Valentines lush haul! Cruelty-Free and Vegan

Happy Valentines day! Well not yet... but as there are some exciting new products out from Lush I thought I would let you all know what I have been loving before the day arrives.

Not everyone likes valentines day, but personally, I am a big fan! Even if your not in a relationship it can be a nice day for a good old pamper. This year it is falling on a Thursday, which is a perfect day to give yourself some TLC before the weekend!

I decided to get four things from Lush for myself for valentines, all cruelty free of course. Two are bath bombs that I more got for their comedy value, a body scrub and a body conditioner.

1. Love Island body scrub £2.92

I divided to get this as I was hoping it would be quite coarse and I have started to get little bumps on my legs again (mainly through lack of exercises) It has a strong scent of lemongrass with something else that I am not too fond on but feels very rough so I am hoping it is worth it!


2. Peachy bath bomb £3.29

Made with peach juice and grape fruit oil, this smells amazing and turned my bath water a dark glittery pink! It didn't leave to stronger smell on my skin and the glitter washed away easily... though I hope it biodegrades!


3.American pie naked body conditioner £9.13

This was the most expensive thing I got from the Valentines collection. Made with Shea butter and almond oil it has the usual sent of American Cream which I love... however it was very melty and fell apart quickly. I don't think you can get enough uses out of it to make it worth the money though it did make my skin smell amazing!


4. Aubergine Bath bomb £3.29

This one is very different from the peachy bath bomb! Filled with bergamot and ho wood oil  it is much more uplifting and a more mature scent. Fun to look at and a perfect joke prezzie for the man in your lie for Valentines :)


My top 30 ethical handbag brands - Sustainable fashion and vegan

Well, as it is nearly Christmas I'm sure you will all need something to add onto those Christmas lists! It can be hard finding ethical brands to shop with so I want to make it as easy for you all as possible. So here is my list of ethical handbag companies for you to peruse; they are all different styles, materials, some vegan some not (so do check!) but all of these companies are doing something to use their business as a way to improve the lives of people and animals all over the world.

Let me know which one is your favorite below!

Angela Roi

This is a small vegan and sustainable 
brand from New York,
designing fun clutch bags.

Vegan brand from L.A, they are not sustainable
but are a favorite of vegan leather lovers.

Eco friendly ethically made brand from Australia, 
yes they are vegan.
4. Matt and Nat

One of the best with a large range of styles that are designed well. They are vegan, sustainably made and have recycled bag linings.

5. Bead and Reel

Bead & Reel is a sustainable community founded by Sica Schmitz in 2014 to connect companies and shoppers as we create a more mindful world together.

6. Stormie Dreams

Storimie Dreams are a small company from LA who up cycle old unused fashion. They make really lovely interesting beachy bags that are very sustainable!

7. Sapahn
Sapahn create very easy to wear handbags (something I find quite rear in the ethical accessory world); crafted ethically and sourced simple pieces. 

8. Genesis Fairtrade
A fair trade business empowering female artisans in Peru. Lots of lovely Aztec prints!

9. Kakaw Designs
These are very new agey style bags with some pretty cool travel bags etc. They are sustainable!

10. Bloom and Give
Lovely handmade goods, they have a one girl to school scheme that helps get more girls into school. It artisan american company and again lots of aztec printe.. 

11. Ebatotes
Made in the USA, their style is close to Matt and Nat which I like. Very sustainable and vegan they are very underrated. 

12. The Batik Boutique 

Batik Boutique's vision is to empower hundreds of artisans like Ana by offering them a fair and sustainable income producing beautiful, high quality fashion and gifts. As you would expect these are batik bags.

13. Nina Bernice

Nina Bernice is an eco-luxe handbag brand based in Melbourne, Australia. We create accessories such as cork handbags for the modern woman using good quality and cruelty-free materials to promote sustainability in style. We are founded on the values of positivity, individuality and mindfulness.

