Thursday, 5 July 2018

Go Bananas for The Body Shop!

Now that Summer has officially arrived, it's time to get TROPICAL with this Special Edition Banana Bath & Body Collection by The Body Shop

Now that Summer has officially arrived, it's time to get TROPICAL with this 100% Vegan Special Edition Banana Bath & Body Collection by The Body Shop

Not so long ago I posted about the launch of The Body Shop's new range of 100% vegan body yogurts. Well, now they've gone bananas (apologies in advance, the banana wordplay in this post is going to be plentiful) and released a complete fruity Banana collection that is entirely free from animal ingredients. My customers have also fallen in love with this range, and I just had to share my thoughts with you as soon as my delivery arrived...


Now that Summer has officially arrived, it's time to get TROPICAL with this Special Edition Banana Bath & Body Collection by The Body Shop

So, what is it?


- Banana Shower Cream
- Banana Body Butter
-Banana Body Yogurt
- PLUS a range of cute banana gift sets, complete with their own banana washbag

What's in it? 

As part of their Community Trade initiative, The Body Shop sources its organic banana puree from local growers in Ecuador. These farmers are paid a fair price for their harvest, which helps to sustain communities, and provide opportunities and valuable income for local workers. The Body Shop's partner farms are also committed to providing opportunities for more women in the region. Girl Power!!

What appeals to me even more is that The Body Shop always request the 'wonky' bananas, that aren't pretty enough to be shipped out to supermarkets, making this partnership a zero-waste win into the bargain! As well as these gorgeous organic bananas, these products have also been formulated with coconut oils, for even greater hydration and long-lasting moisturisation. 

Now that Summer has officially arrived, it's time to get TROPICAL with this Special Edition Banana Bath & Body Collection by The Body Shop

Is it any good?


Abso-flippin-lutely!!! 
I'm a lifelong fan of The Body Shop Body Butters, and I was so excited when the Body Yogurts were released, as I now have loads more vegan product options to choose from. As I mentioned in my previous post, the Body Yogurts are a very worthy successor for the Body Butters, with a much lighter glide-on formula that absorbs in just 15 seconds and leaves zero residue on the skin. Amazing for anyone in a hurry! With almond milk and hyaluronic acid, the yogurts absorb moisture into the skin like a sponge, and lock it in for up to 48hrs.

I also mentioned further up the post, the Body Butter and Shower Cream in this new collection are also completely vegan-friendly, which is amazing news, as the vegan body butter options in The Body Shop's other core ranges are few - Fuji Green Tea and British Rose. That's about it. The culprit is usually bee byproducts such as honey and beeswax, but there's no trace of either in this new range, with no compromise to the quality and effectiveness of the formula. I've had the Body Butter on my arms all day and I feel super smooth and hydrated and I smell DE-LISH!

Now that Summer has officially arrived, it's time to get TROPICAL with this Special Edition Banana Bath & Body Collection by The Body Shop

If you want more information on this, or any other product range from The Body Shop (vegan or otherwise) UK readers are very welcome to join my Body Shop at Home Group on Facebook. I regularly post exclusive promotions, giveaways and discounts on many of The Body Shop's best-loved ranges and can ship anywhere in the UK. There are a whole host of new product lines just launched for high summer, so there's plenty more to discover! 

Of course you don't have to order through me at all. You can also browse all of the latest product releases over at www.thebodyshop.com

Will you be going bananas for this new collection? What are your favourite vegan and cruelty-free products for smooth summer skin?

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Friday, 15 June 2018

At My Desk: My Home Office

#OfficeInspo! As a freelancer, my office is, literally, in my spare room. Take a peep at how I'm styling my home office.

#OfficeInspo! As a freelancer, my office is, literally, in my spare room. Take a peep at how I'm styling my home office. 


Ever since I moved into my new flat in September, I've been itching to give my readers a tour and to show you how I've styled my home. However, in reality, it's taken me quite a long time to really get into adding all the little touches that make it worth sharing. It took me 6 months to even get myself a coffee table! Fast-forward to June, and it's finally starting to look like my own. 

My office is my unused spare room. It's actually the slowest room in terms of progress, and it's still half empty (apart from various boxes, laundry, and my spin bike), but I'm starting to really love my desk setup so I thought I'd take you on a little tour of my work corner, and show you where I spend my days.

Not gonna lie, sometimes I don't even work in here - it's very tempting to flop down on the sofa on my Chromebook, or even work from my bed if I'm having a bad endometriosis day, but my office is so lovely and bright and I definitely feel more motivated and productive when I work at my desk. Especially now that I have plenty of plants and pretty things to go on it.

#OfficeInspo! As a freelancer, my office is, literally, in my spare room. Take a peep at how I'm styling my home office.

The Key Elements


My desk itself is the IKEA Micke. If I remained true to my heart I'd have gone for a chunky rustic reclaimed wood-style desk top, but I don't have the budget for what I really want so I deferred to my inner handbag basic and went for the pristine white IKEA option. And I do really love it. The drawers are lovely and huge so I can stash plenty of snacks and stationary without my workspace being cluttered. My current chair is also an IKEA buy, but only a temporary measure, so not really worth mentioning - although, I will say that, for a basic, folding chair, it is surprisingly comfy and I'm happy to work all day on it.

