The Vegan Kind Beauty Box 7

I subscribe to a quarterly beauty box from The Vegan Kind which showcases vegan and cruelty free cosmetics and toiletries. It costs £15 + P&P but what you get is worth so much more! This month I make it a whopping £42.94!

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First off we have this Woodland Rose Epsom Salk Bath Soak from Twa Birds (RRP £2.00). My Sister-in-law got me into Epsom salts so I was looking forward to trying this out. These salts smell delicious and it was so relaxing getting into my bath after my run. These have really pretty rose petals which are lovely to see floating around your bath water but a bit annoying when you have to pick them out of the plug hole!

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Next up we have Anti-Aging Eye Gel from PHB Ethical Beauty (RRP £16.95). I have never used an anti-aging eye gel or cream so I can’t compare this to any other products. I can say that it smelt really nice and felt lovely and cool when I applied it to my eyes. Let’s see if it works!

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I didn’t think this Lemon Drizzle Lip Scrub from Fairypants (RRP £3.99) smelt particularly lemony, but once I applied it to my lips it definitely tasted of lemons! The thing I like about this scrub is that it has a balm infused with it so once you’ve licked off the scrub you have a lovely balm left. With other scrubs I have used you have to apply a separate balm after. The only thing I would say is that I think this product would have been better placed in a winter box as that is the time I really need to use lip scrub/balm.

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I thought this Green Equinox Sparkling Harmony Mineral Powder from Alva Natural Cosmetics (RRP £7.50) looked really interested. When I tried it out on my hand it was a great shimmery colour and perfect for summer! It is also has multiple uses, it can be used as an eyeshadow, highlighter, eyeliner, on top of lip gloss or on your nails if you mix it with clear nail varnish!

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Lastly  we have this Coconut and Lime Hair Mask from Grounded (£12.50) this was another great smelling product – it had me imaging I was in the Tropics! My hair is in pretty good condition so I don’t regularly use hair masks but I think this will be great when I want to pamper myself.

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If this Beauty Box wasn’t value enough the companies featured often provide voucher codes, this month ranging from 15% to 30% if you want to reorder any products or check out others in their ranges.

As always 20p from the price of every box is donated to Dr Hadwen Trust the UK’s leading non-animal medical research charity who fund and promote the development of techniques and procedures to replace the use of animals in biomedical research.

Have you tried any of these products out? What did you think?

Plumes x

 

The Vegan Kind Beauty Box 7

Review – Mr Crypt’s Curiosities

I’ve followed Rob from Mr Crypt’s Curiosities on Twitter for a while now and thought I’d try out some of his wares.

Rob designs, makes and sells various goods from mugs and coasters to phone cases, tote bags and keyrings. Some are family friendly and some are definitely not!

I decided to go for this bee tote bag. I love a good tote and I do have a tendency to leave them on trains (!) so I like to have a good supply! There was also a mandala bag I had my eye on but I loved the colours and brightness on this one.

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I also decided to get the unicorn tea towel as it was on sale and who doesn’t love a giant unicorn tea towel?!

I thought the A5 print was really cool. There are a few on the website with different phrases on. I also love the rainbow colours and the varsity font. It is now sitting proudly on my bookshelf in my hallway giving me encouragement everytime I walk past!

Everything on the website is completely vegan friendly and I was really impressed to receive my goods within 2 days of ordering.

I’d definitely recommend you check out the website and support a small vegan business!

Plumes x

Review – Mr Crypt’s Curiosities

Lots of Vegan Chocolate!

I bought my Mum a couple of presents from the Viva! Campaign Shop for her birthday. If you haven’t heard of Viva! they are a vegan campaign group who expose animal cruelty by secretly filming inside organisations and campaigning against animal exploitation. As I had paid for postage and packaging on my Mum’s gifts I thought I would make the most of it and buy some chocolate I’d been hearing about and hadn’t come across in my local haunts.

I bought the Vivani crispy cornflakes and strawberry wafer crunch bars, the IChoc (who are owned by the same company as Vivani) white nougat crisp bar and the Coco Caravan chai caramel bar.

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I also picked up another two IChoc bars, the milkless and choco cookie and a packet of Vegolino from the same people who brought you the Vego Bar when I visited the Black Cat Cafe which you can read all about here.

Starting with corn flake bar – I found this really crunchy and it reminded me of the corn flake cakes we used to make when I was little. I think the corn flake pieces could have been a little bigger though. The chocolate didn’t have a rich cocoa taste at first but this developed more as I worked my way through the bar!

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I misread the German on the strawberry bar and thought “waffel” was waffle rather than wafer. The wafer pieces again give a nice crunch but I think they could have been a little bigger. This bar is very sweet and has a strong strawberry flavour. I think this bar is quite original and I can’t think of any non-vegan offering that is similar.

