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I'd written about three different little rambles to start of this post but none of them were really sitting right. I kind of feel like I don't know what to say, I have so many thoughts running around in my head right now, and I watched The Fault in Our Stars last night so I'm still a rather emotional mess from that. Sometimes the words just don't come and that's okay, so today it's just the recipe but it's one I love and hope you will too.

This is the porridge I make almost every morning. It's the one that never fails me and the one that is a really good base for pretty much any toppings. I do love a fancy flavoured porridge every now and again, but this is the simple and pleasing one that I always come back to because it is so good. Turns out, cooking the banana into the oats is a total game changer, trust me.

You will need (serves 1):
1/2 cup oats (soaked overnight)
1/2 cup plant milk of your choice 
1 ripe banana 
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon pumpkin seeds

- Soak your oats overnight in 1/2 a cup of water.
- In the morning, add the oats to a pot (don't drain the water if there is any excess) along with the plant milk, cinnamon and pumpkin seeds. Chop the banana into coins and add this to the pot too. 
- Simmer over a low-medium heat for 6-7 minutes until thickened. I usually need to add a little more water as it cooks but this depends on how you like your porridge.
- Serve with all the toppings of your choice. My faves are peanut butter (obvs), frozen berries, banana, maple syrup, almond butter, jam and granola (but not all at once!).

Looking to fancy up your porridge a bit? You might also like these:
Banana, Blueberry and Almond Porridge
Mango, Banana and Coconut Porridge
Apple, Blueberry and Cinnamon Porridge 

Hey guys and Happy New Year! I'll spare you the 'omg, did 2016 even happen?!' chat because although it was a ridiculously fast year, it was also the year I decided to go vegan, which I'm still saying is one of the best decisions I have ever made. I admit that I used to be a skeptic, one of those types who said I could never go vegan because how on earth would I ever live without cheese. However, I was wrong. It was around this time last year that I started to become interested in veganism. I'd followed a few super cool people on Instagram who were shaking up everything I believed in and I became hooked, drawn in by their knowledge, passion and cruelty free way of living. I watched all the documentaries, read lots of articles and followed inspirational vegan people until one day I thought, I just gonna go for it. I couldn't ignore it any longer and pretend that what I was eating wasn't, in fact, the product of so much suffering.

January tends to be cluttered by diet culture, detox vibes and a whole lot of crap about restriction and how to lose weight. Don't get sucked in by it. It's a load of bull and won't leave you feeling very satisfied or happy. Instead, this year, try going vegan. You don't need to do it straight away, you are allowed to make mistakes and it quite possibly will be the best thing you ever do. Veganism is getting huge making it easier than ever before to dive right in and embrace it. Being vegan isn't a fad diet or a quick fix to lose a few pounds, it's a hugely fulfilling life choice that has so many massive benefits so if you want a goal for this year that really counts then give it a go.

Why you should try going vegan this year:

For the animals.

Because it's not fair for one species to suffer at the hands of another when we know better. Eating meat is no longer necessary. Yes, humans have eaten animals for thousands of years but it is no longer a necessity, we don't need it for survival. We have so much wonderful plant food at our finger tips, food that doesn't cause suffering or harm to animals. We now have a choice. You have a choice. 

To help the planet. 

The impact of animal agriculture on our planet is immense, shocking and completely unacceptable. One of the best things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint is to go vegan. I'm totally overwhelmed by the damage that livestock farming is doing to the earth, it's heartbreaking. If you want to learn more about why you should most definitely be vegan for the planet then I'd recommend watching Cowspiracy because I can't even begin to get into it here.

For your own health and wellbeing. 

Eliminating animal products from your diet can and does make you feel wonderful. I've definitely found that I have more energy, feel less tired and am just generally happier eating a vegan diet. Plus, there are a shit tonne of actual scientific medical reasons why eating vegan is the best thing you can possibly do for your own health. I'd recommend reading Dr. Michael Greger's Hot Not To Die if you want to swot up on why plant-based diets are pretty much the best medicine going. 

To feel better about yourself. 

There is a certain peacefulness that comes with veganism. A contentment that you are not causing pain or suffering. You are doing such a wonderful thing by going vegan, you deserve to feel bloody fabulous about it, and you will.

To save money. 

Myth buster: being vegan is not expensive. Whole plant foods are some of the cheapest you can buy, especially when we're talking about things like beans, lentils, and rice, as well as fruit and veggies. Yes, I love a bit of fancy vegan cheese or some delicious Fry's chicken style nuggets every now and again but they are not everyday things. Day to day, you'll be eating the cheapest foods going. 

Because you've got nothing to lose. 

What's the worst that could happen? You miss meat? You can't shake those cheese craves? At least you are trying. If at first, you need to stock up on the meat replacements and vegan cheese that's fine because you have stopped causing harm. It can be hard and you will slip up but that's okay. It's a journey and a learning curve. Hell, even if you're eating one vegan meal a week instead of your usual meat and dairy based one then that's a step in the right direction. Being vegan is about causing the least amount of harm possible, it's not about being perfect.

['Animals are not products. Life doesn't have a price.'] 

More on veganism:
Why I went vegan
Things people ask when you go vegan
Is veganism a trend?
Being vegan - six months on

I've been vegan for around nine months now, although it kinda feels like forever. I've learned a lot, eaten a lot and made some seriously wonderful friends. Being the only vegan, and actually the only non-meat eater, in my family though means that on Christmas day I'm going to be having my own little feast of vegan food, so I thought I'd share with you guys what I plan on eating for the main event, in case you are looking for ideas or are just really nosey like I am. I'm pretty sure my family is expecting me to turn up with a bowl of salad and a few avocados,

What I (plan to) eat for Christmas dinner.

I haven't really planned a starter as I'm not too bothered about one (dessert all the way), but my dad did mention he might make a

So while the family eats whatever meat it is they are having, I've bought a box of the Linda McCartney veggie pies, which are suitable for vegans and only cost £2 in Tesco, and will be having one of those instead. I'll have the same roasted potatoes, veggies and trimmings as everyone else alongside as I asked my dad not to cook anything in duck fat again like he did last year. You totally won't even notice I'm the odd one out. 

I won't lie, this is definitely the course I am most excited about. Thanks to Instagram, I found out that The Coop fruit pies are vegan and oh my gosh, I can't wait to try one. I can't decide which flavour to get yet but I'll be having a giant slice of one of those alongside some Alpro custard, which is pretty much liquid heaven. 

Little extras: 
I'll also be taking up some vegan mince pies to munch on throughout the day (thank you to Lucy who let me in on the fact that Morrison's regular mince pies are vegan!) and maybe some of my gingerbread cupcakes to share with everyone to show that vegan cakes are bloody delicious too.

So that's what Christmas dinner on my plate is looking like. I did think about putting my domestic goddess into force and making something myself but it's Christmas so I'm being lazy. I'm also going to enjoy every last bite because I bloody deserve it. Ain't no guilty vibes going to be filling my head this Christmas! 

What are you guys planning on eating for your Christmas meal? I hope you all have a lovely day and indulge in all the vegan food and treats. I'm going to be taking a little break around here over the next week to enjoy the holiday and spend time with my faves so I'll speak to you in the New Year. 

Much love x

Ps. If you haven't already, check out my Christmassy vegan recipes!

Six days until Christmas and of all my shopping is done, wrapped and looking pretty and isn't that just the best feeling? I'm quite often running around during the week before Christmas trying to find something for that one awkward person who you have totally no idea what to buy so I'm pretty happy that I've been on it this year. I finish up work on Friday and then I'm off for a week and a half so I am really looking forward to that. I'm going to go on lots of long walks, eat all the Christmas food and spend plenty of evenings snuggled up watching movies. 

I actually want to get real with you guys for a sec here because for a long time Christmas really scared me. All that unhealthy food, having to eat in front of lots of people and constantly thinking about how much exercise I needed to do to burn it all off. It really did ruin it for me but it can be so difficult to get out of that mindset and actually allow yourself to enjoy it. Since going vegan earlier this year I feel like my relationship with food has improved a lot. Yes, sometimes I still get anxious about eating out or not being able to get to the gym, but on the whole, I feel so much better about what I am eating and have stopped restricting myself and labeling foods as 'good' or 'bad' because nothing good ever came from doing that. Christmas is a time to spend time with the people you love, relax a little and eat a whole lot of delicious food. Please don't deprive yourself of that because you are scared. Don't listen to those negative thoughts eating away at you. Embrace it, enjoy it and do not feel bad about it. You 100% deserve to enjoy yourself and to not feel guilty about indulging a little. Eat all those mince pies and love every second. My blog post this month for my friends over at T Plus was on this topic so if you want to read a bit more about it then head over to their website. 

And onto the recipe - I first made this one last year, before I was vegan, but it was shortbread rather than biscuits. Turns out baking vegan shortbread is really bloody hard and despite using the same recipe and trying it a few times, I kept baking biscuits rather than shortbread. It's okay though because the flavours are so good that it doesn't really matter. They taste so Christmassy, the slightly sour cranberries give a little kick alongside the festive spices and sweetness from the orange. I just love them, even if they aren't shortbread as intended. 

P.s, if you know the secret to baking vegan shortbread then please do let me know! 

You will need (makes 14): 
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup dairy free spread (I use vitalite)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 cup fresh cranberries
1/3 cup pistachio kernels
zest of 1 orange + juice of half the orange 

- Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees celsius.
- Finely chop the cranberries into little pieces and roughly chop the pistachios. Zest the orange and set all these ingredients aside while you prepare the biscuit mixture.
- Add the flour, cinnamon, mixed spice and sugar to a large bowl and mix together. Add in the spread and rub in using your hands. The mixture should begin to resemble breadcrumbs as it combines.
- Add in the cranberries, pistachios, orange zest and juice of half the orange and mix together using your hands, being careful not to overwork it.
- Put the mixture out onto a floured surface and roll out using a floured rolling pin until it's around 1cm thick. Cut out biscuits using a cookie cutter and then place these onto a lined and greased baking tray. The mixture should make around 14 biscuits.
- Place into the oven to bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown.