Friday, November 23, 2018

Book Review- Space below my feet by Gwen Moffat

I first came across Gwen Moffat through watching a short film by the talented Jenn Randall and Claire Carter - Operation Moffat. I was really interested to find out more about this extraordinary lady through her own words.  Being relatively new to climbing, I am only just learning about the history and what shaped the sport to be what it is now.  As a newly qualified climbing instructor with encouraging women to get into the outdoors being very high on my agenda,  I was really keen to read about Gwen and her take on being the first female guide in Britain. I started reading her story and not only I was instantly hooked by her excellent writing, it was obvious that this book will be something that I will recommend to all the girls who are interested in the outdoors.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Wild Swimming in Squamish, BC

Climbing and wild swimming go together so well. You can swim before climbing in the morning to get yourself psyched or at the end of what has hopefully been a good day out on the crag. When it is time to rest your body and let the skin on your fingers grow back,  swimming once again comes in and this time you can spend the whole day lazily enjoying the slower pace, drinking coffee, chatting with pals and giving your muscles a well deserved cold bath - or in the case of British Columbia, more of an ice bath!

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Zero Waste Adventure - Climbing in Squamish, British Columbia

When my friends told me that once I get a taste of Squamish life I will never want to leave, I didn't believe them. After a three week trip, it took all of the resistance (and love for my UK home) that I could muster, to not apply for working visa and move over there. The climbing is superb. Big granite walls, single pitch lines with perfect cracks and tons of boulder problems most of which you will want to get on, all pretty much walking distance from town. And to top it all off, the climbing community is some of the tightest and most welcoming/helpful that I have ever experienced. It is really hard to not feel settled when you come to Squamish and it is hard to not fall in love with the place.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Bouldering in the Okanagan Valley, British Columbia

Best thing about travelling solo and having a bit of a ''go with the flow approach'' is that I get to experience things which I would never otherwise get to see if I had a rigid plan with every step of my trip planned to the smallest detail. I haven't even heard of bouldering in Okanagan before I got to Squamish and so when the opportunity arose to come and try it out , I jumped on it. I joined my Scottish friend Cora and her pals who kindly invited me along to join their weekend adventure exploring this area of BC. It was so nice pulling hard on the boulders after months of trad climbing. I was surprised how much good quality bouldering there was too, and I have only just scratched the surface.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Sport Climbing in Skaha, British Columbia

What do you do when it rains in Squamish and you can't get your hands on dry rock? You make the five hour drive through the stunning British Columbia and make it to the best sport climbing crag in the area- Skaha. If you like crimping and small edges with delicate footwork and well bolted lines, this will be an ideal crag to spend a few days/ weeks testing yourself on one of the classics. The setting makes it so different to other sport climbing areas that I have been to. You really know that you are in Canada- the crags are surrounded by forests heaving with wild life. 


Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Zero Waste Micro Adventure - Introduction to Scottish mountain rock routes

I spent a while pondering on what to call this type of mountaineering adventure. Big walk ins, long routes deep in the mountains which always require the full use of your trad rack but also the use of a map and compass and general mountain skills which you develop through hill walking. For some, this seems like hard work and way too much faff but to me it has great appeal as it combines the two things I love - trad climbing and hill walking. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Wild Swimming in The Cairngorms- Loch an Eilein

There are some spots that I have visited around the UK which are beautiful and then there are places which are just outright special. You know deep inside that you want to come back again and again. So what makes something tip from the label of amazing to special? Is it how the place makes you feel? Perhaps you are happy or so content and connected when you are there that you forget everything else and you want to stay in that moment forever. Or is it how you discover the spot which is important to you? Do you prefer to stumble upon it by yourself and relish in the solitude or would you rather for someone to take you to this magical place and share it with you, which makes it feel so special?

