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5 Best Fiction Books I Read in 2021

Friday, 21 January 2022

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 While my Storygraph has confirmed that I read more non-fiction in 2021, I still read some cracking fiction books too! Most of those were for my degree (particularly for the end of my undergrad), but most of the books I’ve included here aren’t ones I studied (although one is!). I would love to read some more fiction in 2022 (aside from the 1920s detective fiction and Victorian sensation fiction I’ll be reading for my university research), so if you have any novels you think I would like please recommend them in the comments! 

1. Home Stretch by Graham Norton

This is the first fiction book I read in 2021 and it set the bar high. I wasn’t sure what to expect from Graham Norton’s fiction but I heard lots of high praise for this book and asked for it for Christmas and I could not put it down. I will definitely be reading more by Graham Norton in the future!


This novel centres around a car crash that happens on the eve of the wedding of two people involved. It then follows those affected 20 years after the accident and truths unfurl. I got through Home Stretch so quickly and could neither wait to see what happened next or guess what was going to happen next. It is written with so much love and I would highly recommend it!

2. Lady Audley’s Secret by Mary Elizabeth Braddon

Ugh, I love this book so much. It’s my favourite of all the books I read in my undergraduate degree – I know, big claim for an English Lit and Politics student but what can I say – and it’s basically the reason I’m doing the research Master’s I’m doing. 


The story is a kind of murder mystery/detective story, following Robert Audley as he reunites with his old friend George then tries to track him down once he goes missing, with revelations coming out as he carries out his investigation. It didn’t feel like I was studying reading this book and honestly couldn’t put it down. Some of the ‘secrets’ weren’t really a surprise to me but I was still gripped the whole way through. There’s a whole lot you can say about prisons and gender in this book and I just love it. 

3. The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Brit Bennett is great at worldbuilding, and brings colourism to the extreme in a town that has deliberately bred itself so that while Black in their heritage, its inhabitants can are so pale they can ‘pass’ as white outside of the town. The Vanishing Half follows the stories of twins Desiree and Stella as they run away from their home town to New Orleans as teenagers, and then as their lives diverge and they become wives and mothers but nevertheless estranged sisters and daughters. It is beautifully written, heartbreaking at times, funny at times, with characters who seem real. Bennett touches on so many issues such as colourism, classism, access to trans healthcare, hate crimes, and domestic abuse.


This book has been hyped up so much and it is definitely deserved. I Would highly recommend and can’t wait to see what Brit Bennet writes next! 

4. Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

Kawaguchi uses a simple concept (limited time travel no less) to expand on the different characters who use or work in a small family-run coffee shop. The result is honestly gorgeous. This book is absolutely beautiful. It is so simple and so heartbreaking and all of the characters are so gorgeously human and felt so real. It’s short and easy to read, so won’t take long, and it could actually be treated almost like a collection of short stories, just all set in the same place. I’ve not read much Japanese fiction before, but after reading this I certainly want to explore the work of Kawaguchi and other Japanese writers more. I highly, highly recommend if you want something wholesome yet heartbreaking – in a good way!

5. Olive by Emma Gannon

I was addicted to this book. If I hadn’t had to sleep and work I would probably have read it in one sitting. Instead, it took me 2 days but I was glued to it whenever I had a spare minute (my flatmates can attest to this). I think Olive is my favourite fiction book of the year. Yep, you heard that right. I may have been slightly late to the game, but honestly Olive is SO good. 


Olive follows a group of friends as they leave their university shared house and grow through their 20s and 30s, focusing on a period in their early twenties where families and children are taking centre stage. It is told from the point of view of Olive (you may have guessed from the title) and her struggles around not wanting children in a friendship group where that seems the only topic of conversation. All of the characters are s beautifully written and I absolutely loved listening in on Olive’s thoughts. I have so many friends I want to specifically recommend this book to so if you’re my pal IRL don’t be surprised if you get this as a present from me at some point!   


What were your favourite novels of 2021?

