Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Coming to a blog near you: Vegan MoFo 2014!

 It's that time of year once again! The Vegan Month of Food Writing (Vegan MoFo to you and me) is returning in September 2014, and I will be taking part for the second year in a row.

In 2013 I took part for the first time and didn't really have a set theme, although I covered topics such as eating vegan in Brazil, couchsurfing as a vegan, the badger cull, vegan barbeques, vegans in prison and even a recipe or two. I managed twenty posts in total, and you can read them all here.

This year I've picked a theme to try and run with for my posts, and that is:Vegan Scotland! I'll be posting about veganising Scottish food, vegan food in Scotland (including a vegan haggis showdown) as well as suggestions for places to go to eat out and socialise as a vegan in Scotland.

Are you taking part in Vegan MoFo this year? If so, let me know your blog link (and theme if you have one) in the comments below.

Friday, 8 August 2014

Shows I think you should see at the Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The Edinburgh Festival Fringe happens every year in August, and it's an excellent opportunity to see a range of different performances, including theatre, music, circus, comedy and spoken word. Depending on your budget, there are plenty of paying ticketed performances but also many free ticketed and non-ticketed shows too (usually with a collection at the end where you are encouraged to give a donation based on your budget and how much you enjoyed it). There are so many things on every year that it can be really difficult to decide what to go and see, so these are some of the shows and performers that I've seen and think are worth watching.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

A trip to Oslo, part three

Note: As with all my blog posts, you can click on any of the photos below to enlarge them.

This is part three of my series about my recent trip to Oslo in Norway. To see what I got up to in Oslo before this post, see parts one and two.

Following my coffee and pie, I took a short walk down to the Cultural History Museum. An interesting museum with displays of Viking hoards, cultural artifacts from people living in the Arctic circle and other objects from around the world, the highlight for me was the For the Love of Freedom exhibition taking place, and particularly the section looking at gay history in Norway and the history of Pride.


Tuesday, 29 July 2014

A trip to Oslo, part two

Note: As with all my blog posts, you can click on any of the photos below to enlarge them.

This is part two of my series about my recent trip to Oslo in Norway. To read part one, just click here.

The best advice that I was given to save money in Oslo was to eat a large breakfast in the morning, which I did each day that I stayed in the hotel. As they had soya milk, a selection of fresh fruit, cereals, muesli, dried fruit, nuts and seeds available each morning, I was able to fill up pretty well and only generally needed a light snack for lunch. Considering how much it costs to buy food and eat out in Oslo, this saved me a pretty penny!

On the second full day I had in Oslo (see day one here), I took the boat across to the Bygdøy peninsula, which has six excellent museums on it! Public transport is included in the Oslo Pass, and this includes travelling on the ferries across the fjord. It was a beautiful trip.

Friday, 25 July 2014

A trip to Oslo, part one

Note: As with all my blog posts, you can click on any of the photos below to enlarge them.

I recently went on a bit of a last-minute and unexpected trip to Oslo and it was awesome! I was completely blown away by the city, the surrounding natural beauty and the wonderful people I met there during my stay. Now that I'm back home in Edinburgh, I thought it would be nice to put together some blog posts about what I did with my time in Oslo, the things that I saw and, of course, the tasty vegan food I found while I was there.

Unfortunately, there is no simple and quick way to get from the UK to Norway overland (I looked it up the fantastic website The Man in Seat Sixty-One to check before my trip) so I ended up taking the plane from London to Oslo. As I had been told that British Airways would not provide vegan food options on my flight, I took some food with me. Handily, Pret a Manger have a couple of outlets in Heathrow Airport and mark their vegan options clearly, so I picked up a super greens sandwich and a pot of fruit to take with me, along with some lentil chips (yum) and an absolutely delicious apple patisserie thing which I picked up from Vx/Vegan Cross while I was in London.

On arriving at Oslo Gardermoen, it was very straightforward to get the train into the central station, where I arrived to the sight of a giant pride flag displayed on the side of the station! Oslo had hosted EuroPride 2014 the week before I arrived and signs were very much still in evidence throughout my stay, not least when I spotted trams moving around the city with pride flags attached to them!

