Wednesday, 30 December 2015

2016 Hopes & Goals


As we approach the end of 2015 I think it's natural to experience a period of reflection whereupon we may think about how this year went for us and what we would like to achieve within the next year. 

I feel extremely on the fence this year when it comes to new years resolutions. On the one hand I think they can be extremely motivating and the whole idea of a new year and a new you can seem really appealing, particularly if you've had a difficult year or have a list of things you'd like to change or improve on. A new year does mark a new beginning and an opportunity to put the past behind us and move on from things that may have been holding us back. I totally get why a lot us wait until the new year to make some important life changes. It's like you can plan ahead for the next year and spend more time envisioning where you want to be whilst allowing yourself mentally to come to terms with the whole idea. 



I do believe that a lot of this comes down to being in a certain frame of mind and embracing thinking positively. I saw an inspirational quote a few weeks ago which said 'the best time for new beginnings is now' which I totally agree with. I'm sure we've all been in the situation where we've put the diet off until Monday because the beginning of a new week feels like a fresh start. When in fact it would probably be more beneficial all round to just start the diet now! But for some reason that can feel like a far less achievable target. 


I keep hearing the phrase 'it's just another day' lately and the logical side of me couldn't agree more. It is just another day and the only thing that changes in reality is the date. The emotional side of me will think differently though and as much as I would like to make some changes right here and right now I know that deep down I am someone who generally achieves more if I plan, prepare and phsych myself up. I'll admit that I do need that little bit of extra motivation to set my mind to something and get my arse into gear!


But am I just setting myself up to fail? I'm sure I wouldn't be alone in admitting that a lot of new years resolutions have been broken in the past and the levels of high motivation have only lasted a few weeks. But maybe that's just me!? I'm sure the levels of pressure and expectation we voluntarily place upon ourselves at this time of year isn't always healthy for our bodies or mind. Then again, maybe if you truly believe you can achieve something then you will.   


I mentioned in my last post that 2015 has been a real mixed bag for me. I have had some really amazing highs and I have been fortunate enough to travel to some beautiful places. My blog and following have gone from strength to strength and I'm feeling really proud of everything that I have achieved. My blog has also allowed me to make some amazing new friends in my area which has been a total surprise but one that I welcome. I really do feel like I have a great community of people around me at me moment and it's refreshing to feel so appreciated and supported.  
  
On the downside i've experienced big changes in my career which has left me feeling really uncertain about my future. I've reached a stage where I have no idea what I want to do outside of writing and photography. I know that i'd like to do something rewarding and ideally within an animal environment but i've yet to find the right opportunity. I've also experienced a lot of stress and consequently my anxiety levels have risen again which has been hard to deal with and made life feel like a real challenge at times. I think when you're in your twenties you imagine to have life completely worked out by the time you reach your thirties but it would appear that I still have a little way to go!


So what are my hopes for 2016? To be honest I think i've decided that the best way forward to is to set some small and achievable goals rather than one huge challenge. I also want to incorporate things that I actually want to do and can look forward to. I think life is a constant learning curve and i'm always striving to improve upon things and better myself in any way that I can but it's still worthwhile to have some targets in mind and something to aim towards. 

It's taken quite a lot of thought to come up with this list but i've actually enjoyed the process and  I've even found it to be quite a therapeutic process. So here goes....

  • Spend some time volunteering with animals
  • Continue to work on having body confidence through a healthy diet & exercise
  • Visit one new country and one new city
  • Sign myself up for a course where I can learn something new
  • Invest in a decent DSLR camera and improve my photography skills
  • Work on managing my anxiety levels better
  • Grow my blog and social media following
  • Dedicate one day a week to myself and self care
  • Finish my crochet throw (80 granny squares to go!)
  • Spend less time online and more time reading 

I'd like to wish you all a Happy New Year and I hope 2016 is filled with lots of fun, laughter and happiness for all of us. Whatever your hopes and goals are for next year remember to be kind to yourself and others around you! And what ever you have planned this NYE I hope you have a great night and wake up on the 1st feeling ready to take on 2016. 

