My experience at St Albans Vegan Fair

Fairly, recently, ok at the end of August (the 27th to be precise) Martin and I attended the St Albans Vegan Fair, which was the first ever vegan fair in St Albans. For those who don’t know St Albans is about twenty minutes on the train from London, and as there are so many great vegan eateries and businesses in London it makes it a prime location to hold such an event.

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The fair was held at Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre which is about ten minutes from the town centre and involves walking down (and then unfortunately later on up) a steep hill. From what we could see there were stalls outside and then a room with vendors inside (which you had to pay £3 to enter). In terms of price, I think that was more than fair but I think any more would not have been considering that the room itself was not too large (and there was only one room in total – please correct me if I’m wrong here!).

Martin and I arrived a little past 10am when it opened and it was already quite busy. Due to the size of the venue it was a little hard to see all the different vendors and get tasters of the products available so I think we missed out a little in that way. It got busier as we was there and I think if we’d have arrived any later it would have been a little hellish. However, when we arrived the queue moved fairly quickly and the staff were really nice.

To get the slightly negative element out of the way first, I do think the event could of been better organised. Like, I said demand hadn’t been taken into account, so I do believe the venue was too small. Also, when I contacted the fair on Facebook after the event to see if they had any photographs, as I struggled due to the amount of people (although, honestly, I could have tried harder but I wanted to enjoy myself!) and if they could send me a list of vendors to jog my memory of the day, they never got back to me. For reference, I can see they’ve seen the message and I messaged twice. I wouldn’t usually mention something like this but I wanted to give this as a reference to the organisation I felt was lacking at the event. I wouldn’t have minded if they responded saying no, or they’d get back to me, but I think it’s bad practice to ignore someone completely. However, I will point out that I messaged after the event and so the organisers may now be too busy to message back (this is probably not their full time job after all!) and I did not exhaust my list of contact options. This is because I only found out on writing this post about their email address (despite it being on one of the images, essentially I’m an idiot) and I’ll be honest I didn’t want to wait for a response – I wanted to get this post out!

I want to close this bit of my experience by saying I love supporting members of a community I feel close to (I’m a vegetarian not a vegan for reference) but I wanted to be honest and say that element let me down a little bit.

However, the food options truly did not.

I only managed to taste a small selection of what was on offer but it was all delicious.

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One thing I was really excited to try was Kimchi when I saw it and the event, as I’ve never tried it before! I actually thought it was great and picked up some from a brand called Love Kimchi. I haven’t had a lot of this since purchasing, as I can only have small amounts because my stomach isn’t used to it but I’m excited to incorporate some into rice dishes in the future.

Another brand I tried was Badger’s Vegan Kitchen. The texture of their egg mayo was really great. This is a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to go to the effort to make their own version, however, I have a soft spot for a tofu egg mayo recipe I made up based on a tofu scramble (probably because it’s more indulgent and I really love tofu) so I don’t know if I’d pick this up again.

One of Martin’s favourites from the samples we tried was from Vork Pie – the scotch eggs being a particular favourite. Their Vork on Mars scotch egg I have to say is particularly delicious.

There were some other great food experiences we had, which I can’t remember the name of including a lovely cheese sauce on a hot dog that Martin tried and I stole a bit of which was delicious; a seitan burger that tasted so good, Martin got one after tasting mine and a BBQ Seitan that had a amazing smoky flavour. There was also a cake stand that looked AMAZING, which you can tell by many photographs of it above but I got so overwhelmed by the choices that I didn’t actually order anything in the end!

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Apologises that it’s half eaten I forgot to take a photo! The only thing it lacked is mayo (why do people think just ketchup is enough, ha, ha). 

Another stand that was packed was vegan cheese makers Kinda.co, I managed to grab a bite of their imitation greek style cheese in oil, which was lovely, but was unable to try anything else. I definitely would love to try them if I see them at another fair but I think they are definitely an indulgent treat kind of place, as their cheese averages at around £7.00.

Martin also wanted me to give a shout out to the May Bakery where he got an Oreo cookie sandwich from which he said was delicious. I’m not as big of an Oreo fan so I only sampled a little bit but the cookie texture was on point. I definitely will be looking out for them again.

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Apart from food there were a few ‘lifestyle’ stalls including a place selling vegan bags and shoes (which honestly, unfortunately, weren’t really my style and Eden perfumes who I wrote a blog post about).

Overall, I think this was a great event for vegans, vegetarians or even omnivores, as it was honestly great, tasty food. If you’re a vegan or veggie and struggling to explain to your family that what you eat is still great tasting, this might be a good event to take them too. Honestly, everything we tried tasted great and the creativity on offer was really inspiring.

For me, I’m just happy to see the continual rise of more veggie options in the UK – I can’t wait to see the landscape in five years time!

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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Vegan cruelty free Eden perfume review

I’ve been on the hunt for a cruelty free perfume that doesn’t break the bank for a while now. After, starting to look more closely at what I consumed beauty wise; I realised that my perfume was one thing I hadn’t thought about in terms of being cruelty free.

This may seem frivolous to some people but letting go of my ‘signature scent’ was something that was hard for me. One of my few luxuries in life had been that I liked a fancy perfume, and I wore it religiously everyday so that people often associated the scent with me. For anyone wondering my favourite scent was Coco Mademoiselle by you guessed it Chanel.

The scent ended up being comforting and grounding to me in a weird way so not being able to smell it anymore I admit felt strange. And I’ll admit to spraying it on myself in perfume shops but I haven’t bought any for a while now. I have also tried a few different cruelty free options including some of the Lush scents though I’ll admit only in store – I struggled with them because although they smelt nice, they didn’t have that perfume smell (more like body spray). I also tried Kat Von D’s Saint and though it was nice; it didn’t quite hit the notes I was going for.

So for a while I continued on perfumeless and probably more smelly (ha, ha) until recently when I went to St Albans Vegan Fair with Martin. At the fair, Eden perfumes had a stand who I already knew for being quite well known for their vegan perfumes. I decided then to smell a few and give it a go and was delighted to pick one up and notice that it smelt not like a body spray, but perfume!

It was quite crowded at the fair (and I will have a blog post about the fair to come) so I was too socially awkward to try as many as I would have liked but I knew I generally like ones with floral, fruity notes after smelling a few samples and in the end I picked up No.405, which according to their website is supposed to smell similar to La Vie est Belle by Lancôme. I haven’t smelt that perfume so I don’t know if they are similar but I’ll try to do a smell comparison test soon and update this post!

Although, the staff at the stall were very kind and helpful; when I bought the perfume they started telling me about how most perfumes contain animal products. I think this is fair enough as this was an event that had quite a lot of non-vegans (or people without knowledge about veganism) I suspect and I actually didn’t know some of the facts told to me. However, I think it wouldn’t have felt odd if I’d of asked but unsolicited it did catch me off guard a little I will admit.

The bottle at the fair was £15.00 (they are £18.00 on the website, and the lady who served me mentioned that at fairs they sell for a cheaper price). Eden perfumes also offer a refill system, which you can do either by attending a fair they are at or online. The fair price I remember as cheaper but not by a lot and they charge slightly less for the refill. I personally really love this system as it encourages less waste and perfume bottles to be made. I know some people may be put off with the online refill system, as it means you have to post your bottles but I think it’s a great idea personally.

