A Call To Action- Simple Steps to Uplevel Your Sustainable Bathroom Game

A recent pole carried out on my Instagram (@iammeganalexandra if you want to check it out for yourself) showed that my audience are all as interested in sustainability as I am and are looking to find new ways to make their own sustainable swaps to help fight climate change and protect Mother Earth.

Full disclosure, I am not perfect and I do not claim to be. I recycle, use green energy providers to heat my flat and make appropriate changes to benefit the planet. I believe that we should share the hints and tips we learn with one another to educate others and develop better practices ourselves.

I have been following Acala Online, a sustainable health and beauty online store with a passion for the environment, for quite some time. Their goal is to make conscious, eco friendly shopping easy and accessible to everyone. They even go to the extent of using innovative packing methods to ship your parcels straight to you too.

Recently, I shopped with Acala using their new Repack, reusable and returnable packaging and I was suitably impressed and wanted to share my experience with you all.

RePack packaging is a brand with soul and who care for the environment. RePack packaging is entirely made out of recycled materials and can be reused by other shoppers once your shopping has arrived at your front door. 

RePack make it super easy to send the packaging back to Acala as well and all you have to do is reseal it using the Velcro tab and pop it back in the postbox. Acala pay for the postage so you don’t have to worry. So, not only do you have conscious, affordable skin care and beauty products delivered right to your door it comes COMPLETELY PLASTIC FREE! I absolutely loved this element of my shopping experience.

But now onto what was in my RePack parcel! Four wonderful, everyday essentials to make my bathroom look great and make me feel good too.

Something to remember when shopping is brands and businesses can be pretty sneaky in their marketing, convincing you to shop for more when you didn’t need it in the first place. They often do this by using some of those eco friendly buzz words we talked about earlier. Remember, if you don’t need it don’t buy it! Conscious consumption and is what will help save the planet.

We have so much stuff as it is there’s no need to fill your house with more just because it says it’s eco friendly.

This month I really needed a new toothbrush as my old one had given up the goose so I decided to swap from my traditional plastic one to a bamboo one by Hydra Phil. I must admit prior to using a bamboo toothbrush I was worried that a bamboo one might not give me as good a clean but how wrong I was. This toothbrush cleans all the plaque and daily grime off my teeth with ease whilst protecting my gums at the same time. It did cost slightly more than its plastic competitor but it has a much smaller carbon footprint and can be composted once it’s had its time as long as the nylon bristles have been removed. 10/10 from me!

Next, was The All Natural Soap Company Ultimate Soap Bar! A brand new edition to the Acala store. I had recently finished my bottle of body wash and decided I wanted to opt now for a plastic free alternative so this suited my every need. The Ultimate Soap is completely cruelty free and 100% palm oil free and smells amazing! It’s filled with nourishing and enriching essential oils to help sooth skin from those sunny summer rays and fight mosquitos- which if you’re from Scotland is a big winner! This soap is also easy to store, I just place mine on a slatted soap dish to let it air dry once I’m finished with it.

Finally, I might have got a little carried away with the amazing weather we had a few weeks ago and purchased Amazinc Mineral Sun Screen. Not only does this sun cream come in a high factor 50 for my delicate, Snow White inspired skin, but it is entirely natural and won’t negatively impact the rivers and oceans! Result! I can’t say I have had a chance to use this much but no doubt when I do you’ll all be the first to know.

So there you have it. My sustainable bathroom swaps with Alcala! I only believe in working with brands I believe in and I wanted to offer you the opportunity to save 10% off with Alcala when you shop for all your beauty supplies! Just use the code 10-YOGAMEG or click on this link here. Remember to share your sustainable swaps with my by tagging me in your posts on Facebook or Instagram.

Together we can take little steps in the right direction to protect the planet and help her grow and thrive once more. Any eco friendly hints or tips you are dying to share? Please pop them in the comments below!

Forced Meditation: What I learnt while travelling around New Zealand in a camper van

Everything happens for a reason and at the right time

Before I had even packed my bags, my fiveweek road trip in the North and the South Island of New Zealand were to be transformative. I was seeking answers. Answers whose adhering questions were mostly ethical and highly theoretical. Yet life happens and as per the aforementioned mantra, it happens when it wants and needs to happen. So, a single day before a 24-hour+ trip from London to Auckland, I found myself unexpectedly single with a broken heart and plans that were on the works for more than a year suddenly collapsing on themselves leaving me entirely unprepared for what my return from NZ would look like. Barely keeping it together, bursting into tears whenever my mind and body got a break from carrying bags, running up and down corridors and boarding flights, I made it to NZ. I went in expecting answers. And answers I got. Only they were answers to questions I had not yet asked. 

