10 Tips to be Kind to the Earth this Summer

Our environment is screaming for help at the moment, and it’s within our power to help it. I want to help, and so should you.

I’ve seen so much on the news over the last few months about how our actions are destroying the environment we depend upon, and there have been some positive reactions – Iceland is going to stop putting palm oil in its own brand products, Tesco is banning non-recyclable plastic packaging – but none of that will be enough if we as individuals don’t do something to help, too.

With recent reports including stories of seals with plastic in its stomach and a whale with 80 plastic bags in its stomach, it is far past time to make some lifestyle changes.

Here are some of mine.

1) Stainless steel bottle

Okay, so this is a brilliant thing to own, because not only is it environmentally friendly but it keeps your water cold! I’m one of those people who’s never been the greatest water-drinker, but I’ve been making way more of an effort in recent years. However, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind that cold water is millions of miles better than warm water. I have a few reusable bottles, to tell the truth: a gym bottle that lives in my gym bag, my stainless steel one for daily use, a litre filter bottle, and two others. You never know if a friend will need one, right? But the point is, I haven’t bought disposable bottles of any drink in months.

2) Stainless steel straw

This is a fairly recent acquirement on my part – I’m fine living a life without straws on the whole. I don’t see them as a necessity. But every now and again, you just… fancy one, y’know? I grew up with plastic reusable ones in my own house, so the idea is old hat by now. But the grand thing with these is they don’t squish when you gnaw on them. (Don’t lie, we all bite straws!) And they’re easy to wash – most come with a little pipe-cleaner brush, to get any remnants of smoothie out. Personally, I think all restaurants should invest in these – it’s surely no different to using stainless steel cutlery.

3) Spork

Who doesn’t love a spork? The fork/knife/spoon combo that looks oh-so-dorky but is oh-so-good. I’ve had a spork for years, I used to take it to school on occasion and it’s just so easy to shove in your bag, maybe in a little pouch so it doesn’t get dirty. But if you suspect you’ll be grabbing some food while out that would usually come with plastic cutlery, just whack that in your bag and you’re all set. Guilt-free munching is the best type of munching, after all.

4) Lunch boxes

We all ought to be familiar with this one. Who didn’t walk to primary/secondary school, lunch bag swinging in the wind? or tucked in your backpack? If you didn’t personally, I’m certain you had friends who did. But lunch boxes are the best way to avoid wrapping sandwiches etc. in foil or cling film, particularly if they’re partitioned. Just pack it tightly enough and nothing will go rolling around!

5) Flannels

The most popular methods of taking makeup off, at least that I’ve encountered, are with cotton pads or wet wipes. Both of these produce tonnes of unnecessary waste for something that can be achieved so easily with flannels. I personally use the Garnier Micellar Gel face wash with a wet flannel to remove my makeup every day – just chuck ’em in a bowl until you get a chance to wash them with your regular towels (the makeup comes out with no extra effort, though add stain remover if you wear liquid lipstick a lot!). But this is both cheaper, because I rarely need to buy cotton pads, and more environmentally friendly. Plus, the flannel gives you a bit of an exfoliation while you’re there.

6) Bags for Life

You’ll have heard about these to no end over the last year or so if you live in the UK, ever since the government introduced the 5p charge for disposable plastic bags. But I’m gonna go into it anyway! I have a variety of these types of bags – from totes, to hessian, to some indescribable fabric and more. And it’s so easy to fold up a tote bag or another bag of thin fabric into your handbag (or pocket, if you’re a dude). Just keep one there. Permanently. If you take it out and use it, put it back as soon as you’ve emptied it. Be like me and my lip balms – have one on hand 24/7! Even if you don’t need it during the day, a friend might. And it’s worth lending it to them if it means one less animal accidentally swallowing a disposable one, right?

7) Sign petitions!

If you sign one, you’ll get emailed about more. That’s the general rule with petitions, as far as I’ve found – I reliably sign Greenpeace ones, which pop into my inbox every now and again, but if I stumble across any on social media I’ll usually pop my name on those too. But recently it stopped Holland and Barrett selling krill, which is whales’ main food source and vital for ocean health, so they do work if enough people pay attention! And you can easily share them around, as me and a friend frequently do to each other.

8) Reusable baking sheets

It’s beyond easy to just wrap something in foil and shove it in the oven, but in many instances, it’s just as easy to use a reusable baking sheet. Just give it a good scrub each side between uses and you’re good to go.

9) Go for glasses and cans

When you’re doing your weekly shopping, or just decide you need some drinks in, try to go for the ones that come in cans or glass bottles, rather than the ones in plastic bottles – they’re easier to recycle and won’t contribute to the plastic-in-the-ocean problem. This works for things like coke, lemonade, tonic and other juicy drinks. It’s not always possible (you rarely find water in glass bottles, but that’s what tip 1 is for), but it is a lot of the time.

