Coconut Bacon by Pimp My Salad

This is a vegan and gluten version of bacon bits, made mostly of dried (not baked) coconut so it retains all of the nutrients. They are fairly thin, crunchy flakes and have a strong bacon flavour, like Frazzles crisps!

The seasoning on the coconut bacon is slightly powdery and dry, so it’s preferable to eat with sushi and salad or to top stew and buttery baked-potatoes.

This brand originates from Australia and is also widely available the US. There are some health food shops which stock it the UK though, like Holland and Barrett, Planet Organic, Alternative Stores and Healthy Supplies.

If you adore bacon, this is not for you. If you’ve been veggie or vegan for a while and like various brands of ‘facon’ then I think you will appreciate this.

Rating 3/5

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Self Imposed Ban On Buying…

This list is me banning myself from buying more of the things I already have far too much of, and why.

Food

Thai curry ‘flavour’ things – They all taste like lemons, perfume and disappointment.

Oat/Rice cakes – They last five minutes and then taste like a limp biscuit (not the band).

Tins of Indian style curries – Let’s be honest, I’m just going to order one from Uber anyway.

Vegan/dairy free cheeses – I love the vegan Applewood Smoked, anything else is just a bit meh.

Supplements (apart from Omega’s) – These either give me indigestion and I should be getting them from food anyway.

Takeaway – Yeah, right! 😆

Clothes

Those ‘waterfall’ cardigans that don’t close – They’re a bit shit when worn with leggings. “Hell no, don’t want no camel toe!”

Trainers – I rarely wear them because I’m always in boots.

Boots – 10 pair 😐

Yoga/lounge pants – Always either too tight, too hot or far too short. Seriously, is it just me, seriously?

Pointy toe’d shoes/High heel shoes – Oh the horror!

Countless Tees and Hoodies – Even I’m getting bored of seeing me in this combo.

Flannel shirts/Big Jumpers – I swapped the above obsession for this obsession instead!

Hair accessories – I wear my hair in a low bun with curly/spiked bits fanned out 95% of the time. Who am I buying these for?!

Dressing gowns – 6! To be Fair one has ears and another has ears and embroidered raccoon eyes on the hood. I’ll give a few to the charity shop.

Stationary

Partly this is because I’ve gotten gifted quite a bit, through brands or for Christmas but mostly it’s because I can’t resist cute journals.

Jewellery

If it’s dainty I either break it or loose it. I have amassed so much medium-chunky stuff, I’m only buying charity items like pin badges now. I like how I found a reason for more pin badges there. 😁

Certain Disability Aids

Some joints just don’t want to be braced it seems, or shouldn’t constantly be braced anyway, plus they’re too bloody expensive and I can’t try them on beforehand.

Heated neck & shoulder pads – One wouldn’t switch on. One eventually scorched and welded it’s wires together, WHILE I WAS WEARING IT. 😳

Nail polish

I stopped painting my nails for a year because they were too weak but every time I’d see a polish that had an unusual look I’d still buy it. Now my nails are healthy I have a lot of catching up to do!

Makeup

(I should just stop at ‘makeup’ lol)

Foundation/Base – I’m sticking with the one that works. I need to buy more of that actually.

Eyeshadow – I have a whole rainbow of colours in every finish/texture. Enough!

Eyeliner – Too subtle on my narrow eyes. I slap a load of eyeshadow on instead.

Liquid Lipstick – I don’t want my lips to look like shrivelled prunes after an hour cheers.

Books

I’m a slow reader in the sense that it takes me ages to get around to even starting new books. My reading list is ridiculous and my physical ‘to read’ pile is actually intimidating.

Skincare

This is the one category I use constantly so I’m applying a one-for-one rule. Use one item up – buy another one to replace it. No multiple versions of the same item.

No face masks – I can never be arsed to use these.

Bath bombs – I don’t own a bath. 😶

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

I Try Vertigo plant based Restaurant

There are quite a few vegan and vegetarian eateries that have opened in Manchester the past few years and first on my list to try out was Vertigo. Located at 1 First Street (a relatively new area including Indian Tiffin Room, Home cafe/restaurant complex, Junk Yard Golf where you get pissed and then play crazy golf and Bunny Jackson’s a dive bar-esque place with live music) Vertigo is an airy, contemporary, yet cozy little place.

