Recovery: Book Review

As yesterday was World Mental Health Day I thought I’d share my thoughts on my holiday read… Russel Brand’s Recovery: Freedom From Our Addictions.

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Whether you are a Russel Brand fan or not, this book really does create awareness on the issues around addiction and the struggles faced on the road to recovery.

You may think; “this book isn’t for me, I’m not an addict, I don’t drink too much, I don’t do drugs…” But as I found reading this book, addiction isn’t just those classic clichés.

Do you find yourself thinking, if I just buy this, if I just eat this, if I just do this I’ll be happy? Do you find yourself constantly looking at your phone? Do you wake up and instantly check Facebook or Instagram to see how many likes you have? Do you sit and eat a whole pack of biscuits without being hungry? Do you constantly want to be thiner, younger, richer? Do you do these things and then loathe what you did afterwards, but then still continue to do the same thing?

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This is also addiction. Russel Brand, in his flouncy language and witty stories tells this tale well. He also guides you through the 12 steps to recovery. Whether you end up following the book to help you through your personal problems (did you really EVER expect to take advise from Russel Brand?!), or read it so you can empathise better and help those affected by addiction, or whether you just read it as a fun but thoughtful read.

I really do recommend.

Bella Green is back.

Wow, September really did fly over. I cannot believe a whole month has gone by since my last post. We’re now into October, and some crazy people have even started talking about the ‘C’ word (local Co-op officially have mince pies on their shelves)!

I took a break from blogging throughout September as my diary was rather chocker.

At the start of September I visited London where I ate lots of scrummy food and supported Team Shearer in the charity football match Game 4 Grenfell.

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I then walked 25 miles along Hadrian’s Wall, my final challenge this year raising money for Labour Behind the Label. It was great meeting new people, working as a team and well and truly blowing the cobwebs off in the Northumberland air.

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Finally my long-awaited holiday to Dubrovnik arrived.

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Fully rejuvenated, I’m now ready to throw myself back into blogging.

As October is Fairtrade month and hosts Anti-Slavery Day I’ll be focusing on these areas for this months posts. If you have anything you specifically would like me to cover, please let me know.

Hope you’re all well. I’m very very happy to be back.

Ciao Bellas xxx

Taking a break. Getting a balance.

Dear Readers,

It’s been a full week since my last post, and it will be even longer till my next…

I am taking a break from blogging. I do love blogging, I really do. But at the moment I’m struggling to get the right balance. And in all honesty it’s been messing with my head!

Recently I’ve been given extra responsibility at work, I have a very busy social life and I feel I can’t fully enjoy that at the moment with the added pressure of writing blogs. The last thing I want is to not enjoy writing them, so for September I will be hanging up the keyboard and focusing on my friends and family, my work and myself.

Taking a break. Getting a balance.

But do not fear (or be so relieved), I will be back in October! But in the meantime my September step back is starting well, right now I’m on a train heading to London for a weekend with Rob. Next weekend I’m off to walk Hadrian’s Wall for charity. The weekend after that it’s Rob’s birthday. Then finallyyyyyy I’m off on holiday to Dubrovnik for a week.

In the meantime here are some things I was going to talk about through September that I’ve gotten for my holidays. I’ll let you have a sneaky peak at my sustainable buys without my waffle.

Auria London bikini

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Jyoti skirt

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People Tree dress

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Sundried shorts

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Sometimes taking a break is essential. Have a great September yourself, and make sure you get a good balance!

Cya in October!

Ciao Bella’s xxx

Meaty Impact and Innovations

Lately it seems everyone is talking about meat and the sustainability issues that surround it. So I’m going to join in!

Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve wrote about it, earlier this year I tried Veganuary, then for Lent I gave up meat and now I’d class myself as Flexitarian (or whatever new trendy name it’s been given this week). Basically I go days, weeks even without eating meat.

A few nights ago Channel 4’s Food Unwrapped broadcast a special on the innovations that are making meat healthier for us and better for the planet. It’s definitely worth a watch, but if you haven’t got the time, here are some highlights…

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Did you know?

