The Easy Vegan

It has come to my attention that some of my readers would like some vegan tips. Always happy to oblige I got right on it. Which means I now present, the easy vegan.

Nutritional Yeast

Get some. You can pick it up in most supermarkets now. It has a kind of Parmesan type flavour & makes almost everything yum. Pasta, risotto, lentils, potatoes, sandwiches & more. Sprinkle generously. It’s good for you too, great source of b12.

Aquafab

Also known as the water from tins of chickpeas. This can be whipped up & used as an alternative to egg whites. It’s super easy and the final result tastes the same. Meringues, soufflé, mousse; all light & delicious.

Pink & white meringue kisses

Sprouts

Excellent in all forms. Little alph alpha sprouts are crunchy addition to sandwiches. Mung bean sprouts are an amazing to bulk up noodle, rice & veg dishes. Fling them into a pot with a little soy sauce & they’re good to go. Broccoli & Radish sprouts are a tasty topper for salads. They have bite & a unique fresh taste.

Remember Basics

If you work out what alternatives you like for your staples, vegan life becomes much simpler. Here are my favs:

Butter – I’ve never really liked the taste of butter so this was easy for me. I use an olive oil base spread. Most supermarkets have their own version, so it is inexpensive & easy to find.

Cheese – I like a few vegan cheeses, but I’ve found that the best ones are cashew based. There are so many vegan options out there these days, so it’s worth testing to find your favs.

Chocolate- My favourite is Vego. Especially the whole nut hazelnut bar. It is delicious.

Vego hazelnut chocolate on a wooden chopping board

Yoghurt – I do love some yoghurt and I’ve found the best dairy free are the coconut milk ones. They don’t taste like coconut, just much like plain yoghurt & they’re available in loads of flavours. Condensed coconut milk also works exactly like regular condensed milk for use in desserts.

Milk – I’ve never liked milk, so don’t need an alternative. However, the majority opinion seems to be that oat milk is the best non dairy. I have used it in baking & my wares were yum.

Boost your Veg

Obviously vegan cuisine contains loads of vegetables. Even the most devoted veggie can get bored with eating a lot of similar flavours. The good news is, you don’t have to, there are so many amazing things you can do to jazz up your greens.

Start with different cooking methods. Don’t just bung everything in a pot and boil. Try roasting, steaming, pan fry, stew. There are lots of options. Second, get creative with your seasoning. You can toss your veg in different oils before roasting or frying. Sprinkle with garlic, chilli, cinnamon etc for added flavour. Next go wild with your dressings; ‘Butter’ is great on loads of veg but don’t stop there. Soy sauce, houmous, satay, balsamic even a simple vinaigrette will all pep your veggies right up.

Thinly sliced roasted Mediterranean veg in casserole dish

Accidentally Vegan

Lots of common brand name foods just happen to be vegan. You’d be surprised at how many of your usuals vegans can eat. Vegan Food & Living have a comprehensive list of accidentally vegan options that is worth checking out.

Go Nuts

Nuts are good for everything. Easy & filling mobile snack. Tasty additions to savoury & sweet dishes. Stick some with your cereal, yoghurt, fruit to make them more filling. There are loads of varieties & they’re good for you; loaded with fibre, unsaturated fats & protein.

It’s never been easier.

Every supermarket has a vegan ready meals, every restaurant marks vegan friendly food on the menu. From sandwiches to fine dining there are options. Whether you’re sipping your toes in with Veganuary or going the whole quorn hog, it has never been easier. Go for it!

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Boost a booster…

Since the emergence of omicron I have been increasingly relieved that I have had acesss to two vaccines & a booster. As a chronically ill person I can’t afford to be blasé about any variant. It also leads to me think about those who don’t have free access to these life saving jabs.

As a result this month I have decided to support Care International’s campaign to fund the cost of covid vaccines for the world’s poorest & most vulnerable families. Care put the cost at £22, but you can donate more or less. It is disgusting that the most vulnerable people do not have access to these vital vaccinations. If we are in a position to make a donation I really feel we have a responsibility to do so.

Please give of your can.

Don’t leave me this way…

Since we seem to be heading full steam into SUCK IT territory for the disabled & chronically ill I wanted to talk about my experience of covid. There has been an overarching theme of those with existing health conditions being dispensable from the start, but now it’s pretty much being explicitly stated by our leaders. I want everyone to know how frightening this is for those of us that so many are happy to sacrifice.

