This month we’re…


Eating… At vegan and veggie cafe 160 in Burnley. It’s so good (but also quite overwhelming!) to look at a menu and be able to choose anything. I went for the feta salad while Ali had vegan spelt pasta with miso hollandaise and we shared THE best chips ever! We both followed with a huge slice of vegan bubblegum and raspberry cake. I dare you to go there and tell us vegan food is boring! 

Wearing… This ASOS rainbow striped jumper. The rainbow trend is huge ATM all thanks to the likes of Holly, Fearne, Zoella and my number 1 girl crush Megan Ellaby (who has this actual jumper NBD but we actually wore them on the same day last week) and it shows no sign of slowing down – check my new insta @chic_as_chips for even more ways to wear the rainbow. 

Watching… The Good Place on Netflix. We might be a bit late to the game here but we’re loving this. It starts off similar to one of the shinier versions of Black Mirror but there are so many lols along the away. Anything with Jack from 3 men and a baby, a handful of Friends references and a new hottie to feast our eyes on (hellooooo Manny Jacinto) is a clear winner! 


Exercising… With a baby on board! I’ve been a regular at Tone Zone at Haslingden sports centre recently as it’s an exercise class with a crèche in the corner and staff to look after your kiddies. They have plenty of toys for the toddlers and do a really good job of looking after the little ones while the mums work out to a different exercise each time, including step, circuits, kettle bells and more. 

Drinking… Costa’s coconut latte. Ali has reached peak “the only vegan in the village” as the woman at Accrington Costa now makes her soya latte as soon as she walks through the door so she’s struggling to get her hands on one but my lack of predictability has meant I’ve managed to have one and it was really good. We’ll have to defect to another branch soon so Ali can taste one! 


Making… My all time favourite 3 ingredient protein pancakes from hurry the food up for pancake day. These are so tasty they don’t feel like you’re missing out on your usual batter and you can always go naughty with the toppings.


Celebrating… Ali’s Veganiversary! It’s been a whole year since she decided to take the plunge (read her previous blog posts here and here) and in that year she’s really noticed a difference in how mainstream vegan options now are with most cafes offering alt milks, a vegan cake at Costa and supermarkets starting to increase (and actually label) their vegan products.


Playing… Some alternative party games when our friends come round for games night. I got ‘Most likely to…’ for Christmas last year. It’s a game where you have to choose one of your friends who you think would be most likely to do certain things (own a sex toy / cheat in an exam / buy likes on Instagram). A perfect way to start some games night fall outs! I also got ‘What do you meme’ for my birthday which is perfectly described as “A millennial card game for millenialls and their millenial friends”, need I say more? Move over Cards against Humanity there’s some more controversial card games in town. 


Month 2: Walk This Weigh

Calories: 1, 701 per day average 

Steps: 6, 736 per day average 

Lbs lost: 7 

Well it’s been a month since I started my weight loss journey (somebody please give me a better word for it than that, it makes me sound so X factor) and I know all (3) of our readers are desperate for an update so who am I to deprive you of that? (If you missed month 1 catch it here.) 

Haven’t taught Dillon how to tidy her bedroom yet 🙄

I started the month on 2,000 cals on mfp and did a sterling job of meeting my calorie goal each day. After years of 1,200-1,500 it seemed like such a treat to have an extra couple of hundred every day. This worked well with my many mat leave meet ups and coincided with the free flapjack with every coffee after mini massage (they really know how to lure the sleep deprived maternity pay mums in). I did the classic mfp trick of finding the lowest calorie flapjack option and logging it as that which did me no favours come weigh in but we all do that right? 

If you haven’t already you’ve gotta try Costa’s ‘nuts about Christmas’ brownie

The goal of 10,000 steps a day wasn’t always reached but aiming for it made sure I got out the house most days. It gave me chance to listen to some great podcasts (Dirty John and The High Low are definitely worth a listen) and given the abundance of Costas in my town I made sure I included a quick visit in most of my walks. An extra work out came from a Challenge Anneka style ‘how much can I buy from Aldi and fit in the bottom of the pram’ then pushing it up my incredibly steep street. I also managed a snail’s pace run to the park and back with boobs strapped down with 2 sports bras and my pregnancy gym pants on. I managed 2 miles and probably would’ve done 1 more had my phone battery not died. We all know if you can’t log it it didn’t happen. Don’t get me wrong though, some days I stayed in and completed some Grey’s Anatomy marathons (I’ve smashed 3 seasons in as many weeks so it’s not all smug step counts round here) but it’s all about balance amirite? 

Hair on fleek

Could I BE more basic bitch?

I’m pretty pleased with the weight loss but three weeks in it was a different story. I did an SP (sneaky peak – we have a lot of weight loss abreevs after years of doing this) 3 weeks in and had lost 4lbs, which I was quite pleased with but I’m calling bullshit on this ‘the weight will fall off with breastfeeding’ rumour. The final week I switched down to 1,500 cals and started carb cycling which gave a whopping 3lb in the final week almost doubling the last 3 weeks. 

So for month 3 the tactics have changed. As well as fewer cals and carb cycling I’ve made my return to the gym (weirdly there were no brass bands or welcome back banners when I crept back in last Friday). Will let you know how effective the new plan is with a Christmas update, before the pounds get piled on again over the festive period. 

