Monday 5 April 2010

Tamielle Ethical Homemade Children's Handkerchiefs

Just like cloth nappies, swaddling babies and baking your own bread, cotton handkerchiefs seem to be one of those things from days gone by that have recently come back into fashion. Our grannies and grandads couldn't live without them but then they were totally replaced by disposable paper tissues, deemed as more convenient and hygienic. But cotton hankies have been resurrected from the brink of extinction and are becoming ever more popular, especially in eco-friendly families trying to cut down on their household waste.

I wasn't too sure how the girls would feel about blowing their noses on prettily decorated squares of material, as it's something that would inevitably seem totally alien to them - but they loved the idea. 9-year-old Sophie told me that her best friend at school had a real hankie so she was excited to show hers off after the holidays !

As a mum, I love the fact that you can make them damp with a bit of water from a bottle and use them to replace wetwipes, should the need arise, on a day out. They're much more resistant than paper tissues and won't stick annoyingly to gooey fingers that you're trying to wipe clean. They're also great if you want to spray a bit of decongestant on them to relieve stuffy noses.

It's also lovely to know that Tamielle is such an ethical company. It was founded with "a deep belief in the role that designers can play in creating work for people in developing communities". Each product is handmade by a woman working from home, in rural areas of Bulgaria. The website explains, "The workshop is functioning in a poor area, near Veliko Tarnovo. [Their] wish is to support women from disadvantage backgrounds and provide them with work and the self esteem that comes from creating something beautiful with their own hands. [...] Each product comes with a little tag telling you the name of the lady who had created it for you. It also tells you a bit about the Ideology behind tamielle."

The children's designs (there are also a whole range of adult designs available) are cute and colourful and appeal to both boys and girls. The website explains that "the Hankies are made of the softest White Cotton and are made in a size to fit small pockets and small hands", measuring 22cm square.

They're not cheap but you do get a high-quality, handmade product that would make a lovely gift, as well as the feel-good factor of knowing you're helping others. As they say on the website, "Your purchase and the work it provides make a lot of difference".

RRP : £12.50 for 3 handkerchiefs

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