Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Pushka Fashion Boutique + Exclusive Discount!

I was recently introduced to Pushka Fashion Boutique, an online store that sells women's clothing and evening dresses by international designers. Pushka stock many brands, such as Forever Unique, Goddiva, 
John Zack, AngelEye and many more, including the up and coming range by Beyoncé Knowles and her mother Tina, House of Dereon Clothing. Their clothing line features designs that are edgy and unique, and the range includes everything from casual wear to party dresses.

I really like the fact that House of Dereon use acrylic instead of wool, and faux-leather and faux-fur in their pieces. Many celebrities lavish themselves in animal skins, but Beyoncé has definitely got it right by choosing cruelty-free alternatives. If you are looking for some new clothes for the colder weather then why not check out House of Dereon?

Here are my top picks from their Autumn/Winter Collection.

Faux Fur and Leather Look Gilet, £70

Gold Sequin Dip Hem Dress, £95

Pleather and Ponte Motorcycle Jacket, £120

Cream Loose Sweater Knit Top, £50 | Leopard Print Crepe Shorts, £45

Red Snake Print Wrap Dress, £75

Sleeveless Studded Button Down Shirt, £40

Pushka have given me an exclusive discount for you all to use on their site - just register your details here, choose whatever you fancy and then enter the code MNBF15 at the checkout to receive 15% off!

Happy shopping - let me know if you buy anything nice!

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Tesco Dairy Free Cheese Review

Earlier this year Tesco brought out a new dairy-free range of products that included milks, yogurts, desserts and cheeses. The products were initially offered in only a few stores but they are now appearing in more of them, including my local one. I have tried a couple of dairy-free cheeses before and wasn't impressed with either of them, so I was quite keen to try Tesco's version as I have heard good reviews. There was a choice of a mild or a medium cheddar style soya cheese; I chose the medium one.

The cheese is quite firm but as with other dairy-free cheeses it is soft when you cut/grate it. I have to say that this cheese did not have a very appetising smell! I tried a bit straight from the pack, it tasted ok, not exactly like dairy cheese but not like plastic either. My boyfriend's mum tried a bit and said it was alright but it was sweeter than dairy cheese (although not necessarily a bad thing as she finds a lot of cheeses too salty).

I decided to try it out in a simple pasta bake that I made for myself and Jamie. I cheated and used a jar of a Tesco tomato sauce for quickness, mixed it with some pasta and sprinkled some grated cheese on top.

I was impressed with how well the cheese melted; it even started to go crispy and brown like dairy cheese does, and I thought it tasted quite real too. Initially Jamie was not keen on the taste of the cheese (he is an omni) but the more of the pasta bake he ate, the more he liked it and he said he would eat it again. We wanted to make enchiladas but couldn't find any vegan chicken-style pieces in Tesco, but we will try them out soon.

The next thing I made was another pasta bake, with another vegan product I was eager to try: Redwood's Tuna Style Pate (was going to do a separate post on it but I only tried it once so will include it in this one).

I tasted a bit of the pate as it was. It was quite nice, but I only got a hint of fishy flavour, although I guess this is not a bad thing depending on how authentic you like your mock meats to be. It smelled quite like real tuna though. My mum tried it and she said it was quite nice; I asked her if it tasted like real tuna as it has been so long since I've had it I don't remember exactly what it's like, she said it tasted more like meat pate. My favourite meal used to be tuna pasta bake so I wanted to see if I could make a good vegan version. I followed this recipe and substituted the margarine, milk and cheese with vegan versions, and of course, the tuna style pate.

I made this for Mum and I and we both quite liked it. Whilst it did not taste exactly like I remember tuna pasta bake to be, it was still a nice meal and very filling. The pate was ok but I think it disintegrated a little during cooking (although I tend to overcook everything!). The cheese topping was nice as with the other pasta bake I made, and Mum said she liked it. I did think the dish was a little bland; I did add some of the cheese to the white sauce but maybe I should've added more. I would also add some nutritional yeast to the sauce next time as I hear it has a very cheesy taste! I also forgot to season this dish so maybe that didn't help either...I would make this again though; I think with a little tweaking it could be a really nice meal! I'd also like to try some more recipes with the tuna pate.

