Your Fave FOOD Photo’s From The Last 6 Months

(Clockwise)

Veggie black pudding with beetroot sauce and salad from Vertigo, Mcr.

Gf Seeded Nairn’s crackers with vegan Flora, Violife original ‘cheese’ and green olives and capers.

Veggie stew of everything from the back of the cupboard, the fridge and the freezer.

Mashed spud made with vegan Flora, Linda McCarneys gf Red onion and Rosemary sausages, green beans and peas with Bisto (happens to be gf) caramelised onion gravy.

Salad with Original Tofoo and tamari (gf soy sauce).

Salad with Smoked Tofoo, Gosh! falafel and Siriacha sauce.

Oomph! Kebab Strips, rice, pea and sweetcorn with chilli oil.

Smoked Tofoo covered in toasted sesame oil and grilled, with Helmans mayo and 1/3 tin of Co-op mixed bean spicy salad.

(Centre)

Gosh! Falafel and Violife White Block (taste and consistency of goats cheese not feta) salad with home made hummus (lots of tahini and olive oil).

I hope this has given you some ideas for simple and tasty veggie and gluten/dairy free food. 😋

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Your Fave LIFESTYLE Photo’s from the Last 6 Months

I post a selection of photo’s from this blog onto my Instagram and share a few general images everyday. Come follow me if you don’t already @vamp_it_up_mcr

I’ve gone through which photos got the most likes (on Insta) and divided them up into four categories, Lifestyle, Style, Food and er, Me!

Lifestyle

(Clockwise)

Gap Between Buildings When you walk down Whitworth Street heading to Oxford Road, you cross over a tiny bridge without realising and that’s the view of the canal and swanky apartments to your left.

Baby Jay I’ve only ever seen a Jay twice before so this little’un sitting right outside the window was lovely surprise.

Sorting my makeup and storage I chucked out anything old or crap and arranged everything here into one bag and base coverage and tools/brushes into a wicker basic. I indulged my left over OCD traits and lined up everything colourful for this photo; so satisfying!

Pins I have so many pins I have to rotate them on bags and coats. I need to make space on my pin board to display them all properly.

Skincare Routine After setting myself he challenge to get healthier skin in one month, I narrowed down my products to these and found a consistent routine and it worked!

Street Art This is a very old photo of the side of a block at the start of The Northern Quarter. The beautiful art (subject now replaces by Mcr bees) is by Faunagraphic who’s responsible for all of the nature inspired, pastel or brushstroke effect street-art in town. Check out that pretty fire-escape too.

Narwhals Narwhals Swimming In The Ocean (the pre-curser to the baby shark song) My Bloke got me these slippers last Xmas.

Bench In Our Tiny Backyard All my Dads work. I offer to help with our yard but he always refuses as he loves doing it so much. He’s like me, if he gets an idea in his mind, he knows exactly how he wants it. I’m not arguing as it comes out looking lovely every time ^_^

(Centre)

Sustainable (what used to be referred to as Eco) Purchases I got everything here from an online shop called Ecologue. Metal flask, really light but efficient; Bamboo toothbrush, the most comfortable one I’ve ever used and biodegradable; Cleansing pads, also made from bamboo and machine washable!

As always I’d love to hear your thoughts…

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Monthly Life Update – March (Yup, I know we’re well into April)

March was a bit of a non-month really. Me and the bloke started our quarantine, apart from him having an hour in the park every few days. It’s a big park with wide paths and wide gates so no need to be anywhere near anyone else. A Submotion Orchestra gig (dub, orchestral, hip-hop) got cancelled which was sensible but sad. Luckily we hadn’t booked anything else or made plans to go anywhere else.

Lifestyle

In January I made a secret resolution to avoid gluten as it effects my breathing and doesn’t help with my naturally challenged memory and concentration skills, as well as making me bloated. I’m doing better with the above which is wonderful and I’ve have discovered I have a little square chin, rather than the two (or even three) rounded chins that I normally have. Bonus!

At first I thought the Jay was screeching at me for food, until I put some out and it ignored it. It carried on screeching right next me. I went into the kitchen at one point and noticed it stopped. I came back and it started. I realised it had looked at me, sat in my living room and decided I was too close to the branch that it had chosen and was shouting at me to go away! Erm…..!?

