Maybelline Cosmetics vegan range

I was quite shocked and honestly quite excited to see that Maybelline Cosmetics now do a number of vegan friendly make up products. This includes lipsticks, foundations, eye shadows and mascaras, as well as a number of other products. From the look I had at my local display at Superdrug, it seems you could get your entire make up kit (including contour and highlight) all from Maybelline’s vegan range.

However I had always avoided Maybelline because not only did they never offer vegan make up, they were never certified cruelty free. I was therefore a little confused how the vegan range could be labelled vegan without there being any cruelty free certificate to go with this. How can a product be truly vegan if it is not cruelty free?

So I did some digging. I am sure this may be common knowledge to many of you but I did not know that Maybelline was owned by L’Oréal Cosmetics. So it makes sense why they are not cruelty free certified because L’Oréal operate in China.

For those who may not know, animal testing for cosmetics is still mandatory in China, although this did change slightly from 1st May 2022. Before this time, all cosmetics that were being sold in China had to have mandatory animal testing trials before the product could be sold on the Chinese market. From May 2021 however this mandatory testing was removed for cosmetic products, including make up, skin care and hair care. However special use products such as hair dye, hair removal, sunscreen and deodorant all still need to have the mandatory testing.

Now on their website Maybelline and L’Oréal state that they do not pay for animal testing anywhere. But if they sell any kind of hair dye in China then they can’t be cruelty free as they would have to test those products on animals before being able to sell them. Of course on their website I cannot find any information regarding what they do and do not sell in China, so it is hard to be certain of what their current business model is when it comes to animal testing and selling in China. From a practical standpoint, I know that China is a huge economic market and a brand as big as L’Oréal is very unlikely to want to miss out on those big sales. Also, they sold in China before the animal testing was deemed non-mandatory so why would this really change anything? Really it has simply made selling in China far easier for them.

But then I have gotten even more confused. Because L’Oréal owns a lot of vegan friendly brands, most notably Urban Decay which is one of the most popular make up brands for vegans to use. On their website, Urban Decay say that they will ‘never, ever test on animals’ and are fully vegan and cruelty free. They even have a PETA certification for being cruelty free. But if they are owned by L’Oréal how can that be? They also now sell in China (granted after the removal of mandatory testing) but would that not go against the entire vegan and cruelty free message by selling products in a country that still allows for cosmetic testing on animals?

But then I am always drawn back to the reality that there are actually only 7 parent companies that own a combined total of 182 brands. These seven include L’Oréal, Estée Lauder Companies, Unilever, Procter & Gamble, Shisheido, Johnson & Johnson and City. Included in the other brands that L’Oréal own include the Body Shop, Garnier and NYX make up, all of which offer vegan friendly and cruelty free products.

A really helpful infograph from the Insider blog.

So all of this made me think…should I really be buying Maybelline’s new vegan range of products? I am slightly conflicted. If this was food – such as the McPlant or the Burger King vegan nuggets – I would buy them to show my support for vegan products and also to hopefully encourage the brand to make more vegan options available. So should that same logic apply here?

I guess I do always come back to the fact that there can be no conscious consumerism under a capitalist society, and so no matter how much I try to always shop ethically there is some degree of exploitation happening simply because of the capitalist society we live in. Also judging by the infograph above it seems I would be unlikely to buy ANY sort of mainstream beauty product that could truly be considered cruelty free. Meaning I would have to support the lesser known brands or the more niche brands specifically made to be vegan and cruelty free, but sometimes these brands are either not easily accessible (perhaps only available online or at certain stores that aren’t in a reasonable vicinity) or are considerably more expensive.

I suppose the other issue would be that L’Oréal is simply trying to tap into a new market that it didn’t have access to before. I think it would be very naive of me to think that this is L’Oréal and Maybelline ‘reassessing their ethics’ or ‘trying to do good for the planet’ because at the end of the day they a huge brand and they didn’t get there by being ethical (another debate to be had but can you ever truly have ethical businesses?). Veganism is also surging in popularity and if money can be made from something, you know that big businesses will want to do so, so it would make sense that L’Oréal would want to make products that appeal to an even wider market of consumers.

So what do we do? Like I said when it comes to food, I am willing to try every vegan offering in the hope it will encourage more options later on. So maybe I should apply the same logic to any of these brands that offer vegan options – in some cases I already have done before I knew their parent company associations, such as Garnier.

What do you guys all think? What is your opinion on cruelty free or vegan brands having parent companies that are not vegan or cruelty free? Would you try a new make up product from a previously non-vegan brand?

