I have been an admirer of Matt & Nat for some time, though I’ve never treated myself to any of their lovely bags. No idea why, but since becoming vegan, I felt hypocritical using my leather purse and became hyper aware of it and the leather bits and pieces on my bag, especially when I’m in vegan shops or talking about veganism to people. I’ve had my eye on their range of bags for a while, but as I’m trying to be responsible and on a budget, I knew I couldn’t afford anything. Then they announced their sale so thought I’d have a look. Lo and behold, the bag I wanted and the purse I wanted were in the sale. This kind of thing never happens to me! So I treated myself and bought them.
The bag is the Rehe bag in Midnight and the purse is Sublime in Cocoa. The sale prices were too good to ignore and I’m really pleased with my purchases. All of Matt & Nat bags are vegan and the linings inside their bags are made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles. Their ethical credentials are really impressive. The bag and purse look really smart, are definitely on trend and because they’re classic styles, they always will be. Not only that, they’re cruelty free and ethically responsible. What’s not to love?!
It turns out that lots of restaurants are surprisingly helpful when it comes to identifying vegan dishes on their menus. One such place is Barbucci in Tenby, where my mum, sister and I went a week or so ago to celebrate mums birthday. My sister, who is one my biggest vegan champions, had got in touch with them to ask about vegan options. They had said that most of their vegetable curries are suitable as they are cooked in vegetable ghee. Music to my ears. Barbucci is in the basement, so it has a kind of secret James Bond lair feel about it. Service was excellent from the moment we arrived and at no point did we feel hurried or rushed, despite it being very busy, especially as they also do take aways. After demolishing an obscene amount of popadoms, my starter arrived, which was four delicious onion bhajis. Make it clear when you order that you do not want the mint yoghurt. I had completely missed this on the menu, as it states that it comes with the yoghurt. Fortunately, only one of the bhajis had the yoghurt on it and my sister was happy to trade me one of her yoghurt free bhajis. Then came the curries. I had ordered the vegetable laziza curry, upon my sisters recommendation. It did not disappoint! (Apologies for the rubbish photo below. Bad lighting, accompanied by being in a busy restaurant and wanting to tuck in meant I didn’t hang around trying different camera angles!)
This curry is delicious. You know how sometimes, you can’t tell different types of curries apart? This was not like that. It was full of flavour, not too spicy but tasty enough to make you sit up and take notice. It was so good that I kept thinking about the next day. And my mouth is watering as I write this! I would go as far to say that this was probably the best curry I’ve ever had and would happily go back for more. I also had boiled rice and a chapati so you can imagine that I was completely stuffed by the end of the night. If you’re ever in need of a really good vegan friendly restaurant in Tenby, then Barbucci is the place to go.
I’ve always been a fan of peanut butter, the smooth stuff now, not the one with bits in. Since being vegan, I’ve become an avid reader of labels and was surprised by the ingredients in lots of jars of peanut butter. Not to mention the fact that most of them contain palm oil. While I don’t want to write about the ethics of using or not using palm oil, simply because I don’t know all the facts, I kind of think if you can make delicious peanut butter without adding anything, except for a little salt, then why would you add anything else? That’s what the people over at Pip and Nut think to.
It tastes exactly like peanut butter should – amazing. As it doesn’t contain palm oil, the peanut butter starts to separate when not in use. I always give it a good stir with a handy chopstick to mix it all back together. It is by far the tastiest peanut butter I have ever tasted, perfect on thick slices of hot toast, especially after a chilly dog walk.
I love every bit of being vegan. Well, sometimes going out to dinner can be tricky. Okay, okay, going out to dinner at a non-vegan place fills me with dread. Will the waiters and waitresses know what a vegan is? Will the chef? Will I be served a plate of veg or have to make do with chips and salad? I worry quite a bit while dining in Oxfordshire, but I was quite concerned with the prospect of eating out in my native Pembrokeshire this weekend. It’s been tough to be vegetarian in Pembrokeshire at times, so I was a little apprehensive. Fortunately, my sister is incredibly supportive of my veganism, as is Phil, and between them, I was well catered for.
First up was Saturday lunch and my sister decided on The Brewery Inn in Cosheston. Having eaten there herself before, she knew it was a lovely, relaxed, dog friendly inn, with great food and service. She got in contact with them to find out what vegan offerings they had and they replied promptly, stating that as they cook everything from scratch, they could whip anything up, including a pudding. Well, with the offering of a pudding, I was more than happy to try there.
Hello, my name is Crafty Chai and I am a burger addict. I’m not 100% sure what the burger was, other than is was vegetable based (I’m thinking squash or sweet potato) and delicious. It was in a wholemeal bun (not all burger rolls are vegan *side eyes at M&S*) and had generous portions of sliced tomato and lettuce. It was lovely. So much so I barely said a word while eating it. Always a good sign of a content Crafty Chai. I was offered triple cooked chips, french fries or sweet potato fries. No contest really – I went for the triple cooked chips. OMG. They were to die for. I felt thoroughly spoilt. Plus virtuous, as my burger was basically vegetables meaning PUDDING! A chocolate mousse, no less. It came out of the kitchen in this rather large cup and saucer. I had pretty much given up on the idea of pudding, with the exception of sorbet (which I will never have. It’s pretty much a grown up, boring version of a Slush Puppy, without the capability of turning your tongue blue) so anywhere that offers a vegan pudding, I’ll be more than happy to dine in. This was a pretty epic pudding and it did defeat me. It was chocolatey, and velvet smooth. I will definitely be going back there. It’s got a lovely feel to it, it’s been decorated to a high standard and they had a cosy log burner on the go in the bar area when we were there. Plus, the staff were lovely, but not intrusive. I didn’t feel out of place at all (and I have done in some other places). Nothing was too much trouble. They had quite a few vegan mains available, you just have to give them advanced warning of your arrival. Their website is in the process of being updated, but they update their Facebook page regularly. So why not treat your vegan valentine for a tasty, cruelty free meal?