Tuesday 25 February 2014

Vegan in Yosemite

If you've been paying any attention to this blog, my Twitter feed or my Instagram account you'll know that I'm pretty focused on seeing as much of the world as I can. My life appears to be a constant cycle of travel, home, travel, home... which is, for now, exactly how Nick & I are juggling our wanderlust with our lives in Brighton. Life hasn't always been like this though, as a teenager I wanted nothing more than to take a gap year but after getting thrown out of home at 17 I spent the time when my closest friends were backpacking around South America and teaching in Uganda working a series of shitty, underpaid jobs to pay rent. That and getting drunk all the time. Fun, right? Nope.

Top of my gap-year-dream-trip list was California and heading up my California list, alongside the pacific coast highway, sandy beaches and Hollywood was Yosemite. Finally late last year I made it to Yosemite...right at the beginning of the government shut down. How's that for good luck? 

Nick and I literally arrived at the lodge we were staying in two freaking hours before the shutdown was announced. Yeah, I totally cried. But we were pretty damn determined to make the most of our time and went to sleep assuming that as we had 48 hours to vacate the park we'd still be able to rent bicycles, hike trails and do all of the outdoorsy stuff we'd planned just in a much shorter time frame. 

That's not actually how a shut down works though... almost everything had shut up shop by the time we woke up bright and early the next day. We jumped into the car and headed for one of the trails I was most excited about, Tenaya Lake. Despite being a city dweller I'm happiest when I'm surrounded by nature. Trees, check. Mountains, check. Lake, check. This was a perfect morning

We were super lucky to sneak in there before the car park was roped off, we saw one, maybe two other people the whole time we were there and when we got back to our car rangers were already moving people on. We tried our luck at a couple more trails, going as far as to try to hide so that we could sneak onto one once the ranger had left, with no luck - turns out we're a little conspicuous! The rest of our drive around Yosemite was met with more and more of this. Yellow tape everywhere.

Before our trip we did a little research into vegan eats in Yosemite and were satisfied that we didn't need to stuff our backpacks full of food but we were surprised at the sheer amount of vegan options at every store we went to. The Village Store had the most options and we spotted hummus,

Toffuti cream cheese and sour cream,

Earth balance,

Tofurky slices,

Clif bars,

Newman O's,

Mc Dougall's noodle soups,

Amy's non-dairy burritos,

Ready meals,

and even ice cream sandwiches!

Everything was pretty pricy but Yosemite might just be more vegan friendly than a lot of UK towns!

I feel like I have some unfinished business where Yosemite's concerned and I'll most definitely be heading back to California to try again. One day I'd love to plan a trip to Yosemite, Big Sur & Sequoia in a little RV. Something awesome came out of the government ruining my Yosemite fun though, I got to head back to Santa Cruz to spend more time with my friend Amey which was so, so fun! More on that next time peeps!

Tuesday 4 February 2014

Operation Icing Valentine's Cupcake Boxes.

This year my bakery Operation Icing is doing a Valentine's Day cupcake box and I'm pretty excited about it!

These limited edition cupcake boxes are perfect for anyone you want to show some love to this Valentine's Day - your sweetie, your workmates, your family, even yourself! My minimum order is usually 6 cupcakes of one flavour but with the Valentine's box you get to try three flavours and one of them is my famous mini doughnut cupcake!! Hell, even if you hate the schmaltz of v-day this is a rad opportunity to donate money to charity. Yup, that's right, my business is not-for-profit so every penny made from these cupcakes will be donated to our charity of the month the East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service who provide a front line rescue service for wildlife casualties. ESWRAS, based in Whitesmith, East Sussex deal with calls from both the public and other animal welfare organisations and are staffed entirely by volunteers.

The Valentine's boxes contain:

Two Sweetie cupcakes decorated with heart / love themed sweeties.
Two Double Chocolate Dream cupcakes.
Two Mini Doughnut cupcakes.

The boxes are available for collection in the North Laine area between 5pm and 7pm Thursday Feb 13th and 8am and 10am Friday Feb 14th. You can order via e-mail to jojo(dot)huxster(at)me(dot)com or via the "contact me" button on the Operation Icing website stating your preferred collection time.