28 April 2019

Going Meat Free | Lifestyle

Image by Alexas_Fotos on Pixabay

I'm not gonna lie, I never thought I would be writing a post about giving up meat and if anyone knows me they know that I was a huge meat eater of all kinds, so when I told people they all just wanted to remind me of all the great meals I will be missing out on but to be honest I knew it just wasn't going to change my mind. I also want to point out that whilst I no longer eat meat, I do still eat fish and shellfish, for me I knew that I wouldn't be able to give up meat and fish at the same time if I did there was a higher chance of me giving up. 

Last year I often thought "oh I would like to give up meat but I just don't think I can" and I kinda left it at that, I didn't really try to reduce my meat intake or anything like that, I just felt like it was a nice idea. Then we got Freddie our adorable little French bulldog and I think this was when I really started to question things. When Freddie was little he reminded me of a piglet, he had this little flat nose, a pot belly, he would grunt and snuffle around the house, he had these ears that just pointed straight up and I couldn't help but see a pig! Then I started thinking, "why is it ok to eat pig meat but I am shocked and disgusted that other countries or cultures eat dog meat?" As time went on, I stopped seeing chickens, cows, pigs, sheep as meat and instead as these lovely little animals like Fred because the reality is there is no difference, so if I can eat pig meat then I should be fine with others eating dog meat - and this just didn't make sense. When January came I knew that this year was the right time to give it up. 

When you start picking apart the meat industry there are so many things that I have been uncomfortable with for a long time, the impact it has on the environment, the welfare of the animals, the hormones that are pumped into the meat to bulk it up and make it cheaper to name a few. The supermarkets don't help because getting cheap meat is very convenient, local butchers are few and far between and if I could shop at a butchers who could tell me more about the meat I was eating then I would have a different opinion but that's just not realistic anymore. Additionally, I think now more than ever is easy to eliminate meat from your diet, there are so many "fake meat" alternatives and I know those are also processed but if you wanted to avoid those types of replacements you could because veganism and vegetarianism is becoming more popular. Personally, I do eat some of the meat alternatives like Linda McCartney sausages with my Sunday dinner, or the No Chick pieces for a stir fry (if I'm not having prawns) sometimes it's nice to bulk it but with the meat replacements.  

The thing that surprised me the most was how easy it has been so far, even when I am drunk and offered meat I am still like "no, meat free". It just seems and feels like the right thing to do which is why it has been so easy and because I do still have fish it's definitely been a softer transition. Another reason I still eat fish is because there are more options to available on a menu when eating out with friends, if I don't like the look of the veggie options then I am guaranteed the fish option will appeal to me. There are times I have thought about meat, thinking I would quite like to have a burger or something but I just know I won't get one because there are some fab meat free alternatives around that taste just as good as anything else! 
21 April 2019

Is it possible to separate art from the artist? | Opinion

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Here comes another lengthy opinion piece but I think in light of recent events I think now is a good time to start to question whether we can or should separate art from the artist? Looking specifically at musicians, I think the answer has too many complexities and every one has their own opinion which of course they are entitled to but I think the most interesting thing for me is the volume of people who don't want to break their illusion of the artists so the deny and disregard any negative opinion.

For me this question first came up when the Lostprophets lead singer was found guilty of several child sex offences. Lostprophets was a band that I absolutely adored and was pretty much the sound track to a period in my life where I felt so much happiness and then when the news started unravelling, I realised that now I can no longer listen to this music and reminisce. I do feel bad for the other musicians of the band because they all played a part in creating their songs but the music just became tainted for me. Then "Leaving Neverland" aired and I was in the exact same predicament. For those of you who don't know Leaving Neverland is a pretty damning account of two victims who Michael Jackson allegedly sexually abused them as children.   Wade Robson and James Safechuck tell an extremely detailed and some times quite graphic account of the abuse and, at times, it is quite difficult to watch. For me one of the key things that I noticed was that both men recounted how close Michael Jackson got to their families, having calls with the parents, coming to their homes, flying them to LA, it could be argued that he basically infiltrated them to gain access to these boys. It's this element that made me believe these men because there were some parallels to a Netflix show all Abducted in Plain Sight where the abuser gets very close to the parents just to access their daughter. This is actually a very common step in child abuse, it's family friend, it's someone they trusted, the family had no idea, he seemed like a nice guy.

The main difference between Ian Watkins and Michael Jackson is Ian Watkins was found guilty (and sentenced to 35 years in prison) where as Michael Jackson was brought to trial found not guilty, with Wade at the time defending him against the accusations and then years after his death, the victims came forward. I can see why people question their motives but when you watch the documentary I think it's obviously clear that these men are pained by their experiences. There have been celebrities coming forward to say that Michael Jackson didn't abuse them, so this alone must me he is innocent and that the men are lying but I have to say just because someone doesn't do something to you doesn't mean they didn't do it to someone else. He openly admitted to sharing his bed with young boys which everyone agrees is weird, so is it that farfetched that he could also abuse the same boys he shared his bed with?  

R Kelly is another artist who has come under the microscope with many victims coming forward, personally I haven't seen the documentary so I can't pass comment but I believe that we should listen to these girls instead of just ignoring it for the sake of his "brand".

I don't think I can separate the art from the artists, when you listen to the stories of the victims I really don't think we should bury our heads in the sand and say they are lying. I can however accept the impact people like Michael Jackson had on the music industry but I can also choose to no longer listen to his music. I think even if you don't want to believe it, you should watch Leaving Neverland just so you can hear another side.
14 April 2019

Finding my own style | Fashion

Blue Satin Shirt

I wanted to write a post about my own style even though I am definitely not a style blogger, I just think as I've gotten a little older I know what I love to wear and I'm probably not gonna change. Just for transparency, some of the items in this post have been gifted to me from a brand called Fashion world they have many brands on site which means they offer a large range of clothing sizes and something for everyone whether it's ankle boots like mine or sandals for summer or simplistic back packs or cute dresses, they offer a diverse range. 

For as a long as I remember I have always loved wearing black, it probably stems from my angsty teen years where I listened to Linkin Park non stop but actually this period in my life definitely influenced some of my style choices for sure! As I got older of course it changed a little and my style stayed black but the items of clothing were a little more grown up than band tees and spikey pyramid belts (even though band tees are still a thing now). Don't get me wrong, I do have some items in my closet that aren't black but my standard every day wear pretty dark. When I moved to Italy I started thinking differently about my clothes, you'd think that being in 36 degree heat every day would mean that I dressed in light shades, I definitely didn't ! I kept with my everyday black skinnies and a relaxed fit vest or shirt or black dress and you know what, not a single colleague batted an eyelid because half of them were wearing black too. In the UK as soon as the sun comes out even for a fraction people have their legs out and they are wearing a flourish of colours and pastels but that just isn't me. I have lost count of the items of clothing I have bought thinking "oh I must wear something bright" worn barely once and then sent it off to a charity shop which is obscenely wasteful. 

Every time I was asked by people at work "why do you only wear black? Do you even own any other colours other than black?" I would just make a joke out of it and be like "it's just my aesthetic" and we'd laugh at how obnoxious I sounded but the fact was it's actually kind true! I had changed the narrative so now people instead go "oh that bag suits your aesthetic!" or "that's very you" which I really like. I love wearing head to toe black, it makes me feel confident! I know that 80% of the week I will be in black skinny jeans, black ankle boots and an oversized black top (I actually prefer the term "sack like" top) and it makes life so much easier! I tend to go for tops that are 2 or 3 sizes too big for me because I like to keep my body shape hidden, I mean I'm not quite in love with my body at the moment but even when I was a skinny thing in Italy I still liked wearing stuff too big for me, it's a comfort thing for me and I like the way slim jeans with long baggy tops look on me, sometimes it does make me look bigger than I am but I just prefer the overall look which is what I am more interested in.

