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ERIN KAY WILLIAMS

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Fancy a Challenge for the Planet this January?

With New Years just days away, I thought it would be only fitting to end 2018 with a challenge for us all during January, the c...

Friday, 8 March 2019

International Womens Day; 8 brands supporting Women around the World


It's International Women's Day! 

For me, International Women's Day is a day to celebrate, to show your love for all the women in your life but it is also about recognising the privilege I have to live, dress and work where I want and how I want, something many women are still not allowed to do. This years theme, #BalanceForBetter is all about us creating a world where everyone is treated equally because we all know a balanced world is a better one.
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Monday, 4 March 2019

Positive News for a Positive Planet; No 3


It's that time of the week where I round up the positive news stories from the week. There are lots of positive things happening from festivals banning plastic, to retailers needing to discuss sustainability more seriously! Enjoy...


Refill lunches to make a comeback #LongLivetheLunchBox - Numerous independent cafes and restaurants in the UK are allowing people to bring their reusable lunchboxes to help tackle single-use plastic. Places taking part will display a pink 'we accept containers here'. To find your nearest follow the map here


Water-free system dyes fabric with CO2 - Did you ever think it would be possible to dye clothes without water? I certainly didn't but a Dutch company have created a new dying technique using compressed CO2 instead of water. Check out the video in the link.

Glastonbury bans single use plastic - This year Glastonbury will ban the sale of all single use plastics. That includes backstage, dressing rooms or production. In 2017 a staggering 1.3 million bottles were used at the festival so diverting this many products from use is absolutely incredible!


Restaurants need to get on board with waste - A study has revealed that if restaurants invested £1 into cutting food waste they could make up to £7 profit. Proving that there really is a business case for all businesses to help reduce their food waste.

Etsy to offset global shipping emissions - Etsy have made the commitment to offset all of their carbon emissions from shipping its products which make up 98% of Etsy's total emissions.


Australia plan to plant 1 billion trees - Although Australia are doing some seriously shady stuff around the coral reef at the moment they have recently pledged to plant 1 billion trees by 2050. The scheme is part of a new National Forest Industries Plan to help remove green houses gases. 

Meghan Markle tackles race in University - Did you know that of the 19.000 professors recorded in Britain only 90 were black men and 25 were black women. TWENTY FIVE! The numbers are horrendous but Megham Markle is taking on the academic system and calling for change. 


Zipcar reach 250,000 members - Zipcar which has over 2,600 electric vehicles in the UK has reached over 250,000 members. With such success, especially in the cities who knows if shared services may be the future of how we use vehicles, bikes and electronics.


Retailers admit to needing to do more around sustainability - UK and Irish retailers have admitted there is "more to do" surrounding sustainability in fashion following the publication of the environmental audit committees report. And its about time!

5 foods you can regrow at home to cut back on waste - There are lots of reasons to grow your own vegetables, from reducing your food miles to getting to experience growing what you like. Here are 5 easy foods to regrow from your food waste.


Algae may be used in future construction  - French architech have designed a new tower black for the Chinese city of Hangzhou which uses algae to absorb CO2. The feature called biofacade is a little like double glazing but instead of air between 2 glass panes there is algae and water. The use should help offset the buildings environmental impact. Although the project is yet to be approved there is a similar one in Paris that has been given the go ahead. 

A fat rat got stuck 😊 - because sometimes you just need to see a little fat rat in Germany being rescued after it got stuck in a hole!

Hope you enjoyed this week. Do you have any positive news?

Erin
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Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Positive News for a Positive Planet; No 2


We all like some good news now and then, so here’s your weekly dose of happy news stories from species making a come back to clean energy wins for a greener planet.

Enjoy!


The biggest offshore wind farm in the UK starts supplying energy this week - A windfarm off the Yorkshire coast was set to supply its first power to the UK electricity grid last week. The windfarm, once complete will dwarf the current largest and with 174 turbines it will be on a par with conventional fossil fuel-fired power stations. Go green energy!

