Category Archives: TRAVEL

Manchester: Top Five

July 28, 2017

 

Earlier this month I took a little trip up north to Manchester. All I really knew of the city was what I saw from Shameless. Well, that show is brilliant but it’s a terrible representation of the city. I found Manchester to a bright, vibrant city. It was full of interesting, friendly people. It was cool; relaxed with a sense of style. It was hip without necessarily being trendy. And even though I was only there for a few days I could tell that Ian Brown was right: Manchester has everything except a beach.

Since I wasn’t there long enough to really give any sort of in depth travel guide, I won’t. But here are my top five suggestions:

  1. Manchester has such a huge music scene you couldn’t go without indulging in some of it. I’m sure there are plenty of ways to get your fix but for me it was always going to be about new wave. While catching a Stone Roses/the Smiths/New Order/Oasis cover band would have been amazing I found the next best thing: Blowout at 42’s. Every Tuesday, the longest running night in Manchester, according to their flyer. 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, rock, indie, dance. Fucking Amazing. The music was brilliant, the people were nice, the drinks were cheap. The place was lit.
  2. In such a cool city you best believe that everyones style was steal worthy. Luckily that’s possible. Head to the Northern Quarter where you will find the streets lined with all the vintage stores of your dreams. Definitely check out COW two stories of vintage and refurbished clothing.
  3. After you’ve worked up an appetite shopping you can check out V REV in the Northern Quarter. They have a 100% vegan menu full of the most delicious junk food I’ve had since moving to the UK. If you are lucky enough to go you have to try the Buffalo the Vampire Slayer and their mac and cheese sticks.
  4. Alright it’s time to work off all that vegan cheese and what could be more fun then skateboarding?! Ha ok maybe not for everyone but if you skate or you don’t but want to try go to Projekts MCR skatepark. Is it indoor, is it outdoor? Who cares, it’s chill as fuck plus they have 1hour private lessons for £25 a pop, perfect for beginners. I took one because I’m still too chicken to skate with actually people. It was hard but helpful. The guy (Jonny one of many teachers I think) was motivating, really pushed my limits, plus he was pretty good looking and let me fall on him (I just had to ignore my boyfriend sitting on in the corner >_<).
  5. Relax in the city centre at Piccadilly Square. People tend to hang out there when it’s nice out. It’s a good place to bring a drink, take in some of the architecture and decide what to do next.

Brighton W’s

June 27, 2017

 

I had a goal when I restarted this blog to post more about my travels. I fully intend to, once I travel somewhere worth while to post about. In the mean time I thought I’d share some insider knowledge of my current location. So here’s the W’s (who, what, where, when) of Brighton.

Who: 

Brighton is a seaside town located almost directly south of London. Very popular day trip spot so weekends in the summers can be jammed. It’s got a rock beach, a pier, some crazy little streets and a pretty interesting night scene.

What:

What to do:

  • Definitely check out the pier. It’s touristy and cheesy but that’s part of it’s charm. Eat some candy floss and enjoy a ride or too or just go for the beautiful view of the town.
  • Take a walk down the seafront. again it can be cheesy AF but grab a drink, sit on the beach and buy yourself a silly Brighton souvenir. End at hove gardens where you can take some pretty Instagram photos of the colour beach huts.
  • While you’re on the sea front make sure you stop to look at the west pier; it burnt down many years ago so nothing is left but the frame and it’s very beautiful especially at sunset and while you are there you should definitely go for a swim or rent a kayak.
  • Head up town towards the North Laines and have a browse through some very unique shops (be sure to hit up Family Store, Mysteries LTD , Infinity Foods, Wolf + Gyspy)
  • Walk around the parks at Old Steine and upwards to the Level (if you are into skating check out the Level skate park). Have a picnic or pims in the grass.
  • Go get wasted in the Lanes. With a great mixture of pubs, dives, hipster and cocktail bars there is something for everyone or you could do a pub crawl and hit them all and finish your night with some chips from one of the many late night fish and chips spots on the sea front.
  • Take a the 77 bus to Devil’s dyke and enjoy some of the english country side.
  • Keep your eyes open for colourful graphics of Brighton’s own street artist Minty,

What to skip:

  • The i360 is a relatively new resurrection and one that I think is overrated, if you want a great view of Brighton go on the pier.
  • Stay away from West street and Western Road, both are super tacky nightlife places that attract hen and stag parties. Stay away.
  • There is some pretty cool shopping in both north and south lanes but there isn’t a need to visit the shopping centre
  • The Royal Pavilion is definitely worth a look from the outside (especially at night when it’s all lit up) but unless you are a huge history buff going inside is overpriced a little dull.