What are your hopes and goals for next year? I'd love to hear!  
Share:

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

December Life


I'm sure for most of you reading this December was probably a pretty hectic month but for me December is the one month of the year where everything seems to happen all at once. Not only is it Christmas but it's also my birthday, my best friends birthday and the anniversary of when I met my husband. To say i've been busy would be an understatement! 
Share:

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Living Naturally Ayurvedic Herbal Hair Mask


I've been aware of the Living Naturally brand for some time now having been introduced to their products through my Vegan Kind subscription box and at various vegan events such as VegFest. I have in the past tried their soapnut shampoo & conditioner and their soapnut shells for my laundry, all of which are great products. So when The Vegan Lifestyle Association got in touch with me and asked me to review their Ayurvedic Herbal Powder Hair Mask I was excited to take part and get to know this brand a little better. 
Share:

Friday, 18 December 2015

Lucky Dip Club ~ Cats & Cocktails

This months Lucky Dip Club box has been my favourite of the year so far with it's 'Cats & Cocktails' theme. Anyone who reads this blog or follows me on social media will know that I am a little obsessed with cats and i'm frequently buying cat related accessories. So this box really couldn't have been any more perfect for me! 
Share:

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

My Favourite Things About Christmas


With Christmas being just over a week away now I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my personal favourite things about the festive season!  

All of my presents have been bought and wrapped, all my cards are wrote and ready to go and all my plans are in order. So what better time to sit back and reflect on what it is that I love about this time of year...

1. Vegan mince pies. I can't get enough of them. Especially warmed up with some Swedish Glace ice cream. Yummy! 

2. Internet Christmas radio stations. As soon as it hits December it's goodbye to my usual Global Ibiza Radio and hello 'Jingle Bells'! 

3. Christmas Trees. Especially their smell! I get so excited about our tree going up and having the living room transform into a cosy winter wonderland.

4. Nut roasts. I'm not a big lover of roast dinners, and I only tend to eat them once the weather starts to get cold, but my favourite part has to be the nut roast! They're so tasty with some cranberry sauce and all the trimmings. I really don't miss turkey at all! 

5. Giving. It sounds really cheesy but I genuinely love giving to those around me and it makes me happy buying others presents, especially when you see their faces light up when they open them. 

6. Christmas crafting. This is the first year i've really got into making some handmade decorations and I've loved it. 

7. Spending time with people. It seems like an obvious one but it's definitely what this time of year is all about. It's the people that make it and not the presents.

8. London. Christmas just isn't the same for me without a visit to the big smoke!

9. Eastenders. It's the only soap I watch and it really doesn't dissapoint at this time of year with the story lines getting more intense by the day in the lead up to what is always a catastrophic Christmas Day! Maybe one year they'll surprise us with a happy ending!?

10. Dressing the dogs up for a Christmas photo! They love it. I promise! 

11. Letting people who you don't see or talk to all the time know that you're thinking of them.

12. Shopping. It may be the worst part for many but i'm a shopaholic at heart so I love it. But one thing you'll never see me doing is racing for the new year sales. After Christmas I avoid all shops until February!

13. The Grinch. It's my favourite Christmas film and makes me laugh out loud every time I see it!

14. The Radio Times. It just has to be done even if you do already have the TV guide app. 

15. A fresh start. It's most certainly a frame of mind but I love the idea of a year being over and a chance to start afresh again.

What's your favourite thing about this time of year?  
Share:

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Planet Pure Laundry Liquid


When making the transition over to a vegan lifestyle you will undoubtedly look to change your diet first and foremost, then perhaps your make up and cosmetics and it may be the case that your household and cleaning products come as a slight after thought along the process. Well that was the case for me anyway and over a year into my journey I am still considering different household and  cleaning brands.  

When The Vegan Lifestyle Association approached me about trying and testing some new Planet Pure laundry liquid I was more than happy to take part as I am still searching for my go to product for my washing and I am also always excited to discover new brands. 

Planet Pure products, sold via Fair Living, are most importantly both vegan and cruelty free which are the main stamps of approval that I look for on any of the products that I use.  

Their products are also certified organic to Austria's exacting standards with the ingredients deriving from unmodified plants and organic essential oils used for the fragrance. I admit that I don't make a point of shopping only organic but if a product I am using does only contain natural ingredients and no nasty chemicals it can only be a good thing for both you and the environment. 


