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Ethical fashion directory

Mon, 21 Jul 2008 19:13:25 GMT

Your complete guide to shopping for ethical fashion, from Fairtrade babygrows to vegan shoes

Our guide is regularly updated. If you spot any inaccuracies or would like to submit your company for inclusion, please email lifeandstyle@guardian.co.uk Continue reading...

Homes and gardens spring special: the best gardening kit for a green and pleasant time - in pictures

Fri, 28 Mar 2014 16:30:00 GMT

Spring has sprung, so it's time to get out in the garden and get down to some proper work. Our gardening editor picks her favourite gear to set you up for a blooming good summer Continue reading...

New mums spending £1,000-plus on 'baby essentials' or costly gimmicks?

Sat, 22 Feb 2014 07:00:31 GMT

How much do you need to spend to prepare for a new baby? We talked to the mums who managed to keep the cost down to little more than £100, while others spent thousands
5 ways to save money on a new baby

The typical new mother spends around £1,000 preparing for a baby from buggies to cots and car seats, according to a survey by NetMums.com for Guardian Money, with one in 20 spending more than £3,000. But how much do you really need to spend?

More and more first-time mums are being encouraged to splash out on so-called "baby essentials", when many items are just gimmicks, says NetMums founder Siobhan Freegard.

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How to shop like the fashionable, federally indicted McDonnells

Wed, 22 Jan 2014 17:52:51 GMT

Former governor of Virginia and his wife have been charged with corruption in documents detailing extravagant purchases

Former Virginia governor Robert McDonnell and his wife Maureen were indicted on corruption charges yesterday, which include accepting extravagant gifts from a wealthy businessman.

The federal indictment lists that the McDonnells received an estimated $140,805.46 in gifts, in addition to some $120,000 in personal loans, from tobacco entrepreneur Jonnie Williams. McDonnell claims he has returned or repaid all the gifts and loans.

The indictment alleges that Maureen McDonnell cut a deal with Williams about two years later: if he bought her dresses and accessories for her daughter's wedding and the couple's anniversary, she would make sure he had a prime seat next to her husband at a political event in New York City.

Williams paid her nearly $20,000 tab at stores such as Oscar de la Renta and Louis Vuitton, the indictment says. As promised, Williams was seated next to the governor at the event on 13 April, 2011.

"We are broke, have an unconscionable amount in credit card debt already, and this Inaugural is killing us!! Maureen McDonnell wrote in an email to an aide to the then-governor-elect in December 2009, after the aide expressed concerns about an offer by Williams to buy her inaugural gown. I need answers and I need help, and I need to get this done."

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The best tablets for under £200

Fri, 29 Nov 2013 13:00:00 GMT

Miles Brignall test drives the Tesco Hudl, Amazon's Kindle, the Samsung Galaxy and Google Nexus to see which can take a bite out of Apple

If the hype is to be believed, 2013 is going to be a tablet Christmas and, over the next few weeks, these handheld devices are set to outsell personal computers for the first time.

Google, Amazon, Samsung and even Tesco are vying to grab a big slice of the sales action a market long dominated by the Apple iPad.

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Your guide to the best Black Friday bargains

Wed, 27 Nov 2013 16:26:13 GMT

There are sensational deals to be had – if you know where to look. From radishes to walking slowly, this list of tips has you covered

For a fish-based beverage experience of unrivaled deliciousness, visit any supermarket and buy a bottle of Clamato and then drink it. It's the best thing you'll do all day. Perhaps it's necessary here to provide clarification for the uninitiated, a group to which I myself belonged before coming to the US: Clamato is "a drink made of reconstituted tomato juice concentrate flavored with spices and clam broth", which "resulted in the creation of an entire new category in blended juices called 'seafood blends'". But neither of these descriptions begin to convey the degree to which it is the best drink ever. Then again, no words can. 

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Top 10 vintage and secondhand stores in San Francisco

Fri, 24 May 2013 23:10:00 GMT

Whether it's vintage pieces, design classics or a something fabulous from an edgy designer, the streets of San Francisco have a shop for every fashion fanatic

Nestled among quaint boutiques in the Rockridge neighbourhood of Oakland, Pretty Penny has earned its spot as one of the most adored vintage shops in the area. In addition to offering an array of vintage apparel and accessories for men and women, Pretty Penny also stocks locally designed jewellery, and recently introduced a selection of vintage-inspired jeans by cult favourite Courtshop Denim. The selection is truly wallet-friendly, creating an accessible environment for vintage newbies and aficionados alike. Owner Sarah Dunbar has cultivated a close connection with the community, offering service with a smile, and hosting local events such as art openings, fashion shows and pop-up shops.
5488 College Avenue, Oakland, prettypennyclothing.com

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The Atterley Road founder offers her tips for your summer wardrobe

Sat, 18 May 2013 08:00:00 GMT

Katie Starmer-Smith, founder of Atterley Road, tells us what you should be buying online this summer

"Every woman needs an item jacket," Katie Starmer-Smith says: a posh-looking bouclé jacket that looks great with jeans or a dress. "It does that desk to dinner thing."

At 34, and a working mother of one, Starmer-Smith is the embodiment of the Atterley Road customer. Albeit one with bouncier hair and a nine-year career in fashion buying at Jigsaw behind her. She started thinking about the website in 2011, after feeling that certain shops on the high street were looking too young for her, and frustrated that her favourite boutiques didn't sell online. "It's the best of the high street mixed with harder-to-find boutique brands." Her mantra is "sophisticated chic style", but she is insistent that everything she sells should be affordable. And she's big on edited choice. "If I see 2,000 white shirts, I give up. Our customers are sophisticated, but time poor, so we offer a smaller choice."

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The founder of my-wardrobe.com offers her tips for your summer wardrobe

Sat, 18 May 2013 08:00:00 GMT

Sarah Curren, founder of my-wardobe.com, picks her favourite pieces for summer

Launched in 2006, my-wardobe.com has always been about offering a choice of aspirational, but not intimidating, clothes. "Everyday luxury" is the brand's mantra. According to Curran, a "blended wardrobe" is how we dress now. "It's not about a split between working and weekend," she says. "It's either dressed up or dressed down."

For Curran, the "relaxed Riviera" look she's wearing would take her from a board meeting to a business dinner. Printed palazzo pants aren't the first item most women would choose for their working wardrobe but "I'm into things that can be worn in multiple ways, so I'd wear them on holiday, too, with a white vest."

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The Outnet's MD offers her tips for your summer wardrobe

Sat, 18 May 2013 08:00:00 GMT

Stephanie Phair, MD of The Outnet, the discounted little sister of Net-A-Porter, tells us what savvy online shoppers should add to their basket this summer

You might expect the party line from The Outnet, the discounted previous-season little sister of NetA-Porter, to be that women want classic, timeless pieces. Quite the contrary: what Stephanie Phair has learned from the site's success is that "trends stick around longer than you'd think. When a good idea comes along, designers will play with it for several seasons."

Right now, soft pink is hot news. "Anything in that colour is flying," Phair says. "And that's a key colour for next season." Occasion dressing "for weekends away, and wedding guest outfits" is how many Outnet customers shop. "And the benefit of coming to a multibrand retailer is that you might start by viewing a brand you know, but end up finding something fantastic by a label you'd never have thought to look at." Phair's number one tip for online shopping: always filter by size. "In particular, on our site, which doesn't have every size in every item, this really speeds things up, so your hit rate is much better."

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The womenswear buyer of Asos offers her tips for your summer wardrobe

Sat, 18 May 2013 08:00:00 GMT

Emma Fox, womenswear buying director of Asos, selects her must-have buys for summer

Take a good look at the jeans Emma Fox is wearing. What you see before you is the shape of things to come: the boyfriend jean. "The skinny jean is still the best performer, but our Asos boyfriend style, the Brady, is doing really well. Especially the ripped version," says Fox.

Much as she loves fashion, it isn't the catwalk that motivates the Asos customer as much as the invites on her mantelpiece (or, more likely these days, in her inbox). "Our woman is very occasion-led, and that means dresses. We have a range of vintage-inspired lace dresses that are doing phenomenally well." Once a beach holiday is booked, that means more dresses and a bikini or two. "We're having our best season ever on swimwear, and it's all about the mix-and-match bikini."

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The founders of Plümo offer their tips for your summer wardrobe

Sat, 18 May 2013 08:00:00 GMT

Esther and Verena Roth, founders of Plümo, tell us what's making stylish online shoppers click this summer

For the Roth sisters, an open-minded approach to is key. Esther is the business brain behind Plümo, the brand she set up 15 years ago and where she was joined seven years later by her younger sister, Verena, who focuses on the creative side. Both have what Esther calls "a magpie eye we love fairs and car-boot sales". It's a trait that's evident on the site, which sells a mix of independent designers, fair trade goods and artisan fashion.

There is a look, but it isn't about trends it's about layering and easy-to-wear shapes. "I'm not a size 10, I'm a 14, and I want beautiful clothes that will last more than a season," Esther says. Plümo's hot item right now bears out this philosophy: a £95 "Sicilian" shirt dress is selling out "because of the oversized shape. It looks great with flat shoes, and you can easily wear it to the office or dress it up on holiday."

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From the Observer archive, 8 May 1960: how to buy a television set

Sat, 04 May 2013 23:01:02 GMT

The editor the Consumers' Association journal Which? lays out the pitfalls of shopping for your first TV

There are about 30 brands of television sets on the market. They can be table model, console or portable, vary in size of screen, and be with or without a VHF radio. How does one choose?

