iUVO – Body Butter Cream

BODY BUTTER CREAM
I’m always a little anxious to put something on my skin. Especially my face. The skin on my face has always been trouble since the start of my puberty. Though it has improved since going vegan, it’s far from normal. I used several creams and the last few years I used coconut oil. This worked best so far. My skin is less oily (how ironic) and more smooth when I use it. Though, when I was at the vegan festival in Kensington the beginning of April, I came across iUVO. They were promoting their cream and beauty products there and asked if I wanted to try some. I instantly liked the way it felt on my skin. It makes your skin feel smooth and the scent is natural, but still quite neutral. The first jar isn’t finished yet, but I already bought a second one at the festival in Brighton. It’s such a lovely cream. I use it on my face before I go to bed, but it also really helped me with my dry hands. When it’s a little cold (we don’t really have that problem at the moment, do we..) in combination of washing my hands a thousand times a day, my hand get dry. I only have to use the cream once and my hand are soft for very long. Something what I find important with a cream is that it’s quickly absorbent. Nothing annoys me more than being sticky of cream the whole time. With the iUVO Body Butter Cream it’s not like that. Though you do have to make sure you’re not using too much. You really only need a little bit of the lovely organic ingredients to nourish your skin. I’m loving it!

Did you already know iUVO or are you going to try it after reading this? Please let me know or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Would you like me to test and review your product(s) or do you have any suggestions? Please send me a message via CONTACT! It can be anything (food, drinks, beauty..) as long as it’s vegan. Thank you! X

Be Yourself

You know the feeling when you were 6 and your teacher told you, you’ve made a very nice drawing? Or when you were 14 and, out of everybody else, you had the highest score on a test? That feeling when somebody gives you a meaningful hug or when your lover only has eyes for you? It gives you a special feeling. This I’m-on-top-of-the-world-feeling.
We all want to feel special. There is this desire in us to be known, to be the best and to be liked by everybody. This is a lovely feeling, you should enjoy it for sure, but what if these are the only things that make you feel you’re worthy? And are you known, the best and liked because of who you really are or because of who you pretend to be because of other peoples expectations? We shouldn’t need others to make us happy. You can be happy with others, but you can not be happy only because of others. Who are you? If you know who you are and you can be yourself, then you will find true happiness.

If I ask you: ‘Do you want to be unique or would you like to be like somebody else?’. What will be your answer? I assume that your answer is that you want to be unique (that special feeling). That would be a healthy answer. If we all have the desire to be unique, then why do we still do things because others do it too? Or because it’s expected of you? Or why do we keep ourselves from doing things because it’s not the norm? Because we want to be known and be liked. Do we need to be liked by everybody though? Simply, no. This is your life and you have to live with you 24/7. The people you might look up to also have their own life’s. Everybody has the right to be themselves. In order to be yourself, you have to know who you are though. So how do we know who we really are?

First of all.. Stop worrying about what other might think of you. How can you live your life if you constantly thinking about what others expect form you? This is your life. Where are you afraid of? To loose your friends and the people around you? If they don’t want to be around you anymore, they don’t respect you for who you are and it might be time to look for new friends. You don’t need people who only like you for doing things their way or when they expect you to behave a certain way. You want people around you who love you and respect you for who you really are. The right people for your energy.
Second.. Are you afraid to take a next step in life? Do you want to grow, but are you just to anxious to fail? If you let fear lead you, then how are you suppose to know who you are and what you can do? Feeling scared about something you actually really want, is holding yourself back. You are capable of things, amazing things! Have confidence in yourself, prepare and set an ultimatum. You have to follow your intuition. What maybe means you have to step out of you comfort zone, but nobody ever grew from staying in there. You are a person, with hopes and dreams.. make them come true. Take small steps if necessary, but take them!
Third.. Does it happen sometimes that you’ve had a lovely day, but a week (or maybe even a day) later it didn’t feel like you were really there? It feels like the character from a book you read had a lovely day, but it wasn’t you?! You probably forgot to live in the moment. It’s easy to forget with the busy life’s we’re living nowadays. I sometimes forget to do it myself as well. Then I’m so focused on taking the perfect pictures, I forget everything around me. What is a good thing in a way, I’m in the zone, but often I stay there and forget to look around me. Later I see the pictures and I realise that it feels like I wasn’t there. I have the pictures to prove it, but what about my mind? What about the joy in the moment? That is much more important than a picture! So how do we live in the moment? You just have to take a moment. Stand still and just realise where you are, what you’re doing, how it makes you feel. Notice all the things around you, breathe to focus on your presence and smile. Do this any many times as you can and try to hold on to it. By practising this, it will soon go automatically. Live in the moment!

