Minimalism #1

Nowadays everything has to be bigger or more. The bigger, the better! More of the bigger is what makes people happy. Does it? Do 3 sports cars, a mansion, the newest gadgets, (lots of) expensive clothes, even more shoes and a perfect manicure really make you happy? Very cliché, but you can not buy happiness and if you could, I’m sure there would be people making a huge profit out of it. Because everybody wants happiness. People do tend to buy stuff to feel happy and almost everybody owns more than they actually need. Most people have cupboards full of stuff and a lot of that stuff we don’t actually need or use. For example, most people own a lot of clothes, but they only wear a small collection of these clothes. Also, almost everybody has stuff in storage and I’m sure if I’d ask you what you keep in your storage space, you don’t know exactly what’s on that attic anymore or what’s in those bags in the back of the cupboard. Why do we feel the need to own all this stuff? When it comes too actual stuff, I believe less is more. People have the habit to collect and to keep it all though, for a lot of different reasons.

More is better.
If one is amazing, more must be better. So if we already have 1 item of something, but we see another one, we like even better, we tend to buy it. We didn’t need it, but because the newer one was for example more beautiful or came with an extra function, you wanted to own it. Do we get rid of the old one? Most of the time we don’t. Because you know.. it was still good and why get rid of something you can still use?! This is how we build up a lot of stuff. Stuff we already had. If things need replacement, then it’s fine, but do make sure you get rid of the old one. Throw it away when it’s broken or donate it in case somebody else can still make use of it.

Being a part of something.
How many things do you own, because everybody owns one? And did you really wanted to have that new iPhone or was it because you can show off? Some people buy something (and I think everybody has an example, if you’re really honest), because others have it. Especially when something becomes a hype, you might feel the need to be a part of it.

What if’s. 
This is a tricky one and I think everybody recognises this reason to keep something. The ‘what if’s’. What if I need it when this or that happens.. What if the old one breaks or gets lost.. What if.. What if.. We’re probably all guilty of keeping something (or a lot of somethings) you didn’t use for ages, but you keep because what if one day you might need it? Though, we can’t live like this. In the meantime somebody else maybe really needs it, so it’s better to donate it. When the time comes you really need it, you can go and get it (again), so you can use it straight away. Get rid of your ‘what if’s’, because what if you will never use it?

Sentimental value.
Old tickets, pictures, clothes/shoes, books.. or anything really. We all own things that make us think back of the time we used it or when we were given things. This is perfectly fine. I have a memory box myself. It’s nice to keep some things that have value because of (mostly) happy times. But do you need 5 very similar pictures? Do you need to keep that book you already read? Do you need all of those used train tickets? Do we need some of that stuff at all? Try to make a selection of things you really see as valuable or the things you used during happy times. If the memory is so important to you, it will not fade. You don’t need every single material piece to remember it by.

Go through all your stuff and ask yourself, why do I want to keep it and do I really need it? Don’t hold on to things you don’t use or need. I will write about minimalism again soon, for now I hope this helps you to look at everything you own in a different way.

Do you own things you don’t use or need? Will you be going through your stuff to see why you’re keeping certain things? Do you have something to add to this, something to say about this or do you have questions? Please let me know! You can do this in the comments below or you can send me a message via CONTACT. Thank you! X

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Personal #1 – Making my dream come True!

I never wrote a personal post before, but I have big news and I also feel like sharing certain things once in a while. So from now on you can expect some more personal posts here. There we go..

If you’re following me on Instagram, you might know that I have some exciting news to share. I waited a bit with making it public as I wanted to be sure about a few things first. Also I had to get used to the idea myself a little bit. I can’t tell you that I am now, at least not for a 100%, because it’s quite a life changing thing (and no I’m not pregnant haha!). Not only that, it will also make a very big dream, I’ve had for quite a while, come true. So what is it? Well.. first of all, I’m moving! I’m moving next month, out of my beloved London (and my very much loved flat!!) and to the country side. I’ll still be close to London though. It’s a little over an hour from Paddington. So that’s nice. I will move to a farm house where I will be partly looking after the children I looked after before. I will also look after the animals they are going to get (chickens, horses, pigs (!), dogs etc.) and I will do some garden/household work as well. And living in the countryside means that I can finally adopt a dog (so exciting!) for myself. So this is one part of the big news and already so lovely. But there is more..

For many years I have this dream, to get a van and build my house in there. So that is what I’m going to do. I will hopefully find my van in the end of this year or in the beginning of next year. Then the whole process can start and I hope to finish it (asap) in the spring/summer. I will live in my van as soon as it’s finished (I can already not wait!). Then over the weekends and in the holidays, I can do little try out trips through the UK and Ireland. I always wanted to see more of the UK and doing it like this will be the best way ever. After 2-3 years, my dog and I will cross the North Sea and then I will travel around Europe. This for me is the ultimate feeling of freedom, in so many ways. Personal freedom, but also living in peace, free from (most) bills, the norm of staying in one place and other society expectations. I will just live my own life in my own world. I will not isolate myself, but I can if I want to. That feeling is amazing and suits my character perfectly. I will see so much of the world and I’m sure I will learn so much about myself, nature and planet earth.

