20 April 2013

I haven't written a Free From Food post in a little while so I thought I would share new discoveries with you today. The Allergy Free Cookbook was a gift for my Sister's birthday. I found it in Marks & Spencer. It looked very good as each recipe gave you options for adapting to different allergies. I thought I would give this Zest Vegan Basil Pesto a try. I've never eaten pesto because it is not usually dairy free.  Pictured below are a few other treats I picked up a my local health food store - tofu, Vegusto slices, raw chocolate mousse, nakd bar, vegan coconut bar, vegan cocktail sausages. My Tesco is now selling Trek flapjacks, the coconut one is delicious.

My friend recently visited the USA and bought me some Oreo cookies. A while back I wrote a blog post about the US ones being milk free. In the picture I was experimenting adding them to a milk shake along with my Mum's homemade dairy free coconut ice cream. I found McVities Mini Gingerbread Men via a mention on Twitter. These are vegetarian, contain gluten but may contain nuts, milk & soya. Beyond Dark chocolate is dairy free. I have previously tried the plain version but these have a hint of raspberry.

Sarah x

2 September 2012

Physicians formula organic wear pressed powder
I have a little haul shopping for you today.  I've been rummaging in TK Maxx again.  Its becoming an addiction.  My local stores have been a little disappointing recently I am hoping for a new influx of goods. I picked up Physicians Formula pressed powder which is 100% free from harsh chemicals, synthetic preservatives, paraben, GMO's, synthetic colours, synthetic fragrances and cruelty free.  

You know my other passion in life is food. I went to my newly discovered local independent health food store and purchased the goodies you see below.

free from and vegan food haul

Daymer Bay Ice Teas (Elderflower Green Tea & Mango), Amy's Kitchen Dairy Free Macaroni Cheeze, Clive's Pies (Mint Chickpea), Bessant & Drury Dairy Free Lemon Ice Cream, Fry's Pops, Edam Style Sheese, Lucy's Cinnamon Thins & Maple Bliss, The Living Food Kitchen Raw Pumpkin Pie and Organica Vegan Golden Coconut & Dark Chocolate Bars.

This week I also tried out Redwood's Meatless Feast Pizza (meat, egg & dairy free). This was better than the Mama Cucina Pizza because it's not gluten free and had a good amount of topping.  

Redwood's Meatless Feast Pizza

Yesterdays lunch time treat was a visit to GBK. Oh how I love a good falafel burger and a can of L&P. That sums up my Saturday. I hope everyone has been having a lovely weekend.

GBK Falafel Burger

That sums up my Saturday. I hope everyone has been having a lovely weekend.

Sarah x

16 September 2012

Brighton UK Beach seaside
When the sun is shining the best way to spend the day is at the seaside. My Blogger friend Alice and Dairy Free friend Nicola (@N1C79) tempted me head to Brighton with the promise of dairy free/vegan treats at our destination. First stop was Infinity Foods and the girls were right I was in heaven. It certainly was a treasure trove of treats. Plenty of free from and Vegan foods to keep me happy with a bakery out back catering for Vegan, Vegetarian and Gluten Free customers. Here’s what I picked up - Organic Amisa Rice Milk Chocolate Coconut Rice Crackers, the new flavours from Nakd (Rhubarb & Custard & Caffe Mocha), The Raw Chocolate Co Vanoffe Dairy Free bar, Clif Bars (Chocolate Almond Fudge & Crunchy Peanut Butter), Clive’s Soyaroll, Primal Meatless Jerky Strip (Thai peanut) and Infinity Food Vegan Mayonnaise.
Infinity Foods Brighton UK
Next stop was lunch.  I actually had a little list of eateries that would cater for me. They included  Food for FriendsWai Kika Moo Kau Terre a Terre Pizza Face.   In the end we went around the corner from Infinity Foods to visit their Vegetarian/Vegan Cafe.  I had a Vegan BLT sandwich and the Boyfriend had Chickpea Dahl with Baked Potato.  It was delicious and very exciting to have this much freedom. The Vegan Mayo was by far the best I have tasted so I went back to the shop and brought a jar.

The next stop was Nicola's recommendation.  We visited Boho Gelato an ice cream parlour that also has dairy free options.  They refer to it as Sorbet but it’s unlike any sorbet I have tasted.  Creamy and soft like ice cream not watery and icy.  I had seven flavours to choose from and I selected Grape and Lychee.  I cannot put into words the pure delight to be able to eat ice cream at the seaside, something which most people take for granted.

