Wednesday, 17 December 2014

5 vegan-friendly stocking filler ideas!

Vegan stocking fillers

So the time of year we've all been waiting for is just around the corner and we're rapidly running out of those vital shopping days before Christmas is finally here.

When it comes to filling a vegan's stocking, a clementine just won't cut it - so here's a list of five fab gifts for the vegan in your life that you've still got (just about) enough time to pick up before the big day.


Saturday, 22 November 2014

World Vegan Month - Bringing vegan to the office

Vegan breakfast

November is World Vegan Month and this year marks the 70th anniversary of the term 'vegan' being invented! In celebration, my lovely work superiors agreed I could bring in mountains of vegan food to force upon my colleagues this week.

Read on for vegan breakfast inspiration and some of my favourite recipes...


Saturday, 15 November 2014

RECIPE - British Black Badger & Fava Bean Falafel

The age old question every vegan and vegetarian has been asked at least a thousand times (every damn day): "where do you get your protein?"

For many of us, the answer is beans, grains and pulses, those deliciously versatile little chunks of goodness. I love beans. I also love falafel, which just so happens to be made from beans, traditionally chickpeas, or a mixture of chickpeas and fava beans.

This week we decided to make falafel with a bit of a British twist, using a combo of fava beans and black badger peas from Hodemedods* - suppliers of beans and pulses grown here in Britain.

Hodmedods Great British Peas & Beans


Sunday, 9 November 2014

REVIEW - B. Complete Long-Lasting Nail Polish in 'Sunrise'

Superdrug B.Complete Long-Lasting Nail Polish in 'Sunrise'

Ok, it's time to come clean. I, Emily Slimings, am 100% completely, hopelessly addicted to nail polish. There, I said it.

There is a box in my living room which is literally full to bursting with different shades, finishes, glitters, brushes and brands of nail polish. This box is so full, that when it came time for me to find this particular nail polish to review, I didn't even bother looking in the box because there are so many other bags, boxes and cubby-holes around the house in which I have secretly stashed bottles of nail polish.

It was in the box.


Sunday, 2 November 2014

North East Vegan Festival - NEVFEST 2014

North East Vegan Festival 2014

Today we spent a good few hours at the North East Vegan Festival at the Stadium of Light in Sunderland. It was my second vegan festival this year and I had high hopes.

Andrew had surprised us to VIP tickets, and we'd been dreaming of room upon room of vegan delights for weeks - especially after a particularly disappointing run-in with a Hilton hotel earlier this the week, which started with me being told the 'vegan option' was a bacon sandwich on gluten free bread, and ended with no soy milk. NO SOY MILK.

We weren't disappointed. Four rooms of stalls from cakes to candles to confectionery and everything in between, plus a bar complete with live music - score! It was hard to get good snaps because parts of the festival were so incredibly busy (I'm looking at you and your delicious smelly stall, Harper's Bizarre!) but I did as much sneaky snapping as I could.


Saturday, 27 September 2014


Given recent posts on this here blog, you would be forgiven right now for assuming that all I do is eat. I don't. Honest. It's just that right now, Newcastle's restaurants are killing it with the vegan food. I mean they're on point and that makes me very happy.

When I heard boutique bowling alley Lane 7 had introduced a new vegan menu, I may have done a little shriek. I LOVE Lane 7, and had visited a couple of times back when I was a veggie, and seriously enjoyed their food (I'm a sucker for a good sweet potato fry).

Andrew and I try to go for a payday date every month, and this month was supposed to be the turn of Jamie's Italian. Unfortunately, I heard on Facebook that Jamie's is 'revamping' its vegan menu right now, and has taken it off. Although they do promise to veganise any of the dishes from their main menu, there was a large part of me that thought I might end up with a bowl of pasta in tomato sauce, so Jamie's is on hold until the vegan menu returns to give him a fair shout.

Instead, I booked a table at Lane 7, and we headed off there after work on Friday.


