If it wasn’t for a mindful Veganuary, January would be her least favourite time of year. Where the days were short and the nights were long. Grey skies in the stormiest of hues, clouds pregnant with rain. The air biting, her hands numb. A haunting melody of melancholy, where the sun was a timid visitor. For in January, the warmth was rare. Eyes streaming, reddened cheeks. Feet that wanted to curl up and disappear. She dreamed of frolicking in summer again. Her favourite season. Where fat cats lay sprawled in daisy-fed gardens. Bellies up, demanding to be stroked. Purrs that reverberated into her very core. Gliding past statuesque trees swamped in green leaves. Twirling into sun-soaked meadows, rolling down hills. Releasing her inner child, the air fragrant with the scent of blooming flowers. She shook her head, gazed sadly outside. Peals of violent rain lashing out, drenching the Earth. No longer a tapestry of golden rays and azure skies. And yet, there was one thing that kept her sane. Veganuary, the month where she could reconnect with nature, animals and a community. A period that challenged her mentally, physically and emotionally. Like a splash of the dopamine hues that she so craved. Equal parts joy, equal parts contemplation. Was it any wonder that this was the month that encouraged her to invest in colourful vegan products? Feel good vegan launches from food, to beauty, that made her feel like she was walking on sunshine.
After all, Veganuary wasn’t about being preachy. It was about doing something good for the animals, environment and humans too. At 17 years old, A made the decision to be a vegetarian. After years of seeing animal exploitation and abuse, she could no longer justify eating meat or fish. She struggled at first, the addictive nature reeling her in. And yet, to this day, it had been nearly 10 years since she had intentionally eaten animal flesh. Though she wasn’t a vegan, she was cruelty-free, not using or wearing animal products. Her clothes were vegan, her skincare was too. Everything from her toothpaste to her household cleaners were vegan. Why? Because she couldn’t bare the thought of using products that had tested on animals. It all began when she was 10 years old. Witnessing the most barbaric killing of a precious pig. She kept telling herself over and over that he didn’t deserve to die. . Squealing, crying in pain, running around trying to escape its human tormentors. Her own cheeks wet with tears, begging the adults to do something. To stop what they were doing. But they didn’t. It echoed the graphic scenes she saw in Netflix’s ‘You Are What You Eat’. Where beautiful salmon were crammed into ‘farms’, filled with sores, viruses and pain. Where chicken were kept on top of each other. Injected with hormones so that they ‘would grow quicker’. A long-term advocate for the animals, the scenes still left her reeling. Like a fever dream, unable to believe that humans were capable of such abuse.
A was never someone to force her opinions onto to others. She believed that everyone had a right to free speech, even if she didn’t agree with what they were saying. And yet, she found so much joy in introducing the cruelty-free lifestyle to others. Showcasing vegan beauty brands without the animal torture. Colourful, quirky, sometimes sustainable too. Brands that shared the same ethics as her, that believed in the power of animals. Vegan food and drink that was hard to seperate from the real thing. Vegan meat substitutes that made you feel like you weren’t missing out. Sweet treats enveloped in nurturing love and care. And who could forget the colourful fashion and lifestyle launches. That showed how easy it was to lead an ethical lifestyle. She reached into her magic number generator and counted to three. Wondering what colourful vegan products would come out to save her January. Vegan food and drink up first, both sweet and savoury. Wrapped up in a bow, begging to be explored. Vegan burgers touched by an angel, slathered in vegan cheese sauce. Sandwiched between ice gem lettuce and beef tomatoes, a dash of chimmichuri. But wait, what was this? Vegan shrimp, would she dare to try it? Fried in garlic and shallots, slipped into saffron-infused paella. As the sofrito whispered its aromatic tale, vegan chorizo sausages a burst of smoky delight. Where there was savoury, there was sweet too. Vegan doughnuts made with love, a battle of flavours. Rose and Pistachio, light and airy. Hazelnut Praline infused with Tarragon and Green Apple. And who could forget the vegan cupcakes just like the real thing. Hard to believe it was dairy-free, flavours that sent her into ecstacy.
She sat, wrapped in blankets, an ornately decorated glass filled to the brim. Coconut mingling with Marula fruit, ice cubes bobbing comically. Gentle notes of caramel and vanilla, a sweet sensation. Like a dessert in an alcoholic tipple. Putting on her thinking cap as she used the generator once more. Vegan beauty up next, begging to be chosen. Colourful, quirky, and vibrant, desperate for a chance in the spotlight. As night fell, and the yawn of tiredness settled in, the colourful vegan products came one by one. Sinking into a steaming bath of hemp and chamomile, her limbs relaxing gratefully. A shower cap embalmed around her voluminous hair, her eyes closed. Slathering cleansing balm on her winter-ravaged skin, feeling its benefits. Makeup melting, skin softening, mind loosening. The scent of Papaya drifting like a cloud around her face. She slunk out of the bath with joy, the living room waiting. Lighting a candle that felt like home. Watching the wax melt away like a gentle prayer. As the flame danced freely, illuminating the shadows. Washing away the darkness like a celestial cleansing. It was her evening ritual to spritz herself with perfume. But what would her vegan guide reccomend? Sweet almond blossom that would blow away her worries like cobwebs. Floral, clean and fresh, reminding her of her laundry, that felt like comfort. The fates led her upstairs. A large red medical bag waiting for her. The night before her hospital procedure, making the best of life. A book to read while she waited. Comfortable clothes that felt like second skin. A journal to put down her feelings on paper. For Veganuary was so much more than exciting launches. It was comfort during difficult times. Gifts that brought joy, love and happiness into her life. But most of all, a reminder to always live compassionately, and without judgement.
