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.

Veganuary Tips

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!

  1. 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!
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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!

Vegan Christmas Dinner 2019

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).

The Family

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!

Waitrose Festive Wreath

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!

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!