I am a huge fan of naps. I know not everyone can manage it, but I am big on the napping and try to get away with as many naps as possible.
I’ve seen adverts for SMUG pop up all over my social media accounts. Their main product is a 3D sleep mask which is advertised to protect those with eyelash extensions.
I don’t have eyelash extensions, but I do regularly get my lashes lifted so I’m hoping the contour will help protect that too and make them last longer.
When I saw that the mask was on sale at ASOS, I thought I’d buy it to see what it was like. If it arrived and I didn’t think it was suitable, I could always return it.
The mask arrived the following day and packaged as pictured above. I liked the look of the mask. The cute little eyelashes on the front amuse me and the bright pink is bright and distinctive.
The sleep mask has an elasticated but adjustable strap which is really good. Other sleep masks I’ve owned previously have only had elasticated straps which have stretched overtime and then don’t stay in position very well at all.
The contour of the mask is very deep. As I’m Asian, I have quite a flat face so I was concerned that it wouldn’t fit right but it was actually perfect.
I had a nap and used the sleep mask and it was great. It was the perfect shape for my face and blacked out all the light which is exactly as advertised. The depth of the eye mask even fit my flat face and my eyelashes were well protected underneath the sleep mask.
I paid £8 for the sleep mask on ASOS which I think is reasonable. There are a lot of perks to this sleep mask and it was very comfortable. I’m so glad that I can bin off my old sleep mask that no longer fits!
WARNING: this blog post talks about lady bits and menstruation, so look away if you’re not prepared for the realities.
Since having my implant removed last month, all possible hormone change symptoms have come flooding my way all at once.
Irritability, discharge, headaches and what this post will focus on… cramps!
A few weeks ago, I had debilitating cramps and I could barely get off the sofa. I haven’t suffered from cramps since I was a teenager, and even as a teen, it wasn’t this bad!
I messaged my lovely friend Emily, and she told me to go get myself a hot water bottle and have a lie down. I had forgotten how soothing a hot water bottle could be and I was glad I messaged her complaining!
Shortly after, she sent me over a picture of BeYou‘s Period Patches which she recommended to me! She described them as ‘4Head for cramps’. If any of you have used 4Head before, you’d have been as impressed as I was… so I took the plunge and bought some.
The pack comes with 5 patch strips. I bought mine on Amazon but I believe you can also purchase them at Boots and on the BeYou website.
I finally got the use them for the first time this month, and they are genuinely life changing. My cramps sort of just appeared out of no where, and although not as a bad as last time, still uncomfortable and tiring. I applied a patch underneath my belly and it made so much difference.
It felt calming and I felt comfortable so quickly after application. The product claims to last 12 hours but to be honest, I wasn’t keeping time. By the time I took it off, my cramps had gone and I was back to normal.
These patches are perfect for use at home, at school or at work. I’ve been lucky enough so far to have only suffered from my cramps at home, but I suspect in the future I may be at work so I’ll make sure these patches aren’t far! What’s better is that they are vegan and cruelty-free (although waiting accreditation)!
For those of you who don’t like too much information or discussing women’s sanitary needs, please stop reading now. Those of you who aren’t bothered and are completely interested, make sure you keep reading because it may change your life (a little dramatic but seriously!).
Prior to my veganism, I used Always sanitary pads and Tampax tampons. I like to use both products for different reasons. Since turning vegan and being more exposed to ‘kinder’ products, I decided to be more conscious about the products I was using inside my body.
I’ve had the contraceptive implant in for around 8 years now, and during the majority of that time, I didn’t have any periods. Over the last few months, they’ve surprised me by returning! As it was a surprise, I had to use what I had at home which were the Always and Tampax products.
Did you guys know that most of these mainstream products contain plastics, other synthetic products and chemicals? Surely none of these should be put into your body for long periods of time?!
I decided to replace my existing products with Natracare products from a local health store in Cardiff, Beanfreaks. I then donated my old, unused products to a local women’s homeless shelter. I recently found out that Ripple Living on Albany Road have a basket in their shop where you can donate your sanitary products.
I picked up a few products which included:
Natracare Panty Liners
Natracare Applicator Tampons
Natracare Maxi Pads
Natracare Ultra Pads
I don’t even know where to begin with these. They are really life changing. There is a very noticeable difference in the effectiveness of the organic, chemical-free Natracare products compared to Always and Tampax. I personally found them to be far much more absorbent. But not only this, they were 100% more comfortable!
I wore a Natracare tampon all day and didn’t even notice it at all. The applicator was a bit fiddly compared to the Tampax Pearl, but with the benefit of not having any extra plastic, that minimal extra effort is worth it.