Colourful Vegan Food & Drink
She was once a woman who didn’t priortise self-care. Who didn’t focus on herself, and put others needs in front of her own. And yet, something changed a few years ago. A shift in mindset, that made her see how her lifestyle was to blame. Making drastic changes, improving the way she ate. Making time for herself, emphasizing the importance of space. So, when she discovered the joy of mindful food and drink, she fell in love. Putting food into her body that made her feel good. A time away from distractions, an exciting discovery of self. Finding new recipes that made her rejuvanated, cooking sessions that changed her day. Not a natural cook, but someone who learned with time. Who studied recipe books, and ingredients online. Who came up with creative ideas, every day a different meal. A far-cry from the low-fibre diet she once was on. Simple, consisting of fried eggs, cheese, pastas and soups. Not vegetable-driven, like she was now. A meal once a day, struggling with money. But now, things had improved. Nutritious laden meals, with treat meals too. Not a calorie-counter, never was. Eating what she liked, when she liked. Still struggling financially, but her shift had focused. Meals that made her heart sing. Recipes that made her want to dance. Exploring flavours from different cuisines, her vegan dinner table alive. Non alcoholic and alcoholic drinks too, everything in moderation. A glass of red, with vegan Hungarian Goulash. A hunk of bread, rustic, freshly baked. A vegan non-alcoholic G&T, washed down with a serving of ‘seafood Paella’. For Veganuary didn’t have to be restrictive. Everything from meat substitutes to cake that made her go ooh-la-la.
Dopamine Boosting Sweet Treats
Crosstown Vegan Doughnuts
She would succumb to its sugary thrall. Embracing Crosstown’s vegan doughnuts like it was a work of art. A canvas for flavours both bold and mild. Scattered with sprinkles, crumbled icing. Golden hues sandwiched with oozing fillings. Drawing her in its with its delectable siren song. She reached into her generator, and conjured up the doughnuts of dreams. Hoping that each bite would be a journey, a wonderland sensation. She paused, a box on her doorstep. The aftermath after a hospital procedure, crying out for something sweet. The Rose And Pistachio Doughnut glinted at her naughtily. Striking a balance between tender chewiness and light airy crumb. She closed her eyes, elation washing over her. The velvety smoothness of the pistachio dancing on her rasping tongue. The rose custard oozing naughtily down her throat. Sweet yet nutty, an aromatic explosion of flavour. But it was the Hazelnut Praline that blew her away. Fresh, sustainable, a delectable bite that felt like summer. Hazelnut praline teasing sourdough, rich and nutty. Like a senseous embrace on a rainy day. The tangy apple, an aromatic surprise. Fresh, like a spring orchard, tarragon gel vibrant and zesty. She took a bite from both doughnuts, feeling the world come alive. Dopamine flooding her senses, like she was floating on clouds. Lost in a blissful reverie, where time had no sense or place. How could it be that there were no eggs and milk? It felt like sorcery, a compassionate treat that had her dancing like noone was watching.
Rose & Pistachio £5.50 (Limited Edition Veganuary Doughnut)
Hazelnut Praline, Tarragon, & Green Apple ( Limited Edition Veganury Doughnut)
She thought she was hearing things. The moment that the walls started speaking to her, she lost her marbles. It whispered, telling her to come closer. A magical portal opening, letting her in. Cupcakes sweet and frothy, a confectionery dream. But how could it compare it to the real thing, she heard the naysayers ask? Stuck on their pre-fixed notions of what sweet treats should taste like. Finding it hard to believe that eggless cakes were just as extraordinairy as non-vegan ones. But A had seen the light with a little help from Lola’s Cupcakes. From velvety chocolate that toyed with your lips. To berries in whipped icing, almost like a mousse. They would melt in her mouth, like a heavenly kiss. Colouful vegan products whose middle name was joy. Vegan Raspberry & Passionfruit, her personal favourite. Tart yet sweet, a freeze-dried raspberry soaking up passionfruit cream cheese. Enveloping a lemon and raspberry sponge washed down with an apple and cinnamon herbal tea. Vegan Strawberry another highlight, filled with mouthwatering strawberry jam. Vegan strawberry cream cheese icing whispering sweet nothings to a vanilla sponge. The other four just as memorable. Tasted one by one, with a cup of tea. The classic vegan vanilla sponge iced with smooth buttercream. Sprinkled with sugar confetti and mini pearls that left her salivating. The Vegan Chocolate Brownie Cake A’s partner’s personal favourite. A rich, ooey-gooey chocolate fudge sponge with a sprinkling of gold dust. Brownie chunks and chocolate buttercream. Iconic Vegan Red Velvet’s new recipe. Where red velvet danced with cream cheese so good she could cry. And who could forget the Vegan Caramel Biscuit? A Biscoff sponge light and airy, sandwiched between Biscoff biscuit spread. Iced with vegan Biscoff buttercream, finished with biscuit crumbs. She shared the cupcakes with her loved ones. Watch their faces light up with glee. Declarations of ‘I can’t believe its vegan’, making her heart swell with pride.
Price: Box of 6 £21.30 and box of 12 £42.60
Savoury Delights To Make You Smile
Happiee! Vegan Shrimp Range
She would be the first to admit that she was never a fish lover, even when she ate meat. Weirded out by the texture, feel, and appearence. It seemed strange to her loved ones, given her Portuguese heritage. Avid meat and seafood lovers themselves. And yet, to A, fish was easy to give up. The only fish she liked pre-vegetarian was Bachalau, Espada, Tuna and Cod. The idea of vegan seafood startled her too. Open minded, yet instantly shuddering. A reminder of rubbery vegan fish substitutes that made her nauseous. Despite her past experiences, she was willing to give vegan seafood another go. After all, a colourful vegan products round up wasn’t the same without seafood. In the past, fish fingers was the only vegan fish she liked from her beloved Quorn. Yet, Happiee! swam out at her, in vibrant hues of blues and reds. Begging for her to reconsider, boxes home to vegan Shrimpiee. She pictured the real shrimp in her mind. How it glided through seaweed’s embrace. Past coral reefs and sandy ocean floors. An explorer of the deep, evading predators. Seeking shelter, scuttling across the seabed. She would fry the vegan ‘Shrimpiee’ in garlic and shallots, oil sizzling in the pan. Plant-based shrimp flavoured bites with tapioca starch and konjac. Lightly seasoned, with a delicate taste. Added to a vegan Paella, would it live up to the hype? Saffron threaded into rice, a golden crown. Tomatoes oozing, peppers sauteed. Artichokes in a rich olive oil brine, chopped up olives. Smoky vegan chorizo shaved into slices, a dash of vegan chicken too. But the Shrimpiee? The biggest surprise. Not rubbery, a firm yet soft texture. A welcome addition to a Paella drenched in white wine. The Breaded Shrimpiee an even more delectable treat. Paired with salt and vinegar chunky homemade chips. A side of curry sauce, the ultimate fish and chip shop experience.
