Rescue Hens

A bit before the summer, my work registered with the British Hen Welfare Trust to get some ex battery hens. We had this idea already for a while, but now the chicken run was ready. They let us know that there would be a pick up day on the 10th of June (2018). So that day I drove towards Reading, where I was going to pick up some hens. I was so excited! Giving these beautiful animals a second chance in life, after living in such unfair circumstances, was giving me goosebumps! It’s aways a surprise in what condition they are. Some hens still have quite some feathers, but some are all bold. The pick up place was at a beautiful university and it was nice to see that too actually. As the place was quite big, there were a lot of signs telling me where to go. Eventually that lead to some stables in the back. I parked my car and got out, armed with a big, straw filled box.

Before getting the hens, you have to register and tell them how many hens you’d like to take home. I was going to take 4. Then I made a donation. They suggest £5 per hen, but it’s totally up to you. I think it’s nice to give them some extra, because they’re doing such good work and it’s all going towards another rescue. Once that is all done, you can go to one of the stables. I was second in the queue, so I didn’t have to wait very long. The stable was full of chickens. The stables weren’t very big, but I’m sure that they never had so much space in their life ever before. They were all in the corner, being scared obviously. Being in the light, with so much people around them. It was all new to them. The people in the stables caught 4 chickens and put them in the box and that’s that. Time to go home!

At home I put the box in the chicken run and opened it slowly, not to scare them too much. They were all a bit stressed, on their tummy, with their beaks open. Poor babies! I didn’t force them, but let them get used to their surroundings. They stood up and looked around and after a while I picked them up carefully and.. there was the moment.. for the first time in their life they felt dirt and grass. They walked very funny, stretching their paws and lifting them up very high. They were looking at the ground, walking around and it was just so lovely to see. It was a beautiful day and the sun came out. When they felt sunshine for the first time it was like they couldn’t believe it. They dropped on the ground, spreading their wings, putting all their feathers up, closing their eyes. My heart was smiling so much!

The next day they started to lay eggs (that I’m obviously not going to eat). Most of them looked alright, but one of the chickens has really big eggs. You can see on the picture how huge! Her eggs are still not very normal nowadays. A lot of times they’re still very big, the shell is very thick and chalky and yesterday she laid a wind egg. I really hope that her eggs will get better though, because it can be a bit dangerous. They became friends with the 4 chickens we already had too. In the beginning they didn’t hang out together at all. Now they still like to hang out in 2 groups sometimes, but they definitely became friends.

Because they are used to living in a small cage, they do not get into the chicken coop or on the perch by themselves. So the first few days I had to put them into the coop, onto the perch. They instead just randomly chose a place to sit when it was getting darker. After 3 days of doing this they got it though. So clever! Now 1-2 sometimes still sit on the bottom of the coop though, but at least they’re safe in there. They’re doing so much better now and they look so much better too. Their feathers look better (not perfect yet though) and their faces and comb are all red now. It makes a huge difference. If you look at the picture, you can see them on their first day and the way they look now. Their faces and comb were as good as white and now they have such a nice colour. They roam free every day now and they love it! It makes me so happy to see them so happy every day!

Would you like to rescue some hens too? Then go to the British Hen Welfare Trust and register now! They rescue 50.000 chickens per year and seeing them enjoying life is so worth it. Do you already have some rescue hens? I would LOVE to see them. Please show them to me! You can do this by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

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Comptoir V

Saturday the 25th of August was the Official Animal Rights March in London. Last year I couldn’t go, but this year I did! It was an amazing march. So much people, all united. Lovely! I went to London with my van and so when the march was over, I went back to my van and drove it to Kensal Rise. This is because I saw there was a new vegan restaurant in my old neighbourhood, just around the corner from where I used to live. I walked past it many times when they were building it. When they put the name ‘Comptoir V’ on the front, I was suspecting (and really hoping) it to be vegan. I never saw the opening as I already moved out of London by then. They opened about half a year ago. I was so excited to find out it is vegan and so I had to go an try it. I went for dinner.

First of all when you approach it, it looks super super nice. They chose lovely green colours, wood and amazing tiles on the floor. Inside it looks amazing too. Everything comes together and it looks very different from other restaurants. Their lamps and tables are so unique and really give a Middle Eastern look. The benches, the seats and just the whole lay out is made with so much eye for detail. I often think that restaurants that are creating a Middle Eastern style, look a bit dark, dated and dusty. Comptoir V proves the opposite. It looks light, fresh and super cosy. Whoever did the styling, did a really good job. It isn’t a huge restaurant, so it might be a good idea to make a reservation on busy days.

Their menu is very good. It has a lot of Middle Eastern influences. I went for the ribs and pasta though. This meant I got a portobello mushroom covered in bbq sauce on top of in garlic covered kale and mac and cheese on the side. The flavours were all very rich and strong, so it was very filling. Next time (because I definitely want to go again) I’m sure to go for a curry and some bread with (houmous) dips. I wasn’t hungry enough for that this time. I also ordered a fresh mint tea, what came in a lovely traditional tea pot and glass. It all looked so nice. I was very full after this lovely dinner, but as I was so curious about the cheesecake I got that take away. I had it the next day and I’m so happy that I did! Every day they have a different flavour and the flavour of the day was strawberry. It was so good. I can’t remember having better cheesecake in my life. The base definitely made the cake. It was so delicious in combination with the very firm top. There were fresh strawberries and mint on top and all the flavours together made me wish I had 2 pieces.

An extra compliment for the staff, that were all super easy going and friendly and really added to the atmosphere. This place is definitely a place to come back to!

WHO? Comptoir V.
WHERE? 12 Station Terrace, London NW10 5RU.
CUISINE? Middle Eastern.
VEGAN? Yes!
OVERALL? 9 (Amazing food, great staff and very lovely ex/interior).

Did you know about Comptoir V already? 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

Spain – Mallorca/Palma 2018

I’m back home for a while, but I was so busy with my van, that I didn’t find the time yet to write about being in Mallorca. Every year I go to the Spanish island with work. So it’s like a work holiday, but being in the lovely sunshine, surrounded by mountains and delicious food, feels a bit like a holiday for me too. We always stay in the same villa, with more family members. There are 2 cooks, that serve breakfast, lunch and a 3 course dinner every day. Breakfast is loads of yummy fruit, what is always a good start of the day. They also make sure that they cook vegan meals for me, what I so appreciate. It’s always very tasty. In the 7 days that we’re there, I always get a day off to myself. This was already the 4th year I was there, but in the previous years I’ve never made the trip to Palma. This year I was thinking about it, but I was doubting if I really wanted to go, because it’s about an hour drive. Only on the morning itself, just before I got up, I decided to go for it.

So I got ready and drove away around 10ish. I ate an apple on the way for breakfast, with the hopes I would find lots of nice vegan food in the big city. I already checked and there were several vegan places around. I was very hopeful. I parked the car in a parking garage close to the centre and walked towards one of the places I planned to visit. On the way I bumped into a lovely pair of shorts and a top and I changed into that after I payed for it. A nice, useful souvenir. It was hot, but not as hot as last year (over 37C with no breeze) and it was very doable, wandering around the little streets. Palma is a very lovely city. Not breathtaking, but very easy-going and welcoming. It has nice little streets and it’s a mixture of Spanish and modern shops.

