Vegan Edinburgh – Considerit

Welcome to the beginning of a small series I’m going to be blogging, Vegan Edinburgh. Readers of my blog will know that I spend a lot of time up here visiting my boyfriend, and that I also recovered from surgery up here for 2 months. This involved me eating a LOT of amazing food. To save me from blogging only reviews for the next couple of years and because I’ve fallen head over heels for this city, I’ve decided to smash through these reviews over the next couple of weeks to tell you all about my tasty food experiences.

I thought I’d start off writing about a new vegan place that opened up just last week. Considerit – a brand spanking new, completely vegan space selling fresh doughnuts, luxurious chocolates and ice cream. What isn’t there to love about this picture?

I can’t described just how happy I was to hear about Considerit opening up their own place. I met Claire quite a few years ago at a London Vegfest as we had stalls next to each other. It was a tough weekend, our stalls weren’t in the best place so it was quieter than previous years. I have fond memories of that weekend because not only were we next to a table full of incredible vegan chocolate, but Claire was a real joy to be around all weekend too. I’ve followed Considerit on Twitter since and was so happy to bump into their stall at Stockbridge Market in Edinburgh a few months ago. I got to try some amazing oreo doughnuts and stocked up on some creme egg chocolate bars too.

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Considerit opened their doors last Wednesday and I made sure I was in town on the Friday to stop by. It was a beautiful day.

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I was greeted by a full counter of amazing looking doughnuts. They had Cinnamon Sugar, Jam, Raspberry White Chocolate, Oreo, Biscoff and Honeycomb White Chocolate. I had offered to drop some by to Vegan Bear and his colleagues at Earthy Foods in Portobello, wanted to treat another few friends and Logan had bravely offered to stuff his face with doughnuts with me too. I ummed and ahhed before going for a box of 6 (this gives you a 10% discount) an extra to takeaway and then one for me to eat in right there and then.

For the selection box, I went for Jam, Raspberry White Choc, Biscoff, Oreo and 2 Honeycomb White Chocolates. I got a Biscoff to take away especially for Logan and ordered a Raspberry White chocolate for myself. I was also given a few mini cinnamon sugar doughnuts to try free of charge and Claire threw in an Oreo for me as well, so kind ❤

I waddled over to the seating area to take photos and try my first doughnut.

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Just look at that. So beautiful! This doughnut was so good, the dough was spot on, there was plenty of topping and whilst it was sweet, it wasn’t over the top. I tried to make it last but it vanished off my plate pretty damn quickly.

I managed to try a little bit of all the other flavours too and I’ve gotta say, they were all amazing. It’s hard to pick a favourite, the Honeycomb, Oreo and Biscoff were right up there though, they are definitely my kind of doughnut.

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Considerit also sell tea, coffee, hot chocolates as well as handmade Chocolates and also Ice cream. Not sure if the chocolate was up and running on Friday as I was too excited by doughnuts but I know ice cream is on hold for a wee while, just while they get themselves sorted with opening the new place.

I am so excited to return and try more tasty treats, I definitely think this is my new favourite place in Edinburgh.

So if you’re in the city, stop by and try out a few delights from Considerit chocolate. They’re nice and easy to find as they’re just opposite Summer Hall. Go go go and tell all your friends!

 

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Meatball & Sauerkraut Goulash

Going back to work has been a bit of a shock to the system and I’ve found myself really struggling to prepare decent meals. I was excited to be heading back to Logan’s for a few days this week, mostly to see Logan but also because I knew my beloved Pressure Cooker was there and I could whip up something warm, comforting and packed full of veg.

I came across a recipe for a pressure cooked Hungarian Goulash and decided to do something a little similar with some ingredients we already had in the cupboards. It did not disappoint and really hit the spot.

Meatball & Sauerkraut Goulash

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Ingredients:

  • 1 pack of frozen meatballs (I used an entire bag of the vegan meatballs found at Farm Foods, there were around 20 balls in total)
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp coarse black pepper
  • 1 tin tomatoes
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 large jar of sauerkraut (approximately 350g)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (shop bought, homemade or sub for oatcream)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp oil

Method:

  • First off, heat the oil up in the pressure cooker and saute the onions, garlic and carrots for 3-5 minutes until soft.
  • Add the smoked paprika and black pepper and fry off for another minute or so
  • Add the vegetable broth, tinned tomatoes and the meatballs. Stir through until mixed and then cook under pressure for 10 minutes
  • Quick release, add the maple syrup, sauerkraut, sour cream and salt, stir through and cook without the lid until everything has warmed through

Serves 6 very big portions

I served mine with coconut rice, which is super easy to make in the pressure cooker. Just add 2 cups white rice to 1 tin of coconut milk, 1 cup of water and 1 tsp salt. Cook under pressure for 3 minutes. Slow release and leave to heat through for a further 10 minutes. Stir before serving.

This was really hearty delicious food and I was so happy that the pressure cooker allowed me to have such a quick meal with so much flavour in it. I really loved the sauerkraut in this and the meatballs absorbed all the flavour from the smokey sauce. I loved having this with the coconut rice so much, I love coconut rice!

Of course you could make this on the hob or in the slow cooker, you’ll just need to adjust the times. I would probably simmer the sauce for a good 40-60 minutes on the hob before adding the kraut and sour cream and such.

I was stuffed and satisfied after hoovering this up but I did manage to make room for a little dessert. I’d bought some of the Frozen Chocolate Filled Churros from Aldi which are suitable for vegans, served them up with some ice cream and Mini Donuts that lovely Vegan Bear made and passed on to me.

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It was a good food day and I curled up in bed a very happy man. Perfect food now that the evenings are darker and the weather is colder.

Vegan Mofo 2017 #31: Chocolate Black Bean Brownies with Pumpkin Pie Swirl

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A Vegan Experience of Surgery & Recovery: I had chest reconstruction surgery on August 22nd 2017. For Vegan Mofo 2017, I will be writing about my experience preparing for surgery and my ongoing recovery.

I can’t believe it, we’re on the final day of Vegan Mofo 2017! I don’t really care about Halloween but it’s a good excuse to use pumpkin even more than usual, so I made a sweet treat to finish off Mofo.

I came back from work on Sunday super tired but determined to prep loads of food. I didn’t manage to do much, but I did manage to cook a ridiculous amount of black beans in my slow cooker. I’m not sure what I was thinking I would make with them all, I have LOADS in the fridge ready to use.

I’ve always been scared of black bean brownies but thought this was the perfect time to give them a go because why would I want to use all those beans for savoury dishes when I can add chocolate and sugar to them?

I also had a pumpkin in the kitchen that was just begging to be used for this…so here we go Chocolate Black Bean Brownies with Pumpkin Pie Swirl

Chocolate Black Bean Brownies with Pumpkin Pie Swirl

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Ingredients for the Brownies:

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup non dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla essence (if using an extract over flavouring, reduce by 1/2)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • handful of chocolate chips

Ingredients for the Pumpkin Swirl:

  • 1/2 small pumpkin, seeds removed, roasted
  • 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 2 tbsp sweetener (I used rice syrup)
  • 1/2 tbsp arrowroot/cornstarch

Method:

  1. Heat the oven to 180C and line a tin with baking parchment
  2. Put all of the ingredients for the brownies except the chocolate chips into a food processor and blend until smooth
  3. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and smooth off the top
  4. Add all the ingredients for the pumpkin mix to the food processor and blend until smooth. Taste to check it’s sweet/spiced enough for your liking
  5. Spoon the pumpkin mix on top of the brownies and then use a toothpick or knife to swirl into the brownie batter. Scatter the chocolate chips on top
  6. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until you can place a toothpick in the centre and it comes out clean

These were so simple to make, I couldn’t believe it! I also couldn’t believe how rich, chocolatey and delicious they were. They are so fudgey and moist, I love them! I think I might be converted to these gluten free bean brownie things. That’s something I never thought I’d say

But anyway, there you go. Short and sweet today. Thank you all for this amazing month of blogging, I’ve loved it! I’ll probably take a short break but I have a huge list of places to review, especially in Edinburgh, so may do a special Vegan Edinburgh week to power through them all.

Watch this space!

Vegan Mofo 2017 #30: Special Thanks

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A Vegan Experience of Surgery & Recovery: I had chest reconstruction surgery on August 22nd 2017. For Vegan Mofo 2017, I will be writing about my experience preparing for surgery and my ongoing recovery.

This was planned to be my final post for Mofo this year, but as tomorrow is Halloween I’m going to try and whip up something tasty to share with you as a farewell post before I take a week or so off blogging to recover!

I wanted to do a post thanking a lot of wonderful people who really helped me during recovery, without them I think I would have found the whole experience a lot harder than it was. Going through something like this really does make you realise how lucky you are to be surrounded by awesome people.

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So, thank you Bryn for looking after me, keeping me smiling, laughing and happy during the most uncomfortable, painful and strange weeks during recovery. You have been so kind and made my first week post surgery a piece of cake. Also, I will never forget you sharing mac n cheese with me, or for bringing me cake.

Thank you to Dave who drove all the way down from Manchester to Brighton and back up again, just to get me home comfortably. This was such a big help and I appreciate it all so much ❤

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Thank you to my amazing, patient, caring and hilarious boyfriend Logan, who took me in and took the best care of me for 7 weeks or so. Watching Steven Universe together, napping together, eating Chinese noodles or mac n cheese and colouring together was amazing and special. You are the best

Special thanks to Susan and Jayson for your amazing care packages. These brought me so much joy and all the tasty things so thank you so much for thinking of me

Thank you to Jack, Joanna & George for visiting me in Brighton. It was so good to see your wonderful faces.

Thank you to my ex and housemate Jake who looked after Kobi while I was gone, also a shout out to my awesome friend Isobel who stepped in and looked after him when Jake was busy

Thank you to my amazing friends, queer family and work colleagues who sent me funny, cute, supportive messages during my time off. I know I was shit at replying but I did appreciate them

I also want to thank the amazing cats who all looked after me in their own ways during recovery

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Sidney was the most amazing post surgery nurse. She kept me company by snuggling up to me while I was chilling and sleeping, generally being cute, gentle and lovely. I was really sad to say goodbye to her, she definitely had healing powers

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Bo, who is such a lovely, timid and adorable ball of floof. We’ve really got to know each other during our stay at Logans and he was so lovely and cute to me. I feel like we had a lot of special bonding moments and he was very careful not to hurt me during my fragile early days

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And finally, to Kobi. Who I sadly saw very little of during recovery, but who kept out of trouble and has been super affectionate and lovely since I returned home. I was worried he would be mad at me but all has been forgiven and we have had some amazing cuddles.

And finally, thanks to everyone who has been reading and leaving such lovely supportive comments during this month. I definitely feel like this theme was the right thing to do for me and the blog at this time, I’m so glad folk have been enjoying it and finding it useful

I will be back tomorrow for my final post of Mofo 2017!

Vegan Mofo 2017 #29: Vegan Quarter at Leith Market

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A Vegan Expe.rience of Surgery & Recovery: I had chest reconstruction surgery on August 22nd 2017. For Vegan Mofo 2017, I will be writing about my experience preparing for surgery and my ongoing recovery.

I spent the majority of my recovery staying at my partner Logan’s flat in Edinburgh. He lives in an area called Leith, not far from the city centre. During recovery I found myself getting quite restless, so it was exciting to hear that every Saturday there is a market in Leith that showcases a variety of awesome local businesses. Even more exciting was when I discovered that the first Saturday of every month is the Vegan Quarter at Leith Market.

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Whilst the Vegan Quarter isn’t solely 100% vegan, all of the stalls are encouraged to have options and this is the one Saturday of the month vegans definitely shouldn’t miss

I didn’t have the energy or my nice camera to take lots of photos, but I thought I’d do a quick roundup of all the exciting stuff I found!

First up is Earthy Foods. These guys have a few shops in Edinburgh selling a great range of local, seasonal, organic, wholesome food stuffs. They’re not a vegan business but they know what to offer us and have a variety of tasty foods. They’re at Leith Market every Saturday with vegan options, but of course there’s more during the Vegan Quarter. My beautiful friend Vegan Bear runs the stall so it was a great chance to see him too.

They had a variety of really great stuff. Amazing vegan sausage rolls that I’m now addicted to, brushed with a chilli jam on top, I can’t just stop at one of these. I’m hooked.

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They had a few vegan cakes, I decided to try the Pumpkin Cheesecake because it was made by Vegan Bear and his bakes are wonderful. It was indeed wonderful, so sweet and creamy and tasty.

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They also had some REALLY delicious dips that I fell in love with. I particularly loved the Satay Sauce and the Preserved Lemon Hummus was really fantastic with fresh crusty bread and olives. Yum!

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Next I headed over to Grumpy Food as I’d heard great things about their Kuku and I was desperate to try it. Kuku’s are these tasty Frittata type things. They have a variety of fillings, there was Cauliflower, Sgaia Mheat, Aubergine…you can get them with salad or just as they are. These things are SO tasty and I was happy to see Grumpy Foods at the market the following weekend to pick up a few more slices.