As if all of that wasn't already enough, the whole range of products is produced to fair trade standards, thus benefitting the community in India who grow the soapnuts, which provide the cleaning power, as well as the workers in the factory in Austria, where socially disadvantaged people are employed.  In the UK they work with a social enterprise in Hereford for shipping who employ people with special needs. 

There are a number of different laundry liquids available from Planet Pure, all of which are beneficial to different fabrics and skin types. I was sent the 'Fresh Lavender' variety which is suitable for all fabrics. A 510ml bottle size will give you approximately 12 washes and costs a reasonable £3.99 whilst the bigger 1.55l bottle will give you 38 washes for £8.99. Financially it makes more sense to go for the bigger bottle but it's nice to have the option of the smaller bottle, particularly if you're looking to try this brand for the first time. 

When I opened my bottle of laundry liquid I was really impressed by the strong lavender fragrance. I'm not sure why but my preconceptions were that maybe it wouldn't smell that great or as powerful as other detergents but I was wrong. It would seem that the essential oils used within these detergents work really well. 

I was also a little surprised to see that the contents of the bottle consisted of a watery brown liquid but this is indeed what purely natural cleaning products look like! This does make me question even more so the ingredients within conventional detergents which produce such a wild array of colours that we're so often used to seeing. 

I have been using this laundry liquid all week and my initial reaction is a good one. One of the first things I done when removing my wet washing from the machine was smell it and again I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the initial fragrance from the bottle made a lasting impression on my clothes. Also, and considering that no additional fabric softener was used, my clothes felt pretty soft once they had dried. Sometimes my husbands t-shirts in particular can appear a little stiff once they've dried out but that wasn't the case this week. 

I was also sent a bottle of Planet Pure's stain removing spray which I shall put to good use as and when I have a suitable stain that needs busting. It claims to be able to remove the toughest of stains including red wine and grease which I will be interested to try and report back on.   

On the whole the detergent performed how I would expect any other to which is pretty impressive considering it's all natural, vegan and cruelty free. It was effective in cleaning my clothes and left them feeling soft and smelling fresh. I would most definitely be inclined to purchase this product again and it's great to know that by doing so I would be doing good for my wellbeing, the animals, and our planet.
* This review has been organised by the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION. It has not been paid for and the products were sent free of charge. All views expressed within this review are my own. 

Share:

Monday, 14 December 2015

The Vegan Kind #TVK26


I was so happy last week to receive the latest Vegan Kind Christmas box on my birthday! I was already feeling pretty spoilt by everyone and having this turn up too was just such great timing. 


Over the past few weeks I've been really looking forward to receiving the December Vegan Kind box as I remember this time last year when I was a new subscriber and how amazing the festive box was.

So did #TVK26 live up to my expectations?


When I opened the box I was first and foremost overjoyed to see a Harpers Bizarre candle included! I received one in last years box and loved it so much that I have been a loyal customer of theirs ever since. I was also happy to receive the 'Not Even A Mouse' Christmas cake fragrance as this is one that I haven't tried before and it smells divine. The best thing about these candles is that they are indeed vegan and cruelty free but they also give off such a long and lasting aroma. They're great to smell in the tin but also when they're alight. I'm saving mine for Christmas Eve and I'm sure it will have us feeling all cosy and Christmasy before Santa arrives!

I was also really happy to receive a Sticky Mix box which I have again tried before from a previous TVK box back in the Summer. Last time I received a chocolate chip cookie mix which I somehow managed to mess up despite it being an extremely simple process to follow. This time I was determined to get it right and i'm pleased to show off the results!



These oat & cranberry cookies were delicious and so easy to make. I really love how they turn out slightly crunchy on the outside and soft and chewy in the middle. Within the pack you are pretty much provided with everything you need to make them aside from vegan butter and water so they really couldn't be any more straight forward. I'm definitely looking forward to trying more of these packs from Sticky Mix in the future.

Also included within this months box were some really yummy mini marshmallows from Freedom Mallows. These have always been my favourite vegan friendly marshmallows and in my opinion they taste just as good, if not better, than other marshmallows. I was hoping to do something creative with mine like adding them to a baked treat but they ended up just being eaten straight from the bag! I just wish more big shops stocked these marshmallows as where I live I only ever tend to see them in Holland & Barrett and vegan marshmallows on the whole can be quite hard to come by.

