Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Veganuary: What I Learnt from a Month Being Vegan

Lessons Learnt in Veganuary

Lessons Learnt in Veganuary

The vegan way of life was first introduced to me by one of my lovely friends at work. On first meeting her (and ever since) I have asked her a million and one questions about being a vegan. Admittedly, also asking all the really annoying questions like 'what would you do if you were on a deserted island'. But mostly, I was asking questions because I was so interested in learning more. The word Veganuary was being banded around the office and the next thing I knew, I had signed myself up for the Veganuary challenge. It quickly dawned on me how much of a challenge this was going to be. Could I really go a whole month without Dairy Milk chocolate?

But guess what? I did it! 
And more importantly, I didn't hate it. 

I wanted to share with you some of the lessons that I learnt throughout my Veganuary challenge. Just to note, I won't necessarily be focussing on why you should be vegan, as I think that is a decision you make for yourself. More focussing on the lessons that I learnt about myself and my diet over the last month. 

Lessons Learnt in Veganuary

1. I don't have to have meat/animal products with every meal
I grew up in a 'meat and two veg' household. When I told my Dad about this challege, he said that he would never be able to do it - he's right, he couldn't. This is because my Mum has always cooked in this way, so I've grown up having meat or some form of animal product with every meal. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this way of living, we had balanced and healthy meals the majority of the time. So, to take on Veganuary, this meant that I was going cold turkey (or tofurkey should I say). I didn't hate it! I actually enjoyed it. I've had some really lovely, nutritional meals - and some not so nutritional meals, on to this later. But most importantly, I will be taking forward more vegan/plant-based meals into my future diet.

2. Vegan food can be so tasty
This lesson follows nicely on from the first one. I cannot lie, I did have the (totally wrong) preconception that vegan food would be dull and just vegetables. On New Year's Eve,  my friends joked that I would be eating air for the month. Again, another wrong preconception of vegan food. I had a lentil cottage pie, chilli with soya mince, naan bread pizzas, mushroom spaghetti bolognese.... I could go on. All these meals were completely vegan and so tasty, which made the transition easier.

3. It's a myth that all vegan food is healthy
In lesson one, I alluded to some of the not so nutritional vegan meals that I have had this month. A chip sandwich and dry toast being some of them. When I hadn't prepped or pre-planned my meals, this is when it became hard and I reached for the frozen chips. What I learnt is that vegan food requires work and thought. Day one of Veganuary wasn't the best, I was hungover and at my friend's house - my fridge at home was full of vegan-friendly food, but I didn't think about taking any with me. Great start. Fast forward to dry toast for breakfast, McDonald's chips for lunch and (thankfully) a trip to the Harvester for dinner. At least it ended better than it started. But, it all shows that you can be just as unhelthy has a vegan - espeically when you google 'accidentally vegan foods'.

4. Google/recipe books are your best friends
On my own, I knew I wouldn't have a clue how to make tasty and nutritionally balanced meals. So, I purchased Lucy Watson's Feed Me Vegan after seeing it was reduced on Amazon. This book has been my lifeline this month. I have cooked a number of meals - some good, some bad - but ultimately, it gave me some ideas and direction. Google and Pinterest have been equally as useful for finding recipes or finding those accidentally vegan sweet treats.

5. Vegan cheese doesn't melt
It's a fact, or at least it doesn't melt like dairy cheese does. Also, vegan cheese isn't the same as dairy cheese, but Violife cheese is bearable.

6. I can go out to dinner with my friends and still be vegan
This Veganuary it seems like so many more restaurants have been getting on board. Prezzo, Pizza Express, Wagamama, Pizza Hut - I've all seen of them adding more vegan options to their menus. I joined my friends for a Pizza Hut this month to try out their vegan cheese pizzas (they use Violife cheese too). The pizza was so great - not the same as what my friends were eating - but it was a really nice alternative.

7. I can do anything I set my mind too
I really didn't think that I would be able to do it. I always say that I don't have any willpower, but I really do. And actually, I need to stop putting myself down.

So, what are my plans for the future? The honest answer is, I don't really know myself. I'm not going to throw any labels on myself, but I want to be more conscious. I plan to up the amount of plant-based meals that I am eating in the week and when I do eat animal products, I want to try and be more conscious about where I am buying it from and getting the best quality that I can afford.

