2021 was the year of sustainability and shopping small for me. Discovering handcrafted items instead of mass-produced mania that would be out of style in a month. It may be a little more expensive initially but if you know what to look for it will last far far longer! I actually wrote a post on christmas gift ideas from small brands in 2020 which sparked off my love for supporting independent creators dreams.
I’ve learnt a lot about jewellery in recent years and even though last year I started focusing more on shopping sustainably for clothing I very much ended the year only buying jewellery that would last, both in quality (sterling silver) and from small vendors.
I discovered Lil Danglers on Instagram and for the longest time admired from afar. My best friends 30th birthday came around and I knew the mermaid cat necklace would steal her heart, the only problem was I wanted one too. Now this isn’t the kind of piece I would usually wear, I would buy this kind of piece ornamentally but I felt that would be a bit of a waste so I decided to jump right in and buy both Sarah and myself matching necklaces despite it not being my intention for us to get matching jewellery! I also picked up a beautiful juxtaposition of cute and retro in star shaped earrings with acrylic lightning bolts. I wanted to support a brand I absolutely love in style but also wanted to branch out in my style slightly – so if there are any recommendations on what to wear the necklace with please do shout out!
Daffodils and dangles
Becoming a brand rep for Daffodils and Dangles was honestly a highlight of 2021! I spoke briefly about it in my recap because it’s so much more than getting a product and promoting it. I’ve become part of an amazing and influential group of girls who get the insight on new lines, have our own little market research conversations about the next release and do get the added benefit of trialing some earrings. I chose the candy cane hearts from Meg’s Christmas line as I was trying to move into more sustainable accessories and thought this would work all year round as well. I’m most impressed though by the hoop daisy’s! Oh my god I’m honestly in love with them! On paper they’re not ‘my style’ but I’ve not stopped wearing them all weekend and this proves you should always try new things because you’ll never know what you’ll fall in love with! They’re perfect spring/summer vibes and the hoop is not too heavy which I do have issues with on larger pieces and usually have to take my left hoop out, also the way they secure means I can be confident they’re secure all day unlike a lot of hoops I wear.(I had my left ear stretched as a teen- only to 6/8mm so not even big – but it never went back properly so lots of earrings hang very loose that side and tend to fall out a lot if it’s not a super secure fastening).
I’m so excited to see this brand grow this year and I can tell you that her Valentines line is not one to miss. If any of you would like to purchase from Daffodils and Dangles you can use the code ohsoviki10 for 10% of all purchases on her Etsy!
Sour Cherry is more of a daily wear for me, stainless steel or sterling silver pieces in a variety of overlays but no base metal in sight and at it’s core long-lasting, wearable collections. It’s incredibly easy to pair with a variety of outfits from casual shop trips, 12 hour shifts or a night out.
I have to say I went a bit mad in the January sale – something which I had done so well with up until here! This hand on heart was a company I’d watched progress from a tiny little start up in Sheffield and I just love their designs and want people to ask ‘ooh what are you wearing’ so I can promote the hell out of them – they deserve it. Plus it’s not often you get matching sets in the sale so when I saw matching earrings and necklaces I had to have them – I have really been co-ordinating lately I think it ties together a whole outfit and frankly I’ve spent all my life just slapping things together that I individually like with no cohesion.
What are some of your favourite independant brands? Would you like to see more posts in different fields of this? Let me know in the comments below
It’s the time of the year major chains release new items and despite me often just thinking they’re doing it for the publicity I will never turn down trying out some new vegan treats! Some long-lasting favourites such as Subway’s meatless meatball marinara and Greggs Vegan roll have found their fame from this month, so I’ve decided to trial this month’s offerings and boy do I think we have some winners!
McPlant – McDonald’s.
The McPlant was released structurally over the country last year but despite living around some major cities and working in London I never had chance to try it until it’s nationwide release this January! Before purchasing I decided to order it as is with no adjustments, after all they’re the coinnesseurs in fast-food burgers (if you can call it that) and I wanted to try it as they intended. Usually I would’ve ordered with no onions, no mustard and no pickles, but I’m glad I didn’t! Despite the thick white uncooked onions being overpowering the mustard and pickle actually worked well and opened me up to trying it in future with this combo and just eliminating the onions entirely.
The actual burger itself is a bit thinner than I’d like and from other social posts I think that’s the general consensus for it too but it is nice and a gives a change to their veggie stick burgers. I’d love to see them tweak the recipe and make it available in wraps too! It’s good for a quick bite, if you’re travelling or it’s late at night and you need a snack. I think it’s also good, despite McDonalds being predominently meat suppliers that they’re offering this for people as I know meat eaters who have opted for it when they want something less dense or bloating and every little helps right!
The only thing I will say is, if you’re going to get it, eat it straight away, don’t take it home, don’t uber eats it, it’s awful cold and an absolute waste. Had I had the uber one first I would not have given it a second go, but i’m glad I did!
