PHOTOS OF THE WEEK 35 AND 36 AND 37 OF 52
Most of the photos I’ve collected over the past couple of weeks have popped up in my Azores posts (catch up with part one/two/three/four) but here are a few more from before, during and after our holiday. Including birthday cupcakes!
^^Birthday cupcakes from Ms Cupcake, a gift from two sweet friends. They are just SO.GOOD.^^
^^My birthday presents from work! Amazing. I was completely and utterly spoiled, and cannot WAIT to use my Terre a Terre vouchers.^^
^^Breakfast bucksfizz! Is there a better way to start your birthday? Well, apart from being woken up by a face full of glow-in-the-dark balloons, obv…^^
^^Trout took me up to London to see The Lion King, followed by dinner at Theo Randell for my birthday! It was such a fun day, even if it did rain a LOT. The Lion King was absolutely incredible – I mean, I knew it was going to be good, but this completely took my breath away. Thank you Trout! <3<3<3^^
^^Shopping at our local supermarket in the Azores. Look at all the Um Bongo!!^^
^^Chilling out in the sunshine by the sea. Look at how amazing the clouds are! Crazy.^^
^^We found a cafe on the seafront in Ponta Delgada called Vitaminas – their salads were amazing, and such good value. You pick a base (either pasta or lettuce) and then choose either three or five toppings – including soya meatballs! Plus a super tasty dressing. I think these bowls were about 5 euros each. We ended up going there a couple of times as it was a great location and very tasty indeed.^^
^^Trying to get work done once we had returned home, and Rasputin was just too cute. We picked him up at 9am on the Sunday and he was glued to us for most of the day. Oh I love him!^^
^^On Monday I went to the private view for a new installation in Brighton station, for the Brighton Digital Festival. Pop down and check it out! Link below with details.^^
^^Croissaaaaants. The best foods to come home to ;)^^
LOVE. Travelling.//Coming home to our whiskerface.//It being just cool enough to eat soup, whilst still being warm enough to go for a wander at lunchtime.//
LINKS. The Waiting Wall – a digital installation at Brighton Station, as part of Brighton Digital Festival.//This recipe for fruit + nut frozen yogurt bark by Laura. I need to veganise this ASAP!//This article on the refugee crisis happening right now.//
LAST WEEK(S). Holiday.//Birthday (I’M 30!)//Manchester Orchestra <3//My 10-year veganniversary!//Legend.//Seeing Astpai.//Research for Chicago – any tips and tricks I should know about?!//Evenings with friends.//
THIS WEEK. Mark Thomas.//BrightonSEO.//Rugby.//
The folks at 9BAR recently got in touch asking me if I would like to try a few of their new products, and to find out a bit more about the company. One thing I actually really love about blogging is discovering that truly good brands really do exist – like White Stuff. Companies that I never knew were doing amazing things in the world. And 9BAR are one of them.
They recently went through a re-brand (which, by the way, I LOVE), and with that came a new campaign initiative. The Power of Seeds + The Power of Deeds. Think the foodie version of TOMS – for every bar sold, they provide a night’s clean, sustainable energy for a child in Africa through their partnership with SolarAid. Find out more here.
Since we got back from holiday I haven’t had a chance to do a proper food shop, so have been very thankful to have these at home! I picked up a few Provamel yogurts and have been having one with a bar at my desk when I get to work, and I can’t believe how full I am all morning! It sounds odd, but I usually have a big breakfast and am hungry by 11.30am. Not this week! They come in a whole range of flavours – peanut + raisin was one of my favourites but I ate it before I had a chance to photograph it. Whoops.
Have you tried the new 9BAR range? What did you think?
I don’t ever really think about taking panoramic photos, but while we were at the Azores I couldn’t get enough of them. Almost everywhere you looked there was something you wanted to capture, all around you. It was like surround-visual-beauty. Is that a thing? Here are a few of my favourites.
