Fashion Jewelry Facts and Care Tips

Why we love fashion jewelry?

Fashion jewelry, also referred to as costume jewelry, is a fun and inexpensive way to express your individual style. Its low cost composition means that it is easy to get your moneys worth of use out of it and allows for a much greater variety of bolder, attention grabbing styles and colors that can be mixed and matched according to your mood or wardrobe.

Caring for your fashion jewelry

Although fashion jewelry doesn’t require much of an investment, it is still important to get the most bang for your buck by taking proper care of your costume jewelry by following a few simple steps:

– NEVER allow fashion jewelry to come in contact with oils, soaps, perfumes, or any harsh chemicals which can fade or even ruin the item.

– ALWAYS remove jewelry before sports, swimming, exercising, washing hands, showering, cleaning, doing laundry, or applying lotions or creams.

– NEVER store jewelry wet. Always dry with a soft cloth before storing.

– When cleaning, be gentle! Use a soft toothbrush and jewelry cleaner that specifically states that it is safe for costume jewelry. Make sure it does not contain acid, alcohol, or ammonia. Only use jewelry cleaner as directed. DO NOT over scrub.

– Store jewelry in a plastic ziploc bag or soft jewelry pouch away from other objects and jewelry items to avoid scratching.

– Store jewelry in a clean, dry, cool, not cold place away from heat and dust.

– Use a jewelry cloth for buffing.

– Regularly check for loose stones.

Fashion jewelry typically consists of three elements:

1. A base alloy such as brass, nickel, aluminum, tin or a combination of metals that has been altered to resemble more precious metals such as silver, gold, or platinum. This is achieved by a variety of methods including:

· tone: Have you ever heard of fashion jewelry that is referred to as silver or gold tone? This means just what the name implies. Tone refers to the color of the metal only. Gold and silver tone jewelry are silver and gold in color but contain no actual gold or silver.

· electroplating: This is probably the most common method. In this process an electric current is used to deposit a thin layer, as little as 2 micro inches (a micro inch is one millionth of an inch) onto the base alloy metal which is immersed in a salt bath solution of the precious metal that will be used to plate the object.

· layering: This method also utilizes the process of electroplating. However, the plated object is immersed for a longer period of time allowing for a much thicker layer of precious metal to be deposited. Layered gold or silver consists of approximately 20-50 micro inches of gold or silver. Although it doesn’t sound like much. This thicker layer results in a much more durable, longer lasting jewelry piece.

· overlay: This method utilizes heat rather than electricity to combine the base metal with the precious metal to form a new alloy. This creates a permanent bond between the metals which creates jewelry that can be as durable and long lasting as the real thing with proper care. Gold overlay jewelry is also sometimes referred to as gold filled. It is generally safer for sensitive skin than costume jewelry made by other methods.

· Technibond: This is considered to be one of the most desirable methods of gold plating because it uses a full 40 micro inches of 14kt gold over .925 sterling silver rather than a typical base alloy. It is the best of both worlds.

· vermeil: This is the top of the line in gold plating. This method uses as much as 100 micro inches of gold over .925 sterling silver and as you can expect is also a bit pricier. It may be worth it for someone looking for something closer to the real thing without paying the exorbitant price for solid gold.

2. Man made stones such as cubic zirconia, crystals, rhinestone, glass, or epoxy are the second component of most fashion jewelry The most popular of which is cubic zirconia because of its physical characteristics. It is used to create simulated versions of precious gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds. Its sparkly appeal and inexpensive price tag allow for much larger, more glitzy fashion pieces that instantly attract attention. Colored glass can also be used to simulate precious stones and faux pearls. Rhinestone and crystal jewelry is also popular because of its glitzy appeal and color choices. Epoxy and acrylic are plastics that is often used to make inexpensive bead jewelry.

Although typical fashion jewelry consists of man made stones sometimes natural crystals and semiprecious stones such as pearls, topaz, black opal, amethyst, or peridot is used to provide a more fine jewelry appeal.

3. Fashion jewelry may also consist of unusual materials such as wood, stone, and shell which can be either natural or colored.



Time to Choose the Perfect Watch for Business Wear

People are always looking for different ways to express ourselves in order to stand out from the crowd. The newest and most fashionable trend has been to own a wardrobe of different watches to suit every need. The average guy owns around three to four watches. Fashion experts are expecting that number to double and sales on watches to rise.

