The Best of a bad lot: Where to shop if you can’t afford fairtrade.

Cotton On

When I speak to people about why they don’t buy fairtrade and Australian made brands the responses can be varied.

Some say it’s because they don’t really believe that conditions are that bad in sweatshops; some say that people in sweatshops are lucky to even have jobs; but by far and away the most common answers come down to cost and convenience.

It’s true that it is still relatively difficult to shop fairtrade. Particularly if you are looking for cheap and non-flower-child options. So if this is a barrier for you, perhaps consider making these simple brand swaps instead. This allows you to do a little something for human rights, without doing too much to your hip pocket!!

Valleygirl ——–> Cotton On

Love cheap and fast fashion? Well do I have some good news for you! Cotton On received an A grade in the Ethical Fashion Report 2015.  Only 2 of the 59 brands reviewed were scored higher – and both of these were fairtrade brands!! Valley girl on the other hand received an F. As did other fast fashion label Ally.

Best & Less ——–> Kmart

Best & less was given a D- in the Ethical Fashion Report 2015, and has the added disgrace of being one of the companies that declined to sign the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord. Kmart is a signatory and also scored a B, outranking a bunch of other department brands including Big W and Target (B-) and Myer and David Jones (C-).

Just Jeans ——–> Jeans West

The Just Group (which includes Just Jeans, Jay Jays, Peter Alexander, Portmans, Dotti and Jacqui E) has also declined to sign the Bangladesh Fire and Safety Accord but gets a slightly higher grade than Best & Less – coming in at a solid D. Jeans West has an offering so similar to that of Just Jeans that I have always struggled to tell them apart. But Jeans West was awarded a B – so which one you choose can make a big difference to human rights.

There are plenty more brands named and shamed or celebrated in the Ethical Fashion Report 2015. If you want to pick up your game in the support of fair work around the world, or are simply curious, it’s well worth the read.



3 things you can do for humanity, other than just pray for it…


Let me start by saying that there is nothing wrong with praying.

Throwing positive energy into the universe can only be a good thing. And there are plenty of reputable studies to show the benefits of prayer and meditation on stress levels and brain activity. So, by all means, pray. But once you’re done praying make sure you spend some time creating the world you have just finished asking for. Remember, your deity’s only hands are those of its followers.

And a quick note for those of you who have used the hashtags prayforparis, or prayforhumanity, but have neither prayed nor taken action: don’t be that person. You have the power to bring so much relief in a world of pain. Use that power for good, not for gaining likes and comments.

So what can you do for humanity?

…Learn about it

There are many ways to do this. Read stories written from different view points, meet people from different backgrounds, travel. These are the best (and the funnest) ways to develop an appreciation for the things that make us different – like tiles in a complex mosaic – and the things that make us the same.

And there’s also watching the news. Keeping in mind that blogs, talk shows, religous publications and a Current Affair, are not news. Even the news has to be watched with the critical thinking part of your brain switched on. Television channels pursue ratings over truth. A fair proportion has to be the truth, or noone would bother watching. But it isn’t always the truth (Media Watch has many examples) and it is rarely the whole truth.


Media Watch

Just remember that anything you hear, from anyone (even me!!) comes through a filter of prejudices, experiences, hopes and adgendas. Learning to unpick the facts from the soup of human BS is a very important skill.

…Contribute to it

Wherever there are people trying to tear humanity down, there are people working to build it back up again. Whether it’s through actual building and construction, through the provision of essential services, or just the provision of arms to cry in.

You can be one of these people in your own community, but if you want to go one step further and help out in other communities around the world, then donate to a cause. The IFRC (known in Australia as the Red Cross) performs great work around the globe. From responding with blood and emergency assistance to the victims of our Black Saturday bushfires, to the needs of refugees fleeing Syria – if you are looking for a cause, these guys are a worthy one. They are also on the ground responding to the Paris attacks, so it’s a great choice if you are particularly interested in helping there.



…Value it

In a world where life holds such little value, there will always be strife. In the west we are happy to trade the length and quality of life experienced by millions around the world for cheaper access to clothes, cosmetics and household goods. Don’t even get me started on oil.

Make consumer choices that enhance humanity, not detract from it.

And go hug someone.

Rant over.


The problem with Australian made baby formula…

I’m back after a long hiatus. Between planning a wedding and an unexpectedly nasty sinus infection, life just seems to have gotten away from me. But here I am, rising from my cyber slumber to write potentially my most dramatic post yet – because Australian babies are in danger.

Baby formula

All You Need is LLUF is all about making consumer decisions that promote the fair treatment of workers, because sadly there are many countries where governments are not prepared to protect their people from exploitation (and of course many companies happy to capitalise on this situation). And in a shocking display of what happens when a government does not sufficiently regulate it’s markets to protect the people, in 2008 contaminated baby formula killed six babies in the People’s Republic of China and put another 54,000 in hospital.

