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Where to Access Books and Avoid Funding Amazon

I love books. We know that, it is a fact anyone who has even glanced at my blog will know. With lockdown combined with a summer holiday fro...

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OOTD // Stevie Nicks Inspired

Wednesday, 5 August 2020

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I absolutely adore Stevie Nicks. She's one of my favourite musicians (both as part of Fleetwood Mac and as a solo artist) and she is certainly one of my style icons. So if I can wear something that makes me feel like one of my icons, I will go with it! I love this outfit so much. It makes me feel really, well, me. Not intending to go all hippy (but let's be real, loving it), but the energy I get from this outfit fills me with such confidence and makes me feel so comfortable within myself. And surely that's what we should all be aiming for when choosing the clothes we wear?




Dress – secondhand vintage from Seasons of Ella on Depop about a week before lockdown started (I have almost certainly already worn it 30 times since then).
Underslip – fast fashion I was given as a present along with a mesh dress several years ago, I use it under at least 3 different dresses.
Hat - nabbed from my mum! She's had it for years (I remember it being around when I was a kid) and I absolutely love it. 
Boots – vegan Doc Marten’s, got at Christmas using student discount.
Moon earrings – new ethical handmade from Soleil Store on Depop, bought in February.
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. 






If you liked this post you might like: OOTD // Mamma Mia Inspired Day and Night Look

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July 2020 | Monthly Wrap Up

Friday, 31 July 2020

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It’s August and somehow still feels like it should be March. 

Favourite part?


Again, not been a massively exciting month. I feel like I am probably doing better mentally. I’m trying to spend more time outside, more time reading and more time organising things. I’ve even stopped using the Habit app to make sure I do simple things like brush my teeth twice a day! That sounds like such a low bar but it’s good not having to rely on apps to do things like that anymore. I now have a date to move into my new house and I can’t wait for me and my housemates to get in and make it our own. 

I’ve been cooking a bit more, specifically eating lots of rhubarb crumble and trying out different tofu recipes and shoving a load of chopped regrown spring onions on top. These recipes include Chez Jorge’s Crispy Mongolian Tofu (check him out, his food is incredible) as well as just slathering a whole load of BBQ sauce on top. Get you a girl who can do both.


My family and some friends also had a go at making our own pizzas! For his birthday, my dad was given an extension for our BBQ which turns it into a pizza oven (pretty cool, right?) and we had lots of fun rolling out dough, adding toppings and cooking them. I used Applewood Vegan Smoked Cheddar, Viviera ‘Bacon’ Pieces as well as chopped pepper, spring onions and sweetcorn on mine, and it was dee-lish!


I also spent a couple of nights in a caravan on the edge of Brighton with my family (ensuring that we were wearing masks and social distancing as much as possible). We had a super tasty meal at an Indian restaurant at the marina called Malika, played mini golf, and spent lots of time playing Uno with my brother’s ‘extreme’ rules. We also went up the I360 (even if I did panic half way up that it was going to break and we’d fall. Spoiler alert: it didn’t), and I got a vegan Cod and tartare sauce sushi roll from Happy Maki.



I went through all of my clothes, had a sort and an organize, as it had been a while since I’d done so and to make sure that what I have still represents what I wear and like. From that sort out, I am now selling some items on my Depop. Please have a look and if you like one of them I’d love you to have it. I may not wear them anymore, but I want them to be loved again.


This month I’ve been working on a resource document called Fast Fashion 101: Stay Informed and Take Action. It has links to articles on a whole range of issues within ethical and sustainable fashion, including Rana Plaza, greenwashing, colonialism, privilege, and Black Lives Matter, as well as petitions to sign, places to donate and templates for tweets and emails to brands. It also includes podcast, book, documentary, activist and organisation recommendations, brands to support (both secondhand and new) as well as brands to avoid. I know this has already been useful to me as a reference bank, and I hope that it is useful to other people. I am continuing to update and add to it regularly, so if there’s something you think needs including, don’t hesitate to send me a message or comment on this post!

Best read?


If there’s one good thing I’ve experienced through a combination of uni summer break and a pandemic (and being let go from my usual summer job), it’s been having the chance the catch up on books I’ve been meaning to read for ages. During the academic year, I don’t tend to have chance to read books which aren’t linked to my course in some way, so I’m always grateful to have the time to read the books which have been piling up on my shelf. 

The first book I read in July was A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes, a retelling of the events of Troy told through the eyes of the women involved. I really like Greek Myth and and ancient history, so hearing stories I’d already heard before from marginalized perspectives was great. Haynes covers a whole mash up of characters – from Cassandra, Clytemnestra and Persephone, to women I’d never heard of before such as Chryseis and Creusa. 


