Culture Corner #3

I can’t for the life of me understand how April has nearly been and gone already. This year so far has been both heartbreaking and wonderful for the world – we felt horror at the disgusting events in New Zealand, we’ve cheered on the incredible actions of activism from young people across the globe, and Gina Martin has only gone and got upskirting officially put on the sexual offences list. But it looks like the patience of most of us is drawing thin.

I don’t normally do politics on here – it’s supposed to be a fun space for fashion and silly anecdotes about my daily life, but the situation right now is just really pissing me off. The normal agenda of Culture Corner is due to resume below, after some thoughts I just really need to get down (feel free to skip past if you’re only here for the cool things I want to share this month).

I’m sick and tired of seeing the B-word everywhere. To be honest I’ve completely lost interest and am avoiding any news about it at all costs – it’s just quite embarrassing. I love Britain but I’m definitely not proud to be a British citizen in regards to our politics at the moment.

Who gives a shit about Brexit (ffs it slipped out) anymore – I for one don’t. I care about fixing the climate crisis which is eventually going to wipe us all out anyway, I care about the millions of refugees that are suffering every single fucking day, and I care about the unbelievably long amount of time it’s taking to stop plastic consumption. The protesting going on right now is so inspiring and the little actions we are all doing are so important, but all our government is worrying about is finding the best way to leave a union we are so much stronger as a part of anyway.

Jacinda Ardern’s approach to the horrific Christchurch massacre has opened up my eyes to quite a few notions; one of them being the disgracing light it has shone on other leaders. Ardern’s genuine compassion for her job, love for humankind and commitment to doing everything in her power to make the world a better place has come as a warm, tightly embracing surprise – but isn’t this the way all leaders should behave? Why are we so brainwashed by politicians that don’t care about us that we are amazed when one person in power actually does?

We have become so complacent with having a government that really only has its own best interests at heart; with politicians that currently are making an absolute mockery of our country; with a lack of love for communities and an ignorance towards solving the issues in society that matter.

How can these allegedly clever men and women sit discussing such insignificant things all day when there are more pressing problems that need their attention? If the extremely bright schoolchildren protesting around the world understand global crisis better than our fucking politicians, then something along the way has gone unacceptably wrong. Maybe the intelligent, positive and culturally aware future of our country should be making the decisions.

Poetry Elzz

Political rant over from me, but if you want some poetry that is both uniquely beautiful and also topically woken, then you should be following
Ellie Ward on Instagram. Ellie’s language is a bittersweet mix of graphically shocking and endearingly down-to-earth and I find myself rereading her poems over and over.

This girl is a super sparkly human and writes in a way that is so honest, open and refreshing. Her original style and sass means she isn’t afraid to touch on the subjects others might shy away from, as well as crafting touching love stories to her friends and dissecting personal experiences.

I especially like her recent poem discussing through thoughtful words how the new film about Ted Bundy is basically glamourising what he did, as I couldn’t agree more. I asked Ellie why poetry means so much to her:

“I wanna write about things I love like my friends and wine and serial killers I think are losers. I love being able to tell stories in my words. Simple as that. Over the last year I’ve been refining my voice and work: going to open mics, setting up @poetryelzz and gigging all over. I’m enjoying flexing my voice, it’s getting stronger and stronger and no one can shut me up !!!”

Also follow Ellie’s personal account too if you want to see a whole lot of inspiring body positivity – and positivity in general, actually.

Hay Festival 2019

As someone who grew up in Wales and constantly complained about having absolutely fuck all to do, I really wish I had paid more attention to the incredible annual haven that takes place right on my doorstep.

It’s one of those things that kind of surpasses you when you’re a teenager I guess (although perhaps it’s not the same for today’s amazingly engaged and socially conscious kids), and unfortunately, while I have always been fond of Hay, I never really attended the festival for anything other than a mooch round and a pint in the cool novelty cups.

But this is the great thing about growing up – doing adult things whilst simultaneously drinking pints from novelty cups! I’m so proud to say I’m from so near to a hub of cultural and literary brilliance. This year I’m taking full advantage of the wonderful Hay Festival (Thursday 23rd May – Saturday 2nd June) and going with my best mate to see Dolly Alderton in conversation with Clemency Burton-Hill which I am super ecstatic about!

There are loooads of other fab speakers and writers and generally interesting people filling the line up, including: Stacey Dooley (unfortunately sold out before I could nab a ticket), King Charles (a wonderful singer I have had the pleasure of seeing live before), Fatima Bhutto, and Elizabeth Day (author of How To Fail).

