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March 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday, 31 March 2021

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March has been stressful, let’s hope April is better!



Favourite part?

 

The beginning of March was great! It started off with St. David’s Day as a guest on Remake’s March Community Call, discussing the recent events I’d put on with Remake and FemSoc in January. I was also, amazingly, chosen as Remake’s Ambassador of the Month! This was honestly such a huge honour to me. A few days later we also had a call with the Remake Ambassadors in the UK. It was so much fun talking everyone and all of these events made me so excited and motivated for future campaigns and my own activism in this area. 


 

On the weekend before International Women’s Day, my uni’s FemSoc held our now annual conference, Digital Feminism Summit. There were loads of amazing speakers and workshops, and I had such a great time. It gave me such energy and motivation I can’t fully describe. My personal highlight was interviewing sex educator and author Ruby Rare with my friend Taya. It was an incredible event – I have been a huge fan of Ruby’s for a while and was ridiculously excited for it and afterwards I was so happy. 

 

I never thought I’d say this but I’ve actually gotten back into running. I realized how unfit I was after such a long time in lockdown so I’m now forcing myself to move my body and up my step average. Is being an adult forcing yourself to exercise? Couch to 5k has my back. 

 

My flatmates and I had a cocktail night once we’d hit the official end of term. We got dressed up with full makeup, ordered pizza, had some great drinks, played cards and danced. It was fun to do something other than watching TV and make something a special occasion. Although I’m not sure the hangover was worth it…


 

Apart from that I’ve mostly been doing uni work – prepping for assessments, writing more of my dissertation, reading books for my modules and articles for assessments. There’s nothing much more exciting happening than that.

 

Best read?

 

I’ve done a lot of reading this month, mostly for uni but I did manage to get a bit of reading for fun in too!

 

I finished reading Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, which I really enjoyed. I then read A Great Love by Alexandra Kollontai for the book club I run as part of my uni’s FemSoc and held an event on it. 

 

I then read Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon, again for one of my modules. I absolutely loved this book, it was so good! It truly got me hooked, despite partially guessing the secret earlier on, and I can’t wait to read more by Braddon. 


 

I then finally finished Pamela, by Samuel Richardson, and read a fair bit more of Charlotte by Helen Moffett, which is effectively Pride and Prejudice fan fiction, when I had a few rest days in between my last deadline of term and beginning to work on my dissertation again. 

 

Favourite listen?


I’ve been really loving Venetia La Manna’s new podcast, All the Small Things. It’s been my favourite thing to listen to while I’ve been going for walks by myself or doing a food shop. The conversations are so interesting and the guests are incredible. 


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Favourite watch?


Since Star launched on Disney+, I’ve been rewatching Grey’s Anatomy – I am currently on Series 10, and yes, that is a lot of episodes in a short amount of time, but you know what, I don’t particularly care. 

 

I’ve also watched a few comfort films, like Brave and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, as well as watching other comfort show like Outnumbered. 

 

My flatmate has also really got me into Grayson Perry’s Art Club. I’m obsessed. It’s so wholesome and just lovely. If you need a comfort, uplifting watch, go for this show. 

 

I’ve been catching up on the latest series of Unforgotten. I’ve been obsessed with the previous series of this show but wasn’t quite so convinced with this one until the last episode got a lot better. I’m not sure whether that’s the end of the show or if it’s continuing in a different direction? I’m intrigued. 

 

What did I learn?


I can do a lot more than I think I can. Sometimes you just need to take some time away from Twitter and that’s okay, people don’t need to know your thoughts 24/7. So many things are out of control, even if I want them to go the other ay. It’s okay to be sad. 

 

What’s happening next month?


April is dissertation month. I’m going to be focused on that as well as reading a couple of other books for my course and Book Club. I’m hopefully going to be able to go and visit my family for a short time too which will be great.

 

Favourite blogger/vlogger?


I’ve actually been really enjoying Hannah Witton’s new series of The Hormone Diaries focusing on her experience trying to conceive. It’s very different from my life but I’m finding it fascinating. 

 

Favourite post?


Like last months, I only had one other blog post out, but I am actually really proud of it. Highlighting garment workers’ issues is so important, especially on International Women’s Day. I think it’s a really valuable post and made me reflect on how much I’ve learned through becoming a Remake ambassador and meeting so many other activists. 



Biggest inspiration?


Just reaching the end of my degree and now having a clearer idea of what I’m doing after I graduate. 


Any other favourites?

 

I’ve been finding particular joy in my houseplants recently. There’s not much joy to be had at the moment, so I’m glad to find it wherever I can. Some of them are doing really well and the ones that have been struggled are pulling back!  




