Perfect World Caramel Pecan Vegan Ice Cream

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I came across this in Tesco and recognised the Perfect World logo (although it’s changed a little) from some of their ice cream I bought from Co-op a while back so I’m hoping Perfect World is now widely available.

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It’s a bonus that it has lots of vits and minerals in but let’s be honest, who worries about that when they are eating ice cream, eh? I also like that they haven’t gone over-board with the calorific content as I’ll be eating a LOT of it!

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The caramel is on the more saltier side, which I love and the pecans compliment it really well. I just wish they’d left them chunkier for added texture, rather than really finely chopped and blended in. As well as just eating it with a spoon out of the tub (me), this is also a nice alternative for people who normally eat dairy ice cream with desert.

Rating 4/5

Chrissie

Arbonne, Calm Range Review

I’ve only recently discovered Arbonne, traditionally a skincare company developed in Switzerland in 1975 and I’m impressed with the purity of their products and the ethically sourced botanicals they contain. Their products – now ranging from skincare and makeup to nutrition – are vegetarian, free from animal products or by-products, artificial flavours, artificial sweeteners, benzene, formaldehyde donating preservatives, mineral oil, parabens, petrolatum, phthalates, sodium laureth sulfates (SLES), sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), synthetic dyes and talc and gluten.

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I have mild heyfever so my skin gets irritated easily in spring and summer, so I need lighter, gentler products making the Calm range perfect for me.

Soothing Facial Serum

• Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) soothes Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) soothes and moisturises
• Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) helps soothe skin
• Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) softens and soothes skin
• Mallow (Malva sylvestris), rich in vitamins, softens and soothes
• Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) contains antioxidant properties
• Sea mayweed (Matricaria maritima) calms skin
• Japanese green tea (Camellia oleifera) helps soothe skin

It’s been so humid lately I’ve not needed to use any moisturiser (my skin sucks up the moisture out of the air so well) but my skin did need soothing and balancing, which is exactly what this serum achieved and without any oil slicks around my T-zone in the evening. I’m going to carry on using my usual serum for Autumn and Winter as it contains vitamin C and Hyaluronic Acid and retinol (which I know some people can be sensitive to so it’s understandable this wouldn’t be a suitable ingredient for the Arbonne Calm range).

Gentle Daily Cleanser

• Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) soothes and moisturises
• Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) helps soothe skin
• Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) softens and soothes skin
• Mallow (Malva sylvestris), rich in vitamins, softens and soothes
• Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) contains antioxidant properties
• Sea mayweed (Matricaria maritima) calms skin
• Japanese green tea (Camellia oleifera) helps soothe skin

I think I’ve worn makeup twice this whole summer but when I did, it was a full face. This gentle cleanser removed all of my makeup (although I wasn’t wearing water proof mascara) and left my skin feeling clean, refreshed and nourished.

Soothing Eye Gel

• Aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis) soothes and moisturises
• Cucumber (Cucumis sativus) helps soothe skin
• Liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) softens and soothes skin
• Mallow (Malva sylvestris) rich in vitamins, softens and soothes
• Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) contains antioxidant properties
• Sea mayweed (Matricaria maritima) calms skin
• Japanese green tea (Camellia oleifera) helps soothe skin

I have to confess that I’ve been upping my salt and water intake to help me cool down in the heat and my gosh has it made a difference to my giant puffy eye bags! After using this gel (which I keep in the fridge and apply by gentle taping with my ring finger) my bags weren’t visible AT ALL. Can’t get any better than that!

Gentle Daily Moisturiser

After some gentle exfoliating with a fruit peel my face needed some moisturiser but I was dreading the feel of it on my skin and wondering if it would be too heavy. My skin absorbed this moisturiser immediately and any redness from exfoliating had subsided within five minutes. I also used some on my hands which were rather dry as it was to hand (please excuse the pun) and it worked really well. I would recommend this as a basic moisturiser to everyone, no matter what their skin type.

Overall Rating ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Chrissie

 

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Lilly’s vegetarian Indian restaurant – Ashton

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Lilly’s Indian vegetarian restaurant in Ashton (Thameside/Greater Manchester) can make substitutions to all dishes so they can be vegan and Jain rather than just veggie. The menu is extensive and covers Indo-Chinese dishes, South and North Indian dishes. They know exactly what ingredients go into their food and tend to use traditional gram (chickpea) four instead of wheat, so a great place to go if you have food intolerances or allergies.

