War Child (Come Together) Tee from River Island

Come Together War Child Tshirt

Come Together War Child Tshirt

 

These iconic tees are available from River Island in collaboration with War Child (and WornFree). The original design was first worn by John Lennon back in 1971. There are three other versions in the range including a faded blue mens version the exact design as Lennon wore and a faded pink girls tank vest. I bought this mens one in size XSmall which is the equivalent of a size 10-12. Tshirts retail at £18 with profits going straight to War Child, an incredibly important charity that takes care of vulnerable children caught up in horrendous wars.

Soak Yourself Patchouli & Vetiver Soap

Soak Yourself Patchouli & Vetiver Soap

This little hand wrapped package was included in a Souk Souk beauty Box I received a while back. I recently opened it up to find it was soap. The scent immediately reminded me of that mint flavoured expensive dark chocolate.

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“Oh no! Not drying, tightening, pore blocking soap” I thought. How wrong I was!

Soak Yourself Patchouli & Vetiver Soap

Product Information

After reading the booklet (which has the same colour and pattern as the soap – cute touch) I was impressed that it’s free from SLS, paragons, alcohol, mineral oils, silicone, artificial fragrance, animal fats and silicones – wow! Made from 100% natural ingredients and handmade.

The leaflet says patchouli essential oil is very beneficial to problem skin and open pores. It also has astringent and diuretic properties. Not only will I be using this on my face but on my ankles which are prone to water retention, then. It’s also non to be a tissue regenerator and helps to heal dry or cracked skin and also helps to reduce inflammation. It can also be used as shampoo for scalp conditions or for greasy hair. This is promising a lot!

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Result

Small but amazing! This is the first soap that’s gone near my face since I was 13. I’ve been using this every morning and night for a week and it’s tightened up my pores, helped in healing my spot prone skin and soaked up excess oil. I’ve only needed to use the lightest of moisturisers before applying makeup and I’ve skipped my mattifying one completely. I’ve been using light coverage foundation for summer and hardly any concealer as my usual flushed patches around my nose have disappeared! I also started massaging a little of this into my ankles and then rinsing it off with cold water in the evening and so far, no puffy ankles – although I’m sure this is partly due to the massage it’s self. I need to buy more of this soap asap! At £10 for 100g it’s expensive but as it’s quite a hard soap I can see this lasting quite a while and if you have problem skin, it’s so worth it.

Rating 5/5 I think I need to up my max score to 6 for this, ha!

 

Little White Lie Tanning Lotion by Makebelieve

I received this a while ago in a goodie bag at a blogging event and was pleased to discover the brand is cruelty free. With summer here,  I thought I’d try it on my pasty neck and arms which seem to tan a lot slower than the rest of me.

Makebelieve Little White Lie Tanning Lotion

Packaging

I really love the simplicity of the packaging with the little logos and pearlised effect which makes it look like a luxury item.

Product

This product smells gorgeous! Vanilla with other more  tropical notes and the argan oil makes it so creamy it’s a dream to apply! The colourless cream sinks in fairly quickly but doesn’t drag some others I’ve used. There’d be no messing about standing star fish shaped waiting for it to dry.

Verdict

My skin is medium toned and I’d been out in the sun on-and-off for two days. Although I definitely wouldn’t have described my skin as tanned in any way, I was already too ‘tanned’ for this to show up! I applied one coat and let it develop for three hours then applied another generous coating. Three hours later and er, not much difference. I took a photo to show you the result but it just didn’t show up on camera. Obviously I was expecting too much for the ‘light’ version. This is perfectly suited to someone with incredibly pale skin who wants a bit of colour.

Good Points

Paraben free.

Gorgeous scent – I’d buy this as a perfume!

Incredibly moisturising.

No overpowering biscuit after scent.

Easy to apply evenly.

Incredibly subtle, perfect for pale skinned girls.

Bad Points

Incredibly subtle, therefor rubbish for me.