T xxx

How to keep pets cool in the heat

We are currently going through a heatwave here in England, with temperatures this week hitting 40 degrees Celsius. This is largely unheard of in the UK and we are definitely not set up for this type of heat: I kid you not when I say that roads melt and train tracks bow. Aircon is also very rare to find in UK homes unless people have installed their own, and even then they are no where near the power or the efficiency that aircon is in hotter countries like the US or the Mediterranean. The UK is notoriously a very cold country and so our houses are built to keep the warmth in – so in this heat it can be very hard to keep places cool.

But at least as a human we know how to cool ourselves down: we can have fans on us, drink lots of water with lots of ice in it, and wear loose fitting clothing – if we chose to wear any clothes at all or if we just opt to wear a swimsuit with shorts. Now these heatwaves in England tend to only last a few days of obscenely high temperatures before they settle back to a bit more reasonable 25 degrees on average, but with the summer holidays fast approaching and the height of summer approaching, we can only assume that this heat will get worse and last longer. While I could go into how this is all impacted by global warming, I shall instead focus on how you can keep your companion animals cool in the heat.

1. The obvious fixes

Now the very obvious things you should be keeping your blinds closed, the windows open and lights off as much as possible. You want to try and limit the amount of sunlight coming in and increase the amount of air circulating the house. Granted in the UK the heatwave wind is also warm, but having any sort of breeze can help keep your house cooler.

Put fans out around the house too to help circulate the wind around but do make sure that these are set up where your pets cannot knock them off or hurt themselves in some way – we have to have our fan on the kitchen counter, otherwise that power cable will be chewed in half by our bunny rabbit.

2. Refill water regularly

Now this may vary depending on your pet but make sure to change their drinking water frequently and to also keep it topped up. Now with rabbits, for example, ice cold water can be quite damaging to their sensitive digestive system, but cold water from the fridge should be fine for most animals. I think dogs and cats should also be able to lick an ice cube every so often if the heat seems to be getting too much, but do make sure that they are supervised so they do not choke on it at all.

3. Freeze some ceramic tiles

We have found this works amazing for our rabbit and it also gives her something new to play with. We bought 3 small floor tiles from our local home ware and DIY store for £3. We put them all into our freezer and we circulate them throughout the day. We find it helps to cool down the area around it so it keeps Lola’s favourite sleeping spots nice and cool throughout the day, and they also provide a fun new thing for her to play with. Her favourite thing seems to be to scratch and dig at the top of the tile, which also causes a very satisfying and very cute chiming sound as she does so, which in turn also helps keeps her paws cool and helps to wear down her nails. We tend to only have one out at any time, so the other two can be kept nice and chilled. The upside as well is that tiles tend to stay cool even in the heat (provided you do not have them in direct sunlight) so even leaving one out can give your little friend a nice respite from the heat throughout the day.

4. Buy some cooling mats

I think these are probably best for cats and dogs, but again make sure to supervise them when using these for the first few times to make sure they don’t try to dig into it or tear it apart. You can buy these cooling pads from most pet stores or online, and believe they work in the same way as the tiles do above in that you put them in the freezer and then leave them around for your pet to lay on. I wouldn’t really recommend these for rabbits as they will most likely just try and dig it up and tear it to pieces, but they may work for cats, dogs, chinchillas, rats or guinea pigs. Again though, always supervise your pet when they first try these cooling mats just in case they do decide to tear through it.

5. Freeze rocks for cages

Now this can be a very cheap (basically free) solution if you have animals that mainly sleep in a cage, such as hamsters, gerbils, mice or rats. We used this solution with our gerbils and it worked like a charm. You can buy bags of rocks from your pet store (normally kept in the fish tank section) and freeze the whole bag, or you can do what we did where we found two or three rocks from our garden. Obviously, wash them thoroughly beforehand, then place them in the freezer for at least a night. Then in the morning you can place a rock in the cage and this will help keep the cage cool throughout the day. It also means there is no condensation as there is no actual water that has been frozen so the bedding in the cage won’t get wet. We found one or two rocks a day was enough to keep them cool, and it is very cute to see them rub themselves all over the rock to help them cool down a bit quicker.

Again, always supervise your pets at first to make sure they don’t immediately try to eat it or dig at it too much so as to cause any injuries to themselves. The occasional little nibble or slight dig at the rock should be fine while they work out exactly what has just appeared in their cage, but always check.

6. Freeze water bottles

Another trick that is quite inexpensive is to freeze bottles of water. Personally, Lola didn’t really take to this too much so the bottle would simply melt and then we’d end up with wet patches all over the rugs, However I have seen this work quite well with cats and dogs, who do enjoy rolling it around the house and licking the cold water off the bottle as the water melts. Make sure the bottle is made out of a sturdy material – those tin/metal water bottles would probably work best, otherwise use one of the thicker plastic bottles – just so you know your pet can’t bite through it and leave massive water puddles everywhere!

