Thursday, 11 August 2016

Vegan Hair Styling | Relaxed Loose Waves

Relaxed Loose Waves | Vegan Hair Styling

For the last few years, I've always used straighteners to curl my hair. Sounds counter intuitive, which it kind of is. If you have thick, stubborn hair like me the process can be quite time consuming, which is why my straighteners have always been safely tucked up in a box and only brought out for special occasions.

So when Octer invited me to try out their site and choose something to review, I knew that a curling wand was at the top of my list. I did a fair bit of research on what kind to buy, as I knew exactly how I wanted my hair to look. My 'dream hair' if you will; very loose, relaxed waves that could pass as natural. I wanted a wand that could give me this boho everyday look as well as polished, tight curls for weddings and parties.

It also had to be a cruelty-free brand of course, so Paul Mitchell for me was an obvious choice. I picked the Neuro Unclipped Styling Cone* which has turned out to be exactly what I was looking for. The large barrel is tapered so, depending on your hair length, you can get that really natural finish or a tighter curl if you only use the top end.

Paul Mitchell Neuro Unclipped Styling Cone Review

It does take a few goes to get the hang of using a curling wand - the best tip I've read is to practise winding your hair around the wand before turning it on. Obviously I was in a rush the first time I used it so promptly ignored this advice and burnt my forearm, which I don't recommend! There are also heat-proof gloves you can buy but I haven't felt the need for them, as after a good few tries I'm more confident with it now.

Curling my hair has become much quicker and easier than using my straighteners. I feel like I have much more control over how I want the curls to look and I don't have to worry so much about what size of sections I'm curling.

I love the results and am much happier to style my hair more often now. Unfortunately for me the results don't last until the next day, however it would be unfair to expect them to when my hair is so naturally straight. I'm looking forward to trying out some new styling products to see what effects I can achieve - a new cruelty-free mousse or curling cream is next on my shopping list. Let me know if you have any favourites!

Cruelty-Free & Vegan Hair Products

I also wanted to share with you three vegan products that have been regulars in my hair routine for a year or more now. I've just repurchased my third bottle of Yarok's Feed Your Ends, which is both a heat protector and leave in conditioner. I can't rave about it enough and it's one of my all time favourite products. The smell is lovely and it works wonders for the condition of my hair, even with heat styling.

I don't feel Yarok's Feed Your Shine is quite as effective but it is worth a mention. A rich coconut hair serum, I only need one drop to smooth through my mid length hair and it also offers heat protection. The bottle is tiny but after a year of using it I'm only halfway through, which certainly makes up for its size. However for the price I would expect more shine so I'll probably look for something that packs more punch once it's finished.

Lastly, Lush's R&B hair moisturiser is like buttery goodness for your hair. It's particularly nourishing for dry hair and I originally bought it for my split ends, which are long gone now. As only a teensy amount is needed, it's another super long lasting product and this pot has been going strong for a year and a half with no chance of being finished any time soon. I had such a frustrating time with frizziness before I started using these products and now I wouldn't be without them. Three to try if you have unruly hair!

What hair products are you loving right now? Any styling tips I should know about?


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!


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