Superdrug vegan cruelty free drugstore beauty haul

I am very passionate about my beauty products being cruelty free and vegan but sometimes this can feel like a pretty expensive task. However, a lot more brands are embracing being cruelty free and labelling which of their products are vegan; making it easier for people like me who are mostly clueless. One store I’ve noticed more and more that stocks brands that are good at this and do it themselves is Superdrug- all the range made by Superdrug themselves I’m pretty sure is cruelty free (however, when shopping online is you search cruelty free you can narrow down the cruelty free brands on the site as well).

I was very excited then when I heard reports that Superdrug’s own brand shampoo and conditioner is £1.99 each and is cruelty free and vegan. However, it was difficult to find confirmation of this online except in the ‘Questions’ section of the product where people asked if the product was vegan. However, when you actually purchase the bottle it states clearly that it is cruelty free and vegan – something, which I can confirm for the bottles I bought which was the Coconut and Almond shampoo and conditioner, and the Raspberry and Macadamia conditioner.

I’ve also had a week or two trying these products out now and can confirm that while they are not terrible, they are not really heavy duty enough for my very winter-dry bleached underneath hair that needs a little extra care. However, I’ve found if I use the shampoo, then the Raspberry conditioner and finally the Coconut conditioner (making sure to leave them on as long as possible) the results are quite good. This also I think largely isn’t a fault of the products as I’ve found the shower water where I live compared to other parts of the country really makes my hair feel dry. I need to try soaking my hair in coconut oil for half an hour when I wash my hair again and see if that makes a difference.

Overall, for the price I will definitely be buying these again. Especially as they were on buy one get one free when I got them (and I think they still are) so I got four bottles, one of which was a repeat of the coconut shampoo, which is why I didn’t mention it earlier. However, I might try indulging in a more heavy duty conditioner (maybe one from Lush) – as shampoo’s go though the Superdrug one definitely does the job (I’d recommend the Raspberry one because the conditioner I have smells very nice).

Barry M  

I’ve always ruined my nails within minutes of them being painted (or done an awful job in the first place) to the point where I’ve barely ever worn nail varnish. However, when I saw the new colours at the Barry M stand; I knew I had to make an exception.

Barry M Nail Varnishes

Especially, when I saw that one was scented (spoiler alert I didn’t notice anything – I think nail varnish because of the strong smell is a bit too hard to scent).

However, the colour is beautiful and better yet Barry M is cruelty free and a lot of their products are vegan (not all however – I wanted to try a mascara but sadly they were not) so make sure to check. From what I could see most if not all of their nail varnishes are vegan and it is really easy to check on the Barry M site, as you just find the product you want, click on the ingredients list and there will be a sticker on the list if the product is vegan.

The shade from the Candy Culture collection I got, ‘Coconut’ is vegan, as well as all the varnishes in that collection. The other shade I picked up from the ‘Under the Sea’ collection, which has the absolute cutest packaging (I definitely need all the shades in this collection – especially the blue), called ‘Jellyfish’ is also vegan, as are the other shades in the collection.

As I spent more than £7 (I think it this amount) at Barry M (the nail varnishes are an affordable £3.99 each) I received a free Shimmer Strobe Cream. I picked up the shade galactic because I thought it would be a nice white highlighter from what it looked like in the tube – there was unfortunately no samples to swatch. It is however a pretty lilac colour (which, still suits my skin tone so yay). I find this a little hard to work with because I’m not used to cream products but it also seems to work really nice on one cheek and then awful on the other. However, if you want to pick one of these up they are only £4.49 and when I looked on the site all 4 shades are vegan – I personally am considering picking up the pink toned shade ‘Frosty Pink’ though I think my face is pink enough already (not that has stopped me before).

The only thing I would make sure to stress with Barry M is look up the product on their website, as although the nail varnishes were labelled as vegan, the shimmer stick wasn’t even though it was – so make to check!

Makeup Revolution 

I have to admit a love a bit of Makeup Revolution, especially when you want to play around with colours that are a bit ‘out there’ for you but don’t want to commit to buying an expensive palette. The two palettes I got were £4 and £10 respectively, and although there was some shades on the cheaper palette I got that were a little hard to blend; it was nothing I couldn’t work with.

Re-loaded palette 

The first thing that caught my eye was that this palette has a few similar shades to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture palette (well at least to me) and the second thing was that it was only £4. So far I’ve only tried a few of the shades, one of which just refused to blend and the other which wasn’t as bright as I hoped but did layer nicely – I think used by someone willing to show more love than me, i.e. setting spray etc. these shadows could look great. They did though have staying power, which is the same as some of my more expensive palettes on my eyes. If you look on the TAM beauty website (who looks after Makeup Revolution) in the description it states that the product is vegan, cruelty free and gluten free (this confused me a bit at first but fair enough if this is a concern for coeliacs). Tam Beauty also states that none of their brands test on animals so this includes the other brands they stock like Freedom and I Heart Makeup.

Makeup Revolution palette

On the first image my swatches start from the  bottom left and then I follow the palette left upwards. 

As you can probably see in the swatches, some shades are a bit fuzzy and those are the shades that are harder to work with. One thing I really noticed is that the shimmer shades for both palettes swatched really nicely – especially the gold shades. Also, apologises about the mark on my arm on the second picture – it flares up now and then and basically there is something I’m allergic to but I don’t know what.

I also got the Soph eyeshadow palette, as I occasionally look at her videos because her eye looks are lovely and very accessible – I like how she works with cheaper and more expensive products as well.

