Bloody Periods

Periods are annoying at the best of times, but the politics of periods can be particularly frustrating to say the least.

First off, here in the UK we have the tampon tax. VAT (Value Added Tax) is applied to luxury items at a standard rate of 20%. In 2000 VAT applying to sanitary products was reduced from the then standard rate of 17.5% to 5% following a campaign from Labour MP Dawn Primarolo. The fact we pay a luxury tax on sanitary products and not on Jaffa Cakes is frankly ridiculous.

There were calls for the tax to be scrapped completely a couple of years ago, but due to some sort of EU complication this wasn’t possible (maybe this will be post-brexit but I doubt it’ll be a top priority). However, then Prime Minister David Cameron said the money received from the tax would go to fund women’s health and support groups (The Guardian).  It has come out recently that some of this money has gone to fund an anti-abortion charity (The IndependentThe GuardianThe Metro). Many people were angered by this news (although little this government does surprises me nowadays) but there are ways to limit the amount of money you are paying towards this tax.

Reusable sanitary products have been around for a while and in my mind bring up images of hippies. I remember seeing stickers on the back of toilet doors at uni advertising moon cups. I was always a little curious but it wasn’t until I saw similar adverts at a vegan fair a few years ago I thought I’d investigate it further.

I bought a menstrual cup from Femme Cup  and it seriously changed my life. No longer worried about always having tampons on me just in case, having to change it far less often and having the piece of mind that I wasn’t adding waste to the oceans or to landfill. Also the money saved over the years is a plus point too!

From their website –

Femmecup is a reusable menstrual cup worn internally just like a tampon except it collects menstrual flow instead of absorbing it.

Femmecup forms a gentle seal with your vaginal walls and any flow is contained in the cup.  It is then simply removed, emptied into the toilet, rinsed with water and then reinserted; Femmecup is always with you when you need it most!

Femmecup is non-absorbent so it can be left in place for up to 12 hours with no risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome; you may want to empty it more on heavier days and less often on light ones, it really is your personal choice as long as you always keep to the 12 hour rule.  In between periods your Femmecup should be sterilised either by boiling in water for 2-4 minutes or rinsing with sterilising fluid such as Milton.

Femmecup holds up to 30ml, that’s 3 times more than tampons or towels can absorb; so Femmecup is great on heavy days and light ones too.

Femme Cup also allow you to buy a cup for a women in the developing world where access to clean, affordable sanitary products is limited. It is a big issue in some countries where many girls miss time off school when they are on their periods due to lack of provisions. I was glad to read the following story in Stylist Magazine –

An initiative that provides free sanitary towels to girls in Bangladesh has significantly decreased dropout in 500 schools. Before the actions of organisation Labonya, girls in the Mithapukur district often missed a week of school every month as they had little knowledge of menstrual hygiene, which in turn lead many leaving full-time education altogether due to falling behind in their studies. “Students now don’t skip classes during menstruation and are doing well in exams,” said Labonya director Ashequr Rahman. The organisation is now calling for the project to be rolled out across the country.

 Unfortunately the affordability of sanitary products is now becoming an issue for school girls in Britain (The MetroBBC NewsThe Independent). It is also an issue for homeless women, refugees and asylum seekers. Bloody Good Period are an organisation which re-distributes sanitary products to those in need. You can go on their website and buy something from their Amazon wishlist or contribute in another way.

If you donate to food banks, especially the bins in the supermarkets please consider adding a pack of tampons or pads to your shop to donate. Unfortunately periods aren’t a luxury and are still such a taboo subject we need to help those most in need to have access to these basic supplies.

Thanks for reading.

Plumes x

Bloody Periods

Being Dairy-Free and Osteoporosis

Last week the National Osteoporosis Society released the results of a survey showing a fifth of under-25s are cutting out or reducing dairy in their diet. The articles I saw in the press seemed to leap to the sensational (Huffington PostBBC News).

These articles didn’t seem to mention dairy-free milks or calcium set tofu as a source of calcium which I think seems quite peculiar as I don’t know anybody who follows a dairy free diet (vegan or otherwise) who doesn’t replace dairy, with dairy-free alternatives. (This leads the sceptic in me to think the dairy industry is pushing an agenda.)

The NOS contacted the Vegan Society as they wanted to set the record straight and offered to feature a quote from the society on their website (see their full response here).

“The charity has informed us that some media reports exaggerate the findings, making it sound like dairy is the only source of calcium and failing to note the alternative sources that can be easily obtained on a vegan diet, such as calcium-fortified plant milk and soya yoghurt, and calcium-set tofu. Other sources include kale, pak choi, okra, spring greens, dried figs, chia seeds and almonds.

“Damage to the environment and animal welfare concerns are likely to lead people to make the decision to avoid dairy products. We encourage those curious about vegan diets to visit The Vegan Society’s website which has extensive information and research on all aspects of plant-based nutrition.

“Since The Vegan Society was founded over 70 years ago, millions of people around the world have been following a vegan diet and enjoying its health benefits.