So feeling unique and special, should first of all, always come from within. It doesn’t mean that it isn’t true happiness when somebody else is making you feel like that, but it should be more like a confirmation from where you are already comfortable with. Because receiving a compliment or people wanting to be your friend because they like the true you, means so much more than people who want to be your friend because they like something what isn’t truly you. Some people might even take advantage of you if you let that last thing happen. It’s so important to know who you are, to act like it and to be yourself. Be happy with who you are and take pride in the person you are and becoming (there is always room for self-improvement). Be yourself and love yourself!

Do you know who you are? Are you happy with who you are? Do you have something you would like to add to this or do you have something to say about it? Please let me know in the comments below! Thank you! X

Green Bay

When I was in the Netherlands, visiting Groningen, I went to the newly opened supermarket there and it’s 100% vegan! So amazing.. to know you can have everything what they sell. You don’t need to read labels and worry that there are any animals products. I said to the man at the till that I wish they had this in London too. And he answered: there is! How did I not know about this? A vegan supermarket in London and I didn’t even hear anything about it? So a while ago I went there and it was lovely. Not sure if you can actually call it a supermarket though, because it’s very small. The one in the Netherlands is also not very big, but bigger than Green Bay. Still, it was very nice!

Green Bay is located on a corner, in a lovely looking building. I like the colours outside their logo and the window stickers. Neutral, simple and attractive. Even though it’s fairly small, they did their best to fit in as many products as possible. Though it’s not comparable with VeganZ in Berlin for example. They have granola’s and cereals, cheeses, seitan, tofu, soups, kombucha, snacks, beauty products and lots more. It would be nice if they would also do veggies and more every day products etc. So it would actually be possible to get all your groceries from there. I think at this stage, that is maybe not possible yet. I’m sure that in the future, if more people turn vegan, Green Bay can expand.

I do think, we as vegans, have to support stores like this. It’s a shame it’s a little far from me, though the bus in front of my flat does go here. I went twice now, but I feel like I should go more often. By supporting this, we vote for vegan supermarkets. It would be a dream come true if there would be supermarkets like VeganZ here in the UK and all over the world. This is the way supermarkets of the future will look like. So, even though you live far, try to go as often as possible. You can just buy things you need anyway. Like nutritional yeast, tofu, granola, snacks etc. It’s not that hard and not that more expensive to get it from here. Show your support by consuming from the right companies!

WHO? Green Bay.
WHERE? 228 North End Rd, W14 9NU.
CUISINE? Supermarket.
VEGAN? Yes!
OVERALL? 8 (small, but well organised with nice products)

Did you go yet? What did you buy and do you agree with me by spending our money in the right place? Please let me know by leaving a comment below. You can also show me by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thanks you! X

Kale Wrap / Sour Sweets

KALE WRAP
Finally.. they were one of the last coffeeshops, but Starbucks introduced a vegan meal. Or meal, something more than a hand full of nuts or a piece of dark chocolate. Starbucks is my favourite place to get tea. I drink my green tea with soy milk or, my latest discovery.. a Green tea Soy latte. If I wanted to eat something  I could choose between some little snacks, because all the sandwiches, wraps and cakes have meat, dairy or egg in them. A lot of other coffeeshops already offered vegan options, especially if we talk about PRET, they are king! Though Starbucks didn’t. Such a shame. But as the world is changing, Starbucks had to. And of course I had to try it. I didn’t have breakfast the morning I did and so it was kind of like a breakfast burrito. First of all, I think it looks good. The lettuce inside and the wrap itself are fresh and the overall taste is nice. It’s just a shame there is a lot of crap (sugar!) in them. But if you’re in a rush and you need to have something in your stomach, I think Starbucks did a good job with offering something tasty!  Let’s hope for more options in the future. Way to go!

