Starting Afresh With My Makeup Bag to Keep it Cruelty Free

Hola! It’s been a busy Sunday but i’m finally lounging on the sofa long enough to actually write a blog post uninterrupted. I can’t believe it’s Sunday night already, the weekend has absolutely flown by. I’m hoping the weeks continue to fly by because i’m unusually prematurely excited for Christmas. I’m not sure why i’m so excited this year; it may be a combination of the frosty mornings, Christmas music in shops or the Christmas-y Starbucks drinks on the go but i’m really feeling it this year. Even now, I’ve got the lights dimmed, Red Velvet Chocolate Cake scented candle on the go (a Wilfred’s Cruelty Free candle, obviously) and a cinnamon yankee candle (obviously love having a house that smells like Starbucks), heating on and cosy PJs . . .definite Christmas vibes going on.

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On the back of last week’s blog being about my favourite cruelty free beauty products I decided that this was the week I was going to completely get rid of any animal tested products from my make up bag. You may be wondering why I would actually have anything like that in my makeup bag to begin with and it’s; A) When I’ve been bought gifts and B) from before i’d looked into any of this sort of stuff. I’d always kept it all with the idea in mind that i’d phase it out eventually but it just seems to be lingering and taking up space. I’m not saying everyone should do it that way, i’m pretty sure there’ll still be products in my house that are animal tested, it’s also just nice to have a clear out of the beauty products that I don’t use.

Here are some of the products that I kept;

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Lush; Colour Supplement

Not going to lie, I was so apprehensive about this product when I first bought it. I bought it in Yellow instead of Dark Yellow which made my skin look really pasty and sort of “chalky”. I went back and gave the next shade up a go and I’m not sure whether it was just me or if there had been something wrong with the previous pot but the Dark Yellow seemed to have loads better coverage and seemed to be more moisturising. I’d say it’s more like a BB cream than a foundation (although, trust me, i’m no make up expert!) and seems to sit quite well under powders, too.

Sephora; Brown is Back (004)

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In my last blog I discussed how i’d bought a Kat Von D Everlasting Matte Lipstick in a brown shade and how I was looking for something more pink . . . well, this lipstick is further proof of why I need more pink lipsticks. Looking through my makeup bag I found about 5(!!!) brown or brown-ish lipsticks. What is wrong with me?? Why do I buy the same colour every time?? Anyways, I do love this lipstick and it is cruelty free HOWEVER I reaaaally need to find a nice pink lipstick for work so if anyone has any suggestions, please comment below!

Lush ; Eyes Right

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Okay, so I do love this mascara and it definitely does what it needs to do but . . . WHY IS IT SO SMALL? I wish it was in a longer, narrower tube so that I could use it less awkwardly! Apart from this really inconvenient wand, the actual mascara liquid is enriched with wheat-grass which moisturises the lashes.  I’m not a massive mascara user as I have eyelash extensions so a small amount suits me just fine. The size is also perfect for on the go.

Elf; Blemish Control Face Primer

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Out of all the products I’ve discussed so far, this one has been my favourite. Admittedly, you don’t get a lot in a bottle but a little goes a long way. It’s green tinted which gets rid of any blemishes or redness in the skin – as much as it’s the festive season, I don’t fancy looking like Rudolph, thanks. I’ve found this can also really help with oil control and helps make up glide on really evenly – even when you’re going through a bit of a pimply time!

Wilfred’s Cruelty Free; Coconut and Lavender Lip Balm with Added Vitamin E

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Had to do a shameless little plug, didn’t I?! Started making my lip balms on Friday night and I’ve been using them over the weekend (can’t test on any animals but I CAN test on myself) and not to be biased or anything but they actually work really well – not going to lie, I didn’t expect them to work as I’ve never tried my hand at anything like this before. They’re made with coconut oil which is obviously a skin essential and scented with lavender. I added extra vitamin E because I don’t do things by halves and . . . treat yo’self. All are extra cute, small and handy for on the go and come in a cute lil pouch. Hopefully (fingers crossed) the Etsy shop will be up and running in December which will also be home to the candle I mentioned earlier (Red Velvet Chocolate Cake) and the ones in the photo above which are coconut.

