How To Be More Fashion-Conscious Without Breaking the Bank

Promote ethical choices through your wardrobe.

Recently I've been thinking more and more about sustainable fashion and how to make the most of my fashion choices while limiting my impact on the planet and the people working at making the clothes. There are more and more brands deemed sustainable that offer an alternative to fast fashion. Over the past few weeks I've enjoyed reading Deborah's posts on the matter over at Coffee, Clothes & Pretty Clothes - she goes straight to the point and addresses several relevant issues on the topic of sustainable fashion. As I have been thinking about my own consumption, I have found that I am at a tricky standpoint - between wanting to make an impact, but also not ready to invest in more expensive clothes.
Personally, I am very strict in my budget and where I put my money, and at this moment clothing is still not a priority when it comes to spending more. There are many reasons for that, one of them being that I am not sure which clothes I would like to invest in (Am I still gonna like that dress in two years' time?) So instead buying - just yet - in sustainable brands, I found some ways in which I, in my own little way, can be more fashion-conscious. If you would like to make a change at your own level too, please read on!

1. Stop buying new clothes every season.
Let's start with the obvious, shall we? The more you buy, the more you tell the industry "make new clothes, I'll buy them all". Sounds silly, but the big brands that produce fast fashion answer a demand that keeps growing, in an era where people buy loads to display their style on social media and keep refreshing their wardrobe to keep up with the trends. There is no need to buy a new coat every winter, or a new swimsuit to add to your collection every year, or to go to the shops every month or so just to see what's in. Check out your wardrobe: everything you need is there. Nowadays, I almost only shop when I need to replace something, or to buy an item that has a purpose, i.e. i need a pair of trousers for work. Instead of buying pieces from a thousand different trends, curate a style that looks like you, with a selection of clothes that you will keep throughout the years. Which leads me to... 

2. Shop your wardrobe.
Although it's always fun to experiment with different styles and trends, it's also great to grow into your own style and have your signature outfits. For that, nothing better than shopping your wardrobe - keep rummaging through your clothes, and I guarantee you that you'll find some that you have never worn before, or rarely so. There are plenty of fashion challenges that you can take, to style what you own in lots of different ways. And if you're looking for a *new* outfit, why don't you shop another friend's wardrobe? (With their consent, of course.)

3. Take good care of what you already own.
Another obvious one, but if you don't take care of your clothes, the turnover will be high and you'll have to rebuy staples every so often. Avoid synthetic fabrics and cheap materials, especially for shoes and bags, and always make sure you wash and store your items carefully. No matter whether it's fast fashion or high end, really: I've got some clothes from New Look and Forever 21 that have lasted me years (not kidding, some stuff in my wardrobe dates back to when I was in high school seven years ago!).

4. Shop second hand.
I know second-hand shopping is not always accessible, but there are more and more of charity shops everywhere, where you can browse and find some good deals. There are plenty of websites too, like Depop to only name one, where you can buy clothes for less. A lot of people use second hand as a way to avoid fast fashion and to stop giving money to those big firms and brands. An ethical choice to make a statement!

5. ... Unfollow those excessive buyer bloggers.
Harsh maybe, but you need to surround yourself with those who will inspire you in your personal choices. We always say unfollow whoever makes you unhappy, right? Same thing applies here - I still see so many bloggers and social media creators who keep on buying, buying, and promoting new products all the time, and although there was a time in my life where I totally loved this content, I've grown out of it now and I get very tired of bloggers-turned-advertising boards, especially because it pushes you to buy more, or makes you feel like you'll be so happy and sophisticated if you buy this and that. Thinking forward, I think our society needs to slow down in these tendencies to buy and consume more than we actually need. So once and for all, be the change you want to see - and get away from those who don't promote the values you're after. 

Are you becoming more fashion conscious? How do you shop responsibly?


A First-Timer Guide to Vienna, Austria

A budget guide to the Austrian capital.

Vienna is a beautiful and rich city. There are many things to see and do, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed when planning a trip there. Unlike London where most museums are free, you have to pay for everything in Vienna. It can add up very quickly, especially if it's your first time there and you want to experience a lot of the city. So keep on reading to find out the best things to do in Vienna!

1. Take the Tram along the Ringstrasse
You'll read it on many guides: the best way to see the landmarks of Vienna is by travelling on the tram line D. This tram goes around the Ringstrasse, a road that goes around the historical centre of Vienna in a circle. From inside the tram, you can see the most famous buildings of the city: the Rathaus (town hall), the Volksgarten (Garden of the People), Hofburg Palace, the Vienna State Opera, the Museum Quarter... One tram ticket gets you around all these places, and you are free to exit where you like and visit the places you want.
Churches are also accessible free of charge, and I would recommend seeing St Stephen's Basilica in the town centre, though you have to pay to access the nave, the view from the main entrance of the cathedral gives you plenty to see already. If there is one church you shouldn't miss, it is the Jesuit Church, tucked away at the corner of a street. It's high facade is beautiful, but really it is the inside that will have you go 'oooh' and 'aaah' at its precious beauty.

