The Cruelty Free Beauty Box Deluxe [December 2019]

As we’re aware, the lead up to Christmas is super busy and deliveries take longer than expected. I almost entirely forgot about my Cruelty Free Beauty Box delivery so it was a nice surprise!

This months deluxe box was FULL of goodies, including a few Christmas extras!

The contents of this months Deluxe box contains:

  • Bowe Organic – Lip Rescue Balm (RRP £11)
  • Balade En Provence – Hand Cream (RRP £8.95)
  • All Earth Mineral Cosmetics – Finishing Powder Eco Pot (RRP £14)
  • Sknfed – Cleansing & Exfoliating Cubes (RRP £14.50)
  • Tisserand – Sleep Better Pillow Mist (RRP £9.45)
  • Delhicious – Original Black Tea Body Scrub (RRP £7.95)
  • Christmas White Chocolate Soy Wax Melt (RRP £1.50)
  • Matcha Green Coffee Sparkling Water (RRP £1.75)
  • Vegan Chocolatier – Christmas Cracker (RRP £3.25)
  • Spacemasks (RRP £3.50)
  • Freedom Mallows – Mallow Bites (RRP £3)
  • House Of Wonderland – Snowflake Earrings (RRP £7.95)

The total value of the box tots up to £86.70 and everything looks and smells fabulous! It only arrived yesterday so I have yet to try everything but here are my comments so far…

The Sknfed exfoliating cubes smells absolutely incredible. I’m not sure if it’s a coffee smell but they smell amazing and I’m really excited to use them.

The Tisserand Pillow Mist is life changing. I actually bought one in September for Tom for his birthday so it’s nice that I have my own one. I’ve probably used Tom’s one more than him! Again, this mist smells lovely and full of lavender and I really do have a good sleep when I use it. I usually give a spritz across the pillow and let myself fall into a deep slumber.

The Balade En Provence hand cream is really absorbent and smells fresh. I’m planning on taking it to work and keeping it on my desk so I can have a good moisturiser to use there! I have enough at home so it makes sense to keep one in the office.

This is the first time I’ve tried Freedom Mallows before, even though I’ve seen them around before but never bought them. They are delicious!! It’s been a while since I’ve had marshmallows but these have a very similar texture and the flavour is great. If you spot these when you’re out and about, grab a bag! As a gift for someone else or even for yourself, these are great.

The only item I sadly won’t be able to show off is the House of Wonderland earrings as I don’t have my ears pierced. I have debated getting my ears pierced for a while now so whether I will do so to make sure of them or not is a decision I need to make. Otherwise I will gift them to someone as they are really cute and a gorgeous rose gold!

Again, The Cruelty Free Beauty Box have not disappointed with their deluxe box. I am always looking forward to receiving my box and the contents has never disappointed. Seriously, look them up if you haven’t already!

This will be my last post before Christmas, and although Wednesday is my usual blogging day, it falls on Christmas Day so normal business will resume on the Sunday, 29th December!

Being a Vegan Wedding Guest: Issue 3

We had the absolute honour and luxury of attending Tom’s sister’s wedding at Fairyhill in the heart of the Gower of Swansea. Fairyhill is an absolutely stunning venue surrounded by so much natural greenery.

Hannah, Tom’s sister, and her new husband, Jonnie, are both vegan too so it was a fully vegan wedding which was great! When they were planning their wedding, it was important to them that the wedding be fully vegan and the team at Fairyhill were more than happy to help make that happen.

Getting Ready

As you’re all very aware, I love my beauty products so I’ll throw in a quick section here of what I used on my face to get myself wedding ready…

My dress is a Chi Chi London dress I bought on ASOS and the floral hair clips are from Accessorize.

The Venue

Fairyhill is absolutely beautiful. The night before, we stayed in a lovely modern cottage only a short drive from the venue. Fairyhill is tucked away in a little corner of the Gower so is very private and hidden.

Jonnie and Hannah

The ceremony and the wedding breakfast is held in the Kaleidoscope room (Garden Room) which stuns with gorgeous panoramic views of the forestry around it.

At night, the building is lit up beautifully in colour and is gorgeous and incredibly atmospheric.

