January always feels like a slow month. After the Christmas rush, it’s important to take a beat and relax.
I’ve been back at work for a full week now and getting back into routine is exhausting! So finally it’s the end of the week and before the week starts all over again, I treated myself to a nice long bath and face mask.
Luxury Lush Pud
The first of my Christmas bath bombs to be used, I have 2 Luxury Lush Puds so to make my way through them, why not start with the duplicate. It’s colours enticed me too to be honest.
The bath bomb had a lovely scent and fizzed away nicely and made some lovely colours in the bath. I have to admit, I did add some bubbles by running the Candy Cane bubble bar under the tap for a few minutes.
A plain bath is not sufficient anymore, I always have to have a bath bomb or bubble bar to keep me entertained as I only ever bathe instead of shower to relax.
Sand & Sky Australian Pink Clay Mask
I wrote about this clay mask a few weeks ago which you can read about here.
I am noticing improvements to my pores and skin after each use but whether that’s due to the mask specifically or the other skin products I’m using is hard to tell.
It’s a nice, but very expensive treat to have. There are many dupes out there that can be bought now so I think after this pot is finished, I’ll definitely be trying a cheaper dupe to see how that fares.
Pixi FortifEYE Patches
I do love these Pixi FortifEYE patches. They’re so easy to use and there’s so many of them in the pot that they’ll last me a while.
My only minor issue with them is that the shape of them doesn’t quite fit with my face shape. It’s a minor annoyance that I can live with and the soothing benefits outweigh it.
For those of you who don’t like too much information or discussing women’s sanitary needs, please stop reading now. Those of you who aren’t bothered and are completely interested, make sure you keep reading because it may change your life (a little dramatic but seriously!).
Prior to my veganism, I used Always sanitary pads and Tampax tampons. I like to use both products for different reasons. Since turning vegan and being more exposed to ‘kinder’ products, I decided to be more conscious about the products I was using inside my body.
I’ve had the contraceptive implant in for around 8 years now, and during the majority of that time, I didn’t have any periods. Over the last few months, they’ve surprised me by returning! As it was a surprise, I had to use what I had at home which were the Always and Tampax products.
Did you guys know that most of these mainstream products contain plastics, other synthetic products and chemicals? Surely none of these should be put into your body for long periods of time?!
I decided to replace my existing products with Natracare products from a local health store in Cardiff, Beanfreaks. I then donated my old, unused products to a local women’s homeless shelter. I recently found out that Ripple Living on Albany Road have a basket in their shop where you can donate your sanitary products.
I picked up a few products which included:
Natracare Panty Liners
Natracare Applicator Tampons
Natracare Maxi Pads
Natracare Ultra Pads
I don’t even know where to begin with these. They are really life changing. There is a very noticeable difference in the effectiveness of the organic, chemical-free Natracare products compared to Always and Tampax. I personally found them to be far much more absorbent. But not only this, they were 100% more comfortable!
I wore a Natracare tampon all day and didn’t even notice it at all. The applicator was a bit fiddly compared to the Tampax Pearl, but with the benefit of not having any extra plastic, that minimal extra effort is worth it.
With the added benefit of not putting anything unfriendly into my body, switching to Natracare is a complete no-brainer. If you’re still unsure, visit their website to research and understand the business and their products.
After a very busy weekend last weekend celebrating marriages and working overtime until the early hours of Sunday morning, I skipped a blog post to take some time for myself and relax.
I’ve written various blog posts in my Self Care Sundays series and although I like to earmark a Sunday for self care, remember that every day is a self care day so look after your minds and your bodies!
Lush Peng Bath Bomb
I love a bath bomb. They may not always have any skin benefits, but they’re a nice treat and they always have the bath in pretty colours and smelling lovely.
Peng wasn’t the best bath bomb I’ve ever used but it smelt nice enough and was interesting enough. I would probably go for a more fragrant one in future.
Natura Pumpkin Sheet Mask
As some of you may be aware, I have subscribed to The Cruelty Free Beauty Box which is delivered every other month. One of the treat in October’s box was the Natura Pumpkin Infused Sheet Mask.
