How to live a more sustainable lifestyle

Well hello to you my reader chums! There's no real secret that the environment needs help - and we all need to be a bit more sustainable in how we live our day to day lives. The saying 'reduce, reuse and recycle' has never been apter and it's a thing everyone should try and put into practice.

If you're trying to take the steps to be more sustainable or don't really know where to begin, here are some tips on how to live a sustainable lifestyle.

How to live a more sustainable lifestyle

Try not to waste as many things

One of the worst things you can do for the environment is lessened how many things you waste. Waste is a wide issue in terms of food, plastic, and clothing. We throw so many things out per day, that when you think over the course of a month or a year, we've added tonnes into landfill - and then, times that by everyone in the world and you're onto billions of tonnes.

However, there are ways we can combat this by trying to live a more waste-free lifestyle. For instance, buy beauty products with no packaging, food with no packing and invest in reusable and recyclable items that you can either reuse multiple times or that will get recycled and made into something new.

Opt for reusable products

Like I mentioned previously, reusable items are a great way to prevent the amount of waste we create. These days, there are lots of sustainable and reusable items on the market from water bottles, toothbrushes, lunchboxes, beeswax wrap to makeup products and meat alternatives. The products maybe a little more pricer but because they're reusable, you'll get your money worth. Or even better, items with no packaging at all work a treat. For instance, shampoo and conditioner bars.

Always carry a tote bag

It may be small, but having a tote bag in tow with you at all times will come in handy more than you think. It'll not only save you a few pennies here and there when shopping, but it will also prevent the need from wasting excess plastic shopping bags.

Take public transport more or carshare

Cars are probably the worst mode of transport for the environment and a major cause of global warming. They emit carbon dioxide and greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. And although they can be essential for commuting or getting around, there are greener modes of transport to consider. Try and use public transport methods, buy a bicycle or car-sharing - all different ways will help lower the emissions.

Eat and buy locally

Local businesses are a lot more sustainable than larger, corporate firms. Instead of importing goods from abroad or driving it across the country, they source their goods locally or grow it themselves. By doing this, their companies are a lot more ethical - and that's a big reason why you should buy from local businesses.

Avoid bottled water

Bottled water is one of those things that are unnecessarily wasteful. We go through hundreds of thousands or even millions of bottles a day, which is isn't okay. When you can, try and avoid buying single-use plastics and invest in a reusable water bottle. You can then carry it around with you and fill it up for free at cafes or restaurants.

Buy second-hand clothing items

The fashion industry contributes to differing forms of environmental pollution including water, air, and soil pollution. It's majorly wasteful and not to mention, very unethical, especially for cheaper clothing stores. When it comes to shopping for clothes, it can be hard to be sustainable, especially as the clothes in high street stores are so cheap. However, to be more sustainable, you need to try and steer away from those and invest in clothing pieces that are made ethically. These usually cost a lot more but they do last longer - and it'll be a good investment. Shops such as Arket are a good place to begin - or look on the tag to see where/how they're made.

Buy more ethical products

Just like fashion, a lot of other products we buy aren't sustainable such as makeup, beauty products or even household items. When it comes to makeup, for instance, look out for the vegan brands as their products are made more ethically and not tested on animals.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What tips do you have for living more sustainably?

Thank you for reading <3

Book review: The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva

Well hello to you my reader chums! Another day, another book. Now it's wintertime, cuddling up with a book has become one of my favourite things to do before bed. I love reading but when life is so busy, it can be hard to find the time to settle down with a good book.

A while ago, I got sent this book to review and it intrigued me, so after finishing it, here are my overall thoughts on the book.

Book review: The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva#


Plotline

The book is based around Amy and Amy's life and how she is just trying to be the most normal version of herself possible - and how she is trying to fit in. It's very prominent in the book that Amy suffers from a mental health condition which is preventing her from doing a lot of things but it isn't obvious what that is. And the book follows her journey with that, and how she leads her life, overcoming obstacles and pushing herself out of her comfort zone. The whole plot urges you to follow along with her story and gives you that want for her to do well.

Characters and relationships

The relationships in the book are what make it so strong - and allow you to learn the true value of friendship when it comes to someone dealing with their mental health. My favourite friendship in the book was between Amy and Ed. Ed cared for Amy in such a way that it was a friendship most of us would dream of having - and at first, you think there is more to their friendship.

 The other relationships in the book are predominate with people she works with and I like that - as your work colleagues are so influential on you because you are with them so often. Colleagues can become like family and help you deal with day to day things more than the people you have at home - and I like that this book emphasizes that.

Thoughts on the book

At first, I didn't know what to think of this book as it went straight into the deep end of Amy's thoughts and her life. It was very abrupt and honest but as the tale went on, I really liked that fact. It read like a diary and I was investing myself into someone's mindset and experiencing their journey. I found it relatable in a sense, as some of the things she spoke about related to my own anxiety - which made the tale more intriguing and made me read on. It's one of those books that people should read to get a little insight into what those with mental health problems are going through and how it can affect their lives.

Mental health has a lot more awareness these days but compared to physical health, it's still not treated the same and people are ashamed to speak out about their issues. It's okay not to be okay and go through stages where your mental health is in a dark place. Just know, you're stronger than you may think and you can get through it. And this book shares that message - and emphasizes the journey of what having a mental health condition is actually like.

Ending

The ending was my favourite part as I think the overall message speaks volumes that we all have people around us who truly care for us - and you can fight more than you ever believe you could. The last few pages were positive and happy - and everything I would have wanted them to be.

You can buy it here.

I hope you enjoyed this book review. Have you read it?

Thank you for reading <3

5 things you can do to boost yourself up on a down day

Well hello to you my reader chums! Whether you deal with anxiety or depression or really are just feeling a bit blue, there can be times where things can get too much to handle mentally. And, that's okay. We all have days or weeks when we're not feeling ourselves - but it's how you snapback from that which is important. This time of year especially is hard to deal with your mental health considering the lack of light weather and the pressure which the festivities can bring.

If you're in this situation right now, here are 5 things you can do to boost you up on a down day.

5 things you can do to boost you up on a down day


Take some time for self-care

Self-care is different for everyone, but for me, self-care means time to myself and all things pampering. Self-care is about indulging and treating yourself the way you deserve to be treated- this means running yourself a nice bath and using all your fancy skincare products. I like to literally delve into my entire Lush collection - I'm talking bath bombs and fresh face masks. It can also mean taking the time to just be, practice meditation and mindfulness - and tune that positive energy into your brain.

Write 5 things good about your day

Even though you may have had the worst day in history, there's always something good or positive that would have happened. It can be as little as eating a really good lunch to having a fun chat with a work colleague. Although it may be hard to think in a negative headspace, it'll do you good to pick out the better things about your day. Then, read them before bed, and you'll fall asleep with positive thoughts.

Book something fun to do

When you're not feeling yourself, it's always good to have plans in place so you have something to look forward to. Whether it's a city break, going away for the night or heading uptown to the theatre. There are plenty of fun activities out there such as a bottomless brunch, castle visit, going to a theme park or ice skating.

Surround yourself with good people

You'd be surprised who'd come to you when you're not feeling your best. Over the past few weeks, I've been surrounded by so much love when my mental health hasn't been right. From my family to close friends and all the colleagues at work. In a time when you're not feeling good, keep busy by making plans with friends, phone people up and stay in the company of people, as it can distract you from how you're feeling.

Do something you enjoy

Even though it can be hard when you're not feeling your best, try and pursue something you enjoy. Whether that's creating a delicious meal, reading a book or dabbling in arts and crafts, hobbies will make you feel a lot better - and give you something joyful to focus on in your low moments. It's all about doing what makes your heart feel full as that'll put a smile on your face.

I hope you enjoyed this post. What things do you do when you're down?

Thank you for reading <3

How to Prepare for a Backpacking Trip

Well hello to you my reader chums! Backpacking around Asia was one of the best experiences I've ever had and I wouldn't change it for the world. It allowed me to experience a new culture, taste some of the yummiest foods and visit some of the most beautiful countries ever. The backpacking experience is something that I thought would never be up my street but I fell in love with that way of life and would love to do it again.

Disclaimer - This post contains affiliate links,

 If you're planning a backpacking trip, whether that's around Asia, Europe or America here are a few tips on how to prepare for a backpacking trip.

How to Prepare for a Backpacking Trip

Pick your location and length

The first step to any trip and any backpacking trip is picking where you're going and how long for. Some backpackers like to travel for a few weeks whilst others go for an entire year. When you've decided on a continent and time length, then you can figure out how many countries you can travel to and how long to spend there.

Write a loose agenda

This brings me to my next point of an agenda. Of course, you don't have to plan things to every detail but it's a good idea to have a rough idea of where you're going and how long for. Then you can research the places and map an outline for your trip. You may arrive in one place, fall in love and want to spend longer or, you may arrive somewhere else and not like it at all. It's all about giving yourself some leeway on the agenda.

Set a budget

Once you know the length and where you're going, you need to set a budget and have finances in mind. Whether that's because you need to start saving or you have some savings ready to spend on your trip. Roughly plan how much you'd like to spend on the entire trip and send an average everyday budget for spending money.

Book your flights and accommodation

Depending on how spontaneous you'd like to be can determine this next step. Once you've booked the flight to the initial location, you can also book the various accommodations and other flights. However, if you want to be fully spontaneous, then you can easily book flights and accommodation along the way. The majority of countries offer hostels, especially renowned backpacking spots like Asia that you won't be short of finding a place to stay. And flights can easily be booked online whilst you're away or at local travel agents.

