79. The Vegan Venue – Warrington

I live in Warrington, a town in the North West of England, almost halfway between Liverpool and Manchester. Warrington is famous for its Rugby team (the Warrington Wolves), steel wire and the famous song “Zombie” which was written (and performed) by the Cranberries, about the IRA bombing of Warrington in 1993.

Warrington however is not exactly on the map for being a vegan hotspot! But perhaps times are beginning to change… hooray!

I was so sad that I nearly cried when our first and only vegan restaurant, “Shambala” closed down. But today I nearly cried because I was so happy after visiting Warrington’s newest vegan joint, “The Vegan Venue”!

Rumours of this new takeaway / shop crept onto my Facebook page late last week and it didn’t take me long to discover that its ONLY 2 FREAKING MILES AWAY FROM MY HOUSE!!!! I cycle further than that to work! So today being Saturday, there was no way that I wasn’t going to pay a visit.

Placed in Padgate, The Vegan Venue is fairly easy to get to and has a sizable carpark across the road. First impressions when you enter the building is that it’s CLEAN! Now I’m not saying that all vegan eateries are dirty (V-Revolution in Manchester for example is spotless). BUT, I’m sorry to say that are lot are grim. Not that mucky cutlery and sticky menus puts me off tasty cruelty free food….

Anyway, I wasn’t expecting much from such a new business (they’ve not even been open a week yet) but I was pleasantly surprised to see that they had a pretty impressive menu! (I’ve posted a photo of it below). They sell everything from fresh juice to “bacon” bagels to calzone to burgers, pies and wraps. They also have a daily specials board and a cabinet with the most gorgeous looking vegan cakes you have ever seen!


So what did I go for? I chose the daily special – a huge, great, massive, big-as-my-head burrito (and my head is pretty big!) It was filled to the brim with rice, marinated “beef” strips, lettuce, tomato, courgette, black beans and freshly homemade guacamole.  It was deeeeeelicous!


It’s huuuuuge!


Serious, even my massive mouth couldn’t get around it!

I also bought a piece of orange and pistachio cake. OMG! Yet again it was huuuuuuuuge! And so amazingly, mouth-wateringly yummy.


Drooling just looking at this photo! (Orange and pistachio cake)

AND I picked up a pack of ten acres crisps and a very nice vanilla Nespresso latte (would deffo recommend!)

One of the very best parts about the shop however was how lovely and kind the owners are :o)
(Not to mention how reasonable the prices are!)

I really hope all the vegans and veggies of Warrington and its surrounding areas make a special effort to make sure that this place does well. Would be great to see them be able to extend their opening hours and get permission to transform from a takeaway to a sit-down café!

So, massive thanks to The Vegan Venue! You made my Saturday :o)



