Thursday, 26 May 2016

BEAUTY: The Vegan Kind Beauty Box May 2016

HAIR MASK AND EYE CREAM THE VEGAN KIND BEAUTY BOX

THE VEGAN KIND BEAUTY BOX

BATH SALTS

LIPSCRUB AND MINERAL MAKEUP
Following on from my post about The Vegan Kind subscription box I wanted to blog about the products in my first The Vegan Kind beauty box, which is sent three times a year. 

Without sounding like a broken record, I wanted to make the switch to vegan as easy as possible. I'm now three weeks without cows milk and feeling great!

The products in this box were: 

Grounded Coconut and Lime Hair Mask (£12.50)

This smells incredible. I love that I now have a box full of products from brands I've never heard of and I have been already searching for other products in this range. You can use this mask as a quick conditioner, a hair mask or even an overnight mask. Packed with my favourite coconut oil, the mask also contains Macadamia Oil, Avocado Oil and Grap seed Oil. 


PHB Ethical Beauty Anti-Aging Eye Gel (£16.95)

Another great product to find in my box. I'm currently using a Boots own eye cream which cost me the huge price of 99p. I had hoped this would be a great find, but at 26 now I think I need something more and hopefully this is it. The gel contains argan oil, seaweed, rock rose and lavender to target signs of aging. As soon as my cheapy one runs out - I'm going to be all over this. 


Two Birds Woodland Rose Epsom Salt Bath Soak (£2.00)

Our boiler is due to be fixed tomorrow as we have been without full hot water for a good few days. I can't wait because the first bath I have is going to be full of this. Epsom bath salts are my absolute favourite, especially after a hard gym session. HA who am I kidding - I never work hard in the gym! 


Fairypants Lemon Drizzle Lip Scrub (£3.99)

I'm a big fan of the Lush Lip Scrubs, but a lemon drizzle flavour one? YUM! This is so yummy and the first lip scrub that I've actually eaten.


Alva Natural Cosmetics Green Equinox Sparkling Harmony Mineral Powder (£7.50)

This powder is multi use; eyeshadow, highlighter, mix with nail polish and even on top of lipgloss. I love a nude anything when it comes to makeup and I can't wait to use this alongside all my eyeshadows, mainly the Naked Palettes. 

I'm so impressed with this box, not just because of the value but the products are all ones that I either needed or just love. 


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

FASHION: Trying to find the perfect black shoe

black shoes


I recently hit a milestone in work and I was treated to a business dress shopping spree which was just amazing. I ended up with a whole new capsule workwear wardrobe and even a bright orange pair of shoes.

There was one thing missing though, a pair of simple black flats. A pair to wear with trousers, skirts and dresses, which don't eat my feet during the day.

Naturally I've been online shopping and I've narrowed my search down to three very different styles. The simple black flat from Daniel Footwear, slightly more expensive than I would usually go with anything really, however if I want shoes that aren't going to give me blisters then I probably do need to invest. Plus these are in the sale.

Dorothy Perkins is where my bright orange shoes were from and it's one of the first places I head to when shopping for new shoes. I find Dorothy Perkins sizing really consistent - I've never had a bad fitting shoe from there.

My personal favourite are these from New Look, I love the extra straps and the cut out details. The downside is, they would probably rip my feet to shreds!

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Monday, 23 May 2016

LIFESTYLE: Cruelty Free Cosmetics

Testing on animals is a topic that I've always been angered at. Surely in this day and age where people are walking on the moon is an age where animals don't need to be tortured and can be treated like the wonderful creatures they are. 

It may sound hypocritical to say that I would never refuse medication when I am sick, which most likely has been tested on animals, there is a choice I can make when it comes to cosmetics. An animal should not have to suffer and have a life of hell just so I can wear a red lipstick, cover spots, have conditioned hair, a bleached toilet etc. The list is endless.

