Veganism and me

So you may have noticed (if you follow me on Instagram you will definitely know) that I have recently taken up following a plant based diet. This essentially means I am now a vegan, but honestly I try and tell people I’m plant based as for some reason when you tell people you’re vegan it can evoke unwanted reactions. If you too are plant based you’ll know what I mean!
But anyway, I’m vegan now and I wanted to speak to you about it a bit and about the reasons why. I’ll start from the beginning;

I used to be a vegetarian, from the ages of around 12 to 19 (I think, can’t remember specifics) and back then even at 12 I was always really health conscious and I didn’t like the thought of what meat eating did to my body. I found that the vegetarian life always presented so many more healthy options and that naturally I gravitated toward foods which were better for me. I lived off green tea, fruit, grains and lots of other deliciously healthy things.
But then at around 19 I thought I would go back to eating meat, honestly very influenced by my boyfriend at the time (toxic, awful guy!!) as he was a chef, I was impressionable and he pretty much convinced me that I was missing out by not eating meat. I was discovering my love of food and cooking at that age and I really did think that maybe I could make much more adventurous and ‘chef like’ food if I included meat. So gradually I re-introduced all meats back into my diet and actually went too far the other way and ate everything an anything and put on around 3 stone over a couple of years (he also really liked chinese takeout which naturally meant I really liked chinese takeout?! Honestly what is wrong with teenagers – girls, never let boys tell you what to do).

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Thankfully that relationship went south and shortly after I got with my lovely Daniel, whom is now my husband to be (eek!). God love this man as he encourages everything I ever want to do and always gets behind the latest ‘thing’ I’m into – trust me there have been a lot of ‘things’ – knitting anyone?
Obviously, when I first spoke to him back in Autumn last year about wanting to go back to not eating meat, he was his usual kind self and told me to go for it – on the condition I didn’t make him do the same haha! But after reading a few bits and seeing a lot online about the health benefits of veganism I decided to go balls deep and go fully vegan. I thought well I was vegetarian before, so the not eating meat thing won’t be hard for me and there are so many dairy alternatives now why not give it a go?

I never thought it would change my life in the way that it has. Not in a ‘I’m now a millionaire living in St Tropez’ kind of change but a ‘I feel happy, content and back to my true self’ kind of way. I’ve read a lot of vegans feel like this after they make the change, like it makes them feel a more rounded, true version of themselves. I’m aware of how hippy dippy that sounds, but it honestly is that case (I would’ve rolled my eyes too previously, I know). I have lost weight (a stone to date), I eat WAY more veg than I used to, I enjoy cooking more as it forces you to be a little more creative in the kitchen and I just bloody love it.

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Norfolk in the snow

I hate the snow – it disrupts day to day life, it is wet and cold and it makes people talk about the weather even more than usual which, despite being English, I also dislike.

BUT, it looks beautiful doesn’t it?

So I will cut to the chase here and just let you know that I got totally snap happy a couple of weeks ago when England decided it was the North Pole and I wanted to show you all the gorgeous village I live in covered in snow! Norfolk really is the best place to live, I am so lucky.

If you don’t like landscape photography then this post isn’t for you and I apologise deeply, maybe the next one ey?

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The best dairy free mac ‘n’ cheese

Gooey, comforting, delicious, sexy (?!) – All words to describe the joy that is mac and cheese. When I decided to stop eating meat and dairy, I started researching alternatives to the usual comfort food I enjoyed as I wasn’t prepared to live a life based purely on insta-gorgeous salad and lentil concoctions. Don’t get me wrong I am healthier, eat a wider variety of foods and am loving that veggie life – but sometimes you don’t want a saintly dinner and you want stodge. Essentially, that’s what you’re getting with this recipe – filling, creamy goodness – but it’s still better for you than the real cheesy deal so no guilt here!

Below you will find my favourite recipe for dairy free macaroni cheese, but this is by no means the only recipe out there. You will find variations made with cashews, butternut squash, different herbs and flavourings and made with different types of milk/dairy alternatives.

If you are vegan or thinking about trying it out, I would definitely say that I have found any of my old favourite meals can be made into a plant based recipe. There are SO many great alternatives ingredients out there, give some of them a go and play about – you’ll be amazed at what you can make without dairy or meat but still get a similar flavour.

SO, here is my recipe, apologies I haven’t taken more Nigella-esque pictures, but I’m certainly not a glam chef so best keep the paps on the food.

Ingredients:
Plain flour
Dairy free butter/spread (I use the Flora one pictured below)
Marmite
Non dairy milk (I use Oatly Organic)
Mustard powder (LONG LIVE COLMAN’S OF NORWICH!)
Macaroni pasta
Salt and pepper
Chives and breadcrumbs if you’re feeling fancy
Nutritional yeast
Nutmeg
Peas

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Wedding series, 2: The planning begins…

Happy Sunday! I hope you’re all enjoying this cold but gloriously sunny day, how rubbish is it that it’s meant to become virtually arctic next week – I am SO ready for spring to rear it’s beautiful head already.

Anyway, this isn’t the BBC Weather website, I’m back with the second instalment of my wedding series.  I hoped you enjoyed reading about my engagement – now is where it starts to get serious and the seemingly enormous task of planning the damn thing begins!

It is so hard to know where to begin when planning a wedding, there are a million and one things to take into consideration and knowing which order to do them in isn’t obvious. With the logistics of it all, the colour scheme, the budget, the timeline – it can all get a bit much and you do have to be super organised. My best friend Lauren has just bought me one of those cute wedding planner books and I feel it will super seed her in the best friend stakes and not leave my side! I’ve left a few links to ones which I like below (all Insta worthy of course!) Continue reading

Vegan pancakes

You’ve stopped drinking milk, eating beef, wearing leather and cooking with eggs. But shit, now it’s Shrove Tuesday and you’re really regretting announcing to the world you are now #EatingPlantsNotAnimals

Don’t panic! I have the best ever (probably) vegan pancake recipe which taste JUST like normal pancakes – the thin, crepe kind, not American fluffies.

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You need:

  • 1 cup oat milk (probably would work with other non dairy milks, I just drink Oatly)
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1tsp baking powder
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp veg oil (or any other liquid oil you usually use)
  • 1tsp egg replacer (I use Free and Easy)

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Wedding series, 1: I said yes…!

Now I don’t know if you’ve noticed but I’ve been leaving hints here and there that I’m currently a bride to be. By hints I mean I’ve literally added ‘Bride to be’ into my twitter bio, changed my cover photo to my engagement ring and generally spoke about it at every possible opportunity since coming back to blogging. Subtly does it.
So I have decided to put you out of your misery and announce to the world that I AM GETTING MARRIEDD! WOOP!

Since I was M.I.A last year and didn’t get a chance to tell you about the most magical evening of my life to date, I thought I would do it now. And actually, I am going to document the whole planning process in my new wedding series – I plan to update you around once a month (don’t worry, I won’t bore you with it all of the time).

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So, back to the proposal. It was special, personal, unique and everything I had always hoped it would be. Boy.Done.Good.

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2017; A year of brunching, reviewed

Who invented the word brunch, does anyone know? Also, did they invent the action of brunching along with the word, or was someone continually having a late breakfast and thought sod it, I’m going to make this a thing that everyone does?

Whoever it was and whatever the answer is, I would like to meet them and possible hug and/or kiss them because I f’ing love brunch. So much so that last year, it became an obsession.
I would now like to share this information with you so that I can say ‘I did it for the blog’ rather than ‘I did it because I’m a habitual and borderline addicted brunch attendee’ and someone invents some sort of brunch rehab and makes me attend. (I’ll say noooo, noooo, no).

First of all, I’ll keep it local – Earsham Street Cafe.

