Week 1 - Coming off the hormonal contraceptive pill

Bath bombs have made this week marginally more bearable.

Please note, this post contains details which some people may be disgusted or embarrassed by. However, I think this is really important to talk about! If you’re grossed out by female issues, you probably shouldn’t read this post. Yes, that means periods!

Week one has brought some really weird side effects. I was worried my period would last longer than normal, but it stopped right when it was meant to. However, it stopping came with terrible breast pain and permanently erect nipples (which I found hilarious, although it was a bit annoying!). Luckily both of these things have now subsided, but were very uncomfortable while they persisted.

I’ve also been experiencing really weird cravings, mainly for salty food and carbs. They’ve been very specific though – things like mashed potato and gravy, or plain rice and soy sauce. I found it really strange because I HATE mashed potato, the texture makes me feel physically sick. Luckily I bought some gravy granules for a roast dinner I made a little while ago! These cravings have been really strong, much more so than any I’ve experienced before. I felt like my body was going to implode if I didn’t get what I was craving, so I decided to just let my body have what it wants. I know I should probably be eating healthy this week, but I’ve just not been feeling it.

Those side effects were annoying, but superficial. However, I’ve noticed some really negative effects on my mood and motivation. I’m about to go back to university, and I’m normally super excited to be going back; my energy levels generally peak at the beginning of the academic year. However, I’ve felt bad this week. I’ve had no motivation and generally been in a bad mood, the kind where you just want to lie in bed and never get up. I’ve also been much more emotional, and have cried at silly things (something definitely not part of my personality). I’m pretty disciplined so I’ve forced myself to do housework and go out, but I’ve not managed to work up to the reading I know I should be doing before I go back to uni. I really hope I can shake this off before I have to start studying!

That’s about all I’ve noticed this week. Check back again next week for another update, and have a wonderful day!

- Bethan


Ecoffee Cup Travel Mug (Back to Uni Essential!)

A travel mug is undoubtedly a back-to-uni essential, but I commute to campus which makes it even more important! I was given a free travel mug at Freshers’ Fair last year; it was okay, but not amazing. It did the job, but the lid didn’t seal shut so there were multiple times I ran for the train and spilt half of my drink. I decided that since second year is where you get serious (and need three times more coffee), I’d allow myself to buy a new one.

I found this cup in Siesta, Canterbury’s fair trade shop, but they also sell it in some Oxfam shops. The cup is made from biodegradable bamboo fibre and corn starch, and the lid is made from recyclable silicone. It’s also really light, and looks pretty funky too. That pretty much ticks off everything important in my books! It’s also dishwasher safe for those of you who live a fancier lifestyle than me.

I’m not sure yet how it will withstand being throw into a backpack for 12 consecutive weeks as it seems a little thin, but I have good feelings. I’ve tested it and it keeps my drinks warm without burning my hands, and the cover does a good enough job of preventing spillage. The most important thing is that I can prevent withdrawal from the slight coffee addiction I developed during my Spring term last year. I had a lot of essays, okay? Don’t judge!

It’s really important to avoid disposable coffee cups – they’re often not recyclable, which means that around 100 billion end up in landfill every year. Add to that how many resources they take to make and you’ve got a mess worse than me before my daily dose of caffeine! Getting a reusable cup is such an easy way to cut down your waste and so help the environment. If you don’t want a groovy one like this or need a bit more protection from spillage, I’d highly recommend getting a stainless steel flask instead.

Who else swears by the reusable coffee cup? I’d love to know down in the comments! Thank you for reading, I hope you have a wonderful day!

- Bethan


Coming off the hormonal contraceptive pill (Week 0)

Please note, this post contains details which may make some people feel disgusted or awkward. However, I think this is really important to talk about! If you’re grossed out by female issues, you probably shouldn’t read this post. Yes, that means periods!

I’ve been taking Microgynon 30, a brand of the contraceptive pill, for five years. I started when I was fifteen to help control my overzealous menstrual cycle, as my periods would often last over ten days and very heavy. The pill shortened my periods to only four days and made them light and pain-free, so why would I ever want to stop?!

Unfortunately, my body has reacted very badly to it over the past year. Slowly but surely, my periods started getting longer, heavier and more painful. I started getting craps and back pain so bad that I’d be forced to stay in bed; this was a massive warning sign, as they weren’t painful even before the pill. I also found that my blood was clotting much faster than normal – a massive warning sign when on the pill, as it increases your chance of deep vein thrombosis and a stroke. My libido tapered away into nothing. I was feeling increasingly down and demotivated, and experiencing horrible weight gain and bloating. Eventually I decided that enough is enough.

So today I should have taken another pack of the pill, but I didn’t. This is the start of six months free of hormonal contraception. I’m going to let my natural cycle return, and hopefully make some positive changes for my body. My ultimate goals are to experience my natural cycle and to lose a little bit of weight. I’ll probably go back on birth control at the end of this six months (getting pregnant is literally my worst nightmare) but for now my body needs a break.