I haven’t used many of the shades yet in this palette but all that I did use worked well, and the swatches for some of the shades in this palette are just gorgeous. This palette was a bit pricer at £10 but still for a Youtuber collaboration that’s really good and there is a really nice mixture of shades in the palette. The packaging is also cute – though I’ve already stained the palette itself as it’s one of those materials that every little finger print shows up on. I’d also love to do a more detailed review of this palette, as another post to add to my reviewing Youtuber products series (which is just books at the moment).

This palette like the other Makeup Revolution eyeshadow palette is cruelty free, vegan and gluten free. I’m not sure how many of their products are and aren’t vegan but when I did quick check by clicking on one of their mascaras I noticed it wasn’t vegan.

Soph palette
You also get a mirror, which is a nice touch. 

First picture starts from the top left of the palette and then I work my way down right and go down each row like that. 

So this is my mini cruelty free and vegan drugstore haul. I’d love to do more posts like this and make it a series maybe, as I’d love to show off some affordable options as well as more premium ones.

April

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90s Witch Fashion Haul

I feel like this could also be titled ‘I got paid and spent money on clothes’ but since I noticed that a lot of my purchases could make outfits that I’d define as ’90s Witch fashion’ (and by this I mean as depicted in TV shows, i.e. Willow in Buffy, The Craft, etc.); I thought it would be nice to collect those purchases together and do a little bit of a show and tell.

I also want to try out a little something different this time so am going to show my purchases through outfits. I lack the skill and patience for cute flat lay posts so am going to showcase my outfits instead through what I will dub ‘hanger lay’ (which will never be a thing).

Outfit 1: Forever pretending its Autumn 

Autumn 1

Brown Beret: Primark

Jumper: New Look (in the sale- couldn’t find link)

Dress: Asos

Boots: Topshop (old)- would look amazing with some vegan Dr Martens

Autumn 2Autumn 3Autumn 4

Outfit 2: Trying my hardest to be ‘Tumblr’ 

Tumblr 1
The cardigan is not laying exactly right in this photograph, which annoys me, but not enough to muster the effort to take the photograph again.

Beret: Topshop

Top: Little Viking Vintage

Dress: Asos

Cardigan: H and M

Necklace: A gift I’ve had a while, you can find an official one here

Tumblr 2

Tumblr 3

Tumblr 4

Outfit 3: 90s film witches need a bit more pink 

Pink 3

Jacket: Topshop (from the Christmas sales)

Dress: H and M (couldn’t find exact online)

Boots: Primark

Pink Outift 2

Pink Outfit 1

Pink boots 4

So there it is a short and sweet post where I try something a bit new! If I manage to have the time and or can muster the effort I’ll try to post some pictures of me wearing some of these outfits on my Instagram (so be sure to follow me there, wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

Ethics and sustainability of the clothes featured:

This section is not to shame anyone (including myself) but just because I think its good to remind ourselves where our things come from. Although I try in little ways to be more ‘ethical’ and sustainable; I am very far from perfect in this regard so please don’t feel guilty from this section.

The top from Little Viking Vintage is vintage, which is therefore very environmentally friendly!

Topshop, H and M and Primark are known for being ‘fast fashion’ brands that range in affordability but are all what are considered ‘high street’ brands. They then tend to be problematic generally in terms of ethics, with all facing accusations of ‘sweat shop labour’. Personally, the items I buy from here I keep and mend for many years (with the exceptions of jeans- as they just wear down very quickly on the thighs for me) so I try my best to keep the ‘fast fashion’ element out of the things I buy.

Asos’s private label is generally considered to be ‘middle ground‘ in terms of ethics and sustainability. They do however have a section on their website labelled ‘Eco Brands’ which shines the light on environmentally friendly brands.

Wool: The beret and cardigan are likely to be a wool blend. The ethics of wool can be supsect but it is possible to buy more ethical wool- you can read more on this here. If this is something you feel passionately about your best bet is to check to see if you can find the credentials for where the wool in your clothes has come from (buying vintage wool is also a good bet)- something I need to get better at, though I’ll be honest sometimes this can make shopping a bit of an expensive minefield (and I don’t think there is anything wrong with admitting that).

 April

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January Favourites

It’s been a little bit of a ‘dry’ January for me so this list might be a little bit short on purchases. However, I’ve done a lot of watching of things this month because of my lack of money, so expect to see a lot of suggestions for ways to occupy your time instead of a lot of clothes (though I suspect next month this list will probably contain a lot of clothes).

I’m going to start by talking about something that I’ve not actually bought anything from but I think is super cute and that is the Lazy Oaf x Betty Boop collection. I always loved Betty Boop as a child because of her stint in Roger Rabbit and because I  always saw her in vintage and alternative shops meaning that for me she always stood as a symbol for someone who liked to dress alternatively. And as someone who has always admired (even if they were at times too scared to dabble in) alternative fashion; Betty Boop always seemed pretty darn cool to me.

The showstopping piece from the collection (just to be clear I’m referring to the ‘Women’s’ collection because I’m not a fan of anything in the ‘Men’s’ collection) has to be the white double denim set, which I’d love to attempt to pull off- with the red beret and top as below- maybe with some red converse as well. However, the pieces are about standard for Lazy Oaf collaboration collections and would set me back £120 for the jacket, and £79 for the jeans. So, these pieces are definitely going to have to go on the back burner of things I like at the moment- plus there is no guarantee I would be able to find a pair of the jeans that would fit because of my waist to hip ratio.

I also wish I could style the pieces anywhere near as cute as @skumbagg_ did on Instagram. 

Also, @skumbagg_ highlights probably my favourite piece from the collection the red sheer heart jacket. And this is not only because I really love hearts but because this would look amazing in a Valentines day lookbook (which, I hope to do but don’t think I’ve got another outfits to pull it off- maybe then it will be a Valentines Outfit Of The Day).

My other favourite pieces are the stripe boatneck top (the top pictured below is actually a bodysuit, you can find it here) which would look so cute tucked into a skirt or high waisted trousers or of course the cute pin up jeans they have with the collection (see below- click to the next image to see the amazing bow detail). There is also an adorable crop top, which I love but also have no idea how I would style.

Betty body and blue bow jeans 🎀👖〰️#bettyboopxlazyoaf

A post shared by Lazy Oaf (@lazyoafs) on

The crop top!

The one piece from the collection I do know how I’d style is the dress, which is the cut of my favourite Lazy Oaf dress pieces, which is referred to as a ‘Sally Sack dress’ (see below to see how one of my favourite Lazy Oaf wearers @reina_roo on Instagram styles it). This is the one piece I’m super tempted to get from the collection, as I know I wouldn’t regret it -I’m hoping it will still be available in March (but I know that’s a long shot with Lazy Oaf pieces- if you like a Lazy Oaf piece I very much recommend buying it then and there whenever possible because they only stock limited runs and finding the item after that can be hard and pricey).

So basically the one piece of the collection I am definitely going to invest in is the cute Betty Boop pin, as I like to try to have something from every Lazy Oaf collection (though that’s not being going well recently) and I love and am trying to collect more pins.

Little Viking Vintage

Now that I’ve sufficiently obsessed over the new Lazy Oaf collection let me talk about things I’ve actually bought. All of these are from the lovely Little Viking Vintage, so are unique to me, which I love, and as always were purchases I’ve been wearing again and again.

My favourite purchase was a beautiful silver and black onyx necklace. I got this because I’ve been noticing more and more how terrible I am at accessorising and wanted to change this. This looks amazing with a playsuit and crop top combo I bought recently (and basically is the only outfit I ever post about).

Ginger Hair Don't Care

I also got this pale yellow blouse for £9! It’s see through so I’ll wear a tank top underneath it but would look totally lovely I think with a nice long flowing skirt for when spring arrives.

Yellow blouse

The final thing I got is this bucket bag. It can’t hold a lot of items or weight because of its design but it makes me look a lot more fashionable than I actually am, and I love it. Also, I’d rather it get reused personally than waste it- see this post if you a bit confused about what I’m referring to.

Bucket Bag

Grace and Frankie Season 4 

I’ve been a fan of Grace and Frankie since the start. First of all, I love anything with Jane Fonda in, and second of all the show itself is hilarious and beautifully written. It’s not often (or more like barely at all) you see shows targeted at or featuring people over 50 on TV, and although I know why, it’s really a shame. I might be a while until I feel some of the problems of ageing but doesn’t mean I don’t want to know what they are or that I find them any less engaging than other problems I can’t relate to. I mean the majority of shows targeted to my age group would have me confronting someone at a masked ball, which I think somehow is unlikely to happen!

The show keeps up its momentum this season though I hope the show talks about it the way in which the children of Grace and Frankie approached the main issue of the season in a way that was not completely fair, next season.

Tofu scramble

Most of my attempts at cooking tofu at home have been fine, acceptable, but not as nice as the tofu I have eaten out. This recipe though I really enjoyed, though I only followed it loosely. For one thing my scramble isn’t yellow because I didn’t have any turmeric and instead of shallots I simmered garlic instead, and just had chilli powder, salt and pepper to flavour mine- it was however delicious (I also used soy milk as my milk substitute and it’s was great- soy milk is definitely my favourite milk substitute I’ve tried).

 

Tofu Scramble

I had mine with dairy free butter and spicy sriracha (a spicier version- I’m not saying Sriracha is spicy in itself). 

Turtles All the Way Down 

I have already wrote a review on this, however, I wanted to mention it briefly here, as I really enjoyed this book. I would also definitely recommend it for people both suffering with mental health issues or those who are not- it does a very good job at showing how both people cope with situations that arise in the life of someone who has mental health issues.

Turtles all the way down

Hamilton soundtrack 

This has been my favourite for more than a few months now and I keep forgetting to proclaim my underlying love for this soundtrack. Seriously, I probably listen to it at least once daily. I am very eagerly waiting for the day when I can finally get tickets to go see it in London.

The Women’s March 2018

I just want to give a shout out to everyone who attended the Women’s March both this year and last year. I couldn’t spare the money to attend this year (for the train ticket to London) but I very appreciative to everyone who took the time out of their day to make sure the important issues the march stands for were heard. Next year, I will be part of that crowd.

So there it is- my January. It’s been a bit of a long and cold one. Both mentally and literally. Here’s hoping there will be some more warmth coming up (though not too much as I am not ready for full on summer sun yet or ever- I’m thinking more Spring weather would be nice).

April

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My new favourite vegan banana bread recipe

Full disclosure before we start. This is not my recipe. I am not going to at any point pretend it is. It is however delicious and a good breakfast if you’re like me and like something a little bit sweet in the morning (and is at least healthier than straight up sweets- hopefully- probably not). I also love to read reviews of recipes before I try them out so see this as more of a review of a recipe!

It’s also I think quite a versatile recipe. You can add some nuts to it if you want. Or some currants. You can add some over spices other than cinnamon if you wanted to. My friend Callie suggested chocolate chips (and if anyone knows anywhere I can get some good vegan chocolate chips let me know- milk preferably- as I’m interested in trying them out). I think that the chocolate chips would taste great with how I like to eat it this banana bread- with peanut butter on top and extra bananas.

If you are into exercising and building up muscle you could probably add a little bit of protein powder as well (maybe one with a flavour might be nice!)- just be cautious of adding too many dry ingredients. Also, if you’re trying to gain muscle you probably (maybe) won’t be eating banana bread.

However, to get to my point essentially this post is about a recipe I really like that I didn’t come up with but I wanted to share with everyone. Also, apart from the initial cost if you don’t have the ‘baking essentials’ in your cupboard you can make this recipe time and time again by just repurchasing bananas.

Banana Bread 1

So without further ado here is the recipe (I would say it makes about 8-10 substantial slices).  If you want to go it a go please give the person who made the recipe some love and here is the original link to the recipe. I found the recipe on BBC Good Food (it was literally the first result that came up when I searched vegan banana bread into google). The recipe was submitted by the good food community on BBC Good Food so essentially it was user generated recipe- and this recipe was by the user helenrothwell (thank you so much you are literally my new favourite person). All the ingredients below (apart from my conversions are from the link I stated above).

Ingredients:

  • 225g Plain flour (or use Self-raising flour and reduce the Baking powder to 2 heaped tsp)
  • 3 heaped tsp Baking powder
  • 100g Brown sugar
  • 3 tsp Cinnamon or Mixed spice
  • 3 large Black bananas, mashed
  • 75g Vegetable or Sunflower oil (weight)
  • 50g Dried fruit or nuts (optional)

I’ve not used black bananas yet with mine (mainly because I only like to eat bananas when they are yellow and maybe with a brown spot or two otherwise they are too mushy) and it was still super nice. I think if you wanted a stronger flavour of bananas then definitely go with the black bananas.

Since I don’t currently have any scales I converted the recipe into American cups (because they were cheaper to buy than scales).

So this is what I used (through some googling- so apologises for the accuracy in advance- though it still worked for me!) and might be useful for anyone who uses the American cups system:

  • 1 1/2 cups of Self-raising flour
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 a cup of light brown sugar (I think you could use dark as well but I prefer the taste of light brown sugar)
  • 3 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 3 large in my case ripe bananas (mashed by Martin)
  • About 75ml of a vegetable oil and olive oil blend

The method is also super simple, which is great if you’re like me and like baking but just don’t have the time anymore to do something complicated.

Method: (as mentioned before this is taken from this link)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  2. Mash the peeled bananas with a fork. Mix well with oil and sugar.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, and combine well.
  4. Add any additional ingredients.
  5. Baked in a greased and lined 2lb loaf tin for 20 minutes, before checking. Cover with foil, if the loaf cake is browning. Bake for another 40 minutes (approximately).
  6. Allow to cool a little before slicing. It’s delicious freshly baked but even yummier when it goes gooey the next day!

The first time I did the recipe I kept it in my oven for the full hour but the second time I went for 45 minutes instead to see if there was any difference. There was, the banana bread was definitely more moist but a bit more crumbly- I think I definitely preferred it though.

Banana Bread 2

This one was a darker colour than my first batch, and didn’t split anyway near as much as the first did. 

Also, fun fact the first time I did this I forgot the cinnamon and already had the cake in the tin but luckily not the oven so just added it to the mixture, stirred and hoped for the best.

So there it is, my trying out of a tasty vegan banana bread from BBC Good Food from a happy vegetarian who is trying to eat a little bit more vegan and try out some more vegan food (my Mac and Cheese recipes are currently not going well though Temple of Seitan’s Mac and Cheese was really nice and I can’t wait to have it when I visit their brand new restaurant Temple of Camden, which opens on the 31st January!).

Banana Bread 3

Banana bread 5

April

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Year in review: The highlights and fails of my 2017

I chose this picture of green tea because I’m ‘spilling all my tea’ about the year (yeah, the expression doesn’t sound as good when I say it) and the only tea I like is green tea. 

Is this post a bit too late? Yes, but I’m going to do it anyway. Plus, I wanted to reflect a little on my 2017 (and decided a whole 13 days was enough time for that) and not write something in a rush. My 2017 was overall a good year, but then I kind of count 2016 as the worst year of my life for me both mentally and consequently physically so in one way it just kind of couldn’t get any worse! However, I did manage to do some pretty cool stuff in 2017 and the year was what I would class an as ok year, though I’m hoping 2018 will be a great one.

Highlights 

Completing my Masters 

I’ve done a few blog posts on this but I made it through another year of higher education (woo!) and got my Masters in Journalism and Media Communications. It feels strangely distant now but I met some really great people on the course and it made me feel a bit more confident in my academic abilities again, which is always a plus.

Graduation with mother

I got my first (professional) job 

First of all, I want to make it clear I don’t think retail is not a professional job or any minimum wage job for that matter- what I mean here is I got my first job that was actually related to what I studied at University. Also, having paid holiday and not panicking about money if I am ill is such an amazing feeling.

My first day
The picture Martin took to commemorate my first day.

Mental health 

In 2017 I really tried to work through a lot of my mental health issues, and like to think I went from decidedly off track to kind of strolling along the tracks. It’s never something that will come easy to me, but sharing on this blog helped a lot, as did trying to better look after myself physically.

