Paul Mitchell is a brand that is renowned for being cruelty-free and having plenty of vegan options within their range. But it's also known for being expensive and of salon quality, so it's only now that I'm getting around to buying some of their range after seeing them on lookfantastic.com.
Since volume is the kind of thing I'm always looking for (not that I have limp hair, I just think I suit a bit more volume than I naturally have) I decided to make my first purchase the Paul Mitchell extra-body trio kit. I have been the using the shampoo as my second shampoo now and then (I do a double shampoo each day, first shampoo is usually a cleansing one then the second is something that adds body or moisture but I always mix it up) mainly when my hair is looking normal and isn't needing any particular treatments such as repairing or extra cleansing. I also use the root booster each morning (I did use it alongside a Superdrug mousse, but found it worked better by itself). I only occasionally use the hair spray when required.
From using the shampoo and root booster daily I have three main points:
1. My hair did have a bit more bounce to it - not Hollywood bounce but there was a difference in volume to my hair
2. My tresses felt much healthier - I don't have unhealthy hair per se but my hair seemed to have more life to it and was in general better condition.
3. I mentioned it above but the root booster worked better when used alone and not with any other styling products.
As for the hairspray, it's medium hold and is good for holding softer styles in place - such as waves or a ponytail. I wouldn't recommend it for something such as a quiff or a fishtail braid. It smells just like the hairspray you get in salons and I'm guilty of using it a perfume rather than a hairspray haha.
I've currently finished the shampoo and close to finishing the root booster, and out of these products it's the shampoo I would seriously consider re-purchasing. I do like the root booster but it's one of those products I can live without whilst on a graduate budget (if I was rich I'd re-purchase!). I'm still a long way from finishing the hairspray so not sure how I feel about re-purchasing it right now.
Tucked into a small cobbled lane in the West End of Glasgow lies a small tea room with over 80 teas from around the world, a completely vegetarian menu, occasional live music and a selection of sisahs. The setting and decor is relaxed and surrounded my tress, and when me and my friend popped by on a warm July night recently we struggled to believe we were sitting in Glasgow.
My friend had wanted to stop by here because she had heard they sold a tea she drank during a Nepal adventure a few years ago. She didn't find anything that hit the spot the same way that tea did but we both ended up reminiscing about some of our travels and remarked on how this place both reminded us of our trips. For her it was Nepal, for me the decor both inside and on the balcony was startlingly similar to a hostel I stayed in during my month in Peru back in 2007.
I've said before that I am a big tea snob and I am very particular about it. I went for the Rolling Clouds which was a very gentle tasting tea which was brewed from leaves mixed through boiling water, and was brought to me in a cute teapot with a small bowl to drink it out of. Food wise I went for a platter with hummus, vine leaves, olives, pitta bread and falafel (and what good falafel it was). It's a fully veggie menu, and all vegan options were marked out (there were also a few curries on the menu if you're after something substantial, but I wasn't after anything spicy). My friend went for the carrot cake, which she stated several times was delicious!
Tchai Ovna is not for everyone. Between a fully veggie menu, a decor that reminds me of hostelling in South America and the sishas (you'll notice one on the table, it was bubblegum) I can understand why some people wouldn't take to the place. But for me it was such a lovely place for a summer evening to drink some tea and have a natter with a pal. It was the correct level of busy (not creepishly empty but not so busy you can't move) so I'm not the only one who liked it - I spotted a few tourist (bear in mind we're in Commonwealth season right now) and even a pair that looked like they were on a first date.
Beautiful setting, beautiful tea. Easily one of my fav places in Glasgow so far.
A company that makes a clear statement on their website about using sustainable materials and non-harsh chemicals but then makes no reference to animal testing always fires off alarm bells for me. (By making such a big deal about other ethics - which are still important - you're highlighting the ethics you're not making a big deal about). I did e-mail in June and as of yet have had no response.
Added to: no statement
On their website they claim that everything is suitable for vegans however there is no animal testing policy (and you can't be vegan if you test on animals, regardless of ingredients) and when I e-mailed to ask for a statement I received no response (and it's been three weeks).
Added to: no statement.
I decided to check in with one of my favourite brands again, and I am glad to report that everything still looks fine. They have also been added to my vegan beauty brand list as they sent over their vegan list without any issues (and I am yet to know of a vegan/cf blogger who has had trouble getting their hands on this list).