Boho Gelato Brighton UKThe rest of the day was spent lapping up the sunshine and browsing the shops.  I brought a lovely picture on the seafront from Zorian Artworks.  This quirky image captured my imagination. The Ducks collection is "documenting the true story of a cargo of rubber ducks, lost at sea 15 years ago in the Pacific ocean and their epic voyage around the world,riding the currents and storms, before reaching landfall in Scotland."
Zorian Artworks
In a nut shell that was my Saturday.  I came home with sore feet and a happy belly.

Sarah x

21 October 2013

I took up a promotional offer from Vegusto. In case you are not familiar with the brand it is Vegan/Vegetarian and suitable for people who are dairy intolerant, following a low cholesterol diet, gluten intolerant, low fat diets and kosher or halal diets.

I had previously tasted some of their products at the Free From & Allergy Show but to be honest I was not impressed. I always hear praise for their dairy free cheese so I thought I would have another try in the comfort of my own kitchen. 

I bought the Starter Pack (£10 for new customers) which contained
  • No Moo Melty Cheese Alternative 200g x 1
  • Mushroom Burgers 70g x 2
  • Mild Aromatic Cheese Alternative 90g x 1
  • Piquant Cheese Alternative 90g x 1
  • Farmhouse Sausage 115g x 1
My favourites from the pack were the Mild Aromatic Cheese and No Moo Melty. I felt the mushroom burgers and sausage were average and the Piquant cheese was not to my taste. No Moo Melty has been lovely to use on pizza and in sandwich toasties. It has a very mild, creamy flavour and it is by far the best dairy free cheese I have discovered for melting. The mild aromatic is very enjoyable on crackers, something which I have missed over the years.

The downside for me is availability and price. Postage for online orders is understandably expensive because these are perishable goods that need a speedy service. My local health food store is a stockist but it is hit and miss as to what will be on the shelves. Vegusto is double the price of other dairy free cheeses (Sheese, Tofutti and Cheezly) which I buy regularly. Although my non-dairy free friends have told me that dairy cheese is a similar price to Vegusto so I should stop complaining :-)

I recommend the starter pack if you are curious about Vegusto. I could certainly be persuaded to buy No Moo Melty again but I would consider it a treat rather than a regular purchase.

Have you tried Vegusto cheeses or any other product from their range? 

18 April 2015

Free From Product Nakd, Choc Shot, Tesco Cones, Go Nuts!

It's been a good few weeks in the Sugarpuffish household, discovering new to me free from foods has been very exciting and I have been tracking them down.

21 January 2014

ilumi Dairy, Gluten & Nut Free Ready Meals

UPDATE - ilumi contacted me via Twitter to say they control for 14 allergens. I pointed out that this information needed to be clearer on the website as they only appear (from my viewpoint) to promote GF, DF & NF

UPDATE 29.01.16 - it has come to light that ilumi will no longer guarantee free from nuts. Please consult with them if you have concerns.

Ilumi are expanding their product range and they contacted me, asking if I would like to try the Lentil Dahl. I ended up receiving several products which included Spicy Butternut Squash Soup, Vegetable & Chickpea Jalfrezi and Spanish Style Rice & Vegetables.

I discovered ilumi at the Allergy & Free From Show 2013. They offer a range of convenience meals guaranteeing to be free of nut, gluten & milk. If you have other allergies, do not dismiss them entirely because you maybe in luck. The search function at the top of the shopping page allows you to filter the range of foods based on what you want to exclude. You can also narrow by vegetarian or vegan.

Reviewing foods is difficult because personal taste is involved, what I like you may dislike and vice versa. Out of the products I received the Butternut Squash Soup was my favourite. Vegan/dairy free soup is very difficult to track down at the supermarket, until Amy's Kitchen arrived I was making my own soup. Nothing wrong with that but sometimes I lack time or space in the freezer and I like to keep tinned soup in the cupboard for rainy days. I shy away from spicy food so I did worry the soup may not be to my liking but I found the chilli content to be mild and palatable. The soup had a nice consistency, not too thin, not too thick. It looked and tasted natural and fresh. 

When it comes to ready meals, I regularly buy Amy's Kitchen products, (Red Thai Curry & Vegetable Korma) from my local shop. I tend to favour curries which are mild, sweet and fruity so I'm not surprised that I found the Vegetable & Chickpea Jalfrezi and Lentil Dahl palatable but not tantalising to my taste buds. I wouldn't be inclined to purchase these for myself.

