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.

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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