I work on a 2015 iMac, which I definitely prefer now to a PC and would never switch back. I was so happy when I made this purchase, I could have cried. I'd been making do with a knackered old Windows laptop that was completely fried from 4 years of university, and I really wanted something that would catapult me into my new freelance career and do everything I needed it to do. It also allows me to sync everything up with my clients, as most of our shared documents and calendars are in iCloud. 

#OfficeInspo! As a freelancer, my office is, literally, in my spare room. Take a peep at how I'm styling my home office.

The Wall Art

This is something I'm still working on, as this room is still very much a shell, compared to other rooms in my home. However, I recently came across the perfect focal piece on an impromptu trip to Dunelm. As an ex-Londoner, I do still crave the city from time to time, so this Canvas Map of London (£16.99) just jumped out at me. 

I find it so understated, yet fascinating. I keep looking at it and reliving so many fond memories of my home and University in Greenwich, and travels around the city. It's the perfect colour scheme too, as it has a touch of neutral gold running through it. It also matches my University of Greenwich map notepad perfectly! 

I also have my degree certification framed on the wall by my desk, as well as this motivational quote print. I felt like I had to have one of those. I think I'd have to hand in my blogging card if I didn't!

#OfficeInspo! As a freelancer, my office is, literally, in my spare room. Take a peep at how I'm styling my home office.

The Little Touches


Copper Basket - Primark

Copper Plated Standing Photo Frame - £5 Dunelm
(Inspirational photo of my gorgeous Dad not included, obvs)

Rose Gold 2018 Diary - Tu at Sainsbury's

Mini Succulent (part of a pack of 3) - IKEA

Mini Cacti (part of a pack of 3) - Sainsbury's

Himalayan Salt Lamp - £15 Amazon 

Harry Potter Mouse Mat - Etsy

Daily Gratitude Journal - £18 Happi Empire via NOTHS

#OfficeInspo! As a freelancer, my office is, literally, in my spare room. Take a peep at how I'm styling my home office.


It was so important to me to have a photo of my Dad at my desk. He was so instrumental in helping me through my degree an getting me to where I wanted to be career-wise, and I hate that he's no longer here to see me progress. He gave me endless inspiration, and believed in me when I was losing the will to live over my dissertation and wanted to jack it all in. I love this little copper photo frame, and having Dad here will help me stay focused and not procrastinate - he'd be kicking my arse 7 ways to Sunday if he thought I was slacking. 

The other notable accessory here is my Himalayan Salt Lamp. I've been a convert to salt lamps for a few years now and I now have one in pretty much every room. I just love how soothing they are and they really help with my anxiety - of which a lot is related to work. I can't be doing with bright, fluro lamps, which tend to leave me agitated and on the way to a migraine, so the warm glow of the salt lamp is exactly what I need if I'm working in the evening. It certainly helps me fall asleep quicker after staring at a computer screen all afternoon. 

#OfficeInspo! As a freelancer, my office is, literally, in my spare room. Take a peep at how I'm styling my home office.

Plants


There HAD to be plants! I've always been a lover of houseplants, but I think I'm now the latest recruit to the 'crazy plant lady' tribe. Once I started I couldn't stop. I have 3 plants in here at the moment, but I'm sure more will find their way in. I just find them so beautiful and now I just have this need to be surrounded by them. On my desk, I have my mini Dracaena, which I picked up on a whim while at the Garden Centre in Matlock one weekend, and this cute little mini succulent from IKEA. 

The crowning plant glory in the office so far is this Calathia, which was also from Matlock Garden Centre. I keep it in the office because I kept freaking me out at night when I put it in my bedroom. As a prayer plant, they rustle at night as they close up for the evening, and again in the morning when they unfold to receive the light again. 

#OfficeInspo! As a freelancer, my office is, literally, in my spare room. Take a peep at how I'm styling my home office.
#OfficeInspo! As a freelancer, my office is, literally, in my spare room. Take a peep at how I'm styling my home office.

What's Missing?


Eventually in here I would like a sofa-bed (because it's customary to have somewhere for visitors to sleep when they stay over) a rug, and some sort of shelving unit to display books, folders, and some more of my plants on. I'm also thinking of adding a little coffee table so that I can see clients in here eventually. Once all these things have been added (along with the rest of the plants) I'll be doing an update to this post to show you the finished result.

So, that's my office so far. It's still a work in progress, but I'm so pleased with how it's progressing that I had to share my desk space with you all. I can't wait to show you the rest of my home!

What finishing touches do you have in your office?


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Sunday, 10 June 2018

My Dad the Explorer - Map Gifts for Father's Day

Some Dads aren't here to celebrate with us this Father's Day, but we can still celebrate their adventures, and get inspiration for our own...

Some Dads aren't here to celebrate with us this Father's Day, but we can still celebrate their adventures, and get inspiration for our own...


