Vegan & Eco Friendly Things I Want For Xmas

My favourite time of year is right around the corner yet again (it feels like yesterday when I was chowing down on a Jamie Oliver cranberry and nut roast!) and I have a wishlist of stuff I want this year.

Not all of it will be possible (because some of the things I want are EXPENSIVE and my family and friends don’t have money to burn), but hopefully I can get a few things off this list. If not, I’ll save up and treat myself to them later in the year!

Beetroot Lip/ Cheek Tint

When it comes to embracing my face and my skin, I’ve come a long way. I went from caking myself in foundation every day to going bare faced most days and lightly covered on special occasions and when I’m feeling fancy.

vegan xmas wishlist

For the past year, I’ve been a fan of the “less is more” philosophy. I no longer feel the need to constantly cover any tiny imperfection and worry needlessly about my acne scars. I prioritise taking care of my skin and try to choose makeup that isn’t harsh on my skin.

vegan xmas wishlist

 

The Ere Perez Beetroot lip and cheek stain is high on my wishlist as it has very few ingredients (including both carrot and beetroot) and it’s a 2-in-1 product as well. I hate having to re-apply lipstick (as I’m ALWAYS eating or drinking so it never lasts) and a stain would solve that problem for me.

Price: £14.50 

Himalayan Salt Lamp

I’ve wanted one of these for ages. Reported benefits of himalayan salt lamps include improved sleep and increased levels of serotonin in the brain. They are also said to calm allergy or asthma symptoms.

While this may or may not be true (I know there are a lot of people who don’t believe the benefits, as well as people who do), at the VERY LEAST, it’s pretty and the dim, orange light is calming to look at.

vegan xmas wishlist

As someone who suffers from insomnia when I have a bad bout of anxiety, I’ll take all the help I can get!

Price: €25 from The Natural Way (or £14.95 from Amazon

Motherfóclóir by Darach O’Seaghdha

I’ve been wanting to brush up on my Irish for years now, but the courses are usually quite expensive (which, in my opinion, is a disgrace; free Irish classes should be a right in every county).

vegan xmas wishlist

However, I recently found one running for 5 weeks in Rathmullan, and the best part is it’s being funded by the ETB so I only have to pay €2 each week to heat the building the classes are held in. Score!

I came across Motherfoclóir on Twitter and it sounded both hilarious and educational, so it went right to the top of my wishlist. Motherfoclóir (foclóir means ‘dictionary’ in Irish and is pronounced very like a crude English epithet) is a book based on the popular Twitter account @theirishfor (go follow it for daily craic!)

As the title suggests, Motherfoclóir takes a pun-friendly and modern approach to the Irish language. If you’re at all interested in expanding on your cúpla focal, stick it on your own wishlist!

Price: €9.74 from Easons

Metal Straws

Ever since I learnt more about the damage of plastic on our seas (particularly from the documentary A Plastic Ocean, which I watched recently with my family), I’ve wanted to make changes to how I use plastic every day. This means buying less reusable plastic and getting takeaway drinks in my own reusable cup (I use this one from Pukka) rather than a disposable cup.

vegan xmas wishlist

I love going to the cinema and one of the main things I’ve started to notice is that I buy my drink (one of the only times I have soda is at the cinema) and I immediately grab a straw. I want to be able to sit down with my drink and use my own metal, reusable straw, so this is high on my wishlist. It’s small changes like this that make all the difference.

There are 1 BILLION disposable plastic straws used daily. Don’t be part of that number! They’re quite cheap to buy and they’re totally reusable (and you can get compostable bamboo ones for even cheaper!)

Price: £4.99 from Eco Strawz

Sharon Sharon’s Sacred Earth

Not only is Sharon Shannon an inspiring Irish musician, she’s also passionate about animal rights. If you haven’t heard, she has her own vegan food truck called ‘Garden of Vegan’, which attends music festivals and corporate events around Ireland. I have yet to encounter it, but here’s hoping it’ll happen this year!

vegan xmas wishlist

Her most recent album, Sacred Earth, which combines Irish traditional music with African influences, is in shops now. I always forget to pick it up but I expect to find it sitting under the tree for me (wrapped up in non-glitter, eco friendly paper of course!) on Christmas morning!

Price: €14 from Golden Discs

Insane in the Rain coat

I first heard about this brand from Green Leafy Gael, who has one of the coats herself. She talked about them on her Instagram and I was intrigued, as they’re made out of recycled plastic bottles.

vegan xmas wishlist

Around the time I heard about Insane in the Rain, I was researching the damage that plastic does to the earth, and as a result I upped my recycling game. I had already brought a recycling bin to the office and I put one in my bathroom as well, as it’s all too easy to pop everything into one bin in the bathroom. Having a second one eliminates that problem!

