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

Broke Girl Reviews: Cruelty Free Products on my Wishlist November 2015

Has anyone got the new layout for making WordPress posts on the PC browser?  Feels quite strange to use, doesn’t it! Or is that just me?

Good morning/afternoon/evening! Recently in the run up to Christmas I’ve been seeing lovely and alluring products in shops everywhere or on Instagram and Youtube and it makes me envious because unfortunately lately I do not have really any spare money to go out and treat myself to stuff from my favourite stores. So I thought I’d do a broke girl review/wishlist blog post on cruelty free products I have seen lately that I’d really like to get myself when money comes along! As well as talk about products I have used before and really want to stock back up on for people looking for new, cruelty-free products to try!

# 1 – Snow Fairy Shower Gel

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via @lushnewry on Instagram

Ahhhhhh!!! I get so hyped about Lush Cosmetic’s Snow Fairy shower gel every year when it is released. Snow Fairy is a limited edition bright pink shower gel that becomes available in Lush stores every Winter in time for Christmas. The product is a lovely cruelty-free, vegan mix and smells of all delicious candyfloss. For the past two years I have owned big bottles of this product and it definitely lasts me a long time. I only just ran out of my last bottle a month back and really hope to get the money to get another big bottle soon.

# 2 – Premium Chocolatiers Treats

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via @vrevolutionyeah on Instagram

 

I believe these vegan treats originate from the US but recently my favourite Manchester cafe ‘V Revolution’ brought in some of their stock and I got their ‘Peanot Butter No-Nos’ which seemed to be vegan alternatives to Peanut M&M’s! They were very delicious and sweet, considering how my slow transition to more vegan/vegetarian choices of food has been very hard in the sweets/dessert region (A lot of my favourite treats include milk) these were a really good find. I hope soon to be able to go back to V Revolution and maybe pick up some other Premium Chocolatier treats. I really like the look of their Peanot Butter Cups and No Whey! Candy Bars.

# 3 – theBalm Cindy-Lou Manizer Highlight, Shadow & Shimmer

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I discovered the Balm’s cosmetics range mainly on a website called cutECOsmetics. According to the website they are a UK stockist of vegan, cruelty-free and organic products. Lately I’d really like to find a good powder to use as either blush or highlighter and I was drawn in by the Balm’s ‘Cindy-Lou Manizer’ highlighter. According to the website it is talc-free, paraben-free and cruelty-free. The pin-up, almost Benefit-esque art style of the packaging is really appealing and I love how dusk and peachy the colour is.

# 4 – Karma Bubble Bar

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via All Things Lush UK

I absolutely adore the new design of the Lush Karma bubble bar. I really liked it back when it was the orange swirly block but something feels a lot more eye-catching about this luxurious looking little purple pyramid. I absolutely love the dark purple colour on it and the smell is mouth-watering. I can’t help but pick it up and sniff it everytime I’m in a Lush store. Like most Lush products it is 100% cruelty free and it is also vegan! I definitely want to get one of these bubble bars before Christmas as it seems like the perfect scent for a relaxing Christmas eve bubble bath especially with the dreamy lavendin and patchouli oil.

# 5 – Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer

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I have heard a lot of youtubers rave about Urban Decay’s eyeshadow primer. I’m pretty sure almost all of the makeup-focused beauty youtubers and bloggers have or still use this primer for eye makeup and considering I have recently found out that Urban Decay is cruelty free, I really want to jump on the primer bandwagon! I really love putting sleek winged eyeliner and pigmented eyeshadows on my eyes when doing makeup however my eyes are prone to watering a lot or the makeup just sweating off during the day so I think I could benefit greatly from this little tube.

# 6 – Moo-Free Advent Calendar

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A December is not a proper December without an advent calendar for me. This year I was slightly tempted by some other forms of advent calendars that retailers do including the Body Shop’s yearly calendar, however I am not sure if I can quite commit to spending that much on a calendar this year. But recently I found out one of my favourite vegan chocolate companies ‘Moo-Free’ does a vegan advent calendar! The design on it is absolutely adorable and it is cruelty-free which is double the greatness! If I can find a retailer that does these advent calendars I am going to have to plead for my mum to get me one!