As a person with chronic health issues (arthritis, fibromyalgia, stomach disease, anaemia, PCOS) I took covid seriously from the beginning. Lockdown was a complete lockdown for me. I stayed at home. I had no visitors. All my essentials were delivered. The only contact I had with anyone was the occasional driveway visit. My sister or bestie would stand in my drive and I’d sit in my open from door. I didn’t touch another human being or leave my house for months. I had hospital stays without visitors, didn’t celebrate my 40th birthday and spent Xmas 2020 at home on my own. My lockdown stretched on further than the official stay at home orders. Since early 2020 I have spent the majority of my time at home and I have been scared since the beginning. I had no idea what covid might do to me. I’ve experienced catching bugs or viruses that were no biggie for others, but sent me to the hospital. Every time I heard of someone dying being caveated with they had existing health problems, I knew that could be me. This pandemic has always been an emergency situation for me & those like me.

I now regularly see family & one close friend. I wear a mask, sanitise, stay outside as much possible. If I must be inside I go to places that follow all covid precautions and I exercise extreme caution. Doctor appointments aside I leave my home about once a week. I still have everything delivered and avoid contact with those outside my immediate circle. I do home tests before and after I go anywhere. With a couple of exceptions a restricted life has become my normality.

I contracted covid 19 in oct 2020. At that point I was spending 99% of my time alone at home. I was seeing only my sister, mum & nephew and wasn’t visiting anyone indoors. I still managed to catch the virus despite none of the family I was in contact becoming infected. The acute illness was not severe. It lasted about ten days & felt like having a stomach flu. I had more gastric than cold/flu like symptoms. My cough was very mild. I lost my sense of smell & taste. I felt terrible, but I didn’t require any medical attention. In the following weeks I really struggled with breathlessness & racing heart but assumed this would pass. It did not.

15 months later I am still dealing with long covid. My already limited mobility has been massively impacted. I become breathless even moving around my own home. I have to sit even to brush my teeth, make a cup of tea etc. I have overwhelming fatigue, brain fog and widespread pain have markedly intensified since having covid. I experience palpitations and chest pains on the slightest exertion. My heart rate regularly climbs to heights whilst trying to complete the most basic of tasks. I have been hospitalised on 4 occasions because my heart rate would not slow down to an acceptable level. Drs can monitor and treat symptoms, but they know almost nothing about long covid. They can’t tell my why these symptoms persist or if they will ever go away. My chest x rays are clear, my heart is not damaged. The tachycardia & breathlessness are a covid mystery.

A frightening and very real mystery. It is scary to feel as though your heart is going to burst out of your body. Or to be so out of breath that your head spins and chest burns. It’s a million times more terrifying to be told that the experts have no idea why it is happening or how they can make it better. Fear has been common thread. 2021 has been a really hard year for my health. All of my existing symptoms have worsened. The added problems have caused me serious problems and I think I have picked up every cold, stomach bug & infection going. All of which has been alarming. I’m worried that the next illness or flare might be the big one. I’m stressed about all the work I can’t do and the financial repercussions of that. I am chilled at just how little I am now able to do before becoming too exhausted/sore/dizzy/breathless to continue. Most of all I am terrified of what could happen if I get another variant of covid.

I am fully vaccinated (& boosted). I have masks galore, anti bac in every bag & pocket. I still leave parcels & deliveries by the door for an hour before I touch them. I bought a device to sanitise my phone. I’m never in crowds. I rarely go out. I’m acutely aware that I was being even more careful when I caught covid the first time. Every single aspect of my life has been affected by this pandemic. I know I am not alone. Most people have sacrificed. Many are in the same boat as me & others in far more treacherous vessels. I understand that this has been a collective trauma that everyone is eager to put behind them. I just wish more people would understand that this isn’t over yet.

When you justify the need to ‘live with covid’ by saying that most healthy people only experience mild symptoms I am the exception in that sentence. People like me will die or be permanently disabled if we ignore how dangerous covid still is. I understand that you want your life back. You want to stop worrying and missing out. I do too, but if we throw caution to wind now it’s not without consequence. If we pretend that covid is just another part of life we are throwing the sick, disabled, old & vulnerable to the wolves. I believe that those lives are worth as much as any other. Our needs are already ignored in so many ways, please don’t abandon us altogether.

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New year, New lingerie…

What better way to start the year than in some gorgeous new knickers?

I can never have enough lingerie , so I’m always excited to get some for Xmas. I’m loving all the lace detail especially since the fabric is super soft. I adore the shape the bra is giving me. The whimsy of the French knickeresque pants is delightful.

ly is standing with her hands on her hips wearing deep red lingerie set wth kace. i
Bra & Pants – Figleaves Curve

You know your knickers are making you feeling yourself when you have the urge to snap a booty mirror selfie.

ly is taking a pic of herself over her shoulder in a mirror wearing burgndy pants

Blue eyes & attitude…

Boxing Day is my Mum’s birthday, so I took advantage of a nice family lunch to try out one of my Xmas gifts.

This dress is from my Mum & it’s a cracker. Super soft & comfy, fits like glove. It is my first from In the Style and it’s getting a big thumbs up.

ly is standing against blurred background with her hands on her hips wearing a pale blue button up jumper dress n
Dress – In the Style
Tights – Snag
Glasses – Where Light

I felt so good in this dress. Plus it was so easy to wear. I like that go up to a 28 (not perfect, but much more inclusive than many). I also like that most of their styles are available in their full size range instead of a just a small selection in a plus range. All in all I’m loving this brand.

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I am anything I want…

I’ve had another sleepless night and I used the extra hours to clean up outstanding admin. One of the tasks I enjoy the least is dealing with the angry dms/emails etc I get from random followers who hate fat, single woman being happy & online. Recently there has been a sharp upturn in the number of messages telling me I should be ashamed, i’m a bad influence, should have more self respect… To those I say, SUCK IT,

close up of red haired woman with retro glasses &  septum piercing sipping straw in iced drink

You’re not a slut (unless you like that term) if you enjoy lots of sex. Nudity is not inherently sexual and even when it is, it is not dirty. No one has to justify their sexual agency. I’m a grown ass woman with a healthy sex drive & I give zero fucks about what anyone thinks of that.

I have a sex life. Fat women are desired. I’ve had various partners. Some were great ideas others not so much. I’ve shed some tears, discovered things about myself, been frustrated & had a fucking ball. I’m am sick & tired of the contempt for female sexuality. I’ve regretted some of my sexcapades, but I’ve never been ashamed. In fact, I’m delighted to offer some high(& low)lights in service of the sex positive feminist agenda.

There was the Brazilian bus driver turned surgeon who was fun and precipitated an embarrassing incident.

The night club bouncer I fell arse over elbow for only to have him wreck my life.

The university professor who was kind, smart, committed & gorgeous, but just not the one.

The stunning aspiring stage actor who had the sexiest curves I’ve ever seen. She soothed my broken heart, boosted my self esteem and invited me to her wedding years later.

The film critic who gave great date and turned out to be full shit.

The part time novelist who was a talented writer (& lover), but wanted me much more once he couldn’t have me.

The librarian union rep who presented as the ultimate lefty. Unless it related to feminism, then he was the laziest of ‘not all men’ misogynists.

The post man who was just a terrible rebound mistake and had to get up way too early.

The student who’s very catholic Mum popped in when were having sex on the sofa. The 3 minutes it took me to find anything to hide behind were probably the most awkward of my life.

The bar manager who got clingy two dates in despite telling me she didn’t want anything serious.

The biologist who was fine really, but always thought he knew best. Good time in bed. Frustrating conversations.

The IT analyst who wanted to move way too fast. Very romantic, but scared the shit out of me with detailed future plans.

The tax man who started out a lot of fun. Settled into something comfortable. Ended up a huge cowardly disappointment.

The electrician who was a whirlwind. Crazy night outs. Cuddly weekends watching old movies. Fizzled out fast.

The newly divorced Mum who was actually pretty incredible, but really wanted to live the party girl life. I was just too old & tired for clubbing on a Wednesday.

The rugby player who was an entirely different person in front is his friends. I met a cool, sensitive guy. Every time we went to the pub I was with a rugby boy cliche. Big nope.

The lottery fund allocator who could have been perfect if i wasn’t so ridiculously bad at recognising the nice guys.

The mental health worker who was all erudite and kind. Big social conscious. Fostered rescue cats. Was also way too interested in my scars in bedroom. Creepy & ugh.

The photographer who was exciting & hilarious, but only because he took copious amount of cocaine. Pro tip ladies coke is no friend to the old erection.

And more.

I have a favourite who blew my mind. There were crazy hot folk, guys that others thought weren’t attractive at all, relationship, flings & the odd one nighter. It’s all fine. Every (consensual) sexual encounter was ok for me. Sex is fun. It’s natural. It can be as big or as little a deal as you feel it is.

ly is posing in black underwear with red faux suspenders tights . She has her arms above her head

Safe sex between consenting adults is A OK. Have as much or as little as you want. Talk about it or don’t. Your body is yours to do with as you please. Enjoy.

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Merry & Bright…

As I said in my previous post, I have been on the struggle bus recently. My stupid body has been making it difficult for me to get a whole bunch of things done. This has left me clinging even tighter to the things that I can master. Since one of things also offers an opportunity to sprinkle a lot festive spirit, I have been diving right into it. Thus, I give you even more xmassy nails.

I did this manicure at around 3am because pain woke me up & couldn’t get to sleep. I was exhausted and so the design is fairly random. Still pretty jolly!

Frosty White – Marks & Spencer
Everything Else – Barry M

Next up was was an icy blue set. I’ve been trying to get snow flakes right for the last two christmases. I think this year I finally nailed it. Do you agree?

