out within hours, and I had to use my finest journalistic powers of persuasion to secure two precious tickets for myself, and my friend Eve, as my wingman for the night. The event started far too early for a busy member of the fourth estate.

The British Library was on Fire with Music, Anticipation and Romance

By the time Eve and I raced up the steps to the British Library in our sensuous midnight cocktail dresses and shimmering pearls, we were horribly late. Mingle was in full swing, and there was an extraordinary, zingy atmosphere of music, anticipation, fun and new romantic alliances being tested and formed. For a moment, Eve and I looked at each other and screamed ‘help’, where do we begin? Everyone seemed to have paired off, and we felt like hopeless Shrinking Violets at our first dance. Now, I am quite plucky in a crisis. What we needed was a delicious cocktail or two to give us the courage to just talk to the first man who looked available for practice!  The atmosphere was fraught, and the men strange and disappointing. All the beautiful, fascinating men had been kidnapped!

Then, through a sea of people I saw him, a man in a very striking black hat with a noble countenance. His long, beautifully kept brown hair was tied back in a short, neat pony tail, and he was wearing an elegant jacket with thin, black velvet lapels. There was an aura about him, a rare, quicksilver presence, and I felt utterly drawn to him. He was deeply immersed in the most animated conversation, and surrounded by a small group of people. I began to fret. The evening was drawing to a close. I would never get the chance to meet this charismatic stranger. Suddenly, he turned round and looked straight into my eyes and smiled.  I smiled back, and everyone in the room turned grey. The man in the hat was walking towards me. ‘Hello’, he said in a gallant, soft, lilting Scottish accent – ‘I’m Torquil’.

An Amour Fou at the British Library

Eve says that that what happened next was extraordinary. She still calls it an ‘amour fou – suddenly, no one else mattered’.  The truth is that I have never felt so powerfully attracted to a man in my life as I did A that night.  I fell instantly, madly in love that night, and it didn’t feel scary or wrong. It felt right. Torquil was with his brother, Simon, a striking man in his thirties, with stunning, silver grey hair and a gentle manner. Torquil never took his eyes off me. Reader, a woman dreams of being looked at in that way by the man she is going to marry. It was a look that offered everything I could want –  nobility, devotion, love, caring, pride and twinkling recognition,’ I was floating outside my own consciousness… was it real or just a dangerous allusion of the ideal love?

Castles, the Little Black Dress and Alison-in-Wonderland

There is something you should know. I’m a girl who never dresses down. I wear cocktail dresses to the office, and to interview icons and national treasures. I   once went on a shark safari (to observe and write about basking sharks) off the Pentland Firth with a wardrobe of lovely evening gowns, and not a practical stitch in my suitcase!  Well, it did include a thoughtful invitation to stay at Skibo Castle. In that sense Torquil and I were a brilliant match. He was dressed in the 21st century equivalent of an 18th century dandy.  And he did appear  very taken with my own sparkling approach to getting dressed. He gallantly admired  the  sheer, sensuous goddess chiffon LBD I had treated myself to on impulse from Liberty,  a department store so heavenly, it is more like raiding the wardrobe of a once very daring aunt, now retired from the romantic fray. Reader, nothing  compares to the tentative, dizzy  beginnings of  love. It is like falling down the rabbit hole. It was like jumping on the pretty, painted carousel at the fun fair, and never wanting to get off, as we discovered our shared passions for: art, literature, rock ‘n’ roll and Scotland.

Suddenly, when we finally looked up,  the vast foyer at The British Library was almost deserted.

Torquil asked if he could go and collect my coat. He had the manners of Cary Grant mixed with a dash of something edgier – Jarvis Cocker. The brothers play fought over who was going to help me put on the Viscountess, and then our lovely trio tumbled, laughed and skipped out in the cold, crisp December air. I remember standing on the pavement and looking at this man who had burst into my world. We kept on looking at each other, and looking at each other and talking and laughing with curiosity, joy and expectation. It must have been awkward for Simon.  Torquil was still looking at me when he asked if we could have a hug…. In that moment, it seemed like the most natural thing to do, and so I embraced him and sensed in that moment, a real need to be loved back. It was utterly exhilarating, but perhaps it was also a warning. We talked and sweetly flirted all the way down into the Underground, at Kings Cross, and then as we were standing on the platform, and the thought of parting seemed unbearable, he asked me with such gallantry –  ‘ May I take you to The Tate Modern next Thur ? There’s an exhibition I would like to show you. We can walk along The Thames to Gordon’s Wine Bar – have you ever had cheese and wine in a cave’?

‘No, never,’ I said, ‘but I would like to.’ When we finally parted after the most tender kiss, I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.  I felt that maybe, just maybe, I had found my Mr Darcy. And reader, this is the spooky bit. When I was a small girl, my father, a Scot, from Aberdeen told me that one day I would meet and fall in love with a man worthy of all the heroes I used to pour over in the novels of Sir Walter Scott  – A Scottish Darcy all my own.

To Be Continued……………..

Next instalment – I meet Torquil at The Tate Modern and we kiss each other to the point of distraction with the best view in London, looking out over St Paul’s Cathedral, which looks just like an oversized wedding cake. Then, Torquil holds my hand and gallantly shoos the pigeons away, as we walk along the twinkling Embankment to Gordon’s, to talk, and talk and kiss in a cave bar, long into the night. And I wonder, have I met my match? Torquil appears to be everything I could want in a man. He is kind, highly intelligent, attentive, and respectful, and he always makes me feel like a modern Guinevere. The only problem with that is that I am a flesh and blood woman. I long to come down off my pedestal, and be loved, and not just for Christmas, but a love that will last for all the Christmases to come.

Copyright Alison Jane Reid October 2018. All Rights Reserved.  This novella is dedicated to lovers and those in search of true love everywhere.

Names have been changed to protect the identity of living characters in my novella.

