Friday, 27 July 2012

Beauty Without Cruelty Full Volume Mascara Review

Beauty Without Cruelty is a company that produce natural cosmetics. They are BUAV approved and Vegan Society registered, and have been leading the way in cruelty free cosmetics for over 30 years. I am working my way around all the cruelty free products I have not yet tried, so when I needed a new mascara I decided it was BWC's turn! There are 3 mascaras to choose from in BWC's new range: a waterproof mascara, an ultimate mascara for longer & thicker lashes, and a full volume mascara, which is the one I bought.


This mascara aims to create natural looking lashes with greater volume. It is free from parabens, PEGs & fragrances, is made with natural and organic ingredients, and comes in recyclable packaging. It retails at £10.99.

It has a traditional brush wand, which, after much research, I have found to be the most effective on my eyelashes.


I really love this mascara - it makes my lashes look longer, darker and thicker (I even got complimented on how long they looked!). What I also love about the product is that it is so easy to remove; you can even wash it off with plain water (therefore it's obviously not waterproof!).

Here's how the mascara performed on my lashes:

My bare lashes
After one coat of BWC Full Volume mascara
After two coats of BWC Full Volume mascara

I didn't curl my lashes for these photos to give a fair representation of the product, however, they don't really need curling with this mascara. I usually do curl them before applying mascara, so when I use this one after they look even better!

Overall I was really impressed with the product and would definitely buy it again. I am eager to try BWC's other mascaras and the other items from their makeup and nail polish range.
Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Amy's Kitchen Mushroom Risotto Review

I don't eat a lot of ready meals, but sometimes I just can't be bothered to cook anything if I've been working late like I was yesterday, so I popped into Tesco to see what I could find. I would have preferred to get a vegan ready meal but I was in a hurry and didn't have time to read loads of labels, so I opted for this mushroom risotto (£2.49) from Amy's Kitchen as I have heard a lot about the brand. I was expecting it to be vegan, but alas, it contains a bit of cheese :( As I am not yet fully vegan I thought I would try it anyway as it was the only Amy's Kitchen product I could find in the store and I have been wanting to try their products for a while.


The portion size is average for a ready meal; none seem to be as big as I would have for a home-cooked meal. Although I could have done with a bit more, I didn't feel hungry afterwards. As you can see, the risotto is all natural, gluten free, Vegetarian Society Approved, and counts as 1 of your 5 a day.


I like to think that I am rather good at making risotto, and so I was a little reluctant to try a ready meal version. I was, however, pleasantly surprised. The risotto was full of flavour, and I could see plenty of mushrooms and peas (a good sign!). I honestly think that if you'd have served me this in a restaurant I wouldn't have known that it was a ready meal and not freshly made. It was even better than my risotto - I think more practise is needed!

As I said previously, I would have preferred the risotto to be vegan, but overall I really enjoyed it.


Monday, 23 July 2012

Blog the Change for Dog Rescue

Today I am taking part in a global online event that aims to raise awareness of shelter dogs. As I explained in my introduction post, the overbreeding of dogs is a huge problem. People may breed animals for money (which I do not agree with - they are not objects!) or to maintain pedigree blood lines (often for specific characteristics which can lead to health problems such as flat faces in bull breeds). Other people rush into buying a puppy without thinking about the lifelong love, care and expense that they require. Often, once a puppy grows into a bigger dog, the owners decide that they haven't got time for it or can't afford to keep it anymore, one of a few things can happen:
  1. The dog is sold. It may indeed go to a loving home but in my opinion if you really cared about your dog you wouldn't want any money as animals should not be treated as objects. Furthermore, even people who pay hundreds of pounds for a dog can still abandon it, so asking for money to secure a good home is not a guarantee that the animal will be looked after.
  2. The dog is offered free to a good home. Sounds better than selling a dog after my above statement, but this option can be dangerous. Animals offered free to good homes are often picked up by people who promise to care for them but use them for dog fighting, bait, snake food etc. The solution? If you really must rehome your dog, try to do it through a local rescue organisation. If this is not possible, you should carry out thorough checks of the potential new owner and their home, and ask for references.
  3. The dog is abandoned. Some are left outside rescue centres where they may be rehomed, but are often euthanized, and others are left to fend for themselves on the streets, such as Ruby.
Ruby when she first arrived at the rescue

Ruby is my boyfriend's parents' dog. She was found wandering round the streets in Wales. She was transported down to Cornwall to New Life Dog Rescue, which was set up by Nannette, a woman I met at college, after she found out about the terrible pound situation. Ruby was very small and underweight. My boyfriend's mum, who has had Yorkshire Terriers in the past, fell in love with her and contacted Nannette. The rehoming procedure, which is a requirement of all rescues, was carried out: her home and garden were assessed to check that they were a safe environment, checks were made to ensure that someone would be home most of the time to look after the dog, and, once it was decided that Ruby could live with her, an adoption fee was paid to cover veterinary costs and neutering (to prevent further overbreeding), and a contract signed so that should a situation ever arise, Ruby would be returned to the rescue safely.

