How to be a LGBTQ+ ally

While my main passion in life is animal activism, I find that this relates to all social justice issues that affect our society today. As a vegan, I try to live my life causing as little harm as possible, and this includes how I interact with other people and how I address different issues within society. Just as I want every animal to be treated with compassion, fairness and equality, I also wish that for human on our planet. No group of people should feel ashamed about who they are, who they love, or for what they believe in. I strive to advocate and to be an ally for all groups in society, and while I as a heterosexual white female may not be able to understand and relate to many of the issues other people face, I will always listen to their stories and advocate for the much needed changes.

I also believe that love is love: So far as I am concerned – provided it does not involve animals or minors and all adults involved are fully consenting – all love is worthy love. If you love men, women, both or neither, you do you. Again, while I may never understand what it feels like to feel as though you are in the wrong body, or that your gender does not fully represent you, I fully support people being allowed to discover this. I do not believe (nor adhere to for the most part) stereotypical gender roles – anyone can wear a skirt and anyone can wear make up. I believe that people should be allowed to love who they love without judgement and that there should be no limits on who people should be allowed to love. I also believe that sexual orientation is on a spectrum: I don’t believe that people are 100% fully straight or 100% fully gay, nor do I believe that your sexual orientation is set in stone as soon as you reach puberty. I believe that everyone should be allowed to explore their own sexuality and their own identity with support and understanding, and that this is also something that you continue to discover as you grow and experience new things. In today’s society, gender identity has become such a huge part of life that there are now so many different genders and so many different sexual orientations that I do not think it is possible to be just one for your whole life. I also believe that at the end of the day, a person’s gender or sexual orientation doesn’t harm anyone – it doesn’t disrupt my life to call someone I used to refer to as ‘she’ to instead refer to them as a ‘he’ or ‘they’. But to those that are part of the LGBTQ+ community, even this tiny little change in language can mean the entire world to them and allows them to live their most authentic life.

So why am I writing about this now?

June is Pride Month, in honour of the Stonewall Riots which took place in 1969 in New York and is considered the most important historical moment for the pride movement. Pride Month is therefore an opportunity to promote and celebrate the pride movement, and to encourage members of the LGBTQ+ communities and society as a whole to do away with outdated and homophobic behaviours that still persist today. In 2022, there are still 69 countries which still criminalise homosexuality, with the death penalty or long prison sentences being given to those who are prosecuted for homosexuality. It was not until 2015 that all 50 US states allowed same-sex marriages, however there are still ongoing issues with some smaller, more conservative or religious counties within the US that refuse to recognise a same-sex marriage license. There are also still issues with homophobic views and comments about LGBTQ+ communities and these can be spotted in everyday conversations. If something slightly annoying has happened or if something hasn’t gone as well as thought, it is common to say ‘that’s so gay’ or ‘how gay is that’, as though being gay is still a bad thing. Ironically, ‘gay’ used to be a term used to express extreme joy and happiness, so it is interesting to see how language has changed.

How can you be an ally?

Attend Pride events

Not only are Pride events wonderful opportunities to meet with members of the LGBTQ+ community, to hear their stories and to show your support for their campaigns, they are always a wonderfully fun day out. I have been to two official Pride events and it is always the loveliest atmosphere. Everyone is so welcoming and accepting and supportive that just radiates from the entire event. It is so lovely to see people being unapologetically themselves and to see everyone there celebrating and supporting one another regardless of their background or where they are in their own journey of discovery. The music, the fashion, the general culture of the LGBTQ+ community is also next level and I am always amazed at the creativity and the excitement that they all pour into their art. It is also amazing to see how their art makes a statement and helps to encourage even more acceptance in wider society.

The majority of events happen in June, however in the UK there are a number of Pride events that happen throughout the year. There are also some cities – Brighton, London and Manchester come to mind – where the LGBTQ+ community are very prominent and therefore have their own special events almost on a weekly basis, be it gay only night clubs or extravagant drag shows.

Speak up about issues

I work in quite an old-school industry, so while the majority of people I work with are all very lovely individuals, they can have some outdated views on what LGBTQ+ really means. A big topic of conversation lately in the office has been the debate as to whether or not we should include our pronouns in our email signatures. Some people thought it was unnecessary – your gender is based on your genitals and they cannot understand why someone would not feel that way, because they have never had to question their own gender themselves. But it is important to note that while pronouns can be very personal to someone who genuinely has struggled with their own identity, it is also just a really logically solution for everyone. I have a gender neutral name and am called Mr and Sir on a daily basis, especially over email or in letters where people have never spoken to me on the phone or seen a picture of me. Now for me, I don’t really care what people call me but I would also hate to mis-gender someone who does really care about this. I therefore raised this fact with my colleagues and they then started to think of it from a different point of view – no more uncertainty about whether to address an email as Sir or Madam, or Mr and Miss (sometimes there is even a debate around Mrs, Miss or Ms!) because emails would have that information right there for us to use. It would also remove that awkward embarrassment when someone who has been calling you a Mr for the past three weeks finally speaks to you on the phone and is then very surprised and apologetic to find you are in fact a Miss.

