REDUCING WASTED PLASTIC

Soo…lets talk about plastic, specifically the amount thats wasted…

Recently I read that there are hardly any applications for recycled plastic. One of the only things it can be made into is bumper stickers. This made sense as I remember being taught about how difficult plastic is to recycle.

Thinking about this made me VERY conscious about the amount of plastic I dispose of. Is there a huge demand for bumper stickers? Despite me always putting it for recycling (if appropriate) I’ve never been convinced that this means it gets reused. There are rumours that our carefully sorted recycling often goes to landfill anyway *cries*. Even if it does get reused, there is an energy output needed to repurpose it. To allay my huge feelings of guilt about the environmental impact of all this (poor planet earth) I’ve started reducing the amount of plastic I use.

I already tote around a refillable water bottle and reusable canvas bags. Both practices are quite commonplace, especially since we now have to pay for carrier bags in the UK. I never get the small plastic bags when buying fruit and veg, even if it seems comical to have onions and potatoes rolling around my shopping trolley. Despite this I felt I needed to do more. This means:

  1. Making more food from scratch. Most ‘ready to go’ food comes in bulky plastic containers. I cook most nights anyway and bring packed lunches, but some of my snacks come in plastic packages. I can make more of these at home and as an added bonus they’ll probably be healthier too.
  2. Buy food that does have plastic packaging. Now I don’t just choose products based on price but also on packaging, or lack thereof. The other day I brought loose peppers that were more expensive than the packaged ones to avoid the plastic bag. I’ve swapped where I get my frozen blueberries, as some seem to have double the packaging.
  3. Make swaps to products that don’t have plastic containers AT ALL. For some things, like certain hair products I’m not aware of alternatives I’m happy to swap to. *If you know any hit a girl up.* Other swaps however are more manageable. I’ve started using a bar of soap in lieu of shower gel and washing powder instead of liquid.
  4. Make your own cosmetics. Never again will I buy a body scrub in a plastic tub. I’ll made my own out of ingredients in my kitchen cupboards; sugar or oats make great bases for scrubs. The same goes for face masks.
  5. Buy products in bulk or package less. This is especially effective for dry products, I’ve heard of places you can bring the container you store things in a home.
  6. Shop locally from smaller suppliers. Often they are more accommodating to requests for less packaging. In a supermarket your meat comes in a load of plastic, end of. A local butcher however can wrap it grease proof paper instead if you ask. When the product is sourced from nearby it’s carbon footprint is smaller. Additionally you are supporting local businesses and people in your community. Win win win!

Although small these changes can really reduce the amount of plastic you waste. Now, does anyone know shops in the UK I can buy food without packages?

x M

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SURVIVING THE NIGHT SHIFT

Every so often you will hear me moaning (sorry about that) about having to work nights. With my current job I have to do a week of them every couple of months. This has been the case for the past two years and will be for the foreseeable future. Nights are not something I enjoy at all, despite being quite good at shifting to sleeping in the day. I find these changes have a negative affect on my mood; it is a bit like having another bout of PMS, what joy! There are a few things which I’ve found to improve the shift…mainly food intake and taking breaks! Below is a basic timetable for when I’m on nights, along with some tips for getting through the shift.
MY TIMETABLE

1900 – Wake up
This is my morning, I shower, dress and get everything ready for my shift, including a lunch.
1930 – Eat
I always eat a large meal before starting my night shift, its my main meal.
2000 – Leave for work
2030 – Start work
Usually the work load is pretty intense. I eat and drink when I can, hopefully getting a ‘lunch break’ sometime around 2am.
0900 – Finish work
I immediately head home, eat breakfast and get ready for bed.
1000 – Get into bed.
Generally I read for a bit to unwind before falling asleep.

MY TOP TIPS

  • Gradually adjust your sleeping pattern. Generally I stay up really late the night before the shift, then I sleep in as late as I can the day of my first shift. On the day I finish nights I have a short nap when I get home. I tend to feel really groggy when trying to shift my pattern back to days, it’s like being jet lagged.
  • Get whoever your living with onside. Explain that you will be trying to sleep in the day, if they are conscientious it can make a huge difference!
  • Block as much light out of your bed room as possible. Get blackout blinds, hang blankets over the curtains etc. Invest in an eye-mask and earplugs. Heaven forbid your sleep is interrupted by a jolly neighbour mowing the grass!
  • Do not try to be productive in the day. Think of the day like your night and concentrate on sleep. Don’t let others think that you are ‘free’ in the day either. If working in the day would you be free at 2am? No.
  • Don’t panic if your not sleeping for long enough. Your sleep will probably be more disjointed, certainly for the first few days. If you can’t sleep well just try and rest.
  • Make your first meal a big one. When I wake up it is dinner time, so I have dinner as my first meal of the day. This may feel odd, but it will set you up for the evening well. It also means that if you get stuck without a break you won’t starve!
  • Bring a variety of snacks. I get the oddest cravings on nights, so always have a few snacks at the ready. I make them healthy, giving me no choice but the healthy option.
  • Make sure you eat enough and drink enough on shift, even if you don’t feel like it.
  • No caffeine after 5am. Some friends who have a long drive after the shift rely on the caffeine burst to get home, I find having it later stops me sleeping well.
  • Don’t nap on the night shift. Some people swear by it, I find it stops me getting a good sleep once my shift finishes.
  • Limit the amount of day light your exposed to on the way home. I have been known to wear sunglasses. Trust me it helps, it also makes you look like a film star so…
  • Eat something before going to bed. This stops me being woken by hunger, which is as horrible as it sounds.

Anyone else have to work the night shift? Any other tips?

x M

FIVE STEPS TO ACE MONDAY

Isn’t it dreadful, how it’s Monday again? There are four entire days until the sweet weekend. Don’t fret, I have a plan for this evening, it’s sure to get your week off to the best start.


1. Move

I know you don’t feel like it, but trust me those endorphins will make you feel incredible. Take 20 minutes; go for a walk (or run if you are superwoman!), do some yoga, or even dance round the kitchen to the radio.

2. Cleanse

Take another 20 minutes to wash all those Monday blues away. Run a bath or give yourself an extra long shower. Use a face mask and while your at it paint your toe nails. You’ll emerge as the shiny-sassy you.

3. Eat properly

Now, don’t spend ages slaving over a stove but make something nutritious. Fill yourself with food that’s healthy and you’ll feel better for it. Make a stir fry, even if it means cheating and getting it ready chopped. Cook some extra for a packed lunch tomorrow, you are ruling this Monday!

4. Organise

Almost at the best bit, you just need to sort a few things to make the next morning easy-peasy… Choose what your wearing tomorrow and have it ready to go, then get your bag ready too because you are unstoppable!

5. Relax

The one you’ve all been waiting for, made even better because everything is sorted for tomorrow. I’ll leave it up to you to choose the best way to unwind, I’d highly recommend colouring in while watching food programs…Oh and one final thing, get yourself to bed nice and early like the rockstar you are.

x M

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CLOSET CONFIDENTIAL

1. What is the oldest item in your wardrobe?
I have some belts that were a hand me downs from my mum. She used them in the 80’s. I also have quite a bit that used to belong to my cousin. I really like when I am the second person to use clothes. There are some shoes and tops that are from when I was about 17 too.

2. What is the newest item?
My new bag from The Cambridge Satchel Company, I mentioned it here. The style I have is not stocked now but they have many that are similar. They also do great sales, so watch out for them.

3. What is the most expensive item?
My Anya Hindmarch Maxi bag, similar here. This was a huge treat that I saved up for with my first few pay checks. Admittedly I got it at an outlet store so saved about 50%. If you are making an investment purchase I would really recommend heading to an outlet; Bicester Village is good on a weekday when there are fewer crowds.

4. What is the most affordable item you use a lot?
I have been given a lot of hand me downs, which were free, to me anyway! I wear my Lonsdale Sports Bras everyday when I cycle to work, they were very cheap. My New Balance Trainers were also on sale at £25 and they are my most worn shoe.

5. What was the biggest bargain?
My Deuter Rucksack which I use every day for work and I essentially got for free. Basically I got a Halfords voucher when I moved into my flat that covered it. I’ve mentioned it before but my satchel was a brilliant bargain too.

