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Barefaced and Happy

If someone had told me two years ago that in the future I'd be perfectly happy leaving the house without a scrap of make-up on, I wouldn't have believed them.

At that time I refused to let the general public see me without the whole works  primer, foundation, two types of concealer, brow pencil, eyeshadow, liner, mascara, blush, and lipstick were the minimum. To me, that was toned down.

I had adult acne and I used cosmetics as a distraction. Spotty forehead? Time for a statement plum lip. Breakouts on my chin? Let me blend out a smoky eye. If I was really upset I'd add some false lashes.


(At this interval, I would like to point out that just because someone wears make-up, it doesn't automatically mean they're insecure. Yes, it can give you a boost when you're not feeling 100%, but it doesn't mean the person wearing it dislikes their face. Make-up is fun! That plum lipstick was a distraction, yes, but it was also pretty and it made me feel like I had my shit together.)

Over time my skin has cleared and I've become used to seeing my bare face staring back at me in the mirror. That previously pared-down face of make-up suddenly looks like a lot.


What this has reaffirmed for me is not that one approach is better than the other, and I'm not writing this to tell everyone that they should throw their make-up bags away  women and men should be able to adorn their faces as they damn well please.


Instead, it's reminded me that the beauty of make-up is the purpose it serves for you. It's versatile: you decide what works.


I wore my full-coverage foundation and my purple lipstick as if they were armour and they made me feel better about myself. Nowadays I'm more likely to find happiness in some brow pomade and a sheeny highlighter  and that's enough. I daresay there'll be a time when I start wearing more make-up again (I can never go for too long without a good eyeliner wing).


My made-up face isn't better than my bare face, and my bare face isn't better than my made-up face. They're just different. I'm sure there's someone out there who'd do the whole 'You look so tired' thing out of faux concern, but you know what? Fuck'em. I'm happy. 

Barefaced and Happy

Barefaced and Happy

If someone had told me two years ago that in the future I'd be perfectly happy leaving the house without a scrap of make-up on, I wouldn't have believed them.

At that time I refused to let the general public see me without the whole works  primer, foundation, two types of concealer, brow pencil, eyeshadow, liner, mascara, blush, and lipstick were the minimum. To me, that was toned down.

I had adult acne and I used cosmetics as a distraction. Spotty forehead? Time for a statement plum lip. Breakouts on my chin? Let me blend out a smoky eye. If I was really upset I'd add some false lashes.


(At this interval, I would like to point out that just because someone wears make-up, it doesn't automatically mean they're insecure. Yes, it can give you a boost when you're not feeling 100%, but it doesn't mean the person wearing it dislikes their face. Make-up is fun! That plum lipstick was a distraction, yes, but it was also pretty and it made me feel like I had my shit together.)

Over time my skin has cleared and I've become used to seeing my bare face staring back at me in the mirror. That previously pared-down face of make-up suddenly looks like a lot.


What this has reaffirmed for me is not that one approach is better than the other, and I'm not writing this to tell everyone that they should throw their make-up bags away  women and men should be able to adorn their faces as they damn well please.


Instead, it's reminded me that the beauty of make-up is the purpose it serves for you. It's versatile: you decide what works.


I wore my full-coverage foundation and my purple lipstick as if they were armour and they made me feel better about myself. Nowadays I'm more likely to find happiness in some brow pomade and a sheeny highlighter  and that's enough. I daresay there'll be a time when I start wearing more make-up again (I can never go for too long without a good eyeliner wing).


My made-up face isn't better than my bare face, and my bare face isn't better than my made-up face. They're just different. I'm sure there's someone out there who'd do the whole 'You look so tired' thing out of faux concern, but you know what? Fuck'em. I'm happy. 
I'm going to be blunt: cruelty-free sun protection is an absolute bugger to find.

I know the British weather can be unpredictable to say the least  I'm writing this the day after I both ate lunch outside in the beautiful sunshine and got woken up by a thunderstorm  but the sun always seems to break through eventually, even if it's in between rain showers. And apparently clouds only stop 20% of UV rays anyway, so it's incredibly important to apply your SPF on a regular basis.

But even with the best of intentions, SPF can clog up your pores and is often sticky, greasy, non-waterproof, non-sweatproof... and then of course you don't want to compromise your ethical stance (and why should you?), which rules out the majority of the high street market.

Enter Superdrug's Solait range.

Cruelty-free, Leaping Bunny-approved and with plenty of vegan products to choose from, Solait is ideal if you just want to nip off to the high street to grab your holiday essentials. The range is cheap, too, with most products costing under a fiver, and there are normally offers like buy one, get one half-price available.

But are the products any good?

Superdrug Solait Moisturising Sun Lotion

Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF30 (v), £2.99

I find this lotion has a thinner, lighter texture than your standard sun cream, which makes it a lot nicer to apply  it glides over the skin with ease and doesn't leave any residue. I wouldn't say it was particularly moisturising, so don't skip body butter if you need it, but for me this is a small price to pay for sun protection that doesn't make you feel like you've been basted.

Hair & Scalp Sun Spray SPF30 (v)

I had high hopes for this but it weighs my fine hair down and leaves my roots looking and feeling greasy. I tried it for a week and just couldn't cope with the scalp build-up  or the wet look, which I must confess I've never fully understood anyway. Perhaps those with thicker hair would have more success?

Superdrug Solait Enhanced Sun Lotion SPF50

Enhanced Sun Lotion SPF50 (v)

If you need a heavy duty SPF then this is the ultimate choice, since it protects from UVA, UVB, and infrared rays. It's much thicker than the Moisturising Sun Lotion and doesn't absorb quite so well, which makes it feel a little sticky, but if you don't want to take any chances then you can't go wrong. I've worn it many times and my skin hasn't even turned a teeny bit pink.

(I can't find a link on the website but I've seen Enhanced Sun Lotion in stores, so Solait don't seem to have discontinued it.)

Superdrug Solait Face Fluid

Anti-Ageing Face Fluid SPF30/SPF50 (v), £3.49 each [Only SPF50 is vegan.]

I bought this when I was with my mum, which led to exclamations of, 'What are you buying anti-ageing stuff for?! You're in your twenties!' but I don't want a sunburnt face, quite frankly.

Anti-Ageing Face Fluid has a thinner formula than the Enhanced Sun Lotion but is thicker than the Moisturising Sun Lotion, which is something to bear in mind if you like a lighter base. My skin gets oily quicker when I wear this by itself, although it's better when set with a light dusting of mineral foundation.

This fluid is good for holidays but I'm not so sure it works as an everyday SPF. I've worn it as both and my skin tends to get spottier if I use it too many days in a row, even if I double cleanse every night. I'm currently on the hunt for something else.

Final Thoughts

The one thing every product has in common is this: I've worn them on overcast days in the UK, the most unbearably humid days in Asia, and in the middle of the Arabian desert and not once have I been sunburnt.

Otherwise, this is a hit and miss bunch  I'd really recommend getting your hands on the Moisturising Sun Lotion though! A non-sticky, cruelty-free sun cream for £2.99? Sold.

Do you have any cruelty-free SPF recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan

Cruelty-Free Sun Protection from Superdrug

I'm going to be blunt: cruelty-free sun protection is an absolute bugger to find.

I know the British weather can be unpredictable to say the least  I'm writing this the day after I both ate lunch outside in the beautiful sunshine and got woken up by a thunderstorm  but the sun always seems to break through eventually, even if it's in between rain showers. And apparently clouds only stop 20% of UV rays anyway, so it's incredibly important to apply your SPF on a regular basis.

But even with the best of intentions, SPF can clog up your pores and is often sticky, greasy, non-waterproof, non-sweatproof... and then of course you don't want to compromise your ethical stance (and why should you?), which rules out the majority of the high street market.

Enter Superdrug's Solait range.

Cruelty-free, Leaping Bunny-approved and with plenty of vegan products to choose from, Solait is ideal if you just want to nip off to the high street to grab your holiday essentials. The range is cheap, too, with most products costing under a fiver, and there are normally offers like buy one, get one half-price available.

But are the products any good?

Superdrug Solait Moisturising Sun Lotion

Moisturising Sun Lotion SPF30 (v), £2.99

I find this lotion has a thinner, lighter texture than your standard sun cream, which makes it a lot nicer to apply  it glides over the skin with ease and doesn't leave any residue. I wouldn't say it was particularly moisturising, so don't skip body butter if you need it, but for me this is a small price to pay for sun protection that doesn't make you feel like you've been basted.

Hair & Scalp Sun Spray SPF30 (v)

I had high hopes for this but it weighs my fine hair down and leaves my roots looking and feeling greasy. I tried it for a week and just couldn't cope with the scalp build-up  or the wet look, which I must confess I've never fully understood anyway. Perhaps those with thicker hair would have more success?

Superdrug Solait Enhanced Sun Lotion SPF50

Enhanced Sun Lotion SPF50 (v)

If you need a heavy duty SPF then this is the ultimate choice, since it protects from UVA, UVB, and infrared rays. It's much thicker than the Moisturising Sun Lotion and doesn't absorb quite so well, which makes it feel a little sticky, but if you don't want to take any chances then you can't go wrong. I've worn it many times and my skin hasn't even turned a teeny bit pink.

(I can't find a link on the website but I've seen Enhanced Sun Lotion in stores, so Solait don't seem to have discontinued it.)

