#ConsciousGiftGuide 2016: Fifteen Memorable Gift Ideas

A meaningful gift from a loved one leaves a fond memory... and we like creating memories that are painfully hard, if not impossible, to forget. It always brings more joy to give an unforgettable experience that puts a smile on the receiver’s face, and let it last for long. Yet sometimes the experience can take the shape of that perfect, pampering product, much appreciated for seasons to come. 

I assume the majority of us have a bit of a cybernaut approach to Xmas shopping — if a product we have imagined here and now as the perfect match in our imaginary wish-lists of friends and relatives doesn’t exist online, we can impatiently decide we don’t really want it at all. In this extremely packed and alarmingly stressful holiday schedule of ours, who (however dedicated to the gruesome hunt for a pile of *cough* exciting *cough* pressies) would bother to browse the shops on foot in the limited hours post office work, or on a precious weekend, mechanically zigzagging through aisles and sections and floors and piles and heaps of goodies… and we know access to the pleasant part of it — all these flavours and aromas and organic mulled schnapps and the spirit of actual *enter the C word*, does not come without unnecessary distractions — or better call it nuisances — clumsily fighting the crowds using two elbows at a time and a *slight* panic attack from the fantastic, yet nauseating merry atmosphere and piped-carol muzak on the 5th floor of a massive, labyrinthic shopping mall (do I even need to mention the excruciating pain from swollen feet?). All we want to do is moan, pardon moi, be done with the most difficult part, such as le gift hunting, and be saved by a comforting cup of festive tea and vegan biscuits in the comfort of our own home, the protective thick four walls. And then hide under four blankets, secretly hoping to wake up in 2017. 

Do not take this honest truth lightly — however early we endeavour to arrange and order the gifts, there are always those that need to be fixed at the very last moment.  Luckily, a range of ethical and conscious products are also available online, so you can skip the unnecessary shops browsing for 5 hours, non-stop. We have better things to do… like meditate and obsess-read our favourite Sunday columnists lying on our couch half passed out in a fetal position (however, we keep our eyes shut with ignorance, when it happens to bulk the same amount of time). 

To ease the stressful process of looking for that Right One — a perfect experience, a memory, a culinary oeuvre, a tangible thing, which would actually last and be remembered, not end up being a momentary joy, a quizzical, ostentatious oddity discarded a day later, I have put together a list of memorable favourites. The Right One should not be only momentary, but remembered and cherished by the receiver — if not forever then for seasons ahead — and have a fond place on their shelf or ornate mantelpiece, ideally found at the same place a year later. 

It’s difficult to cater for someone else's wish-list, but it’s comforting to know that your Fair-trade favourites all over the world are just a click away from making someone’s memory of the year. 

Ughh! The hard part — now let's be over and done with it. 

1. For those after impeccable results without much effort, Finnish brand Supermood’s Chaga mushroom infused One Minute Facelift power-drop from their Egoboost range has got you covered. I can’t get over this easy-to-use miracle product, which gives your cheeks and instant, on-the-go lift. 


Supermood Egoboost: One Minute Facelift Serum. 

Supermood Egoboost: One Minute Facelift Serum. 

2. LUMI is another organic cosmetics brand we swear by. Last month, they launched a new Superbloom eye serum, which reduces swelling and gets rid of unwanted dark circles. In addition to the adorable packaging, it rejuvenates the sensitive skin around eye area and helps to fight even the toughest Nordic climate. 


LUMI Superbloom Face and Eye Serum.

LUMI Superbloom Face and Eye Serum.

3. One thing I’ve learned — wearing the right basics can give great comfort for the entire day. This Sleek body by Woronstore comes in 3 most worn tones and offers just the right amount of support. In addition to the sustainably made comfort, it also enhances your cherished curves. I’ve realised I always want to keep the items closest to my body as natural as possible, and having that small luxury of sustainable fibres close to you can make a huge difference in feeling good. 


4. Swedish Stockings is another ethical Scandinavian brand specialising in sustainable pantyhose. Their Andrea Smoking stockings are not only 100% fairly made, but also a lot more appealing than any sister version of high street or supermarket pairs. SS's premium quality caters for the one who favours quality and always adorns herself in dresses and skirts. I am sure she doesn’t exactly want to go through a pair a day...  


Swedish Stockings, 2016. 

Swedish Stockings, 2016. 