A-Z of 2017

A… Apple cider vinegar. I started 2017 in usual detox fashion with a shot of ACV every morning. We did a blog post extolling the virtues of this here. It’s not known for its tasty properties but I found it unusually hard to stomach, but there was actually something else causing the nausea. Which leads us on to… 

Picture from Pinterest

B… Baby weight. I started blogging about my post baby weight loss journey for a guest blog post for instamum Mother Freckle here and have been updating you all monthly with the progress. I’ve lost over a stone so far and got about another to go. Month 1 and 2 can be found here and here and month 3 will be on the blog soon. 

C… Cardio. Although we’ve started to mix things up a lot in recent years with weights we still keep up with the cardio and it’s come in various forms over 2017 including Body Combat, spin, running and walking. Although most of my pregnant cardio was walking upstairs and getting out of bed. 

D… Dillon Piper aka Baby KK aka Dilly Pip. Arriving on 29th September after a loooong labour she’s finally here to give Quincy some light relief from a world of adults now she’s got her own real life doll to play with. 

E… Eating. Our favourite hobby continued throughout 2017 with some amazing food venues. August saw us dining at The Forest Side in Grasmere with a 5 course taster menu (vegan option available) for our stepdad’s birthday. You can even look around the impressive garden where they grow all their own fruit and veg. Definitely worth a visit if you’ve got a special celebration coming up or if you just fancy being fancy. 

F… Foraging. Jak’s foraging has been the basis of many things in 2017 including lots of berry crumbles and more importantly a wide selection of alcohol such as rose hip, blackberry and elderberry gin and nettle beer. Although I didn’t get to taste any in 2017 so I hope that changes this year. 

G… Gyms. I started 2017 with a bumper gym weekend at my gym’s open weekend. Like a super fan I attended most of the classes that weekend and wrote about them here. Although I didn’t go as often when I was pregnant I’ve been back on it since then and Ali has been a regular 6 am gym goer at her local gym since she joined a couple of months back.  

H… Honey. To complete their ‘The Good Life’ transformation Ali and Jak got bees this year to join their mini farmyard. Although there have been a few serious stings here and there we reaped the rewards with jars of raw honey a couple of months ago which has adorned my porridge ever since. 

I… Instagram has continued to be our favourite social media platform this year and we’ve loved keeping up to date with our favourite bloggers and grammers on there. We’ve also found out about new places to eat and things to do via insta posts and insta stories and look forward to even more recommendations in 2018. 

J… Junk food. It’s been a surprise revelation to discover some accidentally vegan junk food and snacks such as Oreos, garlic baguettes and bacon crisps (IKR!). Who says vegans have to be healthy all the time? 

K… Kids’ clothes. Having a pretty serious shopping habit already means it’s just doubled this year now I have a little one to buy for too. With having a girl I just find myself buying things I would wear including some slogan tops and matching outfits which I’m going to keep her wearing until she realises it’s not cool to dress like your mum. 

L… Little Barista in Burnley has become a favourite spot of ours for their range of vegan cakes and milks. It’s not often Ali has been spoilt for choice cake wise throughout 2017 so it’s definitely worth a try if you’re giving Veganuary a go and are worrying about the lack of cakes. 

M… Maternity leave. This started at the beginning of September and I did wonder how I’d fill the time and actually missed work at first but now I genuinely don’t know how I fit work in. As well as the many coffees and lunches (shout out to the mat leave crew) I have tried to keep it healthy with lots of walking, buggy boot camp and not getting a cake every time I get a coffee. 

N… Natural products. After years of healthy eating, 2017 became the year we focused on what went on and around our bodies rather than just in them with cruelty free and natural beauty products (Sukin, Barry M and Superdrug own range both recommended) and cleaning products (Method do a great range) 

Photo from Pinterest

O… Old friends. My resolution every year is to keep in touch with old friends and get back in touch with ones who I haven’t see for a while and I managed to do it this year! I met a friend from uni for afternoon tea and caught up with 2 old school friends for lunch. Here’s hoping 2018 brings some more reunions. 

P… Pregnancy cravings. Like a fraud to the Kings and Greens name I felt sick at the sight of an avocado throughout most of 2017 and the only salad I consumed was reluctantly stuffed into my cheese sandwiches. I feared I’d never want to eat healthily again but luckily I was back on it shortly after giving birth and over a stone lighter for it. 

Q… Quick workouts. Gone are the days we can pound the payments for hours on end and I’m pretty glad about that. We’ve both been fans of Kayla’s BBG workout which lasts around 30 minutes (unless you talk too much between sets) and we’ve recently started a 30-45 minute park workout on Saturday mornings which leaves the rest of the day free. 

R… Running. This is the first year since 2014 that one or both of us hasn’t run a marathon but we haven’t given up running entirely. Our favourite run was probably when we joined our friend Jennifer in her marathon training. She had the brilliant idea of getting people to join her for a couple of miles each during her longest training run to stop the boredom of a 22 miler. Being able to wave goodbye to her after a couple of miles was way better than doing the whole thing. 

S…  Superfood supplements. These got a whole lot more affordable in 2017 when we spotted Aldi had brought out a range. Gone are the days we’d have to get a job lot from Amazon or traipse to our nearest Holland and Barrett now we can just throw them in the trolley with our weekly shop and some random special buys. 

T… Travelling. Although I started the year with a trip to Amsterdam (not as much fun when 8 weeks pregnant FYI) we had a role reversal this year as Ali clocked up 3 holidays (I think she’s only been on 3 holidays in her lifetime prior to this) and managed to keep active during them using the Center Parcs gym, swimming in France and cycling around Madrid with a well deserved G&T afterwards. She also has some great recommendations for  healthy and vegan restaurants in Madrid if anyone is thinking of taking a trip there in 2018! 

U… Unfollowing. After Brexit in 2016 and 2017’s general election the unfollow button was pressed a few times to avoid some online confrontations. In order to keep 2018 as positive as possible there may be more unfollowing ahead to keep my news feed how I want it. 

Picture from Pinterest

V… Veganism. Having missed Veganuary in 2017 Ali decided to be late to the party with F*ck Dairy February (blog post here), which happened to last all year and now she’s a fully fledged vegan. She also blogged about 28 things she learnt since being vegan here if you wanna read more.


W… Walking. Since having the baby I’ve tried to walk as much as possible and have realised how difficult it is to get to the holy grail of 10, 000 steps. Attempting to do it has forced me to walk places I would normally drive to (ok I admit it’s usually to Costa but don’t judge me) and has made me get out the house when I really CBA.  

X… Xmas dinner, vegan style. Ali and Jak proved you don’t need to kill a big bird to have a good meal of Christmas Day with artichoke soup (with homegrown artichokes obvs) and homemade bread followed by a mushroom and nut Wellington. Even the meat eaters were impressed! 

Y… Yo Sushi. I have craved this most of 2017 (typically always wanting what I can’t have) so made sure I hotfooted it there as soon as I wasn’t pregnant (well not straight away but I didn’t waste much time). While I was there I noticed they have loads more veggie and vegan options than when I last went so I think we’ll be going more often (plus you can’t beat a Blue Monday offer on mat leave) 

Z… Zzzzz. I’m not getting as much of this I used to but I must admit DP is a great little sleeper so I can’t complain. We use This Works Sleepy Body Wash on her in the bath and Ali swears by the pillow spray so worth checking out if you’re a difficult sleeper or you’ve got a little one keeping you awake! 

This month we’re…

Wearing… These red buckle Missguided boots. My plan is to invest in noticeable footwear to distract from the mum tum for the time being (hence the bright silver boots at a christening last weekend) and these were a bargain at £20. Topshop do a similar version for £50 but my mat leave budget forced me to shop around a bit. 

Revisiting… Mackie Mayor in Manchester. I went after it had only been open a few days with a grumpy baby and an even grumpier boyfriend and it was ridiculously busy which put me off it a bit so I’m giving it another go now it’s been open longer I’m hoping it’s less busy. I had a really tasty cake there last time and have been craving one of their baos ever since. 

Using… This grey side table for my many coffees after the sleepless nights. Another mat leave budget buy, I’d love to say it was from a cool independent furniture shop or upcycled from a charity shop but it’s good old Home Bargains. It went down so well I went to get another one the next day. 

Watching… Divorce on Sky Atlanic thanks to my Now TV box. Anything written by Sharon Horgan is going to be a winner for me and this doesn’t disappoint. It’s weirdly funny in a Catastrophe way and it’s nice to see SJP rocking some amazing outfits once again without having to endure her annoying Carrie-isms.

Listening… To Dirty John. This podcast is about a guy in his 50s who seduces women and isn’t what he seems, it’s the latest Serial-type bingeworthy listen and has been keeping Ali company on her lunchtime walks. 

Investing… In Good American jeans. The jeans are all inclusive so they do sizes 00 to 24 and they have all different sized models wearing them on the website, which you can click through to see how it would suit your shape. More expensive than her usual jean (circa £150) but Ali’s trying to invest in more of a capsule wardrobe now she’s in her late thirties. 

Applying… This Fenty lipgloss from Rhianna’s makeup range. Another all inclusive range with 40 foundation shades, I wanted to get something for Ali’s birthday and while the whole range is cruelty free this was one of the only vegan products which made my decision making much easier. 

Researching… Some artichoke recipies. Jak’s dug a load up from the garden and it’s not something we’ve cooked with much before so hit us up with any recipe suggestions! 

Sipping.. Nettle beer. Finally some of Jak’s foraging that we can really get on board with! This is the latest step in their Good Life transformation and it went down so well we’re already asking him to make some more. Surely this is the closest you can get to healthy boozing? 

Month 1 : It’s The Climb 

Before getting pregnant I was a self confessed kale-smoothie-drinking marathon-running health freak (with the weekend wine and pizza for rewards obv). Then suddenly the sight of an avocado made me want to puke and all I could stomach was beige. I found myself shunning the quinoa salad and sneaking down to the school canteen for a cheese sandwich and chips (once I announced my pregnancy there was a resounding ‘ahhhh that’s why you’ve been at the canteen so much’ from most of my colleagues and a ‘yeah I guessed it when you got white buttered toast at break time’ from the eagle eyed amongst them.) I’d always told myself I would be sooo healthy when I was pregnant because, yano, I’m responsible for growing a human yet I found myself dodging as much veg and salad as my childhood self would be proud of. 

As Ric did the majority of the shopping at first I regularly shouted after him ‘get some biscuits for the guests!’ which I then ploughed my way through completely on my own before they’d even arrived with the excuse that I’m breastfeeding so need the extra calories. 

