Make a change in 2018: tips for being waste free!

Often when we hear the term “waste-free” our minds wander to images of people that only eat food that they grow themselves, refuse to go into supermarkets and wear hemp clothes. Naturally, this isn’t the only way to be waste-free and you definitely don’t have to cut everything out immediately. Similarly to every other challenge that humans face, it’s a working progress.

I’m going to be making more of an effort to be waste-free wherever I can this year but I’m by no means there yet. There are so many small changes that can be made to improve the amount of waste we’re producing – so why not check some of them out and make a positive change today!

  1. Addicted to coffee? Buy a reusable cup.
    It became apparent to me a few weeks ago that I throw away around 300 coffee cups every single year, so I immediately purchased a reusable cup. They’re the exact same and most places give you a discount now for using them anyway – so it’s a win-win!
  2. While you’re there, grab reusable shopping bags and water bottles.
    It’s shocking how much we take for granted and throw away on a daily basis – purely for practicality. These are just a few of the minimal changes you can make to gradually become waste free.
  3. Shop at the Ethical Superstore.
    The Ethical Superstore have a number of great products for all aspects of life, designed to minimise waste.
  4. Use markets whenever you can!
    There are a number of benefits to using markets and green-grocers; you’re supporting small businesses, they’re often cheaper and many of them have products that aren’t packaged. Have you ever gotten home from the supermarket and realised that you’ve bought a sea of plastic back with you? Purchasing fruit and veggies in their natural packaging is a great way to combat this. It’s also a great way of reducing your food waste by only grabbing what you’ll definitely use!

    It’s worth noting that many supermarkets also have these options so you can continue to do this in your local chain – Sainsbury’s is particularly good when avoiding plastic.

  5. Cut out straws.
    Take a moment to think of the number of straws you use on a typical night out. Simply remove the straw or buy one that’s made of metal or bamboo.
  6. Paperless Billing -paperless everything!
    We’re living in a digital world in which everything is available online – switch your bills so that they’re paperless and avoid junk mail where you can. My only vito for this are books – because they bring me happiness in ways that a Kindle never can.

    However, if you’re not a sentimental weirdo like I am, get a Kindle!

  7. Recycle!
    Remember to recycle whatever you can – including lightbulbs, electronics and other items that may not be accepted in your local recycling bins.
  8. Buy secondhand.
    Try to purchase clothes and other essentials secondhand, although you may not be living a completely minimal lifestyle, at least you’ll be reusing perfectly acceptable products as opposed to contributing further to the exploitation of our resources.
  9. Switch up your toiletries,
    There are great zero-waste supermarkets places all over the UK that allow you to take in bottles to refill your shampoo, washing up liquid and many other household products that we often buy without thinking twice.

    Another great way of cutting down on this is using Lush products, their shampoo and conditioner bars are just some of their many fantastic, plastic free products. If you’re really committed to the cause, you could also make your own household items – but for now, I think I’ll stick to buying them ethically.

  10. Think about your period products.
    Naturally. it’s hard to ensure that your periods are completely waste free, however, there are steps you can take to ensuring they’re environmentally friendly. There are many options so if you’re thinking that mooncups might not be your thing – check out this link to find a range of sustainable period products.
  11. Repair things when they break!
    This is not only environmentally friendly but also economical: before jumping to chuck something out, check to see whether it can be fixed with ease, thus minimising the number of products you’re buying.

There are a multitude of other great ways that you can cut waste from your lifestyle, I’ll be giving these tips a go over the next month in the hopes of becoming waste-free and protecting our little planet in the future!

Let me know if you’re trying it too!

 

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2017 Highlights

I started 2017 throwing up on a train platform, not the best start to the year, I’m sure you can imagine. The beginning of 2017 was a really tricky time for me and I lost hope that anything was going to get betterIt makes me laugh to look back now and think of how much of a sad mess I was being, walking home listening to Adele and questioning if everything will be crap forever.

2017 quickly became a pinnacle year in my life that stomped all over the catastrophe that was 2016.

