the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 12 – TOMS shoes

At this time of year, it is often the giving of gifts that people get excited about. Sure, receiving something lovely is also very nice, but seeing someone open a gift that you have thought long and hard about – their reaction, their joy… that is something to behold. It warms the cockles and spreads the love. But what if you can give a gift that gives again? These are special gifts, so for day 12 of our Eco Gift Guide we are featuring some things from TOMS, who give one for every one you buy. Simple.

black dotted wool men’s TOMS £44.99

And surely there can be nothing simpler. Buy a pair of shoes (or a pair of glasses or a bag) and TOMS will replicate your purchase, giving someone in need a pair of shoes, sight restoring treatment or equipment and training to allow a safe birth. One for one.

rust multi stripe women’s TOMS £41.99

Of course, this is not the only charity gift that you can give that gives to someone you will never meet, but giving a pair of shoes and someone else receiving a pair too is simple. And you have a tangible thing to give, unlike a virtual goat, for instance, which I have seen received with mixed reactions, however well intended.

maxwell matte black sunglasses £59.99

I recently read the story of TOMS by founder Blake Mycoskie, and it struck me that not only was the story one of hope, but that it made the very best of our western consumerist ways and that it just made sense. It was the first time the model had been used, but it made sense. For the people making the shoes, to the people buying the shoes and the people benefiting from a free pair of shoes that would honestly change their lives.

black metallic burlap women’s TOMS £31.49

How often do we hear people talk about how a ‘thing’ changed their life? A new phone? An item of clothing even? Hearing the truly humbling stories of people whose lives have really been changed is a powerful thing. Plus, there is a sale on at the moment, so d’you know what? Buy two pairs. I just did.

birch critters canvas TOMS £29.99

So – if you are looking for a great pair of ethically made shoes, glasses or a bag to give to someone this Christmas as a gift – look at TOMS. Your gift will be doubled.

Now imagine the look of joy and appreciation on someone’s face on Christmas Day when you tell them that. 

(all images via TOMS – all prices right at time of post)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 11 – recycled bouncy castle tote bag from SAS

We are big fans of giving gifts that are useful, and that promote a bit of positive behaviour change. When the 5p plastic bag levy was introduced in October 2105, many people moaned that they would just not be able to remember a reusable bag, but fast forward to July 2016 – just six months in, and single use plastic bag use dropped 85% in the UK. That is quite staggering. So if we are all taking our reusable bags to the shops most of the time, a gift of a reusable bag that is a little different from the norm could be a perfect option. It’s day 11 on our Eco Gift Guide and we have selected the Bouncy Castle Tote Bag from Surfers Against Sewage…

Made on the Isle of Wight by designers Wyatt and Jack, co-branded with an SAS logo and the ‘Break the Bag Habit’ tagline, these fantastic, strong tote bags are made from actual bouncy castles that have been retired from use.

Available in 7 different colours, the tote bags feature strong black webbing handles and measure a very useful 35cm x 35cm. Plus, by the nature of the material, the bag has a waterproof outer, so is perfect for sitting on the floor or using as a kit bag.

We love these bags as they use materials that have a great nostalgic link, and make advantage of their strength, colour, waterproof nature and hard wearing qualities. They will last a very long time!

Plus, these bags are a great choice if you need to post a gift to someone – flat, unbreakable and very useful…

Get yours for £12 a piece through the Surfers Against Sewage shop here.

(images via SAS)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 10 – honeycomb necklace by Beetle Cherry…

This weekend, we have the very last two days of opening for our Artists Open Houses at Studio Loo – and the fantastic Beetle Cherry is one of our special guest designers. With a ‘illustrated wildlife park’ and percentages of profits going to wildlife conservation charities, the prints, activity kits and jewellery of Beetle Cherry not only looks good, it does good too. It’s day 10 of our Eco Gift Guide and today, we have a lovely jewellery set as our selection…

geometric wood necklace

Finding clear inspiration from the bees themselves, we totally fell in love with this necklace – a trio of hexagons arranged like a honeycomb in a stripped back, sustainably sourced birch timber. Hand finished, the honeycomb hangs from an antique style chain and comes complete in an organic cotton bag for just £10.

