Stylish Bags Without Underlying Cruelty 💼

Many luxury brands use animal leather to make bags. Looking at a leather bag from a luxury brand, it is hard to imagine that the blemish free and fine looking material was originally the skin of an animal, and that production involved a history of terrible cruelty. But that is the harsh reality.

That leather is obtained from animals, often cows (but can also who come from many other types of animals) who have been subjected to painful procedures such as de-horning without any pain relief. Many of them are likely to have suffered throughout their lives and may not have received care when sick, and all must eventually face the stresses of slaughter.

 

Leather is not a byproduct from the meat industry but is actually very profitable, which may lead to more animals being killed. Anyway, bags from luxury brands are often overpriced as they carry the brand name. They are often priced in the thousands! You can easily get a high quality and stylish animal friendly handbag that is priced in the low hundreds.

In addition, there is no need to purchase bags made of animal skin when there are so many innovative alternative leathers being created that are also better for the environment. This includes leaf leather, cork leather and even leather made out of pineapple leaves (Pinatex). And there are even some surprising types of leather such as mushroom leather and apple leather that are undergoing development and being made into bags.

 

Leaf Leather

Leaf leather is made from tree leaves, and can be made to be just as strong and durable as conventional leather.  It is more environmentally friendly than PU faux leather.

“Leaves are a beautiful organic material. As they come in unlimited shapes and forms. The reclaimed expired leaves are treated with an environmentally friendly polymer to restore and enhance the leaves’ properties for creating our leaf fashion accessories. No toxic treatments or dyes are applied. They are lightweight yet highly functional and durable.”

—Thamon

Brands: Thamon, Tree Tribe

 

Cork Leather

Cork leather is a high quality fabric produced from thin cork shavings obtained directly from the bark of the cork oak tree. I like the look of black cork leather.

Brands: Eve Cork, Artelusa

 

Pineapple leaf Leather (Pinatex)

Made from the fibres of pineapple leaves, which are the waste from the pineapple harvest. Because the leaves are the by-product of an existing industry no additional land, water, fertilizers or pesticides need to be used to product them, so the raw material has a very low environmental impact compared to other textile crops. I think Pinatex has the most leather-like appearance.

Brands: Ahimsa collective

 

Vegan Leather (I’m assuming that they use PU)

Vegan leather, often PU is better for the environment than animal leather as it does not involve the chemical tanning process used to produce animal leather.

Brands:

-Urban Originals: Have both practical and stylish designs. They often have products on sale. This may be a good place to look for a present for someone.

-Thea and Theos: Simple bag styles as well as bags with some more decorative features

-Matt and Nat: Simple & minimalist style

 

You can look into these types of leather or explore some of these brands if you are interested, if you need a new bag or if you are finding a gift for someone.

 

 

 

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10 of the best places for eating out vegan—Melbourne (Part 2)

This is the second part of my guide on the best places for eating out in Melbourne. Out of the places listed below, I have been to Sister of Soul in St Kilda and Fina’s 2 in Fitzroy.

On a different note, I’m just letting you guys know that I did not attend The Big Vegan Market this year, as I had a lot of uni assessments around that time that I needed to study for. Hopefully I’ll be able to go to World Vegan Day at the end of this year and/or the Market in future.

 

Okay here is the second half, hope it is helpful =)

6) Sister of Soul–St Kilda, Richmond

Vegan, no garlic and onion, nut free, gluten-free and raw options are available. Their menu includes curries, stir-fry, bowls, salads and burgers.

Personal experience: I went here for my birthday some years ago, where I chose the udon noodle stir fry. It was a bit spicy but tasted good. My sister chose the gnocchi which she enjoyed. The others ordered the massaman curry, pho and green sister stir fry with satay sauce.

Cuisine: Various, and including breakfast, brunch, lunch & dinner

Popular starters: gyoza, polenta chips, spring rolls

Popular mains: udon noodle stir fry, gnocchi, big breakfast

Vegan status: Richmond is vegan, in St Kilda is vegetarian with many vegan options

 

7) Red Sparrow Pizza–Collingwood

It is Melbourne’s first dedicated vegan pizzeria which specialises in making wood-oven pizza.

