• GOING BACK TO COLLEGE AS A POST-GRADUATE

    I never knew getting a masters degree would involve so much free wine. Seriously, at every event the college provides so much wine. It’s crazy. At the last one, they literally gave people bottles to take home at the end because they had so much left. So it’s safe to say, I’ve really been enjoying college.

    When I finished my bachelors degree, the thought of doing a masters was the last thing on my mind. I was finished with education. Done. Over it. But after being away from it for nearly 2 years, I started to miss it. When I was college, my classmates and I talked about critical theory and different social issues over lunch like people chitchat about the weather, and I just assumed that that was how life was. That bubble was quick to burst after graduation and I soon realised that a lot of people didn’t want to talk about Judith Butler’s writings on performativity or Michael Foucoult’s thoughts on the Panopticon while eating their Chinese takeaway. So weird, I know.

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    So it feels nice to be back in a learning space; to be talking about things that I find interesting. I’m really not an academic though. I like being in class and hearing other people’s thoughts and opinions, but I have a terrible memory and I don’t work well on the spot. I also have some learning difficulties, so it’s not easy for me. Despite that, I’ve found being in college oddly comforting. It’s almost a form of therapy, learning about new concepts and talking about different social issues; it really is amazing how powerful that can be. Engaging with things that are bigger than yourself is like chicken soup for the soul. Or vegetable soup I guess, since I’m a vegetarian.

    I’m also really trying hard to be social with my classmates. It’s not a natural thing for me; I mean, I’m capable of socialising but I find it so exhausting. I get so anxious and nervous about everything, especially at the beginning. And I hate small talk. Although, I actually do rather enjoy talking about the weather, I feel like that’s an Irish thing, even if some Irish people won’t admit they actually like it. But I want to make the most of what I’m doing.  I’m surrounded by so many different interesting people from all around the globe: China, India, Denmark, the U.S., Italy, Switzerland. It’s really cool.

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    Being immersed in this new bubble makes me feel inspired and motivated. Well, most of the time I feel that way. I’ve had a lot happen in my life over the past 3 months and it’s been hard. Amongst other things, I had a person I loved and supported in every way cheat on me and just generally be horrible to me, and as much as I wish it didn’t, sometimes I feel that dragging me down. There was just so much pain and confusion, and just when you think you’ve gotten rid of it all, you find a spot (or multiple spots) that you missed. But I have been going to therapy and most of the time I feel like I’m healing. I try to focus on the positives and being back in college has put things into perspective.

    The free wine helps too.

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     Outfit info:
    Jacket – Misguided
    Shoes – Public Desire
    Bag – Matt & Nat
    Dress – Aritzia
    Hoodie – H & M

    Love Jane x

    P.S. This probably only makes sense in my head, but I feel like the coat combination I’m wearing here is the perfect post-graduate student outfit. The coat is professional, while the hoodie reminds people I’m still a hip causal student… Is that a weird way to think about clothes? Yes, yes it is.

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  • A DAY IN BRIGHTON AND HOVE (AND WHERE TO FIND THE COLOURFUL BEACH HUTS)

    When I was in London back in July, my mum and I decided to take a day trip down to Brighton. I’d never been before but I feel like I hear about it all time since a lot of YouTubes and bloggers live there (including two of faves, Lily Melrose and The Anna Edit). We took the train down from Victoria station and it was super easy; we bought tickets at the station and an hour later, we were in Brighton!

    LUNCH

    We started with lunch because food is the most important thing, isn’t it? I googled vegetarian food in Brighton on the train down and made a booking at Food for Friends. It was Sunday so they had a special vegetarian roast on the menu and it was AMAZING! That weekend the special was a filo parcel stuffed with paprika spiced aubergine, smoked ricotta, shredded carrot, cashew nuts and chia, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, served with rosemary roasted potatoes, carrots, parsnips, fine green beans, beetroot puree, Yorkshire pudding and gravy (there was a vegan option available). I mean, does that not just sound like the most incredible vegetarian meal? I would highly recommend this restaurant, I loved everything about it and I definitely want to go back to try some of the stuff on their regular menu. I also got the fire-cracker cocktail and it was so good.

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    THE ROYAL PAVILION

    After lunch, we wondered around and found the Royal Pavilion. Honestly I had never heard of this building before but it was beautiful. It was built as a seaside palace for King George IV in 1787 and incorporates the visual style of India and China. We didn’t go inside but the gardens were gorgeous and there were a lot of people sitting around relaxing. There was a great atmosphere, with lots of geogorous flowers and people playing music.

