Friday, 29 April 2016

April Life


As always this monthly post is loaded with photos, links and includes all my best bits from April!
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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Paul Mitchell Haircare


I remember when I first decided to go cruelty free and how utterly disappointed I felt with the huge number of well known and high end haircare brands which test on animals. My whole haircare routine which I had been so used to basically went out of the window because I really struggled to find a 'special' high end brand which was cruelty free and vegan friendly.

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Thursday, 21 April 2016

Ethos


I am always on the look out for new restaurants to visit where I can enjoy some good vegan food so when I recently read Besma's review of Ethos in London I immediately knew that this was somewhere I had to try. 

As soon as we stepped inside Ethos I was blown away by the stunning interior decor. This is without fail the most chic and classy plant based restaurant I have ever had the pleasure of visiting. The numerous tree trunks make you feel as though you are really connected to mother nature and the natural food which grows from the earth. I've described some vegan restaurants as 'earthy' in the past but this takes on a whole new definition! If there is ever a restaurant to diminish stereotypical ideas around veganism it's this one.    


Just like Tibits, Ethos is a vegetarian and vegan buffet restaurant where the amount you pay is dependent on how much your plate weighs. Like most others, I get very excited by the prospect of a buffet. I'm not quite sure why I find it so enjoyable but there's just something quite marvellous about seeing a whole selection of diverse and tempting food laid out in front of you ready and waiting to be picked up. You're in control of what you eat, how much you eat and most importantly there are no rules. If you want five different carbs on your plate you can do it and not feel any judgement in the process. 


Our first point of call was to order our drinks and I was impressed to see such a wide variety on offer. As a non alcohol drinker, I was also really pleased to see a selection of delicious sounding mocktails available as well as some superfood smoothies. I couldn't resist the sound of the Blueberry pina colada!

Our next port of call, and the moment we'd been waiting for, was to visit the buffet.   



On initial inspection I was really impressed by the selection of food available, with the vast majority being vegan friendly too. One stand seemed to be centred around salad and vegetables and included some unusual variations such as broccoli with cashew cheese and roasted cauliflower with cranberries and walnut. It's clear that some thought has gone into these dishes and rather than just providing standard veg they have really considered how to make it all more tasty and flavoursome. 



The second food stand was more concentrated on hot dishes and I guess what you would call the 'main meal' section of the buffet. There seemed to be slightly less vegan options on this stand but there were still some great dishes to choose from including a miso roasted aubergine and a coconut and chickpea curry. As a vegetarian, my husband was in for a treat with being able to pick up some macaroni cheese, halloumi bites and dauphinoise potatoes. 




After selecting our food it was time to get the plates weighed. Now, if you know me you will know that I don't hold back at the buffet. I wish I could be more disciplined and neat about my buffet plates but instead I tend to pick up a little bit of everything I like the look of and pile it onto one plate (When in Rome!). But I guess it's something to be more conscious of if visiting Ethos as the more it weighs, the more you pay... 

My plate of food, as pictured below on the scales, weighed in at a whopping £18.00. There's no denying that this is an expensive buffet! But, after having been price shocked once before in Tibits, I knew what to expect this time around. Which is - if you want a vegan buffet in the heart of the West End of London then it comes at a price. 



The food itself was so on point and everything tasted excellent. I had no regrets about piling everything onto the plate together but my husband commented that if we had been more organised we may have got a small plate of side salad/veg and left the main big plate for the other food. Maybe something to consider for next time but there was definitely no issue with how we done things and there also wasn't a crumb left on our plates afterwards. 




As you can imagine we felt pretty stuffed after finishing off all that food and we did have to take a 15 minute breather before contemplating a visit to the dessert stand. 

My only minor complaint about our Ethos experience would be that the vegan dessert offerings were slim pickings. Perhaps we were a little on the late side of the day and we possibly missed some other options, but when I visited there was only one vegan friendly dessert on offer which was a shame but I didn't mind too much at the time as I was so full up. 



One regret we did have pretty much as soon as we arrived home was not getting a take away box of food to take home with us for the evening. After some shopping around the West End and the long drive back to Essex we found ourselves hungry and wishing we could pick at the buffet again! But it's definitely worth mentioning here that take away boxes are indeed available at Ethos so it would also be a great option if you were in the area and needed to grab a quick lunch.   


I have nothing but praise for Ethos who are effectively and impressively changing perceptions about plant based living, and even if that wasn't their initial intention it's something they should be applauded for. Being vegan can have its moments of feeling somewhat isolated and excluded from conventional living but at Ethos I felt more than part of something. In fact, I felt celebrated. And in the most stylish of ways. Yes it may be on the expensive side, and maybe not somewhere you could afford to eat regularly, but if anything that makes it all the more special. This is definitely a restaurant where I would love to celebrate an occasion and take along some vegan sceptic friends and family. This is the place to show off just how awesome your lifestyle choices are!   


For a live look at Ethos check out my Snapchat video here! 