Read and learn from LGBTQ+ creators

Now I have no where to start with this because the resources out there are INFINITE. If you wanted a good place to start with books to read, Penguin Publishing have this very helpful list. It includes a mix of fiction, non-fiction and biographies that provide a range of views and experiences surrounding gender and sexuality. One of my favourite books was ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ by Bernadine Evaristo, which not only included stories surrounding love and gender, it also tells all stories from the point of view of black women which is also very eye-opening and informative. Now some of these books can be quite heavy – gender and sexual exploration and discovery is rarely easy or conflict free – so if you want to read stories that are more light-hearted then gay romance novels are always a winner. Of course these can also range between super duper cheesy rom-com to heart breaking tragedies, but you will be spoilt for choice. If you wanted an obscenely well written book to get you started, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Song of Achilles’ by Madeline Miller: It is based on the Greek mythology/history that tells a gripping retelling of the Achilles’ story while also weaving in the love story between Achilles and his lover Patroclus.

There are also countless creators on Instagram, Tik Tok and other social media platforms that can provide you with a new insight into their life as part of the LGBTQ+ community. There are also a number of shows that can also be turned to for further information: One of my personal favourites is Ru Paul’s Drag Race. It is entertaining and funny and every single queen brings to light their own struggles that they have experienced in both the LGBTQ+ community and the drag show circuit. Definitely a good place to start if you want to experience something completely different to your usual shows.

Consider fundraising and raising awareness at work

If your work does not already have a fundraising department (or at least a few fundraising initiatives throughout the year) make one for Pride and to support LGBTQ+ initiatives. You can get as creative as you like: Bake sale, fun runs, Step Challenges, design competitions (t-shirts, mugs, stickers etc) or fancy dress days. You could include leaflets and additional information around your initiative and all money raised would be donated directly to your charity of choice.

Here is a small list of charities that help the LGBTQ+ community, however there are hundreds out there that specialise in different issues too, such as youth and children charities or AIDs and HIV awareness. These are all UK charities, however no doubt there will be country specific charities where you live.

Stonewall – main charity for all LGBTQ+ issues and campaigns

Mind Out – mental health charity for members of the LGBTQ+ community

Bi Pride – for bisexual support

Hidayah – a charity for LGBTQ+ Muslims within the UK

London Gaymers – a gaming community open to all members of the LGBTQ+ community

Elton John’s AIDs foundation – a charity created by Sir Elton John to help stop the stigma and hate surrounding those with AIDs, as well as fund research into how to stop the AIDs epidemic and improve medical treatment

Final thoughts

I also want to take this opportunity to say that this little blog will always be a safe space for everyone in society. You are welcome here, regardless of your gender or sexual orientation, and I will always want to hear your stories. That also goes for everyone else – regardless of your religion, your culture, your race or your age, you will always be welcome here and I am so happy that you have found this tiny little bit of the internet.

I am also still learning. As I said at the beginning, while I may never be able to relate to the struggles or understand the internal conflicts around gender, sexuality, race or religion, I will always strive to learn as much as I can about other people’s experiences and to do my best to advocate for their rights to a happy, free and authentic life. If anyone has some other useful resources, or has any recommendations for books/films/articles/movies/creators then please do leave these below in the comments or send me a private email and I will make sure to look into them all!

Thank you all for reading this little note, and I hope you all have a lovely June, a lovely Pride and I shall hopefully see you at an event this month!

T xxx

Barry M gelly nail polish – Goji Berry

As much as I love getting my nails done, since becoming vegan my nails grow so quickly that it’s only about a week before my nail polish will need to removed or redone due to the amount of growing nail visible. I am therefore always on the hunt for some decent nail polishes that I can use myself at home for times when I want to have my nails done but don’t necessarily want to spend my money on a full manicure just for it to need redoing in a week.

Now I do not wear nail polish all the time. In fact I am almost always without anything on my nails: As I say they grow so quickly it would take up so much of my already limited time to constantly be touching them up. But on my slower days and weeks, I do count painting my nails as a form of self-care. When I first went vegan there were also zero nail polish options out there that were cruelty free, let alone vegan friendly, and so I sort of resigned myself to using the same 2 colours of nail polish I had for about 10 years. But I have really noticed this year that the vegan nail polish options have skyrocketed, and there are actually a LOT of colours to chose from.

