So Christmas has been and gone, and my sister, @vgnnatalie, cooked another fabulous vegan Christmas dinner (with the exception of a bit of veggie and meat for my mum, dad and brother! – Still gotta keep the omnis happy).
To make our lives easier this year, we bought in some of our food instead of cooking it from scratch. For our centre pieces, we had the Waitrose Vegan Festive Wreath and their Vegan Root en Croute. I didn’t manage to take a picture of the root en croute, mainly because I didn’t think of blogging this until after I’d eaten it all!
The Festive Wreath was made up of vegan sausage and stuffing in the middle. The Root en Croute was a pastry with roasted carrots, spinach and a creamy sauce.
The Waitrose food was freezable for up to a month so I chucked it in the freezer and defrosted it Christmas eve, ready for Christmas Day! What was even more fantastic was that both items cooked at the same temperature for 25 minutes which made it so much easier on the day.
Natalie cooked almost everything else from scratch, which included crispy roasted potatoes, cauliflower cheese (made with vegan Applewood cheese), vegan yorkshire puddings and, of course, all of the vegetables.
The only exception were the pigs in blankets which we bought from Morrisons and were thrown in the oven along with everything else.
Natalie did an incredible job on dinner, as she always does. My parents even enjoyed the vegan Waitrose centre pieces. They couldn’t believe the Festive Wreath wasn’t meat!
After last year’s debacle with a very salty and not ideal seitan roast from Bun Fiction, I was nervous that our parents would be disappointed by another lack lustre vegan centre piece, but this was not the case. Waitrose have done a great job in catering for vegans and these were just right for us.
Maybe next year I’ll finally try making a mushroom wellington myself, but until then we’ll be resting and snacking on all our vegan chocolate we got for Christmas.
From all of us, we hope you had a wonderful Christmas and we hope you have a happy New Year!
We had the absolute honour and luxury of attending Tom’s sister’s wedding at Fairyhill in the heart of the Gower of Swansea. Fairyhill is an absolutely stunning venue surrounded by so much natural greenery.
Hannah, Tom’s sister, and her new husband, Jonnie, are both vegan too so it was a fully vegan wedding which was great! When they were planning their wedding, it was important to them that the wedding be fully vegan and the team at Fairyhill were more than happy to help make that happen.
As you’re all very aware, I love my beauty products so I’ll throw in a quick section here of what I used on my face to get myself wedding ready…
My dress is a Chi Chi London dress I bought on ASOS and the floral hair clips are from Accessorize.
Fairyhill is absolutely beautiful. The night before, we stayed in a lovely modern cottage only a short drive from the venue. Fairyhill is tucked away in a little corner of the Gower so is very private and hidden.
The ceremony and the wedding breakfast is held in the Kaleidoscope room (Garden Room) which stuns with gorgeous panoramic views of the forestry around it.
At night, the building is lit up beautifully in colour and is gorgeous and incredibly atmospheric.
There are also rooms available to stay in at Fairyhill if you are a guest of the Bride and Groom. We had the pleasure of staying in one of their rooms. The bed was incredibly comfortable and the convenience of being able to stay on site was a luxury. They put on breakfast in the morning which was lovely and we got to wake up to this gorgeous view…
I sadly came down with a migraine during the wedding breakfast so I wasn’t able to soak up the atmosphere and enjoy the festivities with all the guests.
Tom, being the gem that he is, brought up my food for me to our room. The staff offered to take it up for me themselves but Tom declined the offer as he was keen to check up on me.
Even though my head was pounding, I was still able to enjoy the food. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the food. The polenta chips were delicious and the pesto pizza had a vegan parmesan which had plenty of flavour. There was a stuffed mushroom to start but I forgot to photograph it and I didn’t particularly enjoy. The sticky toffee pudding was sooooo good and baked to perfection. I personally would have preferred custard to ice-cream but still great either way.
Tom had a cauliflower dish to start which he said was banging. He had a miso ramen as his main which was flavourful, but the ribbon noodles had disintegrated a little which made it a little more difficult to eat.
In the morning, a breakfast buffet was laid out and there were vegan sausages, hash browns, mushrooms and beans. They also have various fruit and cereals, and also soy milk for the teas and coffees.
Everything was amazing. Hannah and Jonnie planned an absolutely beautiful day for the gorgeous floral arrangements to the music played through the evening. It was such a pleasure to be a guest and the fact that all the food and drink there was completely vegan was so great.
It’s helped me and Tom decide to plan our wedding, so we’ve booked Oldwalls in the Gower which is the sister venue to Fairyhill! We’re very excited and I’m sure over the next year and a half, I’ll be posting a few wedding planning posts!
