Life Lately – June

June has flown by, which is weird considering I’ve been out of the house a whole…one time! I’ve been very grateful for the, frankly shite, weather Manchester has had this month, as it’s been a well needed break from the crazy heatwave of May.

Pride Month

My love and respect goes out to the LGBTQ community as always, whatever your sexuality and however you identify. I’ve always been proud that I live in a city with year-round acceptance (in a general sense) and awareness. I think this is thanks to the The Gay Village, plus a great Pride Parade and festival.

Food

Been switching all month between having cups of tea with sausage and mash to having a cold beers and mezze.

Independent Artist or Business

GDBEE Art is by Geneva who makes the most gorgeous graphic art of women of colour. She’s also created the webtoon Hovergirls, about two alien fighting cousins who work in a coffee shop by day. The entire Hovergirls series is available to read on phone/device or PC.

Lifestyle

I’ve changed my bedroom from being the place where stuff gets dumped, into a place where I actually want to spend time. a) I’ve had a big clean and tidy b) I’ve brought in more storage c) Updated a dark toned LOTR poster to a lighter toned and very neat dragon canvas d) I’ve reduced the amount of Funko Pops and books/papers piled everywhere.

Reading

The Getaway Girls by Dee McDonald is roadtrip comedy about three rather different friends, all past middle age, who decide they are unhappy with their lot and want to start a new adventure through France and Italy. I’ll review it once I’ve finished reading. I’m a third of the way in and enjoying it!

New Fringe

I was sick of my giant wavy fringe which needed cutting constantly and was way too hot and wide. I watched Birds of Prey (which I loved, but thought the bad guy was just plain annoying) and cut myself a new punky, shorter fringe. Freshly cut it looks a little too perfect but it does naturally have a lot of movement and looks spikey if I apply styling putty.

Here is me as a kid in the 80’s with a very different kind of fringe lol

I hope you’ve all been finding things to make you happy, in these turbulent times!

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Sneak a Peak Into My Kitchen to See What Vegetarians Who Are Gluten and Dairy Free Really Eat!

I’ll be showing you what’s in my cupboards and freezer in a moment but first, a little context…

I think because the majority of food that the UK produces is milk and wheat based, it’s easy to think there isn’t anything else. All you have to do is look at other cultures and continents, Asia being a specifically apt example, to realise there is so much choice! Coconut milk instead of cows milk; gram (chickpea) flour instead of wheat flour and pea protein or tofu (bean curd) instead of meat are three of my most used swaps.

Pantry

(Clockwise)

Coop Free From noodles – I add chopped up veggie sausages and tomato pasta sauce with added tomato paste to make Spaghetti Bolognase.

Nairn’s Wholegrain Crackers – Much crunchier than original oat cakes

Grano Vita Mock Duck – Apparently it can be eaten cold on a sarnie or hot with your Sunday lunch but not tried it yet so take take my word for it!

Asda Free From Fiery Chilli Rice Noodle Pot – These are perfect for when you need something really quick.

Alpro Hazelnut – OMG this has to be the best milk substitute ever.

Pine nuts – Adds crunch and flavour to pasta with red or green.

Amy’s Kitchen Chunky Tomato Soup – I cannot believe this is dairy free and it is even richer with nutritional yeast flakes added for a cheesy/creamy flavour.

Free and Easy Chickpea and Lentil Curry – I’m glad they haven’t called this Daal because it doesn’t taste like the authentic Indian curry, more like a Mexican dish but it is lovely and very filling.

Tesco Free From Red Pesto – (I often get Saccla brand as well) for spaghetti bolagnaise or pizza.

(Out of shot)

Huge bag of rice, Genius Seeded Loaf.

Snack Cupboard

(Clockwise)

Kettle Chips, Sheese and Red Onion – I could eat these ALL day!

Eat Real, Lentil Chips, Chilli & Lemon – I love how chunky these are and that you get a robust flavour from the lentils along with the added zingy flavour.

Kind bars (just seen) – These are made of different kinds of nuts held together with dark chocolate, peanut butter or (contains dairy) caramel. Gives me lots of energy quickly.

Roasted Salted Peanuts – Great to put into Satay Sauce or Nasi Goreng Indonesian Chilli Salad or a Waldorf salad but also great to snack on while drinking beer. Cheers!

Pom-bear – Does anyone else buy a huge bag of these when on self-catering holidays abroad?

Tesco, Free From Onion Rings – So much better than those little 20p bags you used to get as a kid. I’m quite gobsmacked by them being free-from actually.

Ten Acre, The Story Of When The Cheese Met The Onion – Apart From the highly pretentious and, let’s face, weird tittle, these are delicious! You won’t believe they are dairy free. Their Pastrami flavour is fantastical well.

Freezer

(Clockwise)

Linda McCartney’s Rosemary and Red Onion Sausages – Not the best veggie sausages but certainly not the worst I’ve had, these are lovely with gravy; not so much for a sausage butty with brown sauce though.

Applewood Vegan Smokey Cheese – Wow! How on earn does a vegan cheese taste this good!? It even grates and melts perfectly.

Oomph! Kebab Strips – The best meat alternative I’ve ever found.

Deliciously Ella, Cauliflower and Lentil Dahl – Nope! Lovely flavour but tastes more like a mild Thai curry made with coconut milk. Tiny for the price but I like them breakfast/lunch on colder days.

Quorn, Comforting Cottage Pie – I add a bit of tomato or HP sauce and have this with steamed veggies.

Amy’s Kitchen, Veggie Lasagne – I add a tiny bit of Sriracha sauce and nutritional yeast to this. Really nice with the spinach inside.

McCains, Potato Smiles – Crunchy on the outside and fluffy in the middle. 😊

What do use as substitutions and/or what tinned or packet ingredients do you mix together to make a meal? Have you tried any of these and do you have any recommendations?

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

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✨🖤

Can This Jackfruit Ready-meal Really Work?

I decided to get this ready meal as an introduction to Jack Fruit. I’ve tried other things from Tescos Plant Chef range and been woefully underwhelmed so this was more of an experiment for me.

Cooked (supposedly) after only 35 minutes in a pre-heated oven…

It looks so watery! Lets poor some of that away and sprinkle some nutritional yeast on the top. I hope the sauce is a nice flavour and that there’s a load of jackfruit underneath the potatoes….

Oh shit, it’s stone cold in the middle!

After another 15 minutes in the oven…

This tastes really nice! The BBQ sauce has a strong flavour and isn’t overwhelmingly sweet. Some of the potato is crispy with a nice flavour and the red pepper works well, not sure where the onions are though. I wish there were more Jackfruit, although there are some big chunks underneath the potato.

The texture of the Jackfruit is like pulled pork and it’s really absorbed the flavour of the sauce. It cooks much better in big chunks as the smaller pieces are a bit mushy.

The answer to ‘Can this Jackfruit Ready-meal really work?’ is Not without a lot of faffing about!

Rating 2/5

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Trying to Get Naturally Healthy Skin in Just One Month – Week 4

Products

  • The Body Shop, Vitamin C, Cleansing Polish
  • Neal’s Yard Remedies, Micellar Cleanser
  • Pixi! Glow Tonic if at home or The Ordinary, Lactic Acid
  • Ecologue Bamboo Face Pads
  • The Body Shop, Vitamin C Moisturiser
  • Neal’s Yard Remedies, Rosehip Oil

On the rare days I wear makeup I use the Vit C Daily Glow (by foaming it up, rather than massaging with the scrubby bits). I only use the Pixi Glycolic or The Ordinary Lactic Acids every other day. I use the micellar cleanser, moisturiser and oil everyday. Read previous weeks routine and diary

Monday

Did full skincare routine. Forgot oil before bed last night but still looking quite radiant this morning.

