The Classic Trench Coat (In Pink!) | Fashion

It feels like for months now I’ve been seeing people post pictures of themselves casually strolling in bare legs and the cutest little Spring and Summer outfits. I can’t help wondering if Instagrammers who hit 10k followers get a ray of warm sunshine along with the ability to post links, because every time I’ve looked out the window it’s been raining sideways and all I’ve wanted to wear is my festive Christmas pyjamas because: Fleecy.

Thank goodness then for a bit of sunshine this week so that I could finally join in the fun and debut my new Spring coat. I bought it over a month ago and was so excited about my purchase that I couldn’t wait to show it off. However although it’s fully lined it’s quite a light material so I’ve been waiting for the temperatue to hit double digits.

The Classic Trench Coat (In Pink!) | Fashion

Isn’t it a beauty? I found it on ASOS and was so happy to find it available in Petite sizes because it was exactly what I’d been looking for. I’d had my heart set on buying a pink coat but I know that my body shape suits classic cuts and most of the ones that I’d been finding in Petite were either like long slouchy cardigans, or where in quite a boxy blazer style which wasn’t what I had in mind.

The Classic Trench Coat (In Pink!) | Fashion

This one, however, is in a classic trench coat style with detailing on the pockets, sleeves and buttons. The belt can be cinched in to help create definition around the waist or it can be tied for a more casual look.

The Classic Trench Coat (In Pink!) | Fashion

It’s a dusky rose pink colour which is neither too girly or too bright. I like to play up the tones with light accessories and neutral heels, but it works just as well in a casual look with jeans and white sneakers.

The Classic Trench Coat (In Pink!) | Fashion

My other treat for Spring is this new necklace from Tatty Devine.

The Classic Trench Coat (In Pink!) | Fashion

I’ve coveted one of their iconic Name Necklaces for years but never could quite allow myself to spend the money. Then they released a new designs in collaboration with the Museum of London to celebrate the Centenary of the Suffragettes the very same weekend that I attended a live recording of The Guilty Feminist Podcast. I took it as fate and here we are. I absolutely love it!

The Classic Trench Coat (In Pink!) | Fashion

The Classic Trench Coat – Outfit Details

The Classic Trench Coat (In Pink!) | Fashion

ASOS Petite Classic Trench Coat | Here (Also available in Regular)

Tatty Devine Feminist Necklace | Here

HotterUK Blossom Scarf* | Here

(All other items pictured are old)

Photos by Sian’s Photography

LovedByLaura

Disclaimer: Items marked with an asterisk were kindly gifted.

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Tried & Tested Vegan Suitable Recipes

Even though I no longer eat meat, eggs and dairy I still like to enjoy a varied diet. I love spending time at home adapting recipes to make them vegan, or trying out vegan suitable recipes that I find online.

I thought I’d share some of my favourite tried and tested vegan suitable recipes with you from the last few months so that you can see how they turned out in real life. The great thing about each of these is that they are delicious meals in their own right that just happen to be plant based, so I recommend giving them a go whether you’re vegan or not.

(With the exception of the vegan bacon which I appreciate is a bit more specialist!)

Vegan Ramen with Creamy Sesame Broth by Cilantro & Citronella

I’ve tried out a few recipes for ramen now, this one is my favourite by far.

Tried & Tested Vegan Suitable Recipes

The broth is wonderfully creamy and takes no time at all to make so if you were short of time you could just make that part with some noodles and throw in some stir fried veggies.

Tried & Tested Vegan Suitable Recipes

If you have a bit more time on your hands though I thoroughly recommend making the crumbled tofu, a sweet and salty concoction that I think resembles bacon bits! I find that it takes a long while to get the tofu mix crispy in the pan so once I’ve cooked it as per the recipe instructions I transfer it to a heatproof bowl and leave it in an oven set to 100 degrees C, then I prepare the rest of the dish. This helps it to dry out a bit more which gives it a wonderful texture.