The radio question is simple: if you want it, you pay £4-£6 more for the set. The question of size is simple too: the bigger the better, but it costs more. Most of us buy the 17in (£65-£70 for the set), while most Americans buy the 21in (over here, £80-£90).

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Top 10 ethical places to shop for children's clothes

Mon, 29 Apr 2013 14:36:11 GMT

There are myriad options for buying ethically, locally, lovingly made clothes for babies and children today, especially online. Here are some of our favourites

If ever there was a time to look more closely at labels when you shop, it's now. The Bangladesh factory collapse, in which at least 380 people died, is a stark reminder that many of the clothes we buy from major retailers, supermarkets and high-street chains are made under appalling conditions. That's what makes them so cheap; so yes, the clothes below will cost more. It's just not economically possible to produce a £3 outfit or multipack of baby clothes if you pay people a proper living wage, give them decent conditions and use safe, non-toxic dyes and materials.

Here, then, is a list of places to buy ethically produced clothes for babies and children. You can, of course, simply buy less, buy secondhand, swap or make your own. Please do add your own favourite shops or suggestions below the line.

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Valentine's Day gifts in pictures

Fri, 08 Feb 2013 16:30:00 GMT

Paper dolls, lovingly chosen literature, chocolate heaven and limited edition prints... here's our selection of the finest love tokens for Valentine's (or any other) day Continue reading...

The best skiing and snowboarding kit for 2013 - in pictures

Sat, 19 Jan 2013 07:00:00 GMT

Want to hit the shops before you hit the slopes? Here's our pick of new ski and snowboarding wear, cool gadgets and high-performance kit Continue reading...

Ten of Britain's most unusual shops

Sun, 09 Dec 2012 00:05:18 GMT

Trailing round the stores for Christmas presents needn't be a nightmare. Here are 10 quirky shops full of interesting gifts

This place is stuffed with antiques in every nook and cranny (it helps if you're nimble, as it can be a squeeze). And the best part is that it's not even ridiculously expensive. There's no knowing what you might find, which adds to the fun of rummaging around in the basement shop it used to be a dairy in Victorian days. There are often heaps of old local and world maps and postcards crying out to be framed, old-fashioned children's toys and books, mirrors, jewellery, candlesticks and all sorts of curious bric-a-brac that might just turn out to be treasure.
65 Dundas Street, Edinburgh (0131 556 7176; unicornantiques.co.uk)

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The Guardian's local shopping map: add your photos and Twitter reviews

Sat, 08 Dec 2012 10:00:00 GMT

Browse the latest photos and tweets from local shoppers in the UK and beyond with our interactive map

Want to add your own contributions? Post a report from your local high street via Twitter, Instagram or n0tice; make sure you've got location switched on; and hashtag it with #LocalShopping Continue reading...

Introducing the Guardian's local shopping map

Sat, 08 Dec 2012 10:00:00 GMT

Do you have a favourite local shop you want to tell people
about? Our new interactive map helps people discover and share the best places to shop in their area

We keep hearing about the death of the high street and the growth of chain-shop Britain. But there are still thousands of brilliant independent shops out there - and we want your help to find them.

Today the Guardian launches an open community project looking for the best retailers across the UK and beyond. We have built a comprehensive interactive map to promote fantastic local retailers, market stalls, restaurants, cafes, booksellers and all the shops that enhance your local community.

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Britain's best independent shops

Fri, 07 Dec 2012 22:58:00 GMT

Buying online may be efficient, but where's the joy in that? Our writers choose their favourite local bookshops, butchers and boutiques for everything you need for Christmas and beyond.

Add your tips to the Guardian's local shopping map

My friend Alastair drove all his social circle crazy for years by constantly dragging us to car-boot sales and charity shops every weekend. He'd bag all the best bits, while we looked on sulkily. The stuff he collected was piled up in attics, spare rooms and garages until, finally, it had somewhere to go. Hendy's Home Store features everything from vintage crockery to Romanian felt slippers. It would be harder to leave the place without a pile of perfect gifts than with them. Deborah Orr
AG Hendy & Co Home Store, 36 High Street, Hastings, East Sussex; homestore-hastings.co.uk

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The alternative Christmas shopping guide

Thu, 06 Dec 2012 09:08:00 GMT

Forget the anonymity of internet shopping or the scrum of the high street and combine gift buying with some festive fun at our choice of alternative markets and shopping events

More gift ideas in Saturday's Travel section and Sunday's Observer Magazine

On Wednesday 12 December you can buy presents and have a night out at Buffalo (7pm, buffalocardiff.co.uk), a cocktail bar and music venue in Cardiff. Upstairs there will be a Boutique Christmas Fair with stalls selling vintage bargains and handmade crafts, while downstairs the Cardiff Tea Club Christmas Party will be in full swing, with speciality teas and cake to sample (and some stronger tipples) and DJs playing reggae, funk and dub until the early hours.

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