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Monday, 28 February 2011

Beleiber Blog: Portrait of Justin 1

Beleiber Blog: "When you smile it is as if there are no more problems in West Yorkshire. Your lips are succulent, like two pieces of raw gammon attached..."


Lustin' for Justin?

Not me, God no. But I know a little someone who is . . .  hilarious. Think The Mighty Old Greg stumbles upon the nubile young Justin (little bit of sick). I quote "I want to take you for your first pint" . . .

This blog just expresses a healthy interest in wholesome pursuits and brotherhood. I think.

This little number too, deserves a quick chuckle:

"We've eaten tea. We had soup. I had oxtail, you had cream of mushroom, with bread
for dunking. We're doing the dishes together, you're washing, i'm drying. You're
in a playful mood, you flick some bubbles up in the air, they land on my nose. I
spray you with some fairy liquid. We're both covered in it. Don't worry, i'll clean up"

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Wish me luck

Oh God, so I have mentally signed myself up to Animal Aid's 'March is Vegan Month'!!! Well, it's actually Veggie Month, but I need to up my pace a bit if I'm to save the world. Incidentally, if you're not a veg, it's well worth giving a go: we're nearly at the 3rd month - most diets and many gym memberships have fallen by the wayside, and summer skin will be on show before we know it. A veggie or vegan diet will do wonders for your beach body - promise.

Animal Aid is on side to provide support - both mental and . . . physical? Dietry I suppose. With animal friendly recipes, local restaurants, and meat-free alteratives, Animal Aid will smooth the way. Now, the Veggie Month will be relatively easy; and I can say this in all truth, without meaning to be smug. Not eating animals is a piece of cake; I turned veggie when I was 2 (and no, my parents were actually both meat eaters), and I haven't looked back once. My Mum made me eat fish until I was 4 years old, for health reasons. At this age I then stopped eating fish - they have a nervous system just as we do, and feel pain and trauma just the same. My Mum took me to see 3 dieticians, for obvious reasons. Interestingly enough, 2 of these dieticians were actually vegan, and we were told that turning veggie was the best thing I could ever do for my health.

From that moment on, Animal Aid have been my guide, from helping me learn about where to find mad animal ingredients such as cochineal, gelatine, whey powder and glycerine (some chocolate bars, cheese, ice creams, cakes, biscuits and sweets), to learning which brands used veggie alternatives to the above ingredients, such as veggie whey powder (and no, it isn't always labelled as such - but usually is on cheese), pectin (instead of gelatine), various friendly alternatives to cochineal, such as beetroot, and glycerine from plant extraction.

The major baddies

Whey/ whey powder = made from the lining of a calves stomach. Think 'curds and whey'.
Gelatine = crushed up bones, horns, hooves and teeth that are then jellified.
Cochineal  = a food colouring made from the blood of bugs.
Glycerine = fats and oils, used in cooking and the preservation of products, keeping them moist and in tact.

Cadbury's tend to be pretty good and label products if they're veggie. Foxes biscuits tend to use veggie whey powder and other veg alternatives. Nestle don't label anything, the sods. Lion bars are sadly a no go for me. The best thing is to ring or email Nestle, and they will happily send out a product guide to what is good and what is, frankly bad.

It was a very good moment for me when Skittles stopped using gelatine. It was a pretty bad moment when I discovered that Smarties still use bug blood to colour their reds and pinks. I have never got over the fact that Iced Fancies also use cochineal in the pink ones. But in all seriousness, the hardest part of being a veggie is not being able to eat the majority of 1p jelly sweets. Go screw yourself Haribo. I do miss those fried eggs.

However, I shan't mope. There is a huge range of soya and Quorn alternatives to meat; from mince and chicken pieces, to amazing pies, sausages, 'steaks' - sorry though if you love it rare - turkey slices, bacon etc. Even fish fingers and scampi. It is a simple case of finding what you like - there are some excellent alternatives, and some not so good, so it is worth shopping around. Holland and Barrett are good, as are many health food shops, also you can find veggie alternatives such as Quorn Mince in almost every supermarket. Sainsbury's tend to have a decent range - and, they have finally signed up to only buy from meat suppliers who install CCTV in their abattoirs!!! Huzzah!!!

That said, getting cameras inside the slaughterhouses is just a tenth of the battle. Ensuring that they are well placed, maintained and monitored is another story. But, this is a victory nonetheless. Better still; don't let it get to that stage. Don't put your money into slaughterhouses. Simples. I believe that 6 out of the 7 slaughterhouses investigated recently were found to be breaking the slaughter legislations in place to ensure some degree of protection for the animals – and even this really is minimal. In addition to these breaches, some horrendous abuse from staff was discovered.

Check out for more info on this campaign. And if you decide to give it a go – good luck! It will be one of the best things you can do for the planet, animals and yourself. Even if you only last the month, be assured that you have done some real good for the world. Perhaps after March you will decide to have one or two vegetarian days a week, a la Paul McCartney. If you do, well done, and enjoy - it really is one of the best decisions you will ever make. 

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Down and Out in London

Not really, I'm no longer on the breadline. January was a tough month though - during the festivities I clearly was not as conservative with my pennies as I had thought - I spent the majority on Christmas presents, and Estonian potatoes/ vodka/ both. At one point I owed my slightly intimidating landlord 2 months rent (they call him the Cally Gangster; he's slight in stature, but he owns 400 properties), and I was doing the food shop in Capital Bond vouchers at Iceland. On that note, one particularly low shop involved me doing a spot of precise calculation; yes I can afford the biscuits, and no, Branston pickles are 25p over my budget - that sort of thing. Branston pickles, maybe not, but a pot of Piccalilli cost £1 exactly - which was spot on my budget. Piccalilli bought, I returned home rather please with myself. Except, Sten was distinctly unimpressed, and I don't actually know what Piccalilli is - or how to use it. So, one pound down the drain then. In voucher terms of course.

Anyhow, the reason for my temporary silence is that I'm applying myself - writing, learning Hindi, writing, making coffees at Sadler's Wells and generally sorting my life out. Money is starting to trickle in, and a plan is forming; I'm wide-eyed and hopeful. Admittedly, Hindi has gone by the wayside (as of last Thursday - too much. Too too much.), but in one week I served coffee and administered justice on Monday, wrote like the diligent writer I am on Tuesday, attended a Bunny Girl party with the names and faces of London Clubs on Wednesday, Hindi Thursday and Friday was spent hosting a charity event for Andy Gomarsall; a free bar, to a backdrop of Bentleys, Ferraris and Harley-Davidsons. England beat Wales, I stocked up on Jager-Meister, and some smashed old soak gave me £20 for giving him a bottle of Prosecco to himself. What a result.

I am supposed to be filming for an ITV pilot show this week - and I am dreading it. I was drawn in by the prospect of winning a grand - I have suddenly become aware of the fact that I am unwittingly getting involved in reality TV. OH MY GOOOOOD. Not sure I can handle that. In spite of the fact that I write this blog, I am actually a very private person. You should think yourself lucky - being admitted into the inner workings of my head and all that. So, I'll be in touch . . .