I then read Dark Days by James Baldwin, one of Penguin’s Mini Modern Classics collection. This was a really quick, easy yet still impactful read. I’ve read a couple of James Baldwin’s works now and I love the way he writes. 

Next I read Feminism, Interrupted by Lola Olufemi. I’ve been meaning to read this basically since it came out and I was not disappointed. I cannot recommend this book enough. It is such a clear, concise and accessible intersectional feminist text. For anyone who has struggled with the heavy and dense academic articles on the subject, this will help so much. I got my copy at half price from Pluto Press during a sale, so if you aren't able to buy at full price, I’d keep an eye out for more sales or to see if copies are available in your local library. I hope to share my copy with people I know in real life, although they’d have to cope with my highlights and notes! 


I then read The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid. I got through this so quickly, and I really enjoyed it. The main character was brilliant, and it talks about the increasing rise of Islamophobia in the US and the rest of the Global North since 9/11. 

I am currently nearly halfway through Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams. You will have probably heard of this book before. If you haven’t, you’ve probably been living under a rock, or at least without an Internet connection. It has been heavily praised, receiving Best British Book of the Year and Debut Book Award, and for good reason. I have been loving this book so much. The characters are so well written and feel so real. Would highly recommend! 


I would also like to use this section to highlight The Storygraph, which I’ve been using this month as an alternative to GoodReads. For a while, I’ve been trying to distance myself from Amazon as much as possible – choosing to buy elsewhere, shopping small and local, and looking at alternatives for their various services. For me, the main service of Amazon’s that I use is GoodReads. I’ve had an account for nearly six years, and it is such a great tool for documenting what I read and what I want to read. I do so much in other areas to avoid Amazon as much as possible, but GoodReads has been the hardest to ditch – partly because I do love it, and partially because I haven’t found the alternatives. Until I found Storygraph! It’s a platform still in its Beta stages, so is not perfect yet but is brilliant. They’re still looking for feedback and making changes, and some key differences include increased stats on the books you read and an automatic shelf for books you didn’t finish. I am still using GoodReads alongside Storygraph (hey, habits are difficult to break), and I hope to fully switch when the platform is finalised. 

Favourite tunes?


I’ve been loving listening to more ABBA and Britney. Got to have something to have a bop along to.  

Favourite watch?


This month has been a lot of rewatching. After the death of Naya Rivera, I rewatched all of Glee. I think I forgot just how much I love it, how much it comforts me and how much it did in terms of representation for so many people, even if it definitely does have its issues (I did feel a bit ill when they started singing an R Kelly song at one point). 

I have also been rewatching Doctor Who from the revival. Having not watched these episodes in order for some time (most just a couple every now and again), I’d forgotten just how good these episodes are. The Russell T Davies era series are packed full with incredible episode after incredible episode. As much as I love and am grateful for Jodie Whittaker as the Doctor, the more recent episodes on the whole aren’t written as well as the earlier ones. And considering some of these episodes are up to 15 years old, I think they’ve aged quite well. Also Martha Jones is so underappreciated. I’ve said it for years, but seriously. 

Picture credit

But don’t worry, I have also been watching some news shows. For example, Buffy the Vampire Slayer (I relate to Willow so much), Chewing Gum (about damn time I got round to watching this), and Motherland. 

I’ve watched fewer films this months, but highlights of those include Mamma Mia 2 and BlacKkKlansman (which is now on Netflix at last!).

What did I learn?


I really need my rest. I should section off more time to just sit and read. Just sitting and reading is so valuable. 

What’s happening next month?


Writing more blog posts, reading, going through my stuff before I move. 

What’s been on my mind?


Our sham of a government. Planning blog content, trying to figure out how I’m going to get through the mountain of books I have yet to read, and also trying to figure out how I can best ally people who are more marginalized than myself. I’m trying to learn as much as possible so that I can be of the most use, and that takes a lot of time, but it’s time worth spending. 

Favourite blogger/vlogger?


This month I’ve been reading a lot of new (new to me) sustainable bloggers, including Francisca Rockey, Elen (aka Welsh Wanderer) and Abi Christina, among a few others. 

On YouTube, as always Leena Norms and Venetia La Manna have been doing great things.

Favourite post?


I’m actually really happy with my posts recently, and with the posts I’ve got in the works. While I love my other posts, I’m probably going to have to say my Mamma Mia Inspired OOTD, simply because it was so much fun getting dressed up. 