Picture Copyright Alison Jane Reid/ Jason Joyce – www.jasonjoyce.com

Chris Cowley www.isleofwightweddingphotographer.co.uk

No reproduction without permission please!




The Boyfriend Organic Cotton Whippet Sweater

Hello boys! For dogs lovers, people who adore wandering around museums looking at art and elegant, sculptural lines and for man of the moment, Bradley Cooper, who is also a great dog lover, I give you the sartorial organic cotton, whippet print sweater by Thought. The midnight blue sweater is inspired by the artist Duncan Grant, a member of the Bloomsbury group, renowned for his painterly, post impressionist art, pottery and illustration. This sweater is just the ticket to put a skip in your step. It is so stop the traffic charming, I am going to cheerfully encourage the woman (or man) in your life to buy it for you and then steal it! That’s why I am pronouncing it the boyfriend sweater to covet this winter season.

Sartorial Sustainable Style

What I love about this sartorial sweater, fashioned in organic cotton jersey, is that it effortlessly pulls off the relaxed, boho arty look, without being twee. Wear it or flaunt it instead of the ubiquitous Christmas jumper that sadly turns grown up, sartorial men into Mrs Brown’s boys at this festive time of year.

Now let’s talk about the details. The sweater features a scoop neck, long sleeves and generous ribbed detailing at the hem and neck. Team it with jeans and a pea coat and cultivate the manner of the Englishman at play. And beware the women in your life who have designs on this canine work of art. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Did you know that Bradley Cooper cast his own dog, Charlie, in his directorial debut, A Star is Born?

Thought Organic Cotton Whippet Sweater, colour dark navy, sizes, S- XXL,  Price £49.90.

Deliciously Healthy Organic Food on a Budget

I want to inspire a simple cooking from scratch revolution, using delicious organic and biodynamic produce grown as locally as possible.  Even better, I will  show you how to do it on a budget.  The tragedy is that many of us have lost touch with where food comes from and its fundamental importance in creating health, happiness and good mental health. We kid ourselves that we are far too busy to eat well. Many of us can’t or won’t cook! Food is medicine. It should feed every cell in your body. And please don’t tell me you don’t have time to cook. Make the time, and experience transformation. Your health and sanity depends on the food you eat. Let that sink in. I live to eat, not eat to live! Eating should be pure pleasure. That’s why the magazine is called Ethical Hedonist! Cooking, eating and sharing food makes life worth living. The difference is life-enhancing and more life.

Cooking and Preparing Good Food is a Meditation

 I’m going to show you how to create organic meals that can be produced in twenty minutes or less. Like my yummy recipe below for Christmas broccoli and chestnut soup. When I cook my own food from scratch, I feel happier, and my mind is clearer and more focused. I have PTSD, and I find really paying attention to the food I eat makes a big difference to my mental health and wellbeing. Cooking, chopping and stirring is a meditation, and nothing beats sitting down to that home cooked nutritious feast. Food should delight all your senses.

Buy from Farmers and Small Producers Not Supermarkets

I’m talking about real food grown by farmers, and small producers, who really care about you the consumer, not accountants focused on the bottom line. Get to know your local farmers. You are the person who is going to eat that jewel green bunch of winter kale or broccoli or deliciously lemony local goat cheese. Seek out your local organic box scheme, farmers market or organic farm, talk to them and get to know your local producers. Check out Riverford Organics  Cut out the middleman and buy happy food, grown without pesticides in healthy soil. It’s time to say no to industrial amounts of sugar, fats, fillers and weird chemicals. Junk  convenience food smothered in plastic is not convenient at all. It is making us sick.

It is leading to an epidemic in obesity, cancer, depression and autoimmune diseases. It’s also despoiling are beautiful blue and green planet with plastic and depleting the soil. And let me tell you, it’s all about the soil. Soil that is is loved, nurtured and tended well produces the most amazing produce that we can get excited about to transform into deliciously organic one pot dishes, soups and puddings.

Right! Let’s get started.

Here’s my recipe for Christmas Organic Broccoli Soup with Chestnuts

Organic Broccoli Soup with Chestnuts

This recipe is easy to adapt for meat eaters, vegetarians and readers following a plant-based diet.

Unlike President George Bush, I adore broccoli. I can’t get enough of the antioxidant green wonder vegetable!

Christmas Broccoli and Chestnut Soup


1 large head of organic broccoli or a good bunch of organic tenderstem

1 large leek

1 medium shallot

1 clove of garlic

1 medium organic potato – peeled and cut into small chunks

180 grammes cooked chestnuts – local chestnuts are great if you can find them, otherwise Merchant Gourmet do good vacuum packs of chestnuts without additives. (These are not organic). This is the one ingredient that I am prepared to cheat on and use vacuum packed chestnuts if I can’t find them locally, or the store cupboard is bare!

1 litre of vegetable or homemade chicken stock

1 tablespoon of organic olive oil or organic coconut butter

Organic broccoli in a ladle


Finely chop the onion and leek and gently sauté in a heavy based soup pan or stainless steel saucepan.

While the onions and leeks are cooking, wash the broccoli and cut into small florets and cut the stalks into small chunks. Chop the cooked chestnuts into small bit size pieces.

After five minutes, add the chestnuts, potato and broccoli stalks to the pan and sauté for a further five minutes.

Add the stock and bring the boil. Simmer for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the broccoli to the pan and simmer until the all the vegetables are soft, (takes about 10-15 minutes).

Turn off the heat, and blend the soup with a hand blender or in batches in a larger blender. Return to the hob to gently heat until just boiling.

Check the seasoning. Add a squeeze or organic lemon juice if liked, and a dollop of full fat Greek yogurt or plain coconut yogurt.

Serve with wedges of sourdough bread or good quality organic oat cakes. Nairns are very good and stock up on them when they are on offer.

Three Servings

Approximate Cost – £3-4.00. Depending on where you buy your ingredients.