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Zero Waste Microadventure- bivvying in Snowdonia

If you are a faffer like me, it may just happen that your weekend adventures can sometimes start late in the evenings in what would others consider halfway through the weekend. Because when you wake up on Saturday morning, well, you have breakfast first, then coffee, then check the weather forecast, go to the shop, finish packing, do the dishes etc etc and by the time you are ready to set off at 12, you suddenly become very aware that it is still 4 hour drive to North Wales. But you know what? Weekend adventures don't always have to start at 4 am. You haven't missed the boat if you are not on your way by 8 am. It doesn't matter that it is 4:30 pm when you start walking towards the hills. There are adventures to be had in even the shortest time possible.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Help reduce plastic trash in the Peak District with #mypeakcup + giveaway!

The anti plastic revolution is definitely real and palpable around Sheffield. It is great to see that not only people are becoming more aware of the issue but there is a real movement to protect our environments and reduce plastic trash. I am really pleased that The Peak District National Park Authority have made the pledge and started leading the positive change towards reducing waste in our beautiful National Park. And the first step? They have introduced their new Ecoffee cup as part of the #mypeakcup campaign. 

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Wild Swimming in Snowdonia- The Watkin path waterfalls

I think the best wild swims are those that you have to earn. You know, those that require some uphill walking, or a fight with brambles/fern. The harder the struggle, the sweeter the reward. And if you can find dipping or swimming spots which are of superb standard with water so clear that you can drink it, you know that you are in for the winner. And there is a spot just like that nowhere else than en route to the top of the mighty Snowdon. By taking a less trodden path to the top through the Watkin Path, you will be rewarded by a series of crystal clear plunge pools and waterfalls. On the way there to wake you up and on the way back to give your body a much needed ice bath! 

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Zero Waste Micro adventure- summer bivvy (also known as sleeping under the stars)

If you love camping and falling asleep outside with the sounds of nature aiding your slow fall into unconsciousness, you absolutely have to try bivvying. It is like camping but on steroids. If you think that wild camping gives you a sense of freedom, when you sleep in your bivvy bag for the first time, you will have a different appreciation of that word. There is no time wasted putting the tent up or faffing with lots of kit, all you need to do is roll out your sleeping bag and you can fall asleep, counting all the stars as far as your eyes can see. And if you position your ''bed for the night'' just right, you may just wake up with the sun shining its first rays and bathing everything around you in a warm and optimistic glow. Or if you are like me, you wake up for a millisecond, roll over and go back to sleep!

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

My trash update - May

May must be one of my favourite months. The sun is out, long warm evenings give everyone this boost of fresh energy and there is a general happiness in the air. Perhaps it is the sun or the fact that everything has suddenly turned green with bursts of multi coloured flowers popping up everywhere. I took advantage of all of those refreshing things and spend most of the evenings out in the Peak District being spoiled by too many beautiful sunsets overlooking the place that I call home. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

My favourite dress and why I chose one instead of many

Maybe I am old fashioned and maybe it is because I am a minimalist, but I love the idea of having one thing which I love rather than millions of other things which don't quite fit the bill.  Take a dress for example. You can buy so many for very cheap in charity shops or second hand, or you can buy expensive ones brand new, as well as everything in between.  If you are in your twenties or thirties, chances are that your friends are getting married every few weeks. What do you do? Do you get a new dress for each occasion or do you reuse what you have?

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Wild Swimming in the Peak District - The Old Mill Pond by Stanage

I used to think that I know the area around Stanage Edge like the back of my hand. That is why I was really surprised when someone told me that there is a small Mill Pond not far away from it where you can go for a swim. Surely not, I thought. I have been walking around there for years and I have never seen it! But after some serious searching and with the help of my trusty ViewRanger , I found it. And yes you can totally swim in it!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Unwrapped- Sheffield's very own Zero Waste shop

Finally, we have a Zero Waste shop in Sheffield! Thanks to Kirstie and Bex and their passion for the environment, Sheffield's very own Zero Waste shop- 'Unwrapped' is now open. I don't have to tell you that I was as excited as a kid on Christmas morning when I went to have a look for the first time. This will not only make Zero Waste shopping easier for myself and for local people but it also puts Sheffield on par with other UK, US and European cities which have really good Zero Waste shops already. Is this yet another string to Sheffield's bow or what?

