Honest Burgers Bacon Plant

It has been a while since I went to a decent burger place. There aren’t very many around where I live as the whole global pandemic meant a lot of the restaurants had to close and eventually decided not to bother re-opening the local branches. But recently, Honest Burgers opened in my area and I was quite excited for a real burger joint again.

I have heard decent things about Honest Burgers. Their menu is not huge – including the vegan options there are still only 9 burgers on their menu – but they do seem to pride themselves on using locally sourced products. They also appear to do a specialist burger based on the town and surrounding area in which the branch is based, which I guess is a good idea and helps give it a ‘community spirit’ feel to the branch. It also means that should you travel around the branches you may get a different flavour combination that reflects the local area. Now this is a meat burger so I will never be able to test that theory so…

I decided to go all in and try the full bacon plant. This comes with a Beyond Meat burger, applewood cheese and vegan bacon, as well as all the toppings you would expect from a burger. I have tried a Beyond burger before so knew what to expect from it. Personally I still find the Beyond Meat burgers to be a little TOO meat like – I do prefer my meat to taste and look like fake meat as I have never really enjoyed the taste, texture or look of actual meat. But when mixed with all of the fixings it does cover a lot of that so I was still able to enjoy the burger.

The vegan bacon is exactly like every other type of bacon – it’s really good when mixed with other bits but on it’s own you can tell it is not bacon and doesn’t overly come close. Again, I never really liked meat bacon to begin with so I am quite neutral to the vegan alternative – I can usually take it or leave it and I rarely find it adds much to a meal other than a crunchy texture and a slight smoky flavouring. But in this burger it did give a nice extra layer and did add to a very tasty burger indeed.

I think the real stars of the show though were the chips. For starters, most specialist burger joints make you pay extra for chips, but these come included with every burger. But they are also very generous with the serving of chips. The burgers alone are pretty filling but I have struggled many a time to finish all the chips. Although they taste so good it is hard to leave any – they are very moreish and have the most satisfying crunch I have ever had on chips. They are also slated with rosemary just adds this lovely extra layer to the chips. Hands down the best chips I have ever had before.

Now as always you could make this type of burger way cheaper at home if you really wanted to: the Beyond Meat burgers are readily available at supermarkets and vegan bacon is easy to come across as well. But there is just something special about having a burger properly cooked for you when you’re out at a restaurant. Now each burger is £15 – but does include chips – so it is not the cheapest meal out but I find burger joints charge more for…whatever their reasons are. While it is not something I would have that often, every once and while it is a really good treat. Definitely worth a try if you wanted a slightly posher burger than you can make at home.

Overall: 7/10. A very yummy burger and the chips are amazing. A little more pricey than other options but definitely worth the treat.

T xxx

Barry M Velvet matt nail polish: Silent cove blue

There is just something about having my nails painted that makes me feel like a Real Woman. I just feel a bit more put together and polished…no pun intended. Since going vegan though my nails grow so quickly that I find getting my nails done professionally is a waste, because within two weeks my nails will have grown and I’ll have the odd naked bit of nail at the bottom that always looks unsightly. But doing my own nails is always a nice treat, and in the interest of self care I have been trying out new nail colours to play with every few months or so.

Now I am a fan of Barry M products so thought I would be good with one of their nail ranges. I was very intrigued by the ‘matt’ finish: Surely nail polish is called nail polish because it looks like polish on your nails? So it makes your nails shiny? So I was intrigued to see how matt the colour would actually come out and how it would actually look on real nails. I have only ever seen matt colours used on acrylic nails, so I felt like a little experiment.

Right off the bat, this nail polish stinks of chemicals. It is easily the strongest smelling nail polish I have ever used so trust me when I say no t to get too close to the bottle or your nails while you’re painting them. I think I gave myself a contact high from looking too closely at the bottle! I also found the smell lingered for a while, even after you put the lid back on the bottle, so that was a bit tough especially with the weather as hot as it is in the UK right now. Thankfully though that smell doesn’t linger on your hands once the paint is dry, nor do your nails stink for the entire time you have them painted.

Now the brush is more oval shaped than other nail polish brushes I have used before and while it was easier to use (in the sense that I could do two strokes and my nail was painted) it was slightly hard to judge how close to the sides I was getting, hence for my rather shoddy painting – especially on my right hand! I feel a smaller brush is better for the precision it can give you, but I also appreciate the wider brush for super quick application.

So the paint actually goes onto your nail wet and shiny like every other nail polish out there. But as it dries it gets that matt finish. I also have to say that it does dry very quickly – maybe 10 seconds after I applied the paint it was already a solid matt colour. Now once fully dry (roughly 10-15 minutes after second coat has been applied) it does have a really nice, dark finish to it. There is the very slight reflection off of it but I don’t think that can be helped – it definitely doesn’t shine like other nail polishes but it does have a very soft hint of shine. I am not sure if that makes it ‘not real matt’ but personally I don’t mind.

As with all Barry M products the nail polish was very affordable. Seeing as most nail polish bottles will last me at least a year (if not multiple years) £3 a bottle is a very good bargain. But also for £3 I guess you do get what you pay for, in that it will not be a 100% perfect product: the smell is a big downside to this product when using it and the colour may not be super matt. But for £3, I can’t really expect a miracle product.

Overall: 6/10. An interesting variation and I admire the attempt at something different. However I think it can still be improved.

T xxx

Vegan Chipotle

Now I live in England, and have done my whole life. I have therefore only heard stories about Chipotle from America. I have tried Chipotle before when I was in LA in 2018, but it was so long ago I didn’t think it fair to really review it now. That being said I remember being pleasantly surprised by Chipotle: The impression I got from online stories and how people spoke about Chipotle was that it was quite greasy and heavy, with very little nutrition to it. But when I did try it in LA it was actually very yummy, not greasy and felt like a very light but filling meal.

So I was quite excited to her that Chipotle was opening a branch in my local area. Now it did open about a month ago but this has been the first opportunity I have had to actually stop by and try it.

I was a little disappointed that they didn’t have the vegan protein option available (the sofritas option) but they had the basic veggie option so I gave it my best shot. I went for the brown rice, black beans and vegetables which therefore came with free guacamole. I had it in the bowl version, rather than the burrito version, as I find burritos to just be too much for me and I always feel bad for not finishing them. That being said the bowl was very generously filled so I’m not sure if it really makes a difference.

Taste wise, this is very yummy. It definitely didn’t taste greasy or highly calorific – I felt satisfactory filled up by the end rather than feeling uncomfortably bloated or a bit sick as can happen with some fast food places. I also feel that the meal itself was overly pretty healthy: According to their online calculator my meal came out at 595 calories, 14g of protein, 29g fat and 70g carbs. Which are really good values, especially for what I am trying to achieve with my current meal and exercise plans. The upside is that these can be quite easily customised if you had other plans – the sofritas seems to make it all 20g of protein in one meal with is super good, and without the guacamole it is 17g of fat.

Now obviously calories and macros are not everything, and you should be focusing more on how the food makes you feel – personally I found this meal to be more than enough to keep me going until dinner and it didn’t leave me feeling bloated or sluggish at all. I did have the fear that the Chipotle reputation would follow me but so far I have only had really good meals from this place.

Price wise it is pretty standard for this kind of meal. We usually frequent our local Tortilla branch who are also consistently great with their options. Usually a Tortilla, for both myself and my partner, would cost around £18 for the vegan chilli bowl and the vegan chilli burrito, and Chipotle also cost us £18 for a veggie bowl and a veggie burrito. So really there was very little difference cost wise and I do think that it is good value. It is obviously a bit more expensive than other fast food places, but is considerably cheaper than an actual restaurant meal. I find it’s a good middle ground of a reasonably healthy take away for a reasonable price.

For my American followers, how does Chipotle hold up in America? Does it vary from state to state? I believe that they have a slightly different menu for the UK than they do in the USA so is there anything that I am missing out on?