Purchase your backpack and gear

Once you have a rough plan and a date to go, you need to physically start preparing for the trip. This means firstly going shopping for your backpack. Backpacks come in different sizes and the one I got for a 2-month trip was 65 Litres. It was a really good size and I think it's perfect for those travelling for two months or longer. As well as the backpack, packing cubes are a good investment (the best thing for organisation) - and then you need to sort out which type of clothes you want to bring. For more information, check out my backpacking packing guide and the beauty packing guide.

Write a must-see list

Even though travelling is about being spontaneous and going with the flow, on your trip, there will be things that you certainly want to see. For instance, the Colosseum in Rome or the Angkor Wat temples in Cambodia. Before you go, make a list of things you definitely want to do and put them on your agenda. Then, when you're there, you will hear from locals and other fellow travellers about things to see and do. Travel blogs are also a great insight into what attractions there are as they usually give a more honest opinion to travel agency websites - especially off the beaten track type places.

How to Prepare for a Backpacking Trip

Vaccinations and visas

This again depends on where you're going as these can fluctuate immensely. Before you visit any new country, especially if it's in a new continent, you need to research if a visa is required and if there are any vaccinations you will need. This will save you time at the airport and be safer for your health.

Money and currencies

One of the other things you need to sort out is money. If you're going to a few countries with a different currency, then your best bet is a travel money card. You can get these at the post office and top them up with a variety of currencies on the app, and then get the cash out from an ATM in the chosen country. It's really handy and saves you carrying around lots of cash all the time.

Pack and have fun

Once everything is planned and you're ready to go, it's time for the fun part -packing. I absolutely love packing, I find the whole concept very exciting as it means the adventure is actually happening. Write yourself a list and try to under pack rather than overpack. I say this as you're easily able to buy clothes and toiletries along the way that you don't need to cram as many things in your backpack as possible. Use packing cubes and stay organised as it'll really help you out along the way from place to place. Once you're packed, get on that plane and have the best time of your life!

I hope you enjoyed this post. When are you going backpacking?

Thank you for reading <3

Everything to know before visiting Florence, Italy

Well hello to you my reader chums! Florence has become my new favourite city. It's packed with medieval buildings, an incredible art scene, the most glorious food, and prettiest streets to roam around. It's a place I could happily revisit over and over again and would recommend everyone to visit at least once in their life.

If you're planning a trip to Florence or heading there soon, here is everything to know about the city.

Everything to know before visiting Florence, Italy

It can be done on a budget

Florence is renowned for its designer shopping and expensive eateries, however, it can easily be done on a budget. Despite some food places overcharging, you can easily find spots with budget-friendly things to do, food to eat and shops too. For instance, Florence has plenty of places where you can buy a slice of pizza on the go, or slightly away from the main sights, all the restaurants a very reasonably priced. In terms of shops, Florence has a few markets where you're able to haggle for gorgeous leather bags and souvenirs also.

Save money, take the tram or walk

With a budget in mind, you can save a lot of money as you travel around Florence. Florence is a big city but small enough that you're able to do it all on foot - and that means walking from sight to sight. The only time you really need to take transport is to get to and from the airport - but again, to save money, you can hop on the tram rather than pay for an overpriced taxi. In Florence, taxis are very expensive and it'll probably cost you around 60 euro to get into the centre from the airport, whilst a tram is a couple of euros.

The sights aren't overrated (in my opinion)

For many cities worldwide, you get a lot of people saying sights are overrated such as the leaning tower of Pisa. However, every single sight I went to in Florence was worth the penny and I would 100% recommend seeing as many as possible. The city is packed with a rich history and the sights are one of beauty.

Everything to know before visiting Florence, Italy

Florence is accessible wherever you stay 

Florence may be a large city, but that doesn't mean it's inaccessible. Usually, when it comes to cities, you should stay in a certain area to get the most out of the city, however, with Florence you don't. The city has all the sights within walking distance that wherever you stay, you're able to reach the attractions - and all the different areas are stunning. If you want to be the absolute centre, I would then suggest staying near the Duomo.

The train is a great way to get around

Florence is a beautiful city to see but it doesn't mean you should spend your time in Tuscany only in Florence. As Italy is the perfect place to interrail around, from Florence, you're able to visit cities including Pisa, Lucca, Siena and many, many more.

Pre-book your tickets to the museums

As Florence is an incredibly popular city, it's important to be one step of the game and book your museum tickets - especially in peak times. I bought mine when I was in the city but it meant going up the Duomo was all booked up so we missed out. If you book them beforehand, you won't be disappointed and can see everything on your trip.


Everything to know before visiting Florence, Italy

Italians dine later

Something to note is eating times in Florence. Italians tend to eat later in the day as it's cooler then, that you won't see many restaurants open for dinner until 7pm and sometimes later (it depends on the restaurants.)

