Vegan Student Hacks

One thing that stops many people, especially students for obvious reasons, from taking that step to veganism, is that they think it will be too expensive. No fear, here you’ll find a few hacks that are sure to slash your budget, even if you’re a lowly student! 

1) Noodles and Pasta

As a student, one of the staple foods is the humble noodle. You might be under the impression that most noodles contain egg and milk, but in fact a fair few Pot Noodles are vegan, including Beef and Tomato (surprising but true) and Bombay Bad Boy. If you’re on a tight budget, a lot of supermarket own brand noodle pots are also available, just make sure to double-check the ingredients. In addition to this, there are quite a few brands of Ramen noodles you can buy, including Koka and Ko-Lee Go noodles.

However, if being a vegan is about personal health for you, these options are often high in salt so you may want to opt for a healthier noodle dish.  It’s not just egg noodles that are thick and wholesome, Udon noodles are completely plant-based and have the same texture and taste as their egg based counterparts. Coupled with some fresh vegetables and low sodium soy sauce, they can make a quick and easy midweek meal.

As for pasta, fear not! Most supermarket brand pastas do not contain egg, so you’re good to go!

2) SNACKS SNACKS SNACKS

If you’re still on that health kick, we advise that you skip this section completely!

We all need a good snack every once in a while, more often than not during exam season. Being a vegan hardly means your snacking days are over, we have the special skill of making everything more edible… But even if you’re not an expert in making vegetables taste nice, there are plenty of shop-bought junk foods you can feast on instead. The guilt and regret can wait.

It was a well guarded secret for years that Oreos are vegan, there is actually no milk in the middle part so you can carry on munching away! As far as biscuits go, Bourbon Creams and Party Rings are also green-lit. Jammie Dodgers used to be vegan but their new recipe contains milk. However, if you find a packet that doesn’t say “new recipe”, snap it up quick before they go out of circulation! The Berry Blast ones are still dairy free though.

Crisps and sweets are relatively easy, with many sweets that are suitable for vegetarians also suitable for vegans too (just watch out for gelatine and carmine) and many popular brands such as Walkers having several flavours to choose from. Chocolate is where it gets a little difficult. A lot of supermarkets have their own brand of free-from chocolate, but if you want the good stuff it gets a little pricey. That being said, you can always have dark chocolate such as Bourneville, which has the added bonus of being good for your general health in more ways than one, including your blood pressure and skin.

If you stay away from the red and orange flavours, you can also enjoy Hartley’s jelly pots with a nice helping of Swedish Glace dairy-free ice cream from Walls, an excellent vegan ice cream substitute and easy on the wallet too!

One last thing about snacks; if you’re nearing deadlines and pulling all-nighters in the library, you’ll probably find yourself without food at strange hours. To combat this, always have a few cereal/ energy bars on hand. Nakd bars might be a bit pricey but they do the job well! Shove them in every extra pocket in your backpack and you’ll be able to power through that exam prep.

3) Aldi is your friend (Also Farmfoods!)

Recently, there’s been a hype about going to Aldi to get your fresh fruit and vegetables and they seem to have gone up the supermarket ladder, now competing with the likes of Sainsbury’s and Asda. But that’s not all they’re good at…

Something every vegan should have in their fridge is a good milk substitute. Whether it be almond, rice, oat, coconut or soya, it’s full of protein and is great to have with breakfast to kick-start your day without making you feel bloated.

Aldi have their own brand of soya milk, called Acti-Leaf. Soya milk in general takes a little getting used to but Aldi’s is actually quite nice. Not only that but it doesn’t curdle in hot drinks! A huge problem for tea and coffee lovers is having soya milk curdle and it’s disgusting. Alpro have a milk that is specifically designed for this purpose, but the Aldi milk is less than half the price of the regular Alpro soya milk, never mind the premium one! That being said, if you have the budget for it, Alpro do some great products, including dairy free yoghurt and chocolate soya milk.

For frozen products, always go to Farmfoods. Branded products are often cheaper there and because they’re frozen you can stock up without worry. We recommend McCain’s Potato Smileys!

4) Replacing Quorn 

It’s quite shocking to learn that most Quorn products have egg in them. Although there are now two vegan items in their range (burgers and chicken style pieces), they’ve yet to bring out a mince substitute. Chilli con carne is another dish largely associated with students as it’s simple to cook. You might be wondering what you could possibly substitute Quorn for without breaking the bank, but the answer is really quite simple.

Again the supermarket own brand comes to the rescue! Morrison’s Meat-Free Mince is especially good, as it takes in all the flavour you add without having that weird aftertaste.

Veggie and bean burgers are often vegan friendly also, with Quorn being the current leader for soya-based burgers. With sausages, you can’t really beat Linda McCartney, with Smash Instant Mash Potato and Bisto Vegetable Gravy…

5) Knowing where to get good pizza

And if all else fails you need to know where you can get a quick meal out and about. You wouldn’t think pizza would be an option for vegans but the chain restaurant Zizzi has what is thought by many to be one of the best vegan pizzas about. Their new vegan menu has a fair few other options on it too, so find your nearest Zizzi’s and mark it on the map! If you live in the centre of Leeds, you’re lucky enough to have the Oranaise Café on Just-Eat! All you have to do to find local establishments is talk to other local vegans, we’re everywhere nowadays…

Also, for Indian food, if you check whether they cook in oil or butter, you open up all the vegetable based curries on the menu, such as mixed vegetables, dahls, and potato-based dishes. And, failing that, there’s probably a chippy nearby that fries in vegetable oil!

We hope these tips help in keeping the taste up but the cost down in your plight in veganism! Please share with us your tips and tricks in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

Advertisements

Eleven Tiny Yet Beautiful Things

When you’re stressed, it’s easy to forget those fleeting moments that manage to fill you with a disproportionate amount of fuzzy joyfulness. So I’ll remind you… Here is a list of eleven of those specific tiny yet beautiful moments!

1)  The golden glow of nostalgia

This may sound a little strange but nostalgia is often the best way to forget the negatives about many things and hold on to the best parts. For example, when you’re not at home, you forget what a dump your town is and miss all of the little quirks because that’s what makes it home. Living somewhere that isn’t your hometown is something really special, as it gives you the opportunity to feel that homely-ness about somewhere you once classed as “The Big City” or “Way Out There”. The idea that you can have many pseudo hometowns is just amazing, because you get to apply that golden tint to more places.

2) The exact colour

You know what I’m talking about. It might not be your favourite colour but it’s that ONE colour that is just so… perfect. It’s usually very specific, like Antique Brass or Blood Orange (it’s just red!), and just picturing it is enough to make you feel so immensely satisfied. It’s the colour you want to paint every wall in your house. It’s probably changed a fair few times and varied in exact shade but you definitely should own something in that colour.

3) Tea when it’s raining

It doesn’t necessarily have to be tea, just any hot beverage. Many people dislike the rain, but once you get over the ‘I definitely have hypothermia’ stage and get yourself inside, it’s not all bad. You get to run yourself a steaming bath, sit by the fire and indulge in a nice cup of tea. Then you can just appreciate the sound and look of the rain without feeling like you might die. And it’s pretty darn beautiful!

4) A message right when you need it

We all have that one friend who can telepathically sense when we’re not feeling our best. They always come through for you, but you have no idea how.  Don’t question it, just roll with it. Tell them how much you love them and it will make you feel just as good as when they tell you. And if you feel like you don’t have that friend, you probably just need to hear it from you first! After all, knowing someone is there for you is one of warmest feelings possible.

5) Summer evenings in the park

This one will always remind me of being with friends. Remember the summer after GCSEs (or something equally stressful), when you thought that life couldn’t possibly get any harder than that so you revelled in the fact that it was all over and you could pretty much do what you wanted now. That may have been inaccurate but the mixture of innocence and hope for the future is perfectly summed up by just relaxing on the grassy hills at your local park when everything has molten light bouncing off it  – and it’s just the right temperature.

6) Saying your favourite word

If you don’t have a favourite word, I’m going to give you one. It has a nice meaning and it’s exceptionally fun to say; serendipitous. It’s used to describe a  “happy coincidence” (or serendipity), for example you could happen across something that changes your life for the better and it would be serendipitous.  You can’t be sad when you’re saying such a mellifluous word.

7) That one smell

Everyone has that one smell that’s like a drug to them. You might love the smell of new books or a deck of cards or freshly mown grass. The best part is that those smells aren’t just smells. Some are universal but many are unique to different people. That’s because all your senses are linked to memory, so when you smell something nice, you’re subconscious is likely remembering something happy.

8) Opening a parcel

There’s nothing quite like pre-ordering a book on Amazon, subsequently forgetting about it and then actually receiving it in the post. You might know you’re getting a parcel when you get home so you spend all day at work thinking about that little box. All you want to do is tear it open and have at the goods inside and when you do, it’s so gratifying you wish you could do it over and over again!

9) Remembering an inspirational quote

If you’re a fan of words, you’ve probably written other people’s words in places like notebooks or whiteboards or have them somewhere if they mean something to you. But because there are always more inspirational words to be heard and read, the ones that once shaped you have been overtaken by newer philosophies and ideas. But sometimes it’s nice to gain some insight into the person you once were by re-reading these and remembering what it was like to be motivated by those words. You never know, it could happen again!

10) Listening to nature

Music is fine when you’re in the city and it’s busy and people just keep walking into you and all you want to do is get your groceries and go home. Sometimes the world is quieter and calmer. Sometimes it’s okay to just listen to what’s happening. Maybe it’s rain or birds. Or maybe it’s just wind and in the background you can still hear cars and conversation. But it’s enough to let you breathe.

11) The height of every season

You’ve probably got a favourite season, and the height of that season is beautiful. At some point during every season, there are those picturesque moments that make you realise that the world is always beautiful. It might be the dead of winter, absolutely freezing and it’s hard getting to work or school because snow has impeded on your life. It would be so easy to get annoyed about it and wish it was summer again but then you come home and you look out of the window and despite the fact you have to buy new tyres, you can’t help but smile just a little bit.

Which of these eleven moments is most applicable to you? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

Honcho-SFX Christmas Jumper Review

It’s getting really cold as we set into the core of winter and Christmas is approaching. It never fails to surprise me how fast December goes by, but here we are with less than two week until Christmas!

As a general rule, I purchase a lot of fandom themed merchandise and something that is becoming increasingly popular this year is fandom Christmas jumpers. So I decided to jump on this bandwagon and get myself a Frozen Christmas jumper from Honcho-SFX.com, a website that sells fandom apparel and accessories. I haven’t ever bought a product like this before, as usually I would opt for a t-shirt, but this presented me with a refreshing change.

frozen jumperIMG_0093

First of all, I’d like to mention the shipping. I was pleasantly surprised to receive my order within three days. As a consumer that buys products online frequently, I can say without doubt that for this kind of item, I usually would expect it to have arrived a week later than it did. On top of this, the shipping is free in the UK, I think I speak for most Internet shoppers when I say that in most cases, free shipping takes the longest.

IMG_0098IMG_0096IMG_0097

Stitching and detail before washing

I was surprised that on the website a size 12 is classified as a ‘large’ as opposed to the usually classification of ‘medium’ for this size, however I found that the sizing worked well for this product. I say this because I purchased a size 12, a size I would usually get for t-shirts and I anticipated it being too small, but it was actually a very comfortable fit. It was baggier than I expected, which works well for this sort of product.

The quality of the jumper is nothing short of excellent and I say that with complete conviction. The item was exactly as pictured on the website, with the glitter snowflake detail and print. It was relatively warm with just a vest top underneath it. I was worried that the glitter would come off in the wash, but to my surprise it stayed intact in a cold wash (as specified in the care instructions).

IMG_0122 IMG_0123 IMG_0124

Detail after washing

Priced at £25.99, it’s not too expensive and for a product of this calibre, one would usually pay a lot more. Fandom t-shirts are often priced at around £15-£25 for a good quality product that won’t wash , as this is a jumper I would expect it to be this price in comparison.

Overall, I was very pleased with this product and although it is no longer available on the website, I would recommend buying a Christmas jumper from Honcho-SFX as the quality and service I received was brilliant.

See their range of Christmas jumpers here.

Challenging Gender Constructs in Society

Why stick to gender norms in pop culture? What you wear is nobody else’s business, so why is it such a huge thing and why are so many negative stereotypes attached to what you wear?

This isn’t something I’d usually post about, but it’s such an important subject and is more relevant to media and pop culture than most things. I’d like to tell you a story, something that affects me and could well affect you. While I’m mainly talking about the female gender here, this counts for boys and whatever you identify as too! #GenderEquality

I am happy being female and I don’t at all question my gender, however, I feel that girls clothes are restrictive, what with popular culture depicting women as mainly skinny. Plus the fact that I’m short and not exactly slim means that any jeans are especially hard to find. So sometimes I’ll wear a guy’s hoodie or something, because I feel more comfortable.

Things like that I can away with, but there are some things I always felt I couldn’t wear.  One of these things is ties. I love ties. I own loads of them but I don’t have the confidence to wear them to college out of fear of what people will say. Last Wednesday however, I finally wore a tie outside.

My Tie Selfie

My Tie Selfie

This came about by me posting in a group I’m in on Facebook called StarKid Fans Unite. I found that I wasn’t the only one who wanted to wear a tie, so some other members and I decided to band together and all wear ties on that day. They say strength comes in numbers and now I know just how true it is.

TIE Jessica Aiken

Jessica’s Tie Selfie

TIE Emma Bates

Emma’s Tie Selfie

And yes, people did have things to say about my gender, but I am comfortable being who I am: a tie wearing female. I understand that it is hard not to take other people’s opinions to heart, but you must remember that what other’s think is not your fault in any way. If people are concerned about what you wear, something that doesn’t affect them in any way, that is their problem. And that goes for any of your lifestyle choices that are solely your own.

You don’t have to bend to social constructs; you are an individual, embrace who you are! I hope this article aids in helping to diffuse these constructs and if you have your own story to share, please leave it in the comments or tweet me, I’d love to hear them! Whatever the world throws at you, the best thing you can do is stay you, because you are awesome.