FAVOURITES OF THE MONTH (MARCH) – FASHION, TP(?!), BOOK, GYM & MORE

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I’ve been thinking of new blog posts to spice it up a little and after coming up with my FAIR & VEGAN FASHION QUICKY, I thought that it would be cool if I share my favourites of this previous month. I hope you like this new segment. I’m really excited and I can’t wait to introduce you to ethical, vegan and sustainable products and brands that make my heart skip a beat!

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Shoes of the month

I’ve been wearing those so often. They make every outfit look more chic. I even wore then with jeans and a t-shirt and instantly looked more put together. The brand was very new to me. Love Sofie is a young vegan shoe label that uses recycled and organic materials and manufactures under ethical conditions in the EU minimising their impact on the environment by decreasing transport time.
-Heels by Lovie Sofie 

Bag of the month

I had to force myself not using the same bag everyday because I love this one so much and would even mismatch an outfit with it. The design is classic yet the colour adds a touch of youth to it. I love how versatile the gold chain strap is. The label Labante is my favourite vegan bag label currently. The company manufacture under ethical conditions and try to minimise their environmental footprint by using recycled materials. They are PETA approved vegan so you don’t have to worry about non-vegan glues.
-Kelly bag in pink £115

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Gym + Onzie workout clothes

Just like the previous months, I loved going to the gym! Moving my body has been a must for me lately. A couple of months ago I started this deal with myself to workout 5 times a week. If I’m only able to go less than 5 times that’s still great but I needed to set this goal so that working out becomes a habit for me. I didn’t always reach the 5 times a week target but I worked out every week and felt happy doing it! That’s a huge win for me! What helped me feel good in my skin while working out are my new workout clothes by Onzie. They are ethically made in the USA and look and fit amazingly! They’ve motivated me to go to the gym because I was so excited to wear them. I’ve been looking for fair workout clothes for so long and was so happy to find this label. I’m wearing their sports bra and high waisted leggings in the photo below.
Ritz bra in black $48 and Royal Legging $78 by Onzie

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Book of the month

Here’s a confession: I haven’t been reading a lot of books in the last years. I loved reading books when I was a child and in my teen years but I’ve spent my time doing other more creative activities in the last years like taking photos with Max and myself. But this month Max surprised me with this book and I loved it! It’s called “Lean in” by Sheryl Sandberg. I’m sure some of you already know it and have read it already. It’s quite well known. It’s basically about women in work and as leaders as well as gender equality. I can highly recommend it to all you motivated bosses out there! It’s empowering and motivates you to take your career to the next level.
– Lean in – women, work and the will to lead by Sheryl Sandberg

Candle of the month

I received a huge package from Vegan Bunny this month filled with natural and vegan soy wax candles. I bought one of their candles a couple months ago and loved the scent, natural & vegan philosophy and design so I was so happy to try all the scents! I burned the Sweet Orange candle this month and it made my apartment smell like sweet orange indeed but not overpowering to the extent that you get headaches. Conventional candles contain paraffins that are linked to lung cancer and the scent is always too strong for me. ❌ Natural candles use natural ingredients that don’t cause cancer. 🙅‍♀️ That’s why I love Vegan Bunny candles. Plus, the new copper packaging looks so cute! 😍

Natural & vegan sweet orange candle by Vegan Bunny £10

Brand of the month

I want to take this section and write about companies that I love. I’m excited to introduce you to Who gives a crap who don’t just have the best company name ever but are also doing amazing things for the environment and people! This is not just any toilet paper brand. Let’s start with the most awesome fact about them: they donate 50% of their profit to help build toilets and improve sanitation globally! Why? Because 2.3 billion people don’t have access to a toilet and around 289,000 childrenunder five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation! That’s crap. So I love seeing a company that cares and makes a difference in the world. But that’s not all. Who gives a crap uses bamboo and recycled paper to make their toilet paper instead of virgin trees which saves water, energy and lots of trees! Plus, they send a huge box of plastic-free toilet paper right to your home! That’s great if you are too lazy to go shopping (a.k.a me) and if you want to decrease your plastic consumption. And for my health conscious people out there: Who gives a crap toilet paper is made without chemical inks, dyes or scents. Last but not least: how freaking cute is the plastic-free packaging!

-Bamboo toilet paper by Who gives a crap (get £5 or $10 (USA, AU) off with discount code LIVIAVANH)

Fair & green energy by Our Power & my tips to save energy

Here on my blog I try to inspire people to live a more ethical and sustainable lifestyle. I’ve been sharing lots of ethical & sustainable outfits and fashion brands with you, I’ve shared my guide to become vegan, my guide to reduce your waste and much more. There are lots of ways to live a more ethical and sustainble lifestyle and I’m always up for challenging my own lifestyle to become more ethical.

While my closet is filled with fair and green fashion, my bathroom is equipped with natural cosmetics and my fridge is stuffed with healthy, environmentally-friendly vegan foods, I haven’t thought about where my energy comes from.

Do you know where your energy comes from?

We use energy daily and constantly. It is an important aspect of our modern everyday lives. Without energy I couldn’t use my laptop and smartphone to work on blog posts and social media content. Yet when I moved to my new flat in fall I didn’t think of what kind of energy I’m using and if it is ethical. This is why I was so excited about to learn about Our Power.

