Sunday, 20 January 2019

Travel Bucket List

These cold, wet, rainy days have got me longing for warmer weather. I've been daydreaming about all of the destinations I want to visit in my lifetime - most of them have weather significantly better than England which is a bonus! So far, I've mainly visited places within Europe, however there are so many places I want to visit further afield so hopefully 2019 will be the year that I tick some of them off of my bucket list.

NEW YORK CITY | Ever since watching Gossip Girl I have been desperate to visit New York City! There's so much to see and do there, plus the food looks amazing. I love the look of Central Park; an urban oasis surrounded by skyscrapers, and I would love to walk across Brooklyn Bridge as well as go to the top of the Empire State Building. I could go on for ages about all of the things I want to do in New York City - hopefully I'll get to visit soon!

VIETNAM | Lots of people have told me how beautiful and interesting Vietnam is (it's also apparently quite cheap). Vietnam looks so different to any of the places that I've visited before and it's full of history. I would love to travel around and see a few different places such as Ha Long Bay, Hanoi and Hoi An.

REYKJAVIK | I'm sure everyone has seen photos of the Blue Lagoon - it's a spa located in a lava field and looks absolutely incredible! Reykjavik is also a great location to view the Northern Lights, which is something I've wanted to see ever since seeing them in a movie when I was younger! There are also glaciers and hot springs to see which would be really interesting.

CROATIA | Croatia in the summertime looks perfect. There's a mixture of ancient architecture, beaches and national parks to keep me entertained. I would love to go island hopping so I can experience the different islands and the Krka National Park looks incredible with it's series of 7 waterfalls.

AMSTERDAM | Amsterdam is the sort of place that I could visit for a long weekend, so hopefully this year I'll get round to arranging that! I would love to walk along the canals and see Vondelpark. There's also the Anne Frank House which, having read Anne Frank's Diary when I was younger, would be such a powerful experience.

VANCOUVER | Vancouver is consistently ranked as one of the "best places to live in the world". The landscape is so diverse - it's a city surrounded by water that also has beaches and mountains. I would love to visit Gastown (one of Vancouver's oldest neighbourhoods) as well as Stanley Park, and Grouse Mountain would be amazing to go skiing. There's also the Capilano Suspension Bridge - one of the world's longest and highest suspension bridges - which looks quite scary but it would also be amazing to walk across it.

SINGAPORE | Admittedly, I had never considered visiting Singapore until watching Crazy Rich Asians (great film btw!)... but the film opened my eyes to how exciting and multicultural Singapore is. It combines old and new architecture and there's an impressive range of food. The Gardens by the Bay is one of the most high-tech botanic gardens that I've seen and the views from Southern Ridges would be spectacular.

SAFARI | Another thing on my bucket list is to go on a safari. There are so many to choose from, however some of the best ones are Serengeti National Park and Kruger National Park. It would be amazing to see the wildlife in their natural habitats and, of course, the iconic Big 5 - as well as lots of animals that I have never seen before.

So there you have my Travel Bucket List. I've got a lot to get through - better start saving! If you've been to any of these places then let me know what you thought and if you have any recommendations for things to do. Have you made a travel bucket list?

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Sustainable Fashion Brands

Until watching Stacey Dooley Investigates Fashion's Dirty Secrets, I had no idea about the impact that the fashion industry has on the planet; it shocked me to find out that it is the second most polluting industry in the world. Everyone loves a bit of retail therapy and, particularly as a blogger, there's the pressure to keep up with fashion trends by regularly buying new clothes. However, it's important that us as consumers take a step back and reflect on our consumption habits before it's too late. There's recently been a surge in sustainable fashion brands so I've rounded up some of the brands that I've come across and how they're working towards sustainability in the industry.

& Other Stories | This is quickly becoming one of my favourite shops (the jumper in the photos is from here). It's a Swedish clothing, accessories and beauty brand owned by the H&M Group. & Other Stories aim to create timeless collections to reduce waste. They have an in-store recycling program for their beauty packaging and textiles (you can also bring textiles from other brands), which helps to reduce the environmental footprint in the fashion industry - you will also receive a voucher with a 10% recycling treat.

Levi's | They launched the Water<Less process in 2011 as a way to produce certain styles using significantly less water. Since launching this, Levi's have saved more than 1 billion litres of water in the manufacturing of their products. Levi's also launched the Waste<Less collection, which produces products using recycled plastic bottles - there's roughly 3 to 8 plastic bottles per pair of jeans. These changes are helping Levi's to continue to be successful despite the planet becoming increasingly resource-constrained.

People Tree | I've only recently discovered this brand, however they have been producing sustainable Fair Trade fashion products since 1991. The clothes are made using traditional skills such as hand weaving and hand embroidery so the production process has less of an impact on the planet. Furthermore, they use low impact dyes, which are free from harmful chemicals.

ASOS Eco Edit | Although ASOS is one of the main fast fashion brands, they have created the Eco Edit to promote sustainable fashion, beauty and jewellery products. All products featured in the Eco Edit must meet at least one of their sustainable fashion criteria (criteria can be found on the website). There's also an Eco Edit symbol to help customers to identify products which are part of the range and to learn more about the products environmental and ethical credentials.

You'll find that there are loads more fashion brands out there producing clothes in a sustainable way when you start looking for them. Generally, products from sustainable brands are slightly more expensive than fast fashion brands because the products can't be produced as cheaply. However, if you cut down on buying lots of clothes from fast fashion brands and instead invest in a few sustainable pieces, then I believe that they're worth the slightly higher price tag. Ultimately, we need to change our consumption of clothes in order to protect the planet and, by changing our consumption, it will put pressure on fashion brands to change their production processes. If you want to find out more about the fashion industry's environmental impact, then you should definitely give Stacey Dooley's documentary a watch - I had no idea how damaging the industry was until I watched it! Do you shop at many sustainable fashion brands?

Sunday, 6 January 2019

Goals For 2019

Happy New Year everyone! Apologies for how quiet it has been on my blog recently. I feel like I fell out of love with blogging throughout 2018 - you can see how sparse my blog posts were by scrolling back through it... it won't take you long until you hit the 2017 blog posts! However, I've been feeling inspired recently (could be down to the whole "new year, new me") so I'm determined to try harder with my blog this year - without making it feel like a chore. Therefore, I thought that the best way to keep myself motivated was to write down some goals for 2019 and, by putting my goals out in the open, it'll make me more determined to persevere with them. So, what do I want to achieve in 2019?

#1 CONSISTENCY | I want to get back into a routine of posting every Sunday morning on my blog and also posting regularly on Instagram. Throughout 2018 I've gone weeks, sometimes even months, without a single blog or Instagram post (thanks to everyone who's stuck with me despite my sporadic posting schedule!). Obviously, sometimes other things in life get in the way, however I'm going to try to minimise the effect that has on my blog this year. Which brings me on to my next goal...

#2 SCHEDULE | I've never planned my content in advance. I usually just think of something to write about at the beginning of the week that I will then publish at the end of the week. However, that has meant that sometimes I haven't been able to think of any blog post ideas or I haven't left myself with enough time to take photos etc. Therefore, this year I am going to try to prepare content weeks in advance, so that if I don't have time to write a blog post one week, I will hopefully already have something prepared.

#3 FASHION | I always describe myself as a "beauty, fashion, lifestyle and travel blogger", however, I have actually only posted about 2 fashion posts in the whole 3 years that I've had my blog. This is partly because I struggle to take fashion photos on my own and partly because I feel like a bit of a nuisance if I ask family members to help me out with it. I do really want to include more fashion posts this year though (I buy far too many clothes not to share them on my blog!), so I might look into booking a few shoots with a photographer to get some good photos - any fashion blogger photographers in the Oxfordshire area hmu!

#4 YOUTUBE | For ages now I've been wanting to make YouTube videos. I uploaded a few travel videos over a year ago but I get worried about "putting myself out there" which stops me from making the videos that I want to make. In 2019, I'm going to try to worry less about what other people might think about me and just focus on what I want to do. So keep your eyes peeled for some YouTube videos!

#5 BLOG EVENTS | Another thing that I've been wanting to do for ages is attend blog events. I usually talk myself out of going to events because I don't know anyone else that's going. However, blog events are a great way to meet fellow bloggers and learn more about the industry. Blogosphere Magazine arrange some amazing events so I really want to attend some of their events this year, as well as some events closer to home so I can meet some local bloggers.

Hopefully I can achieve these goals in 2019 - particularly the one about consistency because I really do want to get into a routine of posting regularly on my blog. At the same time, I don't want to be forcing myself to post just for the sake of sticking to a routine - I want to enjoy writing blog posts and you to enjoy reading them (hopefully that makes sense!). Anyway, enough about my goals. Have you set yourself any goals for 2019?