London Hotspots

So normally I’d write a different blog post about each hotspot I find. I did this since I started my blog. I did this as I lived in London and I had the opportunity to visit 1-2 places every week. When I’m on holiday, I write a whole big article and give you hotspot list in the end. Most of you know that I moved out of London and at my new place there aren’t many vegan places (to be precise.. there are none!). This is why I visit London once in a while and try to visit as many places as I can. It really takes some planning, becuase I only have one stomach and even though I’d love to visit 10 places a day, I simply can’t eat it all, haha! Before I plan a weekend, I make a list and I plan my days ahead. So a place for breakfast, lunch and dinner and sometimes a little thing in between. In these days I’m always super full and the sugar levels are up up up! Haha! But I love to show you new places and I really hope that I can pursue you to go and visit. I went to London last weekend and here are all the places I’ve been to. I will write a little bit about each place and I will give you the whole list in the end of the post. Here we go..

MOTHER
This was one of the first hotspots I added to my list of hotspots for the weekend. A friend of mine really likes it here and I often saw it on her Instagram and it always looked so delicious, that I wanted to try it out for myself. So after I parked my van, I went straight here for brunch. It was so hard to pick something! I thought I picked something, but then I saw there was even more.. after a while, I eventually I went for the ‘Eggless Royale’. That apparently had ‘poached eggs’. I was intrigued and I was happily surprised as it looked super pretty! It was very tasty too. Although, I didn’t find the ‘salmon’ taste like fish and the poached eggs, even though they definitely had the look, were very soft. But it was tasty though! I will be back to try something else next time. Mother is also in a nice location, where you can take a lovely stroll next to the canals and boats and its only a 15 min walk to Westfield.

THE SPREAD EAGLE
I actually had a pizza place on my list for dinner, but weird enough (this never happens) I didn’t feel like having pizza. So I decided to go to the Spread Eagle pub. I never go to pubs, but I make an exception for this one as it’s 100% vegan. Naturally, I think everybody would want to go to a pub like this. Hehe.. It was fairly busy, even though it was a little early still. I guess that is a good sign and that makes me happy. I had a perfect table in the corner and Nola got offered a bowl of water she was very grateful for. I went for a burger and a lovely lady who was sitting close to the till, was recommending me the three way potatoes. They also have little taco’s and as I was very curious about the tofish one, I ordered that one too. I told myself I could always have it take away in case I was too full. And because of all that deliciousness I was indeed very full. The burger was so tasty, but the potatoes were definitely my thing. I’d come back here just for those, haha! I decided to do some work and by the time I was finished that, there was a little bit of space for the taco, that was aso super delicious. This is such a nice pub! Great interior, super friendly staff, a very chill and easy going atmosphere and I definitely recommend going here.

LEON
I’m sure everyone tried the LOVE burger at Leon. If not.. why not?? It’s delicious! I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like it. Even omnivores love it. Leon is doing super well with their vegan options and very recently they launched their newest vegan addition: Jack Wings! They are made with jackfruit. So I expected pieces of jackfruit with a breadcrumb coating, but in real life they were a bit like the famous Dutch ‘bitterballen’, but then cheesy and not round like a ball. I truly liked them though. Maybe because I was expecting something else, but maybe becuase they are just very tasty. I love jackfruit anyway, but I’m sure that if you don’t like jackfruit, you will like these too. They aren’t a typically jackfruit dish, but creamy, a little cheesy and full of taste. I really liked them with the aioli sauce, which is also vegan. So whenever you’re near a Leon, go and try them!

BUBBLEWRAP
When I saw this on Instagram I was like WHATT?! I needed to try this for sure. I had never heard of it, but that is probably because there weren’t any vegan options at first. Now there are. It’s located in China Town (close to Piccadilly Circus/Soho) and easy to find. It’s a small shop and when I was there it was busy (I don’t know for sure, but I expect it to be busy any time of the day). There is a pre-made option (as in they picked the flavours for you), but you can also custom make one. There is one base that is vegan and 2 flavours of ice cream: chocolate and pistachio (of course I had to try them both). There are lots of toppings that are vegan and it’s hard to choose. I went for strawberry, banana, pecans and peanut butter sauce. GREAT combination! You pay per item/topping and so you can make it as expensive as you want. I thought it to be a lot like a pancake and it to be quite filling, but the ‘pancake’ is fairly light. It’s crispy (a bit like the crispy sides of a pancake), with a little bit of soft/sticky inside. I’m curious what toppings you will choose!

HEMA
Who knows Hema? All Dutch people do, because it’s the best Dutch shop ever! When, a few years ago, I discovered there was a Hema in London I almost cried! Haha! All their make up is free from animal testing, but not vegan. BUT.. Recently they launched a whole vegan and cruelty free line, called B.A.E. I tried their foundation as I always used to have their foundation before I was vegan. I really like it. It’s not my every day foundation, but I use it as a top up for during the day. Mainly because they come in a perfect little tube. So handy for on the way. So I got a new one today, in their Tottenham Court branch. The last time I also got the heart stamp (so cute!) and a little perfume I like (also for on the way). There is a lot more though, but I don’t wear a lot of make up. It’s definitely worth a try though. I also always just have a little wander around and I always become so greedy. Hehe.. I don’t buy anything I don’t need, but gosh.. deep down I want to buy everything! Have you been to Hema?

KALIFORNIA KITCHEN
As I went to Hema I also planned to go to Kalifornia Kitchen. It’s only a 2 min walk. If I’m really honest, I mostly went to this place because of the interior. I would never style my house (or van! Hehe..) like this, but I love it though. It’s boho, kitch, but classy and fun! Great combo. I love how daring they are and it is soooo Instagram proof! So much detail and best of all.. they are all vegan! Down stairs it was quite busy, but the hostess (Who reminded me of the singer Susan Cagle so much and I love her. Look her up if you don’t know her and read up on her story, it’s amazing!) asked if I wanted to sit up stairs and there was nobody there and it’s so pretty up stairs. Nola got a bowl of water and I tried to decide what to have. As I had so much sugar and unhealthy things this weekend already, I decided for a super healthy meal. I also ordered a sea moss smoothie. It was all very tasty and looked very pretty. So all pretty and nice here at Kalifornia Kitchen, but it is a little expensive though. I would say it makes a great party location. Birthdays, anniversaries and any other celebrations.. it’s a real treat going here and it feels special. Oh they also have lovely dessert btw, but I didn’t go for one as I was going to get a doughnut afterwards.

