Basically, this week I ate a lot of food…

Pancake Day

So I celebrated Shrove Tuesday twice. Technically three times if you count London Mardi Gras last week.

On the actual day I had half price pancakes from Giraffe in Notting Hill. £3.48 for pancakes stacked with maple syrup, blueberry compote and banana. Bargain. I’m a sweet pancake person.


And I couldn’t resist a second round when I was in The Diner in Shoreditch on Wednesday. The Diner do amazing Red Velvet Pancakes all year round (and Sweet Potato Pancakes with or without bacon, which I’ve never tried), but they were slightly cheaper this week and there were three specials; Reese’s Pieces, Spiced Apple and Oreo Cookie. All priced at £7.50.

I was tempted by the Spiced Apple, but when I read the description of the Oreo Cookie (three Oreo pancakes, marshmallow fluff cream, broken Oreos and icing sugar) I had to go with them. Marshmallow gets me every time.


Elite Night at Bubbleology with Yelp

You might have noticed I’ve become quite involved with Yelp lately. No doubt I’ll tell you about that a bit more in the not too distant future, but to summarise, as well as being a pretty damn good review site, Yelp have an awesome community and host regular events, most with a few perks.

Tuesday night they hosted a night at Bubbleology in Notting Hill for their new Elite members (Elite members are selected based on their contribution to the site and community, you can read more here) as a little welcome. We were treated to copious amounts of bubble tea (I have strong feelings for bubble tea), macaroons, cookie straws and popcorn. It was a good night.


Cocktails In The City Preview

On Wednesday I was over the moon to have been invited to the preview of next months Cocktails In The City event in the swanky Apartment at The Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch. Alcohol companies teamed up with high profile London bars to showcase their products and some of the cocktails they’ll be serving at the main event.


You can read all about the preview here.

Blindfold Date

After a few cocktails at Cocktails In The City, we headed down to Concrete in Shoreditch for a bit of entertainment in the form of Blindfold Date (you may recall me mentioning the event in my Anti-Valentines post).


It was a good evening, a bit different to what I usually get up to! It wasn’t really a dating event, although a tombola was used to select contestants from the audience, more for entertainment really. It was fun!

Slipknot at Genting Arena, Birmingham

I couldn’t make the London date, so on Friday I went all the way up to Genting Arena in Birmingham for Slipknot. It was a good choice, because I was basically side stage with an amazing view!


You’ll know by now how much love I have for this band, and they were so good! They were supported by Sikth and Suicidal Tendencies, the latter who I’m a big fan of. And I had the chance to catch up with a couple of good friends I hadn’t seen in a while too.

Valentines Star Wars Tattoos

It was a quiet Saturday, I just met up with my friend Kat to get some cute Star Wars tattoos from Haunted in Holloway. It was my first time getting tattooed by the studio owner, Allan Graves – he was great and I spontaneously booked in with him to start a True Romance thigh piece in a couple of months!


Anyway, this time he tattooed a heart shaped Death Star and heart shaped Darth Vader helmet on my thigh. I love them! Kat had a heart shaped R2D2 on one foot and a heart shaped C3PO on the other.


After, we met up with Luisa of Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat and had a bite to eat at Pump in Shoreditch. There will be a post on Pump coming soon!

L xx

All photos my own.



I know, I know, my ‘weekly’ round up posts aren’t really happening weekly, but life gets in the way sometimes! It’s been a busy couple of weeks – not only have I had loads on, but I managed to fracture my shoulder, wrist and break my thumb (which is why you’ll see some rather attractive wrist supports in my pics for a while!).

Sadly my injuries happened on the day I was meant to attend #BLOGGERSBELOWZERO at the Ice Bar, which I had been looking forward to for ages! Ice Bar have been very kind though and have invited me to my own little review visit so I will be posting about it soon! In the meantime you can see what Luisa of Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat thought of it here.

So here’s what I got up to this fortnight…

People Footwear UK Launch

On Tuesday I went along to The Hoxton Gallery for the UK launch of Vegan leisure shoe line, People Footwear. You can read about it in detail here.

people footwear

Abhorrent Decimation at Scream Lounge

I left the People Footwear event a little early to get myself down to the tiny Scream Lounge in Croydon to see local death metal band Abhorrent Decimation. Loved them. Properly loved them.

