Tuesday 25 August 2015

The Vegan Kind ~ #TVK22

It's that time of the month again for me to review my latest Vegan Kind subscription box TVK22.

Sunday 23 August 2015

Blogging Feelings...

Over the past few weeks I have slowed down a bit on my blog and taken a bit of back step. I wasn't really able to clarify in my mind why I felt the need to do this at the time but over the past few days it has started to become clearer and I have to admit I feel a little disappointed in myself. 

The more involved I have become in the blogging community and the more my blog grows, the more I have started to compare myself to others. I think comparing ourselves to others is one of the worst forms of mental torment we can inflict upon ourselves but in today's social media driven society it's something we all probably suffer from time to time. Ultimately social media is a platform to promote ourselves on and therefore we are constantly bombarded with other peoples achievements and fabulous lifestyles. Sometimes sadly other peoples gains can make us feel more down about ourselves as we do compare and perhaps wish we were achieving things that we might not be. But this is part and parcel of life! There will always be someone out there better than you and I guess the trick is, rather than letting that get you down, use it to motivate and drive you on further. 

When it comes to blogging I think for a while now I have perhaps lived in my own little secure innocent bubble where I have been writing for the fun of it and the very essence of my blog was originally something for me and something I enjoyed doing. But as it has amazingly become more successful I feel as though I have suddenly been thrown into a world that i'm not too sure about.

(* I really don't want this blog post to come across as a moan or like I am digging anyone out as it's all just very general but an insight into how I have been feeling). 

I have to say that sometimes when I go on to Twitter and lose myself going from page to page and coming across other bloggers profiles I have felt extremely deflated seeing their multiple thousands of followers and wondering if i'll ever reach that kind of status, but also questioning if I actually want to. 

This week I passed 800 followers on Twitter - something I never thought would happen and in my own four walls that's quite an achievement! Yet something that I instantly feel proud of can automatically be dismissed by coming across a profile of someone with 35k followers. I begin to question everything from what they're doing right and how I could improve my blog and following. I start to over analyse everything to a point where I begin to question the worth of blogging altogether. 

And this my friends is the worst possible place for a Blogger to be in. 

A little while ago I happened to listen in on a lifestyle bloggers Twitter chat and took in all the comments around how people present their Instagram pages and the thought that has gone into ensuring every photo is identical with the other in terms of styling and light etc. I instantly felt out of my depth. Is this how you secure thousands of followers by presenting a quite unrealistic filtered stream of photos that, yes may look stunning when put together on a profile page, but rarely actually reflect reality? Ok admittedly I am a little more selective perhaps over the photos I choose to put on Instagram but I love the fact that I post photos there and then with very little staging at all. After listening in on that chat I again felt deflated that clearly I am doing something wrong in the eyes of all the 'professional bloggers'.

Another little trap I have fallen into recently is reading posts from other bloggers with 'tips' on how to blog, present and promote. Ok sometimes these can be helpful to read and you can pick up something useful which you can take away with you to use. But overall I guess what I don't like is this idea that there is some kind of rule book and that we are all somehow struggling and searching for the same thing. But what is this!? To become Zoella!? To be honest I didn't even know who she was until recently and good for her that blogging has ultimately made her a super rich celebrity. I am a little jealous of her already. But is this where all this pressure comes from? To be famous? 

I sometimes have to take a deep breath when I see people tweeting about their blogs when they are clearly self pressuring for absolutely no reason at all. No one is putting any time restraints on you. No one is your boss here. No one's breathing down your neck. And really and truthfully there are no deadlines to meet. You may have a regular routine with your blog that helps you to feel good and keeps you in line but to be honest I don't think anyone really notices if I blog once a week or three times a week and I certainly don't think anyone is keeping track on what days of the week I post on. Maybe I am completely wrong!? Generally my posts receive a really good hit rate and some of the comments I receive are so heart warming and I am so grateful alone for that. But I really don't want to become all business like about something I genuinely enjoy. After all, where is the fun in that? 

I have never really thought about blogging as a career or something I could make money from and this is why you're probably pleased to never see any annoying ads on my blog. My husband and other people in my life will often say to me things alongs the line of 'oh you should make money from your blog or get paid to do that' which on the one hand is a nice idea, but on the other it's not really what  I  or this blog is about. I have already received some perks from blogging and freebies and I am more than happy with that. But does that mean I am lacking drive and ambition and that i'll only ever reach a certain level with my blog?  Probably. 

