This is a guest post. 

Transitioning to cruelty-free products is easier than ever. With the ever-growing interest in the cruelty-free and vegan lifestyle, more and more brands have taken the initiative to stop animal testing. 

Going cruelty-free doesn't have to break the bank. Nor does it mean having to struggle to find products in your favourite stores. With cruelty-free products becoming more of the norm, it's easy to make the switch. 

What does cruelty-free mean? 

Simply put, it is when a brand does not test their products or ingredients on animals. This also includes any third-party or supplier involved with the brand. They also do not sell in countries where animal testing is required by Law, for example in China. 

Here are 5 cruelty-free brands that I love and recommend (vegan options included!). 

1. Pacifica Beauty

Know for their Instagram-worthy packaging, Pacifica is a cruelty-free and completely vegan beauty brand with products ranging from skincare to makeup and perfume.

Pacifica also offers a recycling program where you can send up to eight of your finished Pacifica products and they will recycle them for you. This allows you to earn 100 loyalty points that can be used towards rewards on their site. 

2. Alba Botanica

Alba Botanica is a cruelty-free and vegetarian company, specialising in bath and body products. The brand's philosophy is creating high-quality products with eco-friendly ingredients that haven't been tested on animals. 

Although being 100% vegetarian, there are several vegan options to choose from. Just watch out for products that contain honey or beeswax. 

Alba Botanica is also eco-friendly. Their products are reef-friendly with biodegradable formulas, use recycled materials and contain no microbeads. 

3. The Body Shop

As the most familiar on this list, The Body Shop is a cruelty-free brand with plenty of vegan options. It's had its history, from being a privately owned cruelty-free company to being sold to L'oreal back in 2014 - a parent company known for selling in China and testing on animals - to then being resold to cruelty-free company Natura Cosmetics. After being sold to Natura in 2017 The Body Shop is cruelty-free once again. 

What I recommend: Body Yoghurt

4. Raw Sugar Living

Founded in California, Raw Sugar is a brand that specialises in plant-based bath and body products to promote clean and healthy living. 

They have product ranges from bath soaps, to hand washes, hair products and more. All their packaging is eco-friendly (note their iconic bamboo caps). plant-based, and of course, cruelty-free. 

What I recommend: Simply Body Wash

5. ELF Cosmetics

You might have seen this popular beauty brand while browsing the aisles of your favourite drugstore. This 100% vegan and cruelty-free brand is not only high-quality but also affordable. If looking to transition over to cruelty-free, ELF is a great place to start. 

Going cruelty-free has never been easier. It's important to vote with your money to help end unnecessary animal testing. These 5 brands not only make great products, but also take on the initiation to end animal cruelty and build a more ethical future. 

What cruelty-free brands have you tried? Any you'd add to this list? Let me know your thoughts!

Thanks Payton for sharing this! Payton is a lifestyle blogger over at where she talks about mental health, personal development, lifestyle and wellness topics. You can also find her on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest

normal people sally rooney flatlay
*This post contains affiliate links*
If you loved Sally Rooney's Normal People - you've devoured the book and adored the BBC TV adaptation - here are some similar books like Normal People, in one way or another, that are worth adding to your TBR. 

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Like Normal People, An American Marriage is the story of relationships over time. Celeste and Roy are newly-weds and excited to experience the future together. When Roy is arrested and sentenced for a crime he didn't commit, their marriage takes a turn as they both separately try to navigate through life while Roy is in prison. You get a real, intimate look into a relationship with complications, pain and love. 

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

If you're a fan of adaptations, Little Fires Everywhere has recently made its way to our screens as a TV series. Why not read the book and follow-up with the show? Elena Richardson, the mother of 4 and Lawyer's wife, lives in Shaker Heights, Cleveland where everyone follows the rules. When Mia Warren moves to Shaker Heights - mysterious artist and single mother- Elena grows curious of Mia's past. This book explores motherhood as well as relationships and social change. 

My Salary by Sally Rooney

Of course, if you love a book, read everything that author has written! Mr Salary is a short story written by Rooney. A 33-page story that managed to build some serious sexual tension between Sukie and Nathan who Sukie moves in with after her mother's death and her dad became difficult. If you're missing Sally Rooney in your life, be sure to pick this one up while we pray of the news of a new release soon. 

My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

I highly recommend this new release for fans of Normal People because we see the protagonist Vanessa at different points in her life - moments poignant to the story - just as we see Connell and Marianne at important moments of their story together and apart. 

In 2000, 15-year-old Vanessa has sex with her 42-year-old English teacher, Jacob Strane. 

2017 - with the rising number of sexual-abuse allegations against powerful men, a former student of Strane accuses him of sexual assault. Now, Vanessa has to face choices she didn't think she would ever have to make. How does she tell her story when she still feels love toward Strane? 

This is a difficult, yet necessary read that delves deep into Vanessa's thoughts as a bright, naïve teen to an adult. Covering issues of consent, victimhood, childhood trauma and more, this is such a well-written story that covers extremely important topics. 

Everything I know about love by Dolly Alderton

If you loved Normal People but now in the mood for some non-fiction. A funny yet heart-breaking book about love through life. This memoir from Dolly Alderton relives the moments of awful house parties, getting drunk, getting dumped. Bad dates and good friends. An honest, humorous look at love. 

My Fat, Mad Teen Diary by Rae Earl

Another book to TV adaptation but focussing more on the life of teens in the North of England. Set in 1989, Rae is 17 years old and from her diary, we live through the life of a teen - from bullying to crushes. While the tone is completely different from Normal People, it covers ideas universal to teens and is sure to be relatable for many. 

