Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Las Iguanas


Last week a brand new Las Iguanas opened up at Braintree Freeport, which just so happens to be pretty close to where I live. Having never tried the restaurant before I took this as the perfect opportunity to pay a visit and try out their special dedicated vegetarian and vegan menu. If you didn't already know, Las Iguanas is a nationwide chain restaurant which specialises in Latin American food.

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Thursday, 25 August 2016

Akar Nutrient Boost Eye Serum



Akar is a totally new brand to me and one which I had never heard of before spotting them on a blogging community website. 

The word 'Akar' means 'white crystal' in Tibetan and it's a symbol of purity. Akar pride themselves on using natures best ingredients meaning that all of their products are completely pure and 100% organic. These natural ingredients enhance your skins ability to renew and repair itself whilst also being much kinder on yourself and the environment. The Akar brand is also completely cruelty free with the majority of their products also being vegan friendly.    


When my bottle of Nutrient Boost Eye Serum arrived I was really impressed by the overall presentation and the fact that the product comes in a little dark violet glass. There's not many beauty products I buy that come in glass containers and I think it does make a difference to the overall feel and quality. Akar use this glass for all of their products because plastic containers are notorious for leaking chemicals into products which diminish their potency. By using glass Akar avoid this meaning their products stay more fresh and potent for longer. 


The Nutrient Boost Eye Serum is designed to be used on the delicate under eye area and is formulated to specifically to reduce puffiness, dryness, dark circles and wrinkles. The serum contains goji seed oil which is rich in essential fatty acids, pumpkin oil, mushroom extract and lots of nutrient extracts which tighten and rejuvenate tired skin. 

My under eyes is always an area of my skin and face that I especially like to take care of. I am always worrying that I have dark circles under my eyes and as I approach my mid 30's I can't help but start to notice the fine lines in this area. This is also a part of my face which I notice will often appear dryer than the rest of my skin.

The oil based consistency of this product really appealed to me as from experience I have always found serums of this kind to be extremely moisturising and lovely to use on my skin. I also love the fact that this serum is so packed with a wealth of plant power and it never ceases to amaze me the effectiveness of simple ingredients that are gifted to us by the earth. 


I couldn't wait to start using this product and I instantly knew that it would fit into my bedtime skincare routine perfectly. Once I have cleansed my skin in the evening I then simply dab one drop of this serum onto my finger tip and gently pat around my under eye area. 

I have found this serum so calming to use at bedtime. Once applied it feels so soothing and moist on my skin. I was initially worried about the product perhaps leaving some residual oil behind on my face but in actual fact my skin absorbed the product pretty quickly. By the morning my under eye area has felt so incredibly soft and considerably more firmer. When I patted the area with my finger I was so surprised by how different it felt to me.    

This serum is unbelievably moisturising and it's amazing how so little can go so far. I can imagine this product lasting me a long time but as it is natural it does have an advised shelf life of one year. 


At $73.00 a bottle (approx £55.00) this eye serum is definitely at the high end of skincare I tend to use. It does seem like a lot of money for a small bottle but you will undoubtedly get a lot of use out of it and it will last up to a year. Shipping to the UK is $20.00 (approx £15.00) but Akar are currently offering free international shipping on all orders over $80.00.

Overall I have been so impressed by this product and I have been really looking forward to sharing it with you all. It's by far and without a doubt one of the best under eye products I have ever used! I often think there's a myth around natural products that they aren't as effective as others but over the past few months and since using more and more natural brands I have found this to be completely false.  

The Akar brand has a sense of luxury about it and it has felt like a real treat testing the serum out for this review. I'm so glad i've had the opportunity to try out one of their products! 

Have you heard of Akar before? 
* This product was sent to me for review purposes. 
All views expressed within this post are completely my own. 
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Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Ultimate Color Repair by Paul Mitchell



I was recently asked if I would like to try the Ultimate Color Repair shampoo and conditioner by Paul Mitchell and, as I am already a big fan of this cruelty free and vegan friendly brand, I of course said yes!
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Thursday, 18 August 2016

Brighton 2016


Brighton is one of those rare places that I can just keep on going back to and I never get bored. Amongst a hundred other things including incredible shopping and your usual fun seaside attractions, it also just so happens to be amazing for vegetarian and vegan food. 

