Monkee Genes // Ethical Clothing

What with my change over to trying my hardest to only buy ethical clothes from now on [read about fast fashion here] I recently had to delve into every woman’s nightmare; buying new jeans. Except, not just buying jeans but finding a company who is not only ethically-minded but also sells GOOD jeans which fit… It was stressful. [I know, first world problems, but I’m pretty sure every single woman has this problem!].

After some research I found Monkee Genes – a UK based company who decided to stop wasting time with jeans made by companies who waste resources, employee cheap labour and contribute to slavery around the globe [yes, it still exists, yes most fast fashion companies are involved]. Instead, Monkee Genes ensure the people making their clothes are paid a living wage, the fabrics are sourced sustainably and made WELL.

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I was impressed. My first venture into their denim, though, wasn’t a dream. I bought two pairs of UK size 14 in their sale and was sad to find they didn’t go anywhere near me – I would have said they were more like a size 12. It was sad. Not because I felt bad about not fitting [jeans=difficult to break in] but because I’d found yet another store who didn’t know how to stick to calling their sizes what they actually are!

I reached out to them and told them – they were honest in their response; the jeans I’d picked have little to no stretch. I’m not saddened by that – My butt, thighs, tummy, need some stretch in the fabric! I returned them and bought 1 pair of their Organic Flex Classic Skinny Jeans.

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And… I like them. Quite a lot, actually. The material is lovely and I don’t need to wiggle to get into them [come on, you know what I’m talking about]. The only thing I’d say which is negative is they aren’t skinny enough at the ankle. Now, I have strangely small ankles so maybe it’s that they don’t cater to my thigh to ankle ratio, but I might take them in a little, we’ll see!

Because I loved them so much I got in touch with them to ask for some promo info for you guys – they didn’t send me any discounts [sorry] but they did send me this cool t-shirt to show you! I have never in my life had such a soft t-shirt, you guys. It’s SO nice and it’s the perfect fit . I can’t wait to buy more from them!

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Hope you check them out, if you’re in the market for investing in good quality with no ethically icky stuff!

Sam

ps. I hope you enjoy the butt picture and my new hair.

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Hair Rescue Products!

It’s no secret that I like to colour my haira lot. And, whilst I don’t go for totally crazy colours (I tend to stick to lighter shades) the bleach and the colour can take its toll and make my hair REALLY dry!

I tend to always use the same shampoo and conditioner and I would recommend these products to ANYONE because they are deliciously scented and cruelty free – plus coconut based which is a win for life! [Note; the products have affiliate links; feel free to ignore them if you want!]

The shampoo and conditioner I use are:

And I’ve recently been introduced to this oil:

Cocnut water
I used to use an Argan oil, which is nice but they can get expensive! This coconut water oil is really nice to use on wet hair and dry hair and, since using it, I’ve noticed my hair is a lot less dry at the ends. I haven’t yet left it on as a deep conditioner yet because my hair probably doesn’t need that right now but I would and, seeing as it’s not too expensive, I can buy it again and again and not worry! [Also; if you’re in the UK – Tesco’s have this on offer at the moment!!! Fly, my pretties!]

I hope this helps my dry-haired pals out there!

Sam

WIP -Doodling!

Indiana Jones

I’m a doodler. I’d never call myself an artist but I can doodle the hell out of a pad.

Last year I took part in Inktober [and I’m looking forward to that again this year!] and got my drawing hat back on after a long period of not really drawing that much. Since then I’ve been doodling and drawing on and off with great success. To the point I am going to start selling some postcard-sized pictures on Etsy. Nothing fancy, mind. It is just for the sake of doing something with them!

Sadly, I recently lost the ability to draw. It has been horrendous. And when I say lost the ability it’s like knowing one day you can tie your shoelaces and the next day not even being able to figure out how to do the first loop.

I took my sketch pad to the coffee shop at the weekend just for some doodling time and, thankfully, I think it paid off to just get out of the house and draw elsewhere. I don’t know if you know this but being not at home really helps you just get out of your own way sometimes!