Superdrug Solait Face Fluid

Anti-Ageing Face Fluid SPF30/SPF50 (v), £3.49 each [Only SPF50 is vegan.]

I bought this when I was with my mum, which led to exclamations of, 'What are you buying anti-ageing stuff for?! You're in your twenties!' but I don't want a sunburnt face, quite frankly.

Anti-Ageing Face Fluid has a thinner formula than the Enhanced Sun Lotion but is thicker than the Moisturising Sun Lotion, which is something to bear in mind if you like a lighter base. My skin gets oily quicker when I wear this by itself, although it's better when set with a light dusting of mineral foundation.

This fluid is good for holidays but I'm not so sure it works as an everyday SPF. I've worn it as both and my skin tends to get spottier if I use it too many days in a row, even if I double cleanse every night. I'm currently on the hunt for something else.

Final Thoughts

The one thing every product has in common is this: I've worn them on overcast days in the UK, the most unbearably humid days in Asia, and in the middle of the Arabian desert and not once have I been sunburnt.

Otherwise, this is a hit and miss bunch  I'd really recommend getting your hands on the Moisturising Sun Lotion though! A non-sticky, cruelty-free sun cream for £2.99? Sold.

Do you have any cruelty-free SPF recommendations? Let me know in the comments!

(v) = vegan
Last month I read a really interesting blog post by Laila from Tape Parade.

Let's Stop Eating Off The Vegan Menu is about supporting your local vegan and vegetarian restaurants by not only visiting them, but telling other people about them too.

'Vegan-friendly is great, but what I'm about is vegan-PROUD... I'm talking places that don't have a separate menu... Places that make you feel wanted and not just welcome. Restaurants with a menu full of choice.'

(Laila is an awesome writer so I encourage you to read the post in its entirety; I can't wait for her London restaurant reviews.)

As Laila points out, chain restaurants are all very well and good  especially in areas where choice is limited  but we need to support local independent businesses too.

With these words weighing on my mind, I decided to visit The Veg Box Cafe and then write about it afterwards. Best. Decision. Ever.


Food from The Veg Box


The Veg Box Cafe

Last month I read a really interesting blog post by Laila from Tape Parade.

Let's Stop Eating Off The Vegan Menu is about supporting your local vegan and vegetarian restaurants by not only visiting them, but telling other people about them too.

'Vegan-friendly is great, but what I'm about is vegan-PROUD... I'm talking places that don't have a separate menu... Places that make you feel wanted and not just welcome. Restaurants with a menu full of choice.'

(Laila is an awesome writer so I encourage you to read the post in its entirety; I can't wait for her London restaurant reviews.)

As Laila points out, chain restaurants are all very well and good  especially in areas where choice is limited  but we need to support local independent businesses too.

With these words weighing on my mind, I decided to visit The Veg Box Cafe and then write about it afterwards. Best. Decision. Ever.


Food from The Veg Box


Well, I say I've switched to mineral foundation just for summer  it may well be for life after the whole NARS debacle.

But warmer temperatures were my main motivation for swapping my usual base products for one simple pot of powder. Mineral foundation is a lot lighter than liquid formulas and I wanted something breathable to prevent breakouts, which sometimes pop up when I've been wearing a lot of SPF.

With all that in mind, I spotted PHB Ethical Beauty's Loose Mineral Foundation* (v) on LoveLula and couldn't resist trying it out. PHB's products are vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, paraben-free, and halal certified, plus they don't contain any nano particles, talc, fillers, mineral oils, or GM ingredients. If you're looking for natural beauty then you can't get much better than this!

PHB Ethical Beauty Loose Mineral Foundation in Cream

I Switched to Mineral Foundation for Summer

Well, I say I've switched to mineral foundation just for summer  it may well be for life after the whole NARS debacle.

But warmer temperatures were my main motivation for swapping my usual base products for one simple pot of powder. Mineral foundation is a lot lighter than liquid formulas and I wanted something breathable to prevent breakouts, which sometimes pop up when I've been wearing a lot of SPF.

With all that in mind, I spotted PHB Ethical Beauty's Loose Mineral Foundation* (v) on LoveLula and couldn't resist trying it out. PHB's products are vegan, cruelty-free, gluten-free, paraben-free, and halal certified, plus they don't contain any nano particles, talc, fillers, mineral oils, or GM ingredients. If you're looking for natural beauty then you can't get much better than this!

PHB Ethical Beauty Loose Mineral Foundation in Cream

When is the right time to stop telling everyone you're a recent graduate?

It's been an entire year since I graduated, so it's not really news, although most people I meet seem to think I'm either still at university or about to go. One woman I met recently asked me if I was at boarding school and she was shocked when I said no  the confusion a baby face can cause is really quite something.

Graduation programme

Graduation: One Year On

When is the right time to stop telling everyone you're a recent graduate?

It's been an entire year since I graduated, so it's not really news, although most people I meet seem to think I'm either still at university or about to go. One woman I met recently asked me if I was at boarding school and she was shocked when I said no  the confusion a baby face can cause is really quite something.

Graduation programme

Well, that was unexpected.

I wasn't planning to have a week away from blogging, you see, it just sort of happened, and I feel much better for it. I've been pretty run down  blocked nose, headache, sore throat, the works  and taking a step back from pretty much everything has worked wonders. (As have Tesco cold & flu tablets and gin & tonic ice lollies. Is there anything a good G&T can't fix?)

Anyway, I'm back today and focusing on some more eco-friendly beauty. Specifically, the konjac sponge.

Last year I tried a konjac sponge made for the face, with mixed results. I love the environmentally friendly approach towards making these sponges (they're all biodegradable) but the face sponge didn't work with the skincare products I normally use (balm cleansers and my acne cream).

But I don't use acne cream or balm cleansers on my body, so I decided to try out the Konjac Sponge Co's Pink Clay Body Sponge* (v) to see if that made a difference.

Konjac Sponge Co Pink Clay Body Sponge

Eco-Friendly Beauty: The Konjac Sponge Co's Pink Clay Body Sponge

Well, that was unexpected.

I wasn't planning to have a week away from blogging, you see, it just sort of happened, and I feel much better for it. I've been pretty run down  blocked nose, headache, sore throat, the works  and taking a step back from pretty much everything has worked wonders. (As have Tesco cold & flu tablets and gin & tonic ice lollies. Is there anything a good G&T can't fix?)

Anyway, I'm back today and focusing on some more eco-friendly beauty. Specifically, the konjac sponge.

Last year I tried a konjac sponge made for the face, with mixed results. I love the environmentally friendly approach towards making these sponges (they're all biodegradable) but the face sponge didn't work with the skincare products I normally use (balm cleansers and my acne cream).

But I don't use acne cream or balm cleansers on my body, so I decided to try out the Konjac Sponge Co's Pink Clay Body Sponge* (v) to see if that made a difference.

Konjac Sponge Co Pink Clay Body Sponge

So it's the last day of June, we're officially halfway through 2017, and the theory that time moves faster as you grow older seems to be correct, at least from my perspective. Anyone else?

This month I've flip-flopped between being super-motivated and not having the energy to write or engage with social media much. I say that  it's mainly been the latter. I'm just permanently tired, so I'm more than ready for my summer holidays. A break will be just the breather I need to refresh and refocus and I have lots of plans for new blog content.

Shall we get to it?

The Body Shop Vegan Base Products


Cruelty-Free Updates & Blog Posts I Loved | June 2017

So it's the last day of June, we're officially halfway through 2017, and the theory that time moves faster as you grow older seems to be correct, at least from my perspective. Anyone else?

This month I've flip-flopped between being super-motivated and not having the energy to write or engage with social media much. I say that  it's mainly been the latter. I'm just permanently tired, so I'm more than ready for my summer holidays. A break will be just the breather I need to refresh and refocus and I have lots of plans for new blog content.

Shall we get to it?

The Body Shop Vegan Base Products


I've made no secret of the fact I'd like to go vegan one day.

When I stopped eating meat last September I originally gave up dairy as well, before it became a bit too much trying to cut so many things out of my diet at once. A slow and steady approach works best for me, so I stopped eating meat, then stopped eating fish a few months later. I'm a vegetarian, but I try and use vegan alternatives wherever possible (I don't even remember the last time I drank milk that wasn't made from coconut or rice) but adopting a fully vegan diet isn't realistic right now. I'm doing as much as I can.

So I really, really don't like it when I see people  flexitarians, pescatarians, vegetarians etc  being criticized for not doing enough. It was an advert Liv shared on Twitter that inspired this post  something about a piglet not thinking that meat-free Mondays are worth it. And while I can see that side of the argument, if you've only just begun considering your intake of animal products and you need a place to start, seeing an advert like that probably isn't going to encourage you to take those first steps; it's going to make you wonder why you should bother in the first place.

If you're trying your best to lessen your impact, be it through making more vegetarian dishes at home or going completely vegan, then you should be applauded for making those decisions. Imagine if everyone did the same  it all adds up.

Green Smoothie

Veganism: Why I Don't Like The All Or Nothing Approach

I've made no secret of the fact I'd like to go vegan one day.

When I stopped eating meat last September I originally gave up dairy as well, before it became a bit too much trying to cut so many things out of my diet at once. A slow and steady approach works best for me, so I stopped eating meat, then stopped eating fish a few months later. I'm a vegetarian, but I try and use vegan alternatives wherever possible (I don't even remember the last time I drank milk that wasn't made from coconut or rice) but adopting a fully vegan diet isn't realistic right now. I'm doing as much as I can.

