Saturday, 28 September 2013

Cat & the Cream Vegan Cupcakes

Today I just wanted to do a quick followup on the blogpost I did a week or so ago about cake, go and read that first here. In that blog I mentioned about lots of different vegan cakes but in this post I want to specifically talk about the company 'Cat & the Cream'. One of the main reasons I am re-mentioning them is due to the fact that my Mum was very enthusiastic on the 'Ocado' order and brought 4 different flavours of their cupcakes!

The first one was a beautiful and refreshing combination of 'Lemon, Lime Grapefruit & Coconut' which tasted pretty exotic and I loved that there were so many fresh flavours in one cupcake, including 'coconut' which is one of my favourite ingredients ever!  

This was the one I'd already had before, which I'd teamed with vegan squirty cream and strawberries for a complete pudding, which is 'Chocolate, Coconut & Raspberry with Chocolate Icing'. This is of course the perfect cupcake for all you chocolate addicts!

I found this one a bit more unusual as it's 'Chocolate, Fresh Mint Ganache & Raspberry Icing'. The mint flavours just gave it a very different and exciting element which I don't think you find too often in cupcakes and with the raspberry icing it really just lifted the chocolate. 

The final one was a cupcake that I would never have had down as my first choice but it was so delicious, it was 'Pear, Hazelnut & Chocolate Chip with Hazelnut Icing'. Now, I have only recently really gotten into nuts and I'm putting them with everything so what better then having them in a cupcake!

So, as I said we got ours from 'Ocado', but may I add that I didn't eat all of them in one go and I did of course share them ;) They're very reasonably sized and a perfect treat so I like to take them every other week or so to college with me. I love all of the different available flavours and they last for quite a long time too which is really useful. And of course the best thing about them is that they're vegan, dairy free, wheat free & soya free whilst tasting absolutely delicious! 

Let me know if you've tried them before and what flavour you would like to try!

love, bean xx

Friday, 27 September 2013

LUSH 'Volcano' & 'Catastrophe' Review

Today I'd like to do two reviews of a couple of lush products I brought recently. Now, if you've seen my YouTube videos (link up above) then you'll probably know that I have a bit of a thing for the company 'LUSH'. There are quite a few lengthy reasons for this, a few of which I'll just quickly run through:
  1. They're very reasonably priced
  2. They have a big 'cruelty free' campaign
  3. Around 80% of their products are vegan
  4. All their products are vegetarian
  5. They only used preservatives when they need to
  6. They use fresh ingredients
  7. They're convenient because they have a lot of shops
Now these are only a few reasons from the top of my head but they really are a wonderful company for all their ethics and their ethos, hence why I seem to spend half a fortune every time I even step near one of their shops. The two products I'm going to be talking about today are both vegan, both of which seem to have rather dramatic names!

The first of the two is a face mask called 'catastrophe'. I'd never tried one of their face-masks before and to be honest I thought I'd rather spend my money on one of their more long lasting products, oh what a fool I was to think this! Some may say that the downside to some of their products are their longevity, this one being 3-4 weeks depending on which day you purchase it in the week. But to be honest for me, the 'best before' date just reflects that the ingredients they use are fresh which is fabulous. Now what this mask is designed to do, with the aid of ingredients such as blueberries that are over-flowing with anti-oxidants, is to help with those days when you see a couple of spots creeping up or if you generally have quite problem prone skin. Afterward using it I found my skin was feeling really squeaky clean and fresh, and the smell of the mask was well, quite simply lush! 

The next product is a footmask which I thought was a fairly bizarre idea at first, I realise I'd been living under a fairly big rock as this is a pretty standard beauty product. It's called 'Volcano' and it's perfect for a quick fix to freshen and soften your feet. It took me a couple of goes to get used to the best way to apply it and I think you have to be careful in terms of application because if you don't have things like your water to wash off with afterwards and your cling film handy then it can get a bit messy. But it's now definitely going to be a standard pamper evening essential for me as I'd been struggling to find the best way to keep my feet in good condition. I think it smells just like a 'Soy Chai Tea Late' which is a pretty gorgeous smell if you're into that type of thing like me. If you go on the Lush website here it tells you each of their products' 'backstories' which I personally think is really interesting.

