Yes I Can

I was going to post about my day last night, but in the end I decided to wait until it was officially over and that I had in fact done what I set out to do.

Yesterday I met up with my sister and we went into the swelteringly hot city of London to sample some vegan treats. I’ve written about similar things on here so many times before, about how I’m going to stay on plan right up until the last minute, and get back on plan when I get home, but normally I start to slip a couple of days beforehand.

Before I know it, by the time the actual event I’ve been so eagerly anticipating comes around, I feel like a total failure and it ruins the whole day.

Not this time though! Work stress may have had something to do with it, but I managed to stay perfectly on plan, even when it came to my breakfast.

If I did it this time, I can do it any time.

I did nearly 20k steps during the day, and covered nearly 10 miles, which may go some way to negating the off-plan things I ate. It’s better than doing nothing, that much is true.

I’ve been meaning to go to the Hackney Downs Vegan Market for over a year now, so it was about time I actually went and did it. And by some happy coincidence (the vendors change regularly) a stall selling epic hotdogs was there (Pig Out), whose wares I’ve also been wanting to sample for many months.

The only question was, which one to have?

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I decided on ‘The American’, because the truffle oil sounded super fancy. And oh boy it was lovely! The hotdogs were so authentic-tasting, yet knowing there aren’t any questionable parts in there and that a cute piggy didn’t have to die to make it had me questioning why I ever ate the non-vegan kind.

I also had a tiramisu, because it used to be one of my favourite pre-vegan desserts. The cream tasted more like marshmallow, but it wasn’t a bad thing because it still worked. But it’s testament to how good Dope Soft Serve ice cream is because ‘The Pornstar’ was incredible in comparison, and the tiramisu was good enough to begin with. One of the tastiest vegan things I’ve eaten so far. I chose it because it sounded the most refreshing – raspberry, passionfruit and chopped nuts. Delish!

Once I got home I managed to stay on plan. I had an uneaten work lunch in the fridge (comprising only of Free and Speed foods) but since I was still hungry after I had some soya beans which never fail to fill me up.

I did it! I did EXACTLY what I set out to do!

I now have the whole of Sunday and most of Monday to try to ensure I still (hopefully) get some sort of loss. What with managing to get out for a couple of runs and how spectacularly on it I’ve been this week, I’m fairly hopeful.

Next Sunday me and the little sis are having a picnic in the park, which is way more adaptable to Slimming World! That means I can stay 100% on plan and enjoy family time.

Speaking of which, I was enjoying how me and my sister are looking more like sisters than we ever have before!

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When we were kids I could have quite happily wrung her neck. Yet here were are, the bestest of friends. It’s funny how things turn out.

Later on today I’m going for a walk in the park, because it’s just too hot to run, and before weigh in tomorrow I’ll definitely be doing some form of exercise. I’m thinking maybe a short run first thing, then I walk into town later on. We’ll see.

Either way, despite the prospect of not losing any weight this week, I’m looking forward to going to group and actually staying this time.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Good Vibes

Well I went out and attempted a bit of a run yesterday and it went OK. I only ran for one very slow mile (and walked for another two) and while I’m actually moving there’s no pain. But my knee is rather tender today. I think it’s too soon to be thinking about doing a full run, but I think I’ll go out again tomorrow and jog the flat bits whilst power-walking the hills.

It didn’t really matter what I was doing anyway, because it was gorgeous out there. Plus I did press-ups, so my arms, shoulders and chest are giving me a nice gentle ache which tells me I did some good!

Now I have my car back I’m not feeling quite so disheartened about not being able to run properly, because at least I can drive to more interesting places in order to have a walk. Just traipsing around my estate is pretty grim to be honest.

After my little bit of exercise I had some lunch, and even though I was hyper aware that everything I put in my body was adding weight before group later. I had to be sensible and give my body what it needed, even if that did include two litres of water.

Before weigh in I went to see my father as he lives just around the corner from my new group, and it was nice to have a catch up. I don’t see him that often, which is good because him and his girlfriend love to feed me. And since I hadn’t been for a while it was nice to get the ‘you’re looking so slim!’ compliments.

