Posted by: wildandginger | July 2, 2011

Do you have a Spider Phobia?

As much as I don’t really agree with keeping animals in Zoo’s, I today made a visit to London Zoo to attend their very successful Friendly Spider Programme. Having had a spider phobia all of my life, I have found encounters with the eight legged folk quite traumatising which upon reflection is of course ridiculous. The last thing someone with arachnophobia needs to hear is ‘Its Only a Spider, its more scared of you then you are of it’ etc- as these remarks and suchlike actually only reinforce the illogical fear that is buried deep within the subconscious; we think with our conscious mind and react with our subconcious.

As much as I am an optomistic person, to be honest I didn’t think much of the day ahead of me. I mean, did I really think that I was going to be one of those crazy nuts at the end of the course who wants to hold the tarantula I thought no way! I arrived at the meeting rooms in the early afternoon and registered my attendance. There I was met with a hot beverage and a ‘prep talk’ from one of the kind volunteers. We were ushered into the auditorium and the programme opened with an introduction from the hypnotherapist; a lovely man called John. Together we were encouraged to talk about why we did not like spiders and the places we most feared their encounters. We were told that phobias are either passed down from our parents or that we are ‘worriers’. Until today I looked upon fretting as a weakness however this is not true and was explained to us; within each species of animal some of us are genetically programmed to be worriers so as to be the ‘look outs’ for the rest of the pack! Well I am most certainly a worrier and although this may somewhat be genetic to a point, I have also learned that behaviour from both my parents who are also worriers. Anyway enough about that. Next up was a talk from the head of invertebrate, Dave, who also grew up with an irrational fear of the eight legged folk and he told us lots of interesting facts about spiders and how important they are for our environment and also about how safe they are too. After an hour or so we had another break and then we were asked to go into another meeting room where we were instructed to lay down on the floor with a cushion to undergo group hypnosis. Seriously, even as John started to talk I thought it really was silly and no way would it work! After the thirty minute session we were asked to attend the bugs section at the zoo and I thought that would be okay- I didn’t feel different, I just felt relaxed and chilled out. We were asked to look at some of the spiders through the glass and I couldn’t quite believe it but I had my face pressed up against the glass looking at them in great detail! I was then asked if I wanted to practice catching house spiders which I did with ease, calmly and confidently. Next thing I knew I was with one of the bug keepers placing my hands into a plastic box that had a huge house spider in and the little fella started to run over my hands. There is more- I then went on to hold the beautiful Mexican Red Kneed tarantula in my hands and stroke its velvety smooth legs. Whow, I still can’t quite belive it but I love spiders and I’m on the look out for them now in a good way. I feel like a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders. No more lying on the beach with one eye open or freezing up and having panic attacks! Gone are the days of phoning a friend if no-one is home, to come and move a spider for me, that is so last year!

For more on the Friendly Spider Programme at London Zoo then visit http://www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo//news/scared-of-spiders,20,NS.html for more details.

Posted by: wildandginger | June 29, 2011

The Vegan Society Starter Pack

Last week I received through the post my Vegan Starter Pack that I had ordered from the Vegan Society. I paid £19 for the pack which includes the books Animal Free Shopper 9th Edition, Vegan Stories and Plant Based Nutrition & Health. In addition I received a lapel badge and emblem wallet. I made a saving of £6.37 by purchasing the starter pack rather than order the items individually.

The books are amazing and I find myself referencing them all the time especially the Animal Free Shopper. I have read a couple of the entries in ‘Vegan Stories’ and this book is a collection of experiences from fellow vegans; how they have overcome everyday hurdles and found alternatives. These books are well worth the money as they are brimming with information and most importantly inspiration! Following a vegan lifestyle can initially seem daunting and somewhat dull in parts but these books really do kick all worries into perspective and challenges one to move on with the journey…and most of all to bloody well enjoy it too! Yay for the Vegan Society.

