Vegan Secret Santa Gifts For Under €10

Just a few years ago, looking for a vegan gift for under a tenner may have proved an impossible task. Nowadays, however, we have plenty of products to choose from to gift to our significant others (and even the non-vegans in our life).

Here are my gift ideas for under €10:

For the environmentally conscious person in your life (particularly people interested in Zero Waste), you can check out the Little Green Shop. You could spend €3.50 for a stainless steel straw (to help your loved one avoid contributing to the millions of plastic straws that end up in the ocean), and also pick up the straw cleaner for €2.50. You’d still have money left over for a delicious vegan treat like a mini Vego bar (which you can get from Nourish for €2.99).

vegan secret santa

Give the gift of candy from Vegan Tuck Box with a Letterbox snack pack. It’s just £5 and contains 5 artisan snacks, including a chocolate bar. They’re perfect for slipping into your handbag! Shipping for this gift is £1.50 if you live in the UK and £4 internationally (including Ireland), so it’s still just about within the €10 budget.

vegan secret santa

Or if you don’t feel like buying directly from companies like these, it would be fairly easy to put together a little box of vegan goodies that you handpick yourself. This could possibly end up cheaper if you’re smart with the sizes you pick and where you buy them. TK Maxx is surprisingly good for vegan friendly items, so make sure to check them out!

You could pick up a few packets of Candy Kittens Pineapple Jellies, which I recently saw in Superdrug for just €1.49 (check your local store!) or you could buy two packets of luxury Booja Booja chocolates (Nourish is doing a deal of 2 for €10 at the moment). Another option is putting together your own little pamper-hamper.

vegan secret santa

You could buy Cadbury’s drinking chocolate (which is both vegan-friendly and fairtrade) for €2.99 in Tesco and pair it with vegan marshmallows for €3.49 from Holland and Barrett. You can also add some Sweet Freedom Chocolate Sauce (which is €4.89 on H&B but I’ve seen it cheaper in Aldi).

vegan secret santa

Products from the Organic Shop are quite cheap and make a great stocking filler. The options from Skinfull Affairs are all around €4.95 per product. They’re high quality, organic, vegan and you can’t beat that price tag! I recommend the Greek Fig Express Shine Hair Mask or the Lemongrass Body Scrub.

vegan secret santa

A perfect gift would be the Dr Konopka Protective Hand Cream (€8.50) for that hardworking person in your life. It’s suitable for sensitive skin and it’s also made of lavendar and cedar oil, so it’s unisex. If you’re looking for a racier gift, you can pick up the TOKA water-based pleasure gel for €10 (also from skinfullaffairs.ie).

vegan secret santa

For the book-lover in your life, you can also check out Book Depository, which offers free worldwide shipping and very cheap prices on books that would cost more anywhere else. You could get Lucy Watson’s Feed Me Vegan for €9.66, or Vegan Cupcakes Take Over The World by Isa Chandra Moskowitz for €9.20. Unfortunately, Dr Gregor’s How Not To Die Cookbook is still around the €20 mark (but hey, if you’re feeling generous!)

vegan secret santa

Invest in some small-scale activism and buy a few vegan stickers from The Goose and Rabbit Etsy store! You get four for €3 and shipping is €1 as the store is based in Ireland. The designs are lovely and you can easily pop them on your laptop or tablet!

So these are my recommendations for your Secret Santa/ stocking fillers this year! What do you think? Yay or nay for these gifts? Let me know in the comments! 

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3 Natural Vegan Skincare Tips For Acne-Prone Skin

If you’ve subscribed to my YouTube channel, you may have seen my video on finally embracing my face after over a decade of having acne.

Well, needless to say it took a long time to get to this stage where I feel content to go out with a naked face, but it didn’t happen overnight. I’ve been committed to a skincare routine since I was 12, but it’s changed a lot during the years, with younger me searching in vain for a miracle product that would keep the pimples at bay.

Anyway, years later I’ve settled on a routine that works brilliantly for my acne-prone skin, and it includes some surprising elements.

1. Oil

You may be thinking of that episode of Family Guy where Chris slathered oil on his face and an angry pimple immediately popped up on his face. From pretty much the moment acne rears its head, we’re told to stay clear of oil. We’re told to pick oil-free moisturisers and foundations and to buy little blotting papers to dab our shine during the day. Basically oil = bad. Well, that’s just nonsense spun by the beauty industry.

I learned a few months ago that robbing the skin of its natural oils is bad for someone with acne. Our skin needs oil. If you use a toner or a cleanser that is very drying, you may get an instant gratifying result where you don’t see any oil on your skin. However, this is a problem in the long run. When the skin is dry, it produces more sebum to compensate for the dryness, so you end up with more oil production than you were already dealing with.