I would also like to point out that £18.00 for a bottle of perfume for me is a great deal. The perfume I used to buy could easily get to the £60 range (though a bottle would generally last me a year with me wearing it regularly). I haven’t used this perfume enough to know how long it would last me but I suspect probably as long!

As for the scent, although this is not my perfect scent just yet, there are so many other perfumes they stock that I can’t wait to try. After researching, I found out that they have a London and Brighton store so I’m excited to visit and see what other scents I like. If you live too far away I’d recommend finding the perfume they suggest as a match to perfumes you know you like and trying perfumes within that note range. Surprisingly enough the perfume that would be my match no.83 is in the ‘Oriental Woody’ range. I didn’t manage to find this in their book at the festival, as it was quite large to swift through quickly so maybe I didn’t pick up my favourite note range! It probably explains why this perfume doesn’t 100% hit the mark for me though I do really like it.

Wear time on the perfume I’ve noticed is fairly good, and one of my colleagues at work noticed I had new perfume on and said it smelt nice! This was in the morning but I can still smell the perfume later in the day though faintly. It doesn’t wear faster in my opinion than any other perfume I’ve tried.

For anyone looking for a vegan, cruelty free perfume I’d definitely check out Eden Perfumes – they are a great, affordable option, which is always refreshing to see.

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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Berry Smoothie Bowl with bananas (and spinach)

As some of you may have noticed who follow me on Instagram; I’ve been trying to cook from scratch a lot more recently. This has really ignited a lot of my old passion for cooking and trying out recipes that I kind of lost as I’ve got busy over the years.

While I now that a smoothie bowl is not strictly ‘cooking’, I’ll admit never being much of a smoothie person myself until recently I didn’t know where to start. After looking up a few recipes and consulting my friends, I made up my own recipe for a smoothie bowl. And still it took a little bit of trial and error to get it completely right.

I started with a just berry and banana mixture, which I posted on my Instagram. I included oats as an option because I personally prefer something a little bit more substantial for my breakfast. However, I’ve now added spinach to the mixture and a whole bunch of toppings, which makes this much more filling to me. If you don’t want to add toppings (it doesn’t have to fruit – it can be whatever you like!) then I’d suggest pulsing some oats into the mixture to give it some texture.

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Without further ado, I’ll get onto the recipe. This is in American cups as the measurements (despite me being British) because a lot of the recipes I follow are usually from Americans so I’ve just got used to that system! If you google the measurements you should be able to easily convert them to grams.

Ingredients

1 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 cup frozen raspberries

1 banana (preferably ripe for the sweetness)

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 cup plain alpro yoghurt (I use plain but you can use any flavour)

1/2 cup baby spinach

1 tablespoon honey (or maple syrup to make this recipe vegan)

Optional 

1/2 cup rolled oats (add at end and blitz in the blender if you want extra texture or just mix in).

Toppings: I used a whole banana, about a handful of blueberries and raspberries, a teaspoon of chia seeds and a tablespoon of vegan chocolate chips (this would work well with dark chocolate chips or any other you want to use).

Method

Place all ingredients in blender and blend! It’s that simple, ha, ha. I like making mine the night before and adding the toppings in the morning. If you want it more of a smoothie bowl consistency don’t blend for as long (I blended mine a little too long) or add more yoghurt.

If you struggle to get in your 5 a day, I think this is a great way to get your body started. I honestly was worried about the spinach as I didn’t want to taste it in my smoothie but I couldn’t taste it and I actually think it tasted better with it as it calmed down a little bit of the tang from the berries.

Please let me know if you liked this post and you’d like to see more recipes from me. I think for now I want to start off slow with smoothie bowls and breakfasts and then maybe work my way up! I’m vegetarian so all my recipes will be veggie friendly and I’ll always make sure to include a vegan option if the recipe isn’t vegan (but most of them probably will be).

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

-Blog posts once a week – 

YouTube: @aprilisthecruellestmonth

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July + August Favourites

I actually had written a draft of all the things I wanted to include for my July favourites but it unfortunately got lost (as, all great ideas do, ha, ha). So I’m going to try my best to remember everything in the post and separate these by the different months as much as as possible. Sorry, that there wasn’t a July favourites post last month – I actually had a lot of favourites to talk about but was struggling to get in the writing spirit. I considered not including them at all but knew I’d end up getting them mixed up with this months favourites so wanted to include them. Without further ado here’s some of the things I’ve been enjoying over the last two months.

July

What I’ve been wearing… 

Lucy and Yak

I was lucky enough to pick up a pair of Lucy and Yak dungarees from their Depop shop (where they sell all their samples for great prices!). After, seeing @porcelainnwitch on Instagram rock a purple pair I knew I needed my own. Feeling a particular kinship to Winnie the Pooh because the film Christopher Robin (which, at the time of writing I still haven’t seen) was coming out soon I knew I wanted a beige/ brown pair. Yes, I know he wears a red top but this is the association I have in my head!

I feel in love then with the Cappuccino colour so when I saw a pair for £12 on their Depop I knew I had to snap them up. I’d also like to mention that the description clearly stated the fault with the item and the brand kindly answered all the questions I had before buying! However, I honestly wouldn’t have noticed the fault without it being pointed out. They also arrived in a gorgeous bag with a lovely note so overall I can’t fault the customer service! Ever since I’ve got these I’ve been wearing them non-stop. They are incredibly comfortable and after I realised that I can just slip off the sleeves to go the toilet, practicable, in most situations.

I will definitely be purchasing from the brand in the future – I especially have my eye on some of their corduroy pairs!

Primark

When I did a big wardrobe sort out (Martin and I collectively donated about 4 bin bags to a local charity shop!); one thing I really noticed was how I had a lack of tops and skirts that would make great interchangeable outfits. I set out then to get some tops, particularly a mixture of longer ones that could be worn with leggings but also shorter ones for skirts.

I’m particularly pleased with the Winnie the Pooh top (sorry I don’t have a picture as is in the wash!) and sweatshirt I picked up, which are both adorable. The sweatshirt is a smaller size than what I’d usually get but that actually ended up being to my advantage as it meant I could wear it comfortably under my dungarees.

This is a bit of a basic but I’ve also been loving brown tops (which are surprisingly hard to find sometimes) so I loved this long floaty brown stripey top I picked up in Primark.

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Although, this next set is not a top but a top and skirt combo; I think both pieces would work well with other pieces but also look ridiculously cute together. I know that plaid and check is going to be cliched this season with everyone going for those Clueless vibes but I just don’t care.

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What I’ve been cuddling…

I can’t quite remember if I bought these in July and August (I think it might be August actually) but I love them. Although, I wish I had enough money to pick up all the characters I’m definitely glad that I picked these two up (Winnie the Pooh and Piglet) as they are my favourites from what Disney have brought out. I’m also so happy in general to see how much Winnie the Pooh merchandise is out there at the moment because of the new film!

