WEEK 29 OF 52
Last week really kicked my arse. It was unbelievably busy, and I’m lying on the sofa in disbelief that it’s even over?! Two big work projects smashed together, fighting for my attention every day, and I felt like my fingers didn’t stop typing and my feet never stopped tapping. It was a writing-emails-with-a-sandwich-in-your-hand kind of week, and a standing-up-while-I-finish-sending-this-email-as-I’m-so-close-to-missing-this-train week. But a fun week! If that’s a thing.
To counter some of the stress, I’ve taken up yoga, and I love it! I have a two-week introductory membership at a local studio, and so far I’ve tried four classes, and really enjoyed them all. I think hot yoga has been my favourite (I’ve done one beginner class, two hot and one ‘medium’ hot class. Although last Sunday’s hot class was really more like BOILED ALIVE yoga), and I think I might look into the different membership packages that they offer. My only concern is that it’s giving me heat rash on my shoulders. Can hot yoga really do that? Well, I have heat rash on my shoulders (only where I got burnt last weekend though?!), and I’m just hoping it’s not from the hot yoga. I used to get it a lot when I was stressed, so maybe it’s stress rash? I don’t know.
Here’s what I got up to last week.
^^Tuesday was the Tech4Good Awards. I always look forward to the final Awards ceremony – seeing seven months work come together, and celebrating some pretty amazing people, I love it.^^
^^A pre-Awards breakfast, and one I’ve been having for the past few weeks – really need to get back into making smoothies – coconut yogurt, granola, dried fruit, nuts, seeds and ground chia seeds. Yum!^^
^^A post-Awards bon voyage burrito. A friend visiting from Japan was leaving the next day, so we celebrated with burritos and beers at a great pub in Brighton.^^
^^On Thursday I was back in London for the Moretti Gran Tour, photographing Cin Cin’s Italian master classes. It was so much fun! The atmosphere was amazing, everyone was just having such a good time, both throughout the master classes and chilling out amongst the street food vendors and entertainment. The Tour needs to come to Brighton!^^
^^To celebrate my sister’s graduation (SO PROUD!) Trout and I met my Mum and sister for lunch in Brighton. I picked Casa don Carlos, their food is pretty good and it’s a fun place to eat. Plus the location was great for us.^^
^^On Saturday morning, to celebrate the very much needed weekend, Trout made us avocado on toast. I love having something special at the weekend! I forget just how good this breakfast is, too. It’s basically guacamole on toasted bread, which is basically the best food ever.^^
LOVE. Being mindful and really trying to relax.//Enjoying precious evenings at home, reading and getting an early night.//Ticking things off my to-do list.//
LISTENING. Nothing new this week – a bit more Emiliana Torrini, a couple of tracks from Bjork (but I won’t link as I’ve no idea which ones they were!), The Flatliners, Mariachi El Bronx and Strike Anywhere.//
LINKS. Kind of really love these GOLD shoes.//Laura’s recipe for salted caramel chocolate mousse. It looks so good.//This photo set on No Fashion Victims.//
LAST WEEK. Stress.//Smiles.//Yoga.//Breath.//Re-watching episodes of The Thick of It.//
THIS WEEK. Hen partyyy!! It’s my BFFs wedding next month so we’re kidnapping her and spraying her with whipped cream and hiring all the strippers we can get our hands on.//Seeking out some new music to listen to. Any recommendations?//
WEEK 27 + 28 OF 52
I’m having a super lazy day today. We went to a wedding on Friday so am enjoying a long weekend, which was very much needed. I even had an afternoon nap yesterday! This afternoon has been a long few hours of working, writing, blog reading and emails. Rasputin’s asleep upstairs in our attic bedroom, Trout’s upstairs in the study playing his racing games and I’m downstairs with the rumble of the washing machine in the kitchen. It’s the perfect kind of Sunday.
Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past couple of weeks.
^^Last Thursday I headed up to London to take some photos of a restaurant and their executive chef. It turned out to be a really fun shoot, and the chef was great to work with. You can see the photos here, and details on how to win VIP tickets for an event with him here. ^^
^^Eating wise, this was a highlight – BBQ seitan burger from Beelzebab, followed by chocolate fudge cake from Honeycomb Bakery. Both from Street Diner, and both super yummy.^^
^^Donuts! I finally got to try this tutti-frutti donut from Co-op, and let me tell you, it was pretty flippin’ brilliant.^^
^^Oh, this face. So fluffy and massive and cute! A friend is fostering him for a few months, so I hope to have many more kitty cuddles.^^
^^Birthday Arctic Rolls!^^
^^Last Saturday I went to London with my sister to pay a visit to the Allergy & Free From show, which by the way was super cool and I ate way too many samples and bought ridiculously expensive silky soft bamboo pillowcases. Random, but I cannot wait to lay my head on them. After the show we went to Portobello Road for a wander and popped into this gin bar. My sister was in gin heaven.^^
^^Such pretty buildings.^^
^^Afterwards we headed to Brixton to meet a friend and eat at one of my favourite pizza places, Franco Manca. Their pizza is just so good!^^
^^Then we went to see two of my favourite bands at Brixton Academy. It actually wasn’t as good as I hoped it would be (I think I might have got a bit over-excited?) but it was still amazing seeing Alkaline Trio. I just thought that the set list was kind of random. But then I might just be disappointed because they played the same venue the next day, and played the entire From Here to Infirmary album from start to finish, and NOFX played Punk in Drublic. So basically that show was always going to be better. Oh well. My big toes are blue, so it must have still been a good gig.^^
^^A friend came over from Japan for the wedding, and stayed with us for a couple of days. I love this photo. It’s not anything special, it just reminds me of a fun evening watching them trying to decide which craft beers to drink. The decision-making process was tough. I like it.^^
^^After craft beer came chilli cheese dogs, tortilla chips and guacamole. Yuuumm.^^
^^Wedding Day! Here are a few photos from the day.^^
^^A very handsome groom, two best men and one lovely friend.^^
^^A blurry husband and wife, newly wed. Congratulations you guys!^^
^^They had a photobooth, which is pretty much the best thing ever to have at a wedding! The machine printed out two copies – one to keep, and one to stick into a photo album for them to keep. Such a nice idea.^^
^^A stolen photo of Trout me, and Jess, one of the bridesmaids and fellow gig-goer to the previously mentioned show. We were so lucky with the weather – beautiful blue skies, sunshine. Perfect. I have now got awesome tan lines.^^
LOVE. A good wedding, and catching up with so many friends.//Looking through my calendar and remembering how many amazing things I have coming up.//Lazy weekends.//Yoga! I went for the first time yesterday, and really enjoyed it. Next stop – hot yoga, eek!//
LISTENING. Alkaline Trio.//Gnarwolves.//The Social Club.//A Wilhelm Scream. (21st Aug can’t come soon enough!)//
LINKS. These flowers + words.//Have you read the blog, Oyster and Pearl? If not, go and have a read. It’s so lovely.//This list of podcast recommendations. I need to get back into them – and a friend recommended listening to them whilst running, so I’m definitely going to give that a try.
LAST WEEK(S). Photos.//Birthdays.//Friends.//Music.//
THIS WEEK. Got to get back to bringing lunch into work…//Hot yoga tomorrow night.//Two big events in London.//My sister’s graduation, and seeing her perform at the weekend.//Cricket on Friday.//
Hope you’ve had a great couple of weeks x
WEEK 24, 25 & 26 OF 52
Whoops, it really has been a while, hasn’t it! Sorry for my absence, the days caught up with me somehow. Here’s what I’ve been up to over the past three weeks.
^^Spending time in our garden. It’s really starting to bloom (with the help of Trout’s family. Nothing like enlisting their green fingers in getting rid of dead roses ;)) and a lovely place to spend a warm evening. A certain catface is giving this crazy cat lady little heart attacks as he roams free. He’s starting climbing to the very top of our three-floor house, and peering over the edge to next door’s roof. I’m praying he never thinks he can parkour that bad boy.^^
^^Hanging out on the beach after work. I haven’t done it as much as last year, as the weather hasn’t been nearly as good, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that over the next few weeks it will be warm enough for a spot of swimming and a BBQ or two (or ten). I feel so lucky to work just a few minutes from the beach. The view never gets old.^^
^^My first meal after I finished the £10 challenge – it tasted so good. And healthy! You can read how I got on in this blog post.^^
^^The second meal I had. It felt so good to cook and prepare food with so many ingredients and flavours and heat! I missed spicy food so much!^^
^^A new pizza place has opened up around the corner from my office (I know, another new pizza place! They’re breeding like bunnies in this city) so I popped in for some lunch. It was pretty good – a slice of vegan pizza, salad and a fresh drink for a fiver. Not too shabby. You can find out more on the My Slice Facebook page.^^
^^Wine + biscuits + garden = BLISS.^^
^^A book I’ve been meaning to read for a while it seems. Since 2011, in fact! How embarrassing. This summer I will finish it.^^
^^One of the best things I’ve eaten in the past few weeks – Sultan’s Delights lunchbox, with these cheesy balls. Her tzatziki is the bomb, too!^^
^^Another shot of the garden. Can you spot a whiskerface hiding?^^
LOVE. Spending as much time outdoors as possible.//Digging out long lost summer clothes.//Looking forward to two weddings coming up over the next few weeks. Including being a BRIDESMAID! <3//
LISTENING. Transplants. Well, specifically just Diamonds and Guns and Gangsters and Thugs.//The Bronx.//Emilíana Torrini.//
LINKS. Everything that Meg Fee has written. She’s such a dreamboat of a writer.//The Irby Day Dress by bibico. Swoon.//Looking at photos of Azores on Pinterest. I cannot wait to get there!//
LAST WEEK(S). Eating, drinking, working.//Spending time with family.//Finally catching up with London.//Watching Orange is the New Black!//
THIS WEEK. Going to The Allergy & Free From Show at the weekend, because I’m super cool and love free vegan/gluten free/wheat free/hopefully not flavour free food.//Hoping that it doesn’t rain too much.//
So that’s a round-up of what I’ve been up to. Plenty of time spent at home, in the garden, with my two favourite boys. How has your month been? Anything planned for the summer?
WEEK 23 OF 52
^^Last week I took on the £10 food challenge (you can find out more about this here and here). Thankfully my breakfast every day was pretty normal – jam on crumpets. No butter, but it still tasted pretty good. The coffee, however, did not.^^
^^This was probably a highlight lunch – instant curry flavoured noodles with a couple of slices of wholemeal bread. Not too shabby – I would probably have this again.^^
^^Another highlight – roasted pepper pasta sauce. I bought a jar of roasted peppers in oil for £1.75, used the oil during the week for cooking with, and blitzed the peppers in a blender before frying it up with some garlic and stirring a ton of penne into it.^^
^^The garden is starting to bloom! I’m so excited by all the roses. Ras is loving his time outside – I just wish he wouldn’t keep inviting slugs into the house…^^
^^Saturday ended up being cleaning day. The best kind of day! Sort of. I gave the whole of the downstairs a proper clean – you know the kind when you pull everything out and tidy and hoover and mop and clean the light switches and scrub the skirting boards and nothing really looks that different because it’s just how it should look? One of those days. Next to tackle is upstairs, but that might have to wait for another week.^^
^^On Saturday night we went to Brighton to celebrate a friend’s 30th birthday. It was so much fun. We all chipped in money to buy him a gift voucher for his favourite tattoo shop, and ended up raising £250! It was lovely to see the smile on his face. We didn’t ended up getting to bed until around 1am though, so I enjoyed a little lie-in on Sunday morning.^^
^^Ras soaking up the sunshine in ‘his room’. At the moment the end of the kitchen has all of his things in (bed, scratching post, water + food bowls, bag of food, bags of cat litter and his litter tray), but eventually we’ll get a table and chairs and turn it into a breakfast room. I love the outline of his ears in the shadows!^^
^^Not one of my photos, but a photo of an article in Stylist magazine which annoyingly isn’t online. I love this so much! When my Moschino perfume runs out I’m totally using it to store things in – same goes for the beautiful candles we currently have burning in the lounge. I love these Muji stationary trays, too! I just don’t think I would be able to handle it when they were covered in fingerprints and smears of day cream.^^
LOVE. All the programmes on the crime channel at the moment, and channel 5.//Looking forward to eating fruit, veg, salads, smoothies and less carbs!//Going home and seeing my family, and returning with albums filled with photos that I took growing up. So many memories, celebrations, people. Can’t wait to look through them all. My sister should watch out ;)//
LISTENING. Anti-Flag.//Millencolin.//The Interrupters.//(psst – Netty, if you’re reading this, THIS is the song we RSVPd with for your wedding!)
LINKS. (MALIN + GOETZ) – I saw their products featured as free gifts in a magazine, and a sweet friend pointed out that all of their products bar a couple are vegan! I can’t wait to work my way through their (entire) range. I’m a sucker for good branding at the best of times.//This bikini. And this one. They’re both so beautiful!//
LAST WEEK. Eating very beige food.//Not drinking any alcohol.//Hanging out with Ras in the garden.//
THIS WEEK. Eating! Drinking! Appreciating these ridiculous things that make me happy.//Going to watch London Road at the Duke of York tonight, with a live Q&A stream with the cast afterwards. Fingers crossed for Tom Hardy!!!//The new series of Orange is the New Black! Bring on Friday.//
WEEK 22 OF 52
^^We ate dinner outside! There’s something so nice about eating in the late-evening sun, with Ras running around behind us. This is one of my favourite simple recipes to put together for lunch or dinner – Asian-style soy mince and avocado wraps with spicy peanut sauce.^^
^^Caught this whiskerface exploring the bath.^^
^^Trout treated me to a mid-week lunch date at VBites. Their hickory chick burger is just so good! And the sweet potato fries. One of my favourite lunches.^^
^^On Friday we went to see Big D and the Kids Table. They were awesome! The last time I saw them was about 2007, Trout’s band supported them, so did a friend’s band, and it was my 22nd birthday. Trout pulled out a cake half-way through their set and the whole venue sang happy birthday. Without sounding like a total arsehole, it was one of the best days of my life, and definitely in the top five best shows I’ve been to! On Friday they played My Girlfriend’s on Drugs, one of my favourites.^^
^^On Saturday we had a few of my uni friends stay for the weekend, and we made a massive BBQ. It wasn’t quite warm enough to eat outside, but it was great to eat chargrilled food anyway.^^
^^I made this recipe for chocolate peanut butter bars for the evening, and spent most of Sunday afternoon eating the leftovers. They were so good! And really simple to make.^^
^^The Last Supper. I tucked into a massive Chinese takeaway and glass of wine on Sunday evening, before this week’s challenge – I’m living off £10 for the week. 21 meals, plus snacks. I wrote a blog about it here if you would like to find out more about the challenge. So far I’ve eaten a lot of carbs, and drank some awful coffee. We’ll see how it goes…!^^
LOVE. Chocolate + peanut butter anything.//Researching Chicago and the Azores.//Finally clearing out the last couple of boxes and unpacking bags of clothes in the house.//
LISTENING. Millencolin. Their new album is so good!//Erm, I think that may be all I listened to…//
LINKS. Caitlyn Jenner’s incredible Vanity Fair cover.//Little Beee’s love letter to grey.//This beautiful shop in Lewes, photographed by Emma Harris.//
LAST WEEK. Spending time with good friends.//Reminiscing about good gigs.//Planning ahead for my £10 challenge.//
THIS WEEK. Living off £10 and most likely wanting a glass of wine/beer more than anything. Follow me on Twitter, I’ll be sharing my meals every day.//Already looking forward to watching London Road on the 9th. It has a live streaming Q&A with the key cast!//Kind of enjoying this not-June weather. There’s something so nice about it not being super cold, but staying indoors when it’s raining outside.//
How has your week been? I hope it’s been lovely. Also, do you have any tips for my £10 challenge? I currently have £1.61 left to spend. Must use it wisely. Oh, and sorry for liking this awful June weather.
It’s that time again! Issue six of Vegan Life magazine is out now, so I’ve put together a round-up of a few of my favourite articles and recipes from it. Just by looking at the cover I could tick off what I wanted to read, before I’d even opened the online mag! I love discovering new egg-replacers (I usually use a mushy banana, or rapeseed oil and an extra tsp of baking powder, or powdered egg replacement from Holland & Barrett) and the debate section always makes me think twice.
I keep meaning to sign up to The Vegan Kind! It’s a subscription-based monthly box of goodies, a bit like a Graze box, except that it covers all areas of life, and you can subscribe to a lifestyle box or a beauty box. In this issue the brains behind the business talk about why they started TVK and what made them take the leap from vegetarian to vegan.//I love it when you find something that just happens to be vegan. My latest has got to be skittles – no more stuffing my suitcase with them when we go to America, or giving Trout strict instructions to bring back bags and bags for me. Every issue there’s a round-up of some of the latest finds, and I think it’s a great way of showing how accessible – and fun! – being vegan can be.
Loads of great recipes, again! I’m a big fan of tofu and seitan, and don’t make either enough (especially seitan, as all the recipes I’ve ever made have taken quite a while to cook). The tofu bowl looks so good, and a really simple mid-week dinner which is perfect for me.
Those are my favourite bits from issue six – have you read it yet? What were your favourite articles and recipes? Visit the Vegan Life Magazine website and get yourself a subscription.
WEEK 21 OF 52
I hope everyone’s enjoying their extra long weekend! It was very much needed for me. Here are a few photos from last week, which are mostly of food. I hope you enjoy!
^^On Monday night Trout and I went to see RX Bandits. They were so good!^^
^^More pizza! I think this is becoming a problem…^^
^^Lunch from Sultan’s Delights at Street Diner. Some of my favourite food in the world.^^
^^On Saturday afternoon I met up with two friends (1. bride-to-be, 2. co-bridesmaid) to pick up our bridesmaids dresses and to make any final adjustments. It was amazing to see them finished and almost ready for the big day. They are so lovely, and I can’t wait to share photos! Afterwards we went for a walk around town and had lunch at a falafel cafe in the Laines. I had eaten lunch at home, so settled on this chocolate chip flapjack, but the other two had falafel wraps and rated them very highly. I’ll be going back ASAP!^^
^^Saturday night, Eurovision night! A couple of friends put on a simple evening and cooked a ton of amazing food. Two focaccia loaves, a huge tub of hummus, burgers, asian pasta salad, garlic dough balls, pitta chips, corn on the cob, potato wedges and pecan pie. It was all so good! Eurovision is so much fun – we played a super fast-paced sweepstake game, guessing the points that each country would award each other. I came 3rd!^^
^^On Sunday evening I cooked dinner (!!!). Spaghetti Bolognese and garlic bread (well, technically Sainsbury’s made the garlic bread and I put it in the oven…) with a glass of wine and my Eurovision prize sat next to me.^^
LOVE. Hearing Ras use his catflap to get out of the house for the first time. I was so proud!//Simple recipes, like flapjacks. Perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.//SKITTLES ARE VEGETARIAN/VEGAN AGAIN! So happy that they dumped the crushed beetles.//
LISTENING. Alkaline Trio.//Millencolin.//The Loved Ones.//
LINKS. This collection of matt lipsticks by Barry M. The pink looks brilliant!//Discovering Happily Grey’s blog. It’s true love.//This blog post on what to do when your confidence takes a nose dive.//
LAST WEEK. We went to see Mad Max. It is AMAZING. If you haven’t seen it yet, go go go!//An event at the top of BT Tower – that view never gets old.//Working a 50hr week and wrapping up the second stage of a big project. The end is in sight.//
THIS WEEK. Bank Holiday Monday, very much needed.//Big D and the Kids Table on Friday.//Friends coming to visit at the weekend. Super excited!//
I’ve put together a couple of guides to my favourite vegan make-up products, and I’ve recently picked up a few more that I thought I would share with you.
Marks & Spencer’s Autograph range
I love M&S, and their make-up range is brilliant. It’s a little more than I would usually spend on make-up (only slightly, though) and everything I’ve tried has been fantastic. This is one of the best lipsticks I’ve ever used, and it’s perfect for everyday use. The nail polish range applies really smoothly, dries quickly and stays glossy and chip-free for at least a few days. Go and buy the whole range, now!
Soap & Glory’s Thick & Fast mascara
My Mum gave me a big box of Soap & Glory products for Christmas, which I’ve slowly been working my way through. I’ll definitely be buying this mascara again when it runs out – it seperates all of my lashes, and with just one coat it makes a big impact. I wear two, and it doesn’t leave them looking like spiders legs.
Natural Collection powder
I bought this to save money – usually I just pick up something from the B. range at Superdrug, but I’d heard that a lot of Natural Collection products are vegan and this was only £1.99, so I gave it a try and am really happy with it. Definitely buying it again.
Those are my latest new finds – anything else you recommend? Leave a comment below, I love to try new products!
You can find my last vegan cosmetics blog post here.
The other day I was scrolling through Pinterest and came across the Orla Kiely SS15 collection. It’s so beautiful! I thought I would share a few of my favourite pieces. Now, who wants to buy me all of them?
So beautiful! I love the prints and the nod to the 60s (very rare for me, I’m really not a fan usually). What do you think?
WEEK 20 OF 52
^^On Monday night I headed to Morelli Zorelli for a night of pizza tasting. It was vegan heaven! Slice after slice after slice. We had a one-hour time slot, which ended up being almost two hours, and tried seven or eight (I lost count!) different pizzas, tucking into a slice of each.^^
^^We tried two different types of cheese, which I believe were VioLife and Cheezly. They even mentioned the ‘D’ word as a possibility in the future…DAIYA!!!^^
^^They also handed out free beer, which was just the icing on the cake of a perfect pizza evening.^^
^^Pesto had my vote. And I’m not even a huge fan of pesto! This one was incredible. I was really excited to try the hoisin and duck pizza, but it was actually a little too sweet for me. I don’t think I could eat a whole pizza!^^
^^Relaxing in bed with this face. Best end to the evening. Well, that and lying in bed with Trout watching a couple of episodes of Community.^^
^^Saturday afternoon, out in the garden, painting my nails and reading Waitress Kitchen magazine, with Ras chilling out in the corner. Can you spot his camouflaged paw?^^
^^On Sunday we went to my grandparents to celebrate my sister and my Grandad’s birthdays. It was a really relaxing day – Trout and I both agreed that sometimes you need a day where you don’t have your laptop and the signal isn’t strong enough to use the internet on your phone. We sat on the sofa, read the newspapers and took a nap. Perfect Sunday afternoon. In the evening we got a takeaway from this great place up the road – they do so many different mock meats – lamb, chicken, duck, cod, oh my! – we didn’t know where to start. We finally settled on a Mongolian cod curry, duck pancakes, the vegetarian starter platter, rice and stirfried battered broccoli. Look how much food there was! There were six of us…^^
LOVE. Pizza.//Spending Sunday ‘offline’. I’d like to try to keep this up, maybe every Sunday?//Opening the backdoor and relaxing in the garden with Ras. He’s so nervous, he won’t go outside without one of us lately.//
LISTENING. Dan Andriano.//No Trigger.//The Lawrence Arms.//
LINKS. This blog on A Rosie Outlook, about being confused about what you should be doing, what you want to be doing and what you’re not sure about doing.//This simple photo + quote on The Vanilla Bean Blog.//This guide to Chicago. I’m so excited!//
LAST WEEK. The shower breaking. Oy vey.//House warming at a friend’s, complete with cocktail bar and Xbox driving comp to raise money for their 100km walk soon.//Wrestling with our new oven, trying to install it ourselves…//
THIS WEEK. Big event in London.//Eurovision on Saturday!//So looking forward to next week’s Bank Holiday.//
I have such a set routine in the morning, and I love it. 6.30am. Wake up. I always used to be first in the bathroom but since Trout has started leaving earlier for the office, I’m second in. Run a comb through my hair and hope I can go another day without washing it. Brush my teeth, cleanse, tone. Shower.
6.50am. Head to the kitchen. Give Ras a cuddle. Kettle on, bowl out, fridge open. Water. Medication. Coffee in cup. Splash of water. Boiling water. Splash of water so I can drink it straight away.
Spoonful. Spoonful. Spoonful of Alpro. Lemon & lime at the moment, but usually coconut. Dried fruit, nuts, pieces of Nakd bar, ground chia seeds, peanut butter, whatever else I can find.
Switch on the news, try and get Ras to settle on the sofa, enjoy breakfast together. 7.20am. Tidy the kitchen. Start thinking about what to wear. Give up. Do my makeup. Dry shampoo. Still thinking about what to wear. Do I have any meetings? What does the weather forecast say.
Dressing gown off, underwear on. Ras is being so cute. Lie on the floor with him for a while. 7.35am. What am I wearing today? Perfume on. Have I packed my soup for lunch? Which trousers should I wear. That will do.
7.49am. What shall I listen to on my walk to work? Can’t listen to No Trigger again. 7.53am. Latest possible leaving time. Give Ras one last cuddle. I’m leaving now.
What does your morning routine look like?
WEEK 19 OF 52
^^On Bank Holiday Monday we went to watch Banger Racing at Arlington. I hadn’t been for years, and when I saw that it featured vans I had to go! It was such a fun day.^^
^^I didn’t get any footage of the big crashes, but you can hear a smash in this one and get an idea of what state the vans were before the end of the destruction derby. It was my favourite part of the whole day.^^
^^When we got back I couldn’t wait to get into my jimjams. It was a beer in bed kind of evening.^^
^^Spring soft tacos from one of my favourite cookbooks, Thomasina Miers’ Mexican Food Made Simple. Her chipotle sauce is amazing!^^
^^On Saturday I went to Tonbridge to see my sister’s new flat and to celebrate her birthday. It was so nice to see her new place, and thankfully the weather was beautiful.^^
^^We went for lunch in a really nice cafe called Basil. These salads were so good!^^
^^After lunch we wandered round town and popped into an American candy shop. I love these massive cans! They look like they’re red bull sized but they’re not – they’re HUGE! I bought Trout a can of the peach iced tea.^^
^^This is Bourbon! Last week his brother sadly passed away and this guy chewed his leg off, clean to the bone. How horrible is that!?^^
^^The man himself! He is pretty cute.^^
^^After some Pimms and snacks we headed to the park for a game of rounders and croquet. I’ve never played croquet before, it was fun! Especially when you cheat and win ;)^^
^^It brought out some interesting moves.^^
^^On Sunday I finally got to meet little Finley! It was so nice to catch up with Laura. We don’t get to see each other much, living at opposite ends of the country, but it’s always great when we do get to meet up. Look how nice her iced coffee is, too.^^
LOVE. Not feeling like I need to buy new clothes. Don’t get me wrong, I could probably do with buying a new pair of shoes or perhaps some more spring-like clothes, but at the moment I’m totally focused on saving money for the house and for holidays, so the ‘small stuff’ doesn’t really come close.//
LINKS. Saying that, I’m still totally window-shopping and wouldn’t say no to this massive sack dress and this block top from People Tree. Swoon.//Rachel’s This Week’s Flowers series.//This colourful kitchen from Oh Joy! I love the cut-out storage jars.//
LAST WEEK. Having to part ways with our oven, and coming to the realisation that paying for things around the house will never end and surveys don’t tell you shit. Well, they tell you some shit, but for the most part you have no clue what you are getting yourself into when you buy a house. Not that I would change it for anything, and we’re both kind of secretly pleased because we can now buy a new oven!//Finally organising another evening of our Extreme Film Society. It’s been months since our last meeting, and I’ve so missed watching horrific films. This time we watched Dumplings and a few short 10 minute films, which are always a favourite for me.//Organising another blogger event for one of my clients. I really love doing it!//
THIS WEEK. Going to Morelli Zorelli in a bit to sample some more of their vegan menu.//Celebrating family birthdays. It’s my sister’s 26th and my Grandad’s 80th birthdays this week, so we’re all getting together at the weekend.//Researching Chicago. Please leave suggestions in the comments below, any and all recommendations gratefully received!//
A massive thank you to Rita for nominating me for a Liebster Award! I have been nominated before, a few years ago, but I don’t think I ever completed the questions – sorry whoever nominated me! So I thought that this time around I would actually get on it. Hey Rita is one of my favourite blogs, so it was lovely to be nominated by her. You can find her Liebster Award answers here, and you can find out a bit more about me below.
