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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Dr Dünner Phytovitality Immune Support Capsules | REVIEW

A few months ago, I started looking for a good supplement to give me a boost during the winter months. I know everyone hates being sick, but I REALLY hate being sick. Thankfully, I haven’t been ill with cold or flu for at least a year (touch wood) and that was mainly because I’d just left my job and was VERY stressed out and run-down.

I don’t get the flu shot as I think that our bodies are totally capable of fighting off illness on their own. As long as we prioritise our health and make sure we go into flu season with an equipped body, we can fight off any cold that threatens to derail our health. Eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water, upping your vitamin C intake and taking a vitamin D supplement to help vit C absorption are all part of making sure your body is prepared for winter. Another way you can do this is through a supplement.

Enter, Dr Dünner!

The family-run company was founded in 1948 by Dr Helene Dünner and remains passionate about the restorative effects of plants and medicinal herbs. This is called Phytovitality. Dr Dünner has been harnessing the powerful properties of plants for four generations and handpicks its organic herbs from the unspoilt UNESCO biosphere at Entlebuch in Switzerland.

From what I can tell, they seem to be an excellent, ethical company that supports local farmers. Their orchards support endangered bird life, 100% of their electricity is renewable (obtained from local hydroelectric plants) and they also strive to achieve carbon neutrality. Definitely a company I can get behind!

dr dunner review

I was sent Dr Dünner’s Phytovitality Turmeric, Pepper and Green Tea capsules with Vitamin C and, honestly, they couldn’t have come at a better time. There were a few choices to pick from, but I chose the immune support capsules as they were exactly what I’d been looking for, and as a massive fan of turmeric (I put it on EVERYTHING), it seemed ideal for me. They’re also vegan, gluten free and non-GMO. Win!

Curcuma (turmeric) is revered as India’s ‘sacred plant’ and it is a fantastic anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. If you don’t already use turmeric in your cooking, consider adding it during the winter months especially. Dr Dünner’s turmeric is sourced from the best quality producers in Ayurvedic cultivation areas, and because the capsule blends turmeric with pepper it improves the absorption and increases the bioavailability of the active ingredients.

The capsules also contain Green Tea, a renowned antioxidant, as well as Vitamin C, which contributes to the normal function of the immune system. They can be taken every day, but it’s not necessary to do so. When you order a packet, you’re sent 60 capsules, which is a two month supply, but if you take one every two days then you can stretch that to three months. That pretty much covers the winter months.

They capsules themselves look quite large in the packet, but when you take them out of the foil casing they’re actually fine. I started a skin and nails supplement last year but I had to stop it because the capsules were far too large. In terms of size, they’re just shorter than a 20 cent coin.

I took the capsules for a month and I will absolutely be buying them again after I finish them in a month’s time. I usually get sick around Halloween, it’s like clockwork, and I didn’t get sick this year. Not even a sniffle. The only difference in my routine from last year is that I started taking this supplement. Coincidence? Possibly, but I don’t think so. The capsules are packed full of goodness that is specifically designed to support a healthy immune system, and I think its done its job. I definitely felt like I had more clarity, I wasn’t as stiff in the mornings and overall I just felt a bit… boosted!

The pack costs £25.99, which isn’t cheap, but at the end of the day, if it prevents you from getting a nasty cold, in my opinion it is totally worth it. Especially when you factor in the costs of Lemsip and lozenges and days off work. Plus, you have to remember it’s a 2 month supply, which works out at £13 per month. For the quality of the product, I think this is a fair price.

If you’re looking for a supplement to support you through the winter months, you should definitely consider these. I’ve tried quite a few supplements in my time and these are one of the best; they don’t upset my tummy, there’s no nasty aftertaste and they’ve kept me healthy throughout cold Irish days (and hopefully they’ll continue to support me throughout the freezing winter). I wish the size of the capsule was a little smaller, but ultimately it’s not a problem. I’ll definitely be repurchasing.

Have you tried any Dr Dünner products? What did you think? Let me know in the comments!

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!