Friday, 25 November 2016

Vegan Recipe: Cheezy Eggless Quiche using Mori-nu Silken Tofu



There's a reason you don't see many (or any) recipe posts flying around on this blog. It's because I'm not a very precise cook. Don't get me wrong, I can hold my own better than most in the kitchen but cooking, to me, has always just been an "okay, let's see what I can make with this then" sort of affair, and throwing in a bit of this and a bit of that to see how it turns out really doesn't translate well into a blog post. 


Recently, I was sent over some silken tofu to play with by the lovely folks over at Mori-nu UK. One of my go to uses for silken tofu has always been as a filling for quiche. I've made many many tofu quiches over the last 3 years and none of them have come out quite like the last. I do tend to use the same method each time, just with a slightly different brand or equipment. This is my attempt to share my method with you. This quiche can be made with any veggies or toppings you like. I tend to just use whatever I have in the fridge on any given day. 



I wouldn't say that I'm a lazy cook, but my favourite recipes are the ones where you can do a big part of the work quickly and simply. This recipe hinges on the humble blender. The quiche mixture itself is just a case of throwing ingredients into a blender and whizzing it up to the desired texture - which is considerably thicker than a regular egg quiche mixture. I tend to eyeball this, but I will attempt to quantify things in the recipe below. 

NOTE: I used a very shallow flan tin on this occasion, but the batter recipe below would easily fill a deeper tin (with adjusted cooking time), or even make 2 quiches! I had leftovers.

Ingredients

Quiche batter

1 pack - Mori-nu firm silken tofu
Heaped teaspoon - dijon mustard
A handful of your favourite shredded vegan cheese - with extra for topping
(I used Follow Your Heart Cheddar Shreds)
A pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp ground arrowroot (for setting - you could also use cornflour or chickpea flour, this was just what I had on hand)
1/2 tsp turmeric
Approx half cup of unsweetened non-dairy milk - or enough to get a thick batter-like consistency without blowing up your blender

(I would also add in 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast, but I was all out on this occasion)

Everything else...

Jus-rol shortcrust pastry sheet 
Medium onion - diced
Sliced tomatoes and mushrooms
Generous handful of spinach



Method

Place shortcrust pastry into your chosen dish/tin and part bake, as per pack instructions, for about 5mins - remove from oven and set aside.
Place all batter ingredients into a blender and blend to a thick, smooth consistency - add more seasonings to your own taste if desired.
Saute the onion and spinach until onion is translucent and spinach is wilted.
Place onion/spinach into pastry base and spread out.
Pour batter mixture over onion/spinach and mix well (a better way to do this would be to mix together in a bowl first and then pour into base, but I didn't have a bowl)
Top with sliced tomato and mushroom and sprinkle with more shredded cheese.
Bake in the oven at around 175 celsius, for 30mins - or until quiche is set
Trim crust (just for the sake of neatness, although I never bother doing this to be honest)
Allow to chill and set further before serving.



I am aware that this is at risk of sounding like the vaguest internet recipe in history, but I've always trusted my eyes when it comes to cooking, and I don't think this recipe needs to be over-complicated - because it just isn't! My tofu quiche has been lapped up in the past at family parties without me even getting the chance to mention that it is vegan. 

Silken tofu is a really great ingredient for egg replacement and handy to keep as a store-cupboard staple. You can also use it to add protein to smoothies or to create a thick, luxurious chocolate pudding. 

Not sure if this blog will be turning into a recipe blog any time soon, but I've got a few recipes that I'm working on with my new Instant Pot that I feel like I want to share very soon. 

What is your favourite way to use silken tofu? What would you have made with it?


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Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Autumn/Winter 2016 Nail Favourites


Feels like a million and one years since I did a nail polish post - or a beauty-specific post in general, for that matter. Truth is, I haven't been wearing much makeup (I work from home), my skin is riddled with eczema so I've had to stick to the same couple of skincare products for ages, and my nails have been... awkward. BUT, here I am, and I wanted to share the nail colours and nail care products that are reeeeeally floating my boat this winter...


As someone who is very vocal in her adoration for the Autumn and Winter months - a major factor in which is my love of autumnal shades - I had quite a task picking my favourites for this time of year. This selection is made up of best-loved brands, old favourites and a couple of newcomers. I've divided the shades into warm and cool

 Cool Tones

                                    1) Soigne Botanique - Bleuet

There are a few blue nail polishes that I couldn't live without, but my favourite Winter blue is definitely this one by Soigne Botanique. It's a gorgeous, deep petrol blue and a little bit different from any other blue I've found. Soigne are a firm favourite brand also, and all of their products are 100% cruelty-free and use some really innovative, eco-friendly, plant-based ingredients. 

