Saturday, 12 November 2016

Coming soon - Wildflower Newcastle

Newcastle's vegan scene lost a little something special a few weeks ago when The Painted Elephant announced it would be closing. I was a big fan of their inventive, fresh, locally sourced plant-based fayre, so when I heard chef Asher Turnbull was teaming up with his equally creative friend and colleage Jessie to launch a new venture, I was fairly excited!

It's always nice to see a new vegan cafe opening in the North East, and Wildflower - which opens at 283a Westgate Road on Tuesday 15th November - sounds like a welcome addition to the ever-growing crop of quality establishments making Newcastle their home.

Dubbed a 'creative kitchen and event space', Wildflower will marry art, music and events with the exciting, vibrant plant-based foods that made Painted Elephant so special. In future, the space will play host to a plethora of different events, including themed dinner parties, still life drawing sessions, upcycling workshops, vintage and art markets and cooking demonstrations, bringing something a little different to the area.

The people behind Wildflower are hoping to raise £1,000 to help buy vital equipment and furnish the space. It would be so great if the vegan community could get behind them and make a small (or large!) donation to help them realise their dream. If you could spare a pound or two, you can donate at their Just Giving page here. You can also like Wildflower on Facebook here.

Please feel free to share this post amongst your friends and fellow vegans - let's help Wildflower to hit their target and give a local business a strong start to establish themselves and grow their offering.

Emily xo

Sunday, 6 November 2016

Where have you been?! My blood clot story

DVT, Pulmonary Embolism and Blood Clot Symptoms

Well hello there. It's been a while, hasn't it? The past few weeks have been so crazy, I'm not really sure where to begin. In a nutshell, Andrew and I went on the holiday of a lifetime to Toronto and New York at the end of August, On the flight back, I got Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) in my left leg, which was misdiagnosed by nine different doctors over a period of five weeks. Because it went undiagnosed for such a long time, the blood clot in my leg 'broke away' and lots of small and medium sized blood clots travelled to my lungs. As a result, I now have multiple bilateral Pulmonary Embolism, which is a fairly horrible and just a little bit terrifying, life threatening condition.

I should start by saying that this is what happened to me. DVT and PE is such a personal thing, and having now met lots of other people with the same condition as me on forums and Facebook groups, we've all had very different symptoms and treatment programmes. I don't want anyone to think that they are going to get DVT or PEs if they are in the same situation as me. Multiple doctors have told me that it is very rare to get these conditions at my age, however it does happen, I'm living proof of that. If this blog post helps to save the life of one person, then that'll do me nicely.

Two days after our flight back to the UK, I began to develop a pain on the inside of my lower left leg. It felt as though I had a bruise which hadn't quite made its way to the surface yet. I'm a generally fairly clumsy person, so I reckoned I'd whacked myself with my suitcase and forgotten about it.

Two weeks later, the pain in my leg was still there, and it was fairly bad at this point. A bruise hadn't emerged from the depths of my shin, but it still felt as though there was one lurking, ready to pop up with a 'here I am, nothing to worry about!' That didn't happen. I Googled my symptoms - yeah, I know, but we all do it - and there it was, 'deep vein thrombosis'. It was always in the back of my mind having recently been on a long-haul flight, so when I attended the NHS walk in centre after work, I told the nurse I thought that's what it was. I was told by the nurse and the following doctor that there was no way it could be DVT as 'DVT always leaves a mark on the skin, it happens in the big veins in the back of your knees and you're too young.' I was diagnosed with shin splints (anyone who follows me on Instagram will know I was doing Insanity before my holiday and had recently started running, so this did make sense, even though it was only in one leg), and told to ice my leg and take paracetamol.

For the next two weeks I pretty much lived on painkillers, and when I wasn't at work I had a bag of frozen peas glued to my permanently elevated leg. The pain would come and go, and I carried on going to the gym, running 5ks most nights after work and even doing Parkrun on a Saturday. The strange thing was that my leg wouldn't hurt at all whilst I was exercising, and would only start if I had a day or two off. I thought the exercise was helping, so I carried on.