Here are some highlights that stand out in particular:

Moved to Brighton

I finally made the move back to Brighton, something that I’d wanted to do since leaving in 2015. This was such a great thing for me mentally and helped to gain perspective back on not only what was important but also finding happiness in my everyday life. If you’re ever in doubt about where you are and have a niggling feeling that you should migrate somewhere else, take the risk and do it.

Got THE job 

I don’t know about any of you fellow graduates, but leaving uni and finding a job that I actually wanted to do and would get paid enough money for was really tricky. I spent a lot of my time in perfectly adequate jobs that my heart just wasn’t in. Luckily this year that all came to an end and I found a brilliant job that encompasses everything that I want to do.

Copenhagen 

I left the country for the first time on me own and had the best time. Met some really great Canadian people and got to experience how beautiful Copenhagen is. I also re-read the Harry Potter series while I was there which is always great fun.

Loads of great gigs! 

This year was also really great for music as I got to see Kate Nash twice (the actual dream) Laura Marling and Cypress Hill. Alongside this I was also lucky enough to catch some other really great gigs like Gentleman’s Dub Club, The Darkness (lul) and Four Owls. I also went to my first psytrance rave which was an interesting experience.

Boomtown

Naturally Boomtown makes the list as always. Best weekend of the year, every year.

Milo entered the world!  

Probably the best thing to have happened all century was the birth of Smiley Miley. My best pals made a little human and he is the greatest person in the world. I literally never knew that I could love anything more than puppies but apparently it can happen.

Moved in with gals

I have been lucky enough to move in with my best pals and live the 14 year old, let’s-get-a-flat dream. We’re a little noodle-loving family and it’s great.

Scotty Woodcock 

I have also met my dorky equivalent who makes me laugh everyday. But I’m awkward and strange about relationships so I’ll just swiftly move on.

Hit blogging targets (but also abandoned blog) 

I’ve tried not to worry too much about numbers during the sub-par running of this blog, however my “26 things you’ll understand if you’re still obsessed with Harry Potter”  post got shared by The Common Room. Naturally this was huge and I cried in a library purely because they’d shared it. But with this came a number of people that allowed me to double my blogging targets for the year.

After this I neglected my blog terribly and haven’t looked at it for months, I don’t know why I’m like this either. As I say every year, I’m going to make a real effort to keep it going this year – and try and improve my visual content I promise. 

Identified personal issues & started working to overcome them

I’ve been reflecting on who I am and how I can overcome things that I’m less than happy with. This has led me to set goals and work towards improving myself throughout the year. Funnily enough a huge part of this will be practicing self-love so wish me luck with that.

I’m feeling hopeful for 2018 and what it may bring, no matter how much of a cliche that may be. I hope that you’ve all had a Happy New Year and are feeling happy and excited for the year to come!

Supporting somebody with mental health problems

Mental health problems are something that are so underrepresented in our society; there are many issues with the ways in which we view mental illness and particularly how we attempt to cure it.

I’m not here to tell you how to live your life or provide you with some miracle cure – as much as I wish I could. However I thought – particularly on World Mental Health Day, it would be a good idea to write about supporting somebody with mental health issues. It’s widely known that mental health problems affect one in four people – so I think we should be raising awareness so that we can all offer support for people affected by this.

Listen – but allow them to share as much or as little as they’d like:

Never underestimate the power of listening, often getting out feelings or providing somebody with an outlet for their thoughts can make a world of difference. It’s important however to remember not to push anybody for information or ask them anything they’re uncomfortable answering.

Don’t try and diagnose: 

Naturally it’s easy to form an opinion, particularly if you have knowledge in the area but unofficial diagnosis can be damaging so it’s probably best to steer clear from doing so where possible.

Equally as important, don’t doubt or hesitate about what anybody is saying:

Questioning a person’s honesty is never good – particularly if they’re struggling.

Discuss wellbeing and helpful methods of staying positive:

Sharing ideas for maintaining a happy and healthy mindset can go a long way! If you have suggestions for wellbeing techniques then share them, they may provide someone with help when they need it most.

Try not to make assumptions:

Similarly to diagnosis, it’s important not to make assumptions about the cause of any mental health issues or what will help somebody to overcome them.

Be Patient:

Be patient and remember that this is like any other illness and takes time to heal. Never use the words ‘mind over matter’ or anything even slightly similar. 

Keep social contact: 

Even if somebody is shutting you out or finding it hard to keep in touch, try your best to remind them that you’re there whenever they need you.

Just be there: 

Sometimes everybody just needs someone to be there. Don’t worry about saying or doing the right thing – just be around, whether that’s sitting in silence together or being on the end of the phone. Make it known that you’re there for support whenever it’s needed.

When writing this I found these resources particularly helpful and feel as though they can help others too – head to Mind, the Mental Health Foundation or ReThink if you want to find out more.

If you’re struggling with a mental health illness, I hope you can find comfort in the knowledge that there is always somebody to turn to. I think I speak for many people when I say that I am always available for a chat, whether we are best friends, complete strangers or simply acquaintances – nobody deserves to suffer in silence and I will make every effort I can to make every single person on this planet feel hopeful and loved.

Stop Eagerly Awaiting Friday

As a short disclaimer, I don’t intend for this post to be insensitive or ignorant towards anybody that may be struggling for any reason. If anything I hope to encourage happiness in all of you that do read this. 

As I’m sure many of you are aware after so much complaining, often on this blog; I’m at an annoying age in which I’m constantly questioning my next step in life. Never truly living in the moment or appreciating what I have and always worrying that I’m not doing enough, not seeing enough or that I’m not as far ahead as I should be.

A month ago I realised that I was overlooking so much that is brilliant in my life and is a cause for celebration everyday. So with this in mind, I decided to film a second from a blissful moment of each day for the month of September – so that I could finally see the joy in the little things and stop focusing so much on what ifs and worries.

 

I realise now that whether it’s a night with friends, a relaxed evening in or just seeing puppies in the street – there is happiness to be found in the smallest things & it is around us every single day.

 

 

to all of the broken hearted people

Heartbreak must be one of the worst things that a human can face, it’s an obscure feeling that completely consumes you. The person that has hurt you becomes everything, you see them in bars that you visited together, the mutual friends you share – their favourite breakfast option.

However, if you’re blissfully happy, you’re probably reading this thinking I’m an idiot. If there’s one thing we can be certain of it’s that we have all been there – and we have all thought that it would be the end of us.

LUCKILY because it’s so common to be dumped and depressed – there are many solutions to this problem. Often in the form of music, alcohol and if you’re sad like me, a lovely little poem. (If you haven’t already, check out Rupi Kaur, suddenly every piece of sadness you’ve ever felt will rear it’s ugly head and then magically dissolve away)

I’ve wanted to write something like this for a long time but was unsure that the tone would be correct, I think it’s always better to write things whilst reflecting on a situation, as opposed to in the heat of the moment. If you’re showing it to the public anyway.

So without further ado, here are my words of wisdom – my break up cheat sheet, if you will:

Find an album that you can relate to and listen to it as often as you like

If nothing springs to mind right now, borrow mine. Made of Bricks has gotten me over every crush, boyfriend and particularly upsetting deaths of favourite TV characters in the past 10 years. Get on board, you can never listen to Foundations too much.

But don’t forget these equally brilliant options – if you need to fuel your emotions. If you need a reminder that you’re a sassy Queen.

Spend as much time as you can with your friends & remember that they’re only trying to help you 

Naturally you’re going to feel upset when they are saying that the person you love isn’t worth your time, but you must remember that they’re your people and have nothing but your best interests at heart. AND in two months you’ll be agreeing with them.

Stop looking through old pictures, obsessing over memories shared and questioning what went wrong

You’re not helping yourself and you’re certainly not finding answers – so just stop. You’ll feel a hundred times better and deep down you know that too.

Pamper yourself

The most important thing you can do right now is find the version of you that believes they are fabulous. After all of the drinking, junk food and shower neglect of course. A friend of mine dyes her hair after break ups – it works. Give it a go.

Get a routine

Find a new routine that works for you, distract yourself when you need to and start doing things that will make you feel great. Appreciate the fact you have more time to yourself, see your friends and do the things that you love (especially if your partner didn’t really enjoy them so much.)

Ignore their social media channels 

Nobody wants to see the person they’ve broken up with moving on blissfully. It’s just a cold, hard fact of life.

Sidenote: If you are looking, remember that people only want to show the best of themselves online.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you have any contact with them if you are drunk

Even if you “feel great” and you “just need to tell them one last thing.” It’s stupid. You’ll regret it. Trust me.

Think about seeing other people, but only if you’re ready

Try not to rush into anything before you’re truly ready to, it might make you feel worse in the long run – and you could end up hurting somebody else.

Also, I learnt from a week of Tinder that sometimes it can be a confidence boost, often it’s just another thing that makes you question what is wrong with the human race.

Remember your self worth

Most importantly, you must learn to love yourself again. Don’t give away everything you are to somebody that can’t see you. Remind yourself daily that you have felt this pain before and you will get over it again. That if somebody is going to hurt you, they have never deserved you.

Basically all of the stuff that you think is nonsense when you’re happy – but you need to hear when you’re sad.

Just focus on getting back to yourself and look forward to the day you can scream I AM EVERYTHING and actually believe it.

 

 

 

 

26 things you’ll understand if you’re still obsessed with Harry Potter

I just want to preface this by saying that a few weeks ago I listened to the philosopher’s stone soundtrack whilst on a flight – staring out of the window, trying not to sob. It was perhaps the best thing to happen ever. 10/10 would recommend to a friend.

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Harry Potter is without any shadow of doubt, one of my favourite things to have ever existed. It fills me with so much happiness that it’s actually weird. Luckily I’m not the only one – so I compiled a list of things that my fellow Potterheads will understand (luv u guys let’s play Quidditch sometime soon yh?)

  1. You still worry about the chance that you’re a squib,

    I just couldn’t live with myself…not that squibs are any less important #equalityforall

  2. Or that you’re letter never made it to you,

    Living everyday holding onto the knowledge that Voldemort’s ministry deleted all muggleborn records between 1985-1998. That must be the only reason, right?!

  3. Years later, the deaths of certain characters continue to ruin your day,

    A lot of great people died okay, I don’t even want to think about it. 

  4. You’re baffled when people don’t know what house they’re in,

    Do us all a favour (and let me know your results.) I’m a Hufflepuff, sure you’re dying to know.

  5. You re-read the books once a year

    & it is a perfectly acceptable use of your time!! 

  6. You will always have a deep rooted hatred for Peter Pettigrew.

    He was their friend. And he betrayed them. HE WAS THEIR FRIEND. 

  7. If the chance came, you would drop everything and be a mature student at Hogwarts.
  8. You’ve accepted the fact that you’d spend extortionate amounts on a toilet brush if it had the Hogwarts shield emblazoned on it.
  9. Nothing brings you more joy (or jealousy) than seeing someone experience Harry Potter for the first time.
  10. No franchise will ever compare!

    Yeah Lord of the Rings is great and everything but where’s Sirius?

  11. It still hurts to think that the series ended (but you accept that it was time to let go)

    Cursed Child and Fantastic Beasts just isn’t the same really, let’s be honest.

  12. And when somebody says that they preferred fantastic beasts:

    giphy (1)

  13. You may have spent a year week or two doing absolutely nothing but playing Pottermore in bed.

    Why is it so addictive JK, why?

  14. Whilst people around you scoff at a friend that owns a wand you’re screaming “WHO’S WAND? WHAT’S THE CORE MATERIAL?”
  15. You spend hours watching “12 things you never noticed about Harry Potter” videos, only to be disappointed that you learnt nothing new.

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  16. You shamelessly listen to the soundtrack and have maybe forced friends to play it at the pub. GuiltyEmoji

  17. You’re still waiting for the day that somebody buys you a Hogwarts uniform,

    You even make incredibly subtle hints about it in blog posts.

  18. You constantly find yourself thinking about spells that would make your life 100x easier,

    Particularly accio.

  19. Now that you’re a real life adult you can’t help but have conversations about how complex Harry Potter is.

    The underlying messages about racism, class hierarchy and government corruption make it a true gift to literature.

