Brook Farm Animal Sanctuary

On 17th September, my friend Ally and I went to the BFAS open day to cuddle some animals, eat some vegan food and cuddle more animals. We were not disappointed.

99% of the food served was vegan (there were only a few cakes that weren’t) and there were so many options. In the two and a bit hours we spent there I ate baklava, a hot dog & a scone with homemade jam & coconut cream – and that was with some restraint! I could have happily sampled every cake there.

HeartCure Clothing were also there selling amazing vegan activist t-shirts, hoodies and more. They were so friendly and we also got to meet their little pup Chico. In fact we got to meet a lot of lovely people and a lot of lovely pups that had come along to join in the fun.


However, the best part was meeting all the animals at the sanctuary and hearing their stories. They broke my heart but the work BFAS helped to fix it. All the animals have these brilliant personalities from the sweet-natured horses who want to be stroked to the cheeky piggies rolling around in the mud and playing up to the crowd.


I know I shouldn’t have favourites but Charlotte the piglet who was running around chasing a ball was a highlight. That being said, Wendy the sheep stole the show for me. She is a Cow-Sheep, because she has been raised and accepted into the herd of cows at the sanctuary. Not only is this the cutest thing ever because all the cows look out for her and treat her as one of their own, she was also the fluffiest and friendliest sheep. We stood and gave her lots of love and attention for a good long while because we were just so taken in by her personality.


The work BFAS is doing is incredibly inspiring. They are run completely by volunteers and all are vegan (although you don’t have to be vegan to volunteer!). They rescue around 2,500 animals a year, many are rehomed, others released back into the wild after some recuperation and others live out their lives there, safe from the slaughter houses. These animals have had a rough start to life so it is truly heart-warming to see how there are people who care enough to save them from slaughter, mistreatment, a life as a fashion accessory (cough cough people who buy micro pigs) and so on.

Thank you BFAS for all the work you do, I cannot wait to come back and volunteer.

 

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the new taylor?

Last week saw the long awaited new single from Taylor Swift who hasn’t released anything for 3 years. It came after she had deleted everything from her social media platforms and posted some mysterious clips of an animated snake.

Then came ‘Look What You Made Me Do’.

Full disclosure, I have been a long time Swifty. I discovered her music when I was 13 and it quickly became the soundtrack to my teenage years. It was played on an iPod on family trips in the car, blasted in my room when I was angry at the world for not understanding me, played quietly as I cried over silly boys and acted as a point of common ground that began a lot of friendships over the years. So it is safe to say that I am ever so slightly emotionally invested in Taylor’s music and career.

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So when I heard the new single for the first time you can imagine I had a LOT of thoughts. 99% of them weren’t positive.

  1. We listen to Taylor’s music because it is so relatable, in fact, that’s why we love it so much. I can’t relate to her various public arguments with other celebrities. The blatant references to these ‘enemies’ were kind of uncomfortable.
  2. THE CHORUS SOUNDS LIKE ‘I’M TOO SEXY FOR MY SHIRT’ AND I HATE IT
  3. “The old Taylor can’t come to the phone right now..why? oh…because she’s dead”. This is the line I had the most trouble with. She has built up a fanbase from the ‘old Taylor’, people have so many memories that ‘old Taylor’s’ songs accompanied. I understand that people grow and change and I don’t have a problem with that. However, you can’t disregard your past as it is what has built the person you are today.

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My main problem with this song is that it promotes revenge and ‘getting even’ rather than being the bigger person and saying, no I won’t be a part of the name calling and the public dragging. If there is one thing I have learned in my short years it is that if someone wrongs you or hurts you, the best thing you can do is use the experience to learn and grow. People who have hurt me in the past have become the templates for the people I don’t hang out with now. I have learned from them and surround myself with people unlike them. I do not spout nasty words for all the world to see.
Don’t just take it from me though. I asked a couple of dedicated swifties how they feel about this new Taylor:

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Well I didn’t like the song, couldn’t even listen to it all. It sounded so petty and immature. The video is not at all what I expected, it made the song sound better, I found it funny but also once again quite immature. However when you think of it from her perspective people are always judging her and saying things about it, so I guess it was her chance to say just let out and say a big FU. I’m really hoping her album is her good, 1989 was one of the best albums I’ve ever heard and she’s a great songwriter so I just hope that doesn’t go away.

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Shama

I feel like it’s such a combo of her personality and what she’s been through al the judgement she’s faced just for being herself Taylor has never done anything to hurt anyone she’s only ever just stood up for herself. People even complained about her court case complaining that it didn’t do anything properly for being sexually assaulted.But it set a precedent…

Her music video and the song itself is such an inspiration ballad for people who have been unfairly treated and humiliated in public. Why should someone’s reputation suffer because of other people’s minds and jealousy? I like how she is owning what people tried to defeat her with ie. the snake.

