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  • I don’t want to condone tyranny or anything but don’t let anyone steal your power.
    •  

      Truly history-defining moments are like gold dust. Gold dust which, last week, the world’s favourite 60-year-old man from Honolulu, Hawaii generously sprinkled over the unexpecting, albeit hungry, masses. Yes, I am referring to the release of Obama’s 2022 Summer Playlist.

      “Every year, I get excited to share my summer playlist because I learn about so many new artists from your replies”, Obama wrote. Can this man get any better? Not only does he support new artists – a notably refreshing contrast from Trump, who tried to end Federal Arts funding (ironically, it grew) – but, to the eagle eye that notices the 44-song-length list, he also enjoys a sneaky allusion to himself as the United States’ 44th president (very smooth Barack, very smooth). 

       

      The relationship between politicians and the arts is both a rich and rocky one. Art is intrinsically linked to human creativity and freedom, and so has always found itself subject to strict regulation in totalitarian states (take, for example, the Nazi Book burnings of the 1930s, or the propaganda music still played in North Korea). On the other hand, democratic nations have been careful to preach (at least publicly) the importance of the arts. Dwight. D. Eisenhower lauded modern art as a ‘Pillar of Liberty’. Sir Winston Churchill, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter all tried their hand at painting. We even have a picture of John. F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline Kennedy to thank for being the source of inspiration behind Neil Diamond’s hit 1969 song “Sweet Caroline”. 

       

      Despite these variations, one thing remains the same wherever you look: art is deeply personal. Every person will have a different – perhaps unexpected – taste in it. Think, the bodybuilder who loves opera, or the librarian who loves heavy metal. Saying this, perhaps I shouldn’t have been so quick to assume a millennial publicist was involved when I saw the likes of Burna Boy and Fatboy Slim gracing this year’s edition of Obama’s playlist, alongside some expected old-school classics, such as Prince and The Spinners. Forgive me, but I find it hard to visualise the former president typing Lil Yachty’s ‘Split/Whole Time’ into Spotify and getting groovy to the lyrics “Got some bitches in Budapest” and “My dick get bigger when I see a money rack”.

       

      Prejudices aside, the surprising nature of Obama’s playlist got me wondering what artists our politicians at home in the U.K are listening to. For instance, did Boris blast Britney Spears’s ‘Oops I did it again’ at his second Downing Street bash? Does Liz Truss vibe to Professor Green’s ‘Dance Like A Tory’? Is Rishi Sunak humbly listening to Pulp’s ‘Common People’? Does Matt Hancock still connect with Shaggy’s ‘It wasn’t me’ or was that just in his Cheating On The Wife era? 

       

      It seems likely we won’t be receiving any responses from our politicians to the questions we really want answers to (what’s new there, right?). However, what we can confidently discern on our own is twofold: Obama is still as cool as he was in the White House and Boris could well be a Belieber. In fact, I believe his unedited resignation speech opens with ‘Is it too late now to say sorry? Because I’m missing more than just bare parties’.

       

    • Cow’s milk is renowned for being the most popular and accessible kind of milk. Unfortunately, it is almost equally as famous for being the milk with the highest environmental impact. Cow’s Milk requires nine times as much land and produces 3 times as much carbon emissions to produce as any non-dairy alternative. Besides the environmental impact, many people protest against cow’s milk for health reasons, believing that a mother’s cow milk and the hormones in it are designed specifically for her calves and are not meant to enter the human body. If cow’s milk is something that you’re looking to ditch, or simply have less of, in 2022, here are your alternatives:

       

      Almond milk: probably one of the most common nut milk. A slight marzipan flavour but mainly neutral. Versatile. 

       

      Detoxinsta.com

      Oat milk: my favourite milk alternative. A sweetish taste. Great for cooking and baking. Perfect in porridge.

       

      Downshiftology.com

       

       

      Coconut milk: creamy and thick. Nutty, exotic flavour.

       

      Smallfootprintfamily.com

       

       

      Hazelnut milk: nutty flavour, perfect in a mug of hot chocolate. Harder to find.

       

      alphafoodie.com

       

       

      Soy milk: Nutty in taste. Suited to savoury dishes. 

       

      everydayhealth.com

       

       

      Rice Milk: Very sweet. Gluten-free. 

       

      seriouseats.com

       

       

      Spelt milk: an intense cereal flavour. Fits well with breakfast dishes, such as muesli or porridge. Contains gluten. Hard to find.

       

      dissolve.com

       

       

      Hemp milk: made from peeled hemp seeds. A 500ml serving contains the daily recommended dietary requirement of omega-3 fatty acids. Hard to find.

       

       

      Downshiftology.com

       


    • As Boris Johnson hides behind a door at Downing Street, I investigate what’s going down in the political minds of today’s youth. Because who better to discuss the current political landscape with than a group of eighteen-year-olds? Fresh, innovative voices. The new generation of voters. The future of politics. 

      Refreshingly raw and candid, the below survey captures the serious responses of a number of serious students to a series of serious political questions. 

      Disclaimer: This is very serious.

      Me: Firstly, how would you describe our Prime Minister in three words?

      Person 1: “The Class Clown”

      Person 2: “What, Boris? Ugh.”

      Person 3: *unintelligible ranting noises*

      Person 4: “Extremely inadequate”. That’s two words. Jeez, fine. “He is a liability”, then. That’s four.

      Me: You get an invite to a party at No. 10. Are you going?

      Person 1: “No”

      Person 2: “Nah”

      Person 3: “yeah, I wanna see what really goes down”

      Person 4: “If Nigel Farage was there”. Why? “Do you really want me to answer that?”

      Me: More importantly, will you be bringing the vibes to said party?

      Person 1: “100%”

      Person 2: “Um, of course?”

      Person 3: “ I think they have that covered already. Haven’t you seen the videos?”

      Person 4: “Yes, and an army of gate-crashers”

      Me: Downing Street is on fire. Boris can save one thing. What is he saving?

      Person 1: “oh, that’s a hard one”

      Person 2: “Good question”. Thanks. “Can you come back to me?”. Sure.

      Person 3: “A wine and cheese gift basket from his most recent sesh”

      Person 4: “what am I allowed to say on here again? Depends. Can I say his side chick?”

      Me: Trivia Round. How many kids does Boris Johnson have?

      Person 1: “oh, it’s got to be fifty plus”

      Person 2: “seven, right?”

      Person 3: “who knows”

      Person 4: “I don’t know…what’s the population of Leamington Spa?”

      Me: Finally, who would you like to see as the next PM? You can pick anyone.

      Person 1: “Obama”. Good choice, both of them.

      Person 2: “Ben Shephard”. Why? “Cos’ he’s hot?”

      Person 3: “Gemma Collins because-” No, there’s no need to expand.

      Person 4: “Ed Milliband”. Why? “Labour”. Right, silly me.


      Some other people decide to get involved.

      Person 5: “KSI. Yeah. I think that’d be pretty cool”

      Person 6: “Ian Wright”. Oh, my mum met him once. “Really?”. What, you think I’d lie? I’m not a politician.

      Person 7: “James Corden”. This response was subject to much criticism.

      Person 8: “Eamonn Holmes. He’s, like, a cute guy”. Right. Yeah. No, totally.

      Person 9: “Zeina Sultani”. Who’s that? “A politician”. Good, just testing your knowledge.

      Person 10: “Joey Essex. He keeps it real” 

      Person 11: “David Attenborough”. OMG YES. Ok, survey over. Thank you for your time.


    • Satire

       May your life be filled with love, laughter and light.

      8:00 AM – Wake up and gaze out the window at this beautiful day (if it’s not that beautiful, don’t worry, you can use the filter ‘rose radiance’ and turn the saturation up to 10 to fix that!). Grab the bullet journal on my bedside table and set my daily intentions. Pro tip: write something productive and hold yourself accountable. No time for excuses! After all, we all have the same 24 hours in a day…

      8:30 AM – Ignore notifications coming in from that friend who’s having a family crisis. If I’ve learnt anything since the pandemic, it’s that you must always put yourself first!!!!!

      8:32 AM – When the notifications from my friend start to become invasive – omg, toxic much? – send her a photo of the fortune cookie from last night’s Chinese takeaway that reads, ‘trust and everything will fall into place’. Satisfied, put my phone onto ‘do not disturb’ after setting the day’s ‘screen time’ limits. Did you know, staring at blue ray light from your phone for too long can cause all your dreams to wither into ash and make every person you have ever truly loved despise you? 

      9:00 AM – Roll out my yoga mat (I use this one from Lululemon, $250 – can you believe it’s finally on sale? Me neither!) and create a calming atmosphere. I personally like to use this hand-poured, consciously-crafted, artisan, organic, sustainably sourced, vegan, paraben-free and toxins free candle (Anthropologie, $98) where 5% of profits go to a homeless shelter – how cute!

      9:20 AM – Ignore the distant sound of people travelling to work. Try to reach a place of inner stillness on my yoga mat. Sigh deeply in frustration as the sound of the nearby commuters interrupts my sacred pranayama breathing practice.

      10: AM – Now for relaxing – it can be pretty exhaustive blocking out all these toxic external influences, am I right? Run a hot bath as my new crystals (Etsy, $55 – affiliate link) charge. Stop the water before it gets too high: I believe it’s so important we all do our little bit to help save the planet!  Pour in some bubble bath from a plastic bottle and put on a plastic shower cap whilst I apply my go-to hair mask (Nordstrom, $89 – affiliate link).

      10:30 AM – brush teeth with a bamboo toothbrush and charcoal toothpaste. Spit toothpaste out early and rush back to my bedroom when I realise my crystals are overcharged.

      11:00 AM – Panic over. Use this period of relief and reflection to write in my gratitude journal. Today I am thankful that I am not one of those commuters that walked past me earlier. Hustle culture is real, you guys!!

      12 AM – Brunch with a friend at our fave spot. Apparently the entire high street is struggling to survive because of this economic crash thing caused by the pandemic (speaking of which, remember to use my code COVID20 for 20% of my COVID edition merch drop!!), but tbh I don’t know if I could survive without their coconut topped acai bowl and organic matcha pancakes, lol!


      There we have it – my morning routine! Obviously, today was super-duper chillaxed and I’d usually fit a lot more into my morning, but I think it’s super important to be real with you guys. Especially on social media. The last thing I’d want is to contribute towards a toxic online culture.


    •  Mid-bite into an almond croissant brought from an unashamedly overpriced ‘organic’ café on Tottenham Court Road, I’m momentarily distracted from the party in my tastebuds by the approaching sound of an actual party heading in my direction. If my mind had been occupied by musings more serious than whether I preferred my regular Prêt almond croissant to the one I was currently eating, then I might well have missed it, for no attention-grabbing music was blasting from portable speakers to alert me to the presence of a party. Instead, the faint, enthusiastic voices of approximately 15 adults singing the famous lines of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is what breaks me from my food-related reverie. Their voices crescendo with each successive ‘galileo’. A curious, amused expression is worn by the turning heads of pedestrians passing nearby. An employed, concentrated expression is worn by those at a greater distance from the party who squint to decipher the writing at the back of their multi-coloured hi-vis jackets. It reads: ‘silent disco’.


      Source: Sky News

      “They didn’t even look drunk”, my brother, who’d witnessed the party pass with me, notes after they had passed out of view. I agreed. “It must be liberating though”, I added, “like, not caring at all what anyone is thinking”. He agreed. 

      On the train back, I’m filled with the sudden urge to dance. Of course, not the urge to dance right there and then. As much as I try to have an open mindset, I am not and never will be the type of person to make the fully conscious choice to dance in public with no remote concern for societal norms. However, I am the type of person to get home after a stressful day, search for a dance workout on youtube (my favourites are on Pamela Reif’s channel if you’re interested) and dance like nobody’s watching. I guess sensation is what seeing the silent disco in London reminded me of.

       What is the purpose of this post, you ask? I don’t know. I suppose, in essence, it is nothing but a virtual reminder to embrace your inner Elsa and ‘let it go’. 


    •  Do you feel guilty when you’re not doing something productive? Are you overly self-critical when you don’t manage to tick off everything on your daily to-do list? When was the last time you took a moment to congratulate yourself on a past achievement, however small? If the answer “yes” presented itself firmly in the mind’s eye for the first two questions, whilst for the third you are still fervently scouring your brain for an answer that doesn’t sound alarming, do not fret. It’s not you, it’s hustle culture.


      Loosely defined, hustle culture is a fast-paced environment that feeds off long working hours and thrives on the restless sense that we should always be striving towards some type of goal. Chances are, if you live in this day and age and identify yourself with having a toxic relationship to productivity, you are a victim of hustle culture.

      Scientifically, there is no such connection between working more hours and higher rates of productivity. In fact, increasing working hours only serves to increase fatigue and stress, which not only limits productivity but also boosts the probability of errors being made. That is, of course, without mentioning the correlation between higher working hours and burnout. Dissatisfaction and loss of motivation are not uncommon symptoms of increased working hours. No wonder we’re sometimes labelled the ‘burnout generation’.

      Given the cold-hard facts, the prevalence of such a self-destructive method to productivity seems strange. However, hustle culture is ingrained into every aspect of society. For some, treating it like a shawl and just letting it drop would seem like a bigger mental challenge than enduring it. It is, after all, a culture. 

      Significantly, it is a culture that social media has only exacerbated. The digital age has allowed hustle culture the opportunity to seep its way into our screens and dominate the social media platforms that occupy much of our lives. Hustle culture in social media takes form in many ways, be it an inspirational quote for “Motivational Monday” reminding you that “ a year from now you’ll wish you had started today!” or a post from that childhood friend who’s just earned their PHD, captioned “all the hard work finally paid off – don’t give up on your dreams, you guys!”.

      These constant virtual affirmations and reminders to utilise every possible opportunity for productivity could motivate us, but, in reality, is much more likely contributing to a sense that we aren’t doing enough. We are, in some way, behind or failing. Yet, the idyllic life that social media deems “just another day’s grind” away provides hustle culture just enough appeal to make a life of high productivity seem worth its sacrifices. But, then this sacrifice inevitably comes in the form of burnout, to end all aspiring productivity. Thus, the cyclical nature of hustle culture thrives.

      The solution, you ask? Until society’s general relationship with work culture changes, we need to change our mindset in order not to fall victim to hustle culture. There are two main realisations that we need to make. Firstly, we must work smart, not hard. Yes, this does sound like the perfect cliché for an inspirational ‘Monday Motivation’ Facebook forum, but, ultimately, there is a lot of truth in it. Prioritise getting the most important things done, not absolutely everything. Equally, recognise that reserving time in your daily routine to relax is, from a productivity viewpoint, beneficial. To give another quote fitting for ‘Motivational Monday’: self-care is productive. The second piece of advice would be to enjoy the process. Try to make your boring tasks and chores as enjoyable as possible. Learn how to appreciate the process of working towards a goal as much as the end goal itself. Focus on inset goals, instead of outset goals. And, hey, if all else fails, just delete your social media. I heard that’s kinda cool nowadays. 


    • In an age where we’re becoming increasingly conscious of environmental issues, there are surprisingly (or, perhaps, not so surprisingly) very few retailers who actually acknowledge and respond to our urge to be kinder to the planet. This may leave you asking yourself, ‘Is it possible to shop sustainably? Is Amazon really my only option?’.