There’s no excuse not to recycle, it isn’t hard and it’s a big way to help the planet from our own homes.

Price: £95 (eek!)

What do you want for Christmas this year? Let me know in the comments below!

Essential Vegan Products for Winter | VIDEO

If you know me, you’ll know I absolutely adore winter time. Whether it’s the sweaters, the promise of possible snow (even though there never is), the clove and cinnamon smells in shops and the delicious food, I am ALL OVER winter. It is the hummus of seasons.

I figured I’d try and give my YouTube channel a jolt of life again by uploading (after 6 months… yikes!) a video on my essential vegan products for winter.

Unfortunately, my computer is out to get me and editing videos takes WAY longer than it should, so I’ve decided to take a new approach: I’m just going to sit in front of the camera and talk and I’ll try to be as coherent and on-topic as possible! I was really demotivated from filming content because the editing process was just so daunting, so I’ve just decided to go with this. Hopefully the format is okay and not too rage-inducing! 🙂

In the video, I recommend some products for mindfulness and to combat SAD (seasonal affective disorder) as well as for dry skin and lips. Other things I didn’t mention in the video (I ran out of space and had to cut it; apparently videos longer than 15 minutes are a no-no if you’re a small YouTuber!) include a decent pair of winter boots and a nice coat.

nae pineapple leather

I have a pair of boots made from pineapple leather from Nae.com and they’re brilliant. Nothing is getting through those bad boys! I have quite a few second hand coats and coats that I bought a few years ago, but I’m really lusting after one from Insane in the Rain, which makes raincoats out of plastic bottles. Unfortunately the price is a bit steep (£95), so it might have to go on the Santy list for now. I’m also lusting after a coat from Hoodlamb, but these coats are so far from what I can afford that my reflection laughs at me any time I look in the mirror and imagine it on me. €389. Not. A. Chance.

Another product I’d recommend is a supplement to support your immune system. These are the months where people most often get sick, so you need to take care of yourself properly.

This means drinking more water, taking a vitamin D supplement to combat lethargy, eating lots of vitamin C heavy foods like bell peppers and oranges, and also trying to stay active, even if it’s a bit of yoga in the morning. Make sure to eat a balanced diet as well and give yourself the best chance for staying well and happy during winter!

Self-Care Tip #1: Make Breakfast Food

In my latest post, I spoke about the importance of self-care for a healthy, happy life. This is the first of many posts on self-care that I plan on writing in the future! I know I’m no expert, but I’ll give my two cents and hopefully these tips will help people!

My first ever tip may seem like a silly one, but it’s something that helped me out today so it seems as good a tip to start with as any. I just finished a contract I had so I’m currently out of a job at the moment. In saying that, I’m quite happy to have my time back for the time being, and I’m not looking for another job just yet, but going from a strict routine to a flexible one can cause flare-ups.

When you’re used to getting up at 8.30am, making breakfast and having set times for your meals throughout the day, turning that routine on its head can be a bad thing for someone with mental illness. It can make you feel listless, kind of like a failure, useless. Or a fun mix of all three! I find that a way to avoid these feelings is keeping some semblance of a routine, and one of the best ways to do this is to make breakfast in the morning. Even if you wing it for the rest of the day, grounding yourself with a familiar thing that everybody else does to start their day can make you feel less like you’re floundering.

self care make breakfast foods

The act of breakfast making can be very relaxing in itself, whether you’re pouring milk over cereal, making a tofu scramble or flipping pancakes. I usually go for a nutty mueseli with chunks of dark chocolate or blueberries on top. I could opt for something sugary, and if that works for you then go for it, but I like to pick something packed with antioxidants and fibre to give me the best start to the day. I figure if I’m getting out of my bed I might as well make the most of it!

Another great thing to do is to get up early to make breakfast for members of your family, your roommates, your partner. It can make you feel useful, like you’re contributing and making a difference to others’ day. If you’re at home all day like me, you might not speak to another person at all until they get home, so make the most of the morning time. It’s so easy to just lie-in (and yes, it feels amazing until you get up to an empty house) but it’s much better for your mental health to get up and about.

Nourishing yourself and others with food that’s lovingly prepared feeds your soul as well as your belly. I have the luxury of time in the morning now so I can spend as much time as I want preparing my breakfast. Make breakfast a main event rather than an after-thought.

