Dairy Free, Veggie Goodies!

As I’m vegetarian with a food intolerance to dairy and I use cruelty free household products I thought it a good idea to sign up for The Vegan Kind lifestyle box. Here is the dairy free yumminess it contained.

 

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Clockwise from top left

Terra Vegane, Easy Cheezy

This is amazing! The texture and the taste is so similar to cheese sauce and it was really simple to use. I added rice milk rather than soy milk, as suggested on the packet as I think it tastes more like milk.

Hoots

I’m gutted to tell you that I’ve lost these. I have no clue where they could be! I love crunchy, savoury foods so I looked forward to trying them all week but they are no where to be seen. Humph.

Clearspring, Organic Sea Veg Crispies

You don’t get very many paper thin sheets of this seaweed here but it is tasty and crispy. I wish they were a little thicker and there were more of it. A good source of iodine but a bit pointless as a satisfying snack.

Melting Pot, Handmade Madagascan Vanilla Fudge

As a kid on holiday my parents would always buy fudge so I’ve fudged my self around the UK coast essentially…Yeah that does sound wrong, ha! Anyway, this is the creamiest, most delicious fudge I’ve ever tried, which is quite a feat considering it’s dairy free!

Sarelle

Yes, this sounds more like a birth control pill than a chocolate bar but it’s absolutely delicious. Think of this as the dark chocolate version of a Bueno or a Forrero Rocher.

Oatly, Oat Drink in Chocolate

It got to a point were I stopped buying chocolate milk shakes because the chocolate flavour had such a bitter taste but this is lovely and sweet. It’s another wonderful example of “I can’t believe it’s not dairy” which all brands can achieve if they bother to try.

Garbanzo (chick peas), Cajun Kick

I completely understand why gram flour is made with chickpeas now. These are so dry and floury that when you start chewing them they absorb all of the moisture in your mouth. Not at all pleasant. I also think Graze have a better idea by mixing crunchy ingredients together like peas, corn and nuts and complimentary flavours (such as chilli and lime) to create snacks which are more interesting in flavour and texture.

Chrissie

 

 

 

Sea For Yourself

Sea For Yourself

 

20 Little Things To Appreciate in Life

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  2. The sound of rain when you’re not in it
  3. Time to yourself to unwind
  4. Putting on your pyjama’s or tracky-bottoms after a long day
  5. A stranger gladly scootching up so you can get a seat
  6. A cup of tea and biscuits on a chilly day
  7. Rainbows
  8. A stranger flagging you down to give you back something you’ve dropped
  9. Music
  10. Fresh sheets and a bed made exactly the way you like it.
  11. Managing not to kill a pot plant and seeing it thrive
  12. Going out of your way to help a stranger who looks like they are having ‘one of those days’
  13. A friendly cat or dog coming up to you on the street for a fuss
  14. Being able to sleep in and not having to get up early
  15. A good story (even better if it’s read by Tom Hardy)
  16. When someone does something or gets you something something (small) that only they know you’ll really appreciate.
  17. The first wild flowers in the spring
  18. A new planner/journal/diary
  19. Cheese on toast
  20. A job well done, no matter how long it took

Which one’s are your favourites? 

Chrissie

Rainbow Accessories

Rainbow Accessories

Zouk Tea Bar and Grill – Manchester

I was invited to sample the new Spring/Summer menu at Zouk Tea Bar and Grill  and as you probably know by now, me and the Bloke adore Indian food so we eagerly agreed.

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Zouk has a warm, welcoming and contemporary feel, with a sheltered terrace area with seating and hookahs outside. Inside is a small bar area for anyone wanting cocktails, mocktails, lassi or tea, rather than food. I can attest to their amazing mango lassi and Spring Fling cocktails. We were not so smitten with a strawberry based mocktail which we both agreed tasted oddly like savoury tomatoes! The kitchen runs along one side of the interior with tables and large booths on the other as well as upstairs. I liked how spacious and comfortable the dinning area was as I find that can massively add or detract from the overall experience, especially considering my disability needs.

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I’m always impressed when I see a restaurant has an open kitchen as it means the chefs are proud of the manner in which they cook their food and don’t have anything to hide. It was also nice to be able to see a large amount of fresh produce being used and fresh bread being made.

