All I seem to do at the moment is write my dissertation. A task I am sure many people have endured. As well as it crucifying a subject I was once interested in, it is all I can think about.
I dream (well…have nightmares) about microplastic pollution. Seriously.
So, because of this, I am venting (I’m sorry) all the annoying little facts about this topic that eat away at my brain, which the public are not informed about…and I wanted an excuse to make a list. You’re welcome:
Microplastics are generally defined as plastic which is smaller than 5 mm in diameter.
Microplastics (or microbeads if you prefer) don’t just come from your exfoliators. These products seem to crop up a lot but manufactured (AKA primary) microplastics can also be found in toothpaste, cleaning products like cream cleaner and used for air blasting during manufacturing of everyday items.
Secondary microplastics are those which have come from a bigger plastic source (not manufactured that size). These can accumulate wherever plastic litter is collected, such as in a landfill or in the sea. They then degrade and become smaller and smaller until they are not visible to the naked eye. In my study, I divided these into three categories: fibres, thin angular pieces and thick angular pieces.
Washing your clothes results in microplastic pollution. Plymouth University conducted a study which showed that 700,000 synthetic fibres can be released into wastewater, from one use of a domestic washing machine. (So your acrylic and polyester clothes, you’ll struggle to have a 100% cotton wardrobe).
These microplastics can enter river systems through misconnections. These are when your pipes have been misconnected to lead to the wrong sewer and therefore lead into rivers via outflow pipes. The water which would normally be routed by the foul system to your local waste water treatment works… so think twice about paddling in your local stream on a hot day.
Once ingested the plastics can then stay in an organism’s stomach, providing no nutrition and taking up room which can lead to starvation. They can also be passed up the food chain to us.
People aren’t too scared of them because they haven’t caused any significant damage to human health…but it is just a matter of time.
I also thought it would be worth mentioning that yes, I did find microplastics in a local river (Charlton Brook Sheffield) along with a shit load of…well…shit. Look at the picture I’ve included (my own) all the plastics in there are 0.3 mm – 5 mm. Got some big-ass fibres in there (and an exoskeleton which wasn’t dissolved by my concoction of death*). Are these from your clothes? Write a comment and let us know.
I’ve had a lot of days recently when I just feel like staying in bed all day and watching something on my laptop. It’s great how a film or a TV series can completely change your mood, so I’ve compiled a list (my favourite thing…70% of my posts are lists) of my personal favourite films that can cheer you up if you have the January blues.
Meet the Parents
Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Arthur (the old version)
Ace Ventura – Pet Detective
21 Jump Street
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
Do you agree with my list, or have any you would like to add? Put them in the comments below.
*The information which I’m sharing with you is to only be used in case of emergency. If you feel like you are in danger.*
Personally as a woman I find that knowing a bit of self defence is crucial to feeling safe within my surroundings. Even though respect for women seems to be on the increase, fortunately sex abuse/rape and mugging is still a problem. Unfortunately women seem to be the main targets for these acts, seemingly weaker than men and perhaps more vulnerable. Not that men never get targeted, so listen up too boys!
Of course you can take classes learning self defence, but as someone who struggles in a new surrounding with strangers I’ve picked up self defence tips from my parents, boyfriend and general day-to-day life. So I thought it would be helpful to give my readers a few pointers if you unfortunately ever find yourself in a threatening situation.
The neck. Possibly the weakest part of the body, a blow to this area would be extremely uncomfortable and would disrupt normal breathing. A pressure point is located in between the collar bones, if possible apply pressure to that area by any means.
The feet. Only could really be successful if the criminal is wearing flimsy footwear. Stomp down in the middle of the foot (above the bridge) hard, if you’re strong enough you might just break it, if not – it will slow the person down considerably. Now run!
Use your keys. I think I was taught this by a police woman that used to give talks in my school. If you feel like you have enough time and if you have your keys on you, use them as a knuckleduster, make a fist and slot your keys and keyrings in-between your fingers and make a blow for the side of the head.
I hope these three pointers will make you feel safer during your day-to-day activity and at night. Let me know if you have any tips for self defence too!
What with being someone who likes to sit on her arse and watch films all day, and gets incredibly irritated by people in all sorts of ways; I thought I’d make this post dedicated to the five annoying people I find at the cinema. Who knows, maybe you’re one of them (please stop).
The unnecessary and loud laughter one – This is really common when I go to the cinema because I love to watch comedy, but what I don’t want to hear is someone continually chuckling to themselves after the funny scene has passed and everyone else in the cinema has got over it. 10x worse if the person laughs really loud, 100x worse if they have an annoying laugh (think Jimmy Carr), 1000x worse if the person spits out their popcorn with laughter and they’re sat behind you.
The one that mutterers – People who constantly ask the person that they’re with constantly about the plot of the film, but think that they aren’t distracting anybody else from the film but they really are! Just watch the film! You’ll find out the answers by watching the film!
The classic group of teenagers – As a brand new 20 year old I feel like I can moan about teenagers as much as possible without it being at all hypocritical, when a group of 8 “youths” (why are they always in groups of 8?? Has anybody else noticed this?) sit down – usually in the seats in front of me – they check their phones all the time which results in a square bright blue-light imprinting it’s shape on the back of my retinas. Cheers guys. At least turn the brightness down of your phone. They pass the popcorn and sweets constantly down the isle asking “do you want some?” to one-an-other. JUST BUY YOUR OWN FOOD.
