Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Vegan Christmas Gift Guide

Looking for vegan Christmas presents? Read my gift guide of cruelty-free presents to find the perfect vegan gift this Christmas.

Christmas is fast approaching so if you're stuck for ideas on what to give your vegan loved ones, I've put together this guide of presents I can wholeheartedly recommend. These are both gifts I've happily received myself and a few other things that I've used and loved for a while.

The Vegan Kind Subscription

I'm a big fan of The Vegan Kind, having been a subscriber for over two years now. If you're unfamiliar, they curate a monthly box of vegan food and lifestyle goodies such as chocolate, marshmallows and candles. Opening my box is something I always look forward to and it's so much easier to have some tasty vegan snacks around when you don't feel like making something. You can read my posts about some of their past boxes here and here.

Lush Fighting Animal Testing Bag

Any Lush fan will love this tote to show off their support for animal rights. Made from Fair Trade organic cotton, it's a really great way to raise awareness of the cruelty-free message and of course means you don't need to use plastic bags.

Vegan Life Magazine Subscription

This is such a fantastic magazine if you're interested in cruelty-free and veganism. Every issue has a mix of cruelty-free news, interviews with well known vegans, animal rights articles and delicious recipes too. I love the feeling of community I find reading this magazine and it was one of the very useful resources that helped me to go from vegetarian to vegan.


Looking for vegan Christmas presents? Read my gift guide of cruelty-free presents to find the perfect vegan gift this Christmas.


A Living Tree

A potted Christmas tree is a great environmentally friendly option as you can plant it in your garden after the season to enjoy all year round. If you want to keep things even more sustainable you can make your own Christmas decorations from natural materials like dried fruit, cinnamon sticks and pinecones.

The flower delivery company Bloom & Wild have this beautiful table-top tree* that arrives through the letterbox, and even comes with moss and a little collapsible canvas pot to keep it in. It's really so exciting to get a tiny Christmas tree in the post! This makes for such a pretty and unusual present that's also very thoughtful if someone's out at work all day and isn't home for deliveries.

Soy Candles

Soy candles are the best cruelty-free alternative to beeswax, and the gorgeous vegan ones from Harper's Bizarre are handmade from sustainable sources. My favourite is Jingle Bells - a warm scent of spices and oranges that just smells so much like Christmas. These candles burn for hours and certainly make the holiday evenings feel cosy.

Cookbooks

Such a helpful present for anyone just getting started with vegan cooking. Currently my most used recipe book is Deliciously Ella Every Day. Complete with gorgeous foodie Instagrams and weekly shopping lists, I really like that the same ingredients are used throughout for practicality. So far all the recipes I've made have been much quicker and easier than I expected, thanks to the short ingredients lists, and turned out really tasty too. It is a plant based cookbook so sometimes honey is included in the recipes, but this can easily be replaced with maple syrup.

Keep It Vegan is another great one, particularly if you want to make something a bit special like a 'shepherdess pie' or mint chocolate birthday cake. Most of the ingredients are easily available and there's such a variety of recipes that you'll never get bored cooking vegan. Both books have encouraged me to be more confident in my cooking and learn to use up what I have, as well as eating healthier too.

Tesco Free From Chocolate Selection Box

At £2 you can't go wrong with this mini collection of dairy free chocolate! I haven't tried this yet but I'm hoping it'll be under the tree for me this year.


If you're looking for even more cruelty-free gift ideas, take a look at my guide to Vegan Beauty Stocking Fillers. And of course let me know your ideas for vegan Christmas gifts and what's on your wishlist this year ;)

Gemima


Saturday, 3 December 2016

Cruelty-Free & Vegan Resources | November

Confused about cruelty-free? Read my round-up of the latest cruelty-free and vegan resources for news, events and Christmas gift guides.

Tis the season for Christmas shopping! I've rounded up a list of cruelty-free and vegan gift guides for this year, so you'll have no problems deciding what to buy for any vegans in your life (or treats for yourself).