One Wednesday night in mid-September, I was woken up throughout the night in agony with my leg. It was so sore it hurt when anything touched it - even the bedsheets or the water from the shower. That same week, I arrived at work in tears after my usual 10 minute walk to the office took 30 minutes, and I was in so much pain I couldn't put any weight at all in my leg. Luckily, I was whisked off to A&E in a taxi by my lovely manager, so I could get checked out. The consultant sent me for X-rays which came back clear, but despite there being no evidence, he said it was most likely a stress fracture, but further investigation was needed. He gave me crutches, and advised me to go to a private physiotherapist for ultrasound treatment as the NHS waiting list is so long, and told me to go see my GP for a referral for an MRI scan.

The following week I saw my GP who prescribed me strong painkillers and referred me for an MRI scan. I went to a private physio who did ultrasound on my leg, and gave me a 'Cryocuff' which is a cold compression boot. I used the Cryocuff for five days and my leg still remained hugely swollen and sore. After I used the Cryocuff, my foot would be ice cold for hours on end. I would wrap it in socks and blankets, but it would not warm up at all, which made me worried there was something wrong with the circulation in my leg.

The photo above show my legs in comparison to each other - the leg with the tattooed foot is the one which had the blood clot. You can see that the legs are two different shapes, and that the leg with the clot was actually a different colour to the 'normal' leg. Soz if you don't like feet.

This photo shows the inside of my left ankle (i.e. that is my pinky toe closest to the camera). As you can see it swelled up so much it was definite cankle material. Sorry the photos aren't great quality - at the time I literally took them to send to my mum! I never thought it would be something I'd feel compelled to write a blog post about.

The following week I went back to my physiotherapist and he was really worried about the amount of pain and swelling still present in my leg. He called his friend who is a consultant at the hospital, and told me to go back and see him that evening. Back at the hospital, the consultant took more x-rays of my leg, and said it was likely to be a stress fracture. The x-ray showed no evidence of a fracture or anything wrong with my bones, but you could see how much more my leg had swollen in comparison to the x-rays which had been taken a fortnight earlier. The consultant gave me a support boot to wear and made me an appointment for the fracture clinic the next morning.

The following day I attended the fracture clinic, and after waiting for two hours, was told there was nothing the consultants could do for me as my leg wasn't fractured. At this point I broke down. I had been in so much pain for weeks on end, my leg was swollen and I couldn't walk without the crutches. I just wanted an answer as to why my leg hurt so much and why nothing would reduce the pain and swelling. The doctor asked me if anyone had done a blood test to rule out other medical causes, and I told him nobody had. He didn't test my blood. He gave me a sick note for 'tendinitis' and told me to make another appointment for four weeks time.

Two days after my fracture clinic appointment, I started to feel really unwell. I was sniffly, had a headache and felt like I was coming down with the flu. That evening, I walked into my kitchen, and had to lean on the worktop for support as I couldn't breathe. I felt completely winded - as though some invisible force had knocked all of the air out of my lungs. I thought it was because I was getting the flu, and went to bed early.

The next morning, I couldn't bring myself to get out of bed. I felt so lethargic and unwell, my head was pounding and I felt sick. I am NOT a snoozer. I have been known to get up at 5am to do an Insanity workout because I knew I wouldn't get the chance to workout later in the day, I am the girl who is early for everything, the one who feels the day is wasted if you get up after 7.30. I knew something wasn't right. By the time I got to the top of the stairs, I was struggling to breathe and had pains in my chest. I did it again - I Googled, 'lower leg pain and shortness of breath' and there it was - DVT and PEs. It was like a checklist of my symptoms. I called NHS 111 and explained my symptoms. She sent an ambulance, and within five minutes there was a paramedic at my door. He took me to A&E and they offered me a blood test called a 'D-Dimer'. The results of the test come back in SIX MINUTES. I couldn't believe nobody had offered me this sooner.

The D-Dimer results showed that I had a blood clot. I was whisked off to resus where I was hooked up to a drip and given an injection into my stomach to stop the blood clots from moving and to stop further clots from developing. I couldn't believe that I finally had an answer as to why my leg was so painful, but I was terrified about what would happen next.

After a few hours on a short stay ward, I was taken for a CT scan. The doctors put a contrast dye in my cannula so they could see the veins in my lungs. Unfortunately, I had a massive allergic reaction to the dye and went into anaphylactic shock. My head, tongue, mouth and throat swelled up and my whole body went bright red with hives. I had to be given an injection of antihistamines and adrenaline as well as oxygen and it was all fairly terrifying.

