From a young age, her love for animal rights, knew no bounds. Hours spent enveloping stray animals with love, a caress, a hug, a kiss, adoration like they had never seen before. The crumbles of kindness keeping them alive, wishing there was more she could do. Years spent torturing herself, hoping to alleviate their pain. Warm bed, shelter, food, water. An open heart and welcome arms. Stray animals fighting for survival, begging to be let inside. Now, she had three cats of her own, two rescues who were grateful to have a loving home. 12 years ago turned vegetarian, eyes opened to a callous world of torture. The taste of death a forkful away, she could no longer stomach it. She was never preachy, not even now. But for her own sake of mind, she couldn’t eat meat again. She believed that people had a right to choose, and her choice was sacred. Then, the movement didn’t stop there. In 2017, she went cruelty-free. No longer did she wear leather, suede and silk. She was vegan in all but diet. Products used that didn’t test on animals, spanning household, cosmetics, and lifestyle. It was easier said than done, but all these years on, she was thankful for her decision. Every year she would take part in a mindful veganuary, concentrating on food. After all, she was vegan everywhere else. The joy and elation it gave her, was nothing short of beautific.
But why was it mindful? When she ate vegan, she was more aware of what she put into her body. A tofu scramble peppered with red chillis, and vegan sour cream. A vegan bean and orzo soup, with zesty lemon for a golden glow. Hidden veggies vegan mac ‘n’ cheese, laced with paprika, butternut squash and cauliflower. A veggie power bowl, a hynoptic combo, loaded with edamame, roasted red peppers, crunchy peanuts and rice. Meals that she ate mindfully, switching off from the perils of the modern world. Phone down, Laptop switched off. TV blank. Just the whirring of the oven, and the cats circling like vultures. Paws batting at her food, salivating mouths, she smiled. She remembered a CBT therapy session in the past, where her old therapist had suggested she try ‘mindful eating’ in order to stay grounded in the present. It was something she struggled with at first. The type of person to ram food down her achingly hungry throat, before rushing out the door. The person who once thought ‘self-care’ was selfish. She had come a long way. In the past few years, her attitude and mindset towards self-care was celebratory, loving, and explatory. She was willing to make that change.
But having a colourful veganuary for self-care wasn’t just about food. It was about every aspect of your life, something that A disovered when going cruelty-free. It was about wearing clothes that were animal free. About cleaning your house with cruelty-free products. Brushing your teeth with eco-friendly oral care. Decorating your home with vegan accessories that didn’t harm animals. She knew that being cruelty-free was incredibly difficult. After all, it took a lot of research, and verification. Yet to A it was worth it, just to know how much her help was benefiting the animals. Animals like her beloved feline angels, who were worshipped like the deities that they were. In her right mind, after knowing the horrors of the animal testing industry, she could never use non-cruelty-free products ever again. With more choice than ever before, slowly she was finding it easier to incorporate veganism into her daily life.
She wanted to share her vision with the world. Showcasing brands who had a mindful stance on veganism, who created colourful veganuary products that were diverse, quirky, and would suit any budget. After all, she was the budget queen. Brands that were purse-friendly; affordable vegan food and drink that she could buy in her local supermarket. Cans of vegan BBQ jackfruit marinating in brown juices, poured into sizzling pans. Rice and peas steaming, coconut milk brewing, a jackfruit ‘mutton’ style vegan curry without the cruelty. A spinach and red pepper quiche made with plants, lovingly drizzled in olive oil, rocket, raddichio, and cherry tomatoes plumped on the side. Then, there was luxury. The ocassional treat, that was worth every penny. Creamy cashew vegan popcorn that seemed fashioned by the gods themselves. Wrapped tantalizingly around salted kernels, melting in mouth. Indulgent double chocolate vegan cookies topped with oreos.
Beyond the realm of food and drink, the key to her self-care was everything else. Mindful eco-friendly home cleaning products to keep her home spick and span. The smell of tangy citrus mixed with fresh mint, toliet gleaming, bathroom sparkling. Multi-surface cleaners spritzed on kitchen sides, wiped clean with micro-fibre cloths. Vegan cleaning products that were safe to use around her pets, sniffing cautiously at the air. Their eyes widening, a smile curved on their lips. She knew that look, the glances that they pulled. When they had done something wrong, and were acting shifty. Sure enough, colourful cups were scattered around the room, water spattered everywhere. She made a mistake of leaving the cupboard open, she should have known what happened before.
Pinks, blues, greens and beiges too, colours that sparked conversation. They tucked their tails between their legs, shamefaced. Still, it didn’t stop them throwing the cups again and again like it was a game of ping-pong. Then again, she didn’t blame them for wanting a slice of the mindful veganuary action! At least they werent dipping their paws into her skincare, haircare and beauty; from affordable to extra special gifts, there really was something for everyone. Soothing bath salts poured gently into steaming hot water, the scent of lemon and patchouli drifting. Tension eased, anxiety dissipitated in a bubble bath of dreams. She sighed, and took a deep breath. A pulse point rolled onto her pressure points, aromas of lavender and chamomile in a calming trance. If ever a mindful veganuary existed, this holistic bathtime routine was it.
Hair fanned in a halo drifting in bubbled water. Moisturising shampoo kneaded gently into thick knotty hair. Knots de-tangled, split ends reduced. Frizzy hair smoothed despite the crackle of humidity in the air. Dry hair nourished, tangled hair rejuvunated. Hair Awakened, pores opened. Flushing red cheeks, splotched from heat. Hair wrapped around a pink towel, skin bare. Lightweight moisturiser smoothed on to her face. Supple and soft, clean and clear skin. Nails buffed, primed and painted, gleaming rose-pinkish brown. Bare eyes, bold lips. Dark brownish purple, with a hint of gloss. Lined lips, definition, a plump natural pout. A mindful veganuary bathtime and cosmetic routine where she could take time out to breathe and think. The night would still, frosted ice on steamy windows. Perfumed rooms filled with the scent of a colourful vegan season.
She wanted to show that Veganuary was about mindfulness. Not just educating yourself on vegan food and drink, but about where your products come from. What materials your favourite brands used. It would be an eye-opening experience with cruelty-free vegan gifts for a January she would remember. Ready meals, and vegan fakeaway classics. Classic pies and quiches given the vegan twist. Gourmet chocolate enveloped in pistachios. Award winning plant-based meal kits on the days where she was running short on time. Cauliflower enveloped in katsu curry fresh with Asian salad and slaw. Pearl Barley Butternut bliss bowl with chickpeas and kale, zested with her favourite lemons. Everyday oat milk in decaf coffee, creamy and smooth, her take on a latte at home. Sprinkled with cinnamon, and laced with tumeric for an immune boosting drink. Holistic and natural skincare for glowing skin, a welcome apertif to indulging in culinary delights. Fresh water sprayed onto her face, washing the complexities of life away.
She admitted. In the past she was not mindful. In fact practicing mindfulness was one of the hardest things that she had to do. But when she mastered the art, she felt like she could conquer anything. Her food a reminder that she needed to sustain her body and mind. Liquids protecting her from dehydration. Mindful cosmetics that brought a genuine smile to her face, revelling in its diverse shades. At the end of the day, her skin would be clear once more, the remmenants of makeup sinking down the plughole. Fresh skin, balanced and rehydrated, smooth to the touch. Hair tied back in a plait, she rubbed scented lotion into her hands. The familiar tremor had crept into her hands, the shaking that anxiety harkened. It’s OK, she told herself, you will be OK. For mindful veganuary gave her a chance to slow down, stop and unwind. More time at home, less time on the go. A lull in the year where all was quiet, a time for personal reflection. Her pulse slowed down, and her breathing deepened. Veganuary for A was an anxiety-booster, that kept her sane, even when she felt like she was running out of steam. A grounding force that brought excitement into the dullest time of the year.
Vegan Food & Drink For Veganuary
Savoury Vegan Food
A fresh wave of desire filled her every thought. She was red-blooded, food constantly on her mind 24/7. Vegan chicken coated in cornflake breadcrumbs, that tasted like the real thing. Slathered in katsu sauce, with Asian slaw and pickle, embedded in spring onion and garlic rice. Cooking up budget-friendly, to mid-range, and luxury meals, with leftovers to spare. Waste not, want not, delicious food that was worth every penny. A rich ragu of chickpeas marinated bolognese style in thick taglitelle. A sprig of basil a-top, green and leafy, pasta scooped into hungry mouths. A spinach and roasted tomato quiche, served with a side salad that definitely wasn’t boring. A plant-based meal kit for the days where time ran away with the spoon. Harissa roasted sweet potato and lentil stew, drizzled surprisingly with balsamic dressing. Avocado perched precaciously. The last, a budget-friendly jackfruit special, with a tex-mex twist. Lovingly ladled into the buritto of dreams, chilli guac swallowing black beans.
The love affair began on an unassuming Friday. A reunion with a friend, a celebratory hug. Her in a pillarbox red suit, with a pink top, and shoes. A beret perched jauntily on her head, her hair slightly flustered from the wind. Him in all-black, so editorial, she could never pull it off. She was too colourful, drawn to rainbows. But noone did black quite like him. A black puffa jacket, layered onto black cargo pants. DR Marten Boots, and a black tee, simple yet effective. For they were off to VFC‘s extra special press event. Where a cocktail of mouthwatering delights awaited their ravenous mouths. New vegan popcorn chicken slathered in satay sauce, that had her rethinking her sanity. Crispy vegan tenders in a wholesome taco. Yet, it was the vegan chicken fillet burger that stole her heart. It reminded her of a time before she went vegetarian (currently vegan), the most mouthwatering chicken burger. Sauteed in salted butter, oozing, dripping in a chicken sandwiched. Sandwiched in a brioche bun, she had never found a chicken burger quite like it. That was until now.