1. If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be? I’m tempted to pick Berlin, because I love it so much, or Barcelona, because my best friend lives there, but I’m going to go with somewhere that I haven’t been before – Marrakech.
2. Are there any impressive party tricks you can pull off? I can make people slightly uncomfortable when I tell them I’m vegan. Does that count?
3. What’s your current job? Digital Marketing Manager at a digital agency in Brighton. I also work on a freelance basis for another agency in Hove.
4. How does a perfect day look like to you? If we’re talking dream days, it would involve getting on a plane and going somewhere amazing. But if we’re talking regular-average-Joe-kind of days, here’s how it would go: Wake up at home with Trout, after 8am. Go and get Rasputin and bring him back to bed. I would have time to enjoy breakfast in bed, paint my nails, and maybe watch an episode of Community.
I’d head up to London and work through the to-do list I put together a couple of weeks ago before ending the day seeing The Flatliners live. Or Strike Anywhere, because they haven’t played the UK since 2009. Then I’d head to the airport ;) Now that sounds pretty darn perfect to me.
5. What’s your favourite beauty product? I listed a few of them in this post. I would add the matt range of lipsticks and nail polish from M&S’s Autograph range.
6. What’s your current obsession? Spotify. Making holiday plans. Trying desperately to save my pennies. Making the time to blog more. Prada Candy and Moschino Glamour.
7. Tell us about something that changed your life for the better. Funnily enough, getting made redundant in 2012! It gave me the push I needed to really go out and get the job that I wanted (as opposed to applying for the odd job here and there) and meant that I eventually got the job that I’m in at the moment. Bonus!
8. Favourite TV show? This is impossible. My heart wants to say Friends or Breaking Bad. But it also wants to say Parks and Rec, 24 Hours in Police Custody, Sex and the City, Made in Chelsea, Better Call Saul, Orange is the New Black…
9. Favourite food? Reubens, burgers, dosas, chocolate peanut butter cheesecake… And anything that Terre a Terre serves.
10. Do you have a special nickname? Erm… Troutina. I was known as Troutina from the age of 16 up until around 25 when I tried to phase it out, which was somewhat successful. My parents also call me Tizz, because I used to get in touch a tizz about things when I was little. Some things never change!
11. Name one thing you can’t live without. So there you have it – a few things that you probably knew about me already, and some that you might not, all rolled into one. Here are my nominations:
- A Beautiful Adventure
- Cider with Sophie
- London Vegan Bird
- Dimples Diaries
- Bless the Weather
- The Only Place
- Sarah’s Baby Scribbles
- The Private Life of a Girl
- The Glow Within
And your questions:
- What’s your current job?
- What’s your favourite food?
- What’s your plan for the next five years?
- Tell us about something that changed your life for the better.
- How does a perfect day look like for you?
- Tell us something special about you.
- Top five countries you want to travel to?
- Favourite band and genre of music?
- You have been granted three wishes. What are they?
- If you could live anywhere besides the city/country you live in, where would it be?
Last year I wrote a piece on why I was disillusioned with the world of blogging, and why I would be cutting back even more on brand partnerships. For the most part I’m getting pretty good at responding politely to PR requests (I got into a bad habit of ignoring these emails entirely) but lately there seems to be a new breed of outreach ‘specialists’. A new, lazy marketer who has developed a ‘strategy’ of working with bloggers that involves them coming up with a fantastic theme – like travel! or home decor! – and their campaign outline is… pfft. You do the work for me.
Every week I get a string of emails from agencies asking me to write a blog post on their chosen subject, include a couple of their carefully selected links, and then promote it on social media using their handles and hashtags. In return they will… possibly tweet about it. And I might win something. That’s it. No campaign idea, no comp, no nothing.
So my question to agencies that think this is an outreach strategy. WHAT IS YOUR STRATEGY. And why are you being so ignorant and insulting?
For me personally, if you ‘love‘ my blog so much – why don’t you read the About page? Heck, why don’t you read my one sentence bio on the right, above my email address?! If you did, you might have spotted that a) I’m a freelance writer – I get paid for writing about things. Funnily enough, I don’t do it for free! And b) I’m a digital marketing manager. I do what you do. Except I have half an idea how outreach programmes should be run (from both sides of the coin) and again – I get paid to do this! I make sure that the brands I work with understand that you have to give something to gain something, and like to think that on the most part these are a success for both parties involved. Make things fun, give bloggers something new to experience and write about, comp them appropriately and not only will you build a relationship with them, you won’t be a total arsehole in the process.
So, in conclusion, when you note in your email footer that you’re an outreach specialist – you might want to re-think it and switch it up to, ‘lazy content writer that can’t write for shit and expects bloggers to do it for free, for the chance of possibly, maybe, winning something and possibly, maybe, getting tweeted from our account that has 473 followers!’ Tempting, isn’t it?
Why does this need to be said? Sigh.
WEEK 18 OF 52
^^ A new pizza place opened up round the corner from work, and they kindly sent my office-sharing buddy Aisley off with a vegan flapjack for me. It was so good! Inside were slivers of dried apple, which is a pretty flippin’ genious.^^
^^My iPod gave up the ghost :( As sad as I am though, the silver lining is that I now have Spotify! Which I am absolutely loving. I used to be very lazy at adding new bands and albums to my iPod, and listened to a lot of the same music – now I’m catching up with forgotten bands, discovering new ones and really enjoying this new music experience (yes I know, I am very old and very late to the game ;))^^
^^On Thursday Trout and I went to go and see Frenzal Rhomb in Camden. I’d never seen them before, and The Underworld is one of my favourite venues, so this was a double-whammy night for me. If you’ve never listened to them before, this song is a great place to start. Then listen to this one. Then let me know what you think.^^
^^Supporting were Mike TV, who I haven’t seen in so long. Actually the last time I was at the Underworld was to see them and The Flatliners.^^
^^Frenzal Rhomb. So good. They give the impression they’re so relaxed and are just having fun, but they were so tight and knew exactly what they were doing. One of the best shows I’ve probably ever been to, randomly enough.^^
^^After getting only five hours sleep on Thursday night (this is not enough for me!) the call of the kebab was too strong on Friday. I had all good intentions in the queue at Street Diner, and then when the thought of greasy strips of seitan stuffed in a pitta with salad, chilli sauce, tzatziki popped into my brain – well, I couldn’t resist.^^
^^Friday night we went out for a friend’s birthday – just a few drinks at a local pub – and on our way home we finally found the right opportunity to try this pizza van. I see it every day and always think it’s such a great idea, and one day I’ll try it. Well, Friday was that day.^^
^^Every pizza is made in front of you, and it’s ready in minutes.^^
^^As you can probably tell, I’ve been on a bit of a pizza kick lately ;)^^
^^A Saturday afternoon snack of coconut yogurt, blobs of salty peanut butter, crumbled digestive biscuit, a sprinkling of granola and chunks of warm choc orange Nakd bar. Yum!^^
^^Hanging out with Ras on Sunday morning.^^
^^On Sunday Trout wanted to go up to Bluewater to do a bit shopping, and while we were there we had lunch at Comptoir. I’d never heard of them before, but the staff knew exactly what was vegan and the food was amazing. Couldn’t ask for a better lunch in a shopping centre!^^
LOVE. Spotify! And discovering new bands, or at least albums that I’d never listened to before.//Watching Ras seek out the only sunkissed patch of carpet in our bedroom.//You know what I’m not loving? All the flippin’ spiders that seem to live in our house. UGH.//
LINKS. How to run a blog with integrity.//This outfit from No Fashion Victims. I really, really want a ‘leather’ jacket.//This super old article on the daily routines of writers.//
LAST WEEK. Frenzal Rhomb! So good.//So many things breaking. Both ovens (our oven has two ovens. I don’t know why. Anyway, they both broke), my iPod. Oy vey.//Pizza! I was lucky enough to enjoy pizza at Morelli Zorelli on Tuesday – you can read my review here.//
THIS WEEK. Four-day week.//Planning holidays. The best kind of planning.//Going to watch banger racing today!//
The busy season has hit Trout’s work hard already, so instead of turning into a crazy cat lady five nights of the week I decided to meet a friend for a mid-week pizza date. I was kindly invited by Morelli Zorelli to try a few more of their vegan options – Trout and I had been a couple of months ago and loved their vegan cheese – so I was excited to see what other offerings they would have.
