Category Archives: Lifestyle

My Interest In Learning British Sign Language.

Learning British Sign Language is something I have been interested in doing for quite a while, but I never knew where to start. With English being my only language, I’ve found it hard as I grow older to latch onto a new language. I studied French for five years when I was in school and over the last year, I’ve been trying my hand at learning Irish too. There’s something about sign language that I’ve always been fascinated in because it’s more about the physical action rather than the verbal words. In today’s post, I’m going to explain why I want to learn sign language and where the fascination began. 

love-1672154_1920(Photograph from Pixabay.com)

I first discovered sign language on the TV, I would say like many others did. It was on during some of the later shows at nights on the BBC and I could never watch the programme without looking at the signer. Later on, I was in Brownies (as part of the Girl Guides) and we had a signer come in one evening to teach us letters and well known phrases. Ever since then, I can sign my name and I’m really surprised I can remember it, but it’s something that has stuck with me ever since. 

I absolutely love languages and I believe they are wonderful ways to connect with someone whether they have joined your workplace or your local group or even if you’re in a different country; it’s a nice feeling to be able to speak a little of the local language. As I mentioned, I studied French and had a go at Irish but I found it very overwhelming to remember everything and I started to think that maybe learning a new language isn’t for me. However, I had the urge to learn sign language and what attracted me was the fact that the physical action was more important. I have always been the type of learner who remembers something by “doing” rather than “reading” and I think I have always done this. There’s no wrong way to learn anything but because this is the physical rather than having to remember the spelling, the pronouns and the grammar, I am a little more confident with it. 

Print(Infographic from British Sign Language.)

Apart from coming across it briefly television; I also found myself on shoots working with those who use sign language and we often would work with an interpreter in these cases too. It amazed me how fast the signer was but that all comes with practice. It made me realise that we still don’t see enough of it happening around Belfast or in the media in general and I would love to see it pop up more often. I have been at a few conferences where I have seen a signer and I believe that at the latest Belfast Pride event this year, there was a signer on stage so we are getting there, slowly but surely. 

Unfortunately, while I have been doing my research on courses especially around Belfast; to even learn on a basic level, it is quite expensive and that’s what puts me off doing one of the courses. I understand why the pricing is the way it is; it’s everything to do with the course material, the tutor themselves, so I do understand. I just wish it was more accessible to those of us who can’t afford to spend a few hundred pounds learning the basic level. 

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Currently, I have the British Sign Language book for Dummies which is very lengthy but it’s a very easy read. I’d love to join a local group or even meet up with someone learning the language too so we could help each other that, so that’s my next research task. (So if you know of someone, send them my way!) 

I’d be really interested to know if you use sign language or if you ever have, what was your experience? Do you have any tips or advice on how to get started? Thank you so much for reading today’s post, I really do appreciate it! 

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KeepCup Brew Cork Edition: Review.

If you follow me on social media, you’ll know that there will rarely be a day that I’m without my beloved reusable cup. I thought it would be quite apt to do a review on my KeepCup Brew from the Cork edition because there are more people turning to a reusable cup of many shapes and sizes and it’s always nice to see a review from a genuine user; the good and the bad of course. Before we begin I wanted to make it clear that I’m not being paid to say this (but let’s be honest, I wouldn’t take money to say something in particular) and KeepCup are not collaborating on this post, it’s simply to let you know what my experience has been (but if KeepCup read this and see that I’m a massive fan, then I’ll have struck gold!) 

20180421_152856.jpg(When I first bought my cup, I was still very much mourning the loss of my favourite Dunder Mifflin cup.)

To those who don’t know who or what KeepCup is, there are a brand that started in Australia but now have warehouses there, the UK and in Los Angeles so they are becoming more accessible across the globe. They are a reusable cup company that, since 2009 have sold over eight million cups and are now available in sixty-five countries. I’ll not give you their full bio in this post but if you’re interested in reading up about their story, it’s linked here. 

As explained in the title, my cup is from the Cork series and I first came across it online but it wasn’t until I popped into a local yoga studio that I came across it in real life. (I wrote a post about making small changes to your lifestyle for the environment which I’ll link here and I talk a little more about where I got it from, if you’re local to Belfast) I absolutely fell in love with the fact it was glass and it looked very minimal too. While the choice of cup may seem like it was for vanity reasons, I would say you would be half right. Of course it looked pretty but it was important to me as a green tea drinker to be able to see the process of my tea bag. It sounds strange but when you drink green tea, depending on what flavour and brand you get, it can be really hard to see if it’s strong enough yet.  

20180916_114841-01.jpeg(Whenever I’m out having lunch or dinner, I tend to ask for tea in my cup when I’m sitting in now rather than in a teapot.)

Coming onto the pros of the product, there are quite a few and it’s genuinely because they are key points that I find make them stand out from everyone else.  

One size or one look doesn’t fit all. 

We all like our own individuality and this range of cups is the perfect combination for everyone.  Whether you’re like me and love the glass look or you are looking for a colourful plastic cup instead, there really is something for everyone. There are also many different sizes; I have the large which holds 16oz or 454ml (because there’s nothing better than a big cup of tea) and there’s even a size that you could use for your child too, when they get to the appropriate age, of course. We also need to discuss the colour range because it’s massive; from the lids, the plugs, the holders (if you’re not going with cork) and the cups themselves (if you’re not going with clear plastic or glass). I currently have three lids and three plugs, all different colours of course. 

You can design your own. 

If you’re not feeling any of the pre-prepared cups on offer, that’s absolutely fine. On the website, you can custom make your own cup to your own taste with the wide range of cup styles, lids, plugs and bands available. It may work out slightly more expensive to do this but when I tried to customise a small brew cup, it worked out the same price so it might be worth figuring out what would be the cheaper option. 

If anything goes wrong, you don’t have to replace the entire cup. 

A few months ago, I started to get a strange mark on the mouth part of my lid and it started to bother me. I’m not sure what caused it, whether I was biting down on it by accident but I wanted a new lid. I was easily able to replace the lid for a small price and with seventeen colours to choose from, you can guarantee that it didn’t just take me a minute or two to choose which one. I bought myself three lids altogether all with additional plugs too, so it makes it easier to leave one to clean and you’re not suddenly stuck to clean it right away if you only have the one lid. 

It’s easy to carry around and it’s easy to clean. 

I’m not one for a small handbag; you’ll usually find me with a decent sized black handbag or a backpack so for my two most used bags, my large cup fits in both. That’s what I judge a bag on now, because what would be the point in having a bag that doesn’t fit my cup? As for cleaning, a quick minute does it really. As long as I take the cork off mine, I haven’t noticed it wearing down yet. I know it will at one stage but it’s easy enough to buy another one. 

Many coffee shops carry their own special Keep Cups. 

If you pop into Café Nero, Clements Coffee or Ground Coffee; there’s even a coffee shop in Banbridge called The Copper Lab that have their own, you’ll find that they have their own special versions of the cup with their logo on it. So, if you’re out and don’t want to wait on the post to deliver you one, you can grab on then and there. 

Nothing is perfect and it’s the same with reusable cups so while there aren’t the same amount of cons as there were with pros, there are still a few. 

It doesn’t hold heat for long. 

I would say it stays warm for the maximum of about an hour but you wouldn’t get much more from that. Some people aren’t looking for that, but I would say a lot of people are. At first, especially with the glass cup, it’s very hot and I normally let it cool for about ten minutes before I start drinking it so it is hot, it just doesn’t stay hot. 

It’s not leak-proof. 

I don’t think they have ever defined themselves as a leak-proof cup to be fair but if that’s something you’re looking for in a reusable cup then I wouldn’t recommend this particular brand. It’s more for the “here and now” drink rather than “here and some later” drink.  

This last point isn’t a pro or a con, I would say it’s somewhere in the middle because for me, it’s not an issue but for those who are more conscious about the money side, it may be a deterrent. 

The price point. 

The prices start at £7 for an extra small (perfect for those children’s drinks or an espresso) and grow from there. I can’t exactly remember how much mine was, I have a feeling it was around £21/£22 which for a glass cup, I didn’t think was unreasonable. The glass is the most expensive cup understandably starting at £14 for a small which holds 8oz or 227ml so if you are looking for affordability, I would suggest looking at the plastic range which starts from £8 (excluding the extra small size). 

Would I recommend it? 

If you can’t tell, I would highly recommend getting yourself a Keep Cup. While I only have one version of the cup, I’m not sure what the leakage and heat is like for the other styles, but if you’re looking for something that is leak-proof, this isn’t the cup for you. However, if you want something that remains minimal but stands out and is easy to transport and clean, I think this would be the perfect addition. If you don’t drink hot drinks and are more an iced tea or coffee person, I would still recommend it. I often have my iced coffee in mine and it’s still great (and I even add in a metal or paper straw too). 

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I hope my review has given you a better insight into this particular Keep Cup. I believe any reusable cup is a great additional to your tea or coffee usage especially if you are an avid drinker like myself. I’ve lost count of how many disposable cups I haven’t needed to use because of it and on the odd occasion I am out without my cup, I feel very odd using a disposable. If you have any reviews of any reusable cups, please send them my way. 

Podcasts: Part One (Wellness)

coffee-1128140_1280(Photo Source: Pixabay)

If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see quite regularly on my stories that I’m posting about podcasts. I listen to them on my daily commute, around the house when I’m cleaning or when I’m on a solo gym session or run. They play a huge role in my life and in one of my recent posts when I talk about personal development tools (which I’ll link right here) I note that podcasts are one of those tools for improving yourself.

This post is Part One of Four for my podcast series; this post will concentrate on the wellbeing conversation, Part Two will focus on the more in-depth conversations of chat, Part Three will be miscellaneous podcast series that don’t fit the other categories and Part Four will be hand picking some of my favourite podcast episodes. 

We can use podcasts for many reasons and for me; I use them to listen to those I follow online for a more in-depth conversation, to indulge my interests and lifestyle choices more and to further develop myself. 

There are many podcast applications out there both on Android and Apple but for me, I use Podbean which I’ve been using for a few years now. It’s a really handy app that facilitates loads of podcasts so I can have them all in one place and it even tells me which ones I’ve played already played. However, Spotify have been adding more podcasts to their platform so the ideal situation would be to move all my listening to there but at the minute, I do like keeping that separate for my music. 

her-rules-radio-support-and-inspiration-to-help-wo(Photo Source: Her Rules Radio)

Her Rules Radio 

Alex’s podcast was one of the first podcasts I ever listened to before when it was called “The Crave Cast” so I’ve been a huge fan of Alex’s message and philosophy for such a long time. Her podcast is mainly focusing on wellness but she talks about a range of topics including self-love, cravings, sex, relationships and personal growth. What I really love about Alex’s podcast is that I can feel connected to any episode even including the episodes that wouldn’t necessarily fit to my lifestyle; there are episodes concentrating on pregnancy and others that look at money, two topics I have thought about but not necessarily something I am solely looking at in my life at the minute. In terms of guests, Alex talks with authors, dietitians and wellness experts (to name a few) as well as hosting solo shows too. I love when podcasters host their own solo shows because especially if you don’t know the host, those solo shows give you a better insight into who they are as a person especially when they’re having to talk on their own for an extended period of time. 

Chasing Joy(Photo Source: The Chasing Podcast)

The Chasing Joy Podcast 

I can’t remember how I was first introduced to Georgie Morley but I have been in love with her podcasts ever since. Her podcasts are focused on sharing “meaningful conversations about wellness that will bring energy and joy into your life”. She covers absolutely everything from diet culture, body acceptance, self-awareness, creativity and manifestation; that’s naming only a few subjects, there are so many! No two podcasts are the same from Georgie and very much like Alex, she hosts her own solo episodes too, which adds a balance. I’d recommend Georgie’s podcast if you’re interested in a more in-depth look into the wellness world but you’re not sure where to start. 

