Today’s This Is What A Vegan Looks Like contestant (I’m pretending I’m on a gameshow and wearing a gold sequin-encrusted jacket, bear with me) is Ellie Craven!
Ellie is from Pretty Good LDN – a blog she created with her fiancé as they spent a lot of time scouring shops, blogs and social media for products that aligned with their vegan values. They believe you can still ‘look pretty whilst doing good’.
I asked Ellie for a little background and she said:
“I’m a serial pootler – I love nothing more than a wander around a small corner of a big city finding little shops to poke about in and new places to eat tasty vegan treats. I post the best of these adventures (and other assorted snacks and things) on Instagram and put my favourites on an ever-growing map hosted on the blog I run with my fiance, Lewis: Prettygood. You can pretty much always find me on twitter.”
Thanks Ellie! Now for your ace Q&As:
1/ What made you go vegan?
In a short 3 month period I met Lewis, moved out of my bacon-centric flatshare, and moved into a new flatshare with the preachiest vegetarian I’ve ever met. A perfect storm. Lewis was really good at explaining the reasons for his veganism, and sharing documentaries like Vegucated and Forks over Knives with me when I asked for more info. Since I was trying to win his heart I was lobbying his stomach, so expanding my repertoire of vegan dishes meant I was rediscovering my culinary creativity too. Once I saw the many clear reasons to go vegan (and the total lack of valid counterarguments), all the delicious stuff I could still eat, AND a way to out-preach my flatmate, I was sold. I hovered around vegetarian for a month or two, but went all the way pretty quickly.
2/ If you could only watch 3 TV programmes for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Gilmore Girls. Forged in Fire (would exchange for Ice Lake Rebels or Life Below Zero – I love a bit of mild peril) and E.R.
3/ What or where’s your favorite place in the entire world?
This is a toughy, because I feel like I should say something other than ‘bed’. I love London, but I’m at my happiest in the Westcountry, ideally by the sea (East Devon forever).
4/ What are the vegan options like where you live?
I’m really lucky to live in London (vegan options is definitely in the ‘cons’ column for my Devon heartland (although there are promising signs courtesy of Seasons of Exeter), so there are loads and loads of options. Near us in Finsbury Park there’s a road that’s almost entirely restaurants, but sadly very few of them have vegan options at the moment (although Salvation in Noodles deserves a shout for having some and marking them clearly). If we want to eat out, we usually end up heading to Fed by Water in Dalston because their food is The Best. For breakfast, we tend to head East and tack on a pootle afterwards – I Will Kill Again is my current fave, but Black Cat and Gallery Cafe are always super solid choices too. I love finding new places so much I’ve made a map [link above] – there’s a bit of a boom going in London at the moment so I’m updating it on the regs, which is so satisfying. A new branch of Cookies & Scream just opened up near us and I could not be more excited. Within the first week we went 3 times.
5/ What is your idea of happiness?
I love those autumn nights where you can hear the rain outside but you’re all cosy inside with your best pyjamas and your favourite person, a hot chocolate each (compulsory soywhip and marshmallows, obv) and maybe something good from Cookies & Scream, you’ve got your scented candles on the go, and a good episode of Narcos or a trashy action movie on TV. The only thing missing is a cat to purr on my tummy, or one of the (ever growing) list of dream dogs for when we have our own place. When I can’t have this and I need a little lift, a really massive necklace tends to give me a boost tbh.
6/ Which three other vegans would you most like to be stuck in a lift with?
There are so many vegans I fangirl over on instagram, it’s hard to pick just three! I reckon Jen at Win Friends With Salad, Mel (@darkretro) and Sara (pomodoro e basilico) would make a pretty fun bunch to be stuck with – I feel like our laughs would be louder than any shouts for help!
7/ Do you have a favorite motto, if so, what is it?
I don’t think I have one, but I do say “no more miss nice girl” like Matilda when I’m about to get real serious about something.
8/ What are your all-time fave vegan things to eat?
A warm gosh brownie with ice cream from Cookies & Scream, a massive bowl of carbonara at Fed, a slice of Queen Vegan from Voodoo Rays, the Full English from Cookdaily, the breakfasty thing with the rosti from I Will Kill Again. At home, I love seitan bacon and pancakes with maple syrup, a big roast with homemade pie (my Christmas pie has even won over my resolutely carnivorous Brother in Law), or a homemade pizza. Once, we made big macs (including making our own sauce) and I’ve thought about them pretty much weekly ever since. There are so many other things, I’m such a glutton.
9/ What song do you most like to dance to at a party?
I am constantly dancing (usually to Kisstory) in my kitchen. My guaranteed floor fillers are Flowers by Sweet Female Attitude, Yeah! by Usher, Sweet Dreams by Eurythmics, and Dancing On My Own by Robyn. Also, anything that takes me back to indie discos in the late 00s, or anything from Stripped by Christina Aguilera. That album should be on every top 50 list going.
10/ Who in the world would you most like to see go vegan?
In terms of people in the public eye, I would absolutely *love* to see a mainstream TV chef go vegan, for just one of them to make the connection and see that preaching about ‘free range’ isn’t enough, and ‘humane’ slaughter ISN’T A THING.
At the same time, I’d love my family to make the connection too. We’ve always cooked and eaten together as a family when we all get together, and I was always raised to know exactly where my food comes from. It can be a bit of a jarring thing, I think on all sides, when someone in a family goes vegan. There’s lots of scope for misunderstanding each other. My family have been super supportive and my parents always find something so tasty to cook when we visit (including cake!), so I’ve been pretty lucky.