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I recently went to Lilly’s with my bloke and our friend L and we all chose similar starters as it was a hot day and we wanted something cooling. I chose Dahi Puri, Crispy puri filled with puffed rice, sev, potatoes, onions, chickpeas, yoghurt and tamarind sauce. My three faves: Puri, yoghurt and tamarind combined!

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Our friend L ordered The Sizzla, a literally sizzling dish with grilled green peppers, panner cheese, spring onions and a meat substitute which was amazing, the whole dish was amazing actually. The bloke ordered a Vegetable Lasinya, mixed veggies cooked with butter, garlic and traditional Indian spices and a (very strong) garlic bread. I ordered Paneer Makhani, Paneer cooked in creamy sauce with onions and spices along with the best vegetable pilau rice I’ve ever tasted.

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All of our dishes were wonderful but that’s no surprise. We’ve all visited 4 four times together (we do tend to avoid the South Indian dishes as we generally don’t like that style of cooking) and we’ve never found anything which we didn’t like. I’ll be trying the Indo-Chinese section on my next visit.

Rating ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Lilly’s 75-83 Oldham Road, Ashton, Tameside, OL6 7DF Tel: 0161 339 4774

Open: 11.00am – 8.00pm (7.00pm Sunday)

Chrissie

 

 

 

Foodie Review: Lotus Vegetarian Kitchen

I decided to treat the bloke to a meal where he could order anything on the menu because it’s all veggie. Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant is a family run restaurant which offers traditional Chinese food and mock meats such as beef, prawn and chicken dishes. They also offer the largest amount of vegan dishes I’ve ever seen on a menu and  have a hygiene rating of four out of five.

This isn’t a place that opens late night to cater for people after the pubs shut (although it is right near to The Red Lion), it closes at 10.30 and 11.00 on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant is brightly lit and their is no alcohol on the menu , although you are welcome to bring your own within reason.

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Wheat & Dairy Free Snack Review: Geo Bars

Wether food intolerances are becoming more common or we’ve simply become more attuned to how our bodies react to certain foods, more and more of us are cutting out dairy and wheat/gluten. Even if we aren’t the greatest of cooks it’s far easier to create an evening meal than it is to quickly find a suitable snack, even in a massive supermarket. This is why I was pleased when I got asked to review Geo bars.

dairy wheat free from Geo bars

Geo bars (£2.60 for a 3 pack) are available in two types, Fruity and Trail (a natural energy bar) and are made from fruit, veg, gluten free oats (not suitable for people who are allergic to the protein avenin), nuts and soy protein. Each bar contains one fruit/veg of your five a day. All bars in the range are certified Fair Trade, which makes my conscience as well as my tummy very happy.

Banana and Walnut Trail

I know this is meant to be a trail bar but they are so tasty I ate one as desert after my evening meal. No wonder I was still full of energy at 10.00pm! The banana adds the perfect amount of softness with an added touch of crunch from the walnuts.

Cocoa Crunch Trail Bar

The cocoa flavour isn’t too sweet or too bitter either, which is perfect if you are grabbing this for a quick lunch or if you are flagging on a hike. The bar is so dense I wish it was more moist and not as dry. I found it a little hard going and had to drink a small glass of water with it.

Carrot and Stem Ginger

I found the stem ginger in this bar to be really strong which I thought overwhelmed the carrot but my mum thought it wasn’t strong enough. Okay then?! Even though this is classed as a fruit bar I found it to be as dense and dry as the trail bar, which I was a little disappointed with.

Cocoa and Beetroot

The beetroot adds a lovely sweetness to the cocoa but the predominant flavour is cocoa. I liked the texture of this bar and I’d definitely keep one in my bag for times when I feel my blood sugar is getting low and I need a quick free-from snack.

This product was sent to me for review purposes. This does not affect my opinion of the product.

Chrissie xx

Feeling Summery

 

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Look what me and the bloke bought from Co-op. We love how bright they are. The bloke doesn’t own a vase so I improvised with a big old stein, ha!

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These are my trusty summer deck shoes. They are so versatile, they basically go with everything. My girly mates love them but my Dad commented “sparkly slippers! Isn’t that what old ladies wear down the bingo?” and Mum said “They look like Turkish slippers, shouldn’t they have a curly toe?” Er, thanks folks.

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Greek salad with capers and a tiny drizzle of balsamic vinegar, rice stuffed vine leaves with mint and falafel with lime and coriander humous, accompanied by a chilled glass of rose of course ;0) When the weather gets warmer I don’t want big heavy meals and prefer something like this. Turns out in one month I’ve dropped half a stone! It’s from the parts that are meant to be curvy though , rather than my double chin and my belly. Typical, ha!

 

 

 

Graze ‘Nibble’ Box review

After finding a voucher code for a free Graze box in Glamour magazine (usually £3.89 free p&p) I decided to sign up and give it a go. The subscription based Graze boxes contain a variety of healthy and tasty snacks to nibble on throughout the day to stop you demolishing a king size snickers when that 3.00pm slump kicks in.

My personal reason was because (as you probably already know) I have a restricted diet (except for cheat days) without dairy or wheat, so I thought it would be lovely to receive a little box of carefully selected tummy friendly treats through the post.

Graze Box review

The website is really easy to use and you get a choice of boxes: Breakfast, Nibble or kids. A choice of delivery frequency: Weekly, fortnightly or monthly (I chose weekly). You have the option to ‘Ban’, ‘Try’, ‘Like’, ‘Love’ and sometimes ‘Include in box’ for every snack! There are also 3 options to show all food which isn’t dairy free or gluten free or vegan so you get the chance to quickly ‘Ban all’ foods in which ever category doesn’t you, rather than trawling through the huge list of snack options Graze offers.

Graze box review

I opened up my (letter box friendly) package to find it  included dark chocolate rocky road, green olives with harissa, their signature brownies and mississippi pistachios. Overall it’s one chocolatey, spicy box of happiness! I know it’s all about variation but when it came to anything spicy or sweet I remember hitting ‘like’ and ‘love’ constantly, haha!

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Also inside my recycled cardboard box was a napkin, spiky fork (possibly bamboo?), a little booklet all about the Graze team, a list of ingredients for each snack (also checkable online) with vouchers. Each voucher has my code on it which entitles my friends to get their 1st, 5th and 10th box free. I’ll be getting my 5th box free and also £2 off my next box as I shared my purchase on Facebook and Twitter.

This is for you:

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Enjoy chucks!

Note: Please excuse the fairly rubbish quality of my photo’s. I had to use my iPod. I’ve spruced them up as much as poss.

Dairy & Wheat Free Shopping List

It’s amazing how many products like crisps, soup, meat-sustitutes and sauces are thickened or coated with with wheat or lactose (from cheese). There’s been quite a few times I’ve stood in a super market feeling totally bewildered that, after half an hour of reading labels I’ve still only got one item in my shopping basket.

These items are free from dairy, wheat and of course meat!

Quorn smokey 'bacon'If you fry this well it has a pretty good texture and tastes quite smokey. I also love the deli style ‘facon’ from Asda as it tastes really smokey and you can keep it in the fridge. This is available in most supermarkets. Don’t bother asking an assistant for ‘facon’ though, they won’t get the joke, trust me.

 

Free & Easy Potato and leek soup

 

Free & Easy Potato and Leek soup is surprisingly thick and also really tasty. I happened to find this in the amazing vegan workers co-op Unicorn in Chorlton. Click on the image to go to the Free & Easy website and see their whole range.

Genius BreadI love this bread! Genius bread was originally created by a mum for her child who has a gluten allergy. It’s gluten and dairy free and behaves like ‘normal’ bread, compared to some free-from breads that can be really dry and heavy. It’s available at most supermarkets but you can click on the picture to go to the website and see the whole Genius range.

 

Tesco Free From choc browniesThese dairy & gluten free brownies are delish! The Co-op ones are equally as good. Personally I prefer the ones from Morrison’s as they are more chunky and less gooey but I s’pose it depends on how you like your brownies.

red pesto

 

Seggiano make the best vegan pesto (red and green) I’ve ever tasted! It contains a generous amount of olive oil so it’s not too dry and the pine nuts and cashew nuts make it thick and quite creamy. Available at most veggie deli’s and some supermarkets.

