Monday, 28 July 2014

Gelaaato Di Marco & The Elusive Vegan Ice Cream Cone

We went to Spain last month for a family holiday (you can see more photos from our holiday here). One of the highlights was a day trip to Barcelona. I’d visited Barcelona for a few days with friends when I was a student, but Laurie hadn’t been before. We met up with my parents in Barcelona, it was the first time we’d seen them in months as they’d been busy traveling around Spain and Portugal in their motorhome.

When we were arranging the trip, I asked my dad to look online to see if he could find details of a vegan ice cream place in Barcelona. We didn’t have internet access on holiday, and I didn’t want it - it’s so nice having a break from the stresses of work-related emails for a while. My dad later told me he thought it was a ridiculous thing to Google, and was sure it wouldn’t find anything useful. But it did!

We got the bus to Barcelona and met my parents near the bus stop. They were so excited to see Ebony, it took a while for them to notice me and Laurie! We made our way towards the Cathedral, and tried to decide whether to go in or not. Our bus had taken a while, and Ebony had been so good, that we sort of felt she deserved some fun, and probably wouldn’t have wanted to walk calmly round a cathedral. So, after a quick run around in the open space in front of the Cathedral, we set off in search of vegan ice cream.

A short walk around the busy, narrow streets led us to our destination - Gelaaato Di Marco. According to the internet, it was a gelato shop that had a few vegan options (they also had gluten free cones) available, but you can never be too sure how reliable the internet is. We left Ebony outside with my parents, because I thought it would be too awful for her to see ice cream and then not be able to have one if they didn’t have any vegan ones on sale. But they did! And they had a ‘Friend to the Animals’ award on the wall, which I thought was pretty awesome.

They had four different vegan ice cream flavours to choose from - one made from coconut, and a couple from rice milk. They had chocolate, coconut, vanilla and cinnamon ice cream. We got Ebony a small cone of the coconut ice cream because she coconut is one of her favourite foods. I had two scoops; one coconut and one chocolate, and Laurie decided to have vanilla, chocolate and cinnamon. The ice cream was so good. I spent the rest of the holiday arguing with myself about whether it was worth going all the way back to Barcelona just to get another ice cream (it was, but we didn’t).

When we left the shop, Ebony looked excited to see a vegan ice cream headed her way. One of the perils of a vegan childhood is that she hasn’t yet cottoned on to how fast ice cream melts. There was a lot of mess, quite a bit of stickiness and a few spills, and it was wonderful.

I finally have the photograph of the messy-mouthed ice cream-wielding child to add to my collection.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Living Arrows 29/52

The weather has been so wonderful all week, and the builders are finally gone, so we've spent most of the week in the garden. The paddling pool has been full all week, with the slide leading into it, and that has kept Ebony entertained for hours on end. We've had picnics, barbecues, and invited friends round to play in the garden.

It was Laurie's birthday on Wednesday, so while he was busy at work, we used baking a cake as a nice excuse to escape the heat for a short while. We made a raspberry cake and it was absolutely delicious. We followed a recipe from Sweet Vegan (you can buy it here). We've so far tried the brownies and the raspberry cake, and both have been amazing. 

I think Ebony managed to consume her weight in sugar whilst we baked the cake, and then again by the time all the cake had gone (we had our last slices this afternoon). 
living arrows
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Thursday, 17 July 2014

Living Arrows 27/52 & 28/52

I'm not very good at getting these things done on time, am I? The past couple of weeks have been filled with snotty noses, sleepless nights and clinginess. The top photo was taken in our garden on a beautiful summer day. Our house is covered in scaffolding, and we've had workmen around for weeks, so our use of the garden has been limited. After the workmen left, we went out in the garden for some fresh air (read: in a desperate yet futile attempt to tire Ebony out before bed).

The bottom photo (which was actually taken earlier) was taken during the week of illness. Ebony was under the weather and had a fever and a suspicious spot which I was worried may develop into chicken pox, so we spent a couple of days at home. The second photo was taken on my phone whilst we were snuggled up under a blanket watching Homeward Bound.
living arrows

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

A Family Holiday to Spain

This blog has been very quiet lately because we’re still trying to get sorted in our new house, so I’m very behind with all of my posts. Last month we went on our first ‘proper’ family holiday. We went to Brighton in a motorhome last year, and had such an amazing time, but this year we decided to go abroad.
We booked the holiday before deciding to move house, and I think if it had been the other way round we probably wouldn’t have gone abroad (especially if we’d known how much work our new house would need), but I’m glad we did because it was so lovely to get completely away from real life for a bit.
Laurie works ridiculous hours, I actually don’t understand how he manages to cram so many working hours into a single day, and has emails connected to his phone, so it sometimes (always) feel like his work is infringing on our life. The only way to get him away from emails, is to leave the country so he can’t access them. I work when Ebony is asleep, or when Laurie is home to play with her, so it feels a bit like we have very limited time to just enjoy life as a family of three.
We went to Spain for 10 days, staying in an apartment just south of Salou. Ebony was excited about going on a plane for the first time, and was wide awake the whole journey despite an early start (much to mine and Laurie’s disappointment, we were knackered). We arrived at our apartment by lunchtime, and we spent the afternoon sitting by the pool in the sunshine. Ebony was SO excited to be on holiday. She spent the first afternoon running around with a huge smile on her face. At one point it all seemed a bit much for her and she just ran over to use and shouted, “HOLIDAAAAAY!” before dashing off and going down the slide again. It was so lovely.
The nearest supermarket was well stocked with soya and almond milks, and even had some vegan margarine though we didn’t realise until the last day. The beach was a two minute walk away, and was surprisingly quiet meaning we could just let Ebony wander off and explore whilst we kept an eye on her. We spent our days making sandcastles, paddling in the sea, swimming in the pool and eating Barcelona bread. I even managed to read books - a rare luxury since having Ebony.

Sunday, 6 July 2014

Review & Giveaway: Win a Selection of London Tea

I stopped drinking tea about a month ago, this is a side effect of giving up soya milk. I originally planned to give substitute the soya milk for almond or coconut milk, but after having a 48 hour headache from tea withdrawal, I didn’t really want to start drinking it again. When I say I gave up tea, I mean english breakfast tea. I’ve never really been a fan of fruit teas, having always favoured a good old fashioned brew. But the more I wrote about health for work, the more interested I became in reducing my caffeine consumption. So when the lovely people at London Tea got in touch to offer me a selection of teas to review, I was keen to give fruit teas another go. I was sent a selection of flavours including English Breakfast Tea, Jasmine Green Tea, Tropical Green Tea, Peach & Rhubarb, Pure Peppermint, Pure Rooibos, Vanilla Chai, Zingy Lemon and Ginger, Raspberry Inferno and White Tea, Pear Tatin. Between myself and my dedicated team of voluntary tea tasters, all the flavours have been sampled. My personal favourite is the Raspberry Inferno, it has such a wonderful flavour, with the Vanilla Chai coming in a close second. The teas are flavoursome and smell delicious. Unlike some other brands of herbal teas, you don’t need to leave the tea bag in very long. In fact, I tend to leave it in for only around 30 seconds and still end up with a strong flavour. All of the teas are Fairtrade Certified, something that’s been really important to me since hearing some Fairtrade farmers speak at a work event in my past life. All of the teas are also certified as vegetarian and vegan. The teas are packaged in brightly coloured boxes featuring silhouettes of iconic London landmarks. The boxes and stylish, and the individually packaged teas look great too. Mine are all stored in a huge box, and I love the variety of colours that leap out at me when I go to choose a tea. They would make a great gift for a tea lover, and there are lots of different flavours to choose from. You can buy the teas here. My favourite, the Raspberry Inferno, is currently on sale with a pack of 20 teabags costing just £1.27. Bargain. London Tea have been lovelier enough to offer readers the chance to win a selection of their teas. Two readers will each win a set of London Tea’s Everyday range including Tropical Green Tea, Peach & Rhubarb, Zingy Lemon & Ginger, Raspberry Inferno and White Tea, Pear Tatin. To enter, all you need to do is fill in the Rafflecopter below. The winner will be announced early next month. Good luck!

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