Palm oil; why is it bad & how to live palm oil free

Palm Oil; why is it bad and how to live palm oil free

Living palm oil free is a huge and fantastic step towards living more ethically and sustainably. Grab a cuppa and get comfy because we're going to explore the problems with palm oil, look at where it's found, and how we can start living palm oil free and help save the planet in the process. Sound good?

What is palm oil?

This seems like a good place to start, doesn’t it? Palm oil is a vegetable oil which comes from the fruit of oil palm trees and is used in thousands of food and personal hygiene products. Palm kernel is the seed of the fruit of the palm oil, which can be found in livestock feed.

What’s the problem with palm oil? Why is it so bad?

Palm oil is grown across the world (we saw plantations in Morocco) but primarily in Malaysia and Indonesia. The map above is from Global Forest Watch and shows palm oil plantations throughout Malaysia and Indonesia - seriously recommend looking at the Global Forest Watch website if you have time.

So why is palm oil a problem?

Loss of habitat and species & animal abuse

Borneo, Sumatra, Malaysia, and Indonesia are home to majestic species such as tigers, elephants, orangutans, sun bears, rhinos, leopards and more. When their homes are cleared, they have nowhere to go, may end up being killed in order to clear the forest or during the clearing, or may end up in human-wildlife conflict situations. It’s estimated that a third of mammal species in Indonesia are critically endangered as a result of palm production.

Another big issue is that animals will be smuggled out of the forests to be sold as pets or for their body parts.

All of these are so far from ideal and it breaks my heart that humanity is still destroying habitats to make money.

Burning forests and environmental issues

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to clear-cut a forest is to burn it. Not only could that kill anything living in it, but it releases huge amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere. I don’t want to get into a full-on science lesson here (though I happily will - drop me a message), but trees store CO2. CO2 is a greenhouse gas, which contributes to global warming, so trees are pretty awesome for storing it for us. When we burn those trees, that CO2 gets released straight back into the atmosphere and is allowed to do naughty things.

We’re already kicking out enough greenhouse gases into the atmosphere without making things even worse. Burning forests = bad.

Human rights issues

As if this all wasn’t bad enough, palm oil is linked with human rights violations. Typically, the development of a palm oil plantation will be made out to be a good thing for the local people. “YAY! More jobs.” Until it turns out that sometimes they’re not actually jobs, it’s slavery and child labour.

Once you know that, you just really, really don't want to be supporting it. 

Alternative names for palm oil you might find on labels

What is palm oil labelled as?

Of course, the obvious thing you’re looking out for on labels is ‘palm oil’. The problem is that palm oil and its derivatives can be labelled as 200 different things! While it’s fairly easy to identify 'palm oil' and ‘palm kernel oil’, you probably wouldn’t recognise palm oil as any of these ingredients, for example:

  • Vegetable oil or vegetable fat (not always palm oil, but it might be if the label doesn’t say ‘palm oil free’.
  • Stearic acid
  • Sodium laureth sulphate/sulfate
  • Sodium lauryl sulphate/sulfate
  • Octyl palmitate
  • Palmitic acid
  • Palmityl alcohol
  • Palmolein
  • Sodium kernelate
  • Elaeis guineensis

WWF have a guide which lists the most common names for palm oil and its derivatives.

Quite frankly, it’d be a pain in the ass to try and remember all of those and would make shopping a lot harder and more time consuming. I would recommend screenshotting the part of the WWF guide and saving it in your phone, or looking for labels which explicitly say ‘no palm oil’ or ‘palm oil free’.

Where is palm oil found?

Palm oil and its derivatives are found in thousands of food, skincare and personal hygiene products. The WWF state that palm oil is present in approximately half of all packaged products sold in supermarkets. That sucks big time and makes avoiding it hard - it’s ok, though, we’re gonna get there and remember you don’t have to do it overnight. Baby steps are fine.

And it gets worse. Palm kernel can be used to feed to livestock. According to Compassion in World Farming, the EU imports half of the world’s supply of palm kernel meal. The UK is one of the biggest users of this, along with the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, South Korea, and China. Unfortunately, I don’t think it’s a legal requirement for manufacturers to state whether or not meat has been fed on palm oil or not. If you eat meat and dairy, you can avoid this by buying meat and dairy that says ‘free range’, ‘pasture fed’ or ‘grass fed’ on the packaging.