The final thing I made with the cheese was a batch of good old cheese straws. I mixed the remainder of my cheese with 25g vegan margarine, 50g plain flour, and a pinch of cayenne pepper, and brought the mixture together in a dough by adding a little soya milk. I rolled the dough out and cut out little rectangles and baked until golden.

These were so good! They tasted exactly like real cheese straws, I was really impressed with the cheese in this instance. Mum really liked them too, and they didn't last long!

Overall I thought Tesco's dairy-free cheese was a really good, versatile product. I will definitely be buying more, and I am going to try the mild version too. Why not see if this cheese is stocked in your local Tesco and give it a try?
Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Amy's Kitchen Indian Vegetable Korma Review

You may have read my recent review of Amy's Kitchen Teriyaki Bowl, which I got with some vouchers they kindly sent me so that I could try some of their products. After discovering I could get anything ordered in at my local health food store, I decided to use the second voucher on their Indian Vegetable Korma meal, which is vegan and gluten free.

As with the other Amy's products I've tried, I was really impressed by the quality of the meal, and again, it tasted like it could be served in a restaurant. The curry was full of flavour; I thoroughly enjoyed it and would purchase it again.

I mixed it all together, hence it doesn't look like it does on the packaging!

I've been really impressed by all of the Amy's Kitchen products that I've tried, they are definitely higher quality than other ready meals. If you are looking for a quick and easy but nutritious meal, why not give them a try?
Sunday, 23 September 2012

Amy's Kitchen Teriyaki Bowl Review

Amy's Kitchen very kindly sent me some vouchers so that I could try some more of their products after I previously reviewed their mushroom risotto. There are a few frozen Amy's meals in my local Tesco but I ideally wanted to try some of their vegan products. I looked in my local health food store and found the teriyaki bowl, which was the only Amy's Kitchen product they stocked (and thankfully it is vegan!). However, after asking if they stocked any others, I discovered that you can order in anything you like (another review will follow shortly!).

I have only tried something similar once, when I went to Yo! Sushi earlier in the year. I have to admit Japanese style food is not something I would usually choose, however this meal was quite nice, and as with the risotto I tried, I think it could be restaurant quality. I was impressed by how fresh the vegetables tasted, and the meal was full of flavour. This may come as a surprise, but I have only ever had tofu once! I didn't think the tofu pieces in this product looked particularly appetising, however, they were very flavoursome.

Whilst I did enjoy this meal, I don't think I would buy it again as I prefer Indian or Italian cuisine, but if you love sweet and sour/Oriental-style food then you should give this a try!
Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Bessant & Drury's Chocolate Dairy Free Frozen Dessert

I got really excited when I spotted a new dairy-free ice cream in my local Tesco: Bessant & Drury's Chocolate Dairy Free Frozen Dessert. There was no price label on display but I picked it up anyway. At the till I was shocked when it turned out to be £4.69, however, the product is marketed as a fine ice cream, and I guess it is of a similar price to the luxury dairy ice creams.

This ice cream is also free from soya and GMO ingredients, contains no artificial additives, colours or preservatives, and is low in cholesterol. It has a very rich cocoa taste, with a lovely subtle hint of coconut (the main ingredient is coconut milk). The texture is extremely similar to dairy ice cream; it even melts quickly too! I encouraged some of my non-vegan family members to try it and they loved it - they said that you couldn't tell that it wasn't dairy ice cream!

I thought this ice cream was delicious, and I will definitely be buying it again; I'd like to try the other flavours too if I can get hold of them. I feel that it is worth the price, as it is more of a luxury ice cream than an everyday one, plus I won't be tempted to buy it too often!

Sorry, Jack insisted on being in my picture again!

Has anyone else tried this ice cream, if so, what did you think?

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Jason Family Natural Sunscreen Review

What a hit and miss summer we are having! A few weeks a go when we had a hot and sunny spell I was offered the chance to try a suncream from Jason. When it arrived the weather changed again! But there were a few sunny days at the weekend so I grabbed my new suncream and headed outside.

The Family Natural Sunscreen is a broad spectrum suncream and has an SPF of 45. My skin is fair with freckles, and as I burn easily I always go for a high sun protection factor. The product is vegan and BUAV approved, and is also free from parabens and phthalates.

