I N S P I R E D by: Blogger Besma Whayeb of Curiously Conscious
For the second post of this series, I was happy to chat with blogger and copywriter Besma. On her blog, she provides insight on things like lifestyle, beauty, food, and of course, fashion.
What sets her apart from other bloggers, is that she is an advocate for ethical and sustainable fashion. She gives advice on things like shopping for ethical clothes, jewelry, and even ethical cycling gear. I really appreciate how her blog can function as an ethical shopping and lifestyle guide for those who are just beginning their journey.
For those of you who have no idea where to start with ethical living, or what it even means, I know it can be overwhelming. For most of us, the first thing we think of when someone says sustainable lifestyle is handbags made of recycled Cheetos bags, and we run for the hills.
Or we can easily view living ethically as a very difficult and time-consuming standard to keep up. And that it might mean compromising our taste in high-fashion.
It doesn't have to be this way!
You can keep your taste in high-fashion, but compromise on fast fashion brands, to get long lasting, well-made, and fashionable pieces made at fair standards! It’s POSSIBLE! (Ahem! Tiyö Shop releasing her first capsule collection in less than a month - you can sign up for the newsletter and be up-to-date here. Had to just squeeze this in!)
Anyways, most of us don't start with ethical shopping because we're uninformed and don't know where to begin.
That's why it's important to get to know people like Besma, and check out her posts. Even if you have no idea what ethical living is. She makes it looks easy, and does collaborations with interesting ethical brands, that are nowhere near recycled chips bags.
Although she is such an advocate for ethical living, I was really glad to hear her saying she wasn't 100% perfect about buying everything sustainable or being totally zero waste.
Being ethical, sustainable, less wasteful are all great ideas and causes, but for me personally, it can be overwhelming to pursue perfection in these areas.
It can really drive you nuts to keep track of all the plastic around you, and keeping all your clothes sustainable, etc.
Not that we shouldn't be trying our best, though.
And I thought I might be the only one who thinks like this, after just recently getting into this conscious living game, and being intimidated by how some conscious people seem to be so strict about their lifestyles.
But Besma comes across as someone who is reasonably conscious, and well informed about her purchases and decisions, not to the point of overwhelm, but just enough to make a difference.
She also seems to have such a respect and love for her craft, which is writing. This really comes across in her posts. You can see that nothing is posted just for the sake of posting. She is very informed, strategic and honest in her blogging.
Which I really appreciate. The single most inspiring thing, to me, is a person who has respect and integrity for their craft. No matter what they do, I am absolutely inspired.
I was happy to interview the first ethical lifestyle blogger on these series, and I think you will be too.
For those of you already involved in ethical living, I hope this will be a good read.
For those of you who are clueless upon this topic, I hope you will still give this a go. Because it just might inspired you to question some habits.
- THE BLOG -
Curiously Conscious is my ethical lifestyle blog, where I write about balancing being kind with having fun! Essentially, I’m looking to find happier alternatives to mainstream issues, for example ethical fashion over fast fashion. I think it’s a lot easier to do than people think!
-HOW IT STARTED-
I started the blog after a period of no writing at all - I’d moved to Paris in my third year of my degree (a four-year course) and had stopped being Editor of my University paper. I needed a creative outlet, and I wanted to document all the new discoveries I was making, which spiralled into adopting French habits such as cooking lots of organic food, taking my own bags to the supermarket, and generally living more consciously.
-HOW IT EVOLVED-
I suppose after three years of writing, and now going full-time, I’ve gotten to a point where it’s profitable for me to write, and gosh I enjoy it so much still. It’s a perfect balance.
This year I migrated my blog from Blogger to Wordpress, self-hosting with a wind-powered hosting company. The changeover created an initial drop in traffic, but it was like having a new challenge - I updated the blog’s theme, and got into a really good rhythm with it! I feel like that has solidified a good working pattern for me, and I’m finding I can be more of a perfectionist with my posts now too.
