Men’s Vegan Grooming Gifts

As a woman, it can be difficult trying to find good gift sets for men. The market is definitely catered more for women than it is for men. I did a spot of shopping a few weeks ago and was inspired to write this post based on what I saw!

Here’s just a few recommend brands and products and if I come up with some more ideas, I’ll make sure I write another post.

Superdrug

So when I was wandering around my local Superdrug the other day, I was enticed by their Christmas section and also pleasantly surprised. I found a few of their own brand men’s gift sets which were lovely and also very reasonably priced!

If you’re unsure what to buy for someone, a gift set like this is a great alternative as they usually contain useful things that they are likely to use.

What’s also great about Superdrug is that their items are clearly labelled vegan which makes it much easier to shop.

Browsing online with Superdrug has also become so much easier as they have a vegan Christmas section which you can find here!

Manmane

Manmane are a completely vegan brand that sells male grooming products. We’ve seen them at vegan events around the country before, and being welsh myself, it’s nice to support local business!

Tom loves their products. They’re high quality and there are so many different options.

I highly recommend taking a visit to their website to have a look at the products. A few include: bread oils and balms, soaps, perfumes and candles.

If you have a bearded loved one in your life, you should absolutely check out Manmane for their products! They make wonderful gifts and they’ll be hooked going forward.

Maria Nila

This one will be a short one but I do have to rave about it. Maria Nila sell vegan wax grooming products that are perfect gifts!

Tom has always really struggled to find good hair product for his hair type. He’s got fine hair but a lot of volume.

I took a punt and bought him the Maria Nila Gneiss Moulding Paste. He absolutely loves it and can now style his hair properly without the unnecessary gunk of product all over his hair. And an added bonus is that it smells great too!

Mowgli Street Food in Cardiff City Centre

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
  • Temple Dahl
  • 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.

Holy Chow

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!

Recipe: Vegan Bakewell Slices

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

Other Ingredients

  • Pastry ingredients/Ready-made pastry
  • Icing sugar
  • Flaked almonds and/or cherries for topping
  • Raspberry jam

Steps

  1. 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!
  2. Blind bake this as instructed.
  3. Mix the frangipane ingredients in a bowl. If it seems a little dry, add a bit more plant milk.
  4. When your pastry is baked and taken out of the oven, let it cool.
  5. Spread jam along the bottom of the pastry to your taste. I personally like a thick layer.
  6. Put the frangipane mix on top of the jam.
  7. Bake for another 30 minutes.
  8. Take out of the oven and let it cool completely!
  9. Mix icing as per instructions on the packet.
  10. Pour over the bake as evenly as you can.
  11. Spread flaked almonds over the top to set in the icing.
  12. 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!

Why I Became Vegan

So a more serious blog post this week… I’m going to share with you guys the reasons why I became vegan in the first place.

My vegan story isn’t your normal vegan story, but I’m sure many of you share a similar story.

I’ve been with my boyfriend, Tom, for nearly 6 years now and a year or so into our relationship, he started transitioning towards vegetarianism. This started with going pescatarian first (for those of you that don’t know, that’s eating only fish and no other meat) and the plan was to slowly move from that into veganism.

Before Tom went vegan, he was a big meat eater. He rejected salads, never tried houmous, and was a regular KFC customer. He abandoned his plan of slowly transitioning and went straight into veganism from pescatarianism. I remember when he told me, we were lying in bed and I cried. I told him it was an entire lifestyle change which he didn’t understand at the time but slowly realised.

My reaction was certainly over the top, but veganism wasn’t anywhere near as accessible as it is now. We went out for food a lot and I knew that eating out would become a struggle. Our supermarket shops took longer due to the research required into our ingredients lists, but we adjusted. We remained an omni household where I continued to eat meat. With Tom being the cook of the household, he cooked meat for me for a while until he said he didn’t want to anymore. From that moment, we became a primarily vegan household but I continued to eat meat outside of the home.

Tom had a knack for making people think. He didn’t do it on purpose, but he eventually got his entire family to transition to vegan. Even my sister went vegan before I did. In fact, we used to argue about the discussions we had and I asked him to stop speaking to me about veganism, which he did.

Documentaries started coming out such as What The Health and Cowspiracy. I still haven’t actually seen them, but the world started changing with the demand. More and more people were signing up to veganuary and with this demand, everything was becoming easier. Supermarkets and restaurants were offering more vegan options, veganism was finally becoming accessible!

I was sat on the sofa one day and turned to Tom and simply said, I’m going to go vegan. I wouldn’t say anything just switched, but I’d already made the majority of the way there with being vegan in the household. The only additional change at that point was to only eat vegan outside of the home which was really only at work.

With my clearer understanding of veganism, it just made the most sense. It may have taken me a few years to get there, but it was the best decision I’ve made. It’s not possible to argue with facts.

  • Veganism is better for the environment.
  • Veganism is better for your health.
  • Veganism is accessible.

For those of you who haven’t taken the plunge yet, or are planning to, make sure you educate yourself. I was fortunate to have Tom to help me and educate me, but it is an important life decision. You need to eat the right things to remain healthy and your journey will be eye opening.

Don’t worry about what people have to say either. This is your decision, not theirs! For those of you still with omni other halves, play the long game. They’ll get there through exposure, not pushing.

Thanks for taking the time to read my post and I hope it helps you.

I’m far from an expert on veganism, but if you have any questions or would like to know more about my experience, leave a comment!

Pizza Express in St Davids 2, Cardiff City Centre

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!

Who Cult Coffee + Donuts in Bridgend [2]

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!

Fenty Beauty Matte Match Stix

I’ve written about Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Matte Foundation before which is now my go-to foundation and I highly recommend it! Blog post can be found here.

I convinced my friend Leah to treat herself to the foundation as she’d finished her non-cruelty-free foundation. While she was there, she also treated herself to the Match Stix Trio.

The intrigue got to me so I had a look. To emphasise here, don’t fall into the trap of buying the trio! On the FAQ, it states that only the matte match stix are vegan, not the shimmer stix.

What’s great about the match stix trio is that it provides you with an idea of your colouring based on your foundation colour. Mine is 230 so I sit within the medium colour range. So I bought the 2 matte match stix within that trio which were Bamboo and Mocha.

Each stick is a magnet so they stick to each other which is an interesting feature and likely to be beneficial if you have a lot of them.

As you can see one of them is a concealer and the other is a contour. Both are cream and incredibly easy to use! The product itself it’s very easily blendable with a brush or your finger and it creates the exact look and contour that I want. I’m far from a contouring expert but this makes it much easier. And for those of you who like a stronger contour look, this can be applied as heavily or lightly as you want!

At £21 each, they’re not the cheapest product on the market, but I’ve yet to find any contour set that comes close to matching in quality and perfect tone matching.

I’m incredibly happy with my purchase and they work great for me. I’ve read some reviews that they’re not great on dry skin so it may be worth doing some research and popping to your local boots to see if you can sample it but I love them!