For the first time this year, my Dad is no longer here to wish a Happy Father's Day to. Although, to be honest, I can't remember the last time I actually physically saw my Dad on Father's Day - apart from the customary phone call or Facetime - because he was never in the country!! Even so, the run up to Father's Day has been a little tough this year, but I couldn't not get in on Maps International's #MapsforDad theme. My dad was quite the globetrotter!

So, my content this year is a little trip down travel memory lane, and might also provide some Father's Day Gift inspiration for those shopping for a Travel-Mad Dad...

Some Dads aren't here to celebrate with us this Father's Day, but we can still celebrate their adventures, and get inspiration for our own...
A Pin for every Memory

Some Dads aren't here to celebrate with us this Father's Day, but we can still celebrate their adventures, and get inspiration for our own...

My parents actually have their own Personalised Classic Map Pin-board by Maps International, which my brother and I chipped in and bought for my Mum's birthday, following their epic trip to Australia, Singapore and Hong Kong in 2016 (which was a huge tick off their bucket list). Since they both retired, my parents have been relentless, unstoppable travellers, and they had the best time going over the map and sticking pins in every country they've visited during their years together. They've covered a lot of ground between them!

Some Dads aren't here to celebrate with us this Father's Day, but we can still celebrate their adventures, and get inspiration for our own...
A Singapore Sling at the Famous Raffles Hotel
My Dad had many happy travel memories. Among the ones he would talk about most were celebrating Australia Day in Sydney with cousins, visiting Bob Marley's House in Jamaica, cruising in Cape Verde, and returning time and time again to Taurito, Gran Canaria, which my mum and I actually visited together in April this year for some quiet time and reflection (you can read more about our trip to Mogan, Gran Canaria here). It was the only place Dad had said he wanted to go this year, so we had to make that happen for him, and we had a wonderful, if a little emotional, time.

Some Dads aren't here to celebrate with us this Father's Day, but we can still celebrate their adventures, and get inspiration for our own...

Of course, we travelled as a family also when my brother and I were younger. We didn't have the most money in the world, but when we did scrape enough together to get away we really made it count! My best travel memories include a road trip through France - which included camping in the Loire Valley, and ended in a stay in a rather grand looking rented chateau in Dordogne, along with many family friends - Malta with extended family, and a beautiful week spent in Portinatx, Ibiza, just the four of us.

Some Dads aren't here to celebrate with us this Father's Day, but we can still celebrate their adventures, and get inspiration for our own...
Some Dads aren't here to celebrate with us this Father's Day, but we can still celebrate their adventures, and get inspiration for our own...

My Dad a laugh a minute, and never happier than when he was exploring somewhere sunny, or relaxing with a nice, cold beer by a pool or on the beach. I'm so happy that he got to travel so much during his retirement, but sorry for all the trips he wanted to take that he won't get to experience now. Guess this means I'm going to have to up my own travel game. The good news is, I now have my very own Scratch the World® map print!

Some Dads aren't here to celebrate with us this Father's Day, but we can still celebrate their adventures, and get inspiration for our own...

While I've travelled a fair bit in my time, and even spent a few years living and working in the Canary Islands, I'll admit I haven't actually ventured that far - mostly due to budget and a fear of flying. However, I'm suddenly experiencing a renewed sense of wanderlust this year, and my bucket-list is growing by the day! My Dad would have had great fun going over this scratch-off world map print with me, making recommendations and sharing stories. It would have made the perfect Father's Day gift for him.

This map has given me a nudge to organise myself and make some more travel happen this year, and moving forward. It's something I really do love, and I don't get to do enough of it. I'm going to be posting about various items on my bucket-list soon, to keep me on my toes.

If you're looking for the perfect Father's Day gift for a travel enthusiast, there's nothing more special than a Personalised World Map, or a Scratch Print. Maps International has a huge range of bespoke map gifts and prints that come with the Dave Stoker seal of approval!

Browse the full range of travel and hobby prints over at mapsinternational.co.uk 


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Thursday, 31 May 2018

5 Reasons to Try... Facial Oils

Here's why you should consider adding a facial to your 21st century skincare regime...

Women have been using natural facial oils to maintain healthy skin and a youthful complexion for thousands of years. Here's why you should consider adding one to your 21st century skincare regime...

Over the years I've seen the beauty world go crazy for body oils and hair oils... yet so many are still reluctant to add oils into their daily facial skincare routine. I kind of get it - we were told from a young age that an oily face was the devil and excess oil leads to spotty skin and a shiny nose, and it just seems inherently wrong to voluntarily apply an oil to the face - but it turns out oils have many benefits for all kinds of skin types

Here's why you should consider adding a facial to your 21st century skincare regime...

Natural face oils were used in Ancient Eqypt to help women keep their skin protected and nourished. To this day, many facial oils are still made from similar ingredients, extracted from seeds, flowers, nuts and other plants. Modern favourites include coconut, argan, and rose, and are some of the most pure and natural skincare products available. 

