mo'adore: cruelty-free beauty ∙ vegan food ∙ glasgow/dundee lifestyle

8 May 2017

H&M Conscious picks for a safari



I've always been a bit on/off with ethical clothes shopping. On one hand it's a great thing to do but on the other hand it is one of the trickiest forms of ethical shopping out there (at least that's how I've personally found it). And while I've been on a bit of a roll since mid-2016, there's a few situations where I've found it particularity challenging, one of those being when I'm looking for something very specific.

One recent example is when my work invited me on an educational training holiday to Kenya and in the space of a month I had to pull together a wardrobe that would take me from beach, to safari, to luxury resort, to chilly night and warm days, and would also respect local customs. Okay then, challenge accepted.

Thankfully I actually found refuge on the high street. Usually when I'm needing something short notice I hop over to H&M because - even though it's still high street and not *perfect* - it's better than most (I liken it to buying a lipstick from a cruelty-free company that has a testing parent company). For extra brownie points they launched their H&M Conscious range a while back that boasts seven commitments ranging from using natural resourced efficiently to choosing responsible partners.

This is where I get lucky though. The range was bursting with khakis, browns and whites - just what I was in the market for. It's pricier than the usual range and I'm not exactly going to get much use of safari themed clothes on a day-to-day basis here in Scotland, so I have reign myself in a small bit - but here's a guide to what I did buy and what else I almost did.

The first thing I picked up was this Lyocell shirt dress for £34.99. It's available in both khaki and beige, of which I opted for the former. The dress comes down to my knees as well which did mean it wasn't super flattering but meant that even when I was climbing in and out of jeeps I didn't accidentally flash my pants to everyone.

Second up on my shopping receipts, is these pull-on trousers retailing at £14.99. Out of everything I brought with me to Kenya, these were the bomb and I'd recommend something similar to anyone else going on safari. They were baggy and light enough that they weren't uncomfortable during mid-day heat (the hot season is January/February mind you) but meant that my legs were covered as the temperature dropped at night. Plus the helped keep the bugs off my legs! Heck if I was going again I'd purchase these in beige as well.

The third (and final) thing I purchased specifically for my trip was this long-sleeved jersey top. My previous trips to Africa (Cape Town, Zambia and Botswana) plus a jaunt to Peru almost 10 years ago, taught me that hot countries aren't always hot at night and you'll need to wrap up a bit. However, this wasn't quite the best purchase as when you are on a holiday of the adventurous persuasion you won't always have time to change between activities so it's much better to bring layers that you can take on and off. I'd skip this for next time and purchase a few floaty t-shirts and hoodies instead.

Something I did see but didn't purchase was this Lyocell top in khaki - but I wish I had. Now having been on safari I see how perfect this would have been and would have chosen it over the long-sleeved top. And something that I never seen in my local H&M and only found online when I sat down to write this post is these Lyocell shorts in 'Light Mole' that would be perfect if you're heading over in the super-hot season.

Kenya also has some amazing beaches that look out onto the Indian Ocean, so remember to pack a swimsuit. The H&M Conscious range doesn't have any swimwear but it does have these lovely white denim shorts that would be perfect for covering yourself up with as you travel between beach and resort.

Finally, I hate the idea of wearing jeans in a warm climate but many people in my safari group lived in them. If you're someone with a good heat tolerance, pick up these Super Skinny Low Jeans. I might check them out now that I'm home for wearing in this country.

Have you been on safari? What would be your must pack items? 

6 May 2017

Vegan Tuck Box




My relationship with surprise subscription boxes has been a bit on-off. I was subscribed to Petit Vour and Glossybox waaayyy back in the day, and I'll admit now I was only doing it cause I was a new blogger and I thought it would help me blend in with the cool kids. 

I did enjoy receiving them but I ultimately unsubscribed because there was always something in the box that I had no interest in (I actually still have a few products floating around my bathroom cabinet that originated from the 2011 boxes). Yes, these boxes might be great value overall in terms of price but I'd much rather spend money on something I'd definitely use, even if it was a higher purchase price. 