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What I’ve been enjoying…

Odeon LUXE seating

I went with Martin to see Ant-Man and the Wasp and the showing we wanted to see just happened to be the one in the Odeon Luxe screen so we shelled out a bit extra. I have never felt so decadent in my life. I don’t think I can go back to uncomfortable cinema seats now!

I loved having somewhere to put my food and feeling all nice and comfy on the recliner seats. All I needed was a blanket and it would have been like I was at home (the ultimate goal!).

Odeon Luxe

What I’ve been watching…

Orange is the New Black 

I’ve loved Orange is the New Black since it started and although I was initially worried about this season because of the change in setting; it didn’t disappoint. I, like a lot of people did from what I’ve read, found Badison a bit difficult to watch at times but I think the person portraying her did an excellent job.

The ending although devastating for certain characters (I won’t say anymore than that), I will admit was a little lacklustre. However, I do think that the spark well and truly does remain for the show. I’m just hoping I see some more of my favourite characters next season.

G.L.O.W 

For me G.L.O.W Season 2 definitely took the show up another notch. Where a lot of shows stumble with character development; I think this show shone. I also liked how they showed (SPOILER ALERT!) one of the girls getting injured, especially as it showed how significant it is that wrestlers are on the same page in the ring.

I can’t wait to see what the show will bring next time in Season 3. I also am hoping that we start to see more and more cosplayers and fan art from this show because it’s definitely a gem.

I tuned in for the 80s nostalgia and stayed for the character development. Even writing about it has made me want to just go on an 80s movie bender. I might just have to rematch Stranger Things, especially as it’s coming up to the best time of the year, Halloween!

Over the Garden Wall

I’ve seen a few posts and comments about the show but it’s definitely not as talked about as a show like Steven Universe or Adventure Time. It may be because devastatingly its only one season but this is *hands down* now one of my favourite TV shows ever. I’ve even had to go and purchase some of the comic books afterwards because I needed more from the show.

I also need to do a Wirt and Greg cosplay with Martin … maybe I’ll try to sneak it into Halloween! If you’ve not seen this already and are a Cartoon Network or quirky cartoon fan, please do so – it’s on Netflix (UK!) if that helps.

August 

What I’ve been wearing…

Van Gogh vans 

I have already written an entire blog post dedicated to my saga in getting these Vans so I won’t bore you all with it again. Suffice to say I put some effort into getting these and I absolutely love them. I definitely think I made the right choice with the pair I decided to pick up!

Vegan Dr Martens 

I got these on Depop very recently and I am in love. They are of course a little preloved but I really don’t mind for the price. I’ve also been wanting some of these for ages so even if they don’t last as long, I know now based on how much I love these that I’ll just pick up another pair.

A lot of people still sell second hand pairs of these shoes on Depop and Ebay for not a lot less than the original price, as they’re harder to find so I’m glad to have picked mine up for a steal!

Now, just to pick up some of the boots for the winter…

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What I’ve been obsessed with…

Home decorating 

Despite, only managing to clear out my wardrobe; I’ve really got the bug this month to decorate our flat some more. Like always I’m keen to get some new bedding and can’t wait to get my hands on this Asda Wizard Bear bedding. I’d also love to have a world map in my room and map where I’ve been, as well as generally get some more furniture – I’m desperate for a Billy bookcase from Ikea, ha, ha.

Cooking

I’ve been trying to cook more from scratch this month and I’ve been really enjoying it. Not only have I felt healthy and better about what I’ve been eating, it’s been fun. I will admit I think I need to get into meal prep though as it can be a little tiring every night.

Some of my favourite places to go for recipes is Sarah’s Vegan Kitchen (try the Black Bean Brownies), Cheap Lazy Vegan and Caitlin Shoemaker.

I’ve been really enjoying especially experimenting with different breakfasts and even went full on food instagram influencer style with a smoothie bowl (mine was less snazzy). It was the first recipe I wrote for something I came up with though (so watch this space!).

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Oat and Raisin cookies

Adapted version of this recipe. Instead of apple sauce, I used peanut butter and instead of nuts I used raisins. I also added a tablespoon of vanilla extract.

Oat and Raisin breakfast

Vegan fish cakes

Adapted version of this recipe (I used chickpeas). I didn’t use hearts of palm and sautéed onions to go in with the chickpea mix (after blending). I also used nori sheets instead of the kelp. For seasoning I replaced the mix blend they suggested with a teaspoon of garlic powder, chilli powder and paprika. I also used soy sauce as an alternative for vegan Worcestershire sauce, which they suggest on the recipe page. It was super tasty but didn’t hold very well so went to try the recipe again with something to help bind it together.

What I’ve been watching…

Attack on Titan Season 3 

I’ve not caught up yet so please no spoilers but I was very happy to start a new season of Attack on Titan. I’ve not got a lot of opinions yet as it’s only just started and I don’t want to give a lot away but I like where the plot appears to be heading this season and can’t wait for hopefully more of the mysteries of the titans to be revealed.

Disenchantment 

Martin started watching this without me because he’s rude but I’ve caught up now so we watch it together. It’s got that perfect Simpsons/ Futurama vibe where you can just sit back and watch but the show isn’t brain dead at the same time. Speaking of The Simpsons I am so upset I missed out on the Asos drop – I didn’t realise it till it was too late and I desperately need that Patty and Selma jumper in my life.

What I’ve been reading…

Marceline Gone Adrift 

I’ve wanted to read some of the comics based on my favourite cartoons for a while now but have never got round to it. I finally had enough this month and decided to pick this gem up featuring two of my favourites Princess Bubblegum and Marceline. The artistry in this graphic novel was beautiful alongside the story. If you’ve ever felt like you’ve treated a friend badly or have felt uninspired this is a story for you.

Adventure Time at its finest.

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Over the Garden Wall

I only picked up volume 1 and 2 of the comics but after speeding through the first two; I definitely need more. I also desperately want the art book for the show because it’s stunning and of course themed around my favourite season, Autumn and holiday, Halloween. I’d definitely recommend these tales to fans of the show (they fit into the main narrative of the show for anyone wondering).

What I’ve been listening to…

Ariana Grande, Sweetener 

There are some absolute bangers on this album and Ariana’s voice shines as ever. While, I will admit there a few songs that aren’t too my taste, what I do like, I love.

My favourites include: God is a Woman, Sweetener, No Tears Left to Cry and Raindrops (An Angel Cried).

The Carpool Karaoke was also great though I will admit I don’t enjoy these as much as I used to. I think they’ve succumbed to the need to get viral and have suffered a little with the connection between host and artist because of it.

Florence + the Machine – High as Hope 

Although, I’ve enjoyed Florence + the Machine;I never truly listened to them a lot just in the way I’m sure a lot of us do with certain artists. This album is beautiful though. Each song is brutal and honest in that way that makes you happy and want to cry at the same time. Hunger and South London Forever are particular highlights to me. I’d like to talk about the lyrics to them in more detail as well but I’m not in the right mood for that right now!

