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Fast Fashion and the Internal search for a solution.

‘Fast fashion’ is a phrase I have heard thrown around a lot recently. In my endeavours to become more environmentally friendly, it is something that has popped up a lot throughout my research. Perhaps somewhat naively, I did not consider that my Zara obsession could actually be having a negative impact on the world around me. After a lot of research (and a lot of reflection on my own spending habits), I thought I would share with you my thoughts on ‘fast fashion’, and where I intend to go from here as a wannabe sustainable fashion lover.

Let’s start, as I did, with the basics.

What is ‘fast fashion’? 

Fast fashion is essentially when retailers get clothing from designs to the shops (or online) quickly in order to capitalise on current trends. This means there are constantly new items for the consumer to splash the cash on, usually to only wear a few times before they move on to the next thing.

While fast fashion is not necessarily a new phenomenon, the rise of social media has accelerated itself ascent, with apps such as Instagram becoming marketing tools to promote the latest styles quickly and effectively.

Fast Fashion in the News 

It’s safe to say that fast fashion has produced a lot of controversies over reason years. The basic problem comes down to the simple fact that it is an industry that runs on the idea that you can only wear an outfit once before it becomes, pardon the pun, ‘so last season’. Perfect good clothes are being thrown away because they’re just not the ‘in thing’ anymore. The House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee revealed that today we are buying more than twice as many clothing items as we did 10 years ago.

This is impacting more than our purses! Studies have shown that fast fashion could actually be having a negative impact on the environment. In fact, predictions have been made that if the industry continues at the rate that it is currently growing, it will contribute to over 1/4 of our total impact on climate change by 2050 – not to mention the impact it is having on our oceans.  Scary stuff, right?

My thoughts on fast fashion and what I have taken away from my research

After doing my research I asked myself: ‘Why do you shop at Zara or on sites like ASOS and Boohoo?’ 

Truth is, their clothes are decent and they’re affordable. I don’t believe that fashion should cost the earth, and shops producing fast fashion are usually able to produce clothes for affordable prices.

Next question: ‘But do you need them?’ 

As much as it pains me to say it, absolutely not. Did I need a new dress for the Christmas party? Nope, I have plenty.

Exhibit A and B… and C. Okay, and D, E and F. I am kind of ashamed to say there were plenty more dresses in my wardrobe I could have chosen from. PLENTY MORE. But you get my point. They have already been on the gram, so heaven forbid I wear them again…

While fast fashion is an affordable option for many, and while I do not believe we should all boycott shops such as Zara, the truth is I should be more thoughtful when it comes to the way I treat fashion. The pressure from different sources to constantly update our wardrobes is not only negatively impacting our mental wellbeing, but also our finances and the environment.

We cannot blame these retailers alone. Fast fashion is as popular as it is due to them capitalising on an underlying cultural approach to the way in which we present ourselves. We should not feel ashamed for wearing the same thing multiple times just because our social media feeds indicate that we should.

While the mentality that you cannot wear the same outfit twice exists, so will the fast fashion industry. Clothing has become less about defining ourselves and more about validation and I am admittedly a sucker for it. The number of times I have tried on something I don’t really like just because it is ‘in fashion’ is ridiculous. Why? Because I saw it on insta.

 Resolve to issues of fast fashion, is as much about looking inwards as it is outwards. 

My research has made me think about my own shopping habits and the reasons why I have formed them. It has taught me that while I do not have to say goodbye to my favourite fashion brands, I also do not have to constantly refresh their ‘new in’ section to see what I might have missed. I have plenty in my wardrobe, and if not, there are more sustainable and affordable ways I can shop, such as charity shops or clothes swaps. 

What are your thoughts on ‘fast fashion’? Let me know down in the comments below. 

Jamie x

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Sources: 

https://www.economist.com/business/2015/09/05/faster-cheaper-fashion

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2011/may/08/fast-fashion-death-for-planet

https://www.fashionrevolution.org/tag/fast-fashion/

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-12-12/stella-mccartney-calls-sees-fast-fashion-as-environmental-threat

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-45766366

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-45745242

I had an epiphany.

That’s right. I had an epiphany. You might have noticed that I haven’t been here for a while. What with starting my new job, moving to a new house and coming out of a nearly three-year relationship, sitting down and writing a personal blog post just didn’t quite feel right. I have just wanted to be all go.

I felt like my life should be 100% all the time – I didn’t want grey.

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At first, I thought this was really positive. I was going out every weekend, meeting new people and experiencing things I had never experienced before – not all positive in hindsight.

Reflection seemed like a bit of a waste of time.

It wasn’t until everything started to calm down and become the norm that I really started to evaluate things and reflect on the personal growth and development that has been taking place for me over the past few months.