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I have tried the Vivani small bar of the white nougat crisp and the larger bar doesn’t disappoint. I’m not sure why they use the different branding as I prefer the Vivani packaging and designs. This chocolate is really soft and has a lovely hazelnutty flavour, this is definitely one of my favourites and again I don’t think there is an equivalent in the non-vegan market.

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The chai caramel bar is raw dark chocolate flavoured with spices filled with a raw caramel. When I saw this bar online I assumed it was the caramel that was chai flavoured rather than the chocolate. The chocolate is dark and rich and I think the intense cocoa flavour distracts from the spices, I think this would have worked better with a milder chocolate, equally I think the caramel flavour gets a bit lost in this one. Although as the chocolate is so rich I have only been eating one square at a time of this so still have some left!

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The milkless and the choco cookie have a similar appearance the corn flake bar so I haven’t taken extra pictures. The milkless is a mild, creamy chocolate that doesn’t have the aftertaste of some other dairy-free alternatives. I prefer richer chocolate or something a bit different so I think I’d choose one of the other Vivani/IChoc bars over this one. The choco cookie has cookie pieces, similar to the biscuits/cookies of an oreo contained inside and they give this bar an added depth of flavour. I know there are cookie chocolate bars in the non-vegan market but I think most of these have come on the scene since I went vegan so it’s nice to have an animal friendly alternative!

Finally we have the Vegolino mini bars. These are from the same makers the Vego Bar which many hail as the best vegan chocolate on the planet! If you are unaware the Vego Bar is a big chunky dairy-free milk chocolate and hazelnut bar. These Vegolino’s are the Vego Bar’s more elegant cousins. They are small individually wrapped bars of praline gianduja and are best eaten straight from the fridge, especially in the weather we’ve had over the last week! I would describe these as tasting like the praline filling from a Guylian Seashell chocolate, they are beautiful and moreish and my only criticism would be I think they would benefit from a crisp layer of chocolate over the top. Anyone craving a Ferrero Rocher fix wouldn’t go wrong grabbing a bag of these!

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Have you tried any of these chocolates? What did you think? What is your favourite dairy-free chocolate? Let me know!

Plumes x

 

Lots of Vegan Chocolate!

Review – Black Cat Cafe Hackney

I went to Black Cat Cafe yesterday with my Sister-in-law Gemma after we’d visited East London Vintage Fair. I had been there once before with my Husband. I tried looking through my blog to see whether I wrote a review last time but when I checked my instagram I realised we went two weeks before I started my blog!

Their website states – “Black Cat Cafe is a 100% vegan, cooperatively run space in Hackney-London that aims to promote an ethical lifestyle”. I really love the interior of the cafe and wish I’d taken some photos. There are as many tables crammed in as possible and it has a very “collective” type feeling, there are magazines that can be read while you’re in the cafe and extensive collection of books for sale from vegan cookbooks to political tomes. “Zionism in the age of the dictators” particularly caught my eye. The menu changes on a daily basis depending on what produced is sourced.

I love a good soda float so I have got a cola float both times I have visited. The only thing that could have made this better was if they served root beer!

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For food I went for the seitan plate which came with seasoned seitan with a dollop of mint yogurt dressing, sourdough bread and a selection of salads. The seitan was really meaty and chewy, ,I’m not sure what brand they used and the salads were all tasty, I especially liked the slaw.

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My Sister-in-law went for the health bowl, which came with houmous, violife cheese and a few more salads. She said she really enjoyed it and it was very filling.

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I had to treat myself to one of the cakes and I went for the coffee and walnut. The cake was rich with coffee and I think it also had poppy seeds in it.

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Black Cat also have a deli fridge, with vegan cheeses and faux meats as well as a huge range of drinks and chocolate on offer. I picked up a few snacks and treats to take home to my Husband which he was very pleased about!

Black Cat was very busy both times I have visited but I think that added to the atmosphere, it feels like there’s a lot going on and there’s a buzz about the place. I would really recommend visiting if you are in the area.

Have you been to Black Cat Cafe? What did you think?

Plumes x

Review – Black Cat Cafe Hackney

Round up of the week’s food 160508

I’ve had a lovely week’s annual leave and eaten some delicious food!

On Monday I had spaghetti with aubergine pesto and vegetables, I used up some romaine lettuce in this dish and if you haven’t had cooked lettuce you really must give it a go!

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On Tuesday I met my friend for coffee and lunch and we decided to go to a Mexican stall in the middle of our local shopping centre. I went for a salad box, which is basically everything I would have in a burrito without the tortilla. I like the salad boxes as you get more of the filling which is the best bit!

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On Tuesday evening I decided to make some purple coleslaw with red cabbage, red onion, carrot, salad cream and mustard. I served it with a Quorn spicy burger and some fried potato. I love coleslaw and I wish it was easier to find vegan versions as when I make it I end up with a massive bowl and have to eat it for days!

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So on Wednesday I had it again for breakfast with some avocado on toast.

