Dealing with the world when you feel too small to do anything: part 2 of ?

A weird thing I sometimes do when it’s late at night and I’m having a case of bad anxiety or even if I can feel a small bubble of nervousness in my tummy is make a cup of herbal tea and a bowl of dry cereal. I’m a weird person in which I’ve never liked milk on cereal (unless it’s a chocolate cereal like Weetos – that’s an exception) so the dry cereal isn’t really out of the ordinary to me except that I’m sat at my computer at midnight or even later nibbling on cheerios and feeling a little bit more jittery than usual. But for some reason a dry, carb-y food like a bowl of cereal calms me a little bit.

I didn’t want these series of posts to come out of writing when I’m anxious but they feel a lot more genuine when I do because not only does writing them calm me down but I honestly feel I can express my points or give my advice better when I can imagine what any other person feeling anxious like me might even slightly feel like. That’s the thing with some anxious moments or days – once they’ve passed the experience can be quite fuzzy in our minds and they don’t feel as severe as they did when you try and explain them later. I always had this problem with explaining anxiety to my counsellor, in my worst anxiety attacks I’d feel so much but then a week later when a counsellor asked me to tell them how I feel I wouldn’t be able to comprehend all the feelings and physical symptoms I felt.

In this post, I don’t want to dwell on what’s gotten me in this anxious mood but I wanted to share some more tips on what to do when you’re like this. Last time I mostly focused on how to bring ourselves out of it. To close the story/tab/media that was making us anxious, to talk our feelings through out loud or to a friend and not feel guilty for removing ourselves from whatever is inducing our anxiety, anger or upset. This time I want to give you some tips on easing that ‘there is nothing I can do’ feeling. The hopelessness feeling. Especially if you are insistent on wanting to do something.

  1. Embrace this feeling and remember this is a positive trait.

I can’t remember when I found this post via Tumblr but it’s a post that has stuck with me for a good while and I think it’s extremely important.

“you all have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in you, that’s why you’re here.”

Now the whole quote from the writer is to do with being in college but I think the trait is very applicable to almost anyone. If you have a little bit of ‘I want to save the world’ in you, it is something you should be extremely proud of. You need to embrace this feeling and remember you are one of the people this world definitely needs. Everybody should have this feeling in them because this world needs more empathy and kindness. In this day and age, social media makes it so easy for the negative, terrifying and apathetic voices to take over and be the mascot for the world. Remember that doesn’t speak for everyone. If you feel like you can’t find any kind people. Be that kind person.

2. Try and find petitions to sign.

This is honestly a thing I do and although I realise maybe it could be pointless or the very bare minimum of contributing to a protest for something, it is a small way of pushing for a step in the right direction. For some petitions, people made them personally wanting to fight for something and to add onto the many signatures they’ve already got I feel like I have contributed even in a small way and it makes me feel like I’ve done something. The petition websites I trust include Change.org and Parliament’s petition website but even if I find a petition I feel is important to sign but don’t feel comfortable signing it’s ok because you shouldn’t increase your anxiety. If you need to make a backup email for petitions then do that or only sign petitions that don’t request postcodes.

3. Spread awareness on your social media

Now the important thing with this tip is not falling for the dodgy, non-reliable articles that may have even caused your anxiety in the first place. If you find a petition for an important cause, share it on Facebook or Twitter to see if your friends sign it too. If there is a vote coming up soon, make sure to share information on how to register to vote and polling station rules on your social media to encourage others to vote. The important thing about this step is that you are spreading awareness to stories or also giving people ideas on what to do to work towards a better future so you are doing something towards it. (On some social media there are add-ons to blacklist certain topics so, on Instagram, Tumblr or Twitter maybe tag any articles you share if you are worried about upsetting any anxiety in your friends!)