Cuisine: Pizza

Popular dishes: Margerita pizza, pepperoni pizza

Vegan status: Vegan

 

8) Trippy Taco–St Kilda, Fitzroy

Street food style Mexican food, with the option of vegan cheese. Food includes nachos burritos, quesadillas and more

Cuisine: Mexican

Popular dishes: Nachos, breakfast burrito

Vegan status: Vegetarian, and most dishes can be made vegan

 

9) Lentil as Anything–Abbotsford, St Kilda, Thornbury

They are a not-for-profit organisation run by volunteers. There are no set prices. You pay what you think the meal is worth into at box at the counter.

Cuisine: Australian (lentils, quinoa, curries, pancakes)

Vegan status: Vegan

 

10) Fina’s–Richmond, Fitzroy

The Fitzroy restaurant on Brunswick Street is relatively small. The food is relatively healthy.

Cuisine: Vietnamese

Popular dishes: Laksa, rice paper rolls

Vegan status: Fina’s 2 in Fitzroy is 100% vegan, Fina’s in Richmond is vegetarian

 

Have you been to any of these places and what is your favourite place to eat out?

10 of the Best Places for Eating Out Vegan—Melbourne (Part 1)

With many restaurants, there is often only 1 or 2 vegan options, or a very limited choice of dishes to order. These options may be a salad, or noodles with vegetables.

However, eating vegan food when eating out doesn’t need to be hard and boring. There are vegetarian restaurants that have a wide range of traditional and creative vegan dishes. Many of them are great places of take your friends to show them that vegan food does not compromise on taste and can be delicious, healthy and nutritious.

 

Below are 5 of the best places for eating out vegan in Melbourne. In my next post (part 2), I will write about 5 more places. I have been to 3 out of the 10 places.

1) Vegie Bar—Fitzroy

I think it is one of the most popular restaurants in Fitzroy. Vegie Bar is located in the heart of Brunswick Street (the vegan street of Fitzroy), and is over 20 years old. They have an extensive menu of noodles, curries, pizzas and more.

Cuisines: A wide range

Popular entree: Rice balls

Popular mains: Mee goreng, burrito, nachos

Vegan status: Vegetarian, with many vegan dishes

 

2) Yong Green Food—Fitzroy

This restaurant is run by 2 Korean sisters. The menu is extensive and includes a range of raw, cooked, vegan, organic and gluten-free options. There are rice and noodle dishes, curries and burgers.

Recently, I went here with a friend. I ordered the japchae and she ordered the tofu katsu. We both enjoyed our dishes and the service was friendly and efficient.

Cuisines: Mainly Korean and Japanese, but also includes a range of other cuisines

Popular entree: Kimchi gyoza

Popular mains: Rawsagne, japchae, green curry with tofu

Vegan status: Vegetarian, with many vegan dishes

 

3) Shakahari–Carlton, South Melbourne

This Carlton Shakahari is the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Melbourne which was open since 1972. Their menu does not include a lot of dishes, but many of the dishes on their menu are popular options. They also have a range of desserts.

Cuisines: Pan-Asian

Popular entree: Avocado magic (tempura avocado wedges)

Popular mains: Quinoa croquettes, laksa, satay sticks

Vegan status: Vegetarian, with many vegan dishes

 

4) Smith & Daughters—Fitzroy

Smith and Daughters is an eatery with a rock’n’roll vibe. The 2 owners have a mission to challenge the perception that vegan dining is inevitably bland. Recently, they switched from a Latin-American menu to an Italian one. The dishes on their creative menu include pasta, breads, and vegetable or fake meat (which people have reviewed as being similar to real meat) dishes.