^^I love this last one because it contrasts the industrial building with the beauty of the lakes below.^^
I’m still catching up on the last couple of weeks and trying to put together the Photos of the Week that I’ve missed! Hopefully I’ll be able to get my shit together soon. I can’t believe that this time last week I was cycling around a beautiful lake, and coming home to hang out with a whole family of ducks. Not that I’m complaining – so far it’s been a pretty awesome week, including a trip to the cinema to see Legend! Oh, Tom Hardy. Wowza. He is such an incredible actor! And did you see the amazing stunt that the film’s marketing team pulled on The Guardian’s two-star review? Bravo to them *applauds*. Hope everyone is looking forward to a lovely weekend.
On Thursday we travelled up to Lagoa das Sete Cidades, driving up to the top of the mountain before dropping down to the bottom, to the two lakes. In my research before we arrived, thanks to Instagram, I had seen photos of an old abandoned hotel and was super intrigued but didn’t really think too much about it. When we were at the top of the mountain we ended up driving past it, so had to stop. Plus the view was supposed to be amazing looking down.
See, totally worth it! That’s the funny thing about the Azores. The weather changes so frequently that in the space of around 30 minutes this cloud and fog has passed, and you could see down to the bottom.
The woods behind the hotel were really beautiful. I think if you came at night it would be beyond creepy though – the stuff of Blair Witch, haha!
I think this might have been the entrance to the carpark. It was the first part of the hotel that we explored, and super creepy!! With the heavy rain fall the night before, the building was so full of water that it was constantly pouring out of different places. The murky darkness and graffiti didn’t help, either. I think because it was the first part that we explored, I wasn’t really used to the building or what it might be like. Thankfully the actual hotel was ok!
Here’s a short video to demonstrate the creepiness.
The front of Monte Palace. It was built in 1986, and closed 18 months later due to bankruptcy. It’s so sad to see someone’s livelihood (and perhaps their dream? I don’t know if they were investors) become so dilapidated. I’ve watched videos and seen photos of how it was when it first opened, and although it’s super 80s you can see how decadent and luxurious it once was – especially for the Azores, which is much more… down to earth? Someone came to visit shortly after it had closed, and they said it was like time had stopped there. The tables were fully laid, with silver service cutlery, and the beds were all waiting for guests. Since then they had guard dogs around the building to stop people coming in, but over time they left and people are free to explore. Here are a few photos from our time there.
As we walked around the outside we started to hear this music – I think I must have been slightly on edge as I thought it was coming from inside the building, but it was just a car driving past…
^^This photo has no filter on it – everything really was that green! The strangest part was walking around the carpet in the hallway of the 1st floor. It was soaking wet, and had a spongey feeling under your feet. The walls here are covered in moss and mould, and nothing was left of the rooms. No furniture, no bathrooms, no glass in any of the windows. I guess over time everything has been ripped out and sold, or stolen for personal use.^^
^^The view from the top of the first floor. We only explored this far – but I would have liked to have gone up to the 4th floor and out onto the roof.^^
After we had explored for a while we drove down to the town and rented bikes so that we could cycle around the two lakes. They’re called the blue lake and the green lake – I think it had something to do with the depth? I should probably know that…
^^The weather, again, changed a lot. This was when we got about halfway round the first lake.^^
^^I didn’t have my phone with me, so we don’t have many photos from the trip round. Let’s just say it was a pretty surreal and breathtaking view! I was kind of sad that we couldn’t cycle completely around the lakes. Both of the paths ended around halfway, so we just had to turn around and head back to the start.^^
^^The street art is really nice, especially in Ponta Delgada, the main city centre.^^
^^These SHOES! Oh boy am I glad I bought them before we left. They were amazing. The bottoms had so much grip, they were perfect for trekking up and down mountains and cycling round lakes, whilst being really breathable, and water proof. It meant that I could pop my soaking wet post-hot-spring-swim feet in them and they didn’t go all soggy and smelly and gross. I heart them. Plus they are 100% vegan and made in Spain, i.e. not by kids being paid 11p, and I love how they look. I bought them from Vegetarian Shoes in Brighton, but you can also buy them online. I highly recommend them! ^^
On our last day we drove to Parque Natural de Riberia dos Caldeiroes, a natural park filled with beautiful plants and waterfalls.
Followed by a trip to a pineapple plantation!
OK, I’ll stop boring you with photos from our trip ;) – although I do have one more blog up my sleeve…
I would recommend the Azores to anyone. It was the perfect place to relax and do nothing – or explore and walk around and see one of the most amazing places I’ve ever been to.
This was our home for the week, a cabin in the Vila Franca area on Sao Miguel. The island is so small that it really doesn’t matter too much where you stay (the price varies depending on how close you are to the airport, but we were around a 30 minute drive so it was fine). It probably takes around two hours to drive completely round the island, without stopping, so you get an idea of how small it is. We had a supermarket a couple of minutes away, which had everything you need – including Alpro goodies! You definitely need a car for your trip, but the roads are immaculately maintained, it was so quiet when we went, and everyone drives really slowly, so even if you’ve never driven anywhere outside of the UK it’s easy to pick up and get used to.
And now we’re home! We picked up Ras this morning at 9am, and he didn’t shit in his box, so if anything there’s a reason to celebrate! It felt so good to sleep in our own bed, the bed in our cabin was so uncomfortable, it was the only bad thing about the whole holiday! That and the sofa, also very uncomfortable. I don’t know whether it’s because the sun is shining but I keep walking around our house smiling – we’re home! And our house is so lovely, and our bed is so comfy and Ras is here. On top of that, we had a tube of croissants in the fridge, and I made one with chocolate in. What a way to start a Sunday. Now I’m supposed to be getting on with freelance work – I’ll start in a minute, I promise – before making some kind of dessert for friends who are joining us for dinner this evening. Ras keeps following me around the house, he is being so cute. He was sat on my lap earlier – making it really easy to work ;) – but now he’s sleeping at my feet. Oh I do love this cat <3
Have you been to the Azores? What did you think?
A few days ago we drove to Caldeira Velha to visit the hot springs. It was so beautiful – it almost didn’t seem real! The natural beauty of it was kind of breathtaking. Everywhere you looked there were luscious green plants and natural streams – and the hot springs themselves? Wow.
This is the hot spring – it was so lovely and warm! We shared it with a few other people, and it was so relaxing. We also took a dip in one of the cooler springs, and sat underneath a waterfall as it pounded us with warm water. It felt like we were in Peter Andre’s video for Mysterious Girl.
We didn’t spend too much time in the cooler springs – it was actually pretty cold! – and got out to try the hot springs. I’m so glad we did it this way round, otherwise the cooler springs would have felt freezing! You kind of had to not concentrate too much on the water too, as it was quite murky with bits of grass, tree and who knows what else.
Afterwards we drove down to Ribeira Grande, the nearest town. It was very quiet (well, almost everywhere we went was quiet to be honest!) and peaceful to walk around. All of the houses were immaculately kept (again, the same as almost everywhere we’ve visited) and everyone has a small square religious painting hung outside their front door.
Check out this disco church! It wasn’t lit up, but it was pretty cool. We stopped in this square for a beer, and were given a cup of beans to eat with our drinks. They are called tremocos, and tasted kind of like salty butter beans. We had no idea what we were doing, but as we were given a second empty cup we assumed we had to peel them. We peeled back part of the casing and popped them into our mouths. Kind of strange, but not bad!
Afterwards we walked down to the beach. The waves were so strong! Perfect for surfing, if you fancied it.
We’ve been cooking for ourselves every day, mostly because there are nearly no restaurants here. And where we have found them, the menu has been – meat, seafood, other fish. Not a vegetable in sight (and I do believe that if there were, it would be cooked in meaty juices), so it’s just been easier to cook at home. We brought a few things with us, including a packet of fajita seasoning. It’s certainly made it cheaper than eating out, although that wouldn’t be expensive either. The fruit and veg here are so much better than back at home – the nectarines have been perfectly ripe in the morning, really delicious.
On Wednesday it rained ALL. DAY. Torrential rain, hour after hour. I was getting kind of frustrated – I wanted to explore! – but at the same time it was nice just to spend the day at home reading, hanging out, painting my nails, showering at 4pm and watching episodes of Workaholics. But still, I would rather have been exploring…
I’ve got more photos to share from the past couple of days, but I’ll save them for another blog post. You can find part I of our trip here, and don’t forget to follow along on Instagram as I post more photos over there.
Hello from The Azores! I’m calling this part I because I’m pretty sure I’ll need to split these up – we arrived late-Saturday night, and I’ve already taken 50+ photos and four videos…! From what I’ve seen so far, the island is so beautiful. Lush greenery everywhere, beautiful plants and so many places to explore. This is our third full day on the island, and here’s what we’ve been up to so far.
^^These flowers have popped up everywhere.^^
Yesterday we went on a boat trip in the hope of seeing some dolphins and whales. The trip was meant to last three hours, but we ended up being out at sea for around 4.5hrs as they were nowhere to be seen! Finally we found some dolphins, two families, and it was amazing. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t see a whale – although we did see one big turtle floating about by himself!
You can also find a video of the dolphins on my Instagram page.
^^I’ve been enjoying plenty of delicious meals, especially breakfast. We did a big food shop on Sunday, and I was so happy to find Alpro products! We picked up butter, yogurt and specaloos desserts. This fig jam was a gift from the owners, and really good.^^
We’ve had a whole bunch of ducks come and hang out with us every day! It’s been amazing to feed them, however they do love to poop on our terrace…
^^Beers and crisps out on the terrace.^^
^^The architecture is very similar here – these tall black and white buildings pop up in so many places.^^
On Sunday we went for a long walk through the forest at Pico Do Ferro, walking from the very top of the mountain to the bottom, arriving at a lake and hot springs. It took us around an hour, and had quite a few scary moments! Like standing amongst these trees as they creaked and swayed around us, and walking down very steep ‘steps’ in the mud.
Apparently you can cook meals underground because of the boiling water and heat! We watched this guy pull out some parcels from the ground.
The lake was so beautiful, and after trekking through the forest for an hour downhill, dipping my toes into the lake was very much needed!
I’m not sure what our plans are for today – it’s meant to be raining, but then again it’s meant to rain every day! Lightning tomorrow, too. I want to visit the hot springs and small pools that you can swim in, and use the bicycles that we have here and maybe a spa day and another mountain walk. I’ll update when I can, but I’ll share more photos on Instagram, so follow me there if you like.
Have you been to The Azores? Any tips or places I should visit?
WEEK 34 OF 52
^^This is Trout’s Pimp My Salad. It was bloody huge! Bloody delicious, too. Avocado, tempeh, croutons, lettuce, walnuts, roasted potatoes, mushrooms. YUM.^^
^^On Friday I went up to London to see one of my favourite bands, A Wilhelm Scream. They were amazing – I can’t believe it had been eight years since I last saw them! Ridiculous.^^
^^On Saturday I had some friends and family over for a housewarming/birthday BBQ. I couldn’t believe how many people turned up, I was so chuffed. It was so much fun, and great to catch up with so many people – and I didn’t even get a chance to talk to everyone! I didn’t really take any photos either (I don’t know what’s happening with me lately!) so most of these are stolen from other people. I took this photo of Trout with his nephew and niece – they’re so cute!^^
^^Cutting my birthday cake//Claude came out to join the partyyy.^^
^^I love this one of me and my sister <3^^
LOVE. So many people coming round to see our new house and to celebrate my big 3-0! Especially friends that come straight from their honeymoon and turned up shitfaced ;)//
LISTENING. The Dear Hunter.//Manchester Orchestra.//Gnarwolves.//
LINKS. Vegan stereotypes vs the reality! Very fitting as I’ve just celebrated my 10 year veganniversary.//Pauper to Princess – my new favourite blog!//
LAST WEEK. Congratulations to Hayley, who won two tickets to VegFest! Thanks to everyone that entered.//A Wilhelm Scream. AMAZING.//
THIS WEEK. My birthday!//Countdown to our holiday!//Saying bon voyage to Ras as he has his little holiday at the cattery.//
WEEK 33 OF 52
Last week was pretty much wedding central. In fact, that’s all I took photos of (and even then I didn’t take enough…)
These guys never cease to amaze me. Well they do, and then I remember how awesome they are and realise that yes, of course, their wedding was absolutely bloody amazing. The kind of wedding where none of us can ever get married because it will be awful compared to this wedding.
^^Our Wedding Eve dinner – ‘fish’ fingers, chips and salad. Followed by a midnight snack of a vegan ‘cornetto’. All enjoyed in our pjs with pink wine. We were outside setting up in the rain until around 9pm, so it felt so good to be in our pyjamas relaxing!^^
^^Our amazing bridesmaids gifts, given to us on the morning of the wedding. The mother-of-the-bride made us some very special necklaces with cats on. It’s so beautiful, I will always treasure it.^^
^^The beautiful bride on her wedding day. Her dress was just amazing, look how stunning she looks! I couldn’t even get my words out on the morning of the wedding, there was nothing I could say to describe how beautiful she looked, and how perfect the wedding was going to be.^^
^^Bridesmaids and our shoes! Photos stolen from a fellow-bridesmaid.^^
^^Wedding car group selfie on the way to the wedding! We all had massive victory rolls in our hair. I absolutely loved mine! I wish I’d taken a proper photo of it.^^
^^The table settings! These took hours to put together, but totally worth it when it was finished.^^
^^Champagne for the toasts! Everyone was laughing and crying at the speeches. It felt almost surreal, watching two of your very best friends getting married, surrounded by friends, and other friends giving speeches and thanking other friends. It was just amazing. Did I mention how amazing this wedding was?^^
^^Almost everything was handmade. The groom set up this lighting and tea cup rig, using a ladder that’s over a century old.^^
^^The groom’s speech.^^
^^The evening felt like a festival – everyone was relaxing out in the field, enjoying food and homemade booze. I wish I had taken more photos, everything was so beautiful and the attention to detail was incredible, but the day passed in a blur. I can’t wait to see the official photos.^^
^^It all got a bit ridiculous by the evening, really. Especially when the Space Hoppers came out. You can kind of see my massive victory roll in this shot – I wish I could wear my hair like that every day!^^
^^My ‘Something About Mary‘ hair on Sunday morning.^^
^^A good old curry on the sofa on Sunday evening. We tried a new place round the corner and it was so good! I’m very happy that this town has so many great Indian restaurants.^^
Congratulations, Vicky + Tug! Love you.
LOVE. Seeing two of my best friends get married <3 //Dark chocolate.//The smell of good quality hand cream.//
LISTENING. The Avett Brothers.//A Wilhelm Scream.//Manchester Orchestra.//
LINKS. This article on six out of ten, on the shitstorm that was #BloggerBlackmail. Great to see it from both sides of the coin.//Don’t forget to enter my giveaway for VegFest London tickets!//
LAST WEEK. Weddiiinnnng!//Catching up with a friend after months of not seeing each other. She bought me the sweetest gifts.//
THIS WEEK. Birthday BBQ/house warming party at our house. So excited to see everyone!//A Wilhelm Scream on Friday.//Holiday prep.//
It’s that time again! VEGFEST TIME!
I’ve talked about my love of VegFest just once or twice (or 22 times…) before, it’s something I look forward to every year, and love going to both the London and Brighton events.
Remember the ‘cheese’ I tried in Brighton? Oh my.
And the ‘egg mayo’ and coleslaw?! So good. I can’t wait to pick up a few more tubs in London.
THESE DONUTS AND CREAM BUNS AND CHOCOLATE TWISTS.
If you love the sound of all that, you’re going to have to go to experience it for yourself. Because it’s even better than you can imagine.
Tickets are currently Buy One Get One Free (gotta love a bargain!) with the idea of bringing a non-vegan friend and introducing them to the wonderful world of vegan food. Or you could bring a fellow vegan to try new brands and products. Or you could both be non-vegan, and fancy giving it a go together. Whatever which way, VegFest London is always a super fun event.
To celebrate another year of London’s VegFest, I’ve giving away TWO weekend tickets! To be in with a chance of winning, there are five ways to enter – clic here to find out how:
This competition is open to UK residents only and will end at midnight on Saturday 22nd August 2015. I’ll contact the winner by email shortly afterwards. If you don’t respond within five days, I will unfortunately have to pick another winner. Good luck!
WEEK 32 OF 52
LOADS of food photos last week! Which is ironic because I’ve been on a pre-bridesmaid diet… Clearly it’s going well… In my defence, outside of rationing these treats I’ve been salad-central. Anyway, here’s what I’ve been stuffing my face with.
^^OH. EM. GEE. This chocolate is amazing! I’ll be stocking up on many, many more bars from Vegan Town.^^
^^Daiya! We have Daiya! Trout brought back bags of it from Berlin, and we made pizza on Friday. I love this stuff, and it’s got me even more excited for Chicago in September.^^
^^Reubens!! One of my favourite foods in the world. More Daiya.^^
^^Pancakes! After the wedding rehearsal Trout and I went to Wai Kika Moo Kau for brunch. Their food is so good – I’m so happy that somewhere in Brighton serves vegan pancakes! I was stuffed though, and couldn’t finish them. So disappointing…^^
^^Sunday afternoon in the sunshine with this guy. I was super lazy, and even though I had loads of work to do I just couldn’t peel myself off the sofa, so gave up and just curled up with Ras and two hours (!!!) of Friends and Real Housewives of Orange County. I wasn’t completely lazy though – I did go to hot yoga for a couple of hours later in the afternoon.^^
LOVE. Daiya.//Discovering new vegan products (chocolate).//Hot yoga (still!).//Watching Ras chase his tail!//
LISTENING. Trophy Eyes.//Astpai.//The Flatliners.//
LINKS. This article on the downside of Etsy. I don’t use it myself, but found it interesting to see it from a seller’s point of view.//Reading the menu for The Chicago Diner x 1000.//This silly Buzzfeed article. Actually, does it count as an article if it’s on Buzzfeed?//
LAST WEEK. Babies + wedding prep + 30th birthday = imgettingold.com//
THIS WEEK. MY BFF’S WEDDING!!//Wearing my wedding shoes around the house to get used to the heels. I’m nearly 6ft in them!!//
I hope you’ve all had a great week, and have some exciting plans for the weekend <3
I am so excited that it’s August! It’s one of my favourite months – it’s my birthday (the big three oh!) which means I get to see so many people that I love, I have my fingers crossed for sunshine, and we’re off on holiday at the end of the month. Eek! Having a holiday approaching at the same time as a birthday means one thing – a holiday-themed wish list. My family are big on lists for birthdays and Christmas. Here are a few things that are on mine.
Every time I go on holiday I buy a new bikini… I can’t be the only one that does this, right?! I’ve got my eye on this beauty from Bravissimo.//I love these comfy trousers from People Tree. They’re smart enough to look good on the flight, comfy enough to pretend I’m still in my pjs, and perfect to slip on over a bikini on the beach.//
I always pack spare pants in my hand luggage when I travel – you don’t want to be caught short!! I love these LuvaHuva knickers.//I NEED this essentials travelset from Malin + Goetz. It has everything you need for your holiday, and they’re all under 100ml. Perfect.//
This guide is perfect for checking what you can and can’t bring as hand luggage – the number of times I’ve had to stuff my bag into my hand luggage at the last minute, or had to wear a couple of jumpers and my camera because it’s too big…
What do you always make sure you’ve got in your hand luggage? Any holiday essentials that you can’t live without?
This post was put together in partnership with Purple Parking.