What I haven’t enjoyed…

I don’t usually do this but I just wanted to quickly write a note about one thing I had to discuss, which is Insatiable. I wanted to give the show a chance because although I understand the upset over the trailer; trailers often aren’t the whole picture of a TV show or film. I only managed to get 80% of the way through the first episode because quite honestly it was a trainwreck. It spent 90% of the time desperately trying to appeal to audiences with its edgy jokes that it didn’t stop to think about how the show was wildly out of control, insulting and just plain embarrassing to watch.

If anyone actually enjoyed the show, let me know, as like I said I couldn’t get further than the first episode, but what I saw made me cringe so much I just couldn’t watch anymore.

So there it is my favourites over the last two months. It’s been a rocky few months but I’m looking forward to the months to come. I’m also determined to get on a regular upload/ writing schedule again because for one thing I get fed up easily if I don’t have something specifically to do each week.

Here’s hoping this cold spell lasts (ha, ha) because I think the heat over the last few months has definitely contributed to me not feeling myself. I think I may have to buy myself a good winter coat a bit early than I though though so I don’t get caught unprepared!

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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National Vegetarian Week: My vegetarian journey

So it’s National Vegetarian Week and Mental Health Awareness Week this week and although I would love to just spend the week doing the below; I thought I’d instead I’d take the opportunity to write some reflective content. As I happen to be a vegetarian and have been for around 7 years now.

And to be honest I think at times being a vegetarian has been a defining moment in my life. Although, it’s just second nature to me that wasn’t always the case so I wanted to talk today about my journey to becoming the overgrown carrot I am today. I knew from around my early teens that I wanted to be a vegetarian. I had weighed it up in my head and it made no sense to me killing something that could obviously feel pain – I also didn’t see the separation between pets and the animals we eat. This by the way is not to attack anyone who eats meat (I don’t believe that ‘converts’ anyone) but just how I feel on the matter.

My first few attempts were quite disastrous. I found a bit more success with being a pescatarian (eating fish but not meat), as it wasn’t meat I was particularly upset about not eating – I only really loved the taste of tuna. However, eventually when I reached about 16 something clicked into place – I learnt more how to make vegetarian options that actually tasted nice and where and what the good substitutes were. So for anyone wanting to be vegetarian at the moment but is finding it difficult; remember never to give up.

My transition was quite a long time ago so honestly I can’t remember a lot of it! All I know is that I don’t actually remember fully what meat tastes like that, the only ‘meat’ products I occasionally miss are things like haribo and jelly babies which contain gelatine. That list also did used to include milkybar yoghurts but they now have brought out a yoghurt which is VERY similar to their dessert pots (just smaller), which has revolutionised my life.

Since my transition was so long ago I wanted to talk to Martin who became a vegetarian 3 years ago about how he found it. As I remember before he became a vegetarian he had one last Nando’s and ate a whole chicken to himself + sides (it was his birthday and I have to salute his commitment). I think a lot of people thought he became vegetarian because I’m a veggie but honestly if the way I described his Nando’s feast doesn’t clue you in; I never cared if he was a vegetarian or not. I mean, I’m glad because it makes food shopping easier but it definitely was not a ‘deal breaker’ in any way shape or form. He just decided he wanted to join me.

So let’s ask Martin about his experience, which is not going to go well as he is a person of little words. I first asked him how he found the transition and whether it was hard – he said he didn’t find it hard at all. I personally think this was because I told him where all the good veggie food was even if he won’t admit it. I’d also like to point out that he kind of transitioned by eating fish in the first few months (though literally only a few times). I then asked if there was anything he missed knowing full well the answer would be fried chicken (specifically the spices) but he has quorn so he copes – he in fact said he misses having choice, he can’t just go out and get to burger, he has to go to London (specifically here here he means Temple of Seitan).

When he said that I had to laugh though as he doesn’t know my struggle. Vegetarian (and vegan!!!) options have got so much better in the last few years. From supermarket options to eating out options. I now can go to any place and expect them for the most part to have a vegetarian option – that vegan counterpart is lagging still a bit behind but it’s getting there. I think it’s more accessible (and easier to find recipes for) good vegan food as well, which I try to supplement into my diet whenever possible. I love a good cashew Mac and Cheese (don’t tell anyone but the regular version can be a bit too rich for me), as it’s healthier so I can have more sauce but tastes delicious too.

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The recipe for this Mac and Cheese is from Cheap Lazy Vegan who I’d definitely recommend you check out, as her handle definitely describes her channel. All of her recipes that I’ve tried have also been delicious.

I’d also recommend the vegan recipes on Tasty specifically the amazing Tofu breakfast sandwich in the below video, which is amazing!

I also have tried a few recipes from Lucy Watson’s Feed Me Vegan cookbook and I’d definitely recommend her cauliflower ‘wings’ recipe. Not as a chicken wing substitute but something that is tasty all on its own.

I try vegetarian and vegan restaurants or options whenever I can and will either post them on my Instagram feed or story so if you want the low down of some of my favourite places to eat be sure to check me out there.

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It's here #myprayershavebeenanswered

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It’s easier than ever to find quick, cheap vegetarian or vegan recipes so I think we are now in the setting where it so much easier for people to become vegetarian or vegan, which explains why so many more people are.

I do think at the same time it’s important not to judge. I have not fully committed to being vegan but I try to incorporate vegan recipes into my diet as much as possible. I’ve seen people make similar statements and been attacked on social media, which I never think is the way. If someone is trying I don’t know why you would attack, or if the diet didn’t work for someone on a personal reason it’s not your place to say but ‘you’re wrong’ or ‘you weren’t committed enough’. There’s nothing wrong with offering helpful tips but I don’t think yelling at someone changes their mind – offering them support might do though.

That’s what I think I’ve learnt being a vegetarian in the last few years as vegetarianism and veganism have been talked about more and more. No one will ever be perfect, so just be honest, try to do your research where possible (i.e. if items are cruelty free). You don’t have to be 100% perfect and polished, you can change things gradually. I’m forever learning new things and exploring different options.

If you want to be vegetarian that’s great – if you want a comprehensive guide to the best options you know how to message!

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

– Blog posts Thursday and Sundays- 

February Favourites

I was watching my daily dose of YouTube and came across Pixielocks ‘February Favourites’ video and realised quite quickly that I had completely forgotten to do a February Favourites post. I considered just not writing a post to be honest because I couldn’t immediately think of a lot of favourite, but after pondering a little bit I realised there was a few things I got that I haven’t talked about yet that I’ve really enjoyed.

The first thing I really love is actually a Valentines day present from Martin. It’s a claddagh ring that I not very subtly hinted that I wanted from a local vintage jewellery shop where I live. It’s a tiny bit small as Martin didn’t know my ring size so used his little finger instead (which, to be fair isn’t far of), but I actually prefer wearing it as a necklace.  Also, I’ll admit I’ve wanted someone to give me one of these ever since watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer so thank you Martin for making my Buffy dreams come true.

princess-leia-mug.jpg

Claddagh ring

Princess Leia and Han Solo mugs

Another Valentines day present from Martin because I will forever NEED anything that features Han Solo and Princess Leia. If you’re like me and more likely to use a giant mug for noodles than tea or coffee- these are perfect! I considered letting Martin use one of them but decided strongly against it, as I couldn’t decide which one he could use as I love them both.

P.S. I know Martin got these from Clintons if anyone is interested.

Betty Boop Heart kimono 

So this was an impulse buy; I’m not going to lie. It’s cute and I hesitated putting it in my favourites as I’m not sure 100% how to style it but I still think it’s cute and I paid half of retail price (hence the impulse buy) on Depop so am happy that I tried something I wouldn’t have otherwise bought. It will also be great for some super cute outfits for next Valentines day (because I love an excuse to cover myself in heart print clothing). I also really, really want the matching denim jacket and jeans set from this collection (even though I am very certain I won’t be able to pull it off and I already mentioned it in my January favourites).

Betty Boop Kimono 1

Monki heart pillow 

Although this was a Valentines day aesthetic buy; it’s also really cute all year round. The material is super nice and velvety and I don’t know what else I can really say it’s a good pillow! I think it was around £7.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine 

Brooklyn 99 is something I’d seen a few episodes on when it happened to come on TV but never fully embraced, but I am now very much loving,  It’s a great show to help me switch off at the end of the day and the characters are brilliant too! Definitely a new comedy favourite.

Superdrug B Beauty range 

I recently had to pick up some micellar cleansing water as the bottle I was using ran out. I knew I wanted something cruelty free but couldn’t afford something super expensive (and didn’t want to wait for something to be shipped either) so was delighted to see that I could pick up a bottle from my local Superdrug for £2.19 (currently reduced). I don’t wear heavy makeup but my experience with this has been nothing but positive, would definitely recommend as a affordable cruelty free option. It also made me want to try the rest of the B Beauty range, as if I’m not mistaken most or all of it is vegan (all of it is cruelty free). If a B Beauty range review is something you’d like to see let me know!

So here it is a very small favourites list. I considered adding the banana pancakes I’ve been making (recipe here), which literally just contain porridge oats, plant based milk and a banana so have been a healthy sweet option I’ve been loving; but I’m useful at making aesthetically pleasing food posts.  I also love the new dessert pots by Alpro (I love everything chocolate hazelnut that they do). I’ve not finished it yet but I love every episode of Sanrio Boys I’ve seen so far – I definitely need to hurry up and catch up with that series as well as The Ancient Magnus Bride (I also really want to read the magna for that series). The Winter Olympics were also amazing – I need to binge watch Yuri On Ice all over again, speaking of Yuri On Ice and the Olympics, I am still in shock that happened and incredibly jealous because I will never be able to do that myself (my ice skating skills are the total of one trip where I refused to let go of the edge of the rink).

This month I am going to finally watch Blank Panther and The Shape of Water, as well as read some books I’ve really wanted to read – so expect some reviews shortly. I’m also planning a London trip so might do a food blog post if I try anywhere super nice. Happy March everyone!

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

Superdrug vegan cruelty free drugstore beauty haul

I am very passionate about my beauty products being cruelty free and vegan but sometimes this can feel like a pretty expensive task. However, a lot more brands are embracing being cruelty free and labelling which of their products are vegan; making it easier for people like me who are mostly clueless. One store I’ve noticed more and more that stocks brands that are good at this and do it themselves is Superdrug- all the range made by Superdrug themselves I’m pretty sure is cruelty free (however, when shopping online is you search cruelty free you can narrow down the cruelty free brands on the site as well).

I was very excited then when I heard reports that Superdrug’s own brand shampoo and conditioner is £1.99 each and is cruelty free and vegan. However, it was difficult to find confirmation of this online except in the ‘Questions’ section of the product where people asked if the product was vegan. However, when you actually purchase the bottle it states clearly that it is cruelty free and vegan – something, which I can confirm for the bottles I bought which was the Coconut and Almond shampoo and conditioner, and the Raspberry and Macadamia conditioner.

I’ve also had a week or two trying these products out now and can confirm that while they are not terrible, they are not really heavy duty enough for my very winter-dry bleached underneath hair that needs a little extra care. However, I’ve found if I use the shampoo, then the Raspberry conditioner and finally the Coconut conditioner (making sure to leave them on as long as possible) the results are quite good. This also I think largely isn’t a fault of the products as I’ve found the shower water where I live compared to other parts of the country really makes my hair feel dry. I need to try soaking my hair in coconut oil for half an hour when I wash my hair again and see if that makes a difference.

Overall, for the price I will definitely be buying these again. Especially as they were on buy one get one free when I got them (and I think they still are) so I got four bottles, one of which was a repeat of the coconut shampoo, which is why I didn’t mention it earlier. However, I might try indulging in a more heavy duty conditioner (maybe one from Lush) – as shampoo’s go though the Superdrug one definitely does the job (I’d recommend the Raspberry one because the conditioner I have smells very nice).

Barry M  

I’ve always ruined my nails within minutes of them being painted (or done an awful job in the first place) to the point where I’ve barely ever worn nail varnish. However, when I saw the new colours at the Barry M stand; I knew I had to make an exception.

Barry M Nail Varnishes

Especially, when I saw that one was scented (spoiler alert I didn’t notice anything – I think nail varnish because of the strong smell is a bit too hard to scent).

However, the colour is beautiful and better yet Barry M is cruelty free and a lot of their products are vegan (not all however – I wanted to try a mascara but sadly they were not) so make sure to check. From what I could see most if not all of their nail varnishes are vegan and it is really easy to check on the Barry M site, as you just find the product you want, click on the ingredients list and there will be a sticker on the list if the product is vegan.

The shade from the Candy Culture collection I got, ‘Coconut’ is vegan, as well as all the varnishes in that collection. The other shade I picked up from the ‘Under the Sea’ collection, which has the absolute cutest packaging (I definitely need all the shades in this collection – especially the blue), called ‘Jellyfish’ is also vegan, as are the other shades in the collection.

As I spent more than £7 (I think it this amount) at Barry M (the nail varnishes are an affordable £3.99 each) I received a free Shimmer Strobe Cream. I picked up the shade galactic because I thought it would be a nice white highlighter from what it looked like in the tube – there was unfortunately no samples to swatch. It is however a pretty lilac colour (which, still suits my skin tone so yay). I find this a little hard to work with because I’m not used to cream products but it also seems to work really nice on one cheek and then awful on the other. However, if you want to pick one of these up they are only £4.49 and when I looked on the site all 4 shades are vegan – I personally am considering picking up the pink toned shade ‘Frosty Pink’ though I think my face is pink enough already (not that has stopped me before).

The only thing I would make sure to stress with Barry M is look up the product on their website, as although the nail varnishes were labelled as vegan, the shimmer stick wasn’t even though it was – so make to check!

Makeup Revolution 

I have to admit a love a bit of Makeup Revolution, especially when you want to play around with colours that are a bit ‘out there’ for you but don’t want to commit to buying an expensive palette. The two palettes I got were £4 and £10 respectively, and although there was some shades on the cheaper palette I got that were a little hard to blend; it was nothing I couldn’t work with.

Re-loaded palette 

The first thing that caught my eye was that this palette has a few similar shades to the Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture palette (well at least to me) and the second thing was that it was only £4. So far I’ve only tried a few of the shades, one of which just refused to blend and the other which wasn’t as bright as I hoped but did layer nicely – I think used by someone willing to show more love than me, i.e. setting spray etc. these shadows could look great. They did though have staying power, which is the same as some of my more expensive palettes on my eyes. If you look on the TAM beauty website (who looks after Makeup Revolution) in the description it states that the product is vegan, cruelty free and gluten free (this confused me a bit at first but fair enough if this is a concern for coeliacs). Tam Beauty also states that none of their brands test on animals so this includes the other brands they stock like Freedom and I Heart Makeup.

Makeup Revolution palette

On the first image my swatches start from the  bottom left and then I follow the palette left upwards. 

As you can probably see in the swatches, some shades are a bit fuzzy and those are the shades that are harder to work with. One thing I really noticed is that the shimmer shades for both palettes swatched really nicely – especially the gold shades. Also, apologises about the mark on my arm on the second picture – it flares up now and then and basically there is something I’m allergic to but I don’t know what.

I also got the Soph eyeshadow palette, as I occasionally look at her videos because her eye looks are lovely and very accessible – I like how she works with cheaper and more expensive products as well.

I haven’t used many of the shades yet in this palette but all that I did use worked well, and the swatches for some of the shades in this palette are just gorgeous. This palette was a bit pricer at £10 but still for a Youtuber collaboration that’s really good and there is a really nice mixture of shades in the palette. The packaging is also cute – though I’ve already stained the palette itself as it’s one of those materials that every little finger print shows up on. I’d also love to do a more detailed review of this palette, as another post to add to my reviewing Youtuber products series (which is just books at the moment).

This palette like the other Makeup Revolution eyeshadow palette is cruelty free, vegan and gluten free. I’m not sure how many of their products are and aren’t vegan but when I did quick check by clicking on one of their mascaras I noticed it wasn’t vegan.

Soph palette
You also get a mirror, which is a nice touch. 

First picture starts from the top left of the palette and then I work my way down right and go down each row like that. 

So this is my mini cruelty free and vegan drugstore haul. I’d love to do more posts like this and make it a series maybe, as I’d love to show off some affordable options as well as more premium ones.

April

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My new favourite vegan banana bread recipe

Full disclosure before we start. This is not my recipe. I am not going to at any point pretend it is. It is however delicious and a good breakfast if you’re like me and like something a little bit sweet in the morning (and is at least healthier than straight up sweets- hopefully- probably not). I also love to read reviews of recipes before I try them out so see this as more of a review of a recipe!

It’s also I think quite a versatile recipe. You can add some nuts to it if you want. Or some currants. You can add some over spices other than cinnamon if you wanted to. My friend Callie suggested chocolate chips (and if anyone knows anywhere I can get some good vegan chocolate chips let me know- milk preferably- as I’m interested in trying them out). I think that the chocolate chips would taste great with how I like to eat it this banana bread- with peanut butter on top and extra bananas.

If you are into exercising and building up muscle you could probably add a little bit of protein powder as well (maybe one with a flavour might be nice!)- just be cautious of adding too many dry ingredients. Also, if you’re trying to gain muscle you probably (maybe) won’t be eating banana bread.

However, to get to my point essentially this post is about a recipe I really like that I didn’t come up with but I wanted to share with everyone. Also, apart from the initial cost if you don’t have the ‘baking essentials’ in your cupboard you can make this recipe time and time again by just repurchasing bananas.

Banana Bread 1

So without further ado here is the recipe (I would say it makes about 8-10 substantial slices).  If you want to go it a go please give the person who made the recipe some love and here is the original link to the recipe. I found the recipe on BBC Good Food (it was literally the first result that came up when I searched vegan banana bread into google). The recipe was submitted by the good food community on BBC Good Food so essentially it was user generated recipe- and this recipe was by the user helenrothwell (thank you so much you are literally my new favourite person). All the ingredients below (apart from my conversions are from the link I stated above).

Ingredients:

  • 225g Plain flour (or use Self-raising flour and reduce the Baking powder to 2 heaped tsp)
  • 3 heaped tsp Baking powder
  • 100g Brown sugar
  • 3 tsp Cinnamon or Mixed spice
  • 3 large Black bananas, mashed
  • 75g Vegetable or Sunflower oil (weight)
  • 50g Dried fruit or nuts (optional)

I’ve not used black bananas yet with mine (mainly because I only like to eat bananas when they are yellow and maybe with a brown spot or two otherwise they are too mushy) and it was still super nice. I think if you wanted a stronger flavour of bananas then definitely go with the black bananas.

Since I don’t currently have any scales I converted the recipe into American cups (because they were cheaper to buy than scales).

So this is what I used (through some googling- so apologises for the accuracy in advance- though it still worked for me!) and might be useful for anyone who uses the American cups system:

  • 1 1/2 cups of Self-raising flour
  • 2 heaped teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 a cup of light brown sugar (I think you could use dark as well but I prefer the taste of light brown sugar)
  • 3 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 3 large in my case ripe bananas (mashed by Martin)
  • About 75ml of a vegetable oil and olive oil blend

The method is also super simple, which is great if you’re like me and like baking but just don’t have the time anymore to do something complicated.

Method: (as mentioned before this is taken from this link)

  1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees Celcius.
  2. Mash the peeled bananas with a fork. Mix well with oil and sugar.
  3. Add the flour, baking powder and cinnamon, and combine well.
  4. Add any additional ingredients.
  5. Baked in a greased and lined 2lb loaf tin for 20 minutes, before checking. Cover with foil, if the loaf cake is browning. Bake for another 40 minutes (approximately).
  6. Allow to cool a little before slicing. It’s delicious freshly baked but even yummier when it goes gooey the next day!

The first time I did the recipe I kept it in my oven for the full hour but the second time I went for 45 minutes instead to see if there was any difference. There was, the banana bread was definitely more moist but a bit more crumbly- I think I definitely preferred it though.

Banana Bread 2

This one was a darker colour than my first batch, and didn’t split anyway near as much as the first did. 

Also, fun fact the first time I did this I forgot the cinnamon and already had the cake in the tin but luckily not the oven so just added it to the mixture, stirred and hoped for the best.

So there it is, my trying out of a tasty vegan banana bread from BBC Good Food from a happy vegetarian who is trying to eat a little bit more vegan and try out some more vegan food (my Mac and Cheese recipes are currently not going well though Temple of Seitan’s Mac and Cheese was really nice and I can’t wait to have it when I visit their brand new restaurant Temple of Camden, which opens on the 31st January!).

Banana Bread 3

Banana bread 5

April

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Veganuary: Thoughts and reflections

Just to be clear before you read this post and perhaps get upset with me at the moment I currently have not gone vegan for January. However, I have been reflecting a lot of veganism this month and wanted to share some of my thoughts and reflections.

First of all, I have been thinking about making more of my diet vegan. One, because it makes me think about what I’m eating more and two because it encourages me to eat more vegetables (though to be honest I’m not struggling too much in that regard). I also have been thinking about this because of the ethical aspect and while I admire people who do have a fully vegan diet; at the moment this is not something I am ready to fully commit to. I do maybe want to try doing things like having one vegan week a month and generally having more fully vegan meals however.