54. Officially ratless :(

Here’s an entry that has 0% to do with food. But since I am officially ratless after 5 years of keeping them, I couldn’t not write a piece about my special little guys.
Sadly, on Wednesday we had to say goodbye to Bailey Boo. Unfortunately his passing meant that I was left with a lone rat, Harvey. This was bad as rats shouldn’t be kept alone as they are very social creatures. Within 2 days of losing Bailey, Harvey was looking increasingly depressed.
I made the decision a while ago that I wouldn’t be getting any more rats as I have been allergic for a good few years now and I’m sick of taking antihistamines, wheezing, having a rashy cleavage and not being able to open my eyes in a morning. So, I had already made plans for my surviving ratty to go live with “Auntie Caza” since I knew she would take the best care of him.So today I dropped off little Harvey to live with his new friends Remy and Mika. It was so hard to leave him there, even though I know he will have a great time – I’m just so paranoid that he thinks I’ve abandoned him. I think he may have knew though as I got a fair few goodbye kisses from him :hearts:So, I thought I would write a summary of all the little furry fuzzballs I have had the pleasure to share my life with:
1) Mr Gregory Bread
My first ever ratty and my one and only non-rescue. I got him from a Garden Centre and a week later, thanks to a Fancy Rats Forum education (, I got him a little friend a week later. He was naughty, cheeky, cost me a fortune in vet bills but he will always hold a very special place in my heart for sparking my ratty obsession 5 years ago.
2) Sir Ivory Coast
My smeezy baby, soft as anything and lived to a good old age. We never had any trouble with this little chap :) He was a total little love bug and broke my heart when he was a baby when I found him crying after being cornered by Gregory
3) Master Jeremy Ruffles
This little monster was pint-sized but feisty! he came to us with his little Friend Rodney. He was so cheeky, but also cuddly, he was impossible not to fall in love with. He was also a class-A food thief!
4)Rodney Hood
My silly fatty, goofball :lol: I loved this little guy, he was so soft and stoopid. He would let me cradle him like a baby and was scared of everything! Definitely special in all sense of the word ♥
5) Wee Willy Whiskers
This little naked chap was named after the way he feels… :lol: He came with his brothers Barry Roll and Billy. He was a funny little guy, he was a bit blind and before his neuter he would sit on his own screaming even though their were no other ratties around. He smelt amazing and loved a spot of pea fishing. He also never ever stopped eating. Even when we took him to be PTS, he was still eating noodles in the waiting room. He was the oldest ratty I ever had (estimated at 4 years but no hard evidence)
6)Big Bad Billy Bear
This man was a bad lad! He was 1000g of pure muscle and for some reason he always had it in for me! He was always biting a chunk out of my hands and once he actually pushed a pen onto the floor then when I bent over to pick it up, looked behind at me before kicking a stack of CDs onto my head!!! People probably think i’m making it up and he couldn’t possibly be that clever and calculating, but my mum saw him do it! :lol: Unfortunately he didn’t live much longer after his neuter and died from a suspected brain tumor, which was a shame as he did calm down into a bit of a snuggle-butt.
7) Beautiful Barry Roll
This guy was also a whopping 1000g… unfortunately for Barry it was mostly fat rather than muscle!
he was an absolute babe, always happy to have a cuddle. He was usually very patient but on the rare occasion he got annoyed, he would just flip and systematically beat up each cage mate in turn before stomping off to bed in a huff :lol:
8)Little Timmy Tatters
This little man was taken from me far too soon. He came with his two brothers Larry and Denny. Unfortunately we’d only had him a few months when we found him in a state of forever sleep on top of a hammock. He was sweet natured and had super-soft fur. He was playful as a kitten too :)
9)Denny Doofus
Denny was ace. He was so cheeky I was determined to rescue him (when I offered him my fist he forced my finger and thumb apart with his paws and shoved his head in the gap to check I wasn’t hiding anything :lol: )
10)Little Larry Love
The longest surviving out of his brothers, Larry never quite grew out of his skittish ways. We still loved him loads though and wouldn’t have swapped him for the world
11)Terry Triviani
I shouldn’t admit to having favourites, but Terry was totally mine. He was the perfect balance of cheeky and naughty but cuddley and licky. Once he escaped from his Abode cage and we caught him opening the kitchen door with his teeth. Once he escaped and “knocked” on the toilet door whilst I was having a wee :lol: I was terrified opening the door, thinking there was a burglar so imagine my surprise when I saw him looking up at me! He won 6 prizes at the Preston show a couple of years ago and no other rat has ever left such a large hole in my heart. I still cry over my little chocolate orange
12)Minky Mikey Moo
Aka my trapdoor spider rat. Don’t be fooled by his beautiful colour and little pink nose, this lad was a biter! he was too old for a neuter though so we left him as he was. When we first got him, he wouldn’t come anywhere near us but we did manage to coax him to have the occasional cuddle with us.
13)Tony Balloni
Tony came to us with his brother Bailey. He was shy but lovable and had a thing for brussel sprouts!
14)Bailey Boo
Bailey loved his food and cuddles and was a good guy despite having HLD for a long time. He was probably the easiest rat to get meds into!
15) Harvey Wallbanger
Last but not least, my little Wiganer, Harvey. Currently still on this mortal coil unlike his other friends, but now living with Auntie Caza so that he has some friends to cuddle until the end of his life. Harvey is the most licky rat I ever had, he would lick my hands for hours if I let him. He loves kisses and cuddles but is also a bit of an escape artist. Saying goodbye to him today was very hard :(
The house is very empty and lonely without my furbabies :cry: . Luckily I still have Spike the axolotl and the chickens to keep me sane :)Thank you to everyone who has supported, guided and helped me out with all things rat-related over the last 5 years, I have appreciated everything.XXX


23. Happy New Year

Not posted in a while… still not got over my vertigo and now I have a cold so not felt like doing much cooking or crocheting.

I hope everyone has had a great Christmas and are looking forward to welcoming in the New Year.

2014 has been mostly good for me, I married the man I love, celebrated my year anniversary of being veg*n and I landed myself a new job.

I said hello to new friends:




(Harvey Wallbanger, Bailey Boo and Tony Balloni)

But also had to say goodbye to some old ones:




(Denny Doofus, Larry Love and Mikey-moo).

Despite not being the biggest Christmas fan out there, I spent a lovely few days with my family. My best present was watching my Dad being able to open his presents like a pro, despite having had a
stroke only 8 weeks earlier. So proud of him!

