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Little Things You Can Do To Help The Environment

More and more people are looking at doing their bit to help the environment and live a more sustainable life. No longer is the belief that one person can’t make a difference cutting it and people everywhere are ditching the plastic bags and water bottles, cutting down on meat and sharing lifts.

However, it can be a little daunting to try and make your lifestyle more sustainable… The pressure to do everything all at once can get a bit much and so many of us recoil back into our old, unsustainable habits out a fear that we’re doing ‘eco-friendly’ wrong (Can you tell I’m speaking from experience here…).

Well, I am here to tell you that helping to protect the environment and leading a more sustainable lifestyle doesn’t have to mean ditching the car, never going on holiday again and waving goodbye to that Brazillian restaurant down the road. Even the smallest of changes can help, and you might not even notice you’re doing them! Here are some little things you can do to help the environment.

THINK ABOUT YOUR FASHION CHOICES

 I have already written a post about fast fashion and how I think the solution is as much down to internal changes as it is external ones. You can check it out here if you haven’t read it.

While you might not think that your fashion choices have much of an impact on the environment, the truth is that the fast fashion industry is predicted to contribute ¼ of our total impact on climate change by 2050!

Luckily, there are things that you can do that can help protect the environment, while still keeping your wardrobe on point. Recently I have become a huge charity shop fan. I’ll be honest, I used to avoid them like the plague, but once I ditched my entirely unnecessary snobbish ways, I actually found that you can get some really good bits and pieces – not to mention it’s super cheap and helping out a charity! On my last browse, I got myself a cream Zara blazer for £10! Madness I tell you.

I have also started buying second-hand clothes off of friends rather than going out and buying new stuff. I am looking towards setting up a clothes swap group as well, where unwanted clothes can be swapped for someone else’s gear – the perfect, eco-friendly way to keep your wardrobe fresh.

CHARITY SHOPS

IMAGE: The Art of Thrift Shopping in Leeds

SHOP SUSTAINABLY 

Beyond clothes shopping, there are also little ways you can become more sustainable when it comes to food shopping – a lot of which you’re probably doing already, go you!

Most supermarkets in the UK have already encouraged this, but investing in a Bag for Life or reusing old plastic bags is a great (and super easy) way to cut down on your plastic use. The same applies to foods. When you’re strolling through the fruit and veg aisle selecting your Granny Smiths, if the option is there, opt for a paper rather than a plastic bag to wrap your foods up in. 

TRAVEL WISELY 

When it comes to getting around the place just jumping in your car definitely seems like the easiest option… I mean, I can’t drive but if I could I image it would seem like the easiest option.

However, no surprises here, it is not the best for the environment. Instead, why not join the sharing economy and download ride-sharing apps or share a lift into work with your friend. If a few of you are all driving from the same place to the same place, it seems a little daft all taking a car when you could just go together!

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If you’re travelling out of the country (lucky you), using sites like Airbnb is also a great way to be a part of the sharing economy and help look after the environment. If you’re a keen bean, you could even opt for a solar-powered apartment that would still come in cheaper than a fancy hotel. This is not something I have yet to try, but I will definitely be looking into it for my next city break.

Travelling sustainably might seem like it is going to require huge changes, but that really isn’t the case. Being just a little more aware when travelling can really help to make your lifestyle more sustainable.

CUT DOWN ON ANIMAL PRODUCTS  

More and more people are adopting an entirely plant-based lifestyle, but if you’re not willing to wave goodbye to your cheese on toast – that’s fine, it’s your prerogative and it doesn’t mean that you can’t still make little changes and do your bit.

Simply cutting down on your meat intake, even if it’s only one day a week, or switching to almond milk rather than cow’s milk, can really help. You might even want to try growing your own vegetables, which can help to reduce your carbon footprint (not to mention it’s loads of fun and really satisfying!).

ALLOTMENT

IMAGE: Country Living – Companion Planting. Getty Images – Ron Evans.

LITTLE LIFE CHANGES

The above are just a few examples of things I have been thinking about or experimenting with recently, but there are loads of other little things you can do to make your lifestyle more sustainable.

