Cruelty Free Staples


I’ve been back in the UK for over six months now, so I’ve had plenty of time to “just pop into Superdrug” and leave with half the store. So now that I don’t have to meticulously plan what I want to buy six months in advance, I have more freedom to try new things. After many trails and tribulations, these are the cruelty free products I think everyone needs in their collection.

Superdrug Coconut Water Hydrate & Shine shampoo and conditioner

I’m not huge on coconuts. I don’t use coconut oil, I don’t drink coconut water – but damn, do I love this stuff. After using these, my hair feels soft and doesn’t break at the slightest touch. I use them as my usual shampoo and conditioner in between my weekly foray into purple shampoo and it definitely helps to hydrate my damaged hair. I also find that because it doesn’t build up any residue, my hair stays feeling and looking cleaner for longer. It doesn’t hurt that they also smell AMAZING too.

It’s also vegan friendly!

Colab dry shampoo in London

I know I just said that my hair stays cleaner for longer, but I don’t turn to this dry shampoo for reasons of cleanliness. One of the biggest battles of my life to date (y’know… other than the ones with my crippling anxiety and depression) is with my limp, flat hair. I could just never do anything with it. But a blast of this stuff through the roots and body really gives it life. What makes this my favourite dry shampoo though, other than the whole cruelty free thing, is how you don’t get that 18th-century-France-white-wig-effect all over your hair. Sold!

And hey, this one’s also vegan friendly.

Superdrug Soft Pink anti-perspirant deodorant

Finding a good cruelty free deodorant has always been a challenge for me. A very sweaty challenge. But recently, Superdrug came to the rescue with this. There’s not much to really say about a deodorant… other than I feel protected all day and that it smells very nicely of rose. Awesome.

Lush Ultrabland cleanser

I never knew what a truly cleansed face felt like until I tried this baby. After giving up makeup wipes a few years ago, it was a lot of trial and error before I found the right cleanser for me. Not only does Ultrabland remove all my makeup without irritating my skin, I genuinely believe it’s improved my skin condition in general. It helps to hydrate it without being overwhelming, all the while cleansing my face of any nasties.

B. Pure Micellar Water

Despite just gushing over a cleanser, sometimes I’m super lazy and just don’t want to go to the bathroom for my usual evening skincare routine. Or my flatmate is taking a forty minute shower and I just want to go to bed. Enter this micellar water. I’ve tried a cruelty free micellar water before in the form of Soap & Glory, but found its scent quite overwhelming. This one, however, is much calmer and is great for taking my makeup off in a pinch. I often use it in addition to Ultrabland, just to make sure I’m really getting all my stubborn mascara off.

Another vegan find!

Lush Enzymion moisturiser

How many times can I praise this moisturiser? My skin is the most awkward thing about me. It gets dry super easily, but breaks out if I even so much as glance at a moisturiser. Enzymion has been the only one to hydrate my skin without opening the door to an influx of blemishes. It’s super gentle on the face whilst managing to keep me from resembling a scaly lizard queen. Yes, that was a Simpsons reference.

Guess what? Also suitable for vegans.

Lush Buttered Brazils lip balm

With dry skin, comes dry lips. Especially if you wear as many matte lipsticks as I do. I bought Buttered Brazils on a whim on a trip to Florence and since then it’s become a staple of my skincare routine. A quick layer of this before bed and in the morning ensures I have super smooth lips ready to torture with a liquid lipstick.

And this one’s vegan friendly too.

So there you have it, a selection of amazing products that everyone should introduce into their stash. And they all happen to be cruelty free. Who says you can’t have beauty without bunnies?

On Instagram and Introspection

One of my biggest guilty pleasures is stalking myself on the Internet. From being a Myspace kid, to my short lived YouTube career, to curating my life on Instagram – I am so guilty of checking what I was doing one, three, or even seven years ago.

Which makes me wonder why I’m currently so aware of the idea of “aesthetic”. I may not be a gazillionaire fashion blogger who supports their lifestyle with Instagram, but for whatever reason, my Instagram seems to have developed a theme. What can I say? I’m a content producer both by day and by night. Keeping it on brand is practically second nature to me.

If I use Instagram as a means to keep tabs on my past self, I’m my own biggest audience. Something deep down is directing what content I choose to share online. Sure, a couple of hundred other people are watching too, but a lot of this is for thirty year old Rosy. Photo albums are obsolete. Part of the fun of nostalgia is now looking at how many likes a post got, as well as the picture itself.

