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!

Gemima

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?

Gemima

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Living With Anxiety & Depression

Living With Anxiety & Depression

The past couple of months I took an unplanned break from blogging and the reason is, I got completely overwhelmed by it. I'd been trying my best to keep up but it got to the point where even opening my inbox was just too much. Something I've never mentioned online, and hardly ever talk about, is that I suffer from anxiety and depression.

For me the two are linked - when one is worse so is the other, but my anxiety is the most severe. I know I'm not alone and that anxiety and depression are the most common mental illnesses. A few of my favourite bloggers suffer from anxiety and depression too. But talking about it still feels like admitting there's something wrong with me. For years I suppose I thought if I could keep up pretending that I was fine, then eventually I would be and no one would need to know otherwise. But it turns out that hiding the problem is completely exhausting.

When I first started this blog my anxiety was at its worst. A major trigger for me is anything to do with being around people. The more crowded a place is, the more I feel trapped and start to panic. I couldn't leave the house on my own, and even when I had someone to go with me, I would usually have a panic attack before, during and after.

Starting this new hobby, blogging, was wonderful - I had something to be excited about, be motivated by and enjoy doing. It gave me a creative outlet where I could talk to lovely people with the same interests as me, all whilst staying at home. Writing this blog definitely helped my mental health, along with medication and counselling. It was a complete escape from my anxiety.

But the last few months I've felt so much pressure when it comes to blogging and of course it's pressure I've put on myself. My anxiety somehow became all mixed up with anything to do with my blog, even just trying to take a photo for Instagram or writing a tweet. I'm trying to find a way past it and I'm very much hoping that writing this post will help. I've never been open about my mental health problems, even with some of my closest friends. It's very difficult to talk about.

Especially online, it's so easy to portray an image that everything is fine. I absolutely want to keep this blog a place of positivity but I also want to be honest. If you suffer from mental health problems too please know that you're not alone. I thought I'd share some links to websites and organisations that have helped me - Mind and the Samaritans. I'd also really recommend counselling, being conscious of what you eat and exercise. It's the standard advice but they can make a big difference.

I'm hoping to get back to a routine and manage to flip things around again, so that my blog is something that helps my anxiety rather than triggers it. My plan is to embrace what I like to think of as 'slow blogging' - more thoughtful posts, a relaxed schedule and blogging for the joy of it. Already having written this post I'm feeling much more optimistic, and as always thank you so much for reading.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Vegan & Natural Bathroom Essentials


Natural and organic beauty is becoming more and more an interest of mine lately. I've been using a lot more natural skincare this winter, which has been working a treat, so next I thought I'd start on my bathroom essentials. Happily Green People got in touch to ask if I'd like to try some of their latest organic products and share my thoughts.

Green People's ethics are really something I admire - their ingredients are natural, Fairtrade and certified by the Soil Association, as well as their many vegan products being approved by the Vegan Society.

I tried out their new Quinoa shower gel and deodorant, which both have essential oils of ginger and orange. Ginger is not my favourite smell, which is the only negative point I have to say! If you are a ginger fan you'll love these as they have a lightly spiced and uplifting scent of fresh ginger and citrus. 

The Quinoa & Calendula Shower Gel is an organic blend with aloe vera that creates a creamy lather. My back can get very dry in the winter, probably from one too many hot showers, so using a natural shower gel that will soothe my skin is exactly what I need. As it's SLS free you don't get a lot of foam, but I'm thankful that it doesn't dry out my skin. Instead it feels lightly moisturising and very smooth, a lovely treat to wake up with on a cold winter's morning.

I've been a fan of natural deodorants for a while, as I've often found anti-perspirants (that block your pores to stop you sweating) to be sticky and a bit unpleasant. This new Quinoa & Prebiotics Deodorant does a great job of keeping me feeling fresh and clean without the chemical nasties. It's completely invisible, so there are no white marks on my clothes, and because it only has natural and gentle ingredients it doesn't sting after shaving. Most importantly, it lasts all day and I'm yet to feel the need to reapply even after a yoga session.

All together I'm very pleased with Green People's new offerings and would certainly recommend them if you're looking for natural, organic beauty that's kinder to the Earth and your body.

Are you a fan of Green People products? What are your favourite bathroom essentials?

Gemima

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