 

No level of preparation could ever have prepared me for the reality of spending so many hours disconnected (from the internet and from civilisation in general), alone, staring at the road and the surrounding nature. The only words in which I have myself managed to conceptualise what I experienced would have to be “forced meditation”. With music playing in the background (mainly Arcade Fire to be honest), I drove and drove and drove further still not towards a destination (one of the biggest perks of having a vehicle/home combo), but simply for the sake of exploration. I drove on scenic side roads, often following (and being blinded by) the sun, accompanied by nothing less or more than my thoughts. I drove past fields and left my thoughts behind amongst the grazing cows; I drove towards new, exciting thoughts triggered by the landscapes changing from tropic to bucolic to alpine with every stretch of distance. I drove next to rivers, lakes and waterfalls, and with every bend or ripple in the water I saw the reflection of my ego disturbed. 

 

Were I safely at home and not in the middle of this extraordinary country, I would have dealt with this new reality quite differently engaging in all types of distractions, keeping my mind busy and my heart as content as I could under the circumstances. Were I not in the Southern hemisphere and thus in the opposite time zone to everyone that would normally hold my hand, allow me a shoulder to cry on and listen to my muffled arguments and excuses, I would not have been forced to look deeply within myself and truly understand my emotions as they were organically evolving. Having been forced to dwell on my thoughts and lay them on the road ahead, I began to question realities I never had before. How much were those plans that I was grieving my own and how much were they simply figments fulfilling desired societal expectations? How certain were I really about being located where I would have been, doing what and being close to (and thus away from) whom I would have been? The unexpected rip in my life’s trajectory and most importantly its relative timing to my road trip allowed me (or better forced me) to really question and discover what I really want from and for my life. 

 

And the answers came more organically than I ever thought was possible. Amongst the original thoughts that emerged, I started to notice brand new connections between situations, feelings and memories that regularly twirled in my mind. I could see some of my wants clearly taking shape popping at me like the drawn lines on the road, whizzing past my van under my feet as the miles packed on. Images and words manifested themselves to me so clearly that I just had to listen. There was no ignoring them. For me that were five concepts, related and unrelated not only to each other, but to my life as it was before they revealed themselves to me. Revealed not in the sense that they were hidden per se, but that their absolute significance was. I chose in that moment to not ever let anything distract me again from those five concepts. I made the conscious decision to let them drive me and let them inspire every choice that I make from now on until I re-evaluate and discover that I have changed once more. 

 

My experience of “forced meditation” was revelatory and frankly shook me to my core. It allowed my mind space and time to grow, relax and reflect that I wouldn’t have normally allowed myself. I gained not only a valuable experience, but a tool to take forward in my ‘real’ life. “Forced meditation” might mean a different thing to every person, but for me it means that I now allow the chance for boredom into my life. What I found out through my experience is that in contrast to popular belief, enough time does indeed exist for simply sitting. I now choose to log off. No computer, no telly, no phone, no podcast, no audiobook, not even music if I find it distracting. No matter how entertaining or informing, the above are distractions. Sitting on the couch with no distractions and without the open road ahead is much harder, but incredibly fulfilling. The frustration of inefficiency was overwhelming at the start and anxiety sometimes inevitably takes over. I like to breathe deep, acknowledge it and consider: Can you in the present moment do something to tackle whatever is causing you to feel this way? If the answer is yes, then by all means finish your thought, make an action plan, get out of your comfortable seat and attack. You’ll feel better for it. 

 

However most of the times the answer is no. Acknowledging that the worrisome thoughts are as equally, if not more, unproductive than the neutral or positive ones, choose to shiftyour mindset on what is instead in your control. Allow for the space and time where boredom may emerge, because eventually you will realise that boredom is just a threshold to be stepped over into what your mind is truly capable of and what your soul really needs and desires. 

 

 Anastasia Baka

social scientist with a specialisation in media practice for development and social change.

  

Move more, make friends and be outdoors. What’s not to love?

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This week’s post has been written by the wonderful Iona! Iona is an Internet friend I made through following each other online and keeping up with each other’s journeys along the way. She is a big inspiration and she takes absolutely stunning photos of her hikes and trips through the outdoors. Today she has kindly written a post all about the positive influence being out in nature has on her and how it helps her gain more clarity and insight on things. This post has been beautifully written and really highlights the importance of doing something that fires you up and lights you up inside in order to allow you to go into other elements of life showing up as your best possible self. 