6. What was the biggest waste of money?
I’m becoming more conscious of how clothes were made, so when I find that companies aren’t ethical I feel I have wasted money on them. I’ve found two of my favourite clothes brands are particularly bad, I’ve decided to stop shopping there and remove any tags and links to them in posts.

7. What are your 3 favourite items right now?
A bright yellow top mentioned here, these black dungarees and my Ski Jacket because I’ve found it useful at home when there is a cold chill.

DUNGAREES DAY - a day at a time

8. What is the most colourful item in your wardrobe?
Most of my more colourful items are in storage for my Summer Capsule, you can see some examples here. Of the items I wear currently; I have a very bright pink snood that I knitted from Sirdar wool. There is also that yellow top that I keep mentioning…

9. What is your favourite piece that you’ve gotten as a gift?
Navy top, Tan Bag and Brown Faux Fur Stole; which are all mentioned in this post if you want to know more…

10. What is the most comfortable item?
My black bralette and lounging pants. They are my go to comfort items, I tend to change into them most evenings.

11. What is the most uncomfortable item?
Uncomfortable items don’t last long in my wardrobe, to be honest I won’t even let them in now. I do have a few beautiful but silly high heals, you can see some decorating my bookshelf here. My younger self was more tolerant of the pain…I’ve kept them for fancy outfits.

12. Show us your favourite complete outfit.
I don’t have one favourite outfit…Below are some I particularly like from my Autumn/Winter Capsule, or you can check out my weekly Outfit Posts.

Winter Capsule Outfits - a day at a time.png

13. Pick your favourite black item and your favourite white item.
Most items in my wardrobe are black, so that is quite difficult. Overall I’d choose my black Doc Martens. My favourite white item is this a stripy top. You can see me wearing both at the same time here!

BLACK KNITTED DRESS AND STRIPED TOP - a day at a time

14. Where do you shop the most?
At the moment I am reassessing which brands to use, so I don’t have a favourite place anymore. Hopefully I can start building better habits about what brands to use and then I can tell you!

x M

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BUCKET LIST

I’ve had a shake-up, a shake-up that’s been worrying and scary. It isn’t over either, which is stressful but it’s had an odd effect. Rather than pulling me down, it’s knocked a bit of life into me. I’m in a better frame of mind and more appreciative than before. I suddenly feel driven to achieve so much more and have new experiences. I’m hoping that this will lead to more ambition professionally too, but for now I’m enjoying this surge of motivation towards my personal life. My enthusiasm has resulted in me writing a bucket list for the year. I hope that having some of my smaller goals committed to paper will push me to get them done. I’ll admit my bucket list isn’t that exciting. It mainly revolves around; making things, some forgotten hobbies and a few trips thrown in; but for me it’s perfect. 

  • Go skiing – So I’ve ticked this one off early with a week in France. If I don’t get another opportunity it this season I want to head to a dry slope so I don’t get too rusty.
  • Learn to drive – I should have done this a long time ago. Now it’s got to the point where I need the independence of being able to take myself anywhere.
  • Go to an outdoor film screening – One where they show the film of a big screen in the summer, where I can pretend I’m at the drive in like in Greese.
  • Get that live gig buzz – Pay attention to who is touring and see someone wonderful while squished in a huge crowd.
  • Make time for that spa day with my bestie – There’s a voucher that needs to be used up and we both really deserve it, yes we do!
  • 5k run –  I want to train for a 5k run, then do another and improve on my time. I know it’s a measly distance, but I haven’t run properly in ages and I see it as the starting point for improvement.
  • Make macarons – I really enjoy baking and I’ve been planning on making some for ages. I think my obsession with making them stems back to that Great British Bake Off when Becca was the macaron queen!
  • Knit a bobble hat – I’m obsessed with bobble hats, but always seem to knit things to go on necks, basically scarfs and snoods. I’ve attempted knitting hats and never finished them, but this year I will.
  • Be in a performance again – I spent most,of university in performances instead of studying. It’s something I really miss and I could do with the outlet it gives.
  • Read and then pass on books – I have a pile of paperbacks I’ve been meaning to read. I also really like giving people books that I think they will like. If I read one that reminds me of someone in particular I’ll post them it.
  • Sing properly again – Another thing I used to do all the time that I’ve fallen out of the habit of. Use it or lose it.
  • Plan an adventure – A new adventure, somewhere warm and exciting. Absorb the culture and take tonnes of pictures.
  • Revisit favourite places – I plan on getting lost in the madness of the Edinburgh fringe in August. I would like to take friends to Ireland.
  • Make time to visit important people  – The friends who I keep meaning to see, well I need to plan to see them. It’s always worth the effort.