I also learnt how to say no - I get press requests sent to me a lot, and I end up giving myself too much work to do. I’m currently in the process of learning which brands to say yes to, and which I can let go of. It’s business, nothing personal, and sometimes the best ethical brand just doesn’t appeal to me, or asks me to do something really unlike myself. I’ve found a style and a comfort zone that fits me, and I think that’s the most important thing for anyone working on a blog.
I now work 9-6 on my blog rather than at work, which is a massive change, and has been a dream of mine for years!
-WHAT IT MEANS-
Blogging is both my job, and my passion. It keeps my life exciting - new events to go to, new people to meet - and it also makes me feel like I’m doing something good by writing about brands I truly believe in and want to help grow.
- NATURAL BEAUTY-
Getting into natural beauty was a simple progression from eating well - one day, I suddenly realised that what I wear on my skin is just as important as what I put in my body. Makeup often makes me feel happy, but natural skincare makes me feel nourished, like I’m truly caring about myself.
-LETS TALK FOOD-
I didn’t always eat healthy. When I was 17, a combination of stress and anxiety led me to lose all interest in food, and I lost far too much weight. Then in my first year of university, I ate terribly (in terms on nutrition), thinking hot dogs chopped into a salad was “healthy”. It took moving to a whole different country for me to learn that I was missing out on both the better taste of healthy food, and the true nourishment is gives me. That being said, I’m still a massive chocaholic!
Zero waste is a hard one for me. I’m all for the movement away from plastic, but I think anything that is absolute is almost always impossible. It makes it so easy to punish yourself for buying a piece of fruit with a tiny plastic sticker on it. Instead, I like to think I’m buying my products as consciously as I can - I favour recyclable packaging like paper, cardboard or glass - and I try to dispose of my waste in the least impactful way possible. I also advocate for all women to try a sanitary cup - it’s so much better for you, it saves money, and it saves so much waste.
-SUSTAINABLE TIPS / WHY SUSTAINABLE -
Again, I don’t think my lifestyle is totally 100% sustainable, but I do try to live more sustainably. I cycle all around London, and I take public transport or trains when I’m travelling further afield. I like to shop second-hand because a lot of the time, you can find cheap well-made clothes that are one-of-a-kind. I like to find and write about the benefits of living sustainably, rather than the reasons behind being sustainable.
I’m such a slow fashion fan. First off, it sounds so peaceful in comparison to the glaring white shop floors of Oxford Street. And I’m finding more and more brands that have serious style and personality in their pieces, going above and beyond the high street. I think if a brand is doing it’s best to be ethical one way or another, it’s better than most chains already, and it’s worth supporting.
I would totally shop tailor-made, although I know it’s a much more expensive option. I’m not quite at that level yet, but I like brands that offer that experience. Personalization is key nowadays - look at Nike trainers for example - and for a brand to have a system that can care for each and every consumer that closely is great. It’s also a brilliant way to reduce waste.
-A BETTER LIFE -
So here, I’d like for you to give a ‘tip’ to my readers. A tiyö. The word tiyö means tip that comes purely from experience. Not just because people say it will work and the books say it’s right, but because the person giving tiyö experienced this exact thing and knows for sure that this will be the way to succeeding at whatever you’re doing. So it’s kind of guaranteed to work. Can you give a tiyö to readers? It can be about absolutely anything. Just something you’ve learned from experience you’d like to pass on.
I love the meaning of your shop name! My top tip is to always be informed about what you are buying. I used to call it being “mindful” but that word got very diluted very quickly.
The reason this is my tiyo is because I used to find myself falling into a panic when in a large shop, or even shopping online, and I would buy items that didn’t make me happy, were of poor quality, and god knows who made them. By shopping when armed with the right information, I’ve bought products that genuinely make me happy - from second-hand tops to ethically made socks, healthy teas to organic bath salts. If we all knew who made our things, how they made them, and what they were made from, I’m almost sure we would all be making better choices and feeling better about those choices too.
To read more INSPIRED series posts click here.
To follow along on Besma's blog: click here.
*PS: All things aside, Besma has a great food section! Interesting finds, and simple but delicious healthy recipes. So if you're going to check out her blog, I suggest you start there. And definitely deep-dive into her older posts if you're there.
Thanks for reading!
Hope this inspired you just a littlebit :)