Nifty Nooks: Wellington…

So sorry for my little absence. Life has lacked inspiration lately so I escaped to the city to seek out the energy I was craving. Mix the gritty, character filled, streets of Wellington with old friends whom have so many new tales to tell and adventure driven spirits to help raise you from the ashes and you definitely gain a fresh perspective.

It was strange to be back in the city after seven months to find that not all that much had changed. People had of course moved on and the nostalgia was haunting in every familiar place with no recognisable face but it was wonderful none the less.

On Sunday I celebrated my twenty fourth birthday (which was bloody terrifying let me tell ya) and we all used that as an excuse to drink, dance and eat all we could. I spent a bunch of money but I laughed so much and just felt the light lift me again.

Obviously, seeing as coffee is the key to my existence, I spent a load of time sipping some of my favourite city brews. I forgot how good Wellington does it. I know I spent a bunch of time reviewing places when I lived there last year but I definitely missed out on some hot spots and I even tried some new places this time around. So here we have a wee nifty nooks round up. Do enjoy sweet little coffee beans.

Beach Babylon

Where? 232 Oriental Parade, Mount Victoria, Wellington 6011

Beans? Peoples Coffee

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These guys do everything from a classic cup of joe to vegan milkshakes to cocktails. They have main meals and cabinet food galore and the vibe is very retro and carefully cluttered like a lot of digs in it’s loudly alternative mother city. They’re on the beach front and despite the winter tempts we made the most of the delightfully rare no wind of the morning by brunching outside. A classic avocado smash on toast with some yummo vegan pesto was my hangover choice and just writing about it has me craving it again. The soy flat white was top notch too, good smooth coffee and skilled milk work. They use peoples coffee which is quite a standard choice up north but rather less so in Wellington, home of the havana roasters. Still doesn’t beat Flight or Kakako for me but still a yummy one.

Enigma

Where? 6011, 128 Courtenay Pl, Te Aro, Wellington 6011

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This cafe is the heart of my memories in Wellington. From plant pots of chai on a winter morning with my favourite people to late night munchies, mid night out. It’s one of those hubs for the people. I used to escape there back when I lived in the hostel at night to do some writing and grab some alone time. It’s dingy in an underground, hipster, way. Very Wellington. The coffee is pretty standard really but they do a nice coconut milk and they have vegan food both on the menu and in the cabinet. The sweet muffins are real nice and the courtyard out back is a niche little retreat. I really missed that electric no sleep mantra of the city. Everywhere in the Mount closes super early.

Beat Ugly Bagel

Where? 5 Swan Lane, Te Aro, Wellington 6011

Beans? Havana

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This was a new discovery, despite having been opposite my place of work back when I inhabited Cuba Street. I get the hype now, though I didn’t actually try a bagel (my mates were real satisfied). They use Havana which I’ve never been a cheerleader for but it was a good flat white none the less and I dug the energy of the place. The staff seem to genuinely have fun, shouting the orders to each other and repeating them back, dancing around behind the counter and having a top laugh with one another.

Milk Crate

Where? 35 Ghuznee St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011

Beans? Rich Coffee

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This spot is where you’ll find my ultimate favourite brew in the whole city. I found it about two weeks before I left back in November and made a huge effort to visit everyday because it was just that good. They’re just off Cuba Street, fronting a clean store that sells pottery and luxury clothing items. It’s one of them clean spaces, industrial looking and home to the less roguish and more pretentious city hipsters. But the coffee is fucking yum. It’s one of those rare spaces where I’ll more than happily nab a long black and enjoy every sip of it. They use Rich coffee, which is a roasters in Newtown, Wellington I do believe. And  it’s a beauty for sure. I hear wondrous things about their food too and I did spot some vegan bits flouncing around in the counter but I’ve not ventured into that territory so I can’t say. Just make sure this tops your list for city centre coffee fixes.