If you liked this post you might like: February 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

 

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Why Garment Workers Should Be the Focus of This Year’s International Women’s Day

Monday, 8 March 2021

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Content warnings: sexual and gender based violence, food insecurity, murder, sexual harassment




International Women’s Day is a day of celebration – of the achievements of women, of the success of women’s rights campaigners, of the women we love and appreciate around us – but it is also a day to recognise the changes that still need to be made in terms of gender equality and to uplift the voices of the most marginalised women and other marginalised genders globally. 

 

The exploitation has been an issue for decades, and has been a point of activism for many across the world for that amount of time too. And yet the issue is still as prevalent as ever, even after the collapse of the Rana Plaza factory complex in Dhaka, Bangladesh in 2013, which was the worst industrial disaster in the garment industry’s history, killing over 1,100 people and seriously injuring many more. With so much violence and exploitation still existing in the industry after such a high profile and deadly tragedy as Rana Plaza, we have to ask, why has so little change been made? 

 

As 80% of garment workers worldwide are women of colour aged 18-24, the treatment of garment workers is most certainly a feminist issue. 

 

Since the start of the pandemic, this system of exploitation has reached a boiling point, when an estimated $40 billion of garment workers’ wages was withheld by fashion brands after the closure of high streets around the world, despite the fact that many of the cancelled orders had already been partially or wholly completed. Only 2% of garment workers earn a living age, with many already in debt in order to survive and living hand to mouth. This decision by brands had potentially deadly consequences for many garment workers and their dependents, who were (and still are) facing increased food insecurity, increased exposure to violence as they find other means to survive.

 

Since then, over $22 billion has been recovered through efforts such as the #PayUp campaign and the many instances of garment worker union action against factory owners and the brands they supply. 

 

Many brands are still to pay for orders made in March, including Peacocks, Boohoo and ASOS (for outstanding Arcadia payments), Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret and Urban Outfitters. 

 

In addition to large scale incidents of structural violence, such as Rana Plaza or the lack of payment during the pandemic, many garment workers also face serious sexual and gender based violence in the workplace. This includes sexual harassment by often male managers, being forced into sex with managers in order to keep their jobs, and targeted intimidation.  In January 2021, a young garment worker called Jeyasre Kathirvel was raped and murdered after months of sexual harassment by her supervisor in a factory in India supplying H&M. What happened to Jeyasre is not an anomaly. Gender based violence is embedded in this industry, as it relies on the exploitation of the black and brown women to turn a profit and create billionaire (mostly male) CEOs. 

 

This issue is not just one that affects marginalised genders outside of the UK. Slave labour allegations have been held against garment factories in Leicester for over a decade, with many reports being released since 2010, most recently in a report by Labour Behind the Label on the illegal and unethical practices of Boohoo suppliers in Leicester since during the first UK national lockdown. 

 

In fact, it recently came out that there will soon be a potential ban of Boohoo imports into the US due to the slave labour within their supply chains – a major move which will likely have serious implications for Boohoo and other brands if this is not acted upon. Boohoo now take up an estimated 60-80% of all garments produced in Leicester factories, so they are a clear perpetrator of this violence. Not only is it highly likely that women make up the majority of the garment workers in Leicester, the report by Labour Behind the Label also gave evidence that migrant workers make up an estimated 33.6% of garment workers in Leicester. 

 

Garment workers, although often portrayed as passive victims, are standing up for their rights, protesting and striking, and are at the heart of the movement for a fairer fashion industry for both people and planet. As citizens and people who wear the clothes they make, we must stand in solidarity with garment workers – to demand that brands who rely on their labour pay the women who make their clothes the wages they are owed, in addition to sharing the profits they have made over the course of the pandemic, and ensuring their workers are treated with respect. 

 

To hold brands accountable, sign the #PayUp petition to send a message of solidarity into the inboxes of fashion CEOs. 





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February 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

Monday, 1 March 2021

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February, you may be short but you have felt like an age!



Favourite part?

 

The final semester of my degree in a pandemic isn’t exactly the most riveting to talk about. I’ve spent most of my time at my desk, in my room on my computer or reading one of the texts I’m studying, and then not going out in the evening. Wild stuff. 

 

This month has felt almost like two halves. Earlier on in the month we had the week of snow, which looked amazing and boosted my mood, but I couldn’t go out so much as when I did I slipped over! Typical but I can manage. Later on in the month the warm weather and sunshine has made me excited for spring and summer and has definitely made me more hopeful. 


