Provide 50 Days Of Clean Water With Loresk

I love the oak tree in my parent’s garden, it’s been there for almost 3 decades and it grows stronger every year, despite rain and lightning and that time I almost drove my brother’s quad bike up its trunk! Any time I see oak leaves I think of home.

I am so lucky to live where I do, but others have homes far away from me and they aren’t so lucky. Some don’t have even half of the things I have, let alone basic essentials, like water. Water is the great equaliser – rich or poor, good or bad, we all need it to survive. It’s a human right and so many people struggle to obtain it. Some people need to walk 6km per day to collect clean water. Can you imagine? Something we take so for granted is an every day struggle to people in other countries.

The bad news is that this won’t change quickly, but the good news is that you can help! Loresk is a company I discovered a few weeks back; its mission is to spread awareness and to raise money for people who desperately need clean water.

For every product on Loresk’s online shop sold, a portion of the price is donated to The Greater Cincinnati Foundation who send water purification packets to areas in need. This provides 50 days of clean water.

According to their website, the packets contain “a powdered mixture that removes pathogenic microorganisms and suspended matter, making previously contaminated water clean”. All their products are cruelty free, so you’d be helping humans and animals alike! As if that wasn’t good enough, the company is also an ally of the we are allies of the LGBTQ+ community.

I bought this agate bracelet from them at a cost of €13.73, which isn’t a lot when you take into consideration what that money will mean to a family in need. All the beads are black except the blue one which represents the clean water being provided by the purchase. It just arrived yesterday with a handwritten note thanking me for my purchase and explaining what it meant, as well as a free hat. I’m not a hat girl, but I’ll sure be wearing this one! I was having a really terrible day and receiving this just reminded me how blessed I am and to be so grateful for what I have.

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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! 🙂

What Is Veganism?

It seems like an incredibly obvious first step but I haven’t yet addressed what veganism is exactly. I was clearly too busy rambling!

veganism

So what is veganism? 

There are many reasons why people choose to embrace a plant-based, cruelty free lifestyle, but first I’d like to make a distinction. Being a vegan isn’t just about eating vegan food, it’s also about trying to cause the least amount of suffering possible.

That means rejecting products (like makeup and skincare brands, for example) that don’t adhere to a cruelty-free policy. It means thinking consciously and making ethical decisions in regards to everything in your life, from the shoes on your feet to the dye in your hair to buying a car with seats that aren’t leather.

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It’s up to each individual vegan to determine their own ethical boundaries; for instance, some vegans may not mind consuming animal derivatives in products as long as they’re not eating meat/dairy/eggs directly, but many vegans do not consume any derivatives at all. Nobody is perfect, but the goal is to try our best to live ethically. 

Personally, I don’t eat meat/eggs/dairy/honey and I also don’t consume products with animal derivatives in them. I don’t buy or use products with animal derivatives in them nor products tested on animals. I’m currently working on using up the rest of the cleaning products around my house so that when they’re used up I can buy ethical brands, but it’s incredibly difficult (and very expensive) to overhaul all the non-vegan products in your life overnight. In fact I’d go as far as to say it’s impossible for most people. Veganism doesn’t happen overnight. The decision does, sure, but in practice it is tricky.

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Another point of contention between vegans is that some (like myself) will use a product that has already been bought (before going vegan) until it’s used up or rips rather than throwing it out. As someone who cares about the environment, it’s very wasteful.

Another example is a pair of leather boots that you may have worn for years. I personally think it’s fine to continue wearing those until they’re not fit for purpose, and then they can be thrown out. As long as you don’t continue to buy leather/products using animal skin then I think that’s fine. But it’s up to you. Draw your own line.

If you have any questions or if I’ve missed something, please let me know in the comments!

Vegan Favourites – May 2016 (PitRok Deodorant, Irish Chocolates)

As I became a vegan relatively recently, I’ve been picking up loads of vegan products and foods to try out. I came across plenty of good products this month and in this video I talk about 5 of my favourites! I talk about chocolates, some beauty products and a few other cruelty free and miscellaneous items.

Other than what I talk about in the video, I’ve also been really loving Sukin skincare products (which you can get from naturisimo.com or Holland and Barrett) and the Foods of Athenry biscuits.

What are your favourites for May 2016? Let me know in the comments!

Wholegreens | Vegan Food in Donegal

I live in a town in a rural area of Ireland called Donegal and you’d have more luck spotting a unicorn than finding a vegan restaurant or café here. Before I was vegan, I used to love eating out but now it’s just such a chore. Everywhere I go I see cheese, milk, meat, and more cheese on everything. Good luck trying to find something dairy free in any café in Donegal because it is a serious struggle, even for something as readily available as soy milk for a cup of tea. Some places are starting to change, though.

IMG_4458The healthy eating movement has caught on pretty much everywhere so there are way more veggie options now than there has ever been, even in my town. A few months ago, a café sprung up out of nowhere called Wholegreens and, even though the name itself screamed ‘healthy, vegetables, green, good for you’, I’ve been fooled before. As nothing exciting usually happens here, I of course headed down to try out this new café and I was very pleasantly surprised.

To my knowledge, there are no totally vegan cafés or restaurants in Donegal, even Wholegreens, which offers a meat option on their hot food menu. However, it is a very nice change to see the shoe on the other foot; in IMG_4371Wholegreens, it is the meat eaters who have very little choice and those who want to chow down on chick peas and broccoli have the last laugh. Although the café uses animal products in some of their foods, it is mostly a vegan heaven, as there are plenty of raw desserts, rich spicy curries, herb-filled potato wedges and salads to keep anyone happy.

The café, although small, has a lovely layout and very friendly staff. Each table also has a fresh jug of water with cucumber or lemon in it, which is a great touch, as some businesses don’t put free water on the table and instead get you to pay 3 quid for a small bottle. Blah.

IMG_4390Wholegreens also features a fridge filled with yummy wares including delicious raw juices bottled by the owners, alternative milks, ginger husks and water. They also offer crisps made from lentil and quinoa, little boxes of pre-made raw treats and plenty of health food bars. You won’t be hungry leaving here, that’s for sure!

It’s my go-to place for some hearty food (the portions are huge!) and a natter with a friend or my dad. It’s hands down the best eatery in the county (for me, anyway) as the food is always delicious and varied, the prices are reasonable and the staff are very friendly. I can only hope that they move to a bigger premises as the place is so popular that it’s always packed!