Minimalism #2 – Presents

Did everybody have a nice Xmas?! For a child, waking up on Xmas morning is probably one of the most exciting things and I’m sure that over the years most of you still feel some of that excitement. Waking up to unwrap your presents is just something really exciting. What did you get this Xmas? Did it make you happy? But most important: Did it spark joy when you were holding it? Because what if it didn’t? What if you don’t like your gifts or it’s something you won’t use (because it’s not vegan for example)? It’s always a thing, isn’t it? Especially when you are (or when you’re trying to be) a minimalist or have a very specific taste (like me..). You do not want to come across as ungrateful and disappoint the person who got out of his/her way to get you something. But Xmas without presents also sounds a little boring. It’s just so tricky! Do these situations sound rather familiar on this Christmas day? If it does, then I can hopefully help you to not experience this again. This will not only be helpful at Christmas time of course, but in any situation where people normally like to give you a present. Birthdays, anniversaries, graduations..

I love getting people presents. I honestly love it a lot more than receiving a present myself. Looking or finding something you know somebody will really enjoy is such a nice feeling. Then when they open it and they really like it.. that makes me so happy! I like to spoil and get out of my way to get people something they (hopefully) really like. I’m sure I’m not the only one. This means that people who are giving you a present will be sad if you do not like what they got you. This makes me sad too. Not only because of their disappointment and effort, but also the money they’ve spent. Presents should make you happy, not sad. So here are some tips to save everybody from all this hassle:

*Tell people exactly what will make you happy. 
You can tell people exactly what you want. You can either write down the exact specifications, send them a picture or even a (Amazon) link. This way you’re very sure you get what you like or need. The whole surprise will be gone though, so it’s a little less fun I think.

*Make a list of general things that will make you happy. 
This is what I did. It’s all things you can eat and use anyway, things that will finish, make a memory or a favour. This way people can still kind of choose what to get you and it’ll be much more of a surprise for yourself. Most of the things are sustainable already, because they can be consumed. Try to think of more sustainable choices when you make your list. To give you some ideas:
-Soy toxin free candles.
-Your favourite Lush products or any other cruelty free brand you like.
-You favourite chocolate.
-Chia seed.
-Bag of nuts (cashews, almonds, macadamia).
-Bag of spirulina, matcha powder or any other powder you use.
-Essential oils.
-Incense.
-iBooks / iTunes / Movies.
-Going vegan for a week.
-Theatre/Cinema tickets.
-Donation to animal charity.
-Going out for dinner and pay for themselves as their gift to you.
-Donation towards your dream.
-Gift cards for the Whole Foods Market or any of your favourite stores.

You have to make sure that everybody knows about your wishes and/or list, otherwise you will still get things that you might not like. If you tell people about your wishes, make sure you tell them exactly why you have a list. Obviously, do this in the nicest possible way. I’m sure a lot of people are also happy, because this makes it a lot easier for them to get you something you actually like. Though, what if people still get you something you don’t like or you will not use? If that person knew about your wishes, then it’s their own risk. What I do is, I ask if they want to keep it themselves or I give it to somebody else. It maybe takes a while before people understand that it’s a lot better to get you something you’re actually happy with. In general, everybody likes to get you something you actually enjoy, so it should be alright in the end. It’s important to be honest though, because if you react all happy and excited for something that you do not like, people will do it again and you can’t blame them.

I hope this will help you. Oh and this actually will not only help you, but it is also better for the environment, especially if you ask for more sustainable presents. Good luck!

Do you have more ideas I could add to the list? Or anything else you’d like to share after reading this post? Please let me know in the comments below or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

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Mooshies

It’s been a while since I was here actually, but I do want to add this fabulous vegan burger bar to my hotspot list. It’s not only a fabulous bar, but it’s also located in one of the coolest neighbourhoods of London. You can find Mooshies on Brick Lane in Shoreditch! I don’t know if you’ve ever visited this place, but you should. It’s so lively and I would almost say that it feels like you’re in different world. Shoreditch is super colourful, with its graffiti on (literally) every corner and it has a great sense of freedom. I love going here and whenever I go, I can’t skip paying a visit to Mooshies.