Thursday, 19 June 2014


Picture credit: Pride Scotia

This Saturday is Pride Scotia, which takes place in Edinburgh city centre every year in June. This year, I'll be going along for the first time ever, and this is why:

For most of my life, pride has felt like a bit of a strange word to me. It's not one that I've felt that I especially identified with or needed. I've never felt especially "proud" to be who I am (in this context, a cisgender queer/pansexual woman). I guess that stems from a long-held belief that my gender identity and sexuality are my own personal business, to be shared only with those in my circle of family and friends that I choose to speak with about it. If I were to choose my own adjective for how I feel about my sexuality and gender identity, it would probably be "comfortable". However, I don't think LGBT Comfort will be replacing LGBT Pride any time soon!

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Some vegan eats in London

Having grown up in the city, I visit London pretty regularly, although these days it's mostly for activism-related things which keep me pretty busy! When I get the time though, I do have a few favourite spots for vegan meals and snacks that I like to visit. I've passed through London quite a few times in the last couple of months, and so I thought I'd share some photos of some of the places I've been to for tasty vegan food.

Firstly, the Black Cat Cafe in Hackney is a totally vegan, not-for-profit café and shop which does the most incredible vegan breakfasts on the weekends. I went on a Saturday in April and had their delicious fry-up with a black coffee. Highly recommended!

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Birthday celebrations

Last week was my birthday, and I had some truly wonderful celebrations in the evening, so I thought I'd share a few of my favourite pictures from the day here. It's pretty picture-heavy so I've made them smaller than usual, but you can click on any of the photos to enlarge.

The day started with Vegan With A Vengeance tofu scramble (yum!) and kitty snuggles. A good start :)

After a very relaxed day at home, I then went out with a few friends for dinner at The Auld Hoose, a pub in Edinburgh which has an extensive and well-labelled vegan menu, including nachos which come complete with vegan cheese! The Auld Hoose is definitely one of my favourite vegan-friendly pubs in the city.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Video: Bod Roll on Aerial Fabrics

I just thought I'd share a video of doing some aerial fabrics, as a few people I know seem curious as to what it involves.

Here's a video of me practicing a bod roll in class earlier this month:

It's the only video I have of doing aerial fabrics at the moment, but I'll try and add some more of different moves over the next few months.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Baking bread

I recently bought a copy of the cookbook Five Minute Bread, and I've been having a lot of fun with it! I really enjoy a homemade loaf, but I get fed up of kneading fast, so after hearing some recommendations of this "no need to knead" bread book, I thought I'd give it a try. So far, so good! The cookbook is not vegan and includes some recipes which are not suitable for vegans such as a bread salad and some sandwich recipes, but in general most of the bread recipes are vegan.

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

It’s time for the end of ageing nuclear power stations in Europe

 Last month, I joined a delegation of UK Greenpeace activists going to Belgium to take action at the Tihange Nuclear Power Station on the Meuse River in Huy, which has been running since 1975. It was designed to have an operational lifetime of just 30 years, and yet decisions made by the Belgian government in 2003 and 2012 mean that it is now permitted to run until 2025, a full twenty years longer than it had been originally designed for. It should seem obvious to anyone that this extension is simply not safe, far above and beyond even the normal dangers of running a nuclear power station.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

What to do with my home-grown carrots?

As I blogged about last month, I was seriously excited to discover that I had carrots growing in my garden from some long-forgotten seeds planted the year before. The question is, what to do with these popular orange vegetables?

Firstly, I added some carrots to a delicious tofu scramble I made using a recipe from the cookbook Vegan With A Vengeance, which is also posted online on the Post Punk Kitchen. I served it with a side of homemade salsa and some hot sauce, and it was really filling and tasty. I never really liked scrambled chickens' eggs very much before I went vegan, but I love the taste of this.