The first place I wanted to visit was called ‘My Muy Bueno’. It was a little tricky to find at first. I walked around, but I couldn’t find it. Turned out I already walked past it twice, cuz you have to look up. It’s situated on the first level and you need to get the stairs to reach it. Once I found it, I walked inside and I was pleasantly surprised. It look so so nice! It was so stylish, with a lovely interior and great eye for detail. Delicious looking food was right in front of me and I was greeted very kindly by the girl behind the counter. I went for a mixed salad, with a piece of seeded loaf and a fresh juice. I also got a Blondie and I couldn’t resist getting a raw snicker bar too. I could choose the salads I wanted and it tasted incredible! I really enjoyed every mouthful. For dessert I had the snicker bar, as it was likely to melt if I had it take away. It was so good too.. my goodness. Something else I really like about this place it that the plastic they use, is made out of plants and so it’s 100% biodegradable. What made me think, if this is a possibility (and you can make everything out of this as the girl handed me a sheet with all the information), why is all plastic we use not made out of this right now? My Muy Bueno also organises cooking workshops and next to the little restaurant there is a big area with kitchens, where they are given. How lovely! The girl who was serving me was super friendly and after a lovely chat I left to go do a bit of sightseeing.

I walked up to the big cathedral and I know I said that Palma wasn’t per se breathtaking, but this cathedral is! It’s huge and very beautiful. I sat there in the shade for a while, admiring it. It’s definitely worth a visit. When I walked a little further I bumped into the ‘Palau March Museum’ and I love museums, so I decided to get a ticket. It was only 4,50. There were some sculptures in the little square right after entering, I didn’t particular like, but the surroundings were very nice. It just wasn’t really my style. What I did really like is that they had a statue of Rodin and I like his work, so that was really nice. Going inside I didn’t know what to expect, but I was definitely not expecting what I saw. In the museum were a lot of little figures (people and animals), creating a scenery. The human figures were about 30 cm tall I think. They were made with real precision and all of them had their own expressions. There were a lot of animals too, that were almost all used for food or entertainment, what made me a little sad though. The building had several rooms and in another room they created a scenery of the stable, right after the birth of baby Jesus. It wasn’t only the stable, but also the village surrounding it. The every day life if you will. It was very interesting. It all dated from the 18th century and is the biggest collection in the world. Up stairs there was also some antique furniture and along the way there were several paintings (I didn’t particulate like). It’s only a little museum and I didn’t spend more then 45 minutes, but it was nice.

I walked around Palma a bit, looking at the shops, the buildings and everything. I got a delicious peach from a tiny supermarket and I had it as a snack. Then I almost walked all the way back to the car, because there were 2 other vegan places I wanted to check out and they were towards the parking garage. The first one was called ‘Vegan&Raw’. They do fresh juices and several raw food options. When I arrived it turned out that they were just closing though, but the very kind lady let met buy 2 juices anyway. Lucky me! It looked really nice btw and I think it’s nice to actually have lunch there when it’s open. It was almost time to have some dinner and that’s why I walked towards a place called ‘Compost’. To be honest, I wasn’t very hungry yet, but as I was there and I wanted to check out the nicest vegan places, I went anyway and had something light. I ordered a chai tea and I went for the nori bites. Black rice and vegetables, wrapped in a nori sheet. Like sushi. It was delicious and the lady who served me was very kind. The place itself was ok, but a bit dark and dated. I’m sure if they would make it a bit lighter it would look very different already. For the food it’s definitely recommended though.

Then I went back to the car and drove to Porta Pollenca. It’s a harbour town close to where the villa is. I spend half an hour in the sea and I ate my blondie right before I headed back. The blondie was very good btw!

I had a lovely day and I would recommend you to go to Palma to check it out for yourself. They have some very good vegan cafes and restaurants and it’s a lovely day out. Out of everything I would say, definitely go to My Muy Bueno if you only have time to go to one thing. It’s so worth it!

HOTSPOT LIST:
My Muy Bueno –  Floor 1, Carrer de Tous i Maroto, 5B, 07001, Palma.
Palau March Museum – Carrer del Palau Reial, 18, 07001, Palma.
Vegan&Raw – Plaça del Bisbe Berenguer de Palou, nº2, 07003, Palma.
Compost – Carrer de Rubén Darío, 4, 07012, Palma.

Have you been to Mallorca yet? You should definitely go and check out these lovely places. Please let me know if you do! You can leave a comment or show me by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Vivera Veggie Steak

It’s real.. a vegan steak! Vivera launched the first vegan steak in the world. Steak was always my favourite meat when I used to eat meat. When I think about the time I did, I can’t actually believe I used to do something so horrible. Anyway, when I heard the news of Vivera launching the steak, I was very excited. Not only because I was curious of the taste, but also for this development itself. The day it was launched I jumped into my car as soon as I was off work and I drove to the biggest Tesco, with my fingers crossed. I was rewarded, because there was a whole box of Veggie Steaks. I took 3! Just because I know Vivera and I know they do good products, so I was confident enough it was going to be tasty. I love that Vivera is a Dutch company and I love it even more that they launch more and more products here in the UK. I love EVEN more, that they’re transitioning from being a vegetarian/vegan company, to an all vegan company. I love it! If you want to know more about Vivera and their products, you can read this article (+ lots of nice recipes!) I wrote before.

So about the Veggie Steak. To have a good idea of the taste, I served it with corn on the cob, sweet potato fries, chunky guacamole and ketchup. All separately served. To start from the beginning, the steaks look very real. The size is just right, the inside is red and they even ‘bleed’ a little. Then the taste. I think they taste very real. They’re soft, juicy and have a realistic structure (esp when you fry them on a high fire, so the outside will be a little more firm). I do like the taste, but in general it didn’t have to be that realistic for me. But to be fair, as far as I can remember a meat steak, I like these Veggie Steaks better. The taste and structure are just very good or maybe it’s just tastier because you can enjoy it with a clear conscious!

If you want to serve them just like I did:

VIVERA VEGGIE STEAK

Serves: 2

2 Vivera Veggie Steaks
2 medium sweet potatoes
1 tsp olive oil
a pinch of garlic granules.
2 corns on the cob
1 small avocado
1 tsp lemon juice
1 clove of garlic (minced)
salt/pepper (to taste)
1/2 tsp chili flakes (optional)
2 tbs ketchup

-Preheat the oven to 200C.
-Cut the sweet potato in long big chunks and drizzle some olive oil on top.
-Add the garlic granules + a little salt (to taste) and mix it well.
-Put the sweet potato on in the oven for about 20 min.
-In the meantime:
-Prepare the Vivera Veggie Steaks as describes on the pack.
-Grill the corn on the cob until little black marks appear.
-Smash the avocado and add the lemon juice, garlic, salt and chilli flakes.
-Serve everything in separate bowls.

I hope I made you curious. I’m very curious if you like them too. Please let me know! You can do this in a comment below or tag me on Instagram. You can also use the hashtag #planetmanel is you like, so I can find your picture and comment! Thank you! X

Denmark – Copenhagen

Every year I go on a city trip. Like, I’ve been to Paris, Berlin, Glasgow, Rome.. and this year I decided to explore Copenhagen. I booked for 3 nights, what also gave me about 3 days. Denmark’s capital was on my travel bucket list for quite a while as it’s so known for its sustainability. I will tell you all about my trip and I’ll give you a nice list of hotspot you should definitely check out if you decide to explore this amazing city! What might be fun is to tell you about my expectations, then tell you what I did in the time I was there and in the end I’ll tell you about my conclusion. Another thing I’d like to say before you start reading, is that I normally plan my trips into detail. I plan an exact route, put down the places I will eat etc etc. This time I didn’t. I don’t know why exactly. I just didn’t make time for it and left it a little too late. It was very new to me, but as you’ll read, it turned out fine.

