Wednesday, 16 December 2015

The Ultimate Festive Treats for a Plant-Based Christmas


I was going to do some epic Christmas gift-guides this year. I really was. I was even excited about doing them. Not really sure what happened but, with the influx of various gift guides already doing the rounds on my social media feeds, I lost my festive mojo a little. Long story short, I've compromised. This post, whilst being packed with last-minute festive treat ideas and stocking fillers for your vegan or dairy-intolerant loved ones (we're really not that difficult to buy for if you know where to look), is also dedicated to anyone who wants to indulge themselves with plant-based goodness over the festive season. 

 Vegan Life Magazine - December '15

If you're planning a cruelty-free Christmas there's no better place to start than with the December issue of Vegan Life Magazine*. This issue has you covered with recipes, gifts and vegan news and stories. Their subscription packages also make for amazing gifts for anyone looking to explore plant-based living in the new year. Doing Veganuary in 2016? This is your perfect companion! You can read via your tablet or pick up a print copy at Sainsburys, Tesco, WHSmith and other stockists. 

Artisan Grains Cashew & Cranberry Roast

I'm a huge fan of the Artisan Grains nut roasts. I've usually got one in the cupboard ready for my next roast dinner. They're also a hassle-free, last-minute Christmas dinner option. Just add water and bake in the oven. I'll be having this cashew and cranberry one on Boxing Day though, as part of a buffet. You can grab these roasts in Holland & Barratt, Tesco and Ocado. There are several varieties to choose from and all come with the TLC stamp of approval. 

The Vegan Kind Monthly Subscription Box

Let's talk about The Vegan Kind for a second: Their lifestyle boxes are the highlight of my month, every month. This month I've got two boxes to delight my palette. Their regular December box (I'll be unboxing TVK26 over the weekend, so stay tuned for that) and a one-off Christmas chocolate selection box, which is staying firmly sealed shut until Christmas day. TVK subscriptions are a real treat for anyone, not just for vegans. They always find the perfect combo of sweet and savoury snacks, eco-friendly and cruelty-free toiletries and household items, as well as interesting ingredients you may have never thought to try before. Perfect Christmas gift!

Moo Free Chocolate

Moo-Free have saved my chocolate cravings many a time over the last 2 years. Last year was my first Christmas as a vegan and I was scared to death that I wouldn't have any chocolate to line my stocking. Then I came across the Moo-Free selection boxes (available in Holland & Barrett, Sainsburys and other supermarkets) and advent calendars. As it turns out, this year I am practically overflowing with chocolate, but I still couldn't resist adding this mini chocolate santa bar to my festive stash. 

Booja Booja Fine De Champagne Truffles

If you want to go all-out posh with your choc this year, you've got to go for Booja Booja. There are loads of different varieties and flavours of these rich, naughty, truffles (including this box of 12 champagne truffles I received as a gift from my gorgeous boss) and they're widely available from Holland & Barrett, Waitrose, Ocado and other stockists. Don't be put off by the price - this box comes in at £9.49 - I can assure you the quality is more than worth it as a Christmas indulgence. As an added bonus, these chocs are also gluten and soy free and are made with coconut oil. 

Choc Shot Spiced Orange Liquid Chocolate

I'm still bummed about being unable to indulge in many of the festive seasonal selections at the likes of Costa and Starbucks, due to the presence of milk powder. Terry's chocolate orange is also off-limits. I'm seriously looking forward to mixing this extra special edition Choc Shot with some hot oat milk and smothering it in soy whip and marshmallows (see Freedom Mallows in the above pic - available from Holland & Barrett). This will be my Christmas Eve treat I think. You can pick up Choc Shot in most supermarkets. It's also perfect drizzled over desserts and porridge. 


Harper's Bizarre Handmade Soy Wax Candles

Couldn't not mention Harper's Bizarre, could I? These candles are one of my favourite things at the moment and Victoria has, once again, come up with some gorgeous Christmas fragrances this year. My favourites include Jingle Bells, Holy Moley and Figgy Pudding. There is still some availability on the Harper's website for these Christmas candles, but be quick! I can also recommend their entire range. For a few of my other favourite Harper's winter smells, see this post.

More Top Festive Tips

- Stalk supermarket free-from aisles for dairy and egg free treats such as dark chocolate pennies, chocolate santas and other nibbles.


- Loads of supermarket own-brand mince pies are accidentally vegan. Aldi's mince pies have no dairy or egg ingredients at all and are an absolute bargain!


- Holland & Barrett is your best friend for DIY vegan/gluten-free Christmas hamper fillers, as well as veggie party nibbles, non-dairy cheeses and roasts.


- If you want to be super-lazy, there's still time to order yourself (or a loved one) a luxury, vegan-friendly Christmas hamper. There are loads of options now. Planet Organic, Archie Browns and Hotel Chocolat all have amazing vegan and vegetarian selections and can still ship in time for Christmas. 

- Of course, you could always give a gift to the animals on behalf of a vegan/vegetarian loved one. Many animal sanctuaries, shelters and charities offer sponsorship gifts. Why not adopt a turkey? Or donate food and hay to rescued animals? 


I'm really looking forward to Christmas this year. Last year was the trial run and this time around I'm 100% on the ball and ready. I'm catering all of the veggie options at my family's annual Boxing Day gathering and have enough treats in my hoard to keep myself, my gluten-free sister in law and my dairy-free niece extremely happy over Christmas. 

Wishing all of my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from TLC xxx

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Friday, 11 December 2015

bonprix Advent Giveaway: The Tube Scarf

*Competition now closed*


Let's face it, when winter rolls around and the wind picks up, there's one thing we all reach for above all else; the trusty scarf. It's just the ultimate winter warmer. I'm a scarf fanatic, even in the warmer months. My collection is constantly growing and is beginning to push my actual clothes out of my wardrobe. I feel no remorse though, and I have no plans to change my scarf-hoarding ways. The latest addition to my collection is this gorgeous, deep berry, floral number courtesy of bonprix* and I have one to give away to you lovely lot!

Here's how I styled it. I have a very particular set of colours that I reach for during the winter months, and berry and burgundy wine shades are always top of my list.  This scarf ticks all of my boxes and I teamed it with this gorgeous crochet panelled shell top in mustard yellow, purple nails and gold accessories.

I've got one more of these scarves to give away to a lucky reader as part of their Christmas advent giveaway series. This flash giveaway is for today only.  The requirements are as follows...

1) Entrants  should follow @thatlisaclare and @bonprixUK on Twitter,
2) Tweet a message using the hashtag #bonprixadvent
3) Leave a comment on this blog to tell me your ulimate Winter accessory (and don't forget to let me know your preferred contact method so that I can contact you if you win!)


 You must be a UK resident to enter this giveaway. The giveaway ends at midnight tonight (11/12/15) and the winner will be chosen at random using random.org. Good luck!!

You can browse the full range of Winter accessories over at

bonprix.co.uk 

What are your go-to Winter accessories?

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Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Top 5 Products for Glowing Winter Skin


Ack, doesn't Winter really take it out of your skin?! It seems that, every year, as soon as the air gets colder and the wind picks up a bit, my skin begins to turn to stone. Dull, rough skin isn't a good look in any weather and I refuse to spend the festive party season looking and feeling like sandpaper so I've done something about it. Next week I'll be sharing with you my ultimate winter skincare picks, but today I'm feeling all festive so I thought I'd share with you 5 favourite products of mine for a glowing winter complexion, for face and body. 

Nip+Fab Glycolic Fix Daily Cleansing Pads

Words cannot express my everlasting love for this product. I've been using it since it first launched. This is an exfoliating product designed to even out the skin's texture as well as brighten skin tone. I tend to pair it with my Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant a couple of times a week to really smooth things over but, after cleansing, I always swoosh one of these badboys around my face before toning, moisturising and applying makeup. Makes for a super smooth base. 

Superdrug Vitamin E Sugar & Oil Scrub

Superdrug's own branded products are regular in my routine now, and have been ever since I became vegan (almost) 2 years ago. Their Vitamin E range is a particular favourite of mine. In the past I've stuck religiously to Soap & Glory scrubs, and I still do use them, but this is a fantastic budget option. It's grainy, silky and really gets the job done. My skin feels glorious after I've used it and it really helps buff away that nasty, dull layer to make way for...

Tan Organic Self Tanning Oil*

New favourite fake tan alert! Confession; I've had this product for ages, but never actually got around to using it regularly until the last couple of months, due to a seriously busy year of exams, graduations and moving house. This product just refuses to streak... ever. It's an oil so it smooths on really easily and gets into all those awkward bits with little effort. It's also really quick to sink in. It's made up of a blend of organic, eco-certified oils and gives a wonderful subtle glow after a single application. Totally buildable though, if you desire a deeper colour. For me, it just takes off that pasty winter tinge. Usually I'd prefer a more olive toned product, while this one is more gold, but I find that nowadays I don't desire such a deep colour. Perhaps I'm getting old. 

GOSH Cosmetics Giant Sun Powder

I'd be nothing without this huge compact. Can you believe that I've managed to use one up already? My favourite way to use it is to dust it over my shoulders, chest and legs (if I've dared to expose my pins, that is) ready for a night out. Great for when you haven't had time to tan and gives off a lovely, subtle shimmer. I also like to use it on my cheeks if I'm going for a more bronzed look (which is usually the case for me, I love my gold and brown tones). On darker skintones it would also make a brilliant highlight. 

Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer

I'm sooooo late to the Too Faced party. I've heard cruelty-free bloggers across the board rave about this bronzer so I gave in a purchased it a couple of weeks ago. No word of a lie, I've used it almost every day since (well, the days I've dared brave the weather and venture outside, that is). It's the most amazing, blendable contour shade but it's also great for dusting over foundation and powder for a deeper colour. Because it's matte, its lovely for daytime wear, when you don't really want too much of a shimmer. My guess is I'm preaching to the converted here so I'll leave it there. 

For a more thorough round-up of my Winter skincare essentials, stay tuned for next week's post. With everyone gearing up for the Christmas party season, I thought we could all use some extra glow this week. I also wanted to officially give the finger to this nasty stormy weather we're currently having in the UK. Desmond can officially do one. My skin is armed and ready! 

What are your top products for the perfect winter glow? Do you reach for the bronze when the weather gets rough?





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Thursday, 19 November 2015

Sponsored Video: Jamie's Earl Grey Martini


If you're anything like me, when someone mentions Earl Grey tea, you'll automatically picture the beverage above in all of its fragrant, chintzy glory. I've always secretly suspected that Jamie Oliver was a little off-the-wall bonkers, and his latest project with PG Tips** sees him, and the gang from Food Tube, getting extremely creative with our nation's favourite beverages. Including... an Earl Grey Martini! That's certainly a step up from a slosh of milk or a slice of lemon.

PG Tips have revamped a few of their classic blends, including Earl Grey, Assam and English Breakfast to put a fresh, new twist on these iconic flavours. The new Earl Grey features hints of citrus and bergamot to complement the classic PG Tips blend. Jamie Oliver and Food Tube have teamed up with PG Tips to encourage the nation to get creative with their cuppa.  For a sneaky peek at what Jamie's been getting up to with our nation's favourite brew, check out the video below...

For recipes, competitions and more, visit

You can also follow PG Tips on Twitter and Facebook for more 'outside-the-mug' ideas. 

**Sponsored video content - Commentary is the author's own
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Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Warming Winter Fragrances by Harper's Bizarre Candles

Cruelty-free, vegan and eco-friendly soya wax candles

Don't get me wrong, okay, I'm a complete candle freak 12 months of the year. As someone who lives with animals, scented candles are an eco-friendly way to counteract their various whiffs. However, I find them to be particularly comforting during the Winter months. One brand I have really come to love over the past year or so is Harper's Bizarre. Their candles are handmade from 100% soya wax, are eco friendly and come fully accredited by The Vegan Society as being cruelty-free and free from animal ingredients. Today I wanted to share with you a handful of their scents I've been particularly enjoying since the night have started creeping in...

Harper's Bizarre Candles - Snuggley Blanket, Raspberry & Rose, Pumpkin Apple Slice

Harper's Bizarre, based in Hull, is the baby of a lovely lady called Victoria, who I have now come to consider a friend. She makes each batch by hand and dreams up each original scent herself. Her quirky personality shines through in her products and the scents are truly unique compared to other candle brands (she recently came up with a scent named 'Chocolate puppies').  The candles come with a double wick for an even burn with an approximate burn time of 20hrs each. The fragrances are strong and carry wonderfully. Nothing worse than a scented candle you can only smell when your nose is in the tin. 

Harper's Bizarre Candles: Snuggley Blanket, Raspberry & Rose, Pumpkin Apple Slice, Scary Mary

The fragrances I'm loving the most at the moment include the following...

Raspberry & Rose 

This is a year-round favourite if I'm honest, but I couldn't do a favourites round-up without including it. I love a fruit and floral combo. This candle is at its most gorgeous when burned in the kitchen.

Snuggley Blanket 

I find these kinds of scents to be the most comforting once the weather cools down and the nights get darker. Harper's version is particularly lovely and I always have it in the house. My favourite time to burn this one is at bedtime. 

Scary Mary

This is a new seasonal candle for Autumn/Winter 2015 and continues with the fruity/floral theme. I'm obsessed with it! Victoria has taken much inspiration from Halloween this year with other seasonal candles including 'Zombielicious' and 'Dirty Crow'. 

Pumpkin Apple Slice

Okay, this one isn't widely available as it was purely made as an experiment. However, it seriously smells like Autumn in a tin and I'm currently rallying a petition for it to make a more permanent comeback in 2016. Victoria sells her one-off experiments at events and vegan fayres so look out for her at any upcoming Christmas markets. You might find a hidden treasure! Check out her website for more info. 

