Learning To Shop Consciously

Hi, loves! I’ve wrote several posts about wanting to reduce my carbon footprint, learning to be more sustainable and all of the reasons why we shouldn’t shop fast fashion trends, but is it wrong to still enjoy shopping for new items and even having the ocassional splurge? In October 2018 I wrote about why I was changing the way I shopped, and it caused me to re-evaluate what I’m buying; from food to fashion and everything else. In this post I focused more on the fashion aspect of sustainability; talking about all of the ways to minimize buying, give your old clothes a new lease of life, and to encourage donating things that didn’t serve you a purpose anymore, but how do we go about shopping for new pieces?

I personally think that sustainability within fashion is a complete grey area; many people have said they’ll never ever buy new pieces of clothing again and will only up-cycle current clothes, borrow/rent or shop second hand. Others, like me, do our bit where we can with donating, buying second hand and trying to shop more consciously when buying new. For me personally, I think the key is balance; just like recycling and cutting down on single use plastic, everyone doing their bit makes such a huge difference. In the months since I wrote the above post on fast fashion, I’ve seen SO much more attention brought to it, and I feel like lots of us are a little overwhelmed. I love a bit of retail therapy, and in recent months I’ve began to find my personal style and learn to love my body (I’m working on it, anyway) so I’m all for buying new pieces here and there. I also really want to share more fashion related content on my blog; it’s something I’ve always shied away from because there is so much hype around it, but I hope the Autumn months are going to see an influx of fashion related content around here. Here’s how I’m shopping more consciously, and I hope it helps you too!

Do not purchase on a whim. I’d say that at least 90% of items I’ve purchased on a whim because I ‘needed’ to buy something, bought a whacky print that isn’t me or liked how it looked on the model without giving consideration to how it would fit me are items I regret buying. I try to buy seasonally now; items that will see me through a whole season (or multiple seasons) and can be worn in many different ways are ones that stay in my wardrobe for years, and I truly get the value from. Buying with the purpose of that clothing item lasting you through all different seasons and occasions is something that has changed the way I shop in such a huge way; I’m way less likely to be drawn to things I won’t wear over and over again. I really try not to impulse buy, and generally prefer to shop in store rather than online because it’s best to feel fabrics and try things on.

Buy quality over quantity. I’m not saying you have to spend hundreds of pounds on an outfit or piece of clothing to justify it being ‘good’ quality, but it really can pay to shop arounds sometimes. For example, buying cheap t-shirts from Primark might seem like fun in the heat of the moment, but realistically you’re not going to get much wear out of it and it’ll end up in a charity bag within a matter of weeks. Factor in that someone had to make that t-shirt; if they’re marking up their price to be still be £5 or less, it cost pennies to make, and in reflection the person who made that was likely not being paid a fair wage. The fabrics and dyes used in ‘cheap’ clothing are terrible for the environment, and you just don’t get value for money. Aim to shop in stores that offer more premium priced items that are made with better materials, as they will last you way longer and you’ll get your value for money. I’ve said this a few times, but Matt is so good for shopping with the quality over quantity in mind, and I’m slowly but surely learning from him!

Know your price point and stick to your budget. Hand in hand with looking at quality over quantity, it’s so important to know what you can afford, and where you can compromise on spending a little more for a better piece, or go for a less expensive option that suits your needs but still fits with your ethical opinion. It’s hard to judge this as everyone is so different, and our allocated money to spend on clothing each month can vary so much. I personally will never feel guilty for buying at *a certain store* because the reality is I can’t afford to shop exclusively at ethical, sustainable stores or brands. The prices are much higher – although I agree with the reasoning for this, for paying fair wages and using harder to source fabrics – but I’m unable to consistently purchase that way at this time in my life.

Buy with intention. Does the item of clothing go with at least X amount of things you own? Can you wear it through multiple seasons/years? Or is it a ‘trendy’ piece that you’ll not reach for in a month? Or are you only buying it because everyone else is wearing it? Yes, I’m talking about *that* Zara dress. If the answers to these questions err on the side of ~I am not shopping for the right reason~ then chances are, it’s a purchase you’ll regret making. As I said in this post, I read somewhere that you should get at least thirty wears out of each piece of clothing you own, although I think personally that number should be even higher. Buying items of clothing that are not made to fit a certain trend makes this much more likely; stick to shapes and fits that flatter your body, buy solid coloured basics, opt for pieces that can be dressed up or down and only buy patterns when it’s one you know you’ll wear long term (like leopard print, always buy leopard print).

