Why I’m not boycotting palm oil this Christmas or ever.

It’s been awhile!¬† I’m a bad blogger.¬† But today I have felt inspired to share so here I am again.¬† It’s a long one so grab a brew and settle in…

So we’ve all seen the Iceland advert, if you haven’t well done for avoiding social media for the past week! The highly emotive cartoon features a baby Orang-utan whose rainforest home is being destroyed by human activity in order to produce palm oil.   The cartoon was actually produced by Greenpeace, which is the main reason why the Advertising Standards Agency decided to prevent the ad from being shown on TV. The advert dramatically highlights the devastating consequences the palm oil industry is having on wildlife habitats in Indonesia.  Because of this industry a shocking 270,000 hectares of rainforest is cleared annually to support the growing demand for this versatile commodity.

Facts tell stories sell…

Whilst I think we can all agree that this advert does an excellent job of drawing the publics attention to the problems with palm oil production, I‚Äôm going to attempt to assimilate a response that proves that not only is Iceland‚Äôs pledge to remove palm oil from all its own brand products a very tiny drop in a very large ocean, it’s actually extremely counter intuitive. The advert is highly emotive but hugely lacking in actual facts and information.¬†¬† This leaves the viewer feeling upset and outraged but more importantly dangerously misinformed.

Before I explain why, I think its only fair to highlight the other issues that this advert fails to address. We simply cannot talk about deforestation in a meaningful and productive manner without doing so. The real problem here is not palm oil itself (palm oil is actually a very efficient and productive crop but more on this later), but the deforestation that is occurring in order to keep up with consumer demand. Palm oil is not the only commodity responsible for deforestation and it is certainly not the biggest contributor. Not by the long shot. There are only 4 commodities responsible for 99% of continued global deforestation and these are Animal Agriculture (namely cattle ranching), Soybean, Palm Oil and Timber.

Taking the lead in the Deforestation Olympics is by far the animal agriculture industry. In Latin America alone, 2.71 million hectares of tropical forest is cleared each year to make way ranching land for cattle. This is 5 times more than any other commodity in the region.

Unfortunately, cattle ranching land is only half the problem. The western worlds insatiable appetite for cheap meat means that a further 480,000 hectares of rainforest are cleared annually to make way for soy bean plantations. And before we go ahead and blame the vegans for their tofu addiction, only 6% of all soy beans produced globally end up being sold directly for human consumption, 75% will end up as feed for the animal agriculture industry (most soy imported to the UK is fed to chickens and pigs) and the rest as biofuel.

Deforestation for the production of timber products is much more complex, mostly because its difficult to get real figures on actual deforestation versus forest degradation but also because on the whole if done correctly, timber is a renewable commodity. If you want a rough figure, experts say timber production accounts for around 10% of deforestation globally.

So yes, palm oil IS a driver for deforestation but it’s certainly not the main driver, so why would Iceland (and Greenpeace) focus its attention on this commodity and overlook the worst offenders? Let‚Äôs just stick a pin in that for a little while‚Ķ

So why can’t we boycott?

I think it was Kylie Minogue (or was it Sonja?) who put it best. Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t! Ok I’m over simplifying massively here. The truth is boycotting palm oil would merely shift, rather than counter losses to our rainforests caused by palm oil production.

As I said earlier, palm oil plants are extremely efficient at producing oil. Compared to other oil producing plants such as rapeseed or soybeans, palm oil plants yield 4 to 10 times more oil per unit of land AND require far less pesticide and fertiliser. So if we pressure large companies to ditch the palm oil what will they use instead? Soy? As previously mentioned, soy is already a huge contributor to deforestation, a move away from palm to this more land hungry crop would be like cutting off Mother Earth’s nose to spite her lovely green face!

We have to be sensible here. The global demand for palm oil is not going to go away and I hope now you see why you shouldn’t necessarily want it to either. So what‚Äôs the answer? Luckily there are a few.

Consume Less

My favourite! This is literally the only real answer if you want to help stop deforestation. It‚Äôs a simple matter of supply and demand. In general, the more processed your food is, the more likely it is to contain palm oil. Buy fresh whole food. And while you’re at it buy local. In terms of cosmetics, use what you have and get rid of your duplicates. Do you need 4 different moisturiser’s and 3 different shampoos? Didn‚Äôt think so.

Sustainable palm oil

Like I said, palm oil production isn’t going to disappear (certainly not overnight). Not only is this crop highly productive, we have to remember that the palm oil industry provides jobs and security for many families who may otherwise struggle to support themselves. By demanding that the palm oil in our products is certified we can ensure that palm oil is sourced in a sustainable and ethical manner.

Palm oil certification is spearheaded by the Roundtable of Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), who are leading the industry toward environmentally and socially responsible palm oil that doesn’t contribute to deforestation.

