Fudge-y smoothie

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So I made this smoothie. And it was AMAZING. It was a spontaneous thing- I needed to get rid of some old bananas and dates. I put 7 dates, 4 small bananas, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and about 200ml almond milk in the blender and voila! 2 cups of perfection.

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London discoveries #2: Cornercopia

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I took a walk through Brixton Village recently, as it had been quite a while since I’d last seen what was in there. I approached this plain-ish looking frontage and there were gorgeous multi-coloured handmade candles displayed outside. When I popped in I thought it was going to be a gift shop, but I spotted a selection of Redecker brushes (including my dish brush) and realised that this place has all sorts of plastic-free homeware!

I didn’t come away with anything on my trip, as I am trying not to buy impulsively, but I plan to revisit when I run out of bar soap, as well as to invest in a cast-iron pan and a plastic-free dustpan and brush during the summer.

Cast-iron pots and pans, brooms, kitchen utensils, and bar soaps to name but a few of their stock, Cornercopia is a must-visit if you are transitioning to more eco-friendly home equipment or setting yourself up for the first time. I would highly encourage checking this shop out if you’re based in South London (or even London, as it’s so close to Brixton tube station) because I saw things here  I’ve only seen online previously, and shopping in store saves on the pollution and packaging created by delivery.

Cornercopia Homestore

Address:

Units 37-38, 2nd Avenue
Brixton Village
SW9 8PS

Website:

http://cornercopia.myshopify.com/

Opening hours:

Wednesday-Sunday 11-6

5 things this Monday…

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  1. Firstly, I actually tried out this recipe yesterday from Jamie Oliver’s Youtube for the Ultimate Veggie Burrito comprised of lentils and plantain, and even though I didn’t have all the ingredients, it was still delicious!
  2. I came across a new blog this week too- Going Zero Waste! I found this article on shopping zero waste online very useful. It just requires a little extra organisation and communication basically, but many sellers/shops are willing to send products plastic-free. It’s always worth asking.
  3. Friday the 22nd of April was Earth Day in case you missed it- here are 8 ways to make every day Earth Day and why it matters. Great tips for starting a greener lifestyle.
  4. The Note Passer made an adorable diagram showing how to make zero waste coffee (mainly by replacing disposable equipment and using natural ingredients). I’m not a coffee drinker but thought it might be of use!
  5. Finally, you can never hear about too many zero waste advocates. Sometimes you can feel like the only one doing it, but this article from the Guardian proves that the movement is gaining momentum every day and that being perfectly waste-free is not realistic for the vast majority of us (which releases us from the fear of failure).

London discoveries #1: Ms. Cupcake

On the weekend I visited a 100% vegan bakery called Ms. Cupcake. I think we all know what happened next…

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I think I was quite restrained as I only came out with TWO items, (someone back me up!) a red velvet cupcake and a caramel pecan cookie sandwich. Both were delicious. There’s not really a great amount to say here, I knew they would be good. I have a sweet tooth, so I happily chowed them both down no sweat, but they don’t skimp on the taste. I honestly wouldn’t have been able to tell you they were vegan if I didn’t already know. By any standards, they were up there with the best bought cakes I’ve had.

I still plan on doing some vegan baking of my own, (I baked fairly regularly as an eggs/dairy eater) but in the meantime/when I can’t be bothered, I’ve found my solution! Thanks Ms. Cupcake!

Ms. Cupcake

Address:

408 Coldharbour Lane
Brixton, London
SW9 8LF

Website:

http://www.mscupcake.co.uk/

Opening hours:

Sunday-Wednesday 10-7

Thursday-Saturday 10-8

 

5 things this Monday…

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I fell out of sync a little with posting these last few weeks, but I am back on the wagon as of now, I promise! Here are 5 things I read this week:

  1. 5 myths about sustainable fashion debunked. It’s really hard not to get the impression shopping sustainably means compromising on style or shelling out more than you usually would when the high street is presented as our only option.
  2. Laura Miller of Raw. Vegan. Not Gross’s video on healthy vegan-friendly camping recipes has got the inspiration going! This is often a scenario where the meat/animal products are everywhere you turn, but I’m now pretty excited to invent some alternatives (and steal hers, obviously).
  3. A nice introduction to the concept of eating seasonally. It’s pretty self-explanatory, but if you’re in any doubt as to what it entails, or are in need of a few pointers this is a good read. I definitely need to work on this some more..
  4. I’ve never been a massive gravy person (apart from that awesome Swedish one they serve in IKEA haha) but some of these vegetarian (and some vegan) recipes are making me salivate.
  5. This article from the Huffington Post explains that child Syrian refugees have been found to be working in textile factories that supply H&M and Next among other UK clothing stores. These are the only two that owned up according to their official inspections, however a number of stores refused to comment which says a lot about what they’re hiding.