The Ethical Velvet Wrap Dress

Ethical Gold Velvet Party Dress by Reformation

Ah the goddess gold ethical luxury wrap dress, in an alluring, gilded, muted, Christmas gold (or silver), sustainable velvet by the label to lust after with an emerald heart, Reformation. This dress evokes the era of the old Hollywood of the thirties and forties, when  screen goddesses knew how to dress to break hearts to smithereens.

The Duchess of Sussex is a fan of this youthful, darling of a conscious fashion house. Blazing a trail for fierce high fashion with whilst reducing its impact on the earth through smart supply chains.

The Dress of Liberty, Allure, and Freedom

Gold Ethical Velvet Tiffany Dress

As for the wrap, it is hard to think of another style of dress that has the power to evoke such images of feline sensuality grace, liberation, and freedom of movement. The earliest versions were designed by revolutionary American designer Claire McCardell, who did so much to unshackle women’s clothing; and couturier Elsa Schiaparelli, who also loved to design for the confident woman who was not afraid to use fashion as a cloak of feminine armour.  Then, in the seventies, Diane Furstenberg, introduced her famous knee-length stretch versions, in bright, pop art prints and Michelle Obama wore updated day versions of the dress during her tenure as First Lady.

An Eternal Fashion Star

The wrap dress is an eternal fashion star and a symbol of women’s emancipation and freedom that never goes out of fashion. Every woman should have at least one in her closet. The Reformation wrap dress is a sublime, well-priced example in a mix of sustainable rayon and silk with a bold deep V neckline and high side split. The dress features soft, sensual gathers at the yoke, flattering capped sleeves, and a generous, Oscar-worthy length, which looks elegant from all angles. With its molten, effortless, easy contours it appears to flow and hug the contours of the body and yet impart such sassy, confident freedom of movement to the woman who wears it. Bravo!

Gold Reformation Wrap Dress, Price $278.00. Sizes – XS-XL.

Reformation offers free shipping within mainland USA. For shipping to the UK and the rest of the world please check the website for postage rates.


Remember this moment.

What do Emma Watson, BioScience and the Future of Fashion have in common? Let’s find out. The new golden age of sustainable circular economy fashion is upon us. A  time of awe-inspiring ideas and material revolution. A  renaissance that is as exciting, spellbinding, breathtaking and profoundly important as the introduction of James Hargreaves Spinning Jenny in 1764.

This time, it is all about sustainability and the circular economy and the idea of an ingenious marriage between fashion, nature, science, and alchemy.

Emma Watson – The Ethical Poster Girl for a Generation

Emma Watson at the Met Gala in a Sustainable Calvin Klein Gown

If ever there was an eloquent spokeswoman for a generation, it is the film icon, Emma Watson. Emma was one of the first A-list film stars to wear sustainable fashion on the red carpet.

“I want to look good, feel good, and do good – that to me is a luxury,” she says simply. That statement is enough to empower an entire generation of millennial consumers to change everything, especially fashion. Emma is not alone. Natalie Portman wears an ethical wedding band, fashioned from recycled gold; Rosario Dawson runs her own Fair-trade company in Africa; and Will I Am, the Leonardo of the music world, and a budding ethical fashion entrepreneur, has teamed up with Coca-Cola to launch hip street clothing EkoCycle and make all sorts of weird and wonderful futuristic street fashion, luggage and bicycles from recycled aluminum. All of this would have been unthinkable just a decade ago when I first started to write about sustainable fashion.

Sustainable luxury fashion has finally come of age. The collections are covetable, exciting, luxurious and good enough to succeed on merit, not out of necessity, although of course, that is a critical side effect. Sustainable fashion has become the zeitgeist because fashion’s brightest stars from the designers to the manufacturers of fabric are literally reinventing how to do fashion well in the 21st century.

Orange Fiber Top by Salvatore Ferragamo

We now live an in age where citrus food waste can be transformed into fibre by isolating a polymer, mixing it with silk and transforming it into a sublime, sensuous fabric called Orange Fiber, which becomes a fashion poem in print to Sicily for Salvatore Ferragamo; where a bespoke jacket can be grown like spider’s lace in the lab from magical mushroom fibre; where Stella McCartney introduces her beautifully fleet of foot, glue-less, recyclable sports shoe the Loop; where fast fashion is becoming slow, fair-trade, artisan fashion that protects garment workers and centuries-old craft skills People Tree and Mata Traders ; and a time when forgotten women in prison get a new start in life by producing timeless, alpaca capsule collections in Peru for label to know, love and adopt – Carcel.

Carcel Sustainable Knitwear Made in Prisons

Hold the Front Page

Hold the front page. Welcome to the fashion revolution, there is so much to talk about.

Impressed? Seduced? Intrigued? Go ahead. At last, our throwaway, careless society is being replaced by something altogether more enlightened, mindful, clever, altruistic and smarter – the only limit to all this innovation is our collective imagination.

Dress by Vegea, made from grape waste from the wine industry

So, imagine that your next, lust-worthy, stop the traffic evening gown could be fashioned from Vegea’s award-winning, UN 20 20, grape fabric (food waste fibre) – and go and covet their fluid, Tina Turner, rock ‘n’ roll, diva-worthy gown in the V&A Fashioned from Nature Exhibition…. it’s the hottest ticket in town to understand the last four hundred years of fashion craftsmanship, ravishing spectacle, innovation, and excess, and then get inspired to upcycle your fashion persona, with state of the art green and sexy, circular aplomb. And while you are there, salute the work of designer Stella McCartney – from designer activist to the trailblazing crown princess of sustainable material innovation.

Stella McCartney Makes Nature Iconic

I could lose myself in a fashion reverie when I stand and gaze at Stella’s love letter to her mother Linda’s passion for Appaloosa horses and wild nature. McCartney makes nature iconic with her thundering horses’ trouser suit, digitally printed on sustainable viscose – it’s the next best thing to going for a wind in the hair gallop. It’s pure, lust-worthy fashion that also happens to be good fashion. But you wouldn’t know and that is the point. Sustainability doesn’t have to be screamed about, it simply needs to be fabulous, mainstream and effortless for you the consumer to make earth-friendly, green is the new black choices.