This brand does have a statement on the website however it is the weak 'we test our products on human animals only' so I sent an e-mail to get clarification on ingredients/finished products and ask which countries they sell in. So far I have not had a response.
Added to: ambiguous statement
Superdrug haven't had a change of heart however myself and a few of my cruelty-free pals didn't realise they were owned by the A.S. Watson Group, who sell on mainland China. Superdrug still has autonomy on their operations and testing methods but if you wish to avoid cruelty-free companies with testing parent companies that you may wish to consider this.
General additions to testers
I, for some reason, forgot to add some brands that are owned by Procter & Gamble, Unilever or Coty to my testing list when I first made it and for that I'm sorry. But the additions have been: Wash&Go, Wella, Sure, St Ives, Stella McCartney, Simple, Shockwaves, Radox, Nice-N-Easy, Lynx, Impulse, Head & Shoulders, Darphin, American Beauty and Adidas.
Also added Lancome, who sell in China (who I, for some reason, had also previously forgotten about).
Currently the brands Inika and Love Soap have e-mails from sitting in their inbox. Both have ticked a few positive boxes already (website statement, approved by other bloggers etc) however the final nod of approval from me is when brands are willing to have a dialogue with consumers about animal testing. When I write another update next month I should hopefully have an answer (and a few more brands on the pending list).
Do you have any other information on these brands? Have you had an e-mail? Any other brands you want me to look into for next month?
Once upon a time (two years ago, even) I wrote a blog post showing off some of my cookbook collection. It can take a while to get through an entire - or most of a - cookbook so it's only now I'm getting around to showing off some of my newer additions.
The Allotment Cookbook
This was purchased back at the start of 2013 to work in with my goal of growing my own food as it does contain information on what time of year is best to grow certain types of vegetables, with some other advice as well. However this isn't a cookbook I find myself reaching for too much despite the lovely looking recipes mainly because most of the recipes require more ingredients than my other cookbooks and a lot of the vegetables aren't ones I either grow myself or can find in a local Metro (if you can shop in an actual supermarket this may be more up your street). This isn't strictly a vegetarian cookbook so meat eaters may like it too, however because it is based around food you can grow on an allotment meat is used very sporadically anyway.
The Vegetarian Cookery Bible If you follow me on Instagram you might have noticed a lot of my recent dishes have an open cookbook in the background. This comes from this cookbook which was a present on my 23rd birthday. I find myself reaching a lot for this cookbook a lot - though I do have to veganise a lot of the recipes as cheese is used quite heavily throughout. Whilst I use this cookbook a lot I wouldn't say it's suitable for a vegetarian learning how to cook and it's more for people who already know their way around a kitchen.
The easiest and simplest baking book I own - most of the recipes don't have more than seven ingredients and are simple to make. However this does mean the final cupcake isn't of an impressive nature and would be more suited for someone who is just getting started with baking rather than for a serious baker who is looking for recipes to really impress someone with. All recipes are vegetarian however because the recipes are simple I find they are very simple to make vegan.
Do you own any of these cookbooks? Any cookbooks you think I should add to my collection (I am looking for new ones)?
I loved this piece on one women's story on giving her child her surname even though she was married to the father. The point I love: there's nothing wrong with giving a child the father's surname but at least sit down and talk about surnames and don't make it the default option.
Approved Foods is a website for those of you who want to get thrifty with their grocery shopping.
I wouldn't say 2true is a brand I've seen mentioned much in blogging land and even though I had cleared their cruelty-free status some time ago the appeal of actually buying stuff from them wasn't really floating about me. It was only when I was watching a YouTube video of someone with amazingly done make-up (it was a non-famous YouTuber and I cannot for the life of me remember her name) who said she always prefers her 2true mascara to some of the designers ones in her collection that I decided I should give them a whirl.
And I have to agree with that YouTuber that the FLASHeyes Lash lengthening Mascara is a great little addition to a make-up bag - especially for something that cost me less than a fiver. Whilst there I also picked up their eyeliner pen (for no other reason then I needed a new one and was on a budget) which I've also been loving. Since finishing the eyeliner pen I have purchased an even better one (by Gosh Cosmetics) however the tech extreme eyeliner is certainly a great product and a fantastic one if you really do need to stay below the £5 threshold.
These two products were both very cheap and whilst I can't remember the price of them individually combined they were still less than £5 - bargain for two high quality products! They are great for make-up wearers on a budget but even if dropping £20 on a mascara isn't much a deal to you I'd still recommend picking these up because they are really good (and even rich people love a bargain).
