My thoughts on the new Irregular Choice x Dumbo and Bambi collection

I love, love, love Dumbo (and Bambi for that matter) but Dumbo has always had the power to make me more emotional. The film though does have its flaws – i.e the racist undertones (which aren’t subtle enough to be undertones really) of the crows. It’s Dumbo’s story though that I think resonates with a lot of people, a lonely, shy outsider who is ridiculed for his appearance and just wants to be loved. This post however isn’t an examination of Dumbo so I’ll stop there but I just wanted to explain a little why the figure of Dumbo is one that has always had strong connotations for me.

So when I saw that my favourite shoe brand, Irregular Choice, were going to be revealing a Dumbo collection I was over the moon. When I saw Bambi there too I was doubly over the moon! The collection is of course absolutely stunning. But before I go into each individual item I first wanted to discuss both collections as a whole. Also although, I very much want to buy something from the collection, it is going to have to be something I save up for and for those wondering the two items I would personally buy are the Sweet Little Dumbo boots and the Let Your Dreams Soar bag.

Dumbo

Bambi

In regards to the pricing I noticed that the pricing was slightly higher than usual for this collection but I want to make clear this is not something I’m critical of. These are unique, bespoke shoes – I’ve always known why the price tag is there but wanted to mention as I’ve seen a lot of feedback about this on the Irregular Choice groups I follow. What I will say though is that I can definitely see customer feedback present in this collection with several different heel options as well as trainers (I especially like how there is two different heel height options for the same design). I don’t know if this feedback also played into the decision not to have a character heel (which, is one of my favourite Irregular Choice trademarks). I also think the Bambi collection, especially the Sweet as Can Be collection, is going to look stunning come spring – it’s a shame they couldn’t have had the release then (though a bonus for us!).

Irregular Choice x Dumbo

Little Star (bag, purse and shoes)

If the massive Irregular Choice bags aren’t your style then this one is for you. This style is based off an infamous scene of Dumbo performing at the circus. I love the glitter detail of the flames and the 3D dumbo on the side of the bag. If you like to have a matching set as well this is a cute little set and probably the least expensive of the options (which makes sense as the bag is smaller).

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Image: Irregular Choice
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Image: Irregular Choice

I Give You Dumbo

I love, love love that these boots combine Dumbo and Timothy alongside an explosion of different colours. This style of boots reminds me of something an old eccentric librarian would rock (don’t ask me why) alongside a midi skirt and they are so Irregular Choice it’s insane! Unfortunately, this style of boot has just never appealed to me but if they’re your style I think they would look amazing.

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Image: Irregular Choice
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Image: Irregular Choice

The Big Act

When I saw this style come out in the teaser on Thursday (before the big drop with everything!) I had to admit that it was pretty darn cute. I love the unique square bag and think it would look amazing with the matching shoes with a bright red dress. For some reason all the glitter makes me think this style would look great at Christmas parties!

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Image: Irregular Choice
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Image: Irregular Choice
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Image: Irregular Choice
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Image: Irregular Choice

You’re Flyin Tights

Pastel lovers rejoice, I think these bold tights would look so cute in a pastel co-ord and I definitely want to ask for them Christmas (hint, hint to anyone reading). I’m a sucker for cloud print so I was always doomed to be besotted with these, especially as they have a subdued colour palette, which I think make them a bit easier to balance in an outfit if you find patterned tights a bit tricky.

Dumbos Big Top

I’ll admit in my heady excitement for the other items in the collection, I glanced over this pair but I am upset with myself for doing so. Not only do they have a gorgeous cloud print on the side (and would of course match the You’re Flyin Tights perfectly) but they have a cute little Dumbo on the side. The heel in fact matches the heel of the Sweet Little Dumbo boots so I think they are a companion to them. I also love that the heel is shorter (great for all those who are in the small heel camp). The front with the little pictures from the film reminds me a lot of their Alice in Wonderland collection and I love that reoccurring element of their style. They’re unfortunately out of stock in my size of these at the moment but if they ever go back in stock I’d be very tempted to pick these up!

Sweet Little Dumbo

So these boots are what me first made me fall in love with this collection. I love everything about them from the style of boot to the cloud print and the daring to put metallic purple, lime green and white and red star print on the same shoe. My favourite part has to be Dumbo’s ears sticking boldly off the side and the inclusion of Dumbo both in and out of his clown makeup. It’s the little details of the frill around Dumbo’s neck to the little pom pom on clown face Dumbo’s hat that are just so Irregular Choice! The little love hearts coming from Dumbo’s trunk just about send me over the edge.

I am very determined to save up and own these one day.

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Image: Irregular Choice
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Image: Irregular Choice

Precious Boy Bag

First of all, I have to say that the straps of this bag are to die for. I have been really loving metallics recently, I’ve always been nervous of them but after being inspired by seeing some fashion icons absolutely rocking them; I’ve been more and more tempted to give them a go. That along with more outfits rocking a single colour.

This bag would have course look beautiful with the Sweet Little Dumbo and Dumbo’s Big Top shoes and I squealed when I saw the little pom pom. The scene with Dumbo and his mum at the back though would almost send me to tears on a daily basis, however, the bag does have two pockets, which is incredibly useful and would be worth the tears! The strap also looks like it’s removable so you can either rock it as a shoulder bag (which, I’m useless at doing) or a cross body bag (which, I’m much better at).

Makin History Tights

This is another one to add to the Christmas wishlist and one I’d love to rock with the Sweet Little Dumbo boots. They are definitely not for the wallflower though (to be fair though neither is Irregular Choice) but I absolutely adore them.

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Image: Irregular Choice

Little Sleepy Head

Don’t get me wrong these are still absolutely beautiful, but personally these appeal to me the least out of the Dumbo collection simply because of personal preference. I don’t often wear gold so they wouldn’t compliment a lot of what I own, however, I love the sleepy time Dumbo theme. The sleeping dumbo on the side is positively adorable.

Let Your Dreams Soar Bag

This bag lights up. I repeat this bag lights up. This is hands down my favourite of the Dumbo bags (closely followed by the Precious Boy bag). Forget what I just said about gold, I don’t care. One, this bag is the size of me basically. Two, this bag as mentioned lights up. Three, it features an absolutely adorable sleeping baby Dumbo on the front and on the back light blue baby fur with gold stars on it! I love, love, love when Irregular Choice incorporate faux fur on their bags and this is no exception. This bag also features glitter; what more could you want?! Also, as I’ve mentioned before you can either carry it  or put it round you!

Sheer Dumbo perfection.

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Image: Irregular Choice

Sleepy Head Purse

This is of course a perfect companion to the bag and even features faux purple fur on the back (a touch of genius). The blue metallic inside is also dreamy perfection. Another one to add to the Christmas list!

Big Things Start Small

These are a bit manic even for me but I love that Irregular Choice now has trainer options and I could see Luna Lovegood rocking these. They also become more and more appealing the more I look at them for some reason! I’m not sure though if they have the patented Irregular Choice sole but I love all the textural details from the burgundy velvet trim to the fluffy faux fur. If you want some trainers that are more than a bit different, these are for you!

Irregular Choice x Bambi

I can definitely see that a lot of excitement for this collection has been centered on Bambi and I can see why the collection is stunning! I love Flower and Thumper so was guaranteed to be obsessed with this collection and will definitely be rocking it come Spring next year.

Woodland Playtime

I can see why this is already sold out, a matching boots and handbag set, yes please! This boots for me aren’t my personal preference style wise (as mentioned before with the Dumbo boots), which is a shame because I love the Bambi and Flower on the side and the beautiful flower detailing. I also adore that the texture of the ‘grass’ part of the shoe is fluffy to initiate real grass! The soles for the bambi shoes are of course absolutely stunning and adorable with Bambi on one shoe and Thumper on the other.

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Image: Irregular Choice
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Image: Irregular Choice

The purple fluff on the Woodland Playtime bag reminds me a lot of the bag from the Toy Story collection, which I really like as a reoccurring theme throughout the collections. I personally would get the Toy Story one just because I like things to match and would get upset if I didn’t have the matching shoes for the Bambi one (plus I love TOY STORY!). I do absolutely adore the metallic strap and inside lining of this bag, as well as the print on the back of the bag.

