Will I raise my child vegan?

I’ve wanted to share with you my thoughts on raising my child vegan. Lots of people have asked me about this, mostly with intrigue with the odd comment that doesn’t match our mindset. I write this not with judgement on anyone else and how they raise their family, but from the heart and from my perspective as a mother.

Firstly I will most definitely be raising my babies vegan. Having been vegan myself almost five years now, I have felt the real benefits in my own health and wellbeing. I had a very healthy pregnancy and a healthy born baby boy at 9.9lb. Why wouldn’t I continue?

I get all of my nutrients and satisfaction from plant foods that I am really excited to share this experience with my tribe. Going vegan has equipped me with an increased interest in nutrition, which reassures me I am more than capable of providing adequate nutrition for my rapidly growing baby.

Furthermore, being more informed of animal rights and environmental issues, it seems quite natural to share our ethics and morals with them. This is with thought out consideration for their future and the future earth they will live in.

“Why would you enforce your beliefs on him?”

I had a very swift answer for this comment. Surely feeding my child meat is enforcing a belief on him? Furthermore, decisions on education, vaccinations, types of nappies etc all encompass our beliefs.

Parents are faced with many short and long term decisions – all of which encompass our own personal beliefs on varying scales. However it could be argued that beliefs are often majorly influenced by society, cultural norms, ones own family or simply some research or information those parents have done independently. Having done our own research and questioned what the general consensus of food consumption is in society, we feel we have made a decent decision. One that is so right for us.

Families usually have their own core ethics, morals and beliefs. We simply choose to raise our babies consciously and compassionately. Kindness stems from the home and the meals we choose to eat. Let’s face it – there’s nothing radical about striving for more kindness in this world.

Eco – Ego

We want our babies to understand we are all inhabitants of this earth and we are not superior to other living, sentient beings. I’m pretty sure they’ll get this and as a family transcend the idea society enforces in the notion that we need animal products to survive. A general consensus that “we are more intelligent” than them therefore we have “the right to eat them” stems from an inflated ego.

We want to avoid the cognitive dissonance of having a furry member of the family, loved and cared for, yet consuming other animals on a plate. We don’t want to send conflicting messages to our children that one animal is more deserving than the next.

Also we want our babies to know there are choices in all aspects of life. Children, naturally choose the more compassionate option, however having these conversations in a gentle way will help develop their critical thinking skills in other aspects of life.

“Ah but you couldn’t deprive him of a piece of chocolate?”

“What if he’s at a kids party?…” If it is a case that my child picks up a piece of food up that contains animal products – I will plainly and simply tell them the truth of what this product is. I will not sugar coat it and trick him into believing it is healthy or good for him.

With chocolate and treats, there are plenty out there that are dairy free. It’s about being prepared, which we usually are. I don’t see my child ever being deprived as we are fortunate enough to live in an abundant life.

Speaking with other vegan parents, generally the kids get on great at school and social gatherings with no issues. Children will speak up for themselves and what they believe in and I will encourage my babies to do so.

My beautiful niece Esmé enjoying a chocolate vegan cake for her first birthday

Open mindedness

There is often a real fear in those who are not vegan that we are “limited, deprived, extreme”. These negative connotations couldn’t be further from the truth. My children will know and understand the abundant world of plant foods we are blessed to have access to.

These certain negative words and connotations can encourage fear and a limiting mindset. We want our babies not to feel limited or confined, but confident, assured in their lives and decisions they make.

I wish for my family to have a healthy relationship with food. To know where it comes from and hopefully be able to cultivate a large majority of it ourselves once we are set up for growing.

Normalising veganism

There are many children and families out there who may have intolerances or dietary needs due to their beliefs. For this I don’t see us as any different because we have chosen to be vegan. Veganism is becoming more mainstream so I don’t envision any problems at social gatherings.

In fact I have every faith he will not be the only vegan child in his social circle and he already has some vegan baby friends so he will definitely not be isolated!

What I look forward to as a vegan Mumma

I look forward to baby led weaning with Arthur. I look forward to making delicious, home cooked family meals and discovering what our favourites are together. I can’t wait to get them involved in the process of making smoothies, snacks and baking cakes. I can’t wait to have gentle but informative discussions with them about their nutritional needs as growing children so they are in the know about what need. I can’t wait until they can develop their own special recipes and pick their dinner from the garden. I look forward to my babies sharing their snacks from the same platter. I can’t wait to watch my family grow on plant based foods knowing it is helping them thrive.

This is why my babies will be vegan.

Side note:

I do realise I have written plural babies/children in this as I am thinking of the future when we are fortunate enough to extend our little tribe.

Eat Vegan at The Manor Country House Hotel

Recently we had the pleasure of staying at the Manor Country House Hotel in Oxford, with the aim of writing a guest blog for Travel Mad Mum. This beautiful manor home is located in the lush countryside, just fifteen minutes from the centre.