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Ackee and Callaloo with the Spy Club


Almost six years ago, I was involved briefly with a grassroots anti-nuclear affinity group we called the Spy Club, which went to Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment in Easter 2008 to take direct action, which resulted in two arrests. I wasn't part of the group which went over the fence into the nuclear base, but I was involved with the support on the day and prior to the action, and I wrote a bit about it in a reflection which was published in the Christian Anarchist publication A Pinch of Salt, despite considering myself to be neither a Christian nor an anarchist!

However, one part of the time we spent together preparing for the action really sticks out in my memory and yet has nothing to do with nuclear weapons or taking direct action: the food we ate together, and particularly one meal, a Jamaican dish called ackee and callaloo. I noted down the recipe we used, and have made it a few times for really special occasions, and I thought I would share it here. Whilst it does have a long list of ingredients, it's actually a deceptively simple dish to make! Plus, it clearly has activist-energising and inspiring (inspyring?) powers.

I don't have any photos of the dish available to me just now, but when I find one I'll add it in here.

Recipe: Ackee and Callaloo

Friday, 21 February 2014

Excitement in the garden!

Today was a very exciting day for me. There's a communal garden at the rear of my flat, which I'm lucky enough to have direct access onto from my patio door (one of the very few advantages of basement life!), and last year I planted a bunch of seeds and seedlings in pots; mostly vegetables, but also some flowers including irises. I hadn't been holding out much hope for anything much growing due to a number of factors, including (but not limited to) the fact that I was out of the country for three months last year; a tree falling in the garden in the summer and destroying quite a lot of stuff on the way down; and a neighbour's dog who is frequently let out unsupervised into the garden to poop everywhere, dig things up and jump on top of anything left out, which resulted in the demise of my small outdoor box for storing garden stuff. However, when I went out for a look this morning, look what I found in one of the pots!

Three whole carrots! Grown from seed with pretty much no interference at all! Plus, there are a number of baby carrots still growing in the pot!

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

A chilly afternoon visit to Barton Moss

I'm going to start this blog post with a minor confession: as a general rule, I don't like marches/public demonstrations and avoid them as much as possible. In my experience, I find them frequently to be long-winded, ineffective, disempowering to participants, vulnerable to infiltration and manipulation by outside interests, and easily ignored by those in power. However, that didn't stop me going along with friends (including friend and fellow blogger Hazel Hedge) to the anti-fracking campaign solidarity march at Barton Moss in Salford last Sunday whilst I was in Yorkshire visiting friends for the weekend.

Despite my general reservations about marching and public demonstrations, I felt that this was likely to a worthwhile one to join as it wasn't claiming to be an attempt to close the exploratory fracking site or persuade stakeholders to stop the drilling, but rather an afternoon to show support for and solidarity with the campers living permanently on the roadside near the fracking site, and also an opportunity to visit Barton Moss and meet the campers in an open and family-friendly environment.

Friday, 27 December 2013

Celebrating Yuletide

So, once again both Christmas and Boxing Day have finally passed, with everything that goes with the season! I had a very quiet celebration this year, just staying at home on 25 December and visiting a few family members in Glasgow on the 26th. Although there were no grand parties or enormous family gatherings for me this year, it was a really nice couple of days and I wanted to just share a few thoughts and photos about the festive season this year.

First of all, it was with huge relief that I learned that the Arctic 30 have been given amnesty by the Russian parliament (even though it's an amnesty for a crime they didn't commit!) and that the activists and two freelance journalists are now finally heading home today. Clearly, the fact that they were detained and imprisoned at all is an outrage, and we still need to do a lot of work to get their ship, the Arctic Sunrise, back, but it's still great news that they will be able to get home before the new year.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

The Arctic 30 have been granted amnesty!

Photo credit: Greenpeace

Great news this week: the 28 Arctic Sunrise crew members and two freelance journalists who were arrested in September in international waters and then imprisoned for two months in Russia have been granted amnesty by the Russian parliament. Obviously this is a huge relief for them, their friends and families, and hopefully it might mean that they can get home for Christmas. However, the reason that they were out there on board the Greenpeace ship was to try to protect the Arctic from oil exploration, and with that there is so much more that needs to be done.

