20 Good Things That Happened in 2020

 I know what you're thinking: '20 Good Things That Happened in 2020' sounds like an unlikely choice of title  - after all, this year hasn't exactly been synonymous with positivity. In fact, there has arguably not been any other year in history so notorious for producing disastrous event after disastrous event (doesn't it feel like a lifetime ago that the Australian wildfires shocked the world into a frenzy of climate anxiety?). But, that's not we're here to talk about today. Just as much as this year has seen the world and its people divided, it has also witnessed many events of unity and positivity.

So, before we wave a final goodbye to this year, let's take a moment to remind ourselves of 20 wonderful things that happened in 2020.


1. BLM Protests.

Credit: AFP via Getty Images


2. Goodbye Trump, Hello Biden.

Photograph: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images



3. Appreciation of the NHS (and other key workers).

Photographed by Jamie Hawkesworth


4. Kamala Harris as the first female, first Black and first South Asian US Vice president.

Photograph: Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters



5. 
A Moment for nature recovery.

Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP Photo


6. Carbon dioxide emissions declined (partly due to lockdown, partly due to the cost of renewable energy sources declining quicker than experts predicted).

Photograph: David C Tomlinson/Getty Images


7. The U.S to join the Paris Climate agreement (marking an end to Trump's damaging climate change denial).

Photograph: David C Tomlinson/Getty Images


8. A newfound appreciation for nature and desire for a sustainable future (thanks to lockdown walks and - obviously - Sir David Attenborough's emotional and thought-provoking 'A life on our planet').



10. The approval of the Coronavirus Vaccine. And hope for the future.

 Illustration: James Melaugh/The Observer


11. More Free time to practice self-care.

Image credit: selflovecircle.co.uk/

12. And Time for self-reflection (what has this year taught me? which lessons should I take with me into 2021? What made me happiest this year?) 

Source: healthline.com


13. A surge in at-home Fitness.



14. Connecting with loved ones (and learning to appreciate the time we have with them).

(Kay Scanlon / Los Angeles Times; Getty Images)


15. New music releases really brightened up our isolation - Dua Lipa, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber and many more released albums in 2020.



16. Some 10/10 Entertainment (a particular shoutout to Selling Sunset, Outer Banks and, of course, Tik Tok).







17. Marcus Rashford's Campaign for Free School Meals, encouraging government U-turn.



18. Africa was declared free of wild polio after four years without a reported case.

GETTY IMAGES


19. Restaurants shared their secret recipes so that we could have a go at home.

GETTY IMAGES



20. Drive-in cinemas made a comeback. 


GETTY IMAGES


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How To Throw The perfect Christmas Zoom Party

I bring good news: Christmas is not 'cancelled' (even if the U.K has understandably come to that conclusion after tuning into the government's announcement earlier this evening). Christmas still remains, and this year, we get to experience it virtually with our family and friends on Zoom. Yes, Christmas for the majority of us this year will indisputably look different. However, who's to say that different has to be bad? With a little effort, preparation and - most certainly - some holiday spirit, we can experience Christmas as we know and love it. 

To throw a virtual Christmas party for the history books, just implement these six, simple steps.

Image credit: Shutterstock / ST.art


Dress code: strictly festive

No Christmas party would be complete without its guests wearing an array of outfits that look as if Santa himself has thrown up on them. Throw on your cheesiest Christmas jumper, dig out your glitziest dress, or stay all day in your festive loungewear. However, ensure one rule's clear: no grinches are allowed (yes, the host will kick you out).


Decorate your room

Whether you plan on hosting your Christmas Zoom party in your kitchen, dining room or living room, deck out the room in fairy lights and tinsel. Decorate your tablespace with festive candles (different heights add extra warmth and atmosphere) and festive tablecloths for the most aesthetically pleasing virtual party going.