 

New developments in some newer projects for N.E.S.T (a voluntary group I work in) launched this month! They’ve gone really well and it’s exciting and motivating to see new volunteers get stuck in and be as enthusiastic as myself and the other leads are about these projects and their participants. 

 

There have also been some new developments of future plans! As of this month an internship I was offered earlier on was confirmed, which I’ll be starting in early June. I also have a new house sorted for once my current tenancy is finished – that means that no matter what I end up doing once I graduate (full time job, masters, etc., I’m still undecided), I’ll still be in Newcastle for it! I know it’s not exciting things happening right now, but having things to look forward is certainly what I need right now. 

 

Apart from that, it’s the usual lockdown stuff. I don’t imagine anyone’s life is particularly exciting right now. Life’s mostly uni work, eating, spending time with people I care about, and trying to remember to move my body and go outside. 

 

Best read?

 

I have so many books I would love to read for fun but right now I’m just reading texts for my course – which I am enjoying, don’t get me wrong, I just want to read Orsola de Castro’s new book straight away rathe than having to wait 3 months! 

 

I’ve read Fantomina by Eliza Haywood, which I really enjoyed, and Pamela by Samuel Richardson, which I enjoyed a bit less. For another module, I read Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray, which took me ages to read because it was so long (nearly 700 pages woop!). I’m also just over half way through Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, another long book which I’m actually loving!


 

Favourite listen?


In terms of podcasts, I’ve been catching up on episodes of The Guilty Feminist, listening to the new week’s Desert Island Discs and loving the new series of The Yikes Podcast.

 

Music-wise, I’ve been very late and listening to Harry Styles’ latest album. I’ve also been listening to more of 1989, and songs by Sixpence None the Richer. 


Favourite watch?

 

This month I watched Late Night for the first time, which I missed out on when it was first released. I absolutely loved this film and can’t wait to be watching it again. The actors are great and it’s so well written. I loved it!

 

I also rewatched Saving Mr. Banks for the first times in ages, and it’s just as good as ever. I love everything about that film.   

 

I’ve been watching old faves such as Outnumbered and Grey’s Anatomy (here’s to Disney+ Star). These are such good comfort backups and are the shows I need right now. 


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What did I learn?

 

Sometimes you just need a massive cry to feel a bit better. Flowers and bright colours help make things better, and I can actually do better than I think I can. 

 

What’s happening next month?


Mostly essay writing and writing the third chapter of my dissertation. Massively exciting stuff! 

 

Later today, I’ll be a guest on Remake’s March Community Call discussing community engagement, particularly in relation to my recent events with my university’s FemSoc! This is a huge deal to me and I still can’t quite believe I was asked! There are also a few more exciting things happening with Remake this month, so keep your eyes peeled! 


Today is also St. David’s Day, so I’ll be celebrating after the Community Call with some Welshcakes!

 

Later on in the month is my university FemSoc’s Digital Feminist Summit, a weekend full of events and guest speakers. It should be a great weekend and I’ll be leading one interviewing Ruby Rare with my friend Taya! 

 

What’s been on my mind?


Deadlines, restrictions easing (and being both anxious and excited about that), generally keeping afloat. You know, all the fun stuff. 

 

Favourite blogger/vlogger?


This is probably getting boring but again Leena Norms! Let’s be real, spending time reading on a screen isn’t fun after a day of constantly reading on a screen, so I haven’t read any blogs in a long time. I find watching series, films or YouTube videos that I know will be comforting are the kind of things that are useful to me right now. All I have energy for in the evening is vegging. 

 

Favourite post?


With my current workload and having run out of previously scheduled posts, February only saw one blog post (other than this one!). I may have only one answer to this question but I really enjoyed it. I’ve been wanting to share an Old Fast Fashion OOTD post for a while as I think it’s something really important to discuss and share. 


 

Biggest inspiration?


Not very exciting but nearing the final deadlines of my degree and the prospect of seeing my friends and family soon.


Any other favourites?


I’ve been trying some new recipes this month! I have a new love of baked oats, although they take a bit too long to do for a regular breakfast. I also made a carrot and walnut cake that I was really proud of and which turned out pretty well. I’m looking forward to making more of these and sharing them with pals!

 

I’ve also been loving the Shmood Candle I bought last month at the FemSoc Eco Market. I got the ‘Energize’ candle and it’s actually been helpful in getting me focused in the morning! I reckon I’m going to get more of these candles in the future! 





