Sunday, 14 May 2017

24 Hours with Arbonne Skincare & Nutrition

Hey everyone, hope you're all having a lovely and relaxing weekend!

As a vegan who is very much into health and beauty products, I'm always on the lookout for new cruelty-free skincare and make up to try. I know from personal experience that when you first go vegan it can be quite difficult (and can get kind of expensive!) to find products that are not only kind to animals but also kind to your skin, which is why I love sharing my finds with you guys - if I can help you cut down on the time and expense of trying products that don't work then that's brilliant!

One of my favourite companies which I've recently discovered is definitely Arbonne; Arbonne is a 100% vegan skincare. make up and nutrition company (certified by the Vegan Society in the UK, yay!) which uses natural and nourishing ingredients and has a huge focus on wellness. 

As I'm an avid make up and skincare fan, when I was contacted and asked to participate in a campaign for Arbonne I was obviously super excited and said yes straight away! Some of the products weren't very suitable for my skin (I look about 12 so I don't think I need to use anti-aging products!) so I recruited my lovely mum to help me try them out; we had a fabulous pampering session in my living room which was only marred by my boyfriend laughing at us whilst I vigorously dabbed my mother's face with a beauty blender covered in CC cream. The cheek of him!


Saturday, 20 August 2016

Pink Soda Sports Summer Collection Review

Hello lovelies! Sorry for the lack of recipes recently - things have been a bit tough lately and it's been hard getting the motivation to even get out of bed most days, let alone create recipes and write blog posts. Today I'd like to share with you a review of some fab workout gear from Pink Soda that I've been trying out over the past few weeks; even though I'm struggling a little bit right now, I find that doing at least 15 minutes of yoga most mornings definitely helps lift my mood a small amount. And what better way to convince myself to get moving than with pretty clothes?


Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Three Fabulous Vegan Fashion Brands You'll Adore

Fashion has always been something that's excited me, and especially so over the last few years. I tend to opt for clothing and accessories that are slightly 'quirky' and my colour palette ranges from pitch black to baby pink (recently I've also been obsessed with mustard and burgundy which aren't the easiest colours to find in the middle of summer, unfortunately!). However, when I went vegan, my once-loved pieces suddenly made me feel extremely uncomfortable. My trusty Dr Martens now had a sinister sentiment behind them and all I could see when I looked at my favourite lilac leather satchel was the life of a beautiful animal, cruelly snatched away just so I could have a pretty bag. I felt sick and selfish every time I looked at all my leather, wool and suede clothes and shoes (although I wasn't purchasing any more animal-derived products, which was a start), so one day I decided to just get rid of them and start looking for conscious and cruelty-free alternatives. Going vegan meant it became a bit harder to find good quality, fashionable clothing, shoes and accessories, but I'd never in a million years change my lifestyle; why should an intelligent, sentient and caring animal be murdered simply for my (and everyone else's) enjoyment? Luckily, vegan fashion brands are becoming more and more mainstream, and eco-friendly clothing isn't the same as it was 30 years ago. It's not all hemp fabric and hippy sandals anymore (although those are totally cool and I'd definitely wear them myself!); you can now buy gorgeous and affordable cruelty-free fashion pieces which - get this - are actually up to date with current trends! Getting the hang of checking labels is difficult if you've just switched to a vegan lifestyle and aren't used to it, so to help you along your way I thought I'd share three of my favourite conscious fashion companies with you all. They're all 100% vegan so you can purchase whatever you like from them without having to double check the details!

Matt & Nat Lawrence Backpack in Petal, Matt & Nat Chubby Wallet in Mist, Beyond Skin Misty Faux Sheepskin Boots in Camel

Saturday, 11 June 2016

My Vegan, Cruelty-Free & Natural Skincare Routine (Pai Skincare & Vanity Planet Ultimate Skin Spa System Review)

Today I want to share my skincare routine with you all - I don't talk about my skin that often on my blog or any of my social media accounts but I used to struggle pretty badly with eczema when I was a toddler and then again from the age of 13 - 20. It's only in the last year or so that my skin is actually behaving again and now, at age 21, I'm finally happy with it! Suffering from eczema was incredibly debilitating and I couldn't stand people seeing me when I was experiencing a flare up. Luckily it's all gone now and, even though that may be due to me getting older and my skin sorting itself out on its own, I do contribute a lot of my success to my diet (lots of plants and no dairy!), the amount of water I drink (at least 2 litres a day) and my skincare routine. I use products free from harsh ingredients, and facial oils which are amazing for hydrating your skin and giving it a natural glow.


