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Here’s to the weekend

November 22, 2014

Happy weekend, everyone! And cheers to having a week off *raises coffee mug*.

This morning this (^^^) whiskerface decided he was staaaarving, so obviously he had to wake us up at 7am to tell us that. I decided that instead of lounging around I would get up and get on with my to-do list, instead of procrastinating. I sifted through a ton of laundry (seriously, my downstairs loo isn’t that big, but the piles of laundry took up every bit of floor space. I didn’t even realise there was that much in my laundry bag?!). Do you ever find that it sneaks up on you? Well anyway, I’m hoping to get through at least 75% of that pile today.

We start the weekend right over here – and that means Jus-Rol croissants for breakfast. Other plans for today? More laundry, more Christmas shopping, the gym, travel insurance, picking up my euros and getting ready for a little dinner party we’re holding this evening with a couple of friends. Trout is in heaven this weekend because it’s the final of the f1. It’s kind of cute how excited he is about it. I don’t think I’m going to see much of him tomorrow ;)

This week was kind of a non-stop mad rush. It always is before annual leave, when I’m trying to squeeze in a fortnight’s worth of work into just a few days – and taking a day out of the office to go up for the Digital Marketing Show on Thursday didn’t make me any less calm! Did you go? I wasn’t super impressed, not at all. But anyway, I left the office at around 7.30pm last night with an almost empty inbox and pretty much everything ticked off my to-do list, so here’s hoping everything is calm while I’m away…!

Enjoy the weekend, everyone! What do you have planned?

Photos of the Week #46

November 19, 2014

WEEK 46 OF 52

Looking back over the photos that I took last week, it seems that I didn’t really do very much of anything until it came to the weekend! Well, apart from spending as much time with Trout as possible. I did go and see The Babadook with a friend on Thursday, which was very good. I loved the music, and the way that they transformed the character from the book into reality, but I did think that they could have developed certain aspects a bit further. I definitely recommend watching it though, if you haven’t already.

Here’s what else I got up to…

^^There are no words.^^

^^Relaaaaxxxiiinnnggg on Saturday. It was my intention to not leave the house at all, but to spend the day in my pyjamas with Ras and Trout catching up with The Apprentice and Masterchef, which did happen, but we needed to pop into town, so I did the proper thing and got dressed…^^

^^…And in the course of getting myself dressed, I decided to dress like a laaady, complete with matching my nails to my shoes and my tights with my dress.^^

^^After a spot of Christmas shopping in town by myself, I picked up a soya gingerbread latte and relaxed on the sofa in a festive haze. It really felt like the start of Christmas, especially as the lights have been switched on in Brighton now.^^

^^Trout brought some Field Roast sausages back with him, and they are absolutely amazing. Seriously delicious! Plus I love how they string them together like ‘proper’ sausages.^^

^^Just Mayo – yum! This is the company that are being sued by Unilever for using the term ‘mayo’. Absolutely bonkers, and I hope the case gets dropped soon. Their mayo is really good – not quite as good as Infinity Foods, but if it were available in the UK I would definitely keep picking up a bottle, and hopefully I can try the rest of the range soon.^^

^^And voila! Here’s the finished dinner. Sausage in a bun, topped with caramelised onions and chipotle mayo, with chips and onion rings. Perfect Saturday night dinner!^^

So, that was my week. I am loving all of the Christmassy things going on all around me; decorations, Christmas music, gifts, seasonal lattes. I also love ticking off presents from my ‘to-buy’ list early – I’m hoping to get almost all of my shopping finished by the end of November, to spread the cost a little and avoid the crowds of shoppers. Plus December always brings hidden costs like drinks with friends, dinners, travelling and last-minute gifts, which seem add up seriously quickly.

This week I’m mostly trying to finish off as much work as possible before I’m off next week. Tomorrow is the Digital Marketing Show in London, and the weekend includes a couple of friends coming round for dinner and a whole lot of nothing much else. More pjs, please ;) Have a great week and weekend, everyone!

Happy birthday Rasputin!

November 17, 2014

Happy happy happy birthday Mr Whiskerson! I can’t believe you are six years old. You are still such a munchkin and you haven’t quite turned into a lapcat just yet, but one day soon we’ll be hanging out and you won’t try to attack me. That will be nice.

I love it when you stretch out your whole body including each of your toes (please see below) and when you plop down the stairs, one at a time, like a grumbling old man. Now if you could just stop scratching the carpet when you want attention, that would be perfect.

Also, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to two beautiful, amazing ladies, who both celebrated their birthdays in the last few days. Happy Birthday Hannah and Laia!

I love you ladies! I’m flying to Barcelona next week to visit Laia and I can’t flipping’ wait. Here’s hoping for weather that’s better than this. Ole!

Interior inspiration

November 14, 2014

I’ve been on an full-on interior hunt on Pinterest lately. I actually deleted my original Home is a Heartbeat board and started afresh, with images of things that I would realistically live with, rather than 300+ images of pretty things I’m not actually sure I would ever even consider.

 

I’m utterly torn and attracted to open wardrobes. On the one hand, I think they look GREAT! But on the other hand – would my clothes get very dusty? Would it look messy? I just don’t know. Looking at the above photos, it seems to work because a lot of the clothing is fairly monotone, whereas my wardrobe is definitely a whole lot of colour (even if I do inevitably end up in black), a fair amount of denim and some textured pieces.

 

Another ‘open’ obsession; bare bulbs. Trout and I both love these, and whenever we’re in bars or cafes etc. that have them, we always rate them. The photos below show a really simple way of fitting them in your home, which works for me. Also, black. Not sure I’d personally choose it, but I love these units!

 

Tiles! I think Sandra Juto might have something to do with this one. I love how detailed and unique they can be, and they remind me of travels to Berlin and hopeful dreams of one day making my way to Morocco. I’m not entirely sure where they could go? (I like to think in front of the front door, on the outside, but I’m not sure how realistic this dream will be.) It could be that they feature in a panel in the bathroom, or maybe just a set of coasters in the lounge.

 

I really really want an office. We both do a fair amount of work at home, and I would love a space that I can do all of it, surrounded by inspiration, and where I can shut the door at the end of the day and (hopefully) separate myself from it (to a certain extent).

 

There are so many things that I love, it’s so hard to pick which ones to settle on and which are simply beautiful images that won’t fit together to make a beautiful home. I really wouldn’t want every room to have a completely different style, and I’m a huge fan of simplicity; white space with colour and textured add through prints hung on the walls, beautiful knitted throws and cushions on the sofa and a luxurious rug on the floor. Any of these catch your eye? What are your dreams for interior renovation?

All photos found on Pinterest. If you are the owner of these photos, please get in touch for removal. 

Trout’s back, alright!*

November 13, 2014

Trout’s back! Trout’s back! He came home early (really early – 2am early) on Wednesday morning, and I’m so happy to have him back. And not just because he brought back with him a ton of treats. There is Daiya in my fridge! There are a pile of various sweet bars like Clif and Builders bars in flavours that you can’t get round here (you probably can online – or on iHerb at least), as well as a box of cookies from Whole Foods! Oh my, these are so good.

When he came home in those early hours we stood in the kitchen eating cookies and vegan wotsits and it was just the best. Standing there in my pyjamas and hoodie (covered in toothpaste) and him looking pristine even though he had been travelling for something like 14hrs, surrounded by all the snacks he had brought home with him, it was the perfect way to welcome him back. Ras was pretty excited too, running up the stairs and down the stairs and stopping by his suitcase and running up the stairs over and over. What a pickle.

Now I just can’t wait until the weekend! I’m not planning anything (well, not exactly true, I’m planning on catching up with all the episodes of Masterchef and The Apprentice that we’ve missed) and fully intend to spend the whole weekend in my pjs, other than maybe venturing out for a walk in the countryside on Sunday. Hopefully it will include some kind of pub grub! What do you have planned?

 

*I hope everyone got the Backstreet Boy’s reference.

Photos of the Week #45

November 9, 2014

WEEK 45 OF 52

This week I was lucky enough to spend another day in London, this time with my lovely friend, Rosie. We had booked the date into our diaries (in permanent pen and everything) because we are now of the age when you really need to lock a date down, otherwise life just seems to get in the way. We had a day of gallery-hopping planned, and it felt so good to just relax and take in lots of different artists. We started the day at the Hayward Gallery, and on the way I passed Somerset House and saw that they have an Egon Schiele exhibition on at the moment – so I will definitely be up again ASAP to see that. He’s an incredible artist, and I can’t believe how young he was when he made this incredible artwork, and how utterly timeless it is.

Here are a few photos from my day in London, and a few more from the rest of the last week.

I found these stunning flowers in Kings Cross. They’re so beautiful, and even though they’re completely unnatural I was still so drawn to them.

The exhibition at the Hawyard Gallery was brilliant. It was a lot of different artists all working within a similar theme, and I loved the diversity of all of the work. There were a few films which I really enjoyed – here’s my friend Rosie, utterly absorbed by the work (or blinking. One or the other).

On the way to White Cube we decided to grab a coffee, and picked Fuckoffee as it was so close to the gallery. I am so glad we did! Not only was the coffee the best I’ve ever drunk (and I’ve drunk a lot of coffee), it was almost entirely vegan! I couldn’t resist a slice of lemon poppyseed cake, which we shared whilst discussing Victorian vibrators.

^^Hello, lover.^^

The gallery was showing Tracey Emin’s latest exhibition, so I was in heaven. She has always been one of my favourite artists – ever since my Grandma took me to see her Turner Prize entry back in 1999. I love her openness and honesty. In this particular exhibition she had the most beautiful stitched pieces that looked like they had been painted – I could have studied them for hours. Some sections even looked like brushstrokes. Amazing.

After we left the gallery we raced through the (not forecasted!) rain to Kings Cross for a drink (or two) before meeting a friend at the best pizza place in London; Franco Manca.

^^Oh, I do like catching up with these girls.^^

^^Please just come and open a restaurant in Brighton!^^

At the weekend I went home to visit my family, and it was really nice to catch up with them all, especially ahead of my Dad’s birthday on Wednesday. We all went out for a meal together, and even though it wasn’t quite as nice as having Mr T by my side, it was good to sit around a big table next to a roaring fire and chat about the theatre (one of my sister and her husband’s big passions). I really should go to the theatre more (Avenue Q doesn’t really count, does it?). In the evening I forced my Mum and Dad to play my favourite game; Trionimos. I love this game so much, and somehow I managed to royally beat them both!

^^I love spending time with both of these boys.^^

^^Hi Jasper!^^

My Mum and Dad went to Borough Market a couple of days before and picked up some vegan rocky road bars for me and my sister. They were absolutely amazing! I’m definitely picking some up next time I’m in London.

Spending some quality time with Rasputin and a packet of double-stuffed Oreos on Sunday evening. Perfect.

And finally, a week later and I think the sky thought it was still Hallowe’en! Very spooky.//

So that was my week. Right now I’ve got my feet propped up on the coffee table with my eye on an iced bun, watching the audio commentary from Walk the Line. I’ve never watched the audio commentary on any film before – in fact, I was watching the deleted scenes thinking, ‘who the heck watches the audio commentary. It must be so boring, listening to someone talking over a film you’ve just seen‘. Well, that was before I started watching this one, and it’s absolutely amazing. There’s so much insight into the interviews they had with Johnny Cash, how accurate the story told in the film is and how much of a dedicated actor Joaquin Phoenix is. I highly recommend watching it.