What you want to do is fight fire with fire. Or oil with oil, rather. Invest in a light oil suitable for facial skin, like sweet almond oil (this is my go-to oil). Not only is it excellent for cleansing away makeup without pulling on the skin, it’s also super hydrating. Seriously, press sweet almond oil onto clean skin before bed and you’ll wake up with a face as soft as a baby’s!

You can use oil for cleansing and moisturising, and don’t let the skincare industry or magazines or beauty blogs tell you any differently. Make sure your skin is clean before using it as a moisturiser, obviously, and less is more, but give it a go. You’ll be surprised!

2. Activated Charcoal 

I’d heard the benefits of activated charcoal a long time ago, so I invested in a box of capsules. You can buy it as a loose powder too, but it can be more expensive to do this. The capsules work just as well; all you have to do is open them up and tip the contents into a container.

Not only is activated charcoal a natural teeth whitener, it’s also excellent for getting rid of impurities in the skin like blackheads. Once ever two weeks or so I add a capsule worth of activated charcoal into a tablespoon of french green clay powder (a great base for face masks) and I use it as a mask.

It’ll be a dark green colour, but that’s exactly what you want, and you can even add in a little tea tree oil or lavender oil into the mixture as well, as these are both anti-redness and anti-acne essential oils.

If you invest in some activated charcoal, you’ll notice it has multi-uses. So not only will your skin be glowing (and believe me, this mixture genuinely does work, unlike a lot of shop-bought masks), your teeth will be gleaming too.

3. Apple Cider Vinegar 

This is a skincare tip that you have to sacrifice for, just a little. The whole idea of ‘beauty is pain’ doesn’t appeal to me in the slightest, but apple cider vinegar’s smell is genuinely hard to deal with. But if you can get past it, this product is a miracle worker.

As you probably guessed, it smells strongly of vinegar. You’re probably thinking “This crazy girl wants me to put WHAT on my face?” but bear with me. There’s method to the madness!

Apple cider vinegar is excellent for many different ailments, including digestive issues, but it really shines (yay for puns!) when you use it on your face. It’s highly anti-bacterial, so it can be used as a toner just after cleansing and before you apply a moisturiser.

If you’re planning on trying this (and I think you should if you’re having bother with acne or even a few stray pimples), make sure you buy apple cider vinegar containing ‘The Mother’ (it’ll say it on the bottle). I use the Bragg brand!

As well as this, the vinegar is very strong so you don’t want to apply it directly to your skin (this could be quite drying). Dilute the vinegar with water (about half and half) and use a cotton pad to press it over your face. A little goes a long way! Plus it’s much more natural and far cheaper in the long run than lots of those “micellar waters” and whatever else the industry is spinning these days.

So those are my 3 natural vegan skincare tips! Please let me know how you get on if you try them out, and if you have any more tips for me then let me know in the comments 🙂 My own skincare routine is pretty set, but I’m always looking to learn more!

 

Vegan Pampering at Skinfull Affairs in Dublin

As vegans, we often deal with stressful situations in our daily lives; omnis giving us hassle, tummy grumbles while picking over a pitiful lettuce salad, militant vegans calling for death to all humans on Facebook groups. Basically, a lot of the time we need to take a chill pill. We need a mojito and a spa day.

Well, the mojito should be fairly easy to get, but a spa day seems impossible right? Many spas and salons offer relaxing treatments, but how many of them offer vegan products and treatments? How many are even cruelty free??

Worry no more, because a salon offering vegan friendly treatments recently opened in Ireland. Yes, Ireland. You read that right. Called Skinfull Affairs, it’s based just off South William Street in Dublin and not only offers vegan eyelash and eyebrow tints, vegan friendly massages and facials, but also vegan manicures so you can walk around with beautiful nails knowing full well that they’re cruelty free.

I was really excited when I found out the salon, so when my birthday came around I decided to treat myself. I booked an appointment for an express facial, a back, neck and shoulder massage, and a file and polish. All for €70! As someone who has paid that much in the past for just a massage, I think it was a brilliant deal, especially because it was all vegan friendly. Just make sure to tell the girl at the desk when you arrive!

skinfull affairs

When I arrived for my appointment, the lady at the desk got me to fill out a form on the salon’s tablet to make sure they knew about any conditions / allergies I had etc. I was offered some cucumber water while I filled it out, and although I was a little worried bout dropping and breaking the iPad, it was nice that the salon was particular about knowing about any issues I had.

The decor in the salon is so unique. There’s lots of plants and wood and a big neon green sign that says ‘Skinfull Affairs’ above the nail area. There’s also a huge wall of products of all kinds (even lubricants!) and a comfy looking chair that’s exclusively for things like threading. Also, all the products that are suitable for vegans have an ‘I’M VEGAN’ sticker on them. Woo!

