Mental health, travel & loved ones.

I originally called this post ‘here, there and everywhere’ but after rereading the post I realised I have had a month of doing all the thing I love to do. This month has been filled with talking about mental health, exploring, seeing friends, family and somewhere amongst that finding gluten free, vegan goodness to. I am so very grateful.

As you will see I seem to have spent more time on a train than I ever have before, not that I am complaining! It has been wonderful, even the train part, giving me chance to read ‘Everything Everything’ by Nicola Yoon, I have only a few chapters left, so please no spoilers.

Continue reading “Mental health, travel & loved ones.”

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October’s Free From Favourites (gluten-free & vegan)

A little early, with a few added rambles. Last week I saw a woman standing in the free from aisle, staring aimlessly at the limited selection of food choices as she asked the shop assistant “is this all?” The shop assistant looked at her, sighing with sympathy, she replied “I will take you to the refrigerated items to”. The woman followed the shop assistant looking disappointed at her basket filled with expensive and pretty-tasteless items. This was one of the many scenes I have noticed since being gluten free; the confusion, the frustration and the disappoint of the newly diagnosed, or even more so, the pity of the non-diagnosed, ‘normal eating’ family member.

This reminded me of why I write these ‘free from favourites’ posts, because I have been there. I was diagnosed with gluten intolerance over two years ago now. My first time to the supermarket resulted in me crying whilst squishing every rock-hard loaf of bread, desperately trying to find something edible and inexpensive.

Since then, I have become very supermarket savvy, you know those television programmes, supermarket saver? I could own an allergy friendly one! As could some of the other people I have met whilst both staring at the free from aisle. The amount of conversations I have had there, each person either welcoming advice and tips or offering them.

Enough of the ramble and onto the post.

Beginning with Tesco’s frozen Vegetable Patties, £1 for six, what a bargain? Since going gluten free, every vegetable burger I can find seems to be coated with bread crumbs or is made with gluten free bread crumbs, resulting in them being very overpriced. With a new recipe, making these burgers now gluten free (I thank you Tesco!), not the most luxury of burgers I know but I love them! They make the perfect quick and easy, childhood meal. Perfect with added sweet potato, beans and peas.

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Whilst in Tesco, I found BFrees pitta pockets, I love the brand BFree, personally I think they are one of the best gluten free brands out there. Top tip, always use your freezer, BFree’s bread and pittas both freeze well, I just take what I want out and pop them into the toaster or in the oven for a few minutes. The pitta pockets are great for packed lunches, without those gluten free holes, they can hold a decent sized filling without falling apart as soon as you look at them. My favourite filling is hummus and falafel, basic but delicious.

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Of course, to get the best deals you have to shop around and Aldi is always my go to, Aldi’s free from range just gets better and better. Aldi’s cashew nuts, raw fruit and nut bars, falafels and 55 pence- hummus, are always on my list.

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A slightly more expensive but trust me when I say they are worth it, is Livia’s Kitchen Raw Millionaires Bites, perfect for those ‘coffee and cake’ moments. Not overly sweet but sweet enough to leave your sweet tooth feeling satisfied. With a lot of ‘raw’ foods, I can tell they are raw, they taste great but I can tell that it is different, unlike these. I honestly could not tell the difference, actually I could, these taste better! I found these little packets in Sainsbury’s free from aisle. Our of the two the Chocolate Orange are my favourite, hopefully I will come across more from Livia’s Kitchen to try, have you any recommendations?

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Moving on to my non-free from aisle finds, the woman I mentioned earlier also asked about crisps. As she picked up the overpriced ‘free from packet’ before seeing the price and putting them back. People who are diagnosed do not realise the amount of gluten free items on the ordinary aisles, with more brands becoming naturally or ‘accidentally gluten free’.

As for crisps/snacks, there are many out there, Tyrrells (not all flavours but you will be surprised at how many), Yushoi pea snacks, Hippies chickpea puffsPom-bears, Propercorn popcorn (most popcorns), Sainsbury’s own pop chips, Popchips (not all) to name a few.

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Rice, pasta and noodles, with most free from aisles only stocking a handful of choices, more often than not the higher priced brands to, you are best of looking on the normal aisles. Of course, rice is naturally gluten free but I often find the microwavable rice packets containing either wheat or milk, Tilda are usually my go to for things like this. It would seem that more and more supermarkets branching out with pastas made from peas, lentils, brown rice and even buckwheat to, all naturally gluten free. As for noodles, most rice noodles are gluten free, even the instant ones.

Also, most sauces, spreads and condiments can be found without a ‘free from’ label and ‘free from’ price. Supermarket own brands are great for things like tomato sauces, jams and now even nut butters! What ‘accidentally free from’ item have you found?

As for being gluten free and vegan on the go this October, Pret a Manger has been my ultimate ‘go to’, with their vegan friendly options growing, I have been able to spot a few new gluten free options to. Featuring in free from favourites before, it is no surprise that I love Pret a Mangers soups, especially this time of year, I highly recommend trying their vegan chilli  or the spiced corn and quinoa, both making the perfect autumnal lunch.

That is all for this month, I am sure Novembers addition will be starting to look a little more Christmassy (how exciting?!).

Nicole

More of my vegan posts

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.