Where:

Where to eat: Brighton happens to be UK’s vegan capital, here are some of my favourites:

  • Purezza: located in Kemptown, you got vegan pizzas and italian food, including a raw menu. I recommend the Cheesus.
  • Loving Hut: there are two located in Brighton and their menu’s couldn’t be more different. Check out the LH in the North Laines for wicked vegan Chinese food (defo get the wonton soup) or head up the LH in the Level for some pretty spot on vegan junk food (try the fake chickn’ burger).
  • Hope and Ruin: another awesome spot if you feel like some vegan junk food. Their fries-a-go-go are to-die-for.
  • Vbites: another vegan junk food spot that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend BUT on Sundays they serve vegan roast that comes with a YORKSHIRE PUDDING. Probably the only place in the city that has a vegan yorkie.
  • Happy Maki: vegan sushi burrito rolls, ’nuff said.
  • Glazed: ALL. VEGAN. DONUTS.
  • Honourable mentions: Earth + Stars (not vegan but has some pretty awesome options), Pho (Vietnamese chain with veggie options, make sure you specify no fish sauce), Grubbs (cheap Brighton burger chain, 4 locations with vegan options, it’s fucking amazing)

Where to drink:

  • For cocktails: Twisted Lemon, Mesmerist, Dandelion
  • Pubs: Fiddler’s Elbow, The Bee’s mouth, Black Dove
  • Bars: Sticky Mike’s Frog Bar, East Street Tap
  • For craft beer: Bier Haus, Brewdog
  • For patio sun beers: Mash Tun, Fortune of war (heed this warning: get out before the sun goes down)

 

When: 

May: Brighton Fringe Festival happens all month long and the legendary Speigltent Tent is there for you loose hours in.

June – August: Obviously summer is the best time to come. It happens all at once and it’s hard to pinpoint when it will be but all of a sudden the city comes alive. The beach is packed, the streets are bustling and every patio is full.

July: Pride week is always a good time.

September – October: Summer lingers in Brighton, you can thank the sea for that. Fall isn’t as busy but still a good time.

 

Swim Fan – a guide to getting in the sea

June 21, 2017

 

Ok bitches! It’s fucking summer and you best believe I’m spending as much of it in the sea as I possibly can. The main reason I moved to Brighton was so I could swim everyday if I wanted to. I don’t because in the winter it’s really too cold (I did go for short swims in Decemeber, January and March but like I said it was cold, real cold).

 

Anyway, swimming in summer is the bomb and I’m still so surprised at how few people actually do it. So here is my guide to getting in the sea:

First off: can you swim? If ‘Yes’, great. If ‘No’, your parents failed you and you should probably learn asap. The good news is that it’s pretty easy but stick to low tide until you are comfortable.

 

Learn to embrace the cold. It’s the sea, it’s always going to be a bit cold but there are some great benefits to swimming in cold water. So suck it up and dive in. The cold feeling only last for a minute anyways.

 

The possibility of being dragged out to sea by riptides and undercurrents can be quite scary even for the strongest of swimmers. Just remember these three things and you should be fine:

  1. Pick a fixed point on shore and keep your eye on it. This will be an easy indication of how far you have drifted.
  2. Never swim directly towards shore, try swimming on a angle. It’ll lessen the effects of the current and won’t tire you out as much.
  3. Don’t panic. If you do find yourself being dragged out to sea the easiest thing to do is panic. Well don’t. Keep calm and swim parallel to the shore.