Have you been to Ethos yet? 
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Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Arm The Animals Clothing


I was recently contacted by Arm The Animals and asked if I would like to review their clothing line on my blog. This is a company who aim to promote animal rights activism through fashion so of course I was quick to say yes! 

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Monday, 18 April 2016

Tesco Vegan Haul Taste Test


When it comes to doing our weekly shops we normally alternate between Ocado, Sainsbury's and Tesco's. I find that this works pretty well for us as it means that we get to buy different items from each shop and we don't miss out. Although lately I have been using Ocado a lot more than the others purely because I prefer the quality of their fresh items and they make shopping for vegan food online a lot easier than the others.

Last week however, I decided to go back to Tesco's for a change as I had seen via various tweets that they have some new vegan friendly items in their 'Free From' range which I really fancied trying. It was also a good opportunity to see if Tesco's had improved their overall online shopping experience for vegan food. This was also an opportunity to pick up a couple of other vegan items which I hadn't tried before.

I had some requests to film another vegan taste test on YouTube so I thought there was no better time than now and I decided to put these items to the test. I also roped in my husband Andy to offer a second opinion on everything as I think sometimes two opinions is better than one.

I really hope you all enjoy the video!


Below I have summarised our taste test findings and i've rated each item a score out of 10.


Free From Strawberry & Vanilla Cones

These ice cream cones are really tasty and enjoyable and most definitely my favourite flavour out of the two available. I don't think anyone would ever be able to tell that these cones are vegan! They really are so good. 10/10


Free From Toffee & Vanilla Cones

These cones were also really nice but as far as flavour goes they weren't as tasty as the strawberry ones. To me they tasted more like vanilla as the toffee wasn't very noticeable. Still a good option though! 8/10 


Free From Garlic Baguette

I think we were both surprised by how nice this garlic baguette actually is and it's very similar to Tesco's other dairy garlic baguettes, but maybe a little crunchier. A very good vegan alternative! 8/10


Swedish Glace Strawberry Ice Creams

These are so yummy! They contain super soft strawberry ice cream which is delicious and they're covered in a lovely tasting chocolate. I like that they're mini as they work nicely as a small treat if you're watching your calorie intake like me. 9/10


Amy's Kitchen Breakfast Sandwich

This was a lot nicer than I thought it would be. It definitely comes under the category of vegan junk food for me so it wouldn't be something i'd eat all the time but nice as an occasional treat. It reminded my husband of the McDonalds sausage and egg McMuffin. The bread felt a little artificial which was all that let this product down. 7/10


Free From Chocolate Chip Cookie

These are so delicious! A whole packet of these didn't last very long in our house. I don't think you would ever know that these cookies are vegan. Perfect with a cup of tea. 9/10 (on the packet it states suitable for vegetarians but I can't find any ingredients which would mean they're not vegan friendly - let me know if you know different. Tesco's sadly haven't come back to me on this.)



These are a great alternative for chicken burgers or chicken escalopes. They're pretty spicy though so only buy if you don't mind hot food. It's great to see Quorn offering more vegan options in their line of food. 8/10 (* Since my review these appear to have been removed from Tesco's website)


There's a couple of things that annoy me about Tesco's....1. not always labelling vegan friendly food as 'vegan' on their website and instead just 'suitable for vegetarians', and 2. if you type 'vegan' into their grocery search it really doesn't bring up much compared to if you type 'vegan' into Ocado's search. I really wish they would just make this easier as it does put me off shopping with them which is a shame as they clearly have some great products available.

I therefore feel like Tesco's is only a good option is you already know the products that are vegan friendly and you're happy to manually search for them. This is absolutely fine but it really does limit your chances of finding new vegan products if you aren't able to browse an entire vegan section. 

If any of you have any requests for any other videos then please do comment below and let me know as I am always looking for new ideas!


How do you find shopping for vegan food from Tesco's? 

Have you tried any of these products yet?

Are there any other Tesco vegan products I should know about?

I'd love to hear!  
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Sunday, 17 April 2016

Emetophobia and Me


I suffer from a phobia of vomit which is also known as Emetophobia

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Thursday, 14 April 2016

3 Days In Margate


If you follow me on social media you will already know that I had a lovely week away a couple of weeks ago which I spent split between my Mum's place in Eastbourne and a couple of nights in Margate, Kent.
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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Lucky Dip Club - Bunnyland Box


March's Lucky Dip Club 'Bunnyland' box was a beautiful explosion of spring time bunny loving! LDC teamed up with one of my all time favourite makers Pony People to create this box which just so happened to arrive in time for the Easter break.   
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Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Papergang Box by Oh Deer


I've been an Oh Deer customer for some time now and i'm a big fan of the wide ranging and eclectic stationery that they offer. They are definitely my 'go to' online shop for when I need to stock up on greeting cards, notebooks and quirky gifts. They stock a number of different illustrators work and it's all a little bit more diverse than what you would find on the high street.   

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Friday, 1 April 2016

March Life


I can't quite believe that we're already in April and a quarter of the year into 2016! Where does the time go? This month absolutely flew by for me which is always a sign that i've had some fun and enjoyed myself. 
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