I travel, I plant, I paint (mainly walls), I scoot, I tie dye, I write

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Remember a few days ago I said I was going to try vegan pizza and hummus???

Yeah, well we didn’t have any hummus so we didn’t do that BUT this pizza was AMAZING! No condiments needed at all, don’t you even think about it! Just leave it alone in all it’s glory.

When we bought it from Tesco (their new vegan Wicked Kitchen range) there was only one left – I mentioned James promised to share it with me and thankfully he did. I completely understand why there was only one left. You will not want to share this. Also, it’s not massive.

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Never, in less than a month, have I ever made so many ‘umm’s while eating or my mind been blown so much. That’s saying something. I’m questioning what I’ve been eating most of my life because I’ve definitely made the wrong choices if I have never consistently been wowed like this before.

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Christmas in 2016 (is this chick still talking about Christmas?! no, don’t worry, hold tight) I realised that, for me, it isn’t about consumerism..

“Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.”
Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

..and so all my gifts were from charities and small businesses.

It felt good. It was almost right but something was still missing.

For years I would fantasize making presents instead and living the Christmas dream I always imagined in my mind. Last Christmas, 2017, I did just that. I made the presents for my family (but I obviously had to buy stuff to make this gift).

I have an obsession with documenting and collecting, I also love an adventure, doing things less ordinary and particularly with my partner in crime. So that’s where this idea naturally came from.

Welcome to that gift, which I can now share with you and will continue to share through out the year because, as you will see, it is a present for the whole of 2018. (And if you’d like to play along that’ll be cool?)

An Adventure Box!

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I gifted each couple in my family this box from Ikea filled to the top with 12 A3 envelopes – one for each month.

Each month has a list of activities to do along with items I provided.

They range from ‘go for a walk together’ to dressing up for St Patrick’s Day. There’s also some ridiculous things which was my partners input. Like, really stupid.

There are also suggestions at the bottom for things to do – if there was a moment in their month where they wanted to do something but couldn’t think what.

I tried to keep things free, there aren’t activities to spend loads of money up London or go on holiday, but rather fun simple things together – while still traveling about and having adventures. Which is what I’m about anyway.

 

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When they first opened the box they saw the sheet above explaining what the box is. Underneath in it’s own plastic bag was this lot below. A photo album (with only 12 sleeves and I put a sticker of each month on each page), a bunch of stickers, washi tape, wooden names, and glue dots.

Every month they have to choose their favourite photo and pop it in there. There they have the option of decorating the album or anything else in the future.

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I made 6 of these boxes in total but I’m showing you my Mum and Dad’s box, I’m sure they won’t mind.

This month;

  • share the bottle of champagne
  • write a hope, dream or resolution on the paper provided and roll it up into the Christmas bauble
  • go for a walk with their fit bits, whatever the weather
  • pop a photo in the album

jan emilyannlou

A lot of these things are a joke. The champagne is sparkling perry (think Lambrini) and the expensive fit bits are 99p each.

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That’s all for now, I’ll share each envelope in the month it’s intended for. I spent a lot of time on these boxes, from September till Christmas Eve (I really wanted to be done in November but I kept getting more ideas). I love the idea so much and I’m pretty chuffed with how it came out. My family all seemed excited too, which is obviously the most important part.

Thanks for reading! If you decide to do any of these things let me know!

 

 

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So at work I got a text from my partner saying ‘I just tried Tesco’s new vegan range and it was f**king amazing!’

I, on the other hand, couldn’t get anything at work that was a normal, pick me up, lunch. I had to buy a pack of pita bread and a pot of hummus.

Needless to say, when we both met up we rushed out to Tesco quicker than you could say ‘I’m a vegan, by the way’. James went to town as you can see by our trolley, I only bought a mushroom wrap, but there are lots of different bits and all of it looking delicious. Especially that pizza, James promised to wait for me to have it together. Stay tune to see if he keeps to it.

We are going strong on week three now. Still enjoying it thoroughly. To make sure I can make it vegan till the end of the month (or just make it alive) I better stop the spending on all these new and exciting things and actually try recipes. What more, I need to try and make them, not my partner.

 

If being vegan means I get to eat curry everyday, I think I’m okay with it.

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I swear I don’t eat out this much, ever.

My family didn’t realise it wasn’t ‘normal’ to eat as much curry as we do till one of my typically English friends (who’s parents wouldn’t cook it because of the smell) pointed it out. Then again her shock didn’t mean much because we were shocked at her, but I’m proud to say that she had her first curry with us.