Ever since then Chinese nationals have been looking outside their own country for formula. This has resulted in such massive shortages in the UK and Hong Kong that it has been made a criminal offence to send baby formula out of these countries in bulk. And now it is resulting in similar shortages here in Australia.

So you see, the problem with Australian made baby formula is that there isn’t any left on Australian shelves.

Mothers and fathers all over our country are tearing out there hair trying to get access to food for their small children. Horror stories abound – about driving all over town, reaching out on social media to other families about where certain brands may be in stock, or for short-term loans. I mean seriously – people are borrowing half a tin of baby formula because they cannot get what they need to feed their children.

Caroline Raj, of the baby and toddler blog Mamma Raj, first reported on this crisis just over a week ago after having to buy her little munchkin a different formula type because it was all she could find. Since then she has been inundated with messages from other mothers in the same situation. After realising how many babies are being put at risk, Caroline decided to set up a petition, asking the Australian Government to follow suit with other countries, putting in place safeguards to ensure the food security of Australian babies is protected. You can read and sign Caroline’s petition on or read about other things you can do to help here.

Lying in with a lurgy – a few suprising products to nurse you through your cold

I have a little winter lurgy. One of those truly annoying ones that isn’t quite bad enough to get you out of work, but just bad enough to send you straight to bed when you get home. Ugh.

Needless to say, the last thing I feel like doing right now is sitting down to tap out the weekly post. I have, however, recently downloaded an app that scolds me when I don’t reach my weekly milestones, so I find myself at an impasse.

To take the sting out of soldiering on, I have decided to dial it down a notch and just share photos of some LLUF-approved products that are in my house for the purpose of providing sweet, sweet relief in moments like these. Such as Thursday Plantation Eucalyptus Oil.

Eucalyptus oil

Other than my bed, of course, this little bottle of strong-smelling goodness is my favourite possession in all the world right now.

Then there’s Ethical Nutrients Immune Defence tablets. Tastes weird, but I feel like it helps.

There’s also the essential super-moisturising body wash to help my skin withstand the longer, hotter showers I indulge in when I am sick. Natures Commonscents have just released their body wash range and they are divine.

Natures CS

And of course then there’s tea. Black tea, green tea, chai tea, peppermint tea. Realistically no hot beverage is off limits unless it requires lots of milk. I’m a big fan of a simple lemon wedge squeezed into a mug of water, or some diluted apple juice heated in the microwave as well.


So there you have it. A few of my favourites. I hope they serve you well. And now I am off to bed.

Good news for people who love Sherbies and other Allens lollies…

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, Australia is reeling from announcements that Allens will be discontinuing a number of it’s lines so loved from our childhoods including Sherbies, jubes, spearmint leaves and green frogs.

Well, OK, noone cares about green frogs. But sherbies are a school camp staple, right?

But we can all relax. I have done my research (mmm, delicous research) and have identified a number of suitable substitutes which come with the added bonus of being made right here in Australia:

Sherbet Bombs

Not as soft, but delicously fruity and fizzy just like Sherbies.

Sherbert Bombs

Pascall Jubes

Not too hard. Not too soft. The perfect jube.

Bols Mint Leaves

Available at Kmart and at a ridiculously low price, you’re mad if you are not already using this identical tasting alternative.

With all these substitutes I won’t be suffering from Allens lolly withdrawal, but then again I started phasing Allens out of my diet in first year uni, along with all of Nestle’s other brands.

After hearing in first unit marketing about the devastating affects of Nestle’s aggressive campaigns to market infant formula to mothers in developing countries, it didn’t feel like much of a choice in the end.

I won’t harp on about the details – if you want to know more I suggest you start your own research here – but needless to say, a commitment to shopping ethical does not involve contributing to the profit margins of a company that is repeatedly accused of breaching World Health Organisation standards that are designed to reduce infant mortality rates in some of the world’s most vulnerable communities because they can turn a quick buck.

So maybe don’t mourn the loss of Sherbies, but rather look forward to a brave new world of more ethical (and equally delicous) options to explore. Mmmmm.

Top tips for staying warm this winter…


This has been a cold, nasty week in our nations capital. On Monday morning I went into work at 10.30 and there was still frost on the gound!! Not just in the odd shady corner either. There were thick blankets of it laid out across the grass. Not. Good.

So my top tips for keeping warm?

1) Build some big woolley socks into your wardrobe. Eco-friendly, and with lots of Australian made options, socks will not only keep you warm but may also increase your chance of orgasm!!! Find out more here.