What’s on your bucket list?

x M

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BREAK THE RULES

When it comes to capsule wardrobes a few rules can help; you can read about the ones I find useful here. However I’ve come to realise that sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

Overall the most important thing is for me to get good use out of what I own. That’s my aim. I’m steering away from the fast fashion mindset, aiming for something more mindful. This means that any ‘capsule wardrobe rule’ that stops me using the clothes I already have is a no-no. I don’t like adhering to rules I don’t find to be beneficial, some capsule wardrobe rules I don’t follow are: 

  1. Setting a strict number of items for each capsule – I wear more layers in colder months, so my capsules in autumn and winter are inevitably larger. If I set a strict number I would either round up some capsules to make them bigger or restrict myself which I’d find constraining. I do however always aim for small wardrobe, if I didn’t there wouldn’t be a point in doing this at all!
  2. Not allowing yourself to get clothes out of storage – it’s been warmer than expected recently, so I dug out a lighter coat that I didn’t expect to need in winter. I think it would have been ridiculous if I didn’t allow myself to.
  3. Buying clothes for a season within a strict time frame – If I see the things I want / need I get them, even if it’s mid capsule. This works for me because I focus on using what I have and don’t buy loads every season.
  4. Having a set budget – I’m considering setting a budget to help with my savings goals but so far I haven’t used one. I focus on investment pieces that I will get wear out of. Part of me worries that if I had a budget I would end up spending more to use it up.
  5. Having a set time frame for the capsule to work in – my capsule is fluid, I swap things in and out through the year when the weather and my mood changes. This helps keep things new and exciting.
  6. Including all types of clothing within one capsule – I separate out my work and everyday clothes as well as my exercise gear. This means I can find things easily and get ready quickly.

To get the most out of capsuling, only follow the rules that you find to be useful. Some rules that I ignore you may follow and visa versa! If something doesn’t work for you ignore it and move on, do not feel guilty about it.

Any capsule rules you break?

x M

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WHAT 2015 TAUGHT ME

  1. ‘Life is available only in the present’ – Thich Nhat Hanh
  2. It’s ok not to know exactly where you are heading. Being in your mid twenties, in a good job and managing to look after yourself is enough.
  3. You won’t love everything about your job, and somedays you’ll completely hate it; just make sure you are doing something that holds value for you.
  4. Likewise, don’t make decisions about your career based on what other people think: Choose a path that suits you.
  5. The best things in life are free. The happiest memories will always come from people and never from objects.
  6. Having a clear-out every few months is good for the soul. Owning less makes your head clearer and you feel lighter. Declutter often because you always own too much.
  7. You can spend an entire year not paying attention to trends and still look chic. Define your own personal style and stick to it.
  8. It’s difficult to consistently exercise, eat healthily and get enough sleep. When you do, however, you feel great for it.
  9. A good nights sleep solves a multitude of problems. You will never feel like you get enough.
  10. It’s worth spending time looking after your skin as it will have the biggest impact on your appearance.
  11. Getting in the savings zone feels great, but some things are worth investing in. If you think something is useful as well as beautiful, treat yourself.
  12. You are not a party animal anymore and that’s ok. It’s better that you don’t get so drunk you can’t remember things now. This does not make you boring.
  13. You will never feel like you took too many photos but you may think you didn’t take enough. Try to remember your camera.
  14. You never drink enough water, ever.
  15. Making something, no matter how small is worthwhile and has a knock-on effect. Creativity grows from small actions.
  16. Negativity is destructive and is a waste of time and energy.
  17. Being productive is the key to feeling fulfilled. Keeping busy, but not overwhelmed makes you happy.
  18. Make time to be more active, better yet make it part of your routine so you have no excuse.
  19. Caring for yourself enables you to do the same for others. Be generous with your time and spirit but know when you need a break.
  20. There’s no point setting too many resolutions because you won’t stick to them. For 2016 set one; learn to drive.

Happy New Year!

x M

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