Thursday, 2 June 2016

Ethical Eating Without the Labels

 I used to be a vegetarian. For 9 years.
Then I ate chicken.
Then I stopped again.
Then I started eating fish.
So I suppose I'm a pescetarian.
Now I'm cutting out dairy.
Am I an ovo-pescetarian?
Who doesn't use products tested on animals.

Does that make me a better person than your standard pescetarian? Maybe on par with a vegetarian but definitely worse than a vegan... And obviously miles better than someone who eats meat and buys products tested on animals...
~~praying the sarcasm is sensed here.

The point of this is: why does it bloody matter?
The only use I can see for the labels of vegans/vegetarians/pescetarians is labels on food and in menus for ease of identification of appropriate foods. Although, lets be honest, it's not so difficult to read the ingredients or ask at the restaurant.

I choose to boycott labels of these ways of life. I compare them to stereotypes - we don't like chavs because they are this, this and this. Goths are all so and so. All hipsters look like blah blah blah. It leads to overgeneralisation, wrong (sometimes) assumptions and prejudice. I see a lot of vegans bashing vegetarians for eating eggs and milk and contributing to the suffering of animals. Equally I see vegetarians feeling self-righteous for not eating meat, and cruelty-free shoppers thinking they're better than MAC and Estee Lauder-lovers.

People's reasons for eating the way they do vary exponentially from person to person. I had a friend who didn't eat meat and called himself a vegetarian because he didn't like the taste of meat. No ethical or moral obligations behind it, just hated eating meat. Why does that put him higher on the scale of "best-ness" than a pescetarian who cares deeply about animals? It doesn't. Likewise, I had a friend who called herself vegetarian but was more than a little partial to a chicken nugget every now and again. What does that mean for her? Where does she fit on that scale?

So this is where I'm at right now - I would like to cut out the fish eventually and go back to being a full vegetarian but I'm not there yet. And I, personally, don't feel the same ethical struggle and dissonance about eating tuna as lamb. That's my prerogative. Eating dairy, however, doesn't sit well with me at all. So I am removing dairy from my diet, gradually. I am drinking soy milk, eating vegan cheese and butter and gradually replacing other favourites.

I urge anyone who is on the fence or even doesn't understand to research the dairy industry - it is very upsetting. I also don't think it's natural to drink milk/eat dairy. How many other mammals drink the breast milk of another animal? I personally find it perverse. Milk is for babies - we have enough options for protein and nutrients from solid foods, why eat milk? (Yes, I know cheese is delicious and I am battling my demons with this. Vegan cheese, FTW).

I now eat eggs only from family and friends who raise chickens as pets - they have no males to fertilise the eggs so the eggs are categorically not going to become chickens. If they are not eaten, they will rot. Battery farms and caged hens are atrocious and I have chosen to boycott eggs from farms like that for a long time, and you need to be careful with free range/organic as even many of them are not as happy as they seem.

But I, now, feel very happy with my choice. I feel that I am eating ethically according to my moral standards, I feel little conflict or dissonance. I am not a vegan, or a vegetarian, or a pescetarian. That's okay. I'm no better or worse than anyone else, as my conscious is relatively clear. The point I'm trying to put across, and not succintly, I am aware, is don't feel that because you, for whatever reason, don't feel like you can commit to being a vegetarian/vegan/cruelty free, please don't give up on the whole cause. Eat ethically by your standards as that is truly better than nothing at all. The animals appreciate you and I appreciate you.

I would love to know your thoughts on this - are you vegan/vegetarian/pescetarian? Do you want to eat more ethically? Do you think my logic is stupid and ridiculous and I am an awful person? I want to start a discussion on this, but please be polite. We're all friends here!

Teri-May xx

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

The "Do-It-All Makeup" Brush

If I had a quid for every time I used a brush for its namesake’s role… I would be one poor gal.
I just generally don’t use brushes for their intended purpose. It's not particularly a conscious decision, there’s always something they do that little bit better. But, a brush that does everything is the most magical among them!

The multitasking marvel in this case is the blush brush (£19) from the Real Techniques Bold Metals Collection (300). The collection is obviously extreeeemely beautiful but this is old news, we’ve all seen and swooned. I wanted to bring a bit of attention back to this collection though as I’ve recently completely rediscovered my love for this particular brush.

Real Techniques Bold Metals Rose Gold Blush Brush

Here are my top 5 (YES, GIRL, FIVE!) ways to use this brush, in no particular order.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

Sunday Smiles: Crepes, Cocktails & Car Trips


Which explains why this will be my third (!!!) blog post of the week, when I'd been struggling to get one out a fortnight this past few weeks. I love my blog millions but final year exams and dissertation had to take priority. So they did, they're over, and now I'm the happiest bunny you ever did see.

