Friday, 1 July 2016

Friday Quickie - Saucy tofu for lunch

When I'm working from home, I like to make a tasty, but quick lunch and this was one from earlier this week, that I thought I'd share with you, because it was really easy and took about 20 minutes to whip up, start to finish.

To make this, you will need:
Cooking oil of your choice
Tenderstem or regular broccoli
Veggie stock
Balsamic vinegar
Light soy sauce
Chinese 5 spice powder (or herbs / spices of your choice)
Maple syrup
Black sesame seeds for garnish (optional)
Rice to serve alongside tofu

I used about 1/3rd of a block (about 130g if you're weighing, I didn't - I just eyeballed it) of cauldron tofu. I cut it into squares and then pressed it for a few minutes, while I rinsed and drained some basmati rice.

I got the rice on to cook and then spray a hot frying pan with a bit of oil. Then I fried the tofu for a good 5 minutes on each side, pressing it down with the spatula regularly to get rid of excess water.

I also chopped a handful of tender stem broccoli / broccolini into bite size chunks and boiled it for 3 or 4 minutes.

To make the sauce I mixed a veggie oxo stock cube with about 1/2 cup of water, 2 tsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp maple syrup, 1 tbsp of soy sauce and sprinkling of 5 spice powder (add whatever herbs/spices you like).

I added the broccoli to the tofu pan and poured over the sauce. I let it bubble rapidly until it reduced enough to coat the tofu and broccoli. I din't let it go for too long though as I wanted the dish to have plenty of sauce for the rice to soak up.

A sprinkle of black sesame seeds on top just made this look pretty. Some sriracha would've been great but I didn't think of that til it was too late :)

And that's that!

What's your favourite quick lunch?

Hope you have an awesome weekend.
Sal xXx

Friday, 24 June 2016

What I Ate Today

Hello everyone, happy Friday! I am going to gloss over the shitstorm of a day it's been in the UK and just tell you what I ate today instead.

I started with a bowl of my maple sunrise cereal, the Nature's Path brand. Same as my last WIAT post, I know and I promise I don't eat it every day, but today I'd run out of the bagels I'd been eating the rest of the week. 

For lunch, I had a toastie; this had violife pizza cheese, tomato puree and a bit of oregano sprinkled inside. Super simple but really good. It's been a while since I dug out the toastie maker.

For a snack I ate this Lenny & Larry's cookie. Apparently one cookie is 2 servings, haha yeah right. Not in my world. I thought this was OK. I bought 3 of these to try; this peanut butter flavoured one, double chocolate and regular choc chip. The double chocolate was my favourite; I found the other two a little powdery, like you could taste the protein powder in them. But not horrible. I probably won't buy them very often, but when I do, it'll probably be the double choc ones.

For dinner I had a red Thai curry that I actually made yesterday. I roasted the cauliflower separately to give it a bit of extra flavour and then I sauteed an onion and added one of these little pots of red Thai curry paste. Then I added veggie stock, half a red and half a yellow pepper, a couple of carrots, half a block of cubed tempeh and a bit of salt. I cooked it for about 20 minutes and then added some peas for the last 5 minutes of cooking and a carton of the Coconut Collaborative plain coconut yoghurt (I do this instead of adding coconut milk to cut back on the fat a bit). I added in the cauliflower and then served it with basmati rice.

And that's about the size of it for today.

Have an awesome weekend.
Sal xXx

Monday, 20 June 2016

Recent Company Responses Regarding Animal Testing

I have recently written to a couple of companies regarding their animal testing policies and wanted to share their responses with you.

I asked them:

- Do Viseart test any ingredients or finished products on animals?
- Do any third parties test ingredients or finished products on animals on your behalf?
- Do you ensure your suppliers are cruelty free and do not carry out any animal testing?
- Do you sell your products in mainland China or any other market where mandatory testing is required?

Also, are any of your eyeshadow palettes vegan?

Their response:

"No to all your questions, except for the vegan one*.

Some of our palettes are vegan, some are not. Which ones are you interested in so we can tell you."

I only asked about the Boheme Dream and Neutral Mattes Palettes and they confirmed the Boheme Dream palette IS vegan but the Neutral Mattes has carmine in 1 shade.

I then asked for a vegan list and they said:

"We don't have time to put this together right now. But in the future we will and we appreciate your support!

So, if you are interested in a specific palette, just shoot them an email and they will confirm for you.

Viseart palettes are available in the UK from LOVE-MAKEUP.

*I originally added them to my list of animal friendly brands. A commenter called Lizzie raised below about them saying no to all questions and obviously one of those was 'do you ensure your suppliers are cruelty free?'. Thank you for this - this totally didn't register with me. So I'm checking that with them. They'll hopefully be on the list once I know for sure, but for now I've just marked them as pending.

Viseart have confirmed that their suppliers are cruelty free. So I've added them to the list again.

I asked them exactly the same questions as I asked Viseart, as above. Their response:

"Primark does not conduct and does not commission any animal testing.  Our terms of trade with our suppliers make it clear that cosmetic products and their ingredients must not be tested on animals."

As you can see, they didn't confirm about China/markets that require mandatory testing. I have written back to them to confirm and will update this post when I receive a response. I have not added them to my list of animal friendly brands.

UPDATE: They confirmed that they have no stores in China and at the moment, Primark do not sell online.

Sal xXx

Thursday, 16 June 2016

What I ate yesterday!

A cheeky little Friday post for you, here is what I ate yesterday!

For breakfast, my new favourite cereal; Nature's Path Maple Sunrise. I normally buy the Mesa Flakes but Simon picked these up for me and they are SO good. Mapley and crunchy and delicious. I had them with almond milk.

For lunch I had half a can of Amy's chilli that was leftover from the previous night's dinner, with some leftover brown rice. Easy and fast lunch.

For an afternoon snack I had a Jaffa Cake alpen bar - I didn't take a pic but it's THESE.

Dinner - I made a super quick stir fry with half a pack of ready made mushroom stir fry and I added some vegan quorn pieces, extra broccoli, sweetcorn and rice noodles. I added Chinese 5 spice powder, soy sauce and Sriracha to season it. And a little sprinkle of black sesame seeds to make it pretty!

Last thing I ate was some Alpro coconut yogurt with some AWESOME strawberries. I love strawberry season - the rest of the year, strawberries just generally make me sad.

So that's the lot.

Hope everyone has an awesome weekend. Hopefully I'll be returning to more regular posting from next week.

Love & stuff
Sal xXx

Friday, 3 June 2016

An update

Hi everyone

I wanted to write a quick post mainly to apologise for the lack of content here and on my YouTube channel lately.

My plan was to get into a regular schedule of vlogging and blogging. However a back injury that I have mentioned previously has got worse and worse instead of being gone by now.

Yesterday was my birthday, worst birthday ever. Not sure I have ever been in so much pain in my life before!

Basically this injury has me barely able to stand and I cannot sit upright in any chair for more than a few minutes. So editing videos or blog posts is near on impossible. Hence I'm typing this on my phone in bed.

As soon as this damn back heals enough I will get into a regular schedule of posting. Here's hoping it won't be long!

Lots of love
Sal xXx

Monday, 23 May 2016

Boots / No.7 / SEVENTEEN etc - Animal Testing Policy

Good afternoon!

I often see in groups on Facebook etc, people insisting that No 7 / all Boots own brands are not cruelty free. I have always been advised by them that they are, so I asked them recently to confirm their policy for me in more detail, just to check. Here is their full response.

TL:DR - I think they are still ok!!

I should add, that Boots are now part of the Boots/Walgreens Alliance. So although this applies to Boots' own brands, I am not sure about Walgreens and from a quick google, I don't think Walgreens are cruelty free.

So if Parent/Sister companies bother you, then avoid. If not, here is the full statement.

Hello Sarah,
Thanks for contacting us about animal testing.

Boots and its subsidiary businesses do not test any products or ingredients on animals, and do not commission others to do so on our behalf. In fact in March 2013 it became illegal for any company to test cosmetic products or ingredients on animals in Europe.

The issue of animal testing on products and raw materials is one we take very seriously at Boots UK. For over 20 years our policy for cosmetics and toiletries has been that we do not carry out, or ask our suppliers to carry out on our behalf, animal testing on either ingredients or finished products and you can rest assured that we apply our policy rigorously.

Boots would like to see an end to all animal testing, and we fully supported the development of the ban on animal testing on ingredients that came into force in the European Union in 2013. The ban applies to all cosmetics products purchased from any store across the EU and completes the ban that started with finished products in 2004 and was extended to cover most types of ingredient testing in 2009. The 2013 law has completed the ban for all forms of animal testing for both products and ingredients and now ensures that all companies in our industry in Europe are now aligned with the same policy that Boots has had in place for over 20 years.

We would definitely like to see an end to all animal tests. We fully support the intentions of the BUAV and take a keen interest in the development and introduction of alternative forms of safety testing.

