Thursday, 27 August 2015

A little trip down memory lane....

MoFo starts next week and I'm excited! I've participated in MoFo for 6 out the 7 years I've been writing this blog (has it been that long? Blimey Charlie!) and this year will be the 7th.

I thought it would be fun to have a little look back over some of my favourite MoFo posts over the years. I'm picking one from each year.

Let's start with last year, 2014. I had a couple of themes going but my favourite one was Veganising Jamie Oliver's 15 Minute Meals (you can see all my veganising Jamie posts HERE.)

My favourite thing I made from that book (and have made since) was Chicken Dim Sum with Coconut Buns & Cucumber Pickle. This recipe is so good! Those buns are delicious and the sides are really simple and everything just complements each other perfectly.

Vegan MoFo 2013: My theme was Cockney Rhyming Slang (you can read my 2013 MoFo posts HERE). Basically I couldn't think of a theme so I just went with the dumbest thing I could think of (par for the course).

My favourite post of MoFo 2013 goes to the post about the food from my brother's wedding. Mainly because it brings back great memories of a brilliant day.

This is a pic of the amazing cupcakes that Jojo made for the day!

Vegan MoFo 2012: I didn't do themes back then! (you can read my 2012 MoFo posts HERE.) I gotta say that my posts this year were not very inspiring! So I picked one where there are pictures of my cat shamelessly dancing for food!!

Vegan MoFo 2011: This was the year I did not participate, as I had gallstones and I pretty much lived on brown rice and mashed potato for a year!

Vegan MoFo 2010: Again, not a particularly inspiring year (you can read my 2010 MoFo posts HERE.) It was a toss up between pics of the food from my holiday in Texas and the pics of the cakes I made for my Dad's 60th. I'm going with the latter, because cake!

Vegan MoFo 2009: (You can read my 2009 MoFo posts HERE.) My favourite post of MoFo 2009 goes to the one about my best friend's wedding. She got married in a super fancy place that did AWESOME vegan food for me!
Terrible pic of a brilliant main course

Vegan MoFo 2008: This was the year I became vegan, started blogging and (obviously) the first time I participated in MoFo. (You can read my 2008 MoFo posts HERE.)

For my favourite post, I am gonna have to give it to my crunchie ice cream post - because who doesn't love ice cream. And crunchies!

So that's a look back on some of my posts from MoFos past. What are some of your favourite memories from MoFo and what are you looking forward to writing about this year??

Kat Slaterzzzz  (see what I did there... still lovin the rhyming slang!)
Sal xXx

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

MoFo's coming....

Less than 2 weeks until Vegan MoFo 2015 starts - are you taking part?? I am!

Wanna relive last year? Click HERE to read my 2014 MoFo posts!


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Riverside Vegetaria, Kingston-upon-Thames

So this post has only taken me a month and a half to write, hahah.

As you might have seen from my Chain Restaurants post, I don't live in a place that has any vegetarian or vegan restaurants. So on my birthday in June, Mr A took me to Riverside Vegetaria in Kingston for a birthday lunch. 

It's a little bit of a strange place but I think if the weather is nice, it would be lovely to sit outside. Unfortunately the weather wasn't that nice, so we got a table inside. 

The food was brilliant though. We started with hummus and bread, but to be honest, we really didn't need this!

For our starter we picked the organic potato balls (hehe) with chilli sauce. It was pretty spicy sauce and the potato balls were absolutely yummy!

For my main, I picked the organic spicy Jamaican stew, which had sweet potatoes and mixed beans in a yummy sauce over brown rice, my favourite! I thought this was awesome.

Mr Alien went for the masala dosai, which is basically a big pancake filled with spicy potatoes and it was flippin gorgeous. I would definitely order this if we went again!

It also comes with a side of veggie curry

and coconut sambal, which was really good!

We were too full for dessert but we grabbed some cake to take away. The cake was ok, not as good as the savoury food though. However, it was way better than the abomination of a vegan option we found in a nearby bakery! Vegan & gluten free cupcakes which were basically chocolatey rocks with really dense icing on the top. Not good!

But back to the average cake... choccy!

And an apple type affair, not my cuppa tea. Mr A preferred this one though.

This place has lovely food and we had a couple of nice cocktails too. Definitely worth a visit if you're ever in Kingston upon Thames.


Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Current Favourites


Now that this blog will be more of an all-rounder, I thought I'd do a current favourites post and include in beauty, food and random stuff!

Barry M Blush Sticks
I saw these a while back in Superdrug and immediately checked the website to see if they're vegan and it said they were not; but after scanning the ingredients to see why I couldn't see any reason they weren't. So I emailed Barry M and they assured me they are vegan, it was an error on their website (they've had a few of those lately, hmmm! I've just checked again and it now says they're vegan YAY).  