Get over the fear of outfit repeating. I’m sure most of us are immediately re-playing that scene from Lizzie McGuire in our heads right now, which taught us that re-wearing clothes you love was so not cool. Well, you know what really isn’t cool? Killing our planet by throwing away billions of clothing each year. This article shocked me so much, I can’t believe there is still such a stigma against wearing clothes you love, and it bugs me that we’re taught to think this way. I regularly see Daily Mail articles with headlines like “Princess Kate recycles dress for another event” …what? She is not ‘recycling’ anything. She’s literally wearing her clothes. Why don’t we all take a leaf out of Kate’s book and wear what we bloody own?! I also sometimes justify higher priced products by looking at the cost per wear; for example if a jumper was £60.00 but you wore it thirty times, you’re down to £2 per wear; making the investment worth it, and the jumper is better quality therefore will last longer with the correct care.

Read the labels. I really am that person who reads the labels on pretty much every clothing item I purchase. I’m not an angel and I definitely could be better with this, but I try to stay away from purchasing man-made fabrics, such as polyester, and opt for more natural fabrics that are sustainable to our planet. There is a term called greenwashing that is being thrown around a lot recently, and it basically means brands are being accused of advertising products/fabrics are ‘better for the environment’ without being able to back it up. So many cotton clothing items say they are made with ‘recycled’ cotton, but many retailers are not being truthful with this statement; if it doesn’t say “certified recycled/sustainable cotton” it’s more than likely NOT. Do your research, check the labels thoroughly and be prepared to shop around.

Buy with comfort in mind. This one is maybe something that lots of you won’t agree with, but I am tired of buying clothing items that LOOK good, but don’t feel good. Super tight skinny jeans, I’m looking at you. Now don’t get me wrong, I love a good pair of skinnies as much as the next person, but if Matt and I are heading out for dinner and drinks (hello, bloating!) I’m no longer forcing myself to wear them when it’s just not necessary. Over the past few months I’ve totally fallen in love with Mom jeans, and I couldn’t care less if they make me look ‘big’ which was what I always thought when I tried a pair on. Matt compliments me every single time I wear them, and they’re so much comfier. If you’re still not on the Mom jean hype, please go try them out! I am equally as obsessed with midi skirts, comfy trousers and if I’m having a chilled day you can bet I’m wearing leggings for that athleisure vibe. Comfort is key, and honestly when you’re comfortable in your clothing (and your own skin, but that’s for another post) you look so much better anyway!

I’m so excited to shop for my Autumn wardrobe, and I’m hoping to implement a better one in/one out system when the time comes. I began decluttering my wardrobe last weekend, and over the next few weeks of culling more and more, I’m determined to only own things I love, feel good in and will get wear out of. I can’t wait to begin buying a few Autumn pieces, I’m really so excited to create a wardrobe I love for years to come! My shopping list for Autumn includes chunky cable knit sweaters, a new midi skirt or two in darker tones, black (vegan) leather ankle boots, a good pair of dark wash mom jeans and some comfy long sleeved tees. I’ll definitely be sharing a little Autumn haul on my blog in September or October, and I’d love to share more outfit related posts with you next season if you wouldn’t be fussed that most of my clothes aren’t able to be linked? I adore Autumn fashion, and I’m excited to focus on fashion a little more on my blog.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and maybe a little interesting; I love to talk about this topic and I’d love to know your thoughts below. How are you shopping more consciously? Have you seen brands greenwashing potential customers for their own gain? What’s your favourite tip to shop more consciously?

-G x

Beating The January Blues

Happy Sunday, loves!

I hope you’re all having a wonderful weekend! Matt and I had the best day yesterday; we slept in and had a super lazy morning, then we went to watch NUFC vs Cardiff City. We won 3-0 and it was SUCH a good game! These are my favourite kind of days. It was so freezing cold (we’ve had snow this week!) but we had the best time. We headed to make dinner together, watch a little Netflix and squeeze in an early night. Bliss. Today we’re hoping to have another little lie in, then get wrapped up to head for breakfast and a long walk along the coast, it’s not going to get above 2 degrees but I’m so excited! Matt’s at a work event this evening so before I pick him up I’m going to have the pamper night of all pamper nights… meaning reading An Edited Life and lounging in the bath for approximately two hours. 