7. Ensure there are shaded areas for them to rest in

If your pet has access to the outside, make sure that there are plenty of shaded areas for them to rest in to avoid the sunshine. Even if they are 100% house bound – such as rabbits or caged pets – make sure that their cage is not in any direct sunlight and also ensure that there are spaces around your house that gets zero sunlight throughout the day. Usually the corners of rooms are a good shout as they rarely get direct sunlight and if on the ground floor the heat should rise up through the house so downstairs areas are likely to be cooler than higher floors. Now if you live in a flat this may not always be possible to be low to the ground, but if in doubt use chairs/desks/blankets to block off certain areas of the flat from any sunlight so it stays dark and cool.

Do you guys have any other tips for keeping your pets cool in the heat? Please leave them in the comments or feel free to send me a direct message if you wanted to share any tips and tricks that you may have learnt, especially if you are someone who lives in a generally hot country.

T xxx

B. Filter finish foundation

I want to preface this by saying that I am very inexperienced with make up. I am slowly learning new tips and tricks for make up looks but overall I am pretty basic in my knowledge, especially when it comes to proper application and how to get that truly flawless make up look.

I was always quite a big fan of Superdrug’s own brand make up line, B. It was always very affordable and very beginner friendly – each product was the basic version, so you didn’t need a lot of experience or knowledge to be able to make some easily wearable make up looks. They also offered quite a big range of eye shadows and lipsticks colours, and I remember their foundation being quite a wide range of skin tones as well. However they had a rebrand in the last few years and have become more geared towards the professional make up users, or at least those who have a more advanced knowledge of make up.

This foundation is one of those products that I felt very much out of my depth with. You’re probably thinking ‘how complicated can foundation possibly be?’ and I would say to you, very. This foundation is like emulsion paint. Once it is on, it stays on and I have found it quite difficult to blend. There were definitely many trial and error moments with this and after about 2 weeks of wearing it every day I finally worked out that I had to always start with tiny – and I mean TINY – drops of product and build up.

Now the product itself does say for best results that you should use it with a primer and they were not wrong. This stuff will find every single bump, line or tiny pore on your face and cling to it like no tomorrow. It absolutely needs a primer first because it really does just cling to your face. Unfortunately though I don’t think the coverage is that great – as it is quite hard to blend there were areas where there was too much product that wouldn’t blend out and then other areas that wouldn’t get coverage no matter how much product you used. Perhaps a primer would help with this but I’ve not yet tried that.

As I said I have found that using tiny amounts of product at a time works best. I blend each drop as much as I can before I add anymore to my face and build up the coverage that way. Which again works well for me but it’s definitely not the easiest of products to use, especially for someone quite inexperienced like me.

Cost wise it is still quite affordable, so I’m glad that B. have kept that aspect of their brand. I have tried some of their other more recent products and I think the quality is good for the price, especially fi you want higher quality make up products for a reasonable price. Granted this little tube is lasting me about 6 months at this point because you need so little of the product, but it was quite the learning curve and personally it’s not ideal for me. Most mornings I am only going to work, so I don’t need a really aesthetic make up look, I just need the very basics. Since this product is meant to be used for more professional or advanced looks (or so I feel), it isn’t the type of foundation you can just easily slap on and be ready to go. Sometimes the mornings take longer because I have to spend so long trying to blend the foundation to look more natural, so not really good for those mornings when you’re running late.

Overall: 3/10. For someone more experienced, this product would work well for them, but for a basic user like me it is just too much work for very little pay off.

T xxx

Umberto Giannini curl whip mousse

I think I am finally getting the hang of the Curly Girl method of looking after my curls, and while I am now here near perfect my curls are definitely so much more manageable than they were before. The only issue I have with it is finding a styling product that holds my curls in place but doesn’t leave my hair crunchy or oily for he next few days. I have tried the Umberto Giannini curl jelly before and while it was really good on the day, I found that the next few days afterwards my hair had this slightly sticky feel to it.

I decided to go back to the Umberto Giannini products as overall the curl jelly has worked best so far. But this time I went with the mousse. I have not used mousse in years but I didn’t think it would be too hard. Plus I used to find that mousse would go further than gel or hairspray and therefore would last longer.