SOUR SWEETS
I love love love sour sweeties. I know they’re not good for you, but very once in a while I have some. Sometimes until my tongue is literally open. I know.. it’s bad! It’s just so yummy. The sour the better. A while ago I discovered these Sour Snakes from Biona. BIona is one of my favourite brands. They just have a lot of good stuff. I took these to Rome and I was pleasantly surprised by the taste They’re sour (though it could of lasted a little longer) and the taste is nice. They’re obviously still not healthy, but I’m sure it’s at least better than the other ones. But just once in a while it should be fine. To take with you on a trip or like me.. when I’m on my period (serious cravings!).

Did you already know these products or are you going to try them after reading this? Please let me know or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Would you like me to test and review your product(s) or do you have any suggestions? Please send me a message via CONTACT! It can be anything (food, drinks, beauty..) as long as it’s vegan. Thank you! X

Italy – Rome

I actually wanted to post this travel article last Monday, but I didn’t plan my things too well and my mum came over, so that’s why it’s a week later.. sorry! I planned to go to Rome this year and so I booked a ticket for the end of May. Steven wanted to come with me, what was extra fun. It was our first real holiday together, even though it was only for 3 nights. Steven chose a lovely hotel, right next to Vatican City, what turned out to be a super location. We also got the Omnia Card. This is a card you can use for public transport, the tour bus, 2 tourist activities and Vatican City, all for one price. We got the 72 hour card for £113. The good thing about it is that you don’t have to get transport tickets everywhere and you can skip the (very long) queues. Especially when it’s 30C, you want this! I thought it was very handy and it worked well, until we used it for Vatican City though. This was because it’s the only thing you have to book in advance, but it was very unclear how to do it and it didn’t work. Luckily we did get in, but very last minute. More about this later.

We had to get up very early the Wednesday we left. We had a quick breakfast (thank you PRET and Starbucks!) at the airport before we headed to our gate. The journey went well and before we knew it, we were in Rome. We took one of the many coaches standing in front of the airport (€4,90). With the Omnia card you can probably take the public transport from there too, but we thought before we find out where the buses depart etc. this was just easier. It doesn’t take more than 45 min before you’re in the middle of Rome. The coaches drop you off at the Termini train station. Perfect! It was lunch time when we got out and I did a little research, so I knew that there was a vegan place not far from there. We walked there and though the place, called iPhame, looked lovely, it’s very small and we couldn’t sit there. So we went somewhere else. On our way there we did see another restaurant we liked because of the floor and bar. They actually didn’t do any vegan meals, but they were very helpful and totally ok with me telling them what I wanted. I ordered a pasta with veggies and it was super delicious! We then took the tour bus, very close from there, to see most of the tour. We got out at Vatican City, because from there it was only a 10 min walk to our hotel. We stayed at the ‘Infinity Hotel St. Peter’, what is a lovely hotel. It was clean, neat and the bed was very comfy. As we woke up so early and it was already the end of the afternoon, we took a refreshing shower and relaxed a bit. In the beginning of the evening we took a little walk to explore Rome whilst there was a lovely summer eve breeze. On our way back we stopped at a pizzeria and I ordered a pizza with mushrooms and olives. Our expectations were high, being in Italy. The pizza was quite disappointing though. It looked nice, but it actually had no taste at all. It made us laugh as it seemed quite ironic, eating a pizza without taste in the middle of Rome. On our way back to the hotel we enjoyed the views of Rome by night. Beautiful really!

The next day, Thursday, we had breakfast at the hotel before we walked all the way to the Colosseum. The breakfast was quite ok for a vegan by the way. There were some fruit options, cherry tomatoes, different types of bread, jam, juice and also muesli and cereals. I did email them a few weeks in advance to ask about this, but they never replied. A shame, but I was happy to see that at least there were some options. The walk to the Colosseum was already an activity on its own, because wohw.. Rome is a beautiful city! We passed the Altare della Patria and many beautiful little streets, but to stand in the Colosseum was truly amazing. Something so historic and it’s just almost surreal to be inside. Imagining the things that happened there many years ago.. it made me feel absolutely amazed. When we came out it was lunchtime and though we did go to a place where they serve a vegan breakfast with croissants (and I really wanted one!), they were sold out. What is a good thing I guess, but a shame I didn’t get to try them. So we kept walking until we found something else, but it was a little tricky. We eventually sat down at a place that looked nice, but they also didn’t do vegan food. They were happy to serve the side dishes though. So I had potatoes and some roasted veggies. The veggies were nice and though the potatoes tasted ok, the structure felt like they were heated in the microwave. What was much better.. the gelato we had for dessert at a place around the corner from there. I had coconut (with little pieces of coconut in it) and chocolate. Gosh that was very yummy! A lot of gelato places (and you see them everywhere) do vegan options. Just ask! It was very hot, like 30C, but we did walk to the Roman Forum anyway. It was something we definitely wanted to see and the Colosseum and the Roman Forum together, counts as one on the Omnia card. It was a beautiful place and I’m very happy to have seen it. It’s hard and at the same time so amazing to believe that people actually lived there. They walked on the very same ground you’re walking on. Though in ruins, the temples there were actually used. I just love things like this. When we came out, it was the end of the afternoon already. We were so hot and we really felt our feet, so we walked back to the hotel to freshen up and relax a bit. On our way we popped into a supermarket and I was so happy to see so many vegan options! There was so much.. a lot of choices in seitan for example. In just an ordinary supermarket. I wish my Tesco across the road would do that too, haha! Steven and I chose some things to take home. (In the meantime we already tried the seitan in some wraps and it’s delicious. Only the seitan with rosemary was quite intense. Nice, but just very strong.) I also really liked the pasta with spirulina and so we took that too. We didn’t try that yet though. We walked all the way back to the hotel. On my phone I could see we took more than 21.000 steps (14 km) and so we really deserved a good break. Close to the was a place called Flower Burger and we walked there to get a take away later that evening. And YAY! This is a place you have to go to. First of all the place is 100% vegan, the place itself looks amazing (great texts on the walls) and they do the most amazing burgers. All handmade right there and they are delicious!

On Friday we planned to go to Vatican City, but we weren’t able to book it online. We tried it several times via the website and the app (which appeared to be non-existent). So we went to the Vatican and asked there. Turned out we needed to use the email we got in the whole beginning for this. What isn’t mentioned anywhere in the guide. Really unclear. Luckily there was still space for us the next day, but we had to go with a guide though. We both are not a fan of this, but it was the only way. And as it was something we both really wanted to do, we accepted. So we had to change the plan for today. We decided to go to the Pantheon, the Trevi Fountain and the Spanish steps. We took the bus for the first bit and got out only a 5 min walk from the Pantheon. From there it’s only a short walk to the Trevi Fountain. I really liked seeing this. It’s also something you see in so many movies (including my favourite Eat Pray Love) etc. We took some pictures and of course we threw in a coin. We did it together.. how romantic! After the Spanish steps we decided it was time for lunch. The vegan places I looked up in advance turned out to be quite far from where we were, so we tried to look for something what looked nice. It was still quite early for lunch, but then Steven found a place with a vegetarian all you can eat buffet. Apart from 2 things, everything was vegan and I really loved the food. Very fresh and full of taste. It’s a cold buffet, so if you prefer a hot meal, you better skip this. We still had an activity to choose from our Omnia card, so in the afternoon we went to see Castel Sant’Angelo. But first.. some more gelato! We took the bus to Vatican City (Castel Sant’Angelo is next to that) and we had to go into a few shops before we found one who sold vegan gelato. This one did have so much choice though, so I had dark chocolate (obviously), banana, passion fruit and raspberry. We ate it on a wall in front of Castel Sant’Angelo, before we got in. It was nice to see the inside, but the best part was definitely to be on top of it. Not only a beautiful view from there, but also the first shot of the first Rome-scene of the movie Eat Pray Love, is filmed from Castle Sant’Angelo. I loved it!! Very hot though, but fantastic! We decided to go back to the hotel, to freshen up after we came down. Later that evening we took a stroll, trying to look for a better pizza. We found a place where the pizza looked good, so we sat down. The staff was very very unfriendly and unwelcoming. It kind of annoyed me, but we were too stubborn and determined to try a good pizza in Italy. The pizza was very nice luckily. The only thing was that they didn’t do sauce at this restaurant. Apparently the cheese was also the sauce and as I order without cheese, I got a pizza base with veggies. It was very yummy, so no complains about the food. It was just strange.

