Monday, 8 September 2014

Going Vegan: What Not to Do

Going vegan is an adventure: it opens you up to a whole new way of thinking, perceiving, feeling and living (yeah, it's really amazing like that). As any major lifestyle change, the transition into veganism can be tricky as well as wonderful. Two years into the way, here are a few things I'd advice you to steer clear of.

Don't go cold turkey.
Several vegans I know would disagree with me. But in my experience, cold turkey just isn't the way to go. It's drastic, it's difficult and it is likely to lead to failure. Phase animal products out of your life instead. After almost 20 years as a pescatarian and vegetarian, you'd think the change was easy for me, but it definitely wasn't. Surprisingly, the first and easiest thing I cut out was cheese. I don't miss it one tiny bit! Especially when Vegustos' lovely substitutes are beyond amazing.

Don't think veganism is limited to food only.
Once again, personal opinion, but it just seems very strange to me to follow a vegan diet while wearing leather shoes and using L'Oreal makeup. Slowly but surely, extend veganism to every part of your life. Do research into vegan living. Find out how your decision to live cruelty-free is helping animals, people and the planet.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Two Years in London

Two years ago today, I sat in Milan's Malpensa airport, waiting for the flight that would take me and my then-fiance to our new lives in London. It was a cloudy day and all I could think about was the possibility that our Airbnb hosts had given us the wrong phone number by mistake and we would never be able to find our way to their house. I don't know why this thought kept swirling around in my mind as the plane took off and Milan disappeared beneath me. 

When we landed at Gatwick, the sun was shining over a summery London. One of the worst summers in the city's recent memory was over and autumn was beginning with sun-drenched days - the perfect welcome. Of course we had no trouble at all finding our Airbnb hosts and their home was absolutely stunning - our London life had started in the most intriguing way we could wish for. That evening, as we sat on a bench in Stoke Newington, eating the best falafel wraps I've ever had in my life, I felt that giddy rush of excitement: something new was beginning, and whatever this new era would bring, I already loved it. And when I woke up the next morning, sunshine blazing and our hosts' two cats sleeping peacefully by our feet in the bed, I knew that I was home.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

(Veggie) Burger Mania at Antenna American Diner

Tomorrow's David's birthday - he chose to celebrate at Antenna American Diner, a US-inspired burger place in the lovely Crystal Palace area, where we just moved. The diner's closed on Mondays, so we moved his celebration to last night. I called the diner before and arranged for them to bring out a brownie with a candle in it (which I couldn't eat as it wasn't vegan, but David was delighted and found it delicious). The diner's Americana-style decor, super-friendly and helpful staff and cool blend of road-trippy music was a hit - not to mention one of the best veggie burger I've had since moving to London.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

11 Things You Realise When You Move House

1. You have too much stuff. Yes, even you, Miss "I Only Own Five Pairs of Shoes" (by the way, why do you only own five pairs of shoes?)

2. On closer inspection, you have nowhere near as much stuff as your husband. Especially if he's a musician.

3. You CAN lift boxes.

4. Landlords that request that you vacate the premises at 8am DO exist. 

5. It's okay (I'd say advisable) to say no to that and take your time. Especially if the below should occur.

6. It's fully possible that your van will never show up. You can survive the move anyway - if you've got friends with cars (always have friends with cars!)

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Me in GLAMOUR Germany!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by GLAMOUR Germany for an interview for their sustainability special, where I was asked questions about starting Vilda, shopping smart and vegan fashion tips. Which in itself is quite crazy - Vilda's not even one year old and we're making it to national magazines already! I had to pinch myself for this one.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Hello New Home

View from our new home!

Last Friday, my phone wouldn't stop beeping. This was the weekend that EVERYONE was in town and wanted to see me. And I had to turn them all down, as my Friday was spent packing up my entire life into boxes.

When you're flat sharing, your limited lifestyle leads you to believe that actually, you don't own that much "stuff" at all. Which is largely misleading, and you realise that on the day that you're tasked with the mission to pack all the aforementioned "stuff" into boxes. That's when you're faced with the stark reality: your "stuff" has completely taken over your life.

In my case, I was quite relieved to see how little of the stuff was actually mine. Most of the contents of our 25 boxes, four guitar cases and four suitcases (yep) were either amplifiers, amplifier accessories, guitar accessories, music cables, sheet music, music books and other, extremely space-consuming, things that indicated the presence of a guitarist. One that took his passions very seriously. Really, the few boxes I could claim as mine only were the ones containing books and shoes.

Friday, 15 August 2014

Specs-y Lady: On Facing Your Insecurities

Disclaimer: the below post consists of my own thoughts of MY face in glasses, not about people who wear glasses in general. I do NOT think that glasses are ugly or that people who wear them look worse than those who don't.

As a child, I thought nothing of wearing glasses. I got them when I was seven (just before my family's big move from Russia to Sweden) and I found them quite fancy, like a special accessory. I didn't realise they were considered geeky and unattractive until I started school, where the bespectacled kids were singled out as nerds just for the simple fact they were near-sighted. To be fair, I probably would have been branded an outcast for other reasons - second-hand clothes combined with a very colourful fashion sense, excellent grades but soul-crushingly bad at sports, vegetarian from age 11 and, thanks to my parents' continuous moving around, always the new girl - but let's just say the glasses didn't help.

Growing up, I learned to hate my glasses. I dreamed of being an actress and noted there were no Hollywood stars who wore specs on a daily basis...or in any of their movies, unless they were playing someone's mousy best friend. I asked my ballet-dancing friend why there were no ballerinas in glasses. I loved watching Miss Universe (I know, I know! Cringe) and noticed how there were never any beauty queens who wore glasses. Clearly, if I were ever to find fame and glory, the eye accessories had to go.

My mum, desperate to keep me from poking my fingers with my eyes on a daily basis (and looking at the consequences, she might have been right), made up some story about how you weren't allowed to wear contacts until you were 18. A quick ask-around at school helped me call her bluff and off to the optician I went, all of fifteen and a huge smile on my face. I would soon be free from the bottle-bottom shaped prison on my face.

As I have previously mentioned in this post, I was really happy to wear contacts. And since I mastered the art of popping them in and out of my eyes, I haven't been seen in glasses outside my front door since...could it be 1999?  Until this week, when I got a really bad case of conjunctivitis. I've had it before, but in many cases the infection was solved with a couple of days of eye drops and I've always kept wearing my contacts, despite doctors' advice (maybe this is why the infection keeps coming back every few years?) and everything's always been fine. This time around, though, for a variety of reasons, I saw no other choice except to follow my doctor's advice and stay contact lens-free for at least five days (the duration of the time when I was taking eye drops).

Which meant going to work in my glasses.