2) Nails Inc London - Gloucester Crescent*

When I first saw this shade I thought it looked almost identical to my beloved Sheraton Street but, upon comparing them, I decided I might even like it better. It's slightly more grey-toned and wintry which I love. This shade also comes with the added Superfood Boost of Almond Oil and Matcha for nail wellness and is a wonderfully rich and glossy formula. 

3) Ciate London - Tweed & Tails**

I got this polish from one of Ciate's Mini Mani Month advent calendars a couple of years back and it was definitely my favourite out of all the polishes. Can't believe I still have some left! It's still good though and I've worn it a couple of times recently. It remind me of that wonderful time when the countryside is just starting to change colour. 


 Warm Tones

4) Nails Inc London - Kensington High Street*

To be honest, I actually always preferred St. Martin's Lane as my 'purple berry shade' of choice, but I received Kensington High Street recently and I've been really loving it. I've barely reached for the former since. I also really love Nails Inc's gel formula and the newer packaging is so gorgeous. 

5) Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine - Paprika

When Barry M first released their Autumn Gelly shades a couple of years back I rushed out so fast to grab them and they've been a firm favourite ever since (the next shade in this list is also from that release). I've never had so many compliments and people asking what polish I'm wearing than when I've been wearing this polish. 

6) Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine - Mustard

See above... Over the last 12 months I've discovered something about myself - I reeeeally love mustard yellow, particularly in Winter. This Barry M shade is sadly a little trickier to apply than others in that range, which baffles me a little bit, but it's so worth the effort. 


 Nail Care

Nails Inc Superfood Repair Oil*

I go through phases with cuticle oil. I go from swearing by it to not bothering with it at all. At the moment I'm using this new one, as my cuticles seem to get much drier during the colder months, and it's doing a fab job. The dropper application takes a little getting used to compared to my previous Nails Inc brush-on oil, but my cuticles always feel lovely and soft when I've used this. With almond, rosehip and argan oils.

Nails Inc 'Nail Pure' Base Coat*

Not going to say too much about this one because I'm planning a post on the full range, but I have to tell you all how excited I am about the Nail Pure range of products. These products, much like Soigne Botanique, feature a wonderful 'free-from' formula with no chemical nasties and no animal derivatives. I've also been playing with a couple of the colour polishes from the range, so will report back very soon on how this formula compares to the other Nails Inc formulas. 


It's been lovely pampering my nails again recently, following a difficult phase. They seemed to just decide one day that they didn't want to grow and wanted to split at any given opportunity, so I'd just left them to it for a time. I'm definitely making up for lost time at the moment though! 

I hope you enjoyed looking through these shade selections - tell me your ultimate Autumn/Winter nail products in the comments. I'd love to hear your recommendations!


*Products gifted to me for consideration
**Affiliate link (but be assured that I bought this product and bloody love it - if I didn't I wouldn't be recommending it)
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Monday, 24 October 2016

Pinspiration - Vegan Halloween Treats

Pinspiration - Vegan Halloween Treats


The only thing I'm more obsessed with than Pinterest is Halloween. As soon as October rolls around every year I'm all about ghosts, horror movies, and pumpkin in everything and I've always been a sucker for sweet treats. So, for today's post I thought I'd attempt to combine the two and present you with my top 5 Pinterest recipe picks, just in time for Halloween 2016. I really rely on Pinterest when it comes to finding great vegan recipes. A quick keyword search on Pinterest usually turns up all the recipes you will ever need. It's also cheaper than buying expensive cookbooks and brilliant for discovering fabulous new food blogs. It's a vegan's dream! So here are my top 5 picks for vegan Halloween treats...

(Note: Embedded widgets may not be visible on some mobile devices - switch to web view)



Healthy Pumpkin PopTarts from Recipe Girl:

PopTarts are so easy to make at home. Even though the regular kind (unfrosted) are usually vegan friendly, they are loaded with refined sugars and additives so this spooky homemade version should please both parents and kids alike. Simply sub for vegan butter and this recipe is perfect!




Chocolate Pumpkin Candies by Veggie Staples:

All you need for a batch of these pumpkin-based chocolate bites is a chocolate mould. Sub the honey for agave or maple syrup and you've got an entirely vegan sweet treat.