Dodie 3

I started this blog 

For a long period of my life I have wanted a blog. What can I say I love to write and rant about the world and a blog seemed a brilliant place to do that. Although, of course it is nice if people read your blog, like your posts or comment (which, let’s face it I’ll be honest a part of me craved); I personally just like writing and getting things off my chest. So here’s to 2017 for being the year I didn’t just post one blog post to a blog, not promote it and then delete it a week later because I felt too exposed to the world.

Year in Review post

Martin and I got our first flat 

Since Martin and I have been living together in some capacity for so long I forget sometimes that is our first ever flat together where it’s just the two of us. And the flat is cold (single glazing is not our friend), expensive (though not for the area- we got a good deal!) and still bare because we haven’t got a lot of furniture but it’s ours, it’s not tiny and is a lot better than a lot of other people’s first flats. Sure, ‘adulting’ and paying the bills sucks, but at least I have someone else to whine about it with.

Martin flat

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”
Stephen King, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

2017 was also the year I got my love for reading back and I’m so happy about this. I forgot what it felt like to be so inspired. I forgot what it felt like to delay finishing a book because you loved it so much. Or to be able to stop yourself reading it all in one sitting. I forgot how much I truly was a bookworm. Basically, I love reading, it’s in every part of me from the fact that I prefer to read something rather than have someone tell me instructions (hence why audio books unfortunately aren’t for me) to the fact that I can spend longer in a book shop than most other shops.

The Power
My favourite image I took of a book last year (and one of my favourite books I read).

Fails 

Money 

Living anywhere remotely close to London/ in the South is expensive. Consequently, despite earning a good wage we are perpetually broke. This is looking up this year however as Martin has started a better paying job, and I will be shortly booking my trip to Japan (and trying not to spend all my money on clothes in order to afford it). Also, a lot of the problem last year was that Martin and I were fed up so we spent money to fill that hole and so consequently never had any money either. We’ve finally managed to claw our way out of that cycle and once again learn the value of tins of kidney beans and sweetcorn, as well as meal prep- so much meal prep!

Mental health 

So although I put this in my highlights this was also a ‘fail’ as well. Working through things it turns out is kind of hard and I am still running away from a lot of things. As we speak I am letting those familiar nagging thoughts worm their way back in again. While 2017 was the most I’ve actually analysed my mental health (which was a positive thing overall); the journey that came with that was not exactly pleasant.

Hair/ how I felt/ feel about my appearance 

For a large part of last year I let myself get very upset over my appearance whether it be that my hair was not the colour I wanted (it still isn’t) to the fact that I no longer felt comfortable with myself generally. My body in 2016 changed a lot in a short period of time and I still have not quite got over that. This year I am determined to just dress how I want no matter what and let myself be healthy. Also, to have really great hair (any suggestions are appreciated).

I also want to give a big shout out to all my amazing friends and family. I hope your 2017 was great, and if it wasn’t I hope this year will be better. Thank you for putting up with my rants, bossiness and general weirdo nature for another full year.

April

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Veganuary: Thoughts and reflections

Just to be clear before you read this post and perhaps get upset with me at the moment I currently have not gone vegan for January. However, I have been reflecting a lot of veganism this month and wanted to share some of my thoughts and reflections.

First of all, I have been thinking about making more of my diet vegan. One, because it makes me think about what I’m eating more and two because it encourages me to eat more vegetables (though to be honest I’m not struggling too much in that regard). I also have been thinking about this because of the ethical aspect and while I admire people who do have a fully vegan diet; at the moment this is not something I am ready to fully commit to. I do maybe want to try doing things like having one vegan week a month and generally having more fully vegan meals however.

Another thing I have been considering is the other parts of living a vegan lifestyle, i.e. whether your makeup is cruelty free (and uses animal products) and the role of fashion within veganism. I have touched on this subject before on my blog and generally adhere to a lot of these in my everyday life. I don’t buy products that I know are made of leather  (I check what things are made of but I’m sure that I have missed some things). I know veganism often considers other animal by-products like wool and silk and while I do wear wool I do not wear silk. While I am not as studious on this as I sometimes would like to be I try my hardest to keep to what I personally feel happy with.

However, I will admit there is a bit of paranoia that lies within that. I often imagine people are policing me and I sometimes even unconsciously police other people on whether I think they are wearing leather, etc. This especially increases if I visit a vegan place to eat, which usually happens everytime I go to London. While I do believe in thinking about these things; I do think I have a tendency to over think and be critical, especially when I start to consider what people think of me.

I have recently started watching the videos of the Youtuber Qcknd and came across this video in which she discusses her transition into veganism. She particularly discusses how she regrets throwing away some of her leather items that had memories because when she first turned vegan that is what she felt like she had to do. I too have had such thoughts as a vegetarian when thinking about some of the few leather products I own. I’ve not thrown my items away as I thought that was more of a waste but I felt like I needed to sell the items, despite the fact that they do hold memories.

After, watching the above video though I realised that I was too focused on what people thought of me. My white Dr Martens have special memories to me, as does my Cambridge Satchel bag. And keeping or wearing them is my business and no one else’s. She also discussed buying items containing animal products from vintage shops stating how she has no problem with that. In the blog post I mentioned I also said that I had no problem with it but felt weird about it myself. I think this to a certain extent stemmed a little from being scared to wear these items because of what people thought.