Stella McCartney Running Horses Print

Certainly, Stella is blazing an emerald style trail. No iconic designer has done more to lead the charge for state of the art fabric innovation while wowing the catwalk with her masculine meets feminine aesthetic.

Fashion is All About Bio Science Now

Welcome to the age of smart, good, sustainable fashion. This is the moment where fashion, nature, and bioscience rule the roost and all the fashion powerhouses from Salvatore Ferragamo to Hugo Boss are busy burnishing their collections with organic cotton and Alice-in-Wonderland circular fibres from Mycotex to Vegea, Pinatex, and Orange Fiber whilst displaying their greenage, sustainable plumage like so many peacocks strutting in the gardens of Versailles.

Now, let’s talk about water. Did you know that the global fashion industry consumes six trillion litres of water a year to dye fabrics for new fashion garments? Yes, it is eye-watering; it is also a big problem. What if they simply run out of water? Colorifix could be the answer. The company behind this green tech company has pioneered a new method of applying pigment to fabric using biology. The good news is that it uses ten times less water, doesn’t require harsh solvents and chemicals that pollute our rivers, and could really help to clean up the fashion industry which has been polluting watercourses since the introduction of aniline dyes in the industrial revolution.

Change the Way We Produce Fashion, Not Our Desire for It

Waistcoat made from Neffa MycoTEX mushroom fibre on the catwalk

The future of luxury is all about a new virtuous circular of consumption and right now it is the Holy Grail in fashion. Of course, it is necessary and pragmatic. Necessity is definitely the mother of invention and fashion has always been the great innovator. There are seven billion people on this crowded planet earth, and we will simply run of resources and new clothes if we don’t find a better way to adorn our bodies and experience fashion that makes us want to reach for our credit card in a heartbeat. So as Aniela Hoitink the founder of Neffa MycoTEX declares,   “Fast fashion represents an incredible opportunity. There is now an entire generation of people who expect to own a garment for a year, maybe two, before disposing of it to buy something new. With the right materials, we can meet this life cycle from cradle to cradle. Let’s change the way we produce fashion, not the habits of 7 billion people – it is far more realistic.”

Mycotex Fabric Swatches

With this brave new world of green and sexy pragmatism, how would you like to grow your own bespoke, gossamer, work of art evening jacket, fashioned from Mycotex mushroom fibre in a lab that is now the atelier of the future? It looks like lace, with zero waste, and zero water consumption and don’t worry; it won’t smell like you after three days at Glastonbury! It also comes with anti-microbial properties and simplifies the manufacturing process, as weaving becomes redundant. When you have tired of wearing it and long for something new, you can just put your magic mushroom garment in the recycle bin to turn it into compost with zero guilt and start dreaming of your fashion acquisition.

Gold Pintatex Biker Jacket by Altiir

Or you could pay homage to Marlon Brando as the motorcycle kid in the Wild One, and invest in Altiir’s inky, super luxurious black biker jacket that looks like leather, ages gracefully like leather, and yet it is cleverly fashioned from a new luxe pineapple leaf fibre fabric, called Pinatex, a remarkable by-product of the fruit industry, that has taken RCA alumnus, Dr. Carmen Hijosa, just over a decade to perfect, from pineapple farm to hanger.

Oh, and if you want to emulate your rock n roll heroes – David Bowie or Jimi Hendrix, you could go for the gold or silver versions of the biker jacket. I can’t wait to see Madonna, Will I Am, or perhaps Elon Musk, wearing one of these gleaming, out this world jackets to tap into our renewed love affair with exploring brave new worlds, on the catwalk, and in a galaxy far beyond planet earth.

Fashion has to be Great to Be Revolutionary

There was a time when the idea of sustainable fashion was dirty a word on the catwalk, a word consigned to the outer reaches of the fashion firmament. At the time, it deserved its outcast label. The first examples of sustainable fashion back in the late nineties and early noughties were more about ideals and a form of protest than sex appeal and desirability. Fashion has to be great to be influential, to change everything. It has to break your heart to smithereens with beauty, ingenuity, craftsmanship, and novelty that can work at scale. Bad fashion with ethics is still bad fashion.

Now it is the zeitgeist because the world of luxury fashion has decided to embrace sustainability and put its weight behind the science of innovation. This is good news. What happens at the top of fashion affects the entire fashion chain from slow to fast fashion. When high fashion sets the agenda, everyone else follows.

Sustainability is the new luxury and that is a very good thing.

Why, even Star Wars is embracing sustainability as Ray and Finn wear out of this world stellar boots designed by creative director Sven Segal for Po-Zu, who is also working with Pinatex.

The fact that Lucas Films chose a sustainable British shoe company to award their first footwear franchise is a bold and exciting move. It demonstrates that good fashion and circular economy ideas are becoming mainstream and highly desirable to iconic brands like the Star Wars franchise.

Next time you eat a pineapple or drink a very fine glass of Bordeaux think about the ingenious idea of fruity fashion! As Edwina Ehrman, the curator behind the V&A’s groundbreaking Fashioned from Nature says, “Fashion from food waste really does have the power to capture the public imagination – because they can understand it.”

The same applies to celebrity star power. While Emma Watson has used hers to declare she will only wear sustainable fashion on the red carpet, Olivia Wilde worked with H&M on the Conscious Exclusive Collection in 2015 and boldly said, “Ethical fashion isn’t a fashion fantasy, it’s an attainable reality. I think this is how all fashion should be. Great style that is naturally more sustainable.”