If you like my work and have learned something from it, please consider helping support me (so I have more time to write posts and articles like these!) by buying me a virtual cuppa

If you liked this post you might like: 10 Best Non-Fiction Books I Read in 2021

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10 Best Non-Fiction Books I Read in 2021

Friday, 7 January 2022

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2021 for me was definitely the year of incredible non-fiction books. Don’t get me wrong, I read some great fiction too, but it was so so hard trying to decide which titles to include in my top 10 non-fiction this year. I could probably have made a top 20 but who has the time for that. Instead, I thought I’d include my top 10 plus an honourable mentions section – because we all need more incredible books in our lives. All of these are, in my opinion, must reads, just to save me from repeating that over and over again as I discuss each book. 

1. Are Prisons Obsolete? By Angela Davis

I’ve read (and listened to) a fair bit by Angela Davis this year and will be making my way through more of her works in 2022 too I’m sure. 
If you’re unsure on why prisons (or the police for that matter) are a bad things or kind of get why but couldn’t really articulate it to someone else, this book will help you understand it. Are Prisons Obsolete? breaks down a complex and daunting topic and makes it actually okay to understand. That’s what I love about Angela Davis: that although she is an academic, her writing is accessible and understandable, rather than deliberately vague and elitist in language. She looks at who is most affected by the prison system, the origins of the prison industrial complex, what the prison industrial complex is, how it intersects with other justice issues, how it is upheld culturally and economically globally. A game-changing read. 

2. Consumed by Aja Barber 

Consumed is the book I was most excited to get this year. And I was not disappointed. Aja has created an incredible and comprehensive guide to consumption’s climate impact and its colonial roots.
There is so much of value in Consumed, from both Aja and the many experts she brings in to comment on the topics the book covers. Some topics are particularly pertinent and need to be discussed, such as the issue of the words ‘poor’ and ‘rich’ and who constitutes each especially in the Global North. Aja focuses on fashion and clothes consumption here but also expands to look at the macro picture of climate justice and how capitalism and colonialism combine forces to create the climate crisis. This would make such a great present for anyone who wants to learn more about sustainability!

3. We Are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer

Ugh this book gave me a crisis about the climate crisis. I might have read it too quickly and made that panic and anxiety worse by doing so, but it is quite an addictive read (and I literally had nothing else to do as I was on holiday visiting my grandparents and isolating having been pinged at the time. All I did was read books in the sun, it was great). Be prepared to be slightly overwhelmed with lots of climate facts being thrown at you by this book, especially in the middle. It is intense, I won’t lie to you. But it does get sandwiched between deeply personal narratives that show what is really at the heart of climate justice – personal stories and caring. If I met Jonathan Safran Foer in person we might have a debate about effective solutions (he focuses on just one quite a lot in this book and think that one solution is part of a coalition of many strategies), this book is certainly motivating.

4. Make Bosses Pay: Why We Need Unions by Eve Livingston

Part of the ever-incredible Outspoken series but Pluto Press, this book taught me so much about how unions have been attacked and disempowered in the past century and how they are fighting back in a work environment of increasing casualization and gig-work. She also goes into detail on how union issues intersecting with all other liberation/justice movements that are so urgent right now. Gender, racial, migrant and climate justice are all workers’ issues and workers’ justice is a gender, racial, migrant, and climate issue. They cannot be separated and is one fight - all injustices are so deeply linked.  
It left me feeling so fired up and energised in the fight for workers’ rights, as well as better equipped to take a stand against that disempowerment through understanding of its history. 

5. We Need to Talk About Money by Otegha Uwagba

This book is a fascinating unpicking of our society’s relationship with money and how that intertwines with other justice issues such as patriarchy and white supremacy. Part memoir, part essay collection, Otegha reflects on her experiences of money growing up attending private school and Oxford as a young Black woman living in a council house, as well as looking back on her early experiences in the workplace before her self-employment. We Need to Talk About Money includes insightful commentary on the Girlboss (and its roots in upper/middle class white supremacy), the commodification of feminism, how we internalise capitalism, and the beauty tax. 

6. Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

This collection of essays is an iconic, if not legendary, work of Black feminist writing. There is so much in there, it is so rich, and so amazingly written. It’s also not a book that can really be read quickly. It’s one that needs to be savoured and taken slowly, read in chunks to be processed properly. I read it for a feminist book club I ran last academic year and I know it’s one I’m going to go over again and again. I learned so much from Audre Lorde in these essays and will continue to learn whatever I can from her I am sure. There’s so much to say about Lorde’s works, there’s no way I can cover everything in a short paragraph. Favourite essays of mine include Poetry is Not a Luxury, The Transformation of Silence Into Language and Action and The Master’s Tools Will Never Dismantle the Master’s House. 

7. Loved Clothes Last by Orsola de Castro

This book should be read in combination with Consumed. They genuinely make such a great pairing and feed into each other so well. While some things in this book weren’t new to me (they might be to you!), I did learn a lot about specific fabrics and production practices that was really valuable to my understanding of sustainability in fashion, as well as learning about new DIYs and upcycling ideas to week out the lives of garments we love! It’s full of so much love, hope, and joy for clothes and for the fashion industry, whilst equipping the reader with tools for change.

8. Those Who Can, Teach by Andria Zafirakou

This is potentially my favourite book of the year. I know, that’s a lot to say about a book, but wow it really deserves more hype (I genuinely haven’t seen it talked about outside of one podcast episode where I first heard about it). A combination of memoir, exposé, lesson in teaching, and political manifesto, Zafirakou looks back over her teaching career from her first days leading a classroom to the day she won the Global Teacher of the Year Award, and what her life has been like since. As someone who is also a teacher outside of the formal education system, I found myself relating to many things she was saying as well as learning a whole lot. I finished this book in a day and it left me with so much hope.

9. What White People Can Do Next by Emma Dabiri

This book is one of the most insightful and impactful books I have ever read. I made so many notes and had to take many breaks just to let some of the things I read in it sink in. I also know it is a book I will be re-reading for a very long time to come.
Emma Dabiri goes through the construction of race and whiteness and how capitalism is at the core of racialization and white supremacy. She explains everything in such a comprehensive and concise way, and so many paragraphs and sentences are so impactful I had to keep putting my book down to just think about them for a little bit before continuing reading. Emma also reflects on anti-racist activism in its forms today, especially looking at how it is entwined with capitalism, individualism, and performativity, and how we need to move beyond that to achieve coalition. A must read (especially if you posted a square on Black Out Tuesday and haven’t done much since).

10. A Curious History of Sex by Kate Lister

People who know me in real life know I get really nerdy about sex education and sex history, and just generally facts about sex. It’s so fascinating, and there’s so much that we just aren’t taught in mainstream education. Kate Lister brings us through so many aspects of sex history, from vulvas, penises, sex toys, bicycles, and the creation of Viagra…there are so many fun facts! It’s also one of the funniest books I’ve read this year – Kate’s writing is a joy to read. 
There are also so many amazing images which make readng this book in public all the more fun as passersby will likely get ambushed with a close-up image of a Victorian vulva. 

Honourable Mentions

I Wish I Knew This Earlier by Toni Tone
Stitched Up: The Anti-Capitalist Book of Fashion by Tansy Hoskins
I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Shraya

Freedom is a Constant Struggle by Angela Davis

If you like my work and have learned something from it, please consider helping support me (so I have more time to write posts and articles like these!) by buying me a virtual cuppa

If you liked this post you might like: 25 Ways to Take Climate Action After the IPCC Report

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December 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday, 29 December 2021

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December, you have been stressful. 

Favourite part?

I started off the month well by taking part in Remake’s last Community Call of the year, as one of many ambassdors sharing our experiences campaigning for a fairer fashion industry this year. Later that week I attended Remake’s press conference launching their 2021 Accountability Report to the world! It was my first ever press conference and I learned a lot listening to Becca Coughlan, Ayesha Barenblat, and Elizabeth Cline discuss the report and what went into making it. The findings of the report will be featured I many of the articles I write for Remake in the future! 