BarryM was always a non-vegan favourite of mine, and now that I am vegan they are probably one of my main go-to brands for make up and beauty products. BarryM really cornered the market (especially on the high street) as they are definitely the most colourful of the make up brands out there. Their eye shadows, lipsticks and nail polish selection is a whole spectrum of colour choices and all of them are easily wearable too. For a while their nail polish was mostly non-vegan, aside from maybe a basic french manicure set, but this past year they really seemed to have focused a lot on their nail polish colours and making sure their products are all vegan friendly and cruelty free.

I tend to stick with quite muted colours – nothing too bold or too bright – purely so that it is all work appropriate, so I decided to try the Goji Berry colour. In the bottle it looks like a dark red, but on my nails it was almost a burgundy colour. Which works perfectly for me because that is usually my go-to colour for most things as it is colourful without being too bold or ‘in your face’. Now the product does say to use a base coat first, but I didn’t check the directions before buying it so was already at home by the time I actually checked this. Therefore I did not use any sort of base coat.

I am actually very impressed by how well this lasted. I do a LOT of typing for work and have to deal with a lot of paper as a result, so my hands are pretty beaten throughout the day. I did my nails on the Sunday afternoon, and the polish didn’t actually start to chip until around Friday midday and even then it was only around the very tips of my nails where I am clearly hitting my keyboard keys a little bit aggressively. This was even with me working out, cooking, showering and having quite a busy week. I normally only expect my nail polish to last about 3-4 days so I was very impressed – especially as that was without even a base-coat or top coat on the polish. I imagine with both added on the polish would have survived quite a long time.

cheeky shot of the engagement ring too…

Each polish was £2.99, although you could also get the higher gloss/matt options for £3.99. Either way, since this nail polish will easily last me a year (if not longer) that is an absolute bargain in my books. While it is definitely not the highest quality of nail polish out there, it is a very strong contender for a reliable, robust and easily affordable product for day to day use.

The downside was that it is a lot thicker than other nail polishes I have used. I do not know if that is because of the vegan formula, but it definitely felt thicker on the brush and I also felt I needed a generous amount in order to coat my nails evenly. Another downside (although unavoidable) is that it is a very strong smelling polish – you would not want to paint your nails in any sort of crowded space or enclosed area as it will give a contact high to everyone in the room if you’re not careful. But that being said I don’t think any nail polish has ever smelt good – they all have a very chemical smell to them and I think that is purely because of the product itself and is readily unavoidable.

Overall: 8/10. A very reliable option that you couldn’t really go wrong with. Good quality for a very good price.

T xxx

Superdrug sugar and oil body scrub

One of my goals for this year is to take my skincare a bit more seriously. I am inching ever closer to thirty and while I do feel like my skin is pretty good, I know I don’t give it the attention it really deserves. I have been doing a lot of research and over the years I have worked out that my skin is quite sensitive, but living in England also means that my skin is pretty dry.

I have used the Vitamin E range from Superdrug before and got on pretty well with it. The night cream I use every night and it really does help hydrate my skin without being really heavy or oily. It also doesn’t make my skin break out or leave my face bright red because of heavy fragrances or chemicals in it. So I decided to try some more of their range, starting with the body scrub.

In the past, most body scrubs I used would just leave my skin bright red. Plus I think they all contained the microplastic balls in them (which is what made up the ‘scrub’ part of the product) so they are obviously no good now. I have seen people can make their own body scrub using sugar or ground coffee to act as the scrub element, so I tried to look for these more natural products moving forward.

I have found this body scrub to be brilliant. The sugar works as an exfoliant without it being very rough and harsh on my skin, and as it is sugar it does dissolve as you scrub. The oil also makes the whole scrub feel very soft and gentle, and when I get out of the shower after rinsing off, my skin feels so moisturised and soft. It means I also do not need to then also apply my body moisturiser as I am already done.

I use this maybe once or twice a week – definitely not every day – and find that it is more than enough to give my skin that little extra moisture boost while not being too harsh with the exfoliating. It has been exceptionally good during this winter season: It has been so cold these past three months – more so than usual I would say – and this scrub has really helped stop my skin from getting too dry. There is also something so comforting and relaxing about coming in from -3 degree (Celsius I add) weather, to a hot shower and soft scrub to literally wash the day off of you and leave you feeling so much nicer.

The tub was £6 and as you can see from the picture it is a huge tub (300ml according to the label on the tub anyway) and I bought it beginning of December and it is only now half empty in February. A small handful of product goes a long way so you can be slightly more sparing with the product than you think you can. As I say, it will most likely last me until about April based on my current usage, and for £6 that is a bargain. Granted it doesn’t do anything special – it smells nice, but isn’t heavily fragranced – as it really just does what it says on the tin. It is quite basic but it does that really well. You could easily find a more luxurious product, but as an affordable option this stuff does all that it needs to.

