The Hold in Manly

I'd heard so much about The Hold's vegan-friendly burgers that I had to come up with some sort of excuse to go and check them out. I figured if I was going to gorge on beer, burgers and fries, I needed to earn it so my partner and I set out on the 9km Spit Bridge to Manly walk to earn those burger calories.

It was a beautiful and hot day, after that long walk I was keen to throw back a couple of Burleigh Brewing Co BigHead No Carb Beer's. This golden lager is light and delicious, the perfect, refreshing drink on such a hot Sydney day. They also come in at only 88 calories per bottle which is another little win for me! What is my favourite thing about Burleigh Bewing Co, just check out this is a quote from their website.

We don’t use sugar in our brews – nor any additives, preservatives or processing aids to speed things up. No nasty chemicals, foam enhancers, pre-isomerised hop products, animal products, finings, GMOs or anything else that’s not supposed to be in beer.
— Burleigh Brewing Co

Yes ladies... That means they are cruelty-free and vegan! 

Now to the food - every burger on The Hold's menu comes with a 100% vegan alternative. I went for the one that I figured would be the hardest to turn vegan, the Captain Jack which includes: 180g plant-based Match "meat" patty, crispy coconut-flake bacon substitute, Spanish onions, vegan cheddar, a vegan mac and cheese infused onion ring, bourbon bbq sauce and mustard with Detroit pickle. OH MY. So delicious... Here is what it looks like...

I rate this burger a 10/10 for sure - everything was confusing my mind, the texture of vegan patty was spot-on and the cheese wasn't plastic-y like the vegan cheese alternatives that you buy at Coles and Woolworths. It had a deep flavour, if that makes sense, and tasted like an aged cheddar. If I'm being 100% honest, I could have forgone the coconut facon flakes - I don't think they added anything to the burger but they certainly didn't take anything away from it either.

It can be easy to walk past on the busy Manly Promenade but here is what it looks like so keep an eye out...

The Hold 1

I definitely recommend all my Sydney vegan friends going and checking our the Hold - I plan on hosting one of my Vamp Club Events there soon enough so stay tuned and please let me know in the comments section below if you've been there, what you had, and how drool-worthy it was.

Truly Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty

Truly, Madly, Guilty by Liane Moriarty revolves around one event at a seemingly innocent neighbourhood backyard BBQ, an event that changes the lives of all of those in attendance. As you power through the book, you are constantly left wondering, what the hell has happened - it keeps you turning the page to get to that big reveal quicker.

Time for some honesty here, I started reading the book after I heard Mia Freedman raving about it on the Mammamia Out Loud Podcast (love this one)...

It was an enjoyable read and due to the shortness of the chapters, it felt like time flew whilst reading.  It is beautifully written and all of the characters and their relationships feel too real, there is no idealisation and I think it's message rings clear in the end.

Buy the book here.

The 10 Most Pinnable Mexican (Vegan Mexican) Recipes on the Internet

Growing up in California, I have a small (major) obsession with Mexican food and luckily it's not something that I've had to forgo now that I'm a Vegan Princess! Check out these ten scrumptious receipts that would bring the party of any fiesta!

A quick tip - whenever a recipe calls for sour cream, substitute instead with Tofutti's Better than Sour Cream to make the recipe 100% vegan and cruelty free.

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Vegan of the Month - Mayim Bialik

Vegan of the Month - Mayim Bialik

I had the pleasure of hearing Mayim Bialik speak this month at the 2016 She Knows Media annual BlogHer conference and she was by far my favourite speaker. I was excited to find our during her keynote that is is a vegan #girlboss and I have therefore made her my Vegan of the Month for August!

I'm not quite sure how this Big Bang Theory star flew under my vegan radar for so long, considering she is very active in the vegan community, with her own cookbook and various interviews with animal rights and vegetarian bodies.

She turned vegetarian at age 19 after experiencing an aversion to meat, then, as it does for most of us, her love of animals further cemented her cruelty-free values and she went full vegan in 2010.

Television star, neuroscientist (for reals), mother of two vegan boys and the founder of new online community Grok Nation, she's one to watch.

Vegan Meals on Qantas

Earlier this month, I spent two weeks in California to attend the SheKnows Media BlogHer Conference in Los Angeles, while not at the conference meeting amazing female bloggers, I spend the rest of the time an hour down south in Orange County relaxing, obsessively doing Pilates Reformer and trying all the vegan supermarket treasures that I could get my grubby little hands on.

I flew from Sydney to LA on Qantas and was extremely impressed with their vegan meal options. Unfortunately, the packing wasn't labelled so I don't know EXACTLY what each meal was called, but I've done my best to describe them below...

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10 Steps to Being a Morning Person

I don't know about you but I sure do dislike those chirpy, perpetually positive little bitches that describe themselves as morning people.

When I wake up, it's best that everyone steers clear of my war path for fear of the wrath that will be instilled if you so much as look at me in any way that could be perceived as an assault on my very being. Honestly, in the morning, that could be just looking in my direction.

I have found that the following steps have helped me to at least trick myself into feeling like a functioning human being in the mornings...