N x

Nifty Nooks: Wild One Wholefoods…

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Where: 9 Prince Ave, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga 3116

The Beans: Kokako (An Auckland based Roasters that is both organic and fair-trade.)

Favourites: Soy Flat White, Salted Caramel Smoothie, Coconut and Blueberry muffin (can you tell I have a sweet tooth?) and I’m sure there’d be more if I could only make it to the actual menu.

During the awkward days on my first arrival in Mount Maunganui I do what I always do, when I’m bumbling about a new place, and seek out a sanctuary. Away from the pollution of people in the hostel, away from the too crowded cafes over run with intimidatingly cool locals. I find Wild One Wholefoods on Prince Avenue, just off of Mount Maunganui road. It’s space is clean and vibrant and the selection of vegan options overwhelming. My love isn’t cemented until I take my first sip of the smoothest soy flat white I’ve had in weeks. It’s a beautiful thing. The gnarliest barista.

I come back day after day as I fall into a wandering routine. Broken only by the promise of my own room in a flat a little too far away to frequent so often. Though that’s probably the best thing because money only lasts so long (spoiler, I’ve since moved out of said flat and into one right across the road, Good bye savings!).

The girls who work there are the loveliest, always good for a chat if it’s quiet enough and always working their little butts off on busy days (I wrote up this review a couple months back before I actually became one of those gals haha! I love brewing up a storm so pop in for a coffee made by moi!). If you are vegan, gluten free, or health conscious in any way then this is the spot for you. The menu is inventive, though I barely make it past the cake fridge where you’ll find the coconut and blueberry muffin, which is my all time fave. And the owner is super cool, a young woman making waves of change with a little nook for the health and planet conscious cafe lover.

Love and Light, N x

 

 

Nifty Nooks: Cafe 88…

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Down in the Mount you’ll come to realise the heart of the coffee culture, in this tiny town, is held on the premises of two neighbouring cafes: Luca and Cafe 88. The former I’ve yet to snap any pictures of, though it was my first and possibly my best coffee in the Mount, so more on that soon, promise!

Cafe 88 is always busy. I used to find refuge here during my time living in the hostel across the road. It’s open a little later than a lot of the other cafe’s, closing at 5pm, so it’s always been a good spot for me to kill a few hours with a book and something sweet. The vegan caramel slice is my jam (it features in both pictures) and though Gravity coffee brings back haunting memories of the awful cafe I worked at in Wellington, as well as just being generally terrible, the Barista’s here are skilled enough to pull it off. Also, the girls behind the counter are just wonderful. Always smiling and passing banter between them despite how stressful I bet it gets working there. One of the barista’s, Katie, even hooked me up with a trial shift back when I was hating life working at my previous cafe. The trial was awesome and only proved that the staff are little rays of sunshine. I would of jumped on that job had I not heard back from my lovely little vegan nook first.

The atmosphere, though busy, is always electric. There are a whole host of locals chilling out in the back courtyard and tourists streaming in, enticed by their packed cabinet food. So if you want to feel at home in a place, this one is your best bet. You’ll be looked after and welcomed, no doubt about it, and you can grab something yummy in the process.

Love and Light, N x

Nifty Nooks: Ours

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Where: 195 Maunganui Rd, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga 311

The Regular: A large soy cappuccino with lots of cinnamon please! Most of the time (ok every time) I’ll choose a cake too, my favourite is the raw carrot cake but this raw raspberry cheesecake was canny too.

Ours is in the main hub of Mount Maunganui, another clean space with yet another impressive cafe menu. The cafe’s here just really do take their jobs seriously. The couple who own the joint are almost always there working hard, pulling shifts in both front and back of house and once you’re a regular there, they’re sure to greet you with genuine warmth each time you return. I have all of the time for hard working people who beam with the passion for what they do.

