Saturday, 17 December 2016

CHRISTMAS RECIPE: EASY, NO FAFF VEGAN 'SAUSAGE' ROLLS


Hi lovelies! I cannot believe how fast December has been going! I'd had big plans for lots of festive blog posts and things, but with a busy time at work, at home and catching the inevitable winter flu for a few days, that didn't quite happen! However, it's not too late yet and today, I wanted to share with you all a recipe that I'm super excited about for the festive season. This Christmas will actually be my first Christmas fully vegan, so I've been coming up with recipes for yummy festive foods so that I'm not stuck eating sprouts all day (ugh!).

For me, the best part of Christmas food was never the Christmas roast dinner (though stuffing and roast potatoes have a special place in my heart), but the evening food, the sausage rolls, sandwiches and crisps that we all probably unnecessarily snacked on later in the day while playing board games and drinking too much Prosecco. I decided that even though now I can't quite stomach the idea of an actual sausage roll, I still wasn't going to sit nibbling on pringles alone this year! So, the vegan sausage roll experiment began!

Now don't get me wrong, I love cooking. I love making things from scratch, experimenting with lots of different ingredients and flavours, but with these, I wanted to keep it simple and more importantly, fairly cheap and easy to do. So, you won't find a list of obscure ingredients and expensive spices and seasonings here, basically, these are just one big shortcut with a seriously yummy outcome, so while these sausage rolls aren't going to give any chefs anything to lose sleep over, they're still sure to be a hit with your vegan and hopefully non vegan friends this Christmas.

For these, I got almost all my ingredients from Aldi, all except the lentils, which for some reason they don't seem to sell, but you can get lentils at most supermarkets so that won't be a problem. So, you will need;
Dried red lentils (Any will do and you can also use canned as a shortcut!)
Sliced mushrooms (Again, any kind, I used frozen for speed)
Gravy granules (I used Bisto as it's vegan, the red box!)
Sausage casserole seasoning (again, I used Aldi as it's vegan)
Sage and Onion stuffing mix
Pre rolled puff pastry
Plant based milk

As with almost every other recipe I've ever done ever, I don't measure anything. I do think it's all dependant on taste, but basically, I use roughly equal parts mushrooms and, lentils and then adjust the stuffing mix as needed. So for example, one mug full of cooked lentils plus one mug full of cooked mushrooms, then enough stuffing mix to bind it all together. You can adapt as you go, but there's really no right or wrong here!

To start, I cook my lentils in veg stock on the stove. While they cook, I take my (defrosted) mushrooms, make up some thick gravy and add all the mushrooms and a little gravy to a blender, I then blend them up, adding a little gravy at a time until the mushrooms are totally blended and make a thick liquid/ paste. You don't want to make this too runny, but sort of like a super thick smoothie. When the lentils are cooked, you'll want to drain off all the liquid and add the mushroom smoothie (nice) to them. Add your sausage casserole seasoning and stir through, it'll all still be very runny at the point, but that's where the sage and onion stuffing come in! Add the dried stuffing mix to the mixture until it becomes thick enough to hold its shape. I then put the mixture into a greased loaf tin in the oven for around 20 minutes to cook through.

Once it comes out of the oven, take your pre-rolled pastry and cut the 'sausage' mix into strips. I doubt I need to tell you how to roll them into sausage roll shapes, but just a couple of quick tips; I always score the pastry a couple of times on each roll so that the mixture gets cooked all the way through, I also use a little plant based milk to stick the pastry together at the join, and use a little on top to give them a golden finish - no egg wash needed!

Sorry if this recipe is a little vague, I'm definitely no chef, but my non vegan fiance absolutely loves these, as do I and I promise these are super easy and self explanatory once you start making them! These will be the perfect addition to your Christmas feast and from what I remember, they taste pretty similar to the real thing, so you're sure to impress all your non vegan friends and family!

Merry Christmas!

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Saturday, 3 December 2016

10 UNDER £10: FOR HER


Snow Fairy Gift Set - Lush
Jewellery Tray - Debenhams
Bodycare Set - Boux Avenue
Bobble Hat - Primark
Pyjamas - Primark
Pom Pom Keyring - Harrods
Makeup Bag - Harrods
Snowflake Cookie Candle - Yankee Candle
Rollerball Perfume Set - New Look
Revolution Lipgloss Trio - Superdrug

Hi lovelies! Another Christmas gift guide for you all! I know the blogosphere is full to bursting with festive posts right now, but I think inexpensive guides like this are much more reasonable and realistic for the majority of people. I see so many high end gift guides, which are lovely, but not always ideal if you're looking to buy a small gift for a friend! So, as the title suggests, everything in the gift guide is £10 or less, perfect for stocking fillers, or just a little something for someone special.

Lush is always a winner for gifts as they're not only gorgeously scented and fab for your skin, they also come beautifully packaged, which is great for saving a bit of time wrapping presents. One shop that I think is seriously on point with their gifts this year is Debenhams. The gift section in their stores is beautiful, you can find something for pretty much anyone and their prices are very reasonable too. The jewellery tray in particular is a favourite of mine. I love jewellery trays and this one is just too cute! Another favourite of mine at Christmas is Boux Avenue, I adore their underwear but their gift section is my absolute favourite. Like Lush, they also gift wrap beautifully with every online order or in store purchase. This little bodycare gift set is such a wonderful gift on it's own, but their gifts are actually all three for two, so that's perfect if you have a few people to buy for and the fancy packaging feels a little bit for luxurious too!

Speaking of luxury, I mentioned in my 10 under £10 for Him gift guide that anything from Harrods always feels a little more special, so for this post, I chose two of my favourite girly gifts. At the time of writing this, the makeup bag is on offer for £10, so I thought it was okay to include it! Fingers crossed it stays that way! The other is a Pom Pom key ring, I know these are everywhere right now, but who wouldn't want one from Harrods, right?!

