Last weekend, Russell and I spent the morning at the Vegan Life event in London. It’s 135 miles from our house to Alexandra Palace, and the drive took just over two hours.
There’s plenty of free parking facilities, situated in a pretty wooded area. Then there’s a 10 minute walk up the hill to the exhibition centre itself.
Alexandra Palace is a relatively leafy area located in an upmarket part of North London. Given it’s only 7 miles or so from say, the Tower of London, it’s pretty central too.
The area is named after an historic exhibition centre known locally as Ally Pally, which is where the Vegan event was being held. It’s a stunning building built in 1873, in the reign of Queen Victoria.
In this stock photo, you can just see the Shard and the taller buildings in central London from the seated area outside Alexandra Palace.
This was the entrance to the Vegan Life Live event.
There were about 250 exhibitors but we didn’t get to visit them all. I’ll quickly mention the things I bought.
There were several vegan bakeries at the venue, and all of their produce looked fantastic. But the one I wanted to try was Ms Cupcake. I’d read about her and her amazing cake shop in Brixton. Ms Cupcake was the UK’s first entirely vegan bakery. Everyone who works there wears 1950s style aprons and hair accessories. They have a very distinctive look.
Ms Cupcake is a Canadian whose real name is Mellissa Morgan. I spoke to her at the show. No wonder her business does so well. She knows exactly how to make everyone who meets her, feel at that moment, like the only person who matters.
Her cakes are absolutely delicious, if decadent. I broke my diet and ate two enormous cookie sandwiches. I had no choice!
The closest I’d been to eating one of these delicacies before, was when I bought the Ms Cupcake recipe book. Mellissa doesn’t keep secrets and all her recipes are there for anyone to replicate at home. But be warned, these are not cakes to eat every day.
I am following a low-fat, whole food, plant-based diet. BUT, once in a while these vegan cakes are the most amazing cakes to enjoy. I certainly did this weekend.
We bought several cookie sandwiches. This is what the Red Velvet ones looked like when I got them home. They were the most exquisite cookies I’d ever eaten.
You can get Ms Cupcake’s vegan cake recipe book yourself and make these and other treats in your own kitchen. When I spoke with Mellissa on Saturday, she told me the easiest recipes are the cookies, (how fortunate), and the Victoria Sponge.
Ringana – Tooth Oil
I came across a small and understated table at the exhibition that was hosted by a softly spoken woman from Germany. She had no products available to buy, but there were samples you could try out.
Her stall got my attention, as if you know me I am fastidious about how I clean my teeth. My general tooth and mouth health is excellent (despite having awful teeth) thanks to how I clean my teeth.
I’d heard about the practice of oil pulling, but never tried it. This is how they describe oil pulling on the Ringana website.
Effective tooth care involves our FRESH tooth oil. You swish some oil around in your mouth and then spit it out. The reason to do this is that the tooth oil pulls out bacteria in between teeth and in oral cavities. You can even use it instead of toothpaste.Ringana
I tried some tooth oil at the exhibition and the taste it leaves on your mouth can only be described as exquisite. It tastes very fresh, green and minty, but also like lemon scented herbs. It is really beautiful. I cannot wait to get some of this myself and will be ordering it this week.
I would never replace the tooth soap I use, but I am certainly going to add tooth oil to my tooth care routine. It is too gorgeously scented not to.
The Ringana website does not present well, as it is in German, and I don’t speak German. The auto translation that my browser performs isn’t great either. Certainly, based just on the website alone I’d never buy anything from these guys. But fortunately for me, I met them and tried their product, so I will not be missing out. Here’s a link to their tooth oil product.
Artisan Vegan Fudge By Slab
Russell has a sweet tooth, and although we bought 4 slabs, there’s now
only half of one slab left none left. It’s lovely vegan fudge made by Slab – who make both dairy and vegan fudges.
I only got to taste the Vegan Salted Caramel and Vegan Death By Chocolate flavours, before they’d all disappeared in Russell’s mouth. Seriously, I do not know he stays so slim.