  20. You still feel an overwhelming sense of joy reading the words “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”
  21. All of your future pets (and children) have already got Potter themed names.
  22. You’re still kept awake at night by some of the best things that were left out of the films…

    Where was Peeves? Where was Harry giving the twins his tournament winnings? Where was S.P.E.W? Why was there no mention of Ron winning the Quidditch cup? Where was Voldy’s back story? WHERE WAS THE UNVEILING THAT RITA SKEETER WAS AN ILLEGAL ANIMAGUS?! I’m calm, I’m calm. Get prepared for this to be a separate post of anger.

  23. Some of the character portrayals in the films deeply, deeply upset you.What happened to Ginny Weasley?

  24. “Aren’t you a little old to still be into Harry Potter?” 

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  25. Harry Potter has been the bonding moment between you and some of your best friends,

    Will taking Harry Potter quizzes and discussing which character you relate most with whilst ignoring all of the muggles at a party ever get old?

  26. You know that even when you’re 52, you’ll pick up a Harry Potter book or walk through a place that looks vaguely like Diagon Alley and be filled with warmth and fuzziness, thinking about all of the happiness that JK bought you (thanks gal.)4aa391051958b3ef60ba7780e0466a8aTwo_Pink_Hearts_Emoji

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Confessions of a Bad Feminist

One of the best things I’ve ever read has to be a collection of essays by Roxane Gay, she is an absolute goddess and the mastermind behind “Bad Feminist.” It completely reaffirmed my beliefs and taught me a lot about how I conduct myself (particularly around other women.) There is nobody on this planet that I would not recommend this book to.

As a feminist, I often find myself thinking “that wasn’t very ‘feminist’ of you” as if that even means anything. I think it’s easy to get caught up in unwritten rules within a social movement and feel as if you’re doing something wrong. When realistically, as long as you’re supporting equality between every gender, you are a feminist.

It was however, amusing to collate the things that I thought made me a “bad feminist” so I thought it was only right to share them with you here.

 

Defending why I don’t want children 

I often find myself in conversation with people in which I state that having children really isn’t something that I’m interested in ever doing. The odd thing here being that in my head I know that this is completely okay and I have absolutely nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about. BUT then I seem to go on to say the words “I mean I probably will in the future, I guess I can never completely rule something out.”

Now for all I know I could wake up one cloudy Tuesday in 2024 and decide that all I want in the world is 2 kids and a holiday home in France so this isn’t a completely ridiculous statement to make.

The problem is that I only say these things to try and defend myself in front of certain people. There’s something in my crap feminist head that can’t bare that look of “oh…so you just don’t…want…kids?” So what I’m trying to confess is that I pretend I might one day want them so that my womb can feel better about itself. Sad, I know.

 

Defending my body hair (apparently I’m a very defensive person)

I’m an inherently lazy person. If I don’t absolutely have to do something, I simply won’t. So when it comes to body hair, all I’m saying is that I’m not going to spend an extra 20 minutes in the shower fixing something that is not broken.

And once again – as with the children – I AM OK WITH THIS. BUT. I find myself getting awkward when people mention it, I make an active effort to cover my legs in certain social situations and I have no idea why. It’s so frustrating to me that I clearly still care about these stupid social constructs.

To quickly clear this up, I’m not saying that all feminists have body hair or trying to encourage stupid stereotypes that should have never existed in the first place. I’m simply saying that if I’m comfortable with something within myself – why the heck am I still hiding it away?

 

Feeling accomplished when hearing the phrase “you’re not like other girls” 

WHY 4aa391051958b3ef60ba7780e0466a8aDO 4aa391051958b3ef60ba7780e0466a8a WOMEN 4aa391051958b3ef60ba7780e0466a8a FEEL 4aa391051958b3ef60ba7780e0466a8a LIKE 4aa391051958b3ef60ba7780e0466a8a THEY 4aa391051958b3ef60ba7780e0466a8a HAVE 4aa391051958b3ef60ba7780e0466a8a TO 4aa391051958b3ef60ba7780e0466a8a COMPETE 4aa391051958b3ef60ba7780e0466a8a WITH EACH 4aa391051958b3ef60ba7780e0466a8a OTHER?!

We should be praising and empowering each other, not putting one another down and accepting sub par compliments that single us out from everybody else. It really upsets me to admit that I used to be filled with joy at the sound of these words, as if I’d done something spectacular when realistically this is another way of saying “being a woman is a bad thing” congratulations, you’ve succeeded in beating the rest of them.

Don’t even get me started on the term “you *insert any verb* like a girl.”

 

Being in awe of an authoritative woman/thinking that a female is “too bossy” 

The fact that I look up to authoritative women will never be a bad thing, the thing that upsets me about this is that is constantly seems to come with a side dish of “wow, she actually got to this position of power – good for her.” As if having anything other than a male boss is an achievement. Another thing that is worth noting is that is the old “bossy” comment.

Now, I could be wrong, but I just need you to take a minute and try and think of any situation in which you’ve thought a man was being bossy in your workplace. Please tell me if you’ve found something. Because in my experience, a man telling their colleagues what to do is them doing their job. A woman on the other hand, is being bossy. If this isn’t a clear example of inequality at work, I don’t know what is.

 

Judging another persons’ sex life 

Ok, we’ve all done it. Unfortunately it seems to be part of human nature to judge other people. BUT we need to make sure that we’re judging people EQUALLY.

I’m kidding, this is my public statement saying that I will never judge another person on their sexual activity. As long as their not hurting anyone, of COURSE – and even then, what problem did judging somebody else ever solve?

 

Openly not doing “feminine” things 

This one is just silly. When I was younger I remember actively not doing things because they were deemed girly. Whatever gender you identify as, you should be able to wear giant pink fluffy everything or make up or a t-shirt that literally says “I’m a big masculine manly man” because clothes don’t mean anything. Objects do not contribute anything to your gender or who you are as a person 

 

Saying the words “I only hang out with guys”

Firstly, why I ever wanted to only associate with guys baffles me – not that I’m throwing shade at the “male race” but purely because it just seems so closed off and weird. That statement in itself confuses me but sadly, it used to be something that frequently left my mouth.

It really gets me down that there was a time in my life where I would instantly assume I wouldn’t get on with a “girly girl.” Because it’s one of the silliest things I’ve ever heard.

Roxane Gay actually says something that perfectly epitomises what I’m trying to say in Bad Feminist:

If you’re the kind of woman that says “I’m mostly friends with guys and act like you’re proud of that, like that makes you closer to being a man or something and less of a woman, as if being a woman is a bad thing…it’s okay if most of your friends are guys but if you champion this as a commentary on the nature of female friendships, well, soul-search a little.” 

I’d definitely recommend reading the article that this quote comes from, It’s fantastic. We need to stop the toxicity and competition in our friendships and accept that we’re all fabulous.

ALSO, while I’m ranting – on a slightly unrelated topic – there is a meme that circulated a year or two ago about girls that are only friends with guys. You may have seen it, the woman with hot dogs in her mouth? Maybe I’m just being a negative nelly and not taking a joke but did it annoy anyone else that this makes the assumption that a woman can’t be friends with a group of men without engaging in sexual activity with all of them? As if – oh I don’t know – women were sex objects. I could have completely misread it, but I figured there’s no better time for me to have this rant.

 

Feeling uncomfortable about doing things that are typically aren’t “feminine” 

The best example of this that I can think of is when I was younger and I felt really uncomfortable eating large amounts of food in front of other people. Or being messy or gross in any way. As if it was a strange thing to do because I’m a petite, polite lady. Luckily I got over that and frequently shovel mass amounts of food into my mouth for all to see – throwing it everywhere and causing a huge mess of course. (You’re welcome.)

But this is completely the same for hobbies, media, sex – the list goes on and on (and it shouldn’t exist.)

 

Not knowing what to do around a crying man 

…as if it were any different to comforting anybody else. This is something that I think needs a lot more attention in our society. Men have been emotionally repressed for far too long and the idea that’s emasculating to cry is ridiculous. Similarly, the idea that it’s hysterical for anybody to cry is. We are all human, everybody needs a good cry sometimes.

Gender equality still has to come a long way and although it’s undeniable that things are better than they were – I think we all need to continue to work towards building a society in which everybody is equal, regardless of their gender, race or any other construct that seems to segregate us even though we are all human.