Easy vegan, gluten free chocolate chip

One of the drawbacks (or benefits, depending on my mood!) about being vegan is that when you’re craving a specific type of junk food, you might not always have easy access to something. This was how I was feeling the other day. I fancied some cookies but didn’t have anything and had no where close by to buy them from. So I had to make my own.

Easy vegan cookiesFor my birthday, I was given some oaty cookie mix, which only needs spread and water adding to it for the dry mix to become to become cookie mix. I also picked up some dairy free chocolate chips from somewhere and thought these would make great cookies that even the laziest baker could organise! Both are also gluten free and incredibly delicious, even before they’re baked.

chocolate chip vegan cookies

It is incredibly easy to make the cookies. You simply add some melted dairy free spread and water to the dry mix. Then throw as many chocolate chips into this that you think your stomach can handle. In my case, this was quite a lot. What I didn’t think about was putting melted butter into cookie mix with chocolate chips. About half of them melted, which I thought would ruin them, but was actually a happy accident. The mix states that it makes about 10 cookies, but I only managed to leave enough mix for about 7! They were incredibly moreish and great broken up and mixed in with ice cream. Well, it is the holidays!

Colby Woodland Gardens, Pembrokeshire

After walking what felt like all the miles while we were in Pembrokeshire, I wanted our last morning to be a little more gentle and it seemed like the weather agreed (drizzle… again!) For years I’ve been driving past the sign for Colby Woodland Gardens but I’d never been so after a quick walk around Carew Castle and a spot of geocaching, Poppy and I headed for Colby.

Colby obelisk Colby woodland garden Poppy at the Cobly obelisikI didn’t realise that the woodland garden was a National Trust property. Admission is £6.50, but while dogs are allowed almost everywhere, they aren’t allowed int he admissions office, which was tricky as I was on my own and never want to tie Poppy up and leave her outside (because, obviously, the second my back is turned, someone will steal her!) When I went into the admissions office, the lady asked if I was a member, which I wasn’t, and she asked if I wanted to join, but I said that it would take too long and I didn’t want to leave Poppy outside on her own for too long (There were some shifty looking pensioners out there!) The lady offered to come outside and organise the membership, which I thought was really lovely, as I had been meaning to join for some time (Wish I’d joined before parking at Bosherston Lily Ponds – £5!). So I joined the National Trust and got a ton of maps etc, then we headed into the gardens.

tree of coins at colby woodland garden The valley at Colby woodland garden Colby lodgeWe headed up to the left of the valley, to find the obelisk. You can walk down to Amroth beach from the gardens, which I would love to do next time. Dogs have to be kept on leads everywhere but they can’t go into the walled gardens. Poppy really enjoyed exploring the valley, as there are a few ponds and lots of things to smell, apparently. While Poppy is still nervous of the sea, she is super confident in shallow, clear water and now seeks it out!

Poppydog at Colby Woodland Garden Amroth beach from Colby bracket fungus Pamela Chance memorialOn the other side of the valley, the walks get steeper, and there are loads of different walks around this side. One shows great views to Amroth beach and there are lots of different aspects of nature to see. We spotted a jay, some bracket fungus and an owl pellet, which Poppy ate. Nice huh?! It’s a lovely place to visit and I’ll definitely be going back there, especially in a different season, where the tress are changing. There are tea rooms there too, which I didn’t visit this time so naturally I need to go back for that!

TV Recommendations – August 2016

There’s been very little to watch and with the summer holidays in full swing, I’ve made it my mission to rewatch Gilmore Girls and anything else Netflix can throw at me. In the mean time (and because Phil hates Gilmore Girls!), we’ve been watching a few other things.

TV recommendations_August

[Stranger Things – Netflix || Bloodline – Netflix
Ray Donovan – Now TV || The Catch – Now TV]

I saw lots of people tweeting about Stranger Things and when faced with a TV drought, Phil and I thought we’d give it a go. I didn’t know what it was about except that it was set in the 80’s, which is fine by me. It is brilliant! If you haven’t watched it, add it to your watchlist and set aside some time for it. There are only eight episodes, so it leaves plenty of time for other shows. It’s kind of a mix of The Goonies, ET and Stand by Me, with a hint of Pretty in Pink. It’s definitely worth the hype. Plus, it stars 80’s queen, Winona Ryder, who is great in it. Though, it’s the kids who are the out and out stars here. They are fab!

I’d seen Netflix advertise Bloodline and even gave it a bit of a go a while back, but it didn’t really stick. Phil saw a recommendation on Twitter, so we’d thought we’d give it a go. I’m going to warn you here, it is a bit of a slow burner. The first few episodes are a bit dull, none of the characters are that likable (even the wonderful Coach Taylor) however, we stuck with it and it was worth it. It is so tense and so gripping that I feel like I’m holding my breath the whole time. I cannot stand Danny, one of the main characters. He is pure evil! Netflix already has series 2 available and I saw that series 3 is coming next year, so there’s plenty of TV to be had here.

We’ve been watching Ray Donovan for a while and I’m so glad that it’s back. It’s quite dark in places, as it deals with child abuse from within the Catholic church, and Ray is a ‘fixer’ for the wealthy and powerful in LA. There are times when he has to do horrible things, including dealing with his spoilt kids and his rather offensive father. His brothers are the real gems of the show though, as they are brilliant characters. This is definitely one not to miss.

After all the drama and darkness of the other shows we’ve been watching, you need something lighthearted. The Catch is the latest hit from Shonda Rimes and revolves around a female private investigator who finds out the love of her life is not what he seems. As you would expect from Shonda Rimes, it is light, breezy and very glossy. While it’s not quite Scandal or the classic that is Grey’s Anatomy, it’s still a good watch.

I’m looking forward to a few shows coming back on TV, including The Walking Dead and the new (hopefully not final) series of Gilmore Girls. I have them written in my Filofax. Yes, I’m that much of a nerd!

Dog Walks in South Pembrokeshire

It rained three out of the four days I was in Pembrokeshire, which is pretty standard. (I managed to get some savage sunburn on the only dry day!) This scuppered my walking plans somewhat so instead of heading up to Marloes Sands like I planned, Poppy and I headed for tried and tested Bosherston Lily Ponds. I knew they would be a bit more sheltered and with the tide out, we could enjoy Broadhaven South beach.

Bosherston Lily Ponds Bosherston LakesBosherston never disappoints. There’s always something to see and this time, there was a pair of swans with a nest full of cygnets. Despite the incessant drizzle, Poppy and I headed for Broadhaven South, where I had planned to do a spot of geocaching, but Poppy and the rain had other ideas so geocaching was abandoned in favor of hitting the beach. It was completely empty and the tide was right out, which meant I could let Poppy off the lead. She loved it! She spent the whole time running about, running back to me for treats and generally wearing herself out. If you ever get to go to this part of the world, make sure Broadhaven South is on your list of beaches to visit. It’s pretty much perfect.

Broadhaven South Broadhaven south beachWe had time before lunch with my mum and as my geocaching plans had failed, I decided to head to West Angle bay, as Poppy had never been there. Plus, as the awesome drizzle hadn’t blown away, I figured that it would be pretty quiet. And I was right!

West Angle bay Angle pembrokeshire geocaching at angle bayWest Angle bay is quite a small beach, but there are lots of rock pools to explore when the tide is out. Plus, you can get pretty good phone signal, meaning you can find out where the geocaches are hidden and I managed to find one (my first one!), pictured above. Am so proud of this! Parking here is free and there’s a lovely cafe and toilets too. There’s a decent circular walk via the coast path, but as the weather wasn’t great, I decided to leave that for another day.

spicy bean and vegetable stew Fleur the dog at South Beach Tenby South Beach TenbyAfter a quick coffee, Poppy and I headed for lunch with my mum and I’d spotted that the local tea room at the garden centre had a few vegan options. I had the spicy bean and vegetable stew on a jacket potato, which was awesome. Very filling and tasty. (It came with a side salad that had coleslaw slap bang in the middle of it, so I just ignored that!) We then headed off for a dog walk. During the summer, most of the beaches in Tenby are a no go for dogs, so we parked up at Penally train station and headed along the beach, which blends into South Beach, which is the only dog friendly beach in Tenby. You’ll know when you get to the end of it, as there are signs. Lots and lots of signs! There’s a few cafes here, where you can stop for a coffee, as well as toilets (tho they require 20p. Annoying if you’re desperate and have to rummage for change!) By this time, the drizzle had stopped and we headed back to the car. Another awesome day for my FitBit step count! Another day Poppy was asleep as soon as her head hit the pillow!

Sleeping Poppydog