VEGAN CROSSTOWN
This was my Saturday dessert. They close at 19:00 and I had to rush to get there, but I made it just (really just!) in time. A few were already sold out (sadly the chocolate one was one of them), but I still had plenty of choice. I had to decide quite quickly, because they were basically closing up. I went for the ‘Cinnamon Scroll’ (obvious choice) and also the ‘Rhubarb, Raspberry & Ginger’ one as I heard it was good. As I was there anyway I also got the ‘Strawberry & English Sparkling Rosé’. When I payed the guy, he said he put an extra in there as they were closing. So I also got to try the ‘Lime & Coconut’ doughnut. Gosh.. 4 doughnuts.. that is a big dessert. I ate the whole cinnamon one (soooo good!) and I had a bite of all the others to taste them whilst they were still fresh. The rest I saved for later. I definitely liked the cinnamon the best. I’m a chocolate, caramel, cinnamon, coconut, toffee kind of person and not so much a lime, ginger and strawberry girl (at least not in dessert and cakes etc,). I did like the other ones as well though. Out of those 3 I liked the ‘English Sparking Rosé’ the best. I really liked the crumbs on top of them btw, it reminded me of the bottom of a cake we always made every birthday when I was younger. I will definitely come back for the ‘Dark Chocolate Truffle’ and the ‘Peanut Butter & Blackcurrant Compote’ though, because I mean.. come on! Which one would you have picked?

PARADISE PLANTBASED
I’m sure some of you know this place, because this is my favourite cafe. I used to live next to it and I always go here when I’m in London with my van or when I’m taking someone to breakfast. I actually went here twice this weekend as I park my van around the corner. Handy place to use the toilet and to have breakfast. The first morning I met up with Maddie, a gril I got to know through Instagram and we both had the chickpea omelette (I always have this one, it’s so good!). The second morning I just had a smoothie (as I was planning to have pancakes for breakfast later) and I did a bit of work before I traveled to Shoreditch. The smoothie I had was the ‘Ziggy’ btw, super healthy.

DUTCH POFFERTJES
I was planning to get some pancake from OSU Pancakes, but I couldn’t find them anywhere. Does anyone know where they are at Brick Lane? I was in the House of Vegan and there was a stall with Dutch Poffertjes. So in the end I went for poffertjes instead. Being Dutch I know them very well, but I didn’t have them for a long time. There were so many toppings to choose from. I went for strawberries and chocolate sauce.  A classic, but always good. They were very delicious and a yummy breakfast. They are quite popular I think, because I saw another 2 stalls with poffertjes. D

HEMP & WILLIAMS
I discovered this place by accident. I wasn’t planning to go here and I didn’t even know it existed. I just finished my Dutch Poffertjes and then I saw this very happy guy handing out ice cream. I decided not to get anything, because I’d be too full, I just had something sweet and I didn’t even have a proper lunch yet.. But the ice cream was made out of hemp and after walking another circle and checking out the instagram page, I decided that I had to try it. He let me taste all the flavours and I actually liked them all. The mango was fresh, the strawberry sweet and the chocolate and chili was so unique and surprising. Normally I’m not a fan of chocolate in combination with something else, but this worked. You taste chocolate and then there is the chili flavour as soon as you swallow, a proper wohw effect. Talking about unique.. all the flavours are. He makes everything himself and they are all delicious. It’s not really like ice cream and it’s not like a sorbet, it’s a bit in between and it melts perfectly in your mouth. I went for the plain chocolate flavour in the end (because.. chocolate..). It was so good and I discovered something else very that was very unique. It basically doesn’t melt!! So weird, but it’s like an forever ice cream. It took me at east 15 minutes to eat it. I could lick it and lick it and lick it and it was super delicious, but it was like it would last forever. I can’t recommend this enough and I urge you to try it! You can find Hemp&Williams every Saturday and Sunday (both days from 11:00-18:00) at the House Of Vegan in Brick Lane.

UNITY DINER
I don’t know if you remember, but I promised myself that every time I’m in London, I’ll visit Unity Diner. If there is one restaurant that I want to support, then it’s this one! Unity Diner is a non profit restaurant and they have the most amazing food!! I mean, I just can’t get over it really. I officially made this my favourite restaurant. I wish I could go every day. Haha! The staff is amazing, the atmosphere is super chill and the restaurant looks so good that I want to live there. This time I went for the Tofish & Chips. I was thinking about tofish the whole weekend and so it was a perfect dish to end the weekend with. The portion is so bigggg and I promise you that it won’t disappoint. It comes with mashed peas, chunky chips and a yummy sauce. I also ordered some extra garlic mayonnaise with it. I enjoy eating it so much, but it also frustrates me, because it tasted so much like fish. What makes me wonder why on earth someone would rather kill a fish, destroy the ocean, the world and their own body whilst this is an option. Wouldn’t it be amazing if every fish&chips shop throughout the UK (and the world!) would serve this instead of a dead animal? I’m convinced that it’s the future and I really hope you will go here to taste it, experience it and to spread the word! Unity Diner is open from Tuesday-Sunday.

HOTSPOT LIST:
Mother:
1, Canalside Here East Estate, E20 3BS.
The Spread Eagle: 224 Homerton High St, Homerton, E9 6AS.
Leon: 49-51 Notting Hill Gate, W11 3JS.
Bubbelwrap: 24 Wardour St, W1D 6QJ.
Hema:
252 Tottenham Court Rd, W1T 7RB.
Kalifornia Kitchen: 19 Percy St, W1T 1DY.
Vegan Crosstown: 5-6 Picton Pl, W1U 1BL.
Paradise Plantbased: 59 Chamberlayne Rd, NW10 3ND.
Dutch Poffertjes: 152 Brick Ln, E1 5EG.
Hemp & Williams: 152 Brick Ln, E1 5EG.
Unity Diner: 5 Hoxton Market, N1 6HG. 

