Friday, 29 June 2012

Yummy Vegan Flapjack

I have always loved baking, and as I am gradually making the change to being vegan I decided to try out a vegan recipe. Flapjack seemed like a good place to start - it's a moreish treat but can be healthy too, especially if it's homemade.
The following recipe is based on Mary Berry's flapjack recipe, and I have adapted it into a healthy, vegan treat. You can put whatever you like into flapjack, just have a rummage in your cupboards!


Ingredients
  • 8oz vegan margarine
  • 8oz demerara sugar (I didn't have any so used dark brown soft sugar instead and it turned out really well!)
  • 3oz golden syrup
  • 10oz porridge oats
  • 2-3 handfuls mixed seeds
  • 1-2 handfuls finely chopped dried apricots
Method
  1. Preheat oven to 160°C/140°C Fan/Gas 3. Grease a traybake or roasting tin.
  2. Melt margarine, sugar and syrup in a large pan over a low heat then stir in oats, seeds and apricots. Mix well and turn into prepared tin.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes or until pale golden brown. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Mark into 24 squares and leave to finish cooling in the tin.
I am really pleased with how these turned out, and I am looking forward to trying the recipe again with different ingredients - does anyone have any good ideas?
Wednesday, 27 June 2012

American Beauty

There is a long list of certified cruelty free companies to choose from on the BUAV's Go Cruelty Free website. However, we are not just limited to British brands! Cruelty free products can also be found in other countries such as America, so we are spoilt for choice really!

The Humane Cosmetics Standard was established by an international coalition of animal protection groups from North America and the European Union. Several countries each have their own cruelty free organisation which sets the same Standards and awards the  Leaping Bunny to companies that can guarantee that their finished products and ingredients have never been tested on animals by themselves or a third party.

I have a few American products, which can be bought from UK websites, and I absolutely love them! For a full list of American cruelty free companies, check out leapingbunny.org. Most companies will ship to the UK, but I imagine it could be expensive in some cases, so just do a search of the brand you want to try followed by 'UK' and you should be able to find what you are looking for.

Aubrey Glycogen Protein Balancing Lavender & Ylang Ylang Shampoo and Conditioner, £10.51 each, and Green Tea Natural Sunscreen SPF 30, £14.29,  from The Organic Bodycare Shop | Dr Bronner's Organic Lavender Castile Liquid Soap, £5.49, from Lucy Rose | Everyday Minerals Semi-Matte Base Foundation, £9.95, and Finishing Powder, £7.95, from Cocktail Cosmetics | Hurraw! Root Beer Lip Balm, £3.45, and Crazy Rumors Apple Spice Lip Balm, £3.45, from Super Smoocher


Thursday, 21 June 2012

My Latest Prize: Astonish Cleaning Products

I love entering competitions; when you win it's such a buzz, especially if you have put in a lot of effort to get a prize that you really want. I love Astonish cleaning products as they are very affordable, really effective, and of course, cruelty free. So when I saw that the vegetarian, BUAV approved company were running an effort competition on their Facebook page to win £20 worth of their products, I got my thinking cap on.

Astonish wanted you to send them a photo taken over the Jubilee weekend featuring one of their products. A great tip for effort competitions is to wait until a few people have entered, so you can see what the standard is like. There were three entries posted up before I entered, which I thought were pretty simple photos. So I had an idea to prepare a vegetarian Jubilee lunch (including homemade red, white and blue cupcakes!), and use Astonish Antibacterial Cleanser to clean the surfaces beforehand. Here was my finished entry:


I was really pleased with my entry and I was delighted when I found out that I had won. I was allowed to choose any products from Astonish's online store totalling £20, and as they are so affordable, I managed to get quite a few. I picked:
  • Antibacterial Cleanser
  • Mould & Mildew Remover
  • Orange Cream Cleaner
  • Glass & Tile Cleaner
  • Stainless Steel Cleaner
  • Oven Cleaner Spray
  • Toilet Bowl Cleaner Tabs
  • 4 in 1 Non Bio Laundry Liquid in Japanese Blossom and Sea Breeze.

I was really impressed with the size of the laundry liquid; you get a massive bottle for just £3! I am planning to do reviews on some of the products such as the mould & mildew remover, the oven cleaner and the stainless steel cleaner, so watch this space! Astonish are planning to run even bigger competitions soon, so if you care about using cruelty free cleaning products, head on over to their Facebook page.






Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Premae Skincare Tranquil Anatomy Body Wash Review

Premae is a vegan, BUAV approved company that markets itself as the world's first allergen-free beauty brand. They produce natural skincare and bodycare products that are ideal for allergy-prone men, women, mothers and babies. Premae's products come in recycled aluminium bottles and jars with recycled paper labels which customers can buy cheaper refills for, and even receive free samples and discounts for sending back their old containers.

I was recently offered the chance to try Premae's Tranquil Anatomy Body Wash, which is aimed at bathing oily/acne-prone skin. I do tend to experience blemishes on my upper back, shoulders and chest area so I was really keen to try this product out.

Credit: www.premaeskincare.com

I love the packaging of the body wash, it is simple but attractive, and I love the fact that it is recycled. The product is like a thin gel which lathers up nicely in the shower. It has a relaxing, earthly aroma that is quite neutral so I think men would benefit from using this product too. The body wash leaves your skin feeling clean without drying it out.

I have been using this product for a while now and I am really pleased with it. I feel it has helped to clear up my blemishes, so it definitely does what it says on the tin! Overall a fab product from a fab company.
Thursday, 14 June 2012

The Cruelty Behind Fashion


A lot of people would never wear real fur as it is deemed cruel, so why isn’t there the same attitude towards other animal products?  

The leather trade makes around half of all profits generated by slaughterhouses; many animals are bred specifically for their skins and are kept in extreme confinement. Others, such as deer, crocodiles, kangaroos and dolphins, are hunted and killed for their skins.

Silk is considered a luxurious material, but it is produced by boiling silk worms to death while they are fully conscious inside their cocoons. Hundreds of silkworms may be killed for just one silk scarf.

Wool may also be unavoidably linked to the meat industry. In Australia, the most commonly raised sheep are purposely bred for their wrinkly skin, which means that they produce more wool. Due to the unnatural amount of wool, many sheep collapse and die of heat exhaustion, and the moisture that collects in the wrinkles attracts flies which lay eggs. The hatched maggots may eat the sheep alive, so farmers perform ‘mulesing’, where the sheep are forced onto their backs with their legs restrained and have chunks of flesh sliced from their tail area to cause smooth skin that won’t harbour fly eggs, with no pain relief. 

Credit: www.peta.org

Feathers and down may be used in coats and jackets. They can be collected after geese and ducks have been slaughtered; however, sometimes feathers will be plucked from live birds, which causes them a great deal of pain and distress.



Credit: www.evolvecampaigns.org.uk


So what are the alternatives? There are many great companies that manufacture and sell vegan, cruelty free shoes, handbags, jackets and jumpers etc. such as the ones listed under fashion here.
You can also pick up many items of non-animal clothes, shoes and accessories in high street shops and online stores - just be sure to check the label to ensure the materials are entirely synthetic.

For more information on fur, leather, wool, silk and feathers, see www.evolvecampaigns.org.uk and www.thebigcoverup.org.uk.
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