Slightly abstract and infinitely sophisticated, this necklace would look excellent with a plain black top… plus, if you want to go completely bee, you can also get a pair of matching hexagon earrings for £6.

wooden earrings handmade

With 10% of all profits of the sales of these items going to the Sussex Wildlife Trust, this is a fantastic gift for both wildlife and jewellery lovers alike.

AND until 19th December, all products have free UK Shipping! Fantastic!

Find more of the Beetle Cherry range here

(images via Beetle Cherry)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 9 – mini cacti from Hi Cacti…

There is something rather wonderful about having living things around you. It is simply not natural for us to only inhabit spaces that are synthetic – man-made buildings, interiors and structures where the only thing that is alive is us. Fortunately, many designers are realising the uplifting and positive benefits of having life in our buildings and biophilia, the integration of natural light, natural materials and plants is gaining more practitioners. Unfortunately, many people think that they are just not blessed with green fingers, so steer away from green companions in their spaces. This does not have to be the case. There are plenty of plants that require very little care and attention – it’s day 9 on our Eco Gift Guide and we have the rather fantastic little cacti of Hi Cacti…

Concrete Planter, Cactus/ Succulent Plant Pot, Handmade, Turquoise, Tall Size- Includes Cactus or Succulent

With a very TexMex feel, the hand cast concrete pots of Hi Cacti feature contrasting bands of colours and metallics, perfectly complimenting the different living inhabitants – each one chosen specially to match the pot itself by cactus queen and owner, Sabina Palermo.

With pale blues to deep blacks and warm coppers, there is definitely a cactus for anyone. Plus, by their very nature, they thrive on almost no care and attention at all. A light mist of water now and then, and barely anything in winter, cactus are the most forgiving of all the plants you could choose.

Concrete Planter, Cactus/ Succulent Plant Pot, Handmade, Cream White, Tall Size- Includes Cactus or Succulent

And they LAST. At this time of year, the shops are stuffed with all manner of plants that are bold and brash, covered with glitter or apologetically seasonal. Whilst these fellows will brighten your life for a short spell, cactus will be a chum for life, with just a little love.

Concrete Planter, Cactus/ Succulent Plant Pot, Handmade, Copper Bronze, Tall Size- Includes Cactus or Succulent

So, if you want to give someone the gift of life this Christmas, why not consider the lovely little fellows at Hi Cacti?

*** PS – we have a little selection of the Hi Cacti range at our Artists Open House – last weekend 10/11th December, 11-5! ***

(images via Hi Cacti)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 8 – Lulu by Designosaur…

It’s day 8 already on our Ecospot Eco Gift Guide and we have chosen a very special gift indeed. We are all about the strong statements, and if you know someone who also has something to say and doesn’t mind being stopped at least three times a day to be asked where they got their necklace from, the strong, bold laser cut jewellery of Designosaur should be on your radar. With a range ranging from duck billed platypus to velociraptors, via Miami beachfront cafes and a barrel full of monkeys, Designosaur’s designs are wonderfully individual and creative. But for day 8, we are featuring a very special necklace in their range – the wonderful Lulu…

Orca Necklace. Killer Whale Statement Necklace. Whale Pendant. Endangered Species Necklace. World Cetacean Alliance Fundraising Jewellery

Named after a real UK orca that became entrapped in abandoned ghost gear, Lulu is a necklace that tells a story –  a story where over 100,000 mammals a year lose their lives due to becoming caught, or ingesting synthetic netting, rope and other plastic based debris. From the turquoise net that is laid over her body to the beach cleaned rope from which she hangs, Lulu is a necklace with a deep meaning.

Made as a fundraising piece for the World Cetacean Alliance, Lulu is an orca with a mission, with 25% of every sale going directly to WCA to aid in global cetacean protection.

I am lucky enough to have a Lulu, and I have lost count of the times I have been approached by complete strangers, asking about her and what she means. Telling the story of her creation and why marine litter is one of the most pressing issues we have for both our oceans and ourselves is a tale that breaks my heart yet gives me hope that people will also re-tell the same story and change will ripple out.