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Image: Irregular Choice

Sweet As Can Be

I am absolutely in love with this three piece set and am determined to buy it for Easter next year to rock with some pastels. I love that the shoes have Thumper and Miss Bunny on (and that Miss Bunny was included!) and the little pom pom to look like a rabbit tail on the back just about throws me over the edge. Once again this collection features that stunning metallic pink along with a beautiful heart on each side of the shoe – one for Thumper and Miss Bunny. These shoes are a delight and I can already think of about ten different outfits to wear them with.

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Image: Irregular Choice

The bag is one of the cutest things I’ve ever seen. Once again, I love the metallic pink, the fact that you can either have it go around you or hold it on your shoulder. Thumper’s flower crown tops it all off and makes this my brand of amazing. I also love that the bag has two compartments and features the same detailing as the shoes on the side (the rosette).

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Image: Irregular Choice
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Image: Irregular Choice

The metallic blue on the little purse is absolutely gorgeous! And I love the little sassy Thumper and Miss Bunny on the front. Honestly, I think this is my favourite complete set from the collection.

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Image: Irregular Choice

Sweet Little Prince

The next few items all make up the same mini collection but have different names so I’ll discuss them separately. This pair of flats is actually my favourite of this mini collection and I think this items are the best for someone who loves Irregular Choice but doesn’t feel as comfortable in some of the more ‘out there’ styles. These are beautiful shoes for autumn (the colours!) complete with cute Bambi detailing on the side. I think these would look adorable with some tights and a cute Autumn dress.

A Woodland Tale Bag

This is one of Martin’s (my boyfriend) favourites from the collection because he prefers all the black items (ha, ha). I will admit this is adorable and would make a great travelling or makeup bag (if you’re fancy). It also features Thumper and Miss Bunny on the back!

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Image: Irregular Choice

Prince Of The Forest

This is another one of Martin’s favourites and essentially the heeled version of Prince of the Forest for those who like some heel with their shoe!

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Image: Irregular Choice
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Image: Irregular Choice

Darling Deer Purse

I don’t have much to same about this other than if you love this mini collection than this purse is a delightful accompaniment!

Bashful Skunk

I very nearly bought these shoes but stopped myself only because I can’t afford to buy Irregular Choice often and already own a pair of sparkly flats so decided that for my next pair I needed something slightly different. I absolutely love Flower however and all the floral details, the frill on the back in black and white and the little Flower rosette on these shoes. These are an absolute dream.

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Image: Irregular Choice

Bashful Skunk purse

If you are a Flower lover than this one if for you. It features the same flower motif from the shoes (with plenty of glitter) and I love the love heart with Flower on, on the back of the purse.

Forest Friends 

The tights and the shoes share the same name so I’ll talk about them together. This is the collection for you if you want Bambi and Thumper on your shoes and a delightful bow at the front (featuring a rabbit tail and a beautiful flower). They’d look stunning with the tights, which also feature Flower who is nodded to on the shoe.

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Image: Irregular Choice
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Image: Irregular Choice

I’m Thumpin

If you cover something with a frill around the edge, I’m there. I love this heeled tribute to Thumper and Miss Bunny (they’d make such a great Valentines shoe if you want to go for something out of the pink-red colour combo). The flowers around the portrait of Miss Bunny and Thumper are so cute and if I wasn’t in love with the frill already it had to be a beautiful shade of blue! The purple glitter heel is also spectacular – I can’t tell what the white pattern is on it but to me it looks like a butterfly.

Hyah Bambi

The next shoe is also part of a three part set but because they have different names I’ll talk about them separately. These heels are absolutely stunning and I love that there is a smaller heel as well for those like me who would struggle with a large heel (I’ll make an exception for character heels!). I love that the whole heel is made to look like Bambi and the floral detailing and butterfly makes these adorable.

I’m All Twitterpatted Bag

I’m not going to lie, I was very excited when I saw this was a backpack (I am definitely a backpack lover). Also, it’s round (I love it when bags are round or square and less of the traditional bag shape) and that this bag has ears! The metallic pink inside makes my heart sing! This is definitely my second favourite of the Bambi bags, edging on being my favourite because it’s a backpack. This also happens to my friend Callie’s pick for me.

Darling Deer

This is my friend Callie’s second pick for me and I definitely agree that these are my favourite over the higher heels because I love the glitter heel and I would definitely fall over in the other pair. These once again feature that cute grass detailing and flowers. I would love to rock these in an outfit.

Meadow Playtime Tights

These are my favourite of the Bambi tights because they feature not only pink and dark pink/red which I love as colour combination but because they feature love hearts and I’m a sucker for heart print. Definitely one to invest in if you’re a lover of pink and need more adorable tights in your life!

For anyone interest although I love everything Irregular Choice does this is what I would buy (in desirability order):

  • Sweet Little Dumbo
  • Let Your Dreams Soar Bag (and Sleepy Head purse)
  • All the Dumbo tights
  • Darling Deer (this originally was lower down the list before seeing the shoes in person)
  • Dumbos Big Top
  • Precious Boy Bag
  • Sweet As Can Be Bag and shoes
  • Bashful Skunk shoes (I love Flower!!!)
  • Im Thumpin shoes
  • Meadow Playtime tights

So essentially about 90% of the collection. Realistically, I hope to save up and own the Sweet Little Dumbo and Let Your Dreams Soar Bag because after seeing them in person I am completely besotted.

If you’ve bought something from this collection or have a stand out favourite let me know in the comments below!

For anyone interested in the collection it’s available here. Also, I just want to note that none of the shoes or bags contain leather.

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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Princess in Practice: The Rosewood Chronicles review

Building on the success of Undercover Princess, author Connie Glynn smashes it out of the park with a sequel fit for a princess.

Although, I am very tempted to make this a very spoiler heavy review; I am going to make this as a spoiler free as possible (but it won’t be spoiler free in regards to events which occurred in the first book) because it’s only my own excitement and need to talk about the book, which is making me want to go spoiler heavy!

If you haven’t read the first book in this series Undercover Princess then I’ll be honest this review and Princess in Practice won’t make a whole lot of sense. If you’ve just read the first book and you want to recap a little or if you are thinking of starting this series you can read my review of Undercover Princess here.

I’ll start by initially saying that although the first book in this series has a special part in my heart (partly because I’ve been a fan of Connie Glynn for a few years now); this book definitely took it to the next level with me and I am now fully invested in this series.

Without further ado though let’s proceed with this review…

Blurb 

Lottie and Ellie are back! 

Head back to Rosewood Hall with your two favourite princesses in the sequel to Undercover Princess!

———-

As they return to Rosewood after the dramatic events of their first year, Lottie and Ellie are hoping for a peaceful term.

But strange things are happening at Rosewood. Pupils are being poisoned. 

Is the threat of secret organisation Leviathan growing closer? 

Lottie and Ellie are determined to find the culprit; but danger could be closer than they think…

Credit: Penguin

Judging a book by its cover (cover review) 

Princess in Practice

For anyone who is even just mildly obsessed with pastels or princesses then this cover is a dream come true. I love that it keeps up the same colour palette as the cover for Undercover Princess and I personally love that the beautiful shade of pink is the main focus. The gold writing for both the series name The Rosewood Chronicles and the author gives an instant regal flair to the cover, demonstrating that, yes,  this is a book highly concerned with royalty. The title itself (and I may be reading too much into this) Princess in Practice not only is very demonstrative of the theme of this book – this is definitely Lottie’s story about settling into her new role as Portman and through trial and error realising where she belongs and truly becoming a princess; but the two different writing styles remind me a lot of Ellie and Lottie. Ellie is a bit more bold like the font for the word princess whereas the word practice is in a fancier, more elegant script more characteristic of Lottie.

Based on her physical descriptions in the series, I believe the girl on the cover of the novel is Lottie with her tiara glistening on her head with Rosewood Hall visible right on her heart. And I can’t think of a more fitting image to sum up this novel to be honest.

Review 

To prepare for this review I went back and read my review of the first book in the series, which did not help me with keeping this review spoiler free, as I just want to yell in this review about which of my assumptions are true. Instead, I’ll say this, if you are looking for a novel targeted at children and young adults that explores a wide range of different sexualities in a matter of fact way then this is for you.

It is refreshing to see the characters not be tormented over their sexualities and reacting well to finding out other characters sexualities  – for the audience this is aimed at this is definitely a decision I agree with and helps them to negotiate how they should handle such situations. However, I think it might also be valuable to show a character not react well and then learn and grow from their mistake, but honestly this is something that could be easily explored in other parts of the series and I don’t expect this series to cover everything (that’s too much of a burden for any series to bear).