First of all, however, I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who helped put pressure on their Russian embassies for the release of the Arctic 30, particularly friends and family who put up with repeated emails from me on the subject, everyone who came out to the many protests around the world, including here in Edinburgh at the Russian consulate and down in London at the Russian embassy, and those who wrote to their elected representatives to get them freed.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Winter Spice Jam

This autumn, I made my first ever batch of jam and was completely surprised at how easy it was to make really nice homemade jam, so I've been making more ever since! Pretty much every time I realise that I have enough empty jam jars, I get a new batch on the go. I've made pear and apple jam, pineapple jam and last week I tried out making up my own recipe, winter spice jam.

Recipe: Winter Spice Jam

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

A taste of Vegusto!

During VeganMoFo this year, I was offered a free sample of a bunch of Vegusto vegan products to review, and so I jumped at the chance! Here's what they sent me in the post:

In case you can't see it so well, the sample includes their No-Moo Melty Cheese, Mild Aromatic Cheese, Piquant Cheese, the Mushroom Burger and Farmhouse Sausage.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

The Vegan Kind box

This month, I was sent a box from The Vegan Kind to review, which bills itself as "the UK's first monthly lifestyle subscription box for vegans".

In case you can't see from the picure, it included: a small badge, a Crystal Spring travel deodorant, a box of Clearspring miso bouillon paste, a Living Naturally soapnut sample bag, a bag of Goody Good Stuff sweets, some samples of Qi tea and a sachet of Vegg egg yolk replacement.

Friday, 1 November 2013

World Vegan Month 2013 in Edinburgh

Happy World Vegan Month! I thought I would just write a quick roundup blog post of animal rights and vegan events taking in place in Edinburgh this November during World Vegan Month 2013. If I've missed any events taking place that you think should be included, please do get in touch and let me know and I'll add them to the list.

Friday 1 November 2013, 12-2pm: Student Voice for Animal Rights stall in front of the Edinburgh University Main Library.

Friday 1 November 2013, 7pm on: Edinburgh University Vegetarian Society international potluck for World Vegan Day in the Highland Room of the Pleasance Student Union building.

Saturday 2 November 2013, 1-2pm: Ethical Voice for Animals stall at the east end of Princes Street, opposite the Balmoral Hotel.

Monday 4 November 2013, 6-7:30pm: Talk on the interconnections between feminism and animal rights hosted by Student Voice for Animal Rights at Edinburgh University (DHT Room 8.16).

Saturday 9 November 2013, 12-2pm: EdVeg social at Himalaya Vegetarian Cafe.

Saturday 9 November 2013, 1-2pm: Ethical Voice for Animals stall at the east end of Princes Street, opposite the Balmoral Hotel.

Monday 11 November 2013, 6-7:30pm: Talk on humane approaches to wildlife hosted by Student Voice for Animal Rights at Edinburgh University (DHT Room 7.18).

Thursday 14 November 2013, 8:30pm-late: Edinburgh University Vegetarian Society's Big Veggie Night Out, starting at 8:30pm in Teviot, Edinburgh University and moving on to the Bristo Bar at 10pm then Opal at 12:30am.

Saturday 16 November 2013, 1-2pm: Ethical Voice for Animals stall at the east end of Princes Street, opposite the Balmoral Hotel.

Thursday 21 November 2013, 5pm onwards: Vegan Evening at the Bread Street Brasserie, with live acoustic music between 6:45pm and 9pm. I went to the one in September and it was excellent! Advance booking is recommended.

Saturday 23 November 2013, 1-2pm: Ethical Voice for Animals stall at the east end of Princes Street, opposite the Balmoral Hotel.

Saturday 30 November 2013, 1-2pm: Ethical Voice for Animals stall at the east end of Princes Street, opposite the Balmoral Hotel.

And of course, if you're not already vegan, and wherever you are in the world, you can always sign up to one of the many 30-day vegan pledges for this year's World Vegan Month such as those offered by the Vegan Society, Animal Aid and many other organisations.

