CocoNuts

If it’s with coconut.. yes please! I have a big coconut addiction I’m afraid. I love products and recipes with coconut. It doesn’t matter if it’s chocolate, ice lollies, curries.. if it has coconut, I’m in! Ok, it does have to be vegan too. But luckily a lot of things with coconuts are as it’s used instead of cow’s milk. I also really like cake with coconut, I mean, who doesn’t right? So I created a coconut cake. I can already say it’s not healthy, as I used an area bas. You can of course replace the base for a healthy base if you want to make something a little more guilt free. But I do think this cake does really go well with the Oreo’s. So do you have a celebration coming up soon? Or do you just want to celebrate another day in your life.. this cake is perfect!

CRAZY COCONUT

Serves: 6-8

base
-1 pack oreo’s
-3 tbs coconut oil (melted)
filling
-1 can coconut milk
-1/2 cup plant based milk
-1/4 cup desiccated coconut
-1/4 cup water
-2 tbs agave nectar
-1/2 tsp vanilla extract
-2 tbs corn flour + 1/4 cup water
-1 tbs agar agar
extra
-desiccated coconut
-palm sugar
-cacao powder

-Baking tin

-Soak the desiccated coconut for about 30 min in the milk.
-Put the oreo’s and the coconut oil in the food processor and blend until it’s sticky.
-Divide the base over the baking tin. Press with the back of a spoon to make it even. Put this in the fridge.
-Put the water and the agar agar in a sauce pan and let it boil.
-Mix the corn flour with the water (I always shake it).
-On a low fire pour in the coconut milk , the milk + the desiccated coconut, the cream, the agave nectar, the corn flour mixture and the vanilla extract. Let it simmer for 2 minutes.
-Pour this on the base and put it in the fridge overnight.
-Sprinkle the coconut , the coconut sugar and a little bit of cacao powder on top.

Party, party?!! Are you going 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

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Veggie Pret

I’m a little bit embarrassed that Veggie Pret is not a hotspot on my blog yet. Especially after going there. I was planning to go for breakfast, so I could have lunch at another hotspot, but as I came across Press the day I went, I had breakfast there. What meant my planning of that day was slightly different. I think it was meant to be, because this way I could have lunch at Veggie Pret and that was so good. I would have missed out if I went for breakfast for sure, as my lunch choice wasn’t really something I’d choose to have for breakfast. You must be curious what I had then, if I’m so excited about it. I’m a little flabbergasted myself that I had 3 of the tastiest things ever. So here we go..

Veggie Pret has a hot section too and they happened to have vegan Mac&Veg. It’s mac&cheese, but then with tomatoes, cauliflower and spinach. It is sooo good! The pasta is cooked perfectly, the cheese sauce is delicious (I can’t think of anything they could have done better), the cauliflower still had a bite and there was this crispy layer on top. It has the perfect temperature, so the taste was at its best. I really did enjoy every bite of it. As a dessert I chose the brownie.. and OMG! It’s sticky, chocolaty and it has a caramel layer in the middle. It’s exactly what you hope for when you bite into a brownie. It’s the best brownie I’ve ever had. Honestly! I drunk a turmeric latte (if you read the Press hotspot article, you understand that I did get what I wanted in the end!) with this, made with soy milk and it was perfect. I felt like eating at a super fancy restaurant. Veggie Pret is 100% vegetarian, but there are so many vegan options too. Lots of sandwiches, small meals, (chia seed) desserts, snacks and a range of juices and smoothies.

Veggie Pret is based in the middle of Soho. It’s a 5 min walk from Piccadilly Circus and 2 min walk from Oxford Street. It’s quite new and originally started as a pop up place, but it stayed (thank God!), because people loved it too much. This is why there was even a second Veggie Pret opened in Shoreditch a while ago. How great! I always loved Pret a Manger anyway, because of their yummy food, but Veggie Pret has its own menu. It’s all so fresh and super delicious. The staff is nice and the neighbourhood amazing (I mean, its Soho!). It’s a perfect spot to do some work too (in fact, I’m typing this right on the spot!), with good wifi.

WHO? Veggie Pret.
WHERE? 35 Broadwick St, Soho, W1F 0DH.
CUISINE? Divers/Cafe.
VEGAN? No! (vegetarian)
OVERALL? 9 (Very tasty food, lots of choice and great location.)

Did you already know Veggie Pret? Or are you planning to go now? Please let me know when you’ve tried it! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Unico

When my mum came to visit me in the beginning of June, we were in the bus and we saw a place what was going to be an ice cream bar soon: Unico! It said it was going to have vegan options too, so I straight away made note in my phone. In the end of July, I had finally found some time to go and I was super excited. First of all, it looked super nice, very new, bright and fresh! There were some people before me, so I took this time to take some pictures and to look at the menu. There are quite a lot of seats, because you can also sit down stairs and they don’t only offer ice cream, but also: cake, sandwiches, tea and coffee. What a lovely shop!

The guy who served me knew a lot and he was very kind and super helpful. Very much appreciated! They have over 10 different vegan flavours, but there are only 3-4 flavours available a day. Today that was strawberry, mango and dark chocolate. This is because they make their ice cream fresh every day and they don’t want to throw away too much. Their ice cream is low in fat, high in fiber, protein and vitamins. What is an exciting thing! He let me taste the chocolate when I said that I loved the fact that there was a chocolate available. Mango was one of his favourites and so he let me taste that one too. Both of them were very delicious! I’m very sorry for all the other ice cream shops I’ve been to, but this was the best chocolate and mango ice cream I’ve ever had. I did like the chocolate a little bit better than the mango, but that is just because it’s chocolate. It was just so creamy and full of rich chocolate flavour. It’s like eating cold chocolate fudge. I ordered these 2 flavours, because I wanted more of course. I got it served in this super cute cup, but he told me that soon there will be vegan cones too. Yay! (I’ll be back!)

Like I said, there is more than just ice cream. The little sandwiched they have, are called ‘bubbles’. They are super cute to see, like little wrapped ‘bubbles’. They are small filled buns and they make them warm for you. I had the Genova and it’s with potatoes, green beans and pesto sauce. There is also one with seasonal vegetables. The bubbles are the only thing they don’t make in the shop itself, but they let them come over from Italy. I’ve never seen them before, but it was very tasty. Now the cake. They have a lot of different cakes, but only one vegan one. Hopefully there will be more soon. The one they offered was a raw chocolate and cashew one.. so even though it was the only option, it was surely a good one. I didn’t taste it, but I’m sure it was delicious. It looked amazing. Maybe a next time.

I want to thank Unico for their delicious ice cream and sandwich!

WHO? Unico.
WHERE? 37 Pembridge Rd, Notting Hill, W11 3HG.
CUISINE? Italian.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 9 (Amazing ice cream, lovely sandwiches, bright interior and great service)

Did you already know Unico? Or are you planning to go here now? You do need to try the chocolate ice cream! Please tell me about your experience! You can do this by leaving a comment below, but you can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

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

Mascara / Chocolate

MASCARA
I discovered a great vegan mascara. Lash Vegas from Barry M. Until one day they decided to discontinue it! A disaster, because I had to find another vegan waterproof mascara which was not tested on animals. I did a lot of research, but there wasn’t one that even came close to the Barry M one. In the end I got a mascara from Lavera, but it was not waterproof and more than twice as expensive. Though I was desperate and needed something. A week after I bought that one, being very unhappy with it, Superdrug got some great news. It was going to sell ELF make up and it turned out they do a waterproof one. I ordered it with my fingers crossed. The package and the outside is really nice. Simple matte black with white letters. It looks very appealing to me. The mascara is not only waterproof, but also lengthening and volumizing and they promise thick, full and long looking lashes. It’s quickly drying, prevents clumps and it will last all day without smudging or flaking. This sounds amazing and I was very hopeful. The brush is quite a standard brush, but it works well. My lashes looked nice, it was quite easy to apply and I’m happy with the result. There are only 2 downsides: it only comes in small (handy for in your handbag though!) and for more than half an hour it stays a little sticky. Apart from that it stays on quite well during the day. So it’s not as good as my Barry M mascara, but I’m super happy with it as it comes close! I recently also bought the ELF primer and that makes your lashes even look more amazing + I find it’s less sticky. You can get them at most Superdrug stores now or you can order them online via Superdrug. Tip: register for the Health&Beauty card to get free delivery.