Last time I had the Veggie Hot and it was really good – I’m a sucker for caramelised red onions at the best of times! This time I was pretty sure I was going to go for the Vegan Pepperoni, but when I got chatting to Ken, the owner, he let me know that at the moment they had pretty much any vegan meat you could ask for. Duck, chicken, bacon… I had to order the BBQ Chicken (my favourite pizza to make at home) and my date for the evening, also Christina, went for the Vegan Pepperoni with extra chunks of chorizo.
I chatted to Ken about vegan wine and beer, and I have to confess I’m not very clued up. If I know it’s vegan I’ll drink it, if I know it’s not vegan I won’t drink it. Anything in between is a bit of a blur, which is why I rely on brilliant places like Sainsbury’s, M&S and Co-op to tell me. Gawd bless their labelling. Anyway, they’re getting in proper vegan alcohol and I’m just hoping that Peroni is one of them…
Hello, lover. Swoon. The BBQ chicken came with a tomato base, rather than the BBQ base advertised in the menu, which I was quite glad about. I remember working in a pizza shop years ago (this doesn’t make me a pizza expert, however I did meet Papa John), and customers would order a BBQ base with BBQ sauce drizzled on top and a handful of BBQ dips on the side. Really, that sounds disgusting. As a fairly recent convert to the BBQ fan club this was the perfect amount of sweetness, and the chicken was lightly coated which was lovely. The cheese melted beautifully (I’m not a huge ‘cheese’ fan, and can’t bear it when it’s piled on and tastes like glue), and the distribution of toppings was just right.
It wouldn’t be a proper dinner date without sharing our food. It wasn’t quite Lady and the Tramp but it was much tastier, and neither of us could decide whose pizza was better. I loved the spicyness and flavour of the Vegan Pepperoni, she loved the combination of toppings on the BBQ Chicken. I loved the caramelised red onions on the BBQ Chicken, she loved the simplicity of the Vegan Pepperoni. Let’s call it a tie ;)
When I went vegan almost 10 years ago I would never have believed that I would be sitting down at a restaurant eating pizza with ‘cheese’ and ‘meat’ on. It still seems kind of crazy, even now! I look back at when I went veggie 16 years ago and you could only buy three Quorn products at the supermarket. I rapidly learnt to like vegetables. For places like Morelli Zorelli to not only recognise that there is a market out there for vegan options, but to fully embrace it with a massive selection to choose from and without charging extra – it’s fantastic. I’ll be back to try the duck very soon!
WEEK 17 OF 52
Last week didn’t get off to the best start. After Jasper passed away it was pretty crap, but I tried to just focus on work and look forward to seeing my family at the weekend. Thankfully the days went by pretty quickly, and soon enough I was sitting down on Friday evening with a glass of wine, a computer in front of me and some time alone at home.
^^Starting the day with a cinnamon + raisin bagel, coffee, a bit of writing and Twitter.^^
^^I finally picked up two of the new flavours of treats that Nakd have brought out. They are amazing!^^
^^Chilling out with Rasputin, lapping up the sunshine in our bedroom. Such a cutey.^^
^^Friday night = curry night for us.^^
^^Trout bought me these beautiful flowers and a bar of dark chocolate on his way home, after I heard the news. It was so sweet. My Mum called me on my way home, without realising I was on the train. Tears rolled down my cheeks, we lost connection as I went through a tunnel, she called back and I left the station. We ended the call and I dialled Trout’s number immediately, walking behind fellow commuters, crying in silence. Since then I haven’t really cried. A little at home with my family, but I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet.^^
^^There’s a place near my parents that does the best chinese food – and we got free veggie spring rolls! What more could you want. It was really nice to spend the evening all together.^^
^^At home, feeding Jake prawn crackers after dinner.^^
^^Sunday afternoon, catching up with some reading and a few pieces of rocky road chocolate. The best way to spend an afternoon, right?^^
No photographic evidence, but Sunday started off in a pretty great way. Trout and I woke up early and began preparing brunch for friends. We made a breakfast burrito, stuffed with scrambled tofu, refried beans, guacamole and a ‘chorizo’ + potato hash, covered in salsa and enjoyed with mugs of tea, coffee and juice. It was such a lovely start to the day, and we sat around our new table chatting for hours. How was your Sunday? I hope it was just as relaxing.
LOVE. Making plans with friends.//Pinterest! I’ve got the app on my phone and love scrolling through in the evening.//Organising my finances.//
LINKS. This super quick recipe for roasted tomato + quinoa soup from Laura.//This blog on blogging from Door Sixteen.//This piece of site-specific work by Paige Smith.
LAST WEEK. Eating a LOT!//Thinking about Jasper.//Trying to make the time to read and not get distracted.//
THIS WEEK. Watching Mad Men. We’ve finally gotten around to downloading all of the episodes, and are working our way through them. It’s so good! And yes I realise how late to the game we are…//Frenzal Rhomb on Thursday!//Birthday drinks with a friend on Friday.//Trying to find bedside tables that we both agree on. The main problem is that I don’t like bedside tables. Any tips?//
Whilst catching up with a few of my favourite blogs I rediscovered The Sartorialist. I used to check it daily but forgot about it for months (years?), so I was very happy to spend time catching up. Here are a few of my favourite outfits from the past month.
Always oversized when it comes to coats.//
panels//pastel + black
Something about orange keeps drawing me in at the moment. Slightly tempted to give tangerine lippy a try.//
matching shoes + tights//orange + navy
I guess I have a thing for oversized trousers, rolled or cuffed at the ankles, or cascading over your toes. Perhaps a throwback to the days when I wore jeans that dragged through the rain and the leaves and the litter?//
light linen//silver brogues
heavy + structured//delicate heels
pale + textured//layered//clutch
walking towards you, or away from you?
And a special mention to these two stylish chaps://
hint of a tattoo//hint of an excellent sock
classic tailoring//experimental mind
I just wanted to put together a little blog for my lovely dog Jasper, who passed away on Monday. He was only eight years old so it was a bit of a shock, especially as I’d only found out he was unwell a few days before. Losing a pet is never easy, and I’ll miss his ever-enthusiastic face and puppy-like tendencies. Even as his eyebrows turned grey and he started napping more he was mistaken for a puppy because of his energy and personality. What a funny little one. I’m going home this afternoon to spend time with my family, and to give our other dog Jake an extra big hug.
Bye froggy legs x
I’ve been craving a London day for so long – it’s been months. Whenever I see something that catches my eye I open the ‘notes’ on my phone and jot it down. (Side note: Does anyone else have 73 ‘notes’ on the go? Half-written words, shopping lists, Christmas presents thought up eight months early, old meter readings, brands of vegan nail polish, films to watch… I’m accumulating them as quickly as I am unpublished drafts right here.)
Here are a select few places that I’ve been dreaming of visiting, not including parks, streets, bars or friend’s houses. Because you’ve got to draw the line somewhere, and you can never fit in that much when you’re in London, and I always like to leave a little space for spontaneity and for dedicating some serious time to hanging out with friends.
The name. The concept. The VEGAN OPTIONS. Word on the (vegan) street is that they know their stuff. Four types of cereal drowned in almond milk and topped with party rings? Yes, please!
My favourite of all the Tate’s, Britain is a great space and this behind-the-scenes exhibition looks fascinating. I love the way that Nick Waplington talks about his work in the video.
My favourite museum in London, they not only have this amazing crime exhibition on (how has Trout seen this and I haven’t?!) but they also have an exhibition of Victorian vibrators. I tell you.
A brand new pop-up, their menu changes depending on where they are but it always looks so good and it’s always vegan. What more could you want?!
The oldest wine bar in London, I absolutely love popping in for a drink. Only serving wine, or port, it’s one of the most romantic places I’ve ever been.
Special mention also has to go to Norman’s Coach and Horses, The Waiting Room and Cookies and Scream for more food, Soho to pick up a few magazines, shopping in Liberty, a wander down the Southbank, coffee at Fuckoffee, a quick stop in Kensington and a visit to Whole Foods. If I could fit you all in, believe me, I would.
What are your favourite things to do in London?
Any recommendations for when I finally get up there?
Issue five of Vegan Life magazine is finally here, and personally I think it’s their finest yet. It’s their ‘sandwich’ issue, so it’s packed with loads of different sarnie ideas to try. I’m a big fan of the sandwich, so I’ll be working my way through their checklist.
^^No sneaky peeks! You’ll have to buy or download a copy to see what they are ;)^^
^^Great to see Food for Friends being featured! A great veggie restaurant in Brighton.^^
^^A PERFECT recipe for the Mexican brunch we’re putting on for friends on Sunday morning! Don’t you love it when coincidences like this happen?^^
^^Vegan pannacotta! I’ve never had a ‘real’ one before, so might give this recipe a whirl.^^
^^Love their news roundup, including a mention of Eastenders! Who would have thought it.^^
Those are my favourite bits from issue five, which is available to download or buy in print – it’s in shops TODAY! You can search for your nearest stockist on their website. I’m really excited that they’ll be monthly now, too. Oh, and I have to say that the adverts are half the fun in this magazine, they’re genuinely useful and I’ve discovered some great brands through them.
Have you picked up this one or any of their previous issues?
Let me know what your favourite bits are!