Cuisine: Italian

Popular dishes: Ragu and polenta, schnitzel, panzerotti (pastry)

Vegan status: 100% Vegan

 

5) Smith & Deli—Fitzroy

Smith and Deli are popular for their sandwiches. The sandwich menu is extensive and consists of a list of creative non-conventional names. You will also find pastries and desserts displayed there, as well as vegan groceries on the shelves and in the fridges.

Cuisine: Sandwiches, baked goods

Popular dishes: Egg McMartinez, ‘Little Havana’ (but there are so many different sandwich flavours that people like)

Vegan status: 100% Vegan

 

Thank you for reading and hope you enjoyed this post. Have you been to any of these places, and if so, what did you think? Do you want to visit any of these venues?

 

Note that the next part will be written about 3 weeks from now.

 

 

 

 

 

Vegan & Cruelty Free Body Care Products

Fortunately, there is a growing number of brands that are cruelty free, and are vegan or offer vegan options for body wash and moisturiser.

Below I have listed information about 5 different brands. You probably already know Lush and The Body Shop, however, you may not know the other brands listed.

 

1. Lush

lush-featured1

Lush is vegetarian and offers quite a lot of vegan options. Around 80% of their products are vegan. Animal ingredients they use include milk, honey, lanolin and eggs. They are against animal testing and only buy raw materials from companies that are not involved in the use of, or commission the use of, animals for testing.

Cruelty free certification: PETA

Products include: Shower gels, moisturisers/lotion, soaps, hand care

 

2. The Body Shop

The-Body-Shop-logo-007

The Body Shop is vegetarian and offers quite a lot of vegan options. Around 50% of their products are vegan. They are against animal testing and showed their commitment to helping end animal testing by launching a Forever Against Animal Testing campaign with Cruelty Free International.

Cruelty free certification: Leaping Bunny (symbol on products), PETA

Products include: Moisturisers, body wash, hand care including hand wash and hand creams

 

3. Korres

KORRES-Est.-1996-Logo

Korres is a Greek company with skincare products as well as body care products. Korres is cruelty free and has some vegan products in its range. Artistic packaging and the range includes water lily blossom, basil lemon, guava, jasmine, almond cherry, bergamot pear, fig and Japanese rose. They use natural ingredients. They have full sized tubes as well as minis (which are great for gifting or travelling with).

Cruelty free certification: None

Products include: Shower gels, shower milks, body butters, hand creams.

Available at: Mecca

 

4. Grown Alchemist

Grown_Alchemist_logo_logotype_black

Grown Alchemist are cruelty free and 100% vegan. They use organic, botanical ingredients combined with scientific innovation and research into anti-aging skincare. As they use natural ingredients, their products have a natural scent that is not overpowering.

Cruelty free certification: None

Products include: Body cleanser, exfoliant and cream, Hand cream and hand wash

Available at: Mecca

 

5. KORA Organics by Miranda Kerr

KORA_Organics_Logo.jpg

KORA organics is almost vegan, with the only non-vegan products being the Vitamin Enriched Lip Balm, Noni Glow Face Balm and Noni Glow Body Balm which contains beeswax & Unscented Cleansing Bar which contains goat’s milk. Most of their products are Certified Organic meaning they do not contain the harmful chemicals that are often found in conventional products.

Cruelty free certification: PETA (logo on packaging)

Products include: Body wash, lotion, body oil, hand wash and hand cream

Available at: Sephora

 

Thank you for reading and hope you enjoyed it.

Vegan Brunch in Melbourne

Over the past few years brunch has been a nice way to catch up with friends. However, eating out vegan often means limited options. It is always a good idea to look up menus when deciding where to go for brunch.

Some cafes have more vegan brunch dishes than others (most have about 2-3), some have a ‘vegan option’ for vegetarian dishes where the egg or cheese is replaced with something else. Common brunch dishes that are already vegan include granola, chia pudding, salad and avocado on toast.