From high end to high street, Primark has so many gorgeous things right now, but this bobble hat and satin pyjama set were two of my absolute favourites. Both perfect for the festive season, but they'll work throughout the whole winter too. For little gifts that will please just about any lady in your life, I thought the Snowflake Cookie candle, Rollerball set and Lipgloss trio were all amazing gifts. The candle is my favourite festive scent of all time, it's super sweet so it may not be your thing if you're not into sugary sweet smells but I'm obsessed! The rollerball set from new look is lovely as the scents are all different and can take you through the whole year, they're really handy to keep in your bag for little perfume top ups throughout the day. I love Makeup Revolution as a brand so any gift from them is going to be a winner. I think inexpensive makeup gift sets like this are great for any girl, but particularly for those just starting out with makeup, it's nice to receive a few things in one.

So that's it! What do you think? I for one would be more than happy to receive any one of these gifts on Christmas day!

Send any gift guides you've done over my way as I've found them seriously useful this year!

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Saturday, 26 November 2016

10 UNDER £10: GIFT GUIDE FOR HIM

Jumper - Primark
Watch - Argos
Aftershave - Next
Scarf - Primark
Mini Pool Table - Wilko
Wallet - New Look
Golf Balls - Harrods
Quarter Yard Beer Glass - IWOOT
Batman Pop Vinyl - Argos
Playing Cards - Next

Hi lovelies! Today, I wanted to do another Christmas gift guide for you all. As it's now officially less than one month to go, I'm starting to get into the Christmas spirit and starting to get serious about getting my Christmas shopping done! Of course, Christmas is an expensive time of year though, so I thought this time, I'd do a couple of '10 under £10' gift guides. I'm starting with one 'for him', because let's face it, boys can be hard to buy for! If there are any other themes you'd like to see, then definitely let me know! A simple for him and for her, or perhaps some more specific, like for Mums, for Grandparents etc.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

BRIDAL: WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING DOS AND DON'TS

None of these dresses are my actual Wedding dress so no dramas!!

Hi lovelies! It's another Bridal blog post for you all today. As many of you will know, I'm going to be getting married next Summer, so by now. Wedding planning is already underway! I posted a little while ago about my experience at Wed2B, a discount wedding dress store, in that post, I did share a few tips, but today, I thought I'd go into a little more detail about dress shopping and share some of my tips for Brides-to-be! I'm going to keep this as simple and straightforward as possible, but I apologise in advance for any rambles and tangents!!

Monday, 7 November 2016

REVIEW: REVOLUTION VIVID BAKED HIGHLIGHTER GOLDEN LIGHTS


Hi lovelies! It feels like forever since I've done a good old fashioned beauty product review for you all! The truth is at the moment, I've just not been trying too many new things makeup wise and those that I have tried just haven't really blown me away! With a wedding to save for, I've been pretty strict on what I spend my money on, gone are the days of buying £100 worth of high end makeup every single pay day! With that in mind though, I did decide to pick up a few bits in Superdrug's 3 for 2 sale. I decided to stick exclusively to brands that were particularly inexpensive as I figured that even if I don't love the products, I could at least blog about them, right??

Friday, 4 November 2016

A/W PRIMARK WISHLIST



Hi lovelies! Today, I thought I'd share a good old fashioned wishlist with you all. I feel like it's been ages since I've done one of these, are wish lists still a thing? I hope so, because what with wedding planning and saving for Christmas, I'm not left with a whole heap of spare cash to be doing lots of hauls let me tell you! However, that brings me to the best part of this wish list. Everything on this list comes to less than £100! Quite a bit less in fact, if you were to buy every one of these, it'd only set you back £71.50! Particularly when buying on trend pieces that I don't think are going to stand the test of time, I really don't like paying over the odds, as I know that while I may love a faux leather slip dress this year, I could look back in a years time and wonder what on earth I was thinking!

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

CHRISTMAS GIFT GUIDE: UNIQUE GIFTS FOR UNIQUE PEOPLE

Hi lovelies! Today, I wanted to do my very Christmas themed blog post, this seemed quite fitting as we're in November now and while some of us may not want to, it's probably time we all started thinking about Christmas! For most of us, there'll only be one or two pay days left before Christmas and it's definitely a good idea to spread the cost out as much as we possibly can! So, today, I wanted to share a few unique gift ideas with you all. These are the kind of gifts that you might get for those hard to buy for people in your life, or perhaps if you want to buy someone a useful gift. As you can probably tell, I'm struggling to explain my 'theme' for this post, so we're just gonna roll with it!

WARNING TO MY FRIENDS & FAMILY! Some of these gifts MAY be for you! I wanted to include some gifts that I thought were particularly good or unique ideas (if I do say so myself!) so if you're a family member, please stop reading/ scrolling!!

Sunday, 30 October 2016

ROASTED PUMPKIN SEEDS TWO WAYS


Hi lovelies! As tomorrow is Halloween, I thought this would be a fitting post for today, as I'm sure many of you will be carving pumpkins or cooking with pumpkins as all the lovely winter veggies are filling our supermarkets at the mo! When carving your pumpkin, or cooking up a butternut squash though, don't just discard the seeds! I'm all about minimising waste when cooking and this is a fab way to make use of your pumpkin seeds. Bonus, did you know that pumpkin seeds are actually really nutritious? They're a great source of zinc which is great for supporting your immune system, heart healthy magnesium and they're a source of vegan friendly omega 3.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

SCHOOL OF ROCK THE MUSICAL REVIEW


Hi lovelies! Today, I wanted to do a review for you all, this time, a theatre review! So on Wednesday 26th November, my sister and I went to see 'School of Rock, The Musical' at the New London Theatre. I was so excited to see this, as School of Rock is a very nostalgic film for my sister and I as it's something we absolutely loved as kids and will still watch now! Because of this though, I was actually almost nervous to see the musical, as I so badly wanted it to live up to my expectations and be as good as the film! So, after spending a lovely girly day in London, we headed to the theatre to watch the show at 7:30pm.

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

HOW TO GET OVER A COLD FAST


Hi lovelies!

Sorry it's been a while, I've had a busy few weeks and for the past few days, have been a little under the weather. However, that is what has led me to write this post. Today, I wanted to share with you a few ways that I personally make myself feel better and some of my personal tips to get through the dreaded cold and flu season!

