ZERO WASTE , ZERO EFFORT – 5 small changes I’ve made whilst still living life in 2021

Going ‘zero waste’ is becoming more and more popular now, for years I’ve used recyclable cups, glass Tupperware and ditched the baby wipes but I’ve never realised just how much single use plastic I contribute to landfill on even a daily basis.

With more and more lifestyle changes becoming accessible now I feel like it’s time to actually educate myself in this area and see just how damaging my efforts are and how even some simple small changes can help. The thought of going fully zero waste can be daunting and it’s not something that can be done overnight.

Problem areas

So the first thing I did was actually look at my lifestyle personally to see where I’m wasteful, there’s no point implementing a reusable coffee cup if you don’t even drink coffee right? My main issues were overbuying and buying single use. I’ve had glass Tupperware for a long time yet still buy fresh lunch everyday that use a lot of single use plastics.

Here are 5 changes I’ve recently implemented over time:

Facial cleansing – Despite being in love with beauty and skincare regimes frankly the last thing I want to do after a twelve hour shift is spend a good amount of time cleansing so I’ve been known to use micellar water and cotton pads. Now cotton is biodegradable sure, but lately I picked up two different options from TJC. The first is my more permanent solution and it’s the silicone facial brush from Opatra.

Opatra pure brush duo features two silicone sonic cleansing brushes with different sized bristles either sides and contoured to gently exfoliate the face.

You may have seen these in many iterations, they help cleanse your face with gentle sonic vibrations and there’s nothing single use about them! With the silicone material it’s easy to clean and not porous so no need to worry about bacterial growth.

Pack of 4 makeup cloths each suitable for approx 500 washes

Secondly I picked up some erase your face reusable wipes. Made from a gentle cotton blend these are good for on the go cleansing when I don’t have my opatra pure or for applying anything that I wouldn’t want to use my hands for. I am a bit conscious of bacteria growing on these so do wash them frequently but it’s a far better choice than baby wipes and cotton pads.

Bambody period pants – let’s normalise talking about periods! I haven’t used pads or tampons for years! For one I find pads ridiculously uncomfortable and tampons have toxins in them, but secondly the sheer amount of these you get through is ridiculous! I tried out a moon cup for a few years which I had on and off success with, sometimes there would be leaks and on days like that I was always on edge, but when it worked it was amazing, it was so freeing and felt really clean.

I decided to try bamboo body pants as an alternative. I had a few reservations at first, what about leaks, or smells, but I’m honestly overwhemlmed at the success! There’s a weird feeling on heavy days after you’ve been to the toilet that frankly you’d just have to try to understand but they’re hygienic, they make me feel like I’m safe and secure, they even alleviated some cramps once with the elasticated band putting on just enough tension in that area.

They’re ridiculously cost effective over their lifespan and bamboo is renowned for antibacterial and anti microbial properties. I paid around £25 for three pairs which have done me for even my heaviest days, I think I’ll buy one more pack because even though I’m good at washing them straight away it’s just peace of mind. A three pack should do you fine if you wash and dry regularly but if you have a busy schedule or can’t guarantee they’ll dry in time ( you can’t put them in a dryer and they do take a while to fully air out) then just two packs is still cheaper than what you’d pay for a year of period products.

Reusable tote bags – This one doesn’t need much explaining and people have been doing it for years, it’s such a simple idea but something I never do, I always forget to pack bags but this year I’ve made a conscious effort to just have one in my bag constantly and if I go shopping and forget it in the car I’ll just nip back out for it instead of dismissing it. I feel like this is something everyone is aware of but so many just forget or don’t dedicate time to it so if you need a sign to make this a habit then this is it!

Buying loose fruit and vegetables – now the markets have been closed this has been tough for me for things like fruit lately. Back home I used to be subscribed to a weekly fruit and veg box that was all loosely packed and perfect portion sizing, as my schedule is so changeable here I’ve not looked into one locally because I don’t want the food going to waste, I have however been buying any veg I can loose and when things open up again I will definitely be shopping around for both food that has no single use plastic and also is more locally produced.