Currently only 20% of all palm oil produced is certified. There is very little incentive for producers to adjust their practices and seek certification whilst the discussion remains centred around boycotting the entire industry rather than supporting the use of certified sustainable palm oil.

There are already many large food and cosmetics brands that are investing in RSPO certified palm oil but fail to promote this practice, I suspect that this is because of the persistent negativity surrounding the use of any form of palm oil.

So what WAS the motive behind the Iceland campaign?

Was it to promote themselves as an eco conscious brand leader? Unfortunately the whole thing leaves a bitter taste in my mouth. I fear that Iceland are using our heart-strings in order to position themselves as an innovator in matters of environmental sustainability and ethics when the reality is they are far from it.  A quick browse on their online shop will showcase frozen chicken sourced from Thailand and Ribeye steak from Brazil!  Not to mention the fact they are still working with brands who use unsustainable palm oil in their products.

So my message here?¬† Don’t let your emotions guide you when it comes to complex matters such as the environment and climate change.¬† Do your research.¬† Read labels. Buy less.¬† Buy local.¬† And support brands that care.

If you do want more info on deforestation this is a useful website.

If you want some more info on climate change then look here.

If you made it to here than Thank You for reading.  If you found this at all helpful I would really appreciate a comment or even a share.

Peace x

Easy Peasy Vegan Pad Thai

By popular demand here is my vegan pad thai recipe!¬† I won’t lie, this recipe is an amalgamation of a couple of pad thai recipe’s I found but didn’t quite have the exact ingredients for.¬† One thing I have learnt with cooking is that you can experiment and swap things around most of the time without affecting the end result.¬† So if you don’t have every single vegetable or spice, use something else.¬† Don’t let that shit get in your way of culinary Nirvana!

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INGREDIENTS

  • 200 g / 7 oz wide rice noodles
  • 2 tbsp peanut oil (or other high smoke point oil)
  • 2 spring onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely sliced
  • 1 hot red chilli, finely sliced
  • 2 carrots, shaved into ribbons with a speed peeler
  • a large handful of green beans, cut diagonally
  • ¬Ĺ small broccoli, divided into florets
  • 1 red pepper, finely sliced
  • ¬ľ cup roasted & unsalted peanuts, pounded in a pestle & mortar
  • fresh coriander and wedge of lime, to garnish

For the sauce…

  • 3 vegan tamari sauce (or more soy sauce)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut sugar (or another sweetener, not white sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon seracha sauce

METHOD

  • Prepare rice noodles according to the instructions on the packet, don’t cook them fully as you‚Äôll give them another minute or two in the wok at the end.¬† When done, rinse the noodles under cold water and set aside.
TOP TIP… Your noodles will clump together as they cool, do not fear. When you mix them into the sauce at the end they’ll be grand.
 
  • Mix all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl.
  • Heat up a wok or a large frying pan. Pour 1 tbsp of oil and heat it up until almost smoking. Add spring onions, garlic and chilli.¬†¬†Stir-fry (stirring constantly) until spring onions soften and garlic becomes fragrant, try not to let it burn!¬† Transfer to a separate plate, leaving as much oil in the wok as you can.
  • Heat up another tablespoon of oil in the same wok ‚Äď no need to wash it. Start adding prepared veggies in the following order (leaving a couple of minutes between each addition): broccoli, peas, red pepper and carrot ribbons. Stir-fry until cooked yet crunchy.
  • Transfer all vegetables to a big plate and pour the sauce back into the wok, add in noodles when the sauce begins to heat up.
  • Add spring onions, chilli, garlic and stir-fried veg back to the wok. Mix everything well and let it warm up, stirring the whole time, for a minute or two.
And done!¬† Just like that!¬† You’d swear I was trained in this stuff…¬† If you’re feeling super fancy sprinkle the coriander and crushed peanuts on top and serve with a wedge of lime on the side.
I’d love to see your creations so tag me or use the hashtag #lyndseystripped so I can feel like a proud Mother Hen.
Peace.

Winter ’17 Capsule

As promised this is a (very late) post about my Winter 2017 capsule wardrobe.¬† I’ve explained how a fluid capsule wardrobe works in earlier posts, if you need a more in-depth explanation or you’re thinking about starting your own, check out my “How to” post here.

So the beginning of December marks three months since I started a capsule wardrobe, it also marks three months since I have purchased any new item of clothing.¬† If you know me you will know how much an achievement this is.¬† I had a little cheat moment in Morocco because I found a lovely second-hand t-shirt that I couldn’t resist.¬† I don’t feel too bad though as second-hand shopping is the most sustainable and environmentally friendly way to shop!

Three months mean new season therefore new seasonal capsule, yay!¬† The main difference between my Autumn capsule and my Winter capsule is the addition of some extra knit wear and some proper winter coats.¬† Oh and hats, lots of wooly hats.¬† I’m starting to realise I have a small obsession with outer wear.¬† I probably have way too many coats but I think they have the ability to really make or break an outfit.