Now, I’m not going to consciously look for leather items in vintage shops but if I like something and know I am going to care and look after it I need to stop feeling guilty about wanting to buy it. I wouldn’t buy something leather new but honestly I would prefer people use vintage items, as these are items already made (and not only that they have a history about them that I love)- throwing or not reusing these items would be a waste.

I also want to touch on the other topic Qcknd discusses, which is what to do about receiving non-vegan gifts as a vegan. I personally would only feel weird about leather items or cruelty free makeup as a gift, which luckily I did not receive for Christmas. My response would be depending who it was to be open or honest. If it was from a close relative and came from a place of love who did not realise I would accept the gift and maybe mention at another point that I tend not to buy leather goods or makeup that isn’t cruelty free.

I have talked a lot in this post about being less hard on myself but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop working towards being more ethically conscious (and this feeds into other things too- I haven’t forgotten for example about posting more information about where my clothes come from in regards to ‘fast fashion’ and sweatshops). I have switched to cruelty free perfumes, which I am very excited about but am yet to switch to things like deodorant. I have used cruelty free shampoo and conditioner but sometimes when I couldn’t afford to I didn’t. Also, to be honest I haven’t found one that works as nice for my hair. I think what everyone needs to remember you don’t have to do everything at once just working towards it is more than enough.

So essentially this Veganuary I want to reflect on how I can still bring more elements of veganism into my life but how I need to not worry about anyone’s judgement but my own. I also want to say a big shout out to all the vegans out there- thank you for bringing way more vegan and vegetarian food options into my life last year and I’m sure in the years to come!

April

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New Year Resolutions: 2017

I wasn’t sure at first whether I wanted this post to also include my highlights and some moments from my year that were not highlights (as I believe in balance), however, I think that is best in another post (plus, you know I’m inconsistent with posting so this way there will hopefully be more content). For as long as I can remember I’ve always made new year resolutions, whether I’ve stuck to them is another thing entirely. I have a habit of dreaming too big and letting myself because my goals were too impossible so I’ve vowed to make my resolutions this year a bit smaller.

  1. Travel to Japan

I am determined this year that I’m not going to make grand travel plans again and then watch them fall through- I’m actually going to go to the places I planned! Money though as per usual is tight, and to be honest it feels like a lot of the time that I won’t make this goal. However, travelling is one of my main passions in life, and one of the memories that I have which make me truly feel happy, and excited to talk about so I’m determined to make this vision a reality. Therefore, this year, Japan here I come.

Source: Giphy (Tumblr credit on image) 

2. Finish all the films in the Studio Ghibli canon

This year is the year that Studio Ghibli has truly entered my life. I know for a lot of people I am VERY behind the curve, but well I’m just slow. At the moment my favourite Studio Ghibli film is Kiki’s Delivery Service, so much so that you can read the little love letter I wrote to the film here. After that, Spirited Away is my favourite, followed by Howl’s Moving Castle and then My Neighbour Totoro. The reason some fan favourites are not higher up in my list is simply that I have not watched them yet, so that is my plan for this year. Ideally, I’d like to watch them all before I visit Japan, and spend way too much money in the Studio Ghibli museum (it is the one place I’m going to allow myself to over indulge a bit while in Japan).

Source: Spirited Away/ Giphy 

3. Finish my novel

I think I’ve made some vague comments on here to signal that I’m writing a novel, and if I haven’t well, I am, writing a novel that is. I’m trying to write 2,000 words a week, which was going well till Christmas, but luckily I’m not that far behind. At the moment not everything is necessarily in chronological order, but at the start I was just trying to make sure I actually got the 2,000 words a week written that it didn’t matter to me as much. My resolution then is try to focus on tidying up what I have so far, and actually come up with a plan on what direction I want the novel to go in.

Source: Giphy 

4. Try to focus on what brings me joy

This may seem a bit of a general resolution, but I think one of the main issues I’ve had in the last couple of years with my happiness is that I’ve focused on everything spiralling in my life, and to be honest I’m sick of being negative. So I’m going to focus on the things I look forward to and am excited for like MCM London Comic Con in May, my trip to Japan, reading books and watching shows I love (because there is nothing wrong with getting excited about that).

I also think a part of this is focusing on my mental health, and trying to do more things to help it, rather than just ignoring it.

Source: Giphy

5. Organise this blog

I feel like every person with a blog has this on their list right now, and I for one definitely feel like this blog needs it. My goal is to have one post a week, it doesn’t have to be a set theme (as that makes life difficult) or a set day (though I’m toying with it being a Friday). I might sometimes have more than one post a week, but at the moment I want at least one.

I also would like to try categorising my posts more and see if I can get some subheadings on my site to make it easier for people to search. I know my posts discuss a variety of different topics, and some people might only be interested in book reviews for example or fashion so I’d like to make it easier for people to find the section they like.

Content wise I’d also like to discuss some of my favourite vegetarian/ vegan places to eat, or things I like to eat. Especially, when travelling, as this is something I’m definitely aiming to talk about in regards to my trip to Japan (because as a vegetarian traveller its definitely something I’ve thought about and read and watched a lot of videos about).

Source: Giphy

6. Complete my chapter for a secret project

I’m hoping that because January is the month that most of us have a spike of productivity that this is enough to fuel me to finish an essay for a project I was kindly accepted to be a part of. I won’t say anymore in case my essay doesn’t make the cut, but essentially I need to stop stalling and get writing (which, essentially is the story of my life).

