How Can We Live More Sustainably?

*This post features a gifted item, which I was not paid or asked to feature*

Hey, loves!

Sustainability. It’s a word that is everywhere at the moment – on social media, in magazines, on TV and even on the sides of busses. A little ironic, but whatever. It makes me happy that everyone is becoming interested in the topic, but it can be a little overwhelming having so much information thrown at you. It’s almost become a buzzword; people are either very concerned, or know they should be, but what does it actually mean to be sustainable? The definition from http://www.dictionary.com reads “sustainability is defined as the quality of not being harmful to the environment, depleting natural resources and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance”. Erm, yeah. Basically, stop treating our planet like it’s a cat with nine lives; we need to be pro-active at reducing waste, emissions and protecting all living species, and that’s just the basics.

I seen a quote online that said ‘There is no Plan(et) B’ and it really struck a chord with me; we’re literally destroying our planet and a lot of the damage is preventable. The reality is, we need to do a lot more than we currently do, and that can start with just the most simple things. We can’t take on the stress of our broken planet on our own, but in today’s post I’m sharing with you small changes you can easily make, to live a more sustainable life. These small changes actually can create huge impact, and within no time at all you’re helping not just the planet, but the people and animals who live on it. In my opinion, I think we should all begin with little changes in our day-to-day lives, and encourage others to do the same. Collectively, we can make a difference and work on building up to make even bigger changes. It’s genuinely amazing how all of us doing one little thing can make such a huge difference!

Also, I’d just like to re-inforce that my blog is a safe space. A no judgment zone. This post is not at all to cause offence or shock people, it’s literally a way to raise awareness, and to encourage people to see the bigger picture when it comes to the ways in which we can all make a difference.

Purchase makeup and skincare from cruelty free beauty brands. This was one of my resolutions for 2019, and I’m pleased to say that I’ve stuck to it 100%. There are so many of your favourite brands already ticking the necessary boxes, it’s really not as difficult as you think. Look for organic ingredients, the leaping bunny logo, PETA certified stamp and items that state they’re anti-animal testing! There is a slight grey area here, in my opinion, as lots of brands are cruelty free in the sense that they do not test on animals themselves (so they’re ‘good’ in the UK market), however they allow testing to be carried out in countries that require it by law. A general rule of thumb is if a specific brand sells in China they knowingly allow animal testing – as all beauty products sold in China require animal testing by law. Lots of companies are working with authorities to try to phase this out, but I’m not sure on the practical or ethical implications of this. I’d love to know any thoughts you have on this in the comments.

Buy from zero waste shops. Anybody else constantly frustrated with how much plastic is in the normal supermarkets? Thankfully, a brand new innovative way to shop is upon us! Your proximity to one will vary on wherever you live, as I know in London they’re seemingly popping up everywhere. We have one in Tynemouth that just opened last month, and it’s such a breath of fresh air to the area. Matt and I are hoping to visit very soon, and I’m so excited! The whole concept is that you take your own bags, pots, jars or containers to fill with whatever dry goods you need. You only pay for the amount you’re buying, there’s no waste from these items (hence the zero waste label) and you’re also supporting local businesses.

Save water. Shower together. Sorry, I had to. But seriously, cut down on your shower times, take less baths and never leave the water running whilst washing your face or brushing your teeth. Matt and I are bath obsessed (literally, we spend so much time in the bath and so much money at Lush, HAHA) but we’ve definitely cut down on our water usage in recent months.

Invest in re-usable bags. Since the UK implemented a charge for using plastic bags, our consumption has gone down 86%*, yet I can’t believe how many people I see still using plastic bags in supermarkets on a daily basis. Buying fabric, re-usable bags (that you can forever get replaced if broken, as they’re bags for life!) is such an important thing we should all be participating in. My re-usable bags live in the boot of my car, meaning I always have one to hand and I’m never caught out. Trying to get my boyfriend to do the same is a work in progress – I’m forever buying more when we go shopping! I also have a small canvas tote bag in my boot for when I go clothes or toiletries shopping and I’d definitely recommend this. Also, when buying individual fruit or vegetables in the supermarket I never pick up the plastic bags – they’re so unnecessary! You can buy produce bags (these ones look pretty good) but in my opinion they aren’t a necessity.
*Information from gov.uk

Stop buying fast fashion pieces. I’ve already talked about this in so much detail in this post, so I’m not going to bore you too much here. Buying less clothes, of better materials from sustainable, ethical brands is the way forward in my opinion, and I’m so happy to see so many people changing their thought process. I will be sharing with you some of the fashion items on my Spring/Summer wishlist in the next few weeks, featuring lots of sustainable brands! Again, I highly recommend the Good On You app for all the basic information you need on your favourite brands, and background on their part in becoming more sustainable. Also, I mentioned this briefly in my post all about fast fashion, if it’s something you’re interested in I highly recommend joining the Slow Fashion Exchange Facebook group, run by the wonderful Venetia Falconer.

