Saturday, August 27, 2011

Vegan Inking!

Take a look at tattoo artist Joe Deegan's website. All his inks are vegan... and he owns a rescued lurcher!  I simply love his work, which was brought to my attention by the lovely tattooed beauty Glauce... budding journalist and vegan cupcake-baker extraordinaire :)  Beautiful stuff!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

"You Smell LUSH Today!"

Lush Cosmetics now have their own perfume range and all of them, bar one, are vegan!

I've never been a fragrance kinda girl in the past, I absolutely detest most perfumes on the market and having to walk through the perfume section of a large department store is one of my worst nightmares! I feel like I'm suffocating! Even Lush shops are rather overbearing for me, with all the smells mingling into one another it can be very overpowering and makes me sneeze and my eyes start watering... although, of course, I love their products and individually they smell divine.

While I was in town with my friend Katie the other day, she pulled out a Lush solid perfume from her bag and I could not stop sniffing my wrists all day after I tried some on! I just had to research them when I got home, and spent ages on their website reading all the descriptions of the various fragrances and the customers' reviews. I came to the conclusion that I simply HAD to go and buy the Vanillary and Love perfumes as they sounded really "me" - and I certainly wasn't wrong!

I am now particularly obsessed with the Love fragrance. I adore its rich, warm apple and cinnamon scents and subtle hints of citrus. Vanillary is gorgeous as well, and is much stronger and sweeter than Love. My friend's boyfriend says she smells like a cake shop when he picks her up after work, and that's hours after she's applied it! It does seem to stay on the skin for a long time, much longer than Love, which only seemed to last me half a day before I had to reapply. Gerry also seems to agree that Vanillary is like a cake shop in stick-format, as he keeps trying to lick it off my wrists whenever I'm wearing it!

What I like about these fragrances, is that they are quite unique in the fact that they can smell different at various stages of the day. For example, when I first applied Love, the smell of flowers and apples was quite apparent. Later on, the warmth of the cinnamon began to come through, then the citrus became stronger, before finally just a slight flowery scent before it vanished. From reading all the reviews online it seems most of these perfumes react differently on each individual person, which I think is quite unusual and also another favourable point seeing as it makes it more unique.

Both fragrances I purchased cost €8.00 each, which is quite a bargain because the solid perfumes have many advantages over the sprays. They are not as strong, not alcohol based so do not irritate your skin, and will not cause a lot of mess like bottles do when they spill in your bag.

Go HERE to view their full range of solid perfumes, and also their limited edition perfumes which are available in the Dublin stores for a select amount of time. Some of the fragrances (Dirty and Ladyboy in particular) apparently also appeal to men, so beware...... they may be stolen by male occupants of your household! Next time I get around to trying another perfume I think I'll go for the Ginger one :)

Another new Lush product that I have tried which is totally vegan is their Toothy Tabs. These are solid tablets of toothpaste that you crush between your teeth then as it begins to foam you brush your teeth with a wet toothbrush. I tried Ultrablast, and I can definitely say that due to the slight abrasive nature it really made my teeth feel cleaner than ever before! They cost €3.45 for a packet of 40 tablets, but the cheapest comes in at €2.50 for 40. They come in an array of different flavours and one that even helps whiten your smile :) I'm really not going to go back to tubes of toothpaste after trying these. I just love them, and also the fact that there's less packaging and they are also fluoride, SLS and preservative free! WIN!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Over the weekend I visited the superb Delhi O'Deli on Moore Street in Dublin twice. I just had to go back for more!

This little vegetarian and vegan Indian café is tucked away just off Henry Street, the main shopping area in Dublin, so it's very convenient if you are out in town for the day and want a small (or large!!) meal at an unbeatable price.

The menu is quite extensive, and it was difficult to choose from, but the dishes are so cheap you can order a few and try several different things without breaking the bank. Most dishes are around €2.45-2.95, and some are even cheaper! They also have daily specials for €5, for which you get a really decent amount of food.