Facial oils are an instant fix for plumping the skin with moisture, without - contrary to popular belief - leaving your face feeling greasy or oily. 

Here's 5 Reasons to try one...


Here's why you should consider adding a facial to your 21st century skincare regime...

1) Intense hydration and nourishment

Facial oils are lipophilic (ie. they're drawn to fat) and are able to pass through the fatty layer of the skin's surface much faster and more effectively than a regular moisturiser. This not only provides an instant hit of moisture to thirsty skin, but also helps your skin retain that moisture more effectively throughout the day/night.

2) Help Minimise Pores

The best thing to shift oil and grease from pretty much anything is to... yep... apply more oil. Science can't be wrong! Facial oils effectively pull grime, dirt and fats out of pores, helping to minimise their appearance.

3) Anti Inflammatory

As well as being a soothing and hydrating treatment on sore or irritated skin, the natural ingredients in facial oils - such as rose or seed oils - can actually calm the skin and help bring down redness and irritation, while re-plumping it with moisture. Great for sufferers of eczema, rosacea, and other uncomfortable skin conditions.

4) They make a great primer

Because facial oils absorb into the skin so quickly, they make the perfect base for makeup and promote a smoother complexion.

5) Younger Looking Skin

By helping the skin retain moisture, facial oils make the skin appear more youthful and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. 

Here's why you should consider adding a facial to your 21st century skincare regime...

How to use facial oils

- Apply to damp skin to really lock in moisture
- Introduce them into your routine gradually, by adding a couple of drops to your regular moisturiser
- For a more intensive treatment, massage a couple of drops into your face after toning, before applying your moisturiser
- Massage the oil into your face in circular motions, paying attention to the direction of your jawline and cheekbones - this promotes circulation and absorption and helps contour the skin.


If you're unsure about using a pure oil straight away, why not start by trying one of the many fantastic oil-based cleansers that are now available? Personal favourites of mine are The Body Shop Camomile Silky Cleansing Oil and Superdrug Vitamin E Dual-Phase Cleansing Oil. These grab all of the dirt, grease, and makeup from your skin before emulsifying into a milk which is then rinsed away completely, leaving skin feeling wonderfully soft and ready for toner and moisturiser. 

Here's why you should consider adding a facial to your 21st century skincare regime...

3 Facial Oils for your Wishlist...


Enriched with 3 precious Community Trade seed oils - Camellia Seed, Rosehip Seed, and Black Cumin Seed. High in omega 3 and 6, as well as antioxidants, and naturally rich in oleic acid. Full review on this coming soon!

Rich in linoleic (omega 6) and linolenic (omega 3) acids, alongside pro-vitamin A, the oil targets signs of photo-ageing and boosts the skin’s overall health for a radiant result.

This natural blend of highly concentrated plant-based superfoods deeply nourishes and hydrates. Anti-oxidant and omega-rich Broccoli, Flax Seed and Daikon Radish feed the skin for a healthy, radiant glow.

Do you use facial oils? If not... what's stopping you?

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Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Meeting Poppy - My Animal Rescue Story

I wasn't planning on adopting a cat this year, but sometimes life takes you in different directions just when you need it. Here's how I came to meet my purrfect Poppy cat...

I wasn't planning on adopting a cat this year, but sometimes life takes you in different directions just when you need it. Here's how I came to meet my purrfect Poppy cat...

While I'm still working up to blogging about a lot of the things that went wrong in 2017 (and I believe I do need to pour it out at some point - sometimes venting is good for the soul), one of the defining events of last year was losing both of my beloved rescue ferrets - first Jasper, then Pedro - one by one to cancer. If that wasn't heart-breaking enough, in the same week as losing Pedro, my Dad was taken into hospital with what turned out to be a cerebral lymphoma that would eventually take him from us at Christmas. 

I was pretty much prepared for the loss of my ferrets, but Pedro's death in late November was more sudden than I'd anticipated. He was doing great, despite insulinoma, right up until the moment he wasn't. I'd always said I wouldn't be having any more pets for the foreseeable after the ferrets, but my Dad's illness changed things. I just wasn't coping living alone, and I had no bundle of fluff to come and make me laugh and shower me with love when I was feeling down. My routine was firmly centred around looking after Pedro, and now I had nobody else to focus on.

Then, the day after my Dad's 'Leaving Drinks' (we don't do funerals in our family), this little tortie face popped up in my Facebook feed...

I wasn't planning on adopting a cat this year, but sometimes life takes you in different directions just when you need it. Here's how I came to meet my purrfect Poppy cat...
Image Credit - Dan Mart Photography
My local animal rescue organisation here in Derbyshire, Ashbourne Animal Welfare (The Ark), posted an adoption appeal on their Facebook page for some of their senior cats. I'm the sort of person that doesn't discriminate when it comes to animals - I don't prefer kittens/puppies, and my favourite breed is 'rescued'. I also seem to gravitate towards the shy ones, and the ones who are a little rough around the edges. I'm not afraid of a little work, or of a medication schedule - I've been there and got the t-shirt. The reward is seeing them happy!

There were so many beautiful kitties included in that Facebook post, but these nervous little eyes just caught my attention. I learned on The Ark's website that 9-year-old Poppy's elderly owner had passed away in October 2017, and I just knew I wanted to meet her! She sounded like she needed the same thing as I did.

I wasn't planning on adopting a cat this year, but sometimes life takes you in different directions just when you need it. Here's how I came to meet my purrfect Poppy cat...

You know how the saying goes. You don't choose them, they choose you. When I phoned The Ark to ask about booking an appointment to visit Poppy, and the other cats in their cattery, in the back of my mind I knew I couldn't choose a cat just from a photo... or could I? I looked at so many cats that day in February, and I kept finding myself back at Poppy's pen. She'd come right out to greet me for scratches when I first approached, and she had the identical blanket to the one I'd had Pedro cremated with. It kind of felt like a spooky sign that I'd chosen right first time so, of course, it had to be her. She'd confirmed it!

Although, honestly, the thought crossed my mind to scoop up as many as I could carry and run for the door (no, not really... okay, yes, really)

I wasn't planning on adopting a cat this year, but sometimes life takes you in different directions just when you need it. Here's how I came to meet my purrfect Poppy cat...

It turned out I could have taken Poppy home with me that very same day! However, we hadn't brought a cat basket with us, and I needed to stock up on supplies before bringing her home, so we agreed to go back the following day for her. After making my donation, which was over and above what they asked for because The Ark do such an amazing job, and rely solely on volunteers and donations, I scooped Poppy into her carrier and we drove back home to Matlock.

I wasn't planning on adopting a cat this year, but sometimes life takes you in different directions just when you need it. Here's how I came to meet my purrfect Poppy cat...

I wasn't planning on adopting a cat this year, but sometimes life takes you in different directions just when you need it. Here's how I came to meet my purrfect Poppy cat...

Poppy has seriously amazed me. She's gone from being the nervous little soul in that first photo to being a playful, brave, and loving kitty. It took her a week to fully explore the apartment and gain her confidence, but all she does now is purr and play. She's still very nervous of people coming in and out of the front door, and will hide under the bed for a while before coming out to introduce herself.

My little girl is 9 years old, and also has a mild heart murmur that is being monitored, but she acts like a cat less than half her age. I've never known a cat go so bonkers over toys, and she has the most hilarious post-poop crazy-hour every day (usually in the middle of the night). She has also developed an attachment to Pedro's favourite ducky-bear stuffie. She goes mad for it, which surprised me because there's no catnip in it, and I'd never heard of a cat loving cuddly toys before. 

I wasn't planning on adopting a cat this year, but sometimes life takes you in different directions just when you need it. Here's how I came to meet my purrfect Poppy cat...

I'd thoroughly recommend adopting a senior cat. Poppy is perfectly litter trained, and is so polite with her food. Sure, she can be a little grotbag sometimes, but she adores a fuss and will roll around on the bed for hours for tummy scratches. They have so much love to give, even the broken ones. I don't know what Poppy's life was like before she came to The Ark, but she's certainly loving life now. There's something really magical about watching an animal coming out of its shell and revealing their personality. I think her owner would be happy that she's found a new forever home.

I wasn't planning on adopting a cat this year, but sometimes life takes you in different directions just when you need it. Here's how I came to meet my purrfect Poppy cat...

Most people will tell you that I'm not, generally, a cat person, but I've always had cats growing up, and I'm not ready for a dog just yet (as much as it pains me to admit it). I wouldn't change Poppy for the world though. This fluffy little weirdo is definitely in my tribe! I am so grateful to the amazing staff at Ashbourne Animal Welfare for all the work they do, and for letting me take this little beauty home with me. Think it's safe to say she won't be coming back!

I wasn't planning on adopting a cat this year, but sometimes life takes you in different directions just when you need it. Here's how I came to meet my purrfect Poppy cat...

If you are considering adding a cat or dog to your family, I'd urge you to consider adoption over buying from a breeder. So many wonderful pets (particularly older pets) are going unnoticed in shelters all over the UK, most through no fault of their own. Many, like Poppy, have been the unfortunate victims of circumstance, some have been rescued from homelessness, and some may have been victims of neglect. They all deserve nothing but love! 

If you're in the Derbyshire area (or even further afield) I'd wholeheartedly recommend Ashbourne Animal Welfare. 

To browse all the cats and dogs currently available for adoption, or to make a donation, visit their website, www.ashbourneanimalwelfare.org

Or you can keep up with all of The Ark's residents via their Facebook Page.

Do you have an animal rescue story to share? How did you find your own furry family members?



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Thursday, 17 May 2018

What's in The Vegan Kind Box? May 2018


It's National Vegetarian Week!! So what better time to take a rummage through this month's The Vegan Kind Box? Here's a peep at everything inside TVK55...
 

Following on from my last post, I'm sticking with a veggie theme - not least because it happens to be National Vegetarian Week in the UK this week. I've been sitting on my hands on this one ever since I received my The Vegan Kind May box because I don't want to be that person doling out spoilers and ruining it for other subscribers. So I've been patient. But I'm done being patient....