1. Rest Up.
This one is sometimes easier said that done and I am definitely one to work through an illness (unless I'm super contagious and putting others at risk of course!) and I do know that sometimes, it's just not an option to take a day off work. Colds can hit several times over the winter and when you've got a job to go to, I would never recommend taking time off every single time, firstly because you just can't do that and also because I personally think if you don't (gently!) force your body to get up and get through being under the weather, you'll struggle more and more to cope each time. That said, when you have been out to work, or out running whatever errands you need to do, come home and put your feet up. Maybe leave the housework for an extra day or so, get to bed early and just chill out when you can. I find getting to bed early and getting plenty of sleep helps me get better so much faster without the need to take several days off. 

2. Stay hydrated!
Another quite obvious tip is to stay hydrated! By this, I do not mean endless cups of coffee or bottles of Diet Coke to keep you awake, I mean water. I tend to avoid anything else at all when I'm unwell, as even fruit juices can be packed with additional sugar and other additives that aren't going to help you recover at all. Adding lemon or ginger to hot water can improve taste and sometimes help to soothe a sore throat. The reason I stick to water is because we all know both sugar and caffeine cause your energy levels to rise and fall very quickly, which may initially help you through the day when you're sick, but putting your body through the extra stress of sugar highs and caffeine crashes will only slow down the recovery process.

3. Season your food!
Of course what I definitely don't mean is adding a ton of salt to every meal, but some seasonings can be massively helpful in kicking a cold. A few examples include: Turmeric, which has anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in antioxidants, Ginger, which can help to fight nausea and aid digestion, Chilli, which, again, has anti oxidants and can help to spice up your food which can help to clear sinuses and Garlic, which contains compounds that help the immune system fight germs. These are just a few examples though, there's a whole host of benefits to adding seasonings to your food, which is definitely worth looking into, especially when you're unwell.

4. Eat up.
Again, this may be another quite obvious one, but it is super important to actually eat when you're unwell. Sometimes the last thing you want to do is get out of bed and cook for yourself, but food is fuel. Think about how rubbish you feel when you're super hungry, perhaps you had a super busy day and skipped breakfast and lunch, you feel pretty weak and crappy come dinner time right? When you're sick, your body is already having to work super hard to fight infection, so when you don't give it the fuel it needs to even just get through a regular day, you're not giving yourself much hope for a quick recovery! Eating plenty of healthy food, including lots of fresh fruit and veg will seriously speed up your recovery time.

5. Medicate.
I am definitely not one for dosing up on lots of pills and medicines when I'm sick, however, sometimes it is necessary. For me, I do like to find remedies that are a little more natural than just popping pills every four hours. A couple of things that really work for me are Echinacea drops or capsules and Menthol Crystals. Echinacea is a herb that is believed to relieve cold and flu symptoms. I find this works best if taken as soon as you feel a cold coming on, but it does help to lessen the symptoms throughout. Menthol Crystals are used to help clear sinuses. I've used them this year while I had a cold, but I also used them last year when I had a seriously bad sinus infection and they were amazing for helping to clear my sinuses and in turn, relieving the splitting headaches that came with it! You dissolve the crystals in hot water and inhale the vapours and they are incredible. Top tip though, do not use too many crystals as the vapours will blow your head off!

Luckily for me, I don't get ill very often at all. Even less so since going vegan, as I'm much more conscious and aware of what I'm eating and getting the correct nutrients. So, when I do come down with the common cold, I'm definitely not so used to it any more and I'm going to do whatever I can to fight it! Of course, as with every post, these are all my own opinions, I am not a doctor or nutritionist, but these tips definitely won't hurt if you try them and they absolutely work for me.

Hope this was somewhat helpful! Let me know if you have any tips for beating the dreaded winter cold!

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Friday, 7 October 2016

LIVING WITH A BOY


Hi lovelies! A bit of a different post for you all today. As much as I adore well thought out beauty, fashion and food posts, there's sometimes nothing I love more than sitting on my sofa and writing up a good old chatty post. So, today, I wanted to write about something that's a little bit random, but I've been planning to write it for some time now. I'm at that stage in life where a lot of my friends are starting to move in with their partners, get engaged, generally just start being proper grown ups, so I thought I'd write a semi helpful post about moving in with a boy.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

WEDDING DRESS SHOPPING: MY EXPERIENCE AT WED2B


Hi lovelies! I'm really excited to write this post for you all today, as it's about what has so far been my favourite part of planning my wedding - dress shopping! Aside from the venue, the dress was what I wanted sorted first, as I don't think you can decide on your Bridesmaids outfits, flowers, decorations or sometimes even photography until you have your dress. As much as dress shopping is super exciting, it can also be very daunting and extremely stressful. So, today, I thought I'd share my experience

Friday, 30 September 2016

CHOOSING THE RIGHT PLASTIC SURGEON

You've made the decision to undergo plastic surgery and get your wonky nose/uneven

boobs/wobbly belly fixed ... now what? Your next step is to choose your surgeon and with

thousands out there, that's often a difficult decision to make. Here are some tips to finding your

surgeon.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

GUEST POST: MICROBLADING, THE LATEST EYEBROW TREND EXPLAINED!

Hi lovelies! Today's post is a guest post and it's one I'm super excited about as it's written by Clare Weyers, who I actually trained with when I first started out in beauty! I did a lot of my initial beauty training with Clare, so I can tell you first hand that this lady knows her stuff! So, if you're considering getting your eyebrows Microbladed, or fancy training in this treatment, this will absolutely be worth a read beforehand. Enjoy!


Clare Weyers is the owner of Elite Beauty School in Essex. She's recently started a new course at her beauty school: Microblading. What exactly is this new form of eyebrow treatment? What makes it so special? Here she shares everything you need to know about the new eyebrow trend.

With a variety of eyebrow treatments on the market, it’s difficult to know which one is going to be best to get the brows you want. Waxing, plucking, threading, tattooing — the choice is almost endless! Now a new eyebrow style has been thrown into the mix: Microblading.

