Eating out in London | Vegan Style!

I get asked a lot how I find eating out at restaurants, and I know that whilst I was transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, this was a big concern of mine. I love to eat out with my boyfriend, and I love food! Luckily with the help of the internet I was able to research the best restaurants to visit, and what to order.

It’s not as gloomy and plain salad filled as it might seem, eating Vegan at a non vegan restaurant can be as fun and tasty as you make it!
If you head to a restaurant that is veggie friendly, you will find it easy to ‘make up your own’ from the sides and starters. For example you could simply order a side of rice, or potatoes (even fries) throw on some veggies (make sure they don’t put butter on it) throw them both onto a salad add in some french dressing or barbecue sauce and you have a very tasty meal, just be sure to ask if there is any sneaky dairy in the sauces! You also save a lot of money eating out vegan, as all of the veggie options will no doubt be much, much cheaper than the meat options (and tastier too)

5 Top Tips – 

Don’t be afraid to ask -If you see something you like, but it has say, cheese on it. Ask them to remove it, or swap it for something else. Same goes with asking to check ingredients.

Pick a veggie friendly restaurant – This one is quite obvious, you won’t find many veggie options in a steakhouse… So always go for restaurants that are veggie/vegan friendly

Make your own! – Make up your own meal from the sides or starters. I usually do this when the only vegan options are smothered in cheese or have dairy products cooked into them.

Go for vegan friendly cuisine – The most vegan friendly cuisine (that I have found) is, Indian, Mexican, Lebanese and African.

ALWAYS Check the cocktail menu! – If you are going to indulge in a cocktail (or four) make sure you double check the ingredients of the one you want. Many cocktails are made with egg or dairy proctors… so always check what you order!

I find dining out as easy now as I did when I wasn’t vegan, and I want to share with you some of my favorite places to eat in London on a Vegan lifestyle, chain and independent. <3 Bon Apetit! (I will add too this section as I visit more restaurants)

Zizzi |The Strand, London

Zizzi recently introduced a Vegan menu to their restaurants, and ever since I heard the good news, I had been dying to try it out!

Vegan melty cheese on a gluten free pizza base sounds like absolute heaven to me, and they take Tastecard, so it’s a win win!

So I headed to Zizzi on The Strand with my boyfriend, and right away we ordered 2 Vegan cheesy garlic breads (we were very hungry) and 2 Vegan gluten free pizzas with sundried tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms and of course Vegan cheese! Now I don’t know about you, but whenever I attempt to make cheesy vegan pizza at home…. the cheese is a little bit stubborn at wanting to melt… even when I purchase special vegan cheese for pizza, it just doesn’t quite do the job. However, the vegan cheese at Zizzi is not only absolutely delicious, but so stringy, melty and creamy all at the same time! Ah its making me hungry just thinking about it! And the garlic bread is TO DIE FOR! But that isn’t all they offer, they also have a vegan spaghetti in fresh tomato sauce, and a selection of olives and a vegan bruschetta on the starter menu. I would like to see more options on the vegan menu, possibly some salads with vegan mozzarella and sundried tomatoes, or a nice cheesy vegan pasta. But they have made a great start by becoming the first chain restaurants int he UK to offer a Vegan cheese alternative. And for that, I applaud them!

Nandos | London Bridge 

Ah the Cheeky Nandos, a staple restaurant for any young Essex lad or ladette before heading to the Empire Cinema in Bas Vegas, in your brand new all white Nike Air Max, and black Nike Baseball cap.

Also now for Vegans too! Yes you heard me right, us vegans can also enjoy a cheeky Nandos.  Tim Sheiff, is an English Professional Free-runner and dedicated Vegan, he has a video on his YouTube channel telling you is vegan at Nandos…. and you would be just as surprised as I was by how much you can eat. Check out his video here –https://youtu.be/kgm1qV_iSLI

Whenever I go, I order  –

Mushroom & Halloumi Wrap | Swap the halloumi for pineapple and minus the mayo with Mango and Lime dressing

A Side of Macho Peas and either Garlic Bread (their butter is vegan!) or chips.

You can also have –

Spicy mixed olives, all marinades are Vegan, Hummus with Peri Peri and pitta, Peri Peri nuts, that delicious wrap I mentioned earlier 🙂 Quinoa or Mediterranean salad with no feta of course, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, char-grilled veg, Peri salted chips and the Passion fruit Gelato!

Sauces (the bottled ones you take to the table)- 

Now, I am not too sure about these. It is very hard to find any allergen information anywhere on the Nandos website or anywhere else on the internet that tells you weather they contain dairy or eggs. But I am going to update this section soon during my next visit to Nandos!

 Mayfair Pizza Co. | Bond Street

I had my first experience at this restaurant recently, and I have to say… It was extremely pleasant. Situated down a cobbled secluded alleyway off the busy Oxford Street above a bar this light was this airy very appealing little pizza restaurant. The rest of the bars/restaurants in the area were so busy, I was worried we wouldn’t get a seat! But we were sat at the back of the restaurant in a quiet room with only 2 other small tables.