I chose the  ‘What’s your Beef’ burger that day, together with some cheesy sweet potato fries. The burger is made of quinoa and black beans and comes with several toppings, including (vegan) cheese. Though it was busy, I didn’t even have to wait that long for my order to arrive. I like the way they serve it, in a little basket with black an white paper. What I want to say first of all.. sweet potato fries and cheese are one heavenly combo, go get them! Now the burger. The taste is very good, the whole combination with the sauce, the crispy bottom of the bun and the fresh lettuce is super yum. Personally I would have liked it if the burger was a little bit more firm though. It’s quite soft. I really like how you don’t feel super full and heavy after eating this burger.

Mooshies couldn’t have choses a better location and it’s perfectly blending in. The atmosphere, the colours.. just everything. It’s not a super big place and it’s very popular, so sometimes you do have to wait a little bit to be seated. In the meantime you can stare at the beautifully graffiti walls. The best place to sit, I think, is close to the windows as Brick Lane is perfect to enjoy watching the variety of people walking around there. I also do have to mention that the staff is super friendly over here and I felt very welcome. They answered my questions and really looked after me well.

WHO? Mooshies.
WHERE? 104 Brick Ln, London E1 6RL.
CUISINE? Burgers.
VEGAN? Yes!
OVERALL? 8 (Great colourful restaurant, yummy burgers, reasonable prices and friendly staff.)

Did you already know Mooshies? Are you planning to get a burger over here? Please tell me about your experience! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

 

Vegan Advice #5 (Xmas edition)

I got more questions asked, that I would like to answer here. This way everybody can read it in case more people have these questions about veganism. I answer everything from my own perspective. I’m sure there are people with a different opinion though. The last time I wrote a Vegan Advice I answered the following questions: ‘Why are you not going to the zoo?’, ‘Why do you not wear fur, wool, leather and silk?’ and ‘Do you take any supplements?’. As it’s almost Xmas, I thought of doing a Xmas edition of the Vegan Advice article. They aren’t per se Xmas related though, but recently I get these sort of questions a lot and I’m sure more vegans get these too: ‘Would you buy non vegan things as a present?’, ‘Would you accept non vegan things as a present?’, ‘Would you eat Xmas dinner with omni people?’. Here we go..

Would you buy non vegan things as a present?
No! Very simple and straight forward. I used to do it in the very beginning, but very soon I realised that it doesn’t make sense to spend my money on non vegan things. There are actually 3 reasons. First of all, I do not want a non vegan brand to get my support through buying it. Second, my biggest wish is for the whole world to go vegan. Giving other people non vegan things doesn’t only make them doubt about how serious veganism is for me and in general, but it also tells them it’s kind of ok that they still want products that involve cruelty and/or environmental damage. Third..I really like to show them that vegan things aren’t that weird, disgusting or hard to find. Giving vegan gifts is a nice way to show people how nice and positive veganism is.

Would you accept non vegan things as a present?
No! This is sometimes really hard and I understand that you might think ‘it doesn’t matter anymore now, because it has already been purchased’. But as I said at the first question as well, about other people thinking it’s kind of ok, this is the same for accepting non vegan gifts. People won’t take my decision to live a vegan lifestyle serious, but even worse is that if I would tell them it’s ok, they might do it again. If it’s about food, then it can also make me ill as I haven’t been consuming non vegan foods and drinks for years now. I think it also comes down to principles. It’s my principal that I do not want to be involved with non vegan things. It’s hard sometimes, because there are occasions people tried hard to get me something and then I have to disappoint them. But what helps me is thinking in this way: what if I had an allergy? I couldn’t accept it then, so why would I accept it if my reason is to consciously make the world a better place?

Would you eat Xmas dinner with omni people?
This is quite a hot topic. I know that a lot of people are struggling with this. A lot of people are the only vegan in their family and this makes it really hard, because you want to enjoy the Xmas dinner with your family, but then you have to sit at the table whilst there are people eating and complimenting the dead animals on the table. Personally I can’t do this. Luckily almost my whole family is vegan or vegetarian and we are having 100% vegan Xmas dinners for the last couple of years. I feel very lucky. If this wasn’t the case then I would not attend the Xmas dinner. I know that is quite radical, but I just can’t do it. I rather miss out (even though I love Xmas so much!), than to feel incredibly sad and have the feeling I want to cry the whole time. It would feel like torture to me. So how do you deal with this if you aren’t as lucky as I am? If you can’t bare it, then I suggest looking for like minded people (I’m sure they can’t be that hard to find) and organise a Xmas pot luck. I hope everybody will have a good Xmas though!

