Geobar

Hi guys,

I hope you all have been well, I’ve been juggling so much lately but I’m glad to say that I am back on track. Today I’m quite excited because I get the opportunity to blog about something that I haven’t touched upon so far – food!

About Traidcraft’s Geobar

Traidcraft is one of the leading fair trade organizations in the U.K and they produce a number of products using the raw materials supplied and made by poor farmers, growers and artisans in order to help them have a better lifestyle. Currently, Traidcraft have released their new and improved Geobar cereal snack bars. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Geobar, it’s pretty much in the name itself, they are a cereal bar range that are made with a global mix of fair trade ingredients using mother natures goods to provide a healthy snack whilst supporting the people that work hard to make the produce. Geobars are available to buy at Sainsburys, Waitrose, Oxfam as well as other independent Traidcrafts stockists and cost £2 for a pack of 5 bars.

geobar range

What really sets these Geobars a part from the previous range is the fact that for the first time there will be use of fair trade marked rice from Myanmar. The taste of the bars has also been improved by Traidcraft so that it is less sweet and has a source of fibre in it, which was based on the feedback provided by customers. Personally, I think the bars give a good energy boost during the day and they taste great with smoothies. It’s definitely a healthier, and ethical, alternative to have in comparison to most snack bars on the market, although it does contain raisins – so you have been warned.

Review

chocolate geobar

The chocolate flavour uses cocoa made from South America and generally has quite a wholesome taste to it and surprisingly wasn’t as sweet as most chocolate cereal bars that I’ve had in the past, which is perfect because I didn’t feel guilty for having a second helping (haha).

mixed berries geobar The mixed berries flavour uses ingredients that are from South America and they have quite a sharp taste to it, as expected with berries. I could also taste the grains and oats more in this flavour for some particular reason, might just be me though.

wild apricot geobar

This particular flavour was by far the sweetest that I had, I definitely think it was because of natural sugars in the wild apricots which come from Pakistan. I would definitely say that this one gave me a real energy boost.

There’s also a competition to win a £400 Marin bike on the Geobar boxes which ends on the 30th September 2016; you will have to enter via http://www.lovegeobar.com/competitions/win-marin-bike-geobar/

Lastly, I would like to thank the people from Gardiner Richardson for sending me the lovely Geobar range. I would love to know what your thoughts are on this!

YuLin Festival

Hi everyone,

A couple of days ago I was sent a link to sign the petition to end the YuLin festival and it got me thinking about what happened last year. Unfortunately, most people found out about the disturbing YuLin festival almost a week before the actual event from celebrities like Ricky Gervais and the #StopYuLin2015 trend. There was a moment of outrage that was enough to gain awareness across the world, but did not manage to sway the political forces to end the festival.

In this situation you cannot help but feel completely helpless the most that people felt that they could practically do last year was create a hastag, make it trend and sign a petition – which feels as though that could be the outcome this year. Now I don’t want to divert attention from the real problem at hand but one thing that I would say was completely unfair was the selective outrage over the public slaughter of dogs when we are fully aware that animals are slaughtered for meat everyday across the world albeit inside buildings. Not only are we completely sheltered from the horrors that animals face but we willingly choose not acknowledge it and save ourselves from being scarred by the graphic images. But sometimes that is exactly what we need! In our everyday lives we have become so accustomed to seeing meat neatly packaged in a plastic tray that we completely detach the idea of meat from a living creature altogether.

After I had signed the petition I decided to do some research into the dog meat festival itself to find out more about how the tradition had come about. I managed to find out that the tradition of eating dog meat has existed in the Far East for approximately 400-500 years. In the city of YuLin, dog meat is usually eaten with lychee during the summer to cool the body from the scorching heat (lychee juice could have done the job by itself really). Strangely enough the actual festival itself is not part of an age old tradition, but rather has formed in recent years to mark the Summer Solstice. The very fact that there are tensions between the people of Yulin over this festival makes clear that there is no real need for this. The Chinese government themselves have acknowledged the problems that can follow if they allow the festival to continue, not just for the animals but also for their own political structure and reputation. (Whether the Chinese government intervenes and acts on this global outrage is another thing.) What makes it worse is that many of the dogs are stolen pets and are found on the street which just seems all the more unreasonable to allow the theft of pets and the promotion of unhygienic dog meat all for the sake of a festival.

In China there are many animal rights advocates that have been forming networks in order to collectively bring awareness, and justice, for animals which for the Chinese government could be threatening if they choose to sweep the concerns of festival under the rug. The Duo Duo project, an organization dedicated to ending the dog and cat meat trade, is one of organizations that are at the forefront of bringing more awareness about the festival with the hope that they can make political changes and end the festival. The executive director of the Duo Duo project, Andrea Gung,  is in fact the one that has set up the petition that I was sent.

There are currently over 2 million signatures on the Change.org petition to the YuLin City Governor, Mr Chen Wu, and we need just over 900,000 signatures; so I have embedded the petition below for you all to sign, please do sign and share!

Let’s hope that this year the Yulin Festival is more than just a hashtag.

Comfort Zone

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – Neale D. Walsch

Hi guys!

Happy Sunday to you all! I hope you all have had a great weekend.

Going through difficulties is a necessary part of our existence, but how we go about facing and overcoming our adversaries ultimately adds meaning to our lives. ( I am pretty sure that I have just subconsciously paraphrased philosophers, monks or some unknown genius from Pinterest). Speaking of Pinterest, this week I was searching Pinterest for inspirational quotes, as you do, and I came across this quote by Neale Walsch and it honestly inspired me to just focus on doing what needs to be done (revision, work and this post haha) instead of worrying about how much I need to do get done.

I am not sure exactly what everyone else is currently dealing with in their lives, but I am a firm believer in the idea that we are meant to go through difficulties in life and that it is during this time in our life that we are forced to get out of our comfort zone and grow. Being able to grow and develop in every way possible always seems to be something that we all want to achieve but few people actually accept that we need to make changes to our own lifestyles and choices to be allow the changes we want to take place. Sometimes we are stuck in a cycle of being complacent about where we are at this point in our life to the point that it becomes a comfort zone for us, but clearly this will never get us anywhere.

The life that we truly want to have will only ever start once we move out of our comfort zone and work towards overcoming our problems, which naturally will require time and effort. Investment in our selves is the only way that you can get to where you want and start living life, which does not necessarily involve financial investment might I add, it merely involves spending time evaluating your life looking at where you are and where you want to be. We can not control the problems that life throws our way, but we are in control of how we choose to deal them.

For more inspirational posts, click here.

Patanjali Amla Hair Oil Review

Patanjali Amla Hair Oil Review

Generally speaking, Ayurveda is widely regarded as a traditional medical science which originated from the Vedas in India but it covers a much broader spectrum of health and well being from beauty to yoga and so on. Today the remedies that are provided by Ayurveda are well established in the field of beauty and alternative medicine. It is definitely something that I have been quite keen in learning more about, those of you that have been following my blog for quite some time will be aware of my interest in Ayurveda, I’ve even blogged about an Ayurvedic beauty product before (Ayurvedic Beauty: Neem Mask ).

Amla Hair Oil Review

The Amla hair oil is produced by the company Patanjali, which specialise in Ayurvedic products and also sell food that are produced by people in the rural areas of India. Amla, also known as Indian gooseberry, are typically used in hair care products and is used specifically for the purpose of strengthening the roots and thus preventing hair fall. On the packaging it also states that it can also be used to prevent split ends and the inevitable graying of hair; I assume that for you to actually see the results you would have to use it over a long period like most herbal products.

 

Patanjali Amla hair oilFrom my experience the best way to actually put the oil on is by taking a little bit of oil at a time, massage it on your scalp and then gradually work on the rest of your hair. It is recommended to keep the oil on for at least half an hour before washing it out, but this could depend on your hair length and type, I have left the oil in my hair for roughly 2 hours but it’s entirely up to you! I particularly like the texture of the Amla hair oil as it doesn’t seem to stick to your hands, but I must admit that it has quite a strong smell, so it’s definitely best to use on a day off.

The only real problem that I would say that I have with the product is the flimsy cap, I had to put quite a lot of cello tape around the cap just to secure it when I was travelling back from India to the U.K. In India, I had bought the 100ml bottle of the hair oil for 40 rupees, which works out to be just over 40p. Unfortunately, on Amazon it is sold for a little bit more than what it is in India but I guess that is expected, online it is sold for £4.60. Although that may seem to be quite a bit for a 100ml bottle of hair oil, it is actually worth buying as the oil itself works quite well in small quantities, so I would definitely recommend it to you all!

It would be great to know what your thoughts are on this post, and whether any of you have tried Amla hair oil before. I hope you all enjoyed my Patanjali Amla Hair Oil Review. 🙂

Click here to read my hair care review. 

Eriis for Sun Review

Now that spring is finally here and the sun keeps coming and going for a few hours, I thought that it would only be fitting to dedicate a post to the new season.

