February Round Up

How has the month been?

I started the month off by visiting my Husband’s family and catching a cold from our germ-infested nieces! This lasted a couple weeks but ever since I have felt really exhausted. I assume this is just a hangover of the virus but I’m going to get some blood tests to see if anything else is going on there. Although I’ve been very tired it hasn’t really affected what I have done apart from less exercise/running and more naps! It was also my birthday this month and I have had a great time celebrating which I’ll share more with you below.

What new foods have I tried this month?

When I looked through my photos this month I couldn’t believe have many new things I have tried. Who said being vegan was boring?!

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I celebrated 10 years with  company at the beginning of the month so I brought in some yummy vegan treats. I made a jaffa drizzle cake, which is an orange drizzle cake with a thin layer of dark chocolate on top. This was delicious and I’ll definitely be making it again.

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I went out with some colleagues  to Ekachai as one of our work friends was leaving the company. It is a South East Asian restaurant which is very efficient for lunchtime eating! I had this gorgeous tempeh curry and there are a few vegan or easily veganised dishes on the menu.

I went down to visit my friend Karen and her family in Bournemouth this month it was so nice to pick up some provisions so easily in Waterloo station. I got four vegan cupcakes for us to share from Lola’s Cupcakes and it’s great to see them continuing to expand their vegan range.

We went out to Wagamama for dinner and I had the itame coconut, chilli and lime soup with tofu and vegetables. I’ve never had this dish before as I prefer the noodles to soup but as I had this stinking cold I thought it would do me good! It was really tasty and I had some cauliflower in a lovely sticky chilli sauce as a side.

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We stopped for a hot drink and a cake at Sweet Greens which I wrote about in this post.

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I asked Dani from Vida Bakery to make my caterpillar birthday cake and she certainly didn’t disappoint!

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I celebrated my birthday eating food from Vegan Peasant which I wrote about here.

On Saturday I went to a local independent space and had a lovely chocolate brownie and Earl Grey. It’s nice to see small, local places catering to vegans.

On Sunday we took a trip to Green Bay and I bought all this swag I’m currently working through.

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And finally on the food front we used the sgaia bacon pictured above with some mushrooms in a giant pancake to share to celebrate Shrove Tuesday.

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What have I enjoyed?

I went vintage clothes shopping with my Sister-in-law on the first weekend in February which I wrote about here and I also picked up this fab vintage swimsuit in Bournemouth.

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I had a fab time in Bournemouth as a whole, even the body combat class we did on Sunday morning!

I spent some time catching up with friends who I haven’t seen in a while. I’ve now known these ladies over 10 years!

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I loved receiving all these gorgeous presents for my birthday.

I completed my second parkrun of the year and felt better afterwards than the first one and I bought myself a Lush giraffe bubble bar to celebrate.

Plans for March

We are heading down to Ramsgate for a belated birthday weekend away. I plan on taking part in a march against racism and we have tickets to see Post Modern Jukebox at the end of the month. If you haven’t heard them, check them out on YouTube.

How has your February been? Let me know in the comments.

Plumes x

February Round Up

Make London Better

I read this article in Time Out London this week (in a real paper copy I am currently holding in my hand and everything!) and thought I would pick out some of the things from the list of 28 I’d be interested in doing.

The sub title of this article states – Want things to change, but don’t know where to start? You don’t need to do much to help improve your city. Here are 28 great initiatives to be getting on with.

Buy bread and support refugees

E5 Bakehouse make bread that has been kneaded by refugee women under a railway arch near London Fields. Hackney is really easy to get to for me and who doesn’t love bread!

Fly a homemade protest banner

Those who know me know I love a good protest, but unfortunately I do lack some creative skills so I’m definitely going to get my hands on one or two of the mini banner kits from Craftivist Collective

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Buy clothes from shops that fund sustainable fashion

If you follow this blog you will know I (rather successfully) try to source my clothes second hand. Traid have 11 charity shops in London and fund eco-friendly fashion initiatives around the world. This brand seems familiar to me, I’m sure I’ve had some of their own brand items from when I was a child in the 90s and my Mum belonged to our Church’s Justice & Peace group. They also run upcycling workshops which definitely sound like my kind of thing!

Pop in for coffee  cake at a charity shop

I was already aware of Cafe from Crisis on Commercial Street and had intended going there one lunchtime, I just haven’t got round to it yet. They help ex-offenders and homeless people back into work via the cafe’s training scheme.

Visit London’s first “Happy Café” 

Woop woop! This is something I have already done multiple times! I love The Canvas Café and have written about them previously on the blog. They are a not-for-profit venue hosting loads of events and supporting pop up caterers and their vegan freakshakes are divine!

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Join the campaign to declare London a national park

As London is 40% green space this campaign wants to make London the world’s first National Park City so we can protect those spaces for future generations. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!

Buy a colouring book and help victims of domestic abuse

I really admire the work of Sisters Uncut who I have been aware of for some time, and I hope to attend some of their events this year. In the meantime I will buy this in order fund their campaign for better services for victims of domestic violence.

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Go to a punk event to support positive mental health 

I’ve written previously about my own mental health so this event to fund mental health research by Dr Joel Vos at Roehampton University speaks to me personally. There will be many activities from live music and a punk art installation to mental health talks over 5 days from 27th to 31st March.

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Raising money for people living with cancer at a Bowie night

Through typing this I am formally inviting my Mum (hey Mum!) to come to this event Ashes to Ashes II with me on March 1st (Ash Wednesday – see what they did there?!) to raise money for people living with cancer. My Dad was a big music fan and died of cancer a month before David Bowie did.

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Get chatting to strangers and make this city a less lonely place

This week Jo Cox Commission on Lonliness launched a campaign to get people talking. I am one of those nutters that says good morning to people in the street and get chatting in the supermarket queue so this is another easy one to do!

So I’ve picked 10 out of the 28 that I can realistically see myself doing. Not all of them are exclusively London based so take a look through the full list and let me know in the comments which ones you fancy taking a bash at!

Plumes x

Make London Better

Goals 2017 – One Month Review

I wanted to write this post to give you an update on how I’m going with my goals, what’s working well, what isn’t and are there any changes I can make going forward.

If you haven’t read Goals for 2017 you can to see the reasons behind each goal.

1. Continue to jog/run

I have been jogging for 30 minutes three times a week consistently in January and I completed my first Parkrun of the year last Saturday in 40 mins 20 secs. I’ve found this goal easy to do as I feel the benefits from it straight away!

2. Take up yoga again

I have been doing my yogalates DVD once to twice a week, I would like is to be a little more regular but hey sometimes life gets in the way! I’ve got my yoga and vegan food event coming up in a couple of weeks so I’m really looking forward to that.

3. Eat more while foods

I think I’ve been doing pretty well with this. Since we’ve been getting our veg box I find I am planning each meal around what veg we can have rather than around the protein. I still probably have around one lazy meal a week but we haven’t had any takeaways this month.

4. Use less plastic

My real win for this has been the veg box as nothing comes in plastic, if there is any packaging it’s card and you return the box each time which is reused 10 times before  is recycled. I also have my eco cup which I have only used once as I’ve just been going without coffee rather than using takeaway cups. I find it difficult with supermarket shopping to find things not in plastic. I don’t have anywhere I can bulk buy beans/grains in my own containers so if anyone has any tips I’d greatly appreciate them.

5. Be more politically active

I attended my first protest of the year on Sunday which you can read about here. I would have loved to have attended to Womens’ March in London but unfortunately I was in Eastbourne that weekend and I couldn’t attend the emergency march on Downing Street on Monday as I was too tired from Sunday’s protest and I had to have some self care. I plan to attend my first Awakening event in March and I’m sure other events will come up throughout the year.

6. Support more independent shops and traders

Think I’ve done ok with this goal, although I have just been shopping everywhere less (both chains and independents) although when I have I have attempted to use independents. I’ve found a lovely Australian coffee shop near my work and I use the two independent coffee shops near home. I have only had one chain coffee and that was in Eastbourne after church on the Sunday, my cousin and I had tried two independent cafes first but they were both shut so we had to resort to Costa.

7. Continue No New Clothes and expand on it

I haven’t bought any new clothes. I went to a vintage kilo sale on Saturday and bought four items and then a jumper in a charity shop. I haven’t really bought anything else that I’ve needed to source although I have ordered some plates from Magpie who are an independent vegan operation, I had scoured the charity shops before Christmas for plates but the only ones that suited my needs came in huge 24 piece sets which I don’t have the room in my flat for.

8. Attend Church more regularly

I have been to church every Sunday I have been at home and I attended with my cousin while I was in Eastbourne. I am at my in-laws this weekend and I may try to attend on Saturday night depending on what time dinner is!

9. Watch less TV

This has been achieved with the help of American shows going on their mid-season breaks! We have been watching Twin Peaks on blu ray at one to two episodes a day but we have now completed that and the mid season breaks are over. We have a couple of episodes of Homeland on the planner and the DC programmes (Supergirl, Flash, Legends of Tomorrow) have been back on this week. I’m going to try to ration to one fiction and one non-fiction a day at most. I have been listening to more podcasts while cooking/running and travelling and watching more YouTube as well which is more concentrated on content I feel is of more value to me.

10. Continue to blog

I hope if you are a keen follower of the blog you have seen how active I have been in January! I’m planning about 3 blog posts into the future at the moment so I’ve got quite a few ideas bouncing around my head so I’m going nowhere for the foreseeable!

All in all I think I’m pretty much on track with all of my goals at the moment. Long may it continue!

How are you getting along with your own goals and resolutions? Let  me know on the comments.

Plumes x

Goals 2017 – One Month Review

January Round Up

When I started blogging again I said I was no longer going to post weekly round ups so I’ve decided to go to monthly ones and include other things besides food.

How has the month been?

I think I’ve had a pretty good January. I like the calm after the chaos of Christmas, and December was particularly poignant as it was the first anniversary of my Father’s death and his birthday.

I like the opportunity to plan and think about my goals for the year. Actually writing a post about these has helped me keep focus rather than having vague ideas about what I want to do, and I think I’ve made a great start (even if I do say so myself!)

What new foods have I eaten?

I wrote the post New Year, New Food! to share the new food I had at the beginning of the month. Since then I have tried out some of the new M&S vegan nch options which I posted about here.

I received my first veg box from Riverford and made these beetroot burger using Jack Monroe’s recipe.

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I went down to Eastbourne to visit some family and my cousin and I had a lovely meal at Oh My Goodness!

In the same weekend I visited South downs Nurseries and had a lovely meal and got my hands on some of the new Quinoa Puffs from Eat Real.

I ordered some macarrons from Floral Frosting Bakery and they were fab!

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I grabbed a cranberry and banana muffin from Canvas Cafe on  way into work the other day. It definitely filled a hole!

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I made this cauliflower pasta dish from Vegan Olive.

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I had a lovely meal at Banana Tree on Sunday.

I had a lovely juice and avocado on toast from The Good Yard for breakfast in the week.

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Yesterday I got these gorgeous smoked tofu bao buns from Pod.

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And finally last night I nabbed this matcha latte chocolate bar from Planet Organic which I am rationing to two squares a day!

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What have I enjoyed the most?

Well something I have been planning on doing for a while is running 5k at Parkrun with Brother. I managed it last Saturday in 40 mins 20 secs coming 238th out of 246 runners. (Don’t you just love his spikey hair?!)

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I also attended my first protest of the year which you can read about here.

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Plans for February

I am attending a yoga and vegan food night in Whitechapel with my Sister-in-law.

I am going down to Bournemouth to visit my friend (and a new veggie cafe has just opened there up as well!)

and most importantly it’s my Birthday!

How was January for you? Let me know in the comments.

Plumes x

January Round Up

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Hope you are all having  great day. I’ve had a lovely morning apart from hitting the top of my head on a low beam. Ouch!

I thought I’d use this post to show you my presents.

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My Brother and Sister-in-law got me the Eden Perfumes bottle that smells like Be Delicious by DKNY. Eden Perfumes are a cruelty free brand that imitate the fragrances of popular non-cruelty-free brands so you can get vegan versions of your fave brands at a fraction of the cost! They also got me the gorgeous green and gold owl scarf and the Elizabeth Shaw raspberry bites. I’m fond of the mint discs but I’ve never tried these raspberry ones so I’m looking forward to trying them.

My cousin bought me the Booja Booja truffles which are my favourites and the red bush tea which we have both been getting into recently.

My Mum got me the veggie cola bottles, the M&S creme brulee liquer  (which is amazing!) and some festive socks as well as an Amazon voucher which I’ve used to buy some kindle books – Amy Schumer the girl with the lower back tattoo, Mara Wilson where am I now? and Sue Perkins Spectacles.

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My in-laws got me this gorgeous top from Next which I think I’m going to wear for my Brother’s birthday next week. It has flared sleeves and a beaded neckline which is really pretty. They also got me some dark chocolate with coconut from Waitrose which I’m looking forward to trying. They also got me an Amazon voucher which I think I will use to buy a spiralizer or a tofu press.

My Nan gave me some money which I used to buy this bag from La Bante which are all leather-free.

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My cousin and his wife framed a lovely photo of my Nan, Mum and me from their wedding in April.

My Sister-in-law and Brother-in-law got me an M&S voucher which I will use to buy some new tights!

We’ll soon be sitting down to dinner which I can’t wait for!

Hope you enjoy the rest of your Christmas period!

Plumes x

Merry Christmas Everyone!

I’m back! And end of No New Clothes challenge

Sorry I haven’t posted for a few months. I was feeling really tired a lot of the time and had got into a rut with my eating so didn’t fancy doing my weekly updates on my food when I thought it was really boring and samey!

I think going forward I’ll only do food posts when I cook something special or different or if I’m eating out. I did find my weekly food posts a bit of a chore and that’s not what this blog is about!

So onto my clothes challenge. At the beginning of 2016 I decided to take on “No New Clothes for a Year”. I was inspired by Jen from My Make Do And Mend Life and joined her two Facebook groups (no new clothes and buy nothing new) to connect with others doing the same. You can set your own rules and mine were that I could only buy second-hand/vintage clothes and essentials.

At the beginning of the year I was buying a couple of second hand pieces a month but as the year went on I even cut down on that. I managed to go without buying any essentials thanks to my Mum donating me some of her tights as she doesn’t wear skirts/dresses very often, and as I started jogging in the summer I managed to get some second hand gym gear on ASOS marketplace and eBay. The only two new items I had in the year were T-shirts, one from my company for our London Pride event and one from St Francis Hospice when I took part in a charity walk. Both these have gone into my gym clothes which I use regulary.

So in a year I have bought 5 dresses, 2 tops, 1 gym outfit, 1 skirt, 1 coat and 1 pair of shoes – all second hand, which I don’t think is too bad. The only things I’m a bit unsure of were the pink t-shirt dress in the middle and the coat. I’ve still been wearing the dress but it doesn’t exactly “spark joy” which is a mantra of minimalist guru Marie Kondo. I will continue to wear it until I get bored and then it shall be re-donated to charity. I love the pattern of the coat but it didn’t fit perfectly so I bought it as a “target” item. I promised myself I wouldn’t do this but I did love it! Unfortunately I didn’t look at it carefully enough before I bought it as the lining needs a lot of stitching and the sleeve is moth-eaten so I think it will need to be recycled. A lesson learnt!

The only things I have really struggled with is tights and having a lack of options where I have gained weight. When I gain weight I don’t like to buy new clothes in a bigger size anyway so that hasn’t changed and am now back on a healthier lifestyle eating mindfully and doing exercise. I have already seen some rewards in having clothes fit more comfortably, my mental health is better and my skin is clearer!

So what does this mean going forward?

I plan to keep my clothes shopping to a minimum and buy vintage/second-hand where I can. I have asked for some vouchers for Christmas in order to buy some tights and bras and my Husband has bought me a new pair of everyday shoes as my current ones are falling apart. I don’t buy a lot of shoes and wear mine until they are completely worn out. I have struggled this year to find good quality, non-leather, second-hand shoes. I will continue my hunt but will buy new when I absolutely need to.

I had a clear out of my clothes throughout the year but I plan to do this again as I have some clothes I haven’t worn at all this year.