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Opposite Grumpy Foods was The Herbivore Kitchen who I neglected to take a photo of! I’ll be doing a write up on this cafe soon because they do some incredible vegan food. They were selling a selection of vegan brownies, cheesecakes and layer cakes. Myself and Logan got a selection of 4 browies for £10. They were so good, the flavours were Biscoff, Peanut Butter & Oreo. I’ve found a picture of their amazing cheesecake from their Facebook for you to get an idea of what they’re selling

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My final great vegan find was Knights Kitchen Street Food who were doing a load of delicious vegan treats. I took home a slice of this Plantain Pie and it was SO good. Nice and spicy and the slices were HUGE. Great value for money, definitely check them out.

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There was also this adorable water station for dogs that was super cute ❤

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Overall I was really impressed with The Vegan Quarter at Leith Market. Edinburgh is a very vegan friendly city but it was nice to have these options outside of the city centre and a little more local to me. There was a great atmosphere and it was awesome to see so many stall holders embracing the vegan options.

I do think it’s a little unfortunate that not all the stalls were taking part. There was a crepe truck that would have been amazing if they could get together a vegan batter for fresh hot crepes and also there were some fishy/meaty stalls that had zero options at all. I understand that they’re at the market each week but it would be great to have everyone taking part or getting a small vegan business in instead.

I’ll definitely be back for The Vegan Quarter again, sad I can’t make the next one but looking forward to visiting again in the future!

Vegan Mofo 2017 #28: Welcome Back Pizza at The Old Abbey Taphouse, Manchester

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A Vegan Experience of Surgery & Recovery: I had chest reconstruction surgery on August 22nd 2017. For Vegan Mofo 2017, I will be writing about my experience preparing for surgery and my ongoing recovery.

I had my first day back at work on Thursday and spent the day before travelling back down to Manchester. It was sad to leave behind Logan, Edinburgh and my Pressure King Pro but it also felt like time to get back to normality too.

I’m on a phased return for the first two weeks, so my first day back wasn’t too horrendous but I was incredibly tired by the end of it. This was partly to do with the fact I wasn’t napping and was active that day, also because Michael C Hall popped in to get some shopping and I lost my shit and went round telling everyone how exciting I found it. This was legit my face.

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I was super pleased when a work friend suggested going out for pizza when we finished our shift. This was a good idea because 1) Pizza 2) It stopped me falling asleep as soon as I got home and 3) Pizza.

We had planned to go to Double Zero in Chorlton, who do amazing sourdough pizza bases and vegan cheese, but when we arrived at 7pm to a 2.5 hour wait we decided to head further afield. We were keen to stick with pizza so I suggested we jump on a bus and visit The Old Abbey Taphouse, which I have heard so many good things about.

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We arrived at around 7.30pm and unfortunately there were no tables inside for us to sit at. Two large groups were taking up the space and there was also a band setting up. This place is very very small, which I didn’t expect, so I’d recommend getting stuff to takeout or going when the weather is okay enough to sit outside. It wasn’t too cold so we grabbed a table outside and looked at the menu.

There were quite a few vegan options; Roasted Veg Sandwich, Vegan Chili, a selection of pizzas and then the option of chips to go with. There were also vegan milkshakes and a selection of ice creams & Brownies for dessert. I chose to go for a Chocolate Milkshake and ordered a Zucca Pizza (White Base, Spinach, Roast Squash and Roast Garlic) with chips.

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The milkshake came first and I was eager to get it in my face as quickly as possible. Oh yess, this was tasty. Not my favourite milkshake (I have a milkshake I created over at The Ice Shack that is awesome and I love the V Rev Cookies n Cream Shake) but it was rich, chocolatey and had a really tasty whipped cream on top, so it’s up there on my list of shakes for sure.

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Then the savoury arrived. This pizza was really really tasty. It was absolutely swimming in vegan cheese, which I loved and the toppings worked really well together. It was pretty rich because of all the cheese so I was absolutely stuffed when I finished that and the chips.

I was so sad that I was too full to try ice cream and brownie but very satisfied with my meal. I’d definitely like to go back there to eat, maybe more in the Spring/Summer as we did start to get cold sitting outside.

The only thing that disappointed me was that I was under the impression that all the pizzas had a vegan option, including the ‘meaty’ ones. When I arrived and saw just a handful with VV next to them I was a little bit sad but assumed that maybe I’d remembered wrong, but having checked the website it does state they offer vegan options for every pizza. Maybe this has changed as it seemed odd to have VV next to only a few dishes. When I next go I’ll check as a fake meat pizza would be a great addition on the menu

I definitely recommend heading over or grabbing a takeaway from The Old Abbey if you get a chance. It was a great welcome back meal and a good chance for me to catch up with a friend, I can’t wait to go back and try dessert!