If you liked this post you might like: January 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

 

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Sustainable OOTD // Old Fast Fashion

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

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When you learn more about the many many things wrong with the fashion industry (check out this blog post for a general overview), it is easy to panic about the unethical and unsustainable items in our wardrobes, and even feel the urge to chuck them all out and start again. But that approach is helpful to no one. 


The most sustainable clothes are the ones we already own. By wearing them over and over again, we stop filling up landfill at such alarming rates, are less likely to buy more, use fewer resources, as well as valuing the work and skill of the (mostly women) garment workers who made your clothes. 

 

Valuing the clothes you already own is essential to slowing down your fashion consumption and changing your outlook on both the fashion industry and capitalism as a whole. If you love a garment, continue to wear it and cherish it. These garments are all ones I adore and have owned for a long time. They are also all from fast fashion companies (apart from my accessories). They by no means had ethical or sustainable origins but I can suspend their life and make them have less of an impact on the planet by continuing to wear them. These are items I know I will wear until it is physically impossible to, and they are not going anywhere any time soon. The cardigan here is so well loved it has stretched many inches so that it is now almost like a dressing gown, just socially acceptable to wear in public. These are clothes that if you know me in real life you have probably seen me wear several times. 

 

So what’s the key message here? Wear the clothes you love and already own no matter the ethics of their origin. You love them for a reason and shouldn’t have to part with them unless they are no longer wearable. We may be fighting against the fast fashion system but we don’t need to fight with that skirt you bought in 2010 that you still absolutely adore. 






 

Top – H&M, at least 5 years old, probably older

 

Skirt – Topshop, at least 5 years old, probably older

 

Cardigan – New Look, over 4 years old

 

Boots – Vegan Doc Martens, owned for over a year

 

Necklace – originally owned by my great-nan, wear all the time and particularly often with my black and white stripey tops

 

Earrings – Handcrafted by Becca, was given to me for my last birthday by my friend Angie!







As always with the vast majority of my OOTD blog posts, thank you so much to my flatmate Jude for her photography skills and helping make these posts happen!



If you liked this post you might like: Sustainable OOTD // When Harry Met Sally Inspired

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January 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

Monday, 1 February 2021

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January has been long. Lockdown in the middle of winter is certainly not fun but it’s not been as bad as it could have been for me and I know I’m lucky to be in the position I’m in.



Favourite part?

 

That has to be my FemSoc campaign ‘Climate Change is a Feminist Issue’ which I’ve been the lead for and which happened over 2 weeks this month. I’ve been wanting to hold this campaign ever since I joined the FemSoc committee and it was so exciting seeing it actually happen. I particularly loved the events I held around slow fashion. I first had my talk discussing why fashion is a feminist issue, a craftivism session making #PayUp postcards to send to fashion brands who have still not paid their workers for cancelled orders from the beginning of the pandemic, and then a screening of several Remake documentaries followed by a discussion. I also loved taking part in our Eco Market, meeting small sustainable business owners and chatting about issues of climate justice with my fellow committee members. Each of these events were so fun and encouraging, and I can’t wait for the final event in the campaign this Sunday!



I’ve not done much in January apart from working on my end of module deadlines and the first chapter of my dissertation (I now have the first chapter completed!), but I have loved being out and about in my local area, and I’m lucky to have great green spaces around me. It’s so easy to stay inside constantly but I’ve been trying to make sure I go for at least a short walk every other day, if not more than that. 



Best read?

 

I’ve read a fair bit this month, I’ve definitely seemed to get back into my reading mojo, and have read more that’s not for my degree. I’ve been reading more fiction too, which I haven’t done for fun in a while, and it’s been great. I forget ho good reading a fiction book is for winding down. 

 

At the beginning of the year, I read by David Attenborough, which I as given as a Christmas present. I then read No is Not Enough by Naomi Klein for the second time, and it was still as relevant as ever. 



I also read Whites: On Race and Other Falsehoods by Otegha Uwagba. It’s super short and easy to read (I read it all while in the bath!), but is very thought-provoking and certainly made me think a lot about the way we use social media in activism. I would highly recommend. 

 

I then read Home Stretch by Graham Norton, also a Christmas present. I couldn’t put it down. I loved the characters and Norton’s writing style. I hadn’t read any of his writing before but I’ll have a look at some of his other work soon. 



I’ve also been gradually reading, Charlotte by Helen Moffett, a continuation of the story of Pride and Prejudice from Charlotte Lucas’ point of view, and The Guilty Feminist by Deborah Frances-White, which I’ve had for ages but never got around to actually reading. I’ve only been reading these on days that I’ve not had much other reading to do (then I’ve been writing or going through lectures etc.), otherwise I just can’t handle reading any more words in a day! 