I love the smell of this suncream, it is really tropical which I think is a great aroma to have in a suncare product! I hate suncreams that are really greasy on your skin, but this one is not greasy at all. It is easily absorbed which is definitely one of my top features to have in a suncream.

I did not burn whilst wearing this suncream, although I did ensure that I didn't stay out in the sun too long as even with protection your skin can still burn if the sun is very strong, especially if you have been swimming, sweating or have rubbed it away.

Here's hoping I get to use my suncream a few more times before the summer's out!
Friday, 27 July 2012

Beauty Without Cruelty Full Volume Mascara Review

Beauty Without Cruelty is a company that produce natural cosmetics. They are BUAV approved and Vegan Society registered, and have been leading the way in cruelty free cosmetics for over 30 years. I am working my way around all the cruelty free products I have not yet tried, so when I needed a new mascara I decided it was BWC's turn! There are 3 mascaras to choose from in BWC's new range: a waterproof mascara, an ultimate mascara for longer & thicker lashes, and a full volume mascara, which is the one I bought.

This mascara aims to create natural looking lashes with greater volume. It is free from parabens, PEGs & fragrances, is made with natural and organic ingredients, and comes in recyclable packaging. It retails at £10.99.

It has a traditional brush wand, which, after much research, I have found to be the most effective on my eyelashes.

I really love this mascara - it makes my lashes look longer, darker and thicker (I even got complimented on how long they looked!). What I also love about the product is that it is so easy to remove; you can even wash it off with plain water (therefore it's obviously not waterproof!).

Here's how the mascara performed on my lashes:

My bare lashes
After one coat of BWC Full Volume mascara
After two coats of BWC Full Volume mascara

I didn't curl my lashes for these photos to give a fair representation of the product, however, they don't really need curling with this mascara. I usually do curl them before applying mascara, so when I use this one after they look even better!

Overall I was really impressed with the product and would definitely buy it again. I am eager to try BWC's other mascaras and the other items from their makeup and nail polish range.
Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Amy's Kitchen Mushroom Risotto Review

I don't eat a lot of ready meals, but sometimes I just can't be bothered to cook anything if I've been working late like I was yesterday, so I popped into Tesco to see what I could find. I would have preferred to get a vegan ready meal but I was in a hurry and didn't have time to read loads of labels, so I opted for this mushroom risotto (£2.49) from Amy's Kitchen as I have heard a lot about the brand. I was expecting it to be vegan, but alas, it contains a bit of cheese :( As I am not yet fully vegan I thought I would try it anyway as it was the only Amy's Kitchen product I could find in the store and I have been wanting to try their products for a while.

The portion size is average for a ready meal; none seem to be as big as I would have for a home-cooked meal. Although I could have done with a bit more, I didn't feel hungry afterwards. As you can see, the risotto is all natural, gluten free, Vegetarian Society Approved, and counts as 1 of your 5 a day.

I like to think that I am rather good at making risotto, and so I was a little reluctant to try a ready meal version. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. The risotto was full of flavour, and I could see plenty of mushrooms and peas (a good sign!). I honestly think that if you'd have served me this in a restaurant I wouldn't have known that it was a ready meal and not freshly made. It was even better than my risotto - I think more practise is needed!

As I said previously, I would have preferred the risotto to be vegan, but overall I really enjoyed it.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Blog the Change for Dog Rescue

Today I am taking part in a global online event that aims to raise awareness of shelter dogs. As I explained in my introduction post, the overbreeding of dogs is a huge problem. People may breed animals for money (which I do not agree with - they are not objects!) or to maintain pedigree blood lines (often for specific characteristics which can lead to health problems such as flat faces in bull breeds). Other people rush into buying a puppy without thinking about the lifelong love, care and expense that they require. Often, once a puppy grows into a bigger dog, the owners decide that they haven't got time for it or can't afford to keep it anymore, one of a few things can happen:
  1. The dog is sold. It may indeed go to a loving home but in my opinion if you really cared about your dog you wouldn't want any money as animals should not be treated as objects. Furthermore, even people who pay hundreds of pounds for a dog can still abandon it, so asking for money to secure a good home is not a guarantee that the animal will be looked after.
  2. The dog is offered free to a good home. Sounds better than selling a dog after my above statement, but this option can be dangerous. Animals offered free to good homes are often picked up by people who promise to care for them but use them for dog fighting, bait, snake food etc. The solution? If you really must rehome your dog, try to do it through a local rescue organisation. If this is not possible, you should carry out thorough checks of the potential new owner and their home, and ask for references.
  3. The dog is abandoned. Some are left outside rescue centres where they may be rehomed, but are often euthanized, and others are left to fend for themselves on the streets, such as Ruby.
Ruby when she first arrived at the rescue