Most people assume that using any kind of skincare products with SPF (Sun Protection Factor) are restricted for the summer but you can still be exposed to UV rays regardless of what colour the clouds look like outside. I’ll be honest I am not usually someone that has paid much attention to the SPF count in skincare products, but as the effects of global warming are becoming increasingly clear in our everyday life, it seems absurd to not consider ways of avoiding skin damage.

About Eriis for Sun

ERiiS for sun - Latte Solare Sun Protection Milk
ERiiS for Sun – Latte Solare Sun Protection Milk

Eriis for Sun is a skin care range produced by the Italian company Iridiem Pharma and have been created specifically to protect all skin types from UVA, UVB and infra-red rays (including sensitive skin like mine). The skin care range produced by Iridiem Pharma are vegan, cruelty free, halal and FDA approved. So the protection milk can be used by all without any problems whatsoever.

This specific Sun Protection Milk is SPF30, providing high protection for when you are outside and on the go. If you are in the sun for quite some time then it’s best to reapply the milk to your skin so that your skin is protected properly throughout the day. Initially, once you spray the milk it looks like a cream but the milk has quite a light, almost weightless texture to it and blends into the skin quite easily without leaving that oily effect that creams have a tendency of doing. In the past few days I have actually been using this product as both a moisturiser and a primer, since the foundation I use has an SPF count of 15, which has lasted for most of the day for me. (I have to admit I do love the clean smell to it.)

Where to get it:

The ERiiS for Sun protection milk can be bought online from Vie Healthcare and is sold for roughly £15-£20, depending on the SPF that you want. I personally received the product from Sam Jennings PR Group and would genuinely like to thank them for introducing me to this awesome product. You can also buy the Eriis for Sun from Amazon.

Are Eriis for Sun cruelty free?

On the Iridiem Pharma website it’s not particularly clear whether their product is cruelty free or not, so I had to confirm via email before using and posting. I thought that I should share a quote of the confirmation with you all.

Paola Borgomastro from Iridiem Pharma confirms that ERiiS Sun is vegan and vegetarian friendly. In the formula there are not any animal derived ingredients. The ERiiS Sun range also has not been tested on animals.” 

Remember to apply the protection milk to your necks, hands and arms!

P.S: Click here for more skincare reviews. 

Solar Energy

Hi guys!

How has your week been so far? Earlier this week I read, and shared, quite an interesting article by the Guardian about why solar energy has yet to make a proper impact on our lives. The main reasons for solar power not being adopted particularly in Europe and the U.K are provided by expert analysts who discussed both the business and geographical aspect of solar power.

One of the first problems discussed are the problem of adapting the national grid and the costs to adapt the national grids according the new technological advancements in solar power, there is clearly not a problem with the solar energy itself but rather the actual national grids are having to develop themselves in order to keep up with the rapid changes to solar energy. The cost to make changes to the infrastructure is one of the main hurdles in attempt to bring forth renewable energy as a main provider in our countries. Another problem mentioned was the actual ‘capacity power’ of solar;  as “A coal power station runs at 70-80% capacity. In northern Europe, solar panel capacity factor is just 15%. ” For solar energy to work properly here in the U.K we would need to use the other forms of renewable energy; wind, tidal, geothermal, as is it clear that solar energy alone is not enough.

I genuinely believe there is not only a technical issue holding renewable energy back from being at the forefront of the market, but also a political problem of clean energy being a concern in the governments agenda.  There seems to be a number of issues with solar energy in the U.K but, to me, that is not necessarily a negative thing; in order to make progress you have to solve and outline the problems instead of blindly focussing on the advantages of it. Now I have to admit, energy is not always the easiest topic to discuss simply because of the fact that it involves so much politics and technical jargon that it not always engaging to the everyday person which may be the main reason why it is a topic that many people of my age shy age away from. Energy is important to virtually all aspects of our present life and the future of energy is something that we need to pay close attention to, regardless of how off putting some of the language may be.

As always, I would love to know what your thoughts are on this never ending topic. Do you enjoy reading about clean energy? Is it something that particularly concerns you?

Living Buddha, Living Christ Review

Living Buddha, Living Christ Review

Hi everyone,

I hope you all have had a great weekend and are ready to start a new week! (I can just feel the groans through the screen haha). Normally, when I write blog posts the main focus is on fashion or specific products or causes, but one thing that I have never really touched on is spirituality. Although to most people spirituality may be a completely different topic altogether, for me it is something that I try to incorporate in all aspects of my life. So for this Sunday Inspiration post I decided to write about a book that I am currently reading by the renowned Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh called ‘Living Buddha, Living Christ’.