4. Look into volunteering or groups you can join to be active

Now, this tip might not be for everyone or even possible for everyone due to everybody having different lives. Some people might not have the spare time or money to volunteer or some people may feel too anxious or uncomfortable to join a group of strangers but if you feel you want to do something active towards a kinder, nicer future – try looking into volunteering or groups! If you are on the political side and want to contribute to a party you believe in there is a lot of opportunities for supporters in the UK to do so, I think it’s also quite easy in Universities where there will be societies like Labour societies or Green party societies. If your anxiety sits somewhere in environmental, maybe google to see if there are litter-picking/beach clean up groups to join. Perhaps if you just, in general, want to contribute to being a better person look into volunteering at an animal sanctuary, charity shops, brownies/scouts groups or at a youth group! Do-It is a great website to try and find volunteering opportunities near you!

Finally, my last point I want to make, much like the last post, is don’t feel stressed with yourself or guilty and take your time. The main lesson here is that we want to relieve your anxiety and move past it because you need to let your body and brain realise it can’t do a million things at once, it can’t save the world and the world does not rest on your shoulders individually. You are just a person. You are only human. Even doing small things one step at a time is doing something and working towards a better future and you shouldn’t push yourself any harder than that and you should listen to your body. When you are feeling drained or overwhelmed remember to take a break and relax. Do not feel guilty.

I hope everyone enjoyed this one and has picked up even one or two tips from it.

Thank you for reading and have a lovely week,

signaturejune18

Reusable coffee mugs and where to get them!

This year a lot of big companies have been attempting to make small changes that prove their ‘care for the environment’ and so that they are being ‘more green’ and the most popular one recently is companies either only giving out plastic straws is asked, charging for plastic straws or outright banning them. However, a lot of the companies who have banned plastic straws have had negative reactions due to the implications this poses for disabled customers. The prime story is how people reacted to Starbucks banning plastic straws in their drinks and replacing them with a new plastic lid. A lot of ‘reusable’ or ‘eco-friendly’ straws don’t work well for disabled people or could pose a safety risk, plus in my opinion and a lot of other people – surely replacing plastic straws with plastic lids creates just as much waste?

A better idea (if we keep our standards low) that Starbucks UK will be rolling out soon is the 5p paper cup charge. Starbucks paper/takeaway cups cause a waste of 4 billion cups every year because the company simply cannot or does not recycle them. The 5p charge works like this – Starbucks will charge 5p on top of your drink price for a disposable cup but if you have your hot drink to stay in (where it’ll be poured into a washable mug) you’ll have no extra charge (+0) BUT if you are having your drink to go and request it in your own reusable mug, they will give you a 25p discount. It’s a good incentive, right?

However, the criticisms here mainly is that Starbucks, as hard as they try, they have caused a big amount of waste and damage to the environment, much like Costa, McDonald’s and any other big corporation food/drink chain. The UK’s biggest coffee chains are Starbucks, Costa and Caffe Nero and they never recycle any of their disposable cups and the problem is people probably don’t realise this – which is clear especially on the amount of empty coffee chain cups people leave carelessly on pavements and in outdoor spaces (Manchester is guilty of this – people even hide them behind store displays out of pure laziness, it is honestly disgusting).

Other criticisms I’ve seen on this idea is that a lot of these coffee shops still create waste even when people bring their own mugs in –  the barista will use a disposable cup to measure out the drink before transferring it which I’ve seen happen before and honestly, it is something people should call out Starbucks, Costa etc out on more.

And another criticism is that the 5p charge is too small to have any impact, however, is this not the same thing that people would say when 5p bag charges came out? It all depends on the person but it has been proven these environmental charges are creating a small difference. (England’s plastic bag usage drops 85% since 5p charge introduced)

Like I said it all depends on the person, but if you are reading this and care even a little bit about the planet that we live on, that the people we love live on and our future family will live on, then maybe you should think about investing in a reusable mug! Luckily I’ve put a quick little list of cute and great online places to get your new reusable mug and start reducing your disposable waste intake!

  1.  Cute and inexpensive – Sass & Belle Travel Mug £8.50

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If you want a cheap but cute mug – you can find a lot of cute travel mugs on ASOS or online! This one from Sass & Belle is compact with a switch on top to close the lid and prevent spillage! Perfect for taking your favourite tea on the go!