When I left University and started my ‘new life’, I thought I knew exactly what I needed in order to become ‘happy’. I had painted an idea in my mind about what being happy meant to me. It hasn’t been until I have started to reflect that I realised that my fabricated idea of happiness was quantitative.

Bloggers talk about followers and readers a lot, but when I finished University, I genuinely believed that these numbers would bring with them my happiness. Of course, the nature of my job means that numbers are an essential part of my day to day life, but I was struggling to separate that with my own personal happiness and success. Not only was I focused on my Instagram follower count, but I was also focused on the numbers I saw on the scales, the number of Tinder matches I was getting, the number of plans I had made that week… I had reduced my entire happiness to a number. To the outside world things were looking great, but in reality, I could feel myself slowly slipping back into older, unhealthy thinking habits.

I didn’t want to write on here anymore because I didn’t want to see how many readers I had got that day and feel disappointed. I had forgotten something important – I never used to write for other people. I didn’t train for other people. I didn’t work day and night for a history degree for other people. I did it all for me and because those things made me happy, regardless of the ‘numbers’ that might have been attached to them. The things that made me happiest had nothing to do with numbers.

I realised that my idea of what I needed to be happy was way off and, truth be told, I was already pretty happy without forcing anything.

It took being away from the things that do make me happy to have an epiphany about what is important to me. I stopped consistently training, I stopped reading, I stopped learning for learning’s sake. Everything I was doing was for the purpose of validation because I genuinely believed that happiness and validation were the same thing.

Organic personal growth and change are great, but I have found that trying to make a difference in my life artificially was only moving me further and further away from the person I know I am. I was trying to squeeze myself into a mould that I just don’t fit.

I am grateful for this period in my life. It has more certainly been necessary because it has taught me that I didn’t need a huge move or huge nights out. I didn’t need to post every waking moment on Instagram or worry about external validation. Happiness was, in fact, a good book. It was coffee with friends. It was writing blog posts that I loved. It was learning.

I found my happy.

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So, I guess this is an ‘I’m back post’. I am back, not only to blogging but to me.

Jamie x

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My Running Journey | How I became a ‘runner’

I was never a runner. Yes, I know I am a qualified PT but I have never been able to run. A few weeks in to starting at Gymshark, Gymshark Running Club (GSRC) was set up. Put simply, I did not want to go; however, as the newbie, I thought it would be an opportunity to make some new friends. I reluctantly dragged myself there one Monday night and struggled with 2.5K.

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I decided I was never going back. 

The following week I went back.

I was annoyed at myself and adamant that I could do better. I thought back to when I first started weight training and how awful I was at that. If I could go from using 2KG dumbbells to bench-pressing almost body weight, I could run 2.5K.

That session I ran 2.5K. 

After I hit my first little milestone, I was hooked. I downloaded Strava and decided that I was going to be a ‘runner’. Twice a week, myself and the rest of GSRC (who are all fantastic runners) went out and I pushed myself to go further and/or faster in every single session. Once a club was set up on Strava and I began to see my miles compared to everyone else, I started to run outside of GSRC as well.

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The first time I went without stopping 

At the point of writing this blog post, I have been going to running club for about two months (maybe a little longer) and I am now running around 3.5 miles 3-4 times a week alongside 2-3  weight training sessions. I wouldn’t say I loved it while I was doing it (although I definitely enjoy it more now than I did at the start), but nothing beats the buzz once I have finished.

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I even ran when I went back to visit home!! 

I would never leave behind weight training. Firstly, because I love it! And secondly, because I think it is a really important part of staying fit and healthy. However, my goals have now changed. Whereas when I was solely weight training my focus was entirely on aesthetics, I am not more focused on improving my fitness levels. Of course, I still want a peachy booty and rock hard abs, but I want to also be able to run comfortably. As cringe as it sounds, running has changed my whole outlook on what ‘healthy’ means to me.

If you’re looking at getting into running, here are a few of my top tips:

  1. Download Strava (or another running app). It really helps to keep me motivated and visually see my progress.
  2. Join a running club. I know this isn’t possible for everyone, but I would really recommend it if you can. Not only will you feel more motivated, but the running community are so welcoming, you will probably find yourself making friends.
  3. Don’t stress too much about pace. Your body knows effort, not pace. Try your hardest there and then. Of course, continue to push yourself but remember than some days it will be harder than others.
  4. Get outdoors. Treadmills suck! I know I probably shouldn’t say that but, after  running outside, I would never go back to the treadmill. Outside is definitely more challenging, but it is so much more rewarding.
  5. Don’t neglect weights. Even if your goals are solely based on cardiovascular fitness, do not neglect weight training. It will help you run further and faster with better form and reduced risk of injury.

I am still very much a beginner and I have a long way to go, but I would now call myself a runner (something I never thought I would say) and I am pretty proud of that.

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So, yeah, thanks GSRC. 

What are your top running tips? Let me know in the comments below and feel free to ask any questions you might have. 

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Jamie x 

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Tattoo Top Tips | Getting Your First Tattoo.

A few months back I got my first EVER tattoo. I had wanted a tattoo for years and so, after months and months of looking at designs, myself and my Mum booked in to get matching tattoos. I am by no means an expert. I have one tiny tattoo on my ankle that took all of 15 minutes to do. HOWEVER, I did pick up some top tips during the process that I thought I would share with you incase you were considering getting your first tattoo. 

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Take Your Time

Whatever you choose is going to be on your body forever so make sure you love the design! I am not one of these people who believes that every tattoo has to mean something but I do think you should invest time into making sure you’re 100% happy with the design. I had my design saved on my phone for about 6 months and kept looking at it to make sure I was definitely certain this was the first tattoo I wanted. It is also really important to consider placement. Originally I was going to get this on my side, however, after browsing the net I decided the ankle was the place to go and I love it.

Do Your Research

Make sure you research both the parlour and the tattoo artist before committing. Check out as many online reviews as possible and if you can, visit in person to check it all out and meet the artist that will be doing your tattoo. Artists tend to have certain styles they are really good at and other things they would rather avoid, so check them out on Facebook and have a look at some of their previous work to get a idea of style. If you’re wanting a dainty flower on your rib cage then maybe someone who specialises in big ass gothic dragons might not be the one for you… 

Don’t Be Tight

Don’t pick your parlour/artist based on how cheap they are. A tattoo is an investment and it’s better to spend that little bit more and be happy with it than end up on the next series of Tattoo Fixers.

Ask Questions 

As well as researching the artist make sure you ask them questions. You want to make sure you have a good rapport and your mind is at ease before the day.

Look After Yourself Prior

This is something that I had never really thought about until I met with my tattoo artist prior, but it is really important to make sure you take care of yourself beforehand. My advice would be don’t go to the shop drunk (#Maga2018 might seem like a good idea at the time but it probably won’t in the morning) and make sure you eat a decent meal and drink lots of water beforehand. I’d also recommend saying YES to the offer of a lollipop. 1) The sugar will keep your blood sugar levels elevated and stop you feeling sick. 2) You can bite of the stick when it gets a little bit sore. Plus you get a free lolly – win, win. 

Prepare Yourself (And Maybe Take A Friend)

I hate to break it to you but it is going to hurt. It’s not totally unbearable but you’re having ink carved into your skin with loads of little needles, obviously it’s not a bloody spa facial. To be fair, my artist did say the placement of mine might make it worse as it as going directly onto the ankle bone at points, so positioning does impact it. Obviously your pain threshold impacts things as well. I didn’t think it was too bad and I would definitely have another. Mum on the other hand…. I’m not too sure.

The Aftercare is CRUCIAL

Tattoo aftercare is really important and something that you really cannot neglect! You’ve probably spent a lot of money on your tattoo and it’s going to be there forever so it deserves to be shown some love. If you’re not supplied with aftercare treatment (I wasn’t) I would recommend Bepanthen+ applied at least twice a day for AT LEAST a few weeks. Listen carefully to the instructions your artist gives you and think about timing. You need to keep your tattoo out of direct sunshine and chlorinated so you don’t want to be getting in done the day before you go away.

I loved having my tattoo and I am really happy with how it turned out. I have definitely got the tattoo bug and am already planning a second on my ribs (again only a little one, don’t worry Mum!). If you’re looking for some inspiration for designs I would suggest looking on Instagram and Pinterest as there are some incredible pieces on there. I also have a board on my Pinterest dedication to my tattoo inspiration so go and check it out. 

Have you guys got any tattoos? Are you planning your first? Let me know in the comments below. 

Jamie x 

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Sources:

https://www.hartandhuntingtonorlando.com/blog/11-tips-your-first-tattoo

First Tattoo Tips

https://www.bustle.com/articles/97422-tips-for-getting-your-first-tattoo-because-getting-inked-is-a-pretty-huge-pretty-permanent-life

22 Things I’ve Learnt By 22.

I turn 22 tomorrow. Part of me is excited because, you know, presents but the other part of my wishes everything would just SLOW DOWN. The little 8 year old inside me still can’t quite comprehend that she’s an adult now, going to work and renting her own little house. When I first moved in I wasn’t ready for it, but I had no choice but to learn and learn FAST. That has often been the case with most of the lessons I have learnt throughout my 22 years on this earth. Life comes at you quickly and sometimes you just have to go with it and hope for the best. 

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Started from the bottom…

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Now we’re here.