Healthier Halloween Bark by House of Vegan:

Doesn't this look fantastic! I'm definitely going to attempt to make a big slab of something like this this year (even though the only halloween party I'm having this year is by myself, on the sofa, watching bad horror flicks on Netflix, so this should do nicely). This is a sweet and salty combination using crushed pretzels, seeds and homemade nut-butter candy corn.



Sugar-Free Chocolate Pumpkin Fudge by My Darling Vegan:

You gotta love fudge, regardless of the time of year but what a great idea to add pumpkin as an ingredient! Although we don't celebrate it here in the UK, recipes like this would be perfect for Thanksgiving as well as Halloween.



Monster Rice Cereal Treats by Fork & Beans

Definitely saved the most impressive for last here! Cara at Fork & Beans is one of the most creative cooks I've come across. All of her recipes are also dairy, egg and gluten-free. What's more, she's produced an eBook showcasing all of her Halloween creations. Perfect if you're planning a party this Halloween!

*****

Tough to pick out just 5 from the many thousands of great pins I've come across lately! If you want more fang-tastic vegan food inspiration you can follow my Halloween-themed Pinterest board



HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! 

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Monday, 5 September 2016

How to do Birthdays After 30


Over the last few days I've been seeing a lot of tweets on my timeline from people terrified of their impending 30th birthdays. I too was those people. It's my own birthday this week and my Facebook memories feed is currently riddled with 4-year-old updates from my own defiant advance towards the big 3-0 - I'll let you calculate my current age for yourselves from that, because I can't bring myself to type it outright - so I thought I'd scribble down a few words of wisdom for the next batch of wide-eyed 29-year-olds, nervously contemplating the next decade with uncertainty. 

1. Confront The Dread

The feeling of dread is legit. I felt it. It's fine. It's to be expected.
It's also largely unnecessary. I actually loved being 30, and if I could remain the same age for the rest of my life I would choose 30 every time. I approached my 30th birthday determined to prove to myself that I was still my young, trendy twenty-something self. So I defied age in the best way I could think of at the time - I dyed my hair bright pink (no, there are no pictures). 

It lasted about a fortnight before I got fed up of the colour transferring onto everything I owned and reached for the ColourB4, but it served an amazing purpose. It displaced the fear. I'd done something spontaneous and daring and scary and it completely refocused me, albeit for a little while. By the time my 30th birthday rolled around I was relieved to be a regular brunette grown-up again. 

2. It's okay to just have a quiet one

In my twenties, the birthday default involved large groups of people, pitchers of various cocktails and 4am bedtimes. I also went through a phase of going on holiday around my birthday every year and getting steaming drunk on sangria and 1 euro Jagerbombs in the sunshine.

Now that I've crossed the threshold into my thirties, however, a night in front of the telly with a gin or two and a massive plate of chips is just as appealing. I've also found that, in your thirties, you and your friends become less and less available with the arrival of children and the fact that a week at work gets gradually more and more knackering by the year and you just can't be bothered.

Of course, given the right set of circumstances, we thirty-somethings are still young enough to enjoy an epic night out (and also still young enough to get away with it). Last year my birthday fell on a Saturday night and boy did I take advantage of it. I also had the wisdom and life experience to know to to pace myself, not mix my drinks, and woke up the next morning hangover-free and able to enjoy the biggest vegan brunch I've ever had in my life.  


3. Never let people assume you're too old for birthday cake

WRONG! Fatal error! You're never too old for cake. In fact, I put it to you that cake becomes increasingly important the further you travel through life. Of course, it's slightly awkward for me, being vegan, in that there are few people I know with the cakey know-how to make me a surprise birthday cake so I inevitably end up making my own (and eating it on my own), and I am entirely 100% at peace with that. This year I will be whipping up a chocolate/banana loaf and demolishing it while slumped in front of Season 5 of Suits. Cake is the lifeblood of birthdays and must be respected. 


4. Relax - It's no big deal

While it's totally okay to want to be made a fuss of on one's birthday, and surprise cards and gifts (especially if those gifts are wine) are guaranteed to make anyone feel special, it's far from essential to me these days. I find I become less and less bothered about birthdays every year. As mentioned above, making exciting plans is challenging, and stuff still needs to get done. You're just as likely to find me cleaning the loo or booking a smear test on my birthday as any other day. 

Being self-employed, I'm lucky in that I can stealthily schedule myself a day off on my birthday if I want it, but 9 times out of 10 I'll just spend it doing laundry, eating cake, ticking various things off my to-do list, and watching Netflix in my pants. 