WEEK 16 OF 52
^^I think this photo summarises how last week went. The weather has been beautiful here! I feel so lucky to work three minutes from the beach, and there are few better ways to spend the evening than lying on the pebbles with beer and good friends, watching the sun set. This photo didn’t even need editing. Brighton, you’re a natural beauty.^^
^^A post-work coffee from Small Batch and a flapjack from H&B. This was such a lovely way to unwind after a long day, and filled an hour or so before I met Trout and we went to the pub for a Parks and Rec quiz. We won the Jerry Prize! We came last by a long, long way…^^
^^Homemade chinese food! I cooked up some shredded ‘duck’ pieces, sliced some spring onion and cucumber, steamed pancakes, made an asian cucumber salad and served with a handful of thai rice crackers. Yum!^^
^^I ran out of soup to bring to work so decided to treat myself to a lunchbox from Smorl’s. So many different salads! It’s nowhere near as good as Sultan’s but it was a pretty darn tasty way to spend a lunchtime. Especially as I found out I had won Tortilla’s #TortillaTuesday competition!! Free burritos and chips!! Oh my. We’re planning on a lunch date there tomorrow.^^
^^Sigh. This is how I spent many evenings last week. But, success! He has properly learnt how to get back into the house through his cat flap, and doesn’t need any encouragement or treats. It’s just getting him to go out that’s not going quite so well…^^
^^Tacos! I’m more of a fan of soft tacos but crunchy ones are fun, too.^^
^^Saturday was awesome. It was my ‘getting-shit-done’ day, and my ticklist was looking pretty darn good. I finally tidied most of our clothes away, I paid a couple of bills, set up a direct debit, completed some freelance work and sorted my finances out. It was so satisfying!! I also got around to trying this brilliant tip – pop an Alpro pudding into the microwave, heat it for 30 seconds, stir it, and then heat for about 15 seconds more. Sheer brilliance!^^
^^Sunday was another ‘getting-shit-done’ day, starting with a 3k run at 8am with Trout, a visit to his sister’s to wish his niece a happy birthday, a weekly food shop, a few hours of gardening and one half of our desk legs finished. I love days like this! I got rid of all the dead snails and dug up weeds and pulled out a dead lavender bush and generally tidied up pretty much a whole section of the garden. So satisfying. There’s so much left to do, but it felt good to at least get this done.^^
^^Ras was absolutely loving being outside all day! He’s getting a lot more confident, and in the afternoon he started jumping on things. He hung out on the water butt, and took his first walk along the fence! It wasn’t the most graceful of walks, but he managed it, and jumped onto our roof, then walked across the neighbours roof. I don’t think it will be too long before he really starts exploring! He’s started sitting on the water butt and peering into the house, watching us make dinner. It’s pretty much the cutest thing ever.^^
EAT. Many different cuisines!//Cinnamon + raison bagels.//Pickle and shredded lettuce toast sandwiches. I’m telling you, they’re good.//
MOVE. I ran! I ran! Well, to be honest, it was more of a jog, but it’s more exercise than I’ve done in months and that made me happy.//Three hours of gardening is more tiring than you might think! I definitely felt like I had a bit of a workout.//
WEAR. Not wearing these ethical ‘converse’ trainers in white because they’re NEVER IN STOCK. Sigh.//
LOVE. Getting. Shit.Done.//Seeing our house coming together, slowly but surely. Our dining room table finally came, and I’m so happy with it. I’ll hopefully share some photos over the coming weeks (months) (years), but right now I can’t stop running my fingertips over the wood’s natural imperfections and thinking about the person that built this table for us. It’s furniture love!//
LINKS. Catching up with a new blog find, Laura Tosney. It’s so beautiful and as a few of us have been saying, what blogging should be (and always was) about.//Man Repeller’s Instagram. She always makes me laugh but lately she has been KILLING it.//These strawberry banana oat bars from Running With Spoons. Holy yum they look good!//
LAST WEEK. Hanging out on the beach.//Wishing it was just a little bit warmer, but trying not to complain.//
THIS WEEK. Saying, ‘Is it pay day yet?’ a thousand times.//Preparing for a Mexican brunch on Sunday at our house!//So looking forward to dinner at Morelli Zorelli tonight.//Reading Vegan Life magazine. I think it’s their best issue yet.//Hanging out with our new table.//
WEEK 15 OF 52
^^Spring has sprung! This isn’t my flowerbed but my garden is blossoming and for that I am so thankful to our home’s previous owners, who were more green fingered than I’ll ever be. I spy roses and Trout has spotted bluebells and I’m so excited for the rest of the garden to bloom! These flowers have been planted by the council near our house, and they are so beautiful. It’s such a lovely sight to and from work.^^
^^Friday night, and our first dinner outside in the garden. It was the perfect end to a short-but-long week. You know those weeks when it doesn’t matter if it’s three-or-one-or-five days, it’s still long and stressful and tiring? It was one of those for me. I was just happy to have made the train home with seconds to spare, only to find that Trout was on the same train with curry in hand and spring plans in mind. It was so nice to eat at our new table and chairs, with Ras playing the garden behind us.^^
^^Whiskerface’s bunny legs. Such a cutey.^^
^^Our first BBQ of the year! We invited a few friends round to enjoy the April sunshine and some good food. We were a little too excited and may have expected it to be warmer, but with the right jumpers on it was fine, and so nice to eat outside together.^^
^^Yum! We had burgers, sausages, mushrooms, sweetcorn (YUCK), ‘chicken’ kebabs, potato salad, coleslaw, salad, crisps and hummus.^^
^^On Sunday we went to watch some racing at Brands Hatch. We bought tickets for a friend’s birthday and I went along because I love going to watch banger racing so thought I might like this, too. And I did! It was so much fun.^^
^^I mainly went for the truck racing…^^
^^The legends cars were awesome, too! In every race we picked out our favourite drivers at the beginning and followed them throughout the day. #65 was mine (Orange is the New Black fan right here!) and when we did the pit walk I had to have my photo taken with him.^^
^^Getting to see them all waiting to go out was pretty cool^^
^^This car was being worked on until the very last second. They shouted for everyone to move out the way, bump started it and somehow it made it to the grid in time, and the engine started for the race.^^
^^They also had a monster truck ride! This was amazing. I could have done this ten times over.^^
^^With sunburnt faces we sat and ate ice-cream cones when we got home.^^
^^Salted caramel Almond Dream ice-cream in a chocolate topped cone. Perfect.^^
EAT. BBQ food! One of the best kinds of food.//More salads – it’s finally the weather for it!//
MOVE. Considering going for a run now that it’s light when I come home from work. Still considering this.//
WEAR. Spring jackets!//Blush Pink lipstick from M&S.//Purple pumps.//
LOVE. Getting back into my personal Twitter account. I spend all day running six client’s accounts, so I have very little time or energy or enthusiasm to even look at my own – but I’m really enjoying spending time on it lately.//Discovering new blogs, like Reading my Tea Leaves.//Hanging out with Ras in the garden after work.//
LINKS. What to do when people don’t believe in you. I think everyone can relate to this on some level – for me, it was when I made the decision to move from London to Brighton. There were a few people who thought I was crazy and tried to make me question whether it was a good idea or just downright stupid. I knew in my heart it was the right thing to do though, and you should always listen to your heart over anything else – if it doesn’t work out, at least you know you made the right decision for you, not for anyone else. And that’s all that matters.//An article on résumé virtues vs eulogy virtues, shared on Meg Fee’s blog.//
LAST WEEK. Our first BBQ of the year!//Getting on top of my to-do list (probably going to regret saying that…)//
THIS WEEK. Looking forward to a Saturday to myself. Trout’s having a day with friends and I’ve got big plans to do absolutely nothing aside from relax, catch up on Made in Chelsea, clean the house and indulge in some ‘me-time‘.//I might splash out on a cafetiere and a few bags of ground coffee. We have it all day every day at work, and now instant coffee really isn’t cutting it anymore.//
I’m not the best at organising much – I get a bit stressed out and panic and book entirely the wrong things on the wrong dates on entirely the wrong planet. Well, that’s what it feels like, anyway! So I knew that when it came to organising Trout’s 30th birthday, I needed to put my sensible hat on and start planning in February.
The only thing I really knew that I wanted to book was flyboarding. I did some research and sent a few emails and found that the only place in the country that was open on Trout’s birthday was in Chepstow – so that’s where I booked. Then I stared at a map for about two weeks trying to figure out what to do next. Stay nearby? Stay in Bath? Stay in Bristol? Let’s stay in Bristol. What can we do in Bristol? I don’t think Trout likes Bristol. What can we do that’s not in Bristol? Sigh.
^^In the end I asked friends for their suggestions. A sweet friend told me about Cheddar Gorge (never heard of it before…) so that’s where we stopped first. The views were amazing, and the caves were stunning.^^
^^Goats! And a black sheep!^^
^^The caves at Cheddar Gorge. So beautiful!^^
^^There’s nothing quite like getting back to a hotel, having a hot shower and slipping into a big, fluffy dressing gown. Bliss. We stayed at Future Inns because it was the only place in the centre that had free parking, and it’s in a pretty perfect location.^^
^^Birthday boy’s dinner. We went low-key and picked Ganesha, a south indian restaurant, to celebrate at. The food was pretty good, and the host was lovely.^^
^^I can never resist a dosa when it’s on the menu!^^
The next morning we woke up early and threw on some clothes before jumping in the car and driving to Chepstow. The flyboarding was a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I want to go back! It took me quite a while to get the hang of, unlike Trout who managed to get it almost straight away, but I still really enjoyed it and managed to get a fair distance out of the water. I don’t have any photos from the morning, which is a shame – but I can’t recommend this place enough. It was held at the National Diving and Activity Centre, who offer a whole host of other activities. I really want to go back to have a go on the massive zip slide! The venue is an old quarry, so it’s a great setting.
We headed back to the hotel to shower and change before walking two miles to find a pub that promised good vegan food and beer, only to be told that they had stopped serving food… Isn’t it fun when that happens? So we walked two miles back and settled on The Cosy Club, and I’m so glad we did!
^^The building was so beautiful.^^
^^Not the best place for two vegans to sit…^^
^^They’ve got a separate vegan menu, which is amazing.^^
^^Burgers! You know I can’t resist a good burger ;)^^
After our meal we walked around Bristol and did a bit of shopping – there are so many beautiful independent shops, as well as every high street shop you could ever ask for. Between the flyboarding and the trek for lunch and the shopping we were pretty exhausted, so headed back to our hotel to chill out for a bit.
^^Pizza in bed. The best way to eat pizza – especially when you don’t have to wash the bedding after you’ve dropped pizza all over it… We ordered from PepeNerorganic, which just happened to be around the corner. They have meat, veggie and vegan options, and everything tasted so good! We went a bit wild and ordered two pizzas, lasagne and chocolate cake, because we wanted to try everything, and it meant Trout had breakfast and I had a slice for lunch the next day.^^
The next morning we slept in, Trout made a playlist for his birthday party and then we drove all the way home. When we stepped through the door I couldn’t quite believe I had managed to pull off the past few days, and I’m so thankful that I did! Maybe it’s because I’m soon approaching ‘proper-adulthood’?
Have you been to Bristol? Would you recommend anything else to do?
Have you been flyboarding? Any other vegan places you love in Bristol?
The days leading up to the Easter weekend were super busy, so I was more than happy to spend most of Easter Sunday and Monday relaxing at my parents house. There’s nothing like spending time eating good food with the people that you love. Here are a few photos from the bank holiday weekend.
^^We began Easter morning by opening our Easter eggs together, before our friends woke up. This was Ras’ Easter egg – he seemed interested at first, but only had a couple of bites before giving up. Oh well!^^
^^Trout bought me a Hotel Chocolat milk-free milk chocolate egg. It’s pretty good – but I think it could be creamier. Maybe Ras would have been more interested in mine? We spent the rest of the morning enjoying brunch with friends, and playing on the F1 scalextric that Trout received for his birthday from friends.^^
^^I think Ras loved it more than anyone!^^
^^Later in the afternoon we drove over to my family’s home for an early meal together. We had a cranberry nut roast with roast potatoes, carrots, broccoli, spring greens and asparagus, followed by Christmas pudding. It was so good! I’ll never pass up the offer of Christmas pudding, even if it was four months later. As my Mum wisely pointed out – it’s a celebration pudding.^^
^^I don’t know how I managed to get it in a perfect circle, especially as it was a joint dishing-up effort between me and my sister!^^
^^On Monday morning we took a trip on a steam train together as a family. For Christmas/Easter Trout and I bought my family tickets, and it was so much fun! The train left from Tunbridge Wells and ended at Eridge, before going back again.^^
^^My Mum and my sister enjoying the train journey.^^
^^I wasn’t going to include this photo, but then I looked a little closer and realised that there is a kid photobombing us! Amazing. We were enjoying the trip more than we look ;)^^
^^I love the old station signs.^^
^^My sister sitting in the super cute waiting room at Eridge station.^^
^^After we got back to Tunbridge Wells we headed to The Pantiles for lunch at my sister’s favourite cafe, Juliette’s. It’s a very sweet cafe and they have a good understanding of what’s vegan and what isn’t, so there’s usually something we can eat. These salads were pretty good, and the soup was lovely.^^
^^Hey Jasper! After lunch Trout and I did a bit of shopping then headed back to my parents for a few more cuddles with the dogs, before heading home for an evening outside with Ras.^^
I hope you all had a lovely Easter, enjoyed some time with family and ate plenty of chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and all the snacks in between.
WEEKS 13 + 14 OF 52
It’s been a bit quiet over here, hasn’t it! I’ve been so busy I’ve barely even switched on my laptop. Between tying up loose ends at work, organising Trout’s 30th birthday and enjoying the long Easter break, it’s been a bit mad. I’ve rolled the last couple of weeks into one, and here’s what I’ve been up to.
^^Tasting our way around vegan ‘prawn’ crackers. All so good! I think the thai spiced crackers from Tesco might be my favourite, though.^^
^^Hanging out with Ras in the morning, before I get ready for work.^^
^^VEGFEST!! It was so much fun. I discovered so many new brands, like this vegan cheese company – Tyne Chease.^^
^^Cocoafeliz at VegFest. I was actually quite disappointed, though – we bought a box of 12 chocolates and they didn’t have that much flavour or enough sweetness.^^
^^We were so inspired by the cheese, we had a wine + cheese evening with my sister and friends when we got back.^^
^^The next morning we went to a friend’s house for brunch, and I got to hang out with this cutey. She loves playing ‘fetch’, and rubbing her face against her ball!^^
^^Brunch! Including chocolate twists bought from VegFest, and Jus-Rol croissants.^^
^^Vegan egg mayo and coleslaw, also bought from VegFest.^^
^^Napping with these guys. No better way to spend a Sunday afternoon.^^
^^Ferrero Rocher cupcake from Ms Cupcake. Yes, another goodie bought at VegFest. And yes, that dent would be from where I dropped my phone.^^
^^A Spanish feast! Trout made paella, and we had bread dipped in oil and balsamic, or rubbed with ripe tomatoes and drizzled with oil and a sprinkling of salt, olives and those amazing peppers that are like playing pepper roulette – you don’t know which one will be spicy!^^
^^Trout’s birthday cake! Chocolate cake with vanilla frosting, topped with caramel and popcorn. I’ll be sharing more photos from his birthday in another blog post.^^
^^A morning spent on a steam train, on Easter Monday.^^
^^An afternoon spent in the garden, watching Ras explore his new territory.^^
EAT. Cake! Easter eggs, the best pizza ever in Bristol, roast dinner.//
MOVE. A heck of a lot of walking around Bristol, and flyboarding!//
WEAR. Nothing super special – am hoping to be digging out more summery clothes very soon. I’ll be happy just wearing spring jackets, to be honest.//
LOVE. Having time in the evening to write. Trout’s been getting back late from work, which isn’t nice as I don’t get to spend as much time with him, but it does mean I can spend time on my blog, which is nice.//Having time to read. I’m on my third book in three months thanks to commuting, and I’m loving this time to read on my way to and from work.//Celebrating Trout’s 30th.//
LINK. This blog post on how to recover from an unproductive day. I am terrible at feeling like poop when I haven’t done enough (although more often than not I’ve still filled my day with so many things – just not ‘enough’ things for my brain to feel satisfied).//This recipe for dark chocolate orange tart from Maple Spice.//This blog from Dainty Squid on blogging being a real job. It’s not the case for me personally, but I still found it interesting.//This guest blog post that I wrote on the Tech4Good Awards for Go ON UK.//
LAST WEEK(S). Hanging out in Bristol.//Stressing that the plans I’d made wouldn’t work out!//Enjoying the beautiful sunshine at the weekend.//Reading Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, which I’m ashamed to say was gifted to me by a sweet friend in the summer of 2012 for a road trip me and Trout took… Better late than never, right?!//
THIS WEEK. Eagerly awaiting the promised 20c weather, and hoping to spend as much time as possible outside.//BBQ, please!//Truck racing at Brands Hatch.//
Ever since I got my iPhone last year I’ve been pretty much obsessed by Instagram. I love how you can find so many inspiring, creative and exciting people on there, stare at beautiful food, find out about new projects, share photos with friends and discover new bloggers, photographers, writers and more. I thought I would put together a round-up of some of my favourite Instagram accounts.
Texts From Your Ex. One of the best things on the internet.
I hope you find some new and inspiring Instagram accounts! Please share your account and who is inspiring you, I’m always looking for new people to follow.
WEEK 12 OF 52
^^WEDNESDAY. Ras, implementing the three second rule as per usual.^^
^^THURSDAY. I used my home-grown coriander for the first time. I can’t believe I’ve actually managed to grow something from seed to herb! It tasted really good.^^
^^THURSDAY. I cooked! Well, I cooked half a meal. We used up the rest of a takeaway for dinner, and I made some spiced butternut squash and lime and coriander rice to go with it.^^
^^FRIDAY. Party tea! Is there any better kind of dinner? Trout and I went to my Mum & Dad’s for the evening and my sister put together this little dinner. Yum.^^
^^SUNDAY. I organised a bloggers event for one of my clients, which is one of my favourite parts of my job. Because I understand both sides of working with brands I always try to make sure the people I invite have a great time, and get all the information that they need for the campaign. I was really happy with how it went, even though it was a stress and a half getting there. It was rail replacement buses to Brighton, and the first bus I was on had a tyre burst en route. The next bus was late, and the traffic getting into Brighton was just awful. Nothing quite like running through town to wake you up! Luckily I know short cuts and quiet roads.^^
^^SUNDAY. I spent the evening trying to do a bit more around the house, including cleaning these drawers in our bedroom so that I could fill them with jumpers and trousers and tops and everything that was previously all over the house. Ras was being super helpful ;)^^
So, that was last week! The weekend seemed to last for ages, which was exactly what I needed. Between seeing my family, spending Saturday night at home with Trout (an evening that felt like the first in such a long time), and spending Sunday in Brighton working and then baking white chocolate chip cookies, tidying the flat and Skyping with Laia, it was a pretty darn good weekend. What did you get up to?