The only things I have really wanted to buy but have resisted are vegan/animal/charity/campaign t-shirts. I tend to wear dresses so I don’t have many bottoms to go with them. This is my logic for resisting temptation! Although I have bought a few slogan tote bags throughout the year (which I don’t count as clothes) although I do now need to cut down on these too!

I want to extend my reduced shopping to the rest of my life and have a good declutter. I live in a one bedroom flat with my Husband so I don’t have much space. I already minimise what I buy and I don’t like having too many things but I think there’s still room for improvement.

The area I think I can make the most impact in is my kitchen. I have a lot of cookbooks only a handful of which I use and I put myself on cookbook ban a long time ago, but I can clear out those I don’t use. I also need to clear out my cupboards of unused out of date food and use up what I do have in there. As my flat is small things just get bundled in the kitchen cupboards and I can’t actually see what I have to use. My fridge broke a few weeks ago and we had to get a new one which was a great opportunity to get rid of all the old jars in there. I also need to clear appliances. I have a dehydrator and an ice-cream maker boxed up in my living room for months that I still haven’t put on ebay/freecycle.

I’m hoping that decluttering the flat will also improve my mental health as I always feel happier when it is clearer and tidier. With less things I’ll have less to clean and will be less tired from chores and have more time for fun stuff!

I don’t think my Husband will be looking forward to this as he can be a bit of a collector. Our hallway is wall to wall shelving with games, books and films and the top of the shelves house his collection of video game memorabilia. I won’t insist on him decluttering but by getting rid of some of my things there will be more room for his so it will generally look tidier. We are also hoping to move in the not too distant future so decluttering will help when we need to get a few jobs done in the flat. It is so difficult in a small place as you don’t have any space to move anything if you need to do some plastering or decorating!

What is your style? Are you a minimalist or a hoarder? Do you have any plans to make any changes?

Let me know in the comments

Plumes x

 

 

I’m back! And end of No New Clothes challenge

My 100th blog post!

100th post

I can’t believe I’ve made it to 100 posts!

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog and given me feedback either on WordPress, Twitter or Facebook. You are the reason I do this and as long as you are interested in what I write I’ll keep doing it!

I did have a blog a few years ago but soon lost interest. I think having my weekly round ups have kept me on track as I know I’ll be posting at least once a week. It has also made me be more imaginative with my food as I know I’ll be sharing it at the end of the week.

Apart from food and veganism I’ve really enjoyed writing about my adventures in vintage clothing and I’m hoping to write more about my running as I get more into it.

Writing this blog has helped me be more reflective and the positive feedback I received for my post Exercise and Mental Health have given me the confidence to be more open about my anxiety. I think we all need to be more open about mental health issues to help remove the stigma and if my writings can help one person I’ll be happy.

So here’s to the next 100 posts!

celebration

Plumes x

My 100th blog post!

Exercise and Mental Health

I have suffered from anxiety issues since I was a teenager and have had a few flair ups over the years, the latest being through my Dad’s illness, death and aftermath. I was prescribed anti-depressants with an aim of being on these for a short period and had a number of one-to-one CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) sessions. I have being reducing my medication gradually month by month (with my GP’s supervision) and as of last week I have come off completely.

Neither my Husband or I drive so we walk practically everywhere and if you read my weekly food round ups you will have probably read I go swimming with my Mum at least once a week. I have enjoyed these forms of exercise but felt I needed something that got my heart pumping a bit more. I have also wanted to get into running but have been pretty terrible at it (!) so I was really excited when I started reading about Couch to 5k.

If you aren’t aware this is a nine week programme developed by the NHS which aims to get you running for 30 minutes but the end of it. In week one you start by running for 60 seconds followed by 90 seconds this alternates for 20 minutes. This builds up so you are doing more running and less walking each week. You do three runs a week before you move on to the next week. You can download podcasts and a friendly voice called Laura tells you when to run  and when to walk as well as giving lots of tips and encouragement. (If you download the app you get a choice of “voices” and can play your own music). There is also this forum where you can chat to other participants and gain and give advice.

I have just finished week four where I have been running for 3 minutes, walking for 90 seconds, running for 5 minutes then walking for 2 1/2 minutes and repeating the cycle. Before the first run this week I was really anxious as to whether I would be able to run for that amount of time but I just took it slow and steady and I did it! It does get easier as you build up stamina and run longer with more ease each week.

There is a park less than a minute from my flat where I run. Not only do the endorphins I get from running help with my mood and general mental health, I think being in a natural setting with lots of green and trees helps too, something I wouldn’t get from being on a treadmill in a gym. I also enjoy seeing all the dogs in the park even if I am sure some of them are on a mission to trip me up! I enjoy seeing the other joggers in the park too and I am tempted to high five them as we pass eachother although I haven’t gained the courage to try it just yet!

I’m really encouraged by how far I’ve come. Once I’ve completed the programme I’m going to start doing Parkrun. These are 5k runs which are held in parks all round the country every Saturday and are completely free to enter. I took part in one in 2012 and thought never again! But now I’m building up my stamina slowly week by week I’m sure it’ll be more manageable this time around!

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What are your favourites forms of exercise? Have you tried anything new to you recently?

Plumes x

 

Exercise and Mental Health

Sunni’s Kicking Ass on the Road

Let me tell you about my friend Sunni.

We met at a meetup in London a few years ago while she was travelling around the UK and we clicked instantaneously. I saw her a few times during her time here before she continued on her travels. We have kept in contact via social media, mainly Facebook but also via our blogs.

Sunni has been travelling for the past 5 years and has written a guide for solo female travellers using her knowledge, wisdom and experiences from her travels.

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I have no interest in travelling for extended periods of time alone or with others so you might not think this book is for me! However the book contains loads of great tips for short trips or holidays, for everyone not just women.

Having known Sunni for a while and read her writings on her blog I wanted to buy this book as I love her style of writing. It is very honest and funny and she writes exactly how she speaks (which is no nonsense, telling like it is, in a way only Australians can do!) I also love the cover picture (part of the reason I bought the print version) I took part in some polls for Sunni to decide on the cover image and I’m so glad she went with one of herself!

I received the book when I got home yesterday and read it in the bath and am about 40% of the way through. It is very clearly laid out with helpful chapter headings so you can quickly flick to the part you need.

I also skipped to the back and saw Sunni is releasing another book in July with personal stories from her travels which I am so looking forward to as I know she can tell a juicy tale!

Sunni truly lives up to her name and is one of the most positive people I have ever met. I find her very inspiring and loving hearing and seeing what she is up to on her travels.

Her book is available through Amazon in print and Kindle versions via getbook.at/kickingass the Kindle version is $2.99/£2.08 until 10th June.

You can read Sunni’s blog at www.sunnidawson.com and see her video about the book here, you can also join her “Live Brave” community on Facebook via this link.

I hope you enjoy it!

Plumes x

 

Sunni’s Kicking Ass on the Road

4 Years Vegan!

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Tomorrow I celebrate 4 years since turning vegan, and it is truly a celebration!

If you want to read about how came to veganism see my post My Journey to Veganism.

I can’t believe it’s been four whole years, I feel so much better for making that choice and aligning my actions to my principles. Recently I have been speaking to more vegan-curious folk and I’m happy that by sharing my experiences and knowledge I’ve gained and I can help them on their own personal journeys.

A common answer to the question “Do you regret anything about becoming vegan?” is “I only regret I didn’t do it sooner!” in my four years of veganism I have seen the options and general attitudes towards veganism come on leaps and bounds and it is only getting easier to make the switch to cruelty free living.

To recognise the impact my four years of veganism has had I went to Vegan Calculator and these are my results –

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It truly puts into perspective what a vegan lifestyle can achieve.

I couldn’t do this alone and I’m thankful for the support and positively I’ve received from my family, friends and work colleagues. I also am eternally grateful to my virtual vegan family on Twitter and instagram sharing great food, answers to queries and spreading the vegan love!

I’m always happy to answer questions about vegan living and if I don’t know I’ll try to direct to somewhere that will have the answer! So either contact me on here or Twitter/instagram @plumesworld

Plumes x

4 Years Vegan!