Valentine’s Day: The Vegan Bakes

Boy did good this year. Instead of buying me flowers, he came up with the baked goods.

I received a missed parcel note from Royal Mail last week, and unusually they left it with a neighbour instead of taking it back to the depot. I had no idea what the parcel was as I hadn’t done any online shopping recently! I knocked next door and they handed me a parcel addressed to me labelled perishable…

I opened the parcel and was greeted with a red tissue wrapped box with a ‘The Vegan Bakes’ sticker on top. Contained inside underneath more red tissue paper was a cheesy note from Tom and the goods themselves!

It was filled with beautifully presented baked goods which included chocolate brownies, cake pops and cookies. In this Valentine’s box, everything came in pairs which was ideal for sharing! I’m not normally a sharer but under these circumstances I thought I should.

We started with the cake pops which looked amazing. They were absolutely gorgeous and dusted with gold. It was a red velvet cake covered in white chocolate and was absolutely divine. The cake was moist and the chocolate wasn’t too thick which made it nice and easy to eat.

We then had the cookies for breakfast, and again, they were delicious. Not hard or soft with the perfect crunch on the outside of the cookie. They were filled with so many chocolate chunks and the actual cookie was the size of my hand.

At the time of me writing this blog post, we have not yet tried the brownies, but based on how incredible the cake pops and cookies were, I’m sure we will not be disappointed.

Visit The Vegan Bakes website to see their full range of products because there is so much available. They do gift boxes as well as bespoke cakes, and of course, they are all vegan. So have a browse and try them out!

Got No Beef in Cardiff City Centre [2]

In early December, I posted an exclusive first look blog post about Got No Beef before they opened their doors to the public. Since then, they have opened for the rest of the world and I cannot stop visiting! I am obsessed!

I’ve ordered something new each time and every visit the food is incredible. It is of such great quality and tastes amazing. The family work so hard and are so friendly. It’s a lovely experience!

The full menu is so extensive and I urge you to take a look. You can find the full menu on their Facebook page which is linked here and on their website.

Visit 1

The first visit was a quick lunch visit the day after they opened. I ordered the GNB Chick’n Burger. All their mains come with fries so there’s no need to order separately which is SUCH a nice change from every other restaurant you go to.

The chick’n has fast become my favourite dish on the menu. The texture is incredible and the flavours are so good. I highly recommend it, especially those who are going to try out Veganuary! It’ll really hit the mock meat spot.

Visit 2

The second time, I went with my brother for an early dinner and ordered SO MUCH FOOD! We shared it all so that we could try as much as possible and, again, it did not disappoint.

We ordered the Original Sharing Platter which consists of Shrimp, Potato Skins and Cauliflower Wings.

For our mains, we ordered the Loaded Mac Dog and the Freedom Burger, and we even upgraded to loaded fries for one of our mains to get the full food experience.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… This is the most Instagrammable food you will ever see. But not only this, it is the most delicious vegan food you will ever taste. Everything is bursting with flavour and really hits the spot.

Some of you meat-eaters out there might ask why vegan want to eat things that look like meat… The simple answer is that some of us want to eat meat and enjoy the flavours but we don’t want to contribute to the cruelty and murder of animals for it.

I forgot to take a picture of the inside of the Freedom Burger but it was glorious. The smokey flavour and texture of the burger was delicious. I still truly believe that Got No Beef burgers are the best vegan burgers around.

The sharing platter had a bit of everything on it. The shrimp had an incredible texture, the cauliflower wings had a nice subtle kick to it and the potato skins were delicious.

The hot dog was great too. I love the idea of loading it with mac and cheese and it wasn’t too much, the perfect ratio. It was really filling with the texture of the hot dog being quite heavy. It wasn’t my favourite thing on the menu but it was still fantastic.

Visit 3

A few days later, my friends and I had our Christmas catch up so we went to Got No Beef as they hadn’t tried it yet and I had been raving about it.

GNB has a great drinks menu which includes cocktails and mylkshakes. 2 of us ordered Singapore Slings and then the other ordered a mint oreo mylkshake.

Her 1 year old daughter absolutely LOVED the mylkshake. There was some serious mess made with fingers and straws all over the face. I think she only managed a few sips herself and the rest ended up down her daughter’s dress.

The cocktail was lovely and didn’t taste too strong, which could be considered a downfall for some but it meant that I was able to enjoy it without feeling like I was drinking a strong alcoholic drink!

