Goodbye 2014

So. Here we are, with a glass of wine (mu) and a cup of tea (B), overlooking the city, dogs barking and music drifting from parties all around. We decided to have a quiet one this year, to reflect on 2014 and set some goals for 2015, and start the new year fresh-faced and eager.

We ended our rather eventful year with War Horse at the Artscape. What an beautiful production: more on that later. But for now…

2014 was the year that:

  • Brendan and I had our first vegan New Year’s Eve at a special friend’s, chilling by the pool, drinks in hand, with a delicious paella, seitan and salad.
  • Vegilicious became officially recognised as a UCT society, AND the year that it (unofficially) expanded to the broader Cape Town! With the help of an awesome team, we managed to get one of the UCT food vendors, Purple Haze, to include a whole bunch of vegan options on the menu in their new outlet. Not only do they offer wraps with lots of vegan fillings, but all of their muffins are vegan and they are the only outlet to stock soy milk!
  • TEDxCapeTown made a massive contribution to the vegan movement in Cape Town by hosting their headline event with a 100% plant-based food ethos. I was on the food team, coordinating these efforts, with Plant as the caterers. We showed 800 people that they could enjoy vegan food for a day, and not feel in any way deprived! Oh yes. Mainstreaming veganism FTW.
  • I curated a panel debate (hosted as a TEDxCapeTownSalon event), addressing the question “Should Animals Be Off South African Menus?” With Jacques Rousseau, Prof David Benatar, Margot Janse, Nikki Botha, Brett Thompson and Angus McIntosh, it was highly thought-provoking—overall, a success! You can find the full debate (with Q&A) on YouTube here, or if you want the abridged version, here.
  • Brendan and I first traveled together, on honeymoon! We received a number of financial contributions towards this trip, as wedding gifts—for which we’re very grateful. Some highlights: meeting wonderfully generous and heartfelt people, including a whole bunch of vegans in Istanbul (!), journeys into history (Ani Ruins, Mt Nemrut, Antalya and of course the great Istanbul), a magnificent ballon ride in Capadoccia, a gulet cruise on the Med, and of course, the Orient Lindy Express! Our first ever Lindy Hop festival. Speaking of which…10353713_10152530687051884_287110355444190117_n
  • 2014 was the year we became obsessed with the Lindy Hop. More on this in future posts 🙂
  • The family’s beloved furry friends, Tarka and Flash, left us after many years. Mila is a newcomer to the household, and …
  • My second production with the Cape Ballet Centre. This time, a production called Cirque du Ballet: despite many hours of rehearsals and a few grumpy moments, it was a wonderful experience to be part of. Good friends became better friends, and I’m really looking forward to more ballet in 2015 with my fellow ballet nerds.
  • B surprised me with a little escape to the West Coast National Park, to celebrate our first wedding anniversary. Just what we needed after a hectic few months!
  • The annual visit of B’s brother, is always a highlight.
  • We had our first vegan Christmas. Yup, totally vegan, thanks to the generosity of both our families. We celebrated Christmas Eve with my in-laws, with nut loaf, seitan roast with stuffing, various festive salads, roast potatoes, Christmas pud with a cashew-based brandy sauce, brownies and ice-cream (it goes without saying that we had leftovers). Christmas Day was spent with my family, and we had a quiet lunch with mince pies, a tempeh meatloaf, salads and santa strawberries for dessert.

So to close the door on 2014, we’re feeling so much gratitude to all of the special people in our lives who contributed to making this year what it was for us. We love you, and we want to stay connected in 2015.


#myveganstory | Muriel

Here’s #‎myveganstory, maybe it will help inspire a #‎newyearsresolution or two, to take on the #‎veganchallenge!myveganstory

I was a self-proclaimed “ethical vegetarian”: I bought into the humane myth, and sought out “ethical” dairy and eggs. It somehow did not occur to me that dairy cows didn’t live out their lives in pasture, and neither did laying hens. I started to do some digging, and soon realised that there is no such thing as ethical dairy or eggs: cows are enslaved for their mammary secretions and chickens for their menstrual products; male calves are torn away long before their natural weaning period, and killed for their soft flesh (veal) and skin; billions of male chicks in the egg industry are killed every year, at just a day old, by gassing, maceration or suffocation.

As I was starting to learn all of these terrible realities, which the media and big business had quite carefully hidden from me, I had the opportunity to try vegan for 40 days with Brendan. He was looking for something to do for Lent, and couldn’t think of anything meaningful. I suggested we do the vegan challenge. BEST IDEA EVER. It wasn’t scary (I didn’t have to give up cheese “forever”) and it was awesome not to do it alone. Long story short, I never looked back. As I did more reading and met other vegans, I became happier and more comfortable in turning my back on that horrendous industry, and instead, discovering dozens of new foods. I bought my first vegan cookbook (The Vegan Table by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau), and learnt to love cooking. I’d always enjoyed baking, and I loved the challenge of baking without eggs and butter.

Being vegan today, in Cape Town, is easy as (vegan) pie. Seriously. There are hundreds of awesome vegan people here, and loads of “alternative” products in the supermarkets, and restaurant menus are becoming more and more vegan-friendly. Oh and of course, living in the Google age, there’s really no excuse!