About Dani Thompson

Model/Actress/Presenter/Burlesque Dancer/Writer/Producer/Unicorn/Vegan and now lifestyle blogger!

Vegalicious – Norwich

Browsing instagram a couple of weeks ago I stumbled across Vegalicious, a company based not far from Norwich that and delivers (if you live in Norwich or surrounding areas) all vegan afternoon teas straight to your door.

Well as it turned out, the timing of my insta stumble was perfect as I had a trip back home to Norwich planned so placed my order straight away for afternoon tea for 3, for me, my mum and step dad.

The menu is easy to follow and contains all the traditional afternoon tea items but veganised.

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I opted for the Coronation Chickpea, No Tuna & Cucumber, Ne Egg Mayo and Moroccan Falafel Sandwiches.

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Anybody who knows me, knows that  I’m a huge fan of faux tuna and faux egg & cress sandwiches that taste authentic and these didn’t disappoint.

Then the Caramelised Red Onion & Cheese Tart, Fruit Scone with Jam & Plant Cream (which goes on first, the jam or the cream? I say jam first) and the Elderflower & Lemon Drizzle Slice and Victoria Sponge.

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All delicious and beautifully presented in a Vegware box (eco friendly and recyclable) with a wild flower bouquet by the wonderful Dee.

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Whether you actually drink tea with you afternoon tea of opt for champagne like I did, this is a wonderful treat which I’d definitely recommend.

Afternoon tea just £15 per person with a minimum order of two.

You can find Vegalicious on:

Instagram @vegalicious_dee

 

Sound Of Mind

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When my Mum first told me she’d been to a sound bath, I literally had no idea what she was talking about. 

She explained that it had nothing to do with water as I first suspected and was all to do with sound and relaxation but it was still a long time before I actually experienced a sound bath for myself.

Well, earlier this year, before the apocalypse, courtesy of one of my BFF, Lynsey’s Shoreditch House membership I finally did.

We met up bright and early in Shoreditch on a cold but Sunny Winters morning outside Sound Of Mind and were quickly welcomed in to the studios.

I was pleasantly surprised that it was more luxurious than bohemian inside, dark and cosy, lit with fairy lights.

The gongs are situated in the middle of the room with comfortable mats lined up around the edge, pillows to rest your head on and blankets to keep you warm.

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Gongs, Tibetan singing bowls, drums, pipes and bird noises were all used along with aromatherapy oils and incense to create a holistic sensory experience.

I have to say, the hour went by very quickly, I was actually worried I’d fall asleep in a dark room, all cozy with my eyes closed (ask my boyfriend, I can never make it through a full movie whilst curled up on the sofa on an evening) but although feeling relaxed, I was enchanted by the sounds and managed to stay awake and definitely left feeling calm and balanced.

I’d 100% recommend a trip if you’re London based, I’m certain I’ll be going back once the apocalypse is over and the world gets back to normal.

Sound Of Mind don’t just do gong baths but also yoga, meditation and massage.

To find out more, check out the Website.

Sound Of Mind

28 Redchurch Street

Shoredith

London

E2 7DP

If you’re not London based, google search for a sound bath near you.

Vegan Dippy Eggs

Before going vegan, a boiled eggs with soldiers was without a doubt one of my favourite breakfast options and one of few things I’ve actually missed since being vegan.

Well I don’t have to go without anymore!

I tried a few different recipes for this but although seemingly simple, all  either tasted too salty or too curried but I believe with trial and error, I’ve got it cracked! (that was a terrible pun wasn’t it?)

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Serves 4

Ingredients

3/4 cup of water

2 tsps of cornflour

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp kala namak (black salt, you can find it in most Indian shops)

2 heaped tsps nutrirional yeast flakes

Method

Pour 1/2 cup of water in a pan and heat.

Add the cornflour to the remaining 1/4 cup of water and stir until there are no lumps.

Add nurtitional yeast flakes, turmeric and kala namak to the pan of water and continue to heat.

Once boiling, turn heat down to simmer and stir in the water/cornflour paste.

Stir until the ‘yolk’ thickens.

Serve in egg cups with soldiers!

Jackfruit ‘Tuna’ & Pasta Bake

Serves 4

Ingredients

1/2 tin jackfruit, broken up in to flakes (in brine not syrup unless you’re Joey Tribiani and enjoy dinner/dessert fusions)

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1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 carton vegan single cream (try and get an unsweetened one although the lemon will neutralize if you can’t)

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped 

1 tbsp lemon juice

1 heaped tbsp nori

1 tsp vegan bouillon

1 tsp dried basil

1tsp dried parsley

1 tsp dried oregano

250g pasta  (I used farfalle but use whatever you like)

Salt

Pepper

1 cup breadcrumbs

100g vegan cheese, grated

1 tbsp olive oil

Water for boiling 

Method

Preheat oven to 200°

Boil water and put pasta in to cook.