Have you read any of these? What did you think? 
Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x 

care package ideas pinterest
When you're missing your friends, there's nothing that shows your appreciation more than sending them a little something. It doesn't have to break to bank, just a small gesture to show them you're thinking of them. A custom care package is a great way to do just that! If you're looking for some ideas for how to create a care package on a budget that is full of personalised ideas, this should help you out. Whether it's a quarantine care package, here is some ideas of what to put in a care package for a friend,

1. Pretty postcards

Whether you write a little note on the back of a cute postcard or it's a cute print that would look pretty on their pinboard, notecards are a perfect addition to a care package. The punnier the better - am I right? Paperchase postcards are always great or, why not check out some indie illustrators on Etsy. 

2. Hot chocolate & tea 

Keep them stocked up on their favourite hot drinks. Some single hot chocolate sachets are great. Send a mix of flavours and brands for them to try. For the tea drinkers, treat them to some calming tea bags you think they will love.

3. Stickers! 

If your friends are anything like mine with stickers all over their laptop, maybe they have room to squeeze a cute, new one on there. I pick all mine up from Red Bubble but there are some wonderful indie businesses like Minddaises, Katnipp Studios and Abbie Paulhus who have some beautiful stickers and prints, ideal for a care package.

4. Something crafty

A super-soft, super chunky ball of yarn and a set of needles is a great idea! Knitting is a really fun hobby and will be something a bit different in your care package. Alternatively, why not add a small embroidery kit? A little project to keep them busy. There are so many craft kit subscription boxes around as well that make a fun gift.

5. A personal playlist

Are they a music lover? Recommend them 10 new songs you think they'll enjoy just on a card or a piece of paper. Add some cute drawings and beautiful calligraphy - a small, inexpensive addition but really adds that personal touch.

6. A pre-loved book

I feel there's something special about passing on a book you loved - a personal recommendation. If you can't part from your copy, you can find second-hand copies around the web. Pick up one and save your pennies. Even second-hand, your friend is sure to appreciate it just as much as a new addition.

7. Snugly socks

Who doesn't love a pair of fun socks?! New Look always has fabulously punny socks that are always a fun extra. A care package staple really!

8. Candles

Lighting a candle always has a relaxing effect. Beware of their weight, otherwise, postage will cost a fortune! Maybe, stick to some little scented tea lights? They are great for around the bath or freshening up their room.

9. Hand cream

Especially at the moment but hand cream is a staple - you can't have enough. The body shop has great mini hand creams in a range of amazing scents. These are perfect to have in your handbag or just around the house.

10. A little snack (or two)

Put together a pick n mix of all their fave chocolates or sweets. Treat them to those lux chocolates they always look for. Cliff bars and cereal bars as well are sure to keep them happy! 

If you're building a care package, what would you include? 
Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x 

This post contains affiliate links and referral codes but, as always, all opinions remain my own. 

Everyone has been discovering and rediscovering some lovely home-comforts. From books to snacks, here's what I've been loving while I've been spending time at home. I think you will love them too! 

The Muse by Jessie Burton

I've been reading a lot more this year, especially since lockdown and it's given me time to try some books I wouldn't usually pick up, including this one. This was a shockingly good read for me! It's about a lady named Ostelle who gets a job working at a gallery for a woman names Marjorie Quick. When a new painting comes in the galleries possessions, we learnt about the hidden past of this painting relating to the Scholl family, while Ostelle discovers the secrets of Quick. This was such a beautifully written book! Historical fiction is a genre I would actively avoud but after loving this one, it might be a genre I will have to explore further along with giving other Jessie Burton books a read. This was my first 5-star book of the year! 

Grind coffee

Instead of spending my Saturday's hibernating in a café, I've brought the café to me. "Alexa, play Coffee House Spotify Playlist". Grind is a chain of coffee shops here in London, but they also have an online store where you can get a subscription box of their filter coffee or coffee pods! After buying the reusable tin package, a month later I had to grab some refills. It makes such a nice coffee treat and it's not that expensive! If you're a big coffee drinker, I definitely recommend checking them out. 

Banana Bread

Are you keeling over in shock that this made the list? I've lost count of the number of banana loads I've whipped up but, if it's getting me through my days working and summer evenings inside, that's fine with me. I use the Mary Berry recipe and I adapt it to whatever I'm feeling. Whether it's chocolate chunks or switching it out for some Lotus Biscoff spread - it's even nice with no frills and just the banana! My favourite thing to do is take some light brown sugar and scatter this over the top just before it goes into the over and it creates the most perfect, crispy crust. 

The Body Shop Lavender Pillow Spray

I don't whether it really does work or I've just convinced myself that it does but since ordering this, I've definitely noticed an improvement in my sleep. I love spritzing a little on my pillows before getting into bed - it's a really calming, nice step to add to my night routine at the moment. There are so many expensive versions of this but this body shop mist definitely does the job. 


For all those movie nights and midday snacks, popcorn is a superior choice. I'd started buying kernels for me to pop myself. It's so much more cost-effective £1 for 10+ portions of fabulous popcorn. I love adding a spoonful of sugar and a little salt. To fuel my popcorn obsession, my sister and I received a surprise delivery from my parents who bought us a mega box of assorted popcorn from the Popcorn Shed and we love it! Who knew popcorn could come in so many flavours/ These will be the perfect film snack for weeks to come! 

Fresh Flowers

This is definitely been a real love for me in Lockdown. Grabbing a small bunch when I go for my weekly shop or treating myself to a flower delivery, it's definitely brought some colour and joy to the house while working. Bloom & Wild have been a real treat to have - if you haven't used them before, just click here or drop my name "Sarah Jones" at checkout to get £10 off your first order with them - enjoy! 

What have you been loving while in lockdown? 
Hope you're doing great, 
Sarah x