#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

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