Every week or so I’ll be sharing what side effects I notice as my body readjusts, because there’s not enough information out there for people coming off the pill. Hopefully it will all be okay. I’d love to hear your experiences of coming off hormonal contraception in the comments because I’m genuinely terrified!

Have a wonderful day.

- Bethan


The Vegan Kind August & September Box Reviews

Hello again everyone! Sorry for my slight absence, I’m back at university soon so life has got a little bit hectic. Don’t worry though, I’m planning on getting all sorts of lovely content written up in the two weeks I have left before I start.

This month’s The Vegan Kind subscription box arrived not so long ago, and once again I’ll be showing you the lovely snacks that it contained. Since I forgot to write last month’s review, I’ll also be showing you what came in the August box. Aren’t 2-in-1 posts the best?

August Box (#TVK34)
  • Hippeas Sweet & Smokin’ Chickpea Puffs. I always see JME raving about these, but I understood why when I opened the packet. They’re vegan Wotsits! I never realised how much I missed those childhood favourites until faced with a vegan alternative. I’m in love with them and they’ll definitely become a go-to snack for me.
  • Squirrel Sisters Coconut Cashew snack bar. Yet another disappointing raw snack. It seems that the majority of fruit and nut bars are just dry and bland, and I thought this was no exception.
  • Landgarten “Crunchy Choco Snack”. First of all, I love the name; it’s honest and straight to the point. But most importantly, they were delicious! I love ridiculously sweet milk-style chocolate so these were a winner in my books.
  • Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Egg. I actually wrote a whole review on this, which you can find here! The short version is that I’m not a fan, but you’ll love it if you like eggs.
  • Candy Kittens Sweet Pineapple sweets. These were amazing! I’m not really a fan of sweets (ironically because they’re too sweet) but these didn’t feel like a sugar overload. The pineapple taste was very natural, and they were ridiculously addictive.
  • Native Unearthed Natural Deodorant. I’m always a bit sceptical of “natural deodorants”, since they never seem to work. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by this one though – I use it on days where I stay at home, and it does the job pretty well.

September Box (#TVK35)
  • Terra Vegane Classic Cheddar Style Mac & Cheez. Although this didn’t taste like traditional cheese, it was very nice. My boyfriend and I both enjoyed it plain, although I regret not adding toppings to make wacky loaded mac & cheese!
  • Propercorn Smooth Peanut & Almond popcorn. This popcorn was very nice. I’m the sort of person who eats peanut butter out of the jar with a spoon, so I appreciated having a much more civilised way of getting my fix!
  • Moo Free Caramelized Hazelnut chocolate bar. I actually nearly cried with happiness when I saw this. This specific bar is my favourite vegan chocolate ever, I’d definitely recommend trying it.
  • Almighty Foods Golden Blonde Raw Chocolate. I was expecting this to be dreadful purely on the basis of being raw, but it was so good! It was very similar to white chocolate, and had a lovely texture to it.
  • Good Hemp milk. I’ve tried this milk before and I can’t say I loved it, but I’m happy to give it another go! It has a bit of a strange after taste which puts me off, but I’ve heard it’s very good in coffee so will try it soon.
  • The Vegan Kind mug. I won’t lie, I felt a little bit cheated with this. I’d much rather have another food or beauty item than a mug – I have way too many already. It seemed an unnecessary way to bulk out the box to me. I wasn’t really a fan of the design either, it’s a bit odd.

That’s my thoughts on the latest offerings! What are your thoughts on the items they sent? I’d love to hear them in the comments section below. Have a wonderful day!



Deaf Cat Cafe (A Vegan Guide to Medway)

A Vegan Guide to Medway is a series of brief posts highlighting my favourite vegan-friendly businesses in the Medway area.

Deaf Cat Café in Rochester has been my go-to food stop in Rochester for a number of years now. Although their options are somewhat limited, they’ve consistently had vegan options for the entire time I’ve been a customer.

Deaf Cat’s coffee is lovely, and they always have professional quality soy milk in stock. They also have a wide range of herbal tea available. I’d definitely recommend it for an afternoon break. They also sell Doves Farm cookies, of which quite a few are vegan, so you’ll have the option of a sweet treat alongside your drink!

If you’re wishing for something more substantial, you can opt for a sandwich – the Anchor Foods hummus and chickpeas sandwich should be in the fridge, although they may be sold out if you arrive a little later in the day.

The café décor has a cosy vintage feel, with antique tea pots lining the walls, making it a perfect refuge from the oncoming autumn chill. The only major downside is how dark the interior is.

Would you like me to write about a specific Medway establishment? You can recommend somewhere in the comments below.