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Zero Waste Climbing Trip to Pembroke

Oh Pembroke, what have you done to me? I can’t eat, I can’t sleep and all I can think about is your fantastic lines, great gear and views overlooking the sea with its many creatures swimming among your crashing waves. I think I can honestly say that all it took to fall in love with this place was a few days of climbing over the Bank Holliday weekend. Would I recommend you going to do some trad climbing there? Absolutely. But just a word of warning.  If you do go, every other place might just seem inadequate (apart from Peak grit of course) when you compare it to these incredible limestone cliffs and you might just want to sack it all off it, buy a van and move there for 6 months.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

My Trash update - April

April was a bit of a whirlwind of a month. I spent quite a bit of time away on short trips, having adventures on my weekends as well as those ever lighter evenings. I have pushed my limits this month in climbing and tried hard (whatever it is that my ''hard'' is in each moment) and was very lucky to spend the majority of my time doing what I love the most -being outside and having great experiences with friends. I am quite proficient with Zero Waste at home as I have access to my usual shops and recycling/composting facilities and so it was a good challenge to try and apply all of my principles whilst being away a lot. Zero Waste and your life should not be mutually exclusive and it should not stop you from doing things that you want to do. Just live your life to the max and whilst you are it, try and be mindful of how much rubbish you produce. That is exactly what I have done. Less than a small Kilner jar's worth of rubbish is the product of my efforts this month. Sure, there were challenges and lots of learning along the way, but not once have I thought that Zero Waste has restricted me in living the life that I want to live. Talk about sustainable solutions for the environment? I think Zero Waste has ticked all of the boxes for me.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Free Zero Waste Talk

Starting my Zero waste journey was one of the best decisions that I have made. I learned about Zero Waste a few years ago and I remember that something about it really hit home. I was inspired when I watched badass ladies like Bea Johnson and Lauren Singer living purposefully and doing game changing things, mainly living to the max whilst producing a jam jar’s worth of rubbish in a year. They talked about the benefits of simplifying and living their values. I was hooked. But I wasn’t sure if it was possible. It seemed like a really daunting task and a huge mountain to climb. But if I have learned anything through being a climber, it is that you don’t climb a mountain in one. You climb it step by step , move by move until you finally suddenly find yourself at the top.


Thursday, April 12, 2018

How to shop Zero Waste and a few essentials to help you along the way

The biggest part of plastic rubbish when I started my Zero Waste journey came from my food shopping. Literally, everything is wrapped in plastic if your standard shop happens to be in one of the UK’s supermarkets. Meat, cheese, vegetables, fruit, seeds and nuts- whatever you buy on a weekly basis, chances are that it will come wrapped in plastic which is unrecyclable and goes straight into landfill. I have noticed a huge reduction in my trash when I swapped to Zero Waste shopping. How did I do it? With a few trusty essentials and the help of local shops, I can now buy most of my food completely package free or in recyclable packaging in those rare cases where I can’t get my hands on bulk produce.  

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Best places to climb in North Wales for beginners

I have spent quite a bit of time in North Wales recently even though I have only come for the first time last August. Before that, I was always keen to explore Scotland or other places as Wales didn't sound that exciting. (I am very much ashamed of that now!). I guess you could say that I was stuck in an adventure rut a little bit. It is easier to do things and go somewhere you know, right? But after spending some time learning to trad climb last summer in North Wales, it didn’t take me long to get utterly and completely hooked. Because no matter if your chosen climbing discipline is sport, trad or bouldering- there is just so much of it. And if you strive to be a Jack of All Trades like I do and have a go at all three, well, there is a lifetime of quality climbing just in North Wales alone.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Zero Waste Microadventure- Scrambling in North Wales

I am a big fan of preparation and planning trips, no matter how small, especially when there are risks involved. But sometimes, life gets in a way and you get to 9 pm the night before and not only you haven’t packed, but you are unsure where your map and compass is and whether you actually have an OS map of that area at all. It is so easy at this stage to just sack it off and stay at home. But sometimes, these unplanned adventures turn out to be the best.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Zero Waste Sweets

