Low-waste traveling

Hello dear readers!

By the time you receive this post, I will be lounging by the poolside somewhere with a cocktail. Or not. Because I’m actually  going to be on the tiny island of Tasmania, which I’ve been assured is a frozen wonderland, so I’ll be leaving the togs at home and heading out looking more like this:

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I’ve never been to Tasmania, but since I’ve been reassured that it’s basically a tiny New Zealand filled with adorable animals and whiskey, I’m sure I’m going to feel right at home. If you have any must-dos from a visit of your own, please fill a girl in so I can make sure our last few days are jam-packed!

Since we’re going to be traveling with carry-on luggage, liquids and weight are going to be pretty restricted. Fortunately, a lot of zero-waste essentials earn a big tick in both of those areas! Here are the basics that I’ll be taking with me:

  1. FrankGreen SmartCup

One of the first zero-waste swaps I ever mentioned was my trusty keepcup. I’m sad to report that my cup recently decided that it was time to venture out into the wide world without me and then I managed to smash my ceramic back-up cup the next day. Quelle horreur! I’ve decided to take the opportunity to try a new cup I’ve seen around, so my shiny new Frank Green will be getting her maiden voyage on this trip!

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For a coffee addict, keeping a travel cup to hand is a no-brainer. My last cup lasted literally years of daily use, and I hope it will continue to be well-loved in its new home. Just think of how many plastic-lined cups and lids this swap has saved!

2. Solid Shampoo

Remember what I said about zero-waste travel being light and liquid-free? Tadaa!

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I was cautious about switching to solid shampoo initially, but I can’t see myself ever making the swap back. Some people choose to pair these bars with a conditioner of some sort, but I’ve never found the need. My hair is clean and healthy, and I certainly don’t miss the big plastic bottles in my shower! I get my shampoo bars from Lush, who also have conveniently sized tins for travel. Win and win!

3. Cotton Face Rounds

Exactly what they say on the box! I swapped to cotton rounds a while ago for removing eye makeup, and I’ll be bringing a few with me on the trip. They’ll just be thrown in a mesh back, and tossed into the rest of my washing when I get back to Melbourne- couldn’t be easier.

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4. Food Bags

I hardly travel without these now, so they’ll definitely be coming on the plane with me. I use a mix of mesh Onya bags and plain cotton ones, depending on what I’m putting in them. You never know when the urge for a croissant is going to strike, so it’s important to be prepared! I’ll probably also throw a large Beeswax Wrap into one of those bags because they smell so gosh-darned good and they’re great for smuggling out leftovers.

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Huzzah for the bento box! While I’m nowhere near organised enough to justify having a bento kit of my own, I grabbed a set of cutlery similar to this when I was passing through Hong Kong and it’s the best. thing. ever. So easy to throw in my bag and go! As you can see, there’s no knife in the set but I’ll be interested to see how it goes through security….

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-No brainer item

A water bottle. Seriously- if you don’t have one yet, what are you doing? That shiznet is free, why would you pay someone to stay hydrated?! The only people winning when you buy bottled water are the marketing genius’ who convinced you that your water needed to come from a store.

What I won’t be bringing

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Yuss, lady legs be free

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Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for updates, and if you want to see more of me, come say hello on my Instagram or Twitter, I would love to see you there!

 

 

 

Low-waste traveling

June Reading Roundup

Can the year stop whizzing by, please? I refuse to believe that it’s time for my June reading roundup already!

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American Gods:A Novel

I did it, I really really did it!

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I used to eat books like this for breakfast, but I must be getting soft in my old age because I was down to the wire with this beast. I’m going to blame some of my struggle on splitting my attention by re-listening to some of The Expanse again (see below), but this still got very close to embarrassing. Imagine if it was a two-month WIP!

Anyway, on with the book. American Gods is obviously in the air a lot at the moment, thanks to the recently aired TV series. While it’s been on my TBR for a while, the series was actually what prompted me to pick it up, so that I could get it out of the way before my first viewing. Apparently the copy I read is actually an extended version, featuring some content that was cut for the original edition. While this is a hefty book, I didn’t feel like it waffled on too long, and I certainly wouldn’t be able to tell you what they thought belonged on the chopping room floor without researching it further.

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Dress [with] Sense: The Practical Guide to a Conscious Closet

I was given this book for a review that has yet to be published, so I’ll come back to update what I thought of Dress [with] Sense once that’s gone live. In the meantime, let me say that it’s a great beginner into to a more conscious way of living, but the surface-level approach will probably become frustrating to anyone who has already started moving towards a conscious closet.

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Saga Volume 7

Saga! Has anyone else been following this story? I used to read some of my brothers comic books as a kid when he went through a (brief) stage, but I was quickly turned off by the seemingly random bolding of text that never made sense in my head. I’ve been slowly introduced to the world of graphic novels, and Saga is the first one contemporary enough that I have to wait for every new volume to release! I honestly don’t know how dedicated GN readers do it- I’ve found that I’ve had to go back and reread the last few volumes every time to remind myself what’s been happening. I’ve also been scolded for reading them too quickly- I wonder if other avid novel readers have this problem? Regardless, I would heartily recommend Saga if you were looking to give this genre a go. It’s a bit adult in places but the artwork is glorious and you can’t help but invest in the characters and their stories.

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How could you not love this little guy?

 

Leviathan Wakes (The Expanse Book 1)
Caliban’s War (The Expanse Book 2)

Abaddon’s Gate (The Expanse Book 3)

These bad boys have been my distraction this month! With Audible credits mounting, I decided to stockpile the rest of the published audiobooks in this series- with my memory, that also necessitated a brush-up on what had happened previously (see my troubles with episodic graphic novels above). Read by Jefferson Mays (who is truly excellent), they stand up well to a repeat listen. Starting as quite an intimate story with a small cast of players, each novel expands the universe further without ever feeling like the story is being milked for more than it’s worth. As with Saga, these are characters that you can’t help but get involved with. If you’re a fan of the TV series Firefly, I highly recommend giving The Expanse a go! I’m almost reluctant to watch the new Netflix series now, because listening to this series is almost like getting to spend more time with my favourite crew in the ‘verse.

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WIP

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Hag-Seed- Margaret Atwood

I have the best bookclub ever. Five friends with hugely different reading tastes, we all take turns choosing books and the results are never anything less than interesting. This one was offered up by one of the lovely ladies behind Page to Plate, and is part of a series of rewritten Shakespeare classics commissioned by Vintage’s Hogarth Shakespeare.

“The world’s favourite playwright. Today’s best-loved novelists. Timeless stories retold.”

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Apparently a retelling of The Tempest transposed to a Canadian Theatre Festival, I have high hopes for The Hag Seed, but I’m reserving judgement. Have you read any of the books in this series? What do you think of the idea?


What have you been reading this month? Comment below to share your favourite, I’m always looking for recommendations!

You can check out some of my earlier Reading Roundups here:

If you want to see more of me, you can check out my Instagram & Twitter, I would love to see you there!

June Reading Roundup

The danger of a single story

This post was inspired by a fantastic talk of the same name by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, which I will embed below for your viewing pleasure.

The single story creates stereotypes,and the problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

For a period of time a while back, I worked at a disruptive transport startup company that we will call…Youba. Brought on as a general hand around the office while they set up a local branch, I ended up staying for twelve months and watched the company grow from an incredibly hands-on approach to the more remote systems that one would expect from a technology company.

The thing is, during my time at…Youba…I accidentally ended up exposing myself to just one story, over and over again, and as Chimamanda says, it became my only story.

Let me explain.

As you may have noticed during your own experiences with this company, while drivers come from a range of ethnic backgrounds, the majority do seem to be what politicians would describe as ‘immigrants’. And most of them were lovely! Unfortunately they weren’t the drivers I got to hang out with. The majority of the drivers that came to spend time in our offices were the ones that had to be brought in to be ‘spoken to’. The ones that were brash, argumentative, frequently dismissive of me as a female, and occasionally very upsetting. The troublemakers. And these trouble makers were more often than not middle aged men with an ethnicity other than my own, who spoke English as a second language. Day in, day out, this was the story I was exposed to. It’s been years since I left that role, but I still struggle with the stereotype I built every time I interact (or even walk near) someone who matches the demographic of those drivers. It’s been ingrained and it is sometimes incredibly hard for me to put those thoughts aside and focus on the personality traits of the person actually in front of me.

But that’s a real-life series of interactions that led to my misleading impression of an entire group of people (and to be completely fair to myself, I had to deal with a -lot- of horrible people in that job). As Chimamamda points out, it’s the stories we are told that are much more instrumental in shaping our views of the world.

Like many people, I went to see Hidden Figures when it was in the cinemas (mostly because the costumes looked amazeballs. I was not disappointed). For those not in the know, Hidden Figures tells the stories of some of the ‘Coloured’ female mathematicians who helped to put man into space. It’s a great movie, I highly recommend.

But it wasn’t the way the women were treated in this movie that shook me, it was something much more subtle than that. As a couple kissed on the screen, it occurred to me that I had never seen a black couple kiss on film before.

Hand on heart, I have been racking my brains for the past few months, and I still haven’t come up with a single film I have watched where two lead characters of colour were allowed to express themselves in a romantic way. Please send me your examples so that I can track them down, please.

I know that as a white female, I enjoy a privilege. The stories I see told are my own. The histories I learn are those of my people (except for my Maori blood, but that’s a story for another time). I see my life reflected back at me in every medium I choose to consume. The only stories I have about people different from myself are those the media has chosen to present to me.

If we are what we eat, then we are also the information we digest. In the technologically driven age, that information is force fed to us – when was the last time you had to actively searched beyond your phone screen for your news?

The classic example is the Muslim terrorist. You may not be the sort of person who thinks that everyone who practices one of the largest religions in the world is a terrorist, but how many times has that image been presented to you as the truth?

There is an advertising rule of thumb that says that a products advertising has to reach a consumer at least seven times before it makes an impact on them. After that point, I guess the brand has managed to imprint on your brain, forever reminding you of hot, salty fries when you see the golden arches.  So if I can think of seven times I’ve been presented with a Muslim stereotype in the last week, what truth am I being convinced of?

When it seems that every force in the world wants us to barrel towards WWIII at the moment, how do we become the bigger person? How do we fight back against the single story?

As the old adage says- Our first thought is who we were conditioned to be, our first action is who we are.

Challenge yourself. Reach beyond what the popular culture is preparing for you. Read from authors of a different country, watch movies that weren’t specifically created for you.

Prior to meeting me, my other half discovered that he held a negative stereotype of Asian baristas (yes, he takes his coffee seriously). What did he do about it? He went out of his way to only drink coffee made by the many many wonderful (and some terrible) Asian baristas of our fair city  until he had taught his subconscious the lesson I think we all still need to learn- some people make fantastic coffee. Some people make terrible coffee. Race has nothing to do with it.

I refuse to let the media tell me what to think as the world seems to descend into chaos around me- because if we’re learned anything from pop culture, that is definitely how any apocalypse starts.

 

 

 

*If you find any of the terms I have used above to refer to people of various ethnicities offensive or derogatory, please enlighten me so that I can be sure to make appropriate corrections. Please also accept this clip from comedian Aziz Ansari, because I find him hilarious *

 


Thanks for reading! Don’t forget to subscribe for updates, and if you want to see more of me, come say hello on my Instagram or Twitter, I would love to see you there!

 

The danger of a single story

May Reading Roundup!

What was that, you want another reading roundup?

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Calm down, ovaries

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The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure – William Goldman

Am I the only person who didn’t realise that this masterpiece of writing existed? I’ve watched the movie a bunch of times, but for some reason it never occurred to me that it might have been based on a novel. And what a novel! I relish odd writing, and Goldman certainly is the master of that.  The story unfolds in between his little asides and explanations, and while whole chunks might seem familiar to an avid fan of the movie, it brings an enjoyment all of its own. This is a book I opted to buy a physical copy of (instead of my normal Kindle file), and I’m so glad I did! When the hormones finally overflow one day and I end up spawning (aka child-raising), I’m pretty sure this book will make it onto the family shelf.

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The Little Book of Hygge – Meik Wiking

So a few weeks ago I went through a bit of a blargh patch and found myself searching for a relief from the ever-inclement stress that my lifestyle threatens. This book is the result. Looking at the cover art, I expected some light, fluffy coffee-table book filled with lush artwork and beautiful photography. At least the ‘Light’ part was accurate. The Little Book of Hygge feels like something that was commissioned to capitalise on the raging trend for everything Scandinavian- I suspect I’m not far off. There aren’t many of the lush photos that I was expecting – this book is more a guide to ‘living with more Hygge’, whatever that is (don’t worry, Wiking will tell you).

Despite all my sass, I do find an odd sort of comfort in this book when I pick it up to scan a few pages. Perhaps it’s the thought of people finding comfort and warmth in grey winter days (Melbourne has just taken a turn for the wet), or the descriptions of the myriad ways to bring coziness back into your life. I’m not calling myself a complete Hygge convert, but there is a chance that on my next morning off I’ll slip on my wooliest pair of socks and watch the rain fall outside my window for a while. How very Hygge.

Katheryn the Wanton Queen – Maureen Peters

I have a secret weakness for basically anything about the wives of Henry VIII, so when this book dropped into my inbox as a free offering from BookBub, I snapped it up and devoured it before the end of the day (like I said, I have a weakness). I have a soft spot for Kitty Howard, and Katheryn, The Wanton Queen tells her story from the perspective of a loyal companion, unfortunately without adding much to the table. Still, it’s a light, easy read. I didn’t even realise how old it was until I googled for the cover art- check out that original 60s artwork! (shame the updated version didn’t even try for historical accuracy on their cover. Still, how do I get the job of posing for these pictures?)

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American Gods – Neil Gaiman

This one’s a beast- let’s see if I can have it finished for next month’s roundup!


What have you been reading this month? Comment below to share your favourite, I’m always looking for recommendations!

You can check out some of my earlier Reading Roundups here:

If you want to see more of me, you can check out my Instagram & Twitter, I would love to see you there!

May Reading Roundup!