Thursday, 6 April 2017

I started a YouTube channel!

Here in London the weather has suddenly changed, we are no longer wrapped up in 376 layers and we've been treated to blue skies, sunshine and the occasional temperature over 20 degrees! It definitely feels like Summer is finally within sight and Winter is behind us and for me that means increased productivity!

A few months ago I started a YouTube channel and following on from my last post my first video is an update on how my Low Waste Lent challenge is going. Please check out the video and if you like it give a thumbs up and of course subscribe if you'd like to see more content.



So far the process of making and editing videos has been really fun. I'm quickly picking up new skills and it's great to be learning again. At the same time I'm currently refining my skills in soy candle making and macrame and looking forward to having lots of products to sell on my etsy store which i'm launching in the next few months. I will be updating here still but to make sure you don't miss any news please follow me on instagram (@natalie_binns) as that's where I'm most active these days!


Monday, 6 March 2017

CHANGING HABITS

I diligently recycle and use the food waste bin and I've stopped using plastic carrier bags 98% of the time,.I thought I was doing an OK job in terms of saving the environment but then I watched a talk by Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home. When I sat down to watch the 56 minute talk, I'd boiled the kettle thinking I'd make a cup of tea 5 or 10 minutes in. Needless to say that cup of tea never got made and I finished watching the talk determined to change the way I live in terms of the amount of 'waste' I am producing.

The first change I made was buying and using a Keep Cup. For the last year I've been working remotely from home, but the end of January brought a freelance opportunity which would take me into the office 5 days a week. Ordinarily I drink coffee once or twice a week, but three days into my commute I realised my black americano was going to become a daily necessity, so after 5 wasted paper cups I invested in my Keep Cup.


The first week was uneventful. The barista at Leon on the first day even gave me a smile and said "nice one" when I presented my cup on Monday morning. I'd been using the cup around 3 weeks before I got a barista who asked wide eyed "you want your coffee in THERE?" Gesticulating wildly at my cup and looking at it horrified as if it had just fallen from the sky. But that wasn't as bad as the guy who just blatantly ignored my request for a "black americano in my Keep Cup please" and just proceeded as though I'd only said the first two words. I pushed the cup towards him as I took my change and he not only refused to look at it but also refused to make eye contact with me and instead moved on to serve the next customer. So eventually I said loudly "I'D LIKE THE COFFEE IN THE CUP PLEASE" to which he reluctantly took the cup holding it at arms length and gave it to his colleague on the coffee machine with a sideways look at her that said "sorry about this crazy bitch, she wants her coffee in this unidentified object". I honestly wanted to scream at him "it's just a fucking cup" but instead I walked away silently fuming and tweeted Leon who reassured me they "must do better".
Keep Cup said they advise customers to "go somewhere Keep Cup friendly" but instead I keep returning to Leon and every time that guy is on shift I make sure he takes my order. Last week I ordered breakfast with my coffee and the barista who took my order handed it to me and said "you don't need the bag right?" so in a small way I seem to have made an impression.

We have just begun Lent and whilst I am not religious it's something I've taken part in every year since I can remember. As well as giving up chocolate and biscuits this year I've decided to give up one wasteful habit. This week I've given up using cotton pads to take off my make up at night and instead I've invested in washable pads. The ones I've chosen are made from the waste fabric that comes from making washable nappies (they're the leg holes!) and they are cotton terry on one side backed with really soft microfleece on the other. I bought 12 so I don't have to wash them continuously and they're massive so I only use one per day. I will update in the next week or so as I give up more wasteful habits. Please let me know in the comments if you have any suggestions!