Available at Asda £3.50
Ocado £2.50 on offer
Herby Hog Plant Based Seasonings
The moment Herby Hog‘s Vegan Spicy Chorizo seasoning touched her lips, she was gone. Lost in the smoky heat of paprika, black pepper and cumin. Dusted with garlic, a hint of smoked sea salt. A taste so good, it should come with a warning sign. It reminded her of a soup she once loved before she went vegetarian. Caldo Verde, a Portuguese kale, potato and chorizo soup, with a healthy glug of olive oil. And so she would replicate this cauldron of warmth. Watching the magic unfold, potatoes plunged into an aromatic broth. Cavolo Nero Kale scattered into hunks, swirling and weaving. Vegan chorizo sausage layered with the Spicy Chorizo seasoning. A pinch of salt, a sprinkle of pepper. Drizzling a generous portion of olive oil a’top. A hunk of bread to scoop up the soup. A dish that tasted like home. But it turned out Herby Hog’s other seasonings were just as magical. Smoky Bacon seasoning in a Vegan Carbonara. A hint of sweetness, a touch of spice. Unami flavours that complemented the creamy pasta dish. Maple Bacon flavoured seasoning, a sweet surprise. Lashed over vegan pigs in blankets, without a care in the world. But the real MVP? BBQ Pork flavoured seasoning, rubbed into pulled jackfruit. A tex-mex nourish bowl with marinated black beans, pico de gallo and a slither of lime. Sausage & Sage another highlight. Thyme on the lips, a hint of parsley. Like a fresh garnish on vegan homemade sausages. She smiled. In another lifetime she was the Queen of food. Days spent gorging on delectable feasts beyond her wildest imagination.
Real Good Ketchup
In A’s household, a vegan dinner meant no missing out. After all, good vegan food was about ingredients that brought you joy. From the simple like butternut squash to the more eleborate like urfa biber, her meals were a dopamine rush. Though the trends for food came and went, there was one staple that remained in her diet from the dawn of time. Ketchup, that ubiqitous red sauce. Thick and tangy, a condiment saver. Plunged onto chunky chips, a dash of salt and pepper. Squirted into burgers, mixed with mayonaise. A ‘kids meal’ of vegan chicken nuggets splashed with the saucy companion. But in the beginnings of team, her relationship with ketchup was weird. Growing up eating spaghetti slathered in butter. Tomato ketchup like pasta sauce, a sprinkling of cheese. Oh how her tastebuds had changed. How her cooking skills had improved. More likely to see ketchup in Vegan Korean Potatoes, and Vegan BBQ ribs than a pasta dish these days. Real Good Ketchup her latest obsession. A no-added sugar vegan ketchup free from artificial sweetners. With one dollop, her mind was transported. Lingering over recipes online that she could ‘ketchup-ify’. A vegan Shakshuka with tofu instead of egg. Swimming in red pepper and ketchup sauce. Mixed peppers bobbing, a dash of cilantro. Crumbly vegan feta sprinkled with joy. Was it any wonder that Real Good Ketchup had been awarded 5 stars in The Times Condiment Taste Test? In homemade Kimchi, a surprisingly good addition. Napa cabbage with grated ginger. Korean radishes and carrot matchsticks. A blob of ketchup, a hint of Gotchu-Garu. When it came to colourful vegan products that every plant-based eater needed, ketchup was a high priority!
Price: £2.40 at Ocado (310 g)
Honest Bean ( Fava Bean Snacks)
A remembered the first time she discovered Fava Beans. Scrolling across a Ful Medames recipe, falling in love. Stewed fava beans simmering in olive oil, a sprinkle of cumin. Chopped parsley marinated in chilli’s and lemon juice. Garlic sizzling with finely chopped tomatoes. Served with falafel plunged into hummus. Lebanese potatoes with red peppers and roasted garlic. A fresh Tabbouleh Salad, bulgar and tomatoes. Fresh mint scattered freely. But never in her imagination did A think of Fava Beans as snacks. She was missing out. An introduction to Honest Bean‘s Fava Bean’s to share or on the go. Colourful vegan products that would transform snack time. High-protein, nutritious, and always vegan. Chilli And Lemon, her personal favourite. Munching them by the dozen, Cayenne pepper coating her lips. The zest of the lemon peeking through. On its own a revelation. A canvas of spice and freshness, earthy too. Herbs piping up. She sprinkled it into her Middle Eastern Fattoush side salad. Fried pitta strips dancing on Romaine Lettuce. Chunks of tomatoes gossiping to cucumbers. Dressed in a zesty lime sauce, scattered Chilli & Lemon Fava beans on top. Barbecue Roasted Fava Beans D’s favourite. Pimento dancing with aromatic clove. A hint of sweetness, sweeped over BBQ chicken. There were the traditional flavours, and the unusual. Seaweed and Miso surprisingly addictive. Scattered over Roasted Cauliflower Soup for added crunch. Black Garlic and Herb in a Z’aatar Spinach pasta. Red pepper flakes dancing with lemon. The expected flavours just as moerish. Lightly Salted, Fava Beans on the go. Sea Salt & Cider Vinegar washed down with vegan beer.
Price: £12 for 6 sharing bags (120G) but they also have on-the-go bags too which are cheaper.