This is the second time I've tried the Spanish Rice as I was given a sample at the Allergy show. I have to be honest, I am not the biggest fan. I find it too sloppy and would rather it be a little drier and more along the lines of paella or risotto, just a little less sauce. I also find that paprika is the stand out flavour on my taste buds, not a bad thing but seems to overwhelm the other ingredients.

ilumi Dairy, Gluten & Nut Free Ready Meals

I commend ilumi for tackling an area of the free from market which has been lacking for many years. Putting ingredients on the front of the packaging is innovative and I wish more free from companies did this. I can not make up my mind whether I would order from ilumi because I do find the Vegetarian/Vegan range limited. I also have allergies which are outside the top 8 so this limits my choices even more. From where I'm sitting I think ilumi heavily promote towards the gluten free market. I feel Coeliacs are their target audience rather than me, the Vegetarian with every allergy but Gluten. I think if ilumi expanded their veggie soup range I would be more inclined to order because that is where the supermarkets let me down. During the colder weather I feel there is a place for ilumi in my lunchbox when I'm up for braving the scummy microwave at work. I can also see this as a handy option for camping or self catering holidays as the pouches have a long shelf life and do not require refrigeration. 

Prices are reasonable, the products I tasted are between £1.50 to £2.75 each and currently UK delivery is Free. Meals are 100% natural and do not contain any preservatives, additives, fillers, flavourings or sweeteners. Have you tried ilumi? What did you think of the products and range?

Sarah x
Disclaimer - PR Samples, 100% my own opinions, links are not affiliated

19 July 2015

Review Moral Fibre handmade bites 100% natural, gluten & dairy free

Moral Fibre have already got a couple of mentions on the blog as I bought some of their snacks at the Allergy & Free From Show. I had spotted them a while back in a local store but the flavours I wanted to try were out of stock. I was excited to sample at the show and I’ve actually bought more since my visit.

5 August 2012

Remember Free From food was magically appearing in the fridge? Well, my Boyfriend took me to his secret supplier.  Turns out it was an independent health food shop hidden down a side street in a town I visit regularly. Let me tell you this little place is an Aladdin's cave of treats. I spent the whole time says "oh look they have this and I've been looking for that for ages".
Sunday Catch Up - Daymer Bay Ice Tea & Lucy's Biscuits
I brought Sojade Pineapple dairy free yoghurt, Amaizin Organic Paprika Corn Chips, CoYo dairy free pineapple yoghurt, Taifun Rosso Tofu, Lucy's Cinnamon Thin biscuits and Daymer Bay Mango Ice Tea.

I have mixed reviews on these products. Lucy's cinnamon thins were amazing and I have never had free from biscuits which compare so well to the real thing. Big massive thumbs up from me. The Paprika corn chips were nice, it's always good to find flavoured crisps without dairy.  Daymer Bay ice tea was delicious best one I have tasted in a long time. I always think the Americans make ice tea better than us but this was perfect for me. The Sojade yoghurt was not to my liking. Very poor taste, in fact rather strange. I always buy these things and ask myself why do I stray from Alpro, you cannot beat them on taste. 
The big disappointment came from CoYo. I had been searching for this product for months after finding it on Twitter. Dairy free yoghurt is a daily staple. To combine that with my all time favourite food coconut is very exciting in my world.  Imagine my shock when I opened the pot to see small spots of mould on the lid.  I tweeted about this and I received the following email from the Director.

I received your tweet today and I wish you had come to me direct. I am very sorry you have experienced this and if I know where you bought the product, flavour and date on the product I can look into this. We some times have sporadic cases where the product has this issue and this can be down to many things, it is a natural product, we add no preservatives and with the time of year the environment can play a part. The other thing is the chain of refrigeration. We recommend the product be stored below 4 degrees, some shops have open refrigeration units that are running at over 8 degrees, therefore making a perfect temperature for moulds to grow. I am sorry you have experienced this and if you have not tried us before I don’t want you to be left with a bad impression and would like to send you some fresh CO YO to review.

It is a shame that CoYo stockists are the cause of this problem. This product does not come cheap so I was rather annoyed that I had to throw it away. I also decided not to accept further products for review.

Natural Wisdom
Natural Wisdom is back in business so go check out the website . At the moment when you register you will receive £5 off your first order.  Maeve has also set up a reward scheme to use toward future purchases. I ordered the Rosehip & Pomegranate Antioxidant Cream Cleanser in Natural Unscented (there are four fragrance options). The entire range is free from synthetic ingredients and 100% natural.

Sarah x

3 October 2017

Vegan Food, Ben & Jerry's, The White Rabbit Pizza Co, Booja Booja, Liberty Loves, Norah's Brownies, Livia's Kitchen, Freaks of Nature
Top to Bottom Left to Right - Tesco Free From Mac & Cheese, Ben & Jerry's, The White Rabbit Pizza Co, Booja Booja, Liberty Loves Brownie, Liberty Loves Raw Tart, Norah's Brownies, Livia's Kitchen, Freaks of Nature

It seems in recent weeks that lots of new Vegan products have launched into the major supermarkets, alongside this I've managed to pick up a few more from independent shops. Most of this stuff I post to my Instagram or Facebook but I figure why not share on here as well.

