May free from favourites (gluten free & vegan).

Before we start this ‘free from favourites’, I want you to know that I am not sponsored by any of these companies, I just like sharing with you all a few of my favourites in the hope it can help. I remember all too well how frustrating and difficult it was when I discovered my gluten intolerance and whilst being vegan seems easy enough, pairing the two started of being quite hard.

Continue reading “May free from favourites (gluten free & vegan).”

January free from favourites. (gluten free & vegan)

After not writing a ‘free from favourites’ in such a long time, this month I have decided to, attempt to, bring them back, I say attempt because well, my months seem to be getting busier and busier.

I find posts like these so helpful wether it be vegan, dairy free, gluten free or both, I always find reading posts such as this great for not feeling like ‘the fussy one’, finding new foods and places I didn’t know were allergy friendly and with Veganuary seeming more popular than ever I thought it was the perfect time to get started.  Continue reading “January free from favourites. (gluten free & vegan)”

Five simple ways with almond butter & product review.

Since becoming gluten-free and vegan I have tried all kinds of healthy, organic superfoods and finding the right ones for me has been harder than I originally thought, that’s why I thought I would share with you two easy to have, daily superfoods that help me feel super (sorry could not resist!).

First up, if you haven’t already guessed by the title is almond butter, I am sure by now you all know how much I love almond butter and if you don’t this post will show you. I like almond butter on pretty much everything, but liking every jar of almond butter is impossible. Call me fussy but I do not understand how a one-ingredient almond butter can taste so different. I have tried countless brands and even made my own but none compare to finding a good tasting, easy to buy, ready to use, jar of almond butter. Continue reading “Five simple ways with almond butter & product review.”

A few favourites.

 

Here is a mixture of things I have been enjoying the last few months from cruelty free beauty products to board games and all things in between, enjoy!

First starting with the beauty products, I am still new at finding cruelty free and vegan products and tend to stick to the same brands but this month my parents bought me a bottle of L’occitane Verveine shower gel. To my surprise L’occitane are completely cruelty free- in the UK at least, please check to be sure. I am very fussy when it comes to shower gels and although I was very grateful they bought it for me I did doubt if I would like it. Again, to my surprise I love it and not just in the shower either, this makes the freshest, bubbliest, bubble bath and you only need a little to. The scent is lemony, fresh and leaves me feeling relaxed, calm and of course sparkling clean. This would make a perfect gift for somebody or a treat for yourself; I am looking forward to trying more of L’occitane’s products.

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I am far from a beauty blogger but I do love sharing cruelty free, vegan make up finds with you, especially the good ones! I recently bought the Barry M ‘Brow Kit‘ in the medium to dark colour. I have tried all kinds of eyebrow applicators, pencils, brushes, powders, creams, you name it I have tried it and none have been as good as this one. It includes a brown cream, a darker powder, a highlight powder, a double-sided brush and a small pair of tweezers. I love how it includes both shades so you can choose to go lighter or darker. It stays really well (even in my bald parts) and doesn’t feel too heavy, the only thing I find wrong with it is there isn’t a little bristled brush but for the price it is great. I also love the handy small, thin size of it and the added mirror on the inside of the palate, it’s just right for taking out with you.

As I mentioned in my last favourites post, I am currently, kind of, a little obsessed with the M&S Rosie for Autograph lipstick range and although I love the Silk Rose shade I felt I needed a more of a casual, day time colour. This time I chose Nude Blush and of course I completely love it, at first I thought it might be far too pale for my skin tone but with a little bronzer it looks great and was just what I wanted. I cannot recommend these lipsticks enough and if I haven’t tempted you yet, they smell just like mini eggs!

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This has been a favourite of mine for a while now but I just needed to share, coconut oil, of course you have probably all heard of it before, it seems to be the in thing for just about everything and anything. I use The Groovy Food Companies and one thing in particular that I have been using it as is a make up remover, you must try it, I can not rave about it enough. I simply scoop a little on to my fingers and rub all over my face, eyes and brows included, you can even keep your eyes open whilst doing it! I then get a piece of cotton wool and remove the make up before washing the coconut oil off with soap and warm water. I use Lush’s Coal Face soap to do this to make sure I don’t leave any extra oil on my face. Both work very well together and although coconut oil can seem a little expensive in some stores it is extremely long lasting, you only need the tiniest amount for a full face of make up, it works out a lot cheaper than most make up removers to.