This isn’t just an environmental issue because the use of palm kernel supports factory farming. Think about it, if livestock are kept outdoors they will eat what’s around them. Livestock kept indoors, on the other hand, need food to be taken to them.

 

Why do companies use palm oil?

Now you understand why palm oil is so bad for the environment, you’re probably wondering why companies still use it. Hmmm. I think you’re probably not going to be too surprised to hear that it’s because it’s cheap. Hands up if that surprised you. It’s also more productive than other oil producing plants as well - which is a double whammy for manufacturers.

 

What about ‘sustainable’ palm oil?

That’s a great question. Sustainable sounds good, right? If you look at the websites of companies using sustainable palm oil, it sounds amazing. It sounds like the solution we need to stop the deforestation of diverse rainforests. It sounds like the palm oil equivalent of rainbows and kittens. And maybe it is. But maybe it isn’t.

There are sustainable palm oil schemes, such as the RSPO - and you can see all the companies certified to their standards on their website. However, there are doubts about how effective and honest it is.

It’s entirely up to you whether or not you want to support sustainable palm oil - I, personally, am airing on the side of caution.

Ok, so you’re convinced; palm oil and its derivatives suck and you don’t want them to darken your kitchen or bathroom again. How do you do it? How do you start to live palm oil free?

 
Don’t worry, we’ve got this. Don’t try to do it all in one go because that might feel immensely overwhelming. Baby steps are cool. To help, you'll find a printable and pinnable PDF at the bottom which you can use as a handy reminder. Maybe stick it in your kitchen - and definitely make a sustainable living Pinterest board and stick it on there too. Ok, I'll quit with the shameless promotion.
 

Read labels

Before you can quit buying products with palm oil in, you need to know what it’s in. As we read earlier, it is possibly in a lot of the things you’re buying each time you go to the supermarket.

I recommend making a list of products, and perhaps even the brands, you’ve bought which contain palm oil. Don’t forget that if you eat dairy or milk, take a look at whether or not you’re buying grass-fed or pasture fed as standard.

Research palm oil free alternatives

Now you know where palm oil is sneaking into your house, you can begin to look for alternatives. There are alternatives out there, but it will take you time either researching it online or staring at labels in shops.

Start making changes as you use things up

I think going cold turkey while trying to stop buying palm oil would be hard if it is in a lot of things you buy. I recommend replacing things with palm oil free products as and when you use things up. Let’s face it - you’ve already purchased the product and paid for it, so there’s little point you throwing it out and wasting it.

Make your own

Since palm oil is found in processed food, you could try your hand at making your own. Instead of buying biscuits, cakes, or bread with palm oil in it - crack out a recipe book or head to Pinterest to find some recipes and give it a go! 

 

Some palm oil free companies

Here are a handful of companies I use that do not use ANY palm oil in any of their range. If you know of any other companies and want me to add them to the list - drop me a comment.

  • Meridian: nut butters, cooking sauces, jams & snacks
  • Pic’s peanut butter: yet more nut butters because I eat a lot of peanut butter
  • Sweet freedom: they make some pretty tasty chocolate sauce
  • Oatly: oat ‘milk’; you could argue this is a slightly grey one because they were using palm oil but are phasing it out. It’s certainly not in their standard oat milks - their website is very transparent, so I recommend looking.
  • Bloomtown: the UK’s first certified palm oil free company, selling skincare products
  • Rocky Mountain Soap Co: excellent sunscreen, soaps, skincare

Heh, that’s a pretty darn short list. Once I started thinking about the products I regularly used, I realised palm oil is still in some products I use, and while it might not be in some other products I use, the brand uses palm oil in other products. Ugh. What a minefield. This is why I don’t recommend trying to swap everything overnight.

If you want an easy place to see palm oil free companies in the UK, Palm Oil Free is a really useful website. I don’t think every company that is palm oil free is actually on there, though.

