Spain – Mallorca/Palma 2018

I’m back home for a while, but I was so busy with my van, that I didn’t find the time yet to write about being in Mallorca. Every year I go to the Spanish island with work. So it’s like a work holiday, but being in the lovely sunshine, surrounded by mountains and delicious food, feels a bit like a holiday for me too. We always stay in the same villa, with more family members. There are 2 cooks, that serve breakfast, lunch and a 3 course dinner every day. Breakfast is loads of yummy fruit, what is always a good start of the day. They also make sure that they cook vegan meals for me, what I so appreciate. It’s always very tasty. In the 7 days that we’re there, I always get a day off to myself. This was already the 4th year I was there, but in the previous years I’ve never made the trip to Palma. This year I was thinking about it, but I was doubting if I really wanted to go, because it’s about an hour drive. Only on the morning itself, just before I got up, I decided to go for it.

So I got ready and drove away around 10ish. I ate an apple on the way for breakfast, with the hopes I would find lots of nice vegan food in the big city. I already checked and there were several vegan places around. I was very hopeful. I parked the car in a parking garage close to the centre and walked towards one of the places I planned to visit. On the way I bumped into a lovely pair of shorts and a top and I changed into that after I payed for it. A nice, useful souvenir. It was hot, but not as hot as last year (over 37C with no breeze) and it was very doable, wandering around the little streets. Palma is a very lovely city. Not breathtaking, but very easy-going and welcoming. It has nice little streets and it’s a mixture of Spanish and modern shops.

The first place I wanted to visit was called ‘My Muy Bueno’. It was a little tricky to find at first. I walked around, but I couldn’t find it. Turned out I already walked past it twice, cuz you have to look up. It’s situated on the first level and you need to get the stairs to reach it. Once I found it, I walked inside and I was pleasantly surprised. It look so so nice! It was so stylish, with a lovely interior and great eye for detail. Delicious looking food was right in front of me and I was greeted very kindly by the girl behind the counter. I went for a mixed salad, with a piece of seeded loaf and a fresh juice. I also got a Blondie and I couldn’t resist getting a raw snicker bar too. I could choose the salads I wanted and it tasted incredible! I really enjoyed every mouthful. For dessert I had the snicker bar, as it was likely to melt if I had it take away. It was so good too.. my goodness. Something else I really like about this place it that the plastic they use, is made out of plants and so it’s 100% biodegradable. What made me think, if this is a possibility (and you can make everything out of this as the girl handed me a sheet with all the information), why is all plastic we use not made out of this right now? My Muy Bueno also organises cooking workshops and next to the little restaurant there is a big area with kitchens, where they are given. How lovely! The girl who was serving me was super friendly and after a lovely chat I left to go do a bit of sightseeing.

I walked up to the big cathedral and I know I said that Palma wasn’t per se breathtaking, but this cathedral is! It’s huge and very beautiful. I sat there in the shade for a while, admiring it. It’s definitely worth a visit. When I walked a little further I bumped into the ‘Palau March Museum’ and I love museums, so I decided to get a ticket. It was only 4,50. There were some sculptures in the little square right after entering, I didn’t particular like, but the surroundings were very nice. It just wasn’t really my style. What I did really like is that they had a statue of Rodin and I like his work, so that was really nice. Going inside I didn’t know what to expect, but I was definitely not expecting what I saw. In the museum were a lot of little figures (people and animals), creating a scenery. The human figures were about 30 cm tall I think. They were made with real precision and all of them had their own expressions. There were a lot of animals too, that were almost all used for food or entertainment, what made me a little sad though. The building had several rooms and in another room they created a scenery of the stable, right after the birth of baby Jesus. It wasn’t only the stable, but also the village surrounding it. The every day life if you will. It was very interesting. It all dated from the 18th century and is the biggest collection in the world. Up stairs there was also some antique furniture and along the way there were several paintings (I didn’t particulate like). It’s only a little museum and I didn’t spend more then 45 minutes, but it was nice.

I walked around Palma a bit, looking at the shops, the buildings and everything. I got a delicious peach from a tiny supermarket and I had it as a snack. Then I almost walked all the way back to the car, because there were 2 other vegan places I wanted to check out and they were towards the parking garage. The first one was called ‘Vegan&Raw’. They do fresh juices and several raw food options. When I arrived it turned out that they were just closing though, but the very kind lady let met buy 2 juices anyway. Lucky me! It looked really nice btw and I think it’s nice to actually have lunch there when it’s open. It was almost time to have some dinner and that’s why I walked towards a place called ‘Compost’. To be honest, I wasn’t very hungry yet, but as I was there and I wanted to check out the nicest vegan places, I went anyway and had something light. I ordered a chai tea and I went for the nori bites. Black rice and vegetables, wrapped in a nori sheet. Like sushi. It was delicious and the lady who served me was very kind. The place itself was ok, but a bit dark and dated. I’m sure if they would make it a bit lighter it would look very different already. For the food it’s definitely recommended though.

Then I went back to the car and drove to Porta Pollenca. It’s a harbour town close to where the villa is. I spend half an hour in the sea and I ate my blondie right before I headed back. The blondie was very good btw!

I had a lovely day and I would recommend you to go to Palma to check it out for yourself. They have some very good vegan cafes and restaurants and it’s a lovely day out. Out of everything I would say, definitely go to My Muy Bueno if you only have time to go to one thing. It’s so worth it!

HOTSPOT LIST:
My Muy Bueno –  Floor 1, Carrer de Tous i Maroto, 5B, 07001, Palma.
Palau March Museum – Carrer del Palau Reial, 18, 07001, Palma.
Vegan&Raw – Plaça del Bisbe Berenguer de Palou, nº2, 07003, Palma.
Compost – Carrer de Rubén Darío, 4, 07012, Palma.

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

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Denmark – Copenhagen

Every year I go on a city trip. Like, I’ve been to Paris, Berlin, Glasgow, Rome.. and this year I decided to explore Copenhagen. I booked for 3 nights, what also gave me about 3 days. Denmark’s capital was on my travel bucket list for quite a while as it’s so known for its sustainability. I will tell you all about my trip and I’ll give you a nice list of hotspot you should definitely check out if you decide to explore this amazing city! What might be fun is to tell you about my expectations, then tell you what I did in the time I was there and in the end I’ll tell you about my conclusion. Another thing I’d like to say before you start reading, is that I normally plan my trips into detail. I plan an exact route, put down the places I will eat etc etc. This time I didn’t. I don’t know why exactly. I just didn’t make time for it and left it a little too late. It was very new to me, but as you’ll read, it turned out fine.