Despite being exactly the kind of thing I usually love, Abhorrent Decimation had managed to pass me by up until now. But I was so impressed, and I left with a copy of their new album, Miasmic Mutation. If you like death metal with a modern edge give it a listen, it’s awesome.

abhorrent decimation

ABQ London

Wednesday evening was my second visit to the ABQ London Breaking Bad themed bar (after going the first time around in the Summer, which you can read about here). After such a successful run of their Hackney pop up RV, they returned to a new venue, and a new BYOB format, which I’ve posted about in detail here!

abq london

Grease at the Hard Rock Cafe POP Picturehouse

Hard Rock Cafe London have some really cool stuff coming up, starting with the immersive showing of Grease in collaboration with Pop Picturehouse.

pop picturehouse hard rock cafe

You can read about the event in detail here, and buy tickets for the next event, Spiceworld on 22nd February here.

Alice In Wonderland Exhibition at The British Library

Have I mentioned yet how much I love Alice In Wonderland? I actually don’t think I have, which is pretty strange as I have been OBSESSED with anything Alice since my childhood. So of course the Alice In Wonderland exhibition at the British Library was on my to do list. You can see a sneaky preview of the exhibition in this post.

alice in wonderland british library

Chicken Night with Yelp & Neighbourhood

I’ve really been getting into Yelp lately (you can check out my profile here if you’re interested, feel free to add me as a friend if you’re a fellow Yelper).  I’m actually pretty disappointed that I didn’t get involved sooner, since they have such a great community and hold some really awesome events!

Wednesday just gone I attended their Newbie and Chicken Night at Neighbourhood in Stratford. It was a great night, I met some cool new people and had a delicious family style dinner and as much beer as I could drink! Thanks Yelp!


At Home With The Chef with Yelp & Eat With

Another night, another Yelp event! This was actually a pretty special one, there were only eight spaces available so Yelp ran a little competition – the eight Yelpers who recruited the most new members won a space. And I actually won overall, and got an extra little gift of a really nice cafetiere and coffee – I’m keeping it for my new desk when I start my new job in March.

Now, this event run with Eat With is worthy of a post all of its own, so you can read about it soon!

eat with

In the meantime you can find out a bit more about the chef who cooked for us, Dylan, on his blog, The Travelling Editor.

Fat Tuesday – London Mardi Gras 2016

You may have seen my post about Fat Tuesday in advance of the event? Regardless, I was invited down by Kansas Smittys and Shotgun Carousel to their London Mardi Gras event on Southbank. Despite the miserable weather, it was a great night!

london mardi gras

So, that was what’s been going on in my life lately – the next couple of weeks are going to be busy too! Stay tuned for more cool Yelp events, Slipknot, a new tattoo and plenty of (anti) Valentines stuff!

L xx

All photos my own.

If you’re going to be single at Valentines Day, what better place to be than London?

I’ll be honest, I’m not overly fussed about Valentines, but there are so many fun events coming up over the next couple of weeks that I may as well get into the spirit of things! And I’m not talking overpriced romantic dinners surrounded by starry eyed couples, haha!

So here are my top five picks of the anti (or just not quite so traditional) Valentines events going on this year. You’ll most likely find me at a couple of them…

Valentine’s Extreme Garnishing

You know I like my weird and wonderful food events by now, right? Well The Robin Collective put on the most interesting pop-ups, from re-creating the Eiffel Tower out of toast to making miniature gardens from coconut grass and brownie soil.


I’m super excited to be joining them for their Valentine’s workshop – Extreme Garnishing at The Hoxton in Shoreditch. Not entirely sure what to expect, but I hear there will be molecular techniques, love potions and even cooking with explosives! I can’t wait!


Extreme Garnishing is happening on Tuesday 16th February and tickets are selling like hot cakes, so pick one up for £20 from Design My Night.

If you’re intrigued by the toast, there’s another toast build coming up – look at their upcoming events here. Oh, and I’m also keen to try some of their Medicinal Marshmallows

Blindfold Date

If you’re British, and unless you’re way too young for me anyway, there’s no way you won’t know what Blind Date is (and I hear it’s making a comeback!). On Wednesday 10th February (so great timing for you to actually make plans for V Day at the weekend if they manage to match you up with Mr/Miss Right), It’s Unknown will be hosting a gameshow type night at Concrete in Shoreditch.