14. Shopenat

Enat was  started by best friends Olivia and Eliza who wanted to make more affordable wearable ethical handbags. Made from sustainable leather and made by fairly paid worker this is one of my fave brands.
15. Juuty

Founders Rik & Rosanne from the Netherlands visited Bangladesh in 2014 during their world tour. The couple were touched by the social and natural environment, so they decided to contribute to the development of Bangladesh.

very underated timeless style and an interesting use of material!

16. Shop filbert

Lux vegan handbags that are PETA approved. Plain classic designs slightly pricey. Would be good  for vegans looking for creuelty free vegan leather look bags.

17. Tribe Alive

Handmade products that support women in third world countries. They have classic designs quite simple to be paired with anything! Quite pricey..
18. Parker Clay

Stunning leather bags with a classic design; high quality leather and traditional craftmen ship. Not for vegans sorry!

19. Slate and Salt

Boho jewelry and some canvas bags one of the more famous brands. I really like them but they are a little pricey on some items...

20. Purse & Clutch

We now design & produce our own label that’s currently being made by weavers & artisans in Guatemala as well as leatherworkers in Ethiopia where other employment opportunities simply don’t exist. It really is amazing how much of an impact employment can have on an individual’s life as well as on her community! 

A little bit like Matt and Nat but they use leather so not vegan sorry!

21. Future Glory

If you are looking for something signiture... ook no further! Stunning design and a price tag to match this would be one of my favourites however I find their political affiliations EXTREAMLY dissapointing.

22. Stone and Cloth

Ethical backpacks.

23. Everlane

Popular ut expensive thical brand a little bit like matt and nat. They  do also do some sweet plain canvas backpacks for those hikers our there. 

24. Nisolo

Ethically made leather totes fairly traded. They have no middle men in their supply chain to keep costs low.

25. Freedom of animals 

Organic cotton and vegetable dyes!
26. Angela roi

Very popular ethical brand that make vegan bags. They are expensive and have to be shipped in from the USA with quite high shipping costs. 

27. Cuyana

Each piece is made with integrity and kindness from the highest-quality materials, and created by skilled craftsmen throughout Europe, South America, China, and the United States. Best for expensive totes.

28. Raven and Lily

fair trade fashion brand specializing in uniquely beautiful leather bags and jewelry. purchase of a Raven + Lily product helps fund microloans to female entrepreneurs in our partnership communities.

29. Elvis and Kress

Since 2005 Elvis & Kresse have been rescuing raw materials, transforming them into luxury lifestyle accessories and donating 50% of profits back to charities. Interesting designs.

30. Fashion Conscience

Selling lots of different ethical brands many vegan options and price options!

31. Eco Chic

Good school backpacks, made in a low waste environment from recycled materials. 

32. Isabella Queen

Stunning design with an expensive price tag! Stunning bags made in Britain and using material from Europe. One of the best in my humble opinion in terms of style. Not vegan as they are made of Italian leather.. I cant find much on how the leather is treated though..

What is sustainable timber?

Sustainable timber is timber that comes from sustainably managed forests. This means that the forests are typically managed by stewards who monitor how much wood is taken and oversee reforestation projects.  The overall aim is to limit or slow the current rate of deforestation. While also combating soil erosion and stopping illegal logging, while supporting sustainable development.

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs”, Bruntland Report.

Managing forests in this way is extremely important not only for clean air and habitats for animals but for soil health and preventing environmental disasters like flooding. Forests are also a source of food and fuel for many indigenous populations.

Where a forest is not managed, it can leave the door open for a multitude of issues. These can range from local problems like flooding, environmental degradation and food and water shortages to large-scale problems.

Large-scale issues can range from socio-economic issues like funding corruption to large-scale environmental issues like desertification. Desertification is one of the biggest
environmental challenges worldwide as it results in a decrease of viable agricultural land.

One of the best ways that we can make a difference is to look for FSC or PEFC certifications on wood products. Paper, furniture and packaging are all brilliant places to start! Also sharing information on timber and desertification so people know of the problems; we often here of campaigns to save orangutans etc. but we cant protect these creatures without protecting the forests they live in.

