Vegan Liverpool Pt.2

I’m coming at you today with four new eatery’s that are a must-visit on your next trip to Liverpool! We’ve got a mixture today: one place is fully vegan, the others have some damn good vegan options. I hope you like delicious food, otherwise you’ll hate this post!

Chamber 36

I don’t think I can fully articulate to you just quite how amazing this food is. The salt and pepper tofu is known to change lives. Fair warning. This restaurant is situated right next to the largest Chinese arch outside of China. Makes sense that they serve Chinese food then! They’re actually a Pan-Asian dim sum (think tapas) place that also boasts award winning cocktails. The vibe inside is very chill with some nice private booths. I like it because you could go in jeans or dress up fancy and you’ll always fit in. The tofu and aubergine is a must, as is the tempura. Couple it with an espresso martini and your taste buds will be thanking you for days. Also, I was actually facetiming in the bathroom here when my sister told us she was engaged! So I’ll always love this place.

Frost Burgers

This has become a new obsession of mine. I’m just thankful that it’s nowhere near my office otherwise I’d be buying this every day. I’d seen a couple of Monami Frost’s Youtube videos a few years ago but when this venue was announced I had absolutely no idea it was the same Frost. Turns out it is, she lives in Liverpool, who bloody knew. Anyway, the clue is in the name really, they do burgers. But they also do the most incredible skin-on fries, they have donuts and milkshakes and their famous soft-serve vegan ice cream too. Don’t kill me but I haven’t tried that yet! The burger is just so filling! I can definitely stand behind the garlic mayo chicken burger, that thing is unreal. Their dips are amazing and, to me, the mayos may be even better than Down the Hatch’s! If that wasn’t enough, you can also crush your own can before you recycle it.

Mayflower

Also situated in Chinatown is this amazing restaurant. (We’re Liverpool, we have the oldest Chinese community in Europe, you better believe we’re all obsessed with Chinese food.) Now let me paint a picture for you. You’ve been out since 6pm, a couple of drinks with friends turns into a messy night out, because when does it not? You get to 3am and you’re just gasping for some food, you skipped tea (remember the spiralling drinking?) but you really can’t face another kebab (or vegans, another side of plain chips). What you’re actually craving is a delicious Chinese meal. You know, like a sit down, classy affair? Well, look no fucking further. The Mayflower opens in the evening and serves at their restaurant until 4am. You did not read that wrong. This place will change your life. For all you naysayers, I’ve eaten here sober before and it was equally as incredible. You can’t go wrong with the tofu with straw mushrooms and the salt and pepper tofu (I’m obsessed, can you not tell?).

Wagamamas

I have a lot of time for a big food chain who takes time to make a boss vegan menu. People might be surprised to know that even two/three years ago, vegan options were almost non-existent in mainstream restaurants. All veggie options were heavily cheese-based. So the chains who got out there early (Zizzi, Pizza Express etc.) I actually am happy to give my money to. Wagamamas is definitely one of these. I love having them everywhere in the country for those evenings when you’re starving and just can’t be bothered to work out where will actually have decent options. I can’t lie, every time I go into one I swear I’ll try something new, but every single time, without fail, I’ll order the vegatsu. What can I say? That’s some damn tasty seitan! Even the side salad it comes with is unreal, that’s the level we’re at here. I’ve had the yakisoba before though (back in those pre-vegatsu days) and it was great. Recently they’ve added a dish to their menu that includes a vegan egg. Like come on. Just go!

And that’s it! If you’re mouth isn’t watering then you must be a robot. I’d love to hear your veggie/vegan recommendations – whether they’re in Liverpool or elsewhere!

Confusion – The Zutons

The Ten Most Annoying People On A Bus

I love a list post. Who doesn’t? I’ve currently been sat on a bus to London for the past four hours. Why, do you ask, am I sat on a six hour coach from Liverpool instead of a two hour train? Simple. A train for two was well over £100 whereas this coach is under £35 return. This fact may sound absurd to people in other countries. But the UK is an actual joke country. Getting a flight to many other European cities is far cheaper than getting a short train to somewhere else in our own country. Thanks, Maggie, you prick.