Monday, 6 June 2016

Raw Vegan Lemon Cheesecake Squares (Sugar-Free)

Raw vegan cheesecake is definitely one of my favourite desserts - it's delicious and tastes super indulgent but has the added bonus of only containing nutritious ingredients such as dried fruit and nuts. Lemon was always my favourite cheesecake flavour so this recipe is a throwback to my childhood! It may not taste exactly the same as the original version but it's incredible all the same. These cheesecake squares are the perfect dessert to serve at a dinner party because they look and taste like you've spent a lot of time and effort making them but they're actually incredibly quick and simple to throw together. The filling is creamy with a hint of lemon and the base contains lemon zest so the flavour comes through beautifully.

I usually use maple syrup as a sweetener but even though it's natural and unrefined it still contains a lot of sugar which is where Natvia comes in! Natvia is a sweetener made with natural plant ingredients and absolutely no artificial nasties, so if you're watching your sugar intake then it's the perfect addition to snacks and desserts. If you don't want to use Natvia then you can definitely use any other sweetener (such as maple/rice syrup) and it'll still taste fab!


Sunday, 22 May 2016

Sweet & Creamy Green Smoothie Bowl with Naturya Superfoods

I have a love-hate relationship with greens; I love them because they're incredible for my body and are full of so many vitamins and minerals but I hate them because, well, I really don't like the taste of them. Unless you're giving me spinach in a sandwich with avocado or hummus, I'm really not interested. Actually, I lie - pesto pasta with spinach is pretty damn tasty too. But what I'm trying to say is that you won't catch me eating a spinach or kale salad anytime soon. I'm a firm believer that a healthy lifestyle should be enjoyable and sustainable so I'm not going to force down something I don't like, even if it is amazing for me! So that's where green smoothies come in. Spinach has a wonderful way of not being detectable once it's blended with fruit and various other tasty ingredients, so you get to enjoy all the benefits of it without actually being able to taste it. Win-win, right? This smoothie bowl is quite sweet so it's the perfect introduction to green smoothies, but you can always increase the amount of spinach if you feel happy doing so. To take this smoothie to the next level I added a tablespoon of Naturya Organic Green Blend for extra goodness, so I was positively glowing afterwards! I also added some vegan vanilla protein powder for a protein boost but that's completely optional.


Sunday, 22 March 2015

Optimum 9200A Next Generation Blender Review and a Choco-Cherry Smoothie Recipe

I'm excited to announce that I've recently become an ambassador for Froothie so today I'd like to share a review of my new favourite kitchen toy - the Optimum 9200A Next Generation Blender! I'm a self-confessed smoothie addict and the one piece of kitchen equipment I couldn't be without is definitely my blender; until a few weeks ago, however, I was still using a regular (and very cheap) one which worked fairly well when it came to smoothies but unfortunately didn't do much else, so when I was given the opportunity to test out the Optimum 9200A I jumped at the chance! 

The Optimum 9200A is a high-speed blender which creates delicious fruit smoothies with ease, but it doesn't stop there; I've made green smoothies and banana ice cream in it, and this blender has managed it all perfectly. My previous blender didn't cope with frozen ingredients and tougher greens very well, so I'd usually end up with annoying lumps of frozen fruit or unpleasant bits of kale in my smoothies; the Optimum 9200A, however, has no difficulty with those things at all so I end up with ultra smooth drinks every time. That's not all it does though - it also has the ability to grind nuts and grains for flour, crush ice and make nut butters, hot soups, spreads and dips! Not only does it power through most cooking/food preparation tasks, it also has a heat-resistant, BPA-free 2L jug so you can easily make bigger smoothie and soup portions, plus it comes with a tamper for pushing down stubborn ingredients.

Before discovering this blender I'd been toying with the idea of buying a Vitamix for a few months (well, a year actually!) but the Optimum 9200A actually rivals the Vitamix Pro 500 in terms of performance. This comparison chart was taken from the product page:

As you can see, it's a pretty impressive machine! The Optimum 9200A Next Generation is also much cheaper at a special price of £379 (the usual price is £429), as opposed to the £599 you'd have to shell out for a Vitamix Pro 500. It's still a lot of money but if you're like me and use your blender almost every day it's definitely a worthwhile investment. Plus it's so much more than just a smoothie-maker so I wholeheartedly believe it's worth every penny!

It's also incredibly simple to use and clean; there are 7 options you can choose from when you use the blender - you can either use the pulse function, pick an amount of time for it to blend on (20, 30 or 45 seconds) or select a motor speed instead (slow, medium or fast). To clean the jug you simply rinse it out then fill it halfway with warm water, add a squirt of washing up liquid and blend on 'fast' for 20 - 30 seconds (or more if you've been making thicker things like nut butter in it). Then just rinse out the bubbles and you're done! It's quick and easy so it's perfect when you don't have a lot of time in the mornings. The whole process of making a smoothie and cleaning the blender takes less than 5 minutes so there's no excuse to not make yourself a delicious and nutritious meal or snack!