Once the doctors had managed to stabilise me, I was moved on to an observation ward where the doctors monitored my blood oxygen levels and my heart rate, as well as taking my blood pressure and temperature every 15 minutes. The consultant who was looking after me came to discuss the results of my CT scan and told me I have multiple bilateral pulmonary embolism which means that there are multiple blood clots on both of my lungs. I asked her how many, but she said there were too many to put a number on. I couldn't believe that I had gone from thinking I had shin splints to being in hospital with a life-threatening condition. The doctors started me on an anticoagulant drug called Xarelto which I will have to take every day for at the least six months. It makes me randomly bleed and stops my blood from clotting so I have to be careful not to cut myself. But I am alive and on the road to recovery. 1 in 4 people who have untreated PEs like mine will die from the condition.

I was in the hospital for two days before they let me go home. The doctors were mostly lovely but vegan hospital food SUCKS and I was very glad to be away from all of the machines beeping. Strangely, I managed to walk out of the hospital without my boot or the crutches. My leg was sore and stiff, but I was finally able to put weight on it, so I shuffled out, pleased to be on the way to recovery.

My clots were 'provoked' which means that there is a known cause and a reason that we can pinpoint. Some people get blood clots for absolutely no reason whatsoever, or they have a genetic condition which means they are susceptible to developing blood clots. As far as I know at this moment in time, my blood clots were a result of the long haul flight and 12-13 years of taking the combined contraceptive pill (I was taking Yasmin / Yaz AKA Lucette in the UK if anyone is interested). There are many different factors which affect someone's propensity to have blood clots - one is taking the combined pill, others are lifestyle factors such as smoking or being overweight - neither of which applied to me. Both DVT and PE have many different symptoms, and some people will only have one or two - if any. I had a fair few of the symptoms, but the information I had been given at the walk in centre (about DVT only occurring in the backs of the knees and always coming with a mark on the skin) simply was not true.

The recovery is slow and long. Some days I feel fine, on others I will randomly bleed from my gums or bring up blood from nowhere (I have had this checked out and it's supposedly a side effect from being on such a high dose of anticoagulants). I get tired very easily, I'm sensitive to light, I get the worst headaches I've ever had and get back pain. I also suffer from post-thrombotic syndrome meaning I get pain in my leg where I had the clot which is terrifying. It will be a while before I'm running or doing Insanity again, but I will get there. Many others are not so lucky.

If anyone has any questions about DVT / PE / Thrombosis I will be happy to answer them. Feel free to post them in the comments or email me - if you don't want to ask them publically.

I know this is a little different from my usual posts and it was really long, but I felt it was really important to document my story in case anyone else is having similar symptoms. There seems to be a general lack of awareness in the medical community about DVT / PE in young women, but we can and do get these conditions and I would not wish for anyone else to go through what I've been through. If my DVT had been diagnosed at an earlier stage, there is no doubt that my recovery would have been easier and quicker than it will be, and my condition may not have become life-threatening. Please listen to your own body and do not give up until you have an answer.

I'll be back with something a bit more cheery soon!

Emily xo

Sunday, 18 September 2016

REVIEW: Vitashine Vegan Vitamin D3 by Vegetology

Vitashine Vitamin D3 by Vegetology

One of the most common questions I'm asked as a vegan is, "where do you get your XYZ..?" Whether it's protein, calcium or a variety of vitamins and minerals, we're able to get everything our bodies need to thrive on a well-planned vegan diet. However, like many people (vegan and otherwise), I like to supplement my diet with a multivitamin to ensure I'm getting everything I need to stay healthy and happy, especially as we edge towards cold and flu season.


Sunday, 31 July 2016

It's official: I'm Insane! My thoughts on Insanity & starting the 21 Day Fix

Wow, it's been a while! Sorry for the silence of late, if you follow me on Instagram you might already know what's been keeping me so busy (aside from Pokemon Go).


Sunday, 12 June 2016

Fitness Blender's 4 Week Vegan Meal Plan - Week 1 Review

Fitness Blender 4 week vegan meal plan review

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm back on the workout wagon for summer and trying to lose some weight, tone up and get all-round healthier and stronger. For the past five weeks I've been following the Fitness Blender #FB30 Fat Loss Plan for Busy People. The plan is a mixture of high intensity interval training and strength training with some kickboxing and yoga / pilates thrown in. I've followed the Fitness Blender plans before and always found them to be incredibly effective, interesting and fun.

