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Quitting Fast Fashion: Where to Start

As the climate crisis gets increasingly worse (yes, even with the pandemic), we need to think about how everything we consume affects our e...

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Sustainable OOTD // When Harry Met Sally Inspired

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

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When Harry Met Sally is one of my favourite films of all time. Many people who know me in real life will know that, and I have also talked about it at various points on this blog and on Twitter. It's a massive favourite in my family, I've seen it too many times to count and can practically quote the entire thing word for word. I also happen to think that it's one of Carrie Fisher's best work. It's a comfort film for me. If I'm feeling fragile and need a bit of a cry, the final scene will normally go no wrong. As I mentioned in a previous post about how finding your personal style can help make your wardrobe more sustainable, Meg Ryan's character of Sally Allbright is one of my style icons. So many of her outfits I adore, and would wear myself. This look is my attempt to embody Sally in my day to day life, and is really a direct copy of one of her outfits in the film. I actually bought this jumper because I was obsessed with the one she was wearing in the film! I will always go back to When Harry Met Sally as long as I am able to watch it, and it will always be, to me, the pinnacle of what romcoms and films as a whole can be.

Turtleneck – secondhand fast fashion bought on Depop nearly 2 years ago.
Skirt – fast fashion, owned for 3.5 years.
Boots – secondhand fast fashion bought on Depop from Rebekah Peters at the beginning of the year, repaired once.
Necklace – new from Women in Hebron, a small cooperative which aims to empower Palestinian women by selling the items they create, including necklaces like these. I found out about them when one of their members came to Newcastle with other Palestinians to give a talk a few months ago, and sold some of their items.
Earrings - new from Shop in Colour.

Photos taken by Jude Crook.

If you liked this post you might like: OOTD // Rachel Green Inspired
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21 Things I've Learned in 21 Years

Monday, 12 October 2020

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These posts have been poking around the blogosphere for years, and I’ve never actually done one before. I really enjoy reading them, so a while ago I thought why not do one this year alongside my usual ‘Me at…’ birthday post. Here’s 21 things I’ve learned in 21 years:

1.  Friendships are a two-way street, respect them as much as you would a romantic relationship.

2. The unfollow, block and mute buttons are literal god-sends, use them!

3. Vegetables are AMAZING. Honestly, how could anyone knock them? They’re so much more versatile than any animal product. 

4. If it hurts, it means you cared. That doesn’t necessarily make it any better, but you’re not silly for being sad or in pain.

5. Never be ashamed of crying.

6.  Libraries are the answer to lots of questions, they must be protected at all costs

7. Your privilege may make you uncomfortable, but you need to use it effectively, otherwise you're no use to anyone.

8.  Makeup can be only for you, it’s all about being comfortable in your own skin. 

9. If you’re only reading books by people who all look the same/like you, you’re not well read, no matter how much you try and justify yourself. 

10. The same goes for films (I’m not saying I’m perfect with these, I’m trying).

11. Protests are great, go to more.

12. So is other grassroots work. This cannot be neglected. Activism is multidisciplinary.

13. If you don’t like tofu, you’re probably not cooking it right, or at least haven't found a way to cook it that suits you. It's more versatile than you'd think.

14. Self-care is difficult, but so necessary

15. Every system is rigged; you must actively work against them.

16. No one knows what they’re doing, just improvise and stop judging yourself.

17. Clothes are a great way of finding and expressing who you are.

18. You can find most things secondhand if you look hard enough, but that doesn’t mean you should buy absolutely everything secondhand.

19. If you need an instant comfort, a chocolate mug cake and When Harry Met Sally is the answer.

20. Cooking can be a form of meditation.

21. In case of emergency: have a solo dance party. They hardly ever fail.

What have I missed off my list? Let me know in the comments!

If you liked this post you might like: Me at 21
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Me at 21

Friday, 9 October 2020

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So now I’m 21 (technically, my birthday’s tomorrow but I don’t post on Saturdays…). Somehow I think turning 21 has had more of an impact on me than 20. 20 is a bit of a trial run, you’re still a bit of a teenager and not a proper 20-something, and 21 is, well, actually 20-something. There’s no pretending now, I am an actual adult and have to deal with that fact. 