EXPECTATIONS
I went to Denmark before, when I was very young, but I do not remember a lot of it. So my expectations are based on what I’ve heard and from what I’ve seen on pictures etc. I expect a lot of modern shapes, straight lines, squares etc. I also expect veganism to be very accessible. A bit like in London, but then with a whole different atmosphere. I expect a lot of sustainable choices, like paper bags, cups, recyclable materials etc. and not too much plastic. I think the Danes are friendly, with a good knowledge of the English language and for some reason to be looking very intellectual. You know, like the people you see in optician adverts, haha!


WHAT IT WAS LIKE
– Day 1
My flight was on Thursday at 14:00, from Gatwick. I drove there, what made everything so much easier. Before I headed off I wanted to quickly pick up my new glasses, but it turned out the M4 was all closed and so I didn’t want to risk it in the end. It’s a good thing, because it was quite busy on the alternative route. Even though I left a lot earlier, I arrived at the long stay parking at the same time as I had planned if I had left Newbury later. It was fairly easy to park the car and take a 5 min bus journey to the terminal. My flight was on time and everything went smoothly. It was the first time I traveled with a backpack and the first thing what made it so much easier, is that I needed a lot less space for it to fit into the luggage spaces. It was very windy and rainy in the UK when I left, but it was all sunny with blue skies stepping out of the aeroplane. What a great start! It was super easy to get to my AirBnB. It was only a few metro stations away from the airport and a 2 min walk from the metro station. My hosts were the kindest people. I felt so welcome and it was like I already knew them. I so appreciated their hospitality. I charged my phone a bit and did a little bit of relaxing, before I went to find myself some dinner. I used the super handy app from HappyCow to see where the nearest vegan restaurant was. This turned out to be ‘The Organic Boho’, what was only a 30 min walk away. So off I went. That is where the trouble started. A while ago I got new shoes, Vans. I love them, but it’s taking me a while breaking them in. I thought they will be fine and all the walking on my trip will give it the final push. Boy I was wrong! My feet were hurting so much after those 30 min, but at least I got there.

The Organic Boho > all vegan!
The Organic Boho was such a nice little restaurant. There are a few seats inside, but some lovely seats outside too. It was in the evening, but still quite warm, also because I walked. So I decided to sit outside. The only trouble from sitting outside is that it’s not the best location for this as it’s located at a very busy, not pretty looking, street and so there are cars right in front of you. I ordered inside, a cauliflower burger. There was also the option to choose for falafel instead, but all vegans know falafel by now, so cauliflower it was. It was a great choice, because it was delicious. It was such a yummy bread roll, with a cauliflower steak as a burger. Great idea! What a good first meal. I really enjoyed that. The girl at the till was super friendly and their menu looks very nice. Definitely check them out. 

With a lot of pain I made it to a bench that was overlooking the water. Luckily I was carrying some plasters with me, so I freed my feet and covered the sore areas with Peppa Pig plasters. It was actually a nice spot where I was sitting, because there were so many ducks, gees and even some swans. All with babies! The cutest thing! When the sun was all down I made my way back to the AirBnB. My feet were still painful, but a little better than it was before. I was wondering how I was going to do this trip with sore feet though. I always walk a lot on my city trips, like 12-15 km a day. I just really hoped it was all going to be magically better by the next morning.


-Day 2
My feet weren’t better and my shoes were just as painful. Somehow I still made my way to the centre. I planned to have brunch at 42 Raw. When I was almost there I came through the main shopping street and I quickly popped into the H&M. I bought some simple summer shoes. I was doubting what to get, because flip-flops were very tempting, but walking 12-15 km on flip-flops would also be quite disastrous. So I went for the in between solution. It felt a lot better than my vans though and it turned out 42 Raw was around the corner from there.

42 Raw > all vegan!
The whole lay out looks quite posh, with the pretty golden letters and the high ceilings. They have a few long tables you can sit on, no seats outside, but a few seats at the window though. I was lucky to sit right there as I always look for as much daylight as possible, to take a good picture of my food for you. I went for the brunch. This means that you get a little bit of everything. At 42 Raw this means you get a pancake with bananas and goji berries, yogurt with apple and granola, sweet potato chips with sauce and seeded bread with houmous and smashed avocado. I also got a green smoothie. It looked so nice together and it was all really delicious. They also do a lot of treats and I chose a big healthy, chocolate chip cookie for later. What I didn’t like is that the smoothie came into a big plastic cup with a straw!

I decided to walk around a little bit and that’s when I discovered a lovely shop called Plint. It’s filled with pretty things and it’s so nice to have a look around. I found beautiful black cutlery I really wanted to have, but I wasn’t sure I was able to bring the knives and forks in the aeroplane. The girls who worked there was also not sure and even tried to google it for me. Another customer said he was quite sure I wasn’t allowed and actually I was quite convinced it was going to be impossible. I almost put it back, but then came up with the idea to post it to myself. So I bought it anyway. It’s going to be so nice for in my van. The post office was around the corner and so I posted the knives and forks to myself. Next to the post office was the Rundetaarn (The Round Tower) and I’m always up for climbing something for a nice view. The entrance was only 25kr (about £3,95). The best thing was that there was an art exhibition too. So halfway (gives you a good break from climbing it too!) you can look at that. The art was from different artist, also 4 Dutch people. I loved a lot of things. It was different, but with a message and I love art like that. It makes you think about the every day things. Another round up you are able to learn about the Rundetaarn itself (another little break from climbing it). The climb isn’t that bad actually, as it’s a flat floor and it’s basically just like walking up a hill. The last bit are stairs, but then you’re rewarded with an amazing view. I stayed up there for at least 20 minutes. I just love to take it all in from the top. I definitely recommend doing this. And for less than 4 quid!

From the top of the Rundetaarn I saw a park close by and that is where I walked towards when I got down again. It turned out to be Kongens Have. This is Denmark’s oldest royal garden, it dates back from the 17th century. It’s a beautiful park and it’s the garden from the gorgeous Rosenborg Slot. It was built in 1606-34 by Christian IV. This was his favourite castle and he eventually died here too. Nowadays the crown jewels are kept here. I enjoyed my cookie from 42 Raw on a bench next to it. From there I just walked to one of the exits and across the street from there was the Statens Museum for Kunst. In front of the museum was water, like a fountain, but without a fountain. Instead there were actually chairs in there, with the possibility to sit on a chair with your feet in the water. A few people were already doing this and of course, with my sore feet, I had to do this too. The water is about 25 cm deep and my jeans weren’t the kind you can easily pull up, but who cares that they got wet, it was so enjoyable. I sat there for over half an hour just enjoying this and the sunshine. Whilst I sat there I saw the sight seeing buses pass by all the time, so I decided to get tickets from the nearest bus stop.

I went for the all including ticket, what gave me access to 2 bus routes and the boat tour for 72 hours. I know it’s super touristy to go on these sight seeing buses, but I like them. Not only because you get to see a lot of things, but I especially like them for the information you get during the tour. The history, some inside jokes, cultural habits and traditions etc. I did the whole bus tour and didn’t get off anywhere but the famous Little Mermaid statue. The bus driver stopped for 5 minutes there so I could get off and take a picture. Very nice of him. I heard that people were disappointed by the size of this Little Mermaid, but because of this I expected it to be even smaller than she actually was, haha! It is a beautiful statue though. Then I finished the rest of the tour. I must say that I was a little disappointed with the information given during the tour. It wasn’t that much. The driver also really took his time and all together it was at least 2 hours, what should have been 1,5 hour. It didn’t matter though, it was still nice to see it all and get a good feel of the city this way. When I got off the bus it was dinner time and I decided to go to Simple Raw.

Simple Raw – all vegan!
I couldn’t find it at first, but that is because the restaurant is a little under street level and their sign isn’t that clear. The girls that work there are lovely and super helpful and friendly. Simple Raw has lovely little menu books with pretty pictures, what makes it very easy (or very hard.. hehe..) to choose. I went, of course, for a burger. Maybe I should start a burger blog, because it’s my favourite. This one was super tasty too, my goodness! I really enjoyed it and the juice with strawberries I chose was delicious as well. There are quite a few tables inside, but as the weather was still so nice and I’m always quite warm from walking everywhere, I sat outside. The chairs aren’t the most comfortable though, but as soon as you bite into the amazing food you forget about that.

I headed back to my AirBnB with such a satisfied feeling. Thanks to the nutritious food of course, but also because of a very good and sunny first proper day.

-Day 3
After another great night of sleep (I always sleep so well on city trip, thanks to all the walking and many new impressions), I headed to Yellow Rose. I went there yesterday as well, just very shortly, because I saw they had waffles. Turned out the waffles come with the brunch, so I decided this was the place to have brunch today.

Yellow Rose – all vegan!
This place!! It looks amazing, with the beautiful soft yellow and soft pink colours and all the amazing details. It’s a bit like 50’s/60’s meets boho. They have window seats (I love window seats!) with comfy cushions and they have quite a lot of seats in general. It’s a good size cafe, while they kept it cosy. I just wanted to live there. Also because they do ah-mazing food! I went for the brunch as I wanted the waffles, but I got a lot more of course. It was a lot in general I think and it was all so good. The waffles were on point with the whipped up soy cream, but all the food was so fresh and delicious. I think this was really worth my money. I didn’t want to leave, but as I only have a few days, I wanted to make the most of my time of course. So before I went I also bought some snacks for later. I couldn’t choose, so I got a lemon cake with cream and fresh berries on top, a peanut butter/banana and chocolate cupcake and there was a cookie with nuts I per se wanted to try. Hehe.. oh well.. it’s the holidays! 

I went back to the starting point of the touring buses to do the Christiania tour. It was a very full bus, but they only go every hour, so I took it. It was a very nice tour, less long, but I like the neighbourhood. It’s where all the hippies live, haha! There is street art and it’s all about recycling etc. After the bus tour I went straight to the boat. I was lucky again as there was a boat just coming to pick up more people. I had a good seat in the front. When I was waiting for it to leave, it started to drizzle a little, but it was lovely to feel the cool rain on my sun-warmed skin. The best bit of the boat is that there is a live guide, a lovely girl who could speak so many languages fluently, fascinating. Halfway the tour, when we were in the middle of the big river it started pouring so badly though! The guide handed out plastic poncho’s, but I refused, because I was a little wet anyway already and I don’t want to use plastic (anyway) for something I actually love. It was crazy really, like standing in the shower. My make up washed off my face, I couldn’t look because of all the water in my eyes and within a minute I was completely soaked. After like 3 minutes it stopped, but imagine yourself standing under the shower for 3 minutes and you have an idea what it was like. It was a lovely boat tour though, you get really good views of Copenhagen this way. Especially of Amalienborg, the Opera house and the part they call ‘little Amsterdam’. When I got off the boat I considered buying new clothes, as it was only the middle of the day, but it would have wasted too much time to walk all the way back to the AirBnB. Instead I walked towards the cafe where the son of my AirBnB hosts works. I said I would have a look. It’s called the Big Apple. Next to the Big Apple is a lovely spiritual shop called ‘Tessies’. They sell:crystals, jewellery, clothes, buddhas etc. Very lovely to go inside for a bit.

Big Apple – omni!
The Big Apple is a juice and sandwich bar, but it isn’t vegan, nor vegetarian. The guy behind the bar was really nice though and he made me a green smoothie, called the ‘purifier’. He wanted to put it in a plastic cup, but I asked if he had a glass instead. He didn’t, but he did have a paper cup. So I went for that, at least it’s better than plastic. The juice was delicious. They do a vegan sandwich too, in case you want to have a quick bite to eat. The best bit of this cafe is that they have some awesome relaxing areas. I sat down stairs in a cosy corner under the stairs, filled with cushions. You can also go up stairs and there a some sort of bed you can chill on. I love this and I think every cafe should have this. I sat in this cafe for an hour, ate the peanut butter cupcake and called my mum for a bit. Just to catch up and in the meantime to get dry a little.

I really wanted to get to the popular Nyhaven and so I took the bus to get there. Just because the bus was there anyway and Nyhaven was the second stop. Nyhaven is the place you always see when you see a picture of Copenhagen. I’m sure you either think of this or the mermaid statue when you think of Copenhagen. Nyhaven is such a lovely area. It’s a shame there aren’t any vegan restaurants or cafes, but I really liked to see the colourful houses and boats. Nyhaven means ‘new harbour’, what is funny as the harbour is actually 350 years old. It’s a must see when visiting the city! I took another look at my Happy Cow app and I decided to walk towards Green Burger. It was a lovely walk, partly through Kongens Have. When I arrived I wasn’t super hungry yet, so when I got there, I first sat down a little further down, to enjoy the last sun rays.

Green Burger – all vegan!
Because their colours are green and yellow it really reminds me of the Subway. I have no idea if they did this intentional, but I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking this. I think it’s a shame actually that they used these colours, because it doesn’t make it very appealing. Or maybe they didn’t want to look too fancy, to make it look a little bit more cheap/accessible. Anyway, I ordered a classic burger menu. This included a drink and fries. I went for the sweet potato fries, of course. I took a seat at the window as your burger will be brought to you. The girl at the till was such a lovely girl. She was super helpful and even wrote down some vegan cafe’s/restaurants down for me. After about 10 min my meal was ready. It all looked so good and the sweet potatoes were so so good! I know I say this a lot, but they really were the best I’ve ever had. So crispy and delicious! The burger was very good too. I really enjoyed this meal. They were one of the cheaper places. I payed about £15 for this. The prices at Green Burger are actually the same as in London, but for Copenhagen, that’s cheap, haha! 

I walked  from Green Burger all the way back to the AirBnB, what means I walked for 1,5 hour. Lovely walk!

-Day 4
Now call me crazy, but on my last morning in Copenhagen I walked all the way back towards Green Burger. Even a little bit further, because that is where the restaurant Souls is. It was recommended by a few people, so I wanted to go. On my way I made a quick stop at Christiania. The people were just setting up their market stalls and they were dealing drugs all around me. It felt like I was in Amsterdam, haha! They sell a lot of souvenirs, but nothing I’d buy. It was nice to see though and I really liked the beautiful street art everywhere. It was nice to see it. Just before I arrived at Souls I passed a lovely eco shop, called: EcoEgo. Unfortunately it was closed, but otherwise I would definitely have a quick look. They sell all things that are reusable etc.