      Well…fret no more. Answering your sustainability prayers, meet Veo: the earth-friendly market place. Veo ticks all the boxes for ethics and sustainability; it is the destination for consumers who care about product origins and materials, or who simply wish to support unique and independent brands whose core values align with theirs.
      With Veo, there’s no need to waste time, money (or greenhouse emissions) by using multiple websites to find what you need; it’s a one-stop sustainability shop. Get anything from clothing, food, drink, skincare, makeup, and homeware all carefully curated in one place for a stress-free shopping experience. For today’s blog post, Veo gifted me a box with some hand-picked products to try out from their ‘home and lifestyle’ range. So, without further ado, let’s take a look!
      It only makes sense to begin with the first thought I had upon seeing and touching this bag: the quality. Let’s just say…you can tell that Veo aren’t lying when they say that this bag is made from vegan, natural 100% organic cotton. This market bag is the perfect plastic-free and reusable alternative to disposable plastic shopping bags; the straps are just the right length that the bag sits comfortably over your shoulder and the netted material flexible enough that you can fit a surprising amount inside. Perfect – as Veo put it – for an ‘impromptu trip to the farmers’ market’.

      AKA: self-care that fits in your pocket! These tin-travel candles are conveniently designed so that you can easily travel with them, allowing their calming aroma to leave you feeling tranquil wherever you are. It goes without saying that it’s also sustainability approved: 100% natural plant wax (rapeseed and soy bean, from renewable sources), cotton wicks and recyclable packaging. 

      I don’t know about you, but, even now, I still get excited when I’m in possession of hand sanitiser (which probably has something do with the fact that – alongside toilet roll – it was virtually gold dust throughout the first half of the pandemic). However, this hand sanitiser, being vegan, cruelty free and 100% recyclable, is a step up from your average supermarket stuff. It’s non-sticky, non-drying and doesn’t leave behind any residue – the fact it also happens to be biodegradable, sustainable and plant-based is just an added bonus!
      This mini cleaning kit contains a selection of multi purpose surface cleaner, bathroom cleaner and toilet cleaners. The packaging is completely plastic free – you can either recycle it or add it to your home compost. What’s more? Everything at Mix Clean Green is vegan, non-toxic (and contains no parabens, chemical preservatives, SLS, chemical biocides or palm), water-free and has a low-carbon foot print.
      Like the sound of Veo? Well, the first 10 of you to use the code ‘LILYLOVES10’ will be able to receive £10 off your order with them. Happy (sustainable) shopping!
    • Thanks to technology, sustainable living has never been more accessible and easy to learn about. Below, I’ve rounded up a collection of the best apps to help you offset your carbon footprint and discover sustainable living tips.

      Too Good To Go

      Too Good to Go is 

      Each year, 1/3 of food produced in the world goes to waste. Too Good To Go is the number one food waste app, enabling you to save perfectly good, surplus food from your local stores. 

      Good On You

      The global fashion industry is notorious for its role in creating pollution, waste and committing human rights abuses. Tackling this, the brand rating app, Good on You, allows you to discover ethical and sustainable fashion brands. Want to know if your favourite fashion brand is ethical, or simply want to discover some new brands that adhere to your values? Good on You has your back.

      Kitche

      Featured by the BBC and the Guardian, Kitche is an app designed to save you food waste and money at home. After scanning your receipts, Kitche will design you personalised recipe plans with the ingredients you have in the house and warn you to use products before they go bad.

      Deliciously Ella

      Deliciously Ella – the wellness blogger turned entrepreneur – has created an app which is not only home to a vast collection of delicious recipes for a plant-based diet, but also offers advice on sleep, exercise, mindfulness and water consumption. Good for you, good for the planet.

      My Plastic Diary

      Looking to reduce your plastic intake? My Plastic Diary could be your solution, helping you reduce your plastic consumption by showing a breakdown of the type of plastics you’re buying and offering suggestions of non-plastic alternatives.

      Capture

      We’re all aware of the dangers of rising CO2 emissions. We’re less aware of how we can prevent them. However, Capture is an easy and comprehensive way to reduce your carbon footprint – giving you non-judgemental updates on your CO2 journey whilst providing tips and articles to help you reach your goals.

      Think Dirty

      Learn the science behind your cosmetics by simply scanning their barcode to reveal a breakdown of their ingredients. To minimise unwanted chemicals in your beauty routine, download Think Dirty.

      Ecosia

      Ecosia is the perfect search engine app to replace Google, with its profits made from ads being invested into the environment. Their promise to you? For every 45 searches you make, Ecosia will plant a tree. I’ve written an separate post on Ecosia, so click here for more information.

    •  Don’t get me wrong, 15 step skincare regimes are great, but when its 30 degrees outside and an ice-cold drink is patiently waiting outside for you, the last last thing you want is to be spending half an hour by a sink. You want something that’s quick, effortless and protective, whilst giving you the radiance mistakable of that of the gods of glowing skin themselves. Luckily, I have just the skincare routine for you. 

      1. PreCleanse

      2. Vitamin C Serum/ Melting Moisture Masque (whether you simply want to treat dry skin, or add the glow of the century, both of these will have your back!)

      (optional) Skinperfect Primer (with spf 30)

      3. Invisible Physical defence (SPF 30)

      4. Protection Sun Sport spf 50

  •  

    Truly history-defining moments are like gold dust. Gold dust which, last week, the world’s favourite 60-year-old man from Honolulu, Hawaii generously sprinkled over the unexpecting, albeit hungry, masses. Yes, I am referring to the release of Obama’s 2022 Summer Playlist.

    “Every year, I get excited to share my summer playlist because I learn about so many new artists from your replies”, Obama wrote. Can this man get any better? Not only does he support new artists – a notably refreshing contrast from Trump, who tried to end Federal Arts funding (ironically, it grew) – but, to the eagle eye that notices the 44-song-length list, he also enjoys a sneaky allusion to himself as the United States’ 44th president (very smooth Barack, very smooth). 

     

    The relationship between politicians and the arts is both a rich and rocky one. Art is intrinsically linked to human creativity and freedom, and so has always found itself subject to strict regulation in totalitarian states (take, for example, the Nazi Book burnings of the 1930s, or the propaganda music still played in North Korea). On the other hand, democratic nations have been careful to preach (at least publicly) the importance of the arts. Dwight. D. Eisenhower lauded modern art as a ‘Pillar of Liberty’. Sir Winston Churchill, George W. Bush and Jimmy Carter all tried their hand at painting. We even have a picture of John. F. Kennedy’s daughter Caroline Kennedy to thank for being the source of inspiration behind Neil Diamond’s hit 1969 song “Sweet Caroline”. 

     

    Despite these variations, one thing remains the same wherever you look: art is deeply personal. Every person will have a different – perhaps unexpected – taste in it. Think, the bodybuilder who loves opera, or the librarian who loves heavy metal. Saying this, perhaps I shouldn’t have been so quick to assume a millennial publicist was involved when I saw the likes of Burna Boy and Fatboy Slim gracing this year’s edition of Obama’s playlist, alongside some expected old-school classics, such as Prince and The Spinners. Forgive me, but I find it hard to visualise the former president typing Lil Yachty’s ‘Split/Whole Time’ into Spotify and getting groovy to the lyrics “Got some bitches in Budapest” and “My dick get bigger when I see a money rack”.

     

    Prejudices aside, the surprising nature of Obama’s playlist got me wondering what artists our politicians at home in the U.K are listening to. For instance, did Boris blast Britney Spears’s ‘Oops I did it again’ at his second Downing Street bash? Does Liz Truss vibe to Professor Green’s ‘Dance Like A Tory’? Is Rishi Sunak humbly listening to Pulp’s ‘Common People’? Does Matt Hancock still connect with Shaggy’s ‘It wasn’t me’ or was that just in his Cheating On The Wife era? 

     

    It seems likely we won’t be receiving any responses from our politicians to the questions we really want answers to (what’s new there, right?). However, what we can confidently discern on our own is twofold: Obama is still as cool as he was in the White House and Boris could well be a Belieber. In fact, I believe his unedited resignation speech opens with ‘Is it too late now to say sorry? Because I’m missing more than just bare parties’.

     

  • Cow’s milk is renowned for being the most popular and accessible kind of milk. Unfortunately, it is almost equally as famous for being the milk with the highest environmental impact. Cow’s Milk requires nine times as much land and produces 3 times as much carbon emissions to produce as any non-dairy alternative. Besides the environmental impact, many people protest against cow’s milk for health reasons, believing that a mother’s cow milk and the hormones in it are designed specifically for her calves and are not meant to enter the human body. If cow’s milk is something that you’re looking to ditch, or simply have less of, in 2022, here are your alternatives:

     

    Almond milk: probably one of the most common nut milk. A slight marzipan flavour but mainly neutral. Versatile. 

     

    Detoxinsta.com

    Oat milk: my favourite milk alternative. A sweetish taste. Great for cooking and baking. Perfect in porridge.

     

    Downshiftology.com

     

     

    Coconut milk: creamy and thick. Nutty, exotic flavour.

     

    Smallfootprintfamily.com

     

     

    Hazelnut milk: nutty flavour, perfect in a mug of hot chocolate. Harder to find.

     

    alphafoodie.com

     

     

    Soy milk: Nutty in taste. Suited to savoury dishes. 

     

    everydayhealth.com

     

     

    Rice Milk: Very sweet. Gluten-free. 

     

    seriouseats.com

     

     

    Spelt milk: an intense cereal flavour. Fits well with breakfast dishes, such as muesli or porridge. Contains gluten. Hard to find.

     

    dissolve.com

     

     

    Hemp milk: made from peeled hemp seeds. A 500ml serving contains the daily recommended dietary requirement of omega-3 fatty acids. Hard to find.

     

     

    Downshiftology.com

     


  • As Boris Johnson hides behind a door at Downing Street, I investigate what’s going down in the political minds of today’s youth. Because who better to discuss the current political landscape with than a group of eighteen-year-olds? Fresh, innovative voices. The new generation of voters. The future of politics. 

    Refreshingly raw and candid, the below survey captures the serious responses of a number of serious students to a series of serious political questions. 

    Disclaimer: This is very serious.

    Me: Firstly, how would you describe our Prime Minister in three words?

    Person 1: “The Class Clown”

    Person 2: “What, Boris? Ugh.”