I’m glad as well that Lottie’s relationship with Ollie is explored further in this book and I hope to see more of Ollie in the future. Binah, one of my favourite characters from the first book, makes more of an appearance, which I was delighted about. Essentially, the second instalment does what a sequel should do and expand upon the world it’s created.  Princess in Practice does this brilliantly, building on the momentum of the first book, instead of suffering from sequel syndrome. I think a large way the book gets away with this is making the journey of certain characters trying to find themselves a central part of the book.

I wish to the bottom of my heart this series would have existed for me growing up (before I over analysed everything) and the representation in this book made my heart burst, especially as it’s targeted to a younger audience. It’s that charm that means I can forgive the momentum of the book being slightly too rapid at points, and some things not being as fleshed out as I would like. I would though love to have a series that shows events entirely from Binah or Anastasia’s perspective throughout the books.

Overall, Connie grows on the first book, not only going from strength to strength with her writing, but further creating a magical land of royalty, intrigue and mystery that I couldn’t help but to lose myself in. I will definitely continue to read this series and can’t wait to see the future that is in store for its characters.

Also, for anyone wondering I did the official online quiz and I got Ivy house though in a version online I got Conch (there’s also helpfully an information page at the back of Princess in Practice with information about each house).

Rating

4/5 – ‘Building on the success of Undercover Princess, author Connie Glynn smashes it out of the park with a sequel fit for a princess.’

4 star review

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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Sunshine by Hester beret haul (Halloween and Drag Race inspired berets!)

Ever since I first laid eyes on Sunshine by Hester’s berets I knew I had to have some. For those who aren’t as obsessed with berets as I am Sunshine by Hester is a company run by fashion designer Hester Sunshine and is a hand-made US based fantastical fashion line. Her designs are bold, colourful and feel like cartoons come to life. So essentially everything I love.

Hester’s personal style also reflects this and I love every outfit she puts together and when looking through her Instagram to give examples of her style I realised how much I subconsciously was influenced by her when I saw that we both own the same ‘Little Devil’ beret. I really admire how she has such a distinctive bold, primary colour inspired kitch style and I hope one day my own style will be as defined as hers.

While Hester is also known for her newly launched bandanas and halloween special bonnets (I’ve also seen Easter ones too!), as well as custom fashion creations; it’s Hester’s berets that have always caught my eye. Quite simply, because as anyone who follows me on Instagram knows I am beret lover and honestly now I think this may have transcended to collector.

When I saw on her brand’s Instagram that she was re-stocking her Halloween berets that I missed out on last year I knew I had to have some. As in I set my alarm for 2 in the morning to make sure I had some. In my sleepy haze, I made a snap decision between the purple and black version of the ‘Feeling Witchy’ beret that part of me regrets but as you’ll see the berets I got are absolutely gorgeous.

Now, Hester’s berets are custom made so do cost more but honestly they were one of the products where I could sense the extra quality right from unpacking them from the little details to how the berets were lined to their structure. Shipping is also the same flat rate no matter how many berets you order as well, which is a real bonus for international customers.

I limited myself to one Halloween beret (I just couldn’t afford to pick up the Trick or Treat one) and I also picked up one of her newly released Ru Paul’s Drag Race berets because of my love for the show and also because I’ve been needing a pink beret to add to my collection.

The berets actually arrived fairly quickly and were packaged in an adorable Halloween parcel bag, which I can’t bear to throw away.

Feeling Witchy beret – in Black 

So this beret really appealed to me not only because I love Halloween and I find comfort in things associated with witches (who doesn’t love powerful women?!); but because of the embroidery on the top of the beret. Since I’m short I thought that people would at least notice it (ha, ha) but also I don’t have a beret like it yet and I really like it as a extra touch. At first, on the website I didn’t understand what the letters where on the top of the beret but in person I realised they stood for ‘SbH’ i.e. Sunshine By Hester and I really like how each beret is ‘signed off’ in this way.

The text and detail on the top of the beret is also silver and glittery, which I really love and is definitely one of the details where you can see where the extra craftsmanship has gone in. I also love the extra lining that both berets have on the inside not only, as it helps protect the shape of the beret but also shows that every detail in the making of this beret didn’t go unnoticed. Sunshine by Hester in this way reminds me a lot of Irregular Choice, as both brands pay attention to all the little details.

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Shashay Shantay Berets – in light pink

When I saw this beret I fell in love but wasn’t originally going to purchase it because the dark pink option wasn’t for me. When I saw there was a black option I became more tempted and when ordering day came and I saw the light pink option I knew I needed to get it. On one side of the beret in white glitter writing it reads ‘Shantay you Stay’ and the other side it reads ‘Sashay Away’ just like the two declarations that Ru Paul famously tells contestants who are in the bottom two.

This beret like the other one looks great on, the only thing I’ve been struggling with which I think may be due to my head shape is sitting the beret on my head so that you can see both the writing at the front and back. This mostly matters to me because I want to tell people who look at me from behind to ‘Sashay Away’! I have a feeling this might be user error though so I’m definitely going to have a play with the beret.

Sunshine by Hester sashay away beret

Shantay you stay beret

Sashay Away beret

Sunshine by Hester drag race beret

In conclusion, I love these berets and definitely recommend them to anyone who is a collector of alternative, distinctive fashion pieces. I can’t wait till Hester gets back off holiday as I definitely may have to order some of the berets from her classic collection!

Hester is currently on holiday till December 7th so you won’t be able to pick up her berets until then, however her berets will be stocked in Planet Cute Shop in Brooklyn, New York. 

Website: https://www.sunshinebyhester.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sunshinebyhester/

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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My favourite things I ate in Amsterdam: Vegetarian/ Vegan

A guide to some great vegetarian/ vegan options in Amsterdam.

Hi everyone, I’ve just been on a short trip to Amsterdam and managed to vlog a little for the first time while travelling there. However, I developed a cold on holiday so I filmed a lot of segments when I returned home, and I was also too nervous to vlog in public. I did manage to record some footage of me speaking in my accommodation but I’m still not sure if that will see the light of day!

If you want to see the video I’ve inserted it below. However, if you prefer reading my content to watching it all the information I mention is down below and the photographs are probably a bit clearer too!

But first I’ll just quickly introduce the video and talk a little about the clips you’re going to see. I’ll start by saying that I’ve been to Amsterdam before and one of the things I really missed out on was the food due to my budget. I wanted to focus on the museums at that point but although I did revisit two on this trip because Martin hadn’t seen them; I also wanted to try some more of the food treats I missed.

Most of the meals I had equalled about 5-8 euros. I took two water bottles with me and refilled these at our hostel so Ididn’t pay for drinks unless I was eating in. The exception was when I went to the Vegan Junk Food Bar as that was more of a sit down experience and less quick ‘fast’ food.

Despite, getting to try more options while on this trip I still didn’t have the time to go everywhere I wanted to go but I was very happy with the places I got to try! Also, this isn’t EVERYTHING I ate on the trip but just the things I think deserved a shout out.

Without further ado let’s get started and apologises in advance if my pronunciation is terrible (I tried to look everything up but it will still likely be awful). I will have everything linked below and please do correct me on any mistakes I’ve made. Also, if you have any Amsterdam food recommendations do let everyone know in the comments below. I’d love to go back to The Netherlands in the future and see The Hague and Rotterdam so all recommendations are appreciated.

Also, the person in some of the footage is my boyfriend Martin who I went on the trip with who very patiently (well sort of) waited for me to film or take pictures of the food we bought for this vlog. I’d also like to mention apologises if the footage is a bit shaky, I need to invest in a steady cam and couldn’t take my tripod with me due to space. I hope you enjoy this video regardless! But if you’re rather just read continue with reading this post (though you’ll miss out on my mad video skills, ha, ha).

The Happy Pig Pancake shop

The first place I ate at while in Amsterdam was The Happy Pig Pancake shop. I had their vegan pancake with vegan chocolate hazelnut sauce and strawberries. For a vegan pancake it tasted really eggy, which was strange but it was really nice. My only complaint was that after our twelve hour coach ride the portion size wasn’t big enough but if you were a normal amount of hungry it would be!

Happy Pig Pancakes 1

Happy Pig Pancakes 2

Martin had their Gouda pancake with chopped up vegetables as he usually prefers savoury pancakes and he said it was really nice as well.