 

Further reading

If you want to find out more about palm oil, the damage it causes the environment and the beasties which live in it, and how to avoid it, I found these resources super useful:

 

Where do you stand on using palm oil?

If you're going palm oil free, I want to hear one product you love that contains palm oil that you're switching up. For me, it's Oreos. I love them but I think I need to learn to make my own.

 
Checklist for living palm oil free

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Well, that blogging break got out of hand quickly

Sunset from Calton Hill, Edinburgh

My domain renewal came through a couple of weeks ago, and I realised I hadn’t written a blog post since the middle of January. There was never any question of me not renewing it at all – blogging is something I think I will always do, but it has to take a back seat sometimes. 

I definitely did not intend to take any kind of break. As some of you will have read, I’m currently doing a masters degree. I thought I did pretty well during the first semester of juggling everything but I was not prepared for how hectic the second semester would be. 

Our course secretary emailed us at the start of the year saying as much. Naively, I thought “well, last semester was alright, so one extra module can’t make it that much worse.” WRONG. So, wrong. 

Before I knew it, I was up to my eyeballs in deadlines and trying to figure out how to get those essays done, find times for group meetings (that’s always fun/impossible), work on my dissertation in the background, earn money, and generally live and be happy. 

None of this is one of those apology posts, where I promise not to do it again and that I’ll post three times a week. I miss the personal side of blogging and I want to try and bring some of that back onto Girl In Awe. Now the taught part of my masters is finished, I do have a bit more time and I’m planning to ease back into blogging because I missed it. Definitely not promising any number of posts a week though – we’re gonna roll with the punches here. 

Over the next few weeks, there should be some posts about my recent trip to Morocco and some things about doing a masters course (if you have any questions about that, let me know), and something about a quarter-life crisis – y’know, standard stuff. I am fairly active on the ol’ Instagram though – despite my love-hate relationship with it, so you can keep up to date with me there. 

How have you been? 

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What to do when you’ve got all the goals and no motivation & inspiration

What to do when you've got no motivation

I know, I know, it's the start of a new year and we're all supposed to be really hyped up and excited about it. What about when you're not, though? What about when you have all these goals and things you want to achieve but your inspiration and motivation well is looking pretty dry?

 

When I was younger, I used to think the whole New Year's resolution thing was daft because if you want to make a change, you should make it whenever. I still think that's true to an extent but the fact that a lot of people get a few solid days off over Christmas and New Year means they head into the new year rested and ready to tackle a new challenge. And for some people, the feel of a clean slate inspires them and gives them an extra boost.

 

Part of the reason I'm motivationally flagging is because I was working all over Christmas and New Year (January is our kind of holiday because no one wants to go out or spend money, yes!). I had Boxing Day off (we were shut anyway) and the 27th, and then I got battered by the flu for over a week, so there was no chance to rest.

 

If you're nodding along and wondering where your motivation went, this one is for you.

1. Rest

I think it's easy to feel like we're not trying hard enough when we lose our motivation or inspiration, and more often than not I'll bet that we're actually trying too hard.

You're too busy, you're too caught up in everything, you're convinced you can't possibly stop because you'll only make more work for yourself but what you need more than anything is look after yourself.

There's this bizarre and toxic perception that self-care is selfish. It couldn't be further from the truth, though. If we're not looking after ourselves, how can we ever expect to show up and give anything our best shot?

Set aside some time each day or week (depending on your schedule) to rest and do what you need to do to recharge.

When we're busy, self-care is usually the first thing that suffers, so make looking after yourself a priority. If your job is causing you problems, please speak to your manager and/or start looking for another job because no job is worth your health or happiness.

And please, if you ever say "that's just how it is in this industry", stop yourself right there. I'm sorry that's the way it is (and I know some industries have awful 'standards' that employees are just supposed to accept as part of that trade) but it sure as hell doesn't mean you have to put up with it. We're not here to be worked into unhappiness while others profit from it.

If you're not looking after yourself, how can you expect to show up and give it your best shot?

