Veganuary: seasonal vegetables and vegan restaurants in Bournemouth.

Veganuary seems to be the most-used word on the internet this month. Is becoming vegetarian or vegan just a temporary fashion or a genuine trend? I truly believe it is the latter! I’m not a vegetarian and I don’t think I could ever be (well, never say never!), but I am one of those people who’s trying to eat less meat. If you have resolved to do the same, you can call yourself a flexitarian or a reducetarian. One of my New Year’s resolutions is also to buy more local, seasonal vegetables.

Some of the British seasonal veggies and fruit I bought: cabbage, beetroots, celery, swede, carrots, brussels sprouts, pears, and apples.
I’m also avoiding greens pre-packed in plastic. It’s difficult to find loose fruit, especially at big supermarkets, but it’s not impossible – if you can, do it!
Choose loose!
I hated brussels sprouts as a child, but now I love them – provided they are not overcooked!

In order to celebrate Veganuary, I decided to explore three vegan/vegetarian restaurants in Bournemouth in search of tasty, local and, ideally, seasonal vegetable dishes. My choices were the Mad Cucumber, the recently opened restaurant Twelve, and the South Coast Roast Café. The latter is not entirely vegetarian but has the ambition to become so and 80% of the menu is vegan.

Apart from a catchy name, the Mad Cucumber has got a truly environmental ethos, which is clear from their website. It says, ‘Everything is made from scratch, by hand, from mainly local, seasonal and organic ingredients.’

Mad Cucumber is entirely vegan. I can somehow imagine being vegetarian, but vegan seems to be mission impossible!
This is a photo of a burger made from lentils, oats and quinoa. The salad that was served with the burger had some seasonal vegetables like red cabbage and carrots in it. Instead of using rocket, the chef could have used kale, which is in season at the moment. Nevertheless, my veggie burger was tasty and kept me full for a couple of hours!

The South Coast Roast Café is a true hit again. I love the staff’s philosophy in creating and running this genuine place. I had the pleasure to speak with the owner, Giles, and listened to him passionately talking about using fresh and local ingredients, as well as encouraging people to change their habits and become more environmentally friendly.

My brunch: local sourdough bread, cashew nut cream cheese, caramelised onions, and smashed – seasonal – butternut squash, accompanied with fresh juice made from spinach, kale and other green things. Sorry, I can’t remember all of the ingredients, but it was mouthwatering!

While Mad Cucumber and South Coast Roast are more breakfast & brunch cafés, Twelve could be a perfect place for a romantic supper, especially since they serve organic wine and other cocktails – Valentines Day is coming, guys! The name of the restaurant Twelve is truly puzzling and made me wonder what it means. In fact, it’s not a random number, and it comes with an interesting meaning. I’m not going to reveal the secret now, as I will definitely devote one of my future posts to describing this beautiful place in more detail.

Just look at this presentation, it’s art on a plate! The left plate contains salt baked celeriac and avocado puree. The right one contains beetroots with hazelnut pralines, braised shallots, and citrus dressing. You simply discover a new, unexpected flavour with each bite. A big plus for using seasonal vegetables!
*We only ordered starters because we had previously prepared dinner, but we’ll come back for more!

These local restaurants in Bournemouth are offering vegan and vegetarian dishes not only because there is a growing demand for it. They’re selling a more conscious life philosophy to people. Eat local because it’s good for the region and the people who work here. Eat seasonally, because seasonal vegetables are at their best and simply delicious. Eat less meat because it improves your health and reduces damage to the environment.

Even though Veganuary is almost at its end, I hope my article has encouraged some of you to eat seasonal vegetables and maybe to try out Veganofebruary by eating in these restaurants. I think I’ve just coined a new word…

Things to Do in Bournemouth for Free: Pier-to-Pier Walk

It’s not a huge challenge or achievement to walk from Bournemouth Pier to Boscombe Pier. It’s only 2.1 km (1.6 miles), but on the pleasant stroll you can get a real taste of Bournemouth, seeing both piers, the beach, sea waves, seagulls and beach huts. What can be more relaxing than walking on the sand, listening to sea waves and chattering seagulls flying against the wind? If you need some Vitamin SEA, take a look at my photo story from a Sunday walk in January.

From Boscombe Pier to…
…Bournemouth Pier and back to…
…Boscombe Pier.
The view from Boscombe Pier.
You can read the history of both Boscombe Pier and Bournemouth Pier while having a walk on them. One of the boards that grabbed my attention was about a whale that washed up on the shore in 1897. Its skeleton was displayed on Boscombe Pier as a tourist attraction.
Seagulls sitting in synchrony.
The ocean is calling and I must go…
The only sentence that comes to my mind when I look at this photo is a famous tongue twister: She sells seashells on the sea shore. The sea shells that she sells are seashells I’m sure!
The beach provides pure freedom for dogs to be unleashed. Even if you don’t have your own dog, just looking at them playfully running with sticks thrown by their owners is a pleasant experience.
‘Shell’ we dance?
On your way to Bournemouth Pier, you’ll see colourful huts that could be an amazing advertisement for a paint company. But who painted Bournemouth’s huts, I don’t know!
When I finally reached Bournemouth Pier I had a close encounter with some seagulls.
Trust me, having a walk by the sea makes you hungry. You can buy traditional fish & chips close to Bournemouth Pier at Harry Ramsden’s, a famous ‘chippy’ chain in England and Ireland. I’ll be honest – it was tasty, but it was definitely not the best fish & chips I’ve ever eaten. So if you’re looking for a genuine fish & chips experience, it’s not the place to go. Nevertheless, it tasted decent.

A pier-to-pier walk is an enjoyable and free activity in Bournemouth, even in January (provided it’s not raining!). The changing colours of the sky provided an amazing backdrop for my photos and the sunshine on our faces was more than desirable, especially in January. SEA YOU SOON!

The Alpine Market – Christmas Market in Bournemouth

Even though the Christmas Market had its grand opening 2 weeks ago,  I did not want to share any Christmassy images on my blog. I simply thought it was too early and I felt that during October and November we should pay tribute to a colourful autumn.  The start of December has got me into the Christmas spirit. I visit the Alpine Market almost every day, I have started buying Christmas decorations – I already have a Christmas tree with the whole deer family underneath. I am also almost ready for listening to Last Christmas and All I want for Christmas is you. Almost! 

Christmas deer at Marks and Spencer
Christmas decorations at Marks and Spencer

Like every year, Christmas Market stalls are located around The Square in the town centre between the Lower and Upper Gardens. It so happens that I live close to the Alpine market and pass by the food stalls almost every day. God help me when I smell and see all these goodies and happen to be hungry. It’s difficult to resist the temptation and as Oscar Wilde once said: “The only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it”. So I eat 😉

The most popular food stall seems to be the one with German sausages called wursts. They are served in a white bun or cut into pieces and soaked in traditional curry sauce. The queue in front of this stall is always the longest!

If you want to try something typically English, you should go for Yorkshire pudding wrap. This is a baked Pudding which is almost like a cakey, crisp pancake filled with red cabbage and root vegetables like parsnip, carrots and potatoes. I cannot imagine anything more comforting on a cold day.

Yorkshire pudding wrap with cranberry sauce 

Another treat worth trying is a traditional French/ Swiss dish called Raclette. These are fried potatoes with some melted cheese and slices of beef. What is particularly satisfying to watch is a big chunk of cheese bubbling under a very hot grill before its put on the potatoes with a special knife. 

Hog Roast is a name given to the tradition of roasting a whole pig. In this food stall, crispy and tender pulled pork is put into a soft bun and served with different kinds of sauces.

Do I need to introduce churros? This Spanish/ Portuguese fried dough is served with cinnamon spices and hot chocolate and is simply a must try.


The Olde-English fudge stall offers different flavours of this candy made with a mixture of butter, milk and sugar. Fudge is very rich so eating one will satisfy your need for sweetness for the rest of the day. Perfect for a Christmas present. 


Chutneys and chilli products seem to be very popular in English food markets. The Alpine Bournemouth Market is no exception in this case and you can find here two stalls selling jars with interesting combinations of flavours. I could not resist buying some of them. They were meant to be Christmas presents, but I don’t think they’ll last.

I hope you have your local Christmas markets and are soon going to visit them, eat delicious artisan food from the local traders and drink some warming mulled wine. If so, what products do you buy at Christmas markets? 

Autumn walk in Bournemouth Upper Gardens

Autumn is beautiful, but autumn in Bournemouth is simply stunning. The abundance of trees with colourful leaves is unbelievable and makes you feel as if you were in a magical land rather than on the south coast of England. There are hundreds of different shades all around you.

There are many places in Bournemouth where you can admire autumn at its best but if you happen to go shopping in the town centre and want to forget about the shopping madness, have a walk in Bournemouth Upper Gardens.

Not getting too much into historical details, in the late 19th century the Upper Gardens used to be private and belonged to one family called Durrant (one family!). I am dreaming of having my little garden and they had it all… Then, the Gardens were given as a lease to the Bournemouth Council. Today the Upper Gardens are divided into three themes: European, Asian and North American.  more here  img_20181111_1316271

While walking, bear in mind that most trees in the Upper Gardens are more than 100 years old. The biggest attraction is the North American Giant Redwood which is believed to be the biggest in the UK.

When I was younger, I used to collect leaves and dry them in books. It was always a nice surprise to find them after a year or two, with preserved colours of autumn. As I grew older, I forgot about these little pleasures, but this autumn I decided to take some leaves home. Hopefully, I will discover them next year and smile to myself, remembering the Sunday walk in the Bournemouth Upper Gardens.

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The very first post…

The idea of creating this blog is simple.  I am an expat living in Bournemouth, a beautiful seaside resort in the south of England. I would like to show how I see Bournemouth and its surroundings with my ‘foreign’ eyes. Simply my life in Bournemouth