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Self care, skin care,
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Living life with good intention, loving with soul, and consuming with a conscience

May 31, 2017

The Ordinary Skincare



Happy hump day! This week I thought it was about time I shared with you my thoughts on a very popular skincare brand that seems to have taken the beauty world by storm and that is The Ordinary skincare from DECIEM. DECIEM are a fantastic umbrella brand who do not include harmful sulphates and parabens in their products and they're also completely cruelty free which is one of the main reasons I needed to test out The Ordinary range as I'm currently transitioning into being completely cruelty free with my beauty regime. The Ordinary skincare seems to have gained popularity as it has many different serums which you can custom use to fit your particular skincare needs and they're extremely affordable as most products in the range are under £1O. Although the serums seem to be the most popular aspect of the brand, I decided to pick up a few different things to test and trial - not just the serums. I've been using the products for a few weeks now and I feel I can give a good initial impression of each product.

Salicylic Acid 2% Solution | £4.OO - The first product I knew I needed to try was the salicylic acid solution. This product comes in a little frosted glass vial with a dropper and is perfect for battling spots and blemishes. Salicylic acid is great for fighting pimples and the idea of this solution is that it can either be used as a targeted treatment (much like a tea tree or witch hazel stick) or applied to the whole face as a recurring step in your skincare routine. Initially I didn't like this product too much as it gave my a huge breakout of whiteheads on my forehead and chin however those only lasted a couple of days then disappeared and I now feel the product actually helped bring some impurities to the surface quicker and in turn helped clear my skin a little. Despite this solution being a spot-fighting product, it's actually really gentle on the skin as it's only 2% and it has no fragrance and doesn't irritate my sensitive skin. I like to apply 2 drops to my whole face before adding my moisturiser before bed and I find that works for me. If you have sensitive skin or dry skin and don't want to use acne products which will dry the skin out further, definitely try this.



Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG | £6.OO - Next up is something I have been using as an alternative to eye cream and that is the Caffeine Solution. This stuff glides on like a dream on the under eyes and no word of a joke, it actually works. I have quite discoloured and dark eye circles and despite having oily skin, my undereyes can get incredibly dry and flaky. Due to this, I often choose to wear a very hydrating eye cream that moisturises and (at least claims to) hide dark circles or neutralise them. This solution is quite thick and just like the Salicylic acid, it doesn't have a scent and doesn't irritate my eyes at all. As it's thick in texture, it feels more luxurious than it's price point and it also feels like it's actually *doing* something. It takes a little while to fully sink into the skin, but I really love this stuff and think I will be using it for a long time. As it is a caffeine solution, it truly does make my eyes look more awake and bright and certainly helps keep my skin hydrated.

Azelaic Acid Suspension 1O% | £5.5O - As I'm switching to cruelty free, I've had to find new day and night moisturisers as unfortunately my favourite ones from Vichy are not CF. Therefore I decided to pick up this one which targets blemishes and also aims to brighten the skin. It's a lovely lightweight formula which glides onto the skin and sinks in effortlessly so I really like wearing this daily under my makeup as it doesn't make me even oilier and it also helps sort out my skin texture which has been a bit of a issue lately. It keeps my skin soft and supple but also makes a noticeable difference to my breakouts as it helps minimise them and prevents them from getting too much texture when they're drying out. Again, this moisturiser is great for sensitive skin and works extremely well considering it's very affordable price tag.

Vitamin C Suspension 23% + HA Spheres 2% | £5.OO - The second moisturiser I picked up is this Vitamin C lovely jubbly product which I've been applying most nights in my skincare routine. Now, the only reason I'm not using it every night is it's actually a bit of a shock of a product (but in a great way). The first time I applied this it warned on the packaging that it could have a tingling sensation when applied to the face but once I started rubbing it onto the skin. I realised that it actually feels like it has tiny grains in the formula. These grains don't necessarily feel as noticeable or as harsh as a facial exfoliator, but the do do a pretty good job at buffing away any texture or flakiness on the surface of the skin. It does tingle for a little while, but its nothing uncomfortable or irritating. I would say however if you have super sensitive skin you might not like this as I have noticed the tingling can be more intense on any open or sore acne I have. I really like this product though as it makes my skin look *so* much healthier the next day and definitely brightens my skin and seems to blur any fine lines I have (particularly on my wrinkly forehead!) which can never be a bad thing!



High Adherence Silicone Primer | £4.OO - The last product I wanted to try was one of The Ordinary's primers as I always feel like this is a bit of an in-between product and never quite know whether or not to call it a skincare product or a makeup product. But I assumed as this brand has been so hyped up for being good that a primer from their range could only also be pretty darn good. So I picked up the silicone one as this is targeted at those who have oily skin types as the silicone formula helps makeup stay in place and also creates a barrier between the greasy face and the makeup. I know not everyone likes silicone primers, but I was so pleasantly surprised by this one. It melts onto the skin so quickly and dries down to a velvety soft and smooth finish, creating the perfect base for makeup. The Ordinary state that this primer doesn't necessarily need to be used as a base for makeup and can actually just be the last step in your skincare regiment because it is supposed to make your skin look even and blur large pores. I don't think it necessarily blurs large pores, but it does give the skin a gorgeous finish so is a great item for no makeup days. I still need to get to grips with it a little more as it is a thicker and more robust formula compared to my beloved Instablur from The Body Shop, but I'm definitely enjoying using it so far.

Overall, I'd really rate The Ordinary brand from this handful of products I've tried as they are so gentle on the skin, have no harsh nasties in there, and the brand is very transparent about which products suit which skin types and which ones you should steer clear of if you have particular skin issues. As most of the products are around 3Oml and somewhere in the £5-£1O range, they're extremely affordable and look and work on a more luxury basis. The packaging is really simple and sleek so it looks great in any beauty collection and the fact that you get really sturdy good quality glass bottles for the serum/solution products is pretty damn good. If you have been sat on the fence about trying out The Ordinary, I honestly would say just take the jump and try a couple of products and I would be willing to bet that you will love them!



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May 26, 2017

Book Club No.9



Okay okay, I hold my hands up and I will apologise straight off the bat that this week's lifestyle post is another Book Club post but guys, I've just really been into my books lately. Not only have I really been into reading more and more lately, what I've been picking up to read has been absolutely marvellous so I guess that might be why I'm enjoying it so much. Although I loved some of the books I read back in my last post from the month of March, a couple of things I read in April and May were *so good* that I just don't know where to begin. For climax sake, let's start with the "not as amazing but still pretty good" one, shall we?

