This weekend I attended my sixth Just V Show! Can’t quite believe that!
Just V Show
Of course, I headed straight for the Just V Show at the back of the hall to start. I picked up a goody bag, then wandered around the stalls, chatting to vendors (so proud of little introverted me!) and buying way too much.
The Oumph! Kitchen proved popular, with a full house in the audience.
I watched a cooking demo by Oumph! chef Fredrik Kämpenberg and guest chef TJ Waterfall of Meat Free Fitness, where they cooked up a Moroccan tagine with home-made pita crisps. It was really delicious so I may have to hunt down some Oumph! in-store so I can re-create it!
I did want to buy some products from the nearby Oumph! stand but they all needed to be kept frozen and they weren’t offering a collection service. I meant to go back and grab some before I left but alas, I completely forgot. Dammit!
Speaking of frozen goods, I think this is the first veggie show ever where I’ve not come home with anything from Linda McCartney. They did have some great deals but I just couldn’t justify it given that my freezer is already chock-a-block with Linda goodies! Plus, I wanted to spend my money on things I’d not tried before.
Like vegan butter.
I know there’s plenty of non-dairy spreads available but I’d liken these more to margarine than butter. Although they can be great on toast, and you can use them in baking, they just don’t quite have that buttery richness.
Veurre by The Hemp Pantry may just change that. Made with coconut and olive oils, hemp seeds and cacao butter it’s rich and very similar in consistency to butter. I can’t wait to use it in my next batch of muffins, cookies or fudge!
Speaking of dairy alternatives… I finally found good vegan cheese! I mean, there’s some cheese alternatives that I will happily eat in sandwiches or grate onto pasta but I’ve never managed to find vegan cheese that I’d just want to eat on crackers. Until now. And I found two!
The first is the Pepper Jack cheese by Follow Your Heart. The cheese slice itself is tasty but it’s the peppery kick that makes it truly delicious and perfect on crackers with fresh tomato slices. Nom!
The second was the Ash-Ripened cheese by I AM NUT OK. Oh. My. Goodness. It’s amazing.
Made from cashews, the soft cheese is perfect for crackers and has a properly “cheesy” flavour. There’s none of that weird after-taste you get with some vegan cheeses, and even my non-vegan housemate hesitantly tried some and was “pleasantly surprised”! Trust me, that’s high praise.
I plan to invest in more of the brand’s cheeses ASAP!
(Apologies for the rubbish picture that doesn’t do this cheese justice!)
As a massive fan of curry, I was excited to come across My Mighty Spice, selling a range of vegan-friendly curry sauces (yes, even the Butter Chicken!). I purchased the Masala Curry and Jalfrezi sauces and can’t wait to drown some chickpeas and veg in them!
I resisted all the stalls selling vegan sweets but I’m still a sucker for a good cookie. The Vegan Treaterie had an amazing selection and their packaging was lovely. I grabbed myself some Ginger and Walnut cookies as a treat. Nom!
I couldn’t go past a stand called Coffee & Cheese! Despite the name, they’re actually a 100% vegan wholesaler and yes, they sell more than coffee and vegan cheese!
They made my day by selling vegan chai latte powder by Simply Chai. Yesss! I’ve been looking for vegan chai everywhere and they even had a whole range of flavours! I went for Vanilla and can’t wait to reinstate my evening chai latte habit.
As if I needed more sugar, I also bought a Kookie Cat cookie from their stall. Oops!
A staple at these shows, I can’t go past the baked goods from Global Fusion, a vegan Creole cake stand. I buy something from these guys at every foodie show they’re at because they’re so darn good!
Happily, they were selling my favourite banana bread. At £3 for half a loaf or £4 for a whole one, it seemed rude to be stingy. Worth every calorie.
As well as stocking up on foodie treats, I always try to find new beauty brands at these events. I was drawn to Fairypants Vegan Cosmetics by its gorgeous packaging and was happy to discover all the products are vegan-friendly.
Given as I’m actually bearing a teensy bit of leg in this heat, I was tempted by the fake tan! But as I’ve already got two bottles on the go, I really didn’t need it… Instead I purchased a nail polish in Chocolate Lime – a lovely light green, summery shade. At just £3.99 it was an absolute steal!
I also picked up an eye serum from Skincare With Compassion. Their natural beauty products are all vegan-friendly and cruelty-free. Plus they smell amazing, and their packaging is gorgeous!
I stopped by both The Vegetarian Society and The Vegan Society. The Vegetarian Society weren’t really selling anything, just signing people up to their list and displaying Vegetarian Society approved products. To be honest, I’m always a little disappointed by their stall. (Sorry.)
