Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Vegan Kind - #TVK46



It's that time of the month again when I am sharing with you all a look inside the latest Vegan Kind subscription box! This months box turned up at exactly the right time and just as our cupboards were starting to look a bit bare. I think with moving house and everything else that has been going on over the past few weeks, it actually felt like a really long time since the last box which I reviewed on my You Tube channel. I was definitely feeling ready for more vegan treats! 

Inside the #TVK46 Box

So without further ado, lets take a look at what goodies were inside this months box!

Sweet Freedom Choc Pot (£3.85)



If you're vegan and yet to try a product by Sweet Freedom then you've seriously been missing out! The choc pot is a totally new and versatile product which you can use on anything and everything from your toast, to pancakes, on top of rice cakes or even as a cake topper. The choices really are endless! The other good news is that it's 100% natural, palm oil free and it contains 75% less fat than the leading chocolate spread. 


Almighty Foods Strawberry Blonde Raw Chocolate (£2.89)



I have to admit that when I first saw this bar I had no idea that it is in fact a yummy bar of chocolate. It was only on opening the packet I realised the amazingness that lay within! This chocolate, which is made up from cacao, cashews and tiger nut, is so incredibly soft and creamy. The strawberry dust topping is quite bitter but together the flavours work so well. This was the first product to get demolished from this box and it's definitely my favourite stand out product of TVK46. 


Emily Crisps Crunchy Sweet Potato, Beetroot & Carrot (£1.50)



Vegetable crisps are currently my favourite snack and i've been pretty addicted to the Co-Op own brand ones over the past few weeks. I'd never tried these ones by Emily before so I was looking forward to seeing how they compared to my current favourites. I love that they contain sweet potato, carrot and beetroot as I absolutely love all of these vegetables. On first taste I noticed that they definitely taste like a much healthier version than my usual favourites and much less salty. They're very natural tasting and I was surprised by how much I liked them. Their packaging is also beautiful! 


Native Unearthed Activated Charcoal Deodorant Balm (£3.99)



Since becoming vegan I feel as though I have tried a lot of different kinds of deodorants and more natural equivalents to my usual every day Superdrug spray one. However, and not through a lack of trying, I have never been able to find one that really agrees with me and does an effective job of keeping my pits feeling fresh all day. The fact that this one is a balm consistency appeals to me quite a lot and the lavender oil within this one makes it smell really lovely. As always I am willing to try new things so i'm looking forward to giving this one a go over the next few weeks. I'll keep you posted with how I get on! 


Candy Kittens Sweet Peach Pop Bag (£1.00)



I was so happy to see Candy Kittens included in this box and especially as the Sweet Peach flavour is one I hadn't tried before. I was also really excited to see these sweets in a smaller bag. There's no denying that I love the big bags but there's definitely something quite appealing about this smaller sized variety. From reading the TVK newsletter I also discovered that Candy Kittens are finally working towards making their entire range of sweets vegan friendly - HOORAH! This is such amazing news! 


PHD Superfood Mango & Banana Protein Smoothie (£2.49)



Another completely new product to me, I was really excited to try this handy pouch of smoothie. I am always on the look out for quick, easy and protein high vegan snacks so this seemed to tick all the boxes. Maybe it was a mistake squeezing it out into a glass because the texture and consistency of this smoothie ended up turning my stomach a bit. I'm not entirely sure why but I found it very thick and goopy. Sadly for me it didn't get any better once I tasted it too. The flavour is quite overpowering and wasn't to my liking at all. As with many protein smoothies, I also found it to have quite a grainy / chalky consistency. I guess you can't win them all! But on a positive note it's really good to see a protein company introducing new vegan products to their line.

We Are Tea Super Berry Infusion Whole Leaf Tea Bag (Full size £2.99)



I'm always happy to see tea bags included in any of the boxes I receive as I am an avid tea drinker and lover. This super berry tea bag was stunning to look at, so incredibly pretty! I almost didn't want to use it! I am not usually very daring when it comes to flavoured teas with green and lemon being as far as I usually take things. I have to say that I was really pleasantly surprised by this one as it wasn't too fragrant tasting or too sweet. It reminded me of a drink similar to hot Ribena which I love! Even my husband agreed that this was a really enjoyable hot drink which I was surprised to hear as he only ever drinks every day tea. Also, for such a high quality tea bag I am impressed that they're only £2.99 for a box of 15 whole leaf tea bags. 


