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.

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