So I’m clearly useless at blogging, but it’s been a very strange and busy period for me – as it always is over Christmas. I had a very good Christmas with my partner and his family, with some lovely gifts and lots of laughter. I then had another good Christmas with my own family, as my sister was working Christmas Eve night and Christmas night, so we celebrated on boxing day.
I’ve finally started doing university work again, although with just two days left until my statistics exam, I have done nowhere near enough and am positive I’m going to ruin my streak of firsts, if I even manage to pass at all. I’m partially okay with this – being so anxious I couldn’t go to a job interview and then trying new pills is a lot to take on whilst maintaining university grades. Plus, the stress of money, car etc has all been a bit much.
My relationship is really good, I’m very happy. I can finally show my other half how much I appreciate him instead of laying into him because I’m stressed about something else and can’t think rationally. He seems a lot happier too – he’s been so so supportive of me, he’s been proud of all the little steps I’ve made to be a better person, he’s proud when I manage to do uni work. I couldn’t love him any more right now. I feel like I had a future with this guy, then sabotaged it, and now it’s been brought back from the brink, so prozac = thumbs up from me. I will continue to take it until any effects wear off and hopefully, by that point, I’ve re-programmed my brain enough that I won’t immediately become angry or irrational.
I’ve been obsessed with listening to ‘Serial Killers’ podcast recently. They delve into some psychology of serial killers, examine cases – most of which where the killer is caught, but some of which they aren’t. It’s a little bit graphic but I’ve never been too squirmish so that’s okay for me.
I’ve been incredibly ill the last few days. I have no idea of the cause as I didn’t want to go to the doctors until after my exam (yeah, not the healthiest approach but I figured the illness would pass anyway, and I am feeling a bit better today!) Basically, I’ve had this weird skin thing. My whole body feels over sensitive, so when my housemate or boyfriend touched me on the back, it’d leave me squirming. I couldn’t stand to be touched, and a warm (NOT hot, deliberately put in twice as much cold water as usual) felt like it was burning. My feet and hands felt like they were being pricked by pins, and my muscles have been stiff/randomly painful. So that was an interesting few days! Last night was the worst night yet, but I’m hoping it’s on it’s way out.
So, onto the title of this post. I’ve more-or-less gone vegetarian! Yay! This is an ethical thing for me – I’ve done two years of animal science and welfare and am now doing Wildlife and Conservation. I’m not writing this blog to persuade others to be veggie, I’m writing it because for years, people have assumed I’m vegetarian because I really care for animals. Every time I said ‘no,’ I felt bad morally. Further to that, I believe that meat farming isn’t healthy for the environment due to the amount of resources used for it, that could directly be used to feed more people than it does cattle. My bf and his family (and the rest of my family) are all heavy meat eaters, and whilst I wish they weren’t, I respect that that’s their choice. To ease myself into it, I will eat meat (but not fish) if I go round other peoples for dinner – I don’t want to force this on anyone. I gave up sea food a long time ago. I haven’t liked things like haddock or cod since I ate some bad fish as a kid and spent the night being sick. I LOVED prawn and tuna though. I watched ‘Mission Blue,’ with Sylvia Earle, and that’s what pushed me to give up all seafood. I Do have some vegetarian essential oil supplements, but I usually forget to take them. As far as I can see, I’ve had no negative benefits to giving up fish.
Waste-free is definitely harder than going veggie. The idea is to cut down consumer products that contain an abundance of packaging, making or buying reusable items such as using a flannel instead of face wipes and generally cutting down your waste by a tonne. Obviously, studying wildlife and conservation, I am fully behind this idea, but there are problems. The first is packaging is EVERYWHERE – you cannot buy many veggies and fruits in a supermarket without them being wrapped in plastic. If you can, it’s more expensive – I bought 3 loose apples from Aldi the other day which cost nearly the same as 6 packaged ones. Here’s a small list of the things I’ve done so far to keep me motivated, and maybe motivate some of you too (again, I don’t want to force anyone, but if you like the idea, this may help! I have not done a lot yet, I’ll explain this in a mo.)
