Monday 29 June 2015

Host - Liverpool

A couple of weeks ago I took my Mum away for the weekend to Liverpool for the full Beatles experience for her birthday. When originally planning my itinerary for the weekend I did try to squeeze in as many vegan eateries as I could but unfortunately in reality we just didn't have the time to get to all of them. But the one that I had my eye on and had heard so many good things about was the pan-asian restaurant Host which fortunately fit nicely into our schedule! 

Friday 26 June 2015

The Vegan Kind - Beauty Box 3

Last month I was excited to receive my first TVK Beauty Box. I have enjoyed receiving the monthly TVK lifestyle box so much I thought it was time to sign myself up to the beauty box too! If they were both monthly I probably wouldn't have been able to justify the expenditure but the fact that the beauty box is only once every 3 months makes it so much easier. 

I've noticed a much bigger delay in my review of this box than the lifestyle one because the food items within the lifestyle box tend to get demolished pretty quickly! But when it comes to cosmetics I think you do have to trial them out for a good couple of weeks before you can form an opinion and it can prove trickier introducing new products like these into your daily routine.

So i'm just going to do a little run down of what was included in this box, links of where you can purchase them from and my thoughts on each product.

Sophyto Total Protection Serum - So far I have only used this serum a few times so its difficult to offer my full and final verdict. I do however really like how it helps to protect you against sun damage and the fact that it helps with ageing skin. Now I am approaching my mid 30's I am becoming more interested in the ageing skin ranges and i'd like to do what I can to repair any damage and help my skin feel brighter. I am pleased to say that on the days where I have used it I have certainly felt more radiant! However, I have to say initially I am not a fan of the scent which is fruity but reminds me of honey! Also after applying my skin feels a little sticky which I am also not quite sure about yet.  But I do think I need to use this product for longer before I can really offer my full opinion on it.

Crazy Rumours Hibiskiss Tinted Lip Balm - This is the first Crazy Rumours product i've ever had the pleasure of trying and I absolutely love it! It's proved to be the perfect little addition to my handbag. I hate having dry or bare lips and am always reapplying lippy throughout the day but I am finding that this is a really good little product which helps to keep my lips soft yet with a hint of pearly colour too which is perfect for when i'm busy working. I will definitely be buying again!

Greenfrog Botanic Geranium & Peppermint Body Wash - I've seen the Green Frog products advertised quite a bit recently so I was really happy to see it included in this box. I've been using it as my daily body wash in the shower and am really enjoying it's refreshing and awakening scent! It's quite different to the last body wash I was using (Jason) as it doesn't seem to foam up much but instead it gives you a very silky soft covering. Personally I prefer more fruity scents so I would be keen to try their other Neroli & Lime body wash too.

The Wild Witchery Gold Highlighter - Wow.....this little golden highlighter stick is just amazing! It has definitely been my fave item from this box and such an unexpected little addition and a completely unheard of brand for myself. I started to use this a couple of weeks ago when my other highlighter ran out and firstly I couldn't get over the scent! It smells so chocolatey and amazing - good enough to eat! I add it to both my brow and cheek bones and it has given me an amazing glow that has just so happened to work extremely well with my (fading fast) Miami tan. I love it! I also love how compact and easy to use it is and again it fits very nicely into my handbag.

Zk'in Skincare Deluxe Sample Pack - Another new brand for me and not one that I haven't come across before. Within this sample pack was included a Relief Moisturiser, a Calming Cream Cleanser, a Line Soothing Serum and a Brightening & Hydrating Masque. I really enjoyed sampling all of these but I would have to say my favourite was the cleanser as it done a really good job of removing my make up and leaving my skin feeling so soft after use. I'm really happy TVK have introduced me to this new brand!

I can't believe that I have only paid £18.15 (inc postage) for this box and everything inside if purchased separately would have cost me well over £40! In my point of view this is well worth it and the fact that I am now being introduced to so many vegan and cruelty free cosmetics brands that I would have potentially never heard of before is amazing. I am one happy customer!

Sarah x

Friday 19 June 2015

Etsy Love

Those of you who know me in person or follow me on social media will already know that I have a slight addiction to online shopping and in particular Etsy shopping! To say I have an obsession right now may even be a slight understatement! 

I feel like I am constantly on the look out for cute, quirky, individual and handmade items to brighten up my home and my new blogging space. Instagram has played such an intergral role in helping me to discover these small businesses too and it has been so random how they just appear in my feed of photos and I instantly fall in love! I must be following people with some very cool tastes on there as it's only from photos that they have liked or commented on that I have even become aware of these small brands. 

Anyway, enough of my babbling on about how social media has been a life changer - I want to share with you some of my most recent and favourite Etsy purchases!