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Tuesday, 16 August 2016

Vegan YouTubers To Watch


I think I will always remember 2016 as being the year I decided to branch into YouTube. It's something that I had never planned to do or even thought about doing in the past. YouTube for me was only ever a platform whereby I could search for funny cat videos or watch random clips and it never used to play a part in my life.

Wind the clock forward to now and YouTube has become a big part of my life!

After getting hooked on watching other vloggers I slowly but surely got bitten by the bug and before I knew it I was sat in front of a camera filming my very own videos. It's all happened so quickly that even as I type this I feel like I am writing about someone else. I never in a million years thought i'd ever be brave enough to create YouTube content, yet here I am!

In this post I wanted to share with you all some vegan vloggers who I am subscribed to and who I think you all would like to get to know a little better. Who knows, you may already be watching their videos! Some of them I have only discovered very recently but I think all of them provide and create really useful and informed videos which will help anyone trying to lead a vegan lifestyle. 



I have to admit that i'd never heard of Niomi prior to watching Zoella & Alfie Deyes vlogs and I soon found out that she is also one of the names behind the Sourced Box which is a monthly healthy eating subscription box (which happens to be predominantly vegan). Curiosity soon got the better of me and I found myself watching more and more of Niomi's videos. I think she's a really likeable girl and I think it's great that she promotes plant based and cruelty free products to her 1.6 million subscribers.  

Cheap Lazy Vegan



I only recently subscribed this channel after so many people said it was one of their fave's and i'm so glad I discovered it! I pretty much sat and binge watched a whole load of Rose's videos one afternoon and found them to be so fun and interesting. I have at times been known to be a lazy vegan myself so her videos definitely appeal on that level to me. She also offers some really great tips on how to live an affordable vegan lifestyle and completely dispels the myth that a vegan diet is only for rich people. I'm really looking forward to seeing what's to come on this channel and I would love to do a video  collaboration with Rose one day. 

Tashina Combs



The Logical Harmony blog has always been my main point of reference for all things related to vegan and cruelty free beauty so there'll be no surprises when I tell you that Tashina's channel gained an instant subscribe for me when I first joined YouTube. When I first started to watch her videos it was so nice to see and hear the face behind the blog and that really appealed to me as one of her  regular readers. I have to admit that I don't tend to follow many international bloggers / YouTubers as I don't always find the content relevant to my life but when it comes to makeup and beauty products Tashina has everything covered.   

Hello Gemma / The Vegan Kitchen



I started following Gemma's blog and videos when I learned that she had made a transition over to being vegan and I found it really interesting watching someone else who had made the same kind of lifestyle changes as myself around the same time that I did. I really enjoy Gemma's 'What I Eat In A Day Videos' as they often give me new and fresh ideas of what I could be eating myself and she's pretty amazing in the kitchen. I think Gemma does a really great job of helping veganism appeal to the masses and she continually produces content that I want to engage with. 

That Vegan Couple



That Vegan Couple are a definite hit with me and I find their YouTube videos really interesting to watch. I love how they present the channel as a duo and I am especially a big fan of how they respond to topical vegan issues in the media in such a mature and informative way.  

Vegan Fitness TV



Ok so these two are basically just vegan body goals! They're so incredibly fit and healthy it makes me want to sort my lazy vegan self out. Although I cannot really relate them in terms of fitness at the moment I still find their videos interesting to watch because they're based in the UK and are sharing foods that are readily available for me to go and buy. I've been impressed by their budget friendly weekly shop videos and they've got me thinking differently about the foods I buy and how I can lead a healthier vegan lifestyle. 

Vegan Geezer



I came across Vegan Geezer's channel whilst randomly searching for vegan YouTubers one day and as soon as I watched this video 'Teens Hear The Truth' I was obsessed with his work! This guy is just so straight up with his content and his approach to veganism and I think it makes such a refreshing change to see a London 'geezer' like himself promoting a compassionate lifestyle to the world. He comes across as such a genuine and likeable bloke and I know that he would be someone I could imagine myself and Andy getting on really well with. Some of his videos are so touching and i'm genuinely excited to see what's to come on his channel. 