In attempting to make my entire make up bag cruelty free, I feel really positive about it in that i’m doing a good thing. All the cruelty free products I’ve bought seem good quality  (especially those from Sephora and Kat Von D). My only issue in doing this is how difficult it can be finding cruelty free brands in general cosmetic stores which can be quite disheartening! One brand I completely forgot to mention which is actually (mostly) Vegan and Cruelty Free is Barry M (I know you’re judging me right now but hear me out). I’m aware their make up isn’t always great (I’m currently thinking back to their loose powder eyeshadows I used to wear back in 2007 and shuddering) but some of their lipliners, eyeliners and nail varnishes aren’t bad!

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My Favourite Cruelty Free Products

 

Bonjour! Was meant to write this blog yesterday but ended up eating my weight in Italian food for lunch then spent all day on the couch. It has been freezing cold here all week which i’ve found has really decreased my motivation – all I want to do is eat comfort food and sit under a blanket so i’ve been making sure that the food i’ve been cooking is comforting and seasonal yet still healthy and plant based e.g. Asian cauliflower rice, butternut squash korma and of course good old avo on toast. As for working out, my 5:30 am jog has been out of the question as it’s farrrr too cold but with my boyfriend working late shifts it means I have a few hours to kill which means evening work outs before dinner.

Anyways, back to the topic I was actually meaning to talk about which was cruelty free beauty products. I’ve been a massive fan of cruelty free beauty products long before I even knew the importance of them. I think it’s safe to say, every girl loves getting a gift package from Lush or The Body Shop and initially I was drawn to products from these places due to the attention to detail and quality of them but about 18 month ago when I first started to find out about the various animal testing practices that go on in the beauty industries I realised it was pretty much impossible to be an avid animal lover and still support these companies. I’m aware that some people feel that animal testing is important as it is a customer safety precaution but in recent years, due to developments in testing methods, there are now alternative ways to test e.g. “in vitro” testing – this uses tissue from humans to identify any chemical irritants. This is more effective due to testers being able to see the effects on human tissue rather than in response to animal tissue, which as you’ll have gathered, is different in some ways to human tissue. Without risk of sounding like a hypocrite, i’m sure there’ll be plenty of products in my home which ARE animal tested but i’m happy to make a conscious effort to buy cruelty free as often as I can.

Another reason for my interest in cruelty free beauty products is that i’m wanting to make some of my own very soon! I’ve been doing a lot of reading up on finding ingredients for the products that will not only be good quality but also in reusable packaging . . .it’s a work in progress at the minute but will keep this blog updated with details in the future.

Anyways before I ramble on any further, thought i’d discuss some of my favourite cruelty free beauty products. If anyone has any recommendations, definitely post a comment below because I’d love to try them!

img_20141114_113919338_hdr.jpg The Body Shop: Extra Virgin Minerals

I only just started wearing this recently but I absolutely love it. It’s definitely helpful if you turn into a mid-day grease ball like me! It gives a smooth finish, good coverage and doesn’t make you look like Caspar The Friendly Ghost unlike some powders I’ve used in the past.

Dr Organic Aloe Vera Skin Lotion

I’ve been using this moisturiser from Holland Barrett for the past 6 months, twice a day. Sometimes I can even just wear this with no skin makeup as it calms down any redness or inflamed areas. It was a godsend on holiday and works great as an after sun! It is suitable for the rest of the body, not just the face. All the ingredients are bio active, natural and organic, containing; aloe vera juice, cocoa seed butter, shea butter, apple fruit extract, vitamin E and sunflower seed oil. It’s SFV and non animal tested and free from parabens, synthetic colours and silicone so it ticks a lot of boxes for me!