What I ate and drank in Barcelona - Gluten and Dairy Free

I went to Spain just before Christmas. This was my first time in Barcelona and I wanted to share with you all what I ate there that was dairy and gluten free. I found it hard to find information before I went so I hope this helps if you are looking for some nice options for food while you are out there!

The first place is Amorino, where they do lovely vegan ice creams shaped like a flower. I have always found it easier to find vegan ice cream in Spain than anywhere else I am not sure why... I had choccy and raspberry (and gave away the cone)

Our meal on the first night was at a lovely place called Tapeo that was perfect for Tapas and sangria. The staff are all very clued up on gluten and dairy free things so it wasn't hard to to find options I could enjoy with some help from our waiter. The sangria was pretty good too! We ended up going for honey roast ribs, mackerel, patatas bravas and a truffle mayo and Iberian ham burger.

Another one of my favorite places that we ate on this trip was Bodega la tinaja. A small hole in the wall with hams hanging along their stone walls and the biggest bottles of wine I have ever seen. I feel like this is what eating in Barcelona should be like...
I forgot to take a picture of the meal but there was a lot of Iberian ham, potato and asparagus. The staff were lovely and the gins are huge so look out!

This was a bar near where we stayed that I would recommend, excellent cocktails with a down to earth vibe. I liked the fact that the cocktails ere inventive and interesting and I enjoyed watching an olive freeze a liquid... interesting! Another bar I liked that we went to was Dr Stravinskis but if you go make sure you sit by the bar!

Casa Angela was another favorite place that we ate in Barcelona especially for tapas. Right behind the Segrada Familia you pay for the location but the food is lovely! Prawns patatas bravas and some chorizo cooked in cider it was lovely! If you go here don't miss out on the prawns they are huge and very fresh!

One afternoon we spent looking around the La Boqueria market and we got some nibbles at the same time.  The fresh juices here are lovely and if you go further in you can get one for about one Euro. The ham was also brilliant and we found a place that gave you a little cone of different hams! Unfortunately there was lumps of cheese and little bread sticks in the cone but as I am not that sensitive I just passed those on! There was lots of other foods there to try and I would highly recommend going just for a look around!

On the first day I was struggling a bit to find something to eat and we ended up at this place. I am not sure, but I think it is part of a chain; the one we went to was at Passeig de Sant Joan, 46, 08010 Barcelona, Spain and it was delicious! The food was right up my street and it was easy to get almond milk and gluten free bread etc. The staff were helpful and new what was in the food! We both had delicious eggs and shared a sweet potato patatas bravas! Mmm

On the night before the last we decided to go out to a more international place to get away from all the Iberian ham, so we went to Bananas. It is modern inside and they sell world food. So American, Mexican and Thai; I decided to go for nachos without the cheese as I thought this would be fine as the menu did not day that it came with anything else. When my food came I was annoyed to see it had cream on it and the waiter had not mentioned it and nor had the menu. The food was nice but it was not clearly labeled so if you go here I would be really clear and ask a lot of questions!

Somewhere that we stopped for a snack was a small noodle bar called Wok and Boa. We found this down a side street in an area just off Las Ramblas and I personally was very impressed! I often fall back to Asian food abroad and rice noodles are an easy way to avoid gluten. There menus are in English which and you build your own box, which makes avoiding certain things easy. I would suggest as a quick easy and cheap place to eat if you are vegan as there were some lovely vegan options on the menu. 

The last meal we had was this paella the night before we left in another tapas bar. Catalonia is not known for it's paella but at this point I was fed up of eating ham and I wanted something wholesome. It is also a good dish to ask for if you are avoiding diary and gluten!

(Note: This is the only place where I was concerned the bravas has dairy in it so be warned!)

This was my gluten free and dairy free brecky that I got from Funky Bakers near where I was staying. For some reason I keep telling myself I like chia seeds when I don't. Other than that they had some good gluten free and vegan options!

