“Now, as we close one chapter, the pen is gradually inking up, preparing itself to write the next.” – Mie Hansson
As 2016 draws to a close, it is time to contemplate the year that was (including discovering how hard taking a 2 person and a licking dog selfie actually is !)
With no shortage of world wide tragedies and losses of amazing people (including one close to home – a much loved relative who succumbed to depression), I’m going to keep the focus on what made me happy this past year.
An arvo movie, followed by an early dinner/natter with a treasured friend/mum/partner – is one of my favourite things to do. There’s been some good ones in 2016 – 45 years, Rams, The Daughter, Mia Madre, I Daniel Blake and Patterson. This list has made me realise what a “human interest” movie lover I am (OK, most of them had an animal or two in them too).
Happy Valley, Wentworth, The Night Of, Flea Bag, Rectify, The Fall, Catastrophe. All fantastic and either funny or gripping. Itching to get into the latest Scandi drama – Midnight Sun (SBS on demand)
Must read books
On par with a brilliant movie is an engrossing read. My recommendations from the year are : A Man Called Ove (Fredrick Simpson), The Anti Cool Girl (Rosie Waterland), Another Love (Amanda Prowse), A Little Life (Hanya Yanagihara), A Happier Hour (Bex Weller) and A Year in Provence (Carolyn Tate).
My gutsy and courageous good friends Kylie and Alyssa (aka Alyssa Heath Manifesting Coach) – they know why ! Also these 3 amazing people……..
Jan from the Beet Retreat
I have yet to have the pleasure of meeting this wonderful woman but I do feel more than a touch of kindred spirit-ness with her. Jan spent a couple of decades in the Victorian Mounted Police before opting out for a completely different life, more in line with her values. Now in her almost mid 50’s (unfathomable when you see what she looks like), she runs a vegan B&B, The Beet Retreat, in country Victoria and does incredible things to advocate for animals (like running obscene distances). Jan is the epitome of compassionate, healthy and positive living. Her Facebook page and Instagram are fab ones to follow (her kelpie Mac is pretty damn cute too).
Mel Wojtas – The Hive Village Project
I had the pleasure of meeting the lovely Mel at the Lucy’s Project conference. She is a young, single mum who has faced and triumphed over domestic violence. Her drive to set up a village of self sufficient homes for people escaping domestic violence (AND their animals – so desperately needed) is utterly inspiring. An enjoyable, simple way to support her project is a night out at the movies to see the documentary Call Me Dad on 6th Feb 2017 in Ryde, Sydney.
Zach Skow – Marley’s Mutts Dog Rescue
From America, this man has made such a turn around in his life. From being at death’s door as a result of alcoholism and drug abuse, he is now healthy and investing his everything into saving dogs in desperate need. He also recognises the benefit of the human / animal connection in his prison programs (Pawsitive Change) where inmates are buddied up with a dog who needs some TLC before being re-homed. These stories are fascinating and heart warming to follow. (just quietly but…. Zach is quite easy on the eye too). Find him on facebook or instagram.
Cosmetics for my old lady skin
Cruelty free, not outlandishly expensive and effective- as far as is possible for my 46 year old skin anyway. Am loving…
Lush – Skin drink facial moisturiser, Let the Good Times Roll scrub and Ultrabland facial cleanser.
New music discoveries
Profoundly lacking (aside from Sia’s new album – This Is Acting). Suggestions please !
Delectable (and kind !) eating out discoveries
My last post was purely on this topic and I do not know enough superlatives to describe how outstanding I find this group. From sending off a little email inquiry a couple of years ago, the butterfly effect led me to the life changing Lucy’s Project. Domestic violence (and other violence related offences) and animal abuse – the link is clear. So much more needs to be done. This group of wise souls has had such a profound effect on me, my work and has brought with it new friends, direction and challenges. 2017 will hold great things for this magnificent group. I am thrilled to be a part of it.
Nitty Gritty Committee, The Slow Home Podcast, Mia Freedman’s No Filter & Freedom of Species. All are brilliant – they help me learn so much about all sorts of weird and wonderful things as I stride around doing my 12,000 steps !
Louder Minds and it’s associated closed facebook group – have allowed me to be completely accepting and more understanding of the way I am.
Head Space is gently easing me towards the year’s end too, one 10 minute meditation session at a time.
Zen Habits and all of it’s soothing tips to lead a calm, intentional life.
Best recipe stalking sites
These are about to get a massive workout (for my household’s Veganuary challenge) – there are endless fab ones but if I had to single a few out, they’d be…Vegan Richa, The Lazy Cat Kitchen, Carrots and Flowers, The Buddhist Chef and The Gentle Chef. Cook book wise, I adore my “Bed and Broccoli” cookbook (they have a gorgeous looking new vegan B&B in country Victoria too) and use it constantly.
Utterly random enjoyable things
Yoga with Adrienne, trying to get to 12,000 steps each day on my fitbit and making soap and epsom salt/essential oil bath salts
In 2017, I’m looking forward to……
- Veganuary. I currently eat a few organic eggs a week and have the occasional bit of cheese and smoked salmon so…. I am so close to what I know is the kindest way to tread through this life. The real challenge will be my fella.. Post coming up just for this awe inspiring moment where the ultimate meat/eggs/dairy lover goes animal product free for 31 days. I am totally proud of him – despite the big time bribery involved ($300 is going to his favourite charity Medecins Sans Frontiere if he makes it through the month animal product free). There is still time to sign up and join us !
- A sanctuary visit to Where Pigs Might Fly in the Hunter Valley.
- FINALLY, after being an avid supporter of Animals Asia for well over a decade, we’ll be visiting the bears at the Chengdu rescue centre in China later in the year. Cannot wait. Which segues me into….
- Decluttering my sea of stuff (and getting my buddies to as well) and selling the collective wares at a market stall to make lots of money for the beautiful bears at Animals Asia for Honey Money Days.
- Some huge work aspirations – trying to create change from within (#lucysproject) ! Whopping project.
- Lots more walking. Bundeena to Otford – coming soon !
- I’d love to see if any creativity lies within and do a drawing / painting course. I love the look of the on line Lisa Congdon ones on Creativebug or a real life one from Shani (from the Rare Pear Studio) – who pops across to Sydney (from Cowra) a few times a year to do classes at Little Lane Workshops in Brookvale, Sydney.
- Another mid year solitary sojourn – any suggestions ??
So from my little family to yours, have a wonderful 2017. I hope you will continue to tread kindly through it with me. Love Ing xxx
“Alone we can do so little. Together we can do so much.” ― Helen Keller
There is something quite exhilarating about finding a group of people who get you……..and you, in turn, utterly get them. When you are together with such people you feel that you can collectively conquer the injustices of the world. Without them you can feel a bit adrift and alone in your fight. Please indulge me whilst I share the happenings and sheer brilliance of the tribe I have found through Lucy’s Project.
Lucy’s Project was started a few years ago by lawyer Anna Ludvik who wanted to do something good and desperately needed in honor of her stillborn daughter, Lucy. Her dreams have snowballed into a growing gang of smart, compassionate, driven people who all share the same vision – one where the indisputable link between animal abuse and domestic violence is recognised and acted upon. This project has drawn together a collaboration of people including vets, social workers, police, lawyers, academics, refuge workers, domestic violence survivors, psychologists and animal welfare groups. All are drawn together through their collective love of animals AND people and their desire to put into place practical solutions to respond to the epidemic of domestic violence through their respective roles.
I am one of the tribe members and am on a mission to do what I can through my working world (one I keep very separate to this blog) to help. I proudly overcame my utter horror of any kind of limelight by giving a presentation at last weekend’s Lucy’s Project Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse International Perspectives conference. I feel so motivated and excited to do more. The new friendships and bonds with my fellow Lucy’s Project tribe members are wonderfully refreshing.
Here is a taste of what this fab group is learning about, promoting and doing (whilst our politicians and decision makers are largely ignoring this almighty elephant in the room)
Acknowledging the recent Australian (and similarly reflected worldwide) statistics (thanks to the beautiful Dr Lydia Tong) that :
- people who hurt animals are more likely to injure / kill people (and to commit violent crimes in general) In fact, it is one of the main predictors of domestic homicide. Why oh why are our decision makers not giving animal cruelty the recognition it deserves ?
- children who witness animal cruelty are more likely to become perpetrators of both animal cruelty and domestic violence in later life. The damage it does to children is overwhelming. The work of Frank Ascione is so informative. He was a pioneer in recognising these vital links.
- victims of domestic violence often delay leaving domestic violence situations due to fears for the safety of their animals. Yet, there are not enough places for them to take their animals to.
- Animals (particularly the one that the abused person is closest too) are often abused, physically and physiologically, to punish or control or terrorise the human victim.
- the importance of the bond between an animal and a survivor of domestic violence cannot be underestimated.
But the good news is that….
