Vegan options at UK coffee shops

Costa Coffee

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Picture: Costa

Their coffees are all available with soya milk and are suitable for vegans except for the ones with chocolate powder – hot chocolate, mocha, etc which contains milk.

Vegan food available includes Plain or Multigrain Toast, Fruit Crumble Slice (delicious!) Tyrell’s Crisps (Exc. Cheese and Onion flavour), Sweet and Salty Popcorn, Pomegranate Glitter and Fruit Salads. www.costa.co.uk/

Starbucks

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On the coffee side, Starbucks is definitely getting better by recently adding coconut milk to their offering. Recent news Stateside is that they are about to add Almond milk too. So, with the already existing soya milk, that’s 3 dairy free alternatives. Good job SB! When it comes to seasonal drinks,  the majority of the syrups are vegan, although sadly not the pumpkin spice or honey and almond drizzle.

On the food side, they have a little bit of catching up to do with no vegan cakes or desserts to be seen. Suitable vegan foods include Multigrain Bagel, Perfect Oatmeal (with various toppings), Plain Bagel and Moreish Meze salad. http://www.starbucks.co.uk/

Pret A Manger

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In terms of vegan options, Pret A Manger are strides ahead. By now, we all know about the very succesful Veggie Pop up in London that has been open all summer and have an extensive vegan menu.

The great thing about Pret is that they regularly change up their menu with great Chef’s specials that change every month. Breakfasts include the rather exciting Acai Breakfast Bowl (which I can’t wait to try), Dairy free Bircher and Five Grain Porridge.

For lunch, how about the Super Greens and Reds sandwich, Chana Chaat Flat Bread, Mushroom and Avo Sushi Salad, Red Tapenade and Avo SuperBowl, Hummus and Crunchy Veg Wrap and various Soups of the Day.

And finally, snacks offered are Coconut Yoghurt Pot, Nuts, Crisps, Popcorn, Fruit and my absolute favourite Dark Chocolate Oat Cakes. https://www.pret.co.uk/en-gb

Caffé Nero

857409_531235140295353_981706093_oAll coffees and teas can be made vegan with soya milk as well as the highly recommended hot chocolate.  A bit of a poor show on the sweet side although I am told the mince pies, available at Christmas are vegan.

Vegan friendly snacks include Bear Yo-Yos, Fruit Salad, popcorn and Fruit and Nuts. You can also order the porridge with soya milk for breakfast. Lunch options include Houmous & Falafel Wrap, Spicy Bean Fajita Wrap, Falafel & Tabbouleh Salad and Vegetable Pasta Arrabbiata. http://www.caffenero.co.uk/

I hope you found this useful.

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6 London Vegan places to visit this Summer

New vegan and vegetarian restaurants, cafes and pops ups are launching all the time in London and us vegans have never had so must choice. Here’s 6 places to discover this Summer.

Just F.a.B 

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Standing for Just Food and Beverages, this Italian street food establishment is actually set in a converted double decker bus on the Hackney road (where else?). Dishes include Raw Spaghetti, Polenta Muffins and the rather intriguing Bread salad. http://www.just-fab.org

Yorica

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I went to Yorica a few months ago after Instagram and his dog seemed to have visited before me. The first vegan ice-cream shop in all of the UK, it’s decor is super cute and everything looks delicious. A wonderful amount of toppings, it was hard to choose but you can’t go wrong with all things chocolate. A little on the pricey side but a definite treat. http://www.yorica.com

Club Mexicana 

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A street food pop up , I first tried Club Mexicana’s food at a vegan festival and so was very happy to track them down again. They can be found everywhere from Kings Cross to Lewisham so don’t forget to check their website for their weekly whereabouts. Their jack fruit and bean burrito is heavenly.  http://www.clubmexicana.com

Fed by Water

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There’s a definite buzz about this place and my friends have been raving about the wonderful pizzas on offer here. The choice is extensive to cater for every whim. If you’re in the mood for the full monty, go for the The King STARter with in house made cashew cheese and seitan carpaccio and salami. http://fedbywater.co.uk

Cook Daily

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I blooming love this place. A bit on the pricey side but you can taste the difference in the high quality ingredients they use. I’m a big fan of eating out of bowls and Cook Daily offers some great ones. I had Da Infamous bowl which was possibly the best tofu green curry I’ve ever had. Other options include the Yoga Fire – spiced chick peas, sweet potato curry with turmeric and dhal and the rather tempting Full English – Tofu scramble with mushrooms, tomatoes and vegan sausage. The food has that home cooked, healthy feel that we all inspire to. http://www.cookdaily.co.uk

Andu Cafe

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I fell in love with Ethopian food last year when I went to an all vegan restaurant in NY offering the cuisine.  I’ve not since replicated the experience back in the UK but heard great things about this small Ethiopian vegan café in Dalston, Andu serves a tasting platter of six colourful dishes served with a choice of injera bread or rice. https://www.facebook.com/Andu-Cafe-1653247514905380/

Anywhere else I should be checking out?

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Bird’s Eye Review: The Spoke, London

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Just a quick post today to tell you about an awesome cafe we stumbled upon that has recently opened up in North London.  The Spoke on Holloway Road offers a bike friendly vibe but caters for all.

Although not an extensive amount of veggie options, the ones we tried were great and the Almond Milk Lattes were crazy good.

Awesome ambience

Awesome ambience

Chilli Avocado on Toast

Chilli Avocado on Toast

Portobello and Mushroom Humous Burger (Obligatory Sweet Potato fries not shown)

Portobello and Mushroom Humous Burger (obligatory sweet potato fries not shown)

And let's end with one more Almond Latte

And let’s end with one more Almond Latte

I would definitely recommend this place for a quiet coffee, a perfect place to work or drinks with friends.

http://www.thespokelondon.com 710 Holloway Road, London, N19 3NH.

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London Protest March against Taiji Dolphin Slaughter

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Have you seen the documentary The Cove? If not, you need to stop what you’re doing right now and go watch it.  It’s a difficult watch. It’s emotional, thought-provoking and eye opening but it’s important.  If you don’t know what this Oscar-winning film is about, it focuses on the mindless, pointless, barbaric dolphin massacres that happen every year in Taiji, Japan.

From 1st September 2014, the start of the hunting season, to 8th February 2015, there have been 654 dolphins slaughtered in the cove, according to data compiled by the website Ceta-Base, from estimates given by the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and the Japanese Fisheries Ministry. Last season, 831 dolphins were killed. These dolphins are being sold for meat (which is ridiculous due to the high mercury content) as well as being sold on to theme parks across the world for a large sum. Disgraceful!

Ric O’ Barry is spearheading the campaign. He started his career in dolphin training, most famously for training Flipper in the highly acclaimed TV series. But since then, he has dedicated his life to saving these beautiful creatures.

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Ric O’Barry

I have attended a few protest marches against this massacre and the biggest of which was most definitely the march in central London on 17th January.  We started at Hanover Square and accompanied by signs, banners and whistles paraded down Oxford Street and into Soho finishing in the grandeur of Trafalgar Square,  where several speeches took place.  All inspiring and touching.  I was personally excited to see Will Travers , CEO of the Born Free Foundation who gave an empowering and empassioned speech about the battle against captivity across the world.  He remains positive about the ‘inevitability of change’ that will come.

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Please check out the following websites for further information and dates for the next event.

 https://www.facebook.com/pages/London-against-the-Dolphin-Massacre-Taiji-Japan/212520505611738?sk=events
 http://dolphinproject.net
 http://www.seashepherd.org
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Cowspiracy Documentary showing at Goldsmith’s University Thursday 26th February

If you have watched and been moved by such documentaries as Black Fish and The Cove, then the next documentary creating a lot of buzz is Cowspiracy.  Goldsmith’s University in London is hosting a showing and a lovely vegan meal at Natura Cafe next week so please see below for the details and how you can get tickets.

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Bird’s Eye Review: Vegan Life Magazine Jan/Feb issue

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If you’re looking for vegan news you can use, mouth watering recipes, thought provoking articles and interviews with key vegan, inspirational figures then you need to check out Vegan Life magazine. Here are a few of my favourite articles from the Jan/Feb issue:

I very excitedly got a vegetable spiraliser for Christmas (well it excited me) and so was happy to spot this recipe for Courgette noodles with marinated mushrooms. I am loving courgetti spaghetti at the moment so will definitely be giving this recipe a whirl.

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I also loved seeing the article on one of my favourite veggie restaurants in London – Tibits. It described how the owners, 3 vegetarian brothers, started their business and it was great to see this wonderful establishment getting the high praise it deserves.

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I read with interest the feature on benefits of a raw food diet as it is something I have been reading up on lately. Benefits are said to include an increase in energy, a clearer mental state and ridding the body of those pesky toxins. This way of eating really appeals to me as it feels like a more natural way of living. I’m not saying I’m quite there yet, but I have definitely becoming more mindful of adding in more raw foods to my diet.

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These are just a few of my favourite articles from the issue but I enjoyed the entire magazine.  Let me know if you’ve subscribed and any thoughts and reactions you had to the articles inside.  For my information, check out their website: http://veganlifemag.co.uk

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Bird’s Eye Review : Wild Food Cafe

wild-food-cafeI have no idea why it has taken me so long to check this place out. Perhaps, it is the rather large queues that seem to pour out of the restaurant every time I try to visit but I now know why.  I loved this place.  My friends and I did have to wait over half an hour for a table but it was definitely worth the wait.

The cafe, situated in the heart of Neal’s Yard in Covent Garden, can be reached from a narrow set of stairs in the courtyard.  Wild Food Cafe is a raw-centric food restaurant.  As much as possible, they source their ingredients from independent suppliers and organic producers.

