Wednesday, 28 January 2015

What do Vegans Eat? January 2015.

People always ask me 'What do you eat?', so here are a few of the vegan meals I've eaten this month.

Vegan meal idea, hashbrowns and mushrooms.

Hash brown and mushroom brunch.  After extensive market testing my boy and I have decided Morrisons own brand hash browns are the best.  The mushrooms were pan fried with a little paprika.

Vegan meal idea, vegetable fajhitas.

Vegan fajitas.  There's soo many veggies in these, a whole red onion, a whole yellow bell pepper, 3 big mushrooms, 3 spring onions and some garlic.  I made the flatbreads too, they've got black pepper, turmeric and poppy seeds in.  The fajhita spice mix is my boyfriend's secret recipe.

Vegan meal idea, vegan croissants.

Vegan croissants.  I've talked about these before, and really it is necessary to eat 3 in one go, as there are six in a packet and they need to be shared with the boyfriend and eaten fresh from the oven.  Yum.

Vegan meal idea, vegan chocolate fudge hedgehog cake.

My mum makes me a vegan chocolate fudge hedgehog cake every year for Christmas.  It's my favourite cake ever.

Vegan meal idea, vegan pancakes.

Vegan pancakes.  You can see my recipe and tips for vegan, soya free, pancakes here

Vegan meal idea, vegan broccoli pasta.

Broccoli pasta.  This is one of my favourite meals ever, but I don't exactly know how to make it,  it's one of my boy's creations.  It seems you toast pine nuts, fry broccoli and garlic, add salt, pepper and chilli, then mix with cooked pasta, vegan margarine and nutritional yeast powder. 

Vegan meal idea, vegan spinach and brown rice.

Sometimes I feel the need to eat a very vegan looking, healthy meal to make sure I'm getting all the nutrients I need, I don't usually photograph them, because I think they're quite boring.  Here we have brown rice, with spinach, onion and garlic, with a side of almonds.

What vegan food have you eaten recently?

You can see more of my vegan meal ideas here.

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Library Love. The Spell Book of Listen Taylor, The Land of Decoration, Playing to the Gallery, Polymer Clay Buttons.

Library Love.  The Spell Book of Listen Taylor, The Land of Decoration, Playing to the Gallery, Polymer Clay Buttons.

This month I've been reading,

The Spell Book of Listen Taylor - Jaclyn Moriarty
This was in the YA section of the library, but it reads like an adult book, most of the characters are adults, although Listen is a teen, and it's mostly about adult relationships.  I did a bit of research, and it turns out this book was originally published as adult fiction (under the amazing title 'I have a bed made of Buttermilk Pancakes'!) and has been re-edited under a new title for YA release.  I absolutely loved this book, I fell in love with all the characters and was intrigued by the interesting, disjointed way the story was told.    

The Land of Decoration - Grace McCleen 
Ten year old Judith has been brought up by her strict father as part of a very religious group.  She creates a world in her bedroom and when she covers it with snow, it snows in the real world.  Is it a coincidence or a miracle?  I spent a lot of this book worried about Judith's mental health.  It was tense but I kind of enjoyed it.

Library Love.  The Spell Book of Listen Taylor, The Land of Decoration, Playing to the Gallery, Polymer Clay Buttons.

Playing to the Gallery - Grayson Perry
I loved the illustrations in this book about contemporary art.  Questions like 'what is art?', 'is everything art?' are examined and I understand a little bit about how the money side of the art business works.  I can't say I learned a lot from this book, but it was interesting to read something different and I like the way Grayson Perry writes.

20 to Make Polymer Clay Buttons -Karen Walker
There are lovely projects in this book.  I especially liked the owl buttons, the mushrooms and the spotty ones. 

What have you been reading?

You can see more of my book reviews here

Monday, 19 January 2015

Photo an Hour January 2015.

I wanted to take part in photo an hour for a while now, after seeing it on Louisa's blog.  

The day set for photo an hour this month was Saturday 17th, I completely forgot, so I did my own photo an hour challenge on Sunday instead!

9am - reading blogs with my breakfast.

10am - back from the supermarket.  I bought a new hoover 'cos I killed the old one by hoovering up a mushroom.

11am - post supermarket treat, vegan orange chocolate bar and a bit of Sunday morning TV. 

12pm - I popped to the library to do some photocopying.  This is one of the libraries I work in. 

1pm - Sunday is pancake day.

2pm - Testing my new Hoover.  

3pm - Watching my Sabrina the Teenage Witch box set (I'm up to series 3), sitting on the sofa, wearing my dressing gown.

4pm - Bath time!

5pm - Washing time!

6pm - Dinner, sausage curry stir fry.  Yum.

7pm - My boyfriend has arrived home, my feet live on him pretty much any time I sit next to him.

8pm - Popcorn!

I stopped taking photos after this, we stayed in the same position for the next couple of hours!

This seems like quite a boring day, but I really like pottering round on a Sunday and not doing very much.

Next month I hope to take part on the correct date!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

My Crochet Harmony Shawl, aka my Mustard Manta-ray Shawl.

I've been crocheting this shawl from the free 'Harmony Shawl' pattern on Ravelry for the past couple of months.

My mustard 'Harmony Shawl'  Free crochet pattern from Ravely

I call it my Mantaray shawl, because laid flat, it does look a little like a Manta-ray (thanks Mum for pointing that out!) and because it's mustard coloured!  

My mustard 'Harmony Shawl'  Free crochet pattern from Ravely
The crochet pattern is really quick and easy, I used Stylecraft Special DK yarn in 'Gold' and a 6mm crochet hook.  I used about a ball and a half of wool to make this shawl.  The pattern says to use worsted weight yarn and an 8mm hook, so my version is lighter and more lacy and drapey. 

My mustard 'Harmony Shawl'  Free crochet pattern from Ravely


My mustard 'Harmony Shawl'  Free crochet pattern from Ravely

I'm linking my crochet shawl up with Aniko's 'Make, Thrift and Tell' challenge.  This month's theme is pattern, and I used a pattern to make this shawl, so I think that counts!  You should go and have a read of her lovely blog and join in too! I'm also linking up with Annemarie's Haakblog and Flaunt it Friday.

For my next projects I have a couple of things in mind, this awesome hat and these cute mini stockings to make a reusable advent calendar for next year.  I also have my Mollie Makes Starburst Flower blanket to finish off, I would love to be able to use it in our new home sooner rather than later!

Mollie Makes Crochet Blanket

Are you making anything, or do you have any crafty ideas floating round in your head?

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Tips for Going Vegan.

January is a brilliant time to adopt new habits.  This month is Veganuary, a campaign inviting you to try veganism in January, and Issue 3 of Vegan Life Magazine features some excellent tips for helping your friends eat meat and dairy free.

Vegan Life suggests helping vegan wannabes find motivation, a method of changing their diet that suits their personality and lifestyle, and giving them recipe and nutrition tips.

Some things that really helped me when I was a new vegan were,

* Going vegan while living with a vegan friend.  She already had lots of recipe ideas and experience.

* Dealing with my diet first, then thinking about vegan toiletries, clothes and other lifestyle stuff.  I would have been completely overwhelmed with changing everything all at once, even though I'd been vegetarian for a long time before going vegan. 

* Focusing on finding vegan replacements for foods I couldn't do without first.  I'm pretty miserable without chocolate, crisps and meat free sausages, so I made sure I found vegan versions.

* There weren't as many vegan resources online as there are now (I went vegan 8 years ago), but I still found some and having online support was really helpful. 

* Having my vegan wall chart on display in my kitchen, as a visual reminder to eat nutritious food every day. 

I definitely agree with Vegan Life Magazine, that kindness, fun and openness are the most important aspects if someone's asked you to help them to transition to a different diet or lifestyle.  I hate the vegan-police thing, so I make sure I'm a non-shouty, non-preachy, non-pushy vegan.  I don't actually believe in trying to change other people's beliefs, I think they'll come to their own decisions in their own way.  But my quietly vegan lifestyle leads to my friends sharing their curiosity with me ('Can I just ask, do vegans breastfeed?'  'Can vegans eat bread?'), my colleagues all knowing which vegan biscuits to buy for our tea breaks, the canteen in my former workplace, serving 100s of people a day, making every vegetarian option suitable for vegans (because they got fed up of making me a special vegan meal twice a day!), and my meat-eating boyfriend cooking us yummy vegan meals.  Being a friendly vegan has a big impact and makes people think about veganism in a positive way.  Setting a good example, eating yummy food and being happy and healthy is the best way to get others interested in vegan eating, but if a friend asks for help in changing their diet the tips in Vegan Life Magazine are really useful.

Are you vegan?  Do you have any tips for those who want to change their diet?  What helped you when you first went vegan?

You can read the for article yourself in issue 3 of Vegan Life Magazine.

Disclosure - I have been provided with a free digital subscription to Vegan Life Magazine in return for reviewing this publication.  All opinions are, of course, my own. 

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Charity Shopping, Portmerion Totem and Cath Kidston.

Charity Shop Treasures, Portmerion Totem and Cath Kidston.

Charity Shop Treasures, Portmerion Totem and Cath Kidston.

Brown Portmerion Totem ware pot.  I think it fits in well with my other brown and mustard pots on this shelf.  £1, charity shop.  

Charity Shop Treasures, Portmerion Totem and Cath Kidston.

Cath Kidston mugs.  50p each, charity shop.

Have you found any bargains lately?

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Simple Pleasures #21.

Watching Esio Trot, the BBC adaptation of the Roald Dahl book, it was so so so so so lovely.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Easy Green Actions, January 2015.

Here's my round up of easy, eco friendly actions for this month,

Check out Jen's ideas for sustainable new year resolutions, she has lots of great resources on her blog.

Sign Friends of the Earths petition to ask David Cameron to stop fracking.

If one of your new year resolutions is to eat healthier, then why not try veganism this month, find out more about Veganuary here.

I've pretty much finished my decluttering in preparation for moving home (I've sent about 15 bags to the charity shop so far), but if you need to have a clear out have a look at My Zero Waste's Dump Your Junk challenge for January.  

If you have any causes or actions to add then let me know in the comments and if I like it I'll add it in.  And feel free to share any of this info (or the whole post) wherever and with whoever you like - if you sign any of the petitions and use social media then please consider using the share on facebook or twitter options that pop up, it increases the reach of these actions and awareness of these issues even further.

Thursday, 1 January 2015


This year I've..





Read - 57 fiction books this year, I don't have photos cos my laptop had to go to be fixed and came back with everything wiped off it!  My favourite books this year were Longbourn by Jo Baker, Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead, The Shdow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon and all 4 Rainbow Rowell books.

Watched - Torchwood, Melissa and Joey, Doctor Who, Firefly and Serenity, Doctor Horrible's Sing Along Blog, Awkward, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Agents of SHIELD.

Listened to - Eddi Reader - Vagabond, God Help the Girl, Wicked soundtrack, She and Him. 

Eaten - Croissants, pine nut pasta, 'cheese' and onion crisps, pizza, dhal. 

I've had another lovely year this year, I'm so lucky.  I became an auntie for the second time and got to spend lots of time with both of my lovely nieces, celebrated our 1 year anniversary with my boyfriend and my 30th birthday.  I've been to Brazil, Windsor, Legoland and the Harry Potter Studio Tour.  I saw David Tennant in Richard III and the touring production of Wicked.

The highlight of my year was seeing 3 real life wild toucans while I was on holiday in Brazil.  It was amazing!  AMAZING!

Next year I have plans to move house, I have my fingers crossed someone will buy my flat, and I hope I will have lots of adventures  (I already have tickets booked for a holiday in Cardiff, to go to the Doctor Who Experience, and tickets to see Kate Rusby in May.)  Yey!

I hope you all have a most excellent 2015, do you have any exciting plans?