Yes, it is a tad hipsterish with it’s glass jars and bottles, mini condiments and teeny clipboard menus but everything is well thought out; functional and quirky.

This is me eying up my food arriving. We snagged a cozy booth for four even though there were just two of us. I ordered the homemade pink lemonade which was lovely, if a little too sweet. All of the beer was local and gluten free and they had a great range of fresh juices.

Small plate (to share)

3 Chickn’ Lollipops with satay and sambal dipping sauce to share. The chickn’ was quite dry but tasty and the satay sauce was one of the best I’ve had. Not keen on the sambal though as the flavour was too sharp for me.

Small Plate (starters)

Eee yuh can’t beat a bit’uh veggie/vegan black pud! This was lovely and rich with the complimentary flavours of black pudding (from Bury Market), beetroot ketchup, a huge heap of mild rocket and a light mustard dressing. I wish the pud was crunchier on the outside but is that even traditional?

Large Plate (mains).

I’m English, it’s been winter and somehow I haven’t had pie and mash for four months, four! This was a well filled mushroom pie, with savoury gravy, mash, pickled cabbage and….where are my crunchy onions!? Now, I love anything pickled but would have preferred peas (mushy or otherwise) with this particular dish. The Bloke makes the creamiest vegan mash, which still has a bit of texture to it and sadly, this slightly bland (and suspiciously smooth) offering just didn’t compare.

Desert (pudding)

Seeing as me pie want gluten free (I’m sounding Northern again), I decided not to push my poor tummy and to order a gluten free apple and plumb pie to go. Our lovely server knocked a quid off because we didn’t want to try and package the ice cream or to carry it around. Perfect pastry to fruit ratio and perfect sweet and tart ratio. Perfect apple to plumb ratio? I reckoned so.

Overall

I really like the sustainable ethics (glass not plastic bottles, paper straws and paper takeaway boxes), the simple cross-cultural menu and the styling of Vertigo and will be visiting again.

————————

Vertigo, Unit 9, Jack Rosenthal Street, Manchester, M15 4RA

vertigomcr.co.uk

This post is not sponsored in any way.

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Asda Plant Based Tika Masala V’s Wicked Kitchen Tika

I’ve recently discovered that I love Tika ‘curry’ sauce, which is the sweet and creamy Westernised version of an Indian curry (very similar to Red Thai curry as it happens). A few days after my discovery I found that both Asda and Tesco do Tika veggie ready meals so I bought them both.

Asda Plant Based, Tika Masala with Pilau Rice 400g

Vegan (so dairy free) and gluten free this curry is half chickpea and cauliflower Tika Masala curry and half strongly flavoured pilau rice. It Microwaves throughly (in an apparently recyclable dish) within minutes and retains a decent texture.

The tikka sauce is delicious and as authentic as any that I’ve had from a restaurant. Sadly, the perfumed flavour of the rice (which contains a large bay leaf and cloves) totally overpowers it, to the point where I can’t eat the two together.

Sadly, this meal didn’t really fill me up and I was looking for a snack only a few hours after. I seem to metabolise carbs surprisingly quickly and need a decent amount of protein for lasting energy.

Manchester City council only recycles plastic bottles, nothing else so I’m using the bowl as my everyday microwave dish now.

Rating 3/5

Wicked Kitchen Cheeky Tikka 380g

Gluten, vegan and dairy free this is 2/3 Saffron rice and 1/3 curry with pea protein chunks (like chicken), roasted chickpea and sweet potato, with a topping of green beans.

I didn’t particularly notice the sweet potato as it was so similar in flavour to the gorgeous tikka sauce but I appreciated the green beans. I loved the texture and flavour of the pea protein and wished there was more of it. The saffron rice was so authentic and tasty that I didn’t even mind the large quantity of it.

As I don’t need anymore draw separators, storage boxes, microwavable containers, lunch boxes or spare-change tubs, the large plastic container is now in landfill or a giant rubbish heap somewhere. Sad but true.

After eating this I didn’t feel peckish again for around three and a half hours so I would recommend this as a full vegan meal, with enough carb and protein content for my body.

Rating 4/5

….

Result

I really need to learn how to batch cook Tikka Masala and Saffron Rice for myself so I can freeze them and make my own ready meals!

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Monthly Life Update – January

My memory is so crap for these type of posts, I need to start writing this stuff down everyday.