So I really, really don't like it when I see people  flexitarians, pescatarians, vegetarians etc  being criticized for not doing enough. It was an advert Liv shared on Twitter that inspired this post  something about a piglet not thinking that meat-free Mondays are worth it. And while I can see that side of the argument, if you've only just begun considering your intake of animal products and you need a place to start, seeing an advert like that probably isn't going to encourage you to take those first steps; it's going to make you wonder why you should bother in the first place.

If you're trying your best to lessen your impact, be it through making more vegetarian dishes at home or going completely vegan, then you should be applauded for making those decisions. Imagine if everyone did the same  it all adds up.

Green Smoothie

Well, the good news is that I haven't bought any beauty products yet.

The not-so-good news is that I've still given in and ordered Deliveroo a couple of times. But there's a reason for it, I swear! There have been some days when the choice was Deliveroo or don't eat, and I'm always going to choose food in that situation; I can't function without it.

Not the strong start I was hoping for, but a reasonable start all the same.

The Shoestring Chic Spending Ban

The Shoestring Chic Spending Ban: Weeks 1&2

Well, the good news is that I haven't bought any beauty products yet.

The not-so-good news is that I've still given in and ordered Deliveroo a couple of times. But there's a reason for it, I swear! There have been some days when the choice was Deliveroo or don't eat, and I'm always going to choose food in that situation; I can't function without it.

Not the strong start I was hoping for, but a reasonable start all the same.

The Shoestring Chic Spending Ban

Blush has gone from being a product I paid no attention to, to a make-up must-have.

Even if I can't be bothered to put anything else on my face (which is most days right now...) I always fill in my eyebrows and blend a dot of cream blush into the apples of my cheeks. The difference it makes to the way your face looks is undeniable  it creates a healthy glow, no matter how you're feeling.

Illamasqua's Cream Blush in Zygomatic is the first piece of high-end make-up I've treated myself to for a while. I've admired Illamasqua's ethos for a long time, particularly their anti-fascism pledge, and while their Skin Base Foundation wasn't quite right for me, I appreciate that such a well-known department store brand has plethora of vegan options available and is very open about it. (You can check out the vegan section of their website here.)

I had high hopes for the cream blush, so let's see what it's like..

Illamasqua Cream Blush in Zygomatic


Review: Illamasqua Cream Blush in Zygomatic

Blush has gone from being a product I paid no attention to, to a make-up must-have.

Even if I can't be bothered to put anything else on my face (which is most days right now...) I always fill in my eyebrows and blend a dot of cream blush into the apples of my cheeks. The difference it makes to the way your face looks is undeniable  it creates a healthy glow, no matter how you're feeling.

Illamasqua's Cream Blush in Zygomatic is the first piece of high-end make-up I've treated myself to for a while. I've admired Illamasqua's ethos for a long time, particularly their anti-fascism pledge, and while their Skin Base Foundation wasn't quite right for me, I appreciate that such a well-known department store brand has plethora of vegan options available and is very open about it. (You can check out the vegan section of their website here.)

I had high hopes for the cream blush, so let's see what it's like..

Illamasqua Cream Blush in Zygomatic


Self acceptance is something I've struggled with for as long as I can remember.

My insecurities have changed over the years, but they've always been there  I've worried that I'm too shy/too boring/not good enough/a crap writer and I've picked at so-called flaws like my nose (inherited from Grandma), the gaps in my teeth, and the way my voice sounds. (It ranges from anything between Hermione in The Philosopher's Stone to a strong Kentish dialect with missing letters.)

Like many of us, and many women in particular, I've spent more time than I care to admit feeling bad and even feeling guilty about the way I am, but I don't want to be sorry anymore. Looking after myself has become the priority it always should have been since I graduated last year and that includes (gradual) self acceptance, how difficult it might be.

Last month I read a wonderful blog post by Jasmin  8 Things I've Stopped Apologising For. It's a polite but brilliantly blunt list and it got me thinking about what my own would be. On Self Acceptance and Not Being Sorry was the result.

Beth vs bruschetta
Tackling the most garlicky bruschetta I've ever tasted in my life. I kept my distance from everyone for the rest of the day but it was most certainly worth it.

On Self Acceptance and Not Being Sorry

Self acceptance is something I've struggled with for as long as I can remember.

My insecurities have changed over the years, but they've always been there  I've worried that I'm too shy/too boring/not good enough/a crap writer and I've picked at so-called flaws like my nose (inherited from Grandma), the gaps in my teeth, and the way my voice sounds. (It ranges from anything between Hermione in The Philosopher's Stone to a strong Kentish dialect with missing letters.)

Like many of us, and many women in particular, I've spent more time than I care to admit feeling bad and even feeling guilty about the way I am, but I don't want to be sorry anymore. Looking after myself has become the priority it always should have been since I graduated last year and that includes (gradual) self acceptance, how difficult it might be.

Last month I read a wonderful blog post by Jasmin  8 Things I've Stopped Apologising For. It's a polite but brilliantly blunt list and it got me thinking about what my own would be. On Self Acceptance and Not Being Sorry was the result.

Beth vs bruschetta
Tackling the most garlicky bruschetta I've ever tasted in my life. I kept my distance from everyone for the rest of the day but it was most certainly worth it.

When someone mentions The Body Shop, I don't think of make-up. I think of body butters, soap, shower puffs, and skincare.

So when they got in touch with me to ask if I'd be interested in trying out some of their vegan make-up, I was pleasantly surprised and immediately said yes.

The Body Shop seem to be going back to their cruelty-free roots  I'm really hoping the rumours that L'Oreal will no longer be their parent company are true  and it's a welcome update.

[Edit: The day this post was published, L'Oreal announced they were in talks with Natura about selling The Body Shop, which is wonderful news!]

The Body Shop Vegan Lip Stains

Vegan Make-Up From The Body Shop

When someone mentions The Body Shop, I don't think of make-up. I think of body butters, soap, shower puffs, and skincare.

So when they got in touch with me to ask if I'd be interested in trying out some of their vegan make-up, I was pleasantly surprised and immediately said yes.

The Body Shop seem to be going back to their cruelty-free roots  I'm really hoping the rumours that L'Oreal will no longer be their parent company are true  and it's a welcome update.

[Edit: The day this post was published, L'Oreal announced they were in talks with Natura about selling The Body Shop, which is wonderful news!]

The Body Shop Vegan Lip Stains

Turns out this eco-friendly thing can be pretty overwhelming.

Last month I decided I was going to make a conscious effort to be less wasteful in everyday life, which is a decision I'm proud of, but where to begin?!

In the end I decided to start where I'm most comfortable  beauty products  and when I saw some sustainable bathroom essentials by Preserve on LoveLula, I couldn't resist trying them out.

Preserve Products

Eco-Friendly Beauty: Bathroom Essentials from Preserve

Turns out this eco-friendly thing can be pretty overwhelming.

Last month I decided I was going to make a conscious effort to be less wasteful in everyday life, which is a decision I'm proud of, but where to begin?!

In the end I decided to start where I'm most comfortable  beauty products  and when I saw some sustainable bathroom essentials by Preserve on LoveLula, I couldn't resist trying them out.

Preserve Products

I'm on a six-week spending ban.

I'm still reading up on minimalism and slowly trying to incorporate it into my everyday life, and this change of approach happened to coincide perfectly with Charlotte of Shoestring Chic's spending ban challenge.

So I thought: what if I use the spending ban as a way of weeding out what's not important? By taking note of the impulse buys my brain is tempted by, I can figure out how to stop them, save my money, and become less wasteful, all in one. (That's the plan, anyway.)



Minimalism and the Shoestring Chic Spending Ban

I'm on a six-week spending ban.

I'm still reading up on minimalism and slowly trying to incorporate it into my everyday life, and this change of approach happened to coincide perfectly with Charlotte of Shoestring Chic's spending ban challenge.

So I thought: what if I use the spending ban as a way of weeding out what's not important? By taking note of the impulse buys my brain is tempted by, I can figure out how to stop them, save my money, and become less wasteful, all in one. (That's the plan, anyway.)



And just like that, May is over and we're almost halfway through 2017.

It's been a difficult month all round, I think, what with General Election nastiness (please vote!) and the horrific events in Manchester last week. Normally I'd do a brief round-up of what I've been up to before the post gets started, but today I would like to pay tribute to everyone who's been affected by the bombings, everyone who lost their lives, and everyone who worked tirelessly in the aftermath  the nurses, doctors, police officers, security guards, taxi drivers, and members of the public who did more than their best to help.


Cruelty-Free Updates and Blog Posts I Loved | May 2017

And just like that, May is over and we're almost halfway through 2017.

It's been a difficult month all round, I think, what with General Election nastiness (please vote!) and the horrific events in Manchester last week. Normally I'd do a brief round-up of what I've been up to before the post gets started, but today I would like to pay tribute to everyone who's been affected by the bombings, everyone who lost their lives, and everyone who worked tirelessly in the aftermath  the nurses, doctors, police officers, security guards, taxi drivers, and members of the public who did more than their best to help.


I've reached the stage now where cruelty-free isn't always enough.