“Any diet, vegan or non-vegan, could be lacking in nutrients if they are not adequately planned. It is the position of the British Dietetics Association, the largest association of food and nutrition professionals in the UK, that ‘well-planned plant-based, vegan-friendly diets can be devised to support healthy living at every age and life-stage’.

Countries that have the highest consumption of dairy products have the highest rates of osteoporosis, there are various theories for the reasons why (which I’ll let you research at your leisure). Humans are the only species that consume milk past weaning and we have only being doing it for a relatively short amount of time (10,000 years) in terms of our evolution.

Every diet should be planned to ensure you aren’t suffering from deficiencies of any nutrients and if you are worried about any vitamin deficiencies you can speak to your doctor about getting tested for it.

Lastly I just wanted to leave you this graphic of dairy free sources of calcium.

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Plumes x

Being Dairy-Free and Osteoporosis

Buddy Box from Blurt

I can’t remember where I first came across Buddy Boxes, it may have been on another blog or a Facebook post but I’m so glad I did.

Blurt are a charity increasing awareness and understanding of depression. They have various resources on their website and one of their initiatives is the Buddy Box. This is a box of self care items which can be bought as a one off or a monthly subscription. I bought one for my friend who was recovering from surgery a couple of months ago and got one for myself this month. You can order throughout the month and the box will be dispatched on the 9th of the following month. Each box has a theme and this month’s is “Out of This World”.

Firstly I just love the box and the tissue paper, they seriously commit to the theme.

First up is this tea (rrp £3.50)  from We Are Tea, you get 12 bags (posh ones like teapigs) that contain echinacea, nettle, berries and calendula petals. I love tea so this has gone into my locker at work so I can enjoy a cup everyday.

Baths are one of the best ways to relax and I love how this bath bomb (rrp £2.99) from Bomb Cosmetics fits into the theme of the box. I can’t wait to try it out!

I’m interested in reading this self help book You Are A Badass (rrp £9.99) by Jen Sincero, it looks like an easy read and quite funny and entertaining.

I was thinking what I could use this Don’t Be Afraid To Shine pouch (rrp £7.50) for and I’ve decided I can put my sewing bits in it when I carry them around in my handbag.

I think you get a pin badge in every buddy box that matches the theme. This cat in a rocket is really cute and it’s going onto my jacket sharpish.

There is also a little zine each month explaining the theme.

This cute postcard is going up on my fridge.

And there’s also this cute card which tells you about all the products on the back.

This is not something I would subscribe to monthly as that’s not my thing, but I think it’s cool to buy one every once in a while when you think you need a little help with your self care or to buy for a friend who you think could do with a few nice things. Another thing to note is not all the items are guaranteed to be vegan, although all the items in this box were. 

What do you think of the Buddy Box? What you consider buying one for yourself or a friend? What are your self care tips?Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Buddy Box from Blurt

Review – Ask Italian 13th April

I was glad to see another chain restaurant has introduced a dedicated vegan menu and decided to try it out yesterday with Mama Plumes.

I had looked on the menu online and had already decided on the vegetable fettuccine which came with spinach, courgette, tomatoes and a black olive tapenade on top.


My Mum ordered to grain salad but I forgot to take a photo of hers!

I was pleased to see we had vegan stickers on our plates and on the menu it said to make sure you ask for the vegan version. I assume there are non-vegan versions of some of the dishes. I was disappointed that when the waitress put the dishes down she asked if I wanted cheese. I assume this is an automatic phrase as they always ask if you want cheese and black pepper but a bit of training wouldn’t have gone amiss. 

The dish was nice but nothing special, I would have a liked a couple of fancy ingredients like pine nuts or artichokes included. 

The pasta was very filling but I wasn’t missing out on dessert so I ordered the chocolate orange tart to take home.


The tart was really rich and I think there could be a bit more orange running through it as it is just on the top. If you have this at the restaurant it comes with raspberry sorbet which sounds really good! It’s nice they have a proper vegan dessert and you can’t go wrong with chocolate.

Overall I enjoyed my meal but I wasn’t blown away. I would go back to Ask if I was in a pinch but with more offerings all the time from restaurants I think they could up their game a bit.

Have you been to Ask? What did you think? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Review – Ask Italian 13th April

Quarter 1 2017 Goals Review

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So we are already a quarter through 2017, how times flies eh? So let’s see how I’ve been getting on with my goals.

1. Continue to jog/run

I have slowed down with this one due to not feeling very well recently although I’ve still been running about once a week. Hopefully over the next couple of weeks I will be able to start running a little bit more. I’ve signed up to take part in Bubble Rush a 5k run through foam in the Olympic Park in Stratford in May.

2. Take up yoga again

Again my practice has lapsed a bit due to my energy levels but I did take part in a yoga event in February and I hope to attend more events in the year.

3. Eat more wholefoods

I’ve been doing well with this due in part to my veg box. I’ve bought some tempeh starter to make my own tempeh from dried soya beans. My Husband is trying to cut down on meat so he’s been eating more food with me and made us a lovely dhal the other day.

4. Use less plastic

The way I have been achieving this is just by buying less overall but I don’t feel like I’ve made many substitutions apart from buying the veg box. Obviously buying less is great but I need to do more research when making essential purchases.

5. Be more politically active

I’ve attended two events already this year, the protest against the Great British Greyhound Board in January and UN Day Against Racism in March. I already have a list of events in my diary for the upcoming months and I’ve been taking part in craftivism taking tips from Craftivist Collective.

6. Support more independent shops and traders 

I have been doing well with this. I have only had one chain coffee this year! I went to a lovely little wholefoods shop in Hackney the other day and got some smoked garlic I’m really excited about trying. When I’m in a new area I’m searching my maps app for independent places. I find it the most difficult in stations when I really need something quickly.

7. Continue No New Clothes and expand on it 

I have not bought any new clothes so I’m doing well on that front. I need to source some running tights/leggings as I am a larger derriere’d lady and feel like I need a sports bra for my bum – the jogging bottoms aren’t providing enough support! I keep seeing a lot of vegan branded products I would like to buy but I have been resisting the urge!

8. Attend Church more regularly

This is another goal I’ve been successful with. I have attended church every weekend I’ve been home and I attended on Saturday evening last week as I was busy on the Sunday. I found the local Catholic Church when I was down in Ramsgate and it was really nice visiting a different church.

9. Watch less television

This has been easier than I was expecting. I think because of the eating more wholefoods I’ve been cooking more, leaving less time for TV and as I’ve been fatigued I’ve been sleeping earlier too.

10. Continue to blog

I have also done well with this goal. I’ve been quite active and have had lots to blog about! So hopefully this’ll continue in the coming months. I still have a couple of ideas I’ve been meaning to blog about which I haven’t had a chance to as other topics have come up.

So overall I think I’ve been doing pretty well. There are a few areas I need to concentrate a bit more on so I will try to keep those in mind.

How have your goals been going? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Quarter 1 2017 Goals Review

Review – Temple of Seitan

I first tried Temple of Seitan’s fried vegan chicken at the Just V Show last July so when I heard they were opening a permanent shop in Hackney I knew I had to go and get my fill!

They opened in January to massive queues as reported in the mainstream press and quickly had to recruit more staff and upscale their production.

I met up with my Sister-in-law and my Husband so we could share in this junk food feast!

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We each went for the burger which came with vegan bacon, lettuce and mayo. They also have various sauces you can add yourself. The seitan is really crispy and chewy and the bun was lovely and soft.

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I went for some coleslaw with mine, which was a huge pot. I think it could have done with been smaller and having more mayo in it!

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My Sister-in-law went for some mac and cheese. I had a little nibble and really like it. I wasn’t too saucey which is my kind of mac and cheese.

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My Husband got a “two piece” as well although there were three pieces in the container – bonus! I really liked the taste of the strips on their own as well.

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They were also selling peanut butter, chocolate mud pies so we had to get some to take home. These were soft gooey and delicious.

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I will definitely be going back to Temple of Seitan hopefully in the not too distant future.

Have you been? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.

Plumes x

Review – Temple of Seitan

March Round Up

How have I felt?

I went and had some blood tests for the fatigue I’ve been experiencing and I’ve started to receive treatment and will continue to be monitored. I have had an appointment with a herbalist student at the College of Natural Medicine to do all that I can be to be helping myself.

What new foods have I been trying?

I picked up some new products in Sainsburys, the Quorn nuggets and the Cauldron burgers and sausages. I had the nuggets with curry udon that my Husband made. They are nice to have in the freezer for emergencies but I think I need to do a taste test to see whether I prefer these or the Fry’s ones!

I had the sausages which are tomatoey and beany with mash and veg. They are nice and a bit different to other sausages and because of the flavour not the most versatile. I haven’t tried the burgers yet.

We went down to Ramsgate for the weekend so I marinated some tempeh to have with breakfast. This was from the cookbook Baconish, I really liked the flavour but I think I’ll need to try and get the tempeh thinner next time!

I had a great lunch which I blogged about here.

I had some lemon and blackcurrant sorbet at a parlour on the front.

I completely stuffed my face at Seaside Cake Parlour in Margate and brought home some cakes too!

I went to Glasgow for work and ate dinner at Mono with my friend Christine which I wrote about here.

I went to The Gate in Hammersmith and had a fabulous meal which I wrote about here.

What have I been enjoying?

I started off the month with a bang and went to see Cabaret vs Cancer Ashes II Ashes David Bowie tribute with my Mum. There were singers, dancers and all sorts of performers. It was like nothing I’ve seen before!

As I’ve previously mentioned we had a lovely weekend away in Ramsgate and stayed at a lovely cottage available to rent here.

I took part in the UN day against racism by marching in London and I shared some photos of the day here.

We went and saw the fabulous Postmodern Jukebox and I was amazed at the skills of the performers.

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I can’t believe I’ve done so much in March. It’s definitely been a busy month!

Plans for April

April will be a quieter month. I did have plans to go on holiday but unfortunately those had to be cancelled. I plan on doing some vegan activism and hopefully will spend some time with my cousin and his wife. We haven’t got any plans for Easter yet but it should be a nice break.

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

Plumes x

March Round Up