January 2018 | Modern Mummy

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

GOOD FOOD // Veganuary Q+A

After what feels like the longest month in the history of the world, it's finally the last day of January, which also means it's the last day of Veganuary for me! I've been asked so many questions about taking part in Veganuary over on Instagram, so I thought it would be a good idea to answer them all in one blog post.

The most common questions were how are you finding it? how are you feeling? have you lost any weight? and what non-vegan food are you going to treat yourself to on 1st February?

How are you finding it?
I have to say I found the transition much easier than I thought I would; 'going vegan' sounds a lot scarier than it actually is. But in reality, aside from the odd festive cheeseboard and spoonful of nutella, my diet is usually dairy free anyway - and I've not eaten chicken since we brought the hens home. As a family we eat a lot of plant based meals so, really, it was just a case of cutting out red meat and fish for me. I've cooked from scratch a LOT this month (more on that later) which has been quite time consuming, but fun none-the-less. Being vegan involves a lot of label reading if you're buying ready made/pre-packaged food. This past month I've learnt that there is egg in literally EVERYTHING!

I've not once felt hungry, or like I'm missing out on anything. I've had pizza, chocolate, ice cream. There are so many vegan options in mainstream supermarkets these days - vegans definitely aren't deprived! Veganuary was massive this year (more than 150,000 people took part I think?) and a lot of restaurants and pubs jumped on the bandwagon so eating out wasn't a problem either. I just hope all these vegan menus are going to be permanent fixtures as the food truly is incredible!

How are you feeling?
I've felt pretty darn good from day one.  I joined a few vegan Facebook groups at the beginning of January and saw a lot of posts over the following days where other people taking part in Veganuary felt truly terrible. The general consensus was that their bodies were going through some sort of withdrawal which was something I didn't suffer from at all, probably because it wasn't such a massive change for me. Two quite noticeable differences I did become aware of were that I found getting up in the mornings much easier (usually I'm a grumpy mare in the mornings) - but I felt tired a lot earlier in the evenings when I'd normally binge on Netflix until at least midnight. I'd have gone to bed at 9pm most nights if I'd been able to.

Have you lost any weight?
The honest truth is I don't know. I didn't take part in Veganuary to lose weight so I didn't weigh myself before I started (and I haven't now that I've finished either - I don't have scales at home). My clothes are a little looser though, so I think I may have lost a few pounds over the course of the past month.

What non-vegan food are you going to treat yourself to on 1st February?
Whenever I've dieted, or gone on a juice fast or detox before, I've always treated myself to a blow out meal once I've reached my goal, or got to the end of the programme. But there hasn't been one single instance over the last month when I've not been able to eat something I really fancied so I don't feel as if I need to 'reward' myself with anything this time around. I'll hold my hands up now: I'm not going to stay vegan, the main reason being that I don't want to give up eggs forever. My backyard hens have been the topic of a few heated debates with full time vegans over the past few weeks. I am completely against the egg industry and will never buy eggs from a supermarket again (labels like 'free range', and 'happy' mean absolutely nothing - unless you know where your eggs have come from you'll never know whether they're either of those things) but we rescued our hens from slaughter and know that they are now enjoying their retirement with us (they are spoilt rotten!!) so I personally have no problem eating their eggs. I fully accept that even if I carry on being predominantly plant based but eating eggs I will not be 'vegan' as an egg is still the product of an animal. And that's fine with me!

I think I will eventually go back to fish as well and, although I have no plans to at the moment, I'd never say 'I'll never eat meat again'. Being vegan for a month has opened my eyes considerably. I've watched some harrowing documentaries and am very conscious about animal welfare now, and I most definitely want to know where my food has come from before I buy and eat it. My days of buying cheap meat from supermarkets were over before I started Veganuary, but now I will only ever buy meat from my local farm shop (if I buy it at all).

The thing I've enjoyed most about the past month is the fact I've learnt loads of new recipes. I basically prepared a main vegan meal every evening and added dairy rich sides for the kids. At the beginning of my Veganuary I was cooking two separate meals; a recipe from my usual repertoire for them and then a single portion of a vegan dish for myself later on - but they were inquisitive and wanted to try the new things that I was eating. As a result we have now added loads of new meals to add to our weeknight menus which is most definitely a good thing.

Like I said; I'm in no rush to go out and binge on meat and other animal products but my current feeling is never say never. I'll let you know how I get on.

Monday, 15 January 2018

STYLE // Five Favourites: Sale Shopping at Joanie Clothing

I'm feeling a bit chuffed with myself at the moment as I've started putting together my SS18 wardrobe by doing a spot of shopping in the sales. Talk about prepared (and very unlike me!). The best bit is that all the high summer stuff is super cheap at the moment - and when your style is vintage, there aren't any 'trends' to keep on top of so you can buy repro stuff from any past season.

My latest discovery is Joanie Clothing, purveyors of pretty clothes for nostalgic souls (their words, not mine - and which I love almost as much as I love their their collections). I like the idea that I might be a bit of 'nostalgic soul'.

I've spent the majority of this winter so far wrapped up toasty and warm in slogan sweats and jeans or joggers so it's been extra nice to daydream about warm sunny days, wearing saltwater sandals and pretty sundresses. Even better, I've treated myself to a few new pieces to kick start my SS18 wardrobe. Here's a special Joanie Clothing Five Favourites edition - featuring four items I've already bought and one that's on my wish list!

1. Remy strappy sun top, £10
I have an old Cath Kidston sun top in pretty much this exact same style but I love this print so much more.
2. Dylan multi stripe sleeveless dress, £16
I bought the skirt which has now sold out but love the dress too.... hello pockets!
3. Viola Gingham off-the-shoulder sun top, £6.25
I'm imagining wearing this with black cigarette pants and high heeled clogs for an evening out.
4. Percephone floral shorts, £11.20
Last summer I discovered the joy of shorts - these are so pretty, and the perfect length (not too short!).
5. Sarah scallop hem denim skirt, £30
I've not bought this yet, but it's on my Pay Day shopping list! Such lovely detailing.

Have you thought about what you'll be wearing yet this summer?

Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Hello 2018!

Happy, happy, HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I've had a bit of an extended break this festive period; I didn't plan to, but I ended up pretty much shutting up shop for the whole of the kids' holidays which was bloody lovely. They went back to school on Monday and I've just finished replying to all my emails so I thought I'd go crazy and write a blog post too ;)

Our Christmas was pretty chilled really. We had a few days out - visiting family and a couple of trips into London (one to see Pinocchio at the National Theatre which was incredible, if you get the chance to see it you absolutely must!). But mostly we just hung out at home - we spent lots of lazy mornings in our pyjamas and had lots of long, leisurely breakfasts. The girls also FINALLY mastered the art of the lie in. Both have always been ridiculously early risers and, after eight years, I thought I'd just have to accept that our days would always start before 6am. But over the holidays our wake ups got later and later and now I'm having to drag them out of bed for school in the morning. Fingers crossed they snooze lots this weekend!

I know lots of people are anti-new years resolutions - I am usually one of those people! - but somehow I've managed to set myself loads of goals this year. Hannah over at What Hannah Did Next,  tagged me in her 18 Goals for 2018 post and, although I've not quite got 18, I've definitely got a few, which I thought I'd share with you all here.

Firstly, I'm giving Veganuary a go! The girls and I have been veggie pretty much ever since we brought the chickens home and I'm supposedly dairy free (although that went out the window over Christmas - HELLO cheese and chocolate!) so the transition has been easier for me than I imagine it has been for others. I'm missing eggs a LOT - the hens give us six a day, most of which I'm now reluctantly handing over to friends and family. I can't see my veganism lasting beyond January as I don't want to have to give them up permanently. I've had a few interesting debates on Instagram and Facebook about 'vegans' eating eggs. Of course, I'm completely anti-the egg industry, but when it comes to happy, healthy, pet hens, I really don't see the problem in eating their eggs. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this if you have any!

Another goal I have this year is to give up as much single use plastic as possible. A few years ago I gave up plastic bags; now my aim is to reduce the amount of food I buy in unrecyclable plastic packaging, to stop buying bottled drinks / takeaway coffees (I've invested in my own coffee cup) and to stop accepting straws in drinks. We've switched our plastic toothbrushes to bamboo ones and have bought beeswax food wraps to replace cling film and foil. We are already avid recyclers and it's literally JUST this single use, unrecyclable plastic that fills up our bin each week. How amazing would it be to reduce that too, and eventually be zero waste?

I've got lots of work plans this year. Modern Media is going from strength to strength and I launched a brand new website for it at the end of last year. I've also bought a new domain name for a new blog that I will be launching next month. As the children are getting older, they don't want to be involved quite so much, which I completely understand and appreciate. I'll continue to publish family related content on Modern Mummy but will also have a more 'grown up' space for things I like too! I'll keep you posted on this.

I also plan to do some studying this year; I have two photography courses lined up, and am also about to start a course in Moonology, which I'm sure lots of you will roll your eyes at but is something that has fascinated me for the longest time. The last couple of goals I have for this year are also ones 'for me' - I plan to get my paints out again and want to paint the portraits of all of those people in my collection of old cat photos! I also want the girls and I to spend lots more time at the beach this year. We hardly visited the coast in 2017 and I'm certain its a direct link to me feeling so low.

So there we have it! Our Christmas in a nutshell and my plans for 2018 in four paragraphs! I hope you all had lovely festive breaks too x

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