They range from models costing many thousands of dollars to fun disposable watches that will only set you back a few bucks. Yet no matter the cost they all serve a variety of functions, from fashion accessory to simple telling what time it is.

Before making a potentially expensive purchase, it is a good idea to know the basics of watch construction since even the best-dressed man can get tripped up when it comes to buying the right one. So here is what you should know when shopping for a new watch.

  • Have an idea where the watch was made. The last thing you want to do is pay a lot of money for an expensive watch only to discover it was made in China. You’re doing well the watch you are interested in was made in Switzerland. In order to be considered a “Swiss Watch”, it needs to meet certain requirements such where the production and assembly took place. Ask for a full explanation from the seller about the watch’s origin before you buy it.
  • Know what powers the watch. You’ll quickly discover that nearly all modern watches employ a battery-powered quartz crystal to keep proper time. There are a few stores which still sell old-fashioned mechanical watches which keep time through gears and springs but require periodic servicing. The very best watch companies build their own mechanisms in house instead of out-sourcing it.
  • Inspect the casing of the watch. All of the notable top-quality watch makers use a screw-on back and a screw-down crown to protect the inside of the watch from water and dirt. Some even have a display back that lets you to see this mechanism. Cases are normally made from stainless steel, gold, silver, platinum and titanium since they are a highly durable, yet distinctive, classy look.
  • Make sure there are no external defects with the transparent face that covers the watch such as scratches or cracks. Acrylic is the least expensive and gives you a good shatter resistance considering the price but the sapphire crystals work the best, due to their clarity and scratch resistance.
  • What makes one model better than another when it comes to special features? Some watches use both a digital and an analog face. Others are available in a water-resistant casing for those swimmers out there. If you’re big into sports, look into purchasing a chronograph. If you’re looking to show off the lottery you just won or that big fat raise your boss gave you, you can buy a watch encrusted in gemstones. Nothing screams look at me like a watch covered in diamonds or otherwise known as bling.
  • The band of the watch should be comfortable and secure. Steel bands give off a clean look and smooth feel making them quite popular and trendy. If you’re into an old-fashioned and timeless look, you can’t go wrong with a watch that has a leather band.



The Dip-Dye Ombre Hair Trend

As the Summer months inch closer (OK, they should already be here but it is Britain) you might be starting to wonder about what to do with your locks for the warmer season. As we dream of festivals, trips to the beach and laid-back cool, a change to our mop is usually part of the transition. For vacation time it tends to be something casual and breezy, but a little more inspired. Dip-dyed (also called ombre) hair is a great way to have a little fun without getting a drastic cut, and the great thing is it doesn’t need to be permanent.

For a sun-kissed look that’s California cool, check out the likes of Rachel Bilson and Jessica Biel. These lovely ladies have kept their natural colour but weaved in honey and caramel notes, whilst teasing their waves to casual yet glamorous perfection. It’s a little more directional than highlights, with two or more tones giving hair that grown out and soft feel for a romantic, hippie summer. Jessica Alba, meanwhile, has added subtle blonde strands that enhance the beauty of her gorgeous chocolate mane. Drew Barrymore, ever the flower child, takes the look a bit further with more of a contrast between the two tones. She still keeps that bohemian 70s vibe, occasionally adding a braid or fishtail plait for an extra surfer-chick kick.

For those who are feeling a bit more daring, it can be exciting to add an unnatural hue to your tresses. There are subtler ways than others, such as January Jones’ cute lock of baby pink, or Lauren Conrad’s peachy waves. Both complement their natural colours but bring a real playfulness to their otherwise quite safe, conservative styles.

There are also those who give this look their all; these ventures are not for the faint-hearted and yet are easy to pull off with confidence and the right attitude. Jessie J famously rocks her blunt fringe with various outlandish colours whilst Kate Bosworth has gone all out with an aqua-tipped effect for fashion-forward fierceness. Model Charlotte Free has made a style trademark out of her bleached and pink grunge locks, with designers clambering to book her for their shows to mix couture with street fashion for dramatic effect.

You might be thinking this   fashion   trend  isn’t for you, but there truly is something for everyone in the ombre spectrum. Whether your hair is short, long, light, dark, straight or curly, there is bound to be something you can add to put a new bounce in your step. Don’t let the ‘My little pony’ colours scare you off; the natural-looking beach inspired effects are just as interesting and easy to achieve. And if you do like the look of the brighter shades but are worried about standing out too much in the office – fear not, semi-permanent brands such as Directions, Special Effects and Stargazer can last for just a few washes depending on how you treat it. Go for it, be your own hair icon!



