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The best vegan advent calendars – where to get them, whats inside and how much they cost

(Picture: Candy Kittens/ Drinks by the Dram/ Hotel Chocolat/ Heavenly Chocolate)
If youre considerin..

(Picture: Candy Kittens/ Drinks by the Dram/ Hotel Chocolat/ Heavenly Chocolate)

If youre considering opting for a vegan lifestyle but concerned you might miss out on the advent calendar fun, let us set your mind at ease.

With one in eight Brits now vegan or vegetarian, many companies are responding by introducing vegan alternatives to munch on during the festive season.

While most of these contain dark and bitter chocolate, there are some hidden gems too – such as gin, tea and whisky, as well as the odd beauty calendar.

Heres our pick of the best vegan advent calendars this Christmas.

Candy Kittens

Vegan / Free From advent calendar round-up Credit: Candy Kittens
(Picture: Candy Kittens)

Price: £12

Packaging: Its big, red and the doors are very easy to open. Like the tagline says: Less sprouts, more sweets.

Whats inside: Our favourite of the lot. Made from natural juices with no added colourings, the calendar contains four flavours of sweets including blueberry bliss, peach fizz, sour watermelon and wild strawberry. Warning, once you start eating these you might find yourself having eaten all of them within an hour (its worth getting a second one, just in case).

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Festive joy: On the back of each door the kittens have scribbled a cute little note.

Best for: Anyone who is vegan but loathes dark chocolate, cat lovers and people who like Made in Chelseas Jamie Laing, the owner of the brand.

When and where you can buy it: Exclusive to Waitrose in store, but you can also order it from Candy Kittens.


(Picture: The Vegan Kind Supermarket)

Price: £9.99

Packaging: Does what it says on the tin – your average chocolate advent calendar with 24 doors and a cute, albeit boring, snowman design.

Whats inside: If you prefer to savour your treats, youll enjoy this one. The organic pieces are very, very thick and will last longer than most other calendar chocolates. Extra tip: pop it into your morning coffee to get a delicious mocha flavour. Downside, windows are a bit tricky to open.

Festive joy: Extra large chocolates, and were always down for that.

Best for: Yourself or greedy people who always nag that the chocolate never lasts.

When and where you can buy it: Available now from the Vegan Kind supermarket.

Heavenly Chocolate

(Picture: Yumbles)

Price: £9.95

Packaging: Branded Magical Snowfall, the packaging resembles a dark winters night with a glittering tree on the front thatll give you the festive feels.

Whats inside: The tasty chocolate inside isnt just plant-based and vegan, its also gluten-free, wheat-free, soy-free, and free of GMO ingredients and palm oil. But it could taste a little bitter for some palates, as it only contains 4% sugar.

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Festive joy: Youd be supporting a small family business, rather than the big retailers.

Best for: Anyone who doesnt need the layers of sugar to enjoy a nice piece of chocolate.

When and where you can buy it: Buy it online from Yumbles.

Drinks by the Dram Whiskey

(Picture: Drinks by the Dram)

Price: £149.95

Packaging: Heavy and red, made from a sturdy cardboard material to neatly hold the treasures inside.

Whats inside: It might seem a bit pricey, but not when you consider the contents – 24 whisky flavours from all over the world including France, England, Scotland, Japan, America and Ireland. Each wax-sealed bottle contains 30ml of whisky with distilleries such as Cotswolds, That Boutique-y Whisky Company and The Blended Whisky Company (a very strong blend of 52.3% ABV) and more.

Festive joy: Whisky instead of chocolate? Yes, please.

Best for: Whisky connoisseurs or beginners who want to expand their knowledge of the spirit.

When and where you can buy it: Ocado, Master of Malt and other premium whisky retailers. Available now.


(Picture: Yumbles)

Price: £15.75

Packaging: Rather than open doors, you pop off the lid, and inside are handmade chocolates with dates painted on top.

Whats inside: This ones actually not vegan but vegetarian, and a good choice for those who with gluten allergies. It also doesnt contain any eggs, yeast or artificial ingredients.

Festive joy: The lid works as a 3D Santa, which is fairly festive.

Best for: People who like free from products and appreciate quirky sweets.


When and where you can buy it: Order it from Yumbles, here.


(Picture: The Vegan Kind Supermarket)

Price: £5.49

Packaging: Very pretty, in a seasonal gold and red design, featuring a Bambi-style illustration.

Whats inside: Hmm, were in two minds about this one. The 70% dark chocolate is nice, but having to peel away the foil after opening the door was a let-down.

Festive joy: In support of the Woodland Trust, each chocolate is made in the shape of a woodland creature and a good deed is always festive.

Best for: Possibly one for the kids (thanks to the animal shapes), if your little ones like dark, bitter chocolate. Otherwise, adults who enjoy a decent chocolate at a decent price.

When and where you can buy it: Available now, order it from the Vegan Kind supermarket.

Hotel Chocolat

(Picture: Hotel Chocolat)

Price: £12.50

Packaging: Minimalistic design in the brands traditional style, opens like a book. But once again, the foil appears when you open the door (though we suspect thats to maintain the quality of the treat).

Whats inside: Oh, the bitterness. Its 100% Ecuadorian dark chocolate, made with cocoa nibs and nothing else. If you know someone who is very particular about their chocolate, this is the one. Or if you want to play a prank on a sibling or colleague who keeps eating your daily treat, offer them one of these – and watch their expression.

Festive joy: A special chocolate, for a special season.

Best for: Not for the faint-hearted.


When and where you can buy it: Buy it online or in a Hotel Chocolat store.

Newby Tea

(Picture: Newby Tea)

Price: £59.00. You need to spend a minimum of £60 to order it, so you have £1 left over to spend on biscuits.

Packaging: Beautiful and well-organised. No doors to rip off here; instead, you can pull out delicate drawers from your new tea closet. Shaped like a home and stands up on its own.

Whats inside: This Christmas, treat yourself to more than your usual morning brew. Each of the 24 drawers contains four tea bags, so technically you get 96 days worth of goodies. Some of the flavours include green Sencha, peppermint, Darjeeling black tea, Rosehip and Hibiscus, and Masala Chai.

Festive joy: 96 treats, remember.

Best for: Tea lovers, your nan or your parents.

When and where you can buy it: Sold at Ocado and swiftly delivered to your door.

More: Christmas

First 4 Hampers Gin

Food & drink calendar round-up (I)first4hampers
(Picture: First 4 Hampers)

Price: £125

Packaging: Its a humongous Christmas cracker – were in love. However, it was rather fiddly getting the bottles out of the doors.

Whats inside: Flavour, flavour, flavour. Gin flavour, that is. Indulge in Yorkshire Tea, Raspberry Jam, Strawberries & Cream and Mulled Winter Fruit, alongside Sloe gin, Rhubarb and Rosehip, Orange, Lavender and Cucumber gin. Theres more, but we dont want to spoil the surprise.

Festive joy: Like the creators of the cracker say: Gin-gle all the way.

Best for: Yourself. Or get an extra one and share it at the dinner table on Christmas Day.

When and where you can buy it: Sold at First 4 Hampers, Amazon and Master of Malt, among others.

Tropic Skincare

Beauty advent calendar round-up (I)
(Picture: Tropic skincare)

Price: £100

Packaging: Each window reveals a little white pouch with a message like some secrets are best kept concealed.

Whats inside: Vegan skin treats in a tropical theme; fruit peel, wild mint, lime and pineapple wash, a bamboo face cloth and a velvet coconut cream in a tantalising whipped texture.

Festive joy: Red and gold, and youre supporting animals everywhere, since its vegan.

Best for: Vegans, animal-lovers and people who miss the summer sun.

When and where you can buy it: It was released on 19 October, buy it here.

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MORE: The best food and drink advent calendars for 2018 – where to get them, whats inside, and how much they cost

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Greggs vegan sausage rolls are selling on Ebay for nine times the price

(Picture: Ebay)
Youve probably heard Greggs have released a vegan sausage roll.

But with reports of..

(Picture: Ebay)

Youve probably heard Greggs have released a vegan sausage roll.

But with reports of stores selling out, you might not have been able to get your hands on one.

Well now it seems you can pick them up on Ebay.

Some savvy sellers have listed one of Januarys must-have items.

At the time of writing, there were two vegan sausage rolls listed.

One is currently on £7 with 15 bids, from someone called Dave.

Dave says: I had one myself and it was a delight.

(Picture: Getty/ PA)

And dont worry about it not being fresh, its collection only – and hes not accepting returns.

He says it comes in a cool Greggs paper bag and not a box.

The other listing is currently at £9.50 and has three bids.

And this one can be posted as the seller says they are a Greggs employee and theyll post it first class on the day it is made.

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What is carb cycling and should you be doing it?

(Picture: Getty)
If you like food, the idea of a no-carb diet is probably your idea of hell.


(Picture: Getty)

If you like food, the idea of a no-carb diet is probably your idea of hell.

Pasta, pizza, bread… pasta. All off-limits. We cant compute.

Aside from our personal cravings, theres plenty of evidence to suggest that cutting out carbs completely isnt actually effective for weight-loss – particularly in the long-term.

And official NHS advice states that wholegrain carbs are a really important part of a balanced diet.

But carb cycling – a diet that staggers the amount of carbs you eat – could be a viable alternative.

(Picture: Getty)

Carb cycling is when you vary your carb intake on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

What that means is that on some days you eat more of them and some days you eat less.

You can do it based on your activity – so, say you go the gym three times in a week, on those three days you would eat carbs normally. On the other four days of that week you would eat a low-carb diet.

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The idea is that you get the benefits of a low-carb diet without the fatigue and possible muscle-loss – so in theory it is more sustainable.

If you dont judge it by activity, another simple way to do it is to eat low-carb for three days followed by two higher-carb days. And you can choose to continue at the weekend or not.

But is it healthy? Will it actually help you lose weight? And, most importantly, is it safe?

Nutritionist Charlotte De Curtis, think there are certainly benefits.

There can be a number of benefits to carb cycling when done correctly, Charlotte tells

When it comes to fat-loss, many of my clients enjoy the flexibility that carb cycling brings when used in line with a calorie deficit, often improving diet adherence and long term success.

There is research to suggest that cycling carbs around your workouts can also be beneficial for gaining muscle, improving physical performance, along with aiding recovery.

Other research suggests that high-carb re-feeds, after a state of lower carbohydrate intake, may have a positive effect on hormones during a diet, particularly the thyroid hormones and leptin, which is one of the hormones responsible for balancing hunger.

As with any diet, theres plenty to consider before getting started, but Charlotte doesnt think theres anything particularly worrying about carb cycling if its done properly.

Although there are no “dangers” as such, cycling your carbs in this way can often be complex in nature for beginners, leading to confusion and
lack of adherence, she explains.

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Something else to be aware of is that you may gain water weight on your high-carb days and, cutting down too low on carbs, on your non training days may feel too restrictive and increase your cravings for sweet foods.

We have all been there. Trying to be healthy and ending up raiding the vending machine at 3pm.

So how can you make carb cycling work for you? Charlotte has some pointers.

Carb cycling can absolutely be implemented into a balanced and healthy approach for both fat loss, performance and general health.

Depending on the goal, by ensuring that you are eating enough calories to cover the energy that youre expending, from one day to the next and that your carbs are coming from sources that are dense in nutrients – think veggies and starchy carbs – this will illicit the maximum benefit.

So its all about balance – making sure youre offsetting your exercise and activity with enough food to keep you energised.

If youre tempted by a low-carb diet but cant quite say goodbye to your breakfast bagel habit, then this could be the perfect diet for you.

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Morrisons launches meal deal to feed families of four for £10

(Picture: Morrisons)
Morrisons Cafe is introducing a new meal deal, where families of four can eat a..

(Picture: Morrisons)

Morrisons Cafe is introducing a new meal deal, where families of four can eat and drink for just £10.

The deal will be available from 3 February in all Morrisons cafes, and includes four mains, four drinks and two pieces of fruit, to give families on a budget a chance to eat out.

Adults can choose from a range of meals from the recently updated menu including hand-battered fish and chips, freshly prepared chicken and avocado salad or the Morrisons Makes it Burger which is handmade by Butchers in store, as well as drinks such as soft drinks or coffee.

Other dishes on offer are lasagne, macaroni cheese, sausage and mash, and steak pie.

(Picture: Morrisons)

For the kids, the offer includes kid size chicken nuggets, pizza or spaghetti Bolognese along with drinks such as Tropicana or milk.

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Children will also receive a piece of fruit.

Helen Tordoff, Head of Café at Morrisons says: Weve listened to our customers and we know that this is the time of year when they might feel the pinch.

We know that families want to be able to eat out and we hope that by offering this deal, we can help them afford an enjoyable cafe meal without the washing up.

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