Monday, 30 May 2016

Tribe subscription box review

Tribe Subscription Box Review

Last year I got heavily into my fitness regime. I was eating super-healthy plant-based meals and working out five times a week which saw me lose around 30lbs and become so much fitter and stronger than I ever thought I'd be. Then I went to Berlin and ate that vegan double cheeseburger pizza and it all went a bit downhill from there. With Christmas, the cold weather and more than a couple of stressful events, my fitness regime went out of the window and I stopped tracking my meals. Before I knew it, I'd put on more weight than I care to think about, and feeling pretty rubbish to boot.

Saturday, 21 May 2016

Outsidethebox Makeup Review*

Outside the Box Makeup Review

Every so often, a new product will come on the market that I just have to try and make work, no matter how much I know it won't. For me, that product was mineral foundation. I really bought in to how it could feel light and weightless whilst providing a lovely full, even coverage. Every single one I bought I either returned or threw in a drawer, never to be seen again. My dehydrated skin clings to every bit of powder, making the foundation look uneven, cakey and all-round gross. Until now.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

North East Vegan Festival (NEVFest) May 2016

North East Vegan Festival NEVFest 2016

Today we took a drive through to the Stadium of Light in Sunderland for the first NEVFest of the year. NEVFest was also the second vegan festival I've been to in as many weeks, after volunteering at the Newcastle Vegan Festival just last Saturday, veganism is taking over!

Read on to see who was exhibiting and what we bought...

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Teaforia Ground Matcha Tea Review*

Teaforia Ground Matcha Tea Review

As the name of the blog might suggest, I am a big fan of tea. I drink six cups + of the good stuff every day in many different forms; English breakfast (I like mine with Koko), fruit, herbal, iced, the list goes on. The folks at Teaforia asked if I wanted to give their gourmet, stone ground teas a try and I couldn't resist, so they very kindly sent me three varieties to try; their Premium Japanese Organic Matcha, Citrus Zen and Ginger Ninja (which unfortunately isn't vegan-friendly as it contains honey, so I've just reviewed the other two here).


Monday, 2 May 2016

Tyne Chease Sundried Tomato Review*

Tyne Chease Sundried Tomato Review

Last month marked my two year vegan-versary, and in those two years I have tried a lot of different vegan cheeses from around the world (Daiya people, if you're reading this, get yourself over to the UK, thanks). In my opinion, cheese can't be merely lumped into one group. Halloumi, feta, mozzarella, Camembert - all types of cheese yet all so different.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Back to Basics - Cruelty Free & Vegan Hand and Body Products

Cruelty Free Vegan Hand and Body Products

This is the last post I've got planned in this 'Back to Basics' series (if you haven't seen them here are my vegan and cruelty free essentials products for skincarefeminine hygienedental products and haircare). I really hope you've found them useful! This is probably the biggest of all of the others, looking at all things you can slather on your hands and body. Enjoy and, as always, let me know if there's anything I've missed out and I'll be sure to update the post.


Soap and Glory Hand Food

My hands are perpetually in a state of dryness, meaning I have to use a hand cream pretty much every day. I've included a few different options here simply because they are all good at different stages of dehydration and in different situations.

Soap & Glory Hand Food was probably one of the first hand creams I ever tried. This is my 'everyday' cream for when my hands are feeling pretty OK. I have extremely sensitive skin on my hands, and if they are broken, rough or cracked, forget it. There is no way I can use this, simply because it's too perfumed and synthetic. In normal circumstances though, this stuff is lovely. The bottle is slim enough to pop in your handbag, and it also comes in a purse-friendly size. It smells amazing (as most S&G products do), and it doesn't leave my hands feeling sticky or greasy. A good all-rounder.

Dr Organic Virgin Olive Oil Hand & Nail Cream

This is the 'next stage up' cream for me, it's a little more intensive than S&G's Hand Food, and the organic ingredients don't interfere with my skin too much. I can tell instantly if something doesn't agree with my hands - I get itchy, blotchy, blister-like welts and they burn like crazy. I have no idea why my hands do this, but I have to be so careful with the products I use, and these have all passed the test.