5. The more practical the present, the better

I'm actually pretty much done with birthday presents at this stage, nor do I ever expect them. I have no need for them at all. Except if they are things I actually need (or gin). Gifts that will enhance my life and make my existence less annoying. Post-thirty, I find that family members are more likely to just slip me 20 quid, which they assume will be spent on said gin, but that I usually donate towards a greater cause - such as my fledgeling Vitamix fund (at this rate I'll have enough by the time I hit 40).

That said, my mum once presented me with an electric blanket on my birthday and I almost cried. It was the most amazing present I'd ever received in my entire life. But, in all seriousness, it's the actual connection with family and friends and the Facebook birthday wishes from people I haven't caught up with in a while that make it for me. Not the presents. 

So, if you want to make this thirty-something happy on her birthday, buy me a drink, don't ask how old I am (unless you're prepared to tell me I look 10 years younger as part of the next sentence), don't fret if we can't schedule a night out immediately and, for the love of Pete, BRING CAKE!! 



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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Caitlin Moran Has Changed Me Forever


I've had a bit of a blogger epiphany this week, mainly thanks to the great and mighty literary powerhouse that is Caitlin Moran. I've been on a mission recently to re-read pretty much everything she's ever written and I came to the conclusion halfway through Moranifesto that I've been approaching blogging all wrong since I finished University. 

First and foremost, it was my need to write my way out of my ME/CFS-induced misery and frustration that lead me to start this blog over 6 years ago but I started worrying that nobody wanted to hear about my spoonie life and struggles. I was brought up on the premise that one does not express one's feelings, values, or insecurities, should they upset or offend anyone else or come across as a little bit loopy. So I quickly fell into the blogger/PR trap of thinking that I had to have companies throwing products at me in order to produce valuable content that people would actually want to read. 

That side of blogging dried up for me when I took an extended pause during my final year of Uni and then moved out of London back to Derbyshire after graduation. No posh events, no exciting launches...  no more free Prosecco and macarons, for heavens sake!! I felt very uninspired and out of the loop and have never quite recovered. 

I've been operating under the assumption that my day to day life is pretty boring and that, unless I've got a specific project or product to write about, I have nothing much else to offer the internet and, as a result, not much blogging has been happening at all. Nobody wants to hear about my mundane, day-to-day, 30-something neuroses, right? Apparently wrong! I hadn't got much further into Moranifesto than page 46 - 'Printers are Evil' - when an atomic bomb went off in my head; 'OMG I'm actually relating so hard to this! I am no longer alone, going through life trapped in a box in my own head, feeling like a complete oddball! Is this actually what people want to read about?' 

If that really is the case then I am suddenly bubbling over with inspiration. The limits have suddenly fallen away and I am staring out into a vast wilderness of possibilities. Much scribbling in notebooks and wide-eyed grinning has happened since then. I'm going to be embracing the randomness and having a good old chuckle at myself in the process. I vow to shout from the rooftops about my pathological fear of YouTube, my ongoing battle with stress-eczema, and my unhealthy obsession with kimchi.

Don't get me wrong though; this blog will still contain more of the usual. I'm still going to be rambling on about carbs, veganism, makeup, office furniture, and anything else exciting that I discover on my awkward amble through daily life. It'll just be peppered with random thought-nuggets from inside my head from here on out. I do hope that's alright with you lot.

So, thanks a bunch Caitlin. I remain, as ever, your loyal and humble disciple.
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Sunday, 21 August 2016

Summer of TVK | 3 Box Bonanza!

The Vegan Kind TVK34 August 2016 Lifestyle Box

Well HELLO there! Once again, I'm going to kick off another post by apologising for how awful I've been with this blog. In my defense, I am on a mission at the moment to figure out a way to generate my own personal blog content more efficiently alongside the content I create for clients as part of my paid job. I hope this post goes some way to making up for it, because I've got a bumper summer crop of The Vegan Kind* for you today. 3 whole months' worth of wholesome, cruelty-free, vegan food and lifestyle goodness! 




The Vegan Kind TVK 32 - June 2016

The TVK box for June threw me right into the mood for summer. I guess they were as excited as I was, because the stars of this box were the Green People Edelweiss Sun Lotion and natural tan accelerator, and the Smooze coconut and mango fruit lollies. The only thing that could have made this box better would be a plane ticket, a palm tree, and a good book (fat chance of that for me at the moment though - busy busy busy - maybe next year). 


