Here it is, guys.
My first post in triple figures: post number 100!
I was actually toying with the idea of making myself a blogthday cake (any excuse to eat cake, of course), but I found myself really quite busy over the past few days and now that I have some downtime I am in Hay-on-Wye with no way of making a birthday cake for me, my blog, or anyone else.
So instead I thought I would share with you all a round-up of a bunch of my favourite vegan-related items, places, or experiences, in the name of good and happy things.
Please note that these are in absolutely no order whatsoever!
- Oh She Glows: one of my favourite blogs, which I have been following for years and have found truly inspiring.
- Karma Free Pizzas: I don’t think I have eaten out anywhere as much as Ben and I have eaten at the Karma Free Pizza Company.
- My new shoes: the Asics Gel-DS trainer has gone vegan and it is beautifully purple!
- Body+Mind tea blend: a delicate and refreshing blend of white, green and oolong teas from Teavana.
- Manna: need I say more?
- Sweet potato in all its forms: at the moment, my favourite is chopped into wedges or chunks, drizzled with a little olive oil and paprika, and roasted in a medium-hot oven for about 40mins.
- Cinnamon and Orange Rooibos tea: fruity, sweet, warming, calming – a lovely offering from Whittard’s of Chelsea perfect for bedtime.
- My Fjallraven Kanken backpack: it took me so long to decide whether or not I wanted one, and even longer to decide what colour, and I love it every time I use it!
- Beauty Without Cruelty: I only have their mascara at the moment, but I love it and it even survives several rounds of grappling without destroying anyone’s gi!
- The Rabbit Hole vegan hair salon in West London: convenient location for me, good haircut using vegan organic products, lovely decor, soy milk with tea and vegan biscuits, reasonable fees, gorgeous handcrafted jewellery available (hello birthday list!) and all capped with delightfully sweet and friendly service and conversation.
- My wonderful inspiring friend Vivien’s blog, Where’s Viv?, currently detailing her medical research trip to Ghana. She writes beautifully and intelligently, and I always get excited to see a new post of hers in my Reader.
- All things Booja-Booja.
- My mum’s veganised Galette des Rois: see a photo of it at the bottom of this post.
- Body Armour bodywash: specifically designed for martial arts and any other close-contact sports, their powerful formula is all-natural and vegan friendly, and my skin has never been in such good condition since I started grappling.
- The raw lasagne at Down to Earth on High Street Kensington. Skip the reading and go straight to the photo (which doesn’t do its creamy deliciousness justice) in this post.
- Have Cake Will Travel: another blog I’ve been following quite some time, with gorgeous photos, interesting recipes, and intelligent chat.
- Joy the Baker: although this blog is very un-vegan, the posts always entertain me and the photos delight me. Plus, Joy brought us cinnamon bread and as soon as I get my act together, I am so trying her peanut butter and pickle sandwich.
- Tapping people out in BJJ and grappling, or even just pulling a smart move and coming close to doing so.
- Frozen grapes. So simple, yet so intriguingly good!
- Vehement MMA: OK, I haven’t actually tried their stuff yet, but I love that somebody is making vegan, organic MMA-specific apparel.
- My little Vivo Barefoot pumps: light, breathable, casually feminine, wide-fitting, as good with jeans as they are with skirts and summer dresses, vegan, and I got them on sale. Doesn’t look like they make them anymore though as I can’t find them online… Just when I had started thinking about buying a new pair too!
- Mangoes: unadulterated, please.
- The Gallery Café in Bethnal Green. I know, I go on about it all the time!
- RioLife açai fruit bars: unlike what I have found thus far in the UK, these are packed with fruit and tangy açai flavour. I am working on getting them to the UK. Bear with me.
- Back workouts: I know it sounds strange, but I really enjoy back workouts – bent-over rows, seated cable rows, deadlifts, lat pulldowns – everything except normal pullups. I feel the benefit immediately and find myself standing taller and squeezing my shoulder blades back, and I like how much concentration and focus holding the correct posture takes throughout.
- Four Girls and a Cupcake: I discovered these guys at V Delicious but unfortunately was too dumb to actually buy any of their products. I am still kicking myself for it, as their cute little cupcakes and French patisseries are right up my alley.
- Sleeping on trains: one of life’s little pleasures!
- Bittersweet: beautifully written, the sentences of this blog seem to leap off the page and into your brain effortlessly, while the impeccable photos tantalise your tastebuds. Always enjoy a new post!
- I know I’ve said sweet potato already, but the sweet potato fries at Giraffe deserve a special mention!
- Sativa Shakes: another one that I rave on about all the time, but it’s so nice to see a company so dedicated to its cause and its customers.
- The entire Nkuku fairtrade crafts range, but in particular their Eva hand-painted bowls: I bought a small bowl and cup for Vivien before she went away to Ghana (see number 11), and have been thinking about them ever since. I finally gave in and bought myself a little bowl perfect for breakfasts, nibbles, and ice cream!
- Clif Builder’s Bars: again, enough said.
- One of the London Underground staff members at Lambeth North station: he is always chatty and friendly, and genuinely brightened my day up whenever I was starting or leaving work.
- Coconom: delicious product, lovely packaging, and helpful customer service.
- All the Bourgeois Boheme shoes I own, not that I get much of a chance to wear them ever.
- My bamboo raglan t-shirt: soft, breathable, a perfect fit, comfortable and feminine, perfect for training, and ethical.
- Having breakfast on our sunny terrace in the garden at home.
- The coconut bars I made a few weeks ago. I am still thinking about them.
- The Vegan Society’s chocolate cake recipe: foolproof and omnivore approved.
- Playing music very loud and singing along whilst cleaning or doing other chores.
- Frank bars: little bit of fruit, little bit of chocolate, little bit of chewy, little bit of protein, all in a tiny little parcel of healthy convenience.
- When bus drivers wait for me when I run for the bus.
- Lazy Days Food millionaire’s shortbread: I can’t have any of this around anymore or I smash the entire pack (well, I don’t, but I spend every conscious minute thinking about smashing it).
- Tahini. On everything.
- Jus Rol croissants: a taste of childhood, a grin of vegan breakfast satisfaction.
- Otto cornmeal crust pizza in Notting Hill: not quite pizza, not quite tart, not quite pie, not quite quiche, but always delicious and they always have a vegan pizza featuring their deliciously spicy home-made cashew cheese.
- To Happy Vegans and in particular the UK Vegan Food Swap they organise every month: a great way to inspire new vegans, bring old vegans together, and bring a little bit of excitement and happiness to everyone each month!
- My Chinese Laundry boots: my first vegan boots, and they definitely contributed to me getting through the winter.
- The Legs & Lungs t-shirts Ben and I bought: the t-shirts themselves are great, and I like knowing that I could contribute just a tiny bit to Scott‘s treatment and recovery.
- Peanut butter, almond butter, and anything that involves those, in particular my mum’s satay sauce (on barbecued tofu skewers).
That, ladies and gents, is a list of 50 things that make me happy about the world. I could have easily gone on with another 50, which would have included lots of chocolate and lots of moments with friends, but I figured all of that is a bit of a given and this is enough to get you started. I hope all that thankfulness put a smile on your face.
Most importantly, a big, huge thank you to everyone who has followed my blog over the last ten months, or even just for some of these 100 posts. That in itself could count for all of the next 50 things that make me happy. Thank you.