In #ACupADay

Menstrual Cup FAQs | #ACupaDay

If you hadn’t noticed, I talk a lot about my menstrual cup. I would gladly talk about it with a random stranger if they didn’t run away first. Naturally, this leads to questions from people who haven’t used them, as on the whole, people are naturally inquisitive. I thought that it might be useful if I compile some of them here, fro all the people I won’t be able to talk to in person. 

Are they expensive?


Menstrual cups tend to cost about £25, which can seem daunting for one item (I know it did for me). However, overall you’ll save money as each cup lasts for up to 10 years, so you shouldn’t have to spend any more money on your period other than on pain relief (and chocolate-related food). 

Are they difficult to use?


It took me a little while to get used to it (you can read about my first experience with my menstrual cup here), so don’t worry if you don’t get it right straight away and I know lots of other people have had similar experiences. Just take your time, look at the instructions before you use (another one from personal experience) and relax. I got the hang of it pretty quickly and I’m sure that within no time you’ll be using it in a flash. 

Can you feel it?


If you’ve inserted it properly then you shouldn’t feel anything. I’ve done yoga and not felt it. I tend to feel it a little just once I've put it in, and then it just kind of sinks away as it opens up. During the later days of my period, when I’m a bit lighter and have no/less crams then I can even forget that I’m on my period. 

What about toxic shock?


Menstrual cups are made of medical-grade silicone. This means that, unlike tampons, they don’t absorb anything (i.e. bacteria which causes toxic shock). As long as you clean your cup correctly (rinse and dry when you empty, and boil at the end of your period for about 3 minutes, although each brand will vary), then you should have a healthy vagina!

How do I know when to empty it?


To be honest, you don’t. You just have to figure out what’s best for you. It will last longer than a tampon, so it’s not too often. It is recommended to empty it every 12 hours, but for me, I tend to empty it morning and evening during the first few days then once a day as it gets lighter. It’s probably not the best but I have 

Will it leak?


Again, if you’ve inserted it right, then no, it shouldn’t. The vacuum suction created by the cup when it opens out means that nothing should get over the sides. If you do find you experience some leakage, then check to see whether or not it has unfolded, and if it hasn’t then try and rejig it so that it does, or remove and reinsert.

How long does it last?


It is said that your cup should last up to 10 years. Having been a cup-user for under a year and a half, I am not able to confirm this. Get back to me in 10 years and I can let you know. They do last a bloody long time though, as long as you don’t lose them. Definitely worth the investment. 

I tried a menstrual cup and it doesn’t work for me, can I still have a sustainable period?


Yes, don’t worry about it! I did a whole blog post on sustainable alternatives to menstrual cups, so hopefully you’ll find one there that will suit you.

If you have any other questions, then feel free to ask! Also check out any information which may be provided by the individual brands themselves.


If you liked this post you might like: Sustainable Alternatives to the Menstrual Cup


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In 5 Fridays environmental inspiration vegan

5 Ethical Influencers Pt. 1

In my opinion, the increased spread of veganism can largely be due to the Internet. I’ve learned so much from so many amazing people online, discusses topics and providing nuggets of information where I can go off and do a little bit more digging. As there are lots of creators who talk about ethical consumerism and sustainability, I’ve decided to make this a little mini-series, made up of three parts, so keep an eye out for the posts to follow.

1.  Sustainably Vegan


I’ve been watching Immy for a while. One thing I love about her is that while she is the queen of sustainability, she isn’t afraid of admitting her flaws the limitations of both veganism and the zero waste movement. This led to her founding the Low Impact Movement, which focusses more on having a low impact on the environment, but a high impact on improving social justice. I love how this acknowledges how being ‘zero waste’ is a impossible target. She talks about everything from books, plastic reduction, mental health, productivity, fashion, food and travel, all from the perspective of veganism. 

2. Rachel Ama


In all honesty, Rachel is probably my favourite food vlogger. Her videos always lift my mood and are sometimes just good to put on to give me a bit of a pick me up. She posts vegan recipes, often inspired by Caribbean classics or other well-loved staples, and we often see her dancing and singing while she cooks, which is very relatable to me at least. I also love the videos where she introduces her non-vegan friends to vegan food either than she has made or got from places in her local area (such as Temple of Seitan) and shown their reactions. Last week, Rachel announced the release of her first recipe book, and I for one certainly cannot wait to get my hands on a copy!

3. Venetia Falconer 


Venetia, in my opinion, is the ethical influencer who is closest to the mainstream media, and is consequently incredibly important. She worked in TV before she became vegan and through that has lots of contacts within the media. Her videos for one thing, are always well put together and really help me when I’m feeling a little bit shit about my overall sustainability. She talks a lot about fast fashion and taking a different approach towards clothing as well as to food, which is seriously needed in a culture where fast-fashion dominates the fashion blogging world. I would also highly recommend her podcast, Talking Tastebuds, where she talks to a huge range of people, who are not necessarily all vegan, about their love of food.

4. Madeleine Olivia


Maddie is another food vlogger. Her recipes always look lush, and she often puts the prices next to them, which is something I find incredibly useful. She has a wide range of recipes, and writes up all the recipes on her blog so they are easier to follow. As well as recipes, she also discusses minimalism, productivity and provides several videos with tips for new vegans, and was very helpful to me when I was starting out. 

5. Lex Croucher 


Lex’s videos tend to be light-hearted and satirical, although the subject matter is usually quite serious. She talks about all sorts of thing, from Lush’s police display, her favourite vegan junk food, books, periods, mental health and, of course, her cat. We stan her cat. Or just any cat really. 

Have you got any ethical influencers to recommend? I’m always on the lookout for more people to follow. The next instalment of this series should be up within the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled folks!



If you liked this post you might like: 5 Supermarket Vegan Products

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In Monthly Wrap Ups

January 2019 | Monthly Wrap Up

New year, more essays. 

Favourite part?


To be honest, I’ve spent more time at home than in uni this month. The first week I spent researching for and writing an essay for one of my English modules, then the second trying (and failing) to revise for an English exam. That certainly wasn’t helped by the fact that I was ill. It was a fun weekend. 

The day of my exam was actually pretty good. I had it first thing in the morning so I had the rest of the day to myself. First of all, it was great when I walked out as it had snowed and everywhere looked really pretty when I was walking back to my flat. I took myself out for lunch at Yo! Sushi, then after some packing went to the cinema by myself for the first (and not the last) time. 




The following weekend I went to visit my friend Liz in London. On the Saturday we went to the Bread and Roses Women’s March, and heard both Munroe Bergdof and Helen Pankhurst speak in Trafalgar Sqaure. We then went and got donuts from a place in Soho and had a browse in Foyles, where I bought 2 books – a poetry book by Kate Miller (always look in the sale) and Claudine in School by Colette. In the evening we went to Temple of Seitan in Hackney, and boy does that place deserve its reputation. Potentially the best vegan mac and cheese I've ever had. 



I then went home for a week before I started uni again. I saw a couple of friends, had lots of cuddles with my cat, read, wrote a couple of blog posts, and watched several series of the The Office. 

I then returned to Newcastle just in time for semester 2 to start. Yesterday, I saw Maisie Williams give a talk and a Q and A at the Student Union, which was super cool as I’m a major Game of Thrones fan. As for now, I’m just getting back into the swing of things and trying not to get too overwhelmed by all the reading I’ve got to do. 


Best read?


I have spent a lot of time reading this month, and that’s not something I’m going to complain. With my annual goal at 70 books, I wanted to try and get a head start. I’m going to publish a couple of round-up blog posts of my reading at the end of the year, this section is going to be a bit briefer this year. 

First of all, I read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? By Philip K. Dick as part of research for my essay on Blade Runner (if you’re thinking of reading it, don’t bother). 

Then, I read What the Trump?!: A Sane Person’s Guide to Surviving in the Age of Trump by Steven S. Stevens (love his name), as something to give me a bit of a pick me up when I was bored of revision. I started reading The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth to help with my revision. I only got through half of it, so I’m planning on finishing that in February. 

After that, I read Their Finest Hour and a Half by Lissa Evans (which is the basis of one of my favourite films) and Devotion by Patti Smith on the weekend I went to visit Liz. 