As well as one lucky contestant being blindfolded on stage to ask questions of three potential soulmates, there will be plenty of other chances to find love – including tombolas of love (?), love shacks and slow dance sessions (that’s my nightmare, right there!)…

I’ll be at Blindfold Date with a a few hot girl friends, so get involved! Tickets are £6 advance from Design My Night.

Psst… It’s Unknown have plenty more cool events up their sleeves – sticking with the love theme there’s Musical Bingo’s Heart Make Hotel later this month.

The Bloody Valentine Cabin

If you’ve seen my bucket list, you’ll know I’m dying to try out one of the cabins at York & Albany in Camden – and obviously a horror themed version is ideal! From 11th to 14th February, the cabins are decked out in blood splatter, with screenings of horror movies and themed cocktails and snack platters. Prices start at £30 per person (for snack platters and a cocktail), but there is a minimum spend of £120 per cabin for groups of 4 or less (£180 on Friday and Saturday).


You can book a cabin by emailing or for larger groups, you can book on Design My Night.

Eat Your Heart Out

I love a good supper club, and you know when it’s being held at House of Vans in Waterloo it’s going to be a fun one! With mischieviously named dishes like ‘Cupid’s a Cock-tail’ and ‘Sour Grapes’, their anti-Valentines supper club is in conjunction with Grub Club, so you can take it as a given that the food is going to be good.


Dinner is on Saturday 12th February, and tickets are £30 each, but currently YPlan have a great deal with tickets at £25.50 (also, you can save another £5 using my code LEVANS88 ).

Or, if brunch is more your thing, House of Vans and Grub Club are holding an anti-Valentines part 2 on the day itself, with their Boozy Bill Murray Brunch – a Bill Murray double bill, bellinis, Bloody Mary’s (or, erm, ‘Bloody Murrays’), unlimited waffles and pancakes and a whole load of American style sharing dishes. Pretty good for £20.


House of Vans also have a couple of anti-Valentines double bills (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind/Lars & The Real Girl or Before Sunrise/Her) and a cute card making workshop.

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart

Nothing says anti-Valentines like preserving a heart and putting it in a jar, right? Not one for the faint at heart, a couple of places are holding macabre classes in pickling lamb hearts and placing them in jars. Has anyone else noticed that taxidermy is so in right now? I don’t really get it, but anyway…


The Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch (which makes an appearance on my bucket list for its Brothers Grimm themed rooftop) is holding their workshop on their rooftop terrace on Saturday 6th February for £55 (or £100 for a couple). Tickets available here.

Or The British Academy of Taxidermy have two sessions on actual Valentines Day priced at £50 each (or £70 for a couple) at the Islington Arts Factory. Tickets available here.

Dirty Lovin’

Yes this is number 6, and I know, it isn’t exactly a Valentines alternative but I wanted to give it a mention. The Kensington branch of one of my favourites, Dirty Bones (you can see a review post here) has a Valentines Tasting Menu night on February 14th, featuring some brand new dishes – for £25 you get two courses, sides and a cocktail.


Also, from 12th to 14th February, the to die for Banana Toblerone-tella Waffles are available all day, not just for brunch at both Dirty Bones Kensington and Carnaby.

So there you have them, my top picks. I’d love to hear what other single people get up to!

L xx

All photos from the relevant establishments/PRs.

Today is February 1st – the first day I would have been able to eat animal products after Veganuary. Strangely, my food for today was actually Vegan – Vegan Quorn fajitas with plenty of peppers, mushrooms, lime and coriander rice and home made guacamole, as well as an Alpro Soya chocolate dessert.

Todays choice of meal suggests I was continuing with a Vegan lifestyle. I’m not. In fact, I didn’t even complete Veganuary. It wasn’t actually by choice – I was in hospital in my final week and was advised by my Doctors to at least add dairy back into my diet.

Although I decided pretty much at the start of Veganuary that it wasn’t something I would want to stick to long term, I still thought long and hard before taking my Doctors advice. After all, I had stuck with what was, to me, a life changing diet for almost the goal period, and I was determined to see it through. But my health comes first.


I understand that a lot of Vegans reading this will dispute the fact that I actually needed to incorporate animal products back into my diet. And I think that in part they are correct – I’m sure there are plenty of ways for knowledgeable Vegans to ensure they are getting the sufficient nutrients. But I was not a knowledgeable Vegan, I was a fussy eater when it came to meat alternatives, and with the stress I was under with my health issues and for practicality reasons it just wasn’t working out. So, knowledgeable Vegans, please bear in mind that you don’t know anything about my medical history and give me kudos for trying, please? I mean, I’m personally pretty shocked and impressed that I lasted as long as I did.

Despite it being a struggle, and it not quite going to plan, I did learn a lot from my time participating in Veganuary, and I’m glad I attempted it. So, I bet you’re dying to know what I learnt, right…?

Quorn isn’t Vegan

Shocker, right? I actually found this out by accident as it seems my local Waitrose is one of few supermarkets stocking specifically labelled Vegan Quorn. Had I not seen one pack labelled as Vegan, I wouldn’t have realised, so it was lucky I guess!

In case you’re wondering, it’s a little mushier than regular Quorn.


A lot of alcohol isn’t Vegan

Nightmare. Seriously. It isn’t necessarily that they contain animal products as actual ingredients, but has more to do with the manufacturing process. Luckily most spirits are, and some lagers that I like, such as Corona and Peroni. And my favourite, Amstel.


In fact, a lot of things you’d think are Vegan aren’t

What I didn’t realise when taking on Veganuary, was the sheer number of products that animal produce is used in. Veganism cuts out a surprising amount of foods beyond eggs and dairy and requires meticulous reading of supermarket labels.

You don’t need specialist stores

You just need a Waitrose. Or the internet so you can shop online with Ocado. Seriously, they put the rest of the supermarkets to shame (Edited to add: I’m informed that some branches of Tesco/Sainsburys/wherever cater much better to Vegans than the ones I went to, but my point remains the same – you don’t need specialist/health food stores).

Now, it could be argued that Waitrose tailors more to Vegans than the others because it is the choice of the Middle Classes, and Veganism is a bit of a Middle Class phenomenon, but that’s a whole other argument that I don’t want to entertain. But what I will say is…

Eating Vegan (properly) isn’t cheap

If you’re purchasing meat substitutes and specialist Vegan products, it really adds up! But, on the other hand, if you’re a fussy, lazy, uninformed Vegan in the way I was, you’ll likely find yourself eating basics like fruit, veg and rice because you know you can’t mess it up. Which is actually pretty cheap. Cheaper than buying meat anyway.

Eating out is surprisingly easy

It’s funny I think this, as a lot of Vegans I know would disagree, unless it comes to specific Vegan restaurants. But I ate successfully at chains including Wagamama, Nandos, The Diner, Yo Sushi and Chiquitos with no problems.


Eating at home was when I struggled, but I think that has a lot to do with my lack of imagination in the kitchen and laziness in analysing lists of ingredients.


Vegans get dessert too!

And they’re pretty damn good desserts! From jaw dropping donuts (see my post about the San Diego Donut Bar) to delicious cakes and ice creams (posts coming soon!), finding Vegan desserts when eating out really isn’t hard. And at home there are plenty of dairy free options that you don’t need to go to a speciality store for – my favourites are Pudology and Alpro Soya. I’ll post a round up of my favourites soon.

Your taste buds will adapt

I started January hating things like coconut water, and almond milk, and avocado. But they’ve managed to grow on me. But fake cheese and fake chocolate take some getting used to.

Speaking of avocados…

Vegans are obsessed with avocados

I have no idea why. But look at this pretty damn good looking avocado…


You will need dietary supplements (or could do with, depends on your source)

I didn’t take them which was dumb. So I learnt this the hard way. And to be fair, it probably had more of an impact to me, going from being a heavy meat eater than it would have to a vegetarian. This probably applies less to lifelong Vegans (if at all).

Cutting out a large part of your normal diet might feel like the main challenge, but what I didn’t consider was that the real hard bit is to cut those things out whilst maintaining a nutritious diet. Without meat, you will need plenty of iron, vitamin D and Vitamin B12.

As iron supplements often contain animal products, my research took me to Solgar Gentle Iron, which is completely Vegan, and their vitamin B12 which helps with the formation of healthy red blood cells. Look at me talking about nutrients and science stuff, haha!

