Thursday 15 December 2016

10 Perfect Gift Ideas for Vegan Kids

I’ve been collecting Christmas gifts for Ebony and Ember for a few months now. In fact, I think I’ve got pretty much everything I need this year. We don’t go crazy for Christmas. I think there’s a tendency to overspend on things just for the sake of it in modern society. Whilst teenagers may want the latest electronics, younger kids are just as happy with cheaper toys so it seems unnecessary to spend more. I’ve chosen things I know Ebony will love rather than things that cost a lot.

A couple of the things I got for Ebony are vegan-focused so I thought I’d write a post of gift ideas for vegan kids. Ember hasn’t got much for Christmas, just a few little bits to keep the illusion of santa alive for her older sister who would otherwise question why Father Christmas hadn’t bothered bringing toys for the the baby.

If you have a vegan kid to buy for this year, here are a few suggestions for gifts vegan kids will love:

I cannot express in words how great this book is. I actually took photos for a review when I was pregnant but never got round to writing it up because babies. Ebony loves cooking and this is a completely vegan cookbook aimed at kids. She loved picking out a recipe and then making it together. And the recipe she chose was full of healthy ingredients which was pretty pleasing. This book is definitely the perfect gift for the little vegans in your life. You can order it from Amazon for £13.48.

2. Vegan clothing
Ebony has a Sea Shepherd t-shirt I bought her earlier in the year and she loves it. She’s always really proud when she wears it and she makes me read the writing to her over and over again. I ordered this vegan baby vest for Ember this Christmas after seeing it in a vegan parenting group on facebook. I absolutely love the green leafy design. I contacted the company who make them and they made me a matching t-shirt for Ebony too, I cannot wait to see Ebony’s face when she finds out they have matching clothes, she is a great believer in the ‘twinning is winning’ philosophy.

3. Animal adoption
There are a number of vegan sanctuaries in the UK who you can support. I think giving kids charity gifts is a great way to encourage compassion. Kids end up with so much plastic crap at Christmas, a heartfelt charity gift is different and can be extra special. Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Norfolk is a reputable vegan sanctuary and they offer adoption memberships for a number of animals. You could adopt an animal for s little as £13, you can see a full list of the animals available for adoption here. You’ll receive a presentation bag with info about the animal and updates throughout the year.

4. Vegan tattoos
My four year old loves a good tattoo. Temporary tattoos are always a big hit so I was really excited to find this set of vegan temporary tattoos. There are two different designs, I went for the sheet of tattoos without swear words (Ebony thinks blah blah blah is a ‘spare word’ at the moment and I’m happy to keep it that way for now). A sheet of vegan temporary tattoos costs £5 and you can order one from Things I Care About. I think these are the perfect stocking fillers for vegan kids this Christmas.

I bought this book for Ebony when she was a lot younger. It’s a simple rhyming book in an abc format that focuses on veganism and I absolutely love it. It’s sweet and simple and positive, which is exactly what vegan children should be. Ruby Roth has a few other books which are also great but most of them seem to be for slightly older children so V is for Vegan is a firm favourite in this house. You can order it from Amazon for £10.26.

Vegan wagon wheels. Game changer. I love vegan wagon wheels. I attend every vegan fair in a 20 mile radius just so I can buy vegan wagon wheels. I’m obsessed. They are so good. Every child needs one, especially at Christmas. They’re made by Ananada Foods and they’re just so tasty. Can you tell I like them? Anyway, they’ve released special Christmas ones this year which you can order from Amazon for £3.20. I will be finding one in my stocking this year, I’ve already had a word with Father Christmas.

7. RSPB membership
Going back to my love of charity gifts, I saw vegan parents discussing their favourite youth memberships and the consensus seemed to be that the RSPB kids membership was best. It’s apparently great at encouraging kids to engage with and enjoy nature. It sounds amazing and I wish I’d found out about it before I finished my Christmas shopping (and spent all my budget) for this year. It’s definitely going on the Christmas gift for less year. Members get free entry at nature reserves across the country which is something Ebony would love too. It’s just £21 a year for one child or £32 for multiple children and, of course, your money goes to an important cause. You can order a youth membership here.

8. Bath bombs
Ebony loves bath bombs so for Christmas this year I bought her a set of vegan bath bombs from Superdrug. In fact, if you’re looking for anything pamper or beauty related, Superdrug is the place to go because they label their products as vegan. Lush is another great place to check out if you’re looking for bath bombs and other luxury pamper treats. Also, check out Soapy Solidarity who make vegan soaps to raise money for an animal charity based in Palestine.

9. Vegan Christmas cards
Ebony treasures her cards as much as she treasures her presents, she has a stash of cards she’s apparently going to keep until she dies. I love these vegan-themed Christmas cards by ForVegans, especially the unicorn one. I cannot express how much Ebony would love the unicorn one, I think the concept of a vegan unicorn would blow her sweet little mind. You can order a set of 6 vegan Christmas cards from ForVegans for £10.99 here.

10. Chocolate coins
It wouldn’t be Christmas without chocolate coins, would it? After years of hoping and wishing and waiting, there is finally something that sort of resembles chocolate coins. They’re not actually coins and they’re not in the gold foil wrappers I remember from my youth, but they’re disc-shaped and wrapped in foil and that’ll do me. I think a few of the supermarkets are selling this year, but I got mine from Tesco. I bought a bag to put in Ebony’s stocking along with a satsuma. I’ve also bought her a chocolate orange bar from ASDA because they taste like Terry’s chocolate orange and I always used to find one of those in my stocking when I was a kid.