Grief is the Thing with Feathers by Max Porter
Initially, I never even noticed this book. Matt was the one who picked it up, read the blurb, and told me I'd probably like it and he wasn't wrong. This is possibly one of the shortest books I've ever read but also one of the most confusing yet sad books too. As the name and the cover might suggest, the overarching theme of the story is grief and it centres around two young boys living in London with their dad, dealing with the aftermath of how it feels to love a loved one - their mum. Their mum suddenly dies and the story follows "the thing with feathers" playing a major part in how the father in particular deals with this grief. And of course, the thing with feathers in your friendly neighbourhood crow. The crow is like a guest in the family home and the novella's writing style takes a little while to get used to because of this. It jumps wildly from making sense to insensible babble and essentially cawing which is the crow. It reads like a long poem at times and then in other instances, it bloats out into a regular novel. I really enjoyed reading this and it's certainly unique in it's style but it's so extremely relatable if you've ever lost a loved one becaue Porter somehow manages to capture so many thoughts and feelings in the wake of grief. If you can stomach the hop skip and jump style writing and have literally a spare hour or two, plough your way through this. You can pick up this novella in various formats here



Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Now, this is possibly a book you've definitely all heard of, but believe it or not, I only read it recently. It's a number one best seller and was relatively recently made into a Hollywood Tim Burton movie (which yep, I'm still yet to see - I know, shame on me,) which isn't the least bit surprisingly considering just how good it is. After debating which book to get in the Waterstones Buy One Get One Half Price deal, I finally settled on this and I've not looked back. This is the first book in a trilogy and I'm definitely going to be reading the rest asap but I should probably tell you why before I waffle on too much. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children follows a main character Jacob who, after a horrific family tragedy, decides to travel to a remote island off the coast of Wales to find out the truth about his grandfather. His grandfather lived on the island during World War II and as a young Jewish boy, made some peculiar friends that quite frankly, no one in the family believes to be real.

Turns out the peculiar pals? They're 1OO% real and Jacob 1OO% meets them all. Riggs writing style in this book is so gripping in such a subtle way so I really struggled to put this book down and completed it in a day and a half. For me, the story has the same gripping dynamics the likes of something like Harry Potter had for me when I was younger and when I first read the HP books. Something else that I particularly liked about this book was the use of old vintage photographs throughout the book. Riggs' collects old photographs as a hobby and includes some in the book which have either influenced character designs in the story or are similar to what he had in mind when he was writing. They really help give the true creepy sense to the story and also help the reader to visualise the characters in an even clearer way despite his beautifully detailed yet not too descriptive explanations of various characters and their appearances/personalities. I honestly could not recommend this book enough and I really need to check out the movie ASAP. Pick up a copy of Book 1 of the Miss Peregrine's series, here



HEX by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
In typical Amyleigh fashion, I've saved the best 'til last. I read the first line of the blurb of this book and ran straight to the till with it. Horror fiction isn't usually something I read but the idea of this one was so intriguing I just couldn't say no! HEX is about a town which is home to an old woman who was rumoured to be a witch during the pinnacle of the witch burnings. Although it's the 21st century, "the witch" is still wandering around the town - only her eyes and mouth are sewn shut. Her wrists are shackled and she wanders the city in the same routines as she has always done but something is about to change everything. The residents of the town are used to the old woman popping up here there and everywhere and just accept it as a normal part of life however there is a power in the town that stops them from leaving and living somewhere else. To monitor where the old witch is at any time, HEX (a surveillance organisation) have CCTV cameras operating all over the town because the whole town knows that they need to keep an eye on her because if the stitches on her mouth and eyes were to come loose... All hell would break loose.

The plot is hard to talk about without giving away the whole story, but I assure you it's a brilliant book. The mix of the old world with the modern contemporary society is such a different branch of horror that sucks you in because it's so familiar and relatable despite being completely fictional. The characters in the story are so great - there's characters I absoluted loathed, loved, and found amusing. Despite being a horror book, HEX also managed to tug on my heart strings a few times and I found myself almost crying at various points. You really get sucked into the town life and into particular households and families so you get a great sense of involvement as you read. I should also probably mention that Stephen King rates HEX so if I can't convince you to pick up a copy of it, the king of horror and macabre storytelling should!



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May 24, 2017

"I Like Natural Looking Girls"



It's no secret that I love makeup. It was a crutch as a teenager with terribly bad acne and it has blossomed into a hobby, a pastime, and an enjoyable routine as an adult. Back in August last year, I shared a wee post all about why I like to wear makeup and it was just a genuine ramble and explanation of my relationship and history with the broad label "makeup" and what it all means to me. I shared how I was feeling towards my change into a foundation-free way of life and how I was becoming comfortable with my imperfections and believe it or not - it's almost a year since I stopped wearing foundation and boy oh boy, I still feel incredibly good for it. However my evolution with makeup and beauty in general got me thinking... I started to think about the opinions people seem to have on makeup, the opinions individuals have had on what I choose to wear and how I choose to wear it and how damaging those opinions can be. All that:

"you look better without all that makeup"
"I like natural girls" *sees picture of woman with body hair, acne, greasy hair etc.* "Girls should make an effort with their appearance and groom themselves"
"take a girl swimming on your first date because those bitches lie"

Yeah... all that bullshit? I want to challenge it and explain why that sort of shit needs to stop. I've spoken before about the damage in shaming bodies of all shapes and sizes and I think shaming those who do or don't wear makeup in varying degrees is just as harmful. In a world when it seems to be becoming more and more prevalent and weirdly accepted to have an opinion on people's appearances, I believe we should be aiming to try and stamp it out not see it as a norm and some odd shift in culture that we just accept. I'm a very firm advocate of makeup being an art form and something people can revel and excel in, so why is it always criticised, questioned and outright blacklisted at times?



Although there has always been a part of me who has worn makeup because I've been insecure, it's also been something I've enjoyed the process of. However I feel from a really young age, it is almost instilled in girls that makeup can "enhance your features" and is something you're expected to wear (I mean come on, I can remember my monthly subscription to Sabrina the Teenage Witch mag when I was little and it was 90% fashion and makeup and 10% Sabrina). But on the other hand, do a lot young girls just have a natural interest in it? I can remember watching my mam do face masks, watching my youngest Aunty getting ready for her weekend nights out with her friends and spending hours perfecting her makeup and hair - is it just something we're so surrounded by it nutures us to take part in it one day?