QUEEN TAY FOR EVER

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Taylor Swift’s song writing career has been based in part upon that she has captured the hearts of her listeners through heartfelt, intense emotional lyrics, but most of the time this includes the finger being pointed at the other person involved in her story. Rarely do we see her blaming herself or seeing her own faults for the issues she faces/relationships gone south. I think, oftentimes, life experiences (like the heart break of the public shame of her reputation,) need to have someone to blame, but sometimes that means taking hard look in the mirror and realizing that you have to take full responsibility. This means more than poking fun of your self in a music video ( referencing the end scene of taylor calling out taylor for playing victim). Taylor, I’ve loved you since I was 14, and you need to know that as a fan for almost 10 years, I am really not supportive of the work you’ve put out. It continues to know others as your rise to claim your kingdom keys again. There is room for everyone, and there is no throne to compete for. There are so many more pressing things in the world and so many good lyricists who take crappy life circumstances and make them beautiful and poignant and worth celebrating. Look what you made me do, is sadly not one of them. I’m interested to see the rest of the tone on the album but it’s not what I expected.

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So there we go. It’s definitely a mixed bag of opinions but we will have to wait and see what the album holds.

*obviously all photos are not mine, from google images*

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my first demo

Eek! I know, I have been away for some time. It has been down to (in equal parts), lack of time, lack of inspiration and lack of energy. Nevertheless, I am back on the blog and ready to tell you all about my first animal rights demonstration.

Warning: in this post there is a disturbing image of dead animals. This is the suffering that takes place every day.

A few weeks ago, Viva!, an amazing animal rights charity, encouraged groups to hold demonstrations outside Tescos all over the country. This call to action was due to Tesco using a supplier which was discovered to have, to be frank, VILE conditions. I urge you to take a look at Viva’s findings  but to give you an idea – the pigs are so squashed together they are lying in their own excrement and disease spreads quickly. The pigs are forced to lie next to their brothers and sisters, who have died in these awful conditions, for days, and due to the mentally unstable environment they are in, they often turn to cannibalism.

Warning: disturbing image below.

 

 

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I am part of an animal rights group and one of the members (and my dear friend), organised a demo outside of local Tesco shops. I was a little nervous because it was my first demo but the people in my group are all so lovely and because we are all like minded when it comes to animals it makes for easy conversation and vegan tip swapping!


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Despite a few ignorant people oinking at me or saying “mm bacon” (insert eye roll here) we actually had a very positive response. We got about 50 signatures on our petition calling for Tesco’s to drop Hogwood as a supplier and the staff were actually very reasonable with us, which isn’t always the case.


We also met more vegans in the wild (by this we mean, not in our animal rights  group haha!) than ever before, including kids! It shows how much there is a significant shift in people’s thinking about where their food comes from and the suffering there is in order to produce it. We also had a lovely guy from Bamboo Street Food bring us all vegan smoothies to keep us going. It really was a very positive day for activism.

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Being part of an animal rights group and doing demonstrations isn’t a requirement of being vegan and vice versa. However, it is worth thinking about the level of suffering and the lack of care these animals get before they arrive on your plate. This happens in farms across the country, not just Hogwood. Pigs are as intelligent and emotionally aware as dogs. You wouldn’t eat your dog. Make the connection.

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a big week

It is not often you get two big events in your life taking place in the same week but that is the situation I found myself in when my graduation fell just a few days before my birthday.

Graduation is a weird day because you’ve been gearing up for it pretty much since the beginning of university. Every year that passes you see your Facebook feed flooded with cap and gown photographs as older friends graduate & you can’t help but think “that will be me soon”. So when that day finally arrives it feels a little bizarre.

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Despite the big build up & expectations, the ceremony wasn’t really what I expected. You don’t wear your mortar board during the actual ceremony (which makes me question why they cost so damn much to rent) & you are only on stage for a few short seconds before you find yourself descending the stairs back to your seat. However, the speeches given & the general atmosphere does fill you with a deep sense of pride of all that you have accomplished and what those around you have too. It is also really sweet watching all the parents as they get misty-eyed watching their little babies all grown up.

 

My best advice is take pictures BEFORE the ceremony if you can, especially if you’re going to be crammed into a stuffy hall in your heavy gown for two hours. Take as many pictures as possible because it’s your day and you deserve to have a full blown photoshoot. Especially as this will probably be the only time you graduate unless you go on to do more academic study. And, finally – let your professors know if you’re staying in your university city because chances are you’ll be invited to be on the alumni pub quiz team & that is the biggest honour they can bestow on you!

 

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As I said at the beginning of this post – it was also my birthday this week. I’m not gonna dwell on it too much because as a general rule people don’t really care about your birthday as much as you do. However, considering this was the first birthday I was spending away from my hometown, it was pretty fab. Despite a false start when the bowling alley was FULL, I had a great time eating vegan cake, shopping for books & having drinks in the many funky bars that Leicester has to offer with some fab pals.

 

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Sorry for the intermittent posting – just figuring out this work/life/blog balance thang. 

