5 ways to beat the January blues

For a lot of us January is a difficult and long month. The excitement of the holidays is over and Christmas has had an substantial impact on your bank account. It’s no wonder that this month can lead to negative thoughts.

So here is 5 top cost effective ways to beat the January blues

1. Have a clear out
It’s an oldie but a goody. Get the feather duster out, take down the tree (if you haven’t done so already) and get rid of any of those unwanted gifts you received. You will feel better and the unwanted items can be donated to charity. -http://www.oxfam.org.uk/shop


2. Watch a heart warming film
Never under estimate the power of a good film. Something that makes you smile/laugh/cry whatever your bag is. It’s cheap if you already have a copy of your desired film and inviting friends round makes it a more social affair.
I suggest a film from studio ghibli. ūüôā


3. Excercise!
I hate to say it but excercise is proven to make you feel better and is a good way of keeping that winter hibernation thing at bay. Keep it cheap go for a long walk with the dog or a friend taking a flask of tea. http://www.nationaltrail.co.uk/


4. Cook, bake, create!
Cooking is a good way to try something new and enjoy the rewards at the end. Go out of your comfort zone and cook something completely different. These cauliflower are a good start – http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/cauliflower-not-carbs?s=mobile


5. Do something unexpected
Had a class in mind you have been wanting to try? Or that friend you lost touch with? Ever wondered what the view is like from the top of Blackpool tower? Got that tattoo artist you want to book in? Now is the time to do it. Maybe not this week or even this month but get it in the diary and you will have something to look forward to.


Hope these help you stay positive this month :p


Healthy new year’s porridge

Happy New year everyone! 
I hope your not suffering too much today?¬† If your NY resolution is to start healthy eating, then this quick and tasty breakfast could be a good place to start. It has the option of being Vegan if you replace the milk with almond or soya. It’s simple enough to make every day.

Milk/almond milk/soya
Coconut milk powder
Dark chocolate chips
Optional fruit

1. Heat the oats in a pan, with the milk of your choice.
(1.b If you use instant microwave porridge then add the coconut milk powder with the milk before you cook it.)
2. Add the coconut milk powder to the pan and stir till it has mixed in and the porridge has thickened.
3. Dish up and sprinkle on top some cinnamon (cinnamon sugar is even better but not as healthy) and the dark  chocolate sprinkles
4. Optional extras – chopped banana, blueberrys, strawberries or raspberries
5. Enjoy! :mrgreen:


Vegetarian balti dogs

Super quick & tasty vegetarian balti dogs, were comsumed for dinner last night in under 9 minutes. Depending on the curry sauce you use this can be either a vegetarian or vegan recipe.

Serves 2
4 x quorn sausages
1 x large white onion
4 x hot dog buns
50g x butter/margarine
200g x favorite curry sauce *I chose balti*
A serving of fries

1. Pre-heat your grill to a medium/high heat and prepare a oven tray
2. Once heated, put your sausages and chips under the grill. The beauty of this recipe is that they both cook in around 15 mins – great if your short on time. Make sure you turn the sausages over half way through.
3. Peel and slice the onion and add to a frying pan with the butter on a low/medium heat. Make sure that the butter coats the onions nicely.
4. Once oinions are soft and yellow add your curry sauce mixing together and heating through. *optional* add some chopped chilli, ginger or coriander.
5. Prepare your buns
6. Add the dogs to the buns and cover in the curry sauce, plate up the chips.
7. Enjoy! ! ‚ėļ


For the love of Lush


I love Lush.
Over the last couple of months I’ve become a complete convet. It used to be a shop I completely avoided. With the little knowledge I had of the brand (mainly I knew Lush sold bath items) it didn’t entice me much as I am allergic to a lot of bubble baths. But one, not so special day, after learning that it is against animal testing. I ventured in.
It was quiet enough on this particular day, for me to comfortably roam around the shop and fully mess with the items. Reading some of the bottles I learned that the ingredients were all natural.
A good start.
Then about the charitable work they do. Even better.
The shop assistant approached me, (who must have seen me rather naughtly poking and sniffing things) and asked if I needed help. Admittedly I did. She very politely talked me through some of technicalities behind the items and gave me some background information on the company. She showed me how the solid shampoos worked and talked me through the process of using the chocolate bar looking thing (henna) at home. She very kindly gave me samples of both with instructions on how to use the henna. I decided to trust what I was told about the natural ingredients and purchased a bottle of the rose jam shower gel. She also gave me one of Lush’s guide books that explained about their other items as well as having some well written articles. The assistant also told me about the Lush spas they have, about how it works as an experience and what products are used (that one pretty much hooked me). I left feeling happy and well informed, although holding out my judgement till I got home and used the items.

