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can you have both a glass is half-full mindset and a half-empty mindset?

I recently stumbled upon a spoken word video/poetry video from a poet speaking about how the world has gone to chaos and such and how ‘this world should end’. His background of choice was a broken, abandoned house in the middle of nowhere and he sat on what he could make out of the rubble and spoke about how this world should end because the air is polluted, water contaminated, our food is genetically processed and our governments are greedy. Now at first my instant emotion was to feel depressed. To feel a heavy sigh in my chest and to not really want to watch the whole thing because of the sour mood it would inevitability put me in. I didn’t want it to feel like I was discrediting the poet or ignoring his message because his message was the kind of thing all humans need to know, especially the ones who have more power to make change. This poet was releasing extreme truths and things that could hit anyone of any background close to home and I am proud of him for speaking out and was, obviously, inspired by what he said because it got me thinking – what is the better option in this current generation? To think optimistically or to think pessimistically?

As soon as I closed out Facebook to try and soften the blow of sadness that some posts on that website can inflict, I went downstairs to make myself a cup of tea. Equipped with a warm bed robe just taken off the radiator and strolled past my cat who was warm and content next to the stairs. I gave him a stroke and turned on the kettle and started thinking – is it bad to praise the good things in the world? The world is shit and I agree. As a kid who grew up with intense fear of global warming and environmental damage from a weirdly young age, I couldn’t agree more with the fact that humans have messed up the environment we’ve been given. We should have done more to look after it before it got too late for some animal species and plant species. We should be putting more effort into safe energy and more effort into decreasing harmful emissions. But as I sat there letting the kettle brew, I ranted to myself in my head that it’s even more depressing and ignorant to sit by and just accept the doom of a shitty world. There are positives to the generation I live in.

If I was a child in the 19th century, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to have my parents or older family members around now, people I know or even myself may have died from an illness or injury that, in this generation, I could have been easily cured of due to the evolution of healthcare and medical studies. There has been so much progression in technology and science discoveries that can benefit people and animals. We have discovered new species and creatures due to that advancement and I think that’s amazing. In this current generation, although it is still debatable and there is still prejudice and hate crimes, people are working more and more to get LGBT people the safety and equality they deserve but it’s not even been long since it was decriminalised. Racism and racial prejudice is still prominent in so many countries around the world including the UK and US but the internet and communities work so hard to oppose and call out systematic racism. If it wasn’t for the internet and people talking about Black Lives Matter, I may have not even been educated on police systematic racism. Some people would call the internet a downfall of our generation, saying children don’t get the right childhood anymore because of the internet but you could look at the internet positively by saying news is spread much more fast than it was in the past. The internet can also hold many communities that benefit people. If a teenager is feeling lost in their own world they can turn to the internet to discover hobbies, games, music or forums that create distractions for them and may even benefit them and make them happy. More and more people are switching to vegetarian and vegan diets in this current year to which shows a progression for dietary and animal rights.

Of course, when I was thinking that there are so many positives to this world now that people may overlook in the spiral of depression and hatred that there is currently, I didn’t want to be the ignorant one. I don’t want to turn a blind eye to the world’s negatives or what stuff we need to change. If I could ask for wishes about the world I would ask for so much instantly. I want everyone to switch to safer, environmentally friendly energy choices. I want people to create materials that decompose and are safer for the environment. I want people to learn the harm of systematic oppression and racism and educate others. But what can I do if I sit there and just wallow in the fact that the world is ‘shit’? How are any of us going to change if we just accept that the world is shit and wait for our lives to finish?

Would everyone thinking with just a half full or just a half empty mindset help anyone? I think people need to discuss and share the positives of everyday life just as much as we’re quick to share a poem or video about how shit the world is. I think the world could change if we try to look for positive progress as much as negative things. Because if there is negativity, there is no point in sitting behind a computer and complaining but then not doing anything and just accepting it. What do you guys think? Do you think I’m mad for even trying to think of positives? Do you think it makes me ignorant? I’d love to hear people talk more on what they think about trying to make a change for our world, even if its small things.