So fear not. All the beauty, artistry and craftsmanship of haute fashion which sets hearts on fire is alive and flourishing as this is a revolution driven by the icons of fashion, along with cutting-edge science and innovation, and a new age of ingenious thrift, which has always been the bedfellow of luxury.

The Queen of Couture Thrift

Her Majesty The Queen recording her Christmas message to the nation and the Commonwealth in 2017.

No one sets a better example of luxurious thrift than the queen of England, Queen Elisabeth the second. Her couture and bespoke outfits are always fashioned to last and last, to be treated as precious heirlooms, to be lovingly reworked, updated and upcycled. There is no doubt that she is inspiring the new generation of royals to follow her thoughtful, thrifty example. Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, have both been seen wearing the same outfits in public, thus following in the considered, elegant footsteps of her majesty and setting an example that we should all love and cherish the clothes we have and take great care of them. Now, it would be great to see the Kate and Meghan wearing the crème de la crème of conscious, sustainable fashion garments. I can certainly see the more adventurous Meghan Markle wearing a slow, whimsical, made in Britain, fashion work of art by the label to know Klements or a fluttering gown in lustrous peace silk, embellished with banana fibre, by conscious couturier Lucy Tammam – the Catherine Walker of ethical haute couture.

After seventy years of throwaway culture, we are moving to an age of circular fashion and the increasingly popular idea of also renting designer fashion, which also democratises it too. How on earth did we live before the circular economy advanced into our lives? In the future, we will look back on the years following WW2 as a sort of primitive, mini dark ages, when we failed to protect the very thing that so inspires and captivates us – nature in all her infinite variety.

Buy Better Fashion, Change the World

Let’s hope this truly is a new golden age in fashion, where the natural world and our boundless desire to capture nature on a gown, on a beautiful embellished shoe or fabulous handbag is just the beginning of a beautiful, awe-inspiring, super duper sustainable relationship. A time when our obsession and passion to express who we really our does become a thing of beauty inside and out. The last word goes to Emma Watson, “ As consumers, we have so much power to change the world by just being careful in what we buy.”

Alison Jane Reid Copyright November 2018. This Fashion Feature is supported by C&A Foundation

Images courtesy of the V&A, Po-Zu Shoes, Klements, Neffa MycoTEX, Altiir, Stella McCartney, Carcel. 

Ethical Hedonist astrology


Horoscope by Victor Olliver


December 2018

Visit Victor’s website for a list of astro-services and fees: www.victorolliver.com





March 21-April 20

Wild is the seasonal wind – and we’re not talking sprouts wind now – as feral Uranus, planet of independence and surprises returns to Aries and performs one more Sinatra-like comeback, till March 2019. On the good side this unleashes an agitated sense of adventure: if you’re champing to change things, Uranus provides the battering ram. But the other side of this is that life becomes additionally unpredictable: all sorts of strange turns can be expected, in close relationships especially with Venus in opposition as we start December. The auspices are good for sex and money, perhaps not brilliant for long-term bonds right now: stay flexible in your expectations, then you can’t go far wrong. Well, you can’t have everything.




April 21-May 21

Taurus being an earth sign likes a good sensual wallow – ooh, don’t get me started, you horned creature. Venus moves into Scorpio at the start of December and dominates the rest of the month, favouring a deepening connection and/or greater savvy in financial matters. Scorpio is the delver, the investigator, the deep-sea diver – so this month you’re looking into areas that normally are off-limits – perhaps you seek greater knowledge of someone close. With Uranus out of your sign for now (which has been distracting of late) little will stop you in your journey into the emotional underground. Venus in Scorpio can also denote eccentric turns in the bedroom (or wherever). Mind you lock the door first.




May 22-June 21

The house is positively heaving with electricians, plumbers, Jehovah’s Witnesses – it’s that time of the year when people come calling to repair stuff or save your soul. Ruler Mercury turns direct this month in your house of relationships so expect quite a change of focus in one bond at least: last month you were raking over the ashes of one; yet now the coals appear to be still a-glow, so you can proceed hand-in-hand with someone, but better informed. With Jupiter and Mercury opposite your sign, the potential to make shrewd alliances with useful people is considerable, provided you smile, listen, do not look over shoulders and use a good mouthwash. Socially and professionally, err towards the enlightened pioneers – for they will err towards you.



June 22-July 22

Health and work are the dominant themes of your December, and the cherry on top is a full moon in Cancer on Christmas Eve. The ‘cherry’ because thank goodness your chart is not just all about people-pleasing, of which you are having to do a lot this month. Full moon promises your moment to explode, express, unleash and unburden. Something. This is not just about the festivities. Work is heavy at this time, responsibilities are growing – did anyone think to ask you first what you think? Well, this month you’ll be letting them know: ‘them’ being bosses, colleagues or anyone who may have been a little insensitive of late. Do pay attention to your persona wellbeing and energy levels: if you’re a vegan check you’re topped-up with B12. That sort of thing. Yes, a crazyish time, but all manageable.




July 23-August 23

With both Mars (action) and Neptune (fog or mysticism) in your chart house of sex, money and psychology, life is starting to feel like a not unpleasant drowning in a sea of fragrance. Not that you’re literally drowning, but there is that lurking feeling that you’re sinking into something and you have no idea quite what it is – this could be a relationship, a business transaction or perhaps a seeping into a weird cult of some kind. It’s almost rather nice but mind you can see a shore. Just in case. Otherwise, what are you whining about? You have good things going on, especially where you’re the star of the show or showing off a natal talent. OK, so there are some whoozy things in your life – make the most of the spotlight you’re assured.




August 24-September 22

On a charm offensive, are we? You’re out to razzle-dazzle and win over, seduce, self-advertise and generally remind the world of how gorgeously talented you are. And of course, you are. With Venus in Scorpio, use the extra charisma bestowed on your words, written or spoken. You can’t fail. When you’re not w(h)ining and dining, there’s the home-family life area to focus on, and with ruler Mercury turning direct this month, a domestic plan you may have been pondering gets the green light. Jupiter’s influence ensures that this a restless and expansive time so far as loved ones are concerned – it shouldn’t be surprising if a residential move or a major tarting-up of the abode is not in consideration. No need to rush.