Harper's Bizarre Candles - Snuggley Blanket, Raspberry & Rose, Scary Mary

Harper's Candles collections range from florals, to aromatics, to patisserie so there's something for every taste or mood. Of course, now that the holiday period is looming, the Christmas selections are also creeping onto the site and I can 100% vouch for those too. Jingle Bells and Let it Snow were particular favourites in my house last year. 

Harper's Bizarre candles are priced at £8 each, or 3 for £20. They make pretty gifts as well as a special treat to fight the winter blues. I don't know where I'd be without them! 

For more info or to place an order, visit

harperscandles.com

What scents do you find particularly comforting over the winter months? What are your favourite Harper's Bizarre fragrances? 

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Monday, 2 November 2015

Planet Organic Launch 2015 Christmas Hamper Selection

Planet Organic Launch New 2015 Christmas Hamper Collection

What the heck, I'm going in with the first Christmas-themed postings, seen as my inbox is really starting to fill up with these exciting Christmas launches. Thought I'd get the bauble rolling (see what I did there, hawhaw), with these gorgeous selection hampers just launched by Planet Organic* for Christmas 2015. 

I love me some Planet Organic and, even though I'm no longer resident in London to browse their bountiful shelves in person, I still go potty for their mail-order selections when I really feel like a treat. These guys really know how to spoil those of us after a wholesome vegan or gluten-free indulgeance. These selections have been thought out to cater to veggies, vegans and coeliacs alike and range in price from just £16.99 up to a whopping £480 (one can dream, right?) Here are a handful that caught my eye...


My top picks from the Planet Organic 2015 Christmas Hamper collection

1. The Chocolate Lover - £45
2. Coffee Addict - £16.99
3. The Alternative Baker - £40
4. The Gluten Free Goodies - £50


Each selection is clearly tagged as to what is vegan-friendly or gluten-free. Other options include organic beauty hampers, beer selections and juicing packages (complete with Vitamix - drool). Other gift ideas available from the Planet Organic site include chocolate-making workshops, massage vouchers and spa days. Perfect if you want to really treat someone in your life or just indulge yourself with something extra special over the Christmas period (because that's totally allowed as well).

Browse all gift ideas and Christmas hamper selections over at
planetorganic.com

They are also offering free delivery on orders over £50 and an express delivery option.

How do you plan on treating yourself, or a loved one this Christmas? What are your favourite Christmas treats?


*Disclosure: Post contains affiliate links
** All stock images for this post sourced from planetorganic.com



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Thursday, 22 October 2015

The Vegan Kind TVK24 Unboxing


Another month, another dose of The Vegan Kind*! I really do look forward to this little box of loveliness every month. I'm running out of ways to express my love for TVK in these posts, so I'll just hop straight to it. The October TVK box marks the company's second birthday and includes the usual selection of plant-based snacks, cruelty-free toiletries and chocolatey goodness. Here's what in the box...

 Yushoi SnaPea Rice Sticks - Lightly Salted

Interesting fact: This company was founded 65 years ago to address post-war malnutrition in Hiroshima, Japan, and has recently made its way to the UK. These crispy little beauties are made with rice and fresh green peas with a little added salt. They remind me so much of the old-school Chipsticks we all used to get in our lunch boxes as kids, but these are so much lighter and have a really fresh flavour. Massive thumbs up from me.

Fitbites Baobab Bounce Superfood Balls

Okay, I wasn't too keen on the last FitBites product I received in one of these boxes. The cacao variety was just too bitter for me, even though I am a fan of bitter chocolate in general. However, these Baobab Bounce ones were really tasty. I love baobab in smoothies and juices, and it's a great source of calcium. These little bites are perfect as a pick-me-up or workout snack and use wholesome, plant-based ingredients. 

Almighty Foods Mindful Mylk Chocolate Bar

This is actually one of the best-tasting chocolate bars I've tried since being vegan. It's so creamy! What's most impressive, however, is that Almighty Foods products are completely raw. The creaminess in this bar comes from cashew nuts and coconut combined with Balinese cacao. The sweetness comes from vanilla and palm sugar.  Only complaint? Not nearly big enough. 

 Organii Strawberry Shower Gel 

There were several varieties of the Organii shower gel included with this month's box, including Aloe & Bamboo, Argan and Liquorice, but I got the Strawberry. I've been a long-time fan of The Body Shop strawberry shower gel so this was going to be a definite hit with me (see this post for more on my shower gel addiction). This version is eco-certified and made from 100% natural ingredients from sustainable suppliers. Aside from that, the packaging is super-cute and it smells gorgeous. All-round win for me.