As it happens over this last week I have felt slimmer, and my face definitely is less puffy.

But what did the scales say?

Since I got the time wrong I was 15 minutes early to group, which didn’t help my weighing-in nerves. But of course I needn’t have worried, I lost 2.5 lbs!

I have to say I’m getting a really good vibe about this group. It’s much, much smaller than the one I’m used to, and my consultant (who runs both this group and my old one) was able to spend a lot more time milling around among us. Of course if there are new members that will be different, but it feels a bit more tight-knit. But not cliquey.

I couldn’t stay to group this time, but I’m looking forward to next week when I definitely will be.

I had planned to stop off at the nearby giant Tesco and pick up some bits on the way home, but I was very tired and very hungry and knew if I went in there I’d quite possibly come out with more than I intended to. I’m not quite feeling strong enough to test myself with things like that yet.

Once back I had a delicious completely Free dinner followed by a Rowntree’s fruit pastille lolly for 3 syns. Later on I realised I’d only had 4.5 syns, which just won’t do, so I had another one.

I did go and look in the fridge just before bed, but thankfully I realised that I wasn’t actually hungry. Waking up this morning knowing I’ve spent my whole weekend on plan, knowing there’s no catching up to do or feeling guilty for the first time in weeks was priceless.

As you can see I’ve been carrying on with taking pictures of my food, and have even started creating weekly Google Photos albums along with what result eating that food got me. I imagine I’ll get bored of it one day in the future, but while it’s fun I’m just going for it.

If you want to see last week’s food (I was on plan from Wednesday onwards) then feel free to have a look (link).

Finally I bought a delicious-sounding vegan ready meal from Sainsbury’s the other day. I hear really good things about this sweet potato katsu curry, so before buying I checked I could freeze it. That meant I had time to email the packaging to Slimming World and wait for them to update the syns database.

Sometimes it’s hard getting vegan stuff added, but those lovely people at head office were on it on this occasion and it’s now listed as 15.5 syns. Which I think it quite reasonable. I’ll let you know how it was once I’ve tried it, using half a syn banked from another day. I only had 7.5 yesterday so I do have some spare.

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Well that’s all of my news for now!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Found

One particularly perceptive reader has already cottoned on to something, namely that I have FOUND MY MOJO! I don’t know where it went, but that doesn’t matter now. The important thing is that it’s back.

This is despite the fact that the heat has finally got to me. It was so stuffy at work last night, by the end of it I was completely done in. I doubt anyone was particularly productive come to think of it.

Because I was so tired I got a lift home, so in no time at all I was out in the garden, eating my breakfast on a wet garden chair that had been rained on. The air hadn’t cleared one tiny bit (just think hot sauna rather than just hot) but it was still pleasant sitting there with a soggy bottom.

Before I dragged my damp, sleepy arse to bed there was just enough time to appreciate how lovely the light was this morning – all pinks and oranges. And what was that in the sky? Surely not actual clouds!

I woke up to get Pea her breakfast at 10am, then resigned myself to the fact there was no way I’d get back to sleep. Then the next thing I know it’s 2:30 pm! I was so happy with that. 6 hours sleep almost in one go, on a work day! Brilliant!

I checked my phone and saw a missed call from my friend, so I called straight back only to find out that my car was ready to be collected. There was a long pause… ‘but I thought it was being done tomorrow?’ Nope, I got it totally wrong. So that was a very welcome surprise. I also love how he stealthily came into my house, found my car keys and took my car away without me knowing!

Despite the fact I now I have my car back as soon as I got home I left the it on the drive and walked to Lidl for what is quite possibly the fourth veg top-up of the week so far, and a much needed step top-up what with being lazy and not walking home from work.

But the most excellent news? I’m going to try for a run on Sunday! I’m actually excited!

It’s been another brilliant day for food, but lunch was a particular highlight. I had Ugo pumpkin and sage raviolini, which is vegan, gluten free, yummy and cooks in 1, yes ONE, minute.

Annoyingly on the app it’s listed as 1.5 syns per 100g cooked, which is really irritating, but since I’m being 100% on plan I did weigh it after cooking. It was 320g, so by my calculations that 4.8 syns. May as well round up to five then.

