Saturday, 2 May 2020

The Reality of Second Year

So second year is over abruptly. Though yes I am still online doing my work, we had to make a unexpected move out of the house and move back home. To me it feels like this year is over, learning is still going on but the rest of the uni experience is over and I am kind of sad about it.

Second year, the first year where grades actually count for something, which is sightly terrifying. This year overall has been a lot more fun but with a few more breakdowns and more stress. Yes, the end of second year was tough and frustrating, with strikes left right and centre and coronavirus everywhere, it wasn't the worst year ever. This year consisted of several breakdowns, over what I couldn't tell you (I have no clue), but my friends definitely are what made this year more enjoyable, even during social distancing. 

Going into second year I wasn't really that excited to delve back into the whole learning process after what felt like forever off, because let's be honest 4 months is a long time. Being used to only 6 weeks between summer and a new term, I was very rusty in the first few weeks to say the least. This time around it took a lot more effort to get my motivational juices flowing but they came eventually (I think). In second year the content tends to become more specialised towards your actual degree, everything is a bit less broad, and that is what I have really loved about second year. I love learning more about specific marine life rather than just general biology. So for me I had modules based around vertebrates, marine species physiology and behaviour and marine ecology. Ecology and marine vertebrates, is something I want to specialise in the future so I did love the modules this year.

Depending on your living situation you tend to live in a house in second year rather than halls, and this gives you a lot more comfort and freedom. Living with your friends and just chilling in front of the TV with mario kart is a lot more enjoyable than being stuck in a dingy box room, which is what is struggled with mentally last year. In second year you feel more at home, you aren't really adjusting to university life anymore. Though stress and anxiety may be on the up, with an increased work load and pressure to get good grades that actually have to go towards your final grade. That along with starting to some what choose dissertation topics and the looming final year of university just around the corner, can be quite daunting (unless like me you are thinking of a masters to put of the impending doom of adult hood). This to me is slightly terrifying as, if I am honest, I am a perfectionist and this year has not been going too perfect grades wise, but I am hoping to pull it back in the online exams.

Overall learning gets harder, exams are tougher and overall motivation may be lacking in second year. However, the overall university experience in my opinion gets better. Do not revise too hard and make sure you have time to spend with your friends, have fun because it is nearly all over. I think my second year experience, like many others, is one that hopefully will not be repeated. Next year will hopefully be a little bit more on the normal front but I have no doubt it will bring another tonne of stress to add to my pile.

Around a year ago I posted my reality of first year of university, so if you are starting university next year and want to read it click here

Monday, 27 April 2020

Moving Away From Fast Fashion

In today’s climate it is important to think about becoming more sustainable, whether that be by reducing your plastic usage or going vegan. One topic people are unaware of however, is the impact of the fast fashion industry. We talk about the water usage involved in factory farming methods, though did you know it can take around 300 million gallons of water to create just one cotton t-shirt, with clothing also taking nearly 100 years to decompose in landfill when you get bored of it. The fashion industry is worth trillions of pounds and is the second highest polluting industry on earth, contributing to 10% of the worlds global carbon emissions.

The fast fashion industry hides low paid, badly treated workers and use of toxic harmful chemicals that in turn are harming our waters. The workers of this industry do not have rights and only 2% of them actually earn the living wage, not able to support their families after working all day in gruelling conditions. This needs to stop, no person should have to work in such conditions for a toxic industry.

More so than ever people are realising the implications of fast fashion, stop placing endless orders on ASOS without knowing the effects it is causing. You are contributing to the second biggest polluter on our planet. How many times do you wear that new top you bought? How many clothes have you thrown out? There are alternatives to the fast fashion industry.

Shop at Charity Shops
A simple and cheap way to avoid fast fashion. I do this all the time! I find amazing one of a kind pieces in charity shops, you have just got to keep an eye out. Along with charity shops there is Depop online, where you can search for what you want and find some gems. These are great alternatives to fast fashion shopping and often end up being a whole lot cheaper. I used to spend a lot of money at places like Topshop or New Look, now, however I can spend less than £20 and get lots of amazing pieces that no one else will have! Rather than throwing out your clothes into landfill, donate them to charities so that someone who really needs clothes can enjoy the items you never wear anymore.  You could even repurpose your old clothes, adjust them, find new ways to wear them that doesn't involve throwing them out.

Shop Sustainably
There are companies out there who make sustainable clothing items and treat their workers fairly, with suitable pay. More and more companies are popping up with good ethics behind their clothing items, you just have to know where to look. Companies like TALA are great alternative to fast fashion gym wear brands, they use ethically sourced materials and landfill waste to create their items and pay their workers fairly. Lucy and Yak is an ethically sourced company selling beautiful clothing items. If you are looking for sustainably made underwear then Organic Basics is a great place! They use eco-friendly materials to make their items and sell all the basics you will need. Yes, these shops may be a little on the pricer side but you are not just paying more for nothing. You are paying more so that their workers get fair pay, you are paying more for good quality materials that won't just break after a week of wear, you are paying for sustainability that will work out cheaper for you in the long run. Why do you think fast fashion websites and shops sell items so cheap? Because of the use of cheap materials and low paid workers.