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

ON ANXIETY

I've been lost in my head for a few weeks now. If anyone asked I would describe it as feeling uninspired and demotivated but it's more like I've been paralysed by fear. Fear that what I start I won't finish, fear that what I finish will become just another project that amounts to nothing. Nothing big anyway, not a business or an empire or a path to something bigger. I mean what's the point of writing one blog post and not writing again for weeks or months. One yoga class isn't going to change my life or one 5 minute run. So why start?
"Because you enjoy it" says one voice "because it might lead somewhere you haven't thought of" says another "you're right, what's the point, don't bother" says the loudest one. And that's where I've been for the last few weeks. My head filled with plans and dreams but the loud voice shouting them down at every opportunity. Yesterday it shouted its loudest, it took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes until finally, finally, I shouted back.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

2017 INTENTIONS

I read this Guardian article this morning which really cemented what I was saying in my last post (question 30) about not setting goals. The article is relating specifically to career but I believe it can relate to all aspects of life. It's really about getting off the treadmill and doing things for the enjoyment and love of doing them, rather than to satisfy an invisible tick list. It's one of the reasons I am not into 'bucket lists'. Apart from the obviously morbid connotations, I don't believe that I will know on any given day what the 100 things I want to do throughout the rest of my life are, that will bring me the most joy, sense of accomplishment or happiness. I am constantly growing and changing and sometimes over a period of time the thing that I get the most joy out of is something simple - like realising I've had a plant for 6 months and it's still alive - something that I probably wouldn't have thought to put on my 'bucket list' had I decided to write one. Furthermore my biggest sense of achievement often comes from doing something that I least expected I would ever do - like abseiling down a waterfall in Vietnam!

So the preoccupation with lists or very specific goals with the only possible outcome being 'pass' or 'fail' are no longer appealing for me. But there are of course things I want to start doing, develop further or change this year and every year,  I just prefer to think about these things in a broader, more reflective sense.

HEALTH
2016 was the year I went to therapy. Regularly. Like actually turned up every week. And it was amazing. I wish I'd done it years ago and I can't wait to carry on this year. It is also the year I suddenly understood why people love yoga so much. I definitely want to write a longer post about this because it's changed my life for the better. As long as I'm still loving it in 2017, then that's going to stay in my weekly schedule. Diet wise, I watched Cowspiracy and basically hated humanity for a week and wanted to go vegan. The problem with deciding to go vegan or vegetarian overnight was that even though morally I had a reason to do it, I still really loved meat and most of my favourite dishes revolved around it. I decided to start eating a little less meat and experimenting with vegetarian recipes and gradually I've found I want to eat meat less and less. The upside to this has been cheaper grocery bills and loads more plant based foods in my life which has undoubtedly made my skin glow and my PMS symptoms reduce to almost nothing. Seriously. (Separate post on this also coming!). Whilst I don't cook meat anymore but I still eat it whenever I feel like it (mostly when I have a craving for Jamaican food and obviously on Christmas day) and I don't have a date by when I'll become officially vegetarian or vegan, it may never happen. I'm happy that I'm well and nourished and limiting my impact on the environment a bit more than before so that's the mentality I will take into 2017.

 

WORK
2016 was the year I freelanced for the first time. I loved it about 80% of the time and I've now realised that the times when I hated it were more related to the work I was doing and less related to freelancing itself. Looking back, maybe I gave it up too soon, but I really needed space at the time to work out what I wanted to do next. More recently I've really enjoyed learning new things - weaving and candle making - and the idea of turning that into a business is becoming more and more appealing. I NEVER in the last 35 years have ever seen myself as the 'type of person' who starts their own business so realising I that I enjoy being my own boss and working on my own schedule was a massive realisation for me. Real talk though, I have bills to pay so I am putting equal vigour into all my options for generating income whether it's permanent work, temping, freelancing or starting something on my own and seeing what sticks. 



RELATIONSHIPS
Here's my thoughts on men: If I meet someone in 6 months time in the aisle in Sainsbury's and we fall in love and get married it really doesn't matter whether I went on one date a week leading up to that day or whether I went on zero dates for the whole 6 months, the outcome is the same. I no longer believe in 'putting myself out there'. I believe in leaving the house (obviously) to do things I love (or just go to Sainsbury's) but I believe that engineering myself into situations where I might (or might not) meet a man is just a pointless waste of precious time I could spend doing something I really want to do!

  

LIFE
I had time in 2016 to generally slow down, appreciate what I have and spend more time with the people I really value in my life, so that is the most important thing I want to keep on doing. Learning, reading, being more grateful and less hungover have made the last few months immeasurably more satisfying as has getting back on the internet, blogging and connecting with people who I can learn from. Politically the world is not in the best shape, but personally I'm genuinely excited about what this year will bring.