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.
Last year I put together a round-up of my favourite vegan beauty products, and since then I’ve tried a few new products so thought I would show you what I’ve been using, all of which I recommend trying.
I have to say – I hate the packaging. Every time I use it I think, “Ugh, this packaging is awful!” but you know what, the product inside is fantastic. And super affordable, which I think is really important – making good quality, animal-friendly products available to everyone. These cleansing wipes smell so good, and they’re biodegradable which is flippin’ amazing! They don’t remove eye make-up unfortunately, but I use a cotton wool pad and coconut oil which is much softer when removing mascara and moisturises at the same time.
Another great product from Good Things – this cleanser also smells really good, and I’ve noticed a difference in just the few weeks I’ve been using it.//This toner is, well, just toner really…! I don’t know, I kind of use toner because I feel like I ‘should’ use it, but I don’t really know what it does?
I’d been looking for a new affordable day cream for a while. As much as I love the REN Day Cream (and I really do), at around £16 a bottle I just couldn’t justify it right now. I think this face cream is just as good, and I love that it’s organic.//I hadn’t really been moisturising my face at night, and if I did I would use Lush’s dream cream which I don’t think is meant for your face. I decided to try this night cream and it’s brilliant – my skin is super soft in the morning. I love that Superdrug have brought out so many new lines, all labelled vegan and cruelty free.
I am so in love with this product! I use it every night before I go to bed, and straight away I noticed a difference. My feet are much softer, and I swear it makes me warmer at night…!
So that’s my little round-up. If you’ve tried any of them let me know what you thought – and if you have any new vegan products that you would recommend, please let me know in the comments. I love trying new ones!
WEEK 10 OF 52
^^MONDAY. Just a whiskerface, hanging out in our bedroom. Such a cutey! And check out our headboard!! Totally worth all that hardwork.^^
^^TUESDAY. I’m working on the Tech4Good Awards for another year, and last week we launched the entry period with an event at the top of BT Tower. I enjoy all of the events pinpointed throughout the year, but the launch is always quite exciting – it really kicks off the project for me, and as I’ve been working on it since January it’s great to see this first stage come to a close and the next stage begin. It’s great seeing all the preparation coming together, and knowing that the next stage is even better – getting to hear about all these amazing organisations and individuals working to address issues that I’ve never even thought about before. I love catching up with the finalists and winners from previous years and finding out what they’ve been up to, and the impact winning had on them. Plus the view is amazing! I really want to go up at night.^^
^^After the event we went to Leon for lunch. I was starving – we’d all been so busy with interviews and photos that none of us had even had a bite to eat, and by 2.30pm my stomach was angry. I’d never been to Leon before – it’s so good! I had a roasted sweet potato + falafel wrap, and it was very tasty.^^
^^I love all the packaging!^^
^^Afterwards I headed home and was sat on the sofa by 5.30pm. It felt like 3pm, a luxury, an early evening, I couldn’t believe it! I snuggled up with Ras on my lap and caught up on emails and listened to a bit more of the Criminal podcast.^^
^^FRIDAY. It was our 13th anniversary on Sunday, and Trout planned a surprise weekend away. I knew he had something planned, but every time I asked he just said we were going to Dartford. He told everyone we were going to Dartford, and even made me look up vegan options in Dartford. (By the way, if you’re wondering, there are no vegan, vegetarian or veg-friendly cafes or restaurants, but there is a health food shop somewhere). So on Friday morning we set off on this secret roadtrip and drove to… DARTFORD! He wasn’t actually joking. Except that he was, and he drove back down the M25 before arriving at Richmond Park. This man is utterly bonkers. I really love Richmond Park though, and we were so lucky with the weather – it was absolutely stunning outside, warm with bright blue skies. Perfect.^^