At the moment I’m getting rid of a lot of things. There is so much stuff I don’t need. I will have to live like a proper minimalist. Luckily I was already living quite minimalistic. I’m also already looking for a van (orientation more) and researching all the possibilities. Super exciting, but a lot of work. If you have any tips.. please share them with me! Vanlife here I come!

Do you have any tips for me? Or anything else you’d like to share after reading my first personal post? Please let me know in the comments below or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

What I eat in a Day! #3

I thought let’s do another ‘What I eat in a Day’ post. I often get questions about this and people always seem to be interested in what I (do) eat. I also like to show people that we, vegan, can just have normal and delicious food. So here we go!

I just picked a random day: I always start my day with a big glass of luke warm water, the juice of half a lemon and 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. This isn’t something I love drinking, but it gives me a good feeling as it gives me energy and a boost of vitamin C. It also has a cleansing effect and for me it’s perfect to start my day. About an hour later I drink my green smoothie. This is a smoothie with 2 very ripe bananas, a big handful of spinach, 1/2 tsp spirulina, 1/2 tsp wheatgrass and 1 tsp of linseed. I use a little bit of water to blend it. I had this with 1/2 a medium sized papaya. When I got to work they had a bowl full of delicious fresh plums from the garden they went to at the weekend. So I just had to  snack on those in the morning. So delicious! It makes me think of my childhood as we had 2 plum trees, full of plums, in the garden where I grew up. A little later in the morning I was quite hungry weird enough, so I made myself a small bowl of porridge. As a topping I used some strawberries, coconut, cinnamon and a little bit op agave nectar. Just to keep me going until lunch time.

For lunch (around 14:00) I made myself a little chickpea salad with 1/2 an avocado (+ salt/pepper/lemon juice/a drop of sesame seed oil and a little bit of smoked paprika), a sweet potato from the oven and some sugar snaps on the side. I love lunches like this. They are filling, nutritious and just delicious. I had my lunch fairly late today as I had the porridge around 10:30. Normally I will eat porridge around 9:00ish, but the plums were in the way there.. haha! I wasn’t actually hungry all afternoon, but I did get myself al little treat at Starbucks later on (around 16:00). My ultimate treat there is a Green Tea Latte with soy milk (and some cinnamon on the top). I love it! Unfortunately they put sugar in there, so I only have it now and then. In the morning I made my Nori Nori recipe, so I could take some pictures for the recipe I will share here soon. They are little wraps from nori sheets, filled with spinach, mushrooms, bell pepper, alfalfa and tempeh. So as I made them, I had those for dinner, with some extra spinach on the side. It’s definitely one of m favourite recipes, so tasty and very healthy! I wasn’t feeling hungry in the evening, so I only had a cup of bedtime tea a little bit before I went to sleep. Also I drink about 2-3 litres of water a day.

Do you eat similar to me? Or do you have a whole different routine? I’d love to hear about it. Please let me know in the comments below or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

ART: Maria Tiqwah

Quite a while ago I discovered the amazing artist Maria Tiqwah on Facebook. I asked her if she’d  like to be on my blog and though it has been a while since the first time we spoke, she still agreed to it. Lucky me and lucky you, because she makes amazing things. I think she is super talented and her work should be out there more! Maria was born in Boskoop (Netherlands), in October 1982. Already since a very young age she is fascinated by animals. Her first words (yes, before ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’) were ‘cat’ and ‘fish’. Because her love for animals, she always drew animals. That is also where her inspiration is coming from. She says: ‘Animals move me, amaze me and fascinate me. They make me smile and that smile I want to pass on via my paintings’.

In August 2011, Maria watched a horrible video about the bio industry. She decided she didn’t want to contribute to this cruel industry any longer and she gave the sausage, she just got that morning, to the dog of her employer. At first she thought that veganism was a little extreme, but when she did educate herself and found out what was behind dairy, eggs and honey, she became vegan. She only uses vegan materials to make her paintings. When she became vegan she checked everything and luckily it turned out everything she was using was vegan already. She only uses 1 little brush for everything. She doesn’t like to use 20 different brushes and 100 different colours. She rather shapes her brush in different shapes and mixes colours herself. For her paintings she uses a combination of: soft pastel, water colours (aquarelle) and a white gel pen on paper. She likes soft pastel as she can work faster and it gives nice bright colours. ‘The water colours are perfect for sharp lines and details’ she says and she uses the gel pen for the white bits in a painting. For the aquarelle paper she uses, she always has to make sure she gets the right one as some paper is made with gelatine. She used to use oil based paint and then she would sometimes work on a painting for 100 hours, within 1 year. With he technique she is using now, she can finish a painting in about 20 hours. She makes about 10 painting a year now.