December was also a time to celebrate friends’ birthdays, with karaoke and a British Icons themed party back to back. 


I was also part of another Green New Deal Rising challenge team this month. This time we went to speak to Tim Farron in Newcastle. Our conversation was encouraging, with Tim saying he was 90 per cent sure he would support the GND bill, however we are yet to hear confirmation of his support.


I continued the Green New Deal theme with a talk on the topic with Newcastle Feminist Society. I really enjoyed giving the talk and discussing climate justice issues with the group of attendees – I’m so looking forward to running more climate events next year! 


In the middle of doing lots of life admin and work for my uni deadlines, I managed to get my booster vaccine. Despite much stress and hand sanitiser, I ended up testing positive for Covid on Christmas morning (great timing, I know). So I’ve been masked up ever since Christmas, staying 2 metres away from my family wherever possible, with all windows and doors open and lots more hand sanitiser. Just your average Christmas!

Best read?

After being recommended it by friends, I read I’m Afraid of Men by Vivek Sharma which is incredible. Vivek discusses her relationship with men throughout her life, both romantically and elsewhere in her life, particularly in men’s behaviour to her as a brown trans woman. It is brilliant and I highly recommend reading this book with a friend to discuss (or have it as part of a book club!) – it’s one that needs discussion afterwards I think. 


I then finished reading The Novel and the Police by D. A. Miller for my degree. I have lots of thoughts although I’m not sure if this is the right place for them, I also need to figure them out a bit more before I write on them. 


I read Angela Davis’ Freedom is a Constant Struggle, which is a short but impactful read. It’s a collection of essays, interviews and speeches by Angela Davis on the interlinking topics of Palestine, Ferguson, prison abolition, feminism, and more. She explains things so concisely and accessibly it is a joy to read Davis’ writing. I can’t wait to read more of her work. 


I then read Olive by Emma Gannon, which I absolutely adored. Check out my upcoming Best Fiction Books of 2021 post for more of my thoughts on this book. But yes, I could go on about it for days. Read it.  


I’m currently in the middle of reading Aurora Floyd by Mary Elizabeth Braddon and How to be an Anti-Capitalist in the Twenty-First Century by Erik Olin Wright

Favourite listen?

I’ve not been listening to many podcasts in December which is slightly odd for me I think. Instead, I’ve had about three albums on repeat. Those albums have been Between Us by Little Mix, Red (Taylor’s Version) by Taylor Swift, and 30 by Adele. My gals have had me covered! 

Favourite watch?

I finished watching New Girl, and ten got fully into the swing of crappy Christmas romcoms. I’ve practically watched every one available on Netflix. I watched Dash and Lily, The Holidate, Last Christmas, The Castle at Christmas, The Princess Switch films, The Christmas Prince films, Noelle, among others I’m sure. 


I also watched the BBC 3 dating and dancing show I Like the Way You Move. I got through the series really quickly and I’m looking forward to the net series! 


Outside of the Christmas film extravaganza, I also watched Ophelia, a retelling of Hamlet from the point of view of the character the film is named after. I knew the story of Hamlet before but had never actually seen it before, and now after watching this film I want to see a staging of Hamlet. It was a nice chill watch when I was quite tired and needed some characters to get attached to. 


Obviously on Christmas Day and the days surrounding, I watched all the Christmas specials under the sun. That’s what this time of year is for!


I also rewatched the final season of my old favourite, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The point in the show is so comforting and I absolutely adore. 


The day before this is pubished, I finished watching A Very British Scandal, which I thought was very well put together and certainly as a lot to say on the prevalence of the sexual double standard and the stigma around female pleasure.  

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What did I learn?

Oof, I’m not sure. Some coincidences in life are actually hilarious. I need to make my schedule more sustainable so I don’t burn out. The usual I guess?

What’s happening next month?