Do you agree with me or do you see it in a different way? Are there any other questions you’re struggling with? I’d be more than happy to help! Please let me know by leaving a comment below or by sending me a private email. You can also contact me via Instagram by sending me a message, by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Turkcauli

It’s nearly Christmas! In exactly one week it’s Xmas eve.. How exciting!! At least, I think it’s exciting, because I love Xmas. Cooking for my family, being with loved ones, visiting friends, family and making memories. Last Xmas I’ve had such a good time, that I’m overly excited about this one. In fact, I’m flying to the Netherlands in 5 days, woohoo! Did you plan out your Xmas dinner yet? Do you remember my last Xmas Dinner? This year I also have a lovely recipe for you, called ‘Turkcauli’. Many turkeys and chickens are eaten with Xmas and that makes me overly sad. That is why I kind of tried to make a statement with this recipe’s name, because no animal needs to die for a nice Xmas dinner. In fact, how can you be all about peace and joy during these festive times, whilst chewing on the flesh of a dead animal that suffered? Do you agree? Then this oven roasted cauliflower recipe will definitely look nice on your Xmas table!

TURKCAULI

Serves: 4

1 medium cauliflower
4 tbs chopped tomatoes
1 tbs olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp thyme
salt/pepper (to taste)
2 tbs olive oil (optional)

-Preheat the oven to 170C.
-Optional, but extra tasty: Massage the cauliflower with 2 tbs of olive oil.
-Take the leaves off the cauliflower and cut off the bottom, so it will nicely stand up.
-Mix all the ingredients in a blender or with a pastel and mortar.
-Cover (it’s easiest to just use your hands) the whole cauliflower with the paste nice and evenly.
-Put the cauliflower on a tray in the middle of the oven, for about 70-80 min (or until tender).

Are you having a Christmas dinner with family and/or friends and are you still looking for a nice recipe? If you didn’t decide yet, then I think this is a good option. It’ also a great recipe to bring over if you’ve been invited to somebody else. Or maybe you can make it for New Years evening?! Or whenever you feel like it of course.. Please let me know if you decided to make this recipe! You can do this by leaving a comment below, by showing me on Instagram using #PlanetManel or by tagging me. Thank you! X

Nori Nori

I love nori sheets. You can make so many fun and yummy things with them. Of course you can make sushi, but that is quite time-consuming I always think. One of my favourite things to make and to eat are the nori rolls. They are easy to make and super super healthy too. You can easily make a whole bunch of them. They are also nice to serve on parties, for on the way, as a snack and of course just for lunch or dinner. And if your kids like them, they are great for lunch boxes (you might want to leave the sesame oil out as many schools don’t allow sesame products, due allergies). Also it’s best to eat them the same day you make them. Otherwise they can get a little soggy. Just in case: this will be a great creative addition to your Xmas dinner.

NORI NORI

Serves: 2 (10 rolls)

-10 nori sheets (half cut)
-10 long bits of tempeh (I used Tofurky bacon)
-150 gr fresh spinach
-8 big mushrooms (sliced)
-1 red bell pepper (sliced)
-60 gr alfalfa
-1/4 tsp coriander (optional)
-1/4 tsp ground cumin (optional)
-1 tsp sesame oil
-1/2 tsp soy sauce
-salt/pepper (to taste)

-Fry the mushrooms (no oil) in a frying pan for just 2 minutes on a medium/high fire.
-Add the spinach for just a minute.
-Let it cool down, before you squeeze out all the water.
-Add the coriander, ground cumin, sesame oil and soy sauce + salt and pepper to taste. Mix it well. The best is to use your hand for this.
-Fry the bell pepper just until you see brown/black bits appear.
-Fry the tempeh both sides until gold brown.
-Put 1/10 of the mushrooms and spinach (about 2 tbs) on a nori sheet.
-Then add 3 bits of bell pepper, 1 bit of tempeh and 2 tbs of the alfalfa.
-Roll it all op. Use a little bit of water on the end of the nori sheet to make it stick.
-Do this 10 times.