Sierra Leone have a national cleaning day each month - On the first Saturday of the month from 7am to midday citizens of Sierra Leone take to the streets to clean up waste and litter. The aim of the campaign is to ‘bring people together who will make their own environment habitable again’, reminding citizens of the importance of having a clean environment both for human and planet health.


A circular economy has the opportunity to provide a wealth of jobs -  a study in Australia found that for every 10,000 tons of material recycled, 9.2 jobs would be created. This is a huge increase of just 2.8 jobs when material was previously being exported our of the country to China. Showing that improved recycling and a move towards a circular economy may help economies as well.


Amazon has set a goal for Net Zero on shipping - Amazon has a long-term goal to power their global infrastructure using 100% renewable energy. With improvements in electric vehicles, aviation bio fuels, reusable packaging, and renewable energy, they now believe they can see a path to net zero carbon delivery of shipments to customers, this has led them to set the goal of reaching 50% of all Amazon shipments with net zero carbon by 2030. They're calling it project "Shipment Zero” and is a huge positive step to a net zero future.


The RAF has won the diversity and inclusion advert of the year - This year in channel 4s diversity awards, the Royal Air Force scooped the best advert for diversity in advertising. The advert takes down women's stereotypes ending with “Women should be defined by actions, not cliches.” Now that's what we like to hear!


IKEA to start renting furniture in sustainability push - IKEA has announced plans to start renting its furniture, as they try to encourage a move towards a more circular economy which includes refurbishing and re-selling products.

The trial furniture rental scheme, due to begin in Switzerland imminently, will initially be limited to office furniture such as desks and chairs with the hopes that in the future this could be rolled out to other areas of the house, so only time will tell.


How 56 men are trying to breaking through stereotypes - This campaign, created by Cephas Williams is all about breaking through stereotypes and the negative portrayal of black men within the media and the stigma attached to them in public. 
Using social media, Cehas posts striking head shots of black men in hoodies. All the men involved are politicians, directors, teachers and all have positive life stories that are irrelevant to the attire they choose to wear. The whole campaign is to demonstrate that for everyone black man you see representing something negative, there are 56 others doing positive work that goes unnoticed and is a crude reminder to everyone that stereotypes and the media really need to be put in check sometimes. Be sure to go check out the instagram page!


Sea Turtle populations have soared after legal protection -  FANTASTIC NEWS, following legal protection a team of researchers looked at 31 marine populations and found that the populations of 78% of marine mammals and 75% of sea turtles rebounded after receiving protection.

What's even more incredible was that the median sea turtle population increased by 980% following the regulations established by the ESA, an absolutely huge win, and may it long continue.

The BBC are launching a fashion and lifestyle brand - Following the success of Blue Planet 2, the BBC have announced the launch of eco-friendly clothing, homewear and books under the umbrella BBC Planet. The collections are hoped to act as a guide to those who want to change their habits and move towards more sustainably made products.


Hovis launch bread bag recycling scheme - Hovis has announced a new partnership with recycling specialist TerraCycle to make it easier for its fully recyclable plastic bread bags to be correctly disposed of by households. Although the bags are recyclable at the super market plastic bag drop off, after research it was discovered that less that 10% of people were doing so.
So, if you eat bread, save up a few bags under your sink and either register as a private collector of bread bags and access free postage label to post them to TerraCycle for recycling or, why not locate a dedicated community collection point in schools or charity hubs to send the packaging for recycling.

So there you have it, a round up of positive planet news! Have you got any positive news this week?

Love
Erin
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Monday, 18 February 2019

Positive News for a Positive Planet; No 1


There are many inspiring news stories that we come across on a weekly basis. Some are squished in between other depressing stories so we don't really have the opportunity to absorb the fact that something good has happened. Others, make the front page spread. Then there are those that unless you look in the correct place you will never find. In a world that seems so full of hate at the moment though I thought it was about time to cheer up those Monday evening blues.

