Vegan Kind Beauty Box 8

Last week I received my quarterly beauty box from The Vegan Kind. For £18.50 including postage and packaging you receive 6-7 skincare/makeup products that are completely free from animal ingredients and are not tested on animals either!

Starting with the top left we have The Konjac Sponge Company Ltd French Pink Clay Facial Puff Sponge  (RRP  £8.99). This looks like a really interesting facial sponge, I’ve eaten konjac before but never used it to wash my face! The Sponge is mineral rich and cleanses, exfoliates and detoxifies skin.

Next there is Vitala Spa Chakra Balancing Compassion Bath and Body Oil 100ml (RRP  £8.50) this smells amazing and is really relaxing in a long, hot soak!

Figs & Rouge evAcalm Perfect Calm Moisture+ AM PM Cream 50ml (RRP  £24) is up next. This goes on the skin lovely and can be used pre makeup in the morning or before you go to bed.

Finishing off the top row is Weleda Almond Sensitive Skin Travel Size Body Wash 20ml (RRP  £1.95) and Hand Cream 10ml (RRP  £2.25) the hand cream is a good size for your handbag and the body wash will go in my overnight bag. I tend not to take my own toiletries when staying with friends or family but then I don’t like using non cruelty-free products so this is great rather than taking full size products.

On the bottom left we have Sheila’s Natural Products Face Cream Deluxe Sample (RRP full size £27.50) this is another nice face cream, so I’ll be in stock for a while.

Lastly we have Spectrum Collections Tapered Finishing Brush (£7.99). This has a feel to it and is really soft!

This box retails in at over £50 (!) So for £18.50 you can’t go wrong. As always 20p from every box goes towards Dr Hadwen Trust which funds research into alternatives to animal testing.

My box this time seems a little cream heavy with no makeup items. It may just be a case of what is available at the time but I feel a bit of planning to get a good cross section of products would be more appealing.

I was also surprised that only the konjac sponge had any markings noting vegan or cruelty free and these were only on the leaflet inside the packet and not on the outside. Nevertheless it is great being introduced to new products and cruelty free companies.

Have you used any of these products? What did you think?

Plumes X

Vegan Kind Beauty Box 8

Review – Amie Skincare

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I first came across Amie Skincare when I received their Morning Clear Purifying Facial Wash in my Beauty box from The Vegan Kind which I wrote about here.

As soon as I started using the facial wash I was impressed. It left my skin feeling so smooth and I knew when I had finished I would be straight on their website to but another one!

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When I ordered from the website I bought two facial washes which are £4.95 each (one for me and one for my Mum) and I also ordered their Spring Clean Deep Cleansing Mask (£5.95). I tend to use a mask at least once a week to give myself a treat and I really liked this one. It smells of peppermint and left my skin feeling so soft.

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I had been using Lush’s Imperialis for my moisturiser but I had to take one pot back as it was bubbling and smelt really funny, I was given their Enzymion as a replacement as the whole batch of Imperialis was off. I used a couple more pots of the Enzymion before I went back to Imperialis, it wasn’t bubbling anymore but it didn’t have the same smell I remember from when I first started using it. As I had been so impressed with my other Amie products I decided to buy a moisturiser from them. They offer two moisturisers, Morning Dew Matte-Finish Moisturiser and Morning Light Hydrating Daily Moisturiser (both £4.95). As I have combination skin I went for the matte-finish one. I have been using it for a few days and I am really happy with the results. I only need a small pea-sized amount to moisturise my whole face.

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As I was buying the moisturiser I thought I’d treat myself to the New Leaf Exfoliating Polish (£5.95). This is designed to be used no more than twice a week to give your face a deep cleanse. It contains mango and orange blossom and smells gorgeous when you apply it to your skin. The exfoliating element is rice granules so no nasty microbeads here!

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They sell a few other products including an exfoliating daily wash, facial wipes and micellar water along with a mini travel duo of the face wash and moisturiser.

Amie Skincare are proud of their natural credentials and lay it out on their website.

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As I have only bought from the website I have tried to buy at least two products at a time to balance out the delivery charge, although the products are so reasonably priced it isn’t so much of an issue! They are also available at Waitrose and John Lewis in the UK.

I really recommend these products, I can’t believe they work so well for such a reasonable price, you can also read more testimonies on their website.

Have you tried Amie Skincare? What did you think?