Amsterdam pancakes

Although, I do like savoury breakfast options I have to say when it comes to pancakes I’ll always go for the sweet option. If I could choose again from the menu I would definitely try the option with Tony’s Chocolate on, which you need to try if you’re vegetarian in Amsterdam, as it’s amazing and incredibly moreish. Martin and I are definitely upset that we polished off our stash on the way home.

If you’re vegan though this place has lot of great options so I’d definitely recommend it!

McDonald’s

So don’t laugh when I say this but one of the places we really enjoyed was McDonalds. I’m always fascinated by how the menu changes across the world so make a point to at least check out the differences when I travel. I was not expecting though to find a vegetarian McChicken sandwich! From what I can tell this is fairly new but it took me right back to eating these growing up. The only thing different is the texture of the chicken but because the McDonald’s burger always never tasted as ‘meaty’ to me as say Burger King I don’t notice a massive difference.

I had the a veggie McChicken sandwich and Martin had the McCrispy which the only major difference was that you get cheese, Batavia lettuce instead of iceberg, red onion and a spicy sauce and onion compote.

Veggie mcchicken

Crispy McChicken
The McCrisy – sorry I didn’t get there fast enough to get a picture were he hadn’t already taken a bite!

If you’re a vegetarian who loves fast food definitely check them out. Unforunately for vegans when I looked the burger up the meat substitute is made with dairy so isn’t suitable for a vegan diet.

Also the fritesauce at McDonalds is very good, pay the extra 50 cents and buy it.

Manneken Pis fries

Last time I visited Amsterdam I always saw this place and was jealous of the people walking around holding giant cones of fries. I knew this time I had to try them and they were SO good.

We had ours with ketchup, fritesauce and onion on top. I thought there was an option for curry ketchup but unfortunately it was either ketchup or curry and in a panic we choose ketchup when we should have tried curry! They were still delicious though especially the fritesauce and I actually enjoyed raw onion for once as it balanced against the creaminess of the fritesauce nicely.

We made the mistake (or win depending how you look at it) in ordering a large as we didn’t realize how large it would be! From what we could see, we think a lot of people made this mistake. After just having a burger and sharing half a medium fries at McDonalds, I only managed a quarter and even Martin (who is notoriously an eating machine) had to pause and save some for later. Next time, I think a medium would be more than enough to share between the two of us.

If I tried them again I would also definitely pick up the peanut sauce, mayonnaise and onion option.

I also noticed that they know have vegan mayo too! And I’m sure if you asked you could see what other toppings are vegan (i.e. the curry sauce and ketchup is likely to be!).

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Amsterdam fries

The Vegan Junk Food Bar

There’s several branches of this restaurant in Amsterdam but we visited the ones that was closest to Museumplein for us which was the Marie Heinekenplein location. I also choose this one because I believe it serves the whole menu where some other locations do not but please correct me if I’m wrong!

This place was nestled in a ring of restaurants but stood out because of its bold, neon design. We had drawn out cash for the trip so we wouldn’t need to use our cards so we were disappointed to see it was card only there. However, we were hungry and this had been one of the places I really wanted to visit so we took the plunge.

We ordered the Unicorn Bread to start which was blue bread (everyone when they see the picture always assumes its cake!) with pink aioli.

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Unicorn bread copy

Then, for mains I had the Kapsalon loaded fries, which had vegan cheese, shawarma, jalapeños and loads of great sauces. Martin went with the original VJFB burger and some fries on the side, which he scoffed down in precisely two seconds. He let me try a bit of the burger and it was delicious and a nice chunky burger which you sometimes don’t get with vegan or veggie burgers – I’ve had a lot of very flat burgers in my time.

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As you’ve guessed everything on the menu here is completely vegan, and also very delicious. We’d definitely visit again next time we went to Amsterdam. This was also the most expensive of any meal we had as it was more of a sit down experience and came to about 15 euros each.

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Maoz Vegetarian

We actually walked right by this next option because we wasn’t sure at first if it was worth it. I’ve had lots of good (and bad!) falafel in my time so falafel as an option didn’t incite a lot of excitement for me. However, when we was waiting in line for some chips, a couple recommended it to us – so of course we had to try it after their glowing review.

Essentially, what you get is a pitta with some falafel in (I got a regular) and hummus and lettuce in and you get to choose your toppings from a wide range. There was even cous cous and I think for just the pitta it was about 5 euros so you could really pad it out and make it a filling meal with just the falafel wrap.

Martin also tried their fries but he said they don’t compare with the others we tried. The pitta and all the sauces were delicious.

They also had lots of signs with what was vegan there too so I don’t think it’d be hard to make your pitta vegan!

Maoz Falafel .jpg

Groceries

I also want to give a quick shop out to the supermarkets we visited. Albert Heijn appeared to be the most prominent chain when we visited and their location near the Van Gogh museum had a massive vegetarian/ vegan aisle, which I’ll insert a clip of with rows and rows of things like veggie bratwurst to mince and schnitzel.

We also tried the Lays Paprika crisps, which were delicious. I don’t usually venture much out into different flavours of crisps because I’m pretty stubborn but these were delicious.

Another thing we had to try is Hagel-slag which the Dutch put on their toast and essentially it’s just chocolate sprinkles on toast. My friend said that the best way is to let them melt a bit and then spread them on your toast. Definitely a Sunday morning indulgent treat!

Hagel Slag

The bread and pastries are also on a different level and Martin appreciated the vast variety of Fanta on offer.

fanta elderflower and lemon

Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post and it gave you some ideas if you’re planning a trip to Amsterdam!

I’ve got another video hopefully coming up soon about my trip to Amsterdam and that’s will be a bit more about my trip in general and my accommodation so if you happened to catch the video to this blog post too be sure to subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss it. If you prefer reading my content don’t worry as they’ll be a blog post to accompany that video as well.

Also, thank you to everyone who has supported this blog and my YouTube channel in the past. I know I took a bit of a hiatus with my channel for a bit but I’m back and raring to go with some great autumn (and Halloween content).

Goodbye and hopefully see you next time!

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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My experience at St Albans Vegan Fair

Fairly, recently, ok at the end of August (the 27th to be precise) Martin and I attended the St Albans Vegan Fair, which was the first ever vegan fair in St Albans. For those who don’t know St Albans is about twenty minutes on the train from London, and as there are so many great vegan eateries and businesses in London it makes it a prime location to hold such an event.

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The fair was held at Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre which is about ten minutes from the town centre and involves walking down (and then unfortunately later on up) a steep hill. From what we could see there were stalls outside and then a room with vendors inside (which you had to pay £3 to enter). In terms of price, I think that was more than fair but I think any more would not have been considering that the room itself was not too large (and there was only one room in total – please correct me if I’m wrong here!).

Martin and I arrived a little past 10am when it opened and it was already quite busy. Due to the size of the venue it was a little hard to see all the different vendors and get tasters of the products available so I think we missed out a little in that way. It got busier as we was there and I think if we’d have arrived any later it would have been a little hellish. However, when we arrived the queue moved fairly quickly and the staff were really nice.

To get the slightly negative element out of the way first, I do think the event could of been better organised. Like, I said demand hadn’t been taken into account, so I do believe the venue was too small. Also, when I contacted the fair on Facebook after the event to see if they had any photographs, as I struggled due to the amount of people (although, honestly, I could have tried harder but I wanted to enjoy myself!) and if they could send me a list of vendors to jog my memory of the day, they never got back to me. For reference, I can see they’ve seen the message and I messaged twice. I wouldn’t usually mention something like this but I wanted to give this as a reference to the organisation I felt was lacking at the event. I wouldn’t have minded if they responded saying no, or they’d get back to me, but I think it’s bad practice to ignore someone completely. However, I will point out that I messaged after the event and so the organisers may now be too busy to message back (this is probably not their full time job after all!) and I did not exhaust my list of contact options. This is because I only found out on writing this post about their email address (despite it being on one of the images, essentially I’m an idiot) and I’ll be honest I didn’t want to wait for a response – I wanted to get this post out!

I want to close this bit of my experience by saying I love supporting members of a community I feel close to (I’m a vegetarian not a vegan for reference) but I wanted to be honest and say that element let me down a little bit.

However, the food options truly did not.

I only managed to taste a small selection of what was on offer but it was all delicious.