 

Once you are in, swimming is easy. It’s salt water: you float. And it’s awesome. Seriously, just try it. Lay on your back and let the ocean sway you back and forth. Or you could giv’er and have a full body workout. The decisions up to you. There are also so pretty cool benefits of swimming in salt water. Natural beach waves is only the beginning.

 

Lastly here are some tips I’ve learned the hard way: Never go swimming alone and always listen to lifeguard warnings.

 

*Bathing suit is from Topshop.

**I realise not everyone is fortunate enough to live near the sea (I didn’t for most of my life) but luckily man has made pools. So sorted, sorta.

 

Vegan Guide to Toronto Part 3: Brunch

January 26, 2016

This is the finally chapter to my Toronto vegan guides. I saved the best for last: Brunch! You won’t be missing eggs or bacon with tasty dishes these restaurants serve.

Check out Part1: My top 5 favourites and Part2: Places to eat with Omnivores.

 

Fresh Restaurants  4 locations

Personal Favourites: Pancake platters! You get two pancakes, tofu scramble and choice of vegan sausage or tempeh bacon (definitley get the sausage).

Menu Bonuses: The lunch/dinner menu is available during brunch hours as well incase you don’t feel like breakfast food. The beach bowl is one of my favourites. And definitley add a drink to your meal; fresh juices are a good way to go, I also love their chocolate ‘milk’.

Heads up: Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday 10:30 am until 3pm, it can get pretty busy and they don’t take reservations so be prepared to wait a little. Generally, the turnover is quick and you won’t wait too long.

 

Starving Artist 3 locations

Heads up: They have vegan waffles which are ah-mazing, but they don’t have any specific vegan dishes. You just have to pick your own toppings (lots of options) or modify one of the other dishes.

Perk me-ups: Large tea and cofee menu and of course they have almond and soy milk.

7 days a week: They are opened 9am-6pm daily, so you can have brunch 7 days a week.

 

Karine’s – Dundas and McCaul

Menu Bonuses: They have some very different options to other restaurants. Everything is fresh and delicious and the portions are big. Plus they have free coffee refills and sweet treats for later.

7 days a week: You can get breakfast from Karine’s Sunday through Saturday.

Heads up: Not everything is vegan, so make sure you read the menu. Also, it’s cafeteria style but the service is friendly and fast.

 

Kupfert & Kim’s – 2 locations

Personal Favourites: Definitley try their congee for a delicious, savoury and healthy breakfast or for something lighter the blue smoothie bowl is die-for (even though nothing did).

7 days a week: All day breakfast is available everyday of the week, plus you can order from their lunch menu from 11 am onwards.

Menu Bonuses: Everything is healthy, hearty, and fast. But trust me, you won’t be disappointed with the taste.

 

Lola’s Kitchen – Church south of Bloor

Personal Favourites: Curried tofu scramble and their vegan crepe with coconut creme, yum!

Perk me-ups: Perhaps you are a tad hungover? Who isn’t at brunch, amirite? Cure your hangover with a mimosa or bloody-mary (hold the Worcestershire sauce).

Heads up: Brunch is served 10am – 4pm Saturdays and Sundays. They can get pretty busy so maybe call ahead. And, be sure specify with your server that you want the vegan options.

 

-eat AVEC LUI- KL

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dreaming of Home

January 15, 2016

home

This weather is perfect for nothing except Netflix and chill. The cold has me in the mood for tea and cuddles with my cat under multiple blankets. While I’m too busy with preparations  for my big move to cuddle all day I can’t help but think about how I’ll decorate my new place (once I find it). For now, heres some examples of decor that would have me staying inside until Spring, regardless of the cold.

– Live AVEC LUI – KL

Reflections, Resolutions and Relocations

January 6, 2016

Now that my hangover has finally subsided, I’m ready to take on the New Year like a fully functioning adult. But first lets reflect a little on the past year. I compiled a short video of some of my favourite memories from the last year; it took forever to sort through a years worth of photos and video footage, but I’m happy with the end result.