2. Fun and BPA Free – ecoffee cup’s 12oz Darwin Mug £10.95

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Ecoffee cup is a brand dedicated to stopping the trend of single-use cups. All of their products are BPA and phthalate free and made with bamboo fibre! They make plenty of different cute patterns and drink sizes all at very reasonable prices!

3. A range of sizes and styles – KeepCup’s Sea Shepard Brew £14.00 

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KeepCup is another glorious brand dedicated to encouraging reusable products and claims their products are unbreakable and up to barista’s standards. The reason I share their Sea Shepard range is that if you purchase one of their reusable Sea Shepard mugs during July, 100% of the profits will go to Sea Shepards, a non-profit marine wildlife conservation organization. However, KeepCup has tons of different aesthetics, sizes and materials on their site if you wanted something else! There’s even adorable Star Wars KeepCups like this R2-D2 one!

4. Pricey but big in size – John Lewis Scion Hedgehog Travel Mug £15.00

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This John Lewis travel mug may be on the pricier side but it makes up for it in the 480ml it can hold and it comes with a very cute design! However, this mug may not be completely leak proof or have a sealable lid so it’s best to keep it upright at all times! Great to take with you to work or college!

KeepCup and ecoffee cup are some of the great, eco-friendly brands that are popping up recently you can also look at Stojo cups for inspiration! But if those aren’t your choice, John Lewis, Debenhams and ASOS do other cute travel mugs and flasks!

Sorry if this blog post is a bit all over the place! But I hope it does inspire you to invest in a reusable cup and cut down on your disposable mug usage!

Thanks for reading,

signaturejune18

Dealing with the world when you feel too small to do anything: part 1 of ?

So it’d be a lie if I said the world isn’t having it’s dark moments lately. Everyone knows what and who I mean. Tyrant leaders, governments falling apart and showing instability, cuts to things that are there to help people live normally, environmental problems, every day there will be a sad news story and at least every month it seems something bad happens.

I decided to start writing this post and maybe possibly turn it into a series of posts, because I know what it’s like to be paralyzed at your computer or phone in fear and scared by the news. The way my anxiety goes about it normally goes like this: I check twitter, I’ll go on the moments and if something dramatic has happened in either the world or politics, I will click on it and read the usual news websites (BBC, Guardian etc.) that come up first. Then I will go onto the tabloids that aren’t known to be trustworthy but in my state of anxiety my brain is believing anything and wants to know every corner of the situation in case it can find something to calm itself down, this goes on and on as people’s comments come in and the situation is drawn out and escalated – people argue, people bring up other things to prove their point, people have conspiracies and different theories and it all vigourously whirls around my brain like a tornado and I normally end up in a state of sitting, physically shaking at my computer, feeling like I’m about to throw up and feeling absolutely helpless and unsafe.

And yet every natural disaster, every terrorist attack, every dodgy thing a world leader does, every joke/meme about the apocalypse, even obvious propaganda – the cycle of anxiety starts. People close to me know about this and the answers I get always dwell to ‘don’t read it/stop reading it/turn your phone off and distract yourself.’. When I’m in my state of anxiety, I’m convinced keeping up to date with not only the story, but every randomers comment on Twitter or response to news articles, is somehow keeping me safe? That whilst my body is in flight or fight mode, that somehow keeping my brain focused on what’s making me panic is preparing my body for any danger. Yes, even over random tweets of politicians arguing about how they feel about Brexit or such. Hell, I’ll admit even the recent satire, comedy Sacha Boran Cohen has released ‘This is America’ (which despite what I’m about to say, I strongly recommend everyone watches it) left me in a spiral because in his show his extremist, pro-gun character he puts on manages to get people in Congress to admit they think arming young children would be a good idea? It’s bloody smart because it’s showing the world the true attitude of these people who are in great power but it left me in a spiral because I felt helpless that there’s nothing I could do to further expose these people or maybe even do anything to push their careers to a deserving downfall? I was scared about how people in the US government think.