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I got mine from Sainsbury’s but I do believe Waitrose also sell it.

Over the last couple of days I’ve been getting quite reflective about how different my life is now to how it was just a couple of years ago.

As you can tell, if you’ve been reading for a while, I’ve been through a bit of a rough patch and have found it hard to cope, but when a similar thing happened in 2016 I was a complete and utter mess. I’d regained seven stone that I’d lost with Slimming World and split up with my boyfriend of five years. I just couldn’t keep it together at work and was crying every time someone showed me the tiniest inkling of kindness, and I was totally lost.

When I was with my boyfriend we didn’t really do much. A typical weekend was pizza, ice cream and a film. We very rarely did anything fun even though I loved to go out visiting places. I think we went to a couple of zoos in the time we were together, and the cinema a few times. I started to get into photography but didn’t have any real drive to learn.

Then I found myself single and everything started to change – I started to get to know myself properly for the first time in my life. I found that I like clubbing (but that once a year is enough), that photography wasn’t just a passing interest, I LOVED IT, I found compassion for animals and humans alike, I discovered I prefer being outside, that I like summer over winter, that you can be friends with a parrot, that if you write a blog some people will even read it

So recently when I found myself feeling a little bit lost, it wasn’t really that long until I was able to pick myself up again. All of the time I was still me, despite everything else going on, and knowing that made all the difference.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

App-sessions

You know those people who say they can’t eat when it’s this hot? Well I ain’t one of them! Now I’m back at work I’m reverting to a plan of action that has worked for me in the past – namely, eating four meals a day. And not small ones either, really!

I have a lunch at work, around 4am, and no matter what I have and how much I eat, I always want to eat again when get home just after 6am. I’ve tried going straight to bed, but hunger invariably wakes me up and I end up grabbing whatever’s closest just so that I can get back to sleep.

So as soon as I get in I’ve been having my healthy extras.

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I’m a little bit of obsessed with my new way of recording my food on my Slimming World Instagram account. I love how neat and bright everything looks and I’m really enjoying sharing my photos. I’ve been using A Color Story to brighten them up, then I’ve used A Design Kit, created by the same people (the wonderful ladies behind my favourite lifestyle blog A Beautiful Mess), to add the text.

I had a Sainsbury’s shop delivered yesterday, because I’m finding they’re best for my favourite low-syn meat replacements. Tesco do some tasty things (the Oumph range for instance, I’ll never stop going on about those) but for some reason they don’t deliver any of it. Since my car is still out of action my options are a little bit limited.

Anyway, carrying on with my new-found obsession here are my tasty purchases from yesterday. I have loads more things to share with you, and eventually I’ll make a special page with all of my Slimming World essentials.

The Vivera kebab stuff is especially good, I’d eat it every day if I could afford to!

According to the forecast the weather is supposed to freshen up a little towards the end of the week, which should work out perfectly because as long as I have a car (the park is too far away to walk) I’ve decided I’m going to attempt a run first thing Monday morning. It’ll just be a short one, and I’ll stick to the easy-access track purely because where the ground is so dry it’s made it more uneven and I don’t want to twist anything.

Fingers crossed my knee bears up OK, because I’ve been desperately missing it. Anything else I’ve done just doesn’t quite hit the spot.

Today I’ve just been too hot to do anything other than the laundry, but thankfully I got a lift into work and walked home. So it wasn’t exactly cool, but the cooler at least.

It’s better than doing nowt!

The washing machine has just told me that another load is ready to go on the line, so I’d best be off.

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Chilled Out Day

I woke up today feeling GOOD. I had a tough night at work, so much so that I couldn’t eat all of my work lunch because I felt all churned up inside, but that just meant I had leftovers to eat when I got home. Bonus! By that time I’d worked things through in my head anyway and I was ready for a good sleep.

I got up to feed Pea as usual when the doorbell rang. It was my vegan trainers already! Unfortunately they’re just a teeny bit too small, so they’re going back (freepost, yay!) for an exchange. The signs are good though – apart from the obvious toe-pinching they are super comfortable. Since my knee is feeling almost back to normal now, by the time the exchange arrives then I’ll be more than ready to take them out for a literal test run.