Ruby is my boyfriend's parents' dog. She was found wandering round the streets in Wales. She was transported down to Cornwall to New Life Dog Rescue, which was set up by Nannette, a woman I met at college, after she found out about the terrible pound situation. Ruby was very small and underweight. My boyfriend's mum, who has had Yorkshire Terriers in the past, fell in love with her and contacted Nannette. The rehoming procedure, which is a requirement of all rescues, was carried out: her home and garden were assessed to check that they were a safe environment, checks were made to ensure that someone would be home most of the time to look after the dog, and, once it was decided that Ruby could live with her, an adoption fee was paid to cover veterinary costs and neutering (to prevent further overbreeding), and a contract signed so that should a situation ever arise, Ruby would be returned to the rescue safely.

Ruby has been with my boyfriend's parents for over a year now and she has settled in extremely well. She put on weight and has learned to play, and she and Jack are the best of friends.

Adopt, don't buy!

If you are serious about getting a dog, please consider rescuing one instead of buying from a breeder. The pounds are overcrowded and the dogs are euthanized if not rescued. Some people have excuses as to why they think they cannot rescue a dog, such as:
  • If we stopped breeding, there would be no more dogs. Firstly, I think it is highly unlikely that every single person is going to cease breeding animals. But if we can stop the majority, then that will make a huge difference. Secondly, we are only breeding animals so they exist for our benefit; with all the animal cruelty that goes on in the world, I feel that it would perhaps be kinder for them if they did not exist.
  • I want a specific breed. If you really have your mind made up that you want a particular breed, ask your local rescues to notify you when one should come in. You can also search for breed-specific rescues; even if they are in a different part of the country, dogs are often transported around if you are serious about rehoming them.
  • I really want a puppy. Puppies are cute, I agree. We got Jack as a puppy, but that was just before we were made aware of the pound situation, and I immediately had him neutered and vowed never to buy an animal again, although I wouldn't change him for the world. But there are hundreds of adult dogs that need homes, so please consider them. Rescues sadly get some puppies and pregnant bitches in, so ask to be notified if you won't change your mind.
  • I'm not allowed to rescue a dog as I am not at home most of the time. I am sure a lot of people will disagree with me here, but in my opinion if you do not have the time to dedicate to a dog, then you should not get one. Dogs get extremely bored and lonely when they are left on their own for long periods of time and it is not fair to let them feel this way. Lack of time is one of the main reasons for rehoming a dog.

So how can you help?

Rescue organisations work tremendously hard to save as many dogs from shelters as they can and find them new homes. They often struggle financially, and would really appreciate your help.
  • Make a donation. Times are financially hard for everyone, but if loads of people donated as little as £1, a lot could be raised for rescues!
  • Donate unwanted items. If you really cannot afford a monetary donation, why not give that pile of books or bag of clothes you've been meaning to get rid of to your local rescue? They can go on to sell items at car boot sales and auctions to raise money.
  • Donate your skills. Next weekend I am due to take part in a charity day for New Life Dog Rescue by carrying out taster sessions of complementary therapies. If you can bake, knit or paint etc, help out where you can for events and auctions.
  • Donate your time. If you love dogs but are unable to have your own, helping out your local rescue is perfect. With so much to do, rescuers would really appreciate your help, be it walking their dogs, organising fundraising events or even fostering a dog until a new home is found for them.
I hope this post has helped to raise awareness and encouraged others to help out where they can through one of the above suggestions. Please spread the word, and together we can be the change for animals!
Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Jason Purifying Tea Tree Deodorant/Powersmile® Whitening Toothpaste Review

I was recently offered the chance to try out some products by the lovely people at Jason Natural Care. Jason is a BUAV approved company that has grown into a leading global brand for people who look after themselves and their families from head to toe the natural way. Their products, which are made using only natural ingredients, are all vegetarian and vegan (with the exception of a beeswax lipbalm which I am told is being discontinued soon), and the packaging is bio-degradable and packaged in recycled and/or recyclable containers.

