Planes, trains and Vegan Fayres

Hey there! Did you miss me? Seems like I've been away forever. I have oodles of exciting things to tell you.
Firstly, I went to the UK to celebrate my mother-in-laws 80th birthday There she is, boogieing the night away - she didn't stop dancing for 2 hours! If I have half her energy when I'm 80 I'll be happy - she really put us younguns to shame! My stay in England also coincided with the Brighton Vegan Fayre, and seeing that Brighton is only 77 miles from Bournemouth, it would have been rude not to go. Even though Brighton is only 77 miles away, unbelievably - there is no direct way to get there by public transport. By car it would take less than an hour and a half to drive - by coach it takes over 5 hours and by train it took 3 hours 20 mins and involved two trains and a bus. Crazy huh! I had arranged to meet Susan of Kittens Gone Lentil fame there but alack and alas I don't think she was getting my calls and messages on her phone because she never replied to them so unfortunately we didn't get to meet up. It would have been quite funny if we actually passed eachother without realising it. Fortunately for me I had arranged to meet another internet friend there so I wasn't walking around like Billy no mates for the entire day. I'd never been to a Vegan Fayre before so I wasn't really sure what to expect; but let me tell you - the entire experience blew me away. It was awesome. So many amazing vegan products and causes and of course FOOD! I filled up on all the free samples that were on offer and in so doing avoided paying the ridiculous prices that were being charged by the Brighton Centre to have the privilege of eating in their restaurant (which was doing a vegan only menu for the day). Of course I bought myself some bits and bobs - Redwoods were doing an offer where if you spent 10 quid you got a free bag - well, I can and did spend 10 quid easily, could have spent more but I reminded myself I had to travel the 3 hour 20 minute journey back home so I resisted the urge to over indulge. Sheese were doing an offer (in fact - every stall was doing an offer) and I bought three selections of vegan cheese for 6 quid. Six quid!! I also bought two tins of Affinity organic stuffed Vine Leaves as they came highly recommended by my companion. I'm glad I bought two because they are delicious! All in all a wonderful day, the sun shone down on Brighton and the day was finished with a drink. Every time I go back home I always manage a few visits to the New Forest. The forest is one of the few things I miss about the UK. There is something about it's ancient woodland that runs deep in my veins and I always feel like I'm home whenever I am there. There are few places in the world where the ancient landscape has remained so unchanged, and this most English of forests continues to be a living and working community where ponies and cattle still have right of way as they freely graze the land. Deeper in the forest wild deer browse beneath canopies of mighty oak and beech - natural scenes unchanged by the modern world. In 1079 when William The Conqueror named the area his ‘new hunting forest’, little could he imagine that nearly 1000 years later his ‘Nova Foresta’ would still retain its mystery and romance.

The ancient system established by William The Conqueror to protect and manage the woodlands and wilderness heaths is still in place today through the efforts of Verderers, Agisters and Commoners – literally the judges, stockmen and land users of the forest.

The New Forest is one of the most vast natural areas of eastern Europe and it's beauty is just breathtaking - even still, to me, who has walked it's many pathways a garzillion times. This time I visited what has to be my most favourite place IN THE WORLD! The Giant Sequoias that dominate the depths of the forest where they definitely rule this part of England and basically kick Oak tree ass! This is the tallest of the two that stands at an impressive 51 feet! It is the tallest tree in England, Ireland and Wales. The energy in this place is just so awesome - it resonates with my primal heathen instincts and makes me want to shake off conformity and build a house in it's highest branches and hide away from the world forever. I would be happy. Click here for more info on this fascinatingly beautiful part of the world. That just about concludes my five day trip back to the homelands. Of course even more shopping was done and a haul of vegan goodies bought back with me but you don't want to see photos of that, do you?
Can you spot the Sosmix? Read the packet and weep vegan tears of joy and happiness. It seems after all those months of petition signing and emailing - Haldane Foods listened and finally saw sense. So you can all give yourselves a congratulatory pat on the back. And whilst it's not on a par with banning Seal clubbing - cyber activism DOES work, so don't give up. And I know you're all dying to know how come my blog is adorned with so many wonderful photos - well this particular heathen vegan is cameraless no more. HURRAH! Be prepared for lots of food porn over the next few weeks as I have some serious catching up to do. GO VEGAN!


Felicity said...

Yay, you're back! I've never been to the Vegan Fayre in Brighton, but was at the one in Bristol a few years back. There is so much good food at those events. I love the Affinity organic vine leaves as well, they're awesome.

Looks like you MIL really knows how to boogie, you go girl!

I've never been to New Forest, can you believe it? Looks amazing. I guess at one time, most of England was covered in forest like that. I didn't know they had Giant Sequoias there. Will defo have to make a trip this year.

Glad you got another camera... let's hope this one doesn't end up in the toilet like the last two ;)

Jenn said...

Yay, photos! Glad you had a good trip and the vegan fayre sounds cool.

Carrie said...

That's awesome that your MIL boogied the night away! The Fayre sounds awesome and the New Forest must be so beautiful!

Tami (Vegan Appetite) said...

It's fascinating about that forest. I had no idea that there were giant sequioas in the UK. I'm sure it is an incredible experience to visit.

Looks like you had a great time and the vegan fayre sounds wonderful, too!

catalangardener said...

Ah you made me smile, remembering camping in the New Forest Eons ago. Got so freaked out in the morning coz of all the wierd shadows on the tent - we were surrounded by cows. The dog was very confused!

Glad to hear you had such a great time in Blighty.

Mihl said...

I've been thinking about you today and there you are! Glad to hear you had a great time in the UK.

Laura said...

Ohh you got some awesome food, I hope I can get to the Vegan Fayre one day it's a looong way from where I am though :(

Anonymous said...

I so missed you my tree-hugging pal! First, your MIL is so rockin' - here's to still shakin' it at 80 and beyond!
The New Forest sounds amazing! I'm sure the energy there is incredible. So much history, living history, witnessed by those trees. And I was oblivious to the fact that Sequoias even existed in England! Learned something today I did indeed.
I am soooooooooo jealous of your Sheese. I have written them, but they have very limited distribution in France and it's so hard to find!

Ricki said...

You've been missed! What a cool M-I-L you've got--80, wow!

Sounds like a great trip overall. The forest is gorgeous. :)

pavotrouge said...

Brighton is awesome! :( that I couldn't go this year. and yay for vegan sosmix being back!!!

Vegyogini said...

Welcome back! I hope I'm dancing the night away at 80, too. :)

I spent a lot of time at Sequoia National Forest here in CA as a child; we used to camp there as a family. I had no idea there were Sequoias in England, as well.

Lucky you to have attended the Vegan Fayre!

ginger said...

you're adorable! i totally missed you! i was wondering where that tree was because it looked like you were in california in that picture i saw on FB, but knew that wasn't possible. gorgeous, beautiful and wonderful!!

isn't that sheese stuff fantastic? i can order it online, but it's not for sale in any stores here yet...i'm so looking forward to that!

wingraclaire said...

Welcome back!!! I had never heard of the New Forest but it sounds amazing. So hard to believe that there is an untouched part of Europe - that is really wonderful! If I EVER visit England I will definitely want to go there.

What is Sosmix?

Your MIL looks like she is having fun! It's great that you were there to celebrate with her. She must have lived a good life to have the stamina to out-dance her guests!

We just observed "Earth Hour," which I first heard about from you. Sat around with candles... although I confess my husband was still watching College Basketball Championship finals on the computer!

Yay for your new camera... I'm sure you've been having lots of fun using it!

Chelsea said...

Someday I will go to the Vegan Fayre!!! And all of that loot!!! Can you tell how jealous I am? haha The forest pictures are so beautiful... we have a lot of forest here in Oregon, but it looks completely different. One of the few things about having a car that I really miss is driving out into the wilderness and going on long hikes and whatnot. It's Earth Hour in 12 minutes here, so I better stop typing and feed the cats before I have to do it in the dark! :)

River said...

YAY, Jeni's back everybody!

What a fun post! It starts off with your awesome mother in law dancing like a dancing queen! She's just lovely!

The Vegan Fayre sounds like a lot of fun. You look so cute and happy with your little drink! That's too bad you missed Susan, those stupid unreliable cell phones! "Billy no mates" LOL! You crack me up, Jeni!!

Can I come visit you to your hermit house on the tree? What a lovely place, I could use a neighbor-free place! :)

You're hugging a tree - how very fitting with your blogger name!

I'm sorry Kitty's story made you cry. The awesome news is that his Fairy Godmother sent us an update with some pictures of him and he's doing great! The pictures will go on my next blog post! :)

Sal said...

aww sounds like you had a great time and that vegan fayre was rad. I was so gutted to miss it and meeting you! :(

I love that plamil mayola that's in your pic of swag! I had to buy a crappy Life Free From one today as they didn't have mayola in my local supermarket!

Hurrah for sosmix going vegan again!!

aTxVegn said...

Yes, we did miss you! I'm so glad you had a fabulous trip. What great food finds and fun places to visit.

You really are a treehugger!

miss v said...

wow! you've been one busy girl! so much awesomeness. new forest looks really neat - i'd love to go there sometime.

Aubade said...

Aww your dancing MIL is adorable and so are you! You seem like such a fun person, I love the pic of you hugging the tree.


Welcome back to you and to my toys!!!
Check out my latest pot.

For the Love of Guava said...

You're Back!! You're Back!! **Knocks treehugger over with some Guava lovin'** Sheesh lady that was some disappearing act! But you're back!!! And with a new camera so we can really stay in touch!

Congrats on the new house! That's amazing you'll have to post pics! Guava is actually renting her first house right now! Teehee... not quite the same as being able to paint my walls red but it's so cute. Plus, I figure if I was sitting there in those overalls no matter what color my walls were the room would be bright huh???

Tehee.. I knew you'd love those... I could totally see us frolicking about the new forest in crocheted outfits... someday treehugger... someday...


Anke said...

You´ve been there? Me, too! What a shame we didn´t meet!!!! Hopefullyyou enjoyed it anyway!

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Hollie said...

I loved your photo of the food, I wanted to read all the package names and see what I'd want to eat!

It was also so cool to see a photo of you! Made me want a beer!

Bethany said...

welcome back! And congrats on your new cam. I hope you have read it the riot act to stay out of the loo :)

I loved brighton - especailly the eating part. very nice.

I wish that I had known about the new forest. that would have been really nice to see. They have some mega trees in the national forests in Washington state where I live. so big that you can't really back up far enough to get a pic of the whole trunk or even the whole tree. very mind boggling. I always think of them when I plant a tree, wondering if it will be that big some day.

sp said...

Oh the Vegan Fayre! It sounds amazing.
The photos are great. I love the treehugging picture. It saddens me to think about how recklessly they clearcut here.

Bethany said...

Hey Jeni, wasn't sure if your comment on my site meant you were interested in doing PIF or not. hopefully yes :)

Jeni Treehugger said...

Bethany no, I already have three PIF's to do!!!
Wanted to leave you a comment anyway.

Bethany said...

wow, 3 PIF's? you are the crafting queen! I'm sure you'll send out fabulous stuff. Looking forward to the pics.

ps. I just figured out that you're hugging that tree. I'm not too quick sometimes :)