Let’s be real, Dubai was never on my bucket list, not even close. I love old cities, cobbled streets, indulging in the local cuisine and immersing myself in culture. But, as stubborn as I can be and may never like to admit it, I did…View Post
Here I share with you how it was eating vegan in Dubai and whether it was an easy feat or not. From disappointing airline meals to delicious Lebanese cuisine, I cover it all. The question is, was it easy to Eat Vegan In Dubai?
This holiday differed from nearly every other I have written about on Simply Living Vegan particularly when writing about what I ate on my travels. This was the first holiday in 3 years where I have gone away without Chris or my girls and where food hasn’t been at the forefront of everybody’s minds. Let’s be real here, being vegan when in a foreign country is daunting and can bring about anxiety therefore most days are planned around where we can eat and where I want to review. Sounds riveting right? For me it’s heaven, but, for my family that isn’t how this holiday was going to go and I was okay with that. It meant I had to adapt a lot and revert back to the days of making do with what I got. After reading many blogs about Vegan food in Dubai, I was ready for the challenge.
Emirates Airline In Flight Vegan Food
Let me share with you a top tip before flying, always bring food with you. Sounds like a no brainer right, well you’d assume not when flying with an airline that provides Vegan food as an option. I had pre-empted an issue and luckily packed enough healthy snacks as well as a Pret Christmas sandwich. Much to my surprise, the Vegan option hadn’t been allocated to my seat as it has to be re-stated online 24 hours before flying. Firstly, what sort of system is that for customers with dietary requirements and secondly, how is anybody supposed to know! It was a blessing in disguise as I find aeroplane food rather disgusting all together. Having your own food with you is much more of a healthy choice and guaranteed to taste delicious.
On the flight back we took the initiative to select my meal before flying. Much to my dismay there was no longer a Vegan option but rather a Raw Vegetable meal or vegetarian selection. I opted for the Raw Vegetable meal which unfortunately only contained one or two vegan-friendly dishes. The fruit was laden in a chocolate sauce and crudites accompanied by a yoghurt dip. Thankfully I had made a peanut butter sandwich before flying and stocked up on my favourite snacks. Nevertheless, I am glad there are Vegan and dietary specific options on some long haul flights however the ‘no guarantee’ of receiving the food is something I will always be sceptical of.
Middle Eastern Cuisine
When in doubt, always rely on Middle Eastern cuisine. Dubai was in no short supply of Lebanese restaurants and I was very thankful for that. Here you can sample their delicious and creamy houmous, baba ganoush, toasted pita, fresh falafel and the incredible Fattoush salad made from romaine lettuce, pomegranate, mint, tomatoes, crispy bread and a balsamic dressing. It’s safe to say I cannot look at another bowl of hummus for a month or so due to consuming my weight in the stuff! We ate Lebanese food multiple times throughout the week as it catered for all dietary types and was simple yet flavoursome.
Our firm favourites
Al Nafoorah restaurant at the Zabeel Saray 5* Hotel
Bazerkan Lebanese Restaurant
The Cheesecake Factory
Despite the dairy laden name, this American joint catered pretty well for vegans. The dish I ordered was the Vegan Cobb salad; quinoa, chickpeas and seeds on a bed of delicious greens with the ripest avocado I’ve ever eaten. The portion was so huge I had leftovers the following day. They offered more such as the Super Antioxident salad as well as others which could easily be veganised; a Kale and Quinoa Salad without the cheese, Guacamole Salad without the cheese and even Veggie Burger without cheese and mayo! Unfortunately they didn’t offer a vegan cheesecake which I was gutted about however I doubt I would have been able to fit in another mouthful!
I am unsure on how I had never tried a fresh Acai bowl up until this holiday. Pronounced Ah-say-ee not Ac-ky, this tiny cafe sells small, medium or large bowls of the stuff with your choice of toppings. I chose a medium Acai bowl with mango and blueberries; a fruitarian’s heaven packed full of nutritious and delicious ingredients. Alongside Acai bowls they offer Smashed Avocado & Tomato on toast, a Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad as well as dairy-free smoothies and juices.
In any hot country, I am always on the look out for vegan ice cream or sorbet. The ice cream hunt did not prove successful however an Island Mango Sorbet from Menchies on Jumeriah beach hit the spot! It was self-serve therefore you choose your sorbet flavour and add toppings of fresh fruit and other vegan friendly options like granola and desiccated coconut – delicious!
