Rosie @ Girl In Awe
Rosie doesn't like writing biographies, but she does like; cats, books, cake, photography, candles and sarcasm.
Rosie doesn't like writing biographies, but she does like; cats, books, cake, photography, candles and sarcasm.
One of my ongoing goals is to be more eco-friendly, which means buying products with less wasteful packaging, products that last longer, products that don’t harm the environment, or contain toxins.
I feel like more and more people are sharing similar goals of being more eco-friendly. Knowing where to start can be a bit overwhelming and baffling.
This blog post was first published last February and I’ve learned so much since then, so I wanted to update the post to share some more eco-friendly awesomeness with you.
Rid your bathroom of face wipes, cotton pads and cotton balls, and replace them with long-lasting washable and reusable versions. If you’re feeling particularly crafty there are even tutorials for making your own face scrubbies.
I have a serious issue with plastic waste. It doesn’t degrade and it pollutes every inch of our planet; it litters forest trails, is destroying the ocean, and is in our drinking water. A photographer recently shared this saddening image of a seahorse holding onto a cotton bud. This should not be happening.
Every plastic toothbrush that has ever existed is still sitting there in landfill. That shiz has not biodegraded. Get yourself a wooden toothbrush; it’s exactly the same, only it won’t sit in landfill in and haunt the planet for years to come. If you’re looking for recommendations, we have used Hydrophil and Humble Brush.
When I started this journey, toothpaste was perhaps the most bewildering thing for me. Why would toothpaste contain toxins? That did not compute for me.
A quick search online will produce more natural toothpastes, toothpowders and even recipes for making your own toothpastes and powders. As for personal recommendations, I really liked Ecodenta’s charcoal toothpaste. I’m currently trying out toothpowder from The Clay Cure. It’s definitely messier but I feel that it cleans my teeth just as well as toothpaste; whatever works best for you though.
We’ve got to talk about it. I was surprised to learn that 60% of tampon users in the UK flush tampons down the toilet. This causes blockages in sewers and can lead to them ending up in rivers and oceans. On top of that, your “standard” tampons and sanitary towels contain a horrendous cocktail of chemicals, including bleach.
I don’t know about you, but I have never considered the need to stick a load of chemicals in my insides. No ta.
Luckily, there are eco-friendly alternatives such as fabric sanitary towels or menstrual cups. While the initial cost is probably more than you would spend on your period in two or three months, you will save money in the long run because you won’t have to repurchase each month.
If you’re too squeamish or grossed out by the thought of getting a bit too hands on or washing sanitary towels out, look for organic cotton products, with biodegradable packaging. And if you’ve been flushing your sanitary products, stop. Should you find yourself worrying about what to do in public toilets without bins, FabLittleBag’s* oxo-biodegradable bags are easy to use and are discreet so you can slip it in the bin outside the stall.
If your Pinterest page is anything like mine, you don’t have to look hard to find recipes for DIY skincare and makeup.
Unfortunately, our skincare and cosmetic products can be bad for us and the environment due to the array of toxins inside them. I could write an entire blog post on the toxins in skincare and cosmetics (and maybe I will?); if you’re interested in learning more I highly recommend reading There’s Lead In Your Lipstick by Gill Deacon. It’s an eye-opening and seriously informative read that will change the way you look at the contents of your makeup drawer.
There’s good news though! You can make your own skincare and cosmetic products, there are so many recipes floating around the internet, and it’s really fun to make things yourself. There are also a load of companies who sell eco-friendly and people-friendly products. A few of my favourites are;
Trying to buy eco-friendly toilet roll is one of the biggest headaches of my shopping trip. Primarily because everything seems to come wrapped in non-recyclable plastic packaging. Daz came home from the supermarket the other day and told me he’d spent ages squishing toilet roll packaging in Tesco trying to figure out which wrapping was recyclable. The Padawan is learning.
Actually finding eco-friendly toilet paper isn’t that hard though, it’s the packaging that’s the issue. Look for recycled toilet roll with the FSC logo and paper made without dyes. Mindful Mum has a really good UK-specific guide for buying more eco-friendly toilet paper.
I actually like cleaning, what I don’t like is the stench of cleaning products lingering in the back of my throat for hours, unnecessary harsh chemicals, and warning signs all over the bottles. You just don’t need it.
If you live in the UK, you might well remember Kim & Aggie’s How Clean Is Your House and their obsession with baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice, and that’s because it works. A quick search on Pinterest for DIY bathroom cleaners will give you plenty of inspiration and recipes.