Thanks for reading my ramblings,

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Teenagers in UK not being able to access sanitary products?

Despite the on and off stigma of periods and talking about them that you grow up with if you are a vagina bearer, periods are still a thing that half of the population get and cannot just turn off at the switch of a button. Everybody’s periods are different – they can range in how long they’re around for, how heavy they are, different intensity of period cramps, different period symptoms/PMS to go alongside it and the time between them can be different too. But almost every person with a menstrual cycle invests in some sort of sanitary product. Whether it’s towels, tampons, reusable cloth pads, menstrual cups etc. etc. It’s a necessity to bring comfort, hygiene and peace of mind to the person on their period. So how come access to sanitary products is starting to become harder for school girls in Leeds?

It’s not the first people have heard of teenagers missing out on education or school because of their body’s natural cycle. In rural Uganda girls miss around eight days of school due to lack of resources, in Garissa, Kenya 86% report missing school due to periods and in India 23% of girls drop out when they start menstruating. Isn’t that crazy? Girls/young people with vaginas should not miss out on getting an education just because of how their body works. Nobody chooses to have a period, right? This kind of problem is slowly creeping up on our doorstep! It’s been reported recently that in Britain, specifically Leeds, students are relying on their teachers to provide sanitary products or not coming to school at all during their period. Some of the students approached in this research explained they come from families maybe with a single parent or multiple siblings and when short on money it can be hard to get the sanitary products needed when they are on their periods.

I found this news quite sad because like I mentioned, nobody chooses to have a period and it must be quite upsetting to get into trouble for attendance when it’s just your body doing what it’s meant to do! So I decided I wanted to do something, even if it’s just blog posts to raise awareness, or get people talking more about periods and sanitary products, or try and raise some money to send off products to charities that specialize in providing people who have limited or no access to products with said products!

Today I put up a survey on my Facebook asking people to fill in a couple of questions that cover how many products you use on one period, have you ever found yourself in a place where you’ve had to makeshift something when you’re bleeding and can’t access a product, what age did you start requiring them and such. I got such a good response back, I’m so unbelievably happy and surprised! I hope to write a blogpost tomorrow, properly going over the numbers but so far I’ve noticed one common pattern – everybody agrees people should have access to free sanitary products and almost everyone feels like their high school didn’t do much to provide access to products/feel comfortable asking. Which made me kind of sad but more determined to start a discussion.

My survey is here to fill in! It’s only 10 questions and any response is useful! 

So what do I plan to try and do? Well tomorrow/Monday I will write up properly my findings on it! As well as that I’m trying to contact some local organisations that take in donations of pads/sanitary products for tips on raising awareness! Watch this space!
Thank you for reading,

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21.01.17 – Central Vegan Festival

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Hello lovely world,

So today me and my gorgeous friend Natt popped into Manchester to visit the Central Vegan Festival that was taking place! Manchester was extremely busy today and I’m glad to know one of the many things going on today was the Women’s March taking place. Now I’m gutted I couldn’t go, mainly cause I left it to late in the day to make it and my anxiety was acting up a bit so I was wary about going into big crowds but I hope in future I can attend more marches. Of course, Manchester’s march wasn’t as massive as Washington’s but I am so proud to see how many people attended the march in my hometown. It makes me so proud and even feel a little bit more optimistic that I know so many women of all types – black, Asian, Jewish, Muslim, white, disabled, gay, bisexual, trans, cisgender, mothers, single women, elderly women, teenagers etc. etc. are standing strong and looking out for each other after the news of Trump coming into presidency in the US. All the images and videos of marches around the world fill me with hope that so many people want to fight against the despairing, patriarchal presidency taking place.

I recommend taking a look at the images and videos on social media just by searching #WhyIMarch or #WomensMarch. It’s truly inspiring.

The vegan festival also took place in Manchester today and it’s my first proper vegan festival that I’ve attended. It was quite small and humble but very crowded and well-attended! It had that festival feeling where you’re shuffling around slowly and taking everything in, but I really enjoyed it despite the slow movement! There was tons of food stalls serving fresh vegan meals and although I couldn’t eat things from every stall I managed to try a gorgeous slice of ‘pepperoni’ pizza from Vegan Pizza Co.’s stall and I also treated myself to a batch of loaded nachos from Mex It Up‘s stall.