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This product normally retails at £12.50

I can’t wait to try the darker version of this!

20 Ways To Know If He’s The One

Like a lot of good relationships this post took a little while to work well. It started with my ‘Why The Bloke Is Awesome’ list, some is inspired by my Mums advice, the slant on it is inspired by a Cosmo article but all of it is based in common truths.   1 He Just Gets You He shares your weird humour and can add to those hysterical “Can you imagine if…” conversations. He can also make you laugh by just giving you a look. photo 2 He Can Read Your Mood He notices when you are looking poorly or down and asks what he can do to help as he’s giving you a hug. If you are having a mini melt-down he knows what to do to calm you down, even if that’s just giving you the space you need. 3 He’s A Hunter Gatherer It’s raining, you’ve just had a bath and you’re in your PJ’s. Of course he’ll go to the shops to get you some urgently needed ice cream. 4 He’s Kind To People That Matter To You And Strangers He’ll listen to that story about the dancing dog your Mum is telling him for the 100th time. He’ll actually remember your mate saying she needed a certain item and he knows a bloke who knows a bloke who has one going spare. He’ll help a stranger who’s just fell in the road. 5 He Encourages You To Be Independent He’s pleased your meeting up with your mates because he’s not as enthused by day long shopping sprees as they are. He’ll be chuffed that you are doing well at work even if your more successful than him. He’ll be vaguely interested (or at least pretend to be) in how your beauty blogger meet up went. 6 You Make Time For Each Other Your idea of a perfect night in is a home cooked meal or your usual giant takeaway, a 12 pack of beers and a season of Game Of Thrones. 7 You Share The Same Ideals And Basic Ethics Wether that refers to how you treat people who are different to you, environmental issues or religious ideas. And no, having chilli night three times a week is not a basic human right. 8 He Shares The Load If he never seems to notice the washing up pilling up or the carpet needs hoovering or the recycling monster needs taking out, then it’s pointless! You are his girlfriend not his maid. 9 You Compensate For Each Others Weaknesses You can’t cook anything more advanced than a pizza while he can do a full sunday roast. You don’t know what a socket wrench is while he can fix anything you present him with. You are a naturally organised person, while his year planner is still in it’s cellophane. 10 You Can Happily Spend The Day In Bed Together Sunday is what snuggling and stuff is made for (smart phone apps and yummy snacks optional). Who needs to see daylight everyday anyway. 11 You Have Seen Each Other Loose The Plot Completely He says “Look, this just isn’t working!” You have a full on rant. He meant the TV remote. He’s a funny shade of green and has only just made it inside the front door so you sit with him in bed – with a bowl. He’s seen you full on ugly cry and wiped your nose with his T-shirt. You can BOTH admit to each other when you are scared/upset and aren’t terrified of confessing to doing something really messed-up. 12 He Sticks Up For You He only puts you down by calling you Miss Moo because you make enthusiastic mooing noises when you really agree with something or food tastes yummy. It’s your little in-joke. If someone is being really rude to you he will step in and politely but sternly ask the person “Do we have a problem here?” 13 He’s Willing To Compromise He’ll let you watch Strictly (without noticing he’s tapping his foot to the music) as long as you then watch “some dudes doing some awesome shit with giant cranes.” Deal! photo 14 He Can Graciously Take Advice “I love your flair for fashion hon, but Bermuda shorts with a flaming skull Tshirt paired with novelty socks and Birkenstocks don’t quite do you justice.” Or “That women doeshave a crush on you and she isa big giant bitch every time she speaks to me. I’m just watching your back, you know?” 15 You’ve Had The Talk A little while after you declared your love for each other you had the theoretical Baby Or Not To Baby chat along with the Do You Believe In Marriage chat – and you both came out with at least vaguely similar answers. 16 He Will Tell You When You Are Out Of Line It’s his flat and those beaten up cardboard boxes are his ancient and beloved ‘storage system’. He will tell you “No you cannot borrow money to buy another pair of shoes that look exactly like the other ‘sporty pair’ and the other ‘luxury pair’ because you’ve suddenly decided you ‘need’ a ‘sports-luxe’ pair!” 17 You Admit To Missing Each Other It really does feel strange to sleep in a bed without being next to each other. You had no one to share your random witty thoughts with before going to sleep. 18 You Drive Each Other Mad But That’s Ok You have learned that tripping over his clothes/shoes/wet towel he’s abandoned is an inevitability and he just gets distracted easily. He has learned that you fidgeting about for ages before using him as a human pillow is actually quite sweet – even when you are on the bus. 19 You ConsiderEach Other When Apart He phones to see if you want anything from the supermarket or surprises you with that hard to find desert you love. You phone him when it’s getting late to remind him the last bus is due shortly. 20 You Love Each Other To Bits Ok might fancy the dude at the newsagents who looks like Zane from One Direction. You might even go melty at the knees when your blokes dysfunctional but charismatic friend gives you a cheeky wink but you just couldn’t conceive of having this deeply loving relationship with anyone else! photo

