September 2020 | Monthly Wrap Up

Wednesday 30 September 2020

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 September, you have been a joy.

Favourite part?

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


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

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

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

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


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


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


Best read?


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


Favourite listen?

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


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

Favourite watch?


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

Image credit

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


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

Image caption

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


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


What did I learn?


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


What’s happening next month?


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


What’s been on my mind?

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

Favourite blogger/vlogger?


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


Favourite post?


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

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

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


Biggest inspiration?


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

Any other favourites?

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

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

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Sustainable OOTD // Rachel Green Inspired

Wednesday 23 September 2020

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

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

Photos taken by Jude Crook.

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Finding Your Style (and Why It Will Make Your Wardrobe More Sustainable)

Wednesday 16 September 2020

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I have been told several times by several different people that I come across as someone who has a definite style, and I won’t lie, that makes me very happy. I love clothes – they’re such a fun way of expressing yourself and using your creativity. I love wacky patterns, bright bold block colours, dungarees, stripes, turtlenecks, and splashes of red here and there. I have so many items and outfits that include those criteria, and which I can change in various different ways depending on how I’m feeling that day. I also absolutely love fashion from 70s, and to be honest, that’s where a lot of my outfit inspiration comes from. 


Finding what kind of clothes I really love, and my personal style, is something I’ve definitely achieved since stepping away from fast fashion. I now have frankly no idea what the current trends are, and clothes adverts don’t really phase me at all, because I know what I want to wear and what I don’t.  


I also believe that knowing what your style is, is a great way to slow down your buying habits, and to help that your wardrobe become more sustainable and ethical. Knowing what your style is can help make you more resistant to trends, from buying and wearing clothes you actually don’t particularly even like just because that’s what other people are wearing, and can ensure that you’re wearing outfits that make you feel great about yourself.  And if there’s one thing clothes are supposed to do (apart from the obvious keeping you warm and stopping you from being naked in public) it’s got to be making you feel good about yourself! One of the best feelings is putting together an outfit that makes you feel truly like, well, you. 


Having a clear sense of your personal style means that you’re less likely to get rid of the items you have, to proudly repeat outfits more, and to make more definitive and mindful purchases. Like anything, this is a different journey for everyone and of course your sense of style grows and changes as you do, but these are a few tips I’ve found useful and will hopefully be good starting points for you too!


Scroll through apps such as Pinterest and Depop


These apps are great for figuring out what kind of clothes you love, and your style. Once you’ve pushed past the items that are shoved in your face from the get go, you can find a whole array of clothes in different styles, from different decades and create lots of different looks.


I find Depop’s like and save features really useful as a means of seeing if I properly like an item before buying it. I have lots of items I’ve liked, but maybe aren’t quite for me, but still fit the type of clothes I own. To make sure an item is something I actually want to buy, I’ll add it to my saved section, and if I keep thinking of it or going back to it after a certain amount of time (provided it’s not already been bought), I probably do actually want it. 


This feature is also useful, as overtime you will have essentially made a virtual moodboard of your style without having to spend a penny!


As I’m sure you know, Pinterest works in a very similar way, but it does provide you with more options. You can make multiple different boards for different styles, circumstances, decades, etc., and figure out your favourites without the temptation of being able to buy anything. Again, you’ll need to push through the images that it’ll want to show you initially, but that’s why it’s so useful as a search engine! 

Make a list of people from pop culture (fictional or real) who’s style you love

When looking through films, social media, TV series, basically anywhere where you can physically see what someone is wearing, take note of who’s outfits you love. I don’t know about you, but my internal monologue when watching films and TV regularly goes ‘ooh, I love their top/skirt/jumper/whole outfit’. It’s those moments which have also helped me figure out what kind of clothes I love. 


Some of my style icons include Stevie Nicks, Donna Sheridan (from Mamma Mia) and Sally Allbright (from When Harry Met Sally) – two of which I already have OOTD posts inspired by, with the last one planned for October, so keep your eyes peeled! Yes, two of those people are fictional, but do I care? With these three people, I repeatedly think that I love their outfits, or someone I’m watching a film with them in (most likely my mum) will say that they could see me wearing their outfits. As I said in an OOTD post in July, I basically want Donna Sheridan’s entire wardrobe. 


I actually bought one of my most worn items – a bright red turtleneck jumper – because of how much I love a very similar item worn by Sally in the When Harry Met Sally. I kept thinking about it, and kept wanting one similar, so decided it was a purchase worth making. 


Another film I absolutely loved the outfits in was Misbehaviour, the last film I saw in the cinema before lockdown (I cry). It is a great film and I would highly recommend it to anyone besides the outfits, although the outfits were incredible. I particularly loved Keira Knightley’s outfit in the bathroom scene near the end of the film. There’s nothing I could say about that except give it a chef’s kiss. Is it unfeminist for one of my major takeaways from a film about looking beyond women’s physical appearance to be an admiration of their fashion choices? Nahh…


If you’re able to, have wander around your local charity shops

Try things on even if you don’t buy anything, see what catches your eye. So many times I’ve seen something in a charity shop window, and walked straight back to have a look, and either then decided that I didn’t like it as much on closer inspection, or actually gone in and tried it on/bought it. You can find some unique and ‘out there’ items in charity shops, especially if you try a few different areas.


