Two years ago I started this humble little blog to channel my passions for food and writing.
I feel like the last twelve months have flown by and that I haven’t achieved much but then I have to stop myself and yell FIX UP (look sharp). This time last year I was feeling unmotivated and disengaged with my day job so I started Ruby & Pickles with pal Jasel as my first proper passion project – as announced on my first blogiversary.
Since last spring there have been seven Ruby & Pickles events ranging from a vegan afternoon tea on a canal boat to an Indo-Scots Burns Supper in a pub, and we have the eighth – our exciting first birthday celebrations – in the pipeline.
Typically, days after launching Ruby & Pickles I got a promotion in my day job that would see me spending half my time in Wales in a role that was much more demanding which was what I had been after so I couldn’t complain. What should have been a three month stint turned into 11. I’m still here. In fact, I drafted this post in my second home Chapter, in my second city Cardiff, whilst enjoying a glass of vegan wine. I’m not at work btw, I stay round the corner so it’s a nice place to come and do my ‘non-work work’ in the evenings.
With work being full on and barely a moment for some cheeky SkyScanning let alone blogging, this blog has taken a bit of a hit. I used to post weekly. I now maybe post once or twice a month. With all the work, travel and other things going on I have less time for recipe development than I would like. When I do manage to get creative in the kitchen I often just put something out on Instagram instead or don’t get round to writing it up in full or getting proper photos. However some of my favourite recipes are from the last year including Irn Bru pulled jackfruit, birycini: Indian risotto balls and pumpkin macaroni cheese. And I’ve really enjoyed doing more travel write ups such as vegan Sicily and vegan Copenhagen.
I’ve also managed to develop my writing away from the blog. Last March I wrote my first article for South London Club which has seen me cover everything from best vegan eats south of the river (of course) to pub quizzes to the history of Rye Lane in Peckham. Last year I developed a recipe for a British Red Cross fundraising pack, did some recipes for Thirst Pockets and wrote blogs for VegansofLdn. Since January I’ve been freelancing for Metro.co.uk mainly about veganism (of course, again) but also using it as an avenue to write about other areas as there is strangely more to me than veganism.
In my latest article published today I opened my heart and mind publicly more than I ever have – even on this blog, reflecting on growing up without a mum. I’ve also started jotting down notes and excerpts of content that maybe one day might even make it in to a longer story.
I have also got much more into veganism than a year ago. Those that have known me longer or have been reading my blog for a while may remember that I only tried a vegan diet – almost two years ago as well – to have a break from dairy. Then I was hooked.
I am now vegan for a reason. For the animals first and foremost, for the planet and for myself. Without sounding like an absolute om shanti wanker I have felt quite an awakening in the past year as I have come to terms with what it really means to be vegan and why I’ve chosen to live my life with compassion at the forefront. It has meant approaching everything with a different perspective. It sometimes includes a lot of biting my tongue like when people are banging on about the virtues of eggs and I want to be sick (IN THE BIN. Thanks Jen for that great comeback!). It means questioning a lot more than I ever did. Not just with food and animal rights, but with society and equality across the spectrum. I have become a lot more sensitive to everything. And a lot more soppy – finally being pulled into spending hours online aw-ing over cute animals.
One of the real positives of the last year has been getting more engaged with the vegan community. The idea that veganism is for militants or clean eating preachers is far from the truth. Sure, both camps exist but as I’ve said before most of us are right there in the middle. It’s always lovely chatting online, reading articles shared, enjoying other people’s content and also being able to actually meet IRL. I never thought I’d make random pals with folk off I met online but it’s 2017 and the world rolls in a very different way!
And of course I’ve eaten a LOT of delicious vegan scran. I scroll through my Instagram feed forgetting some of the awesome meals I’ve had. From all the carbs in Glasgow to all the orgasmic tofish tacos at Club Mexicana there’s been a whole load of great flavours going on. Veganism is far from dull.
You ken you're in Glasgow when it's beige dinner all round. Mono used to be one of my regular haunts, long before being vegan (mainly for the record shop) so it was awesome to be back. Loving the current menu – just wish I had 4 bellies to be able to try it all. We got… pizza crunch & chips (aye, that's deep-fried pizza to the non-Scots), artichoke fritters (cause if you can deep-fry it you will), chips, seitan burger, fava bean wrap, mac cheese & spicy sausage pizza. A #veganjunkfood dream! Round up of where I went on my blog – link in biog.
Oh my vegan life. What a night! Not only did I eat ALL the vegan food at the launch of @kerbfood #kerbcamden alongside my @rubyandpickles buddy Jasel but I also met some of my fave vegans from the internet (they're real in real life too!!) So much love for @guacandrolluk @stop_hannahtime @jenniams @yesitsallvegan @pomodoro_e_basilico @theveganronin. Great to finally meet you all! Much love to the @clubmexicana crew who made this delightful vegan to-fish taco 😍😍🙌🏽. Expect to find me chomping down your burritos tomorrow night at @streetfeastldn #modelmarket 🌱💚🙌🏽 #vegansofig #whatveganseat #veganbloggers #ukvegans #veganism #govegan #plantpower #bestofvegan #londonvegan #vegansofldn #veganlondon #veganfood #vegan #vegetarian #plantbased #veganfoodshare #veganpics #streetfood
So whilst this is the two year anniversary of my blog, it is more like the two year anniversary of me ever so slowly getting my ass in to gear to work on the things that really drive and reward me.
I’m really excited for the next twelve months – Ruby & Pickles‘ first birthday coming soon, another foodie project in the pipeline, a few other project ideas being sketched out, a long overdue blog refresh and lots and lots of writing pitches in development. Oh, and a VERY exciting holiday in the pipeline. More on that soon! I might even try and grab a nap sometime. Possibly.
Finally I wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone who’s been reading this. Even if this is the first time you’ve stopped by or you’re my biggest fan (hey Kim) it’s cool to know that I’m sharing my ramblings with somebody and leaving myself some memories for what I’ve been up to as my natural brain is pretty shocking!
Right, I might actually go spend the afternoon doing some cooking. Until next time. x