Quick and Easy Basil Avocado Pasta by Nourish Your Glow

I always feel a bit guilty about eating pasta dishes since the main ingredient is a complex carb that in itself isn’t particularly nutritious. However the simple all in one blended creamy sauce used in this recipe is packed full of good fats and nutrients.

Tried & Tested Vegan Suitable Recipes

It helps that it’s an absolute cinch to whip up in a blender too, it takes me less than 15 minutes start to finish, most of which is just time spent waiting for the pasta to cook!

Vegan Streaky Bacon by Avant-Garde Vegan

There are a number of reasons why you might not want to attempt this recipe. The ingredients aren’t all readily available in supermarkets, the ingredients list is long which makes it costly if you’re buying everything from scratch, it takes a long time to put together with lots of steps involved, including upwards of 20 minutes of elbow grease if you don’t have a machine with a dough hook.

Tried & Tested Vegan Suitable Recipes

Having said all that, if you DO decide to give it a go the end result is nothing short of genius and perfect for anyone being tempted off the vegan path!

Thickly sliced, the seitan resembles maple glazed gammon and when cut wafer thin and fried it really does become a convincing copy of actual bacon rashers.

Tried & Tested Vegan Suitable Recipes

Oliver made a ‘bacon sandwich’ from it with HP sauce and is convinced that our friends wouldn’t know the difference if we served it to them that way.

Here are a few tips I’ve found to ensure that your vegan streaky bacon is a success!

  • Ingredients such as the liquid smoke, vital wheat gluten and nutritional yeast can be found via Buywholefoodsonline.co.uk or in Holland and Barrett.
  • I use my Kenwood KMix with a dough hook attachment to knead the dough, reducing the kneading time by 4 minutes to make sure it doesn’t get overworked.
  • Make sure to choose a thick grease proof baking paper and wrap the raw bacon as tight as you can, making sure that it’s fully sealed. This is to avoid water getting in whilst it simmers as otherwise it is an absolute pain to get the paper off at the end! I use three generous layers of cling film.
  • Wait until the bacon is completely cooled, preferably refridgerated for at least an hour, before trying to remove the paper and slice it. This lets the seitan rest and firm up which makes things a lot easier.
  • Sharp knives are a must and you want to get the slices as thin as possible for an authentic bacon result. I use a meat slicer (rather ironic since I’m vegan but it is perfect for the job!).
  • Sprinkle an extra bit of salt on each side as you fry the bacon – it makes all the difference!

Smashed Avocado with Lime and Chilli by BBC Food

Tried & Tested Vegan Suitable Recipes

I serve this on it’s own with toast for a filling breakfast or lunch, in tortilla wraps with fajitas as an alternative to proper guacamole, or as pictured above with some vegan bacon. I am generous with the lime juice as I love the zingy tang it gives, and I use a mini food processor instead of mashing it by hand to speed things up even more!

Chocolate and Cherry Cake With Vanilla Frosting by Sainsbury’s Magazine

Tried & Tested Vegan Suitable Recipes

Oh yes – I found a really indulgent dessert cake without the need for eggs or butter! The rich chocolate cake works so well with the tang of the cherry jam and the sweetness of the frosting. I throw an extra handful of chopped cherries into the mix itself before baking it but this is completely optional. It also looks a bit of a showstopper with minimal effort required thanks to the chocolate dipped cherries on top.

Tried & Tested Vegan Suitable Recipes

The recipe requires you to make vegan buttermilk by combining soya milk and apple cyder vinegar together until the mixture curdles, but it doesn’t tell you how long this takes. I recommend leaving the mix to sit for 10 minutes before moving onto the next step in order to get the best end result.

Tried & Tested Vegan Suitable Recipes

I also find pitting cherries a really monotonous task so I bought myself a cherry pitter (this is the one I’ve got which is fab) which makes the task a doddle!