On my first visit, with my lovely friend Katie, we were greeted with a smile and everything vegan on the menu was explained to us. There certainly was a lot that was already vegan or easily veganizable. I opted for the Papri Chaat (a mixture of homemade Indian crisps with chickpeas, potatoes, green chillies, chutney and fresh spices - without the yogurt) and the South Indian VADA Samber (lentil donuts in a spicy sauce served with coconut dip). 

The VADA Samber arrived first. Two large donuts in a sauce which was very flavoursome and not too spicy. My friend had the IDLI Samber which was the same kind of dish only the donuts were made mainly from boiled rice. It was a filling dish but I think the donuts were quite heavy and stodgy, but it was nice all the same. I was extremely impressed with the Papri Chaat though, the chutney was deliciously sweet and the puffy little crisps at the bottom provided an interesting texture. I really enjoyed this and wanted more! My friend had a paneer dish and she said it was the best Paneer she had ever tasted (and she is a big paneer fan).

We decided to get dessert as well (why not?!) and although the only dessert on the menu that was vegan was the Gajar Ka Halwa (carrot pudding drizzled with fruit and cardamom) I was also offered a plate of Soan Papdi - wonderful little sweet square biscuits with almonds and pistachios in them, which reminded me a little of a drier version of the Turkish Baklawa. They had boxes of Soan Papdi behind the counter for sale for €6, and I was very tempted to get one... but I knew I'd eat them all at once as they were just too good, so my tummy advised me otherwise! My friend had the Pistachio Kulfi, which is an Indian ice cream (but is not vegan) and she was also raving about this, saying it was the best kulfi she had ever had.

The chai tea that I ordered was very nice also, but unfortunately I cannot give an accurate opinion on this because the food was so spicy I couldn't actually taste the Chai!!!

On my second visit, I took my boyfriend. I was so eager to get eating that I don't think I gave him enough time to browse the menu so I think he would have chosen differently if he'd had more time. I really wanted to get the Papri Chaat again, which was as good as before, although had a little less chutney than last time. He ordered the same thing but with the yogurt. Unfortunately he didn't really like it, he said that the yogurt didn't mix well with the flavours of the chutney and he'd have preferred the vegan version. I shared my Onion Bhajis with him (such good value for €1.95 as there were two and they were huge!) which were the best bhajis I've ever tasted. They were light and fluffy, not at all like the dense bhajis I've had before in takeaways (or even some of my favourite Indian restaurants!). My boyfriend was very impressed with them too. He also got the Aloo Chaat which was a serving of shallow fried potato cubes in chutney and spices, and we ordered an Onion Parantha to share.

The Onion Parantha was.............. VERY HOT. I had to eat it all as my boyfriend just couldn't cope with it! It was soooo nice, but at the end of it I had to get him to ask for some water. I drank over half a large jug...! This is unusual for me as I rarely need to drink while I eat, and I am a big fan of spicy food. This though, really blew my mouth off, and my stomach was actually burning about an hour afterwards! I just can't believe that it was a breakfast item!! I'd be tempted to get it again though, if I could share it with someone and have a jug of water at the ready at the time of consumption!

We both ordered one of their non-alcoholic cocktails - a Strawberry Mojito, made with fresh strawberries and mint... and "loads of labour"! It was so good that I wanted another, but the whole "loads of labour" bit on the menu made me feel a bit guilty to ask them to go to the effort to make me more ;)

I just can't wait to go back there! I might try a five euro special next time, or go for the Chole Bhature, which is a dish of seasoned chickpeas with onions and cilantro, served with fried breads and served with salad and chutney. I think someone on the table opposite had this and it looked amazing!

The staff were so friendly and helpful, made us feel at home and were very helpful in explaining to us what was and was not vegan on the menu. I think I am going to keep returning here until I've tried everything vegan that they have to offer.............. and then I'm going to start from the beginning all over again ;)

Here's their Facebook page for those who are interested.