 

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june favourites

VEGAN JUNK FOOD

  • Sainsbury’s recently labelled their ‘fizzy fangs’ as vegan which was the best news for me because I had really missed the sour taste of sweets. It just reminds me of being a little kid! Thanks to vegantreasures on instagram for showing me so many foods I didn’t know were vegan!
  • If you ever find yourself in Leicester, take a wander down the Lanes & look out for a shop painted yellow called ‘Currant Affairs’. Not only do they stock lots of vegan friendly brands but they also sell sweet and savoury snacks including brownies and ‘sausage’ rolls. They are so inexpensive, run by lovely people & it is generally just a great place to shop.

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WELLNESS

  • I recently started doing some research around crystals and got completely in to them. They really help me to focus when meditating & of course they just bring a really great energy to my place.
  • One of my latest blog posts was all about kundalini yoga & that means it HAD to be featured in my favourites. Check out that post to find out more.

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OTHER

  • I recently joined an animal rights group in an attempt to educate myself and get to know more like-minded people. I helped out at their stall this weekend just chatting to the public about all kinds of things animal related and it was a really interesting experience. If you live in Leicester/Leicestershire – have a Facebook search for ‘Leicester Animal Rights’ – they are an amazing group!

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What have you loved this month?

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h o m e

The new issue of the Messy Heads  is all about home and it made me think about all the places I have called home.

We lived in an upside down house when I was tiny. By this I mean the kitchen, living room etc was at ground level and then you went down the stairs to the bedrooms. I don’t remember much about the house apart from the clips I’ve seen from home videos, although I very clearly remember falling down the stairs when I was trying to catch a big beach ball decorated with 101 Dalmatians.

I grew up in the same house from the age of 3 until I left for university. In that time we had sheep, goats, horses, rabbits, chickens, geese, fish, dogs & cats. It is hardly a surprise that I turned out be an animal lover & a country girl at heart!

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At 18 I flew the nest and moved into an apartment block with a bunch of strangers in a new city. We made our own little family and found comfort in each other whilst going through the biggest change in our surroundings in our young lives. It was a bizarre dynamic that somehow worked, if only for that single year.

I then moved in with two of the girls I had lived with in that apartment block in a weird house next to a creepy toy shop. We ate a lot of pizza and pasta bakes in that house. We saw people come & go in our lives a lot that year but we always managed to keep our friendships together. I had always been independent as a child but moving away from university made me even more so. I loved the freedom of decorating how I wanted, buying what I wanted and living with who I wanted.

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Moving back home on my year off was weird because the place that had been my home for so long felt different & I couldn’t put my finger on why. Going back for my final year of uni was equally as strange because I had been away. It is funny how time & space makes you see a place differently.

Emma Mercury, editor of The Messy Heads, makes an interesting point about how it is not just the places but the people that make the homes. I couldn’t agree more – all these places I have lived would have been meaningless without the people I have shared them with, family & friends alike. I also have a whole host of ‘second homes’ that are the abodes of my closest friends and my boyfriend’s parents’ house. Where you are greeted with hugs when you answer the door, know where the essentials for making a cuppa live & where their pets love you just as much as they love their owners.

And now? I have my first flat with my boyfriend – I am living with a BOY!!

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It is tiny and things keep breaking but it is ours … I mean don’t get me wrong we are renting because Hi, I’m a millennial and that means I won’t be able to afford a house until I am 60!

Take some time to think about your home this week, not just the building in which you live, but the people that make you feel at home.

 

 

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kundalini: my new obsession

A favourite pastime of mine is walking around the park near where I live listening to podcasts in the evening sunshine. One day whilst doing this I heard Britt & Tara from High Vibe Livin talking to Jordan Younger (The Balanced Blonde podcast) about kundalini yoga. For some reason I had the impulse to google it and see if there were any classes nearby. Bear in mind that at this point I was about 10 minutes into the podcast and still didn’t even know what kundalini yoga really was! Anyway, I found a class nearby and after a few emails with the teacher I was signed up. I didn’t really know what to expect but I followed that earlier impulse and I have not looked back since.

Kundalini is all about energy: working on your own, learning to not absorb others negative energy and learning about how your energy plays a part in your life. As a very empathetic person and someone who is very sensitive to other people’s energy this has been such a breakthrough for me. I am starting to not let other people’s negativity impact on my day and am I learning to cultivate an amazing new energy within myself.I joined halfway through a 10-week program which worked on a different chakra each week, incorporating mantras, physical movement, meditation and relaxation. I think my favourite part of each class is the meditation that uses a specific mantra as a focus point. It really helps to keep me present and stops my mind wandering off.

I have been doing kundalini for a month now and let me tell you that this works FAST. From the first class I took I could feel energy really moving within me. I look forward to going every week and I always come out of each class so blissed out!

So that is what I have been filling my time with over the past few weeks. Have any of you done kundalini before? Or do you prefer something else to help tap into your spiritual self? Leave me a message in the comments as I would LOVE to know!

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If you are interested in learning more about kundalini yoga I would recommend looking at the High Vibe Livin website. They have a free 7 day programme to raise your vibration and they’ve just introduced a new ‘Intro to Kundalini’ programme too! They are also two of the loveliest people I have talked to on the internet – they are so welcoming and supportive and always answer any questions that you may have. 

*image: sat nam (pinterest / etsy print – no longer available)

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