My 2019 Goals: Revisited

Monday 24 June 2019

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Seeing as it’s roughly half way through the year, I thought it was about time I did a little reflection on the goals I set myself for the year.
Read 70 books

At the time of writing, I have read 30 books. That’s not including a couple of books which I have mostly read and are going to come back to at some point soon. It also means that I’m 2 behind where I should be at right now (thanks GoodReads for telling me that). However, I know that that is down to exam season and not being able to finish the books previously mentioned. I’m still relatively confident that I’ll read 70.

Publish a What I Read in 2018 blog post at the end of the year

This one’s still very much a work in progress. I’ve written a few entries, but need to make sure I ensure my ongoing document is up to date, as it very much isn’t at the moment. That’s definitely a job for the summer holidays…

Stop touching my face

I’m trying. I still do occasionally, but I genuinely think I’m gradually getting better at leaving my skin alone. I’m more aware of what triggers its reactions and its general patterns of behaviour (I say general, because they’re random af but still have some commonalities). I do find that I tend to touch my face more when it’s already having a bad bout or if I’m stressed, anxious, etc., but I think as long as I’m aware of it, I can help stop myself. 

Make sure to do at least 10 minutes of yoga every day

This one has gone quite well. I’ve been doing a lot more yoga lately, and I love it. There have been days when I haven’t done any (holidays, times when I’m at home from uni, when I’ve been ill, etc.), but whenever I’ve missed a day or two, I’ve tried to make up for that with longer sessions elsewhere.

Pass my first year of uni with at least a 2:1

First year finished for me at the end of May, and I’ve passed! I don’t know all my exact grades yet, but I think I may have managed a 2:1. This year doesn’t count towards my final degree grade, but I’ll still be bloody pleased with myself anyway.

Reduce my plastic use as much as possible

I think I’ve managed this pretty well so far. I am now much more aware of waste in whatever form it may come in plastic or otherwise, and make an effort in everything I consume to keep that waste to a minimum. Being low-waste is particularly hard on holiday, but is becoming much easier for me to figure out during my daily life. 

Perfect a vegan cake

So I haven’t made a single cake at all this year. I have made a couple of batches of vegan sausage rolls with my friend Jude, made several batches of Jack Monroe’s Marmite bread and made some Welsh cakes, however, no actual proper spongey cake has been attempted. I freakin love the stuff I’ve made otherwise, but they’re not cake. Give me some time and I’ll try and find some more recipes. I particularly want to find a perfect chocolate, but let’s be real, it’s going to take some time and baking for that to happen I think. Another job for the summer!

Diversify my reading

This has been a little harder than I’d thought it might be, simply because I have to dedicate significant amount of time to my uni reading, which has been quite white and male for a fair bit. However, I’ve still tried, and summer is going to be my time to rectify that. Out of the 30 books I’ve read so far (not including the ones I’ve partly read), 12 have been by women, one has been translated and only 2 have been by BAME people. I’m definitely going to focus on trying to read more books by BAME and LGBT people, as looking out how white (I can’t know for sure how straight) my reading so far has been this year makes me feel very uncomfortable. 

How are your goals going so far this year?

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Being Vegan in Disneyland Paris | What I Eat in a Day

Wednesday 19 June 2019

Eating vegan can be a challenge at the best of times, but is especially difficult in Disneyland. It took a lot of planning and, although some mistakes were made, I did my best and learned from my experiences. Here’s what I ate:
We arrived in the mid-afternoon on Monday, so only really had one meal there. We had been travelling for most of the day however (myself in particular, as I was coming from Newcastle rather than Southampton), so we’d already eaten a fair bit that day. The day before we had both stocked up on snacks, and I had made a risotto which I brought with me to have for lunch on the train over. Having travelled down to London the night before, I got myself the vegan breakfast burrito from a Starbucks as I made my way over to St. Pancras. I do my best not to buy from Starbucks normal (if they paid their taxes it might be a different story), but I also want to show support for their new vegan range and this burrito was almost too good to be true!

After an evening in the park, we then headed over to Vapiano in the Disney Village - a European restaurant chain which we’d heard had some good vegan Italian food. Sure enough, they had some vegan pasta options, but I ended up having one of their veggie pizzas without cheese. It was honestly so tasty, and much more than I was expecting to get – you could watch them making them, which is always fun. The system was a little confusing, as we had to scan a card at each food station as we ordered and then scanned it at the end to pay, but we managed it in the end. I’m easily confused. 

When we returned to the hotel after a bit more time spent in the park, we had some of the Tesco Dark Chocolate Digestives I had brought with me.