But, I know deep down, it is not healthy nor safe to do this to myself. It is also not good for me or anyone around me to just give in and give up. To become a shell of complete pessimism and hopelessness, especially now. And I know there is plenty of people who may not fall into absolute anxiety and panic attack frenzy like I do, but will see news stories and fall back to ‘why care anymore’ attitudes – I can’t explain how sad or cringy it makes me feel when I’ve seen people say they’re not voting because ‘there is no point’, or claim protests ‘don’t do anything’. I remember once I called out an old friend back in high school on littering and she just said to me ‘who cares global warming is happening anyways’. It breaks my heart and spirit. But I refuse to give up completely, I want to help anyone who ever feels like this. I want to give even the smallest bit of hope to someone. I want to encourage people to try and fight the negativity because we need it. Our mental health definitely needs it. Sure, we can’t change the world completely but one day all of our little actions might and what I suggest now might help someone sleep better tonight and better on days when the news just seems like a complete rainstorm.

What I say doesn’t even have to be necessary for being anxious by the news. It’s meant to be for helping you deal with reading scary things online and dealing with a feeling of hopelessness. Whether you’re reading the news, whether you saw something your friends posted online that has made you feel sad, whether something happened to you that has made you feel like it is the worst day in the world. Don’t give in to the hopelessness feeling.

  1. Step away from the computer, put the phone down or close the tab.
    That weird saying of describing something as ‘being like a car crash but you’re unable to look away’ is definitely true and it can be relevant to anything. In my case, bad world/political/environment news or maybe even obviously trash comments online. I start reading something I know from the get-go will upset me but I keep reading and reading and scrolling and I can’t look away even though I know I won’t get full closure because social media is a big, endless hole of different personalities, fake personalities, trolls, fake news, exaggerations and stories. But what you need to do right now is close the tab. Whether it’s an article proving how disappointing our country leader is or that your crush has put themselves as in a relationship on Facebook. You need to close it and take a deep breath. You’re allowed to do this.
  2. Message someone to talk out your anxiety or even just talk it through with yourself out loud.
    Your anxiety and demons can sometimes yell over you and you feel very out of control but when you start to talk your thoughts through, rant, or label what of your thoughts is irrational or unhelpful it can really help you calm down and move on maturely. I always find myself doing it when I tell my mum something has made me scared or anxious. I’ll find myself going ‘then again, that news article can’t be entirely true because of X fact’ or if it’s a personal situation ‘then again this person might not have invited me out because of X reason not because they don’t like me?’. The irrational thoughts and jumps to conclusions start to fade a bit once you talk it out. If you don’t feel comfortable going to someone, I even find it helpful to talk to myself out loud just to hear something and calm myself down.
  3. Put on something funny, heart-warming or silly.
    A cliche tip but it does help. One fun story from when I was younger, my mum tried to tell me about a space story of solar flares or something along those lines and I was too scared to let her explain the story because when I googled it, those predictable conspiracy theories that ‘this solar flare will cause the world to end’ came up like they do every space story. Obviously the moral here, I should have let my mum talk it out to me and calm my anxiety down (I was 13 here, I’ve learnt to deal with my anxiety better since) but what I did was not sleep (stupidly) but to distract myself I watched tons of reruns of Mock the Week and comedy quiz shows until I fell asleep and a day or so later I had calmed down enough to look it up again and realise they were harmless.
    So stick on your favourite movie, stick on a tv show that makes you cry laughing, even google videos of positive stories or funny stories to remind you of the good stuff in the world, play a game without violence or gore in it (or do if that doesn’t agitate anxiety/bad feelings), listen to upbeat music and see if it helps!
  4. Finally, do not feel guilty for needing to look after yourself and consider how to deal with this anxiety
    If like me, this is a common place thing that happens a lot or you find yourself having literally paralysing anxiety like I do just from looking at social media or going online – consider maybe looking into help for your anxiety because I don’t believe(I’m no expert) it is normal at all. It is normal to feel sadness and fear from bad news or from stuff that goes wrong but paralysing anxiety is not normal.
    Secondly, and I need to physically remind myself of this too, do not feel bad for taking time out for yourself or taking a break from Twitter or Facebook. A lot of misinformation gets shared on there and you need to remind yourself now that politicians, celebrities, journalists, world leaders and even just regular people can share their opinions and views online and claim it as facts and if it is causing your mental health to drain you need to separate yourself from it for a bit. If you were holding a burning pan that was burning your hand you would need to let go. This is a similar thing. I always get anxious that maybe trying to distract myself means I’m being ignorant or ‘turning a blind eye’ but you need to remember – as long as you acknowledge something needs to change and that things aren’t all howdy-doody. That there are bad things and views in the world – you aren’t being ignorant.

 

I do want to write more of these posts, to share how to invest in positive news, how to make small changes, share some good causes when I find them and suggest things for myself and others to do but for now I will leave you with that. Just some simple things to remember to start bringing yourself out of the hopelessness feeling.

Go and get yourself a glass of water and stick a funny movie on.

Thank you for reading,

signaturejune18

 

#WorldAnimalDay and what you can do as an animal lover!

Several times I believe I’ve tried to engrave into my blog and writing that I sometimes struggle sticking with lifestyles such as vegan or even sometimes vegetarian. If I could switch off all my cravings, comfort food, deficiencies, illnesses and have a steady income I would definitely go vegan but sometimes for me and others it’s not always easy to 100% switch to a lifestyle and for some people it’s harder than others. I’ve always been a firm believer that vegans, vegetarians or meat eaters/omnivores shouldn’t force each other’s ‘beliefs’ down each others throats as it is counterproductive and doesn’t always spread the education and facts that people need to hear and instead becomes an ableist, stereotypical mess of joking and narrow-mindedness. Every human being is different underneath the surface and it does more harm than good to angrily assume why someone does the things they do. It’s better to ask questions and discuss than to yell words like ‘murderer’ or ‘hippie’ at each other without actually making any sort of productive change. Regarding my view on that, it means I’m very serious about making sure I never push my boundaries when discussing my views on being vegan or vegetarian and be as honest as possible; an example could be that I’ll admit, yes, sometimes I mess up and eat meat on some days or I’ll eat a chocolate/sweet gift from someone not regarding the dairy in it but at the same time I buy non-dairy milk in a carton for when I make myself tea or food that requires milk so that I reduce my dairy intake/purchases.

Today is ‘World Animal Day’ according to Twitter and obviously it is trending because we share our planet with these creatures. People love all sorts of animals when growing up whether it just be a domesticated pet or even wildlife creatures. Children are taught about these beautiful creatures growing up and it tends to be one of the core things humans relate to; you meet someone and you might ask what their favourite of something is and that could be the question ‘oh, what is your favourite animal?’. Unfortunately growing up you’re never really taught what can happen to the creatures we share our planets with and adults tip toe around the discussion with children because I think most adults don’t want to admit to the knowledge of it either. Nevertheless, it’s there and it doesn’t start or end with say, farm animals, it’s also wildlife, sealife, domestic pets and the list probably goes on in more detail. I think it should be discussed with teenagers and young adults what stuff you can start doing when growing up that has less of a negative impact on animals, much like we are taught to walk instead of drive places or switch the lights off in a room after using it to reduce our carbon footprint. I’d like to see ‘little things to help animals’ promoted a lot more and in more detail than just sending off small donations to charities and that’s that.

#1: Choose one day a week to go meat-free.

I will sympathise only slightly with people who declare ‘I couldn’t go vegetarian, I love meat too much!’, when told they should stop eating meat. It can be relatively easy to stop eating meat products when you put your mind to it. A great idea, inspired by the movement ‘Meatless Monday’, is to pick one day a week that you pledge to just not eat, purchase or consume meat products all day. It doesn’t have to be a Monday it could be any day you prefer, but it’s a great start in reducing your meat intake.

#2: Buy Cruelty-Free beauty dupes.

Unfortunately a lot of beauty companies still get away with animal testing and using ingredients that are derived from animals. Some well-known names include L’Oreal, Benefit, MAC, Maybelline, Revlon, Clearasil and Herbal Essences. I’m definitely not saying if you own any products from these brands to run screaming to the nearest bin and chuck them all in as that is wasting a product and the packaging. The best thing to do is when you finally run out or get rid of said product to look for a dupe in a cruelty-free brand. Some really easy finds include Superdrug’s own brand, Barry M, B. by Superdrug, BH Cosmetics, Lush and Kat Von D. If you are ever unsure of something, look for the little ‘Cruelty Free’ rabbit on the packaging or give it a quick google search as there are so many useful blogs and pages from the company ready to help you. If a company’s stance on cruelty-free practice ever seems dodgy to you, just go with your instinct.

#3: Support adopting pets.

Obviously this idea can only really come into play if you are planning on getting a pet anytime soon. There is plenty of benefits to adopting a pet that include giving a pet that could no longer have a home with it’s old family a new life and home, some pets in adoption shelters may have been taken from a cruel past and you are giving it a chance to experience love and comfort which is such a lovely thought. Always look at chances to help out people who may have had an unexpected litter come into their lives – you know when someone you used to go to high school with advertises on facebook that their cat just had lots of kittens and they need a new home? Definitely support that, it means that the young kittens can grow up in a home with care instead of being separated from it’s litter and put in a home with tons of other cats. Unfortunately in that scenario, if the owner needs to get people to adopt the litter cause they can’t look after them all, both ways the kitten will be separated from it’s mum/litter, but I think it’d be a much better chance for you and the kitten than the hassle of it being put in a shelter and having to wait to be adopted.

#4: Find your local vegan/vegetarian cafe.

Support your local vegan and vegetarian establishments! You’ll be able to discover new food and meals that don’t cost the earth and help work towards encouraging the trend of vegan cooking in the industry. I’ve noticed in the past few years more restaurants and cafes introducing different types of non-dairy milk or even non-dairy cheese in meals. A good example is the vegan stuff restaurant Zizzi is starting to bring into their menu! I believe it all comes down to supporting independent animal-loving businesses, they are the heart of the vegan/vegetarian food industry and should be encouraged so that the word of supporting animals and the environment gets even more out there.

Is there anything else you guys think should be included on the list? I’m also going to leave here some interesting petitions you guys might be interested in signing on World Animal Day.

Ban antifreeze preparations that are putting our pets and children’s lives at stakehttps://www.change.org/p/uk-eu-parliaments-law-defra-ban-all-antifreeze-preparations-unless-they-contain-a-bitterant
Tell the Arts Council of Ireland to stop funding circuseshttps://www.change.org/p/arts-council-of-ireland-stop-funding-animal-circuses#response-4321
Tell British Airways to stop sponsoring Seaworld: https://www.change.org/p/british-airways-stop-selling-trips-to-seaworld-end-your-support-for-these-cruel-orca-circuses
Make a donation and recieve a Bee Saver kit: https://www.foe.co.uk/page/get-your-bee-saver-kit

Thanks for reading,

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Sources:
Information about Meatless Monday – http://www.meatlessmonday.com/
Information about non-cruelty free brands – http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/companies-that-test-on-animals/
Cruelty-free Dupes – https://twitter.com/crueltyfreemu
Benefits of adopting – https://www.animalfriends.co.uk/blog/10-benefits-of-adopting-a-pet/
Zizzi’s vegan menu – https://www.zizzi.co.uk/data/menus/static_menus/1/pdf/Allergen-Information-June-2016.pdf
Vegan/Vegetarian food in the UK – http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/travel/19-of-the-best-vegan-restaurants-in-the-uk-a3266876.html#gallery

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

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