EXPECTATIONS
I went to Denmark before, when I was very young, but I do not remember a lot of it. So my expectations are based on what I’ve heard and from what I’ve seen on pictures etc. I expect a lot of modern shapes, straight lines, squares etc. I also expect veganism to be very accessible. A bit like in London, but then with a whole different atmosphere. I expect a lot of sustainable choices, like paper bags, cups, recyclable materials etc. and not too much plastic. I think the Danes are friendly, with a good knowledge of the English language and for some reason to be looking very intellectual. You know, like the people you see in optician adverts, haha!


WHAT IT WAS LIKE
– Day 1
My flight was on Thursday at 14:00, from Gatwick. I drove there, what made everything so much easier. Before I headed off I wanted to quickly pick up my new glasses, but it turned out the M4 was all closed and so I didn’t want to risk it in the end. It’s a good thing, because it was quite busy on the alternative route. Even though I left a lot earlier, I arrived at the long stay parking at the same time as I had planned if I had left Newbury later. It was fairly easy to park the car and take a 5 min bus journey to the terminal. My flight was on time and everything went smoothly. It was the first time I traveled with a backpack and the first thing what made it so much easier, is that I needed a lot less space for it to fit into the luggage spaces. It was very windy and rainy in the UK when I left, but it was all sunny with blue skies stepping out of the aeroplane. What a great start! It was super easy to get to my AirBnB. It was only a few metro stations away from the airport and a 2 min walk from the metro station. My hosts were the kindest people. I felt so welcome and it was like I already knew them. I so appreciated their hospitality. I charged my phone a bit and did a little bit of relaxing, before I went to find myself some dinner. I used the super handy app from HappyCow to see where the nearest vegan restaurant was. This turned out to be ‘The Organic Boho’, what was only a 30 min walk away. So off I went. That is where the trouble started. A while ago I got new shoes, Vans. I love them, but it’s taking me a while breaking them in. I thought they will be fine and all the walking on my trip will give it the final push. Boy I was wrong! My feet were hurting so much after those 30 min, but at least I got there.

The Organic Boho > all vegan!
The Organic Boho was such a nice little restaurant. There are a few seats inside, but some lovely seats outside too. It was in the evening, but still quite warm, also because I walked. So I decided to sit outside. The only trouble from sitting outside is that it’s not the best location for this as it’s located at a very busy, not pretty looking, street and so there are cars right in front of you. I ordered inside, a cauliflower burger. There was also the option to choose for falafel instead, but all vegans know falafel by now, so cauliflower it was. It was a great choice, because it was delicious. It was such a yummy bread roll, with a cauliflower steak as a burger. Great idea! What a good first meal. I really enjoyed that. The girl at the till was super friendly and their menu looks very nice. Definitely check them out. 

With a lot of pain I made it to a bench that was overlooking the water. Luckily I was carrying some plasters with me, so I freed my feet and covered the sore areas with Peppa Pig plasters. It was actually a nice spot where I was sitting, because there were so many ducks, gees and even some swans. All with babies! The cutest thing! When the sun was all down I made my way back to the AirBnB. My feet were still painful, but a little better than it was before. I was wondering how I was going to do this trip with sore feet though. I always walk a lot on my city trips, like 12-15 km a day. I just really hoped it was all going to be magically better by the next morning.


-Day 2
My feet weren’t better and my shoes were just as painful. Somehow I still made my way to the centre. I planned to have brunch at 42 Raw. When I was almost there I came through the main shopping street and I quickly popped into the H&M. I bought some simple summer shoes. I was doubting what to get, because flip-flops were very tempting, but walking 12-15 km on flip-flops would also be quite disastrous. So I went for the in between solution. It felt a lot better than my vans though and it turned out 42 Raw was around the corner from there.

42 Raw > all vegan!
The whole lay out looks quite posh, with the pretty golden letters and the high ceilings. They have a few long tables you can sit on, no seats outside, but a few seats at the window though. I was lucky to sit right there as I always look for as much daylight as possible, to take a good picture of my food for you. I went for the brunch. This means that you get a little bit of everything. At 42 Raw this means you get a pancake with bananas and goji berries, yogurt with apple and granola, sweet potato chips with sauce and seeded bread with houmous and smashed avocado. I also got a green smoothie. It looked so nice together and it was all really delicious. They also do a lot of treats and I chose a big healthy, chocolate chip cookie for later. What I didn’t like is that the smoothie came into a big plastic cup with a straw!

I decided to walk around a little bit and that’s when I discovered a lovely shop called Plint. It’s filled with pretty things and it’s so nice to have a look around. I found beautiful black cutlery I really wanted to have, but I wasn’t sure I was able to bring the knives and forks in the aeroplane. The girls who worked there was also not sure and even tried to google it for me. Another customer said he was quite sure I wasn’t allowed and actually I was quite convinced it was going to be impossible. I almost put it back, but then came up with the idea to post it to myself. So I bought it anyway. It’s going to be so nice for in my van. The post office was around the corner and so I posted the knives and forks to myself. Next to the post office was the Rundetaarn (The Round Tower) and I’m always up for climbing something for a nice view. The entrance was only 25kr (about £3,95). The best thing was that there was an art exhibition too. So halfway (gives you a good break from climbing it too!) you can look at that. The art was from different artist, also 4 Dutch people. I loved a lot of things. It was different, but with a message and I love art like that. It makes you think about the every day things. Another round up you are able to learn about the Rundetaarn itself (another little break from climbing it). The climb isn’t that bad actually, as it’s a flat floor and it’s basically just like walking up a hill. The last bit are stairs, but then you’re rewarded with an amazing view. I stayed up there for at least 20 minutes. I just love to take it all in from the top. I definitely recommend doing this. And for less than 4 quid!

