VLOG: Irish Vegan Festival & Exploring Belfast Charity Shops

Last weekend was Irish Vegan Festival so two friends and I bussed it up to Belfast, excited and hungry for some vegan yummies. Needless to say, we tried some delicious vegan food, but also some not so delicious food, but that’s to be expected. A vegan convention can seem like heaven, but you’re not going to like EVERYTHING!

I uploaded my vlog to my YouTube channel so you can see some of the beautifully presented food and awesome products on offer at the fest, but I’ll just do a brief recap here too!

We hurried and arrived at the Waterfront where the fest was held at 11.40am, buirish vegan festival t it’s better late than never, right? Unfortunately the bus times were against us – we got on at 9.3am and the journey takes about 2 hours. It didn’t make much of a difference as there was plenty to see and eat, but it took us a while to get our bearings and figure out how to get there.

Once we arrived we made a beeline for a hot food stall – Sgaia. I’m so glad we went here because their Eg and Bacon Brioche Burger was EPIC! I’d eat it EVERY day if I had the chance (so it’s probably a good thing it’s not widely available). Plus they had a great ticket system for serving people so we didn’t have to queue for an hour before getting our food (I’m reminded of tirish vegan festival he Moodley Manor stall at Veg Fest last year – we were in that queue so long the food was cold by the time we got it!)

We also tried a pastry that I initially thought was an eclair (no cream inside unfortunately!) that was pretty good, and we gave The Crazy Rabbit ice cream a try too. I picked tahini swirl, my friend Katie chose passion fruit and her boyfriend Jamie picked coffee. The coffee one was great but the passion fruit one was a little flavourless, whereas the tahini swirl just tasted TOO MUCH like tahini. For something that’s called ‘swirl’, it was just too strong a taste. However, it’s an Irish company and they just started up, so I’d definitely give their stuff a go again in the future! irish vegan festival

Katie and I gave a chilli sauce a go that almost burnt our tongues off and we tried some strawberry almond milk (though it wasn’t my cup of tea). We also picked up some very cute t-shirts (I picked one with the slogan ‘Eat Cake, Not Steak’ and Katie chose ‘Eat Jam, Not Ham’) for about £20 each, which is pretty steep, but we loved the design so much we ignored the protestations of our purses!

There was a VR experience at one of the stalls but Jamie gave it a go and it turned his stomach so Katie and I decided to give it a miss. We already know the horrors that animals face at the abattoir and have no desire to see it in action. It’s too devastating. However, this kind of thing would be excellent for opening the minds of some curious omnivores.

irish vegan festival

The Waterfront space was a really good size as you could walk about among the crowd without feeling suffocated and there were plenty of areas where you could just sit and chill, including a kids corner. There were lots of bins (though it would’ve been nice to see a recycling system) and a good area just outside the stalls area where you can get a cuppa tea or a beer.

After the convention, we went exploring to check out a few charity shops. All three of us love a bargain and we could happily spend a long time in a charity store. We all managed to pick up a few steals – including a corduroy skirt for Katie, pyjamas for Jamie and a cardigan and shirt for me. Buying from charity shops and second hand stores is more environmentally friendly so checking them out before going to a mainstream store is a good rule of thumb!

Overall I had a great time and I would go to the festival again so props to the organisers for all the hard work! I hope that Farplace Animal Rescue made plenty of cash to help the FIV+ cats they take care of!

Preparing for Irish Vegan Festival 2017

It almost feels like yesterday when I went to Dublin Veg Fest last year, so it’s weird for me to think that I’m going to my second ever vegan festival tomorrow – Irish Vegan Festival!

Cork Veg Fest is on at the same time (the same people who ran Dublin Veg Fest) and they kindly offered me tickets to go, but I’d already bought tickets to Irish Vegan Festival and made plans with friends to go so I had to refuse. If only I could be in two places at once!

I’m really excited to check out all the latest vegan food and products, though my wallet isn’t as thrilled. It’s a good thing I got paid this week, because I can see myself going a little crazy! Being in a big room filled with other like minded folk browsing tables and stalls filled with vegan stuff and NOT having to check the ingredients on anything? I mean, it’s kind of like vegan heaven right? 😀

I’m hoping to get some vegan merch (perhaps from the organisers, Farplace Animal Rescue, who help cats with FIV+) and try some delicious food with good friends. I’m going up with two vegans, Katie and Jamie, and possibly another friend called Casey (though she’s not sure if she’ll be able to make it yet – fingers crossed she can!) We’re going to get the bus up at 9.30am and back down at 5.30pm (so I can put money I would’ve spent on a hotel room towards vegan yummies instead!)

I’ll be vlogging my trip so I’ll be sure to get lots of shots of the food and atmosphere for anyone who wanted to go but couldn’t. Stay tuned for the video, which I’ll post on my YouTube channel a few days after the fest 🙂

I know there’ll be loads of vegan food there, but I’m just in the habit now of always taking a little bag of snacks with me – inside will be a Cashew Cookie bar from Nakd, some Lotus biscuits and a little packet of raisins – just in case! I’ll also pack a few pears and some water for the bus journey up! I imagine we’ll have to queue for a while, so I don’t want to go hungry while I’m waiting!

The sunny weather has basically disappeared now so although I want to be comfy, I also don’t want to risk wearing something light and then being cold! I’ll see how the temperature is tomorrow, but I’ll probably end up wearing a coat!

Here’s the programme for anyone interested:

Music
10:15am – 11:00am Didgeridoo Belfast with Terry McDonald and Shakti Tribe Belly Dancers
11:00am – 12:15pm Mellow Strings Guitar Duo Jonathan
12:15pm – 1:00pm Didgeridoo Belfast with Terry McDonald and Shakti Tribe Belly Dancers
1:00pm – 2:15pm Mellow Strings Guitar Duo Jonathan
2:15pm – 3:00pm Didgeridoo Belfast with Terry McDonald and Shakti Tribe Belly Dancers

Talks and Demos 
11:00am – 12:00pm Introduction to veganism Stephen Walsh
12:00pm – 1:00pm ‘Why vegan’ Ethical, Environmental and Health by Cliff Grant Focusing on ethics, nutrition and health and the harm caused by the meat and dairy industry and common misconceptions with regards to a healthy diet and nutritional requirements.
1:00pm – 2:30pm Go Vegan Campaign Sandra Higgins
2:30pm – 3:15pm DxE DxE Northern Ireland Direct Action Everywhere community and I will be presenting the evidence that supports why non-violent direct action is effective as well as discussing DxE’s 3 pronged approach; protest, open rescue and community building.
3:15pm – 4:15pm Heres to you, you and you Richard Deboo Living poetry and prose in performance, a celebration of being vegan
4:15pm – 4:55pm – Bangor Community Kitchen Laura Mashal Talk on vegan food waste

A Few Of My Favourite Vegan Things | A Weekend In Dublin

I don’t live in Dublin so I always indulge and treat myself whenever I get the chance to visit! By now there are several places that I always go to to treat myself. Frankly, my purse is screaming but my tummy is happy happy happy!

I met a friend who was more than happy to walk around with me and check out all the different shops I wanted to go to. A lot of the time I just go in and look but if there’s something I really want, I’ll splurge. I went to Lush just to have a peek at the new stuff and ended up buying an old favourite (Angels on Bare Skin) and some Dirty tooth tabs.

To be fair, I just ran out of my banana scented Pure Chimp cleanser so technically I need it! AoBS was about €9 so it’s not as bad as some of the cleansers I’ve bought (and it’s actually much cheaper than Pure Chimp while retaining the high quality so I think it’s good value).

vegan dublin

The tooth tabs were €6.75 and to be honest they’re just a novelty item as I already have a tube of toothpaste at home. I bought the tabs years ago when they had different packaging (a much more convenient match box style), but now they have many different flavours and there’s even mouthwash tabs as well. They smell fabulous (some have a minty clove scent) but they’re way too expensive to justify (almost €9 and they only last a month apparently if you use daily).

I also went to Nourish to get my favourite Vego bar. I only picked up the smaller one (€2.99) rather than the big one as I planned on buying a few other brands to try as well. I got iChoc White Vanilla and iChoc Choco Cookie to try out. I haven’t had white chocolate in SO long so tasting this was like heaven. I love it! At first bite I thought I could take or leave the Choco Cookie, but after eating more of it, I really like it. At about 3 quid a pop, I think I’ll only go for one at a time, but they’re both great.

I also picked up Almighty Foods’ Golden Blonde raw cacao bar. I first got it in The Vegan Kind and loved it because of its creaminess. It’s not quite as nice as I remembered but it’s still a delightful little treat with a cuppa tea! After I had my chocolate stash sorted for the next few weeks, I stopped by The Body Shop to buy lightning drops. I’d seen them online and, although they’re really expensive (€17 for a small bottle… yeesh!), it’s worth it. I’ve never had a foundation that’s light enough for my skin, but now I can just mix my own! Awesome!

Also, a lot of stuff in The Body Shop isn’t suitable for vegans, but if you’re unsure of a product just ask at the desk; they should have a list of their vegan products.

Although I’ve been trying to wear less makeup these days (I plan on going into detail on this in a future post), I’m happy that I now have a suitable foundation colour. I have yet to try it, but stay tuned for a proper review of it coming soon!

And now for the food! Oh, the food.

I picked up a chocolate hazelnut doughnut from The Rolling Donut and had it with a cup of tea after I got up (dough for breakfast – I know, it’s desperate!) and it was gorgeous. The shop has about 5 vegan flavours available every day and you can get one with a hot beverage for under a fiver. A lovely wee treat!

I also stopped by Cornucopia for a hearty healthy meal. Dublin is full of take-out places and if you’re after some hot food your options are usually limited to McDonalds, Supermacs or some other big brand garbage. Cornucopia creates meals that are full of goodness (but at a pretty steep price!). I got a tofu and butternut squash parcel with puréed peas and two salads (pasta and cucumber) as well as a green juice drink for close to €20. Sure, it’s filling, but you couldn’t pay that every day unless you were growing cash in your garden!

I also stopped by Fallon & Byrne and saw the most amazing plump beef tomatoes (they’re not actually made of or have anything to do with beef… weird name!) and I also saw coconuts ready for piercing. I’ve never seen them in shops before and I’ve also never tried coconut water straight from the coconut so I kind of regret not buying one, but good to know where they are.

vegan dublin

The sun was out in full force and I was really craving some chocolate ice cream. Unfortunately, the ice cream place at the back of St Stephen’s Green Centre doesn’t do vegan chocolate ice cream anymore. I was so disappointed! But it worked out for the best because I got some gorgeous raspberry sorbet from Murphy’s Ice Cream instead. Plus I was told by a staff member that they’re hoping to get chocolate sorbet back in soon (WOO!)

vegan dublin

My last day in Dublin was my favourite, as I got to go to Umi Falafel and pick up a delicious wrap filled with falafel, red onion, tahini, sweet chilli sauce, lettuce and tomato. I sat by the quays and watched the seagulls as I ate it and it was so relaxing. It was just what I needed before the long journey home!

Oh and Lotus Biscoff biscuits were also provided in my hotel room beside the tea tray which was just brilliant! I never expect vegan friendly biscuits in hotels so more of this please, universe!

It was such a great weekend. I can’t wait to live there again full time, though to be fair I’ll probably be the size of a house after all the doughnuts and falafel I’ll be eating!