01/06/2019

Easy Sustainable Habits To Help The Planet Every Day


This planet is the only one we have. Let's make an effort to keep it.

Recently, and as I am becoming more aware of the world around me (it was about time, I should say!) I have been noticing how badly we are treating our planet. There are many articles and documentaries that can educate you about pollution and how it affects the fauna, flora and ecosystem around us. Did you ever realise that every day thousands of q-tips are thrown in the sewers and end up in the stomach of fish and other sea animals? Yep, me either. That was until I started really looking into this matter, because I decided, almost overnight, that I could make some changes in my lifestyle to leave a less damaging imprint on the planet. 
I am far from perfect and I still have a lot of wasteful habits, some of them that I cannot change just yet. However, even the smallest things can help a great deal - and this is why I have written this post, so you can join me in these efforts. We can accomplish great things with these little steps.

SUSTAINABLE HABITS TO TAKE UP AT HOME

- Buy a steel water bottle instead of using plastic bottles.
- Use washable cloths instead of paper napkins at the dinner table.
- Don't use cotton rounds for makeup and skincare, instead cut out rounds of fabric in an old t-shirt to create reusable rounds.
- Use solid soap instead of shower gel and liquid hand soap.
- When recycling at home, always check you are disposing of your items in the right way. Not all plastic is recyclable!


BEING SUSTAINABLE ON THE GO

- Say no to straws in cafés, or bring your own metallic straw with you.
- Always bring a reusable water bottle and/or coffee mug on your errands.
- Bring a little set of cutlery to avoid using plastic cutlery in cafés.
- Always have a tote bag with you in case you go shopping. That way you won't have to use the shops' paper or plastic bags.
- Whenever you can, buy fruit and vegetables without packaging.
- Use public transport instead of the car as much as possible. Saves you the pain of finding parking too!

What are the little things you do to help the planet?
FOLLOW ME ON: BLOGLOVIN' ¤ INSTAGRAM
 ♥

18/05/2019

Tips To Visit Los Angeles, California


The do's and don't's of visiting Los Angeles.

Last time I visited my boyfriend, we dedicated two days to vising L.A. The trip was only supposed to be a visit of the Aquarium of the Pacific, which was my Valentine's day present for my boyfriend, but we extended it into a two-day adventure to see different parts of the city.
However, Los Angeles is intense. I don't know what people who live there think, but as an outsider, the city can feel quite overwhelming, because of how big and busy it gets if you stick to popular areas. So if any of you plans on visiting L.A. in the future, read on! Here are my tips and thoughts about travelling to L.A.

FACT N.1: LOS ANGELES IS BIG. 
Do: dedicate a half day to each area
Don't: plan to do it all in one day
When you research what to do and see in Los Angeles, it's easy to get overwhelmed. There are so many cool places, must-see museums, restaurants, cafés, beaches, hikes, shops... And it would truly take days and days, in my opinion, to make the most of the city if you want to see it all. However most people don't always have a lot of time, so if you have a short trip planned to L.A., my advice is to pick carefully the places you want to see, and organise your days by location. For example, for a nice beach day I suggest exploring Santa Monica and Venice beach in one morning or afternoon, and then head more inland for the rest of the day. Break down your day in two chunks, and in each chunk, plan two or three main sites that are close to each other. That way, you spend more time exploring, and less time driving around.

FACT N.2: TOURIST HOT SPOTS WILL BE CROWDED.
Do: get up early and book tickets ahead when possible
Don't: turn up to popular areas in the afternoon if you know you don't have a lot of time to explore
Luckily, we did not experience this so much this time, but generally speaking, expect a lot of people in the tourist areas like Santa Monica (I've seen it twice, and both times it was crowded as hell), Hollywood Boulevard or the Griffith Observatory. It's easy to know which are the most popular spots, and whenever possible, visit them early. If you visit a museum which charges an entrance fee (some museums are free, so have a look at those first!) check if you can book tickets online to avoid queues. Booking for restaurants is also a good idea. You can never be organised enough! 


FACT N.3: L.A. IS EXPENSIVE, SO BRING ON THE $$
Do: Decide what you are willing to spend on and how much you need to save up.
Also do: Compare prices before you arrive (aka research the coffee shops where you won't pay $6 for a latte.) 


I find the US incredibly expensive in general. Everything from petrol to groceries cost so much more than the European capitals I've lived in. And in the middle of a hype city like L.A., you can expect costs to be even more considerable. There are so many temptations, like cool coffee and donut places, but I'd advise to be reasonable and don't spend it all on little things. Depending on where you go, parking can already eat up a good part of your budget, so be mindful of the types of expenses that you'll have. Whenever possible, calculate how much money you can dedicate for different things: food, attractions/museums, petrol, parking, and so on. I know holidays are a time to splurge a little bit, but always be prepared for the true cost of things to avoid unecessary stress and do the most with what you have!

FACT N.4: TRAFFIC IS MAD. PLAN AHEAD TO AVOID IT.
Do: Travel early in the morning to get there.
Don't: Travel long distances or busy areas during the day.

This one's from my boyfriend! As the designated driver for the whole trip (I don't have a driving licence) he was very conscious of traffic. Especially because he lives around there and knows how bad it can get! So if you're driving around L.A., make sure to always use a GPS app to find out what the best route is for each destination. The city is crammed all day, and it is rare to have smooth traffic at certain peak times. Remembering this when you plan your days will help you out, so that you don't make too many plans for one day and realise that travelling between places is making you late for certain things. Although we have not done it ourselves, if I were to stay in L.A. for a good few days I would probably look into hiring a bike (for short distances) or use public transport to go from one place to another. That way, you don't spend all your petrol slowing down in traffic. And it helps with pollution too, so that's a double win!


WHAT WE DID - FUN THINGS TO SEE IN L.A.


THE BASIC INSTAGRAM SPOTS: VENICE BEACH (& SANTA MONICA)

One spot I definitely wanted to see in Los Angeles was Venice Beach. I won't lie, I mostly picked it because I saw pictures of the area on Instagram, and it looked awesome. Not that I would workout on the beach or eat overpriced avocado toast (although the latter, maybe...).
Finding parking around Venice is a bit tricky. You do have quite a few parking areas, but they are small and fill up quickly (and you also have to pay for them) so it's something to keep in mind when visiting. Once you're all set, it's easy to find the main hub of the area, with its little cafes (special mention to Eggslut, which was unfortunately closed the day we went.) and shops. The beach promenade is a must-see, and quite a sight to behold. The tourists mix up with the locals: people working out, dog-owners having a walk, loud shops selling questionable clothing and ice cream parlours. I feel like it's the kind of place where it would be hard to fit in if you don't relate to the whole vibe, but it's a fun spot to watch from an outside perspective!


IF YOU LOVE FISH: AQUARIUM OF THE PACIFIC, LONG BEACH

Granted this is pretty niche, but it's one of those places, a bit like Universal Studios or Disneyland, which you visit if you really like the experience. I've been to a few aquariums in my life, and this is one of my favourite. The species are very diverse, and I love the life size whale in the main hall. They have an incredible variety of jellyfish. Like, really impressing. One tip I would have is to bring your own snacks for the visit, as food there is super expensive and not really appealing. 


CLASSIC L.A.: THE HOLLYWOOD SIGN

Ever since I first visited my boyfriend, I've always wanted to see the Hollywood Sign. It may be cliché, but it is a dreamy sight! This time, my wish was finally granted and we drove to the Park Hollywood viewpoint. Our original plan was to hike to the sign (although it is forbidden to go near the sign, there are multiple walks that take you on top of the hill all around it.) However, my boyfriend had a terrible flu while we were in L.A., so we took the car and got as close as we could. 
The Park Hollywood viewpoint is accessible via car. You will meander through dozens of uphill streets filled with beautiful houses and villas, probably belonging to those lucky people who made it in the cinema industry. There is a street to park right across the park from which you can see the sign, but make sure to go early as it can get crowded. We headed there at around 11am and found a spot. There is a big green space overlooking the hill and the sign, so plenty of opportunities to take photos that will remind you forever of that iconic moment!


