Want to live more sustainably? Here's your A-Z guide

Becoming an eco-warrior is as easy as ABC...

Avoid single-use plastic

And, where possible, avoid plastic altogether (you'd be surprised at how much '100% recyclable' plastic doesn't end up fulfilling its optimistic fate). As a replacement for single-use plastic, try to purchase items in biodegradable packaging or, ideally, with no packaging at all. However, don't beat yourself up if you can't avoid plastic in every situation. Remember: it's impossible to be perfect in a world dominated by industries that aren't yet willing to mirror the public's desire for progress.



Bamboo is your best friend

If Bamboo had a middle name, I'd put all my money on it being 'sustainable'. If you're considering making some plastic-free product swaps then say hello to bamboo - the perfect material for toothbrushes, dish brushes and much more. Growing 1-4 inches per day, bamboo is about as renewable as it gets.


Source: www.gardeningknowhow.com


Cow's milk alternatives

Plant-based milk has a lighter environmental impact than dairy in terms of land and water use, as well as greenhouse emissions (cow's milk is aproximately 3x more emissions-intensive than plant-based varieties of milk). Fortunately, there are a plethora of excellent substitutes for regular cow's milk, available in pretty much every supermarket.

The two most popular and versatile cow's milk alternatives:

  •  Oat milk (my personal favourite - great for cooking and baking)
  • almond milk (most common nut milk, a slight marzipan flavour but an overall neutral flavour)
For more on alternatives to cow's milk, check out the 16 best milk alternatives.

Image source: shutterstock.com/Julia Metkalova


Ditch fast fashion

The fast fashion industry is probably more synonymous with climate change and ethical issues than any other industry. The very word 'fast' mirrors the willingness of these retailers to flippantly discard materials; their chief objective is to continuously churn out cheaply manufactured clothing in order to keep up with weekly fashion trends. Ditching fast fashion is possibly one of the best decisions that you can make for the environment, and - thanks to the abundance of affordable second hand and vintage retailers - it's a decision that also doesn't entail that your future fashion purchases have to come at a high economic cost.

Source: pixelpool.com


Efficiency is key

Aside from the more costly green energy schemes, there are many low-cost investments that can improve the efficiency of your home and, in turn, improve the sustainability of your household. This can simply be done by switching to LED light bulbs, conserving water by turning the tap off when brushing your teeth, installing a water-saving showerhead, washing only at full load and buying more energy-efficient appliances. 

source: greentechmedia.com


Follow 'sustainability' bloggers and social platforms

This guide will give you a basic outline of the steps you should consider in order to live more sustainably. However, for more in-depth information on environmentalism and for a regular supply of innovative sustainability tips, there are myriad sustainability bloggers and pages on social media to follow. 

Check out:The top 'eco' influencers and bloggers we should be following

Source:econsultancy.com


Gardening

What better time than spring to throw on your gardening gloves and get digging. With the average mature tree absorbing around 48 pounds of carbon each year, we could all do with spreading a little bit more greenery around.

source:www.gardengatemagazine.com


How about a plant-based diet?

Going plant-based is arguably one of the best things that you can do for the planet. This doesn't have to mean cutting out meat from your diet altogether, but perhaps limiting your consumption of it to once a week. 

Why is the agricultural industry contributing towards climate change? Why go plant based? Check out: 10 reasons to go plant based



Invest in eco-friendly technology

How about investing in eco friendly technology? I'm talking green energy (e.g renewable electricity), electric cars and even solar-powered phone chargers. None of this is cheap, but if you're in the financial situation to afford more eco-friendly tecnhnology, it is worth considering.

source: blueandgreentomorrow.com


Join a local environmental club or discussion page

Maybe your town or city has a local 'clean up' project or perhaps a discussion forum on Facebook? Do some research and see if there's anything you can do for your local community. If there are not currently any environmental groups in your local neighbourhood, why not create one? Alternatively, there are more generic ways that you can get virtually involved in environmental discussions and discover new sustainability tips (Brightly, available on the App Store, is a great example of this).

source:opensecrets.org


Keep an eye out for greenwashing

When making a conscious effort to live more sustainably, it can be easy to fall into the trap of greenwashing (where companies project vague and misleading information or design their packaging in earthy hues to paint a greener picture). For more information on the problem of greenwashing and how to avoid it, you can check out my blog post on it here.

source: flymalaysia.org


Less is more

As a general rule, buying less and cutting out unnecessary purchases is good; conscious consumption is paramount for a sustainable lifestyle. This isn't to say that you should go full-on Marie Kondo and discard everything that's not sparking joy, but instead to reflect on how much you want or need something and whether this justifies its environmental impact.

source:inc.com


Make product swaps 

If you haven't previously paid much attention to whether the items you use most often throughout your daily life are sustainable, then now is the perfect time to question 'is it reusable?' when deciding whether to buy a product. When I say products that are not reusable, I am typically referring to commonly disposable things: face wipes, plastic toothbrushes, plastic bottles and straws, etc.

Fortunately in this eco-age, there's a generous choice of sustainable products beginning to emerge onto the marke to challenge some of the less planet-friendly alternatives that currently dominate shop shelves. 

source:goodhousekeeping.com


No to silence

Disappointed in the efforts towards sustainability that your local council or supermarket is currently making? Use your voice. Reach out by sending an email or letter to outline the issues you've identified and suggest methods that they could take to improve them. Nothing could result from it, but then again, so might everything.

Source: blog.knudge.me


Order from local businesses 

The reduction in waste and product miles is at the heart of local businesses. They also tend to use more locally input materials which are often sustainable and renewable. Offering more support to local businesses is undoubtedly a step in the right direction with regards to sustainability. Besides, in these times, local businesses need our help more than ever. 

source:wordstream.com


Pack light when flying

When the travel industry springs back to life and our passports have finished gathering dust, the message for sustainable travel is simple: pack light. The more luggage you bring means the more fuel that the aircraft requires, therefore, the most sustainable way to fly is to pack light. Plus, how often do you end up wearing that 'what about if I suddenly get invited to a movie premier?' outfit anyway?

source: tortugabackpacks.com


Quarantine

For those of us that are still in lockdown, now is a great time to read up on sustainability, climate change and the environment. In 2021, we are spoilt for choice with books, articles, podcasts, films and documentaries surrounding the topic of sustainability, and there are even a number of free and paid courses that you can register for if you'd like to learn about a specific area of sustainability (e.g fashion or sustainable management).

For more on how you can devote time to learning about sustainability in quarantine, check out this post.

source: connexionfrance.com


Recycle 

You've heard of the three r's: reduce, reuse and recycle. So far in this guide, we've covered 'reduce' and 'reuse' with the ideas of conscious consumption and switching to renewables, but what about recycling? Well, I'd suggest giving the recycling guide for your local council a  read since, although rules generally remain the same, the district that you live in could have varying recycling rules to elsewhere. 

For extra information, visit: 7 tips to recycle better

Source: Getty Images


Shop for local and seasonal produce

Cutting down on food miles is key for a more sustainable future. To achieve this, we should aim to buy more locally sourced produce that hasn't been on a tour of all seven continents just to make it on our plate.  Additionally, ensuring that the produce we are choosing to buy is in season is equally important; it takes vast amount of energy and resources to create the conditions needed for out of season produce to grow. Unfortunately, in some cities, it can be a challenging task to find locally sourced and seaonal food, so it is worth doing a little bit more research into how you might be able to achieve this.

For extra info, visit: How to eat more seasonal and local food

source: ebootwithjoe.com


Try meal prepping

Meal prepping is a great sustainable lifestyle tip if you often gravitate for meal deals or shop-bought lunches when on the go. Meal prepping puts emphasis on preparing homemade meals in advance, and in bulk. Meal prepping is a great solution if time is an obstacle in allowing you to consume home-cooked, nutritional meals and it also prevents unnecessary packaging being wasted. 

sources:goofhousekeeping.com


Use natural cleaning products

One thing we've all been using a lot of this past year (and hopefully also before!) is soap. The soap and body wash market has seen a 194% growth in sales amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The problem, however, is that the majority of soaps, detergents and cleaning products come armoured in single-use plastic packaging, and so the question of how we can keep clean whilst conforming to our environmental morals naturally arises. The answer is simple: plastic-free cleaning products. To make a start, you can find a selection of eco-friendly dishwashing soaps, dish brushes, cleaning chemicals and dishwasher tablets on Friendly Turtle, and browse through the incredible scents of The Washclub's handmade and plastic-free soaps and shampoo bars.