Overall:7/10. Pretty happy with Chipotle so far…starting to think many of the stories are unfounded…

T xxx

PHD smart plant peanut butter and jelly protein bar

We had a big walking day the other day and in 30 degree heat (Celsius) it was not going to be an overly pleasant day. I therefore thought it best to bring some heavy duty snacks with me to keep me going throughout the day and thought that some protein bars would be a good option. Now I don’t have them that often because usually protein bars are more sugar than any other ingredient, but in this heat and with so much walking I thought it best to keep my sugar levels up and not risk heat stroke.

I decided to try this PHD smart plant protein bar. I have found the PHD protein range to be really good quality and to actually taste good too, as well as having really good macros to it. The protein bar was surely a safe bet and so I decided to try the peanut butter and jelly one.

Now right off the bat this bar isn’t too bad. Does it taste like peanut butter and jelly? No, not really. But it doesn’t taste bad either. It was definitely more savoury than you’d expect a bar to be but I would not have been able to tell the flavour had I not already known it. It didn’t really even taste of peanuts, although it did have that odd texture that you usually get with peanut-flavoured things. The almost grainy texture? That’s the one I mean – like peanut paste more than actual peanuts. In all honesty it tasted more like a plain protein shake…like maybe a very subtle vanilla flavour?

Luckily the chocolate covering gave it a nice little taste and it also had rice krispee treats (or something similar) to the top of it which gave it a very satisfying crunch. The main bulk of the bar though had a texture similar to nougat, where it was light and fluffy but also kind of sticky. Again, not necessarily a bad thing as I did actually quite enjoy the bar for just being quite basic.

Price wise this bar was £2 in my local Tesco. Now you do get a pretty big and long bar compared to your basic chocolate bars, but I still think £2 is too much to be spending on one little bar on a regular basis. I imagine these would be good snacks for those very active days, or if you were camping/hiking/festival going and needed some high energy foods that didn’t take up too much room, then sure these would work. But as an every day ‘healthy snack’, I honestly think you’d be better off just having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. It would be way cheaper in the long run and I feel it would fill you up just as much.

Overall: 5/10. Nice enough but unfortunately not exactly what is advertised.

T xxx

e.l.f putty blush

In an attempt to branch out I have (very bravely of course) decided to try some actual pigmented blush. For a while now I have mainly just been using a tiny amount of contouring, but with the summer well and truly heating up here in England I wanted something to add some colour to my face without being heavy. As always, I am a big fan of e.l.f cosmetics and have not been let down by any of their products so far. Plus, they are so affordable that if I truly hate a product I don’t feel like I have really wasted my money.

I decided to try the putty blush, as I have found before that powder blush doesn’t last long and ‘putty’ just sounds like it would be fun to use. So far…it is indeed fun to use. I went with the colour Turks and Caicos. Now the picture makes the putty look more orange, but on my pale complexion it actually blends out into a subtle pink colour. I think it looks very natural and blends pretty well. Now I am SUPER pale – a true English rose if you will – and I found that the Turks and Caicos colour gave the most natural looking colour to me. I did however very much like the Caribbean colour option as it gave quite a dark red against my skin. Possibly not the colour I would wear every day, but I imagine it would work well for a dramatic look.

It is very pigmented. I simply swipe my finger across the top and swipe it along my cheek bone, and that is more than enough to give a very soft colour to my cheeks once I have used a brush to blend it out slightly. Occasionally I will use a tiny little extra dab right in the middle of my cheeks to add a little pop of colour, but it is still a tiny amount. I have used other powdered blushes before that seem to take about 3 or 4 layers before you see even a hint of colour, so this putty is amazing. You really don’t need a lot to make a big difference to your appearance.

Price wise this was £6 and I bought this from Boots. I feel that is a very reasonable price for the product, as I think this putty will last me ages given the tiny amount I need to get the colour I want. Bearing in mind I will wear this at least 5-6 times a week, I am still imagining that this little pot will last me for 6 months, if not longer. So £6 is really quite the bargain.

Overall: 8/10. Very rich colour so less is absolutely more with this.

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