Coffee Talk(Photo Source: Kalyn’s Coffee Talk)

Kalyn’s Coffee Talk 

If you don’t know Kalyn Nicholson, she’s been a YouTuber for quite a number of years but more recently, she has started her own podcast which I was so excited about. Having moved away from beauty YouTubers in the last few years, Kalyn has moved from the beauty side into the wellness, spiritual and motivational side of the platform so her content is absolutely perfect for me. I was genuinely really happy to see her start a podcast because she has one of those voices that you could listen to all day (plus she’s Canadian and who doesn’t love a Canadian accent?) and even though we’re around the same age, it’s comforting knowing you are listening to someone who has been through a similar experience as you or is opening up about their struggles and how they moved through them. As I mentioned, Kalyn is new to the podcast game so she doesn’t have lots of episodes yet but some of her episodes include subjects like the truth of social media, being a beginner, putting too much pressure on yourself and learning how to trust yourself. Kalyn records her podcasts on her own but that doesn’t take away from the content that she creates, she’s a very easy listen even on her own. 

Minimalists(Photo Source: Minimalist Podcast)

The Minimalists Podcast 

I wasn’t too sure what category to put this podcast into because minimalism deals with every aspect of your life but I thought it fitted well within wellbeing. Ryan and Joshua host the Minimalist Podcast which started after their successful first book launch and before their first feature length documentary, “Minimalism” which covers all aspects of minimalism. This includes education, religion, hobbies, collections, mental balance and parenting. Again, just like Georgie’s podcast, there are so many subjects Ryan and Joshua cover that you can deep dive into any of them. I’m not a huge fan of their live podcasts; I prefer listening to a studio environment podcast but that’s personal preference for me but in those, they have much more of an audience connection than they do in their regular sessions (obviously because they don’t have an audience in the studio) so if that’s something that interests you, then I would check those out. Minimalism is something that seems quite scary to people and these guys do a perfect job in breaking down the barriers to helping you understand it more. 

Thank you so much for reading today’s post; as I mentioned at the beginning, I love podcasts but I’m always looking for new ones to listen to so if you listen to any wellness based series’ that I haven’t talked about, please let me know. New podcasts are my favourite thing to explore these days. Thank you again and have a great day!

Headshot Photography with Jess Lowe.

Over the last few months on the blog, you might have noticed some lovely on-location photographs of me pop up but I haven’t talked about them, until now (I was meant to write about this months ago but it completely slipped my mind). Today’s post is all about when local photographer Jess Lowe invited me on a one-to-one on location shoot in November, which ended up being my first ever photoshoot.  

Disclaimer: Before we begin, Jess offered me her “Time is Money” session at a discounted price but this, of course, doesn’t take away from her work and all my opinions are one hundred percent honest as always.  

Jess Lowe.

Jess Lowe is a local photographer based in Belfast who specialises in headshots and has a background in wedding photography. When it comes to headshot photography, she describes her style as “laid back and relaxed” while using natural light to create “a fresh, modern and genuine photograph that will enhance your personal brand and make you stand out from the crowd.”

Having worked in the media industry for three and a half years and studied media for an additional four years, I am very familiar with being both, in front of the camera and behind it. I wasn’t on screen during my college years but within my job, it’s become a regular occurrence. Presenting a children’s TV show and interviewing for our local interest programmes and nightly news programme are a small number of roles I take on but I would say I have relaxed being on camera over the years. You would think being in front of the camera for a photographer would be a slice of easy peasy pie, right?

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I was incredibly nervous beforehand, I’m not too sure why because I didn’t have anything to worry about but because it was a new experience so first-time nerves are understandable. I wore one of my favourite blouses; it’s a white blouse with gorgeous red roses all across it and whenever I wear it, it really stands out and that’s what I wanted to do across the shoot. I wore a simple pair of jeans and my converse because at the time, I wanted the photographs to reflect my personality and my style. I’m very much a jeans and t-shirt girl but on reflection, I wish I had have worn heels or boots, mainly because it gives me that little self-confidence boost when I do. I had had a dramatic hair cut a few days before, so it was nice to still have that “freshly cut” look but because we were outside, it wasn’t as perfect as it was before I left the house, so I was a little disappointed with how my hair was sitting. That was something that I couldn’t change though so I was able to let that go.

