Happy Chinese New Year!

2018: the year of the dog.

Also the year I travel to China!

On 4th September I will be boarding a plane to Beijing with a backpack to explore Asia and beyond… here’s my planned travel route so far…

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Moving forward this blog may take a different turn, but there will always be an ethical, sustainable and environmental focus.

In the lead up to going away I’ll be filling you in on my planning and what ethical things I will be taking with me. As always I’m stupidly organised and have a long list (colour co-ordinated spreadsheet) of essentials that I will need. Ranging from a travel mirror, to a cap, to a collapsable cup, to shorts, to shoes, to solid shampoo…

Then when I am on my travels I’ll keep you informed on all the cool places I visit, amazing foods I try and new people I will meet. I’ll report on what I find in each place, whether it be lots of plastic rubbish on an idyllic beach, or visiting factory workers that make garments that are bought in the UK, or the air quality in the cities.

I am stupidly excited for this adventure. It’s something I have always wanted to do, and I am extremely lucky to have a boyfriend that wants to go with me and a family that supports my decision. I’m unsure how long I’ll be gone for, and of course I will miss everyone massively.

But life is for living, you only get one of them, so make it the best it can be!

And on that note, it is Friday evening, I’m off to the pub to celebrate the weekend. Hope it’s a good one and I look forward to sharing my adventures with you all.

xxx

Sunday Share

This weekend I haven’t moved very far from the couch, had a very VERY lazy one. So for my blog post this week I thought I’d continue with the laziness and just share with you (from my couch) my thoughts on five things that are on my radar.

  1. Ecosia – My new search engine. A couple of weeks ago I switched from Google to Ecosia. Basically, every time you search, the search ads that pop up generates an income, with that income Ecosia plant trees. In just a couple of weeks my searches have planted 76 trees… and I didn’t even have to get off the couch!Screen Shot 2018-02-11 at 11.45.47
  2. Jamestown – Started Saturday lunchtime, already 7 episodes deep. In a nutshell, English settlers in America around 1600 (little bit Pocahontaseqsue), for years there were just men in the colony, then along come women. The series is about the issues facing these women. Rape, witch accusations and general frustrating and cruel sexism. The main characters are brilliant, strong willed and intelligent. Definitely worth a watch. #girlpower
  3. Valentine’s day – Just around the corner. Please please please don’t buy your other half something they will never use, that will end up in the bin, that they don’t really want. Why not do something together? Or get them something they really need? Or, like me, just ignore the day and focus on the pancakes you will be eating instead?
  4. Plastic – Such a hot topic at the moment. Every where I look; the news, facebook, TV, there are photos and stories around plastic pollution. Big companies are finally starting to put strategies in place to reduce their packaging which is great and well overdue, but photos like this still haunt me. Be conscious of what you’re buying. Is that carrier really necessary?seaturtle
  5. Derry Girls – Absolutely hilarious Channel 4 comedy series set in the 90’s about a group of teenage girls in Northern Ireland. I won’t say any more. Just watch it!

Right, blog post done, time to get back to Jamestown and chilling on the couch.

Have a good one x

FFS – The Shaviour

Shaving for me is like trying to get the last bit of ketchup out of a bottle, it’s like temperature control in an office (too hot, too cold, never right), it’s like finding somewhere you really want to eat but realising they don’t accept card and the closest cash machine is a 10 minute walk away… basically shaving for me is an annoyance.

But I have now found a ‘Shaviour’. Something that makes shaving a little less annoying.

Friction Free Shaving (FFS) is the first razor delivery service designed exclusively for women. Basically you sign up and they send you a cool metal handle (less plastic!!) and fresh blades every month.

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If like me you keep your razor forever and ever, rarely remembering to change it, you’re probably wondering why you get fresh blades every month. What I hadn’t even considered was how unhygienic it was using the same blade over and over again, bacteria and all sorts of minging bits builds up in them. The concept of FFS is that they send out four blades a month, one for every week. That way you’re shaving your legs with bacteria and gunk free blades, resulting in a friction free shave. Voila!

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I went for the Rose razor package. The handle comes free (or £5 if you want it engraved like mine) and for £9 a month I get four blades delivered. The blades are great value for money, for example if you compare quality like for like, a four-pack of Gillette blades costs £12.99. If you don’t need any more blades you can stop your subscription at any time, or swap your blade delivery for some of their shave scrubs, creams or balms.

If this sounds up your street and you fancy giving FFS a go, use this code to get 25% off your first order 5XGF71.

Happy shaving! xxx

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Beeswax Food Wraps

My war on plastic has amazingly rubbed off onto my Mam. Just yesterday she was showing me her new jazzy KeepCup (reusable coffee cup). Another of her recent sustainable swaps has been ditching cling film for Cling Cloths.