We are a curry family.

Seeing as I ate meat up until 4 and a half years ago I would have the same dishes and always with chicken.

Once vegetarian, at our favourite curry house, I took the risk of trying a Vegetable Thali (I used to be a picky eater). My mind was blown away at how delicious it was – without any meat! Although I was trying new things you quickly fall back into a routine and naturally I had my ‘usuals’.

Now, this vegan month, we have been trying new things left right and centre and I have to say that has been the best part. All the delicious foods I’ve tried. You have this idea that vegans mustn’t like food, or you have to be a meat eater to be a real ‘foodie’. Couldn’t be further from the truth.

Vegan curry – you should try it even if you eat meat. Think of it as just curry, without a label. Just delicious food.

We ordered so many different dishes, not knowing if we would like any (and my old picky eater self came out when I saw a spinach one and judged it) and they were all amazing. I don’t remember curry being this good when I ate meat.

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Then quite naturally I had an onion Bhaji wrap from ASDA the next day, which wasn’t the best really but I can’t resist feeling like I HAVE to try things when I see they are vegan.

And as I finish this post I am day dreaming about finishing off the left overs from the curry house. Oh curry, I do love you.

james day 11

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Two vegans go to a carvery for dinner..

Sounds like a good start to a joke, but sadly it’s a true story. You can also guess the outcome.

You’d naturally be like ‘why would vegans go to Toby Carvery, a place of meat, for dinner???’ BUT they have a new veggie and vegan section on the menu so why shouldn’t you try it?! That’s what it’s there for. Yeah, there are a load of other restaurants which you’d consider first, but the vegan flag was waved at us and we wanted to wave it ourselves.

Let’s just start with the bad impression I got from the start. I haven’t been to Toby Carvery since being a veggie, so it has been years and year, but people I know still go and often say ‘oh I could really do with a Toby’s’ and then after ‘I’ve got a Toby baby’. It’s a thing.

Well, after ordering a pink gin and tonic that was on the menu, being told they might not have it, she’ll have to check, and then us ordering our vegan meals and being told they might not have it, she’ll have to check… (they had all three but it’s a bad impression straight away)… after that, I noticed two adverts that just haven’t been taken down, clearly.

 

Summer and Christmas. Neither which is going on right now. That’s bewildering to me. We had a £5 bowl from Wasabi (that was delicious) and this meal came to £22. Wasabi didn’t have damaged menus and out of date posters.

I just think it’s really strange.

To the dinner anyway. Not worth it. It was okay, like if I made it I’d probably be proud (but I can’t cook for shit), but that small dish for £6.99?!

I had the Grilled Aubergine Stack – Grilled aubergine and Mediterranean style vegetables combined in a tomato and oregano sauce topped with a vegan white sauce and breadcrumbs. I don’t remember the white sauce now I’ve re read it.

James had the Portabello Mushroom Bullseye Tart – A hand crimpled suet pastry case, filled with an indulgent mushroom sauce, topped with a whole portobello mushroom. It wasn’t a whole portobello mushroom, it was a mini portobello mushroom.

My verdict is that it was just crap. Not worth it. Which you’d think, again, ‘can you really be surprised? It’s a carvery!’ but yeah, don’t do shit food for the sake of it. I’ve had so many delicious foods since being vegan this month, it’s blowing my mind – so why make this crap? The portion size was tiny too. You’d see people coming back from the carvery with food piled high, each person like they’re eating for two, and then we got served a child’s portion. Weird.

Also you can go to a run down place and it’s fine, adds character (most old pubs) but instead it was just the kind of place that I don’t want to waste my money on.

We left hungry and disappointed.

My advise; go to Wagamama, go to Pizza Express, even The Harvester.

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Best part of it all, the pub after.

Have you ever dipped pizza into hummus? It sounds gross, but it’s a game changer.

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Now realising how unhealthy I clearly am (I’ve always known but because I’m putting my diet on the internet for a month, I’m pretending it’s a shock) I thought rather go for the easy option of crap food, I’ll dip some veg into hummus. Not wild and not pizza (but there was pita), but I had just come back from a 3 hour walk and it seemed a shame to ruin it.

Don’t worry though, I also snacked on Aldi’s version of Oreos after.

I’ve had a good vegan pizza from Pizza express but I was wondering if I should make a cheese-less pizza, full of veg, and dip that into hummus.

Please trust me, hummus and pizza. It’s the future.

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