LazyDay Foods Millionaire's Crispie Squares

I'm quite familiar with LazyDay Foods products. They're a regular feature in supermarket free-from aisles here in the UK and I feel no shame in admitting my unhealthy addiction to their rocky road and chocolate tiffin. I've never come across these before though. They're a little drier than I would prefer and I don't think I'd choose them over either of the aforementioned but I still munched my way through the whole pack in less than a day, so I'd say that's pretty good going. 


The TVK featured charity for the month of October is Austin's Hamster Haven, who will receive 10p from each box sold. AHH are based in Doncaster and focus their efforts on rescuing unwanted and abused hamsters and other small critters. TVK feature a different charity or campaign each month, as nominated and chosen by their Facebook followers.

For more info on TVK's boxes (which also include a quarterly beauty box subscription), visit them over at www.thevegankind.com

Their lifestyle subscription box costs £10 per month (plus P&P) and is a great way to introduce more wholesome, cruelty-free products and quirky brands into your life. 

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Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Winter 2015 Wardrobe Wishlist


I haven't done a wishlist-type post in so long! I've been browsing the web for inspiration since the weather started to turn colder, and I've already touched on my Autumn/Winter obsession once this month, so I thought I'd elaborate a little and share with you a handful of the items currently on my radar for the Winter months. Autumn/Winter fashion, for me, has always been about textures, prints, layers and seasonal browns, reds and greens, which is certainly reflected in these selections...



 1. Red paisley patchwork dress - £19.99 New Look (Online exclusive)* 
2. Brown patchwork slouch bag - £19.99 New Look*
3. Aviator 2 boots (Dark Brown) - £85 Wills London
4. Snowflake jumper - Dorothy Perkins

Fun fact: I wear way more dresses and skirts over the winter months than I ever have in the summer. This is down to my adoration for opaque tights and leggings. I feel more cosy in thick tights and boots that I do in jeans or trousers. I'm a huge paisley fan anyway, so this dress must be mine. It might even be a Christmas Day dress candidate, we'll see... The Aviator 2 boots by Wills of London are top of my Christmas list. Lace up boots are my absolute favourite look for Autumn/Winter. They just work for almost any occasion! 

1. Belted Aztec Cardigan - £22 Matalan
2. Knitted khaki skater skirt - £8 Primark
3. Navajo Fairaisle Duvet Set - From £13 Primark
4. Scarlet check scarf - £19.99 Accessorize

Okaaaay, so bedding isn't technically a wardrobe item (although all my spare bedding is, indeed, kept in the wardrobe so it's not too much of a leap - plus, I have been known to 'wear' my duvet for long periods over the winter). Each year I seem to miss out on the best of the seasonal bedlinen selections at Primark so I'm getting myself in there early this season. The addiction is real. As you can see, I'm all about the prints again this year. Anything checked or Aztec and I'm on it!

I have a feeling my budget won't stretch to everything in this post (although I'm going to give it my best shot), but I really wanted to give you lovely folks an idea of what my Winter style is and maybe provide some seasonal outfit inspiration. I don't do nearly enough fashion-related posts on this blog and this has to change! Now that I don't live alone I may even be able to bash out some outfit posts over the coming weeks if I can recruit someone for photographs.

What is on your Winter wishlist? Do you have a signature Autumn/Winter style? 


*This post contains affiliate links
** Stock images featured in this post sourced from PRshots.com 
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Thursday, 15 October 2015

Coffee Break! Vegan Life Magazine October 2015

My thoughts on the Vegan Life digital edition for October 2015

Now that I'm all settled back in back in Derbyshire, I've finally managed to perfect my new daily routine. Freelancing has taken a little getting used to in terms of schedule and it's easy for me to get carried away at the computer and lose all concept of time, with nobody there to tell me when I should probably take a break. When I worked regular jobs I loved sneaking off into the back for 15mins with a magazine and a cuppa, so I'm now making extra effort to incorporate this into my freelance day as well. One of my favourite reads since becoming vegan has been Vegan Life Magazine* and I've recently been getting to grips with their digital subscription.

Vegan Life Magazine: The wonders of aquafaba

Vegan Life Magazine is a relatively new publication (I believe this issue marks their first birthday) addressing all things vegan. From hero products and ingredients, to inspirational vegan stories, to animal rights news and discussions, they've basically got all the bases covered. And the recipes... sooooo many recipes! In fact, they recently beat out stiff competition to win the VegFest London Award for 'Best Vegan Service', which was 100% deserved.  I'd been reading the print copy previously, although I found it quite hard to come by in my area, so the digital option is a great solution for me. 