A product has to be cruelty-free in order for me to buy it, sure, but I've started looking for more. Are the ingredients natural? Does the brand take the environment and sustainability into account? Do they accommodate vegan consumers? If the answer is yes to at least one of these questions then I'm far more likely to part with my cash.

(Cash is the other factor; I'm happy to invest if something works but I also don't want to spend a fortune.)

British skincare brand Skin & Tonic London more than lives up to this criteria. I'll admit, I was first taken in by how close their name is to gin and tonic, gin being my tipple of choice, but I soon discovered that there are many more reasons to get excited...

Skin & Tonic products

Sustainable Skincare from Skin & Tonic

I've reached the stage now where cruelty-free isn't always enough.

A product has to be cruelty-free in order for me to buy it, sure, but I've started looking for more. Are the ingredients natural? Does the brand take the environment and sustainability into account? Do they accommodate vegan consumers? If the answer is yes to at least one of these questions then I'm far more likely to part with my cash.

(Cash is the other factor; I'm happy to invest if something works but I also don't want to spend a fortune.)

British skincare brand Skin & Tonic London more than lives up to this criteria. I'll admit, I was first taken in by how close their name is to gin and tonic, gin being my tipple of choice, but I soon discovered that there are many more reasons to get excited...

Skin & Tonic products

No bag, desk, or bedside table is complete without lip balm.

I'm trying my best to only buy products I really need, but I've had a stash of lip balms for as long as I can remember and I know I'm not the only one. They're addictive (and essential!)

Today I'm sharing five of my favourite cruelty-free lip balms. Not only are all these balms not tested on animals but each brand goes beyond that, be it because of their sustainability, natural ingredients, or vegan credentials.

Oh, and all of them will leave you with change leftover from a fiver. Bargain.

5 Favourite Cruelty-Free Lip Balms


5 Favourite Cruelty-Free Lip Balms

No bag, desk, or bedside table is complete without lip balm.

I'm trying my best to only buy products I really need, but I've had a stash of lip balms for as long as I can remember and I know I'm not the only one. They're addictive (and essential!)

Today I'm sharing five of my favourite cruelty-free lip balms. Not only are all these balms not tested on animals but each brand goes beyond that, be it because of their sustainability, natural ingredients, or vegan credentials.

Oh, and all of them will leave you with change leftover from a fiver. Bargain.

5 Favourite Cruelty-Free Lip Balms


I'm rounding off my National Vegetarian Week mini-series with an advice post. (Click the links to read Part 1 and Part 2.) It was reading blogs and speaking to other cruelty-free bloggers that made me feel like I could transition from a flexitarian diet to a pescatarian one, and then a pescatarian diet to a vegetarian one, so I'd really love to add my voice to the conversation and share what I've learned since I stopped eating meat and fish.

I've only been vegetarian since the start of 2017 so I'm still figuring things out, and the tips here are a summary of everything I've learned so far. Whatever stage you're at, the good news is that it's impossible to be perfect when it comes to ethical living; knowing this takes the pressure off enormously. There's a lot to be said for doing what you can.

Banana Pancakes


Vegetarian Week, Part 3 | 7 Tips for New and Potential Vegetarians

I'm rounding off my National Vegetarian Week mini-series with an advice post. (Click the links to read Part 1 and Part 2.) It was reading blogs and speaking to other cruelty-free bloggers that made me feel like I could transition from a flexitarian diet to a pescatarian one, and then a pescatarian diet to a vegetarian one, so I'd really love to add my voice to the conversation and share what I've learned since I stopped eating meat and fish.

I've only been vegetarian since the start of 2017 so I'm still figuring things out, and the tips here are a summary of everything I've learned so far. Whatever stage you're at, the good news is that it's impossible to be perfect when it comes to ethical living; knowing this takes the pressure off enormously. There's a lot to be said for doing what you can.

Banana Pancakes


It's the documentary everyone seemed to mention when they talked about veganism and vegetarianism.

And for ages I kept saying I'd watch it, but then I'd put it off. I don't know why. Maybe because everyone I know who had seen it kept saying what an eye-opener it was, and I wasn't ready to face whatever it unearthed (no pun intended)? I'm still not sure.

Anyway, I finally decided to sit down and watch Cowspiracy. It was definitely the eye-opener everyone described, but in a different way to what I was expecting...

Cow

Vegetarian Week, Part 2 | I Finally Watched Cowspiracy

It's the documentary everyone seemed to mention when they talked about veganism and vegetarianism.

And for ages I kept saying I'd watch it, but then I'd put it off. I don't know why. Maybe because everyone I know who had seen it kept saying what an eye-opener it was, and I wasn't ready to face whatever it unearthed (no pun intended)? I'm still not sure.

Anyway, I finally decided to sit down and watch Cowspiracy. It was definitely the eye-opener everyone described, but in a different way to what I was expecting...

Cow

Happy National Vegetarian Week! And welcome to the mini-series I'm writing in honour of the occasion.

National Vegetarian Week was started by the Vegetarian Society and the idea is that everyone who signs up to the newsletter  veggie or not  eats nothing but vegetarian food for a week. It's a way for potential vegetarians to get an idea of what a vegetarian lifestyle might be like, with plenty of recipes and tips provided along the way.

(This post is not sponsored btw; I just really like the idea. In one of my recent posts someone commented that there needs to be more of an open dialogue between meat-eaters and non-meat-eaters, and I think National Vegetarian Week is a good way of starting that.)

I did an FAQ about going vegetarian earlier this year, but I thought it'd be fun to see if any of my family or friends had different questions now they're a bit more used to my eating habits. (Shoutout to my pal Alex, who was especially curious and without whom this post would not have been written on time. Ta bbz.)

National Vegetarian Week


Vegetarian Week, Part 1 | Q&A

Happy National Vegetarian Week! And welcome to the mini-series I'm writing in honour of the occasion.

National Vegetarian Week was started by the Vegetarian Society and the idea is that everyone who signs up to the newsletter  veggie or not  eats nothing but vegetarian food for a week. It's a way for potential vegetarians to get an idea of what a vegetarian lifestyle might be like, with plenty of recipes and tips provided along the way.

(This post is not sponsored btw; I just really like the idea. In one of my recent posts someone commented that there needs to be more of an open dialogue between meat-eaters and non-meat-eaters, and I think National Vegetarian Week is a good way of starting that.)

I did an FAQ about going vegetarian earlier this year, but I thought it'd be fun to see if any of my family or friends had different questions now they're a bit more used to my eating habits. (Shoutout to my pal Alex, who was especially curious and without whom this post would not have been written on time. Ta bbz.)

National Vegetarian Week


One thing I think we can all agree on is this: adult acne sucks.

I've been dealing with it, on and off, since I was 20 and it's taken a lot of trial and error to figure out what does and doesn't work.

It can be difficult to pinpoint what makes you break out but my skin seems to be responding well to the changes and products below, which is a relief after years of wishing the bumps on my forehead and chin would Just. Bugger. Off.

Last time I wrote a post about adult acne my skin was in a better state than it had been for a while, but it was still recovering. Since then, I've started using more natural beauty products, stopped eating meat and fish, and switched prescription creams. (I now use one called Acnecide, which sounds a bit like the name of a superhero.) I also took a course of antibiotics, which worked wonders.

Now my skin finally seems to be stable  it's normally pretty clear, aside from the odd pigmentation scar  so I thought I'd share an updated skincare routine with you. These products aren't a miracle cure, but they've helped me maintain a clear complexion and that's all I ask for.

Cruelty-Free Morning Skincare Routine

How I Look After My Skin Now My Adult Acne Has Cleared

One thing I think we can all agree on is this: adult acne sucks.

I've been dealing with it, on and off, since I was 20 and it's taken a lot of trial and error to figure out what does and doesn't work.

It can be difficult to pinpoint what makes you break out but my skin seems to be responding well to the changes and products below, which is a relief after years of wishing the bumps on my forehead and chin would Just. Bugger. Off.

Last time I wrote a post about adult acne my skin was in a better state than it had been for a while, but it was still recovering. Since then, I've started using more natural beauty products, stopped eating meat and fish, and switched prescription creams. (I now use one called Acnecide, which sounds a bit like the name of a superhero.) I also took a course of antibiotics, which worked wonders.

Now my skin finally seems to be stable  it's normally pretty clear, aside from the odd pigmentation scar  so I thought I'd share an updated skincare routine with you. These products aren't a miracle cure, but they've helped me maintain a clear complexion and that's all I ask for.

Cruelty-Free Morning Skincare Routine

I've been reading a lot about eco-friendly living recently.

Green beauty, ethical fashion, creating less waste in everyday life... it can all seem a bit overwhelming and difficult to know where to start. One thing I know for sure is that I'd like to be less wasteful. 

Fortunately, this seems to tie into a minimalist, cruelty-free, vegetarian lifestyle. Minimalism is about making sure everything in your life has purpose and value, which makes you less wasteful because you consider any purchases carefully.

Being cruelty-free and vegetarian means I'm aware of how my consumerism affects animals in particular, but now I'm starting to think more about the environment and the earth  what can I do to reduce my impact?

(The Vegetarian Society have a really interesting leaflet about going vegetarian or vegan for environmental reasons  you can order it here.)

The Valleys


Becoming Less Wasteful

I've been reading a lot about eco-friendly living recently.