Anyway for a pretty cheap cream blush, these are nice.  They're not hugely pigmented but are strong enough for a nice flush.  Here's a swatch straight up and blended out next to it (my camera washes it out too much for me to take a cheek pic!):
Shade Peach Melba

Shade Rhubarb Crumble

Dates & Almond Butter
Ok this is probably a stupid favourite and everyone will be like, Oh Sal, you're so last year! (Last decade?) But yeah, dates and almond butter, they're my new fave snack. I've been watching a lot of Deliciously Ella vids on youtube, in an attempt to eat a bit healthier and she's always banging on about dates being amazing. So I thought I'd try out her snack suggestion and I'm sold!

I was always someone who rolled my eyes at raw desserts and things made of dates (don't worry, I'm never gonna be one of those people who grinds up dates and calls it caramel!) but that's because I'd only ever had dry yucky dates that kind of just get stuck in your teeth and are basically a bit unpleasant. Ummm but medjool dates - they're a revelation. Sweet and toffee like.  Add a bit of almond butter to them and they are sooo delicious. I sound like a crazy person, so I'll stop but yeah, try it!

TV Show - Last Week Tonight with John Oliver
Does anyone else watch this? Mr A got me into it and I really like it! John Oliver is funny and also teaches me stuff - win! I get so angry watching it at the stupid shit that goes on in this world and then I start laughing because John Oliver is funny.  I also pretty much agree with most of the stuff he says. Funny and not a jackass! YAY!

Spotify Playlist: Breakfastlicious
If you have spotify, do a search for this one. Spotify recommended this for me; it's like they know me! Craig David, Destiny's Child, Lauren Hill, Brandy... it's got the Thong Song on it!!  I listen to it on the way to work haha

Coconut Chips!
I got these in Costco at the weekend and they are so good. I have to stop myself from shovelling in handfuls at a time. I mainly have them on my morning porridge! I've been trying to cut out refined sugar and processed food as much as possible and these are sweetened with maple syrup.

My phone case
I got a new phone, which I don't love but it's not bad for a temporary phone until I can upgrade. I was quite sad to have to give up my awesome chuck norris cat riding a unicorn phone case that I used to have, so I decided to find myself a silly one. This was the only unicorn one I could find that was daft enough, I'm diggin it though. :)

Despite having Rick Springfield's Jessie's Girl stuck in my freaking head for most of last week
... the one song I am singing (by choice) this week is Shine by Years and Years. I love this song. That is all.

Lastly a beauty one...

Eyeko Magic Brow Boost
I... LOVE this stuff. I bought it because they were doing an offer where you got a free mini brow gel, even though I already have the brow gel... yeah I dunno what I was thinking either. But this stuff is so awesome.

I have pretty sparse and very light brows and you just brush this stuff on and it fills in any little patches. It has fibres in it that cling to the hairs that are there. It's as easy to apply as powder.  I was a little confused when I first saw it, as it's a doe-foot applicator, like a lip gloss) and I couldn't find any youtube videos of people using it! So I just had a go and it's actually really easy to apply.  I just use the pointyish end to get the shape right, the flat bit to fill in gaps and then brush through with a spoolie to take off any excess where I've applied too much. Then finish with brow gel.

If I was a youtuber, I'd make you a video but not sure I'm ready for that yet!  So anyway I'd definitely recommend this to anyone, especially for those with sparse brows!

Crap pic, but this is my brow with it on.

That's all for now, what are you loving this month?


Saturday, 25 July 2015

Chain Restaurants

I've added another page to the blog, vegan options at UK based chain restaurants.  Click the link above and please let me know if there's any others that you know that I missed.

Hope you're having an ace weekend.


Thursday, 16 July 2015

Cruelty Free List

Hi Everyone,

Just a little quickie post and I'm not sure if me adding a page will show up like a new post in blog readers etc.

I have now added a list of cruelty free companies, that relates to makeup, hair, bath & body products and skin care.  The link is above, just click where it says 'UK Animal Friendly Beauty Brands'.

There's a lot of lists like this out there, but not many that are from a UK buyer's perspective; so I hope mine will come in useful.

It is a work in progress, as you'll see from a few of the categories not having many brands listed yet. I'm constantly working on it! :)

If I've missed anyone off, please do feel free to leave a comment or hit me up on FB/Twitter so that I can add them.

Have a fab weekend.


Thursday, 2 July 2015

Dermalogica Bought by Unilever

Sigh.... feels like I've read a story like this once a month lately!

Unilever recently announced that they have acquired Dermalogica.

I don't use Dermalogica anymore, I used to though and they are great products with lots of vegan options. Dermalogica have apparently told a few therapists (I've read on beauty forums) that they will remain cruelty free.

However, this is still not great news though for those who avoid companies with parent / sister companies who animal test.  It was also one of the few well-known salon brands that you could feel ok about, if you went for a facial!

I hadn't planned a huge post today, but I thought that I'd list a few other UK Facial Brands that are cruelty free, for those that no longer want to use Dermalogica:


Eve Taylor: Not totally vegan, as far as I know, but they are vegan friendly and their customer services is pretty helpful, when it comes to letting you know what products are suitable. (This is the brand I chose for my salon, although I no longer do facials; the products are really nice.)

Kaeso: Almost everything from Kaeso is vegan and they try to use more natural ingredients. I've tried a couple of things and they are pretty nice. I found this on the beauty forum I post on, from earlier this year:

"Thank you for your email and your interest in the Kaeso collection.

Please see the below information which I hope is helpful to you.

Each product has been carefully designed to meet with Kaeso’s Innocence Criteria. To meet this criteria all products must be free from Parabens, Sulphates, Propylene Glycol and Mineral Oil and then they are proudly stamped with the Kaeso Leaf of Approval.

We do not test our products on animals, which actually prevents us from selling our products in China .

All Kaeso Manicure & Pedicure products have been checked and are Vegan-friendly.

All Kaeso Skincare and Facial product are also Vegan-friendly except for the Moisturising Soufflé Body Moisturiser which contains Lanolin and Beeswax and the Collagen and Micro Current Gels which contain Collagen.

All other products in the Kaeso range are safe for vegans and vegetarians."

Murad*: Cruelty free but I do not know anything about this brand or vegan friendliness yet. 
EDIT, just found out that Unilever have bought this brand too!! :(

Natural Elements*: I don't know much about this brand at all, but a salon near me uses them. Their website says they are cruelty free and completely vegan.

Does your salon use a brand you're unsure of; let me know in the comments, I'd be happy to research it.


Merumaya: I'm not 100% sure that everything from this line is vegan and from their response when I emailed them, (to ask about their melting cleansing balm, which I will do a post about if anyone's interested because it is AWESOME) neither are they! This is their reply:

"Thank you for your email and interest in MERUMAYA Integrative Effective Skincare
As my previous formulator confirmed, my contract manufacturer's cosmetic scientist has also confirmed that the products are suitable for vegans.  Out of complete respect, I want to add a caveat that in order to be 110% we would have to check with every single manufacturer of ingredients and we have not done that."

So, a bit confusing, but I basically just read the ingredients now and if there's something I'm not sure of, I don't buy it. 

B. (Superdrug): Good old Superdrug.  Their entire B. skincare and makeup range is vegan and pretty extensive.  Also, most of Superdrug's own brand stuff is vegan and it's also all labelled as such if it is.

Lush: Again, not fully vegan but awesome and cruelty free and everything that is vegan is clearly marked with the sunflower.

Yes to: Carrots / Blueberries / Cucumbers... they are now in some UK drugstores and they have quite a lot of vegan products. I emailed them and they advised me that the following products are NOT vegan, due to inclusion of beeswax, honey or silk:

"Thank you so much for your inquiry about our Yes To product line! We love that you're interested in saying YES to something new.   The only products in the Yes To lines which contain ingredients derived from animals are beeswax, honey and silk amino acids. These ingredients are derived naturally. Products in the Yes To line which contain one of these items include:

YTC Daily Softening Hand & Elbow Cream:  Beeswax
YTC Dry Scalp Shampoo:  Silk Amino Acids
YTC Dry Scalp Conditioner:  Silk Amino Acids
YTCb Nourishing Baby Lotion:  Beeswax
YTCb Soothing Diaper Cream:  Beeswax
YTB Eye Firming Treatment:  Beeswax YTB
YTB Smoothing Daily Cleanser (old & new):  Beeswax
YTG Dark Circle Correcting Eye Cream:  Beeswax
YTG Dark Spot Correcting Body Crème:  Beeswax
YTG Correct & repair Body Crème:  Beeswax
YTG Correct & repair Eye Cream:  Beeswax
YTCu SPF 30 Sun Stick:  Beeswax
YTCu Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 Stick:  Beeswax
YTCo Head to Toe Restoring Balm: Beeswax
ALL Lip Balms: Beeswax
DISCO: YTC Leave in Conditioner:  Honey
DISCO: YTB Line Reducing Lip Treatment:  Beeswax
DISCO: YTB Rejuvenating Body Lotion:  Beeswax

YTC=Carrot line; YTCu=Cucumber line; YTB=Blueberry; YTG=Grapefruit; YTT=Tomato; YTCo=Coconut; YTCb=Carrot Baby; DISCO=Discontinued products"

Soap & Glory: List of vegan products HERE.

Boots: No 7, Botanics and their generic stuff is usually pretty vegan friendly and you just need to send a quick email to their customer services team about veganness.

Also, take a look HERE at Ethical Superstore, they have a bunch of vegan skincare brands available.

Brands with a * next to them are brands that some local salons used that I have just done a bit of research on. I cannot vouch for veganness, as I haven't researched them yet.

I know there's tonnes more brands out there, I've been mainly just racking my brain to think of brands I love and have used recently or in the past.

If anyone wants a full vegan skincare post, let me know and I'll get to researching!  I'm planning to do one of the products I use everyday anyway, so look out for that fairly soon.