It seems like forever since I reviewed a TVK box! I haven't yet been able to bring myself to explain my absence fully here, but I'm sure it'll come with time. The important thing is, I'm back now, so I'm raring to go on this month's box. 

For those of you who might be new to TVK subscription box, or have had your curiosity peaked with all the veggie chat going on this week, The Vegan Kind were the first in the UK to offer a 100% Vegan lifestyle subscription box. Each month, TVK subscribers receive a yummy parcel of vegan treats, food items, and other household products or toiletries through their door. What could be better, right? They even branched out into doing cruelty free beauty boxes! 

It really is a fantastic way to introduce yourself to new vegan products each month, and a great way to ease yourself into a more plant-based way of living.


So, what's in the Box?!

Herby GEOSticks

Crispy, herby little multigrain sticks made from rice, lentils and quinoa. These were the first item to fall prey to my office munchies (I tend to stash the contents of each box in my desk drawer each month) and contain some gorgeous Fairtrade ingredients from Japan and Peru.

Belvas Flaked Belgian Chocolate Truffles

Oh, my goodness! Very decadent, flakey-soft truffles made using 73% Peruvian cocoa. You'd never in a million years assume these were plant-based - they're so morish and indulgent!

BetterYou Daily Vitamin B12 Oral Spray

"Where do you get your B12?"... RIGHT HERE! 
I've always favoured oral and sublingual B12 supplements and I'm looking forward to trying this one. It has the added bonus of chromium and green tea extract to keep you awake and alert. Just 4 sprays per day delivers 48,000% of your RDA(!!) and with a pleasant apricot flavour. 

I Love Snacks Californian Smoked Almonds

Are you a nutter like me? If you're partial to a tasty hit of healthy fats, these will be right up your alley. And if portion control is an issue then the handy little mini-packs mean you can't get too carried away. These are great for a quick afternoon pick me up. 

YumEarth Organic Fruit Snacks

SWEETS!! I love a good veggie jelly sweet and these are particularly tasty. They are flavoured using natural, organic fruit juices with no syrups or artificial colours/flavours. The icing on the cake is that they're also packing a hit of Vitamin C! 

Montezuma's Dark Chocolate Chilli Mini-Bar

There is no bad kind of mini-bar, and this little slab of pure joy packs quite a punch! You might have noticed Montezuma's creations in supermarkets, and this chilli variety was one of their original 5 products and inspired by a traditional Mexican recipe.

Turmerlicious Choco Latte

I'm really looking forward to trying this! I've heard amazing things about 'golden milk' turmeric lattes. This one is blended with coconut milk, ginger, cinnamon, black pepper and... well... turmeric (obvs). All you need to do is add hot water!

My Thoughts... 


To be honest, I've yet to receive a TVK box I didn't like! This one, however, is particularly wonderful! I love everything in it! As always, it's super value for money, containing 7 good-sized products worth over £23. It's a great combo of sweet, savoury and functional too. I think if I had to pick a favourite product of the bunch, it would have to be the Belvas truffles. They are spectacular, and really didn't last long. I could have done with another box! 

As always, there was a delicious recipe card included with the products for a yummy green veggie curry. 10p from each TVK55 box sold was also donated to Well Small Animal Rescue, which is a small cat rescue charity based in Lincolnshire. 

To subscribe to The Vegan  Kind, head over to thevegankind.com, pick your box, pick your subscription, and you're all set! The Lifestyle Box Subscription (which is what I have) starts from just £8 per month. Or, if you're a cruelty-free beauty lover, you might also love their bi-monthly Beauty Box.

The Vegan Kind also operates an online vegan supermarket - probably the biggest in the UK - where they offer a HUGE range of cruelty-free, plant based products for home delivery anywhere in the UK! 

What Veggie/Vegan Treats have you been enjoying for National Vegetarian Week?

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Saturday, 12 May 2018

UK Vegan Supermarket Finds - May

Meet the most exciting new vegan products I've discovered in UK supermarkets this month!

While I was picking my brain for new, fun, and useful content to start churning out now that I'm rediscovering my blogging mojo again, I got to thinking about what sort of posts my followers on Instagram (which I managed not to ditch during that dark period) have been liking the most, and...

It seems that people like it when you find new and exciting vegan products in UK supermarkets! I certainly do! It's why I'm always straight onto Insta to share them! So I figured it might be cool to try making a round-up blog post each month, featuring any delicious new plant-based products that have appeared on the market in the UK. Admittedly, these may only be new to me, but they're still worth sharing for anyone who might not know what to look out for...

Daiya Mozzerella and Cheddar FOUND in Sainsbury's UK

Firstly... and most importantly....

Daiya Cheese comes to Sainsbury's!!

This discovery has been an absolute game-changer for me. I can absolutely live without cheese of any kind and, when I do dabble in non-dairy cheese, I'm happy to accept something that isn't quite how I remember dairy cheese to be, as long as it's semi-decent in its own right (thanks a bunch Violife and Sainsbury's Greek Style), but then I found Daiya Foods' Mozzerella Shreds and Medium Cheddar Farmhouse Block twinkling away next to the Vegenaise in my local Sainsbo's.

Not gonna lie, the price on these cheeses makes me unhappy (they're £4.50 a piece), but I couldn't not try them, as I've been hearing about Daiya ever since I first went vegan in January 2014, and I'm so pleased they're finally in the UK.

In short, these cheeses are pretty amazeballs. I'm going to do a separate post so I can talk more about them because they have the best texture and flavour of any vegan cheese I've tried. I'm still getting creative with them and figuring out new ways to use them (can you believe that I've actually forgotten a lot of ways you can eat cheese), but I'll be reporting back soon!


Sticking with Sainsbury's...

Vegan Summer Iced Coffee - SORTED!

Another brand that seems to have found its way across the pond is Califia Farms with their uber-posh almond milk creations. My local Sainsbury's started stocking these last year, but I didn't get round to trying them until recently. Again, not the most budget-friendly of brands (like Daiya, these products are coming all the way from the US/Canada so the price hike its kinda understandable) but well worth grabbing when you see them on offer, especially now that the weather is heating up.

Also worth mentioning here is the new Alpro Caffe range of soy drinks - which includes a salted caramel coffee and hazlenut coffee flavour, which are slightly friendlier on the purse. I've tried them all and they are GOOD!

Itsu Vegetable Fusion Gyoza FOUND in Tesco UK

Let's nip over to Tesco for a minute...

Quick and Easy Freezer Finds

These products might not be new to some of you, but I can't be the only one who hasn't been able to get my mitts on them until recently? The Itsu Vegetable Fusion Gyoza Dumplings have been on my shopping list for a long time, but only last week did I actually spot them when doing my online Tesco shop. I'm a massive fan of Asian cuisine, and dumplings are my jam so I will probably hoover all of these up in one go!

I also wanted to include these really handy bags of chickpea, bulgar wheat and mixed vegetables, because they look fantastic for a quick lunch thrown over  big salad with some yummy dressing. Exactly what I want for summer! And really affordable too! 


Aaaaaaaand, back to Sainsbo's....

Salty Vegan Chocolate Heaven!

I actually first discovered these Sweet'n'Salty Almond choc bars by Rhythm 108 in a The Vegan Kind box (and they completely rocked my world), but only recently did they appear in Sainsbury's. I almost cried with happiness! 

This is perhaps the best chocolate bar I've ever eaten - vegan or non vegan. Sainsbury's also carries the coconut variety, and there is also a choc hazelnut bar in the range (although not currently in Sainsbury's). At £1.25 each I think they're fairly reasonably priced. The bars could be a little bigger, but maybe that's a good thing for my muffin top in the long run. I could easily go mad on these! Throw one in your basket next time you're in Sainsbury's Free-From aisle - you won't regret it!

And finally... Superdrug!

Vegan, Cruelty Free Glow

Had to add a little mention for this vegan gradual tan lotion I snapped up in Superdrug this week. I go through phases of loving tan and really not caring about it at all, but since I got back from Gran Canaria (see my last post here) I'm loving my new, bronzed look for the first time in ages and I wanted a little something to help it last just a little bit longer. 

While most of my other body care products at the moment are from The Body Shop, their tan contains honey so that's a no-go for me. I used to be a fan of Johnson's Holiday Skin, but didn't like the smell, and I don't like the cruelty... ENTER Superdrug Gradual Tan Lotion. Not going to say too much about this as I want to do a Summer Bodycare post over the next few weeks, but it smells like holidays and I can't wait to try it out. I really hope it's amazing! 

Not sure if I'm going to be doing one of these posts every month, but I'll definitely be back in touch the next time I have a few exciting finds to share with you.

What new Vegan or Cruelty-Free products have you been trying lately?

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Wednesday, 9 May 2018

Let's Go Explore: Mogan, Gran Canaria April 2018

Seeing the sights, and enjoying some well-earned, long-awaited rest and reflection in Puerto de Mogan and Taurito, Gran Canaria

Seeing the sights, and enjoying some well-earned, long-awaited rest and reflection in Puerto de Mogan and Taurito, Gran Canaria

Travel! It's something I don't get to do a lot of in general. In fact, I haven't had chance to leave England at all until this year, since I moved back from Tenerife in 2009 (just shy of 9 years). Therefore, this has never been a travel blog, but that doesn't mean I haven't got a bucket-list as long as my arm and serious case of wanderlust. I finally got to fly away in April this year, and my destination of choice was Mogan, Gran Canaria.

Seeing the sights, and enjoying some well-earned, long-awaited rest and reflection in Puerto de Mogan and Taurito, Gran Canaria

A bit of context: My Mum and Dad were/are serious holiday junkies, and this was their favourite place - and the only place they would go back to time and time again. Those of you who keep up with me on social media will know that we lost my Dad very suddenly on Christmas Day, 2017, and it knocked us all for a loop. After the month of initial shock and disbelief wore off, Mum and I texted each other randomly one night and both said the same thing at once... "Let's go to Dad's 'Little Cove'"

So this was a very personal journey for us.