Are you a fan of nori sheets, just like me? And are you gong to make these? Please let me know when you’ve tried it. You can do this in a comment below.. or you can tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

 

Kitchen & Pantry

I remember coming here once with my previous employer and the kids. I ordered a juice and I remember I liked it. Also I remember my dad said their coffee was really good. Though I don’t drink coffee myself, I thought they might be good in general. So I thought, let’s go here and see what else they have to offer vegans! It’s always busy here and people tend to love it, so I was curious what they would have. When I came in, one of the first things I saw was a vegan wrap in the fridge section. This was very hopeful I thought. Then I looked at the menu signs, to be a little disappointed. I could see lots of different ways to have your eggs, but no vegan options at all.

I went to the counter and introduced myself and straight away the girl walked away and the manager took her place. What was a little odd as she didn’t say anything. I asked for the vegan options, but she said she was sorry to not really have any. I was a little shocked. I haven’t been in many places where they don’t have anything. So I mentioned the wrap and she said that was the only thing. Then she started about all the vegetarian options, but that wasn’t really in any of my interest. They do a vegetarian breakfast, where you could leave out the egg, but then she wasn’t sure about the sausages. She said she also couldn’t check if they were vegan. I think this was very bad as they should always be exactly aware of what the offer.

I ordered a juice (the Cleanse) and the wrap though, to see if at least that was nice. I didn’t really like that the wrap had sugar in it, but I must say it was a very tasty wrap. I especially liked the aubergine in there. The juice was nice, but it still had a lot of pulp, coming from the ginger. It kept blocking my straw. They don’t use water or anything other than fruit in their juices, what I really like though. I also like the interior. They have many different corners and cosy seats, with sofa’s, tables to work on and many other seats. You can also sit outside. But I won’t come here again.. apart from maybe a take away juice. I think they should work on their vegan options as they are a little behind on other places.

WHO? Kitchen & Pantry.
WHERE? 14 Elgin Crescent, W11 2HX.
CUISINE? Diverse (breakfast/lunch).
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 5 (Nice seats, nice juices, but almost no options and bad informed staff.)

Did you already know Kitchen&Pantry? What was your experience? Or are you planning to go here now? Please tell me about it! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Newsletter DECEMBER

I’m sorry I’m sorry!! It’s the 10th of December today and so this newsletter is officially 10 days late! I’ve just had so many things to do and so working on my blog isn’t first priority at the moment. Apart from that, there is a wifi problem in the house and so I can not access the internet very well. Super annoying, but that’s why I went to the nearest Starbucks today, to do a bit of work. To keep you up to date and to let you know what’s on this month, here is the late December newsletter. And before I forget: a Merry Xmas to you!

Last month:

SOUTHAMPTON VEGAN FESTIVAL
As I was van viewing near Southampton this day I decided to quickly take a look at this festival. It was the first time they held it here and so I was curious. I’ve had a good time and there were quite some stalls. Some I knew already, but also some I didn’t see before and that is always fun. As it was lunchtime I had a burger from ‘Got No Beef’, what was super yummy. For dessert I tried the most amazing ice cream from ‘Ice Green’. I chose peanut butter and apple crumble and I enjoyed this so much, you have to try this if you ever get the chance! As a treat to take home I chose a chocolate salted caramel brownie from ‘Dark Matters’. My goodness, I did make yummy food choices that day. The downside of this festival, and I’m sure everyone who went agrees, it was way too dark everywhere and the floor was super sticky everywhere (even the carpet). I think a different venue is definitely a good idea, would they want to do this festival again.

VAN NEWS
Something else very exciting happened last month too. I got my van!! Yes! I found my perfect van, a Citroen Relay form 2014 and I picked it up the 25th of November. I’ve been working on it since, though I couldn’t do lots yet. I stripped and cleaned it so far. The new window and the skylight ventilator arrived now though and as soon as there is a dry day I will get that in (what is a bit scary). To stay tuned and updated about my van(life), please follow my instagram, as I post updates on my IGS regularly. Soon I will do a blogpost about my van too.

LUCKY OLIVER
Oliver is 7 weeks now and he is doing well (if you want to know more about Oliver and his rescue, please read his story here!). He will move to the barn somewhere in the up coming days. I’m a little anxious about this, but it’s time. He’s getting too big for his cage in my room. Of course he’s out whenever I’m off, but the 4 days I’m working he does spend a lot of hours in the cage. He really wants to move, run and jump around though. He needs more space!