It’s been great sitting around watching Friends (could I be watching any more episodes) eating entire packs of biscuits to myself and pretending the outside world doesn’t exist but enough’s enough and I’ve decided as my baby turns 4 weeks this Friday it’s time to do something about it. I’d love to say I just want to be healthy and I’m happy for my body to be different now I’ve had a baby and I totally respect new mums who feel that way, but it’s also ok to want to look like your previous self and be back in those nice little skirts and dresses you bought pre-baby. I listened to Giovanna Fletcher’s podcast with Clemmie Hooper and they were discussing Cheryl’s post baby body, and while they were applauding how great she looks they were saying it’s a shame she’s hidden away until she looks that good rather than showing the journey she’s been on. So I unfortunately won’t get the number of followers Chezza has but I will post the journey, or as we prefer to call it from our weight watcher days ‘the climb’ (referring to the awesome Miley Cyrus song, that is now my soundtrack for the next few months. Feel free to listen to it on Spotify while reading future posts from me). 

I haven’t had the go ahead from the doctors to exercise yet and I can’t diet because I’m breastfeeding so it’s going to be slow and steady. I’m recording what I eat on myfitnesspal (follow me and feel free to comment if I go off track please – my username is CharlieQueso) and aiming to get as many pram steps in as I can while I wait to get back in the gym


Will report back next month and let you know how it goes! 

Detox diary: how to do a juice fast 

In a K&G first, we are handing over the keys to a guest blogger. 

Juicing blog
My partner in wine and girl gallantry since 2000 and Chaz’s twin Topshop shopper, 35-year-old former Batley brat Claire swapped (West) Yorkshire for (South) Yarra a few years back and now lives it up down under in healthy hipster haven Melbourne. 

We love hearing her tales of buzzy Aussie hotspots and she’s always ahead of the latest nutritional trend. Like us, she loves food and so when she announced she was embarking on a juice fast (public statement alert 🔊) we were all ears. 

Over to Claire to take you through the peaks and nadirs of her three-day detox. 

The background: why do a juice fast?

After a boozy cruisy trip home to good ol’ Blighty for Christmas, followed by a return to an Australian summer in the midst of full festival season swing, it was fair to say I was feeling like I’d blazed the candle at both ends by the middle of Feb. 

At around the same time, and on a friend’s recomendo, I went to a talk held by a natural wholefood doctor named Tyler Tolman on the benefits of water and juice fasting. As a kid who’s always loved her food I was entirely sceptical and also somewhat horrified at the idea of fasting. 

Two hours later, after hearing compelling empirical evidence and testimonials of the hundreds of lives this man had saved from terminal cancer, heart disease and diabetes, to name but a few conditions, I was a convert.

Here comes the theory

Fasting is an ancient medicinal method of curing all kinds of ailments that modern man has forgotten. When we fast on juice, our bodies get the opportunity to flush out all the toxins that build up inside us due to bad diet, exposure to harsh chemicals and the effects of pharmaceutical pill popping. 

At the same time, energy normally consumed by food digestion can instead be focussed on rebuilding and repairing cells, from reversing the effects of ageing to curing the body of cancer. 

The length of the fast can range anywhere from a few days to three months, depending on the severity of the illness or disease needing to be cured.

The execution: how to do a juice detox

Buoyed by enough enthusiasm to put my hunger fear to one side, I decided to embark on a three day fast.

It’s fair to say preparation is the key to success, so I borrowed a good quality juicer and juicing recipe book from a generous hipster friend, and spent a couple of days researching juice recipes and how much organic F&V I’d need for the three days. 

If organic’s not an option, due to either availability or budget, then you’ll need to buy a biggish bottle of organic apple cider vinegar to add to water and soak your produce in. Otherwise you’re still consuming the pesticides that coat the flesh and not really de-toxifying at all.

Most respectable juice fasts state you can have as much juice as you feel you need to maintain your energy levels. I stocked up on enough fruit and veg to make three 1 litre juices per day and found this to be ample. 

The kitchen looked like a harvest festival by the time I’d schlepped it all home, you need A LOT of produce to make a juice (the photo should give you a fair idea). I spent around $100 / £50 on F&V.

Juice fast preparation

Juicy couture

The effects of the juice fast were intense from the outset. I’ve captured the key highs and lows from my experience to give you an idea of what you might expect

The pros: benefits of juice fasting 

  • Most bizarrely of all, I didn’t feel hungry at any point over the three days. The first day was the strangest because you’re still adjusting to not having solids in your stomach. But the juice definitely nourishes you. In hindsight I wish I’d prepared for a seven day fast because I didn’t feel desperate to start eating again, even at the end of the fast.
  • I lost over half a stone and four weeks later I’ve maintained the weight loss.
  • I feel my appetite has decreased and I’m more inclined to eat only when I’m hungry than at prescribed mealtimes
  • I also feel that I’m eating better and craving juice, fruit and veg over animal proteins and salty junk food (an enduring weakness of mine)
  • I also feel I’ve had heaps more energy and I’ve bounced back from a couple of big nights that should have resulted in horrible hangovers, with almost no after effects.

The cons: disadvantages of a detox 

  • The actual juicing process is a massive ball ache. The juicing machine needs to be cleaned between preparation of sweet and savoury juices, otherwise you’ll end up with some funky tasting juice. There are loads of bits and pieces to the juicer so prepare to spend a good few hours taking it to pieces, washing it, drying it and putting it back together. Also, it needs to be emptied regularly to stop it getting backed up with the waste fruit and veg 
  • Cut me and I’d bleed caffeine. I’m the girl who always gets a large almond flat white on the way to work, regardless of how late I’m running. So having to go cold turkey gave me a headache by high noon of the first fast day. Thankfully it lessened to a dull ache by day two but I can’t say I wasn’t happy to get back on the caffeine
  • At the height of the glorious Aussie summer I was reeeeeeallly cold throughout the fast (apparently this is a common side effect of juicing). Get your jumpers at the ready!
  • This last one dances the pro / con line. I woke up with staggering night sweats on nights two and three; my sheets were absolutely saturated with sweat and I was shivering from the dampness. This is a common way for your body to expel toxins so although it wasn’t pleasant and led to a few extra laundry loads, it proved the juicing was working.  