I have only used this a couple of times but I am very impressed so far. I have found that a palm size blob of mousse (slightly larger than the golf ball sized amount it recommends) is perfect to keep my curls intact as it dries/I diffuse it and leaves my hair with a very satisfying cast over it. The best part though is that when I come to scrunch my hair out of the cast, it does leave my hair with soft bouncy curls and absolutely no residue on it. It doesn’t look like I have put on any product at all which is just fantastic.

It also smells very neutral, and once you have scrunched out the crunch it has a very soft flowery smell to it, or so I have found. Nothing at all overpowering or too harsh as to make you worry about your hair being damaged, but just a very subtle hint. As I say it doesn’t leave any sort of residue on my hair, so styling it over the next few days was very easy and felt like I was working with freshly washed hair. Also, when you first use it the mousse does have a very satisfying ‘bubble popping’ sort of sounds when you squish it into your hair. You can also see where you have put it when you first apply it so you can have a very even coverage, but it disappears as soon as you squish it fully into your hair.

The bottle cost £5 (although I did get this during a sale so I think full price it is about £7) which is quite cheap compared to some of the other options out there, especially for a completely vegan and cruelty free brand. I very much appreciate that there is no vegan tax added onto this brand and so it is quite competitive with the other options out there. I have only used it a couple of times but I do find that the mousse goes further than the gel – with any of the gels I would need at least two handfuls of the product to do my whole head properly whereas one palm sized lump of mousse does the exact same thing.

Overall: 9/10. Works perfectly is easily available on the high street.

T xxx

Floof Friday

So I realised that I had gone through Rabbit Awareness Week without bringing any awareness to my rabbit. She is easily the most spoilt rabbit in all of England (possibly the world) and I would not have her any other way. She is sassy, she is a banana fiend and she will literally lie there for hours if it means she gets head rubs.

She is also a very messy eater…but only over herself…

I hope this week has provided you with some useful information about rabbit care but if you have found any other useful tips or articles, please do share them with me! I am always looking for more ways to spoil this little bunny rotten…

T xxx

How to bunny proof your home

Following on from my previous post, I thought it would be helpful to share some of the bunny proofing tricks that I have used in my own home to protect my home and my bunnies. A lot of this has been done through trial and error and while a few of them were a bit of a hassle to set up they have been worth it in the long run.

1. Cable covers

Hands down the best purchase we ever made. This has come in handy so many times and since bunnies are absolutely obsessed with eating the forbidden ‘Spicy Hay’, these cable covers will make sure that they can’t chew through the wires no matter how determined they may be. We bought a few packets of this white cable covering from Ikea and that allowed us to cover all of the cables behind our TV: power plugs, internet cable, HDMIs, extension leads…all covered and safe from bunny teeth. I would recommend you get the cable covers that are very tightly coiled so that there are no gaps in the casing once the cable is s covered. I would also recommend that you cover every single cable – even if you think it would be too high for your bunny to reach, trust me when I say they will find a way to chew it.That was how we lost our first internet cable…

2. a puppy pen

Another really useful item that we purchased was a puppy pen. We made sure to get one that was collapsible and came apart, as we use the individual grates to block off any areas of the house which we don’t want our bunny getting to. We use ours mainly to block off the TV (our bunny is quite obsessed with pulling out all of our games and DVDs so she can climb into the TV unit) or the side of the fridge. We also use one as a make-shift baby gate to stop her going into the bedroom unsupervised without us having to shut every door in the house. We also went for a puppy pen that was way higher than needed, just so there was no chance that our bunny could jump over it. Ours came with 8 metal grates that you link together with long poles, meaning that we can use the grates individually or block of areas using only 2 or 3.

The pen was also helpful when we first got our bunnies, as it gave them more space to hop around in when they were first home and meant that we could slowly expand their living area as we got everything bunny proofed. It also came in handy (the real MVP if I’m honest) when our bunnies de-clanned, as it meant we could safely separate them both and attempt re-bonding with much more ease than had we tried to keep them both in separate rooms the whole time. I would recommend though that you get the pen grates that have the thinner gaps, as we learnt early on that rabbits are 90% fluff and can get through the smallest of spaces.

3. Skirting board edges

So this may be a hack but it has honestly worked perfectly for us. We picked up some of these right angle plastic piping covers and cut them down to size to cover all of the skirting boards that the bunnies could easily get to. We stuck them down with just a little bit of double sided tape and honestly they have been fantastic. The bunnies can have little nibbles of the plastic without causing any damage at all to it, and once they’ve worked out that they can’t chew this material, they lose all interest. We mainly have it in our living room/kitchen and the bedroom as this was where the bunnies spent most of their time and started to try and chew these skirting boards the most. Now our bunny pays no attention at all to skirting boards. As the covers are also white, they blend perfectly into the skirting boards themselves so you keep that polished and clean look.