So, anyway, I’d like to think I’m quite an optimistic person. However, I also think people can be really stupid/inconsiderate/selfish. And here comes today’s post: the ten most annoying people on a bus. Let’s go!

1. Who else could we possibly start this list with but the absolute moron who has a three hour, extremely loud phone call? I have no words.

2. The snorer. Gotta say, I can be the culprit of this one (hey, an asthma/hay fever combo is no joke), but man when it’s not you it’s so annoying. Haha!

3. The person who lets their guitar fall on you and pretends not to notice. A very specific scenario to this particular journey but ‘obnoxious falling objects’ shall we say for this one?

4. The chair kicker. These seats are so close together, how are you even getting your legs up there, you contortionist?

5. The laddy boys creating a hell of a lot of sound pollution. We get it, you have a penis.

6. The space stealer. It’s a busy bus, I get it, sit next to me. That’s totally fine. Please do not encroach on my side though. I don’t want your dirty laundry under my legs and your half-eaten sandwich in my face. We’re not friends.

7. You know that person who seems to have conveniently forgotten about the existence of headphones and is blasting tinny sound out of their device? Yeah, I hate them.

8. The person at the scheduled stop who thought it was sound to sneak on a disgusting smelling hot sandwich. Now we all smell like a giant fart, thanks pal.

9. Oh how have we got to nearly the end of this post before I remembered this one! Possibly worst of all. The chatter! I don’t want to know where you’re going. I don’t care what the weather is like. I certainly don’t care what your interests are. Extroverts may think that’s a selfish stance to have however, I’d say you assuming I want to hear what you have to say is a little selfish too.

10. My boyfriend who keeps making me take my earphone out to look at another stupid tweet he’s seen. Just kidding on that one, he kept asking if he was one of the annoying people so I decided to throw it in for when he reads this later!

And there you have it. I hope you never experience these people. But if you do? Just remember the golden rule of public transportation travel: NEVER FORGET YOUR HEADPHONES. Blast Chic until you are actually having Good Times.

Also, nationalise the railways!

Bus Stop – The Hollies

Free Summer Adventure Ideas

We’re all struggling for money, am I right? Some, of course, more than others. But who isn’t forever waiting for payday? If not, I wish you well, you must either make a killing or budget and save a heck of a lot. But the rest of you out there? The rate of inflation, compared to the increase of wages is no joke. However, we can’t live life letting money control or consume us. We have to live. We have to laugh, have dreams, have adventures, have fun, breathe. So to help you do that on this Self-Care Thursday, without breaking your bank, here are ten ideas to help you escape the monotony of your average day. These activities I have labelled as free but some will require a previous purchase (ie. a bike) so I apologise if they aren’t accessible to you. I hope you can find something else to satisfy your hunger for adventure on this list!

Museums

In the U.K. we’re fortunate enough to have access to thousands of free museums and art galleries. We also know it rains no matter what the season. Go and educate yourself on a new topic or take in an art exhibit.

Beach

If you’re lucky enough to live on the coast, go and explore your coastline. Whether that’s pebbly or rocky or sandy! A brisk walk on the beach is perfect any time of year; it’ll fill your lungs with fresh, ocean air. You could also substitute this one with a canal, a lake, a pond.. any body of water really!

Library

I love owning books and building my collection but I think sometimes I forget how excellent the library is. I spent hours there as a kid perusing the stacks for my next read. Another perfect rainy activity! Why don’t you buddy read a book with a friend?

Garden

Have a staycation in your garden! Too hot in the house but don’t want to see any people? Set up camp with a good book on a blanket with a nice ice cold beverage.

Local Festivals

In Liverpool, we have endless festivals going on year-round but often in summer. The best part, a heck of a lot of them are free to attend! My favourite is an African music weekend that takes place in Sefton Park called Africa Oye. Take a deck chair and some snacks and you’re set up for the day. I’ve also attended a folk festival where I saw a group perform sea shanties!

Botanical Garden

There’s something about being surrounded by flowers and plants on a gloriously sunny day. The bright colours literally command your brain to be happy.

Bike Ride

Going for a bike ride is an excellent way to collide pleasure and exercise. Whether you’re cycling in circles, to the shops or to the park for a picnic, you’ll always feel better afterwards. I guarantee it.