Now what is on the rest of the December month:

16/12 – TAUNTON VEGAN FESTIVAL 
There will be a small vegan festival in Taunton this Saturday. It will be held at the Wilton Church Hall (TA1 3JT) from 11:00-16:30. There will be a few stalls and some talks too. So if you’re around, please go and have a look. The entry is free.

22/12 – XMAS HOLIDAY
This day I will travel to my family in the Netherlands to celebrate Xmas and NY. I’m so excited! I will make a yummy Xmas dinner (that I will post here too) and it will be so much fun to see everyone and to give the presents I got them. Who else is traveling home for Xmas and NY this year? I will travel back the 1st of January, but even that is so exciting, because my mum will come with me to spend a week with me in my new house. What a lovely time I will have and it’s almost. I can’t wait though!

24-25/12 – XMAS!! 
Yay for Xmas eve and day! Please tell me about all your Xmas plans!

26/12 – BOXING DAY
In the Netherlands we call this day second Xmas day and we actually celebrate it the same as the actual first day. Sometimes we choose just one, but most people celebrate both days with different people. Whoever is going shopping here in the UK instead, have fun!

31/12 NEW YEARS EVE
The last day of the year. What a crazy year it was for me. So much has happened, but I’m also super grateful for all the good it brought me. Who would have guessed I’d move to the country side, own a van and be a pig mum by now?! Also 2018 will be super exciting, finishing my van conversion, start living in it + travel around with it for the first time. Also I will rescue a dog and maybe another piglet. So many plans.. What was 2017 like for you and what are your plans for the new year?

RECIPE SPOILER
Keep your eyes open for this up coming recipe:

Was this helpful, did you like to read this or do you have any questions? Would you like to tell me about your year or Xmas plans.. I’d love to hear all about it! Please let me know in a comment below! Do you have any exciting things coming up what is related to veganism, positivity, spirituality etc? Please let me know! Send me a message via CONTACT and I might publish it in my next newsletter! Thank you! X

Nutty Treat

A biscuit is a good biscuit when you want to eat another one every time you finish one. Or are they maybe not so good then? Perspective! These Nutty Treat almond biscuits are delicious and I’m sure you can’t just only eat one. Are you having people coming over for tea or do you need some good biscuits for a high tea? These are your biscuits! Also good as a snack or to share with your friends or colleagues (..make sure you have the recipe by hand, because people will ask for it!). They are super addictive and so it’s a good thing they’re made with only good ingredients. So having a second one isn’t a problem. Yay! They’re not hard to make, especially when you have a food processor. So don’t waste any more time.

NUTTY TREAT

Serves: 12

1 cup spelt flower
1 cup ground almonds
1 cup palm sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs water
pinch of salt
12-24 whole almonds

baking tray
baking paper

-Preheat the oven to 180C.
-Put all the ingredients, except for the whole almonds, in the food processor and mix until you have a sticky dough.
-Roll it into a cylinder shape (diameter: about 8 cm) and put it in the fridge for 1 hour. If the dough is too soft, then put it in the fridge for a bit, to make it more firm.
-Slice the roll into 1 cm thick biscuits and put them on the baking tray (covered with baking paper).
-Lightly push 1-2 almond (s) into every biscuit.
-Put them in the oven for about 16-18 minutes, until golden brown.
-Let them cool down before eating.

Are you ready to make some addictive biscuits to share? Are you going to try to make this recipe? Please let me know when you’ve tried them. You can do this in a comment below. You can also tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Tibits

Apparently I didn’t now about one really nice restaurant, called Tibits. No idea how I didn’t know about it, but I’m happy I do now. When my best friend Nienke, from the Netherlands, was visiting me, I thought it will be nice to go here and explore it together. I knew it was a buffet and so this way it would be a great way to try lots of different things. It was Nienke’s first time in London, so after a long morning of showing her all the touristy must see places, we went to Tibits for lunch. We always have so much fun together, but we made sure that this lunch was one to never ever forget.

So like I said, it’s a buffet. They have lots of nice food and though it’s a vegetarian restaurant, almost everything is vegan. Just make sure to check to be sure. They have many different options and they look all very yummy. I think I made sure I tried everything that was vegan. I just got a little bit of everything. When collecting our lunch we were already drooling over the sticky toffee dessert we saw, but we decided to first eat the food on our plate. At Tibits you pay by weight, the same as in Ethos. So after you get what you want, you go to the till, they weigh the food on your plate and that’s what you pay for. I think they have more reasonable prices than Ethos though. Also, after eating everything, I can say that the food is better than at Ethos too. The food was delicious actually. Then we wanted to have that sticky toffee pudding, but the problem was that all the cakes they sell separately, are vegan too. So first we chose 3. A cake each and 1 to share. But then we couldn’t choose which one.. because they have chocolate-pear, lemon, coconut-mango and apple pastry.. how can you choose? I don’t know how other people do it, because you can’t! So we ended up buying all options! Oops! Everybody was looking at us and we had tears of laughing rolling down our cheeks. Some people said they will do it too next time. The influencers we are! They were so delicious, but funny enough, the sticky toffee cake ended up being my favourite one. The chocolate one was ver nice too, as it wasn’t crazy sweet and you could actually taste the chocolate. We obviously couldn’t eat everything, but the staff was friendly enough to give us a doggy bag. Hurray for desserts!

Tibits is a beautiful restaurant, in a lovely little street. It’s just off Regent Street, close to Piccadilly Circus. It’s quite a big restaurant, with seats around the buffet area, but you can also go downstairs. They’ve done a lovely job with the interior, mixing up different styles, but creating one lovely atmosphere. The staff is very friendly and helpful and it just makes it a perfect place to have lunch or dinner (or to try desserts) when in central London. Make sure to try the sticky toffee cake though, you pay this one by weight too. I’ll be back for sure.

WHO? Tibits.
WHERE? 12-14 Heddon St, Mayfair, W1B 4DA.
CUISINE? Buffet.
VEGAN? No! (vegetarian)
OVERALL? 8 (Great looking restaurant, good food, reasonable prices and very yummy desserts.)

Did you already know Tibits? Are you planning to go here now? Please tell me about your experience! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Lucky Oliver #1 Rescue

Many of you probably know now that I rescued a little piglet. Especially if you follow me on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve noticed all my pig spam, haha! I’d like to share with you how I got him and what has happened so far, but also because a lot of people have been asking me about it. It just saves a lot of typing if I write down the whole story. This is why I decided to share his story here on my blog. I also want him to be an inspiration, I hope he will make some people think and they make the connection. So here is the story of Lucky Oliver..

