Bee One of a Kind review

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Image by Moss & Stone

Bee One of a Kind is a fairly new brand, but I love it because of the fact that it’s local, organic and I can trust that each product is made with love and care. I know this because one of my closest friends, Melissa, is the creator and owner and her passion for what she makes is so very genuine and contagious!

Though not exclusively vegan, the brand provides a vegan selection of products (from facial toners to bath soaks), and the products that do contain bee honey is sourced from an ethical and organic farm where the bees are not harmed or gassed.

During the festive period, I bought a lot of goodies from her as gifts for family members (and myself haha) and the comments I have received have been nothing but good. I tried both bath soaks and found them the perfect way to end a stressful day.

This is probably due to the power-trio of ingredients in the soaks – Epsom salts, organic Pink Himalayan rock salt, and bicarbonate soda. The Epsom helps to relax the nervous system, cure skin conditions, soothe back pain and aching limbs, ease muscle strain, heal wounds and cuts and draw toxins from the body, while the Pink Himalayan salt aids the body purification process (its high crystalline structure allows nutrients to be absorbed at a cellular level). Not to mention it has 84 essential trace minerals and its alkaline/acidic balance helps the body to harmonise and neutralise (a balance which is affected during high levels of stress). The bicarb soda gives the extra kick of neutralising acid and alkaline to regulate the skin’s pH levels, as well as gently exfoliating.

With this super-base of detoxing ingredients, the ‘Unwind’ soak also has organic sweet almond oil, organic rose petals, organic chamomile flowers, organic lavender, sweet orange essential oil and cinnamon essential oil – a nourishing combination which created beautiful bath water to relax in, as well as smooth skin afterwards, and a relaxed and soothed mind after a very long day!

The ‘Detox’ soak also includes the salt and soda trio, along with organic sweet almond oil, Sencha green tea leaves, fennel seeds, thyme, lemon essential oil and geranium essential oil. Fennel seeds and thyme help to cleanse and get rid of any nasties in your body (fennel helps with stomach and PMS problems, whilst thyme aids respiratory problems including bronchitis, coughs, and chest congestion). The lemon and geranium give an uplifting scent, and is an overall mood lifter. The ‘Detox’ soak is definitely something I’d keep for those ‘icky’ days when I feel a cold coming on, or am just not feeling right.

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Image courtesy of Bee One of a Kind

I gave these awesome coffee scrub shots as a gift to my sister, Naomi, and from the glowing skin she’s been sporting lately, I think it’s done a great a job. The coffee shots contain fair-trade organic coffee beans, raw sugar, organic beeswax, organic coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, organic peppermint leaves, cinnamon, cornflour, organic pink Himalayan salt, peppermint essential oil and rosewater – all-natural ingredients that provide lots of goodness to the skin.

Here is what Naomi had to say:
“Has a light, choc-peppermint aroma. It comes in a set of perfectly-sized portions that look like coffee shots, which is good so you don’t have to think about how much you need to use, just use one “shot” per session. It leaves skin literally feeling soft and velvety, even after drying skin with a towel. No need to moisturize! :D Softness lasts until next shower.”

Vee.p Review

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How cute are these little things? I came across Vee.p when Vanessa, one of my Facebook friends posted a status asking people to like a page she made for her start-up soap business.

After reading the words ‘Vegan, handmade and handcut’ I was hooked – I had to try these out!

Bit of background info: Vee.p soaps are 100% cruelty free, palm oil free, and free from synthetic dyes, pigments or fragrances. Each bar of soap is unique in it’s special way, lovingly made via traditional cold process methods, and containing at least 50% olive oil.

I decided to buy three of the many adorably-named options (believe me, it was hard to pick!) and I have to say, I was certainly not disappointed!

Whatever Max

This dark, handsome stranger gave a refreshing zing to the bathing experience. The peppermint, rosemary & cedar wood in the soap was very uplifting, with the Australian black clay and desiccated coconut making for a great exfoliation session. All-in-all, a perfect starter for that morning shower when you need a energetic pick-me-up and smooth skin to boot.

