Something strange has happened me since I turned 30 (I’m 31 now, so it’s been a tough two years); I’ve started paying a lot of attention to what products I buy, and why. I’m not perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m trying to get better at making better choices – including trying, where I can, to #buyIrish (and Instagram it, natch).
When it comes to fashion, I can pinpoint, almost exactly, the moment at which the tide turned for me. It was when I watched The True Cost, an incredible documentary about fast fashion and its true cost – I would highly recommend you all to watch it. It single-handedly made me re-evaluate every item of clothing I have wanted to buy ever since, to the point that I find it incredibly difficult to buy fast fashion; I resell or donate every item of clothing I no longer wear; I think long and hard before purchasing, trying to figure out when I’ll wear the item I’m buying, how many occasions I could wear it to and what else in my wardrobe it will go with.
There’s so much more to say on that – and I have a blog post in the works on how I buy clothes, and why – but for now I wanted to talk about a different aspect of my spending habits: buying Irish. There are so many products, across all industries, that are produced by incredible Irish manufacturers – and not only is it patriotic to buy Irish, but it’s such a good move for the economy, the economy that (I’m presuming) you are also a part of. (Any ex-pats out there, just do it for the patriotism, and for your remaining relatives.)
But, of course, not all Irish products are created equal – here are a few of my favourites.
Strong Roots sweet potato fries
I’m upset at the way the sweet potato has suddenly made it acceptable for Irish people to say “fries” rather than “chips”, but I’m not holding it against Strong Roots; their sweet potato fries are incredibly tasty. (But let’s get one thing straight: as far as I’m concerned, Strong Roots are not a health food. You are 100% definitely better off making these babies yourself; all you need are sweet potatoes, a little oil and some salt and pepper, whereas these guys have a super long list of ingredients. Good for a clean cheat? Yes. But I wouldn’t be chowing down on them every day.)
Voya seaweed cosmetics
I first came across Voya when I interviewed co-founder Mark Walton for an Irish Times feature I was working on, and I fell in love. Not with Mark – though he was very charming – but with their ethos. A little later, I fell in love with the products themselves. They feel rich and luxurious, and the facial I had on that blustery day in Strandhill was one of the best I’ve ever had. I’d wholly recommend a trip to their seaweed baths and spa in Strandhill – and if I had to pick one product? The Softly Does It body moisturiser is delectable.
At this stage, genius Anna Cosgrave’s sartorial activism needs no introduction, but if buying a jumper that reflects your desire to #repealthe8th isn’t enough, know that proceeds from all sweaters sold by the Repeal Project go to the Abortion Rights Campaign. Point to note: I am fully, 100%, no-holds-barred pro-choice. I support a woman’s right to choose, whenever and wherever, and in whatever circumstances she finds herself. No ifs, no buts, no timelines, no “what if”s. Choice. That’s all.
Nóbó dairy-free ice-cream
No discussion about Irish brands would be complete without the inclusion of Nóbó, the food product that has surely prevented my dramatic fall off the wagon several times. Ice-cream? Without added sugar? With no dairy or nasty additives? And, believe me, it’s delicious. If you’re feeling particularly indulgent (and wealthy), buy two flavours and combine them. Yum!
Pauric Sweeney handbags
Pic via lionsandwolves.com
I’m lucky enough to own one of Pauric Sweeney‘s works of art – but mine was purchased via Siopaella, at a fraction of its original price. I adore his designs; there’s something kind of jarring about them to me, maybe in the juxtaposition of soft skins and tough hardware, but they’re kind of the perfect designer handbags, at the same time functional and beautiful, casual and chic. Plus? No obvious logos. Win.
Obeo food waste recycling
Okay, okay, so yeah – back to me being old again. I really, really enjoy composting. It makes me feel like I’m giving something back, in exchange for the huge swathes of rubbish I send to landfill, and generally fills me with a sense of do-gooderness that’s essential for me to enjoy life. (I kid, I kid. Kind of.) But composting is gross, no matter how you do it. If you have a compost bin in the kitchen, that’s gross; if you put it directly into your wheelie, that’s gross… So Obeo is the perfect solution. A mess-free, fuss-free, smell-free way of gathering all of your kitchen compost together and not being left with a huge pool of goo. I love them so much.
Nudiefoods fruit ‘n’ veg delivery
This service does exactly what it says on the tin: get your fruit and vegetables delivered to your home or office (only in Dublin I’m afraid). The Nudiefoods guys are lovely, the produce is really good – it’s all hand-selected from the Dublin fruit markets – and it’s not super expensive, either, with a veggie mix box coming in at €20.
I’ve talked about Kinvara before – in my YouTube skincare video – but it’s an Irish skincare brand made in Ireland with organic, plant-based and natural ingredients. And honestly? That wouldn’t be enough to sway me if the products weren’t gorgeous (they are). Start with the face serum and work your way up. You won’t be sorry.
I have yet another blog post a-brewing on which supplements I take and why, but my favourite protein powder (for shakes; y’all know I use the Nuzest pea protein for pancakes) is Kinetica‘s mint chocolate flavour, not only because it tastes like Mint Aero but because Kinetica is an Irish company, from the same folks who bring you Dubliner cheese (which I also love). The bars are really yum, too.
So there you have it! Just a few of my favourite Irish brands – any essentials I’m missing? Let me know!