Another 2 months has passed us by so it’s time for another run through of my latest delivery of the Deluxe Cruelty Free Beauty Box! I was lucky enough to win this box this month in their usual sharing giveaway. I was so chuffed.
If you want to read about the box before this, click here for the post. Previous posts can be found under the Beauty section.
As always, the box did not disappoint and had so many goodies that I cannot wait to try!
This months box contained the following:
My HairCare Rescue My Hair Hydrate Shampoo Bar (RRP £14)
Natura Pumpkin Sheet Mask (RRP £5.95)
Fairypants perfume (RRP £1.50)
Palm Bar Body Butter Bar (RRP £5)
Bellapierre Liquid Gold 24k (RRP £30)
Niu Body Glow Facial Serum (RRP £27.95)
Gardner’s Halloween Cookie (RRP £2)
Vegan Bunny Chai Latte Soy Candle (RRP £13)
Jeavon’s Rizo (RRP £2.75)
The total value of the Deluxe box comes in at £102.15 but will only cost you £39.95.
I’ve eaten the cookie and Rizo bar already and both were a dream. I haven’t had shortbread for a long time and the Gardner’s cookie was a delicious shortbread.
I’ve written about Natura products in various other blog posts I’ve written and I love the sheet masks. They’re a really lovely treat so I’m looking forward to using this pumpkin one.
My final favourite is the Vegan Bunny Chai Latte candle. I’ve actually bought Vegan Bunny candles off Etsy before, but not for myself! I’ve bought Christmas scented candles as stocking fillers for my family members and regretted not buying one for myself. The Chai Latte smell is incredible! I haven’t lit the candle yet but I can’t wait till I do!
I absolutely cannot recommend The Cruelty Free Beauty Box enough. They only send every 2 months which is more than enough for me, and every month is full of new and interesting treats. I adore The Deluxe box with the lifestyle treats. It’s so nice to receive new things that I’d never normally buy for myself or want to try.
Last weekend, we went to The Big Welsh Wedding Show in the Depot in Cardiff and we went out to lunch afterwards with Tom’s family. We made our way back into the city centre and decided that we’d go to Mowgli Street Food.
This is not to be mistaken with Mowgli’s which is a restaurant on City Road in Cardiff.
Mowgli Street Food is a chain that has a few branches all over the UK. We walked in and the decor was lovely and atmospheric. There were fairy lights hung up, decorative trees and hanging lights.
The vegan menu was extensive with loads of options so we were in our element!
Tom and I ordered bits to share which included:
Fenugreek Kissed Fries
Calcutta Tangled Greens
Elephant brand Roti breads
Mowgli Basmati Rice
The food was amazing. I would like to say now, don’t order a portion of rice each! 1 portion for 2 people is more than enough.
The Fenugreek Kissed Fries were delicious. The potatoes were crispy and the whole dish was delicious. I could have easily ordered another one. The Temple Dahl was warm and flavourful and the Calcutta Tangled Greens were surprising but really good.
Tom’s mum and dad ordered the Holy Chow, which I didn’t try but it did look amazing.
I absolutely recommend visiting Mowgli Street Food. The service was excellent, the atmosphere was great and the food was fantastic. The prices are incredibly reasonable and we spent around £16 per person!
My sister found a recipe on a vegan Facebook group for bakewell slices that she wanted to try so we went to our local supermarket to have a go at baking it ourselves! We adjusted the recipe slightly to accommodate our tastes. I also made it for the bake-off we are holding at work which were a hit!
The first time round, we made it with a shop-bought ready made short crust pastry which was nice and easy. The blind bake was a little more difficult, only because we didn’t have the tools we needed but we made it work!
The second time round, I found a short-crust pastry recipe online which I used, which you can find here. It was a little bit more effort with the manual labour but it was the same.
Ingredients for the Frangipane Mix
120g self-raising flour
120g caster sugar
130g ground almonds
40g desiccated coconut
130ml vegetable oil
50ml plant milk
1tsp almond extract
Pastry ingredients/Ready-made pastry
Flaked almonds and/or cherries for topping
Line your baking tin with your pastry (ready-made or from scratch). If you have a loose bottomed tin, you won’t need to line your tin with parchment paper, but if you don’t then I highly recommend it!
Blind bake this as instructed.
Mix the frangipane ingredients in a bowl. If it seems a little dry, add a bit more plant milk.
When your pastry is baked and taken out of the oven, let it cool.
Spread jam along the bottom of the pastry to your taste. I personally like a thick layer.
Put the frangipane mix on top of the jam.
Bake for another 30 minutes.
Take out of the oven and let it cool completely!
Mix icing as per instructions on the packet.
Pour over the bake as evenly as you can.
Spread flaked almonds over the top to set in the icing.
Let the icing harden before eating!
The bake went down a treat at work and everyone enjoyed it! It came out much better than I anticipated, but I do wish I had lined the bottom with more jam!
I took some home for Tom and he was impressed! I’ll definitely be making it again in the future.