EAT. Plenty of takeaways ;)//White chocolate chip cookies. Heaven in a cookie.//
MOVE. Running through Brighton…!//
WEAR. Shoes that are falling apart. I reaalllyy need some new trainers.//
LOVE. Spending time with family.//Listening to Ras purrr so loudly next to me. I think it’s just because he wants me to feed him, but I’ll take it.//
LINK. I haven’t even had a chance to read any blogs this week! Send me links in the comments?//
LAST WEEK. Getting my haircut on stage for £10! On Saturday my sister, Mum and I went to a wellbeing fayre where my parents live, and it was amazing. I was a bit skeptical before we arrived (I had images of hippies and hemp and crystals) but there was only one table with crystals and the rest of it felt like a giant spa. There were so many creams and oils to try, different types of massage available, and organic lovely products to buy. One of the ladies was a hairdresser selling her range of products and offering haircuts – I was desperate for a trim, so it was perfect timing for me! I also had a hot rock massage, which was amazing. It was such a fun, girly morning.//
THIS WEEK. Looking forward to VegFest on Saturday! Highlight of my year. Followed by a girly sleepover with my sister, and probably more sweets than you can count.//The clocks going forward! Light evenings! The countdown to summer! I can’t wait.//
WEEK 11 OF 52
Last week began slowly. A dentist appointment. A couple of photoshoots for work. Drinks with friends. I was waiting for the weekend with eager patience – the kind of week when you know how long your to-do list is so you don’t want the days to go too quickly, but at the same time you know what you have to look forward to and that kind of takes precedence over the lists. Here are a few photos from last week.
^^WEDNESDAY. Trout took me out for a Tortilla date at lunch time, so we had a fairly light dinner in the evening.^^
^^THURSDAY. Curled up on the sofa with Ras. It kind of looks like I’m breastfeeding, but it’s just so cute! I love when Ras picks me to snuggle up with.^^
^^SATURDAY. I tried this orange choc chip protein bar for the first time, and it’s so good! I haven’t had any of Pulsin’s bars for so long, definitely need to stock up. Shortly after I ate this I had to go to the dentist to have a filling replaced. It was just as bad as I remember :(^^
^^SATURDAY. In the evening we had friends round for dinner, and thankfully my mouth had ‘defrosted‘ from the injection and I could eat a bit of dinner. We made a few bits and pieces from a recipe book that Trout bought me called Veggiestan. Everything tasted so good, and it was a lovely evening.^^
Sunday morning began with a brunch date with friends at our house, but I didn’t snap a picture which is a shame. We had cinnamon buns, croissants, crumpets, good juice and coffee. It was such a lovely start to the day!
^^SUNDAY. This is fast becoming one of my favourite photos in the world. It is just too cute for words. We had Trout’s family round for dinner on Mother’s Day and recruited his two nieces as sous chefs. Jasmine helped me grate the tomatoes for the pa amb tomaquet and Sophia helped pour the oil in. They both helped ice the cake and were so attentive as Trout made the pesto. I loved seeing them learn how to make each dish and have a go themselves. Even Ras was learning some new tricks!^^
It was one of those weekends when you need a weekend to recover from the weekend! I wouldn’t change it for anything though. Finally, here’s a round-up of things I’ve been thinking, eating, doing and planning.
EAT. Good food with friends and family.//Baked cheesecake.//
MOVE. Oops, forgot to plank. Must remember to plank this week. Must must must.//
WEAR. Pink lipstick.//Nail polish.//
LOVE. Mary Portas.//Betty Crocker cake mix + can of coke = cake.//
LINK. These beautiful photographs and words about the fragility of flowers.//I veganised this recipe for baked blueberry cheesecake, and it’s one of my favourite sweet treats.//Catching up with Say Yes. I’ve had it bookmarked in my Lifestyle Blogs folder for a long time, and completely forgotten about it. It’s such a treat.//
LAST WEEK. Thinking about how lucky I am (*vom*).//Appreciating brilliant vegan cosmetics.//
THIS WEEK. Trying to keep my kitchen tidy. Two dinner parties and a brunch party left my kitchen looking like a bomb had hit it, and fingers wrinkly from washing up.//I’ve started listening to Invisibilia, recommended to me by a reader. The first episode is really interesting – focused on internal thoughts, and how seriously you should take them. I would say that my weirdest internal thought is, What would it feel like to…. Like I think, What would it feel like to be hit by a car? Like, hit pretty bad. Not fatal, just pretty bad. Weird, huh? Well, as it turns out, some people have far weirder thoughts. We all have them. And most of them are nonsense. Give it a listen.//
As I mentioned in last week’s round-up, Trout whisked us away for a weekend in Bergen for our 13th anniversary. Here are a few photos and a bit about our trip to Norway.
We didn’t get to the hotel until around 1am on the Friday evening, so we slept in until around 9am and headed down to breakfast. We stayed at a Radisson Blu and the breakfast selection was great, so I absolutely stuffed my face in preparation for a not-so-vegan-friendly day. They had soya milk and gluten free bran flakes, mushrooms cooked in oil, baked beans, every kind of bread and cracker you can imagine, fresh and dried fruit and plenty of coffee. What more could you want!
After breakfast we headed out into town to walk around the nearby streets and pop into a couple of shops (I wanted to buy everything in their homeware shops), before taking the Fløibanen funicular up the mountain to the top. When we stepped out at the top of the mountain the view was absolutely amazing.
Everyone laughed as we got out of the cable car. You had to, really! We should have seen stunning views across the town, but never mind. We decided to walk down the mountain, rather than getting the funicular back to the town, and I’m so glad we did. The weather wasn’t great but the view as we walked down was lovely and the route was dotted with little waterfalls, snow and fallen trees.
I took so many photos of the waterfalls that trickled and streamed down as we walked.
I guess we could have drunk the water? Trout was quite sure we could. I wasn’t that thirsty ;)
Getting back to nature!
The colours were stunning – I didn’t even have to edit these photos of the trees.
Hanging out with this hunk ;)
We went to one coffee shop a couple of times – I think it was essentially called Good Bread, but I can’t really remember. The coffee was good, and when you order tea you get a mug of hot water and directed to a table with a dozen or so teas on, so you can just take your pick. I thought it was quite fun. One thing that I did find strange about Bergen (and maybe Norway in general?) was that it’s so normal to pay by card that this coffee shop didn’t even take cash.
Our hotel was next to the harbour, filled with some pretty amazing boats.
We went to Little Taste of India for our anniversary dinner, and the food was really good. That green chutney up there was so.spicy. It was made from ground green chillies, and wowza it was hot!
Our curries were lovely. We ordered veg curries and you pick the level of heat you want – Trout went for a 5 and I went for a 3 (out of 6) but both were around a medium heat. Really tasty. The house red wine was pretty good, too (I would hope so, at £10 a glass!).
After dinner we went round the corner to a games bar. We’d walked past earlier in the day and Trout was so excited to see that they had shuffleboard tables there. I’d never played it before, but Trout had played a lot while he was in America so we stopped by for a few games. It was so much fun! Plus, I won. Perfect end to our anniversary date.
The architecture is amazing – the town is filled with buildings like this and you can often walk in between them through passageways.
Sunday morning was a bit of a write-off. We found out that our flight on Sunday had been cancelled (we should have been flying at 7pm), so we rescheduled it to 9am on Sunday morning, rather than spending hours waiting around at Oslo airport for a connecting flight. We got up at 6am, had breakfast, got the bus to the airport, printed our boarding cards, went through security and waited for our flight to appear on the departures board. And waited. Eventually I joined the end of the queue for a flight boarding for Amsterdam, and finally got to the front of the queue to find out that our flight had been delayed. To 7pm.
I won’t go into the shouting, anger, phonecalls to insurance companies, queuing to check ticket prices, return bus journeys, dropping luggage back to the hotel. It doesn’t matter. We were back walking the streets, with an extra few hours left of our trip.
So many cameras!
There are a lot of good people around.
We went to Iron Rock Cafe for lunch. It’s a metal bar with a great burger menu, with veggie options on all the burgers. We both ordered the Metal Heart burger, very fitting for an anniversary meal.
We walked around town for a while trying to find vegan cake, before popping into the Bergen Museum.
The museum was really interesting, but I couldn’t help but think that we weren’t quite being given the whole picture, translation-wise.
So that was our trip to Bergen! I would definitely recommend visiting, although maybe when it’s clear and sunny! If you’ve been, let me know what you thought in the comments below.