The verdict 

While the juice fast was not without its challenges, I would 100% recommend it to anyone that’s curious to try it and I’m both happy and proud of myself for taking the plunge. 

When we place ourselves outside of our comfort zone with these experiences, we’re able to ask ourselves if we’re making conscious choices over bad habits, and ultimately enabling ourselves to live a more mindful life.

Juicing FAQs

Q:​ How long can you keep the juice for?

A:​ Ideally, they should be consumed within 24 hours, otherwise the nutrients start to break down.

Q:​ Can you make juices ahead and freeze them?

A:​ Yes, providing you don’t use the microwave to defrost them, as this will also destroy the nutrients.

Q:​ What were your favourite juices?

A:​ Sweet: Half a watermelon with half a bunch of organic mint (so simple but so refreshing)

Savoury: 8 tomatoes, 4 radishes, a handful of kale and half a lemon.

Q:​ What’s the ratio of fruit juices to vegetable juices?

A: ​The split of savoury to sweet juices is about 50:50 over the course of the three days.

Q:​ Are you allowed to consume anything other than juice?​

A:​ As much still water as possible is recommended, and organic herbal teas are fine too.

28 things I learned when I went vegan for a month

Back in January I was cozily powering through those dark, winter nights accompanied by my best friends, red wine and Netflix. Faced with the nightly argument over WTF to watch, having exhausted all of the boxset options, attention turned to the many documentaries on there.

Vegucated was the first of its kind I had watched, late last year on maternity leave, pre-baby, whilst twiddling my thumbs – which isn’t easy when they resemble enormous sausages due to all of the baby weight I saw it as my duty to gain and then lose for your blog reading pleasure.

It struck a chord immediately. I was already pescetarian, but it was enough to make me quit fish immediately, and I LOVED seafood. I forged ahead with the veggie lifestyle and was happy to continue consuming dairy, mostly in cheese and chocolate form.

Until the Netflix war led me back onto the documentary path. Suddenly, I couldn’t rationalise my cheese addiction when it was stacked against all of the health benefits of a 100% plant-based diet. Prior to this, I knew very little about the animal welfare arguments against consuming dairy and animal by-products – I naively assumed there weren’t any. No cows were killed in the making of my pizza, so what was the problem?

I still consider myself to be far from an expert in these matters, I have literally just watched a few films,  read a little on the internet and talked to people. So I am not here to preach; live and let live and all that. I have no issues with other people’s choices, but I found myself struggling to live with my own.

As it was soon to be February, I resolved to take on a month-long, dairy-free challenge to see how I coped with and felt about the change in diet, outlook and habits.

And so, #fuckdairyfebruary was born.

Here are a few things I subsequently learned… 28 in fact, one for each day of the challenge which I will pretend was on purpose, and not just because I couldn’t think of 30.

1. I didn’t miss anything. Seriously surprising for someone who comes from a long line of cheese addicts.

2. Vegan doesn’t mean healthy. I had visions of becoming a member of that hated breed of people who just lose weight “without even noticing”. I put weight on after initially confusing things I could eat for things I should eat.

3. So in the same spirit, not all “treats” revolve around dairy.

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Little Barista, big vegan

4. Having said that, if you don’t choose your dining venues wisely, it can feel dairy is inescapable (quick pub lunch at the nearest carvery? Green tea and fries for me then).

5. Withdrawl is a b*tch. Sounds ridiculous, but I went through a hippytastic “healing crisis“. Coincidence? Possibly, but Jak was on the vegan train too and we were both ill for at least half the month.

6. I did feel better…. post-crisis. I can’t say I noticed a crazy surge in energy, but my skin has been good and to quote a vegan friend, Gem, I don’t feel quite so “stodge”.

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Who ate all the pies?

7. Vegan comfort food (or as our friend Katharine would call it, “nurture food”) is just as comforting. Homemade pie and chips, lasagne, mac and “cheeze”, all the carbs.

8. It can be a talking point – I had messages from old friends doing similar challenges, or forwarding recipe ideas.

9. Equally, it’s not as interesting as you may think to most (I became that Daily Mash militant vegan). In a good way, too. I felt guilty at times asking about ingredients or adaptions until I was reminded by several people that catering for different dietary requirements is standard for anyone who works in food, so any guilt was all down to my own desperation not to cause a fuss (my ultimate worst).

10. Breaking up with your milkman is hard. It took over a month, and even the mini member of the household who isn’t dairy-free doesn’t drink cow’s milk.

11. Substitutes work, some of the time. A couple of the cheese alternatives I tried were fine, others weren’t which makes you rethink recipes and habits – often in a good way. It turns out you can eat pasta which isn’t smothered in grated cheddar – who knew?

12. Bagels are your friend.

13. Tastebuds change – and I never really believed this prior to the challenge. Green salad had never tasted so fresh; dark chocolate now tastes like “normal” chocolate and former coconut hater Jak is now a Coyo convert.