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One thing I was really excited to try was Kimchi when I saw it and the event, as I’ve never tried it before! I actually thought it was great and picked up some from a brand called Love Kimchi. I haven’t had a lot of this since purchasing, as I can only have small amounts because my stomach isn’t used to it but I’m excited to incorporate some into rice dishes in the future.

Another brand I tried was Badger’s Vegan Kitchen. The texture of their egg mayo was really great. This is a great option for anyone who doesn’t want to go to the effort to make their own version, however, I have a soft spot for a tofu egg mayo recipe I made up based on a tofu scramble (probably because it’s more indulgent and I really love tofu) so I don’t know if I’d pick this up again.

One of Martin’s favourites from the samples we tried was from Vork Pie – the scotch eggs being a particular favourite. Their Vork on Mars scotch egg I have to say is particularly delicious.

There were some other great food experiences we had, which I can’t remember the name of including a lovely cheese sauce on a hot dog that Martin tried and I stole a bit of which was delicious; a seitan burger that tasted so good, Martin got one after tasting mine and a BBQ Seitan that had a amazing smoky flavour. There was also a cake stand that looked AMAZING, which you can tell by many photographs of it above but I got so overwhelmed by the choices that I didn’t actually order anything in the end!

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Apologises that it’s half eaten I forgot to take a photo! The only thing it lacked is mayo (why do people think just ketchup is enough, ha, ha). 

Another stand that was packed was vegan cheese makers Kinda.co, I managed to grab a bite of their imitation greek style cheese in oil, which was lovely, but was unable to try anything else. I definitely would love to try them if I see them at another fair but I think they are definitely an indulgent treat kind of place, as their cheese averages at around £7.00.

Martin also wanted me to give a shout out to the May Bakery where he got an Oreo cookie sandwich from which he said was delicious. I’m not as big of an Oreo fan so I only sampled a little bit but the cookie texture was on point. I definitely will be looking out for them again.

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Apart from food there were a few ‘lifestyle’ stalls including a place selling vegan bags and shoes (which honestly, unfortunately, weren’t really my style and Eden perfumes who I wrote a blog post about).

Overall, I think this was a great event for vegans, vegetarians or even omnivores, as it was honestly great, tasty food. If you’re a vegan or veggie and struggling to explain to your family that what you eat is still great tasting, this might be a good event to take them too. Honestly, everything we tried tasted great and the creativity on offer was really inspiring.

For me, I’m just happy to see the continual rise of more veggie options in the UK – I can’t wait to see the landscape in five years time!

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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Vegan cruelty free Eden perfume review

I’ve been on the hunt for a cruelty free perfume that doesn’t break the bank for a while now. After, starting to look more closely at what I consumed beauty wise; I realised that my perfume was one thing I hadn’t thought about in terms of being cruelty free.

This may seem frivolous to some people but letting go of my ‘signature scent’ was something that was hard for me. One of my few luxuries in life had been that I liked a fancy perfume, and I wore it religiously everyday so that people often associated the scent with me. For anyone wondering my favourite scent was Coco Mademoiselle by you guessed it Chanel.

The scent ended up being comforting and grounding to me in a weird way so not being able to smell it anymore I admit felt strange. And I’ll admit to spraying it on myself in perfume shops but I haven’t bought any for a while now. I have also tried a few different cruelty free options including some of the Lush scents though I’ll admit only in store – I struggled with them because although they smelt nice, they didn’t have that perfume smell (more like body spray). I also tried Kat Von D’s Saint and though it was nice; it didn’t quite hit the notes I was going for.

So for a while I continued on perfumeless and probably more smelly (ha, ha) until recently when I went to St Albans Vegan Fair with Martin. At the fair, Eden perfumes had a stand who I already knew for being quite well known for their vegan perfumes. I decided then to smell a few and give it a go and was delighted to pick one up and notice that it smelt not like a body spray, but perfume!

It was quite crowded at the fair (and I will have a blog post about the fair to come) so I was too socially awkward to try as many as I would have liked but I knew I generally like ones with floral, fruity notes after smelling a few samples and in the end I picked up No.405, which according to their website is supposed to smell similar to La Vie est Belle by Lancôme. I haven’t smelt that perfume so I don’t know if they are similar but I’ll try to do a smell comparison test soon and update this post!

Although, the staff at the stall were very kind and helpful; when I bought the perfume they started telling me about how most perfumes contain animal products. I think this is fair enough as this was an event that had quite a lot of non-vegans (or people without knowledge about veganism) I suspect and I actually didn’t know some of the facts told to me. However, I think it wouldn’t have felt odd if I’d of asked but unsolicited it did catch me off guard a little I will admit.

The bottle at the fair was £15.00 (they are £18.00 on the website, and the lady who served me mentioned that at fairs they sell for a cheaper price). Eden perfumes also offer a refill system, which you can do either by attending a fair they are at or online. The fair price I remember as cheaper but not by a lot and they charge slightly less for the refill. I personally really love this system as it encourages less waste and perfume bottles to be made. I know some people may be put off with the online refill system, as it means you have to post your bottles but I think it’s a great idea personally.

I would also like to point out that £18.00 for a bottle of perfume for me is a great deal. The perfume I used to buy could easily get to the £60 range (though a bottle would generally last me a year with me wearing it regularly). I haven’t used this perfume enough to know how long it would last me but I suspect probably as long!

As for the scent, although this is not my perfect scent just yet, there are so many other perfumes they stock that I can’t wait to try. After researching, I found out that they have a London and Brighton store so I’m excited to visit and see what other scents I like. If you live too far away I’d recommend finding the perfume they suggest as a match to perfumes you know you like and trying perfumes within that note range. Surprisingly enough the perfume that would be my match no.83 is in the ‘Oriental Woody’ range. I didn’t manage to find this in their book at the festival, as it was quite large to swift through quickly so maybe I didn’t pick up my favourite note range! It probably explains why this perfume doesn’t 100% hit the mark for me though I do really like it.

Wear time on the perfume I’ve noticed is fairly good, and one of my colleagues at work noticed I had new perfume on and said it smelt nice! This was in the morning but I can still smell the perfume later in the day though faintly. It doesn’t wear faster in my opinion than any other perfume I’ve tried.

For anyone looking for a vegan, cruelty free perfume I’d definitely check out Eden Perfumes – they are a great, affordable option, which is always refreshing to see.

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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Berry Smoothie Bowl with bananas (and spinach)

As some of you may have noticed who follow me on Instagram; I’ve been trying to cook from scratch a lot more recently. This has really ignited a lot of my old passion for cooking and trying out recipes that I kind of lost as I’ve got busy over the years.

While I now that a smoothie bowl is not strictly ‘cooking’, I’ll admit never being much of a smoothie person myself until recently I didn’t know where to start. After looking up a few recipes and consulting my friends, I made up my own recipe for a smoothie bowl. And still it took a little bit of trial and error to get it completely right.

I started with a just berry and banana mixture, which I posted on my Instagram. I included oats as an option because I personally prefer something a little bit more substantial for my breakfast. However, I’ve now added spinach to the mixture and a whole bunch of toppings, which makes this much more filling to me. If you don’t want to add toppings (it doesn’t have to fruit – it can be whatever you like!) then I’d suggest pulsing some oats into the mixture to give it some texture.

Smoothie Bowl 3

Without further ado, I’ll get onto the recipe. This is in American cups as the measurements (despite me being British) because a lot of the recipes I follow are usually from Americans so I’ve just got used to that system! If you google the measurements you should be able to easily convert them to grams.

Ingredients

1 cup frozen strawberries

1/2 cup frozen raspberries

1 banana (preferably ripe for the sweetness)

1/2 cup almond milk

1/2 cup plain alpro yoghurt (I use plain but you can use any flavour)

1/2 cup baby spinach

1 tablespoon honey (or maple syrup to make this recipe vegan)

Optional 

1/2 cup rolled oats (add at end and blitz in the blender if you want extra texture or just mix in).

Toppings: I used a whole banana, about a handful of blueberries and raspberries, a teaspoon of chia seeds and a tablespoon of vegan chocolate chips (this would work well with dark chocolate chips or any other you want to use).

Method

Place all ingredients in blender and blend! It’s that simple, ha, ha. I like making mine the night before and adding the toppings in the morning. If you want it more of a smoothie bowl consistency don’t blend for as long (I blended mine a little too long) or add more yoghurt.

If you struggle to get in your 5 a day, I think this is a great way to get your body started. I honestly was worried about the spinach as I didn’t want to taste it in my smoothie but I couldn’t taste it and I actually think it tasted better with it as it calmed down a little bit of the tang from the berries.