From the top of the Rundetaarn I saw a park close by and that is where I walked towards when I got down again. It turned out to be Kongens Have. This is Denmark’s oldest royal garden, it dates back from the 17th century. It’s a beautiful park and it’s the garden from the gorgeous Rosenborg Slot. It was built in 1606-34 by Christian IV. This was his favourite castle and he eventually died here too. Nowadays the crown jewels are kept here. I enjoyed my cookie from 42 Raw on a bench next to it. From there I just walked to one of the exits and across the street from there was the Statens Museum for Kunst. In front of the museum was water, like a fountain, but without a fountain. Instead there were actually chairs in there, with the possibility to sit on a chair with your feet in the water. A few people were already doing this and of course, with my sore feet, I had to do this too. The water is about 25 cm deep and my jeans weren’t the kind you can easily pull up, but who cares that they got wet, it was so enjoyable. I sat there for over half an hour just enjoying this and the sunshine. Whilst I sat there I saw the sight seeing buses pass by all the time, so I decided to get tickets from the nearest bus stop.

I went for the all including ticket, what gave me access to 2 bus routes and the boat tour for 72 hours. I know it’s super touristy to go on these sight seeing buses, but I like them. Not only because you get to see a lot of things, but I especially like them for the information you get during the tour. The history, some inside jokes, cultural habits and traditions etc. I did the whole bus tour and didn’t get off anywhere but the famous Little Mermaid statue. The bus driver stopped for 5 minutes there so I could get off and take a picture. Very nice of him. I heard that people were disappointed by the size of this Little Mermaid, but because of this I expected it to be even smaller than she actually was, haha! It is a beautiful statue though. Then I finished the rest of the tour. I must say that I was a little disappointed with the information given during the tour. It wasn’t that much. The driver also really took his time and all together it was at least 2 hours, what should have been 1,5 hour. It didn’t matter though, it was still nice to see it all and get a good feel of the city this way. When I got off the bus it was dinner time and I decided to go to Simple Raw.

Simple Raw – all vegan!
I couldn’t find it at first, but that is because the restaurant is a little under street level and their sign isn’t that clear. The girls that work there are lovely and super helpful and friendly. Simple Raw has lovely little menu books with pretty pictures, what makes it very easy (or very hard.. hehe..) to choose. I went, of course, for a burger. Maybe I should start a burger blog, because it’s my favourite. This one was super tasty too, my goodness! I really enjoyed it and the juice with strawberries I chose was delicious as well. There are quite a few tables inside, but as the weather was still so nice and I’m always quite warm from walking everywhere, I sat outside. The chairs aren’t the most comfortable though, but as soon as you bite into the amazing food you forget about that.

I headed back to my AirBnB with such a satisfied feeling. Thanks to the nutritious food of course, but also because of a very good and sunny first proper day.

-Day 3
After another great night of sleep (I always sleep so well on city trip, thanks to all the walking and many new impressions), I headed to Yellow Rose. I went there yesterday as well, just very shortly, because I saw they had waffles. Turned out the waffles come with the brunch, so I decided this was the place to have brunch today.

Yellow Rose – all vegan!
This place!! It looks amazing, with the beautiful soft yellow and soft pink colours and all the amazing details. It’s a bit like 50’s/60’s meets boho. They have window seats (I love window seats!) with comfy cushions and they have quite a lot of seats in general. It’s a good size cafe, while they kept it cosy. I just wanted to live there. Also because they do ah-mazing food! I went for the brunch as I wanted the waffles, but I got a lot more of course. It was a lot in general I think and it was all so good. The waffles were on point with the whipped up soy cream, but all the food was so fresh and delicious. I think this was really worth my money. I didn’t want to leave, but as I only have a few days, I wanted to make the most of my time of course. So before I went I also bought some snacks for later. I couldn’t choose, so I got a lemon cake with cream and fresh berries on top, a peanut butter/banana and chocolate cupcake and there was a cookie with nuts I per se wanted to try. Hehe.. oh well.. it’s the holidays! 

I went back to the starting point of the touring buses to do the Christiania tour. It was a very full bus, but they only go every hour, so I took it. It was a very nice tour, less long, but I like the neighbourhood. It’s where all the hippies live, haha! There is street art and it’s all about recycling etc. After the bus tour I went straight to the boat. I was lucky again as there was a boat just coming to pick up more people. I had a good seat in the front. When I was waiting for it to leave, it started to drizzle a little, but it was lovely to feel the cool rain on my sun-warmed skin. The best bit of the boat is that there is a live guide, a lovely girl who could speak so many languages fluently, fascinating. Halfway the tour, when we were in the middle of the big river it started pouring so badly though! The guide handed out plastic poncho’s, but I refused, because I was a little wet anyway already and I don’t want to use plastic (anyway) for something I actually love. It was crazy really, like standing in the shower. My make up washed off my face, I couldn’t look because of all the water in my eyes and within a minute I was completely soaked. After like 3 minutes it stopped, but imagine yourself standing under the shower for 3 minutes and you have an idea what it was like. It was a lovely boat tour though, you get really good views of Copenhagen this way. Especially of Amalienborg, the Opera house and the part they call ‘little Amsterdam’. When I got off the boat I considered buying new clothes, as it was only the middle of the day, but it would have wasted too much time to walk all the way back to the AirBnB. Instead I walked towards the cafe where the son of my AirBnB hosts works. I said I would have a look. It’s called the Big Apple. Next to the Big Apple is a lovely spiritual shop called ‘Tessies’. They sell:crystals, jewellery, clothes, buddhas etc. Very lovely to go inside for a bit.

Big Apple – omni!
The Big Apple is a juice and sandwich bar, but it isn’t vegan, nor vegetarian. The guy behind the bar was really nice though and he made me a green smoothie, called the ‘purifier’. He wanted to put it in a plastic cup, but I asked if he had a glass instead. He didn’t, but he did have a paper cup. So I went for that, at least it’s better than plastic. The juice was delicious. They do a vegan sandwich too, in case you want to have a quick bite to eat. The best bit of this cafe is that they have some awesome relaxing areas. I sat down stairs in a cosy corner under the stairs, filled with cushions. You can also go up stairs and there a some sort of bed you can chill on. I love this and I think every cafe should have this. I sat in this cafe for an hour, ate the peanut butter cupcake and called my mum for a bit. Just to catch up and in the meantime to get dry a little.

