Animal Aid Christmas without Cruelty 2017

On Sunday I attended the 25th (can you believe?!) Animal Aid Christmas without Cruelty fayre at Kensington town hall. I have been attending this event ever since I became vegan 5 years ago and I think it’s my favourite event of the year. The atmosphere is very relaxed and you get the opportunity to really talk to the stallholders. I also bumped into a few familiar faces which was really nice starting with Polly and Phil from LDN vegans who have also posted a video about the event on their YouTube channel. I had arranged to meet my Sister-in-law and as we arrived at lunchtime we needed some fuel before we hit the stalls! We both went for lasagne with salad which was nice and hot and full of veg to balance out the snackage we were about to partake in!

Here is a pic of my little haul and I’ll talk through everything I picked up.

My favourite chocolate ever has to be Solkiki. I have previously interviewed their founder Bob when I reviewed their chocolate earlier in the year here. I could listen to Bob talk about chocolate all day long and I was pleased to try some of their new flavours. I bought their peanut and coffee bar and their bright pink raspberry bar which I’m going to try and make as long as possible! 
My Husband’s favourite cake of late is Battenburg and as I’d rather him have a vegan version than Mr Kipling’s I picked him some up from The Vegan Cakery. I’ve had their cakes multiple times in the past and they are always delicious.

I bought a vegan take on a pork pie made with beetroot and a smoked houmous centre, wowzers was this good! I scoffed it with my lunch today and I wish I had another for tomorrow!

I also picked up some cakes from The May Bakery who I was previously unaware of. I picked up a carrot cake and black forest Viennese whirl which I enjoyed with a cup of coffee later in the evening. These really hot the spot and I’ll be seeking them out at future events.

I also picked up a couple of bits for my Sister-in-law’s Christmas presents that she picked out. A fab pair of dog socks from Greek Animal Rescue and a T-shirt from Black Star (don’t worry I also have a couple of surprise presents for her!)

Last but by no means least we have the obligatory Lush bath bombs but this time we got to make them ourselves and they were free! It was great fun making them and even better it was a free gift!

I spoke to the lovely owner of Greenscents who really sold his products and company, they are natural and organic cleaning products. I’m stocked up at the moment but I was interested to hear they are available at Ocado where I usually get my shopping from. Here’s some more information from their literature.

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Another great T-shirt company were Simple Animal and I really commend you check out their designs on their website.

I’ve been thinking about where to get my next trainers from once I wear out my current ones so I was interested to see Freet which are supposed to help you feet move more naturally, it’s my birthday in February so these might be going on my list!

We tried some delicious chutneys from Cheeky Food Co and some sprinkles my Sister-in-law tried on her soup, I’ll definitely be checking these out to go with my vegan cheese at Christmas.

I also bumped into Ian from The Vegan Option. I met Ian many moons ago at a London Vegan drinks event. Ian presents a podcast which charts the history of veganism, I’m a few episodes in and I’d definitely recommend you give it a listen.

Did you attend the fayre? Did you get any great treats, eats or Christmas presents? Are you planning on going to any other vegan Christmas fayres in the next couple of weeks? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Animal Aid Christmas without Cruelty 2017

Hot Dog Fundraiser at Black Cat Hackney

Last night I attended a fundraiser for New Hope Animal Rescue at Black Cat Café in Hackney with my Sister-in-law and one of her friends.

New Hope is run by Niall and Vet Nurse Steph and they take in animals in need, often those who require medical treatment. They are currently looking to move in order to have more room so they can help more animals, check out all the details on their website.

Vegan café Black Cat in Hackney often host fundraiser nights for charities and this one was hot dog themed. We had to book in advance and I’m glad to say they completely sold out for the two sittings they had on the night. For £20 we had starters, mains and desserts and we were well and truly satisfied with the food we were served up.

To start we had these cute canapés of houmous on cucumber which were really tasty.

Next up we had sweet potatoes with vegan cheese and onions.

