Zero Waste Club

Zero Waste Club is an online plastic free grocery shop. It started off as a university project between two friends. I originally met the founders at Hackney Downs Vegan Market last year and have been a customer ever since.

In every order I always buy organic oats. I eat overnight oats almost everyday so need a steady supply.

I had also run out of onion powder and as I’m making quite a bit of baked tofu recently so stocked up. The spices come in 100g bags so should last a while.

The last items I ordered and the ones I was most excited about were the bamboo toothbrushes. I have been using bamboo toothbrushes for a while but have had to tie a hairband around mine so I could tell it apart from my Husband’s. These toothbrushes are colour coded and also you only need to replace the heads rather than the whole toothbrush which is even less wasteful than a biodegradable toothbrush. Also for every toothbrush you buy and post on instagram, Zero Waste Club will plant a tree. What’s not to like?

I will be buying pulses and more spices as and when I need them.

How are you doing with you plastic free journeys? What are your top tips? Let me know in the comments below.

Plumes x

Zero Waste Club

Round up of the week’s food 160911

I’ve still been feeling under the weather this week. I’ve been very tired and had anxiety issues so I am going to see my doctor.

My Husband and I have been discussing how we can make small changes that will help our mental health. I think we are ok at planning our main meals but we definitely snack too much. I also buy the majority of my lunches out at work and I don’t have a regular breakfast routine. So hopefully we can save some money as well improving our health.

I swim most weeks and walk almost everywhere. I did do the Couch 2 5k a few months ago but felt it hard going in the heat of the summer and have let it slide so I hope to pick it up again as we get into autumn. I did feel it helped with my mental health and general wellbeing and I need to keep it up.

On Monday we started with a vegetable stir fry. I like this at the beginning of the week to get a good injection of veg.

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On Tuesday I went to a supper club hosted at Black Cat Cafe by vegan clothing brand Ethics and Antics with my Sister-in-law. I did feel really tired on Tuesday and could have easily gone home to my bed but we had prepaid and I was glad I went. We paid £35 each for a three course surprise menu with a goody bag.

The goody bag was laid out on our place settings when we came in and I was impressed by what we were given, including two full size drinks, two snack bars, crisps, chocolate, superfood powders and some discount vouchers.

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For starter we had a raw pad thai. This was really fresh and the peanut sauce was great.

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For main we had a sweet potato lentil dhal with rice, kale, roasted chickpeas and half an avocado. The curry was quite mild but tasty and filling. I wasn’t quite sure what the avocado added to the dish and thought it could have presented better.

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For dessert we were served a chia pudding. This was nice and light after the curry although I usually see chia pudding as a breakfast rather that an dessert!

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I did enjoy the food but if I had seen the menu before I don’t think it’s something I would have left at. I do like a supper club and I think it’s a great way to try new food.

On Wednesday I had a Linda McCartney quarter pounder with sweet potato fries and salad. I didn’t really have much appetite so hadn’t eaten much in the day but I did enjoy this.

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On Thursday we had a simple pasta dish with aubergine pesto and veg.

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We were cat sitting on Saturday so on Friday we decided to get a takeaway so we take the leftovers and wouldn’t have to cook while we were there. I had vegetable noodles and sea spice beancurd (my favourite!) Unfortunately it took nearly an hour and a half to get to us so I had well and truly stuck in before I thought to take a photo!

I’m looking forward to making soups and stews in the autumn and winter and feeling really nourished by vegetables.

Hope you have a good week.

Plumes x

Round up of the week’s food 160911

My 100th blog post!

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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!

Half way through No New Clothes!

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So as it’s 1st July I have successfully completed the first half of my No New Clothes for a Year challenge!

I have only bought second hand or vintage clothes. I thought it would be difficult to source items when I needed something in particular but I had no hassle when I looked for vintage running gear and I think I came out with items I love more than what I would be able to find new.

The biggest challenge I have had is tights. My Mum came to the rescue and gave me a bundle as she rarely wears skirts and dresses. Since I have been running I have been wearing socks more so I will see how I go, I may try to learn how to darn them although I think it’s quite difficult!

I have recently joined Vegan Runners and I’m itching to buy some merchandise to run in but I’ll just have to wait. Or I could buy some patches and attach them to my current running gear!