This monumentally happy week naturally came with some tears too. As you may have read, my best friend moved out of our flat and back to London. SO of course that meant that our last couple of days had to be rammed with as much fun as I could fit in. It ended up being a fabulously fun week, if I say so myself. Here's what I've been up to!

Martin, Aisha and I celebrated Martin's 25th and the end of exams with tapas and cocktails at Revolucion de Cuba (FYI, if you haven't tried a Miami Vice you haven't lived). I got just a liiiittle bit drunk off 2 cocktails and couldn't eat my tapas... But it was still a lush night.

I took Aisha to Cowbridge, a small local town, for lunch time crepes at Beagles. I was semi-heartbroken that they took my favourite crepe off the menu but I still managed to beast a gigantic banoffee pancake like a pro.

Beagles Cowbridge Banoffee Crepe

We also discovered a "Physics Garden" which was just pure gorgeous. Each section of the garden was dedicated to the plants for healing different body part/illness. How lovely is that?!

Plants for Bones, Physics Garden, Cowbridge

Friday, 27 May 2016

When You Lose Your Right Arm

I’m about to go through what can only described as the worst break up ever. 

Everything is changing but, at the same time, nothing is changing, either. There have been no angry hateful words, no one has been “dumped” and we still love each other just as much as we did before.

This isn’t what you’re thinking – this isn’t a romantic break up, but it’s 10000 times worse. I didn’t expect to feel so heartbroken by my best friend moving home.

I’m writing this in my room with the door shut while Aisha cleans the kitchen. I hope she doesn’t think I’m being rude by not helping or keeping her company and shutting myself away. It’s very unlike me – I’m normally loitering around somewhere, being a bother. But I can’t bear to watch her pack up her kitchen things knowing that this time tomorrow her bedroom and cupboards will be empty, and she’ll be on her way back to London for the last time.

Aisha and I have lived together for four years, since day one of uni and we’ve done almost everything together since (much to her annoyance – I literally don’t leave her alone!). We get comments from pretty much everyone about how they think of us as one. We come as a pair - and now one half of the pair is moving back to London while the other is still in Cardiff. And I just don’t know what to do about it.

What can you even do when your right arm (and left arm... and right leg) is moving 160 miles away and not coming back? Anyone who know us knows that I’m a useless excuse for a functioning human and Aisha literally does everything for me. I don’t know how I would have made it through Uni without Aisha telling me what lectures to go to, what coursework was due in and when, even what modules I should do. More importantly, I don’t know how I would have coped living away from home for the first time without Aisha mothering me the whole time. “Do you have your keys? Got your purse? You taking a coat?”. Everyone thinks I depend on Martin for everything, and I am useless and not independent in any way shape or form, and maybe that’s true. But it’s Aisha I depend on the most. Not Martin.

Aisha moving out is more than just my best friend leaving. Our other housemate Lindsey moved out last year and I was also devastated and miss living with her every single day! But Aisha moving out symbolises the end of uni and the end of probably the most significant part of my life to date. Uni is over, the fun-filled (and very much stress-filled) past four years are officially over and I now have to get a “real job” and just generally not be a student anymore. Something I didn’t realise how much I’d miss until I was staring in the face of the end of it all. I just truly can’t believe it’s come to an end and I have no idea how I’m supposed to feel.

We’ve experienced every emotion this last four years – we’ve cried together, laughed together, got angry together and at each other (not many times at all though, thankfully), been unbelievably stressed together and over-the-moon happy together. I can’t speak for both of us here, obviously, but I think we’ve both grown up so much together since coming to Uni. From the nervous Fresher’s in September 2012, when Aisha discovered that I’d left my key in the door by accident and gave it back to me as she introduced herself (not realising that this would be the running theme of the next four years – finding stuff I’d lost and picking up after me, woops), to today. We’re both such different people - I like myself and who I’ve become through uni and there’s no doubt that Aisha has had a bigger role than most in shaping the person I am right now. 

This last couple of months, unfortunately, haven't been great. It's been horrendous, to be quite honest. The house has been a ticking time-bomb of stress and anxiety and we've both been so on edge. But that in no way negates the amazing times we've had up until now. But we're definitely parting on a high right now. She'll no doubt be enjoying some peace and quiet back in London, but for me, not being able to poke my head around her door and disturb her revising, chat together while we cook, watch Made in Chelsea every Monday and just generally knowing she’s not a couple of feet away at all times is the most upsetting thought I can think of. And even though we’re still best friends, and I’ll be visiting London all the time (you can’t get rid of me that easily, Aisha!!) this beats any boyfriend-breakup-blues I've ever had.

