Tuesday, 13 March 2018

February Reads

I can't believe it is March already! February seemed to shoot past, full to the brim with writing and meetings and university work. I was really glad however, that I made time each night to read. It did mean neglecting other things (like this blog - oops sorry!) but it was well worth it. After struggling to read all the books for uni never mind books for fun last year I really wanted to carve out time each day to chill out with a good book and I think my evening hour of reading is really starting to become a habit. I managed to read five books in February and they were all so good!

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner
This book was hilarious! I picked it up in the Christian bookshop near my parents house back in Herefordshire when I was on the look out for some new and interesting Christian fiction reads. This book went far beyond my expectations and I absolutely loved it. Think of it as a Christian Bridget Jones full of all the steamy romance and hilarious slip ups but with church life and God thrown right into the mix. It's such an easy and funny read for anyone looking for a Christian fiction book with a more lighthearted attitude.

Elijah's Mermaid by Essie Fox
I've had this book sitting on my shelf for ages. I picked it up in a charity shop for 50p because I thought the cover was just beautiful. Luckily the story inside is just as good and I found I couldn't put it down. It's a bit different to what I usually pick but this year I really wanted to try reading some different things and this book has definitely encouraged me to go outside my comfort zone. A beautifully gothic victorian romance, it is full of suspense and drama and will have you reading just one more chapter late into the night.

In the Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Another book I'd had on my shelf for a while (I am trying to get through as many books on my shelf as I can before succumbing to the temptation to buy new ones). I'm very interested in nutrition and how food effects the body and the environment and I found this book a really great insight into the food industry and the effects it is having on our health. Pollan's manifesto is "to eat food, mostly plants", he goes on to explain in the book why we should do that and what it means. I learnt so much about nutrition and started to understand where the western diet has gone wrong and how we can change things. It's really made me think about my diet and how it will effect me and others and its inspired me to make some really positive changes.

To Die For - Lucy Seigle
This book is amazing! If you read one book in 2018 make it this one. As you will know if you read my blog regularly, I am trying my hardest to live a more sustainable lifestyle which means I shop as ethically as I can. I've known a bit about the problems caused by fast fashion but this book really helped to educate me on every aspect of the fashion industry and the enormous effect it is having on the planet and it's people. This book has no only given me so much knowledge but it has also inspired me to keep persevering with my desire to live a more ethical lifestyle and to keep campaigning against fast fashion and encouraging a better way of life. I really think everyone needs to read this book and learn the truth about the clothes they are wearing.

The Five Love Language by Gary Chapman
I've been wanting to read this book for a while now since my parents in law leant it to me along with a huge piled of books on marriage when me and my husband got engaged. Unfortunately, with the wedding and uni I didn't manage to fit this one in before the big day but I am actually quite glad I waited till after a year of marriage to read it. I found it so interesting and I learnt so much about myself and my husband. I also found it really helped me to understand my friends and family to and learn more about how I can best show love to the people I love. It is such a good read and even though it is written with married couples in mind, I'd recommend it to everyone who is interested in learning to love better. 

So there are my reads for February! As much as I am enjoying snuggling up under blankets and reading I can't wait till it gets warmer and I can venture outside into the garden with a good book. Let's cross our fingers for a sunnier March! 
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Thursday, 8 March 2018

International Women's Day 2018

Happy International Women's Day! It's so great to see so many people celebrating and sharing inspiring stories and support for women all over the world. Although I feel it is really important to celebrate how far we have come as women and the difference we've made I really wanted to use this day to highlight an issue that is very close to my heart.

In the garment industry 80% of workers are women. This means the majority of clothes we buy on the high street are made by women. Women who are often not paid for months on end because the demand for cheap clothing means the factories cannot afford the make the garments at that price and pay a wage. When they are finally paid it is barely enough for one to live on never mind help these women to feed their families.

There is little or no safety regulations at all in these factories causing fatal accidents such as fires and collapsed buildings. These women are forced to work in an unsafe environment where the factory owners have little regard for their wellbeing or safety. Foremen in charge of the factory floor are nearly always men and sexual harassment, rape and abuse is a regular occurrence for the female garment workers. 

In Guangdong in China young women face 150 hours of overtime each month. 60% have no contract and 90% no access to social insurance. And this situation isn't unusual, you will see the same things happening in factories all over the world.

"it isn't enough just looking for quality in the products we buy, we must ensure that there is quality in the lives of the people who make them" - Orsola De Castro

Each time we buy cheap, fast fashion from the high street we are funding the abuse of thousands of women. This International Women's Day I wanted to highlight this issue, to encourage us all to stop buying into an industry that exploits the rights of women. The choices we make in how to spend our money have a profound effect on the lives of women all over the world. We need to stand together as women and commit to buying into a better future.

This day should be full of celebration and inspiration but also determination that we will continue to make this world a better place for every woman.

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