Ruby has been with my boyfriend's parents for over a year now and she has settled in extremely well. She put on weight and has learned to play, and she and Jack are the best of friends.


Adopt, don't buy!

If you are serious about getting a dog, please consider rescuing one instead of buying from a breeder. The pounds are overcrowded and the dogs are euthanized if not rescued. Some people have excuses as to why they think they cannot rescue a dog, such as:
  • If we stopped breeding, there would be no more dogs. Firstly, I think it is highly unlikely that every single person is going to cease breeding animals. But if we can stop the majority, then that will make a huge difference. Secondly, we are only breeding animals so they exist for our benefit; with all the animal cruelty that goes on in the world, I feel that it would perhaps be kinder for them if they did not exist.
  • I want a specific breed. If you really have your mind made up that you want a particular breed, ask your local rescues to notify you when one should come in. You can also search for breed-specific rescues; even if they are in a different part of the country, dogs are often transported around if you are serious about rehoming them.
  • I really want a puppy. Puppies are cute, I agree. We got Jack as a puppy, but that was just before we were made aware of the pound situation, and I immediately had him neutered and vowed never to buy an animal again, although I wouldn't change him for the world. But there are hundreds of adult dogs that need homes, so please consider them. Rescues sadly get some puppies and pregnant bitches in, so ask to be notified if you won't change your mind.
  • I'm not allowed to rescue a dog as I am not at home most of the time. I am sure a lot of people will disagree with me here, but in my opinion if you do not have the time to dedicate to a dog, then you should not get one. Dogs get extremely bored and lonely when they are left on their own for long periods of time and it is not fair to let them feel this way. Lack of time is one of the main reasons for rehoming a dog.

So how can you help?

Rescue organisations work tremendously hard to save as many dogs from shelters as they can and find them new homes. They often struggle financially, and would really appreciate your help.
  • Make a donation. Times are financially hard for everyone, but if loads of people donated as little as £1, a lot could be raised for rescues!
  • Donate unwanted items. If you really cannot afford a monetary donation, why not give that pile of books or bag of clothes you've been meaning to get rid of to your local rescue? They can go on to sell items at car boot sales and auctions to raise money.
  • Donate your skills. Next weekend I am due to take part in a charity day for New Life Dog Rescue by carrying out taster sessions of complementary therapies. If you can bake, knit or paint etc, help out where you can for events and auctions.
  • Donate your time. If you love dogs but are unable to have your own, helping out your local rescue is perfect. With so much to do, rescuers would really appreciate your help, be it walking their dogs, organising fundraising events or even fostering a dog until a new home is found for them.
I hope this post has helped to raise awareness and encouraged others to help out where they can through one of the above suggestions. Please spread the word, and together we can be the change for animals!
Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Jason Purifying Tea Tree Deodorant/Powersmile® Whitening Toothpaste Review

I was recently offered the chance to try out some products by the lovely people at Jason Natural Care. Jason is a BUAV approved company that has grown into a leading global brand for people who look after themselves and their families from head to toe the natural way. Their products, which are made using only natural ingredients, are all vegetarian and vegan (with the exception of a beeswax lipbalm which I am told is being discontinued soon), and the packaging is bio-degradable and packaged in recycled and/or recyclable containers.

I had a hard time deciding which products I wanted to try as there are loads of different ones to choose from. However, I decided to go with products that I actually need, rather than add to my pile of shower gels and body lotions! I picked the Purifying Tea Tree Oil Deodorant Roll-on as I am trying out all the natural, cruelty free deodorants on the market, and the Powersmile® Whitening Toothpaste as I have been wanting to try a natural toothpaste for ages.



Purifying Tea Tree Deodorant Roll-on

One of the key features of this deodorant is that it does not contain aluminum, which is something I have been avoiding now for about a year. Whilst there is no strong evidence that aluminium causes breast cancer, scientists agree that more research is needed, and who knows what the long term effects may be?