Sunday, 21 September 2014

VEGAN TOON - The Town Wall

Today Andrew and I decided to round off the week with a spot of Sunday lunch at one of our favourite haunts. We've had a bit of a turbulent week, mostly motor-related, so we felt like we deserved some time out. It started with a flickery oil light and ended in a call to the AA and a six-inch screw in the sidewall of one of my tyres. Not cool, car.

Although Andrew doesn't work most Sundays, we usually end up doing bits of life admin and slumping in front of the TV, so it was nice to have some time together for vegan Sunday dinner at The Town Wall.


Saturday, 13 September 2014

Vegan Life Magazine - Issue 1

So a little while ago I talked about the new, super exciting Vegan Life magazine which was soon to launch, and it's here! It's actually been out for a few weeks now, and I have read it from cover to cover about six times already.

Being a fairly new vegan (6 months now) there's lots in here that resonated with me, it's not fussy or pretentious, it's just interesting, and it's relevant.

I was going to tell you about one of the articles in here in depth, but I had such a struggle choosing just one think to talk about (!) so here's a quick snapshot of some of my favourite bits of issue one.


Monday, 25 August 2014

RECIPE - Sweet Potato & Wild Rice Salad with Iswari Supersprout Mix(VEGAN / CLEAN EATING)

Last week I received a parcel from the lovely folks at Iswari containing a whole host of delicious looking superfoods. It has taken every ounce of strength I had not to eat everything in the box as soon as it arrived, but I have resisted and now it's all been properly photographed there's nothing holding me back (weight loss, what weight loss?)

Tonight we decided to put the first of these superfoods to good use, and made the dish you see above - a Sweet Potato & Wild Rice Salad with Supersprout Mix.


Saturday, 23 August 2014

My top vegan cleansers

Stepping into the world of vegan living can be a bit daunting, especially when it comes to beauty products. Thankfully some brands are getting better at labelling products, but there are so many different 'types' of cruelty free product, it can get confusing.

I class a 'vegan' product as one which does not contain animal products and is not tested on animals. Others may go one step further and say that a product isn't truly 'vegan' if other products by the same brand contain animal products, so please bare in mind that these products are my personal interpretation of vegan - none of them have been tested on animals or contain any animal products.

So, without further ado, here are my top four vegan-friendly cleansers!


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

VEGAN TOON - Tyneside Bar Café

Welcome to this BRAND NEW series I'm calling 'Vegan Toon', where I shall be reviewing and chatting about vegan-friendly establishments in the North East.

On Sunday night my lovely friend Laura invited me along for a preview breakfast at the brand new Tyneside Bar Café the following morning.

Arriving bright & early on a chilly Monday and after some car trouble (argh!), I was pleased to walk through the doors to the new eatery and be greeted by such a warm, trendy, welcoming space.

More photos after the jump!


Sunday, 17 August 2014

REVIEW - The Vegan Kind subscription box #TVK10

I've been meaning to review The Vegan Kind boxes for the longest time, but for some reason, I've never got around to it. Usually because the contents are so hard to resist that they don't last long enough for me to photograph. Admittedly, I didn't even take the photograph above, Andrew did, because he was so eager to get stuck into the Freedom Mallows and I was determined that this month would be the month I would blog about The Vegan Kind, so I made him take a snap in exchange for the sweets. Not a bad exchange, I'd say.

So, The Vegan Kind is a monthly subscription box containing between 5 & 8 vegan treats. These can be anything from healthy snacks, to slightly more naughty snacks, to vegan beauty and household products. This was my fifth TVK box, and I've not been disappointed with a single product since my subscription began.

The boxes cost £10 + P&P per month (P&P is £2.95 in the UK or £9.00 anywhere else in Europe) but the contents is guaranteed to have a retail value of more than £10. Unlike some other subscription boxes, you can cancel at any time, and I can say with experience that the customer service over at TVK is second to none.

This is what was inside TVK10:


Tuesday, 12 August 2014

P-REVIEW: Vegan Life Magazine

Today I wanted to share with you a p-review (a preview review - I know, I'm a downright literary genius) of something I am really excited about which isn't quite out yet.