September 23-October 23

Got your sales pitch ready? What a month for flogging your wares! You’ll be putting all those festive prezzies on Ebay come Boxing Day, but hopefully you will resist such ghastly practices and use the extra persuasive muscle you have this month to open up opportunities in the lives of others to benefit from whatever it is you have up for sale. Jupiter in your house of words, boosted by the Sun and garrulous and tricky Mercury, ensures business growth through your propaganda or other device of seduction. Uranus’ return to oppose your sign does bring back a little instability in some of the people you know, but Uranus also bestows excitement and electricity – on cold nights, these are not things to spurn lightly. In a sense Christmas offers little in the way of respite, but likely financial returns will justify your labours and talk.



October 23-November 22

The softer side of life is emphasised as Venus makes a home in Scorpio this month – you’ll feel like a furry kitty all rolled up in a ball after dining on a feast of processed puree for pussies. While physical vanity is not one of your vices as a rule, it is highly likely that circumstances will draw your attention to image and appearance – it cannot be ruled out that you’ll be paying a visit to a laser therapist or some other type of cosmetic operative to restore beauty to the classical ruin. This being Christmas, the festive stocking will ladder on all the scents and unguents people gift you – if you go missing at any point, you’ll be easily traceable the lovely pong. Just stay upwind of people so they can enjoy you – or find you. Sex, fun, laughter, beauty: take your pick from these options.




November 23-December 21

Remarkably fortunate omens are contained in your chart – how could this not be when your ruler Jupiter now processes through Sagittarius and does so till December 2019? Plans for the future weigh heavily on your mind, not helped by the Mercury retrograde as we start this month. But then on the 6th, it moves forward again, and gradually certain notions will clarify after doubts and muddles. You’re up to something, something quite major – but do you have the confidence to pull it off? Take heart from Jupiter which brings you a bigger vision and a more adventurous spirit, and draws to you opportunity equal to your talents. And the rest is up to you. In December, you’ll get an inkling of things to come in 2019 – breaking away from a certain tie, ready to fly (again).




December 22-January 20

To the rest of the world you’ll be all aglitter and rather glamorous, as if the lost butterfly has returned for the festive reason. Superficial people will imagine that you’ve turned into someone out of a Dynasty rerun. In truth an internal change is well underway as a philosophy, faith or mystical awareness works slowly on your soul, preparing you for new and heavy responsibilities heading your way. Since Capricorn was designed for such burdens, you shouldn’t doubt or fear the future. You will enjoy this journey the more self-aware you are – which requires work to be done on the self. So, immerse yourself in enlightening ideas and experiences, even as you gad about at parties. Incidentally, social life this month is bound up with work. Strike new alliances. Avoid time-wasters.




January 21-February 19

You really are in your element this month – much more yourself: inspired, social, surprising, connected. All these qualities will help open doors and goodwill, especially as Jupiter, though in Sagittarius, is in your chart house associated with Aquarius. This also brings happy fortune to a business and to all activities of humanitarian purpose. Financially, the news may not be so brilliant, with Mars and Venus occupying your house of income: it’s not that you lose, more that you don’t know entirely where you stand in a cash matter. If you can wait until the New Year to make any important decisions on spending or buying then do so. Otherwise be sceptical of promises made, and do research on any newcomer who assures you of a profit. Best to focus on the good you can do through your ideas and outreaching – this is where you win.




February 20-March 20

All you can think about is career and status, and the best advice I can give you is: give it a rest. Early 2019 is much more favourable for you to re-launch yourself or move against someone standing in your way. While Mars close to your ruler Neptune certainly boosts creativity and spiritual purpose, they form a challenging angle to planets in your house of career/status, tending to create confusion, false perceptions and even misrepresentation. Don’t believe all the office gossip, tread cautiously. Even so, with Mercury moving direct on the 6th, there’s all to play for as you plot and plan while observing a scene – call it a preparatory time. Action can follow in January or February 2019 when the planets re-aligned enable you to surf a lot more safely and effectively.


Victor Olliver is editor of The Astrological Journal, flagship magazine of the Astrological Association. He can be contacted via: Volliver5@gmail.com.











When AJ Met Edwina at the V&A Museum

Reader, imagine a world where there is no intoxicating, beguiling nature left to plunder, adorn and inspire our collective, never-ending appetite for new clothes.

In this documentary fashion interview, I examine the future of fashion and ingenious, state of the art, circular and sustainable fashion and textile innovation with Edwina Ehrman, historian, and curator of Fashioned from Nature at the V & A Museum.

The exhibition asks an important question of our time. How can we continue to enjoy our passion for fashion and adorn ourselves in new clothing, without destroying the beauty and infinite variety of nature? Can icons like Emma Watson, Sienna Miller and Leonardo di Caprio influence a generation to change the way they think about fashion?

Since the very beginnings of civilization, we have looked to nature to adorn ourselves, keep us warm and to captivate the senses; but that is also the problem. Encouraged by the idea of novelty, and the desire for greater, and greater profits, the fashion industry has run rampant. Polluting it’s way from the grim Victorian cotton mills – to the glittering contemporary catwalks of Paris, London, Milan and New York, with a twinkling, never-ending mirage of newness, novelty, excess, and celebrity razzmatazz to hide the dirty truth. And the truth is this. The fashion industry exploits both people and planet and resources, in order to fuel the idea that we have nothing to wear. But those resources are finite.

It is also true that fashion is a genius at innovation, and that is where the solution lies. We need to find a better way to enjoy and experience fashion, and perhaps, in the near future, it will be more about the experience than ownership or a marriage between the two.

