For Veganuary: The Best Dairy-Free Plant Based Swaps I’ve Found After Months Of Trial and Error Including Milk, Cream, Butter, Pastries and More!

As this month is Veganuary and plant based is the talk of the town I thought now would be a good time to share my favourite dairy free swaps. I used to be a HUGE lover of dairy and honestly wouldn’t have believed anyone if they were to tell me I’d be writing this post after being virtually dairy free for nearly 6 months. Around August time in 2020 I massively reduced my dairy intake in the hope that it would help my acne prone skin. I still eat very small amounts of cheese as it is one of my favourite foods but there aren’t really any other dairy products that I miss as I’ve found some great replacements that mean I don’t feel like I’m missing out. Read on to find out more.

Oatly Whole Milk

Whilst this isn’t the cheapest plant based milk around it is by far the best of all the ones I tried. I tried supermarket own brand versions from Aldi and Sainsbury at less than half the cost but found the consistency so watery that I was using up the cartons twice a quickly so they weren’t actually saving me any money at all. I’m not a fan of almond milk as it splits in hot drinks, dislike the flavour of coconuts and am aware its best to keep soya intake low with acne hence my oat decision. I haven’t found anything I don’t like this milk for. It tastes great in tea and coffee, is lovely with cereals and even makes a great Yorkshire pudding. I found it a little bitter when I first bought it but now I wouldn’t ever go back to dairy. Having dairy first thing in the morning always made me feel queasy so I love that swapping to oat means I can eat cereal for breakfast again!

Alpro / Own Brand Soya Yoghurt

I’ve tried coconut based yoghurt and found it thick and unpleasant. I found oat based yoghurts despite being sugar and sweetener free unbearably sugary tasting and a strange texture. My favourite of all the yoghurts I tried over 6 months was the Alpro Mango yoghurt as it contains no added sugar or sweeteners as well as being dairy free. The own brand soya based yoghurts I’ve tried from Tesco have all been great. I find buying the big tubs better value for money than the little individual pots.

Flora

Until they added buttermilk back into the recipe Flora Buttery was my go to. I now have their original one. It’s cheap, lasts ages, tastes pleasant and works well for everything I’ve tried including spreading on toast, cooking with it and baking sponge cakes. I like this product for being good value for money as lots of dairy free substitutes are really pricey!

Elmlea Plant Based Cream

I’ve tried soya cream and personally hated it. This Elmlea is around 89p for 270ml so very reasonably priced. It tasted almost identical to dairy cream to the point that relatives over the festive period couldn’t tell the difference. I’ve tried it with desserts and in hot coffees and it’s incredible. It can also be whipped unlike soya cream. Great taste, great value for money and it’s long life. I love this.

Alpro Devilishly Dark Chocolate Dessert Pots

These are divine. They have no soya taste to them at all. The sugar content isn’t wildly high and they’re an amazing treat. I love that they have really long use by dates so I can buy them when they’re on offer and pop them away for a later date to save money. The best dairy free dessert I’ve had and I have tried the GU free from cheesecakes.

Jus Rol Cinnamon Swirl Dough

I do aim to keep sugar content low and rarely ever bought things like bars of chocolate, packets of biscuits etc but the odd cake or pastry was my favourite treat. Finding dairy free cake that doesn’t cost the earth and is still tasty is far harder than I’d like. These swirls are magical though. They’re accidentally vegan, again have a long use by date so can be bought on promo far in advance, and taste incredible. You just slice the dough and bake for 10 minutes. I’ve tried the pain au chocolat ones from the same brand and whilst they’re good they’re not quite the flaky pastry I like but I can’t fault these. I buy the kit which makes 6 for less than £1.50 when on offer and freeze a few once they’re cooked.

Vegan Magnum Ice Creams

Again these were purchased as a treat and they are incredible. You’d never know they weren’t dairy. I’ve tried the almond and original ones and can’t fault either. The texture of the ice cream is flawless and the taste is magnificent. I was so happy to see Tesco added them to their “Clubcard Price” list so a box of 3 costs £2 instead of £3.50.

Comments Welcome

Free Gifts With Small Purchases: How To Get High End Make Up & Beauty Products With Minimal Spend

I’ve previously written posts on how to get beauty freebies so decided to follow this up with how to get high end beauty, skincare and make up products with a minimal spend because it is possible and in more ways than you may have expected.