Anyway, after I filled out the form I was taken downstairs to the treatment area, which was clean and modern and nicely heated. I was left to undress and wrap myself in a towel before letting the lady know I was ready and set up on the table. The massage was lovely (it’s been a while since I had one!) and you couldn’t hear anything of what was happening upstairs on the shop floor, which was great. The music, too, was very calming, though there is a slight pause between tracks that’s a little distracting, but it’s not a big thing.

The facial began basically as soon as the massage finished. I was asked to turn over and I was made comfortable with a rolled towel under my feet and one under my head as well. Overall it was very relaxing and lasted a lot longer than I thought it would for an “express” facial.

skinfull affairs

Afterwards, I was told to take my time getting dressed and ready, so I did, and I took a few pictures of the treatment room for this post while I was at it. There is a sign in the room encouraging this anyway! When I came upstairs, the nail station was laid out and I was told to pick a colour from the nail polishes lined up on the wall. There was a HUGE range of polishes in every colour from Ella + Mila. After a lot of deliberation, I went for a green teal colour, which was so shiny and just gorgeous. I wanted to buy it but it’s €15 per bottle which is very expensive, so I left it (though I believe there’s a deal on at the moment where if you buy a manicure you get 10% off nail polish purchases).

While getting my nails done, I spoke to the lady who works there about the products lining the walls. There was so much there, I could’ve stayed an hour just looking through it all. In the end, I chose a moisturiser and hand cream from Dr Konopka, a little known vegan skincare brand from Estonia I believe. It’s been a month since I first tried the products and I can officially say that they are very high quality (full review coming soon!) and I actually bought more products from the brand when I was in Dublin again recently.

As for the staff, they were so lovely. The girl who took care of me was very pleasant and helpful and answered any questions I had about any product. She was really knowledgeable and was able to recommend products from Skinfull’s shelves to match my skin type. I was so happy with my experience, I just can’t praise it enough.

Overall, if you’re looking to treat yourself or the vegan in your life, choose Skinfull. This isn’t an ad or anything, I’m just so happy that vegan-friendly products and experiences are becoming mainstream and easier to find, plus my whole experience was wonderful and really made my birthday.

Have you been to Skinfull Affairs before? What did you think? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

April Vegan Haul | VIDEO

The month has only just started and I’ve already picked up a few vegan goodies in town! I promise I don’t shop as much as it seems, but I just got paid so I got a few treats for myself.

Check out my video on my new revamped YouTube channel and see what I got for myself!

Pure Chimp Vegan Face Cleanser And Soap Review

I received some Pure Chimp products as a present a while ago, and as I’m nearly finished them, I figured now was a good time to write a review!

First, a little about the company:

All of Pure Chimp’s products are suitable for vegans and have been registered with the vegan society (this is always a huge plus for me as it’s a bother having to email companies individually to find out if they’re vegan!)

The company has a strong ethical stance as they give 5% of their profits to charity and every product on the website is 100% natural.

They also help look after the planet by using recyclable glass jars, recyclable plastic pouches and recyclable paper when packaging the products.

pure chimp vegan products review

They’re best known for their matcha green tea (which I haven’t tried yet!) but they also have a range of other products on offer, including the soap and cleanser that I received!

I got the Super Cleanser which is suitable for people with sensitive skin (not a problem I usually face, but it’s great that it’s inclusive of all skin types!)

In the mixture, extra virgin olive oil is used to lock in moisture and kaolin clay draws out impurities. The ingredients are completely natural including ground almonds, vegetable glycerine, dried marigold, banana extract, sea buckthorn oil, vitamin E oil as well as the extra virgin olive oil and clay I mentioned above.

pure chimp vegan products review

I thought it was very similar to the Angels On Bare Skin cleanser from Lush, but with a much stronger scent (the banana). It also broke apart easier in my hands when mixed with water (a good thing!) and left my face feeling clean and hydrated.

On the website, it’s being sold for £11.95 (which is approx. €14) so it’s quite steep for just 80g. I think this is more of a luxury cleanser (one I can’t afford myself right now) but I’d be delighted if I got it again as a gift.

The soap I received is £4.95 from their website but it’s quite a big bar so you get your money’s worth from it. It smells like banana and vanilla, which is quite pleasant, and leaves your hands feeling moisturised after.

pure chimp vegan products review

I would definitely use this in the shower rather than wasting it on my hands as it is really moisturising and better suited to a body prone to dryness (like my own). It has absolutely no chemicals which is fantastic. The ingredients are olive oil, coconut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and banana extract so it’s really luxurious.

Both of the products I got last between a year and 18 months so they have a natural shelf life rather than the chemical filled crap that you could probably still use 10 years from now.

I’d definitely recommend them if you have the money to give them a go, particularly if you have sensitive and dry skin! It’s also great to support genuinely vegan companies like this one!