Take re-usable water bottles and coffee cups out with you. This takes a little forward planning, but if you already have a container to fill, you’re certainly not going to go for the plastic option. General water bottles and coffee cups are not recyclable, and all head straight to landfill. Often, they find their way to our waterways and into the ocean, causing mass-scale pollution. As pretty as a Starbucks cup may look on your Instagram feed, you’re so much better off investing in a re-usable cup you can take anywhere with you. Also, most coffee shops offer discount when using your own cup as an incentive to stop people buying one-use options. I love the KeepCup and Stojo options personally, but there are SO many out there and prices start from just a few pounds!

Invest in re-usable straws. When bars and restaurants around the UK began to filter out plastic straws in early Summer last year, I was not a happy bunny. However, after finding out that one plastic straw takes FIVE HUNDRED YEARS to decompose I was so shocked, and totally understood the move to stop selling straws. As an avid straw user, it makes me feel a little bit sick to think how many plastic straws I’ve sent to landfill. A lot. I’m really not a fan of the paper straw alternatives as they literally turn to mush mid-drink not using a straw doesn’t work for me because my teeth are super sensitive to cold. Last year I purchased metal re-usable straws from Amazon that come in so handy, and I use them at home and work. Recently I was very kindly sent these pasta straws by the amazing guys over at Stroodles… straws made from pasta?! What?! I was so intrigued by the concept; they’re perfect for taking on the go as they’re single use, yet completely bio-degradable and compostable. I love that 25p per straw is also donated to local charities! Matt and I love to use these for homemade smoothies especially as they’re the perfect size.

*Use code GF10 for 10% off your first purchase at Stroodles*

Save electricity by turning off items you’re no longer using. Anyone else guilty of leaving lamps on when you pop out of the room? Or even the house? Yep, I was too! If you’re not using an appliance, switch it off at the wall, and only switch it back on when you’re going to use it. This is an easy one and something we should all be doing out of habit by now.

Sell and donate items that no longer benefit you. If we’re ever going to encourage others to purchase second hand, there has to be a continuous supply of goods to purchase. It’s important to pass on items that no longer have a purpose to us, a) to reduce the likelihood of becoming a hoarder and b) to encourage the cycle of donation/second hand shopping. Charity shops, eBay, car boot sales, Depop, Vestaire Collective etc are all great places to sell your unwanted items, and as the old saying goes, ‘one man’s tat is another man’s treasure’! Also, this is a great way to add extra pennies to your pocket.

Make use of technology. It’s one of those tasks you’ve probably been meaning to do for a long time, but change your mailing preferences once and it’s done forever. To reduce the amount of paper sent your way, opt out of any post unless it’s something you absolutely need (I can’t think of any instance of this, to be honest!), and instead direct everything to your email, or turn on notifications via the app.

Eat less red meat. Eating less red meat can be good for your body in lots of different ways, which you can read about here. Matt and I are big fans of #MeatlessMondays, and over the past few months I’ve generally eaten less meat each week. I feel better when I eat more vegetables, and I’m enjoying experimenting with different vegetarian and vegan foods. Matt and I love cooking, so changing up our diet has been fun and we’re finding out what works for us and what doesn’t.

Save up your plastic closures to recycle. Lush UK have an amazing recycling program where you can take in your plastic bottle tops, caps or lids, which they recycle and create more of their black pots. The pots are also recyclable; every time you return five pots you get a fresh face mask for free! (They’re the best face masks too, and made from all natural ingredients – I talk about my favourites in this post).

Grow your own herbs, instead of buying pre-packaged ones in store. I can’t wait for Matt and I to buy our future home for approximately 10,000 reasons, but this is one of the top ones! (He’s not as excited HAHA). Growing your own herbs ensures you know exactly where they’ve came from, you have much less wastage and they’re always to hand. They also would look so cute in adorable plant pots along your kitchen windowsill. This point could be applied to vegetables and fruit also if you have space to do so!

