Wedding Series – Part 1

I’m a bit late to the party here! I’ve been terribly bad at blogging lately, but it’s temporary and will hopefully get better around the end of May at the very latest, when all my uni work is done.

For now, here’s the link to last month’s (!) Vegan Housewives contribution. As usual, click the picture :)

Vegan Wedding Series - First Things First

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Waltzing Wednesdays: Mando Diao – Dance With Somebody

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Swedish band Mando Diao definitely played a big part getting me through my late teens… this song was a huge hit in Germany when it came out! I’m going to be sharing quite a bit of their music here, as they never really made it to the UK and I think that’s a huge loss!

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Review: The VeganKind Box 6

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A little bit late this month, I’m finally getting around to writing my review of the latest The VeganKind box! Technically, this should have taken even longer, seeing as I was planning to spend today working on my Drama research project. After completing the first draft of my IR RP on Friday, I gave myself a day off yesterday. After running today, I opened my Drama document, got upset at how much work was left to be done and promptly closed it again. Instead, I’ve spent the day watching Hairtwoheels on youtube. If you’re interested in exercise and healthy eating, I highly recommend this fabulous lady’s blogs! She’s also started posting pregnancy updates & workouts recently, which has resulted in increasing my already generally high broodiness levels. Anyway. The box!

As I’ve mentioned a few times before, I’ve been trying to stick with the Tone It Up method of eating, and this month’s box has been perfect for that! I thought that was worth mentioning, as I feel like the only comparable service available in the UK is very focussed on vegan snacks and sweets, which I’m trying to avoid!20140409-121604.jpg

This month’s recipe came from the rather fabulous Vegan Cookie Fairy, who has created a delicious chocolate tarte, using the coconut sugar included in the box. As usual, 10p from every box go to an animal charity!20140409-121612.jpgThe first thing in the box was the Rebel Kitchen Choco Mylk (full size). I have traumatic memories of regular chocolate milk from my primary school years (it was so digesting I can’t even tell you, you could taste the chemicals and everything!) and I’m happy to say that this vegan, all-natural brand did not bring any of those back. I shared the 200ml pack with Jake and it was gone in a flash! 20140409-121620.jpgSecond up was a lavender lip balm. I have about 10 million lip balms and I’m trying to work systematically through them, so I gave this a few tests runs and have stowed it away in my box of cosmetics, ready to replace the one I’m currently using when it runs out. Or, you know, when I lose it. The Freya Luna lip balm (full size) is really effective and smells delicious. I usually use products with lavender against particularly bad break outs, so when I first applied this I kept thinking my lips were going to dry out drastically, but it actually leaves them super soft and smooth! 20140409-121628.jpgLandgarten has previously featured in The VeganKind subscription box with their chocolate covered pumpkin seeds (full size), and they received rave reviews, If anything, their soya snacks are even better. These would have been perfect to take to the library with me and nibble on during dissertation work, had they lasted long enough. It’s a pity about my self-restraint, really.

20140409-121645.jpgAgain, an old favourite brand has returned! Clearspring has featured a few times now and each time I couldn’t have been happier with their product. The Fine Cut Nori (full size) will definitely be making an appearance in salads over the next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled on my Instagram feed!

20140409-121655.jpgAs has been the case with the last few boxes, an energy bar of sorts was included. And, in keeping with tradition, it was my least favourite item in the box! Although I much preferred it to a lot of the date-based bars that have been included (the only brand of those I’ll eat is Nakd… don’t ask me why), it just wasn’t really up my street. I don’t know what it is with my and bars, but I’m really picky about them! If you like nut and seed bars, however, then Creative Nature‘s Sublime Seed Bar (full size) is the thing for you!

20140409-121636.jpgLastly, my favourite product of the bunch! I’ve been dying to try coconut sugar, but it’s such an expensive item and I didn’t want to spend lots of money on it if I wasn’t sure it would be something we’d use very much. To date, I’ve made two batches of breakfast muffins with the Coconom Coconut Sugar (full-size) and they have been amazing! This is definitely a product I’ll be buying again, although it won’t become a complete substitute for regular sugar…. it’s just too expensive for that!