Conscious food buying – I have really started buying just what I need, I have a small freezer (just one shelf within my fridge) so can’t fit anything in for storage. A lot of food would go off before I could finish it and usually it would be in single use bags so I’ve really started evaluating sizes of food I’d buy and if I’d get through it or not. The biggest change I found wasn’t actually for me but it was buying my cats food in tins. The amount of disposable packets I’d bin on a daily basis just for convenience of dishing up was shocking when they piled up whereas tins can be recycled.

Overall thoughts

Realistically I think going completely zero waste is kind of impossible in our current world but reduce reuse recycle goes a long way to helping that. I’m tired of seeing the needless amounts of single use plastic in supermarkets specifically on fruits and veg as that’s such a large portion of my diet! I try to buy loose where possible but today for example I needed some ginger for a sore throat and a small piece of ginger was in a big single use plastic bag! I got home and realised literally next door was a local supermarket that has fruit and veg available loose! I guess the lesson here is that this is a lifestyle that you are proactive with and don’t beat yourself up over, you make small changes a day at a time until it’s second nature and just think over your decisions a little more. It’ll take time, but it’ll get there.

Are you or Have you ever thought about zero waste?

If there was even one change you could make what would it be?

Let me know in the comments below!

Shein accessory haul

Lately i’ve been trying to mix my wardrobe up, it’s coming to spring so there’s a lot of chance to experiment with different styles for all the weather, but one thing I always push to the side is combining accessories. For the most part i’ve kept the same ear piercings in from when they were first pierced, I’ll always forget to put on a necklace and i’ll just pick up ten different rings and throw them on whatever finger will fit. I realise i’m missing out on making a coherent look and being able to flawlessly change the style or theme of an outfit with a few small adjustments so I decided to do a big accessory haul to see what looks I can create just by changing up accessories.

The great thing about Shein is the price and variety, i’ve bought things I would NEVER usually wear just because it’s a price point that’s so friendly that if it doesn’t really work it’s no loss to me. I’m generally a big fan of shopping from smaller independent businesses but that is something i’m working towards overall so this is a good way to test run different styles for me

7 Rings

I bought some multi-packs of rings, I used to be a nightmare for going to primark and bulk buying packs of 12 ring sets and wearing them all at once. I love the design of the hamsa and geometric set, so much so that i’d honestly just keep them on display! The second set had more of a nautical theme which for me personally would be a very specific wear in summer. The fit is ok but not ideal, the quality of most are good but they will definitely tarnish quickly (I actually applied a THIN layer of seethrough nail polish to them to make it last but i’ve found in the past that gets tacky in warm weather even after fully drying)

I think really, i’ve got to the point where rings are my main accessory so I should just focus on spending a bit more on quality but I just love the variety and wearing multiple rings at once so this is a good way to do that for different occasions and have long-lasting ones for everyday wear.

Bracelets

Ok, who doesn’t love a classic curb chain?! I used to think it was incredibly chavvy but i’m obsessed now. I’ve bought good quality curb necklaces but I thought i’d get a few bracelets to match. The large one honestly feels like plastic, it’s completely hollow and I know it’ll go green after one use, the smaller one is a lot better but you can really see the quality matches the price here.

The gemini bracelet was a bit of a shock because i’m positive I ordered a necklace. I love it though! As a bracelet it’s way too big even at it’s smallest point which you can see above, I also don’t think as a bracelet it’s my style but I’ve worn it with a necklace extender under a large collar so you don’t really notice and I think it’s a much better look overall! I love the figaro chain design used on it as it fuses modern design with a classic chain but i’m not sure you’ll see much of that with a necklace extender as i’d have to wear it under a bigger collar.

Earrings

I bought the gummybear earrings honestly because they were cute! They’re actually incredibly well made and good quality! I’ve had no reactions from any of the shein earrings and i can only usually wear surgical grade stainless steel and above for longer than a couple of hours! The gemini earrings are a cute concept albeit seen in most places, the quality is quite rough but unless you’re up close it’s acceptable.

The dangle earrings are my favourite! I bought these same ones last summer and broke it so re-ordered, they have cute accents of faux diamonds and are shaped like paper cranes, they’re also adjustable in length and I think they’re simple but effective.

For the price I actually rate Sheins earrings, do be careful though, just because i’ve not had a reaction doesn’t mean they’re ok for everyone with sensitive ears as they are definitely a cheaper material but there are so many styles available and i’m pretty impressed with the results.