Did you try Veganuary this year? Or maybe you're considering going vegan? I'd love to hear your thoughts and feedback in the comments - or find me on on Instagram and Twitter
Love, Kate xx


Sunday, 28 January 2018

Vegan Skincare: Green People

Vegan Skincare: Green People
If you've been following me on Instagram (shameless plug - its hard out there, ok!) you might have seen that I have been taking part in Veganuary this year. The lovely lot at Green People emailed me and asked if I wanted to try some of their products, in support of Veganuary. This was a new brand to me, so I was really excited to try them out and see what they are all about. 

Vegan Skincare: Green People

Green People have over 100 vegan products in their collection and they never test their products on animals. They pride themselves on using natural, pure and certified organic ingredients. In addition to all this good stuff, their products are free from SLS, parabens, petrochemicals and alcohol. Whilst I'm not perfect, I do try and use more natural products - my skin really loves me for it when I do.

Vegan Skincare: Green People

Green People Gentle Cleanse & Make-Up Remover

Gentle Cleanse & Make-Up Remover
This cleanser is a really lovely cream cleanser - making it perfect for a second cleanse. Saying that, it's also powerful enough to remove makeup on it's own - even waterproof mascara! I've been using it on its own and as a second cleanse to fully test it out. The formula is really creamy and it quickly breaks down makeup. It's alcohol-free, so it doesn't leave your skin feeling dry and tight. In terms of its ingredients, it includes Aloe Vera, Calendula, Shea butter, Squalane from Olive (to help moisture balance), Jojoba esters (softens the skin) & Rose Geranium. For a natural and gentle cleanser, this is really effective and quick at fully removing makeup. It's a must-have.

Green People Quinoa & Artichoke Shampoo & Conditioner

If you've read my blog before, you'll know I'm a sucker for hair volumising products. So, it's no surprise that I was really excited to receive these beauties. These products include quinoa protein to nourish the hair and artichoke to smooth out any frizz. In my experience, most volumising products don't really work for me. However, these ones are different. After just one wash, I really noticed a difference in my hair. It was fuller and more volumised from the roots. My hair also felt really nourished and soft. These are definitely products that I would recommend. 

Green People Peppermint & Aloe Vera Toothpaste

Peppermint & Aloe Vera Toothpaste
To be honest, I've never even considered natural toothpaste until receiving this product. I will usually just head to the supermarket and pick up anything that is on offer. I was watching one of Caroline Hirons YouTube videos and she was talking about how changing to a more natural toothpaste, free from SLS, helped to clear up some dermatitis around her mouth. I try to avoid SLS in my skincare, so it makes sense to apply this to my dental hygiene too. This was a pretty pleasant toothpaste. I didn't really notice much difference from my usual Colgate. The only issue I have is that my teeth are pretty weak, so I've been recommended to use a fluoride toothpaste. But other than this, it's a lovely product.

Green People Daily Aloe Shower Gel

Daily Aloe Shower Gel
Shower gel, it's one of life's necessities. I'm not brand loyal to shower gel, so I'm always happy to try whatever is on offer. Like I said before, I do try to be as natural as possible with my body/skincare products. This shower gel has a really lovely scent. I always shower before bed, so the lavender in this product makes a lovely addition to my bedtime routine. It's really calming and helps to promote sleep. After use, my skin feels clean and fresh and just lovely!

I've really loved trying out some of the products from Green People. It's definitely a brand that I am going to re-visit and try some more of their products. What are your favourite vegan brands? I'd love for you to share them with me in the comments, or find me on on Instagram/Twitter.
Love, Kate xx

This post contains PR samples, however, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, 14 January 2018

Simple Skincare: Hydrating Booster

Simple Skincare: Hydrating Booster

Now, I know it looks like I'm a bit late to the bandwagon with this product, but it's not that. Rest assured, I've been using this product for a good few months behind the scenes to give you my honest and real opinion of it. For me, I need to try out skincare for a good length of time to really see if the product has/hasn't worked for me. 