Plan a virtual Secret Santa

Head over to a random name generator, and order a present online to be delivered to your secret Santa's address. To get all your friends and family involved, unbox your presents at the same time and share your guesses!


Watch your favourite Christmas film 

Just because you can't be together in person, there's no reason why you can't have a virtual movie night and keep everyone on Zoom whilst you watch. Whether it's your Christmas tradition to sit down and watch a cheesy Christmas rom-com or to snuggle up by the fire and watch a nostalgic favourite like The Snowman, let's do it with the company of our loved-ones on Zoom.


Organize a competitive activity

There's nothing like a competitive activity to bring the family together at Christmas time. How about buying some ingredients in advance and hosting a timed Christmas bakeoff? Perhaps organize a game of 'Name that Holiday tune' or 'Never Have I Ever: Christmas Edition'. Or for the braver of you, karaoke could call for some great Christmas Day entertainment.


Christmas Zoom quiz

Why not embrace this year's festivities in true 2020 style, with a Christmas themed Zoom Quiz? Browse the internet for your quiz of choice, get the pen and paper at the ready and prepare to engage yourself and your family in an hour of virtual fun. Plus, with cameras everywhere, cheating is less likely to go unnoticed!

Will you be hosting a Christmas Party online this year? If so, let me know your plans for it in the comments!



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The Problem with Greenwashing

 Companies have a history of spending more money advertising their products as 'green' than on actually implementing sustainable materials and ethical practices into making them. This is called greenwashing, and it's a problem.

Source: Eluxemagazine.com


Why? Because consumers are tricked by misleading information and vague terms into thinking that they are making a conscious purchase. We see greenwashing everywhere as businesses know that being green sells (research shows that 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for a product if they know it comes from a sustainable brand), however, it is not often reported.

Greenwashing can also be executed more subtly - making it harder to be called out for. For instance, you may see products in earthy tones (e.g green and brown) or with pictures of nature on them, and come to the conclusion that they are natural and sustainable.

How to avoid greenwashing?

  • Trust your intuition: If you’re questioning if a product claim is ‘too good to be true’, or seems unbelievable, steer clear for the time being and do research into the credentials.
  • Research: Invest time in doing your homework on certain products and their manufacturer. Dig deep and you'll find every statistic you could need to assess a company's carbon footprint and ingredients. Note: if you're struggling to find a lot of information easily, what you're looking for probably isn't sustainable (if it was, the company would be more eager to display their sustainability efforts with customers).
  • Be selective: Get to know and create a list of individual retailers that you know you can trust.

Checking Legitimacy

If a product is marketed as sustainable, then this is relatively easy to confirm and fact check yourself. Just lookout for the following:

  • Packaging: Less packaging and no plastics.
  • Materials: recycled/renewable materials e.g. fast-growing bamboo.
  • Longevity: designed to last, be reused, or recycled.
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Is there such thing as a Sustainable Influencer?

 

Elle.com/getty images

With the climate crisis progressing, it's no wonder why influencers today are opting to go down the eco-conscious and sustainability route. However, can a 'sustainable influencer' really exist? Or is the term just paradoxical? Can the two contradictory words go hand in hand together?

Short answer: it depends.

Firstly, it's dependent on what we mean by the very term influencer; there's the Oxford dictionary definition with regards to marketing - 'a person with the ability to influence potential buyers of a product or service by promoting or recommending the items on social media' - or there's the broader sense of the word (simply a person that influences another). Let's say we mean the first use of the term 'influencer' (which is perhaps the most used with regards to social media). If the influencer is advertising countless products, regardless of how ethical and sustainable the products being promoted may be, the very process of advertising feeds into consumerist culture - which, of course, contradicts the ethics behind sustainable living. However, if an influencer is recommending sustainable alternatives to less sustainable products that you already use, this is a positive thing as you would be buying that product anyway (the only difference is that you're saving on harmful materials). In this sense, with sustainable product promotion and advocating a clear message of avoiding unnecessary extra consumption, sustainable influencing works and delivers a positive environmental impact.

Here are some sustainability influencers and Instagram platforms (with a positive impact!) to follow:

@impactforgood




@climatecrisis.eco





@going.zero.waste



@myjourneytosustainabilty



@thezerowasteguide



@brightly.eco




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6 Sustainable Swaps For A More Eco Kitchen.

There are lots of minor lifestyle tweaks that we can make to relieve pressure on the planet, like switching to a reusable water bottle or discarding your plastic toothbrush and replacing it with  a biodegradable one. Swapping disposable kitchen products for their sustainable alternatives is a great way to encourage a more carbon-neutral planet and help mitigate the staggering rates of climate change and plastic pollution. Here are some of my recommendations:


Swap clingfilm and tinfoil for:



 Reusable beeswax wraps



More than 1.2 billion metres (745,000 miles) of cling film is used by British household every year – enough to cover the circumference of the world over 30 times.


www.beeswaxwraps.co.uk


Beeswaxwraps offer wraps in myriad sizes and wonderful designs. Yes, that's right - this clingfilm alternative doesn't just help to save the planet, but it looks cute whilst doing so!

You can also find wax wraps on the following sites:

www.wearthlondon.com (vegan wax wraps with carbon-neutral delivery)





Reusable food huggers



www.wearthlondon.com



These Silicone food huggers from Wearth London are the perfect non-plastic alternative to clingfilm or tinfoil; they provide a seal to preserve your leftover food (e.g avocado) and keep them fresher for longer.



Swap disposable, plastic sandwich bags for:




Reusable Sandwich Bags





www.wearthlondon.com


Waterproof and linen lined Reusable Sandwich wraps are ideal for on the go lunches - the perfect swap to replace disposable sandwich bags or clingfilm.


Vegan wax wraps or reusable beeswax wraps (as previously mentioned) of a larger size are also suitable to use as sandwich wraps.




Swap kitchen roll for:



UnPaper towels




//www.wearthlondon.com


Washable Unpaper towels are one of the most ethical swaps that you can make in your kitchen: they not only work better than disposable paper towels, they also don't carry the added guilt that comes with being disposable.

 

You can also find Unpapaer towels here:


www.peacewiththewild



Swap disposable dish brushes for:



Bamboo dish brushes



www.wearthlondon.com

This bamboo dish brush from Wearth London consists of a replaceable head, bamboo handle and biodegradable, plant-based bristles. Think it can't get any better? With every order, Every Green Island plants one tree!




Swap plastic straws for:


Reusable bamboo straws



newlivingstore.co.uk


500,000,000 plastic straws are used in the U.S alone each day, and I'm sure I don't need to inform you where the majority of them end up...


If straws are a must-have item in your kitchen, make the switch to sustainable bamboo reusable straws.




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Autumn Skincare Routine For Clear Glowing Skin

With cold weather, brisk winds and low humidity, it's no wonder that the autumn and winter months take a toll on our skin. Combine that sudden dehydration with maskne, and you'll find your skin desiring a more tailored routine. Below I've crafted the perfect Dermalogica Autumn skincare routine, with a central focus on vitamin C and breakout clearing ingredients to help bring back that summer glow whilst protecting your skin from maskne and environmental stresses.



                               





Precleanse - (Melts away everything, I mean everything... makeup, oil, residual products,  sunscreen, environmental pollutants. Precleanse has you covered)



"Deep-cleansing oil melts make-up and impurities from skin. Achieve ultra clean and healthy-looking skin with the Double Cleanse regimen that begins with PreCleanse. Thoroughly melt away layers of excess sebum (oil), sunscreen, waterproof make-up, environmental pollutants and residual products that build up on skin throughout the day. Ideal even for oily skin conditions."

Clear Start Foaming cleanser - (Double cleansing is essential - why not protect your skin from future maskne breakouts whilst you're at it?)

"Deep cleans and purifies skin. Use daily, a.m. + p.m. This breakout-fighting, foaming wash clears away dead skin cells, dirt and excess oils that clog pores and cause breakouts. Use on your face, back, neck...wherever skin requires deep cleaning and pore clearing for fewer breakouts."

Daily Microfoliant - (Gentle and efficacious)


"Achieve brighter, smoother skin every day with this iconic exfoliating powder. Rice-based powder activates upon contact with water, releasing Papain, Salicylic Acid and Rice Enzymes to polish skin to perfection. A Skin Brightening Complex of Phytic Acid from Rice Bran, White Tea and Licorice helps balance uneven skin tone while a super-soothing blend of Colloidal Oatmeal and Allantoin helps calm skin. Gentle enough for daily use."


Skin Smoothing cream - (say hello to seroiusly long lasting hydration)


"Next-generation moisturiser with Active HydraMesh Technology™ infuses skin with 48 hours of continuous hydration and helps protect against environmental stress. This best-selling moisturiser features a state-of-the-art complex that works on a molecular level to help reduce Trans-Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) and infuse skin with 48 hours of vital moisture. This advanced technology also helps shield skin’s natural microbiome from environmental stress. A dynamic Hyaluronic Acid Complex with Mallow, Cucumber and Arnica distributes hydration throughout the skin, helping to lock in moisture for lasting hydration. Also formulated with naturally-antioxidant Grape Seed Extract, Vitamin C and Vitamin E."

Biolumin C Serum - (if you're serious about the glow, this is for you!)

"Next-generation moisturiser with Active HydraMesh Technology™ infuses skin with 48 hours of continuous hydration and helps protect against environmental stress. This best-selling moisturiser features a state-of-the-art complex that works on a molecular level to help reduce Trans-Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) and infuse skin with 48 hours of vital moisture. This advanced technology also helps shield skin’s natural microbiome from environmental stress. A dynamic Hyaluronic Acid Complex with Mallow, Cucumber and Arnica distributes hydration throughout the skin, helping to lock in moisture for lasting hydration. Also formulated with naturally-antioxidant Grape Seed Extract, Vitamin C and Vitamin E."


Biolumin C eye Serum - (Biolumin C Serum's partner in crime)

"Supercharged Vitamin C eye serum outsmarts visible premature skin ageing caused by daily eye movements and environmental stress. Lightweight serum delivers a highly-bioavailable Vitamin C complex to the skin around the eyes to dramatically brighten and visibly firm."

Sleep Sound Cocoon - (For P.M routine - love, love, love this stuff!)

"Revitalising treatment gel-cream transforms skin overnight by optimising night-time skin recovery. Encapsulated, motion-activated French Lavender essential oil, along with calming Sandalwood and Patchouli, soothe the senses with aromatherapy to help promote deep, restful sleep for healthier-looking skin. Persian Silk Tree Extract reduces signs of skin fatigue and restores vitality while Wu-Zhu-Yu Extract provides visibly radiant skin by morning. Tamarind Seed Polysaccharide cushions skin, creating a nourishing cocoon of comfort for softer, more hydrated skin."


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Sustainable Christmas Gift Guide: Budget Friendly

Struggling to find a Christmas gift for your loved one that's not only stylish but sustainable and affordable? Well, today you're in luck! In this sustainable Christmas gift guide, I've compiled my top picks for the perfect gift in a budget-friendly price range.



£0 - £10



Chocolate and Orange Soap Bar - 5.99


Candle, soap & sweets Gift Set - £6



Mesh Produce Bags (set of 3) - £3


Dark Milk Chocolate - £4.99




Calming Lavender Bath Tea - £9.49


















Botanical Bath Bomb Set - £21.99 


                                        





£25 - £30



Coconut Lane Biodegradable Phonecase - £30 (£24 with 20% off code - lilyloves20)
















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