Saturday, 9 July 2016

Introducing Propercorn's Institute of Flavour (and a Recipe for Healthy Mocha Popcorn!)

Popcorn is a food which is held dear by a lot of people; whether it's a cinema trip or a fun night in with your friends, popcorn is often the snack of choice. However, it's often loaded with unhealthy ingredients such as refined sugar, butter and far too much salt, which is why it's always better to make your own. It's incredibly easy and you get to choose exactly what to season it with, so you can go as nutritious or as exotic as you like! I was recently asked to take part in a campaign run by Propercorn, a company who believes that popcorn doesn't have to be unhealthy - the campaign is called Institute of Flavour and it invites all popcorn fans to create their very own flavour for the chance to have it sold in stores. I was sent a super cute kit so I could make my own flavour at home and, I have to say, it was very fun experimenting with the ingredients! 


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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Three Fabulous Vegan Fashion Brands You'll Adore

Fashion has always been something that's excited me, and especially so over the last few years. I tend to opt for clothing and accessories that are slightly 'quirky' and my colour palette ranges from pitch black to baby pink (recently I've also been obsessed with mustard and burgundy which aren't the easiest colours to find in the middle of summer, unfortunately!). However, when I went vegan, my once-loved pieces suddenly made me feel extremely uncomfortable. My trusty Dr Martens now had a sinister sentiment behind them and all I could see when I looked at my favourite lilac leather satchel was the life of a beautiful animal, cruelly snatched away just so I could have a pretty bag. I felt sick and selfish every time I looked at all my leather, wool and suede clothes and shoes (although I wasn't purchasing any more animal-derived products, which was a start), so one day I decided to just get rid of them and start looking for conscious and cruelty-free alternatives. Going vegan meant it became a bit harder to find good quality, fashionable clothing, shoes and accessories, but I'd never in a million years change my lifestyle; why should an intelligent, sentient and caring animal be murdered simply for my (and everyone else's) enjoyment? Luckily, vegan fashion brands are becoming more and more mainstream, and eco-friendly clothing isn't the same as it was 30 years ago. It's not all hemp fabric and hippy sandals anymore (although those are totally cool and I'd definitely wear them myself!); you can now buy gorgeous and affordable cruelty-free fashion pieces which - get this - are actually up to date with current trends! Getting the hang of checking labels is difficult if you've just switched to a vegan lifestyle and aren't used to it, so to help you along your way I thought I'd share three of my favourite conscious fashion companies with you all. They're all 100% vegan so you can purchase whatever you like from them without having to double check the details!

Matt & Nat Lawrence Backpack in Petal, Matt & Nat Chubby Wallet in Mist, Beyond Skin Misty Faux Sheepskin Boots in Camel
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Thursday, 23 June 2016

Healthy Vegan Blueberry & Banana Flapjacks

Flapjacks have always been one of my favourite snacks and they were the very first thing I learned to bake as a child. The process of making them was very therapeutic; melting the butter and syrup in the saucepan, mixing in the oats, eating the leftover mixture in the bowl and on the spoon, and, of course, tasting the finished product! However, the flapjacks I made all those years ago weren't exactly what you'd call healthy, so I thought I'd have a slight throwback to my childhood and try and create a flapjack recipe that was as similar in method and taste as possible - the only difference being that these flapjacks are plant-based and are full of nutritious ingredients! Oats are the base of the recipe - they're full of complex carbohydrates and fibre, meaning they'll give you long-lasting energy and they'll keep your digestive system happy too! The bananas and date syrup are used to sweeten the recipe, so there's no need to use any unrefined sugar, and the coconut oil helps everything stick together while providing healthy fats. The result is a treat which is sweet and crumbly, bursting with juicy blueberries and finished off with a hint of banana. Believe me when I say that they're definitely my new favourite snack! 

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Sunday, 19 June 2016

Vegetable Pasta with a Simple Tomato Sauce

Pasta is definitely one of my all-time favourite foods and I still can't believe there was a period in my life when I refused to eat it, as I now have it multiple times a week! You can create so many delicious meals with pasta, whether you're serving it with a simple tomato sauce or enjoying it with some dairy-free pesto. Pasta gets such a bad rep and is often seen as being the enemy of dieters and health nuts, but if you start off with a base of wholegrain pasta (whether it's wholewheat, brown rice or buckwheat), throw in some veggies and make a homemade sauce, then you'll actually end up with a tasty and nutritious meal! 