Clothes made from trees with the PEFC! Ethical fashion edit

The PEFC is a very underrated organisation, essentially similar to the FSC but more respected among forest owners and the lumber trade. They have been working on a joint project with the UNECE and the FAO on a 'forests for fashion' initiative; the aim of this is to increase the market value of forests and unlock new markets for sustainable timber.

This will also go some way to assisting the slow fashion movement in influencing  the fashion industry to become more sustainable. Materials like cotton and synthetics play a huge role in a multitude of environmental, economic and social problems; reducing our dependence on these is therefore extremely important. 
(Fun fact it takes between 7-10,000 ltrs of water to make one pair of jeans! That's ten years of drinking water)
This new project will focus on using wood fibers to produce recyclable and biodegradable textiles from cypress, beech and eucalyptus trees. These fibers are then used to create textiles the most common currently are viscose modal and Lyocell.
(see my previous post to read up on different fibers :)
This process of turning the wood pulp into textiles requires 1/3 of the energy and 1/60th of the water compared to cotton production. These fibers are, therefore, a very good option.
But where does PEFC come in? Well, it is important to make sure that the trees are grown and harvested with the environment in mind and making sure that the fabric is from PEFC certified is the best way to do that. PEFC is much stricter and avoids a lot of the problems that FSC currently have. This then helps to build trust in forest products, creating additional demand and increasing the value of forests.
"Increasing the value of forests and the image of the forestry sector will also ultimately help the entire timber sector; further incentive's sustainable forest management and helping ensure long-term, sustainable raw material supply.
"While forests can make an important contribution towards solving the challenges facing a sustainable fashion industry, PEFC can help ensure that sustainable sourcing is part of the solution,"  PEFC Website.
I personally think this is a brilliant project as I have long been a fan of the work the PEFC do.. this may also be a chance for them to get a bit more publicity for themselves as well! I am very excited for the future of this project please share and comment if you agree :)

What I ate in Gdansk Poland - Gluten and Dairy Free

Me again! A little bit of a different topic today but something I wanted to do something I have I though about for a while! I have been dairy and gluten free since 2014 and I know how difficult some people can find it to find nice things to eat. This is made so much worse when I go travelling or if I am going somewhere new because how do I know what food is safe or what food they do in other countries? It can be hard and it is one of the things that personally puts me off travelling! 

I wanted to start doing some blogs about what I eat when I go away on holiday, let me know if you would like to see more and find this helpful! 

Personally, Poland and the food worried me a little before I went. Every time you ask someone what to eat in Poland all you hear about is big lumps of pork potato and cabbage (all of which I quite like, but I didn't want to be restricted). Most people also said there is a lot of bread cream and cheese in things so needless to say finding food to eat there was a concern of mine. I was also concerned about finding people who spoke English so I could ask what was in food if I needed clarification. 

We stayed in an Air bnb so we went to the supermarket to get our own breakfast things which was good for me as I could get cereal and almond milk and eggs etc. So the meals we had to find out were lunches and dinners. 

Waking through the streets of Gdansk at first I began to worry, among all the stunning crafts was A LOT of bread stalls and pastry shops. The first day there I found it quite stressful finding something to eat if I am honest. This was also amplified by it being the beginning of the holiday so I wanted to be more careful, than possibly at the end. One of the first big meals we had out was at a restaurant I cant tell you the name of but will put the address below! I just can't for the life of me find what it is called on google maps! It was traditional polish food of pork knuckle, friend potatoes and braised cabbage. I was content with this choice as I felt that it was best to have something simple that wont haven any hidden gluten. I really enjoyed this meal, and although it was quite simple it was packed with flavor! I am not sure what they cook their potato in but it makes them AMAZING! It was quite daunting as the portions are quite large but I couldn't fault it! Something I realized quite quickly however, is Polish people speak excellent English, so asking them questions about gluten and dairy free choices was very easy and they were extremely helpful! I wish I would have asked in this restaurant and they wouldn't have added a dollop of what I think was cream ha ha. Everywhere we went had brilliant customer service!

Długa 81, 80-831 Gdańsk, Poland - Aspiro 

Another lovely meal I had was this at 77 sushi on the waterfront! Japanese is often my fall back as its quite easy to get just rice and meat. Sushi is always a good choice however, I went for this Bento box which tasted amazing and was reasonably priced! I have had Bento boxes before in the UK but this was the best one I have ever had! It tasted so good and you even got a little chopped fruit pudding!
(Note: if you are very sensitive to gluten don't use soy sauce!)

Another place we enjoyed eating was this vegan canteen near the train station. I can't remember the name but there were lots of different dairy and gluten free options for a very reasonable price! Vegan curry and veggie burgers glore!

A la francaise is a lovely place that I wanted to go on the first day but they lost power. We managed to get there on the last day and I am glad we did! Originally I wanted to go here for a English breakfast, but I ended up trying this.., I have never had buckwheat before. I thought it had gluten in, but I was actually OK! One of the tastiest meals I have ever had it had egg chicken bacon and anchovy paste! A must!

January Blues

I think a lot of people get January blues... myself included. I have always found it a difficult time for a lot of reasons. This year however, I don't want to let things or people hold me back from doing the things that I want to do even if I have to do them alone.

I think often me (and possibly other people), are sad around this time of year because its a time of reflection to look back at the year that has just gone. That can be nice if you have had a good year, but if your year was full of struggles and disappointments it can make the prospect of taking on a new year terrifying. A new year is not a time for hopes but a time for dreads wondering what is going to go wrong and the troubles that lie ahead. 

It can also be sad when you didn't do much the past year, maybe because of work, friends, family or a partner who you feel wont do the fun things you want to do or they don't want to do anything at all. People and relationships in life can start to hold you back, or become toxic. Job situations and home situations can be equally shit, swamping you with negative people who bring you down. 

I have had this happen so many times and it completely ruined my outlook on things. It put limits on what I thought could happen or the stuff I wanted to do because I knew they wouldn't do it; it's sad how easily people can stop you from actually living your life.

One of my resolutions for this year, is to go on more adventures wherever they may be; this is something that is really important to me. I think it's important to take back control, to decide what you want to do, where you want to go and go for it. That's what I want to do this year, I want to spend my time doing what I want to do regardless of what anyone else thinks. To spend it on the things that matter to me and make me happy and contented <3

A duck always cheers me up!

Let me know in the comments f you are struggling with the January blues... and don't worry only a few days left now!

New Years resolutions for 2019 - blogging problems, keeping fit and getting some fresh air!

Happy New Year Everyone! I've been off having some time without as much social media in my life and thinking about what I want out of this next year! I love making new years resolutions and make them every year as it's the best time to make a change in my life for the better I find :) Thinking about last year I have decided that there is three things I would really like to do this year:

1) Focus more on my health and fitness as I let a lot of things slip last year. I love health and fitness and focusing on eating well with local and sustainable food. I feel like I lost site of this this year and I want to get back into it again.

2) Have more adventures regardless of if they are in the UK or abroad! I love being outside in the countryside walking and riding and I want to make this a priority this year! I'm hoping to get some good hikes in too!

3) Find my passion to blog again; 

I got very sick of blogging this year for multiple reasons. I found out that someone else has taken the name and topic of my blog and basically copied it and ripped it off which is disheartening and made me really angry. Also, I wanted to write more about other things not just cruelty free beauty and fast fashion and I found it a bit restricting...

I would love to hear if anyone else feels like this blogging; I started out loving to talk about cruelty free beauty and slow fashion... but sometimes the focus on brands and getting sponsored posts etc takes the fun out of things. It is the same with my Instagram. I started that to share the things I love whatever they were and, to be fair, that is what Instagram was for in 2014. Now I regularly get criticisms about my content and people put me down about my feed. 

This year I want to find my passion again, post what I want when I want and remember not to care at all what brands or blogger of other Instagrammers think!

 Let me know if you have made any resolutions or have felt like this, I would love to hear about everyone else's experiences  :) :)