Meat Free Monday?

Hello everyone!

If you have followed my blog for a while, you may be wondering where last week’s Meat Free Monday recipe was? I’ve decided that 52 was enough and I’m not a good enough cook to create 52 more unique and tasty vegetarian and vegan dishes… If you want inspiration then it’s all still here on the blog!

Ultimately, the challenge to blog about it each week showed me a variety of new ingredients that can be used as a substitute for meat. It also showed how varied a diet can be without including meat at all… Especially as around half the meals were also vegan!

This has shown me I CAN go meat free consistently, therefore my New Year’s Resolution is to go vegetarian apart from when I go out to eat (and then avoid red meat). Also, I’ve switched to dairy-free milk and yoghurt, so I’ve drastically reduced my dairy intake! For me, this is quite a change.

I may still blog a recipe when I find a great new one, but it definitely won’t be every week! I hope this all makes sense and I’m still going to be blogging regularly about sustainable living.

Happy Mother Earth Day!

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So today is Mother Earth Day according to the UN! The theme this year is to ‘be mindful of the impacts our choices have on this planet, and what those impacts will mean for future generations’. I feel like this encapsulates what I want my blog to be like so I had to include it!

Remember, everyone can make a difference; it can sometimes seem like we’re ants, crawling around the earth, but we can have a huge impact!

I took this photo last weekend – this time of year is so pretty in England. Try to appreciate wherever you are in the world and make mindful choices 🙂

Thrifted Party Dresses

‘Tis the season of parties!

This often means having to buy multiple outfits which is hard on your pocket and on the environment. A solution to this is buying second hand.

I really discovered ebay when I started university – I started buying second hand clothes then, and more recently I’ve used it for all my ‘event clothing’ (e.g. clothes I’ll probably only wear once or twice).The four dresses below are ones I’ve bought in the past year from ebay – the far left one is for a party I’m attending tomorrow night and was originally from Debenhams; it’s all sparkly and festive! The red one is originally from Asos and I wore it to a Christmas work party and plan to wear it on Christmas day too (the lace sleeves are gorgeous). The grey one is originally from H&M and I actually had to have it altered slightly, but it ended up looking great for my end of year ball (see below right). And then the black dress was for a posh birthday party and was super flattering (see below left) – originally from Little Mistress.

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They have served me well and I may keep them for another year, but will most likely donate them after that so they can keep being re-used.

Anyone else been lucky when thrifting for the party season?

I plan on writing a post about charity shop/ebay tips, so keep a look out for that to save yourself some money and save the planet too!

Living My Ideals and a Change

As I am on a zero hours contract at the moment, my income is unpredictable, but I still want to donate to charity. I’ve donated some money over the past year but not as much as I would like, so I thought a bit outside the box… I donated my hair!

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There’s a charity called the Little Princess Trust, which is based in the UK and it makes wigs for children who have lost their hair due to chemotherapy. They need at least 7 inches of hair in order to make a wig, so if you’re thinking about going short then look at this site!

It’s a charity that is trying to make the world a slightly better place. Also, from a sustainability perspective, it now takes a fraction of the time, water and product to wash my hair!

Hope you’re having a great weekend – remember, ‘go into the world and do good’ and ‘be the change you wish to see in the world’!

The Good Green Gift Guide (Part 3) – Experiences!

This is the final gift guide and, in my opinion, the best. Christmas can be a time to accumulate stuff that will get thrown out within months – really unsustainable! So to counteract this you can give people gifts of experiences rather than things. This can range in price from barely anything, right up to hundreds of pounds.

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One of the cheapest options is to make some ‘promise cards‘ or ‘tokens‘ to trade in things like breakfast in bed, a baking session or babysitting so they can have some me-time! This is essentially a promise of quality time spent with the recipient, so it can be given to partners and family members alike. This is a very thoughtful present that keeps giving throughout the year.

Another option (for couples) is a food passport – it’s easy to get stuck into a rut of going to the same chain restaurants because you like one of the specials. But to spice things up, you can create a food passport with 50 local places that you would like to visit over the year on date nights. I got this idea from Pinterest, but the link no longer works so I can’t credit the person! Apologies.

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Moving onto slightly more expensive gifts – performances are a great option! Whether it’s the theatre, a band or a comedy show; you’re guaranteed a great time. I went to see Wicked for my 21st birthday and Made in Dagenham is definitely on my wish list for this Christmas! You have to make sure the recipient is free on the day though so they may have to be told in advance/told to keep that evening free. This can vary from £20-100s – but I think this is definitely worth it as you gain so many great memories from this type of gift.

The ultimate experience I have received as a gift has got to be money towards a trip to Edinburgh this summer. I went during the Fringe Festival so there was loads to do, but it was pretty expensive. Do a bit of research into different city stays fairly close to you in order to keep your carbon footprint small (I was able to get a train to Edinburgh). I would personally love to go to Bath, York and Oxford – all very picturesque with rich history to investigate. If you’re not a city person (or you want to escape the city) then a beach break is best and in Britain you’re spoilt for choice as there is so much beautiful coastline! This type of gift will add up to be fairly expensive, but the memories you gain will be worth it.

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And that’s it for the gift guide series – there are so many this year but hopefully this has given you some practical and sustainable ideas for your loved ones!

The Good Green Gift Guide (Part 2)

Now buying things from ethical brands is all well and good, but even more sustainable is making your own gifts. Plus, these types of gifts often require more thought and are more personal than store bought presents.

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I do not consider myself to be artistic in any way! And yet I have made a fair few gifts – many baked goods, a scrapbook a mix CD etc. So I have compiled a few simple, cheap and sustainable gift ideas that you can make yourself!

Photo Letter – I love a good photo gift, but I think they can get a bit same-y (a book, calender or ones in a frame) so I think this is a great alternative. You can buy a 3D letter for around £10 (try ebay) and then it would probably take 1-2 hours to complete the gift. All you need is the letter, glue, (or scotch tape if you prefer), the photos themselves and modge podge. This is great because it could be for anyone – family, friends or a partner!

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Sugar Scrub – You would normally pay a lot of money for a body scrub, but this simple (3 ingredient) recipe does the job just as well! I like that you can personalise the fragrance to whatever you think the recipient would like and the fact that the glass container can be reused after it’s been finished (unlike a lot of store bought scrubs). I think this is a great gift idea for anyone who likes a bit of luxury.

CD – I mentioned that I made one before (for my dad for Father’s Day I believe), so you don’t need to be a computer genius to be able to make one! You could choose to make a playlist of their absolute favourite songs, or include some new ones you think they will like. Once you’ve decided the songs you just have to burn it to a disc (or if they are far away and you’re not going to see them, just send them the playlist!). This is a really personal gift so choose the songs ad decorate it from the heart.

Hot Chocolate Melts – these seem to be everywhere at the moment, and I think they’re a great idea! To make them you just need chocolate, mini cupcake cases and decorations. Remember, if you use marshmallows they will not be vegetarian as they contain gelatin. You can make these in batches so you can give one to each family member/friend.

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Vegan) – this recipe looks pretty simple (once you convert the American Cups into grams) and I love the optional cinnamon addition – that just tastes of Christmas to me! The ingredients are simple and if you don’t have the vegan margarine/milk/chocolate chips then you can use ones you already have at home. If you put these in a glass jar with a cute bow, you have a gift that everyone will love!

I  hope you enjoyed this – there’s still one more part to come so keep an eye out for that!