Who knows but I think it is something that should be seen as an art form that anyone can be involved in if they want to be - no matter their gender and no matter their "talent" or natural flair for it. I wouldn't say I am amazing at it, but it's something I like to think I've perfected - at least to my own standards and talents - over the years and I love to recognise that journey I have made. What I don't like to see is that a lot of people seem to think they have the right to bring down those who do enjoy using and wearing makeup and also those who don't. It will always stick with me the first time my first serious boyfriend saw me without makeup on and he responded with "Oh god, don't you look really different?" with zero attempt to hide his disappointment/horror/disapproval. Because of this, I'm still nervous for people to see me without any makeup on at all - I'm over my teenage fear of "oh no, people will see my gross acne, eye bags, freckles etc." but that fear that he created still lingers in me with a lot of people whether that be strangers, friends or even some family members.



What I hate to see is this seems to be becoming the norm for a lot of young girls in particular. With the growth of social media and more and more of our lives published for the world to scrutinise, we see some celebrities being praised for posting their no makeup selfies yet the young girls those people may influence are bullied and torn down. People make assumptions that if you spend all of your money on makeup or show an interest in it, that somehow reflects a lack of intelligence and depth. Dammit, if I want to spend money on makeup every month, that doesn't mean I'm not also going to spend some money of books, art, and music. People seem to see makeup first and the individual wearing it after and that's just such a shame. But in the same measure, I've seen plenty of people try to "encourage" more natural aficionados to wear makeup to hide imperfections or because they apparently "look prettier" and that's so disappointing to see too.

There's so many reasons individuals choose to wear or not wear makeup and those reasons shouldn't be anyone else's damn business unless the individual voluntarily wishes to share. We need to stop saying negative things about people who choose to express themselves and their individuality through this medium as again - it's art, it's their style, it's them. Everyone wants to be themselves and hopefully, happy and content with that and makeup certainly seems to please a lot of us and give us another outlet for that unique expression. Next time you see someone who's foundation is a little too dark or maybe they're not the best at perfecting the strong bold brow, just step back and think "they're doing them and that's just fine. In fact, that's just great" because negative thoughts and opinions are not needed and surprise surprise they do nothing but harm. Also think about how to tackle others who express this negativity freely - challenge them if you're comfortable with that - if you see someone being vile about a man wearing makeup, speak up! Defend their right to do whatever they want because makeup doesn't have a gender. It doesn't *need* a gender. The more of us who stand up to the bullies, the men who think they have a valid say in what women choose to do with their faces (I mean honestly), and the women who are catty about something so personal and subjective, the nicer the world - especially the worldwide web one we all so know and love - would be.





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May 22, 2017

Creating a Realistic Capsule(ish) Wardrobe



Hello, my name is Amyleigh and I have been a compulsive over-shopper and hoarder for as long as I can remember. When it comes to clothes I've always had a loving relationship and been quite a big consumer, often having many items in my possession that still have their tags attached for months and sometimes years after they were originally purchased because I simply haven't had the opportunity to wear said items. I'm changing this lifestyle I've became so comfortable in though as I've realised I don't actually feel fulfilled, it's a huge waste of money, and there's a lot of bad effects that go along with the fast fashion industry that our society seems to find itself in recently.

I published a lengthy post about why I'm leaving the fast fashion life behind a couple of weeks ago and since then I've been taking active steps to a more minimalist way of living when it comes to my wardrobe. Now, I know what you're all thinking - yuck everyone's a minimalist now and it's just a trend. I absolutely agree. It has quickly become "a thing" to be a minimalist and own little to few items or to streamline aspects of your life but I will only ever view this movement and popularity as a positive thing. If we can make changes like this that ultimately benefit not only ourselves but also the world around us, that can surely never be a bad thing, can it?

Please note that when I say "minimalist" I'm not talking about true minimalism - I mean I'm downsizing, streamlining, and just generally starting from fresh to make my life less fussy and more focused on the things that really matter. As much as I love fashion, I mentioned a few reasons why I'm falling out of love with industry, particularly in the blogging world, as it's just a fast-pace, no thought process that we all go through as consumers that isn't benefitting anyone - especially not ourselves! I always want what I don't have and envy what others do have and I realised that actually? I should be striving to be happy and content with what I have. So that's why I've been going through the wardrobe and cutting out the unnecessary.

As someone who loves clothes and compulsively shops, trying minimise my wardrobe has been tough. I used to occasionally go through my clothes every few months and donate a few things here and there but I still seemed to be accumulating more and more despite trying to forever downsize. So in my quest to get a bit more of a capsule(ish) wardrobe on the go, I've came up with some pretty fail-safe starting points that I'd recommend as pieces of advice for anyone attempting to go on the same journey:



- Know your own style. First off this isn't me saying you need to have a set style (lord knows I don't) but it's great to be aware of what sort of things you like to wear. I like to push myself out of my comfort zone sometimes but for the most part, I like denim whether it's jeans or denim shirts, Breton stripe tops, pointed cowboy ankle boots and wooden clogs. So I try to bear this all in mind before I even consider tackling my wardrobe so I have a general outline of what I should be keeping and chucking out. A lot of bloggers and YouTubers doing capsule wardrobes act like we've all got money coming out of our ears and can just buy a whole new wardrobe but for the majority of us that's not just possible so you need to work out what kind of things and styles you'd like to keep. Do you prefer minimal classic colours? Do you want loud clashing prints and patterns? Do you only wear dresses and skirts but seem to have a lot of unworn jeans? These are all things you should make sure you're aware of prior to sorting your wardrobe.

- Take everything out of your wardrobe. When you do begin to tackle your wardrobe, having a blank canvas when you are selecting what you keep and what you get rid of is so so effective. When I did this it made me actually feel slightly disgusted *just* how much stuff I had crammed in there so it motivated me to declutter even more. I also found this to be visually helpful - it made me see common patterns, colours, prints, materials etc. that were frequent, helping me instantly pick out what sort of thing I *must* usually buy for whatever reasons.

- Make three to four distinct piles. So you've got your huge mound of clothes in front of you now and what I suggest you do now is make three or four distinct piles as you sort through the items. I went with:
Items to keep
Items to donate
Items to sell
Items out of season/want to hold onto*
I know this won't apply to everyone but I rotate my wardrobe. I have a spring/summer wardrobe and an autumn/winter one and depending on the time of year, the out of season "set" gets put in storage. So of course, there's some items that I might not want to wear any time soon but I also don't want to get rid of so those need to be put away in storage to await appropriate weather. I also tossed clothes I wanted to keep in this pile. These items were different to my "to keep" pile because these were the odd few items I really loved but don't seem to wear. I didn't want to part with them so I made a rule with myself to keep them for now, try to make them work, and then if I still haven't worn them next time I rotate my items, they're a-gonner!