I’m already starting to look ahead to when my challenge is over. I plan on starting a sewing course in September so hopefully that will give me some skills to mend and alter either clothes I already have or second-hand/vintage clothes I could completely re-imagine!

I hope to always investigate the second-hand market first and only then in the unlikely event I can’t find something suitable will I go for brand new, preferably from an ethical, sustainable company.

How do you think you’d fair if you couldn’t shop for new clothes?

Plumes x

Half way through No New Clothes!

Clothing Cravings and Latest Buys

I have completed 5 months of my “No New Clothes for a Year” challenge! This is where I am buying no brand new clothes for 2016, however I am allowing myself to buy second hand clothes. I have found this quite easy up until now and have really enjoyed my vintage shopping trips as more of “events” than just browsing when I’m in town etc. I walk past some lovely shops from the station to my office everyday and I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything. I think by buying more/only vintage clothes I’m developing a bit of a style and I’m really loving a 70s vibe!

I have started getting cravings for some vegan themed tees. I follow a few ethical brands on Instagram/twitter and am really tempted when I see something really cool! I also saw so many cool things to wear at London Animal Frew Festival on Saturday! I won an Amazon voucher at work last week and I had a look at some stuff and debating whether it counted within my rules as I wasn’t paying for it. I decided it definitely didn’t count and I’m going to have to hold out until the new year!

My Sister-in-law Gemma and I went to the East London Vintage Fair a few weeks ago. There was so many stalls and items it took a while getting round everything. They had changing rooms which is great when a lot of the clothes don’t come with sizes and sizing has changed over the years anyway! Some stalls had items priced and those that didn’t had a more sort of haggle/negotiation vibe going on which I’m not too keen on. There was also a little bit of fur and quite a lot of silk going on. When the stall holders tell you something is silk saying what a real bargain it is, most people would be impressed, but my Sister-in-law and I both recoiled in horror!

I bought this dress for £20 I love the colour, pattern, cut and length. I have been complimented when I’ve worn it, even if my Mum thought it was frumpy!

I also love this top I bought for £15. The material is really soft and I like the colours. I love the cut on the sleeves and feel like a butterfly fluttering around when I wear it!

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I have started doing a bit more exercise and needed a some more gym gear to save me doing washing nearly everyday. East End Thrift Store who are located in Whitechapel now have an ASOS marketplace boutique so I picked up these Adidas tracksuit bottoms and cut off top. I usually run with small bag to keep my keys and phone in but these are my only joggers to have pockets in! I love the colours and they are lined and feel really cosy. They are a bit long for me but the elasticated ankles mean I’m not tripping over them. This picture doesn’t really do them justice as they’re much brighter. (I’ve cut my head out as my hair was doing crazy things!)

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The only thing I think I’m going to have to buy new soon is tights as most of my black opaque ones are coming to the end of their lives. Hopefully they’ll hold out until the end of June so at least I can say I did 6 months!

Would you consider doing a new new clothes challenge? What do you think you would find the hardest? Let me know?

Plumes x

Clothing Cravings and Latest Buys

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!

Anti Austerity March

Today I attended The March for Health, Homes, Jobs and Education organised by The People’s Assembly. It was widely reported on in the press (which makes a change!) in The GuardianThe IndependentThe Evening StandardITV News and Sky News among many others.

I thought I’d show you some of my pictures. I marched with my union, Unite.

I loved seeing all the banners of the different chapters of the unions. They told so many stories! The drummers were amazing, I couldn’t post a video here but have done so on Twitter and instagram if you want to check it out (@plumesworld on both). It culminated at Trafalgar square and that’s where I appreciated how many people were actually there! I also found it quite emotional as my Dad loved a good anti government (i.e. Tory!) march, he belonged to the PCS union, and I was quite sad that I never marched with him.

 

Plumes x

Anti Austerity March

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!

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

My Journey to Veganism

A lot of vegans are asked why they choose the vegan lifestyle and I thought I’d use this post to tell you about how I ended up becoming vegan.