Smirnoff Frozen Mango Sorbet

These were on offer at Tesco £5 for two and at 4.7% this seemed reasonable for something fairly unique, until I thought “But that’s just when it’s on offer, bloody hell!”

Smirnoff Frozen Mango Sorbet

You are meant to freeze them for eight hours, yes eight! Before squishing the packet until the sorbet is a favourable consistency, then empty into a glass. Sounds simple but who knows precisely when they will fancy a drink in eight hours? So I chucked it in the freezer over night. I pulled it out the next day and run it under slightly warm water as suggested on the packet until it felt slushy.

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The first thing I noticed was how unbelievably sweet and syrupy this tasted, the second wasn’t the alcohol (intact that was barley traceable) but how thick it was. It acted like a real slushy, were you loudly slurp out all of the flavour for what seems like an hour to be left with masses of ice.

I tried the Lemon Sorbet next. These tasted like old fashioned cloudy lemonade – which I love – with the taste of alcohol much more prevalent. I defrosted this sorbet twice as much as last time and it was fantastic! I can see how someone could get really tipsy on these very quickly.

Bit of a faff but if you get it right, these are fab!

 

House Of Mask Secret Mcr Event

Recently I got asked if I wanted to be put on the guest list for a secret House Of Mask event. I had to decline unfortunately but thought it sounded cool enough to blog about anyway.

Cubanisto a new rum flavoured beer (sounds wicked!) is launching at House Of Mask: A series of intriguing  parties which are moving around secret locations in the UK. It arrives in Manchester on 27th June. The night inspired by the nightlife of El Vedado in Havana, includes, immersive theatre, interactive puzzles, live art and cutting edge local DJ’s.

MASK SHOT

The fun part is I can give the date but not the place. You will have to look out for the neon sugar skull outside venues around town on that night. If you are lucky enough to find it, then welcome in!

 

But Which Developmental Disorder Do I Have?

At last! Hurray! I’ve been wondering why it’s been harder for me to do simple everyday tasks, when other people just seem to be able to get on with it, without thinking, all of my life. Now I know!

Ok, so that came a bit out of left field didn’t it – although if you follow me on Twitter maybe not – so where to start…

Two years ago I read an interview with Florence Welch (of Florence and the Machine) in which she explained that she had Dyspraxia, a developmental disorder. She explained the symptoms and it was like she was describing what it’s like to be me, better than I’ve ever been able to. It was a revelation – some kind of resolution. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

After researching Dyspraxia online for a while I managed to find a comprehensive list of Dyspraxia symptoms in adults or what I prefer to call quirks, as they really do shape your character and not always in a negative way as people naturally assume. I also read that ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) can often go hand in hand with it. After reading through the symptoms of both disorders I was in tears. Not because I was upset but because finally, after 32 years, I completed understood myself. I released that I’d never hbeen stupid, or lazy, or careless, or ‘off with the fairies’ I simply had an impairment. I was driven, a lateral thinker, creative and I’d been coping with something that should have been diagnosed in childhood by my Pediatrician.

How the quirks of a developmental disorder (which I’ve been officially confirmed as having) effect me personally:
I’ll put ways of coping into

Gross motor co-ordination skills

As a kid I never figured out the whole crawling thing. I’d reach out to be picked up. I got bored and as soon as my legs where strong enough I’d stand up, cling onto the sofa and lock my knees. When we went out my parents put rains on me as a toddler so that when I frequently tripped up, frequently, I’d just dangle from them and not hurt myself.

Throwing as a kid involved the ball going straight up in the air, sometimes landing back down on my head or even behind me! The other day I tried to throw a ball back over a fence to someone but it hit a tree branch above me and landed neatly in between my feet. Catching involves me reacting way to slowly and grabbing at the air as the object hits me in the face. I’m actually laughing out loud as I type this.

Ridding a bike without stabilizers seemed really scary until, one day at the age of seven, I was too embarrassed to use them any more and asked my friend if she’d let me borrow her bike and if she’d shove me down a small hill. It worked!

I trip over thin air.

If I’m walking slowly I can’t walk in a straight line, unless I pick up speed and momentum then it’s almost like a fun game trying to steer my body around obstacles successfully.

I have very little spacial awareness. I can’t tell you the amount of times I have genuinely walked into a door… A shelf…A fence…A tree.

[I naturally tidy up and remove any obstacles in my living or working space as I go along, which really helps.]

Fine motor co-ordination skills

I hold my pen like my life depends on it when writing. If I try to loosen my grip I drop the pen.

My left hand is good for dextrous tasks and my right is good for more forceful tasks. I write left handed, use my phone write handed, play squash with both which ever will get the best shot. I’m not ambidextrous though, that would be using both hands equally for every task. I prefer squash to tennis as the ball bouncing off the wall gives me those few more seconds I need to judge where the ball is going.

I randomly drop things. My brain forgets it’s still holding something if I’m per-occupied.

[When I’m holding something delicate I don’t chat or let my mind drift. I concentrate solely on that object.]

I didn’t have to cope with tying shoe laces until I was about eight. Thank god for velcro. By then I’d already picked it up from watching others.

I like strong tea and wring out tea bags by squishing them between two teaspoons. Sometimes I accidentally flirt it right across the kitchen. This makes me laugh – every time.

All of this spilling means I’m often sticky. Wet wipes are my friends.

It’s impossible to apply mascara without getting all over my eyelids.

Speech and language

If I’m very tired, or have low blood sugar or I’m just really chilled out and relaxed my speech gets a little slurry. I’m sure people who have only met me during these times must assume I’m constantly drunk!

I have trouble with sequencing and when I’m enthusiastically make a point I’ll be incredibly articulate but get stuck in a loop with my point or loose my place. Sometimes I’ll start my sentence with a prefix and then put it into context at the end. Yoda like I sometimes speak. I write like that when blogging, then have to edit it ;0)

Every now and then I CAN END UP TALKING LOUDLY WHEN I’M FEELING A BIT HYPER OR REALLY HAPPY! or almost in a whisper for no apparent reason.

When I’m a little tired or distracted words I want to use are always just on the tip of my tongue such as grapefruit, wardrobe or duvet. As are peoples names, even my friends. I actually get really articulate when I’m angry. What’s with that? Haha!

Perception

I find it hard to track things moving really quickly so if someone tosses me a set of keys say, my initial reaction is to duck and cover.

I’m rubbish at gauging the speed and distance of cars. If I was in a hurry to cross the road, I’d almost walk into the back of the car before it had fully passed. Sure way to get your foot run over, which I did. Now I’m overly cautious, really overly cautious. When drivers pause for me or flash their lights for me to cross or don’t indicate or drive right out of side roads at speed it really throws me off.