- Do not try anything on. Okay so as much as there were some things I just *needed* to keep, I honestly believe the worst thing you can do when going through this process is to try anything on. As soon as you try something on you'll think "oh this is so cute!" and uh-oh who'd have predicted it - suddenly the "to keep" pile keeps growing and growing. I understand that many of us will need to try certain things on as, if you're a hoarder like me, there's bound to be items in your wardrobe that no longer fit, however save it for another time. Sort out visually and emotionally what you want to keep first then try it all on later.

- Always be mindful of the six month rule. I probably don't need to mention this one as it seems to be a standard unspoken law, but if you haven't worn something for six months (not including out of season items), it needs to go! I cheated a little and *did* throw a couple of things in my "to keep" pile that I haven't worn a lot if at all but again, if I can't make them work or if I don't reach for them before my next rotation - they're going out the door.



- Try to keep it interchangeable. This is definitely I'm more mindful of going into this new lifestyle choice. I tend to play it safe with a lot of things I buy but I do tend to pick the odd wacky thing up that's totally out of my comfort zone or usual style and I realised this is a big downfall of mine. I had a lot of items that could only been worn a certain way or with other specific items and that seemed kind of wasteful to me. So now I'm making sure what I keep and what I purchase in future goes with more things in my wardrobe. A great thing to do is if you see something you like when you're shopping is to think "can I make this work with five other outfits and/or items in my current wardrobe?" and if the answer is yes, run straight to the check out with that sucker. This isn't me saying you need to do that whole minimal capsule wardrobe style because I know for fact I couldn't stick to that simple colour palette etc., but just be mindful of what you're keeping and make it work for you.

- Be strict but just. Again, this is a difficult one when you're emotionally attached to some items, but being strict with yourself really pays off. I purposefully went with my gut instincts as soon as I started sorting my stuff like some sort of crazed fashion-conscious sorting hat. I picked items up and made super quick, split-second decisions about each one as I knew if I hesitated, I'd end up keeping almost everything. And you know what? It actually paid off because all of the clothes I've gotten rid of have either been completely forgotten in the last few weeks without them or I haven't once thought "ah, I wish I had kept that".

- One in, one out. Something I'm definitely taking forward shopping in the future is having a one in one out system. I'll be honest - I might not have this as a strict rule for every purchase but I think it's a great way to keep the wardrobe from getting out of control once more.

- Make a list of what is needed. One of the best things about this declutter other than simply getting rid of unneeded material possessions that can benefit others is now I am aware of what I'm lacking in my wardrobe. I realised I somehow skipped on most basics in my wardrobe and therefore I now know I need to get a couple of basic tees added to my collection. Making a list of what you need or a particular item you *really* want also means you will be less likely to go buying things willy nilly. Now if I'm online shopping or browsing a store, I know exactly what I'm looking for and (hopefully) won't get too sidetracked by other items I don't need.


So there you have it. This method obviously won't work for everyone and of course, not everyone wants to even have a capsule wardrobe but I want to downside greatly so I can focus on items and styles I truly love and it is helping me cut out a lot of fast fashion in the process. As I mentioned in that fast fashion post, I'm not completely saying goodbye to on trend pieces and what is available on the high street, but I will be making a conscious effort to try and buy from more small businesses who are ethical, sustainable, and I will be shopping secondhand wherever possible to minimise my contribution to the fast fashion world. If you're creating or using a capsule wardrobe yourself, let me know how you're finding it and if you still enjoy what you wear despite the minimised options and variety.



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May 19, 2017

Book Club No.8



Happy Friday you lot! I have been reading so so much on my commute to and from work lately and during my Easter break from work, so there's a lot of back-dated book review posts coming your way, but I'm trying to keep them in order of when I read them so I can keep track! So here's some books I read and finished back in March:

Three Daughters of Eve by Elif Shafak
Okay so this first one was something I won in a Twitter giveaway and to be perfectly honest, I had never heard of the author or the book but the cover sold me instantly because I mean *look* at it - it's beautiful! When the book landed through my letterboz, I did a little bit of research and discovered that this is in fact Elif Shafak's tenth novel and she is heavily involved in the World Economic forum and has been prosecuted by the Turkish government. This made me realise this lady needed my attention. She's a vastly celebrated author and woman in general for acts such as defending gay rights and arguing about why feminism is important to write about - and not just from a Muslim woman perspective. If you want to know more about this inspiring lady, definitely check out her TED talk where she discusses the freedom writing gives her. But for now, let's talk about the book itself.

The book follows the life of Peri, a wife, mother, and inquisitive woman living her life Istanbul but during an altercation with a homeless man, she has flashbacks to her younger years and questions start to rise again. The book flits between different periods of Peri's life: the present day as an adult woman with multiple responsibilities, to being a child in a household torn apart by religious differences, to her teen years and early adulthood where she explored herself and her beliefs in a western cultural setting whilst attending Oxford University. The whole book is about soul-searching and deals with some many cultural, societal, and religious aspects that I really admire Shafak for tackling in this novel. For a fan of learning about religion, this book has it all and displays it all in such an honest, down to earth way that you can't help but feel engaged throughout the book. It's not the sort of novel I would naturally reach for but I did enjoy reading it nevertheless. If you want to read something that feels incredibly current, that can educate you as well as entertain you, and that will make you question your own beliefs and standpoints on certain topics as you read it, then this is the book for you. You can pick up a copy in various formats here.




A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
This next book is something I received as a birthday present from Matt. As soon as I opened it I recognised the name and realised it was because it has recently been made into a movie and I can remember seeing the trailer and thinking it looked great. Patrick Ness is an author I've been intrigued by but for some reason hadn't read any of his work until I got this novel. His work can often be found in the young adult fiction area of your local Waterstones and has won many awards for various works he has written. A Monster Calls is no exception to the awards and guys, this is possibly one of the best things I've ever read.

