Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Vegan Party Food Ideas

Earlier in the month it was Babas tenth birthday. As a committed vegan she was very keen that all the party food we offered was vegan but also wanted to make sure her friends had a great time. I knew I needed to come up with some vegan party food ideas.



Offering vegan fare to meat eating folk is never usually a big deal. Vegan food is usually rather tasty and even the biggest carnivore can give their incisors a rest and wolf down some plant based food occasionally.
Kids are different though. Often already incredibly fussy they can sniff out any hint of healthy or unusual from a hundred mile radius. My challenge was to provide a classic birthday party spread which would pass (hopefully) undetected to Babas meat eating friends.
The Cheshire Cat and the White Queen
With a bit of research, help from various vegan online forums and a bit of trial and error I created a lovely meat and dairy free birthday party spread which didn't require days and days of baking. 
Here are the vegan "dupes" I used and the products which were "accidentally vegan" and purposely delicious.

Jam Tarts

As the party had an Alice in Wonderland theme it had to feature jam tarts. Mr Kipling Jam tarts are accidentally vegan so worked an absolute treat.I put Alice in Wonderland cake toppers on them to make them seems slightly more special.


the Queen Of Hearts

Pizza
Kids absolutely wolf down pizza at parties so I knew I wanted to offer our own plant based version. I was considering buying the free from pizza bases and using a cheese substitute when I came across some black olive and tomato bread ciabattas in the Sainsbury's bakery aisle. These worked really well. I simply baked them, added some extra olives on top and cut them into pizza slices. They were all eaten and no one noticed they didn't contain cheese.
Mini sausages on sticks
I'm not sure what it is with little ones and there love of processed meat but from past experience I know that mini sausages are always a huge hit. At first I really struggled to find a similar tasting substitute as none of the meat free sausages had the right look or consistency. These were one of the few items I had to go to a wholefood shop for. The Tofu wieners were a great dupe and yet again were wolfed down without anyone being the wiser.

Sausage Rolls
Linda mac did well by us on the sausage roll front

Staying on a piggy theme I found the Linda McCartney sausage rolls were a really good replacement for meat ones. Very similar smell and texture. I did have to buy two packs and cut them in half but other than that they were a really easy buffet filler.



Cheese and pineapple on sticks
No party is complete in my book without pineapple and cheese on sticks. Being vegan hasn't swayed me from this view and Violife cheese was a savior. One of the few vegan cheeses that actually tastes quite like cheese (its similar to edam) it worked really well. This isn't a complete dupe and received  a bit of  a mixed response from the kids but it did the job.

Birthday Cake Oreos
Any vegan worth their salt knows that Oreos are dairy free. These little beauties though are birthday cake Oreos which means multi coloured sprinkles inside. Hands down the biggest hit of the day. 


Chocolate Churros
I learnt that Tesco's Chocolate Churros were vegan via the "accidentally vegan" instagram account (brilliant for things like this) These donut batter fingers filled with chocolate and hazelnuts were completely demolished.
Birthday cake


Yes its a vegan birthday cake, yes its amazing

I was really lucky as my best friend Leanne is a really talented cake maker and accepted the challenge to create a vegan birthday cake with an Alice in Wonderland theme. 
Beautiful Leanne with her beautiful cake

Her tips were to bake a classic birthday cake sponge but replace eggs with coconut oil, use almond milk and just double check your icing is vegan (she used Renshaw flower and modelling paste  to mold all the figures ) 
The finished cake was absolutely amazing. It not only looked brilliant but was so tasty. She did us proud. She always does. 

The most adorable group of little girls enjoying their vegan buffet
So the verdict is that you can really easily put together a kids birthday party using only vegan food (loads of these ideas also translate to grown up party buffets too) It didn't feel like there was any compromise on taste, selection or fun and of course providing a beautiful party which didn't harm a single animal was a rather gorgeous thing indeed. 



the Mad hatter, White Queen And Cheshire Cat 


Check out my Youtube channel for lots of vegan related vlogs, reviews and general animal loving chat.





   



Brand New eco Design  over at  Nicky Rockets
Printed on climate neutral, fair trade tees in water based ink. 



All content (text, photos and other) are the property of Perelandra Beedles unless otherwise stated. Please refrain from copying any material without recognition of the author and a link to the source on this blog

Monday, 27 June 2016

Learning To Heal After A Lifetime Of Body Hate

Recently I attended a deep breath meditation workshop centered around the idea of breaking through emotional blocks. It was a wonderful few hours of Kundalini yoga practice, chanting and breath work.
During the breath work session we were encouraged to let go of old emotional blocks. To feel around our heart and brain cavities and root out anything which no longer served us.


