DEAD SEA SPA MAGIK DIAMOND RANGE
We've been a fan of Dead Sea Spa Magik for a number of years, ever since spotting them on GoodnessDirect's website and seeing 'vegan' highlighted underneath their products.Their whole range isn't ALL vegan, but a lot of it is. They are also not tested on animals. They have a whole range of products - everything from facial wash and toothpaste to salt brushing sea salts and face cream. Their Diamond Range is Dead Sea Spa Magik's venture into the anti-aging market. The range has been out for a while although as we've only just tried it, we thought we'd give it a mention on here. Over the past few weeks we've been trying the Age Response Eye Cream, the 24hr Marine Miracle Moisturiser and the Beauty Balm/BB Cream. The miracle moisturiser can be used as both day or night cream. It's quite rich and similar in texture to Dead Sea Spa Magik's Super Night Cream, a product that we've previously used. It does a good job moisturising although we haven't really noticed any anti-aging results. If you're looking for a hydrating and moisturising cream though, this is a good one.
The Age Response Eye Cream is said to reduce puffiness, dark circles and fine lines. The most noticeable result was when I put some on one eye one night before bed, to wake up and find the skin under that eye looking much smoother than the other eye, which had had no cream on it. Putting on the cream is like quenching your skin's thirst, so it looks relaxed and young for a while, but then if you miss a day or two of using the eye cream, the skin can soon return to looking dry, tired and thirsty again, so daily top ups are recommended. It is a decent eye cream and the price is also not bad. I've used more expensive eye creams that gave similar results.
Finally, the BB Cream is one of Dead Sea Spa Magik's few cosmetic items. This BB cream does a good job covering imperfections and makes a nice base for powder, giving a flawless finished look - although you don't necessarily need powder on top if you don't want it. The natural BB Cream adapts to your skin colour so you shouldn't find it too dark or too light - although if you're someone who does prefer a tint, Dead Sea Spa Magik have a CC Cream which has a light tint instead. I like this BB Cream although it's not the cheapest BB Cream. It has an SPF15 so good to wear on sunny days. As with Dead Sea Spa Magik's products, it contains no parabens and skin irritants and is ideal for sensitive skin.
You can find Dead Sea Spa Magik in Holland & Barrett as well as in online stores and their own 'virtual spa department store', Shop For Spa. The only disappointment is that the packaging doesn't say 'suitable for vegans' or 'not tested on animals' on it so you have to check the ingredients or website.
Below - me, with Dead Sea Spa Magik's BB Cream on (I do have powder and primer on top too, to give a matt finish).
MORE THAN MEAT
More Than Meat is a new UK plant based food range made by Plantalicious, boasting 'revolutionary health food'. Based in London, the More Than Meat range features jumbo sausage rolls, lamb casseroles, beef burgers, jerk burgers and lorne sausages - all vegan! More Than Meat began with Plantalicious owner Barry being a street food vendor but the company are expanding with their products now appearing in various vegan stores and available to order online. We love that they have products like lorne sausages, which are traditional in Scotland, but lesser known in England. We haven't heard of any other vegan lorne sausages, so More Than Meat's are a first. Lorne sausages are square/rectangular shaped sausages and make a change from the usual intestine sausage shape.
It's hard to pick a favourite from More Than Meat's range but their Jumbo Sausage roll is up there. It has thin crispy pastry, lots of vegan 'meat', which almost bursts out of each end. It's very filling with a tangy tomato-y taste. (I ate it before getting a good pic as it was that enticing!)
More Than Meat's jerk and beef burgers are both thick and meaty, with a chewy meaty taste without being too offputting. They're not overly large, width-wise, so they don't end up splaying over the edges of your bun. With barbecue season coming up, these are perfect for grilling, and meat eaters will love them as much as vegans/veggies.
The 'More Than Lamb Casserole' smells meaty and has a slight spicy taste with lots of giant beans in it. Again, it looks very meaty, but is tasty for vegans and vegetarians. The casserole is enough for 2 servings and as with all of More Than Meat's products (except the sausage rolls) comes in a plastic container (which can then be reused, if you peel the labelling off).
