19 March 2020

Looking For The Positives In A Scary World

Image result for dolphins italy

I have spent the last few days hiding away, mainly staying in bed and trying to distract myself from the realities of what's going on in the world right now. Every single one of us have been affected and it's easy to feel pretty shit about everything right now. It feels almost insensitive to try and talk about the positive side effects when there are people who are literally dying from this, but I've always been the sort of person to try and find the good in everything and if we all sit here dwelling on the negatives we will drive ourselves mad! With that being said, here are some positive things I've seen come from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Wildlife returning to Italy

As Italy enter their second week of lockdown, the locals have noticed something amazing happen. Swans and Dolphins have been spotted swimming in the canals of Venice. The waters which are usually dominated by ferries and tourist boats are now clear enough to see the fish swimming along. In a way it is sad to see the city so empty and I feel for the people who's livelihoods rely on tourists but also it's incredible to see how animals react once we are no longer there to disturb them. Hopefully when things start up again they will take into consideration the wildlife that lives there and find a more balanced way to live with these creatures.

Blue Skies in China 

China has become known for it's huge population, factories and polluted air. However, since going into lockdown back in January, the city of Wuhan has experienced blue skies and their trees have turned green. This is thought to be down to a pause on factory work and less emissions from vehicles due to travel bans there.
But it goes further than just pretty skies and leaves on trees. A study from Stanford University has shown a drop in levels of PM2.5, a particle which is considered as the primary cause of death for people who die from air pollution. This drop in PM2.5 may end up saving over 73,000 lives in China. According to the ESA (European Space Agency) a similar thing is set to happen around the world as more countries go into lockdown, with Italy already seeing a drop in Nitrogen Dioxide levels.


Bull Fighting Events and The Grand National Cancelled

As the government advises against large gatherings and more events get cancelled, the coming months can seem very bleak and boring but as a vegan there are some events I'm very happy to see get cancelled! The first is the Grand National, the most famous horse racing event in the UK thanks to its long and high risk track. 83 horses have died in the the Grand National since it's first race back in 1839 with even more injured. The high jumps put tremendous pressure on their legs leading to horrific injuries including broken necks, legs and backs. I'm happy to see this event get cancelled and wish it would never come back.

UPDATE: All British horse racing has now been banned until at least the end of April, sparing the 14,000 training race horses in the UK.

No to aid for the cancellation of the bullfighting season!

In Spain all bullfighting matches have been cancelled for the month of March as local authorities discourage large gatherings. This has saved the lives of all 300 Bulls involved in the events! This obviously is a huge blow to the Bullfighting industry and they have asked for aid in recovery and support. However, AnimaNaturalis, a Spanish animal rights organisation, has urged people to write to José Manuel Rodríguez Uribe, the Spanish Minister of sport and culture, and urge him to reconsider funding the bullfighting industry. You can do so by clicking here. Let's use this opportunity to eradicate Bullfighting for good!

UPDATE: The bullfighting industry caused outrage in Spain after asking the government for a €700M (£635M) bail out, using tax payer's money. As people can't publicly protest right now, they took to social media holding placards saying "more health workers, less bullfighters" and started #AyudasTauromaquiaNO, meaning “no help to bullfighting”,  and made it the number 1 trending twitter hashtag in Spain.  Aïda Gascón, director of AnimaNaturalis, told the press:

“We believe not only that the government should ignore these demands, but that it should rethink aid to bullfighting and allocate it where it is most necessary."

Bullfighting was already on the decline in Spain and hopefully this fresh outrage will lead the public and the government to rethink this awful "sport" when the country starts to come out of lockdown.


Communities Coming Together - Worthing Vegan Food Bank

Image preview

It's hard to think about it when you see supermarket isles bare and videos of people fighting over toilet paper but I have also noticed so many different people come together to try and help their community in this difficult time.

One example of this is a vegan food bank that has been set up in my home town of Worthing. Pia Offord, a vegan from Worthing, opened the food bank just last week after witnessing many people struggle with the current situation in the supermarkets. Pia said;

"Seeing people struggle in supermarkets and reading many desperate stories on social media by fellow Worthing residents, I wanted to come up with a way to support our ever-growing vegan community”

“I feel there is a need for an all-vegan food bank in our town, so I decided to reach out to various vegan-friendly, independent businesses in the Worthing area. Within the hour we came together to start the Worthing Vegan Food Bank Network.”