I’m yet to actually make my own cleaning products because I can buy eco-friendly cleaning products fairly easily. The two cleaning brands we use in our house at Method and Ecover. You can find both in Tesco and Asda (I think I’ve seen them in Sainsburys too) and they work just as well as the ones full of harsh chemicals.
Most new toilets are low-flow. You can also install low-flow showerheads, cut down on the time spent in the shower, turn the tap off when you’re not using it, switch to LED lightbulbs, and fix any drips.
*PR sample – this does not affect or sway my opinion because I cannot be bought! (This was from the original post in 2016.)
Renting a car for the first time while traveling (or even at home) can be a little daunting. We’ve all heard horror stories of people get stung by rental companies, but if you know what to look for you can make sure you’re covered.
This blog post began life almost a year ago, when I was planning my first trip to Canada. I knew I wanted to get to a lot of different places and while Banff and Jasper have good public transport, it wasn’t quite going to be able to cut what I wanted to do.
Back then I had never hired a car before or driven on the ‘other side’ of the road. Both of those things were really scary to me, and in addition to that I was worried I would get ripped off somewhere. It all turned out perfectly fine though, so I wanted to share a few tips that helped me when I was looking to hire a car for the first time. Just remember that different places will have different prices. An American company will differ to a British one. So if you were looking at a car rental company like Aries Hire, which is a British company, then it will be different to an American one.
1. Read the terms and conditions
How many times have you wondered, “When does anyone ever actually read the full terms and conditions?” This is one of those times that you need to read the Ts & Cs. I only discovered in some companies Ts & Cs that under 25s wouldn’t actually be covered by their CDW, despite their website saying I would be covered with it when I asked for a quote and even included my age. I think that’s pretty bad practice and very sneaky, but you will be the one who gets stung if you have an accident.
Luckily, the Ts & Cs are not actually that long anyway and most of them were pretty well broken up, so it’s not a huge chore.
2. Will you be charged for crossing state or international borders?
Something I also discovered in the Ts & Cs was that some companies will charge you extra to take a car out of state, province, or crossing an international border. I know, it seems ridiculous, but the last thing you want is either an unexpected charge when you return the car or being pulled over by the Police and arrested because technically you’re driving the car somewhere without the rental companies permission.
If you plan on driving into another country, state, or province, check with the hire company first to make sure they will allow it and find out about any charges.
Both Hertz and Avis told me they wouldn’t charge me extra to drive from Alberta into British Columbia if I was returning the car to the same location.
3. Are you going on a ferry?
I actually discovered this a few weeks back when we booked our hire car for this summer. If you are going on a ferry you may need to let your rental company know. We’ve rented with Hertz who told us we need to tell them when we pick the car up and that there’s no extra charge for it. It’s probably worth contacting your hire company before you book to find out how you need to let them know in case you need to tell them before you pick it up.
4. Young driver surcharges
If you are under 25 years old, you will probably find yourself having to pay extra for being so darn youthful. Most quotes I saw were about $25-30CAD per day for under 25s.
Be careful when you’re looking at prices because it seemed that most companies would give you a price to reserve / pay for the car in advance, but the young driver surcharge is an additional cost (like adding an extra driver, or hiring a GPS) which won’t be included in that price and you can’t pay for it until you pick your car up.
There isn’t a way around this charge (apart from getting older). If you’re traveling with other people and want to save money, speak to the other people you’re traveling with and see how they feel about you not driving. It will be more cost effective if an under 25 doesn’t drive, but if you’re covering long distances it might be worth the additional cost.
5. Does the Loss Damage Waiver actually cover you?
As I mentioned earlier on, at least one rental company’s website quotes will allow you to say that you are 24 or younger and will say LDW has been included in the price of your quote, and yet when you read the fine print, you aren’t covered. I emailed Budget to try and clarify this and they got back to me saying that I wouldn’t actually be covered and would be responsible for the first $5,000CAD in damage.
Read the fine print, email or call the company and get clarification if you are unsure because you don’t need a horrible surprise like that.
6. Fuel options
There are usually two fuel options; full to full or pre-paid. Full to full simply means that when you return the car you need to make sure the petrol tank is full. To compensate for that you should find that the car has a full \ almost full tank of fuel when you pick the car up.
The pre-paid option means that you pay for whatever fuel is in the tank when you pick it up, and it’s best if you drop it off with as little fuel in as possible. However, you will probably find your rental company will charge more per litre than a petrol station will.
Rental Cars has a useful guide to help you figure out what is best for you because there are advantages and disadvantages to both depending on what you’re doing.
Handy tip: Do your research beforehand to find out where the closest fuel station is to the airport. Some airports have petrol stations, some do not. We discovered this the hard way because I’ve been away with friends before who have hired cars and the airports had petrol stations at them. Since Calgary International is a huge airport, I thought there would be a petrol station there. There is not. We had to hurriedly drive around trying to find one.
7. The cheapest isn’t always best
When I started doing my research I found some prices seemed way too cheap to be true and that’s because they were. The initial price looked great but they’d not included the costs of other things (like CDW and LDW) that other hire companies include in their quote price. So, by the time these things were added on it wasn’t cheaper at all.
You also don’t need me to tell you that the cheapest company isn’t always the best. Make sure you do some research or use a comparison website which has ratings and reviews from customers.
8. Have you got a credit card?
Oh, this one really annoyed me. I don’t think this is standard the world over (because I’m sure a friend hired with a debit card before) but in Canada you cannot hire a car without a credit card. Some companies will let you book or pre-pay with a debit card but you must have a credit card when you pick the car up so they can hold money on it.
I had never had a credit card and didn’t ever want one, but I had to take one out so that I could hire a car. I went into the bank, explained exactly what I wanted one for, and got the most basic one I could.
While it is annoying to have to get a credit card specifically for hiring a car, it was useful in a way. The rental company will put a certain amount of money on hold in your account, which means you can’t get at it and it can sometimes take a couple of weeks for you to be able to access that money. Therefore, it’s useful for you to have a different card for them to hold money on, allowing you to actually use your debit card.
9. Don’t pay extra for GPS
One of the biggest fears when you’re driving somewhere new can be “how are we going to get from A to B without GPS?” Of course, you’ve got good old maps but if that’s not your thing there are some other ways to navigate without paying a hefty extra cost.
If you already have a SatNav find out if it has maps for your destination. In the UK it’s quite common for SatNavs to come with maps for the UK and Europe, and some may also include faraway destinations such as the US or Canada as standard. If they don’t cover your destination, find out if you can download maps for your SatNav. We have a Mio and you can rent Canadian maps for 30 days for €20, much cheaper than hiring a SatNav off a rental company.
If that isn’t an option, download Google Maps offline before you go. Google Maps is free and as long as you do it before you go, or while connected to wifi, you won’t get hit by roaming data costs. PC Advisor has an article explaining how to do this.
You may also find that the place you’re going is so well sign-posted that you don’t need maps. We found that Banff and Jasper was so well sign-posted we only used the SatNav two or three times, and I think one of those was from the airport and the other was too the airport. Though, we didn’t really need it then either.
10. Local road rules & weather
Is there anything about the place you’re visiting which requires you to be extra careful, take out extra cover, or have specific things in your car?
11. When you pick the car up
The person on the desk will more than likely try to sell you something else, some other kind of cover like “OMG IT’S WEDNESDAY COVER! This cover protects you against Wednesdays.” (They have cover for everything.) Before you pick the car up, make sure you understand exactly what you’re covered against and what you’re not. If you’re worried that you’re not completely covered you can take out zero excess insurance in your own country before you go that will cover you completely, and will probably be cheaper.
Make sure you give the vehicle a good checking over before you go and ensure all damage to the vehicle is noted on the contract and take photos of all sides of the car before you go. Similarly, do the same thing when you drop the car back so you can provide you haven’t caused any damage.
Have you ever taken a road trip?
Hallo from beautiful, snowy Reykjavik. It’s been a while since I’ve had time to even think about blogging, but that’s what happens in your third year at university! It’s ironic that I have to go on holiday to find time to blog.
Anywho, I’ve seen a lot of Instagram Top 9s floating about recently, and thought it would be fun to take a look back at what’s happened this year.
1. Moraine Lake, Canada
Moraine Lake is mine and Daz’s “mind palace”. It’s one of the few places I’ve been that leaves you feeling a little breathless and in complete awe that you’re stood where you are and are seeing what you’re seeing. The colour of the lake is exactly as it is in this photo (Canada has little need for photoshop, by the way) and with the mountains towering over the lake, it’s just so perfect. If you’re ever in British Columbia or Alberta, do not miss Moraine Lake.
2. Fantastic baths and where to find them
This was taken really recently, when I broke up for Christmas. As well as a serious lack of blogging, there has been a severe lack of reading books that aren’t text books this year. There’s not much I can do about that, but relaxing in a bath, having a quick read is a nice way to unwind for a moment or two.
3. Just some book porn
Fellow bookworms will appreciate the feeling of accomplishmen of rearranging a bookshelf.
4. Autumn mornings
I remember this so clearly. I’d gotten up early to meet my project supervisor and I was in time, until a friend messaged and told me the meeting time had changed. Initially, I was annoyed at getting up an hour earlier than needs be, but then I realised it would give me chance to amble around the park and enjoy autumn.
5. Why early mornings are worth it
It was our final morning in Canada, and Diaz got me up at 7am to show me how beautiful Two Jack Lake looked with the reflection of the mountains and the clear sky. I am so glad he was up early to see this because this is one of my favourite memories of that trip.
6. Emerald Lake is better in person than on Facebook
Emerald Lake in Yoho National Park is one of those places that frequently pops up on Facebook travel pages. Just before we went, my sister tagged me in one of those posts and I am so glad she did. We visited the lake on our first morning and it really set the tone of the trip for us.
7. San Francisco sunsets
I took this photo the first night I stayed in San Francisco and I doubt that I’ve ever seen a sunset like it. The colours were so vivid and the way you can just about see the end of the Golden Gate Bridge in the back of the photo makes this one of my favourite photos.
8. Books and beans
I’m not entirely sure why this photo is one of my top nine to be honest. It’s pretty simple; books and beans on toast. Maybe that’s it? Who doesn’t love sitting down and reading while very carefully eating as not to spill food on your books?
9. The best way to spend an afternoon
I’m not sure if this was taken on a Sunday, but it looks a lot like the ‘perfect Sunday’ kind of activities. There’s a nice toasty drink, some good music, and a selection of books to keep you going until Sunday dinner.
One of my favourite things about an adventure is the planning part. I love falling into hours of research, photos, blog posts, videos, and reviews; it’s kind of my thing. (Maybe I should become a travel agent…)
I have four full days in San Francisco, and I’m taking a day trip to Yosemite on one of those days, which gives me just three days to explore some of the top places to visit in San Francisco.
See the Golden Gate Bridge & watch the sun set
Let’s get the obvious one out the way here; when you think of San Francisco, you think of the Golden Gate Bridge in it’s imposing red glory. I’ve seen some absolutely stunning shots of the bridge around sunset and I’m desperate to come home with my own photo like the one above. I MUST DO IT!
See the sea lions at Pier 39
There’s a joke in my family that my Nan’s Labrador, Bert, looks a bit like a Sea Lion; it’s the shape of his snout and his whiskers; it’s very silly. I was scrolling through Pinterest one day when I saw that SF’s Pier 39 is home to over 1,000 sea lions. There’s not a chance I can go to San Francisco and not visit Bert’s Californian cousins. I’ve also told him that I’m going to bring him back a stuffed seal (as in a toy, not a taxidermy seal) to play with and he will never talk to me again if I’m not true to my word. (San Franciscans; tell me I can buy stuffed seals…please?)
Stand amongst the red woods
A few years ago, a friend gave me a tour of his university campus and amongst their mini-forest was a handful of redwoods. I remember him telling me that some of the largest can be seen in SF, and I’ve wanted to see them for myself ever since.
I just love the idea of spending a few hours surrounded by trees that are hundreds of years old and that absolutely dwarf me.
Japanese tea garden
This is going to sound really sad, but one of my favourite parts about going to Alton Towers is wandering through the valley down to the Japanese part of the garden. I know, I know, I’m supposed to tell you my favourite part is riding rollercoasters, but nope, I like pagodas.
I actually found out about San Francisco’s Japanese tea garden while reading Lola and the Boy Next Door (thanks again Stephanie Perkins, my literary tour guide!), rather than TripAdvisor which is where normal people decide where to go, and I’ve wanted to go since reading about it.
The Painted Ladies
Nope, I’ve never watched Full House but I really want to see these houses. I’m not hyping them up in my head because they’re just houses at the end of the day, but they’re so beautiful that I just want to see them in person.
Ride a cable car
I tend to avoid public transport when I’m away, I prefer to explore (and get lost) on foot, but I’ve seen how steep some of the hills are in SF and you just can’t visit SF and not ride a cable car.
This is where the hippie movement started in the 60s, and with such beautiful buildings, street art and record shops, it has everything I want in a place to go. The hardest part about this trip might well be stopping myself buying records because they’re just not going to survive two flights.
Good Morning and hello W e e k e n d?Guess what Time it is.? Nothing better than having a Stack of beloved Blueberry Pancakes plus lots of fresh Berries on Top-yummy!?? ?This super easy, healthy and so delicious Recipe is already up on my Blog. And did you check yesterday Evening’s new Recipe?? So, and again I started my Day with a sunny Run outside and damn it was definitely too hot.??Off to Salzburg doing some Shopping later.?? What are your Plans? Let me know!? And prepare yourself for aother new Blogpost tonight.? Xoxo #breakfast #pancakes #pancakeday #food #weekend
Eat pancakes for breakfast
This might seem like the daftest thing on the list, but I really want to eat proper American style pancakes for breakfast. It’s not that you can’t get them in England, it’s just that I want to eat proper American pancakes for breakfast, and there are few things more enjoyable than going out for breakfast, right?
Collect another t-shirt
Mega tourist alert moment. I love the Hard Rock Cafe and collect t-shirts, so I definitely need to add a San Francisco one to my collection. Plus, I’m fairly certain my Mother will never let me back in her house if I don’t take her a badge back.
Ok, so this isn’t actually in San Francisco but if you think I’m flying all the way to California and not visiting Yosemite, you’re crazy.
I’m booked on a day trip out to Yosemite and it’s gonna be a long day, but so worth it because I just know that I would be really disappointed if I didn’t go.
Is there anything I should add to the list?
Brand New Eyes is an album I always underrate, until I listen to it and then I wonder how on earth it’s not my favourite Paramore album.
I think that this was pretty much the only CD I had in my car for the first 6 months after it came out, and I just listened to it over and over again. Perhaps I listened to it to death and that’s why I tend to underrate it. I’m my own worst enemy sometimes.
My favourite memory of this album was when Paramore played Birmingham with You Me At Six as support. I think it was one of the first gigs Tom and I went to together, and it was such a good show. I believe that tour was the first time Paramore played arenas in the UK and I couldn’t help but feel a little proud of them, after seeing them tour Riot! in a much smaller venue a couple of years earlier.
To be honest, I could list every song on the album under here and it took a fair bit of deliberation to narrow it down to just four songs. (Luckily for you, you can listen to the entire album either on Spotify or YouTube.)
Tell me about an album you underrate, until you listen to it.
I’ve been stuck in a bit of a reading rut for most of 2016 so far. That’s not to say I haven’t read some great books though, but I’ve struggled to find time to really get into books.
At the time of writing this, I have four books on the go:
There are thousands and thousands of blog posts floating about sharing tips on how to get out of a reading rut. But sometimes, all the tips in the world don’t work and you just need to give it time.
I keep scrolling through Instagram (shameless plug, you can find me here @eatreadglam) and getting all excited about people’s enthusiasm for something they’ve just read, or something they’re about to read, and wishing I felt the same. That said, I am having a hard time not buying A Court of Mist and Fury right now BECAUSE IT LOOKS SO BEAUTIFUL AND SURELY BEAUTIFUL BOOKS WILL PULL ME OUTTA THIS FUNK. RIGHT?
WRONG. The reason I’m stuck in a reading rut is because I’ve got so much going on with university and my job. I have never been one of those people who can steal five minutes with a book here and there. I’m one of those people who gets fully invested and sucked in and will not be moved from the sofa for at least an hour, and finding a spare hour feels increasingly hard at the moment.
There’s no point forcing it because I know I won’t enjoy what I’m reading if I do that, and my second year is almost at an end, so I’ll have time to read over the summer.
Sometimes, you have to ignore all the tips and just wait; just wait until you get that time when the house is quiet, there’s nothing gnawing at the back of your mind reminding you to do something, and you can relax and fall into someone else’s head.
Well, we’re here again; at long last, Game of Thrones is back on TV! And, yeah, it’s the start of a new month yet again.
BLOG – Life With A View
I discovered Jeannie’s blog after seeing one of her blog posts about things to do in Reykjavik, and since then I’ve been excitedly reading each update she shares about things to do and see in Iceland, and what it’s like for an American expat living hthere.
BLOG POSTS I LOVED
April’s playlist was allll over the place. I’d got some Twin Atlantic, HalfNoise, Of Monsters and Men, the two new tracks of PVRIS’ deluxe edition of White Noise, and two throwback tunes from Avril Lavigne’s Under My Skin – just to name a few.
I binge-watched series two of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and THAT ENDING! I NEED TO TALK TO SOMEONE ABOUT HOW IT ENDED!
Game of Thrones is back on TV, so that’s always good. And Tom and I have finally started watching Orange Is The New Black – I don’t know why it’s taken us this long, because it’s so good.
April wasn’t a great reading month at all, but I did enjoy doing a buddy read of The Glittering Court by Richelle Mead with Llinos from The Lilac Linnet.
I snuck in another trip to Nando’s, so for the second month in a row I’m going to rave about their veggie wrap. It’s bliss.
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What did you enjoy in April? Feel free to leave links.