Ethical Easter Eggs

My best mate Antoinette asked me a few weeks ago if I’d do a post on ethical Easter eggs, so off I went and searched for some to sample.

I looked in Liberty London and Ethical Superstore and came up with the below short list:

Plamil Dairy Free ‘Milky’ Chocolate Easter Egg

Booja Booja Almond & Sea Salt Caramel Easter Egg

Moo Free Organic & Dairy Free Orange Chocolate Easter Egg with Buttons

Divine White Chocolate Easter Egg

Last night me and my sister Fiona sat down and tasted and reviewed them all.

Here are the results from the session:

  Plamil Dairy Free ‘Milky’ Chocolate Easter Egg – 85g Booja Booja Almond & Sea Salt Caramel Easter Egg – 34.5g Moo Free Organic & Dairy Free Orange Chocolate Easter Egg with Buttons – 120g  Divine White Chocolate Easter Egg – 55g
Price £3.99 (£4.69 per 100g) £10.40 (£30.14 per 100g) £4.25 (£3.54 per 100g) £2.95 (£5.36 per 100g)
Fairtrade Yes No No Yes
Organic Yes Yes Yes No
Vegan Yes Yes Yes No

Gluten free

Yes Yes Yes No
Anna taste ranking 4th 2nd 3rd 1st
Fiona taste ranking 4th 3rd 2nd 1st
Overall ranking 3rd 4th 1st 2nd
Comments Good value for money, great ethics, just unfortunately not the best tasting. The hand painted container is a nice touch and the chocolate leaves a great after taste. It is just way too pricey for what you get. Great value for money, very tasty and it has good ethics!

Best tasting out of the lot, it would have come first were it organic.

I’m not usually a huge fan of vegan chocolate, however the three I tried here really surprised me. I mean Moo Free won the challenge… it can’t of been that bad!

I hope these reviews have helped, let me know what you think and if you’ve found any other ethical Easter eggs to recommend.

Happy Easter! x

 

30 Wears (✓)

“Take two very simple actions that we perform every single day: getting dressed and eating. Now start a journey backwards – to where your food and your clothes come from. At the other end, you will rarely find happy people, treated with dignity and respect.” – Livia Firth

In this post I’m focusing on the first action, getting dressed. Fast fashion is forcing people to buy more and waste more. The high demand of ‘needing’ the latest trends has forced retailers to use unethical ways to produce their clothes.

One way to contribute in making a positive change against this is by asking yourself when buying new clothes, “Can I wear this a minimum of 30 times?” If the answer is no… then don’t buy it. By using this rule not only are you helping the fast fashion crisis, but you are ensuring that the clothes you do buy are clothes you truly love.

Here I am sharing with you some of my favourite clothes that I’ve had for many years and have experienced many things. * I apologise that most pictures contain booze and for some of the hair cuts and pouts…

This item I bought in Oxfam Leeds for £4 in 2010 on a whim when visiting my sister at Uni for a night out. Since then it has seen many a bottle of beer and dance floor. 30 wears (✓).

This item is a Topshop coat I got as a birthday present from my parents in 2012. It now has holes in the armpit lining, but from the outside looks fine. 30 wears (✓).

This Fred P item I found in a vintage shop in 2011. It’s since been worn with scarves, shirts, dresses, skirts. 30 wears (✓).

This dress I nicked from my sister in 2014, I believe she wore it at least 30 times before I stole it. It’s been on loads of nights out and now I use it as a work dress. 30 wears (✓).

This item is a pair of dungarees I managed to get for £10 in a Zara sale in 2014. Whenever I feel stuck on what to wear, this is my go-to as it goes well with all sorts. 30 wears (✓).

If you have any fave clothes that you have worn a minimum of 30 times let me know or use the #30wears to create awareness.

Enjoy your clothes xxx

 

p.s I am raising money for Labour Behind the Label who work to fight fast fashion. If you can, donate here.

5 Feel Good Tips

This year I’ve really tried to focus on feeling better about myself. I’d like to share with you a few things that have helped.

