Vegan Christmas!

I know that we are only 2 days away from Christmas but I thought I’d post some last minute vegan/veggie-friendly options in case you’re struggling to come up with some food ideas. Truthfully, I’m not feeling festive at all this year, but what I’m excited for is cooking Christmas food as it’s my first year of being a vegetarian/vegan during this festive period. I won’t babble on with my usual bullshit and get straight to the point!

Starter:

Mushroom and tarragon pâté

BBC Good Food is like my recipe bible, it’s full of amazing food that’s easy to cook and tastes incredible! This recipe isn’t vegan friendly –  however, you can easily substitute the dairy products in this to tailor it to your dietary needs. I’m making it for my whole family as mum and I in particular adore mushrooms.

  • 50g unsalted butter (vegan butter)
  • 2 shallots, finely chopped
  • 1 leek, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 100g chestnut mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 100g shiitake mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 tbsp crème fraîche (you can substitute for a vegan-friendly ingredient)
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon, plus extra to garnish
  • 1 French stick ; extra vigin olive oil; mixed salad leaves, to serve

Main:

Christmas Nut Roast

I was SO happy when Jamie Oliver put this recipe up on his YouTube because I’m super excited to make this! This seems the kind of thing that everyone would enjoy, unless you’re allergic to nuts of course… Either way it’s a perfect mix of something new/different but feels like a Christmassy dish at the same time! I’ll also be substituting pumpkin seeds for chestnuts in this recipe as my mum has bought too many and wants me to do ‘something about them’.


Main:

Roasted Aubergine With Cornbread Stuffing

Once again, I shall be substituting the cornbread stuffing with a traditional sage and onion stuffing (because I’m a lazy bitch… But also because I like the taste of it) This will be perfect for all the family as stuffed aubergines are way more ‘indie’ than stuffed peppers but taste just as good.


Drink:

Mulled ‘Wine’ 

Since my grandma is diabetic and I tend not to drink anyway (unless I’m going out) I thought that a healthier alternative that suits my grandma’s dietary needs as well as mine would be a nice finish to the suggestions I have made above. This is a recipe by a YouTuber Niomi Smart, who I’ve previously mentioned in my ‘Massive Healthy food haul’ blog post, and who has become one of my favourite people to follow for vegan/healthy recipe ideas as she lives in the UK and introduces people like myself to certain products that are accessible to me in the UK. Either way, I hope you try out this recipe because I sure shall be enjoying drinking this on Christmas day.


I hope I might’ve helped some of you who, like myself, are going to be doing some last minute food shopping before the big day. Happy holidays everybody!

Eva xoxo

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My ‘Ultimate Christmas Songs’ list

Hey everyone! Sorry it’s been a while since I’ve written on here but as I’ve been busy and not had much inspiration to write about anything interesting I thought I’d take a little break. Besides, November is such a weird time in England, after we celebrate Halloween and Bonfire Night, it’s that awkward period of just everyone waiting for the 1st of December so it would be socially acceptable to blast out cheesy Christmas songs and put up their decorations and do some stress-filled Christmas shopping. At least in America you can get excited for Thanksgiving and make yummy things like pumpkin pie to pass the time!

Anyway, I’m back with a list of my favourite Christmas songs that get me feeling fuzzy and warm inside.The majority of these are very generic and you’d probably see all these songs mentioned in numerous ‘Top (insert number here) best Christmas songs of all time!‘ advertised by various websites, but nonetheless I thought I’d share some of my favourites.

In no particular order, I present:
  • Santa Tell Me – Ariana Grande


    Now, I know I’ve reviewed Ariana Grande’s newest album a couple of months ago and it may seem like I’m some hardcore fan of hers but I promise this is just a coincidence, I just really happen to like this song no matter how much I didn’t want to (I felt the same way about her album) What can I say, I guess she’s my guilty pleasure! Plus I think this is a nice sounding, Christmassy song that makes me feel happy!

  • All I want for Christmas is You – Mariah Carey


    Putting Mariah Carey after Ariana Grande, oh the shade, the absolute shade of it all! I know, but this song has to be mentioned in any Christmas song list EVER, regardless of whether you like it or not! I put this song at the beginning to just get it over with, because, let’s be honest, there isn’t a song more Christmassy than this. It would even put the grumpiest and least merry person into a Christmas mood!

