Brighton

Went to Brighton last weekend to celebrate Anna’s birthday early as I would be away on her birthday. And wow what a weekend.


Friday

Friday was a chill day, we went out for lunch to Infinity Kitchen which was delicious. I had a lentil dahl. Then we decided to cook for dinner so decided on vegan fajitas with homemade guacamole and salsa. We also made a few gin cocktails with fruit that was left in the fridge and got the fire on and played scrabble after dinner. Once it had become sufficiently dark outside, we watched the highly anticipated South Africa vlog which Anna had spent weeks making. It was incredible.

Vegan Fajitas

  • 2 peppers
  • 1 onion
  • Vegan quorn chicken pieces
  • Mushrooms
  • Seasonings
  • Tortilla wraps

This is the easiest recipe everrrrr. All we did was cook the quorn chicken in one pan and in another add all the veg until they were soft. we seasoned with paprika and mixed spices. Then heat up the wraps and voila.

To make the guacamole mash an avocado with lots of coriander and a splash of lime juice.

To make the salsa chop up fresh tomatoes (we used 5 and had lots left) then add a chopped onion and add some coriander.

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Saturday 

We began the day with a fry up and lots of coffee. Today was jam packed. We managed to do the Brighton Pier plus the lanes all in about three hours before giving anna her birthday presents and getting ready for soul train (which is a funk and soul night).

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Sunday

We had the most wonderful morning with a big breakfast spread in our duvets in front of Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging which is an amazing movie. We went for a vegan roast at the Earth and Stars pub which was incredible but I forgot to take any pictures 😦 then we went to a £15 kilo vintage sale which was so good. I bought some boots and a flannel shirt. PLUS today was the first day of wearing gym Lucy and Yak dungarees out and it was great.

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I actually cannot get over how good Brighton is for vegan food. It is worlds ahead of Edinburgh where I feel like I can never eat anything. Every single restaurant or bakery had a load of vegan options and it was amazing to be able to have choice again.

 

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A New Found Love for Cooking

Unemployment has left we with a lot of time to fill in. This is mainly done with the help of Netflix and researching various animal welfare issues. But I’ve also started cooking a lot more. Recently having made the transition from vegetarian to vegan has proved not too difficult but does require me to think a lot more about meals.

For lunch today I made one of the recipes in Lucy Watson’s Vegan Cookbook (which has been like a bible to me). I made the corn and green chilli poppers with an avocado dip and then we had this with a side salad.

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  1. The vegan egg was mixed with water to create a paste
  2. I added the egg paste, the paprika, a tin and a half of sweetcorn and the cornflour to the food processor and allowed the mixture to become smooth
  3. I added the coriander, chilli, flour and rest of the sweetcorn to the mixture and blended it
  4. I heated up 5cm of oil in a pan and put tablespoons of the mixture and cooked these until they were brown on both sides
  5. whilst waiting for these to cook, I made the avocado dip
  6. I mashed half an avocado with vegan mayonnaise to get the correct consistency
  7. Once the poppers were cooked I served them with the dip and a side salad

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This was a delicious meal, one which I will defo make again.

Getting Wavy in London

I may have mentioned this before but whilst on the journey home from South Africa we won four tickets to an action for change concert in Brixton. We were all so happy because it was an excuse to get together (not that we really needed one) in a short amount of time. We made three days of it.

What you need to understand is that we love to dress up. We love going all out, dressing in the most ridiculous of outfits and just having a great time. So this event was no exception. I wore a full sequin top with flares, anna wore a playsuit, stan wore a wavy shirt with a floral headband and Rach wore a leopard print ensemble with a red denim jacket.

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Time flew by and before we knew it we were two hours late for the concert as we had met up with some of our other ICS friends. The concert was good although it was quite heavy, there was a lot of true stories and interviews with various people in between the music. We left before the end as we were feeling more like dancing and the music was so slow.

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We ended up in Roxy which was fun and then we went to Chinatown where we actually managed to get a full meal in a sit down restaurant. The whole night was fun and it was great to see everyone.