    Person 3: *unintelligible ranting noises*

    Person 4: “Extremely inadequate”. That’s two words. Jeez, fine. “He is a liability”, then. That’s four.

    Me: You get an invite to a party at No. 10. Are you going?

    Person 1: “No”

    Person 2: “Nah”

    Person 3: “yeah, I wanna see what really goes down”

    Person 4: “If Nigel Farage was there”. Why? “Do you really want me to answer that?”

    Me: More importantly, will you be bringing the vibes to said party?

    Person 1: “100%”

    Person 2: “Um, of course?”

    Person 3: “ I think they have that covered already. Haven’t you seen the videos?”

    Person 4: “Yes, and an army of gate-crashers”

    Me: Downing Street is on fire. Boris can save one thing. What is he saving?

    Person 1: “oh, that’s a hard one”

    Person 2: “Good question”. Thanks. “Can you come back to me?”. Sure.

    Person 3: “A wine and cheese gift basket from his most recent sesh”

    Person 4: “what am I allowed to say on here again? Depends. Can I say his side chick?”

    Me: Trivia Round. How many kids does Boris Johnson have?

    Person 1: “oh, it’s got to be fifty plus”

    Person 2: “seven, right?”

    Person 3: “who knows”

    Person 4: “I don’t know…what’s the population of Leamington Spa?”

    Me: Finally, who would you like to see as the next PM? You can pick anyone.

    Person 1: “Obama”. Good choice, both of them.

    Person 2: “Ben Shephard”. Why? “Cos’ he’s hot?”

    Person 3: “Gemma Collins because-” No, there’s no need to expand.

    Person 4: “Ed Milliband”. Why? “Labour”. Right, silly me.


    Some other people decide to get involved.

    Person 5: “KSI. Yeah. I think that’d be pretty cool”

    Person 6: “Ian Wright”. Oh, my mum met him once. “Really?”. What, you think I’d lie? I’m not a politician.

    Person 7: “James Corden”. This response was subject to much criticism.

    Person 8: “Eamonn Holmes. He’s, like, a cute guy”. Right. Yeah. No, totally.

    Person 9: “Zeina Sultani”. Who’s that? “A politician”. Good, just testing your knowledge.

    Person 10: “Joey Essex. He keeps it real” 

    Person 11: “David Attenborough”. OMG YES. Ok, survey over. Thank you for your time.


  • Satire

     May your life be filled with love, laughter and light.

    8:00 AM – Wake up and gaze out the window at this beautiful day (if it’s not that beautiful, don’t worry, you can use the filter ‘rose radiance’ and turn the saturation up to 10 to fix that!). Grab the bullet journal on my bedside table and set my daily intentions. Pro tip: write something productive and hold yourself accountable. No time for excuses! After all, we all have the same 24 hours in a day…

    8:30 AM – Ignore notifications coming in from that friend who’s having a family crisis. If I’ve learnt anything since the pandemic, it’s that you must always put yourself first!!!!!

    8:32 AM – When the notifications from my friend start to become invasive – omg, toxic much? – send her a photo of the fortune cookie from last night’s Chinese takeaway that reads, ‘trust and everything will fall into place’. Satisfied, put my phone onto ‘do not disturb’ after setting the day’s ‘screen time’ limits. Did you know, staring at blue ray light from your phone for too long can cause all your dreams to wither into ash and make every person you have ever truly loved despise you? 

    9:00 AM – Roll out my yoga mat (I use this one from Lululemon, $250 – can you believe it’s finally on sale? Me neither!) and create a calming atmosphere. I personally like to use this hand-poured, consciously-crafted, artisan, organic, sustainably sourced, vegan, paraben-free and toxins free candle (Anthropologie, $98) where 5% of profits go to a homeless shelter – how cute!

    9:20 AM – Ignore the distant sound of people travelling to work. Try to reach a place of inner stillness on my yoga mat. Sigh deeply in frustration as the sound of the nearby commuters interrupts my sacred pranayama breathing practice.

    10: AM – Now for relaxing – it can be pretty exhaustive blocking out all these toxic external influences, am I right? Run a hot bath as my new crystals (Etsy, $55 – affiliate link) charge. Stop the water before it gets too high: I believe it’s so important we all do our little bit to help save the planet!  Pour in some bubble bath from a plastic bottle and put on a plastic shower cap whilst I apply my go-to hair mask (Nordstrom, $89 – affiliate link).

    10:30 AM – brush teeth with a bamboo toothbrush and charcoal toothpaste. Spit toothpaste out early and rush back to my bedroom when I realise my crystals are overcharged.

    11:00 AM – Panic over. Use this period of relief and reflection to write in my gratitude journal. Today I am thankful that I am not one of those commuters that walked past me earlier. Hustle culture is real, you guys!!

    12 AM – Brunch with a friend at our fave spot. Apparently the entire high street is struggling to survive because of this economic crash thing caused by the pandemic (speaking of which, remember to use my code COVID20 for 20% of my COVID edition merch drop!!), but tbh I don’t know if I could survive without their coconut topped acai bowl and organic matcha pancakes, lol!


    There we have it – my morning routine! Obviously, today was super-duper chillaxed and I’d usually fit a lot more into my morning, but I think it’s super important to be real with you guys. Especially on social media. The last thing I’d want is to contribute towards a toxic online culture.