^^After an hour or so spent in the park we drove into Kingston and had the best sandwich in the world, sat by the river with the swans. We did a bit of window shopping at John Lewis, then went to see The Theory of Everything, which is absolutely amazing. If you’re not sure about going – just go. It’s brilliant.^^
^^So at this point I still had no idea where we were even going that evening. We had organised friends to come and feed Ras so I knew we were away for the whole weekend, but I couldn’t figure out what his next move was. We ended up driving towards our home, which was a little confusing, until he swung the car into the car park at Gatwick, took us to the check-in desk for Norwegian Air and handed me a ticket to Bergen. He’s a good vegan egg ;) It turned out that Norwegian Air were on strike so our planned flight had been cancelled and replaced with an evening flight (not that I had any idea about this! I just thought we were spending the day in Kingston, which is one of my favourite places). It was an amazing long weekend, and I feel so incredibly lucky to have this sweet man plan this trip for us. I’ll share photos from the weekend in a separate blog.^^
EAT. Dark chocolate and peanut butter. Total obsession right now!//’Fish’ + chip-shop-chips with tartare sauce.//
MOVE. Plenty of walking around Bergen! The mountains were so beautiful, and the architecture so sweet.//
WEAR. Bare ankles!//Nail polish. I’m on a roll, people.//
LOVE. Trout <3//My new bed. White bedding from John Lewis, dove grey throw from Laura Ashley. Bliss. I can’t reach the floor when I’m in bed and it’s heaven.//Celebrating anniversaries with a homemade card, made up of collage of people in prison who have murdered their spouses. This guy. Swoon.//
LINK. These food styling tips.//These paintings by Justyna Kopania.//This salad from Cider with Rosie.//
LAST WEEK. I finished listening to Criminal (although I have to say, it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be, and it certainly wasn’t any Serial).//I finished reading In Cold Blood (so good!)//Listened to The Truth.//
THIS WEEK. Looking forward to seeing friends and family this weekend.//Catch up with laundry.//Currently reading Hunting Evil: Inside the Ipswich Serial Murders.//
WEEK NINE OF 52
This weekend was crazy. We managed to pack in so many things, and saw so many faces. It often feels like during the week I don’t have a lot to share – the odd photo here and there, maybe a meal or an evening spent with Rasputin and Trout. But it’s the weekend that really brings everything to life. I guess I’m just holding out for the weekend!
The light in the house is quite dark for the most part, so the mornings and evenings aren’t ideal for taking photos. We have white french blinds on some of the windows (the spare bedroom, which was our bedroom up until Sunday), and the lounge, which don’t let a lot of light in. But now, we’ve finally moved into our proper bedroom, in the attic. It has a huge skylight window that lets in light. Last night as I was falling asleep I watched planes move across the night sky. I could see a helicopter hovering (who knows why…!). I’m sure I could see stars. It’s amazing. I get to wake up to natural light, and it makes such a huge difference to the morning. I’m so happy we’re in our bedroom at last – six weeks after moving in.
On Saturday a friend came over to help us take out the Velux window in our attic room so that we could winch our headboard up the side of the house and through the window. It was one of the longest, scariest days! Our friend Tug was amazing, and we seriously couldn’t have done it without him. I hadn’t realised just how much work it would be – Tug and Trout were troopers, whilst I assisted and concentrated on whipping up a peanut butter curry for us. After we had finished, hours and hours later, I went straight to a work event and tried to keep my eyes open.
Here are a few photos from the week.