Another thing I have been considering is the other parts of living a vegan lifestyle, i.e. whether your makeup is cruelty free (and uses animal products) and the role of fashion within veganism. I have touched on this subject before on my blog and generally adhere to a lot of these in my everyday life. I don’t buy products that I know are made of leather  (I check what things are made of but I’m sure that I have missed some things). I know veganism often considers other animal by-products like wool and silk and while I do wear wool I do not wear silk. While I am not as studious on this as I sometimes would like to be I try my hardest to keep to what I personally feel happy with.

However, I will admit there is a bit of paranoia that lies within that. I often imagine people are policing me and I sometimes even unconsciously police other people on whether I think they are wearing leather, etc. This especially increases if I visit a vegan place to eat, which usually happens everytime I go to London. While I do believe in thinking about these things; I do think I have a tendency to over think and be critical, especially when I start to consider what people think of me.

I have recently started watching the videos of the Youtuber Qcknd and came across this video in which she discusses her transition into veganism. She particularly discusses how she regrets throwing away some of her leather items that had memories because when she first turned vegan that is what she felt like she had to do. I too have had such thoughts as a vegetarian when thinking about some of the few leather products I own. I’ve not thrown my items away as I thought that was more of a waste but I felt like I needed to sell the items, despite the fact that they do hold memories.

After, watching the above video though I realised that I was too focused on what people thought of me. My white Dr Martens have special memories to me, as does my Cambridge Satchel bag. And keeping or wearing them is my business and no one else’s. She also discussed buying items containing animal products from vintage shops stating how she has no problem with that. In the blog post I mentioned I also said that I had no problem with it but felt weird about it myself. I think this to a certain extent stemmed a little from being scared to wear these items because of what people thought.

Now, I’m not going to consciously look for leather items in vintage shops but if I like something and know I am going to care and look after it I need to stop feeling guilty about wanting to buy it. I wouldn’t buy something leather new but honestly I would prefer people use vintage items, as these are items already made (and not only that they have a history about them that I love)- throwing or not reusing these items would be a waste.

I also want to touch on the other topic Qcknd discusses, which is what to do about receiving non-vegan gifts as a vegan. I personally would only feel weird about leather items or cruelty free makeup as a gift, which luckily I did not receive for Christmas. My response would be depending who it was to be open or honest. If it was from a close relative and came from a place of love who did not realise I would accept the gift and maybe mention at another point that I tend not to buy leather goods or makeup that isn’t cruelty free.

I have talked a lot in this post about being less hard on myself but that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop working towards being more ethically conscious (and this feeds into other things too- I haven’t forgotten for example about posting more information about where my clothes come from in regards to ‘fast fashion’ and sweatshops). I have switched to cruelty free perfumes, which I am very excited about but am yet to switch to things like deodorant. I have used cruelty free shampoo and conditioner but sometimes when I couldn’t afford to I didn’t. Also, to be honest I haven’t found one that works as nice for my hair. I think what everyone needs to remember you don’t have to do everything at once just working towards it is more than enough.

So essentially this Veganuary I want to reflect on how I can still bring more elements of veganism into my life but how I need to not worry about anyone’s judgement but my own. I also want to say a big shout out to all the vegans out there- thank you for bringing way more vegan and vegetarian food options into my life last year and I’m sure in the years to come!

April

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My Cruelty Free Journey

Image: Pexels (so is free from attribution, but I’m putting the attribution here in case anyone wants to use the image!)

So I think it’s appropriate to start this post by saying that I’ve been a vegetarian for quite a long time now. Although, I can’t exactly remember the year I fully committed (there were a few failed attempts before then); I think it was about aged 16. So about 5-6 years of vegetarianism is probably a good estimate.

For a while I was afraid to admit this, but at the start of being a vegetarian I didn’t really at first catch on to the other animal products that surrounded me like leather, etc. I finally did however realise and started to genuinely phase leather items out, though I will admit this was not without me failing a few times because I put fashion above my beliefs. I do now though only own leather items that I bought quite a long time ago now (and are up for sale on Depop, unfortunately no one wants them). Although, I have put my items up for sale; I personally can’t just throw those items away, as that to me personally feels more like a waste; but at the same time I feel uncomfortable wearing the items.

So basically what I am trying to say is I understand the struggle, and would never call you out for what you wanted to wear. I also love vintage clothing, and can understand why people might be alright with wearing vintage leather (or even fur, though personally, although I know it is skin like leather, real fur has always felt more ‘icky’ to me). I however do not feel comfortable personally with that either, though if you’re vegetarian (or even vegan) and want to buy vintage leather items- go ahead- like I’ve mentioned I think it’s worse to just waste the suffering of the animal and throw the item away. I also think it’s ok if you like a vintage bag for example but the strap is leather (but not the main part of the bag) and tell the store to keep the leather strap to use on another bag, and then replace the strap with a faux leather one (you can find them quite cheap online). There is then always ways to make a item work. I also mentioned the bag idea, as this is something I am considering doing- if you have any thoughts on this ethically let me know, as I’d like to hear opinions.

This dilemma is also part of the reason I decided to make this post, as I am still not fully through my transition and fully cruelty free in my life. I think part of the reason is because when I started this journey I didn’t realise how many things are not cruelty free, which I will talk more about later within this post.

Clothing 

So there are a number of different materials to consider with clothing, and those are leather (and suede), silk (there is however a cruelty free silk option so make sure to always do your research), fur, and for some people wool.

The most prolific of these items that you are most likely going to encounter however is leather, which nowadays is not that hard to avoid with high street clothing retailers often opting for cheaper faux-leather alternatives for their items. Higher end items however are mostly leather and a lot harder to avoid though Stella McCartney and Moschino (I don’t think this is true for all their range however but I know that some of their range is- so make sure to check!) are known for their leather free ranges. As for the high street just make sure to look up the product online before you buy it, as it will say if the product is made out of leather in the product description. Topshop, for example, are about 50/50 with their shoes though I’ve noticed unfortunately that more and more are starting to be leather- you can usually tell however by the higher price bracket before you even look at the item. Leather gloves whatever the shop always seem to be real leather so to be honest I would just avoid them.

If you’re looking for a little stress in your shopping routine Iron Fist shoes are vegan and free from leather, and they are known for their alternative designs. For vegan bags (and shoes I just recently realised) check out Matt and Nat ,who are on the pricey side but are effortlessly stylish and chic (definitely one for those times when you are trying to be all chic and Parisian). I’ve also noticed that Unif stock loads of vegan leather products (I’m not sure if they stock anything leather, though if I was going out a limb I don’t think they do- definitely check though), and are a great alternative brand- they’re a little like Lazy Oaf in execution but much more about the cleaner lines and tighter fit (they also have a bit more of a straight up 90s vibe going on). A lot of the amazing shoes stocked on DollsKill (like all the amazing Current Mood ones) are usually vegan/ not leather (but make sure to check, as I know they have a few styles that are leather). Also, if you’re like me and obsessed with Dr Martens (I do still have a pair that I saved, and saved for but that I feel weird wearing now that are on my Depop) then they do a vegan range. However,  unfortunately their collaborations are usually not vegan so no, Adventure Time (please, please, Dr Martens on the very unlikely chance you are reading this bring out vegan versions of these designs) or Lazy Oaf collaboration for me!