 

I am also trying to start reading for my new modules which start next week. So far I’m over 100 pages into Vanity Fair by William Thackeray. I’ve also been gradually reasing This Changes Everything by Naomi Klein for my dissertation. It’s longer than some of the other books I’ve been reading for it, so I’m just taking it slowly. It will likely feature in the next couple of Wrap Ups!


 

Favourite tunes?

 

When writing the first chapter of my dissertation, I listened to the Moana soundtrack on repeat. Why not write about the film while dancing to its songs?! I’ve also been listening to Joni Mitchell’s Both Sides Now album again. I haven’t for ages but it’s been a great one to relax to in the evening’s while I’ve been getting ready for bed. 

 

I’ve been loving podcasts again, particularly while I’m doing housework or when I’mgoing for walks. I’ve been catching up on episodes of The Guilty Feminist, my long time favourite, as well as a few episodes of Desert Island Discs and the How to Get Over Heartbreak series which is part of the Fucks Given podcast. Although I’m not heartbroken right now or going through what the host has been, I think it’s still really important to examine how we react to situations, how we take care of ourselves in times of crisis and how we know what are healthy situations and what are not. 


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Favourite watch?


What is there to do in lockdown other than go for walks and watch TV?! I’ve been continuing my watch of all of Made in Chelsea and have nearly caught up with the latest series (it’s steadily getting worse but I will persevere!


I also got very excited watching The Pembrokeshire Murders. It was very exciting seeing loads of places I know from where I grew up, even if the main character drove the wrong way over the Cleddau bridge!

 

I’ve also been loving The Great, It’s a Sin and the new series of First Dates, although my flatmate and I are trying to pace ourselves and not binge watch as many shows! We did binge watch both series of Glow Up though. I loved it and can’t wait for the next series, whenever that may be. 


Image credit

 

I’ve also watched lots of films as well TV shows – mostly old favourites! These have included Bridget Jones’s Diary, Pride and Prejudice (2005), Clueless, Sister Act and Ratatouille. 

 

I’ve also been watching Misbehaviour while writing this post and ugh, it’s so good. Like any other feminist film, it makes me cry. It was the last film I watched in the cinema before the pandemic and it also makes me really miss cinemas… I can’t wait to be annoyed at strangers talking during films again. 


Image credit


What did I learn?


I’m more capable than I think I am. My Remake events this month proved that to me. I was so nervous beforehand but the encouragement and engagement from the people who attended early reassured me that I know what I am doing and can do it again. 

 

I’m also really proud of the fact that I’m getting better at saying no and stepping back from things when I know I need a break or to reserve my energy for other things (i.e. my degree). This time last year I would have just ploughed full steam ahead with all my projects, but now I know that’s an unhealthy attitude. 

 

What’s happening next month?


As I feel like I’ve said in every Monthly Wrap Up for the past year, not much. I’ll be starting new modules and continuing with my dissertation. I also have said to myself that my main goals for this year are just to get my degree and take care of myself. Anything else on top of that would be great (although I should probably add ‘get a job’ to that list in a few months). 

 

For that reason, I probably won’t be sharing so many blog posts for a while. At the moment it’s easy for stress to takeover. There will still be posts but probably not every week!

 
What’s been on my mind?

 

My work, missing people I care about (I cannot WAIT to be drunkenly dancing with my pals again), and trying to find joy in the little things where I can. And trying not to panic about trying to get a job after I graduate ha ha… ha.


 

Favourite blogger/vlogger?


I’ve been catching up on videos of Leena Norms’ and Hanah Witton’s that I hadn’t seen. They’re certainly my YouTube comfort watches!

 

Favourite post?

 

My favourite blog post for January is A Vegan’s Guide to Newcastle. I love talking about local businesses I love, and these ones are great! I’ve been working on this post for about 2 years so it’s great for it to be out for everyone to read! 

 

I also really enjoyed my 10 Best Books I Read in 2020, just because I love writing about amazing books!


 

Biggest inspiration?

 

Hearing about people getting their first dose of the vaccine. Whether it’s a friend, a family member, someone else’s friends and family, or simply a random stranger. It makes everything seem more real and gives me so much hope that I’ll be able to hug my friends soon!

 

Any other favourites?


Baking! I’ve been back baking again and ugh I love. I don’t know what it is about making food that really calms me down and helps me process things. I made a lush treacle tart (which got great feedback from the friends I dropped some off for) and a very cinnamon-y apple crumble with loads of vegan custard. I need to make some more…




If you liked this post you might like: November & December 2020 | Monthly Wrap Up

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