As I have said, they don’t have to be massive changes – in fact, you might not even notice you’re doing them. Making your own coffee in a morning, getting a library card rather than buying books (I still haven’t quite come to terms with this one… I love a nice, new book), even just spending more time outside are all little things you can do to help!

Since attempting to make some little life changes in order to lead a more eco-friendly life, I have learnt that a sustainable lifestyle not only benefits the world but has also benefitted my own health and wellbeing. Cutting down on meat and practically ditching dairy has really helped with keeping at a healthy weight, getting outside more has helped me get fitter, and I have found that I have been able to save a lot of money by just having a little more awareness. Give it a go – it’s easier than you think. 

What are your top tips for leading a more sustainable life? Let me know in the comments down below.

Jamie x 

For more advice and tips, here are some websites and blogs I found really useful: 

50+ Simple Tips To Live a More Sustainable Lifestyle

http://www.lovegeorgeandhaze.co.uk/

https://ecowarriorprincess.net/2015/10/101-tips-help-you-live-more-sustainable-life/

https://www.wwf.org.uk/what-we-do/area-of-work/promoting-sustainable-living

 

Traveller Diaries | Crete Edit.

Hey guys and gals and happy Friday! This week has been pretty chaos what with graduation and getting ready for the big move and so I haven’t had a lot of time to reflect on my time in Crete. I wanted to share with you what I got up to and some top tips I picked up whilst over there. Now I’m going to be a fully functioning adult with a job and everything, I hope that I’ll be travelling a lot more and so the beautiful island of Crete is the first of a new series: The Traveller Diaries. So, let’s get started shall we?

Key Facts

Name: Makry Gialos, a small town on the south-eat coast of the island of Crete.

Population: Just over 4000.

Time Difference: +2 hours BST

Currency: Euros

Price: £-££

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 Accommodation

We stayed in a lovely villa called Athena Villa, a name we soon learnt was foreign to the locals! It was lovely and quiet, had a pool and 3 decent size bedrooms. The villa itself was very affordable, however, there was a slight catch in that it was a good hours walk away from any signs of life. Luckily taxis were pretty reliable (not to mention to drivers are super friendly – shoutout to my main man George) but they were certainly not cheap, starting at about €8 to get into the village.

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If I was to go again I would still choose to stay a little further out – the picturesque views and the luxury of a private pool made it worth while. However, when sorting out your spending money, do keep in mine that you will have to pay for taxis if you decide to do this.

If you fancy something a little closer to the action then there is plenty to choose from! The harbour and village have loads of hotels and apartments that were relatively quiet during our time there. If you don’t mind sharing a pool, I would recommend checking out Villa Village. The staff are lovely and they host Greek party nights and quiz nights that are full of locals. It’s also right in the centre of both the village and the harbour so it is perfect if you’re wanting to explore the area and not have to be relying on taxis.

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Weather

We’ve been having lovely weather in England this summer (shocking, I know!) so I was already stocked up on sun cream, which was lucky as Crete reached temperatures of 30+ degrees! The weather was lovely for the most part but I can’t ignore the horrendous wind and mild earthquake we had there.

For a large part of the holiday, it was windy during the day. When I say windy I mean struggling to walk without being blown over windy. We did also have an earthquake. To be fair I thought was just the result of my having one too many cocktails. However, those sober enough to actually experience it were a little shook up. The locals, of course, were totally fine but it was a bit different for us Brits.

Don’t let the wind out you off, it was lovely when it calmed down, but just be aware that during this time of year they do get some pretty bad winds.

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Food and Drink

The food and drink was fantastic – some of the best food I have had abroad, on par with Lagos last year (and super affordable). We quickly learnt that eating out is a hell of a lot cheaper than eating in, as the supermarkets are very pricey. However for seafood and local meats, cheeses and fruit, it’s very cheap (sometimes even free). I would highly recommend starting with a Greek salad (the feta is incredible!) and giving Moussaka a go – it’s a Greek speciality of lamb mince, aubergine and cheese and it’s so delicious! The seafood is also fab – Hari’s Tavern was particularly good for this, as were many of the restaurants on the harbour.

