21 July 2019

Small Changes to Help the Environment | Lifestyle

Small Changes to Help the Environment

I gave up meat at the start of the year and it's probably one of the best decision I made, I do still fancy meat some times but I haven't had anything and I'm quite proud of that! One of the many reasons I gave up was definitely the environmental impact farming has on the planet and this has got me thinking more about how our every day lives are having such a negative impact and I wanted to find ways where I personally could make better decisions. Even the picture I've used above really made me sad because here are the signets in their nest that it surrounded by empty cans and rubbish, of which cans can be easily recycled but, of course, they just end up thrown in the damn river. 

I don't quite know what's happened to me this year but all of a sudden I really care about lots of things, it could be social media making me aware, it could also be old age. I just feel like I need to be doing better, well everyone needs to do better but the only thing I can really control is myself. There are a lot of programmes out there like War on Plastic which is fantastic but you can get a little overwhelmed with the info they give so I thought I would share some easier to digest tips to help the environment .

Reduce the amount of single use plastic - This one is a bloody minefield and I know it's far easier said than done but I have kept it simple like instead of buying shower gels I buy soap, it's zero plastic does the same job. Some soaps can leave my skin feeling a bit weird/dry but Lush also do pretty good shower gel type formulas as well. Also, The Body Shop do a recycling scheme for plastic too, so if you can't recycle a cosmetics/skincare package, take it to boots and they will do it for you! When buying food condiments, I try to opt for the glass jar over the plastic bottle as glass can be easily recycled into more glass products.

Stopped using face wipes - My god this was a difficult one for me, I'm not gonna lie I always knew facewipes weren't good for my skin but never really considered the wider impact until it was plastered all over my social media (and rightly so) I don't have an excuse to use facewipes, I have normal facial cleansers that do the job so why am I reaching for the things so frequently? It's probably just a habit but it's one I am happy I've kicked.

Planted bee friendly flowers - Ok so I have become a little obsessed with my balcony garden at the moment and it's a little ridiculous but all of the plants I have are bee friendly. Honestly imagine a world without our bumbley friends?! Awful! If you are fortunate to have a garden or even an area where you can put some flowers in a pot it's worth it. I'm not ashamed to admit the overwhelming joy seeing a bumble bee on one of my plants brings me!

Walk to the shops - I have got pretty damn lazy recently, when I lived in Italy, I walked flippin' everywhere (I had no choice) and over time since being back in the UK I have got lazier with each month it would seem so when the weekend comes I try to walk more which includes walking to the shops to pick up some groceries. I don't really need to be driven to the shops when for me it is walking distance.

Bring in lunch at work - This one is still a bit of a work in progress, working in London you have some many coffee shops and food places, a sandwich in a lunchbox can look incredibly unappealing by comparison. However all those quick food options use a huge amount of single use plastic so if I can move to bringing in my own lunch at least 4 days a week then not only will I be helping reduce waste, I will also be saving a little money each week!

The problem is, we as a society do a lot of damaging things to the environment  due to convenience, the way we shop has never been more easier than what it is now. I think the supermarkets have a massive part to play, they waste an obscene amount of plastic and they are charging more money for unpackaged items/ plastic free than the ones in plastic wrap, of course everyone is going to purchase whichever is the cheapest.

Also, it's worth pointing out that I know there are circumstances where not everyone can give up single use plastics, they may have disabilities and illnesses whereby they need convenient products, I have no problem whatsoever with this and do not think we should demonise everyone for using products that actually make their quality of life better. My issue is there are the people like myself who don't have any excuses to not try at least to make small changes. We've done so much irreversible damage already, I just don't want to continue to make it worse. I'm not perfect, I am definitely still wasteful but I am trying and that's the most important thing right? Hopefully!
14 July 2019

Stranger Things 3 | Opinion

Never on my blog have I written about a TV series, it isn't my style but after watching Stranger Things 3 I just have a lot of feelings and thought why they hell not?! I have to point out that this blog post will contain spoilers so if you haven't quite finished yet just skip this have been warned.

