Self care, skin care,
& nurturing Mother Nature.

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

March 31, 2020

#10x10 Wardrobe Challenge: March

Hello folks! It's finally the end of what feels like the longest and most dramatic month we've ever had. At the start of March, I was looking forward to seeing friends, celebrating my first ever Mother's Day and also celebrating my birthday but, due to everything going on right now, a lot of the month was spent indoors, not knowing what day it is.

That being said, my 10x10 this month was pretty good. Just a quick refresh: my 10x10 is 10 items of clothing, 10 outfits, over 10 days! I got wear out of some items that I don't usually wear, got to put some new-to-my-wardrobe pieces on and take them for a test drive, and it also helped me decide which items I'm actually no longer a fan of and will be rehoming to someone else in future. So here's what I wore this past month:

1. One thick tan brown mock neck jumper: eBay (Zara)
2. One knitted navy tank top/vest: eBay (unbranded)
3. One linen white button shirt: old (Topshop)
4. One pair of mid wash blue jeans: old (Asos)
5. One pair of black culottes: old (unbranded)
6. One pair of dark grey/charcoal wool masculine trousers: The British Heart Foundation (vintage)
7. One cream needlecord dress: Barnardos (Olive)
8. One pair of checkerboard Vans: christmas gift (Vans)
9. One pair of black leather O-ring detail brogues/loafers: Save the Children (Marks & Spencer)
10. One pair of black zip up chunky boots: Depop (Zara)

Additional accessories:
- Black tights: Swedish Stockings
- Black socks: Organic Basics
- Beige mac: Vinted (Primark)
- Black bumbag: The British Heart Foundation (unbranded)
- Black crossbody bag: Christmas gift (Charles & Keith)
- Beige crossbody bag: old (unknown brand)
- Snake print bumbag: eBay (Mango)
- Navy padded tote bag: Depop (Cos)

Planning for April feels a little impossible - I asked those of you who follow me over on Instagram if you still wanted to see a 10x10 for this next month and you said yes but, let's be real - I'm wearing an awful lot of pyjamas and yoga pants at the moment with being stuck indoors! However, I do feel that this will help me get dressed each day for a couple of weeks and therefore might ignite some enthusiasm/motivation in me that I seem to have lost over the last two weeks.

So far I'm thinking comfort that is truly reflective of reality for many of us right now but, also something I'd happily just throw a pair of shoes on with and a coat and go out for essentials shopping. So if you want to see what mismatch Spring fashion I come up with this April, make sure to follow along on Instagram then check back here at the end of the month for all the fine details on the items.

Stay safe, stay indoors, I hope you're all doing well!

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March 26, 2020

Remaining Sustainable during the Pandemic: It's Tough!

I've been in two minds about posting about COVID-19 here because although I've passionately been shouting my opinion into the voids of Twitter and on my Instagram stories, I didn't want to appear like I was gaining anything from discussing it. I mean, I'm not, but I didn't want others to see me as using it for page views etc. but you know what? It's damn important that we talk about what's going on right now but it's also important that we address a bit of an elephant in the room right now. That elephant is sustainability.

I've seen a few people online discussing whether or not sustainability can actually be sustainable during this crisis and it got me thinking. I know that I for one have loosened my usual ethics when it comes to consuming over the past few weeks because of the pandemic. In the UK, we've seen a huge surge in panic-buying and it has left supermarket shelves bare with no stock, online orders not being available for over 10 days, and websites having to put customers in a queuing system like they're buying gig tickets not their groceries. "The world's gone mad!" is being thrown around and amongst the hysteria, being sustainable has been forgotten about.

I'll be the first to say that I am not being my best sustainable self right now. I am buying whatever food is available and not giving a second thought to the packaging it comes in. I've had to buy products from the supermarket that I would usually order online that are more eco-friendly and/or cruelty free etc. but due to the delays in delivery times, I've had no other choice. This isn't meant to come across as a "woe is me" post but rather a comfort for those of you who are also trying to live as low waste and consciously as possible. You're not in this alone. This global pandemic is reeking havoc everywhere and you should not feel guilty for having to set aside your usual ethics during this time. Whether it's consuming some dairy right now despite your usual vegan diet or buying regular tampons because you can't get ahold of organic - you need to get what you can and if these things are a necessity to you or provide some form of comfort/security, and that's okay. Don't attach guilt to them. Guilt is not welcomed here.

With all that being said, there's some small things you can do to keep your sustainable self afloat throughout this pandemic whilst you're social distancing or isolating. Of course there are bigger things to worry about but, hopefully this post will give you some food for thought and again, bring you some comfort. I know a lot of people - myself included - are struggling with the change in their day-to-day life and knowing that it has become more restricted, so this is a way for me to keep a handle and form of control over what I can. It gives me a sense of normality during a very abnormal time:

COVID-19 Mutual Aid
COVID-19 Mutual Aid is for volunteers who want to help those most in need during this time. The outbreak of this virus has given many of us a glimpse into what it is like to truly be a marginalised member of society. For me, it has made me appreciate more so why individuals may not show concern for the planet because poverty means it can't even be on your radar. If you're financially strained due to loss of work, you're not going to be buying the eco-friendly options which tend to be a bit pricier. You're not going to be rejecting certain foods based on their packaging when just knowing you will have a meal is good enough.

