Tag Archives: Weekend Photo Journal

Vegan Man in a Van; Mountain Bike Road Trip to Tignes, France

I’ve been reading Sharon’s Bit of the Good Stuff blog for several years and always enjoyed the practical guidance and recipes that have helped me to follow a plant-based diet. Sharon’s blog is an inspiration, demonstrating that following a vegan diet isn’t difficult and this movement grows, it gets easier and easier to eat in this way. Once you’re in a routine, eating day-to-day is easy. We all have our tried and tested mealtime favourites. We know where we can go for vegan-friendly lunches and snacks.

I’ve found it more challenging when I step outside of this routine, perhaps working away from home or visiting new places. However, with a little extra thought and preparation, it’s not hard to overcome any potential difficulties and continue to eat healthy, plant-based food wherever you are.

Last July, I took a road trip to France with a few (non-vegan) friends and below I share a few reflections on what was a fantastic trip. The tips I offer on going on a road trip are perhaps obvious enough but, hopefully, some of these words might show how it is to maintain your plant-based diet, even when you’re the only Vegan in the Van… Continue reading

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Filed under Biking, Guest Post, Holidays, Vacations

Book Writing and Campaigning

Hi everyone!

Hope you’re having a great summer so far. I do apologise for the lack of recipe posts these past couple of weeks but life’s been a bit crazy busy round here!

There are two events in particular that have taken up pretty much all my time – book writing and campaigning.

Dont Pave Paradise

Here’s a quick update on what’s been happening… Continue reading

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Trip to London & Celebrating Lil’ L’s 12th Birthday

Last week Lil’ L celebrated his 12th birthday, and we decided to mark the occasion with a special overnight trip to London. Even though I grew up in Essex – just half an hour’s train journey from the Big Smoke and worked there for a year after college – I’ve never actually been ‘sight seeing’ in London. So I was just as excited as Lil’ L about the impending trip.

London Street Scene

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Filed under Holidays, Vacations

Bath Half 2015 – I did it!

I did it! I actually completed my first half marathon!

Bath Half 2015 - I did it!

And what an incredible experience it was to be in the midst of all these runners making their way round my home city

Bath Half 2015

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My ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots look the wrong way round as I started the race soaking wet and finished it dry. As we set off for Bath city centre, there was a cool breeze, the sun was shining and the sky was clear blue. I kept calling out to the family how it was the perfect day for running… no sooner had I uttered these words than the sky went dark and there was the most almighty downpour!

Bath Half 2015 - before shot

Stupidly, I hadn’t packed a waterproof coat or an umbrella, so I ended up soaked to the skin and freezing cold. Instead of heading to the runners village, I popped in Cafe Nero’s to try and warm up. At least I managed to stop shivering! Luckily, the rain stopped just before the race began and the sun started to peep out.

With thirty minutes to go until ‘the off’, I headed up Great Pultney Street to the ‘starting pens’. It felt surreal to be part of the running crowd. I couldn’t quite believe I was there! Suddenly the race started, and the only sound I could hear was the ‘pitter patter’ of thousands of feet. It was such a unique sound. I found it mesmerizing.

Bath Half 2015 - Bath Chronicle

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The first four miles went really fast, then it started getting tougher. I tried to keep up with ‘Pound Coin guy’ for a while. I did manage to say hi to him, but even his pace was too much for me. To ignore the fact my feet were screaming, I focused on the crowds and ‘hi fiveing’ all the kids I passed. Seeing their smiley faces definitely kept my spirits lifted.

Pound Coin guy

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Another highlight for me was being lapped by the winner, Paul Martelletti and runner up, Dean Lacey. I can’t believe how fast those guys can run! If I’d blinked I would have missed them! Paul was the first British guy to win the Bath Half in twelve years, finishing in 1 hr 5 minutes.

Paul Martelletti

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That’s a whole hour faster than me! I ended up finishing in 2 hours 5 minutes, which is quicker than expected. I even managed a kind of hobbled sprint finish 🙂

Once over the finish line, my body pretty much refused to move. I could barely bend over to reach the time chip on my shoe. I hobbled my way through the exit pens and collected my medal, finishers t shirt and ‘goodie’ bag.

Bath Half 2015 Medal

I loved the t shirt but the ‘goodie’ bag was pretty dismal. I was kind of expecting a protein bar or energy drink. Something to rejuvenate me after the big run. But no, here’s what was inside…

Bath Half 2015 Goodie Bag

Dairy milk bars and a Dairyfine Titan. Glad to see they catered for the plant-based runners 😉

But joking aside, I’m so glad that I took the plunge and signed up for the Bath Half. It was a ‘once in a lifetime’ experience for me, and one that I’ll never forget.

Bath Half 2015 - I did it!

The fact I got to run for such a worthwhile cause was the icing on the cake. Thanks to you guys, I’ve raised £436 for Mercy In Action. I have been so touched these past few weeks by your kindness and generosity. I can’t thank you enough. As promised in this post, I’ll be picking three sponsors at random to win some of my home-made chocolates. Since donations are still coming in, I’ve extended the deadline until this Friday, March 6th March. I’ll notify the winners by email.

Thank you once again, to everyone that’s donated and offered words of advice and encouragement. I couldn’t have done it without you xx

 

 

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Filed under Fund-Raising, Out & About in Bath, Running

A Special Trip to Paris – May 2014

During May half term, we headed off on the Eurostar to spend a few days in Paris. Our buddies are living there for a year, so it was wonderful to see them and share in their amazing adventure! We stayed at their fab apartment in Issy for two nights, then moved to the heart of the city and spent two nights in Montmartre.

Me & Lil' L on the Metro

This photo makes me chuckle! 😀

We were determined to make the most of our short visit and packed a lot into each day. We visited the classic Paris sights – Louvre, Sacre Coeur, Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, Galerie Lafayette – as well as a contemporary art market and Marvel Super Hero Expo (much to Lil’ L & M’s delight!)

Sightseeing in Paris

Most of my visits to Paris have been in Autumn/Fall, so I’d forgotten just how busy the city can be during the summer months. After quick stops at the tourist hotspots (which were heaving with people), we took up our favourite activity which is to simply wander the streets (or “flâner” as I think they say in French). For me, this is the best way to truly experience Paris.

Street View of Sacre Coeur
As well as soaking up the Parisian atmosphere and admiring the stunning architecture, we had lots of fun spotting street art by the infamous French Invader.  Apparently, there are over 1000 pieces of his art in Paris alone!

Invader Collage

I also loved spotting all the love graffiti that’s sprinkled across the city. I wish all graffiti had this sentiment!

Love Graffiti Collage

Lil’ L has never been to Paris before and he was most excited about seeing the Eiffel Tower. I was keen to take him at nightfall so he could see the tower lit up. I didn’t tell him about the hourly ‘sparkle’ as I wanted it to be a suprise 😉 We were on a bus heading to the tower when the 10 o’clock sparkle happened. Luckily, the bus turned a corner just in time, and we caught the whole show. I loved watching Lil’ L’s face as it sparkled. It was really special

Eiffel Tower Collage

We also caught the 11 o’clock ‘sparkle’ from the Trocadero. As an added bonus, the Paris Slalom World Cup Inline Skating battles were taking place and we got to watch the top three men in the world battle it out for first place. The Korean guy that came first was totally awesome! He wasn’t even phased when some idiot kept flashing a laser in his face. If you’ve got a keen eye, you might even spot me, M & Lil’ L in the background 😉

We made sure to balance the walking and sightseeing with plenty of chill-out time at cafés, parks and the apartments.

Lil L in Paris Collage

If the sun’s out, Jardin du Luxembourg is a great place to spend an afternoon. I loved watching the sailboats gliding across the pond. Very relaxing indeed!

Jardin du Luxembourg Collage

And of course, we spent a fair amount of time eating too 😉 I was amazed at the amount of veggie options that are now available in Paris, catering for all kinds of dietary choices from raw, macrobiotic, gluten-free through to hamburger joints and fast food. There are also ‘Bio’ (organic) supermarkets where you can stock up on health foods.

If you’re planning a visit to Paris, I highly recommend checking out the restaurant reviews on HappyCow and Trip Advisor. We tried a few places (including M.O.B. vegan burger joint and Pousse Pousse), but there were two clear favourites. For a quick lunch option, we loved Maoz Vegetarien near Notre Dame, which serves falafels stuffed in pittas to which you add salad and dressings from the self service bar. There was a great selection of salad options, including yummy beetroot and cumin-spiced carrots.

Veggie Restaurents in Paris Collage

In the evening, we enjoyed a visit to Vegebowl which serves Asian cuisine. We arrived as it opened and the place quickly filled up (always a good sign!) 90% of the dishes are vegan and those including dairy are clearly marked. A 3 course meal cost 12 euros, which is cheap for Paris. The dishes are named after their meat counterparts (which me and Lil’ L found a bit creepy) but the ‘meat’ was essentially tofu. We tried a whole range of dishes and all bar one (the Lemon “Chicken”) were really tasty. We especially loved the Basil Stir Fried Tofu, ‘Cashew “Chicken”’ and ‘Sweet and Sour “Pork” balls’.

After reading Vegan Miam’s review of the Gentle Gourmet Café, I’d really wanted to check out their vegan French desserts. Unfortunately, the two occasions we happened to be nearby it was mid-afternoon and the café was closed. Next time!

Finally, to round off what was an incredibly special trip to Paris, in the departure lounge at Gare du Nord, we spotted Hannah and Dan from our favourite band, London Grammar. They were on their way home after playing at the We Love Green Festival. I’ve listened to their album ‘If You Wait’ hundreds of times and it still sends shivers down my spine. I couldn’t resist popping over and saying hi to Hannah. She is so lovely!

I’ll leave you with ‘Sights’. Enjoy! xx

 

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Filed under Vacations, Vegetarian & Vegan Cafes