Park

Come on, think how many things you can do in the park! Go for a stroll, take a frisbee, skip pebbles in the pond, sun bathe, take a football, go for a run, read, photograph flowers, write a novel, or all your most desperate dreams. Just get out into some greenery.

Yoga

Getting your body moving is always going to be an excellent way to spend your time. Yoga sessions don’t need to cost £8 for thirty minutes. Get yourself on YouTube and I swear you’ll never be able to turn away from Yoga With Adriene. She’s infectious. Give yourself a second in the calm summer mornings to wake yourself up.

Hobby

My last one is simply to pick up a new hobby. I think it’s never not a good time to try your hand at something new. Train your brain to learn new knowledge. This one may incur some costs but a few cheap ideas could include: baking, gardening, jigsaws, a language, reading, journaling.

I hope you have an excellent August!

The Only Thing – Sufjan Stevens

Hay Festival + Book Haul

At the end of May, we drove down to Hay-on-Wye – a quaint market town on the Welsh/English border that is notable for its bookshops. Why, I hear you ask? Cos, for their less than two thousand inhabitants, there is over twenty bookshops! Often crowned ‘the town of books’, it’s been on my list for forever. We picked a nice weekend in May to go (in hopes of sun, lol jk) as we decided to do a combination trip of endless book perusing with intervals of camping and hiking in Brecon Beacons National Park. The week I planned to go just happened to also be the world renowned Hay Literary Festival. Serendipity! We decided to risk the crowds, invited my dad who loves a book, and headed down.

The festival itself was really cool. The festival bookshop, don’t even get me started, huge. It’s free for anyone to enter the site and then you just buy tickets for individual events. We decided to see a Q&A with Anna Burns, the award-winning author of Milkman. She had such a quirky, amusing manner and read her book extracts with such animation it actually really helped me understand the novel’s tone. We also saw Stephen Fry. He was due to read a couple of extracts from his books Mythos and Heroes but instead decided to do a reading from the third book he is currently writing in the series, unbeknownst to his publishers! The real treat to that event was the outstanding illustrator Chris Riddell was there live-illustrating the session! He was very impressive and hilarious.

On another day, we went for a walk at Henrhyd Falls which was a bit treacherous from the recent rain but completely picturesque and tranquil. Easily satisfied my hiking fix. Also visited the town of Brecon which was quiet and cute. Had a lovely vegan daal in an indie coffee shop there!

Hay, the town, was just lovely. It was everything you want from a small market town. It had a couple of delicious food places with great veggie options, and more importantly it had a cosy little pub, The Blue Boar, that became our local for the weekend. The atmosphere was electric with booklovers visiting from far and wide. But enough of all that, on to the bookshops!

They were everything I hoped and more.

We grabbed a little map of the book tour that most shops carry and got on our way. The second we saw a book in the display window we were in there. There was such a variety of genres, I was in heaven. There was an entire poetry shop where I wanted to purchase every single book. There was a bookshop called Murder and Mayhem which, you guessed it, was entirely crime-based. There was a bookshop with all sorts of old editions of my favourite modern classics. I found an edition of 1984 that was truly magical to find. There, simply, was too many to mention. My favourite booksellers included Addyman Books (and their Annexe), Richard Booth’s Bookshop, The Poetry Bookshop and Green Ink Booksellers.

I completely shattered my 2019 book buying system cos I just could not contain myself. I came home with fourteen books.. My five gifts from Danny (that I won from reading the entire Mistborn Trilogy in April) and nine from myself! Oops. Here’s a quick book haul, one line about each though or we’ll be here forever, kids!

Animal – Sara Pascoe

A recommendation from my mate. Quite scientific so far, as well as funny.

Felicity – Mary Oliver

Read Blue Horses and needed to devour more Oliver, especially a love poem collection!

#MeToo: A Women’s Poetry Anthology – Ed. Deborah Alma

Speaks for itself: brave, boss women who I’d like to learn from.

Wishful Drinking – Carrie Fisher

A very self-depricating, endearing memoir.

The Beauty Myth – Naomi Wolf

Quoted it in my dissertation, liberally. Yet to read it.