This is Little Groot, the huge chilli plant we cut right back to a tiny stump when it stopped giving us chilli’s. It’s a tenacious little fecker and has come back with a vengeance, which we hoped but didn’t really expect.

I find the trend of young women shaving the peach fuzz off their cheeks such a shame. It’s natural, your skin isn’t supposed to look as smooth and shiny as a Barbie Dolls and why are we adding yet another step in the relentless quest to look perfect’? Here’s me with my fluffy face (you can see it on the right hand side in contrast with the shadow) which most people find really sweet.

Style

I went through a pastel-goth moment (perfect style to cheer up grey, cold weather) and found this huge metal quote pin from Crazy Crafty Chick Club.

I’m still rocking my custom Airforce 1’s and find that they go with basically everything. I can fit my orthotics in them and I can wear my ankle brace with them too. If you need spacious, stable but fairly light weight footwear, these are dream shoes!

I’ve finally got all of the styles of boots I’ve ever wanted so I will not be buying any more, ever. The chunky pair are from Koi and the slimmer pair are from Newlook (detachable wings from Koi) and everything is vegan.

Beauty

I stumbled across this independent soap brand in Tesco of all places as it was the only soap left but it’s the best soap though, how odd!? Vegan, cruelty free and genuinely natural. They do a range for pets too!

Cheered myself up with a sparkly coral mani.

Food

I bought this beautiful vegan porcini mushroom sauce and gluten free gnocchi in a huge (and perfectly timed) shop from Ocado just before all of their delivery slots got maxed out.

First salad of the year! With Violife Greek Block (supposed to be feta, tastes exactly like goats cheese instead) and Gosh! Mediterranean Red Pepper Falafel. I do get boxes of cheap falafel mix from the corner shop as well but these are quick and easy for when I’m fatigued.

Amy’s Burritos are the perfect size between a snack and a meal. This one is the tofu breakfast scramble and there are several others with rice and one with cheesy baked-beans. So good!

I tried Violife extra cheesy block and ‘ham’ slices, which had such similar textures and even flavours, that they blended together to create one weird flavour in my sandwich. Fail! The ‘ham’ is perfect on a sarny with pickled onion/cauliflower or a teeny bit of mustard. The cheese is perfect on a sarny with spring onions or on a cracker with sandwich pickle.

What a strange, almost surreal month that was.

🖤✨Chrissie🖤✨

Limited Edition Barry M Wildlife Eyeshadow Pallets

Barry M have collaborated with the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation and artist Emily Lamb to create three limited edition, vegan Wildlife pallets (£7.99). The special thing is that 20% of the net profits go straight to the specific animal on the pallet you have chosen. The tiger pallet has neutral and very warm tones but I’ve always loved pangolins and rhinos so I chose those two. They happen to really compliment each other too.

The Pallets

The Pangolin is the brightest little pallet that I’ve ever seen!

The Rhino is much more neutral but shimmery.

The Pallets

These prove that pallets made out of cardboard can still be sturdy and durable. I love how light and transportable these are and the small but functional mirror is a great touch.

The shadows

The immediate colour pay off isn’t quite as much as I was expecting from such velvety soft shadows and vibrant colours but to be fair, they are very solidly pressed in the pan. They do glide on and are very easy to build to get the depth of colour you want.

The pigment doesn’t shift easily so they aren’t the easiest shadows to blend but because I have oily eyelids and hooded eyes I prefer that they stick around.

The matts have great depth and even the neutral tones show up against my warm skin tone. The shimmers are beautiful with ‘Powerful’ in the Rhino pallet being an actual pan of glitter!

Applications

Ideally I would use the shimmers for my lid, inner corners and under the highest part of my brow. I’ll use the matts in a rounded shape above my lid and outer corners. It would look stunning with just two colours applied all around the eye, like teal and bronze or purple and pink, which is what I’ll do most often.

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

The Best 4 Natural Deodorants

Our bodies need to sweat so we can cool down, rather than passing out. Usually we don’t need to sweat excessively, unless we are pushing ourselves physically or we’re in a hot climate and we certainly don’t need pong, yes even with natural deodorant!

Ohii Pure Stick Deodorant in Rose or Citrus Tea 72g £10

This very chubby stick uses charcoal to absorb sweat and treat odours. I recommend the Citrus Tea scent to Male you smell as fresh as a mountain top. Don’t use this if you are wearing a black bra or top as it can leave white marks if you spread it on your body very thickly.