5 things this Monday…

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  1. Firstly some encouraging news: a Mexican teenager has managed to persuade Greenpeace (at least in Mexico) to start raising awareness about the effects of animal agriculture on the environment. Despite the industry contributing to around 50% of all harmful emissions globally, large organisations such as Greenpeace are reluctant to discourage meat consumption for fear of losing support. We need to keep up the pressure!
  2. Ariana from Paris To Go wrote about going zero waste when no one in your life wants to. I have definitely fallen into the trap of thinking it possible to convince everyone to follow you, but as I have learned- and this article words it perfectly- at the end of the day, you just have to do you and then hope. The only person you can control is yourself, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.
  3. Here are some simple trips on travelling as a vegan, where you can’t always get hold of familiar food or research suitable places to eat. I will be referring back to this when the time comes!
  4. I am totally in agreement with those who think that in generations time, society will wonder why we continued to eat meat (at least in such high quantities) for so long when it was obviously so bad for health and the environment- I often think that about myself! Here we are actually seeing the beginning of a shift from meat to substitutes and an- albeit gradual- decline in the former in the USA.
  5. Finally, I read an amazing piece by the Guardian’s Madeleine Somerville on How I deal with the hypocrisy of being an environmentalist. The gist: We will deliberately and accidentally fail, often, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do what we can, even we can’t be completely ‘green’. At the beginning of every undertaking the desire is to be faultless, but then we learn that the best in our circumstances is all we can do. If there’s one thing you read today, make it this.

5 things this Monday…

  1. Why not start with some humour! I’m a fan of Marcus Brigstocke, but you can’t not be a fan of the way he talks about climate change in this talk, which is hilarious but doesn’t skirt around the truth. The Dr. Seuss style poem on how climate change summits go down is a particular highlight!

2. The Beauty in Simple outlines how living zero waste refines your cupboards, bedroom, shelves and wardrobes not into sparse, boring places, but beautiful and simple ones. As if there were any more reasons to be more environmentally friendly, this post appeals to our love of good-looking homes, with good old decluttering.

3. This article from the Guardian is entitled ‘The supermarkets take us for mugs. And we let them‘ and exposes the way own brand products are branded with english sounding names of fictitious farms to make us think they were produced locally, when they actually come from overseas. Particularly a problem among animal products, but it’s good to be aware of the fact that branding is first and foremost designed to sell, often at the expense of honesty.

4. Next up we have a few myths vs. truths about zero waste living. The way this post is written really captures the essence of why it is worth trying to reduce your waste: it really is easier, healthier and empowering! But take it from someone else 🙂

5. Finally, I know I am healthier as a vegan, but what about athletes- could you sustain an intense fitness regime on a plant-based diet? Definitely. Here are some tips from a vegan endurance athlete on how he does it!

Reflections on France

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Today is 5 days away from my move back to the UK from Rennes in France where I have been studying since September(!). It still feels surreal that it’s come to an end, and I probably won’t get super reminiscent until I’m back, but I have been able to reflect a little bit on the things I’ll miss about this country. Especially in terms of cutting down waste and veganism, it has been interesting to compare the different approaches taken here. Here’s a list of things I’ve noticed based on my experience in Rennes:

Food is important- I just get the distinct impression that people take food more seriously in France than in the UK. Sure, people love food basically everywhere in the world, but you can tell by the abundance of restaurants, shops and markets that good quality food is more available and more valued here. People seem prepared to spend a bit more money for quality and taste.

Specialist shops- leading on from the previous point, the existence of patisseries, bakeries, cheese shops, butchers (which all technically exist in London but are rarer) is testament to the demand for traditional, good quality, local food. I sound a bit like a diva, but I really don’t know what I’m going to do without a patisserie on every corner! The great thing about small businesses like this, is that you can ask them to put your products in paper or to give them to you loose more easily than in a supermarket, where things are prepackaged.

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Markets- France still loves its weekly markets, which initially felt like a step back 50 years, but I love it! Coming from London where a good farmers market is my ultimate quest, I stepped into this abundance of choice. The Saturday market at Place des Lices is the second largest in France (I’ve been so spoilt!) and it is the highlight of my week. Especially since becoming vegan in January, I have been experimenting with new ingredients and filling my basket with fresh herbs, delicious fruit and mysterious vegetables! It is a tradition for hundreds of Rennais to do their produce shopping here, and I don’t know if a market of this size would survive in the UK.. Lots of the stalls offer plastic or paper bags, but as I mentioned before in another post, they are more than happy to forgo the bags or fill my reusable ones, and they come to remember you if you’re a regular.

Organicness- Both at the market and the supermarkets in France, organic food is more readily available. Whilst you have to really go out of your way in the UK, in France there is a vast range of organic products in the supermarket and large sections of the farmers market too. Some weeks I can be 100% organic which is awesome!

Compost- Now, over the course of my time here I have seen SO MANY compost bins it’s unreal! It makes me so happy to know that even people who don’t have space to keep one for themselves can access one somewhere. I have passed several blocks of flats that have bins in their grounds for their tenants, (and a random english girl who rocks up every week..) schools, all sorts.

I could go on, but I think I covered the main things! Thanks for reading 🙂