  •  Mid-bite into an almond croissant brought from an unashamedly overpriced ‘organic’ café on Tottenham Court Road, I’m momentarily distracted from the party in my tastebuds by the approaching sound of an actual party heading in my direction. If my mind had been occupied by musings more serious than whether I preferred my regular Prêt almond croissant to the one I was currently eating, then I might well have missed it, for no attention-grabbing music was blasting from portable speakers to alert me to the presence of a party. Instead, the faint, enthusiastic voices of approximately 15 adults singing the famous lines of Queen’s ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is what breaks me from my food-related reverie. Their voices crescendo with each successive ‘galileo’. A curious, amused expression is worn by the turning heads of pedestrians passing nearby. An employed, concentrated expression is worn by those at a greater distance from the party who squint to decipher the writing at the back of their multi-coloured hi-vis jackets. It reads: ‘silent disco’.


    Source: Sky News

    “They didn’t even look drunk”, my brother, who’d witnessed the party pass with me, notes after they had passed out of view. I agreed. “It must be liberating though”, I added, “like, not caring at all what anyone is thinking”. He agreed. 

    On the train back, I’m filled with the sudden urge to dance. Of course, not the urge to dance right there and then. As much as I try to have an open mindset, I am not and never will be the type of person to make the fully conscious choice to dance in public with no remote concern for societal norms. However, I am the type of person to get home after a stressful day, search for a dance workout on youtube (my favourites are on Pamela Reif’s channel if you’re interested) and dance like nobody’s watching. I guess sensation is what seeing the silent disco in London reminded me of.

     What is the purpose of this post, you ask? I don’t know. I suppose, in essence, it is nothing but a virtual reminder to embrace your inner Elsa and ‘let it go’. 


  •  Do you feel guilty when you’re not doing something productive? Are you overly self-critical when you don’t manage to tick off everything on your daily to-do list? When was the last time you took a moment to congratulate yourself on a past achievement, however small? If the answer “yes” presented itself firmly in the mind’s eye for the first two questions, whilst for the third you are still fervently scouring your brain for an answer that doesn’t sound alarming, do not fret. It’s not you, it’s hustle culture.


    Loosely defined, hustle culture is a fast-paced environment that feeds off long working hours and thrives on the restless sense that we should always be striving towards some type of goal. Chances are, if you live in this day and age and identify yourself with having a toxic relationship to productivity, you are a victim of hustle culture.

    Scientifically, there is no such connection between working more hours and higher rates of productivity. In fact, increasing working hours only serves to increase fatigue and stress, which not only limits productivity but also boosts the probability of errors being made. That is, of course, without mentioning the correlation between higher working hours and burnout. Dissatisfaction and loss of motivation are not uncommon symptoms of increased working hours. No wonder we’re sometimes labelled the ‘burnout generation’.

    Given the cold-hard facts, the prevalence of such a self-destructive method to productivity seems strange. However, hustle culture is ingrained into every aspect of society. For some, treating it like a shawl and just letting it drop would seem like a bigger mental challenge than enduring it. It is, after all, a culture. 

    Significantly, it is a culture that social media has only exacerbated. The digital age has allowed hustle culture the opportunity to seep its way into our screens and dominate the social media platforms that occupy much of our lives. Hustle culture in social media takes form in many ways, be it an inspirational quote for “Motivational Monday” reminding you that “ a year from now you’ll wish you had started today!” or a post from that childhood friend who’s just earned their PHD, captioned “all the hard work finally paid off – don’t give up on your dreams, you guys!”.

    These constant virtual affirmations and reminders to utilise every possible opportunity for productivity could motivate us, but, in reality, is much more likely contributing to a sense that we aren’t doing enough. We are, in some way, behind or failing. Yet, the idyllic life that social media deems “just another day’s grind” away provides hustle culture just enough appeal to make a life of high productivity seem worth its sacrifices. But, then this sacrifice inevitably comes in the form of burnout, to end all aspiring productivity. Thus, the cyclical nature of hustle culture thrives.

    The solution, you ask? Until society’s general relationship with work culture changes, we need to change our mindset in order not to fall victim to hustle culture. There are two main realisations that we need to make. Firstly, we must work smart, not hard. Yes, this does sound like the perfect cliché for an inspirational ‘Monday Motivation’ Facebook forum, but, ultimately, there is a lot of truth in it. Prioritise getting the most important things done, not absolutely everything. Equally, recognise that reserving time in your daily routine to relax is, from a productivity viewpoint, beneficial. To give another quote fitting for ‘Motivational Monday’: self-care is productive. The second piece of advice would be to enjoy the process. Try to make your boring tasks and chores as enjoyable as possible. Learn how to appreciate the process of working towards a goal as much as the end goal itself. Focus on inset goals, instead of outset goals. And, hey, if all else fails, just delete your social media. I heard that’s kinda cool nowadays. 


  • In an age where we’re becoming increasingly conscious of environmental issues, there are surprisingly (or, perhaps, not so surprisingly) very few retailers who actually acknowledge and respond to our urge to be kinder to the planet. This may leave you asking yourself, ‘Is it possible to shop sustainably? Is Amazon really my only option?’.

    Well…fret no more. Answering your sustainability prayers, meet Veo: the earth-friendly market place. Veo ticks all the boxes for ethics and sustainability; it is the destination for consumers who care about product origins and materials, or who simply wish to support unique and independent brands whose core values align with theirs.
    With Veo, there’s no need to waste time, money (or greenhouse emissions) by using multiple websites to find what you need; it’s a one-stop sustainability shop. Get anything from clothing, food, drink, skincare, makeup, and homeware all carefully curated in one place for a stress-free shopping experience. For today’s blog post, Veo gifted me a box with some hand-picked products to try out from their ‘home and lifestyle’ range. So, without further ado, let’s take a look!
    It only makes sense to begin with the first thought I had upon seeing and touching this bag: the quality. Let’s just say…you can tell that Veo aren’t lying when they say that this bag is made from vegan, natural 100% organic cotton. This market bag is the perfect plastic-free and reusable alternative to disposable plastic shopping bags; the straps are just the right length that the bag sits comfortably over your shoulder and the netted material flexible enough that you can fit a surprising amount inside. Perfect – as Veo put it – for an ‘impromptu trip to the farmers’ market’.

    AKA: self-care that fits in your pocket! These tin-travel candles are conveniently designed so that you can easily travel with them, allowing their calming aroma to leave you feeling tranquil wherever you are. It goes without saying that it’s also sustainability approved: 100% natural plant wax (rapeseed and soy bean, from renewable sources), cotton wicks and recyclable packaging. 

    I don’t know about you, but, even now, I still get excited when I’m in possession of hand sanitiser (which probably has something do with the fact that – alongside toilet roll – it was virtually gold dust throughout the first half of the pandemic). However, this hand sanitiser, being vegan, cruelty free and 100% recyclable, is a step up from your average supermarket stuff. It’s non-sticky, non-drying and doesn’t leave behind any residue – the fact it also happens to be biodegradable, sustainable and plant-based is just an added bonus!
    This mini cleaning kit contains a selection of multi purpose surface cleaner, bathroom cleaner and toilet cleaners. The packaging is completely plastic free – you can either recycle it or add it to your home compost. What’s more? Everything at Mix Clean Green is vegan, non-toxic (and contains no parabens, chemical preservatives, SLS, chemical biocides or palm), water-free and has a low-carbon foot print.
    Like the sound of Veo? Well, the first 10 of you to use the code ‘LILYLOVES10’ will be able to receive £10 off your order with them. Happy (sustainable) shopping!

  • Thanks to technology, sustainable living has never been more accessible and easy to learn about. Below, I’ve rounded up a collection of the best apps to help you offset your carbon footprint and discover sustainable living tips.

    Too Good To Go

    Too Good to Go is 

    Each year, 1/3 of food produced in the world goes to waste. Too Good To Go is the number one food waste app, enabling you to save perfectly good, surplus food from your local stores. 

    Good On You

    The global fashion industry is notorious for its role in creating pollution, waste and committing human rights abuses. Tackling this, the brand rating app, Good on You, allows you to discover ethical and sustainable fashion brands. Want to know if your favourite fashion brand is ethical, or simply want to discover some new brands that adhere to your values? Good on You has your back.

    Kitche

    Featured by the BBC and the Guardian, Kitche is an app designed to save you food waste and money at home. After scanning your receipts, Kitche will design you personalised recipe plans with the ingredients you have in the house and warn you to use products before they go bad.

    Deliciously Ella

    Deliciously Ella – the wellness blogger turned entrepreneur – has created an app which is not only home to a vast collection of delicious recipes for a plant-based diet, but also offers advice on sleep, exercise, mindfulness and water consumption. Good for you, good for the planet.

    My Plastic Diary

    Looking to reduce your plastic intake? My Plastic Diary could be your solution, helping you reduce your plastic consumption by showing a breakdown of the type of plastics you’re buying and offering suggestions of non-plastic alternatives.

    Capture

    We’re all aware of the dangers of rising CO2 emissions. We’re less aware of how we can prevent them. However, Capture is an easy and comprehensive way to reduce your carbon footprint – giving you non-judgemental updates on your CO2 journey whilst providing tips and articles to help you reach your goals.

    Think Dirty

    Learn the science behind your cosmetics by simply scanning their barcode to reveal a breakdown of their ingredients. To minimise unwanted chemicals in your beauty routine, download Think Dirty.

    Ecosia

    Ecosia is the perfect search engine app to replace Google, with its profits made from ads being invested into the environment. Their promise to you? For every 45 searches you make, Ecosia will plant a tree. I’ve written an separate post on Ecosia, so click here for more information.

  •  Don’t get me wrong, 15 step skincare regimes are great, but when its 30 degrees outside and an ice-cold drink is patiently waiting outside for you, the last last thing you want is to be spending half an hour by a sink. You want something that’s quick, effortless and protective, whilst giving you the radiance mistakable of that of the gods of glowing skin themselves. Luckily, I have just the skincare routine for you. 

    1. PreCleanse

    2. Vitamin C Serum/ Melting Moisture Masque (whether you simply want to treat dry skin, or add the glow of the century, both of these will have your back!)

    (optional) Skinperfect Primer (with spf 30)

    3. Invisible Physical defence (SPF 30)

    4. Protection Sun Sport spf 50

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