Growing up my Mum had always had an interest in vegetarian cooking and we had a couple of vegetarian cookbooks at home. (Good old fashioned 70s/80s style!) We ate Quorn probably about once a week, either as mince in a bolognese/chilli or pieces in a stir fry. Talking to my Mum about this she said the reasons were mainly health ones but also it was convenient and it gave us another option food wise. We also had a number of vegetarians/pescatarians in the family so my Mum was used to catering for them when they visited.

I had never been a great lover of meat. I didn’t eat pork or ham and I couldn’t stand bacon. I think this was somewhat influenced by having to walk behind the kitchens when I went into school every morning and the smell of bacon frying at that time of the morning just turned my stomach. I wasn’t particularly fond of beef and found chicken boring/bland.

I started drinking soya milk when I was at uni in 2003/4 again as I wasn’t particularly fond of cows milk and I’m glad to see the dairy free milk industry has come on leaps and bounds in terms of products and availability since I shunned dairy milk.

I decided to go vegan at the end of 2009. I had been eating less and less meat throughout the year and it just seemed right. My reasons were more environmental at first and it just seemed so unnecessary to use all these resources to produce food I wasn’t particularly enjoying when I could eat a wholesome vegan diet. In November 2009 my Mum and I went on holiday to Vienna and we came across a lovely vegetarian restaurant and my eyes were opened to high end vegetarian catering!

I had decided the last meat I was going to eat was at my work team’s Christmas meal. I had steak and it was alright but it didn’t make me doubt my decision at all. I went into plant based eating full on and although I had read a lot I did find it quite difficult and limiting at first. After about 9 months I faltered and decided it would be easier to be vegetarian. I was still drinking soya milk but introduced cheese/eggs etc back into my diet. I had also had a flair up of anxiety following buying my flat and as I was getting a lot of help from my now husband and family I didn’t think it was fair to expect them to cook fully vegan meals for me. I was still drinking dairy free milk and all the baking I did was still completely vegan.

I was vegetarian for about 18 months after that but it still didn’t sit right with me. I continued to educate myself online about the dairy and egg industry and joined a couple of groups on Facebook. In 2012 I decided to transition to veganism but this time I was going to do it differently. I started eliminating the animal products I still ate slowly one by one and not beating myself up if I accidentally ate something or gave in to temptation. This started with not buying or cooking eggs, but I would still eat products that contained eggs. This took the pressure off as I didn’t have to frantically scan every packet I was buying. I then stopped eating cheese on weekdays, allowing it only at weekends as a treat. Then it easily became none at the weekends either. I replaced products I used regularly containing milk/egg/honey with animal free alternatives and then checking new products didn’t seem so overwhelming. I would say by May 2012 I had fully transitioned to a vegan diet and I have assigned May 15th as my veganniversary!

“But, Plumes” I hear you cry! “veganism isn’t just a diet! What about other lifestyle changes?”

Well in terms of clothes I didn’t own much leather/wool/silk to begin with but equally I didn’t throw anything out as I didn’t want to create waste. I just started checking any new items I bought and investigated vegan brands. (I’ll have to do a whole other post on my fave vegan retailers!)

By joining communities on Facebook and in real life (!) via the London Vegan Meetup Group I found my knowledge expanding through word of mouth and lots of my questions were answered in passing. I found this a lot less isolating then when I had initially tried veganism on my own.

I don’t wear a lot of makeup but again like clothes I didn’t have a huge clear out either. I just replaced my items as they ran out with vegan alternatives. Like many I was naive regarding animal testing in the beauty industry and as it seemed such an antiquated idea to me I couldn’t believe it was still so widespread!

Again I didn’t beat myself up as I learnt new things. I particularly remember someone asking a group for vegan toothpaste recommendations and thinking to myself “What?! Toothpaste’s not vegan either?” But you just adapt as you go along.

I have already blogged about my preferred cleaning products here, but this was another learning process of asking what other people used and recommended and trying things out for myself.

I said at the beginning that my initial reasons for going vegan were environmental but as I’ve learnt more about production methods in the agriculture industry I feel like I have become more compassionate towards animals and by not causing them pain, suffering or death I feel a closer affinity with them. I have also seen health benefits since turning vegan. I used to suffer from bacterial ear infections frequently as a child and into my mid-twenties. I also found I took a  long time to recover from colds and had a lot of mucus (gross right?) as well as what I call an itchy inner ear which caused me to do this weird thing with my throat to try and scratch it. I have heard this referred to as clucking but my brother named it goomping due to the noise it makes! Since I have been vegan I have not had a bacterial ear infection and I definitely have a lot less mucus. I do still goomp occasionally, but I think this is usually when I am dehydrated and it is a lot less than I used to!