During the hours I spent looking back on the last year of my life I couldn’t help but feel grateful for all the fun I had. Travelling to the Bahamas, Prince Edward County, Ottawa a few times, Paris, Newfoundland, Montreal. Visits from family over the year, even all the way from Ireland. I ran a half marathon for the first time and got back into dancing and yoga. All in all, a fantastic year and I have no regrets (except not filming around my friends and family more, something I hope I can be more comfortable with in the future).

Looking forward, I have no concrete resolutions for 2016. I just hope that I can continue to grow and focus on what’s important to me. I do have some pretty concrete plans for 2016 that will be, for lack of a better word, life-changing. At the end of the month I am moving to England!! It’s exciting and wonderful and at the same time scary and stressful but I’m confident that it will be a great experience. I’m lucky to have the support of my family and the company of my boyfriend to help me with the transition. 2016! Get at me!

– Live AVEC LUI – KL

 

Happy 2016!

January 1, 2016

ny01 ny03

January first is always so bitter sweet, right?

You’ve been waiting for it. You have big goals for the new year and you are super excited to start making things happen! But when the day finally arrives you wake up and your head is imploding with the last years big final blow-out. You start to doubt yourself, it’s the first day and you’re already useless. Well don’t beat your self up too badly. You always have to throw out the first pancake and today is no exception.

As far as I’m concerned, goals and resolutions don’t matter until the second of January. So Happy New Year and here’s to a new and better you (and me)… starting tomorrow. For today? I’m wearing t-shirts and bedsheets and working on nothing but my curing my hangover.

– KL –

T-shirt from SOOP SOOP

Vegan Guide To Toronto, Part 2: Eating With Omnivores

December 29, 2015

Being vegan puts me in the minority among my friends and family. While most of them are fantastic about letting me drag them to a vegan restaurant every time, sometimes you need to compromise. Luckily for us in Toronto, there are tons of places that cater to both herb and omnivores. While almost any restaurant will have a few vegan options (even if they are unaware of them) these restaurants will have a some sort of key, or separate section or even a special menu to distinguish vegan items. Here are the best five restaurants in the 6ix for vegans and meat-eaters to eat happily together.

Ramen Isshin 421 College Street / (416)367 – 4013 / insta: @ramenisshin

Personal Favourties: Vegetarian red miso ramen and spicy vegetarian red miso ramen.

Notes:

  • they have a small section in the menu for veggie ramen
  • only place in the city I know of that takes as much pride in their veggie ramen as their ‘normal’ ramen
  • make sure you specify vegan noodles, otherwise you will be getting the egg noodles 🙁
  • open from 11:30am – 10:00pm most days

Cardinal Rule 5 Roncesvalles Ave / (647)352 – 0202 / insta: @cardinalrule

Personal Favourites: Deep fried pickles and veggie triple decker sandwich

Notes:

  • they use a key to distinguish their vegan/veggie/gluten free items (vegan items are red)
  • almost all of their sauces are vegan, including gravy and garlic aioli. Score!
  • brunch seven days a week
  • open until 11:00pm everyday

Khao San Road 326 Adelaide Rd / (647)352 – 5773

Personal Favourites: Panang curry and khao soi.

Notes:

  • they have a special vegan menu, just ask the hostess, but make sure you specify with your waitress
  • you get to choose your spicy-ness, I always go with medium (it’s still pretty spicy)
  • it’s very popular so be warned that you will probably have to wait and they don’t take reservations
  • they open for lunch six days a week (not sundays) 11:30-2:30 and dinner seven days a week 5:00-10:00

Disgraceland 965 Bloor St W / (647)347 – 5263

Personal Favourites: Vegan butter chicken burrito and hail seitan sandwich.

