Everyday life Life

August 2020

If my last month I said it could be described with the word gardening, this month the word would be: food! Thanks to Rishi Sunak [for non-Brits – he is Chancellor of the Exchequer, appointed in Feb this year] and his marvellous idea of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme [the state pays for 50% of the bill for food&drinks from Monday to Wednesday in August, up to a maximum of £10], we’ve been eating out a lot this month. I loved it because, unlike other government schemes, in this one, the businesses who attract people are the ones to survive. As we felt confident to eat out, we’ve decided to support local, small businesses, and eat out as much as we could. With an exception [Cat Cafe], all the places we’ve been to are either vegan or vegetarian. My thoughts were: if I’m not going now, I might not have where to go to in a few months’ time; as in, veg*n places, of course, but these are the places I love to go to anyway, not big chains.

Amazingly, the media managed to say negative things about this, including the BBC. They said “critics” [as in comments they read on twitter, written by a mix of people from UK, outside UK, and maybe some bots + of course, the opposition parties] mentioned that the government also said that we need to tackle the obesity “epidemic”. Not sure what the producers at BBC are suggesting, that people who are overweight should not eat for 3 days at all or not eat out at all? That doesn’t sound ok as it promotes an unhealthy relationship with food. Sorry for the rant, the BBC annoys me these days.


So, going back to food. We went twice a week somewhere, on average. This evening we are taking advantage of the offer by going to V-Rev, a vegan burger place in Manchester. I will talk about it next time.

In the picture above you can see food from, starting from top left to bottom right [links to my reviews]: Veggie Republic Liverpool [new picture, from an additional visit this month], Vertigo Manchester*, Sanskurti Liverpool* [new picture, from our 2nd visit, in a weekend], Cat Cafe Liverpool, Meatless Liverpool*, and Allotment Vegan Eatery Manchester*. I hope all these businesses will survive this crises and will continue to amaze veg*ns and non-veg*ns with their delicious food, just as before. The * mark means it was the first time I went there.

While in September we will not visit as many restaurants as this month, mainly because I start my University courses with a full week of study, besides my work commitments. We are not going to restaurants often, not even once a month before the pandemic, but in the next two to three months we will eat out once or twice a month, at least. We had a lovely time, the cleaning regime was good at all the places we’ve been to, and we want to support these businesses as much as we can. Some people can’t go, due to financial reasons or maybe due to health reasons, but we can, so we will.

me with sunglasses on

This month we also went shopping and I tried some sunglasses on. I have a moderate prescription, but, even so, I can’t see properly without glasses. So I only had fun trying two pairs of sunglasses. The lady explained which type of sunglasses can be used with prescriptions [not these I have on]. As I have reaction lenses [change their colour to UV light], I don’t actually need sunglasses, as it would mean I need to change the glasses when I’m out. I loved the look of these glasses though.


Another important thing that happened this month was that we started playing tennis. It started by chance, as my husband wanted to play tennis and got tennis rackets for us. We went to play and booked a pay&play court. But, on Saturday we went to a Vegan Fair (sorry, no pictures) which was held in a tennis club premisses, which is closer to home. So, we had a chat with someone from the tennis club and we joined. It is much much cheaper, it takes only 12 bookings to break even on what we’ve spent on the membership, and the membership is for 19 months at the moment, with an offer they had at the moment. On top of that, we can play as many times as we can, as long as the courts are available, of course. I think that’s fantastic and that we are going to play often. There is minimal contact to get in and out the court, so it’s the perfect sport to enjoy in a pandemic, and, even better, was four times less than what we could have spent on a gym subscription.

I’ve uploaded a short clip with Festus and the bottle of Champagne [or Prosseco, I can’t remember what it was]. Some people open their bottles indoors, looking at each other, we open ours in the garden, so the dog can have a bit of fun chasing the cork.


1. Bug hotel open for business. 2. Red Bull, as a sign of support for Verstappen in the British GP. 3. Fancy burger for lunch: Seeded rye bread, pumpkin pesto (Wicked), Oomph burger, Violife cheese, vegan mayo, This.is bacon, fried onions, and, of course, two types of fries. 4. Reading for university. 5. Allotment restaurant in Manchester. 6. Burgers at Meatless, Liverpool. 7. Poppy in bloom in my garden. 8. Festus, having a drink. 9. Order from The Vegan Kind Supermarket. 10. Cat Cafe, Liverpool. 11. New hairdryer! 12. Veggie Republic. 13. Relaxing in the garden, Festus with his chew toy and me with a Spanish civil war book. 14. Buying for the picnic on the following day. 15. Knowsley Safari Park. 16. Taking pictures of books. 17. Learning in the garden. 18. Sanskruti. 19. Butterfly in the garden. 20. Reading. 21. Library. 22. Shopping. 23. My new garden. 24. Vertigo, Manchester. 25. Book delivery. 26. Playing tennis. 27. Virtual book launch – Fighting for Spain. 28. Pansies for freezing. 29. Taking a selfie with an unwilling Festus. 30. Enjoying a day out at a museum in Liverpool. 31. Books I read in August.


In August I finished 10 books, and, as usual, the topics are very varied, from growing herbs to history. All the books I mention in the list have reviews on my book blog – Coffee and Books. I did not finish two books, see at the end of the post.

If I start with history, I can say I enjoyed all of them, as you can see that they got 4 or 5 stars each. The very technical Total Undersea War and Lannon’s concise Spanish Civil War are great for those who are studying that specific period. The rest though are really great for anybody. The book on clothes was fascinating and, at least once, shocking, the Famous Faces deals with well known artists, such as Orwell, Picasso, Hemingway. The Doves of war is the story of four women who make a name for themselves during the Spanish war, a fascinating book. The book on Scotland Yard reads more like a detective novel than a non-fiction history book. The Centuries of Change by Mortimer and Aesop’s Fables make one think.
Besides this, I read an inspiring memoir – the Heat of the Moment – and a good book on how to grow herbs, which makes for a useful guide and can be a nice gift too.

Books I read in August:
Scotland Yard’s Flying Squad by Dick Kirby – 5 stars
The Heat of the Moment by Sabrina Cohen-Hatton – 5 stars
Women’s Lives and Clothes in WW2 by Lucy Adlington – 5 stars
Aesop’s Fables. Translation by Laura Gibbs – 5 stars
Total Undersea War by Aaron S Hamilton – 5 stars
The Spanish Civil War: 1936–1939 by Frances Lannon – 5 stars
Centuries of Change by Ian Mortimer – 4 stars
Doves of War by Paul Preston – 5 stars
Growing Herbs by Holly Farrell – 5 stars
Famous Faces of the Spanish Civil War by Steve Hurst – 4 stars

I did not finish two books:
Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell – I stopped after reading how parents and teachers can’t be blamed for child abuse, even thought someone told them it happened. So, a mother was told by her daughter that the doctor touched her inappropriately; she does nothing, and we should think that the mother is a victim too?! I can’t agree with that. The same thing applies to the teachers who did nothing because they did not accept that something like this can happen within their school. The children are the victims! The rest failed them, as they were told and did nothing to find out the truth.

Lagom: the Swedish secret of living well by Lola Akinmade-Akerstrom – I stopped when she started presenting fine dinning chefs who hunt the animals they include in their dishes themselves. Lagom was supposed to signify moderation, which doesn’t sound like what she was saying. Also, she was using lagom at 5 times on each page… not very lagmoy if you ask me. I would like to read on this subject though.

13 Comment

  1. Wow what a month!
    Those all look like delicious meals and I absolutely loved the glasses, what a shame they wouldn’t work for you as you looked fab.

  2. It looks like a good month for you, Anca. I’m so glad you can feel comfortable going to restaurants again. I can’t yet. It’s not that we did all that often — but we knew we could! Well, I say well done! Good reading and yes, good tennis too!

  3. The BBC used to be a great news channel, now they take a lot of information from social media. I loved the Eat Out Scheme, I hope the government will think about running it again

  4. Thank you for explaining what happened about the government’s Eat out to Help out scheme! It’s such a great idea and I’ve seen other people in the UK taking this opportunity to go out and help, meet friends and family – it’s a great idea and it’s sad that some people have found that it was worth criticising… All the food you had seemed delicious!
    I really need to read Aesop’s Fables, it’s good you’re giving them five stars as they’ve been on my reading list forever!
    Have a great September Anca! 🙂

    1. I loved this scheme because not only I was supporting the businesses I like, but I had a say on what happens with the money I’m paying in taxes.
      Aesop’s was interesting because it offers an insight on the moral values of people a few millenia ago. Some are not-PC and some are strange, but I’ve enjoyed it.

  5. I’ve had such an incredibly busy August, even with gardening too! Clearing out the leaves that have started falling and apples all over my garden from the neighbour.
    Clearing out the house and buying new furniture, then next week decorating!
    So much to do and little time before the dreaded C word that kids love… haha!

  6. It’s good you took advantage of the eating out scheme. We didn’t use it much but it was good to support our local independents.

  7. That is a delicious looking display of food you’ve shown! I think the eating out program sounds great.

    I love the clip of Festus with the champagne cork. He is so cute!

    Tennis is a sport I’ve never been able to get into…. watching on TV or playing it myself.

    1. Festus loves his bubbly experience. Now this is the only way we open any bottle of Prosecco or Champagne and because he is so excited, we drink more often than before (instead of wine).

  8. I have taken advantage of the eat out to help out scheme a few times! I got a meal at Weatherspoon for £3 the other day which I thought was amazing!

  9. It is brilliant you decided to support local businesses by eating out more. The goverment support of restaurants is a fantastic idea for everyone, I cannot believe that BBC had something negative to say about it. Their reporting standards have been in decline for quite some time, I’m afraid. I love their wildlife programs and many of their educational ones, but they have been slacking in the news section.
    So great that you were able to read ten books this month.

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