I do understand that you may be looking for some information on other brands that we stock. The ban in Europe applies to all Cosmetics and Toiletries brands and not just Boots brands. Unfortunately I’m afraid that we cannot speak on behalf of other brands and suggest that for reassurance you contact them to ask them directly. I do hope you find the information I have provided helpful and reassuring.

Please find below an FAQ that we have collated. This may be of interest to you and answer some more of the questions you may have. (NB: this is pretty much the questions I asked them in my email - Sal!)

1. Does your company test ingredients or/and finished products on animals? - Boots do not test ingredients or finished product on animals

2. Do you test ingredients or products on animals through a 3rd party? If your answer is no, how do you ensure that your manufacturers do not test? - Boots do not ask others to test on our behalf and we require that our suppliers and manufacturers comply with our animal testing policy

3. Do your manufacturers test ingredients or products on animals? - No

4. Are you owned or affiliated with any companies that test products or ingredients on animals? - No

5. Do you have a parent company? If so who are they? - Boots is part of Walgreens Boots Alliance

6. Do you/your parent company currently or have plans to market and sell your products in the Chinese market, which requires animal testing by law to sell in that country? - We have no plans to sell products in China specifically because they require animal testing.

Boots Customer Care.

I hope that this is useful to some out there with queries.

Have an awesome week
Sal xXx

Monday, 16 May 2016

Vegan mascaras you can buy on the high street!

I see this get asked a LOT across the vegan facebook groups I post in. So I decided to write to the cruelty free brands sold in Superdrug and Boots (that don't publish a vegan list or that I don't have one for) and ask them if any of their mascaras are vegan! And here are the results....

B. (Superdrug)
- All B. Makeup items are vegan!
They are in the process of rebranding/redesigning the range, but for now, there are 2 or 3 mascaras.

Barry M
- Lash Vegas  (all varieties including waterproof)
Showgirl and Roll with it mascaras have beeswax in!

Beauty UK
I have emailed / messaged several times with no response received. I will update this page should I hear back.

Boots Own Brands:
After many confusing emails back and forward, they cannot guarantee any of their own brand mascaras are vegan as they don't 'conform to vegan society standards'. Also, more importantly, Boots, they CONTAIN BEESWAX! So erm yeah avoid.

They confirmed by email that they are currently updating their list of which products contain animal ingredients, but at present no mascaras are vegan.
- Rebel Eyes Mascara
- Boombastic XXL Swirl Volume Mascara

Makeup Revolution
I didn't bother emailing because, firstly I knew they wouldn't confirm this (they never do) but more importantly ALL the mascaras listed on their website showed beeswax in their ingredients list! The 'INGREDIENTS' page is SORELY out of date, so make sure you go to the individual product pages to check ingredients and scroll down.

M&S Autograph
- Fibre Lash Enhancing Mascara (marked vegan on website)

Update!! M&S has confirmed by email that the following are also vegan:
- High Definition Mascara
- Amplified Lashes Volumising Mascara
- Neverending Lashes Lengthening Mascara
- Aqua Proof Water Resistant Mascara
- Semi-Permanent Mascara

(woop woop, go M&S!!!)

- Some M&S stores also sell Pixi products and their Lash Booster Mascara is vegan.

(I know I'm cheating a bit with M&S as it's not a drugstore, but lots of high streets have them! A lot of the Rosie for Autograph collection is vegan but please note, the mascara has beeswax!)

Models Own
Their mascara contains beeswax.

I checked individual product pages for each mascara they sell and not all of them have ingredients lists. But from the ones that do, there are 2 that say they contain synthetic beeswax and I don't see anything GLARING from the ingredient list. So if you're happy to take that chance, they are:

- Eye Define Volume & Line Mascara
- Eye Define Waterproof Mascara

Their email response was fairly typical of MUA, in that they won't confirm vegan products. They suggested I check ingredients lists! (Thanks MUA!)


- I'm Conditional Mascara
- Lethal Length Mascara

These looked vegan from ingredients posted on the website, so I emailed them and they confirmed back to me that these mascaras are vegan.

Soap & Glory
- All 3 Thick & Fast mascaras are vegan according to their website (synthetic beeswax!)

Have I missed any? Leave me a comment so I can include them if so.

I will of course update this list as and when I learn about any reformulations or new vegan mascara options - so feel free to bookmark this page for your records :)

Let me know if you want another post about vegan mascara options including non-high street brands and I'll get to work!

Sal xXx