With the added benefit of not putting anything unfriendly into my body, switching to Natracare is a complete no-brainer. If you’re still unsure, visit their website to research and understand the business and their products.
So Christmas has been and gone, and my sister, @vgnnatalie, cooked another fabulous vegan Christmas dinner (with the exception of a bit of veggie and meat for my mum, dad and brother! – Still gotta keep the omnis happy).
To make our lives easier this year, we bought in some of our food instead of cooking it from scratch. For our centre pieces, we had the Waitrose Vegan Festive Wreath and their Vegan Root en Croute. I didn’t manage to take a picture of the root en croute, mainly because I didn’t think of blogging this until after I’d eaten it all!
The Festive Wreath was made up of vegan sausage and stuffing in the middle. The Root en Croute was a pastry with roasted carrots, spinach and a creamy sauce.
The Waitrose food was freezable for up to a month so I chucked it in the freezer and defrosted it Christmas eve, ready for Christmas Day! What was even more fantastic was that both items cooked at the same temperature for 25 minutes which made it so much easier on the day.
Natalie cooked almost everything else from scratch, which included crispy roasted potatoes, cauliflower cheese (made with vegan Applewood cheese), vegan yorkshire puddings and, of course, all of the vegetables.
The only exception were the pigs in blankets which we bought from Morrisons and were thrown in the oven along with everything else.
Natalie did an incredible job on dinner, as she always does. My parents even enjoyed the vegan Waitrose centre pieces. They couldn’t believe the Festive Wreath wasn’t meat!
After last year’s debacle with a very salty and not ideal seitan roast from Bun Fiction, I was nervous that our parents would be disappointed by another lack lustre vegan centre piece, but this was not the case. Waitrose have done a great job in catering for vegans and these were just right for us.
Maybe next year I’ll finally try making a mushroom wellington myself, but until then we’ll be resting and snacking on all our vegan chocolate we got for Christmas.
From all of us, we hope you had a wonderful Christmas and we hope you have a happy New Year!
Sustainability is very much in fashion at the moment, and I hope it’s not a phase. A lot of us have made small switches to reduce our waste and lessen our impact on the environment. The biggest change we should be making is moving to a plant based diet, but you can’t gift that!
With the approach to Christmas, many of you may have read some of my gift guide posts. On this post, I’m going to include a few swap and gift ideas that you can give this Christmas!
None of us are perfect, but we can all do our best to make swaps in our lives to help improve things.
I switched to the Face Halo last year and it is still one of my favourite purchases!
For those of you that don’t know, the Face Halo is a make up remover pad. You can visit the website for more details, but it’s so easy to use and has yet to fail at removing my make up! I don’t buy disposable make up wipes anymore as I have no need for them!
I bought a pack of 3 straight away and so far I’ve only used 2 of them, alternating when 1 goes in the wash.
They currently have limited edition cherry ones which look absolutely fabulous and would make an excellent Christmas gift!
My brother bought a Chilly’s reusable bottle and it encouraged me to buy my own. There are other insulated bottles out there that are cheaper, however the quality doesn’t match Chilly’s.
I bought both a coffee cup and a water bottle and I love them both. The coffee cup keeps my hot drinks warm for a few hours and I’ve been really impressed with it. The durability of the bottles is amazing and I highly recommend them.
Vegetable Shopping Bags
This may sound like a weird one, but it’s made a big difference for us in our home!
When we pop to the supermarket to buy our fruit and veg, we try and avoid buying the pre-packaged items and pick up the individual fruit/veg that we need for that day/week.
We used to use the plastic bags that the supermarket provide you. We stopped doing that and were placing the bar code stickers directly onto our fruit and veg so we didn’t have to pick up a bag.
I found these bags on Amazon, that have been so handy. We keep them in our shopping bags and now we can keep our fruit and veg separate from the rest of our shopping.
They might not be the most exciting gift to give, but for anyone who is looking to make these swaps, it’ll make a great addition to their lives.
Ripple on Albany Road, Cardiff
On my final note, we walked along Albany Road back to the car from Luna’s Vegan Corner last week and finally popped into Ripple. They are currently working on an expansion project which I think is going to be really exciting.
I wasn’t fully prepared for this visit so didn’t have any containers with me, but everything is amazing. You can buy containers there, but there are also donated containers which you can pick up for free. The range of products is amazing from cleaning products, to tea, to granola and to pasta.
For those of you in Cardiff looking for zero waste shops, Ripple is where you need to be. I was so impressed and I’ll definitely be making another visit with all my containers soon!