The rose jam was phenomenal. Never before have I truly wanted to nibble my own skin. Then the solid shampoo a little tricky to get used to, but again it smelled amazing and lasts upto 3 times the amount of the liquid shampoo, if used correctly. A small amount goes a long way.
My 3rd installment was a bath bomb. This was the decider. Having run a bath I was ready for it not to suit my skin at all. It was a Lush luxury pud. It had relaxing scents of Lavender & Ylang ylang. It was colourful and the smells filled the air as soon as it hit the water. My skin didn’t react, and for the first time in years I enjoyed a bubble bath. It was delightful.
It’s easy to assume that my Christmas list now contains several Lush products (including one of their perfumes…come on santa) and the cost of the items I believe is very reasonable. Taking into consideration all the overpriced completely forgettable items I have bought over the years from boots and such like. I can’t recommend the brand more. I find myself going in now just to look at what’s on offer. If your interested in natural ingredients & sparkly stuff (optional) it really could be for you.


Comfort food: Cheese and onion pie

In memory of someone I lost recently I decided to cook a traditional comfort dinner to keep us warm as the cold nights draw in. It’s also a really tasty dish for vegetarians & non veggies alike. I used puff pastry but if you prefer shortcrust that would be equally fine.

For this dish you will need
(serves 2)

1 x pre made/rolled puff (or shortcrust) pastry
1 x large white potato
2 x large white onions
200g of grated cheddar
1 x table spoon of plain flour
100ml of milk
100ml of cream
2 x teaspoons of English mustard
Black pepper

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 – 200c
2. Peel and cube the white potato and in a pan of boiling water, allow to cook for 10 mins or until soft.
3. Whilst that is cooking slice the onions and in a saucepan of boiling water allow to simmer for 4 mins. Till nice and tender.
4. Drain the onions and return to the pan, and using the white flour coat them fully.
5. Return the pan of onions to a medium heat and add the milk. Gentle stir till the mixture thickens.
6. Add the cream, grated cheese, cooked potato, mustard and black pepper (to taste) and continue stirring for another few minutes till everything has mixed nicely.

7. In oven proof dish, (preferably a pie dish) add the contents of the pan.
8. Taking the pastry of your choice cover the top of dish, making sure that it reaches the edges and overlaps a little. Make sure its tucked in nicely and using a fork create some nice patterns on the outside. Also put two holes in the centre so the steam  can escape.
9. Cook in the oven for about 20 mins till the pastry is golden.
10. Serve with vegetables and bread for dipping and enjoy. ūüôā


Eat out vegan Wales

Following on from my recent post about places to eat vegetarian/vegan in Manchester.

On the weekend I was holidaying in Llandudno in North Wales. It’s a lovely seaside town I visit each year with my family in preparation for Christmas. Over the last couple of years its a pleasure to see how it’s grown, and how it’s continuing to grow as community. I truly find it a lovely place to stay.
Whilst we were shopping on the main street of the town I had the pleasure of meeting some ladies outside a branch of ‘Holland & Barrett’ who were promoting vegetarian & vegan food. I took one of the vegetarian sausage rolls, made a donation and took some flyers about eating out & being Vegan in Wales. This was such a pleasant surprise that I thought I’d share the information they gave me and hoped that if you visit or live locally you can enjoy the options available.
The booklet I received contained an extensive list of places in North Wales that would be suitable for a vegetarian/vegan diet(Please ignore the lack of artistic creativeness with the photo it was taken in bed).

The website is http://eatoutveganwales.org

I have also included a photo I took on the morning of my stay. Llandudno really is a sweet little get a way.



Places for Vegetarians & Vegans to eat in Manchester

I have compiled a quick list of Vegetarian/Vegan restaurants in Manchester/greater Manchester area. It can be difficult to find places that cater for yourself or your dinner guest and it’s frustrating when your only options on a menu are salad or chips. Vegetarianism & Vegans, as a group, are becoming better catered for, and this is a good start to find somewhere for your next dinner date.

‚Ė™The Salford Arms¬†– Vegan night every¬†¬†¬†¬† Tuesday 6pm-9pm with chef Jonathan Taylor conjuring up inspired vegan dishes. Guests can expect a two course set menu for ¬£6.95 plus ¬£2 for dessert, all washed down with their own Salford Arms vegan friendly ale. 146 Chapel Street, Manchester, M3 6AF. 0161 288 8883.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

‚Ė™The Eighth Day –¬†Vegetarian cafe and shop with food freshly made each day including raw and vegan options. 111 Oxford Road, Manchester, M1 7DU. 0161 273 1850¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

‚Ė™V Revolution¬†– Vegan cafe, lifestyle and record store in the Northern Quarter, serving hot food, sandwiches, grilled cheeses and more seven days a week. 88 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LF.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

‚Ė™Bistro1847 –¬†Homemade and British vegetarian and vegan bistro and bar. 58 Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3HZ. 0161 236 1811.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

‚Ė™The Coven¬†– 100% vegetarian and 95% vegan plus wheat/gluten-free restaurant and bistro. 43 Hallgate, Wigan, WN1 1LR. 01942 237 801.¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

‚Ė™Frurt¬†– Frozen yoghurt bar with a special vegan frozen yoghurt on the menu. 1 Spinningfields Square, Spinningfields, Manchester, M3 3AP. 0161 312 4303.

‚Ė™Greens¬†– TV chef Simon Rimmer’s vegetarian dining experience in the heart of West Didsbury. 41-43 Lapwing Lane, West Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2NT. 0161 434 4259.¬†¬†

‚Ė™Kava¬† –¬†¬†A vegetarian and vegan specialist with a Turkish twist. 53 Halifax Rd, Todmorden, OL14 5BB. 01706818730

‚Ė™Teatime Collective¬†– They specialise in catering for festivals and big events and they recently opened a Vegan Cafe and Ice Cream Parlour.¬† St.Wilfrids Enterprise, Royce Road, Hulme, M15 5BJ. 076583391

‚Ė™Sidney Street Cafe¬†– Serving the city’s MMU students and doubles up as a community centre. 49-51 Sidney Street, M1 7HB. 07534 947464

‚Ė™The Globe¬†– The hand-cut chips and butterscotch cake are a must from this Glossop restaurant.144 High St West, Glossop, Derbyshire (Peak District) Glossop, SK13 8HJ. 01457 852417

‚Ė™Lily’s¬†– Indian Vegan and vegetarian food. Breakfast and lunch served. 75-83 Oldham Road, Ashton-under-Lyne Ol6 7DF. 0161 339 4774

‚Ė™Sanskruti¬†– Another option for anyone looking for Indian vegan food. 95 Mauldeth Rd, Manchester M14 6SR. 0161 224 4700

‚Ė™The Kitchen¬†– Turkish vegan and vegetarian cafe with options for a quick snack or a hearty meal. Unit 4, Commercial Union House, Great Moor Street, Bolton, BL11NH. 01204 770881.

‚Ė™Earth Cafe¬†– Wholesome Vegan food and vegan milkshakes. 16-20 Turner Street, Manchester M4 1DZ. 0161 834 1996.

‚Ė™Unicorn Grocery¬†– Not a cafe or restaurant per se, but a 100% vegan supermarket which also sells sandwiches. 89 Albany Road, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 0BN. 0161 861 0010.

‚Ė™Thirsty Scholar¬†– Put together by Mod’s Veggie/Vegan Cafe chef, Martin. New Wakefield Street, Manchester M1 5NP. 0161 236 6071.

‚Ė™Topaz Cafe¬†– Vegetarian cafe with plenty of vegan options and free wi-fi. 216-218 Katherine Street, Ashton-u-Lyne, OL6 7AS. 0161 330 9223.

If you know of any other Vegan/Vegetarian restaurants in Manchester or the NW that I have missed off here please let me know so I can share them. Happy eating!