I think we all agree that renewable and green energy is the way to go. But is green energy more expensive? You all know that I’m advocating that a more sustainable and ethical lifestyle doesn’t have to be more expensive and that there are always alterantives and ways to even save money! Our Power’s tariffs use renewable energy as part of the OFGEM generation mix. The company is transparent about their energy source and intends to make all tariffs green. The proportion of renewables recently have been high:

Wind
Solar
Hydro
Gas
Nuclear
Coal
Bioenergy
Pumped Storage
Interconnectors (Imports)
Oil

Their new +IMPACT tariff is a 100% green AND ETHICAL energy tariff. The not-for-profit energy supplier knows their energy sources and buy from community-owned energy schemes and renewable sources in the UK, where possible.

 

While Our Power wants to supply greener energy, their mission is also to make household energy more affordable! How?  By not paying dividends to shareholders, by finding the most efficient ways to operate, by generating their own power and by reinvesting any profits to benefit the customers and communities.

FUEL POVERTY – HEAT OR EAT?

Our Power is owned by social housing providers, community organisations and local authorities. Their idea is to maintain a low price so that they can provide green and affordable energy to low income households or those in risk of fuel poverty. What is fuel poverty you may ask?
Over four million households in the UK live in fuel poverty, meaning that they regularly have to make the choice between eating a hot meal or heating their home.

Our Power wants to make the energy market fairer and fight inequality. The more customers switch to the +IMPACT tariff, the more Our Power can maintain the lowest prices for customers at risk of fuel poverty. “Put into numbers, for every home that switches to the +Impact tariff, Our Power can offer an affordable tariff to a lower income or fuel-poor household, helping them heat their home for an average of 54 more days than they could for the same price on a Big 6 standard variable tariff.”

SAVING ENERGY

Changing to a renewable energy provider isn’t all you can do. Trying to save energy in your everyday life makes a difference in costs and the environment. Our Power will deliver ways to help you manage fuel costs.

“A smart meter in your home will enable us to offer personal, tailored and confidential advice on the best ways to get value for money from energy used in your home, to stay warm and to save money. You will easily see how much energy you are using and how much you are spending.”

My own advice for easy ways to save energy

When Max and I moved to the new flat we immediately changed the light bulbs to LED light bulbs which are more environmentally-friendly and save energy (and therefore costs). Further ways to save energy include:

  • closing windows when turning on the heat
  • washing your laundry on a cold setting (this is also better for your beloved fashion items so that you can wear them longer) and in a full load
  • air dry your clothes rather than using a dryer
  • check your fridge settings and adjust the settings when it is set too cold than necessary
  • plug your home electronics into power strips and turn the power strips off when you don’t use them

 

GERMAN + ENGLISH – My day at the animal sanctuary – help out animals with your donation!

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My bff Sarah and I have been wanting to help animals by doing our own little project for quite a while now. Eventually, Sarah came up with the idea of putting together a wishlist on Amazon for an animal sanctuary so that people can buy food for the animals which will be sent directly to the rescue shelter. That way every donation is going to the animals to 100%.

We loved the idea so much and started preparing immediately. After lots of organisational work, we finally collaborated with the local animal sanctuary in Austria and planned our visit there when I was in Vienna. You can read about our visit down below. But first, please look at the link to the Amazon wishlist and consider donating some food to the animals. YOU can brighten up an animal’s life with just a few euros!

Click here to get to
THE AMAZON WISHLIST

 

Once we arrived there we’ve been greeted by Oliver, one of their employees. He showed us the whole area, told us lots of information about the sanctuary and answered all of our questions. The animal rescue shelter is 2000m2big and actually is in the need for renovations. They struggle with mold and humidity. There are over 80 employees and lots of animals that have to be fed daily. Every financial transaction is financed by donations. They fully depend on donations.

The animals there are mostly brought to them by pet owners who don’t want to have them anymore or are unable to care for them anymore. There have been cases of animals that simply haven’t been fed by their owners anymore and given to them. There are also sick animals that have been found in the wild or on the streets that have been brought to them to get healthy again and be let free to the wild again. At this point, Oliver told us that it can be problematic when people give them wild animals that are thought to be sick but are actually not. He advices to call first and ask for advice or inform yourself first if the animal is really sick. Even though it was an emotional visit, the animal sanctuaries in countries like Hungary or Croatia are worse. They are actually killing centres. Therefore, there are lots of rescued animals from Hungary or Croatia at Austrian rescue shelters as well. One case shocked me especially. There was a smuggling of over 600 turtles at the Croatian border. Over 100 of the turtles didn’t make the transport and died. The rest of the animals were put in animal sanctuaries all over Europe.
There are also animals at the shelter that were given to them to care for by a pet owner during the owner’s holiday. However, lots of pet owners don’t pick up their animals anymore after their “holiday”.

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There are dogs, cats, mice, rabbits, birds, sheep, pigs, turtles, monkey, reptiles, fish and more living at the sanctuary. Some animals get adopted, especially puppies, “trendy” dog breeds, young and healthy ones. However, most of the old, sick, calm and dark coloured dogs and other animals stay at the sanctuary their whole life until they die. The employees train the dogs to be comfortable in everyday life environments. They even have a practice car to train the dogs to get in and out of cars and a practice living room to make them comfortable in indoor environments. Some animals are trained for therapies with elderlies. They are especially calm and help older people with their mental health.

The sanctuary also offer partnerships where people can donate €30 per month to play with a dog regularly. They also offer a partnership where you can get to know your dog of choice and are able to adopt it after you made up your mind. You can choose the animal that you want. However, the team at the sanctuary will ask for your lifestyle and current situation and assess if your chosen dog fits to your life. They won’t give a young, strong and playful dog to an old man who can barely walk for example.

