Friday, 31 October 2014

The Great Vegan Challenge 2014

As you may or may not know, November is World Vegan Month. Since becoming vegetarian I've considered the idea of going vegan. One of my main reasons for going veggie was because I disagree with the way animals are treated before they're killed for meat. I don't think it's wrong to eat meat, I just think that meat deserves to have had a happy and healthy life beforehand. The same goes for dairy cows, for example. I don't really think it's wrong to drink their milk, but I think that us drinking their milk shouldn't impact on their lives, which it clearly does in this day and age with the huge demand for milk, cheese etc.

This is where The Great Vegan Challenge comes in. For the month of November, I have signed up to go vegan. It's meant to be a 30 day challenge, but seeing as James and I are going to stay at his parents this weekend I've decided to postpone my start until we get back, as I don't want to turn up at his mum's and suddenly say 'Oh by the way, I can't eat any dairy or eggs, etc.' so this will be more of a 28 day challenge for me.

I signed up in early October, which meant they sent me a great information pack with plenty of tips and recipes I can use. One of their tips was to buy lots of the things you'll need beforehand. Seeing as I use almond milk instead of cow's milk anyway I'm already stocked up there. I've already got dairy free margarine in my fridge, and today I picked up some soya chocolate yoghurts. Seeing as I'm veggie I've got a plentiful supply of Linda McCartney sausages. I think I'm good to go for now!

Another of their tips, which is to take a trip to my local healthfood shop, is definitely first on my to-do list when I return from James' parents. There's a great shop right in the City centre, so I'm going to pop in and pick up some bits and pieces so I can make myself some nice vegan treats. The one thing I am worried I'll really miss is cheese, so I'm thinking of picking up some nutritional yeast as I've heard it's great to sprinkle on food to give you a cheese-y taste, and apparently you can make a nice 'cheese' sauce from it too.

I'm most worried about what I'm going to eat at work. We get a free lunch/dinner when we're on shift, and I like to take advantage of that seeing as it saves me money. There are some vegan options, we have houmous and roast veg readily available as well as salad leaves so I can have salad. It does get a bit boring and same-y though. We also have veg crisps and a vegan cupcake, so I should be ok. I might bring in rice cakes to have with the homous and veg to change things up occasionally as I don't like to have bread very often.

With any luck by the end of November I'll be loving being vegan and won't be able to imagine eating dairy ever again, just like I can't imagine eating meat again. But obviously my sanity comes first and if I'm miserable I'm not going to carry on with it. I'll definitely always try to keep my dairy, egg, etc. intake to a minimum where I can. I also don't want people to worry about what to cook me if I come round for dinner, so even if I stay vegan I won't refuse a meal from anyone cooking for me if it has cheese or whatever in it.

I'm going to write updates throughout the challenge, and post any good recipes I find. If anyone has any good tips or easy recipes for me, let me know. Or if you're doing the challenge too, drop me a message and we can keep each other motivated when we want to reach for the cheese!

Bryony :)

Friday, 24 October 2014

LUSH Wishlist

Payday is around the corner and I am planning on treating myself to some LUSH goodies. Sadly I doubt my purse strings will stretch far enough to allow me to buy everything I'd like to. But for now I can make do by sharing my LUSH wishlist, which may help me to decide what to buy and what to leave for another time.

I've been wanting to try out a cleanser from LUSH for a while now, but I wanted to make sure I picked the right one. My biggest skin worry is blackheads, and nothing I've ever bought has done anything to shift them so I tweeted the lovely guys at LUSH and asked for a recommendation. They've told me that Herbalism is the way to go for blackhead issues, so I'd really like to try this out and see if it helps.

I've wanted to try Marilyn ever since reading Hallfy's blog post 'Blonde Ambition'. I have my hair bleached every two months and I'm forever looking for anything to keep it in decent condition as it can get quite dry. I don't use heat on it and I swear by Wella Professionals Oil Reflections, but it could still use something extra. Hopefully Marilyn will do the trick.

I was given a sample of this last week when I was buying some gifts for my housemate's birthday and I absolutely fell in love with it. It smells to die for, I wanted to eat it instead of wash with it and after I washed I wanted to lick my skin. I only needed a small amount to create loads of lovely lather. My only reservation so far is that it obviously contains honey, which conflicts with the fact I'm doing a 30 day vegan challenge in November.

I love a good shower scrub, there's no better feeling than getting out of the shower and drying off, feeling like you've scrubbed all of the day's crap off you. I especially love that this is antiseptic and am really eager to try it out.

I could add about a million bath bombs and so forth to this list, but I'll leave it at this for now. If any of you have tried any of these products please let me know what you thought of them as it may help me to decide which to buy come payday! Or if you think any other products are better than these, let me know!

Bryony :)

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Comic Book Day: The Wicked + The Divine #5 and Bodies #4

Yesterday was of course, Comic Book Day! It was a good week for me as I got The Wicked + The Divine as well as Bodies, so I'm finally all up-to-date with Bodies now and it's on James' pull list so I'll never be behind again. I love both these comics, although I have to say they're both currently full of a lot of mystery. My poor brain can't take much more, I want answers!

First up was The Wicked + The Divine. I really love this comic, it's beautifully drawn and has a little bit of everything. I particularly loved this part, it really came out of nowhere and I just love any issue that has Ananke in as I love her headdress. I want to look like her when I'm an old lady. She's also pretty intriguing, seeing as she's the only one whose been around for thousands and thousands of years. This issue was also packed with plenty of 'God on God' violence, which looked pretty astounding.

As I mentioned last week, I LOVE SHAHARA. She's my favourite detective out of the four. In this issue she once again kicked some ass and made me love her even more. It feels like this issue was starting to bring some plot points together, but I am still SO CONFUSED and can't wait for this to all start making sense. Especially the section set in the future because I have no idea what's going on there, but I like it.

Bryony :)

Monday, 20 October 2014

Homemade Christmas Present Ideas

I realise it's a little early to be talking about Christmas, but I'm the kind of person that likes to be organised. I like to spread out the cost so I'm not skint come December and seeing as this year I'm planning on making as much as possible myself I need to get a move on or I'm going to spend all of December slaving away over presents.

Naturally the first place I turned to for inspiration was Pinterest, which has provided me with some excellent ideas for a little homemade goodie bag.

This is so easy! I love it. I'm thinking I'll ask everyone what their favourite hot drink is and how they take it, then I'll write their name and all the info on the mugs and maybe a few doodles. So simple yet really personal and lovely.

I love this idea. Again, really simple. Super Christmassy, plus it's always nice to have a scrub on hand with no nasty ingredients. There's also a recipe for a Peppermint Scrub on the same blog, so I may make some gingerbread and some peppermint.

Seeing as my family are all big drinkers (and most of them like whiskey) I really like the idea of making them some apple cinnamon whiskey. I don't even like whiskey but that sounds amazing to me. I'm planning on buying some mini milk bottles to present it in, it's going to be so cute!

I love curds. I plan on re-cycling some miniature jam pots from work to package these up in, and baking some shortbread to dunk in. Sounds like heaven to me, hopefully my family will agree!

Are you hand making any Christmas gifts this year? I'd love to hear about it!

Bryony :)

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Comic Book Day: Bodies, Lumberjanes and Death of Wolverine

Today was a good haul for me comic book wise. Last week James asked the comic shop guys to back order issue #3 of Bodies for me so that arrived today, as well as issue #7 of Lumberjanes (only one more left, noooo) and Part 4 of Death of Wolverine (also nooooo). I was very excited to get stuck in.

First up is Bodies. The more I read this comic the more I love it (and the more confused I get, I hope it all makes sense eventually and that I'm not just stupid). My favourite character at the moment is Shahara, she's absolutely awesome. She's intelligent, she's tough, and she can kick some serious butt. I just love seeing such a positive representation of a Muslim woman in a comic. My favourite part of this issue was seeing Shahara totally destroy an extreme 'patriot'. Beautiful.

Next up was Lumberjanes. I have such a soft spot for this comic, as it was the first one I started collecting and I just bloody love it. It's so funny and quirky, I'm pretty sure I've settled on Ripley as my favourite character (partially because I love that she's named after one of the most badass film characters of all time). This issue came with a twist which has me waiting on tenterhooks for the next and final issue (sob). It also came with some very beautiful artwork.