Beyond Meat Burger Range
She remembered the moment she tried her first vegan burger from Beyond Meat. At Halo Burger in Brixton, gorging on a Triple Halo Burger. Two burger patties layered with vegan cheese drenched in signature sauce. Salty gherkins rounded out with plump tomatoes. Washed down with a lemonade, a side of thin cut fries dusted in Pink Himalayan salt. The revelation as she bit into the patty, the chills that left her speechless. It was a love affair that would continue throughout the years. A monthly Burger Night using her beloved Beyond Meat Plant Based Patties for a dopamine hit. Vegan burgers smeared in vegan blue cheese, marinated tomatoes sandwiched in lettuce. A brioche bun with a smattering of sunflower seeds. But the crown jewel? The vegan meat, oozing just like the real thing. A Balea side salad and smoky paprika wedges. A dash of sea salt and rainbow peppercorn. The sheer ecstacy that flooded her senses left her reeling in the best possible way. Another burger night came around, itching for something different. Where a grand orchestra of flavours were untamed. Beyond Meat Chicken Style Patties that were high in protein. Memories of a chicken burger she ate before she became vegetarian. Oozing in garlic butter, almost like a kiev. She would recreate the magic, with a Portuguese twist. Creamy lemon aoli dripping on a juicy vegan chicken patty. Infused with paprika, and vegan cheese. Iceberg lettuce with rocket and on the vine tomatoes. Homemade sweet potato fries, sprinkled with cinnamon. And who could forget the smash patties? Already envisioning her future meal. Stacked vegan ‘beef style’ burgers, topped with a spicy Zhug sauce. Mingling with Yemeni Green Chilli Sauce, a dollop of Za’atar vegan yoghurt.
Beyond Meat Plant Based Patties: £3.00 at Ocado (on deal), £4 at Sainsbury’s £3.65 at Waitrose and £4.30 at Tesco’s
Smash Patties: £3.25 at Sainsbury’s
Chicken-Style: £3.00 at Ocado (on offer), £4.50 at Sainsbury’s and £4.70 at Waitrose
Juicy Marbles Vegan Steak And Ribs
If there was one thing that A missed the most about being vegan it was steak. A trip down nostalgia lane, remembering the Pregos she used to have in Madeira. Steak, well-done squashed into Bolo De Caco bread. Brushed with garlic butter, steak rolled in garlic cloves. Memories of her Aunty in Madeira sizzling steaks in the pan. Singing a folk tune under her breath. Picado à Madeirense another highlight. Cubes of steak marinated in paprika, garlic and bay leaves. A glug of cream, a splash of white wine. Parsley sprinkled on top. A thought she would never get to experience steak again. Meat free for 13 years, learning to live without. But then, as if by chance, she discovered Juicy Marbles. Whose vegan Thick Cut Filet had come into Waitrose for the first time. Getting the steaks on a deal for Valentine’s day last year, love at first sight. Submerged in peppercorn sauce, spring onion baby potatoes to the side. Thyme and oregano carrots gently roasted. Parsnips finished in the pan with hazelnut. But it wasn’t until now that she learned to be more adventorous. Making a vegan Hungarian goulash for the first time, using Juicy Marbles. Laden with hearty vegetables. Chunks of carrots swimming past sweet parsnips. Bobbing in a red-wine enhanced broth. Potatoes soft and tender. Vegan steak hunks marinating in the stew. Washed down with a glass of wine, spices tingling at the back of her throat. There was one more surprise that Juicy Marbles had up their sleeve. Bone-In Ribs. Would it live up to the hype. Dressed in a maple and bourbon sauce, bubbling in the oven. A side of Paprika and lime butter corn on the cob. Homemade mac and cheese, comfort carbs. Vegan meat that pulled apart. The definition of soul food. She smiled, sated at last. Relishing the slip ‘n’ slide of Juicy Marble’s buttery mouth feel. A token of happiness on her plate. When it came to nailing vegan meat substitutes they were one of the best.
Thick Cut Fillet Plant Based Steaks £6.75 on Clubcard at Tesco’s and £9 at Waitrose
Bone-In-Ribs via Juicy Marbles £59 ( 2 x 500g racks of ribs)
Indegno Italian Veganuary Special
Indegno transported her to Italy at first bite. A fried, folded and filled golden dough, that sent spasms of delight coursing through her body. The Crescentina, from an award-winning Bologna born brand. Imagining the dough like satin sheets gently stretched. A delicate art, a crescent moon, dipped in hot oil. Hearing the sizzle and crackle, ravaging her senses. Awakening her tastebuds, her stomach gurgling with hunger. A comforting treat, each bite a symphony of flavour. She glanced at the filling, oozing with sweet pumpkin cream. Balanced with sundried tomatoes that were bursting with flavour. A surprising addition of Clapton Chive, one of her favourite vegan cheeses from La Fauxmagerie. Though there were other vegan options, there was something about the Veganuary special that captivated her attention. How it celebrated a delicacy that dated back to the middle ages. How it paid tribute to the Lombard people that once dominated Northern Italy. The normal vegan menu looked just as appetizing. A treat for another time. The Bentivoglio, filled with vegan pulled pork from Planted. A traditional Friggione with slow cooked onions and tomatoes begging to be eaten. For non-vegans, there were tasty treats too. The Futura, swirling with Stracciatella cheese and vegan pulled pork. A Cappellacci Cone with savoury-sweet pumpkin cream. Her stomach pooched, unable to take a single bite more. Her first experience of a Crescentina, and certainly not the last. Drifting back outside into the bitter cold. The warmth of the Veganuary Special, lingering long after it was gone.
Price: £8.99 ( available until 31st January)
Joyful Drinks That Are Vibrant
She believed in feel-good drinks. The kind of drinks that made you sit up, and take notice. Liquid that made you feel like you were made of sunshine. Where she would take a beat to sit down and reflect, relishing the sensation in her mouth. Mojitos that danced, whispering secrets of mint and lime. Fresh, fragrant and fruity, a splash of sweetness. Green muddled with ice cubes. Aperol Spritz like the sunset’s first kiss. A sip of sunshine, bitter yet sweet. Red wine engorged with berries, a hint of spice. She had her non-alcoholic favourites too. Apple and cinnamon herbal teas infused with vegan honey. Ginger and lemon on those cold-weather days. Decaf lattes with a dash of oat milk or almond. Drinks that were vegan and brought joy into her home. A French Red wine so different from the Chilean varieties she normally favoured. A hint of black cherry and plum. Colourful vegan products that doubled up as letterbox gifts. Vegan gin that tasted fresh and aromatic. And who could forget the vegan coocnut liquer, infused with cream. An alternative to a Bailey’s, ice bobbing in a chunky glass. Non-alcoholic drinks, from G & T’s to homemade nut milks. Something for everyone, a serotonin rush.