Stroll out into the garden to have your first cup of tea of the day, pluck some flowers or sprigs of mint and bring them into the kitchen with you, set the table properly, make tea in an actual kettle, use the good cutlery, whatever puts a smile on your face. Then when you’re finished preparing, really enjoy your food. Close your eyes and allow your tongue to properly taste the food before swallowing. Make eating an experience. If you’re sceptical, at least give this a try, you may be surprised at how it can set up your day for the better.

What are your best self-care tips? Let me know in the comments!

Difontaine’s Pizzeria In Temple Bar Unveil New Vegan Pizza

Oh my god, the time has come. Difontaine’s Pizzeria in Temple Bar has just unveiled their new vegan pizza! Be still, my rumbling tummy.

The pizzeria made the decision to offer a vegan pizza after gauging interest on their Twitter page:

With 1,075 votes and a resounding 84% YES GIVE US VEGAN PIZZA, they started sourcing ingredients and conducting taste testings with very willing volunteers.

I used to absolutely love Difontaine’s pizza, I made a beeline for it (or Ray’s, depending on how drunk I was – those cobblestones are treacherous in heels!) after every night out when I visited Dublin.

Once I went vegan, I had to say goodbye to many much-loved foods, but I’m so BEYOND happy that I can now have the glorious taste of Difontaine’s back in my life.

vegan pizza dublin
Difontaine’s staff with first customer to try the vegan slice

From what I can gather, the pizza is sprinkled with a Follow Your Heart mozzarella/parmesan mix with their own cashew ricotta. Early accounts (the pizza is available on the menu from 5pm today) have said that it tastes absolutely amazing. I don’t doubt it one bit.

If you’re looking for more vegan pizza to try, check out my article on 3 other places to get pizza in Dublin!

3 Ghoulish Halloween Smoothie Recipes

It’s that time of year again! It’s such a shame that Halloween and flu season coincide, but a night out in your scariest costume doesn’t have to end in the sniffles!

Drinking smoothies regularly is great for your digestion, your immune system and your skin. If you don’t usually drink smoothies, autumn is a great time to make the addition to your routine! What better way to combat the cold and drink something yummy at the same time?

Here are 3 of my favourite smoothie recipes (with a Halloween twist!) 😉

Chocolate Swamp

I’m a chocolate fiend, especially around Halloween time! This delicious smoothie (it’s more like a milkshake, really!) is easy to make and satisfies that sweet tooth!

Chocolate halloween smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 2 large bananas
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 1 and a half cup soy milk (or any dairy-free milk, whatever you prefer)
  • 1 tbsp tahini paste

Method: 

Blitz all of these delicious ingredients together and pour in a glass! If you have any gelatine-free halloween jelly snakes, these would be a perfect addition! You can fish out the monsters of the deep as you drink 🙂

Berry Bloody

Dracula’s favourite smoothie, for sure! This is probably the sweetest of the three smoothies (it’s chock full of the nicest berries – strawberries and cranberries!)

berry smoothie

Ingredients: 

  • 2 handfuls of strawberries
  • 1 handful cranberries
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup cranberry juice/ water
  • Flesh of 1 large plum

Method: 

Blitz all of the ingredients together and drink it in a champagne flute, you know, something you might see Dracula drinking out of. Ooh, a goblet!

Witch’s Potion

This smoothie may look goopy and gross, but that’s the idea! Get in the Halloween spirit and imagine you’re really drinking a witch’s brew. Or, better yet, convince your kids that that’s what it is! Any chance to get some fruit in them, right?

halloween smoothies

Ingredients: 

  • 1 green apple
  • 1 large pear
  • 1 cup apple juice (or, for a healthier version, water)
  • Half a teaspoon of spirulina
  • 1-2 tbsp maple syrup

Method: 

Chop up your fruit (leave the skin on, that’s where the bulk of the fibre is! *pun intended*) and pop in the blender with the juice/water, spirulina and maple syrup.

Blitz for about 30 seconds (or less, you’ll know what consistency you want yourself!) and then you’re done!

I really don’t like the taste of spirulina myself, so when I do utilise it in my recipes I tend to use it SPARINGLY. You can omit it entirely but you lose some of the colour (and the nutrition as it’s VERY good for you!) or you can do what I did and use half a teaspoon.

This smoothie is best served in a black tub or any cauldron-like cup you can get your hands on (alas, I didn’t have one so a plain glass had to do!)

What are your favourite ghoulish smoothies? Let me know in the comments!