DEUTSCH/ GERMAN

Meine Freundin Sarha und ich wollten schon lange Tieren helfen und unser eigenes kleines Tierprojekt starten. Im Dezember kam Sarah dann auf die Idee eine Amazon Wunschliste für ein Tierheim zu erstellen, damit Leute Futter und andere wichtige Dinge direkt an das Heim spenden können und wissen, das ihre Spende zu 100% an die Tiere geht.

Wir beide liebten die Idee sofort und haben gleich mit der Planung begonnen. Nach etlichen Stunden Organisationsarbeit, ist eine Kooperation mit dem Wiener Tierschutzverein Vösendorf zustande gekommen. Wir besuchten das Tierschutzhaus dann gleich am 19.2. nachdem ich in Wien angekommen bin. Du kannst unten über unseren Besuch lesen, aber zuerst möchte ich dich bitten dir den unteren Link zu der Amazon Wunschliste anzusehen. Die Tiere würden sich so über deine Tierfutterspende freuen und alles, was du tun musst, ist nur für ein paar Euro über Amazon Futter bestellen!

KLICKE HIER UM ZUR
AMAZON WUNSCHLISTE ZU GELANGEN!

Als wir beim Tierschutzhaus ankamen, begrüßte uns Oliver, der Zuständige für PR. Er zeigte uns das ganze Gelände und informierte uns bis ins kleinste Detail. Auch unsere Fragen beeantwortete er mit Geduld. Das Tierschutzheim ist 2000m2 großund ist definitiv baufällig. Das Heim hat mit Schimmel und Feuchtigkeit zu kämpfen.
Es arbeiten über 80 Angestellte dort und es leben viele Tiere dort, die täglich gefüttert werden müssen. Finanzierung läuft zu 100% über Spenden. Das Heim ist vollkommen auf Spenden angewiesen.

Die Tiere werden oft von ihren Besitzern ins Heim gebracht, weil sie die Tiere nicht mehr wollen oder nicht mehr halten können. Oliver erzählte uns auch von Fällen, bei denen die Tiere einfach nicht mehr gefüttert wurden und von den Besitzern hergebracht wurden. Es gibt auch viele kranke Tiere, die auch teilweise in der Wildnis oder auf der Straße gefunden wurden und zum Tierschutzhaus gebracht wurden, um wieder gesund gepfelgt zu werden und ausgewildert zu werden.  Dazu erzählte Oliver uns auch, dass es problematisch sein kann, wenn Leute ihnen gesunde Tiere bringen, weil sie sich zu wenig auskennen. Er empfiehlt hier das Heim vorher anzurufen und nach Rat zu fragen, wie man kranke Tiere erkennen kann. Voher informieren sei hier sehr wichtig!
Obwohl der Besuch sehr emotional war, so sind die Tierheime in Ländern wie Ungarn oder Kroatien schlimmer. Diese Heime sind Tötungsstationen. Regelmäßig versuchen Tierheime in Österreich Tiere von diesen Tötungsstationen zu retten und bei sich auf zunehmen. Ein Fall schockte mich besonders. An der kroatischen Grenze wurde ein Schmuggel-Transporter aufgehalten, der über 600 Schildkröten versucht hat zu schmuggeln. Über 100 Schildkröten haben den Transport nicht überlebt. Die restlichen Schildkröten wurden überall in Europa in Tierheimen untergebracht.
Es gibt auch Tiere, die von ihren Besitzern ins Heim zur pflege gebracht werden, wenn der Besitzer auf Urlaub fliegt. Leider werden diese Tiere oft nicht wieder abgeholt.

Es gibt Hunde, Katzen, Kaninchen, Schafe, Schildkröten, Schweine, Vögel, Fische, Reptilien, Affen und noch mehr im Tierheim. Manche Tiere werden adoptiert –  ganz besonders Welpen, Jungtiere, “Moderassen” und gesunde Tiere. Leider verbringen jedoch oft die alten, kranken, ruhigen und dunklen Hunde und andere Tiere ihr restliches Leben im Heim und sterben auch dort.
Die Angestellten trainieren die Hunde, damit sie sich in einem Alltagsleben des Menschen wohl fühlen. Es gibt ein Trainingsauto, in dem sie das Ein-und Aussteigen trainieren und ein Container, der wie ein Wohnzimmer eingerichtet ist, sodass die Hunde auf das Leben in einer Wohnung oder einem Haus trainiert werden. Es gibt sogar Therapietiere, die auf alte Menschen trainiert sind und bei Besuchen in Altersheimen eingesetzt werden.

Das Tierschutzhaus Vösendorf bietet Partnerschaften an, bei der man €30 pro Monat spenden kann und mit Hunden regelmäßig spielen kann. Man kann sich das Tier aussuchen, aber das Team schätzt ein, ob der zukünftige Besitzer und dessen Lebensstil mit dem Tier zusammenpassen. Das Heim wird zum Beispiel keinen jungen und verspielten Hund einem älteren Herren vermitteln, der kaum gehen kann.

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A DAY IN MY LIFE: FAIR FASHION SAMPLE SALE IN LONDON & VEGAN DOUGHNUTS

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If you are buying fair fashion yourself, then you might know that it’s super hard to purchase ethically-made clothes and fashion pieces in an actual shop. There are some boutiques here and there but I myself always buy my fashion online. I personally love the convenience of online shopping but it does have an obvious disadvantage: you cannot try on the clothes.