Not everyone has to be perfect with this movement, but aiming to buy less fast fashion items will help the planet immensely. We need to put an end to flash sales on cheaply made items and pull together to help make a more sustainable fashion industry.

Tuesday, 21 April 2020

A Low Waste Skincare Wishlist

I do wish that I had all the money in the world to spend on sustainable skincare, as half of the stuff I lust after does not come cheap. There are so many sustainable and plastic free alternatives for your skincare favourites that are kind on the planet. I am transitioning my current skincare and makeup items towards being plastic free. First, however, I am using up any old products that are still in my cupboard and then when they run low I shall purchase a kinder alternative. This way nothing gets wasted in the process. Some of my favourite places to shop for low waste items is Lush, with their pot return policy so nothing is thrown away and also Plastic Freedom, a plastic free online website with a great variety of everything you could possibly need without any cruelty involved.

1. Lush Enzymion Cream
Moisturisers are what tends to be the bug bare of my purse as plastic free and sustainable moisturisers don't come cheap. I have scoured the internet looking for an affordable option that also targets oily, spot prone skin. I am yet to come across an affordable one, though on my current wishlist is Lush's Enzymion, a mattifying moisturiser that doesn't skin out on hydrating your skin. the citric juices in the cream help make your skin look fresh and kill off any dead skin cells.

2. Wild Sage + Co Oil Cleanser for Oily Skin
There are so many alternatives to your average facial cleanser that can be kinder to the planet. Finding products that are targeted towards oily skin however I tend to struggle with. Currently on my Wishlist is this product that comes completely plastic free, with a pot return policy also! This natural skincare helps target acne and blackheads to help clear your skin.

3. Cupcake Face Mask
Lush always holds a place in my heart for face masks, I have used them for years. With their pot returning policy they are also kind on the environment and the company themselves stand for great ethics. On my current list is the Cupcake face mask. This used to be a favourite of mine when I was 16 and struggled more with spots. It smells delightful and absorbs excess oil from your face to give you a less oily finish.

4. Lani Tropical Night Serum
An oil isn't something I can use daily as I do have quite oily skin naturally, but when my face is lacking moisture or looking a little tired, I like to use some to liven it up. Only problem being they do not come cheap and so I am saving up to add this product to my skincare routine. Lani Tropical Night Serum restores the moisture in your skin and allows it to maintain its elasticity. Lani is an amazing company to support and are advocates for cruelty free beauty items!

6. Vegan Amazing Mineral Butter Suncream SPF 30
Finding a suncream that protects my fair complexion but that is also kind for the environment has proven harder that you may think. Most do not provide a high enough UV protection for me (a ginger who needs at least SPF 30 on holiday). That is when I found the Amazing Mineral Butter Suncream, plastic free packaging, vegan and a high enough SPF to stop my burning. A perfect product for those who want to stay protected but remain kind to the environment.

It is easier than ever to take the step towards being plastic free and reducing your overall waste. It is becoming an ever more pressing issue that people are considerate about their waste, as oceans become dumping grounds and landfill sites are bursting at the seams. Inconsiderate disposal of waste leads innocent animals lives to be cut short or hindered. There is no time better than now to reduce your waste!

Saturday, 18 April 2020

Deeplight Review

Deeplight by Frances Hardinge was a very different book to anything I have read. I know they say you shouldn't pick a book based on the front cover but this time, being the ocean lover that I am, I caved. Though upon reading the blurb I was very intrigued about this books storyline.

Set in an alternate reality in chains of islands of the Myriad, where gods once rose from the Undersea and ruled, Hark and Jelt now live. Years ago the Gods destroyed each other by the power of their hearts, leaving their 'godware' behind. 14 year old Hark scapes through life scavenging for this powerful 'godware' to earn his way. However, a failed endeavour leaves him paying his debts to a scientist. There he discovers a still beating 'godware' heart, not truly understanding the full power it still holds. Hark knows is he needs to keep it out of prying hands, though uses it to save his friend who is near death, due to Jelts dangerous antics and unwillingness to leave Hark alone. It appears there are repercussions to this act, as Jelt begins to change into something unrecognisable to Hark. He is forced to leave his friend behind that is if he isn't already lost. 

This world was a beautiful creation and is intricately described like nothing I have ever read before, that is what kept me wanting to read more. The tales of the 'sea kissed' (those who are deaf from their time at sea) tell an intricate tale of the Myriad that is compelling to the reader to delve further into this world. The relationship between Hark and Jelt is complex and based around friends who once had no one else but each other, until Hark moved on leading to Jelt's jealousy to grow ever fonder. This storyline has a fascination with the sea in an alternate reality and it is mesmerising to read about, as the characters themselves still resemble the behaviours of humans in todays world. This book is something different to delve into but it is something I recommend you to do. A complex yet welcoming universe that you cannot help but keep coming back to.