As well as creating fabulous blenders and juicers, Froothie also have excellent customer service - once you've ordered your blender you can expect it at your door within 24 - 48 hours (if you live in the UK) for only £14.95 (usually £19). There's also a 30 day guarantee which includes delivery costs so if you aren't happy with your purchase you can return it without hassle and at no cost to you. The Optimum 9200A also comes with a 6-year warranty plus a raw vegan recipe book to get you started on your journey to a healthier lifestyle.

You can buy the Optimum 9200A Next Generation Blender here and view Froothie's other products here - if you're looking for a new blender which can handle almost anything you can throw at it then I thoroughly recommend this one! 

To celebrate my new blender I've created a delicious choco-cherry smoothie recipe for you; this is currently my favourite smoothie and it tastes like dessert but is incredibly nutritious. I've been drinking it almost every single day recently!

Choco-Cherry Smoothie

Serves 1 
  • 1 medium/large banana (or 2 small)
  • 1/2 cup frozen cherries
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I usually use unsweetened almond milk)
  • 1/2 cup water (or more milk if you wish)


Add all the ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth - if you have an Optimum 9200A blender then blend on 'fast' mode for 10 - 20 seconds. If you want the smoothie to be thicker then omit the extra water/milk - if you want a thinner consistency then just add more liquid. Enjoy!

Note: I was sent this product to review and all opinions expressed are my own.


Saturday, 8 November 2014

Peanut Butter Granola Bars with Spoon Cereals Cinnamon Granola

Buying pre-packaged granola is usually a mistake if you want to eat a plant-based diet filled with wholesome foods because they tend to be filled with unhealthy ingredients such as refined sugar and hydrogenated vegetable oil and unethical ingredients like palm oil (for more information about why I avoid palm oil visit this website and read this article). Even granola which is advertised as being 'healthy' is usually made with honey which, as a vegan, isn't an option for me. In fact, most of the time I'd encourage someone to just make their own granola at home because it's healthier and cheaper than buying it from a shop, you can choose exactly what ingredients to put in it and it's super simple! However, when Spoon Cereals asked if I'd like to try some of their Cinnamon Granola and use it in one of my recipes I was more than happy to oblige because their products are vegan-friendly and aren't full of junk. For example, the granola I was sent contains jumbo oats, coconut flakes, hazelnuts, maple syrup, rapeseed oil, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt; I love the taste of maple syrup and definitely prefer it to refined sugar, agave and honey, and even though rapeseed oil wouldn't usually be my first choice (I'm a coconut oil kind of girl) I see no issue in consuming it occasionally. I managed to control myself and refrain from eating the whole bag of granola in one go (seriously, it's absolutely delicious!) and decided to use it to make some delicious and nutritious no-bake granola bars which are full of healthy fats, carbohydrates and protein - a perfectly balanced snack! I thoroughly recommend having a look at Spoon Cereals' website and products because they're a wonderful British company who make incredible breakfast food.

Makes 12 granola bars
  • 2 cups (270g) granola*
  • 1/2 cup (135g) natural runny peanut butter (or other nut butter of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup (120g) liquid sweetener of your choice**

* I used Spoon Cereals' Cinnamon Granola but if you don't have access to it then you could make your own (try this recipe) 
** I used rice syrup because it has a very subtle sweetness (the granola was already quite sweet on its own)


Line a deep baking tin with greaseproof/baking paper (I used a 9 x 9" square tin) then put the nut butter and liquid sweetener into a small saucepan, mix them together and gently melt them over a medium heat until the mixture is smooth and runny. 

Place the granola into a mixing bowl and add the heated sweetener and nut butter. Stir well until everything is incorporated and a sticky mixture is formed, then pour it into the lined baking tin and flatten it down, smoothing the top over with a spatula or knife. Put the tin in your freezer for an hour or two to allow the mixture to set. Once it's set, remove the mixture from the tin and cut it into 12 bars. Store the bars in an airtight container in either the fridge or the freezer and enjoy!

Note: I was sent this product to review and use in a recipe and all opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Review: Philips Real Juice Campaign with Madeleine Shaw

I'm a huge advocate of freshly made juice so when I was contacted by Philips and asked to take part in their Real Juice campaign, which encourages people to swap pre-packaged juice for fresh juicing, I jumped at the chance; I was very kindly sent a Philips Viva Collection Compact Juicer, a set of recipe cards and all the ingredients I'd need to follow the 'One-a-Day' juicing plan devised by the lovely Madeleine Shaw, a nutritional health coach who states that juicing is a way of life for her. Fresh juice is incredibly nutritious, especially when it contains plenty of vegetables, and is a much healthier alternative to the shop-bought kind; this is mainly due to the fact that juice loses a lot of its nutrients over time and is best drunk straight after it's been made, so the long shelf-life of shop-bought juice poses a problem in this regard. Shop-bought juice also tends to only contain fruit which means the sugar content is higher and many of the vital nutrients that are derived from vegetables simply aren't present.