Amphora Aromatics Roll-on Deodorant in Grapefruit & Cedarwood 50ml £4.90

There are three scents available but I find this unisex scent so sexy that I bought a vegan perfume which smells exactly like it! It doesn’t contain any aluminium, synthetic perfume or alcohol.

Your Nature Life Stick Deodorant in Sandalwood & Bergamot £7.95

A stick with oils and butters to nourish skin and arrow root powder to absorb sweat, this push up deodorant stick is packaged in cardboard only. Available in six scents, I love the sexy warmth of the Sandalwood & Bergamot scent.

Ku.tis Natural Deodorant £6.59 55g

This vegan deodorant is made with sunflower oil, rather than beeswax and comes in a biodegradable or recyclable cardboard tube. Available in five very mild scents, this little stick is really handy to pop in your handbag.

_____________________

All of these deodorants are cruelty free and work reasonably well but do need reapplying toward the end of the afternoon/early evening. I’ve not found any of them to block my pores or irritate in anyway. Another big plus I’ve noticed is that after a night out, even though I’ve been sweating, my top still smell great. I hope I’ve made your natural deodorant journey easier, lovely people!

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Discovering – Little Soap Company

One good thing about all of the big brands selling out is that smaller, independent brands get chosen by shoppers instead. I found a soap from the Little Soap Company for sensitive skin which my face and body love!

Little Soap Company was created ten years ago by Emma Heathcote-James who wanted natural, organic and cruelty free soap to be available to everyone when doing their normal weekly food shop. Her soap is available at Tesco, Waitrose, Ocado, Whole Foods and Sainsbury’s.

Their products are recognised as Vegan, Cruelty Free and organic are free from:

  • Detergents
  • SLS
  • Alcohol
  • Parabens
  • Sorbates
  • Silicones
  • Sulphates
  • Synthetic fragrances
  • Synthetic preservatives

The companies products include:

  • Bar soap
  • Liquid soap
  • Soy candles
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Gift sets
  • Pet shampoo
  • A Mum and baby range
  • A range especially for men
  • This has come at the perfect time for me as I want a British, independent brand where I can shop online for simple blocks of soap and natural shampoo and conditioner that are reasonably priced.

    What’s one of your favourite natural skincare/haircare brands?

    🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

    Can You Make a Cheese & Ham Sandwich Gluten Free & Vegan?

    I used to love the cheese, ham and English mustard or pickled onion butties my Mum used to make me for my packed lunches at school and even work if I was running late. As a lot of you will know, now I have a gluten and dairy free diet and I’m veggie, I try most of the time to be vegan because it’s the kind thing to do and I’m nearly there anyway.

    Here’s what I used

    Genius Seaded Loaf

    Vitalite Vegan Spread

    Violife Flavour Ham Slices

    Violife Epic Mature Cheddar Flavour Block

    Colman’s Mustard (a teeny bit)

    Verdict on the Ingredients

    The ham had some decent flavour and the texture wasn’t too bad, just a little soft. The last ham substitute I tried had the texture of a damp flannel, so this was an improvement.

    The block was, almost aggressively, cheese flavoured. It tasted more cheesy than cheesy puffs, Wotsits and Mini Cheddars put together and I have to admit that I liked it!

    OMG I do not remember English mustard being blow-your-head-off kind of strong. Whew!

    I love all kinds of Genius bread because it really is THE best gf bread you will find.

    Vitalite do one of the best dairy free spreads. It doesn’t taste strongly of olive oil (like some) and it’s not as wish-washy as others.

    The Result

    The ‘ham’ and ‘cheesetasted unexpectedly similar and the textures were identical. I should have cut the cheese chunkier but then the flavour would have been overwhelming. The ‘ham’ and the mustard where perfect together so I just stuck to that for the next sandwiches I made. Ive been eating the cheese on crackers with different sandwich pickles or in a toasty with fresh spring onions.

    Can you make a ham & cheese sandwich gluten free and vegan?

    Nope!

    Hope you enjoyed my little experiment. At least now you know what products are good for other things.

    What are your suggestions for gf vegan sandwiches?

    🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

    Monthly Life Update – February

    I’ve broken my record for often being ten minutes late by being ten days late as I thought I’d already posted this. Here’s everything I’ve been doing and reviewing!

