Tips For a Stress Free and Safe Night Out

Learned from over 21 years of Friday and Saturday nights out, my realistic tips include prep, keeping track of your mates, getting there and back and keeping the fun going while you’re there.

1. If you’re unsure about the area, speak to friends or locals to find out about the streets or places to visit AND to avoid.

2. Phone a taxi company before hand a book a return cab for a realistic time (probably a little bit before the club/bar chucking out time) and agree where to be picked up. Have other local cab company numbers in case it doesn’t work out or find where the nearest base/office is.

3. Buy a stylish cross-body handbag bag that has a zip or solid clasp so your bad doesn’t get ‘dipped’ by thieves. Wear it inside your coat when out on the street.

4. Always store enough money for food and a taxi in a separate part of your purse, bag or (ideally pocket) so you don’t accidentally spend it.

5. Have a pair of fold up ballet flats in your bag. So no limping around on blistered feet at the end of the night. Practical and it doesn’t make you look like a target.

6. Always be friendly to the door and bar staff, you never know what they might be able to help you with.

7. If you are in a big club or area and go separate ways, agree on a place to meet back up.

8.  If your good mates say you are too pissed, believe them and get them to escort you to the toilets to freshen (sober) up a bit. You do not want to get suddenly thrown out on your own by the doormen, making you vulnerable.

9. If you do end up worse for wear, it’s safer to trust groups of women rather than a man, no matter how charming they may seem.

10. Keep an eye on your drink at all times or ask someone you know and trust to watch them. Don’t accept physical drinks from strangers, instead go to the bar with them, order it and then let them pay.

11. Before leaving a place check you have everything (coat, bag, phone) and everyone. No one wants to get left behind because they went to the loo!

12. When walking to a place either walk the same speed as the slowest person or break into two groups (if there’s a lot of you), with clear agreement on where you are heading.

13. Same as when you are getting food. Everyone needs to make it clear where they are going and who they are going with or if they want someone to wait for them.

14. Don’t be that dick who just goes home without telling anyone. People will be worried if you just disappear.

15. Make sure you are getting into a registered taxi. Is the logo familiar? Do they have photo ID with their driver number on ? If you have booked it, they should know your name and address. Agree on a price first so they can’t inflate the fare.

16.  When you’re at home, message each other to say you’ve had a top night and you’re home safe.

Happy partying people!

Zad’s Vegan Takeaway Manchester

Last Saturday I treated myself to Zad’s takeaway in Chorlton; it was a treat because the minim order for delivery (even if you are only a mile away) is £15 which is expensive for me. Still, I’ve had their wonderful food before and thought it was worth it.

I ordered a 9” vegetable pizza, curly fries, ZFC – spicy fried cauliflower instead of chicken – which tastes weirdly like KFC and a salted caramel cupcake.

I ordered using their app at 8.00pm and selected delivery for the earliest available 9.00pm as I was starting to feel hungry. By 9.50 I had to make a snack as I was getting really bad hunger pains. I’d tried to phone several times but it just rung out. My food arrived at 10.10pm! No apology or acknowledgment that it was over an hour late .

The pizza was hardly warm, the fries were cold and soggy. I was so hungry and gutted! The ZFC was amazing as was the cupcake. I didn’t have the energy to reheat the pizza and bake the fries in the oven so I had to save them for the next day. They were both awesome once heated/cooked again but that’s the opposite of why people get a handy takeaway.

I left a polite complaint via email but that as well as two other phone call attempts have been ignored.

I really want to give Zads a great review but I can’t because of how late the food was, how soggy the food was and how non- existent their customer service is.

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

 

Banoffee Pots by The Coconut Collaborative – Dairy Free!