This Dr. Organic cream isn't sticky but it does leave a bit of an oily film, so it's not ideal if you've got to do something right after you've applied it which requires a bit of grip (rock climbing is definitely off limits). It also claims to last for 12 hours, which hasn't been my experience, but it's still a good product and light enough to reapply throughout the day.

Grown Alchemist Intensive Hand Cream Persian Rose & Argan Extract

Grown Alchemist Intensive Hand Cream Persian Rose & Argan Extract - RRP £17.00

I love Grown Alchemist as a brand. All of their products are cruelty free and vegan, created with the finest organic, plant based ingredients. I've used a fair few of their products now and loved all of them, their lip balms and hand creams are particular favourites.

This Persian Rose and Argan intensive hand cream is my go-to when my hands are cracked, broken and past the point of repair. I slather a generous layer of this on to my hands and pop a pair of cotton gloves on before I go to bed (I like these gloves from trusty old Superdrug). When I wake up in the morning, my hands are reinvigorated, soft and pain-free. Plus this stuff smells incredible, and the beautiful packaging goes without saying.


Lush Love and Light - RRP £7.95
Faith in Nature Coconut Hand Cream - RRP £6.39
Nature's Ingredients Shea Butter Hand Cream - RRP £2.00


Superdrug Sensitive Antibacterial Hand Gel

Superdrug Sensitive Antibacterial Hand Gel - RRP £0.99

Are antibacterial hand gels the best invention ever? I think they're definitely in the top 10. For someone who gets really ~weird~ about germs, these were such a game changer when they started to appear in shops. I especially love these for travelling or using public transport - just pop it in your bag, and you know you're less likely to catch the plague (or someone else's cold) when you get to where you're going. This Superdrug one is suitable for sensitive skin, doesn't have a strong chemical smell like some hand gels, and does the job.


Soap & Glory Hand Maid - RRP £2.50
No Germs Instant Hand Sanitiser - £1.99


Dr Organic Virgin Olive Oil Deodorant

Dr. Organic Virgin Olive Oil Deodorant - RRP £5.79

When I picked out the products I was going to include in this post, I didn't actually realise I'd chosen two Dr. Organic products, let alone two from the virgin olive oil range, but like the hand cream, this deodorant is also a really good option if you're looking for something organic and natural.


Lavanila The Healthy Deodorant - RRP £10.00
Native Unearthed Natural Deodorant (my review here) - RRP £6.49


Superdrug Compressed Crystal Anti-Perspirant Deodorant

Superdrug has recently reformulated its deodorant range so it's now available in compressed cans! I love these little cans, they are so convenient for popping in your handbag or your gym bag and they don't take up loads of room. This scent is my particular favourite, it reminds me of the Dove pomegranate which I used to use in my pre-vegan days and is so unusual as deodorant scents go; fruity, sweet and not at all powdery or flowery.



Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Fake Tan Mousse

Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Instant Tan - RRP £7.99

Fake tan is one of the products I get asked about most often. I am a naturally pasty princess but I do like to get my tan on every once in a while and this is the one I reach for.

Cruelty free, made with vegetable-derived DHA and paraben free, this is about as natural as a fake tan can get. Aside from all of that, this is an incredible product. Developed for Irish skin, Cocoa Brown doesn't go streaky, it's not orange, it's a breeze to apply, it develops quickly and it smells nice. It's everything you would want in a fake tan.

There's also a dark version if you're like me and you sit with your tan on, willing it to go darker, despite five minutes earlier going, "I'll just put a bit of tan on... you know, just for a bit of a natural glow..." SHUT UP AND GO DARKER I WANT TO LOOK LIKE I'VE JUST STEPPED OFF A CARIBBEAN CRUISE.


Skinny Tan 7 Day Self Tanner - RRP £19.99
Lavera Organic Self Tanning Body Lotion - RRP £13.50


Soap & Glory Clean on Me Vegan Shower Gel

There are loads of great vegan shower gels, this was probably the hardest category to pick one 'feature' product, but I've gone for Clean on Me by Soap & Glory; it's creamy, non-drying, smells great, it's easy to buy on the high street and you get loads for your money. I'm sure most people have had a bottle of Clean on Me over the years, but probably didn't realise it was cruelty free and vegan!