Brief History of Italian Fashion

Italy and Fashion have a very unique and special relationship, and when you consider such names as Dolce&Gabbana, Versace and Armani, to name but a few, it’s not difficult to see why. But if we look back into the history of Italian Fashion, (e.g. see also the article on Nina Ricci) we start to understand what gave Italy such a status in the Fashion World.

Count Giorgini started the ‘Italian Fashion’ craze in 1951, when he organised a fashion show to be presented to an International audience in Florence. He then continued to present other fashion shows at his palace, presenting new collections modelled by nobilty against a backdrop of fine arts and scenery. Nobilty would also model new collections at museums or exhibitions next to famous pieces of fine art. This all contributed to elevating the status of Italian fashion, and implanting in everyone’s minds that Italian fashion gives you status, is very rich in quality,and almost ‘fairytale’ like.

In the 1970s and 1980s Milan made its mark as being the Fashion Capital of Italy, and the phrase Made in Italy became universally recognised as meaning ‘high quality’, and ‘high fashion’. Today there are various fashion trade fairs in Milan, and it is considered by many to be the Fashion Capital of The World.



The Fashion of James Bond

Who in the history of film has gone through more   fashion   trends  than James Bond? I remember my fashion awakening in the 90’s, reading an article in Playboy (yeah, I read the articles) discussing Pierce Brosnan’s wardrobe in Goldeneye. The article talked about the return of the nautical blazer with gold buttons and the matching of Bond’s Omega watch face to his outfit, something I still do to this day.

Whether it was Sean Connery showing how you could fight in a suit and not ruin the crease or Brosnan’s pretty-boy, born to wear a tux look, the Bond franchise has something to teach from every era.

Sean Connery (1962 – 1971)

The original Bond typically wore two buttoned, single-breasted suits known as the Conduit Cut. With lots of blues and grays, Bond was almost always in a suit. The lapels were of narrow to medium width, wider if the suit was a three-piece with a blue or white shirt. This style of suit has made a come back with the popularity of Mad Men and is very easily copied. Another trademark of Connery’s Bond was a plain white pocket square, neatly folded, either rectangular in or in a single peak.

Black tie for this era was very traditional, narrower bow ties and almost always black on black. In Goldfinger, Connery broke this trend with a white smoking jacket with a lapelled shirt. If you want to stand out in a sea of black tuxedos, this is a great option.

George Lazenby (1969)

There isn’t much to say about Lazenby’s impact on fashion in the Bond franchise. With only one film to his credit it’s hard to see a trend or an influence but the suits had trendier cuts and pin stripes.

One thing I will say however, even though no one knew who Austin Powers was at that time, ruffles just don’t cut it Baby.

Roger Moore (1973 – 1985)

During this era there was an effort to update Bond’s look with more sport jackets contrasting the colors with the pants, wider lapels of the 70’s and brighter colors. The fit was a little loser and had an almost leisure suit look to them. Also new to the Moore years was the introduction of more double-breasted jackets.

Colors of suits in this period tended to be light grays, khaki and patterns, however closer to the end of Moore’s run styles started to revert back to more traditional three-piece suits of the Connery years with darker colors. Another obvious change were the wide pants as opposed to the slimmer cuts Connery wore (wide pants is a trend I personally hope never comes back).

Tuxedos had larger lapels during this time and Moore leaned more to the white dinner jacket than simply black on black. The bow ties were also wider, matching the lapel on the jacket.

Timothy Dalton (1987 – 1989)

With only two movies to his credit, Dalton didn’t get a real chance to influence Bond’s style like Moore or Connery, but he did make an impact. Heavily contrasted by the neon colors of the 80’s, Dalton’s Bond stuck to dark grays, blacks and blues.

Up to this point, Dalton probably wore the least amount of suits than any other Bond being seen in tuxes or more active wear, reflecting the more aggressive nature of Bond then that of Roger Moore. However when he did wear suits, they were typically two-buttoned and the occasional three-piece.

Pierce Brosnan (1995 – 2002)

Moving away from English cuts, Brosnan’s Bond wore custom Italian suits, toiled to the finest detail.

Brioni was the company building these suits, averaging $5000 per. Where as Connery and Dalton could blend into a crowd, Brosnan stood out like a Fortune 500 CEO. This guy looked like an ad for Omega, BMW or whatever high end product he might be selling. The suits had three buttons, which were popular in the 90’s, elegant pin stripes and silk pocket squares matching the ensemble.