Kiera Rose



Kiera was one of the first vegan YouTubers I ever followed and I think I was initially drawn to her because I saw so many other vegans mentioning her on Twitter. I really like Kiera's channel because she offers a real mix of different lifestyle videos and everything from food, recipes, hauls, Q&A's and a glimpse into her personal life. Kiera seems super down to earth and her videos are so easy to watch. I recommend you go give her a watch if you haven't done already.



So this blog post wouldn't be complete without a little self promotion right!? If you haven't already checked out my YouTube channel then now is the time! I love to film vegan taste tests, shopping hauls, cruelty free favourites and more. I have so much inspiration right now to create videos so there will be lots more exciting things to come! It's also a great opportunity to get to know the face behind this blog a bit better. 

Are there any You Tubers you love to watch?

I'd love to hear some of your recommendations too! 
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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Skincere Skincare


Skincere is a brand I'd never heard of before I was sent some of their skincare products in the post recently. And this is one of the reasons I love being a blogger - I get to discover exciting new vegan and cruelty free brands like this which I can then share with all of you! 
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Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Intensive Conditioner by Faith in Nature


I have been a longtime fan of Faith in Nature's products and ever since I first decided to take the leap into cruelty free living. They were in fact one of the first vegan friendly haircare products I tried and loved. 

I recently saw that Faith in Nature had launched some new products which really caught my eye, especially the new Intensive Conditioners. Faith in Nature got in touch with me and asked if I would like to try the new Lavender & Geranium Intensive Conditioner and of course I said yes! 

When the conditioner arrived I was initially really impressed by the new vibrant packaging, in fact I think I prefer these new style bottles to the original ones as they are just so bright and eye catching. What do you think? 

So you may be wondering how this intensive conditioner works and what the benefits are for your hair? 

Firstly, this product is packed with natural and certified organic ingredients, oil & fragrance. The longer I continue on my vegan journey the more important this is starting to become to me and I love looking at the ingredients lists and not seeing any nasty chemicals. I'm not saying that i'll be going completely natural and organic anytime soon, but it's definitely starting to matter to me more and more. 

This specific Intensive Conditioner contains lavender, avocado and jojoba seed oils which really help to nourish and repair the hair leaving it feeling luscious and shiny. 

And, of course, Faith in Nature are a completely cruelty free and vegan friendly brand, carrying both the leaping bunny and vegan society stamps of approval.


This Intensive Conditioner is ideal for dry, damaged and coloured hair which are all things my hair can need some help with at times so I was looking forward to experiencing the results for myself. 

You can use this conditioner as an every day product or it can be used as a more intense treatment if left on for longer. I decided to use it as a once a week treat for my hair as I wanted it to last longer. When using I simply shampooed my hair as usual and then left the condoner on for about 6 minutes before rinsing off.


One of my favourite things about this intensive conditioner is definitely the fragrance. As soon as I apply it to my hair my bathroom is filled with the wonderful aroma of lavender. It's such a comforting and relaxing smell, I just can't get enough of it! 

I have also loved how this conditioner has made my hair feel which is so important. It's done a really great job of leaving my hair feeling so soft, light and silky. Sometimes I can go a bit overboard with the conditioner which can often leave it feeling quite heavy and coated but I didn't get that at all with this product. And, despite being relatively lightweight in consistency, it does an amazing job at detangling my hair. 

Faith in Nature products never disappoint me and this intensive conditioner is another quality product from an already impressive range.  

Are you a Faith in Nature convert? 
* This product was sent to me for review purposes. 
All views and opinions expressed within this blog post are completely my own. 
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Thursday, 4 August 2016

Being All or Nothing


I can't remember if I have ever been anything other than an all or nothing person. It's a huge part of who I am and my personality, and it's also something which I think makes me a little bit different to other people. I wouldn't say it's something that I particularly like about myself though as it can be very problematic. In fact I would even go as far to say that it's the one thing about myself which makes me my own worst enemy and limits my levels of success. 

I had never considered this side of my personality really problematic until I took part in CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and I gained an understanding about how all or nothing thinking can be so damaging in our lives. The more I thought about it the more I wished I could find more of a healthy balance in my life.   

