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

 

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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

It’s not a diet it’s a lifestyle

When people hear or talk about veganism they usually first and sometimes only think about what people eat. This is a very big part of veganism but not all of it.  Being vegan influences many of your choices that affect your life.

People also usually remember that vegans avoid leather, but we don’t use any animal products in our clothing so this includes wool and silk. Many argue that sheep need to be shorn, but this is due to them being selectively bred to carry more wool for our own ends. They risk infection from cuts they receive during the process and if you’ve ever seen film of them being shorn they don’t look like they’re enjoying it! Some people don’t have much sympathy for insects but boiling silk worms alive so you can use their thread used to make their cocoons without it being damaged does seem a bit extreme when there are so many cruelty free alternatives.

Another big thing that vegans avoid is animal testing. I don’t think many people are in favour of animal testing for cosmetics. Some may be surprised that it still goes at all as it seems so outdated. In the EU are law was passed in the last couple of years stating companies couldn’t test products on animals, however if your favourite brand also sells in China their government insist on animal testing in the name of consumer safety.

Many brands are anti animal testing and fund research into alternatives. My favourite is Lush. They aren’t just cruelty free but try to reduce packaging and use as few chemicals as possible. They recycle bottle lids that aren’t usually able to be recycled by councils and they reuse pots you return and you even get a free face mask when you return 5. (Then you only need 4 more to get another one as the mask comes in a pot!) I also really like the enthusiasm of their staff. Some people (like my Mum!) hate shopping and find their approach a bit too much and has told a startled sales assistant on more than one occasion! But I find it refreshing when you have so many disinterested sales assistants in shops nowadays. Cruelty free cosmetics and toiletries don’t have to be expensive either, Tesco, Sainsburys, Marks and Spencer and Superdrug own brand items are cruelty free. You’ll have to check the label to make sure they don’t contain animal ingredients but Superdrug clearly mark if products are vegan.

Another issue vegans face is parent companies. It’s up to your own morality what you do but some cruelty free brands are owned by parent companies who are known to test. For example The Body Shop is owned by L’Oréal. A few years ago there was outrage in the vegan community when cruelty free brand Urban Decay announced they were going to enter the Chinese market. Due to the backlash they reversed this decision and vegans applauded. However for some this was short lived as soon after the debacle they too were bought out by L’Oréal. They are two arguments, firstly that you don’t want to support animal cruelty in any form so you won’t buy from a company owned by a shady parent one. Alternatively you may think if the parent company see the success of cruelty free products and brands they will expand their offering and reduce their non-cruelty free items. When we look at food, Alpro who have a massive share of the dairy free market is owned by an American dairy company and fave ice cream brand Swedish Glace is owned by Unilever. None of us shop in exclusively vegan shops no matter how much we would like to, so perhaps boycotting certain brands is not the answer. I do try my best to buy from ethical companies but sometimes there isn’t alwats an easy or convenient alternative.

I’d like to hear your thoughts in the comment section. I also plan on doing a post regarding cleaning products but I’ll save that one for later.

This post has been a bit word heavy so here’s me feeling a bit pampered after the hectic week!

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Plumes x

It’s not a diet it’s a lifestyle

Extra Vegan Beauty Box!

My dear friend ordered me a vegan kind (website) beauty box instead of flowers on the passing of my Dad as, ever the pragmatist, she said they’ll only die anyway!

When the box arrived I was worried it would be the same as my November box (see post) but it was the same as a box I received last year, which I didn’t mind as I’ve used up all those items!

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Firstly we have Hedgerow Herbals Bath Bags. I got the lavender ones. These are fab to throw in the bath and I feel like I’m in a big cup of tea!

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Another one I use in the bath is Premae Skincare Mild Dermabrasion Face & Body Scrub. This is great for clearing out your pores and making you feel really fresh.

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This White Rabbit Skincare Comfort Clenching Balm comes with a lovely flannel. I wasn’t too sure about this one at first as the smell of eucalyptus oil made me feel like I was using Vicks  vaporub on my face! I got over it quickly and enjoyed using it daily as a cleanser.

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This must be the product I used the quickest the last time I had it. Olivia Soaps and Balms Chocolate and Coconut Body Butter. This smells so delicious you have to be careful not to eat it! I like it when the air’s a bit warmer and it’s really soft. But be careful when you open in the height of summer as it can turn to a liquid.

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Lastly these fab Fresh Therapies Nourishing Natural Nail Polish Remover Wipes. Handy to carry around and have in your hand luggage on holiday without the harshness of some of the chemical based ones.

Hope you enjoyed these beauty treats and maybe you’ll try some out for yourself.

Plumes x

 

 

 

Extra Vegan Beauty Box!

Vegan Kind Beauty Box 5

As I mentioned in my last post I subscribe to the Vegan Kind’s quarterly beauty box to discover new vegan products. It’s cost £18 including posting and packaging, but what you get inside is worth much more!

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You get a leaflet telling you about all the products and giving you the companies details.

First of all we have Cocoyou coconut oil. I recently re-stocked my kitchen cupboard but I do like to keep a separate jar in the bathroom. If you haven’t heard about the benefits of coconut oil Google it now! Always make sure you get virgin coconut oil not the processed stuff!

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Next we have Human Kind Hand, Elbow and foot cream. it’s a lovely size for your handbag and smells great20151118_083953

We also have Green People’s intensive repair shampoo. My hair is in quite good condition so I might gift this one as I sometimes do when I think a product can have a better home.

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We have a beautifully soft eye shadow brush next. I have quite a few brushes but it’s always great to have more. I go away quite a lot so may start stocking a second makeup bag.

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I really love the next item – a gorgeous sweet orangey smelling lip gloss. Sometimes lip gloss annoys me if I get my hair stuck on it but think I’ll definitely use this when I’m sporting an up do.

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Lastly we have this mirror. I have anext Alice in Wonderland mirror but both sides have become unstuck and need super-gluing. Or I might just replace it with this one!

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Plumes x

You can find the vegan kind at http://www.thevegan kind.co.uk

http://www.humanandkind.com

http://www.spectrumcollections.com

http://www.Cocoyou.club

http://www.emani.com

http://www.green people.co.uk

 

 

Vegan Kind Beauty Box 5