Foodie Friday: Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese (Dairy-Free recipe) #Veganuary

Friday, 24 January 2020

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese (Dairy-Free recipe) #Veganuary
It's been incredibly inspiring to see so many people take part in Veganuary this year on my social media feeds, and this week's recipe is for anyone who has been craving some serious comfort food - it's my favourite Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

A generous bowl of spaghetti is sometimes the only thing that really hits the spot during Winter, especially as this whole week seems to have been a pretty miserable combination of dark grey skies, constant drizzle, chilly temperatures and awful politics - brrrr! 

This plant-based Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese only takes around 30 minutes to make and it's one of the best mid-week dinners that the whole family can enjoy. I find that it's a good one for kids too, as it's an easy way to sneak some extra veg into their meal without the bowl being thrown at the wall ;) 

As always, you can customise the ingredients by adding some Chilli if you want some heat, or if you're on a low-carb diet, you can simply swap the Spaghetti for Courgetti instead. 

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese (Dairy-Free recipe) #Veganuary
Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 200g Dried Spaghetti 
  • 1 pack of Vegan Mince
  • 1 can of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 1 punnet of Chestnut Mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp Tomato Paste
  • 1 tbsp Tamari or Soy Sauce
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, peeled & crushed
  • 1 small White Onion
  • 2 sticks of Celery
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • Generous handful of Petit Pois Peas
  • Salt & Pepper

To Serve
  • Fresh Basil Leaves
  • Dairy-Free Cheese 
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

Method
  • Roughly chop up the Red Pepper, Onion, Celery and Mushrooms and give them a quick blitz in a food processor, or finely chop everything into very small pieces, e.g the mushrooms should look similar to mince.
  • In a large saucepan over a low-medium heat, add the finely chopped vegetables, along with the can of Chopped Tomatoes, Tomato Paste, Soy Sauce and Garlic. Stir everything together and simmer to allow the flavours to infuse and season with Salt & Pepper. After 10 minutes, add the Vegan Mince, stir and cook for a further 10 minutes until the vegetables have softened.
  • Whilst the veggies and sauce is simmering, cook the Spaghetti and Petit Pois Peas according to the pack instructions and set aside.
  • Add the cooked Spaghetti to the saucepan with the veggies and stir over a low-medium heat to ensure it's thoroughly coated and piping hot.
  • Serve immediately with torn fresh Basil Leaves, a drizzle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, extra Black Pepper and finely grated Dairy-Free Cheese if desired. Enjoy!

Storage tip: The Bolognese sauce will keep in the fridge for 2 days in an airtight container. Ensure that it's thoroughly heated before serving with fresh pasta.

Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese (Dairy-Free recipe) #Veganuary
 What's your favourite pasta dish?

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Tried & Tested: My. Haircare - Rescue My. Hair Pollution Patrol Shampoo Bar review

Thursday, 23 January 2020

My. Haircare - Rescue My. Hair Pollution Patrol Shampoo Bar review
Banish residues of everyday pollution and plastic at the same time with this nifty eco-friendly Shampoo Bar from My. Haircare. Oh, and it's vegan-friendly too! 

Bars of soap have made a huge comeback into bathrooms all over the world, as we all try to do our bit to reduce our plastic waste, so it only seemed like the next logical step to swap all of those shampoo bottles for a solid bar of shampoo as well. If only it were that easy!

I have had a serious love/hate relationship with shampoo bars over the years and it's always been the one product that I've really struggled to find a plastic-free replacement for. For example, I first started out trying all of Lush's shampoo bars many years ago and whilst my hair liked them, the inclusion of SLS caused my eczema to flare up and my scalp was not happy so I had to stop using them. 

Then began a long trial and error process of attempting to find a shampoo bar which was free from SLS, but that also didn't turn my hair into straw. After trying what seemed like every brand that I could get my hands onto, I admitted defeat a few months ago.

Or so I thought, until a new one dropped through my letterbox recently from My. Haircare... could this be 'The One'? 

My. Haircare - Rescue My. Hair Pollution Patrol Shampoo Bar review
My. Haircare Rescue My. Hair Pollution Patrol Shampoo Bar* (80g, £13.95, link)
Having enjoyed using My. Haircare's brilliant Infuse My Colour range (reviewed here), I decided to give their Pollution Patrol Shampoo Bar a go. This shampoo bar is one of four that they currently sell (the others are Hydrate, Volume and Smooth), and as you can guess by the name, it's been specially formulated to help remove product build-up and pollution residue from the hair, both of which can leave your locks looking dull and feeling lank and dirty.