There are also rooms available to stay in at Fairyhill if you are a guest of the Bride and Groom. We had the pleasure of staying in one of their rooms. The bed was incredibly comfortable and the convenience of being able to stay on site was a luxury. They put on breakfast in the morning which was lovely and we got to wake up to this gorgeous view…

The Food

I sadly came down with a migraine during the wedding breakfast so I wasn’t able to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the festivities with all the guests.

Tom, being the gem that he is, brought up my food for me to our room. The staff offered to take it up for me themselves but Tom declined the offer as he was keen to check up on me.

Even though my head was pounding, I was still able to enjoy the food. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the food. The polenta chips were delicious and the pesto pizza had a vegan parmesan which had plenty of flavour. There was a stuffed mushroom to start but I forgot to photograph it and I didn’t particularly enjoy. The sticky toffee pudding was sooooo good and baked to perfection. I personally would have preferred custard to ice-cream but still great either way.

Tom had a cauliflower dish to start which he said was banging. He had a miso ramen as his main which was flavourful, but the ribbon noodles had disintegrated a little which made it a little more difficult to eat.

In the morning, a breakfast buffet was laid out and there were vegan sausages, hash browns, mushrooms and beans. They also have various fruit and cereals, and also soy milk for the teas and coffees.

Tom and I

Everything was amazing. Hannah and Jonnie planned an absolutely beautiful day for the gorgeous floral arrangements to the music played through the evening. It was such a pleasure to be a guest and the fact that all the food and drink there was completely vegan was so great.

It’s helped me and Tom decide to plan our wedding, so we’ve booked Oldwalls in the Gower which is the sister venue to Fairyhill! We’re very excited and I’m sure over the next year and a half, I’ll be posting a few wedding planning posts!

Got No Beef in Cardiff City Centre [EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK]

I had the absolute pleasure of being one of the first people to see and sample Got No Beef, a new 100% vegan restaurant, in Cardiff City Centre.

The Story of Got No Beef

Got No Beef is a family run business, based in South Wales and they are 100% vegan. Before opening this restaurant, you may have seen them at vegan events and vegan festivals up and down the country, selling their incredible double stacked burgers.

They’ve now decided to settle down in Cardiff City Centre and set up base for their delicious burgers, and many more additions to the menu!

For regular updates, make sure you Like them on Facebook and Follow them on their Twitter and Instagram accounts: @GotNoBeefUK.

The Location

If you’re familiar with Cardiff, you may know a little street in the city centre called Barrack Lane. This street houses other restaurants and is only a short walk from both Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen St train stations. Got No Beef is situated on the end that’s closest to Debenhams.

For those of you who drive and park in St Davids 2 Car Park, the restaurant is a very short walk from the shopping centre.

The location is great as it’s so easy to find and get to. It really is in the heart of the city centre.

The Food

So down to the most important part… the food!

As well as maintaining their stamp on having the BEST vegan burgers (my honest opinion, and I’m sure shared with many others), they have left no corner unturned when putting together their new menu. There are plenty of options, you will be spoilt for choice.

I was treated to a feast of dishes which included Cauliflower Wings, Loaded Fries, Mac & Cheeze, Beer Battered Cod and 2 Hot Dogs…

I don’t even know where to begin… Incredible doesn’t even cut it.

Let’s start with the immaculate presentation. If the food isn’t the most instagrammable food you’ve ever seen, then I have no idea where you’ve been eating. The attention to detail was so clear to see, even down to the fabulous grease proof paper with the logo emblazoned all over it.

Now for the taste… YUM! My favourite dish was the loaded fries. BBQ Jackfruit and Cheeze sauce all over the fries with spring onions and slices of chilli. The beer battered cod had an amazing texture and it wasn’t greasy which is a pet hate of mine. The mac and cheeze was lovely and the ‘bacon’ bits were a delicious addition.

The Verdict

I may be a little biased, but Got No Beef is absolutely incredible. The quality of the food and the service is like no other. The restaurant looks fantastic with their gorgeous plant wall at the back and the rustic aesthetic really bringing that comfortable vibe.

This family have clearly poured their heart and soul into the building of this business and they deserve every success. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is truly wonderful to see local vegan businesses finding their feet in Cardiff and paving the way for the rest of the country and even the world to follow.