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Aside from my Dad accidentally popping one in the bin as he didn’t realise they were reusable, she’s been very happy with the cloths. Using them on cheese, bread, fruit, packed lunches… basically anything you tend to reach for cling film or a plastic bag to keep fresh.

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Cling Cloths are handmade in the UK from locally sourced, sustainable ingredients and allows food to breathe naturally keeping it fresher for longer. They are reusable (DAD!), non-toxic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, water resistant, biodegradable and NOT PLASTIC!

Initially the cost may put you off, but when you weigh up how many rolls of cling film you buy in a year against a pack of reusable beeswax wraps, it actually works out cheaper.

In March I’m moving in with my parents, so will no doubt have many more tales to tell on how they’re becoming more ethical and sustainable in what they buy and do.

Keep up the good work Mam and Dad! xxx

Walking free: Vivobarefoot

Firstly, I apologise that it has nearly been a whole month since my last post. I’ve been very preoccupied with work, party planning (I got engaged!!!) and travel research, but I’ve now got my head around it and I’m back in the blogging game.

Before Christmas I invested in a new pair of walking boots (my others I’d had for about 10 years…). After hours/days/weeks of research I settled on a pair of Vivobarefoot’s.

I picked the Hiker FG Vivobarefoot because they:

  • allow feet to move naturally
  • are vegan
  • lightweight (only 300g)
  • water resistant
  • and weatherproof.

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These boots have officially been tried and tested. Over Christmas I went on quite a few long walks and as I am trying to save money AND taking part in Dry January (see here to donate) walking is my new favourite way to spend a weekend.

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They are so comfortable and didn’t even need wearing in, not a blister or four pairs of thick socks in sight. The boots come with a removable thermal insole that has kept my toes nice and toasty in the snow and the sole has sticky rubber bits on, which have been great on ice and mud.

Vivo have a decent sale on at the moment, so if you’re looking for a new pair of trainers, boots or shoes go have a look! I’ve banged on about mine so much, that Rob’s even bought himself a pair (copycat!).

Ho Ho Ho Hospitality

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How many of you will be going out at least once over Christmas for food or drinks?

I’d put money on most of you.

While you are out laughing, joking, enjoying yourselves with friends and family… think about the people serving, preparing and cleaning up after your food and drinks. At this time of the year those people don’t get time off work, time with their loved ones, time to cabbage out in front of the tele after eating their body weight in sprouts.

Until 3 and a half years ago my boyfriend was a chef. It’s not just those that are working over Christmas that miss out, it’s also their husbands, girlfriends, children and parents. I found that out first hand.

But it’s not just at Christmas that we should turn our attention to those that work in hospitality. It is an industry with a very high turnover in staff. The contracts offered to employees verge on illegal. For instance, take the next 7 days, a Chef de Partie in a hotel could work the following shifts on a £17k annual salary.

  • Wednesday – 6am-3pm
  • Thursday – 10am – 10pm
  • Friday – 10am – 11pm
  • Saturday – off
  • Christmas Eve – 5am-3pm
  • Christmas Day – 8am – 8pm
  • Boxing Day – off
  • Wednesday – 10am-10pm

That’s 62 hours (taking into account a lunch break which most do not actually get). That works out at £5.30 an hour. Considering the national minimum wage for over 25’s in the UK is £7.50 and the maximum weekly working hours are 48… it’s pretty shoddy isn’t it?

I often write about slave labour, workers being exploited and unsafe working conditions. Many of the issues I write about are concerning overseas, mainly developing countries. But this is happening right here in the UK, on our doorsteps, and it is deemed ‘acceptable’.

We even watch programmes about it! We see Masterchef and Gordon Ramsay. We see kitchens operating under pressure, the use of violence and abusive language. Yet there seems to be no urgency to change the industry.

Don’t get me wrong, not all kitchens are like this. Some employers pay their staff well, give them decent hours and treat them right. But for the majority, long unsociable hours, low pay and uncomfortable working conditions are the norm.

So this Christmas (and the rest of the year) when you go out to eat or drink, treat those that serve you with the respect that they deserve.

The Magic of Twitter

Last night I was aimlessly scrolling through Twitter, when a purple and white patterned teapot caught my eye…

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It turns out, I have this teapot (a hand-me-down from my parents when I moved out) and barely use it. So I messaged Marks & Spencers to let them know I had a lid and was happy to part with it.

One day later, the teapot is wrapped up and ready to be posted.

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Social media often gets bad press, but this week, it has definitely done good!

I hope this lid brings happy tea brewing to it’s new owner, an early Christmas present from one stranger to another.