Vegan Alcoholic Drinks To Let Your Hair Down
M. Chapoutier ‘Les Moniers’ Crozes Hermitage 2019/21
She would sit drinking red wine in the twilight hours. Swirling her glass gazing into its crimson ripples. The colour of romance, it would seduce her senses. Rich and velvety dribbling down her throat. Full-bodied, enchanting, drawing her into its hazy world. M. Chapoutier Les Moniers Crozes Hermitage 2019/21, the wine of poets. Flirtatiously toying with her emotions. A passionate ballet of Black Cherry and Black Plum. Sprinkled with white pepper, a hint of something more. French, seductively so. Bold yet spicy, liberating her senses. From the Northern reaches of the Rhône Valley famed for hedonistic Syrah. She imagined the deep purple grapes, in vineyards draped in green. Its tannic structure notable, generous levels of alcohol toying with her tongue. A heady balance between fruit and spice, delectable wine from its first sip. But it was the cooking possibilies that made her sparkle. Imagining a vegan Bolognese splashed in Les Moniers crimson nectar. A glass of red swirling in her hand. Vegan mince fried in garlic, paprika and shallots. Fresh chopped tomatoes, a dollop of tomato paste. Vegan beef stock simmering, sea salt sprinkled. Marinating in flavours, a bundle of joy. Slapped onto buttery spaghetti, a Lady and the Tramp moment. A swirl of olive oil, a smattering of vegan parmesan. Happy mind, happy tummy, happy life.
Price: £21.99 (£18.99 mix 6) at Majestic
GinMe Subscription Box
A splash of gin, crisp and clear, infused with juniper’s ancient magic. Tasting pine notes that danced at the back of her throat. Like summer in a spirit, a gentle flush of warmth. Though she was a rum girl at heart, there was something inviting about gin. A Bramble cocktail springing to mind, bearing fruit in tangled vines. Blackberries engorged with the sun, muddled mint, a hint of green. A slice of lime, adding zesty freshness. A drizzle of crème de mûre, like an obsidian night. But she craved something different, something like GinMe. A subscription box to find the world’s best gins in the simplest and most affordable ways. No gatekeeping, no snobbery. A gin club to open her horizons, to challenge her senses. But what would she receive? Eight Lands, an organic Speyside Gin. Spicy, citrussy, a hint of fruit. The scent of juniper tickling her nose. But the taste was divine. Sweet, balanced with chamomile and crowberries. Infused with spring water drawn from the Clashmarloch spring on the lowest slopes of Ben Rinnes, very near to the distillery. Poured into her very own Winter Gin and Punch, infused with Madeira Wine. Pineapples swimming with bobbing lemons. Cinnamon and star anise. The second, Dizonv Gin De Bretagne. French Gin with a complex flavour profile. An unusual combination of rock samphire and cider brandy. The taste of the sea infused with bright apple sweetness. She added the clear liquid into a ‘French 75’. A splash of sparkling wine, a dash of lemon. Simple gin syrup, lemon twists to garnish. As the ice cubes clinked, she took a sip and smiled. A poetic fusion of two gin cocktails. A story waiting to be explored.
Amurula Vegan Liqueur
It was her first time experiencing Marula. Sweet fruit nestling on sweeping branches, opening once a year. At the height of summer caressed by the warmth of the African sun. Rich yellow, small plum-like creatures. A gathering of elephants protecting their beloved Marula Tree. Travelling miles just to get a taste, savouring the nectar. Raising their trunks in approval, the local communities cue to begin the harvest. Amurula’s Vegan Liqueur was a love letter to its magic. Paying homage to the ‘Elephant Tree’, giving back to its ecosystem. A drink that would protect the elephants. Commited to supporting charities like Wildlife Direct and Herd, South Africa’s first Elephant Orphanage. But its people were just as important. Little gold tassels wrapped around its signature bottle. Made by 30 women from The Handwork Hub, working to provide for their families. 51% black owned, a life-changing initiative. People Amurla were proud to call their family. As for Amarula’s Vegan Liqueur A was blown away. The same signature bottle with a red tassel. Gentle notes of caramel infused with vanilla. A breath of creamy coconut, complex notes of the Marula fruit peeking through. Lighter than a Bailey’s, sweet yet well-balanced flavours. White liquid bobbing in a glass, dancing down her throat. She would make a Vegan Tiki Fire, a summer drink in the heart of winter. Imagining she was at the beach, white sand between her toes. A floppy sunhat, shielding her from dazzling azure skies. Crystal clear water lapping at her feet, suncream drenched in skin. Instead, she was wrapped up in a blanket, a Vegan Tikki Fire in her hand. A splash of vanilla, a generous glug of pineapple juice. Like a pina colada but better. She couldn’t help but smile. Vegan products that were feel good, tasted good and made a difference in the world!
Price:Waitrose £15 and Amazon £14.99
Non Alcoholic Drinks For Everyday Fun
Salter Plant M!lk Maker
A couldn’t remember the last time she drank real dairy milk, preferring the taste of oat milk. Smooth and creamy. The perfect vegan milk to pour into decaf coffees. Lattes topped with oat milk, a dash of gingerbread syrup. Oat milk with granola, laden with blueberries and strawberries. Poured into banana, raspberry and apple smoothies. Drunk on its own. Yet, she loved the idea of making her own plant-based milk. Unprocessed, additive free. Light, refreshing, her own work of art. Salter Plant M!lk Maker came to the rescue, a hero in gray. Producing 100% fresh and natural plant milk while cutting out the energy, water and waste of plastic cartons. She would make her own oat milk. Soaking almonds, dates, and flaxseed powder. A dollop of maple syrup, for sweetness. Soaking ingredients overnight. Blending in the filter basket to make her own milks. An idea for a creamy vegan mango lassi tickling her brain. Ripe mango plunged into unsweetened coconut yoghurt. Vegan plant milk all blended in one satisfying hit. Dessicated coconut sprinkled on time, a lime wedge to garnish. But wait, what was this? Leftover pulp, what would she do? Repurposed to create her very own ‘Bliss Balls’. Coconut, mango and raspberries for a satisfying snack. She felt energized, the ideas flying through her mind. Savoury sensations made with her own homemade milk. Vegan bao buns drenched in spicy cauliflower. A creamy Mac ‘n’ Cheese with broccoli and sun-dried tomatoes. And who could forget the Ethopian Sweet Potato and Lentil stew? Red peppers slathered in Berbere. Chickpeas serenading baby spinach.