As we didn’t have breakfast included at our hotel (it didn’t look like it would be very vegan friendly so we decided against it), we had some energy bars on our way into the park for the day. They did the job well enough. 

That day we had booked ourselves a table at Chez Remy in the Studios, and it was lovely. The restaurant is Ratatouille themed and was so cute. All around us were massive pieces of crockery, cutlery, plants, and even a copy of Gusteau’s Anyone Can Cook which was about twice my height. We had a great time just walking through to our table!

For the starter, we had the soup of the day, which was carrot, as well as the bits of bread that came beforehand. The soup normally came with a splodge of cream cheese in, but I obviously had mine without that. 

Then for the main, I had a vegetable and tofu navarin, basically vegetables and tofu cooked in some kind of sweet oily sauce. As I ate it I wondered whether or not there was butter in there, and I still have no clue and wish I’d asked before I’d ordered. I decided not to make a big deal of it however, as my body isn’t intolerant to lactose yet so I wouldn’t have a reaction later, and I did my best and would know to be more vigilant in the future. I guess I’ll never know exactly. It was delicious though, even with its price (I paid 38 for the meal and a drink, and, after the accommodation and travel, it was the main expense of the trip by itself). 

We stayed in the Studios and then the Disney Park for the rest of the day in order to make the most of the rides and see the fireworks, so had to get some food there. We ended up getting a portion of chips for about 3.50 I think. I won’t lie, they were kind of small and kind of cold but they were food and we didn’t have many options at that point. We also shared the pack of salted pistachio nuts I’d brought along with me from the UK as a snack. Snacks from home are such a necessity going to Disneyland and if you’re going soon and will be eating vegan there, make sure you bring plenty. 

After eating our chips and people watching around the castle, we then headed over to Victoria’s for and iced tea. They had four different flavours and were so tasty. I can’t remember the price right now, but I think they were somewhere between €5-7.50. They were so tasty and I will definitely get another if I go back anytime soon.

Whilst waiting for the fireworks to start, we bought ourselves a bucket of candyfloss to share – as always, fabulous (although we didn’t finish it all, we were too busy crying at lights). 

Our breakfast on our last day was similar to before – cereal and energy bars, and a stop off at the Starbucks at our hotel (I didn’t get anything but I did notice that they had options for non-dairy drinks – only soya milk, but it’s still an option). 

We left around 2ish, so had enough time for lunch before we got our train. We went to Fuente del Oro, a Mexican Restaurant in the Disney Park, not too far from Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. We’d seen a vegetable chilli on their menu when we walked past it on our first day, and made a mental note to come back before we left. I ordered the chilli and Amy ordered loaded fries. Despite not stating on the menu, mine came with some cheese melted on top along with what seemed like cheesy nachos. I did my best to scrape as much of it as I could onto Amy’s plate (please take note of the before and after images down below), but I must have consumed some bits of cheese accidentally. Despite this, it was absolutely lush and really filling. I would definitely recommend, just make sure you ask for no cheese even if it doesn’t say anything cheese-related on the menu!

how it came originally

after I'd removed as much cheese and nachos as possible

After lunch, we had a little more time left to go on Space Mountain a few more times, and then got our train back to London, where we made use of the combo of a student discount and Green Wednesdays to get a cheap Yo! Sushi meal at St. Pancras before properly heading home. 

I hope this has been useful. For me, whilst planning this trip, vlogs and blogs were my main source of information and advice when figuring out how I was going to survive as a vegan in Disneyland – a task which can seem a little impossible when you don’t know your facts. My main pieces of advice would be:

1) To always ask about ingredients, even when the menu doesn’t mention animal products, they sneak in everywhere.

2) Bring plenty of your own snacks. You know what’s vegan and you may need a little boost every now and again. I brought lots and I’m glad I did, even if I didn’t finish my biscuits entirely. 

3) Do your research but don’t get too caught up in sticking to the plan. Know where to go as a backup, but also keep an eye out for any options which may have vegan potential – you never know where they may pop up.

4) Don’t stress. It’s okay to make mistakes – hell, I made loads of slip-ups on this trip but I tried my best and that’s all I can do. It’s all a learning curve, take the mistakes you make into your stride and use them to do better next time. Disneyland is also a place where it becomes very difficult to avoid waste. I had my trusty reusable water bottle (and definitely made the most of it) and it did my best elsewhere, but it was generally more difficult to reduce waste. We were given paper straws with our drinks at Victoria’s, which made me very happy, and had less waste when we ate in at Chez Remy’s, but apart from that most places had disposable wrapping. Again, it’s about doing your best where you can. 