  • Jingle Bell Rock – Bobby Helms


    This is just another classic that needs to be mentioned, it’s so fun and light-hearted! However, if you’re a female between the ages of 13-35 and don’t associate this song with that Mean Girls scene (can I get an amen if you automatically know which scene I’m talking about) then you really need to re-consider your life choices. I kid of course, but seriously, you need to watch that scene. If you’re a male and know what I’m talking about, then that’s even better!


  • 8 Days of Christmas – Destiny’s Child 


    The prize of the sassiest-sounding Christmas song goes to Destiny’s Child. You’ve just got to love everything about this, the outfits, Kelly’s hair and the love interests who serve no purpose in the video. Everything about this just screams F-I-E-R-C-E!

  • Merry Christmas Everyone – Shakin’ Stevens


    Another obvious one but a goodie, not sure about that video though… Primarily because I hate children. And those robotic elves look creepy as fuck.

  • Driving Home for Christmas – Chris Rea 


    I imagine myself sitting by the fireplace next to my husband of 20+ years smoking cigars and drinking whiskey to this, laughing about our younger years, and not in a sentimental ‘aw we were so young and cute’ kind of way but in a ‘ha ha ha you were such a twat ha ha ha’ way. This song is amazing but for some reason it reminds me of a particular video from two of my favourite YouTubers… Disclaimer: They are both very weird but this following video is not meant to be serious.


  • Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree – Brenda Lee 


    You’re lying if you say that this song doesn’t get you all happy and giddy, it’s the kind of song that doesn’t get old and you will always hear being played in shops whilst you do some last-minute shopping.

  • White Christmas – Bing Crosby 


    This is such a beautiful and timeless song, just makes me want to be with all my family opening gifts and hugging each other like in a scene from a perfect family film.

  • Baby it’s Cold Outside 


    There are way too many covers of this song and I can’t pick my favourite one so I thought I’d include this one sung by Margaret Whiting and Johnny Mercer. Another beautiful classic that is just a must around Christmas time!

We’ve now come to my 3 all time favourite Christmas songs and in order this time:

3. Walking in a Winter Wonderland – Dean Martin 


Makes me want to build a snowman ( wayo, reference! and NO, I’m not including that song in this list) and create snow angels right now, too bad I live in England where we are lucky to get 3 cms of snow and it would be considered a ‘blizzard’ and all channels will talk about the dangers of such ‘heavy, deep snow’.

2. Sleigh Ride – Amy Grant 


Not only do I listen to this song all year round but it reminds me of Elf so much that it just puts a smile on my face! This is also my favourite rendition of the song, it puts me in a merry and cheery  mood straight away.

1. Last Christmas – Wham! 


This is simply my favourite song of all time. Yep, you heard that right. I don’t think of it as a Christmas song, I literally listen to this every week. Wham! does something to me and makes me feel things I never thought I could feel, I don’t know whether it’s George Michael’s blonde locks, the outrageous jumpers they wear or those shady, broody looks he gives that bitch in the video but I simply can’t describe my love for Wham! and this song even if I tried. This long/extended version is so much better because it makes me feel all types of emotional. My biggest dream would basically be to be in the video for this song, rocking those jumpers, a sassy 90s hairstyle and to frolic with George in the snow.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my list of favourite Christmas songs and enjoy your Christmas, and if you don’t celebrate Christmas then I hope you enjoy the holidays of your choice and/or religion! Happy holidays everyone!

Eva xoxo

The perfect South-Indian winter curry

I’m always looking for new recipes in order to spice up (literally) my diet and an easy one-pot dish is always hassle-free, easy and enjoyable to make! I found this when looking up videos of Karlie Kloss‘ catwalk (as you do) and stumbled upon this – a perfect vegan/vegetarian dish in which all the veg could be substituted to whatever veg you prefer. The more greens you put into the dish, the better it gets! I become a dangerous girl when I get my hands on cayenne pepper, however, this recipe was very spicy even for me, if you want to tone it down and make it medium-spicy then I’d recommend using half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper, but if you want to just have a slight kick I’d recommend using less than a quarter of a teaspoon.

The recipe is really easy to follow and serves 4-5.

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Recipe

  •  1 Onion
  •  2 Tbsp Canola Oil
  •  3 Tbsp Ginger
  •  3 Garlic Cloves
  •  1 Tbsp Ground Coriander
  •  1 Tsp Turmeric
  •  1 Tsp Cayenne Pepper (hell no, I really recommend half a tsp)
  •  1 Tbsp Cumin
  •  1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
  •  2 Cups Vegetable Stock
  •  1 Cup Coconut Milk (I used a reduced-fat version)
  •  1 Stick Cinnamon
  •  1 Pinch Salt
  •  1 Tbsp Pepper
  •  2 Tomatoes
  •  2 Carrots
  •  1/2 Head Cauliflower
  •  2/3 Butternut Squash (I used 1 big sweet potato, delicious!)
  •  1 Can Chickpeas
  •  4 Cups Spinach
  •  1/2 Lime Juice
  •  1 Pinch Coriander

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You can certainly add some chicken or any other meat to it if you are a meat lover, but I really recommend trying out the original veggie version – I promise you will love it!

This is the video from which I found out the recipe – WELL DUNN with Jourdan Dunn


There is also a recipe for Karlie’s Kookies which I haven’t had the chance to bake myself yet, but if you have a sweet tooth like me and are looking for a healthier alternative to enjoy your treats then I’d recommend making them as well!

Happy healthy eating everyone!

Eva xoxo

Massive healthy food haul

Since I’ve recently become a vegetarian and try to stick to being vegan as much as I possibly can, I feel like I’m an adventurer that discovers new artefacts in tombs every time I go into a food shop. My interest in vegetarianism/veganism sparked when I began reading Alicia Silverstone’sThe Kind Diet‘, where she introduces her readers to a couple of alternative, meat-free diets.

I discovered ingredients I hadn’t dreamt or heard of, began making better food choices and trying out loads of new recipes. However, since I live with my parents, a lot of the time all the food shopping gets done without me so I am left unsatisfied with a poor variety of vegan friendly meals and healthy snack choices.

Over these last two days I’ve decided that I want that to change and went out to do some shopping on my own yesterday and then joined my mother on a big food shopping trip today.

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Here are some of the delicious things I’ve bought.  I must stress that some of these are cheap and some are more expensive products, but since I’m planning on making them last I believe it was a good investment.

  • Dairy free dark chocolate – A must, bought for like £1 in Tesco, prefer dark chocolate over milk anyway.
  • Crispy seaweed slices – I grew up on this, this is the shit, it’s incredible if you want a healthy, savoury snack.
  • Agave nectar – Recommend this as a sugar and honey alternative, it’s a natural sweetener I’ve been using for a while.
  • Peppermint tea – Do I need to comment on this? Amazing for digesting food, tastes great and just overall really good.
  • Rye Bread with pumpkin seeds – I love rye bread, grew up eating it and it just tastes so much better than your soft, crappy, white, pre-sliced loaf of bread.
  • Miso paste – Homemade miso soup is currently my weakness, I eat soup all year round and miso has been one of my favourite for years. Apparently it’s really good for you too!
  • Miso soup sachets – If you can’t be bothered to make miso soup, just use this: tastes almost as good.
  • Whole Earth crunchy peanut butter – Apple slices with peanut butter is one of my favourite snacks. Also toast with peanut butter and sliced banana with honey or agave nectar on top: perfect for breakfast or after a work-out.
  • Soya milk – Essential.
  • Rice milk – My favourite out of all of the milk alternatives, also the most healthy/low fat one.
  • Soba noodles – Can’t wait to make some veg stir-fry  with this.
  • Chia seeds – Have been hearing a shit-tonne about this and can’t wait to try this out.
  • Various dried fruit and nut snacks – Mango, banana chips, apple slices, fruit and nut bag etc
  • Some asian health drink – My mum bought this years ago for me and I went through a phase of drinking it everyday for breakfast. It’s like cereal in a cup! (Don’t know what it’s called as its in Chinese characters and we got it from an Oriental Supermarket)
  • Ryvita Multigrain Crispbread – Heard a lot about these things too so thought I’d try them out as a snack/breakfast option.
  • Quinoa – I literally live on this, if you haven’t tried it, I really suggest you replace all your carb-based meals with this as it is so good, healthy and beneficial for you it’s almost criminal.

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This last item deserves it’s own special shout-out.

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  • Booja- Booja ice cream – I’ve been searching for a dairy-free ice cream for a very long time and after venturing into a local health store today I finally found this. I first heard it mentioned by a blogger/Youtuber Niomi Smart who spoke about this ice cream in her video and I’m so glad that I finally found it! It tastes really plain but delicious and fairly light, what’s more impressive is that this ice cream is absolutely magical as it’s made out of 4 ingredients water, agave syrup (the natural sweetener mentioned above), cashew nuts and vanilla extract. It is organic, dairy-free, gluten-free, soya-free and made without refined sugar. If that’s not the healthiest thing you’ve ever heard then I don’t know how else to impress you. It is pricey, but I decided to give it a go and if you’re really concerned about eating healthily this is a good investment (at £5.99 per 500ml pot, but it is worth it).

I hope that maybe my food choices will inspire someone to go out and buy something new to try out as I think being healthy and happy are the two most important things in life. As you can see, I still have plenty of snack options but I try to find the more healthier and beneficial alternatives that I can enjoy at the same time. Happy shopping!!!!

Eva xoxo

The curious case of the ‘poncho’

Just like the kimono was one of the biggest trends of the summer, the autumn/winter equivalent would be the poncho/cape trend. I first saw a poncho this fall on the model/actress Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, who was rocking one of those gorgeous custom Burberry ponchos with her initials, also seen on other celebrities such as Cara Delevingne, Sarah Jessica Parker and Olivia Palermo.

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I was obsessed with its beauty, but unfortunately the Burberry poncho was of course way too pricey, so I began looking for the right poncho which would also be affordable. Thankfully, my mother surprised me by buying me a poncho from TK Maxx as a present, which was stylish, comfortable and warm. My best friend called it a ‘socially acceptable blanket’ and I couldn’t think of a better way to describe it.

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(Apologies for the cringe-worthy mirror shot)

I’ve done a bit of research and found some great affordable and fashionable ponchos that you could buy and join onto the poncho trend train, because trust me – you won’t want to leave!

Click on the image of the poncho you like and it will take you to that shop’s official website where you can buy it!

River Island

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Topshop

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Missguided

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New Look

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As you can see some ponchos I’ve picked out have very loud patterns but hey, the more extravagant the better! I’ve tried to include a good, affordable price range and I hope you’ve enjoyed some of my suggestions.

Eva xoxo

Ariana Grande – My Everything album

I really tried hating this album but it was just so catchy and fun that I couldn’t resist! I’ve been listening to this a lot this autumn so I thought I’d give a little song-by-song review, enjoy!


  1. Intro


    Ariana sounding very Mariah Carey-esque and showing off her vocal range whilst singing something I can barely understand, it sort of sounds like some wannabe Christmas carol in the end. Nothing special.


  2. Problem (featuring Iggy Azalea)

    This song was the shit when it first came out and I enjoyed sassily bopping my head along to it whenever it was on the radio – plus Iggy is my girl, but now I think that this song is shit.


  3. One Last Time

    One of the better songs on the album, whenever she sings lower notes it sounds so much nicer and less forced. It’s a good pop song, definitely something I’d listen to again.


  4. Why Try

    This song is okay but gets annoying after a while, once again nothing special but a good album filler. I actually like it a lot more towards the end!


  5. Break Free (featuring Zedd)

    I enjoy everything about this song except for the chorus… It makes my ears bleed. The parts where she’s calmly singing at the beginning and mid song are my favourite. Another song that’s been way too overplayed on the radio.


  6. Best Mistake (featuring Big Sean)

    She’s done many collaborations on this album, hasn’t she? A good song and a lot more moodier. I’m not the biggest fan of rappers in general though so it doesn’t really do that much for me, but I do think that she sounds a lot more grown-up and ‘sexy’ without forcing it.


  7. Be My Baby (featuring Cashmere Cat)

    It sounds way to much like her song ‘Baby I’ but it’s fun and another very ‘pop princess’ type of song. Even though she’s using her whistle tones in this I still enjoy it as it’s very lighthearted and fun.


  8. Break Your Heart Right Back (featuring Childish Gambino)

    Can’t decide whether this song or the next song is my favourite, but daaamn is this catchy! Like the rest of her songs on this album, it’s all very poppy and a bit similar sounding but I love how sassy it is. I think this is a perfect break-up song and I definitely listened to it again and again for a good couple of weeks!


  9. Love Me Harder (featuring The Weeknd)

    One of my favourite songs on the album, I definitely think this is such a good collab because their voices sound really good together! This song allows Ariana to sound a lot more grown up but in a chilled out way as opposed to trying too hard which she’s been criticised for doing. It’s a sexy and sensual song, so glad it’s the next single!


  10. Just A Little Bit Of Your Heart

    Meh.


  11. Hands On Me (featuring A$AP Ferg)

    Oh dear… This song may be catchy but it’s a big old mess! It would be good for getting ready on a night out with the girls who are up for getting wasted on tequila shots.


  12. My Everything  

    Once again it’s just a bit ‘meh’, with such an incredible voice and such a vast vocal range Grande could really make an amazing sad ballad but doesn’t achieve that on this album.

I’ll also do a quick review of the bonus tracks that are on her deluxe album:

  • Bang Bang (with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj) – absolutely crap, worst song ever.
  • Only 1 – catchy and easy going, not bad.
  • You Don’t Know Me – sassy, catchy, darker and best out of the bonus tracks.

Eva xo

Obsession of the month – Netflix

Netflix – a proof that God exists.

After not having any internet for over a month and a half in the new apartment myself and my parents moved into mid-august, October was a time of discovery. Netflix is the next best thing that has happened to the internet since YouTube and Tumblr. It has also really improved in the last couple of years, as initially Netflix didn’t have a big enough variety of movies and TV shows to offer… It was mainly full of weird old movies and TV shows I’d never heard of. Nowadays it’s still full of those same weird movies, but also movies and TV shows that I enjoy!

Here are my top 3 TV shows that I’ve discovered in October:

  1. American Horror StoryEcran_Titre_d'American_Horror_StoryI’ve avoided watching this show for a very very long time as I am the biggest scardy-cat in this whole world. I don’t watch horror movies, in fact I’ve only ever seen one horror movie properly and I squirm, shut my eyes and ears whenever an advert about some new horror movie is on. The first time I tried watching the first episode of season 1 I lasted for 5 minutes, turned it off and went on YouTube to watch funny cat videos. However, days later, one of my best friends urged me to continue on watching it, so I clenched my fists, sat down and forced myself through the first episode… I have now made it through three seasons – Murder House, Asylum and Coven. I probably found Murder House the scariest but I’m not sure whether it was down to the fact I’d become a lot more desensitised to ‘scary moments’ towards the end of the 1st season, thus finding season 2&3 less scary. Asylum had the most gripping storyline in my opinion, but was full of more disturbing scenes as opposed to scary ones. Coven was very entertaining and full of sass, even though it is thought of as the ‘worst season’ by the fans. I enjoyed the concept of the show very much – I love how all the actors play completely contrasting roles each season and that each season has an entirely different storyline to it. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for something fresh, unique, a bit scary and sometimes gory. It’s also every hipster person’s dream come true!

  2. The Office (US)This was probably my favourite discovery on Netflix as I’ve come to absolutely love this show!  I’ve never watched the original UK series but I’ve always heard that the US series were the ones to watch and I’m so happy that I did. The first series were a bit slow and I didn’t find it that funny, but I kept on watching because I was intrigued by the characters and it quickly became amazingly hilarious once the show established itself in season 2/3 and onwards. Despite this being a comedy series, some relationships on this show seem so genuine and the actors understand their characters so well that they’re very believable (despite some funny moments in the show that are unrealistic). I also really enjoy the fact that a lot of the time the actors just improvise as it makes it so much funnier and shows just how talented the cast is.  I don’t want to say too much without spoiling it, even though I’m sure the majority of people have watched these series, but in case you haven’t – I would really recommend it if you’ve got a weird sense of humour and like improv-type mockumentaries!

  3. RuPaul’s Drag Race'RuPaul's Drag Race' Season ThreeThis show is everything I could’ve ever dreamed for. This is the most fabulous reality competition show full of interesting and fierce people who are not afraid to be true to themselves! I never knew that I could love a show so much but it  brings me so much joy on many levels. Truthfully, I didn’t know much about the drag world until I started watching it and I’ve definitely learnt so much from it and it cleared up all the misconceptions I had about drag queens. The more I think about it, the more I realise how amazing and accepting these people are and how we should be more like them. There is so much diversity with the competitors – there are asian queens, latino queens, black, white etc you name it! There are also drag queens of various sizes, encouraging us all to understand that your size doesn’t define you and that you can be fierce whether you’re skinny or curvier or in between as long as you believe in yourself and that you’re the fiercest bitch in town, hunty! In the words of RuPaul – ‘If you don’t love yourself, then how the hell you gonna love somebody else?’ It also brings attention to issues such as bullying, suicide, HIV, body image etc. Overall, this is such a positive show that allows us to see a different side of society with many  talented competitors!

These were my favourite shows in October and I would recommend watching every single one of them because they’re all unique in their own way and have different things to offer!

Eva xo