If you live near by and would like to donate to the food bank then here is some more information:

Worthing Vegan Food Bank accept long-life, non-perishable vegan items including hygiene products. For example long-life non dairy milk, tinned food, sealed, dried food such as pasta and rice. Sealed, unused hygiene products.

Items can currently be dropped off / shipped to 3 locations:
- Field Row Bakery & Take-Away
- Cactus Kitchen Gals (though, by appointment only as they have closed the restaurant premises)
- Conscious Cow Shop

If you'd like more information about how to get involved or to make use of this free service, search for the dedicated Worthing Vegan Food Bank Network Group on Facebook or contact pia.offord@gmail.com.

If you don't live locally to Worthing then why not start your own vegan food bank for your area?

Fox Hunting Cancelled Across The UK 

Red Fox Breeding - Growth & Development of Cubs | Wildlife ...

Today I discovered that the Hunting Office is a thing and frankly I'm disgusted that it's still allowed to operate despite fox hunting supposedly being illegal since 2003. Thankfully, they have announced that all hunts have been cancelled until further notice, saving hundreds of foxes from a brutal death, along with the hounds and horses who will hopefully be free from exploitation for the next few months.

I hope this post has brought you some form of hope today. I know times are tough right now for everyone so it's really important that we continue to be kind and support one another. If you hear of any other positives to come out of this then please let me know as I would like to continue to add to this post as much as I can. 

For now, stay safe and healthy. 

Beth x

Follow me for more vegan content!
Instagram | Facebook Twitter 

ITALY:  https://happymag.tv/how-coronavirus-is-unexpectedly-benefiting-the-environment/ 
CHINA: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffmcmahon/2020/03/16/coronavirus-lockdown-may-have-saved-77000-lives-in-china-just-from-pollution-reduction/#67217c0434fe
SPORTS: https://www.totallyveganbuzz.com/news/grand-national-2020-cancelled-over-coronavirus/?fbclid=IwAR0iNTMlgenfAiw_pJb5bisrz2qsV62MHS4CFjqcuIr6IoRXYjfgxTI6obU
FOX HUNTING: https://thehuntingoffice.org.uk/ju-directory/151-master-huntsman-vacancies.html


15 February 2020

It's Time To Boycott Fast Fashion - How To Shop More Sustainably

When I was a teenager my favourite thing to do at the weekend was to take my pocket money with me into Brighton and spend all day looking around H&M, New Look and Topshop with my friends. I'd be buying new clothes almost every week. I would be chuffed with myself if I could find a nice top for £5 or less and barely ever bought anything over £10. I'd never heard of the term "Fast Fashion" and if you'd told me that these clothes and brands were contributing to more than a quarter of our total impact on climate change (BBC NEWS) then I probably wouldn't have believed you.

If you don't know by now, fast fashion is the term for fast production of new clothes at the lowest possible price. Our consumer heavy, throwaway culture has caused the production of new clothes to soar in recent years, but can we really blame the average customer when most of them are unaware of the impact their clothes have on the planet?

It's very hard to imagine the effects our clothes are having on the environment whilst standing in line at Zara or even when looking at them in our wardrobes. Like many climate disasters, they happen far away from us, in developing parts of the world and in the oceans, but just because we can't see it doesn't make it any less real.

The fashion industry causes many environmental issues during production, use and the disposal of our clothes. For example, the average pair of jeans and a T-shirt take 10,000-20,000 litres of water to grow enough cotton required to make them. Now think how many pairs of jeans and T-shirts you own and how many there are being sold in shops worldwide right now...that's a lot of water! India and Pakistan are the UK's biggest importer of cotton and both countries suffer from water scarcity.  (THEGUARDIAN)

Hopefully by this point you're asking yourself "is there anything we can do about this?" Well I'm happy to say that the answer is yes! In fact there are a number of steps we can take to be more conscious with our purchases and shop in a more sustainable way. These are the practices I try to stick to when buying clothes, hopefully it will inspire you to do the same.

1) Just stop buying clothes...