Veganism

Going vegan can be a major lifestyle swap, especially if you're not already vegetarian. Therefore, veganism is definitely something that, if you choose to pursue, you should do a significant amount of research on to ensure that you are getting all of the sufficient nutrients your body needs (something that veganism is entirely capable of achieving, but may require more careful meal planning and preparation in doing so). For a comprehensive guide on veganism, check out this link.

source: theconversation.com


Walk more

Of course, there will inevitably be some places too far away to walk to, however, if you find yourself regularly opting for your car in situations where it isn't needed then consider only using your car/public transport for destinations that are outside of walking distance.

source:www.self.com


X...  turns out that finding a relevant link to sustainability that begins with  'x' is harder than I initially 'x'pected.

Yoga

How does yoga relate to sustainability, you ask? At the beginning of your transition into a more sustainable lifestyle, you may find yourself vulnerable to caving into retail therapy compulsions. Yoga is a great remedy for this - reminding you of what values are really important in life (which hopefully includes the health and happiness of yourself and the planet you live on over the new Spring 2020 Zara collection). Furthermore, in an age where we are seeing the devastating effects of climate change more than ever before, yoga can act as a calming retreat from those dealing with eco-anxiety.

source: nytimes.com


Zen

Hopefully, you are feeling a little bit more zen after reading this A-Z guide (and maybe from implementing the yoga from the last step!). Feeling a moral duty towards sustainability can certainly be stressful, especially when it feels as though sometimes you are fighting this eco-war alone. However, if there's anything that you take from this guide, it should be that what matters the most (more than whether you can tick off 1 of these ideas or all 25) is that you are making an effort towards living more sustainably. That you should be proud of.

source: Ryanmillar.com



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Turtle Bay At Home

{PR meal - thoughts are all my own!}


Have you been craving the rich flavours of Turtle Bay's fiery jerk chicken and sweet plantain? Missing their legendary cocktails and juicy playlist which transports you to the white, lively beaches of the Caribbean? Perhaps you've been yearning for the buzz of a restaurant on a Friday night to give you the best possible embrace into the weekend? I know I have.


Image Credit: www.fusiondna.co.uk

Image credit: www.fusiondna.co.uk

Image Credit: www.fusiondna.co.uk

However, thanks to Turtle Bay's At Home Menu and Spotify Playlist, you can recreate the classic Turtle Bay social feel and indulge in the warmth and flavours of the Caribbean straight from your sofa. Whether you crave their notorious jerk chicken, aromatic curry, comforting soul food, or, a classic burger with a Jamaican spiced twist - Turtle Bay has you covered. With some impressive vegan options, too (even a devoted meat-eater's head would turn to the vegan curry with fresh aubergine, sweet potato, blistered tomato and coconut cream in Jamaican curry sauce), nobody has to miss out.

What's on the menu?

From jerk and west Indian curries to burgers, soul food and Bay Bundles, Turtle Bay's At Home Menu offers a range of meals to satisfy everyone's cravings. There is also an impressive array of tempting starters and sides available to accompany your meal (in fact, they're all a little too tempting, so if you want some help narrowing down your options I'd recommend the sweet plantain and Caribbean dumplings!). 

What Turtle Bay locations are currently open and what times are they open?

  • Bristol Broad Quay
  • Chelmsford
  • Ealing
  • Nottingham
  • Southampton

Wednesday - Sunday

2pm-10pm

Service, ordering and collection

Ordering from Turtle Bay was simple; I just had to call them (you can find the number of your local branch on their website), place my order and collect from the store at my preferred time. My phone completely shut down midway through ordering and the waiter called me back super promptly  - my first insight into how friendly the customer service is at Turtle Bay. My second insight also came at the expense of my embarrassment; turns out I'm completely incompetent at opening restaurant doors and need personal assistance in doing so (my server was super understanding and possesed a very admirable talent of making people feel like less of an idiot). My unique door-opening incapability aside, the ordering and collection process was easy, the food was packaged tightly and it remained hot during the trip home. 