 

Below are 5 of the best vegan brunch places (from my research, I haven’t actually been to any of them) to take your friends. You can show them that vegan brunch can be more interesting than just salad or granola:

1) Serotonin Eatery—Burnley

“Serotonin integrates both a nourishing Eatery, an Exercise Centre and has an Education platform. Our ethos is based around eating a plant based diet to ensure the body, mind and earth all function at their best.” Serve foods that lead to the release of serotonin, a brain chemical that helps to regulate mood (to inspire happiness). Has different types of seating including swing seats so that you can even rock back and forth while enjoying your brunch!

Vegan status: Not 100% vegan, but many vegan dishes & everything can be made vegan

Popular: Positive pancakes, Galaxy acai bowl

 

2) Matcha Mylkbar—St Kilda

Matcha themed cafe but not everything contains matcha. This would be a great place to take a matcha loving friend.

Vegan status: 100% vegan

Popular: Matcha pancakes, vegan eggs (made from agar agar, sweet potato, and almond & coconut milk), matcha burger, many interesting latte flavours

 

3) Ubuntu Cafe—Hawthorn

Family owned cafe. Looks small from the outside but is spacey inside and also has a courtyard out the back.

Popular: Big breakfast, Lizz burger (with a side of sweet potato fries), Croque Madame

Vegan status: 100% vegan

 

4) Power Plant—Templestowe

Has an outdoor area. Good place to go if you want to have something savoury as menu is mostly savoury dishes with 1 or 2 sweet dishes (including french toast).

Popular: Chickpea omelette

Vegan status: Vegan except for cow’s milk on the menu

 

5) Urban Projuice—Albert Park

Wholefood cafe and juice bar. “We are passionate about health & well being and are committed to bringing you fresh produce that is locally grown, seasonal, fair-trade and Organic where possible. We care so much about the planet that we use eco friendly products designed for a sustainable future.”

Popular: Buckwheat vanilla pancakes, smoothie bowls

Vegan status: Vegetarian, all food is vegan with option to add an egg

 

Below are also some non-vegetarian cafes that contain a good selection of vegan dishes:

-Vertue Coffee Roasters–Carlton: Pea smash is something that is a bit different

-Cafe Louis–Fitzroy: Dorayaki pancakes are popular

-Faraday’s Cage–Fitzroy: The house-made pear granola with a poached pear and other colourful fruit is a popular option that is visually appealing

 

Hope you enjoyed this post. Have you been to any of these places & which do you most want to go to? I most want to go to Serotonin Eatery =)

Cruelty Free Skincare Brands I Want to Try

I am trying to find the right skincare products to achieve my best possible skin. This will be a long process as I take quite a while to use up my products. I look forward to trying new skincare products, hoping that I find something better to replace used up products.

Below are the 9 skincare brands that I want to try in the future. They are all cruelty free. Some of them are 100% vegan, and others contain some vegan products.

Animal-derived ingredients commonly found in skincare to avoid are beeswax, collagen, lanolin, silk (hydrolyzed or extract) and alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) such as lactic acid among others.

 

1) Mario Badescu

Customises regimens to suit different skin types and concerns. Simple, gentle, botanical-based ingredients. Focuses on the product rather than fancy packaging.

Cruelty free status: Cruelty free

Vegan status: Some vegan products

https://ethicalelephant.com/mario-badescu-vegan-list/

 

2) Sanctum

Focus on developing naturally-derived skincare that is effective. Certified organic ingredients. Simple packaging. Committed to restoring the environment by planting 1 tree with every online purchase.

Cruelty free status: CCF certified, able to use bunny logo

Vegan status: 100% vegan

 

3) Dermalogica

Focuses on skin health rather than “beauty”. Free of common irritants and breakout-causing ingredients. Focuses on the product rather than fancy packaging. Sources palm oil in a way that does not negatively impact wildlife

Cruelty free status: Leaping bunny & PETA certified

Vegan status: Some vegan products

https://ethicalelephant.com/dermalogica-vegan-product-list/

 

4) La Mav

Certified organic skincare, focuses on anti-aging,  products contain antioxidants, essential fatty acids, vitamins and therapeutic grade herbal extracts. Eco friendly & recyclable packaging