A Monster Calls is about a little boy called Conor. He is in secondary school, he's a young teen, and he's your typical stroppy teenager to boot. However he's got a lot going on at home - his mum's extremely ill, his dad lives with his new family in America and doesn't really spend any time with him, he's got a bad case of bullies at school mocking and beating him up daily, and his grandmother sticks her oar into his and his mum's life and let's just say he doesn't like it. He keeps having a recurring nightmare that he is terrified of and the novel opens with a development in the nightmares - a monster. Not a big hairy or beady eyed beast, but a gigantic tree that keeps visiting Conor and wants to tell him stories. Conor develops a relationship with this monster based on folk lore, morals of stories, questions and honesty. The way the story develops really pulls on the heartstrings and I genuinely struggled to put this book down. It's not a long read and I got through it in 2 commutes to and from work and I genuinely wanted to sit and cry relentlessly on the train reading the ending. It's such a fantastic book for being such a short read but playing on the emotions so well; it's a work of genius. Although it is young adult fiction, it deals with some dark dark stuff that many people come in contact with in reality and can definitely upset the reader. That's in no way a criticism of it - it's actually the thing I loved most about it - but it's something to bear in mind if you're going to pick it up. The wriitng style of Ness is so quick pace and makes you stay engaged and desperate to keep turning the pages whilst also creating such vivid images in your imagination that I honestly felt like the movie version of this was playing in my head as I read. I can't wait to watch the film now. If you fancy giving this amazing book a read, grab a cheap copy of it here.



American Salvage by Bonnie Jo Campbell
My last review is a collection of short stories by award-winning writer, Bonnie Jo Campbell. This book is something I wanted to read after reading my favourite blogger, The Dainty Squid, review it on her blog and she sang it's praises. I usually steer clear of short stories as I find I start to really get into the story and then it's over and I'm left wanting more but having not previously read any of Campbell's stuff before, I thought this would be a good entry route to get a taste of her work. My wonderful American Twitter friend, Akeen, got this book from my Amazon Wishlist and it arrived on my birthday and I was so overjoyed (thanks again dude!). The internet is a wonderful place, don't let anyone say any different.

So, American Salvage is a collection of short stories and those stories all centre around small-town life in the Michigan area. If you ever enjoy that small-town American stereotype, then you will definitely enjoy these stories. Campbell has a great ability to tell stories about characters that are experiencing incredible hardships from domestic violence, to poverty, to alcohol and drug abuse. All of the stories are so very different but all share a great thread of misery, hopelessness, and unfortunately, realism running throughout all of them and tying them all together as a seamless collection. I obviously enjoyed some of the stories more than others and my favourites are The Burn, The Solutions to Brian's Problem, and The Inventor, 1972 (which has won awards). As I said earlier, all of the stories seem so true and real-life for working class suburban America and therefore create a window of insight for the reader, but despite their usually dark tone, there's a weird sense of beauty in how Campbell writes which makes these short stories a quick, easy and great read. Make sure you pick up a copy of American Salvage here.



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May 12, 2017

Mental Health Awareness Week: Living with Anxiety



Happy Friday world - I hope you have all got some exciting weekend plans ahead of you but for now, I want to take the end of my working weekdays to consider something that I've seen a lot of online pals talking about this week and certainly something that impacts me too and that is mental health. This week (8th - 14th May) it has been Mental Health Awareness Week which is a campaign ran by the Mental Health Foundation every year to do just as it suggests - make us all more aware of mental health - and this year's theme is "Surviving or Thriving?". On MHF's website, they state:

"Good mental health is fundamental to thriving in life. It is the essence of who we are and how we experience the world. Yet, compared to physical health, so little is commonly known about mental ill health and how to prevent it. That must change. Good mental health is more than the absence of a mental health problem. This year, rather than ask why so many people are living with mental health problems, we will seek to uncover why too few of us are thriving with good mental health."

I'm not one to keep my mental health to myself over here on NB and I've quite often mentioned my anxiety and social anxiety in particular but I've never really talked about it in a focused way and I certainly haven't questioned whether or not I'm surviving or thriving despite my mental health barriers. So, if Mental Health Awareness Week is all about awareness and just being open and honest and sharing our stories, then what better time to really get down to the nitty gritty of it right? Anxiety is an awful thing to deal with. Despite mental health becoming more openly discussed in media, online, and general day to day relationships, anxiety still seems to have a lot of stigma attached to it. It is something that often frustrates those who don't suffer with it or understand it but I can assure every one of you in that camp that it frustrates the hell out of those who live with it even more. My anxiety has been something growing like a dark storm off the coast since I was a teen and it's blowing closer and closer to the shore as the years go by. All poetic shite aside, I can see that my anxiety is getting worse as I get older but sometimes I don't know what do about that - do I tackle it? Do I let it consume me? Do I make up excuses in some odd attempt to normalise it? It seems like I tend to do a lot of the latter.

As a teen I wouldn't say I was confident but I was kind of comfortable. I was one of the quieter girls in my group of friends and for the most part, was relatively happy, incredibly social and didn't really spend any time alone unless I was sleeping, showering or shitting. If I look at myself now though, that extrovert lifestyle has completely disappeared and it's morphed into an introverted way of life that I definitely feel comfortable in but I also know has became a crutch for my crippling anxiety as it doesn't demand a lot from me. My biggest struggle is social stuff. If you had spoken to me only 4 or 5 years ago, you would deny me the chance to say the words "I'm a homebody and an introvert" because ha, I was out drinking, dancing, smoking - you name it, it was all the goddamn time. I wasn't happy though. That was the norm for me as a teen but heading into my twenties I just couldn't think of anything worse but it was still expected of me so I bullied myself into doing it all.



Doesn't sound so bad does it? Forcing yourself to go out and have a good time? But that was exactly the issue; it was forced. I was forcing myself to do things against my own interests and it impacted on me mentally a great deal. Panic attacks became frequent things. I had more in my first year of university than I'd ever had before or ever had since and it was because of the pressure I put on myself. I was terrified to say "no, not tonight" to people in fear of letting them down. Letting myself down. Putting myself in a situation of staying at home with Netflix and actually feeling pretty happy but then swamped with guilt because I was letting others down and actually *enjoying* the situation?! What a terrible person! It's so clear to see why this massively impacted my mental health now but at the time I just kept pushing myself. Sometimes it got too much and I would skip a lecture because that meant 2 more hours of just my own company but then the anxiety would flare up again and in my mind I'd cycle through all of the things people would be saying because I wasn't there. "I bet they're saying I slept in. I bet they're all saying I'm lazy. I bet someone has said 'Well it's nicer not having her here anyway' and everyone has laughed, nodded, and agreed." - this was a cycle I went through far too often and unfortunately, still do on a regular basis.