We all ordered Chick’n burgers, but mine was the hot one, and we ordered the cauliflower wings to share but I specified to have hot sauce on the side instead of a mayo or ranch sauce.

We finished the meal with a caramel cheesecake and churros. I forgot to take a picture of the cheesecake but it was a big hit! The churros weren’t bad either! Lots of chocolate and whipped cream, so who can say no to that?!

Everyone loved their food. They were amazed by the chick’n and were so surprised but how good it was and how much like chicken it was. All round, a fantastic review from the omnivores!

Visit 4

My addiction to Got No Beef has well and truly started by this point. I work a very short walk from Cardiff City Centre and it’s only 10 minutes for me to get to the restaurant.

I ordered a take out lunch of 2 chick’n strip and fries with a drink for £7. There was a bit of a wait at lunch time as the restaurant was full of customers but it’s to be expected when you’re ordering from a restaurant, not a take away.

My colleague didn’t want to get GNB, so she made the trip to Grazing Shed at the other end of Barrack Lane. I must have only waited around 10 – 15 minutes for my lunch, whereas she waited 30 minutes for hers!

I took my lunch back to the office and showed it off to everyone! They all looked impressed and I thoroughly enjoyed my food.

They have recently started offering a collection service via online orders! This will be so handy for those who don’t have much time for lunch so I recommend checking it out. It will save you on having to wait in the restaurant too as it will be a quick grab and go!

Visit 5

I’m going to finish this blog post on my fifth, and most certainly not my last, visit to Got No Beef.

I did a lone trip and ordered myself the GNB Hot Chick’n Burger again and an Oreo mylkshake.

As I continue to state, the chick’n items are my favourite dishes on the menu. The Oreo mylkshake was delicious and made a great American diner style dinner of a burger and a shake! Truly delicious and never a disappointment.

For those of you trying out Veganuary next month, this is the perfect food spot for you in Cardiff. After trying all the dishes on the menu, you won’t get that hankering for a meat fix ever again!

Veganuary Tips

Going vegan has never been easier! Over the last few years, supermarkets and restaurants have been more and more accommodating with their products and offerings so you will always find an option somewhere!

During Veganuary, lots of restaurants even participate in offers to encourage you to eat with them and try a vegan dish which is actually really great.

Here are some of my top tips to kick start your Veganuary!

  1. Do your research – it is really important to make sure you stay healthy and eat all the nutrients and vitamins that your body needs in order to maintain a healthy vegan lifestyle. I recommend checking out The Vegan Society nutrition page as a jumping off point!
  2. Plan your meals – it’s so much easier when you first become vegan to plan your meals. Look online for recipes of things you’re unsure of, I recommend BOSH!. These days it’s easy to find meat replacements such as soy mince and vegan sausages.
  3. Herbs and spices are your new best friends – As much as I love the taste of vegetables, they can get boring and not everyone loves them. Make sure you experiment with different herbs and spices to flavour your food as best you can.
  4. Follow vegan food groups on social media – The vegan community is an amazing one and everyone is so supportive. I highly recommend following groups such as Vegan Food UK, Accidentally Vegan and Veganuary across their social media pages to get inspiration!
  5. Don’t be too hard on yourself – The important thing to remember is that no matter what you do, you’re trying your hardest. It’s easy to make mistakes so keep calm and carry on!

If you have any questions, please feel free to comment on my post and I’ll do my best to give a helpful reply!

Good luck on your vegan journey and I hope it’s so good that you’ll want to stay vegan forever!

Vegan Christmas Dinner 2019

So Christmas has been and gone, and my sister, @vgnnatalie, cooked another fabulous vegan Christmas dinner (with the exception of a bit of veggie and meat for my mum, dad and brother! – Still gotta keep the omnis happy).

The Family

To make our lives easier this year, we bought in some of our food instead of cooking it from scratch. For our centre pieces, we had the Waitrose Vegan Festive Wreath and their Vegan Root en Croute. I didn’t manage to take a picture of the root en croute, mainly because I didn’t think of blogging this until after I’d eaten it all!

Waitrose Festive Wreath

The Festive Wreath was made up of vegan sausage and stuffing in the middle. The Root en Croute was a pastry with roasted carrots, spinach and a creamy sauce.

The Waitrose food was freezable for up to a month so I chucked it in the freezer and defrosted it Christmas eve, ready for Christmas Day! What was even more fantastic was that both items cooked at the same temperature for 25 minutes which made it so much easier on the day.

Natalie cooked almost everything else from scratch, which included crispy roasted potatoes, cauliflower cheese (made with vegan Applewood cheese), vegan yorkshire puddings and, of course, all of the vegetables.

The only exception were the pigs in blankets which we bought from Morrisons and were thrown in the oven along with everything else.

Natalie did an incredible job on dinner, as she always does. My parents even enjoyed the vegan Waitrose centre pieces. They couldn’t believe the Festive Wreath wasn’t meat!

After last year’s debacle with a very salty and not ideal seitan roast from Bun Fiction, I was nervous that our parents would be disappointed by another lack lustre vegan centre piece, but this was not the case. Waitrose have done a great job in catering for vegans and these were just right for us.

Maybe next year I’ll finally try making a mushroom wellington myself, but until then we’ll be resting and snacking on all our vegan chocolate we got for Christmas.

From all of us, we hope you had a wonderful Christmas and we hope you have a happy New Year!

The Cruelty Free Beauty Box Deluxe [December 2019]

As we’re aware, the lead up to Christmas is super busy and deliveries take longer than expected. I almost entirely forgot about my Cruelty Free Beauty Box delivery so it was a nice surprise!

This months deluxe box was FULL of goodies, including a few Christmas extras!

The contents of this months Deluxe box contains:

  • Bowe Organic – Lip Rescue Balm (RRP £11)
  • Balade En Provence – Hand Cream (RRP £8.95)
  • All Earth Mineral Cosmetics – Finishing Powder Eco Pot (RRP £14)
  • Sknfed – Cleansing & Exfoliating Cubes (RRP £14.50)
  • Tisserand – Sleep Better Pillow Mist (RRP £9.45)
  • Delhicious – Original Black Tea Body Scrub (RRP £7.95)
  • Christmas White Chocolate Soy Wax Melt (RRP £1.50)
  • Matcha Green Coffee Sparkling Water (RRP £1.75)
  • Vegan Chocolatier – Christmas Cracker (RRP £3.25)
  • Spacemasks (RRP £3.50)
  • Freedom Mallows – Mallow Bites (RRP £3)
  • House Of Wonderland – Snowflake Earrings (RRP £7.95)

The total value of the box tots up to £86.70 and everything looks and smells fabulous! It only arrived yesterday so I have yet to try everything but here are my comments so far…

The Sknfed exfoliating cubes smells absolutely incredible. I’m not sure if it’s a coffee smell but they smell amazing and I’m really excited to use them.

The Tisserand Pillow Mist is life changing. I actually bought one in September for Tom for his birthday so it’s nice that I have my own one. I’ve probably used Tom’s one more than him! Again, this mist smells lovely and full of lavender and I really do have a good sleep when I use it. I usually give a spritz across the pillow and let myself fall into a deep slumber.

The Balade En Provence hand cream is really absorbent and smells fresh. I’m planning on taking it to work and keeping it on my desk so I can have a good moisturiser to use there! I have enough at home so it makes sense to keep one in the office.

This is the first time I’ve tried Freedom Mallows before, even though I’ve seen them around before but never bought them. They are delicious!! It’s been a while since I’ve had marshmallows but these have a very similar texture and the flavour is great. If you spot these when you’re out and about, grab a bag! As a gift for someone else or even for yourself, these are great.

The only item I sadly won’t be able to show off is the House of Wonderland earrings as I don’t have my ears pierced. I have debated getting my ears pierced for a while now so whether I will do so to make sure of them or not is a decision I need to make. Otherwise I will gift them to someone as they are really cute and a gorgeous rose gold!

Again, The Cruelty Free Beauty Box have not disappointed with their deluxe box. I am always looking forward to receiving my box and the contents has never disappointed. Seriously, look them up if you haven’t already!

This will be my last post before Christmas, and although Wednesday is my usual blogging day, it falls on Christmas Day so normal business will resume on the Sunday, 29th December!

Got No Beef in Cardiff City Centre [EXCLUSIVE FIRST LOOK]

I had the absolute pleasure of being one of the first people to see and sample Got No Beef, a new 100% vegan restaurant, in Cardiff City Centre.

The Story of Got No Beef

Got No Beef is a family run business, based in South Wales and they are 100% vegan. Before opening this restaurant, you may have seen them at vegan events and vegan festivals up and down the country, selling their incredible double stacked burgers.

They’ve now decided to settle down in Cardiff City Centre and set up base for their delicious burgers, and many more additions to the menu!

For regular updates, make sure you Like them on Facebook and Follow them on their Twitter and Instagram accounts: @GotNoBeefUK.

The Location

If you’re familiar with Cardiff, you may know a little street in the city centre called Barrack Lane. This street houses other restaurants and is only a short walk from both Cardiff Central and Cardiff Queen St train stations. Got No Beef is situated on the end that’s closest to Debenhams.

For those of you who drive and park in St Davids 2 Car Park, the restaurant is a very short walk from the shopping centre.

The location is great as it’s so easy to find and get to. It really is in the heart of the city centre.

The Food

So down to the most important part… the food!

As well as maintaining their stamp on having the BEST vegan burgers (my honest opinion, and I’m sure shared with many others), they have left no corner unturned when putting together their new menu. There are plenty of options, you will be spoilt for choice.

I was treated to a feast of dishes which included Cauliflower Wings, Loaded Fries, Mac & Cheeze, Beer Battered Cod and 2 Hot Dogs…

I don’t even know where to begin… Incredible doesn’t even cut it.

Let’s start with the immaculate presentation. If the food isn’t the most instagrammable food you’ve ever seen, then I have no idea where you’ve been eating. The attention to detail was so clear to see, even down to the fabulous grease proof paper with the logo emblazoned all over it.

Now for the taste… YUM! My favourite dish was the loaded fries. BBQ Jackfruit and Cheeze sauce all over the fries with spring onions and slices of chilli. The beer battered cod had an amazing texture and it wasn’t greasy which is a pet hate of mine. The mac and cheeze was lovely and the ‘bacon’ bits were a delicious addition.

The Verdict

I may be a little biased, but Got No Beef is absolutely incredible. The quality of the food and the service is like no other. The restaurant looks fantastic with their gorgeous plant wall at the back and the rustic aesthetic really bringing that comfortable vibe.

This family have clearly poured their heart and soul into the building of this business and they deserve every success. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, it is truly wonderful to see local vegan businesses finding their feet in Cardiff and paving the way for the rest of the country and even the world to follow.

Make sure you follow all their social media pages at @GotNoBeefUK to ensure you don’t miss out on any important updates.

I urge you all to visit and support this small, ethical, local business. You won’t regret it!

Luna’s Vegan Corner on Wellfield Road, Cardiff

Last Sunday, we took a trip to Wellfield Road to try Luna’s Vegan Corner. It’s always a bit of a nightmare to park around that area but we managed to find space on Albany Road and we made the short walk to the restaurant.

We walked in around 11:20am and as they’d just opened, there was plenty of room in the restaurant. A few tables were already taken up by a few families and a lovely Dalmatian. We seated ourselves and someone swiftly came over with menus!

There was so much to choose from, it was difficult to decide! I browsed Instagram to have a look at what others had eaten and that didn’t really help matters!

I settled on eating from the main menu instead of the brunch menu and chose the Arancini to start and the mushroom fettuccine as my main.

The arancini was delicious! Cheesy flavours and tastes and fried to perfection. I absolutely loved it. The fettuccine was lovely, with a mix of different mushrooms and very creamy.

Tom decided on the grilled tofu and asparagus to start and the tomato fettuccine as his main.

Tom said the tofu and asparagus was lovely but was a little bit oily due to the amount of oil drizzled on the dish and the bed of pesto that the tofu was sat on. His pasta was also lovely, but was lacking in additional vegetables as it was simply fettuccine in a tomato sauce.

My sister decided on the mushroom bruschetta to start and the burger and chips as her main.

Kirsty adored her bruschetta. It was a risky order as she hadn’t seen any pictures online but she loved it. I tried some and thought it was delicious. I think the crispy, toasted bread was amazing. The burger was a veggie patty sandwiched between 2 onion rings and lettuce. However, unexpectedly, there was a slice of cheese on both the top and the bottom which isn’t listed on the menu and as Kirsty isn’t a fan of cheese, it took her by surprise. She enjoyed it all the same.

As the restaurant started to fill up a bit more, we noticed that people had been ordered Sunday Roasts! We were a little disappointed as if we had known it was on the menu, we definitely would have ordered it. I’ve seen pictures on Instagram since and am filled with envy!

At least if nothing else, it gives us an excuse to go back and I’d urge you all to do the same!

by CHLOE. in Covent Garden, London

As mentioned in some of my previous posts, we went to London recently to see Lizzo at the O2 in Brixton.

On our way to the hotel, we made a stop off at Covent Garden to go to by CHLOE. We’ve heard about them before from my sister so we thought we’d look at the menu and give it a try.

It’s a casual dining place, similar to pret (but with better food), where you can take a seat anywhere and you go up and order at the bar. The menu is up on the wall and there are so much food! Here is the menu, and everything is vegan!

I ordered the Fish & Chips, Tom ordered the Pesto Meatball Sub and we ordered a large Mac & Cheese to share.

I enjoyed my fish and chips. The chips were lovely and the fish was a classic tofu and seaweed but was delicious. The tartare sauce was a great addition too.

Tom loved his meatball sub and said it was delicious. With Subway planning to release their Meatless Meatball Sub and Tom has already made the statement that he will not try it as it will not be as enjoyable. Mac & Cheese was lovely too! The flavours and the mushroom bacon were great and I recommend ordering a portion for yourself.

It started getting really busy at dinner time. Fortunately, Tom and I arrived quite early so we didn’t struggle to find anywhere to sit.

by CHLOE. is definitely worth a visit. It’s nice to go somewhere knowing that I don’t have to filter through the menu because everything there is vegan! It makes such a difference.

Pho in Cardiff City Centre

A few months ago, the well known chain Pho came to Cardiff on Church Street in the city centre.

My siblings have been before and Tom’s sister said the food was great when she visited the Bristol branch so we decided to go visit Pho in Cardiff.

We went on a Wednesday early evening and it was quiet with plenty of room. It started filling out by 6pm. We were greeted at the door and given menus. I asked if there was a specific vegan menu and was told that there isn’t a specific one but everything labelled vegetarian can be made vegan.

There is plenty to choose from on the menu which was really great to see. I recommend checking it out online, here!

I ordered the Chả giò (crispy spring rolls) and the Bún chay Huế noodle soup (hot & spicy tofu & mushroom) with pho noodles instead of bún noodles. Tom ordered the tofu and mushroom Phở Xào. He also ordered the Spicy Lemonade for his drink!

Tom said his noodles were nice, but the tofu was salty. I tried some and he wasn’t wrong! For some reason, the tofu in his phở xào were unbearably salty and not enjoyable at all.

The spicy lemonade was nice, but I think it’s likely to be an acquired taste so be prepared not to like it. The spring rolls were lovely and the peanut sauce was delicious. It was really nostalgic for me as they tasted similar to the ones that my mum makes us. The hot and spicy noodles were lovely but not as spicy as I had anticipated. Luckily, there is chilli paste and sriracha sauce on the table to be added.

I really enjoyed my food and the atmosphere and service was good. We spent around £30 in total for our drinks, mains and shared starter (ordered as a side) which I thought was reasonable. I’ll definitely be making another visit in the near future, or maybe a Deliveroo order to the office…!

Crosstown Doughnuts in Hammersmith Broadway Shopping Centre, London

Tom and I recently went to London to see Lizzo at the O2 in Brixton (FYI, she was incredible!). We always leave our travel planning till the last minute and train prices increase exponentially.

We’ve taken to driving to the outskirts of London and parking somewhere for a few days using JustPark (which I highly recommend). We parked at the Novotel in Hammersmith which was a short walk from the underground. Inside Hammersmith Broadway Shopping Centre is now Crosstown Doughnuts!

I’ve seen Crosstown Doughnuts in Camden before but they used to only do vegan doughnuts on specific days and specific stores so we never tried them.

It appears now that the demand for them has made them change tact and vegan options are now available!

Everything is clearly labelled and they have a premium range of doughnuts that is slightly more expensive. On our way into London, I chose the strawberry and smoked coconut and Tom chose the dark chocolate truffle.

We held onto the doughnuts and ate them when we got back to the hotel after the gig as a treat to ourselves.

I don’t even know where to begin. The doughnut was so pretty and delicious! The dough wasn’t heavy and the jam in middle was more like a jelly which was ideal and a lot less messy than a standard doughnut. The flavours were amazing.

Tom enjoyed his dark chocolate truffle one also and has since raved about the quality of the doughnut.

I enjoyed my strawberry and smoked coconut doughnut so much that on our way back, I bought another doughnut to take back and enjoy in the comfort of my own home!

Again, it did not disappoint. The dough was perfect and the jelly filling was still delicious. My only criticism of the strawberry and English sparking rose doughnut is that the biscuit crumbs on top should have been more engrained into the icing as much of it fell off and ended up in my lap. It did not however hinder my enjoyment of eating it.

Crosstown Doughnuts have branches all over London, but they also have a specific vegan branch in Marylebone. If you’re visiting London (or living there) make sure you stop off for a doughnut. You won’t be disappointed!