My eco-friendly resolutions for 2016

Being environmentally friendly has been a lowkey obsession in the back of my brain since I was a child and first heard about global warming. As a young kid with anxiety, the thought of destroying the earth really fuelled me with fear and guilt. I was very scared for everyone in my life and would get really upset whenever anyone in my family did ‘non’ environmentally friendly things like chucking away paper.

I always related heavily to that one episode of My Name is Earl where Earl tries to help a guy he wronged in the past, to find out this guy helps out at an Environment commune. He is educated on global warming then goes into a frenzy of trying to convince everyone to help the earth, he then hears news about pollution in China and feels like that he is doing nothing good. The leader of the commune then teaches him to spend 5 minutes a day helping save the planet. Everyone has to do their little bit. This has always stuck with me and I firmly believe everyone has a small responsibility to help the earth even in the smallest way they can. Whether it’s switching off lights that shouldn’t be on, walking instead of driving, taking public transport, gardening and planting more, donating to animal/environmental conservation – even if it’s £1 a month, anything is better than nothing!

It still saddens me to hear that global warming is taking it’s toll on the earth, especially lately when a lot of land near me was distraught from floods caused by ‘Storm Desmond’. I want to see change as I grow older and I want my children to grow up knowing they need to look after the planet they are on as there is only one earth.

I’ve not made many resolutions for the new year however I’ve decided, it’s time I make a couple! I’m going to try and stick to some environmental resolutions this year and here is what I’m going to do!

  1. Walk more – I have a bad habit of pestering my parents for lifts when I can’t be bothered. Which is really lazy and cheeky of me really, however this year I am trying to convince myself to walk more. Not only is it healthy for me, it also saves any emissions from car or taxi rides.
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  2. Cut out even more dairy/meat productsAgriculture is responsible for 80% of US water consumption and 18% of greenhouse gas emissions. The news never tells us that does it? Even scarier – livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land. Imagine how many forests, conservation or even homes could be in those places instead of mass breeding of livestock and food for said livestock. In 2015 I have slowly transitioned into a vegetarian lifestyle and in 2016 I am going to continue making sure I do not contribute to the meat industry footprint, I am going as far to even try and teach myself more vegan recipes so I can use even less animal product.
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  3. Save that greywater – It’s recently clocked to me how much water we just let go down the drain during showers/morning washes/baths and let the water turn into soiled, sewer water. However you can reuse this ‘grey water’ in some ways. Using buckets or tubs or whatever you can to catch shower water or scoop up bath water after use, you can then reuse it to do many things, for example ‘bucket’ flush the toilet (some toilets can use up to 5 gallons of water each flush), water non-edible plants outside (it has been recommended to pour this water on the soil surrounding plants) or even possibly handwash small items! As long as the water doesn’t go down the plug it’s perfectly ok to reuse it! 
  4. Open the damn blinds or get up earlier– This one could be seen as nit picky, but when I am in my bedroom I tend to have the main light turned on majority of the day. Which now I look at it, I could save a lot of energy from making some changes. If I woke up early and did anything I needed to do in my room in the daylight with the blinds open and then spent any evening time downstairs sharing the living room light with my family. I’d save so much!
  5. Shampoo Bars over Bottles – LUSH do a lovely range of ‘shampoo’ and ‘conditioner’ bars which are solid blocks of organic product you can just massage into your hair and they will instantly lather up. I’m almost finishing a small bar of Lush Seanik and it is very lovely and now to save the waste of plastic bottles I am considering getting another shampoo bar when this one is completely and utterly dissolved. This idea should work well alongside my previous idea of saving greywater.
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  6. Reusable Sanitary Pads – I have mentioned these in a previous post and here I am bringing up this unspeakable idea again. Reusable cloth sanitary pads are really useful for both you and the environment. Apparently in North America it is estimated 20 billion pads and tampons are discarded each year. Using, washing and keeping care of reusable pads is a completely other topic I am not going to go in to, but I have used them before and I have had positive experiences with these so this year I am going to try and keep on using them!
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So yeah those are my 2016 resolutions to reduce my global warming footprint! Are you guys doing anything to help the planet this year? Feel free to comment and follow me on Instagram for any updates in my planet loving life!