Green beauty, ethical fashion, creating less waste in everyday life... it can all seem a bit overwhelming and difficult to know where to start. One thing I know for sure is that I'd like to be less wasteful. 

Fortunately, this seems to tie into a minimalist, cruelty-free, vegetarian lifestyle. Minimalism is about making sure everything in your life has purpose and value, which makes you less wasteful because you consider any purchases carefully.

Being cruelty-free and vegetarian means I'm aware of how my consumerism affects animals in particular, but now I'm starting to think more about the environment and the earth  what can I do to reduce my impact?

(The Vegetarian Society have a really interesting leaflet about going vegetarian or vegan for environmental reasons  you can order it here.)

The Valleys


I love it when brands offer samples of base products.

You can't really win when you have pale skin, you see. The lightest high street shades aren't normally light enough (although this is slowly changing!) while high end foundations come in so many different shades and undertones that it's difficult to know where to start.

This is not a bad thing, by any means  it's about time women of all skintones and ethnicities have access to make-up that matches their complexion, if they choose to wear it. (If it's difficult for me, a white woman, to find base products then I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for a person of colour.)

But online swatches can be misleading, and I don't want to spend good money on a foundation I'll never wear. So when I found out Illamasqua offers you the chance to add free foundation samples to your order, I was pleasantly surprised, and added three sachets to my basket.

Here's what I tried out:


Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation samples

First Impressions: Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation Samples

I love it when brands offer samples of base products.

You can't really win when you have pale skin, you see. The lightest high street shades aren't normally light enough (although this is slowly changing!) while high end foundations come in so many different shades and undertones that it's difficult to know where to start.

This is not a bad thing, by any means  it's about time women of all skintones and ethnicities have access to make-up that matches their complexion, if they choose to wear it. (If it's difficult for me, a white woman, to find base products then I can only imagine how frustrating it must be for a person of colour.)

But online swatches can be misleading, and I don't want to spend good money on a foundation I'll never wear. So when I found out Illamasqua offers you the chance to add free foundation samples to your order, I was pleasantly surprised, and added three sachets to my basket.

Here's what I tried out:


Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation samples

Sleeping is one of my favourite things to do.

I'm not someone who can function on four hours of sleep, or have a late night and still get everything done the next day. Anything less than seven hours (I prefer 8) and I end up in a foul mood, flip-flopping between being irritable and wanting to cry.

(What with this and my need to eat at regular intervals, you could be forgiven for thinking I was a toddler in an adult's body. I have a lot in common with my second cousin Arthur, who is three.)

Basically, I take my sleep seriously. So when I came across beauty and wellness brand Kiss The Moon on LoveLula, it seemed like the perfect time to try making my bedtime routine even better.

I tried out three products, with incredibly mixed results...

Kiss The Moon

Can Kiss The Moon Products Help You Sleep Better?

Sleeping is one of my favourite things to do.

I'm not someone who can function on four hours of sleep, or have a late night and still get everything done the next day. Anything less than seven hours (I prefer 8) and I end up in a foul mood, flip-flopping between being irritable and wanting to cry.

(What with this and my need to eat at regular intervals, you could be forgiven for thinking I was a toddler in an adult's body. I have a lot in common with my second cousin Arthur, who is three.)

Basically, I take my sleep seriously. So when I came across beauty and wellness brand Kiss The Moon on LoveLula, it seemed like the perfect time to try making my bedtime routine even better.

I tried out three products, with incredibly mixed results...

Kiss The Moon

My first vegan cooking class... and my first-ever cooking class at all.

I've loved cooking and baking since I was little but I've always done it in the kitchen at home (and the odd Food Tech lesson at school  I still use the chow mein recipe they taught us). I'm very introverted and cooking is something I do by myself to unwind, so going to a class with actual people was a step outside my comfort zone, but I'm really happy I went!

Raw Chocolate Tart
Raw chocolate tart, so bloody good.

My First Vegan Cooking Class

My first vegan cooking class... and my first-ever cooking class at all.

I've loved cooking and baking since I was little but I've always done it in the kitchen at home (and the odd Food Tech lesson at school  I still use the chow mein recipe they taught us). I'm very introverted and cooking is something I do by myself to unwind, so going to a class with actual people was a step outside my comfort zone, but I'm really happy I went!

Raw Chocolate Tart
Raw chocolate tart, so bloody good.

Welcome to my new Cruelty-Free Updates series!

As promised, I'll be doing my best to bring you cruelty-free news at the end of every month. I've been making a note of the stories I've seen so that you can find them in one handy place  feel free to tweet me if you think I've missed something important or you'd like to see a specific topic addressed.


I'll also be sharing the love and linking to my favourite blog posts, because I read a lot of them that make me laugh, or make me nod along in agreement, or make me reevaluate, plus who doesn't love a good read? Enjoy, and feel free to link to your own posts or recommendations in the comments.


Cruelty-Free Updates (April)

Cruelty-Free Updates & Blog Posts I Loved | April 2017

Welcome to my new Cruelty-Free Updates series!

As promised, I'll be doing my best to bring you cruelty-free news at the end of every month. I've been making a note of the stories I've seen so that you can find them in one handy place  feel free to tweet me if you think I've missed something important or you'd like to see a specific topic addressed.


I'll also be sharing the love and linking to my favourite blog posts, because I read a lot of them that make me laugh, or make me nod along in agreement, or make me reevaluate, plus who doesn't love a good read? Enjoy, and feel free to link to your own posts or recommendations in the comments.


Cruelty-Free Updates (April)

I'm a huge fan of double cleansing.

I wear SPF every single day and make-up more often than not, so I like my skin to feel clean  but not stripped  before I go to bed.

And although I'm willing to invest in good skincare when I can, if I can find a high-quality, cruelty-free product at a reasonable price, then I'm sold.

Enter Sukin.

About Sukin

An Australian brand, Sukin was created when its founders spotted a gap in the market for natural, reasonably priced skincare.

Their tagline is 'Skincare that doesn't cost the earth' and it sums up their philosophy perfectly. Everything is carbon neutral, affordable, cruelty-free, vegan, and made from lots of lovely, natural ingredients.

There's also a long list of ingredients Sukin won't use, including parabens, preservatives, sulphates, mineral oils, artificial colours, synthetic fragrances, and propylene glycol.

As you can imagine, I was very excited when the brand got in touch to ask if I'd be interested in testing out two of their cleansers. I chose the Cream Cleanser (for make-up removal) and the Oil Balancing Cleanser (as my second cleanse). I've been using them every day since the beginning of March, so I thought it was time to share whether these products are as good in real life as they are in theory.

Sukin cleansers


Two Cruelty-Free Cleansers Under £10

I'm a huge fan of double cleansing.

I wear SPF every single day and make-up more often than not, so I like my skin to feel clean  but not stripped  before I go to bed.

And although I'm willing to invest in good skincare when I can, if I can find a high-quality, cruelty-free product at a reasonable price, then I'm sold.

Enter Sukin.

About Sukin

An Australian brand, Sukin was created when its founders spotted a gap in the market for natural, reasonably priced skincare.

Their tagline is 'Skincare that doesn't cost the earth' and it sums up their philosophy perfectly. Everything is carbon neutral, affordable, cruelty-free, vegan, and made from lots of lovely, natural ingredients.

There's also a long list of ingredients Sukin won't use, including parabens, preservatives, sulphates, mineral oils, artificial colours, synthetic fragrances, and propylene glycol.

As you can imagine, I was very excited when the brand got in touch to ask if I'd be interested in testing out two of their cleansers. I chose the Cream Cleanser (for make-up removal) and the Oil Balancing Cleanser (as my second cleanse). I've been using them every day since the beginning of March, so I thought it was time to share whether these products are as good in real life as they are in theory.

Sukin cleansers


I had a really clear vision of how I wanted this post to turn out.

And yet, now I've sat down to write it, I'm finding I can't get my words out just right. But I'm gonna try my best.

You see, there's something that's been getting on my nerves for a while, something I noticed even before I went vegetarian, and that's the attitude many meat-eaters seem to have towards vegetarianism and veganism.

There appears to be an assumption if you've taken steps to cut down on your consumption of animal derived products, or cut them out completely in the case of veganism, then you're pushy and even militant about it.

We all know this stereotype. They're the person who just has to drop their dietary habits into every conversation, who lectures everyone, and generally Won't. Shut. Up.

vegetarian cafe


I'm Bored of the Vegan/Vegetarian Backlash

I had a really clear vision of how I wanted this post to turn out.

And yet, now I've sat down to write it, I'm finding I can't get my words out just right. But I'm gonna try my best.

You see, there's something that's been getting on my nerves for a while, something I noticed even before I went vegetarian, and that's the attitude many meat-eaters seem to have towards vegetarianism and veganism.

There appears to be an assumption if you've taken steps to cut down on your consumption of animal derived products, or cut them out completely in the case of veganism, then you're pushy and even militant about it.

We all know this stereotype. They're the person who just has to drop their dietary habits into every conversation, who lectures everyone, and generally Won't. Shut. Up.

vegetarian cafe


Being away for much of early 2017 meant coming home to lots of exciting post, including two LoveLula beauty boxes.

The LoveLula beauty box is similar to other beauty boxes you might have heard of, in that you get a selection of products to try out every month, but what makes this one so much better in my eyes is that everything you get is guaranteed to be cruelty-free.