There were four hot dogs on offer and we all went for the Muttley Mac topped with onions vegan and Mac and Cheese. These hot dogs were giant! I added some ketchup (I can’t have a hot dog without ketchup!) and dived in! I am not the biggest fan of Mac and Cheese but this wasn’t overpowering or too saucy. 

And if that wasn’t already enough we had cupcakes for dessert. I went for the lemon and my Sister-in-law had the red velvet. The lemon was lovely and zingy and the red velvet had a cream cheese frosting on top.

Everyone had a wonderful night and all in all £1223 was raised for New Hope! Yay!

Plumes X

Hot Dog Fundraiser at Black Cat Hackney

Spring cleaning out my closet

I am taking part in a No New Clothes challenge for 2016. I am not buying any brand new clothes but am allowing myself to buy second hand from charity and vintage shops.

I don’t buy a lot of clothes and am quite careful about the things I do buy. Where I have seen others taking part in the challenge cleaning out bundles and bundles of clothes I thought I really don’t have that much! My problem is that although I don’t buy much I also don’t throw anything anyway! I like to wear my clothes until they are literally falling apart. However throughout the years this has left me with some good quality clothes that I don’t wear for various reasons clogging up my wardrobe.

I have had a clear out and thought I’d show you some of my pieces and use this post as a cathartic exercise. All these clothes are heading for the charity shop so if you are based in the UK and see anything you might be interested in let me know. Most items are a UK size 12 and properly creased as they have been stored in bags in the bottom of my wardrobe.

First off are some clothes I bought in online sales. They never fitted me nicely but as they were sale items I didn’t want to return them for store credit. I thought they would do for target clothes as I was losing weight, but as I have lost and gained weight over the years I think these were more wishful thinking than achievable targets! Now its a few years since I bought them they aren’t clothes I think I would choose to wear now.

This is a dress from Next which I wore a couple of times for work. I really love the colours and detailing but as I have learnt, fitted Next dresses don’t work well with my figure and sitting down can sometimes be difficult!


I really like this dress (yes it is a dress not a top!) I haven’t worn it many times as I haven’t had the occasions to and now I am in my 30’s feel it is definitely too short for me! Here I am wearing it on a night out for a friend’s birthday about 5 years ago.

This dress I haven’t owned too long, another online purchase. I like the colour, the detailing and the shape but the bodice is too tight and as I’m quite slim on top unless I get a couple of ribs removed I don’t think this will fit comfortably on me!


I bought this dress from Oasis when I was on a trip to Dublin with my Mum in 2012. Again I like this dress but just feel its a bit too short now.


I wore this dress to my eldest Goddaughter’s baptism, the only issue I have with it, is that is can create static when worn with tights so I have to wear a slip with it and even then it sometimes annoys me!

I have had this skirt longer than I have been with my Husband so its getting on for 10 years! We’ve been through a lot together I just don’t wear it anymore.


Another couple of skirts. I really like the pattern on the left one but again just feel its too short for me now. I love the brocade pattern on the right one but as its puffball its more of a clubbing/party skirt and I don’t go to many of those nowadays!

A puffball dress this time, which I bought from my friend Michelle, so will be third hand now! This is a hell kitty dress with some lovely details, the straps are adjustable with buttons and there are darts throughout the skirt. This is another one from my party days where I just don’t have the right events for it anymore.


I bought this puffball dress for a holiday to Greece in 2011 with my cousin. I love this for the memories but haven’t worn it in years.

These last two pieces as a couple of my favourites and the hardest to give away! This skirt I bought to wear at Christmas, I do like a Christmas day outfit! I have worn this at work Christmas parties too. I haven’t worn it in recent years due to the length (quite short again!) and as it is wool it doesn’t fit in with my vegan sensibilities. Here I am wearing it at my in-laws for Christmas day 2010.

Women of a certain age will instantly recognise the design on this corset top. Jane Norman was the shop of choice for many of us, even if it was just get our hands on their posh carrier bags to put our P.E. kits in! I used to shop for my Jane Norman fix in their concession in Debenhams rather than the Jane Norman shop as Debenhams tended to have bigger sizes (of which I mean 10 – 12!) I bought this top when I was about 20 and it has made me feel fabulous. I love the embroidery on it but it does look a bit 00’s to me now! The last time I wore it was in 2012 for my work Christmas meal.

What are your shopping habits with regards to clothes? Do you want to change them? Would you consider doing a no new clothes challenge?

Plumes x

Spring cleaning out my closet

First Charity Shop Clothes Shopping of the Year!

I am quite proud of getting to the last weekend of January before buying any clothes for myself. So I am one twelfth through the year and I’ve kept to my new year’s resolution of not buying any brand new clothes!

I did buy a vintage jumper for my cousin Amanda when I went to a Pop-up Vintage Fair (you can read about it here) and I got a few non-clothes bits in my first charity shopping trip of the year.

My Husband and I visited my cousin Dan and his fiancee Amanda last weekend. On Saturday we left the guys with the PS4 and Rocket League whilst Amanda and I went into town.

Amanda is a lover of charity shop shopping so its great when we get together. We are the same size which has its positives in terms of borrowing clothes but sometimes I get quite jealous when she spots something we both love first when we’re on the charity shop trail!

I bought this skirt for work from Shelter for £3. The tag says “Epilogue” which is not a brand I have heard of. It’s a nice length and works really well with my ankle boots.


I’ve been looking for some flat black shoes for a while. It is quite difficult finding shoes in charity shops, first you need a style and colour you like, then there’s the size and I have the additional requirement of no leather. I was very happy when I came across these in the Oxfam shop for £7. They were slightly big but I think this will be sorted with a couple of in-soles.


I came up trumps in the Mind shop. There were quite a few things I liked the look of so was in the changing room for a while! Firstly this dress from Next for £5.50 I really like how the butterfly pattern covers the whole dress and the material felt lovely.


I also bought this Next t-shirt for £2.75. It’s quite long, but not long enough to wear with leggings so I think I will keep this for when I can get back into my jeans! This, again, felt really soft and looks like it’s barely been worn.


The third thing I bought in Mind (which I forgot to photograph!) was a London 2012 Paralympics DVD. My Husband and I were lucky enough to go and see some of the events in 2012. We saw Swimming, Table Tennis and my Mum joined us to see the athletics where we saw David Weir win Gold. He is from my Husband’s home town and we were so proud when we saw a local post box painted gold in his honour. I hope watching the DVD will bring back happy memories and get us in the mood for Rio in the summer!

Have you made any good charity shop finds recently? Let me know!

Plumes x

First Charity Shop Clothes Shopping of the Year!

First Charity Shopping Trip of the Year

Today Mum and I went round our local charity shops before our weekly swim. I do visit them occasionally but looked at today as a scouting mission for my year of no new clothes.

We went in 6 shops in total and I was impressed by how organised they were. There were lots of staples so I’m sure I’ll find something when I’m in need.

I tried on one skirt but unfortunately it didn’t fit. I’m also trying to mindful about my clothes shopping. There was a lovely dress, but I have lots of lovely dresses and a few which are a bit tight so thought I’m better off concentrating on getting into those then buying more. I also saw a lovely patterned skirt but as I love a pattern I don’t really have many plain things to wear with it so left it on the rail. I wanted some flat shoes but there weren’t many flats at all. Maybe people keep hold of them and just give away the heels that hurt their feet! Also most of the shoes seemed to be leather which I can understand when looking for good quality second hand but doesn’t help little old vegan me!