I really wanted to get to the popular Nyhaven and so I took the bus to get there. Just because the bus was there anyway and Nyhaven was the second stop. Nyhaven is the place you always see when you see a picture of Copenhagen. I’m sure you either think of this or the mermaid statue when you think of Copenhagen. Nyhaven is such a lovely area. It’s a shame there aren’t any vegan restaurants or cafes, but I really liked to see the colourful houses and boats. Nyhaven means ‘new harbour’, what is funny as the harbour is actually 350 years old. It’s a must see when visiting the city! I took another look at my Happy Cow app and I decided to walk towards Green Burger. It was a lovely walk, partly through Kongens Have. When I arrived I wasn’t super hungry yet, so when I got there, I first sat down a little further down, to enjoy the last sun rays.

Green Burger – all vegan!
Because their colours are green and yellow it really reminds me of the Subway. I have no idea if they did this intentional, but I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking this. I think it’s a shame actually that they used these colours, because it doesn’t make it very appealing. Or maybe they didn’t want to look too fancy, to make it look a little bit more cheap/accessible. Anyway, I ordered a classic burger menu. This included a drink and fries. I went for the sweet potato fries, of course. I took a seat at the window as your burger will be brought to you. The girl at the till was such a lovely girl. She was super helpful and even wrote down some vegan cafe’s/restaurants down for me. After about 10 min my meal was ready. It all looked so good and the sweet potatoes were so so good! I know I say this a lot, but they really were the best I’ve ever had. So crispy and delicious! The burger was very good too. I really enjoyed this meal. They were one of the cheaper places. I payed about £15 for this. The prices at Green Burger are actually the same as in London, but for Copenhagen, that’s cheap, haha! 

I walked  from Green Burger all the way back to the AirBnB, what means I walked for 1,5 hour. Lovely walk!

-Day 4
Now call me crazy, but on my last morning in Copenhagen I walked all the way back towards Green Burger. Even a little bit further, because that is where the restaurant Souls is. It was recommended by a few people, so I wanted to go. On my way I made a quick stop at Christiania. The people were just setting up their market stalls and they were dealing drugs all around me. It felt like I was in Amsterdam, haha! They sell a lot of souvenirs, but nothing I’d buy. It was nice to see though and I really liked the beautiful street art everywhere. It was nice to see it. Just before I arrived at Souls I passed a lovely eco shop, called: EcoEgo. Unfortunately it was closed, but otherwise I would definitely have a quick look. They sell all things that are reusable etc.

Souls – all vegan!
At Souls I was quite hot from the walking and as all the tables inside were taken or reserved I went for a table outside. It’s located next to quite a busy junction, but it’s ok. I ordered the brunch and also a strawberry smoothie. The smoothie was quite runny, almost a little bit like a milkshake. It was tasty though and the brunch itself was good too, with fresh fruit. I especially liked the cashew yogurt, very different, but very tasty. Even though I wasn’t sitting inside, I have to say that the interior is very nice. Even the toilets are super lovely. The staff was very friendly and I understand why it was recommended. Next to me sat a Dutch couple from Rotterdam and I spoke to them for a bit, what was nice, but as I wanted to go to the beach for a bit, I had to go. 

I walked all the way back to Christiania, but then I took the metro to the Amager Beach Park. I could easily do this, because it’s the same metro that takes me to the airport. The beach is a 5 min walk from the ‘Amager Strand’ station. The beach in Copenhagen is artificial, but it was still nice. To feel the sand and the cool water on my feet was great. It was quite a cloudy day, with a fair bit of wind, but that didn’t stop some people from going swimming. Even kids were swimming. So brave! After half an hour I had to get up and say my goodbyes to Copenhagen, because it was time to head to the airport. It was almost dinner time, but there wasn’t much to eat at the airport. There was a Yo Sushi, with a limited menu, so there were basically only 3 vegan options. Better than nothing though. Later I discovered there were a few vegan options at this place called Retreat. So I got a salad and a chia pudding. It was super super delicious, but so much plastic again. So disappointing, especially if it’s the only real meal you can get. I got to the gate on time, but then it turned out the fight was delayed. When we finally got into the aeroplane they said it was going to take another 2 hours due to the weather at Gatwick. Half an hour later we were in the queue, but then a man decided he wanted to get out. Seriously? So we had to taxi all the way back to the gate for him. Before all the safety procedures were finished and the doors were closed again there was another half an hour passed. Oh well.. I was reading Harry Potter, so that is what I did for 4 hours straight. I didn’t mind. No need to stress about things you can’t control. I’ve had a lovely holiday and I won’t ever let things like this ruin it.

CONCLUSION
I think Copenhagen is definitely worth a city trip. I really enjoyed my stay. I love the architecture and the friendly people. The people are very real, easy-going and straight forward. That is why they remind me of the Dutch. They are very good looking (guys with long hair and skateboards everywhere.. gosh!) and they are all very good at speaking English. Something what you will really notice as well is that they live a slower life. Nothing much is rushed, like it is in London. People actually wait when the light is red, even though they could have crossed at least 10 times. They cycle a lot, at a normal speed, not quick quick quick.. The food is very good. There are a lot of all vegan cafe’s and restaurants + everything is so fresh and a lot of it is organic too. So great!

Something that was disappointing to me was the amount of plastic that is still being used. For a city that wants to be carbon free by the year 2025 and the way they are good at recycling, I thought things like this would have been so much better over here. You also have to keep in mind that Copenhagen is very expensive. If you are eating all your meals out, bring a big bag of money, haha! I solved this by only eating 2 meals a day. So I would go for brunch around 11:00, get a treat (or 3.. haha..) at that same place for later in the day and then I’d have my dinner around 19:00. This easily kept me going, but it still cost me about £50 a day. But overall I loved it here! I really felt at home and even imagined myself living in Copenhagen. I enjoyed it even more than I thought I would.

HOTSPOT LIST:
The Organic Boho: Prinsessegade 23, 1422.
42 Raw: Pilestræde 32, 1112.
Plint: Købmagergade 50, 1150.
Simple Raw: Gråbrødretorv 9, 1154.
Yellow Rose: Peder Hvitfeldts Stræde 17, 1173.
Tessies: Fiolstræde 14, 1171.
Big Apple: Fiolstræde 18, 1171.
Green Burger: Frederiksborggade 26, 1360.
EcoEgo: Nørre Farimagsgade 82, 1364 .
Souls: Nørre Farimagsgade 63, 1364.