It also feels like 20 kind of didn’t happen. 20 started off great, it was amazing for a few months, but then kind of came crashing down around me, even before the pandemic happened. My mental health plummeted in a way it hadn’t done before (even if I’ve always generally been a relatively anxious person) and it made me rethink a lot of things, particularly my boundaries and what effective self-care actually is. It’s taken me what feels like a long time (most of being 20 in fact) to claw my mental health to be back at a reasonable level, and while I’m doing well now – most of the time – I’m also incredibly aware of the effort that maintaining and improving that level of wellbeing is and will be very difficult. 


I’ve learned a lot in the past year. I’ve had to do a lot of inner reflection and confronting the ways I’ve internalised certain things I had previously thought I was pretty open and progressive about. But you know what, learning those things is good and allows you to not only improve your own wellbeing and relationship with yourself, but also the relationships you have with others and to make the impact you have on others more positive as a whole. 


So 21 is going to be the year of self-care and learning boundaries. While I’m still very busy, maybe just as much as I was this time last year if not more so, I think I’m preparing myself better through setting myself certain restrictions. I’m ignoring those messages about projects I’m involved with that come through at 11:30 on a Wednesday night, and leaving them unopened until at least 9am on the next working morning, something I may have been tempted to answer straight away previously. 


I now have Audre Lorde’s quote about self-care being ‘an act of political warfare’ framed on my bedroom wall and am taking it incredibly seriously, especially in terms of the ‘warfare’ aspect. Aggressive self-care is sometimes required and I’m going to have some tough love on myself to effectively look after myself and prosper over this coming year. I can then hopefully just have those things in place or as routines to ensure self-care becomes an actual habit and not a chore or something to do on a whim.

Somehow I’ve got 400 words into this post without even mentioning uni or anything other than my brain, but I guess that goes to show what’s been on my mind lately. 


I am now in my final year of my undergrad. Yep, this is my last ‘Me at…’ post as a student (unless I end up doing a panic masters of course but I hope that won’t be the case). Normally, I’d be in the full swing of uni by now, but when this goes up it will be the last day of my induction week. Although I think it is, I’m not entirely sure, I’m kind of confused with what’s happening with uni at the moment. I did get my dissertation deadlines through at the beginning of the week. No communication other than that, so that’s fun for a brain which automatically goes into panic mode. But it’s fine. I’m trying to focus on planning and doing little bits here and there and gradually building up my workload so I don’t overwhelm myself. 


I’ve got another week before teaching fully starts and I’m trying to make sure I stick to the boundary goals I’ve set myself. Now that my volunteering time with N.E.S.T is much more flexible (i.e. not on the weekends), I’m hoping to use the weekends as proper downtime and as a chance to make the most of Newcastle and the North East as I don’t know if I’ll be living here this time next year. I’ve got a small list of places to go and things to see, and honestly if 22-year-old me is reading this and hasn’t done a lot of those things I will be disappointed. Come on future me, get your act in gear! 


One good thing which has come out of the pandemic for me is having been able to do more campaigning in terms of slow fashion and being able to write more on the topics I love. I was put on furlough for my usual holiday job (eventually being let go in August), so I was effectively paid to educate myself in more detail on the fashion industry and racism, as well as to write for my blog and for other platforms (particularly The Tab), organize projects for N.E.S.T and prep for FemSoc. With my mental health being what it was this year, particularly earlier on, I’m glad that I was able to take things super slowly wherever I wanted but still have some things to do and eventually get me motivated, and I count myself incredibly lucky that I was in such a comfortable situation for lockdown.


I am now an ambassador for the organisation Remake, which does amazing work advocating for systemic change within the fashion industry to improve it for both people and planet. I still kind of can’t believe I’m actually officially involved with this organisation. It was a pretty cool moment when I was accepted and I still have to pinch myself a little bit when I’m on group calls with such cool people.