Skinny Love

This definitely ticks the ‘indulgent beauty’ box, as far as soap goes. First off, this rose-hued bar smells like all kinds of awesome with lavender and grapefruit, as well as a hint of frankincense and myrrh. Fruity, floral, but down to earth. But not only does it leave you smelling amazing, it’s a blessing for your skin as well – Skinny Love also has Australian black and pastel pink clay which cleanses, conditions, hydrates and adds firmness to your skin. You’re left feeling fresh and tingly all over, with an all-over glow. I love how smooth my skin felt after just one use.

Relax Trevor

A great bar of soap to end the day with. The lavender really comes through, creating a relaxing atmosphere while the cedar wood keeps you grounded and the poppy seeds provide gentle exfoliation to the skin. Just what tired muscles (and a tired mind) need after a long day at work. I used it in the bath and let some of the dried lavender float in the water for an extra relaxing effect. Truly calming.

Vanilla, Raspberry and Strawberry Nana Icecream

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Vanilla Berry Ice Cream from Moss and Stone blog

Hi guys! Sorry for the lack of posts lately, it’s something I really have to work on for the new year!

Here’s a breakfast post I’ve been meaning to put up for a while, but never got round to it until now – it’s Vanilla Raspberry Nana Ice Cream with chia seeds, coconut shreds and kiwi fruit.

All I did was blend a frozen banana with a few drops of vanilla essence, and dropped in a couple of strawberries and a handful of frozen raspberries whilst blending (to get the ripple effect).

Then I scooped it into a bowl and garnished with the toppings :)

 

Interview with James Aspey of Voiceless365

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Though some might mistake James Aspey for a typical gym-junkie guy with muscles and tattoos to match, there is a lot more than meets the eye.

James has now neared the end of his 365-day Voiceless365 campaign – a vow of silence in the name of animal liberation. The awareness campaign grew out of his passion for animal rights, and has proven to be no small feat.

Starting in Sydney, James travelled in a camper-van whilst making pit stops along the way to talk about his cause and educating townsfolk on animal welfare. With his van breaking down in the middle of outback Western Australia, James resorted to hitch hiking to Darwin, and cycled the remaining distance from Darwin to Sydney.

A few months ago, I was lucky enough to get into contact with James via email to ask him a few questions about his journey and what got him started in the first place!

Thara: From what I’ve read it seems you’re like any other 20-something guy who enjoys life and likes to have a good time. You’re definitely not the stereotypical ‘tree-hugging hippie’ people think of when they find out someone is vegan, even more so when they are a trainer. How do you usually deal with people that think like this, and how do you explain the vegan lifestyle and what your values are whilst maintaining that you are a ‘fit’ and ‘normal’ person?

James: I find it hilarious that some people see veganism as something reserved for hippies, animal lovers and extremists. I used to think that as well, but now it’s so funny to me because the main reason I’m vegan is something that 99% of people already agree with, which is that it’s wrong to inflict unnecessary pain and death on an animal.

It’s obvious we don’t need to buy leather or support the circus, but once you realise that you don’t need to include any animal products in your diet to thrive and be optimally healthy, the only reasons we have left for using animals are habit, convenience and taste. None of those reasons constitute as a necessity so the only way to be consistent with your beliefs and actions in regards to avoiding unnecessary pain and death on an animal, is to go vegan.

So I think the best way to explain it is to make others realise it is completely normal to agree with the main principle of veganism. In this day, when it is so incredibly easy to be vegan, the internet is full of information and advice, more and more research is coming out on the many health benefits of a vegan diet, the countless delicious vegan meals, restaurants have vegan options, grocery stores are full of vegan items, there is growing awareness about the cruel way in which animals are treated… The question then isn’t why am I vegan, but rather, why are they not?

Thara: So you started this 365-day challenge in January, and now you’re nine months (at the time of the interview) into it. How do you feel? What have you gained from the experience so far? What have you achieved? What were your challenges? What do you do to cope with the stresses that may come your way?