14. 1kg tubs of peanut butter don’t go as far as they used to.

15. Virtually nothing is labelled up as vegan, I spent the month reading ingredient lists and now even my non-vegan friends are pros at scanning packs for milk powder.

16. And speaking of milk powder, it is in practically everything. Whyyyyyyyyyyyy?

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Pizza for everyone!

17. Chain places are great. I had my only vegan pizza of the month at The Brickworks. Incredibly for Accrington, it was one of two pizzas on the menu (as well as other vegan options). Chaz and I also enjoyed a #cheekynandos.

18. Vegan hotel breakfasts are easy. Fresh fruit, Marmite toast, granola, hash browns, beans and mushrooms saved me from a horrific hangover (it’s not a hotel breakfast without at least three courses).

19. You may find yourself shrieking “I can’t believe it’s not dairy!” when you discover a really amazing vegan product. I was sent these Pudology millionaires’ puds by Ocado as a review product (either cool or scary they know me this well) and was pathetically excited at how good they were.

20. People adapt. After my mum initially sent this Guardian article to our whatsapp group (apparently a joke but we learned our pass-agg skillz from the best), she soon switched the Wednesday night treat she leaves me after her childcare day, from Lindt to Bournville #bestbabysitterever #worstbossever

21. Indian restaurants and takeaways mostly cook in oil, not ghee, as it’s cheaper – so the majority of the veggie dishes are vegan. A top tip from our friend Jade and news to me – which made a curry house trip for my mum’s birthday a breeze.

22. Vegan fishless fingers are scarily similar. I know lots of veggies and vegans don’t like substitutes and I’d never bothered much until this month. Yet in the spirit of trying new things (and a #TBT to my former fish finger sandwich obsession) I explored a few bits and these were my fave.

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Love a bit of cake

23. Cake tastes all the sweeter when you eventually find one you can eat. Thanks to Little Barista in Burnley, I tried a coffee and orange cake and a chocolate coconut flapjack slice over the month, while my mum and Quincy tucked into buttered toasted teacakes (in San’s/Beyoncé’s own words, #iaintsorry).

24. Come prepared. Jade takes a Tesco falafel and hummus wrap meal deal to weddings and christenings in case she goes hungry – top tip.

25. Support is plentiful – I joined a Facebook group for local vegans who post really useful tips and experiences on an almost daily basis.

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Avo and hummus sandwich @ The Abel Heywood, NQ, Manchester

26. Eating out is a doddle… Mostly. Venture into Manchester and you’re laughing, nip down to your local garden centre café for lunch and you may be struggling. In which case…

27. If in doubt, call ahead. I ate lots of great food during the month and one such dish was a delicious veggie curry made especially at a country pub in the Lakes (the Stanley Arms in Calder Bridge) after I called beforehand. I’m sure I’d have found something to eat either way (salad and chips is always an option), but the chef was more than happy to accommodate my request.

28. It’s fun. I used to have a stupidly inaccurate perception of vegans as being sad and deprived, but I actually loved it and found it really easy. Which leads seamlessly to the question…

What’s next?

After an interesting month, I’ve decided to keep the vegan party going for a while longer. I am reluctant to commit to a label indefinitely, but I’m enjoying it so far and see no reason to stop now.

Honestly, I can’t say I’ll never eat (non-vegan) pizza again. But every time I consider it, I remember my reasons for starting this. OK, so health-wise I may not have exploited the benefits of the vegan lifestyle to their full potential just yet, but you only have to scan Peta’s Facebook feed for plentiful reasons to give this a try.

If you are curious about exploring this kind of thing, here are the documentaries that prompted my switch:

Food Choices


Forks Over Knives

And if you’re still interested after that, Peta do a free vegan starter kit which is a good place to start.

Nobody say cheese: aka F*ck Dairy February


Quitting meat and fish was a gradual process for me and the latest food group on my radar is dairy.

Influenced by both health and animal welfare factors featured in some eye-popping Netflix docs I’ve been watching lately like Food ChoicesVegucated  and Forks over Knives, I’ve decided to go dairy-free for a month. I’m calling it…


#f*ckdairyfebruary (sorry Mum)

It’s not quite veganism as I plan to continue eating eggs from my own hens. As far as I can gather, the only health risks posed by eggs surround battery hens and the associated animal welfare issues (please correct me if I’m wrong, I’m still learning).

So, at the moment I feel fine about consuming eggs produced by the divas who trot around my garden, bully my dog and make Quincy to go “tssssss tsssss!” (baby for chicken) about 50 times a day.

The easy bits

Huge parts of my daily diet are already dairy-free so in some ways, it’s a straightforward challenge.

Breakfast is usually porridge or granola with almond milk or yogurt. Switching to dairy-free yogurt is no problem taste-wise (hello Coyo) but it will make more of a dent in the budget (£4.99 for 400g… yikes).

Work lunches and evening meals tend to revolve around batch cooking basics, many of which are vegan but I do plan to branch out with some new recipes to mix things up.

Last week I tried a cheesy butternut pasta sauce (a take on this recipe with added nutritional yeast and less cayenne and salt, so Q could have the leftovers for lunch).

Next on my hitlist are some Thug Kitchen recipes from a book Chaz bought me for Christmas. So far, their chickpea biryani went down well with our (meat eating) friend Lianne, who said she “never knew vegetarian food could actually taste good” (has she never had chips?).