Vegan Life Magazine: Facts about coconut oil

I'd just assumed that a digital magazine would be the same as the print version, just displayed on a screen, but Vegan Life have made it so wonderfully interactive. Scrolling through galleries, swiping for recipes and other interactive features make for an interesting reader experience. 

Vegan Life Magazine: Seasonal drinks for Autumn/Fall

 The highlights of the October 2015 issue, for me, were Oliver Haslam's tips for anxious vegans on their way to university (could have done with those myself a couple of years back), the bumper harvest of Autumnal drink suggestions and butternut squash recipes that sent my, already brimming, new-season excitement into overdrive and an interesting debate on the effectiveness of protest in bringing about change for animals. This issue did a great job in stimulating both brain and stomach. So much so that my coffee break ended up extending into my lunch hour (but that's totally okay, I had plenty of choc chip Hobnobs and I'm not on the clock now that I'm my own boss).


You can access the digital subscription to Vegan Life by downloading the app. You can also search for local stockists via their website if you prefer the print version. From my Apple Newsstand, I can also download back issues. This is going to do wonders for my productivity... or not. 

For more info on Vegan Life and their subscription packages, visit
veganlifemag.co.uk

Did you enjoy this month's Vegan Life? Do you prefer your magazines in digital form? Where's your favourite place to get vegan news?

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Monday, 5 October 2015

Soigne Botanique Liqueur De Chocolat Collection

Soigne Botanique - Liqueur De Chocolat Review and Swatches

Brace yourselves, folks... Love nail polish? Love chocolate? Love rich, Autumnal colours? I've got a collection for you today that ticks all of those boxes! I've mentioned Soigne Botanique in the past, over on my vegan blog, but I thought it was high time they made their TLC debut. Soigne (pronounced Swahn-yay) are a gorgeous cruelty-free, vegan and eco-friendly nail polish brand, producing quality, pigmented polishes using plant-based ingredients and no carcinogenic chemical nasties.

Soigne Botanique - Liqueur De Chocolat Collection

The Soigne 'Liqueur De Chocolat collection is made up of shades inspired by, and named after, chocolate and liqueurs (errrr... SOLD!). The polishes are 100% cruelty-free and formulated using 85% plant-based ingredients, including wood pulp, cotton, potato, corn and manioc.

Liqueur De Chocolat nail swatches

Left to Right: Vin Rouge, Absinthe, Parfait D'amour, Whisky, Champagne

All of these shades are absolutely perfect for the new Autumn/Winter season. Soigne really know how to team their collections and there isn't a single shade in this one that I don't wear. I'm absolutely in love with Absinthe; it's quite unlike any other shade in my collection. Vin Rouge is reminiscent of Nails Inc Victoria and Champagne is the prettiest, cool gold shade. Parfait D'Amour, strangely, appears much more blue in these photographs but, in reality, it's a deep purple. The polishes are very smooth to apply and highly pigmented. The swatches above consist of two coats with no top coat. They're glossy on their own but, when teamed with a coat of Seche Vite, they last over a week on me without chipping. 

Soigne Botanique polishes have that wonderful, luxurious quality to them throughout. The packaging is chic and the gift boxes housing the collections are beautifully presented. This one came wrapped in a gorgeous gold bow. It was almost a shame to unbox it! I don't really have anything bad to say at all about the polishes. If I had to pick a grumble, I did notice some staining on my nails after wearing Absinthe, despite using a base coat. 

Definitely one for your Christmas list (okay, I finally said the C-word). If chocolate liqueurs aren't your thing, Soigne have a a full shade range including creamy neutrals, pastels and brights, all with that same Parisienne feel to them. 

Browse the full range at
www.soignenails.com


Prices for boxed collections start at £38 and individual polishes are priced at £11 for 10ml

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Friday, 2 October 2015

Hello October | 5 reasons to love Autumn/Fall

Autumn is hands-down my favourite season. Here are 5 reasons why...

I'm a September baby, therefore, I am genetically pre-programmed to look forward to Autumn each year. As much as I hate to wish away the summer - although, let's face it, we never get much of one around these parts anyway - sweating just isn't my thing, and the thought of all my cosy cardis and lace-up boots being stashed away in the back of the wardrobe for months is just too depressing. Now that we're into October, however, I'm officially getting all bouncy and excited again so I thought I'd scribble down a few of the things that make Autumn/Fall the winning season, in my eyes...

1. The Colours

Reds, browns, oranges, greens and (my personal favourite) mustard yellows... Autumn is undoubtedly a beautiful season. And what's more, the weather is - usually - still fair enough to appreciate these colours during long walks. One upside of having moved back to Derbyshire for a while is that the scenery is stunning at this time of year. Keep an eye on my Instagram profile for the inevitable proof. Shades like these tend to inspire my Autumn/Winter wardrobe as well. I love browns, burgundies and earthy greens at any time of the year but I go bonkers for them as soon as the leaves start to fall.

