Eco Vegan Shoes

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The people behind Eco Vegan Shoes were looking for bloggers to review some of their shoes, so I jumped at the chance. I’ve been following this company with interest since they launched a few years ago. They started with a very small range of trainer type shoes and have slowly been adding to their collection, so that they now have a range suitable for work and for going out. Their shoes are all approved by the vegan society and are very environmentally friendly.

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I chose the Green Anna for my shoes.  The picture on the website at the time showed them to be a slightly darker shade of green, so I was quite surprised when they turned up and they’re very bright indeed. First impressions were very good. As well as the shoes, in their 99% biodegradable boxes, was a nice pouch to carry or store them in, a pair of insoles and a scented cushion, presumably to store with them and ward off smelly feet. They are a perfect height for me to wear for work with a pair of trousers or skirt, and they’ve got a little gel cushion tucked under the insole so they feel really comfortable when you slip them on. They’re very high quality and feel nice and sturdy yet light.

I wore them the next day for work with chocolate brown trousers, a lime vest and a brown jacket – and got so many comments and compliments on them I couldn’t believe it. A couple of people even tried them on! I’ve worn them since with a darker green dress and that worked too.

I am usually a size 4 shoe and these size 4s pinch me a bit around the big toe, especially on my left foot. I am currently trying my Mum’s old technique of stuffing them with wet newspaper to see if that helps – although I should possibly have ordered a 4.5 (Yes, unlike many bigger shoe companies they do half sizes!). And both delivery and return is free, so if you aren’t sure about the size or the colour you can order 2 pairs and try them on in comfort and send one back.

I really love my Anna shoes and I’ll be keeping a close eye on the product range. I have never needed to wear safety shoes and I know they can be hard to find but there’s a good range available. I’d like some stylish flat work shoes next please! Eco Vegan Shoes sent me a pair to try free of charge but I was under no obligation to provide a positive review. The quality of the shoes spoke for me.

Tesco ‘Ingredients’ Pastes

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When Tesco asked if I’d like to review some of their new Ingredients pastes range, I wasn’t sure at first. Clearly the pastes were designed to be thrown into a pan with meat, and used by people who don’t cook, so not really my sort of thing. But then I thought it might be fun to adapt the recipes provided with the pastes to make them suitable for vegans, and see how they stand up. Tuesday nights are usually later nights for me, and I’m always looking for quick and easy Tuesday meals, so another reason to try the pastes.

I’m not going to wait and publish one review of all the pastes; I’ll just do short reviews as and when I use them. The first one I tried was the Tagine Paste. I don’t make tagines all that often but I have made them in the past so I knew what I was looking for. The ingredients list is good; they’re all things I would have in my cupboard and not as much salt as I might have expected. The included recipe called for oil, onion, lamb, tinned cherry tomatoes and chicken stock. I used vegetable stock and replaced the lamb with 2 drained tins of chickpeas and a head of broccoli, lightly steamed. Seitan would have worked very well, but I wanted to try the paste with something not as obviously a meat replacement.

We were both very pleasantly surprised with this. It made for a very tasty meal for something that took so little thought and planning to make. There was a good range of spices with a nice depth of flavour. The recipe on the jar required 3 hours in the oven, presumably to cook the lamb, but my revised vegan recipe took only 15 minutes, barely time to make some couscous to go with it. This paste was almost as easy and quick as heating up a ready meal, but really did manage to taste like something homemade. I would happily keep a pot of this in the cupboard for emergencies.

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