And then I went cruelty-free in in 2012 so even if I wanted to subscribe to a beauty or food box I'd have very few options. One option I do have is Vegan Tuck Box, a UK based subscription box that specialises in vegan snacks to keep you going throughout the day. 

They offer two different boxes: the Vegan Variety Box (with 5-8 snacks) and the Vegan Ultimate Box (10-13 snacks) the second of which they recently sent me to review. Will this leave me sold on the idea of subscription boxes? Let's have a look. 



The first thing that struck me as soon as I opened the box was how much food there was in it. Like, I was aware that there would be a double-digit amount of snacks but the box was almost stuffed to the brim (and getting a neat picture of it all wan't easier). 

On second glance the next thing to please me was the variety of snacks. I usually get weird looks when I share this but *drum roll* I don't like chocolate. I'm a savoury girl through and through, who will take a pastry/crisps/decent sandwich any day over chocolate or even cake (every year I ask for a birthday burrito and no one buys me one?). In my particular box there was chocolate but I also found Bombay crisps, coconut pecks, morning tea and even some vegan Parmesan (is this a snack? I don't really care because vegan Parmesan). That's definitely enough to keep my savoury tooth happy. 

As some of you may know I very recently returned from a work trip to Kenya. When I was first asked if I wanted to go I squeamishly said yes because the question I was thinking was exactly the same question I typed into Google later that day: "can you be vegan in Kenya?". Turns out the answer I got wasn't what I wanted, so in the suitcase the snacks went. 

Turns out Kenya was not quite as bad as I assumed....vegetarian and vegan food is a bit repetitive and the V symbol isn't used, but you can do it. Saying that I was still glad to have a few badboys in my bag. My favourite was definitely the Hoots Smoked Bacon - salty and savoury at the same time which is totally my kind of snack. Next up I really liked the Inspiral Salted Caramel Coconut Pecks, which I was a bit surprised to find I liked and I think they would be really nice sprinkled on top of a cupcake rather than eaten by themselves. I also really liked the Ten Acre Bombay Spicy Crisps and I am fully aware that curry flavoured crisps are not to everyone's liking but they're totally to mine so there. 

And I loved the vegan Parmesan, but obviously I didn't take that to Kenya because that would be weird...

Has Vegan Tuck Box ignited a passion in me for subscription boxes? Well, no - but thankfully they have worked people like me (who want good snacks but don't necessarily want to subscribe to a surprise box every month and risk having a cupboard overflown with stuff they don't want) into their business plan in the form of single issue boxes. There's seven styles of single issue boxes (one of them is a savoury themed box too!) that range in price from £5 to £18.50. While I doubt I'd sign up for a box every month, if I find myself travelling again (especially in a country that's a little more difficult to explore with my dietary requirements) I will definitely pop in an order. 

What's your take on subscription boxes? 

19 April 2017

Cruelty-Free Careers: Melanie of White Rabbit Skincare



White Rabbit Skincare has taken the vegan beauty community by storm and requires little introduction. But how much do you know about its amazing founder, Melanie, and how she made her small skincare business her full-time job? First up in my new Cruelty-Free Careers series is the lady herself talking all things business and her journey to accidental entrepreneur. 

Hi Melanie, for those of us not familiar with yourself and White Rabbit Skincare could you give us a bit of a background?
White Rabbit Skincare is a luxury, cruelty free skincare brand which has been created to address the need for high performance, but naturally based skincare products. Our products are 100% naturally derived, cruelty-free, vegan and always carefully made by hand to ensure the highest quality. They are certified cruelty free/vegan by PETA and endorsed by Naturewatch. 

Where did you the idea or motivation for White Rabbit Skincare come from?
I was diagnosed with the skin condition psoriasis as a teenager, and didn’t want to use the steroid creams prescribed by doctors. Not only are these packed full of chemicals (and remember: 60% of what you put on your skin is absorbed into your bloodstream!), they are often tested on animals, and as a huge animal lover, this was a no-go for me. So initially I started using things like coconut oil and shea butter on my skin, then started making my own ‘proper’ skincare products. Interest started to pick up from friends/family and beyond, and the rest, as they say, is history! 

Was running your own business a lifelong dream or did the idea come later in life?
I often think of myself as an ‘inadvertent’ or ‘accidental’ entrepreneur – I’m no Alan Sugar type who has been doing it my whole life; I just think the opportunity as it were happened to me at the right time, and I’ve been incredibly lucky that it has developed from a hobby into my full time job!

What did you want to be while you were growing up?
Anything animal-related: I remember for years wanting to be a horse riding instructor, then in my latter teenage years a marine biologist – I was obsessed with Orcas (killer whales). I ended up (pre White Rabbit Skincare) going to university to do an Honours degree in history! 

What was your career like prior to starting White Rabbit Skincare? 
Mostly admin/office based. My first job was a Technical Records Officer in an aircraft maintenance company, then as an office assistant in a food company, then a receptionist at a welfare-to-work organisation and finally before White Rabbit Skincare, a sales and social media assistant at an events company! Such roles have taught me how to be organised, work well with other people – and be patient! 

Were there any new skills you had to learn to start your business?
Too many to list! When you have your own business, you are literally a Jack-of-all-Trades, and it is incredibly different to working for someone else. It is without a doubt the biggest challenge I have ever faced – and probably ever will be – but I love it and can’t imagine doing anything else now!  

Did you have anyone helping you in the background – such as friends or family with a particular skill set?
White Rabbit wouldn’t be where it is now without the help of family, friends and organisations such as The Princes Trust or Entrepreneurial Spark. My family and friends are amazing at helping out at events or working into the wee small hours when we’ve got a big order due out – such as the recent inclusion of our comfort cleansing balm in the You Beauty Box. I’ve also very fortunate that our accountant is one of my friends from university, and my Mum is product labeller extraordinaire! 

If you are thinking about starting your own business, I would highly recommend contacting the aforementioned above organisations. We’re still with E-Spark now – which is a business accelerator – and they have helped push me out my comfort zone and get my business to where it is now, and where it’s going! 

What has been one of the biggest challenges?
Other than practical issues, such as finance – which all new businesses face – one of my personal biggest challenges has been confidence, and believing in myself. But I’m now at the stage where I take EVERY opportunity given to me – you never know where it will lead – even if it terrifies me, and work to make myself and my family proud! 

We first met when you took part in the @CfBloggerschat – has social media and blogger outreach been a massive part of your growth?
Definitely. It’s now one of the first places people refer to for reviews, advice and so on – plus it’s an excellent means of us interacting with our customers. 

What other marketing channels do you use to promote your business?
Social media such as Instagram and Facebook is really helpful/important to us, and also things like our blog and YouTube (although admittedly this needs work!). We also like collaborating with bloggers/youtubers/influencers, and regularly attend events/exhibitions – we love meeting our customers (established and new) in person. 

Do you have any plans for White Rabbit Skincare in the future?
World domination (in a eco-friendly, ethical, earth-loving manner of course)! But seriously I would love for WRS to become a global brand; one that people automatically associate natural, vegan skincare with. Our vision is to be ‘the most influential natural and vegan skincare brand in the world’! 

Thank you for your time Melanie, does anyone else have anything else they would like to ask Melanie?


P.S. I already have a few of these interviews lined up, but would love some more. I'm not specifically looking for entrepreneurs either - of you're an accountant/receptionist/PR person for an animal charity/cruelty-free beauty company/vegan food brand, I'd love to hear from you! 

14 April 2017

New to my Beauty Stash #1


For a blog that is primarily recognised as a cruelty-free beauty blog, my beauty tag has been a bit quiet this past year. In fact, when I have blogged about beauty it has been a press sample. Eh, oops? There has however been a straightforward reason for this: I was trying to use up everything I already owned. At some point last year I was finding it difficult to close the lid of my beauty box and some of my natural products were, well, not looking that fresh anymore because I had too many of them to finish using before the sell by date. Plus, I still had animal tested products and non-vegan items floating about my cupboard. 