Lush The Comforter Shower Cream - RRP £4.95 - £27.95


Steam Cream


STEAMCREAM went through a bit of a hype period last year, and for good reason. It's just a brilliant, natural, 'no-nonsense' product which is good at everything. You can use it on your face as well as your hands and body, although I find it particularly effective at clearing up dry knees and elbows.

STEAMCREAM's natural ingredients are fused together with a shot of steam, to create a lightweight emulsion which hydrates the skin for longer. It might seem a bit on the pricey side, but a little goes a long way, and in my eyes it's worth every penny. Also it smells amazing, like rose and lavender.

All of the tins are limited edition so my rose tin has now sold out, but there are some beautiful options at the STEAMCREAM store. And don't worry, all of the product inside is the same, it's just the tin which is different.


Lush Dream Cream - RRP £6.25 - £19.95


Soap & Glory Heel Genius

As we approach summer we also approach sandal weather, where feet which have been cooped up inside winter socks and boots (even in spring in the UK) are suddenly unleashed upon the general population. 

If you're anything like me, that'll mean your tootsies need a bit of attention to get them in tip-top shape, and I love this foot lotion from Soap & Glory for softening any dry skin and general pampering. It can be a bit slippery, so I like to apply this at night before popping on some cotton socks and letting it all sink in. Also recommended: persuading someone to give you a foot rub.


Lush Go Faster Feet - RRP £6.95 - £13.95


Hustle Butter

Hustle Butter - RRP £5.95 - £19.95

This is another of the questions I'm asked so often; what's the best vegan product for healing tattoos? I have five tattoos and only one of them has been since I went vegan. I got it done at Little Bird Tattoo in Berlin by the lovely Carly Kroll who has since moved back to her native Australia and is tattooing in studios around Melbourne (if you're lucky enough to be in the area, go get a tattoo by her!) Little Bird was a vegan studio and this is where I picked up my tub of Hustle Butter. We got the 5oz tub and have healed two tattoos with is (Andrew got one too), and I've also used this on my elbows, wrists and other places I had little dry patches, and we've still got 2/3rds of a tub left over. A little goes a long, long way.

My little vegan tattoo healed so much easier and quicker than any of my others, and it looks sharp and bright as the day I got it. I put a lot of that down to using Hustle Butter (as well as a great tattoo artist, obviously!) The butter itself is made up of aloe, shea and mango butters, and smells like a freaking tropical paradise. It's seriously good.

OTHER GOOD VEGAN / CRUELTY FREE OPTIONS (please note I haven't tried these personally but others have recommended them):

Lush Ultrabalm - RRP £9.25
Coconut Oil - RRP £5.99

Hope you've found this back to basics series useful - I'll be updating these posts from time to time so please do let me know if there's anything else you'd find helpful and I'll be sure to add it!

Emily xo

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Back to Basics - Cruelty Free & Vegan Haircare

Cruelty Free and Vegan Haircare Shampoo Conditioner Hairspray Dry Shampoo

Today I'll be covering the essentials when it comes to making your hair look beautiful without harming any bunnies in the process. If you haven't checked out the rest of this 'Back to Basics' series yet, here are my previous posts covering skincare, feminine hygiene and dental products. Enjoy!


Sunday, 17 April 2016

Back to Basics - Cruelty Free & Vegan Dental Products

Cruelty Free and Vegan Dental Products Toothpaste Mouthwash Floss

Keeping it short and sweet for the third installment of my back to basics posts, this time we're covering off dental care (if you've missed my posts about basic cruelty free and vegan skincare click here, and for feminine products click here).


Saturday, 9 April 2016

Back to Basics - Cruelty Free & Vegan Feminine Hygiene

Cruelty free feminine hygiene tampons razors

The second installment in my back to basics series is about feminine hygiene. Most of you lovely people are of the female variety anyway, but obviously if you are a man type, this post contains tampons and stuff so, y'know. Maybe move on to another post.


Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Back to Basics - Cruelty Free & Vegan Facial Skincare

Cruelty Free Vegan Skincare UK

When it comes to blogging, it can be really easy to get caught up in the 'sexy' stuff. It's a lot more exciting to try out a new lipstick or eyeshadow palette than it is to talk about mouthwash. But the people need mouthwash!