The shopping

This week, I’ve ordered my third Wholegood organic uber veg and fruit box and I’m basing most of my meals around these.

After I deleted all of the cheese out of my first dairy-free Ocado basket (a sad moment), I added the following to see me through week 1 of the challenge:

I also ordered extra cashews (for creamy sauces, stir fries and granola) and avocados (because I don’t need an excuse to be even more of a basic b!tch).

And survive week one I did – and that even included a pub lunch (albeit in the v vegan-friendly Northern Quarter).

The obstacles

1. Cheese

I LOVE cheese and it’s the culprit behind many of my indulgences…. pizza, cheeseboards, grilled halloumi on veggie burgers, baked camembert with warm bread (thank god bread is vegan), grated cheddar on chilli or pasta…. I could go on but I’ll stop before I run to Tesco and lose my sh*t at the deli counter.

It’s a challenge, but changing habits is what it’s all about. I’ve never been one to give things up for Lent, I’m not religious so never saw the point. As I have proper reasons for doing this, I’m already finding it much easier than I expected.

And according to some, cheese is as addictive as crack, so going cold tofurky may be a smart move.

2. Cake!

A weekend coffee and cake date is one of our main joys in life and while we always opt for dairy-free lattes and vegan cakes where they’re available, the reality of living in a small town means they are seriously limited in places we frequent.

If anyone knows of vegan-friendly options in cafes round our way, please share them to save me from Costa soya lattes!

Now I’m practically a Ribble Valley resident (half a mile out, people!) I’m a big fan of the Benedict’s almond milk latte and we are planning a trip to Lolo’s vegan cafe in Ramsbottom because it looks amazing and people keep telling us to go… But any other secret tip offs will be much appreciated, as it’s sometimes good to have a surprising option in an otherwise “normal” place that keeps everyone happy.

3. Awkwardness

Feeling like a pain in the neck is one of the biggest downsides of being veggie and I do fear taking it to extremes will make me even more of a social outcast. February is already filling up with a wedding on the horizon and several other social occasions, so I plan to just do my best.

Exchanging messages with our vegan friend Jade, she’s enlightened me to the ease of vegan dining and added me to a Facebook group full of ace tips and tricks to navigate the Lancashire culinary landscape.

4. Expense

I get annoyed when people claim switching to healthier eating habits is more expensive as someone on a constant budget; I do my weekly food shop for around £40 for three of us and lentils, chickpeas and seasonal veg are affordable staples.

BUT when it comes to indulgences like vegan chocolate and coconut yogurt it sure adds up. HOWEVER, this list of 44 accidentally vegan snack foods has reassured me dairy-free treat times needn’t break the bank. Obviously one of the main points of this is to adopt (even) more of a plant-based diet, so I don’t plan to exist on Pot Noodles and Pringles, but it’s good to know I could grab a Bournville from the garage if the urge for chocolate takes over (UPDATE: I actually checked my local garage yesterday and they don’t even sell it… WTF Nightingales? So veganist!).

I plan to report back at the end of the month (if I manage to stay out of the cheese aisle for that long).

In the meantime, anyone for an almond milk latte and an Oreo?!

This month we’re…


  1. Eating… organic veg at a snip of the usual price now our local Aldi has stocked its shelves with pesticide-free greens.
  2. Listening… to Guys We F***ed. The self-proclaimed anti slut-shaming podcast hears two American comedians interview one of their former conquests each week. From one-night stands to long-term relationships and everything in between, they’re aiming to make the world a more “sex-positive” place. Obvs NSFW, I listen on my Friday pram walks and weekend batch cooking marathons to ensure Quincy doesn’t pick up any interesting new vocab (pic: Dee Guerreros).
  3. Dancing… the afternoon away at this year’s Strictly tour in Manchester. Now we’re ballroom dancers ourselves, we have even more respect for Ed Balls and his twinkletoes. This line-up also features our 2016 faves Danny Mac and Oti Mabuse, so it’s set to be a fab-u-lous occasion.
  4. Exploring… the world of cruelty-free products thanks to some top tips from a friend of ours who has set up her own blog, This Weleda baby bath makes Quincy’s skin so silky I’m planning to pinch it for my next soak.
  5. Making… our own granola for a quick and seriously YUM grab-and-go breakfast. I found this really handy hack for making it without a recipe and it’s worked a treat so far. A must for those mornings when babies and burpees threaten the most important meal of the day.
  6. Ogling… Jamie Dornan in the latest 50 Shades of Grey movie like the basic b*tches we are. We tried to feign nonchalance about the first film, tagged along anyway then found ourselves discussing it for at least 50% of a 20-mile run, so this time we’re embracing it – minus the run part (pic: Jeff Hahn)
  7. Cooking… vegan mac and cheese. I made this recipe (pic above) from Minimalist Baker last weekend – I left out the chilli and salt for a family-friendly version (and added kale for extra smugness).
  8. Dining… at V Rev vegan diner in Manchester. Their strapline “Burgs Bakes Booze – all plants, no pain” is enough to see us running for the X41 for an afternoon of indulgence.
  9. Spinning… our way to success as we take on a charity spinathon in aid of Brain Tumour Research. Find out more here (and wish us luck!).

7 ways to get your daily dose of apple cider vinegar (and 4 big reasons why you should)


A shot of apple cider vinegar a day keeps the doctor away…

Well, that’s the idea behind the latest health fad dominating our Facebook feeds.