Or maybe this is just me and I’m totally weird/self-absorbed/kinda pathetic. Your call.

When I lived in Madrid, for example, my feed was bright. Because isn’t that what the life of an expat in Spain is supposed to be? If Hemingway had an Instagram, it would be sun kissed and vibrant and warm. Old Ernie and I both liked to criticise Spain, but we definitely wanted to immortalise the country in its best light.

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Sure, in Madrid I did all these things. I ate pink lollies and drank iced coffee (when it became gentrified enough to get it, that is) and wore floaty dresses. My life was significantly sunnier than its English equivalent and I wanted to remember that. But my life in Madrid on social media is definitely not the life I had. I was unhealthy and unhappy. From the major lack of vegetarian options to the comfort eating to dull the pain of teaching English or unpaid internships, Madrid had its downs. But unless I screenshotted my empty bank account, you can’t portray that life on Instagram.

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Which brings us to my time in Brighton. The sky is grey, my clothes are black, and I’m still drinking my iced coffee. The colours may be more muted, but I’m so much happier here. I’m not sitting around carefully curating my life to look back on. I’m living in the now and posting it as an afterthought. Whilst I only chose to share the best of Madrid, for me, all of Brighton is the best. I may have only been here for five months but I’m already much happier than I ever was in Hull or Madrid.

I can post a picture of my work desk and planner because for once in my life, my work makes me happy. I’m sharing food pictures because, get this, vegetarian food is everywhere. Who would have thought? Not Spain! Who needs pretty dresses? I’m wearing all black and I’m digging it.

So thank you, Brighton. For making me evaluate my social media choices. And more importantly, for making me realise how happy I am here.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll post a picture of seagull or a bagel – and Future Rosy will know without a doubt that whatever the subject ends up being, Past Rosy was pretty freaking happy with it.

Brighton in a Weekend

So as I keep yapping on about, I moved to Brighton at the beginning of the year. But due to lack of money and my general dislike of leaving the house, I haven’t explored as much as I like. I have like 3 friends here. Give me a break. But last weekend my honorary twin sister Orla came to visit from Ireland, so I had no choice but to go full tourist mode. And it was great.
So for your consideration, here is how to do Brighton in a weekend. It works better if you and/or your guest like vegan food and shopping. ‘Cause that’s kind of what Orla and I are all about.

As a side note: my blog photography is pretty dire in this post… it was more of an Instagram Story type weekend than a blog one. But then I realised it would make a great blogpost and I’m stuck with these wonky atrocities. Sorry, Blog Gods.

Friday


Oz came on Friday evening and after some screaming and carrying her suitcase up five flights of stairs, we were ready to EAT. We headed into Kemptown for drinks in what we thought was a typical old man bar, but turned out to be a drag bar. It was the perfect place to show Orla just how, well, Brighton Brighton can be. We then headed to Purezza for dinner. Purezza is a vegan pizzeria and it is AMAZING. Vegan cheese is hard to get right and it was my first time actually trying vegan pizza but I am in love. After demolishing our pizzas, we knew we couldn’t leave without trying more – so we split a vegan orange mocha cake. And guess what? Also delicious! Who said vegans only eat rabbit food?


We finished off the night with some drinks in the South Lanes, where I took Orla to two of my favourites: The Mesmerist and The Marwood. We then parted ways ready for a full day of FUN SIBLING EXPLORING AND BONDING TIMES WOO!
Saturday


On this day we had intended to meet at 10 or something… only to finally meet at like 12. Just another part of the family resemblance. For brunch we decided to hit up VBites, another tasty vegan establishment. I was sad we had missed the breakfast menu, but not for long after I saw they had a falafel wrap on the menu. I got said wrap and an iced green tea (my fave). Orla is more adventurous with her food and tried the vegan duck pancake – but she said it was great and judging by the quality of my falafel, I’m inclined to believe her. We also split some sweet potato fries with garlic mayo because FOOD. In fact, we loved this place so much we came back. More on that later.


We took a walk down the pier for some serious Instagramming (Orla) and Pokémon hunting (me). Then we both literally hunted Pokémon in the arcade. Please note the lack of pictures with any Jigglypuffs. We did not win. After the pier we explored the South Lanes by daylight and did a little window shopping, before heading into Churchill Square for some actual shopping. By this point, we were hungry again so wandered over to Glazed for vegan donuts. VEGAN DONUTS. We were exceedingly lucky because we got the last one and it was so good. But even better than the donut, was the doggy that worked there. His name was Donald and I love him. He wore a bandana. Sadly I didn’t take a picture of the dog as I was too busy being licked so here is Orla modelling our donut.

Suddenly, because BRITAIN, it begain to rain so we ducked into Black Mocha for some caffeine and shelter. I’d been meaning to try this place for a while but wasn’t impressed with my coffee. Other people have told me that it’s actually pretty good so I’m willing to give it another shot, but honestly, meh. Once the rain stopped we darted back to Oz’s hotel (via a quick detour for wine and crackers).

And this is the point I became an idiot. I didn’t book a table. When we did finally emerge from the room, we were starving. We asked about a table at The Curry Leaf and were told it would be an hour. We agreed and off we went to the nearest bar. An hour comes, still no call. After ninety minutes we go to ask. Basically we ended up standing by the door staring at them until we got a table. By this point I was so hungry that I would have eaten anything. Hence the lack of photo. There is no time for Instagram when you reach that level of hunger. I don’t even remember what I ordered, other than I decided “fuck vegan weekend” and ordered a naan bread out of pure starvation. I think it would be unfair to review The Curry Leaf when I probably  would have literally eaten my own shoe at this point, but it was good – just not a patch on my favourite Brighton Indian, Planet India. After this we decided on an early night to prepare ourselves (and our stomachs) for the next day.

Sunday


Sunday started off at my new love, Small Batch Coffee. I picked a vegetarian sausage roll as a snack and got an oat milk latte. I sat waiting patiently for my coffee arrive so I could take a picture of both together, but it took so long I got bored and ate my sausage. Turned out they forgot about me. Luckily they gave me a voucher for a free coffee so who cares? And honestly, that latte was so good I would have come back anyway. I’m just gonna go right ahead and say it, best coffee in Brighton. No, in Britain. NO. THE WORLD.

After a little while exploring the North Lanes and avoiding the rain, we met my friends for a meatless roast at The Prince George. I was so excited for this. And I wish I could say it lived up to its expectations but… THEY FORGOT ABOUT ME. Yes, mere hours after the coffee shop forgetting about me, a restaurant forgot to bring me my food. I think I’m actually cursed, but whatever. Considering my food came when my friends were halfway through with their own, I didn’t take a picture. I just tried to catch up. I think I ordered the wellington. It was good, I guess, but my Yorkshire Pudding was hard as a rock. I’ll definitely go back, but only because I drank the best gin of my life in there and I need to taste its sweet, sweet nectars again. They didn’t offer me a free drink though. Hmmmph.


After lunch we did some more shopping down the North Lanes, but as it was Sunday, things were closing. We headed back to The Mesmerist and had a few more drinks before we got sleepy. Although we swore we wouldn’t eat anything else, we got Subway before leaving because we are ravenous monsters. #NoRegrets

Monday


For our Last Supper (ahem… breakfast), of course we headed back to VBites. This time we were in time for breakfast, so I had the most delicious hummus, spinach, and mushrooms on toast. SO. GOOD. Orla had the same, she agrees. After that it was time to take Orla back to the station. But we did have a little bit of time… so we grabbed some more oat milk lattes from Small Batch before we said our final goodbyes.

I had such a good weekend and am so glad Orla came to visit. I probably never would have gotten around to trying half these places if she’d never come to see me. So thank you, Oz, and I’ll see you in Berlin this August for Round Two.


You can follow Orla’s Twitter and Instagram here because she is much cooler than I.

Brighton, So Far

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So I moved to Brighton. Not as dramatic as my move to Madrid three years ago but much, much harder. Although in Madrid I had to deal with language barriers, reentering education, and, well, the Spanish. In Brighton I have to live with the uncertainty that everything leading up to now has been for nothing. Sure, you might think I’m being overdramatic, but…

Hi, my name’s Rosy Parrish and I think I’m finally entering my quarter life crisis.

I thought I’d experienced my quarter life crisis already. Multiple times. When I first moved abroad, when I turned down a well paying teaching gig for an unpaid internship, when I decided to move back to the UK. Pretty much every second of the last three years. And maybe I was in a crisis and this is just the peak of it. Or maybe that was nothing compared to what’s about to come.

