Thursday, 23 June 2016

Weekly Pampering | Beauty Treats For Self Care

Weekly Pampering | Cruelty-Free & Vegan Beauty

I'm totally new to the idea of self care, but I do like to have something of a weekly pampering routine. If I've had a bad week, having some nice beauty treats to use is always a pick me up, so I wanted to share some recent cruelty-free and vegan favourites.

First up I've been using the very lovely Faith In Nature Intensive Conditioner*. Made with lavender, geranium, jojoba oil and (vegan favourite) avocado, it's very thick and smells very yummy. I usually have the old classic of greasy roots and dry ends so a generous squidge of this conditioner has really been helping to lend some moisture to my hair, and calm the frizziness that it loves to do in summer.

I only tend to wash my hair twice a week, and what I really like about this conditioner is that you can leave it on for longer as a hair mask. This way I don't have to remember to use an extra product and I'm still giving my hair a little TLC. I rinse it out after about five minutes, or as long as it takes to wash my face and exfoliate. The gorgeous lavender scent lingers afterwards and whether I'm using it as a regular conditioner or a mask, it leaves my hair feeling soft and smooth to touch.

After really liking Botanical's natural facial polish, I was very happy to try out the Mandarin & Chamomile Cleansing Melt* to add to my skincare routine. Like the facial polish, this cleanser is made without water so it's much like a solid balm that melts as you rub it in. The mandarin is a nice citrus scent and it's very gentle on the skin. It's always nice to take a few minutes at the end of the day to look after my skin and go to bed feeling refreshed.

To take it off I've been using the Botanicals Organic Muslin Cloth* which I've found is softer than my similar organic one from Pai, and still holds up in the washing machine. Lately I've had trouble with spots on my chin and the right side of my face, which I'd put to down to hormones. So I was delighted that using this cleanser and cloth duo has cleared them up. 

Barry M Gelly Summer Almond Review | Cruelty-Free & Vegan Beauty

Friday evenings are my favourite for catching up on Netflix and painting my nails. Barry M are always my go to for cruelty-free and vegan nail polish and I've been loving their Gelly Summer Almond shade. It's a pale lilac grey, or a perfect 'dirty grey', which is a colour I may have been obsessed with for a good few years. 

This is the only Gelly polish I own so I really want to try more from the range, even though I have far too many nail polishes already! I always use the clear top coat as well which helps the polish last up to a week (so long as I remember to wear rubber gloves to do the washing up).

Lastly is my Deep Steep sugar scrub, for weekly exfoliating. This scrub starts off quite coarse with large grains of sugar, so depending on how hard you rub you can get a really good scrub with it (exactly what you want if you've just got home from a festival). The sugar quickly melts in a warm shower, which then leaves a generous amount of argan oil to moisturise your skin. The lavender vanilla smell is subtle but lovely and I'm happy to use this scrub year round to get my skin nice and glowing come rain or shine.

Do you have any self care tips? What are your favourite beauty treats right now?


Thursday, 16 June 2016

Natural & Organic Perfume | Sinne Firenze

Sinne Firenze Cruelty-Free and Vegan Perfume

When it comes to the products I use the most, be it skincare, shower gel or otherwise, the winners are always the ones that smell good. So I wanted to introduce you to my latest favourite scents, Sinne Firenze's organic vegan perfume. I only have a few perfumes in my beauty collection, because as tempting as it is to try out all the cruelty-free offerings out there, I'd rather have some that I really love to rely on.

Wonderfully there are more vegan and natural brands starting up every year, but it seems that natural and organic perfume is still something of a rarity. Sinne Firenze are one of these, using Fairtrade essential oils to hand make their perfumes in Italy, and were kind enough to send me a couple from their range to try. 

Balance Me is a rich, woody scent, like pine mixed with aniseed. The smell speaks to me of a summer evening in nature, maybe sat outdoors with a good book to read. Delight Me is sweeter, a little lighter and my favourite of the two, featuring ylang ylang and citrus that reminds me of bubblegum. I love that each perfume is designed to create a certain mood, as smell is so easily associated with memories and feelings. The whole range is unisex too and my boyfriend is happy to wear them as well.

The scents do disappear quickly - after around an hour they've lost their strength so these are not long lasting perfumes. However I love that they come in little roll on bottles that I can keep in my handbag. This means I can reapply whenever I want to, and I really enjoy just taking a minute when I'm out to roll them on my wrists and enjoy the scent. It helps me to be a bit more mindful during a busy day and feel more grounded.

Have you tried any natural perfumes? Let me know your favourites.


Friday, 20 May 2016

Vegan Weekend | Cardiff Vegetarian Festival & Absolutely Fabulous Vegan Festival

Vegan Weekend

Last weekend was really amazing for vegan food in Cardiff. With the annual vegetarian festival on Saturday and also a vegan festival on Sunday, I had to go check out both and take some photos.

Starting off the weekend with Cardiff Vegetarian Festival, I wasn't sure what to expect. Last year's festival was a huge turnout in a very small venue, which left the place completely packed and difficult to get around, let alone have a look at the food and stalls. This year was held in the same venue, but extended to the outdoors which made for a massive improvement. The atmosphere was very relaxed, you could easily see what was on offer and sit in the sunshine with some delicious vegan food.

Cardiff Vegetarian Festival

And there were plenty of options - as a vegetarian or vegan you get very used to looking at a menu, picking out what you can eat and choosing between the two or three options available. I actually had a hard time deciding what to get with so much good food in front of me!

There were a lot of excellent local vegetarian and vegan businesses in attendance; Anna Loka, Simply V, Vegetarian Food StudioMilgi's, Mr Nice Pie and The Parsnipship always proving very popular. After much debate I decided on a rendang curry pie from Mr Nice Pie, which was absolutely delicious - soft pastry and creamy coconut with some mild spices. If you get a chance to try them do, all the pies are vegan and always excellent. My friends and I even went back for more to take home with us.

