An interview with Hannah & Gillian | 'What does Conscious Living mean to you?'

‘Conscious living’ is a term that’s becoming more and more popular in recent years but what does it actually mean, and how can we strive to live more consciously? Is it little changes from making an effort with everyday tasks such as recycling and shopping responsibly to the bigger choices and purchases we make in life from our homes to the cars we drive?

If you Google the question ‘what is conscious living?’ you’ll see the following:

Living consciously is about taking control of your life, about thinking about your decisions rather than making them without thought, about having a life that we want rather than settling for the one that befalls us.

Still pretty ambigious right? So this month, we had the pleasure of catching up with the founder of Beaumont Organic, Hannah Beaumont-Laurencia and Gillian Osrin, the founder of ‘Style with Heart’ to see what conscious living really means to them.

‘Style With Heart’ is an online directory of ethical and organic labels that make you feel as good as you look. Gillian aims to show style and sustainability can come hand in hand, and in doing so she has created a place for anyone interested in ethical and environmental news and sustainable living, bringing together producers, brands, communities and shoppers from a global community.

Gillian, having worked in fashion for the past 20 years, is saddened by the fact the word ‘fashion’ often implies that products have a sell-by date, and often designed to satisfy the latest impulses of a society that often values quantity over quality...

GILLIAN : “Conscious living is a term I have tried to live by for about the past 12 years, ever since I first heard the term Corporate Social Responsibility. This buzz word was a real light bulb moment for me as it meant that everyone (individuals and businesses) should think about those around us and the planet on which we (temporarily) live and ideally try and have positive influence upon them. I was at the time working for a charity and hoped to work for a company that hadn’t yet started thinking about these issues. I moved to a fashion retailer and this in turn lead me to discover plenty of small clothing and accessory companies with ethics at the core of their business. I wanted to help raise awareness of these brands and four and a half years ago, the Style With Heart Guide was born. So naturally, I spend a lot of time thinking about where things come from whether it’s the things I wear, eat, buy etc. or the resources I use (energy, water etc.). By doing this, I find that I appreciate things a lot more and don’t feel that 21st century craze to consume as if there’s no tomorrow/everything’s unlimited. I don’t believe in fast fashion or fast anything else for that matter. I think ‘slow’ should be valued and be what life is based on. Obviously I am also realistic and appreciate complex supply chains and the global economy but I do believe if everyone slows down and thinks about where things come from we can all make a difference."

HANNAH : “Conscious living is a state of mind - every choice we make will result in a different outcome and impact to those around us. In a very simple dinner out, you are making decisions all the time; whether it be the food you choose to eat, the restaurant you eat it in, the clothes you choose to wear, the transport you use to get to the restaurant... and so it goes on! Conscious living is constantly considering all those choices and choosing the option that makes you feel gratitude and respectful for the person who has offered you the choice. It makes you feel worthy in your decision that you are giving back whilst taking. In a consumer driven fast fashion, fast food, bargain hunting country, one can sometimes become brainwashed into thinking we need more, want more and must buy more every day to feel satisfied. However, what is really satisfying is buying less and in the right way; from purchasing fresh fruit and vegetables sourced locally without the use of artificial fertilisers to growing food and herbs in your garden. Buying clothes from local brands and boutiques who in turn buy from small brands and manufacturers that have strong ethics and traceability. These choices will benefit yourself whilst also giving back to local businesses and the environment. Conscious living to me, is being mindful and aware of where our purchases have originated from, who has made them, and questioning whether we are proud to tell other people about them. Conscious living is really the only way to live at one with yourself and the world around us.”

So what does conscious living mean to you and can you make any immediate changes to live more sustainably? We’d love to hear your opinions and tips for a more conscious lifestyle so make sure you get in touch! If you’d like to hear more from Gillian, then head on over to ‘Style With Heart’ and check out the website. Make sure you take a look at her online directory - from men’s to women’s, organic to fair-trade and up-cycled to DIY, there’s something for everyone!

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