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Kat Von D – Everlasting Liquid Lipstick – Shade; Bow and Arrow

I absolutely adore this lipstick and the rest of her range is amazing too. I do think that matte lipsticks can be a bit drying and would avoid them for everyday use. The one I use is quite dark and more of an evening lipstick so i’m looking to find one from this range which is a bit more daytime friendly! I think it’s really great that Von D has used her position as a platform to make cruelty free makeup more readily available.

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Lush: Sleepy Body Lotion

I absolutely live for this stuff! I got some as a Christmas present and I’ve used every night since. It has such a calming smell and is made from Fair Trade, organic ingredients – even my boyfriend uses it. I normally put it on my wrists and neck so that I can still smell it as i’m falling asleep.

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Lush: Toothy Tabs

I was really apprehensive about these at first and kept feeling like they weren’t proper toothpaste. They’re really weird to use because they’re more like a chewy tablet that froths up (so weird) but they taste amazing. My first visit to the dentist after using these I was really worried that these wouldn’t be doing their job but even my dentist told me to continue what i’m doing. I’ve been using these for about 18 months now and i’m still filling-free!

If you have any recommendations, don’t hesitate in sending a comment!

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The Good Apple Cafe, Sunderland – Review

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This week has been my first week back at work after my half term week off so it’s been all about getting back into the swing of things. I’m not going to lie, i’m not a massive fan of the dark nights now that the clocks have gone back but I am appreciating the cosiness of getting home after being out in the cold. I got my Christmas shopping properly started this week and we sorted out our Christmas plans so it seems the season is well and truly underway…to top it off the Christmas coffee cups and drinks came out at Starbucks and Costa just to add to the excitement.

So, I’ve made no secret of the fact that my faaaavourite place to eat in Sunderland is the Good Apple Cafe on Derwent Street. Anyone who knows me well knows that I go on about this cafe all the time. The reason I’m reviewing it/blogging about it is so that people in the area who are struggling to maintain a healthy diet on the go know a bit more about this place and be aware that eating on the go doesn’t always have to mean grabbing a Gregg’s or a McDonald’s  (Seriously Sunderland, why do you need SIX different Greggs?!?!). Also, I think it’s great to recommend small businesses, especially those that put so much time and work into their end product.

I first found out about this place about 18 month ago when I was sick of trying to piece together bits of menus in fast food places to maintain a healthy, plant based diet. A quick Google search brought up this place and I was shocked that i’d never heard of it/heard it being mentioned before.

From my first little visit, I loved the place and came back as soon as I could with my boyfriend in tow. Since then, it’s been our favourite spot for cute ‘lil date days and a great way to eat out whilst avoiding the usual meat-heavy menus in Sunderland. I think it’s a great opportunity to give plant based or vegetarian food a try, even if you are not that way inclined, simply because it’s so tasty and healthy in comparison to most cafes/restaurants in the area. One of the massively positive perks of this place, for me personally, is that they do a take out menu which is really useful when on the go. I can imagine this is especially great if you work in the city centre – although i’m sort of glad I don’t work near this cafe as i’d live in a constant plant based food coma (not that I don’t anyways…)

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Another massively positive aspect of this place is the range of people they cater to – not only is it healthy and fresh but they provide for those with a gluten free diet/coeliac, Vegan/plant based, Dairy free/Lactose intolerance and they also provide a children’s menu. 

The cafe also does the most fantastic plant based desserts and home made cakes – they can also create cakes for occasions if ordered in advance. I was lucky enough to have my birthday cake made by these guys this year (large carrot cake) and it did not disappoint!

My personal favourite meal at this cafe is the Large Vegan breakfast (without beans because they’re terrifying) and with an extra hash brown which is what I got this weekend (all about the carb life) – there’s a pic of it at the top of the page – it’s perfect for a chilled Saturday brunch. I also got a blueberry muffin to takeaway (above) and possibly my most exciting purchase of the day was my Moo Free Advent Calendar which I am SO  excited about opening (my boyfriend forgot to get me an advent calendar last year and i’m still a little bit gutted)

There’s only one ‘con’ to this cafe and it’s that it’s very small! There’s been a few occasions where I’ve seen people unable to be seated, however, it is a small business and it’s good to see that it’s in demand and popular with local people.

