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I was swept off my feet by Los Angeles. And it complicated things.

Before my month and a half-long trip began, I was convinced San Francisco would be the place I fell in lust with. I was truly shocked for the lust to as you know – it turned out to be the place

Through grey-tinted glasses, I have been telling everyone who asks that San Francisco was nowhere near as magical as I’d hoped. Until yesterday. When I opened my hundreds of photos to edit and relived my indulgences, excursions, and education visually…

San Francisco is sensational.

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sustainability
As a sustainability warrior in a world that elects a climate change denier as President, I was thrilled to see that over a quarter of Brits consider the environment and climate change to be their biggest concern for future generations in research commissioned by LG*.

The issue is – apart from carrying reusable water bottles and wearing our bras a few days more than we’d ideally like to – it can be hard to know what we should be doing to really make a difference.

That’s why I’ve created this little guide.

But what is being sustainable?
To provide a short answer to a very long question, being sustainable is to live in a way that can be maintained long-term with the resources at hand; renewable resources. recycling what you can, and minimizing resource use overall. This, in turn, protects our environment, health, communities, and future.

The alternatives – primarily mass waste and use of fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal) – are a dire failure of supply and demand that destroy everything from the environment to global health.

6 Baby Steps towards Sustainability

1. Stop driving.
Walking and cycling not only keep you fit, but keep our air less polluted. I know this isn’t easy for everyone, but if you can’t go without, go with less. And hybrid or electric, if the option is available. Only drive where other transport options aren’t available and try to ride share if you do. In Los Angeles (a city impossible to explore without roads) I used Uber Pool so I could rest assured I helped to take three more cars off the road at any given time. (Bonus: Ride-sharing is drastically cheaper than the alternatives and you can get an additional £15 off with the Uber code “uberlela“!)

2. Unplug everything.
I mention this purely because I used to leave my computer plugged in for days at a time. For no good reason. Any charger, computer, TV, light, etc that is left ‘on’ unnecessarily is the epitome of a resource drain.

When you use electricity, use it consciously. As much as 85 percent of the energy used to machine-wash clothes goes to heating the water, so something as seemingly insignificant as a cold wash can make a real difference.

3. Refuse palm oil products.
I could talk about the dangers of palm oil at length, but will try to reign it in. What is important to know is that palm oil is incredibly bad for the environment but incredibly cheap to produce, so many companies fill their products with it . Destroying our rainforests as they do so.

Avoiding it isn’t as straightforward as it should be (many countries allow it do be listed as “vegetable oil” to mislead customers) and 50% of supermarket products (from food to beauty) contain it, so research is imperative. But at a true gain to yourself. Companies like The Body Shop, L’Oreal, and even treats like Aero are completely palm oil free while seemingly ‘everyday’ products like Oreos and Doritos are packed with the stuff. For no other reason than profiteering.

A little Googling goes a long way here.

4. Eat smart.
Where buying food locally (farms, greengrocers, butchers, etc) is obviously best for your community and carbon footprint, you will be pleased to know that doing this alone for thirty days can reduce CO2 emissions by around eleven pounds.

Knowing what you’re eating, where it comes from, an limiting your meat intake are incredibly easy ways to live a more sustainable life.

While I’m not asking everyone to become vegan (which can have its own negative impacts – think palm oil), I do encourage you to eat less animal products overall. Meat production is one of the most environmentally destructive industries on the planet, responsible for massive amounts of water use, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and habitat destruction. Agriculture is actually responsible for more worldwide greenhouse gases than transportation.

A baby step? Cut your beef intake to once or twice a month. A steak or bolognaise will create almost four times as much C02 as a chicken breast, so limiting your protein intake to vegetables, nuts and locally raised, humane, and organic chicken & eggs is a great step towards sustainability.

(Don’t forget to compost and recycle everything you can when all is fed and nom!)

5. Buy sustainably.
Sustainability is much more than food and beauty products. Almost everything we use in our daily lives can contribute or prevent to non-sustainable repercussions so it is very important we buy products with a conscience. Buy products with less plastic packaging, reusable coffee cups (many chains accept them with discounts to your bill), “green” shopping bas, sustainable appliances (like the Centum washing machine with its 20 year warranty!), and more.

6. Continue to educate yourself.

And others. With love. The more you know, the more power you have. Collectively, we have a lot of purchasing and political power that can protect a fair and healthy existence for now and a thousand years from now.

* The survey coincided with the announcement that the LG FH6F9BDS2 Centum™ System washing machine uses 217kWh less electricity every year than an A+ rated model of the same size, saving you at least 67% off the electricity running costs. Not only this, but purchasing an A+++ washing machine can help to reduce carbon emissions and reduce consumers’ environmental impact at home. Compared to a similar sized A+ rated washing machine this will save you the same amount of CO2, as the equivalent to driving 370 miles every year!

laser hair removal
Unexpectedly, a few tweets about my laser hair removal experiences have left me with an inbox full of questions. Though the procedure has been around for a number of years, there are still a lot of queries and misconceptions surrounding laser hair removal and I figured the best way to address them for all of you would be the following guide.

As it stands, I have completed four full leg sessions over the year at Pulse Light Clinic and couldn’t tell you the last time I used a razor.

Does laser hair removal hurt?
Yes. But perhaps not as much as you would expect. In my experience, each ‘pulse’ feels like a short snap of a rubber band and only intensifies on areas where skin is naturally thinner (ie ankles), disappearing almost as soon as you feel it.

If you feel particularly worried, you can take a light painkiller 30 minutes before your treatment to take the edge off.

Where can you get laser hair removal?
According to my consultant, the most common area to get the zap is the underarms but you can actually get full body laser hair removal (special exceptions for the eye area, due to the strength of the lasers).

How much is laser hair removal?
The cost often comes down to the size of the area you’re lasering and the quality of the clinic. I have seen a number of ‘deals’ for laser hair removal over the year but hadn’t felt safe enough to proceed until I visited Pulse Light Clinic. Though it a series of treatments will cost a few hundred pounds, like many things, you get out what you put in (and reap the rewards in time and money!).

After laser hair removal, is the hair gone forever?
The first session cut my hair growth down by about 75%. As our bodies grow hair in a cycle, it takes a handful of session intervals (of six weeks or so) before you get access to all of the hair follicles but, yes, each time a hair is lasered it is pretty much lasered to death. Many clinics say you’re “done” in six to eight sessions but I have been left almost completely hairless after four.

After that point, most men and women return every five to ten years (it truly depends on the individual’s body) for a top up session.

Is laser hair removal worth the money?
If shaving or waxing feels like more than a chore, yes. I have my legs out almost every day of my year and found waxing (where you have to grow hair out between treatments) ridiculous and shaving an OCD bore. Pulse Light Clinic’s Gentle Max Pro (by Syneron Candela) works incredibly fast, is tailored to each patient’s skin & tolerance, reduces ingrown hairs, smoothes skin, and leaves you with much more time to spend on things you actually want to do.

If you’re in London, head to Pulse for a free consultation and patch test with one of their laser experts. They accept walk ins, are open to 8pm (weekdays and weekends!), and have super convenient clinics by Bank and Tottenham Court Rd – I couldn’t recommend them enough.

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After a month and a half in America, it feels like an absolute lifetime since my arrival in California.

But that’s where we start this crazy adventure – Los Angeles; Hollywood, Santa Monica, and all the little gems in between.

Continue reading for the definitive look into the L.A. lifestyle, what to do, where to go, and – perhaps most importantly – what to eat…

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A photo posted by Lela London (@lelalondon) on


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