I am one of those lucky people who has odd skin: In the winter, my skin is stupidly dry, yet in the summer it can get quite oily. I do wear make up most days – mainly because of work or because I’m out seeing people – but I do try my best to always remove my make up properly before adding any creams or toners to my face before bed.
I find the Superdrug range to usually be pretty good, especially for how cheap some of the products are. I think this facial wash is about £2.50 and it usually lasts me a good four months or so. Superdrug’s own range is also always vegan friendly so you have so many options to choose from.
This stuff is probably my favourite. It removes my make up without completely stripping my skin or requiring me to scrub really hard, and it luckily doesn’t have that super strong smell that tea tree always has. The foam is also fun to play with – I like to give myself a foam moustache before I really start the washing process.
Only downside is that in winter it does dry my skin pretty badly. The cold weather obviously doesn’t help at all, but I do find my skin is not as soft after i’m done with this face wash. In the summer though, this face wash is really refreshing and wakes me up a bit after a long day of work. It also helps to get rid of any excess oil or stubborn make up from my face.
Unfortunately, England only has about 3 months of Summer and those days are not always consecutive. I have yet to find a product though that removes my make up as well as this does without requiring me to scrub my face with a scouring pad. If anyone has any suggestions please do let me know!
Overall: 7/10. It works perfectly for about 3 months of the year but I fear it may be a bit too harsh for the rest of the year.
I was looking through some old photos over the weekend, and making myself sad about how I (and almost the entire world) have not had a holiday in almost 2 years!! I love travel, and now more than ever the travel blues and wanderlust has truly set in. The idea of getting on a plane and travelling to far away lands to meet new people, new cultures and (most importantly) new foods sounds like a fantasy to me right now.
So I thought I would share a few of my favourite finds over the years of my vegan discoveries, and I would love to hear your thoughts on some of the places I have visited. I am going to start a little travel part, where I can talk about the vegan food I have come across on my travels and also let you guys know which places are worth the visit and which are better missed.
In 2018, my partner and I went to LA for 2 weeks and it was…odd. I have been to LA before but I went when I was 16 and honestly I think LA was a very different place 10 years ago. The sheer size of the city itself baffles me. I have lived in London before, and worked in London for most of my professional career. London, I sometimes forget, is a tiny tiny little city compared to others. England as a whole is a tiny little island. It baffles me that in England, I can walk from one end of London to the other in under 2 hours (give or take). I can drive to Scotland in 4 hours. In LA, you drive for 3 hours and you’re still in LA. Blows my mind.
I have also never seen such a harsh contrast in money before. In London, the majority of places all look the same for the most part. Even in my area there aren’t really any ‘poor areas’. There are of course homeless people, but I also always see support workers and outreach workers on the street talking to them and helping them. I see people offering them food and drinks and any spare change they have. In LA, I would walk past huge, high-rise apartment complexes that have ‘For Rent’ signs hung across them, with make shift tents and shanty towns set up underneath them. I also noticed that all of the homeless people I saw, seemed to have a mental issue of some sort. They were either standing in the middle of the road with no shoes on, staring at the sky, or were swaying in the streets muttering to themselves. I would drive through beautiful well kept streets with mansions on every corner, drive across a set of lights, and see derelict houses with smashed in windows and beat up cars with no tires on in the drive ways.
Now I know that London has it’s share of issues, as does every city and neighbourhood across the world. But I had never seen such a harsh split between wealth as I did while I was in LA. I have also never felt my privileged so much before. We stayed in a hotel that was in Downtown LA, about a ten minute walk from the finance district. On our first night, after a 12 hour flight, we ran across the road to the McDonalds to grab something quick for dinner before we both passed out from exhaustion. We stood in line, and were greeted by 2 different people showing us their crack pipes, and the other ten people eyeing up our trainers. Needless to say….we left. And never went back in there again.