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Maestra by L.S. Hilton

The Vamp Club have just finished reading and discussing our first book for our monthly book parties and we chose to read Maestra by L.S. Hilton and boy did we have a lot to say about it.

The storyline follows the exploits of Judith Rashleigh, a, from what we can gather, attractive young women and a person for chubby rich men. She is immersed in the art world and works for one of London's premier auction houses;while doing so, she discovers a scandal which ultimately get her, and her favourite co-worker, fired and as a result she is thrown into a life of degradation, murder and crime that makes up the rest of the novel. She twilights in a gentleman's club where she meets James, an obese man will to fork out for her, ahem, company. He ends up dead shortly thereafter and thus begins Judith's new European life where the scandal that put her there in the first place rears its ugly head again. She digs further into the world of underground sex parties and a little bit more murder on the side to the point where there is no going back.

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Beauty of the Month - Kat Von D Chrysalis Eyeshadow Palette

I love this palette, it has so many colours to play with which means that the number of different makeup looks you can create seem endless. The colours are inspired by a butterfly's wings and all Kat Von D projects are 100% cruelty free!

My favourite colour in this palette is Glasswing as it is the perfect colour to accentuate the crease of your eye and give it more dramatic depth.

Buy it here from Sephora!

Eat Fuh in Marrickville

Did someone say vegan pho? UMM YES, I did!

Ya'll have no idea how much joy was spread across my face when I learned (on Instagram of course) that the soon-to-be-open Eat Fuh in Marrickville was to serve vegan pho - something I thought I would have to d without when I turned vegan.

Of course, I had to go and try it out.

On the night that Eat Fuh opened, there were lines all the way down the street to Banana Joes; for that reason, I decided to give it a go a week later after the crowds had died down. They are still crazy busy and I think they were still getting into the groove of things in their new flagship restaurant. Before Eat Fuh opened its door last month, the delicious pho connoisseurs were serving at various markets around Sydney.

When my partner and I arrived, it felt a bit frantic, as I said, getting their sea legs. Despite this, we were seated within ten minutes. First impressions - cute, small quaint. The hub of the restaurant is an open-plan kitchen smack in the middle of everything so that you can see all that goes on. I saw that there were quite a few larger tables which is usually rare in small restaurant spaces. I found that our two-person table was a tad small and created minor overcrowding problems when both our large bowl of pho and also our spring rolls, sauces etc. were placed onto the tiny table at the same time. It would have been much more comfortable if they invested in slightly larger tables, or if the spring rolls came out first as an entree as originally requested.

My first look at the menu almost genuinely brought a tear to my eye - not only was there Vegan Fuh Noodle Soup but additionally there were also Vegan Spring Rolls and Vegan Noodle Salad. 

I absolutely had to give those spring rolls a go - who doesn't live a fried crispy treat. They are divine! Deliciously crispy on the outside and flavoursome, hot and soft on the inside. The contents included green beads, Chinese mushrooms, and taro and my favourite part - they are big! I hate a small spring rolls, I always feel ripped off. They are served in sets of three so be quick if it is just to two of you to nab that last one. They were saved with a sweet / semi-spacey sauce on the side to dunk them in.

Next up was the pho and yes, I ordered the large bowl. My eyes were clearly bigger than my stomach because I struggled to make my way through the whole bowl. The soup's description read as follows...

Vegetable stock cooked with star anise, garden, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, onions, served with thick rice noodles, tofu, seasonal mushroom and garnished with coriander, basil shallot, sprouts, lemons, chilli, hoisin sauce and chilli paste.

It's a delicious and fragrant broth and you can really taste that star anise coming through. Make sure you grab plenty of lemon wedges, Sirarcha and other dun things from the little rolling trolleys that are around the restaurant before you dig in.

I had a chat with one of the waters before I left and they said that they were blown away with the demand for their vegan menu items and the resulting positive feedback. To my delight, they advised that they were definitely planning to expand their vegan options in the near future so I will definitely be back!


Accidentally Vegan - Tilda Coconut, Chilli & Lemongrass Rice

I love finding little gems that aren’t advertised as vegan but are secretly vegan!

This rice makes a perfect side dish or, if you’re lazy like me, an easy and filling workday lunch! Here’s what it looks like ready to eat…

I was worried that it would be too overpowering with coconut favour but all of the different elements (coconut, chilli, lemongrass) were subtle and surprisingly, the rice was fluffy! I love the desiccated coconut throughout the rice, gives it a bit of a different texture.

All you need to do is open up the packet, pop it in the microwave for two minutes, fluff with a fork and you have a quick and easy 362 calorie lunch for those busy work days.

Also, it’s affordable! Coming in at only $3.74 a pack and I’ve definitely seen it on special as a two-for-one deal! You can buy it from Coles.

Check out other accidentally vegan products on our vegan friendly page.

Fashion of the Month - Atmos+Here Sweet Home Denim Dress

How so super cute is this little denim dress from Atmos+Here? Once I loose all that college / London / relationship weight (cough… 30kgs), I’ll be squeezing myself into one of these. The big industrial zip cuts through all of that blue, it looks sweet and nice at the front and the zip gives it a bit of edge at the back – love it.

A steal at $79.95 – you can get it from The Iconic.