Presents of Mind blog
vegan inspiration keeps on giving
Yes, we know, ‘vegans’. Reach for the tired old ‘lentils and tree hugging’ label. Nutty, holier-than-thou, control freak, thought police – with poor fashion sense and awful complexions at that.
With World Vegan Day approaching on 1 November, it is truly time to get rid of that view. Vegans are among the most resourceful, principled and compassionate people you’ll come across - let’s face it, qualities in ever-diminishing supply these days.
It’s hard to see how their stated aim of actively pursuing “a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose” can do anything other than good.
Three times more people than 10 years ago are vegan today – more than 500,000 people in the UK (42% aged between 15 and 34). Worldwide ranks include world motor racing champion Lewis Hamilton, Bournemouth and England footballer Jermain Defoe, tennis champions Serena and Venus Williams, actors Alec Baldwin and Ted Danson and singers Miley Cyrus and Ariana Grande.
The UK’s independent and creative sector has got plenty of stars, too, helping to lead the way in caring, imaginative and worthwhile gifts.
We’ve taken a little wander through our daily halls of fame to highlight some of our vegan VIPs (Very Interesting Producers) – obviously, it’s just a snapshot so apologies to anyone who feels they were also worth a mention. Better still, drop us a line and we’ll make sure your contributions are recognised as well – there’ll be plenty of time. 1 November may be World Vegan Day, but the rest of November is Vegan Month!
Food and drink
Abundance Foods is an artisan company based in Leeds specialising in healthy treats including vegan chocolate mousse, date and walnut cake, lemon posset and Irish cheesecake (pictured above right).
Bristol-based Fab Fudge boasts a famous vegan range among its 40+ flavours of luxurious artisan fudge – tastebud treats include mint (pictured centre), banoffee, black cherry, blueberry, expresso and even crème egg.
280 Cakes is a home bakery based in Bristol specializing in vegan bakes. They say they’re most proud of their award-winning low fat Fairtrade banana loaf (pictured above left) – but there are plenty of other comforting home bakes and delicious cupcakes to choose from.
We’d also like to put in a word for the fabulous folk at Yumbles – a curated marketplace connecting food lovers with the UK’s best independents and small batch producers of food and drink. This includes makers of vegan snacks, teas, doughnuts and meat and cheese alternatives on their own or in all manner of gift sets and kits.
Living and home
PQ Soy Wax Candles of York produce luxury handmade soy wax candles and melts in original designs such as bouquets, skulls – and they’ve laid down a marker for Christmas with the inspired wax melt advent calendar (pictured centre above). All their fragrance oils and wax and vegan approved.
Cambridge illustrator Jo Clark also describes herself as a pattern designer, greetings card publisher, children’s book writer, animal lover and vegan. Her ‘Naughty Dogs Calendar 2018’ – which qualifies just as well as a wall hanging planner and organiser – made it to the finals of The Calendar Awards and is a mighty gift idea.
Almost all of the unusual handmade soaps – including the intriguing sea salt and driftwood soap (pictured above right) - from the qualified aromatherapist at the Glasgow Soap Company are vegan friendly. They contain no SLS, parabens or preservatives, known irritants or cheap bulkers and none of the ingredients have been tested on animals.
We’d also like to put in a word for Humblestuff for when you’re looking to keep your home spic and span – they are Scotland’s only producer of 100% handmade household cleaning products made with traditional ingredients and essential oils.
London’s Po-Zu Shoes are an award-winning ethical footwear company who believe you should be able to buy your shoes guilt-free, safe in the knowledge that they were created with love for people and the planet, and with respect for traditional craft communities. The vegan lace up sneaker (pictured above left) is in natural cork with high performance grip natural rubber sole.
Letchworth can’t be famous for that much but probably will be soon thanks to freelance illustrator, ‘vegan, former riot grrrl and trans’ Mushybeestees whose witty and eye-catching hand screen printed T-shirts, hoodies and bags also pack a real punch – take the vegan message (pictured above) as an example.
Votch is a UK vegan leather watch company that gives back. Each watch is made of high-end components and is fitted with vegan leather straps. No harm to animals is involved and less harm is caused to the environment - plus every three months, Votch donates 10% of its profits to its charity of the season.
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