Hopefield Animal Sanctuary

On Sunday I had an impromptu visit to Hopefield Animal Sanctuary in Brentwood for their Summer Barbecue. I can’t believe I’ve never been before as this is my nearest sanctuary, but I’ll definitely be a regular visitor now.

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Hopefield is a non-profit organisation which rescue abandoned animals.

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They have a lot of farm animals as well as exotic animals who have been bought as pets and their owners did not have the specialist knowledge to look after them properly.

I love chickens and the one with the ‘fro just made my heart melt.

There are so many horses! There were a number in the field to came up to see us, as well as those with health issues in the stables.

The pigs were having a great time basking in the sun.

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How gorgeous is this guy?

I was really interested in the tanuki, and were surprised some people had been keeping these beautiful animals as pets.

There are also an increasing number of reptiles being looked after at the sanctuary.

Spending time with these animals reinforces my vegan beliefs and why I want to end their use and exploitation.

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This is sanctuary’s longest resident and who the sanctuary is named after.

I would recommend you visit Hopefield if you are in the area or you can support them by donating online or sponsoring one of the animals.

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Plumes x

 

Hopefield Animal Sanctuary

Lush Vegan Evening

On Thursday I attended an event at my local Lush store with my Mum. I was really excited when I saw this event pop up on Facebook as my little suburb of London isn’t the most vegan-friendly.

The details on the event page were – 

We believe in fresh handmade products and making them using only vegetarian ingredients. It’s a value we’ve always held because it’s important to us, and to our customers.

With around 80% of our products also being Vegan, we’d love to give our customers the opportunity to meet up for some fresh ideas, recipe and knowledge sharing, and also a bit of a pamper. So whether you’re a life long Vegan, brand new to the diet change, or just thinking about adopting a Vegan or Vegetarian lifestyle, we’d love to invite you along.

When we arrived we were given a sticker for our name and how long we’d been vegan or vegetarian. They had a table with some cookbooks and magazines to look at for recipe ideas as well as some vegan refreshment laid out in the way of oreos, fizzy sweets and chocolate.

There was also a game to play or attributing the vegan quote to the correct celebrity (our group did rather well at this!)

We also took the opportunity to have a proper look through all their vegan products and Mum got a sample of their coffee face scrub. We was really nice just having a browse and seeing what they had as I usually just go for the same products when I’m in there.

I wasn’t in need of much so I just bought a bath bomb each for my Husband and me, I was slightly disappointed we weren’t given a discount at this event but that was the only thing I think that would have made it better.

I thought this was a great event for Lush to put on and have been a long time customer of them due to their cruelty free status and ethical campaigns. If they went 100% vegan it would be the icing on the cake!

Have you been to a vegan event a Lush? If not I would ask your local store if they’d consider putting on an event like this.

What are you fave Lush products? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Lush Vegan Evening

A weekend of Activism/Outreach

This weekend saw me take part in two vegan outreach events in Leicester Square in London. For non-uk (or non-London) people, Leicester Square is one of the busiest tourist areas in London (it’s where all our movie premieres take place) and there is always lots going on!

Originally I was planning to take part in a preparation event making signs and meeting people who are taking part in the Animal Rights March which takes place in London on 2nd September, but unfortunately this was postponed due to the weather. 

Instead I took part in the Earthlings Experience, where we show the realities of the meat industry in the UK and speak to people about their reaction and feelings towards the footage and encourage them to do more research into adopting a plant based lifestyle. 

Photo from a previous event

This was my second Earthlings Experience and my first in Leicester Square, most people were respectful and some encouraging conversations were had. There were the usual dismissers and some louts (well it is central London on a Saturday night!) but all in all I think it was a successful event and I look forward to taking part in many mote.

On Sunday I was back in Leicester Square with Surge’s Down with Dairy event. There were over 50 activists, some showing footage of the dairy industry, some holding signs, some talking to the public and we had some maning our stall giving out sample of cheese and milk alternatives for the public to try.

I took part in different activities and spoke to some great activists. While I was stood silently holding my tablet showing footage I listened to another activist so eloquently speak to a group of young men and was so encouraged by their response to his words.

I’m definitely looking forward to taking part in more events with Surge. It was a talk by Earthling Ed at the Vegan Camp Out which really inspired me to take part in more activism and it was also great listening him speak to the public at this event.

If you are vegan and haven’t taken part in any activism or outreach I’d really recommend you search for groups in your area and get involved. I know I am lucky living in London where there are events going on every week but there are lots of things going on in other parts of the country too. It’s a great way to spread the vegan message of peace and compassion and you get to meet some great like minded people!