Parent companies were a hot topic again this month and whilst there's a lot I could say on the subject, I always think it's best for people to make their own decisions on who to buy from and to support each other's cruelty-free choices.

Cruelty-Free News & Beauty

India banned the use of the Draize test on rabbits for drug testing, ending a notoriously unreliable practise to adopt more advanced and humane alternatives.

Estée Lauder bought out cruelty-free brand Too Faced. Too Faced have stated they intend to remain cruelty-free and will not be entering the Chinese market. This is Estée Lauder's second acquisition of a cruelty-free brand in recent months, after they bought out make-up brand Becca, who also state they will stay true to their cruelty-free status

If you're confused about what all the recent buy outs mean, Vicky put together this excellent guide to explain Parent Company Animal Testing.

Vegan Food & Events

Tofurky are launching a range of vegan sandwiches and they sound so good. Pre-packed vegan lunch options can be pretty scarce so these are long awaited.

A Vegan Christmas Festival is coming to Cardiff this Sunday December 4th. The first festival was a great success, hosting all the best local vegan food and this one has another excellent line up of tasty treats.

If you're looking for a vegan event near you, Sarah has some great cruelty-free Winter Dates For Your Diary.

Christmas Gift Guides

Vegan Lifestyle | A Festive Gift Guide from (not so) quiet girl.

The Mini Vegan Christmas Gift Guide from Katie Vibes.

Vegan Holiday Gift Guide For Him from Ethical Elephant.

Vegan Christmas Gift Guide from Spice Box Of Earth.

Why I'm Buying Second Hand Gifts This Year from What Lauren Did Today.


Gemima

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Vegan Beauty Stocking Fillers

Looking for vegan Christmas presents? Read my gift guide of vegan beauty stocking fillers for recommendations on the best cruelty-free presents for Christmas.

Time to start some Christmas shopping! Whether you have a vegan to buy for or want to give your friends some cruelty-free gifts this Christmas, these picks are a great way to start. I've put together a few ideas and my own recommendations to make things easier, plus all these stocking fillers come in at under £5 each so they're very affordable too.

Hand Cream

A must this time of year and this one from Superdrug has seen me through the last couple of winters really nicely. It's never greasy and lasts for ages as I only need to put it on once or twice a day. If you're in need of something a bit more intensive I'd really recommend the Rescue Balm too, which works so well to soothe your skin if it's feeling sore. It's actually hard to believe how good it is for the price and fantastic for anyone who works with their hands.


Bath Bombs

Lush bath bombs are such a popular stocking filler and it's no wonder why! One of my recent favourites is the huge Intergalactica mix of peppermint and grapefruit oil that makes big, blue, glittery bubbles. Their Christmas range has some adorable characters like the Peeping Santa and Christmas Penguin bubble bars that are almost too cute to use.


Mini Products

I love mini products for trying out new things, they're great to travel with if you're going away for Christmas and the perfect size to put in a stocking. This mini shampoo and shower gel from PHB Ethical Beauty are handmade in the UK, palm oil free and 20% of the profits go to charity. 

Argan oil and vanilla make the Clarifying Shampoo* incredibly hydrating so it's a great option for dried out or coloured hair. Since I've started using it, it's made my hair so shiny and I've even had a few compliments. The Jasmine Body Wash* is a natural blend of floral oils with a lovely botanical scent. Even though it's made without SLS it foams up into a rich lather and feels luxurious and softI always think nice shower treats in the winter can do wonders for your mood when it's cold and grey outside.

Lip Balm

Something I always have in my bag, my current picks are the Hurraw! natural flavours made from organic cold pressed oils. My regular is Chai Tea which feels very hydrating and soft and has lasted me nearly a year already. The Cinnamon flavour* has a red tint and tingles a bit when you put it on, just enough to wake you up in the morning! If you know a cinnamon lover this is a perfect little Christmas gift as it has a spicy taste and feels very festive.