2. Identify when you're being lazy / procrastinating

I'm not going to lie to you, I can be pretty lazy. Do you want to know what I did today?  Ok. It's 18:00 now as I'm writing this and I woke up about 09:00. I got up, did some washing up, tidied the kitchen, bunged some washing in, ate breakfast, and then played on The Sims until about 17:00. Then I started watching YouTube videos instead of doing yoga, which I keep telling myself I need to get back into. I decided that if I wasn't going to do yoga, I had to get off YouTube and do something productive, so now I'm writing this blog post.

There is a difference between being tired and worn down, and being lazy. I am pretty well rested, my cold is almost gone, I'm just being a lazy barstool right now/have a Sims addiction problem.

Learn to recognise when you're being lazy, the kind of things you do when you're being lazy, how you procrastinate, and then kick your ass hard!

 

3. Plan the steps you need to take

If you're a planner or researcher, like me, this can often get the inspiration and excitement flowing again.

Write down your goals and then begin looking into what you need to do to achieve them. From there, you'll probably find something that gets you feeling fired up again.

  • If your goal is to exercise more than maybe researching new classes you could go to, or workout gear will get you excited
  • If you want to save up to travel, looking at destinations or starting to plan your trip might get you giddy and swearing off unnecessary purchases.
  • Maybe you want to go back to university or take night classes, so looking at courses or places you could study will get you hyped up.

Whatever your goal is, there will be something that ignites a fire under your ass and helps you start moving in the right direction.

4. Accept the possibility of failure

This is probably the hardest thing for most of us when it comes to trying to reach our goals. The fear of failure can be so paralysing that we don't even try, or give it our all if we do. We have all heard the phrase "you miss 100% of the shots you never take," and we like to remind ourselves of it occasionally, but actually meaning it can be hard.

One of the best things we can do is accept that we might fail. Failing doesn't necessarily mean it's the end of the road; it means there's another route we have to take. As someone who loves planning, I like to research the other options so I don't feel the fear so much because I know there are other routes.

Talking about it seems to help me as well. Sometimes saying it out loud (to yourself or another person) or writing it down can help unpack it and make it feel a little less overwhelming.

This year I want to apply for a PhD. And me being me, I have a specific university and department in mind and I am terrified that I might not get in because I WANT that university and that department. The acceptance rate is about a third, I believe, so I have to do every damn thing I can and I think that understanding that I might fail is driving me, too.

 

5. Find someone to keep you in check; your 'accountability partner'

I first heard about accountability partners on the Earth To Us podcast (all of their episodes are well worth a listen). The idea is you find someone who you know will be honest with you and will keep checking in on you and your goals, help you out, and motivate you.

The episode is well worth a listen because Hannah and Evan talk about why they picked the people they did and why they didn't pick certain members of their family.  One of them said they wouldn't pick their Mum because they know they'd get their back up and instantly get defensive, so you do need to be smart about it. Just listen to the episode, it explains everything.

Find someone who's happy to keep checking in with you about your goals and keep you on track.

For me, Daz is a fantastic accountability partner because he knows when I'm being lazy and can guide me back on track. He's also just as curious as me so he keeps asking questions (so I can't really lie to him, and I'd only forget what I told him anyway) which gets me excited to get things done so we can talk about it and work through any issues I've got.

Vegan Doc Martens on frozen grass and leaves

6. Get out a pen and paper

Though I do most of my writing on a laptop, I find planning on paper a lot more helpful than using calendars on my phone or laptop. If I can write something down it clears my mind and allows me to focus much easier.

 

I think of my brain as a forest with a lot of over-excitable forest critters, aka my ideas and thoughts. They're all running around, climbing trees, playing, and breeding, and sometimes it's just too much with them all competing for attention. If I can remove one or two mind-squirrels and put them on paper, the forest is much quieter and I can focus without tripping over that pesky "wash uniform" squirrel that's always causing trouble. Making daily lists is really helpful for that because it groups things together and makes them easier to tackle. And then I'm left with a calmer forest full of well-behaved squirrels.

 

7. Create your optimum motivational conditions

Think about the last few times you felt ready to take on the world; what did they have in common? The place? What time of day was it? Was there music, or do you like complete silence? Were you warm and cosy?

 

Notice the things that make you feel most motivated and create those conditions. I feel most motivated when I wake up before 10 am (otherwise I tend to 'write the day off' - daft, I know), have a shower in the morning, get through some housework, know I don't have to go to work or leave the house for more than half an hour, and the house feels like a fresh winter morning. 

These few tips have really helped me get back on top of things and I think that by far the most important one is to rest. You can accept failure and create the best motivational conditions all you want, but if your mind and body aren't showing up on form, there's no point.

 

What makes you feel motivated? 

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The stories behind my Instagram Top 9 2017

rosie_baillie Instagram top 9

I don’t know about you but I love finding out about the stories behind people’s Instagram Top 9; I kinda feel like they’re nice, heartwarming, fuzzy, reads. So, I bring you the stories behind my Instagram top 9. 

It’s also interesting to note that not one of these photos was posted to my account (@rosie_baillie if you’re not already following) in the past three months, showing how damn stupid the latest algorithm updates are. 

From first glance, we can definitely see my top 9 are all about blues, greens, water, and mountains. Oh, and Canada, duh. Because do I talk about anything else? No. At least it’s nice that I know I’m a broken record.

 

The first photo was taken when I saw the northern lights (obviously) in Iceland with my Mum. It was a dream come true, ticking it off the bucketlist, moment, and I seriously recommend it. If you want to know more, I did write a blog post about seeing the northern lights and the company I went with. 

 

This next photo is actually at least two years old, maybe three now. It was taken the first time I visited Edinburgh, and had a trip out to Loch Awe. Early last year, my sister planned a trip to Scotland and started asking me questions about it, so I started fangirling to her and just had to repost this. 

The third photo is one of my favourite photos of all time; Daz and I at Moraine Lake, our happy place. I love it because it shows off how darn stunning Moraine Lake is, how grand the peaks are, the shade of blue of the lake, the reflection, and it makes me feel something. We’ve got a print of it in our living room, which I can see right now, and every time I look at it I feel fuzzy inside and have to fight off the urge to head over to SkyScanner and book a flight for tomorrow. 

 

As I said in the caption, it just isn’t possible to have too many photos of Moraine Lake in an Instagram feed. Moraine Lake is a funny ol’ place because the weather is very changeable. On the same day this photo was taken, we also had blazing sunshine and snow (at the same time). 

 

Every time I see a photo of Peyto Lake looking beautifully clear and sunny I wonder if those people visited a Peyto Lake in a parallel universe, because this is what I saw. And it’s what happened each of the four times Daz and I tried to visit the lake. Nevertheless, it’s still beautiful, and moodier than me circa 2007. 

 

This is a quaint looking hostel just off the main road through Glen Coe in Scotland. It was one of the first outings Daz and I had since moving up here. I’ve loved Glen Coe since the moment I first set my eyes on it and it was SO nice to be able to show Daz it. 

This is another solid fave of mine from 2017, and it also features Moraine Lake in the background, so it has all the qualities of the best photo ever. I don’t even know what to say about this photo other than it was a perfect day, one of my favourite moments of my life, and there better be a photo appearing in a future ‘Instagram top 9’ of our wedding at the edge of that lake. 

 

I’m actually surprised this photo appeared in my top 9 because I really feel like I’ve taken photos that are a lot better. But, it was posted at the start of 2017, again, the algorithm. This was taken back in September 2016 when we attempted to kayak on a very windy Maligne Lake. I do not recommend it to kayaking noobs, and you can read more about that horror story here

 

I’m so happy that Vancouver made an appearance in my top 9, because that beautiful city worked hard to make us fall in love with it. And we really did. This was taken at the edge of Stanley Park and is a shot looking across the Lionsgate Bridge towards North Vancouver with the mountains in the background. I think it’s a pretty great summary of why we fell in love with Vancouver; all of those things in one view, perfect. 

And, to make it even better we saw our first raccoon a few minutes before we took this photo. Now, that might seem like a bizarre thing to get excited over but we don’t have racoons in the UK! They look so adorable and remind us of the kids cartoon, The Raccoons. 

If you shared the stories behind your Instagram top 9, link me because I wanna see them! 