Tuxedos were black on black and fit like a glove. Not that Bond ever looked unfashionable in the past, but Brosnan’s Bond was so elegant you were never going to confuse him for a spy, but maybe an investment banker.

Daniel Craig (2006 – Present)

Craig is probably the perfect mix of the high fashion of Brosnan and function of Connery. With out a doubt, the suits for Bond in the last two films had an understated perfection in both fit and style.

Starting with Brioni suits in Casino Royale then on to Tom Ford in Quantum of Solace, the Craig era shows how a suit can create a look of elegance and still be functional. One of the problems I had with Brosnan’s Bond is that there is no way you’re getting into a fight with a suit like that and still have it looking like you just put it on. On the other end of the spectrum was Connery with a utilitarian and conservative style that meant business.

The modern Bond can blend into a crowd like a spy should but you will never confuse his suit for “off the rack”. This is a look of understated sophistication, a trend I hope continues.

Bond, James Bond

The beauty of a franchise like James Bond is that men have a fashion icon to follow, which is rare and its longevity allows us to witness the evolution of men’s fashion. Depending on your style you will probably find a look that fits your style from any era.



The Uses of Leggings For Girls and Toddlers

It’s fall season, and with winter just around the corner, more and more you see in the stores leggings for girls and toddlers. Is this just a fashion trend or is there a reasonable use for these trendy leggings?

Many of the fashion trends are followed by real needs. For example, hats in the summer can protect from the sun and exposure to the wind, however in the winter, the same hat will protect you from the snow or rain. Footless tights follow the same pattern and although very popular in the fall and winter, to protect from the cold weather, they can also be worn in the summer to protect from the sun rays.

Usually Leggings for girls are worn under a dress or skirt to compliment the outfit, turning a look that is boring into something sassy. However fashionable they may seem; baby, toddler and girls need the protection that these leggings can offer. In the spring and summer when the pollen is in the air, often times, babies and toddlers will have allergies that can be minimized by protecting the skin from the outdoor environment with leggings. They can also serve the purpose of protecting the skin from the sun rays or wind when playing in the park or in the back yard.

In the winter, keeping the bodies warmth is very important and can be achieved with the use of leggings. Under a dress, skirt or loose pants, these leggings are equally important to protect baby, toddler and girls’ legs from the harmful effects of cold and windy weather.

Although the intention was to create a product to protect skin from the outdoor influences, leggings turned into a fashion trend that has lasted many years. They are available in many different styles in a variety of colors. Usually made of polyester and cotton, giving them a tight fit, can be purchased with lace, different fabric styles, with and without rhinestones, embroidered.

The latest style of leggings for baby, toddler and girls are lace leggings made of 100% cotton for comfort.  Lace leggings for baby, toddlers and girls were made to follow the comeback of vintage style skirts and dresses.

Whether you are looking to purchase Lace Leggings  for it’s use or fashion, this is a must to every baby girl’s closet! After all, don’t you want your baby to be the most stylish girl in town?



The Secret to Blending Spring 2007 Trends Into Your Personal Style!

Spring 2007 is upon us with some wonderful trends! Feminine, bold and chic is the name of the game this season. MMC Style would like to share some of its favorites with you to help you adorn your unique essence.

Clothing Trend: Bold Colors. There’s a bold rush on saturated shades that stand alone.   Fashion  Accessory  Trend : Add a bold colored accessory a monochrome outfit. Try sculpted resins in smooth but bold designs.

Clothing Trend: Light Layers. Tulle and chiffon make a divine topper for a tailored base.  Fashion  Accessory  Trend : Layered necklaces can be the thing that adds more spirit to your outfit.

Clothing Trend: Black & White. Eye-popping prints go high-contrast.  Fashion  Accessory  Trend : Select a chunkier piece of jewelry to emphasize the contrast colors.

Clothing Trend: Sporty. Outfits expressing your commitment to fitness without the sweat.  Fashion  Accessory  Trend : Throw a laid-back classy hobo, over your shoulder to show off your strong shoulders. There will be plenty of room for all of your daily essentials.

Clothing Trend: Asymmetrical Cuts. Add an interesting angle to your wardrobe with irregular cuts.  Fashion  Accessory  Trend : Let an asymmetrical bangle dangle on your wrist! Carry a crescent shaped handbag. Think outside the box!