Cruelty-free and vegan-friendly, this eco-friendly shampoo bar has been created by hand using waterless technology and cold-pressed methods. With a gentle neutral p.H of 5.5, it's pleasantly free from Palm Oil, SLS/SLES, Sodium Hydroxide, Lye, Silicones and Parabens, and the product is completely biodegradable - even the recyclable cardboard box that it comes in can be re-used to store the bar between uses. Pollution Patrol Shampoo Bar has a subtle, fresh and very clean scent with hints of Cucumber and Violet, and is enriched with Oat Protein to soothe difficult-to-please scalps making it suitable for all hair types to use.

How To Use & Results
Simply wet your hair first and then rub the bar between your hands to create a lather. Apply the lather to your hair, massage it in and then rinse thoroughly. If required you can repeat the process if your hair has a lot of product build-up, but I felt like it did a good enough job the first time around.

I was surprised by how well it lathered as this has been a tricky problem area for other shampoo bars that I've tried, and after rinsing, my hair felt clean and soft. I've tried it with and without conditioner and found that skipping conditioner is a definite no-no if you have dry hair, as it resulted in a lot of frizz. However, when used with a conditioner, it was actually not bad at all, if just a little frizzier than usual. Whilst it's not the holy grail shampoo bar that I was hoping for, it's still the best that I have tried so far, and something that I would happily use whilst travelling and visiting friends in the city.

Have you made the switch to a shampoo bar?

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Travel Size Beauty: Plastic-Free Minis from Antipodes (Get 20% off at Feel Unique & Beauty Bay)

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Travel Size Beauty: Plastic-Free Minis from Antipodes
Lucky enough to be getting some Winter Sun this month? If you're jetting off to sunnier climes, make sure to pop these brilliant plastic-free beauty minis from Antipodes into your carry-on.

As regular readers will know, I absolutely love Antipodes natural and organic skincare, and I was pleased to discover recently that their range of minis is virtually plastic-free - yay! Instead, the main element of packaging comes in either glass or aluminium tubes, both of which can be easily recycled after use.

So if you're stocking up on your beauty minis for your travels this year, why not check these out? They're also perfect for anyone who wants to try out the products before committing to purchasing the full-sizes and I have three of the brand's bestsellers for travellers below:-

Travel Size Beauty: Plastic-Free Minis from Antipodes
 Antipodes Hosanna H20 Intensive Skin-Plumping Serum* (10ml, £12.49)

Travelling can really suck all of the moisture out of your skin, especially if you're flying, so make sure you're prepared with an intensive hydrating serum such as Hosanna. This incredible oil-free serum is beautifully lightweight and easily absorbed to help improve the skin's overall appearance for a more youthful and plumped up glow. Key ingredients include Vinanza Grape which helps to boost elasticity, firmness and prevents moisture loss, Mamaku Black Fern to further firm up and protect the skin's natural barrier and Waiwera Artesian Water which delivers essential nutrients and antioxidants to the skin's epidermal layer for a healthier-looking complexion.

Antipodes Worship Skin Defence Antioxidant Serum* (10ml, £12.49)

For skin that's fighting the early signs of ageing, Worship is a fantastic antioxidant-rich serum that works as a preventative against future free radical damage. Boasting an interesting superfruit complex called Vinanza Oxifend Plus which is made up of potent extracts of Boysenberry, Blackcurrant, Kiwifruit and Vinanza Grape, this serum acts as your secret weapon to keep skin looking younger and more vibrant for longer. I'd recommend it for all skin types and ages over 30+.

Travel Size Beauty: Plastic-Free Minis from Antipodes
Antipodes Avocado Pear Nourishing Night Cream* (15ml, £11.95)

To compliment your serum, a rich nourishing night cream can definitely help to lock in all of that goodness, whilst providing additional skincare benefits of its own as Avocado Pear clearly demonstrates. This luxurious feeling nighttime moisturiser is packed full of hydrating heroes such as Avocado Oil, Manuka Honey and Vinanza Grape, and it helps to stimulate collagen production by up to 92%. A wonderful all-rounder for those who are looking for an evening skincare routine which does more!

Shop Antipodes minis at Feel Unique and Beauty Bay currently with 20% off for a limited time

Are you a fan of Antipodes?

Health & Lifestyle: 3 Natural Balms To Help You Through Cold & Flu Season #WinterWellness

Thursday, 16 January 2020

3 Natural Balms To Help You Through Cold & Flu Season
Nobody likes having a cold, or worse still, catching the flu, and having spent the last week feeling like death warmed up in, I can certainly sympathise! One thing that always gets me through the rough times is having a pot of natural balm on my bedside table to help alleviate some of the worst symptoms such as blocked sinuses, so here are three of the best that you can try this Winter. 