Pale blue manicure with the white sparkly snow flakes design
Barry M

I’m currently sporting this lovely glittery design. Another mix & match inspired by various festive bits. I like them, but have managed to break one nail & chip another already. The brushes will be coming out again tomorrow.

Festive manicure. Frosty white nails with glittery red diagonal stripes
Frosty White – Marks & Spencer
Everything Else – Barry M

Bronan remains entirely struggle free. Oh to be a cat.

Black cat with white paws and nose lying belly up  on blankets

Booster adventures…

My health has been yuck for the last few weeks and have been stuck at home. It’s been all jammies & running life from my phone for me. My biggest adventure has been finally getting my booster jab this week.

After a really rough weekend with a stomach flare it felt really good to keep down some toast & mint tea. That little boost encouraged me to put some mascara on & get my Xmas t shirt out. I was only going to get my Covid booster, but it did feel nice to get a little fresh air and see the outside world. Of course I also felt relieved to be fully vaxxed again!

ly is standing in front of Xmas tree wearing leopard print trousers,  black t shirt & purple cardigan
Trousers – ASOS Curve
Cardigan – Handmade by my Mum
Tits the Season T-Shirt – Paper Press Ireland

My Xmas parcel from my dear friend Jenna arrived early from philly, of course I opened it. One of the lovely gifts she sent was this bangle, which I wore immediately. She knows me so well.

Pale wrist with gold bangle inscribed with  societal norms can suck dick
Bangle – Metal Marvels

I got my vaccine at Glasgow Central Mosque. The building is really pretty so I could not resist snapping a photo. Along with a few other random ‘I’m outside’ pictures.

Central Mosque
In the queue to get boosted.
Glasses – Where Light
Pretty lights on the way home.

Please do get your booster. We do not want to be messing around with new variants. I felt a little rough yesterday, mostly a bad headache. Much improved today and delighted for the reassurance of extra protection. Take care out there.

And just like that, I’m not ok…

I have just finished the first episodes of the much awaited And Just Like That. I was excited for the return of the S&TC girls (I know). I loved the original. I even liked the slightly dodgy films. I was so happy to see them all again. And now, I am not ok.

Poster for and just like that featuring Sarah Jessica Parker , Cynthia Nixon & Kristin Davies

If you’re planning to watch & don’t want me to spoil it, stop reading now. If you’re still here, how are you doing? Did you survive that first episode? I was so unprepared. Not until Lily started playing those foreboding notes did I suspect that Big was in danger. Those sneaky fuckers got me. As soon as the scenes started cutting from big on the bike to Lily on the piano; I knew. I didn’t want to accept it though.

I was really enjoying happily ever after with Carrie & Big. He’s still hot. Still colouring outside the lines. Still an old school romantic. Carrie is still Carrie. The writing is good. The shoes are better. It was all working until they broke my heart. This is not the forever I was looking for. How can Mr Big be dead? Why on earth did the writers think we could cope with this storyline?

Still from and just like that. Carrie cradling Big in her arms

I can’t stop crying! Listen, I always cry at the sad bits. Books, films, tv shows, life. If it’s sad, I cry. However, I think after 2yrs of a pandemic and all it brought maybe everyone’s emotions are a little raw. I find it increasingly difficult to view a whole range of media. The news is obviously a very rough watch. Fiction isn’t really much easier. The stress, fear, anger, grief has been turned up so high in real life that I really struggle not to absorb those emotions from fiction. I start feeling sad about a storyline and before I know it I’m flooded with a million real things to be sad about. Repeat for anger and so on. I’m beginning to think that Covid has left even more of a mark on me than I realised.

I’m wondering if others aren’t feeling the same. We’re all aware of the trauma covid brought. Huge losses & life altering changes. I’m not sure we have properly thought about the long term impact on our collective psyche. Lots of us were lucky enough not to lose a loved one. Many careers have not crashed and homes are maintained. A significant amount of people didn’t even get sick. Nonetheless, everything feels different. Also, the same. Is this chiming with anyone?

I feel like the world should have changed. So much of it hasn’t and that feels incompatible with where we are now. It’s hard to climb out of all those extreme emotions we’ve been swimming in. It’s even harder not to feel the need to revolt against those who still can’t bring themselves to care. I can’t articulate it perfectly, but I feel something has shifted. It could be wishful thinking. I hope not. It’s like the other shoe is just dangling from a single toe now. The people who least expect it might be about to get squashed.

ly wearing tortoiseshell glasses leaning her head on one hand and looking fed up

Well, that was quite the leap. From a 90’s reboot to revolution in less than a 1000 words. I think that might actually prove my point; there’s a lot bubbling right under the surface. Anyway, in brief, whether you’re sad about John James Preston, the damage a global pandemic has wreaked or the craven shower we are governed by, I feel you. It’s hard to keep it in. You’re not the only one. Be gentle with yourself.