CHOCOLATE
At my work my employer one day gave me a chocolate from Ombar as it’s vegan, I like chocolate and they wanted to know I’m appreciated. It was the raw Ombar chocolate with coconut. I never had it before, but as I know Ombar and I know they do amazing chocolate, I was very excited. Also because of the fact it says coconut. Coconut makes me instantly interested! After eating the whole thing (I’m just not somebody who enjoys 1 bite and then saves the rest for alter) I was crazy about it. This is such good chocolate. It melts in your mouth and it’s very creamy, with a very perfectly chocolate taste. The best thing is that it’s all raw, it’s sweetened with coconut sugar and it has nothing bad in it. It’s very much guilt free. I won’t recommend eating it every day of course, but it’s definitely something you can have as a treat without feeling you put something nasty in your body. They do have more flavours btw, you can check out their website to take a look or you could go to the shop to try them all. They sell them in most health shops like Portobello Wholefoods and the Whole Foods Market.

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

Ethos

A while ago I heard about Ethos. It looked quite posh and I thought it might not be my thing, but I wanted to know more about it. So I went to see what it was like. Ethos is very central, just a 2 minute walk from Oxford Circus. So if you’re going shopping for the day, Ethos is not far away for a proper lunch. As you know Oxford Street is very busy, but because Ethos is in a street behind it, it’s a lot quieter. The building looks very nice with the wood in the front nice and it does look quite posh. Going inside almost feels like entering a luxury hotel or something. There are a lot of trees and plants, to create some privacy in between the tables. I absolutely love it. I was served by a waiter I actually knew from tennis lessons about a year ago, what was very funny. He helped me to a seat and gave me lots of information about the restaurant. Super handy!

The food is right at the entrance. It starts with cakes and treats, then the hot food and in the end the cold bar. Ethos is like a buffet. You can get all the yummy looking foods you want and at the till they weigh your food and that is what you pay for. I tried all the vegan options, because I was too curious of course. So in the end I had a big colourful plate. Something you’ll definitely notice, is that the food is all very fresh. I did like the food, just some things had a very strong taste (mustard, vinegar etc). Like the aubergine was cooked well, but the flavour was spicy and sour. There was basically no other flavour. The chickpeas, the green beans and the little cornball in the middle were very yummy though. For the cakes and treats you pay per cake/slice, instead of by weight. I chose 2, one as a dessert and one to take away. Just because I couldn’t choose. Both things I chose were super delicious! Their desserts and treats are amazing I must say. The coconut in the raw heart (with rose petals) was so yum, I definitely want to eat that again. The blondie was very nice too. It was a little bit in between a brownie and a biscuit. Very good! They also do chai lattes, matcha lattes, other teas and of course coffees. This is why Ethos is not only good for lunch, but it’s also nice to just have an afternoon break with tea and cake. And for everybody who rather has a juice or an ice tea.. they have a lot of choice in drinks too. I’m sure you can find something you like.

Ethos is all vegetarian and they do have a lot of vegan food. I’d say more than half is vegan, so there is a lot of choice. It’s quite a posh restaurant, but with some good natural vibes. So perfect for formal lunches or work meetings. As it’s a buffet, there is always something you like. What makes it easy to go to if you (or the people you go with) are picky. I do think that they are a little expensive though. For the food you see on my plate I payed a little over £16. The treats were £7 pounds together. So it’s not a very cheap lunch. If you eat a little less and you choose 1 dessert, you probably pay in between £15-£20 pounds. Personally it’s not something I’d go to every week, but more for special occasions. Because you pay by weight and it’s not an all you can eat buffet, I’m sure people will think twice about what to put on their plate. This is very positive if you ask me, because there will be less food waste. Much more sustainable this way.

WHO? Ethos.
WHERE? 48 Eastcastle St, Fitzrovia, W1W 8DX.
CUISINE? Buffet.
VEGAN? No! (vegetarian)
OVERALL? 7 (Great looking restaurant, lots of choice and very yummy dessert/cakes.)

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

Italy – Rome

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Southbank Food Market

img_8357Today I will give you 8 hotspots in 1 article! And they’re all in the same place.. how is that?! On Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and on bank holiday Mondays there is a food market with lots of nice street food, behind the Southbank Centre. I’ve known it was there since very long, but I never really took the time to take a look. I was most of the time on my way to something else. From or to Waterloo station. This time I also didn’t plan to take a look, but I happened to walk passed it when I was looking for the Benugo cafe. I couldn’t help myself this time and went for a quick look. That quick look became a very long look though. As there were so many vegan options! At least 10 stalls have vegan food. I picked 8 stalls to tell you about. I just had my lunch, so unfortunately I couldn’t eat anything, but I did have a drink! Here we go..

1. ELEPHANT JUICE
Super fresh juices! And you have a lot of nice choices for a very good price. If I didn’t have lunch just before I would have gotten a nice juice here for sure. A Berry or Passion juice would have definitely taste amazing. Next time!

2. LULIN TEA
This is the place where I had a drink. I saw the words ‘Chai’ and ‘Latte’ and I decided instantly. They have lovely ethically, hand-picked and blended tea. They do a lovely vegan chai with soy milk. It was delicious! Only downside was, that they use sugar for that.

3. BREAD TREE
A market stall with big letters that write ‘Bruschetta’ is something I had to check out of course. They do yummy looking bruschetta and they have lots of vegan options. You can basically mix and match yourself!

4. CHALÉ
Ghanaian food with a very tasty looking vegan option. With kale, pumpkin, coconut and fried plantains. It’s not something you can just get everywhere. I would have loved to try this. A lot of people did, it was very busy at this stall.

5. ETHIOPIQUES
Ok. When I saw this I really regret I had my lunch already. This looked aH-mazing! Ethiopian food with so much colour and different dishes, everything 100% vegan! I know that Ethiopian food is really good. I’m definitely going to come back for this!

6. CHOCO FRUIT
In the end I came to this. Chocolate covered fruit. Oh yes! They have 3 sorts of chocolate, but only the dark one is vegan. I would have picked the dark one anyway. They let me taste it with a strawberry. Heaven! They don’t only have that, they also have cakes which are vegan.

7.LEVANTINE
When I was already on my way back I passed this falafel place, with a vegan option. The food looked really nice and fresh. Lebanese-style falafel with lots of veggies and stone baked flatbread. I love myself some falafel, so I keep this in mind.

8. HORN OK PLEASE
Opposite the falafel place I saw this Indian vegetarian food stall. And yes, with a vegan option for dal and samosa’s. I love Indian food, so this is another very good option for the next time.

I’m so happy to see so many vegan options everywhere. I guess I have to make a few more trips to Southbank! The street food market is only there in the weekends, almost all day.

OPENING TIMES:
Friday- 12:00 – 20:00*
Saturday- 11:00 – 20:00*
Sunday- 12:00 – 18:00
Monday (bank holidays only)- 12:00 – 18:00
*In the summer open until 21:00.

Are you excited after reading about all these vegan options? What would you have picked? Please let me know by leaving a comment below. You can also show me by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thanks you! X

Linseed / Chocolate

LINSEED
Whenever I buy linseed, which is whenever I run out, I buy the brown linseed from Biona at the Whole Foods Market. I love this brand and it has good prices for good quality. I use linseed every day. I always put 1/2-1 tbsp in my green smoothie. I also use it as a topping for my smoothie bowls, yogurt or in my salad. Linseed are an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids and fibre, but they are also high in antioxidants. Perfect to start your day with this. Starting your day with a tbs of linseed is especially helpful when you’re a constipated. That also means that you have to make sure you don’t use too much, as it can work lactating.

CHOCOLATE
It’s quite tricky to get Tony’s Chocolonely here in the UK. There are a few rare shops that sell it, but it’s definitely not like it is in Holland. There you can just get them everywhere, even in the normal supermarkets. I’m sure they will come to the UK. Tony’s Chocolonely is a great brand, as it’s 100% fair trade and slave free. There are manyyyyy flavours. They are  known for their flavour combinations as they are not as any regular chocolate flavours. A lot of them are vegan, but unfortunately not all of them. My favourite is this one, the salted almond. It’s heavenly! I also really like the coconut-pecan, but lately I’m always buying only this one. It’s so good with a nice cup of tea. I always make sure I buy a few bars before flying back to London, in case I wasn’t given any. As a lot of people tend to get me this.. I really don’t mind! Haha!

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

Benugo

img_7975When I used to live in Shepherds Bush, I went to Westfield quite a lot.. Quit often.. or let’s say, all the time! A lot of times I went to this lovely cafe, called ‘Benugo’. They served really nice food, but mostly I got this really nice green tea they have. Most of the time I went here alone, but I often met a friend there or I took my laptop with me to write the book I was writing at that moment. It was quite a big cafe and it was perfect for me. Everybody I knew liked this cafe, but sadly, one day, they closed down and it was replaced by.. Five Guys! Like.. how? This is one of the most horrific replacements ever in my opinion. Benugo has cafe’s, but some of them also have a kitchen. When I was in Southbank, I went to Waterloo Station and visited a Benugo cafe, to see what vegan options they have these days.

img_7976I looked at all the food, checking for vegan food. There wasn’t a lot of food in general, but there was a vegan falafel salad. When I asked one of the staff members, he said it just came in that day. What means, before that, they probably didn’t have vegan options. I’m glad that they decided to add this to the cafe-menu. It looked nice, but I thought it was quite expensive though. It was a small bowl, but for eating in, you had to pay almost £7! I asked if the hot chocolate was vegan and they checked for me. It was, f made with soy milk. The pack even had the vegan label on it. It had been a long time since I ordered hot chocolate.. years really! I also grabbed a little chocolate and so, all together, it was all very chocolaty afternoon snack. The hot chocolate was super nice and the little chocolate.. gosh! It was 53% cacao and it had salted almonds in it. You have to try this!

img_7977The Benugo in Waterloo Station is a bit different as it’s in front of the shops and not in a proper building. It’s a nice one though. It’s very vintage, with the stone bar, the reading lights and the wooden chairs. I said at the bar, overlooking the station, with the huge station clock in front of me. It was a nice spot. Though, because it’s not in a proper building, it’s quite cold. A lot of Benugo cafe’s/kitchens are inside a public place. Like this one, inside the station, but they’re also inside museums or even in some John Lewis warehouses  for example. I wish there were more Benugo cafe’s on it’ own though. They’re perfect cafes to take your laptop with you, to do some work and I wouldn’t go to the museum that fast to work there. A very good thing about Benugo is that they try their best to be sustainable. You’d think they’d be all vegan then, but that isn’t the case, unfortunately. Soon I will check out a Benugo kitchen and check their vegan option as I’m really curious now.

WHO? Benugo.
WHERE? Waterloo Station, 19/20 The Balcony, SE1 7LY.
CUISINE? Cafe.
VEGAN? No! (omni)
OVERALL? 7 (delicious (hot) chocolate, but could have been more lunch options)

Do you know Benugo already? Or are you going to try it now? Please let me know! You can do this by leaving a comment below. You can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X