The next day we went for breakfast at a vegan cafe in Croch End where we all got the vegan full breakfast and it was insane! I’ve never actually had a better breakfast and it didn’t break the bank either.

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Sadly Stan had to leave to go home so we waved him off and then sat in a beer garden because the weather was tip top and whats better than a nice cider in a beer garden when the sun is shining.

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We had booked a comedy night near Kinds Cross in Drink, Shop, Do which is a lovely place. The decor is class and they were playing amazing tunes. The comedy was hilarious, we were late (as usual) and therefore had to sit in the front row which meant that we were taken the piss out of ALOTTT. I would definitely recommend going to that if you ever are looking for something to do in the evening. After this we went to a couple of bars and then headed home.

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Our final day was spent eating left over chinese food from the night before then heading to Hackney where we had pinned down a vegan donut place. This donut place was INSANE, the donut were absolutely massive. I got the lavender and lemon one plus order the peanut butter one for later on. We sat on the grass drinking iced coffee and munching our donuts.

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Next we went to Camden where I (FINALLY!) got my nose pierced and we looked around the markets at all the cool clothes. Camden had such a great array of vegan options but we were stuffed after our donuts.

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Then we made our way to a vegan pizza joint, the pizza was so good and we ordered a jug of cider which was bigger than my head. After this it was time to say goodbye, but not for long as I am seeing the girls in Brighton at the weekend YEYYYY.

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Horsin’ Around

AGGGGESSSSS ago my friends and I went to Chester Racing for Jack’s birthday which was so much fun that we decided this year we would go to the Grand National. The Grand National was infinitely better than Chester as expected and every moment of the entire day was so much fun.

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I went with my Unscripted Rambles friend group who are people I know from University  who are just super fun people. We love to dress up and take full advantage of fancy events. Our apartment in Liverpool was so beautiful, it had a balcony with a view across the city and over the docks. It was small for all of us but we made it work. We were so lucky because it was such a nice day, really warm and sunny.

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Aintree racecourse was a really beautiful place. It was also huge, a massive area to watch the races plus a large food and drink court and numbers betting booths. We had festival tickets so we were allowed into the festival zone and also access to all the usual places like food.

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We betted on all the races and three out of the four of us won some of our bets. Its always nice to win some money. The horses were beautiful and although I find horse racing quite a cruel sport, I did try to just forget about it on the day in order to have as much fun as possible.

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I am in two minds about horse racing, I love it and I love watching the horses and cheering them on, however I don’t think its the most ethical of things. This leaves me in a bit of a conundrum about whether I should attend next year or whether I’ve had my fun and to put it to bed now. I know that the rest of the gang are very keen to get tickets for next year so it’s going to be a hard decision.

Stobo Castle

My sister and I bought my mum a spa voucher for Christmas last year. We decided to use it in between me coming back from Africa and then leaving again to go travelling. We had a voucher for an afternoon at the spa plus an afternoon tea.

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The castle is very foreboding, it sits on a hill overlooking the surrounding scenery. The inside is beautiful, it has really nice decor. The toilets were amazing, they were full of plants and the toilet seats were also heated, something I had never experienced before.

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We started the day with fruit smoothies which went down a treat in the atrium. The sofas were unbelievably comfortable, the perfect napping place in my opinion.

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The actual spa was great, there were so many different parts to it including a cocktail bar. From the swimming pool there was exceptional views of the countryside and you were able to see all of the little wild rabbits hopping around and playing outside.

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After using all of the spa facilities we left to get our afternoon tea. Now the afternoon tea was set in a dining room with lovely views. The actual afternoon tea was good if you had no dietary requirements. I am a vegan and my sister is coeliac so we weren’t the easiest to cater for however, the afternoon tea that we were given was taken out of packets from the cafe. Mums afternoon tea though looked lovely! We did actually write to the manager to say we weren’t happy with the vegan or coeliac afternoon teas and got a voucher for another one so that was kind of them.