Herbfarmacy Easy Breathe Balm
 Best For Colds: Herbfarmacy Easy Breathe Balm* (30ml, £10.50, link)

This completely plastic-free balm from Herbfarmacy is one of the brand's hidden secrets and something that I feel they should promote more often! Made in small batches on their farm in Herefordshire, the Easy Breathe Balm boasts an-all natural, cruelty-free formula which is also 100% organic (certified by the Soil Association) so it already ticked a lot of boxes for me when I initially picked it up. 

Unscrewing the metal tin, you'll be greeted with a firm and solid balm that has a soothing and moisturising base of Sunflower Oil, Beeswax and Marshmallow Root extract, which is combined with refreshing Eucalyptus, Spearmint, Peppermint, Lemon Tea Tree and Rosemary essential oils and extracts. The balm is easy to warm up between your fingertips and spreads well onto the skin without any stickiness. Apply to the chest and lower throat areas to help clear the airways - this is brilliant for stuffy colds so that you can get on with your day.

EQ EVOA Siberian Balm
Best For Flu: EQ EVOA Siberian Balm* (15ml, £9.95, link)

When flu hits, you need something heavy-duty, and EQ EVOA's Siberian Balm really does pack a punch! It's the smallest of the three balms that I've tried here coming in at just 15ml, but what it lacks in size, it makes up for in its powerful natural abilities. Created from a unique formula that features 99.5% natural ingredients (42.4% of which are organic), it uses Edwelweiss extract (also known as the Star Of Glaciers) with Tahitian Monoi, Clove, Camphor, Cajeput and Menthol essential oils to quickly decongest and bring instant relief when you're truly suffering from the very worst flu symptoms. 

Although it's technically called a balm, it has a more of a thick and buttery texture which is white in colour, and yet it still retains all of the qualities of a traditional balm as it's easy to use and doesn't feel tacky or sticky. Needless to say, a little goes a long way and be extra careful to make sure this doesn't get anywhere near your eyes! As with all of the balms featured here, please wash your hands thoroughly after use, but especially with this one as it's so potent!

Silvan Skincare Breathe Balm
 Best For Families: Silvan Skincare Breathe Balm* (60ml, £14.50, link)

It's quite often the case that when one member of the family comes down with a cold or flu bug, everyone else in the household gets it within a matter of days, so this larger jar is definitely one to keep on standby during the Winter months. Handmade in Wales, Silvan Skincare's Breathe Balm is suitable for the whole family to use and is made with the highest quality natural, organic and sustainably sourced ingredients. It's certified by both the Vegan Society and the Leaping Bunny programme, plus it's packaged in a glass jar so ideal for families and consumers who are cutting down on their plastic waste.

With a rich and soft, non-sticky balm texture, Breathe Balm has a gentle but effective blend of ingredients which include fairtrade Organic Shea Butter, Organic Olive and Jojoba Oils, Oat extract, Vitamin E, Eucalyptus, Camphor, Peppermint and Rosemary essential oils. These work hard to soothe and clear blocked sinuses quickly, helping you to breathe easier faster. Rub a small amount onto the temples, chest, thorax and back as often as needed.

3 Natural Balms To Help You Through Cold & Flu Season
All balms featured are available from LoveLula.com

Have you tried any natural balms this Winter?

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Veganuary: Snack Ideas For Vegan Runners #AD

Monday, 13 January 2020

If you are a vegan runner, you have probably heard plenty of times that you need to change your nutrition if you want to become a strong and successful athlete. After all, we are taught to believe that we can only get proteins and carbs we need from meats and eggs.

Of course, these nutrients are important for your performance, they help you build muscle and speed up your recovery, but there are many ways you can follow a carb/protein-rich diet without consuming anything that came from a living creature. In fact, if you need more information about the best diet for vegan runners, let’s stick to the part of your eating plan you are most likely skipping – their majesties the snacks. These seemingly insignificant treats between your main meals are essential for keeping your energy levels up and achieving your goals. In case you have no idea how to prepare delicious vegan snacks in a matter of minutes, here are several ideas to get you started. 

Make your own trail mix 

Forget about those you can buy at the store and make your own trail mix that will contain all the things your body needs to refuel and recover. To add some sweetness to the combo, choose goji berries that are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and fats. You can also opt for flaked or shredded unsweetened coconut, dairy-free chocolate chips or dried fruit such as chopped dried apricots, dates, raisins, cranberries, blueberries or cherries. Nuts are an inevitable part of the homemade trail mix, so throw some cashews, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts or pistachios in the bag as well. If you like pumpkin or sunflower seeds you can add them to the mix as well as some apple chips. Keep these ingredients in your pantry and any time you need a quick snack to add a few spoons of each of these to a small to-go container or a bag and you are all set. 