Sustainability is very much in fashion at the moment, and I hope it’s not a phase. A lot of us have made small switches to reduce our waste and lessen our impact on the environment. The biggest change we should be making is moving to a plant based diet, but you can’t gift that!
With the approach to Christmas, many of you may have read some of my gift guide posts. On this post, I’m going to include a few swap and gift ideas that you can give this Christmas!
None of us are perfect, but we can all do our best to make swaps in our lives to help improve things.
I switched to the Face Halo last year and it is still one of my favourite purchases!
For those of you that don’t know, the Face Halo is a make up remover pad. You can visit the website for more details, but it’s so easy to use and has yet to fail at removing my make up! I don’t buy disposable make up wipes anymore as I have no need for them!
I bought a pack of 3 straight away and so far I’ve only used 2 of them, alternating when 1 goes in the wash.
They currently have limited edition cherry ones which look absolutely fabulous and would make an excellent Christmas gift!
My brother bought a Chilly’s reusable bottle and it encouraged me to buy my own. There are other insulated bottles out there that are cheaper, however the quality doesn’t match Chilly’s.
I bought both a coffee cup and a water bottle and I love them both. The coffee cup keeps my hot drinks warm for a few hours and I’ve been really impressed with it. The durability of the bottles is amazing and I highly recommend them.
Vegetable Shopping Bags
This may sound like a weird one, but it’s made a big difference for us in our home!
When we pop to the supermarket to buy our fruit and veg, we try and avoid buying the pre-packaged items and pick up the individual fruit/veg that we need for that day/week.
We used to use the plastic bags that the supermarket provide you. We stopped doing that and were placing the bar code stickers directly onto our fruit and veg so we didn’t have to pick up a bag.
I found these bags on Amazon, that have been so handy. We keep them in our shopping bags and now we can keep our fruit and veg separate from the rest of our shopping.
They might not be the most exciting gift to give, but for anyone who is looking to make these swaps, it’ll make a great addition to their lives.
Ripple on Albany Road, Cardiff
On my final note, we walked along Albany Road back to the car from Luna’s Vegan Corner last week and finally popped into Ripple. They are currently working on an expansion project which I think is going to be really exciting.
I wasn’t fully prepared for this visit so didn’t have any containers with me, but everything is amazing. You can buy containers there, but there are also donated containers which you can pick up for free. The range of products is amazing from cleaning products, to tea, to granola and to pasta.
For those of you in Cardiff looking for zero waste shops, Ripple is where you need to be. I was so impressed and I’ll definitely be making another visit with all my containers soon!
It’s approaching Christmas time, and we all know how popular pets are to be given as gifts. I don’t often do serious posts but I feel this topic is important to write about.
Animals are amazing, and I’m sure my vegan readers out there will be agreeing with me. Pets bring life into your home. They become one of you with their personalities being known to you and the love you have for one another. They become a member of the family.
I never had pets when I was growing up as I was never allowed them, but when Tom and I moved in together, we took in his childhood dog, Max, from the family home. Max was not adopted by his parents but was a cheap buy back in the day! He was a gorgeous long haired border collie with a speckled ear and one eye patch. We sadly lost him 2 years ago, and my heart was in pieces. I still miss him terribly to this day.
Dog breeding is becoming a serious problem in the world. They’re being so heavily bred that they are starting to have serious genetic health problems, all just so that designer breeds such as pugs and frenchies exist for people to buy.
Every Christmas, numerous dogs are left on the streets and abandoned due to families not being able to take care of them or their expectations not being met. For me, this is no different to abandoning a child. It is not acceptable to bring someone into your home, only to leave them when it doesn’t suit you anymore.
Some shelters will euthanise animals due to the unmanageable numbers they receive which is horrendous and unfair. An animals life is not the decision of others which is why I urge you to re-home an animal instead of buying.
Sami was adopted by Tom’s mum and dad a few years ago after they found her roaming around Greece looking for scraps. She was a stray dog with fleas and matted fur. They took her to the local dog home, Animal Rescue Kefalonia, but couldn’t bare to leave her so started the adoption process. Sami joined us back in the UK only a few short weeks after and has slotted into the family.
Sami has so much love for everyone and has such a gentle demeanour. She’s well behaved with the backyard chickens, and has even been known to pick up their eggs gently without cracking them! She’s cheeky but soft and loving and we all love her unconditionally.
Ned is a feral cat that Tom’s sister, Hannah, adopted from a local rehoming centre. Like all cats, he’s incredibly independent but has had no issues settling into the family home. He’s a cheeky cat who snuck into his first pack of Dreamies and ate the entire bag! He gets along well with their Alsatian, Shadow, and is now an integral part to their family.
Even Lucy Watson, reality TV star from Made In Chelsea, has said previously that she regrets not rehoming her first 2 pets and has since re-homed a kitten.