Plumes x

 

 

Review – Amie Skincare

Vegan Perfumes

Along with cruelty free beauty products, perfumes are another area where vegans need to tread carefully.

You can look up your fave perfume to see whether they comment about being cruelty free or containing animal ingredients although some are particularly quiet on the matter. Also if the perfume is from a fashion house you may want to consider whether they use animal products in their fashion lines (fur, crocodile/snakeskin, leather, silk, wool).

Luckily there are a few brands which are completely cruelty free. Lush have a range of great smelling perfumes and they mark which are vegetarian and vegan.

My fave perfume brand however are Eden Perfumes. They are based in Brighton and are completely vegan and cruelty free, they analyse popular brands and make vegan versions for a great price! I couldn’t put it better myself so I have taken the following from their website to show you.

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I received the similar to Lady Million by Paco Rabanne for my birthday and I have just bought the similar to Classique by Jean Paul Gautier. They have a nice big spray so you need a couple of spritz to be smelling delightful! My only criticism would be that they only do one size, I think a larger bottle would be good especially if you are buying it as a present for someone else.

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Do you wear vegan/cruelty free scents? What are your favourites?

Plumes x

Vegan Perfumes

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

My Journey to Veganism

A lot of vegans are asked why they choose the vegan lifestyle and I thought I’d use this post to tell you about how I ended up becoming vegan.

Growing up my Mum had always had an interest in vegetarian cooking and we had a couple of vegetarian cookbooks at home. (Good old fashioned 70s/80s style!) We ate Quorn probably about once a week, either as mince in a bolognese/chilli or pieces in a stir fry. Talking to my Mum about this she said the reasons were mainly health ones but also it was convenient and it gave us another option food wise. We also had a number of vegetarians/pescatarians in the family so my Mum was used to catering for them when they visited.

I had never been a great lover of meat. I didn’t eat pork or ham and I couldn’t stand bacon. I think this was somewhat influenced by having to walk behind the kitchens when I went into school every morning and the smell of bacon frying at that time of the morning just turned my stomach. I wasn’t particularly fond of beef and found chicken boring/bland.

I started drinking soya milk when I was at uni in 2003/4 again as I wasn’t particularly fond of cows milk and I’m glad to see the dairy free milk industry has come on leaps and bounds in terms of products and availability since I shunned dairy milk.

I decided to go vegan at the end of 2009. I had been eating less and less meat throughout the year and it just seemed right. My reasons were more environmental at first and it just seemed so unnecessary to use all these resources to produce food I wasn’t particularly enjoying when I could eat a wholesome vegan diet. In November 2009 my Mum and I went on holiday to Vienna and we came across a lovely vegetarian restaurant and my eyes were opened to high end vegetarian catering!

I had decided the last meat I was going to eat was at my work team’s Christmas meal. I had steak and it was alright but it didn’t make me doubt my decision at all. I went into plant based eating full on and although I had read a lot I did find it quite difficult and limiting at first. After about 9 months I faltered and decided it would be easier to be vegetarian. I was still drinking soya milk but introduced cheese/eggs etc back into my diet. I had also had a flair up of anxiety following buying my flat and as I was getting a lot of help from my now husband and family I didn’t think it was fair to expect them to cook fully vegan meals for me. I was still drinking dairy free milk and all the baking I did was still completely vegan.

I was vegetarian for about 18 months after that but it still didn’t sit right with me. I continued to educate myself online about the dairy and egg industry and joined a couple of groups on Facebook. In 2012 I decided to transition to veganism but this time I was going to do it differently. I started eliminating the animal products I still ate slowly one by one and not beating myself up if I accidentally ate something or gave in to temptation. This started with not buying or cooking eggs, but I would still eat products that contained eggs. This took the pressure off as I didn’t have to frantically scan every packet I was buying. I then stopped eating cheese on weekdays, allowing it only at weekends as a treat. Then it easily became none at the weekends either. I replaced products I used regularly containing milk/egg/honey with animal free alternatives and then checking new products didn’t seem so overwhelming. I would say by May 2012 I had fully transitioned to a vegan diet and I have assigned May 15th as my veganniversary!

“But, Plumes” I hear you cry! “veganism isn’t just a diet! What about other lifestyle changes?”

Well in terms of clothes I didn’t own much leather/wool/silk to begin with but equally I didn’t throw anything out as I didn’t want to create waste. I just started checking any new items I bought and investigated vegan brands. (I’ll have to do a whole other post on my fave vegan retailers!)