Monday, 28 March 2016

The Vegan Kind Subscription Box March 2016 - TVK29

The Vegan Kind Subscription Box March 2016 TVK29

It's Vegan Kind time again! How I love these little boxes! There are loads of past reviews of these on my blog, but they're such a good way to discover new vegan brands and products (some good, and some not so good!) that I just love writing these reviews each month. Plus I get to eat all the stuff so, y'know.


Sunday, 20 March 2016

Makeup Revolution Ultra Blush Palette - Golden Sugar

Makeup Revolution Ultra Blush Palette Golden Sugar

Oh, Makeup Revolution. How I love you and your palettes. (Click here for previous Makeup Revolution reviews).

These Ultra Blush Palettes have been on the market for a little while but I was on the lookout for a new highlighter and picked this up in my local Superdrug for the bargainous price of £6. I kid you not.


Thursday, 17 March 2016

Eating vegan at Turtle Bay Newcastle

Turtle Bay Newcastle

There's been quite a buzz about Turtle Bay since it opened in Newcastle earlier this year. Situated near The Gate, just outside of Eldon Square, this Caribbean chain has been at the top of my 'must visit' list since I heard they did a decent vegan-friendly dish, so last week we booked a table and did just that.


Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Vegan Afternoon Tea at SIX BALTIC

Vegan afternoon tea Newcastle SIX BALTIC

The day before Mother's Day was our mum's birthday, so me and my sister decided to surprise her by taking her for afternoon tea.

A few weeks back I asked on Twitter if anyone knew of anywhere in Newcastle that served a vegan afternoon tea and it became quite obvious that, whilst there are loads of nice places to have an omni or veggie tea, it's slim pickin's for us vegans.

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Aine Carlin - The New Vegan Book Review* & Gluten Free Orange Polenta Cake Recipe!

Aine Carlin The New Vegan Recipe Book

Next month marks my two year vegan-versary and since switching to a plant-based diet I don't think we have had the exact same meal more than two or three times, and that's if we really like it. Back when I was vegetarian I would eat the same things each week; lasagne, some sort of pasta bake, pizza, beige stodge covered in cheese. When I tell people I'm vegan I'm often met with the same response; "but what do you actually eat? Don't you get bored of salad?" Errrrr, no, what are you even talking about? Vegan cooking encourages experimentation. Veggies, grains, legumes, herbs, spices - all so tasty and versatile.

Sunday, 28 February 2016

Vegan food in Durham - The Green Guerrilla

Vegan food in Durham - Durham Cathedral

After work on Friday I went to pick up my new car! I've been driving for *ahem* 10 whole years(!!!) and have always had cars which were at least 10 years old and often problematic. After receiving some exciting news last week (more on that coming soon), I decided to treat myself to a new(er) car, and on Friday I traded in my 13-year-old Nissan Micra for a much newer model!

Andrew happened to be off work on Saturday which is a rarity, so with the new car and a whole weekend ahead of us, we woke up feeling like the world was our oyster. We decided to hop in the car and take a trip to Durham, so off we set.

Saturday is market day in Durham, so the square was bustling, packed with shoppers and stalls selling all manner of wares. We had heard about The Green Guerrilla on Facebook; a vegan and vegetarian mobile food stall which was pitched in a prime position at the market. When lunch time rolled around we decided to give it a go, and we were really spoilt for choice.

The Green Guerrilla Vegan and Vegetarian Food Durham

The Green Guerrilla offers several vegan options - from burgers to hot dogs and sweet stuff, and all home made. We were pleased to see a queue forming at the stall, with people opting for a veggie or vegan option despite the availability of meat products at the surrounding stalls - probably because it smelled so delicious!

The Green Guerrilla Vegan and Vegetarian Food Durham

The Green Guerrilla Vegan and Vegetarian Food Durham

The Green Guerrilla Vegan and Vegetarian Food Durham

The Green Guerrilla Vegan and Vegetarian Food Durham

Andrew and I both opted for the same thing - the original vegan burger with bacon and cheese. All of the burgers come served with coleslaw and sweet potato cubes which were griddled alongside the other vegan dishes (we were pleased to see the vegetarian dishes being cooked on a separate griddle).