Tesco Free From Mac & Cheese - its nice to see Tesco add a vegan/vegetarian option to their free from ready meal range. Personally, I found the sauce a little on the runny side and the taste was ok, mildly cheese-y at best but it could be better. Before now the only other vegan mac & cheese I have eaten regularly is from Amy's Kitchen and in comparison I think it's richer in flavour.

Ben & Jerry's Non-Dairy Ice Cream - its been a long wait but finally these have launched in the UK, at time of writing I think Tesco is the only stockist? We've got three flavours to choose from chocolate fudge brownie, chunky monkey and peanut butter & cookies. The latter I got my hands on and it's simply the stuff of dreams, I love it but at £5.50 a tub this is a real treat. The downside is the ethical dilemma that Ben & Jerry's is part of Unilever and I can't decide how I feel about this. I've lusted over dairy Ben & Jerry since it first came to the UK. It's the creativity of flavours that captures my interest. You have to remember that for a long time there was no dairy free ice cream and then there was only vanilla. I can live without the two other flavours but someone from a more ethical brand needs to get on the non-dairy PB cookie so I can buy guilt free. 

The White Rabbit Pizza Co - when news of a Vegan pizza was coming to Sainsbury's I've pretty much been stalking my store. Sadly, I was really disappointed and it was the base that let me down. It was too hard on the edge and soggy in the middle. I cooked it exactly to the instructions. The toppings and tomato sauce were ok. Sorry White Rabbit but I'll continue making my own.

Booja Booja Ice Cream - I've never been a fan of the original ice cream but this new Caramel Pecan Praline is delicious and creamy. The small tubs are fab because it's a little treat on the go. I bought this at Country Foods Health Food Shop in Swanage and enjoyed eating it on the beach. The simple pleasures, normally I watch my husband enjoy a 99 while I cry on the inside.

Liberty Loves from Cariad Wholefoods - Annie opened her shop a year ago and I finally got to visit. Cariad Wholefoods stock organic, natural, eco-friendly and cruelty free products plus everything is Vegan. I've lusted over the instagrams for Liberty Loves so I knew I had to try them. I bought the Raspberry Brownie and Raw Chocolate Peanut Butter Tart. Raspberry and chocolate is my favourite combination so the brownie was an obvious choice and it was absolutely delicious. I found the tart a little too rich for me but tasty. 

Norah's Brownies - I've met some lovely people in my blogging journey and when Emma won a comp (which Nicola had tagged us in) she was such a sweetheart and shared her winnings with us.  My brownies were gluten free and vegan and absolutely delicious, super rich and moist. The Raspberry & Sesame and Banoffee were my favourites from the four in my box.

Livia's Kitchen - I'd heard a lot about this brand so was interested to see Sainsbury's stocking snack packs of Salted Date Caramel Millionaire Bites and Biccy Boms (which I am yet to try). The millionaire bites were a really nice treat, not an exact dupe for the real ones but a close match given the ingredients. There were 3 bites in the packet. These are gluten free and Vegan.

Freaks of Nature - I had previously tried the Mango Fandango and Zingy Thingy and whilst enjoyable I hadn't gone back for more. I thought I'd give Cocoa Loca a whirl and this is definitely my favourite. Reminds me a little of Pudology as it's a rich chocolate ganache. Freaks of Nature desserts are vegan and free from gluten, dairy, eggs and soya. They do contain nuts as made from cashews. I buy these products at Tesco.

Have you tried any of the foods I've mentioned? What are your favourites?

Sarah x

9 February 2013

As you know I like to randomly blog free from foods I have discovered. Let's start with Beyond Dark 70% Chocolate. I found these tucked away on the bottom shelf with the fancy chocolate in Sainsbury's. I had been on the look out after hearing about them on Twitter. The bag size is 35g with small chocolate drops/buttons, similar size to Moo Free. I'm not a lover of dark chocolate but these were not too bitter. Downside for me is these are teeny tiny buttons. When I eat chocolate I'm like the Cookie Monster, I want something to sink my teeth into. Beyond Dark are suitable for vegetarians and vegans, free from nuts, wheat, gluten and dairy. 

I found RW Garcia 3 seed veggie dipping chips in the free from section at Tesco. These are delicious with or without dips. They are dairy and gluten free. The flavours within this bag are spinach & garlic, beetroot & onion and carrot & tomato. Price wise they are comparable to posh crisps (£1.99). Anything that ends up in the Free From section is going to cost more, comes with the territory.