The seating is communal but that did not bother me as everyone was just checking out each others food and being inspired to order next door’s yummy dish when it arrived in all it’s impressive glory.

IMG_8885I had been recommended the WILD FALAFEL but unfortunately, there were only 2 left so I sacrificed this option to my friends and ordered the  AYURVEDICSUPER SALAD instead (which left me with more incentive to order a dessert – yippee!). And, oh my, was it a super salad.  Amongst other goodness, it consisted of organic lamb lettuce, rocket, seaweed, avocado, cucumber and red pepper cubes, mango salsa, marinated shiitake mushroom and my new favourite: courgetti spaghetti.

I did get a bite of the falafel too which was beyond delicious.  And then it was time for coffee and dessert. It wasn’t a difficult choice with raw peanut butter cake on the menu.  This was decadent, creamy, rich and fantastic.  I could actually dedicate a whole blog post to this cake alone, but I won’t.  Suffice to say, it was definitely the best raw dessert I’ve ever tried and I’m going to try to emulate this at home. (good luck me).  It has to be said the coffee with coconut milk was also rather wondrous.

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I would love to know if you have been to Wild Food cafe and if you have any menu recommendations. I can’t wait to go back. http://wildfoodcafe.com

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Bird’s Eye Review: George Northwood and Pureology Haircare

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I was in need of a much over due hair cut and was interested to find a hairdressers that used vegan products.   I was highly recommended the wonderful central London salon, George Northwood.  Located just behind busy Oxford Circus, this gem of a place is relaxing and tasteful and I immediately felt comfortable in it’s plush and beautifully decorated surroundings.

Upon arrival, I was offered a Bloody Mary as apparently that’s their Saturday treat but I declined as daytime drinking doesn’t really suit me.  They also offer a Vegan tuck shop which includes quinoa chips, kale crisps, nakd bars, bounce balls, dried mango and cashew nuts.  How amazing is that?

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After my consultation, I went for a Balayage colour treatment and a significant chop for my new shoulder length do.  My colour treatment was washed out and my hair conditioned using Pureology products.  I was in love at first smell.  Specialising in colour care, these products are vegan and made with plant extracts and I’m told, also have an anti-fade complex.  I was won over immediately and purchased the Strength Cure  shampoo and Perfect for Platinum conditioner to use at home and I have been really impressed.  They both leave my normally tangle ridden hair, manageable and super soft.  I would highly recommend them and would say they are definitely worth the rather high price tag.  Certainly the best vegan haircare products I’ve tired so far.  And here’s the result:

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I loved the service I received at George Northwood (thank you to my wonderful colourist, Amy and fantastic stylist, Lotte. I will most definitely be going back again.  Find out more and go book an appointment here:

http://www.georgenorthwood.com/index.html

Pureology are stocked on Amazon and check out their range here:

http://www.pureology.co.uk

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London Vegan Bird Food: Green Teas

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For a long time, I hated Green Tea.  I didn’t like the bitter taste at all so steered well clear despite all of the amazing health benefits I kept hearing about.  However, all that changed when I met a Green Tea obsessive who swears by the stuff.  She told me the secret to yummy tasting tea without that bitter taste is to only leave the tea bag in for approximately 1 minute. (max 2).

This little tip has literally changed my Tea Drinking life.  Finally, I can say I have replaced that comforting, homely feeling of an English Breakfast culpa, something, I have not felt since turning vegan as I have not found a non dairy milk alternative that I like in the traditional variety.

So here are my current favourite Green Tea varieties.

Double Dragon Chinese Green Tea –my everyday favourite. So delicious.

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Clipper Decaff Green Tea – for my evening post dinner cuppa.

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Higher Living Coconut Green Tea – for something a bit special

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Twinings Green Tea with Apple and Pear and Twinings Green Tea with Pineapple – If you fancy your tea a little fruity.

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I’m always up for trying new teas.  Let me know your favourites or better yet, your picks for London Tea Houses to check out? My next mission!

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London Vegan Festival Swag

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On Sunday, I checked out the London Vegan Festival at Kensington Town Hall.  Great to see so many vegans in one place bustling for free samples.

As you can see, I made a stop at the delightful Ms Cupcake, which never disappoints and went for the Strawberries and Cream.  Absolutely heavenly!

I also joined the rather justifibly long queue for a Rainforest Box at Rainforest Creations which although my photo doesn’t do it justice, was delicious.

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And lastly, I couldn’t resist a Vego bar as wasn’t sure the next time I would see one (turns out it was in Whole Foods in Camden the next day!), and stocked up on some Mini Moo bars – the honeycomb (or Bunnycomb) variety being my boyfriend’s favourite.

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I also picked up some Fry’s burgers but I’m going to do a separate post on Fry’s later in the week so stay tuned for that.

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