Another product which I loved in this box were the dark chocolate mint owls from Cocoa Libre. Tasting very similar to an After Eight, these chocolates were to die for and so moreish! I would have liked to have made them last longer but they were the first item to get eaten straight away between me and my husband. I've tried a few items from Cocoa Libre recently and I have to say that they have fast become my favourite vegan chocolate brand. 

The only items I felt some disappointment with from this box was the Sweet Freedom choc shot in orange spice and the Christmas pud Nakd bar. To be honest I have so many of the choc shots in my cupboard now it's getting a little out of hand! Over the past year they seem to have been the product to be included within everything and every freebie going so I have accumulated a lot of them. That's not to say I don't like the product itself as I often enjoy it on top of some ice cream or in my porridge, but personally I would have much preferred to receive something new to me. Likewise with the Nakd bar this is something I have tried a lot of in the past and unfortunately the Christmas pud bar is my least favourite flavour of the bunch so this just wasn't for me. 

This will be my final Vegan Kind review for a while now as I am taking a break from this subscription purely because i'd like to try some others out there and buy more one off boxes which will hopefully help to keep things more varied for me and my blog. I have however really loved being a TVK customer and I think this is a great value for money subscription to take out for any vegan, especially perhaps if you are new to this way of living as you are guaranteed to be introduced to many fantastic new products.    
Share:

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Vegan Afternoon Tea At The Savoy


This week I celebrated my birthday and my lovely husband whisked me off to London for the day to  enjoy some shopping and a special afternoon tea at The Savoy. I had heard a while ago that The Savoy caters well for vegans (and other dietary requirements) with their afternoon teas which got me excited to see what they could come up with. A traditional afternoon tea is, as you well know, renowned for being an over indulgent treat normally laden with cakes, pastries, scones and clotted cream. I am always therefore really intrigued to try vegan variations of this typically English custom.

Share:

Monday, 7 December 2015

Stockholm


Last week I visited the beautiful city of Stockholm for a few days with my husband as an early birthday treat. I love nothing more than a cold wintery city break at this time of year, especially to European cities as they all seem to know how to celebrate the festive season in style. 

This time last year we set off on an adventure to the vegan capital of Europe Berlin which was amazing and really set my mind on doing something similar again this year. Having never been to Sweden before, I was really excited to experience their culture and scenery.

I always think there's something very romantic about taking mini breaks at this time of year too. I have many fond memories of Andy and I wrapped up warm arm in arm and exploring different cities by foot. I love the frequent pit stops into cosy little cafes for hot drinks and sweet treats. When the early evenings set in and the twinkle of Christmas lights make the streets come alive you can't help but feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. One of our favourite things to do is to pick up a small Christmas tree decoration from the places we visit too which then once a year serves as a little reminder of the good times we've shared together. 

I'm normally a little over organised when it comes to planning out our holiday itineraries and this is something I wanted to take a slight back step from on this trip. Normally my itineraries involve days of research and include a number of veggie/vegan restaurants which I become obsessed with visiting. This isn't an all bad way to be and has resulted in us experiencing some wonderful places. However, I really just wanted to go with the flow more on this break and not dictate the holiday around where we were going to eat. This can of course be a little risky if you're hoping to eat purely vegan abroad and I would normally recommend planning ahead and locating vegan eateries. But this time I wanted to feel free from any restraints as I felt myself missing the days of just stumbling across somewhere cute looking and wanting to go inside. That doesn't mean I'd resort to eating meat just because the place looked appealing (I'd never do that!). It meant making the mental decision beforehand that I would where possible do my best to eat vegan but if I wasn't able to then I'd eat veggie instead and try not beat myself up about it afterwards. For the sake of enjoying being in the moment and enjoying the here and now I needed to loosen the reigns a little on this trip. 

To my surprise we happened to stumble across more veggie places than I'd anticipated and most of the time I was even able to eat vegan which was great! Stockholm, and in particular the trendy SoFo area, were indeed more veg friendly than I'd imagined. 