There were some parts of LA and the surrounding area that were beautiful, and were the picture perfect ‘American Dream’ that we are all sold. I completely understood why people wanted to live in those areas. Hell, ever since I first visited LA when I was 16 I planned my whole life around one day moving to LA and living by the Californian coast and surfing every morning. But that dream came crashing down around me when I saw how ignored some parts of the city were. Not even unkempt, or lazily maintained….there were places that had clearly not seen any care from the government or services in decades. There appeared to be no infrastructure at all to help anyone. And maybe it’s just who I am but I couldn’t ignore it all.
Now maybe it was because we went in November, so there weren’t many tourists, the weather wasn’t always bright sunshine and there weren’t any crowds to hinder our views of places. Venice Beach was the biggest shock to us: There was barely anyone there. We walked along the boardwalk and were met with the homeless people trying to sell us their crafts and boarded up shops. We saw two shanty towns that had been made down side streets, and the entire strip just looked….sad. It didn’t look anything like the Hollywood movies would have you believe, with the bustling crowds and muscle beach jocks and the beautiful life guards running in slow motion along the golden sand. It looked abandoned.
Despite everything though, we still had a wonderful time. We got to go to Universal Studios, Disneyland and even got excellent seats to watch WWE Survivor Series live at the Staples Centre. It was a holiday of exciting highs but truly upsetting lows. To see a city that is so often painted as the Land of Dreams, to in reality just to be completely mundane and in some place downright depressing. I have walked alone in London at 2am, and never felt unsafe, but in LA we were genuinely worried to be out past sundown. We were usually out at 7am as soon as the sun came out and then back at the hotel by 7pm when the sun went down.
If any of you are from LA, please PLEASE tell me your experiences of living in LA. Am I just being cynical? Have I just gotten too used to England life and customs that anything different to that shocks me to my core? Am I sounding like a bit of a pompous cow? Obviously this was just my experience, and part of me is curious to go back during peak tourism season to see if LA is a totally different place when it is full of people. I do have some truly wonderful memories of LA and the surrounding areas, and I think LA will always hold a very special place in my heart. But I also feel like LA is best to be dreamed about, rather than lived. If reality and practicalities were no issue, I would still love to live in a little seaside apartment where I can surf every morning and jog along the beach in the evening. But unfortunately the reality is not that and the practicalities of life in LA (and America as a whole from what I have read) mean that the American Dream is something that is not, if ever, actually achievable.
If you are an American, or a LA local, please let me know your thoughts. Let me know if there are any non-tourist areas that I need to visit instead and I shall add it my travel plans! Stay safe everyone.
Following on my previous post, I wanted to take another little opportunity to reiterate that veganism is not an all or nothing lifestyle. That just because you are vegan does not mean that you also have to try and right every other wrong in the world. The idea of the ‘perfect person’ is a myth and it is not something I would ever tell people to try and aspire to be.
I have met so many vegans who burn themselves out because they try to do too much. The reality is, the world is a very messed up place and there will always be someone in need of help. I have nothing but admiration for those people who do try to help everyone they meet and to fight for every cause under the sun, but I also see these people burn out so quickly and get so bogged down in the badness that they don’t ever stop to just enjoy even the smallest things.
I try to help the homeless as much as possible, but I also do not earn that much money and at the end of the day I still have my own bills to pay, my own pets to support and my own roof to support. I give food when I can and spare change when I have it, but I will never advocate for anyone to bankrupt themselves just to help others. Because that doesn’t help solve the larger situation nor is it a long term solution for the homelessness crisis.
I try not to support big corporation businesses, but if the only place available for me to meet my friends for a coffee is a Starbucks then so be it. I make sure to always have a reusable mug in my bag or to use my own metal straws. But no matter how good a person you are you will never be able to do everything, and I think it is so damaging to have that perfectionist mindset.