I don't know about you, but I love a good magazine. I subscribe to both Glamour and Cosmo and normally buy one or two more beauty magazines throughout the month (usually the ones with the best freebies), as well as indulging in the odd food magazine with recipes we can easily veganize. In this digital age of blogs and Twitter and 'online scrapbooks', it's nice to hold something in your hand, plus when I'm trying to read a recipe on my iPad and the screen locks or I get a notification halfway through cooking it disrupts my flow, y'know?

That is why I am super excited for the launch of Vegan Life magazine - a brand new publication which promises to 'bring vegan into vogue'. 

Veganism is hotter than ever right now, with celebrities discovering its many health benefits, so it's only natural that people are curious about how to dip their toe or even dive right in to the lifestyle. Vegan Life is going to be the perfect place for the vegan-curious to find simple and delicious recipes (trust me, I've seen some of these recipes and I was literally drooling on the PDF), as well as more 'well established' vegans to discover exciting new products, restaurants and recipes.

The magazine will feature a number of different recipes, from raw, to gluten free, and even veganizes some old British classics. Alongside this will be interviews with top vegan celebrities and athletes, new innovations and products, and cruelty-free fashion and beauty. What's not to love?

The magazine launches on August 21st and I'll be blogging aaaalll about it once it's hit the shelves, so keep your eyes peeled!

For more information about Vegan Life, be sure to follow on Twitter @VeganLife_Mag, like on Facebook at or check out the website at where you can subscribe and bag yourself an amazing free gift! International vegans (hello!) can even subscribe for a digital download, so nobody misses out!

Emily x

Monday, 11 August 2014

22 lbs down: my vegan / weight loss journey

Last week I shared the photo above on my Facebook page and got such an overwhelming response I thought I'd talk about it here in case it can help any of you (not that I'm claiming to be any kind of expert, this is just my opinion & what's worked for me, like the rest of this here blog).

The photograph in the top left corner is me five years ago at my friend's birthday party. I remember drinking that blue monstrosity all night (blue Taboo & lemonade, kids, anything that neon is not good for the insides) and having veggie barbecue food before going to the Chinese about two hours later for a take away.

The bottom left is me after my graduation ceremony four years ago. I drank a lot of prosecco and in this picture had just ordered a veggie burger and chips.

The photo on the right is me about a week ago, having transitioned from obese to 'healthy' on the BMI scale, and having lost 1 stone 8 (22 lbs / 10 kgs) in the past four months alone, which is when I plucked up the courage to step on the scales. I still have a way to go, but when the first two photos popped up on my Timehop recently, I thought it was a good opportunity to reflect on how far I've come.

I know some vegans will be upset with me for 'lumping' my vegan journey in with my weight loss journey because veganism is NOT a diet, and they're right. Veganism takes commitment and heart, it takes more than wanting to lose a couple of pounds. It is a lifestyle overhaul, a conscious, ethical decision to live in harmony with all other Earthlings without draping yourself in hemp and wearing open-toed shoes (unless, of course, that's what you're into).

But my personal transition from 12-year vegetarian to new vegan has been intrinsically linked with my weight loss, so here they are: veganism & weight loss together, in the most sincere way possible.

Veganism requires willpower; it requires control. It's about not eating that Cheesestring or that whole bar of Dairy Milk because you know it has implications on your waistline and the hundreds of dairy cows that are abused in factory farms every year. If you can control your mind (and your mouth) enough to know that you don't 'need' that Cheesestring, you can control it enough to know you don't 'need' that packet of Party Rings (tempting though they are). 

Since transitioning to vegan I've lost weight, I have more energy, I have better skin, my hayfever (from which I suffered so badly I had to take two 'one a day' antihistamines every single day) has completely disappeared, and I haven't had a single headache. On top of that, I've met some brilliant fellow vegans, discovered new foods and wonderful vegan restaurants, and saved around 100 animals, according to PETA. Veganism has literally changed my whole life.