Have you been to one or more of these hotspots yet? Which one is your favourite or where  would you go if you could go right now? Tell me all about it! You can do this in the comments below or tag me on Instagram! Thank you! X

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UK – Bristol

A while ago I read that Bristol is a very up coming city when it comes to veganism and that it’s even one of the best cities in the UK for vegan options. Bristol is only an hour drive from where I live most of the time and so I decided to take my van and explore the city. Even though I did take my van, I’m not posting this under ‘Vanlife’, because all I basically used my van for was sleeping. For me Bristol was all about good vegan food, sunshine, beautiful historic buildings and the best views! If you want to know what to do in Bristol and where to eat, please keep reading and I hope I can inspire you to visit this lovely city as well.

I planned to leave on Saturday morning, but as I was a little slow and had to make a stop at Halfords (one of my fuses burned), it was more 14:00 by the time I left. I did some research on Park4Night to figure out where I could best park my van, but when I came to my chosen parking area, it was all full. The second option was the zoo. So I went there next. A lot of people were just leaving the zoo and so there were some free spaces and I found a perfect parking spot next to a beautiful tree. I arrived there just after 15:00 and it turned out that parking after 15:00 is free. Lucky me!

I took the bus to the city centre (bus 8) and there I searched on Happy Cow for a nice vegan restaurant. I decided to walk to ‘Vx’, an all vegan junk food restaurant. Honestly, the picture of a milkshake that included a donut and whipped cream made me go, haha! I only ate 2 apples so far and was quite hungry. I know this isn’t a very healthy thing to do, but I just didn’t take the time to eat a proper meal. It was a lovely walk in the sunshine and Nola and I enjoyed the first proper sights of Bristol. The area where the restaurant is located, is quite dodgy though and I wouldn’t feel safe walking there when it’s dark. I ordered the milkshake, that turned out to be a Vego milkshake.. I mean, can it get any better? I also ordered the Vx burger. If you go for junk food, you should do it right, right? The milkshake was so yum! The donut tasted fresh, the whipped cream delicious and it was really like drinking a vego bar. I think they used coconut milk and I do think that with maybe Oatly Barista it would taste even better. But in their defence, I think everything tastes better with Oatly Barista. The burger was ok. It was a good burger, but not very special. It came with tortilla crisps, but I was too full to eat those and so I took them with me. They have a little shop in the restaurant too,with lots of vegan goodies and I bought some chocolate to take with me to the Netherlands. The people who work in Vx are super nice and the restaurant is very dog friendly. I also would come back again for the milkshake. Only maybe the next time I will invite someone to come with me, so we can share it (I was sooo full and it took me quite a while to finish it). What was a little unfortunate is that I forgot to change shoes and I was wearing my vans. Weird enough, they happen to be my least comfortable shoes. So my feet were hurting and because of all that junk food, I didn’t feel very energetic. I struggled a little to get all the way back to the bus stop, but I made it and I was happy to see my van in the end of the day and to instantly relax. It’s a good thing to have your bed close by all the time.

It was the first night that I was sleeping in my van in a very unfamiliar place. I was so excited, that I didn’t sleep very well, but I was ok the next day. Around 9:00 there were zoo visitors coming into the parking area, but the ticket guys were all guiding them towards the other side first. I was the only one parked up in the back. I got ready and walked up to the guy to buy a ticket. He looked a bit confused, but he did sell me a ticket. Only £4 for a whole day. I’m definitely coming back to this park up. I found a cafe called ‘East Village’ and it was only a short walk. It was a beautiful walk though, with many nice houses, amazing trees and the stunning building of Clifton College. Arriving at ‘East Village’, I fell in love instantly. This is one of the prettiest cafes ever. The ceilings are super high, it feels so spacious and everything is just done well. I felt like staying there the whole day. It’s a vegetarian cafe, but a lot of what they offer is vegan. I was doubting between the savoury waffles or the acai bowl, but then decided on the acai bowl. I wanted to eat lots of healthy things today as I had so much junk food the day before. I also went for a fresh orange juice as that is my favourite! It was one of the prettiest bowls I’ve ever seen. It looked so nice, that I didn’t want to eat it, haha! I obviously did though and it was delicious, exactly what I needed. On the map I saw that there was a park not far from there, with a tower you can climb. So after a lovely slow breakfast I set off again. I swapped my vans for my hiking boots btw. It did look a little ridiculous with the clothes I was wearing, but I didn’t care. Comfy rules!

On my way to the Brandon Hill park I bumped into a zero waste shop: Smaller Footprints. Zero waste shops are popping up everywhere now! It was closed, but I waited 10 min for it to open. It was so nice! The girl who worked there, called Eve, told me that they opened over 5 months ago and that it was going well. We had such a lovely chat. I told her the whole story of Oliver and as she was thinking about van life too, we had a good chat about that too. She was also vegan and so we actually had a lot of things to talk about. We were chatting for quite a while! But after I bought a 2 year supply of dental tabs (no joke) and a new black metal reusable straw, I left. I was so happy that I decided to wear my hiking boots by the way, because Bristol is a lot of hills, going up and down. It was a lovely walk with lots of sunshine and as Brandon Hill park is already quite high up, there was a lovely view over Bristol. I took a little break and then climbed the Cabot Tower. The stairs are very narrow, but it’s very much worth it. I loved the views! It was such a good day as well to enjoy the view. Coming down again, Nola and I relaxed a little in the park, sitting in a rain of blossom and then made our way to ‘Beets n Roots’, to have lunch.