As our first family weekend away with baby Arthur, we were excited but also a little nervous about what to pack and whether it would be worth our while packing everything up for two nights. We get so comfortable at home it’s easy to never leave the house sometimes!

Once we arrived on the Friday evening, we felt right at home entering the cosy lobby with the fire blazing. The staff were so lovely, helping us bring our bags and baby stuff to the room.

The Manor Country House Hotel was the perfect choice for this Autumn break. They had everything we needed as a family with baby.

FOOD

I was pleasantly surprised for such a traditional manor home, they were forward thinking with the menu and exceeded my expectations.

Dinner

We enjoyed our five year anniversary dinner Friday evening in the grand hall. Arthur was quietly sleeping in his pram as we relaxed with a glass of wine. We had the choice of a fine dining menu, with some deliciously crafted raw food dishes. Also on offer was the bar food menu which was a bit heartier, so satisfied the other half after a long day working and driving. I didn’t get great pictures of the food as the lights were dimmed in the hall. I enjoyed a quinoa, roasted roots and cauliflower purée dish with a side of chunky chips. I adored the brownie dessert – I love how raw desserts taste so decadent and luscious.

Most memorable of this evening was how relaxed and at home we felt. We were well attended to and had benefit of great food, good wine all while baby Arthur was by our side.

Breakfast

The next day, we enjoyed a buffet breakfast, served hot drinks by the friendly staff. We had the choice of cereals, toast, fruit, nuts and juices. The chef whipped me up a cooked breakfast as it’s always nice to have warm food after a couple of glasses of vino the previous night. It was our anniversary after all. This set us up for our day exploring Oxford town centre.

Afternoon Tea

Having spent the morning exploring Oxford Town Centre, we were excited to get back to the cosy Manor Home for our planned vegan afternoon tea. This was such a lovely experience. We dined in the lovely, bright front room with a view of the lush gardens.

I had Arthur in his wrap all cuddled up while we sipped on fresh teas. The cakes and sandwiches were so good, all the sandwiches were varied so we didn’t get bored. We even had warm fresh scones jam and a vegan cream. I couldn’t have asked for more and Arthur was happy chilling on me while I munched and sipped away.

Room service

On our final evening, we were fairly tired after a big day out exploring. We were happy to chill in our big, cosy room, watch Saturday night television in our cosies and order room service. I was so happy to hear they had vegan gnocchi. I’d never had this before so had to order it with a side of olives.

Being a breastfeeding Mumma, some of you will understand how ravenous we get! I mean, we’re technically burning up to 700 calories a day, rapidly growing our wonderful little beings. This is why the food would always be a highlight for me, with brownie points for establishments that make the effort for vegan options. It was actually quite nice that we didn’t have to venture out of the hotel grounds for good food, especially not feeling too comfortable being out late with baby.

Overall, The Manor Country House Hotel really exceeded our expectations. Read more about our stay and the family friendliness of this cosy, lovely manor home. Check out my guest post for Travel Mad Mum here.

Our stay was gratefully hosted by The Manor Country House Hotel in exchange for an honest review.

Wearth London

A very wonderful new eco-conscious store is in town which allows you to shop by values. Showcasing sustainable, homegrown UK brands, it’s all your green soul could desire.

Wearth London have recently launched their online store. The eco department store ranges from beauty, homeware, jewellery, lifestyle, furniture, gifts and childrens wear.

Shop By Values

Wearth London have intertwined shopping consciously while upholding quality and style. It’s so nice to have such a dedicated store available that won’t have you second guessing the source of the product.

Being vegan and recently striving towards zero waste, having this criteria is not only helpful but actually makes my heart burst. And to include companies with social contributions also is amazing. Sometimes in the run up to Christmas, not consuming is impossible – but conscious consuming is totally possible with the following shop by values section on Wearth London’s new site:

  • Vegan friendly
  • Biodegradable
  • Handcrafted
  • Made in the UK
  • Natural ingredients
  • Plastic free
  • Recycleable packaging
  • Recycled materials
  • Sustainable materials
  • Social contribution

As always my attention is usually brought to the baby selection of products, because you know, it’s all about bubba now. But equally I’m not wanting to accumulate stuff we do not need or will carry an eco guilty conscience.

Biodegradable Swaddle Blanket

The Little Art Collection have designed a beautiful baby swaddle blanket – which always serve as a multipurpose. It’s made of bamboo and cotton, making it really soft. Be it covering little man up in between changing and feeds (he always falls asleep half dressed or naked mid feed!) or having a gorgeous blanket for on the go. Its definitely getting good use. Arthur sometimes snuggles up to it for his morning nap. It’s also nice it is all natural so is gentle on his sensitive, excema prone skin.

Wearth London

” Hey Mum, you’re pants at swaddling “

I’m in love with the emperor butterfly design on this. I also love that it was designed by Ele Grafton, an independent artist and mum of two from Somerset. Much like me – I find the geometric patterns of nature absolutely stunning and quite magical.

Recycling – Reusing

Wearth London are taking packaging and plastic seriously. The blanket came in a recyclable box, wrapped in brown paper. The box coincidently, says “Little Art” – short for Arthur – on it so we can even keep it to reuse another time.

When Arthur was a newborn we were going through so many muslins for the unexpected poo explosions. I’ve now manage to upcycle some of the older, very grubby muslin cloths which were a little stained, clean, but stained. They’re now used as cleaning cloths and I have one for the windows in the car now it is mistier. This beautiful butterfly swaddle however will be cared for and definitely not used for bums! Even though I’m rubbish at swaddling, it really is a gorgeous blanket.

Overall, I am in love with the ethos and values of Wearth London and already have some of their other zero waste and social contribution gifts on my wish list. Things I would really value and hopefully make a difference environmentally and socially

Wearth London are also offering 10% off your first order if you subscribe to their newsletter.

Note: Wearth London gifted us this blanket. We were not obliged to do a review, however I feel very passionately about such a forward thinking, eco-conscious store, so I will continue to shout from the roof about it!

Christmas With a Green Heart

With Christmas just around the corner, it’s easy to get swiped up in the consumer madness. I have done in the past, spending heaps of my hard earned money on new outfits, new products, presents for everyone and presents for myself because I couldn’t resist while I was in the shops. And that’s just before the sales!

Note: Not A Grinch

Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly no grinch. I love Christmas and for me, I always can’t wait to get home to Dublin to spend it with friends and family. I look forward to cosy nights in, mad nights out (not anymore though) and of course all the scrummy food. My mad nights out have been forever and gratefully replaced with my baby boy. It goes without saying that making memories and really experiencing a special day with your loved ones is what stands out the most over material objects.

Gifts of course can be special, but careful consideration is always helpful to really buy what is valuable to that person.

Minimising wastefulness

I’m sure we’ve all experienced receiving a gift that we never get any use from. And without wanting to be ungrateful, you feel bad at the shameful waste of resources and the givers money. With my zero waste hat on, I can’t get the ringing of “500 years” plastic remains in landfill, letting off toxins while taking its bad time to break down.

Making a wish list for Christmas is not cheeky, but a clever way to prevent waste – by letting those know what is important to you and what you will really value as a gift. This saves them trapsing through shops and spending their hard earned cash on crap you won’t use. And the big cooperation shops are all geared up for you to buy their stuff, roping you in with adverts convincing you of the need to buy more stuff.

Alternatives to stuff

Experiences and consumables are great gifts not only for the eco conscious – but for the whole family. For my parents, meals, gigs, spa days and trips away have been a staple for many years as they feel they don’t need for anything. My Dad often says he just wants “peace” amongst the chaos of Christmas in our house (LOL).

Meal vouchers and experiences are always a win as it’s good way to spend quality time together to make memories. As we’ve an ever expanding family, we do a secret santa now. This means we all get one very decent present. We’ve set up a wattsapp group where we post some ideas of gifts we would really like. This eliminates needless spending and shopping stress for everyone involved.

Stuff with a heart

Here are some gift ideas, consisting of small, independent companies and some have a social and environmental conscience, with them giving a portion of their profits to great causes. This really resonates with me on my eco journey, maybe they will inspire you too. It’s always a winner to scout out local, independent companies with heart over heartless big cooperations.

The Self Care Company

Handmade soya wax candles, eco-friendly made with essential oils. This independent company donates 10% profit to mental health charity. They have a number of unique scents and encourage a regular self care routine. They even encourage recycling with an option to send the container back.

Wearth

I’ve just discovered Wearth London and I’m already obsessed with its shop by values system – vegan, zero waste and ethical. This Cork Yogi matt is eco friendly and we are considering buying it as our current matt has been going for five strong years. Most importantly Cork Yogi assist women in getting out of sex slavey in India. A gift with a heart.

Lines & Current

An awesome small company creating minimal jewellery, eyewear and headwear with 10% of profits going to charity – helping to send children to school in Zimbabwe. This platinum “Delta” pendant is fab and I may put it on my wish list.

Made in Hackney

Give someone the gift of a new skill while also benefiting this wonderful community kitchen. Think raw desserts, fermenting and plant based cheeses. Read my blog post here on the great work Made in Hackney does for the local community.

Klean Kanteen

Klean Kanteen are hands down a winning bottle, insulated to keep your water cool in the summer or tea warm in winter. They are sturdy, made from stainless steel, non-toxic and come in different colours. They will last a long time and help cut out buying single use plastic water bottles.

The Green Tulip

Bamboo utensils for on the go – any zero wasters must haves if your on the road for work or the likes. Organic, fair trade and sustainable.