 'Glowing Greens' Juice

Firstly, I'd like to talk about the juicer; I already owned a juicer before I was sent the Philips one but I was eager to test the new one out and see how it compared. The Philips juicer is more compact and slightly more aesthetically pleasing than my other one. I don't have a tiny kitchen but I do have to share it with the rest of my family (oh, what I wouldn't give to have my own kitchen!) and I have a fair few other appliances which all demand their own space on the countertop. My other juicer is slightly too big to fit comfortably amongst the chaos of appliances, spice racks and utensil holders but the Viva Juicer is the perfect size to nestle happily in between my food processor and toaster. I'm hoping to move out of my parents' house soon and I'm fully aware that I may find myself in a home with limited kitchen space so for that reason I'm delighted I have a new juicer that won't take up too much room! As well as being a decent size it also performs extremely well; there have been no bits of pulp in any of the juices I've made and it manages to whizz through the ingredients in next to no time. Juicers are notorious for being difficult or time-consuming to clean but this one is super simple and speedy to take apart, wash and then put back together again. 

The 'Watermelon Cooler' juice

However, the juicer does have a couple of downsides which aren't devastating but do make juicing a bit more of a hassle. For example, due to its compact size the feeding tube isn't very large which means that when you're juicing food like apples or beetroots you do have to chop them up first as opposed to juicing them whole. If this were my very first juicer it wouldn't have bothered me at all but since my other juicer has a larger chute and is able to fit two or three whole apples in at a time it is a bit of a downgrade. Honestly though, the size of the Philips juicer is so convenient that this isn't really an issue at all, simply a minor annoyance! Another slight inconvenience is the fact that you have to peel fruit and vegetables such as lemons before juicing them, something which I don't have to do when using my other juicer. Again, this isn't a serious issue and it doesn't take much time at all to quickly remove the peel yourself! Overall I was pleased with the appliance and will continue to use it on a regular basis - for £70 it really is a steal and is ideal for people who have a limited amount of space in their kitchen.

In terms of the 'One-a-Day' juicing plan, I absolutely loved it! I've tried doing a juice cleanse before and managed to last a day before feeling sick of the sight and taste of juice and having insatiable food cravings. This plan was perfectly manageable though because it simply required me to just drink one juice each day alongside my regular diet. The seven recipes included a delicious 'Glowing Greens' juice (this was my favourite!), a 'Watermelon Cooler' juice (which was super refreshing) and a 'Stir and Purr Sleep Tonic' Juice. The juices contained a wide variety of fruit and vegetables and were a delicious addition to my diet. There were also several other recipes included which weren't part of the plan and I'm really looking forward to trying them out in the near future!

I'm incredibly pleased that large companies such as Philips are starting to become more aware of the health food world - the Real Juice Campaign is a huge step in the right direction in terms of this country's knowledge of nutrition. People should be encouraged to make healthier choices for their bodies, which includes eating an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables; this is something which juicing can help a great deal with, although it shouldn't completely replace eating the whole foods which contain much-needed fibre!

I feel as though my experience with the juicing plan was a huge success and I thoroughly enjoyed testing out the juicer and Madeleine's recipes!

Note: I was sent this product and plan to review and all opinions expressed are my own.


Monday, 15 September 2014

Review: Neal's Yard Remedies Superfood Hamper

About a month ago I received one of the most incredible parcels I've ever had the pleasure of opening from the wonderful Neal's Yard Remedies, a natural health and beauty company based in the UK; they very kindly sent me a selection of some of their popular health food products including a variety of adorable jars containing various superfoods, a copy of their 'Healing Foods' information and recipe book, a jar of organic virgin coconut oil, their organic beauty oil and a pack of their new Organic Greens Complex powder. They all arrived in an amazing wicker hamper and, needless to say, I was extremely excited when I opened it!


Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Review: Rebel Kitchen Coconut Mylk Drinks

I always love trying new products from health food (or drink, in this case!) companies, especially those based in the UK, so I'm sure you can imagine my delight when I discovered Rebel Kitchen and their flavoured coconut mylk drinks a couple of months ago on GoodnessDirect; I ordered a few flavours and immediately fell in love. I was even more excited when the company contacted me a few weeks ago and asked if I'd like to try the full range of their mylk - of course I jumped at the chance, and thoroughly enjoyed each and every sip! 

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