Black Back Pack

Black Ankle Boots

I am pretty tall but I still like wearing high ankle boots, I like to seem longer because it balances out my overall body proportions and this often makes me either the same height or taller than some guys but I don't mind at all. I will wear my ankle boots until they have holes in and then I replace them for something similar if not the same as I had before, I always have two on rotation high ones and flat ankle boots because sometimes the heeled once do hurt my feet a little especially if I have been running around a work event all day (!!)

I understand why so many people buy into trends, we have brand like Zara making clothes that are basically from the run way for a fraction of the cost and I completely get it but I cant help but think that the constant need for fast fashion is having a more detrimental affect on the planet that we can even understand right now! I wear clothes for me and no one else, my style is simple and easy to wear, my clothes can be worn in the office or worn on the weekend which leaves me with a curated wardrobe of only things I love and that's all that matters to me. 
7 April 2019

Why Real Fur Has Become Mainstream | Fashion

Fashion Fur
Image by tokatlian on Pixabay

As you may have read in my recent post I am back and now I will be writing more conversational pieces of content and I thought that my first post should be something I have become increasingly aware of which is how real fur trims have become mainstream and I also wanted to share a few ways to tell the difference between fake and real fur.

I'm sure I'm not the only person to notice the increase in coats/jackets that have "fur" trims or even on hats, it's a very popular trend at the moment.Quite often I find myself standing on a train platform or walking down Oxford Street and notice everyone wearing these jackets and hats but when I started to look a little closer I realised that at least half of these "fur" trims are actual real fur and it just kind of goes unnoticed. I think there are a few reasons but I'm going to start quite frankly and honestly and put a lot of blame on Canada Goose. They have almost singlehandedly pioneered in bringing the puffer jacket with a fur trim back to the forefront of people's minds, personally I am all for a faux fur trim on a coat but these guys use coyote fur on the duck down padded jackets and I'm not sure if you are aware a lot of the time the animals are alive when they have their fur removed, I'm not going to go any further into that side of things because there is a plethora of information on the web if you really wanted to dig into it further. Canada Goose is a brand that at least doesn't hide the fact they use real fur, they know it's controversial but they do offer jackets without fur and, in some respects, at least I can acknowledge this brand chooses to use fur and I can choose not to buy from them.

In recent months however there was the Boohoo real fur scandal where this fashion brand was selling items labelled as "faux fur" when in reality it was real fur which was likely to have come from a rabbit. Boohoo aren't the only brand to make this error though, BBC's Watchdog did an investigation which actually highlighted brands like Amazon, TK Maxx and items sold through Ebay where also selling real fur (dog and raccoon) as faux fur. I mean, if retailers can't even get this correct, how are consumers supposed to know the difference? Even when looking into London markets, a lot of these cute pom pom hats are made from real fur and sold at such a cheap price it's easy to assume that they couldn't be real fur.  So on the one hand you have brands confidently selling fur and being honest but on the other you have brands who "genuinely" don't realise they are selling real fur, it really isn't surprising that fur is so mainstream now.

I think people should be made aware of how to tell the difference between real fur and fake fur but there are some really simple ways to identify real vs fake and surprisingly cost is not one of the factors, real fur comes incredibly cheap so don't be lulled into thinking "it's too cheap to be real". I often can tell real fur apart from fake because of the movement of it being worn on the person or the way the breeze catches the fur and makes the strands move in different ways, you just don't get the same movement with fake fur, that said I do have a keen eye for details so many may not be able to tell the difference between the two. The most effective and quick way to check whether the fur is real or not is to separate the fur so you can see the base, if it's fake you will see like a webbing type of material, if it is real it will be attached to skin and look like a smooth surface. It's also said that real fur strands tend to taper to a point at the end whereas fake fur has a more blunt cut. 

I am for personal choice and understand some people and cultures are happy to wear real fur, almost like leather but I wonder how many of the people actually realise that the items they are wearing are real fur?  I suspect it's less than you think.