A vegan chicken fillet burger that defied all expectations. Melt-in-your-mouth, utter perfect. Flaky, soft and crispy, a taste like no other. As far as A was concerned having a mindful veganuary meant eating the foods that you love, that made you feel joy in its most raw form. The moment the vegan chicken burger touched her lips she was transfixed. Eyes widened, begging for more. A spicier version too, with a nice kick of cayenne heat. The cornflake crumbing enveloped in vegan mayo. There was a surprise too, a VFC treat waiting in their very own tote bag. She willed it to be the vegan chicken fillet burger with gusto, but the next best thing was waiting. Vegan chicken tenders, versatile, aromatic, and always cruelty-free. Sure at £3, it wasn’t the cheapest meal on the planet, but as far as ‘meat substitutes’ went, it was market-industry standard. When the vegan chicken tasted that good though, she couldn’t help but give in.
A vegan chicken katsu curry seemed like the obvious choice. She could hear the people yammering ‘IT’S NOT HEALTHY’ but did she care? Not one bit. A fakeaway meal that was the ultimate Japanese comfort food. Made Wagamama’s style; closing the oven door, her VFC chicken humming tunelessly. Meanwhile her sauce was brewing, sweet yet tangy katsu that made her lick the bowl clean. Shallots fried in a non-stick pan, carrots to join in next. Curry powder slipping from her fingers, orange-yellow all over the table-top. Stirred well, she was careful with the flour, adding a little at a time. A homemade vegetable broth whisked well, getting those little flour bumps out proved difficult. Sauce thickened, shoved in a sieve, carrots and shallots in a seperate bowl. Veggies blitzed into a smooth paste, plonked into thickening sauce, bubbling. A splash of soy sauce to season, maple syrup too. A creamy, effortless sauce, that turned vegan chicken tenders into food magic. An Asian salad brewing; vibrant and colourful, red cabbage shredded, carrots grated. Edamame beans shelled, peppers julienned. Chunks of ginger, hunks of lime, a scoop of rice wine vinegar. Cashew nuts atop. The nuttiness pairing beautifully with what she liked to call her vegan chicken dream.
It was food that took no prisoners. Simple, humble meat substitutes that quite simply was the s**t. A brand that went beyond delivering delicious vegan chicken. Their story didn’t end there. Political activists at heart educating the nation. Proud animal lovers, protectors of chicken. A harrowing video shown in KFC’s factory farm, chickens who could barely move. Squashed together in rows of devestation. Sick chickens at deaths door, culled. It brought a tear to her eye. This is exactly why she didn’t eat meat. Because once she knew what went on behind closed doors, she couldn’t bring herself to eat meat again. That was 12 years ago. 12 animal-advocating years, fighting for animal rights. After all, when she was older, she wanted to open a rescue animal sanctuary on a farm for stray animals, to be shown tender loving care.
Price: £3 .00
Budget: Mid- Range
A snowy blanket of white-tinged frost caressed the ponds nearby. Cracked ice, and threadbare trees, A wrapped up in the most colourful vegan-friendly outfit. Blue ribbed chiffon trousers with lattice hems, a matching oversized shirt, with voluminious sleeves, enveloping a baby blue jumper. Duck egg blue beret a-top her head, blue patent stomping boots. It seemed irrelevant to describe her outfit when she was talking about food, but there was sense to the story. On a winter walk of dreams, when the email dropped into her inbox. A vision of the dreamiest taglietelle Bolognese, a twist on one of her favourite pasta dishes. She hurried home, and travelled into the future. Even in the future the frosty icicles would kiss the windowpane, minus four degrees, she was freezing. But today was the day, the day when her White Rabbit Taglitelle would arrive. Wrapped in a cardbox box, a surprise inside. Begging to be eaten.
A love poem to pasta was written in her mind. Mouth wrapped around strands of tagliatelle, tangled in aromatic garlic. A rich lentil and chickpea ragu, vegan and gluten-free. Rich hues of brown, red and yellowish-beige. Winter, autumnal colours, aromas wafting. Her partner D always said that there was one dish that A could eat every day. Pasta in every shape and form. Arribiata with tangy spicy sauce. Vegan meatballs and spaghetti in fresh tomatoes and basil. And of course, completing her top three, bolognese. Comfort food, to A it was the meaning of a Mindful Veganuary. After all, eating pasta was like getting a hug from a very best mate. On winter nights, it dissipated the chill that weaved its way through her body. Her stiff hands coaxed out of rigor mortis, brought back to life. Slowly thawing, her toes no longer curling. Paired with a glass of non-alcoholic wine, embracing her in its warming arms. She sprinkled vegan parmesan, and laced it with basil. Earthy, cozy, it reminded her of home.
It was her partner personified in a meal, and the joy it brang her was astounding. Pasta was mindful because it had no expectations of you. It was an easy-going, carefree meal that was nourishing and would sustain you. A life saver during the darkest days where even getting out of bed would seem like mission impossible. She wasn’t immune to its affects lured under its spell. Those culinary witches at White Rabbit had mastered her top three pasta dish and then some. All it took was two minutes to change her mood. Cold lifted, warm heart given. A hot flush spreading across her cheeks like dashes of blush. It sustained her, and gave her energy, lulling her into a sleepy food coma, where the land of sleep arose. When she woke, morning was here, the reminder of that infamous bolognese imprinted on her lips. But wait, what was this? Why only another surprise gift. The geniuses at White Rabbit had done it again. A garlicky Foccaine that was dairy-free and gluten-free. Mouthwatering garlic-style pizza bread, simmering with vegan butter on a cripsy crust. Slightly chargrilled round the edges just like she liked it. Finished with parsley and drizzled with olive oil, it mopped up the ragu beautifully. Carbs vs carbs, her idea of a perfect mindful Veganuary meal.
Price: Bolognese £5.00, £3.35 Garlic Focaccine (At Ocado).
There were nights where she would feel the exhaustion in her bones. Joints heavy, muscles weak, barely able to keep her eyes open as she made her way through life. Emotionally blunted, in zombie mode, it was either that or intensely emotional. Two modes. It was evenings like these were looking after herself seemed futile. But despite the tiredness, she knew that food was her self-care. After all, it was mindful veganuary. That being said, mental health was important all year round. It didn’t matter that it was January or winter. What mattered was having ‘mental health help foods’ that would sustain her when she was struggling, down and anxious. Little bites to eat, snacks, and main meals, made from nourishing vegetables. Dishes that could be popped in the oven, no over-cooking needed. Comfort food that had her back all year round.
It was Higgidy, whose range of easy and simple snacks and meals would fill her heart with love. Days where she was in pain, physically and emotionally, days where she was working long hours into the inky expanse of night. A chickpea masala pie danced in the oven, for a swift and satisfying meal. Vegan seeded shortcrust pastry, soft yet flaky, with a creamy coconut, lentil and spinach daal. Layered with a chickpea and tomato masala, drizzled with sweet mango chutney. She couldn’t remember the last time she even had a pie, the memories it brought back was instantenous. Roast dinners with a steak pie slathered in gravy, carrots, peas, sweetcorn, and peppers in a medley mash. Pies with chips, drizzled with salt and vinegar, slightly peppered. Yes, it really had been a long time.
Another comfort food rolled into her realm. Mini No-Pork Pies, taking bronze in the British Pie Awards in 2022, and PETA’s vegan food award winner. It was easy to see why. She was never a huge fan of pork growing up. After a harrowing experience where she saw a beautiful pig killed for its meat aged 10, it was here where she knew she would be a vegetarian one day. The only pork she liked was sausages, ham, and bacon. But as for gammon, and other pork based recipes, it was a no-go. She advanced on the pies with trediptation; she needn’t have worried. Red pepper, serenading Sunblush tomato. Carrots softly stroking green lentils. Deliciously vibrant veggies in a vegan hot water crust pastry. This was undoubtably her favourite, which surprised her. But it was comforting, and nostalgic without the animal cruelty.
Vegetable samosa rolls were next up on the sharing platter; Spiced cauliflower, carrot and chickpeas with sweet mango chutney, wrapped in vegan puff pastry and hand-topped with a mixed seed sprinkle. It tasted just like the real thing, just veganized. A always said that Indian food was in her top three favourite cuisines (Italian, Indian, Ethopian), and it was easy to see why. Vegan-friendly, vegetarian friendly, and wholesomely delicious, the samosa rolls filled her heart with endless glee. Served with a lime, chilli and tamarind chutney, it was nothing short of perfection. Her mood was vastly improved, her spirits raised. It had been a hum-drum day, but things were looking up. One last treat to feast upon, A spinach and roasted tomato vegan quiche. Seeded spelt shortcrust pastry, laced intricately with spinach. Sunblush tomatoes in a creamy oat and coconut milk filling. Topped with sumptous roasted tomatoes, bursting with juices, enveloped in millet.
Higgidy Vegetable Samosa Rolls £2.25 at Tesco on deal.
Higgidy Spinach and Roasted Tomato Quiche £3.25 at Waitrose
Higgidy Roasted Chickpea Masala Pie £4.35 at Tesco
Higgidy Mini No Pork Pies £2.25 at Tesco on deal.