- there is a small but growing number of refuges in Australia which will take people AND their pets.
- The United States gives us a fabulous model to work with to create more refuges with shelters thanks to Allie Phillips and the SAF-T program.
- Vets are receiving more training about family violence and how to address customers who present animals with non accidental injuries(thus potentially indicating family violence in the home). Sentient is doing some great work around this topic.
- The RSPCA offer some innovative and helpful programs which can assist practically (including Living Ruff, POOPS, Safe Beds for Pets) and educationally.
- An informative and heart warming hub of information of a website is waiting in the wings, detailing where domestic victims can take their pets and showing real life stories of survivors talking about escaping domestic violence with their pet. My Saving Grace – I can’t wait for the launch of this site.
- Police can help through Apprehended Violence Orders and enforcing animal cruelty offences (along with the Animal Welfare League and RSPCA) and helping with resources.
There is so much that we can all DO to help
- Do you know a real estate agent ? Or someone about to rent out their house ? Encourage pet friendly rentals to become the norm rather than the exception. Pets are family members too after all.
- Make animal abusers more accountable and traceable by supporting a database for animal cruelty offenders in Australia. Sign here (a friend is running this petition and she’s nearly there – so, please add your signature).
- Are you an educator or do you know a teacher ? Encourage a program such as Thinkkind to be introduced into school curriculums. Having kids develop respectful relationships for our most vulnerable (animals) is so important in regards to the likelihood of them developing into decent and kind adults.
- Become a foster carer for an organisation such as the RSPCA or Paws And Recover. Having somewhere for their animal to go may be the one thing which makes someone leave their abusive relationship. Or if your area is lacking in fostering services, start one up. Rural areas are particularly lacking in such resources.
- Become a member of Lucy’s Project to learn more and become part of this tribe.
- Donate to or tell one of these the grassroots groups I’ve spoken about in this post about a grant you may have heard of. Sunsuper, Australian Ethical, Voiceless – all have some good ones. Local councils often offer community grants too.
Need some further inspiration ?
- One of the presenters at the conference last weekend was Glyn Scott. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house when she recounted her life story. When I am next having a hard day, I am going to think of what Glyn survived and I know my woes will look comparatively tiny. Like Anna, Glyn has created light from darkness to do something so fabulous and good. I’ve just ordered her book (Hope Was All I Had – available for pre-order through the website) and I follow her beautiful, inspiring organisation on facebook – “Love, Hope and Gratitude Foundation Inc.”
- Dr Freda Scott-Park. I loved hearing about the compelling research from this Scottish vet around family violence and how vets can become involved in preventing it and protecting pets in a violent home.
- Carl Coorey-Ewings is a very un-ordinary 18 year old school boy who has been researching this very topic (domestic violence and animal abuse – the link) for studies in his final year of school. Educating young men about this issue is so important and that’s exactly what Carl is doing.
- Follow what Mel is doing with her crowd funding campaign for some self contained units where all family members (including pets) will be welcome. Mel is one of those amazing people who found a need lacking when she needed it. So, rather than despairing, she invested her heart and soul into making sure others do not go through what she did and created The Hive Village Project.
- Sign up to the National Link Coalition newsletters. They are the source of so much information.
What is something you can do or are doing in your work or private life to help a cause which you are passionate about ? In an alarming world where Donald Trump is soon to become one of the most influential people on the planet (shudders), the time is never so dire. What can YOU do ? What tribe can you find to do it with you ?
“I think I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. Part of it is just learning what makes me happier and doing more of it, and learning what makes me unhappier and doing less of it.” – Mark Frauenfelder.
In our gallant efforts to tread as kindly as we can in this often frazzling, bewildering world, it is important to remember to be kind to ourselves and relish in the things which make us happy. The arrival of Spring, coinciding with my birthday, often makes me reflect on how my year is panning out, 3/4 of the way into it. I’m coasting along pretty well – tardy and sporadic blog posting aside, and there’s a couple of grand plans in the pipeline which have been occupying my thoughts. Stay tuned !
In the meantime, here is what is making me content, happy and optimistic right here, right now.
Cooking up a Storm including…..
- Creamy Curried Quinoa (thanks to The Full Helping)
- Spring Roll Bowls with Sweet Garlic Lime Sauce (thanks to Pinch of Yum)
- Sweet Potato Chickpea Buddha Bowl (thanks to Minimalist Baker)
- Flavour Bomb Greens’n’Noodles (thanks to My Green Roots)
- Choc Coffee energy bites (bizarrely thanks to NIB – my health insurer)
I am doing a bit of an on-line Spring spruce up through Vegan Sparkles – specifically The Sparkle Project which is full of incredible healthy, plant based recipes (along with lots of healthy and inspirational “mind stuff” too). If your mind or kitchen creativity needs a bit of a revamp, I’d highly recommend it.
Sourcing some new fab eateries in Sydney
Vegan ramen * at Ippeudo in the surprisingly atmospheric Westfields Sydney CBD.
* Pho and ramen usually have pork in the stock – even when advertised as being vegetarian so to find some 100% vegan options for 2 of my favourite soups was a great find.
Coffee and sourdough to die for as well as a scrumptious all vegetarian / vegan menu at Two Chaps in Marrickville. I usually have a rule about refusing to line up anywhere to eat but the food here is far too good to keep to this rule (and the wait is swift).
I am thrilled to the core about the prospect of having a “pub feed” at Australia’s first vegan pub – The Green Lion in Rozelle, Sydney. Opened on 17th September. Oooh yeah !!
Finding a new Perfume
I have been stuck in a pleasant Issey Miyake ground hog day experience for about the last 15 years – having not being able to find a worthy replacement. As I discussed in my post about perfume, the credentials of Issey Myake in the kindness stakes are a bit wishy washy. The good news is, I have fallen in love with a new scent – and it’s guaranteed cruelty free status – Vanilla Grapefruit by Lavanila. Divine scents are a massive thing for me in the feel good stakes. Which segues me into….
My almost nightly bath ritual is paramount to keeping my mind even keeled and content. I have invested in a massive 20kg tub of epsom salts and some essential oils ( from New Directions – fab warehouse) to keep me going for a while. I’ve found that this recipe from Hello Glow and it’s “uplifting / strengthening stress relief” description do just that for my mood.
The recent ban on greyhound racing
I am hoping that this recent ban in NSW leads to many conversations and changed attitudes in how we treat and view animals. We obviously have a long way to go but this is a positive start. We are strongly considering a new friend for Garp. See Greyhound Rescue to view some of the sweethearts (and their oh so human eyes) looking for their forever homes.
Lots of interesting and fun events coming up
My winter hibernation period is wrapping up so it’s time to get out amongst it again. There will be some culture on the cards at former refugee / pianist extraordinaire Hoang Pham and his performance at the City Recital Hall on the 16th October – all proceeds go towards saving the bears through the wonderful Animals Asia. Some learning and a little bit of networking is to be had at the Animal Justice Party Conference on 24th September and the Lucy’s Project Conference in Sydney on 5th and 6th November – a must do for all those interested in the indisputable connection between animal abuse and domestic violence. An interesting Sydney Fringe Festival dinner party event called Kale-spiracy will be held on the 28th September with a panel debating vegan/vegetarian vs omnivore diets. And then there’s the Cruelty Free Festival which I always love on the 30th October.
Some new summer shoes
No leather here…..I present my massively comfy (and hopefully fashionable, I am never quite sure!) new summer flats from Mox’s.
They come in many different colours too.
A new tooth care regime
Having been cursed with periodontal disease, care of my teeth is paramount. Having banished all the usual suspects (Colgate, Sensodyne etc) due to cruel animal testing, I have found Weleda salt toothpaste and Tooth Tonic treatment to be working well. Lets hope my perio thinks so too.
A 2017 diary has caught my eye
Being a devout Virgo, diary’s are crucial to my well being. List making, planning – it all happens in the treasured diary. Edgars Mission have just released a gorgeous diary for 2017 which I’ll be ordering very soon in a virgo-ish – still 3 months out from the years end -manner.
Getting into a yoga groove
At the age of 46, I have FINALLY worked out what I like to do fitness wise – yoga and walking and, I admit (with some trepidation due to aforementioned age), the odd boogy at No Lights No Lycra (OMG, so much fun !). I have gone through stages of thinking I should like certain activities like jogging or pump at the gym but, it turns out that I really don’t. I am still a beginner at yoga but I am loving (for free !) my weekly outdoor class through Live Life Get Active (they are all around Australia) and the Yoga With Adriene series on youtube.
Reading and telly / movie watching
Ah, how immensely satisfying is it when you read a good book, see a great movie or discover a new series on telly. Truly life’s pleasures. My recommendations of late are :
Movies – Truman
TV – Wentworth, The Night Of, Happy Valley and Catastrophe. All brilliant !
Now an annual birthday treat to myself, I recently fled the world for a few days on my own for some unadulterated introvert’s heaven. This time it was to Leura in the Blue Mountains in this cute little airbnb cottage. Long walks, lunches (love you Rubyfruit), nanna naps, list making, Spring flower gazing – ahhhh bliss !
I would love to know what is making you happy right now.
“The measure of a man is what he does with power” – Plato
My little blog usually focuses on all the things which we, as individuals, can do as part of our day to day life to be kinder and gentler to animals, the environment, ourselves and each other. I love the fact that these habits are immediately available and we remain firmly in control of such choices.
However, there comes a time where we need something a little bit more than our individual power. We need policy, legislation and laws in place to protect our world and the creatures we share it with….otherwise one can feel like a grain of sand in the desert, plodding away on our little individual quests to make the world a better place.
Next weekend, Australians will all have the choice about who we want to lead us, form our boundaries and come up with much needed new horizons to work towards. Yes, it is election time !
If you are reading this page, you are no doubt an animal lover. If you are an animal lover, there are a plethora of reasons to by pass the standard, lackluster duopoly and give the Animal Justice Party (AJP) your valuable vote. Here are 10 of mine:
1. Unlike the Labour and Liberal parties (who inexplicably want to expand the trade) the AJP are fierce opponents of the live animal export trade. If you’ve watched the news over the last couple of weeks…you would have seen history repeating itself. Yet again, we viewed horrific footage of Australian cattle being bludgeoned to death by sledgehammers in Vietnam. This trade is just vile and the majority of Australians want it to end. It is also corrupt – with news breaking last week of the brave whistle blowing vet, Dr Lynn Simpson, being dismissed from her job after photos and footage she took of the appalling conditions faced by the animals on board the live export ships were mistakenly posted (not even by her) and made public on the Department of Agriculture’s website. Outrageous ! If you have any questions, as I did, about the implications of ending live animal export (“won’t they just source animals from other countries ?”, “some countries can’t import boxed meat as they don’t have refrigeration, right ?” etc), I found this page from Animals Australia to be a wealth of info to help dispel the myths. New Zealand banned live animal export for slaughter in 2007 due to animal welfare concerns – so can we. The Greens also support an end to Live Animal Export.
2. They support an Independent Office of Animal Welfare (IOAW). This is a big one. As it stands now, animal protection is largely governed by departments of agriculture, or their equivalent, around the country. There is a glaring conflict of interest there which means that those given the power to protect animals, tend to do the opposite in order to…you guessed it….make money ! We need an INDEPENDENT organisation to look after the interest of farm, companion and wild animals – to create legislation to protect rather than harm these creatures. We also need to re-think who should be the primary agency when it comes to animal cruelty enforcement. Should such a vital role continue to be held by a largely public funded charity ? (RSPCA). The Greens and the ALP also support a IOAW (but to varying degrees). Read more here.
3. They seek to address the strong but too frequently ignored link between human violence and crimes and cruelty to animals. In an issue particularly close to my heart, in domestic violence cases they will seek to have refuges include facilities for pets too. Such a simple solution when so many women currently won’t leave a violent home due to fears for their animals.
4. They acknowledge the indisputable and damning correlation between animal agriculture and climate change. Cowspiracy is a great documentary about this very issue if you want to learn more.
5. They have a viable, practical plan to deal with the crisis currently affecting companion animals where 250,000 healthy dogs and cats are being euthansed every year in Australia due to inadequate systems in place.
6. The AJP are offering kind and inclusive “people policies” too. They are supportive of refugees, the LGBTI community and believe in same sex marriage. They also recognise the unsustainable notion of an unlimited growing population and urban sprawl.
7. You can get a taste of what their influence could look like by following the great things Mark Pearson’s (the AJP member in NSW) has been striving for in State parliament from wanting sprinkler systems installed in piggeries (to prevent sows burning to death in a fire) to ending kangaroo slaughter.
8. They oppose grey hound racing. Another corrupt, cruel, greedy, self serving “sport” which so many other countries have banned. Undercover footage showing the use of live animals used for bait and our government’s lack of care when it comes to exporting dogs to countries devoid of any laws to prevent animal cruelty shows that this industry has no future.
9. The AJP consists of a diverse collection of kind, measured and smart people. I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the current contenders. NSW, QLD, WA, TAS, SA and the ACT have candidates for the senate and NSW, SA and VIC are well represented by contenders for House Of Reps spots. Our government currently seems full of many large egos, questionable agendas and skewed morals. To have some representatives in parliament who share the commonality of wanting a kinder world would be a breath of fresh air. The AJP how to vote page reveals if you have a contender in your electorate. I unfortunately don’t have one in my area but can still vote for AJP number 1 in the senate.
10. No you don’t have to be vegan to be part of the AJP but the benefits of a plant based diet are on their agenda – for good reason. Vegetarianism and veganism are growing in popularity world wide. Companies overseas like Hampton Creek and Beyond Meat are going gang busters with new plant based innovations. Like renewable energy versus coal, the benefits of investing in farmers who grow plants should not be underrated on an economic basis.
You can read more about the wonderful policies of the AJP on their webpage here.
Finally, there’s a pretty god damn cute poster boy for the AJP….in my house at least….
“Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns,” ~ George Eliot.
Where are you my beloved Autumn ? T’is but a mere 2 weeks away from winter and yet another t-shirt wearing Sydney day is just finishing up. Frightening stuff – and, scarier still that our politicians in their election campaign are steadfastly avoiding any climate change talk. It’s all “jobs and growth” but what kind of world are they expecting us to work in and grow into ??
My blogging frequency is about as lack luster as this balmy excuse of an Autumn we are having. I am keen to get back into the swing of addressing a topic once a month or so but, for now, it’s going to be all the brilliant, interesting and inspiring things which have been tickling my fancy or firing me up since I last wrote all those moons ago in Spring.
- Marc Ching from the Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation in the US. His missions to save dogs from the meat trade in Asia (most recently in China, Thailand and Cambodia) are epic and heart wrenching to watch but ultimately heroic. He does what so few animal lovers could do or face. When he is not rescuing dogs under the guise of being a dog meat buyer so he can infiltrate into the grimmest of world’s where dogs are tortured before being killed for their meat, he is rescuing animals from the worst cases of neglect and abuse in the US. Here is his facebook page which follows these incredible rescues.
Whilst on this topic, please join Ricky Gervais and sign this petition against the Yulin Dog Meat Festival in China. Public opposition to this barbaric festival grows each year. Please add your voice. It needs to end.
- Marianne Thieme. I went to see her talk a couple of weeks ago at the 2016 Voiceless Animal Law Lecture Series. This utterly impressive woman is the leader of the Dutch Party for the Animals. I felt like I was immersed in an episode of Borgen – watching a rare species of politician who is progressive, intelligent, compassionate and actually thinking about the issues that will make this world a better place for the people and animals living on it.
If you’d like to know where do our political parties stand on animal protection here is a handy summary provided by Voiceless. If you would like to see better protection for our most vulnerable members of society, you’ll see that the Animal Justice Party tick all the boxes. I know who will be getting my vote at the up and coming election.
Heavy topics over with…..onto some of my more pleasurable discoveries (which I am noticing are dominated by FOOD ) and a viable explanation for my increasingly gripping pants !
Eating Out Recommendations
Gigi’s in Newtown continues to tantalise my taste buds with it’s mouthwatering array of pizzas and cocktails and other delights. Seriously, go there.
Gelato Blue in Newtown – have always found it to be the best gelataria in existence but it has now outdone itself by taking a leaf out of Gigi’s book and going completely animal product free.
Golden Lotus in Newtown – delicious and affordable Vietnamese food. Vegan Pho and the like.
New vanilla and blue berry flavoured coconut, dairy free yogurt courtesy of Nudie. I hunted down the Vanilla one at Woollies and rate it big time.
All the new drool-worthy Over the Moo dairy free ice cream flavours, including Matcha Green Tea, Caramel and Ginger Ninja.
I have been on a biscuit / brownie making rampage of late with the following little morsels getting rapturous feedback…
- The Best Chewy Vegan Brownies (ingredients include avocado and aquafaba – chick pea liquid…magical egg replacement)
- Macadamia Anzac Biscuits (just used Nuttalex instead of butter)
- Honey Peanut Butter & Coconut Cookies. (They take 20 mins to make, start to finish and are really delicious. I used maple syrup rather than honey).
As for savoury new discoveries……
This one pot Mexican quinoa dish has been on repeat in our household. Love it.
I’ve just fallen in love with a new cooking blog where every dish looks sensational, nutritious and uncomplicated. The Buddhist Chef – check it out. The Dragon Bowl is getting a run this week in our house.
Like every second person seems to be doing, I have jumped aboard the house and contents de-cluttering bandwagon – albeit at the most snail like pace imaginable (we’re talking a drawer a week). The Slow Home Podcast and The Minimalists are my go to podcasts to bolster my enthusiasm levels. I am trying my best to rid our unwanted items as responsibly as possible – rather than just turfing it out the front for council collection as I know it’ll get chucked straight into landfill. So, there’s been a couple of handy discoveries I have made….
Terra Cycle. I have created a couple of boxes….one for all my old cosmetic containers, squirty gadgets etc which can’t be recycled via the normal council bins….and the other for all our tooth care regalia – so old toothbrushes, used toothpaste tubes etc. Once full, I just print off my label and mail it off (for free) to the creative Terra Cycle people who make it all into something new and functional. Clever hey ?They have a whole lot of different categories like rubber gloves, pens and coffee pods which run in a similar way. You can earn points too but I didn’t figure out how to do this. I just wanted to be rid of my loot.
H & M. Now this is an impressive move for a chain clothing store and sorted one of my dilemmas. What to do with all those sheets, old t-shirts etc lurking in your cupboards which have a little mark on them or are a bit old and threadbare so unsuitable for Vinnies ?? You take them into your local H & M store where they take them off your hands and do something constructive and worthy with them like making them into new products. PLUS you get a 15% discount card for your troubles should you wish to purchase something (which I did not as am trying to curb my consumerist ways too).
Good new app
If you do eat eggs, Choice have released this great, free app to allow you to avoid all the dodgy, so called “free range” eggs when you are at the supermarket. If you’re going to eat eggs, please pay a few more dollars and support the farmer who stocks the 800-1500 birds per hectare rather than those cashing in on the now legally allowed 10,000 birds per hectare definition, even when the poor birds can’t get outside. And, whilst you’re at it, you can let Aldi know that they are living in the past by supporting the continued sale of caged eggs.
Random nice things
I’ve discovered a new funny comedian who’s podcast I’m loving – the inappropriate, ballsy, sweary, hilarious Jen Kirkman. Her books are great too. Divorced and suddenly single in her 40’s, child free by choice, flying anxieties, weird Prince dreams….it’s all there. And, she’s vegan as I only recently discovered. So sad that I missed the boat and did not see her recently perform in Sydney.
Speaking of Podcasts…a new discovery for me is “Knowing Animals“. An informative learning hub for animal related advocacy issues. JJJ’s Lindsay McDougall was the most recent guest.
Movies – 45 years, Rams, The Daughter, Sherpa and Mia Madre are all fantastic, must sees in my humble opinion.
TV Shows – am obsessed with the UK police show “Happy Valley”. It is so engrossing and gripping.
Books -Nest by Inga Simpson, A Man Called Ove by Fredrick Simpson and The Anti-Cool Girl by Rosie Waterland. All great reads.
I sincerely hope that it is not in 2 seasons time until I see you again. I miss tinkering on my little blog but struggle with time management (obviously). I have no idea how many people read it, would not know how to view my stats to save myself but, for my own sake, it’s a way of gathering up everything I learn or discover and plonking it down in one spot. I hope you get something out of it too.
You can find me on facebook as well.
“Every man and every living creature has a sacred right to the gladness of springtime” – Leo Tolstoy
(for any keen eyed Tread Kindly folk, yes, I have used that gorgeous Tolstoy quote before but…it’s so apt for this time of year and it’s one of my favourites !)
Spring…..lordy, I’ve really only just snuck in by the skin of my teeth haven’t I ? Life has been busy and my little blog has been woefully neglected. Alas I am here and keen to share my Spring re-cap with you!
- My favorite Springtime event was a few days spent with a group of like minded, kind and wise souls as part of the Lucy’s Project conference in Byron Bay earlier this month. If helping domestic violence survivors and their animals sparks your interest, join the facebook group to keep up to date. I can’t wait for next year’s conference and to see what we can collectively achieve over the next year. Anna, the founder, is one incredible lady and has shown us what one person can do when they put their mind to it.
- Speaking of amazing ladies, I loved this article by Edgar’s Mission Pam Ahern about how to speak up for something you believe in when you are not naturally a loud or outspoken person. I feel that I will be referring back to it a lot.
Tried and tested wonderous recipes to share
- This rice salad (courtesy of my mum) receives rapturous praise and requests for the recipe whenever I make it. So, for my tribe of adoring salad fans from a couple of weekends ago…..here it is ! I think a few dried cranberries thrown in there will make in sufficiently christmas-y ?
- In all it’s fire breathing glory – my Mapo Tofu. Not for those delicate of tongue !
- Aquafaba (the viscose-y liquid found in tins of beans like chickpeas) as an egg replacement. I can’t believe I’ve been tipping this amazing substance down the sink for so long.
Yes, free range eggs are better than caged eggs BUT even free range chickens are slaughtered around 18 months of age and male chicks are killed at birth. Plus, our Egg Corporation has some serious integrity issues going on and what they are seeking to be the stocking density for free range is a (sad) joke. So, why not cut down or eliminate egg use in cooking by giving aquafaba a try ?
Here is my first aquafaba experiment – chai spiced ginger biscuits. They are yum (if not a tad lurid !).
Join the facebook group – Vegan meringue – Hits and Misses and be bamboozled by what some clever people are creating with aquafaba.
- Green Smoothies. I have always shied away from even the mere thought of a smoothie made from spinach or kale but they are actually pretty damn delicious. Thanks to The Slow Home Podcast (which has introduced me to so many good things), I discovered Simple Green Smoothie’s website full of recipes and I’ve been trying to make one every non work day.
- Thomas King – one of those people who makes you feel a bit inadequate having achieved so much at such a young age but we definitely need more compassionate, young men like Thomas in leadership positions.
- Amber Canavan. In a story which leaves you shaking your head at the lunacy of this world, Amber was sent to jail for a month for exposing hideous cruelty in a Foie Gras facility in New York and rescuing 2 birds. Her story leaves me feeling uneasy about how the recently passed “Biosecurity” (Ag Gag) laws in Australia will punish brave souls who expose animal cruelty.
- Mark Pearson from the Animal Justice Party. I love watching his measured speeches in Parliament. Animals are finally getting a voice in politics. Hooray !
- Wang Yan who’s search for his missing dog, ended up with him spending his fortune on rescuing dogs from the meat trade in China.
- Journalist Sam de Brito who died on the 12th October 2015. I so miss his words in the Sun Herald each week. Having a blokey, regular Aussie guy discuss compassion and kindness in the mainstream media was so valuable. Here are my favourite Sam articles : Confessions of a Vegan, We Are All Nazis When It Comes To Animal Rights, Put the Cameras In Farms, Not Outside and, his final column, My Baby In Bed. Farewell lovely man.
Great news from around the globe
- Animals Asia rescued 33 bears from their miserable cages in Vietnam.
- Mink fur farms to be phased out in the Netherlands.
- Experiments on chimpanzees in America has come to an end
With Christmas just around the corner
“Peace and goodwill” should be offered to ALL creatures this Christmas time. There are a gazillion kind Christmas Day recipe options out there but I’m tossing up between the following delights (or you can check out my last year’s Christmas post for some other ideas):
Bed and Broccoli’s garlic prawns
Vegan Dad’s Maple Apple Cider Tofu
Thankfully, my family is all on board again to do the donation thing, rather than buying presents but here are some gift ideas which are catching my eye.
Western Australian based Scent To Rescue Candles – 100 % of profits from these gorgeous candles go to animal rescue groups
Sea Shepherd’s “Cookin’ Up A Storm” cookbook
Animal’s Asia stunning bear charm bracelets
Any of the delectable wines from Goodwill Wine. You pick which charity receives the generous donation from your purchase.
T-shirts from Where Pigs Fly Farm Sanctuary (I have one, they are massively cute – don’t you think ??)
Say farewell to glad wrap by using pretty Beeswax food wraps sold by Ecolosophy
The latest from the fabulous Women of Letters books – Between Us. All royalties go to Edgars Mission animal sanctuary.
Perfect Potion gift boxes. Beautifully presented, ethical body products.
- Rosie Batty’s shattering “A Mother’s Story“. Shows the massive gaps in society which people slip through.
- “When There’s Nowhere Else to Run” by Murray Middleton. Brilliantly readable Australian short stories.
- I’ve just started “Only the Animals” by Ceridwen Dovey but am loving it so far.
- My new favourite Sydney restaurant is Gigi’s Pizzeria. I was bursting with keeness and was first in the queue to get myself into this much heralded, newly vamped pizzeria in Newtown. Ridiculously, sublimely good food. Even the keenest of carnivours would be hard pushed to notice the absence of any animal products.
- Date with a mate anyone ? I am itching to try Bliss and Chips in Newtown, The Dandylion in Bondi, Flora Bean Gallery Cafe in Sans Souci, Superfood Sushi in Newtown, Soul Burger in Randwick and Pana Chocolates in Alexandria.
Now……..it’s time to leap into summer……..see you soon (probably sooner on facebook – please stop by and “like” me if you haven’t)! xxx