Nail Polish

More brilliant stocking fillers are Barry M's nail polishes, and you can't go wrong with the classics - Vintage Violet is an all time favourite of mine, a grey purple that suits any occasion. Berry Cosmo is a gorgeous, deep plum shade which looks amazing with a sparkly glitter on top. They also have two limited edition shades for Christmas this year, a metallic rose gold named Twinkle Twinkle and glittery pink called Nutcracker.


Let me know what you think of these stocking filler ideas and what you'd add to the list.

Gemima

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Cruelty-Free & Vegan Resources October

Cruelty-Free & Vegan Resources October

It does seem lately that every month another cruelty-free brand has been bought by a company that tests on animals. But, to try and find the positive in these situations it means that the ever growing demand for cruelty-free beauty is being acknowledged. Often brands that have been bought out will stay true to their cruelty-free stance. And in really good news, more and more countries are passing legislation to ban animal testing for cosmetics, with hopefully the USA and Canada to follow suit soon.

Cruelty-Free News

Taiwan banned cosmetics animal testing, sending the message worldwide that it's an outdated and unnecessary practice.

Previously cruelty-free make-up brand BECCA have been bought by Estée Lauder, and are yet to disclose whether they will enter the Chinese market along with Estée Lauder's other brands.

Cruelty-Free Beauty

If you'd like an insight into how a huge corporation like Estée Lauder can justify testing on animals, read their interview about selling in China and the future of the cosmetics industry.

Kat Von D's make-up line has launched in the UK and will soon be completely vegan. (Although it is worth noting their parent company is not cruelty-free.)

Vegan Food & Resources

Excluding honey from your diet may sound extreme to some, so why don't vegans eat honey?

Nadia recently wrote a bunch of excellent posts about veganism for Blogtober, and I'd recommend reading them all. My favourites included 5 Comebacks To Common Questions Vegans Get Asked and Should Your Cat Be Vegan?

If cooking in bulk has been something you've been meaning to do for ages, Bianca has some great tips for getting started with a plant based diet.

Beth is switching to veganism, and I've really enjoyed reading about how she's been cutting out meat and dairy.

And lastly, Tesco have released a dairy free chocolate selection box for Christmas. Unsurprisingly it seems to be sold out but it's already at the top of my Christmas list.


Gemima

Saturday, 5 November 2016

LoveLula October Beauty Box

LoveLula Beauty Box October Review

My first LoveLula beauty box* was such a treat that I couldn't wait to open this one. For a while I've been slowly switching my skincare to all natural products, so I was very pleased to have three new skincare treats to try inside this month's box. LoveLula's beauty box is always cruelty-free but the products aren't always vegan, so LoveLula kindly switched out this month's non-vegan products for a Turbliss Bioactive Peat Toner for me. This meant I had three full sized products which I was very happy with!

The first, a Barefoot Botanicals SOS cleanser, has some gorgeous natural ingredients of calendula extract, cocoa butter and rosewater. Being very creamy, it feels gentle and nourishing for my skin now the weather's getting colder. At first it reminded me of my Lush 9-5 cleanser, but this has a thicker consistency and is really working well with my current Odylique moisturiser to keep my skin looking clean and hydrated.


PHB Ethical Beauty Lavender Vegan Soap Review

PHB Ethical Beauty are a brand I really want to try more from as they have such good values, including being palm oil free. I never usually use soap bars so I was really pleased that this one can be used for the face, body or hands as it gives me a lot more opportunity to use it. It's now replaced my shower gel and feels a real treat to use in the mornings! The soap has a lovely strong scent of lavender and foams up really well, and I know I'll be buying more when it runs out.

It's been a long time since I've used a toner as, especially in the evenings, I want my skincare routine to be as simple as possible so I can get in my pyjamas and watch some Netflix. However this Turbliss toner comes in a spray bottle which makes it super quick and easy to use before I put on my moisturiser. It feels very refreshing and has certainly made a good first impression, so I'm keen to see if it helps my complexion and pores after using it for a bit longer.