With her paintings she wants to show people the love, beauty and individuality of animals. This way she hopes there will be more respect for animals. This is why she also used a few of her paintings to create organic, ‘Happy Vegan T-shirts‘. Take a look, because I can tell you, it’s totally worth it (+ worldwide shipping)! At the moment she doesn’t have any particular plans for the future, but she will be on VegFestNL in Utrecht (Netherlands). She was there last year for the first time and she loved it. So make sure you check her out when you’re there! She would also love to find a nice vegan friendly gallery for her paintings (Tips are welcome!).

Maria is quite a busy woman, because making beautiful paintings isn’t the only thing she does. She also runs her own green advertisement business. Some clients are: ‘Partij voor de Dieren’ (Party for the Animals – a political party in the Netherlands) and ‘Dier & Recht’ (Animal & Right – a organisation for animals). Last year she also published a little book with her paintings, called ‘En nu wat Vroluks‘ (direct translation: and now something cheerful). It’s a little book with her paintings, combined with poetry (from several writers) about animals. She also volunteers, doing some graphic design work for Dutch organisations: ‘Nederlandse Vereniging voor Veganisme‘ (direct translation: Dutch organisation for Veganism) and for ‘Melk, je kan zonder!‘ (direct translation: Milk, you can do without!). And if this isn’t enough yet, she also volunteers for Plenty Food. This is a plant-based development aid organisation that helps families in Africa. At the moment they have a project running, where you can buy a fruit tree (€12,50) for a family in Kenya.

Nowadays Maria lives, with her husband Raqib, in Istanbul. They fell in love in 2005 and in 2009 they decided to move to the popular Turkish city. For them it’s the perfect place to live, as both cultural and geographical, it’s in the middle of the Netherlands and Kurdistan (where her husband is from). You can buy her work, though she doesn’t like to send her paintings via the mail. The easiest way would be to come to the VegFestNL in the Netherlands (28/29 of October 2017) or to plan a trip to Istanbul! You can always contact her via Facebook or by email: maria@colourfulgreen.nl. At the moment she is only doing free work, but in the future she will maybe do commissions too.

Something Maria would like to pass on to you all:
Follow your heart and enjoy life, to be vegan in a non vegan world isn’t always easy! Also she would like to share something she finds really helpful herself: a presentation about ‘Sustainable Activism’ by Melany Joy.

I want to thank Maria very much for letting me share her story and art with all my readers. 

Do you like Maria’s work? Is it the kind of art you would get for yourself? Please let me (and Maria) know by leaving a comment below or via Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Routine Yaa or Nah?

Some of you may, just like me, swear they love routine. Some of you might be allergic for only mentioning the word routine. I do get that for both ways there are pros and cons. But a routine doesn’t have to mean you plan every second of your life (even I would be deeply unhappy if I did that). To have meals around the same time every day is a routine. And this is something what can be very beneficial for your body. For myself I created a morning routine, a day routine and an evening routine. I like to have something I can hold on to and do things that are good for my health. I feel happier and much calmer if I follow some sort of routine. I will tell you about my routines and it might inspire you to have a routine yourself.

MY MORNING ROUTINE 
Almost every morning I wake up at 6:00 and from there I kind of split my morning into blocks of 15 minutes. I start (right after opening my eyes) with taking some deep breaths and some stretching. This really helps me to wake up. When you’re sleeping everything in your body goes a little slower. Taking deep breaths and stretching your muscles is good for your blood flow and your body gets a ton of oxygen straight away. Then I make myself my morning water. This is a big glass (400ml) of warm (I mix cold and boiled) water, the juice of half a lemon and 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. This cleanses your body, gives it a vitamin C boost and wakes up your metabolism. I also use this time to go to the toilet etc. Just 15 minutes where I can wake up in a relaxed way. Then I do some yoga exercises for about 15 minutes, followed by some meditation. Then it’s time to get dressed, do my make up and get ready for the day. At 7:00 I take the time to make and eat breakfast. This always includes a green smoothie, either with fruit or overnight porridge. Just before I leave for work around 7:45, I take a little time for affirmations, visualisation and sometimes I do some writing or reading too. By this time I’m full of energy and ready to start my day. This energy is with me the whole day whenever I start my day like this. I have a rule to not touch my phone during my morning routine.

To cut it short: 
06:00 – Deep breaths and stretching + morning water.
06:15 – Yoga.
06:30 – Meditation.
06:45 – Get dressed + Make up.
07:00 – Breakfast.
07:30 – Affirmations/Visualisation/Writing or Reading.
07:45 – Work.


MY DAY ROUTINE
During the day there are a lot of different things happening of course and every day is different. I do try to have meals/snacks around the same time though. Around 10:30 I have a snack. This is basically always fruit. I like to eat fruit in the morning, so my body can easily digest it and absorb all the vitamins. Then I have lunch around 12:30, but I always squeeze in some exercise before I start eating my lunch. This means I’m doing some crunches, squats and press ups etc. I try to do this every day, apart from the Sunday. My lunch is 9/10 times a salad with lotsss of veggies. Then around 16:00 I’ll start to be hungry again and I either eat some nuts, raw veggies or sometimes a Nakd bar or something like that.

To cut it short: 
10:30 – Snack (fruit)
12:00 – Exercise.
12:30 – Lunch.
16:00 – Snack (nuts, raw veggies).