Even the rats tried make Christmas more special by helping the hubby to pick me something nice!:

Picking pressies

“hmm, I dunno Terry, it might be real leather?”

I also discovered that Redwood “gammon” is amazing when given a clove, brown sugar and mustard glaze before roasting – and even better if your mum cooks it for you!

Moreover, Redwoods “Celebration Roast” means that I didn’t miss out on Christmas day either ♥ 

My New Year’s resolution is to eat at least EIGHT portions of fruit and veg a day (sprouts included!):
 Rat sprouts

So from me and the rats, Happy New Year and best wishes for 2014!









15. Crochet Vampire

Crochet entry tonight!


Remember me mentioning the lovely little book my BFF got me? I finally got round to making something from
it ♥

So firstly, the book is called “Creepy Cute Crochet” by Christen Haden:

(Also available from sites other than Amazon!)

It’s a beautifully presented book with some really lovely photos. Worth owning even if you don’t know how to crochet!


I chose to make the Queen Vampire because she was just so cute. The pattern was pretty easy to follow although I found the hem of the skirt a little confusing. Still turned out good though (if I do say so myself!).

vamp6 vamp4 vamp3 20131107_232447_zps31a494be

Can’t wait to get working on some of the other patterns! Reckon I’ll go for the little devil next J.









6. Heart healthy soup and crochet stress ball…

I’ve not written a blog for a good few days. The reason? My poor old Dad had a stroke last Sunday 🙁 Well, I say old, he’s only 55. I think that too much stress has finally caught up with him – so let that be a lesson to those of you who put their work before their own health!!!

Anyway, he lost the use of his right-hand side but fortunately he is beginning to regain control of it. He’s very weak though. I wanted to make him a little stress ball so he could use it to build up the strength in his hand. Unfortunately the result of my hard and love-led labour was even more special than my owl phone cover! Haha, aw well, can’t blame a Daddy’s girl for trying……

I basically followed this pattern: although I made a few simple changes to the way the colours worked. The pattern instructs you to make two halves of a ball which you sew together, then you add stuffing before you finish the last few stitches. I figured that stuffing alone wasn’t going to be squidgy enough for a stress ball, so I also added a balloon which I filled with flour via the use of a funnel.

stress ball

Unfortunately I think my bad sewing let me down. I’ve never been any good at sewing! Hopefully Dad will see the funny side and appreciate my good intentions!

I’ve also made him some soup because as you can imagine, the hospital food isn’t exactly the tastiest cuisine on the planet. I made up the recipe as I went a long and stupidly didn’t write the quantities down, which was a shame as its rather good, even if I do say so myself!

It contains:

  • Carrot (for their vitamins, anti-oxidants and blood pressure controlling properties);
  • Onion (for taste, anti-viral and cholesterol lowering properties);
  • Potatoes (scrubbed but not peeled for vitamins, anti-oxidants, and dietary fibre);
  • Chickpeas (for their iron and essential amino-acids)
  • Brown rice (Good for the heart, lowering cholesterol, for fibre, essential amino acids, magnesium and selenium)
  • Vegetable stock cubes.
  • Black pepper and smoked paprika for taste.
  • Soya milk (to thin down).

I basically grated the carrot and plonked it in a pan with just enough stock to cover, then simmered for a bit. Then I added finely diced onion and simmered until the onion started to go translucent. Then I added the chickpeas and rice along with a jug-full of water. Once the soup started to simmer again, I added diced spuds and simmered away until everything was soft.

Then I added black pepper and smoked paprika, allowed the soup to cool then whizzed the f*ck out of it! (Didn’t want any lumpy bits for my Daddy to choke on!).

Whizzing made the soup a little thick, so I mixed in some soya milk until it was a nice consistency, then warmed it up again to boiling point.

The best thing about this soup was it tastes quite nice once cooled down to a luke-warm temperature. Which means if I take a flask into the hospital, it won’t matter if I can’t blag access to a microwave 🙂

Please everyone send healing thoughts to my Dad!







5. Rat show, owl phone cover and vegan pizza

Busy busy day today!
Today was the day of the NERS 1* Cup show in Preston. I can’t pretend I’m not rat-broody after all the gorgeous babies I got to play with today.

was supposed to be taking my Harvey Wallbanger and Terry Triviani but sod’s law struck again, and Harvey started making a chesty-crackling sound pretty much as we were about to leave the house. Sigh! And of course, since coming home we haven’t heard another peep out of him…. Still, I think I shall be taking Bailey back to the vets next week (not convinced his antibiotics are having an effect) so I’ll get him looked over.

