Essentials: Make Up #1

Well I’m not a make up junkie but there are some basics that I cannot live without, as most girls – I suppose! A really good kohl pencil and an under-eye concealer, that is all I need to get out of the house. But of course, as years go by, your make up collection starts to grow and you actually end up discovering really good products that do miracles for your looks. Here is my top 5 make-up essentials, all vegan and not tested on animals.

Essentials: Make Up #!

1 / Everyday Minerals Multi-tasking Concealer – I wasn’t really a fan of mineral concealer until I found Everyday Minerals.  This little tube of magic dust covers up blemishes, corrects under-eye circles and camouflages imperfections, doesn’t look cakey and lasts almost all day. Good thing is it also comes in a travel size rollerball stick – no need for a pencil – so you can just carry this in your bag for an instant perk up.

2 / Inika Organic Kohl Pencil – This certified organic eye pencil has a super creamy texture which stays all day without smudging. I’ve only tried it in black and I can assure you it gives you a true black tone.

3 / Urban Decay 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner – I absolutely love this eye liner. It dries almost instantly, and doesn’t smudge or wear off, no matter happens – one of the wonders of waterproof make up. Urban Decay is my favorite brand, never disappointed me.

4 / Urban Decay Lush Lash Mascara – This mascara gives the lashes fabulous length and helps them grow as well, as it is enriched with a growth serum that also conditions the lashes. Now the cherry on top, it doesn’t clump or flakes off. Probably one of the best mascaras I’ve ever wore, even non-vegan products.

5 / Urban Decay Afterglow Glide-On Cheek Tint – Whoa, I know this colour is so intense it almost hurts your eyes! But don’t be fooled, you won’t look like a circus clown. This is a ultra creamy, very sheer and silky cheek tint that you can easily rub onto your skin with the tip of your fingers. I always turned my nose up at cheek tints, but since UD gave me a sample of  their Quickie cheek tint, I am a die-hard fan. Caution, there are two shades that contain animal derived products, eg Score and Fetish.

What are your favorite make-up products?

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Vegan Food Swap: August’ 12

It’s official, this month I’ve become a food swapper and loved it! ‘Now what the heck is that?’ You might be asking. It is pretty similar to a penpal program but for foodies, in which you share local food items or goodies you’ve cooked/baked yourself.

To Happy Vegans organised the first UK vegan food swap in July, where every month you are assigned a partner to send a parcel of vegan goodies to and in return you receive your own parcel of surprise delights! Sound exciting, right? There’s only 2 conditions: the spending limit is £10, and all items must be vegan and must take into account your partner’s allergy requests – there must be no cheating!

My partner this month was Paul Maxwell ( @veganmonkey ) and this is the amazing stuff I’ve got:

Vegan Treats

Getting a surprise package full of vegan treats felt just like Christmas in August, except you don’t have to pretend you liked your aunt’s gift – you actually love everything in it. Amazing. Wasabi popcorn and peas, ginger truffle slices, smoky chipotle sauce, caramel bonbons and organic blueberry and chamomile teas – ermahgerd, drooling all over this!

If you want to participate in next month’s food swap, it’s super simple. Just sign up with one of the lovely ladies at To Happy Vegans by 5th of September.

Happy swapping (and eating)!

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Weekly Wrap-Up

I have to confess I am a tad sad now the Olympics are over. Still we have the Paralympics to look forward to though. Can’t help to feel nothing but pride for being a Londoner and hosting the greatest Games ever, and for being part of it as well. Closing ceremony was a blast, alongside with all the funny live tweeting from all over the world. I have to admit the highlight was our mayor Boris dancing to the Spice Girls, of course it’s already a success in the interwebs.

We spent the weekend running around like blue-arsed flies, half Saturday in Ikea, half Sunday in Homebase. The rest of the time assembling the stuff we bought and redecorating, framing meaningful cards and photos, gardening. Phew. It was a very productive weekend to be honest. Did I mention a massive (late) Spring cleaning? Oh yes. My aching muscles can certainly confirm that.

Snaps of the Week

Snaps of the Week

Have a nice week guys!
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We Are What We Eat

We Are What We Eat

It’s no surprise that more and more people worldwide develop diet-related diseases which most of the times are fatal. Serious diseases that are linked to what we eat kill an estimated three out of four Americans each year. Wow. These diseases include heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. Not to mention others that aren’t directly fatal but will definitely reduce your quality of living such as osteoporosis, atherosclerosis, obesity, sexual dysfunctions, you name it…

“People are fed by the food industry, which pays no attention to health, and are healed by the health industry, which pays no attention to food.” – Wendell Berry

How many of your family members and your friends’ family members have a disease already, or have died already from a disease? I will leave that unanswered.

Doing a shift in the diet by eating less meat, dairy and eggs (or none at all) increasing the intake of fruits, vegetables and grains is not even on many people’s radar screens.

But common sense is if a doctor prescribes you pills to lower cholesterol, lose weight and/or reduce your blood pressure, people will take that in no second. Health practitioners work for the health industry, most of them will only try to fix the problem and not the cause. It’s like putting a band-aid on a bullet hole – a very expensive one.

When was the last time you turned on TV and saw a commercial for shiitake mushrooms? Quinoa? Nuts? That’s right. The stuff we should all be eating isn’t ever advertised, instead we’ve got cheap government subsidized food products that will damage your body and make you ill. And to cure you, we then have adverts about calcium supplements, miraculous diet pills, vitamin tablets, yogurts that even lower your cholesterol and our doctors prescribing expensive and noneffective pills that lots of good people can’t afford.

A healthy diet is no doubt the way to go. It doesn’t mean sometimes you can’t have a chocolate bar or a yummy dessert – it’s not a sacrifice, just a way of rethinking habits. But constantly damaging your body with overly processed, saturated fats, trans fatty acids, harsh chemicals, casein and antibiotics present in animal-based foods, not to mention the really nasty stuff, is simply suicidal.

On the other hand, plant-based whole foods can provide all of health-protecting nutrients and vitamins the human body needs, with no negative side effects attached. We should be eating what comes from the earth. Every vitamin, mineral and nutrient that exists, protein, calcium, potassium, iron, all the B-vitamins, they come from the soil.

It’s illogical and irrational to filter your nutrients through somebody else’s body and adding in the nasty harmful stuff on top of it. Go to those sources directly, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, legumes.
Trust me, there’s an exciting whole new world of food endeavors out there! You should give it a try! Go vegan, for you, for the animals and for the environment.

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Weekly Wrap-Up

This week Pete and I have been taking some time to get back to our normal routine since our holidays. You know it’s painful. Also, with the Olympics madness that has finally hit the city, – which means 1 million of extra people in the tube and buses – I’m seriously thinking of taking some more days off by the end of the month just to keep up with this. A stay-cation to enjoy a bit more of the British summer is not a bad idea, with all the amazing events going on in London because of the Olympics though!

The weekend was pretty much chilled out. Supported the Team GB which triggered the newfound Brit in me. Watched several movies at home. Made plans for future decor projects around the house, which led us to a very unsuccessful trip to Heal’s, Habitat and The Holding Company. And in the meantime, we had a delicious Sunday lunch at 222 Restaurant near Earls Court. All you can eat buffet for £7.50 and an apple crumble with vanilla icecream for dessert, do I need to say more?! Ah yes, I can’t stop daydreaming about donuts, so I had to bake a batch of them – I mean, donut holes, since I’m still waiting for my donut pan to arrive. Well, and I may or may not have eaten donuts for dinner tonight.

Snaps of the Week

Snaps of the Week

Have a nice summery week!
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Instant Benefits of a Vegan Diet

Food can either be your medicine or your poison. I’m pretty sure everyone agrees with me on this – health is the greatest gift and it shouldn’t be gambled with. Since animal products are so toxic to the human body, many people report that their health dramatically improves as a result. As the skeptic I am, I needed to see it to believe it.

I didn’t really believe that making the step from vegetarianism to a fully vegan diet would be that significant to my body… until I felt it myself. My goodness. I had no idea it could be so beneficial to my health – and see the results in such a short amount of time! The inner workings of your body do a complete shift, in only two days, not even kidding. As soon as you cut off the intake of animal products, it’s like your body goes into a deep cleansing process where you feel increasingly lighter, more active, full of energy and vitality. As strange as it may sound, I even have heard random compliments about looking more radiant!

It’s undeniable that more and more people are going vegan. I switched to a veg diet for the animals, but many do it entirely for health reasons and they are mind-blowing. Here’s a few things that I witnessed myself, right from day 1 of transitioning to a vegan diet.

Instant Benefits of a Vegan Diet

If you’re trying to be more healthy, going vegan is the best thing you could do for yourself. Though I’m no health expert, the facts speak for themselves.
On a routine health check up I did a few weeks ago, the nurse stated that she has never seen such perfect levels. Truth is I have never felt this great!
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Weekly Wrap-Up: Summer Holidays

Long time no see!
After a week away nothings feels greater than being back home. Incredible as it may seem, on the 3rd day abroad I was actually missing London, but being on holiday, just relaxing with my better half, with no schedules, plans or even access to internet was everything I needed to restore my energies.
You know that feeling of pressing the reset button in your own life? Being away from constant emails, phone calls, Twitter or Instagram feeds was the best thing I did, so I’ve decided to limit my daily access to these time/soul consuming tools. Let’s face it, you only need like 20-30 minutes per day for catching up of the news and social updates.

We had an amazing time: laying on the most beautiful beaches (totally movie-like), snorkeling and swimming with fishes, playing beach tennis like pros. And yes, by day 2 we were speaking basic Italian with the locals, super funny.

Italian food feels like a party in a my mouth, I take my hat off to the Italian cuisine for praising the less is more philosophy in food. By carefully choosing the ingredients you get more flavour. Anyway, if you’re a vegan or vegetarian, the novelty factor runs off by the 2nd day. We found ourselves having Spaghetti al Pomodoro for lunch and cheeseless pizza with aubergine, mushroom, olives and capers. But just for the record, we didn’t mind having true Italian pizza every night – these were the best pizzas we’ve ever had!