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    THE LANES

    The Lanes are probably one of the most famous areas of Brighton, after the pier, but if you haven’t heard of them, they’re basically an intricate maze of alleyways with a random mix of shops, including interior design, rubber ducks and cake. They are really cute and it was so fun wondering round them. There were A LOT of jewellery shops, which didn’t really interest me as they were more on the expensive side, but there were also some really nice independent shops and plenty of cafes where you can sit and relax.

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    THE BEACH AND PIER

    The beach and the pier were nice but SO PACKED! It was a good day in the middle of summer, so that was to be expected. Brighton Palace Pier is free to wonder down and it’s full of cool arcade and fun-fair games. If you stroll further along the seafront, you can see the West pier (pictured at the beginning of this post). It has fallen into disrepair and has gone through several fires, but I think it looks really cool. I think I just like how the dark sharp structure contrasts the blue waves. Also, from now on every time I hear seagulls I will always be automatically transported back to Brighton; they are definitely the soundtrack of the town but I found it quite soothing to be honest.

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    HOVE

    One of the things I wanted to see was while I was in Brighton was the colourful beach-huts. I had seen them on multiple Youtubers videos but when I got to Brighton, there were nowhere to be seen. I just expected them to be near the beach but we couldn’t find them ANYWHERE. I googled a bit and eventually found out that Brighton city is actually Brighton and Hove city and the beach-huts are in the Hove part. I still don’t fully understand how it works, but it seems the two places go together even though they’re about a 30 minutes walk from each other (I think they’re two towns that make up a city, but I could be completely wrong about that). Regardless, we decided to hop on a bus to Hove in search of the colourful beach huts. Taking the bus was really easy and I’m so happy we decided to go on that little adventure. Hove is full of gorgeous buildings and was a lot more relaxing; it was a much needed break from the craziness in Brighton.

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    DINNER

    For dinner, we got pizza at Fato a Mano. This place is great is you have dietary restrictions, as they offer vegan cheese and a gluten free base (I don’t know if they cook the gluten free pizza separately to avoid cross-contamination but it would definitely be worth investigating if you are coeliac or have problems with gluten). I tend to like things other people would consider weird and they had no problem with my numerous topping customisations, which I appreciated; I went with black olives, capers, mushrooms and mozzarella, and it was just so so good. I love a good stone baked pizza and this did not disappoint. We got there quite early so we had no problem getting a table but they did get pretty busy and people seemed to be quite a wait for a table when we left so that’s something to keep in mind.

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    THE COLOURFUL BEACHHUTS

    After dinner, we headed towards the beach and we finally found the colourful beach huts! I was so excited. It was so pretty and calm, and it was nice to stroll along the seafront in the less busy Hove. We actually walked back all the way back to Brighton along the seafront and it was beautiful.

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    All in all, I really enjoyed Brighton and Hove. We got some great food and there was a lovely atmosphere around the place. However, I wish I would have known about Hove before going; I would definitely like to go back and explore that part of the city a bit more. I think that’s more my vibe, Brighton was just a little too packed for me. But I would still recommend taking a trip down if you’re in London or nearby!

    Love Jane x

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  • THINGS TO DO IN LONDON: UP AT THE 02 REVIEW

    I’ve been to London a lot throughout my life. My parents love the city and took me there quite often when I was younger. They passed the love on, and I’ve gone over by myself and with friends multiple times in the past few years. Back in July, I went over again with my parents and I convinced my mum to climb over the 02 Arena with me. It’s sounds a bit insane but it is actually a tourist attraction that is safely run by professionals, we’re not just crazy daredevils with a death wish. I thought I’d done most of the tourist things there are to do in London, but this was a new experience for the two of us and we honestly hadn’t heard that much about it. I thought the idea was so cool, though I’m going to be honest I was a bit nervous. However, my nerves proved unnecessary and (spoiler alert) I thought the experience was brilliant!

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    BEFORE GOING UP

    Okay, so I hate starting on a negative note, but the O2 website was awful. I tried to book tickets online and just gave up. That was back in July though, and in doing a bit of research for this post, it looks like they’ve improved things now. Thankfully, we went on a Tuesday and it wasn’t too busy so we were able to buy at the box office, but I would suggest booking ahead if you were going during peak times so there is a limit to how many people they take up on each climb and the slots can fill up quickly. Tours go everyday (weather dependent) and although their times vary throughout the year, it seems like they go once an hour at the very least.