Let me know if you've got any favourite lush products at the moment!

love, bean xx

Monday, 23 September 2013

Bad life choices!

Recently I've gotten into a disgustingly bad sleeping pattern. And what I've found amazing, but not too surprising, is the extent to which it effects my life. It's currently 3am and this is the usual time I've been finding myself awake, after hours of feeling guilty that I probably should be asleep, not in bed but actually asleep. Don't get me wrong, this is in no way a rebellion type of thing, and there is no clever and justifiable reason as to why I find myself in this silly situation, it just happens. 

Ironically, today (well yesterday now, another example of it being too late to be awake!) I put up a video about getting clear skin naturally without too much hassle. Now this is a strong piece of evidence of how you should 'do as I say not as I do' because I've found spots slowly creeping up on me these past few days. In the video I mention about sleep being an integral aspect to having clear skin and at the moment it's like every time I look into a mirror my spots are just there subtly reminding me of all my current bad life choices. It always used to annoy me when I was little and felt ill (or was just being a drama queen and hypochondriac) when my dad would always just tell me to go to sleep. There was next to no sympathy, although I know that his advice was perfectly legitimate and from a place of love but it never pleased me at the time but sleep really does fix most things!

I'm not going to sleep late either because I don't enjoy sleeping, my whole body clock just shifts so I wake up mid-afternoon everyday, be rest assured sleeping is one of my all time favourite things to do. But the quality of sleep is much less when you go to sleep later and I've certainly felt this in my over-all well being. I've been beyond lethargic, lazy and un-motivated over these past few days. I've hardly done anything, despite the prior plans I'd set myself to get done before college. As I said, my skin has just been dreadful in comparison to what it was and from the lack of caring I've consequently eaten awfully too. My mentality has shifted to an over-all more negative frame of mind, nothing quite seems so bright and cheery as it did before, haha I really feel like I'm taking you to a deep and dark place but hopefully it will convince you not to follow in my bad footsteps! 

So all in all I'm certainly aware that there are no positives to come from this current arrangement that I've got going on. But, I've got my induction for college early tomorrow (that will be a fair shock to the system) and I start properly next Monday. I know that the best way to get out of these awful habits is to force yourself into a situation that means you have to change it, if you've got bad willpower like myself. I'm hoping that all the plans that I'd made for this blog and for my YouTube will come into place a bit more when college commences and when hopefully all of my motivation returns!

Let me know if you ever find yourself getting into bad habits like this!

love, bean xx

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Going to School & Home Education

Sadly it's that time of year again. For children from the UK September is the month that is the start of a new academic year. For some this means a fabulous prospect full of new beginnings but for others, it just means another dreaded year of getting up early. I was an early dropout of the schooling system, leaving at 15, deciding that I could probably do a better job then my teachers at preparing myself for my exams (there were, of course, other reasons too may I add!). It just so happened that teaching myself opened up many doors of opportunity and it enabled me to have my first proper taste of what the performing industry was like too in the big wide world. It's safe to say, I learnt a lot from teaching myself but I equally learnt as much before, when I'd gone to 8 schools altogether, I was certainly never 'deprived' of the school experience! 

The 8 schools varied greatly for me, each one teaching me different lessons - the majority of the lessons being of course outside the classroom. I think the problems I found at school were usually about fitting in whilst remaining true to who I am. I was interested in quite a few different types of things then the majority of other people, veganism being a prime example, and conforming to fit in and forget these interests was never my strong point. The other aspect I struggled with at school was that it wasn't until much later on that I found out that I'm dyslexic. This gave me a much stronger understanding of how my brain tends to work in a different way to other people, and how it also effects the best ways for me to learn. So when I taught myself I was able to plan it all in a way that was specific to the best way in which I learn. 