I had a hard time deciding which products I wanted to try as there are loads of different ones to choose from. However, I decided to go with products that I actually need, rather than add to my pile of shower gels and body lotions! I picked the Purifying Tea Tree Oil Deodorant Roll-on as I am trying out all the natural, cruelty free deodorants on the market, and the Powersmile® Whitening Toothpaste as I have been wanting to try a natural toothpaste for ages.

Purifying Tea Tree Deodorant Roll-on

One of the key features of this deodorant is that it does not contain aluminum, which is something I have been avoiding now for about a year. Whilst there is no strong evidence that aluminium causes breast cancer, scientists agree that more research is needed, and who knows what the long term effects may be?

The product has a delicate aroma, but not overpowering as tea tree oil on its own can be. It glides on smoothly and does not irritate the skin. Overall it is a good product, however, as with any of the aluminium-free deodorants I have tried, you will sweat and you will have to reapply it if you exercise or get hot etc., as it is not an antiperspirant. If you are making the change from antiperspirant to natural deodorant, it may take some getting used to, but if you want to avoid aluminium and its potential effects on your body then it is just one of those things that you will have to put up with, but you will get used to it. As much as we don't like it, our bodies are designed to sweat to keep us cool, and if you think about it, the idea of bunging up our pores with chemicals does not seem very healthy.

Powersmile® Whitening Toothpaste

This toothpaste is free from Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate, preservatives, artificial colours, artificial sweeteners, saccharin, and propylene glycol. It is also free from fluoride. I have read a little bit about sodium fluoride and how it is not actually good for your teeth, but potentially dangerous, but I don't feel I know enough about its effects so this is a topic I am planning to research.

The product is a creamy colour and does not look as smooth as traditional toothpastes, but this is because it is free from chemicals and colourings. It contains Bamboo Powder, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate and Silica to help prevent tartar build-up and polish teeth naturally. After using this toothpaste my mouth feels really fresh due to the natural peppermint essential oil, and it makes my teeth feel really clean and smooth - a lot more than traditional toothpastes. I haven't noticed a change to the whiteness of my teeth, but to be honest no whitening toothpaste I've ever used has made a massive difference. Overall I was really pleased with this product and I will definitely be switching to natural toothpastes from now on!
Sunday, 15 July 2012

Vegan Goodies From Animal Aid

I have been wanting to try Beauty Without Cruelty's Full Volume Mascara for a while now as it is BUAV approved and vegan as well. I decided to buy it from Animal Aid's online shop as they sell lots of other lovely cruelty free goodies as well as makeup! I have a sweet tooth so I ordered some Dairy Free Chocovered Raisins, and a couple of Mars-style and Snickers-style chocolate bars. I am looking forward to trying out the mascara and choccies and am planning to review them all.

Has anyone tried any of these items? If so, what did you think?

Bloggers Unite For Dog Rescue!

I will be taking part in a special online global event that will be held on July 23, 2012. Bloggers Unite for Dog Rescue will highlight and stress the importance of dog adoption.

In the UK, and indeed worldwide, over-breeding of dogs continues to be a huge problem. Many people jump into buying a puppy without thinking about the life-long love, care, responsibility and expense that it entails. For every puppy that is bought, a dog in a shelter is euthanized because no one rescued them. And more often than not, the people that bought the puppy will change their mind when it grows bigger, or they decide they haven't got time for it, and the puppy may end up in a shelter itself. So it is a vicious cycle really.

If more people were aware of the crisis of dogs in shelters, then hopefully more of these dogs can be saved and given the loving home they deserve. In most shelters in the UK, dogs in the pound are given only 7 days to be rescued, or they are put down. Dog rescues are often small organisations, and whilst they work extremely hard to get as many dogs out of the pounds as they can - often arranging transport links to save a dog from the other end of the country - the financial side can often become an issue.