Being egg and dairy free does kind of suck when it comes to treats in my lunch box. I randomly found Crosse & Blackwell fruit jelly. Yes, I know they are for kids but who cares. They are suitable for Vegetarians. Lastly, we have some American Muffin Co. Ltd flapjacks I found in Waitrose. I've not tasted them yet but they are gluten, wheat, dairy, egg free and suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

Sarah x

28 July 2016

Afternoon Tea Vegan and Gluten Free at The Aviator Hotel in Farnborough
I was recently invited for Afternoon tea at The Aviator Hotel in Farnborough, Hampshire. For those not familiar with Farnborough it is best known for its history with aviation. The hotel is a short walk from the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust Museum and overlooks the airport. I recently accepted an invitation to try The Aviator’s Afternoon Tea and was delighted to learn that they can cater for specific dietary requirements – vegetarian, gluten free, nut free and dairy free. With my allergies I opted for a Vegan menu, sadly my sister (who is coeliac) was unable to join me so a friend, Kate stepped in to sample the Gluten free.

Afternoon tea is served in the Sky Bar which is contemporary and stylish in decor. The room has a luxurious feel and relaxing environment. The Staff were friendly and welcoming throughout our stay and talked us through everything stage of the afternoon tea experience.

Afternoon Tea Vegan and Gluten Free at The Aviator Hotel in Farnborough
Afternoon tea is served in the Sky Bar which is contemporary and stylish in decor. The room has a luxurious feel and relaxing environment. The Staff were friendly and welcoming throughout our stay and talked us through everything stage of the afternoon tea experience.

After a glass of champagne we were offered a choice of teas ranging from traditional black tea to herbal fruit infusions. I’ll admit I’m not much of a tea drinker but when taking part in occasions like this I prefer fruit teas. After being guided through the Jing tea selection I opted for Blackcurrant and Hibiscus. The teas are loose leaf and served in contemporary glass teapots. 

We were given time to enjoy a cup and then sandwiches arrived. For my friend, gluten free bread with traditional fillings of ham, fish and of course cucumber. Whereas, I had fillings of tomato chutney, onion jam, beetroot and cucumber. We did feel that the sandwiches didn’t quite match up to the contemporary feel of the hotel and were expecting something a little bit more adventurous but none the less they were tasty. The only criticism I have at this stage would be the delay in getting a second serving, staff explained the time being taken was due to the sandwiches being made fresh to order.

Afternoon Tea: Vegan and Gluten Free at The Aviator Hotel in Farnborough
Top Right - Gluten Free Sandwiches; Botton Right - a selection of Jing teas; Bottom Left - Vegan Sandwiches
When it comes to dietary needs, dessert is certainly where the challenge is for most chefs and I have to say the Aviator did an impressive job. Remember we were being offered milk, egg, vegetarian and gluten free. It was nice to see that between myself and my friend our choices only varied a little. This I assume may also help from a cross contamination perspective. We both agreed that the brownie was our favourite. It was a rich indulgent chocolate and wonderfully moist. As someone with a milk allergy, I was delighted to see “cream” on my desserts, that’s an attention to detail which makes me very happy. Kate says she enjoyed the macaroon and chocolate mousse topped with pistachios. For me, the panna cotta was an interesting addition to the dessert plate, having never tried the traditional version I have little to compare it to but was enjoyable. If I am honest, I would have quite liked to have seen a vegan version of the chocolate dessert, after all Pudology make one. 

Sadly the scones were disappointing but to be fair I have yet to find any establishment that can achieve like for like when it comes to making dairy and gluten free scones. It’s a tricky one but what I have noticed is that “free from” scones are best served straight from the oven as I think they lose moistness when left to cool. At another hotel the scones were wrapped in cloth napkins to retain the warmth and that did help. Alternatively, my advice would be to eat your scones as soon as they are served and not leave them to the end as we did. 
Afternoon Tea: Vegan and Gluten Free at The Aviator Hotel in Farnborough
Top Right & Left - Vegan Desserts; Bottom Right & Left - Gluten Free Desserts
Overall, we enjoyed our Afternoon Tea at The Aviator Hotel and whilst there is room for improvement, I am always pleased to see more venues catering for those who require special diets. It is nice to feel welcomed when dining out because it can be a nervous experience for many, a great deal of trust is placed with the Chef and catering staff. If you have allergies or are coeliac it is always advisable to call ahead and discuss your needs so you can feel confident that you will be look after. Based on my experience, I am happy to suggest a visit to the Aviator Hotel whether you have dietary needs or not.

