Yesterday Mr M and I had a rare and delightful day out which didn’t involved hockey or cricket or any other ‘ball’ activity. Just the two of us… and thousands other people, admiring gardens, smelling roses, eating ice cream (and dropping it… right darling?)…
It was gorgeous, even though I’m absolutely knackered today!
So, sit down, how’s your fight against plastic going? It’s hard, isn’t it? As a family we have reduced the amount we use, that’s for sure… but there’s still so much at the end of the week… it’s kind of depressing.
But but but… small steps, right? I can’t remember last time I bought a water bottle, I’ve always got a refillable with me, I’m on my second jar of toothpaste AND on my second bar of shampoo (and converted one of the boys to use one too), so I’m trying, folks, I’m really trying,
oh… and I’ve bought a bamboo toothbrush.
My latest discover is this dental floss from georganics (the same brand as the toothpaste.
The packaging is totally recyclable, cardboard box, glass jar with tin lid… AND, it’s refillable, so next time you only need to buy the actual floss part. Genius.
(I don’t understand why they say 100% Vegan though… I mean, if it’s only 90% Vegan… it’s just not Vegan right? or is it me?)
April 22nd to April 28th is Fashion Revolution Week, did you know that?
Having just learnt it – it popped up in my Insta feed – I feel a tad guilty for having wasted the last 15 minutes browsing for clothes I don’t really need…
It is a movement started after the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh (24/4/2013) when 1138 people died and 2500 were injured. I remember it clearly, it was a horrific accident. This is what the Fashion Revolution movement stands for:
We believe that positive change can happen if we all think differently about fashion and demand better. We want a cleaner, safer, fairer, more transparent and more accountable fashion and textiles industry.
We want fashion to become a force for good. We believe in an industry that values people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure.
Their MANIFEST IS HERE. Worth a read, if you have a few minutes.
And this page tells you how you can take action: send an email to a brand, post on Twitter or Instagram. I’ve just sent a couple of emails, it took less than 30 seconds. Let’s face it we all have too many clothes in our wardrobe and we all still like to go shopping. We are all bad in this respect, but by educating ourselves (and our children) we can get better and make a difference. Change can happen. I remember what a pain it was to take my own bag to the supermarket a couple of years ago… not I don’t even think about it. Or bringing my water bottle out with me… it’s automatic now, keys, handbag, refillable water and coffee cup… What I’m trying to say is … change always seems harder before we start, after a while… it becomes second nature.
So let’s buy less and buy better.
And things are – slowly – changing in the fashion industry too:
In 2018 there was significant global media coverage about transparency in the fashion industry and ways to consume more responsibly, with over 400 articles written in the UK and and over 2,000 across the world. With an estimated reach of 3500 million articles about Fashion Revolution in April. Significant articles included Vogue, Marie Claire, FashionUnited, The Telegraph, The Guardian, The Independent, Huffington Post,Refinery 29, The Debrief and many more.
Fashion Revolution was awarded the Best Green Fashion Film award at the Fashion Film Festival Milano for the 2018 campaign film directed by MJ Delaney and produced by Futerra.
Yesterday I took a day out from College work and mum-duty to spend a day in London with my sister in law. We crammed a lot in and walked for miles and miles
and it was so much fun. The weather was glorious for the first time in weeks too.
First stop, the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park, somewhere I had never been and had always wanted to visit.
We saw a solo show of Emma Kunz, which was unknown to me, and a real pleasant surprise. (She was a healer and a ‘pioneer of spiritual art’. Worth a read of the link. Really interesting.
The Serpentine ‘Pavillion‘ designer for this year as been announced; it’s the Japanese architect Junia Ishigami and it promises to be amazing.
We then walked to the V&A museum with a delicious coffee break at this establishment… highly recommendable if you’re partial to a custard tart..
There was only one thing ‘on the menu’ at the V&A for me… The Dior Exhibition. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. Could have spent ages in there reading who wore what and all the interesting facts… we were on a mission though… so we just soaked in the details and the romance and the skills and the imagination of the designers… and waltzed through, not in dainty stilettos but in chunky trainers. Oh well.