Clothing Trend: Metallic. Reflect the rising mercury with day-to-night metallics.  Fashion  Accessory  Trend : Know that only one element of metallics should be integrated within your outfit. Decide on whether this should be your shoes, wardrobe or one of your accessories. Brass earrings might be all it takes!

Clothing Trend: Florals. Flowers are popping up all over.  Fashion  Accessory  Trend : What marks the arrival of Spring? Flowers! So, don’t be remiss in adding pizzazz to your wardrobe by not including these bloomers. A beautiful flower brooch is a great Spring Fling for any top.

Clothing Trend: Feminine & Frilly. Feminine flounces add charm to a workday staple.  Fashion  Accessory  Trend : How nice to show off who you really are in the inside by tying an unusual taffeta band necklace around your neck. Or how about a beautiful candy charm necklace?

Clothing Trend: Short-Sleeve and Short Dresses. Bare legs and arms are exhibited in these fresh styles.  Fashion  Accessory  Trend : Carry a thin and longer shoulder bag that tucks under the arm flatter or wear a longer necklace. The emphasis is more on you and your skin versus overly accessorizing.

Clothing Trend: His Vests. A menswear staple is resuscitated from the death of the three-piece suit.  Fashion  Accessory  Trend : Soften the masculinity. Wear an ultra feminine choker or a Murano Glass heart necklace to show off your softness and strength.

Have fun with playing with integrating some of the Spring 2007  fashion   trends  into your wardrobe. Most importantly though, let it be a time for you to evaluate what positive changes you can integrate into your style.



How Social Media Is Affecting Current Fashions and Trends

In the past, the fashion world has seemed like a place out of reach to the general public. A mysterious place; which only the rich and famous could be part of. These days, however, thanks to the revolution of social media, this world has opened up, and everyone can join in and share experiences. Social media has had a huge impact on fashions and trends.

One of the leading examples of social media which has affected fashion is blogging. The demand for blogging has increased immensely over the past few years, and more people are becoming involved in this way of connecting with each other. Fashion bloggers report on the latest fashions and trends via relevant websites, before they reach magazines, and interestingly, we now see bloggers sitting in the front row of catwalk shows. A place which was previously reserved for only celebrities and designers. The reason there is such a huge interest in this form of social media, is not only because we can usually relate to the writer, but also because they have the ability to report on the latest trends instantly after the shows have taken place. This diminishes the need to wait weeks or months on magazines being published, or websites updated. It also gives us a platform to interact and communicate with each other.

Popular websites such as Facebook, twitter and YouTube have also had a tremendous influence on ladies fashion and current trends. Top designers such as Burberry and Louis Vuitton have used these types of social media to stream live catwalk shows as they happen, which enables viewers to tell each other about the latest fashion before it reaches the shops. It is also a way to communicate directly with designers, which increases their awareness of what looks are popular and what fashion enthusiasts are interested in. It enables people to feel connected and express their opinions. It also allows people to have a direct influence on fashion trends, and know their views are valued. Designers are also developing ways for viewers to make instant clothing purchases, during these live performances.

Fashion dedicated sites such as Polyvore and Chitopia have in-built forums, where visitors can interact with each other, and share style tips and advice. There is also the option to upload photos, and show off your personal style. These types of fashions sites have a significant affect on current trends, as people love to talk to each other, and what better way to showcase your own unique style, and allow others to become inspired and even replicate ideas.

The increase in social media not only affects styles and trends, but it also allows designers to reach a higher amount of people, in a shorter time frame. It can greatly increase traffic to specific websites, and as a result, make a huge impact on online sales. The need and desire for social media is only set to continue and make way for an even more interesting and inspirational way to interact and enjoy the latest styles.



Top 10 Celebrity Styles For 2008-2009

Every year we look to celebrities for fashion inspiration and new styles. Looking back over this year we can say that 2008 did not disappoint. Although some celebrities veered a little too far left of what is fashionably acceptable many others hit the bulls-eye. Even if you didn’t commit to any of the following trends, you can’t deny that they made statements in 2008. We have broken them down in order from 1 – 10 and let you know who owned that specific celebrity style.

Fashion Trend # 1: The Two-finger ring. This is one of the coolest jewelry trends we’ve seen in awhile. It has been spotted on famous celebrities such as Rihanna and Lauren Conrad from ”The Hills”.

Fashion Trend # 2: Baggy ”Boy” Jeans. This was a hit-and-miss look. It really depended on the body type of the person sporting the look. We think the new Baggy Boy Jeans should have a distressed and loose look, but should also be cut to show off a woman’s curves. This celebrity style was rocked by Reese Witherspoon and Katie Holmes.