Over the past couple of months I have been making changes as I go and only repurchasing those products that I know are cruelty free and in some cases vegan.
Paul Mitchell Hair Products
One of my most favourite brands ever is Paul Mitchell. I may at times call them Phill Mitchell but from the products right through to the team at PM - they are wonderful. Myself and a few other bloggers were recently treated to an event at a local hotel, more on that another time, and we were given a whole host of their products which are all cruelty free. 
Superdrug Haul
Another great place to shop is Superdrug. Their own brand goods are not only cruelty free but also mostly vegan. They also stock Barry M and as well as being one of my favourite brands anyway - it's also vegan and cruelty free. 
The Vegan Kind Beauty Box
As a treat to myself I signed up to The Vegan Kind, which is a monthly subscription box for vegan foods. They also have a beauty box that comes out three times a year which I also subscribed to. 
I think this a great way to expose myself to vegan brands but also, it's like a treat. So it's more of an excitement than a chore and there's always discount codes so when the time comes that I do love a product, I can source it easily. 

Sunday, 22 May 2016

FOOD: Karma Cola #drinknoevil

karma cola bottles


Every minute over one million colas are drunk across the world. 


As part of my recent blogpost all about me not continuing to eat meat, I have also made the decision to look at where the rest of the product I consume comes from. I'm under no illusion that I've not bought responsibly for most of my life and I feel it's about time I changed that. 

I'm going total overhaul on this one from makeup, to haircare and right through to the other foods I consume. I'm making more and more vegan choices as the weeks go and when I heard about Karma Cola and asked if I wanted to try the drinks, of course I said yes!

The package of drinks arrived with a paper booklet all about the drinks and where the brand came from and I was hooked whilst having a read on my lunch break in work. The box the drinks came in has also been claimed by Rocky my Guinea Pig!! The brands tagline of "drink no evil" is explained in the first few pages. All the drinks are made using only "good stuff" - organic, fairtrade ingredients and good sugar that's not over processed and bleached white. 

I was quite surprised, but in this day and age, not shocked to read that despite Cola being discovered in Africa, the Africans who discovered it don't make anything from the world's most popular drink. Apart from Karma Cola, obviously. 

The real real thing - Karma Cola

The secret to Karma Cola (which isn't really a secret) is that it's made with real Cola. It's crushed and mixed with water and alcohol to extract the flavour, then the alcohol is evaporated off. 

The whole recipe is explained and there is nothing in these drinks that is some crazy chemical that's no good for you! 

It's no secret that I am absolutely rubbish at describing things but I'll give it a go. The Cola tastes like Cola... Shock... but there's no "fakeness" to the flavour. The drink tastes clean, natural and yummy. There's a huge feel good factor too because of the production process. I'm converted. 

Ginger-ella - Ginger Beer

The second in the line up from Karma Cola is their Ginger Ale - Ginger-ella! Ginger is a great natural ingredient that boost circulation, fights colds and supports the immune system. However, it's also one my most hated flavours. Sorry Ginger, no offence. 

The Ginger is fairtrade so the growers get a premium price for it and the money foes back into the communities to support schools, hospitals and farming gear. 

Lemoney - Lemonade

My favourite.
Cloudy lemonade. Yum. 

Made from organic Sicilian lemons the farmers ensure that the lemons are chemical free and taste just how nature intended. In each bottle is 31% lemon juice, with a splash of grapefuit. The additions of water, bubbles and fairtrade sugar creates the best tasting lemonade I have ever tasted. 

I am a total convert to the brand. We don't buy fizzy drinks that often, probably one bottle a month. But I'd much rather spend a little more and stock up on these beauts and I promise you it's not just because I love the design of the bottles. 

You can get hold of Karma Cola and the other drinks at your local Waitrose - I'd highly recommend trying a bottle!



Thursday, 19 May 2016

LIFESTYLE: The Vegan Kind May 2016

When I made the decision to go Vegetarian a few weeks ago (read more here) I very quickly started looking into Vegan choices and became instantly intrigued. There's something quite satisfying about really researching an industry and especially one that impacts your life so highly.

I've known of Karris for years, right from her early youtube days and I remember when she launched The Vegan Kind, a monthly subscription box of between 5 to 8 products sent monthly and of course, all vegan. I've been subscribed to beauty boxes before and loved getting a treat in the post - but what better treat than food?
the vegan kind monthly subscription box

the vegan kind monthly subscription box

the vegan kind monthly subscription box

For my first box, I'm impressed! There's 6 products and they have a combined retail value of £12.25. That might not seem much but considering how much you'd spend to source such products, I'm happy. Especially now that I am armed with a multitude of discount codes. 

The May 2016 box contains:

 Conscious Chocotlate Mint Hint Organic Raw Chocolate

This chocolate is free from most things, but not flavour. Oh my goodness I was thrilled to see this in my box as mint chocolate is one of my most favourite treats. It's free from dairy, gluten, soya and refine sugars. My only complaint - it's not the size of a pavement slab.


 The Jealous Life Tropical Wonder Sweets, TAPPED Birch Water with Bilberry

These sweets really surprised me, I had this presumption that vegan sweets wouldn't taste good and would be like chewing on unflavoured jelly, I was wrong. The sweets are really fruity and I love that they don't "taste fake" like most sweets. Convert!


TAPPED Birch Water with Bilberry & Lingonberry

This is one from the box that I am yet to try out and I hope I enjoy it. The water is a sweet tree-tapped water mixed with bilberry and lingonberry - things I have never heard of - but it's in the fridge waiting for the next boiling hot day. 


Popchips Sea Salt and Vinegar Flavour

Crisps - enough said. Yum.


Friendly Soap Cocoa Butter Facial Cleansing Bar

I haven't used this bar yet because I have so much going on with my skincare at the moment as I've just made the switch to a cruelty free brand. It's made with a traditional cold press method and they carefully choose the ingredients so that the products are earth, animal and skin friendly. 


Creative nature Peanut Protein Bar

Affectionatly known as the "healthy snickers" bar by many this bar provides 7g of protein! It's in my gym bag waiting for my next gym session which should be tomorrow, should be. 

I've loved trying out these different brands and I'm exited to keep learning about what's vegan. I even re-use the boxes with Rocky and Bertie in their cage/hutch. They love cardboard boxes filled with hay and treats hidden inside, providing them with hours of entertainment. 

Are you subscribed to any monthly subscription box?

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

BEAUTY: RiRi by Rihanna

riri by rihanna
riri by rihanna

Riri by Rihanna* is her latest fragrance following on from her past launches "Rogue and Nude". Unlike her previous perfumes, which were strong and heavy scented - this one is a lot lighter with top notes of cassis, mandarin, passion fruit and rum.

As someone who openly admits to the only perfume I've ever bought being the £3.99 "Suddenly" from Lidl, it's been a nice change wearing one that's more expensive (£40) but also one that has a lot more staying power!

The bottle is huge, it's 100ml, so despite the pricier £40 you are actually getting a lot for your money. Coupled with the staying power it's quite the bargain. I love using this for work, I find it quick awakening using a lighter perfume first thing in the morning. It's been a welcomed change to the heavier musky scent of Suddenly. 

As we enter the warmer weather I think this is a great summer fragrance, especially for work. It's uplifting and I really enjoy using it first thing in the morning. The box is much prettier than the bottle I think, which is a shame because I rarely keep things in boxes. I feel that the text is too distracting from the shape and colour of the bottle and something smaller would have just added to the expensive feel of the scent. 

Have you used a Rihanna fragrance before? 

Sunday, 15 May 2016

LIFESTYLE: Vegetarian // Cruelty Free // Vegan Choices

March 24th 2016, the last time I ate meat and I just want to start off this post by saying I don't miss it, not one bit. I have been a "meat eater" all my life, at aged 6 I came home from school declaring I was a vegetarian and that I was only ever going to eat meat and no vegetables. I think I'd gotten the wrong end of the stick when listening to our teacher talking about it and made the link in my head that "vegetarian" meant you had a fear of vegetables. Oops. 

I had a brief stint of being a vegetarian for around three days when I was a young teenager. The meat free food options were pretty grim at that time, coupled with no income (I was about 14!) and living in a meat eating household meant that it didn't last long. It was a "burger" that tasted like cardboard that sent me over the edge and running to the kitchen to make a bacon sandwich. 
noahs arc farm
This time last year I was visiting Noah's Arc farm in Bristol for my 25th birthday. I have a huge grin on my face whilst feeding the chickens in the open enclosure. I love getting up close to animals and interacting with them, it's one of my favourite things to do and the part of being at the dogs home that I enjoy the most. Even here I still hadn't made the connection between the animals running free at my feet and the chicken on my plate that I'd eaten the night before. 

That's probably a little extreme, I've always been well educated in where meat came from. A long time ago I made the choice to buy "free range" meat, "free range" eggs (will touch on veganism in a later blogpost) and meat from sources that I trusted to have what can only be described as "a good life".
noahs arc farm
I really don't want to turn this post into one that is filled with extreme negativity about the farming industry, I'd much rather it be a positive post - however it's hard to ignore. The whole reason for my complete overhaul in lifestyle can be pin pointed to watching a documentary about farming on BBC iplayer with Matt over the bank holiday in March. 