Freebies With Magazines

I very rarely buy magazines but tend to browse the sections when in supermarkets as many will offer free designer make up brands with the purchase of an issue. I love this as you can get some really great products for far lower than the RRP as well as some reading entertainment. I tend to pass magazines onto friends when I’ve finished reading them too. In the past I’ve seen a variety of colours of polish from Nails Inc worth £11, Benefit mascaras and bronzers and The Body Shop products. Generally you’re spending no more than £5 for these so if you’re in need of a new beauty product anyway this is a good place to look. Boots magazine is also free if you have a Boots Advantage Card, all the reasons I adore it can be found here, these magazines often have promo vouchers in the back for discounts or extra points. I’ve seen a free eye test voucher on numerous occasions.

Feel Unique Pick & Mix

This is a service that you can access once a month after signing up for a Feel Unique account. It costs £3.95 to order 5 samples, new additions are added each month, and you get a discount code for this value to redeem against another order except their sampling services. The vouchers are valid for a couple of months. I personally have only used this service once as I prefer to shop for my toiletries and beauty in stores such as Savers or Boots so didn’t ever expect to use the voucher meaning the samples would never truly be free. However; I did discover they had some really niche skincare items that I’d been keen to try so in August I received my first Pick & Mix selection. It does take a bit of hunting but they do have a good range of decent sized products on there. Some are just 1ml sachets whereas others are 5ml – 15ml mini bottles. Using the browsing filters is really helpful for this service to make sure you’re getting the most sizable products instead of a 1ml sachet.

Feel Unique Beauty Kit

I’ve yet to use this service but could easily see myself doing so in the near future. You pay £12.95 + £3.95 shipping for 5 deluxe minis in a pouch from high end brands and receive a voucher for the £3.95 to use on another order except sampling services. I’ve seen products such as deluxe minis of lipsticks from Huda Beauty, Givenchy and Estee Lauder, eye make up products from Clinique and Estee Lauder as well as a range of skincare, perfumes and hair care samples. I’d consider placing an order if they had some skincare items I’d been keen to try anyway as I like trying travel size versions of new things like toners rather than forking out for the full size option and discovering my skin doesn’t like it. This is definitely a service I plan to keep my eye on. At the time of posting this they have skincare and make up products from Origins, Caudalie, La Roche Posay, Erborian, Aveda, St Tropez, Urban Decay, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Bed Head, Elizabeth Arden, Jurlique, Vichy, Burberry and more. The largest product size is 75ml and there are currently make up brushes on there too.

Sign Up For Newsletters

I find signing up to newsletters from big beauty brands useful as every once in a while they’ll have some brilliant deals. I’ve previously seen free shipping and 3 samples on all orders from Clarins which you could redeem by paying just £9 for a travel mini of one of their make up products. Their samples were all 5ml or more which is a great way to try new products. I’ve seen similar promotions from Clinique before where they offered a full size eye product worth over £20 with the purchase of any moisturiser including one shipped for £12. So there are some good deals to be had if you can put up with the emails! I actually have a separate email address connected to this blog which I use for signing up to newsletters so my regular inbox isn’t inundated.

Space NK Nduldge

The Space NK loyalty programme is free to join and enables you to redeem a free birthday gift of 3 deluxe samples which Space NK choose and change each month. Some of the gifts are worth a lot of money as they have some really high end brands. A full post with details on how to get beauty freebies for your birthday can be found here.

Comments Welcome

How To Get Beauty Freebies For Your Birthday

July is my birthday month and usually when I have the biggest haul of freebies. Given the recent lockdown I’ve had more spare time on my hands than usual which has led me to joining some extra loyalty schemes for birthday perks that I was previously unaware of. Some are gifts with purchase but if… More

Part 1: How To Get Free Make Up And Beauty Samples

I’ve been an avid beauty freebie collector now for nearly 2 years. It’s saved me a small fortune and I’ve been able to use some brilliant brands like Chanel, Givenchy etc all without paying a penny. Below are some of the ways I collect beauty freebies: Sign up to Glamour Beauty Club to receive free… More

Eco Friendly Beauty Changes I’d Like To Make On A Budget

I’ve previously written a post on how sometimes being thrifty can benefit the planet as in some areas it can result in less waste by promoting items being reused. After turning my back on fast fashion a few years ago and recently following lots of sustainability blogs I’ve become more conscious than ever of my footprint on the planet so decided to look into some changes I could make to my lifestyle without spending more than I currently do.

Beauty Decisions I Already Make That Are Better Than Nothing On The Eco-Front:

  • Being considerate with my purchases and only buying what I need. I stick to the bare minimum of toiletries and skincare to avoid acne act ups and overspending. I only ever buy a new item when one is running out etc. I probably buy maximum 2 make up items a year.
  • Not using make up wipes, sheet masks, disposable dental floss, or cotton buds
  • Buying big sizes of products I love e.g. the larger size of La Roche Posay’s Effaclar cleanser. It is more economically friendly and means I buy 1 bottle a year instead of 2.
  • Where possible buying items with packaging made from recycled plastic such as hair products from Bleach London when on promotion or The Body Shop. Unfortunately I really don’t like LUSH hence making these decisions quite a few years back as they’re the easiest accessible high street options that are better than most drugstore products. The Body Shop, now owned by Natura & Co, promote using Fairtrade ingredients, use waste from farming, are cruelty free, offer in store recycling, have some refillable products, support Community Trade recycled plastic projects, have wildlife support efforts and are aiming to be “the world’s most ethical and sustainable global business”. I’m aware items still come in plastic packaging and could be better but feel this is better than nothing.
  • Using house hold recycling / Terracycle for empty packaging. Lots of high street stores now accept empty beauty packaging from any brand and recycle it via Terracycle meaning less ends up in landfill, some offer promotions for this.
  • Have beauty swaps with friends (pre-corona) typically with any items I’d tried and not got on with like skincare or nail polishes I no longer use etc. It saves items going to landfill.

Eco Friendly Swaps I’d Like To Make

  • Trying Carbon Theory’s facial cleansing bar – £6, suitable for blemished skin, can be bought in paper wrapping, is cruelty free and vegan. It gets 4560 5* reviews and is suitable for acne prone skin even with mild sensitivity according to the online consultant I spoke to. I’ll pick this up when I next need a cleanser with my Boots points so it’ll cost me £0. I’ve tried so so many moisturisers over the years and found a couple of cult favourites that I can’t live without as they help me manage blemishes and scarring, fortunately the packaging is recyclable but these aren’t something I’d be willing to swap.
  • Swapping shower gel for bar soap . For my first swap I plan to use my £5 Body Shop birthday voucher to pick up 2 of their £2.50 paper wrapped bars of soap. If the swap is successful I’d be up for trying Dove’s bar soap as it can work out less than £1 a bar which is about what I pay for shower gel typically.
  • Stop buying plastic shower scrubbies. These were something I bought as I found they made my shower gel last longer so saved me money but I realise they’re bad for the planet and something I could easily live without. I plan to try and upcycle my current one into a bag /net with sucker on to contain the soap bar and overcome the fact my shower has literally no shower inside!
  • Reusable cotton pads are something I’d like to try. I’m conscious that due to having acne I’d need to wash these at a high temperate to ensure any bacteria is killed but do this with my towels / pillowcases anyway so that would be easy. I also don’t think these would entirely replace cotton pads for me as I wouldn’t want to use the same ones on my face that have had nail varnish remover on but this swap would massively reduce the amount I use.
  • Eco-friendly toilet roll whilst not exactly beauty it is bathroom related. I live in a house-share meaning I don’t have total control and storage space is lacking. We realised we’d have nowhere to keep a giant order from companies like Who Gives A Crap so compromised by buying 100% recycled toilet paper in bigger packs rather than just picking up 4 rolls in the supermarket as and when we need them (yes, this really did us over with Covid panic buying!). Again, not the most eco friendly but still better than before.
  • Shampoo bars are a change I’d be willing to try once I’ve used up my current stash I hauled from my TopCashBack £15 refund. Rather than ordering something online I’d rather visit a shop first time round so plan to try and overcome my LUSH issues and see if they offer any form of sampling. I’m aware they can be more expensive but have heard many reviews saying they last far longer than bottles so work out cost effective.

If you have any budget and eco-friendly beauty swaps I’d love to hear them in the comments.

June ’20 Freebie Haul

A post summarising all the freebies I claimed that arrived in June. Considering all these were claimed online I’m pretty surprised and impressed with what I got. Having more time on my hands in lockdown definitely meant I was able to fill out new freebie forms faster so missed out on less though!

Lenor Unstoppables – from Super Savvy Me

£15 worth of items from Superdrug – claimed as a new customer to TopCashBack. I paid 89p including delivery for the bundle below. My cashback arrived about 3 weeks later (but it can take up to 3 months)

Giorgio Armani Foundation – from a SoPost sponsored advert on Instagram.

YSL All Hours Foundation – also from a SoPost sponsored advert.

Rituals Anti Ageing Skin Care samples – signing up to their newsletter prompted me to sign up to a SoPost freebie giveaway.

Oral B Toothpaste mini sample from Super Savvy Me.

Estee Lauder Perfume from a sponsored social media advert

Mike’s Alcoholic Sparkling Water spotted through Instagram. As I don’t drink this will be put towards a gift hamper as it is a full sized can.

Fairy Dishwasher Tablets – a sponsored Facebook advert with Super Savvy Me

It Cosmetics 4ml CC+ Cream – Boots online samples

£50 Ikea Voucher – for winning a Super Savvy Me competition.

Omorovicza Mud Face Mask – via a sponsored social media advert

Comments welcome!

How To Save Money When Online Shopping – Tips For Cashback Sites, Online Outlets and More

Truth be told I don’t shop online very much. Instead I prefer to pick up items in stores when I need a few bits. I find this more enjoyable, I use my own bags so it saves shipping materials and it’s easier to see exactly what you’re getting. However; given the current lockdown situation I’ve recently been having to purchase my usual items online when I’ve run out and nipping to the shops isn’t possible so I thought I’d throw together a post on how to save money when shopping online. Some are very obvious whereas others are less so!

  • Browse sales / clearance first – and some sites you wouldn’t expect have online sales like Superdrug with generous reductions.
  • Buy items out of season – e.g a winter coat in the summer. I once got a long wool double breasted United Colours of Benetton coat for £40 new by buying it in the Spring from an outlet.
  • Online outlets – e.g TK Maxx or genuine eBay outlets for stores like Joules, Superdry, Office, Skechers, Jigsaw and many more all with up to 60% off.
  • Try preloved for cheaper clothes options – I’ve found items on eBay in “worn once” condition for around £7 instead of £50 and they’ve shown up immaculate. It’s luck of the draw but if you do your research / read full descriptions / ask for more details it works brilliantly.
  • Always search for discount codes – there’s almost always one available for either a % off or free shipping. 9/10 by searching ” ‘store name’ discount code” I manage to make extra savings.
  • Sign up for newsletters as most stores will offer you an introductory discount and if you choose, you then then unsubscribe straight after checkout. Recently I managed to get 10% off Liberty with free shipping by signing up.
  • Check for loyalty offers e.g if you sign up to Superdrug’s Beauty Card you get free shipping on all orders over £10 whereas for regular customers its higher.
  • Search around as some sites will have your item cheaper than others – I’ve saved over £30 on one item by doing this.
  • Wait for free shipping to save making your spend any more than it has to be.
  • Join a cashback site like Quidco or Topcashback to get money back on your purchases. The refunds are never 100% guaranteed but if you’re going to make the spend anyway you may as well try to redeem some of your money back. Sometimes offers will come through like £2 cashback on any £5 spend within 24 hours too.
  • Look out for strange anomalies for example – I fell in love with a winter coat last November and it was the only one not reduced in the store’s Boxing Day sale. I knew it would have to be reduced at some point in order for them to shift the stock as very few people would buy a full price winter coat in the spring / summer. I signed up for the store’s newsletter to keep an eye on further discount announcements and was then able to purchase it for nearly half the price with free shipping.

If you sell items on eBay when having clear outs its worth keeping hold of all your bags, bubble wrap etc from online deliveries as you can reuse these to save you money. I tend to keep the ones from deliveries at work to help with this also.

If you have any other tips please let me know in the comments!