The Duomo is free

The Duomo, one of the most beautiful sights in Florence is actually free to enter. Inside isn't as extravagant as the exterior, but it's completely worth going to look inside. If you'd like to go up to the top of the Duomo or visiting the museums, you will have to pay, however.

Visit both sides of the city

Florence is broken up in two by the river Arno, however, both sides have plenty in store. The mains side with the Duomo is the most popular, but over the other side, there are lots to see. There are the palace and gardens as well as loads of tucked away eateries. The other side of the bridge is quieter and not as touristy so you get an authentic taste of the city.

I hope you enjoyed this guide. When are you going to Florence?

Thank you for reading <3

How to Have a Sustainable Christmas

Well hello to you my reader chums! Christmas is a time of glimmering lights, delicious foods and all the fun festivities which fill us all with joy. However, there's a less joyous side of Christmas that isn't spoken about as much as it should - and that's the effect it has on the environment.

How to Have a Sustainable Christmas

Christmas is one of the most wasteful times of the year when you take into account how much packaging, food, and plastic we throw out. Every year, the UK alone throws out hundreds of thousands of plastic waste, Christmas cards and many other unrecyclable goods - which are added to our landfills.

The stats are very shocking when you give them a Google about how much waste there is, but that is the reality - and it's important for everyone to do their bit and reduce the waste. Otherwise, it's going to add more and more to our landfill until there is no more room!

Whether you're an advocate for the environment or simply trying to do your bit to help the planet, here are some tips on having a sustainable Christmas.

Shop locally

One of the main wasteful factors when it comes to Christmas is the bulk of goods sold in-store- and imported/delivered across the country. A lot of shops will sell the same products which have been made in bulk in factories and then shipped in huge lorries across the country to sell them. This in itself adds to the emissions - as well as delivery service. When you really think about it, if you order one dress online, for instance, it's got to go in a lorry which will go across the UK to deliver lots of individual items - a very wasteful method.

To combat this, one way would be to shop locally. This won't only prevent the need to deliver excessively, but also support the local economy. You can go visit local Christmas markets, support local/homemade businesses and enjoy a good old fashion shopping trip as you do so. When you buy a gift from a chain, you're supporting a huge corporation, but when you do so from a local business, you're supporting someone's dream. It's not only sustainable but helping out your community.

Create homemade gifts

Christmas is a really fun time of year so why not enjoy the thrill and make your own gifts? The saying goes 'it's the thought that counts' and that's so true. Whether it's some homemade cakes a scrapbook or even knitting a scarf, the homemade element will make people's day - and they'll know it came from the heart more than a shop-bought gift. Creating something homemade will also lessen the waste element.

Go virtual with Paperless Post

Christmas cards are a tradition we all know and love, whether you send them to everyone you know or only to your partner. However, cards can contribute to a huge amount of Christmas waste every year that's adding to our landfill sites. If you do love the feel of a Christmas card, then try and opt for a card made of recycled paper - or there's the option of a virtual card.

How to Have a Sustainable Christmas

Paperless Post is an online card service where you're able to send customizable cards virtually to your family and friends. They got in touch and gifted me tokens to purchase some cards - and I couldn't wait to get started. The website offers a wide range of different cards from seasonal cards, birthday cards to wedding invite and note cards - and all can be customized in any way possible. As this is about Christmas, I used the opportunity to buy and send Christmas cards for all my friends, ready for the festive season.


How to Have a Sustainable Christmas

The process of buying the cards is really simple. You're able to choose a design, customize it in any way you like including the message, font and adding in stickers. You can even personalise the envelope and send it off via email. It's a really fun process!

How to Have a Sustainable Christmas

Use recyclable paper

A lot of people don't realise that most wrapping paper is actually not recyclable - and that means a huge amount of paper waste at Christmas is essentially put in the landfill. To reduce the amount of waste, invest in the recyclable paper which has been made out of recycled materials - this can then be recycled again and won't amount to the usual Christmas waste. Recycled paper is usually branded with FSC certified. When you go to recycle it, make sure to remove the sellotape and decoration as often that's not recyclable.

Say no to glitter 

The majority of glitter used on packaging and cards isn't biodegradable (even though you can buy biodegradable glitter.) With that in mind, when buying gifts or cards, sway away from the glitter and opt to not purchase into it. If glitter is your thing, then invest in biodegradable glitter and make your own cards/gifts.

Go on nature-themed days out

When it comes to Christmas time, a lot of activities aren't eco-friendly and you need to keep in mind when you're planning things to do. Think about more natural activities such as walks on the beach or in the park, baking Christmas treats or doing arts and crafts.

*This post contains gifted items*

I hope you enjoyed this post. What things are you doing to be more sustainable at Christmas time?

Thank you for reading <3