Our last day and it was Vatican City day. The day before, I bought little pack of Soy milk in the supermarket, so I was able to try the cereal and muesli at breakfast. I also suggest they put a plant based milk option next time. I hope they will. The whole guided tour started off a little odd. We had to walk around half the Vatican, before we entered and with a group of about 20 people and 813938134 tourists everywhere, it’s not the handiest thing and it takes a lot of time. Luckily we had a lovely guide and it was very nice to listen to all the things she knew about the Vatican. Being inside was ah-mazing!! I loved it, everything! So much art and all so detailed, it was fantastic really! Especially going into the Sistine Chapel and to see the famous work of Michelangelo was so amazing, that I have no words for it. Unfortunately I had a lot of pain in my neck this day and so going this day to admire Michelangelo’s work wasn’t the best combination (al lot is on the ceiling). I’m still very happy to have seen in though! Something super 
ironic and hilarious.. you were not allowed to talk in the Sistine Chapel (what is hard to begin with for me), but that every minute a man told everybody in 2 languages to be quiet.. very loud through a microphone, haha! And then, to finish our Rome adventure we went inside the St.Peter Basilica and wohw! I’ve never seen such a beautiful and such a big church in my life. It was breathtaking! We saw the Pietà and we walked around jaw dropping. We were both so happy, that in the end, we did get to see this all, even though the Omnia Card almost ruined it. We did have to keep an eye on the time for our flight that afternoon, so a few last pictures from the outside, before we went back to the hotel to get our bags. Not before we had another (pink) burger at Flower Burger for lunch though! Our flight was a little delayed, but it was alright, we just relaxed and before we knew it we were back in our beloved London!

You probably realised, after reading all this, Rome is a must go city! Rome is basically one big museum. Everything is beautiful and you keep walking around with your head turning from left to right and up and down (no wonder my neck was hurting the last day). You really feel like you don’t have enough eyes to soak it all in. I really loved seeing the Colosseum and the Vatican City, but I think what I loved the most is the little streets. There are so many beautiful little streets, with little balconies, flowers, amazing colours on the walls, old doors, going up and down, scooters lined up and even some great street art. I could walk these little streets forever. Also Rome is, surprisingly, very good with veganism. There are many vegan places and otherwise they are happy to make you something vegan. (Just make sure they have a fully understanding of what veganism is.) Most of the people we met were very helpful! Another handy thing in Rome is, that there are drinking fountains all over the city, where you can have a few sips or fill up your bottle. Perfect for when it’s hot and you have to make sure you stay extra hydrated. The thing I really didn’t like about Rome were all the people who try to sell you things, like selfie sticks, batteries, bracelets, water.. they are everywhere and even though you say no, they keep putting it (literally) in your face. It was a very aggressive way of selling and they’re everywhere you go. Try to ignore them though and keep looking around you!

HOTSPOTS:
iPhame – Via Agostino Depretis, 64, 00184.
Infinity Hotel St. Peter – Via Catone, 34, 00192.
Bar La Licata – Via dei Serpenti, 165, 00184.
Nest – Via del Leone, 23, 00183.
Flower Burger – Via dei Gracchi, 87, 00192. (!!)

TOURISTY:
Altare della Patria
Colosseum
Roman Forum
The Phanteon
Trevi Fountain
Spanish Steps
Castel Sant’Angelo
Vatican City (St.Peters Basilica + Sistine Chapel)

Have you been to Rome yet? Did you know about these cool hotspots or do you have any other recommendations? Are you really excited to go now? I would love to hear about your trip and experiences! You can leave a comment below or you can show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Dutch Balls

Do you have the balls to make these Dutch Balls? Haha.. I’m not sure if Dutch people are the most courageous, but we are known for being direct. I think that counts! These snack balls are made with a Dutch spice called ‘speculaas’. Speculaas is actually a mixture of different spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg. All these spices together is called ‘speculaas’. You might know this as in Dutch biscuits. Or in the ‘pepernoten’ we eat when it’s ‘Sinterklaas’. It’s a super nice spice and I thought why not make snack balls with it? This way it’s healthy too! If you can’t get your hands on the ‘speculaas spices’, you can always make this yourself:

-Mix 2 tbs cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, 1/4 cloves, 1/4 cardamon, 1/4 white pepper, 1/4 coriander seed, 1/4 ginger, 1/4 aniseed. (all ground)

DUTCH BALLS

Makes: 12-15

-1 cup oats
-1 cup soft dates
-2 tbs coconut oil (melted)
-2 tbs almonds
-1/2 tbs speculaas spices
-pinch of salt
-4 tbs desiccated coconut

-Put everything (apart from the coconut) in the food processor and blend until it’s sticky.
-Make balls of the dough and roll them through the coconut.