The cafe ‘Beets n Roots’ is all about healthy food. Exactly what I wanted! The only thing is that dogs are not allowed inside. Luckily it was very nice weather and so it was more than ok to sit outside (and they did let me go to the toilet, taking Nola with me). The staff is very friendly and one of the girls even offered to be Nola’s dogsitter. I ordered the Buddha Bowl. They come in 2 sizes. Because I had a biscuit as big as my head for snack (from East Village) a little earlier, I ordered the small buddha bowl with tofu and a coconut water. The food was so so good! There were different kinds of (fermented) salad, cauliflower, quinoa and humous. I didn’t want to over eat, but I could have easily eaten a big bowl of this. Next time! Because I couldn’t sit inside, I couldn’t charge my phone though. Luckily, a little further down the road was a Costa and so I had a tea there whilst my phone was on the charger. When charged sufficiently, I made my way to the very popular suspension bridge.

The Clifton Suspension Bridge was opened in 1864 and has been a toll bridge ever since. They use the money for the bridge’s maintenance. The bridge links Clifton (Bristol) to Leigh Woods (North Somerset). It is super high and very beautiful. I’m not crazy about heights, but I did want to cross it. So I did and even though I found it a little scary, it also gave me an empowered feeling. It gave me a similar feeling as standing in front of a tall building (which is my favourite). Feeling very small and very big at the same time. The sun was starting to go down and I did enjoy the lovely rays on the grass, next to the bridge. I didn’t want to walk too far for dinner, but opening my Happy Cow app, I saw that there was an Indian restaurant, called Thali, with lots of vegan options, a 20 min walk from where I was. I didn’t have Indian food for so long, so I went for it. The restaurants looked rather fun too.

It turned out that Thali was on the corner, only a few buildings down from ‘Smaller Footprints’. So I passed it earlier that day, but I didn’t notice. Probably because I was still buzzing from the positive energy the shop (and Eve) gave me. I was the first customer and even though dogs also weren’t allowed, the waiter who welcomed me let me off (as I promised nobody would notice Nola). After that he got the chef to come and he cuddled Nola and showed her to the rest of the kitchen staff (so far from not being noticed, haha!). It was so hard to choose food here, because there were a lot of vegan options and everything sounded so delicious. Eventually I picked a dish that was made out of little dishes. So it was perfect and it was also very tasty. I really enjoyed it. Together with a flatbread on the side, it cost me about £11, which I thought was a good price as well. I also really liked that it was a modern Indian restaurant. Often I find Indian restaurants a little dusty and dated, but there was a good vibe here.

Just before Nola and I got back to the van, the sun made everything look golden and so Nola and I enjoyed the last sun rays of the day on top of the hill. It was so lovely. Great end of the day. I decided to drive back to work that evening, because my battery only had one more stripe (I’ve got some electrical issues) and it didn’t make sense to only stay the night, drain the battery and then drive back. What a beautiful Easter weekend! I will definitely come back to Bristol.

HOTSPOT LIST:
Vx Junk food bar: 125 East St, BS3 4ER.
East Village: Boyce’s Ave, Clifton, BS8 4AA.
Smaller Footprints: 9 Regent St, BS8 4HW.
Brandon Hill/Cabot Tower: Park St, Bristol BS1 5RR.
Beets n Roots: 39 Cotham Hill, BS6 6JY.
Suspension Bridge: Bridge Rd, Leigh Woods, BS8 3PA.
Thali: 1 Regent St, BS8 4HW.

Have you ever been to Bristol or would you love to go now you read this? Please let me know about your experiences or if you have any questions, please let me know in the comments. You can also tag me in your pictures or use #planetmanel on instagram. Thank you! X

Shape It

It’s almost Easter! When I still lived in the Netherlands or whenever I’m visiting the Netherlands at Easter now, I always make an Easter brunch. I used to always make egg/pastry bites, but obviously egg is off the table now. That doesn’t mean I can’t make something similar of course. So that is why I came up with this recipe. I made a filling with tofu and chickpea flour and used a slice of bread as a base. I kept the shapes I cut out to decorate the plates and table (I also put them in the oven, so they get toasted). They will be nice to dip in jam or chocolate.. These slices of toast are delicious with some smashed avocado and mayonnaise. They will look great on an Easter brunch table. Are you going to do a brunch this Easter?

SHAPE IT

Makes: 6-8

6-8 slices of bread
1/3 cup PB milk
150 gr silken tofu
1/2 cup chickpea flour
2-3 tbs nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp garlic granules
1/4 tsp onion granules
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
pepper (to taste)

Easter cookie cutters

-Preheat the oven at 180C.
-Put all the ingredients, apart from the bread, in a kitchen machine and blend until smooth.
-Use a cookie cutter to cut out a shape from each slice of bread.
-Put the slices of bread on a baking tray that is covered with baking paper.
-Carefully put the mixture in the shape you cut out.
-Put them in the oven for about 12-15 min, until the filling is nice and firm.
-Eat when still warm.

Are you going to make these? What shapes will you use? Please show me your creations on Instagram by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you so much and have a lovely Easter! X

Spring ‘n’ Roll

YES!! Finally it’s spring. I’m already looking forward to this day since Autumn. Haha! If it was up to me, we skip winter all together. I’m just not made for the cold. On the other hand.. the feeling of the first sun rays will only make me feel extra euphoric after the horrible cold. So let’s try to see the positive though. Luckily we only had snow once and I thought that most of the time the winter was doable this year. Still.. I can’t wait to chase the sun forever with my van! To celebrate the start of spring I created a super colourful recipe. It’s a simple recipe, but it does require some technique and some patience and gentleness. The more often you do it, the better they look! And don’t you feel happy just looking at these? You can use different dips or you can simply dip them in some soy sauce. I chose to mix up a simple peanut sauce, because I love peanut butter with a hint of spiciness. I hope you will enjoy them, because I personally thought they were yum!

SPRING ‘N’ ROLL

Makes: 6-8

spring rolls
6-8 spring roll rice pancakes
3 hands full vermicelli rice noodles
1 beetroot (chopped)
1/3 red bell pepper (sliced finely)
1/3 yellow bell pepper (sliced finely)
handful red cabbage (sliced finely)
2 spring onions ((sliced finely)
1 stalk celery (sliced finely)
1/2 avocado (sliced finely)
2 tbs edamame beans
6-12 eatable flowers (optional) 

sauce
2 tbs peanut butter
2 tbs oat milk
1/4 tsp chilli flakes

Blender
Fine colander
Clean tea towel

-Boil water and put that in the blender together with the beetroot. Blend for about 1 minute.
-Put the noodles in a pan and pour the beetroot water over the noodles through a fine colander. Put a lid on the pan and leave this for 5-8 min.
-In the meantime slice all the vegetables very finely and make the sauce:
-Put all the ingredients of the sauce in a bowl and mix until all ingredients are nicely blended.
-Put the rice paper in a bowl (I actually used a frying pan) of warm water for about 5-10 seconds.
-Very gently, put the rice paper on a clean tea towel.
-Put the flowers upside down on the rice paper and divide some veggies on top of that.
-Divide some of the pink rice noodles on top of the veggies and then fold and roll.
-Repeat this until finished.

Have you ever tried making something like this? Give it a try! Please show me your creations on Instagram by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

Packaging Free Shopping in London

A while ago I was in London again for a few days. Even though I live fairly close to London, I’m there a lot less than I expected to be. I’ve had a great time being in my beloved city and I went back home with lots of inspiration. I stayed with my employer’s family, around Battersea, which is  a lovely area. The 2 most important things on my planning were, to visit Unity Diner (which I did, but will write a separate article about) and to visit the Whole Foods Market. I always go to the Whole Foods Market when I’m in London, because that is the shop I miss the most. They offer quite a range of products which you can buy in bulk and package free and that is exactly what I wanted to do. They have dried fruits, different types of rice, beans, seeds, nuts, oats, herbs and spices etc. I had a real purpose this time and I planned to do this on the last day, just before I’d go home.

On Saturday Portobello Road was on my to do list. This is my favourite part of London. Notting Hill is so pretty and there is so much life, inspiration and lovely things on Portobello Road. Especially on Saturday. It’s busy though, because on the weekend most of the people are tourist. I love all the market stalls, where I used to get lots of my fruit and veggies. It’s something else I miss. Where I live in the county side, weird enough, is no good farmers market, but in London there are so many. I wish I could carry it all home. I love to see new cafe’s, shops and (vegan) options everywhere and ever time I come to this lovely street, there are some. This time, the one that made me the happiest (apart from the vegan donuts) was a little shop called: Liberté Chérie.

Liberté Chérie is a zero waste, plastic and packaging free, shop! I obviously needed to go inside. There was only one other person inside and when she left, I had a lovely chat with the owner. A very enthusiastic, knowledgeable and friendly Frenchman. He told me that they just opened this morning (how lucky was I?!) and that most of the products he sold were grown in England. A few were from France and elsewhere though: things that can’t grow in England or are not available (like almonds or certain peas for example). Also some of the herbs and spices came from countries like India or Turkey, but his aim was to have as much as possible from England. Even though it was a tiny shop, they sell quite a lot of different things. Of course there are the beans, rice, oats and seeds etc, but also oils, different types of vinegar and even soap nuts. Next to the pantry products, there is a small range of waste free/plastic free products like water bottles and lunch boxes etc. you can buy. It is a lovely shop, set up with a lot of passion. There was such a lovely atmosphere and I felt like I never wanted to leave again. Haha! I could have stayed there, staring at all these lovely products, listening to the stories of inspiration behind it all. I had more things to do though, so we exchanged Instagram profiles and I said my goodbyes. Unfortunately it was only midday and I didn’t want to walk around with lots of (heavy) things for the rest of the day and so I decided not to buy anything. Next time when I’m in London with my van, I’ll definitely get some lovely things here. Did I mention that the prices were quite compatible as well? Whenever you are around there or you live nearby, please visit this lovely shop.

It was such a coincidence, because on that same morning, when I walked towards the bus stop, I had to wait at a traffic light and when I looked up I couldn’t be any happier. Right in front of me, on the other side of the road, was a zero waste/plastic free shop! It was called ‘The Source’, what I think is a perfect name for a shop like that. It was closed though and I was on my way to visit the girls I looked after before. So I couldn’t wait for it to open (even though it was gonna open in 5 min). I promised myself to come back the next day. Now you understand that it was an extra nice treat for me to discover ‘Liberté Chérie’ a few hours later. Anyway, the next morning, I had to take the same bus from that same bus stop and so it was a perfect, cuz I was able to quickly pop in. I was so excited, that I was a little early and Nola (my dog) and I had to wait a little bit. When it opened we went straight in and it was heaven!! There was soooo much! It is quite a big shop and there are so many containers with so many different things. I didn’t know where to look and what to do first. The owner told me that they normally don’t allow dogs inside, but luckily Nola is very small and I carried her whilst we had a little chat. They also have a shop in Chiswick and so, from what I know of, there are 4 options in London to shop zero waste and plastic free. That is amazing! It makes me so happy that shops like this exist and can exist. He told me that it was going well and it was busy.. YES! I asked if I could take some pictures and that was fine. It’s a good thing that I was early, so I was able to take some nice pics, without having to wait for people to finish. Haha! They sell so many things.. too many to write down. One of the nicest things, was that they did freeze-dried veggies. I really wanted to buy things and I even brought my zero waste bags with me, but I was carrying too many things (3 bags and Nola) already. I still had the whole day in front of me and so I couldn’t. I should have brought my backpack, silly me! Later I did regret not getting a little bit of those freeze-dried veggies though, cuz they would have been light and easy to carry around. So next time, I’ll definitely get those. So for those of you who live in or around Battersea, please go and visit ‘The Source’ (and tell me how good those freeze-dried veggies are!).

Please, when you live in London, try to make trips to shops like this. These are the shops we want to support. This is the future. This is the way to no more plastic, a lot less waste and lovely wholesome and healthy food. Even when you don’t live very close to one, just go once in a while and buy in bulk. It will save you money too. Try to think of a way to go and help to make these shops work!