Sarah x

Disclaimer – Afternoon Tea was provided free of charge 

13 November 2021

12 Christmas Gift Ideas including sustainable stocking fillers and secret Santa gifts
(Unpaid/previously gifted items included/from Press Release or my own research)

Butterwhips Christmas Gift Set (Purple)
A duo of balms to help you relax and unwind. Warmly Relaxing is aromatic with bergamot and lavender to relax the body and Planted Feet contains peppermint and black spruce to ease tired feet and soften skin.

3 x Caroboo bars packaged in a bright cracker cardboard case. A treat for all but especially those with dietary requirements as these carob bars are gluten free, dairy free and vegan.

A luxury brand with results driven skincare using ethically sourced and organic ingredients. The recyclable Miron glass packaging looks beautiful but also protects the integrity of the ingredients. The range consists of two facial oils, an eye elixir, powder-to-foam cleanser and a facial steam. I personally can recommend the Soothe Facial Elixir as I've tested it for myself, it has been formulated for dry, sensitive and inflamed skin.

A new conditioner bar to complement the fragrance free shampoo bar, The Sensitive One. It can be purchased full size, as part of a gift set (with the shampoo bar) or discovery size (30g - great for a stocking filler). Kind2 bars are vegan, plastic free, palm free, UK made and they plant a tree with every order.

Nourish have launched a beautiful new collection of gift sets. I have choosen to mention The Antioxidant Duo caught. This set contains Antioxidant Multi-Tasking Super Balm a cleanser, mask and intensive moisturiser and Antioxidant Peptide Mist, a make-up primer, hydrating skin protector and night-time soothing skin repair boost. Products are presented in a reusable fair trade organic cotton bag from Freeset.

As a skincare enthusiast with sensitivity to perfumes I'm often told I'm tricky to buy for, well not any more, it seems people forget that Fragrance Free is always an alternative option. This Body Care gift contains Fragrance Free Body Butter and 2 x 65g Oatmeal Handcrafted Soap slices

An adorable stocking filler and plastic free alternative to Kinder Surprise. Each box contains organic chocolate (which is vegan, dairy, nut and gluten free) plus a 3D puzzle and fun facts card to play with, learn with and collect. You can also purchase their chocolate separately if buying for older children and adults. I'm happy to recommend as I had a free sample at a Vegan Fair, the 'milk' chocolate is delicious and creamy.

A range of gift sets are available from Pure Thoughts. I've picked out the Peaceful Moments Gift Box which comprises of a Peace Meditation Candle, Lavender & Lemon Natural Handmade Soap and Lavender & Sweet Orange Mineral Bath Soak. This set offers a calming blend of essential oils to help soothe a tired mind and body.

The range includes Bamboo Cutlery Set, Bamboo Straw Set and Bamboo Toothbrush. The cutlery and straw sets come with cotton carry pouches available in 8 designs. A total of 20p from every purchase is donated to 100 Tons of Plastic, a charity aiming to remove plastic waste from shores and seas while raising awareness about plastic pollution globally. Bamboo products are BPA-Free, sustainable, biodegradable, recyclable and compostable. A perfect gift for anyone interested in living a sustainable lifestyle.

Formulated with gentle hydrosols rather than essential oils which makes Seilich more suitable for sensitive skin. Over 80% of the ingredients are grown in their wildflower meadow in Scotland, in addition to having Wildlife Friendly Certification. Several gift options are available and I've selected the Treatment Set containing three products which work together - a meadow face mask, meadow face oil and a seasonal hydrosol.

A present that fits through the letterbox is ideal for long distance gifting. The Self Care set contains Bath Salts in a kraft pouch enough for 2-3 baths, lip butter, fragrant wax melts, a Pukka tea bag and Green and Black Dark Chocolate

A discovery I made this year was the Bright Spark Enzyme Oil and it made a long lasting impression. It's a lightweight facial serum to help soothe and balance skin. A brilliant element to Wildefruit formulations is they use upcycled ingredients. This oil includes papaya, strawberry and blackcurrant seeds from jam and juice production that would otherwise go to waste.

Sarah x

21 April 2015

natural and organic skincare discovered at Natural & Organic Products Europe 2015
On Sunday I was able to attend the Natural & Organic Products Europe Event thanks to Viridian. It’s a trade only show which covers everything from skincare, wellbeing and food. This was my idea of heaven and in keeping with my blog theme so it was worth the trip up to Excel, London. I was also able to spend the day with fellow Green Bloggers Amber and Ailish.

19 December 2014

There has been something which has been bugging me for a little while. Tesco own brand Free From range recently had a little make over. I do like the new bold allergy labels (pictured above) but I have been scratching my head over the dairy free and milk free logo. As far as I am concerned dairy and milk free means the same e.g exclusion of milk, so I am curious why Tesco are labelling products in this way.

It crossed my mind if it had something to do with a common misconception that egg falls under dairy. This is certainly a misunderstanding which I have encountered over the years. Tesco are using a separate logo for egg free/contains egg. As someone with an egg allergy, I am very pleased to finally see labelling which is upfront and a quick reference to guide me to products. Could it be that free from dairy is another way of saying there is no animal milk in a product, a catch all term for anyone not only avoiding cows milk but also sheep and goat etc? I have been considering if this logo confuses non-allergic shoppers, if a friend bought me the chocolate bar would they worry about whether it was suitable for me?

What do you think? Am I making a fuss over nothing or are you as confused as I am?

Sarah x

2 April 2015

Vegan Dairy Free Creme Egg
I have tried a Cadbury creme egg, not the wisest of decisions I ever made but I was a desperate fool in my youth. Thanks to the increased popularity of vegan food a whole new world of dairy free treats have become available to me. Every Easter I am making up for lost time by treating myself to a dairy free egg and now I can add dairy free/vegan creme eggs to my shopping list.

I bought my first creme egg from Vegan Tuck Box and at a random guess they were probably supplied by The Chocolate Wendy House. The fondant was sweet with a good consistency but the chocolate was a little on the dark and bitter side for my personal taste. The second egg came from Consider It. I am already a fan of their truffle bars having bought from them a couple of times. For me the chocolate on their egg was better quality and a softer taste. The fondant also had a good consistency and a nicer taste than the first egg.

In the Vegan creme egg crackdown it’s definitely no yoke Consider It is egg-cellent :D

Sarah x

22 April 2012

Vegan mac and cheese
I suddenly had the desire to make a vegan and dairy free mac & cheese so I've been experimenting to see what I can come up with. I don't think this dish was ever a staple in our home growing up so I'm not sure why I had a craving. There are loads of recipes online and it was difficult to settle on just one so in the end I got creative and used them for inspiration. I decided to make a simple bechamel white sauce using dairy free margarine, flour and plant milk. 

Here's the quantities I used it made a reasonable portion for one person or smaller servings for two people.

50g/2oz margarine/butter
50g/2oz plain flour
750ml/1¼ pints milk
50g/2oz vegan cheese, grated

80g-100g (per person) macaroni
Seasoning - salt, pepper, garlic, nutritional yeast, paprika - basically choose whatever you like to taste!
Vegan mac and cheese

I cooked up the macaroni according to the packet instructions whilst this was happening in another saucepan  I melted the margarine then added the flour and cooked over the heat for one minute. Gradually whisk in the plant milk (I used Soya), whisking until thickened. When the sauce was the right consistency I stirred in lots of finely grated dairy free cheese, pepper and paprika. I added cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce, gave it a stir then transferred to an over proof dish.  I topped it with a handful of grated cheese and a sprinkle of paprika. Next I popped dish in the oven for about 10-15 minutes to melt the cheese topping and heat through.  I took it out the oven when the top was crispy and I could see the sauce bubbling. Hey Presto I had made tasty dairy free mac n cheese.

Sarah x

29 May 2014

Vegan cooked breakfast

When a press release for the 'Free From' Eating Out Awards arrived in my inbox, it couldn't have come at a more appropriate time. I spent the Bank Holiday weekend away from home and the hotel breakfast was what I like to affectionately call "allergy roulette". I admit, I didn't want to cause a fuss, we rocked up at the end of service, so I made do based on my instincts rather than identifying myself as "the weird customer with allergies". Funniest moment was asking the Wait Staff if dairy free milk was available and getting the response "no, but we have soya milk". Bless, I will say that English probably wasn't their first language so I guess things got lost in translation, which I can forgive to a certain extent. A Vegetarian cooked breakfast was available so I did some guess work and adapted it to Vegan (dairy & egg free). First attempt at this breakfast had to be returned as I was served bacon and sausages. The Continental breakfast buffet was a no go zone. Unlabelled cereals, what a headache, I would have had to ask staff to show me ingredients for ten cereals to determine which ones I could eat and frankly I can't be bothered with that. I declined toast because these days milk keeps sneaking up on me in bread.

This experience certainly wasn't a one off and it is why I will follow the 'Free From' Eating Out Awards with great interest. My experience at the hotel was a prime example of the frustrations when trying to enjoy a meal away from home. Those who have allergies/intolerances are often faced with limited choices on menus and the food service industry lacks understanding about food allergy and coeliac disease.

The awards are being launched to coincide with the build up to the new Food Information Regulations (FIRs) coming into force in December 2014. These will require all food service outlets to provide accurate information about any of the 14 major allergens in the food that they serve. The 'Free From' Eating Out Awards are designed to raise awareness of the opportunities offered to food service providers by the growing numbers of those either needing, or choosing, to eat ‘free from’. The new awards will celebrate not only imaginative and exciting gluten, dairy and egg free menu offerings but good allergen awareness, both in the kitchen and front of house.

Perhaps you know of a good place to eat that caters for allergies and coeliacs, may be you should encourage them to enter these awards? Tell them to visit Free From Eating Out Awards site and follow the links. The awards open for entry on the 27th May and close on the 31st August. Categories include: Restaurants and hotel restaurants, Pubs and pub restaurants, Caf├ęs, coffee shops and ‘take-aways’, Guest houses and B&Bs, Schools, Not for profit services: hospitals, prison services & the military, Food manufactured for food service. A shortlist will be published in mid September. The presentations will take place on November 19th at the Food Matters Live Event at Excel.

Sarah x

25 June 2013

Beauty is my main love but since allergies are a part of my life it is only fair that my second love food gets a mention on my blog. To be honest, I haven’t invested in any new skincare products recently so I am actually in need of some things to review. Anyway, once again a shout out to the Allergy & Free From Show (I promise I am not sponsored by them) which is where I picked up Venice Bakery UK pizza bases for me and my sister. I can have regular pizza bases but was keen to try these out of curiosity because my twitter feed has been chirping about how good they are. 

So what is special about these bases? Well, they are gluten, wheat, dairy, egg and soy free. Now I have experienced a gluten free pizza base many years ago and I do not have fond memories. The Venice bases are really something special, if I had blind tasted them I think I would not have thought they were gluten free. I am really impressed and that’s coming from someone whose favourite pizza is Papa John’s (I order them cheese-less in case you are wondering). 

The bases come in small (5 inch) or large (12 inch), plain or seasoned. I bought the small size (plain) and they are perfect snack size, similar in size to those microwavable ones. The price is not bad considering the mark up which is standard with free from food.

Even though I am not gluten free (only dairy & egg free) I’d consider buying these if they became readily available (at the moment I believe they are only available to order online). You can freeze the bases, I have done this and it has not affected the quality. I can see why these are a big hit with Coeliacs. Now all we need is some decent dairy free cheese and all will be right with the world once againHave you tried Venice Bakery pizza bases?

Sarah x

24 September 2011

Time for an update on content as my original post featured foods no longer available however this is not true for all as you can still buy Moo Free Caramelised Hazelnut bar and Amy's Kitchen Bean & Rice Burrito

Moo Free dairy free chocolate has changed branding over the years and the range has expanded. You'll find products in most supermarkets and independent retailers. Aside from the original bars they now produce choocy drops, Easter Eggs and Advent Calendars. These days I prefer their novelty Mini Moos and baking drops over the original bars. Moo Free is great for kids and anyone missing sweet taste of milk chocolate.

I'm still a fan of Amy's Kitchen and most supermarkets stock their ready meals and other items from the range. I'm a big fan of their soups as this is probably one food that is hard to find milk free as creamy soups are very popular judging by the shelves. I regularly enjoy the lentil, split pea and hearty Italian soups. The vegan burrito can be harder to find so I've not eaten this one in a long time, it's the dairy cheese version which stores seems to regularly stock. With the ready meals I occasionally enjoy the Chinese Noodles & Veggies and Black Bean and Vegetable Enchilada. 

Next time you are grocery shopping keep an eye out for these products and try them for yourself. Moo Free is located in the Free From section. Amy's Kitchen ready meals are frozen and the soups are located on the Free From shelves or with other mainstream brands e.g Heinz, Batchelors etc.

Sarah x

4 May 2014

Violife Dairy Free Pizza Cheese
I have suffered cheese envy for many years but now thanks to the popularity of Vegan alternatives, I am enjoying embracing this food group once more. As time goes on the quality of alternatives is improving. My latest find is Violife thanks to my local independent organic store. Seriously I was like a kid on Christmas morning and have gone into cheese overload. Que making lots of pizza and dusting off the sandwich toaster.
Violife Dairy Free Pizza Cheese
Violife is the cheese of my dreams, it melts like snow on a warm day. In my world, that's pretty amazing. It also has a nice creamy taste, I dare not say whether it's as good as dairy cheese because my memories are a bit dusty. However, I think it is pretty similar to Vegusto No Moo Melty.

Violife is also available in blocks, slices and creamy (aka spreadable) in a variety of flavours. Since drafting out this post I have gone ahead and bought the Tomato & Basil slices. I paid £2.10 for the pizza cheese but I have seen it in another store for a few pennies cheaper. Violife is suitable for vegetarians & vegans, dairy, lactose, gluten, soya and palm oil free.

UPDATE: Tesco Extra Stores stock Original in block and slices.

Sarah x


Sugarpuffish. Theme by STS.