CleanCo Rhubarb G&T Bundle
A didn’t like being drunk. Triggered by the feeling of being out of control. Of doing things she wasn’t proud of. It wasn’t like she hadn’t been drunk in the past, but it had been a long time since she had. She loved a drink or two. But there were many periods where she didn’t drink at all. Preferring to be sober, aware of her surroundings. Clean G Pink was one of her favourite non-alcoholic bottles. Bursting with delicate strawberry, and sweet raspberry notes. A hangover free tipple, with a splash of pink peppercorn and juniper. A drink that transcended seasons. In summer, a cooler, served over ice with Indian tonic water. Fresh strawberry as a garnish, mint muddled. But in winter? She wanted something warming, a hug in a glass. Clean G Pink with elderflower and crodino. A balance between sweet and bitter. Garnished with orange peel and blackberries. A burst of flavours like fireworks at night. Citrus and spice, a mocktail to look forward to in ice cold temperatures. Curled up on the sofa, a book in one hand. Her glass in the other, pretty blush hues swirling. Another winter cocktail sprung to mind. A vegan Pomnegranate gin fizz with a splash of lemon juice. Sweet, tart and refreshing, with Aquafaba foam. Yet, ironically her curious imagination thought beyond cocktails. A rhubarb gin and tonic vegan cheesecake, with blackberry coulis. A gin, lemon and tonic marinade for grilled tofu. Dashed with garlic, ginger and rice vinegar. A ‘G&T’ salad dressing drizzled over cherry tomatoes, cucumber, and radicchio. A gin and tonic butternut squash risotto. A glug of olive oil, a pour of white wine. Spinach enveloped in arbioro rice.
Colourful Vegan Beauty For Self-Care
A was on a journey to discover self-care. Imagining a sprawling landscape where she left her worries at the door. A field of green in her mind, yellow buttercrups a symbol of spring. Dancing among the flowers, laughter lines etched on her face. Remembering the times where she let go, anxiety lurking in the shadows. A dopamine rush, learning how see beauty in a me-time routine. Seeing the simplicity in the small things. Practicing gratitude. Finding colourful vegan products that nurtured holistic wellness. Cruelty-free beauty, a big part of her self-nurturing routine. Painting her nails in a rainbow of colours. Ice blues and tangerine oranges. Bright colours to fight away the January blues. Bubble baths drenched in bath oils that serenaded her body. Cleansing serums that rejuvanated her tired skin. Gentle on her scars, a soothing salve. Oil to milk cleansers that paid homage to the natural world. Moisturisers that wrapped her skin in comfort. From skincare to cosmetics, a ritualistic treat. Taking time out to give her body and mind the colourful vegan products it deserved. And who could forget the perfume that lingered long after it was sprayed. A spritz that transported her into relaxation. A vintage scent, a reminder of a time so long ago.
Earthy Nail Polish
Painting her nails was like compassion. Watching the colours unfurl, as a smile lit up her face. Nail polish painted on like art. Her quiet time, zoned out from reality. The brush caressing her nails in rainbow hues. Crimson reds the colour of romance and passion. Pistachio greens that felt like spring. Burgundies a cross between red and purple. Winter cobalt blues, her hue of the moment. Sometimes, she would go beyond colours. Intricate designs like doodles adorning a coloured canvas. Flowers swirling, inititals peeking through. A period where she found solace in silence. Where the anxiety simmered on a low heat. In Veganuary, her love of colourful vegan products were just as prolific. Using Earthy Nail Polish to bring personality to her nails. Sustainable, high quality and affordable vegan nail polishes that personified joy. Icelandic Blue, soft and delicate. Accent hues like a spring sky, scattered with engorged clouds. A tranquil pastel shade that went with 90% of her colourful wardrobe. It was the colour she was wearing right now. Paired with an ombre pink, purple, and blue jumper, over lilac jeans. A mauve baker boy hat askance on her head. Another shade she had fallen in love with this January. Not green like you might think. I Lava You, a playful bright orange. A pop of colour that oozed confidence. When she wore it, she felt the energy course through her. Becoming more enthusiastic. With added Calcium and Magnesium to strengthen her nails.
Balmonds Vegan Starter Kit
She glanced at her back, lacerated with acne scars and hyper-pigmentation. Dark spots across her shoulders, lumps and bumps that didn’t go away. Redness and rashes, spots on her chest. Even more sensitive than her face it seemed. Sometimes she would have to take a detox from all products, going back to basics. Fighting the urge to scratch at her skin. Itchiness that seemed to get worse at night. She had sensitive skin no doubt about it. Oily, dry, prone to redness too. Even clothing would irritate her skin, her jumper clawing at her back. Would she find colourful vegan products to soothe her sores? Balmonds Vegan Starter Kit sought to simplify her skincare routine. Using colouful vegan products that would multi-task without the synthetics. She sank into the bath, her hair fanning out like a halo. Almost levitating in the bath, a glug of bath oil surrounding her. Moisturising, nourishing, so the bottle claimed. Would this little vessel of green magic soothe her skin? A nutritious blend of botanicals, chamomile oil swimming with hemp. Natural, fragrance free and vegan. She closed her eyes, and let the potion wash over her. The EFA-rich hemp oil reducing the dehydrating effects of bathing. The Natural Shampoo and Body Wash another highlight. Extra gentle on her skin and hair. Enriched with honeysuckle, dancing with chamomile. A hint of verdant lemongrass too. But the real MVP? The Daily Moisturising Cream, easily her favourite from the range. Hydrating her dry skin throughout the day, infused with shea butter. A slathering of chickweed and unexpected nettle. Hemp seed oil and chamomile too. Working with the skin’s natural oils to support the healthy functioning of the skin barrier. Soft, easy to absorb, calming down her rosacea, acne and redness.
