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It’s finally here: The Nod Magazine has launched!

August 1, 2017

You might remember at the end of June, I wrote about an exciting project that I’d been working on for a few weeks, and couldn’t wait to tell you more about? Well, the time has finally arrived and I am so excited to share it with you all! For the past few months I’ve been spending any spare time I could find, sat in front of my computer and notebook (I have three notebooks now, just in case you’re wondering), planning, writing, building, editing and tweaking a brand new website called The Nod Magazine.

Woman sat on her bed typing on a laptop

It’s an online vegan lifestyle magazine designed to make vegan living more fun, tasty, simple and sexy. Well, we can try. You can search through different categories, like travel, fashion and news – and don’t miss out on my monthly Editor’s Letter.

As I said in my last blog post, things will change slightly round here. I’ll be using paperbagblog more as a personal space for writing and reflection, and saving product reviews and tips for the best avocado toast for The Nod – but I’m sure some will creep over here when I get too excited about a pizza date or new lipstick.

Slice of peanut butter chocolate pretzel brownie

So, there’s my big news! I hope you join me over at The Nod. I’ve honestly been so overwhelmed by the response it’s had on social media, and never expected it at all. Thank you to every single person who has messaged, commented, tweeted, re-tweeted and liked our content – it really means so much to me. You can find us on Twitter and Instagram, and we’d love to hear from you via our Contact page.

Tips for a productive weekend at home

July 26, 2017

Processed with VSCOcam with f2 preset

Lately my weekends have been slightly slower-paced, which I have been really enjoying. Although I love making the most of my spare time, sometimes you need a day or two to just breath and enjoy the quiet. What can come with it though, for me, is a feeling of being lost and unproductive – which doesn’t equate to a relaxing weekend after all. I thought I would share the things that I do to make the most of a weekend to myself – I would love to hear yours!

Relax, unwind and sleep 

For health reasons I’ve had to accept that I need to sleep as much as I can at the weekends. It goes against everything that I am about, but my health is more important than making sure I wake up early at the weekend, and don’t spend the morning in bed. So now I always make sure I never have an alarm set, unless I have special plans, and that I decide whether I need more sleep based on how I feel, rather than the time.


Schedule in some down-time 

This might sound odd, but I find that if I don’t do this, the guilt starts setting in early. For a couple of weekends I found myself watching vlogs until around 11am before getting on with my day, and then feeling guilty about wasting time when I could have been cleaning or doing something productive – even though I love watching vlogs. So I made a simple change – I added it to my to-do list and scheduled it into my day so I couldn’t feel guilty about it. I made sure that I switched off at 11am, got onto the next item on my to-do list, and solved that problem.

Accept that you can’t get everything done

To-do lists are a wonderful thing, but weekends are also for relaxing. You give so much of yourself to other people during the week, the weekend is a time to focus on you – make sure you’re making yourself happy, and don’t expect too much from yourself. Plans change, sometimes you need more down-time, sometimes you get more done than you expect – but that doesn’t mean you should try and do more!


Enjoy some good food

We tend to make really good meals at the weekend – especially at lunchtime, because during the week lunch options are fairly limited/dull (personally, I eat the same thing Mon-Thur on a tight budget, and then I splash out on Friday). Whether it’s a meal you can’t cook during the week due to kitchen constraints, making plans with a friend for coffee and cake, enjoying a leisurely breakfast of croissants or treating yourself to a takeaway – make the weekends all about fun food.

So those are my tips for a productive and healthy weekend at home. What are your tips? How do you like to enjoy your weekend?

Uncertain weather

July 22, 2017

Polaroid of the view across LA Trout stood in front of a white Ford Mustang

Whenever I catch myself complaining about the confusion the weather causes (the mornings spent staring between the weather report and my wardrobe, the layers I peel off and throw back on, and the frustration that all of this has become) I stop myself and remember that it was this confusion that saved me the night that I was mugged, that stopped it from turning into even more of a disaster. It stopped at the point that I fell, and allowed me to run to the safety of my home with my hands stuffed into my pockets, grabbing for my keys and phone, and the iPod waiting for me gently, for the moment I would be happy to shut myself off from the world again.

It was that morning in April that I felt it was still time to wear my big winter coat, with the deep pockets and woolly exterior, and not a light jacket. I hopped on a tube and immediately regretted this decision – berating myself for not giving the sun a chance. If I had though, I wouldn’t have been stood shaking with the police, telling them I was fine, that I could go home, that my flatmate would return soon. If I hadn’t been so afraid of the cold that morning, I’m sure I would have ended up sleeping at a neighbours house, unable to cancel any of my cards, feeling unwelcome and intruding and restless. Instead I had been able to go home and hang that heavy winter coat up, thankful that the weather had changed everything for me. I was still restless, but I was resting, and sometimes both are equally as restorative.

These two polaroids are from a trip we took in 2012, and we’re planning another road trip in the next couple of months – one that will start in Texas, but probably won’t include a Ford Mustang (although I’m sure they will try and appeal to our inner tourist and offer a reasonably priced upgrade). If you have any road trip suggestions, I would love to hear them.

Vegan beauty products I’ve been loving

July 9, 2017

As Superdrug re-launch their B. range – which I am so excited about! – I thought I would put together a little round-up of products that I love at the moment, from make-up to moisturiser, hair products to lipbalm.



One of my favourite lipsticks ever: Marks and Spencer’s Autograph lipstick in matte velvet Blush Pink. It’s so easy to wear during the day, and great to apply if you go for an unplanned drink after work when you want to feel a bit ‘refreshed’.


I’ve spoken about them before, but I am obsessed with Hurraw! lipbalm. It is absolutely the best lipbalm I have ever tried, and they come in so many different ‘flavours’. At the moment I’m carrying around Chai Spice every day, and in the evening I use Coconut.


Pure shea butter from Laughing Bird. Shea butter is a fantastic moisturiser; when I’m sitting in bed watching something, I’ll melt it with my fingertips and moisturise my hands and feet for a few minutes before I go to bed. It’s brilliant! I was using it in my hair, but have since done some research and it seems that you should not do this!

I’ve been loving Lee Stafford’s Hair Growth range! Sadly the shampoo & conditioner aren’t vegan, which I only learnt after I had purchased them, but the scalp scrub and scalp serum are, and I’m really enjoying those products. A lot of their staples are also vegan – I love their hairspray, heat protection spray and mousse. Drop me an email if you want the full list and I can forward it onto you.

What vegan beauty products do you love? I’m always on the hunt for new brands and products to try.

Admitting something controversial

July 1, 2017

Woman wearing cosy knitwear and slippers, holding a mug of hot chocolate

I don’t know if I should apologise or not, but I am (already) so excited about Christmas. I know, I know – it’s July. And I’ve never been one of those people who count down the days from March and puts their Christmas tree up in November, but last Christmas was an absolute washout thanks to a whole heap of health issues, so I feel like I’ve skipped a year of celebrations. If anyone else is as excited as me, I might put together a bit of a Christmassy blog post – but I know that most people are in summer-mode (even if the weather hasn’t got the memo…), enjoying BBQs and beer gardens.

Other than getting increasingly impatient for December, and wishing I could get away with a Christmas-themed birthday party in August, I’ve been thinking a lot about my work/life/blog etc. balance. I tend to treat my spare time the same way I approach my working hours – breaking down to-do lists, prioritising what I want to get done by when, and always making sure that I schedule in time to do nothing. I find that this is really important for me; prioritising the things that relax me, like watching my favourite YouTubers, reading Waitress Food and my favourite blogs, and just doing my nails, all without feeling guilty – because it’s on my to-do list. That might sound strange, but it works for me.

Are you wishing it was Christmas, too?! Or shall I just ignore it and enjoy summer? Do you have any tips for creating the perfect work/life balance?

An hour on the sea

June 28, 2017

Three polaroids of us on a boat

At the weekend we went to Kingston for the afternoon to continue a friend’s 30th birthday celebrations, and decided to hire a boat! We only took it out for an hour, but it was so much fun to take it in turns to steer the boat along the Thames, through the arches of bridges and avoiding swans, boats and paddle-boarders. I was nervous at first, but thankfully the boat went slow enough to ease my concerns – it actually took a while to get used to as it would take a few seconds for it to catch up when you changed direction, and it was hard to trust that it eventually would. Here are a few photos from our afternoon.