Please let me know if you liked this post and you’d like to see more recipes from me. I think for now I want to start off slow with smoothie bowls and breakfasts and then maybe work my way up! I’m vegetarian so all my recipes will be veggie friendly and I’ll always make sure to include a vegan option if the recipe isn’t vegan (but most of them probably will be).

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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July + August Favourites

I actually had written a draft of all the things I wanted to include for my July favourites but it unfortunately got lost (as, all great ideas do, ha, ha). So I’m going to try my best to remember everything in the post and separate these by the different months as much as as possible. Sorry, that there wasn’t a July favourites post last month – I actually had a lot of favourites to talk about but was struggling to get in the writing spirit. I considered not including them at all but knew I’d end up getting them mixed up with this months favourites so wanted to include them. Without further ado here’s some of the things I’ve been enjoying over the last two months.

July

What I’ve been wearing… 

Lucy and Yak

I was lucky enough to pick up a pair of Lucy and Yak dungarees from their Depop shop (where they sell all their samples for great prices!). After, seeing @porcelainnwitch on Instagram rock a purple pair I knew I needed my own. Feeling a particular kinship to Winnie the Pooh because the film Christopher Robin (which, at the time of writing I still haven’t seen) was coming out soon I knew I wanted a beige/ brown pair. Yes, I know he wears a red top but this is the association I have in my head!

I feel in love then with the Cappuccino colour so when I saw a pair for £12 on their Depop I knew I had to snap them up. I’d also like to mention that the description clearly stated the fault with the item and the brand kindly answered all the questions I had before buying! However, I honestly wouldn’t have noticed the fault without it being pointed out. They also arrived in a gorgeous bag with a lovely note so overall I can’t fault the customer service! Ever since I’ve got these I’ve been wearing them non-stop. They are incredibly comfortable and after I realised that I can just slip off the sleeves to go the toilet, practicable, in most situations.

I will definitely be purchasing from the brand in the future – I especially have my eye on some of their corduroy pairs!

Primark

When I did a big wardrobe sort out (Martin and I collectively donated about 4 bin bags to a local charity shop!); one thing I really noticed was how I had a lack of tops and skirts that would make great interchangeable outfits. I set out then to get some tops, particularly a mixture of longer ones that could be worn with leggings but also shorter ones for skirts.

I’m particularly pleased with the Winnie the Pooh top (sorry I don’t have a picture as is in the wash!) and sweatshirt I picked up, which are both adorable. The sweatshirt is a smaller size than what I’d usually get but that actually ended up being to my advantage as it meant I could wear it comfortably under my dungarees.

This is a bit of a basic but I’ve also been loving brown tops (which are surprisingly hard to find sometimes) so I loved this long floaty brown stripey top I picked up in Primark.

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Although, this next set is not a top but a top and skirt combo; I think both pieces would work well with other pieces but also look ridiculously cute together. I know that plaid and check is going to be cliched this season with everyone going for those Clueless vibes but I just don’t care.

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What I’ve been cuddling…

I can’t quite remember if I bought these in July and August (I think it might be August actually) but I love them. Although, I wish I had enough money to pick up all the characters I’m definitely glad that I picked these two up (Winnie the Pooh and Piglet) as they are my favourites from what Disney have brought out. I’m also so happy in general to see how much Winnie the Pooh merchandise is out there at the moment because of the new film!

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What I’ve been enjoying…

Odeon LUXE seating

I went with Martin to see Ant-Man and the Wasp and the showing we wanted to see just happened to be the one in the Odeon Luxe screen so we shelled out a bit extra. I have never felt so decadent in my life. I don’t think I can go back to uncomfortable cinema seats now!

I loved having somewhere to put my food and feeling all nice and comfy on the recliner seats. All I needed was a blanket and it would have been like I was at home (the ultimate goal!).

Odeon Luxe

What I’ve been watching…

Orange is the New Black 

I’ve loved Orange is the New Black since it started and although I was initially worried about this season because of the change in setting; it didn’t disappoint. I, like a lot of people did from what I’ve read, found Badison a bit difficult to watch at times but I think the person portraying her did an excellent job.

The ending although devastating for certain characters (I won’t say anymore than that), I will admit was a little lacklustre. However, I do think that the spark well and truly does remain for the show. I’m just hoping I see some more of my favourite characters next season.

G.L.O.W 

For me G.L.O.W Season 2 definitely took the show up another notch. Where a lot of shows stumble with character development; I think this show shone. I also liked how they showed (SPOILER ALERT!) one of the girls getting injured, especially as it showed how significant it is that wrestlers are on the same page in the ring.

I can’t wait to see what the show will bring next time in Season 3. I also am hoping that we start to see more and more cosplayers and fan art from this show because it’s definitely a gem.

I tuned in for the 80s nostalgia and stayed for the character development. Even writing about it has made me want to just go on an 80s movie bender. I might just have to rematch Stranger Things, especially as it’s coming up to the best time of the year, Halloween!

Over the Garden Wall

I’ve seen a few posts and comments about the show but it’s definitely not as talked about as a show like Steven Universe or Adventure Time. It may be because devastatingly its only one season but this is *hands down* now one of my favourite TV shows ever. I’ve even had to go and purchase some of the comic books afterwards because I needed more from the show.

I also need to do a Wirt and Greg cosplay with Martin … maybe I’ll try to sneak it into Halloween! If you’ve not seen this already and are a Cartoon Network or quirky cartoon fan, please do so – it’s on Netflix (UK!) if that helps.

August 

What I’ve been wearing…

Van Gogh vans 

I have already written an entire blog post dedicated to my saga in getting these Vans so I won’t bore you all with it again. Suffice to say I put some effort into getting these and I absolutely love them. I definitely think I made the right choice with the pair I decided to pick up!

Vegan Dr Martens 

I got these on Depop very recently and I am in love. They are of course a little preloved but I really don’t mind for the price. I’ve also been wanting some of these for ages so even if they don’t last as long, I know now based on how much I love these that I’ll just pick up another pair.

A lot of people still sell second hand pairs of these shoes on Depop and Ebay for not a lot less than the original price, as they’re harder to find so I’m glad to have picked mine up for a steal!

Now, just to pick up some of the boots for the winter…

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What I’ve been obsessed with…

Home decorating 

Despite, only managing to clear out my wardrobe; I’ve really got the bug this month to decorate our flat some more. Like always I’m keen to get some new bedding and can’t wait to get my hands on this Asda Wizard Bear bedding. I’d also love to have a world map in my room and map where I’ve been, as well as generally get some more furniture – I’m desperate for a Billy bookcase from Ikea, ha, ha.

Cooking

I’ve been trying to cook more from scratch this month and I’ve been really enjoying it. Not only have I felt healthy and better about what I’ve been eating, it’s been fun. I will admit I think I need to get into meal prep though as it can be a little tiring every night.

Some of my favourite places to go for recipes is Sarah’s Vegan Kitchen (try the Black Bean Brownies), Cheap Lazy Vegan and Caitlin Shoemaker.

I’ve been really enjoying especially experimenting with different breakfasts and even went full on food instagram influencer style with a smoothie bowl (mine was less snazzy). It was the first recipe I wrote for something I came up with though (so watch this space!).

Smoothie bowl.jpg

Oat and Raisin cookies

Adapted version of this recipe. Instead of apple sauce, I used peanut butter and instead of nuts I used raisins. I also added a tablespoon of vanilla extract.

Oat and Raisin breakfast

Vegan fish cakes

Adapted version of this recipe (I used chickpeas). I didn’t use hearts of palm and sautéed onions to go in with the chickpea mix (after blending). I also used nori sheets instead of the kelp. For seasoning I replaced the mix blend they suggested with a teaspoon of garlic powder, chilli powder and paprika. I also used soy sauce as an alternative for vegan Worcestershire sauce, which they suggest on the recipe page. It was super tasty but didn’t hold very well so went to try the recipe again with something to help bind it together.

What I’ve been watching…

Attack on Titan Season 3 

I’ve not caught up yet so please no spoilers but I was very happy to start a new season of Attack on Titan. I’ve not got a lot of opinions yet as it’s only just started and I don’t want to give a lot away but I like where the plot appears to be heading this season and can’t wait for hopefully more of the mysteries of the titans to be revealed.