Emma – Jane Austen

The last to complete my Austen’s. Needed the old black Penguin Classics editions as a rule.

Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell

An edition that’s very special to me, to match some of my mums favourite books from her collection.

Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

Just have been meaning to read it. We all know the story.

The Day of the Triffids – John Wyndham

Ditto. Also had a boss cover.

The Sonnets – William Shakespeare

Wanted for ages, found in an edition I enjoy. (Running theme?)

Peril At End House – Agatha Christie

Continuing my Christie journey with another Poirot!

After Dark – Haruki Murakami

Constantly hear about Murakami and haven’t read him! This one sounds mysterious and mad.

Pachinko – Min Jin Lee

When purchased was Our Shared Shelf’s pick of the month.

Silence – Erling Kagge

A little cute one Danny picked up that I know nothing about. Honing mindfulness skills I think!

All in all, a fabulous weekend. Cannot recommend Hay enough. Will be going back ASAP.

Come Alive – The Greatest Showman Soundtrack (Me and Danny had this album playing in the car all weekend. Also books make me come alive so that’s a nice little coincidence isn’t it?)

Hamilton: An American Musical Review

I first heard about Hamilton a few years ago and naïvely assumed I wouldn’t enjoy a rap musical. It was only last year, when my friend came to visit, that I was forced to listen to Yorktown and You’ll Be Back whilst having a giggly catchup. And the result? I fell asleep that night with the soundtrack on my Spotify. I have not turned it off since. For real. My Spotify Wrapped for 2018 was illuminating, to say the least.

Over the past year I have become, what can only be described as, obsessed with this musical. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard anything more perfectly written. Every time I listen, I’m again baffled at what I fucking genius Lin-Manuel Miranda is. That guy.

The exact day I first listened to Hamilton is the exact day I started talking to my boyfriend. I convinced him to listen to this soundtrack because my mind was being blown. He told me later that he didn’t really want to listen to it and he only did because I asked him to. The result of that one? Oh, he’s as obsessed as me. So this musical has kind of been there with us the whole way through our relationship. One of my favourite memories from the start of our relationship is driving around the Lakes singing along to Hamilton at the top of our lungs. (We still do that often.) So then at Christmas when he surprised me with tickets to the West End show I have never been so excited. I was completely not expecting it and then immediately wish I’d thought of it myself!

Skip to last weekend and we saw it. We actually saw it.

And it was bloody incredible.

If you absolutely can, get yourself there. We had previously been apprehensive to see it because we are so unbelievably attached to the original Broadway cast. I mean, they’re the ones you listen to on the album. What if these weren’t as good? What if they just didn’t have the same chemistry?

Well fear not.

All our worries were completely unfounded. Of course there are differences. Some lines are sung differently and some words are emphasised in a different way. It would be completely unreasonable to not allow for such change. But as a whole, this show was amazing. Completely true to its Broadway original. If you closed your eyes there was several characters that you could not have heard the difference in.

George Washington was the absolute star for me. His voice was so deep and commanding and perfect. Dom Hartley-Harris is everything Christopher Jackson made the character and more. He really is the general of that show. Lafayette/Jefferson was another highlight. Daveed Diggs is my favourite from the original cast so I was really nervous. But Jason Pennycooke brought so much sass and humour to this role that I was easily won over. My other favourite of the night was Eliza. Rachelle Ann Go was perfect. The way she sang Burn you could really feel the pain in Eliza’s storyline. For a small woman she can certainly demand the attention of a room. She was captivating. You could have heard a penny drop at the end Stay Alive – Reprise. I was definitely holding my breath. Eliza is just such a heartwarmingly good person.

I think it goes without saying that both Burr and Hamilton were also epically cast. Such great chemistry as a pair; Dear Theodosia was performed beautifully.

Top Songs: Right Hand Man, Wait For It, Helpless, Satisfied, Non-Stop, Cabinet Battle #1, The Room Where It Happened, One Last Time, I Know Him, Burn, Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story.

You know, so all of them. But no, the songs were incredible and seeing the choreography only enhanced them. The amount of steps and combinations that ensemble remembers is impressive.