I really can’t wait until Trout comes home. These hours can’t fly by quick enough right now! Other than spending as much time with him as I can, I’m going to go and see The Babadook this week – finally, something scary! I’ve missed it so. I hope everyone had a great week and weekend! What did you get up to? Have you been to see The Babadook?

Things I do while Trout is away

November 7, 2014

photo taken by my lovely friend, Rosie

You can’t really tell, but the photo above is of one of Tracey Emin’s new pieces in the White Cube gallery, and it says, ‘Your absence only makes me love you more‘. I found it really fitting, as I went to see it right at the half-way point of Trout being away.

I always think I’ll be really productive when I’ve got some time to myself. As it turns out, I’m not! Here’s the extent of what life has been like since he left me for America:

  • Going to bed wearing a hoodie (hood pulled up) because I am so cold, but refuse to put the heating on
  • Cooking a grand total of zero meals for myself. I’m actually a little ashamed of this – I’m so lazy when it’s just me, and when I don’t get home until 8/9pm, I can’t be arsed. I’ve mostly eaten hotdogs and my Graze b0x. Apart from one magical evening when I found a tub of peanut butter curry in the freezer, and devoured that with couscous and broccoli. To be fair – I made the curry in the first place, so technically I cooked. I just didn’t eat it right away
  • Spending far too much time on my phone. Again, I thought I would be way more productive but instead I end up getting lost in Instagram and reading articles and blogs and oh well
  • Going to bed alone is way worse than waking up alone. In the morning I tend to be a bit bleary-eyed or faced with either Rasputin’s face or bottom, so drag myself out of bed as soon as possible, whereas in the evening there’s no kind of, ‘let’s go to bed now’ moment that we have together. The evening just kind of drags (apart from when I get lost in my phone…)
  • I can’t watch any kind of remotely scary programmes, documentaries or films. Which is a bit rubbish because it’s pretty much my favourite genre to watch – but it’s too dangerous. I wouldn’t be able to go upstairs/the loo/look under the bed/storage cupboard alone if I did.

Saying all of that though, I spent two days in London which I normally save for when we’re both going up to the city, so that was really nice – especially as I got to go to a few galleries. It’s been nice to be really busy, as well – and to catch up with friends over the best pizza in London. I’ll post up some photos next week of my second London day, which included a day of coffee and galleries. Is there any better kind of day?

Are you any different when you’ve got the house to yourself? Does it make a difference whether it’s one night or ten?

Photos of the Week #44

November 4, 2014

WEEK 44 OF 52

I posted up a fair few photos from my weekend in London over on my last blog, but there are still plenty from last week to share with you here. Mostly of Rasputin, I have to admit, as he’s been pretty good at keeping me company over the past few days. Even if he is utterly bonkers.//

I have no idea how he can sit like this for so long – he must have no blood in the rest of his body! Such a bonkers cat.//

 

The view from my bedroom window, looking out over the sea. The blue semi-circle on the right is the wheel. I’ve been wondering how on earth you take photos like this after seeing them on Instagram, and thankfully a sweet friend gave me a tip and I pulled it off! Definitely going to be taking more of these from now on, even if they do take quite a long time to get just right.//

 

More of Rasputin… On the left we were watching a documentary on his big brothers and sisters, and on the right he’s trying to be a real cat and catch a moth. Obviously he failed, as he does with most creatures he’s here to get rid of. I love his little feet on the right!//

 

A couple of delicious things I ate, including a super yum dinner from Trout and a new tub from Graze that has kale and edamame in. So good!//

 

My Hallowe’en costume this year. I went as Mr. Boogie from Sinister, and if you haven’t watched this film I highly recommend it!//I enjoyed a weekend with Joaquin Phoenix, indulging in Her on Friday and Walk the Line on Sunday. Swoon.//

So that was last week. It was really good to keep busy and spend time with different people, as well as by myself. As sad as it sounds, it’s kind of crappy not seeing Trout every day. I had gotten used to it over the years, between him being in bands and tour managing, and then travelling to India and Japan, but he hasn’t been away for this long since 2012 so I’ve kind of forgotten how boring it is without him around! Ah well. This week I’ve got a couple of meetings and not much else planned so far. I’m off to London today (again!) to meet up with a friend for a day of gallery-hopping. I’m so excited! It seems like so long since I’ve done that. We’ve got the Hayward gallery and the Museum of London and the Tracey Emin exhibition on our radar. Any other recommendations?

 

 

A day in London

November 2, 2014

I absolutely love cramming as much as possible into a day in London. I think it’s partly down to the cost of the train ticket – if I’m paying that much to go, I’m getting my money’s worth! Yesterday was definitely one of those days. Nine hours of fun, in fact.

We visited the poppies at the Tower of London – it was absolutely packed with people, but thankfully there was plenty of room to take a look and everyone was kind and took it in turns for a closer view. It was a pretty stunning sight. On our walk back to the station we stopped at the church nearby for a wander down to the crypt museum. I really love churches; I spent every Sunday at church until the age of 16/17, and when I visit a grand church like this it reminds me of Christmas Eves spent with my family in the most beautiful church in Ealing. The smell of incense is so comforting. As I grew older I turned away from the church due to a difference in opinion (anti-abortion, homophobia, anti-divorce and a general isolation from any kind of open-mind) but I think that as buildings, churches are so special.

Thankfully we were blessed with beautiful weather, so took full advantage in getting in as little tube-time, favouring walking as much as possible. We walked to Liverpool St and then decided to look up how long it would take to walk to Covent Garden, our next destination. 49 minutes. We decided we weren’t quite ready for that kind of walk, so hopped on a tube.

One thing I love about London is how many small details you can see in an unexpected places. It’s something we don’t really have in Brighton (although you can find the odd bits and pieces dotted around) so I take full advantage of photo opportunities.

We went to Covent Garden to check out an animal rights stall that were giving out free vegan food to raise awareness of how good vegan food is, and a few leaflets on reasons why you should go vegan. I felt a little bad stuffing my face knowing full well that I was already vegan, so I donated some money before stuffing another burger in my mouth and wandering down to the river.

Both in Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden, the street performers were all hovering – it must be the latest craze for them! It was incredible to watch and try to understand.

I love the Southbank Centre. The Hayward Gallery is a fantastic space, and the area feels so creative and inspiring. And the graffiti! Brilliant. We were going to a Q&A with Quentin Blake and Oliver Jeffers, followed by a showing of the film Lost and Found, one of Oliver Jeffers’ books.

Our pre-Q&A excited faces. Shortly after we took this photo my sister popped off to the loo while I waited outside, taking in the view of the river and the warm air. She’s been gone only a few minutes when she burst back through the doors shouting, “CHRISSIE – M2S[W[@N!*PA$31!!”

I know better than to try and translate, I just had to chase after her as she ran 72mph through the hall. As we rounded a corner I understood the excitement. Mr Jeffers was doing a signing. We joined the queue, thankfully with minutes to spare before they closed it. It was amazing to meet him (not that I really said a word…starstruck, much!) but I got my ticket signed which I will be framing today.

The event was fantastic – they talked about their early work, their careers, where they find inspiration from, their favourite pencils and tools, their studio spaces. What I would give for one of Oliver Jeffers’ sketchbooks! They are so inspiring and beautiful.

After the talk we watched the film, which was amazing and stunning and so lovely.

Live art in front of the entrance.

As it was the 1st November, it is officially time to get (even more) excited about Christmas. We walked to Liberty to check out their Christmas department (I don’t think I’ve ever been before?!) and it was the perfect way to kick off the Christmas period. The smell of cinnamon hit you as soon as you stepped through the archway, and there were so many decorations to choose from. It took me so long to decide which one decoration I would treat myself to, but finally settled on a partridge for my sister and a pear for me. On our way to Liberty we walked passed a gallery and I couldn’t believe it: Matthew Barney was exhibiting. I had no idea, which is odd because I looked him up not that long ago to see when his next exhibition was. We walked in for a look, but I’m sad to say that I didn’t really like his sculptures – which is odd, because they’ve always been my favourite part of his work. He had the most beautiful etching plates hung on the walls though, so that made up for it. He is my favourite artist, his work is brilliant.

After our wonder around Liberty, we headed into Soho to grab some dinner, settling on a tiny Tuscan restaurant. The food was really good, if a little slow, but we did get front-row seats for a couple’s full-blown argument, complete with cutlery throwing, storming out and crying over their cured meats. It was quite bizarre, and no doubt alcohol-fuelled, but it is quite difficult to pull off anger when you’re wearing facepaint.*

*they were dressed up for Hallowe’en.

So that was my day in London. I don’t miss living there at all, but I do really love popping up to visit whenever I get an opportunity. It’s such a fantastic city. Today I’m meeting up with a friend for coffee, and then visiting another friend’s photography exhibition, before probably heading home to get some good old housework done. I should probably shower and get dressed and brush my teeth now, before I have to leave in 20 minutes ;)

Have a great Sunday, everyone! What do you have planned?

Hallowe’en and Her

October 31, 2014

^The view from my bedroom window. The blue semi-circle on the right is the wheel.^

Happy Hallowe’en! Did you dress up and celebrate? I encouraged (forced) everyone in the office to dress up this year, which wasn’t entirely successful, but 50% of us were good sports. I’ll post up some photos on Monday. And by the way, Brighton – I’m very disappointed in you. When I went out to get my lunch not one person was dressed up. I was quite literally alone in a crowd of tourists. On the plus side, it was totally worth it to pick up lunch in the sunshine at Street Diner, including two free pieces of baklava for turning up dressed as Mr. Boogie.

So, what else is new? Well, Trout abandoned me for America yesterday so I’m all alone with Rasputin. He rang me this morning while I was getting ready for work (which would have been 2.30am for him…) shouting, “I’VE BEATEN JET LAG!”
Totally normal. 

Tomorrow I’m off to London to see my sister and meet Oliver Jeffers. Holy macaroni am I excited! We’ve got a few other plans as well, like going to see the poppies at the Tower of London and hopefully popping into Covent Garden to pick up some free food and celebrate World Vegan Day. Are you doing anything to celebrate? If you’re not vegan, why don’t you give it a try tomorrow? It’s just for one day, see how you get on. Take a look at my blog on vegan basics, and let me know if you need any help/recipes/tips/recommendations.

Right now I’ve got a small cup of wine and Her in my DVD player, so excuse me while I have some quiet alone time with Joaquin Phoenix. Have a great weekend!

Vegan Life magazine | Issue 2

October 26, 2014

You might remember me mentioning Vegan Life magazine at the end of August? Well, it’s already time for Issue 2! As I did last time, here are a few of my favourite articles in this issue.

Fashion! I like to think I’m fairly clued up with vegan brands, but this one is new to me, and I am already saving my pennies to pick up the pieces I’ve got my eye on. It’s great to see so many fantastic brands creating clothing, shoes and accessories that are cruelty-free and ethically made. Oh – and they look GOOD! It’s a rarity, trust me.

My skin has been going absolutely bonkers lately, and it’s driving me nuts. I know that really the reason is that I’m just eating too much sugar; from bread to ice-cream, sweets to gingerbread porridge – it’s all to blame, I’m sure. But I just love these things too much! This article helped a lot. Oh, and looking younger? Definitely down to a vegan diet ;) I usually get my age guessed at around 21-25 (although last Christmas I got 16… I didn’t take that as much of a compliment) when in fact I’m 30 next year. I kind of really hate it when people can’t believe I’m 29, but I know I should see it as a compliment. I guess I just associate being younger with not knowing what the hell I’m doing – especially when I’m at work. Am I mad?! I’m sure I’ll be grateful if it continues on as I grow old. Saying that, I do have the start of laughter lines, and my forehead is definitely showing signs of a Gordon Ramsey situation happening, which is unfortunate, as I definitely can’t grow a fringe.

 

Cheese! I’ve made one cheese recipe before, and was really impressed with it, so will definitely be experimenting with a couple of these recipes.

Finally, CHRISTMAS! Oh, I can’t wait. I love everything about Christmas, and every time I see a decoration, recipe or pot of glitter I get a little stomach-flip of excitement. CHRISTMAS!!

So, there are my top pics for the latest issue. Check out their website for details on how to buy a copy – I definitely recommend catching up with both issues, as I’ve personally found them really lovely to read and save for later.

Did you pick up Issue 1? Any favourite articles?
Will you be picking up Issue 2?

Vegan Life magazine kindly gifted me this issue, however all views are my own. Especially the bit about my LOVE FOR CHRISTMAS.

Photos of the Week #43

October 26, 2014

WEEK 43 OF 52

Last week consisted of a whole lot of catching up with old friends, and enjoying some time at home – the perfect combination, if you ask me. I’m such a sucker for a quiet night in, but it was fun to force myself off the sofa and out into the late-summer evening. I paid for it by the weekend, though, and was so tired it took me until Sunday to catch up! I think that extra hour was definitely needed ;)

On Tuesday we went to a friend’s surprise birthday party, which was super fun. It was really nice to catch up and hang out with his little one, Luca. I haven’t seen them since they moved to London a few months ago, and he had gotten so big since then! Twit Twoo Bakery created this beautiful cake, as well as some vegan chocolate orange cupcakes, which were amazing. The big birthday cake was a four-layer carrot cake, wowza!//

Luca wasn’t the only little cutey at the party – this guy got a whole load of attention from everyone, too!//

On Wednesday we went to see The Antlers at The Old Market in Hove, a venue that I’ve never been to before, and will definitely be keeping an eye out for future events now. Afterwards we went for a drink at the Bees’ Mouth, just around the corner, and didn’t end up getting to bed until 2am – it completely threw me out. How sad is that?! Granted it definitely counts as a late night – but I was still absolutely exhausted when Saturday came around. But again, it was so nice catching up with them, especially as we only get to see them every couple of years when they come over. I really recommend listening to their music. Start with Hospice, sit down alone and listen to it from start to finish, it’s just amazing. One of my favourite albums, it’s pretty breathtaking.//

 

When you haven’t done any washing up for a few days (it happens to all of us, right?!) I had to really reach into the back of the cupboard for my morning coffee, and found one of my favourite mugs which I had completely forgotten about! It’s so beautiful. I bought it in a charity shop in Surbition years ago, and I’ll certainly be using it more often.//On Thursday evening I was home alone so decided to pick up some dinner from Iydea after the souprun, and it was as delicious as always. It was a really special evening, and completely unexpected – starting with a lovely conversation with the guys working at the cafe. I think it’s amazing when you have a connection with a complete stranger. I’m terrible at talking to people I don’t know, so it was nice to know I can actually get through a conversation. I left with a smile on my face and a bag of good food, and when I got home I dished it up on a plate that my neighbour gave me years ago when I left for uni. It was so sweet of him, and I’ve still got so many of the dishes, mugs and cutlery that he gave me out of his own cupboards.//

 

Saturday afternoon was spent with these three lovely ladies. We had lunch at Wai Kika Moo Kau before going bridesmaid dress shopping, which was so much fun! We went to a beautiful shop that sows every dress themselves, and I think we found The Dress. They’re going to be made to our measurements, too, which will be fun. My very own dress!//Saturday evening was spent curled up on the sofa with a tub of mint choc chip ice-cream (SO GOOD! It tastes like vienetta) and a movie; Safety Not Guaranteed. It had a touch of the awkwardness and beautiful cinematography that comes with Miranda July films, with loads of friendly faces like the guy from New Girl, the girl from Parks and Recreation and the guy from The League. So yeah, I completely recommend watching it, I loved it.//

 

Sunday morning was spent catching up with the mountain of newspapers, supplements and magazines I’d hidden under the coffee table to read at some point. And yes, the top one is from August… Please tell me I’m not the only one that does this?! Anyway, it was a very satisfying feeling to drop the whole pile in the recycling.//I really needed that extra hour in bed on Sunday morning. Finally I felt like I had caught up on my sleep, and we started the day with toast, coffee and a really good glass of orange juice.//

 

My rocking Friday night! I had the flat to myself, so tucked up with Ras and watched Sex and the City 2. I had forgotten how rubbish it was! Oh well. At least I got plenty of snuggles with Ras in.//

 

Pink skies in the morning, and it’s cold enough for tights and jumper dresses!! As much as I love summer (well, I love the weather and swimming in the sea and the warmth of the sun and BBQs on the beach – however I do not like it when it’s so hot you are forced to wear shorts out in public or vest tops or bikinis) I really love autumn and spring. When it’s bright with blue skies but you can wear layers with bare ankles and scarves that can be removed when it gets too warm. That’s heaven!//

Picking up a few bits for dinner at Taj on Sunday evening. I love this shop – it’s filled with so much fresh produce, and yeah there are a few flies here and there, but for the most part you can’t beat it for fresh herbs, tomatoes, homemade curry (think the same quality that you get from a takeaway, only half the price), vegan naan bread and every vegan alternative you could possibly think of.//

 

Burgers for dinner! Did I ever tell you that I love burgers? I think I might have mentioned it once or twice. These are VBites burgers in a pain rustique roll from Waitrose, stuffed with shredded iceberg lettuce, red onion, gherkin, Infinity Foods mayo and BBQ sauce. So good.//

This week is looking a bit crap as Trout is leaving me for America tomorrow, so I’m just focusing on the weekend, when I get to see my sister and a couple of friends for In Conversation with Oliver Jeffers and Quentin Blake at the Southbank Centre. Holy crap I am too excited! Oliver Jeffers! Quentin Blake! Oh my. On Sunday I’m meeting up with the lovely Lucie. Have you read her blog, The Glow Within? If you haven’t, sit down and read it all, it’s so beautiful – and great for vegan recipes. Finally, I bought Walk the Line and Her at the weekend, so I’ll be having some quiet alone time with Joaquin Phoenix while Trout’s away. I’ve seen both films before, and they’re two of my favourites.

Are you a fan of The Antlers?
Are you a fan of Joaquin Phoenix?

All photos taken on my iPhone.
For more photos, follow me on Instagram!

Photos of the Week #42

October 14, 2014

WEEK 42 OF 52

Eek is it really only ten weeks until the end of the year?! Or have I completely messed up my calculations… either way, I can almost smell Christmas, and that’s the main thing. This week was absolutely jam packed, which was pretty awesome. I always savour those evenings when it’s just the three of us, relaxing together – because sometimes it feels like they are few and far between. Not that I’m complaining! I just really like being lazy with these two ;)

 

Shall we start with food? Ok, how about PIZZA! From my favourite place, Pizzaface. On Mondays + Tuesdays they have a vegan specials menu, so we usually end up ordering on those days to make the most of them. The left slice is The Moby – chorizo, smoked sausage, marinated pepper, red onion and sour cream, and on the right is the Funghi pizza – field, shiitake, chestnut and oyster mushrooms topped with garlic, thyme and truffle oil. We also ordered garlic bread with cheese. All vegan, and all amazing.//

 

One mischievous munchkin at the end of my bed, waiting to pounce.//Soaking up snuggles on my day off with whiskerface.//

 

A pretty good way to spend my day off; the Sex and the City movie and a lunch date with Trout at Street Diner to eat a box full of food from Sultans Delights. It’s so good! And just FYI, don’t watch the SATC movie when you’re on your period. I seriously cried about 17 times. By the end of it I don’t think there was even a gap between cries. Weird. Obviously The Bridge scene really kicked it all off.//

 

A super quick meal during the week; lime and coriander rice and BBQ spiced peppers with shredded lettuce and wraps, plus tortilla chips and guacamole on the side. Fifteen minutes, not too shabby. Who needs Jamie Oliver ;) //After a busy long weekend  it was lovely to lie on the sofa on Sunday evening with Trout, eat ‘cheese’ toasties and watch a documentary on Russian prisons. My goodness, they are a harsh place to end up.//

We were in London on Saturday to see War Horse, and afterwards we popped to Mildreds for dinner. It’s one of my favourite restaurants, but we haven’t been for so long. I cannot resist a burger when it’s on the menu, and theirs never disappoints, and is ever-changing so you never end up with the same meal. Plus the basil mayo is SO.GOOD. We shared the artichoke crostini to start, which was absolutely amazing; warm melty artichoke, crisp bread, basil mayo and salad. Oh my! And I finally got to try the chocolate peanut butter brownie. Holy crap was it delicious. Trout had the passionfruit mousse cake which was also amazing; perfect if you’re looking for a light end to a meal (which I never am, but more often than not I should be. I spent the rest of the journey home complaining about how full I was).//

 
 

So that was my rather busy (and expensive!) weekend. It was great to be in London, and to spend time with Trout’s family on the Sunday. His cousin made us some vegan chocolate brownies, and his aunt made the best curry. I really should have asked for the recipes because they really were so good. Two brownies in two days, too! That’s the mark of a good weekend, right there.

Have you been to see Warhorse, or eaten at Mildreds?
What are your guilty secret pleasures when you’ve got a day off?

All photos taken on my iPhone.
For more pics, follow me on Instagram!

Photos of the Week #41

October 13, 2014

WEEK 41 OF 52

Before we get started, I want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone that Liked, commented and tweeted about yesterday’s post. I was completely taken aback by everyone’s kindness, and totally unprepared for it. I was fully expecting a mixture of positive and negative feedback (and hoping that the negative wasn’t too harsh!), but it was quite the opposite. Wow. So yeah, thank you everyone. Now, onto last week’s photos.//

  

On Saturday evening Trout and I went to the Dome to see Dave Gorman. We’ve seen him live before and he is absolutely hilarious! I had tears rolling down my cheeks I was laughing so hard. Plus, the Dome is one of my favourite venues – it’s so beautiful and has so much history. We arrived a little early, after stuffing our faces at Bombay Aloo, and found a secluded part of the balcony upstairs. It felt like a really lovely, private moment, and we mostly talked about a house that we had viewed that morning. It was really nice, and we have some decisions to make over whether we’ll put an offer in, but I’m very excited to say the least.//

 

On Friday evening we celebrated a friend’s 30th birthday at a lovely pub (well, lovely now – it never used to be!) and Bruce, their dog, joined us, too. He’s such a cutey! I went wild and had two small glasses of red wine, and we shared some salty cashews, and then on our way home we picked up a falafel wrap and some chips, and boy did I wake up with a sore head the next morning! A total dehydration headache. Kind of worth it, though. And plus it made me smile like Wallace, which was weird (see photo below).//After we came back from Dave Gorman we sat in bed, Trout catching up with F1 and me catching up with Take a Break, and we shared the last couple of white chocolate chip cookies that I’d made the day before. It was a lovely way to end a pretty darn good day.//

 

In other unhealthy news…

 

…Waitrose have started stocking Almond Dream ice-cream!!! So far I’ve tried the salted caramel and the praline crunch, both of which are amazing. I hope they make a cookie dough flavour, that would be awesome.//On Monday I met Trout for a little burger date at lunch time. We went to VBites and I ordered one of my favourite meals in Brighton; the hickory chick burger. It’s incredible! As are the sweet potato fries.//

 

Candles kept me company while I finished up some freelance work on Friday.//Katsu curry on Thursday evening. I LOVE katsu curry!//

Rasputin was full of love for Trout.//

 

Rasputin’s pants dungeon. Trout said, “I like what you’ve done with the place”, and I couldn’t stop laughing.//Ras stealing Trout’s chair as soon as he gets up. It’s hilarious that he fully implements the three-second rule.//

And finally, Sunday’s roast dinner. It was the perfect day for a roast; it rained all afternoon and evening, it was so cold and dark. I always feel so satisfied making a roast dinner! We bought one of VBites’ celebration roasts from Holland and Barrett (it includes slices of ‘turkey’, pigs-in-blankets and an awesome gravy) and I made stuffing, roast potatoes, roasted parsnips, broccoli, sprouts, mashed swede and carrots. Yum!//

So that was last week! Plenty of food and Rasputin, as per usual. I can’t believe this weather! It’s a shame; I wish we had proper autumn’s here in the UK. With blue skies and crisp cold, not wet rain all the live long day. This week includes loads of exciting things to look forward to. It’s the start of The Apprentice tomorrow! Who’s excited? I’m also having dinner with Lucie tomorrow, and really hoping I don’t turn up looking like a drowned rat. On Thursday Trout and I are going to see David O’Doherty as part of the Brighton Comedy Festival, and Friday I have a day off work! Perfect. Saturday we’re going to see War Horse in London, and then visiting one of his uncle’s on Sunday. Busy busy!//

What do you have planned for the weekend?
Are you a fan of The Apprentice?

All photos taken on my iPhone.//
For more pics, follow me in Instagram.//

Disillusioned with blogging

October 12, 2014

I’ve been thinking about blogging a lot lately. A lot. In fact this is the third blog that I’ve drafted on the matter, and I’m yet to publish any of them. Maybe this one will make the cut?

Just a heads up – you might want to grab a drink and a snack because this turned into a bit of a rant.

Over the past few months I’ve gradually become more and more disillusioned with the online world of blogging. I don’t quite know where it began, when those tiny seeds of doubt came from, because for a long time I was so happy with the way that my own blog was growing, the way that I was working with some of my favourite brands, finding some new ones along the way, and being given the opportunity to share them with my readers. But somewhere along the way I just stopped feeling quite so positive about the whole thing.

I think part of me has this quiet sadness about the way the blogging world seems to be going. Every man and his dog is writing a blog right now and I see all too many who are clearly in it for one thing. The whole ‘industry’ is just tiring me out.

I feel like a bad person for saying these things, to be honest. I think it’s incredibly exciting to see this very open form of media – opinions and recommendations that could just as easily have come from your friends, but at the same time I just see product after product after product and there’s nothing behind these reviews and all-expenses paid trips and freebies. It feels like a lot of blog posts are constructed to fit around a product, rather than slipped into the conversation.

‘I’ve always wanted to spend a freezing cold afternoon on a boat in Scotland learning how to dissect fish whilst wearing a fabulous jacket, so I was super excited to hear from blah blah who paid for my entire trip and for me to write this post and for this fabulous jacket.’

I know I’m equally to blame, and I’m sure plenty have read my blog and thought exactly the same thing. Which is why I’ve decided to take a break from all product placement, unless it’s a project or company that just feels like the right fit. The long-term projects and relationships with PR agencies and brands that I’ve worked with over the years have really made me smile, and I think that the results have been great. I’ve always been selective – I don’t say yes to every product I’m offered, and a lot of the time curiosity makes me hit the ‘reply’ button. So you might see products pop up every now and again, but on the whole I think I’ll be focusing much more on content that’s just mine.
My life. My family and friends. My travels.

It’s why I started blogging, and it’s why I keep reading other people’s blogs. The number one reason why I follow them is for the words. A very close second is the photographs – especially if they are perfect and beautiful and imperfect and kind of make you stop and catch that breath of yours. But mostly I’m there for the words. The ones that make me want to grab a scrap of paper to write a few words myself. I started my blog to create a space for my writing, to get back into a routine of blogging and to have a space to fill with creativity. I don’t think that I necessarily veered too far off track, I just want to make sure I’m driving in the right direction.

I hope I don’t lose too many followers from this post, and I hope that no-one reading this thinks that I’m directing it at any particular blogger(s). I’m sincerely not. It’s also not about product placement/article placement/paid content/making money from your blog. It is mainly a reflection of my own decisions, and in seeing one too many artificial bloggers. It’s about repetition and seeing others possibly losing their way a bit. I’d love to hear what you think about the subject. Please do leave a comment – even if it’s to tell me I’m an arsehole. Or a hypocrite. Have you been thinking the same? Have you thought the same about my own blog? Seriously, any feedback is more than welcome.

Photos of the Week #40

October 10, 2014

WEEK 40 OF 52

I’ve been majorly slacking on the blog front lately. Thank goodness for this weekly update to keep me going! Even if it is three days later than usual… Work, freelance work, life – it’s all been pretty manic (good manic!) and I’ve been trying to steer clear of computer screens as much as possible in the evening, favouring books, magazines and the odd episode of something on TV or Netflix. In fact when I opened my laptop this morning, the date was frozen on the last time I used it – Saturday! So yeah, avoiding screens apart from a couple of TV shows. I’m loving the new series, 24 hours in police custody. If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it. We’re also watching the odd episode of Parks and Recreation, which took me a little while to get into but I love it now.//

 
 

A few things I’ve been eating lately; chickpea and lemon soup. One of my favourite soup recipes, and really simple to make. We had this for dinner one evening, with buttery ciabatta. Yum.//While I was at my Grandparents at the weekend we went out to a local Chinese restaurant that serves vegan mock-meat, which is amazing.//The trip to my Grandad’s was a little bitter-sweet. It was so lovely to see him and to catch up, but Alice Gross was found near to where he lives, and the body of the guy that is thought to have murdered her was found even closer, in a park that we went to all the time growing up. It was always The Good Park – it has a big lake and the best playground. It felt surreal to drive past and see it closed, with police presence on every corner. All of the trees and lamp posts had yellow ribbons tied around them – this one was in front of my Grandad’s house. So yeah, it was quite emotional being in the area.//

While I was at home I sorted out some of the dozens of photo albums that my Grandma kept. While I was sifting through them, we found a very old album of my Grandad’s photos, which was just amazing to look through. He looks so handsome and popular! I can totally see him in these photos, I feel like he hasn’t changed at all.//


 

^^In the top photo he’s on the left, the middle left photo he’s furthest on the right, the middle right photo he’s in the middle, and in the bottom photo he’s in the middle again. I think he looks super cool!^^

 

^^The top photo is me, my sister and my Grandma, middle left is my family, middle right is my Grandma + Grandad on holiday in Greece, and the bottom photo is me and my sister again. Amazing 90s style right there.^^

 

I spent as much time as possible with the dogs over the weekend – I miss them so much! The top two photos are of Jake, and the bottom photo is froggy-legged Jasper.//

 

Finally, I had two of my jabs for India! They didn’t hurt, but my arm ached a lot for the next couple of days. Ouch.//Luckily I could spend the rest of the afternoon on the sofa, snuggling with Ras and a good book. I’m currently reading A Windfall of Secrets, by Paul Harland. It’s written by my sister’s father-in-law, and it’s so good! Such a page-turner. Actually, it’s a chapter turner – I’m seriously finding it hard not to skip through big chunks of the book to find out what happens. If you fancy something new to read, I highly recommend it.//

So that’s what I got up to last week! I’ll be posting up this week’s photos soon enough (unless I slack off again…). I’m on annual leave today so am catching up with freelance work, planning a visit to the gym and then off to a friend’s 30th birthday party this evening. Have a great weekend, everyone!

What do you have planned?
Has the weather been awful for you too this week!?

All photos taken on my iPhone.
For more pics, follow me on Instagram

Photos of the Week #39

September 29, 2014

WEEK 39 OF 52

Let’s call this a Rasputin special, shall we? Trout was away all weekend in Cornwall, which clearly turned me into Crazy Cat Lady. I had a big deadline for a freelance project I’m working on so sadly missed out on the Cornish fun, but Rasputin was cracking company.

  

Here is in various positions around the house: Keeping watch.//Hiding under the covers.//Keeping me company while I worked.//Sleeping while I worked.// He’s a bit cute, isn’t he?

 

We met up with some friends earlier in the week to celebrate a birthday and eat some lovely Indian food. It was such a nice mid-week treat, and we stayed chatting long after our plates had been cleared. Of course I had a dosa! I just can’t resist them.//

  

Other things I’ve been eating; Christmas Pud Nakd bars! They’re so good. Super cinnamony and they really taste like Christmas. I was kindly sent a box of these fruit and nut bars by Natural Balance Foods, and they’ll be available online nearer Christmas.//A lot of sugar…! The company we share an office with organised a little coffee morning and we took it very seriously indeed. Not everything’s vegan, but most of it was – doughnuts (jam and custard), party rings and hobnobs. I love that there is so much vegan food on the highstreet now, and it’s not even noticeable.//Breakfast one early morning. I love taking time to myself in the morning before work. Am also still in love with Coyo ;) //Espresso chocolate is one of my favourites – it tastes so good! Just be careful how much you eat when you’ve made an extra large cafetiere to yourself. I vibrated across the office that afternoon, and was particularly productive.//

And finally, mushrooms. ALL the mushrooms. I was a good housewife on Sunday and cooked a stout and mushroom pie ready for when Trout got home in the evening, and very tasty it was, too! If you’ve ever wondered just how many mushrooms are in a kilo of mushrooms, I can tell you – a lot of mushrooms. I mixed things up with chestnut and regular and tiny button mushrooms and shitake mushrooms to make it more fun. And I bet you’ve never seen a paragraph with ‘mushroom’ written so many times in it ;)

p.s. mushrooms

So, that’s what I’ve been up to over the past week. As lonely as my weekend was, it was nice to hit a deadline and know that I didn’t have to stress about being behind on work. Is there a worse feeling? I get a little panicky pit of stress in my stomach when I miss deadlines, and it feels awful. If I think about it for too long my hands start to sweat a little. That’s normal, right?! I feel as though I didn’t get a weekend, as I was still getting up at 7am and working through until 8pm, but this week is a short one, and then I get a four-day weekend, wahoo! Now that’s something to look forward to. Plus I’m going home to see my family and we’re driving to London to visit my Grandad which will be nice. I haven’t seen him since… Easter? I feel bad that I leave it so long between visits, I really should make the effort more throughout the year. Anywho, that’s the plan for the long weekend. Another one without Mr T :(

Another thought – I swear Christmas is coming round so quickly! I think it’s because our plans for India are slowly coming together, with the intention of flying out on the 27th December, so we’re thinking about things like when we can take Ras to the cattery and whose family we’re spending Christmas Day/Boxing Day with, and then there are all the holiday days I’m taking off before then and what am I going to ask for for Christmas and what am I going to buy everyone else for Christmas and oof it’s a lot to think about. But I’m really excited! I do love Christmas.

Have you started making plans for Christmas already?
Are you a fan of mushrooms?

All photos taken on my iPhone.
Follow me on Instagram for more photos!

My morning routine

September 26, 2014

06:30
My alarm goes off. It goes off early so that I have time to snooze – I’m a sucker for snoozing – and depending on how cute Ras is being, it can take a while for me to drag myself out of bed.

07:00
OK, OK, I’m up! Stare at the mirror to figure out whether I can go one more day without washing my hair (thank you dry shampoo!) before washing and cleansing my face and brushing my teeth (I’ve just got my first electric toothbrush, and it’s awesome!) I shower, apply REN Day Cream, get back in my pjs and head downstairs for coffee and breakfast.

07:30
I put on the news while I eat my breakfast, and flick through emails and Instagram.

08:00
Time to get ready. Hair, make-up, get dressed, change my mind, wear something else, apply lipstick after the final piece of clothing has gone on (I’ve ruined too many items of clothing doing this wrong) then head downstairs and prepare my lunch. At the moment I’m loving soup – I bring a carton to work and it lasts me a couple of days, or I pack a salad or maybe some dinner leftovers.

08:30 (ish)
Once I’m ready I sit on the sofa with Ras and we wait for Trout to finish getting ready, before walking to work together (me and Trout, Ras stays at home to look after the flat) –  another perk of working 30 seconds away from each other ;) I like getting to work early so that I don’t have to rush around – I prefer to ease myself into the day.

08:40
Arrive at work, pop my lunch in the fridge and make a big cafetière of coffee for me and a colleague.

09:00
The days begins. Hello, emails.

 

How does your morning routine compare?
Do you commute by train or bus, or do you walk to work?

Photos of the Week #36, #37 and #38

September 23, 2014

WEEKS 36, 37AND 38 OF 52

I’m just slightly (!!!) behind with my Photos of the Week series, so here are the last three weeks all updated at once. It’s a combination of a few more holiday photos, plus some bits and bobs that I got up to before and after our break in Greece.

 
 

Wearing one of my favourite t-shirts to bed.//Rasputin may look cute in this photo, but that night he was not cute at all. He pissed on the carpet, and we weren’t speaking. Although I’m not sure he totally realised that we weren’t speaking.//Cinnamon buns! As an alternative birthday cake my sister bought me a tube of Jus-Rol cinnamon buns, and they are amazing! I’m picking up another tube ASAP – they’re so simple to make (chop the pre-made dough into six pieces and bake for a few minutes. They’re the perfect way to start the day, and they keep really well so they lasted me for a few more breakfasts. Yum!)//

 

Exactly what holidays are about; spending time at a beautiful beach, fresh nectarines, a brand new book, suntan lotion and some swimming pool accessories.//

 

I loved having a full length mirror! We don’t have one in our flat, and I forget how good they are when you’re getting ready (and for taking outfit selfies…)//

 

This was amazing! A true cake/life hack. One box of cake mix. One can of coke. Combine, pop in a tin, bake for 20 minutes and BANG! You’ve got yourself a cake. How does it work?! It must be vegan pixies or something.//

 

After a night out in town (during a thunderstorm, great planning!) the boozy boys bought cigars. They’re so gross! But it was kind of funny, too.//

 

Here’s Barry Big Balls, our resident cat for the week. He was so cute, and he really loved Christina. It was so sad to say goodbye!//

 

Another stray cat in a restaurant. Oh, they are just the sweetest.//My view one afternoon by the pool. These guys are nearly 30, and hold some pretty serious positions in their working lives, but put them in a pool and they digressed to teenagers…! This would be a ‘holding-your-breath-underwater’ competition.//

 
 

Back to reality, and a trip to Kingston to warm a friend’s new home. It was so lovely to catch up with these girls, and Rosie put on the best spread of food.//Simpson’s Monopoly! So much fun, especially as I won ;) Rasputin also kindly played banker for a while. He was so interested in the game, it was so cute. I think he loved all the movement, like when we were rolling the dice and moving pieces around. He kept trying to walk across the board, before retiring to take a nap in the lid of the box.//


 

GIANT COYO! My love really has taken on another level.//A lovely lunch put together by Trout at the weekend; a bed of spinach and watercress, an amazing tahini dressing that I found in Waitrose, noodles, cauliflower and broccoli, tofu, spring onions, another yummy dressing and a few pieces of jerky that we buy from a local Korean supermarket. I sat in bed eating this while catching up with Made in Chelsea. Perfect Saturday afternoon!//Aaah Rasputin. Too cute.//

So, that’s what I’ve been up to in the past few weeks. I am still dreaming of our amazing villa in Greece (you can see a few photos here) but right now I’m back in full on work mode, which is taking my mind off missing the sunshine. I’m trying to figure out when I can use up the many holiday days I seem to have saved up (not a bad thing!) and dreaming about all these Friday’s that I could take off. I think I prefer a long weekend starting from Friday – or do you prefer a weekend that extends into Monday? I think it sometimes throws me off for the rest of the week.

Do you end up with loads of holiday to take at the end of the year?
Have you tried this amazing cake hack?!

All photos taken with my iPhone.
For more pics follow me on Instagram.

Holiday reading

September 20, 2014

One of the best things about being on holiday was having the time to read. I somehow manage to convince myself that I never have time to read at home, but really, I have all the time I could ask for – I just choose to spend it in other ways. Having a whole week to relax meant I could really get stuck into the two books that I brought with me, and another that I was given as a belated birthday present while I was away. And guess what? I read them all in a week.

1/ Dead Men Talking is the latest book from one of my favourite writers, Christopher Berry-Dee. I’ve read a few of his books, all of which are about serial killers. Whether he’s interviewing a serial killer, profiling a case or, in this book, extensive letter-writing, Berry-Dee has a great style of writing. It’s relaxed with a touch of his tone of voice, making it somewhat of a personal read. The cases he looks at are always verging on the bizarre. Whether it’s a serial killer who changes his story every other interview, denies all charges or revels in re-telling murder stories over and over again, the people profiled have all committed some pretty gory acts. His books aren’t for everyone, but if you think you might be interested in this kind of ‘genre’, then I would definitely recommend starting with Christopher Berry-Dee’s books.

2/ Leandra Medine’s name may not ring a bell, but you might recognise her by her alter-ego – Man Repeller. One of my favourite fashion bloggers, Leandra is one of the funniest, quirkiest, confident and engaging journalists I can think of. If you’re not following her blog and Instagram already – please do! You don’t even need to be hugely into fashion – her sense of humour is enough to keep you hooked. Seeking Love, Finding Overalls is a fashion autobiography, from the early years of delusional style to her ‘feminine emergencies’, it sparks memories of some of my own ‘fashion disasters’ and reminds me that no matter how clumsy and awkward we may be, you will find a place in whatever industry you have set your heart on. It sparked a few memories for me – the amazing booties that I begged and pleaded my Mum to buy me for school (think Doc Martens in pink suede), and the dozen or so times she asked me if I definitely wanted them (which, of course, I insisted that I did) only to wear them proudly on the first day, mocked by my entire class for wearing these clunky boots and not the feminine jelly shoes that everyone else was sporting, and came home crying, instantly changing my mind about my true-love shoes. Kids can be mean, and I look back at my class photo and those boots were awesome. Those were just the start, though. Pink crepe baggy trousers, a luminous green zip-up dress (the Spice Girls have a lot to answer for), the Arm Party gone wrong (bracelets from wrist to elbow. How on earth did I write anything?), trousers that dragged and dragged along the ground… the list goes on.

3/ Finally, Sophia Amoruso’s book #GIRLBOSS. Oh my, this is a book and a half. I read this one the fastest – it was probably over in under a day – and it was absolutely fantastic. It’s part-autobiography, part-inspirational-motivational-thought-provoking-wondertale. If that helps at all. Amuruso started out as a scruffy teen that swung from job to job, hating the capitalist society she was resigned to live in, before finally finding her calling. An avid fan of vintage, she began selling vintage clothing through ebay, alone in her studio flat. Now she’s CEO of a multi-million dollar company with 350+ employees. Buy her book to find out how she got there – but don’t expect a to-do list or step-by-step guide. This is an inspiring instruction to get off your bottom, chase your dream and work DAMN HARD to get there. That’s what a #GIRLBOSS does ;) One of my favourite bits of the book was her view on recruitment. She gives out a few tips on how best to present your CV and cover letter if you’re applying for a job, and what she’s looking for when she’s recruiting and promoting her staff. The key piece of advice that stuck with me was: Never say, ‘that’s not my job’. Because you know what – you’ll never be anything more than your current job with that attitude. It’s how I’ve always approached work – not in a ladder-climbing mentality, but with the mind-set that I’m not above or below doing any task that needs doing. Whether it’s cleaning out something a bit gross to tackling a role that’s above and beyond anything I’m trained or experienced enough to do. It’s an attitude that makes sure you get recognised for your hard work, and keeps you on your toes.

Have you read any of these books?
Do you convince yourself you don’t have time to read?
Any great book recommendations?

A week in Greece

September 18, 2014

So, I feel like I’ve finally caught up with everything and can now put together a post with a few photos from our week in Greece. It felt so good to just relax and do pretty much nothing. Trout and I often go on busy holidays that mean a lot of travelling around, which I LOVE, but sometimes you just need to spend the whole day by the pool sunbathing and reading. Which is pretty much all we did in Kefalonia! The villa did have WiFi, so I was still checking emails and social media, but for the most part I wasn’t really interested in the digital world, as I had such beautiful surroundings to occupy myself with.

We went away with a couple of friends and rented a truly amazing villa. It certainly wasn’t the cheapest place that we found, but we all fell in love with Villa Ersi as soon as Trout found it on Airbnb. It was a three bedroom/three bathroom villa so it meant we each had plenty of space, plus a huge kitchen and lounge and an area for dining/playing cards. I can’t recommend it enough – take a peek at their website if you’re looking for somewhere special. The island itself was really quiet, and we hired a car to travel to nearby towns and some amazing beaches. Here are a few photos from our trip.

^^^This was the view from our villa. It was so peaceful to wake up to, and I loved that you could see the sea. We spent quite a lot of time at the villa because it was so nice, but we did go out every other day to explore parts of the island.^^^

^^^We took a short boat ride through some caves, which was amazing. Other caves that I’ve visited have involved trekking through them, so it was strange to just glide through them, but the light was stunning and our ‘guide’ was hilarious.^^^

^^^Next to the caves was this beautiful cemetery. It’s amazing how much care and money goes into remembering the deceased in Greece – from the shrines that you pass on the side of the road to beautiful places like this.^^^

^^^After the caves we stopped at the restaurant next to them for lunch. It was right on the shore, and had a resident family of kittens. Could there be any better place to eat?!^^^

^^^So cute!^^^

^^^There were so many stray cats around the island, especially in the restaurants, and none of us could resist playing with them. We even had our very own resident cat that came to visit every day. He was lovely, and I think he loved having a little family to visit and get fed by!^^^

^^^The beaches that we visited were so beautiful. Between the clear blue seas, the warm sun and the quiet surroundings, it was bliss. Apart from the pebble beaches, which were so painful to lie on! It was lovely to swim in such clear water, and at one of the beaches we went on jet skis which were amazing! We took the GoPro out with us and I filmed the whole 15 minutes. I want to be back there right now!^^^

^^^We stopped at the top of the route down to the beach to take a few photos of the view.^^^

^^^And a few selfies while we were there ;) ^^^

^^^Another photo-taking pitstop. Here I am with Christina (yep, not confusing at all).^^^

^^^I loved having the opportunity to make meals at the villa. Usually when it’s just Trout and I we eat out a lot because it’s so cheap, but because there were four of us we made more of an effort with cooking. I was so happy to find vegan croissants in one of the local supermarkets! It was the perfect start to a day by the pool. It’s really easy to find vegan food in Greece – although it can get a little bit repetitive.^^^

^^^One of our evening meals. I was heartbroken to find that there was almost no hummus on the island. I was not expecting this at all! In the end we found three restaurants that served it – but it really wasn’t great. You have been warned! Above we have Greek salad (with the feta taken off and given to our friends), stuffed vine leaves, hummus, fried courgette and fried aubergine, pitta bread and giant beans. Yum! Another dish we enjoyed during our time in Greece was stuffed tomatoes and peppers, which usually came served with salad, rice and potatoes.^^^

^^^We also had a BBQ one afternoon. We had a built-in BBQ at the villa, and cooked sweet potato, vegan burgers, portabello mushrooms, veggie kebabs and made an orzo pasta salad. It was so good! Trout and I brought packets of burger mix with us so that we can cook them up - it made the BBQ even more fun.^^^

^^^I love the colours in this photograph. As we went in September we didn’t always enjoy clear blue skies – in fact one evening we had a thunderstorm! – but this one is pretty good.^^^

^^^Another beautiful beach.^^^

^^^On our way back to the villa we saw a whole herd of goats. They were so cute!^^^

So, that was our little holiday! I’ve got a few more photos from our trip to share, but I’m saving them for the next Photos of the Week blog. Which I know I’m horribly behind on, so watch this space on Monday when I’ll recap the last three weeks!

I will always have a soft spot for Greece. My grandparents have visited around 40 islands over the years, and my Grandad loved it so much he learnt Greek and gave lessons for free in their home. I’ve been ten times, and worked out that my first visit to Kefalonia was over 20 years ago. So yeah, I feel old…

Have you been to Greece?
Any favourite islands?

Final note: I feel I should point out that I didn’t get gifted any part of this holiday – I just really loved the villa. 

Photos of the Week #35

September 2, 2014

WEEK 35 OF 52

Last week was just lovely. I kind of really like my birthday – it’s an excuse to do fun things with the people that I love, and I always spend the day with a smile on my face. Well, apart from last year when I had food poisoning – I didn’t smile that much then. Here’s what I got up to last week.//

  

Here’s where my feet (and lap) have been; the gym on Bank Holiday Monday (yup), wearing boots in August (ugh!), wearing clothes that I’ve had for years (thrifty!) and lying on the sofa in jogging bottoms stuffing my face with peanut butter Oreos (sexy). Holy crap these are good! I spent my last day as a 28 year old eating Oreos for dinner, but I’ve left this immaturity behind me now that I’m 29. Ahem.//

  

Here’s what I’ve been eating; a brilliant pub lunch at The Royal Oak on the Bank Holiday Monday. The weather was just terrible, so I was very happy to hide away in a warm pub, before heading home and getting into my PJs. It was amazing having a hire car for the long weekend, and we caught up on loads of things you need a car for – like driving to a pub in the middle of nowhere, buying huge bags of cat litter and alcohol-free beers from Tesco.//I found gingerbread man flavoured Alpro desserts in Tesco – hello! Can’t wait to try these.//My birthday breakfast, courtesy of Trout. It was the best start to the day! Scrambled tofu with mushrooms and onions on sourdough bread. Yum!//A brilliant salad, also courtesy of Trout. I bought a ginger and sesame ‘creamy’ salad dressing from Waitrose which is so good! It has tahini and toasted sesame oil in it. Yum!//

  

Here’s what I got up to on my birthday. We went to my favourite restaurant; Terre a Terre. Everything about this place is wonderful. This is my love waiting eagerly for our Terre a Tapas. I don’t usually like to get my phone out at a fancy restaurant, but I couldn’t help it when the food looked this good! The tapas is a mix from across the menu, so it’s a great way to try everything.//CHURROS! The best thing you could ever put in your mouth. Ever. It comes with pots of chocolate sauce, salted caramel and vodka soaked cherries. I’m still dreaming about this dessert.//My birthday cake! Trout delivered it to my office so everyone got to tuck in, too. It was a giant chocolate cupcake with peanut butter icing – the best kind of cake!!//After we got home from Terre a Terre, completely stuffed, we took this photo. It makes me smile.//
 
 

Two of my presents; a new purse from Matt and Nat, and #Girlboss. I can’t wait to take this book on holiday with me and get stuck in.//Breakfast; back on the Coyo!//On Sunday my parents came over to spend the day with me, and we went for a roast at The Sussex Yeoman. Their roasts are so good, and they always have a vegan option which is brilliant. It was huge! [That's what she said.]//

  

On Friday I took the day off work to spend with my sister. We went to Street Diner for the first time in so long (I’ve missed it!) and drank coffee and chatted and she gave me some of the sweetest presents. I’ve been so spoilt this year! In the evening we sat down with a glass of Moomin fizz, a packet of poppadoms and Made in Chelsea. It was bliss!//Oh man I love those peanut butter Oreos.//

 
 

Happy Birthday Rach! This was such a fun evening. We went round to our lovely friends for some 30th birthday celebrations, so we were obviously super mature and civilised for our age. Mostly the party involved stuffing our faces (I totally did not eat a full plate of savoury food then five cookies, an Oreo, a cupcake and 17 marshmallows. Nope) followed by a fantastic acoustic set from Dave House, which was really lovely. There’s something I find so amazing about acoustic music. It’s so admirable how someone can just stand up and sing, alone with just a guitar. Music that’s so personal to them; emotive and played out in front of strangers. It’s quite magical. The minute we’d finished applauding it all descended into karaoke madness, and all our secrets were revealed; who knew the entire rap to Forgot About Dre, who didn’t know the full length version of the Fresh Prince theme tune – and who knew that Mr Boombastic had so many words?! I had my moment with Peter Andre, before the sparklers and cake came out. There was a lot of glitter. More glitter than you could ever imagine. Over everyone. Rach will be finding glitter for months (years) all over herself and her flat. We were basically partying with Ke$ha.//

This week I’m in full-on countdown mode. I’ve got 101 things to do before we go away on holiday on Saturday, so my list-writing is kind of out of control! So much to do at work, so much to do at home, so much to pack. Breathe. I just can’t wait to be picked up at 3am (zzz) and get to the airport. Actually that’s a lie, I can’t wait to arrive at our villa, drop my bags and slip into our infinity pool. Here’s hoping for hot sunshine, and blow those thunderstorms away, please. Do you get super stressed before going on holiday? Any tips on how to cope!?

All photos taken on my iPhone.
For more pics, follow me on Instagram

 

A weekend in Cambridge

August 29, 2014

I’d wanted to visit Cambridge for such a long time. I wasn’t quite sure why, but I had seen a few photos from friends who had lived there and it just seemed like a lovely place to visit. So we picked the Bank Holiday weekend, right before my birthday, to finally tick it off our list. I did a bit of research, asked friends who had studied there, and asked Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for their recommendations. I got such a great response, so thank you to everyone who made suggestions – sometimes it’s better to go by recommendations than Trip Advisor reviews.

We mainly spent the weekend walking around. It’s always the best way to explore, and because the city is much smaller than I thought it was it meant that we could circle a few times and really take everything in. Plus we were really lucky with the weather, so we took full advantage of being able to walk around without getting soaked! The architecture is amazing – and strange that the University is such a tourist attraction. It must be bizarre to study there. Here are a few (ahem) photos from our weekend.

Once we had arrived in Cambridge we were both quite hungry, so of course the first stop was to find some decent food. We went to Nanna Mexico, which was pretty good. I ordered a burrito bowl which actually arrived on a platter and was huge! I was disappointed with the rice – honestly, who serves white rice in a Mexican cafe? It should be Spanish or coriander rice. Puh. On the plus side though, the hot sauce was really tasty and the guacamole was great. It all did the trick anyway, and kept us going for an afternoon of shopping and wandering.

After we walked around most of the city, we took a friend’s recommendation and paid a visit to The Eagle. He had said to look up at the ceiling when we got there, which was a little confusing. We walked through all of the rooms looking up with only plain ceilings to be found, until we reached another section of the bar and found this.

Which was pretty amazing. It’s covered in the graffiti of World War II airmen, and although we couldn’t find a spare table in the room, it was amazing to look up at and try to decipher the scrawled words. What an amazing piece of history. I was quite happy that I didn’t need the loo while we were there, as I’m 100% sure this pub would have haunted toilets and that’s one of my biggest fears. We only stayed for a swift drink, and were seated next to a table of three American women who were super excited to be in England, and had ordered fish and chips. It kind of made me cringe whilst at the same time feeling so happy to be in a city, even a country, that people from other countries are so excited to visit. I guess it’s the same stupid excitement I feel when I go to Berlin, or New York.

After plenty more wandering and shopping we headed back to the hotel to relax before going to Cocum for dinner. It was OK – I loved that the menu was quite different to a lot of other Indian restaurants, plus I will always have a soft spot for South Indian food. I actually managed to resist the dosa this time!! Instead I enjoyed a coconut milk-based curry, a rarity which I took full advantage of, and we shared some tasty starters too. What is it about curry houses – I always leave absolutely stuffed?! I was very happy to retire to one of the most comfortable beds I’ve ever stayed in. Nothing fancy, just a Premier Inn on the outskirts of the city, but the bed was so ridiculously comfy! Even thought it was outside of the city, it was a short walk to the bus stop, the journey was a few minutes to the city centre, and a day ticket was £4, making it really convenient. Well, unless you forget to bring your ticket with you when you go out in the evening and you have to buy another ticket. Who would do that, though?

Waking up early and just enjoying being in bed was a great start to the Sunday, and we were in no rush to get out of the hotel. In fact we checked out at 11.59am ;)

By Sunday lunchtime I just wanted something simple, so we found a cafe and scoured the menu in the hope of something vaguely veganisable. We were in luck, they actually had the word ‘vegan’ in one of their dishes (tomato and mushroom ciabatta) and, upon further questioning, could also offer us a veggie sausage baguette. Nothing too fancy, but it did the trick. Well, the ciabatta was pretty crud but I would recommend the sausage baguette with chips if that’s what you fancy.

After an energising lunchstop we walked along the river and investigated more of Cambridge.

Look how handsome he is ;)

We didn’t actually end up going on a boat ride, but I enjoyed watching everyone else enjoying themselves on the river.

After wandering around for a while we stopped off at the Rainbow Cafe for some coffee and cake. It’s an odd cafe that can be found underground with low ceilings and a sort of hippy feel to it. I didn’t fancy the menu for lunch, they didn’t have any ‘lunchy’ kind of options – more dinner dishes, like stew, roti and shepherdess pie. However I liked the sound of the desserts, and had heard pretty good things about them. They have loads of vegan options, including a daily special cheesecake, crumble, pudding and cake. I went for a soya cappuccino and a slice of chocolate rose and raspberry cake, and Trout went for a guava juice and fig pudding. Both were really, really good – I would definitely recommend popping in if you’re in Cambridge! Everything is veggie, with plenty of vegan options, however there are very few tables so I would think about going when it might be a bit quieter – especially if there are more than a couple of you.

I really hate having my picture taken, but here’s a snap of me eagerly awaiting my cake to be served.

And here it is. Delish. For some reason both cakes look quite small here – but they definitely weren’t! After we had inhaled our cake we walked back towards the bus stop, made our way back to the hotel and picked up our car. We drove just outside of Cambridge to the IWM Duxford, which Trout had been wanting to visit for a while. It was actually really good! It had a few hangers filled with planes, and a few other bits and bobs like that. It had an actual piece of fabric from the first Wright Flyer, which I thought was amazing! It was made out of fabric that was usually used to make women’s underwear.

My love checking out the exhibits.

Lots of guns.

These two planes were probably my favourite’s. I love the original fabric and wood, there’s something so beautiful about them. We did sign up to go on the flights they offer in original World War I planes, but they were fully booked which was a shame. It was only £39 each, which I thought was pretty darn cheap – next time we’ll turn up earlier!

Thanks for a lovely weekend, Cambridge! I would definitely recommend you to a friend.

Today I’ve got the day off, and am currently enjoying being in my PJs  watching trashy TV at 9am! Can’t wait for Real Housewives to start at 9.25am. My sister is arriving around 10am and we’re having a belated birthday fun day. I’m hoping that the weather is lovely, and we can make a trip to Street Diner – I haven’t been in so long, and am craving lunch from Sultan’s Delights. What are your plans for today and the weekend?

Have you been to Cambridge before?
Did I miss anything that you would recommend?

 

Photos of the Week #34

August 25, 2014

WEEK 34 OF 52

I hope everyone’s enjoying the long weekend! Here are a few photos from what I got up to last week – not too many photos as I’m saving most of them for a blog on Cambridge. There are a few breakfasts, a pizza and a few other snaps to sum up the week.//

  

I picked up a little pot of Coconut Collaborative’s mango and passionfruit ‘yogurt’ for breakfast. It’s pretty good, although the bright yellow of the mango and the whiteness of the coconut yogurt made it look like egg! A tub lasts me a couple of days, and I topped it with granola, a couple of blobs of peanut butter and plenty of strawberry chunks.//I’ve also been indulging in some Coyo with blueberries.//Pizza! The base is from Waitrose and topped with Daiya, ‘chicken’ pieces, onion and mushroom, and drizzled with BBQ sauce afterwards. Love this pizza!//

  

While I was packing for Cambridge I noticed a re-occuring colour scheme…//Wearing jeans. And a jacket. And trainers. In August. Ugh!//Pink toes, and matching fingernails, for our weekend away. I hadn’t noticed my ridiculous tan lines until I took this picture!//Rasputin tucked up in bed with us. There’s nothing better than being in bed with both of my boys – especially when I wake up early in the morning to find them both snuggled up to me. It’s just amazing.//

I’m putting together a blog of photos from Cambridge that I’ll be sharing during the week. Tomorrow is my birthday, but it really doesn’t feel like it at all! I think because I’ve left it fairly low-key this year, with no big celebrations with friends. We went for a pub lunch (well, pub salad) today with two of our friends which was really lovely, and of course we had our weekend away, but no big birthday drinks or anything. I prefer to just spend time with Trout as it’s only the big 2-9 this year. Next year will probably be a bit more of a celebration. I hope everyone has enjoyed their long weekend! I’ve loved having an extra day to relax after our busy weekend, and I’ve taken Friday off work to spend with my sister so it’s just a three-day week for me this week!

In case you missed them, last week I blogged about the launch of Vegan Life magazine (which is fantastic, and you should totally download it or buy it now!) and Photos of the Week #33, which includes a few photos from a weekend in London. I also want to say congratulations to Laura and James on the birth of their beautiful baby boy, Finley! Laura’s posted a photo on her blog here, and he’s absolutely gorgeous. I can’t wait to meet him!

All photos taken on my iPhone.
For more photos follow me on Instagram!

Vegan Life Magazine | Issue One

August 21, 2014

As I mentioned a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been chatting to the folks behind Vegan Life magazine for a few months ahead of their launch date. I was so excited when the first issue finally went live in the App Store a few days ago, and I could scroll through the pages! I think I’ll pick up a printed copy, too – there’s nothing quite like turning those pages in your hand and tearing out bits and pieces that you want to keep. I’ve got a little folder at home filled with pages that I’ve torn out of one of my favourite supplements, Observer Food Monthly – and I can see articles from Vegan Life joining them. It’s out today, so I’ll be popping out shortly.

Here are a few screen-grabs from the downloaded magazine – you can pick up a copy yourself by searching ‘Vegan Life Magazine’ in the App Store and downloading it for a mere £1.99, or £9.99 for six issues. If you download it, let me know what you think!

Of course, some of my favourite pieces are the recipes and delicious food photography. Look how good they look! I was also really interested to read about the vegan options at Las Iguanas. I thought that they might have some vegan-friendly food, what with it being mexican-inspired, but had never looked into it. It’s great to see so many highstreet chains taking note. I generally avoid them if I have to, especially living in Brighton as there are so many wonderful local independent restaurants, but when you’re travelling or eating out as a group it’s nice to know that there are options that cater for everyone.

 

 

One of the articles that really struck a chord was a debate on eating eggs. It’s a question that I get every so often, so have thought about it quite a bit, but still haven’t really made up my mind. I can see both sides of the arguement – in this case, the ‘pro’ writer argued that hens lay eggs naturally, so in a wholesome environment there’s no reason not to eat them. Which I do agree with (let’s put aside how disgusting an egg is really, if you think about it…). The ‘anti’ side of the arguement is partly based on the fact that vegans do not eat or wear anything from an animal. Another side to the arguement is based on the problem that vegetarians seem to have found themselves in, thanks to those that choose to eat fish. You see a lot of restaurants listing meals that contain fish as vegetarian – which also causes problems for vegans, too. I can’t help but think that this side of the arguement – although valid – doesn’t really come under ethics, but more convenience. For me, I personally wouldn’t eat eggs. I’ve gone so long without them that I don’t miss them. I can replace them in almost every form – and I can’t say that I particularly miss the things that I can’t! I don’t need them in cakes, I can go without egg fried rice, and I don’t need to drink them whole, Gaston-style, for protein.

What do you think? Are you vegan, and would you eat eggs from ‘Happy Hens’?
Have you downloaded Vegan Life magazine? What did you think?

Photos of the Week #33

August 19, 2014

WEEK 33 OF 52

You know how some weeks seem to fly by? Well last week was different – it felt like it went on forever! It was worth it in the end though as we had a great weekend to look forward to, including a day in London and a day in Brighton celebrating a friend’s birthday. It felt all topsy turvy – usually when we go to London we’ll head up on the Saturday and then spend Sunday at home relaxing. This weekend we kind of did it the other way around, with a busy Friday night, Saturday spent with friends on Hove Lawns and in a couple of pubs, and then Sunday in London. I was knackered by the time we crawled into bed on Sunday evening at midnight!

While we were in Soho we saw a bunch of Vespas zipping around the streets – there’s something so nice about them! The sound, and the fact that they were in a ‘pack’ driving through the area with no apparent destination.//

 

We met a friend for a drink in the afternoon, before meeting another couple of friends for drinks later in the evening. It’s so nice to catch up with our friends in London, and we always try and squeeze in plenty of time for them if we can.//We had dinner at Pizza Pilgrims, a place I’ve been wanting to try for so long. I’ve heard such good things about them, and they totally lived up to the hype. Really delicious.//Before dinner we headed to a bar/restaurant that we had visited before with friends – it’s a beautiful bar with a lovely menu, and we dived in with Indian street food and drinks.//

 

What I’ve been drinking: Earlier in the week I went wild and had a thimble of wine. It’s something I really miss, and there’s no replacement for it.//While we were in London we went to a beautiful bakery for a rest and something to wake us up a bit. Trout had this lovely fruity iced tea and I had an iced soya latte. They were both really good.//

 

So, that was my week. Nothing too exciting, other than a lovely weekend, but fun none-the-less. I can’t believe that summer is over! At least it feels like it. I’m really hoping that it makes a brief re-appearance at the weekend, though – Trout and I are off to Cambridge so would love a bit of sunshine while we’re there! Does anyone have any recommendations for places to go/eat/visit? Any suggestions would be very much appreciated! It doesn’t seem that there are a lot of vegan options, so we’ll probably be sticking to ‘normal’ restaurants that offer vegan-by-default dishes.

In case you missed it, last week I blogged about all the basics I use in my vegan kitchen. I’ve had such a fantastic response, both in the comments section on the blog and through Twitter. Only one horrible tweet! Isn’t it stupid how you can receive dozens of positive messages and yet when you get one single negative one it just sticks in your mind? Anyway, it’s been really lovely to hear how it’s helped people, even in the smallest way, and so many people have shared the link. So, thank you.//I also blogged all the photos from week #32, which you can find here.//You might remember me talking about the launch of Vegan Life magazine? Well, it’s now LIVE! Head to the App Store and search ‘Vegan Life Magazine’ to download it. I was reading it all evening last night and it’s fantastic. I can’t wait to pick up a printed copy – there’s something so nice about reading print still. If you download it, let me know what you think!//

All photos taken on my iPhone.
For more pics follow me on Instagram!

The Basics: A Vegan Kitchen

August 14, 2014

I little while ago I was asked by someone on Twitter if I could put together a basic guide to what everyone needs in a vegan kitchen. I’m very lucky in that Trout is also vegan, so I never have to worry about stumbling upon any meat or dairy in my fridge. It also makes cooking easier, and we both get super excited about new vegan products.

I thought about the products that I use quite a lot, as well as the basics that everyone probably uses on a daily basis, and here’s what I’ve come up with. If there’s anything I’ve missed that you would like to know, please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help.

 

FRIDGE STAPLES

Milk

This is down to personal preference. I love soya milk and almond milk, some like oat milk, rice milk, coconut rice milk, hemp milk, anything else you can think of milking milk – plus sweetened or unsweetened. I would recommend trying out a few of them and seeing which one you like the most. You can also get flavoured milks like strawberry and chocolate if that’s what floats your boat.

Butter

Vitalite is my ‘butter’ of choice. You can also buy Pure, but personally I find Vitalite is super creamy and tastes really good. Pretty much every supermarket stocks it – in fact a lot of people buy it without even knowing it’s vegan, plus I found it in my local 99p store so, bargain!

Cream

I use Alpro soya cream for creamy pasta dishes, on top of desserts and any other cream-based ingredient you could ask for. Again, there are soya-alternatives like oat cream. Available in every supermarket I’ve seen, plus the usual healthfood stores.

Mayonnaise

I love Infinity’s vegan mayonnaise. I don’t know how available it is – I’m guessing you can order it online? Luckily Infinity is local to me though, so it’s available in a lot of places.

Meat

Some people prefer to avoid meat replacement products, but personally I like switching things up from vegetables. I probably eat meat replacement three times a week, in various forms – usually ‘chicken’, mince and some kind of sandwich meat, like ham or pepperoni. I buy VBites quite often as it’s readily available, but I also like to buy Frys (which you can order from Ocado) and Vegusto (available in some healthfood stores and online – their sausages are so good! You can see them in the picture at the top of this blog, bottom right-hand corner). The majority of meat replacement products are also quite high in protein, which is a bonus.

I keep a couple of boxes of this Granose mix in the cupboard, too – you can make sausages, burgers and falafel, and they’re really handy to have on hand. You can find them in Holland & Barrett.

Tofu

A staple! Grill it, fry it, smash it into scrambled ‘egg’, crumble it into a pad thai – it’s so good for you, and packed with protein.

Pesto

I’m not a fan of pesto but Trout likes it, and pretty much always buys Zest. I can’t really comment though!

Jus-Rol Croissants

So good! The perfect weekend breakfast, and one of those fantastic products that just happen to be vegan. Jus-Rol make a lot of vegan products – their puff pastry is stocked everywhere, which is great.

Trex

Introduced to me by Ms Cupcake, this is a staple in my fridge for cookies and icing. It’s fantastic! Available in pretty much all supermarkets.

 

 

FREEZER STAPLES

Soya Mince and Sausage Rolls

Most minces are vegan, although some have egg in. You can usually find them in most supermarkets, but healthfood stores will also stock them. Trout’s in love with sausage rolls, so we pretty much always have them in the freezer.

Ice-cream

I stick to Swedish Glace – you can buy it in all supermarkets and healthfood stores, and it’s really good – plus relatively cheap compared to other brands like Booja Booja, which I also love but at around £7 it’s definitely a bit of a treat!

 

CUPBOARD STAPLES

Worcester Sauce

Regular worcester sauce is not vegan – this one is though, and you can find it in most supermarkets and healthfood stores.

Tuong Gia Vi

Replaces fish sauce and can be found in most Chinese supermarkets.

Sweet Treats

Mostly I like to bake my own brownies, cookies, tortes etc., but sometimes you’ve got to have something on hand that’s fun to indulge in!

 

BAKING STAPLES

Egg Replacement

Available in Holland & Barrett, this is really useful for baking with.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Again, great for baking. I recommend Ms Cupcake’s book to find out how she uses all of these ingredients – her recipes are full-proof!

Agave Nectar

Replaces honey in any kind of recipe, and can be found in all supermarkets and healthfood stores.

 

RANDOM EXTRAS

Nutritional Yeast

Great to add to dishes to make them a bit cheesy.

Chia and Flax Seeds

Full of omega-3 and pretty much tasteless – sprinkle them over your cereal in the morning, stir them into dinner – anything you like, really!

 

I’ve probably forgotten loads of basic essentials, but here’s what I’ve come up with so far. If there’s anything that I’ve missed just let me know in the comments below and I’ll put together a part two if there’s enough of them. Let me know if you have any questions about vegan products/restaurants/cafes etc., too. One final product which I’m not 100% convinced on but I quite like that it exists; Vegg. It’s a vegan egg replacement and can be turned into dippy egg for breakfast, which is quite a fun idea!

What are your vegan essentials?
Which products do you love that haven’t been featured here?

Photos of the Week #32

August 12, 2014

WEEK 32 OF 52

Let’s start with a photo of Rasputin, shall we?

Doesn’t that make everyone feel better? Well, it makes me feel better in the middle of a busy day. He’s just the cutest (mostly). If you follow me on Instagram you might have spotted a few photographs from when he was a kitten, to celebrate National Cat Day. Sometimes I just wish I could have him back as a kitten – just for one day – because he was so tiny and adorable and his head was too big for his body and those ears and aaah.//

 

Plenty of great breakfasts. I’m still loving Coyo, so I’ve been enjoying that with granola and chia and flax seeds, and chunks of nectarine.//Another smoothie bowl – my classic combo; banana, frozen berries and spinach, topped with granola and dried fruit, plus chia and flax seeds.//

 
 

Lots of lunches and dinners! I made a batch of giant couscous and so in love with it! It will definitely be featuring more often. I boiled it in stock, waited for it to cool, and then tossed with diced cucumber and red pepper, slow-fried red onion, parsley, lemon and little bit of oil. I ate it with spinach and rocket, and a couple of slices of toast.//I enjoyed hospitality at the cricket ground again while we were shooting a video for them, and it was pretty good! Roasted potatoes, dressing, roasted veg, tomatoes and asparagus.//Trout made me one of my new-favourite meals! A tostada bowl. This man is too sweet. It took him a couple of hours to make everything, and it’s stuffed with refried beans, spanish rice, salsa, lettuce, guacamole, avocado, queso sauce aaand I’m sure there’s more I just can’t remember. So yummy!//A little meal I threw together; cucumber salad, cold noodles and hoi sin tofu. I’m certainly not the chef in this relationship ;)//

 
 

A few sweet treats; this amazing discovery at Kosher Kingdom. So fun!//Another find from the same place, these were addictive.//An afternoon to myself, with a soya cold brew coffee and a good book by myself.//

Good grief this post really is all about food! I promise I will try to cut back on the food and improve on photographing other things… Last week I didn’t get much time to blog, but in case you missed them I wrote about an exciting new magazine that is launching very soon – Vegan Life magazine. More details over on the blog here. I also rounded up the week before in Photos of the Week #31, which you can find here.

This week is looking ridiculously busy, filled with a dozen meetings on top of my usual workload so deep breath and let’s get on with it! This past weekend was a relaxing one, thankfully. We had a massive clear out yesterday, cleaning our bedroom pretty much from top to bottom, and it felt so good! It was one of those unexpected days when I got up in the morning and started clearing out underneath my side of the bed (embarrassingly enough I found bits and pieces dating back to 2011 or so…) and layers and layers of dust. Trout followed my lead and together we cleaned and hoovered and threw away two binbags of stuff. Let’s see how long that lasts ;) I found some old books that I hadn’t finished, so that was one positive, too! The real countdown to our holiday begins, so in turn so does the holiday diet and a little ramp up in exercise. Do you have any fun diet-friendly dinners that you can recommend? I’ve pretty much got my breakfast and lunch nailed, but in the evening I struggle to find healthy dinners – especially at the weekend! And of course there’s my super sweet tooth…

All photos taken on my iPhone.
More photos can be found on my Instagram page.

Vegan Life magazine

August 7, 2014

I’m really excited to introduce a new vegan magazine that I’ve been in touch with over the past few months, which will be launching in September! Vegan Life is a lifestyle magazine that covers all aspects of veganism; clothing and accessories, cleaning products, cosmetics, activism, product reviews and celebs that are living a vegan lifestyle. You might remember the blog post I wrote a couple of months ago on the vegan beauty products I’ve been trying out? I’m still experimenting with different brands, so am really excited to read reviews of cruelty-free products that I haven’t heard of before. Even though I’ve been vegan for nine years there’s still so much changing every day – new products to try, new clothing to buy and new recipes to experiment with. The key idea behind Vegan Life magazine is to promote veganism as an accessible, easy way of life – which is exactly what it is!

Vegan Life will be available in both a print and digital format, and you can find a sneaky peek of what the magazine will look like here: http://veganlifemag.co.uk/preview/

Subscription packages can be found here, and you can choose from a one year, two year and three year subscription. If you sign up by the 16th October you’ll also receive this cracking free gift! I’ve kindly been set up with a bloggers profile on the Vegan Life website – and you can check out the other bloggers here. Make sure you’re following Vegan Life on Twitter and Facebook!

You’ll find Vegan Life magazine in WHSmith, Tesco and other independent wholefood outlets, as well as available online.

Do you think you would find a magazine like Vegan Life useful?
Are there any aspects of being vegan that you think should be addressed?

 

Photos of the Week #31

August 5, 2014

WEEK 31 OF 52

This past week has certainly been busy! I haven’t done so much walking in a long time, or woken up so tired. My boss is on holiday at the moment so work is even busier for me, although it’s been quite nice to have a little break from having so many meetings. Let’s get started with what I’ve been up to.

  

Plenty of good breakfasts; smoothie bowls and Coyo bowls. The picture on the top-right isn’t great because it was so dark that morning! I had to turn the light on and wear a thick cardigan while I ate. Thanks wintry summer!//

We spent the weekend in London, hence all the walking, and it was so much fun. We went to go to the Secret Cinema, and managed to squeeze in plenty of time with good friends, which is always the best way to spend a weekend. I stupidly didn’t take any pictures of faces! Too busy eating…//

  

On Sunday we met a friend at Black Cat Cafe in Hackney. I’ve never been before, and it’s such a lovely place! I definitely recommend paying a visit. I had a flat white and a cinnamon bun and it was amazing, and Trout and Zock had milkshakes which are yum, too. The cafe is 100% vegan and not-for-profit, and has a shopping area with everything you could need – food, books, cupboard staples as well as loads of fun things to buy.//On Saturday we had a super rushed dinner at Wahaca before heading back to the hotel to get ready. It’s a great restaurant, and they have their vegan menu organised now so just ask and they can bring it over and help you work out how to veganise different dishes. I wish we’d ordered a side of sweet potato – it’s really delicious, and would have been a great addition to this tortilla bowl. I love eating out of tortilla bowls!//On Sunday we met some lovely faces for lunch at Manna. I was lucky enough to enjoy lunch with both Mitsu and Sasha of the To Happy Vegans and Naomi of The Gluttonous Vegan. It was so lovely to catch up after so many years, especially as one of our friends brought her little boy, who drew the best pictures especially for us. I love that we met online. Being vegan bloggers we knew each other for years before finally meeting – which was probably around five years ago – and have kept in touch on and off since then. I’m really hoping we can make it a regular thing – they’re promising to come to Brighton next, which I will hold them to ;) //

 

Getting ready to go out and so not impressed with being given a room with twin beds! We slept like grandparents, and I did not like it one bit.//Ready to go to the Secret Cinema! It was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. If you didn’t get tickets, GET THEM! There are still some available, both through SC and on the Hill Valley Facebook page as people try to get rid of surplus tickets.//

 

While we were in London we paid a visit to Kosher Kingdom to stock up on vegan goodies. This place is amazing! So many fun things. Here’s our haul, and goodbye any hope of a bikini body in the next month…//

 

A few random bits and bobs; my outfit from a chillier day, with my beautiful cat accessory, and the man himself joining me under the covers one evening. He’s such a funny cat – I wonder if he thinks he’s hidden under the covers? Either way, utterly bonkers.//

I hope everyone’s having a great week so far! I just spent the day shooting a video at the cricket ground – thankfully the weather was on our side and the food was really good. Plus I got home just before 5pm which felt like a flippin’ luxury! Not many plans this week, in fact I’m just looking forward to a relatively free weekend! Here’s hoping the weather is lovely, and we get in some more beach time. What are your plans?

All photos taken on my iPhone.
For more pics follow me on Instagram!

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