Macrame

Supporting a small business, you can get a bespoke made macrame wall hanging or a set to learn the skill of making a plant hanger. Perfect for those succulent greens and lovely decor for home. Made from wood and rope so kind to the earth.

Besos

Besos offer a vegan creme liquor to rival Baileys any day. I used to love Irish Creme, so discovering Besos has been a real treat. Made from the tiger nut – it’s actually considered a super food!

And just a side note – this is not a sponsored post. These are companies I have found on social media and taken a real liking to. All pictures belong to their rightful owners.

Black Bean Chocolate Truffles

When you think of black beans, gooey, chocolatey goodness is not exactly the first thing to spring to mind. More along the lines of savoury foods, that of Latino, Creole or Caribbean origin. However goodness, be it sweet or savoury is a key feature of these little black gems.

Nutritional Goodness

Black beans are jam packed with nutrients and fibre. Pound for pound, compared to the likes of beef, black beans contain much higher quantities of proteins.

Calcium, iron, magnesium and potassium are key nutrients found in the little beans.

They also feature a much lower fat content, no stress hormones, no carcinogens and no antibiotics.

The environmental impact of farming black beans is significantly lower as they require much less water and do not emit methane into the atmosphere.

Refined Sugar Alternative

The reason I wanted to make these truffles is because I’ve been struggling with a bit of a sugar hit addiction. Especially since I’ve had Arthur and started breastfeeding, all I want is sugar! I buy unsweetened plantbased milks and then put a sugar in my coffee anyways, all while chowing down on chocolate throughout some days. Plus the obligatory cake when I meet people out. Needless to say, my teeth are so sensitive and really feeling it! I’ve been feeling more and more groggy also so for my overall health and wellbeing, I want to take action and eat better alternatives.

We’ve also been doing a bit of research into gut health. My other half has been struggling with inflammation in his back due to a prolapsed disk – and we were reminded how inflammatory sugar can be. Although we know how bad sugar is, it’s so easy to fall back into bad habits. Especially when we’re both quite tired, it’s easy to make the wrong choices for our bodies.

Sugar V Maple Syrup

The black Bean Chocolate truffles replace the sweetness of refined sugar with pure maple syrup. I was interested to know the difference between these.

Unrefined maple syrup requires less of a process to make. The sap from the maple sugar tree is boiled down to the concentrated golden goodness we love so much.

Sugar on the other hand requires much more of a process. The sugar cane or beet are similarly boiled down, mashed then dried – usually in a factory with the addition of some chemicals to whiten it – even some use bone char meaning some sugars are not vegan!

Maple syrup however contains more calories than sugar, so just because it’s the favourable option, doesn’t mean it should be eaten limitlessly.

Maple syrup also contains a lower glycemic index compared to processed sugars, meaning the sugars are released slower and minimising a sugar spike in the blood. This would be a better option for those who have diabetes or PCOS. Having a more balanced glycemic index is beneficial for everyone.

So ok – maple syrup is still a bit sugary. But we’ve all got to start somewhere, right? The truffles contain only whole foods, meaning they are the favourable option over crappy Cadburys bournville chocolate which I regrettably have been living on.

Additionally, with the truffles, replacing sugar with maple syrup means the overall sugar content is cut back by a third (Authority Nutrition).

Black Bean Chocolate Truffles

SO! These really simple black bean truffles had to hit the spot, especially since I’ve been over indulging in treats lately. The fact they are not too sweet but totally satisfying has been a real winner and I love the cool gooey texture straight from the fridge.

Gooey

Fudgey

Chocolatey

Creamy

Nutritious

Slightly decadent

Yes I am associating black beans with decadence. Don’t diss it until you’ve tried it! What more could you ask for?

Because I’m a greedy guts I’ve doubled up on ingredients so you can always halve this to try them out.

Recipe

  • 2 cans of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 5 tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 tbsp cocoa or cacao
  • 5 tbsp melted coconut oil
  • 2 tsp Vanilla essence

Optional (to coat when ready)

  • Crushed pistachios
  • Toasted coconut

Method

Chuck all of the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. Scrape down the side and blend again if needed. Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 mins to cool. When ready, the mixture will be slightly more solid. A bit like play dough. Roll into truffle balls. Coat with toppings of your choice – the toasted coconut and pistachio was a winner!

Coconut Oil

We’ve been using The Natural Empire coconut oil for all of our baking (and beauty) needs. They are offering 20% off their jars of white gold for readers with the code “lifeveganstyle”.

Keep your Black Bean Chocolate Truffles in the fridge and eat within 3 days – or freeze an extra batch for another time to use within 3 months.