As I have mentioned previously, one of the most damaging parts of the vegan community is the idea that veganism is about being perfect. That if you cannot be perfect then you might as well not even bother being vegan. The reality is though that everyone has their own life outside of their vegan one: We all have hectic jobs and busy family lives and complex social circles that we are constantly trying to juggle. So yes, you may want to only go to a locally owned, completely plant based bistro, but if your family want to go to a chain because it’s the only place that offers an option for everyone, then it doesn’t mean you are a ‘bad vegan’. If you work somewhere which involves working with a lot of paper or plastic, then you are not a ‘bad environmentalist’.
Over the years I have tried my best to help as many as possible in the best way that I can. I cannot financially support every homeless person I see, but I can donate old clothes to homeless shelters, and share resources with my wider community in the hope of inspiring them to also assist. I donate to charities that can provide long lasting support to those in need and I try to always educate myself on how these situations come to be. It can be anything from drugs, to mental health issues to just bad luck and tough times. I do my best to signpost people to charities or resources that could help them get back on their feet and to move forward with their lives.
I also cannot save every single animal from torture. At least not over night. If the most I can do is simply not eat meat and dairy and eggs, then that is still a powerful statement to make. I share resources on my social media, on this blog and in my general discussions with people that I meet who ask me about why I’m vegan and sometimes those little acts can inspire someone else to start refusing meat products or to swap their dairy for nut milk. In the grand scheme of things I am not on the picket lines protesting against factory farming, but I am still doing what I am able to do in my current situation.
And I think that is the most important thing to remember when it comes to any type of activism, is that you can only do what you can do. In many cases you simply sharing resources or information online is more than enough. One of your followers could see that picture of a baby cow being torn away from it’s mother and change their diet there and then. They could then forward it onto to other people who also decide to change their diet and to stop supporting the meat industry and it snowballs from there. All because you shared one little picture. Sometimes it can be so hard to see the far reaching influence that we as individuals have, even though there is literally an entire career market based on being an influencer. If someone can convince you that you need to try this new make up product, what’s to say you can’t convince someone else to give up eggs?
Veganism is about living a life that causes as little pain as is possible. No matter what you do, you will never be perfect and someone who obsessed over ‘Perfection’ for the majority of my teens and twenties, let me tell you it is never achievable. There will always be an injustice somewhere int he world that will need righting and so you will never achieve that utopia you chase after. Sometimes, when I get so depressed at the state of the world and the issues that are so prevalent within my society, I stop and I just sit for a moment. I try to remember that even if I was the only vegan in the entire world, by not eating beef I saved at least one cow’s life. By not eating eggs, I have saved at least one female hen from a life of demand. By not eating dairy, one baby cow gets to stay with their mom. And if I never achieve anything else in my life, I know that at least I have done that.
If you ever need a reminder of the impact that you as one person can have, even by simply changing your eating habits, see this calculator. Even the smallest of acts matter and over time those tiny acts can have massive impacts across the world. Veganism is going from strength to strength and the number of people changing to a vegan lifestyle are doubling every month, let alone every year. Below is my impact and…ignoring everything else, 1915 animals are alive today because of me. My goal in life has always been to save animals, so I am pretty bloomin’ chuffed!
Above all things I want people to remember to look after themselves. If you don’t look after yourself, you will not be able to do as much as you want to do and it will inevitably lead to you to feeling nothing but disappointment and sadness. Their is a wonderful phrase which says that when you are on an aeroplane, the first thing they say to you if there is an emergency is to put your own mask on first. Once you have your own mask on, you can then help everyone around you. It is a phrase that I have been hearing more and more, especially with 2020 and the whole COVID19 malarkey, and yet it is such a true statement. You need to look after you first, and everything else will come together easier.
I made this blog as a little way to share my vegan journey, and if I happen to help a few people come to grips with the lifestyle then I consider this a success. I want this blog to be a place of open and free discussion, so if you have questions, or resources or thought that you just want to share, my comments and emails are always open to you.
I have been seeing a lot of stuff going around online lately about whether vegans can have vaccinations and still call themselves vegans. It is an issue that is very much up for debate, even if you are not vegan. Personally, I will always advocate for modern medicine as much as possible and it is something that I feel very strongly about. I do not think it makes you any less of a vegan or any less of an animal activist if you require modern medicine or vaccinations throughout your life time.
One of the biggest issues I have with the vegan community sometimes is the thought that veganism is an all or nothing approach: If you cannot be 100% vegan in every single aspect of your life, then you are not truly a vegan. And it really really REALLY bugs me. It is an impossible standard to try to achieve and it can be hugely damaging to people who are just starting their vegan journey.
Obviously you need to do your own research in vaccinations and medicine and make your own mind up about it all. But for me, I will never and have never advocated that vegans should not take modern medicine or should not take vaccinations. It is a reality of life that you will, at some point, require medication – even if it is just painkillers for a headache or some cough medicine for a cold. While animal testing is – unfortunately – a very big aspect of modern life for the sake of medicine, it is one of those areas that is constantly progressing too. There is constant research being carried out to find alternatives to animal testing and I truly believe that soon animal testing will not be necessary.
That being said, this change – as with all changes in the world – happens gradually., and i think it is even more damaging to the cause to think that the issues within society around animal exploitation can be changed overnight. These issues will take years, possibly even decades, to fully eradicate and it would be naive and dangerous to ignore the reality of this. If you need medicine to cope with day to day life (such as if you are asthmatic, have allergies, depression or mental health issues that need medication to regulate) then I will always encourage you to take that medicine. You need to look after yourself first. If the vegan community does not look after themselves first, then who will be there to fight for the animals and to challenge the practices currently in place? It does not make you a hypocrite, especially if you depend on medication to just get you through the day.
The vaccination for COVID19 is being rolled out very quickly now and I for one cannot wait to get the vaccine. Yes, I know that thousands of animals had to suffer in order for this vaccination to be allowed for commercial use, but once we have all been vaccinated we can get back to demonstrations, talks and protests to continue fighting that fight for the animals. If anything, the fact that animals are the only way to test medicine is a huge issue: If we had multiple alternatives that were correctly funded, researched and utilised within the medical industry, then vaccines and medication could be rolled out way faster and in much larger numbers due to the fact that we are not relying on only one method of testing to green-light any of the products.
Society is constantly evolving, and there have been huge steps forward for animal rights in the last five years. Imagine what we could do in the next five years?! The idea that veganism and activism requires a certain degree of perfection is damaging, illogical and – quite frankly – idiotic. NO ONE can ever be perfect in any aspect of their lives and I think it is horrible to try and force the vegan community to aim for that. You can only do what you can do: The entire ethos behind veganism is to live a life which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose. It is about doing as much as possible with what you have, and in some cases that may be something as small as sharing petitions on social media or simply following a plant based diet.
You need to look after you, and in the modern world in which we live that includes taking modern medicine when you need it. I for one will definitely be getting the vaccine (and any other vaccines and medicine that is required of me throughout my life) as it will keep my body healthy and allow me to continue doing the activism work which I am so very passionate about.
Some further reading if you are interested in learning more about this topic:
What a sad time it is. Veganuary is over and therefore the happiest time of the year is now over too.
Vegnuary is always exciting for me, as every year it gets bigger and the new foods on offer become more and more readily available. I went vegan nearly 5 years ago now and even 5 years ago the vegan world was a totally different place: the options were limited and they were also not the best tasting. But with every Veganuary the movement grows in popularity, the food becomes tastier and easier to obtain, and the options are also usually cheaper than the non-vegan options.
I hope that Veganuary continues to grow and I can continue to explore this lifestyle as it does. I have loved seeing all of the new vegan foods that are available and thoroughly enjoyed the little trips out to see what is new. In England, it feels as if we have been in Lockdown for a whole year (which, aside from a few months of semi-normality, isn’t far off from the reality) so being able to see that progress is still being made within the Vegan community and wider society has been incredibly uplifting for me. No matter how tough my week has been or how much I miss my friends and my family, I can still order a massive vegan pizza or easily pick up cheap soya milk whenever I want to.
Thank you all for following along with me this month. I cannot believe that I have managed to post something EVERY SINGLE DAY for this month. I am going to take Yet I haven’t even really tried every single new option that is now on the market for vegan food and that still blows my mind. I hope this has brought you a little bit of joy during these dark months and I hope that it also helped inspire you to try some vegan food if you do happen to come across it all.
Here’s to February, to 2021 and to more and more discovery together. Stay safe everyone and I will speak to you all soon!
One of the big misconceptions that I have found with veganism is the idea that if you want to go vegan you have to do away with everything non-vegan that you own in your life. While this method may work with other lifestyles, such as minimalism or decluttering, I have found this way of thinking to be hugely detrimental to the vegan lifestyle.
For me, when I decided to go vegan I too felt the need to throw away anything non-vegan that I had. From make up, to clothes, to products in my kitchen. But when I looked at everything that I had still in my possession that were not vegan friendly…it was A LOT. And to throw it all away almost made me feel more guilty, because not only is it really wasteful but, to me, it also made me feel that any animal suffering that went into this product was going to all be in vain if I was to just throw it out.
As my previous posts may suggest, I tend to take really good care of my stuff. I have items of clothing that I have owned for YEARS that I know contain wool or silk. But I keep holding onto them for the following reasons: They still fit, they aren’t broken, and they still bring me joy when I wear them. Why throw them away if they are still in perfect condition, and especially when I am now making more informed decisions when it comes to my shopping habits.
Which also applies when it comes to my make up. As I have said before, I am not a big make up guru and I work in an industry where loud and powerful make up looks are not really allowed. As such, I have nail polishes and eye shadow pallets that I have owned – again – for YEARS because they still work and they still look gorgeous when I do get to wear them. Such as this colour, which is a Maybeline New York colour that I have had since I was about 14. And I love it and it is such a pretty blue.
Please ignore my sausage fingers….
So if you are thinking of transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, do not feel bad if you still own non-vegan items. The whole point of veganism is to live as kind a life as possible, not beating yourself up because you can’t part with your favourite leather bag or your comfiest pair of suede heels or your warmest wool jumper. Look after these things, and wear them to remember why you have made the change to a vegan diet. I own a pair of original Doc Martins that I bought about 5 years ago for work and Docs are a brand of shoe that will last forever. So now whenever I do wear them, I think of the cow that gave their skin for those shoes and I don’t let myself forget that. I cannot go back and not buy these Docs, the damage has already been done, but now I know that if and when I do buy a new pair of shoes, I know what to look out for and can make the conscious effort to make the kinder choice.
So in summary, veganism is a learning process and you will find new alternatives for every one of your favourite items. It does not mean that you are a ‘bad vegan’ because you own non-vegan things. Everyday you will learn something new and each decision you make will be more informed and more conscious.
The death of George Floyd has shocked and enraged the world and the protests that have been and continue to be carried out in the USA over this past week are long overdue. But this is also the first time that I have ever been face to face with my own privilege. As it stands the only thing I have working against me is that I am a woman, and this is something that I have always actively fought against. I am here to hold my hands up to say that while I was aware of the injustices that have been happening, I never felt like there was anything I could do because I am not American.
But enough is enough. I recently came across a video that was shared by Vanessa Grimaldi on Instagram (her page can be found here) which showed how black parents are having to raise their children to deal with everyday racism. No one should ever have to be raised to fear the police, or to fear that they will be killed or unjustly punished purely because of their skin colour. I am sickened, angered and appalled that racism is still as pronounced as it very clearly is and I am also so embarrassed that I was not aware of this. But on her page, Vanessa also shares a really helpful document (here) on all different types of resources that us white people can use to educate ourselves and to help support anti-racism work.