Souls – all vegan!
At Souls I was quite hot from the walking and as all the tables inside were taken or reserved I went for a table outside. It’s located next to quite a busy junction, but it’s ok. I ordered the brunch and also a strawberry smoothie. The smoothie was quite runny, almost a little bit like a milkshake. It was tasty though and the brunch itself was good too, with fresh fruit. I especially liked the cashew yogurt, very different, but very tasty. Even though I wasn’t sitting inside, I have to say that the interior is very nice. Even the toilets are super lovely. The staff was very friendly and I understand why it was recommended. Next to me sat a Dutch couple from Rotterdam and I spoke to them for a bit, what was nice, but as I wanted to go to the beach for a bit, I had to go. 

I walked all the way back to Christiania, but then I took the metro to the Amager Beach Park. I could easily do this, because it’s the same metro that takes me to the airport. The beach is a 5 min walk from the ‘Amager Strand’ station. The beach in Copenhagen is artificial, but it was still nice. To feel the sand and the cool water on my feet was great. It was quite a cloudy day, with a fair bit of wind, but that didn’t stop some people from going swimming. Even kids were swimming. So brave! After half an hour I had to get up and say my goodbyes to Copenhagen, because it was time to head to the airport. It was almost dinner time, but there wasn’t much to eat at the airport. There was a Yo Sushi, with a limited menu, so there were basically only 3 vegan options. Better than nothing though. Later I discovered there were a few vegan options at this place called Retreat. So I got a salad and a chia pudding. It was super super delicious, but so much plastic again. So disappointing, especially if it’s the only real meal you can get. I got to the gate on time, but then it turned out the fight was delayed. When we finally got into the aeroplane they said it was going to take another 2 hours due to the weather at Gatwick. Half an hour later we were in the queue, but then a man decided he wanted to get out. Seriously? So we had to taxi all the way back to the gate for him. Before all the safety procedures were finished and the doors were closed again there was another half an hour passed. Oh well.. I was reading Harry Potter, so that is what I did for 4 hours straight. I didn’t mind. No need to stress about things you can’t control. I’ve had a lovely holiday and I won’t ever let things like this ruin it.

CONCLUSION
I think Copenhagen is definitely worth a city trip. I really enjoyed my stay. I love the architecture and the friendly people. The people are very real, easy-going and straight forward. That is why they remind me of the Dutch. They are very good looking (guys with long hair and skateboards everywhere.. gosh!) and they are all very good at speaking English. Something what you will really notice as well is that they live a slower life. Nothing much is rushed, like it is in London. People actually wait when the light is red, even though they could have crossed at least 10 times. They cycle a lot, at a normal speed, not quick quick quick.. The food is very good. There are a lot of all vegan cafe’s and restaurants + everything is so fresh and a lot of it is organic too. So great!

Something that was disappointing to me was the amount of plastic that is still being used. For a city that wants to be carbon free by the year 2025 and the way they are good at recycling, I thought things like this would have been so much better over here. You also have to keep in mind that Copenhagen is very expensive. If you are eating all your meals out, bring a big bag of money, haha! I solved this by only eating 2 meals a day. So I would go for brunch around 11:00, get a treat (or 3.. haha..) at that same place for later in the day and then I’d have my dinner around 19:00. This easily kept me going, but it still cost me about £50 a day. But overall I loved it here! I really felt at home and even imagined myself living in Copenhagen. I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would.

HOTSPOT LIST:
The Organic Boho: Prinsessegade 23, 1422.
42 Raw: Pilestræde 32, 1112.
Plint: Købmagergade 50, 1150.
Simple Raw: Gråbrødretorv 9, 1154.
Yellow Rose: Peder Hvitfeldts Stræde 17, 1173.
Tessies: Fiolstræde 14, 1171.
Big Apple: Fiolstræde 18, 1171.
Green Burger: Frederiksborggade 26, 1360.
EcoEgo: Nørre Farimagsgade 82, 1364 .
Souls: Nørre Farimagsgade 63, 1364.

Did you visit Copenhagen yet? Or will you now after reading this? I’d love to hear about your experiences or plans to go! You can let me know in the comments below or show me your favourite picture of this lovely city via Instagram by tagging me. Thank you! X

Sweet Reminder

Did you know that blueberries are great for your memory? So do you have a lot of studying to do for a test? This recipe will be a great breakfast or snack on the days you need it most. The dates and banana give you extra energy and the hemp seeds give you some protein. You can use frozen blueberries from the supermarket, but I prefer to freeze fresh blueberries myself. I personally think that it’s tastier this way. Make sure you use nice soft dates though. With the right ingredients, this is a super healthy smoothie + it’s super quick to make. It’s also very delicious and easy to take with you. Remember to drink this smoothie to remember!

SWEET REMINDER

Serves: 1

300 ml water
1 tbsp hemp powder
1 ripe banana
1 cup frozen blueberries
1-3 dates

-Blend the water with the hempseed until it’s milk.
-Add the rest of the ingredients until smooth.

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

Eliane

As some of you know, 7 months ago, I moved from London to the countryside. I now live close to Newbury. Very close to me is a little town called Hungerford. Hungerford is a lovely  town with lots of little shops and boutiques. My employers told me there is a very nice cafe too, where there is lots of vegan food. So I was meaning to check it out, but then so much happened. I had my pig Oliver and my van etc etc. So I never really took the time to go and check it out. Until last week. I was getting some things for my van and a new bag of food for Oliver in Newbury and very randomly I thought, lets check out that place. So I drove to Hungerford, parked the car and stepped into Eliane.

When you walk in you can straight away see all the food on you left. It’s all right in front of you, where you can properly see it. There are little signs in front of it, so you can see what it is and if it’s vegan. Almost everything is vegan, even though they’re an omnivore cafe. The food looks very good, colourful and full of nutrients. There was a lovely French lady helping me. She knew a lot, was super helpful and I think she really is doing the cafe good. You can choose 4 things for £12,95. There are also a number of treats available,with at least 3 vegan options. I’ve got them all: Mango cake, raw chocolate cake and a vegan snicker bar. I kindly got a little (paper!) take away box, as I was sure I couldn’t eat everything in one time, haha! I also ordered an organic golden milk, which is one of their specials. Another lovely girl walked with me to my table, what was super helpful. I picked a table outside, because it was lovely weather and I had my dog Nola with me. The food was AMAZING! I can truly say that this was one of the tastiest meals I’ve had. So many flavours and you can just taste that it’s healthy and good for you. I loved it! The golden milk was also the best I’ve had and I can understand why it’s one of their specials. The meal was so good and filling, that I decided to take all my treats home and eat them later. I normally do not like fruit cake too much, so I was least excited about the mango cake. Funny enough, I loved it. It was super fresh, and moist and not too sweet. The other 2 were so good too, it’s hard to choose which one I liked best, but the vegan snicker bar was heavenly though! I definitely recommend all of this food.

The outside of Eliane is very lovely and you just want to go in to take a look inside. I’m sure that’s why they put the food right at the entrance, because as soon as you see that, you want to eat it. Very clever! There are quite a few tables inside (it’s bigger then you expect) and walking all the way to the back, you can sit outside. They also do a vegan breakfast, that includes a vegetable patty, a variety of vegetables (like mushrooms, spinach etc) on heritage grain toast. I’ll make sure to try this the next time. They offer a lot of different drinks. You can choose from organic smoothies, juices, chai and matcha lattes, coffee and teas. Everything is free from refined sugar and they use organic where possible. I really love this place! It’s a shame they’re not all vegan. Maybe one day they will be.