Tuff Mongrel Socks

2) Block up spaces around your windows and doors to help keep the heat in. Don’t have anything? That’s ok. Make your own door-snake with these simple instructions.


3) Drink lots of tea. Comforting, delicous and warm. You’d be mad not to use the change in the weather to drink more. It’s also an opportunity to help lift people out of poverty, with 100’s of tasty fair-trade blends out there for the buying. See this post for some of my favourites.


4) Make your own heatpack from things that are lying around the house when things get truly desperate.This easy little trick is a great substitute if no hot water bottles or wheat packs are on hand to soothe a sore body or add a little support to feet that are desperately trying to warm up.

So there you have it – the simplest, cheapest and most universe friendly ways I know to add a little warmth to your winter.

Now you’ll have to excuse me while I go back to Netflix and a massive cup of peppermint tea… maybe winter isn’t all bad 😉

Tricks for travel: how to pack a bag in a rush


I haven’t spent much time at home lately. Through a chaotic combination of interstate travel, opera choruses, and friends who have been left alone too long with screaming toddlers, I’ve essentially been living out of a suitcase for a month. Luckily I used to travel a lot for work, so I have packing for nights away down to a fine art.

The following tricks come in particularly handy if, like me, you have an adhoc approach to doing laundry, a largely mismatched wadrobe, and a propensity for waking up hungover on packing day. Sigh.

So what are my best tricks?

1) Have your toiletries already packed

I have a box of ‘holiday’ toiletries from which I can quickly grab what I need for a night or a few weeks away, whatever the requirement. This includes the following LLUF approved items:

  • Natio Tinted Moisturiser (SPF50) – because I spend more time in the sun and less time with make up on when I’m away;
  • MooGoo Fresh Cream Roll On Deoderant – I don’t travel with aerosols to expediate airport check in;
  • Small refillable bottles for shampoo, conditioner and body wash;
  • A lip gloss that can double as a creme blush; and
  • Sids and Kids baby wipes – supporting a cause close to my heart; making it easier to remove makeup after a late night out; and providing an emergency option for touching up an insufficiently cleaned hotel room


2) Always pack the basics first

Socks, jocks, pyjamas and always, always, always togs – just in case you get the chance to go swimming.

This leaves your mind totally free to focus on your outfits, without the fear of overlooking something important. Noone wants to be the family member who ends up in a blog post like this one by Mama Raj, which may or may not refer to Mr LLUF. He admits nothing.

3) Plug your phone into your charger so you remember it

We have all been through the traumatic experience of leaving a phone charger behind. Even if my phone doesn’t need charging I plug it in overnight, and when that alarm goes off in the morning I throw the phone and the charger into the bag straight away.

4) Always pack a book, a pen and paper

Lighter than a laptop, and not so hard on the eyes as a phone. Sometimes the old fashioned methods of entertaing yourself are the best. I like to use travel time as an opportunity to reflect, and write down some goals for my return to real life. But pen and paper comes in handy for many other things – including entertaining children if you are planning to be eating out with any families and actually want to be able to hold a conversation with the parents.

These tricks drastically reduce the impact that travel has on my stress levels – hopefully there’s something useful in here for you too.

A little taste of Northern Tasmania

The sun rises on a sleepy Sunday in Devonport Tasmania. It’s hours before I get up though. There is a frost, which is actually not that common in this part of Tassie, so everyone stayed rugged up in bed until the day warmed up to a ‘balmy’ 14-or-so-degrees. Mr LLUF and I have heard everyone rave about the new cafes about town all weekend, and on our last day we find some time to sit down with my darling mother at Laneway.


I check my GPS to make 100% sure we’re not in Melbourne, as this hole-in-the-wall coffee house would not be out of place in the laneways of that great city across the Strait.

With a real nod to local produce they have some delicous options on their breakfast menu, most of which include generous servings of  Mt Gnommon bacon. If you fancy a picnic lunch to follow, locally produced small goods, cheeses and condiments are also available in their deli section.

After a quick cup of tea and some cuddles with my sister and niece, Mr LLUF and I start the trip to Launceston, where we will spend our final night before heading back to the ‘Berra.


Along the way we stop in at Ashgrove Cheese Factory. Something of a ritual on our Tassie trips. We do a couple of free taste tests, and then agonise over how much of each cheese we can safely transport home. We end up prioritising suitcase space for the bush pepper cheddar. Mr LLUF’s absolute favourite, and for me it’s a close second to the Wild Wasabi cheese!!

Raspberry farm

After having filled our savoury stomach with cheese, we decide to stop off at the Christmas Hills Raspberry Farm to fill our dessert stomachs. Rapberry icecream with a complimentary dark chocolate coated raspberry has me in heaven, and Mr LLUF runs around tasting raspberry jams, sauces and vinegars and suprisingly only comes away with a bottle of raspberry wine and three jams. We got off lightly this time.