I’m so excited to be sharing with you the things I’m doing to keep myself in check this month, letting you in on the little things that make me feel happy and #blessed. But, for real. The January blues are a serious thing, and it’s a month where so many people generally feel low and miserable. It’s understandable; we’re all sad the festive season is over, there’s very little sunlight and it’s constantly freezing cold. I also have so much anxiety related to the bad weather – cue tears at the sight of a few snowflakes, knowing I have to drive in it. I wish I didn’t feel this way and any tips toget over it would be much appreciated? I hope this post may make you see January in a whole different light!

Making the most of quality time with my loved ones. It’ll be no surprise to anyone who reads my blog that I treasure nothing more than quality time with my boyfriend. We make the most of being together every night and morning, and we’re extra grateful for the few ocassions per month when our work schedules alighn and we get to spend a whole day together! Planning date days and spending time with our friends and families help us feel refreshed, and as a bonus gives us things to look forward to, which is even more important in the never-ending month of January! I always look forward to coming home from work, getting my comfies on and snuggling up with Matt but I appreciate it during the cold weather more than ever. (It’s my favourite when he runs a bath for me coming home, the cutie!)

Eat foods that make me feel good. Matt and I love cooking SO much, it’s up there in my top three things to do in life. We’ve been learning and experimenting with different foods for a long time and we have our favourite, go-to recipes down. We’re professional meal planners now (probably going to talk about this in more detail at some point), and we’re still really enjoying trying new recipes. I think the Winter months are the best time to spend a little longer in the kitchen! We are big fans of #MeatlessMonday and I’m forever trying to find new vegetarian recipes – please let me know of any you love. I always feel so much better when we’re eating lots of veggies, and I’ve suddenly come to the realization that breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. My grandma was right, after all! Also, I’m having a bit of a love affair with Quorn ‘chicken’ nuggets and southern fried bites right now. THEY. ARE. SO. GOOD.

Kos, June 2017. I can’t wait to experience beautiful sunsets in Croatia this year!

Make plans for the Summer. Speaking from experience, this is a great time of year to book your Summer holiday as during the never-ending dark days, Summer seems like it’s never going to come back again. There’s also often great deals in the January sales! Last year, Matt and I booked our holiday to Kos at the beginning of January, and it brightened up the dark days so much. I think when we first booked I checked our countdown on the TUI app approximately 432 times per day, but I was just so excited. We booked our holiday for this Summer last week and we’re are once again counting down the days! We’re heading to Croatia and staying in the most beautiful hotel, and we’re hoping to book up a mini break in Budapest soon too. I feel so lucky and grateful that we’re able to go on holiday! *Be right back, just checking my countdown on the TUI app…*

Don’t let the dark days be overwhelming. We all know during the Winter months when it’s dark in the morning and dark at night, it’s easy to feel miserable and sluggish. During this time of year, most of us go to work in the dark and come home in the dark, and unless you’re staring out of the office window (who’s got time for that?!) it’s easy to miss the small chunks of daylight we get all together. Matt and I always spend a little time cuddled up in the mornings, having a chat and a giggle together no matter how tired we feel or how miserable it is outside. Simple things like enjoying a cup of tea or glass of orange juice whilst we get ready for the day makes the day off to a better start. If the dark mornings are something that you really struggle with, you can purchase alarm clocks (like this one) that gradually wake you up in the morning with light, similar to daylight in the Spring/Summer months. I secretly like the really dark days when it’s pouring rain… just me?

Moving my body. Exercise is important all year round, but during the Winter months I think it’s even more important to make that extra effort to get the blood pumping around my body. As much as I’d love to be, I’m not a gym person and the thought of spending my evenings in the gym fills me with dread. Instead, I love yoga and how personal it is – I can practice at any time of day, anywhere I choose to (a few sun salutations on my lunch break isn’t weird, okay!) My favourite online instructor is the lovely Adrienne, and if yoga is something you’d like to get into this year I’d highly recommend checking her channel out. Matt and I are finally taking up swimming and we’re hoping to go at least twice per week. We’ve been saying this since we visited Kos back in June as we loved being in the water so much, so I’m proud of us for finally doing it! We love going on long walks and the Winter months are perfect for getting out and exploring; we have the beach on one side of our little town and the countryside on the other, we are SO lucky. I can’t wait to get wrapped up and get outside as much as possible!