MY EVENING ROUTINE
I always try to have my dinner around 19:00, but on my days off, I often have it a little earlier. Then I take a shower (I sometimes do this just before going to bed too, but I prefer to do it after dinner). I always try not to work after dinner, but to use that time to relax. Sometimes it does happen I want to finish something. My max is 20:00, after that I force myself to relax). I often spend the evening reading, watching Netflix, using Pinterest and I scroll a little through my social media apps etc. I don’t always have a snack in the evening, it depends a little bit on how I feel. Sometimes I’m still full until bed time and sometimes I do eat something like veggie crisps, a piece of chocolate or some home-made biscuits/cake or something. I also make myself a Chai Latte quite a lot. This is a real treat for me, I love it! At 22:00 I start to get ready for bed. I prepare some things for the next day (put my breakfast necessities on the counter, pack snacks etc.) I brush my teeth and plat my hair etc. If it isn’t 22:30 yet by that time, I read a little bit and just before closing my eyes, I always wish my boyfriend a good night sleep. Often I do relaxation exercises before I go to sleep, to make myself fall asleep fast and to benefit my overall sleep.

To cut it short: 
19:00 – Dinner.
19:30 – Work or relax.
20:30 – Snack (veggie crisps, chocolate, chai latte).
22:00 – Get ready for bed (brush teeth etc.)
22:30 – Sleep.

Now, I don’t have alarms on my phone with all these times and I don’t feel bad when some things happen a little earlier of later. The times for me are just guidelines. I think as soon as you are going to plan your life in minutes it will get super stressed. And having a routine is for the opposite effect. Sometimes I also skip some things and that is fine. You need to enjoy life and trying to function like a robot is really not a good idea. These routines just give me a a sense of peace. I feel much better when I follow all these steps, because they’re all things that are beneficial to my health. Especially my morning routine is very important to me. It’s the base for the rest of my day and I feel a big difference during the day when I don’t do it at all.

Do you have a routine? Or is a routine really not for you? Please tell me about your lifestyle routine. Maybe we can learn from each other! Please let me know in the comments below or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. You can also tag me! Thank you and have a lovely day! X

Fridgecurious #4

Today we take a look in the fridge of the Boer family and they will tell us a little bit about their eating habits. They are my best friends, Nienke, Jeroen and their 2 year old daughter Annemarie. Since about a year they became a lot more conscious of what they are eating and I hope it will inspire some people to do the same. They mainly eat vegetarian food, with some occasional fish. A lot of what they eat is vegan though and I love that! The reason they started to eat this way is because of the animal cruelty and they have a mini pig for almost 2 years now. This really helped a lot to make them think differently and to stop eating meat. Apart from all that, ‘Vegetarian options are delicious’ they say! Their milk and butter are always plant-based. Especially the chocolate milk is their daughters favourite, which I fully understand! At the moment there is organic yogurt in the fridge, but she often buys plant-based yogurt too.

Nienke doesn’t have certain days to get her groceries, because as a nurse her hours vary a lot. Most of the time she goes to the supermarket for het groceries and she buys little amounts at the same time. A lot of time she doesn’t know exactly what she has at home already, so she chose to have some products in stock. This way there is always something they can cook. She doesn’t go to only one certain supermarket, but she likes to go to different ones. For practical reasons (Annemarie is always coming) she mostly takes the car, but for some small things she also likes to go by bike or she takes the buggy. She doesn’t go a lot, but she sometimes also likes to go to the market: ‘Especially on a sunny Saturday it’s nice’. She loves the smell of all the different fruit, vegetables and nuts! In the summer she likes to get fruit which are in season, like strawberries and cherries!

On a day off Nienke and Annemarie like to take their time when it comes to breakfast. They drink tea and eat peanut butter sandwiches, with sliced banana or chocolate sprinkles on top and they always have a piece of fruit too, as there is always a full bowl of fruit to choose from. Jeroen takes advantage of that and often quickly grabs a banana before he rushes off to work. For lunch they have salads with toast or crackers, but sometimes as a treat they makes themselves some of their favourite banana pancakes! On working days Jeroen always eats at work and he can choose from a very wide range of foods from a buffet (lucky him!). Nienke is known for her fully loaded lunch bag she brings to work. She just wants to make sure she has a fresh lunch (or sometimes a delayed breakfast!). Very sometimes she also gets something at work, like a salad or a vegetarian soup for example. Dinner can be very diverse as they like to eat a lot of different vegetables and they combine that with pasta, quinoa, couscous or rice and then they have a meat substitute with it or the occasional fish. They prepare everything without salt, because any let overs will go to a very lucky piggy. Of course they snack some too in between their meals and this often is a yummy piece of dark chocolate, a piece of fruit and sometimes they also enjoy some biscuits and crisps.

I want to thank the Boer family to share their fridge and eating habits with us and to tell us how they try to live in a more conscious way. 

