24 May 2018

Making recycling fashionable

*this is an advertisement with Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council

I'm an avid recycler for two reasons. 
1. I get SO many blogger parcels that have a lot of cardboard packaging
2. I am also an avid online shopper (again SO much cardboard!) 

It often does upset me the amount of packaging that comes with the smallest of parcels so when Antrim & Newtownabbey Borough Council asked me did I want to talk about recycling, I jumped at the chance. I've lived in Newtownabbey my whole life and my grandmother is also very passionate about recycling. We're pretty good at recycling here in Newtownabbey & Antrim but the council wants us to recycle 4% more by the end of the year - which we can definitely do! Recycling saves energy, helps reduce landfill and protects the environment - all SO important for the generations that will come after us. 

Over 90% of waste in Newtownabbey and Antrim comes from households and the biggest culprit is food waste followed by paper & cardboard! The council challenged me to double my recycling, particularly in these areas. I find recycling paper and cardboard easy - it often tends to be so bulky. I always put a bag over the handle of my back door so I'm not constantly nipping outside with my recycling - especially when you dread it because it's raining! 

In terms of food waste, I realised like so many people, that I waste so much food either by it going out of date or cooking too much (I'm still getting used to just cooking for myself!). This made me cut down on my portion sizes and weekly shop - I felt very guilty about this food waste more than anything. It took me back to being a child when my Grandmother would complain about how lucky I was to have food when I didn't finish my dinner. When you start to seriously recycle all your food waste, you do feel like you are less wasteful. 

Recycling is really easy in my eyes  - it's a habit you need to get into early on. As I just moved into my new house in January, I started then to make sure I continued on a good path! Having cool recycling bins in Newtownabbey really helps - each box is marked to show you what you can put in to them as well as a black bin & brown bin. One of the best things I learned was that you can put your takeaway pizza boxes into the brown bin - top tip! Also you can recycle kitchen roll in your paper recycling bin! We are good at recycling plastic but it must be more rigid packaging like mushroom & grape trays as well as bleach bottles etc rather than lighter packaging. 

Making sure you put your stuff in the right bins is really important - give things a quick wash before you chuck them in too! Going out on the truck with the recycling team made me realise they have a tough job so try to make their life a little easier by helping. The day I went out was SO rainy and cold. There's no days off for them! 

Make sure to watch my video (and excuse me being so weather beaten in it!) and learn a little bit more about how #IRecycleRight. If you're still confused, head to for more information. 

07 May 2018

Modern romance

Swipe left, swipe right. Bumble. Plenty of Fish. 'What's your Snapchat name?'. 

Dating in 2018 is something else. My (very wise) aunt commented recently that she'd hate to be my age again as it seems to be so complicated.... and it is! Our 'swiping' culture seems to focus a lot more on hook-ups than on long term relationships. It's a confusing place to be in as people's intentions online can seem very different to those in real life. 

You get the ones who are the chancers. They'll have all the chat, lure you into thinking they are nice but then are still looking for a quick fix. You get the direct ones who like to open with a dirty line straight away. And you get everything in between. I've gone on Tinder dates with limited success and the ironic thing is, I've always met people through friends, work or nights out that have been of any lasting value. 

I know this situation isn't unique to me. I could name you at least ten beautiful, smart and decent women of different sexual orientations who are having the same problems. It seems like the concept of 'dating' seems to have gone away. I mean what's nicer than someone asking you to go for dinner or a drink? But that doesn't seem to be the way things go anymore. Chivalry really does feel dead in so many ways. If you are single and reading this, when was the last time someone in a bar offered to buy you a drink? Even that seems like a dying trait!

The same wise auntie also said, 'Why would people eat at Deane's when they can try every restaurant in Belfast first?'. I then reminded her that we only have 2 Michelin stars in Belfast and one of them is a Deane's! The hookup culture is not one to be ashamed about. I'm all for people doing whatever they are comfortable with but seldom does it result in a lasting relationship.

What's the answer to all of this? I really don't know. I think often as women we do put pressure on ourselves to meet someone or compare ourselves to others ('But if so and so has a boyfriend, why don't I?). 

Timing is everything. I know people who have married and are getting divorced at my age so could be on a second marriage by the time I'm on my first. People keep saying 'you find someone when you least expect it' and maybe that's true. Perhaps we are all pursuing something so much that it puts a huge pressure on our expectations of what love is.

I've had times where I've said I'm giving up looking, whether that be after a bad experience or just sheer boredom from boring, meaningless conversations online. But I'm going to keep looking or at least, keep my eyes peeled. You never know, I could bump into him in IKEA or the petrol station - maybe when I'm least expecting it!