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THE BEST RESORT IN THE MALDIVES FOR VEGANS – NIYAMA PRIVATE ISLANDS

Matt and I were incredibly lucky to be able to spend our honeymoon on the paradise island that is Niyama Maldives. We chose Niyama as they have beautiful rooms, an under the sea restaurant (!!) and most importantly, offered an amazing selection of vegan options. We spent our time at Niyama snorkelling in the crystal clear ocean, relaxing on the white sand beach, cycling around the island and eating the most incredible array of vegan food across Niyama’s restaurants. It really is vegan paradise and I’m so happy to share all of the details of our stay with you all.

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DINING OPTIONS

Niyama has 2 restaurants, BLU and EPICURE, that offer all-day dining for the breakfast and dinner buffets, as well as an a la cart lunch menu. There is also an amazing variety of a la cart restaurants, ranging from Nest, a tree-top asian restaurant, to Subsix, an under water fine dining restaurant and bar.

The lovely head chef JP welcomed us upon our arrival to the island, and ensured the head chefs at all of Niyama’s restaurants knew about our dietary requirements . We were so impressed by the chefs & their teams in each and every restaurant we visited, as they were all incredibly knowledgable about what veganism is, and could not have been more open to veganising dishes for us or going completely off-menu to create new bespoke dishes. I’ve never experienced such amazing hospitality, and I truly could not be more grateful and humbled.

In this post you’ll find a summary of the vegan options available in each of Niyama’s restaurants, and I’m super excited to share that the team informed us they will soon be introducing vegan menus across all of their restaurants, based on many of the items we got to try that are featured in this blog post!

BLU

Blu offers Mediterranean inspired dishes and is open for all day dining. The menu has several vegan-friendly dishes, as well as some which were very easily veganisable with a simple swap. The head chef Chinthaka and his team were also more than happy to go off menu and create new items for us, such as vegan cheese, and much to Matt’s delight – a vegan paella.

Matt and I are huge falafel fans, and love all things Mediterranean, so Blu became our go-to spot for lunch pretty much every day of our ten day trip. As we had quite a long lay-over at Male airport, the amazing team even made us a falafel and hummus packed lunch on our last day to keep us going on the long journey home.

Daily go to lunches ►►►

  • Chickpea falafels (swap garlic sauce for tomato salsa) & Veggie Arabic Tasting Plate
  • Garlic Pizza Bread & Vegetarian Pizza (ask for no cheese)
  • Penne napolitana
  • Specials: cashew vegan cheese, veggie paella

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EPICURE

Epicure also offers all-day dining, including internationally themed cusine dinners each day, as well as the best breakfast buffet I’ve ever eaten in my entire life.

The staff at Epicure became great friends during our stay. Asso was our main waiter & is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met. He made sure we had delicious food throughout our entire trip and also ensured that it was super instagrammable – what a guy!

Daily go to breakfasts ►►►

  • Fresh coconuts from Imran the coconut man (check out my vlog to see Imran’s amazing talents picking coconuts from the tree)
  • Vegan fry up – baked beans flavoured with so many delicious herbs & garlic, hash browns, fried tomatoes & mushrooms
  • Pancakes, waffles & crepes – Ganesh is the ultimate pancake king, I still dream about his pancakes daily!
  • Dairy-free Coffee – Matt & I don’t drink coffee (I know, we’re weird) but if like most people you do, Habeeb is your guy. He makes fresh coffees every morning with amazing coffee art, a huge variety of non-dairy milks and a side dish of jokes 😉

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Chaminda is the head chef at Epicure and every evening he made sure we knew exactly which dishes on the buffet were suitable for vegans, and even though there was always plenty of choice, every evening he made us extra dishes based on whatever international cuisine was featured at Epicure that evening.

Some of our Epicure International Cuisine Highlights ►►►

  • Mexican Night: bean stew (amazing), fried rice, veggie fritters & spicy potatoes
  • Maldivian Night: lentil dahl, roasted pumpkin, chapati, poppadoms & chutney
  • Asian Night: Sweet & sour stir fry, coconut curry & veggie fried noodles
  • Italian Night: Tomato & veggie pasta, rosemary potatoes & salsa, pumpkin & rice

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NEST

Nest offers asian dining in the most stunning, tree-top setting! The main menu had quite a few vegan-friendly dishes and Gai, the head chef at nest, kindly created a special vegan menu for us too, which is now available for any vegan guests staying at Niyama. We ended up selecting a few dishes from each. The clear soup was definitely my favourite and Matt absolutely loved the coconut curry.

Vegan-friendly dishes we ordered ►►►

  • Fried tofu & soya bean rice paper rolls (main menu)
  • Tempura vegetables (main menu)
  • Cracker box (vegan menu)
  • Clear Soup (vegan menu)
  • Smokey Southern Curry (vegan menu)

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SUBSIX

Subsix is Niyama’s resident under the sea (yes, you read that right UNDER THE SEA!) restaurant. Alongside vegan food and beautiful rooms, Subsix was one of the main things that attracted us to Niyama. Not only did it live up to our expectations, if far exceed them and was the most incredible dining experience I’ve ever had. Set under the sea, the restaurant features panoramic glass windows which look out at the wonderful marine life.

Not only is the setting absolutely mesmerising, but the restaurant also offers fine dining, with Michelin Star style food. Head Chef Andy created a vegan menu especially for us, which was nothing short of decadent. The experience was so incredible that it definitely warrants its own blog post which will be coming soon.

Vegan set menu ►►►

  • Seaweed bread with oil and balsamic vinegar
  • Truffle potato with charcoal (incredible)
  • Tomato gazpacho
  • Beetroot Flower
  • Herb fried polenta with eggplant puree, asparagus & confit tomatoes
  • Strawberry and Passionfruit Gelato with Basil Sorbet

You can also head to Subsix for evening Glow parties a couple of times a week, featuring a lot of glow in the dark paint, amazing music and cocktails.

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TRIBAL

Tribal offers a selection of African, Central & South American Cuisine – and in fact is the only speciality African restaurant in Maldives. The restaurant setting is beautiful, with an outdoor tent feel and the food was amazing. Once again the chef was super helpful and pointed out which dishes from the menu were veganisable. Although we were unfamiliar with the names and therefore didn’t know what to expect, our dinner at Tribal was one of our favourite meals from our entire trip as all of the food was so flavourful and unique.

Vegan-friendly dishes we ordered ►►►

  • Roasted cauliflower & potato soup (no sour cream)
  • Pap and mushroom potjie (no cheese)
  • Quinoa Chaufa

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DUNE

Dune is the beach bar next to epicure and offered casual lunch dining. On the very rare days that we didn’t head to Blu for our favourite falafel lunch, we loved eating at Dune. The soups were some of the best soups I’ve ever eaten.

Vegan-friendly dishes we ordered ►►►

  • Roasted tomato soup (no sour cream)
  • Pumpkin soup
  • Grilled vegetable panini with fries (swap mozzarella for tofu)

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VLOG

Overall, we had an amazing time at Niyama; it was absolutely dreamy to be able to stay somewhere that combines natural beauty, incredible hospitality, and some of the most amazing vegan food we’ve ever eaten. I genuinely cannot recommend Niyama enough and can’t wait to plan our next trip there. If you’d like to watch my vlog of our trip for more details about what we did and ate at Niyama, you can watch that below.

Niyama very kindly gave us a press discount to stay and review the vegan food and also gifted us the AMAZING meal at Subsix. All opinions expressed in this post are entirely my own & we are so grateful that we were able to stay at such an incredible resort.

Marston’s New Vegan Menu

Have you guys seen that Marston’s Pubs have introduced an exciting new no meat menu featuring super inventive menu items such as jackfruit wedges, the Moving Mountains B12 Burger and a raspberry jam donut pudding?! I’m not ashamed to admit that Matt and I headed to our local Marston’s on the first day the menu launched as Matt was extremely excited to try the ‘bleeding’ B12 burger!

Starters ▹▸▹

To start, we ordered the jackfruit wedges and the buffalo cauliflower wings to share as they both sounded delicious! The jackfruit wedges were super chunky and were topped with black beans & jackfruit in a delicious chilli style sauce. The cauliflower wings were super crunchy, a little bit spicy and completely delicious!

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Mains ▹▸▹

For main, Matt of course ordered the B12 burger and I went for the mushroom pie. We usually share dishes so that we get to try more of a menu, but as a pretty much life long veggie, the realisticness of the burger kinda freaked me out so I couldn’t bring myself to try it! Matt on the other hand was a huge fan! He said it was very realistic and had a great flavour and texture; so for anyone who likes the taste of traditional burgers but also loves animals, then this is the burger for you!

Desserts ▹▸▹

Although we were full after our delicious starters and mains, we knew we had to make room for dessert as the menu had such original, exciting options! Matt ordered the raspberry jam donut pudding and I went for the rhubarb and ginger pudding which was absolutely heavenly. The sponge was so light and fluffy and the rhubarb and ginger flavour combination was delicious.

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There’s still lots of menu items we’re excited to try, like the Tikka Masala and the Buffalo Cauliflower Tacos, so I’m sure we’ll be back very soon and I’ll be sure to update this post with the details. And of course, if any of you guys have been to a Marston’s to try their new vegan menu – I’d love to hear what you tried and what you thought!

Rome Vegan Guide

Rome is a beautiful city filled with historic landmarks to visit and so much incredible vegan food. Not only are there lots of restaurants and cafes with clearly marked vegan items on their menu, but pretty much every restaurant we visited was able to easily veganise their dishes by simply removing the cheese. This made it super easy to eat vegan with little to no planning! However, I’ve compiled this city guide of all of the food, attraction & accommodation highlights of our trip so that you can come to Rome feeling prepared, without having to do any of the planning! I hope you have an awesome time in Rome!

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WHERE TO EAT ▹▸▹

As we visited Rome with non-vegan friends, the majority of our meals were not at vegan restaurants, so before I get into the delicious meals we ate at restaurants with vegan items on their menu, I thought it’d be helpful to share how we veganised meals at most restaurants. For starter, we would typically order bruschetta which was nearly always naturally vegan without any modifications required. Then for main, we would order spaghetti pomodoro or arabiata (and be sure to check there was no egg in the pasta) or a marinara pizza (which naturally has no cheese) with added veggies (and be sure to check there was no milk or eggs in the base). For desert, we would head to a gelateria , lots of which had clearly labelled vegan options.

Rifugio Romano

Rifugio Romano was by far the food highlight of our trip. I loved it so much that I wrote the restaurant its own full review here, but I’ll sum up the key details in this guide too.  The restaurant is located close to Termini station and has a small seating area both outside and inside. Both times we visited it was super busy – a testament to how amazing the food is – so be prepared to wait a little while if you’re in a bigger group. The restaurant has an extensive vegan menu as well as a non-vegan menu, making it the perfect place to visit with non-vegan family and friends.

We were spoilt for choice so decided to order lots of dishes to share – falafel, arancino, crocchetta, carbonara, lasagne, tiramisu & a creamy caramel biscuit desert that I can’t remember the name of – they were all absolulety delicious.

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Vivi Bistrot

Vivi Bistrot is located in Piazza Navona and has both vegan and non-vegan items on their menu. After days of eating exclusively pizza and pasta, we all ordered burgers, and let me tell you, this burger is one of the best I’ve ever eaten!

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Ristorante Porta Castello

This cute little vegan-friendly restaurant is located close to the Vatican and serves delicious pizzas that are so big, they are bursting off the plate, so be sure to bring your appetite.

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Di Quà

Di Qua is a beautifully decorated restaurant near the Spanish Steps which had a few dishes that could easily be veganised. I had a mixed bruschetta and Matt had a spaghetti arrabbiata which he absolutely loved!

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Arena Del Gelato

This little gelateria located close to Vatican City has a huge range of vegan gelato including this delicious dark chocolate flavour.

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WHAT TO DO ▹▸▹

The Vatican & Sisteen Chapel

A tour of the vatican is a must do whilst you’re in Rome as the architcture and art is breathtaking! Be sure to book your tickets in advance, as the queue to get tickets on the day can be hours long! We purchased entry tickets with an audio guide so that we could explore at our own leisure.

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The Colosseum

Not only is the Colosseum a stunning piece of architecture, it also has a fascinating and extremely gory history so I would definitely recommend purchasing an audioguide on your visit. Once again, we booked our tickets in advance, to avoid hours of queuing on the day.

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The Trevi Fountain

The Trevi Fountain is another must visit whilst you’re in Rome. As it is an historic piece of architecture and is in a public place and therefore free to visit, it is always packed with tourists in peak season. Despite the crowds, it is still a beautiful place to chill out with some gelato (we found an awesome vegan-friendly gelateria close by – Antica Gelateria Trevi).

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WHERE TO STAY ▹▸▹

We stayed in a beautiful hotel which was walking distance (assuming you don’t mind 40 minute walks) from all of the major attractions. The best part of our hotel was definitely the rooftop terrace which was a cool place to chill out in the evening with a few cocktails with a view overlooking St Peter’s Basilica.

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I hope you found this guide helpful and if you have any awesome vegan-friendly restaurants to recommend, be sure to comment them below.

RIFUGIO ROMANO – VEGAN RESTAURANT IN ROME

The food highlight of our trip to Rome was definitely visiting Rifugio Romano – a cute little restaurant with an extensive vegan menu, as well as a non-vegan menu – making it the perfect place to visit with non-vegan family and friends. The restaurant is located close to Termini station and has a small seating area both outside and inside. Both times we visited it was super busy – a testament to how amazing the food is – so be prepared to wait a little while if you’re in a bigger group, it’ll definitely be worth it!

The menu is full of traditional Italian dishes that have been veganised and everything looked so delicious that Matt and I really struggled to decide what to order. So we decided to order a few extra dishes and share it all.

For starter, we ordered the falafel, arancino and crocchetta. All 3 were delicious, but the falafel with vegan mayonnaise were my favourite – the mayonnaise was definitely one of the best mayonnaises I’ve ever had!

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For main we ordered the carbonara – which is one of Matt’s favourite foods – and the lasagne. Being a pretty much life-long veggie, I’ve never tried carbonara before but I absolutely loved it, and I’m pretty sure Matt was an even bigger fan!

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We also both loved the lasagne, which was creamy, tomatoey and full of flavour.

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Although it is super easy to veganise italian main courses, aside from gelato, most of the vegan dessert options on non-vegan menus were sorbet or fruit. So, I was super excited to indulge in a decadent vegan dessert at Rifugio Romano and decided to go with the tiramisu.

Facetune_24-07-2018-18-33-15Matt went for this creamy caramel biscuit dish (the name of which escapes me) which he loved!

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If you find yourself in Rome, Rifiguio Romano is a must visit. We absolutely loved every dish we tried and there is so much choice that we could have eaten there every day and enjoyed something new!

BUDAPEST VEGAN GUIDE

Budapest is an awesome city to visit, as not only does it have an abundance of delicious, reasonably priced vegan food; it also has lots of unique things to do. I’ve compiled this city guide of all of the food, attraction & accommodation highlights of our trip to save you guys time when planning your visit. I hope you have an awesome time in Budapest!

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WHAT TO EAT ▹▸▹

GREAT BISTRO BUDAPEST

Great Bistro Budapest came with very high recommendations from my lovely instagram audience, so we were very excited to discover that it was located just a short walk away from our hotel. It’s a fully vegan restaurant with cute decor and delicious food which definitely lived up to and even exceeded our high expectations (evidenced by the fact that we visited three times during our trip)!

The chickpea omelette with tofu bacon was both of our favourite dish. In addition to the perfectly crisped tofu bacon, the flavourful omelette was brimming with salad, vegan cheese and a delicious creamy sauce.

Great Bistro Budapest

Accross our various visits, we also ate a tofu bacon sandwich, pancakes, tomato pasta and risotto, all of which were delicious. But what really stole the show for me was the traditional hungarian dessert (I ate it twice in one day!!) I’m not sure exactly what the ingredients are, but it tasted like chocolate and traditional custard and had the most delicious pieces of sponge cake in the bottom.

Great Bistro Budapest

HUMMUS BAR

Hummus Bar was another of our favourite eateries that we also happened to visit 3 times during our stay, twice to eat in and once to take away as it was so close to our hotel.

They serve delicious falafel, hummus and tahini in very generous portion sizes. Unfortunately the vegan options aren’t labelled on the menu, so I’ve contacted Hummus Bar on Facebook to ask for a full list of vegan options and will hopefully be able to share that with you all here soon. In the meantime, be sure to ask the staff which dishes are suitable for vegans on your visit.

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VEGA CITY

Vega City is a great 100% vegan, buffet style restaurant. They offer a huge selection of food and the warm meal menu changes week by week, keeping things fresh and exciting.

As the food is so reasonably priced and everything looked delicious, Matt and I ordered quite a few dishes between us to try. Matt’s favourite was the carrot kofta, whilst mine was the cashew cheese in breadcrumbs. We both also loved the battered seitan so much that we didn’t want to share, so had to order some extra!

Vega City Budapest

GOVINDAS

Govindas is a pure vegetarian restaurant serving authentic indian cuisine, with lots of vegan options. The staff were really helpful and pointed out which dishes were vegan-friendly. The creamy pasta dish was both of our favourite and we also loved the mini battered veggies.

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WHAT TO DO ▹▸▹

SZECHENYI THERMAL BATHS

One of the coolest things about Budapest is that that it sits on thermal springs meaning there are lots of outdoor thermal baths you can visit. From all of the research we (and when I say we, I mean Matt) did before our trip, Szechenyi Baths seemed to be the most popular. There are 18 pools, both inside and outside, of varying temperatures from ice cold to hot. Our favourite was definitely the beautiful outdoor hot pool, with the water temperature at 28 degrees, whilst the air temperature was only 10 degrees!

Szechenyi Baths Budapest

Szechenyi Baths also has the biggest sauna I’ve ever been in, as well as massage facilities if you feel like treating yourself to the ultimate pamper day.

Top tip: bring flip flops, as when you get out of the baths your feet will feel super cold walking on the paving!

CLIMB TO THE TOP OF GELLÉRT HILL

We climbed to the top of Gellért Hill which gives an amazing view of the city. Depending on your fitness levels, it is a little bit of a tricky climb but it is definitely worth it for the panoramic city view you get at the top.

Gellert Hill

RUIN BARS

Ruin Bars are a super cool concept found in the old Jewish Quarter in Budapest. They are built in the ruins of abandoned buildings and are filled with weird and wonderful eclectic furniture and decorations. Szimpla Kert is the original ruin bar and has two levels with various drink stations and lots of different rooms and unique features to explore.

Szimpla Kert Ruin Bar

Szimpla Kert is located just around the corner from Karaván, a street food court which includes vegan burger van Las Vegan’s. Unfortunately Karaván was closed on our visit but it has very high reviews, so I’m sure grabbing a vegan burger would make the perfect end to an evening at Szimpla Kert.

WHERE TO STAY ▹▸▹

We stayed at Prestige Hotel Budapest which was absolutely stunning. The lobby sits in the place of the former courtyard with the beautiful balconies of the inside rooms surrounding it creating an extremely breathtaking aesthetic.

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It was also ideally located amongst lots of vegan and vegan-friendly eateries, with Govindas opposite and both Hummus Bar and Great Bistro Budapest just a short walk away.

The hotel has an underground spa which is the perfect setting to relax in after a busy day of exploring the city. Located next to the gym, the spa has a chill out area, a sauna and the coolest hot tub I’ve ever been in (we’re talking 4 different jet controls, changeable flashing lights and a mini water fountain)!

I hope you all found this guide helpful and if you have any questions / recommendations of your own, please feel free to leave them down below.

BERLIN VEGAN GUIDE

WHERE TO STAY ▹▸▹

On both of my visits to Berlin I’ve stayed at Almodovar Hotel, an eco-friendly, 4 star hotel with a roof top spa and an awesome vegetarian and vegan restaurant. Located in Friedrichshain, the hotel is close to the metro station and within walking distance of loads of vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants.

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WHAT TO EAT ▹▸▹

BISTRO BARDOT

Almodovar Hotel’s restaurant, Bistro Bardot, serves delicious vegetarian and vegan food.

The breakfast buffet is a definite must, with its selection of vegan meats, tofu scramble, curry wurst and fresh bread. There’s also fresh fruit and variety of cereals if you’re a healthier vegan than me!

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We also ate dinner in the hotel and had the vegan mac n cheese which was absolutely delicious.

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BRAMMIBALS DONUTS

Brammibals donuts is an awesome little 100% vegan cafe that serves delicious handmade donuts, sandwiches and coffee. All of the food was amazing but the hummus sandwich and nougat filled donut were my faves.

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YOYO FOODWORLD

Yoyo FoodWorld serves super reasonably priced, delicious fast food in extremely generous portions. The schnitzel burger was absolutely amazing .

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VEGANZ

Veganz is a 100% vegan supermarket (how freaking cool is that?!) with a café attached. I wanted to buy absolutely everything in the supermarket, from cold meats & cheeses, to frozen pizzas, to dog treats, but as we only took hand luggage we unfortunately had to restrain ourselves. We made up for it by going crazy in the café and ordering two rounds of lunch. The cheese croissant and chocolate chip cookie were my favourites.

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WHERE TO GO ▹▸▹

REICHSTAG BUILDING

The Reichstag Building is absolutely a must-visit in Berlin. Walking around the Dome, you have a stunning view of the city, whilst the provided headset gives an insight into Berlin’s fascinating political history. What’s even better, entry is free but you need to book in advance as it is a high security government building.

(Vegan leather backpack from Create & Case)

BERLIN WALL

The iconic Berlin Wall’s East Side Gallery is covered in beautiful, thought-provoking art. After wandering the length of the wall and admiring the art, be sure to visit The Wall Museum as it was incredibly interesting to learn about history of wall and definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

 

MiiRO vegan ice cream

Guys, get excited because I have an awesome new vegan ice cream brand to tell you about and if you love creamy, delicious, chocolate covered ice-cream as much as I do, then you are going to love MiiRO!

MiiRO are a London based brand that creates deliciously indulgent 100% vegan ice cream, that is free from dairy, gluten, refined sugar, preservatives and artificial flavours but jam-packed FULL of goodness and flavour.

MiiRO currently has 3 flavours: Peanut Butter, Salted Caramel, and my personal favourite, Chocolate Hazelnut.

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With a rich chocolate coating on the outside and creamy flavourful ice cream on the inside, MiiRO ice creams are the ultimate dessert treat; and the thing that makes MiiRO extra special is that you can enjoy an insanely delicious ice cream (which tastes kinda naughty), whilst knowing that not only is it packed full of nice and healthy ingredients but it is also cruelty-free!

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If you’d like to get your hands on a box (or 10 ;)), then you can find MiiRO at Ocado (online), Wholefoods, As Nature Intended and Planet Organic. I’d recommend you buy quite a few boxes, as mine disappear pretty quickly!

I’m also super excited to share that as I love MiiRO ice cream so much, I have teamed up with MiiRO to run a UK-wide giveaway to give you guys the chance to try them out and see how delicious they are for yourself. The winner will receive a box of each flavour of MiiRO ice cream, along with one of my FRIENDS IN MY HEART FRUIT IN MY CART black tote bags. To enter the giveaway and be in for a chance of winning these awesome prizes, simply head over to my instagram (instagram.com/jadegreenvegan/) and checkout my latest post.

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