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The staff at both stalls were also super lovely! Next up me and Natt had a lovely look around the other stalls, I recognised a stall for Wear Your Voice UK, who do really nice vegan and anti-cruelty prints on t-shirts and jumpers. I already own two that I’ve bought online but it was really exciting seeing them at a stall in person.

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There was also a very cute stall there from a shop named Rogue Gypsy who did crystals and crystal jewellery. Now I’m a sucker for anything with crystals on so I had to buy something and me and Natt ended up deciding to get matching necklaces (cause we cute)! The man at the stall was super lovely and even told us about the crystals on our necklaces, and gave us a little slip with facts about the crystal with our necklaces.

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Finally, of course, comes the snack haul – because I love food and I can’t help hauling vegan snacks. I managed to nab up some vegan sweet treats from Ananda Food‘s and Forgot the Egg‘s stall which was exciting, as well as picking up some other treats as seen below!

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From left to right: two ‘Wheaty chorizo spacebars’ (they remind me of pepperamis but way better), Raw Cacao Ombar Buttons,, Ananda’s Choca Mocha marshmallows, a Marshmallow pop from Ananda’s, a gingerbread man from Forgot the Eggs and V-Bite’s dairy free Fudgee bites.

All in all I am extremely excited to try some of the stuff I picked up today and fully recommend popping to a vegan festival in future, even if you eat meat and you are curious about the food and such!

Thanks for reading and have a lovely day,

signaturejuly16

 

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2017 Wishes: January

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Hello it’s me! Long time, no blog!

Happy New Year to everyone, I have a feeling this year will be better than the last. Last year had it’s ups and downs, it felt more of a year of downs in general but I hope this year will be a lot more positive for everyone I love.

A lot of cynics will take the new year resolution tradition as a ‘pointless gimmick’ but I’ve always liked the idea of making goals and resolutions at the beginning of the year, admittedly I never stick to them but it’s nice to sort out your priorities and know what you want by the end of the year. Admittedly I’m terrible at sticking to one idea at a time and always change my mind every month let alone year. I’m very impulsive and get inspired easily which is both a weakness of mine and a strength. So I thought this year I’d start off by making ‘wishes’ or goals for the first month of January – not the whole year. I want to take one month at a time to try and get to where I want to be.

Photo 02-01-2017, 21 19 38.jpgSo where am I starting? Of course, I want to get back into my vegetarian lifestyle. I am massively inspired by the cause Veganuary, in which people go vegan for just a month but as I am living back at home for the first month, it’s a bit harder when my parents buy the food and I’m very against turning away food. It’s a lot easier on me and my family to request to be vegetarian for the first month of 2017, plus hopefully if I succeed at this, I can transition to a more vegan lifestyle later in the year! As well as a more healthy, meat-free diet, I would love to incorporate a nice exercise routine into my every day life. I’ve always been rubbish at having an exercise routine but swimming has always been appealing to me. If I can build up the guts to visit my local leisure centre or the one at my University, I think swimming laps in the pool a couple of times week for just an hour a day would be a great health benefit.

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For Christmas my parents got me this beautiful Paperchase Planner as seen on the left and a cute dainty little bee-themed (spot on, mum) notepad with a bee pen and it’s inspired me to keep a lot more organised and jot down as much things as possible to keep me up to date with my own life. I was the most unorganised person last year and obviously it hasn’t changed over night (I mean I did wake up at 1pm today), so I hope to start using my planner to start making baby steps to a more sorted life. This planner has a pages for my diary, budget planner, meal planner, shopping list and notes. My lovely little C3PO is attached to it as well to give it my own personal touch!

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Organised work ethics are something I aspire to have this month as well. I’ve got my first University exam coming up, as well as revising for a performance in the drama society I love being a part of and I’ll be going back to work and generally throwing myself back into a busy bee lifestyle, after a good two weeks of napping more than usual and eating my own body weight in chocolates and leftovers. If I can go an entire month without accidentally napping through rehearsals or having 100% attendance at my classes I’d be so proud of myself. I know I can do it, I just need a good kick up the arse.