I would definitely recommend going along if you get the chance – even if it is just to check it out and get a drink in a novelty cup. View the programme online here.

Natural Weigh

Fangirling over Wales seems to be a bit of a theme for this post, so I’m just gonna roll with it.

I’m trying to be more sustainable, and this is becoming increasingly easier thanks to platforms like Instagram when they are used as a force of good to spread the word about local initiatives and businesses helping in the fight for a better environment.

In my opinion though, word of mouth is still the greatest tool for sharing great finds and I recently learned of a zero waste shop in Crickhowell, near my parents’ home in Brecon. The grocery industry creates the biggest problem in terms of plastic packaging, but it’s hard for consumers to avoid this when supermarkets are the easy option.

Natural Weigh is the first of its kind in Wales, set up by Robin and Chloe, who are using their experiences and passion to make a difference. The shop offers customers the chance to fill up jars and containers with organic, additive-free food ranging from coffee and chocolate to pasta and seeds.

It’s not as expensive as you’d think (52p for 100g of pasta shells!) and they even sell bamboo lunchboxes, toothbrushes and metal straws as alternatives to replace everyday plastic items. I popped in to check it out for myself over the long weekend and left with a natural food wrap that has such a pretty pattern and will be used as a stylish and reusable replacement for the tin foil and clingfilm in my lunchbox and beyond.

The lovely Chloe enlightened me on why she and Robin are so enthusiastic and determined about the business they have kickstarted (and rightly so).

“Robin has a background in marine science and has witnessed first hand the atrocious amount of plastics, big and small, in our seas. Chloe worked in environmental science and has a background in ecology and conservation.

“With such a connection to our natural environment we both felt frustrated by the lack of options for consumers to choose products which were not packed in single use plastic. Natural Weigh was our solution to this problem, where we offer organic wholefoods which are good for people and the planet.”

Supporting small businesses is so important for the local economy, and is also one big step in the direction of challenging major brands on their sustainability and eco-friendliness. You can use https://zerowastenear.me/ to find local stores to refill your jars with or have a wander round Natural Weigh if you should ever find yourself in Crickhowell.

Things You Can’t Ask Yer Mum

Two of my favourite bloggers have started their own weekly podcast and it’s everything I thought it would be given both their bubbly, grounded personalities. The first episode aired on 15 April and featured the topic of long-term relationships.

It’s a light-hearted, easy-listening podcast an you can’t help giggling along with Lindsey and Lizzy’s contagious laughter. Imagine you and your bezzie mate setting up a podcast and that’s exactly what you get with these two! Already can’t wait to listen to the next one when I’m feeling stressed so I can just use it as a reminder to relax, have a cuppa and not take life so seriously. I listen on Spotify.

Happy by Fearne Cotton

I have to admit, I started this about a month ago, but I don’t think I was really in the right headspace for it and had to put it down for a little while. I’d just finished Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love and sometimes personally I think it can be hard to adjust going straight from one memoir to another because of the shift in tone.

Initially I didn’t realise how much of an interactive book it was, so reading on the train wasn’t the right environment for me (not ideal trying to jot down your thoughts squished among other commuters). I’ve had a little break and picked it back up again for some evening reading and I’m finding it to be a really handy little tool.

I love how honest and down-to-earth Fearne’s depiction of her past struggles is, and the way she opens up about methods to cope or seek help when experiencing difficult moments. The messages from friends and family members break up the dialogue and offer an insight into how mental health effects us all differently.

As someone who has suffered with a mental illness, a story about overcoming the worst of your days is always empowering – but the focus on happiness is the most inspiring and I like the way you’re encouraged to express what happiness means to you through simple activities.

I’m still getting stuck into it but I can tell it’s going to be one of those I return to when I need some reflection – a really important read for everyone to gain a fresh perspective and to reminisce on their journey.

You can buy a copy here.

Music I have on repeat right now

Fallen into the Billie Eilish rabbit hole and can’t find a way out – how is she just 17?! I also finally watched Bohemian Rhapsody the other week and although I’ve never really considered myself a huge Queen fan, hearing all those incredible songs mashed together with the story behind the band made me rethink.

Billie Eilish – Bury a Friend
Foals – On The Luna
Billie Eilish – Bad Guy
IDLES – Meydei
Cream – Sunshine Of Your Love
Parcels – Tape
Queen – Who Wants To Live Forever
Slaves, Baxter Dury – Steer Clear
Beans on Toast – Fuck the Smoking Ban
The Police – Roxanne
Idles – Love Song

All these and more found on my Spring ’19 Spotify playlist!

Hope you had a crackin’ Easter weekend!
Lily x



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