Did you visit Copenhagen yet? Or will you now after reading this? I’d love to hear about your experiences or plans to go! You can let me know in the comments below or show me your favourite picture of this lovely city via Instagram by tagging me. Thank you! X

Personal #2 – Life these days

The last time (also the first time) I wrote a personal post was back in September. A lot has happened in the meantime, so I thought it’s really time to write an update. In my first personal post you could read about the fact that a lot of things were going to change for me. Things have changed now. Seriously changed. They even changed a lot more than I could imagine.

OLIVER
Something that I didn’t foresee was that I became a pig mum within 2 weeks of moving. You maybe already know this if you follow my blog or my Instagram, because I posted about Oliver here and a lot on Instagram too. He even has his own Instagram profile. Last Friday he turned 12 weeks, what means he’s already with me for over 10 weeks! Mid December he moved to the barn and he’s doing amazing. He is so lovely and I love him so so much! He brought me a lot, mostly good things. Actually only good things. I said mostly, because looking after him is a big responsibility and I always worry about him. He is all healthy now, what is amazing, but I worry about his future. I’m doing my best to raise him well, but he will be big and he sometimes forgets he is strong. This is why I choose to not have another pig for now. It will be nice for him to have a companion, but I’m worried that accidents will happen (mainly with the small kids I’m looking after). Two big pigs together will be maybe too much to handle when they’re both full size. So I want to see what it is like when he is bigger and in the field. By then I hope he will still accept a companion and if not, that he will be ok by himself. Especially when I’m traveling in a few years.

STRUGGLE
Lately I feel that I struggle with being vegan. Don’t get me wrong, being vegan itself is the easiest thing. Doing the right thing for the animals, my health, the environment and so many things more is the best decision I’ve ever made. My struggle is with the fact that the rest of the world isn’t vegan. In the first years of being vegan it was bothering me as well, but I can feel the feeling is getting stronger and stronger. I think this is for a few reasons. Since I have Oliver, there are a lot of people who want to make a funny comment about him, in terms of ‘bacon’ ‘bbq’ ‘spare ribs’ etc. Or people who ask me why I have him or what I am going to do with him. As in ‘will I eat him’. This bothers me so so much (and this is a very nice and polite way of expressing myself comparing to what I actually feel at moments like that). Even only writing it down now, makes me very angry. To be really honest with you, what I feel at moments like that is hate. I don’t want to feel it and I’m a very positive person and I always try to see things in a positive way or at least to not let it get to me, but I’m failing terribly. I’m really struggling with this more since I’d say 6 months and it got worse since I moved and have Oliver. In the country side there are so many meat/dairy/egg/hunting related things around me. The pigs in the fields next to the house, the cows and other animals I see in the fields, hunting the pheasants next to the house, but also the people everywhere. It’s more ‘normal’ here it seems, what makes it so hard for me. How can people be so distant from all these beautiful animals? They must be so lost in society and tradition, that I should actually feel sorry for them. This all is so hard and definitely the hardest things about being vegan. Why do people not get it? Why don’t they see what I see? Where is their compassion? I feel like it bothers me more and more and sometimes I don’t know what to do with myself. I always have an answer for everything, but for this one it seems I’m stuck.

VANLIFE
Something super exciting is that I bought my van. Last year, in November. It’s a white Citroën Relay from 2014. So far I stripped and cleaned it. I wanted to fit in the skylight ventilator and the window before Xmas, but it was too cold. I have the insulation ready to fit in, but there is so much condensation (because of the cold as well) that I have to wait with that too. I will wait until there is a weekend with temperatures above 15C. Hopefully this will come soon, because in March my dad is coming to help me and the insulation needs to be done by then. Overall, I just need to be patient, what is super hard, because I want to work on it. I’m so excited for it to be finished and me moving in.

HEALTHWISE
Last year I didn’t work out much, I made less time for yoga/mediation and mindfulness and I ate too much junk food. This year I want to change that and it’s going super well so far. I’m eating clean and I’m seriously working out almost every day. I’m trying to make sure I live in the now and I start my mornings with yoga and meditation. One of the things I also started doing since the first of January, is writing down what I did every day, like a little journal. I bought a day-a-page diary for this and I do this every evening before I go to sleep. It’s not so much for writing down my feelings etc. but more to remember what I did that day. This works great for living more mindful. I also started to read more, what was one of my new years resolutions. I love reading.

Do you recognise some things? Do you have questions? Or do you have something you’d like to share after reading my more personal stuff? Please let me know in the comments below or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Netherlands October 2017

Hello everybody, I’m sorry I hardly posted anything in the past 2 weeks. It has just been so busy with moving houses and with getting used to being in a new place. Also, since a week I own a little piglet, that I saved from a pig farm. So the last week has been crazy crazy, with looking after him. Especially because he was (and still is a bit) very ill. He’s still very up and down, what makes me very stressed. Anyway, that was the reason why I wasn’t that active here. I’ll try to post more regularly again from now on. I just have to organise it all a little better and find a new routine. I did promise you to tell you all about my travels to the Netherlands in October and I’ve got some lovely new hotspots for you, so there we go.

I left quite early in the morning on Friday the 13th (ah oh! ..haha!) to Stansted Airport. My favourite airport to fly from and to when it comes to London. Everything went well and I had some spare time to get a Starbucks before boarding. I flew to Eindhoven, what means I had to travel another 3 hours by train from there to Assen. I actually really like this, because I can just look out of the window and relax. My mum was there to pick me up. One of the reasons I was coming to the Netherlands this time, is because my mum bought a little house and I wanted to see it of course. It’s he cutest little bungalow with an amazing garden. I love it a lot! My nephew came in the end of the day, because he was coming with us to Amsterdam the next day. So lovely to see him. That night we had to sleep at my mum’s work. For the people who don’t know, my mum works at Rikus. Rikus is a hotel-restaurant n Eext. Normally the lady who does the vegetable gardens lives above Rikus, but as she was on holiday and there needs to be somebody in the building at night, my mum slept in her house. We actually slept there for 3 nights. It’s an amazing apartment! I love it so much! Apart from the location and that it’s above a hotel, I’d totally see myself living there. In the evening we watched the movie White Chicks with the 3 of us and then went to sleep. As we had to wake up early to travel to the capital.