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I went for a simple sausage sandwich for lunch as I was baking most of the day. I used Dragonfly Soysages which are my fave vegan sausages. I microwaved them (for the first time) as I was using the oven for baking and I was really impressed with how they turned out.

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I was baking as it was my Mum’s birthday on Thursday. Her fave chocolate is Bounty and she had asked me to make her some vegan versions when she saw this recipe pop up in her Facebook feed. This turned out really well, the only issue I had was where they had set they got stuck to the wire rack and cracked a bit when I tried to get them off.

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I also made her some banana bread as I had ordered some presents online but they hadn’t arrived (and I had some bananas that needed using up!) I used this recipe  from BBC Good Food and it was really easy. We always had banana bread growing up and this is the first time I’ve made a vegan version. i’m sure my Mum has made some for me because I can’t believe I’ve gone four years without having any!

We went swimming on Wednesday evening and popped to Tesco to pick up some food for dinner. I also picked up these Go On Pots from Alpro and you can read my review here.

Mum had some tinned seitan so wanted to make a stir fry. Tesco have a great deal, with veg, noodles and sauce for £3, (the veg on its own is £2). We went for a butternut squash stir-fry, rice noodles and plum and hoisin sauce. The sauce was nice and light and coated everything really well. This dinner took less than 10 mins to make and tasted gorgeous so I would really recommend trying out, there are various different sauces, noodles and stir fries available so you can do many combinations!

On Thursday I went into town with my Husband and we stopped at our local ice cream parlour. They do about six fruit flavoured sorbets so there’s lots to choose from. I went for cherry and lemon. My Husband took this photo and failed to tell me what a mess my hair was, but did say I had the crazy eyes!

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We stopped in Sainsburys and I picked up a pizza from the counter where they make them fresh. I like doing this as you can request them without cheese. I did consider putting on my own vegan cheese at home but the toppings were so loaded I didn’t feel like I needed to. We also picked up some garlic bread. This is in Sainsburys Basics range and is 70p for two baguettes!

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On Friday I went into London as my friend was leaving to go on maternity leave. Before I headed to the pub for a few fizzy waters I stopped at Simple Health Kitchen near St Paul’s Cathedral for lunch. I had seen a friend post a picture of her lunch from here on instagram and I had to give it a go! I  had sweet potato falafel with quinoa salad, courgetti and avocado dressing. It was a big serving and was really filling, as well as being super tasty. The light wasn’t great so the pic is a bit fuzzy and I couldn’t get internet connection (in central London?!) which was a bit annoying.

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On Friday evening I had the second half of my pizza and garlic bread so didn’t think it was worth photographing again!

On Saturday my Husband and I had lunch in town at a new peri peri chicken restaurant. I had a chargrilled vegetable pitta which contained huge mushrooms, peppers and aubergines. It was all really well seasoned and well cooked. I had sweet potato mash and chargrilled corn on the cob to go with it. The corn was the best I think I’ve had at a restaurant as it was charred perfectly!

Today I went to a vintage fair in Hackney with my Sister-in-law. There was so much on offer I think I had a bit of vintage fatigue by the end! I got a lovely dress and a top, which I’ll probably blog about once I’ve worn them, and I got complemented on the vintage dress I was wearing! We were really hungry by the time we’d finished so we headed over to the nearby Black Cat Cafe. I’m going to write up a full review but here’s a sneak peak of what we had.

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It has been such a lovely sunny day but I am well and truly popped! I changed into my cool cotton pj’s as soon as I walked in the door and am now going to catch up on some TV. Have a lovely week!

Plumes x

Round up of the week’s food 160508

Review – Alpro Go On Pots

I’d heard about this new product from Alpro a little while ago. I even had a voucher code to get a free one from Sainsburys but when I tried to find the product online it didn’t appear and it wasn’t available in my local store, so when I spotted them on a rare visit to Tesco (there isn’t a big one near me) I decided to give them a go and I was so glad I did!

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There are three flavours,  mango, passionfruit and blackcurrant. They are described as a dairy free alternative to strained yogurt or quark. I don’t think I ever tried strained yogurt before I went vegan so I can’t say how alike or different they are. I can say that they are really rich and creamy and that I scoffed all three in one day!

The fruit puree sits at the bottom of the pot so you need to dig deep to get to it, or you can mix it all in. I liked all of the flavours, the mango and blackcurrant had fruit pieces in them and the passionfruit had seeds. Flavour wise the blackcurrant was my favourite as it was really rich but texture wise I preferred the passionfruit. I much prefer smooth yogurts to those with fruit mixed in so these were great for me.

You can buy these pots individually, (they were 85p each in Tesco) and they are less than 100 calories a pot (if you care about those sorts of things!) It feels like you’re having a proper treat without going mad (unless you eat all three like I did!)

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Have you tried the new Go On pots? What did you think?

Plumes x

Review – Alpro Go On Pots