5. Investing in good quality sleepwear can truly make a difference for those who love to lounge. Make your nights and blissful sleep last longer in this Noctu organic cotton nightie, without compromising neither the ethics nor the comfort.  Good news is Christmas is the time for sleepovers and hangouts at home, and a quality night gown lasts you throughout all the early nights of winter, helping you drift off in comfort. 


Noctu Organic, 2016. 

Noctu Organic, 2016. 

6. For those, like myself, who travel frequently (to the extent it actually becomes frightening), a nice de-stressing pillow would be the best thing to wish for to cope with muscle aches and cramps. Weather for a long plane ride, or just a soothing night’s beauty sleep, this Origins lavender and citrus induced body wrap is a real anti-stress must-have!


7. This Moroccan Natural 24K Gold Leaf Serum pairs together 3 miraculous, highly effective ingredients — organic certified Argan Oil is packed with restorative omega fatty acids, which is designed to diminish fine lines whilst still deeply hydrating the skin. Prickly Pear Seed Oil improves the health of the skin by tightening pores whilst nourishing and softening. Rose Oil helps balance moisture levels and reduces the appearance of skin imperfections. The unique bottle releases gold leaves when shaken!


8. Scents are often associated with nostalgia, triggering fond memories, and I am sure this Byredo scent with a meaning is worth splurging on for that very special one… Byredo’s Rose of No Man’s Land, featuring notes of White Amber, Turkish Rose Petals and Raspberry Blossom, serves as a tribute to the nurses (often referred to by soldiers as “Rose of No-Man’s Land”) who saved thousands of lives on the front lines of WWI, their story is one of selflessness and compassion.


9. Nordic Honey from Estonia brings you organically certified honey from select apiaries, leaving out the ugly truth of chemically fertilized fields and dirty factories. As to the Christmas sets, their signature wooden lids are handcrafted by a small carpenters workshop in South of Estonia and highly durable glass jars are from an Italian glass factory. All Nordic Honey products possess integrity and are delivered to you with great care.


10. Votch’s stylish cruelty-free watches from London, adorned with vegan leather straps, guarantee no animal skins were used for the making of their elegant timepieces. The timeless classics come in a variety of tones to align with your loved one’s individual personality…  


11. My absolute winter wardrobe favourites are turtlenecks... a nice basic polo neck keeps you warm and goes with literally everything, and nothing can be better than one made responsibly, caressing your silhouette in a silky smooth way. A well-made turtleneck leaves an effortless impression, yet can complement even a more affluent party ensemble. Good things, like this Peopletree's turtleneck top, come in shades of burgundy.  


12. For those, who often need to deal with anxiety and find it difficult to calm down after an eventful day, this Supermood pillow mist must be the most effective natural herbal solution putting you at ease.


13. These fun Ööloom sleeping masks are just so cute and the most precious accessory to all the night owls like me, who are extremely sensitive to luminescent distractions and keep waking up as soon as bright daylight makes an appearance. It is quite a challenge to decide, which animal to go for, and for the fun part, each of them includes a description of the animal's sleeping habits. Should I go for the unicorn or panda… 


14. I have started caring about my haircare routine more than ever, and getting more accustomed to organic and Fair-trade cosmetics day by day, I even want my hair products to be entirely cruelty-free. For the holidays, Antonin B. offers a solution supporting the good cause — the eco-chic gift set contains the best-selling Ceramides Enriched Desert Hair Serum,  PeTA approved Axiology Lipstick and a Fair-trade Grand Cru chocolate surprise for all the sweet tooths. 


Antonin. B. Cruelty-Free Christmas Set. 

Antonin. B. Cruelty-Free Christmas Set. 

15. MAST Brothers chocolates in trendy, nostalgic packaging, each carrying a theme of our favourite cities and featuring unique pairings, leave a symbolic, sensory memory. Hint:  we particularly adore their London-themed ‘vanilla & smoke’ indulgence — 


Beauty Is Beauty Is Beauty Is...The Natural You: Estonian Eco Cosmetics By Sõsar

Words: Johanna Raudsepp

Lately, applying my all-natural face moisturiser first thing in the morning has become like a second nature - it leaves my skin firm and gives it an immediate healthy glow. I couldn’t think of any fresher way of starting the day’s beauty routine. In Northern Europe, the appreciation of natural beauty is nothing unusual: it has gradually become sort of a trademark for us, which translates into our modern-day beauty industry, too. Natural cosmetics, consisting of pure ingredients derived from our surrounding biosphere, are nowadays widely known as bio-organic or eco-friendly cosmetics. As a cherry on top, these fuss-free superheroes often boast environmentally friendly packaging, too. 

Sacred Forest Peat Mask by Sõsar

Sacred Forest Peat Mask by Sõsar

To further understand the buzz around fuss-free, bio-active cosmetics, we talked the essence of beauty with Piret from the Estonian cosmetics brand Sõsar (‘Sister’). Whilst creating their products from all-sustainable resources combining modern-day science with local folk medicine, Sõsar not only serves organic skincare products for women, but has introduced an entire range for everyday use for the modern, global man. Perhaps that rather unusual stunt reveals why we have fallen utterly in love with their all-natural range…

What is beauty? 

Beauty is something very effortless that exudes from within. It reflects in our entity, the way we speak, [in our] physical stance and attitude towards ourselves and one another. Beauty is healthy, not artificial. It’s inside all of us already. [It’s] like a diamond which needs polishing to become a rare brilliant. The question is, will you polish your diamond or cover it with paint? 

"I believe that we all are already beautiful the moment we wake up. It’s a whole different question, whether we have the ability to see that beauty."

What inspired you to launch Sõsar?

Sõsar was born out of a personal need for cosmetics which would highlight natural beauty without damaging our skin and body with synthetic preservatives or colourants. I consider myself to be a bon vivant when it comes to cosmetics and skincare. I value the highest quality, the purest and the most effective natural products that help you stay youthful and glowing. [The idea] came to me once I realised that what is considered ‘best’ isn’t always the most expensive or dressed in the fanciest packaging. I quickly came to the conclusion that everything depends on what’s on the inside - the rest is often just a beautiful facade. As I soon found out there were others who shared my values and believed in the power of nature — thus Sõsar was born. 

Piret Laasik, founder of the Estonian eco beauty brand Sõsar

Piret Laasik, founder of the Estonian eco beauty brand Sõsar

Aside from the obvious, why are natural ingredients better for our skin’s health?

Everything in nature is already in perfect balance — we don’t need to extract, add or remove any components. The compote of fabricated substances [that stand at the other end of beauty industry] might not even give the desired results, but will rather create an addiction to the products. We should get to know nature better and learn how to benefit from it, rather than fear it. Natural products help to create a balance in our organism. We don’t need to apply seven layers of make-up or moisturise our skin on a daily basis, because our body and skin have the natural ability to be healthy and glowing if we knowingly support that. I believe that we all are already beautiful when we wake up. It’s a whole different question, whether we have the ability to see that beauty. 

"Beauty is healthy, not artificial. It’s inside all of us already. Like a diamond which needs polishing to become a rare brilliant. The question is, will you polish your diamond or cover it with paint?"

Besides women’s cosmetics, Sõsar also offers products for the modern man. What is important to keep in mind when creating a beauty product for men? 

What is most interesting about men’s products is that men need to be encouraged to use said products, especially for skincare. [They should keep in mind that] it doesn’t make a man less manly. In fact, [it is not a myth] that we, women, like men who are naturally handsome and take care of themselves. After all, men have the same kind of skin problems as women do. Healthy skin will give men confidence in building their career, and they will also benefit from that confidence in social situations…in their private lives. What’s great about natural products is that they are actually suitable for both men and women. 

Wild Man product range by Sõsar

Wild Man product range by Sõsar

If Sõsar was a character in an upcoming movie, what would she look like? How would she take care of her skin?

Sõsar would be a character called ‘Natural Beauty’, who makes heads turn in awe as she enters the room. It’s not about the perfect brow or having the perfect hair. Her beauty reflects in who she is, her gaze, and how she walks. She’s mindful that knowing her worth, getting a good night’s sleep and weekly beauty rituals are the key to beauty and youthfulness. And she doesn’t take no for an answer. Fresh air, good quality food and an active lifestyle are an essential part of her life. 

If you’re as obsessed with natural beauty as we are, go check out Sõsar’s webpage at www.sosar.eu where you purchase their skincare products. (PS! They ship all over the EU!)

Saying The ‘Yes’ Word…To Honest Beauty: JYB Cosmetics

Belgian brand JYB Cosmetics has brought their take on bio-organic skincare to the market circa 2014, and adamantly operates on a 100% transparency policy ever since. Savant peeked into their world of organic oils and earthly blends, and discussed the allure of today’s traceable beauty with Gauthier Berlemont, brand’s Marketing Director in United Kingdom, at Fofolles World Pop-up weekend held in Chelsea, London.  JYB — that’s miraculous, nourishing skin food in sexy packaging, all the trimmings. That’s the formula of honesty in a bottle, and no witchcraft.

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