Make sure you follow all their social media pages at @GotNoBeefUK to ensure you don’t miss out on any important updates.

I urge you all to visit and support this small, ethical, local business. You won’t regret it!

Sand & Sky Porefining Face Mask

You may have heard of cult skincare brand, Sand & Sky. I’ve seen many Facebook/Insta ads and many influencers have jumped on the bandwagon.

In the Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales, Sand & Sky were offering 20% meaning that the Porefining Face Mask was only £33.52.

After a quick search on their FAQ, I was able to find that the Porefining Face Mask was vegan and did not contain any animal products or animal by-products. The brush applicator is also synthetic and not made of animal hair. Click here for the FAQ details.

My order was dispatched and arrived within a few days!

Branding and packaging were very appealing! The applicator brush is so cute and so useful. It made it so much easier to apply on my skin. The mask did tingle as I applied it but it stopped very shortly after. I looked online and apparently this is normal…

I managed to rope Tom into trying the mask with me too!

After 10 minutes, the mask was mostly dry with a few patches of thicker not quite dry yet. I went upstairs to wash off the mask with warm water. My skin felt so clean afterwards, it did however feel very dry and tight.

Tom has a very different skin type to me and the reaction to the mask wasn’t as good as mine. His skin got much tighter and drier than mine and it didn’t help that he didn’t moisturise.

I followed the mask with my facial oils to help hydrate my skin and it made all the difference. You can read about the oils I’m using in my blog post last week here. I do feel like my pores have been reduced and my skin is just much cleaner in general.

It’s recommended that for oily skin, you should use the mask 2 – 3 times a week. I’ll try to do this to see how much of an improvement it’ll make.

Based on this first try of the mask, I do like it, however I’m not sure if I would buy it again. It’s quite a high price point for such a small pot and unless it suddenly does wonders for my skin, I’ll probably stick to Natura sheet masks!

The Naked Vegan in Cardiff Market

I had some annual leave to take before the end of the year so chucked in a few days at the end of last week for an extra long weekend. I made my way into Cardiff City Centre (which was ridiculously busy at 10:30 in the morning) and took a stroll.

A place that’s been regularly mentioned on the Cardiff Vegans Facebook group is The Naked Vegan in Cardiff Market.

We arrived quite early in the morning before popping to Simply V to stock up on vegan goodies, and I might have gone a bit overboard on the treats!

When you walk in through the main entrance of Cardiff Market, you need to take the right hand side stairs up to the first level and you will find The Naked Vegan at the back.

They had so many options of cookies, muffins and doughnuts, and on the particular day I went last week, they had Alex Gooch Bakery pastries in. I’ve written about Alex Gooch on a previous blog post which you can read here.

I treated myself to an almond croissant (by Alex Gooch Baker), a lemon rose and pistachio doughnut and a peanut butter cookie. I treated Tom and his mum to a chocolate chip cookie each.

Everything was lovely. I had the almond croissant for breakfast and as always, Alex Gooch Baker has done an outstanding job on vegan bakes. I haven’t had a croissant for so long. In my pre-vegan days, I used to treat myself to a Starbucks Almond Croissant and this blew it out of the water.

Tom and his mum enjoyed their cookies. As you can tell by the image ago, the cookie was huge. My peanut butter cookie was amazing. I preferred it to the doughnut.

The Naked Vegan was delicious and those of you in Cardiff should definitely treat yourselves to some delicious cake. They also offer a bespoke service and I saw on their back wall that they are selling Christmas cakes, so get in there early!

It’s so amazing to see so many vegan businesses coming up and settling down, especially somewhere as local to me as Cardiff. I hope that Cardiff will become a vegan hub for South Wales with plenty of choice and independent business, flying the flag for veganism.

November Skincare Favourites

Winter is the season for chapped lips and can aggravate skin. Here have been my November saviours that have become a staple in my evening skin routine.

Facial Oils

There’s a lot of stigma around facial oils and what they do for you. It’s a topic that you’d need to research for your skin type as everyone is different.

For me, I am loving them as part of my night time routine. Here are my 2 picks.

The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalene

I actually bought this oil a long time ago and it became disused when I got out of my skin routine and it was hidden in a drawer for a few months.