2. Hot Beverages

Now is the time that the coffee shop seasonal specials start to creep in. Pumpkin Spice lattes and toffee nut hot chocolates aplenty! I'm not a big consumer of hot, caffeinated beverages unless I'm freezing or on my way to an early morning lecture but I really enjoy a Starbucks/Costa stop at this time of the year. It gets me feeling all festive. Annoyingly, being vegan now rules the Pumpkin Spice latte out for me (why the spice powder has to contain dairy is beyond me) but this year I've pre-prepared a little pumpkin spice mix of my own as per this Pinterest post to pop in my handbag to satisfy any cravings. It also means I can indulge at home. 

3. Cosy Knits and Boots

As if we hadn't already established here that I'm infatuated with Autumn/Winter fashion, I will further confirm it by professing my undying love for knitwear. I just love being able to wrap up warm when it starts to get nippy out. My go-to look as the days get shorter is usually lots of layers, boyfriend jeans and work boots, topped off with an oversized sweater or cardi. Top of my Autumn wardrobe wishlist this year are these stunning aviator boots by Wills of London. They will be mine! 

4. Berry and Neutral Nails

The darker the evenings, the darker my nails. In truth, I will always prefer deep, rich nail colours like these over brights. I do dabble in brights and pastels during the summer months but, as soon as September kicks in, I really indulge myself. Old-school favourites of mine include Nails Inc St Martins Lane and Victoria, Barry M Chilli and Essie Shearling Darling and I also love chocolate, caramel, taupe and grey shades. This year I've got a few newbies in my collection, but I'm keeping quiet for now, as I'll be sharing those with you all next week in a new post.

5. It's Festival Season!

October marks the beginning of festival season. It's the time where everyone starts dreaming of pumpkin carving, fireworks, bonfire toffee and (if you're over in the States) prepping for Thanksgiving. I refuse to mention the C-word at this stage as I still think it's a little too early, but the countdown starts here, folks! I'm currently narrowing down the shortlist for my annual Halloween horror movie marathon and the Facebook bonfire event invites have already started creeping in. Exciting times ahead...


So, if you need me, I'll be snuggled up in a massive cardi, sipping my pumpkin spice latte and binge-watching horror movies on Netflix while painting my nails berry red and listening to the fireworks outside...

Do you adore Autumn as much as I do? What are your favourite things to do once the weather starts getting colder? 

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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Cruelty-Free Favourites: Bath & Shower Gel

A run-down of my favourite cruelty-free, vegan bath and shower products ft. Soap & Glory, Organic Surge, Treacle Moon and more

I admit it: I'm a shower gel hoarder. I get that little glint in my eye the second I turn the corner into the aisle in Superdrug. I just have to have it, whether I need it or not. As you can imagine, my bathroom shelf is very 'busy' as a result (although I tidied it up for the sake of this post). I have it stuffed into cabinets and drawers. Since I've been exclusively vegan and cruelty free with my product purchases, my habit hasn't eased. In fact, it's got worse! As I made it my mission to find *all* of the amazing cruelty-free options, it also became my duty to try them all. So, I thought I'd give you all the benefit of my addiction and share a few of my favourites with you... 

 Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Body Wash

Come on though, who doesn't love Soap & Glory products? Certainly not I, and I was ecstatic to discover that the products are 100% cruelty free with a long list of vegan options (check them out here). Pretty much all of their body washes, and some of their scrubs, are vegan-friendly and my current favourite of the bunch is Sugar Crush. It's just got that zing. It's also wonderfully lathery and lasts a long time, which is just as well as, at £6.50, it's the most expensive of the bunch. And the packaging... Oh, the packaging!

Organic Surge Super Fresh Awakening Body Wash

Organic Surge have some gorgeous products. They use natural ingredients and are eco-certified. I'm currently also using their lemongrass facial scrub. I was first introduced to Super Fresh in one of my The Vegan Kind boxes and it's one that I have since repurchased. It contains mandarin, may chang and bergamot essential oils so it's a thoroughly uplifting experience. Perfect as a morning pick-me-up. 

Cruelty-free, vegan bath and shower gels

Superdrug Shea Butter & Bamboo Shower Gel

If you're a seasoned vegan like myself, you'll know that Superdrug is pretty much a fail-safe for affordable, cruelty-free, vegan products. If in doubt... head to Superdrug. I think I've tried most of their shower gels to date, but the one that's sitting in my current stash is Shea Butter & Bamboo. Nothing not to love about them at all. Cheap and cheerful (99p) and get the job done. 