First of all, I’ll be coming out of isolation and trying to make sure I rest after Covid. I’ve also got two university deadlines in January and the beginning of February so those and resting are my priorities. And to be honest, apart from those I’m not sure exactly what else will be happening. I should be celebrating a few friends’ birthdays as well as my friends’ engagement, but we’re awaiting news of potential restrictions in January. The suspense of restrictions leaves what work I’ll be doing and events I’ll be going to in the New Year hanging in the balance, as with everyone else in England. 


What’s been on my mind?

Trying to find time for rest and sleep, getting everything done I need to before I went to visit my family for Christmas, and Covid stress. A lot of Covid stress. 


Favourite post?

10 Organisations to Donate to This Holiday Season! I loved highlighting some organisations whose work I am so in awe of and believe in. Please consider donating to them outside of the holiday period, regular donations and all year round donations help so much.


Biggest inspiration?

Putting together an Instagram reel of 2021 highlights was actually really (or should I say reel-y?) comforting to me. It’s so easy to be so pessimistic when looking back on the past couple of years and think every second has been shitty, and don’t get me wrong there has been plenty of shittiness, but there has also been a heck of a lot of good bits in there too, and a lot of hope.  


Any other favourites?


Do leftover roast potatoes count? 

If you like my work and have learned something from it, please consider helping support me (so I have more time to write posts and articles like these!) by buying me a virtual cuppa

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

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10 Organisations to Donate To This Holiday Season

Friday, 17 December 2021

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Christmas is just around the corner (literally next week) and gift guides have flooded blogs everywhere. It is also the time of year consumption and waste get thrown into overdrive, which we know isn’t great for ourselves or for the planet. There is so much pressure to buy loads of things for people that they most likely to do not need and might not actually want or use, so a donation is a plastic-free, waste-free gift that will likely mean a lot. I love receiving donations as presents, they’re so special especially if they’re for a cause you’re particularly passionate about. I’ve picked a range but many of the charities and organisations I’ve featured here do focus on refugee solidarity, which seems fitting as the Christmas story is one of a child refugee after all.

1. Give Your Best

As the first online catalogue of donated clothing where refugee and asylum seeking women can shop for free, Give Your Best combine slow fashion with refugee solidarity. Rather than just being handed whatever clothing is available, Give Your Best gives displaced women back their agency when it comes to clothing choices, as many people will flee their homes with only the clothes on their back. They also focus on items such as maternity clothes which may not have been needed when people initially fled their homes. So far over 500 women have shopped with Give Your Best, an incredible number that will likely on further grow. You can donate your clothes to Give Your Best, but also some of their newly made t-shirts and fundraiser prints would also make great Christmas gifts! If you want to learn more about how Give Your Best runs, check out this guide

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2. Bloody Good Period

Bloody Good Period are a London based organisation which aims to support refugees and asylum-seekers facing period poverty. They distribute menstrual products for free in London and to organisations support menstruating refugees and asylum seekers all over the UK. But this is only part of their work. Bloody Good Period also seek to tackle menstrual and sexual health stigma so that conversations around periods are normalised, to be a part of making change when it comes to the treatment of people who menstruate, and to make education on sexual and reproductive health more accessible.
BGP have run several amazing campaigns over the years, including Blood Good Employers which seeks to change the way workplaces are run so that people who menstruate are not at a disadvantage to people who do not. They also run the campaign Decolonising Menstruation in collaboration with Decolonising Contraception, which you can learn more about here.

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3. Remake

If you’ve seen me anywhere online before, you will have most likely heard about Remake. I have a lot of love for Remake as an ambassador and as a writer for them. Remake do a lot of amazing work, including being at the forefront of the Pay Up Fashion campaign which began at the beginning of the pandemic after brands refused to pay for ready-made orders, pushing for the passing of the Garment Worker Protection Act in California, and putting pressure on brands to renew the Bangladesh Accord into the International Accord and ensuring garment workers globally have a base-level of health and safety at work. 
Remake are currently on a fundraising drive with a campaign called #GiveYourValues, which is a modification of their phrase Wear Your Values, which relates to having a slow mindset relating to fashion. They are aiming to raise $100,000 by New Year’s Eve, which, if achieved will be matched with an additional $100,000 by the Martini Education Trust. This is an incredible opportunity or Remake to kickstart their 2022 and giving the campaigns and advocacy work next year and extra boost.
This money will go towards working with garment worker unions, communicating with and putting pressure on brands, running campaigns, paying writers (like me!), raising awareness of the labour and environmental crisis within the fashion industry, and pushing for justice to finally be achieved from the fallout of the pandemic on garment workers. It’s safe to say it will go a long way. 

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4. Calais Appeal

This year, Choose Love are withdrawing funding from most organisations they previously supported working in and around Calais to support asylum seekers (except 2 organisations supporting unaccompanied children) for reasons that aren’t particularly clear. This will have a devastating blow to so many people. Normally I would suggest donating to Choose Love as they make it so easy and support such a wide range of services and support networks for asylum seekers and refugees all over the world. However, this year your donation will likely have more impact going towards those smaller organisations, groups and services directly. 
Calais Appeal fundraise to support 7 grassroots organisations working in Calais to support forcibly displaced people. They also shares expertise, resources and collaborate to provide emergency materials for people stuck at the border. Members organisations include Calais Food Collective, Collective Aid, Human Rights Observers, Woodyard, Refugee Women’s Center, Refugee Info Bus and Project Play. With Choose Love withdrawing funding, Calais Appeal is vital to keeping these projects going. No donation is too big or too small to create and maintain cross-border solidarity. 

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5. Green New Deal Rising

Green New Deal Rising are a grassroots movement of 16-35 year olds working to implement a Green New Deal in the UK. In the past few weeks they have run a fundraising campaign to get 200 people to donate an hour’s wage to the movement every month, providing a solid base to enhance the work they’re doing and ensure a Green New Deal is at the forefront of the political agenda in 2022 and beyond. That target was smashed over a week before Christmas and a new goal of 300 regular donors has been made. 
Despite only being in existence for 4 months, Green New Deal Rising has achieved so much and got the Green New Deal onto the political agenda with a bang. You might have seen some of their viral videos on social media challenging politicians over their climate actions. These have included talking to Rishi Sunak (two times), Keir Starmer (also two times), and Nicola Sturgeon among many, many more. Next year, Green New Deal Rising are hoping to up their game and deliver bigger and more noticeable actions which will only be able to happen if they have the necessary funding. This funding is so vital to getting more and more young people involved – it allows for travel, resources, and even accommodation for certain actions to be paid for, making participation so much more accessible.   


6. Black Minds Matter

Black Minds Matter connect Black individuals and families with free mental health services by pairing them up with Black therapists. This is so important for so many reasons and there are people out there much better equipped than me to explain why individuals need therapists from similar backgrounds to them. They also have a load of free mental health resources, run various different events, and by the looks of it, Black Minds Matter have loads more planned for 2022, so help make that happen!
As well as donating directly you can also buy Black Minds Matter merch which are created in collaboration with Black artists and all of the profits go towards covering the cost of therapy sessions. 

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7. Mermaids

Running since 1995, Mermaids do vital work supporting trans children and their families. Donations maintain helpline services, advocacy for trans rights, fund residential weekends, and to create safe spaces for young people to be around others with the same experiences as them. Mermaids have educational resources for parents of trans children on how to best support their child, resources for trans children to learn more and answer any questions they might have. The statistics around trans physical and mental health are shocking, and it is so important to have organisations like Mermaids exist in order to create those support networks and communities and improve awareness among teachers, parents, healthcare professonals and other support services. 
Mermaids have faced a lot of ridicule in the press in recent years from high-profile transphobes, so extra support will be so so needed and appreciated. 

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8. North East Solidarity and Teaching (N.E.S.T)

Run by students and graduates, N.E.S.T aims to support, empower, and educate refugees and asylum seekers in the North East of England (and as a result of the pandemic, further across the UK and Europe). 
This winter, N.E.S.T are running an appeal for funds to help buy toys for the children who use their services as well as care packs containing items such as underwear, shoes, and toiletries for the whole families. While the initial target has been met, N.E.S.T aways needs more funds and the money will go towards supporting one of the many different projects it encompasses. These include Circus Club for kids, homework support, nursery for toddlers and babies, English language lessons, trips around the North East, working with schools, sports sessions, and more specialist social support. The main aspect of N.E.S.T is not the specifics of the projects themselves, but more the sense of community and belonging that it fosters and allows to bloom. It’s a very special project that deserves all the support possible. 

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9. The OR Foundation

The ‘or’ in OR Foundation highlights choice and therefore agency, and the ability for us to escape the current violent socio-economic system of corporate colonialism we now see dominating the world. The OR Foundation work in the intersection of environmental justice, education, and fashion development, and aim to find and create alternative systems that are kinder to people and planet and push back against the colonial present and past of the fashion industry. 
Their aim is to show the path to a Justice-Led Circular Economy and to help us get there quickly through collective and individual actions, holding those in power to account, educational programming and awareness, supporting sustainable independent designers, research and institutional advocacy to get people at all levels mobilized for change. They work in between Ghana and the USA, and have a focus in the Kantamanto Market in Ghana. They have so many different projects and they are all so important – the work The OR Foundation is doing is so exciting and really at the centre of change being created in the fashion industry.

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10. The Black Curriculum

Started in 2019, The Black Curriculum work to decolonize the school curriculum in the UK and ensure that Black history is no longer left out of British history teaching in schools. They provide teaching training, teaching resources, run educational programmes and a whole more. . Their core aims are to provide a sense of belonging to young people across the UK, teach an accessible and educational Black British history curriculum that raises attainment, and to improve social cohesion between young people in the UK. They also run campaigns to mobile young people and get them involved in political actions to decolonize the British curriculum at a national governmental level but also support students to lobby the senior managements in their own schools to create change in how and what they are taught. 

If you like my work and have learned something from it, please consider helping support me (so I have more time to write posts and articles like these!) by buying me a virtual cuppa

If you liked this post you might like: 25 Ways to Take Climate Action After the IPCC Report

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November 2021 | Monthly Wrap Up

Friday, 3 December 2021

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I have been exhausted in November but I have also been pretty happy. I just need to keep forcing myself to physically take breaks and rest.

Favourite part?

I continued my new trend of beginning the month with an action by spending four days in Glasgow at COP26 with Green New Deal Rising. It was an incredible few days that will stick with me forever. We painted banners, took part in two marches, danced a lot, rocked matching outfits, and learned a lot from each other. I left extremely physically exhausted and with a cold but with so much energy in my heart and soul. I have so much motivation for what the future holds with GNDR and the rest of the climate movement and what we can achieve. I cannot wait to see everyone again at actions soon! 

Photo credit: Green New Deal Rising 


I spent a lot of time trying to rest after COP and to be honest I still feel like I’m trying to catch up on rest from then. I read some more, starting rewatching some old faves, and spent a lot of much needed time by myself for a while. 


The in-person sessions of the refugee support and solidarity organisation I’m involved with started back again in November, and it has been so wonderful seeing everyone in-person again. Seeing both the learners and volunteers again after so long has been so comforting and exciting. I didn’t realise how much I’d missed them until we were back. 


I’ve been spending more time working in coffee shops and cafes as well as actually in uni. I’ve been loving the Black Forest hot chocolates and peppermint tea as well as the occasion snack if I’m feeling fancy.


It’s felt quite hard to see my friends lately but I’ve actually managed to see them more than I thought! I’ve been out for cake a few times, tacos and cocktails, as well as lunch with a friend who was up in Newcastle visiting for the weekend! I also went down to Leeds to celebrate my friend’s birthday with an Otley Run. We made it despite Storm Arwen and had a great time dressed up as musical icons.


Right now I’m quite tired again, trying to keep on top of everything as well as taking care of myself. I frankly need more rest, but I’m trying to find time for that wherever possible. 