Of course fashion matters. It is one of the highest forms of self-expression and of creativity and the imagination. Where would be if we couldn’t continue to immerse ourselves in art, beauty, ideas and the desire to captivate? It is what makes us human. The good news is that we are moving on from sixty years of throwaway fashion, and the idea that we have never had it so good – to a smart circular age, where waste becomes the new gold, and we innovate to transform our post-consumer goods and waste into beautiful and remarkable new goods. This is where all the excitement lies in the fashion of the future – it’s all about reinvention and the circular economy.

Pioneering Ethical Fashion Journalism at You Magazine

When I first started to ask this question as a feature writer and fashion editor, I was working for Sue Peart the former editor of You Magazine between 2004-6. At the time, the magazine was a great supporter of organic food and farming, and I proposed a series of ethical fashion features, that would use icons to question how we make and consume fashion and look at new, more sustainable ways to be fashionable. I wondered if we could embrace a renewed spirit of thrift, ingenuity and make do and mend in a way our grandmothers and great-grandmothers learned how to do so well between the two great wars of the 20th Century.

Sienna Miller, star of Alfie, Factory Girl, and Cabaret, kindly agreed to be my muse for a feature with People Tree, the pioneering Fair-trade Fashion house. After a flurry of calls and a great deal of planning, we took off a to an exquisite Victorian garden in Surrey, with top fashion lensman, Mike Owen, to photograph Sienna in Fair-trade, organic velvet mini dresses, gauzy, handcrafted, Stevie Nicks knitwear and twinkling, boho Gatsby cloches, made by my Danish archaeologist friend Anna, who works on a loom in her sitting room. Little to did Anna know what she was letting herself in for, but more of that later!

Sienna Miller Tells the World to Buy Organic Knickers

I am now going to make a confession to you. Directing a sustainable fashion story at this time wasn’t easy. Sienna and I had to get seriously creative with a far too long velvet skirt, which we turned into a mini boob tube dress, and teamed with a gorgeous pair of Sienna’s supine, boho suede boots. Yes, this was in the very early days of ethical fashion, and a whole lot of customization had to happen. Of course, that is what fashion is all about. Sienna really believed in the story and she was absolutely brilliant about mucking in and making the clothes look amazing. She also told me to tell You Magazine readers to ‘buy organic knickers and change the world’ and that really started something!

People Tree Goes to Top Shop

The day after the feature came out on a Sunday, You magazine received hundreds of phone calls from readers wanting to know where they could buy the clothes, and People Tree was invited to sell in Top Top. Anna’s pale gold cloche, shot with glitter was a huge hit, and my poor friend was both delighted and bemused by the reaction, which included enough inquiries for twenties hand knitted Sienna cloches to swap archaeology for fashion. The story and interview with Sienna really helped to ignite interest in the fledgling sustainable fashion industry and in a love of upcycling and reinventing our existing clothes into exciting new clothes. The seeds had been sown.

Based on the success of the Sienna Miller feature, Sue commissioned me to do a second sustainable fashion feature. This time, I took the daughters of British rock ‘n’ royal royalty to a waste recycling centre, outside London and photographed them in experimental, upcycled couture evening gowns, against a colourful backdrop of bales of rather stinky recycled newspaper! It was just as well it was the middle of winter. Fortunately for me, our lovely rock muses firmly wanted to help save the planet and put sustainable fashion on the front page and not one of them complained about the location or the freezing temperatures.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Green Fashionistas 

Fast forward to 2018, and what a long, long way we have come. Back in 2006, it took me months of detective work and dogged journalistic inquiry, to track down designers who were beginning to make elegant up-cycled fashion worthy of the rock glitterati. There was a lot of very, very bad ethical fashion around at the time and it was ugly, primitive and unwearable. Two designers who really stood out, and they are still doing exciting work today are From Somewhere and Victim London. Both were featured in this early fashion feature with David Gilmour’s daughter Sarah, Sting’s daughter Mickey and Leah Wood, the daughter of Ronnie Wood.

It is exciting to see how sustainable fashion has grown up, become a movement in the last decade, and attracted the brightest stars from our fashion universities. For make no mistake, it is great fashion that will change the world and protect our blue planet. Not bad fashion that is dull but worthy.

Fashioned from Nature proves this point. As Edwina Ehrman says, ‘we are showing good fashion here’. I would go further, and say that the fashion innovation on show at the V & A is as exciting as Dior’s New Look at the end of World War Two and the glittering 18th century manteau court dress, embroidered like a tapestry with flowers, butterflies and leaves in such intricacy and realism, it is as if the natural world has colonized the dress.

Go and see the exhibition. Look at the star sustainable pieces and marvel at the couture craftsmanship and skill of fashion. In 1997, the mercurially brilliant Jean Paul Gaultier showed that you don’t need to kill an animal for its fur to drape oneself in its iconic beauty. You can recreate the beauty and miracle of evolution in his witty leopard gown, which fools everyone into thinking it’s real!

Jean Paul’s Gaultier’s Leopard Couture Masterpiece

In fact, it is handcrafted to reveal all the light and shade and texture of the leopard in a thousand hours of astonishing beadwork. Then, look at Ferragamo’s orange fiber skirt and blouse, which captures the fruitfulness of Sicily, with a print of tiny oranges and figures is an innovative delight, whilst saving 600,000 tonnes of citrus waste from the fruit industry every year. While leather gets an animal-friendly makeover in the fluid, tactile beauty and movement achieved, with Mycelium mushroom leather. Your brave new world of smart, sustainable and utterly covetable fashion starts here.

Seven years ago, when I interviewed Sir David Attenborough for the launch of Frozen Planet, he told me that he was optimistic about the future, despite the challenges we face. ‘Human beings are the smartest mammals on the planet. I hope that we will innovate our way out of trouble’, he said. It seems that he was right.

Unless we want to get in a spaceship with Elon Musk and move to Mars, it is time to use our imaginations to dream up and create a super sustainable world, where nature is all around us, not a thing apart. The Fashioned from Nature exhibition proves this point. It is full of extraordinary and ingenious ideas for creating new, luxurious fibres from mushrooms to citrus waste and even clothes made from recyclable paper and Emma Watson’s super sustainable Met Gala gown, made a new polyester yarn spun from recycled plastic bottles in Italy.

The Future is Circular

In the near future, I have no doubt that the idea of sending a barely worn garment to landfill will be considered primitive and wasteful and those circular economy ideas will rule the roost not just in our wardrobes, but in every aspect of our lives, and our the throwaway society gives way to a new greenage of alchemy, pillar box red lipstick, and glorious reinvention.

Copyright Alison Jane Reid/Ethical Hedonist Magazine. All Rights Reserved June 2018.

Alison Jane Reid’ Fashion Documentary and this article are made possible by  C&A Foundation. Support more exciting sustainable fashion journalism by sharing this article and backing our new crowdfunding project and get involved today on @Patreon here –  Ethical Hedonist on Patreon

Follow us on Twitter @ethicalhedmag please share using the hashtag   #EHFashfromNatureDoc

Images Copyright the V & A Museum and Alison Jane Reid/EthicalHedonistMagazine 2018. 

Ethical Hedonist Awarded Social Enterprise Status.

I am very proud to share some important and exciting news! Ethical Hedonist Magazine has been awarded social enterprise status by Social Enterprise UK. We are now a social enterprise media business for the work we do as an organic and sustainable magazine to inspire an exciting world of sustainable cities and local, organic and biodynamic communities and to champion the arts and creative industries for people and the health of our planet.

Good Journalism for People and Planet

We do this through the power of #goodjournalism, storytelling and the craft of long-form feature writing – because good storytelling never goes out of fashion. We have also been awarded social enterprise status for the mentoring and internship programme we have run since the start for university students studying for a degree in journalism, with a special interest in mental health and wellbeing at university. We are now forging a relationship with the school of journalism and communications @KingstonUniversity and we have also worked with students from Winchester School of Art, Birmingham University and Cambridge University.

Our Goal is to Inspire More Organic, Biodynamic and Fair-trade Consumption

Given the current state of our democracies – it has never been more important to support #goodjournalism and to understand and appreciate the difference between real journalism which is about ideas, carried out by trained, talented and experienced journalists with a code of ethics (Our editor is a member of the NUJ – National Union of Journalists) and fake news  and content marketing fuelled by giant, faceless corporations who are trying to sell you something by stealth or to influence your political decision making.

Let’s Collaborate More

The vineyard at Palazzo Tronconi

Given that the internet and social media is awash with fake news and content marketing masquerading as ‘news’ it is time for journalists and ethical media to stand up for ideas and storytelling and to encourage you to adopt our independent sustainable arts, food and fashion magazine. With your help, our goal is to reach many more readers and do more with the hash tags #goodjournalism #journalismmatters #realnews and #scent so that we can help more and more organic, biodynamic, circular economy and fair -trade pioneers and sustainable companies to transform our world. We also want to support and collaborate with more journalists, filmmakers, actors, composers, artists, and musicians to tell the stories of our time. When we come together and act collaboratively, we can achieve anything.

Pay for Quality Journalism with Social Impact.  Support Our Monthly Crowdfunding Campaign for the Price of a Good Coffee

Now let’s talk about how you can help us right back. Unlike the Guardian, I don’t think we should be begging for donations. We are running a beautifully crafted social enterprise business and it must be financially sustainable. Journalism is my profession. I am highly skilled and experienced at what I do. If you love what we do and want to support us, pay for our journalism. Join our monthly crowdfunding campaign @Patreon and pledge £3.00 – the price of a good cup of coffee or more to adopt, support us and get involved if you wish. Or you can set up a monthly pledge via our Paypal button on the homepage. We always need volunteers to help with admin and social media help, in return for donated gifts and experiences.

More Ways to Support and Fund Ethical Hedonist Magazine

Here are other ways you can help us to thrive – Buy from our organic, slow luxury and preloved magazine shop. And tell us what you want us to feature more of.

Ethical Hedonist Shop

Join our Sustainable, Organic and Fairtrade Luxury Magazine Directory –  Startups up what’s left of 2018 free when you sign up for 2019 now and pay £100 for the whole of next year.  That is just £10 PCM. Small businesses only. Or you can pay £15.00 pcm by direct debit or standing order.

Hire Us for  Your Next Media Campaign or One of Kind Piece of Ethical Storytelling

If you are a business – hire our editor AJ and her media interns to create a piece of beautifully crafted, thought-provoking storytelling, film, video, short film or a social media campaign about your sustainable and organic brand. AJ worked for The Times for ten years and she is a world-class storyteller. Check out this story AJ wrote about the Campo Viejo sustainable winery in Rioja –  You will find all the info on our creative media services on the homepage or email us – ethicalhedonistmagazine@gmail.com 

Click On our Ethical Deals, Offers and Affiliate Partnership Links

Click on organic, sustainable and Fair-trade deals, links and special offers. We only work with organic and sustainable companies we have carefully vetted before agreeing on partnerships. For the next week we have a deal for readers with Bulb Renewable Energy in the UK – Switch to Bulb and get £100 of your first energy bill. The magazine will earn £100 for every reader who switches. Please quote Ethical Hedonist to get the deal – The offer ends on the November 14th at 11.59pm. UK Customers Only  Ethical Hedonist Bulb Deal

Shop via our Organic, Fairtrade and Biodynamic Shopping Editorials

Buy your winter and Christmas shopping through us – we have launched some beautiful organic, fair-trade and sustainable shopping editorials – the magazine earns a commission when you click on the link and buy the product via us. Frida Kahlo  Organic, Artisan and Fairtrade  Style Guide

Follow us on Twitter @EthicalHedMag and use the hashtags #media4earth #goodjournalism #socent