Drum Ruffle Truffle

World Vegan Day!! The event was established in 1994 by Louise Wallis. She picked November, because she knew the society had been founded in November 1944, but she didn’t know the exact date though. So she picked the 1st, because it’s after Halloween, the day of death. Anyway, an important day like this one, asks for healthy chocolate truffles. Truffles without cruelty, without crap.. something you can enjoy to the fullest, without feeling guilty for bit. They’re super easy to make (a little messy though) and are a great snack or treat to share. You can easily keep them in the fridge for a few days and so they’re perfect to make in advance.

DRUM RUFFLE TRUFFLE

Makes: 20-25

-1 cup cashews
-1 cup oat flour
-1 cup dates
-1/2 cup raw cacao powder
-1/4 cup agave nectar
-1/2 cup oat milk
-1/4 cup palm sugar
-pinch of salt
-extra cacao powder (for coating)

-food processor

-Put everything in the food processor and blend it until you get a sticky dough.
-Spread out some cacao powder on a plate.
-Roll little balls of the dough and then roll them through the cacao powder.

Are you going to make this recipe for today? Or for another day? (I bet they’ll be a good Xmas treat too!) Please show me all your lovely creations, I really love seeing those! Send me a picture, tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

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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

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

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

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

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

Hand and Nail oil

HAND AND NAIL OIL
Who went to the Vegan Summer Fest in London last May? If you went, then you might have seen the lovely people from Bodyenrich. They were giving samples of this amazing hand and nail oil. A drop for everybody who wanted to try. Because that is how much you need of this beautiful oil, 1 drop! I really liked it because my hands didn’t feel so overly oily afterwards. That is one of the things what stops me if it comes to nourishing my hands with a hand cream or lotion. It takes ages to absorb and then everything you touch is oily. This is only a drop, though I do think 2 drops works a little better, as it’s easier to rub it all over.

They gifted me the oil to try at home and review. So I’ve been using it for a while now and I love it. My cuticles were quite dry and thanks to this oil they look all nice again. The skin on my hands looks very nice too. I’m curious what it can do for me in the winter, because as soon as it gets colder I always tend to get very dry hands and almost nothing helps. I hope this will help! I have good hope. The oil is all natural and made of a combination of baobab seed, calendula, papaya seed, pumpkin seed and vitamin E oils. This turns out to be a winner! I use 1 drop on each hand 1-2 times a day, before I go to bed (and sometimes also in the morning) and then rub it over my hands for about a minute, kind of massaging my hands, making sure I give some extra attention to my cuticles. It’s lovely!

Bodyenrich is a very nice company who already won several awards. The ‘Free From Skin Care Award’ for example and the ‘OK Beauty Awards’. They do have more beauty products, like coconut body butter, body oils, bath salts, body wash, face serum, body lotion and home fragrances. Very soon they will also come with hair care. For all their products you can visit their website. You can also order any of the products you like to try via the website. Before you’re using a new product, always make sure to try the product on only a little bit of skin (like on top of your hand for example) at first, to see if you get a reaction.

Did you already know the products of Bodyenrich? I’d love to hear your experience or you can also 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

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

Scotland – Roadtrip + 24 hours in Glasgow

If you read the last newsletter, you knew I was in Glasgow last week. I was asked by my previous employers to drive their car over there as they wanted to use it on their holiday. First I was going with my boyfriend, but he cancelled and then very last-minute my brother (Julian) came with me, thanks to my mum. Yay! He already came on Thursday evening, what meant we also had the Friday together here in London. So nice! We had croissants for breakfast, went to a children’s party (of the girl I used to look after), walked down Portobello Road (where Julian found and bought a lovely hand-made 60’s dress for his girlfriend) and we went to Westfield to do a little bit of shopping and to eat at Yo Sushi. What a lovely day! In the evening we picked up the car and parked it in the street next to me, so we could leave early.