Also tucked away in this box was a glorious Chocolate and Raspberry Cookie from The Foods of Athenry. I'm a huge fan of their baked goods after discovering their gluten-free mince pies last christmas and they're a regular with TVK. The Good Full Stop cocoa orange bar was a refreshing change for me from the Nakd version, and I'd not got round to trying the Granovita Vegetable Pate, despite seeing it around multiple times. Also... cheese and onion Hoots! Enough said. 10/10 TVK!




The Vegan Kind TVK33 - July 2016

I have another apology to make (that makes 2 so far this post, I'm going for a record) and that apology is to Angelic Gluten Free, whose chocolate, coconut and oat slices were too delicious and were the only item out of all 3 boxes not to survive to the photography stage of this post (although, the Yushoi Snapea Soy and Balsamic Vinegar rice sticks bag also looks mysteriously empty... my bad). Believe me when I say that you need them in your belly. I thought I could just pinch one and photograph the rest. How wrong I was. I will make it up to them by annihilating their stock at Vegfest London in October. 

Massive shoutout once again to Harper's Bizarre for another TVK exclusive candle. I'm lucky enough to call Victoria Harper a friend and her candles are always welcome in my house. Particularly her raspberry and rose, so The Raspberry Kind was very well received. 

This was a very sweet box, with Goody Good Stuff cola bottles, a Conscious Chocolate Goji and Coconut mini-bar, and a delightfully refreshing Virtue Lemon Iced Tea in addition to the Angelic cakey goodness, but I also o-loved (see what I did there) the Oloves chilli and garlic olives.


The Vegan Kind TVK34 - August 2016

Hard to choose a best out of all 3 summer boxes, but... I think this one just takes the trophy, purely for the Follow Your Heart Veganegg. Prior to becoming vegan, I remember citing eggs as something I could never give up. I was extremely 'meh' about cheese and I've never been able to stand the smell of bacon, but eggs were my bae (if I were the sort of person to use the word 'bae' *shudder*). I think I'm going to save my thoughts on this product for a full review and maybe even a taste test video. 

Elsewhere in the box, I've thoroughly enjoyed munching my way through the Hippeas Far out Fajita chickpea puffs, the Landgarten crunchy choco balls, and the Squirrel Sisters Coconut and Cashew energy bar over the last few days. We had my brother's 6 year old step-daughter staying over on Thursday night and she was only too happy to share the Candy Kittens Sweet Pineapple candies with me (in fact, she rather liked them - see below).




And, finally, there was the Native Unearthed Volcanic Crystals and Aloe deodorant, which I haven't got round to testing out yet, but that I have high hopes for. I was also lucky enough to get a £5 John Lewis/Waitrose gift card with my box, which I donated to my preggers sister-in-law towards baby clothes as my first duty as an Auntie-to-be. 


I know I say this every time I review a TVK box, but I've been getting these boxes (initially as a paying customer and now as a blogger) for well over a year now, and I can honestly say they never send out a bad box. They are amazing value for money and there's always something new to try with TVK. It's never the 'same old stuff' with them. I've never felt tempted to order from any of the other vegan subscription box services that have sprung up in the UK (TVK were the first). 

For more information and to subscribe to The Vegan Kind Lifestyle Box visit www.thevegankind.com




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Sunday, 22 May 2016

Pinspiration | Office Goals


I've been working for myself from home for almost a year now and I absolutely love it. Granted, my current living situation is a little 'unfortunate' and I don't have complete control over my workspace yet - I'm still working on boosting my finances since graduating from university and currently bunking in with my parents - but I've managed to carve out a little office space for myself in the guest bedroom and am currently trying to make it my own. I'm also dreaming of the office I'm going to have once I've finally got the deposit for my own house together. As always, I've turned to Pinterest for ideas and inspiration and thought I'd paint you a picture today of my dream office using Pins...

(Note - embedded pins may not show up on mobile devices so switch to web-view)

Colours

My dream office is full of flowers, books, efficient storage and lots of natural light (which my current dark space is seriously lacking). As a general rule in my home decor, I like a combination of white, wood and neutral, soft colours, mixed in with metallics. I find bright colours really distracting in an office environment, and I'm very easily distracted when I'm writing. The slightest thing can throw me off and make me lose my thread.



