Wildcard Wednesday (MOFO #10) – The Northern Vegan Festival

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We’re already into the third week of MOFO! I’m sorry I’ve been absent over the weekend but over the weekend I travelled to Blackpool for the Northern Vegan Festival and then Kendal for work! I’m back now though and I want to share my adventures with you for this Wildcard Wednesday.

blackpool_lancashire_iron_301535_hBlackpool Tower by Kevinzim

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I am originally from Blackpool so it was odd being back there for the Northern Vegan Festival. I made the most of it though and went to visit family the next day so it was a nice weekend in Blackpool for me and my boyfriend!

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The festival was held in the beautiful Winter Gardens’ Ballroom and all of the usual suspects were there! We don’t usually go to many workshops but we made the most of the day here and went to two really interesting talks. The first was a talk on nutrition which was done by Elizabeth King. It was really interesting to hear about vegan nutrition from a scientific point of view rather than from rumours and hearsay.
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The second talk was by the wonderful Melissa Morgan from Ms Cupcake. I came away with a signed copy of her book and lots of inspiration for how to make my gluten free and vegan bakes!

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Good news for all sweets fans came from the Goody Good Stuff stall where they were giving out samples of their brand new vegan gummy bears! I came home with one of the huge tubs of Sugar Plums and will be letting you know more about the new developments next week.

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Of course the most exciting part of the day was lunch! I followed my nose into the Cafe Room where there were all sorts of vegan delights. I was immediately drawn to the Gluten Free macaroni cheese with a crunchy nacho topping and had to stop myself from going back for seconds!

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All in all it was a fantastic day and I came home with lots of goodies!

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Were you at the festival? What was your favourite part?

 

 

My Cupcakes – Pear, Pecan and Chocolate Chip Cake

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I came across one of my favourite stalls at this week’s North West Vegan Festival and knew I would end up parting with some money! My Cupcakes is a vegan and gluten free bakery which, as the name suggests, mostly sells cupcakes. Before today I have tasted many a beautiful cupcake from sticky toffee to stawberry shortcake. I can also vouch for their lemon curd (which is to die for) and their giant chocolate chip cookies. This time I approached the stall apprehensively knowing that not only was I on a strict budget but whatever I bought would have to survive the long train journey home.

Then I spotted the pear, pecan and chocolate chip cake. It was beautiful and only £1.50 a slice. The lady behind the stall told me she’d already sold out of 2 loaves and I wasn’t surprised in the slightest. It turned out I didn’t have to worry about getting it home safely as I was hungry on the train home and I’m afraid I chose the cake over the Nakd bar I had in my bag!

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I’m a great believer in taste being more important than beauty but this was definitely an attractive looking cake! The chunks of pear were visible and they didn’t skimp on the chocolate chips either. The three components gave the cake a wonderful texture with the almost gooey pear, the soft chocolate chips and the crunchy pecans. The level of sweetness was just right so it was not sickly in the slightest. There was also a layer of thick crunchy icing on the top which finished it all off perfectly. I did hope the pear would come through more strongly but I loved the cake anyway.

Next time I see My Cupcake I’ll definitely remember to look at the other options as well as the beautiful cupcakes and their swirls of creamy icing! My Cupcake can be found at many vegan events. Check their Facebook page for more information.

The North West Vegan Festival – 7th June 2014

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My Cupcakes proves that veganism is not all about lettuce leaves!

This weekend I travelled to Lancaster to visit the North West Vegan Festival. I’d been looking forward to this one for a while and the impressive list of sponsors heightened that excitement. The Festival was slightly bigger than the LABL fairs I’ve recently attended with one room for food stalls and the other for non food. This was a brilliant idea as it showcased all aspects of the vegan lifestyle and meant charities and animal friendly companies didn’t have to fight for attention amongst the cupcakes! As I had a work appointment in the afternoon I didn’t spend as long as I usually would at these events but I still got to meet some great people and came home with some beautiful things.

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I spent a lot of time in the non food room and my first purchase of the day was one of these cute Vegan necklaces! I went for the different coloured beads with Vegan in the middle but it was a tough call. The metal stamped necklaces were beautiful too.