^^The birthday girl enjoying our first time on a boat.^^

^^Me, successfully navigating the boat ;) ^^

^^Trout playing it far too cool! This guy was a real hooligan on the water.^^

^^Safety first ;) ^^

After our time on the river we went to The Terrace, a favourite haunt of ours from our university days, for the best sandwich ever: hummus, roasted peppers, olives, basil and rocket. It’s delicious. And I don’t know if I’ve had one before, but their soya lattes are good. Like, really really good.

table with sandwiches and coffee on

So that was our Sunday afternoon! Have you ever hired a boat? 

Falling back in love with blogging

June 26, 2017


I’ve written quite extensively about becoming disillusioned with blogging over the past couple of years. I’ve often felt cynical and angry, I’ve rolled my eyes – and maybe even been jealous at times, and all of the negativity turned me away from blogging, from being a part of a community that felt so different to the one that I felt a part of when I started in 2006. It has changed a lot – it has evolved, it has become a small (and rather large!) business for many, and it has been a very, very steep learning curve for all of us – but I feel like I’ve finally reached a point where I’m getting my head around it all.

We’ve all made mistakes – I know I’ve collaborated with brands that don’t make a lot of sense for my blog, and I think it’s safe to say that every blogger has done the same at some point in their writing life. But we’re building this community and industry from scratch, so isn’t it ok to make a few mistakes along the way? I’m really making an effort to get back into blogging, and reclaim this little space of mine. I hope to be sharing more frequently (god, you must be sick of hearing that…), return to collaborating with brands (that fit my lifestyle and what I like sharing here) and hopefully you’ll all join me along the way. That doesn’t mean I don’t dislike ‘outreach specialists’ any more, though…

Lately I’ve been discovering more and more YouTubers and am absolutely loving their videos, especially as I have so many to catch up on with new-to-me channels! Here are a few of my favourites:

I know I’m late to the party, but better late than never, right?! Who are your favourite YouTubers? I’d love to add a few more to my subscription list.

I also have an exciting project that I’m currently working on as often as I can, and I can’t wait to share it with you all! I’m hoping to be able to tell you all about it in a few weeks, so watch this space. It will mean some changes to the way this blog is run, but this space will still exist, and become more personal. Sorry for being so secretive, I hope it will be worth the wait!

p.s. I really enjoyed this blog post on Love Taza; 5 tips for working from home. I found it really useful, not just for the couple of days per month that I work from home, but also for dedicating time to blogging, too. It’s certainly a balancing act I’m looking forward to.

The perfect Monday night date with Purezza

June 19, 2017

A couple of weeks ago Trout and I were invited by Purezza for a little Monday night pizza date. I think this might be one of the best ways to start the week. I’ve been to Purezza before and absolutely loved it; it’s 100% vegan, with a really relaxed atmosphere, and is always packed when I’ve been  – even on a Monday evening. We’re so lucky to have a genuinely authentic pizzeria in Brighton that is plant based, with so much attention to detail and understanding of flavours – I really think that anyone, meat-eater, vegetarian or vegan, would enjoy a meal here.

Anywhere that serves Brewdog Nanny State gets a massive thumbs up from me!

We were lucky enough to get front-row seats, right infront of the pizza oven. Such a fun view!

Cheesy balls! Perfect sharing size and oh-so cheesy. Careful though, that cheese can dribble down your chin and into your lap really easily. Be warned. Another pro-tip: order some extra dips; the mushroom one is amazing.

I’m so impressed that they make all of their own cheeses from scratch. and so many different types depending on what it’s being used for, whether it’s pizza or cheesy balls or a cheese board.

Trout went for the Fumosa and I had the Couch Potato (potato on a pizza is so good!).

The bases are so good! I loved those charred bubbles, with hints of crunchy basil.

Trout found the BBQ sauce too rich, but I really enjoyed it. That ‘pepperoni’? It’s made from beetroot. Amazing!

We tried, we really tried – but we just couldn’t fit any dessert in. I know! We were just too full, but I can’t stop thinking about their Oreo pizza now. I might have to pop back just for that dessert.

Thanks so much for having us, Purezza! If you’re in Brighton and fancy some awesome pizza, make sure you drop by.

Have you been to Purezza? What did you order? Isn’t it the best?!

Life lately, according to my phone

May 28, 2017


Trout and I went on a little road trip to collect his new car, which ended up being l-o-n-g and filled with traffic and bad weather. Selfies with his specs helped ease the boredom.


My Mum & Dad’s puppies! I love them so much.


Another new pair of shoes – I love these Ethletic trainers so much. They’re so comfortable from the first wear, and look identical to Converse but aren’t made by kids. Dream shoes.


Two of my closest friends got married, and it was the most wonderful day! And yes, I really should have ironed my dress.


Cocktails (and mocktails) on what felt like the first day of summer, after an afternoon of wedding dress shopping last month.


Croissants in bed! When I spent the day eating in London, I came across a little health food shop in Hackney that sold vegan pastries, and they were so good!

A vegan cheeseboard at a Eurovision party! Did you watch it?

Bruschetta and avocado on toast <3

I don’t use Snapchat, so I am LOVING the new filters that Instagram have stolen from them!

Spaghetti and meatballs, using Asda’s new vegan meatballs, and a Sainsbury’s 40p garlic bread.

Dinner at Purezza. More on these pizzas next week!

Brighton in the summer is just the best place to be. Blue skies and everyone is smiling (mainly because everyone is enjoying beach/street/beer garden drinks). The atmosphere is amazing.

After Monday’s awful attack in Manchester I thought hard about cancelling our tickets to see Brian Cox at Wembley. But you can’t let one person, or group of people, stop you from living life – and right now I think we’re probably safer than we’ve ever been. I don’t know about you guys but in Brighton there are police everywhere. Police carrying guns, stood on every corner, waiting at the station, walking the streets. It’s unnerving and reassuring all at the same time. I’m thinking about everyone who has been affected by the attack, even in the smallest of ways. It’s sad to think that this probably won’t be the last terror attack in the UK, but all we can do is hope, stay safe, carry on with our lives and let people know that we love them.

Life lately, according to my belly pt 2

May 20, 2017


When I saw this illustration on Twitter, it really made me laugh because it is so true! Speaking of eating nice things, here are a few things that have made my tummy happy lately.


A few weeks ago I went up to London with a couple of friends for, essentially, a day of eating. We didn’t JUST eat (we also went to a couple of markets and an urban farm in Hackney which was the most amazing way to break up the afternoon!) but mostly we did just eat. We started off the day at Temple of Seitan with fried ‘chicken’ and chips. It had been on my to-eat list for so long, and definitely met my expectations. The place is pretty small, which I didn’t realise – thankfully the weather was fine so we sat outside, but did mean that we had to move because a creepy guy came over to sit with us and wouldn’t leave.

After that we headed to I Will Kill Again, which was a great little recommendation from a friend of a friend. The coffee (Dark Arts Coffee) was pretty good, and the cake board was all vegan. It was like a dream. I had brownie #1 of the day – chocolate peanut butter.



Brownie #2 was…


… chocolate salted caramel from Veggie Pret. This was seriously good, and I’m so happy that they’ve opened a second Veggie branch! Let’s hope that Brighton’s next on their list. The Shoreditch branch didn’t have that many vegan options, but I’ve heard that there are quite a lot, so maybe I picked a bad day. I wish I’d bought a dozen of those brownies back with me.


Another amazing find from Pret – coconut milk flat white. Seriously, this is so, so delicious. Bravo, Pret.


OK so I am trying to be healthier, beginning with breakfast. I’ve been starting the day with fruit, coconut yogurt and a sprinkling of granola, chai seeds and flax seeds, so that I get 1 of my 5 a day in before 8am. I’m really trying to up my fruit and veg intake (clementines for snacks are helping) and am considering joining a gym again, or at least going to yoga regularly. I definitely loved doing hot yoga when I went 3-4 times per week, and saw much more of a difference than any plank/gym routine I ever did, but it’s very expensive (£80 per month for unlimited, otherwise it’s £12 per class if I don’t buy any kind of pass). The problem is I don’t get home until 6.30pm, and often I just want to get home, make dinner and get stuck into relaxing, which is really important for me. The thought of going home, getting changed and heading to the gym – I’m just not sure it would realistically happen, and I don’t want to waste my money. I might get a free trial membership and see if I can make it part of my regular routine. Any other tips for healthy eating and squeezing in more exercise?


Trout’s take on a Pho dish. And it was dish-licious.


Definitely not on the healthy list, but on the yummy list. Creamy pasta and a 40p garlic bread.