“Bright, offensively bright, neon, pink.”

 

I really enjoyed using my seasonal pieces to add some colour to my wardrobe during Autumn so this month I’m taking the opportunity to do the same.¬† Traditionally, my winter clothing has been quite dull and muted, saving brighter more vibrant shades for the summer months.¬† Not this year!¬† Thanks to a pre capsule fast fashion piece I stored away earlier this year, this season is all about pink.¬† In your face, offensively bright, neon, pink.

 

Pintrest has been great for seeking some additional inspiration, more specifically helping me incorporate such a bright colour into a fairly monochrome capsule whilst retaining some of the Autumn colour palette.¬† I’ve also been using Polyvore to create my own capsule wardrobe mood board.¬† This site is really helpful and quite addictive.¬† Its been great for testing outfit ideas without taking all my clothing out and making a mess!

 

Give me all the coats.

My dad found this coat in an old shed on the farm a good few years back.¬† He assumed it was mine and held on to it while I was away at uni.¬† The pockets were filled with straw and it smelled like a cow shed.¬† A really old dusty cow shed.¬† When I arrived back home he gave it to me and as you can imagine I was less than thrilled, but then I tried it on.¬† It was too big by standard measures but there was just something about it.¬† I love the way it hangs, the pockets are huge and I can really pile on the layers underneath without looking too bulky.¬† I love this coat because it’s so damn versatile.¬† As its wax-coated its waterproof, meaning I can chuck it on and run around in the mud with the dogs or I can pair it with a sequin¬†top and some heels to¬†brave a cold winters¬†night on the town.¬† It gives my outfits that understated look I really like.¬† You’ll be pleased to hear the dusty old cow shed smell has gone.

 

Knitwear.

I know pink isn’t the first colour you think of when you think about Winter but it works so well paired with some of my neutral pieces from my basic capsule and my camel scarf from last season.¬† This jumper is from Zara so I’m certainly not advocating you go out and buy it but I don’t believe in throwing it just because it no longer fits in with my ideas relating to ethical fashion.¬† After all this is about sustainability, for me appreciating what you already own is a priority.¬† Most fast fashion pieces will survive well past their perceived validity so I’m going to try to make this piece work for me for as long as possible.¬† Did I mention it was pink?

The trusty olive-green jumper is staying put this season too.¬† I’m not convinced it fits with the colour palette 100% but I’m reluctant to store it as I’m running low on knitwear that is warm enough for the UK climate.¬† It goes nicely with my camel scarf and the rest of my basic capsule so I’ve told myself if I keep it this year I get to purchase a beautiful ethically made alternative next year.

Additional basics.

“Am I fooling myself that this works?”

Ok I lied.¬† I bought a hat.¬† A very small, very ethical and very lovely wooly hat.¬† It’s from a lovely ethical fashion brand called People Tree.¬† They’re actually a very well-known brand and in my mind the pioneers of ethical and sustainable fashion.¬† Their eco credentials are outstanding and the quality of their pieces is undeniable.¬† Their website gives you loads of information about where and how each individual piece was made.¬† My hat was made by KTS, an educational and vocational training centre based in Kathmandu, Nepal. KTS employs over 2,000 artisans, mostly women who work part-time so they are able to look after their children.

Please, if you’re in the market for a new item for your wardrobe take a look at these guys before hitting the high street.

To keep up the pink theme I’ve added a neon pink cami for extra layering.¬† Again, it’s a fast fashion piece but works nicely under some of my basic pieces.¬† I’ve also added this Whistles berry bretton stripe and this handmade berry silk t-shirt.¬† What do you think of the neon pink/berry colour combo?¬† Am I fooling myself that this works?

Footwear.

Beige boots and Dr. Martins stay.¬† I’ve stored my leopard print ballet pumps and white converse away until the spring.¬† I haven’t used the ballet pumps as much as I would have liked.¬† I think mainly because they’re just not comfortable, proving that no matter how pretty something is, comfort is King.¬† Well for me anyway.

I’d love to see your Winter 2017 capsule wardrobe ideas, and your thoughts on my slightly bizarre Winter colour pallete!¬† Link me up in the comments below.

Peace.

3 Plastic Free Make Up Brands

I think advocating a sustainable lifestyle is all about the ripple effect.¬† If I harp on about it enough then something I say will strike a chord with someone.¬† Then they might start harping on about that.¬† And something THEY say might strike a chord with someone else.¬† Then they might start harping on about that.¬† And something… I jest!¬† You get where I’m going here. So I’m currently very happy to say my ripple has started to turn into a very small wave.¬† Lots of my friends and family are asking me more and more questions about how they can make sustainability part of their lives.¬† Go team!