Cruelty free status: CCF certified, able to use bunny symbol

Vegan status: 100% vegan

 

5) Paula’s Choice

Focuses on effectiveness, non-irritating, fragrance free. Has an ingredient dictionary on their website which I have found to be useful (it is very comprehensive)

Cruelty free status: Leaping bunny certified

Vegan status: Some vegan products

 

6) Drunk elephant

About: The founder wanted people with skin sensitivity issues to understand that “the answer to healthy skin was simple–keep it high quality, stick to the essentials and stay away from the bad stuff. Main ingredient is marula oil. Fun, colourful packaging

Cruelty free status: Leaping bunny certified

Vegan status: Some vegan products

https://ethicalelephant.com/drunk-elephant-vegan/

 

7) Mukti Organics

About: Certified organic, eco & luxury, uses native Australian extracts and bioactive peptides. Mission is to connect people back to nature, creating healthy lifestyles and beauty routines

Cruelty free status: CCF certified, able to use bunny symbol

Vegan status: 100% vegan

 

8) Tatcha

Philosophy is simplicity, uses time-tested ingredients and also works with scientists. The foundation is the Hadasei-3 which are anti-aging superfoods from the Japanese diet, and the basis for geisha beauty rituals: green tea, rice & algae. Funds Room to Read, the non-profit which focuses on girl’s education in Asia and Africa

Cruelty free status: PETA certified

Vegan status: Some vegan products (including popular item The Water Cream)

https://ethicalelephant.com/tatcha-vegan-cruelty-free/

 

9) Sodashi

About: Luxury, uses pure natural/botanical extracts, small batch production. Aims to deliver radiant skin & takes a holistic approach beyond skincare that aims to nurture the mind, body, spirit & emotions

Cruelty free status: CCF certified

Vegan status: 100% vegan

 

Hope you enjoyed this piece. Have you tried any product(s) from any of these brands & what did you think of it/them? Or do you want to try any of these skincare brands?

 

 

 

Favourite V & CF Products of 2018 + Goals for 2019

For my final post of 2018, I have decided to reflect on the year by reviewing my favourite vegan and cruelty free beauty products from the year (in no particular order).

 

1) Zero Waste Beauty Australia activated charcoal & peppermint toothpaste jar

I bought this as I wanted to try an activated charcoal toothpaste. I wanted to see for myself if brushing your teeth with something black can actually be whitening =)

+: Whitens teeth, smells of peppermint, leaves a minty taste in the mouth

-: Tastes a little salty for some reason, texture different from conventional toothpaste (not as smooth)

 

2) Simplicite firming rehydration eye cream

I noticed 1 or 2 fine lines in the inner corner underneath my eyes so I bought this.

CCF accredited cruelty free

+: Hydrates dry skin around the eye, non-irritating

-: Reduces the appearance of fine lines under the eyes but doesn’t eliminate the fine lines

 

3) Essano rosehip moisture restorative night cream

This one was given to me by my mum as she saw it was vegan and cruelty free.

+: Deeply moisturising (good for dry skin or dry patches, good for winter), light rose scent, non-irritating

-: Very rich and thick

 

4) Raww ‘Nourish-me’ hand & nail cream (with wildberry harvest, coconut water & goji berry)

I bought this in winter as my hands were dry but I still use it in summer.

CCF accredited cruelty free (bunny symbol on product)

+: Not greasy, absorbed well, light vanilla coconut & lime scent

-: Not moisturising enough for very dry hands

 

This year I have also purchased a few products that I regretted. This included a messy clay mask & an overpriced bar of soap. In 2019, I will purchase products only when I need them, reducing the number I buy.

For clothing, I accumulated 9 items this year (including a black organic cotton scarf) which is an improvement from 13 items last year. Next year I aim to buy even less by purchasing quality & versatile pieces only when needed.

These goals will help reduce my impact on the environment.

 

Take some time to think about what your goals/resolutions are for 2019. Hope you enjoyed this post & wishing you a Happy New Year!