The Glowcery Blue Dew Fruit Enzyme Oil To Milk Cleanser
A was often dubious about cleansers. Harsh memories of miscellar waters stripping her skin. So called moisturisers making her break out in spots. Hours spent trying to calm her skin down, spot stickers on overnight acne. But The Glowcery Blue Dew Fruit Enzyme Oil To Milk Cleanser was a rare breed. A few drops made her makeup melt away, watching the oil turn milky. Massaging her skin with holistic reverence, feeling refreshed. Splashing water to activate the cleanser, watching the foundation disspitate. Blurred red lipstick fading into beige. Streaks of mascara mingling with irridescent blush. But it wasn’t just a cleanser. Silky smooth, a surprising exfoliant too. Formulated to clean skin without stripping the skin of its natural moisture. Silky texture that glided across her face, like a twirling ice skater. Her skin felt supple, the best cleanser she had used in ages. Her skin visibly brightened after a few uses. Her skin soft to the touch. Infused with tropical papaya and juicy pineapple. A splash of sunflower dazzling sweet mangoes. 100% natural ingredients, no two batches the same. Personalized superfood wellness that nourished her skin inside and out. Was it any wonder that it was the winner of the ‘Best Cleanser’ in the Cosmopolitan Beauty Awards 2021? The first step in her morning and evening skincare routine. A me-time ritual with an appreciation for colourful vegan products. Blue, the shade of blueberries. Rich in antioxidants, formulated with non-comedogenic (non-clogging) mango butter and castor oil. Deeply cleansing ingredients that dissolved her makeup. Drawing dirt, oil and impurities away from her skin.
DR PawPaw Skincare Range
Speaking of cleansers, DR PawPaw‘s 3in1 cleansing balm was another favourite. Infused with upcycled, ethically sourced Paypaya Seed Oil. Nourishing and resurfacing the skin. A gentle first cleanse, a taste of what to come. A second cleanse to remove makeup like her waterproof mascara. Excess sebum, dirt and oils to create a smooth and soft canvas. Rich in vitamins and essential oils, not heavy on her skin. Moisturising, and hydrating, her skin glowing after use. But it was the 4in1 Face Serum that was really worth shouting home about. A multi-purpose superhero that left her feeling like the Belle of the ball. Saving her time and money, four serums into one. Gentle on her sensitive skin, even when used daily. Vitamin C sourced from a Green Tangerine, brightening her dull, gray complexion. Smoothing away the lack of sleep, the skin softer than ever. A natural alternative to retinol (Bakuchiol) preventing the appearence of fine lines. But it was the PAPAYALURONIC (™) that was most impressive. Harnessing the power of the papaya extract to nourish and soothe her irritated skin. Infused with 8x hyaluronic acids absorbing into all five layers of the skin. Long-lasting hydration even when the wind tried to ravage her merciessly. A skincare range that was so much more than its price tag. Instant plumping that would reduce signs of aging. Firming, and versatile, a travel-sized companion. On the go, at home, when she was travelling. A serum that would never let her down. Colourful vegan products that cradled her in their holistic world.
Floral Street Sweet Almond Blossom Perfume
A was forever inspired by Van Gogh’s art. Van Gogh’s Starry Night living rent-free in her mind. Swirling hues and luminous swirls painted on a midnight blue canvas. Embroidered with constellations that glowed. With pulsating stars like a macrabre ballet. Something poignant, something haunting about his portrayal of a celestial night. A crescent moon hanging like a thread of silver, bathing the landscape in a metallic sheen. But it was the cypress trees that were stoic and strong, twisted branches almost machivellian. Van Gogh’s ‘Almond Blossom’ a stark contrast. In hues of delicate pink and white, on a canvas of teal blue. Strokes bold, a symbol of new life. A gift for his Brother Theo, and his baby son Vincent Willem. Imagine her surprise, when she found a vegan perfume that paid homage. Floral Street x Van Gogh Museum®: A one-of-a-kind-collaboration. They would call it Sweet Almond Blossom, fruity and floral. Something she could daydream to, a perfume that was enchanting. She was lost in its ethereal world, natural pomelo in a hypnotic dance. Sensing the juicy passionfruit paired with the delicate notes of apple blossom. An infusion of creamy vanilla and sandalwood. Balanced with nutty tonka beans. Vegan, sustainably sourced. Female founded, an independent British brand. Perfumes crafted by Jerome Epinette, was it any wonder it was good? Not overpowering but a scent that lingered with her. A breath of fresh air, a perfume she would keep coming back to. She closed her eyes, and sank into the sofa. Meditating in its mystical fragrance, transported into an another realm.
Colourful Vegan Lifestyle & Accessories
A’s colourful vegan products roundup was coming to an end. But there was one more category to titiliate her audience’s senses. Lifestyle and accessories, from candles to wrapping paper. A handbag and a bracelet, both more different than the usual. Cruelty-free treats that went beyond the norm, that were vibrant, peppy and feel good. That held meaning, that made you want to shout from the rooftops about it. Scents that immersed her in nature from candles to room sprays. A fusion of coastal woods as though she was walking by the sea. Sagebush and Eucalyptus, a reminder of a splace she had never been before. Grounded in the present as she let herself be immersed into natures ethereal dance. She would sit, as though she was meditating. Eyes closed, absentmindedly caressing the Blue Druzy Agate Bangle on her wrist. Feeling the tranquility course through her, limbs growing heavy. Sinking into dreams where it was Veganuary all year round. Visions of birthdays wrapped with cruelty-free wrapping paper. Sustainable, plastic-free, visions of baby dragons frolicking. Engulfing a large red vegan medical bag. That looked like a handbag but it was so much more. Designed for healthcare professionals, but just as useful as an overnight hospital bag. Lifestyle gifts that brought purpose into her life. That made her feel good even when she was feeling low.