 

A8884073-F675-4D47-AD95-379956FD109FThe rather sad freezing but I’m still chuffed that the bloke found these dairy free Banoffee deserts in Morrisons! They taste a cross between banana and butterscotch Angel Delight with the texture of creme brûlée. 🤤

The only problem is that they are in little plastic posts which aren’t recyclable, not in Manchester anyway. 😔

Chrissie

Vegan Shack Review Manchester

I first heard of Vegan Shack from the Manchester Vegetarian and Vegan Group on Facebook. MVVG are a friendly bunch and so helpful (anyone who gets arsey and argumentative, rather than constructive, get called out by moderators or other members)   they are worth checking out.

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Menu

Vegan Shack provide all of our vegan junk food desires, including kebabs, pizzas, burgers, ‘chicken’ poppers, frickles (fried pickles) garlic dough balls and loaded fries. They deliver around a large radius of Central/South Manchester so Chorlton is included and I think they just about cover Denton, I’m not sure about North Manchester, sorry!

The five gluten free offerings on the menu are three pizzas, basic fries and on request kebabs too! I chose the Chick n’ Chunk with a 10″ stone baked base (my fave) tomato and herb sauce, ‘cheese’ and strips of ‘chicken’.

Ordering

I used the website on my iPad and it kept saying there was something wrong and to try ordering something different (even though what I’d chosen wasn’t ‘sold out’). I gave up in the end and asked the online customer service person. They were incredibly helpful and told me to give them my order and they would do it for me. My food arrived so fast, I’d not even sat down on the couch and got settled for the evening!

The Pizza

The problem I’ve always had with vegan cheese is that it’s too sweet and when paired with a fairly sweet (but tasty) tomato sauce you have a very un-savoury pizza. The ‘chicken’ strips had a realistic texture and really balanced out the overall flavour. I ended up scraping off half of the cheese (which they were almost too generous with) and adding a lot of salt. Then it tasted awesome!

Verdict

I would say Vegan Shack is up there with V Revolution and Zads when it comes to creativity but a hot dog option and some deserts would be great additions.

Chrissie

Breakfast, Dinner or Tea?

I only got out of bed just over two and a half hours ago so who knows lol

Corn thins with dairy free spread, cucumber, sun-dried tomato (out of a jar, not those plastic unrecyclable tubs, cheaper too) with oregano, artichoke hearts (again out of a jar) and jalapeños. I did eat a giant handful of salted, roasted cashews before this so protein isn’t an issue, for anyone wondering.

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Trying the Autumn Menu from Pizza Express

Me and the bloke decided some Italian inspired food was well overdue and booked ourselves in with Pizza Express in Piccadilly to try their new Autumn menu.

I did a little fun poll on Twitter and Instagram (which got a whole 8 participants lol) to decide what to wear. Urban/Street 20% , Alternative 40%, Mix it up 40% Fancy-ish 20% so I went with a sailor tattoo inspired rockabilly blouse, a little black shrug, kickflare fitted jeans and feminine but chunky-soled boots. I would never have thought of putting all of them together but it worked!

Pizza Express’ new veggie dishes include a starter of Creamy Baked Garlic Mushroom with vegan mozzarella or goats cheese. Battered Halloumi bites are a new side. A main of Calzone Verdure with roasted peppers, aubergine and courgette with spinach and smoky tomato harissa. The Carbonara Romana Pizza with pancetta, mozzarella and garlic oil on a béchamel base, baked with a free-range egg. Risotto con Funghi creamy white wine risotto with Portobello mushrooms. Two chocolate deserts and an Orange & Cacao Gin Buck cocktail.

For starters I got Tomato, mozzarella and pesto (I asked for the vegan mozzarella as I love it but was told it wasn’t an option, even though it was an option with the blokes starter!?). He got the new Creamy Baked Garlic Mushroom which he thought was well balanced and tasty but not worth over £6.00! We got a huge Superfood Salad to share which is always delicious.

 

I ordered the new risotto which was delicious and very filling but not heavy. I didn’t get why it had so much rocket on it though. I had halloumi in the fridge at home so I  ordered (my fave side) polenta sticks with honey and mustard dressing. The bloke got his usual understated and under rated pizza with olives, capers, sultanas and red onions. Sounds weird but it works!

Staff were helpful and friendly and service was speedy as usual. Our only complaint was that the temperature was way too hot, even though me and the bloke were only wearing thin tops and jeans.

What would you have eaten?

Chrissie

I Share the Veggie, Gluten and Dairy Free Contents of My Cupboards, Fridge and Freezer!

“You’re vegetarian, gluten and dairy free, so what do you eat then?” I’m often asked this question because lots of people are some of the above but most people aren’t all of those things. So here is my response in photo’s.

I Eat

Crisps, natchos, bombay mix, nuts, seeds, cake bars, sweets, cooking sauces, gf pasta, gf gnochi, rice, soup, daal, chilli, gf muesli, ratatouille, roasted peppers, falafel, smokey sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts in garlic oil, tamari (soy sauce), gf pies, gf tarts, Vitalite, quinoa, lots of pickles, veggie kebab strips, veggie chicken pieces, McCain Smiles (crunchy on the outside, fluffy in the middle), humous, df cheese, curry, burritos, tacos, all manner of fresh veg, garlic mayo, BBQ sauce, hot sauce, salad cream.

I Drink

Strawberry/chocolate protein powder and rice/almond/coconut/hazelnut milk, innocent smoothies, orange/pomegranate/mango/guava  juice.

[I’m sorry that some of the photos could be clearer but it’s so difficult taking pictures inside a very deep cupboard and of backlit items in a fridge.]

If you have any queries about brands and ingredients, I’ll do my best to help you out :o)

Chrissie

Hangover Prevention and Selfcare Bedtime Routine

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These items are the reason I wake up feeling and looking refreshed, rather than trashed. I’m thinking this will come in handy for people who like to have a drink over the weekend too.

Beauty Kitchen Products – Oil

They are an independent UK company who try to be as sustainable and natural as possible. This oil is wonderful for taking makeup off with, to give the face a quick massage with and to nourish skin. No more waking up looking like a dried up Mummy, with curiously puffy eye bags.

Laptop/Book

Before I go to sleep I watch an episode of 90210, Lucifer or You Tube makeup tutorials by Wayne Goss, with the screen dimmed. If my eyes aren’t too tired I’ll read a character driven novel. Anything that’s interesting but not taxing.

Healthy Crisps

I always find I need salty food to soak up the sugary alcohol I’ve had. It also means I don’t wake up starving but too tired to make breakfast/lunch. I find the crunching really relaxing as i carry a lot of tension in my jaw.

Oil Based Lip Balm

Skin needs both oil and moisturiser so I apply this before it’s needed. I’m such a mouth breather at night XoD

Scrunchy 

How do people sleep without their hair tied back, how!?  When I do that, it wraps around me like a Face-hugger from Alien and then I wake up with it looking like statically charged spaghetti.

HYDRATE! (Waiting for my new flask to arrive)

I always have weak, sugar free cordial (water just goes straight through me) to sip before I go to sleep, throughout the night and before I get up in the morning. This stops me feeling shite, keeps my skin clear and reduces eye bags and ‘desert mouth.’

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Before I started this routine I used to wake up with a really flushed face, crazy hair, bloating, bone-dry skin and feel more tired than when I went to bed! This has made a significant difference to my morning chronic fatigue and mental health; most days I’ll happily get up at 11.00am, rather than dragging my sorry arse out of bed at 1.00-2.00pm like I used to.

Chrissie

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shopping at Ocado for Free-from Food & Review of Items

Why Ocado?

I’m not able to get out of the house much (especially in the warmer weather) and I feel awful sending my Dad and my bloke out with lists of incredibly specific items that not every individual supermarket stocks. Imagine my Dad asking a member of staff for “This quinowaa stuff in a tub? It was on the Instagram.” “Sounds exotic, try the foreign isle.” (That’s the only thing they ever suggest because they can’t be arsed looking) and my bloke trying to explain that “No, harrisa paste won’t be in the DIY section!”

Is it easy?

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So easy! For a start there’s a ‘Browse Shop’ tab (top left) which reveals all of the different sections of the shop including toiletries, gardening, baby as well as frozen, fresh etc. I chose ‘Free From & Organic’. From the next list I choose ‘vegetarian’, ‘dairy free’ and ‘gluten free’. You can also filter by brands and what’s on offer. Minimum order is £40, which I would say is an average family, weekly shop anyway.

Booking and deliveries

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It’s displayed on an easy to understand grid, with the dates across the top and the 1 hour delivery times underneath. I’m not sure how far into the future you can schedule a delivery but it’s best to bear in mind that a product may be available when ordering but not necessarily available by the time your delivery happens.

You can alter your delivery times and edit your basket (you do have to check out again for the latter) up until the day before it’s due to arrive. You get a text the day before your delivery reminding you of the time, then another on the day telling you the name of your driver, the colour of the van (‘lemon’ which had giant lemons all over) and the reg. It also tells you if any item is unexpectedly out of stock. I found it amusing that, of all things they’d run out of my plain old toothpaste.

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Staff are so friendly and will carry your shopping right into your kitchen for you. Everything comes in named and colour coded bags so you can see where everything should go.

It is easy being green!

A little green van symbol indicates ‘greener delivery slots’. These are when an Ocado van is already doing another delivery in your area, so less millage and fuel burnt. You keep your bags and hand them back and any cardboard beer/wine holders on your next delivery.

The Food

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The Good

Everything by Sacla is always perfect.

Biona Fruit Bears are so much juicer better than Haribo.

Nakd Salted Caramel Bars are perfectly balanced between sweet and salty. They are so soft that it’s better to store them in the fridge on hot days.

Livia’s Nuglets are similar in flavour and also better kept in the fridge, for that chunks-of-cookie-dough-in-ice-cream effect.

Gu Spanish Lemon Cheesecakes are absolutely dreamy!

Gosh! Spinach and Pinenut Bites are basically a mild, soft falafel. These taste great with a few drops of water splashed on and warmed in the microwave for 10 seconds, then teamed with humus and salad.

Soulful One Pot, Brazillian Tomato and Black Bean with Cashews and Quinoa was so creamy for something dairy free and the ingredients were all so perfectly balanced, it was a delight to eat.

Violife block of cheese is the best dairy-free cheese I’ve eaten. Like a giant block of Dairylee slices.

Quorn Peperoni slices do contain milk in the flavourings but not enough to have an effect on me. Perfect cold in sandwiches with American mustard or hot on a pizza.

The Bad

Bakery of Main GF Muesli Banana flavour – No where near enough banana pieces!

Warburton’s GF Loaf – Sticks to your teeth like a sponge rehydrating it’s self. schaar white loaf is so much better.

Free and Easy Chickpea and Vegetable Curry – I was expecting something like an Indian daal, what I got was a Mexican chilli. Hmm.

The Meh…

Soulful One Pot, Mexican Bean and Sweet Potato with Quinoa – I thought I might not like the flavour of the quinoa but it was pleasant. I was disappointed that the flavour of the sweet potato was barley noticeable. I found that I was begrudgingly plodding my way through it, simply because I was hungry.

Clive’s Pies – These came out of the oven so damn dry! It didn’t say to microwave them but I did and they came out like a pudding from the chippy, nom! Still not a patch on other veggie pies I’ve eaten as they are stingy on the filling. Sort it out Clive!

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I’ve found the whole experience so much less stressful and time consuming than doing a physical shop. It wasn’t anymore expensive and I now have a fully stocked kitchen of lovely food that won’t make me ill. I accepted my second delivery (filled with more every-day type stuff, as well as a few new things) as I was typing this. After I’ve tried everything I’m going to edit my favourites list online and then just have it as a repeat order every month I reckon.

Chrissie