Plumes x

A weekend of Activism/Outreach

Vegan Camp Out 2017

On Friday my Sister-in-law Gemma and I headed up to Nottingham for the Vegan Camp Out. Unfortunately it took us a bit longer than expected due to traffic but we made it there before nightfall and worked as a team to get the tent up! This was my first time camping ever (!) so you can see how proud I am celebrating with a can of Brewdog Punk IPA in front of our tent! 

We headed over to the main tent to watch Carl Donnelly’s set. I have been aware of this vegan comedian for a number of years and follow him on Twitter so it was good to be able to watch him in person. He was very funny and recounted vegan experiences the audience knew all too well!

After that we wanted some food. There were only 4 stalls serving food for over 2000 people (!) But after a 1 and a half hour wait we got our chomps around some battered sausages and chips from Battered. By this time it was dark and we were so hungry there wasn’t time for a photo!

We went back to the tent to get some shut eye but unfortunately we had some very noisy neighbours (from other reports a lot of the campers were of the partying in the small hours variety!) so I didn’t have a great night’s sleep.

In the morning we had a cooked breakfast on the camping stove to give us some energy for the day.

After that came the washing up before we headed over to the marquees for some talks.

We listened to Earthling Ed who I had recently followed on Facebook who gave some insight into activism, then I saw a talk and Q&A from a man from Nottingham Hunt Sabatours. It was really interesting and something I want to look into a bit more. After a nap in the tent we took part in a workshop on toxic masculinity and veganism, which again was very insightful and an area I am very interested in.

As we had a bit of a gap before the next thing we wanted to see we thought we’d brave the dreaded food queues! We decided to split up with me tackling the pizza queue and my Sister-in-law tackling the doner one. I got chatting to a couple of ladies from Manchester and I’d even been on the same greyhound protest with one of them in January! This time it took us an hour to get our food so we headed over to the main marquee to hear Juliet Galletley founder of Viva! speak and introduce the film Swine about the pig industry. 

After that we all huddled in the tent to see who I think was the most anticipated speaker of the weekend, James Aspey. I had never heard of him before although my Sister-in-law and I had noticed him (wink) earlier in the day walking around. He had a great way of speaking and telling his story and I would recommend you Google him as soon as you’ve finished reading this blog!

Afterwards we headed back to the tent and had some drinking fudge from Fudge Kitchen that we had bought from the Viva! stall. It  was delicious!

 All in all we had a fab time. We met some lovely people including a couple who are soon to be living very close to me! There were a few hiccups but the organisers seem to be taking all the feedback on board from what I have seen. This is only the second year of this event and I am really grateful to them for organising it. 2018 promises to be bigger and better and tickets are already on sale!

Did you go to the camp out? What did you think? Would this be something you’d be interested in? Let me know in the comments.

Plumes x

Vegan Camp Out 2017

Interview with long time vegan Olive!

Hi All!

Sorry for the hiatus. I was feeling a little uninspired and had lost my blogging mojo but after a weekend away at the Vegan Campout I am back and ready to roll!

I celebrated my 5th Vegananniversary in May. I was really happy to have met this milestone and have really seen the vegan landscape change in he UK over the last 5 years. It really is easier than ever to become vegan with all the information available on Youtube and the documentaries on Netflix (I’m sure someone high up there has a vegan agenda!) and chain restaurants falling over themselves it seems to provide vegan options and menus.

I wanted to get a perspective from a long term vegan who didn’t have the tools we have today when they decided to go vegan so I asked if I could interview my “twitter friend” Olive. Olive lives in the North of England and provides recipes and restaurant reviews on her blog http://veganolive1.blogspot.co.uk/. Olive also loves a good cruise, so if you ever wondered how to go about planning your cruise when you are vegan she is the lady to answer your questions! She also contacts lots of companies to find out their vegan products and to challenge them to provide more vegan options. I know coffee shops are one of her bugbears and she will be on at the big players to provide lunch and snack options suitable for vegans. She also loves a good glass of wine so any restaurant or bar with a dedicated vegan wine list will get the thumbs up from her! She is on twitter and instagram as veganolive1.

What made you decide to first go vegan?

 I did not go vegan initially but vegetarian in 1986 after watching a TV documentary about BSE (Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy) also known as Mad Cow Disease which originated due to dead animals being used to make cow feed, which horrified me as cows are vegetarian.   I stopped eating red meat initially which gradually led to omitting all flesh including fish from my diet.   I then read about the milk and egg industry, which made me feel guilty and sitting one day eating a boiled egg, dipping in my toast soldier, nearly gagged and had to throw it away.   I have been vegan ever since. I was the biggest meat eater you could imagine.   I cringe thinking about what I used to eat.  My family was into meat and fish, so big Sunday roasts, lots of chicken, steaks, salmon, offal, tripe, black pudding, cow heel, my mum cooked her own tongues and made brawn, which I find quite revolting now.

