Veganuary | Weeks 2 & 3

Hey Sweeties,

So firstly I want to apologise for not posting my Veganuary update last week, but I was so overwhelmed with wedding stress that I ended up not posting at all, like anything. So today I have combined weeks 2 and 3 together; a product and an experience (kind of).

As you’re reading this (depending on the time of day), I’m in London to meet Ella Woodward at her book signing for her new book,Deliciously Ella Every Day. You’ll remember my post last year where I reviewed Ella’s first book, along with Madeline Shaw’s Get The Glow and Davina McCall’s 5 Weeks to Sugar-Free. I have become a huge fan of Ella Woodward and delighted at her recent success so as you can appreciate, I am very excited about meeting her today.

At the beginning of the month as I was heading back to the car in town, I was dressed in gym gear carrying a Holland & Barrett bag in one hand, and in the other my new favourite toy, my brand new Spiralizer; I was literally a walking January cliché!

Salter Spiralizer

Salter Spiralizer

Salter Spiralizer

Salter Spiralizer

I’m going to cut straight to it (excuse the pun), but believe the hype; Spiralizers are Amazing! I am obsessed and I don’t use that word lightly. I’m not going to lie though, the first time I got it out its box, while you think it’s obvious how to use, I don’t think it is so I had to quickly jump on YouTube to find a how-to video. Yes, really. But there are so many online that I can’t be the only one that got flummoxed by something so simple looking.  That all being said, once you’ve worked out which end to attach to what, you can create a meal in minutes and it’s honestly the best thing probably since sliced bread, probably. Buy one!

Now for my experience.

Yesterday I got properly stuck in Waitrose trying to find something for lunch that wasn’t something really boring (i.e. a very plain salad), overpriced or totally not suitable for vegans. Earlier in the week I visited Tesco and again, while finding something wasn’t instantly easy, I ended up with a bowl of simple mixed leaves and a small tub of falafel with humus which combined together was delicious. I tried to create the same at Waitrose only to find their falafel contained milk and egg!! –why on God’s earth do they make them with dairy products included? Absolutely no need. I ended up with this Itsu Vegetable Festival Crystal Noodle Cup which from my basic understanding of ingredients, is vegan friendly and was actually really nice and not expensive.

Veganuary -Itsu Vegetable festival

Call me crazy, but I like that I can’t just buy anything in a supermarket anymore, I enjoy the challenge of finding something suitable which often requires me to be more creative with my options. It also requires me to be 100% more conscious with what I am putting in my body and where it has come from. But I think supermarkets need to think so much more about providing enough fast lunch options for those with specific dietary needs, but don’t rack up the cost because it’s ‘specialist’. If you look along the shelves now, their superfood salads despite not seeming that much value for money, are always topped with cheese or contain meat. Even if you’re not vegan, not everybody likes everything included with cheese. That being said, some of the top supermarkets are making the effort to publish lists of the vegan friendly products that they stock so it’s worth taking a look at their websites before you shop.

Until next time x

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Christmas Adverts 2015 Round-up | Blogmas Day 17

Hey Sweeties,

Before ClaireySweetie was born, my very first blog was over at thepassionqueen.wordpress.com which allowed me to talk about my love of advertising. Before John Lewis took over, I used to really look forward to the adverts at Christmas and I would do a roundup post discussing the key ones of that particular year. I miss doing this so I thought I would recreate that post on here for you guys, I hope that’s ok?

Before we get to it, what I will say is that I find the key players (the big brands –John Lewis, Sainsbury’s etc.) lose their momentum as the month goes on. At the start of November, particularly now with social media, everyone goes mental over the new Christmas adverts but within a week or two, I barely see them on my TV and conversation stops, and that’s before we’ve even actually had Christmas! Considering the budgets behind them, I actually think it’s the brands with the simpler campaigns that I feel have any kind of consistency. Agree?

Disclaimer: If you’re a fan of John Lewis advertising, please skip to the next advert so I cause no offence.

#Manonthemoon

I’m sorry, I really dislike this advert, not only is it not in the least bit sad, the whole science of the concept is completely unbelievable. While I can cry at most things at the drop of a hat, I have never cried at a John Lewis advert –I’m not made of stone, I just become numb to forced emotion and John Lewis seem to have got set on making people cry, over going out and making a great advert. I totally get the message about not forgetting the elderly at this time of year, and I know of a few people that were pushed to call up their Grandparents and relatives which is great. But that aside, I still dislike it and I am really disappointed in John Lewis for not taking the opportunity to go in a different direction this year with their advertising. Hopefully next Christmas they’ll have a change of tact.

Sainsbury’s –Mog’s Christmas Calamity

In defence of poor Mog, like with any domestic pet, you do something called ‘pet proofing’. As you know I have a house bunny (Lola) and as a fairly experienced rabbit owner, I understand that they chew through everything. I have never owned a cat but I assume there is a similar process that experienced owners go through with proofing their home. Mog’s family cannot be experienced cat owners for who would leave a cable of lights dangling by her bed? I’ll also say it took them a long time to realise shit was going on downstairs as she must have made a hellava racket. That all being said, I actually really like this offering from Sainsbury’s as it captures the true meaning of Christmas but like the John Lewis ad, it seems to have disappeared from our screens as quickly as it appeared?!

Asda

Remember what I said earlier about some brands creating simpler campaigns? Asda is the perfect example (as well as Lidl and Aldi this year too). On launch its long but as the month goes on, shorter edits of the advert are used and are far more impactful. *applauds*

Sky

I’ll let slide why people have left the table for a movie before everyone (notably Rosie) has finished eating, but I otherwise really like this advert –its fun and it captures a child’s imagination perfectly.

Waitrose –What makes Your Christmas?

I hated Waitrose’s advert last year (you can tell I’m a tough critic to please, right?). To be honest, along with John Lewis it’s what for me was the final straw with Christmas advertising becoming all about being over emotional rather than fun. So this year, I’m glad they didn’t follow John Lewis’ lead and instead went back to their roots and concentrated on what they do best –selling good quality food.

But of course, the real winner of the Christmas adverts is of course, Cocoa Cola –without fail, every single year, Christmas hasn’t officially started until you hear that distinctive sound and chime of the bells to confirm that the holidays are coming!

What are you favourite Christmas adverts?

Until next time x

 

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A Review of the 2014 Christmas Advertising

Monty the Penguin

Hey Sweeties,

This is going to be one of those posts where you either agree with me or I become your most hated blogger… but I hope this would only be temporary. The last couple of weeks my Sunday chat posts have been tied into quite personal things so I now want to lighten the mood and raise for discussion Christmas advertising, something we all have in common and an opinion on.

Yes I still think it’s a bit early to be mentioning Christmas but we’re all thinking about it so why try to deny the obvious eh?!

Anyway.

Most of you will be unaware but until earlier this year I had another blog (The Passion Queen) which was focussed entirely on (mostly television) advertising because I won’t lie to you, I love it! But in loving it, I am also (mostly) immune to its powers of persuasion and its ability to make even the strongest reduce to tears… particularly at Christmas.

What I am basically trying to say is that Monty the Penguin does nothing for me. Every year John Lewis releases an advert almost solely so that people go mad on social media sharing it and announcing how sore their eyes are after crying so hard. Pathetic. I am sorry but it is. John Lewis does this every single year and I am bored. I am not disputing that Monty (the penguin) is absolutely adorable and the advert as a whole is cute but crying over it? Please.

This year I am also go to throw into this mix Waitrose as they’ve gone all soppy unnecessarily as well.

Christmas is absolutely about sharing the day/festive period with family and present giving is part of that but above all it’s a happy time. It’s about celebration.

For retailers, Christmas is the most lucrative time of the year, they have to get it right to achieve the sales and those like the supermarket brands do generally concentrate their advertising on how they can contribute to making your Christmas great. Even the likes of Iceland and their bizarre hiring of Peter Andre, do ultimately tell you what they’re all about -that they have good food for a great price. The likes of Aldi and Lidl have also come into their own this year and I think Marks & Spencer have been a bit boring for their festive contribution. However, asides from making everyone except me cry, John Lewis from the sounds of things have just done fantastically well in the sale of cuddly toy penguins.

For me, my favourite Christmas advert this year is the one from Sainsburys. Why it has gained so much negative press is beyond me, I can see why some people would have a problem with it but for me, I just think it’s brilliant and it has been made with support from the British Legion. So what’s the problem?

This year marked 100 years since the start of the First World War and I think it is only apt that opportunity is made to remember and show respect for that time and those that lost their lives. Sainsburys have done their bit by reminding us that within the huge loss of lives, there were moments where the conflict at hand wasn’t all sad. The two enemy sides did, for short time, come together and do something human and share… this also happened to be at Christmas. Watching that advert made you stop and realise that it wasn’t soldiers fighting, it was mostly young lads who were one day friends and the next sworn enemies killing each other. Now that is worth crying over. It makes you remember that Christmas is not about a boy with his toy penguin who gets bought another toy penguin that goes viral across the internet; it’s about sharing and being together. I didn’t see one person share the Sainsburys advert on my social feeds.

So yes, how you all feel having realised I don’t like the John Lewis advert I don’t know. But it’s an opinion and we’re all entitled to those. So let me know what you guys think.

Until next time x

 

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