Friendships

If you are a good friend of mine I am probably the best and most caring friend you have ever had. I am reliable, trustworthy and honest and I will always be there for you. 

Unless of course you cross me. 

There have been numerous situations in my past where I have formed really great friendships with people and for one reason or another they have not lasted. I admit I find it difficult to be a good friend to someone or take part in a "friendship" if I feel that the other person doesn't care as much as I do. If I am not treated in the way I treat others I unfortunately take it very personally and upset myself to a point where I often can't be bothered to continue with the friendship anymore. 

To be fair to myself in the majority of these situations I was made to feel shit by another person so it's kind of understandable if I didn't want to be friends with them anymore. But I can't deny that my all of nothing personality had a part to play in this. The way I see it is you're either my friend or you're not. It's quite straight forward but it can result in me not being very forgiving or able to move past problems should they arise.   

Diet

My relationship with food has been problematic from as far back as I can remember. I recall during infant school having to eat my lunch in the head teachers office so they could ensure that I actually ate. I was painfully thin and getting me to eat anything was a chore. At some point, probably during my teenage years, I went the other way with food and I found it difficult to stop eating. 

There rarely tends to be a balance with my eating patterns unless I force myself to go on a strict diet and really monitor my calorie intake which, like many people, I always struggle with. I have been a successful dieter in the past losing up to 3 stone at a time but I have been equally as good at putting weight back on again. 

I think for all or nothing thinkers like me it seems almost impossible to maintain a balanced diet and a weight/figure we're happy with. We're also probably either almost starving ourselves or, on the opposite end of the scale, over eating in a big way. 

Exercise

I think out of everything exercise is my biggest struggle with all or nothing thinking. I either won't exercise at all or i'll be at the gym 4 times a week. There is never an in-between level of exercise for me. 

If i'm not exercising regularly I don't really see the point in doing any because what difference is it going to make? Well, if I was honest with myself any form of exercise is better than none at all right? But in my mind if I'm not hitting it hard all week there's really no point squeezing in the ocassional jog or swim. I have always envied people like my Dad who has for a number of years now stuck to the same gym routine no matter what else is happening in his life. The majority of people probably do only go to the gym or an exercise class about twice a week and feel content with that. So why is that so hard for me? 

Exercise also massively ties in with diet for me. If I am on a strict diet I can see the benefit of exercising to help me on my weight loss and fitness journey. If however I am not paying much attention to what I eat I tend to think that exercise is pointless because if i'm not eating healthy it will just be counterproductive. 

Even as I type this I can see what an illogical fool I am! But in order for me to find within myself the motivation to do these things and stick at them everything else has to be perfect. Did I mention I am also a bit of a perfectionist!?   

Work

If I had a pound for every job i've had since leaving university I would be a rich woman! 

There's those people in life who manage to stay in the same job for years or even a life time, and then there's me. The all or nothing perfectionist who is continually on a mission to find the most amazing job which will fulfil all my hopes and dreams. If one thing isn't right within that job or work environment it will pretty much ruin the job for me. Ok I might stick at it for a year or two but always in the back of my mind will be the little voice confirming to me over and over again all the reasons why this isn't the job for me. And then once I listen to that little voice the job begins to lose all sense of purpose to me. 

Blogging 

Since being a blogger there have definitely been periods where i've blogged a lot or not at all. This year I have mostly managed a pretty consistent routine with blogging and I have for sure seen the benefits of this. I put unnecessary pressure on myself to have blogs done and published at certain times and if for any reason they're not I would probably rather just take a week or two away from it than just put one post out. There was a time where I felt like I wasn't getting anywhere within blogging and as I looked at other successful bloggers I wondered what was the point in me carrying on. That was a sad time because I really lost sight of the reasons why I blog and it resulted in quite a prolonged break. 

Mental Health

As I mentioned before, I first really took note of my all or nothing approach to life during CBT sessions for my anxiety issues. A common denominator between myself and others on the course was that we were all the same with our all or nothing thinking. 