  1. Becoming veggie – At the start of the year I tried Veganuary, and failed miserably. I just missed eggs and chocolate too much! However, what I didn’t miss was meat. On March 1st I cut meat out of my diet. I’ve been eating more vegetables, trying different things and I feel much leaner.
  2. Mess is stress – I’ve decluttered my wardrobe, shelves and bookcase giving a lot to charity. At work I cleaned out my drawers and desk. It’s amazing what you hoard that has absolutely no use. Having a clear space to work and live also clears your head.
  3. Fitness classes – The good old gym membership that was coming out of my bank every month and not getting used has started to get used. Going to yoga and cardio & core classes every week means less time munching and slobbing on the couch and a full hour without mobile phone interruptions to just focus on myself.
  4. Banish reality TV – Instead of watching trashy tele (sorry Geordie Shore) watch something of substance. And if you can’t find anything of substance, don’t watch it at all! Bake something, go for a walk, call a friend, read a book, listen to music. Over the years I’ve been addicted to Brendan’s tash in Hollyoaks, tashin’ on in G Shore and salty potatoes in TOWIE and since giving it up I’ve not looked back. My spare time is now much more enjoyable.unnamed (33)
  5. Walking – With a desk job it becomes the norm to sit in the same spot all day long and not take a lunch-break. Now every lunchtime, if it isn’t raining too badly and I don’t have any meetings, I take a 40 minute walk. It’s a good bit of exercise slotted into the day and it gives you a much needed break from the computer screen.

Let me know if you have any tips to feeling good, would be great to hear from you!

Books

 

I love books. Always have. As soon as I could read I was onto Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, Dick King-Smith. I then progressed onto Jacqueline Wilson, Meg Cabot and my favourite, J.K Rowling.

I would do my sister’s head in, especially in the summer holidays, “Anna dya wanna play footie?” and I’d always be too busy racing to the end of the latest Harry Potter.

Where possible I buy books from second hand shops or Hive. Hive gives independent bookshops a chance to be seen online and stay on our high streets. You can order online with Hive and choose which bookshop you want to support, or search for your local bookshop and physically pay them a visit. Their prices match or are sometimes better than Amazon, and their deliveries are super quick! My latest Hive purchase was HRH The Prince of Wale’s ‘Climate Change’ Ladybird book. Great pictures and a great message.

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So, as you can imagine, over the years I’ve created some collection. About a month ago I decided my bookshelves were too full and to donate those I knew I’d never read again to charity and get myself a Kindle.

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For years I had toyed with the idea of getting a Kindle. Even just for the ease of going on holiday, some trips I’ve taken I’ve ended up carrying back 4 books all dog eared and crispy from getting wet and then drying in the sun. But to me there was always nothing like a proper paperback book. Reading it, then placing it on the shelf, like some sort of trophy.

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Finally last month I caved. And it has to be said, I do not regret it. Since getting my Kindle I’ve started using Good Reads, joined online book clubs, found out what my friends are reading and set myself a 2017 reading challenge. So far I’ve polished off 4 books, and the battery is still half full.

I am sold. Having finished Shappi Khorsandi’s ‘Nina is Not OK’ yesterday on the train back from Manchester (I kinda shed a tear in public at the ending), I’m now looking for my next read. If you have any recommendations I’d love to hear from you!

Labour Behind the Label – Fundraiser

This year I will be doing a number of things to raise money for Labour Behind the Label.

  • Hadrian’s Wall Trek – 8th September – 25 miles over 2 days with my good friend Antoinette.
  • Swap Shop event – venue and date to be confirmed but keep your eyes peeled for an invite!
  • Great North 10k – 9th July – 10k run in Gateshead.

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Labour Behind the Label, based in Bristol, campaign worldwide for garment worker’s rights, supporting workers in their struggle to live in dignity and work in safety. They focus on relief of poverty, promotion of human rights and compliance with the law and ethical standards… not an easy task! They are only a small charity, with a very big job at hand, so every £ raised really does help. Click here to donate.

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“Made in Turkey. Wash at 40 degrees. 100% cotton.” Garment labels give us some information, but tell us nothing about who made our clothes and the conditions they were working in. Even if we look beyond the labels and scour brands’ websites, it’s hard to find out much more.  Believe me, I have tried.

“No-one should live in poverty for the price of a cheap t-shirt.”

When a label says “Made in Europe” should we breathe a sigh of relief? Unfortunately, no. Labour Behind the Label study ‘Labour on a Shoe String’ shows how garment workers in Eastern Europe and the Balkans face severe wage poverty, it was found that shoes labelled “made in Italy” or “made in Germany” are often part-produced in Eastern Europe and the Balkan states, the shoes are then shipped back to the country of origin for labelling and retail.