^^MONDAY. Sometimes I like to just relax in bed, alone, listening to a podcast, eating chocolate and peanut butter. It feels luxurious and so satisfying.^^
^^FRIDAY. Trout and I went on a little date night to see Stewart Lee. We went for dinner beforehand, at this pizza place in Hove called Morelli Zorelli. It has vegan cheese on the menu, and I think they might also have vegan ‘meats’ available sometimes. It was so good!^^
^^SATURDAY. I went to Cin Cin’s pop-up restaurant at The Velo Cafe by the level. I took some photos for them and enjoyed their amazing food at the same time. It was so lovely of them to put together such a good vegan menu – that’s smoked tofu right there! I had five courses of deliciousness. Keep an eye out for their next pop-up – it has a lovely, relaxed atmosphere, everyone looked like they were having such a good time.^^
^^SUNDAY. Hot chocolate and cupcakes from Ms Cupcake. A friend came round for the weekend and brought beer and cupcakes with him. Best housewarming gifts ever! Hot chocolate is a funny one for me. Every couple of years I have a craving for it, and then I make myself a mug and remember that I don’t like hot chocolate. But this was really good, and thank you Caffe Nero for making a vegan hot chocolate.^^
^^SUNDAY. Rasputin enjoying the sunshine in his ‘room’.^^
EAT. Cupcakes ;)//Salad – it’s finally getting (slightly) warm enough to even consider eating salad.//Peanut butter curry.//
MOVE. Still no running or planking…//
WEAR. Jackets that it’s been too cold to wear until this weekend.//
LOVE. Our bed!! So darn comfortable.//
LINK. This beautiful collaborative piece of writing on Dash and Bella.//This wall of polaroids on Chalk White Arrow (see also: beautiful baby!).//The return of Taza’s happy lists! Right now my happy list consists of feeling grateful for good friends, vegan cupcakes, opportunities that I would never have imagined a few years ago, planning Trout’s 30th, our anniversary this week.//
THIS WEEK. Carry on listening to Criminal, the podcast.//Get planking.//Finish reading In Cold Blood.//Popping up BT Tower again for the launch of the Tech4Good Awards.//
A couple of weeks ago I was kindly sent a few desserts by The Living Food Kitchen. I picked out a few that I’d had my eye on for a while – namely the banoffee pie and the blueberry cheesecake, as well as the raspberry cheesecake and lemon cheesecake. Who can resist cheesecake!? Growing up, my favourite dessert was those individual blackcurrant cheesecakes, so the blueberry flavour kind of reminded me of them. And banoffee is one of Trout’s favourite sweet treats, so I got a couple of them for him.
^^All of the desserts are raw, gluten free, soya free and vegan.^^
^^Ras photobombing the dessert!^^
I these are great if you’re trying to eat a bit healthier but still want something sweet at the end of a meal. I’m really getting into raw food at the moment – I’ve always had a soft spot for raw brownies, kale chips and crackers, and occasionally raw chocolate, too. Now I’m adding these to the list!
Have you tried these desserts? What did you think?
WEEK EIGHT OF 52
What a week last week was. It started in a really good way. We went to a gig on Monday evening. We ate fish finger sandwiches for dinner on Tuesday. And then on Wednesday morning I got to work and found that we’d been broken into in the early hours, and most of the computers in our shared office had been taken. It kind of threw the rest of the week off, not just in terms of trying to catch up with work (thankfully my computer wasn’t taken. It’s been just awful for the web + design team), but also in having to try and forget what had happened. The smashed doorframe. The blood in the kitchen. The can of cider on the side. (Yep, these really weren’t the smartest of thieves…) The police were great, the forensics were quick (I really wanted to shadow her but decided it probably wasn’t appropriate) and the follow up investigation seems to be going well. I came into work this morning and the ground floor stank of cigarette smoke, which kind of sparked this, ‘They’re back!’ fear inside me. Ugh! Anyway, onto the good things that happened last week.
