Goals 2018

So it’s that time again to start looking looking at what I want to achieve in 2018. In 2017 I had ten goals and there’s lots of those I want to carrying on doing this year, but in terms of new goals I want to try and achieve the below.

1. Learn to ice skate (properly)

I can get round an ice rink without holding onto the edge ok, but I’m not that confident and I’m always worried children will grab on to me or the teenage boys will knock me over! Our new leisure centre including ice rink is opening in February so I’m going to sign up for some lessons. Once you’ve signed up you can use the rink for free at any other time so no excuse not to get some practice in!

2. Complete a 10k run

I’ve signed up to take part in my first 10k at the end of March so I need to get back into running after the winter lull. My parkruns should help me along and I’m hoping to extend the length of my runs in the evenings to increase my stamina.

3. Use Amazon less

Unfortunately Amazon is so convenient! We gave up our prime membership last year so there is less tying us to it. I have recently discovered Hive where you can buy books online and support local independent bookshops too. If there’s a third party seller on Amazon I will try and contact them direct to by-pass Amazon. You may ask what’s wrong with Amazon, but they have suffered controversy due to their tax arrangements as well as their treatment of workers.

4. Start bulk buying

In 2017 I pledged to use less plastic and in order to continue that I want to shop at bulk stores more. There is Bulk Market in Hackney which isn’t too far from me and As Nature Intended near my work. So neither very close to home but I think I could get a few things in my backpack.

5. See more of the UK

I have a trip to Norwich booked for my birthday in February and I’m visiting my friend in Bournemouth in the first weekend in January. I would also like to spend a weekend in Edinburgh in the summer. It’s so easy to travel by train in the UK (costs permitting) and there’s a few cities I’d like to tick off my list.

So there you have it. A shorter list than last year but I think these are all achievable.

What’s on your goal list for 2018? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Goals 2018

Year end review of Goals 2017

So how did it end up? Let’s see how I did with my goals for the year.

1. Continue to jog/run

I am proud to say I completed 20 parkruns this year. My running has fallen off a bit in the winter as I don’t like running in the dark after work but as our new leisure centre opens in February I can run on the treadmill when it’s dark outside.

2. Take up yoga again

This started well but dropped off very quickly. Again with the leisure centre opening hopefully I can attend some sessions.

3. Eat more wholefoods

I have been eating more veg with our veg box although as my Husband has been eating less meat he has been having meat replacements so I have had those with him. I have been taking my lunch to work almost every day so I have had less processed food out and about.

4. Use less plastic

I have taking my re-usable cup everywhere and by taking my lunch to work I have been using less plastic. Riverford who deliver my veg box have also committed to using even less plastic than they currently do in the next year. I’ve converted to a shampoo bar and using soap. I love Lush’s new naked range which uses solid concentrated versions with no plastic packaging.

5. Be more politically active

I have been taking part almost weekly in Earthlings Experiences with Havering Vegan Action, I’ve also taken part in Southend Anonymous for the Voiceless first two cubes of truth as well as the March for Animals and a few events in London like the Canada Goose protests. I can’t wait to take part in more events next year and I’ve even asked for a flask for Christmas to see me through the winter!

6. Support more independent shops and traders

I’ve only had one drink from Costa and Starbucks each which I’m really proud of. I’ve used Etsy to buy from independent traders online and I want to start using Hive as an alternative to Amazon.

7. Continue “no new clothes” and expand on it

I have done well on this with barely any new clothes at all apart from a few vegan themed clothes which I have also tried to get from ethical, carbon neutral producers. I haven’t bought any big items of furniture but when I do I will try and source these second hand.

8. Attend church more regularly

I have switched to my local church rather than the church I grow up in which means it’s been easier to attend more regularly.

9. Watch less television

This is also something I’ve done well on and just picked particular series to watch rather than just seeing what’s on at the time. I’ve cut down on the reality TV I watch as well.

10. Continue to blog

Apart from a few weeks hiatus in the spring I have continued to blog frequently and my stats continue to improve month on month so I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon!

So there you have it. I’m proud of what I’ve achieved this year. I’m not sure I’ll have as many goals for 2018 but I’ll be sure to continue the good work I’ve started in 2017.