Juices & Mocktails
On Jumeriah beach lay Retro Feasts, a quirky beach bar and cafe that sold delicious drinks and desserts. As alcohol wasn’t on the menu and desserts weren’t vegan-friendly, I opted for a Coco Loco Mocktail; coconut water, pineapple juice, date syrup and passionfruit puree served in a fresh coconut itself. Sweet, refreshing and moorish!
Not far from the beach and marina was Dollies Coffee, a small cafe that served food and beverages. We all chose to try the mango juice and wow, it was incredible. From the sweetness of the mango and the thickness, we believe there were 3 or 4 whole mangos blended in the juice into this magical and creamy drink. It was the best fruit juice I have ever tried!
Our local 24 hour supermarket was great for vegan food. Despite being rather pricey they had a fantastic array of dairy-free milks, raw snacks, soya yoghurts, gluten-free cereals and even my all time favourite hummus crisps. The fresh hummus and tinned beans were the staple on holiday in a wrap with fresh salad leaves. The Carre Four at the marina had more to offer with a selection of fresh vegan food such as vegan cheese, quinoa burgers as well as dairy-free desserts. I sourced the Cocoa Libre vegan chocolate set as an evening treat alongside small cartons of chocolate and ordinary rice milk – delicious.
Was Dubai A Vegan Friendly City?
I would give Dubai a 6/10 for being vegan friendly. Despite there being a multitude of options in supermarkets, I only ate at one restaurant that served dishes which were clearly labelled Vegan. Prior to embarking on the trip, from researching and reading blogs, I did feel as though there would be vegan and clean eating places on every corner. But, as Dubai is so vast and the malls and restaurant are scattered all over the city, they were difficult to locate and therefore felt non-existent. Nonetheless, if like me you love Middle Eastern cuisine, fruit juices and sorbets, you’ll have a blast!
Have you been to Dubai? If so, what was your experience like?
November has been and gone! Only a few weeks until Christmas is here where I can eat my weight in vegan chocolate, crunchy roast potatoes and sit and plan my 2018 goals. Before the festivities begin, why not check out my November favourites where I sampled vegan Christmas sandwiches, attending a bloggers brunch and got wet and wild in Dubai’s number 1 water park.
Essex Bloggers Brunch
I was lucky enough to meet some wonderful bloggers at the beginning of November at an Essex meet up at Bills in Chelmsford. Emma over at The Beauty Analyst organised the breakfast and it was wonderful meeting so many likeminded, inspiring, strong and passion women. All of us blog about different topics, many fashion, lifestyle, travel and beauty. I was the only Vegan blogger which added another dimension to the mix and felt incredibly welcomed, something I am always a little apprehensive about. I indulged in the delicious Coconut Porridge with Candied Pistachios and sipped on a soya latte (predictable or what?). After chatting for hours we all planned to attend another event together with the South East Bloggers team in December. Bring on the festive drinks!
Cruelty Free Secret Santa
The lovely Sarah over at Sarah Kirby Blog (formerly The V Nice Life) ran a cruelty free secret Santa that I took part in. Without giving too much away, I absolutely loved creating a package for my secret Santa, reading their blog and scouring their Instagram to see how much I could find out about them and what they may love to receive. Better still they have received the package and I have bitten my tongue on shouting ‘it’s me!’ Can you tell your secret Santa after Christmas? I hope I can! Nevertheless I am glad they liked it! I am now ecstatic to receive my own and get into the festive mood.
Vegan Christmas Sandwiches
November saw the release of a multitude of vegan friendly Christmas sandwiches. First on my list to try was this year’s Pret Very Merry Christmas sarnie that I wrote an in depth post about here. The cranberry sauce and crunchy onion pieces made this as festive as possible but unfortunately didn’t beat last year’s baguette.
The second I tried was the Parsnip and Butternut Squash fritter sandwich from Boots. I was disappointed with this purchase as I usually love grabbing a Boots meal deal on the go for the great value it is. This was unfortunately bland and flavourless, without the crispy fritter coating I had longed for. It tastes more like cheese and pickle combined with falafel and hummus mushed in one sandwich. The only benefit was having vegan mayonnaise to make it less dry. I wouldn’t buy this little guy again unfortunately and will stick to the sushi salad instead.
The winner was the Tesco Finest Bubble & Squeak brioche type roll with braised red cabbage, apple pieces, sage and onion stuffing with lashings of vegan mayo. To top this bad boy off was a sachet of bacon flavoured coconut flakes, a crunchy addition to an outstanding festive feast. This was worth the £3.50 and felt indulgent without the calories.
