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

Natural Shampoo

Converting to a natural shampoo that does not recommend the use of a conditioner around the time of dying my hair made me very nervous. Very nervous indeed.

But I really needn’t of been.

Odylique’s Gentle Herb Shampoo is great!

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It is 100% natural and 70% organic. It is free from animal testing, sulfates, fragrance, artificial preservatives and salt and it comes in a 100% recycled UK-made bottle.

To get the best out of the shampoo I put a couple of pumps in my hands and lather onto my hair and scalp, leave to soak for about 2-3 minutes, then rinse. Leaving the shampoo in gives the hair a chance to absorb the active ingredients. This is what takes away the need for a conditioner and still works on sensitive scalps and dyed hair.

Please be aware that because this shampoo is sulfate free, it does not lather as much as a ‘normal’ shampoo, this does not mean you haven’t used enough.

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INGREDIENTS: ALOE VERA JUICE, COCONUT AND CORN GLUCOSE, COCONUT OIL, CHAMOMILE, NETTLE, HORSETAIL, ROSEMARY, SUNFLOWER, SUGAR CANE, PLANT STABILISERS

My hair is in great condition at the moment, I find a wash now lasts two days instead of one and I’m saving money/creating less waste on not using a conditioner.

Cheers Odylique!

Music Festival Essentials

Right now I’m so excited! Tomorrow I’m off to Truck Festival in Oxfordshire.

I really just can’t wait to get there, put the tent up and crack open a can. Aside from the general festival atmosphere and discovering new bands, I’m really looking forward to…

  • Libertines – even though I’ve seen them so many times before, nothing beats singing along to the Libs
  • Cabbage – after seeing these previously in a small venue in Leicester I can’t wait to see how they perform to a big crowd, bunch of mad-eds
  • Slaves – I’ve loved their work for a few years now, be great to finally see them live
  • Reggaerobics – does what it says on the tin… good little reggae dance along
  • Idris Elba – what a man, need I say more

I love festivals, and over the years through trial and error I’ve managed to get festival packing down to a tee. Here are my festival essentials…

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  • Glitter – These days, such a festival essential. But did you realise most glitter is made from plastic? Do not worry though, Eco Stardust are here to save the day. They sell beautiful biodegradable glitter.

Did you know? 8 million tonnes of the stuff end up in the ocean every day – the equivalent of one rubbish truck of plastic every minute.

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  • No rinse shampoo & dry shampoo – Not showering for a few days takes it’s toll. Luckily there’s fantastic inventions to help out. Lush’s No Drought dry shampoo is made from natural ingredients and as always is not tested on animals. The grapefruit and lime oil in it makes your hair smell amazing! All you do is dash some powder onto your roots, let it soak in, then brush out. Another hair saver is Zerreau Towel Off Shampoo made in the UK, again animal testing free and they use recycled materials for their packaging. All you do is put it onto dry hair, lather up like you would normal shampoo and then towel dry.

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  • Wipes & hand sanitiser – The shower and toilet situation is never great at a festival. A wet wipe wash and constant application of hand sanitiser is essential. I’ll be taking Earth Friendly Baby Wipes with me which are 100% biodegradable, made in the UK and free from parabens, SLS and animal testing. My go to hand sanitiser is Nilaqua. Made in the UK with fair trade ingredients it is free from palm oil, parabens and SLS. It’s cruelty free, suitable for vegans, biodegradable and has recyclable packaging.

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  • Poncho – First making its appearance at Glasto 2011, it’s been an essential for every muddy UK festival since, it tucks neatly away into a bag ready to be pulled on when the heavens open. Mine regrettably was bought from Primark back in the day, but I really have gotten wear out of it.

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  • Dr. Martens – Sometimes, just sometimes, festivals aren’t one big puddle. This is why I ditched wellies years ago for my Doc Marts. They work in both bad and good weather (saving on packing), they are stupidly comfy and provide more support than wellies.

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  • Sun cream & insect repellent – There is very little escape from the extremes at a festival. For suncream I use Jason SPF 30 as mentioned in my Summer Essentials post and for insect repellent I use Incognito Anti-Mosquito Spray. Last year I was eaten alive at Isle of Wight. This year I won’t be making that mistake again.

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  • Milk thistle – Part and parcel of a festival is alcohol. Massive consumption of the stuff. To ease the effects of alcohol I take milk thistle, courtesy of Brainfeed. Milk thistle is a traditional herbal medicine used to relieve the symptoms of alcohol consumption, several scientific studies suggest that the compound silymarin in milk thistle can protect the liver from toxins. I’ve been using it for nearly two years now. This is definitely a festival essential!

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Other essentials include; something to drink from (water bottle, reusable cup) as suggested in my last post, camping chair, music speakers, sunglasses (check out Monkey Glasses), mirror (for that all-important glitter application), recycled bin bags (always clean up your mess) and clothes for every occasion!

One last crucial essential (that my sister managed to forget last year for T in the Park… sorry Fi) – your ticket!!!

I’m now all packed and raring to go. If you’re off to a festival I’d love to hear what your essentials are. I’m always up for new ideas to make the experience easier.

Ciao x

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Responsible Running

I used to hate running. Back at school I was half decent so always got picked for cross country and athletics. Then once I left school and tried to go running on my own I’d just give up after 15 minutes as I’d get bored. However recently I have taken it up again and have grown to love it. I’ve found listening to podcasts and playlists a way to push through the boredom. Another big driver has been training for the Gateshead 10km that I’ll be running in July to raise money for Labour Behind the Label (you can donate here if you so wish!).

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To run I wear old Adidas trainers. People have advised me to invest in a new pair, but mine are still functional and super comfy. Living by my ‘conscious consumer’ ways I’ve decided to use what I already have. I did however need to invest in some decent leggings and after some research of ethical activewear (majority of which just do yoga clothing) I was over the moon to find Sundried.

Sundried is a British brand based on low carbon, employee wellbeing, fair wages in the supply chain and charitable values. This year  they will be launching a sustainable technology that turns used coffee grounds and plastic into fabric. Coffee has a natural ability to block odour which of course is ideal for activewear.

Their capris leggings are made in Portugal (fully traceable) from 60% Polyester, 35% Polyamide and 5% Elastane. They are very comfy, breathable and give great support. Now that I know Sundried can deliver on quality as well as their great ethics I’ll be buying one of their sports bras (which I have previously struggled to find as most ethical brands just do yoga crop tops… not great support for running).

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For those of you that want to run, but like me get bored and give up, try the Guilty Feminist podcast or the Big Little Lies Soundtrack playlist. With Guilty Feminist I get so engrossed and laugh that I forget my lungs are burning and legs are aching. With Big Little Lies the beat just keeps me going. I use wireless headphones and a running belt (from Etsy) to make sure I always have some running entertainment.

Seriously, just give it a go. Let me know how you get on! x