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I haven’t fully transitioned into using all vegan cosmetics as I find it very expensive to replace the left overs from my non-vegan days. With the prices of these beauties though I could stock up! The soaps were all completely vegan and palm oil free and the fragrances were magnificent. I came home with a cinnamon bar which was my favourite of the bunch.

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Harpers Bizarre was a stall I’ve never come across before although apparently they were at the Liverpool Fair! Their candles are made with soya wax and are 100% animal free as you’d expect but the fragrances were amazing. I used to use Yankee candles all the time but I think I’ve found an excellent replacement! Their scent catalogue is huge and they also sell Bargain Basement candles which are one off designs. I came home with a House of Red candle from the bargain section which smells gorgeously sweet. Check out the rest of their range here.

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One of my favourite cupcake sellers, Captain Cakeman was at the festival and he provided me with gluten free cakes as usual! This time I came back with a rose cupcake (on the left) and a violet one (on the right).

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 Last, but not least, I found my other favourite cupcake shop! My Cupcakes is a vegan and gluten free stall which sells more than just cakes! I’ve tried their lemon curd, cookies and donuts in the past and everything has been delicious. This time I resisted the cupcakes and bought a huge white chocolate chip cookie and a slice of pear and pecan cake. Look for a review coming soon!

Despite the terrible weather I loved my trip to the North West Festival. It was nice to see more literature and non food stalls available and there was a lovely atmosphere as there always is at these.

You can see the full album of photos on the Facebook page here. Pop over and “like” us!

Did anyone else go to the festival? What did you think?

Our Day at the Liverpool Live A Better Life Fair 2014!

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As you all probably know from my recent postings, I’ve been looking forward the the LABL fair for quite a while! The fair finally took place on Saturday and we managed to spend the majority of the day there. There were so many stalls that it would have been impossible to show you them all but here is a summary of our day.

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One of our favourite stalls was Ananda Foods which sold all manner of vegan marshmallow delights as well as toffee popcorn! I came home with a bag of toffee popcorn and a caramel chocolate mallow lolly. I’ll let you know how I get on!

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You may remember me raving about Mr Popple’s the last time I went to the LABL fair. The raw chocolate he produces is the creamiest I’ve had and the cherry bar went down a treat last year. This time I tried the flower power bar as I was interested in what a flower covered bar would be like. I liked it more than I was expecting to but I wasn’t overly sure about the texture of the flowers. I came away with the safer options of Euphoric Orange and Uplifting Mint & Lime. Watch this space!

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The Vegan Tuck Box stall was very exciting! Here I found some Ten Acre Cheese & Onion crisps as well as the Chicken Soup flavour. If you’ve never tried these you should check out my review as they are amazing. These can be bought on the Vegan Tuck Box website. I also had a chat with the ladies at the stall about how a gluten free vegan would go about ordering a box. They told me that if you let them know you are gluten free they may be able to take out the gluten containing foods and double up on some of the safe options. I’m definitely going to be giving this a go so I will let you know how I get on!

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Koko dairy free were a big star of the fair as they were giving out samples of their three flavours! Unfortunately they sold out of the strawberry flavour in the first hour but I came away with an original carton as well as two chocolate cartons. I already use the original variety near enough daily but I’m looking forward to trying the chocolate flavour in some recipes. The woman behind the stall suggested chocolate custard… something that got me very excited!

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I also came home with two cupcakes from Captain Cakeman and two from Ms Cupcake. Captain Cakeman are a really friendly company which asked their facebook fans which flavours they wanted bringing. Their mint chocolate ones looked amazing but I came back with a vanilla and chocolate and a lemon raspberry which were both gluten free. Ms Cupcake seem like a larger company as they have a huge range of cakes! All of theirs are gluten free and they also make vegan lemon curd. From here I had a sticky toffee cake and a strawberry shortcake one. Watch this space for reviews!