Newsletter & Recipe Card 



As with every TVK box I also received a newsletter which includes discount codes for featured products and information on the featured charity of the month - Food Fight UK - who will receive 10p from every box sold. I wasn't even aware of this charity who provide free vegan food for the hungry people of Glasgow. From what i've seen on their Facebook page it looks like they're providing an amazing service and I feel so happy that they will be benefitting from sales of this box. 

Also enclosed in the box was a recipe card for a yummy looking vegan chocolate orange cheesecake by @GingerVegan which includes the Sweet Freedom Choc Pot in its ingredients. I'm hoping to find some time this month to give this recipe a go! 

This was another fantastic and varied box by The Vegan Kind who somehow always manage to surprise me with new treats to try. I think you'll also agree that the contents of the box are well worth the £10.00 price tag. Also, don't forget to check out TVK's supermarket which is stocking more and more of those hard to find vegan items. Did you know that you can also order fresh vegan donuts and macarons on their website too!? I can personally vouch for them all being incredible! Check out my donut taste test video here

What was your favourite item in this months box? Comment below and let me know! 
* This review was completed in Collaboration with TVK.
All views and opinions expressed are completely my own. 
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Tuesday, 15 August 2017

New Beginnings



Life lately has been pretty crazy and busy to say the least. If you follow me on social media or subscribe to my You Tube channel you will already know that we finally moved house! Hooray! It's something we have been wanting to do and have been planning for well over a year so to finally be here feels quite amazing and surreal all at the same time. 

When people say that moving is stressful you may not understand why or you may just think the process of packing everything up and then unpacking is what grates the most. And yes there's no doubting that those are tasks that can be extremely tiring, but from my perspective the most stressful aspect of moving is always the not knowing. With every house move we have ever done it's the constant feeling of being in limbo that ends up wearing you down the most. The not knowing for sure what date you'll actually be moving but trying to plan everything else in your life around that. We had a rough idea of a completion date for a two week period but we didn't really know when we was definitely moving in until the afternoon of the day we actually ended up moving. 

It really did feel great to finally get the keys from the estate agents and get into our new home. It was the moment we had been waiting for. But, again, we couldn't really settle in a great deal because we'd arranged to have work completed on the property almost as soon as we moved in. We basically had to move in with the bare minimum, live out of a suitcase and go without all of our creature comforts for two weeks. I think the excitement of everything got us through that period and it was so nice to see our new flooring being laid and the walls painted white. But it was also pretty stressful having work men in our house every day, including weekends, and going through all of this with all of the pets in tow too. 

As i'm sitting here now typing up this blog post it feels so good to be back on my laptop and thinking about my content again. Things have finally calmed down in the house, all the work has been completed and we now have all of our belongings and furniture with us so it really does feel like home. We still need to finish off our office and dressing room but, those two rooms aside, everything else is done! And I really love it. This house feels so much brighter than our previous home and with nearly everything inside being brand new it feels super contemporary and exactly how I had been imagining to look. It also feels very minimal which is something I really wanted us to achieve. Less clutter and junk certainly does make for a more comfortable home and work space. 

Obviously with everything that has been going on over the past few weeks I do feel that I have somewhat neglected my blog and it's something I have thought about or felt guilty about on almost a daily basis. It was inevitable that would happen and in many ways I think the break has done me some good. But I am also now keener than ever to start planning and working on new content for both my blog and my You Tube channel. The time out has made me realise how much I enjoy blogging, taking photos and connecting with everyone and when I am not doing that I really miss it.

It's good to be back!
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Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Kat Von D Lock It Foundation & Tattoo Liner



I've had a real itch lately to try a new foundation. In the past i've been a big fan of Too Faced's Born This Way (V& CF) but the price tag, and how quickly I found myself getting through a bottle, led me to return back to an all time old favourite, e.l.f's Flawless Finish (V & CF). Lately though my skin has been suffering and i've found it to be much more oily than usual which hasn't worked well with the e.l.f foundation. At times I have even felt that this foundation has made breakouts on my forehead worse which is a shame because the £7.50 price tag definitely does agree with me.  

I recently asked my followers what new vegan and cruelty free foundation I should try and the response was overwhelmingly unanimous. So many of you all use and love Kat Von D's Lock It and with comments coming back to me like "I'll never change foundation ever again", curiosity finally got the better of me! I quickly placed my order and it arrived the next day.  


My first impressions of this foundation have been excellent. In fact they've been mind bogglingly outstanding! The first time I used it I was so impressed by the coverage and overall finish. I actually don't think i've ever used a foundation before with such great coverage which doesn't feel like I'm wearing a heavy mask. I am so happy that this foundation covers my problem areas and feels light on my skin. Over the past week i've really noticed how much more confident I feel in my skin which is such a great feeling.  


I have combination skin, suffering with an overly oily t-zone more recently and drier skin around my cheeks. My forehead has been frequently breaking out in spots which has really got me down and before using Lock It I just felt like this problem was getting worse. Since trying out this new foundation i've already seen an improvement on my forehead and instead of feeling more oily it now feels drier and much less greasy. I love the fact that this foundation eliminates my oily forehead and is long lasting throughout the entire day.  


After reading some reviews from others I did have some initial concerns that this foundation would cling to and highlight my dry areas but thankfully that wasn't the case. I do make sure I moisturise my skin well before applying and I would advise that if you do have very dry skin to perhaps also invest in the Kat Von D Lock It Primer which I hear works amazingly well. 

I wasn't really keen on returning to spending nearly £30 on foundation but when the product is this good I am happy to pay for it. Foundation is the most important item in my makeup bag and I do believe that it's worth splashing out on one that really suits you and your skin if you happen to find a perfect match. I just hope that it lasts longer than the Too Faced one did for me!


Another Kat Von D product I have had since last Christmas is her infamous Tattoo Liner. Over the past seven months I have been alternating between this and e.l.f's Waterproof Eye Liner Pen and initially I wasn't overly convinced that it was worth its £16 price tag, especially considering that the e.l.f version is only £3 and, in my opinion, worked just as well. 


What I have noticed though, since trying this product out for a longer period of time, is that it holds its liquidity much better than the e.l.f one which I have found dries out more quickly. It's also more moist which means that its application is more fluid than the e.l.f one. Because it's more moist i've found the black colour to be more intense and striking, particularly when applying over the top of eye shadow. All of this has meant that i've found myself reaching for this liquid liner much more than my old cheaper favourite. 

I think the fact that the Tattoo Liner has lasted me a good seven months means that I definitely wouldn't think twice about spending £16 on it again. 


These are the only two products I have tried from the Kat Von D range at Debenhams but my experience of them is leaving me eager to try out more from this collection. I'd love to try the accompanying Lock It Concealer and i've also had my eye on the Shade and Light palette, not that I need another eye shadow palette in my collection but the shades are gorgeous!

Have you tried any Kat Von D makeup yet!?

I'd love to hear some of your own opinions on this range so comment below and let me know your recommendations!
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Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Stop Making Excuses



One thing that continually gets my back up are the people, or more specifically the bloggers, who make up numerous lame excuses for not shopping cruelty free. This post has been bubbling away inside me for some time now so apologies if it sounds like a rant, but at the same time I need to vent! 

I think it’s a huge shame that in this day and age there aren't more big bloggers promoting cruelty free products because the impact they could have on the entire industry could be potentially huge. I saw a glimmer of hope when fellow vegan and YouTuber Naomi Smart said she was going cruelty free, only to then see her promoting high end designer brands who do test in one of her videos a few months later. Not only is this confusing the whole subject of being cruelty free, but it also just screams that she sold out to her audience. I guess when the big brands come knocking and the pay cheque is large enough ethics go completely out the window!??  