Marie Claire is keen to try the new method, and it’s highly tipped to be the best new eyebrow treatment. If you haven’t heard of it yet, here’s everything you need to know about the treatment.

What Makes Microblading Treatment Different?

Microblading works with the eyebrows you already have to enhance their shape or style. The treatment is done using a small, manually handled disposable microblade. Each blade is drawn on individually, giving the brow a totally natural look alongside your natural hairs. It’s the delicate nature of the treatment and drawn-on blades which make this option unique and popular. “Why didn’t I try this sooner?!” is one response to the treatment, and will probably be said many more times.

Unlike tattoos, the cosmetic makeup used in microblading is added to the epidermal (outer) layer of the skin, meaning it’s not permanent. Your new brows can last approximately 18 to 36 months. During or after this time, you can have a colour top-up or refresh.

Who can have the treatment?

Unfortunately, if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you won’t be able to undergo treatment. Prior to treatment, you’ll have a full consultation about the style and colour you want to achieve. You’ll also have a skin test to make sure your skin is suitable for treatment. It’s important to disclose any skin problems you have, as this could affect the end result.

Microblading is a popular choice for those who have very light brows, or who are fed up and frustrated with constantly filling in their eyebrows in the morning. If you’ve suffered hair loss due to chemotherapy or alopecia, microblading offers a new way to get the brow you want.

Does the treatment hurt?

The treatment can take two or three hours, and a numbing agent will be added to the brows beforehand. Those who have had microblading say there is a very small amount of pain at first, but once the initial pain is over, the pain lessens as you know what to expect. Pain aside, people say the treatment is absolutely worth it!

Aftercare is essential to maintaining your new look. If you feel some irritation or redness, vaseline can work well to ease this.

Is the treatment expensive?

The average cost for the initial treatment begins at £200-£300, with follow-up treatments for refreshes or top-ups to come. Be sure to ask how much these additional services will be when you go for your consultation. If you’re on a tight budget for beauty, it may require some saving.

Interested in trying the new treatment? Head down to your local beauty therapist to find out some more information. It might be just what you need to give your brows that glamorous revamp you were looking for. Microblading can be the answer you’re looking for to give you that extra boost of confidence with your look. For more information and beauty tips, check out Clare’s blog for more beauty advice and information.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

LISTEN TO THIS

Hi lovelies! Something I realise I've done very little of on my blog is posts about music, which seems crazy to me as music is such a huge passion of mine. I've been slighty very sporadic with blogging lately and while that's mostly to do with my life just being slightly crazy right now, it's also because I can't always think of things to write about. I've got a pile of products that I do want to get around to reviewing, but where I've been so busy, I've not tried them out yet and I never like to review without giving a product a fair test first! So, I was sat in front of my laptop, staring at the screen today, thinking what can I write about? Then, I remembered why I love blogging so much, it's my little space on the internet to discuss things that I love, with whoever fancies having a read! So, it makes sense to me to share something that's such a huge part of my life!

Today, I thought I'd share with you all a few of my current favourite songs, these are all fairly new, but I'd love to share some of my all time favourite songs at some point if anyone would be interested!

The first song I'm sharing with you all had to be Green Day. If you know me even at all, you'll know that Green Day are my favourite band of all time. I've literally loved them since I was a kid as I grew up listening to this kind of music a lot. They've not had a new album out for four years, so when their new Album 'Revolution Radio' was announced, I lost my shit slightly. The actual album doesn't come out until the 7th of October, but after releasing the first single 'Bang Bang', they more recently released the title track and I am obsessed. The style is slightly more back to their roots and definitely political, but they've kept it current which is so important. I find it so frustrating when fans complain that a band has changed their style, these men are in their 40s now, they're not going to be singing the same stuff they did in 1991. If you ever liked Green Day at all, I think this album is going to be one to look out for, I'm so excited!

Definitely a change of pace from the last song, but this year, another of my favourite bands 'The Rifles' bought out a new 2 Disc Album 'Big Big Life'. I'm still listening to the two to get to know all of the songs, but as with any album, there are a few stand out tracks for me (check out Wall Around Your Heart and the Acoustic 'Victoria' also!). I think this song in particular is beautiful. 'Jonny Was A Friend Of Mine' sounds like such a happy, upbeat song, which in a sense, it is, but when you actually listen to the lyrics, they're so sad and lovely. When I listen to a song, the lyrics over anything else are the most important component for me and in this song they're so simple, but so beautiful.
Deaf Havana are another long time love of mine, yes, even when 'Friends Like These' was everyone's MySpace song. I think recently though, they've really been coming into their own and finding their sound. They have announced that they will be releasing an Album, but in the past year they've released two singles 'Casseopia' and 'Sing'. Again, I just love the lyrics of this song. It's been three years since their last album and to me it just feels as though they put everything into this song, I think it's definitely a good sign of things to come!

Catfish and The Bottlemen are again, another band that I'm absolutely loving lately and 'Soundcheck' from their latest album, 'The Ride' is definitely my favourite song they've ever done. I think they've got a sound that appeals to most people, without being too 'Kiss FM' (sorry). This song in particular seems to go down really well with whoever is listening to it - it'll be a definitely 'do play' song for our Wedding DJ for sure!

So, that's it! A bit of a random post for me, but I just love sharing my favourite music and I'd love to know what you all think of these songs! Let me know what your favourite songs are also!


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Monday, 19 September 2016

FOODS THAT YOU MAY NOT REALISE ARE VEGAN


Hi lovelies! I'm finally writing another vegan/ food post, it feels like forever since I've sat down to write one of these! With wedding planning pretty much set to take over the next 11 months of my life, it's taken a while to get back into the swing of things and frankly, I've struggled to think of much else!! But, I love writing posts like this so I thought it was about time I did! 

Since going vegan around 6 or 7 months ago, my family and friends have been slowly learning more and more about what vegans do and don't eat, however when you don't know too much about veganism, it is a bit of a minefield and I do find that I get asked 'can you eat...' a lot. So, I thought I'd list a few foods that I regularly get asked about, or just foods that I think many non vegans may not realise are actually vegan. This could be helpful if you're a new or aspiring vegan or if you have someone who eats a plant based diet in your family. 