Mr Nice Pie Vegan Pies

Naturally Kind Food Vegan Cakes

Naturally Kind Food Vegan Cheesecake

Naturally Kind Food were new to me and they had a very tasty looking selection of vegan cakes. My friend and I split a blueberry and raspberry cashew cheesecake - nutty, soft and sweet I'll be sure to try more of their bakes when I next get a chance.

I'd love for Cardiff Vegetarian Festival to be a more frequent event - my friends and I had a great time and there's obviously such a demand for good vegetarian and vegan food in Cardiff. More please!

On Sunday my boyfriend and I headed to the Absolutely Fabulous Vegan Festival to see what they had on offer. Absolutely Fabulous put on small vegan fairs in Cardiff once a month, but this one promised to be even bigger and better than usual. With the lure of goodie bags for the first one hundred people through the door, we got there early and were lucky enough to snag a couple. Inside were cards from Hillside Animal Sanctuary, sun cream and micellar water from Superdrug, a Rude Health bar and a Fry's recipe book.

Cardiff Vegan Festival Goodie Bag

A lot of the same businesses were at the vegan festival but also a few extras - it made a happy balance as if you missed something on Saturday you could try it on Sunday. Eat Out Vegan were at both events with lots of vegan leaflets and their handy guides to vegan options in Wales. Their website has been so useful in finding places to eat and I absolutely recommend it if you're a vegan living in or visiting Wales.

One stall I was excited to see was Science Cream, as their vegan ice cream is both delicious and really fun to watch being made. Their latest vegan flavour is Peanut Butter & Banana Caramel which I now regret being too full to try! Thoughts on a postcard when I next visit their ice cream parlour.

Science Cream Vegan Ice Cream

Vegan Pizza Co

I've tried Vegan Pizza Co's pepperoni pizza before which was great (but they're very secretive about which vegan cheese they use). So for lunch I tried something new with a super tasty barbecue pulled jackfruit quesadilla, with garlic mayo and chili sauce from Mex It Up. I still have no idea what jackfruit is but I'll happily eat it again. Anna Loka were also barbecuing seitan kebabs and burgers there and then, which had a very big queue and one I was tempted to join even though I was already getting full.

For dessert, Simply V had a scrumptious looking selection of cakes that were rapidly diminishing, but I opted for another new find and got two cupcakes from The Welshman's Lunch. After I'd tried a sample of their gorgeous strawberry and maple syrup cupcake I couldn't not buy a whole one - I'm now very keen to try making my own at home.

Simply V Vegan Cakes

Vegan Protein Balls

The day was another great turnout and it was exciting to see so many people supporting fantastic vegan businesses. I'm really pleased that Absolutely Fabulous have another vegan festival already planned for July, so if you're local I wholeheartedly recommend going.

Having really enjoyed both events, this weekend definitely made me appreciate how much great vegan food there is in Cardiff. It's always easy to take the place you live for granted, but I'm excited to eat out more often this summer and support the local vegan businesses. Let me know if you have any vegan events lined up!


Thursday, 5 May 2016

Springtime Skincare

Cruelty-Free & Vegan Skincare

I've really neglected my skin the past couple of months - my whole skincare routine sort of went out the window and it showed. Dry, rough patches on my cheeks, forehead and nose as well as pimples on my chin were common problems. But I have some lovely bits on my bathroom shelf to help me get back on track.

First up, Botanicals Mandarin & Chamomile Facial Polish* has been such a treat. This is a really gentle exfoliating cleanser that I can happily use twice a week. Made from natural and organic ingredients, this cleanser doesn't contain any water so it's solid in the pot. I rub my fingers into it and then massage onto my face, whilst it melts under my fingertips and sinks into my skin.

Tiny rosehip kernels provide the polish to unclog pores, which are so delicate on the skin. If you're looking for a soft cleanser, with just a little exfoliation, I'd recommend this one as it never feels too rough. I've actually noticed a few less blackheads around my nose since I've been using it, which of course I'm thrilled about!

I let the facial polish do it's thing for a minute or two whilst I brush my hair, then take it off with a Pai organic muslin cloth. As it's completely natural, this cloth is a little coarser than the ones I've used in the past - however it really works to buff out my skin and leave it feeling smooth. It's held up to many multiple uses in the shower, but I will be looking for a second softer one that I can use everyday.

Botanicals Facial Polish Review

Once a week I also put on a generous amount of Dr Organic's Rose Otto face mask. This is another super gentle formula that certainly works to draw out any nasties from my skin. It dries quickly and I really like to layer it on so I also use my muslin cloth to take it off more easily. 

The first couple of times after using this mask I had a fair few spots appear, but now my complexion is much clearer. It has a slight rosy scent and is already helping to even out the redness on my cheeks and around my nose. I like to use it on a Sunday morning as part of my weekend pampering and relaxing.

Lastly to hydrate, I've been using PHB Ethical Beauty's Balancing Moisturiser. I love the lavender smell and the texture is very creamy. I've happily been using this for about six months so I'm keen to try more of their skincare. This moisturiser works well for my combination skin but I still find I have a little shininess to deal with so no balancing miracles. However it does make my skin feel lovely and soft and helps with any pesky dry patches. 

It's another all natural find, handmade with organic ingredients and eco-friendly packaging, so bonus points from me. Plus 20% of the profits go to charity! This pot is nearly empty now, but I know it's going to be a little too much for my combination skin in the summer, so I'm currently looking for something lighter to moisturise with. 

I've yet to find a product or routine that completely battles both the dryness and oiliness of my skin but this line up is certainly helping. What are you loving for springtime skincare?


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