So yeah, we had a bloody excellent time. We drank some beers, bought some merch, and danced our way through the show. We’re only gutted it’s over now. If you haven’t already listened to Hamilton I seriously implore you to. Hairspray has been my favourite musical for over fifteen years but last year Hamilton knocked this off the top. You will not regret it.

The ENTIRE Hamilton Soundtrack – Duh

Self-Care For Travelling

During my holidays over the last few years I’ve tried to decipher what makes an optimum trip for me. I think it’s easy to get overly stressed out on holiday when we should be having fun. Our stress often begins in the packing stages (see last week’s blog post: https://sarahwilliamsandco.com/2019/04/04/minimalist-packing-list/) and lasts all the way to the ignored dirty suitcase two week’s after you get home. It should not be like this, am I right? So here’s a few tips to help you have a boss vacation whilst also remembering to keep self-care at the for front of your mind.

1. It’s super fun to try and pack eighteen different things into one day, and if you’re on a short trip it’s often the only way to see everything but try and be realistic. Timings you plan beforehand will always go awry because tourists. They’re the worst. Also you might want to stay longer at somewhere you like a lot. You’re going to have to prioritise so that if you don’t get everywhere you’ll be happy with what you managed to see.

2. Holiday walking pace. That’s something my sister invented. You have a home pace which involves marching to work, around the supermarket and such but on holiday you’re supposed to stroll. You want to actually enjoy yourself and take things in, not just tick them off a list.

3. Try not to have too tight of a budget. Obviously way easier said than done. But whilst you’re saving maybe try and keep a little bit back that you haven’t assigned to a daily budget. That way if you’re sat by the Seine having the time of your life and don’t want to go home then you don’t have to. Have the extra glass of wine because you will never be there in that exact moment again.

4. If you want to lie in, fucking lie in. I don’t get this whole waking up at eight am on holiday and then running around until you pass out from exhaustion. Don’t forget you’re on holiday. You’re literally supposed to be having a break. When you go home you’ll probably be back to the working life grind. You can get up early then. Remember to relax, the place will still be there when you wake up. Allow yourself to sleep past twelve if you’ve been out the night before enjoying the booze.

5. Make your trip your own. What I mean by that is research the place you’re going to. Don’t just hit the Eiffel Tower, the Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe. By all means visit them. I’m in Paris right now and I’ve been to all of them! But finds ways to make the city you’re own. I like to find amazing veggie food using HappyCow. I love to find well-known and hidden away bookshops and spending all my money and time there. I love finding any park, locating the fountain (they’ve all got one) and then just sitting there in the sun listening to the water. I’m actually sat in Jardin des Tuileries right now writing this! I like to find alternative bars and an Irish pub cos I just think that’s hilarious. Take the time to do things other people won’t ever do because that’s what gets you up in the morning.

6. And duh, always remember to have fun! Sounds like an easy thing to do but sometimes it’s not. So give yourself that minute to fume and the person who just pushed in front of you on the metro but then release it and carry on with your excellent day.

Paris (Ooh La La) – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

The Travelling Book Bag

Today’s post will be a quick one cos I’m off exploring beautiful Paris but I’m really trying to stick to a regular posting schedule for you guys! Tuesdays are my book days. I don’t leave the house without a book. Do you? Sometimes I carry three or four. But I’m working on that. I live and breathe books, basically. Today I got to finally go to Shakespeare and Company after many years of waiting! It did not disappoint. I wanted to buy every single book. So I settled for five.

Below I have mixed together two of my favourite things: books and travel. Here is a list of books about travel. Or about a city. They’re books that focus on travelling within the plot, as part of a theme, or just in the words they say, they make you feel part of the world they’re describing. Completely immersed. Whether it’s Patti Smith’s love letter to New York or the powerful revolution in Animal Farm and their creation of a new home. Enjoy!

