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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