Finally we have Death of Wolverine: Part 4. I didn't really want to read this, because I don't want Wolverine to die. Wolverine is one of my favourite comic book characters ever. Saying that, parts one to three of this have been AWESOME. The artwork is amazing, there's been plenty of intrigue and more than once I got hit right in the feels. But to be honest I was left pretty underwhelmed by the last issue. It felt rushed, it was all over really quickly and to be honest I thought there'd be a bit more... zing. It's Wolverine, after all.

I will say that I loved these title pages in each issue. It reminded me of the opening credits of old Western films. Every time I turned the page to this I had 'dun-a-dun-a-dun-wah-wah-wah' going off in my head.

Bryony :)

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Homemade Vegetarian Fajita Recipe

This is a recipe I got from my mum, I've always loved the way she makes fajitas and they're so simple and quick to put together that they're a go-to recipe for me when I'm tired. You can pack them with as much veg as you like, too, so they're pretty good for you. The benefit of using your own spices instead of a packet mix is that you can make it taste exactly how you want it to, as mild or as spicy as you desire.

Here's what you'll need to make these tasty fajitas:

Tortilla wraps
1 white onion
Quorn chicken style pieces (or you can use real chicken if you're not a veggie, or skip this altogether and add extra veg, baby corn and mange tout go really well)
2 or 3 bell peppers
Creme fraiche
Wholegrain mustard
Grated cheese (if desired)
Chilli powder

Pre-heat a wok with a little oil. Chop the onion and start to cook in the wok, followed by quorn chicken (or real chicken) if you're using any. Chop the bell peppers and any other veg you want to add, chuck those in the wok too and give it all a good stir.

Now you want to add the seasoning. You'll want to use plenty of cumin and paprika, then chilli powder to taste. You can make them as spicy or as mild as you like. While that's cooking away you can quickly grate the cheese if you're using any, and make the sauce.

I don't know what made my mum come up with the idea for using this sauce instead of sour cream, but I love the stuff! All you do is mix some wholegrain mustard (as much or as little as you'd like) with some creme fraiche. It goes together so well, it helps to cool the fajitas down while still having plenty of great taste.

Once that's ready you can just chuck everything on the table and start putting your fajitas together. You can add some salad too, if you wish. That's the great thing about this recipe, it's so versatile and simple.

Bryony :)

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Comic Book Day: Wytches #1

Let me start by apologising for my absence recently, I had a nasty cold last week and didn't feel like blogging or writing up my 'Seven Things Sunday'. I've also decided to stop doing STS as it was making me be lazy about blogging. Instead of writing up full posts I kept thinking 'Oh I can just put this in my STS post'. Hopefully better quality blogging shall ensue!

I've mentioned before that I've started reading a few comics here and there, and this has now grown to a total of five comics that are currently on my boyfriend's pull list for me (I should really start my own one). So I've decided to make it a weekly thing to talk about the comics I get every week and what I think of them, and so forth.

This week Wytches was released. I've been really excited about reading this for a while now, I've read a lot of excellent reviews and let me tell you, it did not disappoint. I think this may be the darkest comic I've picked up so far, and one of the most interesting. I was completely gripped (and terrified) the whole time I was reading.

Right from the outset I was gasping out loud at this. I think the first time I gasped James turned to me and asked how I could be shocked so early on. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, but I found the opening scenes (which are set in the early 1900s) very chilling. It quickly moved on to present day where you meet a nice family who have just moved. You very quickly realise something isn't quite right here, and their story begins to unfold.

I have to say I love the artwork in this, I love that the witches aren't your stereotypical witches on brooms but instead are incredibly terrifying ancient beings. I would not want to read this at night time. In fact, just thinking about it at this time of night is making me want to sleep with the light on. I was left with a bit of a cliffhanger, and I am very eager to find out what's going on, although I don't think I'm going to find any peace of mind here.

I also really enjoyed reading Snyder's explanation of where the inspiration for this story came from, although it only served to make me feel even more uneasy. I can't wait to see where this goes, although I am worried that I'm going to start having nightmares before too long!

Bryony :)