Another reason why I need to start eating healthier – peanut butter sea salt caramel ice-cream from Boho Gelato.


Last but not least, Trout and I went down to the Marina to visit a kitchen designer (which was amazing, more on that another time) and while we were there we couldn’t resist a little lunch date at Franco Manca. Geez, their pizza is so good!

So there we have a few amazing things that I’ve been eating. What have you been eating lately? Any tips or recipes for delicious healthy meals you love (that are also quick to make, don’t use every pan in the house and are vegan)? Let me know in the comments!

Fatto a Mano – vegan & gluten free offerings

March 19, 2017

Pizza oven at Fatto a Manno

On Tuesday night my love and I went for a little pizza date to Fatto a Mano. We’d been before with friends, the day that we found out that they were going to be having a baby in a few sweet months. I remember the queue for a table being so long, and while we waited and walked to a nearby bar, they announced their special news. It’s a walk I’ll never forget, and a simply meal made oh so special.

Pizza is fast becoming my joint-favourite food. For so long it was burgers – I would order a burger whenever I saw it on the menu – but after so many oh-so disappointing servings, I’ve had to retire it even from my top five, and pizza has slipped into its place (curry will always be my true love). Yes you can find so many sub-standard (awful) pizzerias, but lately I’ve been on a lucky streak.

I will always have a love of marinara pizza. There’s something so wonderfully simple about it, the perfect barometer for flavour and expertise, finished off with a scattering of olives and a few select artichokes (and plenty of chilli oil). At the same time I get so excited seeing pizzerias, whether they’re vegan or not, adding vegan cheese to their menus – even the odd faux meat, too. If you’re looking for the perfect all-vegan pizzeria in Brighton, you must try Purezza.

^^ These olives! Amazing. I don’t even know what to say – you know when you get a really, really good olive? That happened. ^^

^^ Gluten-free garlic pizza bread, and bruschetta. I don’t think the bruschetta was gluten-free, but I had to keep asking the waitress, is this garlic bread really gluten free?! It was crazy good! If you can’t have gluten, you’re in for a real treat. ^^

^^ Bruschetta is in my top 10 favourite foods, and this didn’t disappoint. They did not scrimp on those beautifully sweet cherry tomatoes. ^^

^^ We both ordered the Vegana pizza, he switched the fried courgettes for mushrooms. Big mistake! Those courgettes were incredible. I didn’t really know what to expect, and almost switched them for artichokes myself, but I’m so glad I didn’t. The pesto and courgettes really made this pizza special. The vegan cheese is an odd one – it doesn’t truly melt, so becomes just as much a part of the toppings as the other ingredients, so I would say that a little less of it would probably work better, rather than the cubes part-melted, but the flavour was good, and it’s so nice to have the option. ^^

^^ Absolutely stuffed! Between the pizza and the garlic bread, I was ready to be rolled home – no room for dessert or even espresso (!!!). I’m not sure if anyone pretends that gluten-free ingredients make for a lighter dish, because I can confirm they do not, and I was still full the next morning. ^^

I love that Fatto a Mano have stuck to their guns and sourced vegan mozzarella and gluten-free flour from small Italian companies. They’ve made these new offerings melt seamlessly into their original menu and ethos. Soft and pillowy bases. Simple pizza, made well.

I was invited to try Fatto a Mano’s new vegan and gluten-free menu, however views and food baby are my own.

It’s our anniversary!

March 8, 2017

Today is me and Trout’s 15 (fifteen!) year anniversary. I can’t bloody believe it! I wish I could have found a way to keep those first few text messages we sent each other on our Nokia 3310s, back in 2002. Messages of uncertainty with a hope that we would work out. That it was worth trying for (oh, it was). Something more than a memory of the first time we met, in 2001. The tiny rollercoaster that gathered speed over the following few months, before landing, finally, on 8th March 2002.

The cities that kept us apart, the cities that we explored together. The years we spent living together, the years we spent looking forward to living together. Nights spent sleeping on the sofa, spent sleeping at friends, spent falling asleep holding hands. Hours spent cooking (you) and cleaning (me).

There were so many photos that I wanted to include in this blog post. Photos that are filled with so many memories, too many to share in one place. Instead I tried to find one for every year we have been together for. Here they are:

Trout and I aged 16 years old

^^ This one was taken so soon after we first got together in 2002. It looks like summer, so I’m guessing we had been together for 3 or 4 months. ^^

Trout and I at the top of the empire state building in 2003

^^ Empire State building, 2003. ^^

I couldn’t find any for 2004, 2005 or 2006 :(


^^ Paris, 2007. ^^

Trout and I in 2008

^^ Stockholm, 2008. ^^

Trout and I in Berlin

^^ Berlin, 2009. ^^


^^ On a bus, 2010. ^^

Trout, Rasputin and I

^^ I love the photos from this shoot we did with a friend in 2011! Our little family ^^

A polaroid of Trout and I at the top of the Empire State building in 2012 A polaroid of Trout and I

^^ Re-creating the photo from the top of the Empire State building, and another polaroid, 2012. ^^


^^ Dresden, 2013.^^


^^Brighton, 2014 ^^


^^ We bought a house in 2015! ^^


^^ Cuba, 2016. ^^

Happy anniversary, my love! Can we make 2017 the year that we take more photos together, please? Because that took me bloody ages. Plus it’s nice to have photos of each other <3



Five things

March 6, 2017


I’ve always woken up much earlier than I need to. There’s something so special about that time before the day begins, before the day is never truly your own. Moments that I try to stretch out.

Reading this blog post by Meg Fee made me think about the time that I savour in the morning. Five little routines that I like to do before I leave the house. Before 8am. Before the day really begins.

  1. Brush my teeth. The first thing I do, every morning
  2. Put the kettle on, take my medication, feed Ras
  3. Watch the news, sip my coffee
  4. Empty Ras’ poo parlour
  5. Leave the house clean, tidy, and ready to welcome me back in the evening

What are your five things?

New York, New York

February 15, 2017


I wish the title of this blog post indicated that I was on my way to New York, or at least planning a trip there, but sadly I’m still in Sussex dreaming of our next trip away, which we haven’t even booked yet. Although it won’t be New York.


At the weekend I popped into Marks and Spencer to try out a few of their new fragrances. A friend recommended them to me, and since they’re all cruelty-free I was really excited to give them a sniff. I ended up leaving with a 25ml bottle of New York, New York, and an Autograph Matte Velvet Lipstick in Blush Pink. This is the second lipstick I’ve bought from the collection, and I absolutely love them – they are really subtle, quite long-lasting and don’t dry your lips out. I kept putting off buying another lipstick as they are £10, but every time I looked at my sad, pretty-much-empty lipstick I knew I had to re-purchase it! Almost all of M&S make-up is vegan and cruelty-free, and their food range is expanding by the week. So exciting! Thank you Marks and Spencer.


I hope everyone had a lovely Valentine’s Day!  Trout bought me the most amazing box of cupcakes from What Leila Bakes – you can see a photo of them over on my Instagram page, and I can confirm that they are as tasty as they look. You should also check out Leila’s cruelty-free beauty section on her blog, which has so many gems. I’m currently eyeing up Evolve, because I’m a sucker for good packaging.

Here are a few other things that I’ve been loving lately:

  • Re-discovering Ella Masters’ blog – I read it years ago, and don’t know why or how but it fell off my radar. It’s firmly back on it now.
  • Still loving Lydia Elise Millen’s YouTube channel.
  • I am desperate to go to Temple of Seitan! Have you been? I hear you have to turn up as soon as it opens, as they sell out almost immediately…!
  • These studs from Oliver Bonas are dreamy. I’m so happy to be back wearing earrings again – I had one stretched ear for about 8 years and only recently took it out. It’s slowly going back to normal, but coupled with a slight allergy to cheap metal I’ve been earring-free for such a long time. Not any more!
  • This article on About Time, on taking note of the things you actually enjoy doing, and the things you only enjoy doing because they look good to the outside world – like going to the gym, avoiding carbs, and other horrendous activities like this.

What are you loving at the moment? Let me know what you’ve been up to, and how you spent your Valentine’s Day, I’d love to hear about it.

Weekends and wish lists

February 5, 2017

My current weekend obsession is to spend a bit longer in the shower, and really pamper myself. I’ve never been the type of girl to spend a lot of time using beauty products – I’m still not quite there, and use 4-in-1 make-up remover wipes in the evening – but over the years I’ve added a few more products to my regime and am enjoying finding the best brands for me, that are also vegan and cruelty free.


This parsley seed cleansing masque by Aesop is so lovely. It leaves my skin so soft and smooth, and I’ll definitely be investing in a tube of this once I’ve used up the samples I was given with the products that Trout bought me for Christmas.

I’ve also been using the Shea Moisture 10-in-1 renewal system hair mask once a week, which leaves my hair so soft. I keep it on for as long as possible, and in the meantime I enjoy a full body scrub, give my legs a proper shave (sorry, TMI), and leave the Aesop cleansing masque on for around 10 minutes. Once I’m out of the shower I moisturise myself into a body butter mess, re-paint my toenails and enjoy a bit more time with the book I’m currently reading; It Felt Like a Kiss by Sarra Manning. I do love my weekend mornings.


James White’s organic ginger zinger. I picked this up from Sainsbury’s for £1.80 and it was so good! I absolutely love ginger added to juice, and this was SUPER gingery. Perfect start to the day.

I try to go to hot yoga at least once over the weekend, which I find really relaxing, and the class I usually go to is a mini-workout so it’s like a double-bonus, but it really depends on how much work I have to do, and the plans that I’ve made are.

For when I like to think I can afford luxury, I sit and stare at these Stella McCartney beauties. It’s also for when I believe I would ever be able to walk in them outside of my house, or keep them clean and the soles white. The plain black flatforms are £580.


A bit more affordable and practical, these gold espadrilles from Beyond Skin have been in my thoughts as I long to book a holiday somewhere hot, beachy and relaxing. These are currently on sale for £49, and the only size left is my size. Is it meant to be?

Do you have any weekend rituals? What do you do when you need to treat yourself (or dream of treating yourself)? Have you tried any of these products or brands?

Let’s have these conversations

February 1, 2017


So the world is a pretty sad place right now. I’ve been *this* close to crying pretty much every day, whether it’s because of another piece of legislation that Trump has pushed through, or an incredible story or protestor fighting back.

With the help of my sweet, talented and smart friend Ashley, I’ve put together this list of Donald Trump’s achievements thus far. It kind of puts this whole shitstorm into perspective:

19th January 2017

▶︎ Trump said that he would cut funding for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programmes, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the Minority Business Development Agency, the Economic Development Administration, the International Trade Administration, the Manufacturing Extension Partnership,the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, the Legal Services Corporation, the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ, the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability, the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Office of Fossil Energy. That’s a lot of cuts to a lot of vital, life-saving organisations.

20th January 2017

▶︎ Trump ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen, and ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after RTing factual, side by side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.

▶︎ Roughly 230 protestors were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics.

▶︎ A member of the International Workers of the World was shot in the stomach at an anti-fascist protest in Seattle. He remains in critical condition.

21st January 2017

▶︎ Trump brought a group of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press.

▶︎ White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, “period”.

22nd January 2017

▶︎ White House advisor Kellyann Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.

▶︎ Trump appeared to blow a kiss to FBI Director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.

23rd January 2017

▶︎ Trump reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organisations that even mention abortion as a medical option.

▶︎ Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.

▶︎ Trump repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing him the popular vote.

▶︎ It was announced that the man who shot the anti-fascist protester in Seattle was released without charges, despite turning himself in.

24th January 2017

▶︎ Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing Trump the popular vote.

▶︎ Trump tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he says depicts the crowd at his inauguration and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is curiously dated 21st January 2017, the day AFTER the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.

▶︎ The EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press, and to freeze all grants and contracts.

▶︎ The USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorised and vetted by the White House.

▶︎ HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to any insurance coverage, including Medicaid, that provides abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.

▶︎ Director of the Department of Health and Human Service nominee Tom Price characterised federal guidelines on transgender equality as “absurd.”

▶︎ Trump ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalise hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.

▶︎ It was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on the 20th January, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources.

25th January 2017

▶︎ Trump directed the Department of Homeland Security to begin construction on a wall on the US-Mexico border to, “secure the southern border of the United States through the immediate construction of a physical wall on the southern border”.

27th January 2017

▶︎ Trump executes the order: ‘Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into The United States, to keep “radical Islamic terrorists” out of the country.

28th January 2017

▶︎ On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the White House released a statement which failed to mention the six million Jews who perished in the war, and instead signed an executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries.

▶︎ 20,000 refugees from across the world will be immediately affected by this executive order.

29th January 2017

▶︎ Trump sacks Sally Yates as acting Attorney General for refusing to defend his executive order on immigration, replacing her with Dana Boenta for the time-being, before appointing Jeff Sessions for the role, whose political career has been littered with allegations of racism – including being unable to serve as a federal judge because he was deemed ‘too racist‘.

30th January 2017

▶︎ Trump suspended the US refugee admissions program for 120 days, Syrian refugee admissions program indefinitely, and blocked immigrants and visa holders from seven majority countries — Iraq, Iran, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and Sudan — from entering the US for 90 days.

▶︎ Trump brings in “Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs” orders, meaning that for every new regulation implemented by federal agencies, two existing regulations must be cut to offset the cost.

▶︎ Trump removed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Director of National Intelligence from the National Security Council, replacing them with Steve Bannon, who has no government, intelligence, or high-level military experience; his experience is leading a propaganda outlet (Breitbart News) that peddles nationalist and white nationalist viewpoints.

So, sit with friends, eat pizza and talk about the things that are happening in the world right now. Start those conversations, read more articles, share them, write about what’s happening, attend protests, donate money, write angry emails – this is not a time to sit back. It’s not a time to watch our prime minister hold the hand of a racist, sexist, xenophobic bigot and pretend that’s it’s ok. Because it really, really isn’t. And if we stay silent then we are agreeing with all of these things, because sometimes silence can cause more harm than good.


If there’s anything that I’ve missed or is incorrect, please let me know in the comment box below – and I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this mess.

2016 in photos & words

January 2, 2017


2016 was the most amazing year for travel. We started the year in Glasgow, February we were in Cuba, July I was in Barcelona, and in September we spent a couple of weeks in Canada and the USA. I feel so lucky to have been to places that have been on my to-do list for so long, and to create these memories with my best friend. 2017 is looking a little more restrained in terms of travel plans, but I’m sure we’ll be off somewhere nice at some point. Any recommendations?

2016 also saw friends get engaged, my parents get two puppies, me spend time with good friends in photobooths, a lot of good cake and espresso, so many of my favourite bands, summer sunshine, and so many other treasured memories.


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Other things I discovered in 2016 – a real love for (certain) YouTube channels. Specifically, Lydia Elise Millen, Natasha Bailie, Ingrid Nilsen, Jenny Mustard and Love Taza.

Some moments weren’t quite so happy. I lost my Grandad, and one of my dogs, Jake. Brexit happened. Trump happened. Terrorist attacks took place across the world. War. Human crisis.


I don’t mean to join the ‘2016 was shit’ bandwagon, but the end of 2016 really was shit. I hate moaning, but I’ve been ill since the 22nd December, and waking up every morning and not feeling better is getting really tiring. And not just in a, ‘I’ve got a cold, ugh’ kind of way. Maybe one day I’ll share more in this space, but it’s safe to say that the last few days have kicked my arse. We ran out of time to celebrate Christmas properly, and combined with illness and being bed-ridden, new year kind of went out the window, too. So here’s to a fresh start, a (hopefully!) speedy recovery and some resolutions for 2017:

Eat more fruit. I am terrible at eating fruit – I think because I’m so fussy about it (it needs to be miles away from being ripe – the firmer the better), that I just generally avoid it because it’s safer that way.

Read more books. I saw someone on Instagram say that they read 106 books last year – how is that even possible?! Here’s to trying…

Sort the house out. We’re working through each room slowly, but we still have a lot of ‘stuff’ to get rid of and tidy up, especially since we knocked down a wall.

Use my ‘proper’ camera more. It’s big and it’s heavy, but it’s worth it.

Make more time for social media. This might sound strange, but because I spend all day on social media for my clients, I leave little time and enthusiasm for my own accounts – and I really miss them!

Enjoy gifts, rather than saving them. Do you ever save things for special occasions, and end up never using them?

Go to the cinema more. We used to go quite often, but I can count the number of trips this year on one hand!

I hope you had a great Christmas and new year! Do you have any resolutions?

Veganuary 2017

January 1, 2017

Happy New Year! It’s 2017!

With a new year comes another Veganuary – a fantastic initiative offering advice, support, ideas and information on why you should give Veganuary a go, and how you can eat amazing food every day. I thought I’d offer up some advice and share what I usually eat in a day – hopefully it’s useful if you’re thinking of giving it a try. I think the best possible way of enjoying this month is to find a way of veganising your favourite meals, so that they work for you, and try out some new dishes along the way. Here’s what I love to eat:



Let’s start with the fun stuff. Croissants. Our favourite weekend treat, Trout has them with ‘ham‘ and ‘cheese‘, and I’ll have one stuffed with dark chocolate.

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During the week, I usually have yogurt – I absolutely love Alpro’s Go On blackcurrant tubscoconut yogurt and their fruity yogurt tubs, topped with granola and fruit.


When it’s colder, I love porridge whipped with banana and topped with fruit and peanut butter – or Dorset Cereals’ Gingerbread Porridge.


During the week I’m a bit of a saver, so I don’t spend too much on my lunch. I usually have soup – Glorious! thai carrot soup is my favourite, and I’ll have it with a bread roll. Sometimes we make something like creamy mushroom soup at the weekend and I’ll bring that into work.

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Otherwise I’ll have salad made up of tubs of couscous and bulgar wheat that you can find in all supermarkets, grilled artichokes, croutons, hummus and pitta bread, or I’ll make sandwiches with roasted veg, hummus and iceberg lettuce, or ‘ham’ and marmite. At the weekend we might have bagels stuffed with cream cheese, sausage, red onion chutney and rocket, or hot dogs in buns. Healthy stuff, y’know ;)




We’ve both been vegan for a long time now – over 10 years – so I would say that we’ve probably settled into a routine of our favourite dishes during the week – fajitas, spaghetti bolognaise, stirfry, risotto and arancini balls, roast dinner, peanut butter curry.

Love burgers? You’ve got to try Linda McCartney quarter pounders. They’ve fooled meat eaters ever since they launched! I personally love meat-replacement products – they mix things up a bit, rather than eating just veggies, but they’re not for everyone.

Homemade chinese

^^Mock-duck pancakes, with VBites ‘duck’ (you can find this in most Holland&Barretts).^^


^^Pizza made with Crosta & Mollica pizza bases, topped with VBites ‘chicken’ pieces, onion, vega cheese and BBQ sauce.^^


I love Clif Builders bars – they can usually be found in independent health food stores, or online. This year I’m really trying to eat more fruit, so that’s going on my list of snacks, too.

Cake and cookies]

These white chocolate cookies are the best you’ll ever taste. Pick up Ms. Cupcake’s cookbook for full-proof recipes vegan cakes, loaves, cookies and more. If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll love Choices Caramels, which you can pick up from almost all supermarkets. Free From sections have come a long way lately, and you’ll find anything from white chocolate to vegan pesto, snack bars to



As a general rule, it’s best to check with the restaurant what their vegan options are. Here are some basic guidelines for what to check for, depending on what you fancy:

Chinese and Thai: Shellfish, fish sauce, oyster sauce, egg
Indian: Ghee, cream, yogurt
Pizza: Papa Johns (bases are vegan, as are the potato wedges and special garlic dips). Pizza Hut and Domino’s are not vegan-friendly. Zizzi have their own vegan menu – including wine, and vegan cheese!

I hope that offers some help if you’re struggling to decide what to eat this month. Please leave a comment below if you’re looking for a vegan alternative to anything in particular, click through my posts tagged ‘vegan’, or email me for support – I’m always happy to help!

A cat and a camera

October 14, 2016


This crazy cat lady is home alone with her cat, so what’s a gal to do, apart from take photos of said cat? This week has kicked my butt. My health, both mental and physical, has been tested, and I’ve done a lot of deep breathing, a fair few attempts to slow my mind down and remember the good things that have happened, and how much they outweigh the bad. Sometimes it’s hard to trust our minds, though.

Things that I have been enjoying this week – Jenny Mustard’s YouTube channel.// This amazing post by Laura on WholeheartedlyHealthy on being the healthiest version of you, regardless of whether that’s confusing to you or to other people.// Heal’s marble collection. Swoon.// I upgraded my phone and have finally got InstaStories! I love it!

I’m heading off to bed to try and fight this illness, and am already looking forward to a much-needed lie in and brunch with friends tomorrow. I hope everyone has a lovely weekend! What are your plans?

Goodbye summer (but it’s OK)

October 6, 2016

It’s official. Summer has left, but it’s OK. I think we’re ready for autumn. I spent Monday in the park, without my coat on, in disbelief that it was really October – but now it’s the 6th October, and the chill has set in and my winter coat is calling me, and I’m considering the chunky scarf and wooly hat for tomorrow. But it’s OK.

Looking back over the summer, it’s been a good one. In July I went to Barcelona to see one of my best friends and two of my favourite bands. It was a fleeting visit, just two days, but it was so much fun.


A few people asked me why I flew hundreds of miles just to go to a gig, which is a perfectly reasonable question. Strike Anywhere (above) are one of my favourite bands, but the last time I saw them was 2007, and they haven’t played the UK since 2009, so when they announced a short european tour with no dates in the UK again, I decided – if they won’t come to me, I will go to them. They were supported by another one of my favourite bands (A Wilhelm Scream, below), and the show just blew my mind. You can watch Strike Anywhere’s full set here, and A Wilhelm Scream’s full set here. I urge you to go, if you can, to see the bands you love, in whatever country they are playing in.


A few weeks ago I spent the day in London with one of my best friends, hanging out by Camden lock, and eating a lot of food – including this delish lunch at Veg Bar. Then we went to see Bouncing Souls for afters. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday. Not bad at all.





More food? OK, then. Have you tried Meat Liquor’s vegan offerings? The seitan wings are pretty good!


Another high street offering – Zizzi’s vegan cheese. Delish! Even better when it’s served outside, in the warm evening sunshine.

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Summer evenings in the garden, soaking up the last hour of sunshine and catching up with some reading with Ras. We ate as many meals as we could outdoors, it makes everything taste better.

Finally… puppies.


Thanks for reading and liking and not forgetting me while I took a blogging break! It means a lot x

Life lately, avoiding the mess

October 3, 2016

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Our house looks a lit like this at the moment. We’ve been living life in the kitchen and our bedroom, with the odd afternoon in the study, and I’m missing my lounge and dining room! We’ve been eating on a fold-up camping table. It will be so worth it in the end, though. Trout left me for Switzerland a few days ago, but he gets back this evening (yay!) and for once I’ve actually made the most of this time to myself! Usually I have all these plans and just end up being a crazy cat lady, scrolling through Instagram. Not going to lie, there was some (quite a bit) of scrolling – but plenty of other good things, too.

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Dinner in bed, in my pyjamas, catching up on YouTube videos with Ras, and a love letter left from Trout *heart emoji face*.

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I essentially spent a lot of time in bed with Ras. And sweets.

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Yesterday I took the train to Hastings for the day. I haven’t been for such a long time, maybe 15 years, so I thought I’d pop down for a catch up. I arrived around 1ish and headed straight to the True Crime Museum – I was so happy when I spotted it on a map a few hours before I left! It was really good – possibly even better than the Black Museum in London. Maybe. I had planned on going to the Jerwood Gallery too, but ran out of time. Saving that for my next visit!

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After the museum, and a wander through town, I met up with my parents and the dogs, and it was one of the best afternoons I’ve had in a long time. Spending time with my family is so important to me, and I try to see them at least once a month. We had some lunch on the seafront (well, I had a belated lunch at 3pm and my parents had tea & cake and mostly tried to stop the dogs knocking everything over), walked through the Old Town and then headed down to the shore to introduce the boys to the sea. It was their first time and they were terrified. Of the stones, the people, the seagulls, the sea. They did enjoy an off-lead runaround, which didn’t last long after they ate someone’s sandwiches. Sorry about that!

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And finally, when you wake up alone on a Sunday morning, make sure you have a good breakfast to look forward to. Hope you’ve had a great start to the week!

Vancouver, Seattle and Portland

October 1, 2016

Next stop – Vancouver! This was probably my favourite part of the trip. Mostly because I got to hang out with two of my best friends, who (selfishly) moved to Canada in April, and we missed them so much we had to travel thousands of miles to see their faces. It felt surreal meeting from the Greyhound bus station one morning, a couple of hours outside of Vancouver. We popped into a supermarket to grab some lunch bits and headed straight to the Kettle Valley railway trail for a 20km cycle through the most amazing views. It was so, so nice to catch up whilst we cycled along the trail and took in the landscape around us.