Budget: Mid Range To Luxury Depending On Deals
Grubby Meal Kit Buyagift
Last night she dreamt of a giant cauliflower katsu, dunked in Oatly cream and Panko breadcrumbs in a rich curry sauce. Swirling with red chilli and coriander, a mouthwatering explosion of taste. A side Asisan salad with spice and all things nice. Little gem lettuce shredded, carrots roughly grated, garnished simply with olive oil and pepper. A vegan helping of deliciousness, not a scrap was left behind. Waste not want not, that was her motto. The bowl licked clean, even round the sides, eyes rolled back in sheer delight. A warming winter warmer, that mindful veganuary had in spades. A meal that rocked her to sleep with a meditative hum, silent and unassuming yet quietly powerful. Then she woke up, and realized it wasn’t a dream. Yesterday’s dinner cradled in stunning comfort. Thanks to the plant-based faries at Grubby, she could order vegan meal kits with easy, and delicious recipes that were nutritious, harnessing the power of plants. Yet it turned out that they had a Fairy Godmother of their own. Buyagift, the leading gifts and experiences retailer, who blessed her life with vegan meals. After all, they knew a thing or two about a mindful Veganuary.
A Pearl Barley Butternut Squash Bliss Bowl came next, a lunch packed with mindful ingredients. Antioxidant rich butternut squash, high in fibre, anti-inflammatory properties and packed with beta-carotene to support the immune system. Tender kale caressed with love, high in Folate for brain development, vitamin K for bone building, and Vitamin C for chronic disease prevention. Red peppers dancing with chickpeas, the latter high in protein, the former rich in iron, which can improve iron absorption.Then there were the extras, the side characters that were just as prolific. Garlic pungent and rich soaking up acidic lemon. Red chilli perched on a bed of parsley. A mound of pearl barley underneath, high in selenium to boost immune function.
A savoury queen at heart, she couldn’t help but gravitate towards the Harissa Roasted Sweet Potato And Lentil Stew. Drizzled in tangy balsamic dressing, undercut by creamy avocados, it shouldn’t work but it did. Blissfully so. A delicate dish, ladled with care. Tender Harissa roasted sweet potato on nutrient dense lentils, high in protein. A satisfying dinner, that was somehow light yet filling at the same friendly. Gut-friendly, healthy, and mood-boosting, she could feel her spirits lifting gloriously so. It didn’t matter that an avalanche of rain hammered down her window pane, or that it was minus four degrees outside. In her favourite Avocado Oodie, she sat cross-legged on the dining room chair, cherishing each morsel slowly. The cherry on top? The balsamic vinegar, mellow and tart, with rich complex sweetness. A hint of smokiness, with notes of cherry, and chocolate.
It was a two week meal kit, where she could choose three meals per week. A generous offering, for days where her mind was blank. It had shut down, and couldn’t compute any more recipe inspiration. She needed a helping hand. The second week just as flavoursome; An African Style Sweet Potato Stew drenched in Peanut Sauce. A Spiced Chickpea, Broccoli and Avo Buddha Bowl splattered with coconut and lime sauce. Korean Tempeh and Grain Lettuce Tacos, smattered with Spicy Peanut Sauce. A whirlwind of flavours, a trip around the world. A culinary exploration of mindful veganuary food, made with tender loving care. Her personal favourite? The buddha bowl, simple yet hearty. Lifted with a dreamy coconut and lime sauce, offsetting the spiced chickpea. That night, she dreamed again. Surrounded by all her Grubby meals in succession, twirling with angel wings. Stomach full, mind cleared, energy restored, she woke with renewed purpose, ready to welcome another day.
Price: £31.00 for 3 meals (for 2-3 people) instead of £36. Or for £34.50 you can get a two week subscription with Buyagift!
Tropical Sun Jackfruit
Looking at jackfruit, you would think it is an oddity. Jackfruit swelling like green balloons, hanging on trees precaciously. The sweet breath of summer, caught in a tin, swimming in brine. Even in the deep heart of winter, she caught a glimpse of holiday lovin’, imagining herself by the Jackfruit tree. The skin rough, the pulp thick, thorned fruits, be careful of your hands. It was hard to believe, the jackfruit she held in her hand had come from this. But sometimes bad beginnings had beautiful ends. The taste like no other, sweet, with a stringy-meat-like texture, similar to pulled pork. It had been 12 long years since she had eaten meat, but even she could admit that it resembled those teenage memories beautifully. Purse-friendly, versatile, and delicious, jackfruit was one of A’s favourite mindful veganuary substitutes. There was the breath of the cool air passing, the birds singing in the trees. The shadow of winter engulfing her in a macrabre cloak, trying to hold her down. But it wasn’t possible, the memory of summer kept going. With jackfruit classics that would warm her mind, body and soul.
She found the cans she was looking for, lined up in three. BBQ, Tex-Mex, and Thai Green Curry too. A world full of adventure, an explosion of taste. Despite the fragmented moon, and the howling of the dogs nearby, she felt bliss. The first, BBQ in the palm of her hand. A delicious blend of young green jackfruit in a rich smoky BBQ sauce. Made with natural ingredients, and no artificial additives. It tasted like perfection, laced with red-chilli and pepper. Hot, yet sweet, the best of both worlds, lovingly poured into a jackfruit taco, with black beans, red cabbage, sour cream, and lime marinated corn. Nothing short of deliciousness, made in just 20 minutes. A quick week-day meal, smoky, spicy, and tangy, just the way she liked it. Yet it was the Tex-Mex Jackfruit that won a gold medal. A delicious blend of young green jackfruit and a tangy Tex Mex sauce, slathered onto her favourite vegan burgers. Slapped into a soft brioche bun, drenched in Tex-Mex sauce. The definition of a dirty burger, her fingers soaked in messiness. But she didn’t mind, wiping the sauce off her chin with a smile. Fragrant, sweet, spicy, similar to the BBQ sauce, with an extra quick.
The last, a surprise, Green Thai Curry, with young green jackfruit. Mild and creamy, with a hint of spice, aromatic coriander floating on top. It had been a while since she had a vegan thai curry, and she had a hankering for one with a twist. Paired with banana fried rice, with spring onions, and garlic too. A side addition of Thai vegetables, sweet orange butternut squash with yellow baby corn. Green sugarsnap peas and mixed peppers, a rainbow bowl, bursting with mindful Veganuary colour. A warming trio of dishes, spanning comfort food, culinary exploration, and winter-warmers, that soothed her cold body. Thawing out the ice still in her hands, slowly coming to life. Steam rising from the bowls, she sat content. A homemade juice in the corner, slowly sipping, eating mindfully.
Price: Although £2.29 sounds like a lot, it is flavoured jackfruit (which other retailers can price at £3.20 onwards), and is a substitute for pulled pork, which can retail anywhere from £3.50-£6.00. It is also a substitute for Duck which normally retails at £4.00 all the way up to £15 depending on the cut.
Sweet Vegan Treats
The confectionary clouds would waft into her vision. An Oreo topped double chocolate cookie dunked into oat milk. The smell of freshly baked cakes, an indulgent Jaffa Cake Brownie crumbling into starving mouths. Chocolate crumbs smeared around her lips, her hand in the cookie jar. Slabs of the dreamiest vegan chocolate she had ever tried, rich and creamy, enveloped around her raspy tongue. Made with cashew milk, she couldn’t quite believe it was vegan, hazelnut, pistachio, and dark chocolate too, divine ecstacy. Vegan chocolate popcorn that blew her mind, on the sofa watching Disney films, a feel good snack. Crunchy, and caramelized, a taste sensation. Vegan chocolate brownie nugglets squirrelled away in secret. Mindfulness in A’s eyes wasn’t just about healthy vegan food. After all moderation was key. It was about food that made you smile, that brought you joy. Sating an intense temptation gnawing within, that only sweet treats could satisfy. Sure, savoury she could eat to her heart’s content. But sweet goodies were a luxury, a less frequent sugar rush, for a mindful veganuary.
Simply Cake Co
Seemingly out of nowhere she had a hankering for something sweet, desire growing inside of her. A’s lips followed with a content sigh, a sweet kiss on a double chocolate cookie. The cookie of dreams, vegan and gluten-free, Oreo topped, Jaffa-filled, Raspberry stuffed. She sniffed at it with curiosity, touched it with explorary hands. The smell felt like happiness, nestled in rustling tissue paper. Cookies handmade with love and care from Simply Cake Co. The Oreo first to taste, their personal favourite, crumbled pieces layered expertly in a rich sumptous cookie. She couldn’t help but pass it over to D, who she affectionately named the ‘Cookie King’. The extraordinaire who lived, and breathed cookies. His favourite dessert, and snack, he had an eye for it. With surprise he gave it a solid 9 out of 10, impressive considering he wasn’t vegan. He lusted after it desperately, as they broke it in half. A his and hers cookie, with plenty of imagination. She revelled in its rich, yet layered flavour profile, an emblem of joy.
The Jaffa-stuffed cookie was equally as impressive, reminding her of all those Jaffa cakes she used to scoff growing up. It was hard to believe it was vegan, the plant-based white chocolate expertly piped a-top. A contrast to the dark chocolate of the cookie, that didn’t taste vegan either. In fact, by some witchcraft, it tasted like the real thing. In A’s mind though Simply Cake Co’s cookies tasted better than the Sainsburys Double Chocolate Cookies that D would frequent often. Much better. The Raspberry stuffed cookie was just as memorable. A Valentine’s treat in Mindful Veganuary form, freeze dried raspberries tart yet sweet. An ooey goey raspberry cream filling, like the taste of heaven. Dipped in vegan m*lk, it reminded her of childhood. Chunks of cookie crumbling into the frothy milk. Heated up, it felt like home, a warm bite caressing her in a gentle hug. Chocolate like silk, sneaking in the night for another bite.
The Veganuary selection was just as magical. A perfectly gooey selection of Vegan Millionaire’s Shortbread, Brownies, Blondies and Rocky Road. Handmade in the UK with the best ingredients including couverture chocolate and British Pea flour, tantalizingly moerish. A Raspberry Blondie, the sweet creature that stole her heart, with whole raspberries. Gooey, sticky, she laughed at the mess she made. Crumbs around her mouth, sticky-sweet fingers. It was like being a child again, that nostalgia rampant. A January sweet treat that reminded her of summer, strawberry picking with the lull of buzzing bees drinking nectar sleepily. The Oreo Rocky Road, another highlight, laced with irrisistable vegan mallows. Soft and pillowy, fluffy and sweet, marrying joyfully with the textured base. Who could forget the Cornflake Brownie either, her partner’s favourite. A gooey brownie base topped with cornflakes in chocolate, a mouthwatering delight.
The biggest surprise was the Banana and Custard Brownie. She had little expectations. Truth be told the combo did not sound like her favourite. But how wrong she was. Impeccably placed. Oozing vegan brownie interlaced with banana chips, vanilla custard flavour peeking through. Like a Nesquik banana milkshake in sweet treat form. Three more sweet treats lined up to be rated. Oreo Millionaire’s Slice, reminiscient of shortbread that was ever so addictive. She couldn’t help but hold a soft spot for Oreos. A Jaffa Brownie too, an already indulgent vegan brownie made gooier with orange creme. The perfect replacement if you were missing Jaffa Cakes this mindful Veganuary. It seemed odd saying that eating cakes, and cookies were mindful. But in A’s mind, a sweet treat could bring so much joy. Creamy and crunchy, she would ride the sugar rush wave, swept into a sea of sweet delirium, where sweet goodies reigned free. Chaotic, colourful, and always delicious.
Cookies: £10 for three cookies, £18 for six cookies.
Veganuary Selection: £18.49 6 Pieces, £29.49 12 pieces
Veganuary Combo Box 1: £26.99 (including 3 cookies and 6 pieces)
*All options can be personalized.
Movie nights were sacred to A and D, a ritualistic part of their relationship. From the very beginning, they would watch animated movies together, feel-good films that left them smiling from ear to ear. They would laugh racously, and startle the neighbours. Cry noisy sobs when a character died, tears leaking from their eyes. Leap with joy when resolution was found, sit hooked, eyes glazed over, as they were swept into a fairytale land far removed from their own. To A, watching movies made for a Mindful Veganuary, because it meant taking care of herself. Self-care, allocated couple-time, a chance to unwind, laugh together, and connect. To forget the stresses of everyday life, and temporarily disassociate. At home, or at the cinema, it was their special time, disconnected from all. Plunged into welcome darkness, transfixed by the moving images that flickered before them.
But nothing beat a movie quite like home. Cuddling tenderly on the sofa, three cats snoring nearby. Eyes heavy, smiles sleepy, captivated by the screen. She loved other movies of course, but animated comedies truly stole her heart. It was here that they were awe-struck by something else. Mindful Veganuary snacks that had become her new favourites. Undoubtably, this was her favourite of the bunch, and her partner agreed. She couldn’t quite believe the sorcery that Läderach had woven. Impeccable Vegan Swiss chocolate that left her wanting more, more, more. Gone in mere days, what were the plant-based treats that A and D so heavily coveted? The first, creamy cashew popcorn. Crunchy. Caramelised. Laced with a fine layer of creamy vegan cashew chocolate, expertly mixed with vegan dark chocolate. She gave it a solid 9.5, the highest rating in the land of vegan snacks. An unforgettable taste, that she wished she could remember forever. She fed her love with sparkling eyes, his face lighting up with mutual appreciation.
After all, you couldn’t have a movie without popcorn. It was hard to believe it wasn’t award winning. The aromas, textures, freshness and quality was unmatched. Her only critique? She wanted a bigger box, it was far too small for her wolfish ways. Scoffed the lot, halfway through Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, their new favourite film. Still, there was another chocolate fantasy that would sate her temporarily. A small Vegan FrischSchoggi™ Pouch, handmade by their master chocolatiers with only the best ingredients available. Fresh vegan varieties, and their new cashew milk-based alternative, effortlessly curated. A conscious choice for chocolate, without the animal being used. 10 pieces of chocolate surprises including Grand Cru Brazil 70%, almond, blackberry, orange-almond and pistachio. There could only be one winner and surprise, surprise, it was FrischSchoggi™ Vegan Cashew.
An incredibly real chocolate taste with no compromise. Made with cashew milk, using coconut blossom sugar, instead of granulated sugar. Roasted and caramelized cashew nuts, a mesmerizing taste experience. A gastronomic explosion, that made love in their mouths. A bouquet of chocolate, they dove into the pieces over the next few days. Watching their favourite movies, smiles licking their bright faces. Enthusiasm unbridled, expectations sky-high. Indulgence at its finest, pistachio was next to taste. Made from the finest dark chocolate, folded with gently roasted pistachios. The crunch, the smell, the feel was a culinary revelation, chocolate like she had never experienced before. She couldn’t put it into words, she was actually speechless.
The rest followed in an elegant flurry. Blackberry dark, intense and sweet, but not overpowering. A memory of getting tangled in the brambles, blackberry juice dripping down her chin. Almond dark refined with large roasted and caramelised almonds from California, a heady experience. Orange-Almond Dark, with tangy orange pieces, and fine almond flakes. Hazelnut dark blended with large roasted and caramelized hazelnuts from Piedmont. Gentle, rich, and nutty, a warm glow serenaded her heart. She could almost taste the slopes. Grand Cru Brazil a love letter to movies, instantly irristable. 70% cocoa, distinguished by its cacao’s single origin from the Cabruca cooperative in the Brazilian rainforest. The last? Grand Cru Madagascar 64% Cacao Lemon, a surprise to taste. Candied lemons dancing in cocoa butter, lemon crispies swept up in the romance of it all. And so the evening concluded, bellies pooched, hearts sated. Their heads filled with endless visions of the best vegan chocolate they had ever tried.
Price: £13.90 for Creamy Vegan Cashew Popcorn. £23.75 for Small Vegan FrischSchoggi™ Pouch
A was of the mindset that treating yourself was mindful. After all, she was a firm believer in doing what made you happy. She knew how much she would glow, when she was passionate about something. When she ate something that elated her. When she wore something that made her smile. Mindfulness after all, was in the eye of the beholder. To A mindfulness meant snacks that felt like a secret, a weapon against the chaotic anxiety, and stormy depression that was deeply furrowed into her life. It was about appreciating the little things, a release of tension. Expressing gratitude, eating with care. Snacks that cared about you, as much as you cared about them. After all, treating yourself was a must, a holistic neccessity. A chance to slow down, and unwind, breathe in, breathe out.
It was here in this little moment of solace that she discovered Livia’s Kitchen‘s Nugglets, in a Raw Chocolate Brownie Flavour. Indulgent, soft and squidgy, the all natural nugglets were a mental health trreat and then some. Naturally vegan, gluten and dairy free, with all natural ingredients. Reading the ingredient list, she was surprised. Dates normally gave her the ick, yet here they were in spades. How she revelled. High-quality authentic Tunisian dates to replicate a squidgy brownie centre. Wrapped in smooth velvety creamy chocolate that she couldn’t believe was vegan. The perfect fix for on the go, particularly on shoot days where she was pressed for time. Small but mighty packets, where energy was released slowly. Low in sugar, and in calories, a rich, satisfying chocolately fix. Sprinkled with Himalayan pink salt, raw chocolate laced with oats and coconut sugar. Sweet, but not too sweet. Just right.
Natural snacks in their purest form, unaltered, untouched. Only the best ingredients, never using anything that is naturally not in food. No Palm Oil ( a sigh of relief), no emulsifiers, stabilizers or gums, no additives, preservatives or flavourings. Natural indulgence, sustainably sourced. A mindful Veganuary, where animals, the planet, and humans are protected. A choc brownie without compromise on flavour or sustainability. Tackling everything from plastic, to waste, carbon footprint, packaging and climate change. Using fit-for-purpose food packaging to minimize waste, creating a circular economy for plastics. Finding the best packaging solutions to protect their products, making their packaging easier to recycle at home. 100% plant-based treats to reduce carbon footprint, and offset climate change. No goodies going to waste. Every single one being sold, sampled or given away. Avoiding needless carbon emissions. A climate-friendly vegan brand that would help its consumers have a mindful Veganuary.
Price: £1.70 for the pack (my only criticism is that it needs to be larger for that price)
Then came the drinks, two brand stand outs, that were celebratory in their own right. Creamy oat milk, splashed into granola to make her skin glow, smooth and velvety. A taste sensation, a one of a kind mouth explosion, vegan milk like she never had before. Oat milk filled her veins, surging round her body like a course of adrenaline. It felt powerful. It felt energizing. Gurgled down her rasping, gasping throat, mouth dry, wettened by sweet dreamy oats. Then there were the protein powders, the super-shakes, natural flavours filled with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support the immune system. Pea Protein chocolate, mouthwateringly rich, scooped into pancakes for a natural morning boost. A Red Berry Supershake next on the playing field, added to oat milk for an immunity shake on the go. Together, the trio of mindful Veganuary drinks were unstoppable. Proof that plant-based didn’t mean missing out.
Minor Figures Oat Milk
Her heart belonged to oat milk, oh how it sang. Sweetened feelings, adding the right ingredients and subtle notes. Oat milk splashed into heartwarming porridge, burbling on the stove. Done the old-fashioned way, gurgling at the boil. Laced with cinnamon, and sweet berries like cranberries, a winter warmer that filled your soul with glee. She’d relieve stress by munching, porridge dissipitating in her mouth. Her body thawing, her smile growing, a mindful Veganuary breakfast filled with love. Or what about oat milk splashed into her new favourite cereal? Treacle and Pecan vegan granola, swimming in smooth and velvety oat milk that made the angels sing. She could hear the celestials now, the sky filled with cherubic singing, wispy reed voices.
Oat milk was her favourite, there was no question about it, something that Minor Figures knew all too well. The oat milk specialists, one of a kind, whose collection of plant-based milks were dreamy, creamy, and ocassionally steamy. A new trophy had been added to the collection, ‘Everyday Oat’. Plant-based, barista standard, fortified with calcium and vitamins. Made for cereal, milkshakes, coffees, just about anything would go. She was used to their ‘Barista Oat’, splashed into a decaf latte, no caffeine you see! But this would be a game-changer, the light containing less fat. It wasn’t oat milk, it was Oat M*lk, an all purpose drink, that tasted just as magnificient with cereal as it did with speciality coffee. She blew on her coffee forcefully, watching the liquid ripple, like the river tide. Warming caramel coloured nectar, filling her body with warmth slowly. A me-time treat, that made her take time out, take stock, and sit still.
It would go wherever she needed. A smooth oat m*lk with a velvety mouthful, vegan and non-GMO. Naturally occuring sugars, fortified with calcium, iodine and vitamins B2, B12 and D to support a plant-based addition. A welcome addition to her vegan m*lk collection, to make her food or drinks shine. She would add it to a morning smoothie, designed to combat nausea, while being gut-friendly. To soothe her upset morning tummy, packed with pineapple, ginger, banana and oat milk, laced with chia seeds, and tumeric. Banana for Potassium, an essential mineral. Pineapple to digest protein, ginger to ease nausea, aiding in digestion. Tumeric a well-known inflammatory, chia seeds with omega 3’s, fibre and protein. The oat milk, the cherry on top, a Goddess smoothie, that soothed her stomach rocking it to sleep. Nausea disappearing in a small glass, gurgling stomach quieted, lulled into oblivion.
Price: £1.60 at Ocado (normally £2.00) for 1 litre (around 1.8 pints)
Budget: Purse Friendly (the average price of Oat Milk is around £2.20). However comparing to the dairy equivalent, (whole milk 2-pint, around £1.30), it becomes mid-range. That being said, oat-milk is long-life, whereas dairy (whole-milk) is around 5-7 days. So I still consider it to be purse-friendly.
She had got into shakes recently, savoury, and sweet, marvelling at its taste. Fresh fruit, vegan yoghurt, tangy, ripe. Green leafy vegetables, for an iron smash, sweetened with oat milk, and fresh berries, for a savoury-sweet sensation. A pre-workout drink for muscle recovery, a must considering she had injuries, and muscle, joint, and back pain. Rainbow colours, fresh and juicy, a colourful and mindful Veganuary drink that left her fuller for longer. Rich in antioxidants, and with anti-inflammatory properties, shakes had become a large part of her self-care ritual. After all with a combination of health issues spanning her back, stomach, joints, muscles, and bowels, she needed all the extra TLC she could get.
So when Pulsin caught her attention, she couldn’t help but sit up and notice. She fell in love at first sight. Delicious protein shakes for immunity and a natural protein boost. In the past, she was wary of protein powders, questioning its merit. But now she was hooked, finding two delicious flavours that transformed the way she drank. The first, a delicious Natural Chocolate Pea Protein Powder. The ultimate plant-based protein shake, with 70% protein! The taste was impeccable, not too sweet, just the way she liked it. Dairy-free, gluten-free, it was easily digestible, rich in iron and zinc. Given that she was aenemiac, she definitely needed an iron boost. She added 25mg to a shaker, with vegan oat milk, shaking expertly for a protein drink on the go. Yet, she preferred it in her new favourite sweet snack. Chocolate Pea Protein waffles, laced with sugar, and spice, and all things nice. Strawberries ladled on top, fresh blueberries, and cream. Drizzled with maple syrup. Rich, yet a luxury treat that definitely left her feeling energized.
But it was Pulsin’s Red Berry ‘Immunity Supershake’ that stole her heart. A rich blend of vitamin C and live bacteria to support a strong and active immune system. Combined with pea, pumpkin seeds, and rice protein, with no added fillers or sugar. Feel-good nutritional goodness, balanced with the right amount of super ingredients to power her through the day. She added it to a shaker, to make a vegan morning energy smoothie. Paired with the infamous oat milk, with 20g of protein that left her revved up, and ready to go. A red powder blend, sweet yet earthy. Grounded, nurturing Beetroot, offset by tart Cherries. Plump Raspberries, and Goji berries, laced with mouthwatering Acai, and Strawberries. Unlike other protein powders she had tried in the past, it wasn’t powdery, a thick filling shake for days where nausea was rife. Immune boosting, tummy friendly shakes made with only natural ingredients. Mixed with fruit juices and frozen fruit? Even better.
Price: £17.49 (10 servings) (both shakes the same price)
Budget: Luxury, although you do get a lot for your money.
Vegan Home & Lifestyle
The quest for mindful veganuary food and drink had drawn to a satisfying conclusion. Stomach sated, pooched with contentment. A holistic stupor clouding her mind, radiating peace. A meditative experience, where her tensions dissolved, into a pool of pleasure. Yet, her guide wasn’t over just yet. She wanted to proof that there was more to being vegan than just food and drink. It was about cultivating a warm cruelty-free home, a paradise where her rescue cats could frolick to their heart’s content. Racing each other across the freshly scrubbed floors, the scent of citrus enveloping the air. Ears pricked, they sniffed, lured into its sparkling wonderland. Fascinated, they watched her clean the house, with certified organic products that were vegan, natural, with non-toxic chemicals. The cats would slip and slide on the shiny floor, meowing playfully, emulating the call of birds mischievously. She washed her hands with lime and aloe vera soap, relishing the softness on her chapped hands. Placed down on the soap rack next to the sink, she dried the washing up. It was like a sea of rainbow colours, colourful eco-friendly cups placed upside down, green, and blue. Matching cutlery, bowls, and shakers too. After all, a mindful Veganuary, meant starting at the roots which of course was home.
Zuperzozial Via Eco & Me
A cupful of colour, that’s what she called them. Her new favourite cups, in a rainbow of hues. Pastel blue whispering cheekily to pastel pink. Salmon hopping over to say hello to mint green. Neutral hues too, balancing out the rainbow. Mellow ecru holding hands with wheat brown. Environmentally friendly, made from bamboo and corn, nestled in a cardboard sleeve. Medium sized cups with endless possibilities. Fruit juices poured into cups, apple, orange juice, cranberry too. An antioxidant potion for a healthy mind, and body. The sorcerers were at work, but what were they called? Why only Zuperzozial, whose best-selling ‘Cupful of Colour’ cups added some much needed cheer. In a set of 6, it was available to purchase from Eco & Me, an ethical marketplace that celebrated sustainability to protect the planet, animals and humans.
It was the salmon hue that caught her eye, despite the blue theme in her home. Colourful, flamboyant, a blend of pink with a touch of orange. A colour of hope, health and happiness, as part of a mindful veganuary bundle for a colourful home. The Pastel Blue too was striking, a delicate, light hue, pale and muted. Slightly redder than a similar baby blue, a characterizing colour of both Rococo and Impressionist art. It was ironic speaking of art, given that her home was filled with blue paintings in a hodge podge of styles. Modern street art, versus oil paintings, cartoon characters, and colourful poems, abstract collages, and surrealism. A wonderful pastiche of blues in a variety of hues. Zuperzozial would fit right in.
It wasn’t just cold drinks that she would pour with gusto. Hot drinks too; a warming chamomile, ginger and lemon infusion, with a dash of tumeric in the Mint Green cup, a pop of colour. A rich and sumptous hot chocolate, sprinkled with cinnamon, in the Wheat Brown cup, matching. A caffeine free super berry tea, infused with love in a Pastel Pink Cup. A mulled vegan non-alcoholic spiced apple cider, bobbing cinnamon sticks and star anise. Placed beautifully in the Ecru cup, yellowish sepia against muted cream-beige. And who could forget the spearmint and apple herbal tea, an after dinner digestive? Soothing warmth cradled in a Mint Green cup? She sat on the sofa, playing peekaboo with her cups, half-full, or half-empty. Kettle cooling, steam pooling, the tea now comfortable to drink. Swept into a wonderland, where colour was meaningful. Pink, the colour of love. Green the hue of serenity. Blue the emblem of peace. Salmon symbolizing vitality. Even the neutral tones were symbiotic: Ecru resembling peace silk, for relaxation. Wheat Brown for strength. Eco-friendly cups that brought mindful positivity into her home.
Price: £18 for six via Eco & Me (currently sold out)
She would clean up her thoughts with a spritz and spray. A therapeutic cleaning ritual, where everything was itemized and organized. The scent of comfort, spring cleaning in January. Erasing negative memories, and replacing them with good karma, a happy, healthy home. Three dozing felines, one on the sofa in his favourite soft tartan blanket. The other on top of the fridge curled up in a makeshift nest. The gingey one in the pink cat tree, sleeping with one eye open. The soft snore, and rumbling purrs of content kitties, her partner cat-napping too. She tip-toed quietly, humming to herself, gloves at the ready, luminiscient yellow. In one instant, she was in the kitchen, showering the surfaces in a citrus fragrance. Bubbling foam, wiped with a damp microfibre cloth. In the other she was in the bathroom, a tribute to her toliet. The scent of mint, a surprisingly fresh aroma. Freshly scrubbed, clean as a whistle. Home was where the heart was.
For she had discovered a vegan, cruelty-free, non-toxic and natural cleaning brand that just happened to be eco-friendly. Greenscents, inspired by nature, where cleaning was fun. She realized she had turned into such an adult. But there was something holistic about a freshly cleaned, organized house. How everything fell into place. How easy it was to find everything. A welcome change from disorganized chaos, like medication for her fragmented mind. She would clean up her thoughts with a morning bath, already spritzed. The genuis? Greenscents Multi-Surface Spray, her favourite of the lot. In a citrus perfume, ideal for bathrooms kitchens, and other sealed surfaces. Natural ingredients loaded with essential oils, leaving her bath sparkling. She luxuriated in its feel, stains removed with ease, easy to clean. A 500ml solution that would clean 166 bathtubs.
The toliet was next, the stubborn sod. The one part of her home that was the hardest to clean. Tough stains ingrained, enanmel worn away. What could she do to clean it the natural way? Their Anti-Bacterial Loo Cleaner was quietly powerful. A mint scent, using a powerful combination of organic cider vinegar, and neem oil to leave your toliet bowl spotless. She would clean with a brush first, before applying the solution, the smell of peppermint mixing with the lemon scent used previously. Made with unique organic surfactant mix based on organic soap nuts and shikakai pods, to clean 33 looks. Two to three pumps of loo cleaner splashed under the rim of the toliet bowl, using the brush to spread the loo cleaner around. She set a timer, leaving the solution for 3 minutes to kill harmful bacteria before flushing. A lazy Sunday made productive, using a 500ml pump head.
The kitchen came next as she hummed under her breath. A mountain of washing up, pre-soaked. Cleaning up her thoughts from the sink, food scraps composted. Uneaten words sustained her, as she made her way through the washing up, with citrus washing up liquid. Best-selling, it was easy to see why. Super concentrated, tough on grease and baked-on food leftovers, while being kind to her hands. A 500ml bottle that would wash 160 bowls of washing up. One pump was all she needed, adding washing up liquid while running hot water into a bowl. The time whittled by before she knew it, dancing around the kitchen with child-like enjoyment. She couldn’t help but feel satisfied, the home glossy, and bright. Lustorous, smooth, and clean, job well done.
Price: Loo Cleaner £5.50 ( for 500ml), Washing Up Liquid £5.75 (500ml), Multi-Surface Spray £5.75 (500ml)
Budget: Mid-Range, eco-products tend to be priced higher.
Soap always made her nostalgic. There was something so retro about using a bar of soap, the scent tied to a house she once belonged in. An aroma which she once called home. A bamboo dish with lime and aloe vera soap, by the sink, wonderfully fragrant. She replicated that scene here, in her own place. A clockwork of soaps that would come and go, to nourish people’s hands when they used the kitchen sink. After all, cleaning could sometimes be harsh on hands. A multi-purpose soap that could be just as useful in the bathroom, as it was in the kitchen. As part of a holistic beauty routine, a lifestyle concept. A simple soap, that stripped unwanted viruses and bacteria from vunerable hands. Fingers smoothed, in a generous lather, nails rubbed carefully. Viruses sabotaged, slipping down the drain into an unknown realm, thanks to gentle soaps.
And so Bio-D sauntered into her life, with a beautific caress. Vegan eco-friendly cleaning products that were ethical, and always cruelty-free. Lime & Aloe Vera Soap came first, a gentle whisper on her sensitive skin. The Aloe Vera soothing, naturally anti-inflammatory. Moisturising, protecting her skin from free radicals. She knew the bars could be used on her face, and body too, but she loved it as a hand soap. It felt luxurious, in a fresh and clean way. Naturally scented with essential oils, 100% naturally derived. But it was the Bio-D Soap Bar in Plum & Mulberry that was her favourite. A winter combination, sugary-sweet yet with depth, a reminder of the cold nights ahead. The Mulberry aromatic, woody, yet fruity at the same time. High in oleic acid, linoleic acid, and anti-oxidants, beneficial for dry and mature skin types. Mandarain, another highlight, cascaded into her palms, and rubbed with glee. A memory of sinking ravenous teeth into juicy tart Mandarains one summer, the juice dribbling down her chin.
Yet Bio-D wasn’t just known for their soaps. There was one more mindful Veganuary treat, that would help them on busy days. New Dishwasher Tablets, that packed a powerful punch. Compact design, which took up little space in her cupboard, saving on carbon emission in production and transport. Each tab ready to use in biodegradable water-soluble wrapper to keep the powder dry before use. She would remove scraps of food and rinse heavily soiled items first. Placing one tablet in the dispenser gently, waiting for the magic to happen. Poof, the job was done, sparkling clean blue dishes, and matching cutlery, that glistened with new water. Box closed, she placed in a cool dry place, satisfied at the evening’s work. Her hands cleansed, her dishes washed.
Price: Dishwasher Tablets £6.14 on deal usually £7.68 (industry standard around £3-4), soaps £2.34 (average industry price for an all-in-1 is around £3-£5)
Budget: Purse friendly- to mid range depending on product.
Skincare & Bathtime
The water droplets on her back glistened like diamonds, caught in the light. Her, sat in a voluminous bath, sinking into a bed of holistic bath salts. Water swirling, foam bubbling, her feet peeking out underneath. Her hair slicked back, shampoo lathered in the dark-brown curls, caught in a web. Skin smooth, and soft to the touch, face gleaming, hydrated and healthy. A gel-cream formula slathered onto her face, once red- subsided pink now. Balanced skin, dark spots reduced, fine lines removed. The shadows in her mind cleared, washed away with a self-care skincare and bathtime routine. An hour of me-time carefully curated, to balance and protect her inner sanctum. Nursed back to life, revived from the darkness, clouds lifting. Clean skin, washed hair. Soaped up body. Having a mindful Veganuary meant relishing in the spirit of me-time. Showing that self-care wasn’t selfish, it was needed.
Wishy-washy, that used to be her attitude to skincare. Just a simple bar of soap would do, let nature sort itself out. Not cleansing makeup properly, using harsh products on her face. She was never aquaintanced with the idea of a ‘skincare routine’ until late on in life. She still saw no harm in keeping her skincare routine simple, but she was more open to exploration. Looking for miracle warriors that would alleviate the stress and tension out of her skin. Oily, sensitive, acne prone skin with slight roseca, mottled skin texture. Large pores, visible blackheads, skin crying out for hydration. It was strange because how could her skin be oily yet dehydrated at the same time?
There was only one thing for it. Evolve Beauty, a brand she had fallen in love with over Christmas. Could their True Balance Gel Cream give her skin the blessing it so desired? It was early days, but so far, it felt like manna. An innovative gel-to-cream formula, with natural actives. Her oily skin felt healthier. She knew that her skin changes were because of her period condition (long and heavy periods averaging a month), which affected her skin. Cysts, nodules, hard bumps, and whiteheads, particularly in the t-zone area. At the moment, it was her chin that was angry and red, a constellation of spots dotted sporadically. Formulated with natural and nourishing ingredients like Moringa and Noni Plant stem cells, her skin felt detoxified. The impurities stripped from her skin, minimising the appearence of pores. Sebum production reduced, the microbiome protected and balanced.
The redness reduced, and her skin felt soothed. Often itchy, the ingredients were like a balm on the angry spots, that threatened to explode. Her skin tone calmer, more balanced, less spotty. She would apply a small amount of the gel-cream on her cleansed face. Gently massaging it, avoiding the eye-area. Even the balm felt cooling on her skin, with a visible improvement in skin tone. Her textured skin reduced, albeit still there. A small amount would go a long way, packed with nature’s little miracles, with a touch of Science. Vegan and cruelty-free skincare that saw the beauty in the natural world. Noni plant stem cells to disarm bacteria, with anti-inflammatory properties to reduce pores up to 48% and blackheads by up to 15%. Moringa, to protect against free-radicals, rebalancing natural oil production. Hyaluronic acid, to make skin look fresh and brand new, it made her glow. She splashed water over her newly cleansed face, marvelling in the mirror. It was like going to the spa, and receiving a top-notch facial. Skin soft, supple and smooth. Glowing, radiant, triumphant. Natural, clear, celestial.
Price: £24 (50ml)
She wrote a thank you note to her shower. Thanked her lucky stars, as the heat poured over her, embalming her cold body in warmth. Hair straggling down her back, matted from the water, brought back to life in a shower-infusion. The shower who had seen the most vunerable parts of her, without shame and judgement. That has accepted her exactly as she was. It wasn’t just her body that was nude, her soul was bared in there. Everything stripped back, all natural. She loved baths, that much was true, but showers were just as much a part of her mindful Veganuary ritual. It was simple, ritualistic, a cleaning experience. A meditative practice, immersed in the fall of the water trickling down her face. Eyes stinging, but in a happy way. A reminder that she was here. The shower that was all-knowing, that kept her secrets safe.