Notes:

  • tons of vegan options but not separated from the rest of the menu so just be careful while reading
  • FYI: they don’t split bills and only accept cash
  • kitchen is open until 2 am so even us vegans can get our grease food fix after a night of drinking

Utopia Cafe 586 College St / (416) 534 – 7751

Personal Favourites: Veggie chicken burrito and veggie burger

Notes:

  • Not the most super vegan friendly – cheese or mayo is on almost everything so make sure you specify with your waitress
  • on the plus side they very good about modifying items to make them vegan (ask for gauc instead of cheese or mayo)
  • small – not good for big groups
  • open 11:30 am to midnight most nights
  – eat AVEC LUI – KL

 

Vegan Guide to Toronto: Part 1

November 25, 2015

I’m so lucky to live in a city where vegan restaurants are everywhere. I mean, it’s not L.A., but we have no shortage of places that are plant based and delicious. So many, in fact, that I couldn’t just do one vegan guide, instead I broke it up into four parts. Welcome to part 1: my five favourite vegan restaurants in the 6ix, perfect for locals and anyone visiting that needs recommendations. Please watch the video and read the specifics down below.

The Hogtown Vegan1056 Bloor St. W  /  (416) 901 – 9779 / insta: @hogtownvegan

Personal Favourites: vegan buffalo wings with vegan bleu cheese and vegan mac’n cheese.

Notes:

  • they do not take reservations
  • you can order take-out, no delivery service available
  • they are open from noon to 11pm on week nights
  • they serve brunch on Sunday and Saturday mornings 11am – 3pm

 

Live Organic Food Bar: 264 Dupont st.  / (416) 212 – 2002 / insta: @liveorganicfood

Personal Favourites: raw manicotti with cashew cheese and sweet potato noodles.

Notes:

  • they have a second location in Liberty Village
  • you can purchase some of their food at Whole Foods
  • lots of gluten-free options
  • they server brunch on Sunday and Saturday, 11am – 3pm
  • can get delivery through Just-Eat
  • open from 11am – 9:30pm most days

 

Hibiscus Cafe: 238 Augusta ave. / (416) 364 – 3186 / insta: @hibiscus_cafe

Personal Favourites: vegan cheddar, chutney, pecan and pear crepe and 42 ingredient salad.

Notes:

  • very small, may have to wait for a table but they have quick service and do take out as well
  • gluten-free
  • not everything is vegan but it’s clear on the menu
  • open Tuesday and Saturday 11:30am – 6:00pm

 

Kings Cafe: 192 Augusta ave. / (416) 591 – 1340

Personal Favourites: veggie BBQ duck, BBQ bun and enoki mushroom balls.

Notes:

  • not everything is vegan but it says on the menu (look at the bottom they have a chart)
  • they are not licensed, so no booze
  • they have a little shop in the restaurant where you can buy tea and some frozen foods (including the BBQ bun)
  • closes at 9:30pm most nights

 

Porter House: 1321 Dundas St. W / (647) 346 – 3000 / insta: @porterhouse_to

Personal Favourites: curry fries, yuba sandwich and the lentil & ale pie.

Notes:

  • very small, no reservations, not good for large groups
  • only vegan I know of restaurant with a large selection of beer
  • not open on Tuesdays and only open for dinner, no lunch

– Eat AVEC LUI – KL

#TB to Galway, Ireland and What to Pack

November 13, 2015

 

galway galway01 galway03

For this weeks travel post I’d like to throw it back. Just over two years ago I was visiting Ireland and like most people who go to the tiny island country I had more then one city as my destination. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting lots of Irish people (before, during and after my trip) and while many hate Dublin, make cracks at Limerick, joke about Cork, I’ve never heard anyone say a bad word about Galway and for good reason. The harbour city is place everyone should be lucky enough to visit.

The city has some wonderful history; the Spanish Arc still has some of the cities original medical walls. I enjoyed walking along Salt Hill with an unobstructed view of the North Atlantic. The city centre is brightly coloured and bustling with pubs, restaurants and shopping, the perfect place to pick up a souvenir, perhaps a hand knitted sweater or a Claddagh ring. The night is fun, live music fills the the streets beckoning you into the pubs for a Guinness.

I was lucky to have amazing weather when I visited but like most of Ireland, rain is more than a threat. Make sure you pack a rain jacket and a pair of boots. The breeze off the ocean is chilly, warm layers are a must. Water proof mascara incase you do get caught in the rain between pub visit. Some feminine touches like a signature scent will have you feeling romantic in the intimate city.

– Travel AVEC LUI – KL