UntitledIn this book Thich Nhat Hanh marries the core beliefs of Buddhism and Christianity whilst giving his own anecdotes of encounters where he has been inspired and has encouraged people of other faiths and backgrounds. The idea of finding links between different faiths plays quite an important role in my life as I have been surrounded by people from all walks of life as a child but as I have gotten older my personal beliefs have amalgamated all the other religions and thus been separated from my Christian upbringing – in short it can be quite confusing to understand exactly what beliefs I am committing myself to.

There was one particular part of this book that, so far, has stood out to me the most: Cultivating Compassion – which is a section in chapter seven. Hanh writes about there being Five Precepts in Buddhism that gradually help us to transform and thus transcend suffering. The first precept that is mentioned is the “awareness that lives everywhere are being destroyed” which is the origin of suffering. The recognition of the impermanence of life as a whole is one of the core truths for transcending suffering on a personal level but just focussing on ourselves is equally as limiting as not understanding this truth. Hanh takes this notion one step further by discussing the destruction of life and suffering in relation to killing stating that “No act of killing can be justified. And not to kill is not enough”.  It cannot be the case that we merely strive to ‘not kill’ and not cause suffering on a personal level but “We must also learn ways to prevent others from killing”. There should be a proactive effort to incorporate your belief against suffering as much as you can, especially when you are aware that there is more to be done! This very simple message resonates with me as it is this core belief that inspired my blog in the first place; my blog is not just about the products and causes but about us really embracing these values of kindness and compassion in our life like we do with the values from our cultures. I hope the message resonates with you all as it did with me, regardless of whether you are spiritual and religious or not.

“When we appreciate and honor the beauty of life, we will make every effort to dwell deeply in the present moment and protect all life.”

I hope you all enjoyed my Living Buddha, Living Christ review; I would love to know all of your thoughts on the topic of spirituality & life and whether there is anything (book, film, quote, can literally be anything) that has moved you. For more inspirational posts, click here.

And click here to get your copy of Living Buddha, Living Christ – Thich Nhat Hanh. 

Faux labels

Faux fur has increasingly been dominating the fashion scene, yet the concerns over the production of real fur is not as outdated of a problem as we like to think. Although we are led to believe that most of the major brands and retailers that typically sell faux fur are ethical and just, this is unfortunately not the case, in fact recently the problem of what I like to call ‘faux labels’ has been highlighted on many instances in the past few months. This particular problem is not a simple case of buy from this company and avoid that company due to the fact that the labelling itself cannot be trusted and this requires further investigation into the nature of the companies selling the supposed faux fur products.

Both the Daily Mail and The Sun uncovered the mislabelling on fur products in the past month from major companies like ASOS, TK Maxx, House of Fraser and Sports Direct. In the U.K there are laws that state that any products with fur has to be clearly labelled as to whether or not origin of the fur is from an animal, if this label is not available on the product then it is mostly likely real fur and is also breaking consumer laws. When you look at this problem on a more grander scale it seems to be quite a complex mess, as we in the U.K buy faux fur that looks and feels like real fur but most of our faux fur is imported from countries like China where there is no legislation to govern the production process. In China and across Asia many street animals are slaughtered, mislabelled and sold as faux fur in the U.K and there is not much questioning of the production behind the supposed faux fur due to the cheap availability of it.The price of fur with partial animal origin does not guarantee the living conditions of an animal neither does it justify a ‘humane’ method of obtaining fur.

I personally have difficulties telling the difference between real fur and fake fur so I looked up the different methods online and one that seemed to be (kind of) effective was to pick at strands of the fur and then to burn it to see if it burns like plastic, meaning it’s faux, or if it burns like hair, meaning it’s real. But of course you can’t walk around a store with a lighter and burn the products before you buy it so the safest way would be to do your own research into which companies genuinely do sell faux fur and which companies have a bad reputation of not sticking to their word.

I really do urge you all to become proactive in learning more about the companies that really do sell faux fur and the companies that are misleading. It won’t take as long as you think, there are many different resources available online like the Peta, Humane Society International, Cruelty Free International and Care2 websites as well as many blogs.

hairdresser blow drying hair - Kind Culture review

5 Cruelty-free Salons in London

5 Cruelty-free salons in London

I haven’t been posting as much due to the fact that I am in my final year of university and I’ve been juggling many different projects in one go. Whilst I have been on my quest to find all things cruelty free there is one particular thing that stood out to me the most – it is extremely rare to find a high end cruelty free salon in London! There are many different types of salons in London that use organic products but I found out from one of my followers that the products used have misleading animal testing policies. So I decided to do some more research into the nature of different salons and present to you 5 cruelty free, and vegan, salons across London! I hope this is useful for all my Londoners, and to anyone visiting London.

Cruelty-free haircuts in London

1.THE RABBIT HOLE – Is probably the most famous vegan salon in London. The Rabbit Hole is based in Shepherds Bush, West London and all of the products used are vegan. The website looks as though it may be under construction, but you can check out the Facebook and Twitter accounts to find out more about the salon. I wonder if they like to throw Tea Parties…

2. GLASSHOUSE SALON – Is based in Hackney, near the famous Broadway Market and a bus journey away from Stratford. This salon are well known for their specialist organic colour treatments using the cruelty free Organic Colour Systems range. The Glasshouse Salon really do incorporate their value of sustainability in every aspect of their company and one thing I do admit that I love is that they have explicitly made clear that one of their hair waxes contain bee wax – so honest!

3. MUKU HAIR – Based in one of my favourite parts of London, Shoreditch; for those of you that are not familiar with Shoreditch it is the historic East End of London that is full of art pretty much everywhere you walk. The Philosophy of Muku Hair is grounded in the Japanese meaning of the word Muku, pure and natural, which they definitely live up to by using Pureology’s 100% vegan products.

4. ENA SALON – Is another salon that values both cruelty free products and sustainability. Ena Salon is based in Covent Garden, in the heart of London and literally a walk away from the Thames. They use and distribute an eco salon Italian hair care product range called Davines, which does not test on animals as per the EU ban on animal testing made in 2009.

5. ROCOCO ORGANIC SALON – Has been certified both vegan and cruelty free by PETA. Is based in Clapham and is a walk away from Battersea Rise (A3), which has plenty of places to shop and eat. They pride themselves in their use of organic products and currently have 20% off of their services for first time customers.

It’s a shame that I’ve only found 5 so far, it seems as though many of the salons that boast about using organic hair care ranges hide the fact that their seemingly eco-friendly products are not so animal friendly (*cough Redken and Aveda cough*). I hope you all enjoyed my guide on 5 Cruelty-free Salons in London.

If you are a cruelty-free salon that would like to advertise on here, get in touch. 

For more London posts, click here. 

Hesh Pharma Neem Mask Review

Hesh Pharma Neem Mask Review

Today I thought that I should share a completely different kind of cruelty free product from India called Neem. The scientific name for Neem leaves are Azadirachta Indica and it’s quite a popular ingredient in Ayurvedic Beauty. Neem trees can be found across South Asia and even parts of the Middle East. For those of you who are not familiar with Ayurveda in general, it is a 6,000 year old science, or tradition, that originated from the Vedas in India. Ayurveda predominantly involves herbal remedies and medicines as well as yoga; there are many different branches of Ayurveda but it’s beauty and medicine are more established across South Asia. This particular product that I have shown is produced in India by a company called Hesh Pharma and can be bought online or in supermarkets like Tesco. The box that I bought was £1.20 for 100g at my local Tesco.

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Hesh Pharma Neem Powder

The Neem leaves powder has natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties so it can be used on both the face and hair. When it is used as a face mask it reduces excessive oil and can be used as a hair mask for dandruff problems. The powder only requires a little water to be made into a paste and is best to wash off with cold water approximately after 10-15 minutes. When the powder is mixed it does look and smell a bit like mehndi/henna but please be assured that it will not stain your face or hair, the only thing you have to worry about is cleaning your sink after washing the mask off.

The rest of the powder needs to be stored in a cool place (or wherever you want to keep it). One thing that I personally find particularly useful about this product is that when I make the paste myself it is quite fresh compared to some of the other ready made face masks that I have bought. On the box it is advised to test this on your skin a day before using it on your face or hair to avoid any reactions you may have.

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Indian Cruelty Free Logo

Hesh Pharma produce Ayurvedic products which means that all of their products are made from natural herbal ingredients and they also have a cruelty free logo to show that they do not test any of their products on animals. Unfortunately, there are companies that do test on animals in India so if you do decide that you want to purchase any other kind of Ayurvedic Beauty product do try to look out for the Indian cruelty free logo, it is normally found on the side of products like the picture above.

I hope you all enjoyed my Hesh Pharma Neem Mask review. Click here to buy the Hesh Pharma Neem Mask Powder from Amazon.

Read more skincare reviews here.