A few of my Vegan, Cruelty-Free & Ethical Faves from VegFest

I had an epic weekend. The kind with TWO consecutive birthday parties to go to, an exhibition launch at my gallery, house guests, and the biggest vegan event in Scotland. The kind that ends up with me falling asleep fully clothed on a Sunday night halfway through an episode of SVU. I will never know who kidnapped that girl now, I was was that tired.

I’ve been to a few of the smaller Vegan festivals and fairs, including one at the Corn Exchange back in October that I blogged about here. I ate cake. I ate pie. I ate some more cake. More pie. A sandwich. Some crispy kale. A doughnut. I basically stuffed my face with reckless abandon and I was not even slightly sorry.

Yesterday’s VegFest at the SECC was the Big Kahuna of the Scottish vegan scene, with way more square footage and exhibitors than any other vegan festival I’ve ever been to. There were stalls selling ethical fashion, vegan “leather” shoes, and cruelty free beauty products. I heard rumours of cooking demos, with workshops on how to make dairy-free cheese and cakes and seitan steaks. Basically if you’r a vegan and a foodie, you’d be in your element here.

I have to admit my fave additions were a few clothing companies selling vegan leather shoes and cute tops. I’m not really a fan of fruit and nut energy bars, I don’t really go for the talks, and I’m really just there to eat everything in sight. As a vegan and a foodie, I’ll go to other mainstream food festivals only to find there is absolutely nothing I can eat. That’s how I end up taste testing 6 proseccos, a couple of ales, some gin, and have a hazy recollection of the day because I drank on an empty stomach!  Does this make me a bad vegan? You know what? I don’t really care. There are so few occasions I can wander around a festival and eat every damned thing on offer, so I’ll take advantage of it every chance I get. #notevenslightlysorry

There are a few brands I’ll actually seek out when I come to these events, who I’ll always buy from because their products are consistently great. Marie from Humble Stuff and Hilary from Sgaia’s recognise my rainbow-coloured head making a beeline towards their stalls, every single time. I love to support local, ethical businesses, and I will always make sure to get something from my faves.

 

Humble Stuff

My cat is no spring chicken; she’s grumpy and geriatric, and she sometimes likes to urinate vindictively. Yes, that cute adorable ball of fluff just loves to sit inside her litter tray and write her name on the wall behind her. Or the floor. Sometimes the door. If you’ve ever owned a cat or even hung out with a cat for more than a couple hours, you’ll know that cat pee reeks. It also lingers. I remember a few years ago my friend’s cat did his stinky business in one of my suitcases, and no amount of cleaning, soaking in vinegar, or disinfecting with bleach would get the stench out. Cat pee has that distinctive ammonia odour that you can almost taste.

I thought I’d have to resign myself to living in a  cat piss scented home. Maybe I’d tell people it was a fancy new Diptyque candle.  Maybe I’d get used to it. It was genuinely becoming a battle of wills between me and my cat, and I was losing.

I usually hate the odour of conventional cleaning products, and despite the fact she drives me up the wall with her guerrilla pissing, I would never spray all the surfaces with toxic chemicals just to get rid of the smell. I’d rather have a stinky house than cause harm to my  furbabies! A few months ago, I met the fabulous Marie from Humble Stuff, and her range of handmade cleaning products using a natural castile soap base, bicarb of soda and essential oils are actually incredible; I now use the Lemon Myrtle multi-surface spray whenever Princess Puss Cat decides to piss against the wall, and it completely gets rid of the smell. Magic, right?

Now my cat can urinate where she pleases, and no one will think I’m a manky cow who lives in a house that stinks of cat pee. It’s a win-win situation. Oh and if you don’t have an incontinent feline, their products are excellent for cleaning anything you can think of AND they smell lovely.

Website

YumEarth

I’m the kind of person who only eats candies at the salon when I’m waiting for my nails to dry, and even then it’s a packet of LoveHearts because I can prise the packaging open with my teeth. I am so classy. Lollipops and jellybeans? Not my thing. I’m more of a savoury snack sort of person.  I actually wandered past this stall without even trying a single jellybean, until Marie at HumbleStuff offered me a lolly.

Ten minutes later I was at the YumEarth stall picking up a pack of 40 Organic Pops and making a note of their website so I could order more. Even their watermelon flavoured lolly is delicious, and usually anything watermelon “flavoured” tastes like diseased cough syrup. There is a definite distinct flavour to each one, rather than just having the usual red, orange, yellow and purple varieties that basically just taste like boiled sugar and food colouring.

My lovely assistant Matt has devoured at least four lollies today. I’m cutting off his sugar supply in a second. “These are better than regular lollies. In fact you can put my name and address in your blog post in case they want to send me any lollies. Can I have another one please?”

As I wrote that he just ate another lolly.

Website

Sgaia’s Vegan Meats

I managed to pick up the very last packet of herbed roast, which is the tastiest faux meat ever. I’m not exaggerating. This stuff is incredible. It usually never even makes i onto a plate, I just eat it straight out of the packet.

I’m definitely not a fan of the big-name fake meats like Linda Mccartney’s and Quorn, but these plant-based mheats are delicious. They have recently started to offer deli sandwiches and hot food alongside the charcuterie, and they are unbelievable. At any vegan fair, fete or market, they’ll have the ridiculously long queue of salivating herbivores waiting patiently to snag one of their deli sandwiches or a packet of seitan “bacon”. Go early. They always sell out.

 

Website

Chiaralascura

I don’t do logo t-shirts. In theory I love the idea, but the fact I have huge boobs really doesn’t help the cause. I fucking HATE crew neck t-shirts, which are essentially the most unflattering style of top I could possible drape over my mahoosize chebs. Oh, and they’re uncomfortable. So whilst my vegan friends swan about in cute herbivore tees and tanks, I just get annoyed that nothing ever fits me.

I’d also rather wear something wittier than just a plain ol’ VEGAN emblazoned across my chest, because when you have a surface area that big, you really need something with a bit of OOMPH. Maybe a pretty picture. An avocado or two, perhaps a carrot or an aesthetically appealing apple. So I basically fell in love with Chiaralascura’s cute as hell SEITANIST top. I would genuinely wear this every day of the week. The Avocorn and Vegan Unicorn t-shirts appeal to my unicorn-obsessed self as well, so I *accidentally* bought all three. I might even do an outfit post when I next convince some poor sucker to take some photographs of me.

Website

 

Ananda’s Vegan Marshmallows

I used to go to the farmers market and buy the artisan marshmallows, the ones with swirls of fruit puree through them and cut into imperfect cubes. When I went veggie a couple of years ago I was absolutely gutted that I couldn’t eat marshmallows anymore – not the mass-produced crap, but the handmade ‘mallows I used to buy. Fuck you, gelatine. Why must you be in everything?

These are better. Even my flatmate’s adamantly omni boyfriend loves these, and he doesn’t like anything with “vegan” on the label. The plain vanilla goes very well in hot chocolate, and the raspberry swirl goes very well straight into your mouth.

Website

 

 

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