I hope this inspired you and if it did, please let me know in the comments! If you also like to show your fridge, please send me a message via CONTACT! Thank you! X

Vegan Advice #4

I got some more questions asked I would like to answer here. This way everybody can read it in case more people have these questions about veganism. I answer everything form my own perspective. I’m sure there are people with a different opinion. Last time I wrote a Vegan Advice I answered the questions: ‘Why is horse riding wrong?’, ‘Do you respect that some people are not vegan?’ and ‘Why is honey not vegan?’. Today I will answer these questions: ‘Why are you not going to the zoo?’, ‘Why do you not wear fur, wool, leather and silk?’ and ‘Do you take any supplements?. Here we go..

Why are you not going to the zoo?
I think everybody agrees with me that nobody should live in a prison for no reason. A zoo is like a prison for animals. They didn’t do anything wrong and till they are behind bars. They are used for entertainment. There are zoo’s who work with reproduce programs. You think this might be good for the animals who are nearly extinct. But why are they nearly extinct? Because of people killing them, because of people using their land to keep cows for beef and to grow their food. It’s people who are destroying these animals. Keeping them imprisoned is not fair to them, just as it’s unfair to kill them for something we don’t need (beef). Animals have no natural enemies in the zoo and are likely to become a lot older than in the wild. Though.. imagine this: if you had the choice to live in a tiny house with a tiny garden, with the promise you will become a 100 years old. Or.. you can go outside and risk your life, but you can go anywhere you want to. What would you choose? Exactly! I agree some animals are living a generally ok life in the zoo, but why make circumstance less bad if it’s something unnatural to them? They have instincts, which may be less whilst living at the zoo, but it has to stop somewhere. So I’m against reproducing in zoo’s. Zoo’s should be banned. If you want to desperately see a lion.. book a ticket to Africa!

Why do you not wear fur, wool, leather and silk?
Vegans don’t use anything what comes from animals. This also means fur, wool, leather and silk. Using animals in any way is just not necessary and very often cruel. Fur and leather are the most cruel industries there are. Animals for fur are kept in horrible circumstances and electrocuted. This happens with metal pins in their bottom and mouth or they are skinned alive. Only for people who think it’s fashion to wear a dead animal who suffered unimaginable. Many people think leather is just a product what is left over from the meat industry. What is true in a way (and wrong anyway, because we don’t need meat), but leather is a product with a lot of profit. So it’s not just something nobody wanted anymore. Then the sheep who are shaved these days are sheep who are bred with a lot of wool, so we can shave it off and use it. These sheep are not natural, because normally sheep don’t need to be shaved. And what about silk. Most silk is coming from the mulberry silkworm. They are kept to create silk, used for fashion, whilst we have so many other options to choose from. So again, not necessary.

Do you take any supplements?
As a vegan you have to take a lot of supplements to stay healthy. This is what a lot of people think anyway. I hear this all the time. I don’t take any supplements myself, apart from the ones who are necessary for everybody. I only take B12. Some vegans don’t take any supplements, but are relying on the foods fortified with B12 (plant-based milk, nutritional yeast, meat substitutes etc.). I eat that too, but I also take a supplement, just in case, to make sure I have more than enough. I don’t take it every day though, just 2 times a week, to top it up. This B12 thing, is often used as a thing for omnivores to prove that a plant-based diet isn’t the way and you need meat to stay healthy. Though, what a lot of people don’t know is that meat only contains B12 if the animals were given B12 themselves through their food. So why take B12 through killing and eating animals, whilst you can take it straight away? B12 is a bacteria that grows on sugar. B12 used to be in the dirt, this way it got into plants and into animals who ate gras. Nowadays though, the dirt is ruined by overuse and by the use of pesticides. This means everybody needs to make sure to take B12 in a way, because your body can’t make B12 by itself. For some people it’s also advised to take a vitD supplement, especially when you live in a country with not too much sun. I don’t take this myself though.

Did you already know about this or did you learn something? Are there any other questions you’re struggling with? I’d be more than happy to help! Please let me know by leaving a comment below or by sending me a private email. You can also contact me via Instagram by sending me a message, by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Being Happy

There is a lot of power in being happy. That is why a lot of people these days try to find their happiness. But what is it what makes us happy? There are so many different ways to feel happy and some are very personal. I wrote about happiness before and I’m sure this will also not be the last time I write about it. It’s always a hot topic, because everyone wants to experience happiness. Some people spend a lifetime looking for it and for some it clicks within a few days. Happiness is not something you can buy or wait for. It’s the opposite of waiting actually, you need to do something to become happy. It’s something you experience in living your every day life, because happiness is now. No matter in what circumstances you are. I agree that there will be times you’re less happy, gong through something traumatic for example. You can’t be euphorically happy all the time. That is also not what I’m talking about. I’m more into a feeling of an overall happy feeling. Whatever you might go through sometimes, as soon as you master the trick of happiness, I’m sure you will be back on top soon. So what are those daily things that makes us feel happy?