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But imagine if every item you wore, you knew exactly which factory it was made in and whether the workers had secure contracts, whether they worked in safe conditions, and whether they earned a living wage. This level of transparency is a long way off, but Labour Behind the Label is pushing for it. That is why I am supporting them. With knowledge like this we could really start to challenge the brands, make conscious decisions when buying, boycott those that do not treat workers ethically and push for change within the industry.

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The garment industry turns over almost $3 Trillion a year. Yet garment workers, 80% of them women, work for poverty pay, earning as little as $21 a month. Poverty wages, long hours, forced overtime, unsafe working conditions, sexual, physical and verbal abuse, repression of trade union rights and short term contracts are all commonplace in the clothing industry. It is an industry under huge demands due to fast fashion that is built on exploitation and growing under a lack of transparency that makes holding brands accountable difficult. Labour Behind the Label are dedicated to changing this. I am dedicated to change this.

Thanks to all of you that have donated! It really means a lot. Be sure that I will keep you posted on my challenges.

Winter Travels

I’ve been extremely lucky this year to have already gone on two holidays. Visiting new places and doing new things is really important to me. There is a whole world out there with different food, buildings, history, scenery and lifestyle that should be experienced.

For the past two Christmases me and my sister have not bought each other a present, but instead booked a long weekend away. Last year we went to Budapest and this January we visited Warsaw.

In Warsaw we stayed in the most amazing apartment (Old Town Snug), we arrived quite late and the apartment owner Chris had stayed up to welcome us and give us a great overview of what to do in the city. I’d definitely recommend staying at Old Town Snug if you were to visit Warsaw, it was great value for money, in the best location and the facilities were top notch.

Whilst there we went to many museums. Both of us have a big interest in the World Wars and it was devastating to learn what happened in Warsaw. During WWII 85% of buildings were destroyed, knowing this when exploring the city was fascinating because Old Town looks very authentic, however it is only about 40 years old. Whilst there we sampled plenty of the local delicacies. Everything was so so cheap! Which is quite lethal when it comes to vodka and pierogi (dumplings)…

After a fun weekend in Warsaw with Fiona  I then had another break to look forward to. Earlier this month I went skiing with my family and some friends to Cervinia in Italy and it was a brand new experience for me having never skied before!

Landing in Turin airport we took a coach on winding roads up the Alps to the resort. The surroundings were absolutely beautiful. Once we had booked ourselves on Ski School and collected our gear we were all set to hit the slopes. Every day after Ski School we would all convene in the bar, have a hot chocolate, aperol spritz or peroni and listen to each others’ tales of what mile per hour we got up to or how hard we fell. By the end of the week the skiing and all inclusive bar and buffet was taking it’s toll on our bodies. I’d had so much fun but was kind of looking forward to returning home for a detox and a little less exercise.

Whenever I return from holiday I like to have the next lined up. It keeps me going knowing that there is another adventure around the corner. Luckily me and Rob have Berlin booked for the end of April. A chance to see the places we missed on our trip there last year and practice our German.

Any suggestions for cool places to visit are more than welcome xxx

Be Bold For Change – International Women’s Day

Tomorrow is International Women’s Day. A day to celebrate the past, present and future achievements of women, and a day to remember how far equality has still yet to come.

I celebrate the fact that ever since I was little I have always believed that whatever a man can do, I can also do. Whether that be playing football, decorating a wall, drinking beer, wearing brogues, getting a good job, carrying heavy bags, travelling the world or paying bills. These things have been instilled into me by both the women and men around me growing up. And for that I am very very thankful.

As much as equality has come so far, especially in the UK, many girls and women today still do not have that support or opportunity. The things I take for granted are a millions miles from reality for some.

For some the ability to choose who to marry, have a vote, have a child or not, get an education, earn a decent wage, learn to drive, speak openly or wear what they want is unheard of.

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Even in the UK many women do not have the same job prospects or the same pay as men. Despite having a female Prime-Minister women are not always taken as seriously for fear ’emotion’ will get in the way. Heels, make-up and skirts are expected to be worn. Pressure is still given around marriage and having children.

International Women’s Day is asking us all to #BeBoldForChange. On their site you can vote for how you will take action. I decided to forge women’s advancements and pledge to:

  • buy from companies that support women
  • support or back a woman-owned business
  • invite women into situations where they’re not already present or contributing
  • measure and report on gender parity gaps and keep gender on the agenda

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Go ahead and make your pledge and Be Bold For Change.