4. Storage boxes

Anything at bunny level will inevitably be chewed. Bunnies explore their surroundings the same way dogs and cats do – with their teeth. They will have little nibbles of everything they come across to work out what it is they have actually come across. As such, anything that is left unguarded on a low shelf or on the floor will be played with by your bunny. We use these fabric boxes to put onto any shelves or ledges that are within bunny reach. We also fill them with somewhat heavy things – blankets, duvet sets, books etc – so that a cheeky bunny can’t just pull it out and go wild. Again…learnt that the hard way. You can pick these up pretty cheaply too and while your bunny may take a few nibbles of them every so often, they are pretty sturdy and unlikely to sustain any real damage. I also find they make my areas look a lot neater as all of the contents are hidden away and out of sight. Again this probably helps make the area look far less interesting to a curious little bunny.

5. Tidy up after yourself!

This is the biggest thing when it comes to bunny proofing. While all of the above will make your life much easier and your home much more suitable for a little bunny, do not leave anything precious within close, unsupervised proximity. I have lost many a bag handle because I left the strap hanging just a little bit too low on the table, or did not put my shoes away properly and woke up the next day to find the covered in tiny little teeth marks. It obviously goes without saying that this is not the best thing for your rabbit – you don’t want them chewing or ingesting anything that could harm them – but it can be hard sometimes to know exactly what is safe out of reach of your bunny. Bunnies are incredibly determined creatures and they love to explore, so if there is a nice new item just out of their reach, they will spend hours trying to get to it. Always make sure that your bunny’s area is clean and tidy, and full of fun and exciting toys to keep them busy especially when you may be asleep or out of the house and they can’t be supervised the whole time. If you have even the slightest concern that they may be able to reach something, move it away. Always better to be overly cautious so as to protect both your bunny and your general belongings.

I hope this all helps but do let me know if you have found any other useful ideas to keep your home and your bunny safe!

T xxx

The Pros and Cons of owning a rabbit

It is Rabbit Awareness Week!

I feel that rabbits are horrifically underrepresented when it comes to pet care and pet ownership. Even if you have never owned a dog or a cat, I find most people know what it takes to care for each of them. Don’t get a dog unless you have the time to walk them, and don’t get a cat if you don’t want to empty a litter tray everyday. Now I will admit that as much as I love being a bunny mom to Lola (and to Sasha before she crossed the rainbow bridge) I was very much disillusioned as to just how much work goes into these little animals. We tried to do as much research as we could but found that there were few resources out there to fully prepare us, and many of the things we have learnt over the past 3 years of being bunny parents has been largely through a process of trial and error.

Therefore in the spirit of Rabbit Awareness Week, I thought it wise to share with you all some of the pros and cons I have found about owning rabbits, to helpfully provide you all with more information should you also be considering becoming a bunny parent.

Pros

1. Their curiosity

Rabbits are very curious creatures. They will want to explore every inch of their new home and find new and exciting ways to get into trouble. While some people may find this as a con, I love seeing Lola explore new areas. My partner and I try to be proactive and block off all the areas where she could damage either herself or property (skirting boards, wallpaper, wires, bags, shoes etc) yet somehow every day she will find a new way to surprise us – This last week she worked out that she can jump onto my desk chair and then work her way up to my desk, which has all sorts of new and interesting things to sniff and chew and play with including my laptop and my jewellery. So now every time we leave the house or go to bed we make sure that the chair is tucked in close to the table and fill it with pillows so she has no space to jump up.

This curiosity though also provides new ways to play with your bunny. If you find they love wires (as all bunnies love the forbidden Spicy Hay) then invest in a rope toy for them to chew on. If they love to nudge things out of their way, buy them some big straw balls that they can roll around and chew. One of Lola’s favourite toys is actually a cat toy: It’s a brightly coloured ball with a smaller ball and a bell in the middle. It has holes all around it which are the perfect size for her to pick up with her teeth and fling them around the room. They make a very satisfying thud and the bell is super loud and she loves to do this for at least 10-15 minutes a day.

2. They can be litter trained

Rabbits will go the bathroom every time they eat, and if you know one thing about rabbits it is the amount they can poop. However if you have their main source of food (hay) in one area they will learn that this is the area where they also go to the bathroom. Lola and Sasha both picked this up very quickly and aside from the occasional stray poop that is flung out of the litter tray when they jumped out, we rarely had any accidents. If anything, when Sasha was sick this was one of the first signs that something was wrong as she would not go to her litter tray.

We use a cat litter tray, but never use cat litter – it is toxic to rabbits. You can get a wide range of rabbit suitable litter from wood chips to recycled paper clumps. We use a recycled paper based litter so it is softer on Lola’s feet than the wood chips, and also means it is more absorbent, making it easier to clean.

In general though rabbits are very clean animals. They clean themselves the same way that a cat does most of the day and if you have a pair of bunnies you will find that they spend the vast majority of their time grooming each other too. Provided you keep up with cleaning their litter tray, there is practically no small – since their diet is 80% hay they tend to only smell like hay.

3. Their personalities

Lola and Sasha could not have been more wildly different: Sasha was the fun loving, free spirit who was not bothered by anything. Lola, however, will not eat her greens unless they are put into her specific bowl and placed at her chosen eating spot. Just as cats and dogs can have different personalities, so too can rabbits and I think this is where the majority of the misconceptions come from. People assume that because rabbits are small and cute, that they are automatically sweet and affectionate creatures. They are not. Rabbits can be very territorial and can get quite aggressive when they feel like someone is encroaching on their perceived territory: Lola for example has genuinely lunged at me before because I had the nerve to try and stop her chewing my bed frame. Rabbits are also naturally prey animals so can be very skittish and wary of new people or experiences: This can be anything from introducing a new person to them to picking them up.

But again this to me is a pro. Every single animal will have their own little quirks and personality and rabbits are no exception. I loved getting to know Lola and Sasha and even now Lola still finds new ways to make me laugh or melt my heart even further.

Cons

1. They require a lot of patience

Rabbits are prey animals so are naturally very skittish and very wary of everything around them, especially when you first bring them home. I think it took us about a week of bring Lola and Sasha home before they braved leaving their starter hutch. I cannot count the amount of time we spent just laying quietly on the floor while they hopped around us, sniffing us very slightly and fleeing for their hutch if we so much as blinked too loudly. While every rabbit is different, do not get a rabbit if you immediately want a super cuddly and affectionate pet. I have had Lola with us now for roughly 3 years, and there are still things I do that spook her: she hates it when we turn on our hob cooker (unavoidable as we need to eat) and if I wear a new pair of slippers she hasn’t fully inspected yet she will run from me.

But for me this makes the entire process so much more rewarding. To think that now when I lie down on the floor with her she has no hesitations to climb all over me, hopping on and off without a single worry. I love that when I come home and she hears the door open, she has a brief moment of panic but then goes straight back to sleep once she hears my voice and sees that it’s me. I put all of this down to how slowly we introduced her to everything. I would sometimes spend about an hour just sitting quietly on the floor with her and letting her chose how to interact with me. It also meant that during this time I got to just sit and watch her and sometimes even play with her toys with her: she would throw her ball at me, I would roll it back to her, she’d throw it back and then binky away. I think this is also why I think rabbits are not good pets to get for a child (if I really thought about it I don’t think any pet should really be left to the sole responsibility of a child) as it can take a while to truly earn their trust.

2. They are classed as exotic pets

This one is the biggest issue for me. Since rabbits are quite a common pet you would think more vets would know what to o with them when sick. But no, as with most areas of the pet industry vets tend to have a larger focus on cats and dogs. We are very lucky in that our local vet does have a specialist rabbit vet as part of their staff, but I think this is rare. When Sasha first became sick we took her to the vet multiple times and they couldn’t fully work out what was wrong. We had to take her to an emergency vet a few times too, at about half 11 at night when she would have an episode of G.I Stasis, and they wouldn’t know fully what to do apart from give her drugs. We ended up having to take her to a fully specialist vet – at the Royal Veterinary College in London. That was our nearest ‘specialist’ rabbit practice. Now the Royal Veterinary College were great, but at the same time even they couldn’t figure out was wrong with her. I think when it comes to pets, more research, time and education is put into how to properly care for cats and dogs instead of the many other pets that are out there, including rabbits. If you are looking to own a bunny then, I would implore you to do your research first and find out:

a) does your local vet have a rabbit expert?

b) where is your nearest emergency vet clinic?

c) how many rabbits does your vet have on their register?

d) what are your emergency vet fees like?

Without getting to how exploitative emergency vets are (I could go on for days) I would make sure to know exactly where the closest one is and what their fees are. Trust me when I say that some of these fees can be extortionate because it’s an ’emergency’. We went once and were charged nearly triple what our regular vet would have for the exact same medication that we would have gotten from our vet. But, as it was deemed an ’emergency’ and really we had no other choice because our pets life was literally on the line, we had no choice but to pay it. Now we are lucky because we always budget to have left over funds at the end of the month, and now we explicitly put money aside every month purely for ’emergency vet visits’. But some people may not be able to afford these fees and it is obviously a horrific situation to find yourself in.