Being a Vegan isn’t just about what you eat

While I didn’t give this aspect consideration when I made the decision to participate in Veganuary, I picked up quite early on that I wouldn’t just have to cut animal products out of my diet for the month. I mean, I could have done, but if I’m going to attempt Vegan, I’m going to give it my all. That meant no purchasing animal products, or products tested on animals, and no participating in activities which went against the whole principle. So no San Diego Zoo for me!

I also made sure that the beauty products I purchased in January, even while in the USA (because obviously I hit up Sephora!) were cruelty free. Luckily, my top US brand to purchase, Kat Von D, is pretty much all Vegan!

I actually discovered some great Vegan cosmetic brands, and I’ll be posting about them shortly. SauceBox is a particular favourite, and I’ll be running an awesome Vegan giveaway soon featuring one of their products, so watch this space!batalash

Although it is not my intention to continue with either a Vegetarian or Vegan diet, and my life will return to usual once I have used up all the Vegan food in my cupboards, I will continue to post on Vegan topics. There are restaurants I visited which I’m keen to tell you about, others I’m still yet to visit, there are products I loved which I want to review, and I’m sure I’ll continue to come across them more in everyday life – when I do they can be found in the Veganuary tab on my menu bar.

Although I will continue eating meat, I no longer have the attitude I had before – that a dish without meat is a side dish. And if you recall my original Veganuary post, that is what I was trying to change. What I completed of Veganuary did make me think harder about what I was eating, and it has made me more open to trying new things. Now, I will happily eat out at a specific Vegan or Vegetarian restaurant, which I would have turned my nose up at before.

In fact I had the nicest Vegan noodles in Shoreditch the other day. More of that soon, but here’s a pic to wet your appetite.cookdaily

I’d love to hear from anyone else who participated in Veganuary.

And if you want to read a Veganuary success story, take a look over at Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat‘s post here. Actually, she posts a lot about Vegetarian/Vegan topics, so if that interests you you’ll like her blog!

L xx

All photos my own. Except maybe the pizza pic, I’m not sure, maybe Luisa took it? Either way, she wrote about the pizza in detail here.

Last time I was in California, in October, I meant to visit the (now closed) Donut Bar in Orange County, because I’d heard great things, but didn’t get round to it. I hadn’t realised there was another (the original) Donut Bar in San Diego so was crazy happy when my friends took me there for breakfast donuts!


Donut Bar has a menu which changes daily, and is written on a chalkboard at the shopfront (it’s also uploaded daily onto their Facebook page).


They do sell out though, and queues can be long, so it’s best to get there early! Luckily it wasn’t too busy for us on a Friday morning, but I am told it gets pretty bad! You can place a order here to pickup the next day though.


On the day I visited the menu was quite varied, featuring everything from a basic $1 ring donut to a $5 Monte Cristo (if you don’t know what a Monte Cristo is, it’s a deep fried ham and cheese sandwich – now imagine that in donut form…).


I was surprised at how Vegan friendly Donut Bar was – they had four Vegan options which were clearly marked. There was a basic ring, a creme brulee, an apple fritter, and the one I went for – the Strawberry Split. At $4 this spectacular donut, I’m told, is one of the ones that put Donut Bar on the map. Seriously, look at it. It’s ginormous, and delicious, and I would never have guessed it was Vegan. I’m trying to find out what the cream substitute is but so far I’ve not had any luck.


Another donut, I just have to mention is the Big Poppa Tart Donut. Costing $4, the Big Poppa Tart weighs in at a huge 1lb, and has a whole pop tart in the centre. On the day I visited three flavours were available – S’Mores, Strawberry and Blueberry. Try this one heated up…


Next time I want to try the Jim Beam Maple Bourbon…

Donut Bar also have an outlet in San Diego airport Terminal 2, and I may have had a takeaway box for the plane…


L xx

All photos my own.


Donut Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

The Glam Clam was a pop up dining and cabaret experience, which took place at the Tufnell Park Dome from 16th to 20th December. So, I may be a little tardy in writing this post since I actually went to The Glam Clam, but I’m more concerned with getting you this review so you check out their future projects, so it’s not too bad, haha!


Anyway, my friend Kat and I went along to The Glam Clam, for the full dining experience courtesy of Design My Night. We were seated on a table in a prime location in the centre of the room, and I had Lucas, one of the organisers, next to me so managed to get a little insight into what they have planned next.


The Glam

For The Glam Clam The Dome was transformed into a jazz club based on speakeasys of 1920s Atlantic City.


The evening started with a champagne reception as guests were seated, before the entertainment began. There was live music from jazz diva Colette Cooper and a band of Ronnie Scott musicians, as well as drag queen burlesque and cabaret headed by Glyn Fussel of Sink The Pink, with intervals at each food course.


I know drag is really big at the moment, but this was my first experience of it, and it was great fun! The queens looked amazing, some were more stereotypically feminine while others had glitter beards – but they were all fabulous! And looked way better in those outfits than I would, haha!


There was a lot of crowd interaction from the queens – from lap dances to just intimate conversations, they made sure everyone was involved.

The Clam

Before the event I’d seen The Glam Clam featured on Design My Night, and seen people raving about it on social media. The menus for the evening were curated by food author and chef Gizzi Erskine – who I’m a fan of since she discovered one of my favourites, Le Bun. So I would normally jump at the chance of eating her food.


But, as someone who is a little skeptical of seafood, the fishy menu didn’t appeal so I was in two minds whether to go. So, if I’m honest, if I had had to pay for the event I probably wouldn’t have gone, and I would have missed out.

One thing I hadn’t seen ANYWHERE was that there was a vegetarian alternative to the seafood menu. I think that’s something they need to consider publicising for future as the lack of options likely put a lot of people off the dining package.

But, once seated, a waitress enquired as to whether I was a vegetarian. At that point I wasn’t, but a vegetarian option was preferential to me so I went for it. Before I tell you about what I ate, I’m going to write a little about the standard seafood option because it looked fantastic.

Before the waitress told me about the veggie food, I’d already tried the canapes (crispy chicken skin with Mottra caviar garnish) which were brought around on trays. They were okay – I’m not a massive fan of caviar but they weren’t at all bad. I have to admit I would not have guessed it was chicken skin at all!

The seafood starters were Southern fried oysters with old bay and Mellhenny mayonnaise, and New England crab cakes with fire roasted peppers and avocado puree.


The main course was New England clambake (including lobster) with green garlic butter and smoked sea salt. The juxtaposition of the plastic bucket for the shells in such a glam environment gave me a giggle.


The feedback from the other diners was that the food was excellent and I was astounded at the generous portions. The food was served family style so you could help yourself, and there was still lots left after people had gone back for seconds.

The vegetarian food was individually portioned (still generously!) with starters of Scrumpy-fried artichokes with Louisiana hot sauce and Mulhenny mayonnaise, and parsnip and hazelnut croquettes, fire roasted peppers and avocado puree. I was so impressed with these dishes, they were exciting and different and delicious. The parsnip and hazelnut croquettes in particular were lovely.


The vegetarian main was an amazing sweet potato bake with smoked sea salt. I was quite easy to please with this one as I love anything sweet potato. This was really filling, I only got about half way through.


We also had bottomless sourdough bread and butter for the table.

Both vegetarian and seafood diners had the same dessert – Christmas Mess. I’m a big fan of Eton Mess so I was very happy with it!


Throughout the meal, and the rest of the performance, our glasses were kept constantly (and I mean constantly, as soon as I was halfway down the glass it was full gain) topped up, and we were also treated to the occasional shot of Jagermeister.

Beforehand, I had thought that the £92.50 cost of the dinner package (£60 more than the entertainment only ticket) was a bit pricey. But having seen the quality and quantity of the food, and the drinks provided,  I think £60 for bottomless prosecco, festive cocktails, shots and the four course meal plus canapes is pretty reasonable.

What’s next for The Glam Clam?

Well, The Glam Clam will be returning for Valentines 2016, with their take on 17th Century London meets Vegas. I’m not sure if they will again partner with Gizzi, but either way, I’m excited!

L xx

All photos my own.

Is it kind of funny that I’m writing this the day after a post which had raw meat as its featured image? In case you hadn’t guessed, I’m quite a meat eater. My idea of a perfect meal is a bloody blue steak or a perfectly pink in the middle burger.

So, as the reactions of friends who I’ve so far told about my new venture have reinforced, I’m pretty much the last person you’d expect to cut meat out of their diet. And not only am I cutting out meat, but also dairy, eggs and other animal products. Yep, you read that right, I’m going Vegan.