The Whole Foods Market: 63-97 Kensington High Street, W8 5SE.
Liberté Chérie: 291 Portobello Road, W10 5TD.
The Source Battersea: 99 St John’s Rd, SW11 1QY.
The Source Chiswick: 24 Turnham Green Terrace, Chiswick, W4 1QP.

Do you already shop at shops like this? Are there any shops near you where you can shop waste free and without plastic? Or do you live in London and are you shopping at one of these amazing shops? I’d love to hear about it! You can do this in the comments below or via Instagram. Thank you! X

No Eggelette

Everything you eat, I can eat vegan. Yes, even an omelette! You really do not have to miss out on anything. Except of a bunch of cholesterol. Haha! I heard that you can make omelettes with chickpea flower and tofu and I often eat the chickpea omelette at Paradise Planetbased in London (so good!). So I did some experimenting in the kitchen and eventually created this recipe. It’s so delicious and it definitely hits the spot. It’s so much better than the regular egg omelettes as well. I like to eat mine with a simple salad and avocado. You can also add some (sriracha) mayo if you like. The recipe is for 2 people, so if you just want to just make one, make sure you only use half of all the ingredients. Or you can keep half the omelette batter in the fridge, to make it the next day. Yum!

NO EGGELETTE

Serves: 2

omelette 
1/2 cup PB milk
150 gr silken tofu
1/2 cup chickpea flour
2-3 tbs nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/4 tsp garlic granules
1/4 tsp onion granules
1/2 tsp salt
pepper (to taste)
oil for frying

filling
1 tomato (chopped)
4 mushrooms (chopped)
2 babycorns (chopped)
1 spring onion (chopped)
2 handfuls of spinach
1 handful vegan cheese (grated, optional)
oil for frying

-Mix all the ingredients for the omelette in a kitchen machine until it’s a slightly runny paste.
-Heat the pan, with the oil of your choice, on a medium fire.
-When the pan is hot, pour half of the mixture in the pan and spread it out.
-Divide the cheese on top go the omelette and put the lid on the pan.
-Turn the fire down to a low and let it cook until it dried up and the bottom is slightly brown (3-5 min). Do the same thing with the other half of the mixture.
-In the meantime: Put some oil in a pan and fry all the ingredients for the filling (except the spinach) in a pan, for about 3 min.
-Add the spinach and mix it up until it shrunk.
-Carefully take the omelettes out of the pan and put it on a plate.
-Put the filling on top and fold the omelettes in half.

Did you know you can eat an omelette whilst eating a plant based diet? This recipe is really worth making! If you do, please show me yours on Instagram by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

0Waste #5: Cleaning

Assuming you’ve read my ‘0Waste #1: Intro‘ – ‘0Waste #2: Kitchen Swaps’ – ‘0Waste #3: On The Way Swaps‘ and ‘0Waste #4: Beauty Swaps‘, I’d now like to introduce you to some simple things everyone can do to produce less (chemical) waste whilst cleaning!

SOAP NUTS 
We all need to wash our clothes once in a while. We sweat, we spill and we get dirty in all sorts of ways. What laundry soap do you use? There is a ton of choice, but did you ever think about what will be best for the environment? I never did, until a few years ago. All the soap you use will go through the drain and most of the laundry soap contain horrible chemicals and are not biodegradable. This is why I use soap nuts. I once bought a bag from Ecozone and I’m still using that same bag and it’s still pretty full. It last for soooo long. I use 5-6 nuts per cycle and I use those same nuts at least 3-5 times. So imagine how much money it will save you as well. It’s super easy to use and it’s such a natural product. I love them!

SUPERMARKET CLEANING PRODUCTS 
If you don’t want to make your own cleaning products, then at least try to use natural products that won’t harm the environment and come in a recycle bottle (and make sure you do recycle them properly!). The 2 most popular brands are Method and Ecover. Method is my favourite out of these 2 as their products smell amazing. I do sometimes use the fabric softener from Ecover for my towels and bed sheets. Both brands are biodegradable though and are safe to use around children and animals. I’d still recommend making and using your own products whenever you can, but otherwise this is a good alternative.

SPONGES/CLOTHS
Most cloths are made out of plastic, you need to search a little if you want anything else. You can get cotton cloths, which are a good choice, but I also really like these. They are a combination between a cloth and a sponge. They are lovely to clean with (tables, surfaces, bathrooms, kitchens etc.) and the best thing of all, they are biodegradable. You’d probably think ‘but what about the plastic that they come in’? Guess what.. it’s biodegradable too (in municipal composting facilities). There are 5 cloths in 1 pack and each cloth can be used up to 300 times (as in, you can machine wash them for 300 times) and after that they can go into the compost. I like using these or I’d choose a cloth made out of organic cotton, hemp or bamboo.

MAKE YOUR OWN
It’s totally easy to make your own cleaning products. I will give you a recipe that is a nice all-rounder and you can use around the kitchen, bathroom, all services (be careful with granite, stone and some wooden services though!) and all other things you can think of. I use the peels from the lemons I use in the morning for my morning water and the ones I use for my salad dressing, this way I use them again in such a good way. If you don’t consume lemons regularly (you should though, hehe..), you can maybe make a nice lemonade and use those peels. Anyway.. First step: purchase a nice glass bottle with a spray option (brown glass) and then follow this recipe:

Makes: 500 ml

Ingredients:
-Peels of 6-8 lemons
-250 ml white vinegar
-Essential oils (optional)
-Fresh rosemary (optional)
-250 ml water (spring or pre-boiled)

-Weck jar (500 ml)
-Glass spray bottle (500 ml)

-Put the lemons in the weck jar (until it’s nicely full, you don’t need to stamp them in) and fill it up with the vinegar.
-Add a few drops of essential oil or include some fresh rosemary.
-Give it a little stir before closing the weck jar.
-Put it away in a dark and dry place and leave it for about 3 weeks.
-Use a fine colander to separate the water from the lemons/rosemary.
-Pour it into your spray bottle and fill it up with cold (spring or pre boiled) water.
-Clean, clean, clean!

What cleaning products are you using? Will you make your own? I’d love to hear how you get on. Please let me know in the comments below, by tagging me on instagram or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

VE(GAN)RY DUTCH

When I was a child, we went to my grandparents every Sunday. My grandma always had a big pan of vegetable soup ready for lunch and I always liked it a lot. I just love vegetables and I love soup. But one of the main reasons I loved it, is because in the soup she always put little meatballs, made by herself, out of mince meat. I was always happy to have a lot. Obviously I don’t like that anymore, but if there is a way to make the little balls vegan, then why not right? A while ago I saw a very nice Dutch blogger (@wateetjedanwel), making the little meatballs out of a vegan mince meat. The brand she used, we don’t have in the UK, but we do have something similar from ‘The Meatless Farm Co’. So I thought I give it a go. I experimented a little to make it taste like my grandma’s and I think I came pretty close. I love this soup so much. It’s just so good! It serves 6-8 people, but I ate the whole pan in 2,5 days, all  by myself.. haha! If you can’t do this (and it’s very understandable if you can’t), you can freeze it too or share with your family and friends. It’s a great family recipe!

VE(GAN)RY DUTCH

serves: 6-8 

soup
-2L vegetable stock
-1 can chopped tomatoes
-1 big onion (chopped)
-2 cups broccoli (chopped)
-2 cups cauliflower (chopped)
-2 cups carrots (chopped)
-2 cups green cabbage (chopped)
-1 cup leek (chopped)
-1 cup celery (chopped)
-1 tbs olive oil
-big handful fresh parsley (chopped)
-2 tbs nutritional yeast
-2 cloves of garlic (minced)
-1/2 tsp smoked paprika
-salt/pepper (to taste)

little meatless balls
-1 pack vegan mince meat (the meatless farm co)
-1 clove garlic (minced)
-1/4 tsp smoked paprika
-1/4 tsp onion granules
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-1/4 tsp salt

-Put the onions and garlic in a big soup pan with the oil and fry for about 3 min.
-Add all the vegetables and fry it all together for about 5 min. Keep mixing regularly.
-Pour the vegetable stock over the vegetables, add the chopped tomatoes and let it come to boil.
-In the meantime prepare the little meatless balls:
-Put the mince meat in a bowl and add the spices. Mix it very well, using your hands.
-Roll little balls out of the mixture (about 2-3 cm).
-Add the nutritional yeast and the smoked paprika to the soup and add salt and pepper to taste. Mix well.
-When the soup is simmering, add the meatless balls and the parsley and let the soup simmer for another 10-15 min.

Will you make this soup? You won’t be disappointed when you do. Please show me your results on Instagram, by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. I’ll give you a shoutout when you do. Thank you! X

Honest Heart

What is better than a caramel covered heart? Well, I guess that would be a heart that truly cares about your heart. Isn’t that where love is all about?! Caring for each other. Real, honest love. Valentine’s Day is nice and all, but it’s also quite commercial. Make sure that the day of love isn’t ending in something superficial, but show the people you love how much you really care about them. You can start with making them this caramel heart. Hehe.. A pure honest heart, because there aren’t any bad ingredients in here. All healthy and good for you. In fact, the first ingredient you will see, are chickpeas! Sending you lots of love from me to you!

HONEST HEART

serves: 6-8

Cake
1 can chickpeas (drained)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup of maple syrup
6 soft medjool dates
Splash of milk
1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup desiccated coconut
4 tbs cacao powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

Caramel Topping
10 medjool dates
1/4 maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Dried (or fresh) berries (optional)

-Preheat the oven to 180C.
-Mix all the wet ingredients in a food processor until a smooth paste: peanut butter, maple syrup, dates and a splash of milk.
-Add all the dry ingredients to the paste: almond flour, coconut, cacao powder, baking soda and the salt. Blend until you have a sticky dough.
-Put the the dough onto the baking tray and shape it into a heart (2-3 cm thick). Put the tray in the oven for about 20-25 min.
-Mix the ingredients for the caramel sauce in a food processor until a smooth sauce.
-Let the heart cool down and put the caramel sauce on top. Decorate with fresh or dried fruit.

Are you celebrating Valentine’s Day? Are you celebrating with your lover or with all the people you love? Whatever you do, spread the love!! I’d love to see your creations of this Honest Heart. Please show me on Instagram, by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

0Waste #4: Beauty Swaps

Assuming you’ve read my ‘0Waste #1: Intro‘ – ‘0Waste #2: Kitchen Swaps’ and ‘0Waste #3: On The Way Swaps‘ I’d now like to introduce you to some simple things everyone can do to produce less waste in the bathroom!

LINERS/PADS 
One of the last things I struggled with, was liners. I like to use the ultra thin liners from ‘Bodyform’. I absolutely love them! But apart from that they obviously aren’t zero waste or plastic free for that matter, to make things worse, they are also individually wrapped. And using one every day, quickly adds up. So I tried to find a good reusable liner for a while, but they are all so thick and wearing them with lace thongs (only underwear I wear) is just not comfortable. I did find these ones that are quite thin (could be even thinner and maybe a little smaller) and I find them usable. I still don’t love them, but at least it will keep me from using disposable ones. All tips on this subject are welcome! Talking about periods, you can also buy proper pads that are very absorbent, in case you don’t like to use cups. They feel a lot more comfortable than the disposable pads too. Just look on Etsy for example, there are soooo many and loads of different colours and designs.

MENSTRUAL CUPS
Let’s talk about the menstrual cup again. I wrote about these before and they definitely belong on the list with products for living a more waste free life. Also, I’m still a big fan. More and more woman started to use a cup and that is so positive. They are  simply perfect when you decide to live a (more) zero waste lifestyle. I’m using my one for almost 2 years and my cup still looks like it’s new. I have 2 cups actually, the Organicup and my most used one, the Lunette. In case you’re not using one yet, but you are curious, in the articles I explain exactly what they are and how to use them. Please learn about them and aim to use one. It might sound weird and you might have to practice a little at first, but it is soooo worth it. Trust me!

FACIAL CLEANSING 
Me and my face. It’s like the skin on my face lives her own life. I have break-outs since I can remember and even though I kinda accepted it, I always try to find the best way to care for my skin. I tried sooo many things, but something I’m sticking to for a while now, is using simple facial cloths and this little brush I found in a shop called ‘Søstrene Grenes’. I accidentally bumped into this shop when visiting The Hague. I always wash my face with the tea tree oil soap from ‘Faith In Nature’ and 1-2 a week I use the brush (or cloth). It works like a gentle scrub. My skin is reacting well and I love that it’s waste free. The little brush is made out of some sort of silicone, but it’s super durable and I think it will last me a life time really. I’m very happy I found something like this. Works a treat!

NAIL FILE
There are many types of files, metal ones, paper or plastic disposable ones and glass ones. I personally never used the disposable ones, but they are popular though. I always used the metal ones, but they do have a plastic bit on them. I still have a few and I still use them, because even though they have some plastic, they do last ages, years and years really. A few years ago, my mum gave me this glass nail file and I love it. It files really well. It’s actually my best file. The only problem is that, because it’s quite thick, it’s hard to do the sides and little corners of your nails. It’s very gentle on your nails though and that is the main reason I love using it.

BODY BRUSH
Who doesn’t have a plastic (puff) sponge to use under the shower? I used to have lots of them. After a while they go bad and I threw them away to get a new one. They made my skin feel nice and soft and so I never gave it much thought. About 1-2 years ago I stopped using them, because I didn’t want to be responsible for that much waste and so I looked for an alternative. I tried different things and I now have a wooden brush with cactus bristles. I really like it. The bristles are quite hard, but I personally like that. If you have a sensitive skin, you might want to use something softer. When I bought it, I didn’t realise that the bristles are stuck in a little layer of plastic though. Such a shame. Eventually, when this one is not usable anymore, I have to look for something that has no plastic at all. Tips are welcome!

COTTON PADS
Some girls and woman like to use wipes or cotton pads to take their make up off. Especially their eye make up. I never use them, but when you do like to use them, did you know that you can buy reusable pads? There are nice soft ones in lots of colours and designs. Look on Etsy for example and invest in a nice set. This way, you will not only create less waste, but it will also safe you money, because you can use reusable pads for so much longer. Make sure you get nice soft ones, made out of organic cotton or bamboo for example.

TOOTHBRUSH 
Who uses a toothbrush?! Haha.. I’d be surprised if you say ‘not me’. But who’s still using a plastic toothbrush? I’m sure the answers of this last question are not all the same. Many people are still using plastic toothbrushes, even though they are one of the most used plastics in the world. There are so many brands that will sell you a nice toothbrush made out of bamboo though, whereby all the materials are natural, even the bristles. Please go for this option, as it will make such a big difference. I use the ‘Humble Brush‘ toothbrush and I’m very happy with this brand. I personally really like the look of them as well, especially the ones with the black bristles. There are all sorts of colours though, even multi coloured ones. Pick your colour and brush away.

WOODEN COMB
This is one of my most loved zero waste, plastic free items. My wooden comb! I have long hair and so I need something to untangle it once in a while. Luckily my hair doesn’t tangle easily and so I only brush my hair 2-3 times a week. Before I got my wooden comb, I used to always use a plastic hairbrush. I didn’t know any better. Until, about a year ago, I read something about the use of a wooden comb. Apparently this is much better for your hair as well. Wooden combs are more gentle and it doesn’t tend to break your hair as fast. My comb I simply got from Amazon as I couldn’t find a nice one anywhere else (I’m so picky). It’s beautiful! It has a nice grip, I love the colour, size and the little carvings. The teeth of the comb are perfect as well. They aren’t too big or too small, they’re not too close together or too far apart. I feel very lucky to have found it.

COTTON BUDS 
Something I also struggled finding a replacement for, are cotton buds. I love using cotton buds. It feels so nice in my ears, haha! But the little plastic sticks are the worst! So even though I still have some left from the last time I bought them (they never seem to finish), I hate using them now. About a year ago I tried to research for a replacement. There are bamboo ones (Humble Brush sells these as well), but I also found a metal one. I know it sounds a little scary and uncomfortable and I did have to get used to it a bit as well. Once you start using it though, it’s actually ok. It’s a little different, but just as satisfying as the ones you’re used to. I like my metal one now, because it will last forever and so I won’t be creating any waste when it comes to looking after my ears.

SAFETY RAZOR 
I actually, basically do not shave. I’m very much against the whole ‘girls need to shave’ rule. I never shave my legs or my arm pits, but I do shave my bikini line area though. Just to make it look neat, especially when I’m actually in my bikini. I think it’s ok to look after yourself in that way. You can make yourself presentable in public places when it comes to intimate areas like this, but without going over the top. At the moment I’m actually still using my plastic razor, simply because it doesn’t need replacement yet. But as soon as it does, I will invest in a nice safety razor. The one on the picture is from my sister-in-law, who is very happy with hers. Did you invest in one yet?

BEAUTY PRODUCTS 
I can’t stress this enough: Use natural beauty products! Not only for the planet, but also for yourself. No one likes the idea of putting chemicals on their skin, but weird enough, many people do it every day. Swap your chemical products in plastic packaging for natural (biodegradable) products with plastic free (or at least recyclable) packaging. There are many brands nowadays that offer nice products. I love using tooth tabs (look at the pic of the toothbrush) for example. Are you using these yet? I’d still love to learn about this subject a little more though, so tips are very welcome.

I hope this was helpful and will motivate you to swap (some) things in your every day  beauty routine. Do you have more tips or more things you can change/swap in the bathroom, please let me know in the comments or contact me via Instagram (@planetmanel). Thank you! X