The plan was to leave at 7:00 and so we woke up at 6:15, but before we left and put diesel in the car, it was 7:30. Still a very good time to leave though. The drive went really well. It wasn’t busy anywhere and it was lots of fun. We had time to chat and Julian was my personal DJ, making sure we had great music all the time. We listened to some of his own music, The Opposites (Dutch HipHop we both loveeee!) and Mac Miller! Our first stop was around 9:45. Time to go to the toilet, have a tea/cappuccino at Costa and to have a home-made sandwich, I made the evening before. We were chatting so much that time went quite fast and before we knew it, there was almost an hour gone. Oops! Luckily we were not in a rush at all. The second part of our road trip went a little slower as they were working on the road and we had very long bits where we had to cut speed almost in half. Doesn’t matter though, there was so much to see. Nature changed every hour and there are so many lovely cows and sheep to look at. Our second stop was around 12:30 and the place had a lovely shop, with fresh bread, food and lots of gifts and nice things. It’s a good thing I left my money in the car, haha! We had lunch with a beautiful view and there was a very cute Yorkshire Terrier coming to us all the time for cuddles. Also a seagull decided to do a poo exactly on my trousers.. he probably wasn’t aware that I’m vegan, haha! Oh well.. About 45 min later we were hitting the road again. Time flies really.. We weren’t planning to make another stop, but we needed more diesel for the car and as we made a stop anyway, we better make use of it and go to the toilet too. This was around 14:30, when we only had an hour to go. We arrived at the airport at 15:45 and we parked the car. We both didn’t feel like we sat in the car for long. It felt like we just drove for an hour or so. This clearly proves how much fun it was! We checked if we got all our stuff, locked it and started to look for a taxi. That was not very hard and before we knew it we were dropped in front of our AirBnB.

The girl of the AirBnB was super friendly and kind. She showed us everything and made us feel very welcome. She was going to the park with friends that evening and planned to be away the next day too. So we actually had the whole flat to ourselves, super relaxed. We sat down for a bit, a little relaxing before we left to find a restaurant/bar called Mono, to have dinner. I did my research and planned the places we were going to eat, to review and to make an amazing hotspot list. It was about a 20 min walk, but that was lovely after being in the car for most of the day. Very soon we agreed that Glasgow felt like Berlin (we have been both). The neglected fields, old buildings mixed with new buildings, graffiti, fences and also Mono. Mono is quite a big restaurant, with a bar, a stage and a vinyl shop.  The furniture was all very vintage and everything was super dated, but that is kind of the idea. The waiter who brought us to our seats looked like he came straight from the 80’s (I was looking for a time machine), hair, glasses, clothes.. everything. And he wasn’t the only one. It was quite a fun experience. We both ordered a burger. Julian had the falafel burger and it was very tasty. Fresh, crispy and a little spicy, truly perfect. I had the seitan burger and that was truly perfect as well. The burger itself was yummy, the sauce was super tasty and the buns they came on were making the whole combination complete. But the one thing what was most perfect, were the fries. I think I’ve never had such tasty fries. You got to go here to try them! After dinner we walked around a bit and came passed The 13th Note. This is, like Mono, also a music venue and a cafe/bar/restaurant. All very artistic and easy going. We had a quick look inside, but were too full to order something. They have a great menu though, with mostly vegan food. We kept walking and saw a little bit of Glasgow this way. Very nice! there is a lot of street art, what I absolutely love and very interesting sights. We sat down for a bit, to enjoy the last sun rays, but then walked back to our AirBnB. We did pop into a very lovely Asian shop called Oaka. You have to go here,  if you’re into this. I bought some tofu, seaweed crackers, Pu-Erh tea and a very nice matte black can with matcha powder. They also do some beautiful Asian dishes and tea sets. Back in the flat, we had a shower, watched some You Tube on the big tv there and then went to sleep.

I was so tired, that I slept really well. We had a relaxed morning and left around 10:00ish. It’s lovely not to be in a rush. We walked to this cafe called Picnic. I was very looking forward to this, because yesterday we walked passed it and it looked so nice from the inside. It’s all vegan and they have a lot of choice. They do breakfast, sandwiches, warm dishes, cakes, smoothies.. it’s amazing. It’s nice that my brother is more and more into healthy vegan food too. It’s nice to share the experience together, being like-minded. So we took a seat and were excited to order. We both ordered the granola and yogurt and aso a croissant and a blueberry and kale smoothie. The yogurt and granola was very delicious with all the fresh fruit on top. The croissant, though not having the exact consistency of an average croissant, was very tasty. More filling I would say. What a perfect breakfast. The interior of Picnic is really nice too. Light, bright and colourful, but not too colourful. It’s done right. The staff was very kind as well. The only downside I would say is that the music was a little loud and didn’t really go with the whole atmosphere.

With a full tummy we walked up to the city centre, what is very close from Picnic. We saw some more beautiful graffiti, but it also started to rain. Now I’m a big fan of rain, but I only had the clothes I was wearing and still had to wear them all day long, so we had to stay our of the rain as much as possible. We went into a shopping mall and Julian saw the shop Game. He asked for second-hand games (he collects old games) and were redirected to Cex. This was heaven for him, he looked like a little boy in a sweets shop. Hehe.. He bought 2 games and we spend a lot of time there, looking at all the games. Then there was also a shop with all anime toys and stuff, so we went in there too and later it turned out, the whole street was kind of geek heaven. Julian had to leave Glasgow around 14:00 as the only flight to Amsterdam that day was at 16:00. So we had to keep an eye on the time and went to have lunch. We chose to go to Stereo, as that was the closest from where we were. It’s a little tricky to find at first as it’s located in a very narrow street, with lots of bins. You wouldn’t think there is a restaurant. When you go inside it feels like Berlin again. Very vintage and easy going. We took a seat and chose something from the 100% vegan menu. Yay! Julian went for a broccoli burger and I went for the aubergine fritters + some fries on the side (I love fries, it’s one of my favourite foods.. so bad and childish! Haha!). My food was delicious, but very oily though. Also the fries were very oily. It looked like everything was fried in the same oil, what made the quality of the oil (and so the food) less. Overall it was tasty though. The broccoli burger was very yum and it had a very nice obvious broccoli taste which we both loved.

It was time to say goodbye. A little sad, because we had such an amazing time together. I really appreciated him coming with me. It was helpful, but most of all it was super nice. Julian makes me laugh 24/7 (literally until the last seconds, driving away in the bus), whilst we can also talk about serious things and everything and nothing. I love him! Now it was time to explore some more hotspots. We walked passed a juice bar earlier, called the Juice Garden, and I decided to go there. I ordered a green juice and took a seat. It’s a very nice juice bar, with a lot of juices and smoothies to choose from. They also do other things like: acai bowls, breakfast, sandwiches and salads + some snacks too. It was nice to have a little break, especially because they had great music. All 90’s/00’s hip hop and R&B, totally loved it! I edited some pictures and planned my next hotspot. Close to there was an Asian restaurant called Nippon Kitchen and apparently they have a vegan menu. I had to test this of course. It’s a very nice, typical Asian restaurant. I asked for the vegan menu and I was happy to see there was a lot of choice. As I already had lunch and I planned to eat dinner out too, I only chose 3 things. The maki avocado and cucumber and a temaki. It came on a very nice dish and it was very yummy. A shame Julian was gone already, because he loves sushi too.

I then walked around a little bit and in the end of the afternoon I went the The Flying Duck. This was quite an experience. It’s located in a basement (with great art down the stairs) and it’s a very big space. It’s quite dark, vintage and it has Berlin written all over it. They have a lot of different types of seats and I was lucky enough to get a lovely chair to sit in. They also have a pool table, board games you can play and loud music. I ordered a sandwich with tempeh at first, but they run out of tempeh (of course that happens, after I finally decided what I wanted). So I went for a hotdog instead. I didn’t want something too big, because I had quite a lot of (fast) food already. Though when the hotdog arrived, it turned out to be huge.. haha! It looked super delicious though and it came with salad. Very tasty, especially the cole slaw. The hotdog itself was exactly what you want from a hotdog. A tasty sausage, pretzel bun, onions, ketchup and perfect mustard.. sooo yum! The downside was that their menu is very unclear. There is just too much going on in black, white and bright pink colours, with very big ‘screaming’ letters. It also all took quite long. There was only one girl to serve all the customers and she also helped making some orders in the meantime. In the end I had to rush a bit as I had to wait so long before I was able to pay.

Then at the bus stop I had to wait 15 minutes for the bus, what made the little rush very unnecessary in the end. The Airport Express (bus 500) to Glasgow Airport leaves from ‘St. Vincent Ln’ btw and is very modern and new. It takes about 20 minutes to get to the airport, what is super convenient. I got there on time though and the security was super quiet en quick. I waited at Starbucks with a tea whilst charging my phone and watching all the traveling people walk by. I had to wait until 19:25 until they would announce the gate, whilst 19:25 was also the time of my flight. In the end it took an hour before I was able to board. So many people were annoyed, short-tempered and sighing. So silly, because there is nothing somebody could do and so they only destroyed their own mood. The flight itself is almost 1,5 hour. We landed a little before 22:00, but before I was at Victoria station (by train), took the bus and got home, it was 00:00. I was so exhausted by then. So I quickly unpacked some things and got ready for bed.

Overall I think, for the short time I was there, I can say that Glasgow is a great city. There is a lot of music, art and freedom. People are artistic and are not afraid to express themselves. People who love Berlin, definitely have to pay Glasgow a visit too. I’m sure you will love it!

HOTSPOTS:
Mono – 12 King Street, G1 5RB.
The 13th Note – 50-60 King Street, G1 5QT.
Oaka – 130 George Street, G1 1RG.
Picnic – 103 Ingram Street, G1 1DX.
Stereo – 22-28 Renfield Lane, G2 6PH.
Juice Garden – 23 Renfield Street, G2 5AH.
Nippon Kitchen – 91 W George Street, G2 1PB.
The Flying Duck -142 Renfield Street, G2 3AU.

Have you been to Glasgow 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