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What do you want from me? Girl In Awe reader survey

Girl In Awe 2017 reader survey

If a survey pops into my inbox, or I see one on social media, you can bet I’m gonna click on that link. I know it sounds really sad but I’m a scientist; I love answering questions and problem-solving. 

I’m gonna stop fangirling about surveys right now and get to it. Could you spare me a minute to get about 10% as excited as I do about surveys and fill in my reader survey? 

There are eight questions in total, plus a comment section. What I’m hoping to get from it is to find out what content you loved in 2017 and what you want to see in 2018. In general, I’m really happy with what I’ve produced this year, especially in the second half of the year, and I have so many ideas floating around my brain for next year. But, I definitely need to know how you feel about it all, too. 

I do have a wee handful of posts planned before the end of the year, but I know we’re all pretty busy already and starting to take some much needed time off. Thank you for reading my ramblings, starting conversations with me, and teaching me so many things. I hope you all have some precious time with your loved ones, eat plenty of delicious food, read good books, and catch up on some sleep. 

 

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Lani Tropical Detox Cacao Face Mask – the face mask you’re going to want to eat

Lani Tropical Detox Cacao Face Mask

Lani Tropical Detox Cacao Face Mask comes in powder form in a jar and turns into a mousse

I'm not sure this review really needs to be any longer than; the Lani Tropical Detox Cacao face mask is like rubbing Aero mousse on your face, you're gonna want to eat it, and it's everything you need in a face mask. 

 

While that line is enough to get me to buy a product, for those who want to find out more about Lani's Tropical Cacao Detox face mask, read on and be prepared to feel hungry.

 

Why did I choose Lani?

I stumbled across Lani on the Anthropologie website while trying to find a new face mask (ironically, I was looking at another brand but Lani's packaging drew me away from them; marketing goals there, Lani). I was looking for something that was toxin-free (read more about why that's important here), vegan, cruelty free, used organic ingredients, and was not packaged in plastic. Lani instantly fit the bill. From what I can see, all of their products come in glass with metal lids (though it does look like the face serum has a plastic dropper). That means their packaging is easily to recycle, or I will probably end up keeping it to put bulk spices or baking powder in.

 

In addition, Lani products are produced in the UK, they're fairly priced for toxin-free and vegan skincare, and they regularly donate to charity. Are they good people, or what?

 

Lani Tropical Detox Cacao face mask powder

 

Lani's Tropical Detox Cacao Face Mask turns from powder to mousse with a few drops of water

 

Lani do two face masks; Tropical Cacao Detox one or Tropical Fruit Radiance Mask. I went with the cacao one because I read a couple of reviews about how amazing the smell is. And guys, the smell does not disappoint.

 

The face mask comes in powdered form. To turn it into a delicious face mask the Victor of Dibley would adore; add a few drops of water to half - a full teaspoon of the mask. Note the packaging says one tablespoon but that would be waaaay too much. I use about three-quarters of a teaspoon and that does me perfectly. Their website says you should get between 20 - 40 uses out of one jar. I think 40 is pretty ambitious, but I reckon I will get around 20 uses out of one jar, which for £14.99 is my kind of value for money. 

Lani Tropical Detox Cacao Face Mask in mousse form

It is a drying mask and it doesn't take more than a few minutes to dry out. The packaging recommends leaving it on for 10 - 20 minutes. I've left it on much longer than that before (I was watching YouTube videos, lols) and it hasn't gone too far and dried my skin out. The smell drives me nuts every time I use it (in a good way). It reminded me of one of those Aero mousse yoghurt things my Mum used to buy me and my sister when we were kids. Pretty sure that's not vegan, but at least I can relive the smell and sort my skin out at the same time. Now that's the kind of multi-tasking I'm up for doing. 

 

The mask washes off nicely in the shower or using a face cloth with no harsh scrubbing needed. Winter has been causing a bit of chaos for my skin recently and this face mask has been a saviour. After using this, my blemishes / redness looks calmer and I really think it's helping to calm my skin down.

 

Would I repurchase?

Absolutely. This face mask is cruelty free, vegan, toxin-free, smells deeeelightful and is helping save my winter-battered skin. While I'm tempted to straight out repurchase this, I want to try out Lani's Fruit Radiance Mask to see how it compares.

 

What's your favourite face mask?

 
 
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Share The Love – November 2017 edition

Share The Love November 2017 collage

I know, I know, November was a bit of a quiet month around here; assignment deadlines crept up on me and then all of a sudden I had no time to blog. I’m trying to get back into it for December and want to plan in advance in case things get hectic around Christmas. 

November was a lot of research and writing. I had two 3,000 word essays, which isn’t that much for me to write (thanks, years of taking part in NaNoWriMo!); it’s the research and refining bit that takes the time. 

I got most of my Christmas shopping sorted, and some of it is all wrapped up – it looks like a six year old wrapped them, but they’re wrapped. Apart from that, Daz and I have been playing Horizon Zero Dawn, which is pretty excellent, though we keep calling the main character Alloy or Aioli. I’m also putting all my effort into not buying The Sims 4 on console until my exams are over. 

The past few weeks have treated us to some incredible sunsets. I’m not sure if it’s the time of year, or there are just better sunsets in Scotland, but I feel like at least 4 times a week I’m seeing amazing sunsets. Definitely not complaining. 

A couple of sustainable living posts went live in November, which I’m really proud of and wanted to point you towards if you’ve missed them: how to have a less wasteful Christmas and 8 reasons why you should produce less rubbish.

 

Blog – Kalyn Nicholson

I think this is a first; I’m listing a YouTube channel this month instead of a blog. Kalyn does have a blog too and she did just recently post about 10 TV shows worth binging, which is spot on. I found Kalyn’s channel a couple of months back and she’s become an autowatch YouTuber and that is something for me. I don’t think there’s anyone else whose videos I will always watch. 

Kalyn’s videos have a nice, chill vibe; her editing is en pointe, and her videos are chock full of legit useful tips and inspiration. Plus, Bentley is adorable as. Watch one of her videos and tell me you don’t want to light about a hundred candles and throw on some comfy clothes? I dare you. 

Links

Listening

When I wrote October’s Share The Love post, I was truly expecting this section to just be me fangirling about Taylor Swift. I only really liked Ready For It before the album came out, but I was expecting myself to get swept up once I heard the album in full and just love it. Nope. Sadly, that did not happen. I just don’t like the new style. I respect her for changing, I won’t knock that, I just don’t like her new sound, and I’m gutted about that because I’ve been a fan since Love Story was released.

I do like Don’t Blame Me and I Did Something Bad, but the rest of it is quite forgettable for me. And the less I say about End Game, the better. 

My Autumn Bop playlist has had a slight update, but not much. A couple of weeks ago, I started listening to the podcast S Town and it is brilliant. If you loved Serial, you will love S Town even more because the storytelling is outstanding. I can’t remember exactly when I finished off You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero (might have been the end of October, I dunno); the audiobook is well worth a listen and I fully attribute listening to that to Kalyn’s videos, too. 

 

Watching

Really having to wrack my brains for this one because we haven’t been watching a huge amount of TV, aside from Blue Planet 2. How incredible is the cinematography on that? We’ve mostly been playing Horizon Zero Dawn when we’d be watching TV. 

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December Goals

Report on November goals

In November I wanted to finish off my masters dissertation plan, do yoga at least three times a week, and read more. I did not finish my masters dissertation plan because it took me a while to find time to sit down with my tutor to hack things out. I’m definitely closer to finishing it though, which is great. Yoga fell off when I stopped scheduling it, so it seems I need to schedule it to actually do it. And I read a little more this month but not as much as I wanted. 

 

December goals

  • Finish masters dissertation plan; my exams are before Christmas, which gives me some time to finish things off. 
  • Be prepared with my blog; I want to get the posts going up around Christmas scheduled in advance so I’m not rushing and taking time out of enjoying Christmas. 
  • Schedule in and do yoga; scheduling it seems to work really well for me, so I need to do that again because I still love those yoga pants and want them in my life. But I’m putting my foot down with myself; it ain’t happening unless I’m doing it regularly. 

 

Phew. That felt like a long one. Ok, you go: tell me about how November was for you and what your goals are for December.

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