Biggest inspiration?


As mentioned above, I recently found several sustainability bloggers on Twitter and Instagram I’d not seen before. Seeing the amazing work they’re doing gave me a bit of a boost, and made me want to be better and do better. 

Any other favourites?


I’ve been getting back into Pinterest a lot this month. I hadn’t been on it for ages, but after my friend made a collaborative board for our new house, I’ve been adding to my other boards and changing things around. 

And I’d also like to shout out ChipSticks, for always having my back and bringing that salt and vinegar-y goodness to my life. 

I’d also like to highlight that I now have a Ko-Fi page. If you like what I post, have learned anything about sustainability and ethical fashion from my blog or from my other social media platforms (and are able to), I would be so grateful if you would buy me a coffee and help me have the time to continue to write posts, research and help share the word. 


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

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5 Things To Know If You're a Menstrual Cup Newbie | #ACupaDay

Friday, 24 July 2020

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Yep, #ACupaDay is back people! We know I love my menstrual cup, and I’ve been a long time user of menstrual cups for over 2 and a half years now, so you could say that I know what I’m on about it when it comes to menstrual cup knowledge. If you’ve just got a menstrual cup and you’re wondering what the hell you’ve just got yourself into, here are somethings I hope will help:


1. Welcome to the club!


Well done on trying to lessen the impact you have on the environment. Menstrual cups are great and I really hope you get along with yours. 

2. Please, please god read the instructions


Make sure you know what you’re doing when you’re inserting your cup. Fold it in on itself so that it’s about half the width, stay relaxed and insert it. You’ll probably have to figure out a new way to position yourself compared to when using tampons (believe me I tried with one leg up on the toilet seat and putting it in standing up, and I would definitely not recommend). And don’t forget that when you remove it, you need to break the seal first, otherwise it will not come out, and you do not want to just yank it out even if you could. You’ll need to hold the tail to keep it stable, and use one finger to push it in at the sides until you can feel that the tail is broken, and then you can bring it out and empty it straight into the toilet. 

3. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right away


Keep trying and you’ll get there. Did you get tampons right the first time you tried them? Probably not. In fact, I’m not sure I ever did. Be patient and take your time, it’s not a race or in fact any other kind of competition. It’s just you and your vagina taking on the world! Bit much? Sorry.

You hear so many people proclaiming the wonders of menstrual cups (and I can be guilty of this sometimes too) that it can seem like they never have any issues, and this is really not the case. I have not got the suction right before so I got a tiny leak. I have put it in at an awkward angle before so that it felt uncomfortable for it a bit. The first time I went to use it, I folded it up, placed it against the opening of my vagina, panicked and put it away again. The first time I used it properly I couldn’t initially get it out and ended up naked in my bathroom shouting to my mum on the other side of the door “IT’S STUCK! IT’S ACTUALLY STUCK!”

But now, I’m used to it. Using a menstrual cup is now second nature to me. I love it and frankly hope I never have to use a tampon again (although I did very briefly but that’s another story). You’ll get there with it. And hey, if you can’t seem to get the hang of menstrual cups or just plain don’t like them, that’s okay too. It’s your vagina, and you decide what goes in it. 

4. If you want to talk about it, go for it


I love talking about my menstrual cup, as is probably evident from how much I’ve written about it on the internet! But I won’t apologise for that because I’m talking about something I find exciting and something I love. And I know that others have started using menstrual cups based on what I’ve said about them, so just having a chat about something casual can be seen as a small form of activism!

5. It will get stained, and no, that does not mean it’s not clean


Over time, your cup will get a bit of a reddy-brown tinge, but that doesn’t mean that it still has blood on it. It’s the same as that tub you put something with tomato in that one time, and now it’s forever orange. As long as you keep cleaning it properly, it’s safe to use. 


If you liked this post you might like: Menstrual Cup FAQs | #ACupaDay



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5 Vegan Recipes I’ve Been Loving in Lockdown

Friday, 17 July 2020

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Cooking is something which calms me down. Being in the kitchen, have a bit of a boogie and creating something (hopefully) delicious, is something that will never fail to make me feel better. Food is my escape, part of my self-care and a means of exploring food and learning new things. That’s why during lockdown and social distancing, cooking and baking has been super important to me (as those of you who follow me on Instagram will be able to tell from my stories). Although I am yet to make a banana bread… Here are some of the recipes I’ve made several times in lockdown and will definitely make again in the future. They’re all pretty easy so don’t worry if you’re not a top chef!



