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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.

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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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