Vegan Mofo 2017 #27: Day Trip to Glasgow

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A Vegan Experience of Surgery & Recovery: I had chest reconstruction surgery on August 22nd 2017. For Vegan Mofo 2017, I will be writing about my experience preparing for surgery and my ongoing recovery.

A month into recovery myself and Logan got offered 2 free tickets to see a double bill of Adam & Eve at The Citizens Theatre in Glasgow. We were both still pretty fragile and tired but decided to go along anyway and make a day of it so we weren’t rushing all the way to Glasgow and then heading straight back.

As you know from a previous trip I blogged about, I love Glasgow! It’s one of my favourite cities, I spent my birthday there this year just so I could spend a weekend enjoying all the amazing vegan food. I was really excited that we were popping over for the day.

The first thing I did when arriving at Glasgow Central Station was to swing by Gordon Street Coffee Cafe (which sits right at the entrance of the station) to pick up some sweet treats from Big Bear Bakery. These guys are awesome and I’m sad that I haven’t got round to blogging about them sooner as they made me a load of amazing Vegan Brioche Doughnuts for my birthday celebrations in April. These doughnuts are incredible so I was desperate to get my hands on them again. Luckily Gordon Street Coffee has a great selection of their goods, so we swung by there and picked some up. I can’t find my own photos of their doughnuts, but this is what they look like

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Big Bear

We decided to return to a restaurant that we both went to on my birthday weekend in April. Now, it’s the most non vegan sounding place you can imagine, but the vegan options are pretty damn incredible at Steak Cattle & Roll.

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What originally convinced me to try them was their dairy free Freak Shakes. I’d never had one of these before and they turned out to be pretty damn incredible. On both visits I’ve had the Whisk It Biscuit freak shake which consists of vanilla ice cream, biscoff spread and banana chips. Oh yes please

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This is so sickly and delicious. It’s probably a good thing we have to travel an hour to get to Glasgow, or I’d be there at least once a week for one of these.

They also have a good selection of savoury dishes for vegans. There are 4 vegan burgers on the menu, including one made with seitan chicken tenders. You can also get loaded fries, onion rings, wraps, salad and side dishes of the chicken tenders.

This time round I decided to go for the China Town Burger, which is a pattie with carrot and cucumber ribbons, avocado, chunky cauliflower and beetroot salsa, sweet chilli mayo, smokey ketchup and bacon bits. Hnnnggghhh

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This was so good. Absolutely massive and pretty hard to eat as it wouldn’t fit in my mouth, but my god was it delicious.

Logan and I decided to share the Vegan Loaded Fries, which are topped with caramelised onions, aioli, hot sauce and bacon bits.

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We did not expect such a massive portion and when Logan declared himself full after his burger, I knew we were in trouble with these! I managed to cram my half in, they were so so tasty but I probably would only get these again if I was sharing them with at least another 2 people!

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I’ve had the Chicken Burger before and know just how good the chicken is, so I ordered a side of the tenders too. I could barely eat them as I was so full, but I was more than happy to take these to go home with. They were amazing in a sandwich the next day.

We were relieved that the Citizen’s Theatre was a nice long walk away as we were both so ridiculously full. We slowly made our way down to the theatre ready for the shows. Here is a little bit of information on what we saw that night

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Adam and Eve, two complementary pieces exploring trangender and non-binary life can be seen together in one evening. 

National Theatre of Scotland presents two new groundbreaking productions exploring extraordinary lives in transition.

Adam, by Frances Poet and Cora Bissett (Glasgow Girls), is the remarkable, true story of a young trans man and his fight across borders and genders to find a place to call home. Featuring a 120-strong virtual choir of trans individuals from across the globe. 

In Eve, legendary playwright, performer, father and grandmother Jo Clifford tells the story of a child raised as a boy, when she knew all along that was wrong. What does that do to our understanding of what it is to be human in times of revolutionary change?

These were both two amazing plays and we really enjoyed them. Adam was my favourite of the two but quite difficult to watch, it was very sad and emotional. I definitely recommend going to see these if you get the chance, they were great and they both seemed to have an impact on the audience.

Once the shows were over we were exhausted and very ready to head home to bed. We had to recover from this for a few days after but it was definitely worth it for all the food and fun we had that day. I can’t wait to go back to Glasgow again!