Along for the Ride – Sarah Dessen

Brooklyn – Colm Tóibín

A Darker Shade of Magic – V. E. Schwab

Homegoing – Yaa Gyasi

A Caribbean Mystery – Agatha Christie

Astray – Emma Donoghue

The Immortalists – Chloe Benjamin

Conversations With Friends – Sally Rooney

Just Kids – Patti Smith

The Final Empire – Brandon Sanderson

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J. K. Rowling

Wild – Cheryl Strayed

Tales of the City – Armistead Maupin

The Northern Lights – Phillip Pullman

The Power – Naomi Alderman

Animal Farm – George Orwell

Johnny Cash – I’ve Been Everywhere

Berlin Vegan Food + Drink

I’m currently sat on the Eurostar to Paris for the week with Danny, so I thought what better time to continue the world adventures series. Today we’ll be flashing back to February when we were in Berlin. I love Berlin. If I could live anywhere in the world it would be Liverpool, Dublin, Berlin or New York. I’ve always felt an unusual affinity with Berlin and I have no idea why. Before I ever went there I knew I’d feel at home. And since going in twentyseventeen I’ve been rushing back whenever I can. One of my favourite parts of Berlin is the insanely good and varied vegan food as well as the relaxed, alternative nightlife. We only popped over for a quick couple of days this time but we managed to fit in some delicious food and, of course, unlimited bier. Okay, let’s get going!

Dada Falafel

My sister recommended this to us and as we arrived at our Airbnb in the early evening we were famished! I got a falafel platter and it was amazing. Gigantic, crunchy falafel balls as well as hummus’, salads and pittas. Beware: there was an insanely hot sauce on this plate that looked like an innocent tomato sauce, don’t be fooled! Not solely vegan but very tasty and lovely staff who were happy to politely take the piss out of two English dickheads trying to use German fresh off the plane.

Die Bar

This little bar is in Prenzlauer Berg right by our apartment. It’s small and cosy with very low atmospheric lighting. Table service when it’s not rammed. This gin bar has over forty different gins as well as good beers and moorish cocktails. One thing to note about Berlin is it’s still legal to smoke indoors. If that’s something that might bother you then just be careful where you go. This place had a very cave-like ambiance that we really enjoyed but it meant smoke was very much in your lungs the entire time!

Samadhi

After spending a morning touristing around the Reichstag Dome and the Tiergarten we were ready for some delicious food. After a quick look on HappyCow we saw this little southeast Asian place just past the Jewish memorial. And man, are we glad we found it! It was delicious. They’re fully veggie but more than happy to make most of their dishes vegan. I had a tofu fried rice which just makes anything you cook at home taste like utter garbage. We also had a beer there that was like a German Guinness type thing. Was tasty.

Brammibals Donuts

Need I say more? This is a fully vegan donut shop! Really cute interior and friendly staff. We had oat milk lattes and too many donuts. They seem to switch the donuts around a lot however if the chocolate peanut butter one is there, get it! So good.

Soulcat

This bar is a lovely cosy venue with bright red walls that plays only vinyl records selected by the bartender. Very welcoming and great music choices. The Liverpool/Bayern Munich game was being shown when we were there (we tried to keep our scouse voices on the down low, turns out most of the people were actually Liverpool fans since Munich is obviously a Berlin rival) but we just sat in a little nook away from the big screen and it was perfectly pleasant. Another thing to note about Berlin is a heck of a lot of the bars are still cash only so don’t be caught out!

Lerchen&Eulen

This is hands down my favourite place in Berlin. What I love most about the Berlin nightlife is the fact you don’t have to go to the pub then come one am go off to some horrendous club and dance. A lot of bars are open til five and six am but they just stay as relaxed, causal, cosy places to sit and drink wine by candlelight. Literally so calming and fun. I first stumbled across this place a couple of years ago when I was with my sister and her boyfriend. She wanted to go in cos they had lots of nice plants outside! So glad we went in and now it’s a cosy bar I’ll head to every time I’m there.

Street Angels

This place, man, this place I had the most disgusting burger of my life. Zero exaggeration. I was so feeling just like a really good veggie burger and then we found this place on HappyCow so headed over. I don’t want to slate the venue itself because the place was nice, very quiet but it had just opened, and the staff were very friendly. But under no circumstances do I want anyone reading this to ever eat that burger! So I had to warn you. It was all kinds of wrong. Had like potato in, looked so crispy and good on the outside but then was just like a weird mushy fiasco inside. Tasted of nothing. Don’t do it. On the plus side, for any meat eaters, Danny had a schnitzel and said it was very good!