I dislike loose clothing and feel ‘a bit lost’ inside it. Unless it’s really warm I like tighter fitting clothing on my back and upper arms. Hey, everyone likes being hugged, why not by your clothes? I hate high neck lines and jewellery that’s close around my neck as it makes me feel a little claustrophobic. Hey, not many people like being strangled right?

I can hear a high-pitched noise from really far away but have to ask the person next to me to repeat themselves as there is too much background noise ‘crowding’ my senses. This one really confuses my bloke.

I can be fairly light sensitive and would constantly wear shades if I lived in a country that wasn’t overcast for 75% of the year.

My sense of smell is pretty bad unless I take a moment to close my eyes and block out any distractions.

I find it hard to judge, the weight and amount and taste of ingredients especially in relation to other ingredients, so cooking is always an experiment. The amount of times someone has had to wrestle a bottle of salt or oil from my hands. Which leads me to pouring and not massively over pouring purely by mistake.

I used to have an appalling sense of direction until I became a temp age 21 and got used to following my trusty A-Z.

I didn’t learn my left from my right until I went to high-school – even now sometimes I have to pause for a moment.

I often have in mind what date and time I’m meant to be doing something important but not see the significance of it in relation to today’s date, then suddenly randomly realise ‘OMG that’s tomorrow!’ [writing everything down on a paper wall calendar and crossing off each day is invaluable.]

Learning, thought and memory

I virtually have no short term memory. I can glance three or four times at the date or time in the space of a minute because I’m distracted and it’s not sunk in. I can forget what day it is and suddenly remember a couple of times during the day. I can put something down and immediately forget that it’s there. I can start a sentence and forget what I said at the start a sentence and forget what I said at…

[Keeping everything tidy by giving each thing a permanent place to live and then returning it there straight after using it, makes finding things so much eaiser. I even got a special mention by my boss once for being so efficient and having the most organised work space!]

Poor sequencing causing problems with maths and spelling. My maths improved slightly when I moved out of home and had to do my budgeting on the go in the supermarket. [I’d by my usual items so that I had a fair idea of the price anyway. My spelling has improved immensely because I blog frequently.]

[It has a lot to do with practicing how to access the relevant knowledge and trying not to loose your place while processing it, rather than simply learning correct spellings and timestables. Although, basic learning does require your short term memories to sink into your longer term memory, which I seem to struggle with.]

[People just don’t understand: It’s not always about taking more time to learn a skill, it concerns whether I have the capacity to implement that skill effectively when I have learned it? With certain things I have to admit that I simply don’t have that capacity.]

Understanding commands and following instructions. Two at a time please, any more and not only will I not remember the others, I’ll also get flustered about the first two as well.

Teaching by telling, showing, doing. I’ve written them down in the most effective order. I once came home from brownies with the resolute idea that I had to ‘decide which badge I wanted and make it by next week.’ In reality the brownie leader had simply mentioned that next week we would be working toward earning our brownie badge of choice. As a kid and a teen it was like my brain absorbed instructions/information and then flipped them around, shook them about like a snowglobe, added some sprinkles and spit them out, only vaguely resembling what they once were.

I either struggle really badly with concentration that it’s almost mentally painful for me or I’ll get so completely absorbed in a task I’m enjoying that I’ll loose all track of time. [Thank goodness for To Do lists and scheduled reminders] I remember in junior school I could easily think up an entire story in my head with an opening, journey, character development, plot twist and epic conclusion. Then the teacher would say “Five minutes writing time left everyone.” Yet I’d only managed to write the first sentence. I’d get so lost in my own thoughts, you see. I suggested once “Look, why don’t I just tell you the story, it’s awesome, you’ll love it!” which didn’t go down too well, I remember. [I’m so much better now because I’m aware of it and I’m strict with myself and plan my time.]