Pony People - I absolutely love this cute little kitty planter pot! You can't really see it in its full glory from this photo but if you check out their Instagram page you can see what they look like with mini plants in them. I am a sucker for pretty much anything cat related too so this was just a no brainer for me and it's already looking so pretty on my new desk. As with anything from Etsy I love the thought that goes into the packaging and the little free gifts that are often included like these amazing cat stickers! It makes receiving mail all the more exciting when you don't know what could be inside.

The Angel Shoppe - Stationery is my other major addiction in life so when you combine Etsy with people who sell quirky stationery I am there ready to go to the checkout! Angel Shoppe make the most adorable handmade paperclips and stickers. I couldn't resist this cute cupcake and donut combo!

I Like Cats - The I Like Cats Shop is one of my favourite Instagram finds! I adore the Brighton based designer / artist Toby Dean's creations and as a fellow cat owner I can really resonate with his love for cats! The simplicity, playfulness and vibrancy of his work has really brightened up my workspace and makes me smile on a daily basis. Oh dear, I can feel another purchase coming on! 

Frilly Pops - As soon as I saw Frilly Pops gorgeous pom pom creations I knew I had to have one of her colourful garlands in my home! It is one of my favourite decorative items within my new blogging space and also proves to be very popular with my cats! As well as garlands Frilly Pops also make some pretty cool jewellery and hair accessories too. Be sure to check out her Instagram page for some general colourful living inspo!

Oh Squirrel - I was feeling a bit downbeat the other day when I came across a photo of one of these motivational hangers and I knew I could do with something like this to remind me on a daily basis not to give up! Oh Squirrel make some really lovely vintage inspired stationery and gifts and I think it's great to support small UK based businesses like this.

SaoZen Plush - This super cute little Kawaii bear trinket box was my 1st Etsy purchase via Instagram and you only need to look at their Instagram page to get a glimpse of some of their truly amazing work! I literally want to buy it all!! I loved that my purchase arrived with a handmade thank you card,  3 mini star magnets and a sticker. I really do think that it was this initial purchase which has fuelled my love for Etsy and everything handmade. 

As well as all of this, Etsy is my go to place for cards and gifts now too. I just often feel so fed up with what the standard high street shops have to offer that I find myself continually returning to online shopping. Lately I tend to hunt out cool new things and gift ideas on the 'Not On The High Street' website and then I see if I can find it for cheaper on Etsy or Ebay, which I usually can! 

If you happen to follow me on Instagram and come across anything you think that I might like be sure to tag me in and let me know what you find!

Happy shopping! :-)

Sarah x


Tuesday 16 June 2015

The Railway Hotel

I was fortunate enough to visit The Railway Hotel in Southend On Sea a couple of weeks ago when I attended the Animal Aid charity quiz night. However, having heard so much about it and having seen so many glorious foodie photos on social media I was so keen to return with my husband to enjoy some lunch and sample some of their much raved about vegan pub food! 

The Railway is so quirky and cool - I absolutely love it! You feel like you're in the East End of London and certainly not by the Essex coast. I haven't been in a traditional 'boozer' like this for such a long time and it really does make a refreshing change. As well as being a much loved live music venue, this pub is also renowned for its vegetarian and vegan menu. 

It's quite rare to come across somewhere in Essex that serves only veggie food and this place does it in style! As you can see from these photos literally everything all bar a couple of dishes are vegan friendly too which I love to see! 

Everything on the menu looked so good and I would have been really keen to try the vegan cheese pizzas, however having already had pizza the night before I had to try something different! 

The Railway have recently done up their outside garden area and as it was a lovely sunny day we decided to sit outside and enjoy the rare great weather! It also meant that we could take the dogs with us for a day out to the seaside which they loved! It makes it so much easier when we can take the dogs out with us so it's awesome to see that the Railway have now allowed this by opening up their new garden area. 

When our food arrived it looked amazing! The portion sizes were also huge for a bargain £7 per dish we could hardly believe it. It was also very tasty being fresh and home cooked - completely different to the chain pub frozen food rubbish you may be used to!  

I decided on the vegan chickpea burger and my husband went with the vegetarian halloumi burger. Both were delicious! This was the first time my husband has been served up halloumi that has had so much spice injected into it. It looks like it's burnt in this photo but I can assure you that what you see below is just all flavour! And those chips.....yes they were as amazing as they look! 

After this extremely filling lunch we took a stroll around the local Clifftown area of Southend which I have never really explored before but it was beautiful! We then hit the seafront to soak up the sunshine. So if you do make a visit to the Railway I can totally recommend checking out the local area and enjoying everything else that Southend has to offer. It really does make for a great vegan day out! 

Sarah x


Saturday 13 June 2015

You're So Vegan

I recently came across the You're So Vegan online shop via their Twitter account and I was instantly intrigued by their statement as being a 'one stop shop for vegan fashion'! I couldn't resist having a look around their website and checking out what was on offer. 

I have to say that I have never really been a high fashion kinda girl myself and I am more into high street and individual / handmade fashion than anything else. However, I was instantly impressed by this online companies commitment to 100% vegan, eco friendly and ethical fashion. 

From reading the 'about us' section of their website I could totally relate to how vegans aren't typically regarded as being fashionable or stylish and we are more so expected by others to be dressed like dowdy hippies! But just because we are vegan that doesn't mean that we don't take pride in our appearance or sense of fashion. 

Also reading about the YSV founder, Soraya, it's fantastic to hear how passionate she is about animals, compassion and kindness as for me those are the fundamental qualities of being vegan and my blog! I absolutely love her ambition and desire to inject some glamour into the vegan lifestyle. 

Matt & Nat are the only vegan fashion / leather brand that I have so far been aware of so all of the brands on this online shop were new to me. But as I said I am not hugely into high fashion so until now I haven't really gone out of my way to search for brands like the ones that are featured on this website. That being said, it's amazing to see so many brands who are committed to ethical fashion and having them all on a one stop shop certainly makes the vegan shopping process a little easier! 

This Melie Bianco Lilia bag caught my eye and seeing it was on sale I couldn't resist making a little purchase! I have actually been looking for a decent sized handbag for a while now so the timing was excellent. I placed my order and within a couple of days my bag had arrived and I am so happy with it!  

The quality of this faux leather bag is outstanding! To touch it really does feel like a top quality item. And again, just like with my recent Matt & Nat purchase - it's hard to believe that this isn't leather! 

When I opened the bag and saw the polka dot silky interior I was delighted as it really gives the bag a quirky little edge that I wasn't expecting! I also love all of the gold detailing on the bag. As a lot of my accessories tend to be gold I know that this will go perfectly with my other items. 

In my head I was expecting to have to save up for a little while for a decent handbag so I am super happy that I came across this awesome vegan online shop and found this fabulous bag! I really hope that You're So Vegan continues to grow in success and it's companies like these with such meaningful ethics who I am so keen to support. 

Sarah x

Friday 5 June 2015

30 Things That Make Me Happy

I have been reading some lovely blogs recently which have really inspired me to venture into the land of posting some more personal and fun blog posts in order to hopefully help you lovely lot to get to know me a bit better!

Monday 1 June 2015

The Konjac Sponge

I recently won an amazing competition through Cruelty Free International where I was sent a huge hamper of cruelty free goodies. Within this hamper happened to be a couple of Konjac sponges.

I have to say I haven't really paid much attention to Konjac sponges in the past, despite seeing them around in numerous health shops. I guess I am more of a flannel person than a sponge one! However, and that being said, I was actually really pleased to see them included within my prize as it was then the perfect opportunity to try them out for myself and see what all the fuss is about!

Since I have returned from Miami my sun tan has been fading fast and my skin has been getting increasingly more dry despite my daily exfoliating and moisturising. I decided that now was a better time than ever to crack open one of my sponges and start including it within my daily cleansing routine.

If you wasn't already aware then Konjac sponges are certified as vegan and cruelty free. They are handmade from 100% vegetable fibres, are naturally sustainable and kind to the environment as well as your skin.

The sponge I have been trying out has been the French Pink Clay Facial Puff which is ideal for people like me who have been exposed to weather extremes i.e a lot of sunshine! It is palm size so fits really nicely within your hand making it ideal for cleansing your face. The mineral rich pink clay has a softening effect on your skin and is believed to be able to help circulation whilst repairing any skin damage.

So far I have really enjoyed, and almost looked forward, to using my sponge every day! Maybe it's been a slight novelty for me as I don't ever use sponges, but it's really been quite a pleasurable experience. I love the feel of the sponge on my face and I do feel that it's giving me that extra cleanse and completely removed any remaining make up. You can use the sponge on its own without any other cleanser, however I have been using it after my initial night time cleansing and in the morning whilst I am in the shower. I also really love the gentle exfoliation sensation you get from the sponge and I have noticed how much softer and brighter my skin feels after using it.

From browsing the Konjac Sponge Co's website I am really excited to see that there are numerous other products within the range and I think I will definitely be purchasing the doggy sponge so that my chihuahuas can get in on the action too! We normally just wash them by hand in the bath and I can't believe that I haven't thought of even using a sponge on them until now!

So if you happen to be looking for a new, and perhaps eco friendly and ethical, sponge - I think Konjac will be perfect for you. And if like me you're new to the whole sponging experience then maybe give one a whirl and let me know what you think. I am sure you won't be disappointed!

Sarah x
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