Lords Fragrance House Scent Collection
The moment Lord Fragrance House slipped into her living room, she was enchanted. Memories of the founder’s travels lingering like shrine clouds. A blend of colour, travel and fragrant essential oils. A forest green and fuschia pink candle immediately caught her eye. The vision was called ‘Yellowstone’, an earthy scent with a hint of warmth. Eucalyptus and sagebush, transporting her to Yellowstone Park. A fragrance that seemed instantly familuar though she had never been. Homely and comforting, balanced with cool Earthy scents. Earth Orris walking with spicy patchouli, oakmoss coming through too. Reminding her of a simple walk through trees and rivers, where nothing else mattered but the here and now. She envisioned Yellowstone National Park in her mind. Geysers and volcanic rumblings, the vocal recordings of Earth. Wildlife wandering in the heat and cold, all in one place. A sensory sensation just from one candle, but how would the other fragrances hold up? It turned out they were the masters of colourful vegan products. Positano Hand Dipped Tapered Candles, another work of art. Baby pink long candles, with abstract swirls of mottled green. The fragrant aroma of freshly chopped basil, a hint of mint. The vibrant scent of green trailing tomato vines ripening in the Italian sun. Inspired by the Amalfi Coast, one of A’s favourite places. She imagined driving down winding roads, past bergamot and pomelo trees. Stopping off to drink creamy limoncello, a gentle Mediterranean breeze. During the day, she would use the Big Sur Room & Linen Spray. Citrus accords, cracked coriander seeds and green herbs lavishing her senses. Lost in its Californian redwoods, relaxed among the greenery and sea spray. She shifted her attention to the present, still in a trance. The ghost of grapefruit and orange still imprinted in her memory.
Yellowstone Candle £34
Positano Hand Dipped Tapered Candles £27
Room & Linen Sprays £45
Curlicue Baby Dragons Wrapping Paper
When it came to colourful vegan products, wrapping paper was a surprising one. After all, you would assume that all wrapping paper was vegan right? Wrong, finding out that some wrapping papers used gelatin and stearic acid made from animal fat. The most common binding agent for non-vegan paper fibres. But Curlicue was a vegan wrapping paper brand with a difference. Colourful gift wraps, tags, twine and eco-tape for a cruelty-free present. Prints that made her smile. Colours that were feel good. Made using vegetable-based ink, all paper 100% recycled. Using a waterless and chemical-free printing process to be kinder to the environment. They even used a UK printer for their paper, to keep their carbon footprint low. She glanced at their Baby Dragons Wrapping Paper and fell in love immediately. Purple dragons with yellow balloons, deep in thought. Red dragons crying, a burst of fire escaping their mouths. Green dragons hatching from an egg. Sure, it seemed tailored to children. But for A, dragons were for all. For the fantasy lovers and the daydreamers. For the lover of all things cute. Designed by Kelly Chan, the plastic-free wrapping paper came on rolled sheets. The aforementioned dragons on a sage green background. Rainbow hearts and stars scattered throughout the paper. To make it really special, she would buy the matching tags. Writing out a loved one’s name. Adorning it with forest green and white twine, finished with eco craft double sided tape. After all, what better way to celebrate Veganuary than presents that were sustainable, holistic and vegan?
Price: £6.75 for 3 sheets and £9.75 for 5 sheets
Iyasu ‘The Elizabeth’ Vegan Medical Bag
She gasped when she saw it. A large and statuesque scarlet red bag, that at first glance looked like a handbag. An over-nighter for trips away. A shoot bag for your camera and essentials. But it was so much more. The Elizabeth from Iyasu, a vegan medical bag. An alluring, stand out version of the timeless tote bag. A gentle curvaceous shape that seemed like art. Fashioned from eco-friendly and recycled materials. Endless pockers and a removable padded laptop bag. Complete with an A4 document holder, and a zipped mobile pocket. For health care professionals, they would slip in their most-needed tools. Sample bottles and a stethoscope. Pulse oximeter and blood tubes. A bag that reflected the needs and desires of an increasing number of female healthcare professionals. But for A, it was a hospital stay bag. The Elizabeth staying by her side as she went into the hospital earlier this month. Reading materials, and her laptop. A sick bag, and medications. A notebook and a pen. Even a dressing gown and slippers for comfort. A companion that brought her comfort. Elegantly quilted with the IYASU emblem of the Iris, a flower which symbolised faith, hope and wisdom. Though it was an ideal day-to-day doctor’s bag, for A it made the perfect hospital companion. She imagined it coming in handy for conferences and travel too. A bag where beauty and functionality fused together with joy. To A, Dr Catherine Fernando (the founder) had created something revolutionairy. A medical bag that paid tribute to strong females, the world, and its animals.
Gem Valley Creations Blue Druzy Agate Bangle
If anyone asked A what colours represented Veganuary it would be blue and green. Blue, the colour of serenity and wisdom. That reminded her of oceans in deep azure hues. Skies in dusky duck egg hues. Blueberries suckled on purple stained tongues. Cornflowers in fields of winding grass. Green a fresh hue that symbolized rebirth. Hope and optimism, slathered in calm. Trees in spring, green and orange leaves blossoming. Spinach and green beans in a roast dinner, marinated in Port Gravy. Toads sitting, watching, and waiting on flowering Lily Pads. She reached into her colourful vegan products portal. One last treat to go. The first thing she noticed was its intense shade of blue. Teals and turquoises with swirling patterns. Reminding her of a more vibrant galaxy, streaked with white. A splash of gray, and a hint of beige. A blue druzy agate bangle that personified tranquility. Embracing her wrists with unconditional love. She smiled, a holistic vegan gift that was beautiful and functional. Affordable, colourful, and handmade from a small business. She would harness the power of the crystals to set her mind at ease. Setting her intentions for the day, letting its healing power course through her. Watching the worries disspitate into the venonmous shadows.
What Colourful Vegan Products Do You Want To Try This January?
Please note this is a collaborative post but all thoughts are my own and are not affected by monetary compensation. Are there any colourful vegan products that I haven’t tried that I should?