Sunday, 23 October 2016

LIFESTYLE: 7 months meat free!

Yesterday marked the day that I am officially 7 months meat free! I wrote about the reasons why here and I had always planned to revisit the topic if I was still sticking to it months down the line.

Well, I am and I'm pretty much vegan too. I am also pretty sure that I will never go back.

Roll back the clock to six months ago and I vowed that I would only make this choice if I was going to educate myself on the entire subject. This was really important for me because I didn't want this to just be a knee jerk reaction and potentially be something I wouldn't stick to. To put simply, the more you see and watch, the more you want to change.

After watching the documentary that made me not want to eat meat anymore, I then started reading everything I could and I'll be honest - I had to stop at one point because the information was just making me so angry. The fact that so much of the world's grain goes to feed animals in third world countries, which then just get slaughtered and eaten in the first world countries just infuriated me. All I could think of was the amount of food that isn't going to those who are literally starving to death.

I have my own veggie freezer drawer now, full of quorn and the supermarket vegetarian options which are surprisingly good! Eating out has been fine, but the only thing that I've felt really awkward about is eating at other people's houses. Whilst they have been so accommodating I do feel like it's my choice not to eat meat and this shouldn't impact other people. I will say that this hasn't been as bad as I thought with them making the same meal just using quorn instead of meat in a different pot.

I knew I wanted to look into veganism for a few reasons. I'd never really had the stomach for dairy and I knew that it couldn't be good for the animals, I just never knew HOW bad it was. Dairy milk was switched straight away to Soya, Almond and Coconut, cheese stopped pretty much (I've still had a couple of veggie pizzas) and chocolate switched to the dark variety.

Veganism is a way of living which seeks to exclude, as far as is possible and practicable, all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose.

The switch to veganism will be a transition and whilst I am transitioning the key for me is in the definition above. This is taken from The Vegan Society website and has summed up my experience perfectly. The best example of this I can share here is a couple of weeks ago Matt's Grampy made me a cup of coffee, with normal milk. I decided to drink that coffee rather than explain that I couldn't drink it because I was vegan etc as I didn't want to cause offence and potential upset. In that moment it wasn't practicable for me to say no.

Cruelty free cosmetics and household products are another whole minefield that I've been looking further and further in to. The cosmetic side is fine, I'm only repurchasing cruelty free brands across makeup, hair products and body products. I'm still unclear as to how I feel about parent companies, but that's a whole other blogpost / video.

Household products are a whole other ball game. So far the only brands that I've seen in stores is Ecover and Method, both substantially more than your average products and supermarket own brands. With us just buying our first home a radical change to these products probably isn't going to be financially viable.

One part of this change (?) I wasn't expecting was the judging from others around me. Questions left right and centre about "Why the hell would you want to do that", statements that range from "I could never give up meat" to "I hope you don't turn all hippy". It's quite amazing really, if I were to turn around and say that I didn't want to eat mushrooms anymore, for example, I bet no one would bat an eyelid. Recently I spent the afternoon at a Macmillan coffee event where the organiser had battled and beat cancer. As part of the event there was cake everywhere and I got offered a slice of cake in celebration that she had beaten cancer, and do you know what. I ate it. I then had this said to me "You can't pick and choose when you are vegan!" from someone who is an animal product consumer. I didn't know what to say.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

EVENT: Dirty Martini Opens in Cardiff

 I know I don't drink but how can you fail to be excited by a huge parcel arriving for you at work and everyone in the office being jealous of gifted alcohol? Dirty Martini have supplied me with the ingredients to make one of their three Welsh - inspired cocktails, The Red Dragon.
 The Red Dragon uses botanical Gin and has flavours of blood orange, green tea and hibiscus - with tea pot bitters and to top it off there a snap dragon flower. 
 This kit is going to be perfect for any house warmings we have once we've moved so I'm going to keep it until then. The bar opens on the 29th October and will be at 71-72 St Mary Street. 

 I'm going to look up some mocktails I can make with these ingredients!

Friday, 7 October 2016

FASHION: The search for a non-leather tan ankle boot

1 // 2 // 3 // 4

I think it's become an annual tradition for me to spend my October's online searching through every single womens boots section of my favourite websites, but this year is a little different. At the risk of "banging on" about it, six months ago I made the decision to go vegetarian, cruelty free and make more and more vegan choices every day. This meant leather too. 