Brighton was a huge whim. I’d never even been to the city before I started flying over for interviews. I knew one person here. To me it was just this whimsical seaside town full of quirky street art and indie coffee houses. But it seemed like a good fit. And I don’t regret that part of the decision at all. Brighton is the perfect place for me and although I’ve only been here a month, I can’t imagine myself leaving any time soon. I never felt that way with Madrid. That was always like biding my time until something better came along and appeasing myself by going on about all the ~culture~ I was experiencing.

Currently I’m a freelance writer. I sit on my bed all day because my desk doesn’t have a chair yet and type away. Sometimes I take a break to apply for a proper job. Sometime I watch How I Met Your Mother on Netflix because it soothes me into thinking it will all get better. If I were to watch Girls right now, I’d probably cry. The Avenue Q song ‘What Do You Do With A BA In English?’ makes my stomach do backflips. This is not where I thought I’d be at the age of 24. With £25,000 in student loans and working from my bedroom in a shared flat.

The older I get the more I realise that life is just a series of flukes one after the other. I used to spend so much time thinking would this have happened if I did a different degree? Went to another uni? Didn’t move to Spain? Hadn’t failed GCSE maths? But now I just feel that life is chaotic and I just need to deal with it. Sure, this isn’t the ideal situation for me right now. But if I’d picked a different degree or decided against teaching English, I wouldn’t have had the experiences I’ve got right now. As stagnant as my time in Madrid felt, I know I experienced a life that many others can only dream of. I became friends with interesting people and captured myself a cute European boyfriend and I know the city will always welcome me back with open arms.

So I may not be writing in a swish city office wearing a cool blazer; but I’m writing on my bed wearing a dinosaur t-shirt. So I guess I’m doing okay.

I have faith that eventually I’ll get my cool job and my cool blazer because goddammit I’ve done 16 months of unpaid internships now and if that’s not seen as dedication to my art then I’ll probably just explode anyway.

The Best Of 2016


Since David Bowie left the mortal realm, the world has become a terrible place. But despite this, I thought it was important to look back at my personal positives of 2016… no matter how sad I am that Carrie Fisher is dead. 2016 was a year of big changes for me. After months of agonising over the decision, I decided it was time to repatriate myself back into British life. I’d gotten a tad complacent with everything… so obviously my brain decided to change it all at once. 2nd times a charm, right?

So, in order, I bring you my highlights of 2016.

Visiting Florence

I’ve wanted to visit Italy for as long as I can remember – and after almost two years of living on the continent, I finally got my chance. I traveled round the country by train – and although the trip was slightly derailed by the destruction of my passport – Florence was by far my favourite desintation. I saw amazing architecture, did fantastic shopping, marvelled at incredible art… and saw creepy fetus mannequins from the 19th century. I will definitely be back.

Reading Stephen King’s It

Much like visiting Italy, I had always wanted to read It. And although it really didn’t live up to the ‘omg so scary’ reviews I’ve been hearing my entire life, it was huge. Like, physically. And I’m glad I read it. And it makes me feel less terrible about failing my Goodreads Reading Challenge this year. Seriously, it was huge!

Giving up teaching

Although I have never wanted to end up as a teacher, it somehow became my job.  Yet it was always my means of staying in Madrid and getting a pretty decent income. So I stayed. But at the same time I was interviewing for summer camp positions to keep myself fed for the 3 months of Hell I was about to experience, I took a chance and interviewed for an unpaid editorial internship. And got it. Although I then had to decide between teaching and eating and gaining experience in the field I loved and starving – I’m glad I took the risk as it proved I was capable and qualified to do what I loved and gave me the push I needed to leave the safety net of Spain. Even if I did have to eat a lot of pasta to do so.

Seeing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Seeing this play was a long time coming. I first bought the tickets in October 2015 and spent an agonising year waiting for my time to come. I’ve written about the show in great detail already, so I won’t dwell on it too much, but it was definitely my favourite part of the year. Not only did it fill the empty place in my soul of the waiting for a new Potter release, but my quick trip to London was the catalyst for my eventual return to the UK. Thanks, Harry.

Doing a Brexit of my own

And finally, the most important change for me in 2016, moving back to the UK. Despite being on the top of my game in the ESL world, I knew it was time to move on. So after packing my entire life into two suitcases and a cardboard box, I took the leap and moved back “home”. I write this blogpost to you from my new place in Brighton. I have no idea what’s going to happen next, but I imagine it will begin with job interviews, vegan food, and maybe a new haircut.

Cheers to you, 2017.