But I should stress, not all vegan foods are healthy. For me, veganism has worked because it's helped me exercise control and become more aware of the foods I'm eating and how they affect my body and my mood. It's helped me cut out cheese, milk chocolate and milk, which were probably the three 'worst' foods I used to eat, but it's also seen me switch from egg noodles to soba, and from white to wheat in both breads and pastas. It's helped me discover the wonders of quinoa and bulgar wheat, and it's actually changed my taste buds so I no longer 'need' two sugars in my cup of tea. Chips are vegan. Crisps are vegan. Oreos are vegan. If I wanted to eat nothing but peanut butter, I could, veganly speaking, but none of those things would make my body particularly healthy. I guess I should say I have adopted a 'plant based' lifestyle, because my rule (99% of the time) is, "if it didn't come from the ground, it doesn't belong on my plate."

Alongside this, I have developed a passion for exercise, and I honestly cannot believe that's just come out of the tips of my fingers. I was one of those girls that 'failed' at PE, that joined the school newspaper instead of the netball team, and here I am spending money on workout clothes instead of nail polish and actually looking forward to working out! For this, I must thank Ms Cassey Ho and her wonderful website I am on week three of the Blogilates beginners calendar and I can't get enough. Blogilates is free and FUN so you literally have no excuse for giving it a try. Before discovering Blogilates I did the Fitness Blender 8-week Fat Loss Program for Busy People which was also wonderful. Between those two programmes I have slimmed down, toned up, dropped two dress sizes and gained a whole load of confidence. This has taken hard work and commitment and no more than an hour a day, 5-6 days a week (which you definitely do have). It's also been one of the reasons my blog has taken a back seat, I had to commit to do this for myself and I'm already reaping the benefits and become better at multitasking (currently blogging and watching TV at the same time, I am nothing short of Wonder Woman).

There are many other websites that will tell you about the multitude of other arguments - ethical and otherwise - for adopting a vegan lifestyle, and they'll do it much better than me, but if anyone would like any advice I'll try my best to answer you in the comments below (again I'm not an expert! But I have learned a lot in the past few months so I'll do my best to answer you based on personal experience.)

I hope this post has helped if you're thinking of adopting or just trying out a vegan lifestyle, please remember my blog (and this post) are places of positivity and I'm not trying to trivialise veganism or make it seem like a 'fad diet' with this post, so peace and love ONLY over here, thanks.

P.S. The "I heart Kale" PJs are from Forever 21 here and they're SO COMFY.

Monday, 2 June 2014

REVIEW - O'Right golden rose shampoo, conditioner & hair oil*

On Saturday I had a most exciting day. For my birthday, my parents bought me a new car (I know, I'm a lucky girl) but it wasn't quite ready to collect until Saturday, when I was able to drive my shiny (and boy, is she shiny) new motor home for the first time. For those of you who are interested, her name is Meryl.

When Meryl and I got home, I was thrilled to find a parcel with my name on it, and the lovely folks at The Hut Group (who own websites including The Hut, Look Fantastic and HQ Hair) had sent me some gorgeous products to try by Taiwanese brand O'Right, which has just launched in the UK.


Saturday, 17 May 2014

My top 5 tips for new vegans

Hello! Me again! For what seems like the hundredth time, I must apologise for abandoning my blog for a short while. Since I've been gone I've been spending all of my free time on 'self-improvement' which is what I'm here to chat about.

I am not going to be one of those people who says I was unhappy with their weight and had tried everything to fix it. Yeah, I knew I wasn't in the best of shape, I'd tried a couple of times before but I'd never really tried tried. My idea of trying was eating salads for about a week and then switching right back in to pizza mode.

When I was at secondary school I lost quite a bit of weight for my end of year prom, however I had time on my side back then (hello? Metabolism? What happened to you, old friend?) and also my method of weight loss was to eat one stick of Drifter and one cheese string for lunch every day, with the occasional Ribena ice lolly thrown in (sorry, mum!)

It worked - although I wouldn't recommend it - and I went to my prom in a size 8 dress which has never seen the light of day since. In fact, a couple of weeks ago I was looking at said dress in my childhood wardrobe and wondering if I would fit a solitary thigh into it or not. Probably not.

I've been a vegetarian for 12 years, after watching a Peta video featuring pigs. It made me cry, and when my mum served up bacon that same evening, I just knew that was it, I'd never eat meat again. Once again, sorry mum.