In retrospect I suppose I could have stayed at some of the schools for longer then my average of about 18 months, but I never regret it because from each school I learnt invaluable things about myself. There are so many things to say about the topic of school because it's a time of so much growth and self-discovery. You go through puberty, have the stress of sitting exams all whilst trying to balance your hobbies and friends as-well. It's a very demanding time filled with a lot of expectations and I don't believe that anybody goes through school without copious difficulties along the way. At the time it can feel like the be all and end all and that you're the only person in the entire world feeling how you're feeling but this just isn't the case. I now see that there's much more to life then being one of the 'popular people' and getting the perfect grades!

I am now venturing back into conventional education (sort of) by going to college and doing a qualification in performing arts, I must admit I am slightly nervous because no matter how many times you put yourself into a completely new situation the initial nerves always seem to crop up. I'm hoping that due to there being a big similarity between us all, in the sense that we all love performing, that it will be easier in terms of friends then in school but only time will tell! The video, click on the picture below, is showing you my college morning routine, it was pretty much the same when I was at school (the majority of the products I use are vegan). Feel free to let me know how you found/are finding being at school!

Love, bean xx

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Did somebody say Cake?

Audrey Hepburn once said, ‘Lets face it, a nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for a lot of people; it does for me.’ Now if you were to extract the word ‘creamy’ and replace it with ‘vegan’ then I’d say she was just about right. Now cake is one thing us vegans are in no shortage of, whether it be going out and buying one or using the copious recipes available. In this post I'm going to go through a few different options to make sure you've never got a shortage of cake in your life, heaven forbid!

I’m going to begin with an Artisan Cakery in London called ‘Cat and the Cream’. They make both cupcakes and cakes that are wheat free, soya free and dairy free, and let me tell you that flavour is not sacrificed in the process. Their two main stock lists are ‘Whole foods’ and the brilliant food delivery service called ‘Ocado’ (which is really worth looking into by the way). The flavour of the cake that, pictured below, is an incredible concoction of ‘Chocolate, Coconut & Raspberry with Chocolate Icing’. Holy moly it's good.

If you do happen to live in the Manchester area and you haven’t yet heard of the grocery store haven called ‘Unicorn’ then you are living under an incredibly deprived and big rock. Anywho, from their deli I tried a delicious ‘Black Cat Cakery’ chocolate cake. ‘Black Cat Cakery’ is another vegan cake business offering a variety of cakes which can be found at their various suppliers- Unicorn Grocery, Z-Art’s Café, Oklahoma Café and the Eighth Day Café.

In my London for Vegan’s video on YouTube I mentioned a small Vegan and Gluten Free Bakery in Camden called ‘Cookies and Scream’. It’s in a fairly central location and I found it really easy to find so if you’re in that area check them out. They predominately do varying treats but they also offer excellent cakes. So, have a look at my video for more details which can be found here: (link will be added asap)

Finally, if you’re a lot lazy then I am then you may well be interested in getting out your pinny and mixing bowl and make your own cakes. If so then a book which I highly recommend is the ‘Ms Cupcake’ Cookbook. I met Ms Cupcake at her gorgeous bakery in Brixton, South West London, at a book signing for Chloe Coscarelli, whilst there I felt it only polite to try 4 of her cupcakes. Again, my lord, her and her team have a true gift! Her cookbook is a bible full of her vegan cake recipes (kind of in the name really), so this would be a wonderful place to start if you’re looking at making your own. She also offers some classes, so if you’re a complete novice then this may possibly be a good thing to look into.

Again, talking of Chloe Coscarelli, her book also has some great cake recipes – including the recipe which made her famous in the cooking word with which she won the competition ‘Cupcake Wars’. She’s also got a new book, which I haven’t managed to find the time to look at in too much detail, which is a book full of her vegan puddings and deserts, etc.

So, I hope that you have found this useful giving you some ideas about how you can go about getting a cake fix whilst feeling relatively guilt free! 

Love, bean xx

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Latest Video...

Just a quickie to let you know about my latest YouTube video about going to starbucks as a vegan. Starbucks is one of my favourite places to go to when I'm out and about, take a look at the video where I go into more detail about some of my favourite things to order. Just to let you know when buying the caramel drink the sauce that you can have on the top contains egg whites so be sure to just ask for it without that!

love, bean xx