My lovely cousin Louise recently asked me about make up brands that offer plastic-free or minimal plastic packaging.¬† This is something I have looked into in the past but decided that more research was needed before dedicating a whole post to the topic.¬† ¬†But now I have the fear that poor Lou will reluctantly spend her hard-earned mula on yet more plastic packaged, chemical ridden make up before I get the chance to do the research.¬† So without further a do, here’s my top 3 plastic free make up brands.

ZAO Organic

ZAO Organic looks and feels like your “standard” high-end high street make up brand.¬† From what I have read, the Bamboo that features heavily in their formulations and packaging is harvested from China in a “controlled fashion”.¬† Although I can’t seem to find any information on the sustainability of the bamboo they use, they do mention that the farming practices don’t pose a threat to the habitats or food availability of the Giant Panda so for this, they get my approval.¬† Despite the Bamboo ambiguity, ZAO certainly pack a sustainable punch.¬† Their products are cruelty free, vegan and 100% certified organic.¬† Some products are even gluten-free.¬† Hands up who knew that gluten in make up was a thing?

As I mentioned, a lot of the outer packaging is made from bamboo and many items are refillable so you only need to buy the bamboo packaging once.¬† Unfortunately a lot of the refills do come packaged in plastic.¬† The website states that this is required in order for the product to be certified organic.¬† After researching other brands offering refills I’m not 100% convinced this is entirely true.

 

With a lipstick costing only ¬£17.75 (refills ¬£12.75) ZAO give our trusty high street brands a run for their money.¬† Are they 100% plastic free?¬† No.¬† But they’re lots of other great things and if you’re on a budget I don’t think you’ll get much better.

Kjaer Weis

Drawing inspiration from her childhood (Kristen Kjaer Weis grew up on an organic farm in Denmark), sustainability is at the heart of this brand.¬† Using only plant-based ingredients, almost all of the products have been Certified Natural or Certified Organic.¬† And yes, all that is really great but, what I love about this brand is the packaging and refill system.¬† Even their mascara is refillable.¬† Something I haven’t found in other refill systems.¬† Packaged in metal casing, these products are the epitome of sustainability and luxury.¬† The refills are wrapped in paper.¬† Yes,¬†Kjear Weis is a (very nearly) plastic free zone!

The brand itself is in NYC so I can’t find you a shop here in the UK but fear not, you can purchase most of their items online at Naturisimo.com.

Kjaer Weis isn’t the cheapest.¬† I guess that’s what happens when you avoid nasty plastics and harsh chemicals.¬† A lipstick will set you back ¬£51.¬† Yes, its expensive when you compare it to the likes of Mac.¬† However the refills are ¬£29 making them slightly more competitive depending on the brands you currently enjoy.¬† I guess it comes down to priorities and budget.¬† I would certainly consider this brand, I like their ethos and the quality is unquestionable.

Elate Clean Cosmetics

Last but no means least is Elate Clean Cosmetics.¬† I really didn’t want to include this brand in my top 3.¬† Believe me it’s not because I don’t think their products are exactly what I’m looking for when it comes to package free make up.¬† It’s because they’re Canadian.¬† More specifically they are based only in Canada.¬† And no I don’t hate Canadians, I love Canadians.¬† But, anything you order from their web shop must be shipped across the Atlantic.¬† Not really the best way to reduce your carbon footprint is it?¬† Having said all that, I just can’t write my top 3 without them.

So what’s so great about these products that makes me even consider Transatlantic shipping just to get them?¬† In a nutshell pretty much everything.¬† The Founder is Canadian so she’s obviously a really nice person.¬† The brand is all about the Fem.¬† Elate wants to empower women and encourage them to embrace their natural beauty using natural product’s that enhance, not conceal.¬† See you like them already don’t you?

“Their bamboo sourcing is pretty transparent”

Of course, the products are naturally plant-based, vegan, cruelty free, organic (only 90% but we’ll let them off) and most importantly, the packaging.¬† Oh the packaging.¬† Each product is packaged exactly as you see on their website.¬† No additional plastic or cardboard boxes in sight.¬† The pressed powders come in seed paper which is basically paper with seeds embedded in it that grow into flowers when planted.¬† How bloody cute!¬† They sell wooden and bamboo palette’s that you can store your pressed powders in and the lipsticks, mascaras, concealers etc come in bamboo casing.¬† Unlike ZAO, their bamboo sourcing is pretty transparent.¬† It’s from China, and it’s green certified and fair trade.¬† The only thing they don’t do is refills.¬† Shame.

What about the price?¬† I hope you’re sitting down.¬† A lipstick costs just ¬£11!¬† Excuse my French (Canadian) but that just shit’s all over any decent high street brand out there.¬† Like I said, the only real drawback for us non-Canadians is the shipping both in terms of footprint and cost.¬† If you’re planning on making a purchase can I suggest maybe doing some kind of bulk order with your fellow Conscious Crusaders?¬† Yes I just called you Conscious Crusaders.

So there you have it.¬† Three pretty amazing make up brands that offer quality, natural products (very very ever so nearly) package free.¬† Please please let me know if you have already tried them out and also what you liked, didn’t like etc.

Peace.

Back.

Its been a while.¬† I really don’t know where the last couple of months have disappeared to.¬† I’m hoping you guys have been wondering where I’ve been?¬† No?¬† Oh well…¬† I’m back and this time I mean business.

“This is happening NOW”

So I’m just gonna be honest with you.¬† I haven’t been writing because I’m petrified.¬† Not petrified of writing obviously, but petrified of the stuff I’m reading about in order to write.¬† I am astounded that we as a¬†species have reached a place in our history where we are consuming the Earth’s resources faster than the Earth can reproduce them.¬† No other species can make that claim.¬† Aren’t we just a treat!?¬† Atmospheric CO2 hit a record high in 2016.¬† All this is happening NOW.¬† Not in sixty years.¬† Now.¬† Children alive today will start to experience the negative impact our mindless consumption is having on the planet.¬† Actually scrap that.¬† If you are alive today and reading this you have already witnessed, experienced or read about events that have happened or are happening as a direct result of climate change.

Is it just me or is this information just not being put out there?¬† Why isn’t this headline news?¬† Why isn’t this our number one priority as a species?¬† Why are we more concerned with Kim Kardashian’s latest weight loss tactics or the fact that Prince Harry is marrying a mixed race girl?¬† HELLO!!!!¬† This is kind of a big deal.¬† And yes…¬† I am disappointed that Harry has given up on trying to find and marry me but I’m also kinda pissed off that the media and Politicians are for the most part, pretending that climate change just isn’t happening.

Maybe its just me that feels this way.¬† But I’m pretty sure it isn’t.¬† Is it?¬† So anyway these discoveries have left me feeling pretty terrible.¬† What a sorry situation.¬† And what’s worse is I feel like there isn’t anything I can do.¬† Here I am walking about with my organic canvas shopper and my lovely metal water canister trying my hardest but am I making a difference?¬† What’s the point in even trying?

Who am I?

It was at this point that I gave myself a little talking to and reminded myself of who I was.¬† I’m someone who gives a shit.¬† A lot.¬† And I’m also someone who doesn’t like to fail.¬† And I’m someone who won’t take no for an answer.¬† So I’m back.¬† Yes I’m sad, yes I’m scared but in my world doing nothing and lying down to take a big nap while Michael Jackson’s Earth song plays out in front of me just isn’t an option.

When I started this sustainability experiment I genuinely had no idea it would bring me to where I am today.¬† I have been taken down the biggest longest most eye-opening rabbit hole.¬† In a matter of weeks my whole perspective on my former life has changed.¬† I am seeing the world we live in a completely different light.¬† Some of it good and some of it damn right scary.¬† I must admit, I have moments where I really wish I could just erase the things I’ve read, watched and ingested regarding climate change, consumerism and our wasteful society in general.¬† Life would be far easier.¬† Or would it?¬† When I think about it my life now is pretty much as it was except that I am awake.¬† I know what’s important to me and I’m living a life that is in line with my values and beliefs.¬† So why wouldn’t I want to live my life that way?¬† It really is a no brainer.

So there’s been some big changes at Lyndseystripped HQ.¬† Some of them somewhat controversial and some of them just plain common sense.¬† And luckily for you, they’re easy to do yourself.

Zero Waste Hero.

Becoming zero waste is something we have really made progress with.¬† We are by no means perfect but I feel like we’ve made small changes that have produced big gains.¬† We haven’t emptied our general waste kitchen bin for over a month!¬† Mostly it gets filled with sellophane food wrap.¬† My hatred for sellophane and food wrap in general has become very real.¬† I’m grateful to my boyfriend for humoring and supporting me despite my never-ending torrent of ideas, musings and wonderings about our landfill contribution and the environment.¬† One of which has revolutionised our storage of food waste.

“Keep it in the fridge.”

We’ve started storing it in the fridge.¬† Yes I¬†appreciate that this sounds weird but is it really that weird?¬† Most of the food waste we produce was kept in the fridge before it became waste so why not put it back in there to keep it fresh until we get a pile big enough to warrant a trip down the garden to the compost tumbler?¬† ¬†I believe the reason lots of people avoid separating their food waste is because it smells and can attract flies.¬† If you keep it in the fridge (or freezer, which is where I would like to keep ours but it’s not big enough) its kept fresh and odour free.¬†¬†See.¬† Not really that weird at all is it?¬†

We have also given up our water guzzling dishwasher and replaced it with a recycling station.¬† This sounds way more impressive than it actually is (it’s just a set of drawers under the work top where the dishwasher used to live that stores paper, glass, metal and plastic).¬† I believe the trick is to make recycling as easy and convenient as possible.¬† That way you’re more likely to stick to it.¬† Our recycling station does exactly that.¬† Everything has its place and the kitchen stays tidy.¬† Perfect.