WEEK 30 + 31 OF 52
Week 30 was a blur of finishing up projects and getting everything ready for my best friend’s hen party. In fact I think I was so wrapped up in everything that I forgot to take any other photos! We travelled to (what felt like) the middle of nowhere to spend the weekend in a yert, in a field, in the pissing rain. Stupid rain. It was so much fun, though – the rain did not get the better of us! Even if I did forget my wellies…
^^We arrived early to decorate the yet before the bride-to-be arrived. It was so much fun to look through all of these old photos of us all together!^^
^^The beautiful bride-to-be.^^
^^Archery! Thankfully the weather was fantastic on the Saturday, so we could enjoy a lesson.^^
^^The couple running the class had this awesome dog. He was so happy and full of love!^^
^^Vegan afternoon cream tea! The hosts were amazing, and put on this brilliant spread for me and two other dairy-frees.^^
^^Scones, carrot cake, chocolate brownie times one hundred.^^
^^As much fun as it was, you can’t beat getting home to this face. After a very wet weekend, it was beyond blissful to hop straight into a hot bath, before getting into my pyjamas and chilling out with Ras.^^
^^This rice was so good! I fried up onion and garlic, then tossed in a bunch of spices and slices of almonds, threw a few raisins into a pan of boiling water with the rice, then drained it and added to the onion mix. Yum! A little sweet thanks to the cinnamon and raisins, with a hint of curry from the ground coriander and cumin. Will definitely be making this again.^^
^^I’ve really been enjoying cooking since I got back. I don’t know whether it’s because I couldn’t cook while we were away, but I’ve been doing a bit (but not too much) more than usual. I broke away from my ‘assembling’ style of cooking…!^^
^^I was getting on with some freelance work on Saturday afternoon, and the procrastination kind of went to another level. I had a few hours free, and I just couldn’t find the motivation to get the work done in the couple of hours it should have taken! This tub of icing did not really help. It also didn’t really help when I tried on my bridesmaids dress later in the evening… No more icing for me until after the wedding. Actually, after our holidays in September. OK I probably just shouldn’t be eating icing out of the tub…^^
^^This guuuuuy! I was lounging around on Sunday afternoon before hot yoga, when Ras jumped into my lap and nearly made me late. He can be beyond cute sometimes.^^
LOVE. Hot yoga! Although not the £££.//Bravissimo.//Meeting new people.//
LISTENING. Greenday.//Joe Purdy.//Millencolin.//
LINKS. These photos from Berlin. I want to go back!//These trainers.//This amazing list of vegan beauty bloggers.//
LAST WEEK. Hen party plans.//Missing Trout.//Baking a cake using my favourite ‘recipe’ – a box of cake mix and a can of coke.//Cooking.//To-do lists.//
THIS WEEK. Wedding rehearsal!//Meeting a friend’s new baby!//A 30th birthday party!//So many grown-up things…!//Also, trying to get my blogging mojo back…//
I’ve been on a bit of a ‘yogurt’ kick lately. Soya or coconut, it’s my go-to brekka during the week.
Next week I’ll mix things up. Next week I’ll make a smoothie, or maybe stock the freezer with homemade waffles, ready to pop in the toaster on a Monday morning. Maybe next week.
I’m better at the weekend – we crack out the croissant tubes or maybe plate up some avocado toast. It’s my mid-week laziness that gets the better of me.
Sometimes even the smallest changes can make a difference, though. Like trying a new ‘milk’.
Alpro kindly sent me a sample of their latest drink – Alpro Coconut and Almond ‘milk’.
(I really hate how you can’t say ‘milk’ or ‘yogurt’ unless it’s been stolen from a new mum. Sigh.)
^^My current love is this country breakfast sprinkle from Holland and Barrett. The perfect combo of dried fruit (no stingy portions!) with nuts and seeds. Perfect.^^
^^Current favourite granola – Dorset Cereals. Yum.^^
Dream breakfast, right there. Though I wish I had peanut butter blobbed on top.
I’ve also used this drink to make mashed potato – and it’s got a big thumbs up from us. I love that when you enjoy it with cereal you can taste the subtle flavour of almond and coconut, but when you cook with it these flavours don’t shine through, making it really versatile for both sweet and savoury cooking.
I hope you have a lovely weekend. What are your plans?
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?//