James: Depends what day you ask me. Today I’m feeling positive, optimistic, and like I’m making a difference. Yesterday I felt frustrated, overwhelmed and like I wanted to go into hibernation. It’s been an intense year. I only started taking veganism seriously as a moral obligation when I began my vow of silence. Before that I would still allow myself a bit of dairy or cheese here and there. Now I understand that every single one of those purchases caused harm to an animal. The person buying the products are equally responsible as the people working in the slaughterhouse.

So basically I threw myself in the deep end this year which forced me to learn and I have gained an incredible amount of knowledge from the people I’ve met, places I’ve visited and the countless hours I’ve spent listening to lectures, debates, interviews, reading books and articles, then I share everything I’ve learned and the experiences I’m having with the followers the Voiceless365 blog. The writings on the blog have been my most useful way of advocating on behalf of animals and it’s success, which I’ve judged by the amount of new vegans and awareness it has raised, has been better than I ever imagined.

The year has been full of ups and downs. Forcing myself to remain silent in heated discussions and settling for a pen and paper to jot down my raging thoughts. My van broke down in the middle of outback Western Australia so i had to abandon it, hitch hike to Darwin, and now I’m cycling the remaining distance from Darwin to Sydney which is another example of a challenge I jumped straight in the deep end. It’s going good though, only stacked it once so far, and that was in the first 10km’s!

Most of all, my challenge is to keep my cool in a world where buying products obtained from torturing and slaughtering sentient beings is normal. Everywhere I look, someone’s purchases are paying for extreme animal cruelty. The very same people love and cherish their dog and cat and apparently are strongly opposed to animal cruelty, yet they say this while eating a piece of steak or drinking a glass of milk! The hypocrisy is real, it is common, and for anyone who has woken up to the reality of what billions of animals go through every year because most people want to eat them as a snack, there’s bound to be moments where you feel sad and exhausted.

james aspey2Thara: Originally you were using the campaign as a way to not only educate people on your cause, but to also raise money for Animals Australia. The fundraising aspect was stopped though – can you tell us why?

James: A few months into the journey I learned there was a debate in the animal movement regarding abolition versus welfare. I didn’t understand it all but it was enough to make me wary about actively asking for donations until I knew more, though I wasn’t yet convinced enough to cut fundraising altogether.

Recently I’ve gone deeper into this topic and came to the conclusion it was best to stop raising funds for the welfare organisation I’d chosen, as we had some conflicting, core beliefs in that I believe the best way to achieve an end to animal exploitation is to advocate for it, rather than advocate for incremental improvements in animal welfare.

Thara: You mention that when you were 17 years old you were diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. Do you think being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease at such a young age gave you the thirst for life that you have today?

James: Having cancer didn’t change my life, but it did make me want to. I felt like I missed out on a lot of living while I was sick so once I got better I started investing time into learning how to live a more positive, purpose-filled life. I read books, started meditating, and began incorporating the new things I was learning one piece at a time. Anyone can take steps towards improving their life, you don’t need to have cancer, you just need to start walking the path.

Thara: Meditation and the act of mindfulness seemed to be a big factor in changing who you are today. Do you think practicing meditation is a beneficial thing for anyone to incorporate into their lives? If so, why? How would you recommend a novice should start?

James: Meditation is one of the best ways I ever invested my time to create a better future for myself. In my experience, it’s helped me shine a light on some of the darker aspects of my personality such as self-consciousness, anger and self-sabotage. Meditation has helped me embrace the confidence and joy that is already inside each one of us, waiting to shine through. It’s excellent medication for your body and mind and you can start by doing something as simple as shifting your attention from the constant chatter in your mind, to the sensation of the inhalation and exhalation of your breathing. The more you take the attention from your mind, the less power those thoughts have over your life and you can start gaining more control of your actions as opposed to simply reacting all the time.

If you really want to learn meditation, I’d recommend going to a Vipassana course which is a 10 day retreat and all you do is eat, sleep and meditate. They teach you the technique. Also, you have to take a vow of silence for the entire 10 days, so you’ll get some insight into what this year has been all about for me!

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