One of my favourite places from our whole time in Stockholm was a small restaurant called FLFL located within the SoFo area. This is a falafel restaurant and the food was just to die for! It was exactly what we needed after hours of walking around exploring in the cold and it more than hit the right spot. I was also pleased to see some clear vegan labelling on their menu! The falafel wrap and fries were huge portions and delicious. If I ever happened to be in the area again this is where I would eat.



One place which I had heard about as being the best veggie friendly restaurant in Stockholm was Hermans. I kind of knew that if I only got to visit one place I wanted it to be here and we luckily enough got to visit it one evening for dinner. Hermans reminds me of so many vegetarian restaurants I've been to in the past with its slightly rustic but homely interior and self serve buffet style food. I think because I had already heard good things about Hermans, and their amazing view over the city, I did go in with some expectations and once I saw the buffet these were more than met! All of the food looked so inviting. There was a selection of cold and salad type dishes along with a few hot dishes including curry and shepherds pie. To my sheer amazement everything just so happened to be vegan including the dessert selection. It did feel as though we'd hit the jackpot with Hermans! My only regret is that we didn't visit during the day for lunch as the view in the evening is rather limited.







Another place I managed to eat vegan was at Cafe String in SoFo. We went inside because it looked very eccentric and cool and luckily enough there were vegetarian options on the menu. The staff were really accommodating when I requested an avocado salad sandwich with no cheese and I got exactly what I asked for! After a few days of no avocado I really began to crave it but I wasn't hopeful I'd find it anywhere so this sandwich felt like a real treat. 


I think my main vegan downfall on this trip were the pastries and baked treats. If you didn't already know they have a tradition in Sweden called 'fika' which basically means stopping for an afternoon tea and something sweet. As a result of this all of the cafes have the most amazing and inviting selection of cakes! My sweet tooth has always been my downfall in life and this time was no different. I admit that I didn't even ask if any of these were vegan friendly but I'm pretty sure they weren't. 



To my amazement we did happen to stumble across a couple of other veggie restaurants on our travels but unfortunately it wasn't the right time to eat but both looked like great options. Firstly a restaurant called 'Chutney' in the SoFo area which was absolutely packed - always a good indicator that the food is good! Then we came across 'Hermitage' in Gamla Stan which prides itself on being 'the only vegetarian restaurant in the old town'. If we had more time in Stockholm these were two restaurants that I would have definitely liked to try out. 


All in all, and aside from the food, it was such a fun few days away together. We enjoyed so much walking, shopping and sightseeing. Highlights of our trip included a visit to the modern art museum and the photography museum, mooching the Christmas markets with a traditional cup of 'glogg' in hand, ice skating and of course a great deal of lusting over beautifully designed Swedish homeware. 



Share:

Sunday, 29 November 2015

November Life


November has been one crazy whirlwind and vastly different to my quiet October spent feeling unwell. I'm feeling much better now thankfully and as a consequence I seem to have been running around like a mad woman for most of this month. I also seem to have been bitten by the Christmas spirit a little bit earlier than I anticipated but instead of fighting it i've just embraced it. 
Share:

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Dee's Leek & Onion Vegan Sausages


The lovely people from Dee's recently sent me over a packet of their leek & onion vegan sausages to try out and review on the blog. Although i've seen Dee's sausages advertised before I have never actually bought any myself as i've never really liked products that try to replicate meat. I was however willing to give these a try to see if I could be persuaded!

I think the thing that has appealed to me the most about these sausages is that they are primarily made from pea protein and beans which means that they are high in protein. As a vegan I can't help but be conscious about whether I am getting enough protein from what I eat and in my opinion these sausages are such a convenient way of doing so. 

On tasting the sausages I was pleasantly surprised. Although they looked fairly meat like in their appearance they didn't remind me too much of meat in taste or texture. I really enjoyed the overall taste, particularly the herby and lightly spiced flavouring. I found that they worked great in little hotdog buns or alongside some mash potato and with tomato or brown sauce.  


At only 55 calories per sausage and low in saturated fat, these sausages are great if you are conscious about your weight and calorie intake too. They are also GMO & gluten free whilst being free from any artificial additives. Clearly these are a much healthier alternative compared to meat sausages and the great thing is they taste just as good. 

