All posts by vashti

A Vegan’s Guide Through The Swan Valley

As we slowly embrace the sweater weather and retreat into semi-hibernation through the chilly months, savouring an occasional sunny day with a trip through the Swan Valley is an absolute must for the average wine lover.

We here at Vashti have devised a quick guide for a cruelty free trip through the Swan Valley with our top picks for those who relish a good wine and a great meal.

Image: Mandoon Estate

Mandoon Estate

First on the list is the critically acclaimed Mandoon Estate. Being one of Western Australia’s most famous wineries, it is no surprise that this premium estate accommodates to our compassionate community. Their 2012 Cabernet Merlot, 2010 Research Cabernet, 2010 Reserve Frankland River Shiraz, 2012 Old Vine Shiraz and 2011 Old Vine Grenache, are all vegan friendly! Before booking a table in their restaurant be sure to inform the staff that you are vegan and the chefs are great at infusing flavours to suit your palette.

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 9am – 8.30pm

Image: Harris Organic Winery 

Harris Organic Winery

Wouldn’t it be nice to walk into a winery and be able to order pretty much anything on the wine list? Well if your thought process is like us, then be sure to visit Harris Organic Winery. This one of a kind estate was founded by Duncan Harris and produces a range of dry white and red table wines, dessert wines and fortified wines. The best part? All their wines and liquor are vegan friendly.

Opening hours: Thursday to Monday from 11am – 4.30pm

Image: Sandalford Winery

Sandalford Winery

For those who enjoy experiencing a slice of luxury, Sandalford is definitely a destination you have add to your Swan Valley list. This gorgeous establishment was founded in 1840 and is one of Western Australia’s oldest privately-owned wineries. Located on jaw-dropping grounds, the pristine estate is well worth a wander! For our plant-based friends, you will be happy to know that only six wines on their extensive wine list are not vegan friendly. With a friendly team, be sure to inform the staff of your dietary requirements and they will take care of the rest!

Opening hours: Monday to Sunday from 10am – 5pm


Image: The Advocate

Talijancich Wines

Talijancich Wines is another winery to add to the list where all the wines on offer are vegan friendly — what a time to be alive! When it comes to the cooler months, a good fortified wine is a great choice to sooth the soul, especially when it comes to ‘comfort drinking’. Talijancich Wines has an incredibly large range of fortified wines that will be sure to make winter that much sweeter.  Interestingly, Talijancich Wines remains one of the few producers in the Swan Valley region that focuses on wines made solely from Swan Valley fruit.

Opening hours: Wednesday to Monday from 10.30am to 4.30pm

Image: Swan Valley Cafe

Swan Valley Café

After all that wine sipping, you must be ready for some hearty vegan cuisine. Of course, the Swan Valley Café makes the top of our list when it comes to lavish food that is powered by plants! This quaint café opened its doors in 2010 with a mission to create a place of well-being and health for all individuals through natural and sustainable eating. Definitely make Swan Valley Café on your stop over list and enjoy a plethora of delicious choices for either breakfast or lunch.

Opening hours:  Monday to Friday from 9am to 3pm and Saturday and Sunday from 8am to 5pm

Whether you are after an afternoon of wine loving or want to escape the city for a more relaxed setting, the Swan Valley region is a must for any time of year.


Written by Krithika Ramnarayan

Nars Has Taken A Big Step Backward In The Beauty World

It’s become an issue that many people nowadays look for when purchasing beauty products. It can be the defining factor to whether we will purchase that foundation we’ve been wanting to buy forever or not. NARS announced that it would be going back to their old ways and begin testing on animals again. Why? Because they are looking to enter the Chinese market to make more sales. Talk about putting profit over principles. This is one of the most popular and respected beauty brands in the world, so are there more reasons as to why they have made such a negative decision? China law makes it mandatory for cosmetic companies to test on animals. Fans have reacted to this news with unhappy posts, comments and even creating negative hashtags like #boycottnars, #stopanimalcruelty and #saynotoanimaltesting.

Image: Instagram

NARS has long been known as a cruelty-free brand, but as of June 2017, they have announced that they are no longer apart of the revolution. Making a statement despite all the backlash, the company has stated to shoppers that they still believe that the elimination of animal testing needs to happen, but their decision had to be made to ‘comply with the local laws’. The company has been extremely popular worldwide, which has received mostly positive reviews from their light-weight, natural base products. Products were selling millions through stores such as Sephora, MECCA and David Jones etc. but now face a boycott from customers who believe and support the ‘say no to animal testing’ campaign. This affects their brand name, collaboration projects and major sales in countries such as Australia, Europe, New Zealand, India and America.

So, who is to blame for this decision? I assume not everyone who works within the brand is happy or agrees with this decision. Essentially, Shiseido, who owns NARS made the decision to make the brand available in China to expand its reach and keep up with competitors (typical), like MAC, which is owned by Estee Lauder. Whilst they also sell in China, both corporations have stated they only conduct animal testing due to the requirement.

Image: Instagram

Although this has been shocking news in the recent times, there are still beauty brands out there that will keep their word and won’t entertain the idea of animal testing. The Body Shop has recently teamed up with Cruelty Free International (CFI) on a campaign called Forever Against Animal Testing which is calling for the United Nations to introduce and international convention regarding the issue. Be sure to go to to sign their petition to help support the cause.

Image: The Body Shop

While big profit non-cruelty free brands such as Estee Lauder recently bought up another beauty company, Deciem, they have confirmed that this one won’t be venturing into the Chinese market until the laws are changed. I think NARS has taught many brands a lesson as to why the industry needs to change for the better. So, until China takes action and starts truly believing in the animal testing boycott, here are some of the best cruelty free companies that actually include some NARS dupes of their own that are available right now;

If you loved the NARS blushes you should try:
Silk Naturals

If you were obsessed with their base products you should try:
Cover FX
Kat Von D
The Ordinary

Other AMAZING Cruelty -free brands that are worth every cent include:
The Body Shop
The Organic Pharmacy
Tata Harper
e.l.f cosmetics
John Russo
Saturday Skin
The Balm
Trust Fund Beauty


Written by: Darcey Weaven

Fashion Under Capitalism: How It Affects Self-Image

It’s funny how no one ever thinks of fashion as advertising. We are so used to being assaulted by magazine and news headlines like “Emily Ratajkowski’s Best Outfits Ever”, “Is Selena Gomez’s Latest Outfit A Message To Justin Bieber?” and “Cardi B Just Epically Recreated This Iconic Linda Evangelista Look,” that we are positioned to see it as news. This can’t be further from the truth. Every day, we are continually being sold what to wear, how to wear it, and why we must look this way. But who is pulling all the strings, and why do they have the luxury to dictate for the masses?

Image: W Magazine

Tansy Hoskins, author and avid supporter of ethical fashion, talks about the negative influences a capitalist mindset has on our body image. Looking a certain way has become such an integral part of our self-esteem that we are conditioned to crave the latest fashions, fantasising about how these clothes or accessories can transform us into who we want to become. And all these desires are driven by the select few who head the fashion industry. As Hoskins says, they are “controlling our common cultural heritage, deciding what we wear, what we read every day,” and contrary to popular belief, fashion represents not freedom of creativity, but the profits and interests of corporations – it doesn’t sound so glamourous now, does it? Of course, she doesn’t want to give a two-dimensional portrait of the industry as the villain, and consumers as victims, but the fact that clothes and consequently our bodies have become a commodity due to capitalism, shows how the system has repressed what could otherwise be a wonderful outlet for creative genius.

Tansy Hoskins / Image: Ruby Wright

These influences aren’t only impacting the private lives of many but are very prominent in the modelling world itself. A quick look at our catwalks demonstrates just how much diversity is lacking, not only in colour, but in body shapes, sizes and ability. Although there has been a call for change in recent years, the beautiful, size zero, blonde stereotype still dominates, with many ‘boasting’ of diversity in their shows even when there is just one model of colour present. Such a small representation of beauty cannot and does not cater for the diversity in the world and adds to the insecurities people face as a result of capitalist fashion.

Image: Vogue

The sad thing is, we aren’t only taught to lust after these material possessions, but the aspiration to become just like those who do wear these things forces us to evaluate ourselves through their carefully curated, photoshopped lives. Fashion is probably the number one driver for body hatred and shaming, a high price to pay for such a throw-away thrill. Yet, people are continuously drawn to this self-destructive behaviour, proving just how powerful the system which governs us is. When it’s near impossible to separate capitalist values with the world around us, how would it be possible to separate ourselves from these toxic yearnings?

Image: You Queen

Yes, conscious choice does play a part in freeing ourselves from the shackles of unattainable perfection, but as with anything, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much still churning in our subconscious from the media we have been fed, that an awareness can only help us so far.

In Hoskins’s words, “Fashion will never be free without an end to capitalism. And yet fashion can contribute to the remaking of the world. It has the ability to replace the old with the new, to makes us hope and dream,” and perhaps this does ring true. What do you think?


Written by: Tiffany Ko



Artist Archive: River Phoenix

Reading his name, you’d get the feeling that River Phoenix was super influential and an independent person. He was only 23 when he passed away in 1993, but before then he had committed himself to supporting animal rights and environmentalism. Being so young and voicing his opinions on these types of issues was almost unknown in the early Hollywood industry. His life, artistry, passion, influence and personality were things to be treasured in the future ahead.

Before becoming the Hollywood star he was, Phoenix and his parents lived in poverty, travelling around the States in a van. He never received any schooling and often sang on the side of the road to get change for his ever-growing family. Once his mother returned to working as a receptionist in Hollywood, she got in contact with an agent for River and his sibling in order to gain extra money for the family.


Image: Getty

After growing up on the big screen, he became one of the biggest child actors and began to find himself amongst all the pressure and publicity. At the age of 15, he began to live a vegan lifestyle when he became upset seeing fisherman each killing their catch. He then influenced his family of seven to also become vegans. Before then, an eight-year-old Phoenix persuaded his parents to give up milk and eggs. He realised the chickens that lay eggs were frustrated and that there was no sunlight in the egg farms. From this day he fought issues regarding animal rights, environmentalism and politics. At 18 became the spokesperson for PETA, a well-known animal rights campaign company, who honoured him with its Humanitarian Award in 1992.

Phoenix’s Family / Image: Getty

Although he was a phenomenal actor and activist, this did not sum up his personality. He was liked by all and became one of the youngest actors to be nominated for an Academy Award. He influenced the world and chose to educate them on his work and choices. He openly spoke out about the animal cruelty affected the fashion world as was trendy to wear fur and leather on red carpets. He was educated in his own sense and understood more than an average teenager would. For Earth Day, 1990, he wrote an environmental essay aimed at his younger fanbase, which was printed in Seventeen magazine.

Image: Lance Staedler/ Corbis Outline

After his success in the industry and after buying his family a house in Florida, he bought 800 acres of endangered rain forest in Costa Rica. All around he was perceived as a squeaky-clean teenager from his activism and movie roles, which evidently was not the case.

The sad truth shocked Hollywood when news came out that the young actor had passed away out the front of the Viper Room. At such a young age he had so much more to offer and his passion was one that truly inspired others. Animal rights and environmentalism are becoming more spoken about in this day, but it took courage and power for Phoenix to speak so openly about the topic even though it was a more taboo subject.


Written by: Darcey Weaven


Ice Cream Paradise

Based in the bustling suburb of Cottesloe is an authentic ice creamery called Gelato101 Vegan Artisan. This delicious paradise provides the community with an array of vegan sweet treats and a small mini-mart of various plant-based goodies.

Image: jojoinbrighton

This quaint little shop is tucked away from the rush of Cottesloe’s centre and is camouflaged between several clothing stores. Its pristine location and adorable size make it easy to miss this precious seaside gem.

Image: urbanlipstper

The ice creams sold at Gelato 101 are creamy and rich in flavour, perfect to relish before the cooler months take over. Apart from being vegan, all the ice creams are gluten free too!

Image: Gelato 101 Vegan Artisan 

Every customer can rest assured that they will have a pleasant experience when entering Gelato101; the staff are incredibly friendly and knowledgeable on the products.

Next time you are in the area, be sure to visit Gelato101 Vegan Artisan, this location is easily one of Cottesloe’s best kept secrets.


Written by: Krithika Ramnarayan

Grow Your Own Wardrobe: How Science Is Brewing Up New Looks

Ever walked past a fabric store and felt inspired to make your own clothes, to reject the destructive industry of fast fashion and become the next Project Runway superstar? Only to feel the inspo quickly fade when you remember that making clothes takes a whole bunch of time, money and probable swearing?

If only beautiful, conscious clothes grew on trees, right? Well, according to designer Suzanne Lee, home-grown (literally) clothes may soon be a reality. And all you need is a little green tea and sugar. Oh, and some bacteria.

Image: Hands Across The Sea Samplers

That’s right, everyone’s favourite trendy health-drink, kombucha, is now leading the charge of bio-fashion technology. The source of the magic is the slightly disturbing ‘scoby’, the gelatinous blob which is a byproduct of the kombucha brewing process. When dried out and rolled, this creates a unique transparent material, which Lee then turns into structured jackets and ethereal looking shirts. “It’s like a flexible vegetable leather” says Lee in her TED Talk on the process. “You can sew it conventionally or form it around a three-dimensional shape”.

The material is not without its downsides, however. For one, the results may be a little unnerving for some. “I guess it looks a little like human skin, which intrigues me” laughs Lee. The textile is also super water-absorbent, so your cool beverage-based bomber may not fare so well in the rain.

Image: Hands Across The Sea Samplers

However, while scoby-based fabric may not be viable for use outside of haute couture just yet, it represents a promising future for science-based fashion. Lee says that biological technologies currently being explored to ‘program’ bacteria to heal wounds or grow replacement bone tissue, could someday be used in textile manufacturing. “I’m not suggesting microbial cellulose is going to be a replacement for cotton, leather or other textile materials, but I do think it could be quite a smart and sustainable addition to our precious natural resources.” She notes.

Image: Hands Across The Sea Samplers

If you’re intrigued by the idea of growing fabrics from stuff found in your fridge, the possibilities don’t end with kombucha. If you can bear to waste good wine, there’s even the possibility of using a nice Merlot to make your next party outfit. The delicate fabric, produced by fermenting the drink in a similar process to kombucha, retains the rich colour of the wine (and the rich scent!).

On the less appetizing end of the spectrum, spoiled milk is also being used to develop new bio-textiles. That funky smell you get when you leave your milk on the counter just a little too long? It actually signals the presence of a special protein which forms unique fibres.

Image: I, Science

The velvety texture of milk translates really well into the fabric, according to inventor Anke Domaske, who believes it could one day be a cheaper alternative to silk. “Milk is underrated because people only view it as a food-stuff. But you can make a lot more from it – milk is a wonderful, natural raw material.” She comments.

With advances in microbiology coming in leaps and bounds, it may not be long until we start seeing this ‘fermented fashion’ make its way onto the high street. With biodegradable clothes grown from scratch, wastage and clothing landfill could soon be a thing of the past. In the meantime, prepare to start seeing your favourite drinks in a new light!

Thirsty, anyone?


Written by: Kate Nightingale