1. Fruit Crumbles


Fruit crumbles are potentially my favourite food ever, specifically rhubarb crumble. If I could live off them for the rest of my life, I would. To me, crumbles are something which should be shared, and I love making them for my family and housemates.I don’t have a specific recipe for this one, as I like to switch up the fruit I use and sometimes the actual crumble. Some of my favourite include plain ol’ apple, apple and plum, nectarine and plum and, as I already mentioned, rhubarb. These can be changed depending on what’s in season and what you can find in stores (I like to go with whatever I can find plastic free if possible). Crumbles are also a great way of ensuring fruit doesn’t go to waste. For instance, I find Nigella’s strawberry crumble (sounds weird but it’s actually very tasty) great for using up strawberries which are on the brink of going off. And of course, all crumbles are made better with cream or custard (I use the Alpro vegan alternatives). 



2. Lemon Drizzle Cake


For a while, I’ve struggled to find the perfect vegan cake recipe, and to be honest, in this recipe, I think I may have found it. It’s moist, super lemony and completely moreish. I get a bit addicted to it when I’ve made some and it goes down super quickly. As it uses ingredients such as vegan yoghurt and ground almonds, so there’s even some protein in there!



3. Miso Roast Aubergine


I’ve discovered a real love for aubergines this year, and have included them in a lot more of my meals, from snacks or sides like crispy baked slices, to curries and tagines, with BBQ pulled jackfruit, and to making them the main event themselves. This recipe does just that: it puts aubgergine at the front and centre of the meal. I love the taste of miso, and it clicks really well with the softness of the cooked aubergine flesh as well as the crispy skin. I like to serve it with couscous and greens and have for a lunch. 



4. Tofu Makhani


After I left Newcastle, I had a craving for the tofu makhani I’d had from the vegan takeaway Karma Kitchen a few weeks before. It was so good and I was desperate to try and recreate it. After a short search, I found this recipe. The recipe I found isn’t as thick and creamy as the one from Karma Kitchen, and is spicier, but it’s still great and fills the metaphorical hole in my stomach which had been there for several weeks. I love adding a lot of mango chutney to this (and really, to any curry, I just love mango chutney) and you could add some extra greens if you fancied. 

Find the recipe here (I accessed it during a free trial and wrote it down).


5. Fluffy American-Style Pancakes 


Who said vegans couldn’t have pancakes?? These are honestly lush and are ridiculously easy to make and use ingredients I often have in the cupboard anyway. I’ve made these with several different toppings, including blueberries and yoghurt suggested in the original recipe and my attempt at a warm raspberry coulis (frozen raspberries heated in a pan with some lemon juice and sugar), and they’re so good. I’ve had a few different vegan pancakes in cafes before, and these are certainly just as good.  




Have you been cooking much in lockdown? What have you been making? I'd love to find out!



If you liked this post you might like: Being Vegan in Disneyland Paris | What I Eat in a Day

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OOTD // Mamma Mia Inspired Day and Night Look

Monday, 6 July 2020

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Like many of you, I love the Mamma Mia films. ABBA are probably my favourite band (tied with Fleetwood Mac) and whilst I love the music, I always enjoy looking at all the different outfits that both the band and the characters wear. For me, the character Donna Sheridan is a bit of a style icon, particularly in the sequel. So much so, that when I first saw the sequel with my family, my mum kept mentioning to me that she could see me wearing practically all of her outfits! So what better way to celebrate both Mamma Mia films now being on Netflix than to share some outfits inspired by Donna Sheridan!

Day






Dungarees – Secondhand fast fashion bought on Depop 2 years ago (my favourite thing about these dungarees is the chest pocket, which I call my 'book pocket'. It's the key to my reading habits and effective travel storage).
 Crop top – Secondhand fast fashion bought on Depop 2 years ago
Sandals – vegan sandals from Blowfish, bought about a year ago. These were the only good quality vegan sandals I could find at the time, and I have since seen that Blowfish seem to be quite environmentally conscious, although I haven't been able to find anything about their worker treatment. 
Earrings – had so long I can’t remember when or where I bought them, wear all the time
Necklace - secondhand from a market in Skibbereen, Ireland, bought 2 years ago.



Night





The wind blew my hair at the right point when
taking this photo and I felt powerful

Jumpsuit – secondhand fast fashion bought on Depop 2 and a half years ago
Earrings – same earrings
Grey boot platforms – fast fashion bought 2 years ago
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. 




I hope you enjoyed this post, I know I love talking about sustainable fashion and sharing some of my favourite outfits. Here’s to flares, dungarees and flowy tops!

If you liked this post you might like: Quitting Fast Fashion: Where To Start

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