Toronto Playlist

21 Sep

I’m in Toronto for work. It’s raining, and I’m listening to:

  • Bad Timing – Bombay Bicycle Club
  • Call Me In The Afternoon – Half Moon Run
  • Geisha – Plaitum
  • She Sells Sanctuary – Smoke Fairies
  • Leaving Blues – Bombay Bicycle Club
  • Mojo Pin – Jeff Buckley
  • Drop Anchor – Martin Rossiter
  • Aokigahara – The Nocturnes
  • Lover You Should Have Come Over – Jeff Buckley
  • I Want To Be Adored -The Stone Roses
  • London Town – The Nocturnes

Long Time No Blog

15 Jul

Sorry!

Ok, ok, I know I have been remiss of late with regards to blogging. Life/life/minor writing block/life got in the way. I have been doing LOADS though, but that’s a rubbish excuse when I could have been writing about it. 

This week’s playlist:

  • Night Engine – Young & Carefree
  • White Noise – Disclosure
  • Geisha – Plaitum
  • She Said – Retro Stefson
  • Jewel – Bombay Bicycle Club

October UK Vegan Foodswap

17 Oct


Coming back from your lunch break to find your October UK Vegan Foodswap parcel on your desk is quite a treat!

This month my parcel came from Rebecca Fox, who tells me that she isn’t ‘cool enough’ to have her own blog, but instead I’m sure she would join me in encouraging you to head over to the To Happy Vegans blog to learn more about how you could sign up for next month’s food swap, or to follow the To Happy Vegans Mitsu (@M_tohappyvegans) and Sasha (@S_tohappyvegans) on Twitter.

Rebecca had selected some lovely treats for me to enjoy. First of all there was a Happy Kitchen Raspberry brownie, which I had received before in August from Rita (@rita_fontes) and had really enjoyed, so that got inhaled right away.

Also in there was a bar of Montezuma chocolate. Montezuma are my favourite chocolate company: I adore their dark chocolate buttons. I’ve not tried their Lime and Sea Salt so I’m really looking forward to trying this flavour – I’m sure it will be delicious.

Also in the box was some Tyrells popcorn. I like their veg crisps, but haven’t tried their popcorn so I’m excited about trying that.

Rebecca also sent me a tub of inSpiral Kale Chips. I snacked on these today, and shared them with the rest of the office. I liked the flavour, but wasn’t sure about the texture: a bit spiky for me. However, we still managed to polish off the whole tub – they are surprisingly moorish. I was warned.

We also snacked on the liquorish pebbles. I like liquorish but rarely get to eat it because it usually has wheat in it, so it was a real treat to receive these.

The best thing in the parcel was Rebecca’s homemade Almond Pate. Oh. My. God. The pate was absolutely amazing. I have inhaled most of the jar already smothered on rice cakes. It’s also really nice for dipping carrots in. Rebecca very kindly shared the recipe for it with me, but really the girl should bottle and sell this stuff, she’d make a fortune.

Brilliant food swap. My parcel went off to Anne Marie (@leicestervegans). If you want to take part in November’s food swap don’t forget to sign up before 5th November, you might be lucky enough to receive a jar of Rebecca’s almond pate.

September UK Vegan Foodswap

1 Oct

So this month I received a lovely parcel of goodies from Christina Pham through the To Happy Vegans UK vegan food swap.

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I got my parcel a little bit later than usual because I was overseas for most of September, but it was great to come home to a package of vegan yumminess!

I was really pleased with the Lucy’s cookies and the chocolate raisins that Christina had picked out for me because I was sent some of them last month by Rita, and they were delicious, but everything else in the parcel was completely new to me, so I’m really going to enjoy trying everything out.

Thanks Christina! Unfortunately I don’t think Christina has a Twitter account or a Blog so I can’t urge you to follow her, so why not follow To Happy Vegans instead, or sign up to next month’s food swap?

Guest Blogging

28 Sep

Guest blogging for Sean the Fat Gay Vegan about my recent vegan airline meal fail.

You can read all about it here: http://fatgayvegan.com/2012/09/28/vegan-airline-meal-fail-guest-post/

Pembrokeshire

9 Sep

It was my 33rd birthday on the 5th September.

I absolutely refuse to work on my birthday, and usually go on holiday. This year I decided to return to Pembrokeshire after having such an amazing time there in June. I booked into the gorgeous Rock Cottage for a week and on Thursday 30th August set off for Hay on Wye.

I decided to break my journey down to St Davids with one night in Hay in order to mooch around all the book shops. I was staying in vegetarian B&B Trericket Mill, which turned out to be brilliant. Hay was a little disappointing though. I think I have been spoilt by Barter Books in Alnwick, which is one of my favourite places, and I imagined that the book shops in Hay would be equally amazing, but sadly they weren’t: they were small and cramped and crowded and seemed to have no logic to the layout – I couldn’t find anything. Also, besides the great B&B, the vegan options in the area were really disappointing, and the coffee shops were rubbish (again, I’ve been spoilt by having Flat White Durham on my doorstep).

So, Hay was not so good, but after a lush breakfast at the B&B on Friday morning I set off for St Davids!

I got there at about lunch time so dropped into St Davids to buy some food and then headed over to Rock Cottage. Rock Cottage was absolutely perfect – even better than Shearers’ Loft where I stayed in June. Rock Cottage is a bit closer to St David’s with great views down to the Cathedral from the living room windows. After settling in and unpacking that afternoon I cycled into St Davids and then over to Whitesands, and back. Then after dinner that evening I walked down to Porth Clais.
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Saturday morning I walk over to Whitesands and along to St David’s Head and then up on to the top of Carn Llidi for fantastic views of the peninsula. From there I walk down to St David’s for a coffee, and then back to Rock Cottage.
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Sunday morning the weather is misty and a bit drizzly. I walked from Rock Cottage down to St Justinians and then around the head of the peninsula to St Nons and then into St Davids. Later on that evening I have another shorter walk down to Porth Clais.
On Monday I drove over to Abereiddi and walked to Penberry and back. It’s quite hard walking – lots of up and down, and quite overgrown (clearly a less popular part of the coastal path). At the Blue Lagoon at Abereiddi they were preparing it for the Red Bull Cliff Diving Championship at the weekend, which quite frankly looked terrifying. That afternoon I cycled down to Whitesands and have a walk on the beach before having a coffee and cycling back.
I walked down to Porth Clais on Tuesday and made my way down the coast to Solva. I got there about lunch time and catch the bus back from Solva into St Davids where I picked up lunch before walking back to the cottage. The morning is grey and rainy, but the sun comes out after lunch. So after lunch I walked back into St David’s and have a wander about the shops and then take a look around St David’s cathedral before walking back to Rock Cottage. That evening I went down to Whitesands to watch the stunning sunset.
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Wednesday was my birthday! I walked into St David’s and had a lazy morning wandering around the shops and having a coffee. I then headed back to the cottage for lunch, and for an afternoon walk down to Whitesands and along the coastal path to St Justinians. That evening I returned to Whitesands to watch the sunset again.
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Thursday was my last full day sadly. I drove over to Whitesands and leave the car there to walk the coastal path towards Abereiddi. I make it into a loop walk and come back to Whitesands inland using field paths – they are not well trodden at all and I got brambled and nettled to death, that was a bad decision! I got back about lunch time and drove back to the cottage for lunch. After lunch I walked into St David’s for a cherry sorbet as a treat, and then that evening I had a walk along the lanes around the cottage, stealing blackberries from the hedgerows.
Friday was a 4am wake up call to get me on the road early. I got back to Hartlepool by lunchtime. Gutted to be home as I had an absolutely magnificent holiday.
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Lake District Bank Holiday Loveliness

29 Aug

It was August Bank Holiday weekend, and for the third year running that meant an escape to the Lakes.

I stayed in my lovely vegan B&B Fox Hall in Kendal, which is always a pleasure, and being looked after by Sylvia and Chris always does me the world of good. It’s only 30 mins from the central Lakes so a great location for me.

I headed over on Saturday morning. The weather wasn’t great, and the Lakes were absolutely heaving. My original plan was to head into Keswick to have lunch at The Lakeland Pedlar, but Keswick was so busy and it was chucking down with rain so everyone was driving about like a nutter, that I thought I would give it a miss. I drove down to Grasmere, which was much quieter, and had a lovely bowl of soup and gf bread at Greens instead.

I then drove over to Elterwater where I parked up and walked along the Cumbria Way to Skelwith Bridge to have a coffee at Chesters by the River. Chesters make a pretty amazing coffee – probably my second favourite. First place goes to Flat White Durham mostly because I adore the barista boys and girls that work there, they are such sweeties. After coffee it was a walk in the rain back to the car, and then over to Fox Hall to check in and chill out.

Sunday morning was mixed – there were showers and the high peaks were covered in cloud. A friend from the NE drove over to join me for a walk. We set off from Grasmere and walked up to Easedale Tarn. The original plan was to head up Sergeant Man, but the cloud was right down and my walking companion was struggling a bit so we had lunch at Stickle Tarn, and then headed across the ridge to Silver How before descending to Grasmere.

It was was a really nice day’s walking, and I really enjoyed myself. We headed over to Chesters after the walk for a coffee, and some cake for my walking companion.

Bank Holiday monday dawned with torrential rain and cloud down to floor level. Frankly, it was vile.

 

I was meant to be meeting Amy for a walk. Amy now lives in St Bees, but used to live in the NE and walked with our Ramblers group. We met up, but decided the weather was far too disgusting for the walk we had originally planned so we cut the walk short and spent 2 hours in a coffee shop instead having a catch up and watching the vile weather out of the window.

After Amy headed home I went into Ambleside for a wander around the shops and a short walk in the rain. Then it was back to Fox Hall to get showered and changed before heading out for a meal. I had booked dinner at Lancrigg, the vegetarian country house hotel in Grasmere. I was thinking about booking there for Christmas this year, but wanted to go for a meal to see what the food was like before I did so.

Sadly, I was very disappointed with the food. Despite mentioning on several occasions that I was vegan and allergic to wheat I still ended up sick the next day, so can only assume that dairy or wheat some sneaked into my meal somewhere. I had the falafel for starter, which turned up with sourdough bread and had to be sent back. When it arrived back without sourdough bread it was ok, too heavy on the mint in my opinion. My main course was puy lentil shepherds pie. It was dull and too heavy on the celery – I hate celery and it was all I could taste. I make a better puy lentil shepherds pie myself, and it came with rather dull steamed veg. The portion was small and it was very disappointing. For dessert I chose the chocolate, toffee nut sundae. I was given some melted chocolate ice-cream in a glass – there was no toffee or nut as far as I could tell, just a lot of melted cheap chocolate ice cream with ice crystals in it – and they charged £6 for this?! The meal came to £30 for the three courses, and no alcohol (I don’t drink). It was exceptionally overpriced for the quality of food, and I was very, very disappointed. It was useful to go because it meant that I realised I did not want to book in for Christmas there at all. Such a shame as this was my birthday ‘treat’ meal out.

On Tuesday the weather was much much better, but it was also the day I was going home. Boooo hiss!

I decided to walk in Patterdale on the way home, so drove over to Cow Bridge and parked up the car. The walk I had planned was Dove Crag and Little Hart Crag: about 8 miles. It was magnificent.

 

It was pretty windy on the top, but I managed to hunker down behind a dry stone wall so that I could enjoy the view with my lunch. The view from the top was great because I could look down the valley to Patterdale, but also in the other direction I could look over to the Langdales, and Ambleside and Windermere – the Lake District really was laid out all around me. Fantastic.

Sadly, it was then time to go home, but I can’t be too sad because after 1 day to clean my clothes I’m off again tomorrow down to Hay-on-Wye for a night, and then on to Pembrokeshire again!

Hurrah for holidays!

 

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