And then off to our final stop in Launceston for our very last activity. A tour of the historic Boags Brewery. This has been high on Mr LLUFs Tassie-to-do list ever since he first started making trips down here with me. And it does not disappoint. A self-confessed history nerd he gets lost in the beer-lovers museum, reading about the legacy of the Boags family, and the story behind some of their beers, such as the Wizard Smith Ale. I have to track him down with high-vis and safety glasses in hand to start the tour. We are visiting on a Sunday, so the brewery is not in operation, but our guide talks us through the process and then gives us three pots to try at the end – matching each to a locally produced cheese.

We thank our stars that we had the sense to stay within walking distance of the brewery and settle in for a good session with some new friends we’ve made during the tour.

Life doesn’t get much better than this.

Why am I so tired? A suprising answer.


Noticed a little inconsistency in my blogging lately? Two blogs here and then nothing for a few weeks?

Truth be told, I’ve been exhausted. Unbelievably, can-barely-drag-myself-out-of-bed-some-mornings, feel-hungover-but-I-haven’t-been-drinking tired. And as such, my my A-game hasn’t been anywhere for a long time!! I haven’t brought it with me to the blog, or to the community organisations I work with, or to my half of the house work (my poor hubby).

Given a long family history of depression I figured it was most likely a little ticking genetic time-bomb going off, but on the off chance it was something else I asked the doctor to do the standard gammit of blood tests. They say you should get them done every two years anyway, and it’s been a lot longer than that for me. And to my suprise it came back with something.

I expected it to be a thyroid thing at the very least (medical history prejudice again), but in fact I had a vitamin B12 deficiency – a vitamin important for brain function and energy production. Excited at stumbling across a solution so quickly, I eagerly asked the doctor what veggies I could eat to fix it – none. I was confused. All vitamins come from fruit and veggies don’t they?

After a short Google (not a verb, I know), I have come to understand – and kids, I wouldn’t recommend quoting this in a science project – that vitamin B12 is, well, kind of, sort of, but not exactly, the poop of a special kind of bacteria that grows in dirty water. We use clean water to grow our veggies, but animals still drink the dirty stuff. So the main source of natural B12 is animal products. Or something like that. I encourage you to do your own research if you are looking for the actual answer. I am a raconteur, not a medical scientist.

Anyway. Not being a big meat eater the Doctor suggested that I take a fairly sizeable dose of the Vitamin. I shan’t tell you what it was, because I don’t want this article to inspire people to take supplements at higher dosages than the label recommends without individual medical advice. But I shall tell you that I grabbed the first Australian made 1000mcg bottle of B12 I could find, although you can get lower doses as part of multi-vitamins and ‘stress formulas’.

When I first started to feel better I put it down to a coincidentally timed holiday, told myself the supplements were hippie voodoo, and stopped taking them. This led to a slow slide back to where we started. Within 4 days of getting back on the little pink pills I was feeling good. I’d forgotten I could feel that good. The extra energy, and the absence of brain fog was a very welcome relief.

Now of course, this is my experience based on individually tailored advice provided to me by a licensed medical practitioner. If anything my relapse and original reluctance are warnings against self-diagnosis. So don’t use this post as an excuse to delay a visit to the doctor if you need one. But if you are feeling a little run down, particularly if you are a veggo, give some thought to your own vitamin B12 levels.

The Fab 5: The best posts of the past year

 28 April marks the one year anniversary of All You Need is LLUF.

It’s been a year of little triumphs, terrible disorganisation and great support from my loved ones. 44 posts and over 700 visits later, I have chosen 5 of my favourites to share:


The first post I published, detailing the four part philosphy designed ‘to minimise the impact that my love of pretty things has on people and planet‘, that All You Need is LLUF was born from.



The most popular post about our delightful stay in Hepburn Springs, Daylesford – a beautiful little town in wine country Victoria which I highly recommend for couples looking for romance, families looking for fun, and just about anyone looking for the perfect spot to relax.

Fair Grotto - HSMR


The first to go ‘viral’ … ok, so the term ‘viral’ might be a bit of an overstatement. This is the first to be shared on Facebook by someone else. In particular the lovely people at Taygra Shoes Australia who were excited to be mentioned in the post.

Family of Taygra


 My Mum’s favourite post. And there is no higher seal of approval.

paper binders 2


The one that won…or at the very least was a favourite of the blog Living Well Spending Less who allows other blogs to post their best spend thrifting ideas to their Thrifty Thursday page.

BeetrootThrifty ThursdaySpring onions

So there you have it. Five of the best. A big thankyou for sticking with me so far, and a toast to the year ahead Champagne