Little Tips For Being Less Wasteful

One of my new year's resolutions coming into 2019, was to be less wasteful and to do what I can to help our planet. We have 11 years to do what we can before global warming becomes irreversible. There is plastic filling our seas, our wildlife is endangered, the ice caps are melting and our planet is being destroyed at quite an alarming rate. If you haven’t watched Our Planet on Netflix, it’s a great documentary showing how global warming and humans are affecting our ecosystem and wildlife – it’s both interesting and sad but it’s worth a watch regardless!

Here are a handful of changes I’ve made so far this year:

Stainless Steel Straws

I have sensitive teeth so when I have cold drinks, I pretty much always need to use a straw. Unless you need to use plastic straws for medical reasons or other necessities, switching your straws is a very easy change to make. I bought my pack of stainless-steel straws on Amazon for about £6 which included 8 straws, a carry pouch for your bag, and a cleaning brush. Whenever I’ve used a straw I just pop it in the sink to wash when I get home and switch in a clean one from the cutlery drawer. I’m now no longer adding to a large number of plastic straws found in our landfills and in our oceans!

Chilly’s Bottle

I LOVE my Chilly’s Bottle and I really do use it every single day. It’s always by my side at my desk as I work at the computer and I take it out with me when I see clients. It’s a stainless steel reusable bottle that keeps drinks cold for 24 hours or hot for 12 hours. It’s a great alternative to buying plastic water bottles – especially if you’re like me and you don’t enjoy the taste of tap water. I simply fill up this bottle with my filtered water at home and it’s much better than adding to the mountains of plastic across the planet.

Menstrual Cup

This year I converted to using a menstrual cup after 15 years of using tampons. It was life-changing for me… not just because it’s a reusable menstrual product and less wasteful, but it's improved dealing with periods in general because they’re so long lasting and healthier! The cup is made from silicone and is placed inside the vagina, roughly every 12 hours to empty the cup, rinse It and place it back in the vagina. At the end of each cycle, the cup is sanitised with boiling water or alcohol. There are other reusable options for periods too if a menstrual cup isn’t right for you, such as cloth pads and period underwear like Thinx.  

Bamboo Toothbrushes

I originally switched to bamboo toothbrushes because my dentist said a good soft bristle brush is better for people with sensitive teeth like me. I personally much prefer them now I’ve tried them and it’s a bonus that it's also much better for the environment!

Keep Cup

I don’t drink coffee, but I do love a good hot chocolate when I go to Costa. Instead of using disposable cups, I decided to buy a KeepCup, which I’ve fallen in love with. It’s a glass reusable coffee cup, that most coffee shops accept and will happily fill up for you. Often people have a coffee every day on their way to work or on their lunch break, so imagine how many disposable coffee cups will be prevented from going to landfill if more people switch to things like Keep Cup!

Low-Buy Lifestyle

This year I’ve been doing something called low-buy, which is essentially where I ONLY buy what I need and nothing more. Oh, there’s a new lipstick.. do I need it? No? Then I don’t get it. Wait, I’ve run out of foundation, and I wear it every day so I consider that as something I need and I’m replacing something rather than unnecessarily buying. I do the same with clothes, shoes and skincare. Instead of having several types of shampoo in my bathroom, I have one and I’ll only buy another once it's used up. It’s preventing the unnecessary amount of products being thrown away that never get used up and I’ve found it helpful for my bank balance too!

I hope this blog post was helpful for at least a few people. If you have any other ideas for living a less wasteful lifestyle please do leave them in the comments below because I’d love to know more and do whatever I can to help!

Why I Ditched Tampons for Menstrual Cups

One of my goals for 2019 is to be less wasteful and reduce my carbon footprint, and I’ve already been working hard on a few things to do this. One of them being that I’m ditching disposable sanitary products like pads and tampons; and moving over to using menstrual cups.

Yeah, I had that same reaction that you’re probably having now… I thought they were weird, looked uncomfortable and possibly unsanitary. But I was oh so very wrong! I’m going to tell you all about why I think menstrual cups are great and why I’m going to continue to use mine.

There were some quite scary facts I learned that ultimately pushed me into ditching tampons and pads. 

Did you know:
  • Tampons and pads generate 200,000 tonnes of waste a year and are 90% plastic.
  • An average woman throws away 125 to 150kg of sanitary products in their lifetime.
  • In 2010, a UK beach clean up found 23 sanitary pads and 9 tampon applicators per kilometre of British coastline.
  • In the UK, 2 billion period products are flushed down the toilet a year.
  • A years’ worth of disposable period products leaves a carbon footprint of 5.3kg of CO2 equivalents.
That’s shocking, isn’t it? I’ve been using tampons and pads for 15 years and didn’t realise I was doing so much damage to the environment. I started researching different re-usable and less wasteful period products and menstrual cups kept coming up. I watched YouTube reviews, read blog posts, and looked into all the different versions.

There are lots of different brands, types, shapes and sizes of menstrual cups to fit all types of vaginas. In the end I did an online quiz and looked at some comparison charts and decided the Saalt Cup would be a good place to start as someone with a high cervix, medium to heavy flow and my current activity levels.

The Saalt Cup can last for up to 10 years, so a heck of a lot less waste. It’s also BPA free, latex free and made from medical grade silicone. It’s non-toxic, unlike tampons and pads. It promotes the natural PH of your vagina and doesn’t cause dryness like tampons do. They can also be worn for up to 12 hours without emptying and last as long as 4 tampons – a massive win for someone as busy as me!

I’ve worn my Saalt Cup for one cycle already and I’m already happier using it than I was with tampons and pads. It’s easy to insert with different folding techniques. I use the C-fold which is where you basically fold the cup in half and it pops open when inside. Some people use the 7-fold or the punch down method. Once it’s inside I genuinely can’t feel it – I’ve been to the gym, worked and slept with it in and I’ve not leaked once. It genuinely does last 12 hours too, and I empty it on a morning when I shower and at night before bed… other than that I forget it’s even there.

The only bit I struggled to get used to was the removal of the cup. I have a high cervix, so it rides up a little. It means I have to work a bit harder to get it out by wiggling it down before I can squeeze it to break the suction seal and pull it out. I have found myself panicking a bit when trying to remove it, which probably doesn't help as it causes your muscles to contract rather than relax. I tried so hard on one occasion it made me quite swollen, but I'm determined to make it work for my next cycle. Between emptying, I just rinse it with water like recommended and then at the end of each cycle you can sanitise the cup by boiling it in hot water for 3-5 minutes or using isopropyl alcohol to wipe it down.

Photo from
Overall, I’m really impressed. I love that I can’t feel it and can forget about my period for 12 hours. Well, forget as much as I can when I don’t have cramps. But not having to change a tampon every 4 hours is a dream. I feel better knowing I’m reducing my carbon footprint too. If you haven’t considered menstrual cups, you should certainly look into it. If cups aren’t for you, there are lots of other reusable options out there as well! 

The Best Places for Instagram in Newcastle

I feel lucky to live in such a beautiful town with so many iconic landmarks, creative impressions and rich culture. I recently found myself searching for Instagram inspiration here in Newcastle upon Tyne, and thought I'd write an up-to-date post of places I'd recommend visiting to get that perfect shot for the gram.

1. The Tyne Bridge / All The Bridges

Newcastle is famous for the River Tyne flowing through the Quayside, with its iconic bridges. There are so many to choose from, you could get photos in the double figures for Instagram. From the Tyne Bridge, High-Level Bridge, Swing Bridge, the Millenium Bridge and more.

2. Grey's Monument

Have you even visited Newcastle if you haven't got a selfie in front of Grey's Monument? Located right in the centre of town where Grainger and Grey street meet at Eldon Square, it's right in the perfect location for a photo shoot.

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3. Ouseburn

Ouseburn is a quirky little place just next to the city centre which is filled with creative walls of graffiti and street art. After photos, you can nip to The Cluny for a drink and some food.

4. The Botanist

A very aesthetically pleasing bar and restaurant which is located upstairs on Blackett Street with fantastic views over Newcastle and Grey's Monument. Not to mention the gorgeous interior design and plentiful cocktails to get Boomerangs of!

5. The Coast

Newcastle has a beautiful coastline stretching from Seaton Sluice to Whitley Bay and Tynemouth. You could have a pint overlooking the sea at The Kings Arms in Seaton Sluice, walk the full length of Whitley Bay up to the Spanish City, or grab fish and chips at Riley's Fish Shack in Tynemouth - all while snapping some fantastic photos.

. St Mary's Lighthouse

A gorgeous 1800's lighthouse perched at the end of Whitley Bay makes an interesting background, especially while the tide is out and exposing all the rock pools. Keep your eyes peeled for seals too!

Today is Blue Monday, supposedly the most depressing day of the year, so here I am, totally refusing to accept any negativity. I used to complain about my problems in the past, now I look at them as if they are a new challenge. For example, Britain can be pretty grey and miserable in winter so I decided to look for beautiful places to get myself distracted. • • Here is one of them - St. Mary's Lighthouse. This lovely grade II listed lighthouse is based on the tiny island of St Mary's, not far from Whitley Bay in the North East of England. The rocky tidal island is linked to the mainland by a concrete causeway which is submerged at high tide. Originally, the lighthouse was built next to an 11th-century monastic chapel, whose monks maintained a lantern on the tower to warn ships of the danger of the rocks. Even though it no longer functions as a lighthouse, it is now open to visitors. Make sure to check their website before you go as you can only visit it when the tide is out. 🌊 #enroutewithakvile
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7. Newcastle Castle

We have some fantastic history here in Newcastle, and our very own Newcastle Castle is a great place to get plentiful photos. Being right next to High-Level Bridge, you can go right to the top of the castle and overlook the whole, glorious quayside.

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8. Pizza Punks

Who doesn't love pizza?! Pizza Punks has got to be one of the coolest restaurants I've ever been in. The interior design is so unique and they even have amazing vegan options for all you vegan Instagram foodies out there.

9. Dog & Scone

If you're a dog lover like me, you need to get use of that #Instadog and #Doglovers. Dog and Scone is a cute cafe where you can literally sip hot chocolate and hug dogs, and that already makes it one of the best places in Newcastle. It's just off Bigg Market so it's in the perfect central location after having a photoshoot at Grey's Monument.

10. The Quayside Seaside in Summer

The Quayside is a great place to visit all year round, but in Summer we really go all out and make our very own Quayside Seaside which makes for PERFECT summer photos if you can't head to the beach.

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11. Central Arcade

Another fabulous place right in the centre of Newcastle between Grey Street and Market Steet, Central Arcade is an Edwardian style building which was converted to a shopping centre. Its intricate architecture and design makes for perfect Instagram backgrounds.

12. Jesmond Dene

Jesmond Dene is a beautiful nature pocket right in the middle of Newcastle, minutes away from town. With the Ouseburn river, small waterfalls, and red squirrels, there's plenty of opportunity for more natural photos. Not to mention Pets Corner, which is Jesmond Dene's mini zoo!

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13. Cocktails at The Alchemist

The Alchemist is a bar with amazingly creative cocktails that bubble, smoke and change colour. It's just off Nelson Street inside Eldon Square, and you can get some incredible boomerangs when mixing up the concoctions.

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14. Catpawcino

Our very own Cat Cafe located on the Quayside with fantastic views of the River Tyne and the Tyne Bridge while you sip coffee and play with cats. What's not to love about that?!

15. Leaze's Park

I like to think of Leaze's Park as our very own Central Park. It's slap bang in the middle of Newcastle, with a picture perfect lake filled with swans. If you get the right angle, you can get shots of St Jame's Park in the background too.

16. Northumberland Street at Christmas

Northumberland Street is Newcastle's main street with plentiful shops and restaurants. During Christmas time, it's extra special... boasting gorgeous decorations, Fenwick window, and fairground rides which all look AMAZING in Instagram photos.

17. The Hoppings

If you're in Newcastle in June, we have one of Europe's largest travelling funfairs visit our town moor for a week. It's great for fun, upbeat photos, especially if you make use of the big wheel or carousel.

18. Stack Newcastle

Stack is a new, innovative area on Pilgrim Street made from Shipping Containers. With bars, live music, food and yoga, it's great for more unique photos.

19. Northern Goldsmiths Rolex Sign

Northern Goldsmiths is a jewellers which has sat on the corner of Pilgrim Street and Blackett Street for over 120 years. It's become quite a landmark and is often lit up at night, making a great backdrop for photos.

Throw back Thursday to when I lived 10mins from Newcastle City Centre and captured this awesome shot of @goldsmiths_uk. My first ever featured photograph. Re-edited. . . #goldsmiths #uk_spinners #lighttrails #longexpohunter #longexposure #ig_longexposure #lightpainting #northerngoldsmiths #newcastle #northeast #newcastlechronicle #newcastlecity #newcastleunited #newcastleupontyne #tyneside #lightjunkies #longexposure_shots #longexposure_world #tyneandwear #social_captures #longexpoelite #ig_longexpo #newcastlepride #travelphotography #eclectic_shotz #beautifuldestinations #newcastletoday #night_trails #newcastlene1 #newcastlequayside. . . @newcastletoday @newcastlechronicle @newcastlene1 @uk.spinners @1ukshot @rolex @beautifuldestinations @jessops @bbcengland @visitengland @longexpoelite @longexposure_world @longexpo_addiction @longexposure_features @night.owlz @nightcreators @weownthenight_ldn @lightjunkies @longexposure_shots @night.sh00terz @night_trails
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20. Great British Cupcakery

A cute and very aesthetically pleasing cafe under the Tyne Bridge on Queen Street has a beautiful flower wall which is perfect for photos, as well as the tastiest Afternoon Tea with great vegan options.

21. The Sage

A beautiful and unique landmark just by the Quayside, The Sage looks stunning in photos, especially during the golden hour when the sun reflects off the River Tyne. Afterwards, you can nip inside for one of their amazing events or workshops.

22. Cafe 1901

A lovely little quirky find, and who doesn't love a good coffee shop for Instagram photos. It's in West Jesmond and not too far from central Newcastle, so it's great if you want to move further out of the centre.

23. Creams

Now if a dessert bar that does huge sundaes, waffles, pancakes and more doesn't scream Instagram then I don't know what does. Creams is right on the corner of Bigg Market and Grainger Street, meaning you can walk along after having a meal at The Gate or Eldon Square for your pudding and to snap some pictures. 

24. Anything Greggs Related

No one should ever visit Newcastle and not have a Greggs, especially since there's one on almost every corner, so there's no excuse! The vegan sausage roll is particularly popular at the moment, so it's always worth a quick snap and #wheninnewcastle.

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I hope this post was useful to anyone who visits Newcastle upon Tyne, or even if you live here and needed some Instagram inspiration.  This list isn't exhaustive, Newcastle is such a large, beautiful city, so if you have any more ideas for getting the perfect picture for the Gram, leave them in the comments below for everyone to see and try out for themselves!