From top to bottom:
- Horse drawn carriage around Hofburg Palace
- Maria-Theresien-Platz, in the Museum Quarter
- The Jesuit Church

2. Visit the parks of the city
All parks in the city are free of charge and beautiful. My favourite was the Volksgarten, which is full of blooming roses that the Viennese have dedicated to their loved ones.
The gardens of Belvedere Palace and Schönbrunn Palace are also free to visit, and beautiful in their grandeur - especially Schöbrunn gardens, with their wall of red roses and impressive greenhouse.
My favourite park area however was Kahlenberg. It is a mountain on the outskirts of Vienna, and to get there, you need to take the bus around narrow, uphill streets lined with beautiful houses and restaurants. This spot was recommended to us by a local, so you know it's a good one! The view over Kahlenberg is beautiful: you can see the whole of Vienna and the Danube. There is a small cafe up there with indoors seating facing the panorama, as well as an open terrace where you can sip on your coffee with the best views.

From top to bottom:
- The view from Kahlenberg
- The roses of the Volksgarten
- The foutain of Schlöss Belvedere 


1. Schönbrunn Palace
This is probably the Versailles of Austria, and for a good reason! Although I find that Versailles could never be compared to any other palace, Schönbrunn is a beautiful piece of history, and so are its gardens. One thing you need to know about Schönbrunn is that you should always book tickets in advance. If you show up and buy your tickets there and then, you will not be able to go in straight away - you will be given a time of entry, around two hours after you buy the tickets. My friend Julie and I got caught off guard by this and as it was our last day in Vienna, we ended up not visiting the interiors of the palace. We had plenty of time to explore the gardens though, in all their beauty.

The view from up the hill is beautiful, and on a clear day you can see Vienna from above. Some parts of the garden are only accessible with a ticket to the palace, but all the free areas are already worth seeing.

2. Walking the town centre (churches, cathedral, walking tours)
If you don't have so much time to spend in Vienna, make sure to walk around the city centre to get a feel of the city. There are many beautiful churches, cafes and museums you can pick and choose from. I would recommend stopping by St Stephen's Cathedral, the Albertina museum and the Sacher Hotel, where you can sachertorte, the original recipe invented by the son of the owner - no less! My friends and I also followed a tour off the beaten track, which led us through picturesque courtyards and medieval streets - so always check walking tours online, or ask the locals for their favourite sights.

3. Prater Park
Prater Park is a fun fair that you can visit all year around. You can easily spend a summer evening there, with lots of food options and fun rides. We picked the chair swing ride, which is one of the highest in the world and gives you beautiful views of Vienna and the landscape around - though it gets a bit chilly up there! The prices of the rides differ, it can become a costly activity but if you really like theme parks, it's a fun way to experience the Austrian capital differently. I would say this is definitely a spot you shouldn't miss, even just to soak in the fun atmosphere and have a cheeky greasy dinner.

4. Schnitzel
This one is for those of you who eat meat, of course - schnitzel's, Austria's dish of choice, is unmissable. You can find it at every corner, and actually I am pretty sure you can find vegetarian and vegan alternatives now. There is one place I would recommend for good schnitzel and a very Austrian atmosphere, recommended and approved by one of our friends there: Schnitzelwirt (Neubaugasse 52, 1070). The choices are incredible, the dishes affordable, and one dish of any of their schnitzel is big enough to feed three. A tip: it is a popular spot and expect a short waiting time to get a table. 


1. Do
- Use public transport. You can get a weekly pass that allows you to take unlimited underground, bus and tram. Vienna's public transport service is amazing and it will basically take you wherever you need - even at the top of Kahlenberg moutain!
- Look up bars and restaurants in advance. Vienna is a big city, but I found that picking restaurants or bars last minute was a hastle, unlike some other capitals I've visisted. Make sure you've got your restaurant sorted before you head out. Booking a table is always advised, especially for popular spots!
- Speak English. The Viennese are great at English and everyone we met could speak the language. It's always good to know your greetings and key phrases in German out of politeness, but don't panic if you're not a languages person - the locals will still be able to communicate with you.
- Book tickets in advance for popular attractions. If you don't plan ahead, you may end up queuing for ages to visit places, especially the palaces. Buy tickets to skip the queues!

2. Don't
- Show up late for touristic places. Vienna has a lot of visitors, and of course everyone wants to see the amazing castles and musems. The earlier in the day you go to the attractions, the better your experience will be. There's nothing better than having a museum or a castle to yourself and avoid the noisy crowds.
- Visit every single church, museum, gallery. This piece of advice is highly unusual for me as I would always say you should see everything in a city, especially when it comes to its cultural and historical side, but in Vienna there is literally so much that you can afford to skip a few of the less interesting places. Pick two or three spots that inspire you, and spend more time enjoying those, rather than rushing around to fit in every single museum in the area. Make a connection instead of ticking a travel list.