Although our recycling game is pretty strong now, I’m very aware that recycling is not the complete solution.¬† Ultimately all plastic will end up in landfill because it is only ever downcycled once, twice if it’s very lucky.¬† ¬†So, reducing our consumption of plastic even further is high on the agenda for next year, and I’ve got some great posts coming up that will show you how easy this can be.¬† This post is largely a personal one and unlikely to be particularly advisory but, if you take one thing from this rambling make it this.¬† Recycling is a LAST RESORT.¬† Think Refuse, Reduce, Reuse THEN Recycle.

“Think¬†Refuse, Reduce, Reuse THEN Recycle.”

I really want my little part of the internet to be positive and encouraging and not scary and authoritarian.¬† I realise that our habits are deeply personal and occur because of many different beliefs and experiences.¬† I’m really not here to preach about how we should all be living our lives.¬† It’s REALLY tempting to scare the shit out of you all with facts about how much plastic resides in our ocean (big up Mr Attenborough for finally discussing this issue on Blue Planet II), or about how much pollution your Zara haul produces, but I will resist (for now).¬† The truth is that whilst all those facts and figures are important I’m hopeful I can make sustainable living so very easy and attractive that I won’t need to bother you with the scary stuff.

So yes.¬† I’m back.¬† Please stay tuned for more posts about capsule wardrobes, zero waste inspo and other general sustainable goodness.

Peace.

 

Why I started a Capsule Wardrobe

Ok, if you don’t really give a crap about the why’s and where for’s of my capsule wardrobe journey and would rather just find out how to start your own I suggest clicking here.¬† But if you’re still having some doubts, please stick around.

Continue reading Why I started a Capsule Wardrobe

ÔĽŅCapsule Wardrobe: What?

The “capsule wardrobe” is not a new a concept. ¬†The phrase was first fashioned (pun intended) in 1970’s London where boutique owner Susie Faux suggested that women should base their entire wardrobe around a small number of classic, essential items that NEVER go out of fashion. ¬†She encouraged her customers to find their style using these key pieces and then augment these items using key seasonal pieces.

In the late 80’s Dona Karen was the first designer to take the idea to the runway where she famously dressed 8 models in nothing but black body suits and black tights, who took to the run way and began dressing themselves in various combinations of items from the 7 piece collection.

Today capsule wardrobes exist in many different forms.  Some Creators have divised strict rules where followers must adhere to owning only a fixed number of items, only 3 t-shirts, 2 pairs of shoes etc.  And I think for some people this method really does work.  A great example of this is Project-333

Capsule wardrobes have been made popular again recently by the minimalist movement. ¬†I was first introduced to this way of living by my beloved Netflix. ¬†Is it me or does Netflix have some of the best documentaries ever? ¬†I don’t know what it is but I feel like everytime I watch a Netflix documentary I end up on another life changing journey. ¬†Maybe if I was smarter I’d just stop watching Netflix documentaries? ¬†If you want to know more about minimalist living I suggest you take a look, or you can check them out here.

There are now many people all over the world practicing Minimalism to varying degrees, and a capsule wardrobe kinda comes with the territory.

So yeah, as usual I’m pretty bloody late to the party when it comes to owning a capsule wardrobe but, as they say, better late than never.

I don’t know if I need to tell you again the infinite great reasons why you should think about adopting this way of dressing yourself but I’m going to anyway. ¬†Well I’m going to tell you the reasons why I made the change.

1.  The economy

Mostly MY personal economy but also the economy of the world (which we will get to in a separate post).  As a lover of fashion and shopping, I have spent ALOT of money on clothes.  Like, ALOT.  And so, as you can imagine, it was highly frustrating to realise (on an almost daily basis) that despite major investments in my wardrobe I had a. Nothing to wear b. No sense of what my true style actually was and c. An obscenely full and messy wardrobe and d.  A very pathetic looking bank account.

All in all a pretty ridiculous state of affairs. ¬†And sadly I don’t think I’m alone. ¬†How many of you out there regularly stare blankly into the abise that is your wardrobe with the words “I have nothing to wear” buzzing around your head? ¬†Thought so.

2.  The planet

Yes I hate to break it to you but while we all go around mindlessly trying to fufill our addiction to clothes and shopping we are actually creating huge quantities of waste and pollution. ¬†And we’re also feeding into a system where people are

 

 

 

Better late than never.