Overall: 8/10. Nothing special but does exactly what it needs to and still feels lovely.

T xxx

e.l.f sheer matte liquid lipstick

e.l.f (which stands for Eyes, Lips, Face) is a drugstore make up brand that is 100% vegan and cruelty free. I discovered this brand a year or so ago and it is probably now my main go-to brand: Their foundations do exactly what you need, and they have some really lovely shades of lipstick and eye-shadow that are fun and wearable. Now I am no where NEAR a ‘make up guru’ – I can do the absolute bare basics and even then it is not perfect – but I have slowly been trying to learn. I know that make-up can be a form of self-expression and creativity, and I defy anyone to not feel like a total bad-ass in red lipstick!

Now I bought this lipstick actually about a year ago and I have literally worn it everyday since I got it. I got the colour ‘praline petal’ which is a very soft rose gold tinted colour, and I absolutely love it. I feel it suits my (very) pale skin tones well without being too bold or ‘in your face’, since I do wear it every day for work. I also prefer a matte lipstick as sometimes I find the glossy lipsticks are too much for me and make me look far more ‘done up’ than I actually am. I also find they do not last as long because they stick to literally everything – and with my hair as wild as it is I need as little hassle as possible on my walk to work.

I am also very impressed at the staying power of this lipstick. I put it on just before I leave the house and when I come home in the evening it is STILL there. And that is even with me drinking about 4 cups a tea, 2 bottles of water and eating my whole lunch. I do not need to top up the lipstick at all. I would even go so far as to say that it is more like a lip tint than a lipstick as I have never seen this sort of staying power in a lipstick before.

the curls were a little wild on this day too…

The size is your standard size of a lipgloss, but as it has lasted me well over a year you clearly don’t need much to make the colour work. Also for £6 it is easily the best purchase I have ever made. I usually buy e.l.f products from Superdrug stores, however their brand website has a bigger range of products and also tend to do a lot of deals across their different make up lines. Personally I am always very impressed by e.l.f make up and they are easily my favourite make up brand out there. If you have been tempted to try their stuff before, I would highly recommend it.

Overall: 20/10. Best purchase I have ever made. I also think the tube will last me another 10 years at this rate!

T xxx

Trevor Sorbie curl cream

I am still trying to persevere with my Curly Girl method so am still trying to find the right products for my hair. The Trevor Sorbie range is completely new to me: I have never used them before for anything, and I haven’t seen that much about them on social media before. But they are one of the few products that was labelled vegan and cruelty free so I decided to try something out of the comfort zone and see how it went.

This does not lie when it says that it is ‘firm hold’. It is almost like glue. Which I was very surprised at. It feels like a really light cream in your hands, so being naive I coated my hair a bit too thickly the first time I tried it and my hair was almost concrete once the cream dried. I have since been a lot more sparing with the creme and so far it is working quite well.

Well it works well on wash day. I find that by day two, after sleeping on my hair, my curls are a lot wilder and the cream just keeps their wildness in a more tame way. As I say I am still learning what works best for my hair so this may just be something that I need to practice to really get the full worth from it.

That being said I am quite impressed with it. It is firm hold so on wash day my curls are actually defined, and while my hair is still quite big, it isn’t from frizz. I have also noticed that the reset days seem to work well with this product – I can wet my hair, brush it, scrunch it as normal and there will still be enough product in my hair to keep most of my curls defined and reduce a fair amount of the frizz that I normally have. Now this may just be me still using too much of the product, but so far it is working quite well for me even if it is a change to my usual hair routine.

Price wise, it was £7 (I bought it from Superdrug) for 150ml which sounds expensive, but the way I deal with my hair I would probably go through this whole tube in about 4-5 months. Maybe even longer if I start to use less of the product. Like I have said this does seem like a very sharp learning curve for me as it is a very different product to what I have used before and it is also a lot more heavy duty.

I feel I may have to do an update on this once I have finished the tube of product…I shall keep you updated!

Overall: 5/10. So far it is ok, but I think time will tell as to the longevity of this product.

T xxx

‘The reality of…’ series

When I was thinking about ways to improve this little blog, I thought about some of the things I wish I had known more about before I started on my vegan journey. There is so much information out there that it can be very overwhelming to really know what the reality of a situation is: I knew that eating meat felt immoral to me, but why did i think this? I knew that most vegans don’t wear wool or silk, but what was this based on?

Veganism can tend to be viewed in a very black and white mind frame, in that you are either 100% perfect or you are a bad vegan. Even when I have looked into some of the issues for my own interest and for my own information, the amount of information was still too overwhelming to really wade through, and the information was at both ends of a spectrum: Either 100% good or 100% bad. There was very little middle ground, and I think that this middle ground is where many people sit when deciding whether or not to begin a vegan lifestyle.