The Green Guerrilla Vegan and Vegetarian Food Durham

The burgers were served on a fluffy, toasted bun with salad and homemade sauce - a choice of maple and mustard, garlic and lime or tomato relish were on offer on Saturday. The coleslaw was easily the creamiest vegan coleslaw I've ever tried and took me straight back to my vegetarian days when I could eat a whole tub with a spoon, given half a chance. The sweet potatoes were cooked to perfection with the griddle leaving a smoky, BBQ-ed taste which was more than welcome on a chilly Durham day. The burger itself was beautifully fresh having been made in front of us minutes earlier. The patty was perfectly seasoned, juicy and tender and would have pleased even the most staunch meat eaters. Both Andrew and I said it was most likely the best vegan burger we have ever tried.

We both plumped for a 'chocolate crunch' flapjack which we took home and devoured last night, and we were also given a free cookie by the lovely staff. The whole lot came in at under £12 - absolutely phenomenal value for such delicious, fresh vegan food.

The Green Guerrilla also pitch up at the Quayside market on a Sunday, and no doubt Andrew and I would have paid them a second visit today did we not already have other plans! I would highly recommend getting your green fingers on a Green Guerrilla burger at the earliest opportunity.

Like them on Facebook here to see where they're going to be next.

Emily xo


Monday, 15 February 2016

The Vegan Kind February 2016 - TVK28

The Vegan Kind February 2016

Each month when The Vegan Kind box arrives is a bit of a ceremony in our house. If Andrew's working late I have to wait until he gets home before the grand unboxing! This month's box is - in my humble opinion - one of the best boxes we've had in a while, if not... THE BEST BOX EVER. Read on to find out more...


Saturday, 13 February 2016

Volunteering at Bryson's Animal Refuge!

Last month I posted a DIY for a rustic dining table we'd made for our new home, as part of a wider blog-project I'm currently undertaking in which I'm trying one brand new thing every month (more about that here).


Sunday, 24 January 2016

The Vegan Kind Subscription Box - January 2016, #TVK27

The Vegan Kind Subscription Box January 2016 TVK27

Ok so first off, how is this box number 27 of The Vegan Kind? Where did the time go please? I've been a subscriber since about box 6 so it's crazy to me there have been 27 of these and I still look forward to receiving my box each month.

I have blogged many a time about these but they keep on introducing me to new vegan-friendly products and brands each month so I never get bored of them. Read on to find out what was in January's box...


Saturday, 16 January 2016

DIY Tutorial - Rustic Dining Table with Hairpin Legs

DIY Tutorial - Rustic Dining Table with Hairpin Legs

As part of my New Year's resolutions (yep, I'm still on about those in mid-January), I've decided to challenge myself to do or try at least one thing each month which is totally new to write about on the blog.

When I say trying something new, I don't mean a new shade of lipstick or cleanser, I mean something which I have never tried before and pushes me outside of my comfort zone. Suggestions welcome!

The January challenge was inspired in part by our house move, and in part by my other half, Andrew. When we moved into the new place we found ourselves with two dining areas - one in the lounge and one in the kitchen - but only one table which actually functioned in the space. Our little IKEA four-seater which was sufficient in the old house was totally drowning in its new space, and bordering on looking a little ridiculous.

After several weeks of looking at uninspiring, overpriced tables online, Andrew suggested we make our own - and that's what we did!

So if you'd like to learn how to build your own rustic wood dining table with hairpin legs, read on...


Sunday, 10 January 2016

REVIEW - Planet Pure Laundry Liquid*

Planet Pure Organic Laundry Liquid

Since we moved into our new house I've come over all domesticated. Not that I was a total slob before, but since moving I have become really particular about things and have been obsessively purchasing new cleaning products to ensure our new utility room is fully stocked.

When it comes to living a vegan / cruelty free lifestyle, it's about more than just the foods you eat and the products you use on your skin. Many household cleaning products contain animal products or are tested on animals, including some of the major brands like Ariel, Fairy, Lenor, Mr Muscle and Febreze. This can make choosing cruelty free household products a really difficult task, but thankfully not an impossible one.


Wednesday, 6 January 2016

Cruelty Free Cold & Flu Essentials

Cruelty Free Cold and Flu

It's that age old mantra, 'write what you know', and so far this month I have become well acquainted with feeling freaking lousy.

The day before New Year's Eve, I could feel it coming. That scratchy, sharp pain at the back of the throat, the tell-tale sign that a sore throat is looming. We were hosting on New Year's Eve and I was determined to not let it get to me, but by half-past midnight I had admitted defeat and hit the orange juice.

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