To start at the whole beginning. I just moved houses. I moved from London to a farmhouse in the countryside, 4 weeks ago. Very nearby is a pig farm and only a 5 min walk from the house were a lot of mummy pigs with their piglets. Pigs are my favourite animals, I’m crazy about them and I absolutely adore them. So the first opportunity I got, I made my way to the pigs. There were about 40 little mud fields with a little shelter house. Each had one mummy pig with her babies inside. I was so excited to be so close to these amazing animals. But when I greeted them all, I also discovered several dead piglets that were clearly there for a longer time. So sad. They were all very scared, but with a lot of patience, I finally got one mummy pig to accept me. She was still very suspicious of me, but she allowed me to come close to her babies. She had 10 babies, who were about 5 weeks old at that time. From that time I went to the pigs straight after work and in the weekends I was also covered in mud. I easily spend a few hours with them each time or until it was dark. They eventually let me stroke them all over and even the mummy pig dared to come closer and she let me touch her nose and snout. I was so happy to be with the pigs, but also very sad at the same time. They shouldn’t have been there, they shouldn’t have been born in the first place, because they were only born to end up on somebody’s plate. I tried not to get too attached to them because of this, but that is hard when you discover that each of them has his/her own personality. The second time I went to the pigs I discovered a separate, more closed pig pen, that I didn’t notice before. When I looked inside I was shocked. There were about 45-50 piglets in there in all different ages. Some of them were barely 2 weeks old, whilst others were over 8 weeks old already. There was no mummy and the most shocking was that I counted 8 dead ones. They were everywhere and the others walked over them or still cuddled up against them. The circumstances were horrible. There was almost only mud what was mixed up with their poo (what was mainly diarrhoea). There was no milk, but only pellet and water. I was so shocked and sad. From that time I checked up on them every time I went and every time there was one or a few dead ones lying around again. Then this happened 2 weeks ago: I rushed home after a van view, just so I could spend a little time with the piggies before it got dark. I first went to see the orphaned pigs and then I saw one of them who was about to die. He was lying in the middle of the pen and couldn’t get up, but he was still trying to lift up his head though. My heart broke. I was standing there, but I couldn’t do anything. It was the most horrible feeling. I really wanted to take them all home. There were also 4 that were so small and skinny that they just hopped along with the others. Their heads and tails were down and they had such sad eyes. It just was the saddest thing ever. Next to the pig pen were 2 dead ones too. The farmer obviously had taken them out, but just left them there. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and the amazing day I’ve had didn’t feel like it was worth anything anymore. I was so deeply saddened and incredibly angry with the whole world! How could people do this to them? Why do people want to hurt and eat these beautiful intelligent animals? It was all so unfair and I just wanted to shout and scream to the whole world to stop doing this! I felt so powerless. Because I couldn’t get it off my mind, I went back the next morning to see how they were doing. My employers happened to be there too, with the kids and they told me there was one dead piglet. So I told them about what I saw the day before and that I was sure that it was the one I saw. I went to see them and I was right. Whilst I saw it being alive yesterday, there it was, lifeless. I was so upset! We talked about it a little and at that moment there was one of the 2 week old piggies standing next to me on the other side of the fence. He didn’t ran away with the others, but he was just standing there. So I bend over the fence and picked him up. He didn’t even resist, but just let me. What is so unusual for pigs (they naturally do not liked to be picked up). His eyes were infected and one of them was all closed. He was so tiny and light and he was shaking a lot. My employer suggested putting him in my coat. In the meantime she was going home to ask the farmer if I could keep him. It was a very cold day and I waited with him in my coat for quite a bit. After a while he shaked a little less and he made some cute noises when I tried to push him up a little bit, because he kept falling down. He sometimes popped his nose out to sniff in my direction and I really fell in love with him. It might sound weird, but it kind of felt like he was a part of me. I wanted to make him feel better and look after him so badly, it came from really deep within me. Then after 1,5 hour I was so cold that I asked if she heard back yet. She hadn’t, but told me to bring him home and we’d see from there. At home we got some moving blankets together and a big cardboard box. I wrapped him up and put him on the floor. I was a little anxious he’d panic and run, but he seemed too weak to even get up. So whilst I was preparing the cardboard box he just stayed exactly where I put him. As soon as he was in there and my employer prepared a hot water bottle from him, I took a shower. I was so smelly and muddy and I wanted to go to the shops to get him some necessities. Whilst I was in the shower my employer knocked at the door and got me the much wanted news, the farmer got back to her and he was fine with me keeping him. Yay! I was so happy!! I also felt sad though, because his 3 brothers were not likely to survive the night. It was going to be the first night of the season with freezing temperatures and 2 of them had severe diarrhoea and infections.

Before I went to the shop I drove back to the pigs to get him a bit of the pellet he ate over there. He was used to eating that and I didn’t want to change it straight away, in case it would upset his stomach even more. At Sainsbury’s I got him cat litter, a toy (a ball on a rope), a bottle and yes.. milk! I hated to get him milk, because it’s such a non vegan thing to do, but I needed to save his life. At the pet shop I got him a cat litter tray and a jumper. Going home I was only hoping that he would still be alive. He was! I got him out and offered him food and water and he ate and drunk a lot. That made me so happy. After, or sometimes during, I would put him in the litter tray. It did go wrong a few times, but oh well, what do you expect. Every 3 hours I did this, also in the night. My best friend suggested to name him Lucky. I liked it, though I wanted to add something to it. But for first, Lucky was a great name. The next day I looked for a vet who had pig knowledge. I thought there must be somebody around if there is a pig farm so close. I found a practice, but they didn’t do farm animals anymore. I did email them and asked if they knew somebody who did and in the evening I was called by a very nice vet, Julian Slater. We made an appointment for the next morning. He was busy, but so kind to still make a little bit of time early in the morning.

I rushed home from the school run the next morning, but luckily my employer already let him in. He told me that he was about 2 weeks old. That was my first thought too, but later I did think he might be a little bit older and just smaller from being ill. It turned out that Lucky had a big fever, so the vet gave him 2 injections. The first one was to take his temperature down and the second one was with antibiotics. I also got a paste he needed to have 2 times a day, to make his diarrhoea go away. He thought he did have an ok chance of survival though. It made me hopeful, after not daring to hope that he would. By lunchtime his temperature was down, what was such good sign. From that time he was a little bit better every day. He kept sleeping a lot though. For every 10 min he was awake he wanted to sleep a 2-3 hours. In the days after he stayed awake a little longer every time and his diarrhoea was gone (what made it so much easier to clean up after him). Several times I tried to offer him cucumber and blueberries, but he wasn’t interested one bit. In his first week he was also officially named Lucky Oliver. I’ve always loved the name Oliver and it was 1 of the 2 names I’d choose if I had a son. He feels like he is my baby, so Oliver it is. On Wednesday I also got him a new cage, because it was hard to keep the cardboard box clean. So a cage with a plastic bottom was a lot easier to clean and it’s more hygienic.

On Saturday (the 6th day I had him) I gave him a bath. He didn’t particularly like it and it was a little stressful for him. So I made it quick and skipped his head. He really seemed to be a little disappointed with me for doing that to him, haha! Then I put on his jumper and showed him his new bed that came that day, he was a lot happier by then. So happy that he slept for hours in his new bed and really didn’t want to come out. But then around midnight he suddenly started to keep his head tilted to one side. He was also shaking his head/ears the whole time and tried to scratch it with his paws. He also kept moaning like he was in pain and he was clearly uncomfortable. It scared me a lot, because I really thought he had a bleeding in his brains or something like that. It could also be an ear infection though, but I was so panicky that I couldn’t think clearly anymore. The whole week he tried to scratch his ear a little, but as I couldn’t see anything in his ears, I assumed it was just natural behaviour. Also because he has had antibiotics and so I didn’t think it was something alarming. That night was the most horrible and most stressful night, because I really thought I was going to lose him. I stayed up with him until 5:00 in the morning, until I really couldn’t keep my eyes open any longer. When I woke up at 8:30 I contacted the vet and he was so kind to come over a few hours later. He also thought of an ear infection, but a mid-ear infection, because just like me, he couldn’t see anything in his ear. He gave him another type of antibiotics, that goes in his drinking water. He also gave him an anti inflammatory that he needed to keep taking once a day for 5 days. After 2 days he kind of stopped keeping his head tilted to one side, though he kept doing it after waking up + he kept shaking and scratching. He did started to be more naughty though. He (all the time) knocked over his food and water within 2 second of me putting it down, he knocked over the bin, started to bite in everything.. he clearly started to feel better and noticed the things around him more and more. It was really time to correct him, raise him well and be sure he’ll grow into a good friendly pig. He learns so fast though. It’s his stubbornness that makes him do things again, haha! He also finally started to show interest in other food than his pellet. He tried cucumber and after a few tries he now finishes a whole piece with great joy (what gives me even more joy!). He also really likes grapes.

I noticed he, like all other pigs, had a big urge for rooting. He didn’t have that at first, but he’s getting older and I guess his instinct is kicking in. So we even went outside for the first time (had to get him a new jumper, because he’s growing and the other one was too small after a week!). Oliver experienced grass for the first time and he really liked it. He can’t stop sniffing everything, chew on every leaf, play with little stones and run and following me around. So from now on we go outside every day. It’s good for him to get used to the temperature and I think the fresh air and rooting in the dirt is healing too. In the weekend I also got him a brush. Not necessarily to brush his hair, but more because I thought he’d love the feeling. I was so right! He loves his brush!

If you want to follow Oliver, to see where he is up to (pictures, videos and InstaStories), then please follow Oliver’s Story on Instagram: @LuckyOliverPig

|> I want to thank Doug & Maryn, my employers, for letting me rescue him and for all the love and support they’re giving him (and me). Without you he wouldn’t have been alive! <|

Thank you so much for reading this huge article! I think this is the longest one ever, haha!

Did you like reading about Oliver? Would you like me to write an update later on? Do you have a similar story or do you want to say something about it? Please let me know in the comments below or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X