I’ve picked it back up again and apply a few drops and apply all over my face. There’s no fragrance but it does leave my skin feeling very soft.

Retinol is renowned for keeping wrinkles at bay by encouraging cell regeneration. I may only be 28 but it’s better to start early!

All I know, is that my skin is left silky smooth and even Tom has commented on the improvement of my frown wrinkle that he’s given me!

If you’re thinking about picking this up, make sure you start off with the lowest percentage of retinol to allow your skin to become accustomed to it. You eventually work your way to the higher percentages when your skin needs it.

Dr Botanicals Moroccan Rose Superfood Facial Oil

I’ve had this oil for a while too as it came in a beauty box that I received a long time ago.

Rosehip oil supposedly reduces skins natural oiliness (which I am a terrible sufferer of) and helps to even out skin tone.

The jury’s out on both at the moment as I haven’t noticed much difference but it does smell really lovely and the tiny difference I’ve seen is encouraging.

BAO Skincare NOURISH URSELF Treatment Balm

Again, this beauty secret was in one of the delightful beauty boxes that I’ve received from The Cruelty Free Beauty Box.

This balm is multi-purpose and can be used for so many different things, but I’ve been using it as a night time lip balm.

It’s done absolute wonders for my usually chapped winter lips. My lips feel soft and they’re not as dry as they normally would be. I do, of course, still have to apply lip balm during the day, but I no longer have to do a lip scrub every evening to do away with the dead skin cells.

I absolutely recommend this product. It will become a staple in your beauty routine.

Give the Gift of Sustainability

Sustainability is very much in fashion at the moment, and I hope it’s not a phase. A lot of us have made small switches to reduce our waste and lessen our impact on the environment. The biggest change we should be making is moving to a plant based diet, but you can’t gift that!

With the approach to Christmas, many of you may have read some of my gift guide posts. On this post, I’m going to include a few swap and gift ideas that you can give this Christmas!

None of us are perfect, but we can all do our best to make swaps in our lives to help improve things.

Face Halo

I switched to the Face Halo last year and it is still one of my favourite purchases!

For those of you that don’t know, the Face Halo is a make up remover pad. You can visit the website for more details, but it’s so easy to use and has yet to fail at removing my make up! I don’t buy disposable make up wipes anymore as I have no need for them!

I bought a pack of 3 straight away and so far I’ve only used 2 of them, alternating when 1 goes in the wash.

They currently have limited edition cherry ones which look absolutely fabulous and would make an excellent Christmas gift!

Chilly’s Bottles

My brother bought a Chilly’s reusable bottle and it encouraged me to buy my own. There are other insulated bottles out there that are cheaper, however the quality doesn’t match Chilly’s.

I bought both a coffee cup and a water bottle and I love them both. The coffee cup keeps my hot drinks warm for a few hours and I’ve been really impressed with it. The durability of the bottles is amazing and I highly recommend them.

Vegetable Shopping Bags

This may sound like a weird one, but it’s made a big difference for us in our home!

When we pop to the supermarket to buy our fruit and veg, we try and avoid buying the pre-packaged items and pick up the individual fruit/veg that we need for that day/week.

We used to use the plastic bags that the supermarket provide you. We stopped doing that and were placing the bar code stickers directly onto our fruit and veg so we didn’t have to pick up a bag.

I found these bags on Amazon, that have been so handy. We keep them in our shopping bags and now we can keep our fruit and veg separate from the rest of our shopping.

They might not be the most exciting gift to give, but for anyone who is looking to make these swaps, it’ll make a great addition to their lives.

Ripple on Albany Road, Cardiff

On my final note, we walked along Albany Road back to the car from Luna’s Vegan Corner last week and finally popped into Ripple. They are currently working on an expansion project which I think is going to be really exciting.

I wasn’t fully prepared for this visit so didn’t have any containers with me, but everything is amazing. You can buy containers there, but there are also donated containers which you can pick up for free. The range of products is amazing from cleaning products, to tea, to granola and to pasta.

For those of you in Cardiff looking for zero waste shops, Ripple is where you need to be. I was so impressed and I’ll definitely be making another visit with all my containers soon!