In terms of drinks, you will probably be given a fair few free shots of Raki. I can confirm that it is vile! However, the cocktails are very good. The sunset cafe on the harbour has a huge selection and they’re all fab (I’m partial to a Pina Colada and a San Francisco) and Olympia, which is just a short walk away, have some amazing cocktails. I’d recommend the White Star (vodka, baileys and vanilla ice cream – delicious). If you don’t venture to the harbour but rather chill in the village, the Fisherman’s Bar does a great one called Mutilated Mackerel that tastes like a naughty chocolate milkshake.

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Entertainment

It might seem like this little island is for chilling and not a lot else but I can assure you that it definitely is not. As mentioned above, Villa Village (attached to the Fisherman’s bar) hosted a Greek night with live music and traditional Greek food. It was such a fantastic evening packed full of locals and us tourists alike. I enjoyed a couple of cocktails, a lot of Greek salad and a lesson in Greek dancing. I’m not sure how regularly these are hosted but if you get the chance to go I would seriously recommend it – for €15 per person it’s an absolute steal!

If you like your water sports you’re also in luck as the island has loads you can get up to. We tried our hand at jet skiing courtesy of George’s Water Sports located in the centre of the beach, which was loads of fun (although a little expensive at €25 for 10 minutes!). We also went out kayaking with Cretan Trails , which was without a doubt my favourite part of the holiday. It’s a 5 hour trip where you visit 5 different beaches with the kindest tour guide called Tony. You get lunch (with olives from his grandmothers garden of course) and an endless supply of fresh fruit and water. It was such a fantastic experience that I would whole heartedly recommend. At €60 per person, for everything that was included, it’s a super affordable day trip. I absolutely loved it!

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I really enjoyed my time in Crete. I’m usually more of a city holiday girl but I was pleasantly surprised with how much was going on there that kept me busy. I took €320 worth of spending money, which was definitely not enough for the 10 days we were there! In hindsight I probably could have done with €400+, which would make it a very expensive holiday. As mentioned, the villa was reasonable but the flights were steep so it worked out at £700 for 10 days with transfers both ways from the airport. Adding spending money on top of that, it came to £1000. This is definitely more than I would have liked to have spent but I think you could get it a lot cheaper with a bit more forward planning (we were very very last minute) and so clever date choices. I’d recommend Makry Gialos to people looking for a relaxing holiday  with a chance to get to know the locals and explore the quaint town and beautiful beaches. I think it’s he perfect place for families and those looking for a quieter holiday whilst still being able to try new things and experience a new culture to the fullest.

So that’s that! I hope you enjoyed the first ever Traveller Diaries. Stayed tuned as in the next few months Dublin will be making an appearance and possibly another European city a little closer to the new year. Where have you guys been on your summer holidays? Let me know in the comments below. Until next time.

Jamie x 

 

 

 

Sleeping with Six Strangers…

Don’t worry guys, this is not as the title may suggest the start of a really cringe horror. Nor is it the start of something you would only find on the adult channels after the watershed (I don’t know, do they show this sort of thing?). Anyway, that’s enough of that thought for today. No, this post is not about either of those things but rather my first ever hostel experience. Two disclaimers before I start… I wasn’t actually sleeping with six strangers; there were five of us but you know, alliteration. Also, I have been in a hostel before on a University trip, however, I was with people I knew and there was a massive group of us so it was a very different experience. Anyway, I thought I would share with you how I am finding sleeping with six strangers.

I’ll be honest, I didn’t have very high expectations but, at £27 a night in central London, I couldn’t really say no. The Hostel is called SoHostel (it’s in Soho – clever I know). The hostel itself is actually quite nice. There is a room to get ready with funky mirrors, straighteners and a few other bits and bobs. There’s a bar with a happy hour every night and a karaoke night every Friday. You can get food pretty much all day and even the showers are private and pretty decent (albeit quite small). The location couldn’t be better. I am literally across the road from a Tesco Express, round the corner from my Internship and in the middle of Soho about a five minute walk to Oxford Street. If you’re looking for a hostel in London, I can’t really fault SoHostel. But, let’s be honest, you’ve not come to read about how clean it is. You want to here about what it’s like sleeping with six (five) strangers.