Bämeräng

On our last night we went to this vegan rock bar and boy, we were not disappointed. We had some nachos and garlic bread and some really weird Berlin delicacy which was just like dense bread with thick butter on and crispy onion bits (we were not a fan). We also had some huge steins of beer, cos, Germany. It was a small little place and we didn’t want to take up space for too long but the guy was really friendly and when he brought us another beer he brought some pretzels. Then he convinced us to try the tiramisu and I was easily convinced because I love tiramisu but have never had a vegan one. It was incredible. Next thing we know the guy puts a shot down on our table and we’re thinking errr we didn’t order those and then he said it’s a peppermint liqueur that’s very popular in Berlin. Oh, and it was free. It was delicious and we left feeling completely satisfied but also happy about how fucking lovely the service had been. Feels intimidating at first because it’s so small but we would definitely go back!

Hunger – Of Monsters and Men

Minimalist Packing List

So for this week’s self-care post I thought I’d do something a little different. One thing I’ve not really spoken about on my blog is minimalism. I’d like to think I’ve been living a minimalist lifestyle for about five years now. I haven’t spoke about it much in my posts because I don’t necessarily think of it as something I do so much as something I am. I don’t know if that sounds obnoxious. What I mean is I live my life always with the intention of keeping things minimal, having things with function. But I don’t sit down and think ‘okay, how can I be ‘minimalist’ today’. Get me? So I’ve seen the huge surge of minimalism and konmaring recently and believe me, I’m all for it, but other than telling you what possessions I own I didn’t see how I could have anything to say about it. But I’m going to Paris next week and I always try to take inspiration from my life for the self-care posts, so then it hit me. I’ll do a packing list. Stick with me here.

I think as humans we can easily get overwhelmed. Often we make problems for ourselves. An area we tend to do this is going on holiday, or moving, or just generally having to look at things we own and decide whether they’re worth putting in a bag. Holidays, for example, are supposed to be a magical time. We’re literally supposed to be having the time of our lives. But who can tell me you haven’t started a holiday in the worst mood imaginable because your partner/dad/mate told you to hurry up, you underestimated how long you take to roll things and now you’ve got a bin bag of wet knickers in your hand luggage that you’re gonna have to dry when you get there and a face like a smacked arse? It should be simple. Hassle-free.

So I’m going to break it down for you.

Everyone’s packing list will be different. That’s the first thing. Because everyone has different priorities. But I presume we all wear clothes and brush our teeth and need passports to fly. So we’ll keep it open.

My first experience of minimalism was probably when I moved to uni with a seven-seater full to the brim of belongings. I also had a room on the third floor with no lift. I quickly reevaluated my life. Slowly I decreased my possessions until third year when I was flying to America for an exchange year. One suitcase and one carry on. That was my limit. This trip was already costing me so much, I certainly wasn’t paying for extra luggage! So I had to really evaluate what I thought I needed to survive. What things did I need in my life to feel safe and satisfied and functional. And so my hard turn into minimalism began. And you know what you instantly find? Fucking hell, is that shit freeing. I felt like I wasn’t being held back anymore. Even now, I feel like at the drop of a hat I could be packed up and ready for an adventure. I know where every possession I own is. Think about that. Cos I think that’s a really important part of minimalism. If you don’t know where it is or what it is then what exactly is its purpose? Do you know where everything you own is right now?

But before this post itself overwhelms you, let’s move on. We’ll work towards that. For now let’s just perfect the packing list because isn’t running away from our problems way more fun?

