Studying conflict and believing in peace. Follow for my thoughts on ethical living, art, trips and other ramblings.

I submitted my dissertation this evening which means that my Masters degree is finished, over, done. 

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It was such a big decision for me to finish a full time job, move cities and start this degree. But I like change and I like learning new things so I was happy to do it.

I’ve learnt so much from this degree. I’ve studied peace building, conflict studies, state building, aid, gender and development, religion, post conflict reconstruction, diplomacy, to name a few. I was able to go to Jerusalem and conduct research into local organisations that see religion as a tool for peace, not war, and who strive for peaceful coexistence.

My outlook on life has changed. My lifestyle has changed. I care about things I never used to: ethical living, fair trade, human rights, green living. The unfairness of the world and the need to strive to change it.

And most of all I met some truly amazing people who I now call friends.

I wonder what the next chapter of my life will bring.
Yesterday I escaped dissertation writing to go for a short stroll in the local park. The weather is so nice at the moment!

Chico y Rita (2010, Fernando Trueba, Javier Mariscal y Tono Errando)

This film is on BBC i-player and I watched it last night. Beautiful film and an amazing soundtrack.
These lovely BPA free water bottles have finally arrived through the post! I’ve been looking for a new water bottle for a while as I wanted one that will last.

I found these bottles online, a charity called Frank Water sell them. The charity sell ethically sourced bottled water and use the funds to source safe drinking water for communities in India. 

It took a bit longer to get these water bottles but the money is going to a great charity :)
My latest find, for £4.25 at a Cancer Research charity shop.
The dream
Many young women now seem to believe that sexual confidence is the only confidence worth having, and that sexual confidence can only be gained if a young woman is ready to conform to the soft-porn image of a tanned,waxed young girl with large breasts ready to strip and pole dance. Whether sexual confidence can be found in other ways, and whether other kinds of confidence are worth seeking, are themes that this hypersexual culture cannot address.
Natasha Walter, Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism


noelshiveley: I’m saying this from the little experience I have, trust me.
I’ve been meaning to write about this for ages, as we switched to Ecover a while back.
In a bid to use more eco-friendly home products, we’ve switched our washing up liquid, laundry detergent and fabric softener to Ecover (I make all our other household cleaners).
Why Ecover?
The health shop in our village sells Ecover products and gives you the option to refill bottles, which saves on plastic so is ecologically sound, and is cheaper than building a new bottle
Ecover built the world’s first ecological factory in Belgium, made up mostly of recycled and recyclable materials. 
In their mission statement, Ecover claims that development should meet “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” 
This means creating and producing products that are sustainable
Ecover claims that “There is no product from Ecover which has a persistent effect on the environment or health.”
Research Ecover conducted into their competitors’ products in 2006 showed that at least, “three market leaders in washing powders leave 10 % of their volume as stable leftovers after biodegradation in the environment… Ecover products leave 0% after they biodegrade, they disappear completely into the system.”

And lastly, Ecover do not test on animals or commission a third party to carry out animal testing.


With the stress of my dissertation, which is two weeks away till hand in date and a long way off from being near completion, it’s been nice to spend today being quite relaxed, spending time with my partner, being incredibly lazy, and doing odd hours of dissertation work when not eating or baking. 

We spent the morning browsing the Birmingham Market, picking up some organic and free range eggs, some mature cheddar, and raspberries. 

We then had lunch at Ort, a great art cafe down the road from where we live. I ate soup, had a cup of tea, and read the latest Private Eye. 


We wondered into our village and bought some beautiful flowers, and some free range meat for my partner (who’s not a vegetarian, but is trying to sourse his meat from local farms rather than supermarkets).

The late afternoon/evening has been spent baking Pizza and a baked Alaska. The baked alaska didn’t go well (there was a disagreement between my partner and I over whether to bake the alaska in the oven as we didn’t have a blow torch, I thought we should have done) but it tastes yummy. I got the gluten free sponge recipe from an online blog, it was really yummy. 


I’m reading this book about a Victorian man and little known British artist called Harry Treffry Dunn who lived with Dante Gabriel Rossetti for a number of years. This passage is about his first trip to Holland as a young man. 

I especially love the quote, “How perfect it would be to to linger in Rotterdam, sketching, daydreaming and answerable to no-one.”