The Food

I opted for one of the four available 'Bay Bundles' - the Share The Love Bundle for Four - to treat my family on Valentine's day. This bundle costs £50 and includes 4 mains (half jerk chicken, BBQ Babyback Ribs, Trini Chicken Curry and Curry Aubergine), and plenty of sides (2 portions of Coconut Rice & Peas, Spiced Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, Sweet Plantain and Sunshine Salad). 


Left to right: BBQ Babyback Ribs, Trini Chicken Curry and Half Jerk Chicken

Aubergine Curry 



Trini Chicken Curry


BBQ Babyback Ribs


Spiced Fries (I defenitely had way too many of these - so, so good!)


Sides: sweet plantain and sunshine salad


Summarise the food in one sentence? It seriously tasted as good as it looks. My favourite was probably either the Aubergine curry (the perfect combination of flavours and just the right amount of sweetness) or the Trini Chicken Curry (who knew that tangy mango was curried chicken's partner in crime?). I didn't have any of the ribs, but going off my family's verdict, they too were just as delicious - 'tender pork' and 'flavoursome sauce'. 


Overall, I am really impressed with the Turtle Bay 'At Home' experience - the ordering and collection was both quick and simple, and the food was beautifully cooked, spiced and flavoured. If it's the restaurant atmosphere you're craving then, of course, it's not the same as being in the buzz of one of Turtle Bay's restaurants, however, the Turtle Bay Spotify playlist certainly does a good job at making the at-home experience feel as close to the restaurant's iconic Caribbean social feel as possible.


Have you tried anything from Turtle Bay's 'At Home' menu? Let me know in the comments!

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Relax & Unwind: Night Routine for Lockdown

Okay, so there's not much that the world seems to be agreeing on right now. However, this is one sentence that is universally guaranteed to receive an internal nod upon reading: developing routine is absolutely crucial to our daily lives in this 'stay at home' era. For many of us, it seems as if time rolls into one indistinguishable mass of days and weeks. This is why it's important to establish a morning and nighttime routine to allow your day to flow smoothly, but with the distinction and structure necessary to avoid the feeling of not being able to decipher between today and yesterday. Below is everything you could possibly need in a night routine to relax and unwind. I don't do all of these steps religiously each night, but having a flexible range of activities in mind to choose from is great for adapting your routine depending on your mood that night. If a morning version of this is something that you'd like to see follow this post, let me know in the comments - otherwise, enjoy!





My Night  Routine: Favourites

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The Truth Behind Ethical "Slow" Fashion Myths

 2020 wasn't all bad. In the fashion realm, observers witnessed a substantial shift in consumer behaviour. One study by Mckinsey claims that "64% of shoppers decreased their spending on clothing and footwear during the pandemic". Was this partly because lockdown made consumers feel that there was no need for extra fashion purchases since there was nowhere to wear them? Of course. But, that's not where it ends. The recent and increasing exposure to environmental issues surrounding fast-fashion has also altered the way that many consumers view the industry, as well as influencing their personal morals towards fashion, ethics and sustainability; "57% of shoppers agreed that they had made significant changes to their lifestyle to lessen their environmental impact" states McKinsey. However, there are a few myths around 'slow' fashion that are preventing people from making that much-needed leap towards a more sustainable future. 


 

"I HAVE TO SPEND LOADS OF MONEY TO BE SUSTAINABLE"

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Cosy Books To Add To Your 2021 Reading List

 



It’s a cold night. The kettle is boiling. A candle is flickering gently to your side and filling the room with its warm amber hues.

There’s just one thing missing: a cosy book. You know the type. Something that shouts funny, light-hearted, engaging and feel-good. 


Winter - particularly the bleaker January and February months - is my absolute favourite time to indulge in a cosy book. And in 2021, with all the heaviness in the world and on social media, I think that this particular indulgence is something that we could all be doing a lot more of. So, let's grab the blankets and snacks, switch on the fairy lights and discover some incredible novels! 


This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens



Quinn and Minnie are born on New Year's Eve, in the same hospital, one minute apart.