From the way you wake up until you close your eyes going to sleep.. there are things you can actively do to make yourself feel good. Try to make room for several healthy habits throughout your day. This may include: waking up early, drinking enough water, exercise and practice meditation. Not long ago I wrote about my personal healthy habits and that might give you some ideas and inspiration. Healthy habits can also be creating a routine for yourself. Now, this is very personal, because there are people who get very unhappy from having a routine and there are people who get overly happy from routine (I’m definitely on that side). Though I do advice to always have some sort of routine. You can make it as detailed as you want it to be. You can keep it simple to at least try to wake up and go to bed at the same time and to try having regular healthy meals. Or you can create a morning routine a daytime routine and an evening routine. Like I said, this might make some people feel paranoid, but it can also function as something you can hold onto, so it will give you some calm and peace. You have to experiment with this yourself.

Something else I wrote about before, is about being kind. Being kind to others, but also to yourself will give you a sense of happiness. Doing something nice for somebody else, a family member, a colleague or your neighbour gives meaning. It doesn’t always matter how big the act of kindness is, because it will give you a feeling of joy. Looking after others make you feel satisfied. So don’t hesitate if there is something you can do for somebody else, because it will not only make that person feel good, but it’s instant karma too. Also don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself in a nice calm voice and give yourself a compliment now and then. Reward yourself when you accomplished something and smile at yourself when seeing yourself in the mirror.

I think we all heard about the powder of endorphins. Our bodies own drug which is released by a number of things. We all know our body releases it when doing physical exercise, the well known ‘runner’s high’. And I definitely recommend exercise as one of the things you can do to treat yourself to some daily endorphins. But did you know that there are other ways too? Like laughing, listening to your favourite music, meditation, have sex (ok, this might fall under physical exercise too), eat dark chocolate and smell lavender? So let those endorphins go free and discover which of these give you peaks of happiness!

We all know the feeling (some more than others) of not really want to go out. It’s just so much easier and relaxing to stay at home and watch your favourite show with a steamy cup of tea in your hand. Isn’t it? Does it sounds familiar, telling yourself you’re feeling too tired to go out after a long day (or week) at work? We’re very good at making excuses. Though going out actually isn’t such a bad idea. Especially when you are feeling a little down. Breathing in the fresh air, the exercise of a little walk (exercise for body and mind) or going out with a friend, can all actually give you loads of energy. So even though you already switched on your kettle, you can always change your mind and put on your shoes to go out! It doesn’t have to be long, even a 10 min walk will make you feel refreshed. Or go out for dinner with a friend one evening, you will see that chatting and laughing with somebody you care about, will do you good.

It’s important to feel happy. Because being happy makes everything else work. Feeling good makes you an attractive person, you will be better at your job, it will make you study go easier and it will make your life more enjoyable. If you’re not happy, you don’t have the right energy around you to attract success. You want to go into the circle of happiness. So push yourself to do things that will make you happy. Don’t sit and wait for it, because it’s not going to be dropped on your doorstep any time soon (read: never). Life is now. So even when you’re very busy with whatever you’re doing at the moment, thinking you do not have time for all these things, make time to live in the now, because your life is now. In the end it will make things go better and faster anyway. Experience life to the fullest!

Can you call yourself a happy person? Are you in the circle of happiness? Do you have something to add to this, something to say about this or do you have questions? Please let me know! You can do this in the comments below or you can send me a message via CONTACT. Thank you! X

20 Healthy Habits

Sometimes it’s easy to lose (some of) your routine and to develop some habits you wish you didn’t have. Try to get into healthy habits instead. What are your healthy habits? I wrote down 20 of my healthy habits and I hope to inspire you to do them too. I promise you that it will add to your health and your overall happiness.

1- Wake Up Early.
I love to wake up early. Ok, I actually hate to wake up early. Or to be fair, I hate it the first 20 seconds I’m awake. After that I love it! In the morning you can get so much done and you can actually start your day properly. Starting your day (with yoga, meditation and mindfulness) in a good and relaxed way is so beneficial for how the rest of your day is going. The time you create in the morning, is time only for you. To help you with this, I recommend you reading the book The Miracle Morning. It’s full of helpful tips and I’m sure you will feel very inspired.

2- Drink Lemon/ACV water.
The second I wake up I drink about 400-500 ml warm water (1/2 cold and 1/2 boiled) with the juice of half a lemon and 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. This really helps you waking up, wake up your metabolism and it boosts your immune system. It also supports weight loss.

3- Yoga.
Everybody should practice yoga. Yoga is for all ages and you really benefit from it. I always do some yoga in the morning. It doesn’t have to be an hour, just a few yoga poses and some good stretches, already helps you to have a good start of the day. You can of course also go to yoga classes, which are very fun.

4- Mindfulness.
This is something what is also good to do in the morning before you go out of the house, before things get hectic. Practice some mindfulness. Meditate + think of some empowering affirmations, visualise your goals and think of something you are grateful for.

5- Fasting.
Eat breakfast! Breakfast is very important yes, but it really doesn’t have to be right after opening your eyes. In the night, until you eat breakfast, your body is clearing up your  body. To help your body with this process, it’s beneficial to wait with your breakfast. Start your day with drinking water or lemon/ACV water and let your body do the rest. Eating breakfast a few hours after waking up is really not a crime. You can also fast longer if you like, for a whole day or even a few days. I do advise to have coaching from somebody who is experienced in this. Fasting doesn’t have to be not eating at all. You can also fast from a particular food or habit. No crisps for a month for example or to not use your phone a certain amount a day. It’s also about being more conscious.