Krispy Kreme released not one, not two but THREE vegan donuts nationwide this month alongside their classic vegan original glazed donut and even better they’re not short on stock! These have been out for a while on trials like the McPlant and I know some vegans who travelled 100 mile round trip to taste them, now I see them in Tesco’s big and small!
My favourite Krispy Kreme was always the plain one with raspberry jam, although they have some lovely combos they’re quite sickly sweet so I often chose plain but that does not stop me devouring non-stop sweetness once in a while! The new releases offer a good variety and some excellent combinations of Fudge Brownie Bliss, Caramel Choc Delight and Apple Custard Crumble have been released. They have the authentic airy Krispy Kreme taste and really are on par with their regular donuts. I’d love to see them expand on this as most vegan options in donuts are drier and denser but Krispy Kreme nailed their variations!
Initial reaction Caramel Choc Delight – My first go-to and the one I would’ve picked out of the three, the donut has the signature texture and the caramel on top was delicious, the chocolate in the middle was small and not centered which is always an unfortunate bugbear with donuts but c’est la vie. Apple Custard Crumble – The topping was amazing, I was praying for a gooey custard centre but its a mixture of apple chunks, apple sauce and I guess, custard. It was tasty and if you like apple it’s fantastic but I just craved custard when I bit into it. Fudge Brownie Bliss – This was by no means a disappointment but I think my bizarre opinion of ‘I don’t like chocolate unless it’s just chocolate’ comes into play here. The centre was far too bitter and I’m not sure where I was meant to be getting a fudge taste from, I don’t like chocolate flavoured things much so I think just as a personal preference I didn’t enjoy this because of that but I think overall this will probably be the most popular out of all three!
Burger King Nuggs
Burger King’s vegan royale is hands down my favourite fast food vegan burger, its juicy and I prefer ‘chicken’ over ‘beef’ so it has everything going for it in my book! They released some Nuggets as a new meal this year which is great if you don’t want something so dense with the bread.
Burger King is definitely too expensive for what it is so this isn’t something I’ll have often, frankly I could go to a restaurant for a couple quid more for a gourmet vegan burger and a better experience than eating in my car but it is good on the go!
I’m still wondering if they will fully veganise their ‘plant based whopper’ as despite it being plant based it’s cooked the same way as their normal whopper to give you the same authenticity but to me that defeats the purpose.
You’d think one of the largest Pizza chains championing Vegan options for years now would’ve released the classic and fan favourite Pepperoni Pizza replacement many moons ago but somehow it is a 2022 launch in collaboration with The Vegetarian Butcher. I’ve never really been a fan of pepperoni, before being vegetarian it was too spicy for me as a kid, then when I developed a taste for spice there were never really options for vegans/vegetarians until recently. I have tried the pizza hut version but pepperoNAY tends to be thin and you don’t fully feel like you’re satisfying the craving as much as say jalapeno.
We all know my favourite pizza is Jalapeno and Pineapple so I decided to get this pizza half and half, one half fully as recommended and one tailored for me – unfortunately Domino’s is temporarily not delivering to my village due to a road closure so I had to go for Caprino’s vegan pizza which was actually a fantastic replacement! I’ll definitely by trying the Domino’s Pepperonay before the end of the month but considering my disappointment in not being able to try it so far I found a my pizza cravings satisfied regardless.
White Rabbit Calzone – Honorary Mention
If anyone follows me on instagram you will see me constantly complaining about no Vegan calzone options in takeaways or asking for restaurant recommendations. I think when you don’t have something for a while you end up craving it more and more and that’s exactly what’s happened here. So although this is not a takeout I just want to mention it
Subway T.L.C/T.L.S & double choc cookie.
Subway blew up among vegans last year when they released their meatless meatball marinara and they haven’t stopped there! They recently released their T.L.C Tastes like chicken Tikka and T.L.S Tastes like steak but unfortunately they’re only due to be on the menu till mid-feb and aren’t available nationwide instead stores will tend to have one or the other with T.L.S (the more recent release) being more available in the South. These options kind of feel more like a marketing ploy instead of genuinely caring or giving them a shot to succeed in the wider branches, but saying that the Meatless meatball marinara has stuck around so subway just need a reason for them to stay! It is good to see the cookie option too though so you really can make a meal out of it – kudos to subway there!
Going forward bringing in facon and being a bit more aware of cross contamination would see subway as a regular stop for me!
Coffee shops – Nero, Starbucks and Costa
Quick mention as although they’re nice they are quite expensive so I won’t be trying these yet.
Caffè Nero made in collaboration with plant-based meat company THIS™ menu includes plant-based chicken arrabbiata panini and a sausage ciabatta. Alongside Vegan croissant
Costa boast one of my favourites which is Vegan Macaroni Cheeze. They also advertise the Vegan BBQ Chick’n Panini but I have 100% had this before and although it’s lovely is not a new release and BOSH! ™ Chocolate & Pecan Slice. Their collabs with BOSH are historically lovely, this one I will skip purely as I don’t like Pecan’s but I’ve no doubt if you like chocolate and pecan you’ll love this
Did I miss your favourite Veganuary treat?
What are you most looking forward to trying first?
Let me know in the comments below and stay tuned for Veganuary supermarket releases next!
2021 was a pivotal year for me. A year where I really settled into my life (it only took me 29 years!) It started off as a regular year but then somehow I found myself working my dream job in media for the Tokyo Olympics, creating content on TikTok to a whopping 20k followers, exploring my creative spark writing a novel, ticking off a lot of fun adventures securing a promotion and becoming financially educated and secure.
But somehow something changed. I was growing rapidly and happily creating content everyday. My work/life balance was better than it had ever been, I was going out regularly to events I love and able to do so much, but then the inevitable pressure came. I was going home and immediately climbing in bed, I would not spend time in any room other than my bedroom which became cluttered and cluttered life leads to a cluttered head. My anxiety to open up my blog or TikTok became overwhelming, a day of not posting turned into a week, turned into a month. I had people not just asking but actively wanting more content and that’s what I always dreamed to achieve. I didn’t find it hard to create, ideas were flowing but I found it hard to just open up anything for fear of the unknown after time.
People said ‘just do it’ but it’s never that easy, I’ve never been one for ‘new year new me’ so it is not the fact we’re entering a new year now that is making me focus, its that even outside of posting people have been interested and seen my potential. I was approved to be a brand rep for the beautiful Daffodils and Dangles and even briefly chatting to the other brand reps made me fall in love again with why I do this.
So i’m back, raring to go and so excited for not just where 2022 will take me but to release all my adventures from the back end of 2021 that I never got round to posting yet carried on documenting anyway because I hoped one day to be the motivation to someone else that I so desperately needed.
Life isn’t perfect, nor are any of us, so don’t put pressure on yourself to be, if you need time off take it, you’ll naturally always be drawn back to those things that you love and that’s what is important.
How 2021 developed me.
I worked my dream job at the Olympics. I got promoted to a broadcast engineer. I direct consistently for the UK’s only live beauty channel fusing my personal and professional passions. I stepped in front of the camera and presented a live tv show. I got my finances in order and made great progress with not only saving but splitting savings into different pots and making my money work for me (happy to do a post on this). I became a brand rep. I did more in the last year (in a pandemic) than I did for 5 years of my mid twenties – Life really does start at 30 for me.
… and for the less glamorous but nevertheless needed developments.
I had a few vegan (and even vegetarian) mistakes, but something that would’ve made me cry or lash out a few years ago I just shrugged off as none of them were intentional and I realised that’s what matters. I feel incredibly lucky at the amount of Vegan options available now and got to try so many new things in 2021, but 2022 is the year to focus on vegan and cruelty free as more than food and beauty but home products such as washing liquid which can often contain animal fats!
I learnt that anxiety and depression can hit you even when everything’s going right, and people will shrug it off this time and tell you to ‘sort it out’ a lot more as there’s no visible reason. It will hurt, it can make you feel a thousand times worse, like you’re broken or wrong but you aren’t.
Goals (not resolutions) for 2022
It is important for me to set some goals for the year instead of resolutions. Resolutions by the name are resolute, they are that or nothing, which I think already starts with a negative vibe. If you fail once you feel like a failure, whereas if you set goals you only measure your progress instead of a pass/fail type system. So a few of my goals are things like recycle more and stop impulse buying but instead focus more on saving (I did really well at the end of the year with my extreme budget series on TikTok so it won’t be a shock to the system) Also I will try to be more sustainable with fashion, jewellery and beauty.
These may seem a bit overwhelming all at once so I have started by picking a couple of things I can actively work on and develop from there:
Sustainable swap #1 – cat food. You cannot deny the price and convenience of individual sachets but the single waste packs are such a waste so i’m moving to tins and just bulk buying.
Sustainable swap #2 – disposable cups. I’m a nightmare at work for being a coffee fiend but I have a terrible habit of single use cups and although the paper cups get recycled the plastic lids probably don’t so keeping a flask and water bottle at work is a big but simple change for me
So there it is…
2021 was nothing like I expected. I just wanted normality, I didn’t want big, unachievable changes. I wanted to go out and do things, I wanted to be able to buy things for me without worry. I wanted to make myself happy. Although there were some down points, and a sense of sheer overwhelming to carry on with content creation that I love so dearly, overall within myself, 2021 was my year of development. I’m not fixed, but i’m not broken, and if i’m making the right decisions along the way that’s all that counts.