So, cut a long story short, I attended rat-less. I did however buy a lovely fabric shelf for the cage (courtesy of Here is a photo of Terry modelling how comfy it is!:

terry hammock


 And my lovely friend very kindly treated me to some crocodile chews and gave me her winning raffle ticket (I got a hanging-toy thingy) so my boys are very happy tonight ♥

When I got home, my hubby was in the middle of watching some boring programme he has series linked, which gave me time to finish my owl phone cover that I have been meaning to work on for MONTHS. I got the pattern from here:

Unfortunately I’m not too great at crochet and I’m a bugger for mixing up my American and British stitching, so my owl looks a little….special? I still think he’s quite cute though, even if his feet are too small for his big fat body!:


Wonky owl phone cover

So after a hard day’s crocheting and playing with rats, I still had enough energy to make a tasty vegan pizza for tea. I couldn’t be bothered with faux cheese so I just made it cheese-less but used extra tomato sauce to stop it drying out.

Ingredients (made two pizzas, serves 4 in total)


        • 700 g wholemeal bread flour
        • 1.5 tablespoons fast active yeast
        • 2 teaspoons salt
        • 1 teaspoon sugar
        • 1.5 tablespoon olive oil
        • Small handful chopped chives
        • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
        • Enough warm water
        • Black pepper to taste.


Tomato sauce:

  • 4 tablespoons tomato puree (the stuff in a jar)
  • mixed with 0.5 teaspoons of chipotle chilli tobasco (addicted to this stuff at the moment! – any other hot sauce would do)



Whatever you fancy!
I used pineapple chunks, fresh tomato slices, red onion and a chopped up Vegusto mushroom burger (which tasted a bit like sausage meat once cooked on the pizza!).



  • Throw the yeast into a cup full of “hand-hot” water, then stir in the salt and sugar and leave to one side.
  • With a food processor (use the kneading attachment) to mix up the flour, chives, paprika and pepper. Whilst being whizzed,  slowly add oil, followed by the yeasty mixture, and then warm water until a dough-ball started to form.
  • Leave the machine kneading whilst the oven pre-heats to 180oC  and prepare the the tasty toppings.
  • Once done, roll out the dough out onto two slightly greased baking trays and cook for 10 mins.
  • After 10 mins, splodge on the tomato sauce and toppings before cooking again for a further 20 mins (or until the crust is nice and brown and the onions beginning to crisp).

I originally intended us having one pizza each, but as you can tell from the photo below, we were only able to scoff half each. Ah well, won’t need to cook tomorrow now 😉


Bon appetit!



1. First blog ever ♥

Its so funny looking back at my old blog posts! What a load of crap :p
Anyway, I just wanted to make a quick note to mention to any new readers that I am now completely vegan and have been for a number of years.
Futhermore, unfortunately I am also rat free – I became far to allergic so I stopped rescuing. When I got down to my last furbaby, he went to live with his human auntie and a couple of other ratty friends so he wouldn’t get lonely.
Finally, crochet? Haha, I think I finish a new piece about once every 2 years :’)

Vegan recipes and reviews have definitely made up the majority of my blog content. I guess the blog advice sites were correct after all……!


I also like to get arty in my spare time 🙂 This is a pastel drawing of my ratty friend, Jeremy ♥

I recently searched the internet for “how to create a blog”. Some of the tips were very helpful (for example how to set up a domain name and what sites were best to use). However the tip that stood out the most to me was the one that told me to pick one theme and stick with it…

B*gger that! 
Besides from my family and husband (who I love very much!) the main things in my life are vegetarian / vegan cooking, my art, my crochet and my pet rats (*waits for the squeals of “But they’re diseased!”, “Ewww, their tails!”, and the old classic: “They’ll go for your jugular!!!”*) .
So I’ve decided that I’m going to blog about them all!
(Besides, if I had to pick just one topic, I’d probably post a blog about once every six months…)
Anyhoo, over the next month I am attempting to go vegan for a fortnight (I have been a veggie and a “dairy-reducer” for a year now, but I’ve failed to convert to full blow vegan-ism due to my own weak mindedness); I will be attending a rat show (yes they really do exist! Like Crufts for rodents only breeders don’t compromise the animals’ health for pedigree status); and I will be trying out some patterns from the adorable amigurumi book that my “BFF” bought me for my birthday (in between crocheting “Granny Squares” for my blanket which seems to be going no-where fast….).
So hopefully I’ll have plenty to blog about, and hopefully my blogs won’t be completely boring ?