So on 23rd July I will be raising awareness of rescue dogs. I will be sharing the stories of my local dog rescues, making a donation to them, and encouraging others to do the same. Please spread the word - visit Be the Change for Animals for further information.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Baked Beans Just Got Even Better!

I love beans. Not just baked beans, but all the other types too. So when I saw that Heinz were bringing out a new tin of beans containing not just the classic haricot bean, but red kidney, pinto, cannellini and borlotti beans too, I got a tad excited! Heinz were giving away loads of tins of their new Five Beanz on their Facebook page, so I entered and forgot all about it. A few weeks later the postman brought me a surprise parcel containing the beans, and I decided to try them out right away for my lunch.

Beans are packed with protein, iron, calcium and other vitamins, and are therefore an important food for vegetarians and vegans. They even count as 1 of your 5 a day! When beans are combined with a grain such as wholemeal toast, they form a complete protein. Beans on toast is one of my favourite things to have for lunch as it is such a quick, easy and nutritious meal to make.

I loved Heinz Five Beanz, they were really delicious and filling; I didn't feel hungry until tea time. I will definitely be buying these when they hit the shops!

Friday, 29 June 2012

Yummy Vegan Flapjack

I have always loved baking, and as I am gradually making the change to being vegan I decided to try out a vegan recipe. Flapjack seemed like a good place to start - it's a moreish treat but can be healthy too, especially if it's homemade.
The following recipe is based on Mary Berry's flapjack recipe, and I have adapted it into a healthy, vegan treat. You can put whatever you like into flapjack, just have a rummage in your cupboards!

  • 8oz vegan margarine
  • 8oz demerara sugar (I didn't have any so used dark brown soft sugar instead and it turned out really well!)
  • 3oz golden syrup
  • 10oz porridge oats
  • 2-3 handfuls mixed seeds
  • 1-2 handfuls finely chopped dried apricots
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C/140°C Fan/Gas 3. Grease a traybake or roasting tin.
  2. Melt margarine, sugar and syrup in a large pan over a low heat then stir in oats, seeds and apricots. Mix well and turn into prepared tin.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes or until pale golden brown. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Mark into 24 squares and leave to finish cooling in the tin.
I am really pleased with how these turned out, and I am looking forward to trying the recipe again with different ingredients - does anyone have any good ideas?
Wednesday, 27 June 2012

American Beauty

There is a long list of certified cruelty free companies to choose from on the BUAV's Go Cruelty Free website. However, we are not just limited to British brands! Cruelty free products can also be found in other countries such as America, so we are spoilt for choice really!

The Humane Cosmetics Standard was established by an international coalition of animal protection groups from North America and the European Union. Several countries each have their own cruelty free organisation which sets the same Standards and awards the  Leaping Bunny to companies that can guarantee that their finished products and ingredients have never been tested on animals by themselves or a third party.

I have a few American products, which can be bought from UK websites, and I absolutely love them! For a full list of American cruelty free companies, check out leapingbunny.org. Most companies will ship to the UK, but I imagine it could be expensive in some cases, so just do a search of the brand you want to try followed by 'UK' and you should be able to find what you are looking for.

Aubrey Glycogen Protein Balancing Lavender & Ylang Ylang Shampoo and Conditioner, £10.51 each, and Green Tea Natural Sunscreen SPF 30, £14.29,  from The Organic Bodycare Shop | Dr Bronner's Organic Lavender Castile Liquid Soap, £5.49, from Lucy Rose | Everyday Minerals Semi-Matte Base Foundation, £9.95, and Finishing Powder, £7.95, from Cocktail Cosmetics | Hurraw! Root Beer Lip Balm, £3.45, and Crazy Rumors Apple Spice Lip Balm, £3.45, from Super Smoocher

Thursday, 21 June 2012

My Latest Prize: Astonish Cleaning Products

I love entering competitions; when you win it's such a buzz, especially if you have put in a lot of effort to get a prize that you really want. I love Astonish cleaning products as they are very affordable, really effective, and of course, cruelty free. So when I saw that the vegetarian, BUAV approved company were running an effort competition on their Facebook page to win £20 worth of their products, I got my thinking cap on.