These are just a handful of my favourite tried and tested vegan suitable recipes from around the web. I’ve got plenty more that I can share along with my tips on how to get the best results so let me know in the comments if you’d like me to turn this into a series.

LovedByLaura

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Snacks Suitable for Vegans | March 2018

Giving up meat and cheese to adopt a vegan diet hasn’t proven as difficult as I’d imagined, but milk powder is now my arch nemesis! It’s found in so many foodstuffs that it has made it quite a challenge finding snacks suitable for vegans and I’ve had to give up lots of my previous favourites.

On the positive side though, this has given me the perfect excuse to munch and crunch my way through the month in my quest to find new healthy(ish) nibbles that are 100% vegan, diary free and delicious.

Here are my favourite finds in March:

Doisy and Dam Dark Chocolate*

Although I was gutted to learn that my previous favourite Doisy and Dam flavour Date and Himalyan Pink Salt isn’t suitable for vegans, I was relieved to find that many of their darker chocolate varieties are. My new love is Maple, Toasted Rice and Pink Salt; there’s just something about salt and chocolate that I adore and it’s got a really nice crispy element to it too.

Snacks Suitable for Vegans | March 2018

You can buy it in normal chocolate bar form but they also do ‘Snaps’ sharing packs which contain shards of the chocolate. I had this at Easter instead of an Easter Egg.

Snacks Suitable for Vegans | March 2018

I was kindly sent a couple of the Snaps packs to try originally and enjoyed them so much that I was soon back on the website ordering more. I have a new found appreciation of their website shopping pages now as there’s an option to select the ‘vegan only’ varieties on each page, so you don’t have to spend an age checking ingredients.

I also love supporting this brand because there’s real heart and purpose behind what they do. Not only do they create unusual but seriously tasty flavours of chocolate, but they’re also a small company with big goals to create a positive environmental impact on the world.

Propercorn Sweet and Salty

Propercorn Sweet and Salty has been one of my go to low cal snack options for a long time and I’d have been gutted if I’d had to give it up, especially after the heartbreaking discovery that my beloved Barbecue Popchips contain powdered milk, or as I like to call it, Satan (not that I’m still bitter about it or anything).

Luckily, it’s another one to add to the list of snacks suitable for vegans – halleluja!

Snacks Suitable for Vegans | March 2018

On a side note, we had a movie day over Easter and I’m still finding bits of popcorn around my living room – at least 50% of any handful escapes before it reaches my mouth. I thought it was just a ‘dark cinema’ thing but clearly not!

Itsu Crispy Seaweed Thins*

These Seaweed things are a bit difficult to describe – wafer thin vegetable crisps that almost feel like paper when you first put them in your mouth, but then they melt away leaving you with the salty taste of the sea. They won’t fill you up as such but are perfect if you’re not really hungry, you’re just looking to satisfy a snack craving. At only 24 kcals per packet they are a guilt free option too.

Snacks Suitable for Vegans | March 2018

I really like the strong Wasabi edition, but you can get them in a Sweet Soy and Sea Salt version, and just Sea Salt on its own too. All are vegan suitable. I absolutely love them, but they are an acquired taste I think. Oliver tried some on my recommendation and was not a fan, he found the saltiness too much.

Snacks Suitable for Vegans | March 2018

Itsu Vegetable Fusion Gyoza

I discovered these in the freezer section at my nearest large Tescos about a month ago and sweet baby cheezus where have they been all my life?! No packet lasts long enough for photographic evidence to exist other than this weird alien style photo that I took for Instagram and then regretted but couldn’t delete because people had already started ‘liking’ it. #InstagramProblems

https://www.instagram.com/p/BgzMALUlaM6/?taken-by=lovedbylaurac

But anyway, if you can find these, try them! They take 2 minutes in the microwave and 8 of them are less than 200 calories. I dip them in lashings of soy sauce and they are so good. SO GOOD.

Snacks Suitable for Vegans | March 2018

So there you have it, the snacks that fuelled my month. Let me know what you think if you try any of them and if you have any recommendations for snacks suitable for vegans please share them below in the comments!