While I had dyed my hair a few times when I was 19, 20 really became the year that having red hair became more of a permanent thing for me. I feel so comfortable and confident within myself having my hair red, and I know this may sound cringey, but I do feel more well, ‘me’, when my hair is dyed. Whatever the hell that means… I now only do my hair at home, and haven’t been to the hairdressers since I had my major chop back when I was 18. I mostly do trims by myself (or get my flatmate Jude to have a go) and was really happy with some of the shaping I did at the front a few months ago. Obviously nowhere near professional level but I thought I did a pretty good job. I’ve been getting urges to cut myself a fringe over the past few months too. I’m not sure if it’s lockdown induced, however I would be surprised if I hadn’t succumbed to those temptations before the year was out. 


In previous years, I have tried to look after a couple of plants and have completely failed. I killed off Enid, Enid 2.0 and Enid 3.0 in the space of about a year and a half. I’ve now decided to steer clear from cyclamens and go for some hardier plants. In the 6 weeks I’ve been in my new flat, I have acquired 7 new plants. Firstly, a replacement cactus for a pot whose original occupant I had killed over lockdown (yes, I did manage to kill a cactus, leave me alone I was sad). I then got a snake plant called Stevie (after Nicks) and a creeping fig called Billy (after Ocean) who now lives in my bathroom. I also got a succulent my brother decided to call Dennis, a spider plant I named Octavia after an Instagram call out for names, an aloe vera called Brenda (because Brenda Blethin plays Vera. I thought it was hilarious…) and I now have a crocodile fern my brother gave to me as a birthday present and who I’ve named Delilah. Ooh, and I nearly forgot, I have a chive pant I’ve called Clive, who sits on the kitchen windowsill next to my regrown spring onions. I guess that’s really 8 plants. I guess I am now a fully-fledged plant mum, and believe me when I say I am learning a lot more about their needs this time! Who knows, maybe I’ll be brave enough to get an Enid 4.0 at some point in the future!

It’s a bit scary thinking about this time next year. I have some potentials for paths I could take but that’s dependent on many things, and in all honesty I don’t know what my life will look like at 22. For now, I’m just going to focus on looking after myself, completing my degree to the best of my ability, enjoying Newcastle and student life while I can, and trying not to kill any of my plant children. Not too much to ask, surely? 

If you liked this post you might like: Me at 20
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September 2020 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday, 30 September 2020

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 September, you have been a joy.

Favourite part?

At the beginning of September, I moved back in Newcastle and started setting up my new flat, with new plants, decorating, and finding any pieces of furniture we didn’t have in the flat already (Facebook Marketplace, you are my saviour!). As we’re now in local lockdown and I’ll be spending most of my time at home, I’m so glad to have such a comfortable and cosy environment. 


Before local lockdown, I was able to see a few friends. I went to the beach, spent a Sunday at the Baltic and the Quayside Market, and went for a lush lunch at The Ship Inn. 

I went for a walk around Jesmond Dene, and it definitely felt like autumn was here! If there’s one thing I’m hoping to be able to do more as a result of the social distancing, it’s trying to enjoy and explore the areas around me.

I’ve also treated myself to some of my favourite vegan takeaways in Newcastle, and oh how I missed them!

I joined my first Remake Community Call as an Ambassador. I learned so much and it was incredible to hear from so many active people, and to be a part of the launch of new and influential campaigns


One thing I’ve discovered this year and have been particularly enjoying this month are free online courses. Yes, yes, I am starting uni soon so I won’t be doing as many throughout the year, but I’ve been really enjoying having shorter bursts of learning on topics I’m particularly interested in or will be useful in ongoing projects I’m involved with. I particularly like using Open Learn as there isn’t a time limit on the courses and you can truly go on at your own pace more than on other platforms. Genuinely big up the Open University. I also attended a few of the webinars put on as part of Cosmopolitan’s Careers Festival.


I’ve been using this window of time before uni begins again to prep for the year ahead, so that I can hopefully make life easier for myself when I have to focus on my degree. I’ve been organising society and volunteering projects, as well as pre-writing and scheduling blog posts for later on in the year and even a few for next year. I’m so wary of overworking myself this year and am trying so hard to implement stronger boundaries so that I can have more effective time to myself and to relax. 


Best read?


I’ve not read much this month. I read a little bit of House of Spirits by Isabel Allende and listened to the start of A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf. I also started reading Dracula in preparation for studying it on a module this year.


Favourite listen?