Ok, so no matter how well you eat and how healthy you keep day to day, the occasional sweets are definitely part of life. They are for sure, part of mine! But when the sweet urge kicks in, instead of opting for ones in plastic packaging, why not get them completely Zero Waste? It is super easy and with a bit of willpower, you can actually keep them in the cupboard for a while. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Badass Women Series- Fiona Bateson

Badass women series is back. This time, I am bringing you another hell of a badass lady, Fiona Bateson! I got to know Fi through work and over the years she has inspired me so many times with her attitude to life and insatiable adventure spirit that I had to share her stories with you. 


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Wild Swimming in the Peak District- Little Barbrook

My usual dipping routine since the start of 2018 involves finding a small stream which is deep enough for a quick submersion- sometimes only possible if I lay down. I think this goes to show that you really don’t need much in order to feel exhilarated. But as I have been getting more used to cold water, I wanted to start venturing to different spots in the Peak District so that I could take my few seconds long dips to the next level. You can imagine my absolute excitement when I discovered Little Barbrook, where you can actually properly swim, with the water being deep enough in the middle to not even be able to touch the bottom. And the best thing about it is that the place feels secluded, even though you are only a few minutes from the car. It’s literally in the middle of some of the best grit stone climbing in the Peaks as well and so if you are a climber/wild swimmer convert, this place is an absolute magic.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Zero Waste- Bring back the Handkerchief

This seems such a trivial swap that you may think it is not even worth writing about at all. However, for such a simple swap, the impact is quite big so it is definitely on the list of good Zero Waste solutions. If you are a little bit older, you may still remember having a handkerchief in lieu of a disposable box of tissues. I do! Both my mum and grandmum had a pile of them, all ironed to perfection, ready to be used for bouts of cold. I can tell you that the apple didn’t fall that far away from the tree in my case, with the only difference being that I have a couple instead of a full drawer (how many does one actually need?) and mine are definitely not ironed. (Who can be bothered with that?). But other than that, I am a real fan of reusable cotton handkerchiefs, and I now have one with me in my bag wherever I go. 

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Zero Waste Microadventure- Winter Bivvy

I was hoping for snowy winter since October. I desperately wanted to go and bivvy in the snow for the first time. It looked like spring was on its way and that I will miss my chance, but luckily for me, nature had “the beast from the east” up its sleeve.  And what a beauty that was. As soon as the snow hit the ground, it was as if all of the Sheffield adventure folk suddenly came out of the woodworks. People were skiing, swimming, winter climbing, walking and generally embracing activities which are usually reserved for Scottish Winter or somewhere in the Alps. I did not want to miss my chance either!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Zero Waste Shaving

If you want to look at good and sustainable Zero Waste solutions, more often than not you don’t need to look for modern things but instead, look back in time.  Just 20-30 years ago, people used to use a lot fewer disposables and some of their items were naturally Zero Waste. Things were made to last back then as people bought items based on durability rather than convenience. And then the dreaded plastic disposable culture arrived, alongside with the boom in shopping. Durability was swapped for convenience and good recyclable materials were swapped for cheaply made plastics. We now know that this is not the way forward and there is a shift once again thanks to initiatives like Zero Waste, to go back to durability and shopping based on quality. And my latest swap- the reusable shaving kit, ticks all of those boxes. You essentially go back to what your dad and grandad used to do- buy a stainless steel double edge razor, brush and a good old-fashioned bar of soap.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

DIY- Off the shoulder linen top

Coats and jumpers are slowly being pushed to the back of the closet and space is being made for shorts, dresses and off the shoulder tops. Spring is most definitely coming soon (you wouldn't know it from this week though) and I don’t know about you but I am ready to embrace it! Is there a better way to get into the spring/summer spirit than a quick DIY made from recycled materials?

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Keeping your toilet Zero Waste

Yep- Zero Waste ways have found their ways to the bathroom.  Let’s face it, we all do it, so we might as well talk about it! As I have been going through Zero Waste swaps in my life, the toilet items were next on my list. I was looking for more sustainable solutions of products which you normally see in your average home- toilet roll and a toilet brush.  So prepare for some shit talk! 