**I want to thank Eliane for their food and many the treats they gave me!**

WHO? Eliane.
WHERE? The Courtyard, 24 High St, Hungerford RG17 0NF.
CUISINE? Diverse.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 8 (Amazing healthy food and great staff. I would have given them a 9 if they were all vegan.)

Did you visit Hungerford before and did you know about Eliane already? 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

Wulf & Lamb

Yay, finally another London hotspot and not just a hotspot, but Wulf & Lamb! I spend my bank holiday weekend in London with my dog Nola and I was staying at a lovely AirBnB in Battersea. I had a very relaxing weekend and didn’t want to force myself to go hotspot hunting as I was having a little break from blogging. Only on the last day I decided to just have a look on Happy Cow to see what is around. That’s where Wulf & Lamb popped up and the pictures made me want to go there. So just before I took the train home I crossed the Battersea Bridge to check out their brunch options. My lovely AirBnB host Isabel, who is a vegetarian (but eats mostly vegan though!), came with me, so double fun.

It was a lovely sunny weekend and the bank holiday Monday wasn’t any different, so we sat outside. Wulf & Lamb is just behind Sloan Square in a lovely little, but spacious, street. I got us 2 menus whilst Isabel stayed outside with Nola. It was hard to choose as it’s an amazing menu! Isabel went for The Full Wulf Breakfast and a coffee and I went for the Fluffy American Pancakes (I secretly hoped that they had waffles, but pancakes are fine too) and a turmeric latte. At the till there are lots of baked treats, including apricot and apple croissants. I bought them for later and I can now tell you that they were so yum! Especially the one with apple. We didn’t have to wait very long before there were 2 plates in front of us with amazing looking food. They then asked me if Nola would like a whole organic vegan dog treat.. uhh yes please! How amazing is that?! Just as the food.. my goodness, the pancakes were so tasty. I especially liked it that the pancakes were on top of the syrup and not covered in syrup. It came with fresh berries and some delicious cream on the side. Boy, how I enjoyed it all. Isabel’s breakfast looked amazing too. There was something that looked like scrambled eggs, but we couldn’t quite figure out what it actually was. It looked a bit like jackfruit, but it turned out it was made of an ackee fruit. I’ve never heard of it, but it’s nice when restaurants use uncommon things that turn out te be so good. I definitely recommend these 2 options.. but I saw they also have a Wulf burger made of seitan and as a true burger lover, I need to try this. I’ll be back for sure!

Wulf & Lamb is only a minute walk from Sloan Square. It’s away from all the busy traffic, in a lovely street. You can sit inside, but with lovely weather like on the day I went, you can sit outside too. In the morning you’ll sit in the shade, but if you like to sit in the sunshine instead, you should go for a late lunch. The building and interior are simple, but classy and beautiful. I like it. I really liked to see that there was a water bowl for dogs at the entrance. As a dog mummy I really appreciate things like this and you feel more welcome to be there with your dog. Wulf&Lamb did top that up with offering the (vegan!) dog treat to Nola. It really was the cherry on top! The staff is super friendly and I definitely recommend this place.

WHO? Wulf & Lamb.
WHERE? 243 Pavilion Rd, London, SW1X 0BP.
CUISINE? Diverse.
VEGAN? Yes!
OVERALL? 9 (Amazing food, great staff and very dog friendly.)

Did you know about Wulf&Lamb already? 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

Why Dairy is Scary

I already briefly gave some attention on this subject in one of my Vegan Advice posts and last February against the #februdairy campaign.  But as there is still so much ignorance when it comes to dairy I decided to write a whole, more detailed, article about only dairy. There is so much information available nowadays, but still there are people who truly don’t know the truth about the dairy industry. I really hope to also reach those people. 

I want to tell you about the 3 most important things when it comes to dairy: Morality, Health and Environment. For me personally, the moral side is most important. Though you might find the health facts really interesting or you care more about the environment. It doesn’t really matter, because I think all 3 of them are very important. If you don’t believe me (and you shouldn’t, because there is so much false information on the internet), please do your own research. Let this article be a stepping stone to more knowledge about what it is really like. I always encourage people to think for themselves and to do their own research. Don’t instantly believe what you hear and what you read. You are the only one who can make a decision for yourself. Believing the dairy industry by what they say about needing milk for strong bones etc. is the whole problem to begin with. These are lies to make you buy dairy, so they can earn money, your money! So please think for yourself and decide if you still want to support the dairy industry after knowing this all.

THE MORAL SIDE
Let’s start from the whole beginning: Why do cows give milk? For the same reason humans give milk. To feed their baby. If a woman gives birth to her baby she starts producing milk to make her baby grow. This is the same for mammal animals, so also for cows. This is why the farmer artificially inseminate the cows ever year to make her pregnant. So every year the cow gives birth to a baby. In order for us to get the milk, the calf can’t stay with his/her mother, because it would drink the milk. The milk the farmers earn money with, so that means that as much milk as possible needs to be sold. This is why the farmer takes the baby calf away from his/her mum and feeds it a milk substitute. If you are a mother yourself, imagine your baby taken away from you within hours (up to 72 hours) after birth? Because this is the time a baby calf gets to spend with his/her mother. The mother licks her baby clean, she cares for her baby, feeds her baby, bonds with her baby and then her baby is taken away from her. They call for their baby and the baby cries out for his/her mother, but there is nothing they can do. The mother goes back into the herd and they all get milked twice a day by machines.

Then what happens to the baby calf? This depends. If the baby is a female she will end up living the same life as her mum. She is impregnated every year and every year a baby is taken away from her and the same will happen over and over again. When the cow is about 5-7 years old they will start to give less milk, what means they won’t be profitable enough. By this time they’ve given birth to 3-5 babies. Because they aren’t profitable  anymore for milk  they go to slaughter. Their tired bodies will be sold for meat. If the baby calf is a male there are 2 options: instant death or their bodies will be sold and called: veal. Male calves are not going to produce milk and so they are useless for the dairy industry. This is why a lot of male calves get killed right after birth. They’ve spent 283 days growing in their mother’s womb and as soon as they come out their life is over. Veal is meat from a baby cow. They can be as young as 4 weeks old and as ‘old’ as 26 weeks old. There are different kinds of veal for different kinds of meat textures/colours. Some get fed only milk to make their meat pinkish and some are weened quickly to make their meat look more red. There are even calves that are fed a diet very low in iron so they get anaemic, just so their meat is more pink.

By buying any kind of dairy (organic or non organic) you support this cruelty. For one bite of cheese or one sip of milk a cow died, a baby called out for his/her mother and a mother cried out for her baby.

