Skin-Clear Challenge Update

So you have probably figured that my lack of updates mean that I am not really getting on so well with the challenge.

This is not the same size as the rolls I am currently eating.

You would be right. I am currently sat at my desk at work with two, yes TWO, tiger bread rolls to my left jam packed with salad (tiger bread controls me with it's deliciousness, dammit). Last night I had a nan bread. On Tuesday I took part in a vegan pizza cook-off. There has been a lot of bread in my life but thankfully my skin isn't too bad right now. Last week, when I was doing a lot better with the challenge, I did in fact attempt to make a video but the camera was playing up and rather than lose my temper with an inanimate object I decided to call it quits.

This by no means means that the challenge is over. Far from it. It's ongoing and, I'm going to do my best to video blog during this insanely busy Bank Holiday weekend.


The Skin-Clear Challenge

Rather unfortunately, I suffer from inflammatory acne.

The condition is painful and causes long term spots (which are more like nodules deep under the skin) but, more than anything, it is extremely detrimental to the self-esteem of anyone who suffers from it. In comparison to many, my condition is minor (and I truly feel for those people who have it bad) however I am ready to take some pretty drastic action to regain my confidence.

Recently, I have noticed what could be a possible link between my diet and the health of my skin, especially when it comes to processed foods. The more bread I eat, the worse my inflammatory acne seems to get. Rather stupidly, last week I ate some kind of bread every day and my skin is worse than it's ever been (mmmmm, delicious self-destructive tendencies) and so, I have decided to test a change in my diet.

The Skin-Clear Challenge

For the next two weeks I will be following a similar programme to Happy Herbivore's 30 Whole Days. I'm going to cut out as many processed and crappy foods as is possible and make sure the majority of my food looks like it did when it came out of the ground or from the tree or wherever. I will allow myself some luxuries, such as soy milk (because a girl's gotta have her Masala Chai) or dark chocolate and I may very occasionally treat myself to bread so long as I know it is free from preservatives and any other nasties.

My, what a sexy still of my face.

So, what the hell are you going to eat?

Here's an example of what I might eat on a typical day; in fact this is what I've put in my face today (so far!)

1 Banana
Nuts, raisins and sultanas

3 squares of dark chocolate

1/4 cucumber
1/2 tin black beans
Homemade guacamole

Garlic brown rice
Steamed courgettes, sweetcorn and broad beans.

2 ltrs water
3 cups of chai

See, not so scary huh? All quick, easy, delicious and readily available. Wish me luck and hopefully I can report back in a day or two or three with some positive results.

Review: Cafe Boscanova

Another review of vegan food here on the South Coast of England!

I've been to Cafe Boscanova a few times for breakfast/brunch. As a vegan living in Bournemouth it's always exciting to find a place that acknowledges us on a menu, as there aren't many. Cafe Boscanova is an independent cafe located in the Boscombe area of town; I believe it uses local produce wherever possible, displays artwork for sale on it's walls and offers free wifi to all customers, which can't be sniffed at. The customers are an interesting mix of people as you would expect to find anywhere in Bournemouth - there are lonely coffee drinkers, families, students and everyone in between. The staff are all lovely and rather easy on the eye too. (Superficial? Moi?) Overall the atmosphere is great; good music and good people.

Atmosphere Rating: 10/10

But, more importantly, what's the food and drink like?


Every time I visit I drink a Soy London Fog and, in my not so humble opinion, it's flipping delicious. For those of you who have never heard of it (which I hadn't) it's a big mug of earl grey tea with steamed milk and a shot of vanilla. They do also have a range of your usual cafe beverages and claim to be the best cup of coffee in the area. In addition they do a varied range of juices and smoothies, so even caffeine dodgers can have their thirst quenched.

Organic beers and wines are available too, either by the bottle, case or even for retail purposes.

Drink Rating: 9/10


The vegan options are minimal, however I'm used to this (as I'm sure most vegans are). On previous visits I've always had the We Don't Need No Eggs and Bacon (who doesn't love a play on words) and it hits the spot, just about. It's a large plate, covered in tofu chickpea scramble served with black beans, guacamole, salsa and tortilla chips. It's certainly a very different breakfast experience which is great however the tofu chickpea scramble needs some work. Yes, I love tofu and yes, I flipping love chickpeas (what with being the owner of the Facebook Chickpea fan page and inventor of Chickpea Tuesday) however something is missing. It needs a little more depth to the flavour and admittedly, I have made better tofu scrambles at home. The portion size is good, which is important too because although I may be small, I'm a hungry little person.

Today I went for the scramble again but instead had it on top of a bubble and squeak (purely because bubble and squeak is awesome). Needless to say I was insanely hungry and when it arrived I was a little disappointed with the portion size, especially when my man had a huge veggie English breakfast. Le sigh. I was also hoping that the deliciousness of the bubble and squeak would make up for the average scramble however it just wasn't cutting it. (Sorry guys!). Again, the depth of flavour was somewhat lacking, although I can't quite put my finger on why. It could just be a simple case of needing a tad more seasoning, although I understand that a cafe like that wouldn't want to salt things much, if at all.

For me, what's missing from the menu is a vegan option English Breakfast. I want toast, I want sausages, I want baked beans, mushrooms and a fine tofu scramble. If this were ever to materialise (hint hint) I would be a happy lady.

Apart from on-menu items, they do offer a few other vegan treats including Nakd bars and raw vegan chocolate energy balls. Omnomnomnom.

Vegan Food Rating 6/10

Kelly Monster's Final Thought

Overall, I would recommend Cafe Boscanova as a place to eat, drink and people watch. So, the vegan options need a tiny bit of work but without more people ordering vegan food and asking for more we won't get more! The place has a great atmosphere, a nice range of drinks (did I mention I LOVE SOY LONDON FOG?) and a definite potential to satisfy even the most food savvy vegan (yes, that would be me).

Thank you Cafe Boscanova for acknowledging the existence of vegans in this sheltered sea side town. I salute you.

Simple Vegan Guacamole Recipe

Guacamole is available, prepackaged, everywhere. For some reason many supermarkets add cream. I have no idea why, especially as avocados really are creamy enough all by themselves, so I've taken to making my own.
A bowl of the good stuff
This simple vegan guacamole recipe can be whipped up in a couple of minutes (at the moment I eat it almost every day and I make it in our very basic work kitchen) and is delicious. Proof that a fancy recipe doesn't always have to be the best recipe!


1 ripe avocado**
1/2 small red onion, diced
1 scant tsp garlic puree (or one clove garlic, finely chopped)
Splash of lemon juice
Salt and pepper

The How To Part:

* Cut the avocado in half and twist to reveal the stone. Discard of the stone, scoop the flesh from the skin into a bowl and mash.

*Add the diced onion and garlic and stir into the mashed avocado.

*To taste, add as much lemon juice, salt and pepper as is required et viola! You have a delicious, quick and easy dip.

I eat mine with wholemeal pittas, cucumber sticks and cherry tomatoes. Sometimes, for an added twist I'll dice the tomatoes and add them to the mix rather than having them on the side.

**Ripe avocados are a must for any guacamole recipe. I have found the best fruits come from small independent shops rather than supermarkets, where they tend to be far from ready, more expensive and not as tasty.

Random avocado fact: They contain more protein than cow's milk. Hell yeah!