I’ve also noticed that in regards to brands like Vans, Converse and Adidas, and all the similar brands that are popular right now (due to sporty casual making a comeback) that some of their shoes are vegan, but some are not- so be sure to look out for that!

Makeup 

So makeup and whether or not certain brands are cruelty free is being talked about a lot recently, which is amazing. It also gets a bit confusing, as often I see one source telling me a brand is cruelty free and another telling me it is not. Therefore, I thought I’d sum up all the information I’ve gathered about what someone means when they say a product is not entirely cruelty free. Also, I’ve put skincare on a separate post, as I personally don’t tend to buy my skin care stuff from the same brand that I get my makeup from.

Ok, so first of all a brand may be cruelty free but that doesn’t necessarily mean their products are entirely vegan- so they may for example still have dyes in their eyeshadows like carmine (or cochineal), which is essentially made from crunched up insects. At the moment, my makeup bag is cruelty free (minus a few old products that I don’t use but just have not got round to throwing out/ seeing if a family member/ friends wants it) but not vegan, however I am striving to have it both cruelty free and vegan in the near future.

The other confusing bit in regards to makeup being cruelty free involves China. Essentially to sell a product in China, the makeup then has to be tested on animals (though makeup produced in China does not have to go through this testing so theoretically companies could sell in China and be cruelty free by having a factory in China to distribute products there- as far as I’m aware) so therefore retailers who sell in China are not classified as cruelty free, though they themselves do not necessarily test on animals.

To make it a bit simpler here is a list of all the companies that test on animals. However, there is then another issue that arises in regards to cruelty free. This is when a parent company, basically the big organisation that owns lots of smaller makeup brands (L’Oreal is a good example, as they basically own everything) is not cruelty free but the company itself is. An example of this is the brand Too Faced who are generally considered a brand in their own right and describe themselves as cruelty free with a lot of their products being vegan. However, in 2016 they were acquired by Estee Lauder who are not cruelty free. There is also a lot of other controversy surrounding the brand regarding the Youtuber Nikkie Tutorials, which I won’t get into but if you’re interested you can read about. Especially, as a lot of this as far as I’m aware is speculation. So brands with a parent company that are not cruelty free obviously are a bit of a grey area, as it means that your money still ends up going to a place that condones testing on animals. I think parent companies are basically up to each individual to decide on, but if you want to buy products from them still I don’t think it’s something to destroy an individual over (though just to note I don’t think you should ever aim to destroy an individual) if they are someone who says they are cruelty free.

Also, if you’re like me and a fan of some of the Japanese/ Korean makeup trends (mostly because they often do cute collaborations with Disney or Pokémon) I’m afraid these brands tend not to be cruelty free. For some interesting information regarding this see this post on Soko Glam, which also discusses how it is possible to sell some makeup products in China, without having to have the ingredients tested on animals.

If you’re looking for a list of cruelty free brands check out this list by Cruelty-Free Kitty, as it is by far one of the most definitive and informative lists out there. Basically, check out their site if you want to know more about going cruelty free and what brands are and aren’t. Personally, if you want great brands that are cruelty free I’d recommend Kat Von D and Urban Decay.

Perfume 

One thing I never thought about being cruelty free is perfume. Something, which was particularly sad for me to realise, as my favourite perfume of all time is Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel, and is actually very comforting to me. However, a while ago I finished the bottle Martin bought me (he bought it ages ago), and have decided from now on to only use cruelty free scents, which trust me is easier said than done (as unlike makeup the options are a lot fewer).

There are though options out there. Honey Pop Kisses in fact did an amazing post on this, which I suggest you look at for suggestions or again turn to the always great Cruelty-Free Kitty. Also, Kat Von D Beauty recently came out with two perfumes Saint and Sinner that I’m going to assume are cruelty free, since Kat Von D has took a very public stance on this, but I have emailed them to check and will update this post once I’ve received a response.

Nail Varnish

I don’t often paint my nails but I really want to more, and when I looked at my cupboard of ancient nail varnishes I came to the conclusion that pretty much all of them are not likely to be cruelty free. However, after a quick search I was happy to see, that a few brands like ORLY that I expected not to be cruelty free, are.

If you want to see a list of cruelty free and vegan nail polishes click here, or if you want to see 5 vegan nail polish brands (that are more UK based, and include brands like Barry M, who are cruelty free, with some of their products being vegan) click here. Both lists are definitely something which I think are useful to have with you when visiting the nail salon so you can quickly and easily make sure your selection is cruelty free!

Other beauty essentials 

Other beauty things you have to look out for are bath bombs/ general bath stuff. I’ve mentioned Lush’s policy in my latest Lush post for all those interested but there are some great companies out there (usually independents are a great place to look) like Geeky Clean that are cruelty free and vegan. The Body Shop, a old school cruelty free brand and fighter against animal testing has come under fire as they were recently acquired by L’Oréal (who are not cruelty free). However, L’Oréal recently sold the brand to Natura Cosmetics who are reportedly cruelty free (they have not been certified by a board like Cruelty Free International but as a company they have stated they are cruelty free).

In regards, to shower gel I know that Original Source products are generally vegan  and they do smell great. However, I have not found anything definitive to say they are cruelty free so I’m probably going to stop using them, but will email them if anyone would like me to!

Skincare is also something to pay attention to, particularly sunscreen (click the link for some cruelty free brands) but also look up whether your moisturiser, spot cream etc. contains animal products/ is cruelty free. I’d recommend trying to avoid supermarkets and bigger chains and trying to do your skin care routine from somewhere you know to be cruelty free and clearly labels their products, as being either vegetarian or vegan, like Lush (though whether you consider Lush to be cruelty free is up to you- see this post mentioned earlier). Or of course just look up your products before you buy them, though this could end up with you having to do a bit of the emailing and probably a lot of frustration.

Deodorant is something else to look out for and one of those products that I did not even think about. I have a can that I need to finish but soon as that is gone I will be trying out some new products (let me know if a cruelty free deodorant review series is actually something you’d all want!). However, I haven’t found a definitive list of which brands are not cruelty free, so I recommend just looking up your deodorant bottle (if you want me to compile a list let me know). For now here’s a list of 5 cruelty free deodorants that reportedly work and a list helpful for those of us in the UK (since I have a Holland and Barret’s really close to where I live I definitely will be trying out Dr. Organic soon).

So there we have it! My complete list of all the things I’ve started to consider on my cruelty free journey. This post is not designed to lecture you, but as a helpful guide for those looking into being cruelty free in their ‘beauty’ routine or for those who are cruelty free. Also, if I have made any mistakes in this post please let me know, as obviously I don’t want to tell people whether things are cruelty free or not, and then that information be incorrect. If I’ve missed something important out please also let me know, as a lot of this is still very new to me!

If you’ve enjoyed this post let me know, as I’d love to do a ‘Home’ (so cleaning products, etc.) version of this post, as that for me is the next planned stage of my cruelty free journey once I’ve fully completed this stage.

🍂April🍂

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