I finally used it last weekend in the bath for the full 15 minutes (possibly longer). Sheet masks have become very popular and they’re so easy to use and remove.
Apologies for the terrifying images above and the extra skin on show! I just wanted to show those of you who weren’t familiar with sheet masks what they’re like.
My skin felt great afterwards and the mask smelt amazing. This isn’t the first Natura sheet mask I’ve used before and I’m a big fan of them. They’re not a regular feature in my beauty regime as they aren’t cheap but, as with a bath bomb, they’re a treat.
A quick note on the sheet masks, don’t wash off the product after use! Let it sit on your skin and be absorbed so you can really get the full effects of the mask.
That’s all for this issue of Self Care Sundays! There’ll be more to come in the future.
My friends and family know me very well, and I was well and truly spoilt this Christmas. In particular, I received some amazing Lush goodies to get me through the next few months before I’ll need to stock up (or get gifted more for my birthday in March… *hint hint*).
So let’s get to it… This is what I got spoilt with at Christmas…
I know not everyone is a fan of Lush, but I love their bath bombs and bubble bars. The smells are amazing and the quality is great. More importantly, everything is either vegetarian or vegan (of course, I would prefer if they were vegan, but they’re making those strides and that’s what is most important!).
The Happy Christmas box contained 4 very Christmassy bath bombs in a very beautiful gift box.
The descriptions are as follows:
Santa’s Grotto: Santa’s Grotto swirls into turquoise and mauve shades, releasing a zephyr of everlasting flower absolute and stirring ylang ylang as it goes.
Luxury Lush Pud: This is one Christmas pud you just won’t be able to resist! Perfectly pink with colourful spots, reach for this when you’re in need of a playful soak.
Snowman Dreaming: Cedarwood and lavender fill your bathroom with a dreamy fragrance, perfect to help little tots, and big ones, to the land of nod!
Shoot For The Stars: Honey-scented sparkles of Brazilian orange and bergamot waltz in a swirling, cobalt sky.
Lush have been trying to remove as much of their plastic packaging as possible, and so many of their products now have ‘naked’ versions, which means they don’t have the unnecessary packaging.
All the bath bombs in the Happy Christmas box come naked and they all smell amazing and I can’t wait to try them. I’m sure all of them will produce some beautiful colours and swirls in the bath tub.
The blue bath bomb which I haven’t pictured separately is the Shoot For The Stars bath bomb. I’ve written about this bath bomb before in a previous blog post which you can read here.
Christmas Candy Box
Another beautiful gift box filled with the sweet stuff! The box contains the following:
Luxury Lush Pud: as above.
Candy Cane reusable bubble bar: Hold under running water to take a trip down candy cane lane with Sicilian lemon and bergamot oils.
Snow Fairy shower gel: A fantastical fuchsia festival of fragrance will help your mood skyrocket to Neverland.
This box is smaller that the Happy Christmas box but all smells delicious and sweet. Their Snow Fairy range is one of their Christmas specials and is amazing. I suspect it’s one of their best sellers at this time of year!
Tom treated me to an extra 2 solo items! As much as I love a bath bomb, bubble bars are my favourite. I really love bubbles! They make a bath feel much more comforting and cosy.
Candy bubble brush: Ready to brush up on your art skills? Who said bathing had to be boring? Whether you’re already a seasoned artist or just like to paint by numbers, these new #BathArt reusable bubble brushes from Lush’s artful splodges are sure to make a Big Splash in your bathroom.
Blue Skies and Fluffy White Clouds bubble bar:A double-sized bubble bar scented for when you need to get away from it all, this bubble bar will help you float off. Patchouli and frankincense give it an exotic, hypnotic fragrance that helps you relax. This melts into your bathwater, turning the water sky-blue, dotted with foam clouds. Patchouli is used as a relaxant by aromatherapists, while frankincense and cinnamon leaf oil add spicy, deep tones to the calming scent.
Tom loves the bubble brush. I treated him to one for his Christmas present too. It’s reusable, and like the candy cane bubble bar, you just run it under the tap while the bath is running to produce lots of bubbles.