A Vegan Pregnancy – My Experience

Lots of people asked during my pregnancy whether I would continue being vegan. Many also asked what I will do when raising my little one. People have expressed a genuine interest in how my vegan pregnancy was and I was overwhelmed with the positive intrigue many had on the matter. I must honestly say I only experienced a couple of comments from over opinionated people on the topic of raising my child vegan. I feel like I have so much to say on both, so I will start by discussing my personal experience of a vegan pregnancy.

First and foremost, my vegan pregnancy was absolutely, perfectly healthy and magical! I have been vegan for almost four years and considering the multiple benefits I had been rewarded – I couldn’t see myself ever not being vegan. In fact I wish I had gone much much sooner in life. As I was feeling calmer, more energetic and healthier overall, I felt these benefits would be transferred to baby. I felt it was a no-brainer to continue this good vegan life throughout my pregnancy. I just couldn’t ever revert to my old ways. EVER. 

vegan pregnancy

PCOS

Having experienced Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) for a number of years, we succumbed to the fact that we needed some support with conceiving. It was over a couple of years we had been trying with no results. We were totally surprised rocking up to an appointment at the fertility clinic for an invasive procedure only to be told that it can’t go ahead – because we were pregnant! It was totally out of context and caught us by surprise as we were there to seek support in conceiving. Further investigations and scans confirmed the pregnancy and the fact that my ovaries were no longer polycystic. I believe this was down to many vegan whole foods are of a low glycemic index which helps manage my PCOS. Ironically one of the symptoms of PCOS is a pot belly, so I had many years of people asking was I pregnant – it was amazing I could finally say yes! 

Vegan Pregnancy
Nutrients

Nutritional problems have never been an issue for me since going vegan. I have always been mindful of and interested in my own nutrition since going vegan. Like any pregnant Mumma, I gave careful consideration to my food and supplements during my vegan pregnancy. I maintained my vitamin B12 supplement which supports a healthy nervous system, while taking up the recommended folic acid supplement. In addition to this, I ensured I was eating a varied whole foods diet. Iron deficiency has never been an issue as many of the nuts, seeds, beans, pulses and greens are rich in iron. That’s not to say I didn’t eat other foods like vegan pizza and mayonnaise (I could have killed half a jar of veganaise with nachos). It’s all about balance after all and once your all tanked up on nutrients, that gives way for other treats.

Vegan Pregnancy

Vegan Pregnancy- My Experience

physical

I fully believe maintaining veganism actually benefitted my pregnancy. No morning sickness. No real heartburn. Sleep was good. No weight gain, besides the usual baby bump! My vitamin and mineral levels were all normal, definitely not lacking in anything. I understand every pregnancy is different – and my next one could very well include all of the above. I do however believe veganism has contributed somewhat to a relatively easy pregnancy.

Emotional

That’s not to say everything was plain sailing. The main issues in pregnancy I experienced were emotional and stress related. I was tearful at times with the odd mood swing and tiredness. that is to be expected with the rapid change of hormones and the growing of an actual human! Contributing To some of this to a high intensity job as a community mental health nurse and other general life stressors. Reflecting back on this period now and I barely even recall being hormonal, but it’s still very vivid for my other half. I think he might be traumatised! I love how my maternal instincts allows me to forget some of the rocky and painful bits which I feel is preparing me for baby number two!



Truth

My initial switch to veganism, I must say how it has massively benefited my mental health. Previously prone to stress, migraines and feeling a bit low and vacant. Veganism gave me a sense of clarity and serenity that I’ve never felt before. I believe there’s real value in you are what you eat. Veganism gave me more of a purpose and made food a thousand times more exciting!

And let’s face the realities of what is actually in meat and dairy. Ample amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, the hormone that causes stiffness and rigamortis when death sets in. Then whatever chemicals they use to make the corpse floppy again, antibiotics, blood, puss etc. I certainly did not want to feed my tiny growing baby these. What I chose instead is vibrant, alive, whole rainbow foods. There’s nothing more satisfying than a bursting, colourful fridge full of fruits and veggies after a market haul. 

Pregnant women are advised to cut out so many foods due to risk of salmonella to baby. These include mayonnaise (contains raw egg), shell fish, raw fish, rare and bone cut meats, soft cheeses. Helpfully though, being vegan means you will not miss any of these because you don’t eat them anyways! The only thing I had to be careful of was beansprouts due to risk of listeria.

A New Beginning

After a whopping forty one weeks pregnant…

vegan baby

… we were blessed with the most special little boy on the 24th July 2017. Super chilled and a week late, our healthy vegan baby Arthur Bear landed earth side a whole 9.9lb. We were blown away by how big he was (no pun intended in relation to my vagina) and he is a real testament that vegans are not lacking, we are not weak, we are not wasting away! Instead we are pumped full of the plant goodness and absolutely thriving!

It’s also important to remember to trust your own motherly instinct. People are so quick to offer judgements and advise once you have a baby, so take what you please from this and remember Mumma knows best!


Here he is three months old and packing the pounds so much I’m struggling to lift him!

Looking forward to sharing more on what specific plant based foods were a favourite for me during my vegan pregnancy, postpartum and for breastfeeding. I am excited to share more with you about vegan parenting life.

Please do let me know if you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you.

Disclaimer: this is not intended to be medical advice

Kit and Kin Review

Nothing motivates and interests me more recently than striving towards zero waste goals. I am constantly in awe of those who are living a zero waste life and think it’s not only awesome but completely necessary to take action against the monster that is plastic. I’m nowhere near where I need to be but continue to make small steps and learn along the way. 

The Environment 

Ever since turning vegan almost four years ago I suddenly had an increasing awareness of how my eating habits were impacting on the environment. Roll that forward and I’m constantly aware of how my consumerism overall adds to this. Throw in a brand new little person my mind is in overdrive! Considering newborns are like nappy and clothes change conveyor belt, I had to take some action so I don’t choose complete convenience over environmental impact. I also want Arthur to know I’ve done my best for the future earth he will live in. 

When I was pregnant with Arthur I had somewhat of an idea on what to expect in relation to nappy changes, but started to freak out when I discovered your average nappy takes almost 500 years to break down. 500 years. Let that sink in. It’s an insane amount of time for one nappy, let alone the 11 he was going through in a day as a newborn – averaging around 4000 a year. We could have our own disgusting shitty nappy colony. 

Unfortunately reusable nappies are not a possibility for us currently. We’re in a one bed flat, prone to dampness and mould with half a drum washing machine. Oh yeah and we live in Britain which means drying clothes is almost zero to none come September through to April. The washing is already out the door with little man. 



Kit and Kin

Drum roll our solution! Kit and Kin nappies. These are eco-friendly, chemical free and low and behold BIODEGRADABLE nappies! It’s like my prayers were answered when I discovered them. The nappies are made with naturally derived, plant-based materials. They remain absorbent to keep little one dry and comfortable. They have all the features of your standard nappies, such as protective cuffs (or flood barriers as I like to call them) to prevent those dreaded poo explosions or sneaky wee leaks in the night resulting in a whole outfit change. The only thing missing is the pH yellow/blue strip indicator, however it’s pretty easy to figure out by touching the nappy whether it’s ready to be changed. 

Kit and Kin have also produced a very clever biodegradable nappy bag. It’s made from a sustainable corn based film that is 100% compostable. They come in handy when on the go as I don’t tend to use nappy sacks when we’re at home. 



The Baby 



There is such an overwhelming amount of baby products on the market. One thing I have been wary of with baby products is almost bogus claims. Many brands claim to be natural, however looking beyond this is usually a list of chemicals, irritants and yucky stuff. Arthur’s sensitive newborn skin is still developing so I wouldn’t want to compromise it, especially since it is prone to dryness. Luckily Kit and Kin nappies are kind and gentle on his booty, with chlorine free pulp. It does make me question whether chlorine is completely necessary in babies nappies. Even better that co-founder and Mumma Emma Bunton developed these products following her little ones having excema – that is passion right there! 

Also developed by Kit and Kin is a whole bath and skincare range. We’ve been using the baby body oil after bath time which smells beautiful and is calming for both of us to rub it all over his little bod. All the ingredients are organic and naturally derived from fruit, herb and seed oils. 



The Animals
I also find it ironic how many baby products portray happy little animals, when in reality these big companies products are environmental cling ons, test on animals and prioritise profits over care. Kit and Kin don’t test on animals and use plant based inks to print the super cute animals prints on the back. I say Kit and Kin are allowed to have happy little animals on their nappies because for every ten subscriptions on their nappy bundles, they purchase one acre of rainforest through World Land Trust. This helps preserve vital ecosystems for the worlds most vulnerable wildlife. That’s pretty awesome. 

I recently spoke to Kit and Kins co-founder Chris about his passion for the environment, with future goals of a nappy that creates renewable energy! So inspiring to hear of a company that truly has our babies and earths futures in the forefront of their ethos. 

Overall Kit and Kin have been a reliable and reassuring product. They make making a difference easy, especially in the whirlwind of having a newborn. Although they are slightly on the pricier side of nappies, this is sometimes the case with more conscious products. A discount is available for monthly nappy subscriptions. I will not rule out reusable nappies once we have the proper facilities to use them (we’re getting a new super washing machine hopefully!!), but Kit and Kin are a great start in achieving our goals in being a zero waste household.


Disclosure: I had the benefit of Kit and Kin send me some samples of their nappy and skin care range for an honest review. All the words are my own. 

Cafe Van Gogh


I am so excited to share with you my experience at Cafe Van Gogh. The wonderful Precious Vegan invited me to share this with her after a sweet morning of yoga on Southbank.

Where and what

Cafe Van Gogh started out as a vegetarian restaurant – celebrating more recently turning all vegan! As you can probably tell I was loving life trying out the hearty, home cooked menu.