The hardest thing about having anxiety for me is the constant worrying and self-neglect/abuse. I genuinely wear myself out and can feel exhausted after specific anxious outbursts because my mind just can't shut off. I create scenarios in my head that I'm *convinced* are going to happen as if I'm some sort of crystal ball reading, premonition magician who can see how it's all going to play out and guess what? I'm always at the ugly root of it and it's always my fault/impacts me in the worst way. That's just the way it happens. It was only this week that I almost had a panic attack on the train to work because a young lad sat behind me, then got up, walked to somewhere else on the train, came back, then went away again. Maybe other passengers wondered what he was doing but me? I convinced myself he'd planted a bomb on the seat behind me. Maybe he had come back because he actually realised he could easily slide both of his arms around the seat and slit my throat. It all played out in my head and made me panic because there was nowhere I could go. I would also sound insane explaining it to a total stranger if they asked if I was okay. This is what my anxiety is like.

Other aspects I have to deal include: thinking everyone at work hates me and they all talk about me behind my back but say otherwise to my face, unrealistic concerns about family members' health deteriorating, being absolutely terrified to answer the phone - even if it's a family member or close friend who is calling, constantly checking social media (I know) because I'm worried that something I've said will be taken the wrong way or offend someone I like speaking to, worried to answer the door when I'm home even though I know it's the lovely friendly postman... There's so many small aspects to my anxiousness that all adds up and makes it something my mind is in constant battle with. It's not only a difficult thing for myself to deal with but those who care about me too. Luckily for the most part, I have understanding friends and family who are aware that I might cancel plans at short notice because I just can't face going outside or being social. However I've had my fair share of friendships break down and completely disappear because it's been a big ugly problem sat between the two of us and that's just something I have to deal with too.



I think being comfortable to talk about mental health - however big or small your barrier is - is incredibly important. Not only does it help make others aware, but through that process you can help educate others and just take some weight off your shoulders. I would never use my anxiety as an excuse for something but being able to clearly explain it so others know about it is a fantastic outlet to utilise. It helps you realise you're not the only one and it also introduces you to potential new techniques to tackle it that you can experiment with as we all have tried different approaches to overcome our various differences and similarities.

I'm never apologetic for my anxiety. I'm never sorry for it being part of me but I am apologetic for some of my actions as a result of it and mostly? I'm apologetic on behalf of those who say "oh stop being a baby and just do *insert one of the millions of things anxiety can sometimes hold you back from doing*" or "it can't be that bad" or (here comes the whopper) "don't be so boring". I've heard them all and I just feel disappointment and shame for those who are so dismissive instead of being actively curious as to how to aid the person in any which way they can and that goes for all mental health grievances, not just anxiety. It is also becoming commonplace for people to question the authenticity of individuals' mental health. As MH is more readily talked about, it unfortunately seems to be followed by people wanting validation of it being a genuine barrier and to those who do question it, please know you are never within those rights. You would never question someone with any sort of physical barrier so please don't do it and think it is acceptable just because you can't see it. Mental Health is a real issue for many worldwide, it is not some shitty paranormal show on daytime TV that needs a sceptic. So please use Mental Health Awareness Week as a means to learn. Use it to meet and converse with others who may feel similarly to you or who may suffer from MH you struggle to understand. I'm so pleased to see how openly discussed mental health has become in say the last 1O years but it still has a long way to go and as the much-needed help out there is forever facing further cutbacks, don't let ignorance and misunderstanding be something that fuels those cutbacks and secrecy further. Talk about it.

And as for the theme of MHAW this year - "Surviving or Thriving?" - where would I place myself on the scale? To me if you're surviving you've overcome something; you're fighting, you're hanging in there. If you're thriving you've taken that all one step further - you've moulded it to your advantage, you've figured out a way to live with it, you manage it. Whilst I think I've got some way to go to fully squish it and manage it completely, I have a job that involves being confident to speak in front of people. I travel alone. I no longer worry about speaking to strangers even if my heart feels like it's crawling up my throat and just about ready to do the leap of faith using my tongue as a springboard - I still manage for the most part. So I guess I'd say I'm thriving in my survival and I'll take that for the time being.



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May 05, 2017

April in Review



Happy Friday everyone! Can you believe it - it's May already?! That means we're almost half way into 2O17 and that's terrifying. April was a pretty good month for me as I got a lot done and feel like I've been making a few positive changes in my life which I'm looking forward to talking about a little bit more as the months go on.

The Personal
April was a bit of a busy month and it was a welcomed kind of busy. Work has been going really well so that's been great, but the best bit about April was the fact that I got to spend some down time with family. I went to Cirencester for the Easter weekend and was treated to fair bit of chocolate which - of course - was glorious. I bought three new books whilst we were there and ploughed my way through them at lightning speed so expect a review post coming your way pretty soon. After that weekend away I came home, had a training event at work, then I was off to Newcastle to see my family for a few days. It was so nice to go back to the north east. I always miss it and I have to be straight up honest here. When I get off the plane at Newcastle airport and trudge my way down to the metro to set off home to my mam's house, I get this overwhelming feeling of just sheer content and it makes me almost want to cry? Don't ask because I don't know why it happens, but of course it happened this time again like clockwork. I spent a lot of time with family rather than friends during this visit because it was needed. My grandad is really ill at the moment and seeing old age catch up to a man who's always been pretty invincible in my eyes was quite heartbreaking for lack of a better word. I needed that family time and that time to just chill out alone so I'm pleased I got to do that for a wee while.



Films
Shall I keep this short and sweet? Believe it or not, much like March, I royally sucked on the film watching front. I can only recall watching one film and I think it's because I've been reading a lot more in my free time (which is totally not a bad thing in fact, I'm super pleased about it... makes for shitty review posts though am I right?). So the one movie I watched was The Avengers: Age of Ultron and please don't ask me how, but this somehow slipped right by me until April. I knew it had came out, I can remember wanting to go and see it at the cinema, but it just never happened. Luckily it has recently been added to Netflix so one night Matt & I stuck it on with some pizza. I really enjoyed it and I think I enjoyed it more than the other Avengers film. I felt like Age of Ultron was a much darker film that the predecessor and for that reason it sucked me in more. I love that we see a development in Natasha Romanoff and Bruce Banner's relationship and the fact that Hawkeye is focused on more in this movie because come on, give that guy some screen time! Close to the ending, I did not expect what happened and I genuinely felt upset so that was all the confirmation I needed that this film is worth the watch.