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That’s why I was so excited when Cossac, a fair fashion label that I’ve been loving for quite a while now, invited me to the ECO HOT sample sale in London. Four fair fashion labels –  Noumenon, Cossac, AmaElla and Naida C. Castel – put together a little sample sale in the vegan Canvas Café at Brick Lane London.
I’ve dragged my boyfriend with me and spent a wonderful time talking to the founders of these amazing brands, trying on ethically-made fashion and looking through the beautiful designs. It doesn’t happen every day that you get the chance talk about the origin of fabrics and hear the personal stories behind fashion brands and fair products. The founder of Noumenon talked about the idea of using reclaimed furniture fabrics for her jackets, the creator of AmaElla showed me her GOTS certified organic lingerie and sleepwear pieces, Naida introduced to me her newest handmade jewelry collection and Agata told me the story how she met Naida (Naida was modelling for COSSAC when Agata found out that Naida has a jewelry label) while talking about COSSAC pieces. That’s what fair fashion is about. It’s so much more personal than fast fashion. There are faces and stories behind every fashion item.

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I couldn’t resist taking some pieces home with me and even Max took the opportunity to gift me a Naida C. Castel jewelry piece as a pre-Valentine’s day present.

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After that amazing shopping experience, Max and I had to celebrate with some vegan doughnuts at Crosstown. We had one matcha doughnut but our favourite was definitely the vanilla glazed one which is why Max haaaaad to get two. 😉

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bag by Labante & vegan pink silk scarf by JAN’N JUNE (currently only blue version available)

After our Sunday at Brick Lane we went home and I immediately showed my new ethical fashion goodies on my Instagram story and did a little try-on haul.

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THE FASHION INDUSTRY EXPLAINED – why you support slave labour when shopping fast fashion, why workers don’t get unemployed if you stop and second hand shopping

I’ve made a blog post about my smartphone struggle and how to shop electronic devices ethically and I’ve explained that second hand shopping is a good alternative for buying ethically made items. I want to explain why second hand shopping is the most sustainable and an ethical way of shopping. To explain this, I have to explain how the fast fashion industry works and since I haven’t done that on my blog, I want to take this chance and write about fast fashion 101. So take a cup of tea and take your time to read about this important issue of our century and make up your own opinion about it.

1. How are you supporting labour exploitation
when buying from fast fashion companies?

The supply chain of fast fashion

When you buy a t-shirt from a High Street brand such as H&M the money you spent to purchase it goes to the company. With this money the company is getting profit and are financing their business processes. They use the money to pay for their transport, marketing, design processes, manufacturing and more. When it comes to manufacturing, big fashion companies don’t have their own factories anymore. It is easier for them to give textile factories their designs and hire them to manufacture the clothing for them. This also means that these huge companies can easily shift responsibility to their manufacturing factories when there’s a scandal happening. But that’s another story. When a fast fashion company hires a contractor they tell them how much they want to pay for their order of clothes. They put the factories under a lot of pressure to meet their demands. So to be able to produce clothes so cheaply to please the client (eg H&M), the factory has to pay their employees (the garment workers) very very little. And it’s not just the low wage that the factory owners are forced to give their workers, the workers also have to work very fast and under a lot of pressure too. Why? Because the High Street fashion companies release new clothes every week which is why it’s called “fast fashion”. The fashion brands want their clothes cheap and fast. So the workers are not getting enough breaks, not enough days off and their health is not protected. The reality of this is that workers work for two days in a row without break, are not allowed to take a break to eat or drink, have to work even though they are pregnant and more.
So, when you give your money to the company, they’ll use this money to pay the contractor companies who then pay the people who actually made the clothes.

2. What happens if you stop giving money to fast fashion companies?

The reason why you are not contributing to unemployment + fair fashion explained

Now, let’s imagine that we all stop buying from that High Street brand such as H&M. What would happen? You don’t give them money anymore so H&M won’t use YOUR money anymore to pay their contractors who won’t be able to pay their garment workers anymore. This is the point where a lot of people say: “But this is not good! It’s better that the garment workers have a job than get no money at all! If I don’t buy at H&M the workers will be unemployed!”

Let me address this. Yes, it is true that if you don’t give your money to the fashion company anymore, they factory owners won’t be able to give your money to their garment factories. BUT! What would YOU, as a consumer, do instead? Would you never buy clothing again? No, of course not. You will give the money that you decided NOT to spend on fast fashion, to another fashion company. Or else you would have to run around naked 😉 And this is the point where you can decide to give your money to a company that doesn’t exploit garment workers. Instead of supporting slave labour, you can support a smaller fashion company that treats their workers humanely. In this case, that would be a fair/ethical fashion company. These companies manufacture in different countries: the USA, European countries AND countries like China, Bangladesh, India, etc. So when a fair fashion company manufacture in e.g Bangladesh, they give the people their a job and therefore money just like e.g H&M but there’s a difference: they give them MORE money, don’t put them under pressure, give them enough breaks, protect their health and even support them by e.g paying for their children’s schools, school books, food and more. This means the more and the bigger successful fair fashion companies are out there in the world, the more garment workers work under fair conditions.
One of the reasons why a lot of people don’t shop fair fashion is because the clothing is a bit more expensive than the fast fashion counterpart since the fair fashion company pays their workers more money and because the companies don’t sell as much as e.g H&M. This means, the more people buy fair, the less expensive the fashion will get!

3. Are you giving money to fast fashion when buying second hand?

The reason why thrifting is the most sustainable way of shopping

Besides shopping from fair fashion companies, there’s another way to stop supporting fast fashion without running around naked: Second hand fashion.
Think about it: When you own a piece of clothing and don’t like it anymore (because it doesn’t fit, you don’t like the style, etc) there are two options: throw it away or give it away. What happens when you throw it away? It ends up in a landfill and either degrades (which releases CO2 and combats to climate change) or, when it is made from synthetic materials, it eventually ends up in the ocean (with lots of other trash) and gets smaller and smaller until it’s micro plastic in the sea. Micro plastic pollutes the ocean and gets eaten by fish which – unless you’re vegan – you eat.
On the other hand, when you give it away e.g to a second hand shop, it gets a new chance. Someone else can buy it and wear it. Let’s say you buy a t-shirt from a thrift shop. Where does your money go to? It goes to the owner of the shop who will use it for shop rent, their own profit and to give money to the people who give their old clothes to the thrift shop. Does it go to a fast fashion company? NO! Therefore, you are NOT supporting slave labour and unsustainable fashion. Quite the contrary! Second hand fashion is the most sustainable way of buying fashion because you are saving that piece of clothing from being thrown away! What if you thrift a clothing piece of the brand H&M? Does the money go to H&M? The answer is no. That clothing piece was bought by someone else who you have no control over, and given away. You can’t control where other people give their money to. At the end of the day, it is about that YOU yourself don’t support fast fashion and slave labour. It is about YOUR clean slate. You can’t control what other people do. You can only set an example and influence others to do their best too.

 

What do you think about all this? Do you shop fair or second hand or consider it after reading this? Are there any questions I haven’t answered? Tell me in the comments if there is anything unclear to you!

Find out more in the links below:

The true cost movie

Kristen Leo’s Youtube Channel – including lots of ethical fashion & thrifting videos!

Marta Canga’s Youtube Channel – including vegan & fair fashion videos!

Mia from Heylilahey’s Youtube Channel – including vegan & fair fashion videos! *German*

Kristen Leo’s blog – including fair fashion posts!

Great blog post about thrifting

My favourite fair fashion bloggers

My fair fashion guide

What is ethical fashion by the ethical fashion forum

Ethical fashion explained by Mochni

Fast fashion article by Forbes

Fast fashion explained by Wikipedia

Quick history of fast fashion explained 

30 FACTS ABOUT ME

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Last week I’ve asked you on my Instagram story what blog post you want to see on my blog and the poll concluded that lots of people want to know some facts about me! Plus, I’ve been nominated to do the 5 facts about me tag which you can find when you scroll through my Instagram. I’ve revealed further 5 facts about me 😉
I’m always surprised that people would want to read about me but hey, why not! Some of the facts are answers to questions people asked me. So let’s get right into it – 30 random facts about me:

  1. I’ve been vegan since January 2014.
  2. I have an older brother called Justin (which is short for his birth name Justinian).
  3. No one in my family is vegan.
  4. My boyfriend Max and I went to the same school and were in the same class from age 15-19.
  5. I’ve been in a relationship with Max since 2012.
  6. I’ve done pole dancing once a week for over one year.
  7. I love to eat healthy but I do eat vegan junk food occasionally.
  8. I’ve had long hair my whole teenage years and cut them chin length when I was 20.
  9. I’ve donated over 50cm of my hair to the Little Princess Trust.
  10. I’m 170 cm tall.
  11. I don’t own a scale and only weigh myself once or twice a year.
  12. I’ve struggled with eating disorders during my whole teenage years.
  13. I had 2 hamsters “Phoebe” and “Remi” during my childhood years.
  14. I don’t want to own pets now or in the future.
  15. I’m studying Environmental Science at the Queen Mary University of London (which is the same uni where my boyfriend studies Business Management)
  16. I was never athletic and now that I’m going to the gym regularly, I’m the most athletic I’ve ever been.
  17. I’d rather stay at home and watch Netflix with Max than go on a night out.
  18. I’m a huge procrastinator when it comes to tasks I don’t like/ want to do.
  19. I love Musicals, vintage movies (Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Barbara Streisand and Co) and my favourite motivational song is “Don’t Rain On My Parade” by the queen Barbara Streisand.
  20. I’ve always loved fashion but my passion for it has never been stronger than now.
  21. I’ve been struggling with anxiety, depression, social anxiety and mental health issues my whole life.
  22. I’m an introvert and quiet when you meet me and more chatty, loud and passionate once we’re friends.
  23. It takes ages for me to get warm with people and accept them as friends
  24. I love eating vegan food and I never restrict myself. When I’m hungry, I eat and I don’t count calories.
  25. My best friend is Sarah and we’ve been in the same class from 2011 – 2016 as well.
  26. Sarah and I decided to try eating vegan together and are both vegan since then.
  27. I cry easily and often and I love it. 😉
  28. I am vegan because there are too many reasons that animal products harm your health, the environment and the animals. So I don’t see a reason not to be vegan. But I originally became vegan for my health.
  29. For the future I’d like to continue blogging/ Instagram as a part time job on the weekend and during the week I’d like to work for a sustainability consultancy or an NGO.
  30. When I’m done with university, I’d like to move to Germany, Switzerland or Austria with my boyfriend.

How to eat vegan – my starter guide for a healthier, more environmentally-friendly and cruelty-free diet + FAQs answered!

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I’ve been getting lots of message on Instagram since I’ve shared my vegan food pics on the social media platform. The most questions I get are “how can I eat vegan?”, “can you give me advice on what to eat as a vegan” or “can you give me recipes for vegan food”. I love seeing people being interested in veganism and I love when people message me to connect with me on my favourite topics! However, I always find it hard to answer their questions. I’ve been vegan for over 4 years now which is basically all my adult life. I’ve been cooking for me, my boyfriend and my mum since I was 16. Mainly because I knew that veganism was a new concept to my mother and I didn’t want to be burden on her but I also wanted to take the control and cook the food that I researched myself. My mother and boyfriend liked the food that I prepared and we started to cook vegan food together – one of my favourite teenage memories!
After 4 years of vegan cooking, I have my go-to meals that I now prepare for my boyfriend and me and I rarely experiment with new dishes anymore because it makes everyday life just a little bit too complicated. Because eating vegan is actually not different to eating animal products. Yes, you reduce cruelty, environmental impact and negative impact on your health but it is just a diet which means people still have different preferences when it comes to taste, people still enjoy certain national cuisines better than others and people still want their food to be quick and simple.

Therefore, when someone asks me what they can eat as a vegan, I’m feeling slightly overwhelmed. I want to explain that everyone likes different food and veganism is not an exception and that I can tell them what I cook for myself but if they don’t like that, doesn’t mean that they don’t like vegan food – they just don’t like my vegan food. I think people that are new to the concept of eating vegan don’t know yet that there’s actually
A LOT of vegan food in the world:

LIST OF VEGAN FOOD:

all fruits (apple, banana, orange, pomegranate, mango, grape, …)
all vegetables (cucumber, zucchini, aubergine, asparagus, corn, mushrooms, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, cauliflower, broccoli, paprika…)
lots of types of pasta (spaghetti, penne, farfalle, …)
all types of rice and grains (couscous, quinoa, polenta, bulgur, …)
all beans (kidney beans, black beans, chickpeas,
all types of lentils (red, green, brown, …)
all nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds, peanuts, cashews …)
all seeds (sesame, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, …)
lots of types of bread (baguette, pita breads, naan breads, flat breads, sourdough breads, ciabatta breads, pizza breads, …)
basic staples (like sugar, all types of flours, coffee, cacao, herbs, spices, oats, teas, …)
plant milk (soy, almond, cashew, rice, oat, hemp, coconut)
plant-based non-dairy products (yoghurt, desserts, cheeses, ice creams, creamers, …)
plant-based mock meats
other foods (like corn for popcorn, tofu, seitan, maple syrup, dried fruit …)
sauces and condiments (ketchup, curry pastes, tomato sauces, sweet chili sauces, soy sauces, chutneys, mustards, nut butters (tahini, peanut butter,…), …)
junk food (like oreo cookies, other types of cookies, cakes, chips/crisps, already-made popcorn, pringles, …)
beverages (juices, ice tea, coffee, soft drinks like cola, sprite, …., alcoholic drinks like wines, beers, vodka, whiskey, …)

AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON… These are just the foods I could think of right now but there’s so much more!

So now, can you believe me that it’s difficult for me to tell someone what to eat as a vegan? The possibilities are endless! It is simply not possible to tell you 5 recipes that you can cook so that you become vegan because you probably like completely different foods than I do and there’s too much vegan food out there that you won’t be eating then. It is better to learn what foods are vegan and which ones are not and then figuring out recipes on your own!

Vegan versions

I always recommend people to google vegan recipes versions of their favourite foods:
Do you love hamburgers and fries? –Vegan burger with fries
Do you love Nasi Goreng? –Vegan Nasi Goreng
Do you love indian curries? –Vegan indian curries
Do you love risotto? –vegan vegetable risotto


I think you get the idea. And even if you want to make a vegan risotto, there are hundreds of different vegan risotto recipes out there!
People also get quite surprised when I tell them that most cultures around the world already have their own traditionally vegan dishes :
Middle eastern countries: Falafel pita
Greece: fava, courgette balls, stuffed vine leaves, giant beans, …
India: vegetable curries, Samosa, …
Europe/ USA: french fries/ chips
China: Tofu & vegetable dishes
Japan: avocado/ cucumber/ vegetable maki, vegetable noodle dishes like zaru soba
Thailand: mango sticky rice, coconut ice cream,
Italy: sorbets, the traditional & original Marinara pizza (pizza base+ tomato sauce with herbs), the traditional Napolitana tomato sauce pasta
Morocco: vegetable tajine
…and more!

So here are my tips for getting started with a vegan diet:

  1. research what foods are vegan and which ones are not (by reading ingredient lists on the foods, by using google (or even better Ecosia) to research if a food is vegan) to have an understand of what you can eat and what not!
  2. research what vegan “processed foods” are available in your area (foods like vegan ice creams, vegan milks, vegan meats, vegan sweets, …) so that you can treat yourself with them or even make the transition easier
  3. research vegan versions of your favourite recipes and try them out! Have fun in the kitchen! Starting a vegan diet means that you unlearn what you know about food and relearn your eating behaviour!
  4. get in your new vegan routine: when you know what foods are vegan and when you know what your favourite vegan dishes are, you can now write your grocery lists with all the food that you need for breakfast, lunch and dinner, buy only these foods and get in the habit of cooking your vegan dishes
  5. BONUS: now that you’re in your every-day life routine, you can explore how to eat vegan in restaurants and how to eat vegan when you travel. Researching online definitely helps for finding out the traditional vegan food in foreign countries, the vegan restaurants in foreign countries and the vegan options at your local restaurants. I always love exploring vegan food when I’m traveling (here’s my favourite website to find vegan restaurants all around the world)! And I have a vegan guide to Paris and Cyprus and even a review to a restaurant in Ubud and Vienna.
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I think I’m going to share my favourite vegan recipes with you too so stay tuned for that! But as I said, you can get inspiration for vegan recipes everywhere on the internet!