I know that sounds drastic, but the number one thing you can do to lower your impact is to stop buying new clothes. Now obviously this isn't possible for everyone, especially if you have children but if you can then I definitely would recommend you challenge yourself to see how long you can go without purchasing a new item of clothing.
The reality is you probably already have enough in your wardrobe already. Did you know the average British woman hoards £285 of clothes they will never wear. That adds up to about £30 billion of unworn clothes between us! (FASHIONREVOLUTION) So maybe it's time we start wearing what we've already got before we go and get yet another new outfit.
It's difficult when trends are changing so quickly, right now there are approx 52 'micro-seasons' every year. It's LITERALLY changing every week. So to stop myself from feeling like I need the newest look I try to stop myself from going into fast fashion stores or onto online shopping sites like ASOS. It's much easier to resist temptation when you stop looking at it.

2) Buy secondhand

If you are a fashion lover like me then not buying any clothes at all might be too much for you. In that case the second best option is to buy second hand. The clothes will be new to you but it didn't require anymore emissions or energy to create them for you as they already existed. I truly believe buying second hand is the way forward, not just when buying clothes but also furniture, electronics and sometimes even food (as long as it's not half eaten, obvs). Buying second hand is so easy these days as there are so many ways you can do it! 
Charity Shops - Most towns have charity shops in and as second hand clothing becomes more fashionable so are the offerings you can find inside these shops. Of course it's going to take more effort to find great pieces but I think that's half the fun, plus you can get some huge bargains here! 
Vintage Shops - I am very lucky to live in Brighton and have an abundance of vintage shops at my disposal. These shops are usually a bit more expensive but the quality of vintage clothes is often so much better than modern clothes so you know they'll last you. Plus it's a great feeling knowing this piece is one of a kind for you! 
Buy Online - If your town doesn't have much to offer in the way of charity or vintage shops then online stores are your friend. Places such as ebay and Depop are full of second hand clothes, it's easy to search for exactly what you want and often it's cheaper than buying clothes brand new!
Car Boot Sales - Or flea markets if you are not from the UK, are a great way to find second hand clothes usually for super cheap. My favourite denim jacket is from a car boot sale and it cost me just £3! 
Kilo Sales - There are a number of kilo sales that tour around most major UK cities offering tonnes of vintage/second hand clothing for you to browse and buy. Usually you are given a bag (or even better if you take one yourself) to fill up and you're charged for the weight of the clothes you buy rather than per item. This can be great if you are trying to buy less, as you can go to the local kilo sale every couple of months to get a few new pieces if you need it. It usually works out cheaper as well! 

3) Be an outfit repeater


Lizzie McGuire had the right idea all along. For some reason in our society it's seen as a bad thing to wear an outfit more than once? I'm pretty sure this idea was invented by clothing companies to make up buy a new dress for every occasion but guess what, you don't need to! Once you realise that you can wear the same one or two dresses to each of your friend's weddings then you will find yourself buying a lot less clothes and probably saving a lot of money! 
Also take a look at combining your summer and winter wardrobes. I often pair summer dresses with tights and jumpers or tuck them into jeans to make them wearable all year long! 

4) Repair & Rework! 

This is something I want to get better at. Rather than throwing away your clothes when they get a tear or a hole, take some time to repair them! It's easier than you think to sew up that pesky rip in the inner thigh of your jeans. Repairing your clothes will make them last much longer and save the environment and your bank balance if you do this rather than replacing them each time! 
If you are buying more second hand clothes then there's a high chance you will have to make some alterations. Perhaps the cut is a bit out dated or the fit isn't quite right. This will take a bit more time and effort but if you can do it then it's a great way to show off your creativity and make something that is unique to you! There are loads of "thrift flip" videos on youtube to give you inspiration! 

I hope this post has opened your mind  to the fast fashion industry and given you some ideas of alternative and more sustainable ways to shop. If you are interested in this then I suggest you take a look at a documentary called "The True Cost". It shows the various impacts of the industry in great detail and really opened my eyes to the reality of the industry and how I was contributing to it.  

You should also take a look at extinction rebellion's Boycott Fashion movement. A 52 week boycott of new garments and textiles: https://www.instagram.com/xr.boycottfashion/

I feel like this post has only scratched the surface of the fast fashion issue, so if you would like to read more posts about it then please let me know! 

Until next time, 
Beth x 

Follow me for more!
Instagram | Facebook Twitter 

5 January 2020

6 Reasons Why I Love Being Vegan

January is upon us which means it's time for Veganuary to start again! So many people I know are taking part in this month of vegan eating, so I decided to write down all the reasons why I love being a vegan to hopefully encourage anyone who is newly vegan to keep at it!
I always used to be the kind of person to say "I will never be vegan!" I gave up meat easily enough (I never really liked it anyway) but I was a self confessed 'cheese fiend' and stayed vegetarian for three years even though I knew deep down that veganism was the right thing to do. I finally took the plunge last year and haven't looked back since! I can now honestly say it is the best thing I've ever done for myself. Keep on reading to find out some reasons why I love it, and hopefully you will start to see these benefits too!

Exploring New Recipes

Before going vegan I was a pretty lazy cook. I would have some quorn chicken and a jar of korma sauce and call that a homemade meal. Since going vegan I've had to try a bit harder to recreate some of my favourite meals, which means finding and experimenting with new recipes. I can't believe how much fun it is to take a standard meal and think of all the ways I could change it and add different things to make it vegan and totally my own! Now I get excited when I think about what to make for dinner and I don't mean to brag but I think I'm becoming a pretty good cook!

Trying New Foods

Experimenting with new recipes has led me to trying a whole host of new foods I never would have tried otherwise. I can be quite a picky eater and always used to keep it safe when choosing what to eat but since being vegan I have had to open myself up to new flavours and ingredients I probably would have stayed away from before. 

This is true for when I go out to eat as well. No longer do I just stay safe and order the same thing anymore, but when there's often only a few vegan options to choose from then I have no choice but to go for something I maybe wouldn't have chosen when I was a meat eater or even a veggie!

Thinking Harder About What I Consume

Since milk powder is in LITERALLY EVERYTHING I have to check the ingredients or look for that little green V on all the food that I buy. This has made me think a lot more about the types of food I consume. Don't get me wrong, there is lots of processed vegan food out there and I LOVE it but I've also come to rely on fruits, vegetables and a wholefoods a lot more than I ever did before. I'm just a lot more aware of what I am eating and it really has made a difference to what I eat and I feel so much better for it.

My Appearance

Last Easter, just as I was beginning to embrace a fully vegan diet, I weighed myself and was shocked to learn that I was just on the cusp of being overweight for my size. I went 100% vegan soon after this and within two months I had lost 9lbs. I couldn't believe it! Whilst weight isn't everything to me I was really glad that I had managed to get back down to the ideal weight for my size in such a short space of time. Looking back now, I'm not surprised. I eat a lot less cakes, sweets and chocolate, plus milk and cheese is so fattening so cutting that out did the world of good! I've always had quite chubby cheeks and used to be quite self conscious about it but since going vegan I have finally lost that too!

I have always dealt with quite bad skin and when I first went vegan it was pretty bad. However now, eight months on, it's cleared up and I have the best skin I've ever had! 

Not only do I look better but I feel better too. Yes I am more self confident but generally I feel healthier and have so much more energy. 

On the left, me in February 2019
and on the right, me in August 2019 after a few months of being vegan

Guilt Free Eating 

I knew for a long time that veganism was the most ethical and eco friendly option but I was scared to make the jump. I continued to consume cheese, eggs and other dairy based foods because it was easier. I have always called myself an animal lover and went vegetarian for the animals but really how could I say that I loved them when I was still contributing to the torture and deaths of billions? I told myself that because animals didn't have to die to make milk or eggs then it was acceptable but really this isn't true. Dairy cows still end up being sold for meat as are their male calfs if they aren't shot in the head first. So being vegetarian wasn't enough for me and I had to eventually make the switch. Now I am so happy when I look down at my plate knowing my food didn't cause any suffering.

Learning About The World 

Before going vegan I was pretty oblivious to the truth about animal agriculture and the effect it has on the planet. Adopting a kinder diet has made me want to be kinder to the planet in general and has lead me to learn more about climate change, sustainable and zero waste lifestyles and the effects of the fast fashion industry. I enjoy learning more about the planet and what I can do to try and help it and living this way makes me feel very fulfilled. 

I hope you enjoyed this post and it maybe even encouraged you to think about adopting a more plant based diet. Please let me know what you thought in the comments below! 

Until next time, 

Beth x

Follow me for more!
 | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram |
Blogger Template Created by pipdig