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Jess and I met up near Union Street in Belfast, on the outskirts of the Cathedral Quarter. If you don’t know the area, it’s quite a visual area with lots of interesting graffiti. Some would say it’s an Instagrammers dream, so if you’re ever in Belfast and looking for some creative backdrops, head for the Union Street area. To my disbelief, I hadn’t known about all this artwork in the area, despite working quite close so it was really nice to discover something new about the city.

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Jess had a really relaxed approach; being in front of the camera is vulnerable to say the least and the last thing you want to think is that your photographer is judging you so by them having an easy going but noticeably professional manner, it helped put me at ease. She even taught me a few things about posture and how to position my head to get the perfect shot. It’s all about lifting the chin, but not too far and this helps with your overall posture. It definitely took some getting used to but it’s a lesson I’ve taken with me ever since.

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We shot for half an hour and got some amazing shots around the streets and even on the roads. It was quite early on a Saturday morning so we weren’t caught up in constant traffic but there was some running onto the footpath when we saw a car coming but that was warming me up a little, because it was a chilly day. We couldn’t change the weather circumstances (obviously!) but as long as it wasn’t raining, I didn’t mind.

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I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed the experience. Speaking as someone who is almost always in control behind the camera, it was nerve wrecking but intriguing to pass that control to someone. I believe I only really have one smile so I was worried I was going to look the smile throughout each photograph but after seeing the results, that wasn’t the case. I’m not a fan of the “serious looking face” mainly because I have resting bitch face and I look really miserable when most of the time, I feel okay so trying to pull off a “serious look” never works for me.

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I want to thank Jess for reaching out and providing this experience for me. I am so happy with the results; so much so that I now use the headshots for my blog, my social media images and even on my CV. If you want to check out Jess’ services, you can find them right here and if you want to look at her portfolio, it’s right here. I couldn’t recommend Jess highly enough and you can find her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

 

 

Meditation May: A Month of Meditation

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With the start of a brand-new month (Yes, I’m very much into that cliché) I wanted to set myself a challenge outside my three-month goals (which I will link here) and I thought a daily practice with meditation would be perfect so that’s what today’s post is focused on. 

Meditation was a daily practice for me for quite a few months but as my mental health deteriorated, I no longer reached for my guided meditations and this also included my yoga practice. I went to a yoga class religiously on Monday evenings after work and it was fantastic then gradually I started to only practice once a month. The fact of the matter is when my head gets in a bad place, I’m so stuck in my own head that I can no longer feel the benefits of yoga. When I describe this feeling to people, I often describe I like this:  

Imagine you are on a hamster wheel going round and round but at the same time, you’re stuck in a box that you can’t get out of. Every negative thought and every negative thing that has ever been said to you is in the box and you can’t get out, you have to stand there. (If you’ve ever watched the Crystal Maze, imagine all the paper money in the dome that the contestants have to catch, are the thoughts and the words.)

Unsurprisingly it’s a very hard trap to get out of so I had to step back from yoga especially until I get my head and mindset back on track. I’m getting there but it’s still off track sometimes. Gradually over the last few days I have been getting into evening meditations again but I want to take it one step further and give myself that boost to do it daily so that’s where Meditation May comes from. 

Back in January, one of my favourite bloggers Madison started up a meditation challenge on her YouTube channel and Facebook group and it was so comforting to have a support group there who you could open up to about your meditation difficulties. I really enjoyed that challenge and while I didn’t manage to meditate every single day, I got very close. This is another part of my inspiration behind Meditation May because I noticed a massive difference in January with Madison’s challenge. 

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My plan for the month is very simple; I want to practice meditation for ten minutes a day every day and for the first two weeks I’m not going to push myself to practice twice a day, I’ll build that up over time. I’m planning on keeping a journal on the experience to note down what meditation I use, how long for, how I feel before and after and if there is a particular emotion I’m trying to work alongside. At the end of the month, I’ll be posting those journal entries to see how much of a difference it really made and how the month went overall. 

Over the month, I’ll be posting on my Instagram and my Twitter too and I’ll be using #MeditationMay as the hashtag. I’m sure I’m not the only one to be practicing this idea so I’m not claiming it as mine but if you fancy seeing some “live” progress, you know where I’ll be. With the Spring Clean season around too, I’m hoping that this will help me along the “fresh mindset” element of the new Spring time. 