 

There are lots of reasons you should start a capsule wardrobe. ¬†For me it was a bit of a light bulb moment. ¬†I’m a person who questions EVERYTHING. ¬†Even choosing an outfit is difficult when you play devils advocate with yourself. ¬†And honestly I dont even think this is my fault. ¬†Life is full of so much choice these days, how can we be expected to make a decision on anything? ¬†So to me it made sense to take some of the choice out of the equation. ¬†Choosing is actually fun now I know that every option I have is a GREAT option.

I think everyone on the planet has had a wardrobe clear out. ¬†Usually in the Spring or Autumn. ¬†You tip the entire contents of your wardrobe out onto the floor, sift through the items questioning and scrutinising every item. ¬†“Is this even nice?”, “Do I need this?”, “Will I wear this?”, the questioning is endless and we are so scared of the possibility of losing that we dont actually have much of a clear out at all. ¬†We basically just take it all out and put it all back in again but in a slightly more orderly fashion.

There are some guides out there that will offer you advice on how to to find your personal style and then create your capsule wardrobe. ¬†This is certainly helpful, and I guess I kinda opted this method. ¬†But I’m also a firm believer that over time a capsule wardrobe will help you develop and discover what your true personal style really is. ¬†The more you delve into it and the more you really scrutinise each item, the clearer and more defined your style will become. ¬†This why I really like fluid capsule idea. ¬†Its less rigid so you can swap pieces in and out as your style develops and you really get a sense of the kind of wardrobe you really want. ¬†If you want more help on how to find your true personal style, Signe from Use Less has produced a great video, watch it here.

 

My top 3 zero waste products

At the moment, being zero waste feels like an implausible, abstract concept. ¬†I mean, I’ve always been someone who recycles food packaging and composts kitchen waste, I feel like these practices are pretty standard. ¬†Most people would frown upon a person who didn’t recycle ANYTHING.

But ZERO WASTE? ¬†Like. ¬†NO. ¬†WASTE. ¬†That is next level. ¬†Is that even possible? ¬†Well I’m pleased to say it looks like it might be…

I’ve been inspired by the ingeniously named blog¬†Trash is for Tossers¬†by Lauren Singer. ¬†Lauren lives in New York City and in my opinion is the Queen of zero waste. ¬†The waste products from the last 4 years of her life fit into a single mason jar. ¬†My boyfriend thought this was a joke. ¬†I will assure you like I assured him this girl and her mason jar is real. ¬†You can watch a video of Lauren talking us through the contents of her jar¬†here.

Two Years of Trash
See.  I told you so.  Image via trashisfortossers.com

So now you’re probably thinking that you and I are in some way incapable of achieving this incredible feat. ¬†And you might be right BUT I’ve already told you I like a challenge. ¬†So here are my current favourite products that are helping me take baby steps towards a zero waste life.

A list!  Yeay!

  1.  Cotton carrier bags

    “why waste your money? ¬†And why put another plastic bag into circulation?”

So unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years you will be well aware that stores in the UK no longer hand out a plastic bag when you make a purchase. ¬†You can still buy a 5p bag from most places or, if you’re feeling extra flush you can buy a bigger, very-slightly-better-quality-but-still-plastic bag for 10p. ¬†But why waste your money? ¬†And why put another plastic bag into circulation? ¬†I won’t bore you with facts about how evil plastic bags (and single use plastic items in general) are but if you want to know just how evil then take a look here.

Historically I’ve been pretty bad at remembering to grab my cotton shoppers before I hit Aldi, but I’ve learnt the trick is to have a few of them. ¬†I now carry two in my handbag and I also have a spare in the car. ¬†I’m not claiming the cotton shoppers I own are the most ethical or sustainable available but they are DEFO better than plastic bags. ¬†I’ll keep my 5p thank you very much.

2.  Re-useable water bottle

Like most of us I’m a pretty busy person and spend a lot of time working or driving or generally being on the go. ¬†This beauty comes with me everywhere. ¬†I have the 532ml reflect bottle in matt silver (they also have an 800ml version and you can get both sizes in shiny silver too). ¬†It’s perfectly sized to fit in my handbag and it has a cute little handle so you can swing it around and show it off to your friends (if you like).

More importantly the materials are all sustainably sourced and environmentally friendly.  The bottle itself is made from BPA free stainless steel, the lid from bamboo and the liner from food-grade silicone.

If you’re interested in this beautiful piece of zero waste kit you can get one right¬†here.

kleankanteenzerowaste

To top it all off Klean Kanteen are kicking butt in the Sustainable Business Olympics (I don’t think that’s actually a thing but it should be). ¬†Their factories are socially and environmentally responsible, they operate a green shipping program, and they belong to an organisation called “1% For The Planet” which means they’re committed to contributing lots of money to environmental organisations dedicated to preserving and restoring wild places.

3.  Menstrual cup

“There are loads of alternative eco-friendly products on the market now and the Mooncup is just one of them.”