What sort of information did you have access to at the time?

There was not much information about to be honest, especially where I lived at the time in a rural area, apart from The Vegan Society, who I signed up for as a life long vegan at the time such was my commitment.   There was no internet or social media, like there is today and I did not know any other vegans.   I would look forward to every new edition of The Vegan Society magazine coming through my letterbox.   Anyone interested can find backdated editions of the magazine here https://issuu.com/vegan_society/docs/  .   I remember when the Vegan Society published The Animal Free Shopper, it became my bible, it was a mine of information, like ingredients to avoid when shopping, places to dine out or buy vegan products in the UK and it listed hundreds of products suitable for vegans, such as cosmetics, food and household products etc.    I purchased every edition and it went everywhere with me and I would refer to it all the time and take it with me travelling on holiday.   I remember going somewhere (can’t remember where) and finding a vegetarian place catering for vegans and I was ecstatic.

What did your family think?

I’m afraid my veganism did not go down well with my family, in fact they thought I had gone completely mad, it was a phase, I was attention seeking, and that it would not last and my mum in particular found it very difficult to accept my decision or to invite me round for something to eat.

I know this is a question we vegans get all the time, but what did you actually eat back then?

There weren’t the products like now obviously. This question has made me really think, trying to think back so far and makes me realise how far things have come. I used to make sandwiches with vegetable pates, either Granose or Tartex if I recall, which came in a tube and were great for travelling or peanut butter and Marmite, or just Marmite.  I liked Realeat burgers and sausages, and Goodlife nut cutlets and Cauldron tofu.  I also loved tinned ratatouille, which I would eat on baked potatoes or rice. I did however make a lot of things from scratch, like curries, chillies and pasta dishes using Vecon vegetable stock. I found a small co-operative near where I lived who purchased from Suma Wholefoods so I would stock up on things I could not buy locally. The margarine I used was Vitaquell or Suma and there was a frozen dessert called Vive, though it cannot be a particularly memorable product, as that is as much as I can remember.   I would refer back to The Animal Free Shopper to find out which bread, cakes and biscuits etc were vegan, that little book really was a life saver. I used to eat a lot of baked beans and other beans and a lot of soya which I think has led to my allergies in later life.

 Also until The Animal Free Shopper became available (can’t remember when the first edition was published) I would ring companies to ask about ingredients but also wrote loads of letters, as there was no email.   I remember writing to Andrew Whitley who started the Village Bakery in Melmerby to ask which of their breads were vegan, I used to eat a lot of their bread or make my own.

 I did of course eat masses of vegetables and fruits, nuts and seeds, as I still do today.

What were the first specially vegan produced products you tried and what did you think of them?

To be honest I actually did not like soya milk at first, or soya desserts, I had to persevere especially with the soya milk.

I also found vegan cheese (made by Plamil called Veeze) not to my taste, however I had never been a big cheese lover, so that is maybe why. 

In the early days of the Internet was there much of a vegan community online or has that only been since the onset of social media?

I was not aware of any online vegan community in the early days and my first interaction with other vegans was when I joined Twitter in 2014.   Even now I have no vegan family members, friends or acquaintances, only those online.

What is your reaction to the recent increase in vegan exposure and promotion? I think it’s changed massively in the five years I have been vegan so I can’t imagine what it would be like for you!

Overjoyed as the increase in both has been HUGE…veganism was slowly creeping along for years, we were still considered radical, but small things started happening, which are growing into what I believe will be a wrecking ball in the future. The birth of the internet opened the gates for people to access information and social media has been a real driving force, its where I find out so much information. Veganism is now accepted as a way of life, to be respected as one’s religious beliefs are and is accelerating fast. Who knows what will happen in the future.

and lastly, what advice would you give to anyone thinking of going vegan?

Today it is has never been easier, lots of resources to find out information, The Vegan Society, documentaries like Cowspiracy and Earthlings. Social media which has been a mine of information, even for myself, I have learned so much since joining Twitter.   Don’t think of the negatives, like how can I manage without cheese, there are lots of alternatives or worry about dining out, restaurants are changing at a fast pace as to vegan offerings. You may have issues within your family unit and in your social group, who may not understand your decision, I found this particularly difficult, but you have to do what you believe in. The world is changing regarding animal welfare, food production, environmental issues, climate change, a vegan lifestyle is the only way to alleviate and stop the cruelty of animals and destruction of our planet. You may be one person on your own, but you are part of a bigger movement, that will change the future.   As the recent documentary Carnage depicted, future generations will look back in horror at the meat eating generations before them.

 

A huge thanks to Olive to taking part in this interview!

Plumes x

 

Interview with long time vegan Olive!

Fashion Revolution Week

On 24 April 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed. 1,138 people died and another 2,500 were injured, making it the fourth largest industrial disaster in history.