I therefore thought it would be helpful to see both sides of the arguments on a number of different topics and issues. Hence, ‘The reality of…’ series was born! I really want to be able to not only deepen my own knowledge of a topic, but also to share that information with others and open up a chance for discourse and discussion. I do not believe that anything in life is as a simple and good and bad, and this is always something that has really interested me. It will also be interesting to see what new things we learn along the way and see if that in turn affects our views on other subjects.

I truly believe that a person can never be too informed about a situation and as someone who loves learning and reading up on different viewpoints and arguments, I am really looking forward to seeing where this series goes. I cannot guarantee when I will post them, as I already think some topics may be WAY more complicated than others and therefore will have way more information to read through. But I will be aiming for at least once a month to begin with and see how I get on with that!

If any of you guys have any topics or issues that you would like to discuss or wish me to research, then please do let me know in the comments, or even send me an email and I shall do my best to get through them!

T xxx

Noughty Wave Hello curl cream

I think I am slowly getting my hair routine down. I have heard great things about the Noughty range so decided to give their curl cream a go to see if it worked better than the jelly to tame my wild locks. I found the jelly did work well but it didn’t keep my curls intact for longer than a day, meaning I had to use it quite often to try and tame the frizz of my curls. Now I know some frizz is normal, but with it being so humid in England lately I would end the day looking like I had been struck by lightning!

This curl cream is definitely more heavy duty than the jelly. I currently only use it once or twice a week (depending on how my hair is looking) whenever I need to refresh my hair and give it a little bit of extra structure. It definitely helps my curls hold their shape even after I have slept on them, and also stops them getting too frizzy in the humidity at the moment.

I also preferred the texture of it being an actual cream, as I did start to find the jelly quite messy especially when using it so often. Just made me think I was playing with slime and I think I’m a bit too old for that! It doesn’t have any strong smell to it which is really nice, especially when it’s so hot out at the moment. The cream is quite thick, but it blends completely into my hair so you can’t even tell it’s on it even after my hair has dried. I also find it doesn’t clump or make my hair really crunchy – no need to scrunch the crunch with this stuff which actually saves a lot of time some days!

Price wise it is again, a bit more expensive than non-vegan non-curly hair specific products but….I have learned to accept this. Hopefully over the years, as veganism and curly hair care becomes more easily available the price should start to lower.

Overall: 8/10. It is only the second one I have tried, so probably shouldn’t get too excited. But I completely get the hype around this.

T xxx

Eden Perfumes: 309

Vegan friendly perfume has always been something that eluded me. I am someone that enjoys wearing perfume, and have spent the last few years using up some of my non-vegan favourites that I had a surplus of. Unfortunately most vegan alternatives are either really expensive, or are only ever really light ‘body sprays’ or ‘mists’, so never last long once put on. I came across Eden perfumes thanks to a very quick google search though, and after reading some of the reviews out there, I decided to give them a try.

Eden Perfume are based in Brighton and create scents that are based on mainstream favourites. They are not complete copies though so there is still a bit of a difference between the different scents. Eden perfumes are also 100% vegan and cruelty free. I have seen online that you can also grab Eden Perfumes at places like Holland & Barrett, but with lockdown I don’t think these places will be open as normal for a while yet.

One of my favourite scents has always been Chanel No.5. It smells so luxurious and classic that it’s hard to not enjoy it. I therefore first tried out Eden’s No. 007 perfume, which all of the reviews said was an amazing dupe of the Chanel. I can totally see why it is one of their most popular as it did smell really nice. Personally though, I found the 007 to be far too musky – it smelt far too much like my Nan and that just threw me off a bit.

The Eden customer service were amazing though and did offer me a free exchange. It came really quickly too so it meant I didn’t have to wait for ages to have my new scent.

I decided to therefore test out Eden’s no. 309, which is based upon the Marc Jacob’s Daisy. I love a good floral scent so thought this would be the most likely to succeed. Marc Jacob’s Daisy is also one of my favourite non-vegan perfumes so was very much on the look out for something to replace it when my stock ran out. The Eden version did not disappoint.

This scent smells AMAZING. I literally feel like a little bouquet of flowers when I wear this. It is also a really light smell so it isn’t overpowering at all. It also seems to last all day, and every now and again I’ll move my arms or readjust my shirt and get a little smell of daisies. It is only just now starting to feel like Spring here in England so this scent has done wonders for lifting my spirits on the cold and dark mornings.

The downside however is that, not being local to Brighton, I cannot go and test out a lot of different scents as on their website they have HUNDREDS that all sound gorgeous. Hopefully once lockdown is ended and travel outside of your area is allowed, I may need to take a road trip to finally test out all of the sets I have had my eye on. As I say though their customer service was fantastic, and when I ordered they did say that returns and swaps are perfectly allowed as they also appreciate that it can be hard to order a scent that you have never smelt before. They answered my questions really quickly and also sent my new perfume in really good time, even with lockdown in place.