I’m sorry guys but I’m going there. ¬†So if you’re weird and squeamish and prefer to stay in a world where women are made from sugar and spice or whatever it is, then I suggest you leave. ¬†Now.

We all know that cruising the crimson wave is a bit of a drag. ¬†And thanks to single use sanitary products Mother Nature isn’t really enjoying the ride either. ¬†Most single use tampons and pads use non-recycleable and potentially toxic materials that are harmful to our bodies and our environment meaning they all go to landfill. ¬†There are loads of alternative eco-friendly products on the market now and the Mooncup is just one of them. ¬†Its made from soft medical grade silicone, is latex-free and hypoallergenic and contains no dyes, BPA, phthalates, plastic, bleaches or toxins. ¬†Each cup comes in a cute little ethically produced organic cotton bag, the only waste is the recyclable cardboard box it’s packaged in.

Are you sold yet?

How about the fact that they last for years and years and cost the same amount that you’d spend on disposable products in 6 months? ¬†You only need one cup no matter where you are in your flow AND they’re Vegan.

Of all the items here I think that my Mooncup has been the biggest life changer. ¬†I wont lie, it took a couple of months to get used to putting it in correctly, taking it out etc but now its as easy as anything else I’ve used in the past. ¬†I’ve even lived in a van in a car park with VERY basic bathroom facilities and managed to use it so this in my book makes it a winner. ¬†Now I get to enjoy the fact that every month I’m doing something great for the planet.

If you’re interested, Amazon¬†seem to have them going pretty cheap. ¬†Make sure you check out the¬†Mooncup¬†website to check your size before you buy.

zerowastemooncup
And you get a fridge sticker! ¬†Yes this is actually stuck on my fridge. ¬†Boyf dispairs…

I’m currently eyeing up some new products to add to my zero waste tool kit but like the good, slow-living, Conscious Queen I am, I’m taking my time deciding which products I can invest in that will make the biggest impact. ¬†I’ll do another post like this one when I’ve added to my kit.

Please share your thoughts on these products or similar if you have them, and let me know what steps you’re taking to reduce your waste production in the comments below!

Peace.

 

Easiest Roasted Squash with Harissa

Seriously your dog could make this…

Well maybe not but honestly this is one very easy way to ramp up your plant-based cooking repatoire and make eating vegetables a little bit more exciting. I’ve made this a few times now and it’s tasty as well as nourishing. ¬†Simples.

So I kinda made this up myself after eating something very similar at The Refuge¬†in Manchester back in the summer. Would highly recommend paying those guys a visit, you won’t be disappointed. ¬†Before then I’d never really paid a lot of attention to butternut squash. ¬†It’s not that I had anything against it, I just didn’t really know what to do with it. ¬†And let’s be honest it is one of the more intimidating looking vegetables, those thing are hea-vy.

The flesh is sweet and buttery like a sweet potato but not as starchy, and the skin goes all crispy when you roast it. ¬†Plus they’re the most amazing orange colour inside!

 

Packed full of complex carbs, vitamins A and C plus, squash is a good source of calcium so great if you’re dairy free or vegan.

Harissa is a hot, aromatic paste made from chillies and lots of other herbs and spices.  It has just the right amount of heat to off set the sweetness of the squash.  I think this is a perfect autumn dish especially since September is prime squash season, which means a low-carbon footprint Рanother win for the sustainability squad!

To be honest I’m a bit of a lazy chef especially when I’m cooking just for me, so I usually have this on its own instead of a jacket potato but I think it makes a great meat alternative paired with some olive oil roasted potatoes¬†and some seasonal greens on the side.

This recipe is for one roasted squash. That’s more than enough for two people.

Ingredients:

  • One butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp harissa paste
  • Steamed seasonal greens to serve

Method:

  • Pre-heat your oven to 200C¬†(gas mark 6) and grease an oven proof roasting tin with half the olive oil
  • Cut squash in half lengthways (it’s prettier this way and cooks quicker) and scoop out the seeds
  • Place skin side up on tray and brush with olive oil
  • Bake in centre of the oven for 30-35 minutes or until flesh is semi softened
  • Remove from the oven, turn the squash halves so they are skin side down and coat both sides with the¬†harissa paste. You want a good covering but bear in mind this stuff is quite spicy so don’t over do it.
  • Return to the oven for another 35-40 mins or until the flesh is completely soft like a baked potato
  • Serve on its own or with your seasonal greens

You can speed up the cooking time slightly if you nuke the squash halves in the microwave for 6 mins either side (you’ll have to vary this according to the strength of your microwave).

Voila! That is literally it. ¬†Hope you like. ¬†I’d love some more vegetarian/plant-based recipies that include this wonderful vegetable, please share yours in the comments below!

IMG_9626
This is my dog.  Not making my roasted butternut squash.