I don’t know about anyone else but I was a bit miffed that my vegan supplement costs over £6 for thirty tablets so I took advantage of also purchasing three months supply of vegan vitamins for only £4.99 which has also saved me over ten pounds too! For more on shopping from the Vegan Society as well as free and helpful information; find out more at http://shop.vegansociety.com/

Posted by: wildandginger | June 29, 2011

Beware the Veggie Samosa’s in Camden…

I have been looking after my nephew and out and about so apologies for not updating my blog!…I’m back! Anyway another sunny day in London found me down in Camden Town in the usual haunts of Cyberdog and beautiful boutiques; window shopping of course! My nephew couldn’t wait to get his beak into an oversized tray of Chinese food from one of the many food stalls offering tastes from all over the world! I was so hungry and the food available to me was somewhat limited so I opted for (after carefully checking the ingredients) the safety of what I thought to be a vegetable samosa. We found a nice spot to sit and set about eating our food. I bit into the samosa and I can only politely say to you, the reader, that I felt sick and violated to be met with the taste of meat upon my palate. I thankfully did not ingest the gross triangle of dead meatness and swiftly marched back to the indian food stall and demanded my money back and made sure to voice my disgust in front of passers-by. I then sat back down and sipped some water and I did not at all feel well!

My eyes fell upon the stall further down called ‘Little India’- so I approached and told the lady serving food about what had just happened to me. I was assured that her samosa’s were fine and I proceeded to purchase another veggie samosa. To my absolute horror it too contained meat, lamb to be exact (or as I like to call them, Baby Sheep). Thankfully I had approached with some caution and again did not ingest the food. Again I marched back to the stall and caused havoc and demanded my money back. I have talked to some veggie friends of mine and this has also happened to them in Camden. It would appear that these foods are made by a mass contractor and sold to the small stalls to sell onto the public at a profit. This experience has left me a different person; one who now goes to Camden with a packed lunch……but thankfully I can still get a fabulous cake for afters at Cookies & Scream!

Posted by: wildandginger | May 31, 2011

Camden Cake Delights

I just adore Camden and this time I didn’t need to think twice about my reasons for wanting to go back there again so soon after my last visit. I needed cakes and when I was last there I discovered a vegan cake oasis so I was going back for more! I know I should be baking but every decent vegan recipe I come across is measured in cups and spoons so I am waiting for my set to arrive from eBay and no point trying to use my scales  as they are wrecked.

Anyway, back to the cake oasis! if you are lucky enough to live in or around London then you simply must make a visit to Cookies & Scream cake stall in Camden Market; they have some of the best cakes I’ve ever tasted, even in comparison to my pre-vegan days! Alternatively you can take a peek at their website www.cookiesandscream.com  It was nearing end of business when I got to Camden late this afternoon so I requested one of each cake that they had leftover. The cake on the far right is chocolate chip banana cake, the one on the left is coconut and chocolate and the cupcake in the middle is lemon and almond with lemon icing. I am in cake heaven and its giving me lots of ideas for making my own! I can only photograph these cakes for the time being as I cannot gorge on them until I have had my dinner so I am munching on strawberries as I type to keep me going!

My dinner will be last nights leftovers, homemade veggie sweet and sour- mushrooms, peppers, carrots, fresh pineapple, red onion, garlic and sweetcorn served with brown rice.  Upon my return home I found a parcel waiting for me- my new cook-ware had arrived.. scales are so last year! I look forward to sharing the trials of perfecting vegan-bakery; something which I have not yet had a go at! One things for sure though, I have really enjoyed eating the vegan cakes I’ve tried so far, I’m just hoping mine will be anywhere as good!

Oh and I’ve just realised the above link to their website is under construction but keep a note of it, as the cakes are worth waiting for :)

 

 

Posted by: wildandginger | May 29, 2011

Dr Marten Boots Vegan Style!

I have been fascinated with the Dr Marten brand since I was five years old and I first saw the famous Young Ones episode with the legendary Alexei Sayle singing the ‘Dr Marten, Dr Marten, Dr Marten Boots!’I got my first pair of DM.s in 1993, they were black leather ten-hole editions and I wore them proud! I was lucky enough to attend a secondary mixed state school with no uniform and everyone had their own unique style. It was frowned upon in those days of grunge to look anyway the same as someone else so individuality was celebrated.

Back then I never gave a second thought to my purchasing of leather products, my angle was that animals die naturally and we recycle their skin right? I didn’t know then that supply comes from demand and leather goods are yet another product of the animal slave trade incorporated by the ‘machine’.

Anyway last weekend I found myself in Camden having a nosey around the shops with my aunt. After a drink in the pub I got talking to a rather menacing looking man on the street holding up a Dr Martens sign. I asked him if his shop had vegan boots, especially the ones I liked with pink ribbon in the laces. He told me to follow him to the shop which was tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the main street. The shop was the actual original Dr Marten shop where Madness used to live; in the flat above, back in the days of singles such as ‘Our House’. Autographed boots hung from the ceiling but darn those were not for sale! Anyway turns out they didn’t have the boots I wanted and said they were sold out, even on-line. I was drawn to a pair of canvas greeny coloured patterned boots and asked to try them in a size bigger as they didn’t supply half sizes. Anyway I bought them and took them back home and proceeded to attempt to break them in.

I did the usual of putting on my thick socks on and walking around the house in them but alas my feet kept slipping out, they were just too big. I was then on a bit of a downer so whilst doodling on the internet I decided to have a peek onto the Dr Martens website and what did I stumble upon, well the boots I originally wanted with flowers on and pink ribbon! It was no contest, I couldn’t afford it but I had to have them as they were selling out. It was an automated process; I engaged with the capitalist machine at the click of my mouse and the flexing of my debit card. Twenty-Four hours and eighty-six pounds of hard-earned cash later, I received my beautiful boots.

My attentions then turned to the box with the other DM’s in and I recalled the man with the sign telling me I wouldn’t be able to get them and surprisingly I didn’t feel angry. I simply smiled, they were from the original shop after all and something made me buy them, as these days I am a very careful shopper and try my best not to consume irresponsibly- you only have to check out my six-year-old mobile phone for evidence!

So what to do with the oversized boots? Well my Mum would love them, they are in her size and would be great for her feet. It was meant to be, the universe had interacted with me- Mum has achy feet and would look fab in them. In addition I am trying to convert her to veganism; she is a vegetarian….hhhmm perhaps these lovely canvas boots will tempt her my way! Anyway she will definitely approve of her early birthday and Christmas present, that’s one family member sensibly catered for, well two including me!

Posted by: wildandginger | May 28, 2011

Why I decided to be a Vegan

During my life I have encountered individuals and their philosophies on the world around them and their ‘life choices’. I must remain true to myself and therefore I am ashamed to admit that as someone who has prided myself on being unique and individual I was once the person that somewhat laughed at vegans and their chants such as ‘Milk is for calves, not us’…I was like yea okay, whats so wrong with milking a cow? A cow is happy right? You just keep up the expression of their milk and it lasts their lifetime right? How very wrong I was….and how deeply ashamed I am of it!

I chose to be a vegetarian at the tender age of six because just the thought of an animal suffering would make me curl up in a ball on the floor and sob my heart out. I was lucky as my mother supported my choice and she too chose to lead the veggie lifestyle to join me on my journey.

But why did I not know and understand just how badly animals suffer at the hands of the capitalist machine? How did I not get the fact that a dairy cow has to be calved at least every eighteen months in order to produce milk for us? How did I not know that the calf, new-born, is either left in a heap to die or put into a black box and exported to the continent as a live export? How can humankind be so glutenous and hierarchical?

The capitalist machine incorporating the more greedy side of humankind is not only taking away a heifers new-born but are also forcing her to wear a bra in some countries to prevent their teats from dragging along the ground. Its madness and it’s totally unnecessary.

Posted by: wildandginger | May 28, 2011

Me, Myself and I

I am living the vegan lifestyle and have decided to write a blog everyday about how I survive in this consuming, capitalist world. Having been a vegetarian for the most part of my life, I took the decision to make the transition into veganism about six months ago and I continue to be enlightened everyday by what I am discovering.

As fellow vegans will understand making the commitment to a vegan lifestyle needs to have a ‘transition period’ as small mistakes will be made. This is due to the fact that the large proportion of foods available are littered with animal products. I have found some wonderful food products though and I’ll never look back! Read my blog and find out more. I will share my life experiences and the daily ups and downs too! Enjoy :)

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