Television
April seems to have been the month for stand up comedy on my TV and I've watched some good and some not so goods. So first up, one of my main men, Louis C.K.. His latest Netflix Original stand up performance, Louis C.K. 2O17, was honestly? Meh. It was meh and I feel so gross saying that about one of my favourite comedians but it just wasn't as great as his other shows. Compared to his Live at the Comedy Store and Hilarious shows (both on Netflix too) I just didn't laugh like I do watching those two and I've watched them both multiple times and still I laugh more than his latest show made me. It just seemed like it wasn't his usual material and weirdly, I found it just a bit to clean and not as "adult" so maybe that's why I didn't enjoy it? Who knows what that says about me - moving on! Now for two great stand ups I really enjoyed. First off can we talk about Vir Das? He's a Bollywood star and super proud Dehli-born and bred comedian who is great. I have never watched his stand up but his show Abroad Understanding was fab. He's not shy to take the piss out of his own culture and others and did a clever mash of a small intimate show in New York with a huge sell out show in India. He is definitely on my radar for future comedy shows and I can't lie, he's not too bad on the eyes either. My last Netflix Original comedy shout out has to go to Hannibal Buress' Comedy Camisado which was pretty darn good too. I find Hannibal Buress just funny in general - he's the kind of guy I could sit in a pub with all evening and love every minute of it. If just genuine, down to earth, real life comedy is your jam, check out Hannibal.



Music
Ahh, my love for music feels like it has been reignited over the last couple of months. I mean sure, I *always* love music, but both during March and April, I feel like I've really found some gems and enjoyed listening to a whole range of old and new stuff. Although Twenty One Pilots are still getting regular airplay (can't stop won't stop), I have jigged around to so many new album drops this month that I need to tell you all all about.

So first of all - do you like Lana Del Rey? Yes? Do you listen to Alexandra Savior then? No? What on earth are you doing with your life?! She's new to my ears too but her album, Belladonna of Sadness, instantly grabbed my attention before I even listened to it because Belladonna of Sadness is one of my favourite animated movies (1973 Japanese handdrawn beautifull-ness). If an artist calls their album that, my interest is peaked. Within seconds into the first track, I was in love. Imagine Lana Del Rey has a moody little sister who is as sassy as Kate Nash and you get the idea. Mix that all with a little bit of The Horrors-style instrumentals and you've got this dreamy record. I'm really enjoying it and I'm excited to see what Savior drops next already. If you read my favourite music post a while ago then you will know all about my love for angry/melodramatic female singers so let me suggest another new but already wonderful female singer April introduced me to. Annie Hardy's album Rules has been a favourite of mine this month and she's another lady who I'm excited to watch her career develop. Hardy's sound reminds me a lot of a more gloomy version of Fleetwood Mac or a tame, non-goth version of Chelsea Wolfe so y'all know that's right up my alley.

An album that dropped from a firm favourite of mine was Future Island's The Far Field. Earlier in the year, they released the tracks Ran and Cave as teasers and I was kind of excited. But now that I've listened to the whole thing? I feel a bit indifferent about it. It's by no means a bad album, it's pretty good, I just still prefer their album before it, Singles. I find the majority of the tracks on The Far Field extremely similar to some of those on Singles to the point where I sometimes think it's going to be *that* song instead of this new one. Another band I love that kind of disappointed me this month was Incubus with their '8' album. After listening to the first track I was excited because it sounded like old old Incubus - punky weirdly almost psychedelic Incubus - but after each track played, it just got more and more "meh". Again, it's not a bad album by any means, but I'm just a bit underwhelmed by it. A good album this month from a good band though? Check out Ulver's latest, The Assassination of Julius Caesar, for all you synth, contemporary world's answer to Joy Division needs. Ulver have been a favourite of mine for years but this new album is *so* different to their usual, much darker/instrumental stuff but I love it regardless.

Some more "new to my ears" music now: Vancouver Sleep Clinic's Revival album is super good. If you like any kind of electro music, this is the band for you. They've been a round for a few years it seems but this is the first I've listened to them and Revival is an all-round good album. Andrew Combs - Canyons of My Mind is a great acoustic album by a very talented guy. It's a lovely easy listening album that kind of makes me think of Autumn for some reason and little touches of it make it a little gem of a find. I'm talking about the little touches like the fact that a lot of the songs seem to be written about various different women and that somehow makes it more real and personal? I really like it! And my last album recommendation from April is Sean Rowe's New Lore. I started listening to this acoustic album thinking "oh yeah I'm going to like this" but then the guy started singing and my god. Shook. I was shook. He's got such a unique almost old deep mo-town James Brown-esque voice but with lovely twinkling soft acoustic tunes. Such a great album I need to listen to more and more during May.

Okay - last little mention! Paramore dropped a new single and holy shit, the world seemed to go wild. Their single, HarD TiMEs, is so 8Os I instantly fell in love. It seems that loads of bands I loved for their emo tunes back in the day are coming back with a slight 8Os sound and I'm embracing it. I'm excited to see what else they drop and although I was never a mega-fan of Paramore, maybe I will be after this new gen of themselves (also I've never fancied Hayley Williams more than I do now with her slightly Debbie Harry haircut, wowzas).




Video Games
I've almost taken a step back into my recent old ways of not playing a lot of video games but I have been playing Mass Effect Andromeda a tonne. I'm still really enjoying it and I'm pleased to see they've ironed out some awful things (like the horrendous facial graphics) but the more I've played it, the more I've realised how many little niggling problems there are with it. I'm still very much enjoying it though and plan to get back into playing it every chance I get during May because I've missed being glued to the controller!



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May 01, 2017

Saying Goodbye to Fast Fashion



Ahh, clothes. Although I would never say clothes are my number one love, they do come pretty high up that list for me and have always been a central interest for me growing up. Even as a teen I was into fashion *that much* I was fully submerged in the idea of studying Fashion Design at university and sometimes I regret the fact that I didn't. I would read hundreds of magazines to see what my favourite celebrities were wearing (imagine an odd mix of Davey Havok from AFI, Gerard Way and Frank Iero from My Chemical Romance, Mary-Kate & Ashley Olsen, and Joss Stone - remember her?!), and try to battle my way through the trying times that are your teen years when you're trying to be unique and stand out but also blend in with everyone else. I lived for Project Runway and seeing what catwalk releases the likes of Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen would be releasing and it was very much something I just did without any questioning. It was just part of me and my personality. Clothes still pay a huge role in my life now and fashion is something I very much follow whether it's browsing Japanese and Korean street style sites (I literally can lose hours of my day doing this), reading my favourite blogs, watching YouTube videos, or just people watching out and about in my home city for some inspiration, it's always there and it's readily available.

Although fashion is incredibly central to my interests, its something I've kind of always had a love hate relationship with. I mean sure, I've always loved clothes and particularly personal style which is why I guess I read personal style blogs and started one myself, but I have a huge gripe to pick with fashion. It can be such a damaging industry and unfortunately, I've been involved in it.

As a teen I obviously didn't give a hoot about consumerism. It wasn't a word I even fully understood until I started studying Sociology at college, and it was something that just wasn't of interest. Fast forward to now and it's something that has been niggling away at me for a few months. We are all consumers as we all buy goods to survive - whether that's food, clothing, technology; we all play a part as a consumer. However something that's been getting to me is the world of "fast fashion" and the fact that this has become a term so readily used in society today. As a consumer, brands and companies will encourage you to acquire their goods whether you really need them or not. For example, how many of us have gone into a supermarket and spotted a "Buy One Get One Free" offer and quickly snapped it up? I'd be willing to bet almost all of us have. Whilst that's not particularly damaging at all, I would also be willing to bet that a lot of us have taken part in a deal or sale like that on things that actually? We didn't even really want or need when we stepped foot into that store. I've been guilty of this in the past and especially when it comes to fashion, I feel I need to take a step back.



So I've thrown that term "fast fashion" out there, but what do I actually mean? This term has recently been making waves online as many people are realising that when it comes to clothing, we are as a species incredibly wasteful and we are damaging our planet as a result. The idea that we consume fashion at a high rate isn't something new or different, but I do believe it is something that is becoming increasingly common as trends and *what's in* is rapidly changing - sometimes from week to week - and honestly? It's a surprise anyone can even keep up. But alas, many of us do and it's ever apparent in the blogging world just how much we consume, use lightly, then discard on an annual basis. Have you ever picked up a dress in Primark, it's got a sale sticker on it for £3 and you think "bargain - I'm having that!"? Yeah? My hand is up too, don't worry. Has this then been something you've got home, maybe worn once or maybe not at all, then you've had to give it away or it's still there somewhere, buried beneath other items in your wardrobe? Yep, got my hand up again too. This constant consumption of fashion is something many of us do without really thinking about it but I've decided I'm taking steps to stop this mindset from snowballing any further and trying my best to become more sustainable.

If I'm completely honest, I've never been too bad when it comes to spending on fast fashion. I still have items of clothing from my teen years and will continue to wear them until they fall apart. If I buy anything new, it's got to be something I really love and know I will wear often otherwise I will return it. I'm also a massive scrooge with my money and therefore tend to buy things which are cheap or affordable or second hand. Now, this isn't me backtracking and saying I'm not responsible because by equal measure I buy a lot of shit I just don't need and end up not using. Statistics show I'm not the only one as clothing production has doubled since 2OO2 and the average consumer now buys 6O% more clothing items on average every year than they did 15 years ago. Retailers and brands now have a much quicker turnaround when it comes to what is *on trend* which unfortunately in turn means consumers like you or I are more likely to throw away our stuff at more alarmingly high rates. Since 2OO2, the lifecycle of clothing has shortened to just 5O% of what it used to be, meaning that lots of brands are cashing in on this by doing subtle things like making consumers think they need to constantly "invest" in budget or basic items (I'm looking at you basic tees). This bizarre mentality could be a change in culture, society, morals, concerns etc etc etc. but what the cause is isn't the worry - how to stop it because of it's impact on the earth is.

For me, one of the most concerning things about fast fashion is not only the rapid rate of which we consume and spit it out, but also the effort and materials going into such items which are causing harm to the environment. Most modern items of clothing include synthetic fibres such as polyester which emits 3 times more carbon dioxide than cotton and requires fossil fuels to be burned in order to produce it. Obviously this puts its carbon footprint on the world much higher than the likes of natural materials such as cotton. The 'ingredients' of modern clothing are not the only bad thing, but also the use of harmful chemicals and amount of water needed to create items which then aren't even fully used or utilised after production. We're in a bit of a pickle with this and I guess it's started to pull on my heart strings a little.



I'll be honest - I'm never going to sit here and say I won't be buying any more clothes because come on now, that would be an outright lie. But I am trying to educate myself more about sustainable and eco-friendly fashion whilst also downsizing my wardrobe and changing my shopping mindset. I might like fashion blogging and getting involved in new trends which suit my style and personal likes, but I won't be buying into anything just for the sake of it so I don't get told off by the fashion police for still being in "ew, that's so last season 2OO4" outfits. My first move has been to completely declutter everything and be ruthless with my current collection of clothes. If you follow me on Twitter than you will have already seen how successful this mission was as I've filled 4 huge grocery shopper bags with clothes to sell second hand and to donate. Fast fashion is unfortunately always going to be there, but getting rid of things you don't use is a great first step to make as this might prevent people from going out and buying new; it keeps items in circulation instead of them going to landfill (even though 95% of what we chuck away could be recycled/upcycled!). Another great thing to do is to make sure you buy second hand where you can as well! I'm not saying you've got to be strict with yourself, but look on the likes of Depop and eBay if you're after a particular item and that way you are not buying into more modern shite and you might avoid impulse purchases with a clear item-goal in mind.

This is a journey I'm only just starting myself so I can't give too many facts and figures as it's all a huge learning curve for me. In a couple of months time I'll be posting my top tips of things you can do which can make you more consumer conscious in the fashion world and give you all an update on how I am finding the whole experience. For me, the idea behind this whole movement isn't just about being kinder to our environment but also making me aware of how to be content and fulfilled with what I do have instead of constantly seeking out what I don't and thinking that it can fill some void. It's also about being more conscious of others who don't have the luxury to go shopping once a week buying brand new items and keeping "in" with the latest trends - it's about thinking how you can benefit those less fortunate and how we all could try and change this industry I still dearly love for the better.

Hopefully this post hasn't been too ranty as that's not what I want you take away from it. I just wanted to jot down my thoughts on all of this as it's something that is fresh in my mind and in my changing lifestyle but is also something I already feel incredibly passionate about. In the light of Fashion Revolution Week last week which saw many of us take to social media to ask brands to be transparent and tell us exactly who made our clothes and where, this whole topic couldn't be more current to chat about. If you'd like more information on fast fashion and the impact it is having on the globe, Greenpeace released a fantastic online info booklet right before the infamous Black Friday sales to highlight the damage this is having and also regularly produce great articles and blog posts that get right down to the nitty gritty like this one.



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