Maybe baby….. Maybe not

Whilst I do enjoy hearing cute stories about people’s children, I am starting to tire of people talking to me in a way that assumes there will be a point in my life when I have children myself. As I think most do, I have mostly pictured children in my future, and if you asked me right now, today, yes I would like one or two at some point. Then again, ask me next week and I may have changed my mind. I have not yet made the decision to have children and more than that, I am increasingly aware that, nature permitting, it is very much a choice, and perhaps one day I will decide not to have them. And that will need to be ok; with myself and with the rest of the world. Also, maybe I won’t be able to have children and then the choice will be taken out of my hands.

People seem to be aware of the issues and stigma affecting those who cannot have children, but not much is said about how it feels when others talk to you about “when” you have children – assuming that you want them and can have them. I say this not just for myself and about my situation, but also for the many many other combinations of situations and opinions of others. Some people may just not like being around children, some may prefer animals as “children”, some may find their life calls them to places and to make plans which simply don’t involve children.

I feel similar about being vegan actually. It’s a choice I’ve made, and since I made it, it has been eye opening to observe how most people assume that everyone else acts as they do and believes what they do. “What…. You don’t eat meat or have dairy?!!…. What do you eat?!!” The idea that there is another way, is often too much for people to comprehend – and of course, must be for weirdos (not for compassionate people of course – that’s a whole other blog!)

I often hear people say that not having children is something people regret when they get old. I find that quite assumptious, and quite offensive actually. As an only child, I often worry about being “old and alone”, but that fear alone is not a reason to have children. That would be like saying “oh phew, now you exist so I won’t be on my own”. I’m sure it is a lovely feeling to know that you have children who will be there for you when you’re old and infirm, but I wish people would think twice about pointing that out as a reason that someone should consider having children, because as I said, you never know someone’s feelings, reasons or history.

I cannot predict the future, nor would I want to, so I don’t like the feeling of social pressure that comes from others assuming that children are definitely in my future. Right now, I hope they are. But if not, I don’t want to be made to feel that my life is less full than theirs, because who knows what any of our futures hold.

Clean, green and in my (washing) machine!

I always try, with everything I buy, to get the most “green”, most eco-friendly version there is. In my first year of being vegan, I have been trying even harder to be green, just because I am so much more aware of the need for it now. Laundry detergent has always made me feel bad when I pick it up in the grocery store – I just feel guilty that it’s going into the water, but it’s one of those products which has become something we really rely on, and the idea of an “alternative” just brings back images of the stone age. Detergent is convenient, relatively cheap and pretty essential.

So when I was offered the chance to try Planet Pure’s new certified organic laundry liquid – I jumped at the chance. For a while now I have been looking for a reliable, non-toxic replacement for my every day laundry liquid – but having grown so accustomed to liquids that wash clothes so well, I was worried I would have to settle for something a little “second rate”. How wrong I was! (and what a relief!).


Planet Pure who have been around since 1999 believe that humans may live in harmony with nature and the environment without exploiting and destroying it. Perfect, me too!! The company use only sustainable components in their products with ingredients such as tea saponin, soapwort, and soapnut which are extracted through a careful process with pure mountain water from the Pfänder region in western Austria. Even better for us eco geeks, their products are easily broken down 100% by nature; the detergents even break down as much as 98% within some hours!

Planet Pure kindly sent me a 510ml bottle of their Fresh Lavender, certified organic, laundry liquid, along with a 50ml bottle of Fresh Orange stain remover (you can buy them both here). The laundry liquid bottle is partially transparent and on first glance, the liquid is a sort of brownish orangey colour. It would be easy to be put off by this but it goes to show you should never judge a book by it’s cover. As soon as I opened the lid, the smell was amazing! I love lavender anyway, but this was like putting your head in a lavender bush! Absolutely wonderful! In my opinion, we have grown too used to things being artificially coloured and thinking that is the “norm”. There is nothing at all wrong with something in it’s natural form and I for one massively prefer it. No chemicals – phew!

I was not disappointed by the liquid’s performance either. As you can see from the picture above, I have been using it regularly since it arrived and it has been brilliant. In fact, the stain remover managed to lift a particularly tricky stain caused by a spoonful of baked beans escaping me! One thing which was a noticeable difference between this product and my usual supermarket brand was that it did not froth up as much. Planet Pure have explained to me that they made a conscious choice to leave out the chemical foam enhancers that most supermarket brands use, as they do not have a cleaning effect per se, and just give the illusion that the product is effective (those sneaky big name brands! Who knew!). Using a lot less foam, in turn helps to save water during the rinsing process. Eco geniuses!

The way I see it, if there is a product which does a great job and doesn’t damage the environment, what could be better? This is something we should all aspire to in all aspects of our lives. I have not got a bad word to say about Planet Pure Laundry Liquid, and I am very much looking forward to making it part of my regular shop!

This sample was sent to me free of charge through the blogger review service of the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION. I have not been paid for this review and it is my genuine and unbiased review of the product.

“Parmesan” Perfection with Good Carma

Flavour Fusion RRP £4.95 + P&P from Good Carma [available in some UK stockists already] – See more here.

I have been looking for a good vegan substitute for parmesan for a long time – so when the Vegan Lifestyle Association approached me to review a new dairy free, parmesan style cheese alternative, it really was a no brainer! Good Carma, is the brainchild of Charlotte Bates, a passionate vegan who started the company in the summer of 2013 in honour of her mother who died from bowel cancer earlier that year. Charlotte has produced a range of cheese style alternative products called Flavour Fusion, and I for one could not be more excited! The products are made to be suitable for dairy free, wheat free and gluten free diets and include just a few carefully selected ingredients including Himalayan Pink Salt which is packed with over 80 minerals, nutritional yeast (which has added vitamin B12 (a vitamin fairly tough to come by on a vegan diet) and almonds, which amongst their other benefits, are thought to reduce the risk of heart disease.

As soon as the box arrived I could practically smell the lasagne I was going to make with it’s perfectly crisp topping (having done without cheese topping on lasagne for far too long!). The packaging design is sleek and eye catching, with colours representing each of the three colours currently available: Original, Chilli and Garlic.


I wasted no time in making my lasagne and was excited to make it for my family too, who are meat eaters but open to everything vegan. I decided to use the garlic flavour as I thought it would compliment the meal well. When I had layered up my other vegan ingredients (egg free pasta, “free from” sauces and egg free soya mince, all readily available in most supermarkets), I opened up the shaker style pot and the product same out very easily, spreading very nicely over my lasagne.


I cooked the meal for around 40 minutes at 200c and when I removed it from the oven, just as I had hoped, the Flavour Fusion had crisped up the top layer very nicely, making it a lovely golden brown.


The taste certainly wasn’t overpowering – my family are not big garlic eaters so they would have had something to say if it was! It tasted perfect, just like the parmesan toppings I would have had prior to becoming vegan. The meal was a real hit with everyone and everyone agreed there really was no difference – no one would have known it wasn’t parmesan. A yummy, guilt free meal #success!

I am thrilled to now have a product I can use just like a parmesan and not have to “miss out” when meals call for it. What’s more, it has a 6 month shelf life and can be stored at room temperature. I feel that this is what I would class as a “no excuse” product, with the knowledge we now have about the dairy industry and it’s brutality, not to mention the health implications  of dairy foods, what reason is there not to use an alternative when companies such as Good Carma are now making it so easy for us? I challenge any non vegans out there to say otherwise!


Flavour Fusion is stocked at selected retailers, but perhaps the easiest way to get this product in your life is to check out their online store.

This sample was sent to me free of charge through the blogger review service of the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION. For more information please see I have not been paid for this review and it is my genuine and unbiased review of the product.

Meet the new non-meat called “Mheat”!!


Mheat Original RRP £3.75 + P&P from Sgaia Foods [available in some UK stockists already] – See more at:

I was beside myself with glee when my package of “Mheat” arrived. “Mheat”? I hear you cry…don’t you mean “meat”, well no, no I don’t! “Mheat” is a brand new plant based product, created by genius Italian couple Hilary and Alberto of Sgaia Foods, who moved to the UK in 2011. Hilary and Alberto are well aware that most people see plant-based products as being “free from” everything – including pleasure, and set about creating a product which in their own words is deliciously “full-of”! Full of natural ingredients, full of nutrients, full of taste and full of originality.

Us vegans are frequently up against it when it comes to battling opinions which believe that to be vegan is to give up a lot of pleasures and cultural norms. Sgaia Foods are here to change all that with the first product in their Italian, plant-based range – Mheat. Mheat is a plant based take on the very popular, originally Asian food: seitan. Seitan which is a food made with the gluten extracted from wheat. This is even better – it’s virtually fat-free and made of protein – now I for one know that anything virtually fat free at this time of year is a very good idea for me, to compensate for the fat-FULL party season!

The box is beautifully branded, and the product itself is vacuum packed which gives it a very professional finish. For those who like their plant-based alternatives to look as “meaty” as possible, this certainly does. Infact, I would challenge anyone to notice it was anything other than meat. I loved the fact that the product came with a suggested recipe card in the box. I decided for this reason, to go ahead and make the suggested recipe – Mheat and Mushrooms Alla Piastra.


When I opened the pack, the Mheat was soft-ish in texture and smelled lovely right away. Mheat is ready to eat right from the pack, so I took a taste before I started cooking. It tasted lovely and I could definitely imagine it in a sandwich or on a salad – in fact, I saved a small amount for that reason!

Once I started cooking the Mheat in olive oil and soy sauce, it gradually browned off, just as meat would and smelled delicious!


I knew it was ready when it firmed up a little and I then added onions, peppers and mushrooms – by this point everyone in my house wanted to know what I was cooking (and I am the only vegan so I was happy to let them know!).


I decided to serve my Mheat with savoury rice and I have to say, it was genuinely one of the most scrumptious meals I have had in ages – and so simple to cook! The taste is rich and fulfilling and definitely has an Asian twist to it. I am thrilled that Mheat is starting to make an appearance in the UK and will definitely be seeking it out as a regular addition to my weekly shop!


This sample was sent to me free of charge through the blogger review service of the VEGAN lifestyle ASSOCIATION. For more information please see I have not been paid for this review and it is my genuine and unbiased review of the product.



Chease Fest!!

Mmmmmm CHEASE :))  image

I have recently moved from long term Vegetarian, to Vegan. To some, this may seem like a reasonably expected transition, but to be honest, it wasn’t something I ever gave much thought to until I recently discovered the horrifying truths of the dairy industry. I could talk for hours about it, but that’s a whole other blog…..

By chance, I heard about VegFest, which was taking place at the Brighton Centre and I thought it looked like a good day out…… Understatement of the century!! There were so many amazing reasons to love VegFest, and here are but a few….

  • Everything there was 100% vegan, so no worries about whether you should eat it, smell it, touch it, like it….. It was all guilt free – such a treat!
  • Cooking demos, knowledgeable people, petitions to sign.
  • A whole food hall of more lunch choices than any of us had had in a loooong time!
  • Like-minded people – no fear of someone overhearing you saying something “too vegan” or looking at you like you were crazy for getting excited at the sheer volume of things it is possible to make from cashew nuts!! Which leads me very nicely on to……
  • CHEASE!!!

No, I haven’t misspelled it, this is not gross, made-from-milk-stolen-from-baby-cows cheese I’m talking about, but CHEASE…… The new found #loveofmylife !!!! Chease is made by TyneChease and is an artisanal cultured, 100% plant based, organic, gluten free, nut based….. well, cheese! Now before you all start judging, even I would admit to having been pretty sceptical towards non-dairy cheese when I went vegan. The first one I tried made me want to cry as it was such a let down. What Tyne Chease have managed to do though, is create a product so rich and perfect in texture that I would honestly challenge anyone to tell its not the “real thing” (who would want the “real thing” anyway, once you know the truth – arrrrgh I digress…. for another blog, for another blog!!). This is proper, Christmas cheese platter, cheese and wine – CHEASE!! The picture above gives you a good idea of what Chease looks like – flavours include: Garlic and Herb, Ale and Mustard, Sundried Tomato, Cranberry Za’atar Roule, Soft Macadamia and (my personal fave) Apricot. So, if you hadnt already guessed, Tyne Chease rocks and you should most definitely get yourself some! Launching in May, products will be available online and at alternative stores. You can contact Tyne Chease in the usual 21st century ways…. @TYNECHEASE or

Tyne Chease kindly sent me the pics I have used in this blog 🙂

Happy food

Take the pic and let me eat the cake!

Take the pic and let me eat the cake!

I am never happier than when faced with a chocolate fudge cake – there I said it.

I used to so look forward to a massive pizza or a takeaway – even as a vegetarian for over ten years. However, since starting my CHP (Conscious Health Project), I have really started to notice that I am no longer craving the bad stuff as much. This was my plan all along and I am so thrilled it is working. I’m finding it even more true as I move over to the vegan way of life (there goes that chocolate cake *must attempt vegan choc cake!*)

I am becoming increasingly intrigued by things like super foods and foods that are proven to make you happier or lower the risk of depression. I have just recently learnt that apparently olives, humous and crunchy veggies (all of which I have been eating a lot lately!) have powerful antioxidants, “good” fats and B vitamins which your brain needs to help neurotransmitters and nerve-cells do their thing!  (that’s about as “sciencey” as I have gotten at the moment!).

So whilst I don’t think I am ever going to lose my sweet tooth! I am loving the benefits of my new found food loves – long may they continue!

Conscious Health Project

Health and fitness *Sigh* I wish I could say I love it, but it’s a bit of an effort for me. I have noticed that if I try to eat less of something, I usually fail miserably. Case and point – last years’ “Project swimsuit”. Add to that the fact that it’s cold (and I’m over it!) and looking for my next freelance job is getting a little old now…. The chances of me staying true to any kind of withdrawal of yummy things is probably very slim.

So….. my plan is to add in more good stuff. Let’s call it a CHP (conscious health project) It’s true what they say about olives; keep trying them – you will learn to like them!!

So here it is, my little lunch from today. Olives, humous, blueberries, home made guacamole with tomatoes and lime juice, Falafel and celery. Now don’t be fooled into thinking that I won’t indulge later – because I may well do – but eating MORE of the GOOD stuff has got to be a great place to start right?


Inside a canine mind….

A windblown Poppy

A windblown Poppy

Today I went for a long stroll with my favourite fluffy lady and adopted canine buddy, Poppy. Despite the fact that it is still pretty chilly in our neck of the woods to say the least (!), it was  lovely sunny day. Walking along with her and trying to work what she is thinking in various situations always intrigues me….

I have always had such an interest in canine psychology (I even did a course once!). Call me crazy, but I honestly believe that in however many hundreds years’ time it will take for peoples’ way of thinking to change enough, that it will be discovered that animals’ minds are way more similar to ours than they are given credit for. I basically think overall, it is just a language barrier. If a dog could fully explain to us what he/she was thinking/feeling which made him/her tear up the couch cushion, or pee in the kitchen, it would, I am sure give us a new understanding.

In the spirit of this, I thought I would share with you, my top 5 pet peeves when it comes to human interaction with dogs.

**Disclaimer Alert** This is all purely opinion! I am not claiming to be any sort of expert!

5) Dressing them up – Ok so this may seem pretty harmless to you, but your dog has no idea what he has on, or why he is being made to feel so restricted. Has he done something wrong? Add to that the squealing and giggling that is no doubt now surrounding him and I’m sure you’re left with one pretty confused and uncomfortable pooch. Yes, ok, he looks “cute” but wouldn’t you rather he was just himself, he’s pretty cute just the way he is right? 🙂

4) Shouting at them – I’ve seen videos, and I’m sure we all have of dogs looking “guilty” when their owners come home to find the bin has been emptied all over the floor and those vids do make me giggle because the dog knows she has done something wrong but I think it’s really important to get to the bottom of the question of why it has happened, because all shouting is going to do it scare your dog, and surely no good owner wants their dog to be scared of them. Respect, sure, but fear…?

3) Letting children be OTT with them – I just always feel so sorry for a poor, gentle dog when he is forced to endure some hyper child climbing all over him. I think it’s really important for kids to be taught to respect dogs at a very early age. They are not a toy and not less than, simply different to us.

2) Overuse of WORDS – Ok, so dogs can be trained to recognise words and to know what those words require of them, obviously. But as the amazing Cesar Milan (If you’ve never seen an episode of The Dog Whisperer, you haven’t lived!) teaches, dogs respond far better to energy. That may sound to some like a “hippy” way of thinking, but Cesar has proved it to be true. Simply put, saying the same words over and over, but using the wrong energy towards your dog is going to take FAR longer to get the desired response – they don’t speak human. Honestly if you are looking into training your dog and haven’t seen Cesar, check him out.

1) Lack of Exercise – If you choose to live with a dog, he/she deserves to have a good walk, every day. Some dogs are higher energy than others, but they patiently wait in all day for us to return to them and the least we can do is take them on a nice walk. Not only to “do their business” but also to leave their scent, encounter other dogs and let off some energy. I know how I feel if I don’t leave the house all day, so I would hate to have that forced on me!

So there they are – my top 5 pet dog peeves, or pet peeves for dogs….. either way, you catch my drift! xx

Yummy lunch alert!

I was lucky enough to have lunch today at “Miss Walls Back Garden” in Grove Road, Eastbourne. Now I know what you’re thinking, Eastbourne is not often celebrated for it’s culinary prowess…… However, I had a very scrummy lunch here with a friend and can thoroughly recommend it! The beauty of this little place is that it is a vegetarian restaurant, something which has been very much lacking in this little town. I had a massive plate of vegan friendly grub including a nice big helping of “curried cauliflower” and for a reasonable price. Get down there!!

"Miss Walls Back Garden", Eastbourne

“Miss Walls Back Garden”, Eastbourne