Previous years shopping searches we all about leather boots, something that was instilled in me from a young age by Mum and Nan - "leather lasts". Well, it may last, but it's also the skin of an animal that's been killed so no more leather for me! 

When I've looked at faux leather boots in the past they have always looked cheaper (to me) so I was conscious that I needed to find some that still looked the part. I think I've done well! 

The first pair from Brantano are £35 and whilst they aren't leather look, they are suede (synthetic) and a material that I have always liked the look of. The second pair are from Matt and Nat, a brand that has only recently been introduced to me as they are one of the best known vegan leather companies. At £115 they aren't cheap but I think that's justified in just how good these boots look. I think the third pair, which are £27.99 from Newlook are my favourite. I love the casual feel to them and the details make them look a lot more expensive. Finally, from Dorothy Perkins we have these classic Chelsea Boots in the sale at £22.50. I really like the colour of these - a really rich tan, just a great classic. 

The change from leather to non-leather goods is going to be a continuous process because it's just not financially viable for me to throw everything out and repurchase. But what better way to start than with a nice pair of boots. 

*contains sponsored link

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

HOME: Could You Make Your Own Secret Garden?

Whatever your age, having a secret spot in the garden where you can relax and unwind all year round doesn’t require an outdoor space the size of a small field. As we step into autumn, why not get started on an outdoor project and work on creating a special spot you can enjoy?

Hopefully you've read my last post and will recognise that this is in fact our very own garden!

Just to the right of that tree I have a set of steps which take you down to a secret area in our garden. At the moment it's just an underground garage space, but I can't wait to make it magical with fairy light and lanterns. The magic of a secret garden can leave people enthusiastic about time spent on their own doorstep, so how do you get started?

Artistic Inspiration
Long before the secret spaces written about by JK Rowling in the Harry Potter series, the authors of several children’s classics created equally awe-inducing magical places that have inspired generations. Why not look into the idea of the secret garden by reading the novel of the same name by Frances Hodgson Burnett? Stories can fuel ideas for transforming your own space, the Narnia books are another great series that could provide ideas for magical features to incorporate. When it comes to the design stage, you may even find you want to draw on little bits from several favourite books to create mini garden areas on a theme.

The Exciting Entrance

In The Secret Garden, one of the key features of the enclosed space is the locked gate. While it’s lovely to be able to incorporate some kind of gate or archway into your design, it’s not always practical. What is a fundamental, is being able to create garden layers, so that whether you’re stepping into the space from a gate or your back door, it’s not always possible to see the full scope of your garden in one glance.
This may mean factoring in a small clearing at the back of the garden or if more practical for your space, you could step straight into the enclosed space. If you have a modern build home, bi-fold doors could provide a real Narnia like effect and give that feeling of stepping into the magic. Try Creative Doors Direct for styles that work well with new and older houses.

Wherever your magical entrance and whatever style you choose, think about it as a gateway to a journey through your garden and support that it with curving pathways and cute signs that direct to different areas. You may even want to put some old mirrors to use to make your garden seem bigger. Place securely at the back of the garden and mask the edges with creeping plants and the mirror will reflect your garden, helping your space to seem larger and longer.

Fantastical Flora and Fauna

Not everyone has space in their garden or backyard for a mini maze and installing one throughout would go against the component of discovery having a garden made up of different elements provides. However, some archways and hedges can go a long way to directing people through a secret garden and to boxing off a special secluded area to enjoy too. Try boxwood or sweet yew or for a quicker fix, use a trellis or pergola complete with climbing plants. Training creeping flowers around archways will provide an extra sensory factor to enjoy in spring and summer.

A Secluded Spot

Whether it’s a small clearing for playing and picnicking or a spot that homes a swing, chair or hidden shed, a secret garden should have a focal point, a spot to find and experience in solitude or to be enjoyed with friends. Choose an area where there are things of interest to be enjoyed. Somewhere with flowers that attract butterflies in summer time or where there is a bird table, so you can watch winter wildlife close up. The size of your garden, or further literary inspiration, may determine the type of feature you incorporate. If you’ve space for a small shed or play hut it will no doubt be a place to treasure for years to come.

Have you read The Secret Garden ? Are there any books that may provide inspiration for a secret outdoor project that ought to be added to the list? If you were to build your own secret garden, what would you include in it and why?

We are very lucky the garden is fully established and didn't need much doing, but this little secret area at the back really has got me excited about gardening!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...