So – we are delighted to feature this very special necklace on our Eco Gift Guide today. It is a gift that gives back in so many ways…

*** PS we have ONE Lulu left at our studio for the Artist’s Open Houses – last weekend 10/11th December ***

(image by Designosaur)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 7 – Get Lost print by Hello Dodo…

Ah, Christmas. A time of joy, seasonal cheer and unbounded love for all, everywhere. Except it is not. It is stressful, rushed and often full of get togethers with people you haven’t seen all year, but somehow feel obligated to because it is Christmas. Bah. Wouldn’t it be nice to be out of the thick of it all, hidden away in a calm and peaceful setting… whilst also telling people to just leave you alone. If you feel the same as us sometimes in the season, or know someone who does, you need this fantastic print by Hello Dodo in your life. It’s day 7 on our Eco Gift Guide and we have chosen the ‘Get Lost’ series by design duo Hello Dodo…

Get Lost Tote Bag, Funny Tote Bag, Adventure Print, Mountain Print, Screen Print Bag, Cute Shopper, Explore Print, Cute Tote Bag, Fun Gift

Often with cheeky double meanings, the bright and cheerful work of South Coast based Hello Dodo never fails to raise a smile, but we really love their new Get Lost collection. It has that classic vintage nod, but is not taking itself too seriously.

Get Lost Embroidered Patch, Funny Iron On Patch, Explore Patch, Mountain Patch, Hiking Patch, Nature Patch, Country Patch, Adven

Plus, the design is available in a whole raft of different configurations, to suit all types of people who either want to get lost themselves – or want to send a bit of a message to others.

Get Lost Sweater, Get Lost Jumper, Cosy Grey Sweater, Christmas Sweater, Mountain Jumper, Funny Sweater, Adventure Explore Sweater Jumper

Slightly glittery blue prints to patches, tote bags to jumpers, there is something for all. And to prove this, we had a visitor to Studio Loo – our open studio for the Brighton Artists’ Open Houses, (where Hello Dodo are featured) from Sweden who is well into his 80’s and he happily trotted off with a Get Lost tote after we explained to him the double meaning. He was very much looking forward to telling all his friends to Get Lost when he got home. Her wandered off roaring with laughter.

So. Get Lost with Hello Dodo. Seriously. Get Lost.

All items available (at time of posting) through the Hello Dodo Etsy Shop here. 

(image via Hello Dodo)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide – day 6 – M-24 bags…

Designing something with a ‘waste’ material makes perfect sense – especially if that material is already into it’s second life. Keeping materials at their highest possible quality is key to the success of the circular economy – and also recognising what the material strengths are. So, bags and accessories made from truck tarpaulins? Perfect sense. It’s day 6 of our Eco Gift Guide and today we are choosing the lovely stuff of M-24 bags…


With a great range of backpacks, messenger bags, wallets and accessories, M-24 create one off pieces from recovered UK truck tarpaulins that harness the very qualities a truck tarp has – strong, bright, waterproof.


This means that each product is an individual thing – a term that M-24 have dubbed ‘anti-lemmingism’. We all want to be seen as individuals, but unless we have the ability to make our own stuff, this is a better option than the mass produced, cheaply made, high mark-up alternatives on the market.


Plus, by not supplying retailers, but making their products available only through their website, pop-ups and their brand spanking new flagship store in Brighton, they are able to keep their prices very reasonable indeed as the retailer mark-up is eliminated. This also means that the cost of the high level finish and manufacturing techniques undertaken in the UK is feasible and products are available from just £5 for a keychain.

Eco Gift Guide M-24 store brighton, relcaimed tarpaulin bags brighton
M-24 Brighton, 15 Gardner Street, Brighton

A great business model – and great products. Perfect for someone who needs their luggage to be robust and trustworthy, waterproof and individual. And what could be better than telling someone their Christmas pressie has been made in the UK and it is the ONLY one in the world?

Anti-lemmingism is the way forward.