Overall, the contents of the box are worth £14.13, that’s more than the cost of the box and UK postage together!

Are you a subscriber to The VeganKind box? What is your opinion of this month’s box?

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Disclaimer: I receive a 50% blogger discount on my subscription. This does not affect the honesty of my reviews in any way!

Review – Realfoods Organic Coconut Oil

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20140401-092055.jpgWhile there seems to have been an increase in wholefoods available in stores, I still often have difficulty getting specific ingredients, and often they’re quite expensive. Since I don’t live anywhere near a Wholefoods, my go-to online shop has become the Edinburgh-based RealfoodsThey sell many a vegan staple, including the ever-elusive Vital Wheat Gluten, have incredibly good customer service and sell at prices that are often very affordable.20140401-092108.jpgRecently, they sent me a jar of their own-brand Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil to sample, and I’m super impressed! I won’t go into all the details about coconut oil, because they’ve been covered on various blogs, but I find it one of the most versatile kitchen staples around. I regularly use it in baking and in cooking, but it also frequently ends up in my hair as an in-depth conditioning treatment. 20140401-092117.jpg

This particular brand is an incredibly reasonable price at £7.85 for 500ml, considering I pay almost the same amount for 250ml of comparable product in my local supermarket. At room temperature, it’s beautifully soft but not runny, making it ideal for baking. I’ve even heard some people use it in all-natural frosting recipes, although I’ve never tried it myself!

The flavour is pleasantly coconutty and mild. I know many recipes call for refined coconut oil, which has been steamed to remove the smell and flavour of coconut, but I find it actually compliments almost anything I make with it. The only thing I wouldn’t use it for is cheese-making, I think…. but the coconut cheese might be the next great invention? Who knows!20140401-092125.jpgOf course, I had to test the product the second I received it. I made these truffle-like almond butter bites from my Tone It Up nutrition plan (review coming soon!) and the coconut oil gave them an amazing texture and subtle flavour.

Realfoods Organic Coconut Oil is definitely an item that will become a staple in our household, especially considering the price. 500ml will last me forever!

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Organic Coconut Oil is available from the Realfoods websitefor £7.85.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for free to review. This does not impact the honesty of the post in any way. If I don’t like a product, I’ll be sure to let you know!

Review – Fairypants Nail Varnish in Rose

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I’ve talked about Fairypants on the blog a few times, due to their fabulous collection of jewellery and their developing range of vegan beauty products. The most recent addition to this venture is a line of no-nasties nail varnishes, which, apart from being vegan and cruelty free, are also produced without the addition of some of the particularly horrible chemicals that can be found in most varnishes.
I was very excited when this product came sailing through my post box and gave it a try straight away. I used it woth trusty Barry M base and top coat, with which it lasted a little less than a week without major chippage. That’s generally the amount of time aftwr which I remove the colour anyway. While I was impressed with the lasting power, I found the black speckles difficult to remove.
Generally, I wasn’t a huge fan of the speckled-egg effect (although it seems to be all the rage in the blogging world) and feel like the varnish could have done without. I loved the pastel-pink shade, which has a satin-like shimmer to it that doesn’t really come across that well in the pictures. If Fairypants were to produce this varnish without the black flecks, I would definitely purchase every single colour!
I can’t say much about the price since the product isn’t on sale yet, but you do recieve a sturdy, decently-sized bottle and my experience with the brand has been that they produce high-quality items with a very affordable price tag. My assumption is that the nail varnish won’t be any different.
Overall, this is definitely a product I would recommend. Although I personally am not a fan of the speckled-egg effect, the varnish itself is brilliant. I have my fingers crossed that Fairypants will be making a wider range of varnishes inthe future!

The Fairypants Nail Varnishes will be available from the company’s website here.

Disclaimer: This product was sent to me free of charge for review purposes. This does not affect the honesty of my review in any way.

Review – The VeganKind Subscription Box 5

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Beginning of the month means a new TVK Box! As usual, this month’s box was filled with a variety of cruelty-free products, all of them something that will definitely come in use. Note the new design of the actually box! Excuse my badly photoshopped address…

This time, the recipe is from The VeganKind themselves, featuring Harissa chips (which I’ll be making with my new powder!) and a delicious veggie burger.