Still on the list to try is M&S Chestnut Roast Wrap and EAT’s Roasted Butternut Squash, Seedy Stuffing & Slaw.
Aquaventure Water Park Dubai
Having just returned home from a weeks holiday in Dubai, I can safely say the ultimate highlight was the Aquaventure Water Park on the Palm. I have been lucky enough to experience water parks in both Europe and America and this one may have topped them all. The only thing missing was the whole family, particularly my thrill seeking brother, as my sister and I ventured here alone. From drop slides, group dinghies and meandering river rapids, we were spoilt for choice. What’s more, the rapids allowed you to float freely to the next adventure, conveyer belt and all taking you up into the tower and onto the next, patiently awaiting our fate at the bottom of a huge drop. The beach was the most peculiar though, beautiful sand and warm waters overlooking skyscrapers and motorways; surreal and almost utopian. The price per adult entry was around £55 each, steep but definitely worth it. I’d highly recommend!
What were your favourites this November?
As our planet continues to suffer from the impact civilisation has on Mother Nature, we can all do our bit to minimise waste and use more eco friendly products to reduce our carbon footprint. Here I share with you 10 products that will help you minimise your waste and make a positive change.
Reusable Coffee Cup
For those of you who love to drink your coffee on the go, the Keep Cup is for you. Despite what you may think, your disposable coffee cup from the likes of Costa, Starbucks and Cafe Nero are non-recyclable due to the inner cardboard being coated in plastic. This means that 2.5 billion coffee cups are disposed of in a year in the U.K. alone. There is enough plastic in 28 disposable cups to make one Keep Cup – That’s a months worth of coffee right there! Making the switch is both cost effective and more environmentally friendly and what’s more, most U.K. Coffee shops will reduce the price of your coffee just for using a reusable cup. All plastic Keep Cups are BPA and BPS free, unbreakable and can be customised to your favourite colours. If you want to get even more eco-friendly to the next level, opt for the glass and cork Keep Cups that use cork from recycled wine bottles.
Reusable Water Bottle
If you are fortunate enough to live in a country where you can drink water straight from a tap, then there is no excuse to keep on buying bottled water. Bobble Bottles offer a great variety of BPA free plastic bottles that are fully recyclable; the most popular featuring a charcoal stick that purifies the water you drink. They also offer a stainless steel bottle that insulates and plastic variety that infuses to keep you hydrated throughout the day.
Plastic straws are cluttering our oceans with over 500 million used and disposed of daily in the USA alone. They take over 200 years to decompose and even then most end up in the sea, harming marine wildlife. Videos have been circulating of plastic straws being extracted from sea turtles noses and it is heartbreaking. The first step to take is to say no when offered and encourage the server to make the choice of a straw an option not a necessity. If you are desperate to sip on your favourite smoothie at home, why not purchase the stainless steel variety that are easy to clean, reusable and eco-friendly. You can pop them in your bag to use when eating out and pack a spare or two for a friend.
Reusable Produce Shopping Bags
Many of us have made the switch to reusable shopping bags, but how many to reusable produce bags for our fruit and veg? UK supermarkets are the worst for single use plastics and as shoppers we feel obliged to use them to keep our vegetables germ free in our baskets. Thankfully there are some reusable alternatives made from linen or mesh to help reduce our carbon footprint. They are lightweight and easy to use meaning you can keep produce in the bags when being weighed at checkout for ease.
Using tin foil or cling film to cover your leftovers can prove to be rather wasteful and not so eco-friendly. Unfortunately both products cannot be recycled and rarely can be reused. These plant based and vegan wax wraps are a great alternative that cling to your bowl and keep food fresh in the fridge. They are made from 100% cotton, plant wax, tree resin and olive oil and are wipe clean.
Reusable Bamboo Cutlery
When buying lunch on the go, many of us are faced with the dilemma of using single use cutlery. You may already plan ahead and keep a reusable plastic set in your bag or even metal, but how about investing in a bamboo cutlery set that is 100% biodegradable and free from the nasty chemicals used to create the plastic variety. When they come to the end of their life, most varieties are compostable and will naturally degrade.
Did you know that 850 million plastic toothbrushes are discarded in the US every year? Many of which end up in the sea and are washed ashore. Plastic toothbrushes take centuries to biodegrade in landfill and even then never fully decompose. The environmentally friendly alternative is the bamboo toothbrush made from recycled bamboo and many of which offer BPA-Free Nylon bristles.