Best read?


I’ve read quite a lot this month. I feel like I’ve had a bit for a reading slump for the best past few months – basically since uni and work started picking up again after the summer – but I think I’m getting back into my groove now. 


I finished reading Are Prisons Obsolete? By Angela Davis on my train to Glasgow and I can just say it is a wonderful and insightful book that I want everyone to read. 


Another book I want everyone to read! This may be a theme of this month’s book section… Consumed by Aja Barber is an accessible, nuanced, and intersectional analysis of the modern fashion industry – its roots, how it damages most people, how we view consumption and wealth, and how we can take action to tackle the inequalities embedded within the system. If you’re looking to learn more about fast fashion and sustainability, start here and pair it with Loved Clothes Last by Orsola de Castro while you’re at it! 


I then read Make Bosses Pay: Why We Need Unions by Eve Livingston which is fantastic. I couldn’t put this book down and got so involved in what Eve was writing. It is essential reading for anyone who works (i.e., everyone) and particularly young workers. It got me so energized and pumped up about workers’ rights. But hey, what’s new? 

I read The Law and the Lady by Wilkie Collins, which will be the first book I write an essay on as part of my master’s. It features one of the first lady-detectives who is of course determined to clear her husband’s name from the charge of killing his first wife (spoiler, he is apparently innocent but somehow I’m still not convinced). 


I’m currently two-thirds through Behind Closed Doors: Sex Education Transformed by Natalie Fiennes, which is a gold-mine. There is so much information in there, from graphs to stats and fun facts, and my sex-ed/history nerd self has been loving it! 


Favourite listen?


It has probably not escaped your notice that there have been several new releases in November. First up, Red (Taylor’s Version) rocked the world. Red is probably my favourite Taylor Swift album and it was so exciting to hear those songs in a new way, as well as to get obsessed with the songs from the vault from that era. The Very First Night is such a good dance party song. 


30 by Adele also came out and it is glorious. Honestly, glorious. It’s so well written and is just brilliant. But then again what else would we expect from Adele? 


I’ve also been listening to Between Us by Little Mix which also came out in November, especially the new tracks included on the album.


The Good Omens soundtrack has become one of my new albums to listen to while working. It’s also getting me very excited for the new series! 


Favourite watch?

I’ve been watching The Americans but have had a bit of a break to rewatch New Girl for the 15th time. It’s getting a bit sad at this point. 


What did I learn?

So much through my time in Glasgow with GNDR that I don’t feel like I can fully express.


What’s happening next month?

The taught part of my postgrad finishes, so from then it will just be me and my supervisors and me trying my best to have some kind of structure in my life. And I’ll be visiting my family for Christmas (potential lockdowns allowing)! I’m really looking forward to spending time with them as it has been about four months since I last saw them in person. I’m also buzzing to give my cat a massive squeeze! 


I’m also going to be a guest on Remake’s December Community Call – look forward to chatting with any of you who will be attending! 


What’s been on my mind?

Frustration at our government, as always. And just trying to get everything done I guess. Hoping that I’ll be able to get back home for Christmas with any more weather or coronavirus issues.  


Favourite post?

Definitely Where was Fashion at COP26? I put a lot of time and effort into this piece and it was valuable to me to write to go over the fashion events at COP and reassess where we’re now at. 


Biggest inspiration?


Honestly, COP. Not the actual event. The governments and officials there can do one frankly. But the people I met and spent time with there are part of GNDR gave me so much energy. I’ve never really had an experience like it and trying to describe it to people has actually been quite difficult. I came home from Glasgow with so much energy, so much joy and so much motivation. The outcomes of the formal conference may not have been inspiring, but the people all around the city were that and so much more. 


Any other favourites?

I managed to crack a few tricks with my spinning plate this month and I’m not sure I’ve ever been prouder of myself (yes, and that includes when I finished my degree). It feels like I’ve been trying and failing and doing tricks with my plate for so long (several months) and now I can’t stop doing them. I may be slightly obsessed and have found a new procrastination method…  

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