The ancient amber nectar of the health world, apple cider vinegar has earned itself the occasional shout out here on Kings and Greens, prompting a deluge of (OK, three) demands for us to cover the topic in more detail.

Good news, fellow fadders, we are your humble servants of the blogosphere so we’ve delved a little deeper into the world of ACV to tell you everything you need to know in one place.

So what the flip is it?

Apple cider vinegar is the diva of vinegars, with good reason. The word vinegar apparently comes from the French for “sour wine”, a fact which somehow escaped my attention throughout 11 years of studying the language, which included a year actually spent in France, imbibing gallons of actual wine. One for you pub quizzers.

Hippocrates gave it to his patients thousands of years ago, and while I’m no medical expert, I hear he was kind of a big deal.

Why should I use it?

ACV kills 98% of all germs. NINETY EIGHT PERCENT! How do you like those apples?? (sorry).

In fact, the only superior germ buster is bleach, so unless you’re going to start shotting that (NOT K&G-recommended), you better hop on the ACV wagon.

Full of vitamins, minerals and amino acids, ACV is a true health hero with a myriad of health and beauty-related benefits.

1. It aids weight loss

Not only does it boost energy, apple cider vinegar actually helps you lose weight. Acid is a natural appetite suppressant and fat burner, so a pre-lunch shot may stop you reaching for that post-lunch cupcake as you’ll feel fuller for longer.

A splash of ACV reduces water retention (bye bye bloating!), while its amino acids get busy on your metabolism. Some say it even messes with your body’s ability to digest starch, which stops some of the cals making their way into your bloodstream.

2. It stops you getting sick

A lofty claim, but one which is apparently backed up by science. Most major diseases are caused by inflammation. So, as a natural anti-inflammatory, apple cider vinegar can lower your risk of catching the really serious stuff, like heart disease.

It’s been said that ACV’s alkalising properties can help prevent the spread of cancer cells and even shrink tumours, according to some studies.

Just a tablespoon a day keeps cholesterol at bay – studies have shown it comes up trumps for increasing bile production and supporting your liver.

What’s more, it’s been said to keep blood sugar levels low, so can help fight diabetes.

3. It’s a natural skin saviour

Beating acne, curing dandruff, soothing sunburn and fading bruises are just a few of the ways apple cider V could rock your world.

4. It’s a cure for basically everything

Coughs, tummy troubles, sore throats, indigestion, blocked noses, cramp, even hiccups (!) – there is seemingly no minor health complaint that can’t be remedied with a slurp of your new best friend, ACV.

Apple cider vinegar has been extolled for its medicinal benefits for 12,000 years. Take that, Beechams!

7 ways to get your apple cider vinegar fix

1. Drink it

7am shots! Why not? The taste may not set your world on fire, but hey, I’m sure you’ve shotted worse (Aftershock, anyone?) and it’s guaranteed to wake you up.

If you can’t handle that, add a couple of tablespoons to your morning lemon water to kickstart your metabolism, or to a large glass of water an hour before bed to reduce your body’s glucose levels overnight.

DISCLAIMER – don’t get too excited, the cider part doesn’t mean it can get you tipsy. Good news for the school run.

2. Eat it

Splash a little onto your salad as you would squeeze a little lemon or lime, for a zesty dressing. If a salad dressing recipe calls for balsamic vinegar, switch it for ACV to boost the health benefits.

Add it to soups, stir fry sauces and dips for a touch of acidity – it helps to bring out other flavours, too.

You can also add a dash to water when boiling or poaching eggs.

3. Gargle it

Get gargling in the morning and a little ACV can whiten teeth, eliminate bad breath and zap bacteria in your mouth and gums. Brush after.

4. Apply it

Many health buffs use it as a natural toner to replace chemical-packed products, as it has astringent properties that help tighten your skin and prevent wrinkles. Mix with equal parts water and smooth over your face and neck with a cotton pad for that ACV glow.

5. Bathe in it

Add a drop or two of ACV to your Sunday night bath, along with some essential oils and Epsom salts, to detoxify your body for the week ahead.

6. Clean with it

Mix apple cider vinegar with equal parts water and a few drops of essential oils and you have yourself a nifty little natural cleaner you can use all over your home.

7. Rinse it

Apple cider vinegar is your one-stop wonder product when it comes to natural haircare. It’s been said to make your hair shinier, prevent split ends, detangle, cleanse, banish frizz and promote hair growth. Natural Living Ideas tells us how:

  1. Blend one cup of water with two to four tablespoons of vinegar
  2. After shampooing and rinsing, slowly pour the mixture over your entire scalp, allowing it to run down the length of your hair (avoiding eye area – ouch)
  3. Massage the mixture into your scalp, which will also serve to stimulate circulation and hair growth
  4. After one to two minutes, rinse out the vinegar and make like you’ve just stepped out of the salon.

Where can I score some?

ACV doesn’t come for free, but as wonder products go, it’s pretty damn close.

It’s widely available in supermarkets and health food stores – I’ve just ordered a 750ml Biona bottle for £2.89 from Ocado and there are cheaper brands available too (#sorrynotsorry for buying the one that looks best on my kitchen shelf).

Go for the unfiltered kind, with the “mother” – that doesn’t mean you have to take your mum shopping with you (though we recommend you do, because ours pays. Thanks Sand!).

The mother is actually the gross-looking strands of friendly bacteria, enzymes and proteins – i.e. the good stuff.

So… anyone for a shot?