The support I have received has also really helped me. My Mum is a total star and if you are a regular visitor to my blog you will know I go swimming and have dinner with her every week and she is forever coming up with new meals from recipes she has researched  online or looked up in her now growing vegan cookbook collection! She has been really responsive to all the information I have given her and in January I challenged her and her partner to go vegetarian for a month. She really enjoyed it and both of them have to decided to no longer eat meat although they will eat fish. My Sister-in-law has been vegetarian for over 20 years and transitioned to veganism over the last couple of years, its great to have a partner in crime at family events and I love discovering new vegan eats with her. My husband is not at all vegetarian but he eats mainly vegetarian at home and is becoming more and more willing to try new things. My Mother-in-law also goes to a great effort to cater for me when we frequently visit her home and she also introduces me to new products I haven’t been aware of before. I also love the online vegan community, especially on Twitter. I have chatted with so many great people and its great to share recipes, ideas and tips with other like-minded people. #veganhour is Tuesdays 7pm – 8pm UK time and is great place to chat to vegan peeps.

At my 30th birthday I decided to offer a totally vegan buffet. It was my party and I wanted to be able to eat everything! Some people had asked me prior to the event whether it would be fully vegan and I think they were pleasantly surprised (or they just ate before they came!) My vegetarian great-aunt sent me card after saying how much she enjoyed the party and how lovely it was for her to be able to eat everything. Something she had never experienced at a party.

Veganism moves more and more into the mainstream as time goes on. There is a lot more exposure of the lifestyle in the media and supermarkets and restaurants are offering more and more options to our growing demographic. Part of the reason I started this blog was to show people what vegans eat and how its not all weird ingredients you can only get in specialist health food shops. The feedback I have received has all been positive. I try to share information in an encouraging, non-judgemental way and although I don’t claim to be an expert I’m happy to try and answer any questions or let you know where you can find the answers.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and learning a bit more about me!

Plumes x

 

My Journey to Veganism

Shopping in Bournemouth

I went shopping this morning in Bournemouth with my friend Karen who I’m staying with this weekend.

First stop for me was Sunrise Organics which I had found online when I was looking up vegan options. They had a great selection of products, including fresh vegetables, perishables, dried foods, snacks and chocolate and beauty products.

First I picked up a breakfast sandwich from Amy’s Kitchen to have tomorrow before my long journey home. I love these and their great if your missing a “McBreakfast”.

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I then saw this blue cheese from Risella. I hadn’t seen it before and I really like their smoked mozzarella so thought I’d give it a go. The proprietor was also singing it’s praises so I’m looking forward to trying it.

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I then saw something I was really excited by! Vegan Egg from American company, Follow Your Heart. I have seem so rave reviews online about this product, previously unavailable in the UK. I have also tried their vegan mayonnaise which is so good! I know a couple of stores in London are stocking it, but I’m glad I’ve saved myself a trip as I expect they’ll sell out fast as the man in Sunrise Organics also said.

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After our lunch at Mad Cucumber (see my review here) we headed over to Molly’s Den to get our vintage shop on!

Molly’s Den is an emporium made up of lots of different stalls under one roof selling everything from furniture to crockery to toys to clothes.

The first thing I liked was this dress for £7. I love the colour and I really like this style of dress that ties up at the back.

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I then tried on this fabulous coat. It was a bit snug, but as my parka is on its last legs with a rip near the hood and a zip that pinged off when it caught in an escalator a couple of weeks ago I thought that would see me out until the spring and this could be my target coat for next winter.The tag inside says “made in Paris” and I don’t think I’d find a coat of this quality for £28 brand new.

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The last clothing item I picked up was this 60’s dress. It didn’t have a size on it but for £5 I thought you can’t go wrong! It just needs a bit of sewing on one side where the tie goes round.

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I also bought a couple of presents so won’t post them here. I’m glad I’m travelling home by train and could only buy what I can carry else I might have spent a lot more!

Plumes x

Shopping in Bournemouth