Accessories

Moon and pendant clip – This is adorable! The latch is quite fiddly and not quite secure but I love it! Truthfully it is quite hard to find the right amount of hair to put in so it is secure and the pendant doesn’t move but also closes fully.

Multi-hoop gold hair rings – I picked these as a trial item because I wanted to experiment with different styles this summer. I think this is definitely for more of an edgy look over a cutesy and I will need a lot of practice with braiding but I love these in a side braid tight to the head or a ponytail!

Belt – A chunky yet hollow curb with an excentuated chain on a pleather belt. The holes in this aren’t quite enough for different sizes but if you want

Golden belt – I completely forgot this was a whole wrap-around belt and thought it just clipped on either side of some trousers. This can definitely jazz up a casual plain black t-shirt dress or be worn on nights out. The quality is cheap (no surprise when the cost is equivalent) but because it’s not direct skin contact I think this will be fairly long lasting because colour won’t be worn away like cheap jewellery which reveals the brassy undertones or green.

Over the knee socks – Simple but needed. These are only one size and quite thin higher up so not truly one size. They are incredibly thin material and easily worn but a cute design to mix up an outfit.

Overall thoughts

Ok the quality is cheap, but the product is cheap, so there’s no surprise there. This has really opened up my eyes to being adaptable to trying different styles and not being scared to dip away from the norm. I am a bit concerned about the amount of waste from this type of shopping and that’s something I learnt from this haul as I think some of the brass and glass pieces won’t last more than a few wears.

I love that Shein isn’t afraid to try new concepts, a cute ‘gemini’ bracelet with a classic figaro chain is a really nice juxtaposition of contemporary and classic, the pleather belt with the statement curb to break it up is also another example of this.

I think if you pay attention to user reviews and pay attention to price you’ll do ok here, the cheap cheap stuff really isn’t worth more than one wear and that is wasteful but the midrange pricing is the acceptable level of quality you need for statement pieces to add to your wardrobe and jewellery box.

I think Shein for me is definitely a way to escape my comfort zone and trial new things i’d usually think are too bold or tacky for my style because i’ve often fell in love with them! It’s a great way to experiment and then take what you’ve learnt to spend more money on quality pieces that will last longer – because frankly there’s nothing worse than your favourite accessory breaking or tarnishing.

Will you be mixing up your style this spring/summer?
Would you like to see more haul pieces to mix up the beauty reviews?
Let me know in the comments below!

Increasing your collagen – Vegan edition

Did you know your collagen starts depleting from 25! TWENTY FIVE! Still practically a baby to the actual world yet having to combat one of the main signs of ageing already! Collagen is the building blocks of bouncy skin making up around 40% of it. It contributes to elasticity and plumpness of skin as well as flexibility in joints and muscles. We all want to age gracefully and looking after your collagen production factories will help you do so.

A beauty expert I work closely with recites one solid piece of advice that the first sign you notice of collagen loss is pillow lines – and I’ve started to get them! It is A LOT easier to take active steps to continually produce collagen than try to gain everything back once you pass a certain point, and despite a lot of people telling me I don’t need to worry just yet, I’m past that 25 year age bracket and I have been paying particular attention to this lately.

There are a wealth of products available already that contain collagen (derived from animals) however topical products contain collagen molecules are actually too large for your skin to absorb and reap any benefits so you’re paying a hefty price tag for something to sit atop your skin layer. Today I’ll be debunking some Collagen myths and looking at how we can boost collagen levels with just a few small changes in a cruelty-free and vegan way.

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS

Collagen cream will fix everything so lather collagen cream on you – This is actually a terrible thing to do twofold, especially around the eyes! If you put too much cream on, your product will actually build up in the most sensitive area of skin, producing a bulbous effect and leading to bags, milia etc. The second reason this won’t work is something I’ve already touched briefly on which is that collagen molecules are actually too big to penetrate your skin to a deep enough level so simply using a cream is not enough to break through and ‘add collagen’ you need to stimulate this production from within.

Only marine collagen will help you – now it is a fact marine collagen obtained by fish is closer to ours and more effective than bovine collagen, but again the molecules are just too big to be obtained topically and eating it your body processes it into food rather than plumping and lifting. There is marine collagen derived from algae which isn’t as effective as fish collagen but definitely better ethically.