You also get to discover products that aren't normally available on the high street, so it can be a good way to start supporting more independent brands and shop more ethically, something I've become more conscious of recently.

March's box arrived just as I was planning to write this, so I decided to do a bumper cruelty-free first impressions and let you know which products I love  and which products I'd leave behind.

LoveLula products

Cruelty-Free First Impressions

Being away for much of early 2017 meant coming home to lots of exciting post, including two LoveLula beauty boxes.

The LoveLula beauty box is similar to other beauty boxes you might have heard of, in that you get a selection of products to try out every month, but what makes this one so much better in my eyes is that everything you get is guaranteed to be cruelty-free.

You also get to discover products that aren't normally available on the high street, so it can be a good way to start supporting more independent brands and shop more ethically, something I've become more conscious of recently.

March's box arrived just as I was planning to write this, so I decided to do a bumper cruelty-free first impressions and let you know which products I love  and which products I'd leave behind.

LoveLula products

A few weeks ago I spent a rather lovely, lazy Sunday morning watching documentaries in bed. One of them was Cowspiracy, which I'll be writing about next month. And one of them was Minimalism.

Minimalism

Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things follows Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, aka The Minimalists, as they go on a tour to promote their book, Everything That Remains.

(The documentary is available on UK Netflix if you fancy it.)

I was aware of the concept of minimalism before I watched the documentary  I'd read a few blog posts about it, notably on The Private Life of a Girl  but seeing real-life play out on a screen threw it all sharply into focus for me.

In a nutshell, minimalism involves simplifying your life so that everything you own has purpose and value. Life becomes less about owning stuff, or searching for happiness by buying more things (something I think we all do  who hasn't had a therapeutic shopping trip?), and more about practicality and experiences. Quality over quantity.


Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips in Kim K-W
Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks may be expensive, but I use them all the time and they're excellent quality, so I don't mind so much.


Some Thoughts About Minimalism

A few weeks ago I spent a rather lovely, lazy Sunday morning watching documentaries in bed. One of them was Cowspiracy, which I'll be writing about next month. And one of them was Minimalism.

Minimalism

Minimalism: A Documentary About The Important Things follows Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus, aka The Minimalists, as they go on a tour to promote their book, Everything That Remains.

(The documentary is available on UK Netflix if you fancy it.)

I was aware of the concept of minimalism before I watched the documentary  I'd read a few blog posts about it, notably on The Private Life of a Girl  but seeing real-life play out on a screen threw it all sharply into focus for me.

In a nutshell, minimalism involves simplifying your life so that everything you own has purpose and value. Life becomes less about owning stuff, or searching for happiness by buying more things (something I think we all do  who hasn't had a therapeutic shopping trip?), and more about practicality and experiences. Quality over quantity.


Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips in Kim K-W
Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks may be expensive, but I use them all the time and they're excellent quality, so I don't mind so much.


I found five empty Lush pots underneath the bed last month, and we all know what that means.

(A free face mask, just in case Lush isn't really your thing.)

When it comes to Lush's Fresh Face Masks, I have two firm favourites, Catastrophe Cosmetic and Rosy Cheeks, but I have other products I'm using at the moment. So I decided to treat my mum, who rarely has the time or the patience to use extra skincare treatments but enjoys them nonetheless. We headed down to our local Lush and the assistant  who was lovely  asked for her preferences before trying out all the samples.

Now, my mum hates almonds and bananas, so which mask did she choose?

Oatifix. In which two of the main ingredients are almonds and bananas.

Lush Oatifix

Mum's First Lush Face Mask

I found five empty Lush pots underneath the bed last month, and we all know what that means.

(A free face mask, just in case Lush isn't really your thing.)

When it comes to Lush's Fresh Face Masks, I have two firm favourites, Catastrophe Cosmetic and Rosy Cheeks, but I have other products I'm using at the moment. So I decided to treat my mum, who rarely has the time or the patience to use extra skincare treatments but enjoys them nonetheless. We headed down to our local Lush and the assistant  who was lovely  asked for her preferences before trying out all the samples.

Now, my mum hates almonds and bananas, so which mask did she choose?

Oatifix. In which two of the main ingredients are almonds and bananas.

Lush Oatifix

23 is a funny age.

I've emerged from the student bubble relatively unscathed, but I'm not quite used to life post-uni yet. (Not having a set routine or a set place to live probably have something to do with that.)

I'm no longer in mourning for my university days, although I do miss my third-year housemates a lot, but the idea of being an adult  a functioning one  has me in two minds.

On the one hand, I can't deny that growing up, having some stability, and being taken more seriously aren't appealing.

On the other hand, I still feel like teenage Beth a lot of the time  really bloody scared of life and all it entails, and utterly bewildered by how quickly the years seem to be passing.

So in order to make myself feel better about all of this, I started writing. And what I ended up with was a list of silly but also kind-of-scary things that make me feel like I might just be a grown-up.

(And I also reminded myself of something my mum says frequently, which is that no one ever fully feels like a grown-up because everyone is winging it. Puts it all into perspective.)

In case you're wondering why this beautiful stretch of coastline is relevant, this is Porthcawl in south Wales and it's one of my favourite places in the entire world. You know when people say you should 'go to your happy place'? Porthcawl is one of mine. It's where I dream of being when adult stresses get too much.

15 Scary Things That Make Me Feel Like An Actual Adult

23 is a funny age.

I've emerged from the student bubble relatively unscathed, but I'm not quite used to life post-uni yet. (Not having a set routine or a set place to live probably have something to do with that.)

I'm no longer in mourning for my university days, although I do miss my third-year housemates a lot, but the idea of being an adult  a functioning one  has me in two minds.

On the one hand, I can't deny that growing up, having some stability, and being taken more seriously aren't appealing.

On the other hand, I still feel like teenage Beth a lot of the time  really bloody scared of life and all it entails, and utterly bewildered by how quickly the years seem to be passing.

So in order to make myself feel better about all of this, I started writing. And what I ended up with was a list of silly but also kind-of-scary things that make me feel like I might just be a grown-up.

(And I also reminded myself of something my mum says frequently, which is that no one ever fully feels like a grown-up because everyone is winging it. Puts it all into perspective.)

In case you're wondering why this beautiful stretch of coastline is relevant, this is Porthcawl in south Wales and it's one of my favourite places in the entire world. You know when people say you should 'go to your happy place'? Porthcawl is one of mine. It's where I dream of being when adult stresses get too much.

A good vegetarian cafe is a gem, so I was more than a little bit excited when I found one in Kent.

The Wallflower Cafe is vegan and vegetarian friendly, with everything on the menu 100% plant-based. (They also cater for coeliacs.) There's something for everyone  I've taken non-veggie friends there to eat and they always come away feeling slightly amazed that meat-free food could be that good, despite me insisting that there are plenty of options out there.

Sweet potato and avocado wrap

My Favourite Vegetarian Cafe

A good vegetarian cafe is a gem, so I was more than a little bit excited when I found one in Kent.

The Wallflower Cafe is vegan and vegetarian friendly, with everything on the menu 100% plant-based. (They also cater for coeliacs.) There's something for everyone  I've taken non-veggie friends there to eat and they always come away feeling slightly amazed that meat-free food could be that good, despite me insisting that there are plenty of options out there.

Sweet potato and avocado wrap

I'll admit it  I'm slightly obsessed with PHB Ethical Beauty.

Their products are cruelty-free, palm oil-free, vegan, and Halal, plus 15% of their profits go to charity. They make practically every beauty product you can think of, from mascara to body scrubs to candles, and their prices are reasonable too, starting at £3.95 for a bar of soap. (And their soaps last forever.)

Basically, they're an excellent starting point if you'd like to branch out from the high street and try an independent cruelty-free brand.

Today I'm going to be looking at two products that are designed to brighten your skin and even it out, to see if they live up to the claims. Let's get started.

Brightening Skincare from PHB Ethical Beauty

Brightening Skincare from PHB Ethical Beauty

I'll admit it  I'm slightly obsessed with PHB Ethical Beauty.

Their products are cruelty-free, palm oil-free, vegan, and Halal, plus 15% of their profits go to charity. They make practically every beauty product you can think of, from mascara to body scrubs to candles, and their prices are reasonable too, starting at £3.95 for a bar of soap. (And their soaps last forever.)

Basically, they're an excellent starting point if you'd like to branch out from the high street and try an independent cruelty-free brand.

Today I'm going to be looking at two products that are designed to brighten your skin and even it out, to see if they live up to the claims. Let's get started.

Brightening Skincare from PHB Ethical Beauty

I've reached a point where I feel pretty comfortable with my eating habits and life as a vegetarian, so it was only a matter of time before I turned my attention to another cause.

And it seems that doing research about where my food comes from has led me to reflect on where my possessions come from, too. Specifically, I've been wondering whether the clothes and accessories I normally buy are made in an ethical way.

Sadly, I suspect the answer most of the time is no.

This needs to change, but it's not that simple. Having looked on the websites of several ethical fashion providers, I've found that I simply can't afford to spend that much money and I'm definitely not the only one. But then again, I'd rather buy less, save up, and put my money towards a brand whose ethics I believe in.

In the meantime, I reverted to the old I'll put it on my wishlist move, and I was very lucky to unwrap a saddle bag from Matt & Nat on my birthday last month. So in honour of this rather beautiful creature, today's post is my first-ever What's In My Bag?