Bread
I started with this one as funnily enough it's probably the one I get asked about the most. This is for one of two reasons, many people assume all bread has milk or eggs in, or people assume that if you're vegan, you're also gluten free (which I'm not!). Most bread that you can buy in the supermarket is generally totally vegan. Pre packaged sliced bread in particular, but also many bakeries bake bread with no animal ingredients. Sometimes supermarkets package their fresh bread, in which case, allergens (including dairy and eggs) are generally listed, but if not, you can just ask. There are exceptions so do scan the ingredients*.

*Top tip, eggs and dairy are nearly always listed in bold on ingredients lists, as in the UK, allergens must be made clear, so this makes reading packets super easy!

Cereals
You'd be surprised how many of your favourite cereals (including chocolate ones!) are actually vegan. Obviously you'll want to use a plant based milk, but otherwise you've got a huge selection! I do stick to healthier cereals generally, but if I fancy a treat (yes, kids cereals are my idea of a treat), I love Aldi's own brand chocolate hoops or Cinnamon Grahams!

Biscuits 
Many biscuits are vegan but you do have to be careful where you buy. For example, Aldi's Dark Chocolate Digestives are totally vegan, Tescos ones aren't. Aldo's own brand Jammie Dodgers are vegan, the regular brand aren't. In fact, lots of Aldi's biscuits are vegan, so it's definitely worth a look!

Iced Buns and Jam Doughnuts
This is super random and we're clearly not sticking to healthy foods (you don't need me to tell you that fruit and veg are vegan I'm sure!), but a recent discovery of mine is that some - not all - iced buns and jam doughnuts are vegan! The Co-Op do a pack of jam doughnuts that don't contain eggs or dairy. Some bakeries also do iced buns that are vegan but sometimes they are made with milk so it is important to check just in case!

Chocolate
Of course, not all chocolate is vegan, in fact most isn't. However, many dark chocolate bars are vegan, some supermarket own brand chocolate is vegan (I actually really like the 35p Sainsbury's basics kind!), Cadbury bournville is vegan, many Lindt dark chocolate bars are (most importantly, the dark chocolate bunny at Easter!), just check the ingredients for milk. If you like dark chocolate, it's good to know that you don't always have to go for the expensive free from ranges in super markets!

Sorbet
You may think the dessert menu when eating out is pretty off limits as a vegan, but spotting sorbet on the menu is a joyous moment as a plant eater. Sorbet can contain dairy, but it very rarely does, so do check if you're unsure. Side note, for those in the U.K., I massively recommend trying the Sorbet at Zizzis, they have three flavours, all of which are amazing.

'Meat' Flavoured Crisps
This one blows my mind a little too sometimes, but many meaty kinds of crisps like bacon frazzles, BBQ Pringles (not all pringles are vegan though!), skips, even bacon bits (not a crisp, but those little bacon flavoured crispy things that feature at many salad bars for some reason) are vegan. Always check with any kind of crisps, but you would be surprised how many options there are.

Pasta
When I initially went vegan, I assumed pasta at restaurants would be mostly off the menu.  However it surprised me how many restaurants actually don't use egg pasta, so that's fab! Near enough all dried pasta in the shops is vegan too, which was something a lot of my friends and family hadn't realised so that's your quick 'I finished work late and can't be bothered to cook' dinner sorted!

Instant Noodles
Not something I recommend but my fiancé buys these every now and then and I was surprised reading the ingredients of a couple that they were actually generally totally fine for vegans. Once again, there are exceptions and I'm sure many contain meat, eggs, or milk but again, another quick, if a little nutritionally lacking, meal idea.

So, that's all I can think of for now! If you liked this post though or found it at all useful, I'm definitely up for doing more posts like this!

Let me know what your favourite 'accidentally vegan' food is in the comments!

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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

DO YOU


Hi lovelies! I don't honestly know where to start with this post, it's a very broad topic and something that I have a lot to say on, but instead of thinking it all over, writing notes and figuring out exactly how to word this, I'm sitting here, on my laptop just letting my thoughts guide my fingers!

This year has been a monumental year for me, first, I made a huge lifestyle choice back in February and went vegan, I totally changed my diet and lifestyle to adjust to the knew information I had learned and ethics and morals that I have gained. Later on in the year, Darren and I got engaged and are now in the process of planning our wedding for next year, which is so, so exciting! And also, Green Day (aka my first loves) are releasing a new album and UK tour dates, which is of less serious but very nearly equal importance to everything else mentioned. Just throwing that out there.

So two (three) big life events for me, both of which have totally changed the course of my life and made me a million times happier than I've ever been. That said though, for both of these things, I sometimes feel very judged, which is something I've never really had to deal with before. Sure, I've touched on topics like skinny shaming, which has affected me in some ways, but in a less direct way than what I'm talking about today.

As for getting married, I'm 22, yes, that's young. However, it's very much legal and therefore pretty much nobody's business. While I've not had any kind of judgement whatsoever from Family and Friends who have been nothing but supportive, I have had comments from strangers, be it in the internet, in person (just mention weddings and everyone you talk to has an opinion!) on how young we are. Never necessarily in a malicious way, but more in a backhanded, smug, 'I know better than you' way. The reason that not one of our family members or amazing friends have commented on our age is because they know us. They know that we've been together for five years and love each other completely and better one another. They know that this wasn't a rush decision (despite a totally out of the blue proposal, granted!). With that in mind, I don't see what gives anyone who knows nothing about us to make comments like; 'God, but you're so young!', 'Aren't there things you want to do before getting married??' and my favourite 'If my boyfriend proposed now, I'd throw the ring down the sink!' (a swiftly deleted Instagram comment).