Have you ever been to Vienna? Is the city on your travel list?


My Best Tips To Eat Well (+ Simple & Healthy Meal Ideas!)

Eating healthy can be a challenge sometimes. Here's how you make it easy!

Although my diet is far from being perfect, since I have embarked on my health journey I have changed my eating habits a lot. I could actually scream in horror at how bad my diet was a few years ago - lots of processed food, no consistency, and a lot of alcohol. Needless to say I am now an actual grown up, so it has kind of helped. But I still find that no matter how old you are, eating healthy can be very difficult. However, it is achievable by anyone - no, you don't need to be a fitness guru to eat healthy! This post is here to give you advice on how to start eating healthier, so keep reading for my best tips and meal ideas! 

When you go food shopping, don't buy the unhealthy things that you could live without, but that you would usually still buy because why not. Say no to the fizzy drinks, the crisps, the industrial brownies full of sugar, and the ready meals. If you don't have all those things in your house, you simply won't eat them! If it's there, you may eat it just for the sake of it. Get rid of those foods that make you unhappy, and you won't eat them anymore. 
If you're anxious about feeling deprived, you can always buy some healthy snacks to have around when you crave something. Dark chocolate, nuts, granola bars (sure they've got lots of sugar, but still much better than industrial muffins!) or sorbet. Just leave out the stuff that's bad for you. After all, if you know it's bad, why have it when there are so many delicious and healthier alternatives?

I'm not a cooking person, but I do enjoy preparing healthy meals for myself. My rule is this: I buy staple ingredients in three big categories: protein (meat or meatless), carbs (potatoes, rice, bread) and vegetables (frozen veg is great, but I also buy tomatoes, peppers, cucumber every week). With a few simple ingredients, you can create a variation of recipes that take very little time, and that are stripped off the nasty processed stuff. The simpler, the better - see all the photos in these posts for recipe inspo. 
Sticking to simple, whole food ingredients will make meal prep easier, faster, and you will monitor more easily what you are having each day, whether you are having enough protein and fats, whether you are having too much salt or not... It's all down to you, because you know what's in your plate. 

Eating healthy is also about knowing how food makes you feel. You are nourishing your body, and your body will tell you what it needs and wants - and what it doesn't agree with too much. If you sometimes feel bloated or uncomfortable after certain meals, think about the possible reasons for that. It may be a food you ate, or maybe you have lunch too fast when you are in front of the computer at work, or maybe you don't digest milk as well and haven't realised it yet. I would suggest keeping a note of the days when food doesn't make you feel as good: write down what you ate, at what time, and after a few days a pattern may stand out. 
Because we are all so busy all the time, eating becomes such a small part of our routines that we don't pay attention to it anymore, and thus you may miss out on why your body doesn't feel well sometimes. The more you listen to your body, the better you will know what to eat to feel your best.

Although this may be controversial (I may be a control freak...) I do think that having a routine really helps if you're getting started on a healthy diet journey. More and more people meal prep these days, and there are very little downsides to meal prepping! Although I don't have the time and space at home to prep meals for days and days ahead, whenever I go shopping I think about the meals I want to prepare that week, and write down a list of exactly what I need to buy. That is part of my routine, and it helps me buy the right foods.
Another routine you could have is to think about a typical day to plan what and when to cook. Do you eat more for lunch or dinner? Which days do you need to eat more generous meals because you work out or have a longer day at work? When do you need to prepare snacks because you're having your meal later than usual? Plan your meals in your timetable like you would plan tasks on your to-do list, and it will help you feel more in control of your stomach - and what goes into it!

I hate cheat meals. The whole concept of it makes me so angry! Not only is the phrasing of it conductor of guilt, but it also suggests the idea that you have to restrain yourself all the time, and go all out on that one meal - which is a pretty unhealthy thing to do in itself. Eating healthy doesn't mean restricting yourself or eating foods you hate. Eating healthy means finding the diet that's good for your health and body, but also for your mind. The diet that makes you happy and gives you the fuel you need. If you implement the idea of cheat meals, you will find yourself mindlessly craving foods just because it is cheat day, and your mind will tell you "now is the time to go crazy and have all the bad stuff, because that's what cheat meals are for." But to be healthy *and* happy, you have to find the routine that allows you to eat well, but eat what you like. 

The truth is, eating healthy is difficult because like most things, it needs to be work for. You don't wake up one morning craving vegetables and hating sugar for the rest of your life. In the end, it all comes back to how willing you are to put your health first - put it before the tempting McDonald's burger, before the ice-cream-for-dinner, before the daily can of coke. Invest in your body and save yourself some expenses too! 
The sooner you realise that you are in control of your body and it is your lifelong job to take care of it, the better. A healthy body, along with a healthy mind, are just what you need to move forward, be confident with yourself, and take on all the challenges that will come your way. So work on healthy eating like you'd work on a job!

What are your tips to eat healthy? 
Do you have any healthy meal ideas to share?