She had mixed a secret potion just before she clambered in, joints weary. An eco-friendly treasure from Ethosa, whose ‘Sparkling Getaway Bundle’ had taught her the magic of a DIY shower wash. No single use plastics, no silicon, just natural ingredients with proven benefits inspired by aromotherapy. Vegan and cruelty-free, with the welcoming scent of Eucalyptus, Bergamot, and Rosemary. It felt like home, back in the countryside again, surrounded by rolling hills. In the comfort of her own shower, a heady scent that captivated her senses. It held her hostage in a world where mindfulness reigned supreme, an awareness of self-love and inner beauty curated. The Sablé de Bain x Si Si La Paillette Starter Kit had everything she needed to get sparkling clean, the vegan way. A refillable bottle in silver and orange, with a durable brushed siver pump. A powder to gel body wash sachet, that would cleanse her mind, body and soul. The essential oils sachet, that would make her skin smell like heaven. The preservative sachet that would keep it fresh.
The sparkling getaway wasn’t over just yet. A natural konjac sponge to enhance the showering experience, a Si Si La Paillette biodegradable vegan glitter for a little fun. Not to be used in the shower, don’t get it twisted. Just a fun little additional gift, for a glitterific explosion. The eco-swap that felt like an upgrade, it was so easy to use. All three sachets transferred into her refillable bottle. 350 ml of water added with a plop, shaking the bottle furiously. Just 30 minutes for the infusion to appear, a blissful DIY body wash, without the parabens or harsh chemicals. Plant-powered, PH balanced, and plastic-free, was it any wonder that it was rated 5 stars? A foamy body wash, suitable for sensitive skin. Not a half-hearted trickle, or a half-hearted drip. A shower gel that had heart, an explosion of bubbles. Skin smooth, senses tingling, joints placated by a Monsoon shower. It was ironic considering she was joining the waterless revolution, that she was standing in a pool of water, drip-drip. But boy, did it feel nice.
Budget: Luxury, but worth it. Plus you get tonnes of use out of it.
ARRAN SENSE OF SCOTLAND
She lasped into a deep silence, watching the tap drip-drop gushing water from a smeared faucet. A soft quiet, broken only by the bath slowly engulfing the tub hungrily. Robbed of speech, she meditated in the watery solitude. All was calm here, all was peaceful. Safe from the atrocities of the outside world, in her own embryo, counting the seconds until she could slip inside. In this moment, she poured Mindful Lemon & Patchouli Bath Salts into the running water. Steam rising, salts swirling. She would rest here a while, soaking in the salt water that would envelop her muscles in a sweet caress. An earthy, woody, musky scent, undercut by sharp lemon. Soothing yet energizing, a tool of contemplation. Her mind centred, the demons banished into the inky darkness of night. A feeling of harmony between mind and body. The Fairies had awakened, their potions given to her secretely. They called themselves ARRAN, a natural origin wellness brand that was always cruelty-free.
She would stay and listen, bringing music to the silence, as she caressed her body with lotions and potions. Then when the water cooled, she stepped out, pruned feet and hands. Applying her new favourite Calm Lavender & Chamomile Pulse Point Oil for mental wellbeing. She would create a moment of calm, rolling the oil onto her wrist. Imagining her trigger points unburdened, freedom from the mental health issues that plagued her night and day. A smooth skin feel with quick absorption, her thoughts lost in the space in between. She zoned out, not mindlessly but mindfully. A practiced silence, where she forced her mind to empty, let go of the hurt. She wanted to show the importance of bathtime rituals, and how it could unlock inner peace. How it could let go of stress, and tension, in hope of a better tomorrow. It was the slowing of time that made her think. Could it be that a slower-based lifestyle could alleviate the anxiety that lay within? Then again, she was never that good at sitting still. This was a rare grounded calm, emotional blunting. Not in a bad way, but holistically, desensitized from negativity.
The last step was Arran’s Awaken Mint & Eucalyptus Hand & Body Lotion massaged into dry hands. Luxurious, velvety smooth, pumped onto clean, dry skin. Fresh minty fragrance formulated with essentail oils to centre her in the moment. Her attention focused, her mind cleared, energy and strength. It seemed odd to say, but she looked forward to washing her hands. Concentrating on the mindfulness of such a small activity, appreciating the feel of it on her skin. Her skin hydrated up to 72 hours later, infused with Hyaluronic acid to help improve skin elasticity. It was like food for her skin, peppered with essential nutrients and minerals for hand health. Fast-absorbing, non-greasy, it slipped into her skin with ease. Scottish Botanical Extract soothing her wind scorched hands, breathing life into them. Hands soothed, moisture rich. In the dark she’d wait for its faceless gift. The gift of contemplation, pure and simple. Healing what was broken, gratitude in the small things.
Price: Mindful Lemon & Patchouli Hand & Body Lotion £20, Mindful Lemon & Patchouli Bath Salts £20, Calm Lavender & Chamomile Pulse Point Oil £15
Was there such thing as silence during Mindful Veganuary? It was hard to believe it. The screech of cars driving down the high street, traffic jams ensuing. The rustle of the cats wreaking havoc outside the bathroom, racing each other down the stairs. The crackle of dinner frying in the saucepan, a splash of oil and garlic. The hum of the oven reverberating, the distant lull of cartoons in the background. Yet despite the noises, she made time for silence. After all, alongside her bathtime ritual, her haircare routine was just as contemplatitive. Shampoo lathered into damaged hair, split ends ensued. Dry curls hydrated, given a new lease of life, moisturised beyond frizziness. On the other side of the spectrum, her partner, thin hair desperate to be revitalized. A density rich combo set to thicken the hair, would it make miracles happen? A restorative oil, and a deep conditioning treatment. Turns out it was enough to block out the noise and listen to the silence. For the silence was a miracle worker, an anxiety reducer, a mood booster. A hair magician, who worked part-time.
Phillip Kingsley Haircare
She savoured the sacrement of letting go. Staying grounded and being in the moment. Doing self-care intentionally, with meaning and purpose. Listening to her self-care needs, carving time out each day to look after herself, like she had never done before. She confessed that sometimes, deep in the clutches of her demons, she wasn’t always the best at self-care. But it didn’t mean that she wouldn’t keep trying. She stood, under the warm shower, relishing in the drops that drenched her hair. Mindfully letting the water wash over her, in a spiritual cleanse. The sunset watching as it poured into evening darkness, the light dimming. Her hair was frazzled, in need of hydration. The cold outside sucking the moisture from her strands, leaving them parched. Yet her hair was an oddity. Dry, yet prone to an oily scalp. Frizzy, with split ends. Thicker hair from the middle to the ends, prone to breakage and damage.
She had a hair emergency. Who would answer her call? Philip Kingsley, with award-winning salon standard vegan haircare to tend to her hair woes. The box arrived, she marvelled. A tailor made package with hair tools for her, and her partner. She had combination hair, that much was clear, leaving her in the throes of despair. The moisture balancing shampoo and conditioner came to the rescue. Delivering moisture where it needed it the most. Dry, limp straggling curls given a new lease of life, with gentle, effective cleansing. With frizz control and reflective shine, her hair really did feel sheeny. It was too early to tell, but so far, so good. She shouldn’t be surprised. Infused with Guar, the power of nature was destined to provide static-free control and smoothness. Wheat protein to strengthen and hydrate. Anti-oxidants to shield her hair against environmental damage. She caressed the shampoo through her hair, kneading it gently. Watching the water wash the foam away.
She applied the Moisture Balancing Combination Conditioner to her split ends, praying it would reduce breakage. Within one week of using it, she found a little went a long way. Stronger, healthier, nourished hair. Less knots, more control. She had power over the hairbrush at last. The conditioner was infused with silicone, adding shine, and reducing weight in a lightweight formula. Hydrolyzed Elastin to add strength, body and elasticity. Paired with the shampoo, it was a powerhouse duo that couldn’t be ignored. Then again, they always said that the best things came in threes. After all, 3 was A’s lucky number. So when the Bond Builder Restore & Repair Trio came next, she couldn’t help but get excited. Of the three, the Bond Builder Split End Remedy was by far her favourite. Strengthening strands, and reducing split ends, to restore and repair bonds. Lasting up to three washes, she couldn’t believe what a difference it made. Fewer split ends, and her hair felt visibly stronger, even after just one use. By the end of the week, her hair was practically thanking her.
The Bond Builder Restorative Oil was just as magical. A super-conditioning treatment that transformed her dry hair, into soft, bouncy tresses. Curls more defined, with instant shine. Though the collection was catered towards heat-damaged, and colour-treated hair, she found it worked wonders for her too. She used heated products rarely, and had never dyed her hair. Yet her hair was magically reversed to pre-hormonal days, where her curls were actually sheeny, glossy, and her hair was easily controlled. With the addition of the Bond Builder Restructuring Treatment, there was improved resistance against damage, and reduced breakage. It was giving her a new kind of beauty, one where her hair was refreshed, and smooth. She would be silent, be still, letting the magic of Philip Kingsley wash over her with glee. On the rare days that she used heated styling products, she would count on the talents of the ‘Daily Damage Defence Leave In Conditioner’. Her hair’s own personal bodyguard, with lightweight yet intensive conditioning.