When I got home I read Inferior by Angela Saini, which discusses the gender bias within science and academic study as well as the question of the truth in sex difference. It’s very interesting and would highly recommend. I also reread This Modern Love by Will Darbyshire, and started reading Claudine at School by Colette, which I bought in Foyles part way through the month. 

The first book I’m studying during my English module for this semester is Beowulf, which I’m aiming to finish the day that this post should be up. 




Favourite tunes?


Since hearing the title song on Sex Education, I’ve loved listening to Chip Taylor & The New Ukrainians’ album F**k All The Perfect People, particularly while I’m reading. 

Favourite watch?


I’ve actually been to the cinema three times this month. My flatmate and I first went to see The Favourite at the Tyneside cinema. I then went back the next day after my exam to see Colette. I loved both, and whilst I think that The Favourite is incredible in so many ways, I think that Colette is more something that I would watch curled up in bed of an evening. I then went to see The Favourite again with my mum when I went home. 


Credit

TV wise, I watched all of Crazy Ex Girlfriend (including many video essays on it) and Sex Education. Both of these shows are amazing and groundbreaking in several ways and if you haven’t seen them then you should put them next on your to-watch list.

I also watched most of The Office (the US version) and cried several times. 

What did I learn?


I will never – ever – understand my cat. 



What’s happening next month?


So far, the only plans I have are to go home for about a day and a half to see my brother in his school’s musical. Apart from that, it’s the same old same old.

What’s been on my mind?


I don’t even know. Jim and Pam Halpert’s relationship mostly. 

Favourite blogger/vlogger?


Leena Norms and Hannah Witton’s videos have been great this month. I know that may not seem out of the ordinary as they are two of my favourite YouTubers, but I seriously think their content is amazing right now

Favourite post?


Probably My Goals for 2019. I love planning and setting out my ambitions, and trying new ways to make myself a better person (hopefully). Maybe I live in the future too much. That’s not such a bad thing in moderation I suppose. 

Biggest inspiration?


During the beginning of the month, getting through deadlines and exams. 

Then later, the freedom of the fact that I had literally nothing I needed to do, apart from the things I love, all without any pressure. 




In the past few days I’ve had a bit more excitement at starting my new modules. Well, excited and a tad intimidated at the amount of reading I have to do. It’s time to learn something new people! 

Any other favourites?


All the new vegan food which came out in the new year. I’ve tried the M&S lasagne and their tikka masala – both absolutely lush. I would also highly recommend Caffe Nero’s new sundried tomato, spinach, pesto and mozzarella toastie. It also took me a while, but I finally managed to get a Gregg’s vegan sausage roll in the last few days of January and it was everything I’d ever dreamed of. Absolutely fantastic. 



If you liked this post you might like: November/December 2018 | Monthly Wrap Up


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In 5 Fridays vegan

5 Supermarket Vegan Products

Being vegan is easier than ever. Supermarkets are meeting the demand and releasing all sorts of wonderful foods. Here are a few of my favourites. 

1. Tesco Free From Cheese - £2.25


Good vegan cheese can be hard to come by, and even then it tends to be a bit pricey. I haven’t yet been able to sample some of the more expensive stuff, for reasons I think are probably quite clear, but this one is undoubtedly the best out of the ones I have tried. It’s got more flavour than other brands such as Violife, and has a less artificial texture. I will always big up this cheese. 

2. Tesco Free From Margherita Pizza - £3


Sometimes, you just need a pizza. Although they’re kinda expensive for what they are, they’re perfect for a create your own style pizza. I like to have mine with mushrooms, slice peppers, sweetcorn and some spinach, depending on what I’ve got in. 

3. Waitrose Mac & Greens - £3.50 (often included in 2 for £6)


Mac and cheese is one thing that it seems everyone wants to be veganised. And for good reason – who doesn’t love a mac and cheese?! This one came out as part of Waitrose’s extensive vegan range last year, and it is the best supermarket mac and cheese I have tried. If you haven’t already tried it, I would avoid the Tesco’s one, as I’ve found it very watery and not too flavoursome. These are a bit pricey, so I tend to have them for a bit of a treat. A mac and cheese is needed very now and again.

4. ASDA Vegetable Fingers - £1.75


Fish fingers are favourite of mine. Or were before I stopped eating animal products. Whilst the Quorn Fishless Fingers are great, there aren’t many and they’re quite small (they also cost more than these do). In this pack you get 16, rather fat fingers, filled with chunks of carrot, peas, sweetcorn and other veg – certainly more filling. Keep an eye out for these, as they’re often on offer.

5. Morrisons Meat-Free Sausages - £1.50


As a vegan option for sausages, most people will turn to Linda McCartney. Don’t get me wrong, I love some of Linda’s stuff, but these sausages are, in my opinion so much better – both in texture and taste. These are part of their Tasty V range, which is entirely vegan. I would also highly suggest their katsu curry melts, which are proper lush. 


If you liked this post you might like: Vegan What I Eat in a Day | Exam Season

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In goals

My Goals for 2019

I won’t lie, I’m really quite proud of how many of my goals I managed to accomplish last year. Let’s hope 2019 continues along that same way!

Read 70 books


I always like to include my GoodReads challenge on my yearly goals list, as they do tend to be quite significant. This year I’ve gone much higher than I have done previously, but I think I can do it. Last year, I read 62 books, exceeding my goal of 23. As I am doing a degree in English Literature, I have to read a lot (at least one book a week), so I think that will help me read the extra few. I’m really stretching myself with this one, but a challenge won’t do me any harm!

Publish a What I Read in 2018 blog post at the end of the year


This follows on from my last goal, as it should mean that you all get to see which books I’ve read this year. I’ve been trying to do this kind of post properly for the past few years. I originally did a post like this in 2016, however, I would like the one I write this year to be a little more in depth. As I’m aiming to read 70 books, I may have to do publish it in 2 or 3 parts. I think the reason why I rarely seem to manage to do this post is because I leave it mostly to the last minute (i.e.) at the end of the year, when I’ve forgotten most of what I thought about the books I’m writing about. Instead, I’m going to try to gradually write it throughout the year.

Stop touching my face


For the latter part of 2018 my skin was utter shite. I’ve never had great skin, but for a variety of reasons it just went into chaos. I have established a more rigid skincare routine now and it seems to be helping. However, I do have one habit which I know is not helping when it comes to my acne: touching my face and scratching spots and scabs. It may not be great to hear about, but I’d say it’s one of my main goals for this year, and hopefully it’ll help improve my skin.

Make sure to do at least 10 minutes of yoga every day


Last year, I actually made a conscious effort to do more exercise and improve my fitness, and I really did it for the right reasons. I started doing yoga every morning during my A Level exam season, and it helped me so much. I felt so much more relaxed and focused. I did more yoga over the summer, but properly established more of a morning routine part of the way into uni, but only about 5-7ish minutes at a time. Over Christmas I mostly lost my routine. This year, I want to keep my routine going as much as possible, try more difficult routines and for longer. 

Pass my first year of uni with at least a 2:1


As I’m writing this, I’m one exam away from finishing my first semester at university, and I can’t believe it’s gone so quickly! Overall, I’m quite happy with my results. I haven’t got all of them back for this semester yet, but I think if I work hard I can do it. Ideally, I’d love to get a First, but I’d be very happy with a 2:1, so that’s my goal. 

Reduce my plastic use as much as possible


Again, this is something I'm trying to continue and improve upon from last year. I made a really good start, especially with research and and keeping the issue at the forefront of my mind. One thing I particularly want to improve on is to not buy lunch out so much, and focus on making my own.

Perfect a vegan cake


Basically since I turned veggie, I’ve been trying out vegan baking. Whilst I’ve managed some things well – like scones and Welsh cakes – I haven’t made a truly great cake yet. I’ve tried several recipes – a few have been good-average and several which have been, well, kinda crap. One literally had the consistency of a bouncy ball. How does that even happen?? Anyway, I would love to have a truly great vegan chocolate cake by the end of the year. I just freaking love chocolate cake. 

Diversify my reading 


For the past few years I’ve been trying to broaden the scope of my reading, so that I’m consuming art from people who have very different experiences than I do. However, my attempts haven’t taken up too much of my overall reading percentage wise. I’m going to try and make BAME, LGBT and translated books take up a larger proportion of my year’s reading.

What are your goals for 2019?


If you liked this post you might like: Did I Complete My 2018 Goals?

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