And finally as you can see, I want to write more blog posts. Last year whenever I heard people say they’ve read my post or they like reading what I write or even accompanying my writing/blogging to me, it’d give me such a warm feeling inside. I really enjoy my writing and I’ve missed it so much in the past few months and I’m sad I got so overwhelmed that I’d push my blog away from me and avoid trying to write. I hope this month I get a good few posts done.

Oh and of course, I started Mass Effect 3 and I want to finish it, wee!

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Happy New Year my lovelies!

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Should the UK ban plastic cutlery?

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In recent Environmental news, there is a new law in France to ensure all plastic cutlery is made of degradable material that can be put in compost by 2020. This drew my attention at first because most of the online headlines projected it as ‘France bans plastic cutlery’, upon closer inspection it doesn’t mean all plastic cutlery is going all together; they just want to make sure the material can degrade faster. A European packaging manufacturer, named Pack2Go, claim that this law isn’t the best idea as there is no proof that the new material is environmentally beneficial and personally I can see where the secretary of this company is coming from however it got me thinking, would it be a good idea if the UK went through with a law similar to this?

This year and last you may have noticed on the news, environmentally influenced decisions such as the French senate voting to ban supermarktets from throwing away unsold food. A change closer home would be the plastic bag charge that came into effect last October – all large retailers in England must charge at least 5p for single-use carrier bags. You could argue charges and extra taxing only helps a bit in terms of progress but then would people throw a fit if we were to completely ban a disposable, one-time use thing? The process that goes into manufacturing our plastic cutlery; the sporks, spoons, forks and knives we can pick up in a canteen or whilst we’re in a rush to eat – is a lot bigger than we’d expect. The two common materials in plastic cutlery are either polypropylene or polystyrene. They aren’t just discovered randomly and fossil fuels are used in the process of creating these small forks we use for around 3 minutes and then chuck away. Did you know polypropylene produces 1.67 lbs of CO2 emissions for every 1 lb manufactured and then polystyrene produces a wopping 2.5 lbs for every 1 lb. Another scary statistic comes from China, where it is estimated that between 57 and 80 billion pairs of disposable chopsticks are thrown away every year. It was so bad that Greenpeace China persuaded Beijing restaurants to not provide disposable cutlery unless requested.

So if all of this hassle and bad environmental effects go into plastic cutlery, how is it so cheap? Well prices are kept low because of working conditions and paying the manufacturers low wages. It’s a depressing reality. What are ways that banning plastic cutlery and aiming for a year to completely rid of the usage of it benefit us? Obviously we can’t just expect to ban something and suddenly all UK-produced plastic waste is gone like a magic trick, but in the long term would it be better for workers, businesses and the environment? Businesses must have to order bulk of plastic cutlery every so often to meet up with the demand but would no longer ordering it and investing in a bulk of reusable steel cutlery benefit them money-wise in the long run? As well as this point, would we eventually maybe be able to put more money into providing hospitality jobs for unemployed people and paying these employees a higher margin instead of relying on customers to chuck away disposable cutlery? Sure as someone who works in hospitality, washing up lots of food-covered cutlery isn’t my idea of fun but deep down I understand it’s life and in reality it only takes less than a minute to give a single spoon or fork a good scrub and I think I’d prefer to spend 10 or so minutes giving things a clean or loading a mass dishwasher than losing minutes of our planet’s environment harmony.

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The last idea is similar to the solution of getting rid of plastic bags. People were told if they didn’t want to pay the 5p charge for each carrier bag, it was encouraged to bring their own reusable bags. Should we encourage people to bring our own cutlery to cafes? You spend a one off payment to invest in some cutlery that you bring out in your bag and then wash later after use. Would these ideas benefit businesses and people as well as the environment or would it cause inconvenience? What are your guys thoughts?

 

Thanks for reading!