^^Monday evening: Mariachi El Bronx at the Komedia. They were amazing! I’d never seen them before, or really listened to them very much, but really enjoyed it. The crowd was so mixed; parents and grandparents, and hardcore kids who listen to The Bronx. Definitely recommend seeing them if they’re playing near you! This show sold out, so move fast if you do get the chance.^^
^^Wednesday evening: Tea party and clothing at the White Stuff event. You can read all about it here.^^
^^Shrove Thursday. I hate pancake day, but settled on a chocolate chip American-style pancake with peanut butter sauce. Trout had the traditional kind (*vom*)^^
^^Friday evening: Trout bought me tickets for The Nutcracker for Christmas, and I really loved it. I’ve never been to the ballet before (is it completely ridiculous that I didn’t realise there would be no singing at all? Just an orchestra? Yeaaah). I’m definitely going to go again – I’ve got my eye on Swan Lake, which I think is on at the moment. Afterwards we crossed the road to watch the rest of a band’s set (I don’t know what they were called…) and it kind of made me laugh, how we combined two completely different musical preferences. FYI – if you’re ever in Brighton on a Friday night, pop into Fitzherberts and watch some bands. It’s always free, and they’re pretty much always really good punk bands.^^
^^Saturday evening: Terre a Terre! My favourite restaurant in the world. We always said that when we finally bought a house we would celebrate here – and at the weekend we finally did! Although we’ve been there since January, this was the first weekend we were both free to go. The food is just amazing, and as we had collected so many gift cards that friends and family had given us over the years, it was basically free. Bonus! We always have the Terre a Tapas to start, and I always get the churros for dessert – but this time I mixed up my main course and didn’t get the rosti. Oh, I want to go back nooow!^^
^^Sunday morning: ‘Bacon’ sarnies for brekka. One of the best kinds of brekka. Sunday started off leisurely enough, but ended up being kind of jam-packed for the rest of the day. We didn’t get out of bed until 11am, then had these bad boys, before realising that the rain wasn’t supposed to arrive until 2pm-ish so we raced outside to do some more sanding and work on our desk. We got quite a lot done before the rain did arrive at around 2.30pm, including managing to sand my hand with the electric sander.^^
^^Sunday evening: Dessert from Living Food Kitchen, and Rasputin. He’s so funny! While we were outside we decided to let Ras begin to explore the garden for a bit. On Saturday morning we took him to get chipped, and as we turned into the carpark of the vets he decided to poop in his carry box. Excellent timing, Ras. So I stunk out the waiting room (seriously, it lingered way after we had gone in for the appointment) and Ras sat in his poop. Lovely. The vet was really impressed with how chilled out he was, and as I stroked him she popped the injection in and he didn’t even flinch or meow! She was so surprised and impressed! I was one proud cat-mum. Anyway, as he was now chipped and we’ve been there six weeks and we were spending time outside anyway, we decided to see how he got on. He explored a few steps before running back into the house, which he repeated about 30 times. He was super cute and cuddly as he was a bit nervous, and I was so scared he would bolt!^^
EAT. Thai Tuk-Tuks & Turmeric soup. I’m obsessed! I have this every week, pretty much without fail, and it’s so delicious.//Alpro plain with coconut. Not quite as good as proper coyo, but much cheaper which suits me right now.//
MOVE. I really want to get back into my little routine that I had when I was going to the gym; 50 sit-ups, 50 leg-lifts, 1 min plank, 2 min weird fanny-in-the-air thing that I described much better in this blog post. I did that routine three times, it’s really simple to do at home and I really felt like it made a difference.//
WEAR. Nail polish! Sounds weird, but what with all the packing and moving and unpacking and general house stuff I haven’t painted my nails for weeks, and I’ve missed it.//
LOVE. Finding new things that I like.//Reading on the train, even when I’m standing.//Catching up with reading blogs – I feel so behind, but it’s something I need to start making time for.//
LINK. This round-up of podcasts on The Private Life of a Girl. I’m so close to finishing Serial, which was actually the first podcast I’ve ever listened to, so I’m really excited to work my way through this list.//This recipe for cauliflower sung choi bao on Maple Spice. They look so good!//Jen’s 30 Before 30 list. I’m turning 30 at the end of August, and keep seeing lists like this and wondering – should I make one?! I went through Jen’s and was surprised at how many I kind of nodded my head to, or thought – yes, I want another piercing! (I’ve been debating getting my smiley pierced (or, to use the correct term, upper lip frenulum oral piercing) for years, more seriously since around October. I really just want to make sure it won’t be swollen for too long as I’m client facing.) Write a short story. Heck, write a story! Go to the cinema more. Visit
Liverpool. Manchester. OK maybe I should just go ahead and write my own list…//
And a new addition:
Things I want to do this week. Do ‘move’ routine outlined above ^^^//Listen to Criminal.//Write more.//