Last week I read a ridiculous blog post by a fellow beauty blogger who claimed to be an animal lover, and against animal testing, but who was choosing to continue to buy from brands who test on animals because, you know,.....great makeup. I’m not really sorry if this offends anyone because quite frankly it’s bulls**t! There are no two ways around it - if you are an animal lover then you need to shop cruelty free! If you don't then you are just supporting unnecessary cruelty towards animals, and worst of all promoting it. The really sad, and slighty crazy, thing is that she actually has the word 'bunny' in her blog name. 

The big news of Nars losing their cruelty free status by selling out to China has certainly ruffled some feathers in the world of beauty blogging and it would seem that for some the prospect of never using their favourite foundation again is more upsetting than animals suffering pain and dying needlessy all in the name of make up.    

Lets get real here for a moment… When it comes to shopping cruelty free there is no rule book. To be someone who is against animal testing and who only shops cruelty free does not automatically mean you need to be a vegetarian or a vegan. Yes one would hope that your compassion towards animals will lead to other positive lifestyle changes, like not eating them, but for now you’re doing great. You are on a path of discovery and you are making a big difference so you should be proud of that. 

This whole attitude of ‘well if i’m not going to be perfect then I may as well not bother’ is another load of crap which quite frankly just screams of laziness and is an excuse to cover up the fact that you just don’t care enough. Any small change in the right direction is a change worth celebrating. Small changes lead to bigger changes and influence others to make better choices. The ripple effect in itself is much huger than anyone can even begin to imagine.

I read a comment on Twitter last week which literally left my jaw wide open. One woman claimed she couldn’t make the leap towards going cruelty free because it meant she wouldn’t be able to eat burgers anymore. I’m just going to let that sink in with you for minute…. 

To be completely honest I would much rather someone say that they’re just not that into animals than someone who pretends to be an animal lover, and who makes bold claims that they’re against animal testing, but who will still buys non cruelty free products. If those statements were true then you would simply stop buying from the brands who test on animals, no matter how amazing the makeup is. I’m so tired of reading these excuses and i’m annoyed that people just can’t be honest with themselves, and their readers/viewers. 

When I first decided to start shopping cruelty free I was a meat eater. I then became vegetarian and a year later I started a journey into veganism. I am not perfect, I get things wrong from time to time and I personally don’t think the perfect vegan exists. That being said, I can appreciate what a difference the smallest of changes make. It’s not easy making big lifestyle changes, especially when you have only shopped a specific brand since as far back as you can remember. Trust me, as a previous MAC customer of 10+ years that change was bloody difficult to make and for a while it sucked. But I did it, eventually, and over time, because I had felt like a friggin' animal loving hypocrite for far too long.   

I will support anyone no matter where they’re at in their journey, as long as they’re aware of the changes that need to be made and are working towards that. Shopping cruelty free but still eating meat is better than not giving a shit altogether you know? If you want to go vegan but can’t give up your favourite dairy milk chocolate then go vegan but still eat that chocolate because that’s better than not trying at all. 

Small changes can lead to big progress and lets not forget the power of supply and demand. If we all stop buying a product it’s going to have an impact! People are going to start to take note and ask why. You just need the belief that change is possible and the motivation to actually give a shit!   

We’re in 2017 and it has never been easier to be cruelty free than it is today. There’s an abundance of excellent cruelty free products and makeup out there, it’s just about doing your research and discovering what you do and don’t like. It takes time, it’s not an overnight transition but it is extremely worthwhile and you will feel like a better person for it. 

So what's your excuse? 
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Monday, 10 July 2017

Santorini


Santorini has been on my travel bucket list for years and I have spent many hours scrolling others photos of this beautiful island wishing it was me who was there. Well last month this dream came true and my husband and I finally found ourselves lost for words as we stared out at the view across the caldera, the view I had so often swooned over online. It doesn't matter how many photos you look at, nothing quite prepares you for seeing that view in person. To say it is incredible doesn't even do it the justice it deserves. There really are no words! 