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I decided to be brave and buy my lunch at the fair rather than bringing it with me as I usually would. There was a raw caterer which was serving up a variety of wraps, pizza and cheesecakes. I had a toasted wrap with cashew cheese, nut meat and salad which was extremely delicious! Steven went for a more unhealthy option of some Ten Acre crisps and a big slice of vegan chocolate cake! There were also caterers serving up curry dishes and Vegusto were there selling hotdogs too.

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After lunch we went to an eye opening talk by Neil Robinson on vegan health and fitness. As an ex Everton player he was really knowledgeable about how you can be an sportsman on a vegan diet. Afterwards there was a smoothie demo from Neil and from Tim Barford of Yaoh which was highly amusing and gave us a chance to taste some delicious smoothies! Neil will be talking at some of the biggest vegan festivals this year so check out his website to find out more.

Altogether we had a fabulous day with visits to other stalls including News From Nowhere, Barnett’s Wholefoods, The RSPB, The Green Party and loads more. Now I’m counting down to the next fair which is on Saturday 11th April 2015! As always you can find more photos of our day on my Facebook page.

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Were you at the fair? What goodies did you come away with?

Liverpool Live A Better Life (LABL) Fair – April 2014!

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You may remember that last year I attended the first LABL in Liverpool where I spent the day sampling goodies and talking to stall holders. I came home with bags full of delicious food to remember it by too! I’m excited to tell you all about the next fair which is taking place on Saturday 12th April 2014! This fair will have all of the brilliant things that the last one had plus some extras. I’m particularly looking forward to the film screenings and cookery demos and it has been announced that ex-everton player Neil Robinson will be talking about how it’s possible to be a footballer on a plant based diet.

Watch this space for further updates!

The Allergy & Free From Show North 2013

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On the 27th October me and my boyfriend spent the day at The Allergy & Free From Show North. We met a lot of amazing free from companies, sampled a lot of gluten free goodies and came away with a lot of bags!

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DS Gluten Free had a stall full of gluten free biscuits! I found some vegan ones in the form of digestives and the signs behind the boxes with the ingredients on were really useful.

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The Honest Carrot is a company based in London who specialise in vegetarian and vegan gluten free foods. They also deliver throughout the UK so everyone can have a chance to taste their beautiful offerings! Their range includes falafal and burgers made from ingredients such as kale and beetroot. I met the wonderful lady who ran the store and the burgers smelt amazing.

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BFree are one of my favourite companies as their gluten free and vegan wraps are fantastic. They were toasting bagels for people to sample and I was very happy to find out that they were both gluten free and vegan! I came home with two packs and they were gorgeous toasted. After enquiring about where the bagels can be bought though, I found out that they’re not yet available to buy in the UK. I hope they are soon!

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There were free samples galore and I finally got to try Amy’s Kitchen’s Gluten Free and Vegan Macaroni Cheese. It was amazing, you never would have guessed it was vegan or gluten free! This is currently available to buy on Goodness Direct but hopefully it will be more widely available soon.

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I had a wonderful discussion with the two stallholders at the Hale & Hearty stand! Their products are all gluten free and they have lots of new products out which are also vegan including some new shapes of vegan pasta (macaroni and rigatoni) which will give a bigger variety to the range of gluten free pastas out there. Many of their existing products which are already vegan are in the process of having the vegan society logo put on their pack.

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Koko were also at the fair giving out samples of their gorgeous coconut based dairy free milks. I’m addicted to the strawberry flavour which is the closest I’ve tasted to strawberry milkshake!

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My greatest discovery at the fair was the Venice Bakery stall which was selling gluten free and vegan pizza bases with Mozzarisella cheese. I didn’t intend to buy anything but after a sample of their amazing realistic tasting pizza I came away with two bases. I’ve since bought some more of their products so watch this space for a review!

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Last but not least were the amazing Pudology! Their gluten free and vegan puddings are to die for, especially my favourite Banoffee flavour.

I came home loaded up with bags and next year will need to take more money with me! There was a wonderful atmosphere with people chatting and trying foods together and it was definitely a family event. I’ve also discovered lots of new companies so watch this space for reviews!