There's no denying that these are really up there for me as far as vegan sausages go and would even be a contender to knock my previous favourite sausage off the top spot. I'm glad that I was open minded enough to give them a go and it just goes to prove that you don't really know what you like until you try something. 

Ocado currently sell Dee's sausages at £3.90 a box which is slightly more expensive than regular meat sausages. Personally I am more than happy to pay more for a good quality product especially if it means an animal hasn't lost it's life to produce it.  

I'm really pleased that I got to try out these sausages and I am definitely going to buy them again. I am also looking forward to trying other sausages from the award winning Dee's range including the roast garlic and mushroom variety.  
Share:

Monday, 23 November 2015

Quick & Easy Vegan Mince Pies


There's no denying that these vegan friendly mince pies are probably the most easiest and quickest way of making your own at home. If you didn't already know, Jus Rol shortcrust pastry just so happens to be vegan which makes life incredibly easier. I've never attempted making my own pastry and why would I bother when this ticks all the boxes!? Sainsbury's own brand jars of mincemeat also have the vegan stamp of approval. These two ingredients are the main things you need to create your own mince pies but you may like to sprinkle some sugar on top of them too.  

Share:

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The Vegan Kind Beauty Box 5


The Vegan Kind Beauty Box arrives every quarter which means it's always a lovely surprise when it turns up as I do tend to forget when it's due! That is until I see lots of tweets flying around online about it. 

Here's a run down of what was included in this months box and my review of each item:


A totally new brand to me, Human+Kind believe that 'being kind to others starts with being kind to yourself'. A motto that I truly love and believe in! They have created a skincare range that is both natural and kind to your skin without any of the harmful petrochemicals. Personally I can never have enough hand cream so I was pleased to see this item included in this months beauty box. It's the perfect size to be able to carry it around with you in your handbag and the packaging is beautiful. When I tried the cream I was really impressed by how intensively moisturising it is without leaving your hands sticky afterwards. I also love the scent of this cream, it makes you want to keep smelling your hands. I'm already browsing their website deciding what to buy next as their range of products looks really great!


When I first started out on my cruelty free journey it initially didn't even occur to me to think about my make up brushes being made from animal hair but as time has gone on it has surprised me just how many brands do use animal hair within their brushes. I've been thinking for some time now that I would like a whole new set of vegan friendly make up brushes so I was pleasantly surprised to see this brush from Spectrum included in the box. I've seen the Spectrum brushes online before and i've been really drawn to the vibrancy of their brushes. It has to be said that i'm a bit of a sucker for anything pink and pretty so these brushes are perfect for me! The brush itself does feel like it's a good quality make too and at only £4.99 to buy I think it's really great value for money. 


Ok, so I have a confession to make.... The whole coconut oil as a 'miracle' beauty product thing has totally passed me by! I've literally heard so many people tell me that it's a wonderful product to use not only on your skin but also on your hair, in your cooking and even as a toothpaste. I think it's versatility may have initially made me cautious because I haven't really known where to start with it. So instead i've avoided it! Until now that is. I have to say I was happy to see this pot of coconut oil included in the box because it's going to be the kick up the bum I need to start using it in my life. I haven't dived into it yet but I am looking forward to experimenting with it over the coming weeks. I think this handy sized pot is also a great starting point for me as the super huge tubs have always put me off. But who knows I could get hooked and be ordering myself one of those soon! 


Another new brand to me, I had never heard of Emani before but it's great to know that they are a fully vegan cosmetics company. This is a big reason why I have loved subscribing to these beauty boxes because they have introduced me to new brands that I otherwise may have never come across. I've been using this lipshine all week and i'm pleased to report that it's a really nice long lasting gloss. The soulmate colour is also perfect for me as I quite like light neutral colours that go well over my lipstick without being too bold or bright. It also has a slight shimmer to it which I love as it adds another dimension to your lips. I've been really happy with this product but I think the only thing that would put me off purchasing it again is the price. At £11.00 + delivery it's well over double what I pay for my usual lip gloss from Elf Cosmetics.


I think this handy compact mirror is my favourite item from this beauty box! Not only is it a lovely hot pink colour but the cute bunny design with the 'vegan' message is just so cute. I'm not sure what  the compact itself is made from but it just feels so soft and smooth in your hand. I shall definitely be adding this to my handbag and it will no doubt get a lot of use whilst I am out and about. The mirror is a product from The Vegan Kind and will soon be available in their online shop.


I've used a few products from Green People in the past and I have always been impressed by their range. I hadn't however tried any of their hair care products and this shampoo arrived just at the right time as i've recently been running low. I'm always on the look out for new vegan friendly shampoo's and conditioners as I don't think i've yet found my holy grail cruelty free product for my hair. It was also great to see that the shampoo included in the box was specifically for coloured / damaged hair as my own hair has recently been coloured whilst I am trying to cover up some ombre bleaching from the summer. My hair has felt a bit dry and lacklustre lately so I was interested to see what this shampoo could do for me. I used it this morning to wash my hair and I have to say that i'm pretty impressed. My hair feels different today and in a good way. It feels like it has a bit more life in it whilst appearing more bouncy and thick. It also smells pretty good too! I think the only disappointing factor for me is that this is a trial sized bottle as I would have liked to use it for a longer time before coming to any real conclusions about it. I'd also like to try it alongside the conditioner to see how well they work together. But overall this seems like a great product and one i'd like to use again. 

I subscribe to this box myself and all views expressed within this review are my own. This will however be my final beauty box review for a while as I have postponed my subscription whilst I catch up on using things from my massive drawer full of products. No doubt I will get a serious case of FOMO when the next box gets delivered to everyone else, but for now it's the right decision for me. 

If you're considering signing up to this box then I really can't recommend it enough. It's a great way of being introduced to new brands and products and always proves to be excellent value for money. Plus what could be better than receiving a box full of goodies like this through your door every 3 months!? Go on, treat yourself  : )
Share:

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Tibits London


I had planned this blog post to be full of lots of inviting photos of the wonderful restaurant Tibits in London, however, and as you can see, I only managed to take this one photo of my epic dinner plate. And why you may ask!? Well to be honest I was having so much of a good time that blogging took a back seat! Sometimes that happens and I think it's a good thing that it does. It was only once I returned home that I sighed that I wish I had taken more photographs but in all honesty it was pretty dark inside the restaurant and I don't think any photos could really do this place the justice it deserves. So for now you will have to rely on my words... 

My lovely vegan friend Hayley decided to hold her 30th birthday celebrations at Tibits last Saturday and when she first mentioned where she planned to go I was really excited as this is a restaurant that has been on my hit list for some time now. I really don't get to go to London as much as I would like anymore so it's become a challenge to fit in all the amazing places to eat. But what better excuse to hit the big smoke than for a birthday night out! 

I had already heard on the grapevine that Tibits is an amazing place to eat if you like your veggie and vegan food. I also knew that it's a buffet whereby the weight of your plate determines the cost of your food which got me even more curious. I do love a buffet, particularly when it's purely dedicated to satisfying the needs of people like me (You know, weird people who don't eat meat!). And as you can see from my photo, I didn't hold back when it came to loading up my plate with a bit of everything on offer. Well not quite everything as some of the options are vegetarian and I wanted to enjoy a plate of vegan only dishes. But this is a pretty good testament as to how many vegan options were on offer! 

So I guess you're all wondering how much a plate of this size cost me? I have to admit it was more than I expected when it weighed in at a whopping £17.90! But, and it is a big BUT, I enjoyed every mouthful along with the experience so I really didn't mind. 

You need to take into account that Tibits is situated in the heart of the West End of London just off of Regent Street so it's naturally going to be more expensive. It' also worth remembering that places like this aren't everywhere, unless of course you happen to live in Switzerland which is home to three Tibits already with a whopping further five planned to open in 2016. I know where i'll be holidaying next year! But seriously, the only place which I know to have more than one veggie/vegan buffet is Brighton and that's hardly around the corner for me. Tibits does offer something pretty unique and I guess if you want to enjoy the luxury of a vegan buffet then you're going to pay the price.  

Going back to the food itself, it was really delicious and there was a great selection of dishes with everything from salad, rice, potato wedges, pasta, vegetables, quinoa, curried chickpeas and even spring rolls! It was great to see that the number of vegan options were equal to, if not more so, than the veggie options. Everything was labelled really clearly too so we knew exactly what we were eating which is always a bonus. I understand the buffet changes on a daily basis so if you are fortunate enough to live close by you can expect to see something different on your visits. All I could think whilst we were there was that it would be dangerous if I did live closer as I am pretty sure I would be in there most lunch times.  