6- Eat healthy.
We all know we have to eat healthy. Healthy foods are plant-based whole foods. So eat lots of fruit, fresh (raw) veggies, grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. Try to cook from scratch so you know exactly what it is what you put in your body. Avoid eating processed foods.

7- No alcohol or coffee.
Coffee and alcohol are not good for your body. The caffeine in coffee is not a good source of energy and it can cause restlessness and even insomnia. Just 1 cup of coffee a day isn’t gong to cause that, but if it’s not good, then why drink it at all? Alcohol is totally unnecessary and can harm your body. You don’t need that glass of wine and you don’t need to get drunk to have fun. Just stay away from it.

8- Drink water.
Drink lots of water. Water helps you to stay hydrated and to cleanse your body. You should always drink 2-3 liter of water a day. Make sure you always have a bottle filled with water to drink at any time during the day.

9- Exercise.
We all know that exercise is good for us. This doesn’t mean you have to spend hour at the gym though. Just 30-60 minutes a day of something that is making your heart and your breathing go faster, is sufficient. So go for a firm walk, or cycle and do some crunches. This will keep you energised and healthy.

10- Be positive.
A positive attitude will get you so much further than a negative one. Try to always see the positive side of everything. And don’t forget to smile.. a lot!

11- Relax.
After all we do in 1 day, it’s important to also relax. To take our mind of things. Did you know that whilst you’re relaxed you sometimes think of the best ideas? So have some down time. It doesn’t matter when you do it and if you find it hard, then literally plan to have down time. I have some time in the morning and I tend to take some time after lunch. Do something you like and feel like benefitting from.. meditate, watch a movie, read or go for a walk.. or even surf the internet. Whatever you like!

12- Go outside.
It’s good to spend some time outside. It’s great if you have a dog who you have to regularly have to walk. But if you don’t (like me.. poor me!) then go to the park or around the block. Get some fresh air!

13- Declutter.
At the moment I’m totally addicted to this. Getting rid of thing I don’t need or use. I’m somebody who gets attached to things, because of memories I have. This is totally fine if it is something with real emotional value, but if it’s something you really do not use then you better donate it. It is SUCH a liberating feeling! This also mean that you don’t buy things too fast. Don’t just get things for the sake of it (I admit, I was guilty of this), but first think about it and ask yourself the question: ‘Do I really need this?’ I also have the rule that I never leave the house or go to sleep whilst my house is messy. My desk needs to be tidy and clear, the dishes done and the bed made. It so much nicer to wake up or come home like this. Would anybody like to know a bit more about this subject? Let me know in the comments!

14- Read.
Reading is a great way to gain more knowledge or to relax. I like to read educational books, that motivates and inspires me. But I also read books with humour, just to relax. It’s up to you.. So, pick up a book!

15- Goals.
A lot of people set goals for a year (the popular new years resolutions) or even have a 5 year plan. This is great! Though how many of you are still working on it by February or March? There are only a few exceptions and I believe that those exceptions have more than just some end goals. To succeed and achieve your goals, you need to make a plan. Write down your end goals and then make smaller steps. Like an action plan. What do you need to do every month to achieve those goals? What do you need to do every week to achieve those month goals? And what do you need to do every day to achieve that week goal? You get what I mean? This works really well for me and I’m sure it will help you too.

16- Finish To-Do-list.
One thing that is very satisfying, is getting your chores done. Agree? I make a week plan every Sunday. I write down everything I need and want to do that week and then divide this over the week. Make sure you don’t put too much for one day, because that will end up in moving the chores to other days and that will all add up, until you’re not getting them done at all. This is super frustrating and not motivating at all. So make sure that in the end of the day you had enough time to get your chores done.

17- Natural products.
There are so many products for sale nowadays, that it’s hard to know what works and what doesn’t. Because they all promise you exactly what you want. Do try to only use natural products (+ vegan and not tested on animals) though. Preferably products with only 1 or a few ingredients. It doesn’t matter if it’s about make up, cleanser or deodorant.. natural is the way! Using chemicals on your body is really no good. Did you know that chemicals already get absorbed by your skin within 26 seconds? So, go natural! I wrote an article with tips for Great Skin.

18- Sleep.
As much as exercising is good for you, sleeping is very important too. A good night sleep does you good. You don’t only feel better during the day, but it also improves your memory, helps with weight management, lowers your stress, fights anxiety + depression and it gives you an overal feeling of wellbeing. It depends a little bit per person, but the average human being needs about 7-8 hours of sleep a night, better not to sleep less than 6 hours or more than 9, because this sometimes results in getting the opposite effect. Do you sleep enough? (or too much?)

19- Be yourself.
Everybody feels the urge to experience the freedom of being him- or herself. To be able to express yourself and to feel happy because of who you are, is one of the main keys to happiness. Try to listen to your intuition and stay true to who you are, your values and your principles. Everybody is unique and has their own strengths. Show respect to one another and just be you! I also wrote an article about it, not long ago. It’s called Be Yourself. I hope it will help you to be or to find out who you are.

20- Spend time with people you love.
We love to hang out with the people we love, but sometimes it still happens that other things get in the way. We’re too busy.. Do try to set priorities and plan time for the ones you love. Most of my family and friends live in the Netherlands and I don’t get the chance to see them as much as I would like to. When I do see them, I love spending quality time with them and that makes me feel so good. So pick up the phone.. call your mum, plan a weekend away with your lover, send your grandma a card and text a friend to ask when he or she can hang out!

How much of these healthy habits do you already master? Do you have more healthy habit tips or are there things where you would like to see some personal improvement? Please let me know in the comments below, ask for my help or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. You can also tag me! Thank you and have a lovely day! X

Great Skin

I almost feel a little bit like a hypocrite writing this, because I do not have what you call ‘great skin’! Since I was about 12-13 years old I started to have spots. Like a lot of kids who start their puberty. Most of the time they will disappear within a few years or at least before your twenties. Not my skin.. my skin kept being red and blemished. I had lots of blackheads and almost every day there was a new proper spot coming up and often a lot more than one! Poor me! It made me feel very self-aware and sometimes even insecure. When I became a vegetarian it got a little bit better, but it was still far from normal. Only since I became vegan I could notice a difference. My skin is still blemished, but only has some outbreaks now and then. Nowadays I don’t care that much about what my skin looks like. I’m still aware, but it just doesn’t bother me as much as it did before. I do have some tips for people who are struggling with a not so great skin. Hopefully it will help you. It definitely helped me loads!

Plant Based Diet
Like I just said, a plant-based diet helped me the most. I do not have huge outbreaks all over my face anymore, but just a spot here and there. Sometimes I even have some days where my skin is actually quite smooth (from a distance.. hehe..). When I have 1 or a few spots I know it’s because I have been eating g too much junk food and bread. As soon as I start to eat healthy.. fresh (raw) vegetables and fruit there is a big difference. When I did Banana Island my skin looked a lot better too. So I know how I can make it better, just sometimes I enjoy a piece of cheese or a slice of bread. If you want to look after your skin the best way possible look at your diet. I’d recommend eating as much raw as you can, but simply switching to a plant-based diet and eating more fruit and vegetables will also make a difference for sure. Sometimes your skin gets worse after swapping your junk to health foods, but be patient. This is just your body’s way to get rid of it. It can take up to a few weeks sometimes before you see a difference. Keep going! Always make sure to also drink a lot of water.

Skin Care
There are 239873 products on the market for a blemished skin. Some products are even made in a way that if you stop using them, it will come back (worse), just so you will keep buying the product. A lot of these products are full of chemicals and your skin absorbs chemicals within 26 seconds. I recommend only using natural products. You can even make the products yourself, from proper natural ingredients. There are a lot of recipes online and I sometimes make my own scrub and face mask. This way you’re sure of using something without any bad stuff. If this is not for you, you can get a lot of naturel products in store though. My favourite natural products are from Lush. Take a look at their website (or go to one of their stores) to see if there is something you like. I’m a big fan of the facial cleanser ‘Herbalism’ for example, but there a few others I like too. At the moment I’m cleaning my face with the Lush ‘Olive Branch’ and I’m using a little machine with a gentle brush, what cleans and scrubs my face. This works for me. As a moisturizer (I only use moisturizer in the evening) I use either coconut oil or this new cream I discovered recently, called iUVO Body Butter Cream. There is not much more you need to clean and moisture your skin naturally.

Make Up
I use make up almost every day. Not much, but I like to look groomed a little bit. Also I don’t like it when people stare at my spots and that tend to happen more often than you think. I do also like myself without make up though, but if I go outside I do mostly wear make up. I never wear more than mascara and a little bit of foundation. Sometimes only mascara or only foundation. It just gives my skin a bit of a glow and smooth outlook. And as I’m blonde, mascara gives my eyes a little bit more expression. When I’m at home or on some holidays too, I do not wear make up at all. It’s nice for your skin to have a bit of a breather.

No Touching
Now, this is a very important tip. One I personally struggle with the most, because I find it very hard not to touch my skin. Often I scratch, squeeze and generally touch my face. I’m trying to be strict with myself and I do try to keep my hands away from my face. What works for me is, every time I find myself touching my skin I tell myself ‘Stop it’! Easy like that. I literally tell myself! Sounds a little silly maybe, but it works for me. When I don’t touch my skin for a while it always looks so much better. The problem with touching your skin is that there is a chance to rub bacteria onto your skin, what results into spots. Also there is a lot of dirt on your skin from every day life, by touching your skin you spread the oils, together with make up and dirt, what will clog your pores. What also results in spots. Just stop touching it! That also means leaning your head into your hand. Try to make a rule for yourself to not touch your skin.

Do you (sometimes) have a bit of a troubled skin? What do you use for your face? Please comment below your favourite methods, products and tips! You can also show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X