And I’m going to miss you so so so much.


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

18 Stages of University According to FRIENDS

With the end of my degree here and my adult life looming, I've been thinking about the trauma journey that has been the last 4 years, and how much I bloody loved it. But also, of course, simultaneously panicking and dreaming about the next couple of years.

What a weird time of life this is.

Honestly, who better understands the trials and tribulations of semi-adult life than everyone's favourite fictional New Yorkers? (Aside from all your friends and everyone else on your course...)

~~~Set the scene: A Level results day.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Uni Life | How Not to "Adult"

This is my last ditch attempt at forgetting that I’m a week away from finishing my degree forever, the prospect of being a FULL adult and no longer getting 3 weeks off for Easter/student discount/council tax exemption is looming and I’m about to graduate and fall into a pit of doom… 

Just generally trying to cling on to being a semi-grown up. Some of the perks but little of the responsibility. Sigh.

How Not to Adult | ACupofT

Take a REALLY long nap. As long as you can. In the middle of the day. When you have a full time job after you graduate you’ll be crying out for a nap feeling nostalgic for your bed at lunch time.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Cruelty Free Evening Skincare Routine

Vegan Cruelty Free Skincare Tropic Skincare cleanser toner eye cream

When I choose to go cruelty free I realised that none of my skincare was cruelty free. AT ALL. Which not only felt shit on an ethical level, it meant I had to completely overhaul my skincare stash and say goodbye to some real HG products. Fabulous.

I’ve been experimenting with loads of different products from loads of different brands but I’m really happy with my current routine so I thought it was a good time to share it with you all! For reference my skin is, at the moment anyway, blemish prone (read: I look like a pepperoni pizza that’s been run over by a train) and I have all the joys of being oily and dry. Honestly, how good is my life? I get oily in my t-zone and dry for some reason around my mouth. And I got some HELLA BIG EYE BAGS. Carrying some serious baggage under these peepers, ya feel me?

cruelty free vegan natual skincare bodyshop tropic skincare soap and glory

If I have no make-up on (which is very common these days cos lets be honest, where am I going?) I’ll just do one cleanse and, at the moment, I am loving the Tropic Skincare Smoothing Cleanser*  which I massage into my skin and rinse off with a hot flannel – the flannel that comes with the cleanser is beaut. The SOFTEST face cloth I’ve ever used.  I love the eucalyptus type smell and the way it makes my skin feel. If you’ve never heard of Tropic Skincare I urge you to check them out – they are vegan and use natural ingredients and I’m beyond impressed with the products I’ve tried. You won’t be disappointed!!
On those fancy days where I am wearing make-up, before I cleanse with the Smoothing Cleanser I either take a make-up wipe (if I'm feeling particularly lazy) or my Soap & Glory Peaches and Clean Deep Cleansing Milk to do a first cleanse, so to speak. I don’t get on with the Peaches and Clean on its own or as the final product cleaning my skin but it works well to remove make up before the big dogs go in.

Toner is a more recent addition to my skincare routine but now I wouldn’t dream of skipping it! I read somewhere that forgetting toner is like writing a blog post, adding your pictures and SEO touches, formatting and proofreading… Then not saving. I’m currently steadily making my way through the Tropic Skincare Vitamin Toner Pore Refining Mist* and I am truly impressed by how much smaller my pores appear since using it! I highly recommend this if you are a porous demon like myself. So once I’ve completed my final cleanse and I’m all smooooth I spray the mist and leave it to skin into my skin before applying Tropic Skincare’s Skin Revive Moisturiser.* It is the most beautiful moisturiser – I can’t quite leave behind BodyShop’sVitamin E moisturiser (I also use this in the facial mist before applying my make up and LOVE it) which is perfect for when I’m on a bit of a budget, but this is worth the slightly more premium price-tag.

natural vegan cruelty free skincare routine tropic skincare

Once I’m all silky smooth, hydrated and clean it’s time for eye cream. Before going cruelty free I used Clinique’s eye cream and, honestly, it is awful. It may feel gorgeous when applied to your eyes but in terms of addressing my tired eyes and dark circles it did nothing. The Tropic Skincare Eye Revive* is definitely the best I have tried in terms of making that eye area feel plump and fresh. My dark circles look considerably less zombie-like now and I’m a happy bunny!

Have you transitioned to cruelty free skincare?
Do you have any recommendations for me? (I’m slowly becoming a skincare junkie!!)

Teri-May xx