More Than Meat's range is low fat. There's only 1.2g of fat in a beefburger, making them a very healthy choice. If you love junk food but don't want to pile on the weight, these are perfect - a way to eat what you love, while retaining that physique! The lamb casserole, likewise, only has 1.3g of fat in it and is low in sugar and salt, and have no cholesterol. More Than Meat's products are high in protein, they also contain vitamin B12. All in all, they are a vegan's dream come true!
POD - BY TONY WARDLE
At the West Midlands Vegan Festival in October we met Tony Wardle, who was selling copies of his Pod novel. If you haven't read it yet, you definitely must. Pod, with the subtitle 'Open your eyes - before it's too late', is a gripping, epic tale that pulls you in early on and has you on the edge of your seat until the final page. Once you start reading it, you won't want to stop. It's a thrilling 540+ page read that has you siding with the innocent and eager for the baddies to get their come-uppance. The main focus of the book is on a politician and his wife. The wife befriends an animal rights activist and ends up being sectioned after revealing the truth about her husband, who she wants a divorce from. There's some animal activism incorporated into the story but it's not so much that it will turn non-activists off. What is particularly likeable is how many real life facts are woven into the story - giving you the ability to learn at the same time as being entertained. You do open your eyes while reading this book. As someone who generally prefers documentaries and biographies to novels, Pod definitely won our seal of approval. A most compelling novel that any avid book reader should read.
2015 was the year we discovered Tropicaloe. You can find it in Poundland for only £1 for 2 bottles. Tropicaloe is a brand of Aloe Vera drinks that are tasty and refreshing. The original flavour (green) is thirst-quenching and delicious while the strawberry (red) is almost reminiscent of a bubblegum flavour. The bottles are filled right up to the very top so you really get your money's worth. Just make sure you don't spill any when you open the bottle! They contain pulp and say 'suitable for vegans' on the side. These Tropicaloe drinks contain no artificial preservatives, no artificial colours and are not made from powder. Each bottle has 8 grams of sugar inside and contains 32 Kcals. Next time you want a hydrating, thirst-quenching drink, head to Poundland and seek these out. We've constantly got our fridge stocked with Tropicaloe.
BAHAMAS - SANDYPORT SPRITZ RESTAURANT
A couple of months ago we visited the Bahamas for the first time. Before going we did a bit of research and discovered that Nassau didn't seem very vegan-friendly. There were no 100% vegetarian diners let alone vegan diners. Happycow.net only brought up a couple of restaurants that served meat but had some vegan options. Slightly worried about what we'd eat, we emailed a national pizza restaurant in the area to see if they could make and delivery pizza with no cheese. We received a reply recommending a different restaurant called Spritz that was about 2 minutes away from our hotel (for the first two nights we were staying at Sandyport Beaches Resort). After further searching, we found Spritz's Facebook page and posted asking if they had anything suitable for vegans. They replied that they had veggie burgers (and fries) and could also make a vegan cheese pizza using Daiya cheese. We naturally visited the evening we arrived although the waiter told me he didn't think they could do a vegan cheese pizza. A little disappointed I had the veggie burger and fries instead (which was nice). Next evening we went back again and when looking at the menu I actually spotted that it did say they could make pizza with vegan cheese on one page (I didn't see this the night before) - so this time, I asked a different waiter... he went to check with the chef again and this time came back and said, yes, they could do it. I checked the packet to make sure and it was indeed Daiya vegan cheese shreds. The chef made an amazing vegan cheese pizza (photo below).
The following morning, our last at Sandyport, we went back again and I asked for a vegan cheese pizza again (well, someone needed to use up the cheese!). This time I got the pizza shown in the top pic (with added tomatoes!). Both pizzas were bliss. So if you're ever visiting Nassau, make the trip to Spritz Restaurant & Bar in Sandyport. It's great that they cater to vegans and have Daiya cheese, even if they do primarily sell meat and non-vegan products - so please go and support them. If you're staying further up in Nassau you can get the No. 10 Jitney bus down to Sandyport (which only costs $1.25), and then it's a couple of minutes walk. It's well worth the trip and I hope that they keep stocking Daiya for us vegans. Even if you don't see it on the menu ask for it! It's currently not listed on their official website (although they do list a 'vegetariana' pizza which is a pizza with no cheese) but IS mentioned on their Facebook page. Visit Spritz at www.spritzrestaurant.com or head to their Facebook page by clicking HERE. It may be worth posting on their Facebook page prior to your trip to check and request Daiya cheese like we did. They're open midday to midnight most days (except Monday when they open at 5pm) and also have free wifi.