When you're highly anxious this way of thinking becomes problematic because we tend to catastrophise every thought in our mind. Rather than doing the one thing that scares me I will imagine the worst case scenario in my mind of what will happen if I do. There will be no balance in my mind or realistic approach to what i'm doing. I either end up doing nothing or putting myself in what I view to be the greatest danger of my life.

Aside from anxiety, I have also found that my all or nothing approach to life does play a role in how depressed I might be feeling too because I tend to view myself as either a success or a failure. There rarely tends to be any in-between. So for example - if i'm on the strict diet, exercising 4 times a week and doing well at work I consider myself to be winning at life. This of course is a really difficult and  a challenging way of life to maintain and it's also not always achievable. So ok, lets say I only manage to go to the gym once that week but everything else still goes well? I will beat myself up beyond all belief because I haven't abided by the strict regime I set myself. Then before I know it I am a failure, I feel unhappy and slowly the regime falls apart again until i'm back at the 'nothing' phase again.    


I guess being this way isn't all bad. I'm certainly someone who will put 100% into anything I set my mind to. And when I do things that I put a lot of effort into they 9 times out of 10 tend to be successful. It's ultimately just the tricks my mind plays on me which end up resulting in negative thinking, self doubt and a loss of motivation.  

Are you an all or nothing thinker? 
How does it impact on your life? 
I'd love to hear from any of you who can relate to this post! 

It always helps to hear other peoples experiences and how you all cope with things in different ways. I'd love to know if anyone has successfully changed from being an all or nothing person into a person with a healthy balance and approach to life. 
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Tuesday, 2 August 2016

Faithful Friend Dog Shampoo



My dogs recently ran out of their usual shampoo and I felt it was about time that I tried the 'Faithful Friend' range from Faith in Nature. I have been a long time lover of the Faith in Nature brand and they were in fact one of the first vegan friendly brands I tried and loved when I initially started to make my transition over to a vegan lifestyle. They are indeed a brand I return to time and time again.  

If you didn't already know, Faith in Nature pride themselves on being Leaping Bunny and Vegan Society approved and, importantly, they use all natural and plant based ingredients in their products. 

As you all probably have gathered by now, my dogs mean the absolute world to me and are treated like royalty within our household. If a product is good enough for me then it's good enough for them! I would never want to use anything too heavily overloaded with chemicals on them which is why the Faithful Friend products appealed to me so much. Also, just like it's important to me to use cruelty free and vegan friendly products on myself it's also just as important when it comes to my pets. My love for my pets was after all a major factor in me deciding to go cruelty free in the first place and it would be completely wrong to use any products on them which have caused any kind of suffering to other animals.  


Within the Faithful Friend range you will find four different dog shampoos to choose from. Happy Dog with Chamomile,  Fresh Dog with coconut, Calm Dog with lavender and Dirty Dog with tea tree. All priced at £5.50 a bottle, I think these shampoos are really excellent value for money and significantly more affordable than some other big brand pet shampoos. 

I decided to order the Happy Dog & Calm Dog shampoos for my little pack to try out and when the bottles arrived my initial reaction was a very good one. Both of these shampoos have a really nice, but not too overpowering, fragrance to them. I also really like the packaging which is so vibrant and eye catching!   


When it came to bathing my dogs with these shampoos I was really pleased with how well the products performed. I decided to squirt a little shampoo in the bath tub and I was amazed by the amount of bubbles it created! Until this day my dogs had never really experienced a full on bubble bath before and I think they enjoyed it, although it's hard to tell when they're all pretty miserable about having to have a bath in the first place! 

To see my dogs first bath time with the Faithful Friend shampoo's please watch the short YouTube video I made to accompany this blog review...


My dogs smelt great for days following their bath and the shampoo was really effective at getting their grubby little paws looking like new again. Their coats looked and felt soft and silky afterwards which meant even more cuddles than usual for them! Despite the fact that they look unimpressed in the video i'm pretty sure they enjoyed their new bath time experience too. It's just the water they're not so keen on!  

These are definitely products I would buy again for my dogs and I would recommend to other dog owners too.  

What's your favourite ethical pet shampoo brand? 
Have you tried the Faithful Friend range yet? 
                   
* This is not a sponsored post. These products were purchased by myself 
and all views and opinions expressed are completely my own. 

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