Vegan Abroad: Birmingham

Mr. Cooke and I have a yearly competition. It’s the battle of birthday presents. For the past five years he and I have been trying to outdo one another for the best birthday present. This year, I think Mr. Cooke might have finally won.

For my birthday this year Mr. Cooke bought me tickets to Friends Fest in Oxfordshire. I am completely obsessed with Friends, and if you want to read more about the festival and what I thought of it, you can read about it here. 

We were only staying one night in Birmingham. We stayed in a beautiful hotel called Hotel Indigo. It was very central, only a 5 minute walk from the train station, which brought you straight to the airport, and had many restaurants within a second’s walk. With stunning views and a rooftop restaurant and bar, plus free use of the pool and pool vaccinates for all guests, this hotel was perfect for a weekend getaway.

Art like this can be seen all over beautiful Birmingham

We got to Birmingham in the early morning and from Birmingham we got an hour-long train to Oxfordshire where we eventually, with the help of many incredibly friendly locals, found our way to Friends Fest. You can read my review of Friends Fest here if you so please!

Eating in Monica’s Moondance Diner at Freinds Fest, Oxfirdshire.

By this stage we were hungry and only when we were at the festival in Blenheim Palace did we remember that there might be an issue with getting food that is vegan friendly. We were lucky enough though to be able to get some chips and onion rings that were vegan friendly.

The next day we went to a wonderful cafe, which looked small on the outside but was actually quite large on the inside. All of the food and drink is completely organic and vegan friendly. This was a great find for two fresh-faced vegans because when chosing your food you pick up a plate and fill it with whatever you want. At the till your plate will be weighed and priced based on that! If you are in Birmingham and want an array of vegan food to try definitely make sure to eat at Natural Healthy Foods. Even if you’re on the go you can pop into their vegan shop and grab a snack- handy!

On the second day we had a few hours to kill before we left for our flight so we decided to go to the National Sea Life Center, Birmingham. It was a reasonable price, and although we were lucky that there was space to buy tickets on the day the website does recommend to book ahead of time. The only negative I would say is that we were offered a booklet at the beginning of the tour, and although a child would really enjoy the tasks in it, I don’t think there was any point in two adults without a child present buying it. If you are curious about the creatures beneath the sea and want a great, informative and well-organised family day out, I would really recommend attending National Sea Life Center, Birmingham.

Walks along the canals are peaceful and have a great atmosphere

Until it was time to leave Birmingham we had a lovely stroll along the canals in the city. We had a wonderful time in Birmingham and will definitely be taking a trip back there in the future! Let us know below if you’ve been there, or are you planning to go?

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Christmassing-It-Up

As I am sick today, when I logged on to see snow falling on my laptop screen I was gonna call for a doctor, but thankfully I realised that it was just WordPress being festive. Go WordPress!

I am one of those people who loves Christmas. I don’t mean in a ‘oh, you know Christmas is such a nice time of year,’ no, I mean in a ‘oh my God I love Christmas, I must drag everyone I know to every Christmas display in the whole of Dublin and make sure they all understand why it is amazing!’

The video I have posted actually made me tear when I saw it yesterday. This could also be because I’m a sap and cry at everything, but the fact that they are snowmen just made the whole thing more emotional. See, I really am a sap. And obsessed with Christmas.

My poor boyfriend did not know this about me when he first met me, or when he got with me. We met around this time last year, and I managed to hide it from him (trying desperately not to freak him out on our first ‘official’ meeting), but now that we have been together a good while and he’s pretty much stuck with me I can Christmas-it-up BIG TIME.

I have dragged him to so many windows and into shops which I know will have big Christmas arrangements and we have literally looked at every single piece of decoration in sight. Thankfully, he knows how ridiculously weird and giddy I can be, and so he has gotten used to me stopping at every fake-snowy window and perusing through all of the shopping centres just to see the lights. He also doesn’t even mind staying out late to see the lights lighting up!

And so, I am extremely happy that my (material) Christmas obsession will not be frowned upon by someone who has to spend so much time with me!