15

World Event To End Animal Cruelty, Melbourne 2014

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(this is a photo-heavy post!) I’m loving this time of year! Super vegan-y events are on and we get to see and share in lots of fantastic amounts of vegan awesomeness. From the Animals Matter To Me rally, to the Sea Shepherd Bake Sale, to November’s World Vegan Day, Cruelty Free West Expo and Sea Shepherd Ocean Defence Tour you can see how Melbourne is one fab city for vegans. Today’s super event was the World Event To End Animal Cruelty (WEEAC), held at CERES in Brunswick. CERES is a non-profit sustainability centre in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, built on a decommissioned rubbish tip. CERES have produce gardens, event and conference facilities, meeting rooms, classes, a cafe, education programs and more: ceres1 ceres2 ceres4

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I arrived half an hour before the scheduled start time so I walked around taking photos with a growling stomach, when I turned a corner and saw Gopal’s were already dishing out their fabulous food (I’ve written about their city restaurant on the blog). I got this massive plate for $10, plus the lemon mint drink for $1. I love Gopal’s kofta. The halva dessert was great and not overly sweet. It was so filling I couldn’t finish it (I did of course manage to finish all the halva, I knew you guys were counting on me):

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The Compassionate Kitchen had a stall with their delicious treats. Their banana bread is great (so is everything else really!). Their products freeze really well too. It’s hard for me to choose a favourite, so I was going to take care of that today by purchasing the slices I haven’t tried:

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I was glad to hear A Vegan Smiles would be at WEEAC, because I’ve been waiting to try the products for ages. I loved all the samples on offer and made up my mind to buy a few things towards the end (it was a warm day, even though I packed a container with an ice brick, I didn’t want to carry too much stuff around as my bag was already heavy):

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I bought these biscuits for my mum’s dog, who will be our honoured guest for a few days:

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Continuing with the theme of deliciousness, we have OMV Bakery. Some of my friends rave about the birthday cakes they’ve ordered from OMV and I’ve been very keen to try their products too:

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I’ve been admiring Hello Vegan’s beautiful jewelry for a while now. Check out the online store and you’ll see why! Being a cat lover, the sweet cat earrings are on my list and I love the bird and bunny wood necklaces:

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And soon after this, something awful happened. What I thought was a spare $50 note in my purse turned out to be a $#@! piece of paper. It was bad you guys, real bad. I’m still smarting. This meant I had no money to go buy any of the baker treats, or A Vegan Smiles, or a necklace. All I could do was just hang around feeling sad and pathetic.  Oh well, guess it just means I spend more at the November events. Take THAT, universe!

 

I had planned on getting dosa from Dosa Joy but that Gopal’s meal filled me up for hours. The dosa looked delicious, I was really tempted to ask people if I could photograph their plates but that might have been on the slightly creepy side. Or maybe not. What say you? I mean, awesome VEGAN FOOD, right?

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I went to the cooking demo given by Missy from Magic Milk Bar. Check out the Magic Milk Bar Blog for beautiful recipes. Missy treated us to some vegan nutella which I didn’t get a photo of unfortunately, but check out this vegan cheese, every bit as delicious as it looks (I hope my photo does it justice!):

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Missy made a green curry which I loved, but I was so full from Gopal’s that I just had a sample. But you know how you get home and you’re all damn, wish I had some more? That’s how I’m feeling now:

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Dessert was a raw cheesecake scented with rosewater:

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Look how stunningly beautiful this is! I loved it, and I usually hate rosewater. Looking at the photos, I’m doing another “damn, why didn’t I go for the second serving?”

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Keep an eye on Magic Milk Bar’s blog as Missy will be posting up the recipes. I will definitely make this myself.

Now because this is Melbourne, we started off with a very warm day which soon changed in to much cooler weather, too cool for me to hang around much longer. After the blow of I-can’t-believe-it’s-not-fifty-smegging-dollars, I decided to check out the music and stall holders then head home. I didn’t get photos of all the stalls as there were people in the way (or I didn’t want to get them in a closeup without permission!) so my apologies to those I have left out. Halfpint Vegan Dairy were there but I couldn’t snap a pic (and of course, had no money to go get stuff)!