On average, we use 198 bottles of shampoo in our lifetime, most of which will come in plastic bottles. Although many can be recycled, we can reduce our carbon footprint by eliminating the plastic entirely. Lush Cosmetics offer great shampoo and conditioner bars that are fantastic for using on your travels as well as in your daily life. They are made from natural and cruelty free ingredients that are better for your hair. What’s more, they last a lot longer than a regular bottle of shampoo and lather a lot too!
Dry Body Brush
Save money on expensive exfoliators and switch to a dry body brush. It eliminates dry skin, increases blood circulation and can reduce the appearance of cellulite. It is great pre-shower on your legs, arms and stomach, brushing towards your heart in circular motions to get the blood pumping. Shower off afterwards and moisturise to leave your skin feeling amazing!
Make Up Wipe Cloth
Say no to single use cotton pads and make up wipes with this reusable and washable make up remover cloth. This is such an incredible product I am still gutted that I did not hear about it sooner! Simple to use, you wet a small area of the cloth and remove your make up. You will be able to use the cloth throughout the week or even longer and throw it in the washing machine to reuse. It leaves you skin feeling refreshed and make up free.
Do you use any of these eco-friendly products already? If not, which will you try first?
Is your loved one vegan? Your best friend or sister? Here I share with you 25 vegan and cruelty free Christmas gift ideas that will are perfect for a vegan foodie, fashionista or even budding vegan chef. Many of these products are and can be made unisex so don’t just shop for your female friend, buy vegan gifts for all of your family members!
For The Vegan Foodie
Pana Chocolate Merry Christmas Set
Pana Chocolate create the most delicious organic, raw, refined sugar and soy free vegan chocolate. Their Merry Christmas gift set contains the flavours Coconut & Goji, Mint, Raw Cacao and Sour Cherry & Vanilla.
Booja Booja Champagne Truffles
Christmas wouldn’t be the same without indulgent truffles. Booja Booja will get you in the dancing mood with their 12 Champagne Truffles that your relatives won’t believe are vegan.
Montezuma Herbivore Vegan Gift Bag
For the dark chocolate addicts, Montezuma have vegans covered with their Herbivore Gift Bag. This includes Organic Dark Giant Buttons, 3 bars of chocolate in a variety of flavours as well as Dark Chocolate Turtles & Creme De Cacao Truffles.
Hotel Chocolat Dark Chocolate Reindeer
Who doesn’t love a cute and festive chocolate reindeer? Hotel Chocolat have launched The Sleigh Team, a collection of 70% dark chocolate and vegan-friendly figurines. These won’t last long in any household.
Cocoa Libre Mini Chocolate Slab Gift Set
Treat your loved one to Cocoa Libre’s mini chocolate slab gift set with decadent raspberry dark chocolate, a vegan-friendly milk and honeycomb kind and an orange and ginger bar. Adventurous and delicious, they will not want to share.
For The Budding Vegan Chef
Deliciously Ella Every Day Cook Book
If you aren’t already obsessed with this plant-based lady, you should be! Deliciously Ella’s Every Day cook book makes meat-free living easy, accessible and darn right delicious. It is a staple in my household and one I always refer back to when I need some recipe inspiration or my lunch box needs a revamp. This is a great gift to get non-veggies loving the green stuff and eating a more whole food diet.
Tofuture Tofu Press
Save your vegan friend from balancing chopping boards and saucepans on top of their tofu by purchasing the Tofuture Tofu Press. It doubles up as a marinade dish and container to mould and store your homemade tofu. May they never eat soggy flavourless tofu again!
Peace & Parsnips Cook Book
Lee Watson can help you cook up a storm in the kitchen with his Peace & Parsnip’s recipe book. He provides hearty, adventurous and utterly delicious meals that will help you to feel healthier.
Salter Nutri Max Multi Blender
If the NutriBullet isn’t in your price range, opt for the Salter Nutri Max Multi Blender, a great alternative that blends your favourite fruit in seconds. What Vegan doesn’t own a blender?
Benriner Cook’s Help Spiralizer
Spiralize your courgettes, carrots and butternut squash with Benriner Vegetable Slicer. With a variety of blades you can get the desired thickness and effect for every dish.
For The Cruelty-Free Beauty Lover
Lush Christmas Candy Box Set
Christmas wouldn’t be the same without a great smelling stocking filler. Who wouldn’t want to smell like candy? Lush’s Christmas Candy Box Set consists of the Candy Mountain bubble bar, Snow Fairy shower gel, Rockstar soap and Lush Pud bath bomb.Christmas wouldn't be the same without a great smelling stocking filler. Who wouldn't want to smell like… Click To Tweet
Faith In Nature Coconut Gift Set
Coconut lovers beware, Faith In Nature’s 100% natural fragranced products will have you smelling incredible. These products are made with organic coconut and are free from all the nasties. Let their guests basque in the coconut hand wash whilst your loved one smells like a queen with the body lotion.
