"What's today?"
An innocent, anodyne, purely date-seeking question was posed to me this morning. But when I flicked over to the sidebar to check,

"Oh. It's September 11th."

Like most Americans, especially those around my age, I have a September 11th story. And they usually all start with a variation on 'I remember...'

I remember not long after, people (my parents?) saying this would be our Robert Kennedy moment. Our moon landing. We would all remember this day. And have a picture burned in our minds of exactly what we were doing when we found out. There have certainly been more traumas in the world since. If I was a Londoner, maybe it would have been the 7/7 bombings, or if I lived in Indonesia, the 2004 tsunami. And there will never be enough words on the amount of hurt caused by and still happening due to the 'War or Terror.' Basically, what I'm trying to get at here is the fact that looking at the date and feeling a rush of sadness and dread in the pit of your stomach when you realise it's 9/11, is a largely American reaction. No matter how much I try to shrug off where I come from, my relationship with that date will always be a reminder to myself that part of me is unshakeably American.

This feels kind of like walking into a meeting you've been skipping for the last couple months. Everyone lifts up their head to look as you come through the door. And then they go back to shuffling their papers, ignoring your casual sheepish wave.

Hey guys.

For months I've been ruminating about how to write here now that I am not freelance. How do non-freelance people blog?! Comment some examples. I don't want this to be a place where I talk about my job because I spend most of my waking hours doing and thinking about my job. I really want my blog to be a separate entity but I'm beginning to wonder if it can be. My job is a huge part of my life now. And I feel like if I ban myself from talking about it... well, what else will I have to say here?

You read it all the time on blogs (oh bloggers and their crises) but I'm gonna say it too. My life is not that eventful. Frankly I'm happy to keep it that way at the moment. Is this what it is like to get older? A month from tomorrow I will be turning 24 (very, very not best pleased about this). Making me that much further away from being able to unabashedly sing Taylor's 22.

Whenever the weekend rolls around and I have a reprise from the office, I find myself missing posting photos and scraps of thoughts here. But I can't think of things to say that isn't 'I'm tired' or 'Look, I'm adulting' or 'I should be reading right now' or 'Why can't I keep my flat tidy'. Also, I have to say, I quite enjoy doing absolutely nothing. Sue me.

So, of the little that has been going on, here is a life update:

I'm taking a break from frantically packing everything I own into tote bags (I'm moving Tuesday) to share with you some completely unrelated photos. You. Are. Welcome.

You may recall a similarly titled post that cropped up here back in April. Yes? Yes! These are part two, the 'Light' series, of my Cornwall photos (aka, the prints from the Boots disposable that didn't turn out as dark and grainy). Ross and I stayed in the guesthouse of one the cottages pictured above. See the one on the right with the trio of windows jutting out from the roof? Dat us. Literally on the edge of England. See those rocks? Yeah, they drop directly down to ocean.

L: SVILU Tailored Green Pants, £140  //  R: Groceries Apparel Black Jersey Dress, £40    

I'm gonna come out and say that shopping for sustainably made fair trade clothes is a bit of a minefield. 

I started this journey only a couple months agothe journey being to locate where I can actually buy ethical, sustainable clothes, or is it thrift shops and eBay for the rest of eternity. Spoiler alert: I found some places.

In a previous post I mentioned that I want to live more consciously and sustainably. I made a pledge to myself to stop buying from stores that have their products predominantly made by exploited children and impoverished workers. Cool.  Good. Step in the right direction. Now where do I cloth myself?

I've had some pretty big posts—big concept posts, I guess—rattling around a while in my brain. But I haven't worked out how to articulate some of these ideas.

So instead I thought I'd steal some beautiful Instagrams from my Posts You've Liked feed (credited with click thru and below ofc) and do a little mind dump.

  • I'm not gonna let myself buy from Amazon anymore.

  • Kristen Stewart's birthday was this week. I still have a weird thing for Kristen Stewart.

  • I have no desire to watch films anymore. Old or new. I went to film school. This concerns me. But only when I allow myself to think about it.

  • I want to read Outlander so I can watch sexy Scottish men on telly.

  • Where can I buy clothes that aren't made in a sweatshop or from sketchily obtained raw materials? Is it People Tree, Kuyichi, and charity shops for the rest of my life?

For my trip with Ross to Cornwall last autumn, I bought two shitty disposable cameras from Boots for us to take along.

That way we could have a Ross-cam and an M-cam to look back on when we returned home to London.

The above depicts alternating swigs from a local brew of Cornish cider. This stuff was strong. After an ill-fated attempt to stroll (trek) through the middle of nowhere to get to the nearest town (completely my fault for overestimating my actual enjoyment of three-hour-long walks), we happened upon a tiny farm selling some bits and bobs to passersby. The jug of cider was cheaper than the bottled water. So logic says buy it to sip while you wait for a taxi to carry you back to your cottage.

I did the thing, guys. I went to university. I got a degree. And I found myself in a job in a completely different field.

I'm a proper adult now with a nine to five(-thirty). I work on a Windows desktop (*cries*). I shuffle to the office kitchen to make myself a tea. And I'm fortunate enough to really enjoy what I do and the people I work with. But the first couple weeks adjusting to a new routine took a toll on my body like I never could have predicted.

I remember having to wake up for high school, my first lesson starting at 7:45. Then university9am was the worst it could be, there were breaks in between most days, and sometimes I could even squeeze in a midday nap in my dorm (how cool!).

So there I was, brain excited to do all these awesome-woo-proper-job tasks and my body like hah cute nice try but nope.

Pretty much everyone has their thing. Their cause. Their crusade. Striving to switch to cruelty-free cosmetics became that for me this year.

I've been a vegetarian since high school but I never considered myself a shout-it-from-the-rooftops animal activist. Obviously unnecessary harm to a living, feeling creature — bad. Not a fan. But you also won't find me spending my free time at a petting zoo. And if there's a spider in my room, I'll be cowering on the other end of the flat until someone chucks it out the window.

I have total respect for the people at that do actively fight against animal testing. And I mean the shouty, getting arrested (maybe not paint throwing but to each their own) activism. What I do want to say is that you don't have to strap yourself to a tree facing a bulldozer to make a difference in the world.

I got a surprise parcel of some very deliciously smelling things. LUSH was generous enough to send me a preview of some of their limited edition Valentine's Day items so I thought I'd do a little wintery morning photo sesh with 'em.
Jesus, what a title. Let's brake that down a bit.

  • cruelty-free?  Made by a brand that does not test on animals (ingredients & final products), does not sell in the Chinese market (where it is required by law to test), and is not owned by a parent company (L'Oréal, Shiseido, Kosé) that sells in China or might test for other "reasons" 
  • UVA?  From Hirons: "UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, gradually destroying elasticity and causing premature ageing." I'm 23 and getting older. I want my skin to look like it does now when I'm 43. I want this stuff in my skincare regimen. If a product contains SPF, it protects for UVB but not necessarily UVA (source)
  • SPF30+?  I need a sunscreen that has a protection factor of 30 or higher because I am pale-ass-pale. Also I have a family history of melanoma so the more I can do to ward off that, the better. 
  • facial?  No, not the one where I get pampered sitting in a chair. I want a sunscreen product that's formulated to be used on the face. Or at least claims to be suitable to both body and facial use.

It sounds like I am asking for a lot here. And after spending a couple hours researching through Paula's Choice and blog recommendations, it was becoming more apparent that maybe this is a lot to ask for. There are of course a lot of products that tick all the boxes except cruelty-free. Then some that are cruelty-free but don't have high enough SPF. Or are marketed as a beauty balm, not a sunscreen. Or marketed as a moisturiser with SPF rather than a just pure and simple sunscreen.

Putting an all-call out on twitter did yield some results. Bless you, Twitter. So here's what I've narrowed my options down to.

 1  /  2

Short hair is in. At least in the YouTube-world I reside in. It was Ingrid and Estée and Sanne, and by jove Zoella's followed suit (kinda sorta) only yesterday. The last time I got a similar chop was back when I was trying to rehab my bleached platinum hair.

I was undoubtedly partially inspired to cut off all my hard work by the ladies linked above. But I also have to credit Anna Karina, my forever girl crush. Ever since first seeing her in Alphaville in my first year at film school in LA, I've been mesmerised by that woman's style. And having moved to London, though she is not pictured, some credit has to go to the glorious Brit hair icon, Alexa Chung. Just look at the picture below and you'll see what I mean.

The above pictures were what I brought to my hair stylist. My instruction were: give me Rebecca's fringe and colour, Emma's length and angle, and if I come out as Anna Karina after the many hours in this chair, you've done a good job.


LUSH Eau Roma Water Toner Water  £4.25
I've been using this product a little over two years now and always find myself going back to it whenever I've strayed. I do the Hiron's regime so this baby gets used in my morning and night time skincare. I do three or four spritzes directly to the face and let the soothing hydration commence. Heads up—this does have parabens in (methylparaben).  My skin has never been bothered by it; like I said, this is a product that calms my skin, not aggravates it.