At least for January. I’m taking on the personal challenge of participating in Veganuary.


I first came across Veganuary back in October when I attended Vegfest London with Luisa of Eat Sleep Luisa Repeat (she actually wrote an awesome blog post on the event here which is well worth a read) where I spoke to the founders, signed up and was given a cute wristband.

So what exactly is Veganuary?

Launched last January (2014), Veganuary is a non-profit global campaign with the goal to change public attitudes toward veganism by encouraging people to try Vegan for the month of January, while providing support to those transitioning to a plant based diet.

January was chosen as it’s generally seen as a time for resolutions and new beginnings. And I suspect it must have been a little factor that the portmanteau doesn’t work as well for any other month!

Why am I doing it?

I’ll be honest – it isn’t about the animals for me (not that I don’t love animals, I mean, who doesn’t?). A lot of people are doing the Dryathlon this month, I did contemplate that, but realistically Veganuary is more of a challenge for me. And I like a challenge.

My current diet consists heavily of meat, alcohol and junk food. I eat out or get takeaways constantly and rarely think about the impact what I put in my mouth will have on my health. I’m not saying that meat and animal products are unhealthy, and it isn’t my intention to cut them out long term (but who knows, by the end of January that might change!) but I think that participating in Veganuary will help change my attitude toward food, and have a knock on effect on my health.

I’ve always considered a dish without meat to be a side dish – I want to change that attitude, and also to eat more fruit, vegetables, grains etc as my diet is seriously lacking in them. I may also actually give cooking a go! Although I doubt you’ll see any recipe posts or cooking tips from me anytime soon!

And maybe, just maybe, I might lose a few of the lb I’ve piled on lately, haha!

What will be my main struggles?

Without a doubt, my upcoming long weekend in San Diego will be the most difficult few days. Not only am I going to the USA where I usually love to indulge in all the super sized unhealthy foods they do so well, but I won’t have cooking facilities and have less of an idea as to what my options eating out will be. To knew what was best for my health I read these barbarian xl reviews, now I’m sure what’s the best! I also have several hours between flights early morning at JFK Airport. For medical reasons I won’t be able to not eat a meal during that period and don’t know what will be open.

I have prepared myself for slip ups, whether intentional or not, while I’m over there. If that happens I will at least be eating a vegetarian diet for those four days, and will extend Veganuary by a further week at the beginning of February to compensate. That may sound like a cop out, but I’m being realistic, and it’s better to have a plan if it happens than to just give up on the whole thing if I hit an obstacle.

Foodwise, I think that cutting out eggs will be the hardest. Not only am I a massive fan of eggs, but they’re a hidden food in so many things.

I also hate seitan and vegan cheese which I discovered at Vegfest. Oh, that reminds me, at Vegfest I did have this delicious vegan pad thai and fresh lemonade…


How will this affect Girl At The Rock Show?

It won’t really. I know my readers have come to expect a certain type of content (meat heavy!) and I have plenty purposely stored up to keep you reading!

I’m not going to go on about the benefits of veganism here because quite frankly it’d be hypocritical and I don’t know enough on the subject yet! In fact, don’t expect that kind of content on my blog – my focus in my posts about Veganuary will be my own experiences. Maybe a food diary, or some restaurant reviews, and of course a round up at the end as to how it went.

If you want to know more about Veganuary or Veganism, take a look at the Veganuary site – it’s got a ton of helpful information whether you’re an established vegan or know nothing on the subject at all (like me!).

But overall, I hope that this will help make my blog a little more well rounded and also attract some new readers!

So what did I eat on my first day as a Vegan?

I think I’ve done pretty well really. I had half a pink grapefruit for breakfast. I haven’t had grapefruit for years, it was good.

At lunchtime I went to Wagamama with a friend. Wagamama seems to be a really good choice of chain for vegans, as there are a few vegan options already but also ingredients can easily be substituted.


I went for the Yasai Yaki Soba (soba noodles with mushrooms, other vegetables, egg, peppers, beansprouts, white and spring onions. garnished with fried shallots, pickled ginger and sesame seeds) for my main course. But I asked for no egg and because the soba noodles contain egg I substituted those for udon noodles (which are my favourite anyway).