The first item is another Greenfrog product! I adored the cleaning spray in the first box and I’m convinced that this will be just as good. This full-sized bottle of Greenfrog Natural Washing Up Liquid is definitely a winner.

Second was this 4-pack of (full-sized) SAF Express Raw Coconut Cookies. I’m sure these would have made a great lunch-box treat, but they didn’t last very long. The three different flavours were delicious, although recently I’ve been finding everything coconut-based to taste a bit soapy. I’m not sure why that is.

Flavour Magic Harrisa Powder is definitely something for the boy. He loves any kind of spice blend! I’m a bit more cautious, but curious to try this, maybe in small doses at first?

I love chickpeas, and this snack is one of the best things I’ve ever tried. Like a healthier alternative to conventional crisps, On The Pulse Chipotle Hot Chicks satisfy a craving and make a great snack.

Lastly, my favourite! I love my Pulsin bars, especially their protein bars. This Raw Choc Brownie was deliciously smooth and rich, and everything you could expect from an sweet afternoon treat. I’ll definitely be buying this more often.

Overall, The VeganKind are living up to their last boxes. I’m so impressed by their consistent delivery of interesting and useful products at an affordable price, and can’t recommend this service enough, whether you’re vegan or just interested in sustainable & cruelty-free alternatives!

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Disclaimer: I receive a 50% blogger discount on my subscription. This does not affect my review in any way. If I don’t like something, I’ll be sure to tell you!

Skinny Vegan Waldorf-Inspired Salad

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For the past couple of days, I have been miserably ill. I haven’t been able to exercise, leave the house much or get enough work done, and it’s left me moody and unfulfilled. To cheer myself up, I’ve been indulging in a little too much Gossip Girl, and, due to the unfortunate family name of one particularly scheming primary character, have been craving Waldorf Salad. Since the dish isn’t the most healthy of salads and partly also because I was lacking most of the necessary ingredients, I decided to make my own variation, totally Tone It Up approved!

Ingredients (for 1 Serving)

1 handful of kale, washed and shredded
1 pear, diced
1/4 cup walnuts
1-2 tangerines, depending on size, peeled and sections
3 tablespoons vegan plain yoghurt
dash of pepper & salt
handful of raisins

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This really couldn’t be simpler. Layer the ingredients in a bowl, add a fork and enjoy!

Do you ever associate food with TV and book characters? I seem to be making it into a habit!

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Review – Prima Spremitura Delicate Liquid Soap & Moisturizing Body Lotion

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Prima Spremitura is a product line by a Tuscany-based company named Idea Toscana. Their product range is based on their use of organic olive oil and they state that their products contain no animal products whatsoever, making them an interesting addition to the suitable-for-vegans cosmetics market!

I was lucky enough to test two products from their range – the Delicate Liquid Soap and Moisturizing Body Lotion. I was also sent a few sample sachets, but I’ve not had a chance to try them yet. As you can see, the design is a little bit retro and not necessarily what I would have been drawn to in a shop, but that’s hardly something to complain about. Both full-size item contain a decent amount of product, something I find particularly important with liquid soap, since that always seems to disappear really quickly.

The 500ml bottle of Delicate Liquid Soap has been a rather nice thing to use. We usually use bars instead of liquid as it’s a bit more economical, but this has been an indulgent treat! I suffer from terribly dry hands in the winter and I feel like every time I wash my hands with this my skin gets a little moisture boost. Apart from that, the soap isn’t anything particularly special and I’m not sure whether I’d pay the £11.50 price tag for it. A thing to note is that both products have a deliciously spiced olive scent to them. It’s very rustic and I’m not sure it’s for everyone, but I personally love it and it’s definitely something that makes these products special.

The Moisturising Body Lotion was definitely my favourite out of the two. Again, it has the distinct smell of spice and olives. A little bit of this goes a long way, so I think the price of £10.50 is justified if you take into consideration the high quality of the ingredients. The lotion has definitely made a positive impact on my dry legs. I’ve even found that I don’t need to use it everyday. My skin stays moisturised for about two days each time I use it! Talk about efficient! This is a product I would consider repurchasing as I love how easily it applies, how well it works and how nice it smells, along with the fact that there’s nothing yucky in the ingredients!

Have you tried any Prima Spremitura products? What did you think of them?

Prima Spremitura products are available in the United Kingdom the Simply Naturale‘s website.

Disclaimer: These items were sent to me for review purposes. I would never falsify my opinion in a review and if I don’t like a product, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Review – B. Ready Day Cream

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When my old day cream was running out in December, I looked around to find something all-vegan and effective to replace it. I have quite fussy skin, so I’m always a bit worried about trying a new skincare product, but at the same time I’ve never found a daily moisturiser that I really like, so I’m forever looking for the perfect match.

I know I’ve been featuring a lot of B. products on the blog lately, but it just goes to show how much I’m loving the brand. I also love that I can pick anything from the range without having to check whether it’s vegan or not, as the whole range is suitable (broken record alert, I know). Apart from a few sample-sized products, B. Ready was my first skincare purchase of the brand. I have to say that I find the packaging slightly over the top, it’s a standard jar (slightly large but so far so good), which is packaged in a cardboard box and then sealed in plastic. A little wasteful, I find. I think with the size of the jar it would also be great if B. offered refill packs, which would reduce the amount of waste from having to buy an entire jar every time the product runs out!

Apart from that, however, I’m very happy with B. Ready. My skin feels softer and smoother without being greasy, and I feel like it immediately gets a boost of hydration as soon as I apply the cream. Because my skin is so oily, dry and sensitive all at the same time, hydration without extra oil is key for me and this product definitely delivers. I’m also quite fond of the smell, which is very light and not at all overpowering. I think it smells warm and vanilla-y, but I think everything smells warm and vanilla-y to the point that I suspect my brain is making it up. Either way, it doesn’t stink when you apply it to your skin, which is the important bit.

I do think the price tag is a little excessive and think it could be brought down a bit if the packaging weren’t quite so ridiculous. I do have to say though that I’ve had it for nearly two months now and I’ll get at least another month’s use out of my jar (I apply twice daily), so it isn’t something that needs constant repurchasing.

Overall, I think I’ll be buying B. Ready again. I’m not convinced it’s the be all and end all of skincare products, but it’s one of the best I’ve tried so far and if my skin is content, I’m content!

Have you tried any of B.‘s skincare range? What did you use?

B. Ready Day Cream is available at Superdrug for £9.99 (currently on offer for £4.97. Stock up!)

Cookbook Sunday – Chloe’s Vegan Desserts

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Chloe Coscarelli is, without a doubt, one of the most talented young chefs around. After she won Cupcake Wars with her all-vegan creation, she became an instant success with the vegan community and published Chloe’s Kitchen, which is one of my all-time favourite cookbooks. You can imagine how quickly I preordered when I heard she was bringing out an all-dessert book. She’s also set to release an Italian-themed volume in the near future, so keep an eye out for that!

Back to the topic. This isn’t going to be a terribly long review because, to be absolutely bluntly honest, I have next to nothing to criticise. Like with all American recipes, I halve the amount of sugar the instructions call for, but apart from that these recipes are perfect. I’ve used it extensively and have never had a recipe fail. Because I feel like I need to make this post at least a little bit relevant, I’ll tell you a few of my favourites: Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls with Maple Glaze, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Chloe’s Celebration Cake, Cinnamon Mocha Cupcakes and the amazing Nuts for Hot Cocoa recipe. There is an entire section dedicated to breakfast, which is my favourite meal of the day, and even a recipe for doggies!

The book itself is soft-cover, but very sturdy, which is a must in my kitchen. As is the standard with all of Chloe’s recipes, almost all the recipes have a beautiful photograph to accompany them.

Overall, I can’t rate this book high enough. If you like dessert, it’s a must-have! On the off-chance that Chloe reads this: I can’t wait for your next book! You’re my kitchen heroine!

You can purchase Chloe’s Vegan Desserts here for £10.33.

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