By joining communities on Facebook and in real life (!) via the London Vegan Meetup Group I found my knowledge expanding through word of mouth and lots of my questions were answered in passing. I found this a lot less isolating then when I had initially tried veganism on my own.

I don’t wear a lot of makeup but again like clothes I didn’t have a huge clear out either. I just replaced my items as they ran out with vegan alternatives. Like many I was naive regarding animal testing in the beauty industry and as it seemed such an antiquated idea to me I couldn’t believe it was still so widespread!

Again I didn’t beat myself up as I learnt new things. I particularly remember someone asking a group for vegan toothpaste recommendations and thinking to myself “What?! Toothpaste’s not vegan either?” But you just adapt as you go along.

I have already blogged about my preferred cleaning products here, but this was another learning process of asking what other people used and recommended and trying things out for myself.

I said at the beginning that my initial reasons for going vegan were environmental but as I’ve learnt more about production methods in the agriculture industry I feel like I have become more compassionate towards animals and by not causing them pain, suffering or death I feel a closer affinity with them. I have also seen health benefits since turning vegan. I used to suffer from bacterial ear infections frequently as a child and into my mid-twenties. I also found I took a  long time to recover from colds and had a lot of mucus (gross right?) as well as what I call an itchy inner ear which caused me to do this weird thing with my throat to try and scratch it. I have heard this referred to as clucking but my brother named it goomping due to the noise it makes! Since I have been vegan I have not had a bacterial ear infection and I definitely have a lot less mucus. I do still goomp occasionally, but I think this is usually when I am dehydrated and it is a lot less than I used to!

The support I have received has also really helped me. My Mum is a total star and if you are a regular visitor to my blog you will know I go swimming and have dinner with her every week and she is forever coming up with new meals from recipes she has researched  online or looked up in her now growing vegan cookbook collection! She has been really responsive to all the information I have given her and in January I challenged her and her partner to go vegetarian for a month. She really enjoyed it and both of them have to decided to no longer eat meat although they will eat fish. My Sister-in-law has been vegetarian for over 20 years and transitioned to veganism over the last couple of years, its great to have a partner in crime at family events and I love discovering new vegan eats with her. My husband is not at all vegetarian but he eats mainly vegetarian at home and is becoming more and more willing to try new things. My Mother-in-law also goes to a great effort to cater for me when we frequently visit her home and she also introduces me to new products I haven’t been aware of before. I also love the online vegan community, especially on Twitter. I have chatted with so many great people and its great to share recipes, ideas and tips with other like-minded people. #veganhour is Tuesdays 7pm – 8pm UK time and is great place to chat to vegan peeps.

At my 30th birthday I decided to offer a totally vegan buffet. It was my party and I wanted to be able to eat everything! Some people had asked me prior to the event whether it would be fully vegan and I think they were pleasantly surprised (or they just ate before they came!) My vegetarian great-aunt sent me card after saying how much she enjoyed the party and how lovely it was for her to be able to eat everything. Something she had never experienced at a party.

Veganism moves more and more into the mainstream as time goes on. There is a lot more exposure of the lifestyle in the media and supermarkets and restaurants are offering more and more options to our growing demographic. Part of the reason I started this blog was to show people what vegans eat and how its not all weird ingredients you can only get in specialist health food shops. The feedback I have received has all been positive. I try to share information in an encouraging, non-judgemental way and although I don’t claim to be an expert I’m happy to try and answer any questions or let you know where you can find the answers.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and learning a bit more about me!

Plumes x

 

My Journey to Veganism

Lentern Learnings

As we’re nearing Easter I wanted to take a moment to reflect on Lent and what I’ve learnt through the season. I only started going back to church regularly when my Dad became sick. In my younger years I was quite devout – I studied Religious Studies for A-level and was the President of my university’s Catholic Society for a year which saw me heavily involved in church activities and usually speaking at mass every week. As I got older I still held my beliefs but didn’t attend mass regularly usually due to logistics and laziness. Since I have started going back I have really enjoyed the services and the time they give me to stop and reflect. I have also enjoyed sharing the experience with others when I have attended services with family and friends.

For Lent I decided to give up coffee. I don’t drink it daily but it is a treat a couple of times of week to go into a coffee shop and get a latte. I managed really well with lentern promise the only coffee I have had was after church on my birthday at the coffee morning with my grandparents. When I have gone to a coffee shop when my husband has wanted something I have usually just had nothing at all and I haven’t felt like I was missing out.