It’s approaching Christmas time, and we all know how popular pets are to be given as gifts. I don’t often do serious posts but I feel this topic is important to write about.
Animals are amazing, and I’m sure my vegan readers out there will be agreeing with me. Pets bring life into your home. They become one of you with their personalities being known to you and the love you have for one another. They become a member of the family.
I never had pets when I was growing up as I was never allowed them, but when Tom and I moved in together, we took in his childhood dog, Max, from the family home. Max was not adopted by his parents but was a cheap buy back in the day! He was a gorgeous long haired border collie with a speckled ear and one eye patch. We sadly lost him 2 years ago, and my heart was in pieces. I still miss him terribly to this day.
Dog breeding is becoming a serious problem in the world. They’re being so heavily bred that they are starting to have serious genetic health problems, all just so that designer breeds such as pugs and frenchies exist for people to buy.
Every Christmas, numerous dogs are left on the streets and abandoned due to families not being able to take care of them or their expectations not being met. For me, this is no different to abandoning a child. It is not acceptable to bring someone into your home, only to leave them when it doesn’t suit you anymore.
Some shelters will euthanise animals due to the unmanageable numbers they receive which is horrendous and unfair. An animals life is not the decision of others which is why I urge you to re-home an animal instead of buying.
Sami was adopted by Tom’s mum and dad a few years ago after they found her roaming around Greece looking for scraps. She was a stray dog with fleas and matted fur. They took her to the local dog home, Animal Rescue Kefalonia, but couldn’t bare to leave her so started the adoption process. Sami joined us back in the UK only a few short weeks after and has slotted into the family.
Sami has so much love for everyone and has such a gentle demeanour. She’s well behaved with the backyard chickens, and has even been known to pick up their eggs gently without cracking them! She’s cheeky but soft and loving and we all love her unconditionally.
Ned is a feral cat that Tom’s sister, Hannah, adopted from a local rehoming centre. Like all cats, he’s incredibly independent but has had no issues settling into the family home. He’s a cheeky cat who snuck into his first pack of Dreamies and ate the entire bag! He gets along well with their Alsatian, Shadow, and is now an integral part to their family.
Even Lucy Watson, reality TV star from Made In Chelsea, has said previously that she regrets not rehoming her first 2 pets and has since re-homed a kitten.
Before you go out and search for pets, please strongly consider adopting and rehoming one. There are so many different homes and kennels where there are plenty of animals who require forever homes.
Here are just a few well known re-homing centres, but make sure you put in the research as there are plenty of them all over the UK!
So a more serious blog post this week… I’m going to share with you guys the reasons why I became vegan in the first place.
My vegan story isn’t your normal vegan story, but I’m sure many of you share a similar story.
I’ve been with my boyfriend, Tom, for nearly 6 years now and a year or so into our relationship, he started transitioning towards vegetarianism. This started with going pescatarian first (for those of you that don’t know, that’s eating only fish and no other meat) and the plan was to slowly move from that into veganism.
Before Tom went vegan, he was a big meat eater. He rejected salads, never tried houmous, and was a regular KFC customer. He abandoned his plan of slowly transitioning and went straight into veganism from pescatarianism. I remember when he told me, we were lying in bed and I cried. I told him it was an entire lifestyle change which he didn’t understand at the time but slowly realised.
My reaction was certainly over the top, but veganism wasn’t anywhere near as accessible as it is now. We went out for food a lot and I knew that eating out would become a struggle. Our supermarket shops took longer due to the research required into our ingredients lists, but we adjusted. We remained an omni household where I continued to eat meat. With Tom being the cook of the household, he cooked meat for me for a while until he said he didn’t want to anymore. From that moment, we became a primarily vegan household but I continued to eat meat outside of the home.
Tom had a knack for making people think. He didn’t do it on purpose, but he eventually got his entire family to transition to vegan. Even my sister went vegan before I did. In fact, we used to argue about the discussions we had and I asked him to stop speaking to me about veganism, which he did.
Documentaries started coming out such as What The Health and Cowspiracy. I still haven’t actually seen them, but the world started changing with the demand. More and more people were signing up to veganuary and with this demand, everything was becoming easier. Supermarkets and restaurants were offering more vegan options, veganism was finally becoming accessible!
I was sat on the sofa one day and turned to Tom and simply said, I’m going to go vegan. I wouldn’t say anything just switched, but I’d already made the majority of the way there with being vegan in the household. The only additional change at that point was to only eat vegan outside of the home which was really only at work.
With my clearer understanding of veganism, it just made the most sense. It may have taken me a few years to get there, but it was the best decision I’ve made. It’s not possible to argue with facts.
Veganism is better for the environment.
Veganism is better for your health.
Veganism is accessible.
For those of you who haven’t taken the plunge yet, or are planning to, make sure you educate yourself. I was fortunate to have Tom to help me and educate me, but it is an important life decision. You need to eat the right things to remain healthy and your journey will be eye opening.
Don’t worry about what people have to say either. This is your decision, not theirs! For those of you still with omni other halves, play the long game. They’ll get there through exposure, not pushing.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post and I hope it helps you.
I’m far from an expert on veganism, but if you have any questions or would like to know more about my experience, leave a comment!
I know it’s early, but I’m going to mention the C word… Christmas!
I’m sure plenty of you (if you’re not vegan yourselves) have vegan relatives and friends that you don’t know what to purchase for.
I pride myself on being a good gift buyer. I pay attention to the people I love and note their needs for future reference. I won’t know your friends and families personally, but here are some shops and generic gifts that many vegans would be pleased to receive!
Holland and Barrett
H&B is a health shop that you can find on most high streets. H&B has so many vegan products available in their stores, including chocolate and snacks, as well as beauty items so it’s always worth popping in.
For Tom’s birthday recently, I popped in to pick up chocolate for him. They have a great range of vegan chocolate there which includes Vego and Nomo. He’s made his way through most of it now and loved it all.
My personal favourite was the Cocoalibre raspberry bar!
Those of you who are avid readers will know that I’m a fan of Lush. I usually stock up on bath bombs and bubble bars which I think make fantastic gifts for people during the holiday season.
Come Christmas time, Lush releases a whole range of Christmas gift boxes as well as individual items. Gift boxes are always a great gift as they usually give you a bit of everything. There are plenty of boxes to choose from so this isn’t specific to Christmas but I do love the Christmas boxes.
Another thing that Lush offers are knot wraps instead of boxes. This gives you the flexibility of choosing which items you’d like your receiver to have, including the design of the wrap.
Everything in Lush is labelled so make sure you pick vegan items. There is a clear distinction between the vegetarian and vegan items so if you’re not sure, ask the staff and I’m sure they’d be more than willing to help.
When we start approaching the Christmas season, I like to take a visit to the Ethical Superstore online store. There’s usually lots of goodies and it’s really easy to filter for vegan items on their website.
My usual Christmas order will consist of chocolate for stocking fillers and there will always be some Booja Booja chocolates, usually for myself…
There are so many items available to browse and buy. Scented candles, clothes, bags, shoes, etc! Depending on who you’re buying for, there’ll be plenty of selection available.
There are lots of vegan clothing brands that I’ve come across in my short time as a vegan with their appearances at various vegan events in Cardiff!
Viva La Vegan
Tom loves the Viva La Vegan range. There are plenty of t-shirts, hoodies and accessories to choose from. Their designs are simple and effective but here are so many designs and options to choose from that there’s bound to be something there.
I love that they also do badges, stickers and reusable items like tote bags and reusable cutlery! If clothing wasn’t what you were after, then these are great options too.
Wear Your Voice
Wear Your Voice have some truly beautiful designs for their clothing. It’s impactful but gorgeous. Their designs range from stunning animal drawings (which are designed by them and won’t be found anywhere else) to some more simple designs.
We’ll finish this post off on Eden Perfumes. I’ve written about Eden Perfumes before in this blog post. They are based in Brighton and are completely vegan and cruelty free. They make so many different fragrances and there will be a cruelty-free and vegan version of your favourite there!
If you know someone who’s recently turned vegan or is transitioning over, Eden Perfumes will be a great alternative for their favourite perfumes. Lots of people forget about the need for cruelty-free and vegan cosmetics so this is also a friendly reminder, as well as a great gift!
If there’s anything you guys would like hints and tips on, please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help!
A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of going to the Warner Bros Studio Tour in Watford, London with my lovely friend Emily as a treat to ourselves!
This was my second visit to the studio tours, having first visited 6 years ago in 2013!
So much has changed in those 6 years, and I won’t detail too much or post too many photos on this blog post because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone who was planning on visiting because it’s worth it. Emily and I were living our best lives and we absolutely loved it.
To warn you all, the tour is a long one! There’s so much to see. Emily and I spent a good 4 hours there with a short lunch break, which takes me nicely onto this heading… Vegan Food.
I’m not gunna lie, the little restaurant wasn’t filled with vegan delights. I was pleased there was something though! Having a look at the menu, there were a few bits and bobs that were vegan and/or could be made vegan.