Source: Giphy

7. Dye my hair a new colour 

I’m currently planning to dye my hair today (and hopefully it should be done by the time this post is out), but after a few months of not knowing what colour I wanted my hair to be I have come to the conclusion that I think I would like it pink again at some point, and if I ever decide to cut it silver.

Red Hair

Spoiler alert: I dyed my hair. 

These I will be honest aren’t all my resolutions but they are the ones I’m sharing because they are the ones I most want to have a reminder for (note how I said not held accounted to- please don’t do that unless explicitly asked to by people). Let me know if you have any similar New Years revelations below because although we all know that you can make the change whenever you want to, sometimes we need a boost and there’s nothing wrong with using the concept of New Years to do that.

April

Facebook: @aprilisthecruellestmonthblog

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Is it time to reclaim womensplaining?

Today, I had the joy of someone ‘manspreading’ next to me on the bus. For those who aren’t familiar with the term manspreading is a term used to describe when a man sits down next to you, and essentially feels the need to spread their legs as wide as they can, effectively backing you into a corner. I’m not going to get into debates on whether women does this too, but so far in my life I’ve only had men do this to me. Granted, not very often, but each time it’s quite frankly annoying and makes me uncomfortable. What’s wrong with trying as hard as possible not to physically touch the person next to you on the bus, train, tube or whatever your mode of transport is and just be an awkward British person?

In response to this phenomenon the term womenspreading recently took Instagram by storm and is where famous women posted pictures of themselves sat down spread out as much as possible to highlight that they were not afraid to take up space.

However, it’s not manspreading I came to talk to you about today, but another internet fuelled word womensplaining and it’s companion mansplaining.

While writing this I did a quick search for womensplaining and came up with this definition (also I noticed the definitions on Urban Dictionary all are very anti-feminist):

“The tendency of some women to mistakenly believe that they automatically know more about any given topic than does a man and who, consequently, proceed to explain to him- correctly or not- things that he already knows.”

Source: Urban Dictionary 

To explain further, I found an explanation that talk about womensplaining, as being related to women believing themselves to be authorities on anything generally considered ‘women’s work’ and believing that men are incapable of knowing about these things, and consequently looking down on them. This I agree is true, as unconscious bias’ such as these are a major force in society.

For me though womensplaining does not have to be exact opposite to what mansplaining is. And just to be clear mansplaining is, “what occurs when a man talks condescendingly to someone (especially a woman) about something he has incomplete knowledge of, with the mistaken assumption that he knows more about it than the person he’s talking to does”*.

Instead, womensplaining came in my head to explain my intense desire to talk back- to explain my point of view and have it listened to.  Throughout my life I’ve heard what many would describe as ‘geeky’ conversations, usually about the Marvel or DC comic universes or other stereotypically male dominated franchises (or typically male beloved- though this is changing- yay!) where every word of the male-dominated conversation feels like they are talking down to everyone else in the room.

I heard such a conversation today on my bus journey home (the bus didn’t go well for me today) where two male, I’m going to presume college students where discussing DC and Marvel, and which was a multiverse or not. The urge to just turn around, and say ‘Well actually…’ was strong. What stopped me was that although I eagerly follow the films for both comic powerhouses I stopped trying to be a part of the comic verse a long time ago- honestly, because of conversations like these that I had heard that scared me off.

However, I really wanted to. I wanted them to be proven wrong. This was especially exacerbated when I later overheard them talking about how if a women was in charge of the world there would be far more wars because women just can’t help but fight with each other.

Honestly, though I realised it’s not even about proving people wrong (though I’ll admit there is a certain level of satisfaction in that); it’s about having your thoughts on a typically male dominated subject accepted and listened to. For example, yesterday I explained the Star Wars universe to a man. And it felt good that I was the one with the knowledge, and that they accepted it.

That for me I think is the real desire. No, I don’t want to just go around calling people out. I want to be unafraid to be an authority in one of these discussions, and to be listened to. And I don’t think I’m alone. For me, that is what I think womesplaining is. The chance for women to explain their opinions without being made to feel an outsider or judged more harshly.

Perhaps, though a new term needs to be made (as womensplaining as defined above needs to be defined in of itself). As that appears to be the only way we can talk about our experiences now (which is not necessarily a bad thing- such movements have done miles of good). Either way, there needs to be some way to voice this desire to speak out, said by someone with a lot more knowledge than me.

Especially, as my experience doesn’t even begin to touch on the way women of colour,  the LGBTQ+ community, people from disadvantaged economic backgrounds, and anyone with a disability are silenced (this list is by no means exhaustive either!).

*Source: Merriam-Webster

Anti Bullying Week: My experiences and what I’ve learnt

It’s anti bullying this week so I thought it’d be an apt time to jump on the bandwagon as it were and discuss my experiences with bullying. I’ve been bullied on several different occasions and at times although I didn’t fully realise at the time I have engaged in bullying behaviour. I think a lot of the times this is something we are scared to admit about ourselves so instead will only talk about the real, horrible cases of bullying, rather than the day to day routine behaviour we saw (or even participated in) that we didn’t realise could have lasting effects as well.

Dodie’s bravery in talking about bullying in her latest book (my review for which can be found here), and how she had engaged in it too because she was afraid, and it was easier, helped to inspire me to speak up about this. The reason she gave of being afraid the conversation would turn to herself instead is really my reason as well. From what I can remember from my hazy memories, my bullying behaviour was joining in with nicknames and not thinking about the consequences. Behaviours I thought was teasing but added to the persona of a person, and didn’t let them define themselves on their own terms. If the people I did this to (I don’t think the list is long but it’s probably longer than I’d like to think) are reading this I’m sorry I went along with the crowd. Sure, I might have not been the loud voice egging people on, but that doesn’t mean I am not guilty. At the time I didn’t even realise but looking back now I know this behaviour matters.