Lifestyle 💁🏽‍♀️

Check out these eyebrows! I’ve fully grown them out so I can tweeze them back into a coherent shape easily. Ive given this top to charity as I constantly had to lint roller fluff off it. Ain’t no one got time for that!

Carrying on with trying to minimise my impact on the planet, I bought these Sustainable Essentials from Ecologue.

Me pissing around and doing The Dolly Parton Challenge.

After 1 wrong order (and a correction) and 2 stunning deliveries with flower delivery company Bloom and Wild, I ordered Lillies and white roses. The roses died long before the lillies even opened. I’ve learned my lesson and shall be buying from Tesco…or the garage from now on!

Skincare 🧖🏽‍♀️

The most effective deodorant I’ve ever used is Ohii, Charcoal Natural Deodorant (which I like to think is pronounced ‘Oh, eye?’). It’s vegan, yay! But not refillable, boo!

Glycolic Acid is my friend once again in – the incredibly effective – Pixi, Glow Tonic. Cleanses, brightens and smooths without being too drying.

Stressing Less 💆🏻‍♀️

I’ve noticed that if I don’t pressure myself to go to bed and wake up at a reasonable time, I sleep much better. I go to bed around 1.00am when I’m actually tired enough to sleep and anytime I’ve had enough sleep is when I get up. That’s reasonable for me.

I’m also stressing less about what is supposed to be happening when and tend to just be content with what is happening now. Not caring about being in control of everything and just letting stuff play out is a lot less stressful!

Wearing 👚

I tried to get some style basics in the sales and had mixed success but I like these posts because they give you an idea of various brands sizing and quality etc.

Eating 🥗

Having three meals a day and eating a small breakfast before my body desperately needs fuel, so I have a clear head and the energy to put together something nicer later on.

I’ve gotten back into salad/deli type foods like humus, pickles, roasted peppers and tomatoes, crackers, seeds, nuts, stuffed vine leaves, chilled tofu (fried in toasted sesame oil and then chilled makes it taste like chicken breast for some reason) and so many condiments. There’s half a shelf full of them in the fridge lol BUT I’ve discovered my fave noodle place has stopped doing sushi! 😱

Greggs have launched their Vegan Stakebake and Vegan Sausageroll, so although I’m cheating with the gluten in the pastry, I still HAD to try them. Sadly I ran out of change and could only afford the stakebake, which was Delicious!

Reading 📖

I couldn’t get my head into reading books over Jan so I’ve been reading blogs including Roses Have Thoughts , Square One Notes , Mae Polzine and Cosmopolitan, Red, and Vogue, which was in a two-for-one deal surprisingly. I’ve read some great interviews, features, tips and reviews.

Watching 👀

Better than Human (with English subs) – this was similar to, but better than the Humans. Not as preachy and waster pacing and more relatable characters I thought.

Black Mirror series 2 – I really enjoyed this because it wasn’t as heavy as the first but still very poignant.

Black Lightning – Pop corn for the mind, with extra cheese. The quality of the fight scenes, the character arcs, the editing and the pacing of the story were all wildly uneven. The characters were likeable and the soundtrack consistently good though.

Santa Clarita Diet – featuring Drew Barrymore as a zombie and a wife and Mum. Once you get passed the clunky acting and awkwardly timed jokes in the first series and it just gets better and better. Brilliantly bizarre!

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Is Greggs Vegan Stake Bake any Good?

The Bloke surprised me with this the other day and I HAD to share it with you!

First off, Id never know the flakey pastry was vegan, in fact it holds together much better so you don’t get covered in it. More importantly, it tastes EXACTLY like meat in a thick savoury gravy.

One thing to mention is The Bloke cheated on me and ate one without me! Seriously though, he said his was “…a bit more chunky, like proper little steak pieces.” My two bakes where more mince meaty; you could have had the filling in a (vegan) Cottage pie. Hmmm, not sure what to make of that inconsistency!?

I’m sure all three were vegan though, otherwise our tummies would have let us know very quickly!

Verdict Amazing! 5/5

🖤✨Chrissie✨🖤

Best Vegetarian, Gluten Free, Dairy Free Products & Places 2019

Best Meat Free Options

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Oumph! Kebab Spiced (soya based, gluten free) Incredible flavour, very filling, really easy to stir fry or grill, chunky and chewy!

