Friday 24 November 2017

Fair Squared Coconut Body Scrub & Almond Hand Cream Review

Today happens to be Black Friday, a tradition mostly associated with America and Thanksgiving that has become more prominent in the UK over the last few years. Whilst in the UK shops don't (yet) have such dramatic reductions that it causes hysteria, it is often used as a good day to tick some holiday gift shopping off the list. Whilst I (like anybody) am always keen to save money where I can, when it comes to Christmas shopping I tend to try and support smaller, independent brands or companies who are ethical. I love to find companies who share the same values I do and for this reason I wanted to share a little about Fair Squared, a brand that has only been on my radar for a couple of months.


Friday 3 November 2017

My Vegan Journey // Why Nobody's Perfect

This week the world celebrated World Vegan Day (as well as the start of World Vegan Month) which recognises the founding of the Vegan Society in 1944. In July I wrote about why I went vegan which gave an overview of why this type of lifestyle is so aspirational to me. However, I'm incredibly aware of the fact that I'm not a perfect role model for veganism in any way and today I wanted to be honest about that and why I think it's okay to not be flawless but to be aware of areas where improvements can be made.

An issue I have noticed repeatedly when a lifestyle choice comes into conversation (usually for me this might be chatting about sustainability, going cruelty free, or avoiding animal products, but it's applicable to countless topics) is that people love to find flaws in what you are doing, searching for any possible contradiction or hypocrisy. This bothers me as I am of the opinion that every conscious choice matters and I don't believe any of us can be the "perfect" consumer. It is also frustrating that the majority of those who object to positive change are people who are not interested or well informed on the subject. I don't agree that anybody has a place to judge others or tell them what to do, but I believe in applauding the conscious choices we do make as it all mounts up to make a difference - and educating ourselves and others. This desire to be "perfect" and free of hypocrisy is something which put me off veganism for the longest time as I felt I would be fighting a losing battle, but actually it's the best thing I've ever done for myself. I'm by no means perfect, as I'm about to tell you, but I am so happy with the choices I am making, and the ones I plan to make in the future. But here are some of the things I'm struggling with to fit in with the "vegan" identity...

Sunday 15 October 2017

Organic Young by Green People Skincare & Deodorant Review

At the end of August I was lucky enough to win a giveaway from Green People hosted by Amie from The Curvaceous Vegan. I won lots of products from the Organic Young range, and I've been testing them for a while now with the intention to share my thoughts about them with others who might look for the same things in cosmetics as I do: natural and organic ingredients, and of course cruelty free and vegan credentials*. I'm always incredibly dubious to write beauty reviews without giving products a really good road test as I've been burnt a few times when purchasing products after reading a hastily written rave review and ended up thoroughly disappointed and out of pocket - however, I feel I've been trialling these for long enough to have an informed opinion on my first ever Green People products.

*Please note the Clear Skin Blemish Concealer is not vegan: see review below for further details.


Sunday 8 October 2017

How To Have A Less Plastic Period?

Maybe it's a British thing but talking openly about bodily functions like periods has always been something I've felt strange about doing, however after my Natural Cycles review chatting openly about contraception I figured it shouldn't be embarrassing to be honest about these things. After all, roughly half of us will experience periods at some point during our lives and they can be incredibly impactful on our day-to-day life.

Recently a colleague and I were discussing what happens to tampon applicators once they have been used. Seriously - is there a sea of tampon applicators in a landfill site somewhere that we don't know about? Last time I checked, the biggest tampon brand name I can think of used plastic applicators and when you think about the sheer volume they sell every day, that are used and thrown away every day, it is a scary thought. When you consider that up to 90% of plastic bottles we use are still not recycled, I'd be willing to bet that very few tampon applicators are either - not to mention the plastic sanitary products are wrapped in, both individually and the outside packaging.

Of course, I know we don't like to talk about the impacts of plastic that is deemed as disposable - we all like to think our household waste is magicked away free of consequences to our planet - but if we all were to make some small, conscientious changes to reduce our use of plastic, the combined impact would be huge, to protect our land and oceans from further being filled up with plastic that will never biodegrade. So today I want to chat about some of the changes I have made to stop adding to the plastic applicator mountain that is growing in my mind, and the reasons I have found these changes to be better for my own body as well as the planet.

*I will add a disclaimer now that this post features periods and sanitary products so if you are shy of these subjects please be aware that this post will not be for you.