More so than marriage (which the vast majority of people have been amazing about!), is Veganism. For some reason, when mentioning that you are vegan, a lot of people are suddenly hugely concerned about your health and feel the need to tell you how humans 'need' meat to survive (despite literally standing before a vegan who is very much alive). I don't mind one bit when people ask me questions about my lifestyle, I expect that. People are curious and that's fine, I work in the beauty industry and chat to interesting people every day and ask them a million questions about their lives, families, jobs etc. However it's when people who don't know much about me or veganism in general, tell me that I must be deficient in iron or that I must miss chocolate and bacon or that that has just has to be sooo hard when going out to eat, or that it must be such a pain for my family and friends (who, once again are all absolutely perfect and support my choices and even make amazing vegan brownies - shout out to my best friend, Zoe!). To pretty much tell someone they're wrong for believing in something and doing something that benefits their health and the animals and environment is not okay.

I'm not saying what I'm saying for sympathy or validation, I'm self assured enough to know that I'm making the best decisions for myself and my life. However the point that I do want to make is that unless someone asks for your opinion, or you know that someone truly values your opinion, you have no right to judge them based on choices they make that doesn't have an impact on your life. The internet is very easy place to judge people and it's a normal, human thing to do to form an opinion on something you see, however you don't always need to share it.

I'm not just writing this post for me either, I see this sort of thing every single day. Comments on instagram pictures, tweets, blog posts, facebook updates, telling people that what they're doing, wearing, saying, eating or even feeling is wrong.

On the flipside though, I also see a lot of this from the other side too. I've had girls compare themselves, saying that they're jealous that I'm 22 and engaged and living away from home and yet they're older than me, living with parents and don't have a boyfriend yet. This honestly bothers me even more. I don't get a lot of this, but I see it a lot online, girls comparing themselves to those in better jobs, or with bigger blogs or a larger instagram following, girls who they think are prettier than them, I've even seen girls comment on engagement photos (not my own), tagging their boyfriends, literally getting mad that they aren't doing the same.

It is so easy to compare yourself to someone else. It's also unfortunately just as easy to judge someone else and put yourself above them, but in both cases, you shouldn't. Everyone does things differently, everyone's situation is different and there's always someone that would love to be in your position. For example, my (twin!) sister still lives at home with my parents and she's single. However, this is because she's incredibly hard working and has just finished 4 years at University and is now back home to start her very first teaching job, a career that she's worked so hard for and is massively passionate about. Her life is taking an entirely different path to mine and we're both completely happy. I didn't go to University, which, back when we were 18, made me feel like I was somehwhat inferior to my sister. Now though, I'm living alone with my Fiancé and our gorgeous dog, I run a business and I'm getting married next year. Neither or us, nor one of our friends or family members thinks one of us is more or less accomplished than the other, in fact, our huge differences make life a lot more interesting and exciting!

What I'm trying to say is, it's very easy to place yourself above or below somebody in your own mind, but the reality of it is, we're all here once, we've all got one life and if we all lived it in exactly the same way, life would be insanely boring. Imagine meeting your friends for a drink at the weekend to all chat about your identical jobs, only to then chat about your holidays that you've all booked in the same place and the same handbags you all bought out with you - yawn!

In life, you create your own journey and it doesn't always go smoothly, but it's impossible to please everyone all the time, so do you, make choices that make you happy. Whether that's going vegan, changing your career, getting married, getting a tattoo, going to a Green Day gig (pray for me) or whatever, it's easy to be consumed by what others are doing and I think it's about time we just tried to stop caring so much.

I really hope this made at least some sense, please feel free to discuss in the comments - I'd love to know your thoughts on the topic.

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Thursday, 1 September 2016

BRR, WINTER IS COMING!

Today, I am sorry to say I am going to talk mainly about getting ready for winter.
I love summer, but have to accept the fact that the autumn equinox has just passed, which means that we are now officially in the autumn season. That means fewer dreamy summer afternoons, but more opportunities to snuggle up on the sofa with the dog in front of the fire enjoying a cosy evening.
In a way, the change in the weather is welcome because it gives me an excuse for another shopping spree. The chance to take a look at women’s coats, and buy myself a nice new one to add to the ones I already own.
Beautiful coats
I have already had a look around online, and am pleased to report that there are some amazing women’s coat out there. This year I would say that designers have very much gone their own way rather than following a single style, or colour, trend.
One of my favourites is a metallic bomber jacket. I am not necessarily going to buy and wear one, but it is great to see this classic coat getting a modern makeover.
70s chic
This year, there are many coats that have a late 70s, early 80s look and feel. They range from military style overcoats, to tailored jackets, which are perfect for work or a glamorous night out on the town.
Unusual cuts
It is also great to see gilets making a comeback too. They are the perfect thing to wear for a meal out, or to a party.
Bold is Beautiful
This year the designers have clearly decided to have a bit of fun with their designs. If you like bold patterns, there are plenty to choose from including leopard skin print versions. Again, this style is not for are not for everyone, but wearing something with a bold pattern is a great way to add some zing to an outfit.
Practical duffle coats and parkas
Of course, the main purpose of a coat is to keep you warm and dry, so it is good to see a range of parkas and duffle coats available. They are a great option for taking the dog for a walk or if you have a long commute that includes queuing for public transport.
Again, designers have had a bit of fun with these classic designs, which has given these iconic designs a fresh new look. I am particularly impressed by the bold patterns I have seen incorporated into the duffle coats. Of course, you can buy single colour versions, but the check ones look great too.
Shorter lengths
The other thing I have noticed is that, this year, the lengths of the coats are quite short. Most finish at the waist or mid-thigh point. These are stylish, but if you have to spend time queuing in bad weather you may be better off opting for an overcoat, or trench coat.

Naturally, I will also need at least a couple of women’s jumpers, and I have been looking at those too. So, the chances are I will be sharing a knitwear roundup with you at some point in the near future.

Monday, 29 August 2016

ENGAGEMENT PARTY: PLANNING, TIPS AND IDEAS


Hi lovelies! Another Engagement/ Wedding themed post today, I promise eventually I'll post about something else, but I thought I'd get this post up while it was still fresh in my mind to do so! So, I mentioned in my Bridesmaid Gift post and my Engagement Party OOTD that I'd get a post up all about our Engagement Party, what we did, why we did it, who we invited and some little DIY's that I did for the day!

So, we held our Engagement party at my Parent's house and had a garden party that started in the afternoon and went on into the night. We decided to do it this way as we wanted a really chilled, relaxed environment for everyone to get to know each other and socialise before the wedding. We kept it fairly small and only invited those would be invited to the wedding, some people may not agree but I think this is quite important, we're keeping the wedding quite small as you can definitely go crazy on the guest list, so I didn't want to invite anyone to the engagement party who then wouldn't be getting an invite for the big day! The main thing for us was to get the majority of the two families together so that they'd at least know who everybody was when the wedding comes around.




We kept the decorations fairly minimal but I did want to DIY a few just for a bit of a personal touch. One of my favourite things was this 'D Heart C' hanging sign. I made this simply by cutting the letters out of thick card and gluing scrunched tissue paper to them. It was really cheap and really easy to make. The pink and blue bunting was from The Range and the tassel bunting was a DIY that I found on Pinterest. I won't even try to describe it, so if you'd like to give it a go, I used this tutorial! I got the tissue paper from card shops as I used the kind that you'd typically use to wrap presents, if you could though, I'd recommend using craft shop tissue paper, as the kind I used had creases!

Something that went down really well, particularly with Darren's nieces and nephews, was our party favours. For these, I used cellophane bags filled with various treats. I used Popcorn for the 'He Popped The Question' bags, Party Ring biscuits for the 'He Put a Ring on it' bags and Peppermint Rock for 'She Got Her Rock'. I really loved how these turned out. They were really easy to make, but I did have to make 50 in total, so it took a while. I enlisted the help of my sister with these so that saved some time and I did the rock bags in advance as the sweets were wrapped. If you're going to do the popcorn or party rings though, I'd keep it to the night before or morning of, as they can go stale if they're not tied tight enough!




One thing I'd highly recommend doing if you can is this polaroid guestbook. I had the polaroid camera already and I just bought lots of films to replace throughout the day and evening and guests could snap pics from the party from their perspective (this is just a small selection of the ones we got!) and stick them in with stickers and either sign their name or leave us a message. I think we may even do this sort of thing again on our wedding day as I love silly pictures like this and it's so lovely to look back on.

I absolutely loved our engagement party and I'm so glad we did it the way we did as it was just lovely to have almost everyone that'd be attending the wedding together and getting to know each other in such a chilled out way. As it was during the day,we just did buffet food which was perfect for everyone as we didn't do anything too formal and everyone could pick and choose what they wanted. My sister and I also made a huge completely vegan cake, which I can't for the life of me find a picture of, but that went down extremely well, which I was super pleased about - as a vegan you can't help but feel slightly smug when people enjoy your food!

To finish this post, I thought I'd share a few quick tips for anyone throwing an Engagement party - this is just my opinion, of course you can throw your party any way you like!

  • Keep it simple, too many organised activities or forced dancing can feel very awkward and uncomfortable for people who don't know each other too well yet.
  • Invite only your wedding guests. I think it comes across a little rude inviting anyone who won't be coming to the big day. If you're having a very small wedding, or are planning to elope though, it could be nice to throw an engagement party for those who won't be attending, but I'd make this clear from the get go.
  • Expect gifts, but don't make it a big deal! We didn't ask for or expect gifts at our engagement party at all, but our friends and family were so generous. We kept it low key though and put any gifts away in another room so that anyone who didn't bring something wouldn't feel awkward. We waited until after the party to open them and sent out personal thank you cards to everyone.
  • Say thank you! This ties in with the last point, I do think you should send thank you cards to everyone, not just those who bring gifts. Every person you invited has made an effort to be there and I think it's really important to recognise that.
  • Make an effort to introduce people and chat to everyone. I made sure that I introduced everyone to each other so that everyone knew who they were talking to and I tried my best to take some time to get around and talk to everybody. As I said before, they've made an effort to be there and the least you can do is give them a moment or two of your time! 


So, that's it! I've kept this post as short as possible, but if there's anything else you'd like to know, I'd be more than happy to answer any questions in the comments!


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Monday, 22 August 2016

WEDDING WISHLIST*


Bridesmaid's Robe - Boohoo
Bride Night Tee - Boohoo
Wooden Number - Festive Lights
Dream Catcher - eBay
Flip Flop Basket - eBay
Sandals - Etsy

Hi lovelies! Another wedding post for you all today, along with some massively exciting news! It's looking like I've found my wedding dress!! All going well, we should be ordering this week, eek! So, that means the wedding planning is getting pretty real so as you can imagine, I've been coming up with lots of ideas and doing a lot of browsing for wedding things!

I think the Bridesmaid and Bridal robes and PJs are so cute and perfect for the morning of the wedding when you're getting ready. There are so many out there but Boohoo have been one of my favourite sites to look on as the prices are so reasonable! I've got six bridesmaids so spending tons of money on each gown is definitely not an option!

As for decoration on the day, we've not decided 100% what we're going to do yet but I do want to keep it fairly simple. That said, I do absolutely love the Wooden Number lights, they have letters and numbers and I'd love to have either the date or maybe our name/ surname or something! I also love these big white dream catchers, I'm not sure what I'd do with them but I'd definitely love to have them hanging somewhere.

The sandals though you can't see, have blue soles (check out the Etsy page to see!), which I thought was lovely as it means you have your something blue but it's hidden. I'm not too sure, but I think I want flat shoes, at least for part of the day and these look fab! As much as I love heels, I do think it's important to be comfortable too, so I'd love to have an option of some flat shoes to change into. Speaking of which, I think this flip flop basket is just gorgeous and such a lovely idea for all the ladies at your wedding. So many people end up barefoot in the evening and I think to have some flip flops out is much nicer for your guests.

So, that's it! What do you think of my picks?

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Thursday, 18 August 2016

SUMMER STYLING: MY ENGAGEMENT PARTY




Hi lovelies! Sorry it's been so long since my last post, as you'll know if you follow me on twitter or instagram, it's been getting pretty real with Wedding planning lately and I've been so busy with it all and as a beauty therapist, summer is definitely the most crazy time of year, so unfortunately, my blog has taken a little bit of a back seat! However, I'm so excited to share the whole process of wedding planning and the lead up to the big day with you all, so it felt like a great time to share the outfit I wore for my engagement party! I did style this around the idea of engagement and weddings, but of course it'd be fab for any other summer party too!

