On Iceland, orangutans, and palm oil


Over the past few days, you’ve probably seen the Christmas advert that Iceland, a UK supermarket, were planning to show on television. The advert has been deemed to be ‘directed towards a political end’ by the broadcast code for advertising practice, and Iceland have therefore been prevented from showing it on television, but the full advert has been doing the rounds on social media. It’s actually a short film by Greenpeace that highlights the devastation of the palm oil industry on orangutans and their rain forest homes.

People are up in arms, and why wouldn’t they be? Not only is the banning of the advert worrying, but it has stirred up a lot of emotions about orangutans – they are beautiful creatures, (ones that already feel tragic because of their droopy faces) and their homes are being razed the ground for us. Anything that can make people think about the human impact on the world is a good thing; if you do any amount of reading on the subject of the environment, you’ll know that we’re very nearly at a point of no return when it comes to the resources that we use.

My main issue as I watch my newsfeeds clog up with petitions and sad-face emojis, is that the vast majority of the people who are upset are committed meat-eaters. I’ve made a promise never to be a preachy vegan, and I think that, for the most part, I’ve stuck to that in the ten and a half months since I swore off animal products. I’m not perfect, and there are plenty of things that I know I can still do to reduce my own impact on the world.

But as your friendly neighbourhood vegan, I’m here to say that if you’ve watched this Iceland advert and felt truly worried about what we, as a species, are doing to this planet, you may want to take a look at some of the statistics about animal agriculture. Greenhouse gases, water consumption, pollution – all things on which you can make an impact by going vegan, or at least by reducing your meat consumption. Take a look at the Veganuary website for a detailed look at some of the benefits of changing your diet. If your conscience has been pricked by an animated short film, take this chance to find out more about how your lifestyle can make a difference.

As a non-preachy vegan, I’m not even going to get into the discussion of why the plight of a baby orangutan elicits sympathy in a way that a baby cow doesn’t. Again, there’s a whole wealth of information at your fingertips if you’re interested in learning more.

It’s interesting when something I spend a lot of time thinking about, both on a personal and professional level, hits the headlines, and I see what I know is true: as a society, we’re all worried about the future, and for the most part, we all love animals. And I’m sure that as time goes on, more and more people will connect their own actions and choices with the future of the planet. It can be daunting, especially as we know that real change can only come via the people in charge. But I truly believe that my own choices are important.

My Vegan Diary ~ Soho Vegan Market, Yorica & The Diner

As yet, my vegan adventures, outside of the day to day, have been largely confined to London. Mostly due to the proximity; it takes me around an hour to be there by train, and once I’m there, a veritable vegan wonderland awaits. Vegan food in London isn’t hard to find – the problem is narrowing down the choice.

Soho Vegan Market

In April I had plans to see The West Wing Weekly live at the Union Chapel in Islington, so Hannah and I decided to get in as much vegan food as we could manage (that’s quite a lot). It was the first day of the Soho Vegan Market in Rupert Street, so we headed along to check it out.

The market is made up of a handful of food stands, and though it’s always so hard to choose when you are surrounded by such great vegan food, I opted for Jake’s Vegan Steaks, which I had missed out on at Vegan Life Live. The steaks are seitan (wheat gluten, if you’re unaware), and go into a sandwich with added extras.

Jake's Vegan Steaks

I love seitan, but have never actually cooked with it. I’d much rather leave that to the experts! The sandwich was delicious, but I didn’t end up eating it all as there was a lot there. Hannah went for the steamed bao buns from Eat Chay (which she highly recommends).

Vegan Bao Steamed Buns


On the way to the market, we had quite coincidentally walked past Yorica, the vegan ice cream shop. It’s another one that I haven’t had a chance to try yet, so it was too good an opportunity to pass up. Vegan ice cream is fairly easy to find in supermarkets, but can be harder to get hold of when eating out. Going into a shop where nothing is off limits is nothing short of a treat!

Vegan Ice Cream Yorica

Vegan Ice Cream Yorica

I had a scoop of mint choc chip, and a scoop of chocolate – a classic but great combination. I also added some letter-shaped sprinkles.

The Diner

As the podcast recording that I was heading to was in Islington, we decided to grab dinner at The Diner. They are a great choice for vegan food in London; they have various branches in the capital, and a great vegetarian and vegan menu. Unsurprisingly, they sell all the traditional American diner dishes that you’d expect, and the vegan options include breakfasts, pancakes, burgers, and salads.

Southern Fried Seitan

Hannah and I both opted for the Southern Fried Seitan Burger, and it was delicious. It’s a lot of seitan for one day, but what are you going to do?

I’ll never stop wanting to eat all the vegan food in London, but I’m hoping that as time goes on, I can explore a few vegan eateries a little closer to home. I’d like to discover the best of what Essex has to offer!

My Vegan Diary ~ Temple of Hackney, Dough Society and by Chloe

Vegan food is the best. I know that it has this reputation for being awful, but I think even if you’re not immersed in the world of all things vegan as I am, you can’t have missed the quiet revolution in mainstream vegan food that has been happening in the last year or so.

I often think that if you’ve been vegan for decades, and you’re used to being scoffed at when you go to a restaurant and ask if there’s a vegan option, you must be bemused by the way things have changed. Seriously, it’s astounding. There’s barely a week goes by without an announcement about a new product on supermarket shelves, or a restaurant launching a new vegan menu. It’s a good time to be a vegan.

With that in mind, while I don’t plan to make this a vegan blog, I am going to share some of the amazing food that I get to eat, because food is great, and when nothing has had to suffer or die for me to eat it, it’s even better.

Earlier in the year, my friend Hannah had a birthday, so we decided to head into London and eat lots of yummy vegan food. London is, of course, the place to be when it comes to vegan eats; Colchester, which is my nearest town, is actually quite good, but the choice available in big cities is always going to be better. Our plans involved vegan fried chicken, vegan fish and chips, and vegan doughnuts.

First of all, we headed to Temple of Hackney to pick up some popcorn chicken (please know that I’m not going to constantly refer to the vegan versions of food with their ‘code name’, nor am I going to qualify everything by putting the word ‘vegan’ before it. If I’m talking chicken, you know that I mean ‘chicken’.) Temple of Hackney makes fried chicken out of seitan, and it tastes AMAZING. Going vegan when I have means that I did it knowing that there was a KFC alternative out there – I know how lucky I am!


Temple of Hackney is a tiny little establishment, and both times I’ve been there it’s been super busy, but it’s worth the wait. I’ve had their fillet pieces and their popcorn bites now, and next time I go I am definitely planning on trying a burger. They also have a branch in Camden, and have recently announced a third location, also in Hackney, at Hackney Downs Market. The popcorn bites are £4, and two fillet pieces are £5.


Also in Hackney, we found Dough Society, selling all vegan doughnuts. I found it using the Vanilla Bean app, which I highly recommend if you’re vegan. You can see all the places near your location that have vegan options, whether they are fully vegan, vegetarian or omnivores places. Dough Society is a couple of minutes walk from Temple of Hackney, and it has a wonderful selection of 100% vegan brioche doughnuts. We grabbed a Peanut Butter Pretzel and the Homer (a perfect pink, strawberry flavour doughnut straight out of The Simpsons), and they were delicious. Dough Society doughnuts are £3.00 and £3.50


Finally, we went along to by Chloe, which, as far as I know, is London’s first vegan fast food restaurant. It’s in Covent Garden, though they too have recently announced a new location, and have opened in Tower Bridge this week.


The menu at by Chloe is amazing, with burgers, Mac ‘n’ Cheese, salads, and brunch all available. We decided to have fish and chips, the fish being made from tofu, and then battered, and the chips being air baked, and delicious. The restaurant itself is great; it’s a really nice atmosphere, because it’s fast food but great quality, and the decor is fabulous. We were there around 2.30pm on a Wednesday, and it was busy, but not so packed that we couldn’t easily get a table. Fish N’ Chips at by Chloe is £7.80, and we added a cheeky cookie for £2.40.

There are no shortage of delicious vegan eateries in the capital, and Temple of Seitan and by Chloe are two of the biggest and best known. They are definitely worth a visit, whether you are vegan or not, but there’s plenty of other places out there, and I’m hoping to try lots of them!

My Vegan Diary ~ Fairfields Farm Crisps Heat & Eat

Item received for review purposes

There have been some exciting developments around these parts; I’ve gone vegan! It’s been a long time coming, to be honest; working as I do for a vegan company, in the industry that I do, I could and should have done it before now. But Veganuary 2018 was my starting point, and now here I am, over six weeks vegan, and I feel great!


Now, I’m not the sort of vegan who is going to start preaching to you about why you should go vegan. I’m also not going to turn into a ‘vegan blogger.’ But I am planning to continue to eat far too much food, and when I find something delicious that is suitable for vegans, I plan to tell you all about it.

So when the opportunity to try some Fairfields Farm Crisps came up, I jumped at the chance. I love crisps – I know that I eat far too many, and being a vegan hasn’t changed that in the slightest – so many crisps out there are suitable for those on a vegan diet.

Fairfields Farm is a brand that I’m already familiar with, as they are extremely local to me – they are based 20 minutes down the road from where I live! I always see their crisps in my local East of England Co-Op, who have a Sourced Locally initiative that brings lots of local produce into the stores.


But up until now, I hadn’t tried their Heat & Eat crisps. I received a box of crisps with two different flavours; Sea Salted with a Tomato Salsa Dip, and Cheese & Chive with a Caramelised Onion Dip. Sadly the Cheese & Chive flavour isn’t suitable for vegans, so I passed them on to a friend who confirmed that they taste great. (Whilst it’s incredibly common to find bacon flavoured crisps that are suitable for vegans, cheesy crisps remain mostly out of reach for now.)

The sea salted ones made a perfect Sunday afternoon snack for when my friend Hannah and I sat down to continue with our Friends rewatch (we’re up to series four). The dip comes in the bag, so you just rip it open, take the dip out, and put the bag in the microwave for thirty seconds. The crisps are tasty enough as they come; they are thick cut and full of flavour, but heating them up really adds another level to them!


It’s also good to know that Fairfields Farm is an entirely energy-efficient business, meaning that these crisps are powered solely by renewable energy. It’s nice to have a tasty treat knowing that their production isn’t adversely affecting the environment too much.

If you’re vegan, tell me your favourite crisps!

Item received for review purposes.