Have you ever been to L.A.? Or is it on your bucket list?
FOLLOW ME ON: BLOGLOVIN' ¤ INSTAGRAM
 ♥

05/05/2019

How To Get Out of a Slump


We all feel off sometimes... But you can help yourself feel better.

It happens to everyone, without warning, and sometimes at the most unexpected times. Your energy levels are very low, you lose all your motivation and inspiration, you have no desire to do anything and you feel frustrated because the feeling is so strong that you can't really do anything about it there and then. Sometimes these slumps only last for a few days, but they can also last for weeks before you magically find your spark again.
As someone who likes to analyse anything and everything, I have tried many time to find an explanation for these off feelings, these slumps that can be so hard to get out of, and affect everything in your life while they last. For me, these feelings just end up disappearing after a while, but I have come up with four ways you can feel better when you're experiencing one of these slumps, and how to hopefully help you get out of it ASAP.

DO SOMETHING LOW MAINTENANCE THAT YOU LOVE
If you don't feel like doing anything, it is no surprise that any task that requires effort will put you off. But instead of feeling bad for it, remember that it is ok to be uninspired. Instead of beating yourself up for not doing anything, do something, but something you enjoy and that preferably involves you chilling. This could be watching a Netflix documentary about a topic you enjoy or want to be more knowledgeable, reading a book in bed, drawing or doodling in your favourite notebook to let go of the stress and guilt. It could be going for a walk or a run, or calling a friend. After doing something relaxing but purposeful like this, you are one step closer to feeling better about yourself and gaining your energy back - more so than if you walked around the room aimessly and telling yourself you can't do anything. Yes, you can. It just has to be low maintenance.


PLAN AHEAD TO FEEL THE EXCITEMENT AGAIN
One thing that always gets me motivated again is looking at the future - the next week, for example. If I'm not feeling great, I think about all the amazing things I will do when I get better. Put down on your agenda or timetable all the fun things you will be doing once you're out of your slump. Have you got some creative stuff you will be doing? Some fun events planned with friends? A major step to cross in your exercise routine? Plan exciting things that will await you when you feel better. That way, you won't think about how bad everything is, but how great everything will be once you turn your mindset around. Which leads me to my next point...

REMEMBER IT IS TEMPORARY
The fatigue and blasé state you're in won't last. Once you get over it, you will feel happy and motivated again. It goes back and forth in waves, like happiness, stress, and every other human feeling. In a week's time, you will probably have forgotten how you felt on that down day. You will go back to your busy self, with your hobbies and agenda, and all will be fine in your world. I am sometimes guilty of being slightly dramatic and thinking that my drops in motivation are like black holes that will suck me forever, especially during those longer slumps that last for a good few days, but with patience and wisdom, I always realise that actually, I feel much better now and yes, I can do things. Nothing lasts forever, and even the worst slumps eventually go away. Keep positive.



DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP
In this day and age, we can control almost everything. And we try. Self-care tells you that you can be happy if you want to and work on it, that you can eliminate stress if you work on it, that you can be healthy if you work on it... So naturally, we try controlling our mood too. And sure, you can think it through, write a positivity or gratitude list, and do all you can to feel better, but when this doesn't work, you are better off accepting what is. Some days, you won't be able to make yourself excited about life, or make yourself inspired to go out and do things. And that's ok! Acceptance is key. If you beat yourself up for not feeling better, do you really think you are going to feel better? Nope. You will only feel worse. Everyone has low days, and this is when you need to take care of yourself. Your mind is telling you something. Don't burn it out. Give it the time and space it needs to get back to its usual amazing self. 
Think about the advice you would give to a friend in the same situation. "Don't worry, you will feel better tomorrow," "You work so much, it's ok to switch your brain off,"... If you can say that to a friend who's going through the same situation, that take your own advice and save yourself from your own judgment. Put yourself first, because you deserve to let go. And you will do better tomorrow.


What do you do to get out of a slump?
FOLLOW ME ON: BLOGLOVIN' ¤ INSTAGRAM
 ♥