I'm going to tell you straight that I found this season really disappointing, for various reasons, but i'm going to start with the feel of the series from episode 1! Stranger Things 3 started full of colour and laughter, there was this comedic tone throughout at least the first 4 episodes and I'm not a complete troll like some parts were amusing, my issue is the way they dumbed some of the characters down like Hopper! I'm sorry but this one really annoyed me, Hopper was a fantastic character, he was gritty, grumpy but had a heart however in this season he was a bumbling fool who comes across as desperate to date Joyce and obsessed with El dating Mike, his character actually became quite embarrassing which is why I am happy they killed him off, I wouldn't want to see him decline any further, but is he really dead? Also, poor Will they made him look quite pathetic didn't they? I felt like there were two many storylines running through this season when all I really wanted was the core gang to come together and just sort the mindflayer out! Instead we had to watch drama with El and Mike, Hopper and Joyce, Nancy and Johnathan, Billy and mike's mum, Steve and his almost love interest, though that one changed by the end of it, the main undertone was just about love interests which is fine and I get it  but the reason I watch stranger things is for the the strange thing not normal life!

I also found the idea of having Russians working underneath a shopping mall a little too far fetched for me, give me mindflayers and I can get my head around that but why Russians, why are they opening the gate, why under a shopping mall? Also, why did Steve and this new gang break into the Russian lair and manage to escape? It's a step too far for me! And I know how ridiculous that sounds because it's Stranger Things and the whole concept is made up anyway.

We knew this season had a lot more money thrown at it because we knew about all of the collaborations with different brands and for the most part I think it was quite subtle but the Coke ad in episode 7...oh my god, too much! The problem was it felt like an ad.
I just have to bring up the Dustin and Suzie singing thing which was f*cking cringe but the concept was fine and if he just mumble sang into the walkie-talkie then that would have been funny and not detract too much from the storyline but oh no, they had to make it into this big duet with a split screen...while the mindflayer is literally on the gang! WTF!

There were moments of brilliance though and I cannot deny how great the graphics were this season, I was hooked with gaping mouth as I watch El and Billy meet in the upside down! Actually, all of the Billy scenes were brilliant and not just because he is obscenely handsome! Watching Nancy and Johnathan being hunted in hospital had my pulse racing! Even the character development of Murray I really bloody liked, he was a great addition. To be fair, all of the female characters were pretty badass! These were all really great parts and I wish we had more of them, I wish I was on the edge of my seat throughout the whole thing but I just wasn't, it didn't have the same darkness it had before! The season only really started for me from episode 5 which in an 8 part series is a little too late but of course I will watch the next season! 
7 July 2019

Garden Balcony Tips | Lifestyle

Balcony Garden

We moved into our first home just over a year ago now, I've written a few posts about it but some of you may not know is that our home is actually a Coach House so it's basically somewhere between a flat and a house. We have the entire property, we don't have anyone either side or above us but we have car ports directly underneath the property meaning everything is on first level as opposed to ground level!

The only downside to our home in my opinion is that we don't have a garden and this may some as a bit of a surprise to you but I actually really love plants and a little bit of gardening! A plus side however is that we do have a little balcony which has meant that I've had to get a little creative with my plants! I wanted to share some tips in case someone else was in a similar situation and didn't quite know where to begin.

Firstly, I think one of the most important things to consider is how much sun your balcony area gets during the day. I say this because our balcony is in sunshine literally all day which means we can't really go for plants that need shaded areas because they simply won't thrive where they are! In recent months I have opted for Snapdragons because they love direct sunlight so I know with proper care (lots of watering they should be pretty happy)

Balcony Garden Tips

Think about the type of plants you buy, whether they are going to be low maintenance or require a bit of time and training (trailing plants for example). I bought a Lavender bush, for a few reasons really one being bumble bees however I realised that Lavender is actually a pretty hardy plant and quite low maintenance in the sense that there was time I forgot to water the thing and this year he has come back really happy and healthy so far!

The primroses in the first picture died on us so quickly it was really disappointing but I knew this would happen because it said they would only flower until May so it's pretty important to check the blossom months if you want to have pretty flowers. In fact, it wasn't just that the flowers dropped of the plants actually died so I'm not sure they were too happy where they were so we decided to plant some Snapdragons in their place and they are thriving! If you want to keep your flowers looking fresh then pruning is really important, some plants only need the dead petals to be removed and that's really simple, a gentle tug and you're done! Whereas my lavender, I literally don't touch until late summer when the flowers have died then I trim the lavender stems right back! If you don't know how to prune certain things then there are loads on online tutorials or ask some family members if they are into gardening.

Balcony Garden

I'm lucky because I know exactly what types of flowers I want and it's just from past experience and other people's gardens that I do know what they are called but I think if you're struggling to know what you may like then pre-made planters might be a great option. We stumbled across ours in Homebase and it was just full of different types of beautiful flowers and it just looked great, the bees love it!