I also decided to try and reduce my sugar during Lent. This worked well for the first few weeks. Even when I went out for meals I wasn’t tempted to have dessert. I did let myself off for my birthday but even then I didn’t go mad I just had some cake. The real issue I had was when I came down with a bad cold, I had a temperature and was feeling very sorry for myself! I had a stock in the cupboard as I had been saving up treats people had bought me for my birthday to have at Easter. and just went a bit mad! After that I found it hard to get back on the wagon, but I have learnt I can easily go without sugar and I don’t automatically need something sweet to end a meal. I was having a cup of tea after my dinner and I really looked forward to having it every evening!

My last lentern promise was to fast for a day, usually Thursday or Friday and go to mass rather than having lunch. I hadn’t done this since I was at university and was a bit apprehensive about how this would affect me at work. I would have an early dinner the night before and fast for 24 hours having a late dinner. Some weeks this was easier than others. I tried not to concentrate on food and sipped on hot water throughout the day. I also tried to not talk (or complain!) about it too much. I found going to church helped me focus on why I was doing it. I also enjoyed going to church at lunchtime and it was good on the weeks I was unable to attend mass on Sunday. There is only one Catholic church in the borough my office is in and luckily it is inn walking distance of my workplace. When my company has been in different offices I have wanted to attend lunchtime mass but it was just a bit too far to get to and from in my lunch hour. I will definitely continue to go to lunchtime mass when I am unable to attend on Sundays and I’m glad I have another option for services.

Looking forward to Easter I am looking forward to spending time with family. We are heading down to my in-laws today to spend the weekend with them, my Sister-in-law and Brother-in-law and our nieces and on Monday we are going to my Aunt’s to spend some time with my Dad’s side of the family.

I got a white chocolate egg and mint crisps from Sainsburys from my husband. I was searching out the Choices caramel egg but I must have been too late as I couldn’t find it in Sainsburys or two Holland and Barrett stores I looked in!

My Mum got me some bits from Bomb Cosmetics. I hadn’t heard of this company before but will definitely checking them out in future. She got my a pack of soap chunks and I’m looking forward to trying out all the different kinds. Think I’m gonna need a new soap dish! They clear state their credentials on the pack stating “At Bomb Cosmetics, we make sure we use recycled packaging wherever possible. None of our products are tested on animals and we operate a fixed cut off date in line with leading animal rights organisations guidelines.”

She also got me this gorgeous set of bath bombs. Which I am gonna start as soon as I finish writing this blog! They are chocolate themed and look (and smell!) so gorgeous and tempting I have to remind myself they are actually bath bombs!

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Hope you all have a great Easter!

Plumes x

Lentern Learnings

Vegan Kind Beauty Box 6

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I was really excited to come home last night and find my Vegan Kind Beauty Box had arrived. It’s so nice to open a surprise box of treats every 3 months!

Starting with the bottom right we have Amie Morning Clear Purifying Facial Wash (RRP £4.95). I haven’t heard of this brand before but I’ve just run out of cleanser so this has come just in time! I tried this this morning and it’s really lovely and creamy and smells great! It left my skin feeling really soft.

Above that we have Barry M Radiant Rod Highlighter (RRP £3.99). I don’t usually use a highlighter but as it’s so cold at the moment I could probably do with looking a bit sun-kissed! You can use this on your cheek bones, as an eye shadow and even to exstensuate your cupid’s bow! I also love Barry M’s website as they clearly mark all their vegan products. Makes life so much easier!

On the bottom left we have a lipstick from Saturated Colour. This is another brand I hadn’t heard of before. I don’t often wear lipstick but when I do I go all out so I was glad to receive this bright lipstick called “First Kiss”. It feels really nice going onto your lips and they recommend using a lip brush to get the richest colour.

Lastly on the top left we have incense with a holder from Sacred Elephant Incense. I haven’t burned incense in a long time but I’m looking forward to trying this out. The incense I received was sandalwood and smelt great just through packet! If you saw my last post on Positive Thinking I spoke about breathing techniques and I think this’ll definitely get me in the mood for some meditation!

As always a donation from every box is made to the Dr Hadwen Trust which funds animal free testing research.

Have you tried any of these products before? Let me know what you think.

Plumes x

Vegan Kind Beauty Box 6