Desk

My current desk is the IKEA Micke. I chose it because it also provides me with a white backdrop for blog photography when I need it. In an ideal world I'd probably choose a pale wood finish for my desk-top, but I love IKEA for their affordable, functional options, and the drawers in the Micke mean that my surfaces don't get cluttered and plenty of room for my hoard of office snacks.



Storage

I love shelves. Historically I've always favoured floating shelves in either white or pale wood (see above), but recently I've started coming around to the idea of shelving units and bookcases. Eventually, I'd like my home office to also be a place where I can come to relax and read, so all my books will be kept there and I believe books should always be on display. Although drawer space is important to me, and I detest a cluttered workspace, I'm not keen on having too many drawers, so well-organised shelves are a must.



Lighting 

In my head, the windows in my office of dreams are going to be huge. Due to chronic fatigue syndrome, a dark room makes me sluggish and drowsy and no amount of vitamin D is going to compensate for lack of natural light. While I know in my heart of hearts that having my desk face out of a window will seriously affect my productivity, it's nice to dream. My current office lighting is a bit slap-dash, as the room gets almost no natural light whatsoever, but I've put a himalayan salt lamp* in there for a soft, pink glow while I work because I find the artificial glare of most desk-lamps too harsh.



Decor

I love the idea of having a feature wall in my home office, with interesting prints or art on it, while leaving other walls more minimal. I'd love to do a DIY job or giant pinboard, using various prints and quotes, but I also really love the idea of a large world map canvas. I'm working with a client at the moment that makes the most beautiful wall maps and murals (they made the map wallpaper featured in this pin - although I'd style it completely differently myself) and I just know I'm going to cave in and buy one as soon as I've got somewhere to put it. That wasn't a shameless client plug by the way, I genuinely love their products, which makes my work even more awesome.

I could go on forever about all the things I *need* for the dream office I don't have yet, but if you want more office Pinspiration, you should definitely follow my board. I've been going mad on office pins lately! Once I've got my current little corner the way I like it, I'll probably follow with a photo-tour post.

I also love sneaking a peek into others' home offices, so if you have an office tour on your blog or channel, do link to it in the comments, and it'll probably end up on my board!!

What's in your dream home office?


*Affiliate link  (I purchased this product and absolutely adore it)
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Monday, 16 May 2016

My Vegan Life (In Pictures)

My Vegan Life - That Lisa Clare

I've been vegan for over two years now. It's not a secret. I've completely embraced it in every aspect of my life and it's been the most positive thing I've ever done for myself - although I didn't actually do it for myself to begin with - but I don't talk about it much. Sure, I'll wax lyrical about cruelty-free beauty products or what I had for dinner and I think I've used all of the vegan hashtags at some point in the last two years, but I don't really get deep and ethical about it online. To be honest, I'm a little self-conscious because I don't really fancy being stereotyped, and I don't want it to overshadow other aspects of my identity. Today, however, I really feel like giving a bit of insight into my day-to-day life as a vegan...


Vegans are some of the most food-obsessed people I've ever come across, and I'm right in there with them. It's not because we have trouble finding food either; it's more to do with the fact that a whole new world of food options opens up to you when you ditch old habits. Hand on heart, I can honestly say I don't miss anything that I used to eat - mainly because I've been veggie for most of my life, and because, a lot of the time, the meals I cook now are just plant-based versions of the meals I used to make.  I may experience the odd feels when I see someone with blue cheese or a poached egg, but I definitely don't want to eat those things now. They don't register as food with me any more. Those feels are pure nostalgia and have been relegated to the 'been there, done that' folder in my brain. 

Pizza Express Pianta - Vegan Pizza
Pizza Express Pianta Pizza
Nowadays, you'll find me getting ridiculously overexcited about artichokes, guacamole and sweet potatoes (although not on the same plate). Yesterday I baked a swede in the oven and devoured it whole, sprinkled with salt, pepper and nutritional yeast. I never enjoyed steak or bacon as much I enjoyed that swede yesterday. I'd describe my current diet as high-carb-low-fat, with mostly whole foods, although that may not be reflected in some of the photos in this post. We're all allowed treats once in a while, and vegan treats are positively saintly compared to their meat, dairy and egg laden counterparts. I shop in regular supermarkets and eat out at regular chain restaurants. 


Beauty has been more of a challenge. I'm still using up the dregs of my pre-vegan makeup stash because I'm not in a position to be able to afford to throw away expensive makeup. Non-vegan ingredients are harder to identify on beauty products and animal testing is a minefield thanks to various legal loopholes. Thanks to sites like Logical Harmony though, I'm able to make more informed choices now and, although there are occasional slip ups - I bought myself a new Barry M eyeshadow palette recently and the primer included with it turned out to contain beeswax - you live and learn) - I now know which brands to avoid and which brands offer amazing cruelty-free products for vegans. 