 

Thanks for reading,

Helena x x

Tea Hoarding

The most common stereotype about Britain is that we absolutely love tea. Celebrating something? Have a cuppa. Long day at work? Get snug with a brew. Just another lazy Sunday? Put the kettle on.

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It’s not really a lie, in my 19 years of life I don’t think I’ve ever seen the kitchen cupboard without tea bags. I’ve been raised as a tea lover since young. I remember when I was tiny I used to love drinking the cold little drop of sugary tea left at the bottom of my mum’s mug when she had finished the tea. Since then I’ve always had cups of tea when I get up in the morning and when relaxing in the evening.

Since I started getting my own money, I believe I’ve developed a slight habit of tea hoarding. Green teas, ginger teas, peppermint teas, white teas, black teas – even chocolate orange tea. There’s a shelf in the kitchen dedicated solely to my so-called ‘fancy teas’. Having a sweet cup of herbal tea is one of my favourite self-care routines. Most of my teas I don’t have extra sugar or milk in so they’re very guilt-free but still contribute towards my sweet tooth. Coming home from college or work, sticking the kettle on and having the air fill with the aromatic, fragrant scents are just lovely and then the warm tea is like a cuddle for your tummy. It’s bliss.

There’s many great benefits to drinking tea, obviously remember to drink tea in moderation (especially if you add dairy or extra sugars) and let the tea cool to prevent burning your throat.

  • Antioxidants in Green tea increase the body’s ability to burn fat as exercise fuel.
  • Antioxidants in tea may help protect against cancers such as skin, colon, lung, oral, prostate etc.
  • Tea helps fight free radicals.
  • Green tea may possibly improve bone mineral density.
  • Compounds in tea can help to lower levels of inflammation/inflammatory reactions.

As well as ensuring moderation if you add sugar/dairy to your drinks, it is also a good idea to invest in organic brands of tea, as bleaching is sometimes used on tea bags and obviously less chemicals the better! The following brands are apparently rated for being ‘organic’ brands – Pukka Tea, Qi Teas, Clipper Teas, Dragonfly Teas and Heath and Heather Teas! Obviously if you own a tea strainer and like to use loose leaves, these are a lot more organic and chemical-free too!

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My top favourite 5 teas at the moment are:

  • Dragonfly Tea Organic Moroccan Mint Green Tea
  • Higher Living Green Chai Tea
  • Cosy Blueberry Tea
  • Pukka Cleanse Fennel, Nettle & Peppermint
  • Twinings Gingerbread Green Tea

Obviously Twinings isn’t a very organic tea brand so I’m hoping to invest in more teas to taste and find a winner to get on the top list. A good excuse for more fancy tea hoarding!


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Thanks for reading,
Lenah x x

my favourite guilt-free products! including vegan choices!

I’ll start this with my usual disclaimer that I am not a vegan. I care very much about animals and reducing animal cruelty however I do consume dairy and recently have applied for jobs where I’d be working with animal produce so I would never take a title as careful as vegan or fully vegetarian because, lately, I feel like I would be lying to people and people who are actually vegetarian and vegan who are true to their ethics deserve a lot of credit because of how much good they are doing for animals and the environment. I do not want to be a liar. I am on my way to trying to become a definite ethical vegetarian, I haven’t eaten meat for 5 months aside two slip ups and I plan to try and learn a lot more recipes and invest in a lot more substitutes for meat. As well as this I definitely want to reduce my dairy intake! When you’re young and living with family, it can be quite hard to stick to a definite diet, especially when you are very much against food waste. Sometimes my parents will make me cups of tea without my oat milk and as much as I hate having dairy milk, I cannot reject and chuck it down the sink because I hate wasting food.

But like I said, I want to reduce my animal cruelty footprint as much as possible, so in the past year I’ve been changing a lot of things I buy for myself and I want to share some today!

First of all is definitely my Oat milk! The brand I buy is called Oatly! and I’ve been having it in my teas, coffees, cereals, porridge etc for months now. I think it tastes so much sweeter than normal milk and I’m definitely a fan of sweetness! I’ve also seen a reduction in spots and acne which is great! You can get a carton from most supermarkets and it is definitely a gorgeous dairy-free substitute to have. I believe they also do ‘cream’ and chocolate ‘milk’ however I have yet to try them!