Often when I write/type things quickly either miss words or repeat the same word twice twice. If I’m overloaded or nervous I easily up jumble the sentence in my words ;0)

Emotion and behavior

You know when you’re a kid or a teen and you’re hanging out with your mates and discussing what possible trouble you could get up to next, well that used to be fun but slightly stressful for me. “Right, we have decided – finally – that we are doing this.” Then I’d pipe up “But I don’t want to do that.” “Christine! We have spent half an hour trying to figure out what to do and you’ve hardly said anything. Now, you speak up!? Where have you been!?” The truth was I had spent the time trying to get a word in and then miss-timing it so when I did manage to get my point out it was irrelevant or seemed almost random. That intermingled with wondering things like if penguins had the choice, would they choose to wear jumpers?

As far as my teenage judgement skills went, I’d often hear people say “You always have to take it that step too far don’t you.” Oops!

I’m not great at entering new situations, unless they are heavily sign posted, and being able to just know what the hell I’m meant to be doing. If there’s some – anyway – I can end up making an arse of myself, I’ll manage it. I’ve learned just roll my eyes and shake my head a little and accept it with grace and humor. As a teen, not so much. [These days I do pause upon entering a new situation, just to take stock of it and compose myself, which really helps.]

I’m a little like this in social situations as you will probably know having met me or read previous posts on here. I’m very blunt which some people find refreshing, others bitchy and some find it plain hilarious. You know the US saying “That sounded better in my head”? Honestly it did! Haha!

I’ve always been a little impulsive with my decisions my moods and my likes and diss-likes. They are ever changing in little ways that most people wouldn’t notice unless I bother to vocalise them. So quite often I don’t bother until I’m sure I’m sure. Or I’ve changed my mind at the last minute. I never do this with friends who I’ve made plans with though, ever.

As I’m writing this I’m working through the list of symptoms for dyspraxia and developmental disorders as a guide to jog my memory. At the bottom it says ‘tendency to get easily frustrated’. Well hit me with a shitty stick. Obviously battling with my concentration etc. ALL OF THE TIME to do certain (supposedly) simple tasks, does make me a tad ‘frustrated’? I don’t throw things across the room anymore though. I do slam down what I’m holding every now and then while going “Aaaaaagh! for f**K sake!” Mostly, I just take a deep breath, roll and drop my shoulders back then put on my determined face and try again.

[All of these traits can be managed to a certain extent by me having some calm down time to process everything and to relax so I don’t get overwhelmed. Best example: After working for three days I often won’t be able to sleep until around 4:00am because my mind is still buzzing even though I’m exhausted. Imagine having to concentrate extra hard with everything you do, which uses up all of your mental & emotional energy. But with a lot of sleep and a calm day in between I’m recharged and good to go again!]

I hope this long list of my very specific weirdness has been of some help to people or at least of interest, please let me know. Everyone with developmental disorders, even one’s similar to what ever the heck mine is, will experience things a little differently from each other. Have some quirks but not others or with varying degrees.

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Slipping through the net

My parents did bring this up with my pediatrician throughout the 80’s and 90’s: My total lack of spacial awareness and lack of co-ordination and concentration. My difficulties with absorbing information and maths and English. His response was “Children develop at different rates. She’s fine.” Although, this is true in a wider sense, I and therefore my parents were really struggling. My teachers just kept on asking my parents what was going on, like they were qualified to know! However, the Dr did send me to a speech therapist, who had a strong posh London accent! My very Northern parents nearly had a fit when we were walking down the road and I pointed out “a big larry” rumbling passed. *repeated face palm*

To be fair ‘Dyspraxia’ was only recognized in the early 90’s but ‘developmental disorders’ (and various other terms for them) definitely had. At the very least the school should have picked up on symptoms similar to well known disorders such as dyslexia and/or Attention Deficit Disorder. Right, moan over.

Thankfully after asking parents of children and people in their twenties with certain conditions, it would appear that schools and colleges nowadays are more alert at noticing students difficulties and getting them support.

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What now?