  1. Always have a sanitary towel in your bag. You never know when mother nature is going to come-a-calling and you should always be prepared. After a few accidents and more than a few girls asking me if I had one spare in bathrooms, I learnt my lesson.
  2. You’re not going to ‘like’ everyone, but that doesn’t mean you cannot get along. Back in year 8 if I didn’t like someone they were automatically my worst enemy. As I have grown up I have learnt that I don’t have to ‘like’ someone to get on with them. It doesn’t mean they are bad people or that we have to be enemies, it might just mean we’re different and that’s okay – you’re not going to like everyone.
  3. Not everyone is going to like you. Following on from number 2, not everyone is going to like you and guess what? That’s okay too.
  4. Bitching says more about you than it does them. When I was younger everyone bitched about everyone. It was cruel and unnecessary. I learnt overtime that bitching about people said more about me than it did them. If you have a problem with someone the only way to resolve it is to speak to them.
  5. Pee after sex. This came as a shock to me but yes, pee after sex. Nobody wants a water infection.
  6. Relationships should be 50/50. You should never have to bleed yourself dry to maintain a relationship. Relationships should be an equal balance of give and take.
  7. Always have a bottle of water in your bag. Hydration really is key! Plus, bottled water is expensive and bad for the environment.
  8. Water looks a lot like vodka and lemonade – just keep your mouth shut. If you don’t want another drink just order tap water. Trust me, no one will notice and you’ll thank yourself for it the next day.
  9. Endings are a part of life. Endings aren’t always nice but they are a part of life and symbolise growth and change.
  10. There is no shame in vulnerability. I used to think that in order to get anywhere in life I had to be hard faced and emotionless. Remember all the Facebook quotes glorifying this? Turns out, there is no shame in vulnerability. In fact, I have grown up to find it an endearing quality in others. Without vulnerability I found that life was very lonely.
  11. Sex and self respect do not correlate. When I was younger I firmly believed that sex and self respect went hand in hand but overtime I have learnt that that is not the case. People have both self respect and sex – the two do not correlate. If they are happy and safe then it really doesn’t matter how many sexual partners an individual chooses to have.
  12. You’re going to need anti-ageing creams sooner than you thought. Okay so I haven’t got wrinkles and I’m not greying just yet BUT there is no harm in erring on the side of caution. I have recently brought myself an anti-ageing eye cream to help with early signs of ageing. Kind of expected that to be a purchase I made closer to my 40’s but there you go…
  13. Coffee is cheaper if you just make it at home. Yes I know this is obvious but honestly you will save SO much money if you cut down on your coffee shop habit and just make it at home.
  14. The laundry is not going to wash itself. Turns out it was Mum who did it! Who knew?
  15. You are your own priority. I spent a long time trying to be a people pleaser and it got me nowhere. The more I tried it seemed the less I was liked. I learnt that your happiness should be your first priority. The more I put me first, the more I found people like me who loved and supported me for who I am.
  16. Things hardly ever go to plan. Literally EVER. You really have just got to roll with every new opportunity. As a self confessed ‘planner’ this came as a shock to the system but hey, that’s life for you!
  17. Not everyone has the same heart as you. Sometimes people can be cruel and work from a different moral compass to yourself. Take lessons from these people should you come across them and remove them from your life. Do not sacrifice your inner peace for anyone.
  18. Mum knows best. It didn’t take me long to learn this but it did take me a long time to accept it. Mum’s really are always right. My Mum knows me better than I know myself and her advice always come from a place of selfless love.
  19. You don’t owe ‘looking pretty’ to anyone. Don’t want to wear make up? Don’t. Can’t be bothered to wash your hair? No worries. It took me a long time to learn this but you don’t have to ‘look pretty’. You do not owe being ‘visually appealing’ to someone – you are worth so much more than that.
  20. Heartbreak hurts but you get over it. I have had my heart broken. One time I never thought I would EVER get over it but I did. I still think about that person from time to time but it is usually with fondness. Heartbreak is a part of life. It sucks but you’re going to be fine.
  21. Dry shampoo is a gift from the gods. I thank the gods for the day dry shampoo was invented. Honestly the day I learnt I did not have to wash my hair every single day was a wonderful one.
  22. You’re never alone, even if you feel like it. There are times when I have felt very lonely but I have learnt that I am never alone. In a world where anyone is just a phone call away and friendships with your online pals are as real as friendships with those you have known in person you really are never alone. I promise.

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My last celebration living at home. 

I hope I never lose the little 8 year old inside of me who still jumps in puddles and will go out of her way to do the hop scotch on her route home from work. I might be an adult but I always want to be a child at heart. I always want to keep hold of that youthful, carefree fun whether I’m 22 or 82. Happy Birthday to me. 

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“We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public’ – Bryan White.

Jamie x 

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