Always cruelty-free, her mindful Veganuary haircare products were award-winning for a reason. The leave in-conditioner infused with Sweet Almond Seedcake Extract, containing amino acids and proteins. Strengthening and smoothing each strand. Pro Vitamin B5 (Panthenol) regulating moisture, and plumping her hair shafts, leaving hair extra shiny. Then there was the myth. The legend that told you that you would have one hero product that you would come back to again and again. For A, that was Philip Kingsley’s Elasticizer TMDeep-Conditioning Treatment, the world’s first multi-award winning hair mask. One sold eveery minute, it would restore her hair’s natural bounce and shine. Her hair felt deeply conditioned and hydrated without being weighed down. Dry hair nourished, frizziness reduced, shine and gloss to the maximum. Adding flexibility and bounce, ws it any wonder that it was the Winner in Get The Gloss Beauty Awards 2022? Even after one wash, the elasticity hair treatment gave her the feel-good factor.
There were days where A gave herself a ‘natural and mindful Veganuary’ self-care routine. Using products free from silicone, paraffin, synthetic colorants, scents and preservatives. Giving her skin, hair, and body a break from chemical rich products. After all, at times it was important to harness the power of nature, and revel in its mystical ways. Organic products that were vegan, cruelty-free and environmentally friendly, whether that be haircare, skincare, or bodycare. After all, plants were incredibly powerful. She witnessed that as she walked through the woods, her hair tucked into her infamous beret hat. Surrounded by fern, moss, ice-crusted lakes. Stark bare trees a silhouette in the darkness, holly, ivy and misletole remannants on the floor. Even in the ravages of winter UK woodland had beauty. Her hair whipped into oblivion, spilling out of her hat like strands of confetti. Her cheeks flushed with rosy sweetness, an idea had been formed.
Her search for haircare wasn’t over just yet, craving a natural alternative. She found it in Ayluna, a holistic plant-based vegan hair care brand. Inspired by the sensual wellbeing tradition of a hamman mixed with German natural cosmetics, it was special. The name was beautiful, referring to Aynur (co-founder) which meant moonlight. It also came from ‘Ay’, the Turkish word for moon, a brand who saw the beauty in night. The best of both worlds, haircare that was natural, organic, with sensual body and haircare with a natural scent. Inclusive haircare that was Halal, Vegan and cruelty-free. 100% herbal, the Shampoo for damaged hair, popped through her letterbox. An intensive shampoo with organic pomegranate, deeply caring for her hair. Punic acid strengthening her hair follicles, naturally encouraging blood circulation in her scalp. Smooth silky hair, with haircare that touched the heart and soul.
She lathered a walnut sized amount through her hair, relishing the natural scent that permeated the air. The Pomegranates reminding her of summers abroad, teeth sank into the flesh of the fruit, pulp dribbling down her chin. Red stained fingers, eyes sparkling with contentment. All the feelings radiating through her, as she washed her curly-wurly hair. Happy memories in the heart of January, summer emotions coursing through the room. Even though it was minus two outside, and the heating was cranked high, she felt bliss. Her hair smoothed into manageable tresses that smelt like manna. Dark brown curls enveloped in sheeny-gloss, wrapped carefully in a fluffy pink towel. Even her partner would tell her how good her hair smelled. Asking her to let down her hair like Rapunzel, as he sniffed her tresses with glee. The night was over but the natural haircare remained. Alternative weeks, where nature powered forward. No chemicals here.
There was one last jewel on her Mindful Veganuary treasure map. Vegan cosmetics caressed with love, a rainbow of colours, dancing in a rare blue sky. Rich brown creamy lipstick, doing the tango with sheeny-shiny lipgloss. Mauve lip pencil with soft definition, whispering sweet nothings to creamy pinkish-brown nail polish, brushed onto toes. A makeup brand that needed a solo-spotlight, all eyes on it. Diverse, inclusive, rich and sumptous. A luxury brand who she wished she found sooner. Makeup that celebrated every ethnicity, age, gender and lifestyle, without judgement. Cruelty-free and vegan, that just happened to be Paraben-Free. An origin story centred in self-care, love, and acceptance. Makeup with dopamine shades for a sunshine hit, even in winter. Even when the winter blues threatened to drag you into the depths of the dark oceans, you couldn’t help but smile. A British Beauty brand with mindful plant-based makeup where makeup became personal again. A revolutionairy, a commander of taste.
Ears pricked, her audience waited for a clue. Who could this illustrious vegan makeup brand be? After all, it had to be a one of a kind for A to name it her new favourite cosmetics brand. She couldn’t help it. With a swift outburst the name left her freshly painted lips. Emolyne, whose exciting edit of lipsticks, lip liners and nail lacquers were available in the same 30 matching colours. Personalised lip and nail wardrobing, where she could express her own creativity, and change her look with colours to inspire individuality. No skin tone excluded, no gender alienated, everyone was celebrated at Emolyne. Her shade, her rules. After all, makeup should never be a one-size fits all approach. Yet, she found that many cosmetics brands didn’t celebrate inclusivity, the same poster girl slathered across their website and feed. How could people feel represented, if they weren’t being shown? But here, everyone was triumphant, an ode to founder Emolyne Ramlov who believed beauty should always be inclusive.
Ugandan-born, Denmark-raised and London-based, Emolyne’s stunning beauty range had intent, meaning and purpose. A coordinated colour brand, whose shades were named after an African country, city or landmark in homage to Emolyne’s birthplace. Celebrating the rich and joyous colour of her roots, the inspiring names defining the inclusive spirit of her brand. Though A would normally gravitate towards rich reds, and bright pinks, she craved something different. Shades that were rich, with warm undertones, that were instantly wearable for any occasion. Colours inspired by Earth, that brought out the richness of her deep brown eyes. Two shades leapt out at her: Nigeria, and Marrakesh, stunning, eloquent, noticeable. The first, in a lip kit, nestled in a stunning black and gold gift box. The words Emolyne glinting in the morning sun. Unwrapping it carefully, her eyes were entranced.
Opening the black boxes, she found a lipstick, lip liner, and lip gloss in the shade Nigeria, encased in gold containers. A touch of luxury, mesmerizing in its beauty. She wasn’t sure what to expect, but her expectations were blown out of the water. Creamy, velvety, smooth, the sensations that came to mind. But she was getting ahead of herself. Velvet lip semi matte lipstick tucked away in a glittery gold case. She opened it, noticing the berry-plum of the lipstick. Just by looking at it, it looked highly pigmented, a rich shade that connoted strength, power and sensuality. Layered, intense, a date-night lipstick that would be just at home on Valentine’s day, as it would in Mindful Veganuary. Pigmented, creamy, and rich, it slipped onto her lips like butter. She applied it expertly, looking at herself in the mirror. She could see why it was so highly revered. She couldn’t get enough. A kissable pout, that accentuated her brown eyes, made intense with the defining lip pencil. Creamy, soft, yet sharp enough to define her lips, it added a hidden depth to her lipstick. Mouthwateringly so.
But it was the Gloss Lip that was her favourite. Not sticky like other lip glosses she had tried. Wearable, moody, seductive, and sumptous, there weren’t enough adjectives to describe it. It was highly pigmented, with long-lasting shine, that had staying power. Worn on its own, it had just as much magnectic appeal, as it did in a trio. Hypnotic, alluring, three lip must-haves that were incredibly flattering. It was a new shade for A. Her purples tended to be a bit more flamboyant and bright, her browns lighter. But somehow, the rich undertones of the Nigeria shade range were effortlessly chic. Wearable day, and night. Makeup in A’s mind would always be a must-have for a mindful Veganuary. Why? Because it made her feel good, and Emolyne was no exception. You could be beautiful without makeup, you could feel-good without makeup. It wasn’t about that. It was about finding something that brought you joy, and makeup did just that. Experimenting with colours, trends, and styles. Crafting her technique. She was no makeup artist by a long-shot, but with Emolyne, she wasn’t afraid to try.
The Complete Kit was next on the table. Nestled in the same mouthwatering packaging, in the shade Marrakech. A rich rose, with muted pink, and brown undertones, verging on mauve. Inside waiting, holding its breath, Velvet Lip, Defining Lip, Gloss Lip and Nail Lacquer. The pigmentation, quality, and aesthetic was just as pleasing. The semi-matte lipstick, her favourite of the bunch, a colour that could be worn to work with a secret smile. A hue that could be amped up for date night, with a lustorous sparkly gloss. Lips defined, mouth velvety smooth with a hint of sheen. A colour that was almost good enough to eat. She felt unstoppable, a new confidence radiated. Even with no make-up but a made-up lip, she felt sexy, marvelling at herself in the mirror. It was rare that she saw herself this way. After all, she was goofy, unique and quirky. Sensuality was never part of her character makeup. Yet it turned out she had a character arc in the space of a minute, glossy, and sheeny around the edges. Was that really her? But it was. The same brown pools staring back at her, the same tanned skin gleaming, the same brown curly hair cascading into a ruly mane. She ran her newly painted nails through her hair, a rose hue. Now, she was ready. Though mindful Veganuary was coming to an end, in her end, mindfulness never ended. No matter what time of year it was.
Price: The Complete Kit £68, The Lip Kit £55, Individually- Velvet Lip £23, Defining Lip £15, Gloss Lip £17, Nail Polish £13
What Mindful Veganuary Gifts Would You Like?
Please note this is a collaborative post but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by gifting. This is a complitation of mindful veganuary gift ideas covering every budget, ranging from home, to food and drink, skincare, beauty and more.