 

So yeah those are my top 6 cruelty-free things on my wishlist this month. All my fingers and toes are crossed that soon I’ll be able to get some money and a job and be able to treat myself! If not, people who know me reading this.. Christmas is coming. *wink wink*

 

Thanks for reading!

Lenah 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

5p plastic bag charge getting you down? but think of all the cute re-usable bags…

Over the past two days the new ‘5p bag charge’ has been in law and I’ve seen so much nonsense about it. Personally I don’t see why it’s major news especially cause everyone was expecting it. I am an eco-warrior wannabe myself and have been since I was younger, mainly cause watching some CGI documentary showing the major natural disasters that could happen due to global warming when I was only about 7 or 8 was massively terrifying to me. It’s amazing how my anxiety wasn’t diagnosed until I was a late teenager! Since a young age I’d always be paranoid and anxious for days on possible outcomes and news stories like that.

People will argue plastic bags are biodegradable and break anyways so there’s no use fussing about them – the truth is they don’t actually ‘biodegrade’, they ‘photodegrade’. They will degrade from sunlight into smaller and smaller bits making it easier for them to contaminate soil and water. A lot of sea animals accidentally mistake plastic degrade for food and yearly this causes about 100,000 sea animal deaths. Nearly 90% of our ocean’s rubbish is plastic. So it really is a problem we are responsible for. I’m sure we’d all rather have our oceans look like those beautiful photoshopped photos we tag as ‘goals’ on Pinterest and Instagram than a murky, grey barren with Tescos bags floating adrift through the waters.

Obviously I can see people’s worries when it comes to trying to drag home something that is oversized, that they could not plan ahead in size. Back when I worked part-time in a Stationer’s, I’d always offer people buying printers the massive plastic bags we had, because not everyone’s got a bag for life or a canvas bag that size have they? But I also remember thinking it was stupid and absolutely pointless when people expected me to give them a full size bag for a pen? Really? Do you not have pockets, or your handbag or even just stuffing it in your shoe? Also on the note of retail workers – IT’S NOT THE CASHIER’S FAULT THEY ARE CHARGING YOU. I’m on the search for a part-time retailer job at the moment, and I swear if I get one and get hurled abuse for basically obeying the law I tell you what… I will probably go home and blog about it because I don’t have guts to argue with strangers. But still, in the great words of Wheaton’s law, don’t be a d*ck.

Canvas bags are becoming more and more available in shops and you can get some adorable ones that might encourage you to take them out when you go shopping. It’s always a good idea to get some, fold them up and stuff them in your handbag when you go out. I guess if you’re someone who never goes out with a bag, I can’t really help you aside maybe just take a light backpack out if you have money and might possibly buy something. If you fail to prepare and end up 15p wasted on bags from different shops, well I guess can you really complain?

Here are some adorable bags to solve your ‘5p problem’:

This cute and simple London shopper bag from New Look(£4.99) goes with anything and is easily foldable to store in a handbag!

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For metallic fans this H&M(£9.99) has a gorgeous, autumnal bronze finish – perfect for storing new clothes in when going out to get your new autumn jumpers

Etsy.co.uk has a glorious selection of different bags with different colours and patterns on, some handmade from independent sellers! This beautiful Stag head one is from an Etsy store called KitschAttic(£14). It’s easily foldable but has a generous size perfect for taking on your weekly shop!

A shopper bag for the vegan/veggie fans here! This bag is from ViolentVegan(£4.99) on Etsy and is great to match with your eco-warrior self. Representing animal rights and refusing plastic waste? Mother earth loves you!

Finally if you know you’re a bit of a shopaholic and like to go on shopping sprees where you know you’ll be getting new stuff right, left and centre – maybe this Accesorize multipocket shopper bag(£19) is one for you! A little pricier than the rest but it can hold so much more! Perfect for multi-use and absolutely eye-catching!

Is the 5p plastic bag charge the end of the world for you? Or do you have the strength to go out and look awesome with awesome re-usable bags whilst doing rounds at Morrisons and Aldi?

Thanks for reading,

Lenah x x

peeing in the shower is great

Last night I posted on twitter a tweet concerning doing your liquid business in the shower. Bizarrely enough, my friends responded as if I was absolutely mad which left me quite surprised. How has someone never purposely done a pee in the shower?