Since I’m not training today I decided I’d go back to bed and sleep in until 2 or 3pm. I haven’t had a sleep like that after a night shift in so long, I always have plans or have to get up early for something or other.

Considering I don’t have anywhere I must be today, do you think I can sleep? Nope! Instead of laying there fruitlessly trying to get off I decided to get up, start this post, then after I’ve had my coffee and let Pea out to stretch her wings I’m going out for a little walk. The weather is perfect out there – cool, breezy and, most importantly, sunny.

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Pea definitely seems in the mood for catching some rays.

Some time later…

Well my walk was… fruitful. I went to the post office to drop off my trainers as the sooner I get them off the sooner the replacements can come back to me (eek!) then I popped into Co-op for some plant-based milk. After a bit of research using Syns Online I decided to get the own-brand coconut drink. You get 500ml for a healthy extra A choice, and it’s much, much nicer than any other brand I’ve tried so far. In fact it’s bloody delicious.

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In Lidl’s I got these little tins of stuffed veg. The vine leaves are listed on the app as 8.5 syns for the tin, and the others aren’t on there. I did suspect that would be the case, and as they were labelled in the shop ‘while stocks last’ I think it’s unlikely they ever will be. I considered this though, and since they have a shelf life of literally years and years, I’ll eat them at some point in the future when I’m not too worried about my Syns. Either way they’re clearly marked vegan, which always makes me happy.

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I’ve just finished a nice healthy lunch (1 syn for the Fry’s vegan sausages) with the green one in the sunshine, and that can only mean one thing. It’s time for bed!

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Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

A Mixed Bag

My head has been a little bit all over the shop lately (I say lately, more like for months and months) but at the moment it’s compounded by pure tiredness. I’ve simply been trying to cram too much in and something had to give somewhere!

This weekend I went to see a wonderful blogger buddy and we had some fun times, but on Sunday I reckon everything just caught up with me and I had to go home early. By the time I got back my lips had turned blue (slightly worrying), my hands had turned purple (also not great) and even though I’d been in a car so warm that my iPhone came up with a temperature warning message and wouldn’t work again until it cooled down, I just couldn’t get warm.

Sleep fixed me though, and after sleeping the whole afternoon and all through the night I just about managed to put my weekly sleep average up to seven hours. Some people can get by on less sleep, and for weeks I myself have been getting by on 6, but that clearly isn’t sustainable for me and I need to make sure I get more down time.

Anyway, it’s not all doom and gloom! On Saturday, because the weather was awful, my friend eagerly agreed to see Avengers: Infinity War for the second time. Well, his second time and my first. I really feel like Marvel have found that sweet balance now between action, comedy and story and I loved every minute of it. It’s just pure joy to watch!

After that I had my first ever meal from Las Iguanas since I don’t have one near where I live and I only even learned of its existence fairly recently.

I had hearts of palm to start, which I thought I’d never had before. But it was only a couple of weeks ago when I was out with my trainer and I had something from his plate that we couldn’t identify. Now I’m pretty sure that’s what we were eating. It was nice, but I probably wouldn’t bother having them again.

The Brazilian curry however (moqueca de palmitos) was flipping amazing and I could eat it all day long. They had a fair few vegan options too, or veggie options that can be made vegan on request. I’d highly recommend it as a very tasty and vegan-friendly place to visit.

In the evening we were eating out again. I bloody love trying new places, and it turns out the restaurant we were visiting, Fusca, is the first fully vegan restaurant I’ve been to. I’ve been to a few places in London but since they are takeaway restaurants as far as I’m concerned they don’t count.

I really enjoyed the whole atmosphere of the place and I cannot even describe how nice it is to be able to order a glass of wine without having to do extensive research first to find out whether it’s vegan or not!

The food was tasty, but perhaps a teeny bit overpriced considering that the portions were quite small. That’s probably a good thing though, it means I didn’t feel guilty for getting dessert. Which was DELICIOUS by the way!