Disenchantment 

Martin started watching this without me because he’s rude but I’ve caught up now so we watch it together. It’s got that perfect Simpsons/ Futurama vibe where you can just sit back and watch but the show isn’t brain dead at the same time. Speaking of The Simpsons I am so upset I missed out on the Asos drop – I didn’t realise it till it was too late and I desperately need that Patty and Selma jumper in my life.

What I’ve been reading…

Marceline Gone Adrift 

I’ve wanted to read some of the comics based on my favourite cartoons for a while now but have never got round to it. I finally had enough this month and decided to pick this gem up featuring two of my favourites Princess Bubblegum and Marceline. The artistry in this graphic novel was beautiful alongside the story. If you’ve ever felt like you’ve treated a friend badly or have felt uninspired this is a story for you.

Adventure Time at its finest.

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Over the Garden Wall

I only picked up volume 1 and 2 of the comics but after speeding through the first two; I definitely need more. I also desperately want the art book for the show because it’s stunning and of course themed around my favourite season, Autumn and holiday, Halloween. I’d definitely recommend these tales to fans of the show (they fit into the main narrative of the show for anyone wondering).

What I’ve been listening to…

Ariana Grande, Sweetener 

There are some absolute bangers on this album and Ariana’s voice shines as ever. While, I will admit there a few songs that aren’t too my taste, what I do like, I love.

My favourites include: God is a Woman, Sweetener, No Tears Left to Cry and Raindrops (An Angel Cried).

The Carpool Karaoke was also great though I will admit I don’t enjoy these as much as I used to. I think they’ve succumbed to the need to get viral and have suffered a little with the connection between host and artist because of it.

Florence + the Machine – High as Hope 

Although, I’ve enjoyed Florence + the Machine;I never truly listened to them a lot just in the way I’m sure a lot of us do with certain artists. This album is beautiful though. Each song is brutal and honest in that way that makes you happy and want to cry at the same time. Hunger and South London Forever are particular highlights to me. I’d like to talk about the lyrics to them in more detail as well but I’m not in the right mood for that right now!

What I haven’t enjoyed…

I don’t usually do this but I just wanted to quickly write a note about one thing I had to discuss, which is Insatiable. I wanted to give the show a chance because although I understand the upset over the trailer; trailers often aren’t the whole picture of a TV show or film. I only managed to get 80% of the way through the first episode because quite honestly it was a trainwreck. It spent 90% of the time desperately trying to appeal to audiences with its edgy jokes that it didn’t stop to think about how the show was wildly out of control, insulting and just plain embarrassing to watch.

If anyone actually enjoyed the show, let me know, as like I said I couldn’t get further than the first episode, but what I saw made me cringe so much I just couldn’t watch anymore.

So there it is my favourites over the last two months. It’s been a rocky few months but I’m looking forward to the months to come. I’m also determined to get on a regular upload/ writing schedule again because for one thing I get fed up easily if I don’t have something specifically to do each week.

Here’s hoping this cold spell lasts (ha, ha) because I think the heat over the last few months has definitely contributed to me not feeling myself. I think I may have to buy myself a good winter coat a bit early than I though though so I don’t get caught unprepared!

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

-Blog posts once a week – 

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Vans x Van Gogh Museum shoe unboxing + review

When I found out that there was going to be a vans x Van Gogh Museum collaboration; I may have got excited. Ok, I got very excited. For those who don’t know Van Gogh is my favourite painter and yes the Doctor Who episode did almost (ok, maybe more than almost) bring me to tears.

But first before I got into this review and unveiling I just wanted to briefly touch on why I’ve not been posting as frequently. For one thing I’ve been quite busy recently, which hasn’t helped and I’ve been trying generally to be more healthy. That means more cooking and more exercise, which takes up a lot of time! The other reason I’ve been inactive is because my style has shifted a little recently. I’ve got excited for autumn and so have started gravitating to those colours rather than the pastels I’ve showcased a lot on here before.

Completely changing my style in this way is common for me but I was nervous about really posting about it because I didn’t want people to think I don’t appreciate those styles anymore but for now it’s not how I want to dress. At the moment I’m loving all things autumn leaves or yellow (!!!) and florals. So I just wanted to prewarn you that’s the style I’m going to be showcasing for a while. I hope you still enjoy it.

However, let’s get onto talking about the shoes! When I saw the images for the shoes for this collection I knew a needed a pair but initially couldn’t decide which ones. I love Van Gogh’s Sunflower paintings but they didn’t ‘speak’ to me, as much as when I saw the ‘Self Portrait’ shoes. I also liked how because the main colour scheme for these were denim that they would go with all the warm colours I’ve been craving recently.

Van Gogh Vans

Like an idiot though I didn’t realise these were limited edition. So, when I saw the collection in stock on the day they were released and asked my significant other if he wanted some; I actually thought it’d be ok to wait until he made up his mind. Spoiler alert: I wasn’t and he didn’t get any in the end. I returned to the website a few days later to find the shoes had disappeared from the site and I couldn’t find any anywhere except Ebay for ridiculous prices.

Desperate, I started a ring around to all the Vans shops in London that stock the collection. I would like to first of all say that all the staff I talked to were incredibly friendly and helpful. After, falling short on the first two stockists I tried; my hopes were left with the third: Camden. Luckily, they had my size but unfortunately couldn’t reserve them as they only had one pair left. I decided to make a desperate trip after work, making sure to ring before I got on the train to London (and waste my money!) in case they had already gone. Luckily, they had not! Later, it turned out we had got our wires crossed and they’d been referring to a different pair, however, I was very lucky and the pair I wanted also happened to have my size in stock!

I tried them on and fall in love (I especially love how the brand has half sizes!) and of course had to take them home. I was also pleased to find out that the style I got is vegan.

My only fault with the collection was that the shoes came in a standard Vans shoe box and I love when care and detail is put into packaging so I was really hoping the box was going to be covered in some of Van Gogh’s paintings.

Also, I am still not sure where I stand on the concept of wearing art by artists that are no longer alive on clothing (i.e. they cannot consent). I was very pleased the collection was in collaboration with the museum in Amsterdam, as that meant the proceeds were going back to preserving his paintings though I suspect it’s the reason there is not a pair of Starry, Starry Night shoes (which, I would have bought in a heartbeat!) because that painting is not housed there.

This is not a new phenomenon either – Louis Vuitton famously have brought out a Monet bag (as well as a Van Gogh one I believe) and bags featuring the work of other famous artists from history. I do believe though this makes art accessible (as it’s already commercialised) and I do believe fashion is art. I just find it strange when a creator no longer controls their own work and they become this icon figure – it’s dehumanising but I guess that’s life. I’m hardly one to talk as I think all the examples I gave are beautiful.

I would really be interested in hearing other people’s opinions on this so do comment below. Sorry again that this post was such a long time coming – I’m determined to go back to weekly content, which shouldn’t be hard in the upcoming months, as I have a trip planned and it of course my favourite holiday – Halloween!

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

-Blog posts once a week – 

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Eve of Man by Giovanna Fletcher and Tom Fletcher: Book Review

Hi everyone, I just wanted to write a quick preface to this review because I wanted to try something a little different and make these reviews a bit more structured. That way I think it will make it easier for people to skip to the information they’d like to know about and it will make sure I’m not missing anything out! Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments.

I’d also like to take a second to apologise for the lack of posts the last few weeks. Honestly, I’ve been really struggling with writing content that I’ve felt engaged with recently and alongside having a bit of a dip myself mentally I just needed a little break. I also had a little Instagram break as well to see if that helped boost me up a little. I’m not sure how exactly it made me feel but it did make me delve a little deeper into how social media can affect me.

I’ve been appalled at the lack of books I’ve been reading recently so made it my mission to read something this month and a few people recommended to me Eve of Man. I actually received some great suggestions, which I want to get to in the coming months but it made me determined to try and write at least one book review or book related post a month. I’d also like to focus on finishing some of my writing projects (aka a novel) outside of this blog so I may not be able to post as often as I like sometimes.

But for now let’s just get on with this review…

Blurb

This is actually the preface to the book but it is freely available from the Penguin website so I’ve copied it here.

On the first day no one really noticed. Perhaps there was a chuckle among the midwives at the sight of all those babies wrapped in blue blankets, not a pink one in sight. Individual hospitals would’ve thought nothing of it. They wouldn’t have known that this day of blue was only the beginning.

On the second day they frowned, confused, at another twenty-four hours of blue.

Just boys.