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And here’s what I bought today. I gave up trying to get a better photo of my Sea Shepherd t-shirt, BECAUSE CAT:

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I bought the rainbow chocolates from The Compassionate Kitchen for Arthur and DeeW (her favourites now) but I kinda got to one first:

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This WEEAC was great. Seeing new stallholders and new products is fab and I’ve mentioned before on the blog that in the time I’ve been vegan (since April 2012) there seem to be new businesses and great products popping up all the time.

It’s not all about the food and products though. I especially like the stalls with information where raising awareness of a particular issue is concerned and I picked up many flyers for the family to read and pass on. I had a good chat with The Orangutan Project and I’m looking forward to sharing all the info with my family.

I learn a lot from the stalls like this. Doesn’t matter that I’m already vegan, it’s not like one becomes vegan and suddenly all the awareness-information is beamed directly in to the brain. The more I learn about certain things, the more I realise just how much I don’t know and how important it is to keep learning and passing on the information.

Thanks to all the organisers, crew, stall holders, anyone that was involved with putting on Melbourne WEEAC 2014!

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6

Our Visit To Polly Woodside

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If you grew up in Melbourne, you probably went on a school excursion to see Polly Woodside. I certainly did and now, about thirty two years later, I figured it was time to go back. Those were the days where we didn’t have any bags or backpacks and the only thing we took with us was a cut lunch (i.e. sandwich) and a carton of juice and a snack. All in a plastic bag. Remember that?!

Polly Woodside was built in Belfast and launched in 1885. The ship was named after the owner’s wife– he had nicknamed her ‘Polly’ because she “talked often, like a parrot”. In the 1960s, restoration works began using mostly volunteer labour. The ship was restored for museum purposes and not for sailing and in 1988, Polly was awarded the World Ship Trust Medal for “supreme achievement in the preservation of Maritime Heritage”. Polly was the first merchant ship to be given this award.

As well as the ship, the museum area offers loads of information and some hands on activities. Cats!

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This one cooking job I would happily pass on:

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My grandparents had a plate like this:

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Naturally, I take photos of the ‘vintage’ stuff:

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Unfortunately these letters were too far away to read:

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This kitchen is bigger than mine:

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I know you all wanted to see this:

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I’ll be honest and say I went along purely for the kids, but I ended up enjoying it too. Our tour guide was fantastic and threw in a healthy dose of toilet humour.

Polly Woodside is easy to get to from the city/CBD area and is a short-ish walk from Southern Cross Station. The ship is open 10am to 4pm on the weekend, and daily on the school holidays. Some days are subject to change because of private functions so check the website before you head down there. Usually on the first Sunday of the month they hold Polly Woodside Pirate Day but again, confirm beforehand! I wouldn’t want you to rock up in your frilly pirate shirt and be all disappointed!

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Polly Woodside is located at South Wharf, near the Melbourne Convention Centre. Check the website for opening times, events and pricing: http://www.pollywoodside.com.au/

 

This post is part of a series I hope to get going for family friendly activities in Melbourne. If you’re a visiting vegan family, leave me a comment so I can suggest nearby food places!

2

A Quick Dessert At Green Press, City

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After our Polly Woodside tour, Arthur and I walked back in to the city so I could check out Green Press. I’ve heard some good reviews so I was keen to get in on the action!

I had eaten earlier, so I was only after a dessert. I asked what vegan desserts were on offer and the choices were a super looking chia fruit pudding, a raw cheesecake, or a delicious sounding pear dish (or apple… I’m sorry, I really can’t remember now). I was pleased to hear no agave is used as Arthur is allergic to it. I chose the raw cheesecake and a Rollie Boy, the latter being made with activated cashews, dates, cocoa, coconut and vegan protein.

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Green Press Melbourne

I paid just under $10.  I was really pleased that Arthur tried the raw cheesecake but because he wasn’t hungry he said I could have the rest (which made me super pleased).We also got to try a sample of a cold pressed beetroot-carrot-apple-lime juice which was great.

