Vegan Beauty Essentials

 

I thought it about time I do a little vegan beauty haul post – such as it is. I sort of take it for granted that my readers know I use only vegan/sustainable cosmetics, and that extends to shampoo and even cotton buds. If I’m being totally honest with myself the cotton buds are kind of a guilty pleasure in that they are not exactly essential to my routine but I’m still totally addicted to them. I know, I know, it’s no excuse but they are just so unbelievably handy for fixing eyeliner and other make-up mishaps I can’t let them go.

I like to avoid buying too many products and so I stock my bathroom with only the bare essentials. Shampoo is, in my opinion, pretty essential (I’m not ready to forfeit clean hair anytime soon) but I do find it difficult to find one that fits the bill….the bill going a wee bit like this:

1. Vegan

2. Reasonably Priced

3. Organic

4. Yummy smelling

In that order.

This Faith in Nature shampoo is the only one I’ve come across that ticks every box. Pick it up in any good health store or (where I purchased it) Oxfam. Doin’ your bit for charidee and keeping your hair glossy n’ clean equals win, win!

I use double faced large cotton pads virtually every day and to that end I try to keep them either fairtrade or organic (even better if you can find ones that are both!) – I care about people as much as I care about the planet ya know! I do favour Boots for cotton pads (these ones to be exact) but this is what Hubby brought back from Sainsbury’s, and at least they’re fairtrade, so they’ll do the job in the meantime.

Another product I often struggle to find is vegan deodorant. I loathe sprays and had been resorting to a Superdrug one (it makes me sneeze for an hour after using it – not good) until I found this Faith in Nature crystal roll-on in Oxfam. I cannot recommend this brand enough. Vegan or not, their products are super.

Keeping your beauty routine vegan is one way to lessen your impact on the planet and unnecessary suffering of animals. It’s not something I like to harp on about (it becomes white noise after a while I find) but if given the option I’m confident everyone would choose products that have not been tested on animals. For me, the vegan symbol is just a mark of reassurance that the product is as kind as it possibly can be and what’s not to like about that?

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Snow Day!

Let’s be honest, dressing for the snow can be a bit of a bitch, particularly when you take into consideration the different stages – light drift, heavy fall, dangerously icy. In my opinion it’s the most difficult weather in which to remain even moderately stylish. Layers are really your only option but I try to keep it as pared down as I possibly can, as I loathe feeling too trussed up.

So when Sunday brought snow with it, I decided to opt for something other than the jeans and jumper I was tempted to throw on (we all have those days!) and instead wear a little vintage skirt that only gets a very rare outing. It’s covered in very long limbed people and reminds me of the Roksanda Ilincic SS 13 collection.

Obviously I’m not entirely mental (skirts in the snow?) and my 200 denier tights kept my legs from turning into blocks of ice, as well as the uber long socks that were a Christmas gift from my Mother – at full length they almost reach my thighs!

Then there’s the green coat. A mainstay of my wardrobe, this green coat has been with me from my University days (i.e. a loooooong time) and even though I don’t wear it very often I like to keep it around in case of whims like these. I love the shade and shape, and it’s amazingly warm, which is kind of a bonus when you’re in the middle of a mild snow storm.

Finally we come to the perennial question of ‘what the heck do I wear on my feet in the snow?!!!’. The answer to which I will always say boots, wellies or, if you are very sensible, those hiking shoe thingy ma jigs – my Husband is one such sensible bod and he rarely falls in the snow/ice. Whilst I do possess a rather wonderful pair of wellies from Seasalt, they are blue and covered in costume clad swimmers, which I thought would be a clash too far for the outfit. Luckily for me, my Sister now lives with us (yay for combined wardrobes!) so I was able to nab her classic black ‘rainboots’ whilst she was out of town – she can’t say nuffin’ because she’s been wearing my purple coat, ha!

Oh, and how could I almost forget to mention my bag…..my new vintage acquisition that cost me a mere two pounds. The bargain mistress continues her reign.

what i’m wearing….coat/topshop….skirt/vintage….sweater/pull and bear….scarf/steven madden(tkmaxx)….hat/forever 21….tights/tabio….socks/avoca….bag/vintage(clocktower market)….mustard gloves/h&m…wellies/borrowed from my Sister, ahem!

 

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Purple Haze

There are some pieces in my wardrobe I come back to time and again. Whilst I have frequent closet clear outs, I just can’t bear to be without certain garments; this skirt and top combo being a prime example.