How did you get on with your goals for the year? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Year end review of Goals 2017

Vegan Adventures in Amsterdam

We decided to visit Amsterdam to celebrate our anniversary this year. As my Husband doesn’t like flying we took the ferry from Harwich in Essex to the Hook of Holland and got a train to Amsterdam via the Dutch Flyer service.

I booked our accommodation through Air BnB which was a first for me. I liked the idea of having a fridge to put my plant based milk and the option of making breakfast and snacks in our own kitchen. Most apartments are more suited for 4 or 6 people sharing so some places were out of our budget for just the two of us. I was thrilled when I saw this listing for a romantic houseboat! It was a few stops on the tram from the centre and really was idyllic. Our host Henk welcomed us and explained everything and even showed us some bikes we could borrow if we wanted to ride into town. 

They was also a supermarket opposite which had lots of organic and vegan offerings. I got some Oatly barista for my hot drinks and we picked up some Taifun hotdogs and a fresh french stick for lunch along with some snacks.

I had already had a look on Happy Cow to see what vegan food options there were and I was glad to see they weren’t in short supply! For our first meal we went to Terra Zen, a Caribbean Japanese fusion restaurant in the centre of Amsterdam. It was very quirky with a large table you sat around with fellow diners and one chef running it all. We both went for the Jamaican plate which had vegetables and faux chicken in a lightly spiced coconut sauce with rice. The food was really tasty and the atmosphere was very laid back. I wouldn’t recommend this place if you are on a tight time schedule, but we were happy to chill and take our time on our first evening.

On our second we spent some some time sight-seeing and visiting museums, if there are any places you really want to see I would recommend you buy your tickets online in advance to guarantee entry. We weren’t aware of this so we are unable to see Anne Frank’s house and had to queue for a while to get into the Van Gogh museum. 
Also if there are any restaurants you really want to visit I would recommend making a reservation. We tried to get into Meatless District on Saturday night and it was fully booked so we booked for the following evening. Luckily I knew that The Dutch Weed Burger Joint was close by so we had our dinner there. The weed referenced in the name is seaweed and it features in almost every dish on the menu. My Husband went for the burger which is soya based and comes in a green bun while I went for the Seawharma wrap which was marinated seitan based, we also shared a portion of fries.

It was a messy affair which required several napkins but it was all very tasty! Unfortunately their hot water was out so I couldn’t enjoy a hot drink after our meal so I decided to take a brownie home to enjoy later. It was really rich and fudgey and went down well with a cup of tea and a good book.

Sunday was our anniversary so we decided to go out for brunch. I had seen on the map that Brunchroom was only one tram stop from the boat and although they weren’t completely vegan they did have vegan options. When we first arrived we were informed they may be a wait for a table but then the host realised there was a table free so we were seated straight away. You have an order form that you fill in and give to counter with your options. I went for banana, peanut butter and maple syrup. My Husband had his first non-vegan meal of the trip so this is a good place to go to please everyone. The waffle was light and fluffy and I was definitely full until dinner time!

After brunch we visited the Botanical Gardens and I must say this was my favourite part of our trip. We got to see some amazing plants in the various greenhouses and the butterfly house was particularly special. The gardens are situated just west of the zoo and are €9 each to enter.

We past by Vega-Life a clothing store so I had to pop in and see what they had to offer. They had lots of vegetarian shoes and T-shirts as well as a beauty section, cookbooks and some chocolate I picked up a Thumbs Up bar to enjoy later.

We arrived a little early to our dinner at Meatless District so enjoyed some drinks while we perused the menu. My Husband went for the seitan burger which tasted very smokey and almost hotdog like. He said he preferred this burger to his one from the previous night. I went for the battered broccoli with radish and samphire. It was very enjoyable but there was so much broccoli it beat me and I had to leave a couple of florets. They must have battered a whole head of broccoli there was so much!

As we were pretty full we got dessert to go. I chose a carrot cake and my Husband had the chocolate hazelnut tart. Both were fabulous!

On our last day we stopped in at Vegabond for some food before getting our train to the ferry. I had the summer rolls with a spicy peanut sauce which were really fresh tasting and delicious. We then enjoyed a donut each and I had a chai latte with oat milk. The donuts were good proper fried donuts and they tasted amazing! I also picked up some sweets for my work colleagues while I was there as all the ones I had seen elsewhere had gelatine in them.

There were some places that were recommended to me which we didn’t get a chance to visit as there as only so many meal times in a four day visit! But I know if we decide to go back to Amsterdam there will be lots more options for us to try!

So that was our trip to Amsterdam! Have you been? What did you enjoy most and where did you eat? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Vegan Adventures in Amsterdam


Bit of a different post today. My friend Charlie was asking what podcasts I listen to, so instead of just giving her the list I thought I’d share them all with you too.

The first podcast I ever listened to was the famous Serial which was recommended to me by my friend Jo. If you haven’t heard it, it is about a journalist who investigates the real life murder of a teenage girl in the 90’s and whether her boyfriend who was jailed (and is still incarcerated) for the crime really did it. It is very gripping and you’ll want to binge listen to it and then Google for updates! This series came out a few years ago and after I finished listening I left podcasts alone for a while until I completed couch to 5k and thought I would need something to listen to when I was running.

I saw an article on Standard Issue Magazine which recommended a few and I started from there. You can download podcasts from the Apple podcasts store if you are an iPhone user, but as I have an Android phone I use the Podcast Addict app, which has worked well for me.


Bad Fat Broads is hosted by KC and Ariel and is “the bad fat bitch perspective on everything important.” (iTunes wouldn’t let them bitch in the title hence the broads). They don’t post as much as they used to but their back catalogue is worth a listen to for an intersectional look at fat issues.

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Made of Human is made by comedian Sofie Hagen and she introduces the podcast as –

The Made of Human Podcast, also called MohPod, is about connection. I sit down with a lovely person and we talk about life. I want to find out how to cope with being an adult person. I want to find out how to deal with all of the confusing bits of life. All of the hurtful bits of life. I want to sit, for just an hour, with a great person and learn from them. And – if they have no idea how to ‘adult’, then that will be absolutely okay – at least we will have an hour of feeling like we’re not the only ones in the world.

I’ve been introduced to lots of different creators who have appeared on the MohPod and sought out their work afterwards because of it.

Sofie was also one of the original host of The Guilty Feminist with fellow comedian Deborah Frances-White. Each week has a theme, a challenge around that theme, a guest and a guest co-host (from the time Sofie moved onto MohPod). GF is recorded in front of a live audience so you can also buy tickets to see the show in person if you are so inclined.


A spin-off from The Guilty Feminist is Loud Voices which is a collection of comedy pilots written by and starring former guests or co-hosts of the podcast.


Deborah also hosts Global Pillage which she started as one of her Guilty Feminist challenges. You can also see these as live shows and take part in the panel show about diversity by playing as part of the hive mind.

Global Pillage is a brand new comedy panel show podcast all about idiom, culture, customs and norms. All the oddness of humanity is explored in this hilarious new show where TWO TEAMS OF COMEDIANS take on the HIVE MIND OF THE AUDIENCE. This show is about the diversity of human experience. Come with us as we pillage the globe for the strange but true ways of the human race.

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Another panel show is Do The Right Thing which describes itself as –

An award-winning panel show podcast where the teams must work out the right thing to do in any given situation. With Danielle Ward, Margaret Cabourn-Smith, Michael Legge and special guests.

And it’s very funny!


I first heard Chris Gethard on MohPod, Chris is an American comedian who has own show on American TV and has featured in a few sitcoms but I was previously unaware of him. Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People (shortened to Beautiful Anonymous) is a great podcast and its wonderful to hear from ordinary people and their sometimes extraordinary stories.

1 phone call. 1 hour. No names. No holds barred. That’s the premise behind Beautiful Stories from Anonymous People. Every week, Chris opens the phone line to one anonymous caller, and he can’t hang up first, no matter what. From shocking confessions and family secrets to philosophical discussions and shameless self-promotion, anything can and will happen!


Standard Issue moved from being an online magazine to a podcast earlier this year (you can read about the reasons why here). There have various regular features such as Jen’s update on women’s sports and Hannah’s reviews of Disney movies as well as guest features by various contributors.


Another magazine type podcast is BBC Radio 4’s Women’s Hour. WH is on everyday with additional late night WH occasionally so I’ll admit I don’t listen to every episode but I like to have it on subscription so I can dip in when I see something in the blurb I’m interested in.


Another one from the BBC and another one I’ll only listen to if it’s a subject I’m interested in is BBC World Service’s The Inquiry – The Inquiry gets beyond the headlines to explore the trends, forces and ideas shaping the world. They take a subject each week and have four expert witnesses who look into the subject and come to some kind of conclusion. Recent episodes have questioned “How do you end a civil war?” and “Can you teach robots ethics?”


A podcast from another news outlet and that’s SRSLY the pop culture podcast from The New Statesman. Each week Caroline and Anna dissect popular books, films, TV shows and music in a more academic way than people sometimes do, they encourage listeners to get in on the discussion by contacting the show and recommending them subject matters to review.


I have been a fan of Russell Brand for a long time so when he started doing his latest project “Under the Skin” as a podcast I was right on it. Russell is currently studying Religion in Global Politics at university and I think he started this podcast so he could just interview thinkers, authors and professors and not have to read their books! He describes it as – Under the Skin asks: what’s beneath the surface – of people we admire, of the ideas that define our time, of the history we are told. Speaking with guests from the world of academia, popular culture and the arts, they’ll help us to see the ulterior truth behind our constructed reality. And have a laugh.


Prince Harry was the first guest on Bryony Gordon’s Mad World where he spoke about his own mental health so you may be aware of it. Bryony speaks to a range of people about their own struggles with mental health and what they have done to become and remain mentally healthy.

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Another one that sounds quite serious is Griefcast hosted by Cariad Lloyd. Cariad interviews a fellow comedian about a particular person in their life who has died and how they were affected by the grief they experienced. Cariad’s father died after a short illness when she was 15 and it interesting listening to peoples stories when in western culture it is sometimes a taboo subject.

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You couldn’t get away without a couple of vegan podcasts being recommended! These are from the UK’s biggest vegan charities Viva! and The Vegan Society which will update you with all the latest news, views, interviews and going-ons in the vegan world.

So that’s what I’m currently listening to. What are your favourite podcasts? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x


Quarter 3 2017 Goals Review

I missed out on my half year update so I thought I better make sure I did my quarter 3 one, so let’s get right in!

1. Continue to jog/run

I have done really well on this one and am currently running 5k three times a week. I have completed 14 parkruns this year including one when I was away visiting family and last weekend I beat my personal best time from when I did parkrun 5 years ago and was two stone lighter!

2. Take up yoga again

I started off well with this one but it has fallen by the wayside in the second half of the year. With running three times a week and swimming once a week there hasn’t been much time for it. Next year our new leisure centre is opening so I’m hoping I’ll be able to fit in a class there.

3. Eat more wholefoods

I have also been doing pretty well with this. I have been getting a UK organic veg box and doing more cooking from scratch. I think I’ll get even more into this as it gets more into Autumn and Winter and I can be making pies and stews.

4. Use less plastic

The way I have been achieving this is by buying less overall. I have also been bringing my own lunch into work and this morning I got my Pumpkin Spice Flat White from Pret in my own bamboo cup. The veg box mentioned above  I had also helped. I have struggled to find alternatives to plastics but by consuming less I am contributing less plastic to landfill and the ocean.

5. Be more politically active

I think I have really come into my own in the second half of the year on this one. I attended a few events at the beginning of the year but it was hearing activists talk at the Vegan Camp Out in July that really inspired me to get more involved. I have attended events in London with The Earthlings Experience as well as regularly attending local Earthlings events in my home town. I took part in Surge’s Down with Dairy event and matched with them as part of the Animal Rights March which saw 5,000 vegans take to the streets of London. I have made some fab friends through activism and hope to continue standing up for what I believe in.

6. Support more independent shops and traders

I am very proud to say I haven’t bought myself a coffee from Starbucks this whole year, and if you knew me last year you’d be very surprised by this! When I do occasionally buy lunch at work there are plenty of great independent food places about. I have also been attending vegan markets and finding out about vegan traders I wasn’t previously aware of.