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The day after getting home the weather was awful but really I still needed to make up for overindulging at the weekend so I did an hour on my exercise bike. It still astounds me that I can even do that – I remember struggling to complete ten minutes when I first got it. The remainder of the day was spent fairly restfully, but I still didn’t manage to get a decent sleep. Which I put down to a lack of proper training.

Yesterday I went out training on my own and oh my, what a start to the month! The weather was absolutely perfect for running. It was sunny but not too warm, there was a fresh breeze and along most of my route it was dappled shade. It was so gorgeous, and the vibrant colours everywhere made my heart happy.

I didn’t break any records this time around. Well, I can’t smash a record every single time I go out now, can I? But I did feel absolutely fantastic and loved every minute of it. Today the weather is back to being awful so I’m using the time to catch up on some rest, do boring household chores and do some meal prep for the rest of the week. Exciting stuff!

Then I’m training for the next three days in a row which should help regulate me sleep and help me to get better quality sleep, then I have a relaxed Sunday with my lovely siblings planned.

Life is tiring, but good!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Friendship

April is turning out to be all about friends. After being sociable with the work people, today I’ve visited one of my oldest and bestest friends who moved away from Essex to the lovely city of Canterbury. Luckily for me it’s only an hours drive away, and an easy drive at that. Really I should visit more often, but life gets in the way and we always leave it too long. But when we do meet up, we make the most of it!

I went for my run first thing this morning and I timed it just right. I got to the park just after the gates were opened and there were already a fair few cars there, but by the time I left the car park was RAMMED and there was someone waiting to take my space.

My run was nowhere near as hard as I thought it would be. I felt like I wasn’t doing very well, and I nearly gave up after 2.7 miles. In this park I normally do 3.5, so I had a stern word with myself and carried on.

It turns out I broke a new record and have shaved a significant amount of seconds off of my personal best!

I’m so close to being in the 11 second bracket that I can taste it.

I’ve posted a few things about training on social media that my friend has seen, but he thought I was just doing lots of walking. When I told him I’d actually been doing bona fide jogging and sprinting he was really impressed. He even told me out of all the people he knows I’d be in the bottom five of anyone he’d expect to ever go running. I took that as it was intended (as a compliment) because it’s so far removed from the Hayley he first met ten years ago it’s unbelievable. And I was so unhappy back then, this is just more evidence of how much things have changed for me.

After a quick cup of coffee we headed into town to get some grub. We went to the Lady Luck Bar which is just incredible for vegan options. As soon as I saw the menu I knew what I had to have – the Rick and Morty baguette!

It was amazing – the best thing I have eaten in a long, long time. The chilli mayo was divine and the crispy fried pickle Ricks are a work of pure genius. That Szechuan sauce? Delish!

I followed it up with a vegan honeycomb sundae which has even won an award it’s that good.

Unlike when I’ve been eating ‘naughty’ food at home this week, I don’t feel as bloated and awful after this meal so I’m hoping it doesn’t affect my training tomorrow.

I was really disappointed with myself the last time I went out with my trainer, and I don’t want a repeat of that.

After our meal me, my friend and his lovely girlfriend went on a nice long walk where they indulged me while I searched for things to photograph. I didn’t spend too long trying to get decent shots, because it’s too antisocial and I get kinda caught up in it, so I just took some quick snaps without overthinking it. I’m still happy though, it’s a good visual representation of our day!

It was also the first day this year I’ve been able to comfortably walk around with no coat or jumper. More of that please!

I have to wait until the end of the month until my next meet up with a very special friend, but it’ll be worth the wait. It’s going to be awesome.

In the meantime I need to get myself right back on track, and of course I will because I always do. That’s the key – never give up!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

Pushing Through

This week I have been exceptionally tired. It’s entirely hormonal – even with a decent sleep I’ve been feeling totally drained,  but that doesn’t happen often because there’s the added bonus that when I’m hormonal I also sleep less. So yeah… I’m not feeling in peak condition!

I took this photo before doing my makeup a couple of days ago.

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Forget bags under the eyes, I’ve got suitcases! Thankfully the act of putting on makeup fools me into thinking that I am actually alive.

