20 April, 2014

Secret Santa


Yes, April is a strange time to be posting about a Secret Santa swap, but my original package was lost and I received the replacement this month.The swap was organized by Charlotte from T*rexes and Tiaras. She offered to send me a new package in January, but I was sure that my package would show up after the holiday rush. At the end of March I realised that it had probably gone missing. I wasn't expecting this package when I went to the post office and was so excited to get a Christmas present in April.



The box decorated with the cute stickers contained this pretty bird necklace.

I've never heard of this nail polish brand before, but according to the packaging they don't test on animals, so I'm looking forward to trying it.

This is a very pretty book for me to write recipes in. I love the illustration on the front.

The inside has dividers for different categories. I have so many recipes saved on my computer or cut from magazines from the time before Pinterest. I want to transfer them to this book.

I really appreciate the effort Charlotte made to make sure I got something, it made up for the disappointment of a lost gift. There are several packages from last year that I'm still waiting for, so it's very nice to have received this. I suppose the more mail you send and receive, the bigger the chances are of something going wrong.


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17 April, 2014

Vegan chocolate chip vanilla pudding pie


I've been reading the Vegan Richa blog for a while now, but only started making some of the recipes this year. When I saw this Chocolate chip pudding pie recipe on her Instagram, I knew I had to try it. I love chocolate chips, there's something addictive about biting into them.
This pie was really easy to make. You don't need an oven, only a stove top. You might even be able to make it in a microwave if you're careful. A blender is a must have for the crust, but you could use a different crust if you wanted.
My favourite part turned out to be the crust. It's made from nuts, dates and coconut. I was expecting it to crumble, but it worked so well and I could easily press it into the pie dish. I'm going to try it with other filling too. The filling is made with non-dairy milk and thickened with rice flour and cornstarch. We only had brown rice flour and I think it made the filling slightly gritty but it wasn't very noticeable when combined with the other ingredients. It was difficult to wait for the filling to cool down, I was so anxious to try it with the chocolate chips. All of this is topped with one of the best things in the world, chocolate ganache.
I halved the recipe since we're only two, but we did end up taking some of it to a picnic with Chane and her husband.

So if you love chocolate and chocolate chips or need an easy yet impressive dessert, try this.


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14 April, 2014

Faithful to Nature Haul


I associate haul blog posts and videos with beauty blogger/vloggers, but I decided to try something new since I received a new order from Faithful to Nature last week. It's a South African online store for natural and organic products. They have food, cleaning products, beauty and skincare products, things for pets and your home, basically a one stop shop for all the natural products you can think of.

I'm not one of those people who use "natural" products because I think something is bad just because I don't know what it is or can't pronounce it. My reasons are that these products are cruelty-free and some things I buy for vegan cooking and baking. Since we don't live in a major city, it can be difficult to find certain products in stores so we order them every few months. You get free shipping for all orders over R350, so I always order everything at once. Let's get on to what I ordered most recently.
1. Raw cacao powder.

We can actually get this locally, but since I was placing an order anyway I decided to stock up. My birthday is next month and I want to make sure I have enough cacao powder for any chocolatey desserts I decide to make. I have used this before and it's much more intense than regular cocoa powder.
A few products I'm trying for the first time. From left to right:

2. Enchantrix Hair Conditioner
This has lemongrass oil and got good reviews, so I'm hoping it will work for my hair. I've used Enchantrix cleaning products before, but never the personal care products.

3. Greenman Multi-Purpose Cleaner
This doesn't have any reviews yet, so I have no idea what to expect. You can get a concentrated refill for the spray bottle, so if it works I can just buy that.

4. Probio Pet Odour Away
With 3 dogs in the house, this is a very necessary product for us. I hope it works. It contains living, active microbes.
5. Londa Bio Bleach
Last year I realised the company that makes the stain remover we've been using still does animal testing. I'd never really thought about this issue regarding cleaning products, only beauty products. The product we've been using works really well and I bought this to replace it. It can be used on white and coloured fabrics and I'm hoping I will be impressed. It has great reviews, so I'm positive.

6. Pure Beginnings Toothpaste Crisp Mint
We've been using this for a while, so I'm just re-ordering it. It works and tastes good. I also like the packaging. The tube can stand upright, so it's a bit neater than a tube lying around.

7. Sparitual Lacquer Remover
I've almost finished one bottle of this. It works even better than the regular nail polish remover I used before.
8. The Victorian Garden Anti-Wrinkle Rejuvenating Night Tissue Oil
I'm sure no-one else does, but I've been noticing the laughter lines around my mouth more lately. I bought this to treat them before they get more obvious.

9. The Victorian Garden Rejuvenating Eye Tissue Serum
The skin under my eyes has been very dry lately and my regular eye cream is too light.

10. Kalyan Neem Lavender Cleansing Bar
I love using Neem oil on my skin, but Martinus can't stand the scent. I decided to try this cleansing bar instead because the neem oil is combined with lavender oil. I can only smell the lavender oil. I don't know if it will be as effective as the pure neem oil, but it's worth a try. I also love that it doesn't contain any palm oil. They have other scents, so try Kalyan if you're looking for palm oil free soap. If you don't know why you would want soap without palm oil, you can read my post about it here.

Samples:

Faithful to Nature always includes a few samples with your order, one of my favourite things about them. You might remember my Victorian Garden Body Scrub Review from last year, I also received that sample from them.

Enchantrix Handwash
As I said above, I've never used the Enchantrix body products, so now I get to try this and the conditioner.

Sceletia Sceletium and Honeybush Tea
I know I like Honeybush tea and the Sceletium is supposed to be mood-enhancing, so I'm curious to try this tea.

I hope this has been interesting, I know I love seeing what other people buy without having to stalk them.

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Hello

My name is Natasha. I studied product design, but fell in love with sewing after buying a box of antique buttons. Now I make handbags and other accessories from upcycled materials. I live in a beautiful coastal town in South African with my boyfriend and our three dogs where we go for walks, sleep in and do lots of cooking.

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