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Happy feet… or where to find cool vegan shoes in the UK

15 May

Vegan boots from Free People

I’ve always had a thing for shoes. Aged 4, I chose bright red dolly shoes to wear to school. Everyone else wore black or navy shoes (as my teacher did point out) but I didn’t mind that one bit.

Fast forward through my other shoe choices (not a ‘sensible’ shoe in sight over those years) to my choice to go vegan last July. It might sound silly but one of the things that had held me back from going vegan was shoes. Now, I know going down the no leather route isn’t for everyone but for me it felt part and parcel. I’m definitely a believer in putting my money where my mouth is… or where my feet are!

In fact, when asked in the early months what I missed about going vegan, my only response was shoes. In those early months, I found it hard to find nice or cool shoes that I wanted to buy… but now I think I’ve cracked it. So for anyone else who’s on the hunt for non-leather shoes or who’s just curious about other options, I thought I’d share my ‘finding vegan shoes’ tips.

So, here’s the thing, it’s totally possible to find cool lovely vegan shoes in the UK. It’s not as easy as I’d like it to be but by supporting the people who make nice animal-free options, I’m hoping they’ll make more shoes (yay) and then maybe more people will think about making them too (double yay).

So here’s my two methods for finding vegan shoes – and my favourite places to buy them.

1. Deliberately vegan shoes. 

These are the people committed to making vegan shoes more accessible and my gosh I love them for it. Their shoes can be pricer than high street but all the options below are so well made that I’ve been really happy with them. (Living in London puts shoes through their paces so I can also testify that they all wear well too!)

a. Beyond Skin. Natalie Portman wears their shoes so you’re in good company. I introduced a friend to them and she bought her wedding and bridesmaid shoes from them. Me, I love their fun flats – I get loads of compliments when I wear their ‘b flats’ and they’re comfy to wear all day too (always a bonus).

How to find cool vegan shoes

b. Good Guys (Don’t Wear Leather). This Paris-based brand ship to the UK (and they’re super nice too… I had a bit of a faff returning my shoes – thanks post office – for another size and they were really great about it). They do these summery sandals but also colourful brogues and boot trainers too. I have my eye on their stripy shoes for this summer.

Where to find vegan shoes in the UK

c. Free People’s vegan collection. I can’t explain how much I love this Free People’s vegan shoe collection. I basically want everything in every colour. And I’d love them to do more! Both the ‘bad ass heels’ and the ‘silly boots’ below are two of my favourites at the moment… somehow I always feel happier when these are on my feet!

Vegan shoes in the UK

d. Urban Outfitters vegan boot and sandals. I have two pair of vegan boots from Urban Outfitters which are go-to, everyday boots. Urban Outfitters don’t have a filter (please add one) so you can’t search for their vegan shoes online, you just have to look at the ‘details’ section but they do have a few options which is always nice.

e. Novacas…  Now these aren’t the easiest to find in the UK but they are sometimes stocked by Fashion Conscience who also happen to stock lots of vegan options so totally worth checking out.

Where to find vegan shoes in the UK | Conversation Pieces


2. Accidentally vegan shoes. 

So here’s the surprising thing… there are lots of vegan shoes on the high street. They’re ‘accidentally vegan’ rather than deliberately so, but I don’t mind that one bit. It’s easier to ‘spot’ the vegan versions online as you can add filters or search for ‘synthetic’ – whereas in the shops, you have to turn over the shoe to look at the materials label. (If it’s got all diamond shapes then you’re good, if it has the little stretched-out hide symbol then it has leather somewhere.)

a. ASOS and their ‘non-leather’ filter. I love ASOS’s non-leather filter… You just go to shoes, scroll down to the bottom filter and ask to only see ones without leather, like my Pull & Bear glitter boots below. The good thing is that there’s lots of options, the bad thing is that there’s lots of options (sorry, bank account!).

Where to find cool vegan shoes in the UK

b. Miss KG from Kurt Geiger. I bought from Miss KG before I went vegan as I really like printed and sparkly shoes… and I was delighted to realise how many of their shoes are ‘accidentally vegan’ too. So it’s one of my first stops if I’m looking for something fun.

Where to find vegan shoes in the UK

c. New Look, Zara, River Island etc… A surprising number of high street shops do non-leather shoes, and they do tend to be cheaper (which redresses my bank account a little!). Again, shopping online is easier so you can filter what you want to see.

Where to find cool vegan shoes in the UK

How to find vegan shoes in the UK

Happy shopping kids (yes, I’m aware I’m a total enabler here!!!). That said, I’m always looking for more vegan shoes and adding them to my vegan shoes collection on Pinterest, so if you want to enable me too then I’m always happy about that too. If anyone knows of any other places/tips, let me know… me and my feet will be your biggest fans!

Japan finds: a tape elephant, washi tape stamps and more

23 Jul

At the weekend, the lovely Lauren came round and took some pics of me and my flat for a feature I’m writing (and another little project too). Before she arrived, I was having a look at my own camera and discovered that I’d taken lots of snaps of my Japan finds and never shared them…

I took them so long ago (or it feels like so long ago) that the pictures next to them are all of Fab ice lollies! (Yes, it was back when we had some sunshine and I ate up to 2 Fabs every day! Very healthy I know!)

Anyway… normally when I go away, I buy nearly nothing. I think I worry about how much money I spend while I’m there and then when I get home, I go “I wish I’d bought xxx”. Always.

So this time, I treated myself to a few funny little cute things (you’ve already seen the biscuit maker and the egg moulds) but here’s some of the other things…

A pink elephant sellotape dispenser… an essential, is he not?

And of course more washi tape. It’s so cheap in Japan. So so so very cheap. And so pretty! And there’s so many more varieties (yes, that’s one with pins and safety pins on it!)

I actually bought more than this but managed to leave a bag on the plane that had some of the rolls in it. And it was never found, sad times! (Or a good excuse to go back!)

I also ‘invested’ in these gorgeous wooden stamps… yes those three on top are washi tape stamps! Just when you thought I couldn’t get any more washi tape obsessed!

I also bought some doily stamps too… again utterly essential! (Not sure how yet!)

Does anyone else totally geek out over stationery? (I know Lynne from Tea For Joy would have been in her element!) I kept picking up pretty tags and fun stickers… and thinking ‘I need these!’

Oh and you know you really need some ‘puzzle point markers’… yes I don’t really know what they are either but I loved the way the animals were jigsawed together.

And how could I resist some bunny shaped paper clips?

All my important documents are going to have these on them from now on! Maybe… (Or at least anything I send to Cara from Peonies and Polaroids should!)

There’s a shop in Tokyo called Winged Wheel. It sells the most beautiful little letter-pressed things I have ever seen. (And they are amazingly, mouth-wateringly affordable! Yes, you can salivate over paper!!)

I bought myself some tiny business cards… which are way too nice to give to anyone!

Yes, those are sponges. Wearing outfits. Yes, I know. Insane but amazingly so. (I popped in to see Rachael from Hannah Zakari the other day and she has one too in her kitchen. So I’m in good sponge company!)

Um, yes, you can never have enough cute sponges right? (These cost the equivalent of 50p, it seemed rude not to get them!)

This is my little watcher… the Fox-Owl-Cat is always fascinated by me taking photos of things on the floor…

… things like these animal soy bottles. (I do eat a lot of sushi, so I’ve been using these already.)

And some Japanese paper balloons… again so cheap in Japan, it made me want to buy them by the boxful.

Just in case, you were wondering cats are not so impressed by Japanese balloons…

And so there you have it. Possibly the most random selection of stuff I have ever brought back from a trip. But good, happy, colourful random… which I think is a pretty good memento of Japan really.

So, my dears, what do you bring back from your travels?
Do you buy sensible stuff or silly souvenirs?

A tiger print + polka dots = happy hall

7 Jun

My hall has always bothered me.

It’s long, doesn’t get a lot of light
and we tend to just dump stuff
there when we come in.

It’s also the first thing you see
when you come in the door.

Well, no more. Now what you see
is this fine fella… Mr Tiger.

I got this print specifically for the hall
but he felt like he needed some company…


So I got some little shelves from Present & Correct,
and happily got sent some amazing PolkaLOVE!
from Denmark to brighten up the walls too…

I originally bought Kerry‘s Good Times print
for a friend… but then forgot to give it to them!
Whoops! So I decided to keep it…
(It wasn’t the plan all along. Honest!)

The other shelf is currently ‘exhibiting’
a few cards I picked up in Japan
and my cross-stitched charity find.


Not sure if I’ve finished putting up the PolkaLOVE! yet,
still have loads more… but I’m also loving how well it sits
with our Hang It All (generous wedding present!).

All in all, a much happier hall than before.
And hopefully all the colour/tiger-ness
will distract from the mess of discarded
shoes, bags, bike helmets etc etc!

******

P.S. Has anyone ever successfully kept their hall tidy?
If so, do tell! Shoes in a suitcase is how I’m rolling right now!

P.P.S. Regulars here might notice I’m blogging less nowadays.
I’m over on Instagram pretty much every day though.
Anyone else feel that it’s just easier than blogging?

China on your wrist?

21 Jul

How pretty are these bracelets by StayGoldMaryRose? Each one is made from a vintage china cup.

I can’t quite make up my mind about how easy these would be to wear… I would worry about clanking them off my desk and breaking them. (I’m such a delicate girl!) There’s also part of me that feels sort of sad for the cups – which is exactly how I felt when I saw this teacup light pendant – but at the same time I think it’s a great upcycling idea.

What do you think? Would you wear them?

P.S. No Weddingnesday post this week as I can’t think about wedding stuff until we’ve finished the kitchen! (Hopefully this weekend, we’ll get it nearer to being finished… at the moment, we’re still on the plastering the walls stage but once that’s all done we can put the cabinets in properly. Yay!)

Closet clearout… dresses for sale

4 Jul

I’m having a long overdue clear-out of clothes that I don’t wear or that don’t fit anymore. (I need to make room for the vintage wedding dresses I’ve been acquiring!) I’ve been meaning to do it for ages but I get sentimental about clothes regardless of whether they work for me!

There’s 9 things for sale at the moment – but if I get time I’ll add more this week. Anyway, if you fancy a yellow polka dot 1950s dress, 70s wedding dress or even a cape, then have a look at my listings here… (Try not to laugh at my serious ‘how on earth am I meant to stand?’ expression!)

The seriousness got less serious when the cats decided they wanted to get in the pictures too… Bet this doesn’t happen to Kate Moss!

Would you rather…

25 Jan

A little question for a Monday morning. Would you rather have a mini harmonica necklace or a mini whistle necklace?

I’m undecided. I know for a fact that I can’t play a harmonica but when it’s this tiny does that matter? Hmmm…

1. SeaUnicorn 2. MothHouse

How to make a wolf suit… on the sly!

12 Jan

So finally as promised, here is the making of the world’s most awesome Xmas present… as told to me by my little sis and OH. (They are so sneaky!!)

Step 1:
Source furry material for the main suit, yellow fleece for the crown – plus some buttons and velcro.

This may involve the following conversation in a fabric shop:

“How much fabric would I need to make a wolf suit?”

“To make a wool suits?”

“No, a WOLF suit” *bare teeth, growl & show claws*

“Oh, about 4 metres.”


Step 2:

Wait until your sister/other half (ie me!) is out for the night… and then steal her pjs to make your template with! (This will ensure your wolf suit fits.)

You’re going to cut two sides out of the fabric – a front (which will look like a gingerbread man without a head!) and a back (which will look like a gingerbread man with a head… this head will form your hood eventually).

Step 3:
Put the furry sides of the suit together (so the fur is inside) and lightly stitch the whole thing (apart from the cuffs and hood) to hold in place.

Watch out for cats wanting to sit on it. (Note this will happen a lot.)

You may have to hoover your carpet several times if yours is a stealth suit making mission as the fake fur will go everywhere!

Step 4:
Dust off your sewing machine… and sew like a crazy thing. (Obviously still leaving the ends undone for feet, hands and your head.)

Step 5:
Cut your wolf suit’s tummy open… this is where you’ll put velcro on the inside and buttons on the outside – and will ensure the suit can be put on.

Also why not try on the suit at this point – just to check out how cool it looks already! Ok, so you have no ears but you can use your hands to pretend you have some!

Step 6:
Sorting out your hood… because the back of your suit still sort of resembles a gingerbread man with a head (!) this big square section is what makes up your hood (as the previous pic).

Then “make a separate fur sausage shape to sew to the front of that (hood) for the curve & hemming of the front. If that makes sense!”

Step 7:

“Wolf ears – pointy triangles with two cards inserts each and stuffing. Sew on and pin to hood where they will stand almost upright. This was more than somewhat fidgety when doing it on yourself! Note: If possible get your helpful father to assist with pins… try to make sure he doesn’t repeatedly stab himself in the thumb though.”


Step 8:
Make your tail… “the tail’s gotta be long and heavy so with lots and lots of stuffing”. Then sew it on your suit.

Step 9:
Make yourself a fleece crown. Base this on a Christmas cracker hat… insert plastic tips into the crown points to ensure they stay up.

Step 10:
Give to your sister for her Xmas… expect a lot of wild behaviour to ensue!

P.S. Watch out for this checklist of injuries which may occur during the making of your wolf suit:

– Two pierced father’s thumbs
– 3 broken machine needles
– Two pairs of forever fluffy black tights
– One kitty that thinks I might have attacked her
– Many lost hours trying to figure out the right tension for elasticated fabric

P.P.S. Just in case, you haven’t had enough wolfy suitness. Here’s a vid my Dad shot on Xmas Day… let it be said that I didn’t know I was being filmed, I thought I was just getting my pic taken… and I hadn’t seen what I looked like yet! (Watch for the bit when I discover I have a tail!!)

She wears it well…

7 Sep

Have you seen the blog What Katie Wore? My friend, who’s currently working in Germany, sent me the link and I’m now in love with Katie and her outfits!

taken-when-katie-wore-a-new-nooka-519x1024

What’s more, it’s a whole lot cuter than the usual ‘see what I’m wearing’ blog… Katie told her boyfriend that he wasn’t romantic so he set up the blog to posts pics of what she wears each day and comment on them…

what-katie-wore-on-the-ides-of-july-541x1024

They also have a bet that she has to wear a different outfit every day for a year and designers are now sending her samples. Lucky girl huh?

what-katie-wore-in-the-grauniad-597x1024

I was thinking recently that I might start doing a ‘What I Wore This Week’ post so I could share some of my vintage dress finds etc – but my lovely other half hasn’t taken any suitable ‘outfit’ pics of me yet! (That and our camera never seems to be charged and I’m always running out of the door!) So much respect to Katie’s boyfriend for capturing her outfits so beautifully…

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