FREEDOM MALLOWS - WITH NEW PACKAGING
Freedom Mallows have updated their packaging. Not content with letting you find out that they're mouthwatering, soft and delicious when you've popped one in your mouth - their bags now tell you that on the outside! They've done away with the cute bunnies that were gracing their packets before and now have a brown sloth as the Freedom mascot. To be honest, we prefered the bunnies, the sloth image doesn't look very sharp, although may appeal to kids. Well, let's face it, everyone loves sloths. We do like how the marshmallows say 'VEGETARIAN' at the top and then in the bottom left you can instantly see that they are vegan, vegetarian, have no artificial colours, are gluten free, egg and dairy free and gelatine free. The mallows themselves taste amazing - as good as the marshmallows you'd eat when you were a kid, but with no icky ingredients or additives. We love that Freedom Mallows are now on sale in Holland & Barrett - it's time vegan-friendly mallows took over the world. Who wants to eat sweets with the by-product of a cow in it, anyway?
Freedom Mallows come in different sizes and flavours - you can get vanilla or strawberry, regular sized or mini mallows. Whether you want to eat them straight from the packet all in one go (like us) or use them for baking, adding into hot chocolate or anything else, Freedom Mallows are the mallows you should go to. Wondering what to give a friend at Christmas? Put a bag of Freedom Mallows in their stocking! Priced around £2.50 they're a treat you can afford, that will go down a treat.
BOOJA BOOJA TRUFFLES
Booja Booja are manufacturers of ice-cream and truffles (including truffle eggs). Their products are organic and vegan. Their range is of high quality and make a great treat. Booja Booja's gift boxes are compact but exquisitely made and look very classy. If you're looking for a gift for someone that matters, their chocolate truffles will no doubt be welcomed with open arms and devoured quickly - although not too quickly, as the recipient will want to longingly savour every bite. The truffles come in a range of flavours from the top of the range Special Edition Gift Collection Fine de Champagne to Hazelnut Crunch or Banoffee Toffee. Made by hand in Norfolk, the chocolate solids are injected with strong flavour and coated with cocoa powder. If you're a fan of raw food, they have two items that are raw - Raspberry Ecuadorian and Dark Ecuadorian. The others are dairy free, gluten free, GMO free and soya free. You can find Booja Booja online over at http://www.goodnessdirect.co.uk or check out their official website at www.boojabooja.com for more info.
Nutri Snax are cold pressed dried fruit and nut bars made by Crazy Jane Ltd, a family run company in Leicestershire. They come in four flavours - Ginger Rocks, Cashew Supreme, Chocolate Slam and Chocolate N Orange - the latter two contain chocolate too (if you couldn't guess by the names!). The ginger flavour, as pictured above, contains only 3.3g of fat and has no added sugar, as well as being vegan and wheat free, so they make a nice healthy snack. As their name suggests they are nutritional snacks. They're soft and chewy and packed full of flavour. If you like Nakd bars, you'll love these too. Each bar is 36g in size and costs around 89p. We got ours from www.goodnessdirect.co.uk but you can also find them in other health food stores. More info can be found over at www.nutri-snax.com
NATURE'S PATH ORGANIC CEREAL
Nature's Path Organic are a brand we stumbled across almost by accident when we were looking in the sale section on Goodness Direct's site. They were offering a discount on their ChocoMunch and we noticed they were vegan so decided we'd try a box as we felt like eating some healthy cereal. ChocoMunch blew our mind - being a really tasty cereal that we liked enough to eat in huge handfuls straight from the packet. We didn't even try them with milk on - they are crunchy and tasty and make a nice snack which isn't too fattening.
REBEL KITCHEN MYLK
Rebel Kitchen are the makers of a new range of vegan organic milk drinks. They're made from dairy free coconut milk, but unlike some coconut milks, these are very rich in texture. The chocolate flavour tastes great, while we love that they have an orange flavour - something a bit different that we haven't tried before. It reminds us of drinking a dark chocolate orange - or something like that! There's also a banana flavoured milkshake although it doesn't taste that banana-y to us. It includes cacao and looks brown - more like banana chocolate with more emphasis on the chocolate! Still nice though! All taste good either cold, straight from the carton, or hot.
THE CHAIN - ROBIN LAMONT
Robin Lamont sets the scene well. Right from the off you're in the story with those involved. Frank Marino is an undercover animal rights activist who filmed undercover footage at a slaughterhouse. He gets caught and has to hand over the evidence, but then suddenly is found dead. Was it suicide - or was he murdered? Jude Brannock at The Kinship, the animal rights organisation that Frank was going to give his footage to, sets about to find out what happened - and whether a copy of the footage exists. What was on it? Why was it so bad that Frank was murdered?
BUONO MOCHI ICE DESSERT
Amazeballs. Amazeballs filled with vegan ice-cream. These are amaze (in case you couldn't tell). It's the first time I've ever had a mochi ice dessert. Anyone else had mochi? I need much more mochi now! GoodnessDirect currently sell these in a variety of flavours although I only tried the Strawberry flavour. I'm now kicking myself for not trying some of the others, as they're sure to be equally as nice. They are a frozen dessert which are basically dough balls filled with ice-cream made with coconut milk. They taste delectable. The only downside is that there are only six mochi in a box (individually packaged and looking very cute). They are very addictive and if you're anything like me you'll want to eat all six in one go! These vegan mochi ice desserts are made in Thailand by Buono. They're quite pricey at £4.64, for what you get - but no doubt the fact they're a product from Thailland comes into it, as shipping doesn't come cheap. Worth shelling out for though. Seek for them over at www.goodnessdirect.co.uk
BLEATING HEARTS - MARK HAWTHORNE
Knowledge is power, so they say. And if that is so (which it is), then after reading Bleating Hearts your strength will be immense. Bleating Hearts (subtitled 'The Hidden World Of Animal Suffering') is quite a heavy read - it's a huge book packed with info on animal cruelty. It will tell you things you didn't know. You can read the ins and outs of every cruel method of animal exploitation, such as trapping animals for fur to vivisection, animals used for entertainment purposes to animals used in art (even, grossly, at the end, a piece on bestiality). There's info on fishing, rodeos, horse racing, dog sled racing, hare coursing, bear bile farming, animals used in military research, Orangutan kickboxing, camel fighting, pig wrestling, crush videos, sacrificing animals... too many types of animal cruelty areas to mention - although all are written about in detail in Bleating Hearts. It's a very in-depth book. The book talks about studies at schools using animals in dissection, but this book in itself is something that could be used for study. It's very educational. Besides giving the facts of different methods of cruelty to animals, Mark Hawthorne also uses stories and references. For example, in the chapter on dissection, you can read about Jenifer Graham, who took her school board to court after she got a low grade for refusing to dissect a frog/animal. We think that anyone that goes to school ought to be given a copy of this book to read and educate themselves with. As it is, sadly, it will probably be a book that only animal rights activists that are already against the horror of animal cruelty will read.
How eco-friendly are you? If you buy bottled water when you're out and about, or even take a drink with you, then you need Ohyo. Ohyo is a collapsible bottle that comes in various colours, which is perfect for carrying. It collapses, so when there's nothing in it, it hardly takes up any space, and when it's only half full you can even make it smaller. It can even fit in your pocket. Owning one of these is also healthier for you as plastic bottles have come under scrutiny recently, with studies showing that certain chemicals can mix with the water inside causing harmful effects (and the longer a plastic bottle of water is on a shop shelf the more harmful the water can potentially become). Ohyo is made of a safer toxin-free plastic and can be re-used thousands of times. Costing only £4.99 from www.ohyo.me, the bottle is designed for one hand, with a liftable sturdy straw/spout attachment, so if you're hiking up the side of a cliff and only have one hand available, you're fine, it's still easy to use and drink from.
Guy Jeremiah, the creator, has also co-founded FindAFountain.org, which includes a free app via the Apple Store, to enable people to find drinking water fountains so they can fill their Ohyo when out and about.
We think Ohyo is oh so awesome - and we're definitely going to be carrying ours it everywhere we go from now on. Whether we're going shopping or gigging in Birmingham or on a slightly less eco-friendly plane to another country, Ohyo is going to be our travelling companion from now on. Oh yes.
Recently we heard that Vive Soy was being sold in Home Bargains for the amazing price of just 29p per litre. Wow! That really IS a bargain. Naturally we had to check it out. We didn't even realise there was a Home Bargains in our town - but a google to find Home Bargains website and checking the store finder page and we were happy to see we had one! Who knew!? Vive Soy comes in six different varieties - natural, light, unsweetened, vanilla, chocolate and cappucino. We decided to try unsweetened, natural and chocolate flavours. The containers say they taste 'soyprisingly good' and after our first sip we had to agree. Straight from the carton, our fave was Natural - it has a faint hint of a vanillary custardy flavour, One thing we discovered with the natural flavour and chocolate was that they were quite sweet though. We frothed the chocolate in our hot drinks maker to make a nice hot chocolate and it was the frothiest chocolate we've ever drank (it doesn't froth as much if you just boil it in a saucepan). Very smooth and frothy - but maybe a tad too sweet. The downside to some of Vive Soy flavours is that some include sweeteners. Looking at the ingredients the chocolate drink includes sugar AND sweeteners. I'm pretty sure it would taste as good without the added sweeteners. It was a nice drink, but when sweeteners have such a bad rep, you wonder why they're included. Thankfully the unsweetened version does not include sweeteners and neither does the regular version - although they do include a couple of E numbers (E460 is cellulose, E466 is Carboxymethylcellulose and E306 is the antioxidant Tocopherol concentrate). All of the soya milk drinks include calcium and vitamins A and D. When I snuck some unsweetened Vive Soy into my non-vegan father's tea, he didn't even notice that it wasn't his usual milk (success!).
Some pound stores are currently selling Vive Soy at 2 for a pound. For the price, Vive Soy is definitely worth trying - and using to convert any non-vegan family members. And if you're not vegan yourself, we'd definitely recommend giving it a try. Some people think that being vegan can be expensive, but with 1 litres of Vive Soy going for 29p - or even 50p, you're better off buying this than cruel cow's milk.
Visit www.vivesoy.co.uk for more info.
We were perusing a natural beauty product website recently when we stumbled across Skin Blossom. The Reviving Eye Cream caught our... um, eye, and we were easily swayed into parting with £4.95. Not a bad price for an eye cream that aims to 'revive, hydrate and restore'. It features antioxidant green tea and eyebright and does what it says on the container. Skin Blossom is a UK based company featuring all vegan products which are mostly organic. Even better is the fact that their Replenishing Face Moisturiser is currently 50% off, available for only £3.60 directly from www.skinblossom.co.uk - a bargain if ever there was one. Skin Blossom's moisturisers have a cute pump and little stopper that you can put back on every time you've finished using it. They moisturise the skin and are easily absorbed without being greasy or sticky. You can also get Skin Blossom hand cream (also at £4.95), face wash, shampoo and conditioner and they've just brought out a new Age Resist moisturiser which we think we need to get a hold of soon. If your skin needs a bit of caring, Skin Blossom will help. Find them on Facebook HERE and visit their website at skinblossom.co.uk.
Our fave cruelty-free cosmetics brand, Lime Crime, have just released a new shade, Babette, which we decided we needed in our lives. It looked a bit more pinky on Lime Crime's Facebook page but actually looks fairly orange in real life, although it still has a nice pale pastel colour. Cocktail Cosmetics in the UK got their stock of them fast, so when we saw them post about it on Twitter we couldn't resist ordering a couple. We also opted for Chinchilla, one of Lime Crime's other shades that we'd had our eye on for a while (a grey/dark lilac mix). They don't quite match up to our faves D'Lilac and Great Pink Planet, but they are worthy additions to Lime Crime's cruelty-free cosmetic range. Lime Crime are a little more expensive than certain UK based cosmetics, obviously due to having to be shipped from the US over to the UK, but they are well worth splashing out on. Lime Crime's lipsticks are all vegan and not tested on animals - and their boxes state this. Babette doesn't have the same marshmallowy smell that Chinchilla, D'Lilac and co. had, and we've noticed that all of Lime Crime's shades look slightly lighter in their official photos than when you actually wear them, but we do love them and look forward to more shades in the future (we're still eager for a more pastelly pink shade, please!). If you're in the UK, get Lime Crime over at www.cocktailcosmetics.co.uk
This is the page where we recommend cruelty free items, products and places that you ought to check out and try. There is so much great vegan, cruelty free stuff out there. Below are some of our discoveries and things we give the thumbs up to. If you know of something that we should check out that we haven't so far, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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