Earth Overshoot Day; changing the way we travel

Driving down the Icefields Parkway
 

Today is Earth Overshoot Day; the point in the calendar whereby we have used more natural resources than the planet can renew throughout the whole of the year. That’s a pretty sobering thought when there are almost five months left of 2017.

The Earth Overshoot Day website goes into more detail about what August 2nd represents and some of the things we can do to push that date back. It even allows you to calculate your global footprint. While it isn’t 100% perfect as it doesn’t include many countries on it, you can pick the one closest to you and it gives you some indication of what you could do to reduce your global footprint. According to my results, we would need 4.9 planets to support a world living the same way I do. That was a pretty surprising result as I thought I lived fairly greenly.

A couple of days ago, the UK government announced that it plans to cease sale of petrol and diesel cars (though not hybrid cars) by 2040. In comparison, India wants the same by 2030, and Norway only wants zero emission cars on their roads by 2025. Last month, Volvo announced that they will only introduce electric or hybrid vehicles after 2019. While it requires more work and money for a country to support that kind of change than for a company to stop producing a specific type of car, why is our government planning to fall 21 years behind Volvo, 15 years behind Norway, and 10 years behind India?

No, it’s not as simple as us replacing petrol and diesel cars with electric or hybrid versions, it will require culture shifts and a lot of investment in energy and public transport, but why are we aiming to fall behind?

The government estimate that air pollution is linked to 40,000 premature deaths per year, though it is hard to verify that figure. We know that air quality in some areas is poor, it can make existing conditions worse, and no one really wants to breath in dirty air, period. We know something needs to be done, but are our government doing enough, fast enough? These are just some of the issues that need to be tackled to change the way we think about travel.

Green energy

It’s all well and good harping on about how green electric cars are, but how green are the energy sources charging that car? If an electric car is charged using electric from fossil fuels, it isn’t truly emission free; albeit, the emissions are being emitted from a power station, not the car directly.The UK government is woefully behind other European countries in terms of green energy. A few times a year, stories pop up about the likes of Germany or Sweden generating enough green energy to power the entire country for a day or two. It’s not perfect, but they’re on the right path and we need to follow suit.

The problems with UK public transport

If you’ve traveled to Europe, you will know how inadequate and expensive the British public transport system is in comparison. The UK rail networks are in need of upgrading but that isn’t a priority for the government, who recently scrapped plans to electrify key lines. It seems the only public transport system the government are interested in is HS2, which will tear up parts of the British countryside, will cost £55.7 billion (way above the £32.7bn originally estimated), and will probably be the rail equivalent of the M6 toll; that is, barely used.

We are moving to Edinburgh soon and our friends and family have been doing some research into the easiest and cheapest way to get to Edinburgh, which is about 270 miles from where we currently live. In my car (a 0.9l Renault Clio), it costs less than £30 in fuel one way. The train? Costs over £100. Where is the incentive for people to take public transport instead of their cars when it is so expensive? What’s worse is you could fit five people in the average car, which would drop the cost to £6 each in fuel, but everyone would still be paying £100 on the train.

On top of that, our networks need to expand their reach to encourage more people to take public transport. It takes me just under 20 minutes to drive 7.5 miles to work, but what if I wanted to take public transport? I can’t, safely. I would have to walk a couple of miles down an unlit country lane with no footpath, and it’s doubtful buses would be running when I finish at 1am.

That leads us nicely to cycling. To a lot of motorists, cyclists are considered to be a pain because UK roads aren’t quite wide enough to safely pass. This is even more problematic in rural areas. The Netherlands is a country we really need to learn from because it has been estimated that up to 70% of journeys in Amsterdam and The Hague are made on cycles.

Changing how we travel

Helping our environment does not just require a change in how our government thinks and our infrastructure works, it requires us to change our mindsets. We need to change the way we think about travel. While that does go hand in hand with improved public transport, we need to start walking or cycling more.

I include myself in that category. When we’re living outside Edinburgh, we probably won’t need the car much at all but it seems hard to give up that sense of freedom that comes with owning a car. Conversely, if public transport was better and cheaper, it wouldn’t be as hard.

It isn’t going to be completely pain free and easy, but we haven’t done our fair share in terms of protecting the world we live in for long enough and it’s time we step up and take responsibility.

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Three ways to begin clothes shopping more ethically on a budget

hanging clothing rail

Priscilla Du Preez

When I first began researching ethical clothing I was very daunted by the price of ethical clothing. While I wish I could solely buy from and support ethical clothing companies, it would cost me a small fortune – and I don’t even have a miniature fortune. Thankfully, there are other ways to begin shopping more ethically and consciously for less.

The initial surprise we have at the price of ethical clothing is a huge indication of the problem we have with understanding how our clothes are made. The reason we consider ethical clothes to be “expensive” is because ethical clothing companies pay their workers a fair wage. Whereas, that is not the case for cheap clothing we see in supermarkets or high street stores.

I used to primarily shop in Primarni or H&M because I’ve always been able to find something I like there and I’ve never actually had a problem with their clothing being poorly made. I’ve got Primark and H&M clothes in my wardrobe that I’ve had years.

Earlier this year, I began to learn about the impact fast fashion has on the people who make our clothes and the environment, and I was not happy about it at all. I began researching ethical clothing companies and was surprised when I began comparing the prices of things made ethically with things that aren’t. When you see a t-shirt being sold for £6 on the high street and a similar one going for £40, that indicates a serious problem with the fast-fashion system. If you want to learn more about fast-fashion, I highly recommend watching The True Cost. It really opened my eyes and demands we pay attention to the horrible truths we try to ignore.

 

Charity shops

Charity shops are a great place to begin shopping “ethically”. The chances that you will come across something from an ethical brand are incredibly slim but you are preventing a piece of clothing from going to landfill and sitting there for years. Your wallet will thank you kindly, and you’re giving your money to a worthy cause rather than supporting an immoral company. So it’s win-win-win all round.

I do feel like UK charity shops are not quite as awesome as Americans make their thrift stores out to be. I have ventured in all the charity shops in my town many times and the truth is that there is very rarely anything I like (I am particularly fussy, mind). This is always pretty disappointing because you read American bloggers who say “I went to the thrift store and got something I’d been looking for for aaaages”, and I’m thinking “well unless it’s the Twilight Saga (why are they in all charity shops?!) and an ill-fitting sequined dress, our charity shops are not as awesome as yours”. Americans, are your charity shops also filled with the Twilight saga and dresses that resemble 1920s lampshades?

Maybe it’s just my town. I don’t know. However, we do have a “charity superstore” which receives donations from high street retailers / supermarkets of clothes that might be missing a button, are slightly damaged, or are end of season. The place is amazing and it is always packed; you go in that place on a Saturday morning and it’s like Black Friday all over again.

It actually reminds me of the scene on Friends where Monica, Phoebe and Rachel go wedding dress shopping. Despite the terror of going in there when it’s busy, you can often find exactly what you’re looking for there.

 

eBay / other resale sites are available

It took me a while to dip my toes in eBay and it turned out to be some kind of quicksand because if I need something, my first port of call is now eBay. I am also trying to sell anything I don’t want or need anymore on eBay as well. I think I’m addicted, someone help.

It’s much easier to find exactly what you want, you might even be able to find ethical clothing on here too, it’s cheaper, and you can do it in your dressing gown while eating a pizza (which is probably frowned upon in charity stores).

There are of course other websites, such as Shpock (that advert annoys me a lot), DePop, GumTree, etc.

 

Clothing swaps

This is something my sister has been doing for years. That girl buys a lot of clothes, but guess who gets to inherit that stuff? Me. Whenever she has a clearout she offers her family and friends first pick before sending things to the charity shop. (I suspect this might be the reason charity shops in my town are full of things I don’t want.)

I have, over the years, gained some brilliant things from her; Adidas trainers that were in perfect nick and a barely worn comfy a-f gilet are my favourites.

If you’re due a clearout, why not encourage family or friends to do the same and then you can sift through each others stuff, have a swap and then donate what’s left over.

 

This list is definitely not exhaustive but for me it was about changing habit, because I’ve grown up with fast-fashion, and these three things were the easiest ways for me to change. As well as shopping more consciously, saving money, and supporting good causes, it can be a nice way to find unique items of clothing. It’s also worth shopping your own wardrobe from to time to time because you might find something you forgot you had.

 

I want to talk about your shopping habits; do you shop consciously? Do you have anything to add to my list?

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NARS, quit pretending to be appalled by animal testing & supporting it anyway

Rabbit

Although it seems to have blown up all over social media, you may have missed the news that NARS have decided to sell in China, where the government requires cosmetics to be tested on animals.

This is a huge backstep for a company loved by many people looking for higher end cruelty free products.

While the news itself was enough to anger a lot of customers, the way they dealt with the backlash is easily one of the worst PR responses I’ve seen. I’ve embedded their full response from Instagram below, but here’s the TL;DR: we hear you’re angry about us testing on animals, but we don’t give a flying fudge because we want more dollar.

 

 

We want you to know that we hear you. The global elimination of animal testing needs to happen. We firmly believe that product and ingredient safety can be proven by non-animal methods, but we must comply with the local laws of the markets in which we operate, including in China. We have decided to make NARS available in China because we feel it is important to bring our vision of beauty and artistry to fans in the region. NARS does not test on animals or ask others to do so on our behalf, except where required by law. NARS is committed and actively working to advance alternative testing methods. We are proud to support the Institute for In Vitro Sciences (IIVS), a globally recognized organization at the forefront of advancing non-animal methods in China and around the world. NARS is hopeful that together, we can work toward a cruelty-free world. For more on the good work IIVS is doing, see: http://bit.ly/2rVjnwV

A post shared by @narsissist on

Needless to say, the comment section on this post is alive with incredibly angry, previously loyal, customers who are accusing the company of selling out, which is exactly what they are doing. This is a company trying to weasel their way out of a bad decision. Sure, it’s great that you are supporting alternatives to animal testing, but what’s the point if you’re then going to carry out animal testing? The only way to stop governments demanding animal testing is to not comply with their demands and keep your products out of their market. You’re not going to encourage them to change their mind by doing what they want.

You don’t get to be outraged by animal testing and then support it anyway; it’s like bombing for peace. 

At this point, it seems fairly clear that NARS are not listening to their customers and are going to go ahead and sell in China. That being said, if you were previously a NARS fan, it might be worth emailing the company to let them know how unhappy you are and that you’re voting with your feet and taking your business elsewhere. If you’re interested in doing that, Cruelty Free Kitty has a great guide on what to say. I’ve given it a go, so let’s see what happens.

NARS are far from the only company who have decided to expand into the Chinese market, losing their cruelty free status. They are also far from the only company who claim not to like animal testing, who “support” alternatives, but test on animals anyway. Here are a handful of examples; you will find similar statements on pretty much every cosmetics company who tests on animals.

  • Estee Lauder are “committed to the elimination of animal testing”, but test where required by law. Amazing commitment there.
  • L’Oreal’s animal testing section on their website makes for a brilliant read: “L’Oréal does not test any its products or any of its ingredients on animals. Nevertheless, because our products are sold in China, L’Oréal still figures on the PETA list. In China, the health authorities still require and carry out animal testing for certain products.”
  • MAC, who were previously cruelty free, “do not test on animals” but will do if a regulatory body demands it…
  • Revlon’s statement is very confusing, as they claim they have not tested on animals since 1989 but then say “There are, however, a limited number of countries that have not yet adopted these alternative scientific methods. While Revlon complies with the requirements for safety in all of these countries”.

The wording of some companies policies is not always very clear, so the best way to make sure you’re supporting a cruelty free company is check the Leaping Bunny website.

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Capsule Wardrobe | Spring 2016 Update

Capsule wardrobe spring update

I’ve been having so much fun with my winter capsule wardrobe, that I was a little sad when I turned the page in my planner to see that it was time for a spring refresh.

Wearing 30-something items of clothing for three months sounded a little limiting, but for me it’s been quite the opposite and has given me chance to try out and find ‘my style’. As it turns out, it’s fairly monochrome and simple. 

Being able to go to the wardrobe and know I won’t have to look too hard to find an outfit for the day has made my mornings much easier. And to top to off, my wardrobe is definitely tidier – which makes fishing the cat out of there slightly easier. 

Over the last three months, I have identified some gaps in my wardrobe and filled them for my spring update. I’ve got 37 items of clothing in my capsule, though a few of those are ones I’m not too sure about and I’m going to give it a month and if I’ve not worn them much, they’ll be going.

When I posted about my winter capsule wardrobe, you wonderful people said you wouldn’t mind seeing the contents of my wardrobe. Your wish is my command.  I’ve included links to exact items where I can, but a lot of things aren’t for sale anymore, so I’ve included similar items instead.


Additions

Capsule Wardrobe Spring Update Additions 1

NAVY & WHITE ZIG ZAG COAT – PARAPHRASE

It was love at first sight when I saw this coat. It was exactly what I was looking for after my old coat got a bit tatty, bobbly and furry. The pattern is beautiful, it’s perfect for the changeable temperatures of spring, and it has pockets.

BLACK PINAFORE DRESS – NEW LOOK

The 90s trend is making me feel pretty old at the moment, though I do love reminiscing and the pinafore dress is my favourite piece of clothing from that trend. 

ANGIE BOYFRIEND JEANS – MANGO

These are the biggest surprise addition to my wardrobe. I’ve always liked the look of boyfriend jeans on other people, but wasn’t convinced that I could pull them off at all, but I’ve been getting some serious usage out of these.

 

Additions 3 - shirts and dresses

CREAM FINE KNIT JUMPER – FOREVER21 (SIMILAR)

This thing is so soft it’s unreal. I really like it but I had to put it in storage during my winter capsule as it’s just too thin to get any real use out of over the colder months, so I’m really looking forward to wearing this again.

BLACK LACE SHIRT – PRIMARK (Can’t really find anything super similar)

I’d completely forgotten I had this shirt, so it was a pleasant surprise when I rummaged through my storage drawer and found it.

GREY JERSEY DRESS – GEORGE (SIMILAR)

This is so comfy and simple, but to my annoyance I’ve spotted it’s got a stain on it – thinking about it, I think it was an accident with tomato sauce. I’m hoping I can get it out – if not, I shall weep.

 

Capsule Wardrobe Spring Update - Additions 2

BLACK SKIRT – H&M

If there’s one thing that was really lacking from my winter wardrobe, it’s a black skirt. I’m so particular when it comes to skirts in terms of the waistline and how long it is, that it took me ages to settle on a skirt I liked; once again, H&M did me proud.

LOW-TOP WHITE CONVERSE

After my Keds fell apart, there was a pump-shaped hole in my wardrobe, and you can’t go wrong with Converse.

BLACK BROGUES – TU

We all need a comfy pair of cute black shoes – especially when you’re on your feet for 10 hours at work. 

 

Additions shirts and shoes

CAT PRINT SHIRT – H&M (Can’t find anything super similar)

Because sometimes you need to show off your inner cat lady.

BLUE PLAID SHIRT – SUPERDRY (SIMILAR)

I don’t really wear this as much as I used to anymore but I can’t bare to throw it out, so I’m giving myself the run of this capsule wardrobe to see if I get any more use out if it. If not, it’s going – though that’s easy for me to say now.

LEOPARD PRINT VANS

It’s time to begin adding a splash of leopard print to my outfits again.

MINNIE MOUSE VANS

I don’t even need to say a thing about these.


Rollover

The things I loved so much from my winter wardrobe that I will be carrying over into the spring wardrobe.

Spring capsule wardrobe update - jackets and coats 1

THE COAT THAT BATTLES BRITISH WEATHER – SUPERDRY

As I said, my Superdry coat is non-negotiable. It’s warm, waterproof, has a hood, pockets, and it goes with everything. (Though, it does look a bit odd with dresses…)

THE “ELMO COAT” – TESCO (CIRCA 2010), SIMILAR

I rediscovered this bad boy when I started my capsule wardrobe. My mum bought it for me at least six years ago and it earned the nickname “the Elmo coat” when I went to New York and had a photo taken with Elmo in Time Square and I blended into him. With such a monochrome wardrobe, this is a fun way to brighten things up.

GREY HOODIE – SUPERDRY (Not exact – close enough)

There’s not much to say about this, apart from I can’t imagine a time where my wardrobe won’t contain a Superdry hoodie. 

 

Capsule wardrobe spring update - coats and jackets 2

MINNIE MOUSE JACKET – DISNEYLAND PARIS (Can’t find one all that similar)

This was my present to myself when we went to Disneyland Paris, and I need to wear it more – just look at the ears!

BLACK WATERFALL CARDIGAN – FOREVER 21

Everyone needs a nice, cosy black cardigan in their wardrobe.

GREY CHUNKY JUMPER – PRIMARK (SIMILAR)

This is so comfy and cosy, and goes with so much.

 

Spring capsule wardrobe update

MUSTARD JUMPER – FOREVER 21 (SIMILAR)

This formed part of my favourite outfit – paired with burgundy jeans, it just made such a lovely autumny / winter outfit.

CAT PRINT JUMPER – H&M  (SIMILAR)

I spotted this when I was in Stockholm last year, and it was the purrfect (see what I did there?) replacement for a cat jumper I’d thrown away a couple of months earlier due to overuse.

PLAID SHIRT – NEW LOOK (SIMILAR)

This is one of my most worn items of clothing and I’m pretty sure it will stay in my wardrobe until it falls to pieces.

 

Spring capsule wardrobe tshirts 1

WHITE AND BLACK LONG SLEEVED TOP – PRIMARK (SIMILAR)

I can’t get enough of stripes, and this is one of my most worn items.

BLACK AND WHITE BOXY TOP – PRIMARK (SIMILAR)

Because one stripy top isn’t enough. 

HARD ROCK CAFE T-SHIRT – STOCKHOLM (SIMILAR)

I’m impressed with myself that I only have two Hard Rock Cafe t-shirts in my wardrobe because I buy one from every HRC I go to.

 

Capsule wardrobe spring update tshirts 2

DEF LEPPARD T-SHIRT

As well as being one of my favourite bands, this is one of my favourite t-shirts. 

I’D RATHER BE A BOOKWORM THAN A BOOK DRAGON

Sometimes, you just need to tell the world about your love for books via your clothing.

BLACK HARD ROCK CAFE T-SHIRT (SIMILAR)

I just love this classic design. 

 

Capsule wardrobe spring update shirt and dress

WHITE SHIRT – FOREVER 21 (SIMILAR)

Admittedly, I’ve not worn this white shirt a huge amount but while taking the photos for this blog post I wondered why on earth not because it’s so versatile.

PLAID DRESS – FOREVER 21 (SIMILAR)

As this was the only dress in my winter capsule, it got a lot of usage and I’m definitely not ready to put it into storage. I think it’s one of those staple pieces that will only leave my wardrobe when it falls apart.

 

Capsule wardrobe spring update trousers

BURGUNDY SKINNY JEANS – NEXT (SIMILAR)

I really like adding a splash of colour with these.

PATTERNED SLACKS – H&M (SIMILAR)

These are pretty adventurous for me, and I’ve worn them much more than I thought I would. I love the cut and feel of them, and to be honest it took a lot of self control for me to not buy a pair in every pattern they do because they’re such pretty statement items.

RIPPED “JAMIE” JEANS – TOPSHOP

I never really understood the word “buttery” being used to describe jeans until I met these. They’ve had some serious usage during the 2 years I’ve had these; they’re just perfect. I know that £42 for a pair of jeans isn’t cheap, and I only bought them because I had a giftcard, BUT – I’ve worn them at least once a week for almost two years and they haven’t developed a hole (aside from the two Topshop put in) anywhere. I’m used to my jeans getting holes in the crotch well before now, so they’re well worth the money. In short, when they do wear out I will happily spent £42 on a new pair

 

Vegan black doc martens

BLACK VEGAN DOC MARTENS

When you’ve got a 20 minute walk in the rain, you need a pair of comfy, waterproof boots. 

 


To be confirmed

These are the items of clothing that I really like but haven’t worn as much as I’d like to. I’m going to give myself a month to wear these more, and if I don’t get more use out of them, I’ll remove them.

 

Spring capsule wardrobe update to be confirmed items

RED POLKA DOT SKIRT – ME (SIMILAR)

I made this last summer, but I’ve probably only worn it a handful of times, and I know I could get some more use out of this. I think part of the reason is that this is just too light for winter. 

CHAMBRAY SHIRT – TOPSHOP (SIMILAR)

I think I can count the amount of times I’ve worn this shirt during the past three months on one hand. I’m hoping to get some more use out of it this spring, though.

GREY CARDIGAN – CAN’T REMEMBER (SIMILAR)

This is so comfy and cosy, but I think it’s been a little neglected because it’s too thick to wear comfortably under a coat, but the weather isn’t quite warm enough yet to wear this.

 

Monki Hi 5 Shoes

HI 5 SHOES – MONKI

I love these shoes, but the last few times I’ve worn them they’ve hurt my feet. I’m going to give them another few wears and if they’re still torturing my feet – it’s out with them.

 

Phew, that is it; my spring capsule wardrobe. I hope you enjoyed having a nose at my wardrobe. It was a lot of fun to make this post, even if my family think I’m a little weird for it.

What are you adding to your wardrobe this spring?

 

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My favourite cruelty free beauty brands


When I first went cruelty free last year I felt overwhelmed. So many of the brands I loved were tested on animals and I was left wondering where I could find cruelty free brands on the high street.


Here are my favourite cruelty free brands.

Superdrug: All of Superdrug’s own brand products are cruelty free, which means you can get cruelty free hair dye, hair spray, face masks, shower gel and more. Result. 

Barry M: Cruelty free nail polish anyone? I’ve tried their eyeshadow and cheek palette and foundation also and it’s all really good. 

nSPA: Exclusive to ASDA, nSPA offer a great extensive and affordable range of skincare products, my favourite is their moisturiser. 

Sanctuary Spa + Soap & Glory: Both brands say they do not test on animals, so wahay for cruelty free high street shower, bath and pampering products.

LUSH: Before going cruelty free I’d never tried LUSH before but their skincare products are amazing and not that expensive really. For example a pot of their face cleanser is around £5 and lasts me two-three months. They also produce some great fragrances too, which are a bit tricky to come across at decent prices if you’re cruelty free. 

Elf: Another brand I hadn’t tried before going cruelty free. Their mineral foundation is great (a pot doesn’t last long though) and I love their blush. They have a massive range of really affordable products.

What is your favourite cruelty free brand? 
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Is it wrong to call girls pretty?

Typing this out I’m pretty darn giddy: I’ve had an article published in May’s edition of Fiterazzi magazine. 

Earlier this year I read an interview with Cameron Diaz where she spoke about her thoughts on calling girls pretty. That inspired me to write my own thoughts on it and weave in my own personal experiences.

That’s been published on Fiterazzi and perhaps more excitingly, it’s on the cover of their May edition!

If you’d like to read it, here it is: Fiterazzi – Is it wrong to call girls pretty?

What do you think, is it wrong? 
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