What’s in the lunch box? Chillies are not peppers

This lunch does actually look rather dull. A very limited choice of dishes, with a big sandwich taking up the bulk of the photo. It’s not even an exciting looking sandwich. Frills of lettuce and layers of colour do not peep from between the slices. However the taste is certainly not dull. The filling is an olive and tofu spread from Veganomicon. The original recipe sounds pretty delicious, and I’m certain would have tasted it too if I’d followed it.

I made an alteration in the recipe that I haven’t done in ages. When the instruction said to add red pepper flakes I added red chilli pepper flakes. I’ve no idea why Ido this. Any illusions I had that the two were interchangeable much have vanished years ago when I took my first combustible mouthfuls.
Maybe I felt that my food needed to compete with the ambient temperature.
Lunchtime offerings:
· Sandwich with hot olive spread, spinach, and rocket
· Melon
· Home popped popcorn
· HHhH by Laurent Binet
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Lunchtime fun – Bhangra dancing and vegan food

Lunchtime fun - Bhangra dancing and vegan food
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Summer breakfast with oats, chia, blueberries and almond milk

Summer breakfast with oats, chia, blueberries and almond milk
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A great start to the day

A great start to the day
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London Vegan Drinks invades Wholefoods Kensington

I really enjoy looking at food. Even if I have no plans to buy anything there’s a certain pleasure to be had in admiring produce of all kinds. As a vegan I’m always intrigued to go somewhere new and see if they have products I haven’t previously tried. So I was pretty excited to hear that the new home for London Vegan Drinks was going to be Wholefoods Market in Kensington. I’ve visited the Piccadilly store on a couple of occasions and was happy with some more time in a similar environment.

As LVD didn’t start until 6pm I had plenty of time to enjoy vegan goodies in Camden.

Stir fry

My first stop was Loving Hut for some stir fry and a vanilla milkshake.

The guys serving couldn’t have been more helpful. I also had a great chat with another customer who said the place had turned him vegan 3 and half years previously. He’d bought a bunch of work colleagues over for the buffet and been amazed at how good the food was. When he found out it was vegan he decided that he’d better become one.

I was too full for dessert but happily a stride around the market and stables area left me ready to enjoy some sweet treat at Cookies and Scream.

I turned up at Kensington Wholefoods market expecting a store similar in size to the Piccadilly Circus one. I had no idea that this was 3 floors of mega store. I could have spent hours browsing on the ground floor (vegetables without plastic packaging, open barrels of lentils, peanut butter grinders, vegan chocolates) but thought I should go and be social!

The second floor is perfect for London Vegan Drinks. The room with a view is glorious, and has the best fake grass I’ve ever come across. I must confess I did spend some time digging down trying to find the soil because I was convinced it couldn’t be fake. The food court has ample food and drink options, and plenty of seating. I had vegan beer and pizza but could see plenty of things to try in future months. Hey, they had root beer…

Vegan pizza

I was really impressed with how welcome Wholefoods made us. From goodie bags to menus to smiley staff, it was a really great experience. It’s clear that Wholefoods get that vegan like to eat and drink as much as anything else. Food is important to us and we like to enjoy a variety of food stuffs which don’t all have to be totally healthy. We love cake as much as the next person.

I couldn’t resist picking up some groceries before leaving and am determined to check out some of the other services on offer. I love the thought of taking my own bottle to fill with olive oil, and I’m sure I spotted a similar offering for wine.

So to sum up I’m really excited about what Wholefoods has to offer, and looking forward to the next London Vegan Drinks so I can explore more.


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Things I Love Thursday

Lunches in the sun – my new work location by the river makes me feel like I’m in the middle of the countryside. I can eat lunch under a different tree every day.

Foraging opportunities – so far this week I’ve identified Sweet cicely , Darwin’s barberry, Fennel, and Hedge mustard. And on a similar note, I’m still drinking lots of nettle and plantain tea.

Dancing like there’s no one watching – I’be really been enjoying burlesque classes and practice this week. It’s been great to work off some energy and tension by pulling ridiculous faces, getting into character and stretching my muscles.