Our engagement party was such a special day, we invited almost everyone that will be attending the wedding, which was great as it meant that they all got to meet before the big day. I'll do a full post on the party itself soon, as it may be helpful to those of you who are engaged/ have friends who're recently engaged!

So, as you can see from the photos above, I decided to go for a white mini dress as I thought this was like a nod to a wedding dress, but much more casual of course! This is a Missguided dress that I bought on ASOS and if you like it, you're in luck as it's currently on sale! Be quick though, as I've noticed a few sizes are now sold out! I bought this in a size 6 which is my usual size and it fit perfectly and I got so many compliments on it from friends and family, I absolutely love it.

I kept it seriously simple with accessories and simply wore my Tiffany necklace as it was a gift from Darren a few years ago and some blue heels that I got from New Look a couple of years ago. They're not in stock any more, but I'm sure you can find similar elsewhere! The idea was to wear a white dress with 'something blue', I wasn't sure if people would catch onto this, but they did and it was definitely a talking point throughout the day!

So, that's it! What do you think of my outfit idea? As you can see, I roped Darren in too and he also wore white with blue shoes! An engagement party (and wedding of course!) is something you'll only do once (hopefully!!) so I really wanted to have fun with it and having the perfect outfit obviously helps! Let me know if you'd like to see more wedding/ engagement type posts in the future as I love doing them.

This post was in collaboration with Ocean Credit Cards as part of their Summer Styling project.

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Wednesday, 3 August 2016

'WILL YOU BE MY BRIDESMAID?' GIFT IDEA


Hi lovelies! You have no idea how excited I've been to share this post with you all as it's going to be the first of many Engagement/ Wedding posts on my blog! If you follow me on any social media you'll be aware that my boyfriend (now Fiancé!) Darren and I recently got engaged! I've been absolutely dying to start writing up some posts on the engagement party (which will follow this post shortly!) and early wedding preparations, but I've had to keep it all quiet until after the party in case any of my friends and family had a peek beforehand! One thing I've had to keep extra quiet was my plans for asking my Bridesmaids to be in the wedding. I decided that though we've not yet set a date, I wanted to ask my girls early so they'd know in plenty of time and because all of these girls are such a huge part of my life, I wanted them to each have a special moment at our Engagement party too.

So, obviously I decided to ask my girls at our Engagement party as I knew I'd have all (but one, unfortunately as she was unable to make it!) the girls together in one place and it just seemed like an appropriate time to ask. I'm going to have six girls as my Bridesmaids, three of which are my cousins, two are my best friends from school and of course, my Maid of Honour is my twin sister! I wanted to ask them in a creative way and at the same time, give them each something to show how much I appreciate them. I'd seen so many ideas of ways to ask your girls on Pinterest, so I did take inspiration from that, but I also wanted to include bits and pieces that were actually useful for all the girls, as well as being cute things that made the bags look super pretty!

First up, I bought six matching gift bags and six cards, all from John Lewis. I think you can buy actual Bridesmaid asking cards, but I just really loved these ones and they were totally blank inside, so there was plenty of room to write my own message. Inside each card, I wrote the same message 'I don't know when, I don't know where, but I know I want you there! Will you help me tie the knot and be my Bridesmaid?', I then attached a silver bow necklace to each card, I found these on etsy - I actually can't find the exact seller now, but if you type in silver bow necklace into amazon, etsy or eBay, there'll be tons of options similar to this one. I thought this was really cute as it tied in (figuratively and literally!) with the 'tie the knot' message. I then wrote each girl their own personal message on the other side of the card about how much they mean to me and why I'd love them to be in our wedding. I sort of do know when are where now, but it wasn't set in stone when I gave these out, so I wanted the note to be something that didn't give too much away so I thought this worked perfectly.

To fill each bag, I chose an assortment of things that both looked pretty and should be really useful. All but one of my maids are 18 and over, so for the older girls (except one who doesn't drink wine!) I bought a little bottle of Moscato Sparkling Rose, then for the other two, so it matched, I bought these cute mini bottles of Fentiman's Pink Rose Lemonade from Waitrose. Again, for the older girls, I bought each of them Pink Champagne Truffles from John Lewis (not vegan, but none of my girls are and I don't like to force my views on others!!) and for my youngest lady, some cute pink foil wrapped heart chocolates from The Cocoabean Company, also from John Lewis. I'm pretty sure you're not going to get sloshed on Champagne Truffles, but I thought plain old chocolate would probably be her preference anyway!

You could absolutely leave each gift bag at that with the drink, chocolates and necklace, but I have an absolute obsession with gift giving and wanted to get a few more bits to make the bags extra special and slightly more personal to each girl. So, I picked up a set of seven miniature perfumes from Next, I thought this was fab as each perfume had it's own cute little box too, so it just made it look that bit prettier! I then tested each one (sorry if you're reading this girls, your perfume is missing one spray!) and decided which perfume would best suit which of the girls. I then also got two packs of three mini notebooks from Home Bargains and put a colour and design to suit each girl into their bags.

Finally, I found these cute mini manicure sets in a local discount shop and I thought they were perfect, as they fitted my colour scheme (these aren't necessarily our Wedding colours, but they matched the Engagement party theme!) and the flamingos tied in with the ones on their cards. For my youngest bridesmaid, I got a cute little pink rose pocket mirror, as she's only 11 at the moment and I wasn't sure her parents would be pleased with me giving her a set of tweezers - I tried to do my own brows at that age and the result wasn't pretty! Finally, I picked up six tiny nail polishes from Superdrug, this was kind of to show the possible direction I'm thinking of going in with wedding colours, but also just because I thought it completed the gift bag quite nicely.


So that's it! That's how I asked my girls to be my Maids! I'd love to know your thoughts on this and if you've done anything similar, or any wedding themed blog posts, I'd love for you to leave a link in the comments!

Let me know if you're excited for more wedding themed posts in the future, I can't wait to write some!

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