    When you arrive for your climb, they make you fill out a bunch of forms and watch a video. They give you all the equipment you need and talk you through how to put it on. We only had 6 other people in our group, which felt like a good size, and our tour guide was extremely nice and helpful. He made us all feel at ease. You’re only allowed to take your phone and/or camera up, and they have to fit in the pockets of the gilet they gave you, but they provide everyone with a secure container to put the rest of your stuff in to keep them safe. Once everyone was ready, they took us all outside and up a couple of flights of stairs to a platform you can see in the picture above. They then take a couple of pictures of you that you can purchase later and you start your climb!

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    WALKING UP AND OVER

    Honestly the thing I was most afraid of was that I wouldn’t be fit enough for the climb up (I really need to work on that) but thankfully, while it’s a bit heavy going at the beginning, I didn’t find it terribly exhausting. You’re clipped on while you climbing up and down, and you have to moanvouvure you’re clip over multiple joints as you go. They explain how to do it, and help you if you need it so it’s not something you have to worry about. When you get to the viewing platform at  the top, you’re free to walk around, and our guide had water if anyone needed it!

    The view from the top was cool but to be fair, there are definitely better views of London. However, I personally loved the experience. If you’re looking for something a bit different and exciting to do, this is it. You get a bit of adrenaline pumping but it’s definitely not too hardcore and most people will be more than capable of doing it. I’m not particularly afraid of heights but I always felt safe and our guide was always there to help anyone who needed it and point out things of interest along the way.

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    GOOD THINGS TO KNOW

    During the colder months, they give you a full suit to wear. When we were there, they just gave us the harness which goes between your legs since the weather was nice. I had shorts on under my dress, and they did offer my mum bottoms to put on since she was also wearing a dress but she was fine without them. None the less, it might be a good idea to wear shorts, or leggings during the colder months, just to make things more comfortable.

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    All in all, we had a great time. It’s a unique experience and I would definitely recommend it to anyone headed to London who is looking for something fun and a bit different to do. When we were finished, we took the ferry to Greenwich Market which I would also recommend. It brings you around The O2 along the Thames and you can spend the afternoon wondering around the market or the park. If that’s not your thing, you can also hop on the Emirates cable car at the O2 and see some more London views.

     

    Love Jane x

    P.S. You can book tickets and learn more at Up at the O2 website here!

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  • THE NEW NORMAL

    It’s been awhile since I’ve posted on my blog, and although I do want to return to regularly scheduled programming soon, I felt the need to address my absence. Not because I think anyone cares or noticed, but because it would have felt weird for me to continue on as though everything was normal, as though everything was the same as before.

    Normal is an odd concept.

    Society thinks that it’s common sense, that’s it’s fact. That it’s always been and will be always be. But the truth is it changes constantly. It’s relative. It depends on the year, the location, the country, the culture, the family. Everything changes. Society changes. Normal changes. In the personal sphere, normal is what’s known, what’s comfortable. What we do everyday. Normal life. But normal changes. Sometimes it’s expected, it’s slow, it’s predictable. But sometimes it’s none of those things. Sometimes things change so quickly it causes whiplash. Suddenly you’re plunged into the unknown, the new. Abnormal life.

    But that’s the funny thing, it may seem abnormal at first. It may seem so foreign and strange. But soon it simply stops. It stops being foreign and strange. Soon it becomes everyday life. And it’ll surprise you how fast that happens, how quickly it all becomes normal: going in and out of hospitals to visit, talking about insurance, joking with the guy in the opposite bed about cancer after finding out that he had the same type several years ago. It’s now the new normal. Things have changed, and not the slow gradual change that most of us experience throughout our entire lives. This had been sudden. A sudden new normal.

    That is not necessarily a bad thing. You learn things; you learn about yourself, about life, about the people around you. You figure out what this new normal looks like; what you look like in this new normal. And thankfully in this situation, things may eventually go back to being, for the most part, like they were before. We may need to make a few adjusts, but at the end of the day we’ll have the same laughs, watch the same quiz shows together, argue the same petty things. No matter what happens, it’ll become normal. It always does.