After that photo was taken I did a busy shift at work, had five hours sleep, then got up for my third training session of the week. My trainer pushed me even harder than on Wednesday, and I pushed myself even harder still. On the biggest hill he was telling me to just make it to the post (half way up) but even though my muscles were screaming I kept going till the very top. I was slow, but I did it.

Being hormonal does make everything tougher. Apart from causing havoc with the scales, I can look at myself one day and see something I quite like, then the very next day I can look again and see something completely different. I have no doubt that in a couple of days I’ll start feeling slim again but right now I feel tired, frumpy and hungry.

But what I will do is push on through all of that, because I want to achieve my goals more than I want to curl up with a hot water bottle and hide from the world.

Training for today has been rescheduled for Monday because of yet more snow. It seems incredible that yesterday I was running in 14 degree heat, sweating buckets and more closely resembling a tomato than a human! Just look at the difference in the sky in less than 24 hours…

Come what may, tomorrow I’m going to dress up warm then take a gentle-yet-no-doubt-bracing walk into town. The reason for this is because I need to pick up some exercise clothing more suitable for warmer weather – as soon as the sun comes out I currently melt as soon as I start running. Shopping for summer clothes in the snow, yes, that sounds about right…

Since it’s a right miserable day I’ve just had an epic lunch of Slimming World-style chips, Linda McCartney sausages and Orgran Vegan Easy Egg made up to be like scrambled eggs. It’s my first time trying it and I’ve got to say it’s AMAZING. Next time though I’ll only make up half the recommended amount and try leaving out the oil. I’ve definitely overeaten this lunchtime!

Still, I’m now going to treat myself to another few hours in bed before I have to get ready for the last shift of the week.

Bring on the weekend!

Thanks for reading,

Hayley x

On Plan Pizza?

A couple of weeks ago Tesco launched a whole new range of vegan meals. Most of them are right up my street, and lately some of the range has even been added to the Syns database (a miracle in itself, Slimming World are so slow with thing like that). All of them are really reasonable in syns, ranging from about 1.5 syns to 9. That is, all of them with the exception of THE PIZZAS! There are two pizzas available, but the one that caught my eye was the sourdough caponata pizza.

They didn’t have it in the Tesco Extra closest to me (they only had two out of the whole range which is twelve different meals I believe) so this morning I took a trip to the extra Tesco Extra a little bit further away. I’d say they had most of the range there with maybe two or three exceptions, but they had the pizza I’ve been so desperate to try!

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Fortunately/unfortunately, depending on what way you look at it, they also had the BBQ butternut mac, BBQ beans and mash and a naked burrito, all of which are low in syns and have had good feedback. I’m especially excited about the BBQ butternut mac but that has the longest shelf life so I’m eating that on Sunday.

So back to this pizza. Although I could have frozen it, I weighed up my options and decided to eat it for breakfast. As you do.

I diligently recorded it in my food diary, and worked out how many syns I should have for the rest of the week to make up for it. I will try to have slightly less, because I rarely eat the full weekly allowance of 105 and don’t want to test things to the limit after my successful loss this week!

I also checked out my Fitbit stats because I’m having an excellent week. I’ve smashed my step goal every single day, my calorie burn has been higher than usual, and I’ve been doing regular sessions on the exercise bike. In fact I’m going to do one after this blog, and try to make it 5 sessions a week in future. I’ve been watching an episode of Rick and Morty during each session, which is entertaining enough to keep me going for the duration.

The point is, on paper the pizza (which was 652 calories/32.5 syns) shouldn’t even make the slightest bit of difference to my weight loss. I am still panicking a little, because there’s a voice in the back of my mind saying I’ve messed everything up even though I know I haven’t. I have remained completely in control and completely on plan, and being able to handle having a treat that I really want is key to my future success. I’ve tried this before, and nine times out of ten I let it get to me and everything goes wrong.

But I’m determined to change my mindset, because I want yummy vegan food in my future. It makes me happy!

And practice makes perfect.

So how was the pizza I hear you ask? It was delicious, and worth every single syn. It is expensive at £4 per pizza, but I found it as good as restaurant pizzas and would be happy to pay that occasionally in the future. It definitely won’t be a regular purchase!

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Thanks for reading,

Hayley x