Thursday 28 September 2017

Health & Nutrition: My Must-Have Books

"My experience as a human being changed when I realised that I am what I eat and when I decided to give myself the best chance possible to feel as good as possible."

It's human nature to want the best for ourselves. People fill up their cars with fuel that gives them the best value per mile. We choose the posh bleach that smells good and works better, rather than the value version. Yet, when it comes to food, we are often blinkered to the link between our diet and overall wellbeing as a whole.

Health and nutrition are a big interest of mine, and something I feel passionately about. When I am eating healthily I feel better in every way: not only physically in my digestion, body and skin, I also notice a huge difference in my mood and energy levels. There are so many aspects to nutrition and wellbeing that I find fascinating and want to discuss, but today I thought I'd start at the foundation by sharing some of the resources that have taught me, many which I still refer back to regularly, and have found fascinating in my approach to educating myself in this hugely important area. Ranging from theory-based to recipe-based, I genuinely believe that taking the time to learn from these resources is the most valuable thing I have ever done for my health.

Friday 15 September 2017

Early Autumn Appreciation & Favourites

Those who tend to get puritanical about the seasons might be yelling at me that it's not autumn for another week yet, but I've officially started wearing scarves (and on one particularly cold morning thick tights!) so as far as I'm concerned autumn has started early for me this year. I started a new job last week which has resulted in my having to leave the house earlier in the mornings and truth be told it's worn me out more than I expected. While I'm in the process of getting used to the earlier start to my day, I've found myself even more excited about coming home to my happy place and getting cosy, as a result of this I wanted to share a few of the things that have been making me happy during this transition.

Sunday 3 September 2017

Autograph Fluid Touch Foundation Review

I am usually dubious when high street retailers bring out their own makeup, so it's little surprise that Autograph makeup is something that I had always walked straight past in M&S. However, having made a commitment to cruelty free beauty I recently learnt that Autograph makeup is Leaping Bunny certified. My previous non-cruelty free foundation had just run out and after reading some reviews suggesting that Autograph foundations are great for pale skin I thought I'd give one a try...

Monday 28 August 2017

How Sustainable Is Your Wardrobe?

My name is Hannah and I'm a recovering shopaholic.

Okay, maybe that's an exaggeration - I was never exactly addicted. But I loved to shop. As a recreational activity one of the things I most enjoyed was a trip to the high street with my mum or my friends. At university I loved going to the student lock ins with my housemates, and for many years my university or workplace's proximity to town resulted in me picking something up on my way home more often than not. But for all the time I worshipped the high street, I never gave any thought to the ethics or sustainability of my shopping habit. So what changed?


Wednesday 23 August 2017

Self Care & Learning To Recharge

Self-care has become a real buzz word for 2017, but only now am I starting to understand exactly why it is so important. On my social media feeds I'd see photos of bubble baths or cups of tea captioned with #selfcare and although it seemed a nice idea (I love baths and tea, even better together) I never gave much thought to self-care as a concept. Initially I understood the term from a medical perspective, a routine to stay healthy, preventing illness. This concept was right up my street. Looking after myself physically is something I am always working on. It is a huge priority for me to eat nourishing and healthy food, supplement where necessary, drink water, stay active and keep busy, get enough sleep, and use topical products to make me feel good in my outward appearance. These things are so integrated within my day-to-day that I barely realise that every beneficial thing I do for my physical self is a form of self-care. However, today I wanted to discuss the other side of self-care: the more holistic side that we all too often put on the back burner.


Tuesday 15 August 2017

Turning 26 // Gift Gratitude & Lush Haul

Last Wednesday I celebrated turning 26. I was woken up by my Springer Spaniels who had come to stay, served breakfast in bed (spicy guacamole on toast washed down with Bucks Fizz) my boy took me for a wonderful lunch, we stopped by the Bombay Sapphire Gin Distillery, and finished off the evening snuggling on the sofa in our candlelit living room with wine and Beauty and the Beast (my choice, in case you couldn't tell!) It was the perfect day, despite torrential rain that didn't stop once - as it was the first birthday celebrated in our new home I really wanted a chilled day that still felt special which was exactly what I got.