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Next up is Nakd bars. I have mentioned them in one of my previous blog posts about starting college or university and I still stand by how much I enjoy them. They are healthy gluten-free snack bars made of fruits and nuts that come in a wide variety of flavours! You can find most flavours in a local Holland and Barretts, and supermarkets sometimes do multi-packs also! I used to order a big box on Nakd’s own website as you can get boxes that have one of each flavour so you can discover your favourite. They also do ‘oat’ and ‘crunch’ bars for protein and all of them are vegan! My favourite flavours are definitely Gingerbread, Cherry Bakewell and the Cocoa crunch ones!

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If you know me well, you’ll know how much I adore Lush Cosmetics. If you never know what to get me for my birthday or Christmas, just get me a Lush gift card! Lush are known for their amazing stand against animal cruelty and handmade products. Their website states they do not buy raw materials from any company that tests on animals for any purpose. I think their company is amazing and whenever I am looking for part-time jobs or retail jobs I always consult their website first because I’d love to represent them. Lush do so many products, some of which are vegan! Some of my favourite vegan products from them include their Rub Rub Rub shower scrub, Jumping Juniper shampoo bar (no plastic bottle means environmentally friendly!), Yog Nog bath bomb (I believe this might be Christmas exclusive, so grab it whilst you can!) and Dirty Springwash shower gel. If you’re vegan and a fan of lovely smell stuff I recommend going to a Lush store!

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My final favourite guilt-free product is very different from bathing products and food and is in fact a toothpaste! Currently I am very obsessed with Lush’s toothy tabs but my go-to toothpaste for the past two years has been… (drum roll)
Kingfisher Fluoride-Free Fennel Toothpaste! 
I have read a lot of articles about the dangers of fluoride and how it’s a good idea to reduce your fluoride intake so back last year I decided to invest in some fluoride-free toothpaste! I got the Kingfisher toothpaste from my local Holland and Barrett and have loved it since! I’ve never turned back to my old toothpastes and have stuck with Kingfisher! I’ve noticed a definite decrease in sensitivity in my teeth too! I used to have very sensitive teeth and sometimes even bleeding gums but I have not had that since this toothpaste change! The fennel flavour is very soothing and not too harsh on my mouth and you can also get Kingfisher toothpaste in mint flavours and aloe vera! Just make sure you double-check for the ‘fluoride free’ mark on the front! I have bought the Mint one before and enjoyed it also, but I find it harder to find that flavour so just stick with fennel! I love it so much!
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So yes those are my top guilt-free products! As I continue on my journey of swapping in guilt free products into my life I shall share them because I think we can all help in small baby steps!

Thanks for reading,
Lenah x x

my recommendation of delicious vegetarian options from well-known restaurants

This year I’ve recently decide to commit myself to becoming vegetarian. I have been wanting to do it for the past year but sometimes stumbled off the wagon especially around Christmas. However a month or two back I decided to definitely state myself as one. I told my family and friends that I was one so it wouldn’t seem strange when I asked for meat-free meals etc.

It’s been hard at some points, especially accompanying friends to places like McDonald’s where the chicken nuggets are addictive. However I’ve been really enjoying being vegetarian the past few months. I haven’t craved meat much at all unless I’ve been starving hungry and near it and even then it feels good to take the veggie option and consume extra vegetables. I remember hating vegetables as a kid but now I literally vacuum them up or get second servings of vegetables because of how delicious they are.

However, turning vegetarian is always difficult for people whom have grown up eating meat. Especially if you do not live alone and have control over what is bought in groceries. So I decided to get together a list of well-known restaurants/chains and tell you what my favourite vegetarian options are from each place! So next time you go and feel like taking the meat-free option, you can try these out and see what you think! I’m sure the farm animals will thank you.

DISCLAIMER: All of these options are vegetarian, not vegan. I can not confirm that any of these meals include dairy or other animal produce in their food.

