Monday, 17 March 2014

Alien on Roast

Groan, that was a bad title, even by my standards... sorry!

So yesterday I went to Brighton to spend the afternoon eating with my favourite vegans, Jojo, Kip & Holley. After a bit of Brigton traffic funtimes I met them in VBites for a roast. I must say that I'm not a huge fan of the Vbites fake meat but I really enjoyed this meal. The roasties were great and there was cauliflower cheese AND a yorkshire pudding. The yorkshire was a bit doughy but still good. The stuff ball was also very nice. You can pick from beef, gammon or turkey style roasts or you can be a glutton and have all 3, as we did.  There's definitely more creative vegan roasts available in Brighton but for something traditional and comforting, this one is a good option.


Afterwards we walked round the corner to Boho Gelato and there was a big queue. When we got to near the front the guy told us that they would be restocking the 'crack' in 40 minutes. There wasn't much else we fancied so we decided to wait for the crack. We went back after a bit of makeup shopping and after a bit of a wait inside the shop, they brought out the good stuff. It's peanut butter sea salt caramel flavour and it's the best ice cream I've ever had - vegan or no! Delicious and totally worth the wait. I only got one scoop because I was pretty full but I'm fairly certain I could've polished off a second scoop!

Onto some random stuff from my camera... this is a cake I made last weekend and my brother and sister-in-law were over. VCTOtW basic vanilla sponge made into 2 layers and filled with vanilla buttercream and strawberry jam.

TACOS! I post these a lot I know. What can I say, I love a taco!  The filling is tempeh, spices, sweetcorn, peppers and kidney beans. And some soya yoghurt and cheezly on top and guac on the side, as I had an avocado to use up. 

Guacamole MOLE MOLE!!!


This was something that came to me one night and I decided to give it a go, as I had leftover rice. So I made mushroom rice and tandoori vegetables. For the veg I mixed tandoori paste with soya yoghurt and dipped the veg in, then sprayed with oil and baked for about 20 minutes at 200C. It was pretty good but I want to tweak the marinade before I post the recipe.

That's all for now. Have a great week peeps.

Laterz
xXx

Saturday, 1 March 2014

I'm forever blowing bubbles

A couple of weeks ago I was very jammy and got invited to go see an advanced screening of Cuban Fury in London, the day before it came out (a friend from salsa class won the tickets; there was a raffle at our class, as the guy who choreographed the movie was there teaching us a bit of the routine from the film - very fun!  Anyway I spent the day in Soho as that's where it was and Soho is a good day out.

First thing I did was go get bubble tea from Bubbleology. My friend Kip introduced me to bubble tea a couple of years ago and I can't walk by that place without getting one now. This is Taro flavoured, it kind of tastes like cookies! So good.  I also went back to the chinese/thai vegan buffet place that I posted about in my last post, but the pic is basically the same as last time. (It's called Tao by the way if anyone's in that area; it's on Great Windmill Street and it's super cheap and awesome! Everything's vegan on the buffet, they do serve dairy ice cream though apparently.

Then because I'm a nice sister, I made a cake for when my Bro & Sister-in-Law came to dinner. This is the vegan cupcakes take over the world basic chocolate recipe x 1.5 and baked for half an hour in 2 sandwich tins.  I also tweaked the recipe and used coconut milk instead of soy and added 1 tsp coconut extract, 1/2  a cup of dessicated coconut and a tin of cherries chopped up (less enough to decorate the top with that I didn't do in the end!)  The icing is the one from Nigella's Devils' Food Cake Recipe - I just replaced the butter with vitalite. The chocolate I used was a bit bitter (it's all my local shop had) but I really like this recipe.  It's way less sweet than buttercream, which I like but it's so sickly.

V for Vaygun! (My brother is rude)

SOUP! I love soup when the weather is crap and with the exception of today, the weather's been pretty crap.  This is a recipe I've posted on here before and I love it with crusty bread.

The other week I went to meet a friend I met on holiday last year in her home town and the first night we were pretty drunk so I probably couldn't have worked my phone to take a pic of the food, even if I had remembered. But I got pics of the next day's lunch. We went for thai food!

I started with Tom Yum soup. This was SOOOOO spicy, totally cleared my nose out! hahaha. It was great.

Then a thai red curry with steamed rice.  Loads of veg and lovely sauce, I really enjoyed this. (As with all Thai restaurants, just be sure to ask them to not put in any fish sauce, as they tend to put it in everything, even if it's marked vegetarian!)

Last weekend was my friend's birthday, so I offered to bring dessert as she was cooking dinner. I made the peanut butter criss-crosses from vegan cookies invade your cookie jar and to be honest they were a bit of a fail.  The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of molasses. I only put in one but it totally overpowered everything (maybe UK molasses is different??) so I added more PB and it was better. But I burnt the first batch. DAMMIT!  The second batch was a bit better. I sandwiched them with vanilla buttercream.

So because I felt bad about the crappy sangers, I made a cake too.  I was totally winging this, just chucked some stuff in and hoped for the best. It was some leftover coconut milk and lemon juice/zest that I used for the wet ingredients. I was kinda going off the lemon coconut bundt recipe in veconomicon but I was too lazy to get out the book. I also baked it in a loaf tin. It was a bit dense but surprisingly nice!  haha. I drizzled the top with a simple glaze of lemon juice and icing sugar.

And just to prove that even cute kitties take bad photos (just like their owners!), look at this stupid photo of Jazzy. BAAAHAHAHAHAHAH. It cracks me up. Snaggletoof!  haha.

Laterz
xXx

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Street Foodz

Afternoon all. As promised in my mammoth beauty favourites post, I also have some food pics to share with ya.  Last weekend, I met up with my vegan ladybros in London for a day of scoffing and gossip.
 
My friend Holley and I started in Cakes 'n' Treats in Camden, as we wanted CAKE!  Cakes 'n' Treats is an all vegan cafe located in Pratt Street, which is about a 5 min or so walk from Camden Town tube.
 
But after being starvin for cake, Holley had a breakfast and I had a tofu scramble-filled bagel!  My bagel was pretty ace, behold....

Holley did get cake though, double (triple?) chocolate gateaux. She let me try a bit and it was really good. I loved the frosting because it was sort of moussey, not overly sweet.  I do love a cupcake but the amount of sugar in buttercream always makes them soooo sickly.  But yeah this was good. Holley described it as just like a Sara Lee chocolate gateaux which is apparently a good thing. But I don't remember eating those as a kid really.

And because it would've been wrong to not get something sweet, I took away a vegan snickers. Basically this was super gooey caramel, with big whole peanuts in and a chocolate topping and it was DELICIOUS! I had it the next day and it took me a few goes to finish it becuase it was very sweet. But that caramel, OMG - awesome!
 
Then we headed off to meet Jojo at a pop up market - help me out Jojo, where was it?  I just am along for the ride when we go out in London because I usually don't know where the hell I am. But we met at Liverpool St. Station and walked about 10 minutes from there to an indoor market, where The Mighty Fork had a stall.  I've blogged about them before (I had the Big Chilli last time), this time I knew before I got there I was going for the Brew Dog (because last time I was kind of regretting not getting one of those as well haha) and I made the right decision. Awesome.  I loved the extra jalapenos they put on too, because I like the sshpicy!
 
We then found a bar round the corner from the market and stayed for a couple of hours chatting and drking prosecco out of a plastic champagne flute. Fancy!  By that point it was time for more food. So we hopped on the tube to Soho and found an all you can eat, vegan thai buffet that Holley suggested. It was great but I only remembered to take a picture of my first plateful; which included awesome noodles, spicy 'beef' curry, rice and somewhere hidden under there are a couple of spring rolls.
 
Last week, Mummy Alien had a week off work and as I'm currently an unemployed bum, we decided to go to Guildford town for the day and do some shopping. There was a farmers' market going on and when I saw the bread stall I knew we had to go look. I wish I'd taken down the name of the stall now, because the bread we bought was delicious and I found a vegan pasty!  Marked vegan and all their items had ingredients lists displayed as well.  I'm just gonna have to go back aren't I!

