On Friday night I stayed with a friend overnight and I was very excited! Reason being that in the morning we would be up bright and early to drive into London, for this….
2 Floors of Vegfest London!- The UK’s biggest Vegetarian and Vegan expo! At the Olympia. Over 12,000 visitors attended the weekend, over 200 stalls exhibited with a variety of vegan approved goodies and there was to be lots more going on too- Live music, cookery demos, talks, awards, competitions and even stand up comics.
Some people hate ‘Lifestyle fairs’ and Expo’s such as this but I LOVE them, mainly for shopping- Retail therapy is my kind of therapy. If you don’t like crowds then its pretty much your idea of hell but if you like shopping at shows such as Discover Dogs, Baby and Toddler show, Ideal Home Show, Girls Day Out etc then you will be fine. I was with these 2 lovely people….
Day 1 was brilliant. The day got off to an annoying start with huge queues outside even for those with pre-booked tickets; but once inside I managed to snag lots of bargains, watch some cookery demos and watch an absolutely crazy band perform. I also sampled so much amazing food I was fit to burst!
I like this kind of fair not only to shop on stalls I am already familiar with but also to discover new companies and traders. At Vegfest everything is cruelty free and ethical so this is easy to do! I found out about SO MANY amazing companies I had never heard of before! Bohemian Chic Minerals had some makeup which definitely caught my eye and the T-shirts at Viva la Vegan and Simple Animal Designs were super cute! I ended up buying a T-shirt from ‘All Glamour no Guts’ and Isn’t it gorgeous!
I was spoilt for choice on their stall as I loved everything, it seems many people were also loving the stock as by Sunday they had ran out of most of their jewellery and all of their hoodies and baseball shirts.
I also sampled some amazing foodie finds which I had never tried before including some new Tofurky Chicken which has not been released in the UK yet! I had already tried Tofurky sausages and slices after buying them in Holland and Barrett and V Revolution however my friend Chirag and his girlfriend had never tried it before. I am really glad we can buy it in the UK these days! I am not keen on the sausages although many others love them but so far the rest of the range has been delicious.
Also new to my palette was the coconut almond butter from Planet Organic which I had not tried before, it is a raw nut butter and was delicious. We all bought some of this! I tried so many great foods at Vegfest- Vegetarian caviar- delicious!, New products from Bute Island and Great Foods and lots of plant milks I hadn’t had before, as well as coconut bacon and tons of raw chocolate and energy bar brands which I had not enjoyed yet. Another clear champion though was ‘Follow Your Heart‘ once again this is a USA vegan favourite not yet widely available in the United Kingdom, I can safely say that the cheese shreds- which were being trialled in grilled cheese toasties! and the blue cheese dressing are both really good!
Later in the day I ran into many familiar faces including….
Luke from the Monkey Sanctuary, who had given an interesting talk at TeenVGN Summer Camp, Tom a volunteer from Summer Camp who had been volunteering on the Vegan Lifestyle Association stand and Alex another volunteer who was working with The Vegan Society!
I also ran into the lovely Sean from Fat Gay Vegan he came a well deserved second place in the Vegan Lifestyle Blog category for the Vegfest Awards- losing only to The Vegan Society itself! Well done. Fat Gay Vegan was promoting his future events and selling yet more brilliant T-shirts!
In the evening I met up with my friend Amy who I met at Teen VGN Camp in the summer, we went to her house on the outskirts of London to watch Nightmare before Christmas (HALLOWEEN IS ON ITS WAY!) and catch some Zzz’s before another chaotic day facing the crowds. I was ecstatic to not have to queue at all this day, I now realize that Sunday is the less busy day and was not ‘Sold out’ like Saturday- there were still tickets available on the door. Once inside we went to the Teen VGN zone before more retail therapy. I was pleased to discover that Heavenly Organics had won an award, when we visited their stand, as I loved the workshop at Summer Camp where we made our own Organic Skincare, and the tea tree facial oil has to be one of my favourite beauty products!
Back downstairs I saw my friends from Veganuary who I have been filming and recording with for their 2016 ad campaign, I was rewarded with some free Ten Acre crisps.. Thanks guys!
During the day on Sunday I had some more amazing food- including Pizza… This Pizza was seriously good. Gluten and Dairy free but 100% delicious and on a lovely thin Italian style base. All the food at Vegfest looked great and caterers included Happy Maki Sushi (giant sushi rolls!), Vegusto (Hotdogs) ,St Best and Brownins (both Caribbean) King Samosa (Indian Foods) and Loving Hut (Vegan fish and Chips and Chinese food) I think everyone must have been as spoilt for choice as I was. Most food was gluten free too which I know my gluten free friends would have been ecstatic about. Food prices ranged from around £4.99-£8.50 for a main dish with snacky type things starting at just a few pounds.
On my second day at Vegfest I was sure to spend some time at the TeenVGN zone. It was cool to hang out and chill for some downtime amongst the chaos, sweaty arenas and hectic shopping. Founders Kylie and Laura and volunteers Lucy, Kizzy and Anna were really busy not only manning the chill out zone but also selling the new Teen VGN merchandise on a stand downstairs. The new designs were very cute and quirky and sold well, meaning they must have been popular with all.
I went downstairs to do some more shopping and bumped into Victoria once again! Her earlier talk on charity ‘K9 Angels‘ was cancelled due to car trouble but she had arrived in time for her other appearance; in a debate- Single Issue Campaigns – Good or Bad. What a controversial but insightful topic!
I didn’t get back to Manchester till very late that night but I had had a terribly good time and bought all of this…
I would definitely recommend a trip to Vegfest to anybody considering visiting. You can buy things like pictured above,
See sights such as this,
And chat to people like this….
I hope you enjoyed my ramblings about last weekend,
Thanks for reading