If you liked this post you might like: OOTD // 3 Days of Disney Bounding

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OOTD // 3 Days of Disney Bounding

Monday 10 June 2019

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This time last week, I was on my way to Disneyland Paris for a brief trip with my friend Amy. We had a great time, and part of the fun in particular was our attempts at Disney bounding. For those of you who don't know, bounding is attending a Disney park dressed as a character, just as long as you're  more subtle than the actual characters themselves. We were there for 3 days, so here are my three outfits. 

Day 1: Minnie Mouse

Top – Depop, bought just over a month ago
Skirt – 6-year-old fast fashion
Minnie Ears – ones I wore from when I last went to Disneyland Paris when I was about 5 (I’m turning 20 in a few months for context)
Shoes – Converse I have had for so long they are literally falling to pieces and I should probably get rid of them (unfortunately not vegan due to the glue)
Bag – Mi Pack I’ve had for years (I can’t remember when I first got it)
Cardigan - fast fashion I've had for about 2 and a half years

Day 2: Agent Peggy Carter

Top – Depop, bought just over a month ago
Trousers – Beyond Retro in Brighton, bought nearly a year and a half ago
Minnie Ears – the same pair
Shoes – the same Converse
Bag – the same Mi Pack

Day 3: General/Princess Leia Organa

Top – fast fashion bought with an old gift card, had for about 6 months
Skirt – fast fashion I’ve owned for several years (I’m not sure of exactly how long I’ve had it)
Necklace - fast fashion at least 2 years old
Shoes – the same Converse
Bag – the same Mi Pack

I hope you enjoyed this post - keep an eye out for another Disney post next week!

If you liked this post you might like: OOTD // Second Hand

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April and May 2019 | Monthly Wrap Up

Monday 3 June 2019

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I’ve finished my first year of uni! That’s something new.

Favourite part?

April was almost entirely spent at home with the Easter holidays, and thebreak was really welcome. I had a week doing about nothing at home, then my mum and I had a weekend trip to London. The main purpose of the show was to see the play All About Eve, but we also spent the rest of our time exploring London and eating lots of yummy vegan food. As we arrived, we had a bit of a wander around Soho, and went to the feminist bookshop The Second Shelf. It’s really out of the way, but really worth the grapple with Google Maps to find it. They have hundreds of first edition books all by women. These range from Jane Austens and Brontes to Agatha Chrisities and everyone in between. I bought What Not by Rose Macauley – not a first edition (those things are bloody expensive, it’s my life goal to own just one first edition of a classic author) however, this novel has been out of print for about one hundred years due to its libelous content, which, of course, intrigued me immensely. After visiting the bookshop, we found a vegan food market with the most amazing array of foods. I didn’t know what to have with all those options, it was incredible. In the end we had vegan ‘steak’ slices in buns with cheese and a bbq-ey sauce. It was lush, but very filling very quickly. That evening we went to eat in By Chloe. in Covent Garden before making our way to the play. I had a tomato meatball sub and my mum had their mac and cheese with shiitake bacon. While we were there, we were sat close to Ruby and Anthony from last year’s Bake Off. Wild times. The play starred Lily James and Gillian Anderson and we really enjoyed it – the staging was so interesting and different, and all the actors were amazing.

The next day, we visited the British Museum. Weirdly, I walked past one of my English lecturers on the way in so there we are. Two people headed to London from Newcastle and somehow ended up outside the British Museum. I found it hilarious safe to say. The British Museum has so much there that we made sure we had our priorities beforehand. The top priority was the mummies, and it seems that everyone else’s was aswell. It was so busy but they were so cool it was worth the crowds. One of our other favourites exhibits included From Cradle to Grave, the display of medication two people took throughout their lifetime – one cisman and one ciswoman – and it was fascinating. We spent ages looking at all the different ones, figuring out their narratives and discussing what ours would look like. Another one I absolutely loved, was the money exhibit. They had a TV bank note from Doctor Who as well as a suffragette coin. The coin I will never forget. As we entered the money exhibit I mentioned the suffragette coins and how cool it would be if they had one, and funnily enough, a few minutes later my mum called me over to where they actually had one. I have been wanting see one of these for ages, ever since hearing about them on the Guilty Feminist podcast, and I will never forget the time that I actually saw one. It was so cool. If you aren’t aware of them, these are coins which were vandalized by suffragettes by carving ‘Votes for Women’ on them so that they could no longer be used. Before heading home, we had a late lunch at the museum’s pizzeria (I know, snazzy right). They actually had vegan pizzas – two of them! 