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Saturday, 26 January 2019

24 Hours in Applecross; A Guide


Going to one of the most isolated villages in the UK may not be something high up on many peoples to do list, but I think it's something everyone should consider.

Applecross isn't your average little village, situated on the coast line with a wide sweeping bay, incredible views and fantastic food, its a place like no other that will leave you feeling you really have escaped from the rest of the world.


We only managed to spend 24 hours in the area, and I'm already dying to go back. so if you're heading over to Sskye or fancy doing the NC500 route (read more about that here), here's a quick comprehensive guide on how to spend your time in the beautiful place at what feels like the edge of the world...

Where to stay in Applecross?

It's safe to say there isn't much choice of where to stay in Applecross, it's tiny after all.

We stayed at the Hartfield House Hostel, which was pretty darn basic but had everything we needed and for £50 for the two of us, it was pretty reasonable price as well. Although there is no phone signal at the site, there is Wifi to connect to should you wish.

If hosteling isn't your thing, you can grab a room at Applecross Inn, the country put in the centre of the village starting from £70.

If you want somewhere a little fancier, I'd encourage you to book Applecross B&B.

Of course, there's also a camp site and a few other B&Bs dotted around should none of these places tickle your fancy. Due to the low number of rooms though, I'd encourage you to book, especially in the Summer.


Where to eat and drink in Applecross?

For me, there is only one place to eat in Applecross, the Walled Garden. The place is a converted greenhouse, it's tucked away from the main road and provides a little oasis (should you need one). The cafe come restuarant has a menu of locally sourced products and everything we ate was cooked perfectly. In fact, the chef could quite easily fit into a London Pub and you would still be impressed. My only issue was the fact I couldn't go again because we were leaving the area.

Now of course there are a few other options which all looked great, including the Applecross Inn where the seafood is the freshest you may ever experience, or The Junction, a relatively new bar where you can grab pizza till late and stare across to the sea with a whisky in hand.

What to do near Applecross?

If finding the best views around is something that interests you than the Bealach na ba route is perfect. Reaching a peak of 600m, it's one of the highest roads in the UK with plenty of hairpin bends. Whether your in a car, on a bike or walking, there are plenty of spots to stop and enjoy the sites. It's really not to be missed

With so much natural beauty around, you could head into Rassal Wood; a 6000 year old ash woodland where wild flowers can be spotted. More of a beach buddy? Then head to Sand beach for views over the Isle of Skye.


If like me, lochs and waterfalls are your favourite thing to go and visit. I'd highly recommend a walk to the Falls of Bagly. In autumn you can sometimes catch a sighting of Salmon (sadly I didn't have any luck), but continue up the path and through the gate and you'll reach a loch completely deserted. Should you fancy a bit more of a walk then you can head back to the road and across the other side to climb a hill called Aird Mhor.


If my small amount of time spent in Applecross taught me one thing, its that the views at every turn really can take your breath away, and the isolation, although a little daunting at first, can leave you with a feeling of complete calm by the end of your trip.

Have you ever been to Applecross? Would you go?

Love
Erin

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Wednesday, 9 January 2019

13 Sustainable Swaps You Can Take to Help The Planet

 

As we've entered a new year, I thought it was about time that I pulled together a list of sustainable swaps that we can all make in the the coming months to live a little more sustainable life.
Whether you only want to make one switch or ten each and everyone one will be a small step.

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Wednesday, 2 January 2019

The Road Trip You Never Knew You Needed To Go On


Scotland's route 66, the NC500 has been named one of the most impressive roadtrips world wide and with good reason. The views span far and wide at every turn and it's hard to even imagine that you're still in the U.K.

As you travel along winding roads, you watch mountains meet the sea; lakes can be spotted miles away and the cold air, when you get out of the car, wherever you are, fills your lungs in a way only vast open spaces can. 