Thank you so much for reading today’s post. Quite a light one today but it’s always good to start the month off nice and light. 

My Unconventional Relationship With Reading.

snapseed-01.jpeg(Lunchtime reading in the office includes fruit with peanut butter and a big cup of tea)

As I grow older and start to think about having children down the line, it’s really important to me to read them bedtime stories and to try and carve reading into their daily lives outside the classroom. For me, I’m not an avid reader but I wish I was. I started to notice a few years ago that there was a problem with the way I read, books specifically so that’s what today’s blog post is focused on. 

I wasn’t an avid reader when I was younger. I grew up in the generation that fell in love with Harry Potter when it was first released but I only started to read Philosopher’s Stone years later. After that, I only read a chapter or two of Chamber of Secrets and then I stopped. As someone who watched younger children around me read these books, I felt embarrassed that I felt like I couldn’t. I didn’t understand the language the author used and I didn’t understand the true meaning of some of the words. I couldn’t keep up with the storylines and the characters, it was too complex for me. This was the same as the Lord of the Rings books too. 

My favourite book series at that time were the “Goosebumps” books by R.L. Stine which I still own to this day. My brother went to the United States when he was younger and he brought back the American covers and I promised myself I would never throw them out or give them away because they were always books that I loved to read over and over again. My first memory of trying to “write my first book” (suffice to say, this never came to anything), it was something that I wanted to turn into a Goosebumps story.  

Jacqueline Wilson was one of my favourite authors because she wrote stories that every little girl of that age could relate to. They were so easy to read too, I felt like I could understand every scenario and it was comforting. 

IMG_20170706_131717_073-01.jpeg(Before I started using a re-usable cup for out-of-the-office tea)

It was a few years ago that I started to realise that something wasn’t right. I would read books but forget what they were about. I would have to go back a chapter each time I picked up the book, even if I had read it the day before. I had no real sense of what had happened and I can’t remember the last time it didn’t happen. I thought it was a silly problem to have and maybe this was a sign that I wasn’t meant to be a reader. A person that isn’t meant to read? Yes, I thought it was a ridiculous statement too which is why I didn’t lean on it for comfort. I looked at how I was reading and analysed it to see if there was anything I could do to help myself. 

I didn’t read out loud.

I read inside because I assumed that was how everyone read material. The only time I had to read out loud was in school when your teacher called on you to read part of the class book, and back then, I was generally a fast reader. I sped through each sentence and before I knew it, I was finished. So naturally, I would speed through a book and I was finished; onto the next one. It was another tick off one of my many lists, but what exactly did I gain from that? 

If I didn’t understand a word, I’d make up another pronunciation or I would skip over it entirely.

I still sometimes have a hard time with words that I can’t pronounce and it’s very embarrassing. I remember one time in college when we were doing a voice over for a class and everything was going perfectly until one of my sentences came up. When one of our team was editing it on top of the video, you could clearly tell it wasn’t the same word that was in the script, and because it was in class, I wanted to ground to swallow me up. When I’m on my own reading, if I can’t pronounce a word or say it wrong then I either glance over it or I mumble something, and I don’t go back to it. 

With those two points in mind, I had to change the way I read which when you say it out loud, it does sound very strange. For me, as silly as it may sound, it was embarrassing and I knew that I was going to be the only one who was going to be able to change it. Now when I read a book (if I’m in my house on my own) I read out loud and because you’re using more energy to do that, it means I become very tired, very fast. Tiredness when reading had always been an issue for me no matter what age I was but when I started reading out loud, it soon became apparent how tired I would get. 

Reading out loud means that I have to say every single word and I become very aware if I say something wrong or I don’t know how to pronounce a word. It means I can’t skip over it and I try my best with it. There have been many points where I have had to re-read a sentence five or six times in order for me to continue. Eventually in your reading session, you get to grips with the rhythm and you tend not to make many mistakes. However, as soon as tiredness hits me and I can’t read a sentence without a mistake, then I know it’s time to set it down for a while. 