Astonish wanted you to send them a photo taken over the Jubilee weekend featuring one of their products. A great tip for effort competitions is to wait until a few people have entered, so you can see what the standard is like. There were three entries posted up before I entered, which I thought were pretty simple photos. So I had an idea to prepare a vegetarian Jubilee lunch (including homemade red, white and blue cupcakes!), and use Astonish Antibacterial Cleanser to clean the surfaces beforehand. Here was my finished entry:

I was really pleased with my entry and I was delighted when I found out that I had won. I was allowed to choose any products from Astonish's online store totalling £20, and as they are so affordable, I managed to get quite a few. I picked:
  • Antibacterial Cleanser
  • Mould & Mildew Remover
  • Orange Cream Cleaner
  • Glass & Tile Cleaner
  • Stainless Steel Cleaner
  • Oven Cleaner Spray
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tabs
  • 4 in 1 Non Bio Laundry Liquid in Japanese Blossom and Sea Breeze.

I was really impressed with the size of the laundry liquid; you get a massive bottle for just £3! I am planning to do reviews on some of the products such as the mould & mildew remover, the oven cleaner and the stainless steel cleaner, so watch this space! Astonish are planning to run even bigger competitions soon, so if you care about using cruelty free cleaning products, head on over to their Facebook page.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Premae Skincare Tranquil Anatomy Body Wash Review

Premae is a vegan, BUAV approved company that markets itself as the world's first allergen-free beauty brand. They produce natural skincare and bodycare products that are ideal for allergy-prone men, women, mothers and babies. Premae's products come in recycled aluminium bottles and jars with recycled paper labels which customers can buy cheaper refills for, and even receive free samples and discounts for sending back their old containers.

I was recently offered the chance to try Premae's Tranquil Anatomy Body Wash, which is aimed at bathing oily/acne-prone skin. I do tend to experience blemishes on my upper back, shoulders and chest area so I was really keen to try this product out.

Credit: www.premaeskincare.com

I love the packaging of the body wash, it is simple but attractive, and I love the fact that it is recycled. The product is like a thin gel which lathers up nicely in the shower. It has a relaxing, earthly aroma that is quite neutral so I think men would benefit from using this product too. The body wash leaves your skin feeling clean without drying it out.

I have been using this product for a while now and I am really pleased with it. I feel it has helped to clear up my blemishes, so it definitely does what it says on the tin! Overall a fab product from a fab company.
Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Cruelty Behind Fashion

A lot of people would never wear real fur as it is deemed cruel, so why isn’t there the same attitude towards other animal products?  

The leather trade makes around half of all profits generated by slaughterhouses; many animals are bred specifically for their skins and are kept in extreme confinement. Others, such as deer, crocodiles, kangaroos and dolphins, are hunted and killed for their skins.

Silk is considered a luxurious material, but it is produced by boiling silk worms to death while they are fully conscious inside their cocoons. Hundreds of silkworms may be killed for just one silk scarf.

Wool may also be unavoidably linked to the meat industry. In Australia, the most commonly raised sheep are purposely bred for their wrinkly skin, which means that they produce more wool. Due to the unnatural amount of wool, many sheep collapse and die of heat exhaustion, and the moisture that collects in the wrinkles attracts flies which lay eggs. The hatched maggots may eat the sheep alive, so farmers perform ‘mulesing’, where the sheep are forced onto their backs with their legs restrained and have chunks of flesh sliced from their tail area to cause smooth skin that won’t harbour fly eggs, with no pain relief. 

Credit: www.peta.org

Feathers and down may be used in coats and jackets. They can be collected after geese and ducks have been slaughtered; however, sometimes feathers will be plucked from live birds, which causes them a great deal of pain and distress.

Credit: www.evolvecampaigns.org.uk

So what are the alternatives? There are many great companies that manufacture and sell vegan, cruelty free shoes, handbags, jackets and jumpers etc. such as the ones listed under fashion here.
You can also pick up many items of non-animal clothes, shoes and accessories in high street shops and online stores - just be sure to check the label to ensure the materials are entirely synthetic.

For more information on fur, leather, wool, silk and feathers, see www.evolvecampaigns.org.uk and www.thebigcoverup.org.uk.
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