Before you go out and search for pets, please strongly consider adopting and rehoming one. There are so many different homes and kennels where there are plenty of animals who require forever homes.
Here are just a few well known re-homing centres, but make sure you put in the research as there are plenty of them all over the UK!
Another 2 months has passed us by so it’s time for another run through of my latest delivery of the Deluxe Cruelty Free Beauty Box! I was lucky enough to win this box this month in their usual sharing giveaway. I was so chuffed.
If you want to read about the box before this, click here for the post. Previous posts can be found under the Beauty section.
As always, the box did not disappoint and had so many goodies that I cannot wait to try!
This months box contained the following:
My HairCare Rescue My Hair Hydrate Shampoo Bar (RRP £14)
Natura Pumpkin Sheet Mask (RRP £5.95)
Fairypants perfume (RRP £1.50)
Palm Bar Body Butter Bar (RRP £5)
Bellapierre Liquid Gold 24k (RRP £30)
Niu Body Glow Facial Serum (RRP £27.95)
Gardner’s Halloween Cookie (RRP £2)
Vegan Bunny Chai Latte Soy Candle (RRP £13)
Jeavon’s Rizo (RRP £2.75)
The total value of the Deluxe box comes in at £102.15 but will only cost you £39.95.
I’ve eaten the cookie and Rizo bar already and both were a dream. I haven’t had shortbread for a long time and the Gardner’s cookie was a delicious shortbread.
I’ve written about Natura products in various other blog posts I’ve written and I love the sheet masks. They’re a really lovely treat so I’m looking forward to using this pumpkin one.
My final favourite is the Vegan Bunny Chai Latte candle. I’ve actually bought Vegan Bunny candles off Etsy before, but not for myself! I’ve bought Christmas scented candles as stocking fillers for my family members and regretted not buying one for myself. The Chai Latte smell is incredible! I haven’t lit the candle yet but I can’t wait till I do!
I absolutely cannot recommend The Cruelty Free Beauty Box enough. They only send every 2 months which is more than enough for me, and every month is full of new and interesting treats. I adore The Deluxe box with the lifestyle treats. It’s so nice to receive new things that I’d never normally buy for myself or want to try.
So a more serious blog post this week… I’m going to share with you guys the reasons why I became vegan in the first place.
My vegan story isn’t your normal vegan story, but I’m sure many of you share a similar story.
I’ve been with my boyfriend, Tom, for nearly 6 years now and a year or so into our relationship, he started transitioning towards vegetarianism. This started with going pescatarian first (for those of you that don’t know, that’s eating only fish and no other meat) and the plan was to slowly move from that into veganism.
Before Tom went vegan, he was a big meat eater. He rejected salads, never tried houmous, and was a regular KFC customer. He abandoned his plan of slowly transitioning and went straight into veganism from pescatarianism. I remember when he told me, we were lying in bed and I cried. I told him it was an entire lifestyle change which he didn’t understand at the time but slowly realised.
My reaction was certainly over the top, but veganism wasn’t anywhere near as accessible as it is now. We went out for food a lot and I knew that eating out would become a struggle. Our supermarket shops took longer due to the research required into our ingredients lists, but we adjusted. We remained an omni household where I continued to eat meat. With Tom being the cook of the household, he cooked meat for me for a while until he said he didn’t want to anymore. From that moment, we became a primarily vegan household but I continued to eat meat outside of the home.
Tom had a knack for making people think. He didn’t do it on purpose, but he eventually got his entire family to transition to vegan. Even my sister went vegan before I did. In fact, we used to argue about the discussions we had and I asked him to stop speaking to me about veganism, which he did.
Documentaries started coming out such as What The Health and Cowspiracy. I still haven’t actually seen them, but the world started changing with the demand. More and more people were signing up to veganuary and with this demand, everything was becoming easier. Supermarkets and restaurants were offering more vegan options, veganism was finally becoming accessible!
I was sat on the sofa one day and turned to Tom and simply said, I’m going to go vegan. I wouldn’t say anything just switched, but I’d already made the majority of the way there with being vegan in the household. The only additional change at that point was to only eat vegan outside of the home which was really only at work.
With my clearer understanding of veganism, it just made the most sense. It may have taken me a few years to get there, but it was the best decision I’ve made. It’s not possible to argue with facts.
Veganism is better for the environment.
Veganism is better for your health.
Veganism is accessible.
For those of you who haven’t taken the plunge yet, or are planning to, make sure you educate yourself. I was fortunate to have Tom to help me and educate me, but it is an important life decision. You need to eat the right things to remain healthy and your journey will be eye opening.
Don’t worry about what people have to say either. This is your decision, not theirs! For those of you still with omni other halves, play the long game. They’ll get there through exposure, not pushing.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post and I hope it helps you.