The main reason I keep going back is, honestly, because it makes for a good work environment. The coffee is good enough, though not my favourite. It isn’t anything lacking from the beautiful Barista’s, the art and temperature and all that jazzy stuff is always top notch, it’s more the beans themselves I guess. Just not my favourite, but still worth sipping whilst you take in the calm vibe and nab a blooming beautiful vegan treat from their cabinet (pssst…go for the raw carrot cake). I’ve seen this place rammed but mostly it’s a quiet little nook. This is a wonderful thing for people like me who get intimidated by busy spaces but I truly hope it picks up a whole bunch. I hear it only recently reopened under new ownership and it deserves all of the crowds. Trust me.

All the bestest, N x

Nifty Nooks: The Nourished Eatery…

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114 Willow St, Tauranga, 3110

Tauranga is a handful of city with a less hectic vibe. There are some halfway there towers of buildings, professionally dressed people dotted about the cafes and a lot of cool projects on the rise. When I feel like I need a little city wonder it doesn’t really do it for me but then there lies the charm of New Zealand, it’s tiny cities and easy flow of life. There is a starbucks in Tauranga and it is the main reason I ever ventured there in the first place. Starbucks has always been my constant as I’ve bummed about travelling, always a familiar mug of coffee in a nearly identical space. But nowadays when I head to Tauranga it’s for this place, The Nourished Eatery. It lies just a two minute walk from the city centre bus stop and first snagged me in because it advertised, not only vegan food but Flight Coffee too. And Flight Coffee is my preferred bean for sure.

They do an Iced Maple latte that you can have with any choice of plant based milk (every single thing here is vegan, not even cow juice is available for the drinks). I always go for rice milk and they serve the components separate so you can chose your own level of caffeineyness. Of course I just chuck all of it in there. I always want to go for one of their smoothies but I can’t get over how good this iced coffee is.

As for food, well, it’s just as impressive. There are the expected raw treats on display which do look yum but me and my sweet tooth always sidetrack them for the good, indulgent, baked stuff. So far I’ve tried their custard passionfruit donut, apple and cinnamon muffin, choc chip cookie and Banana loaf. Now I just always chose the banana loaf. They manage to make all of their cakes so fluffy and light which is always a problem I have when I bake vegan bits myself.

From the menu I’ve only ever tried the avocado on toast, it was insane. They give you so much avocado and the seasoning is wonderful thing. I don’t really have the foodie lingo to truly amp it up I guess but as far as vegan food goes this is a top choice here in New Zealand, definitely one of my favourites and of course it’s a local, independent, business which is always a bonus.

All those compassionate vegan vibes, N x

 

Nifty Nooks: Octopus’s Garden…

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Where: 373 Maunganui Rd, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga 3116

I woke up in an unfamiliar room in a seaside town shrouded by dark clouds, my motivation was trapped between new fresh white sheets and a fully hazy morning head. But I had no coffee waiting in the cupboard and a trip to the supermarket wasn’t a jump out of bed kinda thought. Exploring a new cafe, however, sounded all kinds of promising. My walk into town is a half hour on a main road and by the time I arrived at the first scattering of stores and cafes I couldn’t hold out for the main hub of the mount, this is when I decided to wonder into Octopus’ Garden.

The outside is all clean paint and the highest of hipster cafe aesthetics. The whole little shack and backyard courtyard scream summer and the pure vibrancy of the fresh colour palettes is enough of a selling point without the precious looking machine (I had a pure barista fangirl moment as I gushed with the girl behind the counter about how darn cute it was) I’ve seen none like it. I went for my standard order these days of a cold brew coffee, bitter and black and nothing at all like my heart. If I finish off a black coffee then you know it’s a good blend because I can only drink my life giving nectar sans milk if it’s top notch quality. Would most definitely head here again.

Blissed vibes, N x

 

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Veganuary: Beauty bits…

Oh hey there,

So I had all of the intentions to bombard your wonderful peepers with all kinds of vegan posts this month but somehow I got distracted along the way and it didn’t really go to plan. Seeing as today is the last day of veganuary I thought I may as well post this one, which has been waiting patiently in my drafts for its debut. I’m sort of bummed about not making more of an effort but I hope those of you who took part in veganuary discovered something beautiful and that you’ve been convinced to make some permanent changes even if it isn’t going wholly vegan.

This wee veganuary post is going to attempt to cover Beauty type stuffs. I say attempt, because even four years later there are debates within this that still baffle me. Mostly that’s the whole parent company debate, which I’ll cover later in the post. Having lived in  England, Australia and New Zealand, I’ve found myself some pretty nifty vegan products and having used the internet as a guide constantly, I’ve also unearthed some pretty decent guides and blogs. So here goes, do enjoy!

Pinterest: Again with another little self plug. But for reals, I keep track of everything over on Pinterest, so head over to my page and check out the Beauty section of my Vegan AF board.

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The Body Shop : A familiar brand name, known pretty much all over the globe, The Body Shop is a good foundation for newly vegan beauty guru’s. They also now have a page on their site dedicated solely to their vegan products, so there’s less confusion. It’s a difficult one though because the company do so much campaigning against animal testing. So if you want to ease into this bit, if you’re feeling a little preoccupied with the eating side, then take your time. Cruelty free is pretty easy to spot so maybe devote yourself to that first.

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Some of my favourite productsCamomile Cleansing Balm (serious holy grail level with this one, love of my skins life), Fijian Water Lotus Mist (scent was my biggest miss, I was a perfume enthusiast and it’s heartbreaking to find all your faves are probably not vegan but this has been my signature scent for years now, fresh and mystical), Fresh Nude Foundation (a light to medium coverage, nice and glowy finish, it’s a goodie).

There are probably so many more stellar products and I’ve tried others that impressed me, but the above are three of my absolute favourites, that I’ve been repurchasing for years.

This is one of those grey area ones because of the whole ‘parent company’ debacle I mentioned in the introduction. That being, that the Body Shop are owned by L’oreal, who are pretty notorious for selling in China and thus testing on animals. They also own Urban Decay, a brand so wonderfully cruelty free, repping a whole load of vegan cosmetics. Seeing that L’oreal own these brands a lot of vegans dub them none cruelty free, which I guess is fair. But just like going into Pizza Hut and ordering a vegan pizza, even though the company still serve meat and dairy, I feel it’s more of an intent type deal. You’re mindfully purchasing the vegan products over the none vegan. It’s a statement to say that vegans can exist in this world easily alongside everyone else. It’s completely your call though, do what feels right to you.

 

Ethical Elephant : A very informative, and aesthetically pleasing, vegan beauty and lifestyle blog. It’s a go to for me for sure and if you have a look HERE you’ll find a ‘Vegan 101’ post, much more in depth than this one. The Resources menu is one of the best I’ve seen. It’s easy to follow and digs into all of the issues and controversial topics surrounding vegan beauty.

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Sukin : Okay, I have to include these guys here. They’re genuine life savers. A beautifully crafted company, that not only host 100% vegan skincare products but who actually care about the ingredients that go in them. I have very sensitive skin, that likes a lot of hydration and fuss free care. These guys say no to sulphates and parabens and offer various ranges for various skin types. And whats better? They’re fully affordable. Seriously, if you need to stock up on some good quality, vegan skincare these are your best bet. I discovered them in Australia where they’re easy to get your hands on and then came home to England to find they’re stocked by Boots and Holland and Barrett.

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I’ve tried to stick to the brands that I know are a little bigger and more accessible around the globe but there are always Indie brands doing good stuff and more nationally known places (like super drug in the UK), carrying their own brand vegan lines. It could go on forever this page but again, as with my first veganuary post, I don’t want to get too overwhelming. If you have any companies, sites or information you’d like to add then please pop them down in the comments!

Adios amigos,

Stay woke, N xx

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