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After finishing our afternoon tea, we took a walk around the Japanese gardens. These gardens were so pretty with exotic plants, waterfalls and cute little paths all around.

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I would love to stay in one of the cottages that are available for rent at some point so that I could explore the surrounding hills, use the spa and eat meals at the restaurant. It is a very relaxing place and I would recommend going. Next time I would book a treatment, but I was tooooo skint at the moment to pay for one.

An interview with Noxolo

Noxolo Penelope Ndilele was an incredible woman I met in South Africa who lived in Mvulemwano, the community I was working in.

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Noxolo runs a poultry farm in the grounds of her home in the community. She is 36 years old and has lived in this community all of her life. In 2007 she started building up her chicken farm from scratch with the help of the Department of Agriculture. The business has expanded a lot, with clients coming all the way from town to get her chickens and eggs. The future is looking bright for Noxolo. I decided to hold a conversation with her surrounding the main issues for woman in her community.

As a woman living in this community, do you feel like you have the same rights as men?

No, there is so much crime directed at women. You can’t go out at night.

What are the main issues in this community in terms of gender based violence?

My neighbour has a child who was raped by a 42 year old. The men abuse us, there is so much abuse towards women. The man who raped the girl went to jail but he is back now, only after three months. Other than abuse towards women, drugs and crime are rife.

If you could change one thing about this community what would it be?

We have forums now so we feel safer than we did before. The forums make rules for example those who drink alcohol must be inside and they advise that by 8 o’clock everyone must be indoors. The forum is run by police and the community.

Do you have any general life advise?

Stay away from drugs. The drug rate is very high, the police have started raiding houses and putting the drug dealers in jail. The drug dealers stay in jail for a longer time than rapists. We must help the youth of the community, we have a new stadium* being built and we have the churches which are safe places for the youth.


*stadium here means a large grassy area which is used to play sports by the community. When I was in Africa there was a huge area where the stadium was being built right in the middle of the community.

Whats on my Netflix list?

Yesterday I finished Watching Call the Midwife (gutted). So I’m trying to decide what to watch next. Thank god for the Netflix list, the tool which allows you to save all of the things you want to watch so its easier to remember everything. My list is extensive so it still leaves me which quite a bit of choice. I thought I would share with you the top couple of series on my list which I want to work my way through.

  1. Alias Grace. After reading the book in Africa, I am DESPERATE to water the series. It is based on a true story and Netflix have done this in a 6 part series. It follows Alias Grace, a girl imprisioned for the murder of her employer. She spends time with a psychiatrist who weighs up whether she should be pardoned from her sentence due to being insane.
  2. The OA. A woman returns home after missing for seven years with new abilities and she begins a recruitment process for five others for a secret mission. I hear a lot about this series so I am expecting good things.
  3. Love, Nina. This is about a woman becoming a nanny for a single mum in London and how she documented her experiences through letters to her sister. There is only one series and each episode is only 30 mins long so I reckon I could get through this in a day if I enjoyed it enough.
  4. Girls Incarcerated. Set in the Juvenile Correctional Facility in Indiana, it follows the lives of the inmates and their daily struggles.
  5. Peaky Blinders. I have been pressured into watching this by my friends who say its amazing. It follows the gang Peaky Blinders and their leader Tommy Shelby in the aftermath of World War I.
  6. The Sinner. This follows the tale of why a young mother stabbed a completely stranger to death in public. Looks very intriguing.
  7. Girlboss. This is loosely based on a true story and follows Sophia who creates her own online clothes business. The trailer looks amazing and I know I’m going to love this series. Again the episodes are only 30 minutes each and there is only one series.
  8. Rita. This series is actually in Danish so if you don’t like watching things with subtitles then this probably isn’t for you. It follows the tale of a schoolteacher and her outspoken, unconventional life.

I hope this gives you some TV series inspiration if you are looking for some. If you need me I’ll be watching Netflix…