Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Local vegan and animal rights groups and organisations in Scotland

Vegan MoFo 2014 is finally here, and my theme for this year is Vegan Scotland: veganising Scottish recipes and suggestions for eating out and socialising in Scotland.

First of all, I wanted to mention that today, 2 September, is the birthday of Donald Watson, one of the early pioneers of the vegan movement and founders of the Vegan Society in 1944. He was born in 1910 and lived a very interesting life, including registering as a conscientious objector in World War II and being part of the group which coined the term 'vegan' in the 1940s. If you want to learn more about him (and you should!), you can find out more on the Vegan Society website, his BBC obituary or on Wikipedia.

In line with Donald Watson's life ambition of starting a movement which aimed to end the exploitation of non-human animals, this post is a list of some suggestions for local groups and organisations based in Scotland which promote animal rights and/or veganism that you might like to get involved with, whether you're interested in learning more about the issues, getting involved with campaigning or just socialising with like-minded people.

Monday, 1 September 2014


Vegan MoFo 2014 is finally here, and my theme for this year is Vegan Scotland: veganising Scottish recipes and suggestions for eating out and socialising in Scotland.

I thought I'd start off with a nice simple couple of recipes for that traditional Scottish breakfast staple: porridge. It's a simple, tasty and healthy way to start the day, and there are so many different ways to enjoy it! Toppings I particularly enjoy in varying combinations include jam, maple syrup, agave syrup, a splash of plant milk, nuts, seeds, raisins, sultanas, sliced bananas, nut butters (cashew butter being my personal favourite) and even chocolate chips for a sweet treat.

I've included two recipes below, one using porridge oats and one made with oatmeal. Porridge oats tend to make a stodgier porridge which I personally prefer, while oatmeal has a smoother consistency. Traditionally, Scottish porridge is also made with a stirrer known as a spurtle, although this isn't compulsory!

The most important thing to remember about making porridge, however, whichever kind of oats you use, is to soak the pan immediately as soon as you've served the porridge from it! If you've ever had the misfortune to have to try and clean a porridge pan which has been sitting out you'll know what I mean.

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.