10) Watch out for palm oil products

The tips I’ve given so far are pretty quick and simple, I should think, but this one can be trickier. So many products on our supermarket shelves include palm oil, and I try my best to stay away from as many of them as possible. Take peanut butter, for example – this is something that definitely doesn’t need palm oil in it, and there are some brands I can tell you are 100% palm oil free: Sunpat, Tesco’s own (a new range that I am thrilled about!! they now do a variety of nut butters which only contain the nut, nothing else), and Meridian (more expensive). If you’re unaware about the problems with palm oil, click here for an overview.

So there we go! 10 easy ways to start being a little kinder to the earth this summer. Why not switch it up?

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Sunshine Blogger Award

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I’ve finally gotten around to writing my Sunshine Blogger Award post! I was nominated by Jenna from Northernbird84 and by Milli!

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award? Well…

The rules:

1.) Thank the blogger(s) who nominated you and link back to their blog

2.) Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you

3.) Nominate 11 new blogs to receive this award, and write them 11 new questions

4.) List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog

I was nominated by Jenna first, so I’ll answer her questions first and Milli’s afterwards!

Jenna’s Questions

1) Which blogger would you love to work with and why?

Does a vlogger/blogger count? I’d probably say Tanya Burr. She stands for a lot of the same things I do, I admire her work ethic, and she’s not afraid to dream big.

2) What one thing could you not live without?

There’s a lot of material things I could go for here, but I’m going to go ahead and say I couldn’t live without my creativity. I get bored really easily, so if I didn’t have that, I can’t fathom how dull life would be.

3) Do you have pets? If not would you like to?

I don’t, but I definitely would like a cat… or a tortoise… something that doesn’t need to be taken on walks! I’m too busy/lazy to deal with that.

4) What made you start blogging?

I was extremely stressed in sixth form and decided I was too out of the habit of writing, so thought that if I set up a blog and made myself stick to a schedule (even though that’s gone a bit out of the window recently – but I have reasons, I promise!), I’d get back into it. I really wanted to improve my writing skills, and just become comfortable reading my own writing, and this seemed like a fairly accessible way of working towards that.

5) Has your blog changed over time?

Definitely. Massively. Different layout, different categories, different content. I think the only thing that’s stayed the same is what I write about Travel – but I’ve been so swamped by university that even that’s feeling neglected right now! I recently cleared out my old blog posts to give myself a bit of a fresh start, took away a few categories, and added one called Advocacy. I’ve decided I’m going to write about the things that matter to me about the world, and that’s where it’s going to happen. The first few posts there are already up, if you want to check them out…

6) If you were offered an all expenses paid holiday anywhere in the world, where would you go?

So many places! If I really have to choose just one, I’ll say Italy. I hear it’s expensive. I’m really interested in Roman history, and I’ve never really learned much about it, so I’d probably go to Rome.

7) What is your beauty must-have?

Probably a hair brush. It’s a bad day if I’ve forgotten to pack one of those – especially here in Liverpool, where the wind today as I’m writing this was simply mad. The six foot guys standing next to me at the lights were struggling to hold their ground.

8) Do you have a favourite blog post of yours?

I can’t think of one off the top of my head, so I’m going to say no. I don’t think I could choose.

9) Are there any brands/charities you’d want to work with?

I seriously want to work with the UN at some point in my life, particularly in the Global Goals sort of area. I’ve thought this for years. It’s so international, and I think it would be amazing to work with them.

10) What would be a perfect evening in for you?

A perfect evening in would definitely include good company, chocolate, a cosy film (let’s face it – a Harry Potter), blankets on a comfy sofa, and my laptop or a notebook so I could get some writing done. I realise that may sound like work, but I get restless and writing relaxes me.

11) If you could give your past self one piece of advice, what would it be?

This is actually a really hard question, because I feel like struggles you’ve had teach you something, and they make you who you are. But I think one thing would be to go to the doctors way earlier about acne, because I had that for a solid nine years and it was definitely a stress I could have done without. It took enough trips to the doctor to get a treatment that worked, but it would have been good if I’d done that about two years earlier!

Milli’s Questions

1) Do you wish you’d started blogging sooner?

Not really. I started around the time I turned eighteen, and moved platforms a couple of months afterwards, so I’ve been here for 2 years. I don’t think it would have been worth starting any earlier – I was writing online for a website for a while in my teens anyway, as well as a few things for my school’s newsletter, so I think adding a blog may have been too much.

2) Do you want to make your blog into a career or is it just a side hobby?

I don’t have specific plans to make my blog my career. I want to write, but I’d really like to be a novelist/screenwriter, so I guess I’d have to say side hobby!

3) Are you single or taken?

Sin-gle. As single as can be.

4) If you could only eat sweet or savoury for the rest of your life, which would you pick?

Savoury. As much as it pains me to say it, savoury. Savoury foods are just more filling, y’know?

5) What is your Myers Briggs type?

INFJ-A, so apparently one of the rarest? I did the test a couple of times, once a couple of years ago and once more recently, and the result didn’t change. I have friends with some of the same letters, but I’ve yet to find another INFJ. Either way, the result probably tells you more than enough about me!

6) What’s your biggest goal for 2018?

*Whispers* Get a book deal. Shhhh!

7) What is your job role and do you enjoy it?

I have a very flexible role as a brand manager on my uni campus, so if brands host events at my uni and need promoters, I can do the promotion. A lot of it so far has been online work, just promoting competitions and things on social media. It’s an alright position, nothing too stressful going on. It’s good I can work it around my studies and other commitments.

8) Did you enjoy school?

Complicated question. Yes and no. I’ve always enjoyed learning, I enjoyed seeing lots of people every day, and all that – but the education system in the UK infuriates me for reasons too long-winded to go into here!

9) What’s the last purchase you splurged on?

Like, really splurged? My camera. I got it last summer, and it’s probably the most expensive thing I’ve ever bought myself! The camera was on a deal on Amazon, and the deal was one of those lightning things that only lasts a certain amount of time, so I basically just went for it. I wouldn’t say I regret buying it – it’s really great quality, and it’s meant I’ve taken many more photos since I got it. I’m really trying to save money now, though.

10) Any exciting trips planned for this year?

No 😦 unfortunately not. Depending on when my one exam for this semester is, I may be going to the Lake District with my parents for a week in a couple of months, but if my exam is later than I hope, I’ll be staying at uni. Dying for a sunny holiday, but that’ll have to wait for now!

11) Favourite genre of music?

I wouldn’t say I have a favourite genre. According to Spotify, I listen to pop the most – but I don’t pay attention to genres. I like a lot of different things – pop, indie, country, whatever… A bit of Evanescence. All that.


So there we have it! My 22 questions from 2 nominations. Now it’s my turn…

My eleven nominees:

1) Tarnya (@sweet_allure)

2) Highlands2hammocks (@highlands2hamm)

3) Dani (@daniwanderlust)

4) Jess (@FairytalesJessx)

5) Hels (@thehelsproject)

6) Elizabeth Walton (@Life_WithLizzie)

7) Farrah Aslam (@farrahaslamblog)

8) Emmax (@lifeofemmax)

9) Esther Wyse (@EstherRuthWyse)

10) Grace K. (@blogherosix)

11) Honey (@Honey_KJ)

My eleven questions:

1) What are three things you really want to do in your lifetime?

2) If you could help solve one world problem, which would it be?

3) What song’s been in your head recently?

4) Name one public figure, outside of the blogging industry, who inspires you and why.

5) Are you an earphones person or a headphones person?

6) Do you write anything outside of your blog?

7) Have you gone to/are you at/will you go to university?

8) What do you see yourself doing in two years’ time?

9) Are you a ‘foodie’?

10) Are you interested in world affairs?

11) What’s one thing you wished people knew about you?

I look forward to reading the responses!

 

Road to Publication

On 23rd January 2018, I was sat in a Caffé Nero attached to the Blackwell’s book shop on campus, and I finally wrote the final words of the book I’d been working on since October 2014.

Between those two dates, I’d completed both years of my A Levels, moved to uni 200 miles away from home, gone through about five different hairstyles, and completed the first half of my degree – it’s safe to say it’s felt like a very long time coming.

I wasn’t really sure how to feel about it; the story isn’t over, because I want it to be a trilogy. But it was undeniably weird to think I’d actually finished writing a book. I’d done the thing I’d wanted to do since I was about four years old.

I did a typical millennial thing when I finished: WhatsApped a friend about fifteen times until she replied, and took a shot of it for my 1 Second Everyday. Sat there for a few minutes with not much thought in my head besides a continual “whaaaaat”. Compiled the file and saved it on about four different platforms – I’m not taking any chances, especially with a laptop that’s died on me three times in the last few months. (Please hold on a little longer!)

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A Snapchat I took shortly before I finished writing the book…

Since then, though, I’ve read it through. Finished tweaking it. Sorted out one particular scene which had been bugging me for far too long…

… And started sending it off to agents.

Okay, I’ve only sent it off to one agency so far – I happened to finish writing the book the day after my final semester one exam and six days before semester two began, so once the semester picked up again it was a lot harder to find time to research agents and send things. A lot of literary agencies want different things in your cover letters, and different parts of your manuscript – 10 pages, 3 chapters, 10,000 words… If it wasn’t for my first deadline of the semester being just two weeks in, and the next only two weeks after that, I would have sent it off to more at the same time.

I’m going to try sending it off to more agents in the next few weeks. I haven’t got another university deadline for six weeks, accounting for the next three weeks of term and three weeks of Easter break.

It’s surprisingly intimidating, thinking about somebody else reading, or even talking, about a book you’ve written. It’s been something I’ve kept (very) private for a long time. Private to the extent that my friends and family don’t actually know what it’s about. I felt like I needed the privacy to write the book that was mine, not mine-with-other-people’s-interference. I had a very clear idea of the nature of the world I was building, and I wanted the space to put it into words on my own.

Now, though, I have to relinquish that privacy, and that’s somewhat terrifying. Exciting. But scary.

I’m expecting rejections. I’m very aware that that’s just part and parcel of the creative industries – you’re going to get a lot of nos and, if you’re lucky, a few yeses. So here’s to the determination to keep on trying.