Setting goals for the week/month/year ahead. I thrive off having goals and plans, and ticking things off a list is my idea of a good time. Lame, I know. If you are a goal orientated person, I’d highly recommend writing down the things you’d like to achieve this year, maybe the places you want to go and any personal things you’d like to work on. Even if this isn’t typically your style, give it a go! I wrote down all of the things I’d like to achieve this year back in December – I wrote a post including most of those here – and I’ve already put most things into practice. I also have set myself a few blog related goals that I’m hoping to achieve throughout the year. Goals can be anything you’d like to change, improve or work on, and there’s no harm in pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. Just make sure not to be too hard on yourself if a goal doesn’t work out, it’s another chance to give it time and start again!

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Enjoy indoor activities. I am such a homebody and I definitely feel a little bit excited to spend a few more cosy evenings in the house with Matt. That being said, I also love when the nights are bright, sunny and warm – it’s hard to explain HA! My ideal night in during the cold Winter months involves watching a movie or a few shows on Netflix, and eating a really good meal that we’ve cooked. Then of course, snuggling in together for an early night because we’re 24 going on 84. Use your extra time in the house to organise your space, declutter your wardrobes (you can read my experience on that here) and begin your Spring cleaning early. If you haven’t watched Marie Kondo’s new show on Netflix – get on it! You’ll want to stay indoors for DAYS organising and de-cluttering. I know Matt and I will be spending the next few months finding new shows on Netflix, cooking some new dishes and wearing our dressing gowns like our lives depends on it! It’s a great time to pick up a new skill, and if you’re looking to learn how to cook I’d highly recommend beginning now. I’m posting a recipe for our favourite chilli in the next few weeks so be sure to come back and check that out!

Supplementing the lack of Vitamin D. It’s a pretty common fact that in the Winter months most of us Brits are Vitamin D deficient, as there really isn’t much daylight and we don’t see the sun for weeks at a time. It’s important to supplement the lack of Vitamin D as this can have a real impact on your general mood and well being, or at least I find it does. You can get Vitamin D from lots of foods, including eggs and fish, or you can supplement with tablets*. I picked up vitamin D tablets from Sainsbury’s and I’ve been taking them every day. Spending as much time as possible outside when you can during the daylight hours is so good for my health and I’d recommend that over any food/supplements! Whether it’s taking a quick walk on your lunch break or getting out of bed earlier than you’d like to on a Sunday morning, go outside and enjoy how beautiful and still everything is during the colder months!
*Speak to your doctor! NHS recommendations linked here.

Thank you so much for reading! I hope you found this post helpful and picked up a few ideas of things to implement in your life this January. Do you have any tips or ideas of things we can do to beat the January blues?

-G x

My Handbag Essentials This Winter

Happy Wednesday, loves!

I don’t know about all of you but it’s my first full week at work this year and I’m so over the week already. BUT, I’m hanging in and I can’t wait for date day on Saturday! It’s been a long week, including renovations (literally got our windows replaced and when I got home from work yesterday it looked like a tornado had passed through!) and I’m generally just exhausted. I picked Matt up late last night from a football game and felt so lucky we got a little lie in this morning. I’m feeling super grateful for all of the cosy evenings we get to spend together every night, and I’m excited for us to cook up a storm the next few nights! Matt’s had lots of late shifts so we’ve been living off pizzas and pasta bakes when he gets home (around 9pm) and we miss cooking together SO MUCH. We’re having chicken fajitas tonight, so I’m sure I’ll be feeling approximately 10,000 times happier HAHA. We’re also hoping to book our Summer 2019 holiday this week which is sure to put a smile on my face, I can’t wait for a week in the sun with my love!

Today I’m talking through my must-have handbag essentials, specifically during the Winter months. This is based on what I carry in my day-to-day work bag which is a large tote, as generally on the weekends I take my small Kate Spade crossbody out with me with just the (real) essentials. I wrote a What’s In My Bag post back in July (I can’t quite believe that was six months ago) which you can check out here if you missed it! I’m not going to go through everything I carry – it’s safe to say I will always have my purse/card holder, car keys and medication with me!

Mini Perfumes
I’m obsessed with perfumes! I take pride in my little collection and I’m forever wanting to add more. One of my favourites, Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet comes in the cutest travel-sized rollerball and I always have it with me, it’s perfect for date nights! Recently I’ve been really into Glossier You, which comes in the cutest millennial pink packaging. This is a solid perfume, which was a little bit of a weird concept to me, but now I’m fully converted. It’s so flipping handy! I couldn’t resist picking it up during Glossier’s Black Friday sale – when it’s 20% off at Glossier you just have to, right? Also, both of these perfumes layer so well with anything I’ve already put on earlier in the day.

Re-Usable Metal Straws
I love my re-usable straws, and I always have at least three in my bag. I have some at work, my house and Matt’s, then anywhere else I have a drink I can use these! My teeth are super sensitive to cold drinks (and I love my drinks with tons of ice!) but I’ve sworn off using plastic straws forever. Did you know they take FIVE HUNDRED years to decompose?! My mind was blown, but I’m just not a fan of the paper straws given out in restaurants. I found these on Amazon and I love them so much, I bought three sets and I’m probably never going to have to buy a straw again!

An Umbrella
So, it’s England in January… the chances of me needing my umbrella at any given moment are incredibly high. I love this one so much, Matt bought it for me because I used to always buy cheap ones, and wonder why they’d break after two uses. The yellow handle makes me feel happy, and it’s nice to not have a boring black umbrella!

My 2019 Planner
I couldn’t live my life without my planner! I am so forgetful, I like to plan out my weeks, in writing, and then I can always refer back/add things in as and when required. Matt and I meal plan in here, I write any grocery shopping lists and I also plan out my blog posts week by week – from idea, to fully published post. The one I use is from BoxClever Press, you can pick it up here, and it’s perfect for my needs. A post about how I plan my week will be up in the next few weeks!

Emergency Chocolate Bar
Yep… emergency. I get very hangry, very quickly, so it’s better for all involved if I have a chocolate bar (and usually a granola bar too LOL) for those emergency times. I also have another chocolate bar in my car that is always replaced once eaten, although this Oreo one is not my first pick, Cadbury’s is forever my favourite! Matt and I crack open my emergency chocolate bars open in the car all of the time, every time we’re going somewhere further than a few minutes drive HAHA. So, yeah you could say healthy eating in the new year isn’t going too well..

A Bobble Hat & Gloves
If I’m not wearing my hat and/or gloves during the Winter, they for sure are in my bag! I am always cold, even in the Summer, so you can bet I try to do everything I can to stay warm and cosy. I picked up these gloves from Topshop a few years back, and the hat was a Christmas gift from Matt from The North Face (he’s the cutest ever). I live for bobble hats during the Autumn/Winter months; they add so much to an outfit, they look super cute and they’re great for hiding hair that may need washed HAHA.

Kate Spade Travel Mug
Since it began to get chilly at the beginning of October, I’ve been more obsessed than ever with cups of tea, chai tea lattes and hot chocolates! Most mornings Matt and I enjoy a cup of tea together before heading off to work, and I’m trying to get in the habit of taking one to work with me on the super cold mornings. I got this travel mug last Spring, and I just think it’s so cute! You really can’t go wrong with anything from Kate Spade, every piece they make is so beautiful. I keep a few Swiss Miss hot chocolate sachets and tea sachets in my bag too, so I can make my favourite drinks wherever I am.

Beauty essentials
I always carry a few more beauty products than are actually necessary, but my essentials include spare invisibobbles and bobby pins, MAC Next To Nothing powder, Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk lip cheat and lipstick, and of course a few lip balms. I always carry hand sanitizer and hand cream with me, which is essential during the cold months! I’m one of those weird people that uses hand sanitizer like my life depends on it, which Matt always makes fun of me for (BUT, he always asks to use it too)! These are the main things I often reach for throughout the day, and are transferred into any bag I use. Glossier pouches are my favourite for separating bits and bobs in my bag, I also use them when travelling and can’t recommend enough!

Thank you so much for reading! What are your handbag essentials during the Winter months? I’d love to know!

-G x