So I figured I’d share some of my current works in progress [WIP] for the sake of fun times.

*Disclaimer; No, I don’t think I’m fab at drawing but I’m OK and that’s enough for me!

 

Wizard of OzPsychoDoodles and eyesDeckardIndiana JonesLeonDoodleBack to the future

 

I need to get back to working on these just to get them finished; some just need fully inking, some need editing and some just need finished, full stop. There are also a fair few in my book which are random non-real-people doodles which won’t be used for anything other than my desire to draw random faces.

In case you didn’t realise I tend to favour film/TV related pictures because… well, life. I also LOVE ink and favour it over pencil and paint because simplicity is sometimes nice.

Do you have a hobby you wish you could spend more time on? Let me know in the comments!

 

Sam

Amazon Associate 

Amazon Associates Logo

I have recently signed up to Amazon Associates which is a way for bloggers to make commission by linking products – we get money if you click through and make a purchase – you, in no way, are affected by this bar the usual cookie dilemma!

I know it can sometimes seem skeezy – how dare bloggers make money from their pastime, right? Yeah… sadly, trying to make money [from fun things] is the goal for a lot of people [including yours truly] so you kind of have to deal with it… in the nicest way possible!

Let me start off by saying ALL posts will be marked at the start and I have a disclaimer on my affiliates page and may I also say that I will only ever [probably] use it as part of a personal reviewing system – so I’ll only be telling you about things I’ve personally bought!

I wanted to make this a full post, rather than letting people figure it out for themselves, in the hopes that it will encourage you to support me, financially, whilst I am supporting you by sharing great products I’ve found with potentially good prices!

Now… the whole thing with Amazon is a little tricky for me. I don’t like to dismiss smaller companies and local businesses by shopping online. That being said there are certain products I buy online because I can’t often find them locally!

Sometimes you have to make allowances, y’know?

With all this being said and getting it out in the open I hope that, should you stumble upon anything I link in my blog, you find something you really like!

Sam

Love your local libraries!

I’m a big reader! I sometimes go through phases of not reading stuff but it’s rare and I always feel awful about it so I made a vow to myself to always be reading… again.

I have to be honest – I have always loved our local library but I have hardly ever used it. I’m a bit of a book addict and usually buy all the books I want. The only problem with that is once you move into a smaller house you don’t have the space… suffice to say I have a lot of books in boxes, which is unfair. More on that later!

I have started to delve into my local library and I love it so much! You may wonder why it’s important to use the library instead of buying books [which is valid, too] so pull up a chair!

Libraries are, sadly, getting their funding cut by the government all the time. More and more close or are staffed by volunteers [or else people who have to earn less than the living wage – trust me, I almost applied for a job last year but it wasn’t realistic for any adult to live on]. It’s really sad but, the truth is, it’s because our culture is all about buying things.

Think back to when you were a kid – did you go to the library with school? Did you pick out a book and learn you loved getting lost in another world? Did you learn stuff? Books are damn important – especially to kids… and those young at heart [and the rest of you, but shhh] and if libraries close there may be kids left without the means to figure out they love books. To me that’s a sad world to live in.

Libraries also have a huge place in a community. They hold events, signings, encourage education and they help authors make money! If you’ve ever been into your local library or even been on their website you might see that they are always doing things – some even have computers, scanners & printers for those who don’t have them at home [you may snigger at that but not everyone is fortunate enough to own these things]. I recently learnt  you can gain free access to ancestry programmes to do your family tree – for free! Um – hello? Cool!

So if you have one – use it! Sorry if this post comes off a little preachy but I love libraries and you should too!

Half Bad BookHalf lost Half wild books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m always Instagramming the books I’m reading so follow me over there to keep up with my library reading list. I’m also not saying never buy books – I still buy books all the time [I’m even affiliated with Waterstones and Book Depository – see affiliates page or the right hand side of the blog] but now I’m more selective about which ones I buy and which ones I want to borrow!

 

Let me know your thoughts – do you think libraries are redundant or are you a fan?

Sam

Looking after TWO beagles!