"There's a show about farming on BBC iplayer, let's watch it - you'll love it, it's full of animals" - Matt's famous last words, I doubt he realised just how much an impact this show would have on my life. 

As I said before, I'd always bought "responsibly" and from sources I trusted and the animals on this show quite clearly had the best lives they could. But the more I watched the show, the more uneasy I became about eating meat. Watching cattle paraded around a show ring to be bought for meat or breeding just didn't feel right. I'm against the selling of animals as it is with my views on adoption, granted this is entirely different, but it forms part of this huge snowball of thoughts around the whole topic. 
this farming life bbc 2
There was one episode that bought me to tears and declared that I would never eat meat again. The moment was marked where a cow called Duchess was sent to slaughter because she was unable to look after her calf due to problems with her milk supply. The whole situation absolutely broke me, I'd been living under this false impression that I was OK with eating meat because "oh at least the animals have a nice life" - I'm so so wrong and for that I am gutted. 

I don't want to go into the gory details on my blog, but please have a read up on things and just get educated. There is so much naivety around where out meat comes from and that's all I ask from people, just get educated. If you still want to eat meat then fine, that's your choice, but to know where your food is coming from is important. 

The meat free meals and alternatives I've been trying are so tasty, I'm going to do a round up of my favourites soon. I'm pretty sure I'm going to film a video all about it too - the fifth time I've "got back into youtube"? - although now I've feel like I have my "thing" that I talk about.

I've taken this lifestyle change further and I'm making more and more vegan choices each day, I've also decided to switch to cruelty free cosmetics, household products and the likes. But they are posts for another day. 

Monday, 2 May 2016

FASHION: Navy & White

There's nothing like a bank holiday browse online is there? I'm sure we have all been inundated with emails over the weekend of % off brands, sales and the many ways we are suckered into spending! I wore a navy and white striped top towards the end of last week and it revived my love for the nautical trend, well, just the colour palette - I'm not one for dressing like Popeye. 

The combination of navy and white is a classic and after finding this top hidden in the depths of my wardrobe (oops!) I've been having a browse with a huge cup of coffee on this bank holiday and this is what I've found. 

A friend of mine is getting married in a couple of months so I have been keeping an eye out for what I can wear. A couple of years ago I wore navy to a wedding and felt really confident so this going out dress from Quiz Clothing is now bookmarked. At only £22.99 it's really affordable and a price bracket that I'm happy to buy into for going out dresses. I rarely go out and as most of you know, I don't drink so fancy dresses are rarely worn. 

Jumpers are one thing that I really do get a lot of wear out of. I'm very much a jumper and jean girl and it pains me that we are moving into summer (if the weather sorts itself out!). Summer means not only hay fever but that my jumper wearing days are over for the year - weep. For a number of years I've gone into Primark towards the end of summer and spent a good £60-£70 on new jumpers for them to be worn to death and binned come the following summer. I want to get into the habit now of not purchasing low quality clothes, but to invest in pieces that will see me throughout many years. This jumper from Paulie does come in at more that I have ever spent on a jumper but just look at it. The navy and white, v-neck and thick knit tick all my boxes and I'd happily wear this style year on year. 

After getting my Michael Kors watch in Mexico in 2013 I haven't considered another watch, I've not even wanted to look. Everyday my rose gold beaut is placed on my wrist and that's how I like it... Until I spotted this Olivia Burton with a navy strap. I thought Olivia Burton watches were a lot more expensive than £80 so with my birthday coming up I'm half tempted. 

The navy and white combo wouldn't be complete without the addition of some tan. This bag from New Look is simply stunning (and big enough to hold the contents of my handbag). As with the jumpers, I have a habit of buying cheap handbags and them breaking all the time. It's something I started to change when I purchased a second hand Pippa Modalu and realised just how sturdy a more expensive bag can be. That became a project where I took my time with leather polish to bring it back to life, but it looks great and is lasting really well. There is a time and a place for a "trendy" handbag though and I'd probably purchase this as my "cheaper summer handbag" and only use it for a year and then head straight back to my Pippa. 

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