The Blue Skies bubble bar reminds me of The Comforter and should be amazing if The Comforter is anything to go by!
I’m sure lots of these will be making an appearance in an issue of Self Care Sundays in the very near future!
In early December, I posted an exclusive first look blog post about Got No Beef before they opened their doors to the public. Since then, they have opened for the rest of the world and I cannot stop visiting! I am obsessed!
I’ve ordered something new each time and every visit the food is incredible. It is of such great quality and tastes amazing. The family work so hard and are so friendly. It’s a lovely experience!
The full menu is so extensive and I urge you to take a look. You can find the full menu on their Facebook page which is linked here and on their website.
The first visit was a quick lunch visit the day after they opened. I ordered the GNB Chick’n Burger. All their mains come with fries so there’s no need to order separately which is SUCH a nice change from every other restaurant you go to.
The chick’n has fast become my favourite dish on the menu. The texture is incredible and the flavours are so good. I highly recommend it, especially those who are going to try out Veganuary! It’ll really hit the mock meat spot.
The second time, I went with my brother for an early dinner and ordered SO MUCH FOOD! We shared it all so that we could try as much as possible and, again, it did not disappoint.
We ordered the Original Sharing Platter which consists of Shrimp, Potato Skins and Cauliflower Wings.
For our mains, we ordered the Loaded Mac Dog and the Freedom Burger, and we even upgraded to loaded fries for one of our mains to get the full food experience.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… This is the most Instagrammable food you will ever see. But not only this, it is the most delicious vegan food you will ever taste. Everything is bursting with flavour and really hits the spot.
Some of you meat-eaters out there might ask why vegan want to eat things that look like meat… The simple answer is that some of us want to eat meat and enjoy the flavours but we don’t want to contribute to the cruelty and murder of animals for it.
I forgot to take a picture of the inside of the Freedom Burger but it was glorious. The smokey flavour and texture of the burger was delicious. I still truly believe that Got No Beef burgers are the best vegan burgers around.
The sharing platter had a bit of everything on it. The shrimp had an incredible texture, the cauliflower wings had a nice subtle kick to it and the potato skins were delicious.
The hot dog was great too. I love the idea of loading it with mac and cheese and it wasn’t too much, the perfect ratio. It was really filling with the texture of the hot dog being quite heavy. It wasn’t my favourite thing on the menu but it was still fantastic.
A few days later, my friends and I had our Christmas catch up so we went to Got No Beef as they hadn’t tried it yet and I had been raving about it.
GNB has a great drinks menu which includes cocktails and mylkshakes. 2 of us ordered Singapore Slings and then the other ordered a mint oreo mylkshake.
Her 1 year old daughter absolutely LOVED the mylkshake. There was some serious mess made with fingers and straws all over the face. I think she only managed a few sips herself and the rest ended up down her daughter’s dress.
The cocktail was lovely and didn’t taste too strong, which could be considered a downfall for some but it meant that I was able to enjoy it without feeling like I was drinking a strong alcoholic drink!
We all ordered Chick’n burgers, but mine was the hot one, and we ordered the cauliflower wings to share but I specified to have hot sauce on the side instead of a mayo or ranch sauce.
We finished the meal with a caramel cheesecake and churros. I forgot to take a picture of the cheesecake but it was a big hit! The churros weren’t bad either! Lots of chocolate and whipped cream, so who can say no to that?!
Everyone loved their food. They were amazed by the chick’n and were so surprised but how good it was and how much like chicken it was. All round, a fantastic review from the omnivores!
My addiction to Got No Beef has well and truly started by this point. I work a very short walk from Cardiff City Centre and it’s only 10 minutes for me to get to the restaurant.
I ordered a take out lunch of 2 chick’n strip and fries with a drink for £7. There was a bit of a wait at lunch time as the restaurant was full of customers but it’s to be expected when you’re ordering from a restaurant, not a take away.
My colleague didn’t want to get GNB, so she made the trip to Grazing Shed at the other end of Barrack Lane. I must have only waited around 10 – 15 minutes for my lunch, whereas she waited 30 minutes for hers!