We caught the 7:30 train and about 2 hours later we got out at Amsterdam Central. Amsterdam is such a lovely city. We came here for 2 things. First of all we were visiting my mum’s friend and second I met Lisa (from the blog Lisa Goes Vegan) to give her the key of my flat. Lisa will live in my flat for a month, after I moved to the country side. She will work on her second book there, what is so cool. I wish her all the best! First of all I wanted to visit this place called ‘Koffie ende Koeck’. I heard so many nice things about this, that I wanted to see it for myself. Koffie ende Koeck is such a lovely cafe and 100% vegan! Yay! My mum had a cappuccino with oat milk, I (of course) ordered a chai latte and my nephew wanted a yummy tropical smoothie. I also ordered a croissant and my mum tried their brownie. It was all super delicious, though my mum did say the cappuccino could have been a bit hotter. We walked everything this day and so we passed a lot of nice looking hotspots too. We didn’t have time (and enough space in our stomach) to go everywhere, but I will mention them in the hotspot list.

We walked all the way to Olive&Cookie. This is a very nice little restaurant, run by two lovely people. It was actually closed, but because my mum’s friends knows them well, they opened the restaurant especially for us, whilst they were preparing some catering. Because you can also hire them for catering. It was so nice. Lovely to meet them all and the food.. wohw! This was such delicious food! If you get the chance, please go here and you’ll know what I mean. It’s all vegetarian, but there are also a lot of vegan dishes. They made me pastries filled with lentils and veggies, there was crispy sweet potato (I could have eaten all by myself), beetroot salad and an amazing chickpeas salad. As a dessert they made me not one, but two cupcakes. Most delicious an I ate them both, haha! This is the kind of food you do not want to swallow, because it feels so good in your mouth. I will definitely come back for this. Then we met Lisa, fairy close to there, at The Meets. A very nice eatery with several healthy vegan things on the menu. We all had a fresh coconut, what was super delicious. It was lovely to meet Lisa as we do not only share the same name, but we’re both bloggers and have a passion for veganism. She’s such a lovely girl and I’m super happy to have her in my flat. This way it feels like I gradually move from London, even though I don’t live there anymore whilst she is there. On our way back to the station we passed several amazing hotspots. Amsterdam really is more up coming. There are new hotspots every time I visit. At the station my nephew and I ordered a portion of fries, because Smullers (a snackbar you can find on almost any big train station) now offers vegan mayonnaise. I obviously had to try that. It was a lovely day in Amsterdam.

On Sunday we took a new family picture. So everybody came to my mum’s place and we took a lovely picture in the garden. It was very nice to have everybody together. After we went to the snackbar to have lunch (didn’t I have fries yesterday already? Oops!). On Monday my mum and I went to my dad’s house in the forest and we had a drink on the terrace in the nearby village. We also went to the COOP supermarket to get some Vivera products. Mainly to take them home to London. Vivera is a very nice Dutch brand, that does sell in London, but only a small selection. Now I was finally be able to try their new vegan fish burger for example. It was very yum! On our way back we stopped the car to collect some chestnuts. Later that evening I put them in the oven and my mum, my brother and I were enjoying them, until my brother and I both discovered one with a maggot in it. You kind of lose your appetite then. I felt mostly bad for putting them in the oven though.

I needed to have some new jeans and a shop I always find some good ones is C&A. So my mum and I went to Emmen to do some shopping and lucky me, I did find 2 pair of new jeans. When we finished we went to see my sister in Hoogeveen, because she just moved houses too and I wanted to see her new house of course. A lovely house, with so much space. What is good, because there is a third baby on the way.. I will become an aunty again next year April, yay! On our way back we stopped by my aunt and uncle and my cousin Blessing. I love Blessing very much. Poor him though, because he had broken his arm at football practice. So we brought him some treats. So lovely to see them all. On Wednesday I went to see my grandparents (I always visit them whenever I’m in the Netherlands) and on Thursday I went back home again. Home for only one more night, as I moved houses the next day.

HOTSPOT LIST:
Rikus – Hotel-Restaurant – Hoofdstraat 10, 9463 PC Eext.
Koffie ende Koek – Cafe – Haarlemmerweg 175, 1051 LA Amsterdam.
Juice Brothers + Van Leeuwen – Juice & Ice Cream – Haarlemmerplein 43, 1013 Amsterdam.
SLA – Salad bar – Westerstraat 34, 1015 MK Amsterdam.
Impression – Painting studio – Van Beuningenplein 1, 1051 VS Amsterdam.
Olive & Cookie – Restaurant – Saenredamstraat 67, 1072 CD Amsterdam.
The Meets – Eatery – Cornelis Troostplein 3, 1072 JJ Amsterdam.
Mastino – Pizzaria – Eerste van der Helststraat 78 hs, 1072 NZ Amsterdam.
Vegan Junk Food Bar – Restaurant – Staringplein 22, 1054 VL Amsterdam.
Smullers – Snackbar – Amsterdam Centraal (+ many more train stations).

Have you been to any of these hotspots yet? Or are you really excited to go now? I would love to hear about your trip and experiences! You can leave a comment below or you can show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

UK – Wales

For my work I went to Wales for a week. I stayed very close to the coast, a few minutes drive from St.Davids. Because the family I work for went by car and the journey is too long to be squished in between the girls car seats, I took the train. I love traveling by train, so I didn’t mind at all. I will tell you a little bit about what I did every day.

