Friday, 29 September 2017

Monthly Reads | September

Welcome to my new series! I love reading, it is one of my favourite things to do and I love getting recommendations from people. I wanted to start doing a monthly review on the blog of some books I have been reading and I've decided to split it into two categories - Christian and Non-Christian. I love to read a good old mix of things but often struggle to pick up Christian books. I really want this new series on the blog to actually be a reminder for me, a way of forcing myself to pick up at least one Christian book be it fiction or non-fiction every month. I have learnt so many amazing things from reading Christian books and real feel it is an important part of my faith. I also wanted to share my love for any other fiction and non-fiction books I've been loving in the month. So here goes the first new and improved monthly reads!

Christian Monthly Favourite - She Reads Truth: Holding Tight to Permanent by Raechel Myers and Amanda Bible Williams. 

"She wants faith, hope, and love.
She wants help and healing.
She wants to hear and be heard, to see and be seen.
She wants things set right.
She wants to know what is true--not partly true, or sometimes true, or almost true. She wants to see Truth itself, face-to-face. But here, now, these things are all cloudy. Hope is tinged with hurt. Faith is shaded by doubt. Lesser, broken things masquerade as love.
How does she find something permanent when the world around her is always changing, when not even she can stay the same? And if she finds it, how does she hold on? 
She Reads Truth tells the stories of two women who discovered, through very different lives and circumstances, that only God and His Word remain unchanged as the world around them shifted and slipped away. Infused with biblical application and Scripture, this book is not just about two characters in two stories, but about one Hero and one Story. Every image points to the bigger picture--that God and His Word are true. Not because of anything we do, but because of who He is. Not once, not occasionally, but right now and all the time.
Sometimes it takes everything moving to notice the thing that doesn't move. Sometimes it takes telling two very different stories to notice how the Truth was exactly the same in both of them.
For anyone searching for a solid foundation to cling to, She Reads Truth is a rich and honest Bible-filled journey to finally find permanent in a world that's passing away." 

I actually listened to this book on Audible, something that I am really enjoying doing on my way to work. I decided to try a free trial for 90 days and see how I liked it and have found I am really loving it. I get quite bad motion sickness so I can't read on the bus so audible is a great way of still "reading" without having to actually read. I also use this time to listen to a Christian book as I often don't make the time anywhere else in my life. 

I loved this book so much. It was beautifully written and so inspiring. It focuses about the issue of holding onto God and allowing the things of the world to simply melt away and how this looks in the lives of the two authors and other women. Some of the personal stories of faith shared are incredibly heart breaking but the way they turn it around and show you how God used this part in their lives and trust that this world will one day be gone and we will be with God in glory is amazing. I learnt so much listening to this book and found it to be incredibly helpful. As most of you who read the blog regularly will know I am a total control freak when it comes to every aspect of my life - money, jobs, home, husband, food. But this book really challenged me and inspired me to give everything I had to God, to know that this stuff is perishable and to hold tight to the only permanent things in this world - God. It was such a wonderful book and I would really recommend it.   

Non-Christian Monthly Favourite - The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

"Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella dreams of the faraway lands her cartographer father once mapped. When her friend disappears, she volunteers to guide the search. The world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland - and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself." 

Oh my goodness this book! Just the stunning front cover and title had me falling in love. As an aspiring children's author I read a lot of children and YA fiction but this has to be one of the most beautiful stories I have ever read. Based on myths from the Canary Islands this beautiful story follows the adventure of Isabella as she risks everything to save her friend. There are sword fights, magical creatures,  fire demons, magical Islands and everything you could need to take you away to a totally magical world. I loved every part of this story and have found myself so inspired writing my own children's book. It is written for 12-14 year olds but I found as an adult reader I could totally connect with the characters and plot. A truly magical read perfect for a cosy September. 

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Friday, 22 September 2017

Five Ways to Slow Down Your Wardrobe

I recently wrote a post about the importance of slowing down your wardrobe (which you can read here) but as passionate as I am about stamping out fast fashion I also know it can be quite difficult to know where to start. I decided to share my top five tips for starting a slower wardrobe.

Spending Ban:
This is the first thing to do, just stop buying clothes. You can start slowly if you find it too hard and ween yourself off for example, if you buy something new each week try not buying anything for two weeks, or for a month. I have given myself clothing bans regularly sometimes for three months and more recently for six. Once you start buying less and wearing more you start to realise just how much clothing you have and that you really don’t need one more pair of jeans from Zara.

Pull It All Out:
My next tip would be to pull all your clothes out of your wardrobe, cupboards, draws and dump it on the bed or the floor. Sift through what you’ve got, I think you’ll be surprised by the sheer volume of clothing I certainly was, and then make some piles. I made a pile of clothes I wear regularly and wanted to keep, a pile I don’t wear regularly but would really like to start wearing a pile of random stuff I never wore anymore. I gave away the last pile to a mix of charity shops, friends and homeless shelters hoping that the clothes I had bought could be used by someone else.

I then split the clothes in Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer putting the current season away in draws and hung up in the wardrobe whilst the other season went away. I find it’s a lot easy to see what you’ve got when you do this and I find myself less likely to go out and buy something when I can easily see what I’ve got to wear in my wardrobe. When you have so much stuff it’s impossible to see what you’ve got which often means you’re tempted to buy a new black top even though you’ve already got half a dozen hidden in a draw somewhere. I have found that by being able to see what I own in my wardrobe and by keeping the pieces I like I’ve been able to style all sorts of outfits I never would have done before. It can be fun finding old pieces and making them new again.

Make Do and Mend:
Before I started my journey to a slower wardrobe if I found a hole in something I would just throw it away and replace it now I am trying to have more of a make do and mend attitude especially as the pieces I buy tend to be better quality anyway and worth fixing. Instead of buying new try learning to stitch a hole up, sew a button on or go to a cobbler and get your shoes resoled. This also works when you lose weight, when my Dad lost lots of weight instead of buying a whole new wardrobe he took it to a seamstress and had all his trousers and shorts altered. I’ve thrown a lot of good clothes away in the past when all they’ve needed is a little tender loving care.

Buy Better:
If you do need to replace something or a new item of clothing try to buy good quality. I know it can seem very expensive at first but if you have that item for two or three years and wear it over and over then the cost evens out. Also try to buy pieces you know you will wear at least 30 times. If we buy pieces we know we will get lots of use out of we will ultimately by less. You can also go one step further and buy from ethical clothing brands like People Tree or Thought Clothing. Not only are this much better quality and built to last but are also fair trade, sustainable and try to minimise their impact on the planet as much as possible

Create Your Style:
Creating a unique style rather than following fashions and trends can really help to cut your fashion buying down. If you buy classic timeless pieces like striped tops, good jeans, a quality winter coat then you find you will have them for a while. It also becomes easier to mix and match your wardrobe creating more of a capsule look. It can be really fun creating a signature style and I’ve found you can have a lot less clothing in your wardrobe.

So, there is my five tips for beginning to slow down your wardrobe. I hope these helped and I’d love to hear any of your tips down in the comments below.  
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Friday, 15 September 2017

Why You Need to Slow Down Your Wardrobe

I was your typical fast fashion addict, a Primark loving fashionista wannabe buying bags of new clothes from cheap stores every month and throwing them away the next. I remember going to Primark or Forever 21 regularly in my first year of University and buying hundreds of pounds worth of clothes – can you imagine how much £100 would get you in Primark? Yep, that’s how much I was buying. Although my own style was forming and I didn’t really follow the trends of the day I still bought into the idea that I needed multiple new outfits every week. I couldn’t possibly wear the same thing to Uni again and again and there was no way I would want to wear the same dress out clubbing. I look back on my attitude towards fashion and I am completely disgusted by my throw away behaviour. But I knew no better. I lived in a world where clothes were cheap and disposable and everyone I knew was doing it. We were students, we had to shop in Primark and own multiple dresses, it was the way it was.

It wasn’t until I moved to Oxford and met my husband that I really started to change my attitude. He showed me how much better it was to invest in a few key pieces that were well made, classic and durable. Yes, they were more expensive but in the long run it worked out much more affordable than buying lots of cheap clothing regularly. It was soon after this change in my wardrobe that I began learning about the horrendous effect the western world is having on this planet. Our crazy consumerist culture was using up 30% of the worlds resources and one of the biggest pollutants was fashion.

Fashion is the third most polluting industry in the world underneath oil and food. Every aspect of the manufacturing process is effecting the earth and its people. Right from the chemical dyes used in the fabric polluting water, to the people working 15 hour shifts in the factories for little or no pay, to the huge amounts of plastic packing the clothes arrive on our shores in. Each step has some kind of effect and mainly on the developing world. The chemical dyes are causing serious skin conditions for people in towns and villages, garment workers are working 80 hour weeks and barely able to afford food and shelter for their families, female garment workers are being sexually assaulted regularly whilst at work. And this is all before we even get the clothes in this country. Once they arrive we buy them for ridiculously low prices, wear them once and then throw them in the bin adding to our fast-growing landfill problem and demand more with no respect for the hours of work and skill gone into each piece by some of the poorest people in our world. The earth cannot sustain the rate at which we consume clothes and we need to stop.

It is time to say no to fast fashion. Time to cut down our spending habits and start buying what we need rather than what we want. It is time we spoke out for those unable to speak out for themselves. We need to change our mind-set. To say no to the marketing ploys that encourage you to buy one more cute vest top, to say no to throw away fashion and to start investing in a better world. I love fashion, I always have done and I enjoy creating my unique vintage style but I refuse to do it at the cost of thousands of lives and our planet. Luckily, I am far from alone in this fight against fast fashion. Thousands of amazing women and men including big names like Livia Firth and Emma Watson are all committed to seeing an end to fast fashion and trying to make a change in the fashion industry. There are so many positive things we can do and change in our own lives which will make an impact. 

This is something I want to talk about more and more on this blog and I will be sharing my tips and tricks as I go through my own journey of becoming a conscientious consumer. If this interests you and you want to learn more about how fashion is effecting and our world and why we need to change then I would seriously recommend you read “To Die For: Is Fashion Wearing Out the World” by LucySiegle. It’s an amazing book which takes you through everything from the beginning of fast fashion to the effect it is having on the planet and how to change. I really do believe that if enough people demand change in the fashion industry it can happen and the time is now.

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