Trout took a panoramic of me on one of the bridges, which resulted in this rather excellent bouffant hair. Expect my country rock album in the fall.

After the trail we drove to Vancouver to drop off our luggage at their apartment and headed out for cupcakes on the beach and a wander through the town, before heading back for a dip in their hot tub (absolute bliss after you’ve been travelling for so many days!) and a swim in the pool, before getting ready to go out for dinner at Meet, an amazing vegan restaurant. It took me so, so long to decide what to order! Very glad I went for this burger, holy yum.

The rest of the trip was spent soaking up stunning trails, spending time at food markets, another dip in the hot tub, more good food and craft beer. I was so sad to leave their apartment in the morning :(


As soon as we arrived in Seattle and found our Air BnB we headed straight out to visit the famous market. I didn’t actually go to the very first Starbucks (ever!), which is apparently somewhere in or near the market, but I wasn’t too fussed. Apparently it has original branding and everything. Meh. The market was really nice – flowers, seafood, people making trinkets and crafty things and jewellery, plus a bunch of food stands. It was fun to walk around.

Just outside the market is Pike Place Chowder, which is a famous, award-winning chowder cafe that has one vegan option. It was pretty good – except for the fact it was filled with sweetcorn (food of the DEVIL) – and I’m sure if you eat fish the other kinds taste amazing.Worth a visit, even if you just share a small pot like we did.

After the chowder we walked around the corner to El Borracho for nachos and quesadillas (yes this was a food tour). Both were really good!

We got up early the next day to go to the EMP Museum, which is probably the best museum I have ever been to. Seriously. We originally went just to see the Nirvana exhibition (which was a-m-a-z-i-n-g), but ended up spending a good couple of hours in the museum exploring their guitar history, interactive music production, horror movies and wearable art exhibitions.

After a tiring morning at the museum we headed to Wayward Cafe for the biggest lunch I think I’ve ever had. I really try to finish every meal, but this one beat me – and it made me skip dinner, too. These mozzarella bites were insane! Worth the $14 Uber to get there… It was in a cool neighbourhood with lots of vegan shops, too. Do not miss this place.

We had a lot of fun in Seattle. It’s a cool city, with loads of culture and history, and some really awesome vegan food. It was a very fleeting visit – we got there Friday lunchtime and left Sunday morning – so I’m sure we missed a few gems in the city, but I’m so glad we got to go to the EMP Museum and eat those mozzarella bites. Priorities.



I really loved Portland. It had a really relaxed atmosphere, and we were so lucky with the weather – beautiful blue skies and sunshine.

Wraps and beers in the sunshine at Victoria.

We queued up round the shop at Voodoo Doughnuts, and they did not disappoint. And yes, Trout’s is as rude as it looks, and cream filled. I had a peanut butter chocolate cookie doughnut, and oh my gosh it was amazing!

Yep, I went back for another doughnut the next evening. This place is so good!

A lazy morning in our hotel one morning. I drank a lot of shitty hotel room coffee on our travels, and this was no exception – but I absolutely loved the faux fur bed runner at the end of the bed, so that made it better.

It might not look like much, but this was the best food I ate on our whole trip – Homegrown Smoker, a food truck (and also a deli).

The Japanese Rose Garden, a haven within a city. A lot of places we visited had these amazing ‘retreats’ where you can forget the city and imagine you’re somewhere calm and quiet. That’s the beauty of a lot of these cities. We also visited Powell’s Books, which I could have spent an entire afternoon in. I restrained myself and only bought one book and a souvenir bag. There are so many beautiful shops in Portland, that are far beyond my budget but beautiful to look round.

So that was our road trip across Canada, with a couple of stops in the USA. I hope you enjoyed it! We’re already planning our next big adventure, and we’re thinking somewhere in Asia. Any tips? I basically just want to travel to all the places Rick Stein films his cookery programmes.

Calgary and Banff

September 26, 2016

During my blogging break, I thought a lot about why I wanted to write, and what I wanted to write about. I thought about how much I love looking back over my travels, my days and my life over the years. I thought about how friends ask for tips and advice on where to eat and what to do in various places across the world, and I can send them to my blog. I thought about how much I rely on blogs and vlogs for my travel research, trusting their recommendations. I look back on my own blog for the same advice. So really, I want to keep writing in this place. I want to find the time (seriously, broken record…) to keep sharing things, because I really do love it, and I hope you do too.

So – here it is, my first ‘proper’ blog in a while, and it documents our trip across Canada and the US, which we did in the first two weeks of September. We flew into Calgary, and essentially drove to Vancouver over a few days, stopping off at Banff, Golden, Kamloops and a couple of other places along the way. From Vancouver we got the bus to Seattle, and from Seattle we got the bus to Portland, then flew to LAX and then home. It was actually pretty tiring (I know, first world problems, right?) but it was an amazing trip. We originally planned this holiday around spending a few days in Vancouver as two of my best friends moved out there in April, and I’ve missed them terribly. The rest of the trip kind of fell into place.

We spent our time in a combination of Air BnB’s, hotels and motels, and at our friend’s flat. It’s the first trip we’ve really used Air BnB (aside from a week spent in Greece a few years ago, which was amazing, but organised through a friend’s account). This time it was a bit hit and miss – Calgary was incredible, Seattle was a bit gross, with an incredibly loud fridge.

Canada is a beautiful country. Breathtakingly beautiful, it makes you stop and take 100 photos of the same place, from various different angles. It leaves you silent and overwhelmed and excited all at the same time.

Calgary was our first stop, where we spent essentially a day-and-a-bit before driving to Banff. To be honest, we didn’t find much to do in Calgary – there was the Tower, the head sculpture, some amazing tacos, plenty of iced Sangria tea and iced vanilla lattes, some poutine, lots of walking and a few episodes of Stranger Things to make the most of our incredible condo.

Floor to ceiling windows, the best bedding upon a truly comfortable bed, the most stunning kitchen, beautiful bathroom, walk-in wardrobe (like Carrie’s in SATC!!) and Netflix. There was a supermarket around the corner that sold these vegan waffles that you toss in the toaster for a couple of minutes to heat through, which made for the perfect breakfast.

The view from our window. As stunning as the mountains were, there’s something beautiful about city lights. Maybe it’s just me.

The Wonderland Sculpture was really nice, I love interactive art that’s so accessible in a city.

It had to be done! Poutine. The weirdest food. Trout got the traditional option, whereas I got a nachos bowl which came with salsa, guacamole, sour cream and jalapeños (I won!), as well as gravy and Daiya. If you’ve not had it, poutine is chips, gravy and cheese, and one of the things Canada is known for. Bonkers. We went to The Big Cheese Poutinerie.

Even though Canada is the home of Daiya, it was much harder to find than in the US. Thankfully we found a pizza place that did it, and their pizzas were pretty good – Famaso.

Amazing ice-cream in that amazing bed. The other good thing about Air BnB is that you’ve got a freezer, and you don’t have to eat the entire tub in one evening. Even though I pretty much did.

After a day or so in Calgary we left to drive to Banff. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves.

These photos are a combination of Lake Minnewanka, Johnson Canyon, Lake Louise and Moraine Lake. They’re not edited, the view really is that breathtaking. The water, the snow, the mountains. Wow.

When we got to Kamloops it was late Sunday afternoon, and everything seemed to be closed as it was a day of holy rest. I did a quick search and found an ice hockey game that started an hour later, just round the corner. I was so happy to be seeing a game while we were in Canada! It was basically a non-league pre-season friendly, and it was mostly the players’ families there – but it was so much fun!

A sport that needs a ‘naughty’ box for players who have been too naughty. Referees who allow fights. This sport is bonkers. I love it!

So that was our time in Calgary, Banff and Kamloops. I’ve put together a separate blog post for the rest of our trip; Vancouver, Seattle and Portland, including the Kettle Valley Trail, which was incredible, and probably my favourite part of the trip. Have you done a similar road trip? Anything we should have done?

Sidenote – I’ve never really had jet lag before but oh my gosh, I had it so bad coming home this time! We flew budget (like, super budget) and I think the combination of an uncomfortable flight and getting two hours sleep on the way back, left me a confused mess. We’re talking 2am wake up calls and lying there for three hours willing myself to go back to sleep. It was really strange – I can sleep for England (last week I slept for 11 hours, for no reason at all), and I can usually sleep anywhere, at any time. Not this time.

A little hello

September 22, 2016

Things that I’ve been enjoying lately:

  1. My Favourite Murder. Have you listened to it? My sweet friend Ashley recommended it to me, and I am OBSESSED. I’ve listened to 11 episodes since Sunday evening. And I’ve been trawling their Facebook group, too. SWOON.
  2. Hanging out with puppies. Is there a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?! I’ve been trying to spend as many Sunday afternoons at my parents house as I can, because these two are growing up so fast.
  3. We went to Canada! And America. I’m putting together a couple of blog posts on our trip, but it’s taking a while. Watch this space.
  4. We had a wall knocked down in our house! There are dust and bricks everywhere.
  5. Natasha Bailie’s YouTube channel. I’m not a mum, and don’t plan to be any time soon, but her videos are so good.
  6. The colder weather. Autumn coats, moody grey skies, roast dinners. Please can the weather stay like this forever?

Thank you to everyone who subscribed while I had a massive blog-break! It means a lot, and I’m sorry that it’s been a disappointing few months. Can you believe it’s been over three months since the last time I bothered you all? Here’s hoping that it won’t take me another three months to finish these travel blogs. What have you been up to? What have I missed?


On trying to relax

June 12, 2016


The past few months have been a struggle for my body and my mind. An endless search to calm both, and the seemingly impossible task of getting them across the finish line at the same time. It seems so hard, I forget how it used to happen.

Living with chronic illness changes the importance and value placed on yourself. It means changing plans when I really, really don’t want to. It often means feeling like somewhat of a recluse, feeling trapped and frustrated. It means doing things that before would have seemed too indulgent, too selfish. A waste of good, productive time. But now these days have crept over into a necessity, and it’s difficult (so difficult) to adjust and understand that.


I’ve found that becoming aware of sight, sounds, smells, has been a huge comfort. Hot baths filled with marshmallow bubbles, a candle on the side, music playing in the background. A vase of flowers in my lounge; bright, fresh flowers that bring a smile to my face whenever I see them. Bright, in contrast to the stark white that surrounds them. Sweet candles. Hand cream, applied throughout the day, with the comforting scent of orange oil. I can’t recommend this hand cream enough. I’ve found hot yoga to be incredibly helpful. An hour (or more) spent alone in a room full of people, focusing on letting go, and letting my body learn new things. I’ve had another hot stone massage.


My body is tired but my mind is not, and guess who wins? I’ve always found sleeping difficult when I have a lot on my mind. Everything seems a little clearer in the morning, it seems that a lot of my worries simply slip away as I sleep, but those hours before it arrives are intense. Breathing techniques learnt in yoga have helped a lot. During the day, if I find stress building up, I’ve put together a playlist of music to listen to. Music like The Wild Reeds, Micah P Hinson and Laura Stevenson.


Although sunshine is so good for the soul, dark clouds and wet skies make for justifiable afternoons spent at home, on the sofa with almond hot chocolate. Bad weather doesn’t take away all of the should’s, but it silences some of them, and right now I’ll take that.

What do you do to relax?
Any tips for an over-active mind at night?

Goodbye, Grandad

June 5, 2016

Last weekend my family and I were with my Grandad as he took his last few breaths. It was a strange day, difficult to take in and fully understand, and it still doesn’t seem quite real. Afterwards we came back to our house for a BBQ, and I looked around the table at our small family, and loved that this could be such an intimate moment. We told stories from the past, talked about my Grandma, the funeral.

As Trout and I lay in bed that evening, I said, if I took a photograph of my Grandad as he died, and showed it to the younger him – the him with so much energy, and loved by so many – would he believe that that would happen? Surely not.

Age is a strange notion. I think to some extent we all believe that our lives will end differently – that it won’t be so terrible. I like to think that too, but in reality it just isn’t true. It’s best to not think about, though. Live your life now, make those trips, write those letters, throw yourself into huge changes in your life that seem overwhelming. Those are the stories that will be left behind, and cherished by your family, sat round a table, after you’ve gone.

Here are a few of my favourite photos of my Grandad.





In all of these photographs, he looks like he was the most popular one in the bunch – that people were drawn to him, that he made them laugh, that he had a bad side (!!!).


^^I hope that now they’ll be planning a few more trips to Greece. It’s been a long time.^^



Goodbye Grandad x

Life lately, sorry for the silence

May 3, 2016

A sweet friend reminded me over the weekend, you don’t blog anymore. No, I don’t. I didn’t mean to. I didn’t mean to leave it so long, I didn’t mean to stop at all, but it happened, and it happened for a few reasons, but I want to get back on track. In the meantime, here’s what I’ve been up to lately.


Δ Hanging out with this one. Δ

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Δ Going to see my favourite band, The Flatliners. Δ


Δ Spending time in photobooths with the most amazing friends. Δ

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Δ Eating Italian street food in Camden. Δ

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Δ Chocolate peanut butter pie with an espresso at Cookies & Scream. Bliss. Δ

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Δ Club Mexicana! ‘Fish’ tacos, pulled ‘pork’ tacos, nachos, cheese sticks. Oh my! Δ


Δ More sweet treats and more espresso. Δ

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Δ Catching up with friends and celebrating an engagement! Δ

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Δ The most bonkers cocktails with tapas. Δ

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Δ Goodbye lunch with this one, after a morning of charity shop shopping. Δ

I’ve been thankful for good friends and good food and good music these past few weeks. I’ve been making changes in my life that have had a negative and a positive impact on my body. I’ve been trying to make sure my kitchen surfaces are clean every evening, and I’ve been watching more films. Can you believe I hadn’t watched Lost in Translation until yesterday afternoon?! I went to the cinema alone on Sunday, to watch Demolition. I’ve been drinking more smoothies and fresh juices. I’ve been eating salad and white chocolate peanut butter cups. I’ve been making plans.

What have you been up to? Fill me in x

Life lately, according to my belly

March 25, 2016


Happy Good Friday, everyone! Life has been filled with good food lately. Good food, and this whiskerface getting sweeter by the day; since we came back from Cuba he has been even cuter than usual (I think his tiny cat ears must have been burning as he just jumped up on the sofa and is blocking my view of the computer!). Here are a few things that I’ve been eating lately:

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Pain au chocolat. Another Loving Hut opened up in Brighton last year, about 30 seconds from where I work, and it’s getting dangerously tempting to go there all the time! Their ocean burger is SO.GOOD. I keep meaning to try other dishes, but that burger… oh my. Anyway, I picked up this pastry on my way out last time we had lunch there, and it was perfect for a lazy Saturday morning in bed, with a hot cup of coffee. Bliss.

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Giant crumpet. This was really fun! It’s made by Warburtons, and makes for a cracking start to the day. One of my clients is working with them at the moment, and it’s made me want to experiment with them – what can I pile on top!? Scrambled tofu with fried mushrooms and onions, plenty of garlic. ‘Bacon’, rocket and tomato. Use two as burger buns?! The possibilities are endless.

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Burgers at Mildreds in Soho. I can’t resist a good burger at the best of times, but THIS burger is SOMETHING ELSE. I had the Polish burger, and Trout had the regular burger (I won) and both come with the best mayo you could ever ask for – basil mayo. It can be tricky to get a table there sometimes, but totally worth the wait.

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Burgers and beers at Troll’s Pantry, served at The Hobgoblin, Brighton. A friend organised a birthday party at the pub and we had these burgers while we were there. They were pretty good – very filling and tasty, but I’m not sure I would rush back. The vegan mayo was strange – not really mayo, to be honest – but on the whole they were nice.

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Chinese takeaway. You can’t beat it! Trout had been travelling all day so when we came home we picked up a takeaway, got cozy on the sofa and caught up with Take Me Out. This is a pretty standard order for us, vegetable spring rolls, boiled rice, vegetarian rice noodles (no egg), tofu in kung po sauce, veg in black bean sauce and crispy seaweed (no crispy pork on top!).

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Arancini balls. This is one of my favourite meals! Trout makes a big pot of risotto, we eat half and then save the other half for the next day, roll them into balls, coat them in batter and breadcrumbs then deepfry them. Oh my! Trout makes this incredible sauce to go with it – some kind of brandy, mushroom, garlic, cream sauce of dreams. Swoon.

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Yorica! This place opened up a few weeks ago, and it’s been on my must-visit place ever since. Everything is vegan, gluten free, wheat free, dairy free, egg free and nut free, and they serve fro-yo, ice-cream and shakes with a bunch of different toppings – follow Yorica! on Instagram to see their amazing creations. I finally got the chance to be in London a couple of weeks ago, and it was my second stopping point, after dropping in to surprise a sweet friend while she was at work. I went for a scoop of cookies and cream, and a scoop of no-nut butter (it’s like peanut butter ice-cream, but without the peanuts. I know!). I also had a drizzle of caramel sauce on top. Yum! It was pretty tasty, but it wasn’t anything compared to Boho Gelato in Brighton, which always tastes incredible. There are few things better on this planet than their sea salt caramel peanut butter ice cream. Holy crap is that stuff good.

What have you been eating lately? 
Have you eaten at any of these places?

Viñales and Varadero, Cuba

March 13, 2016

Whoops, sorry for the long wait for part two of our Cuba trip! Here’s Viñales and Varadero – you can find Havana here.

Viñales was a really special place. I would definitely recommend taking a day to enjoy this cosy town – take a tourist’s tour of the tobacco plant and factory, a boat through the caves – and visit the zip wire! Here are a few photos.


This was the view from our room. Not bad, huh?! It reminded me a lot of the Azores, it was so beautiful.


You know what wasn’t beautiful? Having this GIGANTIC frog/toad/what’s the difference, leap towards us and land just inches from my head. Ugh!








^^Tobacco plants.^^

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^^Rolling cigars. We bought a bunch of cigars from this guy for around £20 – much cheaper than the beautifully packaged famous brands, but definitely not as good…!^^


On our last day we hopped in a taxi to take us back to the hotel, when a Danish family asked if they could share the cab – they recognised us from the hotel so it made sense to go there together. They were actually on their way to a zip line that we hadn’t heard about, so we decided to all go together (which completely confused the driver who spoke almost no English, and had to pull over to a friend’s shop to ask her to translate!). It was the most wonderful coincidence, and one of my favourite memories from the trip.


^^We made it to the end of the zip line! There were four lines in total, and before the first one I was like, Why am I here?! I didn’t enjoy Go Ape, why did I think I would enjoy this?! But after that first line I loved it so much – I could have done four more! The views were incredible, we sailed across the wonderful landscape, through trees and across the valley. It was incredible.^^

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This was probably the best meal that we had in the whole trip. There’s a ‘vegetarian’ restaurant on the main street in Viñales (I say ‘vegetarian’, because they also served pork, chicken, beef… By vegetarian they mean they are a vegetarian restaurant that also serves meat, as a way of introducing veggie food to more people. Which is quite a nice concept) and they had some vegan options. This is where the Vegan Passport came in handy – our waitress went through the checklist of ‘no’ foods to help us order. This was mashed beans and yams with rice and salad. Doesn’t sound great but it was beautifully seasoned, and a very welcome spot of healthy food, when you’ve really only eaten pasta and pizza for a few days! I also had an amazing smoothie, another kick of health!

After Viñales we got the bus to Varadero, where we stayed in an all-inclusive hotel by the sea for a spot of relaxation and down-right laziness! At first I felt way out of my comfort zone; going from quite a poor city to an expats dream, where we were greeted with a flute of sparkling wine, felt surreal. It was definitely needed after a crazy few weeks, and a crazy few days of travelling, so we soon relaxed into it. I’ve never stayed in an all-inclusive resort before, it felt very strange to order drinks without paying! But lounging by the pool with a glass or two (or three…) of fizz and a good book was pretty perfect. I absolutely loved having so much time to read while we were away. With no internet I had no distractions, and over the past couple of weeks I’ve read three books.

One of the things I loved most about the trip was seeing different parts of Cuba, and the contrast between each of them. I loved the lively streets and smiling faces of Havana – there’s music everywhere, on every street, people dancing in their homes, blasting music down the street. I loved the beauty of Viñales, and the chance to relax amongst such beauty, and Varadero, for its stunning white sand and blue sea, and endless free fizz. I recommend getting the bus to each place – they’re more like National Express buses and cost around £8 for the two of us to travel a fairly long distance (around 3hrs at a time). They’re really comfortable and air conditioned – and depending on the driver, some stop off at some pretty beautiful places. The bus we got between Havana and Viñales stopped twice, I think the driver wanted a snack and then a drink and a cigarette, but the drivers between Viñales and Havana, and Havana and Varadero, didn’t stop at all, thankfully! Be sure to book your tickets in advance (if you’re organised you can book them online up to a week in advance of travelling, but if you’re not, like us, buy them as soon as you possibly can, otherwise you have to join a queue a mile long to chance it. This worked for us when we went from Havana to Varadero, but we were lucky and 5th in the queue. You’re basically just hoping that someone hasn’t turned up to the bus that they’ve bought a seat for). You also need to check-in, which usually opens around 30mins before the bus leaves, but you’re told to be there an hour before.

There are direct flights between the UK and Havana, but these are very expensive – we went via Mexico with a 4/6hr stop-over, which wasn’t so bad. Once you’ve collected your luggage, gone through passport control, dropped off your luggage for your connecting flight, gone back through passport control, and cleared into the terminal, the time goes fairly quickly and there’s quite a lot of food options to choose from. Remember to buy your visa before you go! It’s £25 each (for UK citizens).

Have you been to Cuba before? Where did you go? Any recommendations I’ve missed?
Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear what you thought of this beautiful country!

Havana, Cuba

February 25, 2016


We’ve just come back from an amazing few days in Cuba! It’s one of the most beautiful, humbling places I think I’ve ever been to, and it was a whirlwind of a trip which saw us spend time in Havana, Viñales and Varadero. I’ve got so many photos I’ve had to split them up into two blog posts – here are a few (ahem) photos from our time in Havana.










The contrast between the abandoned and the refurbished is stark across the capital. Although it’s wonderful to see an investment in the city’s future, there’s something beautiful about the old, tired buildings, and cars that are loved and cared for in such a devoted way.



^^The Museum of the Revolution. Definitely a must-see!^^



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One of the few plans that I really made was to visit La Bodeguita del Medio and La Floridita –  two of Hemingway’s favourite bars.


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La Bodeguita del Medio was constantly packed with people, but one sunny midday we fought our way in, stood at the bar and watched as the barman made row after row of mojitos, grabbing 10 CUC notes from people as they embraced the tourist’s pitstop and paid far more than they should for the experience. As my body was gripping onto the final few days of the flu I managed about an inch of the cocktail, of which I could barely taste, before giving up and ticking the experience off my to-do list. No regrets.

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“My mojito in the Bodeguita del Medio and my daiquiri in the Floridita.”


The Malecón is an 8km stretch of road along the seafront that was the perfect route into the Old Town for us. It’s usually buzzing but I guess because it’s their ‘winter’ (pah!) it was quieter than usual, as there were just a few determined fishermen in the mornings!

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Here are just a few of the cars I snapped photos of. There were so many amazing ones whizzing by, I could happily dedicate an entire blog post to them!




On our last day in Havana we took a tour in this cute car. The driver took us to quite a few places that we hadn’t read about – like an amazing forest in the middle of the city! – and a few that we hadn’t gotten around to visiting, so it was definitely worth the money. I think it was something like £25 for an hours tour.





Before we left I was a little worried about food. I packed about 75 sos rolls and a ton of flapjacks, but thankfully we didn’t need them (actually, that’s not true – the flapjacks were great for a sweet treat, and we did eat a few of the sos rolls, but they definitely weren’t the only things we ate). We packed our Vegan Passport – if you don’t have a copy, get one! It’s a tiny book that lists all the things that vegans do and do not eat, in pretty much any language you’ll ever need. It came in very useful during this trip, where English-speaking was limited.

This was our first meal in Havana (below), and the start of our Italian adventure. We pretty much relied on Italian food entirely, and this was a brilliant start. As you can see, we used a combination of Spanish phrases and vegan translations. It worked!


We stumbled upon a cafe in the middle of a square in Havana, and couldn’t believe our eyes when it listed a vegan baguette on the menu! Amazing. We shared a baguette filled with roasted vegetables, and another with loads of hummus and salad. I was so happy I forgot to take a photo!

So that was our time in Havana! It wasn’t as crowded and busy as I thought it was going to be – especially as February is a very busy time for Cuba; the weather is cooler, and relations with America are becoming more agreeable, which has seen a massive spike in tourism for the country. Havana has a really relaxed, warm pace of life – everyone I met was so friendly, with no ulterior motive or hidden agenda. It’s a beautiful city.

Have you been to Havana? What did you love about it?

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