If you follow my Instagram account (@iona.adventuring) then you will know how much I strive to spend every spare second finding new adventures. People constantly ask me how I have the time to explore so much and I get asked what I do for work that allows so much free time. The reality is that I work full time as a nurse with very unsocial, long hours. I just have to look a little harder for the free moments in my week which I can then fill up with big or little adventures.

 So you may say that I manage to find time to enjoy the great outdoors DESPITE working such long shifts. I actually feel that it is BECAUSE of my work that I crave the therapeutic benefits of spending time outside. The everyday stresses and strains of life can leave us feeling drained and lethargic. Everyone has ‘stuff’ going on and everyone is under pressure at some time or another. The easy option may be to sit down in front of the TV and switch off from the rest of the world. Does that really leave you feeling refreshed and re-energised? Don’t get me wrong, sometimes that’s exactly what I do. However I can truthfully say that the majority of the time my real stress reliever is to lace up my boots, wrap up against the elements and get out into the hills. Even a gentle stroll round a loch. Kick through leaves in a park. Cycle along muddy trails. Dip my toes in the sea. Anything to be outside taking big gulps of that lovely fresh air!

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 It’s these moments with mother nature that I look forward to. When I’ve got a long day at work I’m constantly planning and scheming the next adventure in the back of my mind and that is what keeps me going. Although I know of course that these hours spent in the outdoors are good for my physical health, it’s the psychological aspect of it that also draws me back time and time again. When I’m out walking in the hills I allow myself the headspace to think about the things that have been on my mind. I don’t necessarily come to any final conclusions but it’s good to have the time to actually process my thoughts without the interruptions that everyday life can throw my way.

 There’s something naturally therapeutic about putting one foot in front of the other with no purpose other than to enjoy moving. Not hurrying to get somewhere, not trying to prove something to someone who’s opinion doesn’t really matter. Just moving and enjoying the fact that you can do so!

 We all know about those lovely natural endorphins that are released in the body when we exercise but there’s so much more to it! There’s a sense of achievement I get from planning an adventure and seeing it through. That connection I built with anyone who joins me for a day in the mountains. Not to mention the incredible views from the summit of a majestic Munro! There’s a reminder that however big my problems may seem, being outdoors and surrounded by those huge powerful mountains puts everything back into perspective.

 The mind is so incredibly intricate but it can be easily neglected. From my own experience I find that being outdoors and exercising helps my mind to slow down so I can process everything a little better. In turn it can then catch up with the constant pace and demands of the rest of my body. When some aspects of your life can become overwhelming, trust that some time in the outdoors will give you a clearer perspective of it all. Make a little more time to explore and to move, I think you’ll find that the benefits can become addictive!

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 If anyone would like to join my mountain days then you can find regular updates on the facebook group ‘Iona’s Adventures’. So far I have met some really wonderful people through my online community and it’s amazing to be able to bring together like minded people with a passion for the outdoors!

In her spare time Iona also raised money for the charity Health in Mind by hiking 26.2 miles! (Is there anything this girl can’t do- she’s a superwoman). If you want to learn more about the charity please check out their work through this link.

http://www.health-in-mind.org.uk/

 

Change The Story And Rewrite The Novel

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We all know someone who goes about each and every day acting like a total pain in the backside, singing the same tune, “oh woe is me. What did I ever do in this life to deserve such misfortune? The world never gave me any favours so why should I be happy?” Maybe that person even is you.

If you can relate to anything I’ve said above you often find that to begin with you might take pity on that person for feeling this way and try to comfort them, trying to help them through difficult times. However, there is only so much support you can give someone who isn’t willing to help themselves and make their life better until you’re emotionally and mentally drained resenting their behaviour. The crux of the issue is that the world doesn’t owe you a living, you have to make your way in this world, cultivate your own happiness and learn and grow from your successes and failures. Moping around ruining everyone else’s day won’t make anyone more likely to be your friend nor will it make your day any brighter.

If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook I have been directing you to a fabulous Ted Talk by Ellis Watson called “Disrupt Yourself or Die Trying.” I will link it here, it’s 15 minutes of your day that could give you a completely different outlook on your life. We live for a relatively short period of time and I ask you a serious question- during this short space of time you get to inhabit planet earth do you want to merely exist and survive or do you want to thrive and make a difference?