    I’m sorry this post has been vague, but it’s not my story to tell. I just wanted to get this off my chest before starting to post again. As I said, regularly scheduled programming will resume soon.

    Jane x

  • AMAZING VEGETARIAN FOOD IN AMSTERDAM

    I recently spent the weekend in Amsterdam and one of the favourite things about the city was the amazing food we found. There were a few places that weren’t the best for vegetarians, or even meat-eaters, but the places listed below were seriously amazing and I would highly recommend them to everyone. They even gave me ideas for dishes I could make at home!

    TISFRIS CAFE(Pictured above)

    When we arrived in Amsterdam and checked into our hostel, our first mission was to find food. I was so hungry and we basically just stopped at the first place we found, which was probably tourist central. None the less, I was pleasantly surprised that they had multiple vegetarian options. I went for the avocado, beetroot hummus & olives sandwich, and I’m probably a little biased because I was starving but it was delicious. Other people in the group got the nachos, which looked really good, and they have plenty of options for meat-eaters too.

    LIBERTINE CAFE

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    I stopped in this airy cafe for a snack since the group I was with wasn’t meeting up to eat for a while but I was already pretty hungry and didn’t think I would last. I got the crostini with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella and my two friends got the tuna crostini and we were all very impressed. This was the perfect little meal, enough to fill me up but not too much to where I couldn’t eat dinner a couple of hours later. Honestly this was so tasty and delicious and I wish I had an unlimited supply of it in my house at all times.

    DIGNITA

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    This is a really cool cafe/restaurant that my friend found online. 100% of Dignita profits go towards supporting the work of Not For Sale, an international organization that launches social enterprises in order to fight human trafficking. They have a few vegetarian options and some for the meat eaters too. I got the zucchini and chickpea fritters, which came with minted yoghurt, grilled haloumi, free range poached egg, cashew nut dukkah, lime and a wedge of fresh avocado, and it was delicious! I also tasted the pancakes and they were unbelievably amazing and they have a vegan option that sounded really good. The cafe itself has a great vibe and there’s nice green areas to sit around in after you eat.

    DE BOLHOED

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    Okay, I know this doesn’t look like much, but I promise you, it was amazing. This restaurant has options of vegan and vegetarian options, but my friends and I went for the vegan dish of the day which was basically a sample plate of multiple different dishes. There was lemon rice, creamy coconut tofu, cauliflower with peanut sauce, sweet potato and lentil curry and an aubergine with hummus. I’m sure I’m forgetting something but it was all so so good. 10/10, would recommend.

    I hope this helps if you’re looking for recommendations of places to eat while in Amsterdam.

    Jane x

  • DAISY LONDON JEWELLERY HAUL/REVIEW

    First and foremost, please excuse my chubby fingers. They swell when it’s warm and it’s not fun but whatcha ya gonna do? Secondly, this is one of those ‘YouTube made me to it’ moments. I saw the Solar Plexus Chakra bracelet on Estee Lalonde and fell in love. It was a Sunday, and Daisy London were doing a promotion where all of the profits from this bracelet for the week would go to charities that help people struggling with mental illness since it was Mental Health Awareness week. So I bought it. And a few other things that had nothing to do with helping charities, I just wanted them…. opppsss…

    When the box arrived, I was so excited. First off, the packaging was great! Everything was wrapped in this pretty tissue paper. The bracelet was in a little bag and the earrings came in boxes. They also included a little Daisy London shopping bag, which was unnecessary and a bit wasteful, but it made me feel fancy! They also included information about the two Chakras that corresponded with my earrings and necklace I chose.

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    SOLAR PLEXUS CHAKRA CHAIN BRACELET

    To be honest, I wasn’t 100% sure how I would feel about the bracelet when I saw it in person because I like to keep things quite simple. But the silver is delicate and thin so it’s not too much. It doesn’t feel fragile though, it is nice quality. I like having the little semi-precious light citrine stone at the back but it does flop over very easily so it’s not always on show. That doesn’t bother me but it is something to keep in mind. My only complaint is the sizing. The smallest size is too small, but the middle one is a little loose. I think that’s probably why the citrine stone flips over so much. But I still love this bracelet and have been wearing it daily.

    I also like the idea of the Solar Plexus Chakra that goes along with the bracelet. I don’t know a lot about the Seven Chakras but my mum has always talked about them, and I would like to explore and learn more about the theory behind it. The solar plexus chakra is all about sensing your personal power and being confident, which is something I need to connect with.

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    BROW CHAKRA EARRINGS

    I bought the Brow Chakra earrings because I want to start wearing dangly earrings. I’ve always felt like they don’t suit me but I love them on other people, so I think I just need to get used to them on me. I though this pair was cute and versatile. They’re subtle, but they add a little something to an outfit. One of the closures was a little loose when I got them, to the point where it wasn’t staying closed, but I just squeezed the clasp a little but and now it works great.

    The Brow Chakra is emotionally connected with insight, self-realization and releasing negative thoughts; it was another chakra I felt I needed help with. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the jewellery is necessary going to have a physical impact on me, but they’re little reminders. Reminders to myself to focus on myself and finding balance within me.

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    B ALPHA STUD EARRING

    I also bought a little ‘B’ earring, and while I do wish it as a little bigger, it is really cute and fun. Again, it’s simple and  is great to mix and match with other earrings. The bit that you put through your ear isn’t too long and it’s sterling silver, so I’ve found it comfortable to wear all the time.

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    I hope you enjoyed!

    Jane x

    P.S. If you want to see some more jewellery content, click here to check out my Missoma jewellery review/haul 🙂

  • CURRENT WISHLIST

    As I stated in my last blog post, I’ve been trying to find brands that are more aware of the environment and working conditions along the supply chain, and while in general this search has felt a bit futile, I’ve found a few gems along the way that I wanted to share. So below are just some new things I’ve discovered recently that I’ve currently lusting after. I think these things seem pretty cool, whether you’re worried about the ethical stuff or not!

    MeUndies underwear and lounge pants (pictured above)

    These just look so comfortable! Since I started working from home I’ve realised I need to step up my lounge wear game. I just need more clothes that are comfy that I can wear around the house. I’m also loving this company. They’re clothes are made from Lenzing MicroModal, a sustainably sourced fabric that is supposed to be unbelievably soft! They support charities such as the Amber Rose Foundation, the LA LGBT Center, and Make-A-Wis and they state on their website that they’re committed to treating all workers in their supply chain fairly. They say that the factories they use to make their clothing offer their employees “more than just a pay check”, with opportunities such as free English classes and free transportation, as well as programs focusing on women in business and personal finance. My only complaint is that I wish they offered more sizes. I think I would be ordering the biggest size so that kind of sucks since they are a lot of people who are bigger than me out there. None the less, I definitely hope to order their Bikini undies and Lounge pant soon!

    Organic Bamboo Facial Rounds

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    I have always felt wasteful using cotton pads so when I heard about these I was really intrigued. They’re literally just re-use cotton pads that you can hand wash or throw in the washing machine (the Etsy shop also sells a mesh bag to put them in). The listing states that bamboo is a naturally antimicrobial and hypo-allergenic, which is great for sensitive skin. So win win all round. They also have a cotton version, but they say that bamboo requires less energy, water and space to grow than cotton (I should probably research this more before I purchase but it sounds good!). I’m always looking for ways to reduce my waste, but I also think that these will save me money in the long run, as I won’t have to continuously re-buy cotton pads.

    The Bare Micro by NAE

    002566_4_3 I’ve been looking for a pair of casual shoes that come somewhere between my Chelsea boots and my runners, and I think these might be it.  They’re  chic but laid back. The website states that they’re made from ecological microfibre, and a hypoallergenic, breathable microfibre inner lining. They were also made under fair working conditions in Portugal. So that’s all pretty cool. I don’t know what it is, but they just look comfortable, no? I bought a similar pair off ASOS a while back but I returned them because they were really uncomfortable and made my feet look weird. Hopefully I’ve have more luck with these.

    Charlotte Tilbury Kim K.W. Lipstick 

    Charlotte_Tilbury_Hot_Lips_List_Kim_K_W_3_5g_1489676560I don’t know how I never knew that Charlotte Tilbury was cruelty free! I’ve been only using cruelty-free products for 2 years now and for some reason, I just assumed they tested on animals. But apparently I was wrong. A bunch of their products are vegan too (I found a list on Logical Harmony). This Kim K.W. lipstick looks to be a great pinky nude so I’m excited to try it. I also found out the Pillow Talk lipliner is vegan so that’s something I also want to try since I’ve wanted to use it before but again, I didn’t think it was cruelty-free.

    I hope you enjoyed!

    Jane x

  • THE CUTEST BAG AND THE ISSUE OF ETHICS IN FASHION

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    I’ve been lusting after this little bag since I first spotted it on the Stella McCartney website a while back. I held back because it’s cheaper to buy from the Irish online store than the American one but now that I’m back in Ireland, I couldn’t resist. When I ordered it, I was so afraid that my iPhone 6 plus wouldn’t fit. I genuinely thought I would have to return it.  Thankfully, it just fits, because I love this little bag so much. And I mean it just fits, a millimetre or two more and I probably wouldn’t get it in (that’s what she said…..yeah.)

    So this bag is not cheap. It’s the most I’ve ever paid for a hand-bag. But I was tired of my bags falling apart. When I love something, I wear it to death. Literally. I’ve had so many handbags fall apart on me and it’s so annoying because then I have to go look for another one that’s just going to fall apart on me as well. This is my second Stella McCartney bag; the first one I got last July and I have used it pretty much daily. It shows basically no sign of wear. It’s not falling apart, the lining doesn’t have any holes, the stitching isn’t coming undone. Apart from the white details on it looking a little bit dirty, it’s like new. Now I’m not saying you can’t get a cheaper bag that wears well, but in my experience, it’s hard to find one that has longevity when buying from the high street. I can literally feel how well made this bag is.

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    But beyond this, I love Stella McCartney. Not just for the designs, but because they’re probably the most famous brand that is focused on improving ethics and sustainability in the fashion industry. I recently watched a documentary on Netflix called The True Cost and I would recommend it to everyone. It’s very educational about sweat shops and how people in the supply chain are treated, as well as the environmental impact the fast fashion industry has on nature and villages. To summarise, the fast fashion industry treats people like shit and is ruining the planet in many different ways. It is not sustainable. These are things everyone should know about. But the trouble is, even when you know about and want to change you’re buying habits, there aren’t many great alternatives.

    Firstly, you can buy from ethical companies that use sustainable practices. But these are far and few between. Even online it’s hard to find shops with a lot of variety; I’ve been trying to find companies for a while now and I still only have a limit selection. They also tend to have limited sizing and can be a bit expensive. Then there’s designer clothing. And while I’m okay with buying a few handbags from Stella McCartney, so many designer items are over-priced. You might be paying for the fact that is wasn’t made in a sweat shop but you’re also paying for the name. Not only do I not like that, I don’t have the money for it. Again, limited sizing is also an issue. I’m not saying I’ll never buy a designer clothing item but they’re never going to fill my entire wardrobe.

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    Then there’s second hand clothing shops. This is something I want to explore more but honestly, our second hand stores in Ireland are not great. In the U.S., they are big and have a lot of options. The ones in Dublin are small and cramped. It’s hard to find anything good, and it’s hard to find things that fit. Altering clothes or just making your own is something else one can do, and I do want to experiment with this, but again, right now that isn’t going to work for my whole wardrobe.

    These issues seems to be gaining more and more attention in regards to the fashion industry but change is happening very very slowly. There are tons of people talking about it online, but the Ted Talks on the issue date back years and are unfortunately still extremely relevant. It’s hard for me because clothes are my thing. I love clothes. But I also want to be a responsible and compassionate member of the human race. I think the answer is keep doing research but ultimately, don’t be too hard on yourself. Am I never going to buy anything from a fast fashion brand again? No. It’s not feasible for me. But am I going to think twice about it? Yes. Am I going to continue to look for alternatives and buy from them when I can? Yes. Doing their best with what they’ve got is all anyone can do but I really would love to see some bigger shifts in the industry starting to happen.

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    Dress – ASOS (old)
    Cardigan – ZARA (old)
    Boots – Vegan Doc Martins
    Bag – Stella McCartney

    Jane x

  • MY EXPERIENCE TRYING NATURAL CRYSTAL DEODORANTS

    It’s been nearly 2 years since I switched to only buying cruelty free makeup and beauty products. It was an interesting transition, some days it was fun researching and finding new products that I could use. Other days it was frustrating and I just wanted to buy my long term easy-to-find favourite products. I didn’t throw anything out when I decided to make the change, I just decided that when things ran out or went off, I would only purchase cruelty free when replacing them. By now, I think everything I use has been replaced, except for a couple of MAC eye shadows that are still have knocking around my makeup drawer.

    However, there has always been one dark shadow lurking in my cupboard. One shameful secret product that I couldn’t let go off. Antiperspirant. And I’m talking about the strong stuff. Despite committing to using only cruelty-free items and attempting to use more natural products, I just couldn’t image not use antiperspirant. But at the same time, it didn’t feel right to me. I know that a lot people have discredited the idea that it’s linked to breast cancer, but I can see how applying chemicals everyday that block your sweat glands probably isn’t the best idea. I don’t have an issue using chemicals if they’re necessary, but if there’s an alternative, I am definitely going to use it.

    But still, moving away from antiperspirant seemed like a difficult task because I sweat. A lot. And I felt like I needed antiperspirant. I just didn’t see how natural deodorant was ever going to be enough for me. But the more I read and thought about it, I realised I at least had to give it a go. The trouble is, people report less perspiration and body odor after using natural deodorants for an extended period of time. They say it took a few weeks to get the antiperspirant out of their systems to begin with before the natural deodorant really started working for them. Hmmm. If I was going to try it, I was going to have to commit.

    So that’s what I’ve been doing for the last few weeks. I did a bit of research and decided to try crystal deodorants. I’m usually into alternative things like this, but even this idea seemed a bit crazy. But the reviews were good and I was intrigued so I figured, why not? I started with the basic plain crystal from Thai crystals. It’s literally just a smooth crystal that you wet and rub over your armpits. I do like the crystal but it is a little annoying to have to wet it everytime. I decided that while I was liking the basic crystal, I was still getting a bit smelly by the afternoon and needed something I could top up with more easily than having to wash my armpits and reapply the crystal.

    So I found the Lavender and White Tea Crystal Towelettes. While I wasn’t trilled about the fact that they created more waste, I liked that they had a scent, which would make me feel less self-conscious about my B.O. I also liked that I could throw them into my handbag and take them with me. I actually loved the scent so much that I also bought the roll-on version of it at Walgreens. This feels like a more traditional deodorant, just a bit more watery than a regular roll-on. Though I have found that while it smells great when you first put it on, if you use it throughout the day to top up and try to cover up the smell of B.O., it creeps back in after a short period of time.

    Still so far I haven’t found the experience as difficult as I thought I would. I definitely feel more sweaty sometimes and I’m very self-conscious that I smell. I also have to wash my tops more often. But honestly I haven’t missed antiperspirant that much. I’ve found that I’m adjusting to it. It’s still a journey but I haven’t quit yet, and when I started I really wasn’t sure how long I would last. Let’s see if I can make it through the summer….

  • BACK IN IRELAND

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    I’ve been back in Ireland for 2 weeks now and it’s been a bit of an adjustment. Honestly I wasn’t prepared for that. I was just so excited to get home, having been in America for 14 months. And I really am happy to be back. But it still feels a little strange and almost disorientating to be here. Everything is familiar but different at the same time. It’s a hard feeling to describe.

    This has definitely affected my commitment to my blog. I still want to do it, but I’ve been feeling quite lethargic and just generally not enthusicicatic about things. I think that comes from feeling a bit lost and anxious. In hindsight, it makes sense that I would feel this way but it was so jarring to not feel completely at home right away. Still, I want to get back into a routine with my blog and keep it going. Unfortunately my photographer (aka my boyfriend) is back in the U.S. so I have to rope in other people to take my pictures now. But I will get back in the swing of things. I just need to give myself some time.

    I am definitely more inspired by the style in Dublin, which has been nice. I’ve always loved people watching but since coming back, I feel like I could sit and watch people for hours. I think there’s more variety and experimentation here and I love looking at people who don’t dress like I do, just for inspiration. It’s also fun to get back to the things I left behind when I moved to the US. I did go a bit crazy getting rid of stuff when I got back though and now I feel like I have no clothes ha! Well no clothes for the kind of weather we’ve been having, where it’s not super hot but not super cold. I need in-between clothes.

    While I work on that, I’ve been enjoying the stuff that survived the culling, like my creepers. I love my creepers. I like the contrast between them and this pink flow pyjama-style shirt from ASOS that honestly makes me so happy. It’s the piping, I’m a sucker for the red piping against the pink. It just works so well. I’ve worn this shirt to work, but on this particular occasion, I was going to a pub quiz and I think it’s was perfect for that too.

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    Top – Reclaimed Vintage on ASOS
    Jeans – Topshop Jamie jeans
    Creepers – Truffle Collection (via ASOS)

    Jane x

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