I remember wearing this very same outfit in the early days of mine and my Husband’s courtship (I like to think we courted anyway…), and it still makes me feel the same way.

The colours are a little unexpected I think, which is probably why I like it so much. You might describe the green as ‘icky’ and pattern as ‘bleugh’ but I adore it – the funnel neck is an added bonus, a good funnel neck can be so flattering. This also may be one of the few instances where a bold print can work in ones favour in the slimming stakes.

The same probably can’t be said about the cream tights but I’ll be damned if I let that stop me from wearing them with just about anything I can – I’ve already rocked them twice this week and  I may squeeze another wear in tomorrow just for the hell of it.

what i’m wearing….

…..skirt/vintage…..top/vintage….tights/h&m….shoes/m&s….coat/urban outfitters….brooch/vintage (clocktower market)….beret/paris

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Crunchy Cous Cous Tacos with a Sweet n’ Spicy Jalapeno Dressing

Weekends for me are all about my kitchen. I tend to spend the entire two days pottering around in there, making this and that – and eating way too much in the process! Whereas I used to make menu plans, now I allow the ingredients to do all the talking, which makes for more interesting dishes and more fun in La Cucina.

Still harboring an obsession for Mexican Cuisine, I rely heavily on tortilla for quick lunches and dinners. Tacos are so versatile, as far as I’m concerned it doesn’t matter what you fill them with, they’ll still taste amazing. With that said, sauces and dressing are what take most good meals to next level and this sweet n’ spicy jalapeno dressing does just that.

I suppose in essence this is what you might call a vinaigrette but we’ll stick with dressing for now. The jalapenos are crucial and so is their minced nature – just keep going over them with a sharp knife until you get the desired ‘squishy’ consistency.

And then…..just mix it through the cous cous AS WELL AS pouring it generously on top before consumption. This would also make a great zingy salad dressing or a yummy dip for bread.

Ingredients

for the dressing

5 pickled jalapeno pieces

1/2 tsp dijon mustard

1 heaped tbsp agave syrup

juice of half lime

1/2 tsp cider vinegar

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

pinch of salt and pepper

method

put everything in an empty jar and shake vigorously until it emulsifies.

cous cous ingredients

1/2 cup cous cous

1 tbsp taco seasoning

1/2 cup defrosted frozen peas

1 tbsp chopped coriander

method

place the cous cous and taco seasoning in a bowl. mix to combine and cover with freshly boiled water. put a plate on top and leave to soak for ten minutes.

fluff with a fork and stir through the peas, coriander and half the dressing.

serve alone or in a crunchy taco – top with more dressing before eating!

 

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Social Butterfly? Social Nit Wit.

I’ve been itching to blog all week. But not about food or clothes. What I want to thrash out on this here space ‘o mine is the fact that I can be a total and utter social nit wit. That is, in many situations that involve, let’s say, other people, I turn into a rambling, babbling, bumbling mess. Or the opposite. Painfully self aware and unable to breathe let alone speak.

Not being able to say what I really mean and articulate myself in the way I know I’m capable of, I find myself, quite honestly floundering and feeling like a fish out of water. Large groups terrify me and even though I’m better one on one, with certain people I am, what can only be described as, a marginal social mess. Filling space with utter crap or stuck for even a single word to offer. Take your pick, I can play both roles with aplomb.

On many levels I consider myself a social pariah and whilst this may not be immediately obvious, if you look a little closer, you’ll soon see how blatantly obvious it is. As an actor I’m reasonably skilled at masking these glaring insecurities but deep down is a girl teetering between excrutiating insecurity and a quiet but shakeable confidence. How so? Well, let’s take a quick look at the details.

Social ineptitude is usually down to feelings of inferiority or thereabouts. We all have a desire to be liked and accepted and in that respect I am no different to everyone else. One of the reasons I keep this blog is a way of forcing myself to be more daring in my self expression. This is the way I would like to be seen but I know it’s not the whole truth.

With my closest friends, I can, of course, totally be myself – mainly silly, chatty, even loud. But only a small group of people ever get to see the whole me (you know who you are!) and I’d like that not to be the case. I want others to know my funny side, my sometimes quick witted humour and my intelligent discussion but I struggle so badly to bring this person out when I most need her.