I’m far from an expert on veganism, but if you have any questions or would like to know more about my experience, leave a comment!
I had the absolute pleasure of being invited to Tom’s sister, Kate’s, wedding a few weeks ago which was an absolute dream. Her and David got married in Coed Y Mwstwr Hotel in Bridgend which is tucked away in Coychurch, and conveniently only down the road from us.
I’m close to Tom’s family and love them like my own so I had the luxury of being involved in so many parts of the wedding, but with little responsibility!
In this blog post, I’ll write about all the little vegan bits that were thought about and catered for.
The Night Before The Wedding
We were invited to the hotel for a family meal before the nuptials the next day in the hotel restaurant. There was a vegan menu available and we were given the menus to peruse in the lounge area of the hotel.
We ordered and were taken into the restaurant when they were ready for us. We all ordered Tempura Vegetables to start, most of us ordered the Cauliflower and Pea Curry and Tom’s mum ordered the Chickpea and Lentil Roast for mains. To finish, myself and Hannah ordered the Vegan Chocolate Brownie and everyone else ordered the Grilled Pineapple with vegan ice-cream.
The food was lovely and the service was great. The Vegetable Tempura starter was a big hit with everyone and something that I highly recommend. It was a lovely start to the weekend!
Tom and I then headed home, ready for the next day…
The Wedding Day
Tom and I had a lie in as the ceremony wasn’t until 2:30! We were lucky to have an early check in at the hotel so we were able to check in at 12 so we started getting ready and packing some bags ready for the day!
On the way to the hotel, we stopped off in Who Cult Coffee + Donuts on Bridgend Industrial Estate on request of the bridal party, so it was impossible to say no! It was the first time I had actually gone inside so I took some photos but I’ll write another post. Here’s an older post from when I originally tried their doughnuts.
We arrived at the hotel and ran a few errands with Hannah, Tom’s younger sister and Kate’s maid of honour. We checked in and went straight up so that I could finish getting ready. Once I was ready, I spent the morning with the bridal party, taking photos and tearing up at the sight of Kate in her wedding dress. She looked beautiful.
The ceremony was lovely and there was so much love in the room. It was so clear to see that Kate and David shared so much together and were meant to be. It was an honour to be a guest.
After a drink and photos, we were seated fo the wedding breakfast. The favours were seeds to plant to help encourage bees, so we’ll be making sure we do that!
The wedding breakfast provided by Coed Y Mwstwr catered for both vegans and omnis. Kate herself is a vegetarian so she had the vegan option also.
The vegan option was: Vegetable soup, Black Eyed Bean Bourginon and Vegan Chocolate Brownie with ice cream.
For those who are curious, the omni option was: Leek and Potato Soup, Turkey Roast and Cheesecake.
I didn’t rate the bourginon. The mashed potato was delicious and creamy and the veg was great, but the meat replacement I found to be plain and dry.
The vegetable soup was really delicious. I could have eaten a vat of it! Tom appreciated the croutons too. He said he’d never had croutons before which shocked me!
The chocolate brownie was the same as the previous night but was much nicer with the ice cream.
Remaining on the topic of food… Kate and David’s wedding cake was made by the incredibly talented Vic’s Vegan Bakes. The cake was absolutely stunning and was made of 3 tiers:
Red Velvet and Chocolate
Salted Caramel and Biscoff
Vanilla and Raspberry
Every tier was absolutely delicious. Everyone loved it and I don’t think they even knew it was vegan. Vic bakes amazing cakes and makes them look like an absolute dream! Check out her instagram for all the inspiration.
The evening buffet came out around 9:30pm and has various vegan options and a small section of the omnis too. I picked up a cucumber sandwich, vegetable spring rolls and wontons and potato wedges. Tom had spicy falafel which he loved and couldn’t stop eating.
In between all of this, Tom and I spent the evening dancing the night away, pulling out all of our best wedding dance moves and trying to get everyone we know up on the dance floor with relative levels of success.
The Day After The Wedding
We stayed the night at the hotel. The room was lovely but I didn’t find the bed particularly comfortable. I had very particular comfort needs but it was a nice stay and it was very quiet.
What I did love was that instead of a hanging door sign to indicate you don’t want to be disturbed, they had the cutest cuddly toy dogs! “Let Sleeping Dogs Lay”.
We were invited to join the bride and groom for breakfast at 9am. I never usually eat much in the morning so I only had a coffee and juice but there was lots of lovely fruit on offer as well as cereals. We were also provided with soy milk for teas and coffees. Everyone else ordered vegan breakfasts which from what I remembered had sausages, toast, hash brown and a grilled tomato.
A huge thank you to Kate and David for having us and making the day so special for everyone. Thank you for catering for us and including us in so much of your day!