Billie Eillish also released a statement that perfectly sums up why the #blacklivesmatter movement is so important and she expresses it in a way that I can not do justice to. You can read it here, and again it shows the massive issue that seems to always follow anytime Black Lives Matter is mentioned. Yes all lives matter, but as it stands society still seems to believe that black lives matter less than other lives.
I have spent so much of my time fighting for the right of animals, to protect our environment and to ensure that everyone is respected and protected – regardless of their gender, race, sexuality, religion or any other identifier that you want to pick. A person’s life and their value as a person should never be based on their skin colour, and it seems so alien to me that this sort of hatred still exists in the world today. If I was to be completely honest with you all, I am not 100% comfortable about discussing these issues, but this isn’t about me. These conversations need to happen and change needs to come about. Proper, real change that will mean that black kids can go to school without fear of being harassed by the police, or that their skin colour will effect opportunities throughout their life. So get uncomfortable, get mad about this and do something about it. This list here is also a good place to start!
It’s time that I, and all white people, use our privilege to help those who have been oppressed. The list above has been a great resource to start with and as I find more I shall share these with you too. I am learning and currently educating myself more about this issue and how I can help, and if you guys have any other resources or comments or advice to help to spread the message then please do get involved, leave a comment and let me know.
Stay safe, stay strong and together we will all get through this. If 2020 has taught us anything it is that we need to support every member of society and to work together to ensure that racism is once and for all a thing of the past.
Here are a few more resources that I have found if you are also looking for more information:
https://www.theblackcurriculum.com/ourcurriculum – a social enterprise to bring Black British History to the general curriculum. They have a lot of information, worksheets and lessons available for teachers and students to use in school. You can also donate to their cause through the website.
There is also a link here to add more diversity to the current English GCSE curriculum, by adding titles such as ‘I’m no longer talking to white people about race’ By Reni Eddo-Lodge to the list of books that are to be studied.
Here is a list of American Bail Funds that you can also donate to (if possible) should you not be able to attend a protest in person but still want to help those at the protests. This is American specific, but anyone in the world can donate.
In honour of today, and in honour of this gorgeous earth that we live on, step away from the computer and go outside. If you are in lock down, go for a little walk outside, or just sit by an open window (preferably one which gets some sunshine) and take a look at the sky…it is SO BLUE! Just take a little bit of time to appreciate the world in which we live and to reflect on the impact we as a species are having on it.
The park outside of my house looking like an actual green-screen movie background!
Stay safe everyone and if you want more information, see the Earth Day website here.
I promise you, I have eaten other things than pizza this week! Despite how it may look…
Now I love a good pizza, but buying take away pizza every week can get quite expensive…especially when it costs nearly £25 just for two pizzas to be delivered to your door. So I have been trying a few store bought to save myself a bit of money and still enjoy my weekly pizza.
The Wicked range is available at my local Tesco and this is the only pizza available to me within that range. I have tried some of their other sandwiches before (all of which are pretty good) so thought I’d give these a go. This one is a basic margarita pizza, with sundried tomatoes and a vegan pesto dressing to go over top.
I have found this to be rather hit and miss. Sometimes, the pesto is really overpowering or super bland. Sometimes the sundried tomatoes are again, super bitter and overpowering, or they are quite sweet and moreish. The crust itself is pretty doughy – which personally I prefer – so while the pizza is technically smaller than others, it definitely leaves me happily full. The cheese also tastes like dairy cheese and while it doesn’t melt as one would hope, it is nice and creamy and pizza-worthy.
Compared to the others on the market, this is one of my favourites. Yes it is quite pricey by comparison (currently £3, while many of the other make your own pizzas are £2 or less), but if I’m going to treat myself to takeaway, I’d rather splurge a little bit on a decent pizza rather than skimp out and risk disappointment.
Overall: 7/10. Not as good as a standard take-away pizza, but it is a very nice cheaper alternative.