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Like Meat, Like BBQ Chicken (soy based, gluten free) Ah-maze-ing! Similar taste and texture to a BBQ thigh but nicer. Another very versatile replacement but this time not as chewy.

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Quorn Fishless Fingers (Vegan, Not gluten free) Better than the fish fingers that I remember; these are lovely on a butty with citrusy or vinegar flavoured crisps or on a plate with beans and chips.

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Aldi No Sausage Rolls (Vegan, Not gluten free) If I didn’t already know these were vegetarian I would never have guessed. My only complaint is that the filing only fills 2/3rds of the width.

Best Dairy Free Ice Cream

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Perfect World, Caramel Pecan Ice Cream (Vegan, gluten free) This is full of flavour and vitamins and minerals. Personally, I’d have made the pecans chunkier but I’d still buy it again.

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Cornetto Vegan (Vegan, gluten free) The only noticeable difference between these and the usual ones are that they’re quite a bit smaller.

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Ben & Jerry’s, Coconutterly Caramel’d Ice Cream (vegan, gluten free) Gorgeous! As good as Chunky Monkey, almost as good as Cookie Dough :op

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Bouja – Bouja, Caramel Pecan Praline Ice Cream (dairy free, gluten free, organic) Very strong – almost smokey – flavour, really creamy consistency but the pecans and pralines are too blended. I add broken up digestive biscuits for more texture.

Snacks and Treats

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Manomasa, Tortillas (gluten free, dairy free) – Full of flavour and perfect for scooping up dips.

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Bouja-Bouja Chocolate Truffle Collection (dairy and gluten free) – Vanilla and rhubarb, cherry, salted caramel, caramel, hazelnut, ginger, rum, Champaign, espresso are the flavours in these truffle selections. Possibly the best dairy free chocolate in the world.

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KIND Snack Bars Caramel, Almond & Sea Salt (gluten free, NOT dairy free). Dark Chocolate, Nuts & Sea Salt (gluten free, dairy free). Peanut Butter & Dark Chocolate (gluten free, dairy free). These are expensive at £1.50 each (!) but they are full of complementary flavours and really substantial.

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Genius Double Chocolate/Blueberry Muffins (gluten free, dairy free) Nommmmmm, that’s my breakfast and supper, right there.

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The Coconut Collaborative, Banoffee Pots (dairy free, gluten free) If you are getting these teeny pots of joy for your kids, you’ll want to buy a second lot for yourself – believe! Similar to creme caramel that’s been stirred around but with the addition of banana.

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Gu, Strawberry & Rhubarb/Lemon Cheescakes (gluten free, dairy free) Not quite as solid as traditional cheesecake but equally delicious, these two flavours are both sweet and refreshing.

Manchester Vegan Takeaway/Dinner

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V Revolution This is the place for an incredibly creative take on traditional American junk food. Vegan mains, sides, milkshakes, cocktails and cake. The atmosphere is pop-culture with a twist. In the photo above my expression is a mix of excitement and wondering how the hell I’m going to fit this burger in my mouth!

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Zad’s Vegan with very little gf options but incredibly well thought out food. The ZFC (rather than KFC) fried cauliflower is an utter revelation, the pizzas and burgers are well balanced and not too sweet and they sometimes give away free cupcakes. Hardly any remote customer service but lovely and friendly in person.

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Vegan Shack This is the place to order from if you are either dairy free or vegan and gluten free as they have gf options of pizza (including the above topping) and one of their kebabs (on request). Their online customer service is fantastic and delivery times are reasonable. My only complaint is that the cheese is on the sweet side as is the sauce. More salt please!

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Pizza Express They have many gf, df and veggie option for mains, sides and deserts and can be flexible (up to a point) with changing food to suit dietary needs. It will be such a shame when they cease trading late next year.

Bonus

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Aside from the Gu, these are free-from items I like but don’t absolutely love. Clive’s gf pies are surprisingly good microwaved (like a chip shop Pudding); This Gosh! falafel is the best falafel I’ve tried; Dragon fly make small but substantial gf burgers; Soulful pots make two wonderful nut curries/meals that I would happily pay for in a restaurant. Their other options have the usual veggie/bean tangine flavours.

I hope you found this helpful and it gave you food for thought – sorry!

