The Samphire Brasserie – Vegan Food In Plymouth

Vegan restaurants are popping up all over the joint, aren’t they?! This is great news for plant-based triers like myself… Yes, still a (hard) trier and not quite the complete convert just yet! However, we make it our mission to seek out vegan restaurants whenever we eat out, which is how we ended up at Samphire Brasserie on a trip to Plymouth, last weekend. When a place like this hits Devon, you just know that things are changing for the better.

There is a high population of students in Plymouth, so places like Samphire Brasserie are bound to be on to a good thing right now. Offering up vegan ‘junk’ food, this spot fills any cravings for meat that you might have. I’m still not entirely sure about how I feel eating ‘mock meat’. I don’t miss the stuff; that’s for sure, so when I eat things that are designed to taste like it, I just wonder if it’s worth it for me, personally. However, it’s is incredible how well some places can make this style of food taste.

The Samphire Brasserie seems to have been in Plymouth for quite some time, and I’m not actually sure how we missed it until now. It has had rave reviews online, and we were actually turned away when we attempted to eat there the previous evening because it was so busy. Luckily they had a spot for us on a quieter Saturday night so we could get to see what all the fuss was about.

OK, so let’s start with the bad points… Unfortunately, this place does NOT serve alcohol. Now, we’re no alcoholics (highly questionable), but when you’re kept waiting for an hour and fifteen minutes for your food on a date night, you tend to want more than a fizzy cola. It turned out that the kitchen thought our order was for a takeaway customer, so things got a little delayed and when it finally came, they’d completely forgotten about the starter (which, If I’m totally honest, was not a bad thing in the end because we left pretty stuffed)!

On top of that, the restaurant seemed to lack atmosphere, which was probably due to the fact that there was no music playing and it was hot… Oh, so hot – I’m talking sweat beads on my forehead after a good hour of waiting. However, what really matters here is the food and once it arrived, all was quickly forgiven. Everything was packed with flavour and had a great texture. This was fast (hmm) food done very well.

We  wanted to get back to our accommodation for some booze  were too full for dessert, so opted to take some away as the restaurant was half an hour past its usual closing time anyway. I’m so glad we did because their toffee and popcorn cheesecake was dreamy! We may or may not have also bought a whoopie pie, which we shared on the journey back to London the next day.

Would I go back? Hell, yes! This food is great for your junk food cravings. Just make sure you leave plenty of time and maybe take a good book! If the Samphire Brasserie concentrated on its eat-in customers and less on the takeaways, then things could be a whole lot brighter, but you really can’t fault their good vegan grub.

Alex had the Deep South Burger with Twice Fried Chips…

I opted for the Kruelty Free Cooking Bucket – Soy Based Drumsticks and Popcorn Chicken. 

Until next time x


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It’s world reflexology week – Give it a go!

There’s a week for everything these days, isn’t there? This week (19th-25thSeptember), it’s the turn of World Reflexology Week. I’ve always been more than a little curious about reflexology, but have never got around to treating myself… until now, that is. On Monday, I managed to start my week off in a somewhat more relaxed style than usual, due to a fabulous invitation that I received from The Association of Reflexologists.

Now, I’m not much of a foot fanatic. In fact, I actually can’t stand touching the things. Moreso other people’s than my own, obviously! There’s no denying, however, that they are pretty practical and highly useful though so treating them right will naturally only reap rewards. This is why I jumped at the chance to give it a go.

So, what on earth is reflexology?

In a nutshell, it’s a form of massage which is used to relieve stress and treat (but not heal), illness. The theory is that different points on the feet and lower leg correspond with different areas of the body, and the massage stimulates thousands of nerve endings on your feet. This is said to kick-start your body into responding to biochemical changes, therefore promoting better health. Complimentary therapists also work on hands, face or ears, but you’ll have probably heard more about people having the therapy on their feet, as it’s the most popular.


What was it like?

Relaxing… oh, so relaxing. My session was organised with a lovely lady called Nicola, from Nicola Warren Reflexology in Beckenham, just a 20-minute walk from my house. The setting was very calming, and Nicola was more than welcoming. I was asked questions about my health and what I might hope to achieve from having a session. I was also asked if any aspects of my health were concerning me. “Well, since you mention it, since having chemo I’ve had a lot of aches and pains from being pre-menopausal (damn you cancer), as well as a sore hand that no one has managed to diagnose just yet. Other than that, not much at all at the moment”. Hurrah!

Reflexology is popular with those suffering from stress, anxiety, insomnia, sinus problems and many more symptoms. It is also very popular with pregnant ladies and those trying to conceive. Unfortunately, I didn’t think about trying it out when I was having treatment for breast cancer because I’ve since heard that it is a great option during chemo. Having had a session now, I can totally see how this would be the case.

