A Very Vegan Birthday
The 30th of November was my 25th birthday. Birthday's are always bitter sweet for me, I love celebrations, presents, eating out, seeing friends. But I hate knowing I'm getting older, and I often get anxious about everything needing to go well. In spite of all this I had an amazing birthday this year, and I only cried a tiny little bit!
My birthday started a couple of days before, when my sister, Alice, told me she was taking me out for a surprise. The only clue I was given was the dress code, I had to dress up, no trainers or jeans. I was so excited, and as we travelled by train to Victoria I quizzed Alice to try and get more clues. She gave nothing away though. We arrived at Victoria and headed to Knightsbridge. We got a bit lost on the way so ended up having to get an Uber to make sure we arrived on time, Alice blamed citymapper. We pulled up outside the most Christmassy building covered in garlands and lights. It was so pretty I knew we had arrived. But I still had no idea what we were doing.
We walked into a beautiful recption room with a massive Christmas tree and for the first time I realised we were in a hotel. We were shown through a thick pair of double doors and I noticed a cake stand. "Are we having afternoon tea" I whispered to Alice, "Vegan afternoon tea!" She replied. We were shown to our table, and told our BUTLER would be over to serve us soon. The room in which were sitting was beautiful, with a grand fireplace, larger bay window, chandelier, and walls adorned with paintings and illustrations.
Once we sat down at our crisp white table I gushed to Alice about how excited I was. This place was so FANCY. We were delivered by far one of the poshest menus I had ever seen, emblazoned with The Egerton House Hotel.
Alice had already ordered two vegan aftenoon teas, so we just had to choose our tea. We both went for flowering teas. I chose jasmine and lily, while Alice went for osmanthus. These teas arrive at the table looking like flower buds, as hot water is added they slowly open or flower and release the tea inside. They were both delicious, if you are into herbal teas definitely try them. They added a touch of the dramatic to the table.
We were then served the accompaniments to our tea, on a three level cake stand. The bottom layer contained vegan sandwiches. We had coronation chickpeas, grilled vegetables, guacamole with rocket, caper tapenade and tomatoes and the traditional cucumber with a vegan butter. The sandwiches were delicious I loved the vegan twists on sandwich classics, such as coronation chickpeas. The breads were beautifully soft and each one suited the filling perfectly.
The second layer contained two scones each, one plain and one that contained sultanas. Both of which were served with coconut clotted cream. I haven't had a scone since going vegan and they were such a delight. The coconut clotted cream was superb!
And finally the top layer contained cakes. We had two lemon drizzle sponges, a chocolate brownie, a custard fruit tart, a custard filled cupcake and a coconut and vanilla sponge. The cakes were so fluffy and light. The custard in both the tart and the cupcake was divine, soft and vanillery. But the coconut sponge was by far my favourite, i love coconut and the sponge was just heavenly light.
The whole experience was just a dream. I felt like a princess for an afternoon, in my pretty dress, drinking tea from china mugs and eating cake with a knife! We were so stuffed from the sandwiches and scones, we couldn't finish all the cake. So the staff kindly boxed up the remaining cake. The cakes stayed fresh and tasty for a couple of days and were real treat at home too. Me and Alice finished off our day by wondering around Harrods pretending we were rich enough to buy everything in there. My actual birthday rolled around and of course that meant presents! Firstly four beautiful eye shadows from Jamie, from Makeup without Malice, an online shop with some of the most glittery sparkly vegan eye shadows I have seen. I have been coveting some of the eye shadows for quite some time now, so was thrilled to unwrap the present and see that un-mistakable little rabbit of their branding.hustle; a glittery pinky mauve, party monster; a goldy cream, hearts; a burnt orangey red concrete minerals. Plus AK47; a multicoloured glitter from Medusa Makeup.Obviously all of the makeup on the site is vegan and cruelty free. It's also very cheap, most eye shadows are between £4-£6.
I also received a tin of teas from my best friend Ellie. She knows I love tea, especially when it's fancy. I received the wellness collection. I mean what could be better than tea that makes you feel better! The tin contains a variety of flavours for a variety of situations. I am yet to try all the teas but I recently gave the 'comfort me' tea a try, this is organic chamomile, spearmint, ginger, basil, amalaki, vanilla, marjoram and guduchi (I don't even know what all these herbs are!). I was pretty stressed when I brewed it, and maybe it was just the act of making tea and taking the time to drink it, or maybe it was the effect of the herbs within the tea, but whatever it was I definitely felt calmer having drunk it! Plus it was pretty delicious.
In the day I also went to Muku Hair salon In Dalston for a vegan hair dye and cut, courtesy of my mum who paid for this as my gift. The salon itself is really cool, it was quiet when I had my hair done, 11am on a Thursday, so for most of my appointment I was alone. I took photos when I had my foils on where you could see the salon but being super rubbish I didn't save them. So you will just have to imagine; a salon with exposed brick work and vintage tiles, brown luxurious salon chairs, and hip light bulbs hanging from re-purposed copper pipes.
A while back I bleached my hair so I could dye it lilac. This was successful but it damaged my hair quite a lot. So when my roots started to grow through I decided to not re-bleach it. However this left me with dark blonde/ light brown roots and very light ends. I was absolutely sick of having half and half hair. The brown had reached close to the top of my ears. So I asked for the salon to even out my colour. I used this reference picture.
(Photo from www.elleuk.com)
Basically I wanted my hair to look close to my natural colour. My hairdresser used two shades of a dark blonde/light brown. one slightly lighter than the other to highlight my hair. She also highlighted the top half of my hair with bleach to blend the colours. I had a half head of highlights. She then applied a golden toner. Before she started this we discussed the colours and she let me know that where the hair is bleached it will hold colour less well. The vegan colours are all natural and therefore better for you hair so also fade quicker than traditional die. It will all depend how much I wash my hair and my hair type so I'm unsure how long it will last but the toner should last for a few weeks.
I then had a trim (much needed as I me fringe was getting in my eyes). I'm so pleased with the finished results, I think the colour is really natural and warm. I like the way the golden tones pick up the light, and it doesn't have that stereotypical streaky highlight look. Here is a photo of me actually in the salon, it's not the best. Below that is a photo of me a day after I had my hair done as you can potentially see the colour better.
The evening of my birthday was really special, me and Jamie came back to my parent's house, and my friends Ellie and Ella and my godmother, mitten came over. We got takeaway from Gourmet Burger Kitchen - they have a delicious vegan burger and great chips. We all sat around and drank Champagne and were merry. It was perfect. Thank you so much to everyone who made my birthday special. There were plenty more people I haven't listed, big shout out to my dad! It really was an amazing way to celebrate becoming a quarter of a century and here's to the next year.