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#WorldAnimalDay and what you can do as an animal lover!

Several times I believe I’ve tried to engrave into my blog and writing that I sometimes struggle sticking with lifestyles such as vegan or even sometimes vegetarian. If I could switch off all my cravings, comfort food, deficiencies, illnesses and have a steady income I would definitely go vegan but sometimes for me and others it’s not always easy to 100% switch to a lifestyle and for some people it’s harder than others. I’ve always been a firm believer that vegans, vegetarians or meat eaters/omnivores shouldn’t force each other’s ‘beliefs’ down each others throats as it is counterproductive and doesn’t always spread the education and facts that people need to hear and instead becomes an ableist, stereotypical mess of joking and narrow-mindedness. Every human being is different underneath the surface and it does more harm than good to angrily assume why someone does the things they do. It’s better to ask questions and discuss than to yell words like ‘murderer’ or ‘hippie’ at each other without actually making any sort of productive change. Regarding my view on that, it means I’m very serious about making sure I never push my boundaries when discussing my views on being vegan or vegetarian and be as honest as possible; an example could be that I’ll admit, yes, sometimes I mess up and eat meat on some days or I’ll eat a chocolate/sweet gift from someone not regarding the dairy in it but at the same time I buy non-dairy milk in a carton for when I make myself tea or food that requires milk so that I reduce my dairy intake/purchases.

Today is ‘World Animal Day’ according to Twitter and obviously it is trending because we share our planet with these creatures. People love all sorts of animals when growing up whether it just be a domesticated pet or even wildlife creatures. Children are taught about these beautiful creatures growing up and it tends to be one of the core things humans relate to; you meet someone and you might ask what their favourite of something is and that could be the question ‘oh, what is your favourite animal?’. Unfortunately growing up you’re never really taught what can happen to the creatures we share our planets with and adults tip toe around the discussion with children because I think most adults don’t want to admit to the knowledge of it either. Nevertheless, it’s there and it doesn’t start or end with say, farm animals, it’s also wildlife, sealife, domestic pets and the list probably goes on in more detail. I think it should be discussed with teenagers and young adults what stuff you can start doing when growing up that has less of a negative impact on animals, much like we are taught to walk instead of drive places or switch the lights off in a room after using it to reduce our carbon footprint. I’d like to see ‘little things to help animals’ promoted a lot more and in more detail than just sending off small donations to charities and that’s that.

#1: Choose one day a week to go meat-free.

I will sympathise only slightly with people who declare ‘I couldn’t go vegetarian, I love meat too much!’, when told they should stop eating meat. It can be relatively easy to stop eating meat products when you put your mind to it. A great idea, inspired by the movement ‘Meatless Monday’, is to pick one day a week that you pledge to just not eat, purchase or consume meat products all day. It doesn’t have to be a Monday it could be any day you prefer, but it’s a great start in reducing your meat intake.

#2: Buy Cruelty-Free beauty dupes.

Unfortunately a lot of beauty companies still get away with animal testing and using ingredients that are derived from animals. Some well-known names include L’Oreal, Benefit, MAC, Maybelline, Revlon, Clearasil and Herbal Essences. I’m definitely not saying if you own any products from these brands to run screaming to the nearest bin and chuck them all in as that is wasting a product and the packaging. The best thing to do is when you finally run out or get rid of said product to look for a dupe in a cruelty-free brand. Some really easy finds include Superdrug’s own brand, Barry M, B. by Superdrug, BH Cosmetics, Lush and Kat Von D. If you are ever unsure of something, look for the little ‘Cruelty Free’ rabbit on the packaging or give it a quick google search as there are so many useful blogs and pages from the company ready to help you. If a company’s stance on cruelty-free practice ever seems dodgy to you, just go with your instinct.

#3: Support adopting pets.