7. Continue “No New Clothes” and expand on this

I am very happy to say I have been taking part in this challenge for 21 months now. I have bought a couple of items I needed, like a new zip up hoody but I am working on fixing the zip on my coat and stitching up are few bits that have come loose in time for winter. I recently had another little clear out for the charity shop of clothes that I still haven’t really worn in that time. In terms of other items I have managed to keep buying new things to a minimum as I don’t have much room in my flat!

8. Attend Church more regularly

This is another one that I was good at at the beginning of the year but I have let slide a bit over the summer. I have decided to start visiting my local church which is a 25 minute walk away rather than the church I grew up in which is 45 minutes away. The early service at my local church is also a solemn service so I will be home earlier as well.

9. Watch less television

With two evening a week (plus Saturday mornings) being dedicated to running and many Friday evenings doing activism this hasn’t been difficult at all! There are a few shows we regularly watch but it is far less than I used to. We even managed to catch up on BBC Hollow Crown second series (Shakespeare’s Henry VI part one and two and Richard III) which had been sitting on our planner for over a year as we had fewer and fewer regular programmes we were watching.

10. Continue to Blog

I did have a few week gap at the beginning of the summer, but apart from that I’ve blogged pretty regularly throughout the year. As long as things continue to inspire me I’ll continue to blog about them!

So that’s it! I don’t think I’ve done too badly, so I’m pretty proud of myself! Are you still working on your 2017 goals or were they forgotten around about February? Have you started thinking about your 2018 goals yet? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Quarter 3 2017 Goals Review

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.


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


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.



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.


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.


Plumes x


Hopefield Animal Sanctuary

April Round Up

How have I been feeling? 

My medication and herbs have really kicked in and this last week I’ve been able to up my running, so I’m running during the week now as well as weekends. At parkrun this weekend I was 15 seconds above my pb so I think I should be able to beat it this coming weekend.

Look at the effort in that tomato face!

What new foods have I been trying?

I went to Temple of Seitan at the beginning of the month which I reviewed here.

I ordered some wild garlic in my veg box and made a lovely risotto with it.

I bought my Mum 15 Minute Vegan and she’s made me a couple of delicious meals from it, butternut and sage macaroni and butterbean mash topped root veg pie.

For Easter my boss got me a Sainsburys white chocolate egg that went down very well!

I picked up a chocolate and coconut bar from Coco Di Mama which was rather tasty.

I went to Ask with my Mum to try out their new vegan menu which I reviewed here.

I tried the Suma beans and sausages which were really nice but a bit pricey so I think I’ll just chop up sausages into beans in future!

I bought the Quorn fishless fingers which are a new vegan addition. I had had the vegetarian version in years gone by and these were just as good. I made me own tartar sauce too!

I made some tempeh from scratch and I wrote about the process here.

I made this gorgeous banana bread from Sweet Simple Vegan.

I tried the new Cauldron vegan burgers but I wasn’t particularly impressed so I don’t think I’ll get them again.

I had one of my favourites smashed chickpeas but this time on purple potatoes that I bought from Ocado. They taste the same as white potatoes but have more antioxidants and look pretty!

What have I been enjoying?

This month has been much more low key than March. We went down to visit my cousin and his wife who is pregnant so this was our last visit as the four of us. We just hung out and played cards and board games and was all pretty chilled. Over Easter I spent a lot of time at church, attending Thursday, Friday and to the vigil on Saturday. We spent the following weekend at my in-laws and this past weekend was chilled at home, I did some sewing on my handmade dress at my Mum’s and did a couple of runs.

What am I looking forward to next month?

I am going to Ruby and Pickles supperclub on Saturday with my Sister-in-law and to a kilo vintage sale on Sunday. 

I’ve just booked to see the play The Philanthropist with a friend next week, I haven’t seen a play in a while so I’m really looking forward to it especially as it’s directed by Simon Callow.

I am taking part in Bubble Rush a 5k run at the Olympic Park in Stratford where there are foam bubble stations pumping out bubbles at various stages of the run. This is in aid of four hospices in East London including the hospice my Dad passed away at in December 2015.

How was your April? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

April Round Up