I really wish I had taken a photo of the dessert selection because this was equally as good. My husband and I enjoyed a beautiful vegan treacle pudding and sponge cake between us which came to  reasonable £7. After the main meal I didn't really have room for anything else but there was no way I was leaving without sampling the puddings!

It's also worth me mentioning that I think this restaurant does work particularly well for large groups. My friend had no issue in booking a table for 15 people and with everyone paying separately for their plates of food it does save all the hassle of splitting the bill at the end. It was all just easy and informal but with a great atmosphere for a special occasion. 

If you've never been before then I can't really recommend Tibits enough for a meal out. I do however recommend maybe not eating beforehand so you have plenty of room left to enjoy what's on offer. This is definitely a meal you want to be hungry for! 
Share:

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Dee's Veg Pots


The lovely people from Dee's recently got in touch with me and asked me to review their new range of quinoa and veg pots. Of course I was more than happy to oblige, particularly when I found out that these pots are purely vegetable based with no fake meat style ingredients included. I know Dee's have in the past been most renowned for their award winning vegan meat style sausages so I was curious to see what else their brand has to offer. 

When the pots arrived I was really pleasantly surprised. The packaging looked bright and contemporary making them quite eye catching. I would definitely be able to spot these in the supermarket! I was also impressed to see the handy sized microwaveable pots which in my opinion make them an ideal choice for your lunch break as they're so easy to heat up and eat from with minimal fuss.

With any vegan friendly product it's always great to see nice clear labelling on products and that's something Dee's have visibly achieved with these pots. Just from looking at the front of the packaging you can clearly see that these pots are not only vegan but also GMO and gluten free, free from any artificial additives, the calories in each pot and how long it takes to warm up. I love this because everything I need to know is right there for me to see without having to search the back for all the information.

Tex Mex Veg Pot


The Tex Mex Veg Pot is a delicious combination of a sweet potato and beans chilli. I love a veggie chilli especially during the winter months and this pot really reminded me of some wholesome home cooking opposed to food from a packet. The vegetables and beans tasted really fresh! You could even make more of a bigger meal from this pot by enjoying it with some rice or in a burrito. 

Thai Veg Pot


This veg pots's main ingredients are butternut squash, potato and lentils and it really is bursting full of flavours from Thailand. I really enjoyed the chunky potatoes in this pot which helped to make it a really substantial lunch which is exactly what you need during the colder months. I think this was my favourite pot from the bunch and next time I eat this I'd think about making it a dinner for two with some rice and Thai crackers. 

Moroccan Veg Pot


The main ingredients within the Moroccan Veg Pot are chickpeas and potatoes which is a combination that I really like. Don't be deceived though, this pot is also loaded with other fresh veg including tomatoes, courgettes and carrots. It also has some raisins in it which adds such a nice sweet contrast to the Moroccan spices. I enjoyed this pot on a really cold evening and it certainly done the job of warming me up! It reminded me of a really chunky vegetable soup but a much more substantial version. Unlike with soups though, this veg pot contains really hearty chunks of crunchy vegetables which makes it feel like more of a meal than a snack. This pot would also work great alongside some couscous. 

Quinoa Pot


This creamy Thai spiced vegetables and quinoa pot was a little different to the veg pots as it was of a thicker consistency making it that little bit more heartier and filling. Full of squash, carrots, onions, tomatoes, lentils and Thai spices this pot is really flavoursome. 

I'm so glad I got an opportunity to try these pots as they really are one of the best vegan friendly convenience foods I have come across. As well as being quick and easy they are also super healthy and you definitely feel as though you're getting some real nutritional goodness from eating them. Dee's message is that 'goodness is tasty' and I would have to agree. 

If you like what you've seen here then you can pick yourself up one of these Dee's pots for £3.90 at Booths Supermarkets (North East), Holland & Barrett, Planet Organic or online at Ocado. 
Share:
© Sarah Kirby | All rights reserved.
Blog Design Handcrafted by pipdig