(images via M-24)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 5 – Plastic Fish Sweatshirt by MCS

Ocean plastic has been a real focus for us over the last year or so, and we are delighted to be working with some great organisations, including Surfers Against Sewage and the World Cetacean Alliance to investigate scaleable solutions to the crisis. One of the most shocking facts came from the New Plastics Economy Report from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation earlier this year, saying that if we continue in this throwaway nature, there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans, by weight, by 2050. So, for day 5 of our Eco Gift Guide we have chosen this fantastic statement sweater from Rapanui and the Marine Conservation Society.


Made from fully traceable organic cotton in an ethically accredited, wind powered factory, this statement jumper features little fish gradually turning into plastic bottles as they swim across the front panel.


Whilst the actual truth of this print smarts a little, we love the fact that it says it all, without any text at all. A great print and a great jumper for anyone involved in, or concerned about the marine litter issue…

Available from the Marine Conservation Society website here for £35 + P+P…

(images via MCS)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 4 – Mr Popple’s Chocolate

‘Tis the season of eating, drinking and generally being merry, but it is also a time where you can indulge in something rather special. Chocolate is another seasonal staple, but not all chocolate is made equal. A shiny foil wrapper is not the designator of high quality, as we all know. We are seeking out the unusual flavours, unexpected combinations and highly ethical ingredients. It’s Day 4 on our Eco Gift Guide and we would like some of Mr Popple’s Chocolate please.


Made by hand using organic raw cacao and ethically sourced ingredients (by someone actually called Mr Popple), this is probably as good as you will get from a bar of chocolate. With tasty, intriguing flavours, from Stong Dark to Euphoric Orange and even Flower Power, which is filled with rose oil and dried flowers. The chocolate is also packaged in lovely 100% recycled board sleeves with coloured prints over.

eco-gift-guide-day-4-mr-popples-chocolate-1It also has some rather lovely benefits…

Raw cacao has several stimulating qualities to it, and causes feelings of well being – like normal chocolate – but many, many times stronger, and without the energy crash that comes later. Because Mr Popple does not roast his cacao beans, lots of nutrients that normally get destroyed by roasting are left intact. Some of the nutritional compounds in Mr Popple’s raw chocolate bars can cause pleasant psychoactive effects.’

Ooh er.



We would be delighted to find this in our stockings this year, especially the rather incredible Amazin’ Fennel and Raisin…


Find them in various stockists in the UK through their website, or buy online from £3.49 per bar, with different bulk buy combination discounts too. Can you really just go for one bar? It’s healthy. It really is.

(images via Mr Popple’s Chocolate)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 3 – Lush Charity Pot moisturiser…

Body lotion. Quite the staple of the Christmas gift guide because, quite simply, we are mostly made of water and we need hydrating. But do you want your loved ones to be slathering on chemicals, artificial scents and additives that have been tested on animals? No. We didn’t think so. But fear not – there is an option that not only smells great, it does great things too, so for day 3 of our Eco Gift Guide we have chosen the Lush Charity Pot Moisturiser.


Just like Patagonia that we featured on day 1, we are huge fans of Lush, and have been since the early Cosmetics-To-Go days in Poole (when my early teenage environmental activism days began). With sound ethics and natural ingredients, Lush do not just talk the talk, they walk the walk, with edgy campaigns that highlight the atrocities of the beauty industry whilst supporting those who do good.

And this is just what the Charity Pot is for – all proceeds from Charity Pot sales (minus the taxes) go to grassroots causes local to the stores. So by buying a Charity Pot moisturiser, you are giving something good – twice over. Made with 21 clearly identifiable ingredients in three different sizes to suit three different budgets, the Charity Pot is a wonderful way to show someone you care.


Plus for this whole weekend we are delighted to announce that Lush in Brighton are supporting Surfers Against Sewage with a two day Charity Pot Party! As one of the local Regional Reps, I will be there on Saturday 3rd December between 11-3 to chat about all things marine litter, the campaigns of SAS and how to get involved. Come and say hi if you are around!