Since having our own place I have really tried to focus on avoiding accumulating too much clutter and try only to buy necessary or really special items. I still love shopping, but I try to do it far less, and have adopted a one-in-one-out policy with my wardrobe. Shifting to this approach meant that receiving birthday gifts felt particularly special this year. Lately I've been partaking in Adventures of Jade's #GratitudeIsYou Instagram tag which involves 10 days of listing things you are grateful for - big or small, things that make you happy. I've really enjoyed this approach and wanted to put together a gift gratitude post to share some of the lovely things I received for my birthday which made me so happy and I'm so incredibly grateful for.

Tuesday 8 August 2017

Cruelty Free Beauty & Parent Companies?

Have you ever watched Carnage by Simon Amstell? It's a BBC mockumentary set in 2067 when veganism is the norm and people look back in horror at the way animals were treated 50 years ago. Therapy groups are attended by those traumatised and ashamed by their omnivorous pasts. They take turns naming the types of cheese they have eaten, and break down in tears or run out of with room with guilt and stigma. It's a witty and compelling watch, I'd highly recommend it - but I'm bringing it up because this particular therapy group scene illustrates exactly how I feel with regards to cruelty free beauty. I have to be honest here - the prolific use of animal testing on cosmetics is something that  has escaped my attention for far too long.

As somebody that has been (and could still be considered) a full-blown beauty addict, I've been known to spend a lot of money on cosmetics. I'm a sucker for luxury packaging, the sheer excitement to try a product for the first time, the very real feeling that a lipstick or blusher in that exact shade has been missing from my life. I'm an art grad, and makeup is just another form of art to me. Sure, I mostly do the same thing with my face on the daily but the transformation of creating it has become a ritual: it makes me feel empowered and allows me to present myself to the world the way I want to. It's a form of self-care: time I take for myself in the morning to get myself together and get ready to face the day. But whilst I'd repeatedly justified my expenditure on these products as a vice for my own personal pleasure and self-care, I'd never considered whether some of my vices were actually making me a hypocrite. To quote Miley Cyrus (which I never thought I'd do) "If you choose to eat meat you love pets, not animals." Can the same can be argued for buying cosmetics which are not cruelty-free?


Thursday 3 August 2017

Natural Cycles: A Contraceptive App?

Yesterday I watched Twitter blowing up in debate over an app called Natural Cycles. Marketed as an "effective method of contraception without side effects" and allowing you to "know exactly when you need to use protection", Natural Cycles have a huge online marketing presence with sponsored videos, blog posts and Instagram ads constantly popping up on my social media feeds. Watching this debate unfold made me feel like the only person in the blogosphere not being paid to use this thing, which is exactly why I wanted to write an unbiased stance on whether this app can be used as contraception, who it's suitable for, and how I'd advise starting out with this method of "contraception".

*I will add a disclaimer now that this post features periods, sex and fertility so if you are shy of these subjects please be aware that this post will not be for you.


Monday 31 July 2017

Why I Went Vegan?

When I had just turned ten years old, I announced to my parents that I wanted to turn vegetarian. I don't remember specifically what triggered my desire to abolish meat but the overall decision was out of compassion. I had always been an animal lover, in fact back then I wanted to be a vet like my paternal uncle. My maternal auntie's vegetarianism had always fascinated me - she'd not eaten meat since she was a teenager, making her well ahead of her time. But even in the early 2000s when I made the change, vegetarianism was not (at least, amongst those who I knew) a commonly understood concept. I remember consistently having to justify my decision to befuddled people: "I just think I can live a healthy diet without having to kill animals." Eating this way was different (and on the whole more difficult) back then - over the past fifteen years I have seen supermarket options multiply considerably, foods are labelled much less ambiguously, and to be vegetarian (aside from eating in very high-end restaurants or certain country pubs) is so incredibly easy now. Had I opted to go vegan at ten years old I think my parents would have been in despair due to the lack of mainstream available knowledge and produce, but these days it's so much easier to do. It's something I've always come back to thinking about, but equally never thought I'd do. So I suppose the real question is what changed my mind, and why is going vegan so important to me after all this time?


Saturday 15 July 2017

Why I Stopped Blogging (And Why I Started Again)

Disclaimer: these are my own personal reasons for why I stopped blogging for over a year. In expressing these I am not intending to criticise bloggers or the community - just explaining my own feelings on why certain aspects of blogging weren't authentic for me, and why I need a change of direction.

Hello little blog, it's been a long time.

For quite a while now I have felt an urge that had become entirely unfamiliar: the urge to start blogging again. It was a welcome feeling, but one I'm apprehensive about. I feel I need to get some things out in the open as to why I haven't written here in over a year.

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