Seeing the sights, and enjoying some well-earned, long-awaited rest and reflection in Puerto de Mogan and Taurito, Gran Canaria

Taurito

Tauro, and Playa Taurito, isn't actually a 'little cove', that's just what my parents always referred to it as. It's a beautiful little resort, a short bus or taxi ride away from Puerto de Mogan, comprised of just a couple of hotels, with a beach and a water park sandwiched in between. We stayed in the Suite Princess Hotel, which is a very peaceful, adults-only, all-inclusive affair with stunning sea views from every angle. It was exactly what we needed.

Seeing the sights, and enjoying some well-earned, long-awaited rest and reflection in Puerto de Mogan and Taurito, Gran Canaria

Puerto de Mogan

While, admittedly, we were limited in Taurito for exploration and adventure, one of the first items on our agenda was a day out exploring Puerto de Mogan on foot, a spot of shopping, and lunch by the marina. 

Seeing the sights, and enjoying some well-earned, long-awaited rest and reflection in Puerto de Mogan and Taurito, Gran Canaria

Seeing the sights, and enjoying some well-earned, long-awaited rest and reflection in Puerto de Mogan and Taurito, Gran Canaria

Mogan is a sleepy, smaller town, almost completely plastered in whitewash, with gorgeous pops of colour around every corner. The real hub of this place is the stunning marina, with an array of boats, restaurants, and crystal clear water. While all this is beautiful enough, I was completely taken by the wide variety of cacti, palms, and flowers growing along every street. Bougainvillea as far as the eye could see! 

Seeing the sights, and enjoying some well-earned, long-awaited rest and reflection in Puerto de Mogan and Taurito, Gran Canaria

Seeing the sights, and enjoying some well-earned, long-awaited rest and reflection in Puerto de Mogan and Taurito, Gran Canaria

Seeing the sights, and enjoying some well-earned, long-awaited rest and reflection in Puerto de Mogan and Taurito, Gran Canaria

Seeing the sights, and enjoying some well-earned, long-awaited rest and reflection in Puerto de Mogan and Taurito, Gran Canaria

Seeing the sights, and enjoying some well-earned, long-awaited rest and reflection in Puerto de Mogan and Taurito, Gran Canaria

Seeing the sights, and enjoying some well-earned, long-awaited rest and reflection in Puerto de Mogan and Taurito, Gran Canaria

What I Ate

Sometimes Spain can be a bit of a minefield for vegetarians and vegans but, luckily, I happen to have spent a fair few years living in the Canary Islands, and know a fair bit of Spanish, as well as the local specialities. I knew before I even took off that I would be dining almost exclusively (through choice) on Papas Arrugadas (canarian salt-shrivelled potatoes) with red Mojo sauce, huge salads, and dreamy breads. Everything was labelled for allergens so I didn't have to bug anyone at all! 

The Suite Princess was fantastic, with a HUGE salad bar, fruit platters, potatoes on tap, and a range of vegetable sides that changed daily. My Mum was pescatarian for the week, and filled up on prawns, avocados, grilled fish and salads. Lunch out was equally a breeze. I simply told the waiter what I didn't want on my plate and he came back with a glorious avocado salad, fresh juice, and... yep... more Canarian potatoes. 

When You're Done Exploring


As I mentioned from the off, the main aim of this trip was for Mum and I to rest, reflect, and try and process what we have been through since November last year. We spent many days just crashed out by the pool, or on the beach, reading, arguing over crosswords, drinking a lot of prosecco, and trying to heal. 

Seeing the sights, and enjoying some well-earned, long-awaited rest and reflection in Puerto de Mogan and Taurito, Gran Canaria

Right from the off we knew my Dad was lurking in the background somewhere, just out of sight. From his favourite songs playing by the pool, to the number of cats we had come and visit us (my dad was a huge cat lover), and the beautiful rainbow that appeared over the sea on our last morning before checking out (my Dad seems to like to send us rainbows too). Don't get me wrong, I'm no spiritualist, but it seemed very spooky and significant. 

We had said that this would be a one-off visit. Never to return. For Mum to say goodbye.
But, from our very first day there, we said there was no way we couldn't come back. We felt entirely at home and at peace there. 



We booked this trip through TUI, as they are an operator that we trust, and Mum felt more comfortable with everything being sorted out in one place, but there are also deals to be had by booking directly with Princess Hotels and arranging your own flights and transfers. I'm already costing up my next visit. I'd thoroughly recommend the Suite Princess for an adults-only break with stunning views, fantastic food, and rooms that are everything you need and more.

Seeing the sights, and enjoying some well-earned, long-awaited rest and reflection in Puerto de Mogan and Taurito, Gran Canaria


Hopefully, I'll be able to incorporate more travel content into this blog now that I'm on a mission to revive it and have rediscovered my sense of wanderlust. 

Where will you explore this year?



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