At The Vegan Society, however, they had a huge range of merchandise for sale. I resisted the urge to buy all of the cookbooks and yet another travel mug, and settled instead for a jar of vitamins. Exciting stuff, I know!
I definitely noticed more purely vegan stalls (as opposed to vegetarian) in the Just V Show this year. I’d guess maybe 90% (totally made-up statistic!) of the stalls in this section were exclusively vegan, which made taste-testing and shopping that much more fun!
There were so many amazing stalls that I could have bought food from but I had to limit myself – at least a little – so here’s some pics of the yummy things I didn’t buy!
The same with the beauty and fashion stands. Seriously, it was tough not to buy all the things.
As usual, I found it a bit odd when leaving the Just V section and wandering around the co-locating shows, as there were stalls selling pork sausages or ham pizzas not too far from The Vegan Society and Humane League stands. Gross.
However, I didn’t want to skip these shows as there were plenty of great vegan-friendly and cruelty-free brands in amongst them!
Here’s what I did love in the other shows:
Love Natural, Love You Show
The Kijani Living stall was stocking one of my favourite vegan and cruelty-free cosmetics brands – Pacifica. I picked up a new solid perfume in Coconut Nectar, which smells insanely good, and the Kale Detox Deep-Cleaning Face Wash.
I recently tried citronella incense sticks by Incognito Anti-Mosquito and they were really great, so I was happy to find them at the show! They’re completely natural, non-toxic, only lightly scented and they’re Vegan Society approved. Score! I also got an awesome multi-buy deal at just £2 a pack (they retail at £4.99 each).
Something that’s been on my To Buy list for aaages is metal straws. I always turn down straws in bars and restaurants but I’m partial to a frappucino and feel guilty every time I drink one through a plastic straw.
I found some at a lovely little stall called Ethical Active who also stocked bamboo toothbrushes and string shopping bags. Swoon!
They were also offering a service where you could offset the carbon emissions from one of your recent flights. I picked my flight from Oslo to London and after a quick calculation, my figure was £2.70, which was much less than I expected! I then chose an environmental charity to donate that amount to. It’s such a great idea and I encourage more travellers to try to do this!
There were loads of lovely beauty stalls in this section and if my purse had been fuller, I would have bought even more!
Allergy & Free-From Show
Heading then to the Allergy & Free From Show, I couldn’t go past Brave. I’m a sucker for savoury snacks and their roasted split peas are the perfect healthy alternative to salty snacks like crisps and popcorn. They’re nutrient dense and low in calories, yet they’re full of flavour and have that satisfying crunch. So good.
Raw Gorilla was a brand I hadn’t seen before. They were offering cereals and fruity snack packs that are all vegan-friendly, organic, and made from natural ingredients. I grabbed a handful and they may just be a new regular addition to my snack drawer at work!
Because you can never have too many snacks, I also stocked up on oat bars from Deliciously Ella. Having tried her protein balls before, I decided to give the bars a go this time.
I also signed up to Vegan Food & Living magazine with a great deal – I paid about £6 on the day and got the current issue plus a goody bag, then I’ll get the next three issues delivered to my door for just £1 each. Considering they retail at around £4.99 each, it seems a pretty great deal!
The Eat Smart Show
The Eat Smart Show is like a mini-show in the middle of all the others. With just 19 stalls on one little aisle, it doesn’t get as much promotion as the other three shows but it was well worth a visit. All about eating well without restricting yourself from life’s pleasures, there were some interesting products on show.
I tried non-alcoholic sparkling wine from Botonique (tasty but nah!) and hemp and cacao bars by nucao.
Ntsama’s offered super-spicy chilli sauces, made with scotch bonnet chillies. The taster nearly burnt my tongue off but it was so good that I bought a jar! I also grabbed a little bottle of chilli sauce and I can’t wait to use them both in my cooking.
After several hours at the show, my final haul was pretty decent. I ended up with a great selection of food from cakes to cereal bars to curry sauces!
I didn’t go as crazy on beauty and home products as I have at previous shows but still ended up with a nice little collection of goodies.
I also came away with a bunch of freebies from the Just V and Allergy show goody bags. Woohoo! (Anything not cruelty-free or vegan has been donated to my housemate or colleagues.)
As always, I highly recommend the show. It’s great not just for stocking up on your veggie favourites but for finding a whole array of new faves too.
If you didn’t make it this year, see you there in 2019!
Check out my reviews and hauls from previous shows: