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21.01.17 – Central Vegan Festival

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Hello lovely world,

So today me and my gorgeous friend Natt popped into Manchester to visit the Central Vegan Festival that was taking place! Manchester was extremely busy today and I’m glad to know one of the many things going on today was the Women’s March taking place. Now I’m gutted I couldn’t go, mainly cause I left it to late in the day to make it and my anxiety was acting up a bit so I was wary about going into big crowds but I hope in future I can attend more marches. Of course, Manchester’s march wasn’t as massive as Washington’s but I am so proud to see how many people attended the march in my hometown. It makes me so proud and even feel a little bit more optimistic that I know so many women of all types – black, Asian, Jewish, Muslim, white, disabled, gay, bisexual, trans, cisgender, mothers, single women, elderly women, teenagers etc. etc. are standing strong and looking out for each other after the news of Trump coming into presidency in the US. All the images and videos of marches around the world fill me with hope that so many people want to fight against the despairing, patriarchal presidency taking place.

I recommend taking a look at the images and videos on social media just by searching #WhyIMarch or #WomensMarch. It’s truly inspiring.

The vegan festival also took place in Manchester today and it’s my first proper vegan festival that I’ve attended. It was quite small and humble but very crowded and well-attended! It had that festival feeling where you’re shuffling around slowly and taking everything in, but I really enjoyed it despite the slow movement! There was tons of food stalls serving fresh vegan meals and although I couldn’t eat things from every stall I managed to try a gorgeous slice of ‘pepperoni’ pizza from Vegan Pizza Co.’s stall and I also treated myself to a batch of loaded nachos from Mex It Up‘s stall.

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The staff at both stalls were also super lovely! Next up me and Natt had a lovely look around the other stalls, I recognised a stall for Wear Your Voice UK, who do really nice vegan and anti-cruelty prints on t-shirts and jumpers. I already own two that I’ve bought online but it was really exciting seeing them at a stall in person.

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There was also a very cute stall there from a shop named Rogue Gypsy who did crystals and crystal jewellery. Now I’m a sucker for anything with crystals on so I had to buy something and me and Natt ended up deciding to get matching necklaces (cause we cute)! The man at the stall was super lovely and even told us about the crystals on our necklaces, and gave us a little slip with facts about the crystal with our necklaces.

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Finally, of course, comes the snack haul – because I love food and I can’t help hauling vegan snacks. I managed to nab up some vegan sweet treats from Ananda Food‘s and Forgot the Egg‘s stall which was exciting, as well as picking up some other treats as seen below!

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From left to right: two ‘Wheaty chorizo spacebars’ (they remind me of pepperamis but way better), Raw Cacao Ombar Buttons,, Ananda’s Choca Mocha marshmallows, a Marshmallow pop from Ananda’s, a gingerbread man from Forgot the Eggs and V-Bite’s dairy free Fudgee bites.

All in all I am extremely excited to try some of the stuff I picked up today and fully recommend popping to a vegan festival in future, even if you eat meat and you are curious about the food and such!

Thanks for reading and have a lovely day,

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5 Accidentally Vegan Items and 5 I wish were

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One of my favourite Instagram account findings since I took upon myself to go vegetarian and incorporate more vegan/cruelty-free stuff has been an account named AccidentallyVeganUK. They post and collect products found in the UK that are accidentally vegan – hence the name. So somehow these products don’t include any meat, gelatine, milk, cream, eggs – no animal product to be found! A lot of the finds on this page are also treats, cheap snacks; which makes it great for vegans/vegetarians/people with dairy allergies who are on a budget. I decided to share with you today some items I am so happy and surprised are vegan and 5 items I love snacking on/having in the cupboard that I wish were vegan. I hope this list is useful for anybody vegan, vegetarian or omnivore!

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1 – Parma Violets
2 – Double Stuffed Oreos
3 – Propercorn Sweet & Salty
4 – Cheetos Twisted Flamin’ Hot
5 – Nik Naks Nice N Spicy
6 – Pringles Paprika

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1 – BN Chocolate Biscuits
2 – Sensations Thai Sweet Chilli
3 – Super Noodles Curry Flavour
4 – Thorntons Fabulous Vanilla Fudge
5 – Maynards Wine Gums

I’d be so happy and greedy if these junk items were vegan. It’d be great to eat sweets like Wine Gums or Haribo without the worry of gelatine. Have you guys got any stuff you wish was cruelty free at all or are you surprised some of your favourite stuff is accidentally vegan?