The vegan flavours Slab produce are
- Sea-Salted Caramel
- Death By Chocolate
- Cookies And Cream
- Tiger Butter
- Maple and Walnut
- Choc Toffee
- Raspberry and Coconut
Russell thinks this stuff is great. It would make a nice present for the vegan in your life, as the fudges can be gift wrapped and sent for you, I believe, from their website.
I feel these people missed a trick. I mean you produce a wonderful seitan (pronounced say-tan) product, (which is like a meat substitute), and you call your website Love Seitan, when you could have called it Worship Seitan. LOL.
Anyway, I think it’s a superb product which they make available in several flavours, all of which I tried at the exhibition. We bought
- Sage and Onion,
- Smokey Dokey and
- Chilli and Garlic.
It keeps for several weeks in the fridge but will also freeze well. It is basically made of gluten so no good if you’re on a gluten-free diet. We had some for dinner this evening with baked potatoes and salad. It’s delicious and can be fried, added to a sauce or just eaten as is, in a sandwich.
It’s hard to find wine that is vegan. Most wine seems to use casein (from milk), egg whites, gelatin or isinglass (fish bladder protein), in the production process to fine (clear) the wine. It’s like we humans will find any excuse to exploit animal bodies when we don’t have to.
To counterbalance most wine producers, here is an Italian brand called Artigianale that is making an eco-aware Vegan Prosecco in Treviso, which is near Venice in northern Italy.
They are an ethical company and the Prosecco tastes fresh, lemony and clean. We bought two bottles. They say,
In creating Artigianale, we were looking to develop an ecologically-conscious wine, which uses 100% renewable energy sources in its production process, environmentally friendly packaging, that is free from chemical pesticides and is suitable for vegans.Artigianale Wine
The prosecco is low sugar, with a fresh taste and fine persistent bubbles that are the result of a slow fermentation. It’s made with grapes from 20 year old vines, grown with no chemical pesticides. The entire process is vegan.
Vegan Sweet Tooth
The last food stand I’ll mention is Vegan Sweet Tooth. An amazing culinary business that is entirely vegan and Italian. The chef Giancarlo Roncato describes himself as someone who tries to live life without exploiting animals, for the benefit of animals, people and the planet. Who wouldn’t want to support someone with goals like that.
Vegan Sweet Tooth can be found at various markets around London, and events throughout England. A full list of places where you can look forward to trying this food is maintained on the Vegan Sweet Tooth Facebook page.
We had a lunch of vegan pizza, arancini and almond frangipane. My diet was wrecked by this visit to the Vegan Life Live. You can see from these photos just a tiny proportion of the vast array of desserts, cakes and generally scrumptious food I attempted to avoid. Things I do not allow myself to eat were literally everywhere.
I am not someone who uses a lot of makeup; even when I go out. Despite my advancing age, I try to maintain a skin that doesn’t require it. I try to look more or less the same with makeup on, as off. So when the makeup artist from this stand asked if she could apply eye makeup I said no-way. She looked amazing, like some sort of Goddess. But she had used a lot of makeup. And as much as I admired her look, I knew it wasn’t for me. Damn.
However, when I do use foundation makeup, I use Bare Minerals. But this vegan makeup by founder, Jay Bharj, is similar to Bare Minerals so and took the opportunity to be colour matched by their stunning and charming makeup artist.
Club Organix have 36 shades of mineral foundation which means they had a match for every skin tone on the day. With Bare Minerals I am always having to compromise on the colours available, as no physical shop I’ve ever visited carries their entire range. This was a chance for me to have a good colour match to my own skin tone.
I bought foundation, lipstick and an eyeshadow. The eyeshadow reminded me of the French Bourjois range – which I love for its bright, shiny, metallic, glitz. Well that’s all here too.
I hope you enjoyed my whistle stop tour of just 7 stands at the vast Vegan Life Live event. There was so much more. You’ll have to go next time yourself!