Everything on offer is made fresh right there on the premises. Although non-vegan foods are on the menu, the vegan items look and sound great (check out the menu!). I would have loved to take photos of the inside but we were in a bit of a rush and there were people queuing up.  Hopefully I’ll get to go back soon.

To find Green Press, go to 525 Lt. Collins Street and look for a sign that lists all the shops in the small mall area. Green Press is right at the back there:

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Green Press

Shop 7/525 Little Collins Street, Melbourne

http://lovegreenpress.com.au

 

8

Melbourne Water Western Treatment Plant Open Day

Today we headed over to Werribee, a suburb about 30km west of the central Melbourne area, for the annual Melbourne Water Western Treatment Plant Open Day. Or to put it simply, we went on a poo tour.

Now sure, when you have young kids (or even immature adults…), poo related stuff seems to snake its way in to conversation. Or reviews of mum’s cooking. So today was the perfect day for my family to get our geek on when it comes to all things poop.

To attend one of the free Open Day tours, you had to pre-book online. After signing off our names at the registration desk, we waited for our coach. I was a bit surprised to see the large coaches, I thought we’d just be walking around looking at stuff with perhaps a minivan ride here and there. You’ll soon see how wrong I was:

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How wrong? Super wrong. To the tune of, say, land roughly the size of Phillip Island. That’s right, the Western Treatment Plant is about 110 square kilometres (about 11,000 hectares). Suddenly, the coaches made sense. So did the two hour tour time!

So guess what’s under these white covers? Poo! Lots of poo. The water on top is rainwater. If there’s too much rainwater on top, they can cause the covers to rupture and they’re apparently insanely expensive. So the rainwater has to be pumped out. Under the white covers, bacteria is breaking down poo and other solid stuff, some of the solids settle to the bottom and the methane that is given off is collected to make electricity. This ‘pool’ is about eight metres deep (about 26 feet). When it has been filled with mostly solid stuff at the bottom, it will be dredged:

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Here are the the rest of the pools (or ponds, or lagoons– I’m not sure which is the correct term here as a few tour guides were using different words). As water moves from pool to pool, the next pool is shallower. Ultraviolet light from the sun helps get rid of the nasties:

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The chocolate waterfall was met with appreciative oohing and aahing. How do you think they fix the machinery in there if something goes wrong? That’s right, poo divers! Poo divers get paid about $5000AUD for a team of two for a single dive. Apparently there’s quite a waiting list to become a poo diver but the opportunities for work are decreasing and new equipment will be used that will reduce the need for poo divers. We saw photos of the poo divers kitted out. We were really impressed that because poo divers can’t really see through all the poo, they are trained to work by feel:

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Here’s the 10 megawatt power station that is used to power the entire plant. The methane from below-the-white-covers (up above) is piped along to this power station:

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At a few points along the tours, we were able to get out. It didn’t smell as bad as I thought it would. I remember driving through Werribee years ago when I was younger and the pong was terrrible. This lovely ‘river’ below didn’t smell too bad but we were instructed not to touch the fence, because of all the bacteria landing on it (we were also told to wash our hands as soon as the tour stopped):

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Melbourne Water and Flinders University are working together to experiment with growing algae to see if they can apply it to water treatment:

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What I found incredibly interesting was the short history of the small town of Cocoroc. Cocoroc was a workers township established in 1894 to house the employees of the Metropolitan Sewage Farm (its name back then). By the late 1890s, Cocoroc had housing, a town hall, a football team with its own ground, four schools, tennis courts, a post office and a swimming pool. Cocoroc was eventually abandoned and all we got to see today from the bus were the remains: a big iron water tank, some old sheds and scattered farm machinery. You can read more about Cocoroc here:

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This next photo is for my friend Kikz. It’s The Little River! This is the river that The Little River Band got their name from. They were on their way to a gig, saw the sign for Little River and that’s how they got their name. Too bad they weren’t down the Great Ocean Road passing that wee sign for Sausage Gully:

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Another massive part of the Plant are the wetlands. As I said earlier I had no idea how big the Treatment Plant was! We discovered that there are close to three hundred different species of birds (including some rare and endangered) and the Red-Necked Stint flies all the way here from north-eastern Siberia! Melbourne Water have a page on their website for bird watching here. I must confess I’m not that in to bird watching but I was super excited to see some eagles flying high above. That’s not something I see every day (or any day really). We saw lots of swans and ducks:

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One of our short stops was along the beach. ZOMG! COULD IT BE TWIKI?

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On the bus ride back to our starting point, I couldn’t believe how big the entire plant was. I figured it would be big, just not this massively big! I have no idea how the employees find their way around the little roads. They all looked the same with no markers that I could see.

Between tours we sat down for lunch:

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Afterwards, we took a look at the information tables and discovery centre. I had to be really quick here with the photos as we had to leave:

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This floor map is awesome! It’s socks only, but boy oh boy do I want one in my house. It won’t fit, but who cares. Anyway, we found our house easily enough though gave up trying to find my mum’s as we were out of time. Doesn’t this photo almost look like you’re flying in to Melbourne?

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Fun Facts!

- Depending on where you live in Melbourne, it can take about six hours for your poo to reach the plant after you’ve flushed.

- People flush all sorts of stuff, one of the most common are cotton buds (Q-Tips). The buds come off but the plastic bit you hold remains.

- In 1851 Melbourne was the richest city in the world thanks to the gold rush. However, waste being dumped in to open drains turned waterways in to sewers, so Melbourne earned the nickname ‘Smellbourne’. Cholera and typhoid claimed many lives.

 

I really enjoyed these tours and hope Melbourne Water consider running them more than once a year. Groups (like school groups) can go on tours but there are some requirements listed on the Melbourne Water website. I was pretty impressed with the poo-geek side of things but learning about the birds and wetlands was really interesting too.

 

Have you been on one of these tours?

 

8

The Vegan Box: October’s Goodies

Have you heard about The Vegan Box? Based in Melbourne, The Vegan Box was founded in 2013 by Hannah, a vegan naturopath. Hannah sources great cruelty free products for customers to try in their monthly packages. You can choose from a one-off box (this is what I selected for October), a three month subscription or a six month subscription. Even better, shipping is international to most countries!

As well as The Vegan Box of goodies, Hannah also offers customers a Vegan Beauty Box. Check out the Summer Vegan Beauty Box here. Doesn’t it sound full of awesomeness?! I especially like that Hannah has done all the background research for you when she decides what will make it in to a Vegan Box. I love that I can immediately start eating or using the products, without having to double check ingredients, vegan status, whether they’re full of nasties and so on.

On to the October box! DeeW insisted we open it in her bedroom:

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Ooooh!

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First up were these chocolate almond squares by Sydney company Naturalie Boon. Almonds-in-chocolate are not my favourite (I’m a hazelnut girl) but these were really nice. I ate them far faster than I planned to:

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DeeW was thrilled to see a bag of popcorn. Although I make my own popcorn for snacks, this Cobs Natural popcorn was nice and crunchy. In the past when Arthur and DeeW have been given other packets of popcorn made by other companies, they’ve all had the not-so-fresh chewiness. Judging by how quickly DeeW shoved these in her mouth, I’d say she really liked it:

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Okay, I’m going to be honest and say I was a little disappointed when I saw the ginger bar here, because I’m not crazy about ginger in sweet things. In savoury meals, bring it on! But with chocolate? Nope. I really didn’t think I’d like this Exotic Ginger Jamu Bar by Nutra Organics. I couldn’t have been more wrong, this was delicious and I ate it all in one go:

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The bar contains coconut, cacao, ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and fermented probiotics:

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A lovely smelling soap by Kaffe Organic from Queensland. From the beautiful scent alone, I’m looking forward to trying it:

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Also included was this $15 voucher for Heaven’s Pantry:

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These Taste Testers packets from The Healthy Fix contain raw, organic wholefoods that you can add to your cereal, smoothies, you name it:

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Finally, these cinnamon apple clusters by Peeled Snacks. Oh my, it was so hard to stop at a few. DeeW found them too sweet but Arthur loved them:

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A Vegan Box would make a great gift for that vegan or non-vegan in your life ;) Or treat yourself! The contents of the boxes are a surprise so you never know what you’ll get!