Cows produce more methane than cars, planes and trains combined. They release about 120kg of methane per year. Methane is a greenhouse gas like carbon dioxide (CO2). But the negative effect on the climate of methane is 23 times higher than the effect of CO2. 

33% of cereals grown in the UK are used for meat production.

Most of the world’s soy crop ends up in feed for poultry, pork and cows. The expansion of soy to feed the world’s growing demand for meat contributes to deforestation. 

For 2kg of chicken it takes 4.6kg of feed. For 2kg of pork it takes 6kg of feed. And for 2kg of beef it takes 30kg of feed. That is a lot of crop needed for a small amount of meat!

It takes 15,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of beef but only 1,250 litres for 1kg of wheat.

The innovations for a more ‘sustainable’ meat industry covered were a little bonkers, but it does show that the industry is starting to look at alternative ways in order to protect the planet.

Belgian Super Cows – Apparently these huge muscly cows are bred through natural selection (hmmm) due to an inactive muscle control gene. They produce around 30% more meat than a normal cow and somehow do this through eating the same amount of food as a normal cow.

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Spirulina Algae – Spirulina is an edible microalgae that can be grown in tanks on top of buildings. It’s still new technology but it could be used to replace normal animal feeds freeing up land currently used to grow animal feed to grow human vegetation instead.

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Ostrich Meat – Ostrich’s produce 10 times less methane than cows, they require 3 times less land to graze, can produce 64 tons of meat in a lifetime opposed to a cows 1.72 tons and the water footprint of ostriches is roughly a third of cows.

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If you’re having a BBQ this bank holiday, why not give an ostrich burger a go? Or veggie sausages? My favourite is BBQ’d pineapple. Yum! Whatever you do, have a great long weekend! xxx

Sustainable Sports Stadium

The amazing London 2012 Olympics took place at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. The Park was developed with a very sustainable vision. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it to the Olympics back in 2012, however on Saturday I was lucky enough to be at the World Athletics Championships held at the Park and managed to see first hand how the sustainability legacy of the games was holding up.

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The first thing I noticed when walking to the Park from Hackney Wick station was the area’s development. There were loads of brand new residential areas which I am told are low energy, low water and made from non-toxic materials. They were surrounded by cycle lanes, a pretty canal and plenty greenery supporting both sustainable transport and biodiversity.

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Arriving at the Park I was astonished by the organisation. Every block of seats had toilets and a food stall. No queues in sight! Most corners hosted bins which were clearly labelled for either general or recycled waste. There were plenty of points to refill water bottles encouraging the reduction in single use plastic bottles and when I treated myself to a tasty hot dog I was pleased to see that the packaging was fully recyclable.

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Once the morning athletics session was over I ventured over to the ‘Hero Village’ which was full of fun activities. One activity really caught my eye. The ‘Blue Badge Park Tour’ gave children wheelchairs and tasked them to navigate ramps, doorways and corners to become more aware of what it is like for those with disabilities.

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From what I can see the sustainable vision for the Park is still going strong.

Did you know?

  • By 2025 there will be 15,000 jobs created
  • More than 5,000 people (30 per cent from the local area) worked on the Park during its transformation – including 60 apprentices
  • Planning permission has been granted for 6,800 homes
  • There are 525 bird boxes and 150 bat boxes
  • Over 4,000 trees, 74,000 plants, 60,000 bulbs and 240,000 wetland plants have/will be planted
  • The venues use 56% less drinking water than equivalent buildings

After the athletics I headed to the ArcelorMittal Orbit for a look around and a journey down their world’s highest and longest tunnel slide (178 metres!). Designed by sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor and engineer Cecil Balmond, the ArcelorMittal Orbit is just outside the Park. It’s made of 60% recycled steel, including washing machines and used cars. At the top of the building you get a 20 mile view of the Olympic Park and the London skyline. Once at the top you can either walk down the outer staircase, abseil down or do what I did and slide down. It was so fun!!!

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Whilst the likelihood is very slim that an Olympic Games or World Championship will ever be at the Park again in my lifetime it is still worth a visit as there is so much to do in the area. You can take a stadium tour, go for a walk or bike ride, check out the Energy Centre, take a boat ride, have some delicious food or drinks by the canal, see some art… the list goes on and on!

The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things

Writing an ethical blog is sometimes difficult. There is a massive conflict of interests; aiming to consume less but then needing things to review and write about. So here is a list of my top 5 favourite ‘non-things’…

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  1. Travelling, experiencing different places, having new adventures.
    • Already this year I’ve been lucky to visit Warsaw, Cervinia and Berlin and at the end of September I’m off to Dubrovnik (any tips on where to go, what to do are welcome!). My travelling bucket list is constantly growing, every time I tick a place off, another destination is added. There’s a big world out there to explore, experience new cultures, do fun things. Next year I’ve got a lot of travelling lined up, and I just cannot wait!
  2. Seeing friends and family.
    • Living away from friends and family does have it’s perks. When I do see them I appreciate it much more than if I saw them every other week. Last weekend I visited my friend Grace in London, it was great to catch up over a lot of beers, Turkish food and a play. This weekend my Grandparents are visiting and we’ll be having a BBQ (British weather depending). I love having visits lined up in my diary, not great for the bank account, but great to see those you love.
  3. Reading a book, watching shows, films or a series and listening to music.
  4. Preparing and eating food.
    • If it didn’t have such negative consequences, I would probably spend all of my time eating. My days tend to revolve around what I’m having for my breakfast, dinner and tea (a.k.a lunch and dinner for you Southerners). At the moment my go to meal for breakfast, dinner or tea is avocado and eggs on toast. Just cannot beat it!
  5. Exercising.
    • It’s not only good for you, but it can be fun and pushing yourself is very satisfying. My favourite ways to exercise are going for walks, doing a pilates or spin class or going for a run. The best ways to keep motivated are by doing it with a friend, listening to a podcast or signing yourself up for a race or challenge.

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With resources depleting and waste piles increasing it is more important than ever to consume less. Spending your money on ‘non-things’ is much better than buying something you don’t really need.

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Women in Football

Unfortunately our Lionesses were knocked out last night in the Euro semi-finals by the Netherlands. But regardless of that ‘failure’, they still reached their second semi-final in three years. They should be proud of this. We all should be.

“If the men’s team were doing this well, they’d have changed the name of our currency to Raheem Sterling.”

But our country should also be ashamed. Ashamed of the state football is in today, the inequality and the large sum of unsustainable money in the game.

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Over a hundred years ago we invented the glorious game, but in 1921 the FA banned football for women. A couple of weeks back Clare Balding hosted a great programme on Channel 4 – ‘When Football Banned Women’ . If you’re into football and or a feminist, get it watched.

During and after WWI women’s football was very popular but then all of a sudden they were banned from playing the sport for a whole 50 years because fuddy duddy men in the FA did not want women getting paid for playing football. Outrageous!

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As much as women’s football is now legal, the game is still far from being equal. Just this week Neymar was sold to PSG for a record breaking £200mil, he’ll be earning £782k a week! Compare this to the highest paid female footballer, Steph Houghton who earns roughly £60k a year… again… outrageous!

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In Clare’s documentary she visited a girl’s team, when asked who their heroes and heroines were they replied Stevie G, Jagielka, Joe Hart etc. Not very many heroines, and why would there be? Women’s football gets very little coverage. The past few weeks the Euro’s have been taking place in the Netherlands, I’ve seen very little of the tournament on the back pages of newspapers, I’ve not seen one St George’s flag in a super market, or dangling off people’s car. How can the future stars of England’s women’s team have a heroine role model when the media don’t cover their game?

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The FA have set a target for 2020 to double the number of women and girls playing football, they have also been running a girl’s football week (16th July – 6th August) with the aim to raise the sport’s profile. It would be great to see at the next women’s World Cup held in France a bigger hype, helping improve equality and respect in the sport.

Good luck to all working to achieve that, and chin up Lionesses! x