Go Through Your Wardrobe


As I have recommending before in my post, Quitting Fast Fashion: Where to Start post, there are a few questions I always ask myself when reorganizing my wardrobe:


 Have you worn this item in the last year?


Have you worn this item at least 30 times?


Do you see yourself wearing it another 30 times?


Is this item something I don’t wear all the time, but is necessary for certain occasions (more formal, etc.)?


I find these situations super useful when determining what clothes I actually use, like, and, ultimately, want to keep. Another useful tip I’ve seen but not personally tried it to put post-it notes on all your clothes, only removing them once you’ve worn that item, and then looking back at how many post-its are left after a certain amount of time (6 months, 9 months, 1 year, etc.). By knowing what you already own out of the clothes you already own, you can use that as a means of moving forward and (even though I hate the phrase) leaning into that aesthetic. 


Be more mindful when buying clothes in the future

As I seem to say quite often, don’t just buy things for the sake of it, or just as a one off. Make sure you absolutely love an item before you buy it (obvious exceptions include staples such as vest stops, plain shirts, etc.). As your fashion consumption slows down, your wardrobe will better reflect your true style, as it should be items you regularly wear and love! (I know it’s not necessarily always that simple or straightforward, but as I said at the beginning, it’s a starting point). 


I hope this has helped in some way! What tips do you have for finding your style?

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8 Great Books I Read in Lockdown

Wednesday 9 September 2020

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The one good thing that has come out of lockdown (for me at least) has been having the time to read books for fun, rather than only because I have to for my uni course. I’ve been able to branch out and find something new, read books that had been on my to-be-read list for a while (some for YEARS), as well as catching up on library books which were due back (although thank god they didn’t charge until mid-August for late returns). If you’ve read my Monthly Wrap Ups this year, it’s likely that you will have seen these books mentioned, although I may not have gone into that much detail, so this is my opportunity to talk about them more. These are the ones I’ve enjoyed the most, or got the most from. They’re not in any particular order, because doing so would take AGES and even then I probably couldn’t think of an order I’d be happy with. I hope you read at least one of these books and love them as much as I do. 

Feminism, Interrupted by Lola Olufemi

I honestly wish I could put a copy of this book into the hands of every person in the world. If you want a good introduction to intersectional feminism, this book is by far the best I’ve read. It’s a great starting point, introducing you to a variety of key issues, from reproductive justice to the prison abolition to the links between feminism and food. These issues are explained clearly and concisely, without simplifying any of the issues or being patronizing. Olufemi points her readers to the other places to learn more about these issues, both in the main text itself, but also in a great resource section at the back of the book.

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes

I heard great things about this book, and was not disappointed when I finally got around to reading it. I loved the wide variety of women’s stories we hear in this book. I already knew a little bit about some of the characters in this book, but I particularly loved reading the stories about the women I’d not heard of before. Some of my favourites were Creusa, Penthesilea, and Briseis and Chryseis. 

Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

I read this book earlier on in the summer, when I still had a few uni essays to write, and this book was a great way of keeping me grounded and forgetting work when I needed to. I completely got sucked into the world of these characters, and the way they tortured each other psychologically. I got through it super quickly, and simply couldn’t put it down. This novel is structured with a series of interviews with people in the fictional band ‘Six’ and those around them, looking back retrospectively many years after the band have split up. It’s personal, complicated, bitter and heartfelt. If you love the drama behind the scenes of bands like Fleetwood Mac and ABBA (and so many more), you’ll love reading about Daisy Jones & Six. 


Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

This book made my heart ache – but in a good way. It covers so many issues in such a good way. It covers the year in the life of protagonist Queenie, which begins with a breakup and a secret miscarriage (this isn’t a spoiler alert as it’s literally on the first few pages), and follows how she copes with these issues and how they spark the decline in her mental health. All the characters are complex, and felt real. It felt like a reassuring hug, a friend pulling up the blinds when you otherwise might have stayed in bed in the dark the whole day. I would urge everyone to read it. 


Black Klansman by Ron Stallworth

I ordered my copy of this book when I was halfway through the film adaptation (which I LOVED by the way!). When doing my usual research of films, TV series, etc. that I’m watching (I have a desperate need to know more, and sometimes that does put me in the habit of stumbling across spoilers accidentally), and was astounded to find that the film was based on a true story. I had to know more. I’ve not finished this yet, but I’m slowly working my way through and it is certainly fascinating.