Monday, 28 October 2013

If I can't bring you to my house, I'll bring my house to you ...

Earlier this year, I sold my much-loved campervan which I'd had for over 4 years to a good friend here in Edinburgh, so I wanted to write a short farewell post with some photos of the places we've been and things we've done together.

When I bought the van, it was a fairly standard Mercedes Sprinter van which had previously been a carpenter's van, and was pretty much empty inside except for some panelling on the lower parts of the walls. I had a lot of help from friends and family around the UK with fitting it out to be a proper, full-time live-in campervan, and I'll always be grateful to them for helping me make it such a wonderful space to live in which is associated with so many happy memories.

 The wood-burning stove was an absolute necessity for getting through a winter in the van in the UK, and although the one I got was significantly larger than what I needed for the space, I got it extremely cheap and it certainly kept the van warm even on the coldest nights! Huge thanks must go to Pete in Cumbria, who helped me put it in, to Cathy who made such a wonderful denim curtain and bedcover for me, and to Geoff who showed me how to make better joints with wood to put the furniture together.

Friday, 18 October 2013

Trying out the Vegg

Last week, I received a free sample of a new vegan product, the Vegg, in the post. It's an egg yolk replacer which comes in powder form, and so far I'm really impressed! The company also included a free copy of their Vegg Cookbook, which is a beautifully put together book of a wide range of recipes (many of them written by different bloggers, so there's a real variety of styles and uses) using the Vegg, including really beautiful pictures.

Unlike many vegans, the last thing which I gave up from my pre-vegan diet was not dairy cheese, but chickens' eggs. Growing up in the south of England, my parents kept chickens in their back garden (long before it became fashionable!), and so did my grandparents. One thing which was always in abundance in our house when I was growing up was fresh chicken's eggs, and they were delicious and very flavourful. Whilst I know now that there are huge problems with keeping hens in your back garden, and that male chicks born as a result of breeding chickens to lay eggs are killed at just a day old, as a child I honestly believed that these hens were our much-loved pets who happened to lay tasty eggs which I enjoyed eating, and the meals we made from those eggs remain linked in my mind to many happy memories. Needless to say, I don't eat chickens' eggs any more, regardless of where they come from, but I still miss the taste of them from time to time.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

A couple of sweet treats

This week, I've been making a couple of sweet things using recipes I've found on the internet. One of the great things about being vegan in the twenty-first century is that you can find so many amazing and diverse recipes online to make pretty much anything you fancy! These were two recipes that I tried making for the first time this week:

First of all, I made a chocolate truffle torte using a recipe submitted to the Guardian Readers' Vegan Recipe Swap earlier this year. This was surprisingly easy to make, even though it involved quite a lot of ingredients and different steps. It's really chocolatey, nutty, orangey and delicious, and unlike many vegan cakes which call for silken tofu as an ingredient, you really can't tell it's in there.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Scandalous Edinburgh!

Yesterday I went on a 2-hour walking tour around Edinburgh, organised by the World Development Movement as part of the 2013 Edinburgh World Justice Festival, which took us to a series of locations around the city linked to the fossil fuel and finance industries, explaining their links to government and responsibility for contributing significantly to climate change. All in all, it was a very informative and entertaining walk around Edinburgh's historical finanical district, and I highly recommend going along if you get the opportunity.

We started in St. Andrew Square, visiting the numerous sites around the square which are linked to finance and fossil fuels, and particularly a number of banks which are involved with bankrolling carbon-intensive, dirty energy projects. A particular highlight was the inside of the building of the Royal Bank of Scotland on the square, which was incredibly beautiful and ornately decorated.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

A weekend at VegFest UK in London

Last weekend I went to London for VegFest UK at Kensington Olympia, which was an interesting vegan event that I was really glad I went to. I was amazed to see how huge it was, with over 9000 people attending!

Unfortunately, apart from the photo above, I didn't get a lot of photos myself as they all came out a bit blurry for some reason, but there were a few highlights of the show that I'd really like to share here, and a few photos that other people took of the event I'll include as well.