(It was super crowded though too. Literally you had to queue to stand in front of each dress).
(Also, I’m so glad corsets are not in fashion anymore, phew).
…so many beautiful dresses…
And this is from someone who’s sitting at her kitchen table wearing a sack like tunic with no discernible waist and giant pockets. And denim with no hem. And birkenstocks.
There were many take-your-breath-away paintings… I’m not sure about the whole ‘London’ connection though, a bit tenuous if you ask me. We should have probably listened to the audio guide… maybe it’s worth going back for a more in depth session.
Don McCullin’s show did not pull any punches. So powerful. So so… raw.
And then Mike Nelson… I’m going to copy the blurb from the catalogue because I’m not good at explaining these things:
He has transformed the grand spaces of the Duveen Galleries into something between a sculpture court and an asset strippers’ warehouse. He has carefully selected objects from the post-war Britain that framed his childhood – including enormous knitting machines, woodwork stripped from a former army barracks, graffitied steel awnings and doors from an NHS hospital.
After that… we took a boat (a bus boat!) to the Tate Britain, where we shamefully ignored Bonnard (one for another day) and headed for the fun and crazy Franz West.
Crazy being the operative word here.
Who wouldn’t like a giant ‘pink’ thing hanging from the ceiling, eh?
And THEN, after a delicious meal at ‘Tombo‘ we headed home…
For the first time in ages, and I mean… months, yesterday we had a free Saturday; no sport commitment, no school events, no family duties. Nothing.
And the sun was shining.
I promised you it felt like we were on holiday!
‘The big boys’ were on a hockey tournament miles and miles away, Mr took No 3 to ‘look at cars’ and I grabbed my parents and our National Trust memberships and went exploring.
I haven’t taken advantage of my membership enough, and I’m determined to change that this year… there are so many amazing places to visit near us that is a real shame to leave them undiscovered.
Take Chastleton House for example… it’s fabulous. Truly fabulous… and until yesterday I didn’t even know it existed. Sigh. Shame on me.
The early history of the house is interesting: Walter Jones was the first owner of Chastleton House. The land and the previous house that stood here had been owned by Robert Catesby, leader of the Gunpowder Plot. Walter’s family, originally from Wales, had been in the wool trade, but Walter trained as a lawyer, served as a Town Clerk in Worcester and as a Member of Parliament. He was married to Elinor Pope, the daughter of a Flemish immigrant, who had served as a maid to Elizabeth I. Being a landowner was a first step on the social climbing ladder. In 1609, his son Henry married Anne Fettiplace, the daughter of a member of the local gentry. This marriage was another step in the advancement of the Jones family by developing connections to more established families. His son Arthur was a Royalist and had fought at the Battle of Worcester in 1651. The loss of this battle marked the end of the Civil War, leaving families like the Jones’ on the losing side and subject to heavy fines. This period marked the downturn in the family’s finances as they had supported the ‘wrong’ side in the Civil War and were subject to many fines because of it. The latter part of the 17th and early part of the 18th century saw a series of Chastleton owners who died young, made some structural improvements to the building and in one case ended up in jail.
Even though the house had been open to the public since 1936 to help with its upkeep this wasn’t enough and in 1991 was acquired by The National Trust, with the aim to keep the unique feel of Chastleton and preserve the romantic air of decline that enveloped the site, and they really succeeded. Walking through it is like stepping back in time.
The most used rooms are a lovely mix of ‘really old’ and 1950s charm
The Great Hall has the original 18ft long table
I wish I’d taken more photos of the ceilings… so intricate and detailed… you can kind of see what I mean a little in this photo of the Great Gallery at the top of the house
The garden and grounds are gorgeous… and so is the location, deep in the Oxfordshire countryside
If you’re looking for a lovely afternoon out, do go, it’s one of the most charming place I’ve seen for a long time.
I originally started this post moaning about being in a kind of funk. Too many thoughts. Never a good thing.
And then I thought, no. Funk, schmunk…. it hasn’t been a bad week despite being without dishwasher till tomorrow (god, I hate washing dishes by hand)… and the dog vomiting her dinner on my white duvet cover… I’ve managed to read two books – one excellent, one so and so, I did lots of college work, tons of ironing and stumbled upon some thoughts provoking articles which I’m going to share just in case you fancy them.
The first one is about surveillance capitalism. I had never heard of it myself and it a little bit chilling and a little bit depressing but we need to open our eyes more, we can’t just be passengers:
The other one is something I’ve been thinking about it myself for a while and I think its repercussions for society at large need to be understood. (Especially in view of the horrific events in New Zealand today):
Do you use make up? I do… not much, but I do, just enough to stop people from saying I look ill or tired or both, which is something they do when I don’t. THE biggest palaver however, is removing the stuff… when I go to bed… I want to go to bed… right? I’m not going to spend time going through my ‘cleansing’ routine, there are plenty of bloggers our there that can do it, and have done it, better than me, suffice to say I do remove my make up before tucking in at night… 99% of the time.
…otherwise I end waking up like this:
and we all agree that is not quite the look one might aspire… unless you are Alice Cooper for real… in which case you can get away with it.
So anyway, in my quest to save the world (should be everyone’s quest), I had started getting a little antsy about the cotton rounds I was using and literally throwing away every night, three or four each night; it felt wrong.
I tried using various other methods that just need water to remove the make up (balms and oils etc.) but whilst I love them for my face… I need to remove eye make up with something more gentle like ‘micellar water’ or they get irritated and then I can’t see/read for ages afterwards. Annoying to say the least.
BUT THEN I found these very large rounds, washable make up remover pads and I’m very very happy. There are many many different types out there in the big wide world, I like these ones because they’re big and I can usually get away with using half for one eye and half for the other.
They come in a little (plastic… I know… why??) bag you keep the dirty ones in, and then throw the whole thing in the washing machine after a few days. They can go into the drier too and come in a pack of ten and so plenty enough for a week’s worth.
I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to replace something I’ve been using for years and years… sometimes we do get stuck in a rut simply because … we’re lazy? or we can’t be bothered? because it’s easy? I’m just asking you to think about it. I don’t want to start a discussion about cotton production/organic/non organic/water wastage etc. etc., for me it’s more about reducing waste and getting out of the ‘disposable’ mindset we all have.
One step at a time.
(Ok Ok, I could have made my own out of all towels etc. and it would have been even better… but at the moment my sewing machine is sorely neglected. I’m starting to get itchy fingers but I have three essays to write before I can do anything else.)
Today I have no lessons (something to do with ‘activity week’? whatever, I’m going to catch up with a friend and that’s good enough for me.
And it’s sunny again.
TWO things to think about:
And have you seen the new Nike ad? What do you think? Now, I am under no illusion that it’s nothing more than a ploy by a company which is very, very clever at trying to establish an emotional connection with their target audience.
BUT… I love it.
Sisterhood of women, the power of words, motherhood. Regardless of the little ‘swoosh’ in virtually every frame… the message is real.
I want to show it to the boys later. (Expecting eye-rolls a-plenty)
Talking about boys… and not only if you have boys, you might be interested in this Radio 4 programme which aired yesterday. I have three, as you know… and I thought it was brilliant. (click on the link and it’ll take you to the BBC page… you might have to log in, but it’s totally worth it).
I part read/part listened to this book and I’m really sad I’ve finished it. It’s an autobiography, a genre I’m not really a huge fan of, but I was intrigued and fascinated by her all through her stay at the White House and so, the hype behind the publication notwithstanding, I had to read it.
I’m not going to summarise her life here, read/listen (she reads it herself on the audiobook, which I think it’s great) and then come back and tell me what you make of it.
I think she comes across as smart, no-nonsense, hardworking, caring, ambitious, woman who knows her worth, who has strong morals and a huge sense of family and duty and an immense dignity, and who’s had to navigate being black and being a woman and being a mother and a wife in ‘unusual’ , for want of a better word, circumstances.