I found vegetarianism easy, a lot of people think it will be hard, it isn't. There are always delicious options at restaurants, you can still eat cheese and pasta, what's the big deal? Well, that was kinda my problem. The cheese and pasta thing. And cake. And chocolate. And before I knew it, I was squeezing myself into a size I never thought I'd see and being gently nagged by the nurse about my BMI.

So, I made a change. And I am sitting here, four weeks after I decided to make said change, celebrating losing my first stone in weight (with a banana).

I've used a combination of things to lose said stone, one of which is Fitness Blender's 8-week fat loss programme for busy people (I'll do a blog post on this when I've completed the whole 8 weeks but if you haven't heard of Fitness Blender, you're seriously missing out), and the other has been making the change to a vegan diet.

As I said, I was already a vegetarian, so the switch to a vegan diet wasn't too big of a change for me. But I've had to re-learn what is vegan friendly and what is not, and I have learned a LOT over the past month, so I thought I'd share with you my top 5 tips for going vegan, and I really hope they help you out too if you're thinking about switching to veganism.

Planning your meals is the most important step you can make when embarking on a vegan lifestyle. A lot of vegan recipes will require fresh ingredients or ingredients you can't necessarily pick up in your local Spar ("Excuse me, where's your tempeh?" is probably not going to get you very far).
Most of the ingredients you'll need can be picked up in your local supermarket, so save yourself a headache, and think about the week ahead before you do your food shop.
It's also worth noting that your local takeaway is unlikely to be vegan friendly so you can't rely on your usual pizzeria if you've let your plan slip. This is undoubtedly one of the reasons I have lost a stone.

I don't know about you, but I turn to blogs for pretty much everything. Fancy a new eyeliner but not sure which ones are any good? Blog. Got some Topshop vouchers for your birthday but can't quite decide what to try on? Blog. Looking for delicious, healthy vegan recipes for your meal planner? BLOG, DUH.
I have found some amazing vegan blogs and honestly haven't had a bad meal from any of them. Here are just some of my favourites:

  • Oh She Glows - (Angela, who runs OSG, also has an incredible cookbook which is well worth purchasing)
  • Oh My Veggies -
  • Finding Vegan - (This deserves a special mention, for it is a true vegan mecca, collating vegan recipes from across the World Wide Web into one handy place. It is BRILLIANT.)
  • NE Veggie - (Another special mention here, this one's my fiance's blog and he made that scrummy sweet potato in the picture up top, it was gooood)

I LOVE a bargain. I think getting a good bargain is one of the most satisfying feelings in the universe (besides having a sneeze when you really need to sneeze.) 
One of the questions I've been asked most since switching to vegan is, "but isn't being a vegan really expensive?" The long and short of it is, yes, being a vegan is more expensive than being a vegetarian. However, I wouldn't say it was more expensive than being a carnivore (although I have never bought my own meat, I have seen the price of meat and it is not cheap). 
Luckily, us vegans are a friendly bunch, and we love to share tips and ideas, so joining a vegan group on Facebook (such as Vegan Special Offers UK) really helps on the quest for cheap vegan eats.
It's also a good idea to check out the Facebook pages for bargain supermarkets like Aldi, who run a 'Super 6' promotion of reduced fruits and veggies every fortnight. 
Once you've checked what veggies are cheap this week (usually between 39p & 69p), you can use Finding Vegan to search for recipes using those veggies. Super scrimping, guys.

"But I just COULDN'T become a vegan. I love chocolate too much!"
I'mma stop you right there. Vego make the best chocolate, of all time. Of all. Time.
I went to Alternative Stores a couple of weeks ago and got chatting to the owner about my recent switch to veganism. Alongside being very friendly and helpful, he also gave me a free bar of Vego vegan chocolate. Oh. My. God. It's better than any chocolate bar I have ever had in my life and renders the above comment completely invalid.
In short: Vego.
One of the other things which has really helped is the Vegan Kind box. The Vegan Kind is a monthly subscription - like a Glossy Box - containing yummy vegan treats and household items. I've had two months so far and loved everything I've received, which has ranged from seaweed to chocolate 'milk', from laundry detergent to teabags, love love love The Vegan Kind. Also the customer service is second to none, really can't recommend it enough.
As an alternative there's also Scrummybox which is the same sorta deal but without the household items, but I haven't tried that.