Sarah’s Minimalist Packing List

Passport

Phone + Wallet

Book and/or Headphones (I don’t know your life, though if you don’t go everywhere with a book I do not trust you)

Other electronics (laptop, tablet, camera etc)

Chargers

Papers (tickets, boarding passes, travel insurance policies, maps, or just you know, go paperless, man)

Water Bottle + Cloth Bag

Small pouch (lip sil, tissues, bobble, plasters, hand sanitiser, atomiser, portable charger, pen)

Bigger Toiletries (hair/tooth brushes, tooth paste, shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, sun cream)

Clothes (jacket/coat x1, hoodie/jumper x2, shoes, jeans x2, t-shirts/underwear xamount-of-days-not-three-weeks-more-than-necessary, hat/gloves/sunglasses/swimwear (weather dependent), pjs)

Anything you need to make you feel human. Maybe it’s a bullet journal, maybe it’s a pair of straighteners, maybe it’s a teddy bear, hey no judgment here. As long as the object is serving a valid function for you and your trip then bring it along. You only need to justify it to yourself. If you come back from this trip and it hasn’t been used, remove it and don’t take it again. You’ll learn as you go. But don’t be breaking your back carting round garbage you don’t need. You’re not a pack mule. Now go and enjoy your trip!

ps. Shot every time I said minimal/ist/ism.

Little Talks – Of Monsters and Men

 

World Adventures: Manchester Food + Drink

As promised, here, for our second World Adventures post, is my food and drink recommendations for Manchester. Where to even begin! Just reading this is gonna make you feel full. Not hungry, full. We were so full all weekend we could barely drink a pint! Just too much liquid. All the vegan food we had was absolutely amazing though! We also found a few favourite pubs around the Northern Quarter. Everything we went to was less than ten minutes walk away from our Airbnb. We’re now big fans of the Northern Quarter! Let’s stop this chit chat though cos we’ve got a lot to get through!

Go Falafel

Dude, best falafel in the North West. Without a doubt. It saddens me every day that I haven’t found a better one in Liverpool and I’ll keep looking. But for now I’d rather pop on a train when I’m craving insanely tasty deep fried chickpea goodness. Get a wrap or get a bowl, you literally can’t go wrong.

Pasta Factory

My first time at the pasta factory. It’s an authentic Italian restaurant with fresh pasta made in the kitchen. And a surprising amount of vegan options. I got a creamy, pesto, courgette spaghetti. Was fucking divine. Note to self: you will not need a starter, even an innocence breadoilolive combo. Also try the red Coca Cola, really good.

Little Aladdin

Dude, where to even begin with Aladdin’s. It’s a little kebab looking shop with plastic seats that turned vegan a while back. But don’t let your prejudices cloud your judgement. This place is no bullshit. The curries are amazing. There’s cheesy fries and burgers and wraps and homemade brownies. The people are always very friendly. Great value. And I’d definitely recommend the tofu/falafel wrap combo.

The Koffee Pot

Our apartment was literally on top of this place and people always looked like they were having a great breakfast inside! We finally caved on the Sunday and went in. They boast a different cooked breakfast from all four corners of the U.K., Danny can recommend the Scottish. The vegan breakfast was great though, could have done without the vegan black pudding but that’s just me!

V Rev

This I’ve known about for ages and just figured it wouldn’t live up to the hype. I was, of course, wrong. Burgers don’t come with fries, if you want to leave with your jeans closed I wouldn’t add them. I got a Jimmy Pesto which was buttermilk seitan, cashew pesto goodness. Such delicious goodness. Also loads of cocktails. Just go.

Castle Hotel

Probably my favourite pub of the weekend. Can be a bit of a squeeze if busy but if you get a seat you could stay all night. Nice atmosphere, dingy in all the right ways. Open late and even had mulled cider on! It was Christmas like, but still! Also has a venue room where live bands play.

Crown & Kettle

This place is a must if you love cider cos they have a cider bar! Yeah. An entire bar for cider. It’s bliss. There’s also lots of games to play. It’s a nice circular pub with a few nooks to sit. Just a lovely chilled out vibe, definitely recommend.

Shakespeare Pub

This one we honestly ran into to avoid the rain. I did appreciate the name though. It ended up being quite cute, aside from the loud drunk people next to us at three pm. But it was pay day weekend and the week before Christmas so what can you expect? Nice little place.

Sinclairs Oyster Bar

Right round the corner from Victoria station, this small and very old pub is a delight. Small selection of drinks but cheap. Lots of chairs and little hidden areas. We spent hours here just playing cards. Very relaxed.

And there you have it! I’d love to know your Manchester recommendations. Next week we’ll be jumping on a train to Birmingham!

Hey Now – The Regrettes