🍔Chrissie🍔

 

 

Hangover Prevention and Selfcare Bedtime Routine

In a way, these are general ‘sleep hygiene’ tips, no, not washing your sheets everyday but tips on how to get your head down, get a restful sleep and to wake up feeling (and looking) vaguely human.

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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.’

_____________________

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🥂

 

Would You Rather tag (with bonus christmas questions)

I came across this on the awesome Hunida’s blog. It originated with The Newbury Girl  (I think) but I wanted to keep the chain going so I joined in!

1. Would you rather lose all of your money or all your sentimental items?

When I first read this question I immediately thought I’d want to keep sentimental items (I do have a giant shoe box as a ‘memory box’) but having no money would take away all of my independence and make me totally reliant on others. So it would have to be the items *sob*

2. Would you rather experience unrequited love or never love at all?

I don’t think I’d like to be incapable of love. The guys I’ve loved haven’t loved me back to the same extent and vice-versa. So to never be madly, intoxicatingly in love again would be okay with me!

3. Would you rather own your own business or work for someone else?

I don’t have the executive functioning to be my own executive (bad Aspie joke) and I’ve actually liked a lot of my bosses, so I’d work for someone else.

4. Would you rather give up television (including streaming/YouTube) or reading?

I get eye strain really easy when reading and I love that I can watch telly with people and chat about it.

5. Would you rather give up sushi or tacos for the rest of your life?

I’d give up tacos. The ones in the UK are really hard and crispy and just break in half as soon as you bight them. I love veggie sushi, it’s so refreshing but filing.

6. Would you rather live in your hometown and never travel anywhere, or live in another country but never visit home?

I have lived in my hometown all my life and love Manchester but it would be cool to live somewhere else and have my Dad visit me (he loves travelling btw).

7. Would you rather live in the desert or live in a frozen tundra?

Hmmm, extreme heat fatigue probs or terrible circulation probs. I’d be unconscious with the heat so frozen tundra it is.

8. Would you rather eat dessert (but never dinner) or dinner (but never dessert)?

I’m such a salty person – so to speak. I find a lot of deserts too sickly after a while.

9. Would you rather run a successful blog or a successful YouTube channel?

Blog! I hate the sound of my voice as my Dyspraxia means my pitch and tone can accidentally be a bit over the top (too dramatic) or really monotone (too sarcastic sounding), plus when I’m fatigued I sound a bit pissed, ha!

10. Would you rather give up all makeup/cosmetics products or give up “dressing fashionably”?

I need skincare but I actively try to avoid wearing anything that happens to be in fashion at the time. So I’d bin fashion (or the idea of things being in or out of fashion) in general actually.

5 Bonus Christmas Questions!

1. Christmas jumper or Christmas Jewellery?

These 5 are my questions so I can cheat and say both jumper and jewellery, and a Crimbo scrunchy and pin badges and socks and…

2. Classic or Contemporary Christmas Songs?

Contemporary as in Stay Now by East 17 and All I Want For Christmas by Mariah.

3. Christmas dinner with ALL of your family or dinner cooked by your fave chef in a restaurant?

Well seeing as my Dad is going on holiday and he’s my only family, it would have to be a restaurant in this scenario. There’s a really fit Asian chef that was on Celebrity Masterchef this year.

4. A big surprise present or five things off your wish list?

As I’m (just about) financially stable and can’t buy my own stuff, I’d love a big surprise! Maybe a trip to see The Northern Lights.

5. Snowball fight outside or ice skating at a rink?

I tried to ice skate once, for fifteen terrifying minutes. I’m ace at snowball fights though, tactical and ruthless!

________________________________

Please feel free to join in with this tag and include your own photos of your choices if you want, or just comment instead!

🎄Chrissie🎄

GOSH Veggie Cocktail Sausages

These are not like the ones you’d get at 1980’s parties on sticks with pineapple, these are like mini Cumberland (UK) sausages.

They are very soft and almost bread-like unless you grill or fry them as they don’t have a skin around them. I really like them in a sun dried tomato and buffalo mozzarella salad.

These taste very strongly of sage, so if you just warmed them up (rather than properly cooking them like I have here), they could make a good gluten free alternative to stuffing balls.

Free From

  • Egg
  • Dairy
  •  Nut
  • Soya

Rating (as actual cocktail sausages) 1/5

🎄Chrissie🎄