I chose to have the veggie hot dog made vegan and a bottle of coca cola. This came to a very pricey £11, but with no snacks and no where else to go, we didn’t have much choice.
It wasn’t great. It was incredibly average and I didn’t enjoy the burger bun change. I’m guessing due to the original bread being a brioche, it wasn’t vegan but the replacement was poor. The one positive is that the cutlery was vegware so was completely compostable!
If you’re planning a visit as a vegan, don’t have any expectations of food. If possible, you’re better off bringing in your own snacks and food to save yourself a pretty penny and to get something that tastes better.
On the plus side however, the gift shop sells some vegan dark chocolate options which included a dark chocolate wand (which I didn’t buy) and dark chocolate peppermint toads which are delicious!
As mentioned, this was my second visit to the studios and it was completely different to the first time. Even the entrance has completely changed and the gift shop is so much bigger.
The queuing area was a bit longer but was filled with interesting prints on the wall to intrigue us as visitors and were perfect photo opportunities. There’s a little introduction with a few VTs before you get to the good stuff but it’s all worth the wait!
My favourite part of the tour by far was the Hogwarts Express. I remember they were building it when I visited 6 years ago and I was disappointed it wasn’t ready in time for our visit. Being on Platform 9 and 3/4 was an absolute dream.
One of the more recent and incredible additions was Gringotts Bank. Turning the corner after seeing how goblins were made and seeing Gringotts was such an incredible sight. It was spectacular.
For Harry Potter fans, this tour is a must! Tickets were £45 which might seem quite expensive, but in the grand scheme of everything you get to see, it’s a bargain.
In fact, I’ve been suffering from HP Tour blues since I’ve returned home so I’ve started re-watching the movies to bring me back some of that magic.
I wouldn’t say I’m an avid reader, but when I’m on holiday I really do chug through the novels. We came back from our 2 week holiday in France last week and I thought I’d give a run down of the books that I have been reading.
China Rich Girlfriend by Kevin Kwan
The second book in the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy, China Rich Girlfriend continues on seamlessly from the first.
I only started reading Crazy Rich Asians shortly after the movie had been released as my sister had recommended the book. Now after reading, I do too. As much as I enjoyed the movie, the book is a lot better and builds a much better picture of the characters and their back stories.
China Rich Girlfriend was just as enjoyable to read as Crazy Rich Asians and brings more characters into the fold. It focuses more on Shanghai and mainland Chinese characters and the story behind Rachel Chu’s family.
You would definitely need to read Crazy Rich Asians first for context, but definitely an excellent read that I thoroughly enjoyed.
The third and final book of the Crazy Rich Asians trilogy provided us with a wonderful closure to the story. The characters were brought back to life for me with additions to their stories and their lives.
Being Chinese myself, I found this trilogy really funny with the Chinese idioms and relatable with regards to the family culture (less with the rich sadly).
Again, you’d need to have read the first 2 books for context, but I highly recommend them. Kevin Kwan writes a beautiful story that epitomises Chinese culture and their loyalties to family, with the building of wonderful characters.
Vox was recommended to me by my friend, Ella, after telling her that I’d only recently started watching The Handmaid’s Tale (I haven’t read it either – it is on my list, but I have caught up on the TV series!).
The same concept has been built on, whereby America has changed under the rule of religion, and women have been suppressed and limited to 100 words a day.
I enjoyed reading the novel, however I felt the build up didn’t receive the ending it deserved. It was gripping throughout, but I felt the ending was rushed and very ‘happily ever after’.
It might not be for everyone, but at only £2.99, I thought it was worth it and still an enjoyable read.
At 99p in the Amazon Kindle July sales, it was hard not to buy this book with the excellent reviews that it had received. Additionally, it was added to Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club.
This was my favourite read this Summer. I related heavily to the main character, Susan, and her incredibly prickly and indifferent personality. Although predictable in many aspects, Sarah Haywood has written her characters beautifully, and the story is emotional.
Susan builds as a person throughout and unfolds with every page you turn. My highest recommendation for this Summer. For those of you with Kindles, grab the book for 99p this month.
And finally, my current and incomplete read book is Last Letter from Istanbul by Lucy Foley. I’m roughly half way through, and based on what I’ve read so far, I highly recommend it.
I’m finding the historical setting really interesting, and each chapter flips between characters. It’s nice to see each character viewpoint of a scenario and it brings new characters in slowly without naming them and only providing a name like ‘The Prisoner’ and ‘The Traveller’ as their distinction to add to the mystery.