If you try out the recipe, make sure you share your photos and I hope you enjoy!
A few weeks ago, my lovely friend Ella came to Cardiff to visit and we met up for some lunch. We were originally going to go to Yo! but the queue was long and we were incredibly hungry.
Pizza Express was only upstairs and I know they have vegan options so we settled for some pizza and doughballs!
To start, I had the Baked Garlic Mushroom. I’m a big mushroom fan and it was really delicious. The garlic flavour was perfect and not too garlicky (if that’s even a word!). The ‘cheese’ was lovely and being sat on a bed of rocket was a nice addition. My only criticism is that it was very oily, but I still enjoyed it.
For my main, I ordered a mushroom pizza which I don’t remember the name of. The pizza was as expected but I think I may have gone for overkill on the mushrooms!
I think the ‘cheese’ used is mozzarisella and it was lovely and creamy. The base was fine, nothing to shout about but it hit the spot so I most certainly can’t complain.
I didn’t order any desserts as I was so full but they have a few interesting options which you can find on their vegan menu.
It was a Saturday afternoon so it was quite busy but the service provided was excellent. They were quick and friendly and made sure we were well catered for.
If you’re stuck for options and just want an easy meal at a chain restaurant, I recommend Pizza Express. It’s not a usual place for me to visit as I’m normally at Zizzi’s but I enjoyed it!
A few months ago, I wrote about Who Cult in this blog post after Tom had brought some back for me. I finally visited the actual shop a few weeks ago so I’m writing again to show you the interior and more of their delicious donuts.
I’ve tried to visit on a few occasions but I usually try to catch them when they’re closed.
We went to pick up some doughnuts on the morning of Tom’s sisters wedding to treat the bridal party to some delicious treats!
Doughnuts, as before, were absolutely delicious and beautifully decorated. Everyone was a fan and loved them.
The interior of the cafe had seating for those who are planning on travel from further away or just want a break, but the decor spoke to me!
They also sell their own branded clothing which can be found in store and comes in a range of sizes and colours.
This was a brief post but I didn’t see the need to reiterate what I’d written in my previous post but I thought you guys would like to see the inside of Who Cult!
It did not disappoint, and Death before Decaf is my new motto!
I had the absolute pleasure of being invited to Tom’s sister, Kate’s, wedding a few weeks ago which was an absolute dream. Her and David got married in Coed Y Mwstwr Hotel in Bridgend which is tucked away in Coychurch, and conveniently only down the road from us.
I’m close to Tom’s family and love them like my own so I had the luxury of being involved in so many parts of the wedding, but with little responsibility!
In this blog post, I’ll write about all the little vegan bits that were thought about and catered for.
The Night Before The Wedding
We were invited to the hotel for a family meal before the nuptials the next day in the hotel restaurant. There was a vegan menu available and we were given the menus to peruse in the lounge area of the hotel.
We ordered and were taken into the restaurant when they were ready for us. We all ordered Tempura Vegetables to start, most of us ordered the Cauliflower and Pea Curry and Tom’s mum ordered the Chickpea and Lentil Roast for mains. To finish, myself and Hannah ordered the Vegan Chocolate Brownie and everyone else ordered the Grilled Pineapple with vegan ice-cream.
The food was lovely and the service was great. The Vegetable Tempura starter was a big hit with everyone and something that I highly recommend. It was a lovely start to the weekend!
Tom and I then headed home, ready for the next day…
The Wedding Day
Tom and I had a lie in as the ceremony wasn’t until 2:30! We were lucky to have an early check in at the hotel so we were able to check in at 12 so we started getting ready and packing some bags ready for the day!
On the way to the hotel, we stopped off in Who Cult Coffee + Donuts on Bridgend Industrial Estate on request of the bridal party, so it was impossible to say no! It was the first time I had actually gone inside so I took some photos but I’ll write another post. Here’s an older post from when I originally tried their doughnuts.
We arrived at the hotel and ran a few errands with Hannah, Tom’s younger sister and Kate’s maid of honour. We checked in and went straight up so that I could finish getting ready. Once I was ready, I spent the morning with the bridal party, taking photos and tearing up at the sight of Kate in her wedding dress. She looked beautiful.
The ceremony was lovely and there was so much love in the room. It was so clear to see that Kate and David shared so much together and were meant to be. It was an honour to be a guest.
After a drink and photos, we were seated fo the wedding breakfast. The favours were seeds to plant to help encourage bees, so we’ll be making sure we do that!
The wedding breakfast provided by Coed Y Mwstwr catered for both vegans and omnis. Kate herself is a vegetarian so she had the vegan option also.
The vegan option was: Vegetable soup, Black Eyed Bean Bourginon and Vegan Chocolate Brownie with ice cream.
For those who are curious, the omni option was: Leek and Potato Soup, Turkey Roast and Cheesecake.
I didn’t rate the bourginon. The mashed potato was delicious and creamy and the veg was great, but the meat replacement I found to be plain and dry.
The vegetable soup was really delicious. I could have eaten a vat of it! Tom appreciated the croutons too. He said he’d never had croutons before which shocked me!
The chocolate brownie was the same as the previous night but was much nicer with the ice cream.
Remaining on the topic of food… Kate and David’s wedding cake was made by the incredibly talented Vic’s Vegan Bakes. The cake was absolutely stunning and was made of 3 tiers:
Red Velvet and Chocolate
Salted Caramel and Biscoff
Vanilla and Raspberry
Every tier was absolutely delicious. Everyone loved it and I don’t think they even knew it was vegan. Vic bakes amazing cakes and makes them look like an absolute dream! Check out her instagram for all the inspiration.
The evening buffet came out around 9:30pm and has various vegan options and a small section of the omnis too. I picked up a cucumber sandwich, vegetable spring rolls and wontons and potato wedges. Tom had spicy falafel which he loved and couldn’t stop eating.
In between all of this, Tom and I spent the evening dancing the night away, pulling out all of our best wedding dance moves and trying to get everyone we know up on the dance floor with relative levels of success.
The Day After The Wedding
We stayed the night at the hotel. The room was lovely but I didn’t find the bed particularly comfortable. I had very particular comfort needs but it was a nice stay and it was very quiet.
What I did love was that instead of a hanging door sign to indicate you don’t want to be disturbed, they had the cutest cuddly toy dogs! “Let Sleeping Dogs Lay”.
We were invited to join the bride and groom for breakfast at 9am. I never usually eat much in the morning so I only had a coffee and juice but there was lots of lovely fruit on offer as well as cereals. We were also provided with soy milk for teas and coffees. Everyone else ordered vegan breakfasts which from what I remembered had sausages, toast, hash brown and a grilled tomato.
A huge thank you to Kate and David for having us and making the day so special for everyone. Thank you for catering for us and including us in so much of your day!
A few weekends ago, I visited The Alchemist in Cardiff for my not quite sister-in-law’s hen party!
I’ve heard many good things about The Alchemist. They’re renowned for producing interesting cocktails, with the full works, smoke and all!
We came for dinner and cocktails (booked at 7:15pm) and were sat in the restaurant area of the bar. I have a few criticisms of this area.
The tables were very close together which didn’t make it easy to get in and out when it was full. Especially with one of the party being over 6 months pregnant!
The music was incredibly loud, even though it was a separate and designated area away from the bar. I think they would benefit from lowering the volume to allow groups to hold a conversation without shouting.
They started dimming the lights half way through our dinner which I thought was really unusual. I understand wanting an atmosphere but sitting and squinting wasn’t what I was expecting.
Cocktails were actually quite a challenge to order. There was so many options and they don’t label things vegan here. There is one specific cocktail that was labelled ‘The Vegan One’ which made me wonder whether all the other cocktails were specifically non-vegan.
Generally, most spirits are vegan. It may be something you’ll have to research before hand if you plan on visiting because we were a little blind sided. The waitress, although lovely, seemed to be a little bit clueless on what was vegan or not. She advised that she thought most cocktails that didn’t have cream in them were likely to be ok.
I chanced it (which probably wasn’t the right thing to do) and I ordered a Lightbulb Moment which contained: TANQUERAY GIN, PIMMS, GINGER BEER, RASPBERRY, LEMON, MINT. It was served in a spherical flask with smoke pouring out of it.
We were a party of 10 and the service was great. They were very patient with us the entire time, especially at the end when we were paying the bill!
So let’s get started on the food. There were a few vegan options available here which was quite nice to see. For the mains, this included:
Moving Mountains Burger
Cauliflower Katsu Curry
Seitan in a Basket
Not all of us were vegan, but between us, we managed to order the chickpea curry, poke bowl and seitan in a basket.
I ordered the Seitan in a Basket and was pleasantly surprised at the quality of food. The seitan was very good and delicious. At first, I thought it was chicken and was concerned that I’d been given the wrong dish. I chose a larger piece and cut it open and it was clear it was definitely seitan. The fries were great and the coleslaw was lovely too.
Again, to be critical, they served the dish in one of those chicken shaped wiry egg baskets… Why? Why would you serve a vegan dish inside a chicken shaped basket? Even more sadistically, the actual chicken in a basket was also served inside the chicken shaped basket. I’m not sure which was worse to be honest.
Overall, the food was much better than I expected. I was really full afterwards from all the fried food, but it was worth it.
They had a very small pudding selection which included a poached pineapple and 2 flavours of gelato. I ordered 1 single scoop of mango gelato as I was too full for 3 scoops, but it was lovely.
For all 10 of us, the total bill came to £176.80. The £45 deposit that we paid was deducted from this, but a £20 service charge was added which we weren’t expecting. We weren’t the kind of group to kick up a fuss so covered it between us and the service we got did deserve a tip so it wasn’t so bad.
If you plan on taking a visit to The Alchemist, I recommend planning well in advanced and deciding your cocktails prior to your visit so you can try to accurately gage which ones are vegan. Everyone raved about their food so that shouldn’t be a worry for anyone!