FRIDAY
I had the morning to do a little bit of relaxing, to start the day slowly and to get ready. My train was going at 12:30, from Paddington Station. I arrived at the station perfectly on time and I didn’t have to wait too long before we took off. The first part of the journey, until Bristol Temple Meads was a bout 2 hours, then from there to Newport it was only half an hour (though there was a little delay) and the last bit towards Haverfordwest was another 3 hours. Everything went really well and though I left with a grey sky and rain, the weather got better and better. I planned to do some work on the train, but I was too distracted by the beautiful views. Especially when I arrived in Wales, the views were really breathtaking. So not a lot of work done, but a lot of thinking and enjoying. When I arrived at Haverfordwest, my employer was already waiting for me to pick me up. Before going to the cottage, we went to get groceries at a very big Morrisons. From there it was about half an hour to the holiday cottage and in the meantime it got rainy and dark. The cottage was so  lovely. I couldn’t see the outside too well, but the inside was amazing. So much space and proper country side style. Light walls, old dark wooded floors and an amazing big bathroom!! My room was all the way upstairs, with a very cute en-suite bathroom. I shared the top floor with the girls, but they had their own bedroom though. I quickly warmed up some lentil soup and then unpacked my things. I  love doing that, hehe.. The rest of the evening I just relaxed and read a little bit. Just before bedtime I wanted to take a shower, but I couldn’t get the water warm. So I had a very very cold shower, because I just can’t go to bed without a shower.. let alone in freshly washed sheets!

SATURDAY
The bed is so cosy and lovely, I had an amazing sleep. For breakfast I had some fruit and tea and then we headed to Whitesands Bay, a beautiful beach. The tide was in, so we went into the little shop and had a tea in the cafe. After that we could wander around on the beach for a bit, yay! There are always so many things to see on the beach. Beautiful shells, crab claws, seaweed, pretty rocks.. I used to take things with me, but I never do something with it, so now I just admired it whilst I’m there. In the afternoon we went to a close by harbour. When the tide is in you can’t walk there, but it wasn’t, so we could walk at the bottom of the harbour, towards the sea. Was very fun and it was super beautiful there. In the evening I made myself a burger, I did some reading and though my employer got my shower to work during the day, the only thing I got was freezing water. I was too cold to take a proper shower, so I had to splash myself a little to at least feel fresh enough to go into bed. I was sooo cold after!

SUNDAY
When we were in the cafe yesterday, we found out there is a trampoline place nearby. So we went there this morning. It’s called Hangar 5 and it’s a big place full of only trampolines. So much fun! In the beginning I felt a little wobbly, but once I got into it, I was confident enough to do (quite) high star jumps and to really enjoy it. Only a few minutes drive from there was a big restaurant and we went there for lunch. I always prepare to have salad and fries, but to my surprise they actually had quite a lot of vegan food. They even marked it as ‘vegan’ on the menu. It made me so happy. There were things like: Asian slaw, Garlic bread, Spiced cauliflower & kale brown rice, Basil pesto penne, Grilled Harissa aubergine and even an Apple pie for dessert. I went for the Grilled Harissa Aubergine and gave them a compliment for their vegan options. The restaurant is called ‘The Lost Coins’ btw and I had a lovely lunch here. In the evening I was determined to get my shower to work, so my employer took another look and he got it to work within a minute. Turned out that hot is cold and cold is hot and you had to run it quite a while on ‘cold’, before it got hot. At least I had a lovely warm bath that evening, what was so lovely. I really enjoyed that.

MONDAY
Again I had some fruit for breakfast and then we went out to explore St.Davids. It’s an absolute beautiful village. We originally went to do an art workshop with the children, but when we got there it was closed. So we decided to go to the cathedral. Wohw! What a beautiful cathedral. I really loved walking around there. Everything is so detailed and beautifully made. In the back is a little restaurant and we had lunch there. They only did 2 side dishes, but both were vegan. So I had some mixed veggies and roasted potato, with a little bread roll on the side. I filled the bread with the veggies and though it wasn’t a lot of food, it was surprisingly delicious. I felt really content as it made me happy that even here you don’t have to starve if you choose for cruel free. The world is changing! In the afternoon everybody went to the beach, but I stayed at home to cook for the kids. In the meantime I also tidied up and cleaned the kitchen. Because I just can’t stand crumbs and mess, haha! I had some yummy pasta in the evening, with a home-made tomato sauce.

TUESDAY
This morning I started with yogurt, banana, strawberries and muesli. A good breakfast for a morning at the seaside. We went to the beach they went to yesterday. It was a beautiful beach, enclosed with cliffs. A lady said that people sometimes swim with seals here, so cool! I also found a shark egg, what was so nice. Later I did some research and it turned out to be from a ‘Small-spotted Catshark’. We took some sandwiches with us for the kids and whilst they were eating them around lunchtime I suddenly spotted 2 seals swimming a few meters from the shore! I was so excited to see them!! So I sat on the rocks, closest from where they were and waited for ages.. and a few times they showed themselves again. I actually didn’t want to leave ever again, but we obviously had to head back at one point. In the afternoon we watched a children’s program (Ruff-ruff Tweet and Dave) and they made a rainbow out of veggies and fruits. So when it was finished, we made a rainbow too. We ate the fruit for snack and the veggies for dinner. So much fun!

WEDNESDAY
I had the same breakfast as yesterday and after I helped to get the kids ready I was off for (most of) the day. I took some time to relax, read and work on my blog. I made myself an avocado pasta salad for lunch and after that I prepared some meals for the next few days. I cooked a butternut squash and made it into a pasta sauce, together with some other veggies. It was lovely to do some cooking by myself, listen to music and sing along. So relaxing and fun. In the afternoon I helped out a bit, by playing with the kids outside and I also cooked and gave them their dinner. It was a lovely relaxing day.

THURSDAY
The last day, because tomorrow morning I will catch the morning train back to London. So today we went to the same beach as where we saw the seals last Tuesday. We played on the rocks, explored some caves and looked for treasures (pretty stones, shells, crab claws, shark eggs, seaweed etc). Then 2 dogs came on the beach and started barking very loudly. It turned out, that not far from us was a baby seal in between the rocks. We didn’t see him at first, because his fur blends in with the rocks so well. We went to see him (to make it easy I’m going to assume it was a boy ok?) and thought he might be hurt, because he didn’t move away and started to make noises. So we decided to call an organisation to ask if it was normal. The only thing was that we didn’t have reception there. So somebody went up to find reception and we started to play around again. But then the seal suddenly wanted to go back to the sea. At that same moment the lady who made a call cam back and said we should leave him alone, but he shouldn’t go back into the sea, because he was waiting for his mum there. So we panicked a little, because he was on his way to the sea. We tried to stop him, but it was quite tricky. We decided to make a call to a sanctuary as we didn’t want him to die in the sea, because of losing his parents. Then another lady came onto the beach and said we should probably just let him. But we felt so guilty, because we went to this beach and that’s why it was disturbed. So we decided to take all our stuff quickly and run away, hoping he would stay on the beach if we left. But when we climbed back up to the cliff he did go into the sea anyway. I felt so bad, because if it wouldn’t survive it was our fault. As soon as we got back to the cottage I send the pictures I took to my best friend, who knows a lot about seals. Then he told me that the seal looked old enough to look after himself and that he looked very well too. I was so happy to hear that and felt a lot less guilty. All together it was very amazing to see a beautiful wild animal from so close though. So special! In the afternoon we went to Whitesands Bay again for a bit and when we got back I started to pack an prepare everything for tomorrow. I took a last bath and then curled up in my lovely bed for the last night. I slept so well during my stay. Very deep.