I think it doesn't matter how big your area is outside, having little bursts of colours around it can't help but make you smile and the bees will thank you for sure.
30 June 2019

Interview Preparation | Lifestyle

If you read my post the other week on handling rejection from job interviews then you will know I have been on the hunt for a new  role and it has been a ROLLERCOASTER of emotions but now I have managed to get myself a lovely new job (thank god). During the interview process I notice how much the landscape had changed and thought I would share with you guys some tips/things to be aware of.

Video Calls - Ok so video phone calls are a thing now, a lot of companies that I applied for asked to have a video call even though we were in the same damn city and just around the corner. There are many things to consider with video call such as location, connection, phone or laptop and the major one for me is that sometimes the interviewer will forget they are visible so may yawn which can be really off putting and equally they can see you so be mindful of how your come across.

2 hour long interviews - This one took me by surprise and it could just be the fact I was applying for jobs that were Director level but the expectations are high these days. It mean you have to take time off work whether you use holiday or throw a sickie which actually makes things really hard. One company expected me to have 7 interviews and a presentation, the 2 hour interview was set up of 30 min presentation followed by three 30 minute back to back interviews with 3 different people and that wasn't even the last stage. I didn't go ahead with the rest of the interviews because I didn't think the role was worth it.

Questions - In the many months of interviewing it took me to find a job this was one area I actually got a lot better at. There are many things I like to ask but the two that I think you get the most honesty from are "What are the biggest challenges you face as a company" and "How do you measure success for the person in this role". The first question gives you an insight into where potential struggles could arise in the future but also how well the person knows their business. The second question gives you an understanding as to what the expectations will be of you, whether it's purely about client retention or whether you'll be measured by the revenue your digital channel drives.

Rejection - I don't want to say you should be prepared to not get the job because it will put you in the wrong frame of mind when going for the interview but I guess it's more about understanding that rejection can be a part of the process. Wouldn't it be amazing if we all got the job we interviewed for first? But that's just unrealistic.

For me, I think the best interviews are always going to be face to face with a person you can get a vibe from, sometimes you instantly thing "I can work for that guy" and if I feel that then I am far more likely to go for that role if offered. You have to go with your gut, know what you want and what your limitations are, don't just accept a role because they have offered be sure that they are giving you what you really want, whether it be salary, responsibilities or work/life balance.  
23 June 2019

5 things Since Re-launching my Blog | Blogging

I have been blogging consistently again now for a couple of months and it's quite interesting how in that short space of time things have changed. I'm happy to at least be doing something again but I wanted to share with you guys some things I've noticed since being back and blogging.

No one reads it - Facts are facts! I mean, in all honesty I've always had a teeny tiny readership so I wasn't expecting much when I did relaunch again but in all honesty, no one cares and no one is reading! There's a part of me that's a little sad about it but actually in some respects it's nice to have a hobby and write about anything I want to!

I am lazy at promoting it - literally so lazy! For about a month and a half I just didn't schedule any tweets at all telling people I was writing new content, the thing is I got so out of the routine of the whole blogging space that I forgot entirely that I had to promote that damn thing. Not gonna lie, that might be some of the reason why no one is reading this little corner of the internet!

Lucky that I wrote loads of content before launching it - I launched with 8 weeks worth of posts (only one a week, so 8 posts) and once I relaunched and had all those pieces scheduled I literally didn't log back into Blogger again for at least a month, so if I didn't have the content ready and waiting I very much would have had a gap and then the posts would have felt forced and it would have been a hot mess!

Still struggling to get into it - I'm still very much trying to find my voice on this blog, a lot has changed in a year and when I first started again I knew that I wanted to go in a slightly different direction and not just be about things and stuff. So I have tried to focus a lot of my content to be opinion based and current to how I am feeling at that moment in time but it has taken  a little while to get back into it.

Enjoying the freedom of writing whatever I want - I eluded to this in the first point but since no one is reading my damn blog anyway, it's actually quite freeing to not have any expectations or constraints into what I write! Now, I know I'm hardly writing about anything ground breaking but I would never have written about fur becoming mainstream or separating the art from the artist or even why I gave up meat so I'm happy that I do now!

So even though the relaunch has been a little meh in terms of readership and I have definitely taken my sweet time to get back into the routine the main thing is I am still pretty positive about my blog and I'm happy I started again. I think when you take a break from blogging it's easy to think "oh why should I bother" but it's about identifying your objectives. Are you blogging because you want to be seen? If so, have your shit together before you start and make sure you scream about it from everywhere!  Are you blogging because you just want to write again? If so, then just do it! It doesn't matter whether you have a consistent routine or think you're writing about nothing, do it for you!