If you’re in the area be sure to give this place a go!

 

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Easy Chilli Tofu With Crunchy Asian Inspired Salad

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  • Serves two people

It’s coming towards the end of my half term holiday and I’ve had such a lovely autumnal break. One of the things I was trying to avoid while being off was oversleeping and wasting time (which is so easy to do when you’re used to getting up super early). Instead, I decided to organise and set my week out before it started (I know that sounds really sad but it was incredibly useful) as it’s so easy to end up procrastinate! I set out my routine so that I was waking up when the sun was rising so that I was getting natural light in the room from when I first woke up which helped me slowly wake up by the time my alarm was meant to go off then exercising or going for a brisk walk first thing in the morning to avoid me putting it off. This really helped me kick start my day and allowed me to feel productive from the get go along with a filling, nutritious plant based breakfast. A good way to get yourself up on a morning is to have a breakfast prepped that you are looking forward to – I used to think it was dead cheesy when people used to say breakfast was the best meal of the day – how wrong I was. There were obviously some things that I didn’t get around to but I felt organising my time in this way, even when on holiday, was really helpful in motivating me not to waste time. I’ll definitely be doing this again during the Christmas Holidays!

On the Wednesday my partner had a half day at work and came home early afternoon which meant we could have a nice lunch together! I wanted to make something quick, fuss free and light with a bit of a kick so that we could enjoy the rest of the afternoon together without me spending ages in the kitchen (ain’t nobody got time for that).

I decided on sweet chilli tofu – ingredients are as listed below;

  • TOFOO pressed tofu
  • Blue Dragon Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce
  • Chilli powder
  • Paprika Seasoning
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Red Cabbage
  • 1 Carrot
  • Chopped Mint
  • Chopped Corriander
  • Cashew Nuts
  • Coconut Oil
  • Three Cloves of garlic (or more…)
  • One Lime
  • Chopped Chilli (de-seeded)

Method

  • I started by unpacking the Tofu (Tofoo brand) and getting rid of any excess water. I personally prefer to use the tofu brand because it’s pre-pressed and less messy – much better for quickness and definitely the most tasty tofu I’ve had. When I first started eating plant based foods I had some terrible experiences with other tofu brands e.g. the product was really mushy and had a horrible texture. I’m not sure whether it was the brand or just my cooking but I love tofu now. Tofu is a great healthy option whether you eat a plant based diet or not and contains 8 essential amino acids, iron and calcium
  • I chopped up the tofu into about 30 equal sized pieces. In a bowl I mixed the dipping sauce with paprika and chilli seasoning then coated the tofu by rolling it around in the sauce, making sure each side was covered – when cooked it should have a sweet, sticky glaze.
  • I added them to a baking tray and popped them in the preheated oven on about 220°C. (about 25 minutes)
  • I made the salad by adding roughly four large handfuls of red cabbage, a full grated carrot, chopped mint, chopped coriander to a larger bowl. You can mix by hand or with a large spoon till it’s equally combined.
  • I toasted some cashew nuts with a spoonful of coconut oil in a frying pan till sides were equally browned and sprinkled sea salt and pepper. This should roughly take 5 minutes depending on your cooker.
  • I made the dressing in a small bowl. I crushed three cloves of garlic (go for more if you’re a massive garlic lover), I added the juice of one full lime (the more juice the better) and a finely chopped chilli – remember to de-seed the chilli and WASH YOUR HANDS…I learnt this the hard way a few years ago when I accidentally wiped my eye after. Just don’t do it to yourself. Make sure you stir this well.
  • Once the tofu is cooked add to the serving plate/bowl and add a generous helping of the salad. Add the roasted cashew nuts and the dressing as desired.