FRIDAY
An early wake, because my taxi was going to pick me up at 8:40 and before that I helped giving the kids breakfast and to get everything ready and packed. The drive to the station was very nice, because I had a very nice taxi driver, who was born and raised in St.Davids. He had an adopted Jack Russel and as soon as we discovered our love for dogs, you can imagine we didn’t talk about anything else anymore. The train journey went very well. I only had to change once at Newport this time and before I knew it I was at Paddington Station again. I arrived home at 16:15 and quickly got some banana and spinach, because I craved a green smoothie after not having it for a whole week.

HOTSPOTS LIST:
Whitesands Bay (beach)
Hangar 5 Trampoline Park – Fishguard Rd, Haverfordwest SA62 4BY.
The Lost Coins (restaurant) – Fishguard Road, Haverfordwest SA62 4BP.
St.Davids Cathedral

I thought I’d type a short story about what I was up to this week, but in the meantime I typed over 2000 words. Oops! Anyway, Wales is beautiful! A lot of times I thought ‘I’m going to come back here’, and I will. As soon as I have my van (read about my van and life changing adventure here) ready, I will make some trips to Wales for sure. It will be perfect for some try outs.

Have you been to Wales yet? Or are you really excited to go now? I would love to hear about your trip and experiences! I would also really appreciate some recommendations for when I will go again. You can leave a comment below or you can show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Newsletter OCTOBER

This is a big month! For lots of different vegan reasons, but also for personal reasons. There are also a lot of other things happening in October.. a great start of Autumn!

07-08/10 – BRIGHTON VIVA! VEGEN FESTIVAL 
A huge vegan festival in the lovely Brighton, held at the Hilton Hotel. Both days you’re welcome between 11:00-17:00. There are around 100 vegan stalls, including many caterers. There will also be cookery demos, talks and workshops. The tickets are £5 at the door, £8 for a whole weekend and £15 for fast track entry + goody bag!

13-15/10 – BRIGHTON OCTOBERFEST – Beer&Cider Festival
And there is more to do in Brighton this month as the following weekend there will be a 3 day beer & cider festival, starting at 20:00 on Friday and ending on Sunday 23:00. All made without any animal derived finings. It’s held at the Cowley club.

13-19/10 – NETHERLANDS 
Before I move (move??), I planned a holiday to the Netherlands, to have a little break (well.. break? I will be doing lots of things!) and to spend some time with my family. I will be going to Amsterdam for a day and do lots more. I will of course write about it all when I come back, with hopefully some new hotspots for you.

17/10 – TRAFFIC LIGHT PARTY
For everybody who wants to meet new people, go have dinner at Tibits this Tuesday between 18:30 – 10:30. They are having a Traffic Light Party. Red = off limits (e.g. attached and monogamous, or single but not looking).  Green = single and looking. Yellow = other (e.g. attached but polyamorous, early days of dating someone or prefer not to say). This is not a singles party, buy if you are single.. who knows!

20-22/10 OM YOGA SHOW
A 3 day show, all about yoga. With lots of classes and workshops in 3 levels. Friday: 11:00-18:00 / Saturday: 10:00-18:00 / Sunday: 10:00-17:00. It’s held at Alexandra Palace Way, London, N22 7AY. There will be vegan (and vegetarian) caterers serving hot and cold food. You can get your ticket at the door, but you get a discount if you get your tickets in advance.

21/10 – HACKNEY DOWNS VEGAN MARKET
There will be a lovely vegan market in Hackney again, like every month. There are such lovely stalls and you will be pleased to choose from a wide range of great tasting food. It’s from 11:00-17:00 and the entry is free. I’ve been here twice already and there is such good food.. really worth going!

21-22/10 – VEGFEST UK
Yay! VegFest timeee! A huge vegan festival with over 250 stalls, held at London Olympia. There will be so much to do. Some of the highlights are: Professional Health Summit – Vegan Athletes Summit – Environmental and Food Sustainability Summit – Animal Rights Summit – Vegan Comedy Festival – Vegan Film Festival (‘The Invisible Vegan’ will premiere here!) – Cookery Demos, – Living Raw Zone.. and much more! On Saturday it’s open from 11:00-18:00 and on Sunday from 10:00-17:00. Tickets at the door are £15, but if you book in advance they’re £12. If you buy one ticket, you will get the second for half price. Be quick though, because there are only a few of those tickets left! For more information and to see what else is on, go visit their website.

22/10 – MOVING DAY
This will be my last day living in London, because this weekend I will be moving to the country side. Moving to the country side?? Yes! You can read all about it here. New life starts now..

29/10 – BRIXTON VEGAN MARKET
Brixton launches a vegan market at the Brixton Station Road today. It will be from 9:30-15:30 and you can find lots of sweet and savoury food here. Hurray for another vegan market!

31/10 – HALLOWEEN
I’m not so much into Halloween, but there will be a yummy Halloween recipe up on my blog!

MORE EXCITING NEWS
* Wagamama will launch a vegan menu with 6 main options! YAY! It’s not available everywhere yet, but hopefully it will be soon!
* Tofurky will come with pre-packed sandwiches in 3 flavours (Tempeh Lettuce Tomato / Chick’n & Sweetcorn / Chipotle Chick’n). You can buy these at the WholeFoodsMarket from the 2nd of October. So curious!

RECIPE SPOILER
The Halloween recipe will be up just before Halloween, to give you enough time to get the ingredients! Keep an eye out!

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

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