Vegan in the Land of Cheese & Ham

Let’s face it, France isn’t the most appealing destination for the travelling vegan, with daily markets offering spit roasts, a hundred cheeses, cured meats and honey lollipops but fret not! There is much deliciousness to be found!

France is such a beautiful country, the pace of life is gentle with sunshine, ch√Ęteaux and lots of butterflies. It is my happy place! Which is now even happier as soy yogurts, oat milk and no-palm-oil vegan butter is available in the Supermarket. Yay for France!

This adventure was for the sole purpose of rest. The intention was to actively not do much at all, perhaps a little reading, some gentle yoga, sunbathing and wandering. That was really the extent of it for two whole weeks.

I stayed at my Granddads lovely home near Coutras in the South of France. The house is in a little hamlet, on the top of a hill surrounded by fields and forest. The nearest shop is a 30 minute walk or 5-10 minute drive away. I walked daily, through the woods and along quiet (as in, almost deserted) lanes nearby, spending the sunnier afternoons relaxing by the pool.

I ate all of the vegan comfort food you can dream of. Feeding at 82 year old, strong minded Granddad a meat-free, dairy-free, egg-free meal was challenge enough so I went for the crowd pleasers. And thankfully, please they did.

We had Shepherdess pie, Farfalle arrabiata, Roasted sweet pepper and avocado spaghetti with home made garlic bread, Lentil chilli with baked potatoes and variety of yummy sandwiches using the freshest French bread (which you’ll be pleased to hear is almost always vegan, double yay!) Click any of the picture captions to link to the recipe. Shepherdess pie was the hands down favourite, French sun dried tomatoes seemed darker and slightly more bitter than normal but they totally made it!

I visited as many supermarkets as possible. Anyone else LOVE a foreign supermarket?! I love them so much that my very handsome, supermarket loving friend and I, have plans to make a coffee table encyclopedia – watch this space!

Mum, Dad & Little Sister were with us for the first week so we were able to venture out and see some different places. A rainy day took us to Libourne, to shelter in Zara. Of course. Many embroidered treats were purchased and then the sun came out just in time for us to explore the cathedral, a church and some beautiful cobbled streets – perfect!

Catherdral

We also visited a beautiful village called Eymet, with cobbled courtyard, water fountain, decorative flowers hanging from every corner and an art exhibition in a church. It really was a little dreamy dreamland. To top it off, a traditional English tearoom has recently opened so the heathens amongst us (I’m looking at you Dad), could indulge in a clotted cream cream tea with PG Tips no less.

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Best bit ‚Äď Listening to Granddads stories, waking up to the sun shining through my windows and dunking fresh French bread in almond butter.

I wouldn‚Äôt ‚Äď Get too het up about the weather, half of my trip was overcast and a little chilly but those afternoons chatting with Granddad were the best ones. Evening wanders were still wonderful and warm even with spits of rain.

Top tip ‚Äď Vegan cheese is still not a thing in France, definitely stash some in your suitcase for added indulgence on your home cooked hearty dinners.

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Booking my flight to India on Friday – eeeep! Until then, hopefully some weekend breaks in the UK…

Much love, baguettes and garlic.

Marie x

How Not To Get Mugged Off In Marrakesh

Firstly, get some small change at the airport, otherwise by the time you’ve arrived at your accommodation you’ll have tipped the taxi driver, the baggage cart man, the impromptu performer, the every-single-door opener, and variety of other helpful locals around ¬£8 each, not the 50p they were probably expecting. And you’ll need more cash, asap.

Our trip was a four day hen-do celebration, staying at Riad Chorfa, Marrakesh. We arrived to the most wonderful sunshine filled space with mint tea and roaming tortoise.

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Ten Thousand Steps to Vegan Cupcakes

A reunion / celebration / pilgrimage / adventure. I’m really good at coming up with justifications to go on a weekend away (if you need any, leave me a comment). This trip had many.

The reunion of myself and my wonderful friend Charlie, a long overdue catch up in a city where we were able to make a pilgrimage to the Museum of Modern Art and say a “hello” and only a momentary “goodbye” to her friend who’s memorial tree is planted in the grounds.

This day was one of many incidences that could perhaps be described as god incidences / synchronicities / magical moments. We planned to make our pilgrimage on our first day (Saturday) and put it off due to weather, getting lost, being distracted by coffee until our last day was upon us (Monday).

It turns out, for reference, a lot of museums are closed in Ireland on a Monday. What at first felt like a total disaster, turned out to be a blessing in disguise. We rode the hop-on-hop-off bus to the Museum, enjoyed a coffee in the cafe (which thankfully is open on Mondays) and then were able to sit by Jane’s tree almost undisturbed. We brought vegan cheesecake (from the best vegan restaurant in town, more below) and had a little picnic in the sunshine, Charlie tied a friendship bracelet to Jane’s tree, along with mementos left by other friends and family. It was a really special afternoon and I am very grateful to have been there.

 

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Palm Leaves, Poorly Toes & Passenger

A very exciting Tuesday as far as Tuesday’s go, Mum and Me visited Kew Gardens to celebrate her birthday and then the rest of the fam and my bestest friend, her fam, also her best friend and her Mum, joined us to watch Passenger (who also happens to be the best friends boyf) play a wonderful show at Kew The Music.

A spectacularly rainy day didn’t dampen the magic and my poorly toe survived 10km of wandering! We ate well and danced until darkness before giggles on the train home making all the seats very soggy!

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Christmas Markets & Vegan Doughnuts

Ok so ‘recent’ trip is a little generous, Christmas was like 6 months ago but hey ho!

First things first, let’s get it out of the way, this trip was marred by fear and worry due to the Christmas Market terror attack during our trip. It was mostly fear and worry by those who were not there and who were worrying about us. It is really important to me to not let this fear (mine or others) hinder plans and dreams, living in fear is only empowering the maniacs behind such attacks.

We had a fantastic trip and only the last two days were affected, I managed to keep the incident hidden from my travelling companion (a 13 year old worrier) until we got to the airport. We got home safely and did our best not to let the insanity of a few effect our opinion and experience of the city. Our close proximity to the attack and having been enjoying the markets ourselves only made my heart feel heavier for those killed.

Now let’s talk vegan doughnuts – f*ck you terrorists!!

Doughnuts

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Lost Dreams Awaken

We used to put most of our energy into spinning excuses and rationalizations for our failures. Today, we go forward and make use of the many opportunities life presents to us.  We may be amazed at what we’re capable of.  With our foundation of recovery, success, fulfilment, and satisfaction are within our reach at last.

Just for today:¬† Starting today, I‚Äôll do whatever I can to realize my dreams.¬†Taken from Just for Today Reading (June 9th) – “Lost dreams awaken and new possibilities arise.”

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Yoga Journey pt.2

Ok so I didn’t write for a hella long time. I kept wanting to, but I kept deciding not to. I was having a¬†battle. My yoga journey has been so full of hope, happiness and miracles… but the place I have been in went from one challenge to another¬†and lots and lots of darkness. Where I have been these last few months seemed in such a contrast to all the goodness, all the miracles I want to share with you that I didn’t feel it was ok to write.

But then I remembered the first principle, honesty.

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