Samosa for dinner and big bowl of Daal (lentil curry) and oat cakes for tea.

Tuesday

Used The Ordinary Lactic Acid, moisturiser and lots of oil today.

I woke up feeling so thirsty and wanted hydrating foods so Saag Aloo (spinach and potato) with rice for lunch and aubergine curry for tea (and a random samosa for super).

Wednesday

When I woke up my skin felt and looked like I didn’t need to do any skincare at all! Still did my routine though. My lips are really smooth and nourished as well (I think it’s the oil).

Had four beers but hydrated before and after drinking.

Thursday

My skin was dry, so more inside and outside hydration was needed.

Had a salad for dinner with shredded carrot and beetroot, cucumber, ice berg lettuce and seeds and cashew nuts, had mushroom Satay for tea.

Friday

My skin felt quite grainy and looking quite matte so I applied Pixi Glow Tonic, left it on for 15 minutes, rinsed it off with a wet face pad and then moisturised. Much better!

Having a drink again tonight so I’ve eaten a big salad and replaced my coffee with a nut milk protein smoothie instead. Left my Rosehip oil by the bed to remind me to use it.

Saturday

Considering I ate a huge bread crumb coated veggie burger with spicy curly fries (certainly not wheat free) I’m impressed with how I look just after waking up today. A bit pink, rather than red, my skin isn’t really dry and I don’t have loads of water retention at the side of my nose, chin or eye bags, like I normally would after drinking and having wheat. Draining massage everyday when applying skincare really does work!

Sunday

Here I am (with no product on my skin) in the one bit of week sunshine we had that day, before it disappeared behind clouds again. My skin would have needed a filter to look anywhere near this smooth and radiant a month before!

The Conclusion of my Month Long Challenge

Positive Changes

It feels great to just be able to casually take a no-makeup selfie, without reaching for the foundation and even then, deleting so many rubbish shots. I also leave the house bare faced now and with confidence because I know people won’t be staring at my puffy, blotchy face anymore but wondering instead how I look so glowy, when it’s not even sunny!

What I’ve Learned

  • Oil can balance oily skin as long as you find the right oil for your skin and use it at the right time of day/night
  • What you put inside of your body has a huge effect on the outside, it might just take several days or weeks to notice, which can be confusing so keep a diary.
  • Before you touch your face for any reason make sure you wash your hands first. I always forget this when applying makeup, usually because I’m in a hurry or being spontaneous.
  • Yes, you should cleanse your skin in the evening but don’t beat yourself up if you forget now and then.
  • Get used to you! Your face maybe having a bad day but that’s life and you’re still you behind it. After all, it’s your personality that’s he point!
  • All of this facial massage and staying hydrated and getting enough sleep advice actually does work, if you stick with it.
  • The Realistic Road to Success

    If you don’t have, or are already on top of a medical/allergy related skincare concern (for me it was spots, oil and a huge amount of redness in the past), then yes, it is possible to get naturally healthier looking and skin in a month! It does take patience to find the right skincare routine and diet for you and the tenacity to stick to it though.

    Do you think my experiment over the past month might help you?

    🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

    Trying to get Naturally Healthy Skin in Just One Month – Week 3

    I’ve realised that the first two weeks were about finding the best products for the job and how best to use them. See week 2 here.

    On the rare days I wear makeup I use the Vit C Daily Glow (by foaming it up, rather than massaging with the scrubby bits). I only use the Pixi Glycolic or The Ordinary Lactic Acids every other day. I use the micellar cleanser, moisturiser and oil everyday.

    • The Body Shop, Vitamin C, Cleansing Polish
    • Neal’s Yard Remedies, Micellar Cleanser
    • Pixi! Glow Tonic if at home or The Ordinary, Lactic Acid
    • Ecologue Bamboo Face Pads
    • The Body Shop, Vitamin C Moisturiser
    • Neal’s Yard Remedies, Rosehip Oil

    Monday

    I can see that I’ll be sticking to the above skincare routine from now on as there’s everything I need but it’s still nice and simple. My skin is looking slightly radiant even when I’m not standing in full sun, which is a first. Had crackers and ‘cheese’ with caramelised onion for dinner. Salt and pepper tofu for tea with chilli oil.

    Tuesday

    Had quite a few beers in the evening and forgot to take my makeup off because I forgot I was wearing any. Doh! Had veggies and cashews in black bean sauce with egg fried rice for tea. At least that was healthy!

    Wednesday

    Even though the Rosehip oil doesn’t smell great, I prefer it to the rose scent my other oils/balms have and it’s supposed to even out the texture of skin and really nourish it. We’ll see!

    Spicy beans, falafel, iceberg lettuce, humus, Violife ‘cheese’ chunks, peanuts and lime pickle for a picnic type tea.

    Thursday

    The Body Shop Vit C Cleanser removes makeup so easily and leaves my skin so soft and moisturised. Never had a cleanser as good as that before! Had mushroom and onion stir fry with Satay sauce for tea.

    Friday

    Making a bigger effort to drink enough water, not just energy drink and ‘milky’ coffees. Skin feeling very grainy today as I’ve not used either of the exfoliating acids for the last two days. So doing full skincare routine today.

    Had kebab strips with rice, sweet corn, peas and green beans with Soy sauce for dinner and then with chilly oil for tea.

    Saturday

    Before, when I’d massage in any skincare my face would get so flushed it would stay red for about 30 minutes but now it doesn’t react at all! After weeks of massaging it looks more toned, with a lot less water retention.

    Sunday

    To sum up at the end of the third week

    • A lot less redness
    • Less puffy and more toned
    • Actually radiant
    • Smoother
    • Balanced so it’s not going from dry when I wake up to slightly greasy on my T-zone before bed anymore.
  • Free-from pesto and pasta for tea.
  • If anyone has any tips, recommendations, or opinions, I’d love to hear them!

    🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

    Trying to Get Naturally Healthy Skin in Just One Month – Week 1

    My Skin History

    In my teens and early twenties I had terrible skin, with lots of tiny bumps under the surface as well many active spots. I wouldn’t say it was full blown acne but it was close enough for my GP to say it was hormone related and to put me on pills aged 16. They did nothing. Then at 28 the spots were mainly on my T-zone and only around four at a time by now but I’d still look bright red without full coverage foundation, so I went on the contraceptive pill. It helped my crazy oily T-zone and therefore my spots, as well as being a handy form of birth control. Age 30 after a lot of research online about hormones and inflammation and healthy diets etc. I took a food intolerance test. I tested a big positive to milk and gluten. After cutting way down on gluten my tummy and face was less bloated and my eyes less puffy. After cutting way down on dairy my skin cleared completely! I stopped waking up with a bright red face as well, which was such a relief!

    These days I usually have fairly blemish-free skin but it’s actually very dry and dehydrated. The texture has always felt grainy (even though you can’t see it) as if my skin doesn’t produce enough natural acids to melt away the dead skin. I also go randomly go bright red every now and then, due to dust allergies and water temperature sensitivity.

    Goals

    • Stick to my skincare routine (exfoliation/cleanse, tone, serum, moisturiser, oil)
    • Hydrate enough in general
    • Eat more fruit and veg
    • Avoid ALL dairy for a month (surprisingly tricky)
    • Blemish free skin
    • Even toned skin
    • Moisturised skin
    • Hydrated skin
    • Plumper skin

    Products

    • Murad, Age Reform, AHA/BHA Exfoliating Cleanser
    • The Ordinary, Lactic Acid 5% Superficial Peel
    • Nip + Fab, Dragons Blood Hyaluronic Acid
    • The Body Shop, Vitamin C Moisturiser
    • Murad, Essential C Moisturiser, SPF 30
    • Herbal Dynamics Beauty, Revit Age, Concentrated Face Balm
    • Love Beauty Foods, Clay Face Scrub

    [I will use The Ordinary Lactic Acid Peel if I’m too tired to use the Murad exfoliater as it takes a lot of massaging and rinsing. I also have a weird sensory-avoidance thing about splashing my face with water some days!? I will use the Murad moisturiser if I need any sun protection.]

    Week 1

    Monday

    My skin is very dry and dehydrated. My oil/balm seems to just be sitting on top of my skin. Need to keep on top of my healthy eating better.

    Tuesday

    Still feel dry and dehydrated, even though I’ve done all of my skincare routine but at least I look a little glowy. Existed on watered down energy drink and takeaway today so not the best but it was vegan and so dairy free.

    Wednesday

    I have 7 spots which could be due to previous dairy intake. After three days of gentle exfoliation, my skin is absolutely sucking up the moisturiser and facial balm. Had a big protein salad and drank all of my water bottle.

    Thursday

    Made a fresh banana milkshake with a very ripe banana, some hazelnut milk and a stick blender. Spots are still lingering and I’ve run out T-tree gel and Witch Hazel so I applied a little Savlon antiseptic cream instead!

    Friday

    It actually worked! Spots look much calmer and smaller. I somehow managed to forget to do any of my skincare. I got up mid-afternoon and just couldn’t keep track of what time or even day it was, all day.

    Saturday

    Woke up looking rather red, which I think is because I’ve been sat on the sofa that gets four hours of sun all week. This might be a little much for my skin when it’s got the Glycolic or Lactic Acid on it. I’ll be applying the Murad moisturiser with sun protection the next time I do this!

    Sunday

    Before I’ve even applied any skincare my skin feels softer and smoother (apart from my stubborn nose) than I have ever felt it before, as if I’m wearing a really good primer! I’ve (mostly) been keeping hydrated and I’ve been eating little salads before meals to get some fresh veg everyday.

    I’ve no idea what that big chunk of blonde hair is trying to do!?

    Week 1 Conclusion

    I was so sceptical that I would stick to this routine with my brain fog but I did, apart from just one day. It made me feel better about myself, because I’m actively doing something for my health and well-being.

    After just one week, I didn’t expect my skin to feel and look good before I’d applied any products but it’s already working and my eye bags (I’ve had since I was a teen) have virtually gone!

    The scar I have below my nose and mouth has flattened out more and looks smoother too.

    I’m going to introduce a micellar water from Neal’s Yard Remedies next week to be able to cleanse without water if I wish and to get rid of any left over exfoliator gritty bits left around my hairline, which is where I think some those spots came from.

    I forgot to do the face mask oops!

    As always I love hearing what you think and if you have any tips, advice or similar experiences.

    💛✨Chrissie✨💛

    Makeshift Gluten/Yeast Free Pizza

    At the moment it’s really difficult to find gluten free pizza or pizza bases (and impossible to find yeast free one’s full stop) in supermarkets but gluten or yeast free wraps and flat breads are more likely to be stocked.

    Base:

    Flat bread (gluten free), layer of red pesto & 1st kind of cheese

    Flat bread, layer of green pesto & 2nd kind of cheese

    Flat bread & topping of tomato sauce mixed with red pesto

    Topping:

    Fried mushrooms

    (would have liked fried onion but run out of onions)

    Red bell pepper

    Black olives

    Finley chopped sun dried tomatoes

    Mixed dried herbs

    3rd kind of cheese (strong Cheddar)

    Black pepper.

    Dairy free pesto is a fave topping/dip but I’ve not found any melty dairy-free cheeses that I like the flavour and texture of yet (plain Violife not bad but very bland). The Bloke surprised me with this so that’s my excuse! 🤭🤗

    What would be your toppings?

    🖤✨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🖤✨

    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✨🖤