This vegetable pasta with a homemade tomato sauce is quick, cheap and easy to make and it's my go-to meal when I don't feel like cooking anything complicated. If you use wholewheat pasta you'll be getting a decent protein hit, but if you fancy bulking up this meal a little bit then you can mix in a can of lentils or beans before you serve it. If you miss having cheese on your pasta then nutritional yeast will do the trick - I add it to most of my savoury meals! 

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Saturday, 11 June 2016

My Vegan, Cruelty-Free & Natural Skincare Routine (Pai Skincare & Vanity Planet Ultimate Skin Spa System Review)

Today I want to share my skincare routine with you all - I don't talk about my skin that often on my blog or any of my social media accounts but I used to struggle pretty badly with eczema when I was a toddler and then again from the age of 13 - 20. It's only in the last year or so that my skin is actually behaving again and now, at age 21, I'm finally happy with it! Suffering from eczema was incredibly debilitating and I couldn't stand people seeing me when I was experiencing a flare up. Luckily it's all gone now and, even though that may be due to me getting older and my skin sorting itself out on its own, I do contribute a lot of my success to my diet (lots of plants and no dairy!), the amount of water I drink (at least 2 litres a day) and my skincare routine. I use products free from harsh ingredients, and facial oils which are amazing for hydrating your skin and giving it a natural glow.

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Monday, 6 June 2016

Raw Vegan Lemon Cheesecake Squares (Sugar-Free)

Raw vegan cheesecake is definitely one of my favourite desserts - it's delicious and tastes super indulgent but has the added bonus of only containing nutritious ingredients such as dried fruit and nuts. Lemon was always my favourite cheesecake flavour so this recipe is a throwback to my childhood! It may not taste exactly the same as the original version but it's incredible all the same. These cheesecake squares are the perfect dessert to serve at a dinner party because they look and taste like you've spent a lot of time and effort making them but they're actually incredibly quick and simple to throw together. The filling is creamy with a hint of lemon and the base contains lemon zest so the flavour comes through beautifully.

I usually use maple syrup as a sweetener but even though it's natural and unrefined it still contains a lot of sugar which is where Natvia comes in! Natvia is a sweetener made with natural plant ingredients and absolutely no artificial nasties, so if you're watching your sugar intake then it's the perfect addition to snacks and desserts. If you don't want to use Natvia then you can definitely use any other sweetener (such as maple/rice syrup) and it'll still taste fab!


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Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Vegan & Sugar-Free Choco-Raspberry Buckwheat Pancakes

Raspberry and chocolate is one of the best flavour combinations going and when you throw pancakes into the mix then it becomes ten times better, so I'm sure you'll believe me when I say that these are probably my favourite ever pancakes! They taste deliciously indulgent but are actually incredibly nutritious, containing ingredients such as buckwheat, flax seed, cacao powder and raspberries - they're sugar-free too as they're sweetened with Natvia, which is a sweetener made with natural plant-based ingredients (no artificial nasties here!). This is the first of four recipes I'll be creating for Natvia which I'm super excited about; I don't think there's anything wrong with consuming refined sugar every now and again, and I use coconut sugar on almost a daily basis, but natural sugar-free sweeteners are a good alternative to use if you're trying to cut your sugar intake down. You can always replace the Natvia with the same amount of another type of sweetener/sugar though!

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Sunday, 22 May 2016

Sweet & Creamy Green Smoothie Bowl with Naturya Superfoods

I have a love-hate relationship with greens; I love them because they're incredible for my body and are full of so many vitamins and minerals but I hate them because, well, I really don't like the taste of them. Unless you're giving me spinach in a sandwich with avocado or hummus, I'm really not interested. Actually, I lie - pesto pasta with spinach is pretty damn tasty too. But what I'm trying to say is that you won't catch me eating a spinach or kale salad anytime soon. I'm a firm believer that a healthy lifestyle should be enjoyable and sustainable so I'm not going to force down something I don't like, even if it is amazing for me! So that's where green smoothies come in. Spinach has a wonderful way of not being detectable once it's blended with fruit and various other tasty ingredients, so you get to enjoy all the benefits of it without actually being able to taste it. Win-win, right? This smoothie bowl is quite sweet so it's the perfect introduction to green smoothies, but you can always increase the amount of spinach if you feel happy doing so. To take this smoothie to the next level I added a tablespoon of Naturya Organic Green Blend for extra goodness, so I was positively glowing afterwards! I also added some vegan vanilla protein powder for a protein boost but that's completely optional.

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