After my initial consultation, I was told to sit back and relax and for the next  40-50 minutes or so ( I’m not going to lie, I lost all track of time), while Nicola worked her magic. I tried really hard not to fall asleep because I did that once in a sound therapy session and felt like I’d missed the all good stuff! Once it was all over (sad times), Nicola mentioned that even though I seemed very relaxed, my feet were telling me I was a little stressed, which most probably had a lot to do with it being the week before a festival I was working on, and she also felt tension in the ‘liver point’ on my foot – Most probably down to the fact that I’m partial to the occasional gin or two ;)

Is reflexology for you?

Why not!? I left Nicola feeling on top of the world! Seriously. It was a glorious day outside, and as I walked through the park to get home, I was beaming and feeling totally relaxed. In a very unlike me move, I even decided that work could wait a little longer, so I sat down for an extra twenty minutes and basked in the sunshine.

What did reflexology do for me?

Aside from total relaxation during the session, I also had the best night’s sleep I’d had in a long time. One thing that may (or may not if you’re a cynic) be linked to my time with Nicola, is that my hand pain left me for a whole week. It’s sadly back again now, after a long day of working outside in the cold over the weekend –  I’m not sure if it was just a coincidence, but I hope to do more research to see if it was in fact reflexology that helped.

As the Association of Reflexologists say “Some people find it works for them – some don’t. The best way to find out is to try it!”

I’m certainly hoping to go back for more.

If you’d like to try it you can find a reflexologist local to you over on The Association of Reflexologists website HERE or find out more info on their Facebook page.

*Update – I have also just noticed that I didn’t have a hot flush (one of my chemo side effects) for 7 days! 




Until next time! x


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QVC TILI Beauty Box

The QVC TILI Beauty Box had me at Alpha-H Liquid Gold, and of course, the £20 price tag… Yes, yes, we all know I’m not meant to be buying more products, but with Alpha-H being on my list of items to try for a few years now, I thought I’d treat myself… again. I’m just going to stop making excuses from now on and just go with it. We all know there will be another!

I’m a total sucker for travel-size products and this box contained quite a few items that I knew would be just right for my next trip away. I initially thought that the only product that I may not use was the Vita Liberata Phenomenal Mousse. However, I think I might brave it and give it a whirl – perhaps when I don’t have anywhere important to be after the first test run!

If you don’t want to be tied to a beauty box subscription and prefer the option of seeing what is inside your box before you commit, then I’d highly recommend keeping you keep your eyes open for the next one of these, or the next Selfridges Box. It can get pretty out of hand, subscribing to monthly boxes, so a ‘spy before you buy’ option is always a good one if you don’t like wasting money on things you’ll never use.

The QVC TILI Beauty Box has been out for a while now (towards the end of July), but there still seem to be some up for grabs. There will be a new box available every three months, with the next being due out in October.

In your box: 

  • Essie Nail Polish in Ballet Slippers (13.5ml) – a classic sheer pink
  • Nexxus Nutritive Shampoo (89ml) – enriched with a Caviar Complex, this hydrating shampoo that gives dry hair a thorough cleanse while delivering moisture from roots to tips
  • Nexxus Nutritive Conditioner (89ml) – infused with pure elastin protein and a Caviar Complex, this restorative conditioner helps to maintain your hair’s natural protective barrier to leave it feeling balanced and flexible
  • Vita Liberata Phenomenal Mousse and Mini Mitt (25ml) – a fast-drying self-tanning mousse designed to last up to three weeks
  • Elemis Smart Cleanse Micellar Water (50ml) – a lightweight cleansing water that removes make-up, dirt and impurities from the skin to leave your complexion looking radiant and feeling refreshed.
  • Alpha-H Liquid Gold (50ml) – an overnight exfoliating formula to refresh and revitalise tired and dull skin, reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles and minimise the appearance of pores
  • Bareminerals Skinlongevity Vital Power Infusion (7.5ml) – a lightweight, hybrid serum designed to help revitalise and protect your skin from environmental elements and leave it looking luminous
  • Becca Backlight Priming Filter (6ml) – this weightless primer gives illuminating coverage, blurring the appearance of imperfections to create a flawless, dewy canvas

TILI Beauty Box £20  – worth £62.17

Until nex time x

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The one where I thought I might die…

Holy crapola. What a rollercoaster ride that was! One minute I was sore but fine and the next, I was being sent off for a bone scan, to check that my cancer hadn’t spread. I was dealing with things very well for the four weeks (four weeks?!) that I had to wait for the scan, carried on living life and actually rarely thought about the potentially horrendous outcome. Then, as time went on, and for the week between my scan and the results, things were a little more up and down.

Now and then, Alex and I would Google my symptoms, with me giving the search about one minute of my time before moving on, and Alex probably learning a whole heap of medical terms that no one ever needs to know! You really can’t tell if you’ve got bone cancer without the scan, especially if, like me, you are still recovering from the previous year’s treatment. It was just a surprise to me that pains seemed to be getting worse because I’d had about six months of pretty much nothing more than a boob ache and appalling hair problems – the hair problems that are only going to get worse as I grow it out *sobs*.

Anyway, the scan went well, and I didn’t need any extra time other than the initial twenty minutes in the alien-like pod thingy that they put me in (exactly why I need Alex to research and explain things), which I took as a good sign, until I went away and thought that I might not have actually needed extra time if I was showing visible signs of cancer. It’s at this point that I started planning my pre-treatment holiday. It’s always about travel for me. Alex loves it. I sorely missed going away whilst on treatment last year and my Vitamin D levels were not happy chappies, that’s for sure. I wasn’t going to go without catching some rays first… oh, and before seeing some flamingos in Aruba.

When it came to the results day, I was in average spirits for no reason other than the fact that I had to get up early for my appointment. I’m partial to a lie in… what of it?! Alex was playing along, but I could tell he was worried. What will be, will be, is generally something I live by these days, and I said that out loud a few times… probably just to convince myself (because how the heck is that going to make anyone else feel better)!

We were kept waiting for the usual two hours (joy) and about an hour in, I mentioned to Alex that if they weighed me, then I was a goner, and it was a certainty that I had bone cancer. You see, in the whole time I was treated last year, it was a thing that they took your weight to check you were getting the right amount of meds. Then, about twenty minutes later, they called me in for….  the dreaded weigh in. It was at this point that I thought I was going to die of cancer.

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, I did not for one second imagine I was going to die from it. What I looked at as was something I was going to get treatment for and then move on from. I believe that my positive attitude helped me immensely and I thankfully got through it with minimal fuss. When they weighed me, it was a whole different story, and it’s at this point I was not happy with the ‘what will be, will be’ part of my mantra anymore. Yeah, I’m a fickle so and so.

After my weigh in, I still had to wait about half an hour more before I saw the oncologist and these are the things that were going through my mind…

  1. Can I get to the toilet in time before my name is called? I really need the toilet.
  2. How many days should I book that holiday for? I need to see real life flamingos before I die. I’m shaking.
  3. My leg is shaking. Shit, if I need to book a last minute holiday, then there is so much to do. I don’t have any holiday clothes.
  4. Dammit, I gained weight.
  5. Maybe I should take the afternoon off work. Actually, I think I’d feel better if I was working.
  6. I wish my dog was here.
  7. I really need the toilet. Why would they leave you waiting so long after weighing you?
  8. Bloody hell,  I’m going to die of bone cancer.
  9. Soddit. I’m going to the toilet. They can wait.

When they finally called me in to see the oncologist, who happened to be the very first doctor (and everyone’s fave) that I had seen when was diagnosed last year. He instantly told me that my scans were clear. I was just pre-menopausal from my medication and chemotherapy and I am only going to more aches and pains from now on. Boo. Hiss.

10. Shit, there goes my holiday… Alex will never let me see those flamingos now.
11. Dammit. I really need to lose some weight.

The one where I thought I might die...

Photo Credit: Bert Van Wijk/getty Images

Until next time  – Go check your moobs and boobs x

For more info on secondary bone cancer read HERE

Vegan feasting

Last weekend was full to the brim with vegan feasting… The diet’s going well then! Hmm. After heading to the Picturehouse on Friday night to see Tickled, we popped into Tibits for a late dinner, on the way home. I must admit it was our second choice because the wait for a table at Mildred’s was an hour, and we all know that queuing just isn’t my thing. Has anyone been? Is it worth it?

Anyway, I decided that I wanted to try out a few more vegan spots closer to home, so on Saturday lunchtime, we found ourselves at Love Gift Vegan in Honor Oak – a Caribbean inspired and completely vegan restaurant. There’s nothing flash about this place decor-wise, but the food was delicious (especially the Dahl).


We purchased a large platter to share but probably should have either gone for a size up or just had one each, like ordinary people.It was just our luck that we caught the owner a little dishevelled, after having just returned from holiday and as much as we wanted to test out their well-hyped cakes and desserts, there were sadly none quite ready for the tasting. We did, however, get in on the pink lemonade and ginger beer action –  I imagine we’ll be back for more soon, as well as our fill of the cakes.

Having failed to fill my craving for something sweet, we hot-footed it to Greenwich Market. This place is hideously busy on Saturdays… I’m not sure what we were thinking!  We were in and out quite quickly, but not before having a nosey around the vegan stalls on offer. It was great to see such a good selection, with at least four stalls offering mostly vegan food. My favourite by far was Rubys of London – You simply couldn’t tell that they were vegan, unlike a lot of cakes that I have tried. Such goodness!

Vegan Brownies

Vegan Cakes

Peanut Butter Cake

We came away with a few cheeky brownies – raspberry cheesecake for Alex, and my all time fave, Peanut Butter Brownie, which was heavenly!

Vegan Greenwich Market

We may, or may not have (we did) also purchased some Macarons. Sadly, these were a little disappointing. They just didn’t quite hit the mark with our tastebuds. I guess we have tried and tested far too many of the non-vegan variety from Paris in the past –  It clearly is quite hard to compete!

Vegan Macarons Greenwich

Vegan Macarons

Vegan Macarons

Being vegan has never been so easy, and I’m really looking forward to discovering lots more new places to test out soon.

Until next time x


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