Yes, you read the title correctly. This weekend I had the pleasure of looking after another beagle puppy for the whole of Saturday and most of Sunday.

Meet Bilbo – he’s seven months old and a BAG of energy.

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To say it was hard work would be an understatement!

If you’ve read my many posts about her you’ll know I have my very own Beagle pup named Juno – I love her very much but, that being said, I had many a day disliking her when she was a puppy.

I know, I know, you shouldn’t say things like that about your pets but Juno was… difficult. It was like she purposefully went out of her way to be a pain in the ass. She’s now 3 and, I have to say, I’ve mostly forgotten the details of what she was like [never standing still, always on a mission to find trouble, always biting and barking] because she’s now SUCH a good dog it’s strange to remember how I used to worry she’d be a pain forever.

Bilbo was… how can I say? A gentle reminder? He’s a lovely dog and has such a nice playful attitude – plus he enjoys being stroked, which Juno doesn’t – that just having him would have been lovely. Enter Juno and the two were a handful!

Juno isn’t unplayful with other dogs, in fact, she loves dogs to chase her. She doesn’t seem to understand dog language though. She never gets it when dogs bark at her to play or when they nip at her to encourage fighting. She kind of takes it personally and so the playing just becomes fighting.

Now, I know it’s hard to understand if you haven’t had energetic dogs before, but dogs bit and growl as part of playing. They learn who the leader is and test out biting each other etc. It’s mostly harmless unless a dog gets too aggressive but that’s a whole different kettle of dogs.

Bilbo is a master play fighter. He loves it. He was born to do it.

Juno, sadly, is so timid and passive that any kind of dominance from another dog goes either without fight or with full fight. She doesn’t know how to have fun in the middle ground! Bless her little paws. She tries.

I did actually try to separate the two when I thought Juno was having a little too much agro from the pup [I mean, he can just play and play] but as soon as Bilbo lay down for a rest for himself I’d find Juno sneaking up on him to start it all over again. Talk about glutton for punishment!

It was difficult and has made me think twice about getting another dog in the future, or at least made me think about the KIND of dog we could get in the future. I loved having a cute little puppy around the house again, though. I woke up in the middle of the night with him snoring in my face and all four paws up in the air. How much cuter can it get?

Hope you enjoy the pictures! There are a few more on Instagram and, if you want to look at Bilbo some more, you can follow his account [@bilbolovesburritos] because he is adorable!

Sam

Living room ideas!

mint walls

Yes, I know, I do enjoy a good Pinterest board and I like to share ideas – so sue me!

The time has come to actually get down to business and paint my living room so I figured I’d do a little pre-decoration blog post and share what I’m planning [or hoping to plan] before we do the whole thing.

If you follow me on Instagram you will probably have seen my recent pictures of paint options. Here it is just in case you don’t want to go over there now and, thus, break the reading flow:

Dulux paint

Because we have a dado rail around the living room we [me & my boyfriend!] are looking to go for the whole two-colours-too-cool-for-drool thing and so, being the terrible planner that I am, I ran into the DIY store at the weekend and picked up two colour choices because I refuse to have too many options and I like things to be decided quickly and then just done!

The first option is a light cream on top with the mint macaroon colour on the bottom of the wall. To me this is total countryesque, quirky, peppy and adorable and will really go well with what I’m planning with the kitchen. I’m hoping it will look something like:

mint walls

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mint walls

 

It’s difficult to get a picture of how I want my actual living room [!] but these kinds of cool green/blue are dreamy.

The second options is to go with grey. I’m on the fence with grey. I love it in pictures and other people seem to make it work but I fear I don’t own enough chic items to pull it off. Here is some inspo though:

grey walls

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grey walls

 

I’m, as of the moment, undecided on which direction to go in! I think they both have the ability to look really cool but also really bad?

Let me know what you think – have you used these colours before? Do you have success stories [please tell] or horror stories [please tell, even more]?

Sam

 

 

 

 

Couch to 10k

nike trainers

Ok, so I’m writing this blog post late but it was because I wanted to make sure I’d stuck to it before I started harping on about my achievements!