You don’t need to worry till you’re in your 40/50s – As I said collagen starts depleting in your 20’s so it’s never too early to make a few small lifestyle changes to continue a higher level of production, if you get into the habit early it’ll become second nature and won’t seem like a big change for rapid results.

The only way to boost your collagen is to eat or apply it – Humans don’t actually need to eat, nor apply, collagen from another being to have healthy levels of the protein within their bodies. There is a big misconception that simply eating collagen will automatically boost your levels and whilst it definitely helps add some it is such a small percentage as your body breaks the collagen down to food proteins, it’s not to know you want to divert the collage to firming up the skin or restoring elasticity.

“You cannot restore your body’s own collagen” – YOUR BODY DOES NOT STOP PRODUCING COLLAGEN! It is only the level of production that is reduced and that level can’t be increased by topical application of collagen creams as we’ve discovered. Instead, the production needs to be stimulated by active ingredients and from within your body and that’s what we will explore now…

HOW I COMBAT COLLAGEN LOSS IN A CRUELTY-FREE & VEGAN WAY

A good facial – I’m lucky that I don’t need to be in a spa to enjoy spending an hour or two on skincare every Sunday. I don’t find it taxing, I enjoy relaxing and playing around with products. I can understand it’s quite time consuming and may not be relaxing for some. That’s why I take time in my daily routine to use products like Retinol – see my Retinol bible here, to exfoliate at a deeper level, exfoliating dead, sun-damaged or congested skin. An SPF is also standard come rain or shine, protecting your skin to reduce the outward appearance of damaged skin and continually promoting glowing skin. If you don’t have the time or energy to dedicate to weekly facials then implement small changes into your daily routine specifically focusing on removing dead skin cells and stimulating production of fresh ones.

Red light – Working harmoniously with the above point I’ll give myself an at-home red light facial weekly (twice a week when I have time and frankly can be bothered) There are plenty of stimulating products. I use the Opatra Dermisonic weekly and the Dermi-eye Plus daily to add my eye cream (mainly because my eyes are my main area I’d like to preserve) It’s such an adaptable product I can utilise it for around lips or any other smaller areas of concern, making it a lot better for daily use. Red light helps your products penetrate deeper into your skin so the ingredients in them can actually work at a deeper level rather than just at the top layer, therefore being more effective.

Diet – Vegan diets generally contain more plants which are rich sources of anti-inflammatory properties so effortlessly eating good foods will help. Low-starch foods, leafy greens, nuts, lentils, beans, citrus fruits and avocados are just a few examples of foods that will promote collagen production by reducing inflammation. Vitamin A,B3 and C contribute to higher levels of collagen production for healthy skin, hair and nails and limiting salty, sugary, alcohol or caffeine will help not to counteract these (Don’t worry, I’m still constantly with a coffee in my hand, we have to have some vices)

Load up on antioxidants – There are things called free radicals (which I only learnt about during research for this post) They’re caused by toxic cells releasing from the likes of alcohol, tobacco, etc. They can be neutralised by antioxidants and frankly I’m lucky enough to love foods rich in antioxidants (especially blueberries!) so to me this isn’t really something I’ve had to implement it’s just about understanding how to do it right. I’ll naturally eat antioxidant rich foods throughout the day but if I’m treating myself to smoothies I will always opt for cold pressed and this is something I was doing wrong for years. Most shop bought smoothies contain a tonne of sugar and have the nutrients stripped out of them, even ones you make at home. This is because when they’re being made the motor spinning it heats up and kills off all of the nutrients. That’s why you want cold pressed to keep all of those benefits such as Vitamin A and C which we know work in tandem with your body to promote collagen production.

SO THAT’S THAT.

When it comes to collagen start working on it early, the small changes or additions you implement now the more collagen you will continually produce and the easier it will be BUT REMEMBER It’s not all or nothing – what’s a life worth living if you aren’t enjoying yourself, so think of this as a kind of menu where you pick and choose the small changes you can implement without obstruction, small changes are better than letting it pass you by. And it’s good to look good for your age, not questionably young/fake.

Do you work daily on keeping your collagen levels up?
What tips and tricks do you have?
Let me know in the comments below!