Fashion Trend # 3: Nail Designs. Many celebrities decided to wear crazy colors on their nails this year. Those celebrities include Beyonce, Eve and Rihanna.

Fashion Trend # 4: Sky-Scraper High Heels. Every year high-heels get higher and more dangerous looking. If you don’t believe us just take a look at Victoria Beckham and Madonna.

Fashion Trend # 5: Pointless Accessories. Anything and everything was up for grabs to be an accessory in 2008. Just take a look at Miley Cyrus, Rihanna and Beyonce.

Fashion Trend # 6: Obama T-Shirts. For the first time we can remember political T’s were available and worn by the general public. Check them out on Halle Berry, Beyonce and P Diddy Combs.

Fashion Trend # 7: Nerdy Glasses. Geek-chic is a sure thing, when worn right. But be careful because dark, thick plastic frames aren’t a look everyone can pull off. If you want to see them worn right check out the celebrity style of Kanye West, Jay-Z and Common.

Fashion Trend # 8: Bangs. This look also doesn’t work for everyone, but when it does, watch out! Check out the bangs on Jessica Alba and Christina Aguilera…HOT!

Fashion Trend # 9: Leather Jackets. This look was taken straight from the 80’s, but worked great in 2008. Some celebrities rocking leather jackets were Vanessa Hudgens and Rihanna.

Fashion Trend # 10: Hippie Headband. Very few people can actually pull this look off. Personally, I’m not of fan of it on anybody. Some ladies sporting the hippie headband this year were Nicole Richie and Mischa Barton.

As you can tell there were many new celebrity styles this year, along with some re-tread styles. Every year we are amazed at what people bring back out of the closet and add to their wardrobe. No matter how much we may fight it, the looks always seem as glamorous and hot as they did before. We can’t wait to see what celebrity styles these people pull out next year. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!



Eco-Friendly Paint and Wallpaper

When painting inside or out you will have the choice of not only using chemical based paints a lot of which contain high levels of toxins, but also natural based paints which are not only better for the environment, but they are healthier for you and, believe it or not, better for your home allowing the building to breathe. This article contains information on both chemical based paints and natural paints giving you the opportunity to see the advantages of natural based paints with some additional information on wallpaper.

Chemical Based Paints

Petrochemical paints are the most commonly available paints contain VOC (volatile organic compounds) which include PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and PCB (polychlorinated biphenyls) which are also highly toxic.

When decorating any tins of paint, stain or varnish with a high VOC label should be avoided as the contents will release lots of toxic voltaic organic compound. Synthetic varnishes can trap chemicals in wood which are then released when the surface becomes worn.

Natural Based Paints

An important feature of natural paints compared to conventional paint is that the manufacturers do declare all the ingredients. They use renewable raw materials wherever possible, i.e. natural oils rather than petrochemical compounds. At the other end of their life cycle many products of the petrochemical paints industry cannot be disposed of as anything other than toxic waste. Natural paints and finishes are designed to be biodegradable. The main reason for choosing natural paints is health related. Natural paints offer a breathable surface and healthier environment.

Petrochemical paints create a plastic film whereas natural paints are microporous allowing water to pass through them so there is much less chance of flaking and blistering of the painted surface. Natural paints contain oil, which nourishes timber.

Although natural paints work out more expensive to buy, because of the antistatic qualities the paint repels dust and bacteria which keeps their true colour longer. The most popular, readily available natural paints are emulsion, clay paints and casein paint. All are easily applied in the same way as conventional paint and by experimenting with the pigments you can increase the colour range.

Natural emulsion gives a matt finish. You can also get paints that are washable for heavy wear areas and apply a clear glaze for extra protection. Clay paint emulsion can be used on walls and ceilings and is a good choice for lighter colours and, again, creates a breathable surface. Casein paints come in powder form to be mixed before application. They dry with a soft matt chalky finish and is washable – very suitable for childrens’ bedrooms and nurseries. For outside walls silicate paint, linseed oil paint or an old favourite, limewash can be used.

Wallpaper

Vinyl wallpaper is not paper but plastic and other wallpapers come from virgin forest. Ideally wallpaper should have FSC logo (Forestry Stewardship Council) or be recycled although this may prove somewhat elusive in normal DIY stores although it should be fairly easy to find lining paper with the FSC logo.