No, I’m not at 10k yet. FAR from it, however, I am now in week 6 and it’s going well.

I did couch to 5k a while ago and got the point where running 5k without stopping was F.I.N.E. Sure, I’m not fast and I’m definitely not athletic in any way [ew] but even jogging, very slowly, listening to music is enough to make me feel great about my body and my lungs. I have asthma and I never thought I’d be able to run ANY distance, ever.

After a good few months of inactivity due to a lot of life changes and stresses I let the ball drop and felt myself putting on weight and feeling lethargic so I decided to do something about it! Forget couch to 5k – I thought I’d aim for 10k.

It’s funny; I always said I NEVER wanted to run a 10k. And I kind of don’t, even now. I’m not training to do a charity run or any event, I’m just training to get fit again – pure and simple! Running is not only great for my body [except my knees] but it also makes me feel great mentally as well.

Jogging into week 6 and I have to say the only thing that’s getting me down at the moment is running outside. I have bad knees and the harshness of outdoor running can lead to my knees aching way too much which puts a bit of a downer on everything. I’m lucky enough to own a treadmill so I can run in the comfort of my own home. I also am terrible at any kind of hill running and I live at the top of a hill so… it’s not always appealing to go outside.

That being said, so far… so good. It starts out easy – and when I say easy I mean; if you haven’t ever run before you’ll be dismayed to realise running for 3 minutes can be a killer [just me?] but it’s forgiving and you really get to ease into the programme. So far I’ve found it pretty slow going and not too difficult to keep up with.

I’ve now reached the stage where I have to run for 20 minutes+ without stopping once a week with two runs in the week that are intervals and WOW. I’d actually forgotten how quickly your body gets used to moving for that long! The interval running now feels like a breeze and, yes, the running for 20+ minutes is hard but so far I’ve been able to do it so… go me!

If you’re even considering running I’d say just do it [#notspon lololol] because you’ll feel like you’ve accomplished something even after a few weeks. Yes, it’s hard, but worth it and cheaper than any fitness programme/gym because it’s free, duh!

Let me know if you’ve done this kind of training or if you’re considering it!

 

Sam

Making a wish

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I feel like I’m always talking about writing on this blog but that’s kind of my thing so let’s go with it!

I’m sure, if you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know my dream career is to be a full time writer. I don’t necessarily believe I could earn a living wage doing and so I’ll probably always ‘work’ in a real place but writing is what I want to be doing for the rest of my pitiful, vegan, life.

A long time ago… almost 7 years ago! I wrote a novel. It was my first full length novel and I’ve been tweaking it and editing it ever since. Last year I finally finished it and submitted it to a few agents who, sadly, didn’t want to add it to their panel of work. It’s cool. Getting an agent is harder than writing a book, honestly! Ever since then, though, I haven’t really had time to get it back out there. News flash! All agencies pretty much have their own totally different submission guidelines and it takes time, sometimes, to pull together everything they want. Flash forward to a couple of weeks ago [forward from last year… back from now!] and I decided it was finally time to send my first child out into the world again!

I made sure I had everything done before submitting to 5 agencies and this weekend I finally sent it out. Perhaps for the last time in a while.

Agencies can take about 12 weeks* to get back to you, and sometimes they won’t even bother if they aren’t interested, so for the next 12 weeks I’m not going to think about it! I can finally move on to editing the next book I wrote to get that shipped out at some point. Writing is a hard graft but it’s truly the only time I feel challenged and happy at the same time!

I basically just wanted to write this post to remind myself that the book is done and ready to find a home with an agent. It’s a big step – if you’ve ever created anything the hardest part is accepting it’s done – honestly. You could edit it for the rest of your life. I have learnt so many things from working on this one story and those lessons are invaluable. I know the next book I edit is going to be so much easier because I know what I’m doing now… kind of! With ten books and counting in my writing folder I’m ready for the work to never end but… I like it?

Hopefully one days someone out there will read it!

 

Sam

 

*In 12 weeks I’ll be at the point where I should be able to run 10k without stopping… stay tuned for that this week!