Hallowe’en Inspired Accessories

I know it takes some people a lot of confidence to really go-all-out for Hallowe’en but that doesn’t mean you can’t Vamp It Up a bit. Sorry, I couldn’t help it!

Deaths Head Moth Pin (print also available in dresses and tops) – Em and Sprout

Jezebel Tote Bag – Vivienne Of Holloway

Zombie Girl Pin – Worn To Death Apparel 

Cobweb Tassel Earrings – Boohoo

Chrissie V- -V

Aldi Vegan No Sausage Rolls

I’m just going to get straight to it and say these taste fantastic! I was worried they might be a little bland but they have the perfect meaty, lightly spiced flavour you expect from a decent sausage roll.

The cooking instructions threw me a bit (from frozen) as it says to place them directly on to the oven shelf. Im glad I didn’t otherwise they would have glued themselves to it. Instead, I put them on a pre-heated pizza tray with lots of holes in so that they cooked through all crispy but didn’t stick. Ten minutes before the end I turned the oven up from gas mark 6 to 7 because they needed it.

They are so tasty I didn’t want to ruin them with the tomato sauce and ignored it. A nice bit of Branston pickle would have gone down well though.

Rating 5/5

P.S. These are vegan, so dairy free but not gluten free. Yup, I will have a food baby for the next few days – totally worth it for a treat now and then ;0)

<3Chrissie

Replacing Our Favourite Scents with Cruelty Free Ones part 1

On our journey to replace all of our favourite scents, me and the bloke have been trying a lot of samples to the point where we are having to make notes!

The scents the bloke is trying to replace:

Oud by The Body Shop (as they no longer stock it)

1 Million by Paco Rabanne.

Mine are:

Heat by Beyonce

Deep Red by Hugo Boss (I already have a fairly good one from Floral Street)

Burberry Woman (the bloke noticed this on someone and asked what it was)

All uplifting, musky orientals essentially.

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Eden perfumes are an independent, vegan company from Brighton who don’t test any ingredient or finished product on animals (they don’t ship to countries who demand testing by law). You can post bottles back to them and they will refill them for you.

The main thing that attracted me to them over other cf perfume companies is that, as well as creating original scents they also sell some highly recommended dupes for existing perfumes. The perfumes have similar names to the original name/brand or you can search by which notes you prefer under the perfume shop tab such as ‘fruity’ ‘woody’, ‘musky’ etc.

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The Sample Gift Box (£21.60) contains three 10ml perfumes of your choice and is incredibly useful for figuring out if you’ve made the right choice before committing to a 30ml or 50ml bottle. I find this sample size of bottle to still be handbag friendly but they are far easier to spray than some smaller tester bottles, which are way to fiddly for me.

Left: SHE 060 is a very fresh, sexy scent that reminds me of the best selling unisex scents in the early 2000’s. Centre: TREASURE 019 is an oriental fruity/floral and isn’t meant to be a dupe for Beyonce’s Heat but really reminds me of it, plus it’s lasted all day – 1 down, 4 to go! Right: BERRY BERRY 018 is meant to be a dupe of Burberry Woman but the bloke immediately said that wasn’t anything like the one he meant. I don’t know if the lass just said Burberry and didn’t know which specific one she was wearing or what? Sadly, it also faded incredibly quickly on my skin so was no use as a general perfume even. We’ll have to keep trying…

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In the second gift box I’ve ordered, I’ve included ‘Million Dollar Man’, ‘Oud Wood’ and ‘Virgin Waters’ which is a dupe of Virgin Island Water by Creed which I’ve never heard of  but apparently it smells of the beaches in the Bahamanian islands. Sold!

Keep in touch, I’ll let you know how our search goes…

Which scent would you want a dupe for?

Chrissie

 

Shopping at Ocado for Free-from Food & Review of Items

Why Ocado?

I’m not able to get out of the house much (especially in the warmer weather) and I feel awful sending my Dad and my bloke out with lists of incredibly specific items that not every individual supermarket stocks. Imagine my Dad asking a member of staff for “This quinowaa stuff in a tub? It was on the Instagram.” “Sounds exotic, try the foreign isle.” (That’s the only thing they ever suggest because they can’t be arsed looking) and my bloke trying to explain that “No, harrisa paste won’t be in the DIY section!”

Is it easy?