I must admit I'm surprised that it was pretty good. It had loads of root veggies and wholewheat pastry. Normally this kind of thing is bland as hell and needs salt, but this one didn't. I very much enjoyed it! Now that I think about it, it would've been even better if I'd thought to bust out the Reggae Reggae sauce. Dammit!

Last a pic of a curry that I knocked up last week after watching Jamie Oliver's Money Saving Meals, he made an Indonesian beef rendang with leftover beef and I've been googling for ages and I cannot find the recipe anyway.  But basically I didn't write it down anyway, I just stole his idea and used Fry's beef strips. I also added veggies which Jamie didn't, because I like me some curried veg! I've put some basic instructions below if you're interested.

First, I chucked the following into my mini food processor: a whole red chilli*, a clove of garlic, a thumb size piece of ginger, 2 small shallots, about 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, about 1/2 teaspoon turmeric and all the stalks / half the leaves of a small (supermarket) bunch of coriander.  I whizzed it up as fine as it would go (I added a tsp or so of olive oil to help it along).

Then I hacked up half a red pepper and sauteed it in a couple of tsps of coconut oil.  Then I added the paste and cooked that out for a couple of minutes.  I added a big carrot that I chopped and blanched for 5 minutes in the microwave. I also added a couple of handfuls of green beans that I chopped in half and a good couple of handfuls of Fry's beefy strips.  Then I added a couple of cups of hot water and a stock cube and let it cook down until the rice was done cooking (about 10 minutes).  While the rice had it's 5 minutes standing off the heat with a lid on, I added in half a small tub of CoYo coconut yoghurt and the remaining coriander leaves.  A good stir and it was done!


*I tasted a bit of the chilli as Jamie said to do and it wasn't overly hot so I chucked the lot in, seeds ribs and all. It was after I blended it that my tongue started burning! hahaha. So this was pretty hot, but I like it like that.  Really I'm just suggesting that you test your chilli first and if you don't like it too hot, take out the seeds/ribs!

This would've served 2.  My mum and dad ate the leftovers between them though.

Laterz
xXx

Sunday, 9 February 2014

My current beauty favourites and bit of a facelift!

Helloooooo,

Notice anything new?  Do you like my new layout and my silly picture?  My dad and I had fun taking derpy pictures of me with a piece of toast! hahaha.

I've mentioned before about wanting to a post about my current favourite beauty items, for those that are interested. I'm working on getting my beauty blog overhauled, which is going to include deleting all the old posts because I don't think any of them are particularly useful anymore, as so many of the brands I used to use are no longer cruelty free. Also, I want that blog to be totally vegan, as this one is and for some reason I didn't do that when I first set it up (because I still have a tonne of pregan makeup that isn't vegan!).

So if you would be interested in a vegan beauty blog, there is a link up above now to it, but please note that until tomorrow sometime, (Monday 10 Feb), the posts are old and out of date.  I'll edit this post once the new version is live and also post about it here and on my new blogz facebook page. Come follow me and keep up to date on posts on this blog and Lovelipstick, when it is back up and running. (If you're not a facebooker - fear not, I have other social media stuffs too ... check out the links on the sidebar on the right-hand side of this blog.)

OK I'm babbling, on with the favourites.  Disclaimer: All the products below are vegan as far as I know!  I have either had confirmation from the company themselves, or the product is marked vegan at the point of sale or on the packaging. Any exceptions will be noted.

Note: prices quoted are Superdrug's prices, unless otherwise stated and if not Superdrug, it will be the UK supplier that I buy through. OK, onwards. Let's start with my favourite thing.

MAKEUP


Bourjois Happy Light Foundation (£11.99), Concealer (£8.99) and Primer (£10.99)

I should start by saying that Bourjois do not test on animals. However, I am still unsure of their actual affiliation with Chanel, who sell in China so do test. I'm not sure if they are owned by Chanel or if they are just manufactured in the same lab, but the products are very similar.  I'm still investigating this.

EDIT: I've since found out that Chanel & Bourjois are owned by the same company. So although Bourjois don't actually animal test, they are the sister company of a company that do (Chanel is sold in China, so required by law to test). Hopefully this information is enough for you to decide if you want to still buy Bourjois.

Anyway, I am a massive fan of Bourjois and their foundations and last year they came out with Happy Light and I adore it. It has a lovely dewy but not sparkly finish and the primer is just gorgeous, as you can see by how much I've used.  There are 2 primers, one for dry/normal skin and one for oily/combination. I am dryer and I love this primer so much. I use it every day!

Also, the concealers are fabulous. I have 2 shades; 21 Ivoire, which I use under my eyes to conceal my dark shadows and also on the high points of the face to highlight. I love the texture and it does a pretty good job of concealing my shadows.  I also have shade 22 Beige Rose, which I use on the rest of my face for concealer blemishes.

Collection Cosmetics Lasting Perfection Concealer (£4.19)

Another great option for concealer (and a cracking bargain!) is Collection's Lasting Perfection concealer. This has excellent coverage, it's smooth and lasts a long time. I use it just on the inner corner, as it's very creamy and as with pretty much EVERY concealer I've ever used will crease in any fine lines, over the course of the day.  It has a doe foot applicator, which makes it really easy to apply and you really don't need that much of it.

Barry M Lash Modelling Mascara (£6.19)

Barry M is, in my opinion, the best point of call in the UK drugstores to find vegan mascara.  They have a couple of varieties but the Lash Modelling Extra Black is my top pick. I do like the Lash Vegas that they brought out last year (maybe?) but it can be quite clumpy if you are not fastidious about wiping off the wand. Speaking of wands, I really like this type of plasticy fine wand - it is good for my naturally clumpy lashes!

Sleek iDivines (£7.99)

I love love LOVE Sleek's iDivines (eyeshadow palettes).  However... they are not on Sleek's vegan list and I was unsure why. So I googled every ingredient and nothing was flagging up as animal based. When I emailed them, their response was that it was made on the same line as non-vegan products! Doh... So anyway that makes them vegan enough for me!

But back to why I love them. They are smooth, they are really pigmented, they blend well, they have a tonne of options and they are less than a tenner! Such great value and they really are good.

My 2 little gripes with Sleek's palettes are 1, that the names of the shadows come on a plastic insert, which is super annoying. And 2, that they come with a foam eyeshadow applicator - come on now, Sleek, It's 2014...... NO ONE USES THOSE!!**  This basically sums up how I feel about foam eyeshadow applicators:

But I'll let it go, because aside from those 2 little niggles, these really are great palettes.  The one pictured above is the newest palette, it's called the Garden of Eden palette and sadly it's limited edition. It's gorgeous.  I think that their Au Naturel Palette and Storm Palettes are the 2 biggest must haves though, for any neutral or smoky eye look.

*If you're sitting there thinking, "hang on there, Sal, I use those crap eyeshadow fings"!  Well then you should be ashamed of yourself buddy, consider yourself chastised! Throw them out.... Throw them out now; then go look at my recommendations below for brushes and keep your eye out on my beauty blog for a post about my favourite brushes and their uses.

Sugarpill Chromalust Loose Eyeshadows (£8.98 from Cocktail Cosmetics)


For loose eyeshadows, I think you can't beat Sugarpill's Chromlusts.  Not all their pressed shadows are vegan, but the ones that are, are clearly labelled. But ALL their loose ones are vegan YAY and they do some seriously gorgeous colours.  The pic on the top is the ElektroCute Collection that was released last year. They are neon and seriously glittery! (A word of advice, do your eyemakeup first when using these because you will get a shittonne of glittery fallout that will ruin your foundation!). The bottom pic is of my other 3 favourite colours, L-R they are Lumi, Goldilux and Darling. Lumi is THE most gorgeous shimmery highlight that reflects teal. So pretty.

OK, let's move on to

NAIL POLISH

Barry M Gelly Polishes (£3.99)

I have to admit, the Barry M Gelly polishes were actually my second favourite polish over the last year, but I've recently discovered that CND are owned by Revlon, who still currently sell in China, so Vinylux can no longer be top of my list.

But that's not to take anything away from Barry M, because I absolute LOVE these polishes.  They dry fast, go on smooth and dry to a lovely shiny finish (they are meant to have the appearance of a gel polish, hence the name). Also, for a regular polish, they last pretty well on me. They come in a tonne of colours and I must admit, I have most of them. I use them on my toes mainly as I do wear Gelicure Gel Polish on my fingers 99% of the time.

Speaking of...

Nubar Gelicure Gel Polish 
(Gelicure is a professional product - you'll neeed to look for your nearest Gelicure Salon for prices)

I kind of intimated above, that regular polish doesn't really last on me. It lasts fine on toes but fingers, 24 hrs is a long lasting polish! Some of you may know that I quit my job at the end of last year and have opened a beauty room. One of my treatments is gel polish manicures/pedicures. I researched long and hard for the brand I wanted to go with and found Nubar. I was already a fan of their polishes and I love that all their products are cruelty free AND vegan! YAY.  I tried it out at a trade event and decided to invest in the product and the training and I'm very glad I did. If my nails are ever looking crap and breaking off, 9 times out of 10 it's because I haven't had Gelicure on for a week or so and without that extra strength it provides, my nails just break.  The pic above is a recent manicure I did on myself.

With correct aftercare, a gel manicure should last 2 weeks without chipping and with a good tech that won't over-buff or incorrectly apply/remove your gel polish, there should be no damage to the natural nails.

Let's move onto 

SKINCARE

Eve Taylor 
(prices vary by product, available from EveTaylor.com)

For years and YEARS I used Liz Earle's skincare products and they are great, they really are. But once they became affiliated with Avon, who animal test, I didn't really want to keep buying them, even though they do still have their leaping bunny certification.  Also, their cleanser has beeswax in.  So I looked for an alternative and found Eve Taylor at a beauty trade show. At the time, I was starting to set up my beauty business and had bought Eve Taylor's mobile skincare kit, on the recommendation of a lot of therapists and online reviews. But when I decided against doing facials in my salon, I kept the products for my makeup kit and decided to try them out on myself. I found that they were great and I really liked them on my skin.  I use the soothing cleanser, toner and moisture cream. I also have the soothing moisture lotion, which has a lighter texture than the cream and is good for me in the summer, when my skin is not so dry. I also use the advanced eye treatment serum. 

I use the cleanser the same way that I used to use the Liz Earle (massage in then remove with a muslin cloth soaked in hand-hot tap water). It's not marketed as a hot cloth cleanser but that's the way I feel all cleansers work best for me!

Eve Taylor confirmed to me that these products are vegan, however I cannot vouch for their entire line. But they were very quick to respond to my email asking about vegan suitability, even over the Christmas period, so if you're thinking of trying them out and don't have dry skin, give them an email!

Hurraw Lip Balm
(£3.99 from CutECOsmetics.com)

This was a tricky one because I'm addicted to lip balm and I always have a bunch of different ones on the go. But this one wins it for me, both brand and flavour!  Honorable mention also goes to Crazy Rumours, because those are also fab and I heard that some Holland & Barrett stores have these now!

Superdrug B. Pure Micellar Water (£2.47)
(this is the one picture i had to borrow from Superdrug, as mine just wouldn't come in the right way up for some reason!!)



A while back, beauty bloggers and vloggers alike were abuzz with the fact that Bioderma was now available in the UK. I was excited too but it was brief because I found out it's not cruelty free. When I researched it I discovered it's actually just a micellar water and there's other brands that make these!  Including good old Superdrug. I just want to say that I think Superdrug are awesome for making sure all their own brand products are BUAV approved and they also label their products as to whether they're vegetarian or vegan! HURRAH! Why can't all companies do this? Anyway, a while back they came out with a fully vegan skincare and makeup range called B. and it is really rather good.  

Micellar water is a makeup remover and I use it to remove my makeup, duh!  But yeah, it takes off the majority of whatever's on my face, including most eye makeup (it struggles with super heavy black liner and mascara) and then I use my Eve Taylor cleanser afterwards.  If I'm having a super lazy night, as long as I use this and some moisturiser, I'm happy enough to go to bed!