Make energy bars 

Every Sunday take an hour of your time to make a batch of homemade energy bars you will be able to keep in the fridge and grab every time you are hungry. You can make them with hemp seeds, ground flax, almonds, cashews, oats, cinnamon, dried fruit, peanut butter, maple syrup and other ingredients you love. There are plenty of recipes online, but you can also use your imagination and come up with your signature energy bars. 

Fruit and cashew cream 

This is one of the easiest and tastiest snacks out there. First, you will need to soak cashews overnight. In the morning drain them, put them in a blender with water and some kind of sweetener and make a smooth and creamy paste. Second, you will need to slice an apple, a pear, peach or some other kind of fruit and you are done! Dip the pieces into the cream and you will have yourself a tasty treat you can enjoy any time. 

Stuffed dates 

Are you looking for a delicious snack you can make in a couple of minutes? Then make sure you always have dates in your pantry because they will come in handy, especially if you fall in love with this treat. Stuff the dates with almond butter, peanut butter or sunflower seed butter, put a slice of banana on top and sprinkle it with cinnamon. Easy-peasy! 

Raw vegetables and hummus 

Just as you can dip fruit into cashew cream, you can dip veggies into hummus. This tasty dip is high in protein, fibre, and healthy fats so it will boost your energy levels while keeping you full for hours. You can check out these recipes and make your own batch of hummus at home. 

With these delicious treats, snacking will easily become your favourite part of the day.


[This is a sponsored post - first image from Pixabay, food mages my own]

New In Beauty: a.po.the:ca Frankincense Cleansing Balm, Al!ve Magnesium Plus Body Recovery Bath Flakes & Handmade Naturals skincare

Thursday, 9 January 2020

New In Beauty: a.po.the:ca Frankincense Cleansing Balm, Al!ve Magnesium Plus Body Recovery Bath Flakes & Handmade Naturals skincare
January is a long month, but don't worry, these natural skincare and pampering treats are sure to put a smile back on your face! Here's a selection of what's new to look out for.

 a.po.the:ca Frankincense Cleansing Balm
 a.po.the:ca Frankincense Cleansing Balm* (60g, £22, link)

Last year, I was introduced to a brand new organic, sustainable and natural skincare company called a.po.the:ca (check out my post here) who are based in London. With a clean design, glass packaging and even cleaner ethics, they instantly appealed to me, so I was thrilled to receive a pot of their latest creation just before Christmas. 

The Frankincense Cleansing Balm is a deliciously rich and thick balm that makes short work of removing daily grime, impurities and makeup. Made from 100% natural ingredients (99% of which are certified organic by COSMOS), this balm features the likes of Coconut Oil, Apricot Kernel Oil, Beeswax, Vitamin E, Frankincense Oil and Grapefruit Oil, for an ultra-nourishing cleansing experience. Like many products of this nature, a tiny amount goes a long way and it's easy to massage into dry skin before removing with a warm flannel. Oh, and did I mention that it smells absolutely beautiful? Definitely one to add to your shopping list.

Al!ve Magnesium Plus Body Recovery Bath Flakes
 Al!ve Magnesium Plus Body Recovery Bath Flakes* (750g, £8, link)

Anyone who regularly plays sports, exercises hard or does pilates/yoga, will no doubt already know all about the benefits that soaking in a tub of magnesium salts can offer for the body. This all-natural, magical mineral not only helps to soothe away minor aches and pains, relieving stress from stiff muscles, but they also have unique properties that can improve joint health and circulation, as well as boosting your skin and overall health.

Using them couldn't be easier either - simply add a generous handful or two to a warm bath, sit back and let your body rapidly absorb all of the benefits. These Al!ve Magnesium Plus Body Recovery Bath Flakes are a good place to start if you haven't tried them before and are available online, as well as being a new addition to Sainsbury's stores.

Handmade Naturals Face Cleansing Lotion* (100ml, £8.95, link) and Balancing Face Cream* (50ml, £13.25, link)

With reducing plastic packaging on every ethical brand's mission statement, I was delighted to receive a parcel from Handmade Naturals, who have been actively making the switch to a more sustainable and easily recycled alternative. All of their Cleaners and Face Creams are now presented in sleek frosted glass bottles which I personally feel only adds even more luxe appeal to the brand's aesthetics - I'm sure their customers will love the change! Best of all, the prices have remained the same, so if a small Cheshire based company can achieve this, there's no excuse for the big boys to not follow suit in 2020 is there?!

Have you spotted any new products that you're excited about recently?

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