The one with the small bladder/ with the massive appetite – This person always seems to be seated on my row. The people who have to squeeze past you to leave the cinema while they go take a crap or to get more nachos. Then you forget they’ve gone because it’s been 20 minutes (who wants to miss that much of a film?), and when they come back you can see the black silhouette imprinted on the screen of their overly-seized head…and their nachos!
The “Shhhhhhh!” one – If there is one person more annoying than these ^^^ it’s the kind of person who always has to react to them; do they know going “shh” is also very annoying?
It’s similar for a lot of people, we get excited for summer but by the time it comes around we’re stuck in the house bored out of our minds.
Right now I’m at the start of my summer and I’ve already done most of my plans! I’ve been on holiday with my boyfriend, I’ve seen my friends that I haven’t seen in ages, I’ve watched the summer blockbusters at the cinema, and as a result of these I am left with no money (well..minus money because I am now in my student overdraft).
Apart from trying to find a job, which is the obvious solution I find, I don’t need my mum nagging at me about how unemployed I am! Finding a job is hard especially when most of the jobs which are available sound mind numbingly boring!
So here is a list which a want to complete over the time that I’m not at university, it can also help you lovely readers too if you also find that you find yourself struggling for things to do over summer:
Get a normal sleeping pattern sorted so most of the day isn’t wasted sleeping.
Write a list of books you really want to read, and finally get round to reading them.
Write more! Whether it’s blogging, letter writing or fictional. Keeping up with writing skills will come in handy when the time comes to return to university.
Get creative. Look on Pinterest! There is always a tonne of inspiration on there, whether it’s D.I.Y or making a card for your friend’s birthday.
Exercise! It’s typical to find this on a to-do list. But now that my uni gym’s subscription is over and the gyms around me are way too expensive, I’m going to try and do some simple exercises at home. Stuck for ideas? Go to Cassy Ho’s Youtube, she is brilliant!
Spruce up your CV now while you have time. Taking time on this can really pay off, set it out nice and simple (oh and delete those other 20 old CVs on your laptop).
Put your CV on LinkedIn, make yourself more vulnerable to opportunities you want!
Do some of that extra course reading now. Yeah it might not happen, but future me would be grateful.
Make eating more fruit and veg a habit! Whether it’s a smoothie for breakfast or snacking on carrot sticks while you watch OITNB, this will give you more energy to do all this other stuff ^^^
A well deserved detox. Your body will be thankful when you run out of money, give your liver a breather from all that Glen’s vodka you’ve been giving it since last September.
What do you think? Do you guys have any other ideas how I can stay productive?
This day and age seems to be devoted to helping combat climate change, and what with this being a big part of my degree I thought I’d share a few tips. I have loads but I’ll keep it brief. If anyone has any questions I’d be happy to answer them!
Some obvious that you might have heard of, some perhaps not. Here are some little ways how you can make a difference to the planet without straining yourself.
Know your limits. Eating out for food is brilliant, however you will notice (especially my friends in the states) that a lot of food is wasted. I’m not telling you to eat everything on your plate, nobody should stuff themselves with food because that’s just silly. If we all lived like the United States then we would need 6 of our planets in order to support this. If you are used to eating out in a cafe and you know they give you too much food, then ask for less. You know you won’t eat that salad? Ask for your meal without. If people demand for less food on their plate, there will be less of a demand for all this food, as not to overuse our resources.
Eat less meat. I’m particularly referring to cow. Cattle farms contribute massively to Methane emissions (a form of carbon and a greenhouse gas), via their…excrement. There is a misconception that Humans are Carnivores, we are in fact Omnivores, we are able to live off both meat and veggies alone. You can tell this by our teeth, we do not have big pointy teeth like cats or dogs because we do not need them to rip meat from its carcass, therefore we do not need meat. Because we of our diet we in fact find it hard digest red meat (like beef) because the acid in our stomach isn’t like that of a carnivore’s. Therefore these huge cattle farms are unnecessary, this input of methane into our atmosphere is unnecessary. If you are able to cut out meat easily, why not try alternate weeks of eating meat and not eating meat? Try a veggie burger instead of beef? Or go veggie altogether? I’m not a vegetarian because I love chicken and duck too much. But just one meat free day a week can save liters of water and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Drink more water, waste less water. Health gurus go on about how much water is good for you, take their advice! You won’t regret it! The best way I found to incorporate more water into my diet is to buy a big water bottle and keep it with me all day, it’s amazing how much water you drink when it’s already with you. I’m not going to go into details about how you shouldn’t waste water because it’s pretty self explanatory. Another water-tip I can give you is to not pour milk down the sink! It takes the water treatment works a long time to remove this, as a result they need to use more chemicals, energy and more of your money!
Learn to love your garden. There is something very rewarding about growing your own food, when you do this you learn what food is in season, which is handy when shopping because in season food is usually cheaper. Countryfile in the UK promoted a lottery funded campaign which involved encouraging people to plant native wildflowers in your garden. Not only because they look really pretty and are declining. But they are helping our bee populations, more bees means more flowers and honey, and who doesn’t like flowers and honey?
Me casa es tu casa. Make your garden a home for various wildlife, a pond is great for fish, invertebrates and frogs. If you have a tree in your garden you can hang bird feeders or install bird boxes (unless you live in a neighborhood with lots of cats). There are many things you can do to allow a species to use a space that you don’t, check this out.