Imerovigli




We spent our first four nights at the beautiful Cocoon Suites in Imerovigli. Our room was perfect and the entire hotel was spotlessly clean. We had a lovely jacuzzi tub on our terrace which was great for cooling down in after being in the heat. It was just amazing to be able to open your doors and have that view on your doorstep! My one slight gripe with this hotel was that many of the rooms didn't have sun loungers which I hadn't realised at the time of booking and the deck chairs provided weren't that comfortable for sitting in for very long. Aside from that everything was perfect! I think the fact that we couldn't really lounge in the sun all day comfortably meant that we got out and explored more than perhaps we would have done.


I really liked Imerovigli which, after exploring the rest of the island, we soon realised is a lot less busy than the other towns. There seems to be a much slower pace of life there and it was considerably less touristy than both Fira and Oia. There were a few good restaurants and cafes but not a great deal in the way of shopping. I think this is the perfect place to stay if you want to enjoy things less crowded and if you take a short walk around the edge you can also see the sunset from Imerovigli which is beautiful.



Oia



The next four nights of our trip were spent in Oia which is where everyone flocks to in the evening to see the spectacular sunsets. As you can probably imagine it's hugely popular with tourists so the footpaths and the roads are really busy but this was my favourite town on the island for shopping and eating. There's a really great selection of restaurants and cafes to choose from in Oia and an abundance of small boutique shops to mooch around. We found it really easy to lose time wandering around all the cobbled streets in the evening and this is the place to go to capture some picture perfect Santorini photos.


Whilst in Oia we stayed with White Pearl Villas who offer a variety of different self catering villas in this area. We ended up upgrading our room so that we had an outside tub but it meant we stayed at a different villa each night we were there. It meant a little upheaval every day but it was worth it for the comfort factor and we got to see the difference in some of the villas we stayed at. The Sunset Chaser was the biggest villa which had an incredible view of the sunset in the evening. It certainly beated battling the crowds in the town for a glimpse of the sun going down! My favourite villa during our stay here was however the Pure Bliss one which in my opinion had the best layout and nicest interior.


    

Kamari Beach



For our final two nights in Santorini we stayed over on the other side of the island at the popular Kamari Beach. This is definitely the more affordable side of Santorini as there is no view of the Caldera but what you miss out on there you gain with access to a beautiful beach and clear blue waters to swim in. Kamari beach reminded me of other typical Greek resorts i've been to before with the main promenade packed with shops and restaurants. It also had some Brit factor with an Irish pub and full English breakfasts available! 


For our time at Kamari Beach we stayed at the Bellonias Villas which is a great hotel situated right on the seafront. I picked this hotel mainly for its gorgeous outside pool area which is really contemporary and comfortable with lots of double sun beds to choose from. To be honest it was exactly what we needed after having spent the majority of our holiday in the main towns. I had been desperate to go for a proper swim and feel the sea breeze on my skin. We definitely got to experience the best of both worlds by splitting our stay between the Caldera view and the beach and i'd recommend you to do the same.   


Our time at Kamari Beach was really relaxing and as we had already done all of the sightseeing on the island this was the perfect time to just stop and switch off from everything. We spent our time between the pool and the black sand beach, swimming, sunning ourselves and sipping on some cocktails. It felt like a completely different holiday to the first part of our week and it felt like we were somewhere else altogether.

Food



There is plenty of choice for vegetarians and vegans in Santorini so do not be put off coming here if you think it is all about meat and dairy. Many of the restaurants we visited had similar menus to each other and it was easy to ask for any ingredients such as cheese/yoghurt/honey to be removed. I also found that many items on the menu were vegan friendly even when they weren't labelled as so. Most places serve pasta, salads, potatoes etc and many meals were enjoyed as a mix of mezze plates which is my favourite way to enjoy dinner! I'm not sure that they completely understand what vegan is out there so just be prepared to improvise a little and you will be fine.

Here are some of the restaurants we ate at and enjoyed a good meal. I didn't take photos at all of them because it was mostly dark and difficult to but hopefully this list will provide you with a general idea of what the food in Santorini was like, and some decent recommendations if you are planning a trip there.

Anogi - Imerovigli

We ate at Anogi on our very first night in Santorini and after doing a quick Trip Advisor check this seemed like a suitable place for us to visit. There's a lot on the menu here including some traditional Greek dishes and vegetarian / vegan friendly ones. We went in for a mixed mezze of food including a Greek salad (with feta cheese removed), an aubergine dip, Santorini tomato balls, chips and bread. 