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(My current reading material: The War For Late Night by Bill Carter)

At the beginning of the year, I signed up to a subscription to Audible, and if you don’t know what that is (although most people will have heard of it) It’s an audio book subscription service by Amazon where you get one credit a month and you can download almost any book in an audible form. I’ve heard of Audible for quite a few years but in my head, I was reluctant to sign up to it because I thought listening to an audio book was seen as “cheating”. If you didn’t physically read the book, did it count? Ridiculous I know but that was my mentality at the time. However, having listened to quite a few books since signing up, I couldn’t recommend it more. In my latest post about personal development (which I will link here) I spoke about listening to podcasts but I also took the time to listen to audio books on my way to work too. I will be doing a follow up post on the audio books I have listened to so far very soon and I haven’t loved all the ones I chose, so I’ll explain that in more depth soon. 

For someone that found it very hard to read more than one chapter of a book, audio books have been a life changing discovery and I now longer feel like I am cheating by listening to the words rather than reading them.  

I’ve come to terms with how I read now and I continue to read my best with it. I’m not very fast and it will take me a considerable time to read a book but it’s more important to me that I am more connected to a book because of the disconnect I felt before

Thank you so much for reading today’s post. I know it was a very different post to others I have posted about but it’s something I wanted to write about because I searched online and I couldn’t find anyone else who had had the same experience as me. So, if I can comfort one other person and let them know that it’s not as silly as it sounds, then I’ll be over the moon. Enjoy the rest of your day! 

Changing My Environmental Impact With Small Changes.

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Sunday 22nd April 2018 marks a very special occasion, it’s known as Earth Day and considering I have started to look more consciously of my impact on the Earth; I wanted to write about the things that I have incorporated into my life. 

If you read my latest post on the Low Tox Box (which I’ll link here), you’ll know that I absolutely loved the box and I have used every single product ever since I got it. I’ll try my best not to repeat some of the same points that where in that post, so it’s not too repetitive. 

Using a reusable drink mug 

If you have known me personally for the last few years, you will know that I used to carry around one of my favourite possessions all the time. It was a tea flask, but it wasn’t any tea flask, it was a Dunder Mifflin flask. The Office US is one of my favourite television programmes and Dunder Mifflin was the name of the company. I would guess that I had this cup for about six or seven years, it was a very long time. Unfortunately I misplaced it, I think I might have accidentally set it down somewhere in the city centre and I never found it. Devastated was not the word I would use to describe how I felt but eventually I got over the loss and I was on the look out for a new cup. Being a woman who loves her research, I came across one particular product called a “Keep Cup” and I was more intrigued about the fact that it was glass. I try and not buy impulsively so I slept on it and a few days later, I seen a post by Flow Studio Boutique advertising that they sold them so I decided to buy one. 

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I chose the grey coloured top from their cork series and reading that the cork is sustainability sourced, made that decision much easier. It’s a fantastic cup; I have the large size because I don’t believe in a small cup of tea. My only complaint about it would be that you have to be very careful for the first ten minutes when you’ve made your tea. The water is very warm when you’ve poured it in so the glass is hot as well so you have to make sure you hold it using the cork strip or your hand will be very sore. Apart from that, I would highly recommend it and I’m seeing more people in coffee shops using them, which is even better. 

What makes this change more beneficial in the long run is that more coffee shops are offering a discount for bringing your own cup with you rather than using disposable mugs. So you’re saving money and saving another cup from being thrown away. If you’re looking for an interesting read on the growing use of products like Keep Cup, The Independent wrote an article on the Latte Levvy back in January and went into further detail about the impact take-away cups have and what could be in store for the UK in the future, hopefully following the lead from Australia. 

Drinking Loose Leaf Tea 

Keeping on the theme of tea for a moment, I have been trying to minimise the amount of tea bags that I use and going for the loose leaf tea version instead. I’m not perfect, I still use them sometimes in work but my house is almost one hundred percent loose leaf, which I’m quite happy with.  

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We’ve been told to put our tea bags into the food wastage bin, thinking that they are bio-degradable but I was very surprised to read that there are some brands out there that still use plastic in their bags, therefore not being biodegradable. This article from Country Living gives more details on the brands that do use plastic, the ones that don’t, and more importantly, what the brands that do use it, are currently planning on doing to change that. 