Do you know the Dutch speculaas spices? 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

Lunette Menstrual Cup

You might have heard about this new upcoming amazing thing: the menstrual cup. Some are already using it for ages, some have never heard of it. I decided to give it a lot of attention, because it’s a good idea for so many reasons. I think one of my main reasons I like menstrual cups so much, is that it’s so much better for the environment than tampons or pads. How many tampons do you use per cycle? It’s probably in between 15-20. This is apart from all the packaging (so much plastic!). That is a lot if you compare it with the fact you only need 1 menstrual cup. This is why it’s also a lot more cost-effective. A menstrual cup is holding the fluid in your body, without absorbing it. This way you stay naturally lubricated and healthy from the inside. So for your health you also choose a menstrual cup. There are even girls who say they have less cramps or no cramps at all anymore after switching to the cup!

How does it work?
Many girls worry if they see the menstrual cup. How do you even get it in there? There is a certain technique, you probably have to practice a few times before getting it right though. Wash your hands before you start and relax. The best way is to fold it in length (in a C shape). This way it’s only slightly bigger than a tampon. As soon as it’s in you let it ‘pop’. You can check if it popped properly, by gently moving your finger around the cup. Make sure it’s not too low, because then it might happen you will feel it the whole time. You’re not suppose to feel it. You only have to empty the cup 2-4 times a day and you can also wear it during the night. You can take it out by wriggling it left and right, pulling it down. Make sure you hold the bottom of the cup and not only the stem. This way you make less mess (you don’t want it to tip over) and don’t break the stem. Rinse it with cold water (!), then wash it with warm water and Lunette Feelbetter Cup Cleanser or use the Lunette CupWipes for on the way.

Please give the Lunette Menstrual Cup a try. Don’t be scared, just practice. Don’t give up after 1 or a few tries. Maybe you need to practice a few cycles, but it will be worth it. You can also wear the cup to prevent surprises. This is what makes a menstrual cup perfect. You can use it wherever you go. Did you make any summer plans yet? Are you going to the beach, a party or on a city trip?! You can do it all! Is your period near? Don’t forget to pack your Lunette Menstrual cup. Because you want to FEEL GOOD 365 days a year!

Would you like to use a Lunette Menstrual Cup? Then go to their website, pick a colour and start using it! I’d love to hear how you get about! Or if you have any questions, please let me know. You can also contact me via Instagram and by using #PlanetManel. Would you like me to test and review your product(s) or do you have any suggestions? Please send me a message via CONTACT! It can be anything (food, drinks, beauty..) as long as it’s vegan. Thank you! X

Very Berry

img_7240Are you somebody who is in a rush a lot of mornings? Is breakfast always something what is skipped because of that? Everybody knows it’s bad to skip your breakfast. So you should always eat something, but it’s tricky sometimes.. everybody knows that too! So with this on-the-go-breakfast, you only have to put all the ingredients in the blender and then you put it in a to go cup. Then you can drink it on your way to work, whilst being on the train or bus for example. You could make it the evening before, but there is a possibility that it’ll be quite thick the next day. To make it go faster, but without it ending up being to thick, try putting all the ingredients (but the milk and water) in a container the evening before. This way you don’t have to measure anything the next day and your breakfast will be ready within 2 minutes. Good luck and enjoy!

img_7255VERY BERRY

Serves: 1

-300 ml oat milk
-6 soft dates
-1 cup mixed berries
-1 banana
-3 tbs oats
-1 tsp chia seed
-1 tsp lemon juice

-Put all the ingredients in the blender and blend until smooth.