What's In My Bag

What's In My Bag? ft. Matt & Nat

I've reached a point where I feel pretty comfortable with my eating habits and life as a vegetarian, so it was only a matter of time before I turned my attention to another cause.

And it seems that doing research about where my food comes from has led me to reflect on where my possessions come from, too. Specifically, I've been wondering whether the clothes and accessories I normally buy are made in an ethical way.

Sadly, I suspect the answer most of the time is no.

This needs to change, but it's not that simple. Having looked on the websites of several ethical fashion providers, I've found that I simply can't afford to spend that much money and I'm definitely not the only one. But then again, I'd rather buy less, save up, and put my money towards a brand whose ethics I believe in.

In the meantime, I reverted to the old I'll put it on my wishlist move, and I was very lucky to unwrap a saddle bag from Matt & Nat on my birthday last month. So in honour of this rather beautiful creature, today's post is my first-ever What's In My Bag?

What's In My Bag

The internet is a godsend.

Whenever I get stuck in a food rut all I have to do is go on Google and there they are  plenty of vegan and vegetarian recipes for me to try.

Sometimes I'll try a recipe once and never go back to it. I had a disaster with a meat-free alfredo pasta and some cashews the other day which I'm still really disgruntled about; I had such high hopes.

Other recipes become a staple part of my diet, like the ones listed here. Generally I like wholesome, natural foods with lots of complementary flavours, although I can never normally resist an enormous bowl of mac 'n' cheese (my biggest weakness in this world, aside from petting strangers' dogs).

Today I'm sharing five of the best vegetarian recipes I've found and why I love them so much. Enjoy, and please feel free to leave links to your own favourites in the comments!


5 Favourite Vegetarian Recipes from Around the Web

The internet is a godsend.

Whenever I get stuck in a food rut all I have to do is go on Google and there they are  plenty of vegan and vegetarian recipes for me to try.

Sometimes I'll try a recipe once and never go back to it. I had a disaster with a meat-free alfredo pasta and some cashews the other day which I'm still really disgruntled about; I had such high hopes.

Other recipes become a staple part of my diet, like the ones listed here. Generally I like wholesome, natural foods with lots of complementary flavours, although I can never normally resist an enormous bowl of mac 'n' cheese (my biggest weakness in this world, aside from petting strangers' dogs).

Today I'm sharing five of the best vegetarian recipes I've found and why I love them so much. Enjoy, and please feel free to leave links to your own favourites in the comments!


It's been a very long time since I bought anything from The Body Shop.

But the Almond Milk & Honey range caught my eye. Made especially for dry, sensitive skin, it's designed to relieve dryness, dehydration, and irritation, which sounds perfect for me right now. The skin on my body has been reacting to everything recently  it almost feels prickly at times  so anything that makes it feel comfortable is more than okay with me!

The almond milk in question is organic and sourced from Spain, while the Community Trade honey is from Ethiopia and has antibacterial properties.

I picked up a Cleansing Bar, £4, and a mini Shower Cream, £2.

The Body Shop Almond Milk & Honey Cleansing Bar

First Impressions: The Body Shop Almond Milk & Honey Range

It's been a very long time since I bought anything from The Body Shop.

But the Almond Milk & Honey range caught my eye. Made especially for dry, sensitive skin, it's designed to relieve dryness, dehydration, and irritation, which sounds perfect for me right now. The skin on my body has been reacting to everything recently  it almost feels prickly at times  so anything that makes it feel comfortable is more than okay with me!

The almond milk in question is organic and sourced from Spain, while the Community Trade honey is from Ethiopia and has antibacterial properties.

I picked up a Cleansing Bar, £4, and a mini Shower Cream, £2.

The Body Shop Almond Milk & Honey Cleansing Bar

This post was supposed to be longer originally.

I wanted it to be a whole list of updates and stories and lists and I had notes written here and there, but then on Monday  the day I was going to put everything together  I nearly fainted by the bras in Marks and Spencer (thankfully my mum managed to half-drag me to the baby changing facilities before I collapsed on the floor). I spent Monday and Tuesday in A&E seeing various medical teams to try and figure out what was wrong.

Long story short, everything is okay and normal and good (and the NHS staff are all amazing!), but it meant I didn't get things done the way I planned to. And now I've had time to think about it, I want to change what I was planning anyway  hopefully you'll be getting a revised, more in-depth updates post at the end of next month instead!



Blog Posts I Loved | March 2017

This post was supposed to be longer originally.

I wanted it to be a whole list of updates and stories and lists and I had notes written here and there, but then on Monday  the day I was going to put everything together  I nearly fainted by the bras in Marks and Spencer (thankfully my mum managed to half-drag me to the baby changing facilities before I collapsed on the floor). I spent Monday and Tuesday in A&E seeing various medical teams to try and figure out what was wrong.

Long story short, everything is okay and normal and good (and the NHS staff are all amazing!), but it meant I didn't get things done the way I planned to. And now I've had time to think about it, I want to change what I was planning anyway  hopefully you'll be getting a revised, more in-depth updates post at the end of next month instead!



Despite walking past it many times, it never occurred to me to visit Skinny Kitchen.

For a start, the name really put me off. The word 'skinny' when associated with food just has too many negative connotations  diets; those tasteless, reduced-fat versions of food that are laden with sugar to make up for the loss of flavour; and pressure to fit a certain body type, which is unrealistic for many.

(Obviously there is nothing wrong with having a thin frame. But I don't like it when it's suggested that you should look a certain way or be a particular shape or size. There should be a place for everyone.)

As it turns out, Skinny Kitchen's focus is foods that complement your fitness routine and suit your lifestyle. Their ingredients are natural and locally sourced, and they are very accommodating towards vegetarians and vegans, with notes dotted throughout the menu telling you how a meal can be made vegan.

I went to Skinny Kitchen one lunchtime for a good old catch-up with my friend Steph, who'd eaten there before and fallen in love with the pancakes. Well, I'm not going to say no to pancakes...

Skinny Kitchen Taco Bowl

Lunch at Skinny Kitchen

Despite walking past it many times, it never occurred to me to visit Skinny Kitchen.

For a start, the name really put me off. The word 'skinny' when associated with food just has too many negative connotations  diets; those tasteless, reduced-fat versions of food that are laden with sugar to make up for the loss of flavour; and pressure to fit a certain body type, which is unrealistic for many.

(Obviously there is nothing wrong with having a thin frame. But I don't like it when it's suggested that you should look a certain way or be a particular shape or size. There should be a place for everyone.)

As it turns out, Skinny Kitchen's focus is foods that complement your fitness routine and suit your lifestyle. Their ingredients are natural and locally sourced, and they are very accommodating towards vegetarians and vegans, with notes dotted throughout the menu telling you how a meal can be made vegan.

I went to Skinny Kitchen one lunchtime for a good old catch-up with my friend Steph, who'd eaten there before and fallen in love with the pancakes. Well, I'm not going to say no to pancakes...

Skinny Kitchen Taco Bowl

I've fallen in love with PHB Ethical Beauty over the past six months or so.

Their products are good quality and their ethics are sound  everything they make is cruelty-free, halal, and vegan, plus 20% of their profits go to charity.

I've tried several of their toiletries now  highlights being the soap and the body scrub  and I've also been using a couple of skincare products (review coming soon!)

But I hadn't really looked into their make-up offerings until recently, when I started using their Pressed Mineral Primer* (v).

It was the first time I'd ever come across a primer in powder form, so I was very interested in testing it out. Would it work? Would it calm down my permanently shiny forehead? Let's find out.

PHB Ethical Beauty Pressed Mineral Primer

Can a Powder Primer Help Oily Skin?

I've fallen in love with PHB Ethical Beauty over the past six months or so.

Their products are good quality and their ethics are sound  everything they make is cruelty-free, halal, and vegan, plus 20% of their profits go to charity.

I've tried several of their toiletries now  highlights being the soap and the body scrub  and I've also been using a couple of skincare products (review coming soon!)

But I hadn't really looked into their make-up offerings until recently, when I started using their Pressed Mineral Primer* (v).

It was the first time I'd ever come across a primer in powder form, so I was very interested in testing it out. Would it work? Would it calm down my permanently shiny forehead? Let's find out.

PHB Ethical Beauty Pressed Mineral Primer

The main reason I started browsing the Vegetarian Society website was to make my mum feel better.

She was very concerned about my protein intake when I stopped eating meat and fish, so I thought some advice would put her mind at ease (and also help me. More research never hurts, right?)

It was the cruelty-free community and their stories/fact-sharing that led me to go vegetarian, so I hadn't really looked at what the Vegetarian Society had to offer. This was a mistake, because they have a whole range of free leaflets they can send to you about the environment, your, health, your diet, and animal welfare (or lack of it).

I found them really useful and informative (you can get them here!) so I thought I'd do a round-up of some of the facts I learnt. 

A few parts of this post might be upsetting for some  no one likes thinking about abattoirs  but I think it's important to talk about the reality of the meat industry, especially now vegetarian life is a key topic here on Toasty.

Vegetarian Society Leaflets


13 Facts I Learnt From the Vegetarian Society

The main reason I started browsing the Vegetarian Society website was to make my mum feel better.

