Product reviews

The All Natural Face

All Natural FaceReview by Andrea Bach. When I became a vegan approx 15 months ago, the hardest part for me was giving up Chanel. This is not about vanity but about being a woman of the 21st century who cares deeply about animal rights and the protection of our planet, but still wants to look great. Ordering make up on the internet has always been a risky business and the first brand I tried did not let me down in that respect. Being fair skinned, I ordered their lightest foundation but when it arrived it turned out to be at least 5 shades too dark, it was unusable. I then found a brand available in the high street which has all the right ideas, except that they seem to have a tendency to go backward in that they change products from vegan to non-vegan. Shame on them. My sister in the States then sent me a link to The All Natural Face and I must say, I’m addicted! Their products are fabulous, they have everything you could wish for and best of all: their service is excellent. So are the prices. In order to avoid buying the wrong colour, for just a few dollars you can order sample shades of foundation and blusher. There is also the “Try Me” collection of lipsticks, eye shadows, hair, face, body care to, well, try stuff. There are cleansers, deodorants, face masks etc, too much to mention so have a look for yourself and give it a try. The packaging may be a little basic but hey, it’s straightforward and at the end of the day it’s the product that counts. Lastly, if you ever going to try just one product, let it be the Aloe & Cucumber cleanser, it may be yucky to use but your skin will look fabulous. Enjoy! Website: www.theallnaturalface.com

Couch Guitar Straps

Couch Guitar StrapsReview by Tom. Vegan guitar straps are very difficult to find in Ireland. If you go into any music shop, the vast majority, if not all straps have leather end tabs or are made completely from leather. If you are lucky enough to find one, it is usually of a cheap nylon variety with thin vinyl end tabs which are likely to tear at some stage. A good quality strap is a good investment, as if one tears, the result could be disasterous i.e a broken guitar on the floor. I recently bought two identical guitar straps from the US based website www.couchguitarstraps.com, specifically, the “Plain Black Vegan Eco Strap” which are hand made using 100% recycled seatbelt materials. The end tabs are made from heavy duty automotive upholstery vinyl which is reinforced on the inside by carbon fiber cloth. The straps cost $17.50 each and shipping to Ireland for both only cost $11 which is very reasonable. The straps are very comfortable to wear due to their width as it helps to spread the weight of the guitar across the shoulder. The straps also adjust up to six inches longer than an average strap to accomodate those who like to play the guitar low. The vinyl end tabs can also be used with strap locks for extra security. www.couchguitarstraps.com are an ethical vegan company and all their products are sweatshop free and made in the USA. They also do a range of all vinyl guitar straps, artist series guitar straps, belts, luggage straps, camera straps, wallets etc. Website: www.couchguitarstraps.com

Tofu XPress

TofuXpressReview by Gloria. I bought this tofu kit directly from the TofuXpress website (the makers) two months ago and I have been using it happily ever since. This tofu press is absolutely brilliant to press tofu. It is super easy to use,  hygienic and so cute! Also, the box is transparent, so you get to see the tofu forming inside the box. Before buying this kit, i tried to make tofu with a homemade tofu kit but it was a bit messy and it would take a while to get the water out of the tofu.  This magic little box presses the tofu in less than an hour. It is 11cm x 13cm (4.25 inches x 5 inches), is made of a hard transparent plastic, and the lid has a big spring underneath which presses the tofu when you put the lid on. You don’t have to line the box with muslin cloth as you would do for any other kit. Just transfer the tofu that is left in the muslin cloth after the coagulation process directly in the tofu press and put the lid on. The extra water will come up to the surface as the box does not contain any holes. Empty the water and watch your tofu getting pressed to make a firm and perfectly shaped block (To make tofu from scratch, see that video. Use lemon juice instead of nigari). This tofu press makes firm tofu. If you like your tofu softer, you might just want to press the tofu for about 30min or so and then transfer it to a normal container, as the more you leave it on the tofu press, and the firmer your block will get. This tofu press can also be used for pressing other foods than tofu, like cooked green leafy vegetables, for example.  It also comes with a simple lid, so you can close the press and leave the tofu marinating in some sauce before you press it again. Website: TofuXpress