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So easy! For a start there’s a ‘Browse Shop’ tab (top left) which reveals all of the different sections of the shop including toiletries, gardening, baby as well as frozen, fresh etc. I chose ‘Free From & Organic’. From the next list I choose ‘vegetarian’, ‘dairy free’ and ‘gluten free’. You can also filter by brands and what’s on offer. Minimum order is £40, which I would say is an average family, weekly shop anyway.

Booking and deliveries

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It’s displayed on an easy to understand grid, with the dates across the top and the 1 hour delivery times underneath. I’m not sure how far into the future you can schedule a delivery but it’s best to bear in mind that a product may be available when ordering but not necessarily available by the time your delivery happens.

You can alter your delivery times and edit your basket (you do have to check out again for the latter) up until the day before it’s due to arrive. You get a text the day before your delivery reminding you of the time, then another on the day telling you the name of your driver, the colour of the van (‘lemon’ which had giant lemons all over) and the reg. It also tells you if any item is unexpectedly out of stock. I found it amusing that, of all things they’d run out of my plain old toothpaste.

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Staff are so friendly and will carry your shopping right into your kitchen for you. Everything comes in named and colour coded bags so you can see where everything should go.

It is easy being green!

A little green van symbol indicates ‘greener delivery slots’. These are when an Ocado van is already doing another delivery in your area, so less millage and fuel burnt. You keep your bags and hand them back and any cardboard beer/wine holders on your next delivery.

The Food

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The Good

Everything by Sacla is always perfect.

Biona Fruit Bears are so much juicer better than Haribo.

Nakd Salted Caramel Bars are perfectly balanced between sweet and salty. They are so soft that it’s better to store them in the fridge on hot days.

Livia’s Nuglets are similar in flavour and also better kept in the fridge, for that chunks-of-cookie-dough-in-ice-cream effect.

Gu Spanish Lemon Cheesecakes are absolutely dreamy!

Gosh! Spinach and Pinenut Bites are basically a mild, soft falafel. These taste great with a few drops of water splashed on and warmed in the microwave for 10 seconds, then teamed with humus and salad.

Soulful One Pot, Brazillian Tomato and Black Bean with Cashews and Quinoa was so creamy for something dairy free and the ingredients were all so perfectly balanced, it was a delight to eat.

Violife block of cheese is the best dairy-free cheese I’ve eaten. Like a giant block of Dairylee slices.

Quorn Peperoni slices do contain milk in the flavourings but not enough to have an effect on me. Perfect cold in sandwiches with American mustard or hot on a pizza.

The Bad

Bakery of Main GF Muesli Banana flavour – No where near enough banana pieces!

Warburton’s GF Loaf – Sticks to your teeth like a sponge rehydrating it’s self. schaar white loaf is so much better.

Free and Easy Chickpea and Vegetable Curry – I was expecting something like an Indian daal, what I got was a Mexican chilli. Hmm.

The Meh…

Soulful One Pot, Mexican Bean and Sweet Potato with Quinoa – I thought I might not like the flavour of the quinoa but it was pleasant. I was disappointed that the flavour of the sweet potato was barley noticeable. I found that I was begrudgingly plodding my way through it, simply because I was hungry.

Clive’s Pies – These came out of the oven so damn dry! It didn’t say to microwave them but I did and they came out like a pudding from the chippy, nom! Still not a patch on other veggie pies I’ve eaten as they are stingy on the filling. Sort it out Clive!

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I’ve found the whole experience so much less stressful and time consuming than doing a physical shop. It wasn’t anymore expensive and I now have a fully stocked kitchen of lovely food that won’t make me ill. I accepted my second delivery (filled with more every-day type stuff, as well as a few new things) as I was typing this. After I’ve tried everything I’m going to edit my favourites list online and then just have it as a repeat order every month I reckon.

Chrissie

 

 

 

 

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

Well, the answer is not much as I’ve had a cold for a week but luckily the evening before it started me and the bloke went to the pub. We love The Gateway in Didsbury as it has friendly staff and punters, free wi-fi, lots of cheap but tasty veggie food, a nice gluten free beer as well as many guest beers and ciders. Plus, the loos are down stairs so it’s not like navigating that Escher painting trying to find them.

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I was too hot and restless to sleep in so I got up and ‘painted’ my hair again. Literally just slapped it on the front bits with a tint brush, then read a magazine for an hour and then sat on the bathroom floor, leaned into the shower and rinsed it off.

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‘Discovered’ a great takeaway called Saki in Droylesden on Justeat who do veggie sushi, this lovely mixed tofu salad, Gyoza dumplings and ramen. Okay, I’m getting hungry now…

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I can take no credit for this what-so-ever, it’s all down to my Dad!

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I found this plastic glass at the back of the cupboard which has inspired me to make banana and strawberry milk shakes, with a splash of almond milk.

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I changed my avatar to look all summery (they didn’t have a streaky hairstyle, just posh balayage) and then, of course, it pissed it down for the rest of the week.

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Came across this great graphic on Instagram and gave the little guy an activity to do because disabled people also do things.

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To use up some stuff I made a deli bowl of Mediterranean salad, pomegranate bits, mixed seeds, stuffed vine leaves, the ever important inclusion of pickles, and pieces from a giant block of silken tofu I cut up into big chunks and fried in sesame oil (tastes like chicken).

Over the past four months I’ve been watching The Goldbergs, then Schooled, Speechless and Young Sheldon and The Big Bang Theory nearly every evening. I’m at a bit of a loss now that two have ended for good, one might not be coming back (Speechless) and two are in between series.

I seem to have replaced them with the gameshows Tipping Point (based around the 2p waterfall arcade machine), Pointless, Egg Heads and The Chase. My general knowledge is pretty impressive now and it’s massively helped my recall and logical reasoning. Oh and there’s series five of Black-ish starting!

Coming up soon I review green mascara and purple lip gloss from The Body Shop and two Rockabilly blouses from Hell Bunny.

Chrissie

 

The Body Shop Colour Crush Lipstick

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I bought The Body Shop Colour Crush Lipstick (£8.00) in Luanda Peony as I wanted a neutral pink. I was also attracted to this particular lipstick as all of the reviews said how moisturising it was. A few reviews also suggested it wasn’t highly pigmented and I liked the idea of just a wash of colour for daytime.

It turns out that this isn’t a dusky pink but rather a deep cherry pink shade, which is very pigmented and bright! It is very flattering if you have green (or blue) eyes, so I’m good with that. Another thing which surprised me was the subtle shimmery effect. It doesn’t highlight any unevenness or look too frosted and 80’s so don’t let the word ‘shimmer’ put you off.

I do find the Marula oil content to be moisturising and it does glide on easily, with an even colour pay-off, even when my lips are dry in places. It was still visible after four pints which, for a normal bullet lipstick, was impressive. I am so glad this has a really subtle rose scent and doesn’t smell or taste like kids sweets like some lipsticks I’ve owned – urgh!

The packaging has a simple twist up bullet with a lid that clicks on and a clear base so you can actually see the colour you are buying.

  • Community Trade agreed
  • Buav (leaping bunny) approved.

 

Rating 5/5

Chrissie

Kirsty’s Classic Margherita Pizza Gluten & Dairy Free review

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It’s unusual for me to find a pizza that is GF and DF, especially one that has a fair amount of toppings. I found this in Tesco.

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Studies have found that our gut health does directly relate to our emotions because they are connected by the vagus nerve, which transmits signals between them. Ever been really nervous and had a slushy feeling in your stomach or received bad news and felt your stomach drop? Ever eaten something you know doesn’t agree with your stomach in the evening and then had really chaotic anxiety dreams? It does make you wonder!

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They could add more cheese around the edge but the sauce is delicious and the thin base is lovely and crispy so I wasn’t too bothered. My only complaint is that the ‘cheese’ was too sweet. Nice flavour to it but I had to add salt and pepper to make it more savoury.

In my gas oven I had to put this on the shelf that’s above middle but not right at the top, rather than the middle as suggested. I also had to put it on gas mark 7 (higher than the temperature suggested) and leave it in for five minutes longer. Frustrating at first but I’m glad I persevered.

The bloke cooked his in a microwave-combi oven and followed the instructions exactly. It came out perfect!?

Rating 4/5 (depending on oven)

Chrissie

 

When People Still Don’t Get It After The 10,000 Time

Don’t say it, don’t say it, don’t say it….

When you have repeatedly explained your disability, symptoms and needs to someone, in every way you can think of and they still aren’t getting it.

Breathe….

I know it’s tempting to want to strangle them or head butt the desk repeatedly or scream – actually screaming into a pillow is very therapeutic – but eventually you will have to accept it and let it go for the sake of your mental health.

Not everyone’s empathy works in the same way. Some people will instantly get it (whether they have experienced it or not) simply by listening and taking the info on board. Some people need to have experienced something similar for themselves so they literally know what you mean. Others, because it is different to their experiences will never, ever be fully onboard. Even if you have gone through something and they were witnessing it, they still won’t have learned from that past experience.

Now, that’s not to say they don’t care and don’t want to understand. It is entirely possible for a person to sympathise, yet manage to say or do something ignorant and tactless purely by mistake.

I guess what I’m saying is don’t take it personally and don’t beat your head against a brick wall (metaphorically I mean) by thinking you can change someone like that and enlighten them. Some people are all ready at their maximum capacity for understanding and empathising.

Essentially at that point, it is up to them to get their own head around what you need and how you function. I’ve arrived at the conclusions at the start of this post. Trying to make someone understand, isn’t always worth your mental health or your relationship with them deteriorating. If they obviously care about you, sometimes you just have to accept that no matter how much they try, maybe they never will really get it and you have to be cool with that.

Chrissie

Mental Health Awareness Month Has Helped Me Admit To Having Anxiety For 37 Years!

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I thought I always felt anxious just because of life. From being a kid to a teen I was dealing with everyday racism; a family member with mental health probs where I’d get blamed for ‘setting them off’ to point where it was actually enabling them; it not being acknowledged by teachers or Drs that I had learning differences and was Neurodiverse; my Dyspraxia and Hypermobilty Syndrome were undiagnosed and symptoms ignored even after multiple GP visits; I totally failed both A-levels, because of other people’s errors/and then a huge chunk of my hard work work getting lost.

As an adult, when I’d go clubbing I’d either get totally ignored by blokes (even shoved out of the way) or they’d bluntly pursue me for one thing only. Such a head-fuck! In my second job a group of people who I thought were my friends were secretly excluding me from nights out and taking the piss behind my back for a year. Then in my very next job it happened all over again with three other ‘friends’ who, after six months started trying to manipulate and lie to me, like it was a game. I didn’t trust my own judgment or perspective on anything for several years afterward.

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I’d managed to cope with the anxious feelings by talking to (actual) friends and doing lots of fun stuff (everything to the extreme) and pretending all of this was just average daily life. I was ignoring that many things were way more difficult for me to navigate than my friends, for so many reasons I couldn’t understand and that I really wasn’t ‘fine’. Not remotely. When I got overly emotional I blamed the beer I’d drank or that I was over tired. Then, when I finally got diagnosed with several chronic illnesses I was obviously relieved but understandably anxious too.

Basically, I thought it’s not the mental illness ‘Anxiety’ if I’ve always got a reason to feel anxious right? Wrong!

Now, for the past few months the fact I have and have always had anxiety has become so obvious to me, that I can’t ignore it anymore. I was so busy coping with other shit going on, oddly enough, the importance of my mental health got shuffled to the back of my mind. I’ve been having the same two upsetting dreams about being left behind or ignored; I’m stewing on negative thoughts that I can’t shake and over-thinking people’s actions; lately I’ve had a constant wobbly feeling in my tummy that either ruins my appetite or has me running to the loo because the food has flown right through me.

I realise this current anxiety is down to several situations that have all collided at once. It’s wildly skewing my perspective, making me needy and fearful and even effecting my decision making and actions. One of those things was being unable to bear going through five hours of being on my own with my wildly see-sawing thoughts, no matter how much I distracted my self with manicures, makeovers, films and ice cream, they’d creep back. It resulted in me (at least once a day) phoning and/or texting the one person I was meant to be giving a little space to, and yet somehow, never mentioning my anxiety to them. Not once.

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Hopefully now I’ve recognised all of this and having talked some of it through with that person, the anxiety will calm down a lot. They were patient and surprisingly empathetic. It turns out that they’ve had anxiety for years, over-thinking and worrying about me! Since the talk, I’ve already stopped having the dreams so that’s a lot less mentally exhausting. I also feel very relieved, although still a little uncertain. They’ve also said it’s a weight off their chest, just saying it out loud.

There are still some incredibly important things up in the air but only time – rather than numerous phone calls – will reveal how those will work out, so I’ll just have to wait. Gosh, I’m crap at waiting….

Chrissie