Avocado - Imerovigli


I had seen some great reviews of Avocado and the name of this restaurant alone completely drew me in! This was the first restaurant we visited that seemed to have a coherently labelled menu with 'potentially vegan' being an option. We enjoyed a more traditional two course meal here which started with an avocado salad which had pieces of orange in it and it was an amazing combination. For my main I went for a simple tomato pasta dish which was also really enjoyable.



Pitogyros - Oia



My husband had seen Pitogyros whilst we were exploring Oia and we were impressed to find that they offered a vegetarian option which was basically chips and salad in a pitta wrap. It was so good as a quick cheap bite to eat at lunch time, although a little off putting as a vegan sitting inside a kebab shop!

Karma - Oia


I had seen Karma whilst wandering the streets of Oia and it looked very cute and romantic inside. Luckily they were able to squeeze us in one evening as we didn't have a reservation and we had a really great meal. I had bbq vegetable skewers with rice and there were a few other veg friendly options on the menu.

Candouni - Oia


Candouni gets very busy so I would advise booking a table or going in early before sunset time. When we visited the special of the day just so happened to be giant vegan balls with potatoes which were pretty amazing! I was shocked that the special was vegan and the staff here seemed really clued up on what was vegan friendly. My husband enjoyed a vegan tomato spaghetti and we shared another salad.



Katharos Lounge - Oia

I think this was my favourite restaurant out of our entire stay in Santorini and I'm sad I don't have any photo evidence but it was so dark there I really couldn't get the pictures I wanted to. Anyway, this laid back restaurant is just outside the main hustle and bustle of Oia and is in the loveliest of locations right by the sea. This is a mezze restaurant so all the plates are designed to be shared and the food was just to die for. In fact we were really tempted to go back here again! We had guacamole with tortilla chips, roasted potatoes, hummus with pitta and salad. There was also live music and dogs roaming around - what could be better!?   

Falafel Land - Fira


Falafel Land in the centre of Fira was a dream come true for us! This was probably our second favourite place to eat on the whole island and again, we wanted to go back for more. Everything on the menu was vegetarian or vegan and everything was clearly labelled. It's more of a quick cheap lunch vibe than an evening out but the food was amazing.

Chill Box - Fira


I noticed Chill Box whilst wandering around Fira and I assumed there wouldn't be any vegan friendly options but thankfully I was wrong. Although this is a predominantly frozen yoghurt and ice cream shop they do have a few dairy free sorbets to choose from and quite a few toppings too. I was really pleasantly surprised, so much so that we went in for way more sorbet than we could eat! I chose a lemon sorbet and topped it with cherry coulis, roasted almonds, dark chocolate sprinkles and an oreo. One pot here set us back a whopping €9.00! I think they just gave us the biggest size without asking us so we felt a little ripped off but still - vegan friendly sorbet with toppings! Who's complaining!? 

JoJo's - Perivolos Beach


JoJo's is a really great pool / beach club and it's the perfect spot if you don't have access to a pool or sun loungers as they have everything here that you need, including the beach outside too. There's a minimum spend for the double day bed loungers of €60 which is worth it if you plan to spend all day there with eating and drinking. The cocktails here were great and there was a vegan friendly veggie baguette on the menu so I was happy enough! 

Tranquilo - Perissa Beach


Tranquilo has a great laid back hippy beach club vibe about it and their menu is just bursting with veg friendly options, so much so that it was difficult to choose what to eat. I wasn't hugely hungry the evening we visited here so I just went for a fried vegetable rice and some guacamole but our entire experience was really enjoyable. My only advice would be to go there on an empty stomach and the giant sized salads looked incredible.    

Elia - Kamari Beach  

Our favourite spot to eat at Kamari Beach was actually our hotel restaurant. There are so many restaurants along the main promenade all competing for your custom that it's almost overwhelming knowing where to start. So we took the easy option at ate close to home! There wasn't a huge amount of veg friendly food on the menu but what there was we really liked. So much so that we went back daily! We shared a roasted veg focaccia sandwich, potato wedges and an avocado salad all enjoyed right by the sea and with the best view. 

It was actually way easier eating vegan in Santorini than I had expected it to be and with the weather so hot during our stay it actually made me want to eat salad every day which is quite unlike me. Our favourite local dishes which are well worth trying was 'Fava' which is basically a bit like hummus made from yellow beans and enjoyed with bread. Santorini tomato balls were also another favourite dish of ours which were on the menu almost everywhere. They're like onion bhaji's but less fragrant and more tomato based, and very yummy.    



Animal Welfare



One thing that did upset me whilst in Santorini were how the donkeys are treated. I talk about this more in my vlog and it was horrible to see first hand such outdated practices taking place. The donkeys in Santorini are promoted as a tourist attraction and you can pay around €6 for a donkey ride from the port at Fira up 500 steep steps into the town. The donkeys are kept in intense heat and sunlight with no shade for up to 12 hours a day and they are offered no food or water during their working hours as the owners don't want them urinating and defecating where the tourists are walking. As if all of that wasn't bad enough they are then forced to carry heavy tourists up and down these steps all day. I've also read reports of donkeys looking malnourished and having open wounds visible. What is worst of all is that there is a cable car ride directly opposite which should mean than no one uses the donkeys in this way but unfortunately they still do. It's very sad to see and I personally do not understand how anyone can contribute towards such cruelty but sadly people still do.


We also saw a lot of stray dogs and cats during our stay which was at times very sad but we did all that we could whilst we were there to help them with some food and water. I couldn't stop crying when a family of skinny kittens arrived on our terrace one night, it was truly heartbreaking to see such poorly animals struggling to survive. Every day after that we fed them whilst we were in Oia and then when we arrived at Kamari Beach we found another stray mum cat and her two poorly kittens who looked like they were on deaths door. I am glad we were able to help them whilst we were there, I just hope other tourists also show kindness and compassion too. To the locals these animals just seem to be a nuisance which is a real shame. It costs nothing to put down a bowl of water but so few people seemed willing to help them.


It was however heartwarming to see and meet others who care about animal welfare. There is also the one silver lining of the Santorini Animal Welfare Association who are doing some amazing work on the island, particularly with stray dogs and the donkeys. They are a non profit organisation who rely on donations and I would ask that if you are able to then please donate to them or pay them a visit if you are travelling to Santorini.

Top Tips



Hire a car or an ATV - it's the best way to get out and about and explore everything the island has to offer. 

If you are on a budget stay on the Kamari beach side of Santorini and travel into Fira, Imerovigli and Oia to see the spectacular views and explore the towns. 

If you see a restaurant you like the look of be sure to make a reservation to secure your place or you may be turned away. 

Make sure you pack some comfortable walking shoes particularly if you intend to explore the towns. Many of the paths are cobble stones and there are a lot of steep steps.

If you enjoy sunbathing make sure you book a hotel with sun loungers and a pool or an outdoor tub. Not all hotels have these facilities and the heat can be very intense so it's great to have an area where you can cool off and  chill out. 

If you see stray cats or dogs always offer them some water and food if you can. We ended up buying cat food to feed a skinny family of stray kittens near to our villa and it felt good to be able to help them.

We visited at the end of June and the heat was extremely intense with it being between 32-35 degrees every day. If you like it a little less hot then perhaps consider visiting a bit earlier in the season.

When you arrive on the island be sure to call ahead to your hotel and advise them of your arrival time so that they can help you with your luggage (especially if you're staying where the caldera view is!). Take it from me - attempting to struggle down those steep cliff edge steps with your luggage is not fun!

DO NOT RIDE THE DONKEYS!


All in all our time in Santorini was amazing and it was a truly unforgettable holiday destination for so many reasons, some better than others. I experienced so many different emotions during our stay and if like me you are an animal lover and you plan to visit Santorini, you definitely need to be prepared to feel some sadness. Those feelings aside, it is a spectacular destination which i'm so pleased to have experienced for myself. I will never forget the views, the heat and all of the furry friends I made along the way.        
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