Here’s some pictures taken from Sohostel’s website. You can check their gallery out here. (I am not sponsored by Sohostel, you know, just incase you thought I’d become a travel blogger or something. Just helping you picture the scene…) 

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So when I first got there I was in a bit of a mess. Anxiety had really kicked in about the whole experience and the only person in my room at the time was a boy with very little English. He tried, which was really kind of him, but I felt very uncomfortable and didn’t really know where to put myself. Are we supposed to speak? Can I speak on the phone? Are they going to snore? I literally just sat on my bed and scrolled through Instagram wanting it to all be over. Later on that evening three girls came in from all over the world. We chatted for a little bit and then we all kind of got on with our own thing. A difficult thing to do when you’re in a tiny room with five other people who you have never met, all speaking different languages. I didn’t expect to get much sleep that first night but, to my surprise, I didn’t sleep too bad (despite the snoring and people coming in and out all night). I was dreading being the person with the early alarm that was going to wake everyone up so I woke up frequently to check the time and my alarm hasn’t needed to wake me up yet, which is good (although copious amounts of coffee is needed to get me through an eight hour day). Everyone there is bag packing so they’re heading out and drinking and loving life. I’m working and so, as you can imagine, our sleeping schedule is a little different, but I just put the torch on my phone and do my make up in minimal light. It’s not too bad, unfortunately I’m not sure the same can be said for my contour but never mind…

By the second night I had kind of got used to it a bit more. We chat a little bit but most of them don’t get back till late (or early, however, you want to look at it) and I get some time to play on my laptop and ring home. It’s lonely, particularly when everyone else is there with friends exploring a new country, but learning to be on my own is something I need to get better at so I’m seeing it as a good challenge for my mental health. As it the total lack of control. Since been here there has been 4 people leave and 4 new people arrive from literally anywhere and everywhere. Both male, female, students, adults. Literally anyone. It’s certainly an experience and I have learnt so much in my short space of time here about people, cultures and how much I appreciate my personal space…

I was meant to be staying in the hostel for a full 11 nights, however, I’ve decided to head home at the weekend and come back ready for work on Monday. This isn’t because the hostel is bad. Not at all. If you would have asked me on Monday it would have certainly been because it was awful, the worst thing ever! But now, it’s okay. It isn’t ideal but it is what it is and it gave me the opportunity to work for my ideal magazine so I can’t complain. However, as much as a mental challenge is good, I also don’t want to push it too far. I have felt my anxiety creeping back and unnecessarily sitting alone will be counterproductive. I don’t want to have taken a step forward over the past year, only to take ten steps back for the sake of two weeks. I’ll be back again Monday night, but then I’ll be more prepared for what hostel life has in store for me.

If you’re looking for somewhere affordable to stay, go for a hostel. Honestly, for the money, this has been ideal. However, most people will be travelling and be there with their with friends so keep that in mind if you’re going to be on your own. For people travelling alone it’s great as they’ve met new people to explore new cities with. For me, it is a little isolating and a huge challenge for me mentally. However, it’s alright. It’s clean, it’s affordable and, most importantly it has super quick internet speed… Priorities ey’? 

Jamie x 

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My Wellness Must-Dos.

Good evening guys! A bit of a later Blogmas for you today as I’ve been hitting the shops getting some Christmas present and getting myself some clothes that actually fit me. Inspired by this month’s Women’s Health feature with Aimee Fuller, I have decided to share my fitness Must-Dos and the things I am loving at the moment in terms of health and fitness.

Enjoy! 

Sweat

At the moment my main focus is building up my cardiovascular health and fitness. This has meant me sacrificing a bit of my strength but I am continuing to keep up my strength training and I am still seeing progression, just a bit slower than I was when this was my main focus. I am doing a lot of HIIT and big compound lifts like the squat and deadlift. I have also started boxing and other classes that are going to test my body in different ways. I’m training 4-5 times a week for about an hour and a half.

Eat

Food wise I am still following a plant based diet as much as possible, which is proving easier than I expected at home. For breakfast it’s either oatmeal or bran flakes and an Alpro protein yogurt pot (my favourite are the ones with the blackcurrant compote). Dinner and tea varies a lot, particularly over the festive season, but I am loving vegan curries (sweet potato and chickpea and tofu thai green are my personal favourites). For snacks, it tends to be fruit or a few squares of dark chocolate if I want something sweet (Bourneville is vegan and delicious!)

Chill

I’ve main it my mission to give myself more time to chill as I think it is really important for your mental well-being. I love chilling in coffee shops with friends or reading a good book with nothing to do with my degree or Personal Training. I also find going for walks a really nice way to chill (although I probably do this less now it’s getting colder.) I’m not the best at chilling but it is super important!

Read

At the minute I am a little snowed under with dissertation reading and so finding time to read for pleasure is difficult, which is annoying because I love a good book. There are loads of super interesting self help books that I enjoy reading (I’ve just started making my own Happiness Project). At the minute, however, I am reading Memoirs of a Geisha, which I am really enjoying and I like to think links to my dissertation at least a little…

Listen

My music is different when I am training. Usually I like 80’s classics and the odd bit of 90’s cheesiness, however, training requires a very different playlist. Some Destiny’s Child Survivor tends to do this trick. Nothing screams ‘run faster’ than a bit of Beyonce. I’m a massive music fan, I don’t think I go a day without listening to music and my taste is really varied. I always said if I was to go on a TV show it would be ‘Don’t forget the lyrics’ – I’m that person that always knows the song, whatever it is!

Recover

Recovery is super important but I don’t like to be completely inactive on my rest days as I don’t think it helps with recovery at all. On my rest days I like to do some stretches or yoga just to keep my body moving and help with the DOMS. I find active recovery works best for me. I also think recovery in a mental sense is important to note here. Being back at home and just chilling on my sofa with my family is a great way to chill my mind.

Drink

I love a good flavoured gin and Mum makes some fab drinks over the festive period. I recently started drinking alcohol again, after cutting it out completely for health reasons, but I still take it easy and I’ve never been a huge drinker. I like a good hot chocolate (or a coffee, which is a very new love of mine). I don’t think there is anything wrong with letting your hair down and enjoying yourself every so often, even if you’re training.

Wear

I obviously love my gym gear, AVENUE20 (if you fancy anything, use my code J20 and you can bag yourself 20% off) and Gymshark are my favourites! I’ve also picked up some activewear bargains from Primark and H&M. On a day to day basis, I love Zara. I have what my boyfriend would describe as a bit of a ‘groovy’ sense of style. I hardly ever wear jeans, I’m all about culottes or leggings. I also hardly ever take off my FitBit, I absolutely love it and find it really motivates me.

Go

On Wednesday I’m heading to Germany to visit Cologne German Christmas market – which I’ve been desperate to do since I went to Berlin in my first year of University. I cannot wait for Mum to see Germany, she loves Christmas and she is absolutely going to adore it! I love travelling so much and think it is one of the best ways to learn and develop as a person.

Do

Well apart from the gym and my degree, my perfect days off include a nice lie-in and then heading out and exploring. I like a bit of spontaneity and trying different things. I’m not bothered about anything too fancy, a picnic in the park or a visit to a local coffee shop and I’m happy.

Treat

I love a good pamper session. I love visiting spas for a chill and treatment (if i can afford the latter!!). Mum and I tend to hit up a spa a couple of times a year and really relax. I also really need to start taking more care of my skin and so I love a good at home facial when I  really want some me time. I’ve got some serious inspiration from GraceFitUK recent video all about her Holland and Barrett, cruelty free skin care regime. I really like going to the hair dressers as well. I love having my hair played with an a couple of hours just to chill and have me time.

Focus

Staying focused is really important for me as I am busy a lot of the time and have a lot of deadlines I have to meet. I’m a big list maker and so that really helps keep me on track. In terms of fitness, I find goal setting a really important part of the process. I will review my goals every few weeks and tweak them depending on how things are going. This helps keep me motivated and accountable.

Hope you enjoyed this little insight into my fitness and wellness favourite things! And happy 11th of December, I can’t believe how quickly it is all going. Let me know what your wellness favourites are in the comments below and if there are any fitness/well-being related posts you’re really interested in reading!

Jamie x 

ps. go and check out the December edition of Women’s Health, it’s fab! 

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