    Sorry I’m a bit grainy. Manchester doesn’t get much daylight in February.

    Lifestyle

    I created a list post called Self Imposed Ban on Buying and wrote down everything I have a lot of, the reason why I have a lot of it and why I shouldn’t buy any more of it. It’s a lot easier to realise what’s going on and to harden your resolve when you can see it in black and white.

    I reposted Spring Cleaning My Beauty Cupboard from last year because I’ve done so well with keeping it ordered and thinking thoroughly about my purchases, that I’ve not needed to do it again this year.

    Food and Dinning Out

    Me and the Bloke have decided we are going to take it in turns to choose where we want to eat out for the evening (and who pays), at least once a month. The bloke chose Sai Spice an Indian place in Chorlton.

    We ordered the veggie starter platter to share and four smaller curries. One spinach and dumpling based, one chickpea dahl, a nutty yoghurt based one and a spicy but not too hot Kolhapuri. Everything tasted amazing! It’s a brightly lit, affordable, family style place and I think Lilly’s would have some competition if they were closer to each other. Couldn’t resist grabbing a kulfi to go.

    Here’s my review of Vertigo, the plant based restaurant at First Street, Manchester, which was my choice. I’d been wanting to go for a while but waited until I heard some good reviews as I’m not exactly rolling in cash.

    I bought some ‘facon’ in the form of Coconut Bacon by Pimp my Salad, which I’m throwing on pretty much everything or just eating straight from the jar.

    We made English Gluten Free Pancakes for pancake day or Shrove Tuesday as they call it.

    I sampled one of Clive’s Tarts which I realised tasted lovely chilled or heated up. I was surprised it was both dairy and gluten free.

    I’ve finally discover how wonderful Tika is! Tika panner, Tika broccoli (Yeah, I wasn’t expecting to come across that one either) and tika mock chicken. I reviewed two very different Tika Masala Veggie Readymeals, one from Tesco and one from Asda.

    Skincare and Makeup

    On my never ending quest to find a base that makes me look all glowy and healthy, rather than matte and a bit sallow, I bought Pixi Beauty Balm. Did it do the trick? You’ll have to click!

    I’m trying to reduce my carbon footprint bit by bit, so I was pleased to find Zao essence of nature, a natural beauty brand that uses refillable bamboo packaging. I bought the essentials: Concealer and Mascara.

    Thank you lovely people, for catching up with me.

    🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

    Trying Vegan Shoes from Koi and New Look

    My feet are the softest, most un-resilient feet that you can imagine so I’ve always worn soft leather shoes….or Docs, not quite sure why those are so comfy!? But I’ve had enough of buying leather shoes and vegan Docs are really expensive!

    This is when I came across Koi vegan shoes. They’ve a reasonably priced brand that always have loads of sales on. These are obviously vegan with the black PVC fabric being very matte and thick. They are a lot lighter than chunky soled shoes and boots I had in the 90’s. Think hip-hop and goth street-wear, not Spice Girls, ha!

    I’ve bought footwear from New Look since I was a teen, as they are always so comfy and affordable. So much of their footwear is now vegan too, like the boots below. You’d never know that the New Look boots are vegan as they have a slightly shiny leather-look finish. These also feel lighter than you’d expect.

    I bought the batwings from Koi as soon as I saw them and then got the black boots from New Look a few weeks later. I bought boots to go with my wings! Nah, I’m joking, I’d been wanting plain black ankle boots for years, after I wore my old one’s to destruction.

    The wings I attached (from Koi) have exactly the same finish as the boots (hurray!) and are padded for a quality look. I’ve been able to bend them around the boot slightly so I can walk in them properly.

    I know having pale grey laces with hiking-style-boots is a trend that’s trickled down from the catwalks but I hate it. I replaced the grey laces with black ones from a pair of the Bloke’s old army boots.

    I squashed the lace hooks closed with some pliers so they wouldn’t catch on the laces of the other boot and send me flying. Much betta!

    I was impressed with the Koi packaging as each shoe came in a protective bag and the box had a hole and lots of silica packets to keep the shoes dry and aerated. The New Look shoes just came in a plastic bag, which I thought were a bit shite really.

    I love both of my boots and the wings so much!

    Rating 5/5 for everything!

    🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