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Plogging- running whilst picking up trash

When I found out about Plogging, I got so excited. Finally, there is a way to combine two important things - exercise and environmental awareness. Of course it was the Scandinavians who thought of this first and it is slowly making its way to the UK. So what exactly is Plogging? The name comes from a word jogging and a Swedish ‘plocka’, meaning to pick. So it is exactly what it says on the package- you go for a run and whilst you are at it, you collect rubbish on the way. You not only get fit but you come home smug, knowing that you helped clean your local community which in my case means Peak District National Park. Genius idea if you ask me.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Zero Waste Dental Care

Oral care is really important. I don’t need to be a dentist to know that once your teeth are gone- they are gone and so you better look after them as much as you can! I have been ''blessed'' with a huge sweet tooth and so I have been to the dentist more than I would wish on anyone. As I embarked on my Zero Waste journey, I knew that I will have to tackle this swap eventually and find solutions which are not only Zero Waste but really work for me as well. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

How to reduce plastic waste at running races

I have been quite a frequent spectator at running races over the years.  Being a supporter rather than a participant is nice for a change as I have time to observe a lot of things which the runners who are in the ‘zone' don’t necessarily have time to see, mainly the plastic rubbish that is produced at all of these events. Single-use plastics like cups, water bottles and plastic bags are just some of the commonly used items at different races from road to cross country,  by both participants and runners. A small proportion of those items will end up on the running course (adding yet another job for the committed volunteers) littering the beautiful places that are often used as venues. Even if the items are disposed of properly, for most, the faith will be the same - they are only needed for a few seconds or a few minutes before they are discarded with the direction of incinerator or worse, landfill. The question is, do we need to do this or is there a solution so that we can enjoy these great sporting events without contributing to the plastic rubbish problem? Hint- absolutely. 

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Zero Waste Beer

Dry January is over. With most people getting back to their usual drinking routine, I thought it would be quite fitting to give you some ideas about Zero Waste booze. And because we live in Sheffield which is heaving with craft beer and real ale culture, it would be rude not to dedicate the whole post to beer. But as you know me by now, there has to be a Zero Waste twist to it! I am not a beer expert but I tend to hang around with people who know their difference between a lager and a real ale and it was inevitable that I experience some of that through many conversations and pubs visits. It is just one of those things about living in Sheffield- chances are that you will experience this wonderful side of drinking culture which focuses less on getting hammered and more on enjoying and discovering local beers all whilst having a good catch up with your friends. 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Pick your battles - and why Zero Waste is mine

I have not always been as concerned about the environment as I am now. In fact, I never used to recycle anything and drank from a new plastic bottle most days. Once even wrapped my towels when I was moving house in cling film as I run out of plastic bags. Yep, true story. Then something shifted in my mindset and I started to be aware of my decisions and what impact my actions have on the environment that I love. Somewhere along the line, I have become an environmental activist. I never used to see myself as an activist. I haven't attended protests against governmental decisions on the environment (yet) or against big companies or anything like that. Instead I chose to do something radical- take responsibility for my own actions when it comes to trash.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Zero Waste Pasta and Rice

Carbs - love them or hate them but chances are that you always have some at home for those times when you want to cook a quick meal. Rice and Pasta were one of the few things that I struggled to buy package free. I don't eat a lot of them anymore but in our household, we get through quite a bit so you can imagine how excited I was to find out that we can now buy it completely package free. The Sheffield University Students' Union has made a massive step towards sustainability and got some bulk bins with rice, pasta, bulgur wheat, lentils and more. 

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Microadventure- Winter Camping in the Lake District

I love those weekends when you feel that on Sunday night, you have become a different person to what you were like on Friday. It doesn't happen every weekend but it almost always is the case when I go and do something just outside of my comfort zone. If you have a big adventure where you travel for months, you will most definitely feel changed in a way. But actually, a weekend away can give you just the same feeling. You can find it a train ride or couple of hours drive away from where you live and you can push your comfort zone just as much. Your Monday morning commute seems a lot more bearable after that sort of weekend and you go in with a twinkle in your eye and an adventure in your cheeks. 

