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What I Read In January

Christmas and New Year made me fall back in love with reading. I was a massive reader as a kid and whilst at uni but last year gobbled up my free time. The down time over the holiday period allowed me to get back into the swing of having a good book on the go.

I'm now making the most of my commute to and from work by burying my head in a book. I find I'm much more chilled when I read, it makes the commute less stressful and separates work from home nicely. It's nice to be relaxed by the time I'm home. It's the small things.

This is what I read in January!

Goodbye, Thing - Fumio Sasaki

I got this for Christmas off my book wish list. I've been really interested in minimalism for a while and have mostly followed fashion minimalist, so this was my first look into home minimalism and honestly, it's a game changer. I loved this book. The concepts are out there, I'll admit but it's really re-alligned my thinking. We have so much in the modern, western world that we just don't need. I drove my boyfriend crazy after reading this book and making a plan of action to declutter and minimise our lives for the better. I'm not going to go as far as Fumio and just have four shirts but I feel so much better with my more minimal, more me space at home. An eyeopening, reflective read, perfect for the overcrowded, social centric world we live in!

Why Fashion Matters - Frances Corner

Bite sized, thought provoking info, history and quotes on the fashion industry written by the head of London College Of Fashion, Frances Corner. It's insightful, easy to read and ideal on the commute to dip in and out of. It was a great way to start my working day and reinforced how small changes in the fashion industry can change the supply chain, which can effect the world. A must for any fashion student!

The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying - Marie Kondo

There's no better time of year to read 'The Life Changing Magic Of Tidying' I kicked started the year by decluttering, sorting and re-assessing what I did and did not need in my house and my life. It took me a good 60 pages to get over the fact that I was reading about tidying up, written by a woman who tidies for a living, but finally I got into the flow and actually enjoyed it in the end! It's great if you're into your home interiors, need a wardrobe refresh or are about to move house.

Style Forever - Alyson Walsh 

Alyson was actually one of my uni lecturers and has been a blogger long before blogging was a thing.  She's written two books, this is the first one. I'd describe this book as the perfect book for people interesting in style and fashion. Alyson has some great references, interviews and bits of knowledge to share. I really enjoyed it and it's also really funny, honest and down to earth!

Rivers Of London - Ben Aaronovitch

I'm not really a fiction reader, but I read the second book in this series first by accident last year so I thought I better read the first one! I wish I'd have read them in order now!  It took me a while to get into it, but once I was in, I was in. It's full of mystery, twists and turns and magic - which is always a bonus.

January was a very reading heavy month! But such a rewarding thing to make time for. I managed to sort out permanent book storage in the flat this month which I think helped me keep reading book after book as I could see all my books in one place. Perhaps I'll pop up a post about our colour co-ordinated statement bookshelf - how we did it and where it's from sometime soon!

London, UK

Zero Waste Veg Shopping

Over the course of January I've realised that I've subconsciously made a pretty big new years resolution. I've been aiming to cut out plastic. For a while now I've been thinking about how much unnecessary plastic we have in our lives. From the food we eat to the things we buys, in 2018 there's just no need for it. Zero waste is a growing movement and there are so many fantastic alternatives to discover so I'm taking streps to live more environmentally consciously, reduce waste and to shop smartly.

One key area for me is food plastic waste. From coffee cups to cellophane, I want to quite literally cut that shit out. With a few zero waste, refill and health food options in London I'm sure I'm going to be able to explore those options over the coming months, but for the time being, with a fully stocked pantry cupboard, I'm focusing on the fresh stuff.

Buying local, supporting local traders and buying close to home is something I'm very much for, so I've turned to my local markets for a dose of healthy fruits and veggies. Being a vegetarian I can get the bulk of my meal ingredients at my local market.

Depending on my week I'll either go to Whitechapel market at lunchtimes or a local market closer to where I live at the weekend. I've found so far that some markets are more plastic free than others, so I tend to buy my veggie out of bowls to avoid the plastic and pop them straight into my bag for life, I'm not about that carrier bag life.

So last weekend I went on a veggie zero waste mission to pick up what I needed from my local market, bags for life at the ready I picked up enough to fill my fridge for £10. No waste and all fresh produce. This is what I got:

5 garlic
3 brocoli
About 3kg of carrots
15 bananas
Bowl of tomatoes
3 courgettes
8 Peppers
1 small bowl of mushrooms
2kg of potatoes
1kg sweet potato

Mushrooms are like gold dust at my local market so I was quick to snap the only bowl available up for risottos and pastas. I'm going to roast the carrots and potatoes for Sunday lunch vibes and use tomatoes for fresh sauces, salsa and a chilli. Broccoli cheese is on the menu, garlic goes in everything and once we're sick of bananas for breakfast I'm going to turn the rest into a vegan chocolate ice cream! This little lot of loot should last us about 2 weeks.

It feels really good buying local, package free and reusing all the peels and cut offs for compost. I thought it would be really hard to be environmentally conscious in London and whilst it does take a bit of planning, the pay off is well worth it!

Not bad for a beginner: Zero waste - No Plastic - Composting the peels
London, UK

A Trip To The V&A Museum

Earlier this month Adam and I spent a very cold and wet Sunday morning in the V&A museum in South Kensington, London. It was the final day of their exhibition charting their latest extension at the museum and with Adam being a massive building geek (professional translation = Architect) we headed over whilst we still had a chance to see what was on display.

The permanent architecture section is on floor 4, the top floor of the building. If you go, take the stairs, they're super wide marble steps that take you back in time. The V&A is one of my favourite London spaces. It's without a doubt one of the best museums in the world and we're pretty lucky to have it on our doorstep. It's super accessible too, being free (Bonus!) * Some exhibitions do charge.*

The permanent architecture exhibition displays houses, offices, train stations and schools in various scales following their conception and uses. Even as a non-architect it was super interesting to see how someone's sketch and material selection ends up in a fully functional building.

I didn't actually take any snaps of the pop up exhibition about the V&A's latest extension as it was full of people also trying to take a look before it closed. Whilst the exhibition is now closed, the staff and volunteers are really knowledgable about the building and it's history so you can still get the same info in a different form.

After visiting architecture, we wandered briefly through sculpture, then made a b-line for the latest extension to see it brought to life.

As an adopted Londoner, the Victoria & Albert museum is a real cultural treasure that's right on my doorstep, that I love to spend time in and is always offering something new and exciting to explore.

South Kensington, London SW7 2ND, UK