I've also seen parts of the blogging world that I really don't like. For example a little while I go invited to a bloggers event which I was really looking forward to. I was brave enough to go to it alone and  I was genuinely excited and hoping to meet some new nice people. Instead I just found it be extremely pretentious. None of the other bloggers really spoke to me and instead stayed in their little cliques yet to my sheer amazement they all added me on Instagram later that evening and wanted to interact with me online. So this is what it's like is it....In person you have nothing to say to me but you'd like me to follow you back online!? Nah. I don't think so! And that alone has really put me off attending anymore lifestyle and beauty blogger events. It can all just seem very fake at times. 

This week I have taken the steps to unfollow some other bloggers who, when I really looked at them, and to no fault of their own, were really bringing down my own morale. Part of me felt a little bit sad because I originally followed them for some inspiration and to help with my own motivation levels but it ultimately had the opposite effect on me. I think sometimes without really realising people can take the self promotion a step too far and come across very 'braggy' which is never a good look. Clockwork timed automated tweets and repetitiveness can start to get on your nerves but I know they help when it comes to promoting posts. 

Also, after a great deal of organisation and commitment, I made the decision to end the #VeganBloggers chat which I set up a couple of months ago. I do feel quite sad about this as I had originally felt that there was a demand for such a chat to take place. However, every week I was starting to face last minute let downs with chat hosts pulling out and people not taking part in the chat. It began to feel like more stress than it was worth and when things stop being fun it's time to re-evaluate. 

So overall this has been a period of re-evalution of a few things and I guess a time to re-adjust myself  properly back into the blogging world again and into a happier state of mind. I once again feel focused on what it is that I want to do and achieve.  

Ultimately my blog is quite niche as the main focus of it is compassionate living. Occasionally you may see the odd personal post or blog about stationery but primarily my aim is to promote Vegan and cruelty free living in the best way that I can where it will appeal to people who are already Vegan but also, and importantly, people who could be thinking about making the lifestyle change. So I am already at a slight disadvantage in terms of popularity as we all know Veganism is not exactly something for the masses! But I am never going to change that or the essence of why I blog. You're not suddenly going to see me reviewing designer brands who test on animals or promoting the latest leather Mulberry handbag in order to win more popularity and followers.  

As I sit here writing this post this evening I am feeling a little better about everything in general. It's taken some self reflection and analysis but I am 100% sure of myself, my blog and the reasons why I write. I may not be the best at self promotion or delivering daily blog posts. But at least when I do blog you will know it's real, it's for me and it's for you. And really, that's all that matters.  

Tuesday 18 August 2015


Last weekend I was fortunate enough to spend a night and a couple of days in the Vegan mecca that is Brighton! After having visited for the day back in February for Brighton VegFest I was keen to return to this wonderful seaside town for some further exploration of all things Vegan. Anyone who went to Brighton VegFest this year will know that the weather was pretty horrendous and we really didn't feel up for traipsing around in the rain so it was the perfect opportunity to book ourselves a little weekend away revisit for this Summer.

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Rainbow Cafe - Cambridge

A little while ago I listed on my '20 Things To Do Before 2016' blog post that I really wanted to make a visit to the veggie and vegan friendly Rainbow Cafe in Cambridge. One of my good friends Kelly, who happens to live in Cambridge, saw this post and suggested that we both made a date of it which brought a big smile to my face as, not only did it make it perfect sense, but it's also just super nice when your non vegan friends show an interest and are happy to eat plant based with you! We also invited our other friend Katie who is currently on maternity leave and had never visited Cambridge before so it was the perfect opportunity for her to see the City and catch up with us. 

Thursday 6 August 2015

Colchester Vegan Fair

Last Saturday was a date in my diary which I had been looking forward to for quite a while as it was the arrival of Colchester Vegan Fair! As many of you will know by now I am part of the Essex Vegan community so to have an event like this arrive on our doorsteps was really quite something. I normally have to travel all around the country to visit Vegan events like this so it made a very welcomed change for one to be half an hour up the road from where I live! 

Monday 3 August 2015

Subscription Boxes

I've been meaning to put this post together for a while now but for some reason it just hasn't happened......until now! Last week one of my friends messaged me and asked if I had done a blog post on subscription boxes and part of me wasn't sure if I had or not. I think I was surprised that I actually hadn't done one but I remembered that I did give them a little mention in my 30 Things That Make Me Happy post from a little while back.

So anyway, here it is! In this blog post I am going to give you a photo heavy run down of my favourite subscription boxes starting with....

Lucky Dip Club is by far my favourite find of this year, and possibly ever! I think I came across them by a random Instagram photo and I instantly fell in love with what was on offer. This box gets me really excited and it's amazing to see how many more subscribers it gets every month as it grows in popularity and as word is getting out about it. 

For £15 a month I receive a handmade and personalised box of surprise goodies and I am officially part of the Lucky Dip Club. I think this month they've put the price up to £18 a month but the lucky early subscribers like me still get it for the lower price. Yay! 

With a different theme every month each box completely differs from the next but they each generally contain an original one of a kind stationery item, a collectable jewellery charm of the month, an item which is personalised with your name, a DIY piece along with the monthly zine / newsletter. Lucky Dip Club collaborates with different illustrators and designers to bring you the quirkiest and most adorable accessories you'll ever see. 

I absolutely adore the Lucky Dip Club and all of the cute accessories they send me every month. I feel like they have really brightened up my life and my home! Aside from that I love the element of surprise and not knowing what's going to be inside the box. I have never been disappointed so for me this is a worthwhile spend every month and something I would hate not to be a part of now. 

Lucky Dip Club has an amazing ability of making you feel as though you are part of a very exclusive little community who collectively share the same passion for all things cute! I love nothing more than searching #LuckyDipClub on Instagram and looking at all the weird and wonderful ways other members utilise their box contents. This month has been particularly special with the crochet jellyfish project and seeing how everyones turned out! I loved making mine and i'm already onto my second and seriously considering crochet as my new 'thing'!

Now time to move onto one of my other favourites!

If you're a regular follower of my blog you will know that each month I review my TVK lifestyle box which is a regular monthly subscription box which offers up a few tasty edible Vegan items, one homeware or toiletry item and a recipe card in each box. 

I have been a subscriber to this box since my decision to go Vegan last September and it was the best decision I could have made. I really look forward to my box arriving each month and wondering what will be inside! Sometimes Vegan treats can be hard to come by, particularly if like me you happen to live in a rural out of the way area with few shops, but the Vegan Kind is perfect for stocking me up and introducing me to new brands.   

I think that for just £10 a month + P&P TVK is a worthwhile and affordable lifestyle box. With 10p form every box sale also going towards a different chosen animal related charity every month, you're also contributing towards a great cause. 

As well as the lifestyle box I also subscribe to....

It did take me a little while longer to sign up to the TVK Beauty Box as I wasn't sure if I could justify anymore expenditure on subscription boxes. However once I realised that it was a quarterly box, and not monthly, it certainly helped to make the decision easier.

The Beauty Box is slightly more expensive at £15 + P&P every quarter, however I would have to say that out of all my boxes this one is probably the best value due to the quality and often full sized products received. 

I would say that from my experience Vegan & Cruelty Free cosmetics and beauty products are much harder to come across than anything else. Now I am almost a year into being Vegan I am much more familiar with the brands and shops that cater for me so I am finding it easier but this makes the TVK Beauty Box even more worthwhile as it's great to be introduced to new brands and existing favourites. Plus I do think that it's only once you've really tried a beauty product and introduced into your routine that you really get a feel for it which is what would ultimately lead you to purchase it again in future. 

And last but not least....

Ok so I don't actually subscribe to the Vegan Tuck Box but it has been on my radar for some time now and ever since my husband bought me their Easter special box in April. It's a box that I wish I was subscribed to but I really am at my limit at the moment! Perhaps at some point I will cancel another box so that I can enjoy this one for a few months instead because they really do offer up a fantastic box of Vegan treats!

I really like how the Vegan Tuck Box offers two different box sizes and subscription prices. For £17 a month + P&P you can sign up to their classic size box which contains 10 - 12 different snacks every month. Or you can opt for the smaller box which offers up 5-6 items a month for £8.50 + P&P. You also have the option to buy the boxes individually without signing up for a subscription for £1 more.

I hope you've enjoyed this post and if you are not already a subscriber to a monthly box I hope you feel inspired to treat yourself to a special surprise every month! Subscription Boxes have taken off massively over the past year or so and I can totally see why.  There really is nothing quite as joyful as receiving a special package every month with your name on and having no idea what could be inside.

Maybe you already sign up to a subscription box? What's your favourite? I'd love to hear your comments below and maybe there'll be a couple more I can add to my wish list! 

Happy Subscribing! 
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