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Cooking dinner and trying a green smoothie

April 24, 2014

If you follow me on Instagram you will have probably noticed that I’ve been on a bit of a smoothie kick recently. Thanks to my beautiful blender, and a randomly stocked freezer full of frozen fruit from my Alpro challenge earlier in the year, I’ve been smoothie-ing almost every morning. I’ve been making loads of fruity smoothies, but while I was picking up ingredients for dinner last week I bought two bunches of spinach and had no idea why. It was definitely on my shopping list, but when it came to cooking I couldn’t see it in the recipes anywhere?! I was probably just not reading them properly, but never mind.

It actually meant that I had an excuse to take part in Laura’s Green Smoothie Challenge, and venture into the unknown (for me!) world of green smoothies. I’d seen them all over the Blogosphere, but always been slightly apprehensive, whilst intrigued at the same time. I browsed Twitter, Instagram and Laura’s blog for some recipe ideas, before settling on something simple and sweet; spinach, frozen berries and a few slices of banana, soya milk and water.

Getting ready to blend everything up! I bought these bunches of spinach, rather than buying bags which never seem to last very long. I’m hoping that buying it this way will mean it lasts a bit longer. Plus, no plastic bags.

Before it all gets whipped up. Love those little berries poking through the soya milk.

The finished product. Trout was less than impressed, but I knew what I was getting myself in for. There’s no way to make this look appealing, I don’t think! Usually I would have sprinkled over some granola, but we were sharing some croissants as well so decided to stick with just a smoothie bowl. It was really good – sweet with just a hint of spinach. I’ll definitely be looking into more recipes that include veggies, as I’m really trying to eat less fruit and more vegetables. I’m intrigued by using lettuce in a smoothie. Have you guys tried it before?

Here’s another one that I made at the weekend – the same ingredients as before, with granola and peanut butter on top. So good!

As I mentioned earlier, I made dinner on Friday evening for Trout and I. We agreed that over this long weekend I would cook something special on Friday evening, and Trout would cook something special on Monday evening. We have quite different tastes when it comes to cooking, and even though of course his meals are so delicious, I really love my salads.

While I was cooking I was joined by this guy. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the seagulls are so obnoxious in Brighton! He banged his beak on the glass over and over again, wanting to get in on the dinner act. It was kind of funny, kind of scary. I was a little worried he would crash through the window and carry my dinner away with him! Please excuse the big old poop stain down my window…

Here’s what I whipped up; wild rice and broccoli salad with an avocado and basil dressing, and a chickpea salad with a mango dressing. I also cooked some sweet potato fries and warmed up a rosemary and sea salt focaccia that I found in Waitrose. Yum!

Do you and your partner share the cooking?
What’s your favourite meal?
Ever tried a green smoothie, or did you take part in Laura’s challenge?

 

Photos of the Week #16

April 22, 2014

  

I’ve been absolutely obsessed by smoothies lately. It just feels like a perfect start to the day! These are both fruity smoothies, but I’ve also been experimenting with green smoothies, which I’ll be blogging about later in the week.//I was kindly sent a few 9bar’s to try - I’ve never had them before, and they were so good! Although they are meant to be enjoyed for breakfast, the cocoa bar was perfect with a mug of fresh coffee in the afternoon. I’m working my way through the flavours, and will let you know how I get on with them.

 
 

Bunny shaped crumpets! SO CUTE! And obviously even tastier than regular crumpets. I made them for everyone at work, spread with the last pot of jam from my sister’s wedding; blackcurrant turkish delight. Yum. //One beige dinner! Sometimes it’s fun to have a dinner like this; faux fish fillets, chips from the local chippie, a roll to make a chip buttie with, and baked beans.//Something a little healthier; making dinner on Friday evening. More on that later this week.//On Saturday we headed down to the seafront for the Brighton & Hove Food Festival on Hove Lawns. We were really lucky with the weather, and there was a great atmosphere – and so much good food to choose from! We had a vegetable stirfry from a vegan stall, which was really tasty. Even though I don’t look super happy, I was! Who wouldn’t be with such a huge portion to tuck into.

 
 

I hung out with the Harvey’s horses on my lunch break – they’ve been dotted around town making their deliveries lately. Can you spot the tiny dog on top of the barrels?//The Level at night. So beautiful, so alive. Someone was performing with fire! I’m so proud of our city for building this amazing skate park. They’ve turned it from an area I rushed through at night to somewhere so full of life, and what now feels so safe and almost calm at night.//Walking home from a bit of food shopping – no popsocks, summer shoes and blossom. It might just be spring!//Rasputin with his cheeky eyes (and nose!) on my baklava. What a munchkin.

  

I spent Easter weekend at home, eating Easter eggs, having my breakfast delivered to me in bed (heaven! I could get used to this…)(and yes, that is another bunny crumpet. I’m addicted!), having a Wii Dance Off with my family, and finally, before I left to go home, hanging out with Ras while he was letting it all hang out. Cat life. Sigh.

Easter Sunday lunch! So yummy. I love having so many veggies on my plate; roast potatoes, parsnips, roasted carrots, broccoli and spring greens, plus schnitzel and gravy, and stuffing. Yum!
(Oh and just to clarify, the meat on those plates is real meat! Not some awesome vegan alternative, I’m afraid).

For more photos of what I’ve been up to, what Rasputin has been up to, and what I’ve been eating, follow me on Instagram.

A day spent mostly in the kitchen

April 18, 2014

Last weekend we spent most of our time at home together, which is probably the best way to spend a weekend. Sunday was especially homely, what with a morning of housework followed by Trout getting into the kitchen to cook us lunch. We had cheese and onion pasties, in memory of the days when we would pick one up on our way to college from Forfars, or maybe get one at the weekend. Simple food, packed with silly memories from over a decade ago. (Scary!!)

Trout cooked up some mashed potato and added grated Cheezly and diced raw onion, then stuffed it into circles of Jus-Rol light puff pastry, and turned them into little pasties. Brushed with soya milk, they were then popped into the oven for 30 minutes or so, and served with a salad. Delish!

After lunch I headed into town to get a few bits and pieces, and came back with these beautiful tomatoes from Waitrose, plus some afternoon reading material.

When I got home the house smelt of garlic and Trout was hoovering. Is there a better sight to return home to?! He’d put together a batch of Cheezly straws, one of my favourite snacks. Oh ma gawd these are so good! So good, in fact, that a friend made them when he appeared on Come Dine With Me ;)

We snacked on a couple and then hung out with this face. I could just SMOOSH him, he is so cute.

It was fun to get the big camera out on Sunday. Since getting an iPhone I do use it a lot more for photography, which I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing, but it’s not quite the same.

How was your weekend?
Do you love to spend time at home, or prefer to get out and about?

British Street Food Awards 2014

April 17, 2014

I have some super exciting news to share with you today. The wonderful people that bring you Street Diner every Friday have organised the Brighton heats of the British Street Food Awards 2014, and kindly asked me to be one of the judges for the Awards! I am so excited to find out more about all the fantastic, talented people that bring you delicious food from the heart across the city. I’ll post up more details as and when I can, but for now I’m just so thrilled to have been asked. If you’re a trader that delivers street food to the masses of Brighton, make sure you enter by the 30th April! You can find details over on Street Diner’s Twitter.

In other news, the Bank Holiday weekend has begun! Who’s excited? What do you have planned? I’m so looking forward to waking up tomorrow, alarm switched off, cat alarm switched on, no doubt. I plan on spending some time in my pyjamas, maybe a trip to the gym, a bit of Easter shopping. A proper day off. And then there will be three more after that! Amazing. Thank you, baby Jesus.

Photos of the Week #15

April 15, 2014

WEEK 15 OF 52

  
An outfit one morning, and that smoothie.//Rasputin enjoying his patch of sunshine on a Saturday morning, and fresh flowers on a Sunday morning.

 

The weekend was meant to include housework – I just didn’t know the extent of this housework. I meant hoovering and cleaning the bathrooms, not getting my paintbrush out! Saturday morning I decided I would make an energising and healthy pre-gym smoothie. Berries and frozen banana, with a glug of soya milk. It tasted great! Except that halfway through blending I had a small smoothie explosion, and I had berry-coloured blended fruit absolutely everywhere. Up the walls, on my face, on the bottles of oil, up the window. I think I’ll be finding blobs of smoothie for months. I scrubbed as best I could, but knew this was going to be a paint job. Which turned out to be a good thing – I’d been meaning to re-paint the kitchen for months – we had grease and food stains up the wall next to the cooker, and it just generally needed a refresh. I started on Saturday afternoon, blobbing paint directly onto the stains, and then on Sunday morning I was in the kitchen at 9am with my roller, painting all the walls. I was so pleased with it at the end! Such a simple thing, but it feels almost like a fresh start. I kind of felt like a real adult at the end of it all. I also cleaned the kitchen from top to bottom, washed the floor and scrubbed the tiles. Even though we have such a teeny kitchen, it can get ridiculously grubby. Hopefully we can keep it this nice for at least a few more months!

  

Here are some of the best things I’ve been eating this week – mushroom risotto, a lunchtime trip to Sultan’s Delights, toasted tea cakes and arancini balls, using the leftover risotto. So much good food!

For more photos of what I’ve been eating, wearing and doing, follow me on Instagram!

 

 

Music Love: Manchester Orchestra

April 13, 2014

On Thursday evening Trout and I were up in London again for another visit to Scala to see some bands. I’ve been waiting for for a long, long time to see Manchester Orchestra. Years. I tried not to get my hopes up, but when one of your favourite bands doesn’t tour the UK for years, and then they sell out the show within 30 minutes of the tickets going on sale, you just can’t help but feel a little electricity pulsing through your veins in the days (weeks) before the show.

I don’t like big venues, but Scala is quite a sweet place to watch bands, with a good layout.
(Yes, I know it’s not a big venue. It’s about a 500 capacity. But it’s big for me! I grew up watching bands at the back of pubs, with crowd numbers of around 200 if it was busy. Usually we were talking about 75 people).

I didn’t have to worry; they were absolutely amazing. We thought that it was going to be a show purely to promote their new album, with very few old songs, but it was quite the opposite – so many amazing songs from the past few years, with a handful of new tracks. Either way the show was incredible; they seemed so humbled by the speed of ticket sales, and genuinely loved playing music for people. There was no ulterior motive, no facade or act – just a few honest, hairy guys playing excellent music.

Anyway, I’ll stop going on and on about Manchester Orchestra and go on and on about food. For a change. Before we headed to Scala we stopped in Angel for dinner at BananaTree. You might remember us going last year during a whirlwind day in London, and the food didn’t disappoint this time around either.

^Street Style Crispy Dough and Aubergine Half with Aromatic Caramel Sauce, herbs, and crispy shallots^

^Tamarind Spicy Aubergine^

^Thai Monks’ Vegan Delight^

We ‘pimped’ both of our main meals and added Jasmine rice, salad, sweetcorn fritters and rice crackers. Absolutely stuffed, we rolled our way down the road to the venue. What a great evening.

Do you like Manchester Orchestra?
Have you been to BananaTree?
If the answer to either of these questions is ‘no’, please listen to them again en route to eating there! 

 

 

Pizza Date

April 11, 2014

Going through some old drafted blog posts I found this photograph, taken last summer.

I love that you can see Trout in the reflection of my sunglasses! 

Me and Trout had a mini-date at lunchtime, and popped into town to grab a slice of pizza from Infinity Foods, and relax on the grass nearby. Oh summer, I can’t wait to see you! Working so close to the sea means lunchtimes spent on the beach, as well as heading down to the shore straight from work, ice-cream at Boho Gelato and BBQs (!!!) and time spent with friends in beer gardens and maybe this year I’ll go in the sea.

Talking of pizza, I just ordered us a couple of pizzas from Pizzaface. Now the 30 minute countdown begins. Pizza is totally good rocket fuel for the gym, right? Oh geez. Why am I doing this to myself again?! Please tell me it gets easier.

This week has been long and hard. It’s so strange how just a handful of days can differ from week to week. Either way, it’s the weekend now so it’s time to look forward and make some plans. As I mentioned, tomorrow will involve the gym and spending time with Trout and Rasputin, catching up with housework and maybe a film in the evening. I still haven’t watched the Alan Partridge movie that I got for…Christmas? My birthday? Geez I can’t even remember how long I’ve been meaning to watch that film :\ Sunday will involve meeting up with friends in Lewes, which I’m really looking forward to. A walk across the Downs (please sunshine, come and join us) followed by a pub lunch. Perfect.

What are your plans for the weekend? 
I’m hoping the sunshine comes to join us!

 

 

 

Wednesday Wishes

April 9, 2014

Oh HI Wednesday Wishes! It’s been quite a few Wednesday’s since I put one of you together.
This week is fairly specific. I wish to be in America or Canada, and I wish to buy the entire Oh Joy for Target range. It’s just all so beautiful!

If you’re in the US or Canada, please buy everything on my behalf! You can find a list of products here (check out those prices!) and more details of Joy’s collaborative work here.

Any particular products you love the most?
It’s making me super excited for summer picnics and afternoon lunch parties with friends!

All photos taken from OhJoy.com

Photos of the Week #14

April 7, 2014

WEEK 14 OF 52

 

Last week began with Press Day at Sussex County Cricket Club. I was mainly taking photographs for a few social media accounts, and a few behind the scenes shots.//A doughnut the size of my HEAD! One of the treats I snapped up at VegFest the weekend before.

 
 

Breakfast; vanilla soya yogurt topped with fresh blackberries, a sprinkling of granola and a blob of peanut butter. Best way to start the day!//We went up to London to see Tokyo Police Club play at Scala last week. They were pretty good – not really my kind of thing but Trout loved them, and it was a great way to begin his birthday celebrations.

 

I took my man out for a birthday lunch at VBites. It was so nice to have a lunchtime date – we are lucky enough to work on the same street so can quite often walk to Pret together or the local wrap cafe and get a takeaway before heading back to the office, so it was nice to sit down and eat together. Trout had the fish finger stack and I had the RLT. We also picked up a cupcake each to enjoy back at our desks.//Saturday morning began with my first ever trip to the gym. I summoned as much pink as I could to inspire me, but it was pretty hard work!! I’ll be writing more about this later on.

 

Sunday was a lovely, relaxing day. I met a friend for coffee, and then we headed to Iydea for lunch. I haven’t been here for so long, I’d almost forgotten how good their food is.//In the afternoon I made some BBQ pulled ‘pork’ (jackfruit) and coleslaw to rest ahead of dinner, and got on with some white chocolate chip cookies. I used a recipe from Ms Cupcake, and it’s the best cookie recipe I’ve ever used. They are chewy and crunchy and gooey all at the same time.

So that’s what I got up to last week! How was your week? Do you go to the gym? Please tell me it gets easier!

Vegan Easter Eggs

April 5, 2014
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image source

Easter is so soon! I can’t believe it. Only a couple of weeks to go before we can all stuff our faces with chocolate. I’ve been vegan for almost nine years now, and thankfully the range of vegan easter eggs has grown hugely since those early days. I remember the first couple of years were egg-free, and then I thankfully found a range of children’s eggs that were vegan – but now the possibilities are plentiful, whether you’re a fan of ‘milk’, dark or white chocolate. Here’s a round up of my favourite vegan Easter eggs and treats.

 

My favourite range of Easter eggs, and free from chocolate, in past years has been Choices (6). They’re available in the Free From section of most supermarkets, the chocolate is amazing and the caramels that come with one of them (not featured) are incredible. Lately though, my love affair with Moo Free (1) has reached a whole new level, and it’s true love. This year you can pick up three different Easter eggs, plus a few bunnies in different flavours. The chocolate itself is creamy, and I love the different flavours, like hazelnut.//I don’t think it’s ever been vegan before, but this year the Lindt bunny (2) in dark chocolate is! Yum.//Divine make some great vegan chocolate bars, and this year they’ve got a few eggs (3) that are suitable for vegans, including this pouch of mini eggs (4) which is super cute.//Montezuma’s (5) are great for vegans all year round, and Easter is no exception. They have a few vegan options, including this Eco Egg, but this egg filled with buttons has really caught my eye.

Have you bought your Easter eggs yet? Do you prefer to make home-made treats?

 

Photos of the Week #13

April 2, 2014

WEEK 13 OF 52

 
 

The past week has involved plenty of food (no surprises there then…) and family (woohoo!) I started the week with a return to DanceFit, after a two month absence. It felt so good to be getting sweaty again. At the weekend Trout was moving offices so we took a pitstop for a pub lunch. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I just can’t resist a burger when it’s on the menu! Bottom right is an outtake from a shoot earlier in the week, at my favourite client’s restaurant. Even though I can’t eat any of the food, it’s nice to work with beautiful dishes and talk to the head chef about his new menu.

 
 

This weekend I got to spend time with my baby (ahem…almost 25…) sister. We had cocktails on Saturday night and spent Sunday morning at VegFest, aka vegan heaven. So many amazing companies, new products to try, and giant chelsea buns to stock up on. I was quite restrained and only spent £12 at this stall – everything they make is amazing! Chocolate twists (perfect for breakfast with coffee), raspberry danish’s, chocolate cream doughnut puff things and a CRONUT! A flippin’ CRONUT! Incredible. My tote bag is literally stuffed with goodies. And for someone that doesn’t drink, I really do look drunk in the photo on the left.

 

For Mother’s Day I invited my parents down to Brighton and we went out for a meal at one of my favourite restaurants, Archipelagos. My family have had a long love affair with Greece, and this restaurant never disappoints. The food is incredible, and the guy that owns it is brilliant. A must-visit in Brighton. And finally, a cute photo of Rasputin. It wouldn’t be a weekly round-up without his cheeky chops ;)

In other news, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TROUTY! I love you  <3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A weekend in London & Brighton

March 26, 2014

Last weekend was filled with friends and food. Can there be any better kind of weekend? Here’s a few pics from what I got up to. I’ll start with Saturday, because it was pretty darn good. What day isn’t good when you wake up next to your two favourite boys, and then pick up your favourite coffee on the way to the station? I spent the day in London with two more of my favourite people, catching up and eating a lot of food. Isn’t that the best way to catch up? It was a day full of favourites, and we were so lucky with the weather! Lovely sunshine for pretty much the whole day.

Oh, Small Batch. Swoon.

Oh, hi ladies!

We started off the day by visiting Borough Market. It’s such a fun place to go, with loads of vegan-friendly stalls. I wanted to buy so many things, but it was too early in the day to be carrying around cupcakes and popping candy brownies and what-not. We visited a chilli stand and tried their hottest sauce, and the guy was so impressed he allowed us to become part of the Asian Brotherhood, which we quickly changed to Sisterhood, fist pumped and walked away.

There was the most amazing cabinet of vinegars and oils – it was so beautiful, and I’m sure everything tasted so good.

So much colour! Lovely fresh juice – and only £2 a cup! The stall also sold hot apple juice, which I’m still regretting not buying. I used to love mulled cider, and I’m sure this would have been wonderful.

Hanging out with celebs on the tube. (Adam Handling from Masterchef the Professionals. A celebrity to us – but not as much as to this woman, who flapped more than I’ve ever seen anyone flap before, and asked to have her picture taken with him. Aww.)

 

And then the food began! Pizza at Franco Manca, and something sweet at Cakes ‘n’ Treats.

It was so nice catching up with these two girls, in one of my favourite cities. I haven’t been to Brixton Market in about four years, and I couldn’t believe how much it’s changed. There are so many beautiful cafes and shops, I wanted to pop in and buy something in every one! I wander what the locals think about all of this change. I remember when I first started visiting Brixton, and Rosie’s Cafe was the spot of sunshine inside the market. Now it’s one of so many! Anyway, the pizza was incredible. You should definitely visit. And get the lemonade.

We wandered through the market and popped into the odd shop or two, before making our way to Camden. We were in search of cake so went straight to Cookies and Scream, but they had hardly anything left, and a queue of people waiting to buy. Giving up, we headed to Inspiral, but it’s just so expensive for a slice of mediocre cheesecake, and not what we were in the mood for. Plus the coffee is pretty bad. But it does have canal-side seating! Giving up again we made our way to Cakes ‘n’ Treats. I hadn’t heard very good reviews of this place, but we fancied some cake and somewhere to sit down and relax, and for those reasons it fit the bill. It was pretty good – better than I was expecting. We had a snickers bar, a pina colada cupcake and a whoopie pie, and they all tasted good. The snickers was pretty incredible, and I’m so sad they had sold out and I couldn’t take any home with me! The whoopie pie and cupcake weren’t filled/topped with frosting, but with whipped cream, which was quite strange. It made them lighter and less sweet, but I am a huge fan of frosting and the wobbly white swirl just didn’t cut it for me. I’d go back, though – the burgers looked really good, and I would definitely turn up earlier and snag a few of those snickers bars! I brought a slice of chocolate and pear pie home for Trout, which was alright. It was basically chocolate flavoured tofu. I’ve made better at home – which is why I was mostly disappointed by what was on offer.

While we were debating whether or not to go to Inspiral, we hung out with this guy and his parrot.

After we had filled up on cake, and taken so many selfies it was getting ridiculous – but really, you try to take a picture of three women and not argue about which photo you look the worst in. Or which one you’re flashing half your bewbs in. Or your eyes aren’t open enough. Or which one isn’t looking at the camera – it was time to think of the next plan of action. The Shard! Off we trotted to grab a drink, but it seems that we were not the only ones who thought that this would also be a good plan – in fact, many, many other people had also had the same idea, and they had come prepared with fancy dresses and heels. Which we did not. So we settled with this cute cafe round the corner, run by the sweetest old (Italian?) couple who almost refused to serve us non-alcoholic beverages, and instead I got a soya latte in a builders mug. It was charming. Sadly that was the end of our date. I hate goodbyes, especially when you’re at the station and there are people buzzing backwards and forwards and getting annoyed at you for daring to stop for a moment to move out of the way and they are whacking you with their oyster card and gosh can’t we all just stop for a second and realise that none of these things really matter in the end? Oh well. Goodbyes are rough, even if they are with people who only live an hour away. How sad is that?

On Sunday morning we woke up bright and early and headed downstairs for juice and coffee, before popping back into bed to watch another episode of Luther. That series is SO. GOOD. While we were on our way to the kitchen we noticed this amazing light pouring through the window. Perfect snogging opportunity. Plus hi Ras’ beady eye at the bottom! What a family portrait.

^ Cheeky Ras

I spent the rest of the morning cleaning. Cleaning cleaning cleaning. And then I got washed up and we met a friend for a roast. Perfect Sunday meal! This was so good. I’ve never been to the Sussex Yeoman before, but heard such great things about their food, and it totally lived up to my expectations. Their vegan option changes regularly, and today we had a sweet potato and almond roast, with all of the trimmings. Parsnip crisps! Swoon.

Then it was onto some food shopping before heading home and getting on with more cleaning. Oh what a glamorous life I lead…

So that was my weekend! The perfect combination of relaxing, getting stuff done, catching up with friends and spending time with Trout. The evening was mostly spent watching some of our favourite programmes; another episode of Luther, and Louis Theroux’s new series. It was on stray dogs and I was welling up for most of the programme :(

How was your weekend? Have you been to any of these places before?

 

Photos of the Week #12

March 24, 2014

WEEK 12 OF FIFTY TWO

   

Breakfast//Breakfast//Dinner//Cat.
Earlier in the week I was kindly sent a parcel of running goodies from SportsShoes.com. I’m really looking forward to trying them out. So much pink!

Not many photographs for last week, I’m afraid! I do have more but I’m saving them for another post. It’s been a while since I’ve done a Life Lately post, so keep your eyes peeled for that soon. Happy Monday!

Off to the Big Smoke

March 22, 2014

When a weekend begins with a new, and pretty incredible, brekka, you have a feeling it might be a good one. Today I used up some bread that we bought yesterday for dinner, and an avocado that was getting mushier by the minute, and had my own little guacamole on toast. A squeeze of lime and a sprinkling of rock salt and chilli flakes. Perfect. I’m leaving in half an hour or so to hop on a train up to London to hang out with two of my favourite people. The plan is mainly to visit galleries, eat pizza and catch up. I can’t really think of a better way to spend the day. I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Photos of the Week: 11/52

March 18, 2014

WEEK 11 OF 52

This week started off pretty darn well. It doesn’t help that I have a job that I really love, but that first Monday morning when you return to work after coming back from holiday can sometimes be a struggle. This week was filled with lots of exciting projects and client work, so it wasn’t so bad. The day always begins well if you’ve got a certain whiskerface keeping you company, and trying to eat your 7am breakfast. It gets even better when you have a bar of dark chocolate with sea salt. Holy moley this was good! I could eat five bars.

 
 

I received this amazing box of goodies from Scrummybox - more on that later in the week – and we shot a video with one of my favourite clients, which I always love doing.

  

Because I’ve been unwell for the past week, I’ve missed loads of the things that I had planned, including going to see the new Wes Anderson film on Friday. I consoled myself with a bowl of pasta and a slice of garlic bread. Weekends with these two are so much fun. Look at Ras’ chunky little podge feet! He’s so funny.

We did some more filming on Sunday afternoon, and afterwards I strolled down to the beach. It was so beautiful; the sun, the warm air. Lovely. And on Saturday evening we made this fun dinner; vegan ‘chicken’ satay and ‘duck’ pancakes.

So that’s what I got up to last week – not many photos I’m afraid, most of the time I’ve been on the sofa. Boring! We’re moving offices (again!) today and I’m really looking forward to settling into our new studio. The building looks amazing, really homely with cute features, and only two doors down from our old office so it’s still really central. I hope everyone’s having a great week so far!

Sweet for my sweet, banoffee for honey

March 15, 2014
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A couple of weekends ago I picked up the latest copy of Waitrose Kitchen, and flicked through the recipes until I stopped at this one. Banoffee peanut butter cake. I nudged Trout and pushed the page into his face, knowing full well this was almost certainly his dream cake. He immediately decided that I would make it that evening, once we had returned home from my parents, and picked up all of the ingredients from the supermarket.

It wasn’t too tricky to put together – lots of different components and then some assembling. Definitely a Sunday afternoon kind of cake – and don’t expect to have a roast dinner afterwards, because you’ll be too full from all the cake-batter-licking, peanut-brittle-munching, banana-chunk-pinching, salted-caramel-spooning-into-your-mouthing. If you’re anything like me. 

Do go out and buy your copy of Waitrose Kitchen and try this recipe, if you haven’t already done so. It’s really easy to veganise, and even if you don’t have a lot of the vegan alternatives to hand (like whipping cream), just take the general gist of the recipe and make it your own. A banana cake with peanut butter frosting, topped with bananas and peanut brittle. Instead of a toffee sauce we made a salted caramel sauce, which I drizzled all over the cake. I based the cake bit on a recipe from Ms Cupcake’s amazing book, and used a vegan whipping cream that I bought in Berlin – but I’m sure you can find it online here. Maybe on the VeganStore? I’d also add a layer of peanut butter frosting in the middle if (when) I make it again, but that might be because I’m obsessed by it ;)

I’ve been unwell all week, getting gradually worse to the point that I had to miss going to see the new Wes Anderson film last night, and I can’t make a friend’s birthday show tonight, which means I’m missing The Social Club, an awesome band that I haven’t seen in a long time. BUT. That’s the end of that negative nonsense. I’m really excited as I’m now officially paperbagblog.com! Thanks to Trout, who bought me the domain and talked me through how to switch it all over. Next up – an actual web design! Baby steps.

Istanbul

March 14, 2014

Istanbul was so much fun. It’s such a wonderful city to visit; the perfect combination of east meets west, with markets and culture and bonkers goings-on and local food and spices and cats. Even though it rained from morning until night all weekend, we still trooped on and refused to let it stop us. It’s a shame, because you do tend to keep your head down to avoid getting too wet or from stepping in another huge puddle, but you miss so much when you’re not peering round at your surroundings, taking it all in.

These photos are a mix of iPhone shots and photos taken with my DSLR. I wouldn’t normally mix them up, but because of the rain and the busy crowds I was reluctant to take my camera out a lot of the time – plus we went to a lot of places that didn’t allow photography. So hopefully these still tell the story of our trip to Istanbul. You can find a few more in my last post here.

The first main ‘touristy’ place that we visited was The Basilica Cistern. As I said in my last post, this was an absolutely stunning place. Do not miss it if you’re visiting Istanbul!

I really wish we could have gone in the evening to watch a concert, it must just be amazing. I couldn’t stop taking photographs as we walked around. There were fish of all different sizes swimming in the waters, and the light was incredible.

Moody lighting is so much fun to play with! This is Trout’s sexy moody model look.

One area of The Basilica Cistern was held up Medusa’s heads. It’s amazing to think of how much detail and thought went into buildings – the design and meaning is so different to how it is today.

Nearby was The Blue Mosque. We did pop into the grounds, but at the time prayer was about to start so we couldn’t go in, and we ran out of time so didn’t end up actually seeing inside the mosque.

All over the city (including outside our hotel room…) are speakers so that you can hear prayer wherever you are. Prayer is sung throughout the day and night (hello 3.40am wake up call!).

After we had played tourist for a while we wandered around the streets, met loads of cats and saw the bonkers side of Istanbul. There were a lot of abandoned buildings in this area – well, they weren’t entirely abandoned, as plenty of cats had moved in. You see stray cats and dogs everywhere. Some cats are so funny – they want to stroll into shops, walk around the sites and strut around the city. We saw lots of dogs chilling out and resting on the grassy patches of the city, which was quite strange. In England we see cats wandering around all the time, but not stray dogs.

As we crossed one road we saw two things – a man making a small fire for no apparent reason, and a man offering us his gun to shoot balloons and bottles. It’s so funny when you think about these things ever happening in the UK.

We went to a few markets, and they were buzzing. I absolutely loved them! Grand Bazaar was a little samey, with the same kind of stalls over and over again, but I couldn’t get enough of all the colour and beautiful food. I even haggled!

On Sunday we visited Hagia Sophia, which was quite beautiful – some parts date back centuries and centuries, and there are the most beautiful chandeliers throughout.

Standard selfie-in-a-lift photo. Look at Trout’s tiny head in between us!!

This is one of my favourite photos – not because it’s particularly amazing but because it captured such an authentic sight. Dozens and dozens of fishermen, casting their rods over the end of the bridge to catch fish while it rained down on us. Pretty stunning, even as a vegan I can appreciate this humble sight.

The tiles! Oh, the tiles. My phone is filled with photographs of them, they were all so beautifully coloured and detailed. This was from Topkapı Palace, which had so many different patterns and prints.

Now, onto the food ;) We didn’t have any problem finding vegan food. There are so many dishes that are vegan anyway, that it meant we could eat local food, rather than western vegan options. I was really disappointed that we only found one place, in the last 30mins of our trip, that sold vegan-friendly baklava. And here’s hoping it actually was vegan. There are loads of places that serve baklava without honey, but they all had butter in, which was a shame. We found some other sweet treats, though – like Turkish delight. As long as you avoid pink  or red they were pretty much all vegan. We had some lovely pistachio Turkish delight, and some crazy ones that had a thick sugar coating around them. If you eat meat you should totally try a strange street food we kept seeing – a pan with different sections, each with fluorescent coloured thick marshmallow. It looked amazing! I spotted another seller that served an incredible drink of warm milk with cinnamon and other spices – it smelt so good.

One of the things I was looking forward to trying was a simil – a Turkish bagel. They were a fun snack to share while we walked around.

Our Anniversary meal…! After we had come back to the hotel after a long day, we headed to the pool for a swim, followed by time spent in the sauna and the steam room, and another room called the hamam. It was so relaxing – I’ve never really spent time in any of these rooms before, not when they are built into a spa, and it was lovely. By the time we had finished and were ready to go out again it was 10pm, so we settled on visiting a local kebab shop for dinner. It was so funny, sitting down for a meal like this, but it’s normal there. When our falafel wraps arrived I tucked in before checking it was definitely vegan, while Trout erred on the side of caution and pointed out the yogurt. Hmm. You can’t win every time, eh?

We had a great meal was at Hünkar. We met the chef and she talked us through all of the dishes that were vegan, which was really kind of her. We picked a few dishes to share, and everything was pretty good. These battered courgette strips were particularly delicious, I could have eaten a few platefuls of those! Randomly the rice with chickpeas and the cauliflower were both really good, too.

Black as hell, strong as death, sweet as love.
The Turkish coffee was so good. Syrupy, rich, dark, strong. Amazing. Perfect with a chocolate brownie ;)

Not the greatest photos but this was our meal at Parsifal, a veggie cafe in the Taksim Square area. I had a spinach filo pie and Trout had this kind of mezze. The food was really good, I would definitely recommend a visit, as long as you can ignore the gentle ping of the microwave in the background ;)

I had a chocolate brownie for dessert, and it was really good. Trout squeezed the orange over the top and turned it into a chocolate orange brownie, yum. It came served warm, and I had it with a Turkish coffee. Perfect.

I loved having some time away with Trout to celebrate our anniversary. It was fun to explore a new city, although we probably could have done with another day – we got to the hotel on the Friday at around 4pm, and left on the Sunday about the same time. Then we missed our flight, but that’s a whole other story. The main thing is our friends and family got baklava as souvenirs. And FYI don’t miss your flight it’s really expensive to get onto another one.

Photos of the Week: 10/52

March 11, 2014

WEEK TEN OF 52

In my preparations for Istanbul I met Oz, from the wonderful Sultans Delights, for coffee and she told me all of the places we should visit and which foods were vegan-friendly. It got me so excited! Here are a few snaps from our trip, but I’ll be putting together a proper blog post this week.//I love this shot of Rasputin waiting patiently (ahem…) for his brekka in the morning.

  

Last week one of the clients we’ve been working with quite closely held an event at BT Tower. It was my first time up the Tower and the view was pretty spectacular! Although I did almost fall over when it started moving, much to the amusement of those around me.//This is our classic airport breakfast; two portions of beans, two portions of toast, coffee and orange juice. The perfect start to our holiday!

  

As soon as we arrived in Istanbul we dumped our bags at the hotel and got going. One of the first places we visited was The Basilica Cistern. It was absolutely stunning. The perfect start to the weekend. There are concerts there on some evenings, which I can only imagine are nothing short of spectacular. Afterwards we walked around for a few hours before sitting down to dinner, and at one point we almost walked into some kind of military base, which was fun. The guard dogs didn’t think much of us. In front of it was an outdoor gym, it was quite bizarre. Anyway, it was super fun to mess around on – especially as some of the equipment only worked when you were both on it.//The next day we visited Topkapı Palace, and in front of it we found a simil cart and had our first taste of this Turkish bagel. It was really good! They offer them with nutella or cream cheese but our plain one was just right.

  

While we were in the Taksim Square area we bumped into a protest, but it was very peaceful – even if the streets were filled with riot police and vans with water cannons built into the roofs. This retro tram was stuck behind them, unable to get any further down the line. Earlier in the day, when we visited Tophapi Palace, I found this mosaic – it looked like it was made of kidney beans, it was kind of cute and kind of strange. We visited Hagia Sophia on Sunday and found a beautiful chandelier  inside.

That’s a brief round-up of our trip – I’ll be posting more photographs and details of where we went and what we ate later in the week. I’ll also be announcing the winner of my little giveaway – thanks so much to everyone that entered!

Happy Anniversary Mr T!

March 8, 2014

12 years! I can’t believe it. I love you!

Pancake Day. Yuck

March 6, 2014

Did you have a good Pancake Day? It’s such a random day. Pretty much the worst day of the year for me. Well, it used to be. The smell of eggy pancakes makes me want to be sick on my shoes, and when I lived at home I would leave the table immediately after finishing my dinner and hide in my room, the smell was just awful.

Now I’m vegan, I’m pretty sure it was the smell of egg that made me nauseous, but I still don’t like them. Trout loves them though, so I tried again. Hmm. We had a double pancake evening, with dosas for dinner (my favourite meal in the world!) and pancakes for pudding. I absolutely love dosas, they are just so good! And thankfully a local independent supermarket sells ready-made packets to make them, rather than me having to leave rice to ferment for three days, or however you are meant to make them. They also sell the mix to make samba, which is perfect.

For dessert we had a plain pancake with salted caramel, chocolate sauce, strawberries and vanilla ice-cream. I pretty much ate everything but the pancake. Yuck.

Trout made himself a traditional pancake (even worse) which he absolutely loved.

Do you like pancakes? I think I’m definitely in the minority, if my Instagram and Facebook feed are anything to go by. Oh well. Today my last day of work this week and then we’re leaving on a jet plane for Istanbul! I’m really excited to finish work on this evening, hop on a train, get to our Premier Inn and know that I’ve got three whole days of holiday! I’m going to eat all of the falafel and hummus, and try not to buy all of the spices and trinkets. Especially the little traditional bits and bobs for the kitchen. I’ve spotted a few things on Sultans Delights stall and I really want them! We met yesterday for coffee and she filled pages of my notebook with dishes that are vegan and places to go, which just sparked so much excitement. I can’t wait!

Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for a copy of Home-Cooked Vegan Comfort Food! You have until Monday to be in with a chance of winning. Good luck!

Photos of the Week: 9/52

March 3, 2014

WEEK NINE OF 52

This week I’ve managed to do quite a bit of reading, which I’m really happy about. I’ve got a couple of books on the go, plus two more on Istanbul which I’m trying to get through as quickly as possible before we leave on Friday. I’m so excited! I’m going to eat all the hummus and falafel! Apart from reading and eat breakfast and hanging out with Ras in the mornings, I’ve been eating some pretty darn good meals in the evenings, like this chilli with tortilla chips and home-made guacamole.

  

Saturday was mostly spent drinking coffee and catching up with friends.
(is there a better way to spend your morning?)

I began the day with Lucie, on our weekly coffee date at Small Batch. It’s honestly the best coffee in the world, and made even better with good company and conversations that are probably a little too intense for an early Saturday morning, but oh what a wonderful start to the weekend. We peeled ourselves away from the coffee shop, and the temptation to order another coffee, and popped into Makers Boutique. There were so many nice things, I wanted to buy everything! And we found these cute telephone boxes outside, too. It’s fun being a tourist in your own city.

We parted ways and I ran a couple of errands in town before visiting Peter Andre’s coffee shop, NYCC. I can’t believe I’ve never been before, I’m so ashamed! Another flat white, in the sunshine, with my book, while I waited for Trout to join me.

 
 

Trout treated me to lunch at Moshimo, a lovely Japanese restaurant in town. I’m a sucker for inari tofu pockets, they are so sweet, so delicious. We had a glass of freshly squeezed apple, pear and ginger juice each, which was so refreshing. After we’d eaten we met some friends for (another…) coffee before rushing home to pack and catch the bus to my parents house, to begin the evenings celebrations. It was my parents 30th wedding anniversary, my brother-in-law’s parents 25th wedding anniversary and his Mum’s 60s birthday, my sister’s graduation, me and Trout’s 12th anniversary, and plenty of birthdays dotted around at the same time, so my sister sweetly organised a big family meal for us all. We had our own little room, and she’d decorated it with our own balloons and left cards for us all. It was amazing.

 

While I was at home reading Waitrose Kitchen and spotted a recipe for banoffee peanut butter cake. The minute I showed Trout he had decided that was what I was cooking that evening, and I couldn’t resist. The tray of caramel-coated roasted peanuts was so hard to resist! I may have eaten a few too many pieces of that…

 

I might blog about the recipe this week because it’s pretty darn good, and a really pretty cake. So that’s what I’ve been up to lately! This week is going to be a bit of a whirlwind at work, but it’s a four-day week and one of those days I’ll be in London for a client’s event at BT Tower, so really it’s only a 3-day week. My Dad worked for BT for around 40 years so I’m really excited to go up the tower. I hope everyone has a lovely week! In case you missed my blog this morning, I’m running a little giveaway to win a lovely cookbook. The giveaway ends next Monday, and don’t forget to leave a comment for every option you choose for entering!

For more photos of what I’ve been eating, what Rasputin’s been up to and what’s happening in Brighton, follow me on Instagram.

CLOSED | GIVEAWAY: I’ve hit the big 500!

March 3, 2014
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As I hit publish on my previous post, a little message popped up telling me it was 499th post. Four-hundred-and-ninety-nine. I’m not quite sure how that happened, but it has and I sit here now writing #500 with a smile on my face.

And cake in front of me. Because nothing is really a celebration without cake, right? Cake, and a little giveaway.

To celebrate my big 5-0-0 I’m giving away a copy of the fantastic book, Home-Cooked Vegan Comfort Food, by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman. It’s one of my favourite cookbooks, with so many great recipes that you can whip up during the week or spend more time over at the weekend. Their seitan recipes are incredible, and I love putting together all the different rolls stuffed with coleslaw, and different salsas on the side. And garlic truffle fries. And some peanut butter fudge for pudding.

This giveaway is open to readers from the UK, and will close on midnight, Monday 10th March. To enter, pick as many of these options as you like – every option counts as a separate entry – and let me know in the comments section. I’ll only be counting the comments below, so be sure to let me you know once you’ve tweeted/followed!

♥ Leave a comment below
♥ Follow me on Facebook
♥ Follow me on Twitter
♥ Follow me on Instagram
♥ Follow me on Pinterest
♥ Tweet about the giveaway: Do you love home-cooked vegan comfort food? Then take a look at @paperbagblog’s blog and enter her giveaway! http://wp.me/p1CPIX-2nn

 Please note: this book includes the same lovely recipes as Hearty Meals for Monster Appetites, it just has a different name. 

CLOSED: Please note this giveaway is closed and a winner has been chosen. Thanks to everyone that entered!

Life lately, and a promise to myself

March 2, 2014

Oh HI! Remember me? I’m the girl that used to find the time to blog and tweet away. Now? Not so much. Work has been kicking my arse lately, and I seem to barely find the time for anything else at the moment. Between full-time work, freelance writing and contributing to different bits and pieces – including Fresh Vegan, which is out today! – I find that I can’t bring myself to sit down in front of (another) computer and type away or edit photographs or spend time on social media, because that’s what I do all day. By the time I finish working (6pm, 7pm, 8pm, 9pm…) I tend to seek out the most relaxing activity I can find. Eating dinner with Trout, watching an episode of Luther (so good!) or Inside No.9, reading two of my new books, snuggling with two of my favourite boys, or maybe even going for a couple of drinks with a friend.

Not that I want to sound like I’m complaining. I’m not. Really. I couldn’t be happier. But my poor blog is feeling a little neglected, and I barely make a couple of tweets a day, let alone read anyone else’s. In the morning I hang out with Rasputin and catch up with emails and Instagram (I believe that starting the day with something that inspires you is so very important). I eat breakfast, drink coffee and leave for work probably earlier than I need to. I work all day, and when I get home, well, as I said, I just want to relax. And it frustrates me because I want to write and I want to put together blog posts and do all of the other things that I love, but the sofa is just too inviting sometimes. The weekend allows me time to switch off and catch up with writing, baking, cleaning, and spending time with Trout.

Last week Trout and I went to see Her at the Dukes at Komedia cinema.

Stunning.

Images and words and silence that inspire you and make you want to rush from the room to write, to create, and yet pins you to the cushion of your seat until the credits roll and you’re released. It was definitely the poke that I needed to get back into writing and spending time on my blog. I absolutely loved every second of the film.

And not just because I want his apartment.
And not just because I’m a little bit in love with Joaquin Phoenix.

So I suppose the point of this random blog post is to make a promise to myself to finish all of those ideas that I have floating around, and make myself happier by posting more. I can’t promise I’ll deliver this, but I can try. We’ll see how it goes. Thanks for reading still, even though there’s hardly ever anything new to read. It really means a lot. Here’s a hilarious photo of Rasputin, because he says thank you too.

The photograph above makes me laugh so much. I caught him at the end of a yawn, and he looks like a vampire. Too cute. I’ll be back tomorrow with a new week of photos, and hopefully a fresh start when it comes to blogging. Here’s hoping.

Photos of the Week: 8/52

February 24, 2014

WEEK EIGHT OF 52

 

One of my favourite soups, sitting at my desk at work. Malaysian butternut laksa. So good! This mushroom had a baby, and it was kind of the cutest thing ever. I didn’t want to eat them, but in the end I did.

 

Quasadillas! Made with Daiya. Yum. We ordered five bags a few weeks ago and are enjoying plenty of pizza, cheesy arancini balls, and anything else you can think of that includes cheese. When they finally bring it to the UK it’s going to be so dangerous for my belly and my bank balance!

 

My outfit one morning. I can’t believe I’m still wearing my autumn jacket! I’ve probably jinxed it now, but still. I’m just happy to be wearing Vans and an open jacket. I threw away a huge stack of fashion magazines at the beginning of the week. It was kind of heartbreaking, but some of them dated back to 2010 so I knew it was time to move on.

 

Rasputin in the morning, having a little nap. Oh gosh it is the cutest thing EVER! An awesome dinner with Mr T. Mushroom risotto and this lovely bread from Marks & Spencer.

 

I spent the afternoon photographing a cricket bat workshop for a client, and it was absolutely amazing. To be chatting to true, highly sought after, craftsman – one of three companies that still make bats in the UK. Surrounded by sawdust and bats, it was incredible. I don’t know if I’ll be able to share the photographs on my blog, but we’ll see. At the weekend I bought a few new books; two for me, and two for us to read as fast as possible before we leave for Istanbul in less than two weeks. If anyone has any tips or recommendations I’d love to hear them!

 

My sister and her husband came to stay with us for a couple of days, and we spent Friday drinking coffee, walking round town, shopping and eating. We sat down for a much-needed rest and a slice of cake at VBites – this carrot & orange cake was incredible.

 

Saturday was so beautiful. Blue skies, and barely a cloud in the sky. We went out for lunch at VBites (back again!) and I had this delish hoisin ‘duck’ wrap. Yum! I wanted to spend the whole day outdoors, it was so lovely and warm.

So that’s what I got up to last week. I didn’t mean for the long silence over here, I don’t know where the time has gone! Here’s hoping that this week will offer more time for blogging.

For more photographs, follow me on Instagram.

Photos of the week

February 17, 2014

WEEK SEVEN OUT OF 52

 

The best houmous in the world, and a new handcream which is dreamy. I’m putting together a post on my mission to replace everything in my make-up bag with beautiful, vegan products. Slowly but surely I’m getting there, without throwing anything away until it’s finished. This handcream is definitely making the list.

 

Some calm and quiet in the morning with Rasputin, and a less than calm and quiet (very) early morning with him. The little munchkin woke me up at 5am by attacking my arm with his fangs, and then spent the next two hours making sure we woke up every half an hour or so. Love you, Rasputin.

 

Our Valentine’s Day. My favourite ridiculous holiday of the year – yes, I love it even more than Hallowe’en! I had a special delivery of flowers at work, with a brilliant card inside, and in the evening we made pizza and watched a documentary on prisons. It was pretty much perfect.

 

Saturday was spent mostly walking around town for hours. Between my search for a birthday present for Trout’s Grandma, which took far too long (three hours…) and an hour spent with Trout buying ingredients for his poker night, I was pretty knackered. This coffee was very much needed, even if the coffee shop was insanely busy and I only really stopped for twenty minutes. In the evening Trout and I had a few friends over for dinner so we whipped up a Japanese feast, including two types of sushi, tempura veg, a cucumber and cabbage salad, grilled tofu and oyster mushrooms, wasabi mayo, a tahini sauce and a rice bowl with avocado and spring onions. Afterwards I was sent to my bedroom so that they could have a boy’s poker night.

For more photos of Rasputin, coffee and what I’ve been eating, follow me on Instagram.

Baking Brownies

February 12, 2014

Last Saturday I was browsing through my ‘Things to Make’ folder – which, by the way, is becoming increasingly more ridiculous in length – for some inspiration. We were meeting a friend for birthday cocktails, he has a super sweet tooth, and I know how much he loves chocolatey-peanuty-buttery things. Chocolate-peanut-butter-pretzel-brownies it was, then!

They were super simple to make, too. I used this chocolate brownie recipe, without the chocolate chips or hazelnuts, and once the brownies had completely cooled I finished them with plenty of peanut butter icing, and decorated with broken pretzels. And then I ‘tested’ far too many pieces for someone that was meeting their parents for Mexican food in a couple of hours.

I hope your week’s going well! I’m a busy bee, as per usual, I can’t believe it’s Wednesday already. Not that I’m complaining though – it means it’s almost Valentine’s Day, YAY! If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you might have gathered that I lurve this day. Everything is heart-shaped, there is romance in the air, there are flowers everywhere. And Trout hasn’t let me down, yet – there was 2012, US Office themed, then there was 2013, Breaking Bad themed, so what will it be this year…. *pressure* ;)

Photos of the Week(s)

February 10, 2014

WEEKS FIVE AND SIX OUT OF 52

We walked up to Chanctonbury Ring with a couple of friends at the weekend, and it was so nice to get out of the city and breath some fresh air. Apparently if you run around the ring in an anti-clockwise direction seven times, the Devil appears and offers you soup in return for your soul.

Before we left I caught Ras rubbing his face on my wellies. This cat is literally bonkers! After the walk we stopped off at a pub and ate bruschetta and chips in front of the fire.

 
 

I’ve eaten some really good food, with some really good friends. Here is an absolutely gigantic portion of red thai curry, whipped up by my personal chef Trout, with a cucumber salad on the side. I made dessert; chocolate torte. We were so stuffed afterwards! Bottom left is a peanut butter curry I whipped up one evening, and then we have a beautiful pomegranate.

 
 

On Friday Trout and I were both working late, and couldn’t face the thought of getting home and cooking a meal, so we stopped at one of our favourite restaurants for dinner. I can’t resist a dosa when it’s on the menu! So good. The next day I met Lucie for coffee, a catch-up and a trip to a local florist. I absolutely love flower shops, they are so beautiful.

  

For Christmas I bought my parents tickets to see Thriller, which was at the weekend. Before the show we met for dinner at a Mexican/Spanish restaurant and had a pretty good meal together. It’s really nice going to different restaurants in Brighton and introducing them to different foods. It was quite a revelation for them!

Afterwards Trout and I met a couple of friends for cocktails at my favourite place in Brighton. They made me four different off-the-menu cocktails, all non-alcoholic, and they were absolutely amazing. So thoughtful. It meant I didn’t feel I stuck out like a sore thumb – in fact they tasted better than some of their cocktails! And no dreadful headache the next morning *smug face*. It did call for a gingerbread sugar skull cookie and coffee, though. And a sushi date in the afternoon.

  

So that’s what I’ve been up to in the last couple of weeks. In other news, have you checked out Wills Vegan Shoes‘ 60% sale? So many lovely designs to choose from! I’ve got my eye on these beauties, and these knee-length caramel boots. There are loads of sizes left, so go and take a peek!

AlproAM pt.2: Smoothie Central

February 9, 2014

Here we are with part two of my collaboration with Alpro, on their AlproAM campaign, and a few fun smoothie recipes. I didn’t mean to leave it quite so long before writing up part two, I’m sure you guys were waiting anxiously to find out what exactly goes into an apple pie smoothie!

Here’s a pic of the brilliant blender that I was sent to whip up my smoothies with; it’s a Heston Blumenthal juicer, and it was incredible to use. The insert looks like a golden grater – the details made it really special.

Have you seen Alpro’s super cute video? Here it is if you haven’t. Squirrels! Drinking almond milk! Swoon.

Anyway, on to the recipes. These were all inspired by a few of my favourite things; cake, pie and biscuits. They use a few more ingredients, so might be worth saving for the weekend – or giving yourself a little more time in the morning. Every recipe makes roughly one serving, and you just have to get whizzing with the ingredients! I used Alpro unsweetened almond milk for these recipes, but I think hazelnut milk would be super tasty, too!

My favourite cake is carrot cake, so I just had to put together a recipe inspired by it. How can a bowl of orange cake-inspired breakfast not put a smile on your face?

1 cup almond milk
1/4 cup water
1 banana
2 carrots
1/8 cup walnuts
1/8 cup dates
pinch of cinnamon
1/4 cup lemon juice

Another fun smoothie, inspired by one of my favourite desserts; apple pie! I accidentally added a tad more than a pinch of cinnamon, but it was still super tasty.

1 cup almond milk
1/2 banana, frozen
1 apple, diced
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup dates
pinch of cinnamon

And last but not least, gingerbread. YUM! I’m obsessed by gingerbread – you might remember the gingerbread waffles I whipped up for the last DeskFest campaign; there’s something so great about ginger, whether you’re making a savoury stirfry or thai curry, or making a batch of biscuits, it tastes so fresh and zesty!

1/2 cup of almond milk
1/2 cup water
2 bananas
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/8 cup dates
1/2 tbsp lemon juice

So there are my seven smoothie recipes! I loved starting the day with so much fruit – it feels like you’re setting yourself up for the day. I try to sneak in at least one serving with my breakfast anyway, whether it’s fresh fruit on top of granola, a banana whipped into porridge, or a punnet of dried fruit from my Graze box – but this is a really simple way of getting at least two servings of fresh fruit into your day.

If you missed part one you can find it here. Any favourites that have caught your eye? Have you tried any of these recipes? Thanks to Alpro for asking me to be a part of this campaign, I’ve loved it!

AlproAM: A whole host of super smoothies

February 4, 2014

Being vegan, I obviously get through my fair share of soya milk. If I run out I’ll throw a mini-tantrum as I’m pretty selective about the brand that I like (Alpro, original, blue carton) so I know I really should think outside the box and try a few new varieties of ‘milk’! I’ve drunk Alpro ever since I became vegan, eight years ago, and it’s a firm favourite.

When they got in touch to ask if I would take part in their AlproAM campaign I couldn’t be happier. After working with them on their DeskFest challenge, I really loved coming up with new recipes and ideas to start the day with. At the moment I’m loving vanilla soya yogurt, and coming up with different ways of eating it is fun, which is why I’ve included a couple of recipes that use it as an ingredient.

Over the next couple of blog posts I’ll be sharing my recipes with you – you might have already seen them pop up on my social media accounts, so you’ll be finding out exactly what’s gone into these little bowls and glasses of goodness. I’ve got a few simple, healthy recipes that are fruity and easy to put together with only a few ingredients, and a few recipes that use more ingredients and have a slightly more fun approach. Let me know which ones take your fancy. With every recipe, just blend all of the ingredients – no funny business, just whizz them up. I bought fresh fruit in almost all cases, and diced and froze it myself, other than the berries which I bought already frozen, and used Alpro’s unsweetened almond milk. Every recipe makes roughly one serving.

The first smoothie I made was strawberries & cream. This is really simple, and I love how sweet it is – it was one of my favourite recipes to put together.

1/2 cup almond milk
1 peach, diced and frozen
3/4 cup frozen strawberries
1 banana

Next was an Elvis-inspired banana and peanut butter. So creamy, with a hint of PB. Yum! This would be great paired with other ingredients – maybe some granola and fresh fruit. This was pretty much my favourite recipe.

3/4 cup of almond milk
1/2 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 banana, chopped and frozen
1/4 cup vanilla soya yogurt
pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg

This one was a little bit different, and a little bit indulgent; chocolate and raspberry.

1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup soya yogurt
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
agave and vanilla to sweeten*

*keep tasting as you add – and don’t be afraid to be quite generous, otherwise the smoothie can taste quite bitter due to the cocoa powder.

Finally for today, pomegranate and blueberry. Really quick, really clean and really delicious.

1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup pomegranate
1/2 ripe banana
1/2 cup frozen strawberries
1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Funnily enough, the peanut butter smoothie was my favourite. Or maybe the simple pomegranate and blueberry smoothie? The peaches and cream smoothie was delicious, too. And you can’t beat a bit of chocolate in the morning! So, basically I’m completely indecisive and you’ve just got to try them to figure out which is your favourite! Let me know if you make any of the recipes, I’d love to hear what you think of them. Next up I’ll be blogging about the final three smoothie recipes, including Apple Pie. Oh my!

Photos of the Week (Month)

February 1, 2014

WEEK ONE, TWO, THREE AND FOUR

I absolutely love seeing bloggers taking part in different series’ which run throughout the year, especially those that are photographing their children every week, like Bleubird’s series. It’s amazing to see them grow up, and their personalities change, even in such a short amount of time! I decided that this year I would do a round-up of my week – similar, I suppose, to the monthly round-up that I do, but mainly through the eye of my phone and my Instagram account – which I am loving, by the way! I think one of my favourite things about this platform is that you can see who inspires the people who inspire you. It seems strange, for me, anyway, to look at people that I think are so talented, so creative, so inspiring – and to see that they are just as inspired by people who are talented and creative. It’s just wonderful.

Because of everything that happened in January I’m (more than) a little late to the game, but here’s is week one, two, three and four for my 2014 so far.

  

Another amazing lunch from Sultan’s Delights! Totally addicted.//A lovely soya flat white at Cafe Coho, while I waited for Trout to join me.//I had a walk around Brighton at the weekend, and stumbled upon this amazing graffiti. I love that there is so much street art in this city.//A few pretzels while I was working.

  

A favourite new mug, made even more special because the quote is so me!//A breakfast addiction at the moment.//Editing photos and watching the documentary, Psychopath Night. It was OK, the themes were a little bit too jumbled up and quite random, but on the whole I quite enjoyed it.//Yoga on Sunday morning. The straw that broke the camel’s back. Literally.

  

Getting home from an appointment with the chiropractor, and trying to do the exercises he taught me. Ouch! As it turns out, an accident I had over 15 years ago may have caused some unknown damage over the years, which was a bit of a surprise. Trout was very sweet, and left work to take me to my appointment, and bought me my favourite lunch as a surprise. That boy’s a good one!//A quick lunch date together at Tortilla.//Spending the afternoon with Trout’s nieces is pretty much the best way to spend an afternoon!

  

We went on a date night to the cinema to see American Hustle. It’s so good! We had dawgs there before the film.//Another amazing dinner from Trout; chilli with tortilla chips and homemade guacamole.

  

Breakfast. Fast becoming my favourite meal, and my favourite time of the day. Peace and quiet with two of my favourite people, catching up with the news and relaxing before the day really begins.//Beautiful sight of my walk to work.//A quick snap of Trout and I at a Murder Mystery evening. It was so much fun! And as it turned out, TROUT DUNNIT!//Dinner at the murder mystery evening. So good.

Next week I’ll be posting up a few photos from a collaboration I’ve been working on with Alpro, for their latest AlproAM campaign. It’s been so much fun coming up with different smoothie recipes, and I can’t wait to share them with you. The campaign is focused on making our mornings a little brighter, even if most of us are leaving the house in the dark and coming home in the dark. Bright berries, zesty lemon, salty peanut butter and creamy almond milk have all been brightening up my mornings! What I’ve loved most about making these smoothies, is enjoying more fruit. I tend to stick to dried fruit, so it was nice to know I was sipping on some ‘fresh’ (frozen…!) fruit.

Check back next week for a few recipes, or keep an eye out on social media where I’ll be sharing a few of my smoothie photographs! What are your favourite smoothie recipes? Do you like starting the day with one?

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