June shopping for the eco-minded

June shopping for the eco-minded

A host of good things if you've got some cash in your pocket and a home in need of a little something

Villeroy+Boch Lina collection

OK, sunny days are a rarity in the UK, but should the clouds blow away, take your Lina china collection from Villeroy + Boch into the garden for an imprompu picnic

Bowls, china and cushions are things lots of us are open to buying fairly often. They're the lipstick/mascara equivalent of homewares - the male equivalent of lipstick/mascara being...er...socks and small screwdrivers?

It's always good to buy fair trade products and Stuff of Dreams has a wide variety of  attractive homewares made by people in Asia and African countries, as well as by craftspeople in the UK.

We like the colourful bowls and baskets designed by Marisa Flick-Jordaan and made from telephone wire in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. Fairly-traded and recyclable, they ensure sustainable incomes for more than 350 home-based workers in four different communities.

Fair trade baskets made from telephone wires in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. www.stuffofdreams.com. Frm £15
Zig cushions covers made by weavers in Thailand, fairly traded. Covers are 70 per cent wildly harvested cotton and 30% rayon, botanical dyes. 43x43cms, £126. www.apoccas.com
Linen table runner by Lisa Durrant, 145x40cms. £36. www.pabloblue.co.uk
Lina collection from Villeroy+Boch in red, blue and beige colourways. Prices from £7.95. www.villeroy-boch.co.uk
White porcelain teapot with Scottish lambswool cosy hand-knitted by Ruth Cross, £84. www.pabloblue.co.uk
Colourful coconut shell bowls are perfect for nibbles or for nicnacs. From £6, www.greentulip.co.uk
Douglas moss green recycled glass bottle, £45 from John Lewis. www.johnlewis.com
Stripey porcelain milk jugs made by Bristol based Hanne Rysgaard, £45 each, www.notonthehighstreet.com

Apoccas is at the more luxury end of the market, but it's products are ethically-sourced and fairly-traded. It sells gorgeous throws and cushion-covers hand-made by weaving communities in Thailand. Cloth is made from 70 per cent wildy harvested cotton and 30 per cent rayon, while dyes are botanical, and the resulting colours are soft and muted. Some products have the Positive Luxury Blue Butterfly logo. 

Recycled glass products are becoming easier to find and good old John Lewis has some appealing pieces, including the substantial Douglas green glass bottle (£45).

Ceramics are pleasing, long-lasting and recyclable and plenty of ceramicists are hard at work in the UK. Among them are Bristol-based Hanne Rysgaard, whose charming porcelain milk cartons are proving hugely popular. She introduces new designs, including stripes, which can be bought at www.notonthehighstreet.com.

For UK-made homewares, Pablo Blue has an interesting mix of mainly contemporary products. We like the porcelain teapot with a hand-knitted cosy (£84), and Lisa Durrant's striped linen table runners (£36).

Bold colour and pattern


Hem soft shell chairs by PearsonLloyd for Modus have a steel frame and the upholstered parts come flat-packed. From £590. www.modusfurniture.co.uk
Rockingham oak or ash chairs from The Chair Men. From £425. www.thechairmen.co.uk
Recycled fibreboard monochrome storage box from The Holding Company. www.theholdingcompany.co.uk
New Bemz slip covers in Designers Guild linen. This cover in leaf fits Ikea's Klippan two-seater sofa. £309.
Moody Monday wallpaper
British glass pendants c1930 reclaimed and restored by Skinflint. £50 each. www.skinflintdesign.co.uk

For an easy chair for a home office or study, try the simple, modern Hem chair. UK furniture company Modus commissioned PearsonLloyd to design a chair that made economical use of materials and could be easily recycled at the end of its life.

The Hem soft shell chair has a steel frame, and fabric upholstery. The chair's been designed so it can be easily taken apart for recycling, and the upholstery arrives flat-packed, and ready to clip onto the frame. Prices from £590.

For a fun yet sturdy kitchen chair, the Rockingham from The Chair Men is a modern take on the classic Windsor chair. Made in England from oak or ash, the arms and legs can be painted in a variety of colours. Priced from £425.

If you have an Ikea sofa that is looking a bit tired, perk it up with a new linen slip cover from Bemz, which has introduced a range made in fabulous Designers Guild Brera Lino. These textiles are a heavyweight 100 per cent plain linen weave with a soft washed texture for excellent drape. Prices from £309.

For contemporary wallpapers in strong colours, see Edinburgh-based Moody Monday's impactful collections. The paper used is PEFC-sourced (The Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) and inks are water-based. Wallpapers are hand-printed in small batches in Edinburgh to ensure any waste is negligible.

For interesting lighting with an industrial history, Skinflint, based in Cornwall, is many an interior designer's favourite destination. Skinflint travels widely to rescue lighting discarded from  factories, churches, and other buildings and it restores them to a high standard. Products on sale change frequently because, obviously, only small numbers of a particular product are sourced.


Retap re-useable glass water bottles are ideal for carrying around in a bag. From £10. www.greentulip.co.uk
Biscayne wool stripe carpet from Crucial Trading is woven in Yorkshire. £69m2. www.crucial-trading.com
Hambledon raw oak dining table from The Garden Trading Company, £950
Doors to manual.. Fiskars' StaySharp new manual lawnmower is easy to use. £199.99

For big wooden tables that can be taken outside, the Garden Trading Company has a good selection. We like the Hambledon raw oak table at £950, with stools and benches available to go with it.

But should your mind be on interior flooring, the Biscayne wool stripe from Crucial Trading is delightful, with delicate colours that don't overpower a room. It's competitively priced for a wool carpet at £69m2 and it's woven in Yorkshire to boot.

And back to the garden .... with the electrification of so many products, from toothbrushes to egg whisks, it's good to see that Fiskars has brought out a lawnmower that runs on elbow grease.

Not that you'll be panting and sweating your way up and down the lawn because the StaySharp mower features InertiaDrive technology, we're told, which means pushing it is like a stroll in the park.. Anyway, it offers the scope for a bit of exercise and a reduction in demands on the electricity supplies. £199.99.

And if you need a drink after mowing, take a sip of water from the refillable Retap borosilicate glass bottle you keep to hand. Buying one means you won't need to waste money on un eco-friendly plastic bottles of water which still end up in their millions in landfill. Retap bottles are made in Europe, prices from £10.