HEALTHWISE
We need to drink milk every day for strong bones. Especially children! But.. do we? This is what we hear all our lives, over and over again. When you hear something over and over again from since you can remember, you start to believe it and most of us never question it. That is what you are taught, that is what everybody does, that is what your family has been doing and so that is what you know. Only it turns out milk isn’t as good for you as they say it is. It’s actually the opposite. Milk is not good for you at all and it’s actually bad for your bones. It makes your bones weaker instead of stronger. The reason they say it’s good for your bones is because your bones need calcium and there is a lot of calcium in milk. The problem is, this calcium can’t get absorbed by your body as well and even extracts existing calcium from your bones. Also, dairy cows don’t drink milk after about 9 weeks old and they don’t suffer from weak bones. Why is that? They get their calcium from plants! So can we. In fact, the calcium in plants can actually be absorbed by our bodies. You have probably heard about osteoporosis. If not.. this is a disease that weakens your bones. They get more fragile and break faster. A lot of people think they need to drink more milk to prevent this, whilst in fact you can develop osteoporosis by drinking milk. This means milk is doing the opposite from what they advertise. Osteoporosis isn’t the only disease you can get from drinking milk. Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimer are all linked to dairy too.

Then there are hormones, antibiotics, blood and puss. For example, to make a baby calf grow into a big adult cow there are hormones in milk, just like there were hormones in your mother’s milk. All these hormones come into your body too. Dairy cows also get antibiotics, this is to prevent them from getting ill. A lot of dairy cows are kept inside all year around or only get to go outside for a few months a year. That makes it easy for diseases to spread. Antibiotics are the solution and even though most cows are not allowed to be milked for a short period of time after getting antibiotics, there is always some left behind and that all ends up in the milk they produce. Because of the milking machines and the massive amount of milk that is taken from the cows every day, their udders are often infected, what means that not only is there milk going into the milking machine, but also blood and puss. This isn’t an exception, but there is actually a legal amount of puss and blood cells in every carton of milk. Just gross if you ask me.

So why do doctors and health experts recommend dairy for strong bones and an overall healthy lifestyle? Because that is what they’re taught. Doctors that recommend dairy aren’t evil doctors, but they just don’t know any better, just like a lot of people. In their study doctors only get 1 hour of nutrition a week and often it’s very dated. You probably wonder why this is dated and why they aren’t taught the right information anyway?! Because, and this might be very shocking to you, this is how the government makes money. The medical industry is one of the largest there is and there is a lot of money going around. If people will live healthier lifestyles they won’t get ill as much, they won’t need as much medicine and so the medical industry won’t make as much money. Yes, this is how it works. I  know part of you maybe doesn’t want to believe this, but do your research and also.. just think!

ENVIRONMENT
Why is milk bad for the environment? Because of alllll the dairy cows. There are over 264 million dairy cows in the world. That is a lot of animals and they’re not just any animal, they’re cows. Big and heavy animals that eat a lot, drink a lot and poop and urinate a lot. Only 1 dairy cow produces about 50 kg’s of poo and urine every day. That is 264.000.000 x 50 KG every day.. do the maths. All this produces a lot of CO2 and it all goes into the earth. It goes into the ground, into the water ad right into the oceans, polluting our world. The world where we and so many other animals live on. This is the world where our children are growing up, where their children will grow up.. think about the damage we are doing to these amazing animals, our own health and our world!

ALTERNATIVES (where do you get your protein/calcium?)
Lucky there are so many alternatives that are actually good for you. You can find protein/calcium in a lot of plants. A few examples: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Collards (!), Beans (esp: Soy beans, Black turtle beans, Navy beans, White beans), Oranges and Dried figs. There are also a lot of plant-based milks and often they are calcium-fortified, what means that they contain a lot of extra calcium. A few examples of plant-based milks: soy, rice, almond, oat, hazelnut, hemp. You can also find a lot of protein/calcium in tofu and tempeh.

I used to drink a lot of milk (it was my favourite and I would easily drink a liter a day) and I loved cheese, yogurt and anything that had something to do with dairy. I still like milk, cheese and yogurt, but now I choose for plant-based options. They’re delicious and they’re even more delicious now I know that there weren’t any calves taken from their mother or cows killed. I can fully enjoy it because I know that it’s good for me and the world.

If you can choose between doing harm or not doing harm? Why would you choose to do harm? Please consider a vegan lifestyle!

Did you know all this about dairy? Were you surprised and do you look at dairy in a different way now? Do you have any more questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask me! you can do this in the comments below or you can also send me a private message if you like. Thank you for reading and I really hope that you consider going dairy free, X.

 

STOP taking the birth control pill

In this article I want to talk about the birth control pill and why you shouldn’t take it. I will tell you about my own experiences and I hope this will make you think about your choice of contraceptives. At first I will tell you about my journey taking the pill and in the second half of this article I will tell you about my journey without taking the pill. You can read everything or just the part you’re most interested in.

TAKING THE PILL
When I was 17 I started to take the birth control pill. I did this for 2 reasons. My main reason was to not get pregnant. I was in a serious relationship and not the biggest                      condom fan. Buying condoms cost money too and the birth control pill I could get for free. So it seemed to be a good choice. My mum was on it, from since I can remember and many other people I knew were too. I didn’t see any harm in it, but almost saw it as a next step in life. My hope was to also have better skin. I struggle with my skin since the start of my puberty and don’t we all want smooth skin? So that was my second reason and the main reason I went for the Diane-35. I heard good things about it, in terms of skin clearing up. I think I took the Diane-35 for about 1-2 years, but my breasts were so sensitive and painful 1-2 weeks every time before I’d get my period and that wasn’t ideal. Also my skin didn’t clear up. It maybe got a little better, but I could hardly tell the difference. So I went to the doctors to discuss a different brand. I then swapped the Diane-35 for the Yasmin. The Yasmin is a lighter pill, but apparently would still be beneficial for my skin. After a few months my breast were less painful, but my skin still looked the same. I did feel better being on this pill though and so I sticked with it. For many years..

But then more and more articles popped up, saying how bad it is. Of course in the back of my head I knew this, but I also loved the pill as it gave me security and I liked the fact that I knew exactly what day my period would start and that I could control it in that way. But when I was 27 I stopped taking it, what means I took it for 10 years straight. That is fairly long and this, together with being curious of what would happen, is why I thought it was time to stop. I wasn’t in a relationship at that time and didn’t have any interest being in one ant time soon, so perfect timing. Only you can’t plan love and half a year later I met a guy I really liked and so I started thinking about taking it again. It actually was just in the end of all the side effect symptoms going away, but being in love and really seeing a future with this guy, I thought I could just take it temporarily. I still had some pill strips left and so I started taking it again. This time I really had a proper love-hate relationship with the pill though. I loved the security, but every time I put it in my mouth I actually didn’t want to swallow it. It didn’t feel right to take hormones that will change something in my body. I like being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle. Taking the birth control pill felt like doing the opposite from where I stand for. Also, the birth control pill isn’t vegan and that really bothered me too.

It was 7 months later when my mum send me some articles about how dangerous the birth control pill can be. My mum stopped taking them a few years ago as she had horrible migraines and it turned out it was because of the pill. I actually tried to avoid the articles she send me and I consciously closed my eyes for it, but the articles my mum was talking about were about people dying from it. I know the people who died didn’t only die because of taking the pill, but it did play a big part in their death. This woke me up. Back to condoms it was, but I also started to do some research about natural birth control. About keeping track of what your body is telling you. This way you can find out on what days you’re fertile and on what days you’re not. I mostly learned this from the book: ‘Taking Charge of you Fertility’, written by Toni Weschler, MPH. I love this book, because even tough I knew quite a lot about my cycles, it really helped understanding my body even more. I recommend every woman to read it, even if you’re not interested in birth control, it still teaches you a lot about how it all works. This book is not only for preventing pregnancy btw, it is also helpful for couples who are trying to get pregnant instead. A must read for woman!

