Kat Von D 'XO Vinyl' Lip Cream

It’s been a long time since I’ve used a lip gloss. I don’t generally get along with them as I find them sticky and heavy.

As always… along came Kat Von D Beauty and their brand new products… The ‘XO Vinyl’ lip cream. It was announced before Christmas and came to the UK in the new year. Of course, I treated myself to some new make up… because I have no restraint!

I bought 2 in colours Carnation and Lolita. Both are more neutral ‘nude’ shades, with Carnation a little on the pinker side than Lolita.

The packaging is beautiful. It has the classic Kat Von D gothic lettering which makes it stand out on your dressing table, as well as showing off the gorgeous colour.

I am not going to deny that I am a huge Kat Von D Beauty fan, but I’m not exaggerating when I say I love this new product. I’m pictured above with the XO Vinyl Lip Cream in Carnation on, and it’s such a flattering shade of pink. I can imagine it looks great on different skin tones.

It has the perfect amount of shine to it and doesn’t have that horrible, thick, sticky feeling that I know a lot of lip glosses have. It dries quickly and feels incredibly lightweight.

I found that the staying power was much better than most lip glosses but didn’t have the same staying power as the Everlasting Lipstick which I was expecting.

As a summary, I would absolutely recommend the XO Vinyl Lip Cream. It comes in 6 different shades and the quality of the lip gloss is amazing. As I mentioned above, it’s lightweight and the colour is flattering. I wore it all night, have a few drinks and some buffet food and it was still on by the end of the night.

If you can go check it out for yourself before buying, you definitely should! It will take no convincing from me as the product will speak for itself.

Planning a Vegan Wedding: Issue 1

So for those of you who follow my blog more closely, you’ll know that Tom and I are planning our wedding! With it only being 18 months away now, I thought I’d start the Wedding Planning blog issues.

Issue 1, we’ll start with our venue hunt!

Tom has always had his heart set on getting married in the Gower, or at least close to the water. We find the water so calming and it’s the perfect back drop for us.

Ocean View Gower

In October 2019, the first venue we went to see was Ocean View Gower. The views here were absolutely breathtaking and it was a lovely venue. It was Emma who showed us around the venue and she was really nice and so helpful. You could do so much with the venue and it gives that lovely rustic feel.

They took us on a golf cart round the corner to their little camping village where they had a few pods where wedding guests could stay. The Bridal Suite was a gorgeous, larger version of the other pods.

The only thing that really deterred me from this venue (besides the dates available) was that it was on a working farm. As a vegan, I can’t support the industry and knowing that’s where my money would be going.

Oldwalls Gower

We went on a tour of Oldwalls directly after our visit to Ocean View and we fell in love with it. We put a deposit down there and then and we haven’t looked back since. Oldwalls was a little more polished that Ocean View and as a dedicated wedding venue, the services they provide were exactly what we were looking for.

It was a more polished version of Ocean View, but the price does reflect that. They have a lot of onsite accommodation which is really helpful for us as we’ll have a lot of guests who’ll want to stay. In addition to this, they have a gorgeous glamping village with lots of glamping pods for even more guests to stay in! All the guests that stay will also have breakfast included so it’ll be nice the following morning to have breakfast with our overnight guests.

Tom’s sister got married at Fairyhill last month which is the sister venue of Oldwalls. You can read my blog post about it here. The most important thing to us was having a vegan wedding. Oldwalls were more than happy to accommodate that with no problems. This included all the food, as well as the drinks.

Oldwalls hold showcases throughout the year so I recommend following them on social media to keep an eye out for them. Fairyhill will usually hold showcases on the same day so as you’re in the area, you may as well go and see both!

We’re really excited to keep moving with the planning. We should be invited for a food tasting this year, approximately a year before the wedding. Keep an eye out for that blog post in the future!

Self Care Sundays: Issue 6

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.

Natracare: Plastic Free Periods

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 came across Natracare by chance when I was browsing in Brontosaurus in Swansea. I didn’t buy it then and there, but they were on my radar and I started following their Instagram account.

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.

Self Care Sundays: Issue 5

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.

Lush Christmas Haul

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…

2 gift sets: Happy Christmas and Christmas Candy Box, plus extra bubble bars

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!).

Happy Christmas

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!

The Extras

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!

Got No Beef in Cardiff City Centre [2]

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.

Visit 1

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.

Visit 2

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.

Visit 3

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!

Visit 4

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!

Visit 5

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!