Too Faced Born This Way Foundation - Vegan Beauty


I wouldn't say that being vegan has changed anything about my personality or who I am as a person, although I'm definitely more mindful now in my day to day life. I've learned that it's okay to ask questions and not to be scared to say no to something because it conflicts with what you feel is right, because people who belong in your life, and deserve your time, will always understand and respect your choices. The most powerful thing I've learned is that it's okay to change your opinion based on new information. One of the most humble things we can do in our lives is to be constantly in search of knowledge and to grow and shape our lives around the things we experience. Some things we see along the way may be shocking and unpleasant, but sometimes they make us better people. I'm definitely a happier, healthier person today because of those things. 
Now that I'm starting to ease myself back into regular blogging again, I'm going to try and share more vegan lifestyle related content, some amazing resources, and maybe even dabble in the odd plant-based recipe post (although don't get too excited about that - I'm a 'fly by the seat of my pants' kinda cook and very rarely use precise measurements or keep track of what ingredients I'm throwing in my pot). 

For more snippets of my vegan lifestyle, feel free to stalk me over on Instagram and Pinterest. I'd love to see you all there! 

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Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Unboxing The Vegan Kind #TVK29



This month's The Vegan Kind* lifestyle box had a lot to live up to. It's March. March means Easter. and Easter means treats. Luckily, vegan and cruelty free treats are what TVK do best. Somehow I've managed to keep the lid on this box for almost an entire month, and finally broke the seal on it on Easter Sunday to check out what was inside (and apply it to my face)... 


Considerit Chocolate Cream Egg

No Easter is complete without at least one creme egg, and vegan/dairy-free folks no longer have to miss out. This version by ConsiderIt is ever-so-slightly more luxurious than it's Cadburys counterpart, made from hand-tempered Belgian dark chocolate with a fondant filling. It's also not as sickly as the original, which is a bonus for me. Also, excuse my fake-tan-stained nails in this pic (because it appears that 6 years of beauty blogging has taught me nothing)

Wheaty Red Hot Chilli Pepper Spacebar

I'm familiar with Wheaty products. One of the best things about my digital marketing internship with PETA was that their offices are just around the corner from Vx in King's Cross and I could exploit their Wheaty gyro kebab wraps every day. The Spacebar is a first for me, and I found it most like a Pepperami/Frankfurter hotdog hybrid. I wouldn't say it was *red* hot, but then again I have a high tolerance for spice. 

Vegan For The Animals Magnet/Choose Compassion Sticker

These really are delightful. The Vegan Kind have thrown these into the box themselves, as an added extra. The magnet is now proudly stuck on the side of my filing unit in my office. I'm looking at it right now as I type this. I'm still looking for a home for the sticker. You can also buy these separately from the TVK website.

Hectares Red Onion & Black Pepper Sweet Potato Crisps

Always happy to find a bag of Hectares in my box. Hectares are a regular feature with TVK and they always manage to come up with great flavours that pack a punch. These have the moreish-ness of the red onion favour along with the bite of black pepper. Winner!

The Foods of Athenry Cookie Shots Brownie Biscuits

I love The Foods of Athenry. I devoured an entire box of their vegan, gluten-free mince pies over the festive period. They are a gorgeous family business hailing from Ireland, and these Cookie Shots are a cross between a biscuit and a mini brownie. I devoured them straight from the bag, but I must get my hands on some more because I feel like they'd be perfect for decorating a huge chocolate cake, which now obviously has to happen. 

Soypresso

Vegan, organic, fairtrade, recyclable packaging.. Soypresso is one seriously ethical iced coffee! I'm an absolute sucker for iced coffee and I'm drinking this as I write. Soypresso is the first cold coffee drink to be made from a soya base. 

So, once again, TVK can do no wrong. It shouldn't really be a surprise to me by now, to be honest. They're the most consistent subscription box service I've ever known (and I've tried a few and had my fair share of disappointing boxes). Their quarterly beauty boxes are also very special. Note to self - must order one of those soon. 

TVK monthly lifestyle boxes are £10 each (plus £3 P&P)
For more information about The Vegan Kind, visit their website at
www.thevegankind.com


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Monday, 28 March 2016

Why I Ditched my Blog for 3 Months...