I know how bullying makes you feel. Even the little comments can feel like a heart attack to your nerves. Usually when I’ve been bullied they picked up the easy part to latch on to, which is that I was chubbier than the other children in the age group. Or when I was a teenager and not the weight I was made to feel but because I never had the part where I could eat and nothing be there (not that there is anything wrong with that). I was made to feel like my body could never fit in. It was easy for them to latch on to my body because society told them everywhere it was not desirable. It was easy to latch on to because I knew this, and was insecure about it. I also wouldn’t fight back.

Now I’d like to think I wouldn’t let it not touch me but I’m not impenetrable. It still would. Then, they probably didn’t realise that their tiny comment was all I thought about every minute of the day. What it would be like when I was smaller. When was food, what I should eat (or not eat) to achieve this.

This is still not something I think will ever escape me, but it has dropped down my priority levels now so that my day is more than that. I’ve never made negative comments about people’s weight or appearance or tried to belittle them in that way, but the little bits of behaviour I was complicit in could have effected someone in the same way.

My message from this then is that you may think because you’re not a bully (or the stereotypical definition of one) that you’re behaviour is in fact not bullying type behaviour. Before, you dismiss something as teasing let yourself really think about whether they are in on the joke or not.

I forgave my bullies/ antagonists a long time ago. They just weren’t worth the effort. I think in the end they realised they had been as wrong about me as I’d been about them. Everyone just never bothered to get to know anyone, and just stuck to their labels.

Maybe it’s about time we throw those labels and preconceptions away. It’s hard and you have to be strong to resist the crowd (and when you’re going through your own insecurities that is damn near impossible). I used to get so wound up about the people who didn’t like me for seemingly no particular reason and wondered what was fundamentally wrong with me to make that so. Now, I know sometimes people just don’t click (though they didn’t need to ignore me though or make it obvious though- just saying) and you’ll never please everyone.

I don’t know what I would have done growing up if social media defined my life and my experiences as much as it does this generation growing up now (perfect Instagram photographs at every corner would have definitely sent me into a talespin) so anyone growing up with that as my upmost respect. Especially as words online cut as deep as any that come out of people’s mouths.

This anti-bullying week join me in reflecting over your past behaviour, and seeing how you can be better moving forward. Be the second thought that comes into your head, not the judgemental first one that you didn’t even consciously decide.

Faith, trust and a little bit of pixie dust: doing things that scare me

Image: A screen capture from Peter Pan/ Walt Disney 

The other week I did something I’ve never done before. I swapped an item with someone on the internet. In fact, we swapped a hat for a hat. My Lazy Oaf x Marie baseball cap for her Lazy Oaf Red Faux Fur Heart beret both of which are not easily able to find, and generally sold out everywhere on ine.

Now, first of all I want to say that I am in no way saying go send people you don’t know your items and that you can trust anyone. This was a risk. Don’t mistake that. A calculated risk yes because they showed me pictures of their item and had very good positive feedback on Depop. But it was a risk nonetheless. For both us.

I’m happy to say that in this case we were both people who genuinely wanted the other person to have an item I loved, and I have received the beret (really fast actually!) and their Marie baseball cap has made it’s way to its new owner!

Lazy Oaf April Beret

An awkward picture of me wearing the beret.

The point of this story is not that you should trust strangers, but that this was a risk for me. Something, that would usually result in lots of panicking, and worrying about posting the item before they did. Worry that for some reason the item wouldn’t get to them, or vice versa. And while I did still worry a little bit. It was a lot less than usual, which I have to count as a small victory.

When people say do things that scare you, so often people think you automatically have to go to massive gestures, like skydiving, but I think gradually building up to bigger, and bigger things that make you nervous is probably the best route. Sure, I do a lot of things that scare me daily, as even something as little as sending an email to a colleague, no matter the content, is something I pause about in my head a little. I think though having to do this daily has drilled the fear of emailing out of me a lot, which I’m grateful for.

Yes, I put myself out there a lot in a few aspects of my life. But that doesn’t mean I don’t agonise other it or worry about it each time. I guess what I’m trying to say is that if you are like me and the things you think of before bed are usually your worries for the day, and if you’re someone that if something goes wrong you will agonise and obsess over it to the point that it feels like the end of the world, and you can never get out of this mess you’ve created, then I understand.

I don’t think this is something that will ever be fully out of my life. And getting rejected does suck (trust me I know). But every once in a while you’ll get a piece of good news. An article you wrote will get a like (that’s literally enough to make my day, ha, ha). Unfortunately, you have to fight through a lot of panic inducing moments to get those little points. So start small. Take a little risk. Distract yourself from it. See what happens. If it went well, great, try a slightly bigger one. If it goes bad, try to breathe. Try not to push everyone away. Easier said than done, I know I’m incredibly guilty of this. Sit down absorb yourself in something to calm down, and start over. Try again with something small.

I don’t know if I’ll ever get to the big risks in life. I genuinely cannot ever see myself skydiving for example, or riding one of those ridiculous, over the top rollercoasters (don’t even get me started how panicky rollercoasters make me) but maybe I’ll have the courage to tweet someone important an article I’ve written, and be unashamedly proud of my work.

Though I’m not going to lie I could use a little pixie dust every now and again.

🍂April🍂

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