It was quite a powerful experience and as I came to the end of the session I was hit by the overwhelming feeling that I needed to allow myself to heal. 
I realised I carried around emotional injuries inflicted upon me by a society that had told me (both verbally and in a more nuanced form of messaging) that as a fat woman I was unworthy. 
To receive the mantra "you are less because you are more" day in, day out does some pretty dark stuff to your psyche. The only way as a woman of size you can exist without going totally mad (or never leaving the house) is to permanently surround yourself with a protective shied, like an emotional Teflon coating. 
The problem is that much like Teflon it stops things getting to you but it also keeps everything out. 
When you wear defiance like perfume and add a "fuck you " attitude along with your clothes every morning, inevitably a hardening of the soul happens. 
I realised that my wounds from fat hate hadn't really healed, they had just scabbed over and actually I needed to acknowledge the hurt in order to properly recover and move forward.
When I say acknowledge the hurt, I don't mean hurt from random strangers. Men shouting abuse at me from cars, or shop assistants smirking when I have had to ask for the next size up in a changing room, that is  a temporary sting, like a nettle, sharp yes but gone in no time at all. I'm talking about the hurt that is caused by  memories of how I hated myself for so long. How I believed I "let people down" with my inability  to stay at the smaller end of my dress size yoyo. 
The word "forgiveness" bounced around my brain like a ping pong ball. I needed to forgive myself for all the self hate I used to pile onto my lovely body, I needed to forgive myself for all the self deprecating banter that I jumped in with before anyone else could say the body shaming words. I needed to forgive myeslf for ever speaking to my own reflection with disdain and disrespect.
When I returned home I kept thinking about this idea of forgiveness and found a quote by the Guru Osho which sums it up so beautifully

"Love knows how to forgive. Not only does one have to forgive others, one has to forgive oneself too, and that is the harder thing because we have been taught to feel guilty; we are burdened by guilt. A burdened man cannot grow and one who feels guilty feels always sick; he does not allow his wounds to heal. So I teach you to forgive others, but even more to forgive yourself. Out of that forgiveness, a great love for yourself will arise. The condemnation will disappear"

The politics of body positivity were written first in defiance. A rejection of societies need to shame non conformists (and to be a fat woman is about as non conformist as you can get) This defiance and anger has served us well but for me it fails to recognise the deep pain carried by many women of size.
I am feeling a great need to honour that pain, recognise it and by doing so feel I'm allowing myself to heal properly. 

I don't think I am the only one who feels like this, and I don't believe this is something only applicable to plus size women. There are survivors of this form of emotional injury on every street, catch the eyes of any woman in a store and for everyone that is shining with confidence and swagger, there are others who eyes shine with tears. They don't believe they are "good enough" when in fact they are magic.
So today I'm here to say we must all collectively not just fight the intolerance of strangers or society, we must also fight our own intolerance towards ourselves. Recognise it for what it is. Learnt behavior, a form of Stockholm syndrome where we fell in love with the very body ideals who held us captive in misery. Lets shine a light into those dark ugly places inside us and transform them into something beautiful and loved.





   



Brand New eco Design  over at  Nicky Rockets
Printed on climate neutral, fair trade tees in water based ink. 


All content (text, photos and other) are the property of Perelandra Beedles unless otherwise stated. Please refrain from copying any material without recognition of the author and a link to the source on this blog




Sunday, 26 June 2016

Vegan Cafe Review-The Old Hardware Shop Woolton

During last half term I was idly scrolling through my facebook feed when I saw a photo of the most delicious looking vegan milkshake. Not only did it look like a dream I was informed this vegan beverage unicorn was available just down the road in Woolton at a vege/vegan cafe called The Old Hardware Shop.



Unsurprisingly  a few days later myself and the brown eyed crew made the trip and decided to treat ourselves to a rare junky treat of vegan hotdogs, milkshakes and cake. It was absolutely delicious.
vegan Adventures in Woolton

The Old hardware Shop is nestled in one of the cutest parts of Liverpool. Woolton village is adorable and it seems only fitting that a cafe serving such beautiful food would be in such a setting. The decor is boho chic, mismatched chairs, ethic cushions, folk art on the walls. Its inspiring and comfortable and I loved it.
Nicky looking for the perfect vegan milkshake-think we have found it.

The service was brilliant. Quick, friendly and the staff were more than happy to answer any questions about what was on the menu.
And what a menu it is. The specialty of the house seems to be the hot-dogs but there is an all day breakfast, bagels, subs and lots of homemade cake.

What a fab menu


I tried the peanut butter shake and it was utterly delicious. Really indulgent and creamy with all the trimmings you would want including a bright red cherry on top. 
Hotdogs (minus the animal)

The hot dogs were also spot on. Great vegan frankfurters with onions, mustard, the works. Out of pure greed we ordered a slice of Victoria sponge and that was also yummy (although I felt I may not be able to make the short walk to the car if I finished it)
Yes its vegan, yes it tasted as good as it looks.
If you are looking for a really lovely (and very affordable) vegan cafe The Oldware Shop is definately worth a trip.
Find it at 8 Woolton St, Liverpool L25 5JA

Check out my Youtube channel for lots of vegan related vlogs, reviews and general animal loving chat.






   



Brand New eco Design  over at  Nicky Rockets
Printed on climate neutral, fair trade tees in water based ink. 



All content (text, photos and other) are the property of Perelandra Beedles unless otherwise stated. Please refrain from copying any material without recognition of the author and a link to the source on this blog




Thursday, 23 June 2016

Curvy Barbie Fashionista Review

As a feminist mum to a doll loving little girl I have often worried about the gender stereotypes they promote. Tiny waists, large boobs and impossibly long slender legs seem to always be the norm. They are white and blonde, cisgendered and able bodied. Its hard not to wonder if Barbie promotes sexist ideals on what it is to be a woman.



I was lucky in a way as the Monster High Craze took off just as Baba discovered dolls. Although still promoting a very thin body shape,  the whole story arc behind the franchise is that they are  all descendants of monsters. The cartoons focused on them being misfits who found support within a community and embraced their differences. As toy obsessions go it could be worse.
That's not to say we don't have a few Barbies because we do. The Barbie films have always been firm favorites (I found the mother load of the DVDs at a car-boot a few years back so we have watched them all quite  a few times, "Barbie and the Diamond castle" was four year old Baba's absolutely fave) so inevitably we have picked up some of the dolls along the way.



The news that the Barbie fashionista range was going to bring out a selection of dolls incorporating different body shapes, heights, ethnicities and  hair colours was long overdue and we have been rather excited to get our hands on the "Curvy" Barbie Fashionista"
They went on sale just before Baba's birthday so we of course brought her one (at £9.99 they are also very affordable) There are a couple in the "Curvy" range but we chose the Sweetheart Curvy barbie. With very cool blue and black hair wearing a denim skirt and punky looking top she is very different from the usual blonde Barbie.

As soon as we took her out of the box it was apparent that the doll has a much fuller figure. She has big hips, a large bottom and is generally a bit bigger all over than the usual Barbie Doll.

The new Curvy barbie next to the classic fashionista Barbie
For a bit of fun we compared the new Barbie (who is now called Giselle) to one of Baba's classic barbies to see how much difference there really. When Baba was little she was obsessed with stripping all her dolls naked so this was all in  a days work for her.


 It was interesting to see how the proportions of the Curvy Barbie were generally less pronounced. A tummy that looks like it can hold intestines, legs without a vast thigh gap and a neck that looks like it could actually hold the weight of a brain.

Barbie got back

Its probably a sign of the times that Curvy Barbie has lots of Booty. In fact she has more than a hint of a Khardasian look about her.
What will be obvious to you all by now that whilst the new Curvy Barbie does have a fuller figure she is far from fat. Curvy is not a euphemism for overweight. She in fact possesses what is considered (if you flick through women's magazines or watch music videos) a very socially desirable weight distribution with a flat tummy, smallish breasts and a large bottom. Would I have liked her to be fatter-to be honest yes but my ten year old disagreed and perhaps her opinion is more important.
When I quizzed Baba on the doll she absolutely loved it. It presented a body shape that she could easily relate to and she loved the blue hair and general kick ass look of the doll. I did ask if she would like the doll to be bigger and was met with a firm no. She felt the doll was really great as she was. 
Its a thumbs up from Baba

Looking at the other dolls on offer within this range it was great to see tall and petite dolls offered, red haired Barbies and Asian and Black Barbies. These choices not only allow parents to buy their children dolls that look more like them,  but also to buy their kids dolls which reflect the vibrant multi cultural country we live in. 
The one doll missing from the original press releases I saw was a  androgynous looking doll with short hair and a suit on. I'm not sure why this isn't available in the UK but a gender fluid doll would be such a great addition to any kids toy box so I was sad to see that wasn't there.



On a practical note for anyone buying these for a child who already has a lot of dolls, the new body shape means the majority of the standard Barbie Doll clothes wont fit. Stretchy clothes from other Fashionista dolls work and Monster High shoes fit the feet but that's about it.
This definitely feels like a step in the right direction. It would be great to also see some dolls with cochlear implants, wheelchairs and birthmarks next. Society is made up of so many different kinds of bodies, which is what makes its so wonderful-how exciting to think our children's toys could reflect that.
A welcome addition to our toybox
The Curvy barbies can be purchased at Amazon here
I also filmed a short review video with baba for my Youtube channel. Watch that here.





   



Brand New eco Design  over at  Nicky Rockets
Printed on climate neutral, fair trade tees in water based ink. 



All content (text, photos and other) are the property of Perelandra Beedles unless otherwise stated. Please refrain from copying any material without recognition of the author and a link to the source on this blog






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