Cafe Van Gogh resides in a listed building, in between Brixton and Oval. I was wondering why it took its name after the notorious artist until I discovered he once lived in the building around the corner in the 1830’s. A bit of history for you there. 

The venue itself has a couple of different feels, from the cosy cafe vibe inside with candles to the beautiful terrace outside with the trickling fountain and beautiful flowers. They also have a private hire area upstairs suitable for birthday bashes or work parties – with a view for soon to be BYOB. 

Social Enterprise 

Not only is it now an all vegan restaurant, Cafe Van Gogh has the added benefit of having a social mission. Being a social enterprise business, they reinvest in the local community by providing opportunities for local youth and for people with mental health and learning difficulties to gain real skills in the kitchen. 
They’ve now got a link with a local primary school in Brixton who supplies the kitchen with local, organic and seasonal vegetables. And to top it off, Cafe Van Gogh offers food nutrition workshops to share their expertise. 

The staff are attentive and friendly, advising us on what to order so we could maximise the tastiest treats on the menu. 

So down to the food! 


The menu is so varied with beautiful inspired tastes. The main influences are Carribean and South Asian dishes, alongside some veganised comfort foods. 

First of all the portions are so generous. So you can certainly fill your boots. You might like us, get excited and want to try a bit of everything. Here’s what we ordered:

Mains:

Sri-Lankan Pulled jackfruit and Aubergine stuffed chapatti, dhal, salad and pineapple chutney. This was a delicious blend of flavours on one plate. The jackfruit and chutney were a win for me.

Seitan ribs

Famous Seitan Sticky Ribs with grilled corn and bacon butter, potato and pickled onion and salad. This was in the owners words – hangover heaven! I found this was the most filling of the mains. It was hearty, sticky and messy – as far as ribs go. I’ve always been a fan of sticky BBQ sauce. I sometimes get a little weirded out by some mock meats but knowing what seitan is was reassuring. The whole dish was tasty especially with the well thought out trimmings. People often ask what’s the point in being vegan and having mock meats – but if I’m honest growing up eating meat, some meals bring back fond memories, despite the concept of meat making me feel a bit queesy now. I personally have fond memories as a child of sticky ribs from Roches Stores in the Square after doing a big shop with my Mam. 

Sides:

Jerk Plantain

Jerk Plantain with smoky beans, brown rice and mango salsa. This was delicious with the spice just perfect. 

Vegan Mac and Cheese

Mac and cheese – this side dish was made avoiding the usual highly processed vegan cheese. The cheese is made from a base of whole foods – butternut squash and nooch – it made this dish a little less guilty amongst our feast and more nutritious.

Desserts

Black Forrest Oreo Sundae – this was naturally my favourite dessert as black forrest has always been a classic for me. So nice that it is served up vegan here.


Sticky Toffee Pudding with hot toffee sauce and cream – this was so good and luscious as sticky toffee pudding goes. You might want to save some room for this though, if you can! 


Drinks

  • Iced tumeric lattes – so good we drank them dry of it! Ok it was a hot day. 
  • Oat milk latte 

All in all – gastronomic alchemists some might say. Cafe Van Gogh have nailed all the latest vegan food trends. You will certainly leave with a satisfied palate and a full belly. All this with the added satisfaction that they are making a real difference in the local area, which personally makes my heart sing! Cafe Van Gogh is a hidden gem amongst the hustle and bustle of busy London. 

They are also now running a competition to eat free for a month – click this link to follow to their website. 

Thanks to Cafe Van Gogh for this delicious food experience. 

Nosh Vegan Afternoon Tea

Enjoy a wonderful dining experience by booking a vegan afternoon tea at Nosh’s Kitchen, La Suite West.

Vegan Afternoon Tea

Having spent an afternoon at Nosh Garden Kitchen previously – I was really keen to return to try out the famous vegan afternoon tea. Many people had recommended Nosh’s afternoon tea at La Suite West – even on the Vegans in London Facebook group this was coming out on top for recommendations. I’ve written about Nosh’s tranquil garden terrace at La Suite West previously, part of the reason I was so keen to return.

Although it was a rainy London day – the leafy roof protected us and still enabled an al fresco dining experience. It is like a leafy oasis on the terrace.

La Suite West
Once again, I was not disappointed with the experience or the food. Nosh’s twist on a classic afternoon tea, a la vegan was a special treat to share with a good friend. Despite afternoon tea being quite a traditional concept, Nosh have made it contemporary and nailed it by offering a lush vegan alternative. Not only is a vegan afternoon tea offered, true to their ethos Nosh have options to cater for a number of allergies. Nosh specialise in superfoods, which are naturally preservative and additive free.

Served on individual slates, we had a combination of finger sandwiches, cakes, fresh berries and of course the delicious coconut cream. I had been particularly excited to try the coconut cream having heard nothing but good reviews on how delicious it is. There was no disappointment what was on offer.  Our waitress Maria, who was super friendly and helpful, explained everything to us clearly. Maria was attentive to refill our drinks and provide any extra favourite nibbles to us.

Nosh

 

 Nosh

Vegan Afternoon Tea – What did we have?

We started off with a refreshing glass of sparkling grape juice. We then had a choice of various teas and coffee, with all the alternative milks available. There was no limit on top ups – but you soon get full! I enjoyed an almond milk latte before sharing a pot of peppermint and a pot of hibiscus with my friend.

The beautiful platter included:

Sandwiches

  • Smoked tempeh and rocket salad
  • Scrambled tofu and mustard cress
  • Cashew nut cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, basil

Sweet Treats
The chefs selection of desserts 

  • Warm home made scone with fresh whipped coconut cream and strawberries
  • Gooey chocolate brownie
  • Carrot cake
  • Bliss ball

Nosh

The two most memorable treats for me had to be the smoked tempeh sandwiches, the gooey chocolate brownie and of course that coconut cream. We shared a top up of the smoked tempeh sandwiches as these were our favourite. If you’re full, you have the option to take any remaining treats home for later.

As always at La Suite West, the service is outstanding. The vegan afternoon tea here was a memorable occasion. It would be the perfect treat to catch up with family or friends. It would also be a wonderful surprise for someone’s birthday, baby shower or to kick off a hen do in London. I believe the vegan afternoon tea is well worth the value for money, as pure quality is delivered.

Not far from Portobello Road market, it’s easy to make a day of it. Despite the rain, we enjoyed visiting some of the local colourful houses in the area. You can book in for a vegan afternoon tea at Nosh right here at La Suite West.

 

 

Nosh provided us with this vegan afternoon tea experience. I was not obliged to write about it, however felt the need to share it with other foodies. I would return in a heartbeat.  

Golden Milk

Golden Milk
Ayurvedic writings suggests Golden Milk is a wholly cleansing, grounding and nourishing drink. Liver function, improved circulation and digestion are some of the calming and healing properties Golden Milk can bring, all while making the skin glow. It is sometimes referred to “Holy Golden Milk” due to it’s powerful ingredients. This is no surprise with all the goodness you can pack into this creamy, golden, warming drink.

What are these powerful ingredients?

  • Turmeric’s medicinal uses dates back to almost 4000 years in South East Asia. Turmeric’s powerful and vibrant curcumin is renowned for detoxifying the body and alleviating inflammation. It is therefore well known as an anti-carcinogen. A recent 2011 study further suggest tumeric’s activity in the body includes: antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-septic, anti-tumor, with added protection to the heart, kidneys and liver.
  • Cinnamon is known to balance blood sugar levels. It is anti-inflammatory, detoxifying and protects cognitive functioning. Cinnamon is thought to help prevent virus and infection.
  • Ginger enhances digestion and the transportation of nutrients throughout the body. It is also known for reducing joint and muscle pain, which is handy after a workout! Lots of women swear by ginger during pregnancy to prevent morning sickness – with modern research suggesting it aids with travel sickness.
  • Cardamon is rich in antioxidants and packed with heart loving minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium. It is thought to give protection with cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and cholesterol issues. It’s easy to be weary at first of adding cardamon to a drink because it is so fragrant – however one little pod gives it just the right hit.

Golden Milk

Are the benefits of Golden Milk convincing you? Although a tumeric drink can sound off-putting, it only calls for  a little bit and the taste is balanced out by the other ingredients, like the vanilla and maple syrup.

It’s usually a go to in the winter months due to it’s warming properties, however equally as tasty all year round. It can  be used on your morning oats or cooled and drank with ice. I do find myself craving it’s goodness year round. It’s honestly such a delicious and satisfying drink. It is also more noticeable that high street coffee shops have clocked onto Golden Milk and started to sell turmeric lattes – the West are always a bit late with capitalising on ancient traditions!
I’ve tried and tested a couple of combos previou

sly, however found this one a winner more recently.

Golden Milk
Recipe (2 cups)

  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 4 tbsp boiling water
  • 1 thumb grated ginger
  • 1 cardamom Pod
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Drop vanilla essence
  • 2 cups almond milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

Method

1. Dissolve turmeric in boiling water

2. Add all ingredients to a pot and simmer gently for 8 minutes – stirring regularly

3. Use a strainer to filter out any lumps into a jug

Golden Milk

4. Pour into your favourite mug and enjoy the goodness!

Some people opt for a sprinkle of black or cayenne pepper, nutmeg or a little blob of coconut oil for good fats. It’s fun to play around with the different ingredients to get your own personal winning combo. Make sure to add a comment below and share what your favourite additions are!

Golden Milk

Further Information:

Herbal Medicines: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects