Spain – Mallorca 2017

A little more than 2 weeks ago I was still on the (very) sunny Spanish island, Mallorca. I’ve had a lovely week there. It was a working-holiday, as I travelled with the family I used to work for, as their nanny. They go every year, with family and this is the 3rd time I went with them. You might remember it from last year. If you didn’t read that yet, you can read it here if you like. So it was the same group of people and the same lovely chefs who cooked me amazing vegan food every day. There are some hotspots in the end of this article too, in case you decide to go to Mallorca yourself.

FRIDAY
Our flight was at 12:50, from Luton. I left my flat around 9:30 and got there perfectly on time. There was was a very little delay, but 2 hours later we landed. The rental car was ready and so I drove (I love driving) us all to the villa. It’s about an hour drive from the airport and so we got there around the kids dinner time. Dinner is served around 20:30 and they made me the most delicious carrot soup as a starter and my main was an oven dish with potatoes, aubergines and tomatoes. So delicious! For dessert I had a soy chocolate pudding. The rest of the evening I just relaxed a bit, before an early sleep.

SATURDAY
It’s so hot here. Like 35C-37C.. and it will stay like this the whole time we are here. Luckily the vila has a swimming pool. So we swam all morning. For lunch we had a lovely pasta. This is I think one of my favourite things they make here (though it’s hard to choose). Delicious pasta, with cherry tomatoes from the vegetable garden, garlic and fresh rocket on top. Simple, but define. In the afternoon we collected fruits and veggies in the vegetable garden and the orchard: tomatoes, aubergines, beans, bell peppers and lemons. For dinner they made me a salad with melon and potato crisps as a starter. Couscous with peanuts, aubergine and a broccoli burger for main and one of the chefs made me an amazing chocolate cake for dessert. It was so so good and I ate from it the rest of the week, lucky me!

SUNDAY
The chefs were not here this day, so everybody who got up first, helped with getting breakfast ready. So like every morning I had lots of nice fruit for breakfast (breakfast here must be my favourite moment of the day as it’s all different kinds of fresh fruit. We then went swimming all day long, as it was super hot. For lunch I had some leftovers from yesterday and after everybody’s siesta, we picked some delicious grapes in the vineyard to snack on. For dinner I had the left overs from last Friday, the potato dish with aubergine and tomato, so yummy. And of course I had a piece of cake (duuh!). After dinner I went for a quiet swim, just to cool down (such a relaxing moment). Then had a shower and spend my time reading. First outside, but there were too many mosquitos, so I had to go inside. I’m read Marie Kondo and I still am actually.

MONDAY
It was, again, a super hot day today. As usual, I started the morning with lots of yummy fruit and freshly squeezed orange juice and then went swimming almost all morning. I had some very nice and huge (and delicious!) potato fritters, with salad and baked apples for lunch. In the afternoon we all went to the nearest town, called Pollenca. We were going to get an ice cream and lucky me, they had a delicious strawberry sorbet. It was nice to have a change of scenery for a bit and Pollenca is a lovely place. I was starving for dinner, but I didn’t eat anything until dinner, because the portions are always quite big and I wanted to enjoy it to the fullest. I had an avocado salad as a starter, very yummy baked potatoes and broccoli for main and another piece of delicious chocolate cake for dessert. Well worth the wait!

TUESDAY
After breakfast and a quick swim, we went to the Formentor beach. It was such a nice ride, over the mountains. Mallorca is really beautiful. The beach was bus, but not too busy. The children loved it. A lot more than me, haha.. because though I love the idea of beach and sea, I don’t really want to go into the sea too far. As I have this huge control freak fear of not knowing what’s under and around me. It was still nice to be on the beach though and I did go in the water a little bit. We also had lunch there. I had the vegetarian pizza without cheese, what was quite nice. So much better than the pizza’s I’ve had in Spain before. Then we went back to the villa for our siesta. Before dinner I read some of my book in the hammock and it started raining a little, what was amazing, as I love rain. Especially in combination with hot temperatures. Dinner was bruschetta on very delicious nut bread for a starter. Then for main I had some rice, with grilled veggies and an avocado. And another piece of chocolate cake for dessert. It was the last piece, but we sliced it in half, so I can have another piece tomorrow (yay!). It was raining after dinner again, so I hurried outside and I just lied down on the terrace, what was still very hot from the sun. The feeling to the warm tiles, the cold rains drops on my skin whilst staring at an olive tree and a black sky was just a great moment of happiness.

WEDNESDAY
Like yesterday we went out after breakfast and a quick swim. This time we went to the beach in Port de Polenca, a 15-20 min drive. Almost everybody came, so we were with a big group. The sea was calm and clear here, so I was ok going in until the water was a little over my knee. After that we had lunch and all the kids behaved so well. I ordered an asparagus and buckwheat salad, without cheese and honey. It was an alright salad, but it was mostly just lettuce. There was I think 1 asparagus  (cut up) and maybe 1 tbs (yes really!) of buckwheat. Luckily there were some fries to fill me up too. In the afternoon we all went swimming at the villa again. Because the chefs were off today, I helped making dinner for the kids. When they all went to sleep, I made some dinner for myself with some leftover veggies and rice. Super yum! Almost everybody went out for dinner that evening and when the kids were all sleeping, I went for a quick topless swim, lovely! Then a shower and some reading, before going to sleep. It was a lovely last work day!

THURSDAY
My day off! I had a very easy morning, some relaxing and sorting out some things for my blog etc. I missed breakfast, but that was ok as I was going out anyway. I was able to take the car all day, what was super handy. First I made a quick stop at Pollenca as I saw some earrings there earlier, which I couldn’t forget. Buddha hand earrings, that will match my ring. At the same shop, what is called ‘Nilay’ btw, I also got 2 bracelets for the kids from work. The oldest loves all my tree of life things and I found a tree of life bracelet for her. For the younger one I bought a braided colourful bracelet. I hope they’ll like it. Then I drove to Port de Pollenca to go to this place called ‘Bellaverde’. A vegetarian place with lots of vegan options. I had brunch here, with yogurt, fruit, muesli and a (very perfect) croissant. You also get orange juice with this. Not the best juice, but it certainly looks nice on the plate. I did really enjoy it all together. It was a beautiful little restaurant (a must go!), with a garden to sit in, under big old fig trees. There were also 2 cats, so sweet! From there I drove to Alcudia, which is only a 10 min drive from Port de Pollenca. I parked the car and walked around a bit. A funny thing is that the exact same shop (Nilay), with the same earrings was here too, what made my Pollenca stop a little unnecessary. Oh well.. It was sooooo hot though. When I passed an ice cream shop and asked for the sorbets, they had quite a few, so I picked mango, passion fruit and banana. It wasn’t the best sorbet, very sweet and with bits of ice in it, but it did help for the heat. I went here to find a place called ‘Verdeteja’, another vegetarian place. I walked around a bit, taking pics of beautiful little streets, when suddenly I bumped into Verdeteja. I must be a magnet to vegan food, hehe.. I was still full from brunch and I was eating the sorbet, so I decided to come back later. Instead I sat down on somebodies doorstep (in front of a beautiful old door), in a lovely quiet street, to finish my sorbet. There was even a little breeze. Perfect! Then I went for a little walk, but it was just too hot for this. What explained why there was almost nobody on the street. I still wasn’t very hungry, but I decided to have lunch anyway, because it was simply too hot to stay in the village and I really wanted to go an review this place. It turned out that only 2 products in this shop are not vegan, what does make it, very officially, a vegetarian shop. The vegan products were all very nice. It’s a tiny place, but the products are good, tasty and helpful. Like these very nice raw biscuits from Mrs. Sweet (I’m afraid its only in Spanish).The lady was so nice too! I felt super comfortable and welcome. She cooks a dish every morning and it’s almost always vegan (sometimes it’s quiche, what contains egg). I had gazpacho as a starter, courgettie with an amazing tomato sauce for main and a delicious carrot-banana cake for dessert. I was very full after though. I did buy 3 of the Mrs. Sweet biscuits, to try for later. Back at the car I first had to cool down a little bit, before driving up. I drove up to Penya Fort and further, (until I wasn’t allowed to go any further) it was absolutely breathtaking! A little narrow road up to a mountain, along the coast. It was hard to let another car pass, but it was all well worth it. A beautiful view with such blue water, very nice! Coming back down the mountain I drove back to Port de Pollenca and spend an hour in the (shallow) sea. I snacked on the biscuits I got and they were very tasty. Especially if you like a lemony taste, you’ll love them. Then I drove back up to another mountain and enjoyed the amazing view and the sunset. After I took about 10 pictures for other tourists (as a single girl, I was the person to ask! Haha! It’s a good thing I like doing it..), I drove back to the villa. By the time I got back it was a little after 21:00. I packed my suitcase and took a shower, ready for the last night. This day was a lovely end of this very nice week. I sooo enjoyed this day!

HOTSPOT LIST:
Nilay (jewellery shop) – Carrer d’Alcúdia, 14, 07460 Pollença.
Bellaverde – Carrer de les Monges, 14, 07470 Pollença.
Verdeteja – Carrer del Lledoner, 13, 07400 Alcúdia.

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

Newsletter JULY

We’re halfway the year of 2017.. gosh time flies! It looks like each year is going faster. We’ve had some lovely sunny days in June and even though it was very hot sometimes, it was great. Today we will review the Brighton Vegan Fest and I will tell you what’s coming up this month. Here we go..

BRIGHTON VEGAN FEST – REVIEW
It was a beautiful day to go to the Brighton Vegan Fest. The sun was shining, a few clouds.. the perfect temperature! I’ve had some yummy food during the day, Phish and Chips from the Loving Hut, frozen yogurt from FroYo, a samosa and a burger! I wish I had more stomachs, cuz there was much more yummy food to try. I bought another jar of iUVO cream and brought some cake home. After that I went to the sea side to enjoy the waves. What a perfect day! Did you go and did you have a good time as well? What did you eat?

8-9/07 – GLASGOW
I’m going on a solo road trip to Glasgow this weekend. I have to drive the Landrover Discovery (my favourite car ever!) of my former employer to the Glasgow airport and as I’m there anyway, I will have about 24 hours in Glasgow, because I will fly back in the evening the next day. I’m very excited for this as I’ve heard lots of good things about this vegan friendly city. I will visit lots of vegan hotspot and make sure to write about it. Stay tuned! PS: you can also follow my trip on Instagram!

7-9/07 – JUST V SHOW
An event for everybody who is vegan, vegetarian or who’s interested in eating less animal products. This is a great event, in London Olympia, to gain more knowledge about a plant based and cruelty free lifestyle, eat yummy food and to explore loads of cruelty free products. It’s 3 days from 10:00-17:00. I will try to go as well, but as I’m going to Glasgow that weekend and I have a birthday party to go to that day, I’m not sure if it’s going to work out for me. If you can go, go! Go to the website to see what’s on and get your (free) tickets here!

15/07 – VEGAN BEER FEST
If you’re really into beer, then you do not want to miss this. It’s the biggest Beer Fest in the London. Lots of 100% vegan beer (and wine) to try, together with other drinks and some food stalls too. So, bring your friends and have a lovely Saturday at the Hackney Down Studios (17 Amhurst Terrace). It’s starting at 12:15 and if you like to go, make sure you get your £5 tickets here. Because of this festival there will be no Hackney Downs Market this month.

22/07 – HORLEY VEGAN FAYRE
From 10:00-17:00 there will be a lovely fair at the Meath Green Junior School (Greenfields Road. Horley). There will be yummy vegan food, inspring talks and fun children activities. Fun for the whole family!

23/07 – VEGAN DOG FOOD INFO + BRUNCH
Your dog can be vegan too! Learn all about how your dog can live happily and healthy on a vegan diet. And all whilst enjoying brunch. The venue is vegetarian, but serves vegan options too. You can even bring your dog if you like, though he/she does have to behave well on the leash. It sounds super interesting and educational to me. If you have a dog and you want to learn more about this subject, this is a great thing to attend! It will be held from 12:00-14:00 in the Jaz and Juls Chocolate House (1 Chapel Market).

28/07-04-08 – MALLORCA 
This week I will fly to Mallorca for work and of course I will try to find some vegan hotspots around and tell you all about this beautiful island and the things I did.

RECIPE SPOILER
Keep an eye out for Heavenly Ice Cream! Perfect treat for this summer!

Was this helpful, did you like to read this or do you have any questions? Would you like to tell me about your Easter.. I’d love to hear all about it! Please let me know in a comment below! Do you have any exciting things coming up what is related to veganism, positivity, spirituality etc? Please let me know! Send me a message via CONTACT and I might publish it in my next newsletter! Thank you! X

Lunette Menstrual Cup

You might have heard about this new upcoming amazing thing: the menstrual cup. Some are already using it for ages, some have never heard of it. I decided to give it a lot of attention, because it’s a good idea for so many reasons. I think one of my main reasons I like menstrual cups so much, is that it’s so much better for the environment than tampons or pads. How many tampons do you use per cycle? It’s probably in between 15-20. This is apart from all the packaging (so much plastic!). That is a lot if you compare it with the fact you only need 1 menstrual cup. This is why it’s also a lot more cost-effective. A menstrual cup is holding the fluid in your body, without absorbing it. This way you stay naturally lubricated and healthy from the inside. So for your health you also choose a menstrual cup. There are even girls who say they have less cramps or no cramps at all anymore after switching to the cup!

How does it work?
Many girls worry if they see the menstrual cup. How do you even get it in there? There is a certain technique, you probably have to practice a few times before getting it right though. Wash your hands before you start and relax. The best way is to fold it in length (in a C shape). This way it’s only slightly bigger than a tampon. As soon as it’s in you let it ‘pop’. You can check if it popped properly, by gently moving your finger around the cup. Make sure it’s not too low, because then it might happen you will feel it the whole time. You’re not suppose to feel it. You only have to empty the cup 2-4 times a day and you can also wear it during the night. You can take it out by wriggling it left and right, pulling it down. Make sure you hold the bottom of the cup and not only the stem. This way you make less mess (you don’t want it to tip over) and don’t break the stem. Rinse it with cold water (!), then wash it with warm water and Lunette Feelbetter Cup Cleanser or use the Lunette CupWipes for on the way.

Please give the Lunette Menstrual Cup a try. Don’t be scared, just practice. Don’t give up after 1 or a few tries. Maybe you need to practice a few cycles, but it will be worth it. You can also wear the cup to prevent surprises. This is what makes a menstrual cup perfect. You can use it wherever you go. Did you make any summer plans yet? Are you going to the beach, a party or on a city trip?! You can do it all! Is your period near? Don’t forget to pack your Lunette Menstrual cup. Because you want to FEEL GOOD 365 days a year!