Simple is a brand that has been in my bathroom cabinet for as long as I can remember. Even back to my teen years, this has been a brand that I have loved. Probably because it as always been so affordable and actually works. The Hydrating Booster does exactly what it says on the...tine/tube/box?! It's a saviour for dry skin, giving an extra boost of moisture and hydration to your skin. A little of this product goes a really long way, with just a small amount needed to cover your whole face. The formula is really lightweight, so it doesn't leave your skin feeling slathered with moisturiser. I hate how moisturisers for dry skin tend to be so thick, heavy and sticky - not for me. 

Simple Skincare: Hydrating Booster

The Hydrating Booster can be used in three ways. As a hydrating priming layer before moisturiser, a booster to be added to your normal moisturiser or applied directly to very dry or dehydrated areas before applying moisturiser. I tried all the ways of using the product, but my favourite was to use it as a primer. The product sat really well underneath my normal moisturiser and didn't leave my skin feeling too heavy or congested. On no-makeup days when I want to let my skin breath, I have also used this product without following with a moisturiser. Even on its own, it leaves my skin feeling really nourished and hydrated. I really notice the difference in my skin when I haven't applied this product - it's definitely going to stay as part of my skincare routine. 

Have you used this product too? I'd love to hear your thoughts too. Let me know in the comments, or find me on on Instagram and Twitter. Here's to 2018 and another year of favourites. 
Love, Kate xx


Sunday, 7 January 2018

Goals for 2018

Oh Hello, Happy New Year!

Welcome back to another year in the world of Kate Morgan Cecilia. Last year, I really enjoyed setting myself some goals to focus on for the year, read the blog post here. Whilst I'm not one for resolutions - I always fail these - goals I seem to be much better at sticking too. At the end of the year, I love looking back on these goals and seeing how far I've come - you might have seen this in last weeks blog post.

All in all, 2017 was a pretty good year for me. I feel like I have grown as a person, I have a newfound sense of independence that I have never experienced before and the ability to put my happiness first. It was also a pretty good year for my blog - collaborations, events - all exciting stuff that I want continue with into this year. With that said, it's on to my goals for 2018:

1. Spend my time more meaningfully - instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media. Now, this obviously doesn't count the social media work that is required for my blog. But, it's the mindless scrolling that I do, particularly when watching TV or when I get home from work. It's completely pointless and such a waste of my time. This also leads nicely on to my second goal...

2. Getting up and straight out of bed on weekday mornings - no scrolling through my phone. This is honestly going to be the hardest goal, but it's something that I have wanted to break for a long time.    Before work, I'm going to plan to get up and out of bed as soon as my alarm goes off. Get myself ready for work and then look at my phone. There really is no need for me to get stuck in a social media hole before I have even got out of bed.

3. Travel more - this goal has been carried over from last year, as I wasn't so great at achieving it. So, for 2018, I want to travel to at least three new places. I already have Thailand booked so that just leaves two more new places - abroad or in the UK.

4. Complete Veganuary and work towards eating more vegan meals throughout the year - as you read this, I will be seven days into Veganuary. As a huge meat/animal produce eater, this will be a real challenge for me. I'm not sure how I will feel at the end of the month, but I really want to at least start eating less meat and more vegan/plant-based meals. I know it's better for the environment and better for my health in the long term.

5. Volunteer - throughout my time at University, I used to do a lot of volunteering. I really miss it. So, for this year I want to start volunteering again, giving something back. I'm not sure where, or what yet - but I'll be sure to keep you updated.

6. To keep growing Kate Morgan Cecilia - feels very strange to refer to myself in the third person, but Kate Morgan Cecilia, as in this - the blog. 2017 was a big year of growth and opportunities for me and my little blog. I want to continue this trend for 2018. To keep regular posts, daily updates on Instagram and more attention paid to my Twitter account.

7. To keep self-care a priority in my life - I did really well with this last year, and I really saw the benefits of doing so. I want to continue the trend I set last year - reading, pamper time etc - and add to it. Including, getting back into a routine with the gym and setting aside proper time for foam rolling/stretching/yoga.

Alongside these goals, I also want to continue some of the good work that I did last year, including:
- To continue organising my time well
- To keep ticking things off my 30 before I'm 30 list
- To continue making my happiness a priority
The last being my utmost priority and the one goal that all the other goals feed into.

I hope you are having a brilliant 2018 so far. I'd love for you to share some of your 2018 goals with me. Let me know in the comments, or find me on on Instagram and Twitter
Love, Kate xx

© Kate Morgan Cecilia | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig