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November vegan favourites

November was not an overwhelming month for me foodwise as I was working most of it and had limited time to get experimental in the kitchen.
Very proud of this meal, inspired by desperation at having tofu and spinach about to go out of date. We include tofu in many meals but it is often a bit dull. This coating livens in up and gives it texture (take a look at the recipe here)

Tinned goods were my friend. These soups from Baxter’s are all gluten free and have a vegan recipe. The chilli was tasty but I should have stuck at half a can rather than being greedy and eating it all!

I was quite disappointed with this ready meal biryani as it was dry and the flavours were underwhelming. The picture of the packaging looked good but inside it looked sludgy and unappealing.

 

Time to start buying in snacks for Christmas, testing which ones I like and will now need to buy again! Onion rings have been something that I’ve really missed as they usually have wheat in them so I was absolutely overjoyed when Tesco brought out a vegan free from version. They were strong in flavour with a perfect crunch. The cheese balls were less good and I won’t be buying them again.

Mince pie time! These have a vegan recipe and loved the icing on top.

I have had this packet of cheese sauce hanging around in the cupboard for a while. The sauce was quite watery and surprisingly sweet but the addition of original Violife grated on top made this quite yummy.

Very expensive but tasty: this pizza from The White Rabbit had nice flavours but was a bit scruffy.

Vegan wine and Prosecco, ready to celebrate the festive season! Cheers!

When we went to the Lexicon in Bracknell recently, I visited Superdrug and was really impressed to see the vegan products labelled so obviously.

 

So, almost a whole year as a vegan and I feel that I have learned a lot! I still haven’t figured out my first ever vegan Christmas dinner…
Have a look at the other monthly round ups: January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September and October.


Preparing for festive parties with Tru Bamboo

Party season is almost upon us, yay!
Next year I want to work on being more eco friendly so am starting early with some reusable, sustainable products from Tru Bamboo.
As you may have read over my vegan round up posts, cheese has been my one regret about turning vegan (it just doesn’t melt nicely!) However, eating them with crackers is good and with festive season upon us there are lots of fun flavours to enjoy.

Vegan cheeses on  Tru Bamboo cheeseboard

At an upcoming party I want to show that vegan cheeses can be tasty. The Tru Bamboo cheeseboard set helps them look more appealing, normalise them for all my other guests who are non-vegan.

Tru Bamboo cheeseboard

The board is made from eco friendly sustainable sources of bamboo which fits perfectly with my aim to be more environmentally conscious next year. The set comes with a knife collection hidden away in a convenient drawer.

Vegan cheeses with porcelain markers for labels

Also available from Tru Bamboo is the Porcelain Food Marker Set. It is reusable which is great for people wanting to be more eco friendly. They make a great addition to the party cheese display as it means I can have vegan and non vegan cheeses on the board and label them appropriately.
The porcelain is dishwasher and microwave safe too. Make sure you allow the pen to dry or it will accidentally rub off! The gold of the pen ink is lovely and festive too.

Porcelain marker set

The Air Dry Rack is super useful for holding wine glasses (quite attractively, I might add!) ready for mulled wine or a cheeky bottle of fizz. But it is also eco friendly as it can help reduce the water and electricity needed for the dishwasher by allowing glasses to dry naturally.

Air dry rack packaging

I was a little surprised by the size of the rack but this makes it suitable for all shapes of stemmed glasses including tall champagne flutes and wide cocktail glasses. The rack is sturdy with little spots on the base to help prevents topples. It is easy to assemble and take apart so if you don’t want to use it for storing glasses as well as drying then it can be packed away quickly.

Air dry rack with one glass

So my resolution to work on my eco-friendliness is off to a good start! Will you be making any sustainable choices this Christmas?

*We were sent these products for the purpose of this review. All opinions expressed are my own.


The Lies We Hide, by S.E. Lynes

 

 

TRIGGER WARNING: THIS BOOK COVERS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND DRUG ADDICTION
In the present day, Nicola is devastated by her mother’s death and her thoughts dwell on her childhood and the abuse that her mother endured. We are then shown the family’s escape from the violence but then her brother Graham’s life breaks down as a result of drug addiction and his actions land him in prison.
However, it emerges that Nicola, Carol and Graham have all been keeping secrets and it is time for the truth to be revealed…
Part one of the book was absolutely compelling. I loved the representation of Carol as a victim and survivor which I found utterly gripping, feeling raw and honest to me as a reader. The fear of what will happen and anticipating the imminent danger of a beating is palpable and we are in the moment with Carol. Equally, her guilt at leaving her husband and hope for a better relationship with him is something that we hear time and again from abuse victims so felt very real.
Parts two and three cover Graham’s descent into addiction and then his rehabilitation in prison. I’ll be perfectly honest and say I did not enjoy this as much despite the excellent writing. I wonder if it is the selfishness of his behaviour that made me switch off and this is due to the emotional pull I felt towards Carol, thinking she had suffered enough and not wanting her to have further pain.
Despite the serious topics covered in The Lies We Hide, S.E. Lynes manages to include love and humour as well. The introduction of prison chaplain Richard and his story, looking for redemption and finding it through his interactions with Graham, is gentle and full of hope. The overwhelming love of a mother for her children and the need to protect one’s family radiates through the book.
Take a look at my review of The Women

Book Description:
The truth can set you free, or make you a prisoner…
Thirty years ago, Nicola Watson lived with her parents and older brother in a respectable suburb. At ten years old, she didn’t yet understand why her stomach tightened when she heard her father’s heavy tread as he returned home late at night, or why it made her brother Graham’s stammer get worse, or why one night her mother Carol woke them both, wide-eyed and whispering, and took them out of their home and into the unknown.
Now a successful lawyer in the city, with a life poles apart from her dark beginnings, Nicola has returned home for her mother’s funeral. But as she stands in her mother’s house, remembering the woman who sacrificed everything for her children, Nicola has to confront the guilt that she feels for leaving her family behind. And the belief that she played a part in the events that led to her brother going to prison for murder.
All Carol wanted was to protect her children, but escaping her husband was only the beginning of the story. And when Nicola learns the truth of what her mother did, it will change everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.
A gripping, emotional story of family secrets, and the strength of a mother’s love in the darkest times. The next powerful read for fans of The Silent Wife, Kerry Lonsdale and Emily Bleeker.
Author Bio:
Amazon best selling author of ‘intelligent and haunting’ psychological thrillers VALENTINA, MOTHER, THE PACT, THE PROPOSAL and THE WOMEN.
S E Lynes is a writer, tutor and mentor. Formerly a BBC producer, she has lived in France, Spain, Scotland, Italy, and now lives in Greater London with her husband, three kids and her dog, Lola.
Her critically acclaimed debut, VALENTINA, was published by Blackbird Digital Books in July 2016. Her second novel, MOTHER was published by Bookouture in 2017, followed in 2018 by THE PACT and THE PROPOSAL. In August 2018, VALENTINA was published in a new edition by Bookouture and THE WOMEN was released in 2019. Her new novel, the dark and gripping family drama, THE LIES WE HIDE, is published Dec 4th 2019.
Susie Lynes has also published two children’s books in Italy: Il Leopardo Lampo and La Coccodrilla Ingamba, both available at Amazon.it
Find her on:
Facebook S E Lynes Author
Twitter @SELynesAuthor

 


Out With The Ex, In With The New, by Sophie Ranald

 

Out With The Ex, In With The New book cover

 

Gemma is thrilled to tell her boyfriend Jack that she has a new job but he drops the bombshell that he is going travelling without her. They promise to commit to a long distance relationship but that soon collapses.
Heartbroken, Gemma bares her soul on her YouTube channel and it goes viral… Her life changes forever as she gets swept up in a life of glamour and celebrity that makes her yearn for early nights and junk food.
As an influencer, content creator, blogger, occasional vlogger, whatever, this was a fab book to read and I found I could identify with Gemma quite a lot as she battles to be herself and work out what she wants from her life.
There is an important message about reality in social media which I think is important for young people to realise. Celebrity is sold in reality TV shows every day and the amount of work it takes to be successful is often overlooked. I think most bloggers start for themselves but it is very easy to swept up in products and money making potential.
Out With The Ex, In With The New has plenty to say about relationships, both friendships and romantic connections. Again, this really resonated with me as I had a boyfriend who went off to travel when I thought we would settle down. When he came back, he was ready for all the things I’d wanted previously but I’d moved on.
There is a serious side to this book as Gemma discovers that her housemates are in an abusive relationship and uses her media presence to promote a campaign against violence.
The overall effect of the book is a balanced one of fun and drama. Many of the media aspects of the novel are ridiculous yet probably true (daily cat articles sounds very realistic and I’m sure I’ve clicked on quite a few over the years!) as are the celebrity parties and the truth behind big YouTubers. This book is modern yet with the classic story of looking for love.
For another book with humour and emotion, try It’s Not You, It’s Him by Sophie Ranald too

 

blog tour banner

Media Kit:
 
Title: Out with the Ex, In with the New     
 
Author: Sophie Ranald  
 
Publication Day: 03/12/19
 
Buy Links:
Amazon: https://geni.us/B07XY63YRTSocial
Apple Books: https://apple.co/2kzkp3m
Kobo: http://bit.ly/2kzf24f
Googleplay: http://bit.ly/2mwHgx7
 
Description:
 
Gemma didn’t expect her life to look like this. She’s still living with her mother, who steals her leggings and tells her off for leaving crumbs in the butter. After twenty failed interviews she thought she’d got her dream job as a journalist – except it turns out to be writing articles about cats that look like George Clooney. Luckily she has her wonderful boyfriend, Jack, to help her forget just how awful things are.
Then Jack dumps her out of the blue. With nothing but her childhood teddy bear, Stanley, and a whole heap of heartbreak, Gemma resolves to turn things around. She throws herself into her new job and soon she’s hanging out with cheeky, golden-haired hunk Charlie, eating in swanky restaurants and sipping trendy cocktails – and her old life seems like a distant memory.
But it’s not long until her shiny new world starts to lose its sparkle – and Gemma misses the days of wearing battered pink converse and eating peanut butter on toast in bed. Then Jack turns up, backpack in tow, and things start to go wrong with Charlie. ‘Out with the old, in with the new’, the saying goes. But what happens if neither one is quite right?
This laugh-out-loud romantic comedy is for anyone who’s ever cried their eyes out to love songs after a break-up or accidentally drunk-texted their ex. Fans of Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk will love this unmissable read which is all about falling in love with the most important person: yourself!
This book was previously published as the Truth About Gemma Grey.
 

Author Sophie Ranald

 

Author Bio:
Sophie Ranald is the youngest of five sisters. She was born in Zimbabwe and lived in South Africa until an acute case of itchy feet brought her to London in her mid-20s. As an editor for a customer publishing agency, Sophie developed her fiction-writing skills describing holidays to places she’d never visited. In 2011, she decided to disregard all the good advice given to aspiring novelists and attempt to write full-time. After one false start, It Would Be Wrong to Steal My Sister’s Boyfriend (Wouldn’t It?) seemed to write itself. Her second, third and fourth novels followed. Sophie also writes for magazines and online about food, fashion, finance and running. She lives in south-east London with her amazing partner Hopi and Purrs, their adorable little cat.
To find out about Sophie’s forthcoming releases and get access to free books and special offers, sign up to her newsletter at sophieranald.com or
Author Social Media Links:
Website: sophieranald.com
Twitter: @SophieRanald
 https://twitter.com/SophieRanald
 Facebook: www.facebook.com/SophieRanald.
 

 


#StayClassyMama 60

Hello and welcome to the #StayClassyMama linky.
So Christmas season is well and truly upon us, yay! Have you any parenting hacks, recipes or gift ideas to link up with us?
I am currently negotiating with two wonderful bloggers who wish to take over the #StayClassyMama linky on the new year, woohoo!
Please have a read of the rules and make sure you have my badge on your post or page.
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Let your blogging friends know about the link up and encourage them to join us!

THE RULES:
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