Researching natural birth control, obviously led me to the Lady Comp too. This little machine really intrigues me. In the book ‘Taking Charge of your Fertility’ you learn how to chart manually, but the Lady Comp does this for you, digitally. The only thing you need to do is put the thermometer in your mouth, every single morning at the same time. This Lady Comp does the rest and will tell you exactly what days you’re good to go and what days you need to use a condom. I would love to try this, because it seems like a great solution for all woman who do not want to put hormones in their bodies any longer. I never got really into charting my cycles properly, because unfortunately my relationship ended and not getting pregnant wasn’t a priority any more. This doesn’t mean I’m not interested anymore, because even not being intimate with somebody, I love the fact that you can learn about your cycles, learn why you’re feeling the way you’re feeling and how your body works. I think this is basic knowledge every woman should know.


STOPPING THE PILL
The last day I took the birth control pill was the 9th of July 2017. The day I decided I was not going to take them any longer, I was on my period (that started the 13th of July), so I simply didn’t start a new strip (but in case you want to stop, you can stop at any time you want). I knew from the last time that there will be side effects. I just hoped that they wouldn’t be as obvious this time. I only took them for about half a year this time. I decided to keep a little journal until I get my first pill-free period, so I can keep track of the side effects I noticed. I did this for myself, but I thought it might help you to get an idea of what can happen if you’d stop too. Just remember that everybody is different and that your body might react in a different way.

26-07
Today I experienced some heatwaves. It happens in the days before and around my ovulation and I  clearly remember this from the last time I stopped taking the pill. It used to be quite bad at times, even up to the point I felt dizzy.

31-07
I did not experience any side effects so far anymore. I did have some heatwaves, but as I’m in Mallorca this week and it’s 35 degrees every day, it’s trickier to notice. I will have my ovulation around now, so the next time I might experience something different, will probably be just before or whilst I’m on my period. I’m planning my detox now, because this will help to get rid of those nasty hormones in my body. I’m super excited for this.

08-08
In a few days or maybe the end of this week I will probably have my period. This is the first period after I stopped taking the pill. I can notice I’m near, because I was very tired yesterday and today (I always have this a few days before my period). I’m also getting lots of spots, more than I had being on the pill. When being on the pill, the week before my period my skin was actually always at its best. So this must be a reaction too. I’m confident that it will be better later on.

13-08
I still didn’t get my period, what is odd as I did experience the symptoms I normally have before my period starts. My body might just be a little confused. The last time I stopped I got my period on the exact day I’d normally het my period. This time it’s later and here are some possible reasons why: because around my ovulation I was traveling + I was more stressed because of ending my relationship and because it’s the first period without taking pills.

14-08
Today I’m super tired. I feel like staying in my bed and sleeping all day long. Also a few times I had some very painful stitches in my tummy. I have a lot of water retention, my ankles are swollen and my tummy feels tensed. A lot more than on my pill-periods. Hopefully this will all go as soon as my period is here.

15-08
Today, in the late evening, I got my first period. This means my first pill-free cycle was 36 days.

18-08
My period was quite normal the first few days. I did have a slight tummy ache on the first day, but I was almost happy to feel this. I know for some girls it can be hell, but it’s also natural. Today I can already notice it’s a little less, what is normal for a 3rd day. I can’t notice that my periods are heavier, but then this is only the first one.

So that was my first period. I didn’t want to keep a journal longer than that, because it would just be repeating myself. I can tell you that the heatwaves were a lot less around my second ovulation and gone by the 3rd. I remember from the fist time I stopped the pill that I had heatwaves really badly for a few months, in the first month I couldn’t even go to work one day. So that is interesting, because it looks like it’s a little easier this time, I can’t say for sure why that is. Logically it could be that it’s because there are less hormones now, because I stopped before, but it could also be because my body knows what to do this time or maybe it’s the things I ate that had an effect too. I can’t tell, because I’m not a doctor. I’m just happy that it’s effecting me less this time.

The following months..

Skin
Something that did get worse, is my skin. I have more outbreaks and a lot of redness. I can now slowly start to see it’s getting a bit better again though. This is also because I’m trying new things, trying to make it better. I might do a separate article about skin if you like (let me know).

Fatigue & Cravings
When I was taking the pill I was always struggling with horrible fatigue for 1 day, exactly 2 days before my period (as this was mostly a Tuesday, I named it Tired-Tuesday). Even though it was awful, as I couldn’t put my foot in front of the other one and I just wanted to lay down all day long, it was such a good indicator. I still get tired, but it lasts a few days now instead of just one day, with some ups and downs. I know I can manage it a little bit if I watch my food intake (more raw and lighter meals), but we woman all know that watching your food intake before and during your period is as hard as running a marathon on your hands! I can’t say my cravings are better or worse now. I think it’s quite the same still.

Cramps
I never had really bad cramps before starting the pill, I basically didn’t have any during and I have a little bit of cramps only the first day of my period now I stopped taking the pil. I never take any medicine, but I just take it easy that day and sometimes use a hot water bottle (this really helps). The funny thing is that I’m almost happy to feel it, because it means that my body is going back to its natural state again. I’m sure every girl gets period cramps or at least knows how they feels. Some girls have it really badly and it’s complete hell. Many doctors actually recommend the pill, because the pill can definitely make it better. But before you do this, please try different methods first though. I  know it can get really bad in it can really effect your every day life, but cramps are natural. Try to make it better (don’t focus on it going away completely, because in many cases it won’t) with natural remedies.

Water Retention 
This is really bothering me and being on the pill definitely made it worse. The week before my period my ankles were always more swollen (they’re always a little swollen since I started the pill) and my tummy was so tensed because of it, that it was hurting and I was having trouble bending over. I can now see that my ankles are less swollen in general, but just before my period the water retention is actually worse than being on the pill. Luckily it goes away as soon as I’m on my period.

Cycles
Being on the pill makes your cycles very precise. I loved this about the pill. Now my cycles are always a little different, but because I know my  body a little better and I’m learning more every time, I can now recognise some symptoms and still kind of know when my period will be. It’s very normal to have longer and shorter cycles. The length of your cycle depends on when you ovulate. Your ovulation is a ‘funny thing’, because it will never be on the same day. It’s very sensitive. Whenever you’re stressed or when you’re traveling around the time you would normally ovulate, it will wait until you’re less stressed or when you finished traveling. So it can happen that your ovulation will be a whole week later. This means your cycle is longer, because the days between your ovulation and your period are alway the same. My cycles since I stopped taking the pill: 36 days, 28 days, 39 days (I was traveling before my ovulation), 36 days, 33 days, 36 days. As you can see my cycles are mostly over 30 days. This is totally normal. Many woman think they’re overtime after 28 days, but every woman has a different cycle and it’s completely normal. Normal natural cycles can be up to 40 days.

I never want to go back taking the pill. In fact I’m so done with it, that I threw away the 4 strips that were left. I want to focus on new methods that are not harmful for your body, like the Lady Comp. Putting hormones in your body isn’t something you should consider if you’re looking for a contraceptive.

Are you taking birth control pills? Or any other form of hormone contraceptive? What is your experience? Are you thinking about stopping too? Share your experience, so we can help each other and create awareness! You can do this by leaving a comment below or via IG (tag me and I will tag your story). Thank you! X