Would you like to use a Lunette Menstrual Cup? Then go to their website, pick a colour and start using it! I’d love to hear how you get about! Or if you have any questions, please let me know. You can also contact me via Instagram and 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

Netherlands – Easter

Early early! My boyfriend, Steven, and I had to wake up at 3:00 in the night. Walk to the bus stop and get to LiverpoolStreet. From there we took an Uber as the trains didn’t go as normal. So annoying, but apart from that it’s a lot more expensive, it’s easy though. Or it should be easy.. because the driver almost wanted to drop us off at Stansted. Steven noticed it just in time and so we were able to turn around. We did make it in time and didn’t have to wait long at the airport itself. The flight went well and within an hour we were in Amsterdam. We started with a Starbucks on Schiphol and then took the train to Amsterdam Central. I made a whole planning (always prepared) and so we started as planned, at Dam Square. From there we took a right to the Singel and crossed at the Blauwburgwal bridge. There in the corner is vegan shop called: Vega Life. They sell all vegan things here. For a good pair of vegan shoes, belts, shirts and much more, this is where you want to go. It’s not big, but they have a lot of choice. It was nice to have a quick look. From there we walked to the Prinsengracht, crossing the Herengracht and the Keizergracht. I wanted to have lunch at Bolhoed, a quite known vegetarian/vegan place. It was still a little early though, so we decided to walk around in the Jordaan (an area in Amsterdam) for a little while. We saw a lovely bakery and Steven wanted to go in for a coffee. But when he saw the delicious bread with jam a lady next to us was eating, he wanted that too. It was called the children’s sandwich, but who cares. He loved it! I had a fresh mint tea and after that we made our way to Bolhoed. The first thing I saw when coming in was a very big Main Coon! He looked so fake the way he was lying down, but after a while he moved, haha! Bolhoed is very vintage. Very different from everything you know. It really reminded me of Berlin. Vintage, strange art, but very easy going. I ordered pitta bread, with salad and humous and Steven ordered the soup of the day. Their menu isn’t big, but almost everything is vegan. The food was nice, but I expected a lot more from it. It was fresh and filling though, so it was definitely getting me through the afternoon. We walked on the Prinsengracht, all the way to the Rijksmuseum. On the way we passed a very cool Japanese Antique shop, called ‘Van Hier Tot Tokio‘ (translated: From Here To Tokyo). Steven’s eyes started twinkling and we basically looked at everything in there. Very nice! The Rijksmuseum is amazing. The building form the outside is already very impressive, but the inside is amazing too! I always wanted to go here, but I never took the time. It was very nice to now share this experience with Steven. We saw so many beautiful paintings from such famous artists.. Van Gogh, Johannes Vermeer.. but most impressive, was the ‘Night Watch’ from Rembrandt. It was amazing to see this in real life. It’s absolutely beautiful and a little bigger than I expected. The whole museum is very impressive and definitely worth going! When we came out of the museum, we took a little break at Museumplein (Museum Square). This is the big square behind the museum. It’s beautiful, with lots of tulips, water and grass. There are some little coffee/food stands and Steven got a veggie burger. They even had a vegan burger, but the only thing was that it was sold out.. a shame, but also very positive! Haha! I wasn’t very hungry actually, just the fact that a random food stand has a vegan burger makes me want to try it. Try it for me in case you can get your hands on them and let me know if it was good. We walked towards the Vijzelgracht and Steven drunk a beer on the corner there. We had lovely seats, next to the canal, in the sunshine! Then we followed the Lijnbaangracht and de Reguliersgracht, until we reached Rembrandtplein. It started of quite chilly in the morning, but now it was lovely and sunny, with a bright blue sky. We walked back via the Kalverstraat (shopping street) and the Rokin, towards the red district. Every tourist goes here and as it’s Steven’s first time in Amsterdam, I had to take him. It was quiet on the Wallen, but it’s a good way to make our way back to the station. In the meantime it was already a little after 17:00 and after another Starbucks and getting some snacks at ‘AH to Go’, we got our suitcases (we left them in a locker at the station, so handy!) and our train tickets. Turned out that the train wasn’t going to Zwolle and so we had to change 3 times before we got out at Assen. It was 22:00 in the meantime, but my mum was waiting for us over there and it was sooo lovely to see her and to introduce her to Steven. I love my mum and on the way home, what is only 20 min, we already had so many laughs. At home Julian (my brother) and his girlfriend Marsha were there and it was so amazing to see them too! Also aways lovely to cuddle the cats Kenya and Dublin and Nynjo the dog. And so nice to all introduce them to Steven. My mum moved houses a while ago and this was also the first time I saw her new house. A lovely black, cozy, Swedish house. I love it!! We all kept chatting a little bit, but as Steven and I were already awake for almost 22 hours and had such a busy day, we were also happy for our heads to finally touch the pillow.