For the rest of April, I ended up spending a lot fo time helping out at home doing chores, reading and procrastinating the uni work I had to do. I also saw my friends a lot more than I did over the Christmas holidays, thanks to several of my friend’s birthdays and the much better weather, which gave us all a boost in energy. It was amazing to see everyone, and makes me realise how much I genuinely miss them when I’m away. Several pubs were visited, house parties were had and tasty vegan Chinese food and pies were eaten. 
The first few weeks of May were spent researching for and writing my last two essays of the year. My grandparents came to visit me on the weekend just before my deadlines, which was a welcome break. It was lovely to see them and show them around Newcastle and spend time with them, as I hadn’t seen them since February. So I handed in my last two assignments, finished timetabled uni time and started slowly revising for my exam. Yes, I had one, and it was great only having one thing to worry about for two weeks. 

May was the first two times that I voted! First, my local council elections (with very limited options, my choice of which was not elected) and then the European elections. Both times I sent my vote off through the post, and I have absolutely no idea when I’ll vote in a booth for the first time. I guess we’ll just have to see what the hell happens.

I went to see the Guilty Feminist live show with my friend Ali, and honestly, it was incredible. We had a great time and laughed a hell of a lot.

Since my essays were done and classes stopped, I had a lot of spare time. I probably could have spent that time revising more for my exam, but hey we can just skip over that part. I spent more time reading, volunteering and ended up going to three art exhibits (two as part of uni degree shows and another a preview of an exhibit at the Baltic which was made entirely out of plastic waste). I also sent an afternoon at Tynemouth beach with some of my friends. We briefly went in the sea, but it was too cold to stay in for that long. Here’s to September sea temperature. 

Best read?

In April, I read Dangerous Women, a collection of short stories compiled by George R. R. Martin, and featuring several writers. I wrote about this book during my last monthly wrap up, as I’d basically finished it when I was writing that, so you can read that there if you fancy. I then read Beyond the Fragments: Feminism and the Making of Socialism by Sheila Rowbotham, Lynne Segal and Hilary Wainwright. It was interesting, especially as I was reading it with around 40 years perspective on the issues they were discussing. 

I then read Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas whilst on the bus going to and from visiting a friend. I don’t know what it is about Under Milk Wood, but I always find it such a comforting read. It’s like some kind of weird Welsh hug. 

I then read Evan Davis’ Post-Truth, which discusses the level of bullshit and lying we have to deal with in our society. To be fair, I can’t remember all the details now but I remember it being very interesting, and a  lot more overarching language analysis than I was necessarily expecting, but I love that stuff so I wasn’t complaining - language analysis is fascinating y’all. 

I then read the Communist Manifesto (Marx and Engels, my boyyss) and Private Memoir and Confessions of a Justified Sinner by James Hogg, both for uni and both later than I should have read them. Justified Sinner and good elements, but had parts which were quite a slog to get through.

For the first part of May, I read Mansfield Park by Jane Austen as part of my English course. It’s the last Austen novel (of the completed six) which I hadn’t read, so it was nice to finish the set. I then read Rights of the Reader by Daniel Pennac. I first heard of this book when it was recommended by Leena Norms in a video a while ago, and I finally got around to reading it. I enjoyed it, but felt a little out of place for the first half when he was discussing helping children finding their path to reading. I didn’t quite feel like the right audience for that part.

Next, I read Vagina: A Re-Education by Lynn Enright. I bought this as an International Women’s Day treat (ooh so capitalistic but it’s not as bad when it’s books okay), and I’m so glad I did. It was so empowering reading this and actually learning about my own body. There is so much information in there and it’s incredible. Did you know that the full size and shape of the clitoris was only discovered in 1998???? To me, I think that is wild. Genuinely, if you have a vulva or not, read this book. Get yourself some of the god damn vulva facts!

I then read Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton. Wow, the hype for this book is so well deserved. It was unlike anything I’d ever read before in the sense that it just felt so comfortable and familiar. I know I’ll keep coming back to this book in the years to come, just as a little reassurance. I would have read it in a day if I hadn’t had an exam to revise for, and would recommend it to everybody and anybody.

My copy got smushed by some loose mushrooms in my bag, in case you were wondering.
Very on brand I think. 

Favourite tunes?

I’ve been listening to Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. I haven’t properly listened to this album for years and now I have it on repeat. 

Favourite watch?