Wednesday 14 December 2016

Five Ways My Cat Will Sabotage My Perfect Christmas

I’m an animal lover, that goes without saying, right? I was walking down the canal with my mum and dad and we were reminiscing about all the animals we shared our home with when I was growing up. My mum lost track of the names halfway through the conversation and started simply referring to them as ‘the grey rabbit’ or ‘the one that bit me so hard I had to have stitches’. I knew all of the names, of course, partly because I was always an animal lover but mostly because I had to detail their names and physical characteristics so many times in French class that the details are permanently tattooed in my memory.

We had a cat called Tiddles when I was growing up. My mum and sister took him in after the vet told them he’d been found on a back street in the rain. My mum is a sucker for a sob story. You can take any animal to her with a sob story and she will take it in. Maybe not anymore, but certainly in the 90s. Tiddles was still a kitten during his first Christmas with my family. When it came time to decorate the tree, my sister and I went to fetch some tinsel from the tinsel box (1990s Christmas must-have) and found Tiddles lying in it having the time of his life with all the tinsel. Please see the photo evidence at the bottom of this post.

Tiddles is long gone, but now we have a cat called Bear. We got Bear just a couple of weeks after we moved into this house. As the classic saying goes ‘new house, new cat’. She was one of a litter of kittens born to a rescued cat taken in my one of Laurie’s friends. She was the most adorable scrawny black kitten and she used to run manically around the house attacking everything in sight. Ebony adores her, sometimes too much. Ember is yet to notice that she exists. I have actually watched Bear go right up and sniff Ember’s face and still Ember blank stares at nothing. She may be cat-blind.

Anyway, Bear ruins my life. I jest, of course, for she is an animal and I am an animal lover. But sometimes I do worry if she was sent here to break my animal loving spirit. She loves to do all of the things I hate her to do. She has a meow that would make Tabby McTat turn green with envy. And she loves to sit with her anus directly in my face when I am trying to read. Why, Bear, why?

It goes without saying that she will stop at nothing to ruin Christmas for me this year, and here are five ways will go about it:

1. She will eat something she shouldn’t
Bear will eat anything. Anything. Sometimes cat food, but mostly things she finds lying around the house. I once dropped a piece of courgette from a vegetable kebab and she polished it off within minutes. I have caught her eating avocado, lasagna and porridge. I don’t even know how she digests half of the food she steals. And she is never sick. It makes no sense to me. The only thing she won’t eat are Alpro yoghurts, she turns her nose up at those. So, I’m pretty certain she will ruin Christmas by stealing food. She will run into the dining room when I’m not looking and steal a sprout or she’ll finish off the dips when I’m not looking. I don’t yet know what she’s going to eat but I know damn well she’s going to eat something she shouldn’t.

2. She will ignore her Christmas present
The cat has a stocking. This was not my doing, but my mum got it her and it’s currently hanging from the fireplace in the living room. Last year, Ebony was so excited about Bear’s stocking that she neglected her own. The very first presents she opened when we got downstairs on Christmas morning were for the cat. Ebony was so excited that Santa had included Bear but Bear couldn’t give a crap. The Christmas Tree toy, the tinsel balls, she ignored them all. Ebony ran around excitedly trying to get her interested but it didn’t work. And yet, Santa has to keep buying those crappy cat presents because otherwise, people might think he isn’t real.

3. She will break baubles
We have one Christmas decoration for the cat. A single bell hung on a low branch. She can play with this all day every day and nobody will bat an eyelid. Of course, she doesn’t. She totally ignores it. Instead, she attacks all the other baubles. Especially the breakable ones, they’re her favourite. As I type this, I can see five Christmas tree decorations on the floor.

4. She Will Wake Us Up
I cannot explain how loudly Bear meows, but it’s definitely louder than a pneumatic drill. Way louder, in fact. She definitely wakes the neighbours on the rare occasions that Ebony hasn’t gotten in their first. She meows deafeningly loud to come in. Unless she’s in, then she meows deafeningly loud to go out. Or for food. Or because somebody (her) pooped in her litter tray. Or just because she likes to play torturous mind games to drive me insane. She will wake Ebony up on Christmas day long before the excitement has a chance to.

5. She will sleep on the stocking
Bear loves to sleep in places I don’t want her to sleep. This week, she is sleeping on the changing table. Admittedly, I find this hilarious. But it is not so funny when I am one-handedly trying to deal with a poop explosion whilst trying to shoo the cat down from the changing mat. She likes to sleep on my coat when I am running late to leave the house. She likes to sleep on a pile of Ebony’s clean but unironed uniform on Monday mornings when I am mid-breakdown about being late. You need it, she’ll sleep on it. So it goes without saying that on Christmas Eve when I drunkenly sneak into Ebony’s bedroom to be Father Christmas, she will be sprawled out fast asleep on the stocking at the end of Ebony’s bed and that if I disturb her she will meow so loudly she wakes Ebony up.

Will your cat be ruining Christmas for you this year?

This post is a collaboration with WHISKAS®, but all thoughts and cat-related nightmares are my own. Check out their website for more information on their cat food and their YouTube channel for their fantastic Kitten Kollege videos.

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