As I wrote in an earlier blog post, I do already have quite a collection of vegan cheese in my fridge at the moment, but that didn't stop me making sure I tried as many free samples of the cheeses at the festival as I could, especially as we still don't get a great variety of vegan cheeses up here in Edinburgh yet. I was really impressed with the quality of the different flavours of cream cheese at the Sheese stand, as well as the multiple varieties of Vegusto they had there, and particularly the walnut flavour one. So good!

Monday, 30 September 2013

Post Punk Kitchen Peanut Butter Blondies

I can't quite believe that it's already the end of VeganMoFo 2013! The month seems to have gone by so fast, and there are so many things I was planning on posting that I simply didn't get around to. However, one thing I can say for sure is that taking part this year has really kicked me into gear as far as blogging is concerned, and I'm definitely planning on keeping this blog going as a regular thing.

To finish up, there's one recipe that I really want to share with you that really is a favourite in my home, although it's not one that I came up with myself: peanut butter blondies from the Post Punk Kitchen (PPK). This recipe is so simple to make, and deliciously peanut buttery, it's become a real go-to recipe from my vegan dessert/cake repertoire. Someone on the PPK forums suggested a while back to use chocolate chips as a topping which in this instance I chose to do in addition to the peanuts from the original recipe, and it's so delicious!

Vegans and the badger cull

If you live in the United Kingdom, chances are that you'll have heard something about the badger cull which is currently taking place in south-west England. As I have said before in a previous blog post, I am an ethical vegan, so my concern for animal rights extends well beyond the food that I eat, which is why I think that the badger cull really should be considered to be a serious issue for vegans.


Saturday, 28 September 2013

Arctic Activists, Verdant Veg and Baked Beans

This is going to be quite a short post as I'm feeling pretty tired out this weekend and have a lot of work to catch up on after working hard on getting a protest together in Edinburgh to show solidarity with the crew of the Greenpeace ship the Arctic Sunrise, who are being detained without trial in Russia right now after their ship was illegally boarded and seized in international waters last week. If you could take a moment to write to the Russian ambassador asking for their release, regardless of where you are in the world, I would be very grateful:

Anyway, back to vegan food! Today's subjects are veg boxes and baked beans (yum):

Thursday, 26 September 2013

What does a vegan barbeque look like?

Before I went to Brazil earlier this year, I had a barbeque party in the communal garden at the rear of my flat, and everything was vegan! It was an amazing afternoon and we had a fantastic time.

Sometimes people wonder what vegans could possibly eat at a barbeque, so I'm happy to share that this is what a vegan barbeque can look like:

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Broccoli, mushroom and sundried tomato pizza

Today, I finally got hold of a book I've been looking forward to for a couple of months now: Vegan Pizza by Julie Hasson, published earlier this month, when it arrived at my wonderful local, independent and radical bookshop, Word Power Books. Whilst I was growing up in London, pizza night was always the most excitedly-anticipated night of the week for me, food-wise, and after I went vegan, one of the happiest moments of my early vegan experiences was trying vegan pizza and realising that it could actually be just as good, if not better, than non-vegan pizza. Needless to say, I was super excited about the release of this new cookbook.

Monday, 23 September 2013

The wonderful world of vegan podcasting

Before I went vegan, I never really listened to many podcasts apart from BBC Radio 4's weekly Friday Night Comedy podcast. However, as a new vegan in the midst of trying to learn as much as I could about animal rights and veganism, I began listening to and subscribing to quite a few vegan podcasts. Being a vegan can sometimes feel quite lonely, especially if you don't have huge numbers of supportive vegan friends around, and I've definitely found that listening to podcasts can really help me to feel that I'm part of a much wider community of people who care about animal rights around the world and are doing something to try and change things for the better. I've tried a few different ones, and have ended up with four podcasts that I really like and listen to regularly, so I thought I would share them here with you for VeganMoFo 2013.