I’ve been getting back into podcasts this month. I’ve been listening to them while I’ve been getting on with works. Some favourites include Remember Who Made Them, The High Low, No Country for Young Women, Grow and Glow and Small Steps Big Impact with Zanna Van Dijk. 


In terms of music, my classic dance party playlist as well as Taylor Swift’s folklore. 

Favourite watch?


I watched some greta things this year. Very late to the party, I finally watched I May Destroy You and wow, yeah I totally get the hype. It’s brilliant and I need to read loads of analysis articles about it! Bake Off is back, and it’s just joyous. I watched the new series of Ghosts (after rewatching the first series), and I just love these characters. 

Image credit

Other films I’ve watched include Book Club, Knocked Up, and Enola Holmes (which is very overrated but I don’t want to be really negative here so I’m just going to leave it at that).


We currently have a free trial of Now TV, and have been making the most of it! I watched Spiderman Into the Spider-Verse, Footloose, and have been watching a few of the earlier episodes of Game of Thrones. 

Image caption

I also attended an online talk by Angela Davis a few weeks ago and she was brilliant, as expected.


And yes, of course I’ve some rewatches, including Death in Paradise and Unforgotten. 


What did I learn?


That I’m actually doing a hell of a lot better than I thought. Things get better, even if they still aren’t necessarily perfect, and new starts, even if small, have a huge amount of impact. 


What’s happening next month?


I’ll be starting back at uni for the final time, and will have to figure out online learning. Several projects will be starting, and a few ending. Oh, and I also turn 21 in October. Not that that’s freaking me out or anything…


What’s been on my mind?

Ideas for blog posts, other articles and campaigns. I’ve also been thinking a lot about the increased anti-refugee and anti-migrant rhetoric across the UK and particularly in more local areas, encouraged and validated by the government. Angry and frustrated does not cover it. If you want to know how you can support refugees and asylum seekers, I made an Instagram post on the topic.

Favourite blogger/vlogger?


As always, I loved Leena Norms’ videos. I was also so happy to see pictures of Hannah Witton’s wedding as well as Melanie Murphy’s new baby! I also had a rewatch of loads of The Take’s video essays. I just love video essays in general. 


Favourite post?


I really enjoyed my Rachel Green OOTD, just because I love having fun with outfits and taking pictures. I also have a couple of other OOTDs coming over the next few months, so keep an eye out for those! 

I also loved writing Finding Your Style, as it’s something I think really impacts a person’s ability to make more conscious choices in regards to their clothes. 

Not a blog post but I have another article out in The Tab about how to make your food shop more sustainable!


Biggest inspiration?


Being in new surroundings, having more things to do, deadlines (non-uni related ones).

Any other favourites?

This may seem random, but I have a new system of making teas while I’m working which makes me very happy. I have a couple of small glass dishes from small microwaveable vegan sticky toffee puddings I absolutely love, and after washing them out, I now keep at least one on my desk in my bedroom at all times. As I like my tea quite strong, I bring my mug back into my room with me, get on with the things I was doing before, then can take the teabag out of my mug whenever I fancy, and whallah! I don’t have to keep smushing my teabag about in the kitchen for ages before I can finally have my cup of tea or get on with other work. It’s small things like that which make me happy…

If you liked this post you might like: August 2020 | Monthly Wrap Up

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Sustainable OOTD // Rachel Green Inspired

Wednesday, 23 September 2020

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We all know that Friends is super problematic. However, that doesn't negate the fact that the characters in the show serve some serious looks throughout the series. Much of my What To Wear Pinterest board is full of outfits from Friends, with Monica and Rachel being frequent features. They're styles are fun and playful, but can also look pretty cool. I always feel a little bit like Rachel Green whenever I put on a mini skirt and wear my knee high socks, so this outfit is inspired by her. 

Jumper – secondhand fast fashion found on Depop, had nearly 2 years.
Skirt – fast fashion, had over 4 years.
Socks – secondhand fast fashion found on Depop, had over 2 years.
Necklace - not sure where I got this, had since I was a kid.
Earrings - had so long I can’t remember when or where I bought them, wear all the time
Shoes - high street, vegan, had since December 2019 and trying to wear more often.

Photos taken by Jude Crook.

If you liked this post you might like: OOTD // 60s Inspired
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