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Zero Waste Nuts and Seeds

I eat my body weight in nuts every month. They are such a good snack on its own and they are also a really good source of fats,  protein and minerals. Although we don't have a ZW waste shop in Sheffield (yet), I can buy most varieties package free. From almonds, brazil nuts and pine nuts to sunflower seeds and even some varieties coated in chocolate. I do a bulk shop roughly once every 6 weeks so that I always have some at home when I want to make some raw energy balls or add them to my meals.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Badass women series - Sarah Ingram

I am always inspired to see girls doing adventurous things and pushing their limits. Once upon a time, there used to be a particular type of an adventurer. Most often than not, it was a very much a  guy thing which involved a beard, scaling mountains, living for the outdoors and pushing physical limits. Well, I am so pleased to say that things are changing rapidly. There is a new type of adventurer- the adventurous gal.  Although there is no beard involved, she too is scaling mountains, living for the outdoors and pushing physical limits.


Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Self Care- The art of looking after yourself

With January often come goals settings and resolution making which is great. However, we often forget that we also need to include time for ourselves. Self-care -or looking after yourself. I have indeed included this alongside my other goals this year because I realized that unless you make it on par with the importance of the rest of your life and goals, it will be pushed on a back burner. I have always been a fan of self - care. Not the one that cosmetics industry tries to sell you but the necessary kind of self-care. Because in the world where being overworked and always busy is apparently something to strive for, taking time out for yourself, whether it is 5 minutes, an hour or a full day is an act of rebellion towards society like that. So stick a middle finger to the never taken lunch breaks, emails at 10 pm or mindless social media scrolling. Why? Because it is good for you.    

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Zero Waste Tea- Because who wants to drink tea with plastic?

I used to be a Yorkshire Tea girl. That is until I found out that it has plastic in it. This is not unique to just this brand but most commercially available teas (even those which are marketed as healthy!). How can you have plastic in a tea bag you may ask? Surely, it is just a paper tea bag? I thought that the humble tea bag was safe from the plastic invasion but I was wrong. Polypropylene which is plastic is actually used to seal some of the tea bags at the seams. So that means that you drink a little bit of plastic every time you sit down for a cup of tea- which for me is about 8 times a day.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

7 Reasons why you should start climbing this year

I discovered climbing nearly three years ago. Just before I started, I had this urge and a feeling to climb which I never had before. In fact, I used to be quite scared of the idea of climbing!  By this point, I have done quite a bit of cycle touring and hiking but I was new to the feeling of being off the ground during my adventures. Then something shifted and suddenly, when I walked in the Peak District, instead of looking ahead along the path, I started looking up towards the Edges at all the climbers, feeling the inexplicable urge to try it. I now know that what I experienced is quite a common thing amongst climbers- it is called the climbing psyche! 


Saturday, January 6, 2018

How to buy Fruit and Vegetables Zero Waste

I thought it would be quite fitting to kick off the new year's Zero Waste posts with shopping for fruit and vegetables. Whether your new year resolution is to get healthier or not, chances are that you could do with some fruit and veg after the Christmas shenanigans! Fruit and Veg now contains a large part of my weekly shop and so I make sure that I buy it package free as otherwise, it would contribute to quite a lot of unrecyclable trash.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Minimalism- Buy Less, Live More

I am not sure what came first for me, Minimalism or Zero Waste. I think I was in a point of my life a few years ago when I started to feel that stuff don’t make me happy. I had accumulated a lot of things. I wouldn’t say that I was a hoarder or I had a lot more stuff than your average student but at one point it started to feel like a lot.  Books that I only read once (or never), clothes that I never wore and unfinished sewing and craft projects were stored in every nook and cranny. My flat was overflowing and always messy and I never felt inspired looking at my to brim filled cupboards.  It felt pretty suffocating.