If you’re looking for a cruelty-free and 100% vegan scent then look no further than Eden Perfumes. They take the nation’s designer favourites and create a non-harmful and cruelty-free version that smells just as delightful. What’s more, it’s half the price of your high street favourite and the bottles are refillable. Find her favourite scent and treat her to the perfect gift.
Bloomtown UK Vegan Pamper Gift Set
Pamper your other half with the Bloomtown Vegan Gift Box For Her. Inside contains an exfoliating scrub, Himalayan salt soak, handmade soap and a roll-on infused oil; all of which are paraben, palm-oil and cruelty free. Add a personal touch with a personalised gift card and carefully select the scents to suit your loved ones desires.
Eco Tools Bamboo 6 Piece Brush Set
For the make-up lover, upgrade their brushes to the Eco Tools Bamboo set. It comes with a cute hemp and cotton cosmetic bag to house the collection, each of which are made from recycled and eco-friendly materials. The brushes are made from synthetic materials that are still soft to touch but are 100% cruelty-free.
For The House Proud
Christmas Pudding Soy Candle
Christmas is never the same without festive scents and a bit of sparkle. Vegan Bunny’s Christmas Pudding soy candle burns for up to 25 hours and is glittery too! Beeswax free, pesticide free and cruelty-free, these little candles will make a great addition to any Christmas stocking.Christmas is never the same without festive scents and a bit of sparkle. Click To Tweet
Minimal Design Vegan Print
Know a Minimalist vegan, this one is for them! This beautiful print is from Emblematical, an online Etsy store that specialises in Minimalist prints. This quirky number labels it’s meaning as ‘getting asked where you get your protein like 12 times a day’. If that doesn’t make you chuckle I don’t know what will. Position amongst succulents and cacti and you have one happy minimalist.
Friends Not Food Vegan Mug
What vegan doesn’t love a hot drink? Tea or coffee lover, ensure your loved one drinks in style in the Friends Not Food mug. The intricate design and soft pastels give the important message a soft and loving touch. You can also get the fantastic design on a tee too!
Almond Milk Pantone Print
Another for those who appreciate minimalist design, an Almond Milk Pantone-esque print. This is ideal for almond milk lovers who cannot get enough of the little nuts! Allow them to add their beautiful creamy shade to their wall and never forget to milk the almonds again!
Viva Keep Cup
Treat a coffee lover with the Classic Viva! Keep Cup. Recyclable, dishwasher and microwave safe, these make it easy to sip a hot drink on the go, save the environment and stay thirsty 4 change.
For The Vegan Fashionista
Vegan Things T-Shirt
This Vegan Things tee is the perfect gift for Stranger Things fanatics. How can you resist the 80’s design and vegan take on the famous Netflix series. Twin this with some vegan Doc Martins and thrifted mom jeans, they will have the look down to a T.
Heartcure Vegan T-Shirts
Heartcure are an ‘alternative’ clothing brand that specialise in subtle activism through their vegan slogans. The ‘Have A Heart Live Vegan’ tee is simple and powerful along with the punchy black and yellow ‘End Speciesism’ long sleeve. The clothing is made from 100% organic cotton and each purchase supports the Brook Farm Sanctuary.
VeganPowerCo Vegan Pins
These cute VeganPowerCo pins are a great addition to any denim jacket. Whether avocado obsessed, a Stranger Things fanatic or a veggie burger lover, let them show off how proud they are to be vegan with these enamel pins. Some are also available printed on tees!
Vegan Queen Tee
The product of a collaboration between Lonewolves Creative and VegansOfLDN was this Vegan Queen tee. Printed with water-based vegan inks on 100% organic cotton, it is environmentally friendly and looks great. Who wouldn’t want to be a vegan queen?Who wouldn't want to be a vegan queen? Click To Tweet
Organic Hemp Rose Quart Necklace
My lovely friend Lois over at Lonewolves Creative makes beautiful handmade stone necklaces that make a perfect and unique gift. She uses organic hemp twine to bind the stone into place and cruelty-free and vegan glue. She works with a variety of stones and crystals that will heal and heighten positive energy within the body. Ensure your loved one is looked after on the inside as well as the out and keeping aligned and balanced all year around.
What vegan and cruelty-free gift will you buy a loved one this year?
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