In another pan, fry the onion and garlic for around 5 mins until the onion starts to become transparent.

Add the tinned tomatoes and cream and stir in the jackfruit, nori, lemon juice and bouillon.

Add herbs, basil, parsley and oregano and salt and pepper to taste.

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Bring to boil and then Turn down heat and simmer with lid on for 10 minutes.

Drain pasta.

Stir in to sauce.

Pour pasta and jackfruit mix in to an oven proof dish.

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Sprinkle over breadcrumbs, covering the top.

Add the grated cheese on top.

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Cover with lid if your dish has an oven proof lid or tin foil, this helps the cheese melt.

Place in the oven for 30/45 mins.

Serve

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Wild Garlic, Swiss Chard & Lemon Cream Linguine

My favourite park is abundant in wild garlic at the moment and I used my outdoor exercise allowance yesterday to take Dolly out on a walk and collect some.

I also had some swiss chard from last weeks veg box delivery so came up with this very easy and oh so delicious wild garlic, swiss chard and lemon cream linguine recipe!

Serves 2

Ingredients

I bunch swiss chard

1 small bunch wild garlic (about 10 leaves)

1 small onion, chopped

1 carton vegan unsweetened cream (I actually only had Alpro in the fridge which is slightly sweetened although it was fine because the lemon took away the sweet taste)

Juice from 1 lemon (3 tbsps lemon juice)

1/2 pack linguine

1 tbsp vegan spread/butter

Salt

Pepper

Method

Put water on to boil in a large pan for the linguine (you could use an alternative pasta)

Remove the stalks from the swiss chard and chop them in to small pieces like the onion.

Chop swiss chard leaves and wild garlic.

Place linguine in the pan of boiling water foe about 15 mins or until cooked.

Melt the vegan spread in a pan.

Sauté onion and chopped chard stalks for around 5 minutes or until the onion starts to become transparent.
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Stir in chard leaves and wild garlic.
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Pour in cream and add lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
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Turn heat down and let simmer for 5/10 mins until the chard and wild garlic wilts and your linguine is ready.
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Drain Linguine

Serve

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Remember, when foraging, only take what you need, pick from different spots and leave enough for others and for wildlife.

New Look Vegan Range

Vegan footwear.

The problem I used to find with vegan footwear is that it just wasn’t that stylish. 

Functional, yes and good quality, well some arguably but not always fashionable.

Not only that but the solely vegan brands I’ve come across can be quite expensive. 

That is up until now with many of the high street retailers having seen the huge surge in demand for vegan products have brought out their own vegan ranges.

There was a time when we simply used to call it PVC and by some it was looked up on as cheap but gone are those days. Now it’s been rebranded as ‘vegan leather’ and is much more sought after.

I’m very much a casual dresser day to day but I like to look nice at the same time which means mostly I’m a t shirt, jeans and boots kind of girl so was delighted when last year, New Look who to be honest already had a great range of fashionable non leather footwear went a step further with the vegan labeling and brought out a whole new vegan range of shoes, boots and also handbags!

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Here’s what new Look have to say about their range.

What makes shoes and bags vegan?

If you thought that you were shopping vegan all along, you’re not alone. It’s easy to think that if it’s not leather, it must be team vegan. We went straight to the experts at The Vegan Society to discover more about the shoes and bags, and this is what we found…

The PU leather

Here’s a surprise: not all PU leather is vegan. Most PU leather is finished with ground-cut leather sprays to give it a textured appearance, which features animal product. These vegan styles are leather-spray free.

The adhesives

Some adhesives, like glue and tape, are prepared using collagen from mammals, insects, fish, and products found in mammal milk. Unlike other shoes and bags, ours are free from any liquids and bonding materials that
have animal traces or produce.

The metal hardware

Metal is vegan. However, the process that it goes through to prevent it from rusting often isn’t. Most zips, poppers and other hardware details are exposed to chemical treatments with elements that feature animal products. We keep our supply chain transparent. This ensures that the hardware and adhesives on our vegan shoes and bags do not undergo chemical treatments that contain animal products.

Black boots that easily go on over skinny jeans are a must for me so these black boots were the first thing that went in my shopping basket.

And I fully believe that if you find something you like, you should buy it in every colour way so I also added the dark red (ox blood in name only) too!

And of course I couldn’t resist these stone faux snake heeled knee highs at £44.99 . . . 

When the boots arrived, they all fit perfectly. Sizes can vary shop to shop but I’d say these have it right so when ordering, order the size you usually are.

Oh and I bought A handbag too, because a girl can obviously never have too many handbags!

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As a whole I’m hugely impressed with the collection, there’s a broad range of styles to suit all tastes and it’s affordable and cruelty free.

Click Here to shop online during lockdown and fingers crossed that we’re allowed back out to shop in store soon!

 

Pease Pudding

My Dad was originally for ‘Up North’, County Durham to be precise and he loved pease pudding. 

Pease pudding for those who don’t know and to be fair, most people who do not hail from ‘Up North’ do not, is a traditional northern delicacy.

Although the word ‘pudding’ in the name might suggest a sweet treat, a sweet treat pease pudding is not, it is still however, very much a treat.

As the rhyme goes:

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Personally, I like it both ways, hot straight from the pot or cold in a crusty roll.

You can buy it in a tin but nothing tastes quite like the home made version and at a family christening last year, my Aunty Brenda gave me her recipe which was my Nana Jenny’s recipe which was passed down to her I assume from her parents (my great grandparents) before that and so on.

The recipe however wasn’t vegan but I adapted it and I’ve decided to share.

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 cup yellow split peas

2 cups water

1 onion, chopped

1 tsp vegan bouillon or stock

1/2 pack Vivera plant bacon pieces 

Pepper

Salt

1 tbsp cooking oil

Method

Fry the onion in cooking oil for around 3/5 minutes or until it starts to become transparent.

Add the lentils, water and bouillon and bring to boil.

Turn heat down, add plant bacon pieces, put the lid on the pan and simmer for around 45 minutes or until lentils are soft and mash easily when stirred.

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Stir with a wooden spoon until lentils are almost of a paste consistency. You can use a hand held blender to make it really smooth but I like mine a little lumpy.

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Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve

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Superdrug Colour Sensations

Well the Corvid – 19 apocalypse has called for a lockdown but that’s no excuse for a girl to let herself go!

I mean there’s a lot going on in the world right now and I grant you that having perfect hair might not seem like a priority but if you look good, you feel good so do your hair, paint your nails and put on your lipstick, even if you’re quarantining alone and nobody can see you!

All the salons are closed but before the lockdown, I managed to get my hands on some Superdrug Colour Sensations semi permanent hair dye. (Superdrug also being a drug store, might well still be open so you could be lucky, obviously be responsible though and only visit if you absolutely have to for medicine and then whilst you’re there . . .) 

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I’ve been dying my hair since I was a 14 year old Spice Girl wannabe, ginger to be precise . . . and have been various shades of red, blonde and brunette ever since so I don’t even know what my natural colour is anymore, before I ever tampered with it, it was medium brown but prone to blonde streaks in the sun.

I’m a big one for DIY beauty, it’s only when I was blonde that I had my hair coloured professionally.

I used to use permanent colour but found it tried my hair too much and although the semi permanent colours are only supposed to last 28 washes, I always find my hair holds the colour so it’s only when my roots need a touch up that I need to refresh.

When it comes to buying cruelty free, hair dye can be tricky as most of the big brands that produce home dye are owned by companies that still test however all Superdrug own brand products are Leaping Bunny certified and cruelty free.

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So I went with the 5.0 Dark Chocolate.

The contents of the box are pretty standard and easy to use, mix tube 1, the creme colour in with bottle 2, the creme developer and shake, put on the gloves, apply and leave for 20 minutes ,wash off and condition with tube 3, the intensive conditioner.

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After drying my hair, the colour looked great, a nice, even, rich brown and my hair was glossy too.

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Picture taken immediately after colour refresh for a Jawbreaker themed shoot! Jawbreakers are also vegan FYI.

The only fault I found was not in the product itself but that there wasn’t enough of it, luckily I’d bought two bottles as they were on offer at 2 for £5 so I had enough for full root coverage.

Maybe one bottle would suffice for root coverage for someone who has finer hair but I do have quite thick hair so definitely needed two just for roots and would probably need three for a full head coverage.

At £3.59 though or 2 for £5.00 the dye is great value and works out much cheaper than the big brand equivalents even if you do need two bottles.

Would I buy again? Yes!

Eat Seasonally Through The Apocalypse With A Veg Box

I really, really hope that one day when I grow up, I’ll have a garden of my very own with a vegetable patch where I can grow my own produce.

It’s so satisfying being able to yield your own produce and cook with fresh ingredients straight from the garden.

One of my fondest childhood memories is of being in the garden, helping my dad to harvest what he’d planted.

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Oh yes, I was a natural blonde. Butter wouldn’t melt . . . 

Bus alas, I live in London, Zone 2 to be precise and I’d have to be a multi millionaire to be able to afford my own house here, which unfortunately I’m not so for the most part I have to go to the supermarket for my veg and then it’s hard to know what’s in season.

One of the best ways to make sure you’re eating seasonally, eating food when it’s actually meant to be eaten is with weekly veg boxes.

I used to get one every week but as I live alone and don’t always eat at home, I was struggling not to have waste but I did love the surprise element of not knowing what was going to be in the box every week until I’d opened it, it’s was like the vegan equivalent of a kinder egg but without the toy and also the challenge of cooking with ingredients that sometimes I’d never even heard of before. 

Before I discovered veg boxes, If I’d have heard the word salsify, I would have thought it  was something that might be yelled at you if you were taking part in a duel at Hogwarts and I remember the first time I saw a kholrabi in my box and was convinced it had landed on the farm in a spaceship and stowed away in my box.

Well, due to the current Corvid 19, Corona induced panic buyer infested supermarkets at the moment, venturing back to one after standing for 50 minutes in a queue last week amidst the madness isn’t overly appealing so next week it’s Tower Green Hamlets to the rescue!

I have a medium box on order, it will be delivered straight to my door, no queues, no stress and all locally grown, seasonal, organic goodness.

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Boxes come in 3 sizes, there’s the option to add fruit supplements if you want and you can order weekly, fortnightly or monthly boxes or alternatively just order one off trial boxes whenever you fancy!

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If you’re East London based, check them out, they either deliver to your door or you can pick up from various drop off points.

Plant Powered Expo

Last weekend I popped along to the first London Vegan expo of 2020. The Plant Powered Expo.

Although on a smaller scale than some of the other expo’s like Vegan Life Live, or Veg Fest, it’s timing was perfect for anyone who might have just completed Veganuary and decided to continue the plant based lifestyle.

Occupying one hall at Olympia, the expo had everything from vegan food tasting (I must have eaten my body weight in vegan cheese and chocolate), cookery classes, speakers, lectures, music and shopping to an art exhibition.

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I went first thing to avoid the rush and although it was quiet at that time, it still took me almost 2 hours to have a good look around, shop and of course eat!

Often you see the same exhibitors doing the shows, which is great because you can stock up on all your favourite vegan goodies under one roof but with the vegan boom, there were so many new and innovative companies and products on show too. I made a little Eden Perfumes purchase at the Viva La Vegan stand (Click for more on Eden Perfumes) and stocked up on pepperjack cheese from Follow Your Heart. 

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Just some of the new products I discovered are Veggie Sheet who provide Nori style sheets made from carrot, radish, tomato, pumpkin and spinach, tomato was my favourite, a great alternative for sushi making but also for spring rolls and samosas, they’re available on Amazon now and Unlimeat who are a Korean brand yet to launch in the UK but are a meat alternative made from brown rice, oat and nut, delicious!

I also managed to finally get my hands on some Marigold brand Tuno which I haven’t tried yet and a Mummy Meagz vegan creme egg from the Newcastle based Alternative Stores stand, I’ll definitely have to pay them a visit next time I’m in the toon and before you ask, I bit off the top and licked out the middle of course! How do you eat yours?

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After walking around the show and visiting the Art Of  Compassion exhibition where I bought no 1/250 of a limited print from the very talented Philip McCulloch, I’m going to frame it for my Mum for Mother’s Day, to go in her healing  hut (I’m banking on her not reading my blog and finding this out in advance . . . ) it was time for lunch and deciding what to have was tough. I really wanted to try a burger from The Green Grill and had worked up quite an appetite as, as well as walking around the show, I’d also been to the gym in the morning but as it was a bit early, I opted for what I thought would be a lighter option, a hot dog from Pig Out – well it didn’t turn out to be all that much lighter topped with mac n cheese, but it was worth it! 

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After consuming all of this, you’d think I wouldn’t to eat for the rest of the day but you’d be wrong, I went home and sat down with a cup of tea and cake, the Oggs chocolate fudge cupcakes that were in the goody bag – I did share though, I didn’t eat both!

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Hmmm, maybe I should sign myself up to that Vegan Runners group what were exhibiting . . .

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