I have posted about the cosy cafe in my hometown of Bungay before in this post, so I won’t bore you too much BUT I would like to mention polenta (not something I write everyday!).
As many of you know, I stopped eating meat and dairy recently so when visiting this cafe back in the autumn, I ordered the veggie breakfast. I knew it would be lovely as their food is always top notch, myself and Daniel visit regularly, but never in my life had I had polenta before until now. What.A.Game.Changer. It was in the form of a fried/baked ‘polenta cake’ and was heaven on the palate. Sometimes you do worry that when you order a vegetarian or vegan option of a breakfast they will literally just take the meat and eggs off and not put much thought into it but I really would recommend this one to all fellow non meat eaters. I am going to start replicating this at home occasionally; if you’re interested I will post a step-by-step recipe?

http://www.earshamstreetcafe.co.uk/

Earsham street breakfast

I’m taking you slightly further afield now to Stokes High Bridge Cafe, Lincoln.

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A January of the dry kind

It was December when I had the idea of joining the movement of people not drinking in January. It was early December and I had a whole month of merriment ahead of me. Smugly I signed up through ‘Just Giving’, creating a page telling everyone how I was not going to touch a drop of alcohol for the entirety of the first month of 2017.

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As I write this it’s the 11th of January. Now, I didn’t think I had a problem. I thought I would breeze through January and I turned my nose up when people told me I would never do it. A month without alcohol – surely only real alcoholics wouldn’t be able to do that. How bloody wrong was I; I’m not sure if its the social aspect of drinking with friends in a pub or the association of relaxing with a glass of rosé after a hard day of work that I miss or simply that I just really like the taste, but its hard going! I am genuinely surprised at how much I am missing having a cheeky beer whilst watching the football with Dan or being able to even put red wine in my Bolognese! It was Daniel’s birthday on the 6th of January and we went into the city for a couple of drinks and a meal at the Jamie’s Italian in Norwich. It certainly saved us money with me being designated driver, taxis don’t come cheap, but as we went to the brilliant ‘Belgian Monk’ (a pub which serves tens of different Belgian beers) I really was a sourpuss about the situation. I think it is like anything, the minute you ban yourself or you are told you can’t have something, you instantly want it. I would quite often volunteer myself to be the driver on a night out just for ease and to save a bit of cash and not think twice, it’s funny how the brain works it really is.  Continue reading

Rooftop Gardens, Norwich

Every now and then something lands in your inbox which makes you squeal in such a way people look at you like you’re mad. I had one of those moments when I received the mail inviting me to the VIP & Press launch of Rooftop Gardens, Norwich. I had been following the progress of this new bar and restaurant on Twitter for quite some time and had really been looking forward to trying it – I had never been to a roof top bar anywhere, let alone so close to home!

The new Rooftop Gardens is situated in Rose Lane, on the top (6th) floor of The Union Building, which used to be an Aviva office. The rest of the building is mainly office space which are being used by all sorts of local businesses, I believe you can still enquire about letting one if you are interested – they look very swanky! It is also home to Train with Core which is a private gym and also hair salon Edge Norwich; couple this with the new Rose Lane car park which recently opened and it has brought a previously somewhat neglected part of the city to life, something I love to see.

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As the lift rose to the top floor on Thursday evening for the launch party, you could hear the buzz before the doors even opened, it sounded promising to say the least. I was greeted by a very handsome waiter who handed me a glass of the most beautiful Argentinian red wine as I walked through the door – instantly I was sold! The atmosphere was a mix of sophisticated schmoozing and relaxed fun, it made you feel like you were somewhere quite special yet not uptight or stuffy in the slightest. The dress code seemed to be fairly glam, it would be the perfect place to go for a first date or a drink with your partner due to the mood lighting and chance to snuggle up in the outside area, very romantic!

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Turtle Bay Comes to Norwich!

Thursday nights: normally pretty uneventful right? It’s not quite the weekend yet, it’s a school night and the usual highlight is 7.30 when Jack Branning enters my life again for half an hour. But ohhhhhh no not this week my friend, I went to my first press preview dinner! Ahh! From the second I received the email to the moment my bum hit the seat in the new restaurant in Norwich I could not believe that people actually wanted my opinion on something and went out of their way to get it! It was a real need to pinch myself moment that I am actually a ‘real’ blogger these days and I love it, so thank you everyone who reads my posts, over the last few months I have loved my start on my writing journey!

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