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Our lunch was filling but light and meant that we could spend the rest of the day together without napping or being in a food coma (which i swear is our regular state). Instead, we went for a walk with it being a gorgeous, sunny autumn afternoon and ended up having a few cocktails at Revolution #Ilovehalfterm. I’m at the end of my half term week now but really glad I’ve spent it well and set aside time to do things I enjoy. Hoping this blog post was of use to somebody out there. Feel free to leave suggestions below 🙂

S x

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My first blog post . . .Eating on the go, half term holiday and how to have a filling breakfast whilst commuting.

Okay, so i’m not going to lie, I am SO nervous to be starting a blog. It’s something I’ve felt like doing for a long time and put it off due to nerves about how people would receive it and if it would actually be of any use to anybody. One of the main reasons I’ve decided to blog is so that I have a new creative outlet/platform to get my ideas in black and white (if not for anybody else but myself) and so that I have an online space to store recipes and ideas. I’ve decided to push forward and do it due to being off for a week for half term and having the time to get my ideas down. Overall, i’m really excited to be putting my ideas into writing and hopefully I actually stick to providing content weekly.

So, one of the topics I wanted to cover today is modern lifestyles and being on the go. Obviously, everybody’s day to day lifestyle is different but I’d like to talk about food cravings on the go. I commute everyday to work which often takes around an hour and I go past so many fast food places on the way; Costa, Greggs, Mcdonalds, Subway – you name it! I’m not going to lie, there was a point where I would go to one of these EVERYDAY and not only was it a terrible idea financially but the foods I was eating were making me sluggish. Again, i’m not going to lie but I still often go to these places now and again  but generally only to pick up a coffee or if my partner wants to call in. One of the main reasons I stopped doing this (besides the expense) was the sugar crash I would get before lunch making me crave more and more sugar laced foods. This has led me to start packing up my own plant based, healthier alternatives for breakfast and this often leads to better decisions at lunch. It is so easy to ignore your actual health when you’re passing fast food places everyday, especially when commuting early in the morning, in the dark and in need of a pick-me-up but your body will thank you through the day.

My tips for feeling healthy and fresh on busy days;

  • Get up half an hour earlier and create a morning routine that you follow everyday – make sure you allot 5 minutes for yourself to actually wake up.
  • Do ten minutes of exercise e.g a quick jog around the block to wake your body up followed by a quick shower.
  • Prep your lunch and breakfast the night before – make sure you have plenty of little plastic containers. Even if it’s something as putting the coffee in the flask the night before you will feel more organised. My most useful is the one below which I often use for breakfast – it has a very handy spoon already attached. (Flying Tiger UK)
  • Cook more than what you need – then you are only cooking one meal but one serving of it can be your lunch, too.

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Although having said all that . . . definitely getting a Costa on the way to work on the first Monday back . . .

I’m really enjoying half term this year. Last year, I had a kidney infection and a tonne of QTLS work mounting up so this year I feel as if I’m free to decide what i want to do. One of the main things I wanted to do was create this blog (and if you’re reading it right now, I obviously picked up the courage to do it), go to the gym everyday (I usually have to settle for jogging and home work outs – with a little help from Pinterest and other blogs), sort out my food cupboards (I am aware how sad that sounds but I am actually buzzing to put all my herbs and spices into little jars, how could that not be fun?) and working on ideas/recipes to make cruelty free products after Christmas. My first delivery arrived about two weeks ago of all the products i’ll need to make scented soy wax candles and lip balms  – I’ve never really had a crafty project like this before as all my side hobbies in the past have been Fine Art based so if anyone has any tips please let me know! The reason I want to start this little project is because I LOVE receiving cruelty free gifts myself (Like, if you buy me something from Lush I will love you forever) and I’ve never made anything like this homemade before so I’m really excited for it!

Please feel free to leave a comment if you have any advice relating to making cruelty free bath/beauty products or if you’d just like to leave some feedback

Love SCJ x