Warm nights – with sash windows open at the top there’s a suitable breeze to make warm nights a delightful experience that says summer is here; enjoy it while it lasts.

Meetings in parks – I met with Carla and Naomi to plan our next stage of world domination, and the park was the obvious place to designate our board room.

Easy iced coffee – I froze, in a ice tray, the leftover coffee from the weekend. Today I blended it with vanilla syrup and soy milk. The perfect morning beverage. Alas I drank it all before I thought to take a photo.

Actually getting to wear my summer clothes – all my clothes that look wrong with tights and cardigans are getting worn, and will continue to be worn (until the heat wave ends and they go back in the wardrobe for a year or two).

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What’s in my lunchbox? Just for the dressing

Food and book

I made this lunch pretty much entirely for the delicious dressing. It’s from a recipe in The Garden of Vegan. It’s easily overlooked as the recipe title focuses on the spinach and tofu that form the salad, rather than on this delicious tangy dressing. It’s perfect for the hot weather we’ve been experiencing of late.

The hot weather has also made lunch outside a truly enjoyable experience. Having recently moved offices I’m getting to appreciate riverside walks and plenty of delightful spots for lunch right on my doorstep.

Clockwise from top:

  • Sex and Stravinsky by Barbara Trapido – enjoying this so much I might have to do a rare book review post
  • Home grown strawberries and dark chocolate
  • Twiglets
  • Wonderful dressing – a blend of miso, oil, vinegar, ginger, soy sauce and garlic
  • Salad – radishes, various leaves (spinach, rocket, Oak leaf lettuce) and Italian style tofu (yes, plain fried tofu would have worked fine but I was feeling inspired).


This is where I enjoyed my lunch while listening to birds and watching butterflies.

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Goose grass decorated shoes after a spot of foraging

Goose grass decorated shoes after a spot of foraging
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2013 Mid year review

At the start of the year I made a list of things I wanted to do in 2013. I reviewed them recently and my performance has been mixed!

Definitely making progress

  • Start a burlesque troupe and perform with them – a definite ‘yes’ following the formation of the Paper Dolls and The Fling festival.
  • Develop different income streams – I’ve certainly put plenty of energy into this area! In addition to Ink Drops Boxes the stationery subscription service I run with Carla of Ducking Fabulous, I’ve also been experimenting with Etsy, Ebay, Flea markets, and am working on a car boot sale and the green shop.
  • Engage with people more – I’ve met loads of interesting people this year and said yes to far more opportunities to connect.

Could try harder

  • Explore geocaching – lost my vibe on this after several fails at finding my 2nd cache.
  • Make pasties, knickers and garters – made paper pasties in April, but bit of a fail on the rest
  • Spend less time doing unnecessary things – there still aren’t enough hours in the day.

Things to read

  • The Woman in white
  • To kill a mocking bird
  • Treasure Island
  • Pride and prejudice
  • something by Ford Maddox Ford read The good soldier in April
  • Anna Karenina

So looking at what I need to do for the rest of the year it’s go geocaching, make some stuff, read plenty, and do less!

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The handbag 5:2 – make up

Make up bag and contents
My initial plans for the 5:2 handbag project were to go absolutely minimal 2 days each week. So I’d pretty much be carrying keys, purse, phone, glasses and handkerchief.
However the thought of continuing to cart so much junk for the other 5 days became massively unappealing. So I’m going through what I carry and seeing what I can leave at home.
My make up bag is pictured above. Theoretically it’s with me so I can touch up my make during the day. The reality is I never bother and only use it on days were I have a burlesque class after work, or am travelling to work by bus.
I have no idea why I need to carry 4 lip colours with me. And the Dallas compact in the middle of the picture is shameful. Yes it looks nice and compact. But look at what’s actually inside it…
Make up

So all that for 2 eye shadows!

My newly slimmed make up bag is a lot less weighty. I can actually do the zip on the pouch up. The eye shadows have been renamed in a smaller container.

Make up bag and contents

The most interesting thing though is that I keep failing to put it in my handbag, and so far I haven’t really missed it.


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