Obviously this idea can only really come into play if you are planning on getting a pet anytime soon. There is plenty of benefits to adopting a pet that include giving a pet that could no longer have a home with it’s old family a new life and home, some pets in adoption shelters may have been taken from a cruel past and you are giving it a chance to experience love and comfort which is such a lovely thought. Always look at chances to help out people who may have had an unexpected litter come into their lives – you know when someone you used to go to high school with advertises on facebook that their cat just had lots of kittens and they need a new home? Definitely support that, it means that the young kittens can grow up in a home with care instead of being separated from it’s litter and put in a home with tons of other cats. Unfortunately in that scenario, if the owner needs to get people to adopt the litter cause they can’t look after them all, both ways the kitten will be separated from it’s mum/litter, but I think it’d be a much better chance for you and the kitten than the hassle of it being put in a shelter and having to wait to be adopted.

#4: Find your local vegan/vegetarian cafe.

Support your local vegan and vegetarian establishments! You’ll be able to discover new food and meals that don’t cost the earth and help work towards encouraging the trend of vegan cooking in the industry. I’ve noticed in the past few years more restaurants and cafes introducing different types of non-dairy milk or even non-dairy cheese in meals. A good example is the vegan stuff restaurant Zizzi is starting to bring into their menu! I believe it all comes down to supporting independent animal-loving businesses, they are the heart of the vegan/vegetarian food industry and should be encouraged so that the word of supporting animals and the environment gets even more out there.

Is there anything else you guys think should be included on the list? I’m also going to leave here some interesting petitions you guys might be interested in signing on World Animal Day.

Ban antifreeze preparations that are putting our pets and children’s lives at stakehttps://www.change.org/p/uk-eu-parliaments-law-defra-ban-all-antifreeze-preparations-unless-they-contain-a-bitterant
Tell the Arts Council of Ireland to stop funding circuseshttps://www.change.org/p/arts-council-of-ireland-stop-funding-animal-circuses#response-4321
Tell British Airways to stop sponsoring Seaworld: https://www.change.org/p/british-airways-stop-selling-trips-to-seaworld-end-your-support-for-these-cruel-orca-circuses
Make a donation and recieve a Bee Saver kit: https://www.foe.co.uk/page/get-your-bee-saver-kit

Thanks for reading,

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Sources:
Information about Meatless Monday – http://www.meatlessmonday.com/
Information about non-cruelty free brands – http://www.crueltyfreekitty.com/companies-that-test-on-animals/
Cruelty-free Dupes – https://twitter.com/crueltyfreemu
Benefits of adopting – https://www.animalfriends.co.uk/blog/10-benefits-of-adopting-a-pet/
Zizzi’s vegan menu – https://www.zizzi.co.uk/data/menus/static_menus/1/pdf/Allergen-Information-June-2016.pdf
Vegan/Vegetarian food in the UK – http://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/travel/19-of-the-best-vegan-restaurants-in-the-uk-a3266876.html#gallery

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5 Accidentally Vegan Items and 5 I wish were

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One of my favourite Instagram account findings since I took upon myself to go vegetarian and incorporate more vegan/cruelty-free stuff has been an account named AccidentallyVeganUK. They post and collect products found in the UK that are accidentally vegan – hence the name. So somehow these products don’t include any meat, gelatine, milk, cream, eggs – no animal product to be found! A lot of the finds on this page are also treats, cheap snacks; which makes it great for vegans/vegetarians/people with dairy allergies who are on a budget. I decided to share with you today some items I am so happy and surprised are vegan and 5 items I love snacking on/having in the cupboard that I wish were vegan. I hope this list is useful for anybody vegan, vegetarian or omnivore!

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1 – Parma Violets
2 – Double Stuffed Oreos
3 – Propercorn Sweet & Salty
4 – Cheetos Twisted Flamin’ Hot
5 – Nik Naks Nice N Spicy
6 – Pringles Paprika

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1 – BN Chocolate Biscuits
2 – Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli
3 – Super Noodles Curry Flavour
4 – Thorntons Fabulous Vanilla Fudge
5 – Maynards Wine Gums

I’d be so happy and greedy if these junk items were vegan. It’d be great to eat sweets like Wine Gums or Haribo without the worry of gelatine. Have you guys got any stuff you wish was cruelty free at all or are you surprised some of your favourite stuff is accidentally vegan?

Thanks for reading,

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