The product has a delicate aroma, but not overpowering as tea tree oil on its own can be. It glides on smoothly and does not irritate the skin. Overall it is a good product, however, as with any of the aluminium-free deodorants I have tried, you will sweat and you will have to reapply it if you exercise or get hot etc., as it is not an antiperspirant. If you are making the change from antiperspirant to natural deodorant, it may take some getting used to, but if you want to avoid aluminium and its potential effects on your body then it is just one of those things that you will have to put up with, but you will get used to it. As much as we don't like it, our bodies are designed to sweat to keep us cool, and if you think about it, the idea of bunging up our pores with chemicals does not seem very healthy.

Powersmile® Whitening Toothpaste

This toothpaste is free from Sodium Lauryl/Laureth Sulfate, preservatives, artificial colours, artificial sweeteners, saccharin, and propylene glycol. It is also free from fluoride. I have read a little bit about sodium fluoride and how it is not actually good for your teeth, but potentially dangerous, but I don't feel I know enough about its effects so this is a topic I am planning to research.

The product is a creamy colour and does not look as smooth as traditional toothpastes, but this is because it is free from chemicals and colourings. It contains Bamboo Powder, Calcium Carbonate, Sodium Bicarbonate and Silica to help prevent tartar build-up and polish teeth naturally. After using this toothpaste my mouth feels really fresh due to the natural peppermint essential oil, and it makes my teeth feel really clean and smooth - a lot more than traditional toothpastes. I haven't noticed a change to the whiteness of my teeth, but to be honest no whitening toothpaste I've ever used has made a massive difference. Overall I was really pleased with this product and I will definitely be switching to natural toothpastes from now on!
Sunday, 15 July 2012

Vegan Goodies From Animal Aid

I have been wanting to try Beauty Without Cruelty's Full Volume Mascara for a while now as it is BUAV approved and vegan as well. I decided to buy it from Animal Aid's online shop as they sell lots of other lovely cruelty free goodies as well as makeup! I have a sweet tooth so I ordered some Dairy Free Chocovered Raisins, and a couple of Mars-style and Snickers-style chocolate bars. I am looking forward to trying out the mascara and choccies and am planning to review them all.


Has anyone tried any of these items? If so, what did you think?

Bloggers Unite For Dog Rescue!

I will be taking part in a special online global event that will be held on July 23, 2012. Bloggers Unite for Dog Rescue will highlight and stress the importance of dog adoption.


In the UK, and indeed worldwide, over-breeding of dogs continues to be a huge problem. Many people jump into buying a puppy without thinking about the life-long love, care, responsibility and expense that it entails. For every puppy that is bought, a dog in a shelter is euthanized because no one rescued them. And more often than not, the people that bought the puppy will change their mind when it grows bigger, or they decide they haven't got time for it, and the puppy may end up in a shelter itself. So it is a vicious cycle really.

If more people were aware of the crisis of dogs in shelters, then hopefully more of these dogs can be saved and given the loving home they deserve. In most shelters in the UK, dogs in the pound are given only 7 days to be rescued, or they are put down. Dog rescues are often small organisations, and whilst they work extremely hard to get as many dogs out of the pounds as they can - often arranging transport links to save a dog from the other end of the country - the financial side can often become an issue.

So on 23rd July I will be raising awareness of rescue dogs. I will be sharing the stories of my local dog rescues, making a donation to them, and encouraging others to do the same. Please spread the word - visit Be the Change for Animals for further information.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Baked Beans Just Got Even Better!

I love beans. Not just baked beans, but all the other types too. So when I saw that Heinz were bringing out a new tin of beans containing not just the classic haricot bean, but red kidney, pinto, cannellini and borlotti beans too, I got a tad excited! Heinz were giving away loads of tins of their new Five Beanz on their Facebook page, so I entered and forgot all about it. A few weeks later the postman brought me a surprise parcel containing the beans, and I decided to try them out right away for my lunch.


Beans are packed with protein, iron, calcium and other vitamins, and are therefore an important food for vegetarians and vegans. They even count as 1 of your 5 a day! When beans are combined with a grain such as wholemeal toast, they form a complete protein. Beans on toast is one of my favourite things to have for lunch as it is such a quick, easy and nutritious meal to make.


I loved Heinz Five Beanz, they were really delicious and filling; I didn't feel hungry until tea time. I will definitely be buying these when they hit the shops!


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