3. They need a lot of room

Rabbits do not belong in hutches. I will die on this hill and if you think that rabbits do belong in a hutch long term then you need to seriously educate yourself. Again this is largely due to the lack of education that there is around rabbit and rabbit welfare and care that everyone assumes that a hutch is a perfectly good permanent living arrangement for a rabbit. It is not. It angers me beyond words that the general advice given is that a rabbit can have a hutch so long as it has space for 3 hops in any direction. For starters, that is barely any room at all and also restricts the amount of zoomies and binkies that a bunny can do (a bunny binky is the greatest thing to witness and everyone should experience this as often as possible) but can someone please explain to me why pet shops are EVEN ALLOWED to sell hutches that do not meet these space requirements?!

Sorry, it just really angers me.

While it takes a slightly bit more work, having your bunny live in a dedicated room – preferably one that you inhabit on a regular basis for a considerable amount of time – of your house will add infinite happiness to your bunny and to you. Lola currently occupies our entire living room/kitchen area, so we spend the majority of our time sitting around with her. She watches us play our video games, watches movies with us and binge watches TV series with us. She and I sit and have breakfast together every morning and in the evening we will sit together and have dinner. She gets to meet all of our friends and family, and I think this is what makes her such a confident little bunny. Having your bunny live in your house with you and enabling your bunny to live freely in your home will make bonding with them so much easier and will also mean you get to see your bunny more often, see them play and you will learn their little routines. The only time I think you should have any sort of hutch is when you first bring our bunny home, but this should be placed in the room they will soon inhabit and should be left mostly open for them. Then as they grow more confident and get used to their new surroundings – and you have fully bunny proofed the area so it is safe for them – you can remove the hutch all together.

Overall

Having a bunny adds a whole new level of joy to your life. I find something new about Lola every day that I spend with her and while looking after her can be hard work sometimes, it is a thousand percent worth it. I would not change being a bunny parent for anything in the world and I feel such joy, contentment and honour everyday at having this adorable little creature with me throughout my days.

T xxx

Can vegans eat home grown honey?

This is a topic of debate that I see very often and I am always interested in the different arguments for each side. I therefore though it would be fun to hear from you guys as to what you would do: Would you eat home grown honey? And by home grown I mean honey that comes from an individual’s own hive that they keep as a hobby, rather than from a farm or commercial enterprise that is mainly keeping bees for financial gain.

Do vegans usually eat commercial honey?

Obviously everyone is on their own vegan journey so there is no ‘correct’ answer, however from my experience and from speaking with other people the majority of vegans tend to avoid commercially produced honey. Some argue that it is because it is an animal product means a vegan should never eat this as vegans do not eat, wear or otherwise use any animal products as much as they possibly can. Honey would be no different.

Others have also mentioned that commercial honey comes with a large degree of exploitation and that on commercial scale honey farming the welfare of the bees is of least consideration. To harvest honey, bees need to first be smoked as this makes them sleepy and less aggressive, and then the actual harvesting part can cause the death of a lot of the colony’s bees because they get trapped in the machines or get trapped in the honey comb as it is being removed from the hive. Since the entire message behind veganism is to avoid causing harm to any living being as much as possible, by buying commercial honey you are directly funding the continuation of this practice.

The other point I see mentioned quite a bit is that the bees actually need the honey – it is their main food source and when winter comes it is all they have to survive on. Bees need the honey to survive, we don’t. So why eat something we don’t need, especially when there are so many vegan options out there that do the same job such as maple syrup and agave syrup, and in many cases are also cheaper than the honey on sale.

But how does home grown honey differ?

The largest plus of a person keeping their own bees and therefore being able to harvest their own honey is that they would know exactly what is being done to the bees. There would be no (or at least very little) concern over exploitation, as the bee keeper would only take what they wanted and would always ensure that the health of the hive came first. At least, that would be my thinking should I ever keep my own bees. I would know exactly how healthy the hive was, how much honey was produced and if I wanted to take a little amount for myself I would make sure that the hive always had enough honey in the combs to ensure a healthy winter.

The scale of honey harvesting would also be far smaller. One person can only eat so much honey, and even if they did gift it/sell it to friends or family this would be no where near the same scale as a commercial enterprise. 10 jars (let’s say) of honey is barely a drop compared to the hundreds of thousands of jars that are produced every day by a commercial company. Let’s also assume that a jar of honey would last a family a month – twelve jars or honey a year for one person is still a tiny amount compared to the commercial production line which needs to make millions a year.