Karine Jackson hair & beauty salon + hair stories

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Max and I wanted to get a haircut for a while now. But we didn’t get an appointment when we were in Vienna and I just haven’t found a salon in London that I liked. But especially Max needed to go to a salon urgently since his hair was dyed and his roots were showing majorly! Over two years ago he decided to dye his hair and he had grey, white and blonde hair since then. I had my hair cut from super long to super short in December 2016 and donated my hair to the Little Princess Trust. Since then I’ve only been to a hairdresser in summer 2017 because I wanted to let my hair grow a little to see what length I like. In January my hair was a little shorter than shoulder length and had a very blunt and straight cut. Nothing fancy. When you scroll through my Instagram feed, you can see that I didn’t do much to it. I have naturally curly/ wavy hair which I don’t like that much so I straightened it with the blowdryer and maybe my straightener and sometimes I curled it a little bit with a curling iron to achieve more structured curls. It was time for a change – for both of us. That’s why I was so excited when I got the offer to visit the Karine Jackson hair & beauty salon with Max. I got a treatment and cut and Max got a cut and got his hair dyed again. It was very exciting for him since he decided he wanted to dye it brown, his natural hair colour, again.

From my Instagram story, before we went to Karine Jackson hair salon:

 

The salon

Karine Jackson is a hair and beauty salon located on 24 Litchfield Street in London that uses vegan, organic and natural hair care products. I myself only use natural products on my hair so the Karine Jackson salon got me very excited. The Australian founder, Karine Jackson herself, who won the British hairdresser of the year award in 2007, introduced an organic colour range called “Organic Colour System” to her salon in Covent Garden London. This was very interesting for Max since his hair dresser in Vienna was brilliant in his work but never used organic or natural products.

 

The salon has a huge variety of hair services: hair colour, cuts, styling, perming, straightening, volumising, colour correction, wedding hair and male hair services. The salon has two floors and when downstairs they offer a variety of beauty services including face treatments, nails, body treatments, lashes, brows, hair removal, make up, caci and men’s beauty. They even offer packages such as hair and make up for brides or pamper days. The price range depends on the hair stylist you choose and the service you want but it starts at very affordable prices.

Max’ story

As you can see in the video above I already looked like a dying ice-bear and really needed something new. After nearly three years of rocking grey and blonde hair my original colour (brown) would seem like an innovation of my hairstyle, the old-new. Alasdair (what an amazing name!) is a style director at the Karine Jackson salon and is probably one of the nicest people I’ve met in London. Right away I was offered water and tea as well as crisps and a cookie to enjoy the time. After I explained what I wanted to change Alasdair walked me through the whole procedure of colouring my hair and what will happen at each stage. I’ve never felt more prepared at a hair salon. Afterwards, he made a quick hair test to see if my hair needed some nutrients. Alasdair concluded that my hair only needed some protein (because of breakage) which can be supplemented through some hair products. We went down to the floor underneath where the salon has all their washing tables where I received my first hair treatment (washing and supplementing protein). Upstairs, Alasdair began with the colouring process. Since my hair was already bleached it had no pigments and so it was only necessary to colour it. Alasdair explained to me that he will choose a brown colour which will be a nuance darker to make sure that more pigments stay in the hair even after washing them a few times. He used a product from the “Organic Colour System” which basically is a natural way to dye hair. The product stayed in for around 15-20 minutes while I wore a special cap that kept my hair warm and afterwards we went down again to wash it out. The first time I saw myself in the mirror I felt a bit nostalgic. However, that was not it – Alasdair started cutting them right after. I could really feel that his main goal was to make the customer feel comfortable and happy and have to say that the stay at Karine Jackson hair & beauty salon brightened my mood. In the end I was so relieved to have a proper haircut again and the colour of my hair has not weakened in the last ten days.

My story

My stylist Sophia who is a senior stylist started with asking me about my hair. I told her right away that I didn’t want to lose the length of my hair. She suggested me some layers which I was very happy about. Just like Max’ stylist, my stylist Sophia did the hair test on me. She sprayed a few single hairs with water and pulled on them to see how they stretch. She concluded that my hair needs a protein treatment. We went downstairs to wash my hair with the all vegan, organic and natural hair shampoo and conditioner and went back up to put some leave-in treatment as well as a heat protecting spray on my hair – all organic and vegan of course. She cut some layers and did her magic. She told me that she wanted to create some dimension to compliment my face better since my hair was very bluntly cut. After the cutting Sophia blow dried my hair leaving it smooth and straight with a little bit of body showcasing my new cut perfectly. Sophia is a specialist in curling and decided to give my hair some waves using a deep hair waver. After just a few minutes and a bit of hair spray she was done. She gave me the advice to use a hair waver for night outs or even on daytime when I want to change it up a bit. Now here’s the thing: I know so many girls, me included, who had so many bad experiences with hairdressers who cut more of their hair than they wanted. That’s what I loved at Karine Jackson salon, my stylist did exactly what I wanted and more. She really understood what I liked and I can highly recommend Sophia!

I took some selfies throughout getting my hair done since Max was getting his hair done at the same time and was occupied:

The first photo (left) was taken while a vegan and organic product was soaking up in my hair to moisturise. The right photo is me after Sophia washed my hair.

 

The left photo is my hair after the stylist blow dried it. The right photo is the finished style!

 

 

What is ‘zero waste’? + my personal approach to this lifestyle

Recently I’ve written a blog post about the ultimate do-good list. A list about all the lifestyle changes everyone can try to make to make the world a better place. One of the lifestyles I included was the ‘zero waste lifestyle’. However, I realised that the zero waste lifestyle is not very well known as I hoped it would be. That’s why I decided to write about it.

Zero waste – meaning producing no waste at all – is about reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfills and eventually the ocean. What’s bad about waste in the ocean? Most waste takes forever to decompose. Materials like plastic are used everyday globally and thrown away globally. These plastics get smaller once thrown away until they end up as micro plastics. Micro plastic gets ingested by fish which – unless you’re vegan – gets eaten by humans. Bon appétit.
Besides plastic sushi for dinner, plastic forms whole islands in the ocean. Our world is full of waste and everyone who doesn’t want to waste our planet should consider a zero waste lifestyle.

Now, I myself am not a Lauren Singer. In fact, living zero waste is one of my top goals in life (besides the obvious – career and relationship goals).
Zero waste means contributing no waste to the landfill. So first of all we analyse what we throw away: food packaging, food waste, old clothes, cosmetic packaging, coffee cups, water bottles, more packaging and even more packaging. You get there’s a theme here: packaging. You can also sort your waste by material: plastics, paper/ cardboard, organic waste, tins and metals, fabrics and other materials. Some of these waste materials can be recycled and recycling is encouraged.

The zero waste principle is about 5 guide lines, the 5 Rs:
Refuse – refuse single use items such as plastic straws
Reduce – reduce the amount of newly purchased items – don’t shop what you don’t need
Reuse – use the things you have as much and long as possible and always consider repairing instead of buying a new item, use reusable items instead of one-use ones
Recycle
Rot – food waste should be composted

When I think of zero waste my mind divides the waste problem in our everyday life in 3 areas: bathroom, kitchen and on the go.

We eat everyday and our food is *drumroll please* wrapped in packaging. Eating whole foods, buying unpackaged vegetables and fruits and buying grains, legumes and other dry foods in bulk (at special bulk stores) is the solution. Don’t order food online (I’m definitely guilty of that) and don’t buy packaged already-made food on the go. Food waste should be composted.
I did very well the past year when it comes to plastic-free food. However, since my move to another area, the availability of bulk stores and fruit and veggie markets (where unpackaged food is dominating) has been a challenge. I  do always choose the unpackaged fruits and vegetables and try to stock up on bulk dry goods, but there’s still a lot of plastic in my pantry and fridge. 

On the go and spontaneous situations is where lots of unnecessary waste is made. The solution: a zero waste survival kit. A mason jar/ reusable bottle, a reusable cutlery, a napkin, one or more reusable shopping bags, homemade and plastic free snacks and lots of discipline. I’m not doing the best when it comes to this part either. I carry reusable shopping bags with me and have a bottle with me most of the times but I always forget about ordering coffee in a reusable mug and forget to pack lunch and snacks for the day.

Lastly, you can reduce or completely eliminate plastic waste from your bathroom. Solid soaps instead of liquid, packaged ones, solid shampoos, solid conditioners or oils in glass bottles for your hair and body, homemade or plastic-free tooth paste, bamboo toothbrushes, plastic free deodorant, plastic free makeup, wooden hair brushes – the amount of product we use for our hygiene everyday is endless. Thanks to responsible and environmental conscious businesses, so is the amount of plastic free alternatives.
This is the only area where I can say that I’m proud of my progress. I’m still not 100% perfect but I’m consistent when it comes to the products I do choose to purchase plastic free.

There is so much more to zero waste, when put in practice. I encourage you to do more research about this amazing movement! Are you inspired to learn more about zero waste? Read more here:

http://www.gittemary.com

https://www.goingzerowaste.com

https://zerowastehome.com

 

THE ULTIMATE DO-GOOD-LIST

I love changing my lifestyle to help the environment, the animals and the people on this planet. Every day you spend money and almost every decision you make or action you take is about money. And every single time you spend money, you vote. You tell the company you are giving money that you want more of the thing you just bought. It’s supply and demand: if everyone buys an iPhone, Apple will produce more. If no one buys an iPhone, Apple will stop producing.
There are so many different areas in your life where you can live more align your values and principles or simply be a better person. I personally love researching more environmentally friendly, more animal friendly, healthier and more ethical lifestyles because it’s the easiest and way to make the world a better place. Everyone can change their lifestyle and YOU can make a difference in the world! I put together a list of all the different areas of life where you can be more ethically, eco-friendly, cruelty free and healthy. I personally strive to be able to make all of these changes in my life one day – probably later than sooner though.

Tick all of these off and you’re basically a really good person with high ethical and sustainable standards! Plus, if everyone would do this, there would be no environmental pollution, climate change, animal abuse, slave labour and less diseases. Basically this earth would be an awesome place to live on.
No particular order

The do-good list:

🌍🍎be zero waste

🌍🐮🍎👩🏽be vegan

🌍🐮👩🏽🍎buy ethical, vegan & sustainable fashion

🌍👩🏽buy ethical & sustainable or second hand electronics

🌍👩🏽🐮buy ethical, vegan & sustainable or second hand furniture and home items

🌍🍎buy local and seasonal food

🌍🍎buy natural, organic and vegan cosmetics, candles and cleaning products

🌍use the things that you own for a long time vs throwing them away quickly

🌍👩🏽buy second hand and sell your own things so that they get another life

🌍👩🏽stop buying useless, low quality products

🌍only use green energy and electric vehicles

Emoji index:

🌍=good for the planet (sustainable, non polluting, eco-friendly, environmentally friendly)

🍎=good for your health

🐮=good for the animals (cruelty free)

👩🏽=good for the people (no slave labour, sweatshop free, no child labour, ethical, human rights, female emoji chosen because mostly women suffer from slave labour)

Now the version that most people can realistically live with:

reduce plastic consumption
reduce animal products consumption
include ethical & sustainable fashion in your closet
include second hand and/or ethical electronics to your electronic belongings
buy more locally and seasonally
include natural, organic and vegan cosmetic products to your regime
use belongings consciously and think twice before buying something
consider second hand
consider buying electric car or using public transportation more and/or use green energy

 

Is there anything you think is missing on my list? Do you practice any of the mentioned lifestyle choices?