- Charity shop clothes: This one I’ve been doing long before I made a conscious decision to cut down waste. I was looking for a nice dress about 6 years ago, but couldn’t find one in high street stores. I was desperate for a new nice dress, so I hit the charity shops with a ‘Well, it’s unlikely, but I guess there’s no harm looking’ attitude. I walked into one shop and – there it was. The dress that was to become my favourite for years to come! I don’t support all the charities whose shops I shop in, but the idea is to cut down on production of cheap, disposable clothing.
- Wear things until they wear out: Again, something I’ve done since late teenage hood. This works for me because I’m naturally kinda scruffy – I never look too groomed because I’m just too disorganised. This will be more difficult for those of you who are perfectionists or worry about the way you look, but it can still be done, particularly if you’re good at sewing/crafting. There’s (probably) lots of blogs on how to jazz up old clothes. I’m too lazy for that, however, so I wear things until they have holes in, and then keep wearing them. I’ve recently thrown out a pair of pants (knickers) that was finally getting holes in that I bought at least 10 years ago. I have two pairs of jeans with ripped knees – they weren’t ripped when I bought them. The favourite dress I mentioned from a charity shop has a small rip in the lace in the shoulder – so I wear a cardigan over it. I haven’t bought a new bag in years, ago my current one is getting a big embarrassingly worn and broken!
- Cleaning products and cosmetics: So this one can be difficult. Lots of people make their own cleaning products, but I don’t have the time for that right now, although it’s something I’d like to try in the future. Instead, I’ve been buying white vinegar in a large glass jar. White vinegar is just about the ONLY thing that gets rid of rabbit pee stains on litter trays, which is how I know it works. It’s obviously a little smelly (I hate vinegar), but I’m sure there’s ways to freshen up the smell of your home if you choose to use it. It’s good for cleaning sinks and baths, stained cups or dishes, getting labels off pasta/sauce jars to re-use (especially with baking soda, although I haven’t found one that isn’t plastic packaged yet) and good for de-limescaling. I haven’t bought any kitchen or bathroom cleaning spray for a good few months!
- Bulk buy: Bulk buying is usually both cheaper and creates less waste. Things like washing up liquid (again, you can make your own instead), pasta and rice, dried foods such as lentils, hand soap if you feel you can’t do with out it (bigger bottles) can all help to reduce waste. Ages ago, I bought a 30l bottle of pet cleaner. Before that, I bought a single spray bottle of the same pet cleaner. I used to get through a bottle every month or two, but thanks to saving some money, I’ve had one 30L bottle last two years. Admittedly I strongly believe that it’s stressful for animals to have their scent continually washed off their home, so I only use it when things start to get smelly (although with a rabbit who has decided she doesn’t want to pee in the litter tray, I guess I use a fair amount now!) and I tend to spot clean/do half clean outs rather than full clean outs too. I must have saved at least 15 plastic spray bottles by doing this though.
- Re-usable coffee cups, cutlery etc: Take your own cutlery and coffee cup to work. I am almost an obsessive tea drinker, and was getting through 3-4 Styrofoam cups a day when I started university. I’m sorry to say that this practice lasted until September last year, but not anymore! I’ve got my own travel mug which I take in now. Some coffee shops even offer a slight discount if you use a re-usable cup rather than needing one of their take-away cups. Water is another good example. My partner is TERRIBLE for buying bottles of water, so for Christmas I got him a decent quality sporty water bottle. He’s very happy with it and says that because he’s always got it on him, he’s been drinking more water so feels a little healthier, which is good.
I’m going to stop there because this blog is becoming VERY long and statistics is calling ( 😥 ) but I hope some of you find this blog helpful. If you’re trying to go veggie or want to start a zero-waste journey, there’s lots of resources on the internet and groups on social media like Facebook. Start small though – zero-waste can feel particularly overwhelming sometimes, because there’s usually SO MUCH we could do with out, but we’re in the habit of just picking it up as we go around for our shop. Last week, I bought two big bottles of flavoured water without thinking about it. Don’t feel bad for doing it – just try to make a conscious effort not to do it next time! 🙂