I didn’t leave empty handed though! I bought a salt shaker for 50p in the St Francis Hospice shop, as we only have our big container of salt which isn’t great when we have guests. I bought my husband a DVD game of the TV show “24” still in cellophane for £2.99 in British Heart Foundation. We love a board game and I always keep my eyes peeled for them in charity shops. He has looks at the reviews online which aren’t glowing but I’m sure if nothing else we’ll have a laugh playing it once and it might go back to the charity shop for someone else to give it a go! I also bought a book by Niger Slater on British food culture again in BHF for £1.75. I love watching Nigel make his simple suppers even if most of them aren’t vegan and really enjoyed reading his autobiography of his early years “Toast” (which I still need to lend to my Sister-in-law!) So hopefully I’ll enjoy this one too. I’ll have to watch buying second hand books as well as I have about 3 lined up on my Kindle I need to read and I have to study for my exam in April. I’m also trying to declutter the flat so definitely don’t need any more!

I joined a group on Facebook run by the lady who inspired me to do this challenge Jen Gale (@makedoandmendyear on twitter and blog here) which I hope will provide lots of helps and tips throughout the year.

Apparently most people give up on their new year resolutions by 10th January so I’m doing well not just with no new clothes but no clothes at all!

Plumes x


First Charity Shopping Trip of the Year

Charities and Organisations I support

At this time of goodwill I thought I’d tell you about some of the charities and organisations I support and I why I do so.

I support international aid. I think the poverty suffered in developing countries is more than we can imagine in the West. Some don’t agree with the Government giving money to other Governments in aid when they are spending their budgets on other projects, for example sending aid to India when they have a space programme. I support two charities who work directly with communities to educate, improve sanitation, safety and the economic environment for those involved.

I have sponsored a child through Plan International for over 5 years. Plan started by providing care for children following the Spanish civil war and has since grown enormously. My child lives in Honduras and it’s great receiving letters, photos and updates about him and his community as well as the wider work Plan does. As Plan have bases is so many developing countries they are usually one of the first organisations on the ground following natural disasters and as they have supply chains and contacts already set up they are in a position to provide a lot of help. My Mum also sponsors a child through Plan, she had sponsored another child buy Plan withdrew from that area as they helped the community so much they were self-sufficient and no longer needed Plan’s help and guidance.

I also support Care International. They are my company’s global charity partner and provide international aid. They started sending care packages during the second world war. I also support Care international through their “lend with care” scheme. They partner with microfinance companies in developing countries to loan money to small business owners in order to expand their businesses. You can look at the entrepreneurs’ profiles to see what industry and country they’re in and what they want to do with their loan. It will tell you how much they want to borrow and how much of their loan has been met. You can then lend an amount starting from £15 or can buy others gift vouchers. You will then receive repayments on your loans every month which will go in your lend with care account, then you can either withdraw the money or lend it to someone else. You periodically receive updates from the entrepreneurs to see what they have achieved with their loans. I have made 12 loans, helped 38 entrepreneurs, helped 149 family members and created 4 jobs.

I also support my local hospice. St Francis Hospice in Havering atte Bower. This was where my Dad passed away and received excellent care from the staff and volunteers throughout his illness. Hospices support the NHS enormously and provide care and assistance in the home as well as day therapy and in-patient care. St Francis Hospice must raise over £7m a year to continue to provide care to the community. They have a number of shops and organise sponsored events as well as setting up tribute funds for those who have died and people leaving legacies in their wills. They also have a lovely memory tree where you can pay to have a loved one’s name engraved on a leaf. I have been overwhelmed by the generosity of my Dad’s friends and family who have contributed to his fund. I would sincerely hope you support your local hospice as you never know when you may need to rely on their care.

I also support a couple of vegan organisations. The Vegan Society provide educational materials and spread the word of the benefits of veganism to animals, health and the planet as a whole. I also support Viva! a vegan campaign group who campaign to reduce the exploitation of animals throughout the world. They raise issues from supermarket supplying exotic meat to plans for mega farms amount many others. It’s great to see their updates on what has been achieved.

There are many other good causes out there and I try to give one off donations when I can. As my new year resolution is to only buy second hand clothes I’m sure many more charities will benefit from my purchases!

What charities do you support? Let me know in the comments.

Plumes x

Plan International

Care International

Lend with Care

St Francis Hospice

Vegan Society



Charities and Organisations I support