There were five garment factories in Rana Plaza all manufacturing clothing for big global brands. The victims were mostly young women.

From BBC –

This week has dubbed Fashion Revolution Week to challenge how we think about buying clothes and what impact the fashion industry has on people and the planet.

www.fashionrevolution.org has tons of information, advice and how to get involved with the movement. 

Fashion has changed so much in the last 20 years and fast fashion has now become the norm.

How many items have you bought in the last month? How much did you pay for them? Did you think about the people who made them or what materials they are made from?

Lauren Bravo makes a good point in this article about her own fashion diet, that we often spends lots of money on meals out, takeaways and coffees in a month but we have a set limit in our head about the price we’d pay for a single item of clothing and then spend more by buying multiple cheaper items.

For many years now I have tried to be more conscious of the ethics of the shops I buy clothes in and there are certain shops I won’t buy from because of practices I know about or simply by thinking if that item is that cheap to me the consumer how much is the person that made that garment earning. 

Since the beginning of 2016 I have been “No New Clothes” sourcing as much as I can second hand from charity shops, vintage shops and on eBay. Even though I am buying my clothes second hand I don’t try to buy a lot of clothes. This is not a habit I have had to change as I’ve never really been into retail therapy and tend to just buy something when I need it.

As a vegan I don’t wear clothes from fabrics made from animal products (fur, leather, wool, silk) some of which involve quite complex processing methods using chemicals which aren’t good for the workers or the planet. This means I wear either synthetic fabrics or plant based ones such as cotton and linen. This Fashion Revolution Week I’ve been thinking about the fabric I wear. As I only buy second hand does it matter that I wear synthetics? These products are already in existence and I am reusing them and preventing them from ending up in landfill. On the other hand (and I use this argument against wearing fur, real or faux) am I perpetuating the view that these fabrics are fine and we should be making use of them? I think it’s something I’m really going to consider when making future purchases.

When buying plant based you can also seek out organic options which means chemical pesticides haven’t been used on the plants and are healthier for the workers and the planet.

You can search the hashtags #whomademyclothes and #imadeyourclothes on social media to find more stories on this issue. 

Craftivist Collective have started a new campaign in support of Fashion Revolution, Mini Fashion Statements are thought provoking messages that you write on scrolls, tie with ribbons and pop into the pockets of clothes in shops for customers to find.

Bourgeois Boheme currently have a pop-up in The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane showcasing their line of shoes which are made from pinatex, a newly engineered fabric that replicates leather but is made from fibres from the leaves of pineapple plants.

From their instagram feed –

What do you think about your own shopping habits? Do you think you should make some changes or would you like to? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Fashion Revolution Week

How faux is your faux?

In recent weeks there have been reports of products being sold as faux fur are in fact the real deal (BBC NewsMetroTelegraph). Some of these products have been sold from retailers who have no fur policies such as Debenhams and House of Fraser. 

Part of the issue is that where the furry element makes up a small proportion of the item the materials do not have to be declared, such as a trim on a coat or the Pom Pom on a hat, so without very close monitoring of suppliers and producers retailers may be caught out. Of course this is completely the responsibility of the retailer and they need to have stringent controls in place to make sure they are selling products correctly so consumers have an informed choice.  

Producing fur in the UK was banned in 2003 and whereas in years gone by you could tell the authenticity of a fur product by the price tag this is no longer the case with China flooding the market with cheap fur far from “ethically” produced.

There have been calls to boycott certain stores like those above along with Misguided and Forever 21 for selling fur as faux. As I don’t buy new clothes this isn’t an issue for me as I’m already boycotting the whole High Street! (Minus the charity shops of course).

There have also been calls to boycott Harvey Nichols (not difficult as I’ve never bought anything from there!) as they have recently withdrawn their no fur policy (Peta). They claim they can now source “ethical fur”. I think it’s a real shame as it appears their 9 year policy was just a publicity stunt when it was trendy to be fur free but now there is a resurgence in fur they have dropped their ethical stance.

One area I do come across fur and other clothing containing animal materials is the good old vintage trade. Some would argue that vegans can use vintage products containing animal materials as these things are already in existence. I agree with this for products I already own as throwing them out would be a waste but I’d much someone who does wear leather/wool/silk or indeed fur get use out of these items rather than buying new. (I overheard a horrible conversation in a vintage shop once where they were discussing how many fox/mink were used to make various items. Heave!)

They are also arguments that if you do not believe in wearing fur you shouldn’t wear faux fur as this perpetuates the view that animal fur looks good on people. This is something I subscribe to. Whenever I see someone wearing something furry I’m always wondering whether it’s real or not and whether the person wearing it actually knows whether it is and cares either way. 

What are your views on the issue? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

How faux is your faux?