It led to me to thinking some of the weird things people do either in habit or with effort that is eco-friendly. ‘Weird’ things I do that I consider quite simple or ‘weird’ things other people do that I’m not sure if I could ever get behind.

  1. Pee in the shower!!
    I will fight for this idea until the end of time. If you are going for a shower and your bladder is ready to go, just save it and go in the shower. Why? Well why not? The liquid all goes down the same plug-hole and will be rinsed quickly if you don’t keep your shower drains clogged. You will save water by not using the toilet flush, you will save waste and money that is spent on toilet paper and you will save time! Now if you plan on doing a number two; please definitely use the actual toilet as that is not a liquid and if it is you should see a doctor.
  2. Coconut Oil instead of Makeup wipes
    If someone said to a younger me to wipe coconut oil over all my makeup and wash it off with water I’d probably grimace and think they’re a bit peculiar. But now the internet really does love coconut oil. I have never gone about trying all of the amazing ‘wonders’ coconut oil apparently has but I can tell you from trying and testing that makeup literally slides off my face with coconut oil! You just rub it onto makeup areas (avoid getting it in your eyes) and rub it off with a damp flannel! Voila! Make sure to splash your face with some warm water when done to prevent oil getting in your pores! Saving waste from wipes!
  3. Toothpaste Tabs
    I am not a dentist so I can’t tell anyone if this is a good way to go with your dental health but one of my favourite companies Lush Cosmetics, known for their eco-friendly, cruelty-free range, have a collection of solid tasting tabs in recyclable, reused cardboard boxes called ‘Toothy Tabs’. With these you basically take one of the tiny tabs crush it with your front teeth and then stick your damp toothbrush in your gob and start brushing! The tab will disintegrate and froth up like normal toothpaste! I have used a box of ‘Dirty Toothy Tabs’ by them before, mainly because of their gorgeous spearmint taste and I am currently using the ‘Sparkle Toothy Tabs’! These are really waste reducing and if you do the traditional idea of not running water whilst brushing – you’re a step closer to being more eco-friendly!
  4. Old clothes or knickers as cloths for cleaning
    Got any old t-shirts, underwear or cotton material that is just messed up and you could never get away with handing it down or giving it to charity? Cut it up and use it as cloths! For wiping down mirrors, polishing furniture, dusting – could save you a couple of quid on buying new ones and you recycle!
  5. Reusable sanitary pads
    Now hear me out, as I can already visualise people going ‘Eww!’ in the distance. Let’s push away the stigma on vagina-owner periods right now. Yes the body randomly decides to expel a huge load of blood from the vagina once a month. Yes this is slightly strange if you have a penis and this doesn’t happen. It’s biology, get over it. Most people are taught how to use a sanitary pad and a tampon. We are not really educated though on how much these disposable products contribute to waste a year though, and the bleach that goes into pads and tampons. Bit gross right? Bleached fabric that we have to stick up our hoo-has?! Maybe reusable sanitary pads are the eco-solution! These ‘pads’ are made out of soft, ‘hoo-ha’ friendly material with no bleaching or chemicals and you essentially wear them like normal pads, you bleed onto them, but instead of chucking them away you wash them(first soak in cold water and then you can chuck it in your washing machine) and you can re-wear them! Personally I’m not using this method right now but people make pads in different thicknesses and sizes and small, light ones are very comfy for those ending days of your period where you’re not really bleeding but don’t want to risk it!
  6. Uhhh… re-usable.. diapers?
    One for the mothers out there. On the topic of re-usable pads, apparently you can get re-usable diapers for your babas! I can see the appeal as sometimes disposable diaper material is bleached much like disposable pads and your baby’s skin is precious, but I’m not sure if I could ever do it. I feel like there is a line between cleaning off my own blood and cleaning off another tiny human’s poo. But that’s just me and I am nowhere near a mother yet! But there is another way to save your tiny baba’s skin and the environment! Plus saves money!

I’m sure there are a lot of other quirky ways to help out our mother Earth but there are a few simple ideas!

Thanks for reading,
Lenah x x