I took my lunch back to the office and showed it off to everyone! They all looked impressed and I thoroughly enjoyed my food.
They have recently started offering a collection service via online orders! This will be so handy for those who don’t have much time for lunch so I recommend checking it out. It will save you on having to wait in the restaurant too as it will be a quick grab and go!
I’m going to finish this blog post on my fifth, and most certainly not my last, visit to Got No Beef.
I did a lone trip and ordered myself the GNB Hot Chick’n Burger again and an Oreo mylkshake.
As I continue to state, the chick’n items are my favourite dishes on the menu. The Oreo mylkshake was delicious and made a great American diner style dinner of a burger and a shake! Truly delicious and never a disappointment.
For those of you trying out Veganuary next month, this is the perfect food spot for you in Cardiff. After trying all the dishes on the menu, you won’t get that hankering for a meat fix ever again!
Going vegan has never been easier! Over the last few years, supermarkets and restaurants have been more and more accommodating with their products and offerings so you will always find an option somewhere!
During Veganuary, lots of restaurants even participate in offers to encourage you to eat with them and try a vegan dish which is actually really great.
Here are some of my top tips to kick start your Veganuary!
Do your research – it is really important to make sure you stay healthy and eat all the nutrients and vitamins that your body needs in order to maintain a healthy vegan lifestyle. I recommend checking out The Vegan Society nutrition page as a jumping off point!
Plan your meals – it’s so much easier when you first become vegan to plan your meals. Look online for recipes of things you’re unsure of, I recommend BOSH!. These days it’s easy to find meat replacements such as soy mince and vegan sausages.
Herbs and spices are your new best friends – As much as I love the taste of vegetables, they can get boring and not everyone loves them. Make sure you experiment with different herbs and spices to flavour your food as best you can.
Follow vegan food groups on social media – The vegan community is an amazing one and everyone is so supportive. I highly recommend following groups such as Vegan Food UK, Accidentally Vegan and Veganuary across their social media pages to get inspiration!
Don’t be too hard on yourself – The important thing to remember is that no matter what you do, you’re trying your hardest. It’s easy to make mistakes so keep calm and carry on!
If you have any questions, please feel free to comment on my post and I’ll do my best to give a helpful reply!
Good luck on your vegan journey and I hope it’s so good that you’ll want to stay vegan forever!
So Christmas has been and gone, and my sister, @vgnnatalie, cooked another fabulous vegan Christmas dinner (with the exception of a bit of veggie and meat for my mum, dad and brother! – Still gotta keep the omnis happy).
To make our lives easier this year, we bought in some of our food instead of cooking it from scratch. For our centre pieces, we had the Waitrose Vegan Festive Wreath and their Vegan Root en Croute. I didn’t manage to take a picture of the root en croute, mainly because I didn’t think of blogging this until after I’d eaten it all!
The Festive Wreath was made up of vegan sausage and stuffing in the middle. The Root en Croute was a pastry with roasted carrots, spinach and a creamy sauce.
The Waitrose food was freezable for up to a month so I chucked it in the freezer and defrosted it Christmas eve, ready for Christmas Day! What was even more fantastic was that both items cooked at the same temperature for 25 minutes which made it so much easier on the day.
Natalie cooked almost everything else from scratch, which included crispy roasted potatoes, cauliflower cheese (made with vegan Applewood cheese), vegan yorkshire puddings and, of course, all of the vegetables.
The only exception were the pigs in blankets which we bought from Morrisons and were thrown in the oven along with everything else.
Natalie did an incredible job on dinner, as she always does. My parents even enjoyed the vegan Waitrose centre pieces. They couldn’t believe the Festive Wreath wasn’t meat!
After last year’s debacle with a very salty and not ideal seitan roast from Bun Fiction, I was nervous that our parents would be disappointed by another lack lustre vegan centre piece, but this was not the case. Waitrose have done a great job in catering for vegans and these were just right for us.
Maybe next year I’ll finally try making a mushroom wellington myself, but until then we’ll be resting and snacking on all our vegan chocolate we got for Christmas.
From all of us, we hope you had a wonderful Christmas and we hope you have a happy New Year!