Thursday, 11 February 2016

Ethical Valentine's Gift Guide

If you're looking  to treat yourself or someone special this Valentine's Day, why not spread the love a little bit further with a present that gives back? These days it's easy to find beautiful, sustainable and ethically made products that beat the usual supermarket box of chocolates hands down - here's my pick of the best from companies with a conscience.

The new type of chocolate
Raw chocolate is revolutionising the confectionary industry, and rightly so! It's sun dried rather than heat treated, with minimal processing which means it stays as close to its natural state as possible, preserving all the vitamins and good bacteria. You can find raw chocolate at The Raw Chocolate Company, which ranked joint first place in Ethical Consumer's list of chocolate brands. All their products are vegan, organic and certified Fairtrade, with their specially-wrapped gift box selection priced at only £29.99 (below) - perfect for chocolate lovers or a girls' night in.

Sexy yet sustainable lingerie
Underprotection is a Copenhagen-based lingerie brand, which combines ethics and aesthetics through a mix of sleek, minimal design and sustainable materials such as Tencel, recycled polyester, organic cotton and bamboo. The brand is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation and has already made a name for itself, winning the CSR category at the ELLE Style Awards in 2014 and making the list of WGSN's top 5 brands at the Salon International de la Lingerie in Paris in the same year. They're currently having a final sale with up to 60% off, including these pieces that work just as well for day and night.

Candles with a conscience
If you'd like to add a relaxed or romantic aura to your evening, pure beeswax and vegetable-based candles such as soy are the way to go, as they release the least amount of harmful chemicals into the air compared to petroleum-based products. Look for candles in glass jars rather than plastic, and steer clear of excessive packaging. Etsy a great place to start for soy and beeswax candles, with many of the products handmade by small independents around the world.

From left: beeswax roses, cedar + pine soy candle, vanilla + rose beeswax candle
Not into gifting?
Why not arrange a meaningful experience that you can both share, such as a home-cooked meal, a trip to somewhere on your bucket list or a walk round all the places that hold wonderful memories for you both. For an even easier idea, create your own Valentine's vouchers or download these ones for free.
Happy Valentine's!

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