With that being said, use this time to appreciate what you have, what you've had up until now, and what others might need. If you can help as a volunteer, that's great! Check what neighbours might need, friends, family, and please let someone else know if you're in need too! Donate to charities which are helping and be available for others if you can be.

Support independent business
Supporting people on an individual ground-level basis is great but, so many small and independent businesses are going to struggle in the coming weeks and months. If you need to buy anything - whether it's food, homeware, a birthday present - please consider shopping small and independent.

Check if local farm shops are doing online deliveries and get your groceries from there. Check if your local independent cafes are doing the same. If you're worried about things not turning up in time for a special event or if you're worried about contact with delivery drivers/the postman or don't want to give them more deliveries to do, you can always see if the brand have a gift card option. This means you can support them with your dollar now and reap the benefits for yourself later. Get a gift card for your favourite local restaurant. Get one for your mum's birthday from a nice handmade skincare company. Buy your friend's new baby a gift card for nursery decor or baby essentials.

Consume "stuff" consciously
During our isolation, no one should feel pressured to be productive or start the 578 pastimes they'd like to try but, what you can do is access all the good things we have available to us. Things such as eBooks on Audible, or watching shit tons of Netflix shows, or listening to those albums you've been meaning to get through... Those who work in the entertainment industry have been hit hard during this pandemic so instead of buying needless things such as clothing or makeup during this time, think about buying a band's album or an audio book - you're helping those who need a lift in their income right now whilst also not accumulating more physical stuff (necessarily).

Challenge ecofascism
Some social media accounts and individuals have been celebrating environmental changes which have occurred in the wake of this outbreak of coronavirus and rightly so, it has left a sour taste in a lot of people's mouths. Whilst these changes may be positive, it's important to remember that this virus is claiming a lot of people's lives and any celebration of the "side effects" of that is not okay. Hopefully these environmental changes will make big corporations and businesses realise the impact they are having on the planet but that's all we can (and should) hope for.

Meal prep
Although we might be having to buy whatever is available at the moment, making sure you actually use everything you buy can help you be more sustainable during your isolation. If there's lots of fresh fruit or veg available when you go to do a restock of your cupboards, don't be put off by them being perishable items. Using fresh veg to make an abundance of soup that can be kept in the freezer is a safe bet. Roast lots of veggies and again, pop them in the freezer until they're needed.

If you need recipe recommendations or inspiration, Jack Monroe is using her Twitter hashtag #JackMonroesLockdownLarder and you can tweet any food you have lying around and Jack will give you some ideas of what to do with it!

Stock-take your pantry
Sticking with food as it's become a major concern for many during the pandemic: stock-take your own cupboards and fridge to see what you're missing. This was something that I saw Jack Monroe tweet about and I think it's excellent advice, particularly if you're trying to be as sustainable as possible. We all know that panic buying is contagious and we could all be victims to buying things "just because" so by stock-taking what you have, you can properly work out what you're lacking or what you may need to make a full meal.

Jack's advice is to fold a piece of A4 into 4s and have: Carbs, Fruit & Veg, Protein, and Flavours as your sections so you can see if you really need certain products and also so you can work out how many meals you may have over the next few days without buying more. This will ultimately help you get the most out of what you have and stop food waste.

Re-purpose whilst you're home
Do you have things lying around that are no longer serving their purpose? Do you have socks with holes in them, skincare tubs that are destined for recycling, food waste that could be actually be put to good use? Those socks could be used as dusting cloths around the house. Those tubs could be used to store things like half a lemon in the fridge or a DIY face mask that you've made. That food waste could put in a container to break down to then be used in the garden as a compost aid. Whilst we may be stuck inside the box, we have a little more time to think outside of it!

Re-wear your clothes!
Although I'm someone who likes to shower everyday, I will re-wear clothing until it doesn't feel clean to. This is going to save you money on your energy bill and also is helping you be just a little more sustainable. It will also increase the longevity in your clothing in the long run as items won't lose their shape or pill/bobble as much. If you're comfortable with not showering everyday too - absolutely go for it! Again, save energy and also money by not using up your products as quickly.

Make a list of the sustainable changes you'd like to make in future
Planning for when this is all over can be a nice escape for some. If you're one of those people, maybe make a list of some things you'd like to change going forward. Maybe you'd like to use more "naked" packaging free products. Maybe you'd like to start shopping exclusively secondhand for fashion. Maybe you'd like to try a vegan diet. Feeling positive about your future and things you want to do to feel more sustainable is absolutely a step in the right direction right now.

The best thing to remember is this should be temporary. Any changes you've had to make to your usual ethics and lifestyle can be changed back once we're out the other side of this. Please look after yourselves whereever you are, listen and follow guidelines and protocol, and maybe we'll be out the other side of this in time for summer.

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March 23, 2020

Book Club No.22

I know, I know... It's March 2020 and I'm only just posting about my last two reads of 2019 - I've been busy okay? Okay. I finished my year of reading on a high and although I didn't hit my 2019 reading challenge on Goodreads, I at least read some great books and that's what it's all about!

My last two reads of 2019 were so completely opposite of each other but were both fantastic in their own rights. Whether it's extremely immersive fiction you like or contemporary non-fiction that *everyone* should read, I've got you covered:

Monsters of Men: The Third Novel of Chaos Walking by Patrick Ness
I reviewed Book One and Book Two last year of this trilogy so of course, here is the third and final instalment to finish off the most epic of stories. The Chaos Walking trilogy is easily some of the best of Ness' work and the whole series has become a firm favourite for me. I'm a huge fan of Ness due to his writing style and fantastic range of worlds, characters, and stories but, this one just knocks so much out of the park.

I was so worried about starting this because A) it's a hell of a hefty read and B) it would be the end of a series I had so thoroughly enjoyed but, I was not disappointed. Just like Book 2, Ness has Book 3 pick up right where 2 left off and kept the chaotic story rolling. It doesn't have the same pace as the previous books and isn't as shocking as Book 2 but, because the pace and shock-factor slow slightly, it helps create this build up of tension towards the world-ending war that's about to begin.

This final book sees the start of a vicious war - the humans are fighting amongst themselves: the Mayor/President fighting the Answer, the humans fighting the native Spackle, and Todd and Viola are caught up in the middle of it all; unsure of who to trust. Ness manages to write the characters in even more depth in this final book. Mistress Coyle for example could be a freedom-fighter on one page then come across as a terrorist who has become consumed by the idea of power. The Mayor is almost likeable at points and you feel yourself siding with his logic then you remember how much of an awful person he has been up until now. It can leave you as the reader feeling frustrated (in a good way), wanting to shout at characters and give them a good shake and honestly? The whole ride is just as emotionally exhausting as the two previous books.

The Spackle play a much bigger part this time around and they're added into the story really well. 1017 becomes a third narrator and at first, I found his chapters hard to delve into because they changed the tempo and pace of the book but I quickly warmed up to them and realised that change was necessary to demonstrate and drive the idea home how different the Spackle race are to the humans. There's a great development in all the characters which helps illustrate maturity for Todd and Viola and of course, their relationship blossoming adds to this (and I for one didn't hate the romance blooming - it was predictable but a glimpse of something lovely in such a miserable and grey storyline).

Yet again, Ness has managed to create a story that you can't put down. You have to know what's going to happen next. It makes you cry, get angry, feel relieved, grieve... it made me feel it all. Although I think Ness hit it out of the park again with this final instalment, I still think Book 2 is my favourite of the 3. One of the reasons for this is because Book 3 reaches a point of surprise and shock but then didn't follow through (I'm about to give away a big part of the plot so spoiler warning!).

At a scene towards the end, Todd dies. The Mayor/President kills him - Viola and and Ben see it unfold and as the reader, it honestly ripped my fucking heart out. Although it could have been predictable, Ness somehow lulls you into a false sense of security that Todd has become invincible and he couldn't possibly kill off the main character. When it happened, I remember reading it in bed and turning to my boyfriend to say "what the actual fuck. Oh my God". But, I carried on reading and it turns out Todd is clinging on, he gets help. He is on the mend towards the end of the book and Viola is a big help in this recovery. It was then that it actually felt predictable and because the ride until now has been so dark, I actually felt that the loss of Todd may have made the story better; it would keep the bleakness until the very end.

The ending also arrives so abruptly, I felt like I was on a high-speed rollercoaster from just a few pages into Book One right up until the end of Book 3 and it just suddenly stops - just like when a rollercoaster halts in speed. It gave the ride authenticity but, I guess I would have just loved for the story to continue see more unfold. If you need a new trilogy to truly get lost and invested in, this is the one that will tick every box for you. You can pick up the trilogy for around £10 here

No One is too Small to Make a Difference by Greta Thunberg
A collection of the wonderful Greta Thunberg's speeches on the climate crisis, the environment, and how we all need to be holding big corporations, our government, and really - each other - more accountable for making positive changes. I'm a big fan of Greta and feel that she is a fantastically spirited young woman who speaks more sense than many individuals twice her age.

I love that her speeches are gathered in a little book like this because they're accessible for all. I hope my little boy will read them when he's older and learn more about the world through them. I feel that Greta can get a lot of flack in the mass media for her fight against the climate crisis we currently face but, she never seems to let the criticism dampen her spirit or principles. She's passionate and that passion is palpable through her words; they're just as powerful printed on paper as they are to listen to her speak them.

This is obviously a great book for anyone who is eco-conscious at all or would even make a great gift for someone who isn't - it may get them thinking about the environment more and now they can positively make changes to benefit it in their everyday life. The one downside of the book is that to read, it can be repetitive at times. This is at no fault of Greta - speeches are always going to reiterate the same points (especially when nothing is changing!) but reading it is a little different to hearing it. I still very much recommend this quick read though to all ages. Plus, it's under £2.50 to buy. Bargain. You can pick it up here

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