Original Source Vanilla & Raspberry

Original Source are another 'ye olde faithful' brand for vegans. Whilst not all of their varieties are vegan-friendly (honey is the main culprit, if I remember correctly), there are plenty that are, and that goes for shower gels, shampoos and their new range of scrubs and creams. Vanilla & Raspberry is my ultimate favourite. Like washing yourself in pudding. 


Treacle Moon Marshmallow Hearts

I don't buy Treacle Moon very often as I can only really get them online with my Tesco shop, but they're a lovely treat once in a while. I tend to use these more as a bubble bath than a body wash as they are a little bit on the sickly side, but they double up wonderfully. That said, they have some lovely, fun, girly fragrances. I often go for the apple pie variety but I spotted this recently and had to try it. Treacle Moon label their vegan products clearly and are 100% cruelty-free. 

Those were my current favourites but, no doubt, I'll be skulking back into Superdrug very soon to feed my habit. I just want to put it out there that there are so many amazing, quality, cruelty-free products to be had, and maybe some you might have assumed were off-limits to those living a compassionate lifestyle. Not the case, I can assure you. I'm probably going to be doing more of these kinds of posts. I haven't even begun to tell you about my body scrub collection... but I'll leave that for another day.

Do you rate these cruelty-free brands? What's your current favourite product to lather up with? 


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Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Sponsored Video: Sanctuary Spa #LetGo




I'm here today to highlight a lovely little campaign by Sanctuary Spa**. As someone who is a constant worrier and has always felt under some degree of pressure or obligation, be it in work, study or my personal life, the #LetGo campaign definitely resonates with me. Apparently, almost half of British women surveyed for the campaign admitted to feeling moderately to extremely stressed in their lives, with 40% fearing they were about to burn out. The #LetGo campaign by Sanctuary Spa is all about reflection and refocus. This is a message to modern women to spend less time trying to be everything to everyone and more time just being. We all need take some time once in a while to #LetGo of all the pressure...


**Sponsored video content - Commentary is the author's own
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Monday, 14 September 2015

mycoco Nourishing Body Tonic


It's not too often that I get an email about a product that is exactly what I'm looking for. I've recently been getting rough, dry patches of skin on my arms and legs (oh the joys of keratosis pilaris) and, although my beloved Superdrug Vitamin E Body Butter does a decent job at keeping it at bay, I've been on the lookout for other, more intensive, products to tackle the issue. MyCoco Nourishing Body Tonic* is a new product (to me). It is vegan, cruelty-free and coconut oil-based with all natural ingredients. When MyCoco offered to send me a bottle to try, I jumped at the chance!

About MyCoco

Mycoco are a brand who specialise in making natural skincare products using the finest coconut and tropical fruit/nut oils. Each bottle is blended by hand, using sustainably sourced ingredients from around the world. The product is formulated to hydrate, nourish and to target and treat many skin conditions such as stretch marks, itchy skin, psoriasis and eczema. Plus, because these are all gentle, naturally occurring ingredients this product is ideal for sensitive skin types. MyCoco Nourishing Body Tonic contains a rich source of fatty acids, vitamins and antioxidants.

  • 100% vegan

  • 100% natural

  • Never tested on animals

  • No chemicals

  • No artificial fragrances

  • No animal or synthetic ingredients


My Thoughts...

Having used the product a few times now, I can officially give it the thumbs up. It is easy to spread out, absorbs nicely and smells absolutely gorgeous! Literally, summer in a bottle. The product is solid in the bottle, but a quick dunk in some warm water melts it down to a liquid consistency.

The only issue I had with the application of this product is that the design of the bottle means the products is dispensed super quickly and I did have a couple of little spills. As the bottle itself is relatively small this did feel unnecessarily wasteful. It could do with some kind of stopper to control how much product is dispensed. This product also isn't cheap; It is currently priced at £23 for 100ml, but I'm usually willing to pay a little extra for a quality, handmade product.

Results...

This product left my skin feeling lovely and smooth. The hydrating effects lasted well between applications (depending on what bath/shower products I use, I don't always follow with a body moisturiser as I don't always feel like my skin needs it). With regard to the keratosis pilaris, I did see an improvement in the appearance of my skin in those areas after a good exfoliation, followed up with this product. I love love love the fact that it is clearly stated as a 100% cruelty-free and vegan product and I didn't have to Google for hours or beg their PR for that information. Although I haven't tried it in this way yet, the product can also be used on the face and hair. I'd imagine it will be an amazing all-in-one product to take away on holiday.

For more information on MyCoco Body Tonic and to purchase, head over to
www.mycoco.life

How do you tackle stubborn skin issues? Are natural products a regular fixture in your skincare routine? 

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