There is also a very slim chance of a private person selling honey for a profit. Sure they may want to get rid of some excess honey and make a little bit of money on the side but again, if we assume it is only being sold to friends and family this figure is still likely to be around £100 a year (assuming they sell one jar for £2-£5 to maybe 10 people once a month for a year) which is nothing compared to the thousands (if not millions) of profit made by some commercial brands.

Linking to all of the above, you would assume that someone who does keep their own bees doesn’t do it simply so they have free honey: beekeeper doesn’t appear to be the most relaxing of past times and you would expect that someone who would be interested in keeping bees would do so because they have a general interests in the bees themselves. Yes the honey is nice, but they much more enjoy seeing the hive grow and change and develop over time, seeing how the bees interact with one another, and also perhaps feeling like they are playing their part in helping to protect the best pollinator around. Bees are already in great danger from commercial grade pesticides and farming practices, and without bees many flowers and crops would cease to exist without the required pollination taking place. There are many campaigns ongoing to help bring the pollinators back and by keeping a hive, it may help someone feel like they can protect at least this hive from any future troubles.

Would I personally eat home grown honey?

Ok so I don’t actually like honey. I don’t really like syrup either. If I want to add something sweet to my porridge or pancakes or oats, I will usually go for fruit or (arguably the most unhealthy option out of everything) a literal spoonful of granulated sugar. So I have really gone most of my life never eating honey. However I do try to avoid it as much as I can when it comes to premade packages, such as breakfast bars or granola, where honey is so regularly used as a healthier sugar source.

But I think that even if I did keep my own bees, I would still be very reluctant to eat the honey. I would always want to ensure that my hive was healthy and had enough honey to keep them fit and healthy so I wouldn’t really want to take that away from them, especially for a product that I wouldn’t normally eat otherwise. Now perhaps I would sometimes take some honey to gift to a friend or family member for their birthday or Christmas, but again this would be maybe 4 jars a year? A tiny amount in the grand scheme of things and again I would only even consider it if I knew that my hive had more than enough to keep them healthy.

As with everything I do, my main concern is always the animals. Everything I do, I do for them. Sure the environmental impact and sustainability aspect is always a plus, but the animals are always at the root of any decision I make: If an animal had to suffer or be disturbed to get this product to me, then I don’t want it.

What do you guys think? Would you eat home grown honey? Why or why not? I’d love to hear your thoughts and opinions so please do leave me a message below!

T xxx

Frankie & Benny’s vegan mac ‘n’ cheese

I haven’t been to a Frankie & Benny’s in years. There used to be one round the corner from where I lived but since moving there isn’t one within a reasonable distance. However we took a trip into Wembley (London) the other day and decided to see what new options they had added to their menu. I have seen people rave about their pizzas so I wanted to see what else they offered, if anything at all.

They actually have a surprising amount of vegan options and I did take my time deciding which one I fancied the most. In the end I went with a good comfort meal, of mac and cheese. I also decided to try their vegan milkshake as I don’t think I have had a milkshake in years either and I got too excited.

The mac and cheese was…pretty average. It was very creamy but didn’t have any real ‘cheese’ taste to it. It did have some tomatoes in it which did add a nice bit of acidity to the meal and stopped any of the cheese from being too thick or overpowering. I also appreciated that the portion size was smaller than I was expecting and I felt like it was the perfect amount of mac and cheese. Many times places give you such a large portion that the meal just starts to feel stodgy and heavy with every additional mouthful, but this portion of mac and cheese was the right amount that left you feeling comfortably satisfied without feeling bloated or overstuffed.

The milkshake was a letdown, I hate to say. It was basically vegan vanilla ice cream with some chocolate flakes in it. It was advertised as being ‘chocolate chip’ but there were so few chips it may as well have just been called a vanilla milkshake. I am not the biggest fan of vanilla so I only managed about half of it before I started to feel a bit sickly, and it wasn’t even a big glass. As I say the chocolate chips weren’t even chips, they were more like chocolate shavings – those really thin flakes that are mostly used for decoration in cake making. Barely any chocolate flavour to any of it. Very disappointed.

Overall: 7/10, Mac and Cheese is a good option, but nothing overly special or new. The milkshake is a total skip – unless you just want a vanilla milkshake.

T xxx

Floof Friday

In case you didn’t know this already about rabbits, rabbits LOVE banana. If anyone in our house so much as picks up a banana there is a mad scramble behind us as Lola attempts to get a little taste.

And her begging always works. Because we are softies.

Lola however, is not a softie when it comes to banana…

She practically climbed us to get a bit of that sweet, sweet banana goodness. But this little picture makes me giggle everytime so I thought it would also make you guys giggle.

T xxx