She was very concerned about my protein intake when I stopped eating meat and fish, so I thought some advice would put her mind at ease (and also help me. More research never hurts, right?)

It was the cruelty-free community and their stories/fact-sharing that led me to go vegetarian, so I hadn't really looked at what the Vegetarian Society had to offer. This was a mistake, because they have a whole range of free leaflets they can send to you about the environment, your, health, your diet, and animal welfare (or lack of it).

I found them really useful and informative (you can get them here!) so I thought I'd do a round-up of some of the facts I learnt. 

A few parts of this post might be upsetting for some  no one likes thinking about abattoirs  but I think it's important to talk about the reality of the meat industry, especially now vegetarian life is a key topic here on Toasty.

Vegetarian Society Leaflets


It's finally spring!

Well, I'm writing this while looking at the dull, grey sky outside my bedroom window, but technically it's finally spring and that makes me happy.

I've always liked spring as a season. The air feels fresher, you get those odd bursts of sunshine, and everyone seems to perk up a bit. I always seem to gravitate towards slightly lighter make-up, too  a little less eyeliner, paler shades of pink on the lips.

(Although on days like today, when the clouds are getting darker and darker every second, I might still be drawn to my favourite berry lipstick.) 

Today I thought I'd share the products I've been using regularly now the weather is brightening up a bit. As always, everything is cruelty-free and I've noted which products are vegan where possible  just look for the (v).


NARS Orgasm Blush



Cruelty-Free Make-Up for Spring

It's finally spring!

Well, I'm writing this while looking at the dull, grey sky outside my bedroom window, but technically it's finally spring and that makes me happy.

I've always liked spring as a season. The air feels fresher, you get those odd bursts of sunshine, and everyone seems to perk up a bit. I always seem to gravitate towards slightly lighter make-up, too  a little less eyeliner, paler shades of pink on the lips.

(Although on days like today, when the clouds are getting darker and darker every second, I might still be drawn to my favourite berry lipstick.) 

Today I thought I'd share the products I've been using regularly now the weather is brightening up a bit. As always, everything is cruelty-free and I've noted which products are vegan where possible  just look for the (v).


NARS Orgasm Blush



... and I failed. Miserably.

Well, miserably if you consider it absolutely essential that they be perfectly round. They are energy lumps, which sounds like a bizarre, Black Eyed Peas-esque euphemism for breasts.

But all is not lost  whatever you want to call them, these snacks taste pretty good, so I may as well tell you how I made them.

I used the Almond Butter Oat Balls recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod. My failure, I think, is entirely down to me being too enthusiastic with the microwave when I softened the almond butter and coconut oil, rather than the fault lying with the recipe itself.

I wouldn't say the oat balls/bites (bites? I'm going to call them bites; it sounds nicer than 'lumps') were a particularly healthy snack  they're more like a (delicious) vegan alternative to chocolate or cake. They're tasty, moreish, and there for you when you need them.

Almond Butter Oat Bites


I Tried Making Energy Balls...

... and I failed. Miserably.

Well, miserably if you consider it absolutely essential that they be perfectly round. They are energy lumps, which sounds like a bizarre, Black Eyed Peas-esque euphemism for breasts.

But all is not lost  whatever you want to call them, these snacks taste pretty good, so I may as well tell you how I made them.

I used the Almond Butter Oat Balls recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod. My failure, I think, is entirely down to me being too enthusiastic with the microwave when I softened the almond butter and coconut oil, rather than the fault lying with the recipe itself.

I wouldn't say the oat balls/bites (bites? I'm going to call them bites; it sounds nicer than 'lumps') were a particularly healthy snack  they're more like a (delicious) vegan alternative to chocolate or cake. They're tasty, moreish, and there for you when you need them.

Almond Butter Oat Bites


I'm a bit all or nothing when it comes to nails.

Either they're completely bare or I've taken the time to do multi-step manicure  there is no in between.

And I'll admit, most of the time my nails have nothing on them, because I just don't have the time to paint them properly. I don't really see the point in making the effort when the polish will be chipped in a few days.

So when Love Lula gave me the opportunity to try Zoya's Mini Colour Lock System*, I was curious. It claims to make your manicure last for fourteen whole days  quite the promise!

Zoya Mini Colour Lock System


The Ultimate Cruelty-Free Manicure Session with Zoya

I'm a bit all or nothing when it comes to nails.

Either they're completely bare or I've taken the time to do multi-step manicure  there is no in between.

And I'll admit, most of the time my nails have nothing on them, because I just don't have the time to paint them properly. I don't really see the point in making the effort when the polish will be chipped in a few days.

So when Love Lula gave me the opportunity to try Zoya's Mini Colour Lock System*, I was curious. It claims to make your manicure last for fourteen whole days  quite the promise!

Zoya Mini Colour Lock System


At the end of January I flew out to Dubai.

I'd been invited there to see if me working in the city could be an option and, well, I wasn't going to say no to that!

It was a trip I wanted to make without putting pressure on myself to write about it, which is why I've only alluded to it on the blog, but now I'm back I quite fancy doing a round-up of sorts, if only to let myself process everything properly.

I've spent the past six weeks going from pinching myself to panicking ('What on earth am I doing?!') because this is not the safe option. Working abroad is something I've been quietly thinking about since my second year of uni and now there's a chance it could actually happen. And that means uprooting myself.

Will I go back? It's too soon to say. So in the meantime, here's a list of all the weird, wonderful, and random things I discovered during my time in Dubai. Enjoy!

Burj Khalifa View


17 Things From My First Solo Trip Abroad

At the end of January I flew out to Dubai.

I'd been invited there to see if me working in the city could be an option and, well, I wasn't going to say no to that!

It was a trip I wanted to make without putting pressure on myself to write about it, which is why I've only alluded to it on the blog, but now I'm back I quite fancy doing a round-up of sorts, if only to let myself process everything properly.

I've spent the past six weeks going from pinching myself to panicking ('What on earth am I doing?!') because this is not the safe option. Working abroad is something I've been quietly thinking about since my second year of uni and now there's a chance it could actually happen. And that means uprooting myself.

Will I go back? It's too soon to say. So in the meantime, here's a list of all the weird, wonderful, and random things I discovered during my time in Dubai. Enjoy!

Burj Khalifa View


My hair can be a mess.

Dry ends, oily roots, itchy scalp  it's all going on up here.

I also have very fine hair which doesn't react particularly well to heavy, moisturising treatments, so I can be quite hesitant when trying new products, particularly on the roots.

But when Alchemy got in touch to ask if I was interested in trying their Grapefruit Hair Remedy(v), I was curious, because it's made for fine hair just like mine.

Alchemy specialise in hair oils, with three available to choose from (including a peppermint one for beards!) Their products are free from parabens, PEGS, phthalates, sulphates, silicones, mineral oil, glycols, DEA and TEA.

Not only are they cruelty-free, but they're also registered with the Vegan Society and certified by PETA.

Alchemy Oils Grapefruit Hair Remedy

A Natural Treatment for Fine Hair + Alchemy Oils Discount Code

My hair can be a mess.

Dry ends, oily roots, itchy scalp  it's all going on up here.

I also have very fine hair which doesn't react particularly well to heavy, moisturising treatments, so I can be quite hesitant when trying new products, particularly on the roots.

But when Alchemy got in touch to ask if I was interested in trying their Grapefruit Hair Remedy(v), I was curious, because it's made for fine hair just like mine.

Alchemy specialise in hair oils, with three available to choose from (including a peppermint one for beards!) Their products are free from parabens, PEGS, phthalates, sulphates, silicones, mineral oil, glycols, DEA and TEA.

Not only are they cruelty-free, but they're also registered with the Vegan Society and certified by PETA.

Alchemy Oils Grapefruit Hair Remedy

I'm incredibly fickle when it comes to mascaras.

There are a couple I'll repurchase from time to time, but generally it doesn't take much for me to be swept away by the promises of a new product. I want those doe-eyed lashes, damn it, and I'll pay for them.

(But not too much, because mascaras never really last past the three-month mark, do they?)

This is how I ended up dropping NYX Double Stacked Fibre Mascara into my basket at Boots. Double Stacked includes one tube of a dual-use base/top coat and one tube of lash fibres. Base coat + lash fibres + top coat must equal falsie-esque lashes, surely?

Let's find out.

NYX Double Stacked Mascara

NYX Double Stacked Mascara — Do Lash Fibres Make a Difference?

I'm incredibly fickle when it comes to mascaras.

There are a couple I'll repurchase from time to time, but generally it doesn't take much for me to be swept away by the promises of a new product. I want those doe-eyed lashes, damn it, and I'll pay for them.

(But not too much, because mascaras never really last past the three-month mark, do they?)

This is how I ended up dropping NYX Double Stacked Fibre Mascara into my basket at Boots. Double Stacked includes one tube of a dual-use base/top coat and one tube of lash fibres. Base coat + lash fibres + top coat must equal falsie-esque lashes, surely?

Let's find out.

NYX Double Stacked Mascara

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Beth, 23, South East England. I'm a writer with a love of books, lipstick, and the Oxford comma. I love beauty and I also love animals, so I only buy, use, and feature products from cruelty-free brands. (Seriously though, I am the person who stops to fuss over every dog she sees.) You can also expect posts about vegan/vegetarian food, and plenty of musings about life as a 20-something. Want to get in touch? Email me at beth.toasty@gmail.com

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