The Reluctant Vegan

It seemed appropriate to touch base with a mate of mine doing Veganuary before the month was up, particularly one who is vocally in favour of eating meat. Enter Dan, Owner of Union BBQ restaurant chain, telecom entrepreneur and also an executive at a jetpack company.

I’ll give him his due – Dan is up to the challenge and has been committed to a fully vegan month, inclusive of toiletries. If you are vegan you will become increasingly tired of the naysayers quips and pokes, but Dan has seemed to be holding his own with an open and inquisitive mind.

The main benefit of going for lunch with Dan is that Dan owns a car, and is able to scoot us up the A3 to tick off the top of both our vegan-dining bucket-lists: Earth Restaurant in Petersfield.

Earth boasts a comparatively giant selection of burgers, wraps, milkshakes and all the delights you’d expect from a fast food diner – with the reassurance of being 100% vegan.

With minimal deliberation, we ordered a Big Earth and a CBC burger (getta load of this menu!) air fries, popcorn chicken and onion rings. The service was speedy and soon we were compromising a conversation with the stuffing of faces.

Dan is a busy chap. He rarely cooks and eats out constantly. For that reason he’s found real hardship with finding food at the drop of a hat – especially when out and about or at anti-social hours. I really feel for him, I have always worked odd hours and all over the show, and whilst I had it good in foodie-progressive Bristol, I’m not sure how I’d hold up in Southampton. Do we need more fast food options?

Other Veganuary-experimenting friends have really revelled in the act of incorporating new ingredients into their cooking, switching up their techniques and in many cases trying foods they’ve never had before. A month with an unchanged schedule has stripped Dan of this pleasure. With the limitation of only eating out, the experience has been lack-lustre, uncreative and – whilst the options have been particularly plentiful this month, and wonderful as a treat, I can imagine they become quite heavy-going as regular meals.

That said, Dan has made a pretty heroic effort, only faltering once accidentally. His main takeaway (other than the lack of just that), has been the experience of receiving his friend’s harsh opposition of his choices. I’ve seen it with my own eyes, playing out on my Facebook feed. Swathes of criticism – nothing new to us seasoned vegans.

So as of today, (literally 12:20am with the delivery of a pizza) Dan will be going straight back to his usual diet (boo). Nevertheless, whilst we were enjoying a whipped-cream-topped Oreo milkshake to round up our Earth visit, he did admit that the lack of dairy in his diet has definitely agreed with him and he will be significantly lowering his meat and dairy intake for better all-round health. He reckons he’ll consider vegan and vegetarian meals as viable options on a menu where he would have previously glazed over them, assuming every meal had to include meat.

Reflecting on the bigger picture, a positive outcome of Dan’s trial month is that as an influencer in the food trade, he has seen the merit in offering a wealth of options on a menu, and has learned how frustrating a falafel option is in EVERY. DAMN. JOINT.

Have you done Veganuary? What were your thoughts and how has the month affected your approach to your diet? Do let us know 🙂

And if you can find a friend with a car – get down to Earth. It’s (ironically) out of this world, and totally worth the petrol.


Vegan Valentines Day Bake Sale

Vegan Valentines Day Bake Sale in aid of Miracle’s Mission. Show your love for stray animals and bake for a stray this Valentines Day.

Anybody can take part in the event and the bake sales can take place anywhere with friends, family, colleagues in schools, bars, shops, offices, colleges etc.

All you need to do is get a group of people involved (any number of people), each bake or buy a vegan baked good and then purchase each others goods on the day of the sale! Please email Miracle’s Mission for any advice you may need, for promotional posters or for recipe ideas at

The Mission

1 – Show people that vegan baked goods are delicious, and that you can easily create vegan versions of your favorite original baked goods.

2 – Introduce people to veganism in a friendly and fun way.

3 – Raise money to help save more animals.

Facebook event

Rockstone Vegan FORTNIGHT? Let’s go twice!

…and that’s exactly what I did.

Along a strip of Southampton that (comparatively speaking) stands the test of time, sits The Rockstone, a boozer that ticks all the boxes – a traditional pub atmosphere, friendly staff, brilliant rotation of craft beers, and the pièce-de-résistance for vegans and omni’s alike – a huge menu that boasts some of the most decadent delights this side of the Solent.

As part of their commitment to providing new and exciting special menus, their Vegan Fortnight, originally introduced as a one-off but repeated again and again due to demand, recently ran to coincide with the beginning of Veganuary. Proving to all that veganism doesn’t have to be boring.

And boring it was not. So much so that on my first visit, I was so dazzled and torn by the great options that I planned to visit a second time before the main course came out.

IMG_1048On that first visit I was tempted by the ‘Voyal with Veese’* seitan ‘chicken’ burger, topped with a hash brown. It seems like this is the Marmite of the vegan burger world according to pretty much everyone I asked. Regular meat eaters were a little dismayed at the glutenous texture of the seitan, seasoned vegans reasoned that due to the thickness, the seitan to breadcrumb ratio was off. My opinion is positive, I REALLY liked this burger. I mean, I could barely wrap my mouth around it, it was a nibbler for sure. But it was satisfying to eat, and had a texture that doesn’t appear very often in my regular diet. Also, let me repeat: THIS BURGER COMES TOPPED WITH A HASH BROWN. I feel it can really do no wrong in my eyes.

Check out my mates inspecting their Voyals with incredulity

On my second visit, torn by the ‘Steve MacQueen & Chz’ and the ‘SriraCha Cha Slide’, I let my hunger from a day of fasting in preparation get the better of me and opted for the former, which – you guessed it – came with a healthy portion of mac cheeze on top of a sweet potato & bean burger. Whilst this burger initially seemed lack-lustre after the joy of the seitan, it was actually flippin’ delicious, and boasted all the glorious individual flavours from the sum of its parts.

If you’re unfamiliar with The Rockstone’s portions, they are plentiful. Whilst costing slightly more than your average beer and a burger, you will be hard pressed to find a better burg for your buck. For that reason, I unfortunately had no room left to sample one of the many amazing starters or desserts that had been specially designed and homemade for the event. Though from a previous trip a few months earlier I was lucky enough to sample their homemade ice cream. Perks of knowing a chef huh!

I also failed to try any of the enticing vegan beers especially tapped for the fortnight, on account of my Dry January. Watch out February – I’m banking all these urges! The pub deems this special event to be a great success, and have been delighted by the positive response to their menu.

Vegan Fortnight will be resurrected in September and will revert back to their standard (still great!) vegan options as of today. Until then, we’ll keep you posted on the delicious events to see us through the Spring/Summer!


*Dear Rockstone, no one enjoys pronouncing this many ‘V’s in such close succession. But watching people try/avoid was hilarious!

Portsmouth Vegan Festival – 4th March 2018

100 fantastic stalls, world food caterers, exciting cookery demos, inspirational talks, interactive workshops, yoga and children’s activities running throughout the day at Portsmouth Guildhall from 10.30am – 4.30pm.

Entry is £3 payable on the day on the door (under 16’s free) or £15 for VIP tickets in advance from to include fast track entry and a goody bag full of vegan products, samples, discounts and offers.

To book a stall, sponsor, host a talk, demo or workshop or find out more information please email


Find you a Tinder date who’s vegan – Dinner at Zizzi

If you’re a single vegan using Tinder, you are probably quite nervous of the food discussion with your matches. I’ve tried the Grazer apps but I figure shrinking my pool will do me no favours…#foreveralone…and hey, people can change with a bit of influence right?

After exchanging enough texts to establish they were attempting Veganuary, my date and I set up a night to go for food. I asked what they were missing in the 11 days without the usual content of their diet, and the answer was firmly ‘pizza’. I could think of a few options – Pizza Express, The Stable, Pizza Hut, Franco Manca and in hindsight Brewdog – which I’m glad we didn’t pick as I’m a fan of their beers and given that I’m doing dry January it would have been a bitter sweet visit! In all honesty, a date in any context without booze frightens the heck out of me so bravery points to me!

A few days before, I happened across an Instagram post from a friend who had eaten a pizza off the specials at Zizzi. It looked fab. I suggested it. Tinder date agreed. It was pizza time!

I’d not been to Zizzi before. The venue itself is on the Watermark complex of West Quay, overlooking the old walls. It’s quite light and loud – we’d arrived quite soon after I’d finished work so there were a number of families, but the bustle, atmosphere and quirky decor gave us the ingredients for a lighthearted chat. We had turned up with pizza in mind but were disappointed when we looked at the menu and saw a stark lack of (ve) options. The waitress came to take our order, I mumbled a bunch of words, one of which must have given her enough guidance for her to fetch an allergen menu.

Hurrah! Here we go… not an abundance of options, but certainly enough to whet our appetite. We shared starters, a glorious pizza bread with whole roasted cloves of garlic atop – cooked to perfection so that they could be spread like butter – and a fresh portion of bruscetta topped with a big dollop of pesto. I was quite full by the end of the starters, but luckily the pizza main was so good, I ate it without trouble or question. I settled on a spicy Pepperonata Pizza and my date had the Rainbow Pizza – the limited edition Veganuary special! We were both really impressed. From living in Bristol which has endless vegan pizza options, to move home and find a decent vegan cheese on a pizza filled me with glee. AND THEY ARE ALSO ON DELIVEROO. There were two lovely looking desserts and a (teasing) vegan wine list, but feeling full we scooted off for coffee elsewhere.

To make the deal sweeter, upon asking for the bill, the waitress helpfully suggested there were some vouchers knocking about online, so we did a search and came up trumps. If you happen to go before the 18th January, you can get 40% off all food – and there is also 2-4-1 on Vegan mains for the whole of January. You can see all deals here.

Go along and let us know what you think!

Rosie 🌱

‘How To Be Beautifully You’ Monthly Events

How Beautiful Do You Feel?

The Organic Hair Lounge have created an event that will be held monthly throughout 2018 and they are focusing on you lovely ladies embracing YOUR beauty!

Do you know how beautiful you are? Do you focus on your assets or your flaws… like your acne skin, ever increasing lines on your face (ageing sucks huh?) or dull, lank lifeless hair that only ever looks good after leaving the salon? Do you apply makeup to only feel like mutton dressed as lamb?!

Well at the monthly event – Be Beautifully You – you will receive experti advice on a 1:1 basis – you will get a skin analysis with a mini facial to suit your skin type, followed by a Hair consultation, Hair treatment AND blow dry!! Finally a makeup consultation and mini makeup session with Olivia Marshall all for just £40pp!

There will also be a short talk for you on subjects to encourage your natural beauty to shine bright

This event is limited to only 3 people per event so to secure your place NOW by visiting the Facebook event.

*all products used are inline with ‘The Organic Hair Lounges’ ethics and beliefs and are ALL cruelty free, vegan and where possible – Organic!