Thankfully the time has come to say that my beauty box once again closes and that I finally have a fully vegan perfume collection (remember this Anna Sui gift set blog from 2012? I finally shifted the last of it a month ago). So what does one do when they have achieved this task? Buy a whole lot of new beauty products. But this time I am restraining myself and trying hard to avoid any buyer's remorse. Here's just a collection of what I've been buying this month.

Barry M Flawless Colour Correcting Wand for Dark Circles. I have been a fan of green concealer for years and would recommend it to anyone who isn't blessed with a naturally even skin-tone. But despite suffering from prominent dark circles, this is my first foray into a peachy concealer to balance out purple tones. At first glance the colour looks a little too close to a regular concealer, but time will tell whether it becomes a staple in my beauty stash like green concealer has. 

Barry M Flawless Light Reflecting Concealer. I'm cheating a little bit by including this as I've been loyal to it this product for a year now. I like it and you should buy it.

Barry M Brow Wow Pencil & Brush (Medium - Dark). For years I have been using the HD Brows pallet, but my e-mail regarding animal testing never got replied to so I know when it finishes I'll need a replacement. I picked this up as possible substitute and have already given it a whirl. Turns out it is strong and dark when applied making it great for my evening look but not for a day in the office. It will definitely get used from time to time but I don't see it becoming a daily staple. 

Barry M Coconut Infusion Nail Paint in Storm. I'm not exactly new to Barry M Nail Paint and already have a full bag of polishes under my dresser. But I've been finding myself drawn to muted colours as of late and my collection was definitely low on neutral shades. So I was glad to let this grey-brown into my life. 

Barry M Flawless Original Primer.  This is the last product from Barry M, I swear. When I got to the till in Superdrug I found out it was 2 for 3 across beauty so picked something else in a hurry (for any smart asses: I bought the eyebrow pencil and concealer on a separate shopping trip). I've been of the opinion that only high-end primers are worth the purchase - but with a special deal on it was time to give a drugstore primer one last try. We'll see if this changes my opinion.

Lush Caca Rouge Henna Hair Dye. I'm cheating again by including this as everyone knows this has been keeping my hair fiery since 2012. 

Superdrug Solait 50 SPF Moisturising Sun Lotion. While sun-protection is not exactly the most exciting purchase I've ever made, my upcoming trip to Kenya definitely is! Obviously sun screen is very important for such a trip, and will be the first time I'll be putting vegan sun-protection to the test. 

Gosh Rebel Eyes Mascara. One type of beauty product that I definitely became low on was mascara, and I opted for this one from one of my favourite beauty companies. While I feel I'm in the minority here, I love a small rubber brush and this is just that. Fingers crossed this is good. 

Superdrug Hair Therapy Cleansing Conditioner. I've posted no physical evidence of this online yet, but my hair now only falls to just past my shoulders. As a result I'm no longer in the market for heavy but super-moisturising hair masks, but something that adds moisture but doesn't weigh the hair down. This hair treatment is described as light weight and ideal for keeping coloured hair vibrant - fits the bill!

Superdrug Active Haircare Shampoo for Normal Hair. Keeping on the topic of haircare, I decided it was time I got a shampoo specifically for my swimming bag. Aside from chlorine, it also claims to protect against UV rays and sea salt, so it might just make its way into my Kenya suitcase. 

Original Source Green Banana & Bamboo Milk Moisturisering Shower Milk. I'm not new to Original Source Shower Gels and already rate them highly - but this probably the best smelling one so far. 

Superdrug BB Cream in Light. Something I'm very much in the market for right now is a great day foundation/tinted moisturiser/BB Cream/CC Cream that covers the 'worst of it' but is natural looking at the same time. While I've already found my holy grail of evening make-up foundation, I've not found my daytime equivalent and I picked this up in hope it would fill that beauty shaped hole in my life. I've used this once already and while it does make my skin look brighter, it doesn't do much in terms of hiding imperfections (maybe if you have dull skin but even skin-tone you might like this?).  

What have you been purchasing recently?