LovedByLaura

*Disclaimer: Items marked with an asterisk are PR samples. I only ever post those that I enjoyed and would (and do!) repurchase.

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Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

Know Cosmetics recently launched in the UK and whilst you might not have heard of them, across the pond they’re one of Sephora’s best sellers. They describe themselves as the ‘Fixer Brand’ as their range promises to tackle everyday makeup and beauty problems by providing quick and easy solutions. I was kindly sent some products to try out so I thought I’d do a quick review to share my experiences with you!

Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

No Bleeding Lips | Know Cosmetics

Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

‘No Bleeding Lips’ is designed to stop your lipstick bleeding or feathering, something that I don’t actually suffer from since I don’t tend to wear particularly strong lip colours! However I decided to try it anyway and quickly discovered another use for it which I’m sharing in case it comes in handy for any of you too!

One side of my top lip is naturally higher than the other. As a result I tend to shy away from bright or bold lipsticks as no matter how carefully I apply them, I only ever tend to accentuate the difference rather than conceal it, even when using lip liners too.

Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

The ‘No Bleeding Lips’ product is applied like a traditional lip pencil but goes on clear, meaning that I can use it to create an invisible base for my lipstick or gloss to stick to without having to worry too much about making a mistake.

I take it slightly above my natural lip line on the side that is naturally lower, then I gradually apply my lipstick up to this new line in stages, so that if I’ve taken the liner too high it doesn’t matter, I can just build up the shape gradually until I’m happy with it.

So not so much ‘No Bleeding Lips’ as ‘No Wonky Lips’ for me then!

No Bare Brows | Know Cosmetics

Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

This is my favourite product and the one I’ve used most regularly. It’s a 4 in 1 eyebrow shaping kit with brow colour at one end, an invisible taming wax at the other, plus two caps containing a pencil sharpener and a brush that slip onto the ends.

I was initially sceptical of using a universal brow shade as I find it difficult enough finding a shade that suits me when I have a range to choose from. However this one blended really well with my brows and was the right shade for my skin tone. I have no idea whether it would work as well for blondes or redheads, but as a pale, cool toned brunette, I found it an unexpected success.

Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

The pencil has a soft almost crayon like consistency so I found that I needed to be gentle when applying it so as not to transfer too much product onto my brow, but once I’d gotten used to this I found it a really quick and easy product to use. The invisible taming wax is a nice touch to help set any wayward strands in place, then I use the brush to shape my brows and make sure that they look nice and natural.

When I’ve got more time to spend on my makeup I still prefer using a firmer pencil to get a really precise defined shape, but as part of my everyday 10 minute makeup routine this is a really handy tool to have for an instant brow transformation.

No Thin Lips | Know Cosmetics

Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

This goes on like a gloss and temporarilly gives your lips a subtle boost of volume. I read a review online where someone had said that she gets asked if she’s had lip injections when she wears this product. The results were a lot more subtle on me thankfully. I don’t think anyone would even notice I had used it, but hopefully I just look like my best self when I wear it, if that makes sense?

I’ve tried some lip plumpers in the past which stung like hell and made me feel uncomfortable but this one just has a mild tingle upon first application which soon fades. It contains vitamin E and aloe oil which makes my lips feel smooth and moisturised, plus they give my lips a nice glossy finish.

Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

I wouldn’t wear this everyday, but for an extra little boost if I’m going out somewhere I think it’s a nice final touch.

Everyday Makeup Problem Solvers from Know Cosmetics Beauty Review

Thanks go to Know Cosmetics for helping me to fix some everyday beauty problems! You can find the range online here and in store at Lloyds Pharmacy, where they usually cost £12.50 each but are currently on sale for £7.50.

LovedByLaura

*Disclaimer: The products in this post were sent to me for review.

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Breakfast at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

I was incredibly excited to hear that The Ivy was opening a new restaurant in Cambridge and nearly fell off my chair when I received an invite to their opening day breakfast celebration – what a privelege! I’ve been to the original restaurant in Covent Garden a few times and it still remains up there as some of the best food I’ve ever eaten, so it’s fair to say that I had high expectations for The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie.

Breakfast at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

The interior is just stunning. The emerald green chairs, brass, marble and sparkling glassware evoke an opulent, art deco feel and there are splashes of colour in every corner from the mustard yellow and cerise cushions to the bold and bright art work on the walls.

Breakfast at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie Breakfast at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

I wasn’t sure if I’d over dressed for a breakfast meeting in my floral dress and pink blazer, but I felt right at home as soon as I sunk into one of those chairs. This, I thought, is how to do breakfast right!

Since it was a little early for cocktails, I chose a refeshing Beet It Juice made from beetroot, carrot and apple. The rest of my table opted for the Green Juice with healthy spinach and avocado cleverly hidden beneath the delicious flavours of apple and mint.

Breakfast at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

I’d notified ahead of the day that I was vegan and thus dairy free and The Ivy couldn’t have been more friendly and accommodating. Our impeccably dressed waiter directed me to the suitable options on the menu but also reassured me that if I had any questions or special requests just to ask.

I opted for the crushed avocado on gluten free toast and was a bit worried when it came out that the caraway toast might be a disappointment as it looked very dark and dense, but I was proven wrong. It was full of flavour and a perfectly pairing to the zesty, creamy topping.

Breakfast at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

I make avocado on toast at home but The Ivy’s was elevated to something much more finely tuned and accomplished. I’m totally stealing the idea to add pomegranate seeds to the top, they gave it a little fruity pop of sweetness that I adored.

Breakfast at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

It shouldn’t really be any surprise that the food at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie is so good, after all the Head Chef Stuart Conibear was personal chef to Prince Charles for 3 years. The phrase ‘food fit for a king’ has never been more apt.

Breakfast at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

Other options on the seasonal menu include Eggs Benedict (which Kat raved about), hot buttermilk pancakes and there was another vegan option too – coconut yoghurt and berries with crushed pistachios, chia seeds and basil.

I loved the attention to detail on all of the cutlery, condiments and china. It’s all very discreet but there are little ivy leaves everywhere which somehow made the experience feel even more special. Even my cappucino got ‘The Ivy Treatment’. (It was a damn good cappucino too by the way!)

Breakfast at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

Feeling happily stuffed, our group were invited to go have an explore of the rest of The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie. It’s a lovely big space which goes back further than I’d have guessed from the outside, with an impressive onyx bar running along one side. I can see myself partaking of a few cocktails when I’m next there – they even have a signature Cambridge cocktail on the menu.

Breakfast at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

Added to this, there’s a hidden room tucked away downstairs…

Breakfast at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

…The Boat Room.

Breakfast at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie Breakfast at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

Now this is a little bit special, because it’s designed specifically for the Cambridge restaurant with wall to wall prints celebrating the city’s heritage and history. It’s a room that can be hired out for private dinner parties or special events and it’s certainly got the wow factor to it. Can you imagine holding your birthday or maybe even an engagement party in here and sitting down to a 3 course meal surrounded by seasonal flowers and tea lights? They even produce complimentary menu cards and place cards – how dreamy!

Breakfast at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

Now let’s talk about the prices. My avocado on toast cost £7.25 and a Full English Breakfast is £13.50; mains from the A La Carte menu start from £12.75. It’s certainly not somewhere I could afford to eat every week, but for the exceptional service,  sophistication of the food and the overall experience it fits very nicely into the ‘once in a while as a special treat’ category.

A huge thanks goes to The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie for hosting our group, and a big hello to all the lovely Cambridge bloggers that I met and chatted to whilst there!

Breakfast at The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

LovedByLaura

Disclaimer: Our food was complimentary on the day but as always I’ve provided my honest views.

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