Their lives may begin together, but their worlds couldn't be more different.

Thirty years later they find themselves together again in the same place, at the same time.

What if fate is trying to bring them together?

Maybe it's time to take a chance on love... 



 The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary



Tiffy and Leon share a flat

Tiffy and Leon share a bed

Tiffy and Leon have never met...


Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they're crazy, but it's the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy's at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. 


But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven't met yet, they're about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window...


 The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella



Samantha thrives under pressure. A high-powered London lawyer, all she can concentrate on is taking the next step in her career; eating, sleeping, seeing friends – even taking a breath – will have to wait.

But just when she’s about to get everything she has ever wanted, Samantha makes a mistake. A fifty-million-pound, career-destroying mistake. Unable to face the consequences, she does the unimaginable and runs away…

Catching the first train she can, she finds herself in the countryside, outside a beautiful grand house. Mistaken for another woman, she falls into a new job as the family’s housekeeper.

Disaster ensues. In a blink, her life has shifted from writing briefs to washing them – and she has no idea how to work the washing machine. Let alone the oven. A former master of the takeaway menu, she’s now expected to whip up fine cuisine.

But gradually, she falls in love with her new life in a wholly unexpected way. Will her employers ever discover the truth? Will Samantha's old life ever catch up with her? And if it does...will she want it back?

 


 One Day in December by Josie Silver



Laurie is pretty sure love at first sight doesn't exist. After all, life isn't a scene from the movies, is it? But then, through a misted-up bus window one freezing day, she sees a man she knows instantly is the one. Their eyes meet, there's a moment of pure magic...and then her bus drives away. 

Laurie thinks she'll never see the boy from the bus again. But at a party later that year, her best friend Sarah introduces her to the new love of her life. Who is, of course, the boy from the bus.

Determined to let him go, Laurie gets on with her life. But what if fate has other plans?


My Not So Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella



Katie Brenner has the perfect life: a flat in London, a glamorous job, and a super-cool Instagram feed.

OK, so the truth is that she rents a tiny room with no space for a wardrobe, has a hideous commute to a lowly admin job, and the life she shares on Instagram isn’t really hers. 

But one day her dreams are bound to come true, aren’t they?

Until her not-so-perfect life comes crashing down when her mega-successful boss Demeter gives her the sack. All Katie’s hopes are shattered. She has to move home to Somerset, where she helps her dad with his new glamping business. 

Then Demeter and her family book in for a holiday, and Katie sees her chance. But should she get revenge on the woman who ruined her dreams - or try to get her job back? Does Demeter – the woman who has everything – actually have such an idyllic life herself? Maybe they have more in common than it seems. 


                                                    And what’s wrong with not-so-perfect, anyway?


Ghosts By Dolly Alderton



Nina Dean has arrived at her early thirties as a successful food writer with loving friends and family, plus a new home and neighbourhood. When she meets Max, a beguiling romantic hero who tells her on date one that he's going to marry her, it feels like all is going to plan.

A new relationship couldn't have come at a better time - her thirties have not been the liberating, uncomplicated experience she was sold. Everywhere she turns, she is reminded of time passing and opportunities dwindling. Friendships are fading, ex-boyfriends are moving on and, worse, everyone's moving to the suburbs. There's no solace to be found in her family, with a mum who's caught in a baffling mid-life makeover and a beloved dad who is vanishing in slow-motion into dementia.

Dolly Alderton's debut novel is funny and tender, filled with whip-smart observations about relationships, family, memory, and how we live now.


The Little Café at The End of The Pier






When Jo's beloved grandparents ask for her help in running their little café at the end of the pier in Salthaven-on-Sea she jumps at the chance. 

The café is a hub for many people: the single dad who brings his little boy in on a Saturday morning; the lady who sits alone and stares out to sea; the woman who pops in after her morning run.

Jo soon realises that each of her customers is looking for love - and she knows just the way to find it for them. She goes about setting each of them up on blind dates - each date is held in the café, with a special menu she has designed for the occasion.

But Jo has never found love herself. She always held her grandparents' marriage up as her ideal and she hasn't found anything close to that. But could it be that love is right under her nose...?


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