Instead, I find myself either grasping for words, terrified to utter a word (lest I embarrass myself for life) and with a ‘rabbit in the headlights’ expression on my face. Or! Talking for England and Ireland combined. Talking sheer nonsense I hasten to add – on reflection this probably explains my love for improv…

I really could shake myself sometimes because I know only too well that I am my own worst enemy and this awkwardness needs to be put to bed for good. Determined to lose those ridiculous (and they are ridiculous!) insecurities forever, I am setting out to be more forthcoming and less fearful of being disliked. I mean, if you don’t let people in a little they’ll never have a chance to make their mind up anyway!

So, here I am, open and willing to make a go of it. I’m putting it all up for judgement, critique and we’ll see whether I can use it to my advantage. No doubt I’ll always have a quiet side (who doesn’t?) but I am not going to allow social situations to overwhelm me. And if you don’t like what you see, then I guess we were just not meant to be friends.

All pictures taken from my Instagram account, which you can follow here, should you so wish.

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Food and Fashion Highlights 2012

Can you believe today is officially the last day of Christmas. We’ve eeked it out to the bitter end but will reluctantly be taking down the tree and decorations today. Whilst I’m sad to say goodbye to a wonderful holiday I am excited about what the future holds so it seems only too appropriate to look back on what has been another fun year in blogging terms, as well as a pretty eventful year professionally also – I’m one step closer to a full time job in fashion with my new placement at the Financial Times starting next week:)

This was the first year I started blogging my outfits, so you’ll find here a mix of my food and fashion highlights, such as they are. I’m not going to talk much about the style posts other than to say dressing up (even when I’m dressing down) has always given me immense pleasure. I’m sure these aren’t the best outfits I’ve worn all year (I wear a lot of trousers even if these images say otherwise) but I’m not one for photographing everything I wear – life does get in the way of that for sure – but what is abundantly clear is that…..I loves me some colour!
Food wise, this year has been a tricky one. I still cook from scratch every night but capturing those meals in the dark is pretty much pointless. This should change with the new camera light Hubby gave me for Christmas. You could say my main blogging aim for this coming year is to create more food posts. Not only because I thoroughly love writing/photographing them but also because I know they are well received – believe it or not my most popular blog post this year was my smoky toasty vegan quesadilla. That’s right, a Brussels Sprouts recipe was top of the pops, crazy isn’t it?

On the personal front, it’s all about making our flat more ‘us’, saving money so that we might be able to put a deposit down on a property at some point soon and just generally relishing every minute with my Husband and Family because really, when it comes down to it, that’s what makes me happy. Forget burning ambitions and dreams of a successful career, Family and home life will always be my priority. That doesn’t mean I won’t be making music(getting back into my violin playings kids!), learning to dance(laban here I come….) and sharpening my acting skills(i’m thinking a masterclass in method?!) because that’s all happening too. But you can only do those things if you have your priorities straight and I think for once I can safely say I do.

2013. I own you

smoky toasty vegan quesadilla

 

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Vintage Jackpot!

And A Very Happy New Year To You All!

I spent the evening with my family, celebrating at The City Hotel in Derry and enjoying the fireworks, which were accompanied by one of my Sister’s tracks. It was all pretty emotional if I’m being truthful. We are just all so proud of everything she has achieved and to hear her song being played alongside The Undertones and other local artists was simply thrilling. In case I haven’t mentioned before her name is Mairead and her album Songbook will be released this year. Now that I’ve done my bragging duty we can talk resolutions…..

……one of my resolutions (amongst the many I have vowed to keep this year) is to try and stay away from fast fashion (this is NOT going to be easy!) and only indulge in vintage, charity shop finds and sustainable clothing (gulp). I got off to a pretty good start with this polka dot blouse, which was a Christmas gift from my Mother. I love the fact she sourced something with sustainability in mind and it’s a bonus that I happen to completely adore it.

The perfect dotty shirt has so far eluded me so I can’t believe my Mum managed to find an organic one in just the right shade and shape. Talk about a Jackpot – which just happens to be the name of brand, geddit?! I now have my eye on several things in the range and because they are mostly made from organic cotton etc. I will actually be able to indulge my shopping whim.

The Kodak Brownie heavily featured in the photos is one of the presents I gave Hubby for Christmas. We can’t wait to try it out for real when we get the film for it in London. I will absolutely be taking some blog photos…..it’ll be real deal vintage instead of filters, ‘cited! I believe this is one of the earliest models and it’s in pretty good nick. I couldn’t resist putting it in virtually every photo….perhaps a little overkill but what the hey, eh?

what I’m wearing….sleeveless top/vintage….brown polka dot blouse/jackpot….flared jeans/gap….brown brogues/charity shop….faux pearls/superdrug

 

 

 

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