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Couchsurfing hints and tips for vegans

I haven't posted anything for the last few days as I've been away in England, where I was giving a paper at an Oral History Network conference at the University of Warwick. Normally when I'm visiting that part of the country I will try and stay with my awesome friends Sam and Anna in Birmingham, but as they were away whilst I was there, I ended up staying with someone through couchsurfing.

I have only been a member of the couchsurfing website since 2012, so the vast majority of my couchsurfing experiences have been since I went vegan, and I'm happy to say that so far I've had no problems being either a host or a surfer. There are definitely a few things that I've found have made life easier when couchsurfing as a vegan though, so I thought I'd share them here:

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Supporting Vegan Prisoners

I wanted to write this post during VeganMoFo 2013 as it's something I've been thinking about a lot over the last year or so as I've become more aware of vegan issues and animal rights, and last week the blog post I read from the Crabby Crafter about her prison-style serving plates finally prompted me into action.

Those who know me in person will be aware that I am a political activist, although so far I have predominantly active with peace and environmental campaigns rather than vegan/animal rights ones, and this shapes a large part of my life. So much so, in fact, that my research project for my PhD, which I am currently about halfway through, involves interviewing activists in Scotland for their life stories and then working with these to understand more about their lives and campaigns. Some of the activists that I have interviewed have spent time in prison, although most have not. Despite the fact that going to prison is not something that I plan to do at any time in the near or indeed distant future, hearing about other people's experiences has really prompted me to consider how vegans may cope in prison.

Say (vegan) cheese!

I just thought I would write a quick blog post as I've just got home from visiting some friends and family in the south of England, and whilst I was down in London I went to pick up some vegan cheese at Vx in King's Cross, as there is a much better selection down there than I've been able to find in Scotland so far. As you can probably see from the photo, it is possible I went a little overboard with the vegan cheese buying:

Friday, 13 September 2013

We need to talk about tacos ...

Have you already heard of the Taco Cleanse? If not, you're missing out!

In summary, for VeganMoFo this year, a group of vegans in Austin, Texas are trying out a new "cleanse" diet for one month, all in the name of science, but rather than just being some kind of liquid/juice-based cleanse, the Taco Cleanse really is what is says on the tin: every meal, every day should contain some form of taco.

In case you need any help understanding how the Taco Cleanse works, Austin-based vegan blogger Lazy Smurf has produced a handy diagram explaining the different levels which participants can aim for, and some of the likely health benefits of doing so:

Credit: Lazy Smurf (

Thursday, 12 September 2013

September Vegan Night at the Bread Street Brasserie

If you live in Scotland and haven't yet been to one of the fantastic vegan nights at the Bread Street Brasserie in Edinburgh, I seriously suggest you give it a try! I've been to two so far, one in June and one tonight, and the quality has been superb both times, and very good value at just £15 for a three course meal.

The way it works is you get a menu with three different choices for each course, so you get a decent range of choices as to what you can have. Each of the two times I've been to this vegan night, I've been along with a non-vegan, and they've both been seriously impressed with the choices and the quality of the food.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Enjoying homemade guacamole

One of my serious pet peeves about the United Kingdom is that most of the guacamole you can buy ready-made in shops and supermarkets is not vegan, usually because it has some kind of animal milk product added to it such as cream. This used to annoy me a lot when I first went vegan, right up until I discovered how easy it is to make really delicious guacamole yourself at home, and how much nicer it tastes!

I've tried making a few different recipes from other people online, but none of them were quite right for me, so I came up with this one:

Recipe: Really Easy Guacamole

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Product Review: Organically Yours Vegan Meats

At the Portobello Village Show on Saturday, I bought some vegan meats from Organically Yours, an Edinburgh-based food company specialising in providing for those on allergen-free diets. I bought one of their 'Better 4 U Vegetarian Burgers' and a packet of 'Happy Pig Vegetarian Spare Ribs'. I would be the first to admit that, in the packets at least, they didn't look too appetising:

Organically Yours Better 4 U Vegetarian Burger
Organically Yours Happy Pig Vegetarian Spare Ribs