Monday, May 14, 2012

hi ho hi ho it's off to another blog we go...

So, Vegan March finished a while ago. It's now Vegan May, or Vegan for Life as I sometimes jest.

Alas, it's true. I would really like to find a way to live a truly vegan lifestyle. It seems that vegan march was simply a happy, accidental beginning. From vegan food in Manchester to vegan house arrest in Bali. We covered it all. It's now time to expand the horizons and consider other aspects of life and the World around me. I studied Fashion, worked in many many shit jobs and some considerably better. I have been on films sets and repairing sweaty underarms. I've cleared excrement from car parks for global sportswear giants and i've gaffa taped over the brand logo on my trainer to work as set design pig for very little money. My experience in a fine art gallery and then studying again at 30yrs, helped refine my style a little. It will never be gleaming, but I know what I like and I always have something to say.

The Vegan Gypsy is now gabbling away over on Wordpress:

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Vegan April? The blog goes on...

It's well established that there is no way back into dairy territory. The thought of a French friend of mine dribbling over a baked brie pie actually makes me feel a little queasy. It always did, just now a little more so. Brie was always a cheese with which to offend me, baking the stuff only made it more obscene. Why would you ever want what was already more than gooey enough any gooier?! I really don't understand and now I don't have to. Never will I have to explain that yes, I love cheese just not the gooey ones, or the veiny ones, or the really dry crumbly smelly as hell ones. Oh and of course not that Italian maggoty one...


Eggs are also surprisingly out. A mere month ago, I discussed my intense love of eggs. How quickly the worm has turned. I really don't intend to eat one anytime soon. I jested to a friend that should I get to meet the hen, maybe I'd eat an egg or two. City dwelling means that for the short term, this is not a huge threat to my new straight edge (ish) lifestyle. 

Assuming the contents of my guts remain vegan I now have another spectrum of unchartered territory... vegan clothing, vegan makeup, vegan life all around... especially vegan shoes...


My heart seemed to bleed with every letter of that phrase. I've seen vegan shoes in the past and they are exactly as ugly as they sound. Of course, having a degree in Fashion Management and considerable experience working in garment production as well as making clothes myself, I know that it needn't be the case. Alas folks, it is. 

Thankfully there are a few creatures out there tackling this worrying issue including Brighton's own Vegetarian Shoes. You are however very sadly mistaken if you think you are going to convince me to wear anything they sell other than these boots, carefully selected and stocked by dear sweet Vx of Kings Cross...
Oh hang on a minute... they're not exactly what I was looking for this summer, but I don't have much choice as I WILL NEVER EVER WEAR "PUMPS" OR ANYTHING CALLED CORNELIA OR DAVINA. I AM SO ANGRY I'M SHOUTING IN THE ONLY WAY POSSIBLE... CAPITAL FUCKING LETTERS!

This summer I intend to be wearing shoes like this...

Ah yes lovely you say, but are they vegan?
Well, snakeskin look.. "Ayers embossed calf leather" means a no I'd say. So, what about these...

Well, "Silk and Leather" plus a bit of human cruelty probably (Just guessing, this is fashion we're dealing with kids), means they're also a definite vegan no.

Ok, so how about these little babies...

Well the "Textured-leather platform sandal" bit of the description suggests another NO.

Even these Sam Edelman shoes that I might be able to walk in leave me weeping with leathery vegan defeat.

Until all of my existing shoes are dead and gone, I will battle on through in what I have. Unfortunately the dearth of suitable summer footwear in my wardrobe means I have to tackle this one pronto. Luckily I'm from UK's very own shoetown, so intend to make some inquiries when I'm up for my apres Easter retreat. Before sawing my own legs off, I may as well conduct some door to door enquiries.



As discussed rather a lot, eating out has been one of my biggest inspirations yet also irritations during vegan march. It has meant that I have tried loads of things I can now do better at home but has meant that I've spent a fricking fortune in doing so. Going vegan basically means you can only ever eat out with other vegans, vegetarians or worst of all, your carnivorous friends who will piss you off eternally with their smug martrydom after forgoing meat for a meal. No fair. It would be nice to only have vegan friends so that you could safely plough into every place on a table however, for me at least, it's just not going to happen. It would also be rather nice to find myself a vegan love interest, yet I'm not pinning my hopes on it and I'm not vegansexual just yet... Vegansexual you ponder? Read all about it here, here and here.

During vegan march I sampled many food establishments, mainly during the day. The following are my top picks;

Where? Soho, London
Why? Great, great food, despite being a buffet/ canteen style affair. It's fast, it's pretty well priced and it's right in the middle of Soho. Right in the middle of overpriced but wonderful fabric land, record shops, my old workplace Agent Provocateur and sex alley. They've got seats outside so you can sit and watch the cracked up world go by, listening to the chorus of fruit & veg men while the media lunching fly past looking hot and important. Once you've finished you can pop next door to the Endurance for a pint potentially served by a hot bearded friend of mine.

Where? Kensington Gardens, Brighton
Why? Again, just go there and see. The staff are lovely, the menu is extensive, well priced, healthy and the place is right in the middle of the good part of town. You might be best to avoid it on a Saturday as squeezing your way down that street could induce rage from the most balanced of Brighton, but you could always shoot in from the Gloucester Road end.

Where? Hackney, London
Why? Vegans still need to go to the pub and seek answers in pint glasses. The Kenton means you can do this via a variety of glasses... Aspall... Becks Vier... Stella (if you really must).. or even down through the rim of a Peroni bottle. The legal list goes on. It also means you can hunt for the mystical truth in the crumbs left at the bottom of your legal Tyrells crisp packet. There aren't any vegan pies (come on pieminister, do the decent thing..) and I've made that mash, so know very well that it sure aint vegan, which mean it's strictly drinks and crisps mid week BUT you can get a vegan roast on a sunday...

Where? Tufnell Park, London
Why? After playing a gig there with Lone Taxidermist last Saturday we stayed on and had a bloody good night. You know that you're not in East London here because everyone looks happy and some of them looked a long way from cool... but still weren't cool... and didn't mind... and still didn't look cool because they didn't care about being cool... oh god... I've been in the game for too long... I can't escape it. This bar was fucking awesome and although I didn't actually eat there, I had an extensive chat with the chef about what he could muster for a vegan diner. He seemed like he would relish the challenge and explained vegan plans he had up his sleeve. In order to make sure they get a place on a permanent printed menu, round up all your vegans and go. I'll meet you there for pints, rock and vegan love.

Ones I've heard about but havent tried yet...

Covent Garden, London

Archway, London

High Street Kensington, London

Soho, London


Tuesday, April 3, 2012


As follows are my top 5 breakfasts of vegan march. Remember, I'm like a dying grizzly bear in the mornings so if I can find time to make breakfast any human can.

1. Porridge with oat milk, goji berries, dates, coconut, cinnamon and raspberries. woooooaah... that was a good day!

2. Rosemary, thyme and garlic baked potato rosti with chilli beans and mushrooms

3. Wholegrain toast with... get ready for this one.... tahini, dates and raisins. The combination of the bitter, gloopy, intense sesame with the super sweet fruit has really struck a chord now!

4. Wholegrain toast with crunchy peanut butter and banana - ye olde favourite

5. More toast with hummus and avocado plus spinach and tomatoes if the shelves are really stocked.

I thought that breakfast would be the worst meal to try and figure out but I rather enjoyed the change. I secretly knew the breakfast habits I'd gotten myself into were not great, so this gave me the impetus to change.

I never quite found the time to experiment with vegan pancakes, waffles, hash browns etc, so that's what vegan APRIL will have in store... yipppeeeeeeeee.


Although we might all like to pretend we only shop at farmers markets and never ever go near a Tesco's, we know it's a lie. Since turning vegan it's become abundantly clear that some shops are great and possibly even like their customers for reasons beyond MONEY, while some don't. The list that follows are the shops that now make my eyes light up and my heart leap, for they mean that... I.... Hurrah!

Where? Nationwide
Why? Have you been into one? I'm not going to even bother answering my own question, they're just awesome and you need to get to one ASAP.

Where? Nationwide
Why? Because they're all over the place and seem to make great efforts to please their customers, even the annoying vegans, by labelling up their food with 'SUITABLE FOR VEGANS'. Ok, you can't find as much as you might like, but they also did pioneer labelling wines, which led many other retailers to follow, so they deserve recognition. Thanks Coop.

Sunny Foods
Where? Brighton
(76 Beaconsfield Rd, Brighton, East Sussex BN1 6DD, United Kingdom, Tel. 01273 507 879)
Why? The fact that this shop doesn't even seem to have a website is further proof of my point... it's so local it probably doesn't need one. It's been busy everytime I've been in there and is such a nice, friendly, welcoming little shop that I expect it is frequented by anyone remotely health conscious within the local area. It has a great selection, is well priced and has accomodating opening hours that mean even commuters can get back from London and down there before it shuts.

Where? Kings Cross, London
Why? Conveniently located in Central London, this little vegan haven means you can grab a vegan hot dog for lunch, some tofu and soya milk for the next mornings breakfast all in a lunch break. Oh and perhaps you've earned a cake for the journey!

Where? Shoreditch, London
Why? Expensive but huge and very well stocked for all dietary needs. It also means that should you wake up somewhere in East London after a particularly hard night of partying, you can drag yourself down there for a vegan muffin and a baby carton of Almond Milk. You can't do sweaty fry ups anymore remember?!

special mention to...
With branches in Northampton and Cambridge, if you ever find yourself out in those parts get to Daily Bread. God watches everything they do and I've heard he even blesses your shopping, so it's really worth a trip. Plus if you're Northampton at least, you're likely to go hungry if you don't, so it's your call. I'm just giving you the heads up!


Vegan March is over.

I didn't tell you but this was all in the name of art. I was doing a project that was largely based on observations of the animal within the human. So many have done it before, how could I possibly do anything new? Well, that was not my concern. My concern was how I could possibly truly observe the animal when the animal was still a part of my daily consumption. The only way I could think to do this was to stop, go vegan and instead be completely consumed by the challenge that was Vegan March.

It's been tough and I genuinely did not expect to end the month intending to be a full-time vegan. The things I've learnt about the meat industry, dairy farming, processed food etc etc mean that I feel as if I really have no choice. For as long as I live in a country where I have the luxury to make such choices, I  choose vegan.

To round up my month, I am going to do a few posts on my favourites finds of the month.

I also have more plans afoot, news to follow.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 30: Vegan Covent Garden

Some of you will probably already know it but even after my eleven years of London living I had to double check. The wonderful little hidey hole that is Neals Yard in Covent Garden, has plentiful vegan food options as well as back rubs, hot skaters and nice stuff for your face. When my folks were in town we paid the Neal's Yard Salad Bar a little visit. 

Ignoring the hideous orange and purple decor, they have quite a good, welcoming menu that caters for meat eaters, veggies and vegans. With food codes ahoy all over the menu, I think they've probably got all picky eaters covered, so it's a good place for varied palates. Generally, the prices are really low, especially considering that they offer open air dining right in the heart of Covent Garden. I do, however, think some things are most offensively overpriced especially as the food has a definite canteen, reheated feel and the service we received was a long, long way from special. £5 for peanut butter on toast? Do me a favour you greedy hippies.

Sadly I didn't have my camera on hand for documentation but I gave the vegan pizza a go. It was odd. Passable, if for nothing more than offering a starting point for my own vegan pizza trials. There was nowhere near enough herby flavour, yet there was definite potential. The vegetables were good and the vegan cheese gunk stuff ok but the lack of definite flavour of any sort meant I was enjoying the consistency of the base more than anything. 

Although I find it very easy to linger and amuse myself writing about the bad bits, it's a lovely place to sit on a sunny afternoon and with so many vegan options, I should probably shut the fuck up and make the most of it. However, I refuse to be grateful when I'm paying for the pleasure. Pictures like this epitomise what pisses me off about vegan dining thus far...

Colour scheme and smiley sun imagery aside, seriously?! This picture is on the gallery page of their website. The first and only picture in the gallery, to be precise. Do I need to point out how shit it is? I'm no photographer but did someone really fail to notice Mrs 90s bedcover jacket, standing smack bang in the middle of the shot?!! Sort it out. It's ugly, lazy, hippy vegan and you know I'm hunting sexy, slick, chic, affordable vegan. So far Ms Cupcake is the only one who's made it anywhere close. Where is everything else?!