Ever just feel like you need to step away and breathe a while? I have. I went into January 2016 determined to make something better of this blog, and it ended up overwhelming me so much that I steered clear of it entirely for three whole months. I'd written down pages of things I wanted to write and it scared the emojis out of me. I'm now determined to embark on a journey of blog self-love and positivity and thought I'd share a few of my wobbles with you...

The end of April marks this blog's 6th birthday. I've never been a 'full-time' blogger and I've never felt like I've been able to put as much time into it as I've wanted to. I thought that, now that I'm working for myself, I'd find a whole new energy to pour into amazing content and get endless inspiration from everything. The reality turned out to be that I'm spending so much time and effort on blog content for my clients, I'm becoming seriously uninspired when it comes to my own. I guess when you do something full time as a job, it's harder to get excited about it in your spare time, but I chose my profession because of my love of writing and I would not be where I am now without this site. 

I don't want this to come off as self-pity, but bear with me; my blog has never been what I'd consider 'popular'. I've always put into it as much as I had to offer at any given time, shared the hell out of my posts and taken an interest in other blogs, but somehow it's just never really happened for me. That's fine, I can accept that. I've had successes elsewhere and I love the content I've been able to create for my clients since I graduated from Uni and set out as a freelancer. However, this has meant that I've recently taken a "well, what's the point anyway" mentality when it comes to posting on That Lisa Clare. Blogging has changed a lot since I first came on the scene in 2010, and I need to catch myself up a little and get with the program. 

I'm also at a bit of a crossroads when it comes to my blog personality and branding. Since I went vegan and cruelty-free I've been kind of stuck between not wanting to alienate my loyal readers and offend brands I've worked with in the past, and being afraid to go for it with a more vegan-friendly audience for fear of slipping up, particularly with the beauty side (the vegan police are real and cosmetics are difficult to judge sometimes). 

So, what's the solution? I've come to remember in the last week how much I do adore this blog, and how I really need to pull my socks up and give it the love it deserves. The temptation was to ditch it entirely and start afresh elsewhere, but I just can't bring myself to do it. So I've come up with an action plan, and a list of promises to my blog, that I will do my very best to stick to in the coming months..

Write down ideas religiously - Whenever I get a spark of inspiration I will head straight to Evernote and jot it down before I forget it forever.

Talk to other bloggers - I had a gorgeous chatter with the lovely Gemma on Facebook recently, and it's done me the world of good (and probably inspired this post, so thanks a bunch, Gemma!) I think we bloggers can all relate to each others struggles and are in a great position to help and inspire each other out of a rut. 

Rediscover photography - I'm stuck indoors so much now that I work from home and, over the Winter months, I've had very little desire to get outside in the rain and photograph the world. Now that the days are getting lighter and longer, I'm going to force myself out of the door to capture the world. This goes for indoors too. I've invested in some studio lamps so that my dark, murky house is less of an issue. 

Not forcing myself to post - One way I've found to guarantee content that is half-hearted and 'meh' is to force myself to post. If I'm not excited about it, I'm not going to post about it. That's how blog resentment begins. It's not the end of the world if I don't get a post out this week. 

Don't try to please everyone - I'm understanding more and more that your tribe is out there and, if you speak to them, they will find you. I'm going to post 'me' and those who like it will find it, and maybe even stick around for more. I'm not going to be afraid of posting something just in case someone unfollows. 

Don't be afraid of PRs - Specifically, don't be afraid to contact brands for fear of coming across as cheeky. Now that I am a PR, I think I understand these relationships a lot better now and the idea of offering myself up to brands isn't quite as daunting. Yeah, so my DA and pageviews aren't off the charts... I've still got something to offer DAMMIT!

Never be disappointed in my blog - I'm stopping this entirely. I'm just going to burst with pride from here on out. I'm going to read my own blog regularly, reflect on how far it's come over the years, and plan future world domination (well... maybe). I owe my career to this blog and it deserves love and appreciation in return. 

I really hope this post didn't come off as a bit of a pity-party. It wasn't intended as such. I don't feel pitiful. I just needed to get all the gloom and uncertainty I was feeling out in the best way I know how. In a way, I'm glad I took the break to clear my head and gather my thoughts in order to move on to (hopefully) better things with this blog. I'm sure others may be able to relate somehow to how I'm feeling. I'd love to hear other bloggers' mantras and top tips for blog positivity. 

What do you do when you get stuck in a blogging rut?


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