Bisto Caramalised onion gravy

 

I’ve tried a lot of veggie gravy, from the disgusting to the completely bland kind. This caramelised onion one tastes so rich and unique. You only have to use 3 teaspoons to get a really good consistency.

cassava chips

 

These are also available in Spicy and Tangy Lemon. The cassava is a root vegetable a lot like a potato but from the texture of these crisps I’m guessing a lot more dense. Cassava chips are available in the ‘world food’ isle in most supermarkets or Caribbean shops.

Tamari gluten free soy sauce

 

Tamari is the awesome wheat free cousin of soy sauce. It can be a little tricky to find in supermarkets so you are best trying the ‘world food’ isle or the ‘free-from’ isle. Most specialist food shops will stock it and traditional Eastern Asian shops of course.

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I found these in my local Co-op and then noticed them popping up in other supermarkets. Made from pure fruit they are so much nicer than those red leather shoe laces and healthier than Haribo, these are really quite addictive! I’m working my way through the whole fruit rainbow.

Hope this has helped you with some tricky food shopping. Now I need to figure out how to use the different kinds of miso before I buy a big jar of it.

Lush Fluff-Eaze & LUSH Styling Cream

LUSH Jasmine and Henna Fluff-Eaze Hair Treatment £12.25 for 220g

LUSH Fluff-Eaze

This smells amazing and has a lovely luxurious texture. I’m advised to put it onto very damp hair and then style as normal, which for me is a bit of old fashioned ‘scrunching’ and a quick blast of cool air. I’m impressed by how much this defines my waves and the henna leaves my Auburn hair lovely and shiny. It doesn’t way down my hair and gives gentle hold without being too stiff – unlike gel. When I get caught out in the rain later I’m very glad I also used the product below though. The day after my waves still look fairly defined and my hair still feels soft.

Features: Vegan

LUSH Dirty Styling Cream £6.95 for 100g

LUSH Styling Cream

Wow, when they say this holds your style, they really mean it. It’s like cement in a tub! The scent is the same as Lush’s Gorilla Perfume in Dirty which is an exotic flowery scent. If I had a shorter hair style this would give me the ability to get really creative. I use it to smooth (stick) down my roots and fringe so they don’t fuzz up in the rain. It works amazingly well and a day later my hair is still staying put. I use an afro comb so as not to undo my style and snag my hair and then run damp hands over it to revive the products.

Features: Vegan

Results

As you can see, I’m really pleased with the immediate results: Soft relaxed beachy waves and shiny hair that’s  controlled but not all stiff and crunchy. Please try to ignore the weird uneven colour, I’m in between dye jobs.

Best Natural Formula Mascara’s

I have long eyelashes that are very straight. In the past I’ve used a brand which fanned them out ridiculously without any curl, making them resemble Betty Boop lashes. Sexy on a cartoon chick from the 30’s, not so sexy on me. Nowadays I use natural mascara without any silicone or added rubbish and shape them eyelash curlers.

Cruelty free Mascara

LUSH Eyes Right, avril bio, Lavera Bio sensitive mascara

LUSH Eyes Right £12.00

LUSH Eyes Right Mascara

Eyes Right glides on so smoothly and gives my lashes great definition without any hint of clumping. I advise you to give it a minute to dry before putting on another coat and building it up to whatever volume you want. Not very sweat or water proof but perfect for sensitive eyes and skin. It moisturises my lashes so much they have really filled out since I started using this! It takes a little getting used to using the short brush but it’s not a big deal. Great everyday mascara.

Features: Vegan. For sensitive eyes.

avril Beaute Le Mascara (Bio) €7

Cruelty free Mascara

Le Mascara is a product I received in my Souk Souk beauty box. This is the coolest mascara I’ve ever used. Although I have to thicken it on to get an even coating, once it’s dry, lashes appear really volumised and glossy. It really moisturises lashes, in fact they remain so pliable I can just bend them into shape with my finger! I’m gutted that avril ship to several parts of Europe but not the UK, although it is available through Amazon.

Features: Organic

Lavera Bio Volume Mascara £10.00

Lavera Volume Mascara

I bought this Lavera Mascara  in a three-for-two deal at Holland & Barrett. This mascara is for sensitive eyes which I can attest to after absent-mindedly rubbing it into mine when I was tired. I think the word ‘volumising’ is a little bit of an over statement, however,  you could just keep layering up as many coats as you want. The brush does a fairly good job of separating lashes so they don’t get too clumpy. Get the sensitive Long Lash version from H&B here.

Features: Vegan. Gluten free. For sensitive eyes.