I tend to find that when I drink loose leaf, the flavour comes through much stronger and I know you shouldn’t do this, but I can get a second go from the leaves I used previously. It’s not as strong but it still gives a good flavour. I love this comparison from The Tea Spot on the difference between loose leaf tea bags and traditional tea bags, they go into more detail than I ever could. 

Walking to Work 

It’s very simple really but I know not everyone can do this. Whether that’s because you work further away or maybe physically you can’t walk that far, that’s absolutely fine but this is what I do (No judgement here.) My workplace is a little over thirty minutes away walking or seven minutes on the bus, and it’s much more sustainable and cheaper for me to walk to work. I get my steps up every day and it gives me time to myself to listen to a podcast on the way there. This article from Let’s Reach Success lists a number of good reasons why we should be walking to work if we live within the distance to do so and are (physical) able to. 


Using Energy Efficient Light Bulbs 

For some, this might not be an option and unfortunately, it isn’t for me. Most of my light bulbs are wired into the ceiling rather than being your standard lightbulb so if I can figure out if I can replace them, then I’ll be changing to energy efficient bulbs. The reason I’m bringing this up is when I lived at home, most of the rooms in the house had these light bulbs and I found it incredibly frustrating at times. Mainly because they took longer to light up rather regular bulbs; my problem was my patience and at the end of the day, waiting a little extra time shouldn’t be a reason not to use them if they’re going to make a difference to your energy usage.  

For the statistics, benefits and a more detailed answer, I would recommend this article by the U.S Department for Energy.

Meal Preparation 

You all know that I am a huge advocate of cooking in bulk for my work lunches, and if you cook it all at once; then you minimise your time used throughout the week cooking individual lunches, you lower the energy whether that be from the oven, stove or microwave and you lower your stress levels in the morning because you can grab and go rather than panic that you have nothing for lunch. I understand that it may not be for everyone but I urge you to try it for two weeks and I can guarantee you will feel great for it. Speaking from experience, it helps me every time knowing I have everything ready to go. 

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I absolutely loved these blog posts from Project Meal Plan and Engine2Diet who both gave their top tips on being more eco-friendly when it came to meal prepping. If there’s one extra thing I need to do, it’s starting to use more glass tupperware rather than plastic (I reuse it though!) 

My Change of Diet 

I became vegan in January 2017 and I haven’t looked back since. (I wrote a blog post about which I’ll link here) Reducing my consumption of meat, dairy and fish products has made me feel more ethical conscious and while not everyone will want to do that, campaigns like Meatless Monday and Veganuary have had huge success in informing people on the damage that animal products also has does to our environment. I do a majority of my food shopping at a local supermarket but I have started buying my fruits at a local green grocers, and in doing this, you know that the majority of the fruit is coming more from a local area which overall means, less travel from being picked to shop front. I don’t feel like I’m qualified to give you the statistics on the more environmental side so I have found a great selection of articles that will give you a better sense of it. 

One Green Planet is an American company so their statistics are of course, based on the United States but I believe it is important none the less. The chocolate brand (and my favourite chocolate of all time) Ombar have an informative article on three environmental benefits and finally, CNN has a fantastic article from last year talking about the last effects of a vegan diet. 

I think it’s important to remember that even though there is one special day to celebrate Earth Day, we should be taking the initiative to celebrate Earth Day every day. It’s our planet, we have to look after it as best we can, and if you think you aren’t making a difference, look at the little things you do and change one thing.  

Before I finish up today’s post, I want to share some blog posts I found while writing this blog post that I couldn’t seem to fit within each section. 

A Considered Life with Sustainable Living Choices to Celebrate Earth Day. 
Crazy Blonde Life with 12 Things To Do For Earth Day and Every Day! 
Curiosity Stream with Celebrate Earth Day With These Top Five Documentary Picks.  
This Little Blog Of Mind with Plants: Why You Need Them In Your Home. 
Portle Bay Popcorn and The Eco Edit with Roxy Hempel: 5 Ways To Be More Eco-Conscious. 

I hope you enjoyed today’s post; it’s an important one to me and I think we should all be looking at our impact individually by changing our routines gradually one day at a time.