The route leaves you with a sense of accomplishment like no other trip I've been on before, because you truly have escaped into the wildness.

I had been planning on doing the route for the past 2 years but timing had never allowed. Finally though, in October we packed up the car with all our camping gear and layers, and set off to the far north of Scotland.


We decided to start our trip at Applecross, the opposite direction to how most people do the circuit and finished our trip in Killin. Although that did mean that we had a 6 hour drive to get there, it was so worth it. As we climbed the steep road over the top to Applecross, which is impossible to use in winter, our jaws may as well have been dragging on the floor. We were amazed, our eyes not knowing where to look and our excitement levels reached that of a 2 year old at Christmas.





After a night in Applecross we headed North up the west coast to Ullapool for our first night of camping. At the last minute we changed our site and as we winded down one of the longest roads, with glorious views of a loch, mountains and valleys, I have never been so proud of a last minute change of plan. Our campsite was located  in the valley by the loch and which ever direction you turned, a picture perfect view could be seen. As sunset closed in, we walked down to the loch and watched a seal bob about as the sun disappeared behind the mountains, the only noise was that of the water by our feet and the wind as it blew in from the coast. We had officially found tranquility in the UK.





The next day saw us tackle a mountain, or for its technical name a Stac called Stac Pollaidh as we continued to move north. The weather had changed quite dramatically and as we were finishing our walk the wind reached that strength you wouldn't fall over even if you lean into it. After we got into the car the rain came down, heavy. We had planned to camp but the further north we got, the worse the weather and instead of attempting to pitch a tent in the cold and wet, we went knocking on B&B doors to find a bed for the night. Thankfully Hillside B&B had 1 room left and I have never been so relieved to be in the warm and away from the howling wind.









The next day saw us journey along the top of Scotland, passing through John O Groats and ending at Ackergill Tower, our castle and accommodation for the night. As a stately home fan, I was exceptionally excited and the beauty of the place definitely lived up to expectations. After a 3 course meal and a sit by the fire, we eventually turned in for the night. Who'd have thought that so much fresh air would leave you so exhausted but it certainly had.




Our next day saw us journey down to Durnock where we had booked in for a whisky tour at Balblair, one of the oldest and most northerly distilleries in the UK. The tour was great, from learning about the process, to the environment of tasting and our guide was great. After we finished, we then managed to squeeze in a quick trip to a waterfall on the other side of Durnock. After our quick stroll, we pitched our tent, cooked out tea and headed into the town to find a bar with a fire to spend our evening by. Naturally, we headed to what is known as one of the best whisky bars in Scotland, based in Durnock Castle.



On our official last day of the route we started off at the most picturesque castle you ever will see, Dunrobin castle. We watched a falconry show in the rain, wandered the corridors of the stately home and I pretended I lived there, for a few seconds. We then set off on our long drive back down the country, stopping for lunch on the bank of Loch Ness and continued until we reached our final stop of the trip the Falls of Dochart Inn, next to, you guessed it, the Falls of Dochart which could be seen from our window.




We arrived as it was going dark, after after been shown to our room, I hopped in the bath (it was a roll top, so it would have been rude not to). We then went down for dinner, eating in front of the giant open fire, and talking about our favourite moments of the trip.
Finally, when I could barely keep my eyes open, we clambered back up to our room, and crawled into what I am convinced was the comfiest bed I've ever slept in and slept like a baby through till morning.



As we travelled down the remainder of the country, through beautiful landscapes and pretty towns, and I finally completed my wild swim which was just as cold and as fun as I was expecting. The whole adventure made me realise just how lucky we are to have so many contrasting environments only hours away from where we live.


Yes it may not be super hot and there maybe a chance of rain, but untamed beauty is not something many people get to truly experience in a world of all inclusive giant hotels and package holidays. So next time you're thinking of where to go, bare in mind a Scottish adventure, you really wont regret it (I'm already planning when to go back).

Have you ever been to Scotland? Where would you like to go?

Love
Erin

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