Recycle, recycle, recycle. Separate your household waste, recycle clothing that cannot be donated at clothing banks and recycle used beauty product packaging separately. L’Occitane are running a program with TerraCycle, ensuring those hard-to-recycle products are disposed of properly. They accept items from any brand, and there’s locations all over the UK – this is a fantastic initiative and I hope more brands develop a similar system. There is an incredible contact lens recycling program, also with TerraCycle, for any of us daily lens wearers. Of course a better alternative is to wear monthly lenses but they just don’t work for me, which annoys me so much. I also seen a recent campaign to recycle old mascara wands (washed in warm soapy water) to animal sanctuaries, so many across the UK are appealing for more, so be sure to get in touch with local sanctuaries to see if you can send yours their way.

Carpool when necessary, and drive less. The reality is it’s not feasible for many people to walk to work (it’s certainly not for me!) but little things like carpooling with your friends can make a huge difference. During the week, Matt and I always use both of our cars as we work in different directions, however during the evenings and on a weekend if he’s off work we only use one as we’re together anyway. Walking more, or taking up cycling is a great option if you live in a close proximity to work.

Buy zero waste beauty products where possible. It’s a little harder than it may seem, but it’s definitely do-able in time, and remember, every little thing helps. Lush have an amazing selection of zero waste products, their shampoo bars are incredible, in design and effectiveness. Buying re-usable ‘cotton pad’ alternatives is something that’s been on my mind for a while, I’m just unsure on how well they will work as I’ve seen very little people recommend them. Do you have any thoughts on this or have you tried them?

Thank you so much for reading! Did you find any of these tips helpful? I’d love to know any extra things you do to live more sustainably? Remember, the little things make a huge difference!

-G x

My Cruelty Free Skincare Routine

Hi, loves!

I’m so excited to share my updated skincare routine with you because I’ve finally found a routine that works for me. My last skincare routine was posted way back in July, but I have switched things up a lot since then. I’ve been really intrigued to try more natural, organic skincare brands and products, and I’m so happy with everything I’m currently using. My skin type is combination but leans more towards the oily side, I get dry patches under my eyes from time to time, and for the past few years I’ve been prone to breakouts and redness. I have acne scarring on my cheeks and jaw dating back to when I was a teenager, but it has improved SO much over the past six months.

You may have seen from previous blog posts that I’ve committed to only buy from cruelty free brands going forward, and my skincare routine is fully cruelty free. My everyday makeup routine is almost there too, although right now I’m using up products that I had already bought but will not be re-purchasing. I really am so happy with my skincare products, and my skin is really good right now. *prays to the skin Gods that it stays that way after making such a statement* I switched my contraceptive around June 2018, and I think that has also had a huge impact – girls, if you’re on the pill and suffer with acne, change it up! I’d recommend speaking to your doctor to see what will be the best option for you, but I really think this needs to be discussed more openly.

I’ve stripped back my skincare routine a lot, and I no longer feel the need to try out hundreds of products, constantly buying the next must-have item. I used to be such a skincare junkie, and as much as I like to admire dreamy Instagram #shelfies and other bloggers’ or vloggers’ skincare routines from afar, I just don’t have the interest (or room in my budget) to continuously try out new products. There are however a few brands I’d love to explore more – Sukin, Facetheory and Neal’s Yard Remedies I’m looking at you! – over the coming months as and when I finish current products. Also, I probably do a few steps in the ‘wrong’ order, but that’s okay!

MORNING ROUTINE

Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser – I flipping love this cleanser. Sukin are a 100% natural and organic brand, this is the first product I’ve tried from them and I can’t wait to try more in time. This cleanser is the perfect way to prepare my face for my skincare routine and makeup, and I’m trying to use this every morning and every night. This foams up slightly but it isn’t irritating and never leaves my skin feeling dry or tight. I apply one pump to a wet face (either in the shower or over the sink), and massage in for a few minutes. I use Facetheory exfoliating muslin cloths every other evening and they’re great at exfoliating without being too harsh. The cleanser smells very spa-like, due to the natural ingredients, and it’s a perfect pick-me-up in the mornings or evenings.

Pixi Glow Tonic – I don’t use this every morning, it totally depends on how my skin is that specific day; if my skin is clear and not aggravated I stay. away. However, if I have a breakout, or my skin is a little red (this often happens the day after I’ve used a face mask) then I apply a little across my face with a cotton round. I often use this in the evenings too, again depending on how my skin is on that day. This is the only toner I have re-purchased several times, and I really don’t think any other toner I’ve tried compares to this. It is a cult favourite, but for good reason! In my opinion it’s 100% worth the hype.

Facetheory Radiant Eye Cream – I’ve been using this eye cream since just before Christmas as this product was my first foray into the brand, and it’s one of my absolute favourite skincare products. I actually stumbled across this brand as it was featured in an Instagram post, and at the time I’d never heard of it, but I’m so glad I found it! I use the smallest amount for both eyes (a pea-sized amount as the pros would say), I’ve been using this every day for almost three months now and there’s heaps left. This eye cream is lightweight and my makeup applies so nicely on top, which is an added bonus as lots of inexpensive eye creams I’ve tried tended to ball up under makeup.

Facetheory Super Gel Moisturiser – I’ve only been using this for around four to five weeks, as I purchased it when my moisturiser (La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo) ran out. I almost bent my purchasing cruelty-free products only rule to re-purchase Effaclar Duo as I really think it helped my skin SO much. However, as I loved the Facetheory eye cream I decided to try out their moisturiser for oily skin and I love it. My skin generally doesn’t react well to new products so I was prepared for a few crappy skin days/weeks, but that never happened which was pretty impressive. It’s a lightweight formula and sinks into my skin within a few minutes, making the perfect base for foundation. As I mentioned, it hasn’t broke me out at all, and I think my skin has been less oilier throughout the day over the past few weeks. One thing to warn you if you’d like to purchase; as it’s a gel formula it’s such a thin liquid (almost serum-like) it went everywhere the first time I used it!

Dr Paw Paw Multi Purpose Balm / Glossier Balm Dot Com – these two are level at the top spot in my never-ending crusade to find the perfect lip balm. (I have a problem, guys!) Both products work so well under lip liner or lipstick to protect and soothe my lips, and any regular readers will know I carry a balm dot com lip balm in every bag!

Shop my AM skincare (all prices RRP)
Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser – £7.95
Facetheory Exfoliating Muslin Cloths (3 pack) – £4.99
Pixi Glow Tonic – £18
Facetheory Radiant Eye Cream – £15.99
Facetheory Super Gel Moisturiser – £12.99
Dr Paw Paw Multi Purpose Balm – £6.95

Glossier Balm Dot Com (Original) – £10.00

EVENING ROUTINE

Botanics Hydration Burst Micellar Water / Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser / The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter – I change this up day to day, and generally use whichever product I fancy on that day. If I’m having a pamper night I will always go for a good wash-at-the-sink makeup remover, but if I’m feeling tired or just super lazy it’s going to be micellar water on cotton rounds (I buy these organic ones). I tend to go through stages with my cleansers, as some weeks I love the Glossier one and other weeks I reach for my cleansing butter from The Body Shop every night. All three of these are so gentle on my skin and never cause me to break out! Very occasionally I reach for makeup wipes (Burt’s Bee’s Micellar Cleansing Towelettes are the ones I buy, made from repurposed cotton) but I know everyone thinks that’s the cardinal skincare sin! I’m currently trying out Glossier’s new micellar water too, and so far I really love it – as with everything from Glossier it’s simple and effective, and it hasn’t made my skin break out which is always a bonus.

Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser – see above.

Pixi Glow Tonic – see above.

The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask – so, you may have heard me talk about this before… LOL. I’ve declared my love for this product 101 times on my blog, but it’s really that good. This eye cream is so moisturising, does not irritate my sensitive under-eye area, and it’s damn good for the recurring dry patches that keeps appearing under my right eye. Each morning my under-eye area still feels moisturised, which I’ve never found from an overnight eye cream before. The texture is so different than anything I’ve used before, and it always feels cool when applied to my skin. If you’re looking for a new night eye cream, look no further. You can thank me later!

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 / The Body Shop Vitamin E Eye Serum-in-Oil – I change my serums up based on my skin that day; if my skin is feeling a little dry or irritated I reach for the Hyaluronic Acid, and if it’s pretty normal I reach for the Vitamin E, although more often than not I use both. I do have various serums from The Ordinary that I used to alternate between, but I really see no benefit in piling them all on my face and I very rarely reach for anything else. When my current Hyaluronic Acid serum runs out I think I’ll repurchase Glossier Super Bounce as I feel that did a little more for my skin, but The Ordinary one is such a great budget friendly option.

Neal’s Yard Remedies Yarrow & Comfrey Moisturiser – this is the best overnight moisturiser I’ve ever used, and I totally found it by accident. This was the first skincare product I’ve bought from Neal’s Yard Remedies and the bar is set so high for future purchases. It’s made with natural ingredients, so it feels and smells like I’ve been transported to the most beautiful spa every night. When morning rolls around, my skin still feels and looks moisturised, and plump in the best way! Yarrow, one of the main ingredients, is great for helping oily skin as it controls sebum production, and it also helps to reduce acne scarring. As I mentioned above, I had horrendous acne scarring on my cheeks/jaw which has improved so much, I wish I had a before and after picture! This moisturiser isn’t sticky, it never breaks me out, and I’m really seeing the benefits of less oil production. This is truly a holy grail product for me and I know I’ll be repurchasing for years to come, with no need to try out alternatives. Also, Matt keeps telling me every morning and night how good my skin looks, and you know a product is working miracles when your boyfriend notices!

Glossier Balm Dot Com – during the Winter months I tend to need a thicker, heavier lip balm overnight, but as we’ve had such mild weather my favourite Glossier balm is doing the trick. Matt uses this too, and we absolutely love it! I really would like to try out the Evolve Lip Treat at some point, though.

Shop my PM skincare (all prices RRP)
Botanics Hydration Burst Micellar Water – £6.99
Glossier Milky Jelly Cleanser – £15.00
The Body Shop Camomile Cleansing Butter – £10.00
Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser – £7.95
Pixi Glow Tonic – £18.00

The Body Shop Drops Of Youth Bouncy Eye Mask – £18.00
The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 – £5.90
The Body Shop Vitamin E Serum-in-Oil – £16.00
Neal’s Yard Remedies Yarrow & Comfrey Moisturiser – £22.00
Glossier Balm Dot Com – £10.00

THE EXTRAS

Face masks – I’m the biggest advocate of face masks, I just love them. Throwing a face mask on is self care, okay?! Sheet masks are the no-fuss way to do it, and my favourites were from the Garnier Moisture range but I’m unable to purchase those now as Garnier are not cruelty free. I’m hoping and praying Garnier will change their processes in 2019! However, a few cruelty free sheet masks I love and have re-purchased several times are Burt’s Bees Hydrating, Sanctuary Spa Charcoal Bubble and Starskin Pink Clay Purifying, they all work so well for my skin and help to settle my skin without causing breakouts. My favourite face masks are the Glossier Mega Greens Galaxy Pack, Lush Mask Of Magnaminty (Self-Preserving) and Lush Rosy Cheeks. The one aspect of skincare I can get Matt excited about is face masks, we love to do them together and try to make time to as often as we can – it’s my favourite part of our Sunday evenings!

Jade roller – if you don’t have one of these, get on it! I treated myself to this one from Amazon to cheer myself up when I was having a crappy week, as I’d been debating on buying one for a long time. It works fine but it is clearly cheaply made and I’m hoping to purchase this one from Herbivore in the near future. Face rollers are a firm favourite in many people’s beauty routines, and it’s easy to see why. My face is often a little puffy in the morning, especially around my eyes, and this magic tool fixes that in an instant. I don’t use this every day as it honestly depends on *how much time I have (*basically, I spend too much time snoozing my alarm and snuggling my boyfriend), but I always make sure to use it when I can. I use this in the evening most nights after applying my serum, and I really love to roll my face after using a face mask.

Spot treatment – I always reach for Mario Badescu Drying Lotion if I have any active breakouts, and I swear by this product. I apply using a cotton bud, and dab onto the affected area. (I buy cotton buds from Sainsbury’s, which are the most affordable organic ones I can find, but they come in plastic packaging which drives me crazy!) This product is genuinely a miracle worker, by morning my spots are gone or at least well on their way to healing, and the redness around the area is non-existant. I wish I knew about this product when I suffered with terrible acne! I’ve been meaning to purchase the COSRX Acne Pimple Master Patches for so long as they’re apparently incredible, so I really need to do that. I hope Glossier’s Zit Stick will be available in the UK soon too – I literally check on the daily – as I’ve heard SO many good things about that product (although reviews are mixed online).

Drinking more water, eating less dairy and eating more veggies. It’s not groundbreaking information that what we put into our bodies has a huge effect on how it looks on the outside. I’ve always found it so difficult to drink lots of water, but recently I’ve upped my game and drink way more than I used to. Matt and I cook dinner together every night and we always pile the vegetables into our recipes, and try to participate in meatless Monday most weeks. I think eating cleaner in general (less meat, little dairy) has had a huge impact on my skin; since I stopped drinking cow’s milk I noticed a huge decrease in the amount of breakouts I was having. Matt and I are never going to give up our late night McFlurry runs, but it’s all about balance right?! Of course, just because this helped me does not necessarily mean it would work for you, but I’d definitely encourage you to switch up things in your diet and see what works best for your skin/body.

Thank you so much for reading! What are your favourite skincare products? Do you have any you go back to over and over again?

-G x