To drink I ordered the Sicilian lemonade, this was the NICEST lemonade I have ever tasted! Fresh lemonade, with a hint of Basil & Mint. Who’d of thought it! Well worth the £4 I would say!

For starters I had the Bruschetta , that was topped with fresh tomatoes and olive oil. This was ok, nothing special. I just ordered it as it was the best looking Vegan option on the starter menu. Then I hit up the Calzone Funghi for main, but I asked for the base to be the Vegan, Gluten free option and was told that they cannot do the gluten free vegan base as a Calzone, so i had it opened pizza style instead (which I prefer) and swapped the cheese for artichokes. I would give this pizza a 6/10, the base was a little soggy and chewy. I think this is down to it being the gluten free vegan option as my boyfriends pizza base was crispy and thin…. but overall still a very nice pizza! We also had some shoestring fries between us, these fries are delicious, just not worth the £4… the portion is tiny!

“Strict Vegan” What does it really mean?

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This weeks Debatable:

Why does the term “strict vegan” even exist… if you are calling yourself vegan, you are vegan. You shouldn’t call yourself a vegan if you indulge in animal products once in a while or occasionally buy a leather jacket. 

What do you think the term “strict vegan” actually means? & Is there any need for the term?

Leave a comment x

Also, just to brighten your day… here is a picture of “Bread Pitt” as featured in Vbites, Brighton

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My Top 5 Cruelty Free Beauty Products For Less Than £5

The Pick of the Bunch!

One of my main worries about going cruelty free, was that I wouldn’t be able to find good enough alternatives to my (then) staple make-up items.  I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to switching up my make up look, anyone who knows me will tell you that I have been combining the same cat eye flick with a red lip for as long as they can remember!

And I was WAY too scared to try anything else.

Well, I am still combining trusty ol’ cat eye with my not so subtle lip, but now I am doing it without harming any animals. And that is the most important thing.

So I have created a list of my top 5 cruelty free beauty products, that you can also pick up for under £5! I have given them a rating out of 10 based on their wear, value for money and comparison against other brands. Everything here I purchased from Superdrug, and I prefer them to Boots as everything in their own brand range is cruelty free and so far everything I have ever purchased of theirs is also Vegan (except hair dye)

Without further ado, and in no particular order….

MUA Luxe Velvet Lip Lacquer in shade DASH | £3 in Superdrug | My rating 8/10

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This stuff is a GODSEND! It goes on beautifully, lasts for hours you only really need to retouch it if you are eating oily foods but that’s the same for all of these long wear lipsticks. The applicator is easy to use, and you can go over it max 1 time without it looking flaky or a strange colour. DASH for me is the best in the lineup, it reminds me of Kylie Jenner’s “Posie K” matte liquid lipstick and at a fraction of the price, it’s totally worth it! I gave it a 8/10 because it doesn’t seem to last me too long, 1 tube will empty out in about 2 weeks, but that may be due to my love of the stuff causing me to over use it!  Pair it with Sleek’s Eu La La Liner in Lingerie (£4.99) they are a perfect match 🙂 

Barry M  Showgirl Mascara in Black | £4.99 in Superdrug | My Rating 8/10

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The best cruelty free mascara I have tried! I have tried a lot of different mascara’s in my time, and this is one of the best ! I love the applicator, and how easily it separates and coats the lashes, it’s build-able without it looking clumpy and its lasts FOREVER, I never have to re apply this mascara, and 1 tube of it lasts me about 2-3 months! This doesn’t quite reach the full 9/10 because I have tried other mascara’s in the past that are better than this one giving more volume and Va va voom!… however they are not cruelty free. So they deserve no mention here:)

P.s I heard a little tip once that I have used for years when buying mascara and it has never let me down. Always use the brush as a reference for what your eyelashes will look like, if the brush has long, full, thick bristles; that is how your lashes will look! 

Palmer’s Raw Shea Hand Cream | £2.09 in Superdrug | My Rating 7/10 

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I am a little bit of a hand sanitizer fiend, especially living in London and riding the tube every day, you need to remove any weird germs before you chow down on your morning bananas! (I eat mine once I’m in work) and using alcohol on your hands regularly can cause them to become very, very dry! And seen as I LOVE anything that smells remotely like coconut, I though I would give this a bit of a go. It’s very thick, smells beautiful and makes your hands super, super soft for ages. However I have just one teeny issue with this product, I wish there was more of it! The bottle is only 60g and if you use this on the regular like I do, this will not last you very long. I haven’t been able to find it in a bigger bottle yet, but if I do you guys will be the first to know!

Superdrug Pro Volume Shampoo & Conditioner with Arginine | Vegan | £2.29 each or 2 for £3 | My rating 10/10

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I have always had very flat boring hair, it’s not thin by any means just… flat. I have always wanted my locks to have the kind of fullness you see on girls with naturally big hair. I used to use a shampoo by L’Oreal (they test on animals FYI) that claims to thicken your hair with each use, so I assumed this would work as there was so much science going on, on the packaging and in the adverts! But trust me when I say, it’s a RIP OFF! a scam if you will. It did absolutely nothing for my hair and I was using it solidly for about 6 months. That was before I was vegan, and then I discovered this in Superdrug and only bought it because it was on offer. But my god does this stuff work! I have been using this shampoo and conditioner for about 2 months now, and I can see a massive difference in the volume of my hair, even days after washing my hair is still lively and feeling extra thick. And the fact that it is vegan as well as cruelty free, makes this my favorite product on this whole list! So it gets a solid 10/10.

MUA Skin Define Matte Perfect Foundation in Beige | £4 in Superdrug  | My Rating 8/10
8989543989278This is just a truly awesome foundation, I have very oily skin and this does wonders to control it throughout the day. The coverage is perfect, and it lasts a good 3 weeks

MUA has slowly become my new favorite make up brands, every time I purchase something of theirs I’m always skeptical, how on earth can something this cheap work that well, and be cruelty free?? Well it does, I use this foundation every day! However I do have to mix it in with a bit of my GOSH X-Ceptional wear in Porcelain, as the lightest shade is just too dark for me. I am very fair-skinned with some pink undertones.

So MUA if you are reading this…. do us extra pale ladies a favour <3

I would like to do a post soon about why Vegan products don’t also mean Cruelty Free, so if you are interested and want to discuss this also, make sure you keep an eye out on my Instagram, Facebook & Twitter – @raelikesfroot for New Blog updates!

Hope you enjoyed this read my Bunny Free Beauties!

Rae x

Brighton Blues & Great Vegan Food

One of my favorite places on earth

To me Brighton has always been a place of great tranqility, especially since I’ve moved to London. Sure London is great with its endless bars, restaurants, attractions and vast amount of people from every culture you could ever imagine. But Brighton is the “what if?” of my life. It is like a smaller, more friendlier version of London to me, without the pain or need of The Tube and the addition of a beautiful stony beach. 
 
I recently visited Brighton with my older Sister, just a day of wandering around the cobbled lanes trying to hunt down The Twisted Lemon so we could grab a cheeky cheap cocktail (or 4) I also visited Brighton back in February to attend Vegfest. This is one of the many reasons why I love Brighton, because of the amount of Vegan restaurants and shops there! Now London has a few vegan restaurants, but I find them overpriced and pretentious and the food is…well mostly salad.
 
We ate at Vbites and I had my first official plate of Vegan Nachos (they are AMAZING) we also indulged on a bean burger which was ginormous! I would recommended bringing an eating partner with you, as the portions are so big!
 
I truly hope to one day move to Brighton, so I can bask in all the beauty of the people, the food, the bars and the calming beach every day! 
 

Vegan Lettuce Bean Tacos 

Since becoming Vegan back in November, I have been searching for the ultimate substitute for sour cream. Sour cream was my go-to dip for ANY food, I would even use it as may most of the time! I even tried to make it simply with Alpro Soy cream, lemon juice and chives… did not turn out well. 
 
So I was very intrigued when I saw a recipe for Vegan Sour Cream made from Tofu (yes tofu) on the ‘Forks over Knives’ website, I immediately started planning my dinner for that evening. And since Mexican food is my absolute favorite! 
 Vegan Lettuce Bean Taco Night was born in my house <3
(excuse the random tupperware)
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For the Bean Chili 
1 tin of cannellini beans
1 red bell pepper 
1 large red onion
2 cloves of garlic (minced) 
1 tbsp olive oil (or lemon juice if you want oil free) 
400g fresh Italian tomato passata 
1tbsp chili powder (mild) 
 
For the Vegan sour cream 
1/2 of a block of firm tofu in water (drained but not dry) 
2 tbsp lemon juice  
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or red wine vinegar) 
handful of chives (not in FON recipie) 
 
For the Guacamole 
2 small avocados  
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 teaspoon garlic powder 
1 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt 
 
For the fresh salsa 
4 large salad tomatoes 
1/2 tin sweetcorn (drained) 
1 spring onion (chopped) 
1 tbsp lemon juice 
Method
Prepare the guacamole by combining all ingredients in a bowl and mixing until the consistency that you desire. 
 
Prepare the salsa by chopping tomatoes into cubes, then adding sweetcorn, spring onion and sweetcorn and adding lemon juice to flavour. 
 
Lay out a selection of “wraps” I used cos lettuce leaves to make this dinner gluten free (unless using gluten free wraps) and then go on to make your chili. 
 
First fry off the onion and minced garlic in a large saucepan until transparent, then add the cannellini beans red pepper and chilli powder and occasionally stir. After 
2 minutes add passata until desired consistency and leave to cook on a low heat for 5-10 minutes or until beans are soft. 
All together this meal will cost you about £3 to make (depending where you purchase ingredients) and tops 15 minutes to make. I would highly recommenced this for parties, kids dinners/lunches or just lazy days when you can’t be bothered to cook! (almost every day for me) 
Serve it all up and enjoy! 
I am not a chef, and I do not claim to be an expert when it comes to vegan cooking, I have only been on this amazing journey since November 2015 and I am still discovering alternative recipes for foods I used to Love. However I am finding that Love them even more as a Vegan. 
 
I hope you enjoyed reading through my first Post, I will post at least once a week.
Rae x