Soap & Glory Sugar Crush Shower Gel (£6.50), Body Buttercream (£10.50) and Body Scrub (£8) - available from Boots

I never thought I'd ever find a shower gel that I love more than my Lush Snow Fairy! I still love that, but it's only available at Christmas. Boo!  This line is available all year round and it smells, forking DELICIOUS!  I'm absolutely obsessed with it.  If you like sweet but citrusy smells, you have to get this. HAVE to. Soap & Glory also confirmed that all 3 products are vegan, as I wasn't 100% sure from their vegan list.

Marks and Spencer True Red Perfume (£12 for 100ml)

Oh perfume! If you are a fan of perfume and you only buy cruelty free products, it's super friggin hard to find something decent. Almost all the designer brands are sold in China and so even if they swear blind their products are cruelty free, it cannot be guaranteed.

Enter Marks and Spencer.  They have a tonne of different perfumes, all BUAV approved, all vegan and some very very nice indeed. Some are disgusting, but that is the way with all brands.

My favourite is their True Red perfume, because I love that kind of musky, jasminey scent!  The price above is the normal price, but it's currently on M&S's website for £9.60! Which for 100ml of perfume is a bargain, in my book!  Also, I have a 10ml handbag sized one that cost me about £3.50 (currently showing as £2.80 on the website) because I love it so much.

Another one I smelled in store the other day was their Autograph Black Amber perfume, which I realllly liked, but they only had a gift set, not just a bottle on it's own. So I'm keeping my eyes peeled for that and hoping it's not a limited edition!

Steam Cream
(£12.95 from steamcream.com - I have also seen it in large Tescos)

Steamcream is a lovely, all purpose moisturiser that you can use on face, hands and body. It smells amazing, like lavender (which I usually HATE) and it's very rich and thick so it's great for dry skin. However, it sinks in fast and doesn't leave me sticky. I use it mainly as handcream and I HATE that sticky feeling you sometimes get from thicker creams.

It comes in tonnes of different tin designs, the one pictured was a limited edition Movember tin (I also got a free mini one in the same design when I bought this and I keep that in my handbag).  It's great for flying too for handcream but also for when my face starts feeling tight and dry! 

HAIR PRODUCTS

Lee Stafford (£various, available in Boots)

I'm going to do a full post on Lee Stafford's products over on my beauty blog so here I'm just gonna talk about my 3 favourite things.  Their Argan Oil Heat Defense Spray, Shine Spray and Argan Miracle Oil.

I use the Argan Miracle Oil on my hair when it's wet, after I've brushed it through and then the heat defense before any type of heat styling. If I'm blow drying and straightening or curling one after the other, I use it before both!  I really do believe these products have helped get my hair in a much MUCH better condition. My hairdresser has remarked on this several times, how much healthier and shinier my hair is.  

This range is cruelty free and is surprisingly vegan friendly. Not 100%, but a very good percentage. (A very lovely lady in their customer services sent me a list of vegan friendly products!) Keep any eye out for a full post if you want to know more.

Tangle Teezer (£10.99 from Boots)

I couldn't talk about hair favourites and not mention the Tangle Teezer. But there's not much to say except that this makes light work of combing out my super knotty hair, without tugging and with minimal breakage. I've been using one for years and can't see me ever giving it up!

Batiste Dry Shampoo (£2.99)

I've tried a few dry shampoos and generally I've thought they were a crap waste of money; but this one actually works!  I spray it into my roots in layers, then give my scalp a vigorous rub and then brush it back to tame it. There are tonnes of different flavours but this one's my favourite smell and tin design! hehe.  I also love this even when I've just washed my hair, as it adds some volume to my fine, flat hair!

And lastly.... 

MAKEUP BRUSHES

Furless - £various from furless.com.au

Whether you're a naughty foam-tip applicator user, or just someone who wants brilliant, vegan makeup brushes, I would highly recommend checking out Furless' selection.  The above is just a selection of the brushes I have from them and I love every single one.  See the 3rd from the bottom?  Well they sent me that free (they do that, send you a freebie when you buy brushes) and I have since bought 2 more of them for my kit, because it is THE best brush for blending out any eye look I have ever used - including a dark smokey eye! It has a pinched ferrule which means it's slightly flattened so it is also great for packing on colour - WIN WIN!!

Sigma F80 (£15.95) & P80 (£12.95) - available from cocktail cosmetics

I'm giving a special shout-out to these 2 brushes from Sigma. They are the F80 Flat Top Kabuki and the P80 Flat Top Eye Kabuki.  I love the F80 for foundation, I really think it is THE best brush I've ever used for buffing out foundation to a flawless finish.  The P80 is a smaller version, both have short, densely packed bristles and I love this smaller brush for buffing out concealer and cream eyeshadows.

Not all of Sigma's brushes are vegan, but the product descriptions on Cocktail Cosmetics usually tell you what the bristles are made from!  

Other great brands for vegan makeup brushes include Real Techniques, Crownbrush* and BDellium Tools*. (*these brands are not 100% vegan, so check at point of sale for the material of the hairs. Crown has a fully synthetic range called Syntho and all of BDellium's Bambu brushes are vegan - and pretty!)


And so that is it for my current beauty favourites.  I know there was a lot there, (and there were way more products I wanted to include but some companies suck at replying to emails!!) so if you've made it to the end, WOO GO YOU! And also, thank you so much for reading.

I hope you enjoyed a bit of a variation in subject and don't worry, if beauty's not your bag, I have foodz to post tomorrow!

Laterz
xXx

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Heartburntastic!

Happy humpday people!

So earlier this month I went on a trip to Amsterdam with some friends. Really the main point of the trip was to see Maroon 5, which we did on the last night, but we made it into a weekend.

Unfortunately I don't have much good stuff for you because we mainly ate at classy establishments like this....


My travelling companions weren't really into actual food apparently! haha.  We did get falafels from Maoz one day for lunch but I forgot to take a pic - doh! Also I forgot to take a pic of dinner on the first night, but it was a risotto, nice but fairly unspectacular.

This was breakfast on our second day there. No vegan food at all in the little cafe we found, but we were all a bit hungover so I let them get their full English and I asked for mushrooms on toast, no butter (as I'm a baked bean hater). He looked very confused but in the end I got a mushroom toasty!  Weird, but surprisingly not that bad with some ketchup.  They put the mushrooms in raw so they were partially cooked, which I have to say I kind of liked.

But after a weekend of crappy food I happycow'd somewhere to get a decent breakfast on the last day and this ended up being my favourite thing that I ate during the whole trip. The place was a short walk from our hotel and was called Le Pain Quotidien (it's a chain, but not one I've ever heard of) and they serve local, organic food. It's not a veggie place but all the vegetarian and vegan options are clearly marked on the menu with a little symbol.

The breakfast menu had a few items, but nothing that stood out, so I was glad when they said I could order off both sides of the menu.  I got the black bean hummus tartine, which is basically an open faced sandwich. It had really really good hummus on, plus some harrissa and herby dressing and beans and chickpeas. Plus a lovely crunchy salad. Not the type of thing I'd normally have for breakfast but I just cooked some black beans up so I'm remedying that tomorrow - it was so good!  Plus they had soymilk, yay! So I got a soya latte to go with and I thought their coffee was also really really good.

On our last night, we went to see Maroon 5 at the Ziggodome and they were awesome as always. But the food there sucked! Apparently the omni food was also shite, so not just the lack of veggie options.  There was basically one food place and the veggie options were tortilla chips & salsa and a fruit cup. I had both because it was dinner.  The fruit was pretty good and tortilla chips is tortilla chips but that salsa - DAYUM, it was rank! BLAAARRGH.  Had a really funky taste that stayed with me all through the concert and all the way home. Grim.

OK home and a couple of recent pics off my camera.  This first one was a recipe from Anjum Anand's book, Anjum's Indian Vegetarian Feast. I've mentioned before that Anjum is the shizzle! So yeah, I got the book for Christmas and as I'm a massive lover of Indian food, I couldn't wait to try something out.  So I made the Creamy Pistachio Curry, as we had all the ingredients, with just a couple of subs - I used sweet potato instead of butternut squash, which the recipe says is ok to do and I left out the cloves as we only had ground ones and also my mum's not a fan.  It was really good, but I would've liked it a bit spicier. In this recipe you put the chillis in whole and then discard them, I'd probably just chop one up and put that in next time.  It is mean to be mild though and I loved the addition of chopped and blended pistachios. 

If you're wondering whether this book is worth buying as a vegan, I'd say YES most definitely. There's loads of recipes in and nowadays it's so easy to replace yoghurt and cream, which are the main non-vegan offenders.  There's a few things with egg and I'm sure some of them could be veganised.

This was a meal last week when I didn't have much time and it was basically leftover sauce from the roasty soba bowl that I LOVE from Isa Does It mixed into soba noodles and some veg.  Then I just drained a tin of Granose mock duck and baked it at 200C for about 15 mins, then tossed it hoisin sauce to serve on top. Really good and easy.


And did I mention that I love that sauce from the soba bowl? Yeah I know I know, I'm addicted. It's a problem. But my new favourite thing is roasted veg with awesome sauce on, which is basically that sauce but with a shittonne of Franks hot sauce and nooch mixed in.  I had this for dinner the last 2 nights because it was SO good.  I also put some Taifun basil tofu in with the veg when I roasted them for a bit of protein.


That last pic is from my new camera phone - the others all from my old one!  I think it's WAYYY better - whaddya you guys say? 

OK I should probably go do something productive now, so have a good rest of the week everyone. 

And I promise that favourites post is coming, but it's gonna be a 'current favourites' rather than 2013 favourites, because it's now almost February. MADNESS!

Laterz
xXx

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Hoppy Noo Yar!

Well helloooo and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas / Holiday season if you were celebrating.  Midnight on New Year's Day marked my 6th Veganniversary, 6 years of radness!  If you also celebrated a veganniversary on 1st January - happy radiversary to you!!

Just a few pics today.  I'm working on a big post of some of my favourite things from 2013.  I'm thinking of including beauty / random stuff in there too - not just food... what do you guys think, do you wanna see that?  (As an aside, ff you are interested in beauty related veganness, I am working on revamping and relaunching my neglected makeup blog and making it fully vegan.  I will post a link here when it's done!)

Anyway onto the food.  Saturday i went down to Brighton to hang out with my buddies Jojo and Holley and we went to Moshimo for dinner. Mainly because we were hungry and it was right opposite the pub we were in, drinking gin in a tin! I can't go to Moshimo and not have their fried veggie gyoza dumplings, because my stomach would be super mad at me for depriving it of them, they are delicious.

I usually have the duck terriyaki (it's made with redwoods duck style pieces) but I decided to branch out and have the Veggie Yaki Udon.  You get the choice to have it with vegan duck or chicken pieces, I chose duck (Holley had chicken). It was pretty good, if a little underwhelming. Although when I did as Holley suggested and poured the dipping sauce from the gyoza over it, it made it quite a lot better! Weird. 

I know I know, you're sick of me raving about Isa Does It by now, right? Tough tittay, because I made (and loved) something else from it - the meaty beany chilli. I halved the recipe and still got 4 meals out of this!  First, just the chilli with some basmati rice.

Then  taco night x 2, both looked pretty much like this...

The last of it I had with some home made potato wedges on Friday night and a sprinkle of vegan cheese.  I didn't take a pic though.

Lastly, this is not super exciting looking but .... THE UK HAS SOY MINCE AGAIN!! YAYYY!   It's been AWOL from the shops for months and although I try not to eat fake meat products too too often, it's nice for a quick tea now and again. This is just cooked with some jarred pasta sauce and served on rigatoni, with some noochy garlic toast. Yum.


So what is gonna be new for you in 2014?  For me, it's already a year of change, I have quite my job,  after 13 years in basically the same role (skuurry). I'm working on starting a business and am busy busy busy wondering how I'm going to afford my salsa class next week! hahaha.  Wish me luck for some temp work or something.

I am not one for new year's resolutions as I never stick to them but I have promised myself I'll make some changes to make my lifestyle healthier and to spend more time and effort on my blog(s), so hopefully you'll see this tired old Alien facade get a bit of a facelift fairly soon.

Laterz
xXx