Thanks for reading,

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Small Steps to Cruelty Free

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Sometimes I feel very contradicting whenever I write about pro-veggie or cruelty free stuff in blog posts, cause in all honesty I do still use or consume products that are probably very against that ethic. I still have a few makeup products knocking around that are Maybelline or Benefit – both of which aren’t confirmed cruelty free, and I do still eat chocolate or products now and again that contain milk or eggs. I never confirm myself as vegan although I am interested in the research and evidence behind it and I know deep down, transitioning to a vegan lifestyle might benefit me in a lot of ways.

However my beliefs are mainly that if people are open to trying more pro-veggie and cruelty free products and reducing their ‘footprint’, if you could call it that. If someone goes vegetarian and uses more and more cruelty free products – that is better than nothing. If people go vegan for two days a week, that’s pretty impressive to me. I think transitioning to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle isn’t something anyone can just do. It requires money, time to prepare meals that are completely vegan, research and such. So I decided to write this blog post to introduce some small steps for different ‘areas’ in your daily life that you could switch out products to be more cruelty free/pro-animal.

Kitchen – Butter/Margarine

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Vitalite is only £1 in most supermarkets and is a full tub of dairy-free, sunflower oil based margarine. It’s an easy, food swap out that is vegan because it literally tastes no different to usual butter. In fact I personally prefer it because it feels a lot lighter than butter when used on toast, for example.

Living Room/Decoration – Wax Melt

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So these might be a little bit pricey to some, but if you’re a fan of Yankee Candles or decorations like such. This little UK based shop on Etsy called CarolineJaneCandles has a lovely selection of vegan wax melts and candles made with natural soy wax. The candles are a little bit pricier but the wax melts go at £1.50 so you can’t go wrong! They come in lovely scents as well, my favourite is the shop’s cinnamon whirl melts as the smell of bakeries and pastries are just divine.

Bathroom – Toothpaste

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I have mentioned Kingfisher Toothpastes on a blog post in the past, and I still stand by the toothpaste now. You can get a three bulk pack of Kingfisher’s Fluoride Free Mint Toothpaste on Amazon for £8.91, and these toothpastes would definitely last you a good while, if not a year. They are fluoride free, vegan and cruelty free.

Handbag – Lipbalm

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Lush cosmetics is one of the favourites for many cruelty-free shoppers. They are very committed to their ethics and a lot of their products are vegan. The bath products of Lush are super popular and a great treat for yourself or friends however I want to promote the excellence of their lip balm tins. They are quite pricey but last a long time and definitely moisturise your lips. My favourite lip balm by them is Honey Trap because the ‘flavour’ is so lovely however they are only really ‘cruelty-free’. They are not labelled vegan because of the honey ingredient however Lush do many vegan alternatives like the lip balm ‘None of Your Beeswax‘.

Have you used any of these products before? Is there any other cheaper alternatives you may recommend to people on a budget who want to add more cruelty-free products to their life? Tell me in the comments below and share!

Thanks for reading,

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Favourite places to visit in Manchester City Centre

I’d say I’m at that age where I’m quite adventurous. Much like an angsty pop punk song I sometimes feel sick and bored of my ‘hometown’, I feel like going somewhere new and travelling and just getting out of the same old that I see everyday. The adolescent angst is more persistent when you’re in a bad mood – you just want to get up and disappear, make new friends, meet new people, go to a town where nobody knows your name.

But obviously it’s never that easy and it’s never the medicine you need when you’re fed up and melancholic. If you’re like me and live in a city like Manchester, chances are you’ve probably not explored everywhere. The daydream of travelling to another little city and sitting in a dainty little cafe is lovely but what about all the little cafes and stores you haven’t already found in your hometown? Maybe you should make your new goal to explore your hometown a bit more. Recently that’s what I’ve been trying to do and I get very restless when I haven’t got money because there are so many places I want to visit in Manchester but I can’t yet! I decided on this post I’d share some of the nice places I have visited in Manchester because I think you should visit them too!

  • V Revolution

    This is definitely one of the nicest places I’ve started visiting this year. Maybe I’m exaggerating, maybe I’m a little bit obsessed with their food. But the place is so nice! Located on Oldham Street in Northern Quarter, V Revolution is a little diner that specializes in vegan Junk food. Most non-vegan people do have the expectations of vegan food being maybe bland or mainly veggies but no way is that what V Revolution is like. They do hot dogs, milkshakes, burgers, nachos and all of them are vegan! But do not taste much different from normal, in fact I’ve never been a massive fan of hot dogs – but V Revolution’s regular hot dog is mind blowingly delicious. Whenever I’m in Manchester I’m always tempted to run down and get one. The staff in V Revolution are also very lovely and friendly! The whole cafe/diner is clean and comfortable and definitely my favourite place to go for a bite to eat and a drink. You can check them out on Instagram or Facebook!
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  • Nexus Art Cafe

    This adorable cafe is also hidden in Northern Quarter, not far of from Afflecks Palace and situated literally next door to Travelling Man(if you’re a Mancunian comic fan you’ll know where this is!) the Nexus Art Cafe is a little creative community venue for art displays/exhibitions, group meetings, events and obviously it’s lovely little cafe! I’ve only been here a couple of times for coffee chats with my best friends and significant others but the whole cafe is just so snug and relaxing to be in – with a lot of places to sit including tables, sofas etc., even visiting here by yourself would be a lovely thing to do. They also have free wifi if you want to pop in and bring your laptop whilst getting a cup of tea and some lunch! The menu is located on their website! They do a lot of yummy sounding sandwiches. Their twitter is also here!

  • Night & Day Cafe

    My sister took me here once and I really need to go back at one point when I have money, but I absolutely fell in love with Night & Day Cafe when I walked in. Also near Northern Quarter(I’m sensing a pattern here), this gem is a cafe in the daytime and an atmospheric bar with live music at night! You can get tickets for upcoming shows on their website as well as view their menu. When I went in I had some of their cinnamon french toast and it was so delicious and tasty. The atmosphere in general in Night & Day cafe is pretty funky, with lots of arts and neon signs on the walls. You can find information about them on their website, facebook or twitter!
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  • COW

    If you’ve read one of my previous blog posts, you’ll know how much I rave about COW. It’s definitely a great place for anybody that is a fan of vintage clothing. You can sometimes find some really awesome, unique finds in COW and the staff there are really sweet too. I’ve gotten some clothes from here and they’ve become very beloved clothes to me so in return for their awesome vintage clothes I must spread the love! Visit Manchester COW’s Instagram or Twitter!
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  • Afflecks Palace

    Afflecks palace is a unique, store-filled building in Manchester. Growing up Afflecks would always be joked as the ’emo’ place to shop, but there is definitely something for everyone in Afflecks. There’s three stories of different shops and cafes. On the second floor you can find Black Milk Cereal cafe which is known for its amazing cereal concoctions. On the third floor there is also another cafe but without a sole focus on cereal! You can also find retro game stores, crystal stores, bead stores, poster stores, vintage clothes and cool jewellery in Afflecks! I’d definitely visit it if you were having a day trip to Manchester as there is so much in Afflecks! They have a website with directions to it, and individual descriptions of all of their shops.

  • MOSI

    The Museum of Science and Industry is a great museum that tends to almost all the senses. I haven’t been in years but it holds such good memories, there’s so many interactive displays that people of all ages can get involved with and learn from. They have the air and space hall which is filled with massive aircrafts that are amazing to look at, they also have the science experiment hall, which is my personal favourite because of all the interactive stuff in it, as well as the Manchester mills exhibitions and power halls! Entry to the museum is free, and a lot of the events they have going on tend to be free too! So feel free to visit their website and find out about it!

So yeah that’s some nice places to visit in Manchester, obviously there’s so many other places unique to Manchester that I want to visit like North Tea Power, Sugar Junction, Home Sweet Home and even Hula Bar! And when I do I will keep you all updated on where I recommend!

Thanks for reading,

Lenah x x

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my recommendation of delicious vegetarian options from well-known restaurants

This year I’ve recently decide to commit myself to becoming vegetarian. I have been wanting to do it for the past year but sometimes stumbled off the wagon especially around Christmas. However a month or two back I decided to definitely state myself as one. I told my family and friends that I was one so it wouldn’t seem strange when I asked for meat-free meals etc.

It’s been hard at some points, especially accompanying friends to places like McDonald’s where the chicken nuggets are addictive. However I’ve been really enjoying being vegetarian the past few months. I haven’t craved meat much at all unless I’ve been starving hungry and near it and even then it feels good to take the veggie option and consume extra vegetables. I remember hating vegetables as a kid but now I literally vacuum them up or get second servings of vegetables because of how delicious they are.

However, turning vegetarian is always difficult for people whom have grown up eating meat. Especially if you do not live alone and have control over what is bought in groceries. So I decided to get together a list of well-known restaurants/chains and tell you what my favourite vegetarian options are from each place! So next time you go and feel like taking the meat-free option, you can try these out and see what you think! I’m sure the farm animals will thank you.

DISCLAIMER: All of these options are vegetarian, not vegan. I can not confirm that any of these meals include dairy or other animal produce in their food.

PIZZA HUT

I do not visit Pizza Hut restaurants often but their Classic Veggie pizza is incredible and very filling. It has all the vegetables I love on it including sweetcorn, peppers and mushrooms. The flavour is so delightful and it’s what I always order when I go there. You can also dip into a bucket of fries for the table if you are out with friends or a date as they are also vegetarian.

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TGI FRIDAYS

I adore TGI Fridays. It’s one of my favourite restaurants, mainly for the atmosphere. I love the American diner style of the reds and whites and all the lights on the logo. When I go there I tend to order a Sizzling Veggie Fajita. The waiter brings you all the sizzling vegetables separate from dips and the tortillas so you can make the fajita the way you want and it is so delicious. Unfortunately there is no veggie burger option from TGI Fridays yet, considering how much I would adore the burgers back when I ate meat. I hope one day they bring out one because it’d be great to try. Their sundaes are also delicious and vegetarian. My favourite one is the Cookies & Cream one, as it includes Oreos which are so tasty!

CHIQUITOS

Last year I managed to find probably one of my favourite vegetarian meals from a chain restaurant in Chiquitos. I always rave about how tasty it was whenever people mention the restaurant and I definitely recommend it. This is the Veggie Volcano burger. It includes a veggie bean burger with mayo, five bean chilli, melted cheese and jalapenos. However because I really do not like cheese I tend to order this without the melted cheese, it’s still just as gorgeous!

WAGAMAMA’S

I have to personally thank my lovely boyfriend Will for introducing me to Wagamama’s as I had never gone to it before last year. It’s menu is very unique and there are lots to choose from on there so I was definitely able to find a delicious meat-free option for myself and the portions are so filling and big that even without meat, which is generally the stomach-filler of a main meal, I was unsure if I’d be able to finish meals from there. The Yasai Katsu Curry from Wagamama’s is so full-flavoured. Compared to the traditional Chicken Katsu Curry, the Yasai has sweet potato, aubergine and butternut squash coated in panko breadcrumbs drowned in the aromatic curry sauce. It is so divine and delicious, that I’m actually craving it as I type! You can also get yasai steamed dumplings or wok-fried greens as a side to your meal which are also delicious vegetarian options!

TAMPOPO

Tampopo is very similar to Wagamama’s in atmosphere and cuisine however it was a visit to the Trafford Centre restaurant yesterday that inspired me to write this post! It was my first Tampopo meal and I had the delight of eating the Thai Style Vegetarian Fried Rice. There was so many different flavours in this meal and they all complimented each other. You can order this meal with chicken or prawn however with the vegetarian choice you get chunks of tofu which are just as delicious and go well with the egg, mushrooms, peppers and pineapple mixed in the delicious fried rice.

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SUBWAY

Although not really a ‘well-known’ restaurant. Since going vegetarian, Subway tends to be my go to place for ‘fast food’. When I go to a shopping centre food court where I’m surrounded by McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut Express, Gregg’s etc, I tend to go for Subway because the veggie options there are definitely the tastiest. My subway order may seem very mundane but to me it is very delicious and filling. I tend to have the bread as either hearty italian or honey oat. My filling is either a veggie patty or I like to go for the ‘veggie delite’, which is basically no filling thanks I’m just going to have a lot of veggies. (If you listen closely you can hear meat eaters judging me and moaning in the distance). I always get the bread toasted because it’s just boring without the warm, soft bread. Then for vegetable fillings I go for cucumbers, lettuce, red onions, green peppers, sweetcorn, grated carrot and jalapeno. I sometimes give or take random ingredients but I will always definitely have cucumbers, peppers and jalapeno on. So basically my subway order is a Toasted Hearty Italian/Honey Oat VEGGIE DELITE.  I do not tend to have sauce on it but that is mainly because I have never tried any of them which I should probably change soon. Don’t want to make my veggie subway more aesthetically boring than it already seems. But whatever people say I love it! I do also enjoy a Subway Rainbow Cookie as a treat, as I think they are vegetarian as far as I am aware. If I am wrong, I would love to be corrected, please!

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But yeah, that’s my recommendations for anyone who would like to try a delicious vegetarian option in any of these restaurants! Feel free to comment any other places or chains that do great veggie options! It’s useful for aspiring vegetarians!

Thanks for reading,
Lenah x x