How baffling. Still, they assumed it was nothing more than coincidence. The Y chromosome was just making more of an appearance than usual.

On the third day, the media made light of it ‒ It Really Is A Man’s World. That brought the situation to everyone’s notice. Doctors and nurses realized theirs wasn’t the only hospital to go blue. Blue was taking over. Not just entire hospitals, not just entire countries, but the entire world.

Where had the pink gone?

With approximately two and a half million babies born each week, half of whom were usually girls, the sudden imbalance couldn’t be ignored. World leaders were called together with the most respected scientists to try to understand what was happening and discuss measures they could take to monitor the situation. They had to find an ethical way of working– they didn’t want to strip people of their human rights. That was what they said.

Initially.

At first it was a phenomenon, but soon it was threatening the survival of humanity, leaving us all on the brink of extinction. That was when governments stopped being nice. When women became more controlled and oppressed than ever before.

Compulsory tests were carried out. To start with, pregnant women were screened to identify the sex of their unborn children. Then, as more time passed with no females born, all women under the age of fifty were examined in an attempt to determine the cause of the blue generation.

Sex was encouraged – those in power wanted lots of babies in the hope that the odds would eventually favour girls. And there were girls – they were spotted in utero, bouncing around in the amniotic fluid and nudging their mummies with their flailing arms and legs.

Not one survived.

Eventually those cases disappeared. There was no pink to be seen . . . or lost.

Science battled for years. And years. And years. No cause was found. There was no breakthrough. Without a cause there could be no cure. The future of humanity was ticking away with the biological clocks of any remaining fertile women.

They would never give up, the world was told. They would save the human race. Somehow.

And the people played their part. They prayed. Prayed to many gods to grant them rebirth of their kind. For a long time it seemed no one was listening. The people prayed harder, for longer, calling on different all-powerful beings with urgency. They unearthed old religions, forged new ones, and muttered their worshipful chants with longing.

Then, after a fifty-year female drought, a miracle happened – and it didn’t occur in a sterile science lab.

Corinne and Ernie Warren had been married for twenty-five years. They’d always wanted children but it seemed Mother Nature wasn’t on their side. Corinne suffered miscarriage after miscarriage until eventually the couple gave up their dream to become parents. She was struck off as a potential carrier when she was forty-three. They accepted the failure with much sadness and a hint of relief. They’d been beaten down by grief so many times. They were broken, but at least they had each other to cling to.

At fifty-one, eight years later, Corinne unexpectedly fell pregnant. Naturally. She and Ernie were thrilled, but full of fear. What if this baby was taken from them like all the others? They couldn’t face another miscarriage.

Like every woman, Corinne was screened – but, unlike other women, she and Ernie welcomed the tests. They wanted to be sure their baby was fit and healthy ‒ they wanted to do all they could to ensure the safe arrival of the little being they already loved so much and for whom they would do anything.

Their hearts leapt when they saw their creation stretching on the ultrasound. Their baby. Their joy. For the midwife dealing with Corinne, the screening process had become routine – a monotonous series of tests with invariably the same outcome. She didn’t expect to see anything but blue.

But there it was.

Pink.

And her appearance made quite an impact.

It caused a panic. The result in that examination room sent shockwaves of hysteria rippling around the globe. People couldn’t believe that good news had come at last. They were longing to be told more about the couple who offered them a glimmer of light.

But Corinne’s medical history of miscarriages, her age and the fact that no girls had survived in utero for decades was a cause for concern. Corinne and Ernie were moved into a specialized medical facility to maximize the chances of the pregnancy going full-term. Other than daily scans, no tests were carried out. This time Mother Nature was allowed to take her course – at least until there was any reason to interfere. Perhaps it was time to trust the human body again.

Corinne and Ernie understood the need for monitoring their baby’s development and the desire to keep their daughter safe. They welcomed the medical advice. They were happy their child was as special to others as she was to them. She had to be kept safe. They didn’t resent the restrictions placed on them. Or that they were allowed no visitors at all. They agreed they’d do whatever it took to bring their baby safely into the world.

There were complications in the delivery room. Mother and daughter were left fighting for their lives. Corinne died soon after giving birth, having fulfilled her life’s ambition to become a mother.

Ernie was grief-stricken, unable to deal with the loss of his wife. Incapable of being a father.

He never held his daughter.

Never kissed her.

Never told her he loved her.

And what of the baby girl?

The world had waited for her arrival with bated breath, longing for the news that their hopes had been realized, that their girl had been born.

She had.

Against all odds, she survived.

She was the first girl born in fifty years.

They called her Eve.

She represented the rebirth of the human race. She was the answer to their prayers. She was all they cared about, their final hope.

Eve was the saviour of humanity.

I am Eve.

Judging a book by its cover (cover review)

The cover for me screamed that this was a futuristic story from the simplistic but punchy design to the dark colours used in the background. However, the lines just at the bottom that read ‘How do you choose between love and the future of the human race?’ show this is a story that isn’t content with just letting the cover do the talking and felt more needed to be said. The circular design in the middle remained me of the cover of Florence Welch’s new book which also has a cut out section with a design underneath though that is a square. I’m not sure if this is a trend I’ve missed or a new trend but I thought it interesting to note. The ‘e’ on this cover also is intriguing for those who don’t what the story is about because of the use of the symbol used to represent femininity.

This honestly, isn’t my favourite type of cover simply because the colour palette or style doesn’t draw me in. I think however after reading the novel that the cover does a good job of being symbolic of the writing style and the novel’s contents.

Eve of Man

Review (not spoiler free)

I had high hopes for this novel after receiving lots of positive reviews from my friends and I’ll preface that for the most part I enjoyed this. I’ll also by picking up the other two books in this trilogy when they’re released (if you’re not a aware this book is the first in a trilogy). The writing style was easy to follow and I loved having the dual perspectives of Eve and Bram throughout the story. Sometimes, having multiple viewpoints in a novel can be redundant or even confusing but this never felt unnecessary to me and really helped fuel the romantic elements of the story. My friend actually said she preferred Eve’s chapters due to liking Giovanna’s writing style more. In fact, I preferred Bram’s chapters because I found that part of the story more interesting because you get to see a lot of possible future plot points.

I think the main issues I had with the novel was personal preference to be honest. The idea was so interesting that I just wanted more but from a slightly more adult view. Though, some things I think would have still have a place in a Young Adult novel, like, for example if it was more freeing to be homosexual in this society or if a desire for female offspring in fact made it worse. The novel does in fact feature men kissing when they’re out of the tower and in the real world but no further detail is gone into.

I hope in future novels as well that they delve into the narrative and show that they men they portray as sexually frustrated and are just expected to assault Eve is a product of  values they’ve been taught and conditioned (and how that’s not acceptable).

I also think the story would have more interesting if Eve was not your stereotypical Young Adult heroine. What would have happened to the story if she was homosexual? Transsexual? Or simply not conventionally attractive? Imagine all that expectation being the youngest female on the planet (and regarded as essentially the only female) and you don’t meet the physical expectations of the masses.

However, this is a love story through and through. Hence, why each chapter is penned by one half of a married couple and each character resembles their real life counterpart. And there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s relatable to a lot of people but to me it just reminded me a little of all the parts of Young Adult fiction I could never relate to.

Serious issues are however brought up. How could they not considering the subject matter? The whole novel in a way toys on the edge of whether IVF itself is natural considering the fact that it appears to be ‘love’ and ‘mother nature’ that brought Eve into the world, which I’m sure is not what the authors intended and might need to be clarified a little bit into future novels.

Eve’s name is of course biblical in origin but I also wonder if Bram is referring to Abraham, a key figure in the bible. Please correct me if I’m wrong here but from what I’ve read Abraham is guided by God to leave the house of his father and settle in a new land. Perhaps, there is some reflections to be made then considering the content of the novel.

Overall, like I’ve mentioned a lot of criticisms I have my be a little unfair for the novel’s category as it’s aimed at a younger readership. However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t tackle complex ideas or big themes – I just wish it had pushed the envelope that tiny bit further.

This novel is also just got too interesting a concept for me to put it down. However, I keep wondering all the way through; if she’s the only female are the rest of the human race to be born out of incest? That I’m still not sure of so if you can clarify please go ahead!

Rating 

3/5 – ‘enjoyable, gripping but I was hoping for a bit more’

Screen Shot 2018-07-30 at 18.02.22

April (April is the Cruellest Month)

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