The next day I had to drop my mum off at work at 7:00, so Steven and I were able to use the car in the morning. I did crawl back into bed for a little bit after I came back though, but then we really had to get up and get the Easter groceries. We had to go to 5 different shops and Steven still regrets he came with me. I’m kind of a nightmare in supermarkets. I did make a list, but I do like to take my time. Reading ingredients and think about how much I need. I love it, but it turns out, Steven and I do not have that in common, haha! We went to my mum’s work to pick her up (For the people who don’t know: she works as a hostess at Rikus in Eext, a lovely hotel-restaurant. You can read about it in my other travel posts from the Netherlands if you like.) and she showed Steven around. At home I made Vivera burgers for everybody. They’re so yummy and there will be a huge review about this amazing brand soon. Stay tuned! If I had to believe my weather app it was going to rain the whole time, but this Saturday afternoon it was actually quite nice outside. Though the wind was a little cold, we (Julian, Marsha, Steven and I) decided to cycle to the lake anyway. It’s less than 10 min and it’s very beautiful over there, with lots of good memories. We skipped stones over the water and though Steven made it look very easy (he is so good at it), I managed to do it 3 times, but with a lot of effort, haha! It was very nice to be in the forest and we even saw lots of tadpoles in the lake, yay! Later that day I started baking. I had to make the whole Easter brunch by myself, for 9 people. Normally my sister and I make it together, but she wasn’t coming unfortunately. So I started with a chocolate chia pudding, the Hopping Bread, a vegetable bread and a frittata. It all went well, but I couldn’t make more, because we (my mum, Julian, Marsha, Steven) decided to go out for dinner. We went to Breed, a wok-buffet restaurant. My dad came too, what was so nice and we had a lovely evening all together. They have a lot of vegan options and it’s very tasty. After we came home I put the veggie bread in the oven and Steven helped me preparing the carrot cake.

I woke up at 8:00 to continue making the brunch. It was going to start at around 11:00, but I still had to bake the frittata, the croissants, the little breads and bake the pancakes. I also wanted to make scones, but as there was already so much and not that much time, I decided not to. Steven helped me and that was really nice, as it didn’t only go faster, but it was also nice to make it with him. My mum and dad arrived around 9:00, Julian invited a friend from school and my sister dropped off my nephew and niece, Jinan & Joella.. and when everybody finally arrived, we started eating all the goodies. Everybody luckily really liked it and everything turned out well. I was worried about the frittata, as I never made it before and I just did something, without having a recipe, but everybody actually really liked it. A shame I didn’t write down what I did. I have to make it again and make it into a recipe I  guess. After the brunch and after everything was tidy and clean again, my mum, Steven and I went to my dad’s place. He also just moved houses, so we had to see his place too of course. He lives in the middle of the forest (the forest where we had loads of family holidays) in a lovely sweet little house with a veranda. I loved it so much! We did have to get back in time, because we were a little tired and my mum, Steven and I planned to go to the cinema. So after some nice tea, we drove back, we all had a quick nap and then drove to Groningn, where the cinema is. This cinema is inside the football stadium. It’s avery nice cinema. We went to see ‘The Beauty & The Beast’. I already watched it 2 times, but I loveee this movie and I really wanted to watch it again (and again actually). Steven also already watched it (we went together, right after it came out), so he went for the second time. My mum never watched it and that was the reason why we went. It was so nice to watch it again. If you didn’t go yet, then book your tickets now, before it’s too late! It’s the best movie I’ve every watched in the cinema, in my life. It’s like going to a musical. As soon as it’s on iTunes, I’ll buy it. In the meantime I listen to the songs and the music all day long. I can tell you that Steven doesn’t really appreciate the ‘repeat’ button atm. Hehe..

Today we planned to go to the north. To see the house where I grew up, the dikes, the sea, my grandparents and my best friends. We left a little later than we wanted to, but there was still enough time. For me it’s already a treat to drive the car, as I don’t get to do that much in London anymore and I absolutely love driving. It was so nice to show Steven the place I grew up and all the memories I have around there. Though it was very cold and windy at the dikes (as always), we did take some lovely pictures. We then went to my friend Nienke and her daughter Annemarie. Always so nice to see them, especially because Annemarie grows so fast and she looks like a different girl every time I see her. They also
have a pig, doggies and a cat.. so lots of cuddling! We didn’t stay long, because we also wanted to go to my grandparents. We had a cup of tea there, but as they can’t speak English and our flight was going in a few hours, we had to head back after that. Still lovely to see my grandparents though and to introduce Steven. I know they really appreciated this. When we got home we quickly packed our suitcases and left to the airport. Everything went smooth, but it’s never nice to say goodbye to my mum. It was so short this time, only 3 nights. But we did have such an amazing time. Busy days, but all worth it!

HOTSPOT LIST:
Vega Life
– Singel 110, 1015 AE, Amsterdam.
Bolhoed – Prinsengracht 60-62, 1015 DX, Amsterdam.
Van Hier Tot Tokio – Prinsengracht 262-HS, 1016 HH, Amsterdam.
Rijksmuseum – Museumstraat 1, 1071 XX Amsterdam.
Museumplein (Museum Square) Amsterdam.
Kalverstraat (shopping) Amsterdam.
Rikus – Hoofdstraat 10, 9463 PC, Eext.
Breed – Nieuwe Streek 35, 9351 BZ, Leek.
Kinepolis Cinema – Boumaboulevard 53, 9723 ZS, Groningen.

Have you been to Amsterdam? Did you know about these cool hotspots (you can find more in my earlier travel post about Amsterdam) or are you really excited to go now? I would love to hear about your trip! ..and what did you do with Easter? Please tag me in your Easter creations! You can also comment below or you can show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

France – Cessy

15Most of August I was in France, in Cessy, what is just over the border from Switzerland, only a 20 minute drive from Geneva. We stayed there with my employers family. They all slept in their house, but they also had a caravan. The caravan was surrounded by trees and quite private. Perfect! I lived in the caravan for 2 weeks straight and I absolutely loved it. It reminded me of my childhood as my grandma also had a caravan. The smell, the atmosphere, everything came back. Also it made me realise that you don’t need much. I could easily live in a caravan. Just to have a tiny living space, a simple kitchen, bathroom and a bedroom. It made me feel so happy to
be so close to nature. It’s the small things!

26There was a breathtaking view too. Almost every day (sometimes it was behind the clouds) I was able to see the Mont Blanc. And not only a nice view, but also fresh figs of the fig trees every day. Freshly picked fruit really makes my heart beat faster! So amazing! Across the field, only a 5 min walk, there were 2 donkeys and 2 horses.The first day of my weekend I walked to them and I stroked one of the donkeys for almost an hour. She was so nice. She came running to me and then just wanted to be stroked. I loved it! Donkeys are such nice animals. That day I also went to a mall called ‘Val Thoiry’, about a 30 min drive. They had a little car I was allowed

5to use, what was so kind and super handy, as it really gave me some freedom to go to things on my own. There was an H&M there, what was so handy as I needed new leggings. When I was getting them I also saw a sun-hat, a simple black one with a little scarf around it. I always wanted to have a hat like that, but I could never find one I liked. They’re so handy, because then you don’t always have to wear sunglasses. I’m so happy I got them, because I can already tell you that I used it a lot and I really liked it. Very useful and it looks nice too! There was also another hat, the ones which are always 100% wool. But this one was 100% Polyester. I really liked it too, but I had no idea how to bring it with me to 1London. So I figured the H&M here in London would  have them too. Unfortunately I didn’t find them so far. What is such a shame, because I really like to have a hat like this. There was also a very big supermarket: ‘Migros’. And I just loveeee big supermarkets. So I got all my groceries there. Mostly for the week, but also some things what was gonna last longer. It’s quite expensive there, couldn’t believe the prices sometimes. But on holidays I almost get everything I want. So I made it quite expensive in the end. I kept everything very healthy though. Very nice groceries.
14The next day I went to Divonne, a village only a 10 minute drive away. In the morning and the beginning of the afternoon there is a market. A lot of french breads, olives, but also some clothes and a lot of other things. I got new elephant bottoms. I always wanted to have a nice pair of those, but as I’m very picky I can never find exactly what I want. But they had a black and grey one and it was perfect, so I got them. I wore it a lot! It was quite a lovely market where I got the most delicious sun dried tomato spread. I got a fresh baguette, grilled some veggies when I got home and that was my dinner. It was so delicious, I could have eaten that every day. In the evenings I did a lot of reading, writing or I watched ‘Orphan Black’, a super nice show on Netflix.
18That week we went with the boat on lake Geneva and it was so much fun. We went to the other side of the lake, had lunch there and then went back. In the end everybody jumped  off the boat into the water, but I don’t dare to do that. I need to know what is under me, otherwise I panic. Must be a control thing. It looked so nice though, so in the end I sat on the side of the boat and put my feet in the water, what was amazing! I did get a wet bum as another boat past us and made a lot of waves. It was very refreshing, haha! The water is so clear and has such a beautiful colour. I really really loved it!
12The next weekend I went to the supermarket again to get fresh fruit and veggies and food for when my mum was gonna come that week. I also went to a big health store, what was called ‘Satoriz’. It was next to ‘Val Thoiry’ and it was quite a big store and very nice. A lot of vegan products. Though they didn’t know things like vegan mayonnaise and cheese. I got a lot of other very nice things though. Finally some good vegan treats. In the middle of the store there is a cafe. I had lunch there and asked for a vegan meal. They gave me a lovely plate of food, with a mash potato vegetable pie, beetroot soup, a little salad, 2 different dips and some very nice 17bread. I also had a dessert, some sort of pudding with fruit on top. Everything was very fresh and so tasty, I really enjoyed that. My mum came that Thursday and I was so looking forward to that. First of all to just see her, but also it was nice for me to show her my work and to give her a good idea from what I do. We also went to Geneva together for a few days, what was lovely. We had such a good time. It was so nice of my employers to let her come over. I really appreciated that.
The last week was very busy as I had to work the weekend too, but we did al sorts of nice things with the kids. There is so much to do in the area. Almost every day it was nice weather. Sunny, warm, but not too hot. What a lovely place to spend the summer!

Did you go to this area of France or did you do something similar this summer? I would love to hear it! Please let me know by leaving a comment below. You can also tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Switzerland – Geneva

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Fountain of Geneva!

As some of you know, I haven’t been in London in the whole month of August. I was in Mallorca, France and Switzerland. It was for work, but I’ve had a great time. I’d like to take you to Geneva this time. I went to Geneva for 3 full days, together with my mum. I didn’t know anything about Geneva, it wasn’t on my travel-bucket-list, but as it was only 20 minutes away from where we stayed in France, what made it very logic we went there.

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Electricity boxes are all pieces of art in Geneva!

We stayed in a AirBnB just next to the Plainpalais, what means we were very central and were able to do everything by foot. Which is recommended for Geneva anyway, because it’s not a very big city and it’s easy to walk everything. The nice thing about that is that you can see so much more.
We arrived at our AirBnB at 19:00. What meant we were an hour late! We could have been on time if my mum didn’t forget her handbag in France (yes……. we had to drive all the way back!). Typical for my mum.. Anyway, we got there and it was lovely! There was nobody home for almost the whole time we stayed there and our room was next to the kitchen and sitting room, so it looked like we had a whole apartment to ourselves. After we’d freshen up a bit we decided to go to the Italian restaurant ‘La Pignata’ around the corner. Not a lot of people 14285566_1240203762690391_141837025_ocan speak English very well in Geneva. There was only one guy in this restaurant who could and even though he looked very confident in understanding everything, my pizza came with cheese.. whilst I think I’ve said ‘no cheese’ about 10 times. No worries, I just waited a bit longer and luckily that wasn’t very long, because within 10 minutes there was a cheese-free damping, delicious looking pizza in front of me! Yum!! It was a good pizza, so if you’re looking for a nice pizza, I’m sure you can get one here.. just make sure you get the ‘no cheese’ part very clear in case you’re vegan! 😉 Now the fact is.. my mum is a very active PokemonGo player. No joke! So after our pizza we walked all over the Plainpalais to catch some real Swiss Pokemons. It was starting to get dark and it looked quite nice outside actually. In the middle of the Plainpalais is a skater-park and it was nice to watch some cool tricks. Learn how to ride a skateboard is on my bucket list! Yay!!

Breakfast!

Breakfast!

The next day we went to get some breakfast at the local supermarket. I got 2 smoothies, and 2 yummy peaches. Then, without shame, we went to Starbucks, because gosh I missed that.. It was more than 3 weeks! So I really enjoyed my ‘Soy Green tea with cinnamon’. Such a treat! After a little break (not that we did so much already, haha!) we walked up to the waterside and I sat there with the most beautiful swans. The day only just started, but it already made my day. Absolutely beautiful animals! They’re so elegant and the right word for them is ‘majestic’ for sure. I could have stayed there all day. We didn’t, because we crossed the bridge, admiring the clear water of lake Geneva. Then we walked passed the water, through a lovely little park where a guy was making soapy bubbles, a little train with tourists drove around and where everybody was relaxing. 14303936_1240195976024503_754176401_oThe park is called ‘Jardin Anglais’, what literally means ‘English Garden’. It has a beautiful fountain and a clock made of flowers. We enjoyed the boats, the giggling kids chasing the bubbles and the lovely atmosphere for a while and then we went to get a very nice seeded baguette and we ate it, sitting on a step next to a junction. It was a lovely spot with lots of different people and expensive sports cars passing by. We decided to just walk around a little bit and when I really had to go to use the toilet it happened to be that we were standing next to a vegan cafe! 14285110_1240196006024500_1014325483_oAnd it looked so nice! There aren’t a lot in Geneva, so it was a real coincidence. So I joked ‘I only go to the toilet in vegan places’.. Haha! As we just had our lunch and the cafe was nearly closing I told the very friendly lady we were going to come back the next day.
We kept walking and went towards the ‘Rue de Rive’, a big shopping street. There happened to be a Lush (Yay!) and a lot of other nice shops and though I told myself a 100 times I can’t buy anything(my suitcase would explode), I found myself walking out of the ‘Vero Moda’ with 2 new shirts. Oops! Just behind the shops is the big ‘St.Pierre 14285474_1240207222690045_1493442816_oCathedral’. We walked up the stairs, enjoyed the view and took a look inside this amazing cathedral. What I really liked were the stained glass windows, wohw!
For dinner we went to the COOP supermarket quite close to our BnB. We got 2 vegan burgers, a just-out-of-the-oven-bread and some salsa sauce. Then.. at the till there was quite a bit of products from the Vegan supermarket ‘Veganz’!!! I didn’t know why they had this, it was so unexpected, but I was so happy! Even happier when they even had my favourite biscuits! So I also got the biscuits and some chocolate (of course). I prepared the burgers in ‘our’ kitchen, we ate it (very delicious!) and the rest of the evening we watched Gossip Girl together. Lovely!

14215607_1240195962691171_1122604085_oTuesday.. on the Plainpalais there was a little farmers market and I read that there is also a vegan bakery stand. I was very excited, but apart from a lot of lovely looking fruit and veggies there was no vegan bakery. They’re probably there on a different day. A shame! What I did spot was.. a Starbucks! In front of the Starbucks was this very hot guy sitting next to the entrance, but when I went inside he was gone. Just one minute later he happened to work there and was serving me.. Lucky me! He made my tea with mint instead of green tea and I had to go back to get it right.. what a shame! (I wouldn’t mind him making it wrong another 10 times, hehe..) 14285023_1240196079357826_1365087596_oWe sat outside on a bench with comfy cushions and had lovely chats and enjoyed the perfect sunshine. Very close to that Starbucks is the University and around there is a very nice park with the ‘Reformation Wall’. Also there were a lot of Pokemons there.. happy mum! I just chilled on a park bench whilst she walked around staring at her phone. I just love her!
Then it was lunchtime and as I promised the lady we would come back, we went to the vegan cafe. It’s called ‘Takinoa’ and it looks very nice. We ordered a tortilla wrap, some soup and a little chocolate cake. It was very delicious! Though the lady wasn’t very good at speaking English, she is very friendly and we had a little chat. She let me test some very tasty green juice and we talked about my blog. Her daughter was there too and they really 14303714_1240196026024498_1138491909_omade my day. (..after the Starbucks guy did that already) I just appreciate it so much if people care. I hope she will read this. (If you do, then another big thank you for the good service!) No doubt I’d really like to recommend this place. A must go! When we walked back we passed the ‘Art and History Museum’. This is the largest art museum in Geneva and I was thrilled to go inside. Only the museum was almost going to close and as rushing through a museum is no fun at all we made it an activity for tomorrow. For dinner we went to the supermarket again, we chose the broccoli burgers this time and we ate it with the left over bread and sauce from yesterday. We also found these very yummy chocolate soy yogurts. What a feast!

14285643_1240211282689639_252964178_oOur last day.. Which started with a visit to the big flea market again, at the Plainpalais (what a joy our BnB was next to this). My mum’s dream came true (she adores flea markets) and I must say I really enjoyed this too. All those old things, so many memories and the exciting feeling you have the whole time, trying to find something amazing between all that stuff. What a good start of our last day here. My mum found a very nice pendant made out of stone and a lovely silver coloured little box with a rose on top. And it was just meant to be that the flea market ended where Starbucks began.. Shame on us! We didn’t sit there for that long this time as my mum wanted to go back to the park to catch this Pokemon she didn’t have yet. So we did that and then we headed to the museum. It was beautiful, I l14285309_1240209522689815_1030736243_oove museums! It’s a shame though that everything is written in French.. and what really is even a bigger disappointment: I can’t speak or read French. It was lovely anyway. At least the numbers are the same and I was able to understand how old things were and (mostly) also where it came from. After a lovely time spend at the museum we went back to the ‘Jardin Anglais’ and just stayed there until it was time to go to the airport. There we got some food and then it was time to say goodbye. My mum was going back home and I was going back to France. What an amazing time we’ve had together though. I love my mum so much!

14341830_1240196076024493_595765759_nAbout Geneva.. it’s an absolute stunning city! The buildings are all very beautiful, with lots of lovely balconies and flowers! The people are all very classy. Everybody is dressed very stylish. We had a lovely time, but the only downside is: It’s crazy expensive!! You better save up a lot of money before going here. Especially if you’re planning to go out for food all the time. To give a few examples, a coffee and a tea at Starbucks are £11 together and a simple bottle of (0,5l) water is £3,50. So I’d recommend to bring a bottle and fill it up with water whenever you have the chance. The water in Geneva is very good, great taste! Also, if you have access to a kitchen, cooking a few meals yourself will save you quite a lot of money too.
All together I do recommend Geneva. We had a great time and it’s definitely worth going, you won’t regret it!

14303954_1240195922691175_516892243_oHOTSPOT LIST:
La Pignata – Plainpalais, Avenue du Mail 3, 1205
Lush – Rue de Rive 1, 1204
COOP supermarket – Boulevard Carl-Vogt 22, 1205
Takinoa – Rue du Nant 12, 1207
Farmers market – Sun: from early morning-17:00. / Tue + Fri: early morning-14:00. (small)
Flea market – Sat + Wed(small): 8:00-17:00.

 

Have you been in Geneva before? Or are you excited to go now? Please let me know or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

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Love some good graffiti!

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With my friends..

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So colourful!

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Just beautiful!

 

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The boats at the lake..

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So much joy and happiness!

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The St.Pierre Cathedral!

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The beautiful stained glass windows in the St.Pierre Cathedral!

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Takinoa!

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Takinoa!

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Reformation wall..

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In loveeeee..

 

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This is totally cool!

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A lot of vegan products and even some of ‘Veganz’! YAY!

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My fave biscuits.. Happy me!