On the side I had the Wok-fried Greens (tender stem broccoli and bok choi, stir-fried in a garlic and soy sauce) which were DELICIOUS. And I tried one of the new raw juices, Blueberry Spice (blueberry, apple and carrot with a taste of ginger).

It was a good meal – tasty and satisfying.

And later I snacked on cherries and a Nakd Cashew Cookie Bar (I bought a load of Nakd bars and nibbles at Vegfest!).

So, stay tuned to see how I get on! I’d love to hear any vegan tips people may have, or from anyone who is also doing Veganuary!

L xx

All photos my own.

Psst… apologies to anyone vegan/vegetarian reading this post who may not like to see meat – I suspect the ‘you may also enjoy’ feature of my blog below the main post may suggest meat based posts, unfortunately I can’t control what it displays.

I actually didn’t eat a lot – not for me at least! This may have something to do with a terrible hangover I had on day two…

Day One

I arrived at Gare Du Nord station at about 10.15, and was starving, so we just went to a little cafe opposite – I can’t for the life of me remember what it was called!

I just had a croissant (delicious) and the BEST HOT CHOCOLATE I’VE HAD IN MY LIFE. I think this cafe will definitely see me again.


We then headed to Hard Rock Cafe for an early lunch. I do like Hard Rock Cafes, and I’ve visited them in a lot of different countries. I usually prefer to find local gems, but sometimes it’s good to go for something familiar that you know you’ll enjoy. I normally like their cocktails, but I didn’t want to start too early, so I didn’t indulge this time.

Both myself and Chloe went for a starter as a main – the Tupelo Chicken Tenders. They’re normally served with mustard or hickory barbecue but we were awkward and asked for the Heavy Metal sauce instead. This sauce is seriously SO GOOD.

I went for a side of the parmesan fries with garlic aioli. Chloe had the biggest side salad known to man. It was a good meal.


After dropping my bag off at Chloe’s adorable apartment, we hit the touristy spot of Montmartre after research led us to some rock bars in the area. It seemed most things in Paris were closed on Mondays, at least until later on, and a few of the bars we looked for were closed down permanently. We finally found a promising one, but went for some dinner to kill some time.

When in Paris, there are some things you just have to eat. Steak tartare is one of them. We were seriously picky about where we had dinner. We left the first cafe because it didn’t seem clean. We left the second because a Yelp review mentioned insects. And we finally settled on one down one of the shopping streets, Le Saint Jean, because it seemed to have a lot of locals in, which is always a good sign.


We also saw the cutest thing, check out this dog at the counter!


After dinner we finally found an open rock bar – Rock & Roll Circus. I loved it. Happy Hour was 6-8pm, and had 3.50 caipirinhas. Strong caipirinhas. And we had too many. Quite a few too many. Oops.


Seriously though, if you’re looking for a dive bar with good music (of the heavier persuasion, you know my taste by now) and well priced generously poured drinks, this is your place.

Day Two

Well, this is embarrassing. Day One ended on an eventful note with a lot more alcohol so Day Two was a lazy hangover day! We did go to a local supermarket in Jourdain to get comfort food – mine was in the form of speck (Austrian ham) and some amazing bread from a little bakery. I also had this delicious ‘chocolate snail’.


Day Three

Things got a lot better on Day Three. We started with a Burger King at the metro station (which I didn’t photograph- but I had an XL Bacon Cheese) before we headed off to Versailles.

At the Château de Versailles I was excited to find a branch of Angelina and even though I wasn’t hungry, I had to have cake there!

We shared some macaroons in dark chocolate, pistachio, caramel and blackcurrant.


And I went for the festive version of Angelinas signature patisserie, the Mont Blanc in yule log form.


To drink I went for their famous Iced Chocolate L’Africain. Never again, it was the richest, most chocolatey thing I have ever drunk. I left most of it.

Before I got my Eurostar back to London, we had a late dinner at a brasserie opposite Gare Du Nord, La Maison Blanche. Time for two more typically French dishes – Chloe had the French onion soup and I had rare steak.


The food was really good, not badly priced and service was fantastic. I’d definitely go back if I’m hungry and need to kill some time pre-departure.


And after that, it was back to London for me! I’ve decided that, with Eurostars being so cheap (my return ticket from St Pancras was less than £70!) I need to go to Paris more often, so expect more posts like these!

L xx

All photos my own.