The price is also a massive bonus. Each perfume is £18 for 30ml, which honestly feels like such a steal. I have had this bottle now for about three weeks, using it every day, and the volume in the bottle has barely changed. I have no doubt that this will last me a long time and for £18 I cannot fault it at all. They do offer bigger bottles for more money so I think I may have to order one of these next time to last me even longer!

Overall: 10/10. Really good value for money and no. 309 is easily my favourite scent….I actually prefer it to the original!

T xxx

Umberto Giannini curl jelly collection

I have very curly hair and up until this year I have been pretty cruel to my hair. I – like most teenage girls I’m sure – spent the majority of my teens straightening my hair. My hair was never really ‘pretty curly’…it never really had curly shapes to it and when I did brush it, it basically took on a life of it’s own. Think Hermione Granger in the Philospher’s Stone, but more. That’s my hair.

With everything happening this year, with national lockdowns and furlough, the idea of ‘doing my hair’ every day just seemed like too much hassle. My hair is also very thick, so washing, drying and styling my hair took at least an hour – if I really rushed I could get it done within about 45 minutes, but that still seems like a lot of time to be spent holding a hair drying and brushing my hair. So for the first time in a long time, I left my hair alone and actually let it heal.

I came across the Curly Girl method when researching how best to look after curly hair. The reviews all say that this method is amazing and truly gives you the bouncy, healthy curls that so many of us dream of. This article from Cosmopolitan Magazine really helped me understand the basics. But naturally it was also then trying to find any vegan options that could be used.

I am a pretty big fan of Umberto. The products of theirs I have used have been really good and they are easily available at most Superdrug and Boots stores. I had also read that their Curl Jelly range were very highly recommended for those who wanted to follow the Curly Girl Method, regardless of whether they needed vegan or not. So I decided to test it and see how we get on.

Firstly, O.M.G. My hair has never felt so soft and healthy. I have never been someone to wash my hair everyday, and on average wash my hair maybe once a twice a week depending on how active I have been. But I did my ‘reset wash’ and even when rinsing my hair, it felt lighter. Probably because it had finally been truly stripped of 10 years worth of heat products and the wrong type of shampoo. The curl jelly shampoo is a bit odd, in that the texture is more like gel than regular shampoo. But it lathers up nicely and made my hair feel so soft and light after washing. The condition is also very hydrating. I come out of the shower with hair that still feels very soft, despite the damage that I am still trying to rectify.

The scrunching jelly i a whole new area for me. I rarely use products in my hair, because I find they just usually make my hair feel heavy and greasy and make so little difference that they can be hard to justify using all the time. This scrunching jelly feels like gel, and seems to do the same sort of thing. It does feel lighter than gel though, as my hair doesn’t feel hard to touch when my hair is drying.

I hav been doing the curly girl method, and using these products, for about 2 weeks now, so I have washed my hair twice. But even still I can see a HUGE difference in my hair. My hair actually seems to have some shape to it: I have some strands that are ringlets, some that are a bit looser and some that are just soft beach waves, but whatever the shape you can finally actually SEE the shape, rather than the usual mass of frizzy hair that my hair used to be.

The one difficulty I am finding is that under the curly girl method you are not supposed to brush your hair. You brush it in the shower when wet with either your hands or a wide tooth comb, but otherwise you just…leave for a quick run through with your fingers when needed. So for me that has been a hard thing to get used to because my daily routine was so used to getting up, brushing my hair and getting ready for the day. Though that being said my hair doesn’t get as knotty as I thought it would be, possibly because my hair is in a more natural state and being left alone to just….hang.

Overall: 8/10. This stuff is clearly working wonders for my hair but as it is still very early days, I suppose time will have to tell if this method and these products can really help my hair health. If you guys have any recommendations please let me know!

T xxx

Veganism and fast fashion

For many people within the vegan community, they chose to go vegan for the environment. Animal agriculture is the second biggest contributor to greenhouse gases, beaten only by the consumption of fossil fuels. Roughly a third of all of the Earth’s non-ice land is used to raise the 70 billion livestock animals needed to meet demand, and this in turn causes large amounts of deforestation to make enough space for these animals to grow. A study showed that beef consumption caused on average 1,984 pounds of CO2 emissions annually, and by swapping beef for plants, this cut C02 emissions by 96%.

But one of the other biggest drains on our environment is that of fast fashion. Fast fashion is a term used to describe fashion trends that quickly follow any new runway season. Large retailers, such as Zara, H&M and New Look are the most prominent in the fast fashion industry, as they churn out new collections at least 3 times a year. IN 2018, the fashion industry contributed 8% of all man-made greenhouse gases. While 8% may not seem like much, that is still more than both aviation and shipping combined!

The other issue that arises with fast fashion is that of sweat shops. Due to the cheap labour that can come from sweat shops, many companies will outsource their labour to places such as Bangladesh and Cambodia. The labour is cheap, so it keeps their overall costs down and means that they can turn a bigger profit. However the issue with sweat shops is that the workers are almost always in poor working conditions, with little to no health and safety protection and for very small wage. Everyone knows that sweatshops exist and that they are not appropriate working places for anyone int his modern world, but unfortunately our desire to constantly be consuming the latest fashion trends means that sweatshops remain open and in business. Sweat shops are also a cestpool for exploitation and wage theft, where people are forced to work in terrible conditions because they have no other option, and also do not have the proper employment infrastructure in place to adequately protect their interests while working for these industries.

Veganism itself is, by definition, a way of living that causes the least amount of harm. This does not exist purely for the animals. Do not get me wrong, I love fashion. I have had a subscription to Vogue since I was 14 and have spent so many hours admiring the beautiful collections that have been created over the years. I am also human, and sometimes there is no greater joy in the world than finding that perfect dress that makes you feel like a princess or a pair of jeans that fit both your hips, waist and your butt perfectly! But I cannot ignore the fact that those perfect jeans were made by exploited members of our world, and that by buying them I am undoubtedly contributing and perpetuating their exploitation.

But what can be done? In reality we cannot simply not buy clothes, because walking around naked is still illegal (or at least highly frowned upon) in almost every country in the world. And our bodies will also undoubtedly change as we go through life, from growing as children to adults, to pregnancy, to weight gain, to weight loss, to old age. Our bodies are constantly changing and therefore we will need clothes for each of these stages in our lives. The struggle is very real, because the main issue starts at the very top: Fashion designers and makers need to start creating collections that focus on sustainability and longevity, rather than items that can be worn twice and thrown away. Admittedly a lot of companies are now working towards this, with the Paris Agreement coming into force in 2015 and giving many companies, including those within the fashion industry, a good kick up the butt to get their sustainability plans in order to cut their carbon emissions to 0 by 2050.

But what can you do as a lay person?

1. Recycle

In recent years the idea of ‘thrifting’ has become a lot more mainstream, but it also serves a very important role in society. I personally, have bought almost all of my clothing second hand over the last 2-3 years, with the only exception being underwear (for obvious reasons!). Charity stores, good will and even apps such as DePop and eBay can have beautiful items of clothing, in great condition that cost more than half the price if you were to buy it in store. The money also goes to charities, so in some cases it can be like giving a donation and getting a pretty little outfit in return. And what’s not to love about that?! It can also work in your favour, as any clothes that you have outgrown (especially children’s clothes) you can always use online places or car boot sales to sell unwanted clothing, therefore giving the clothes another chance at life while putting a little bit of extra money in your pocket.

img_20200428_175049A Miss Selfridge beaded dress that would usually retail for around £100, I managed to buy for £17 from a lovely lady on eBay. It fits me like a glove and lets me live my Gatsby Fantasy! It is beautiful and I love it and will never wear any item of clothing ever again. I will be married in this dress, I will be buried in this dress, and I will carry it with me into the after life.

2. Upcycle

Sometimes, no matter how much you love an item of clothing, you just outgrow it. Or you see the ideal outfit in a charity shop only to realise that it is the completely wrong size for you. In these cases, you can do what is sometimes called a ‘thrift flip’ and you can turn an item of clothing into a whole new outfit with just some basic sewing skills. Not only does this mean that you get even more wear out of your clothing, it will also teach you a valuable skill that means that you can personalise and save your own clothes from having to go to landfill. If you need inspiration, there are hundreds of incredible talented people on YouTube who can show you some ideas and teach you some of the more basic sewing skills to get you started.

3. Quality over quantity

Now I appreciate that I am saying this from a rather privileged position, in that I can chose to shop at slightly more expensive stores because I earn enough to do so. As much as I love Primark for it’s cheap vests and t-shirts, I know that it only costs £2 because it will probably only last me about 3 months before it starts to fall apart. One of the ways I shop is that I go for a well built item of clothing, even if it is not the cheapest item out there. For example, I have a knit jumper that I bought from H&M around 10 years ago and IT IS STILL GOING STRONG. I would honestly be lost without this jumper and it has gotten me through some seriously cold English winters without fail. One of my most expensive purchases was a Ted Baker cape coat, which I purchased 7 years ago, which I still break out every single winter because it is the warmest, most snuggly coat that I have ever found. Plus it is absolutely beautiful and timeless, which means that it never goes out of style and looks amazing with everything that I wear.

4. By sale items or from outlet

Following on from my Ted Baker coat, I also bought this from an outlet store, so while I still paid a decent amount of money for it (around £120 if I remember correctly), it was way cheaper than if I had bought it directly from the store as soon as it was released. The joy of outlets and sale items is that it saves you a lot of money overall, while also preventing clothing from ending up at landfill. Recently, if I have had to buy anything new, I only shop during the sales and only buy it if it is on sale. If I can stop at least some clothes from just being sent to landfill, then I might as well save myself a few quid in the process!

5. Buy timeless items of clothing

Again, not everyone has the privilege of buying items that are timeless: Kids for example will outgrow an item of clothing as soon as you buy it. But if you are just shopping for you, buy items that you know will never go out of style or that you know you will never fall out of love with. Most fashion trends are cyclical, and will no doubt come back around in a year or two. If someone had told 5 year old me that those jelly shoes I adored would still be really cool when I was 25, I’d have laughed at you! I only buy clothing that fit my personal style and that I know that I can wear multiple times, for multiple occasions, that fit with multiple other outfits. For example, I have a Topshop blazer that is pink check (Think if Clueless and Legally Blonde had a fashion baby) that I bought about 2 years ago for £60, and to this day I still get a stupid smile on my face when I put it on. It is preppy but sophisticated and also makes me feel like an absolute dream when I wear it. And since the majority of my wardrobe is either black or pink, it goes with everything else that I own!

6. Invest in a capsule wardrobe

Now this one will take a while, and there is a lot of research and trial and error that needs to go into one. Again, you can find inspiration on YouTube and the wider web. A capsule wardrobe is essentially a wardrobe that consist of around 30 items of clothing that are interchangeable with one another, meaning that you no longer have to think about what you are wearing. If you wake up late for work, you can throw on any skirt with any top and know that it will look amazing. You can wear the same dress to a wedding one weekend, to a work do the next, to drinks with friends afterwards. The idea of a capsule wardrobe is to not only take out one stress in your life (such as spending most nights planning what you’re going to wear the next day) and also cut down on your consumption of fashion: If one of your shirts is beyond saving, you know that you only need to replace one top, rather than changing up your entire wardrobe. Capsule wardrobes are also really flexible and personal, so can work for anyone. Granted they do take some time to sort out, but the process can be a fun and creative process that allows you to truly develop your own sense of personal style.

7. One in, one out

Another rule I follow is that if I buy a new item of clothing, I have to donate/sell another item. One great incentive for this is that if you see a dress that you absolute adore, and know that you will get a lot of wear out of it in the coming years, then have a look through your wardrobe to see if there is an item of clothing that you haven’t actually worn in a while. My favourite way to do this is to turn all of my hanger hooks around at the start of the year/month. I go about my life as normal, and if in 3 months, I realise that I haven’t worn a few items of clothing I take them out and reassess. Why haven’t I worn them? At the start of this year I did a massive clearout and sold/donated at least half of my wardrobe. I have now spent the past 6 months finding items of clothing for my own capsule wardrobe and don’t feel bad about having an overstuffed wardrobe because I already removed so many items that were just wasting away.

8. Look after your clothing

This one may be obvious but it does pay to learn how to properly look after your clothing. Dry clean what needs to be dry cleaned. Hand wash what needs to be hand washed. Now granted, I have been the same size since I was about 13 years old (give or take a few pounds!) but the majority of my wardrobe I have had for years: I have some tops that I have owned since sixth form that still look brand new today, and dresses that I have worn to countless social events over the years that never go out of style. I have also learnt basic clothing repair and alterations: If a dress becomes too short or no longer hangs right, I can turn it into a skirt/top combo instead and wear the pieces separately. Needless to say, the better you look after your clothing, the longer they will last you and the better for the environment this can be.

Side note: I will be the first to admit that my wardrobe is probably not 100% vegan. I’m certain a few of my jumpers contain wool and I also have a pair of leather Doc Martins that I have owned since I was about 17. But as with all things, veganism is not an all or nothing: If you do own something that contains animal products, if it something that you wear everyday and you love it, then keep wearing it. Wear it until it literally turns to dust. The worst thing to do would be to simply be wasteful with it. As I said, I have items of clothing that I have owned for years that I am certain contain some form of animal product, but the clothing is still in perfect condition, it still fits, and I still love it. I will not just bin it, because then it means that the animal was wasted. It just teaches me to be more mindful of what I am buying and to double check where my clothing is coming from.

I hope this helps and if you need any more information let me know. I can point you in the direction of some of my favourite YouTubers or tips for bidding on eBay. Also let me know if you have found any other tips that help you buy clothes in a more sustainable manner so I can implement them into my own life. Happy clothes hunting lovelies!

T xxx