Boy have I cried a lot at TV and film the past couple of months. Game of Thrones came and went, along with it many shouts, gaps and screams at 3am (again, sorry for waking you up Jude). I enjoyed the series, despite many people’s many objections, and I do have my own criticisms, however, I’m not going to hold that against anyone other than the showrunners’ lazy writing and the shortness of the last series, as you can tell how hard the crew and the actors worked to make it the best it could be. My main gripe was with Jaime’s character arc completion. I will be forever angry and bitter on behalf of my fave (Sansa’s Queen of the f*cking North though so I can cheer on my main fave). Now let’s get the last books out George!


I also rewatched Crazy Ex Girlfriend (my absolute fave) and Sex and the City. I tell you what, the last episodes of Sex and the City made me ball just because it focusses so much on female friendships and made me miss my gals so much, but hey, it’s not long til I see them now! I watched Fleabag all the way through twice, and I am obsessed. I tried to get tickets to see the play in London with my friend, but we were unsuccessful despite my trying to buy them for hours. Ah well. 

I have also been keeping up with the new releases of Jane the Virgin and Brooklyn 99, and have been especially impressed by the episode He Said, She Said, which I thought was incredibly well done. 

When I was at home, my mum and I rewatched the 2008 series of Emma, and loved it as much as ever. We’re definitely looking forward to the new film adaption of it next year.

One of my favourite new releases was Dead to Me on Netflix. I watched this series so quickly, I ended up having to meet my friend late because I couldn’t not finish watching the finale. The characters are complicated, and real, and interesting, and I just love tv shows based around older female friendships (Grace and Frankie, hello!). I recommended it to some friends of mine and they stayed up til 4am bingeing it, having intended on watching one episode a night. It’s that freaking good. 


Well, the past few months have been the time for Marvel, haven’t they? In April, I went to see Captain Marvel with my family and really enjoyed it, and then I went to see Endgame by myself in May. And yes, I cried my eyes out. Properly blubbed. I don’t understand how the people next to me weren’t crying their eyes out. I had to physically hold in a loud sob and one point so it ended up being a weird little squeal. I just couldn’t control myself whenever I saw Peggy Carter, my absolute love. I wasn’t really happy with the ending of Captain America’s arc ending because of how I feel about the Agent Carter TV series (justice for Daniel Sousa, for those who know), but again, it is what it is, and I can’t change it.

Later in the month, my friend Ali and I went to see Booksmart. Ugh, what a film. I love a good teen coming of age film, and this one is going to go down as a cult classic. We spent practically the entire time laughing with the rest of the cinema, and I can’t wait to see it again. 

What did I learn?

Lots of stats and facts about global feminism and vaginas. Moving out is weird, even when you haven’t been there very long. Essays can be done quickly if you spend enough effort planning. Going home for even a month can make it feel like nothing has changed in over a year. I miss my friends just as much as I miss my family, and they are just as important. 

What’s happening next month?

At last, it’s suuummeeerrr!! I have a few trips with friends planned. In fact, as this post goes up, I’ll be in Disneyland! In between those, I’ll be moving out of my first year uni flat into my new house for next year. It still seems ridiculous to me that I have less than a week in a room which has been the first place which I could call my own. I actually feel quite sad about leaving it. Once I am back living with my parents for the summer, I’ll be starting a new job. It’s going to be chaos, but hopefully it’ll be good. 

What’s been on my mind?

My friendships. I tell you something, watching Sex and the City (particularly the last few episodes) aren’t the best if you’re really missing your gals.

Favourite blogger/vlogger?

I’ve been really enjoying Carrie Fletcher’s May, Myself and I series. They’ve been nice little ideas and chats to have in my day.

Favourite post?

Well, I’ve barely posted in May, so that’s kind of a write off (pun intended). I wrote many more posts in April, after all I was on holiday so didn’t have any extra pressures. I’d say my favourite post from the past two months is probably my review of my pair of THINX underwear. It was a new kind of post for me and I loved writing it. I also felt great about the pictures I used, they make me feel so confident about myself. 

Biggest inspiration?

All the people at the volunteering work I do at uni. Every single one there is incredible and gives me hope for the future.

Any other favourites?

Rosie and Chris Ramsey’s podcast, Shagged Married Annoyed, has been a definite favourite recently. I find them hilarious and always look forward to when a new episode is released. Ooh! And I can't forget Jack Monroe's Marmite bread. I have been obsessed with it and made it several times now. It's so tasty.


If you liked this post you might like: February/March 2019 | Monthly Wrap Up

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