For now I’m just happy that I got back to my routine and have plenty of stuff to focus on and look forward to.

Highlights of Sardinia

1. Beaches // They are simply put heavenly! White thin sand, clear emerald water (no, really!) with green hills in the surrounds. In effect, some say Sardinia is like an European Hawaii.

2. Cheap // Costa Smeralda hotels and restaurants are relatively unexpensive, having in mind what you get (good food, amazing beaches and nightlife)

3. The locals // Sardi people are super nice and outgoing – they will make an extra effort to understand what you’re trying to say (if you don’t speak Italian).

4. Snorkeling & fish sighting // If you have snorkeling equipment, it’s fairly easy for you to spot many fishes close to your feet, such as sole fish, shrimps and yellowtail snappers.

5. Getting around // It’s quite easy. I thought it would be a nightmare without renting a car, but you have all-day local buses for only €1 per ticket, which are valid for 90 minutes and can take you to the main beaches.

I could mention a plethora of more reasons to visit Sardinia, specially Costa Smeralda, but this article saves me a whole lot of time.

Snaps of the Week

Snaps of the Week Have a lovely week everybody, we’re halfway there.

Rita Fontes

sardinia-love

Closed For Holidays

Apologies folks, but I’ll be away in paradise sunny Sardinia, Italy, till 29th July or thereabouts. Loads of sun, white sand beaches, clear blue water and heaps of pizza and pasta await me, so excuse me gang, I will be back pretty soon!
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donut-bites

Baked Donut Bites With Chocolate Coating

I’m a sucker for donuts, but for some reason I have never tried to do a batch of these babies at home. I don’t even have a donut pan! That’s why donut bites are the perfect solution to put an end to any donut cravings, and they’re just the right portion. I find bite-sized baked goods the best choice for casual parties or to give as a gift, or you know… just because you fancy something sweet.

What you’ll need

Yields 12-14 donut bites or 6-8 large donuts
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 shake of cinnamon
1/2 cup soy milk
1/4 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Egg replacer for 1 egg (I used Ener-G Egg Replacer)
4 tablespoons sunflower spread (or any vegan margarine)
Your favorite vegan chocolate bar (I used Plamil Dairy Free Milk Chocolate)
Optional:
Crushed walnuts
Vegan smarties (I used Buntinies)

Pre-heat over at 350ºF / 180º C.
Combine dry ingredients in a bowl with a whisk to mix thoroughly.
In a small saucepan, combine wet ingredients over medium low heat & mix until margarine is melted. Don’t make this too hot for the dough!
Add wet to dry & mix until combined, forming a soft spongy dough.
Using a tablespoon measure, scoop out dough into an ungreased nonstick pan & smooth out the tops of them. I used a muffin pan since I don’t own a proper donut pan yet, which works just fine if you’re making bite-sized donut holes like I did. You can also make fun shapes in those molded silicone pans, which is great for kids.
Now you bake them for 12 minutes or until a tester comes out clean.
Invert the hot pan over a cooling rack to release the donuts and allow them to cool completely before coating.

For the chocolate coating
Melt the chocolate over a double boiler and remove from the heat when all is melted.
Dip your donuts into the chocolate until the top is fully covered and place on a wire rack to cool off.
Sprinkle crushed walnuts or vegan Smarties, or whatever you prefer!

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Weekly Wrap-Up

I’ve been waiting for this week to come for so long! Can’t believe our summer holidays are here, and the sun finally decided to come out and play so we can enjoy a proper british Summer in all its glory.

Early this week I attended a Starting a Food Business From Home class with Ms. Cupcake, which got my wheels turning. Can’t seem to stop thinking of how amazing it would be to have my own business, or how glad I am for having the most supportive boyfriend by my side.

All this excitement made me spend most of my off-work hours not only daydreaming, but also delving deeper into start-up businesses, company taxes, business bank accounts and all the not-so-fun side of running any kind of business.

Needless to say, it made us be more appreciative of the vegan scene in London, and well, of the city itself. We visited a recently opened vegan deli right in our neighbourhood, called Vgango!, and their chick’n & cheese panini totally won my devotion. As if it wasn’t enough, by the end of the day we went all the way to Camden to a Saturday evening supperclub packed with spanish vegan tapas, wine and spanish music. On Sunday we visited the Whitecross Street Market and after a lunch at the park, we walked around Covent Garden, where we discovered Tutti Frutti, an all american frozen yoghurt shop. Be still my heart. This place has the most delicious frozen soy yoghurt which you dispense yourself from the machine and pick your own favourite toppings.

In less than 2 days we will be flying out to Sardinia, Italy, for a relaxing week by the Mediterranean sea, which “surprisingly”  falls on the boyfriend’s birthday, *ahem*! Fun in the sun! Time to start packing the suitcase with all the beach apparel, sunscreen and flip flops. Yay!

Snaps of the Week

Snaps of the Week

As you can imagine I won’t be posting much next week, sorry in advance! You can should stay in touch via Twitter or Instagram for snippets of gorgeous beaches, clear blue sea and food to die for.

Have an amazing week!

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