A few weeks ago, before the heatwave and following deluge of rain, Phil, Poppydog and I headed into Oxford to visit Bitten Street. This is a street food event that happens monthly and is run by Bitten Oxford. We’ve been before but haven’t been in ages, mainly because I became vegan and there was very little on offer for me so we didn’t bother going in. However, we noticed that Rupert’s Street was going to be there and everything they due is suitable for vegans. Finally, I could eat something! So we planned a little walk that would mean we could arrive at Bitten Street in time for an early lunch, and I’m glad we did, as Rupert’s Street did sell out. We parked at Hinksey Park car park and walked along the Thames into Oxford to Oxford Castle. It was a lovely walk, tired Poppydog out and avoided the hideous car parking charges.
We headed straight for Rupert’s Street to check out their vegan offerings. I had the tofu salad, which was amazing, and Phil had the beetroot latke, which was really delicious. The food was healthy, tasty and reasonable. It was so nice to see vegan food on offer and I really hope that it’s the start of things to come and that there will be many more vegan offerings. To see what’s coming up at the next Bitten Street event, check out the Bitten Oxford Facebook page. If there’s vegan food to be had, then you might just see me there!
Between taking part in #30dayswild and watching Springwatch, it has been all about nature here at Crafty Chai towers. We’ve been obsessed with the starlings on the bird feeder in the garden, watching fish in the Thames, counting bees at every chance we get and tried to catch glimpses of bats at sunset.
That being said, this week has been crazy. With a few early dog walks before work, late nights thanks to book group and watching John Grant (with a special appearance from Kylie!) at the Albert Hall, there hasn’t been much time for getting wild. However, I’ve still been watching and managed to see lots of red kites circling above the M40 and little bunnies at the roundabout joining the A34. I’ve also managed to photograph these little beauties:
Even as I walk about school, I try to keep my eyes peeled to the nature around me. Wagtails bobbing about after lunch, huge raindrops during thunderstorms causing lots of squealing in the classroom next door and basking in sunshine as I walked between buildings. The weather has been really weird in the last few days. I’ve never known there to be so many thunderstorms so close together. Am really hopeful that the weather next week will be more settled, if for no other reason than to help the bees and the butterflies!
For me, there’s nothing more relaxing than a bit of pampering. If I want some ‘me’ time or need to relax, then a back massage is what I go for. I’m a huge fan of Fawsley Hall, but it’s not close to where I live so I need to find somewhere good that is within a walk or short drive from home. Nothing tenses my shoulders up more than traffic! I’ve tried a couple of places in Abingdon, but nothing really suited me. Thinking about where to do, I realised that I’d never been to Utopia Beautique, despite having lived in Abingdon for years. I had a quick look on their website to see if a back massage was on offer, which is was, and contacted them for a suitable appointment during half term and to find out if their products were suitable for vegans. I secured an appointment and the products Utopia use are suitable for vegans. Fantastic!
I’ve had a number of back massages but this was the first time that I lay on my back for my massage. There were two water filled cushions on the table, which I lay on and they were warmed to body temperature. I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first, because I didn’t think it would be possible to apply enough pressure to my back, neck and shoulders if I was lying on my back, but thought I’d give it a go.
I’m glad I did. While it was different and took a little while to get used to, it was a much more gentle approach. I can tell when a masseur gets to my shoulders and feels the humungous knots in them. Usually, they go to town on my shoulders, which in lots of cases, means my shoulders can be painful for a few days after. Not exactly the result you want. However, this did not happen at Utopia. While the masseur could feel the knots, because I was on my back, she dealt with them in a different, more gentle way. It was so relaxing and my shoulders felt relaxed and stress free, without any discomfort. I can heartily recommend it and would definitely go back the next time my shoulders are up around my ears!
Between watching Springwatch and taking part in 30 Days Wild, I am all about nature right now! Whether I’m driving to work, walking Poppydog or washing up and looking out at the garden, I’m busy spotting birds, bees and wildlife. I know that it’s all around, but sometimes it takes something like 30 Days Wild to remind me of this.
Have you been watching Springwatch? This week was really brutal, with three out of the four remaining great tits being fed by their adoptive blue tit mother, being eaten by a jay and a stoat climbing a tree to kill all of the chicks in a woodpecker nest. I have to admit, I did cry at that. It was one nest attack too many. Don’t mistake this for naivety. I know the jay and stoat have lots of mouths to feed. That is nature. It just puts into perspective, for me, the way humans impact on nature, whether it’s through what we eat, where we build our homes or how we consume this planet. Watching the stone curlew getting drenched night after night last week was truly heartbreaking and the thought that our actions can make the lives of these little but vital creatures worse make me feel sick to my stomach. I really hope that we as a species stop looking at money as the most important thing ever, but at our home and act accordingly.