As children we are constantly learning new things and developing ourselves through a sense of curiosity. The older we get the more responsibilities we gain and eventually you find yourself stuck at your desk at that dead end job, which you said you would only stay at for a year to gain some experience and pay the bills and save for a nice holiday and now you notice it’s been ten years since you began working for the business. You’re bitter about all the dreams you once had and never did anything to achieve and don’t know how to get out of this headspace. No one else but you will help you out of this scenario. You can rewrite the story and have the happy ever after that you always wanted. It is important to learn from past experiences and if they don’t bring you joy or a sense of satisfaction, understand that you have the power not to let that pattern become repetitive.

Go outside, take up a new hobby, meet new people. Do things that terrify you because they will give you so much clarity and help you decide what you want out of life. Make an impact firstly on your own life and then share that passion with the world. Become a child once more, look at tasks with a fresh eye and a different mindset. That dull job you have to do every day at work- find a way to make it fun. Want to start that business or charity or run that event? As Nike say, “Just do it.” It’s ok to fail, those who learn from failure become better and stronger people; those who sit on the fence and never try for fear of failure never experience the exhilaration of taking the future into their own hands.

Learn how to love all that life has to offer you and don’t waste this short but precious time you have on this earth. Learn from each and everyday how to better yourself just a tiny bit more. Learn from everyone around you- even the people you really dislike. I often find that I’ve learn’t my biggest lessons from people who didn’t resonate with my values because they showed me a different view point. Tomorrow isn’t the day to start- the time to start is right now. Remember, if it all goes belly up and not the way you had hoped: every situation is recoverable- you just have to take the time to learn from it.

Until Next Time

XO

 

New to yoga? Read about the 3 biggest misconceptions surrounding the practice.

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I think it’s safe to say there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding the yoga community and it often really puts people off trying out a class. Today’s post is all about debunking those myths you’ve been told and giving you the confidence to attend that class you’ve been putting off for so long. Trust me, you’re missing out on an amazing community, a wicked physical exercise and the opportunity to learn so much about a practice that has been taught for thousands and thousands of years. There must be a reason people are still participating today, right?!

“I’m too inflexible to go to yoga. I can’t even touch my toes!”

I hear this one all the time. Whenever I tell people I’m teaching classes they tell me how they have always been interested in yoga but they’re too inflexible and therefore unteachable. This cannot be further from the truth I promise. I am not a naturally bendy person nor could I touch the ground for a really long time when I started practicing yoga. You don’t have to be able to get into the splits or touch your toes to be a good yogi. As long as you are fully present, breathing and aware of your body when practicing you are an excellent yogi!

“Yoga is just for hippies”

Sure, there are a lot of hippies who go to yoga but thats not who it’s for. Yoga is for everyone! Yoga allows you to stretch your bodies in ways that it doesn’t usually get the opportunity to because we spend the majority of our day hunched over at a desk rather than standing up and moving around. Some people come to yoga just because it is completely different to what they usually do and it allows them to get out of their head and away from the daily to do list. Others come as a way to strengthen the body after recovering for an injury and the hippies might come because they love the physical practice of yoga but they are also fascinated by the philosophical and spiritual aspect of it too. The beauty of yoga is that you can take what you want from it.

Five years ago when I first attended yoga I used it as another way of working out my body alongside cardio and weight lifting. I was not interested in the spiritual element whatsoever, so I didn’t engage so much with the conversations on the philosophies and yoga stories. But having those elements included didn’t make my experience any less beneficial- I always left with the yogi high. Soon enough, the spiritual side started to resonate with me more and it is what eventually led me to start doing my teacher training and then qualify allowing me to share this practice with others. I always suggest people try a class and take from it only what they need and that way the practice becomes truly your own.

“To be a yogi you have to be super healthy, give up drinking and live a minimalist life.”

Well, I really hope this one isn’t true, because if it is I am a terrible terrible yogi. I enjoy drinking a good G&T on the weekend and eating unhealthy foods with friends and I have a minor obsession with good gym wear (it’s ok if I pretend it’s workwear right?!) However, it is through my regular yoga practice I have the ability to be more mindful and open to adapting my behaviours so that they better serve me in the future. I’m certainly not perfect – nor do I ever intend to be because what even is perfect anyway?- But I practice with an open and honest place and for now that is perfect for me.

I hope you enjoyed this article about some of the biggest misconceptions I have been faced with in my own yoga journey and I hope it settles your mind if you believed any of these misconceptions. You are perfect as you are and welcome into the yoga community when you’re ready. I promise we don’t bite!

Until next time,

xo