Finally, if you're just looking for your last excuse, educate yourself on the benefits of veganism, not only to your health and wellbeing, but also to this planet and all who sail on her.
I'm not going to preach to anyone about animal welfare, but it's obviously a major factor in my decision to go vegan and - more importantly - stay vegan. If you're looking for some sorta Beyonce style fad diet, go ahead and give it a try, you'll probably really enjoy it and lose a few pounds. But I challenge anyone to watch Vegucated and go back to eating a 'normal' diet after 28 days.
Since switching to veganism I have more energy, I've lost weight, I'm not bloated, and I have lost count of the amount of people who've asked me if I've changed my foundation because I'm 'glowing' (I haven't).
People have cured themselves of disease by switching to a vegan diet. It literally saves lives. What better excuse than that?

If anyone is thinking of going vegan, or would like to chat about it, or ask any questions, please leave me a comment below, or if you've recently switched to a vegan or veggie diet, go ahead and share your tips, too!
Please no negative comments about why "eating meat is what we're supposed to do" or anything equally silly, thanks.


Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Vintage Northumberland, a visit to RE in Corbridge

Andrew and I have some time off work together this week as it's my birthday tomorrow, so we decided to make the most of it and headed to Corbridge for a spot of vintage shopping.

Corbridge is an old village in Northumberland about 25 minutes drive from where we live, we'd driven through a couple of times on our way to nearby Hexham but we'd never stopped other than once to walk the dog by the river, so we decided to see what the shops had to offer.

It's no secret that Andrew and I are lovers of all things vintage, we can frequently be found at flea markets and vintage fairs, and make upcycled jewellery and homewares out of things we find. When I asked around at work for things to do in Corbridge, I was told "go to RE, you'll love it!" And so we did.

On our walk across the bridge to Corbridge, we spotted this cute little gallery and popped inside for a nose around.

But it was the hidden gem of RE that we were most excited for.

I must apologise in advance for the pic-heavy post, there was SO MUCH to see in here, it was sensory overload!

RE has a website so, where possible, I'll link items for you to purchase. But I can not stress enough, how wonderful it is to walk around in here and soak up the atmosphere. 

The way the stock is merchandised is absolutely exquisite, there was so much more that I didn't photograph (like French beauty products and FRENCH STATIONARY - I mean, come on.)

If you're ever within an hour or two's drive of Corbridge, you must make the effort to give RE a visit and a good hour of your time, you won't regret it.

Assorted matches - not available online

Blooms - not available online

I'm not entirely sure what this wicker person is supposed to be (although it was half price so I'm guessing at one point he / she had a head!) but it was too cool / kinda macabre not to get a quick snap of.

Visual relief map of the World - not available online

Assorted candlesticks - not available online

Fruit tart candles (can we just think about this for a second? Those are CANDLES.)

Chandelier light - not available online

Bone china (geddit?) skeleton plates

Old glass cake stands

French stripe fabric // French stripe deckchairs

The Curious Bartender book - not available online

Coloured pressed glasses

Pink American Milk glass cake stand

Phew! We ended up buying a bone-shaped cookie cutter for doggy baking, and I bought Andrew a vintage flour scoop for his birthday (he loves vintage kitchenalia) but we had to resist buying so much more! We'll definitely be re-visiting RE post-payday.

We had a wander around Corbridge and poked around some other vintage shops, particularly good ones include:

Vintage at the Tower
Corbridge Antiques (just next door to RE)
Retriques (upstairs in Corbridge Antiques)

We also stopped for lunch at Tea and Tipple which was nice, we both had the vegetable soup (which was delicious!) and I had my favourite Fentiman's Rose Lemonade.

Hope you've enjoyed this post, let me know if you have any recommendations for vintage shops in the North East!

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