Dark Days by James Baldwin

One of Penguin’s Mini Modern Classics, this is a collection of three essays by the incredible James Baldwin. They focus on racial and class inequalities in America, looking both at overarching societal struggles and personal experiences of Baldwin. Ever since reading Giovanni’s Room, I have absolutely loved James Baldwin’s writing style, and I am going to try and read more of his work (although that may have to wait until after I’ve graduated).  

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid

I heard Mohsin Hamid speak at my university nearly 2 years ago about his book Exit West, and since then I’ve been meaning to read his most famous book, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and when I finally did, I really enjoyed it. The writing style is gripping, and so easy to read. I think I got through it in a couple of days. I loved the character development, and the way it portrays the rise in Islamophobia in America post-9/11. I don’t quite have the words to express it, but I absolutely loved this book and the impacts it had. 


Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

I absolutely adore the TV series adaptation of this (I’ve seen it at least four times now), and I got the book not long after my first viewing. Having both read the book and seen the adaptation, I genuinely think the TV series is one of the best book to screen adaptations tht exists, not only in the actual content of the novel, but most importantly in its essence. These characters are brilliant, the narration is hilarious and its honestly so clever. I laughed so much at this book, and I would highly recommend it if you want something light-hearted but still complex.

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5 Online Secondhand Clothes Shops You Need to Follow

Friday 4 September 2020

Buying clothes that are ethical and sustainable can be kind of hard, especially with many charity shops not running at full capacity at the moment. Internet shopping, and platforms such as Depop, do a lot to make ethical clothes more accessible to everyone. It doesn’t matter if you don’t live near a charity shop or vintage store, or don’t have the time to have a proper browse through one in person.  I love looking through secondhand clothes online, primarily through platforms such as Instagram and Depop, and I love discovering new online shops. So I thought I’d spread the love and share some of my favourite online secondhand shops! All of these sellers are on the platforms mentioned above, and some also have their own separate websites and sell on ASOS Marketplace. 

1. Seasons of Ella

I bought one of my favourite dresses from Ella-Louise (as seen in my Stevie Nicks inspired OOTD post), and her Instagram is one of my favourite accounts. She sells everything from dungarees, snazzy tops, . She regularly features outfits inspired by her favourite fictional characters (from Disney, Harry Potter, etc.), paintings (including Van Gogh’s Starry Night) and different decades, as well as showing multiple different ways to style one item.

2. Sooki Sooki Vintage

I genuinely don’t understand how Sooki Sooki Vintage doesn’t have more followers. They stock clothes from 70s to 90s, with a heavy emphasis on 70s and 70s inspired. Lapoze shares images from 70s, with images that inspire her, as well as the clothes she sells in her shop. Lapoze’s own style really shines through on both her Instagram and her shop. In May she started doing her first IGTVs and I love watching them. She has such an easy camera presence and I can’t wait to see what she does next!  

3. The Hippie Shake

Some of you may know that I am an absolute sucker for a bold pattern, and that’s why I am slightly obsessed with The Hippie Shake. On their Instagram, they share a mixture of photos from both the eras the clothes they sell were made as well as in the modern day. They also have some items they make themselves, with their patterns in maxi dresses, jumpsuits, crop tops and skirts! They do sales on Instagram every Sunday inspired by various fashion icons from the past few decades, including Cher and my queen Stevie Nicks. 

Their items are more expensive than some of the other mentioned on this list, so they may need saving up for, but I still love looking at their grid for outfit inspiration! 

4. Selena’s Shop

Selena sells vintage clothes primarily from 70s-90s as well as some homeware. Her shop includes lots of dresses of different styles, eras and colours, as well some tops, trousers, skirts, and even some shoes and swimwear. I do have to say that my favourite part about Selena’s Shop is the dresses she sells. They’re so varied, with different cuts, styles, eras, colours, patterns – and as I said above, I am here for all the patterns – and are always super bold. Plus, her dog Otis sometimes crashes pictures. Great clothes and dogs? Name a more iconic duo. 

5. Rebekah Peters

I love Rebekah’s outfits. Bright pattern shirts, stripes and a whole of red? What more could you want?! Rebekah makes everything look good, and frankly, I’m slightly in awe of how she does her hair and makeup. But it’s not her hair and makeup we’re here to talk about! Many of the outfits she puts together with her pieces are simple, yet so gorgeous, and she shows how some items can be used in different ways to adapt outfits. Expect to see lots of spots, stripes, monochrome, and as I’ve already said, red! I got one of my favourite pairs of shoes from her shop (my bright patterned boots) - I absolutely adore them and feel like they really express who I am, as well as acting as an easy way to jazz up any outfit. 

She even now has her own line of co-ords called byREBEKAHPETERS, each with different patterns and styles, and I would love to buy one when one in the right style and pattern for me comes out (and I'm able to afford it). 

If you want to check out even more secondhand clothing sellers, I have a longer list on my Fast Fashion 101 resource document, which you can access here. Have I completel left someone out who you think is amazing? Comment their shop and link below and I’ll add them to the resource doc!

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