P1000501I’m always interested to see how many vegetarian options are on the menu at any eatery which has ‘Grill’ in the tittle. The already existing menu has a limited amount of vegetarian options, with an odd lack of very popular paneer, mushroom, daal or saag based veggie Indian dishes. The Spring/Summer menu will be available from April and will hopefully include a larger range of interesting vegetarian options.

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For starters we had Channa (chickpea) Masala, which was for me, a nice change from Channa Daal (although the Bloke would have preferred Daal) as well as Vegetable Pakoras. The Masala had the right amount of spice and the yoghurt gave it a rich texture. We were surprised that the pakoras, rather than being a mixture of gram flour and vegetables, were in fact individual slices of vegetable coated in a spicy gram flour batter. I liked how light these were and thought they were perfect as a starter.

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For our main course we had Aloo Gobi and Bindi Dupiaza with rice subtly flavoured with cinnamon. Aloo Gobi, a mixture of cauliflower and potatoes in a Punjabi style sauce is an absolute classic and this did not disappoint. The cauliflower was cooked perfectly, not too al dente or too soft. Bindi Dupiaza is an ochra based dish in a garlic, tomato, onion and green chilli sauce. This is usually not a popular dish among vegetarians as it’s so easy for the ochra to be over cooked to a soft slimy consistency but not at Zouk. The ochra was cooked perfectly and the heat in the sauce did not overwhelm the flavour but added to it. As vegetarians me and the Bloke always have to pay more attention to where our protein will come from, not necessarily in our starter but always in our main course. Zouk’s veggie mains had no protein! Although we left feeling full and content I was a little hungry again three hours later and was glad that I’d had a glass of thick lassi with my meal. Maybe if we’d have had a larger portion of Channa (chickpeas) for our mains instead of just as a starter this could have been avoided.

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For desert we had Mumbai Mess; a lot of cream topped with beautiful sweet but sharp raspberry sauce and a tiny bit of crumbled biscuit but no overall substance. We also had cold chocolate brownies which were pleasant but would have been better and probably gooier in centre if served warm. We then tried the cinnamon topped churro-style sticks served with chocolate sauce which were utterly delicious! I was a little surprised and disappointed that there were no popular Indian deserts on offer, especially at the lack of pistachio kulfi.

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Zouk is a place I would look forward to visiting on a Friday night for their extensive range of cocktails. It’s a place we would be happy to visit with a group of friends if most of them ate meat. It is not a place we, as vegetarians would specifically choose to visit ourselves, unlike other restaurants in central Manchester which cater for both diets more successfully. We may change our minds when viewing the full Spring/Summer menu so I will keep you updated.

Chrissie

10 Helpful Things Having Chronic Illness & Invisible Disabilities Have Taught Me About Life

  1. You get to know who your friends really are. When, in some people’s minds, it’s just easier to not hang out with you, it makes you value the ones who adapt and stick around so much more.
  2. Accepting your idea of fun is just as valid as everyone else’s. You should never be made to feel like you are supposed to be upbeat and super fun because you are hanging out with friends. If you just aren’t feeling it then it’s totally fine to P1000036 (1)say “Y’know what, I’d much prefer to just watch TV and chill with a pizza.”
  3. It’s so much easier to do tasks when you break it down into tiny parts. I tell myself ‘I’ll do this little bit for now….Oh well I might as well carry on and do a little more seeing as I’ve started.’ Suddenly the task that had turned into a massive mountain in my head (because I’d been putting it off) suddenly seems realistically achievable.
  4. You only have so many spoons. Yeah, I don’t get why ‘spoons’ have any relevance to chronic illness, even as a metaphor either. So I use the term ‘batteries’ instead. As a chronically ill person with two hidden disabilities I start of with less batteries to begin with and seem to use them up much faster as well. I’ve noticed sometimes that cooking the food uses up all of the energy that I’d be getting from eating the food so I’m actually in an energy deficit afterward. These days I stop for a quick rest in between doing tasks (sometimes in the middle of them) or I will put my pride aside and politely ask someone if they can help me out as I’m “low on batteries.” It’s a simple statement that people instantly understand and it makes so much difference to how much those batteries last.
  5. Know your worth.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been told things like “No wonder you’re tired if you didn’t go to bed until 12.00am!” and other flippant comments which utterly disregard how difficult and complicated the symptoms of chronic illness and disabilities are to cope with. I also get things like “Well no one else seems to mind that….” On these occasions I always breezily ask “Oh, does everyone else have the same sensory processing disorder/chronic fatigue/dyspraxia [insert relevant illness or condition] in exactly the same way as I do?” On days where I’m particularly brain fogged I’ve had people say “Don’t say things like that, it makes you sound stupid” when actually ‘just’ stringing a coherant sentence together is an epic achievement for me and I’m hardly trying to deliver a TED talk am I! Never let people treat you as if your illness/condition/disability is your fault or an annoying inconvenience.
  6. Getting dressed and out of your PJ’s changes more than just your clothes. It might use up all of the energy you have for quite a while but it will make you feel better emotionally in the long run. It makes you feel more like ‘you’ as you actually look more like you again. It can also make you feel less bound to being indoors and can encourage you to go outside, even just for a short while. I’ve bought lots of ‘chilling clothes’ which are cozy, easy to put on and look good together…Unless my brain fog means I put them on inside out!
  7. You will probably say or do something pretty goofy in public, either because of fatigue, brain fog, pain, your body going rogue and not behaving or all of the above. Don’t beat yourself up about it and try, if you can, to laugh about it. Adjusting your perspective can mean the difference between being mortified or having a laugh with a stranger.
  8. When you are having a good day or slightly better day, my gosh do you appreciate that day! That is all.
  9. It’s the little things that count so focus on what you can do. We had to cancel something we were really looking forward to last summer as the heat was so debilitating for me. Over that week we had a film night with my fave cheesy 80’s films and another with new superhero films and lots of junk food, we took the time to cook nice meals (I peeled the veg, that totally counts), went out to our favourite restaurant, met up with friends in town for a few drinks (and air conditioning), only for a few hours but still great to catch up. We also did a bit of shopping on one cooler evening and treated each other to lovely things. I couldn’t always leave the house and didn’t get up until 4.00pm some days but we really made the most of what I was able to do and it meant so much.
  10. Having a chronic illness, disorder and/or disability does not mean you are less-than other people or broken, it means you have to use all of your resources, will power and patience to do things, everyday, that everyone else takes for granted. You rock!

Bonus lesson

I’ve learned to be much more patient when people ask me questions about my conditions, even if they’ve asked them several times before. I’d much rather someone ask a seemingly silly question (as long as its an earnest one), rather than them making an incorrect assumption because it means they are making the effort to understand.

Your Tea – Tea Face Healing Hydrating Tea Scrub

Jarbox

Your Tea is a company which sells all kinds of tea, tea accessories and tea based beauty gifts. Tea Face Healing and Hydrating scrub ($24.95) is said to assist with a radiant complexion, healing scars, addressing uneven skin tone and drawing out impurities. It contains all natural ingredients including Rosehip Oil, Patchouli Oil, Jojoba Oil, Ylang Ylang, Cold Presed Coconut Oil.

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I thought this scrub would be messier to use than it actually was but the tea granules stuck together quite well as I scrubbed my skin in circular motions. I leaned back to chill out for 15 minutes to let the oils soak in before removing with a damp flannel and rinsing my face with tepid water. I was impressed with how effective the exfoliation of this scrub was as it left my skin feeling really smooth. It also looking radiant and a lot calmer than before. Some scrubs leave my skin a little red or flushed but Tea Face actually calmed down the redness that I had across my nose and cheeks.

Jar

I decided not to use any moisturiser straight afterward as I loved my skin the way it was! I really like the packaging as it’s easily recyclable and I’m going to re-use the glass jar as I think it’s lovely. It’s important to keep the scrub in the fridge once it’s opened, which keeps it fresh and really adds to how refreshing it feels.

Rating ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

Chrissie

Cross Body Handbags S/S 2017

Cross Body Handbags S/S 2017

My Lifestyle Lately – February

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This is my new avatar I designed myself which I’m really pleased with.

Style

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I’ve wanted a pair of white snow boots since 1994 when I saw Mariah Carey wearing them in her video for  All I Want for Christmas is You. I couldn’t believe it when I saw these in the Easy Life catalogue with the Sunday papers! They go with so many more things than you would expect like wide leg tracky bottoms, cargo pants or boyfriend jeans (rolled up), skinny jeans, even casual skater type dresses.

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I’ve been searching for years for slim fit cargo pants that aren’t made of hemp or linen which creases so easily. I did find a lot of festival/harem pants with crotches down to knees – not exactly the look I was aiming for. Then I looked at the EMP online shop and found this subtle take on the classic 1980’s ‘bondage pants’ that punks/goths used to wear. I was thinking of getting the proper ones but figured with my expertise in co-ordination and spacial awareness that I might get looped around stuff or tangled up in general lol I’m going to get a long keychain for them though if I can find one.

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This is the comfiest top ever! The neck isn’t too low at the back (equalling freezing cold) or too high around my neck at the front (equalling strangulation) , the little cap sleeves keep my shoulders warm but aren’t clingy under the arms, it’s slim fit (so I don’t feel ‘lost’ in it) and long enough to tuck in at the bottom of my back so I don’t get ‘catch a draft’. All of my physical Sensory Processing Disorder traits are totally catered for basically. There’s lot of other Deadpool merch over at EMP as well.

 Recording Positivity 

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Struggling to get a diagnosis of Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome (a vastly misunderstood genetic connective tissue disorder) whilst struggling with all of the symptoms of it can be literally exhausting and very stressful. Attending endless hospital appointments and explaining things to people who should actually be explaining the specifics to me! Also navigating my way around friendships with all of the various needs and quirks that my disabilities and chronic illnesses bring. Most of which seem to be very confusing to people, even after repeated concise explanations and examples. That’s even before the chronic fatigue kicks in! So I decided to get a pretty diary and pens from Paperchase and write something positive in it every day, even if it’s a small-ish thing like getting my favourite takeaway or receiving a compliment. This way I will have around 30 positive things to look back on every month.

 Cute Things! ^_^

I’m Chrissie and I’m not ashamed to say that I adore quirky-cute things and have a slight obsession with stickers.

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The notebooks are from Box Monster, the stickers are from Red Bubble (apart from the Hendrix one which is from Afflecks) and the pins are from Box Monster and Punky Pins.

Veggie, Gluten and Dairy free Food

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Very similar in texture to falafel, these koftas are so versatile and can go with salad and dips, make a chunky burger or bulk up pasta or stir fry. The Moroccan ones are my faves as they are savoury, slightly spicy but also slightly sweet.

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I’ve recently gotten into salads full of protein and this bean salad with sweetcorn, red sweet pepper, red onion, chickpeas, little gem lettuce, cherry tomatoes, mint, olive oil and a tiny bit of mango and green chilli dressing (from the local world foods shop). It’s so quick to make and really light and refreshing.

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Finally I’ve found veggie sausages that are dairy and gluten free which have a lovely taste and texture. Sausage butties with brown sauce at last!

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I’ve started making my own falafel. Even on weak/fatigued days I can cook in my slippers and dressing gown (hair tied back, sleeves rolled up) and while I fry the falafel the Bloke can chop the salad which takes me an absolute age to do safely any way. Team work!

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More widely available snacks which I can eat! Quinoa Chips are available from LIDL and Coop, Proper Corn basically everywhere, Graze bags, Salt and Vinegar Crisps and Cheesy Natchos (not featured) from Tesco and Indian Saag cashews from Coop.

Random Stuff screen-shot-2017-02-23-at-21-58-29

The set up in my bedroom was not working for me, so I took the end off my bookcase to open up the space more and bought two new strings of fairylights. Moroccan style drilled gold metal hearts and mini rose gold flowers. This makes the room look a little bigger but much cosier. I also bought a string of perspex bats left over from halloween for a quid but I’m saving those, haha!

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The collard dovies who we feed have had another little egg which eats off the window ledge like it’s parents. It’s so skinny and cute!

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I’m so pleased with the mobility adaptations in the house now. Two rails to get me up the stairs, a grab rail on the landing to guide me into the bathroom so I don’t fall down the stairs instead and a chair in the shower, making taking a shower so utterly relaxing, rather than the exhausting – back aching nightmare it once was.

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Came across tulips in Coop and got two bunches because they are some of my favourite flowers and really brighten up the place.

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The Raven girl by Audrey Niffeneger is a beautifully illustrated fairytale about a girl who is half raven and longs to have wings of her own. It is gothic while also being contemporary and rather wonderful. The themes cover love, acceptance, betrayal, self discovery and scientific breakthrough.

Chrissie

Spring in Your Step!

Spring in Your Step!
Trainers can be a pretty and versatile part of your Spring wardrobe.