A year ago I spoke to a GP who failed to tell me he was a locum and went off my misinformed guess of who I might possibly need referring to. After a six month wait I got to see a Neurologist who after a full work up and extensive questioning about my history, confirmed that yes, I definitely did have a developmental disorder which seemed similar to Dyspraxia and/or ADD. He couldn’t confirm the specifics for sure but he could confirm without a doubt that I had been miss-referred by the GP. Another six months, another Neurologist saying exactly the same thing. It’s now a total of fifteen months later and I’m still waiting to be referred to ‘the right person’. It doesn’t help that the two Neurologists share the same secretary who hasn’t managed to get a single thing right when arranging communications or appointments. Total fail, is an understatement.

After spending ages in forums I’ve learned the people who usually diagnose and offer help if needed are Psychiatrists, Psychologists and Occupational Therapists but I’m reluctant to make another suggestion in case, some one runs with it and it’s wrong again. Luckily I’ve found a GP who is fantastic! She’s charting my progress with great enthusiasm and interest. She put my mind at rest and told me that she would write a letter to the benefits agency so they can’t be totally dismissive now I’m back on regular signing.

While I was at the job centre I heard an employee referring to me when I walked by “Why does she need to see ***** (the person who deals with people who need more support). There’s nothing wrong with her!” Maybe to assuage their annoyance I should have limped in a circle while making random howling noises.

If anyone knows for an absolute fact which person is qualified to diagnose specific developmental disorders in adults, please let me know. It’s important because a) I’d like to know what’s going on once and for all so I can get some support b) I need to let the benefits agency know all of the specifics.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Up-cycle, Recycle and Re-home Anything!

From 17 to 23 June, National Recycling Week aims to raise awareness of the benefits of recycling and why it’s important for the future of our planet.

Up-cycling

Before you bin it, think! I never need to buy containers to keep things like stationary, tools or make-up in as I just up-cycle used containers. Just today I got 4 new food packaging sealers (a clip which came off a new pair of shoes and wire twist ties from electrical packaging) and made no snag hair bobbles from cutting old black tights into rings. When I wanted a pair of chunky black ankle boots that would actually last more than a year, I bought some pre-owned (and well looked after) from the Army & Navy store and customised them with studs.

I use fancy packaging from presents on birthdays & christmas to store stuff in and salvage ribbons/bows/shiny card and big scraps of wrapping paper and store them in a big gift bag to re-use. Me and The Bloke have got into the habit of making our own simple christmas & birthday cards for each other (out of scrap card etc.) which is really funny and sweet!

I get take-away food way too often and I end up with lots of big clean white sheets of paper in my recycling, so layer them up cut them into smaller squares, place them in a silver upcycled tray and use for scrap paper instead of going through jotter pads way too quickly.

I have a cute little pot (used to be a pot of face cream) full of old jewellery parts which really come in really handy when my costume jewellery breaks, or when I want to customise it a bit.

There’s just so much inspiration on Pinterest as well!

Recycling General Household Waste

Most governments provide people with recycling bins but here are some tips to get into the habit.

I suggest setting up two stacker boxes in your kitchen one for glass, can’s and plastic (MCC only recycle the kind of plastic used for bottles not food containers) and one on top for paper. It’s so important that you don’t chuck the plastic bags you may have kept your recycling in or bits of plastic still attached to any cardboard packaging into the big recycling bins and that the bin lid closes properly or they won’t be emptied by the bin men. Once you get into the hang of it, you don’t even think about it.

Some councils recycle food waste, some don’t. Some people don’t like the idea of keeping the big food waste bins in their kitchen. I have a little grey bin and use small bin linners that I put all of my non-cooked food waste in and empty (really) regularly into a big compost bin outside. I’m lucky I know three people with an allotment who are grateful for the rich compost every so often. I’m sure people or gardeners near you would feel the same way. I passed on an old pair of walking boots to one friend who I knew would wear them on her allotment and got some leaks in return!

Not everyone is so lucky to have their own patch but even if it’s just a balcony you can make wall planters or grow herbs on your window ledge.

Most big super markets(Co-op included) will have some where to recycle your batteries responsibly. Batteries should never be included in your normal house waste.

The Plastic Is Rubbish blog is a great resource with lots of everyday tips and advice.

Clothing & Make-up

Donating to your local charity shop is of course a good idea, however, charity shops do operate as a business and after wages, running costs and rent, often only a small portion is donated to the charity it’s self. Of course this is only one side of a charity shop – they are also a fantastic way of recycling your clothes and giving someone else a chance of enjoying an item you don’t want anymore.

About six months ago I discovered a worldwide charity called Dress For Success and I was delighted learn that a branch had been founded in Manchester in 2013 by Anna-Louise Gilhooley. They have a team of volunteers that are dedicated to helping clients with interview techniques and providing them with entire outfits, which results in them looking professional and feeling a lot more confidence! They rely totally on financial contributions, volunteers time and clothing donations from individuals, organisations and retailers to give disadvantaged women a chance.

Another great way to know that your unwanted clothes, unopened or hardly used makeup and beauty products will be appreciated is to donate them to your local women’s shelter. Many women there will have had to flea abusive partners with very little or no time to pack anything. Basic essentials like moisturiser, cleanser, toothpaste and deodorant are always welcome. Unopened make-up like mascara and eyeliner or hardly used make-up like foundation, blusher and nail varnish can bring a welcome fun distraction and make women feel more like themselves again. Note: Nail varnish can’t be sent through the post as it is considered to be a toxic substance.

Electrical Waste

E-waste is extremely toxic to humans and the environment contaminating soil, air and sea
Global e-waste is set to reach 65.4 million tons by 2017
That’s enough to fill a line of 40 ton Lorries all the way from the UK to Australia and back!

The UK produces over a million tons of electronic waste every year
That’s the equivalent weight of 2400 jumbo jets!
All our e-waste goes to landfill – often in poor developing countries.

Charity shops often welcome donations of working, modern electricals.

There’s also RecycleYourHeadphones.com, where you can post your headphones to a UK address to be responsibly recycled. Headphones will be recycled by trustworthy and accredited recycling partners and won’t be contributing to the contamination of our planet.

Music lovers can also opt to receive 45% off a new pair of ColourYourWorld by Urbanz headphones priced £15 or more. And 10% of all sales will be donated to http://www.greenpeace.org as they work towards decreasing the devastating e-waste problem which is harmful to our health and to our environment.

Pass it on!

Why chuck stuff in the skip when you can sell it in a free newspaper like The Loot, or on ebay. You could advertise it on an online notice board like Gumtree or swap it for something you do want on a website like Swapz or Swapcycle. Obviously you should always thoroughly check out the persons seller rating on ebay and always ask for pictures and read the description of the item carefully. For instance, you don’t want to end up paying a load of money for an Xbox box. Literally just the cardboard box! If the item is to be picked up or dropped off, make sure you arrange a time thats convenient for someone else to be with you.

I hope that’s given you some helpful tips and ideas!

Festival Essentials

Festival Essentials
Nirvana hoodie easy to tie around waist or to sleep in if the weather gets cold – Tie dye tank for the hippie vibe – Light hooded waterproof jacket worn open and slouchy – Galaxy print shorts because they are so freakin cool! Kimono really easy to pack and layer – Colorful wellies as expected – Waterproof zip rucksack to carry around spare clothes & any festival purchases, to save you going back to your tent for the 100th time – CND sign necklace because we’re at a fezzi of course! Hat, flower garland or tribal headband much easier to pack than a feather headpiece which you can buy when you get there anyway – Tinted lip balm which can double up as blusher if used sparingly – Spray hair dye is the perfect way to have fun with new friends – Sturdy but easily assembled tent with porch for muddy wellies – Sleeping mats to go under your – Sleeping bag – Wet wipes are so much more versatile than hand sanitiser, just don’t flush them. Have fun!