Image result for lush brighton

Lush Brighton, 41 East St, Brighton BN1 1HL

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 2 – The Do Books…

Ah, Friday. The eve of two days off and the usual questions of ‘so, what are you up to this weekend?’ Cue rushing around, social events, decorating the house and generally being busy everywhere else apart from at work. But there is another way. How about slowing down for a bit and learning something? Welcome to Day 2 of the Eco Gift Guide, where we have picked the titles from The Do Books…


Described as ‘handy pocket sized guidebooks’, the Do Books are each created by one of the speakers from the Do Lectures in Wales and focus not on the theory behind the subject, but the doing.

From Storytelling to Jam Making, Breathing to Disruption, each book is short, sweet and swallowable – a perfect read for a chilly evening that will get you springing out of bed the next day itching to do something.

Eco Gift Guide Day 2 - Do Sourdough + Starter

Know someone in a startup? They have a little inspirational bundle for that. Or someone into building hands on skills? There’s a bundle for that too.

Or if you simply cannot choose, why not go for the full library – and get 15% of the cover price…. check out the Do Book website here.

(image via The Do Book Co)

the Ecospot Eco Gift Guide 2016 – day 1 – Patagonia Powder Town Beanie

Well, where has this year gone? It seems like only yesterday that we were putting together our Eco Gift Guide for last Christmas… But, here we are – pinch punch – on the 1st December already. So – looking for an eco gift, an ethical gift or a sustainable seasonal present for a loved one? Stay tuned for the next 24 days as we open the doors on 24 things that we would be delighted to find in our stockings this year. There will be stuff for all budgets and tastes, with all things made with love by nice people…

So – for day 1 on our Eco Gift Guide we have… a Patagonia Powder Town Silver Birch Beanie.


With the temperature plummeting in the UK, we have been digging out our hats over the last few days, but if you know someone who is in need of a new woolly to keep their head toasty, this is a rather nice one indeed.

As many of you will know, we are huge fans of Patagonia here in the studio – not only for their well made clothing, but for their material choices and dedication to longevity and repair. Plus their recent drive for Black Friday saw them increase their usual 1% For The Planet contributions to 100% for the whole day – resulting in a staggering $10 million being spread by Patagonia amongst grass roots environmental charities. Wow. 

This lovely Powder Town Beanie is made from recycled polyester with a bit of elastane for a comfortable stretch, in the classic white and grey that will suit everyone. A bobble for a bit of fun, a cosy head and a great company to support.

Get yours now from Surfdome in the UK, where you can pick it up for a very reasonable £25.59 + P+P. check it out here.

(image via Surfdome)

friday photo – FISH NOT PLASTIC…

friday photo no22 – FISH NOT PLASTIC!


Says it all really. Yet if we carry on the way we are, there will be more plastic than fish, by weight in our ocean by 2050. A scary thought. Let’s turn the tide…

  • refuse single use plastic
  • reuse your own cup / bottle – like a Klean Kanteen / Keep Cup
  • reduce your packaged goods
  • recycle all your plastic
  • remove it from the beaches / streets / rivers, when you see it.

(image by claire potter design)

our Brighton Architectural Notebooks are now in Homage!

Yes – that is right! You can now find our Brighton Architectural notebooks in the beautiful home store, Homage, in the Seven Dials area of Brighton.


Packed up in mixed threes, you can get a set of A6 notebooks made from 100% recycled paper, printed in Sussex with images of iconic pieces of Brighton Architecture – the Pavilion, the Palace Pier and our beloved West Pier.

Image result for homage brighton

And check out the beautiful pieces they have in the store – from hand thrown utilitarian ceramic mugs to wide toothed combs, scented candles and hanging glass planters. We are delighted to be in such a lovely store. Go and say hi to Mark and Liza at Homage and check them out in their online store – 

(images by claire potter and homage)

friday photo – hope…

Friday photo no21 – hope.

There always has to be hope. This photo was taken on our recent beach clean for Surfers Against Sewage – a lovely shot looking out to sea over freshly cleaned beaches and the new offshore wind farm that is being developed in the channel off Brighton. We need to work together to make this world better. We need to have hope to make that happen…


(image by claire potter)