As well as the make up remover I have also been using coconut oil as a hair mask. I don’t like using too much of it and leaving it overnight as some suggest but I do like plaiting my hair and popping on a scoop for those ‘it doesn’t really matter if my hair looks greasy’ kind of days and when me hair is plaited you can’t really tell anyway. I have been doing this for around three weeks now and it already feels much healthier, thicker and shinier to. I highly recommend this especially for those of you with split ends like me.

This month Disney’s ‘Finding Dory’ was finally released and it did not disappoint my high expectations. I have read mixed reviews and I just don’t know why, people keep saying ‘it isn’t as good as ‘Finding Nemo’’ but I actually preferred it! I loved the new characters, hidden messages and of course the comical and heart warming side to it to. If you haven’t already been to see it please do, don’t let anything you read about it, or your age (..mum) put you off.

As September approaches the shops quickly fill with back to school supplies and no matter how old I get I still get rather excited to buy new stationary, unfortunately all I really need is a notebook and a pen (how boring, right?). Here are a couple of items I simply could not resist, I am sure there will be much more to follow, adding to my already overflowing box of folders, pens and notebooks. The watercolour floral ring binder is from Sainsbury’s and the two small notebooks are from Tesco. I shall have to stop myself from visiting Paperchase this month!

A new favourite scent this month is the Yankee Candle Salted Caramel wax melts, as recommended by my friend who shares my love and slight addiction to scented candles. This is the first time I have seen this shape and size wax melt, although I don’t think the actual wax has changed much the packaging is a lot easier to open than the usual cupcake plastic wrapped ones. I am not a huge fan of salted caramel but this smell is beautiful, it’s sweet and light yet cosy to! The perfect combination, I highly recommend. This set of six was £3 at Tesco and although slightly smaller it works out cheaper and I find they have the same strength as the cupcake style melts.

Last but not least, this month I bought a chess board with the hope I would learn how to play chess. I still haven’t got around to learning but I have mastered the art of playing draughts. Draughts always reminds me of childhood evenings at my grandmother’s house and boring rainy days, with the weather so up and down here in Wales I have found my family and I playing outside in the sunshine and in the conservatory listening to the rain. I don’t know if it’s another form of technology escape or if it’s because I keep winning but I have found it so very enjoyable.

That’s all for now, what cruelty free products have you been enjoying this month? What do you use coconut oil for? And what is your favourite board game? Please do share with me.

All the Parisian delights.

Travelling gluten free- vegan is not the easiest but it is not impossible, as long as you are prepared. On preparing for my trip to Paris I first did some research only to hear that France is no go for vegans, I read this over and over again until I got the ‘Happy Cow’ app. This app is truly wonderful and I cannot recommend it enough, it completely reassured me that I would be able to eat out and enjoy Parisian food free from worry. The app gave me a whole list of vegan friendly restaurants, cafes and shops to. It also gives you the addresses, website, images and reviews. Of course I shall also be using the app for future trips. Here are some of the places I went to whilst in Paris, most of these places I found via the app so pop there and search Paris for more reviews.
On our first night in Paris we found from searching the app for restaurants near by this little fully vegetarian, (vegan and gluten free friendly) sushi-thai restaurant. Not starting the post off great as I have completely forgotten the name of it (oops) but I saw places like these popping up all over the place. Of course rice, veggies and tofu all being extremely safe foods its unlikely you will find yourself being surprised with dairy or gluten, just be careful with the soy sauce, I opted for the hot sauce just to be safe. The two dishes I chose were lovely and fresh, my friend also enjoyed her ‘chicken’ curry.

For lunch on our first day we popped into to ‘EXKi!’ a café chain very similar to Pret, here there were salad boxes, hummus, avocado, quinoa dishes, soups, rice pots, wraps, smoothies, juices, fruit pots and yogurt options, not to mention sandwiches, cakes and bars to. Here was one of the places that actually stated ‘vegan and gluten free’. I chose to have a rice wrap filled with salad, hummus and some sort of dressing, it was a perfect stop for a quick lunch before we got moving again.

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Thank you to the Happy Cow app to leading my friend and I to ‘Las Vegans‘, a vegan café found at 30 boulevard Bonne Nouvelle. A holiday is no holiday without ice cream and here we found the most deliciously sweet vegan friendly ice cream, in a variety of flavours and served by the friendliest of staff.

I chose to have two scoops of the chocolate nut flavour and topped with a few vegan marshmallows (yes that’s right- vegan marshmallows!), my friend also had the chocolate nut flavour along with the caramel biscuit. All so delicious, I wish I could have bought some back home. I urge to go here!

On our last day we were so tired we decided to go to the nearest place we could find, which was ‘le pain quotidien’ again, similar to Pret but only a little more evening suited with hot meals as well as cold. I ordered hummus, avocado and olives on gluten free bread however they were all out of the bread so decided on this chickpea, quinoa, veggie bowl of goodness, it was a lot better than it looked. Here they serve both vegan, vegetarian and meat options and have a good understanding of gluten free. Like ‘EXKi!’ these also seemed to be quite popular along the streets of Paris.

Saving the best for last with a visit to ‘Hank Vegan Burgers’, a 100% vegan burger restaurant found at 55 Rue des Archives. Not only are all the burgers vegan but also all the sides, condiments and desserts are to, there is even melty vegan cheese! Of course mine was slightly adapted to be gluten free, not that I could have noticed, with even a gluten free burger bun and crispy potato wedges- each bite truly delicious. There are a variety of burgers to choose from, I chose to have the ‘smoked barbecue sauce and pepper’ sauce with the gluten free vegan burger, bun and wedges. Each mouthful was as good as the next, it is that good I think I would return to Paris for this alone.

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Other than those few restaurants I visited I wanted to share with you a couple of tips I use to make sure I have a free from flare up trip. Take snacks and maybe something for breakfast- nothing huge just a few little options to fall back on. We were self-catering and each morning we would enjoy breakfast on the balcony, I took a bag of gluten-free oats with me and bought some soya milk from the local supermarket. I found the supermarkets great for options and noticed that most dairy and gluten ingredients were highlighted like here in the UK. I also bought dark chocolate and fresh fruit to top my oatmeal. For snacks I made sure I always had a couple of cereal, nut bars, crackers or crisps in my bag but not to worry if you find yourself snack-less there are plenty of supermarkets around.

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Main street restaurants were a little trickier to order at. To prepare I tired to learn a few phrases but the only one that stuck was ‘sans gluten’ aha. Most places do not have vegan or gluten free options, however, I found it okay and did not have any accidents. I found it best to stick to what I knew, ordering salads, oil roasted vegetables, quinoa and sides of rice and potatoes minus the cheese seemed to work for me.

Take out, if you are traveling with non vegans or intolerant friends you might find it hard to find places to cater for both, popping into a cafe or a restaurant and asking for a take-out meal is a perfect solution to this. I did this at ‘Bobs juice bar‘ we would have eaten in but it was super busy, it seems Bob is quite popular amongst the Parisians, I can see why to. I ordered a take-out noodle dish and sneakily ate it in Starbucks whilst drinking a coffee.

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What is the worst that can happen? Of course this varies for everybody but I found reminding myself that if I accidentally eat a little gluten I will be ill and have symptoms for a week or so- worst case. If I eat a little unknown dairy- I will feel awful but I will remind myself that all I can do is my best- worst case. Both worst cases are nothing to be stressed or upset over, unfortunately life happens but luckily I had a wonderful free from trip. I was not restricted nor did it play a huge part in out trip, only in the good way.

I hope this post helps a little if you to are planning a trip to Paris or a gluten free, vegan trip of your own. Please do ask if I can help with anything at all, Nicole.