The skincare products in this month's box and last have all been different so I'm glad that I'm not doubling up on anything. The products in the October box are worth over £40, so at £12.50 it's such good value, as you get to try new cruelty-free products that have been well thought out and put together. You can subscribe to the December box here which I think would make a lovely present for anyone with an interest in cruelty-free beauty.

Have you changed your skincare for Autumn? Let me know what products you're loving at the moment.

Gemima

Monday, 31 October 2016

Organic Lipstick Love | Lippy Girl Schmoopy

Lippy Girl Vegan Lipstick Schmoopy Review

Introducing my latest lipstick love, Schmoopy* from Lippy Girl. The red-orange shade Boss Lady has been a regular in my make-up bag for a year now so it was really high time I added another. Schmoopy is a gorgeous light pink, with some purple undertones and has the same wonderfully creamy texture. The shade feels very feminine but also fun and playful thanks to the almost lavender hints.

Lippy Girl's lipsticks are made with organic oils and waxes and even the packaging is eco-friendly, the tubes being made from recyclable aluminium. I'm also really hoping that the name Schmoopy is a homage to this Seinfeld episode!

The natural formula is quite sheer but also easy to layer up, so I really like that I can wear it as a subtle or more obvious colour depending on how I'm feeling that day. Pinks really suit me as although I love bold berries and dark shades, I get a lot more wear out of lipsticks that don't require a lot of confidence to pull offThis pink is quite similar to an old Barry M shade I have, but is much more wearable and less effort to maintain so I'm pleased to have an update.

I've found the wear time is longer for this one than Boss Lady at around four hours, so I'll usually reapply once in the day and be done. These lipsticks are just perfect for the colder months as they're so moisturising I don't have to worry about my lips drying out, even though this is a dusty matte shade. The colour goes really nicely with a warm gold and brown smokey eye to keep it up to date for Autumn and recently I've been wearing it at every opportunity.

What are your current make-up favourites?


Gemima

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Cruelty-Free & Vegan Resources | September


It's never been easier to be cruelty-free and vegan - it's so exciting to see veganism in the mainstream consciousness on a regular basis and have major supermarkets bringing out more and more vegan products. Caring about animal rights has gone from being viewed as solely for hippies and angry protestors to a viable lifestyle choice. So for my second monthly round up I've put together some news, posts and resources to help with choosing cruelty-free, as well as a little vegan inspiration if you're already there.

Cruelty-Free News

In good news, the EU ban on animal testing for cosmetics remains after an industry move to undermine it.

California have banned shelter animals from being used in experiments.

Sadly, Burt's Bees are no longer cruelty-free and have begun selling in China where animal testing is required by law.

Cruelty-Free Beauty & Resources

I loved seeing all the photos from the Lush Creative Showcase, especially the new Halloween and Christmas products!

Phyrra's video explains the difference between the many cruelty-free lists out there and what you need to ask to know if a brand is testing on animals.

If you're just getting started with cruelty-free beauty, Yasmina's Cruelty-Free Essentials post has some great recommendations.

Vegan Food

This month Sainsbury's launched their own range of vegan cheese (otherwise known as Gary). There's even a Wensleydale with cranberries and it's all made from coconut!

More vegan 'What I Eat In A Day' inspiration from Steph and Sarah.

Alpro have three brand new dairy free ice cream flavours - I'll be nabbing some as soon as they're on offer.

I love reading about people's vegan stories and how it's had a positive impact on their lives, like Nicole's post about being vegan for six months so far.

And if you're looking for an extra drool worthy dessert, take a peek at Natalie's Vegan Millionaire's Shortbread Pie recipe.

Gemima

Saturday, 1 October 2016

LoveLula September Beauty Box


I'm always excited to discover new cruelty-free brands and my interest in natural and organic products as only grown since starting this blog. Recently I was asked to try out LoveLula's monthly beauty box, and wanted to share my first impressions. The products in the box are all natural and cruelty-free but not always vegan, so LoveLula very kindly switched out one non-vegan product from this month's box for me. Instead of a FOM London Serum which contains silk, I was sent an Ermana face oil and PHB Ethical Beauty eyeliner to review instead.

First up I trialled the two sample cleansers. The Kimberley Sayer Gentle Face Cleanser was thick and creamy, with a botanical fragrance that I really liked. I got quite a few uses out of the small sachet and would happily have a full bottle of it as it left my skin looking clean and fresh.

Unfortunately I didn't get on well with the Madara Micellar Water - I've never tried a product with hyaluronic acid before and my skin didn't react well to it, but I'm sure this is just an individual reaction. I had no negative reactions to the Madara Brightening Peel Mask - it's very gentle and I can leave it on for a full 10 minutes if I want to. It's quick to apply and wash off and nice for a mid week treat to keep my skin looking bright and clear. 

Ermana Renew Face Oil is a welcome addition to my routine, as I haven't used a facial oil for a long time and now I don't know why! This oil sinks into my skin so easily, and has a lovely smell like sandalwood. I can use it morning and night, and it even helps to reduce the look of my pores.


Ooh! Rejuvenating Face Oil is a little heavier and doesn't suit my skin as well as the Ermana oil. I'm happy to use it at night to let it fully absorb and it would probably suit those with dry skin. To hydrate even more I've been keeping Balm Balm Rose Floral Water on my desk as it's a really refreshing spray to add moisture to your skin. I like it as a nice afternoon pick me up to freshen up my face and it's had me eyeing up a few of their other products too.

I was really happy to receive a PHB Ethical Beauty Eyeliner as I've recently been told my sensitive eyes are caused by blepharitis, so I'm looking for more natural eye make-up that won't irritate them further. This is a soft black kohl, easy to blend to a smoky eye and quick to take off too. Out of all my beauty products my make-up is the least natural so I'm hoping I can add in a few more new things like this from future boxes.

Skincare is so individual, and as my skin often swings between dry and oily I sometimes have different results from the same products when I use them at different times. This line-up has really benefited my skin and my complexion is so much more balanced after only using them for a short time. 

The Ermana face oil is my favourite of the bunch and I know will be a regular now in my skincare routine. At £12.50 a month I'd say this subscription is well worth the money as the products add up to over £45 separately - I'm really pleased with my first box and already looking forward to my next one.

Do you subscribe to any beauty boxes? Let me know your favourites.


Gemima

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Vegan Home | Cruelty-Free Scents For Autumn

Vegan Candle & Pacifica Reed Diffuser Review

At the moment I'm in the stressful process of moving house, and I'm really looking forward to getting settled into the new place. It's always the small details that make a new house feel like home, like a squishy blanket and a familiar scent. I adore Pacifica's Island Vanilla perfume, which has been a favourite in my handbag this summer and last, so I was very happy to try out their natural reed diffusers to have some comforting scents at home too.

The Tuscan Blood Orange* diffuser is very fresh and citrus smelling, perfect for a kitchen or living room. The strong orange notes are delicious, like an enticing cocktail. It's my favourite of the two scents and the bottle looks very cute nestled in next to my plants. I have it next to the kitchen sink and it even helps to lift my mood when I'm doing the washing up. Live the little things and all that!

Hawaiian Ruby Guavais more sweetly perfumed and suits a bedroom. It's a fruity scent, like raspberries with just a little bit of coconut. Neither scent travels far, so I can't really smell the diffusers through the whole room. However they both smell strongly when you're close to them, so I'd recommend putting them wherever you spend a lot of time to enjoy them the most.

As the nights get longer, I can't think of a better way to spend an Autumn evening than by cosying up on the sofa with a good book and a favourite candle burning. Harper's Bizarre soy candles have always impressed me with their strong scents and longevity. This raspberry one has a lovely warm scent that makes me imagine a berry pie baking in the oven. It's an exclusive from a recent Vegan Kind box but I really wish I could get my hands on another! The candles always fill the room with their aroma and last for hours and hours, plus they make great little presents.

What are your favourite candles or home treats? Any Autumn recommendations?


Gemima

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