If you are somebody who’s always in a hurry in the mornings, this might be the perfect recipe for you. 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

Lola’s Cupcakes

img_7668I actually never go into bakeries and cake shops, because they never really have vegan options. And that’s apart from that I’m not a huge fan of cake that is not home-made. Though, the last time when I was in Westfield and I was on my way out, walked past Lola’s Cupcakes and it made me curious. They were already tidying up, but I quickly introduced myself and asked if they had vegan options. I was very surprised that she said yes! ..and she didn’t only say yes because they had 1 vegan cupcake, they actually had lots of flavours: Coconut and passion fruit, lemon and raspberry, chocolate.. oh yes! There was only one vegan cupcake left (lucky me!) and that was the ‘pistachio and cherry’. She gave it to me and I promised to write about it. So here we go..

img_7667Like I said before, I’m not a big fan of cake that is not home-made. I was a little sceptical about this one too. I was sitting in the bus on my way home and I was looking at the box and asking the cupcake: will I like you?! When I got home I was quite excited to try it though. So I opened the little box. They give you super cute boxes btw.. I thought: even if the taste will not be that good, I’d get one just to have a beautiful looking cupcake in a cute box. Haha! First impression: I had to admit that it looked very tasty. With the green pieces of pistachios and the chocolate.. + it came in a shiny golden case. Taking my first bite I was pleasantly surprised! The cream on top was very fluffy and had a lovely structure. Also the cake itself was very good. The cream is very very sweet though, but the cake is a lot less sweet, so together they’re perfect. It would have been too much if they were both that sweet. I ate it all and I actually really enjoyed it. The only thing I didn’t like that much, was the cherry in the middle, but that is more personal taste I think. I started to read about Lola’s Cupcakes and it turns out they also do big vegan cakes. So if you do not like baking, but you still want a nice vegan cake, I think this is just perfect. Also because you can order them online, super handy!

WHO? Lola’s Cupcakes.
WHERE? Westfield Shepherd’s Bush, Ariel Way, W12 7GD.
CUISINE? Bakery.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 7 (quite some vegan options + nice design/shops)

Did you already know that Lola’s Cupcakes do vegan too? Are you going to try one of these yummy treats? Please let me know when you’ve tried 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

Smooth Oats / Tofu

SMOOTH OATS
This is originally thought of as a children’s breakfast I think, but I happened to love this. As a child I loved it too, but I think as an adult I love it even more. It’s so nice and smooth and it feels nice in your mouth. A lot of these kind of breakfasts have sugar or other unnecessary additives in them, but not the Ready Brek. That is why I love it a lot. Also for children, because I think a lot of children are eating a lot of crap for breakfast with all these sugary cereals on the market nowadays. Ready Brek keeps you full for long and has a lot of good stuff, like: calcium, iron and B vitamins, including B12! I personally like to eat it with fruit, cinnamon and a little agave nectar. Especially with bananas and blueberries it’s very yummy. Because it’s already smooth, it’s very easy to add to smoothies too. This way your smoothie will keep you full for longer. You can also sprinkle it over your yogurt if you like. There are so many options, whilst it’s ready fast. When I prepare it, I already add the Ready Brek to the milk (I like to use Oatly Barista for this!) in the pan. This way it’s warm very fast. It doesn’t take more than 2 minutes, I promise. I tend to make it a bit runny, as that is how I like it. I think you have to experiment a bit with it, to find out what you like best.

TOFU
This was the first tofu I discovered I really like. In the meantime I found more, but now and then I still really enjoy this one. Once I open a pack, I can’t resist it and keep eating it. Especially the side bits I like. It’s perfect for salads. You only need a bit though as it’s quite a strong flavour. That’s why if you’re mixing it through something, really make sure you don’t use too much, because then it might happen that your whole meal will taste like it. What is ok maybe, but I prefer to have some flavours separately. So I slice it up for my salads and then have it on the side. It makes any meal very filling. It comes, very handy, in 2 pieces. This way you can easily make 2 meals out of it. Or if you can resist, you can even use it for 4 meals. I most of the time already ate half of the portion I’m using though, haha! It’s also very tasty through a cold pasta salad, together with some tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, black olives or any other raw veggies. Perfect for a summers day picnic or potluck! Dragonlfy tofu is handmade in Devon and they do more tofu flavours, but I absolutely like this one best.

Did you already know these products or are you going to try them after reading this? Please let me know or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Would you like me to test and review your product(s) or do you have any suggestions? Please send me a message via CONTACT! It can be anything (food, drinks, beauty..) as long as it’s vegan. Thank you! X