PIZZA HUT

I do not visit Pizza Hut restaurants often but their Classic Veggie pizza is incredible and very filling. It has all the vegetables I love on it including sweetcorn, peppers and mushrooms. The flavour is so delightful and it’s what I always order when I go there. You can also dip into a bucket of fries for the table if you are out with friends or a date as they are also vegetarian.

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TGI FRIDAYS

I adore TGI Fridays. It’s one of my favourite restaurants, mainly for the atmosphere. I love the American diner style of the reds and whites and all the lights on the logo. When I go there I tend to order a Sizzling Veggie Fajita. The waiter brings you all the sizzling vegetables separate from dips and the tortillas so you can make the fajita the way you want and it is so delicious. Unfortunately there is no veggie burger option from TGI Fridays yet, considering how much I would adore the burgers back when I ate meat. I hope one day they bring out one because it’d be great to try. Their sundaes are also delicious and vegetarian. My favourite one is the Cookies & Cream one, as it includes Oreos which are so tasty!

CHIQUITOS

Last year I managed to find probably one of my favourite vegetarian meals from a chain restaurant in Chiquitos. I always rave about how tasty it was whenever people mention the restaurant and I definitely recommend it. This is the Veggie Volcano burger. It includes a veggie bean burger with mayo, five bean chilli, melted cheese and jalapenos. However because I really do not like cheese I tend to order this without the melted cheese, it’s still just as gorgeous!

WAGAMAMA’S

I have to personally thank my lovely boyfriend Will for introducing me to Wagamama’s as I had never gone to it before last year. It’s menu is very unique and there are lots to choose from on there so I was definitely able to find a delicious meat-free option for myself and the portions are so filling and big that even without meat, which is generally the stomach-filler of a main meal, I was unsure if I’d be able to finish meals from there. The Yasai Katsu Curry from Wagamama’s is so full-flavoured. Compared to the traditional Chicken Katsu Curry, the Yasai has sweet potato, aubergine and butternut squash coated in panko breadcrumbs drowned in the aromatic curry sauce. It is so divine and delicious, that I’m actually craving it as I type! You can also get yasai steamed dumplings or wok-fried greens as a side to your meal which are also delicious vegetarian options!

TAMPOPO

Tampopo is very similar to Wagamama’s in atmosphere and cuisine however it was a visit to the Trafford Centre restaurant yesterday that inspired me to write this post! It was my first Tampopo meal and I had the delight of eating the Thai Style Vegetarian Fried Rice. There was so many different flavours in this meal and they all complimented each other. You can order this meal with chicken or prawn however with the vegetarian choice you get chunks of tofu which are just as delicious and go well with the egg, mushrooms, peppers and pineapple mixed in the delicious fried rice.

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SUBWAY

Although not really a ‘well-known’ restaurant. Since going vegetarian, Subway tends to be my go to place for ‘fast food’. When I go to a shopping centre food court where I’m surrounded by McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut Express, Gregg’s etc, I tend to go for Subway because the veggie options there are definitely the tastiest. My subway order may seem very mundane but to me it is very delicious and filling. I tend to have the bread as either hearty italian or honey oat. My filling is either a veggie patty or I like to go for the ‘veggie delite’, which is basically no filling thanks I’m just going to have a lot of veggies. (If you listen closely you can hear meat eaters judging me and moaning in the distance). I always get the bread toasted because it’s just boring without the warm, soft bread. Then for vegetable fillings I go for cucumbers, lettuce, red onions, green peppers, sweetcorn, grated carrot and jalapeno. I sometimes give or take random ingredients but I will always definitely have cucumbers, peppers and jalapeno on. So basically my subway order is a Toasted Hearty Italian/Honey Oat VEGGIE DELITE.  I do not tend to have sauce on it but that is mainly because I have never tried any of them which I should probably change soon. Don’t want to make my veggie subway more aesthetically boring than it already seems. But whatever people say I love it! I do also enjoy a Subway Rainbow Cookie as a treat, as I think they are vegetarian as far as I am aware. If I am wrong, I would love to be corrected, please!

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But yeah, that’s my recommendations for anyone who would like to try a delicious vegetarian option in any of these restaurants! Feel free to comment any other places or chains that do great veggie options! It’s useful for aspiring vegetarians!

Thanks for reading,
Lenah x x