P.S. I bought these while ago before my vegan transition so whilst I can confirm they are cruelty-free I cannot speak whether they are suitable for vegans.
Urban Roots is a Southside community gardening charity I'd love to get involved in but the nearest garden session is during working hours (but maybe you'd like to take part?)
And more on gardening: Urban Organic Gardner is a gardening blog that has been keeping me busy this week (I'm struggling to find good quality gardening blogs - anyone know of any especially if they are urban or female orientated?)
Two years ago I wrote a blog post. That's not particularly interesting within itself. However this blog was me pondering my mid-year resolutions back in July 2012 and what I wanted to achieve by the close of that year. One of these were to become a cruelty-free consumer.
This went on to become one of my best personal decisions and something that led to a re-direction of my blog (or a direction, period) and dedicating quite a chunk of my life to helping others make this lifestyle choice. When I set out I was only thinking this would be a personal choice - I didn't quite imagine I'd be creating a large cruelty-free company list which ranks highly on Google or moderating a Twitter chat.
And in these past two years I'm really pleased with the progress which has taken place. The European Union enforced an outright ban and in the past few days China (where animal testing for cosmetic purposes is required by law) took the first steps to ending this practice. I've also witnessed long-term bloggers such as Hayley and Tilly make the switch cruelty-free cosmetics.
Going cruelty-free was a bit of a mind-field - there's a lot to know. But in two years I've packed in a lot of research and not buying a new lipstick without having checked the brand first has become second nature. However to go cruelty-free today is much easier with more and more cruelty-free bloggers popping up all the time and the supportive community that's been built.
But obviously I couldn't write this blog post without a bit of old-fashioned preachin'. If you're not cruelty-free, then why not? I've yet to meet someone who has said to my face that they agree with animal testing for cosmetic purposes. But yet I still see many beauty bloggers coveting MAC lipsticks or Clinique skincare. At the risk of possibly losing them as followers, some of these bloggers read my blog so cannot claim ignorance (which was my reason two years ago) and I can only assume they support this practice since they don't seem to mind providing capital to these brands to help them keep ticking over.
I know the world's a shitty place, and there are many other issues that require addressing. And some of you have chosen to dedicate your life to fighting other causes. And I genuinely understand why you might not have the physical capability to dedicate time to another cause (and I get that, there's other issues I support but there's only 24 hours in a day). I do encourage people to do their own research on companies because, honestly, I'm scared I might have accidentally put a brand in the wrong part of my list. However the reason I make my list public - and try my hardest to keep it up-to-date - is to help people who are just starting to go cruelty-free or those who really don't have the time and rely on second hand research.
Animal welfare supporters tend to get a bit of a bad rep for not supporting human causes - but I assure you the only reason I get my knickers in a public twist over bunnies is because it appears to be a topic I have influence about and if you're going to protest about something choose something you seem to have the correct voice for. If you read my Linkables posts you'll know I also regularly get my knickers in a twist over the patriarchy and right now I have some browser tabs open regarding a certain referendum that's taking place in my country in just over 70 days (so yes, I do care about human causes).
I love being cruelty-free and consider it an important part of my self-identity. And as much as I do like to keep the preaching to a minimum and 'respect other people's beliefs' this is an issue I find it difficult to see the other side of the argument. We're not talking about the cure for cancer here - we're talking about lipstick (and toothpaste etc. before anyone gives me the 'just don't wear make-up' line). We're talking about something that can be done without testing on animals - if Lush, Illasmasqua, Superdrug and Too Faced can create high quality products without testing so can L'Oreal and the Chinese government.
So do what I did two years ago and take the cruelty-free pledge. I'm always willing to help out and if you need some support tweet me (or the CF Bloggers Chat account) as I'm always willing to help out.
And because I put veganism in the title I feel the need to include it (even if this doesn't flow naturally onto the end). In that post two years ago I made the declaration that I'd like to move into veganism and if you follow me on Instagram you'll know that I made the full switch in the past two months after years of flip flopping. I've been reluctant to make some kind of public service announcement or change my blog to a vegan one because it's a much bigger commitment and I was scared I'd flop again. But it has now become second nature and I attribute the sticking power to finding a supportive vegan community and solidifying my friends group with non-vegans who would never make this choice personally but are supportive of my choice (and discovering the Violife brand of plant-based cheese).
As we all know I'm a massively Lushie and can't name one other beauty brand I love to support with my pennies more so than Lush. I love experimenting with their products and whilst I have many of what's on offer (and still have a long list of products I want to try) there's three products that I love to return to and have re-purchased several times.
Henna Hair Dye in Caca Rouge
After some time apart experimenting with 'regular' bottle hair dyes me and my long term make-my-brunette-hair-look-auburn buddy was back after I hit a road block finding vegan hair dye on the high street. Henna is messy, takes forever to prepare and can feel as though you have mud sitting in your hair for an hour however it's always provided a natural looking colour for me without damaging my hair. It isn't for everyone and you do need to be pretty committed to the fake hair colour cause but I still can't recommend it highly enough.
Rubbing a green cleanser into your skin doesn't sound like the world's greatest selling point but as I've said before this is my favourite cleanser of all time (and I've tried a lot) for my not particularly oily to touch but still prone to break outs skin.
I've mentioned this several times before - but Herbalism only does so much for me and its only when it's teamed up with Cupcake that I see such a dramatic difference to my skin (when I first teamed them together you would have no idea I had acne as a teenager). I've been having a break-out recently (thank you cheap Superdrug toner!) and as much as I love experimenting with new skin care I knew I had to slip back on these old favourites in order to clear everything up.
What are you favourite Lush products that you're always re-purchasing?
Food on the table: Mozzarella Sticks // Pizzette Focaccia // Patate Arrosto //
Lobster Ravioli // Pane di Aglio
It's not that often I venture into the West End, and only tend to find myself there if I have an actual reason to be. However one of my old work mates now works just off Byres Road and has become fairly accustomed to the area and invited me out last Saturday to hunt out a new Italian. We decided to stop by La Vita Spuntini on Byres Road.
It's part of the La Vita restaurant group which has four restaurants across Glasgow and is mid-range Italian, but this one is more of a tapas style and encourages eaters to get more than one dish at a time (which you can see from the photos we did).
What did draw me in from the street was the very long vegetarian selection, which also included a few vegan-looking dishes. A lot of the vegan bits were technically in the starters menu but as this is tapas style it doesn't matter if you want to order three starters for the table along with a main. My friend is a meat-eater and the orange dish you see in the middle is lobster ravioli which she eventually settled on after considering the four pages of food (a steak was almost the chosen dish!).
It took us ages to settle on our dishes but we were glad we didn't get any more as everything was very rich and were stuffed by the end of it (I hate food waste so I was trying to get down every last bit). We headed to the Hillhead Book Club afterwards and I was almost sleeping over my (very lovely) cocktail.
I shared a few weeks ago a piece on lies we teach girls about sex, and Everyday Feminism has posted a list for guys (if any heterosexual males want to please a women, then this advice is better than any article in AskMen.com)
It makes me happy that Gaelic punk is a thing. (Makes me sad though that Doric punk isn't a thing)
This dinosaur dress may be one of the most expensive items I've ever purchased (it was £45) but I maintained my usual rule when regarding expensive or really flamboyant items: step away, leave it for a week and if I'm still thinking about it go ahead and purchase. I was still thinking about it once my next pay came in (and in fairness, I had hit up Etsy with the intention of finding a dinosaur print dress) and decided to bite the bullet and go for it. I'm really glad - the dress is of an extremely high quality and has a stretchy back so it fits really well, plus I received several compliments when I went out that night (insert plug to my pals DJ night which you should all come to Dundee for). The shop I bought it from, Vampire Bunnies, has loads of lovely dresses for those of us who like our clothing to have a pop culture or geeky twist.
The rest of the outfit is all brand new staple pieces I bought recently from the not as exciting Primark. I already own a black faux leather jacket but this one is a bit more slouchy and casual, perfect for trips to rock clubs. Teamed with a plain black bag as I can't claim to be much of bag person - only buying new ones when my current selection is worse for wear or none of mine match an upcoming outfit. And we can clearly see that I'm getting in on the wedged heel trend.
I've found this dress also works quite well for casual places and I didn't get weird looks wondering about in it the next morning when wearing a pair of flats before I headed back on the train to Glasgow.
All items marked with an asterix (*) have been given to me for free from companies for the purpose of PR. This also includes any items or products that were given to me at events or blogger meet-ups. I still give an honest review at all times.