Waste Free Living #1

Let’s talk about waste! The waste we produce by buying things. Things we need and things we don’t need. I especially want to talk about plastic waste. I think we all know that (single use) plastic is not good. We all know it, but are we doing something about it? To be really honest with you, even though I did pay attention to it, I was also a little lazy about it at times. Things like buying apples in plastic instead of buying them lose. As  you maybe read in ‘Cheers to 2019‘, one of my New Years Resolutions is to live a more waste free life. That’s why I thought it’s time to write an article about it and to pay more attention to it on my Instagram account as well. In this article I want to talk about the different kinds of waste, divided into: Plastic, Microplastic, General Waste, Food Waste, Chemical Waste, Clutter Waste, Electrical Waste and Fast Fashion. It’s a little bit of a journey for me, but I hope you will join me and we can all inspire each other!

PLASTIC
So like I said, the worst is (single use) plastic. For example: plastic bags, food that comes in (or with) plastic and of course plastic bottles. Many times you can easily make a change and sometimes it’s hard to avoid plastic. When you pay attention to it, you will notice, there is plastic everywhere! In fact, there is so much plastic waste pollution in the world, that we are destroying this planet. We can’t continue doing what we’re doing. Each year 4.8-12.7 million tonnes of plastic are entering the oceans. So many animals die from plastic pollution and it is destroying the eco system in the ocean so much, to the point that the oceans will be completely destroyed. This isn’t only heartbreaking for all the innocent animals, but without the oceans we will die too. So it’s super important to make changes and try our very best.

MICROPLASTIC
Then there is also something that is called ‘microplastic’ and I decided to make a separate paragraph on this, because they are a huge problem. Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic that are 5 mm or smaller and they can come from any type of plastic. It can come from big pieces of plastic that are slowly becoming smaller and smaller by water and sun exposure, but also from synthetic fabrics, like cloths, sponges and also your clothes. By washing your synthetic clothes or cleaning with plastic sponges, these tiny pieces of plastic are going straight into nature. Sometimes microplastics are so small, that you can’t see them with the naked eye. This makes it very dangerous, because it’s everywhere. Sea animals ingest it and it’s also coming back to us. In a way that the microplastics are in our drinking water. So you consume plastic on a daily basis.

GENERAL WASTE
Even though plastic is the worst, I think that whenever we can avoid any sort of waste, we should. The average household in the UK produces more than a tonne of waste a year. This is absurd if you ask me and we should change this. Nowadays, everything has packaging though, because you can buy everything ready-made. To make things easy. From pizza to crisps, from pre-cooked vegetables to bean burgers etc etc.
Whenever you can, at least choose plastic free. Choose paper, wood, (organic) cotton or anything that is biodegradable. This is always better than plastic. Though, even better, is to try not to choose any at all. Choose things where you can use you own reusable packaging. Try to not produce waste. This can be tricky, but you can make it into a sport to be as much waste free as you can.
Something we can do to reduce waste, is to make more things ourselves, from scratch. This will not only reduce our general waste, but it will also be better for your own health. I understand that not everybody can afford to make their own pizzas from scratch after a long dat at work. But we can try to do it more often. We can prepare things in advance so they will take less time whenever you start cooking. Overall, what we need to do is to stop being lazy and to just try our best.

FOOD WASTE
Food waste is something that I have a big problem with. About 1/3 of the food that is produced is lost or thrown away. This is ridiculous! People are often a bit greedy when it comes to food. Our brain thinks we can (and should) eat a lot more than we need or what our stomach can handle. And did you know that a lot of food is wasted because they don’t look pretty? Something else that is wasting a lot of food is that people want to have choice. Supermarkets stock up, because people want to choose what they want. If there was only 2 types of bread left over in the end of the day, but the other supermarket has 10 types, people go to the other supermarket. So supermarkets make sure to have a lot of choice, even though that means that they have to throw away tonnes of it. People also tend to buy more than they can eat. Especially when people are hungry, they buy too much and food will go bad. Now what can you do to waste less food?
-Make a meal plan and only buy what you need (don’t forget to check the expiry dates and make sure the food is still ok to eat on the day you planned to eat it).
-Don’t be afraid to choose food that doesn’t look pretty. They taste the same, but people don’t want to buy them and so they often go to waste.
-Buy single bananas. They are always the ones left over in the end, because people rather buy them in a bunch.
-Store all food in the right places so they last longer.
-Don’t cook too much food, but just the right portions.
-If there are any left overs, store them in the right place and eat them later.

CHEMICAL WASTE
With chemical waste I mean the waste we produce by cleaning our houses, clothes and ourselves. What products do you use to clean your house? There is a huge choice when it comes to cleaning. There are different cleaning products for all different things. Kitchen cleaner, washing up liquid, bathroom cleaner, cleaners for the tiles, for the sink, for the toilet, for the floor etc. I’m sure you know what I mean. And I think most of us have more than 5 bottles of different cleaners. Is this really necessary? In my opinion I think this is just mainly to make more money. You only need a few things and you can just as easily use natural cleaning products. You can even make some yourself if you’re up to it.
What about doing the laundry? There are many well known brands and there are many different types again. For colours, for whites, for delicates, products to removes all different kind of stains etc. And one even better than the other. A lot of people get allergic reactions of laundry soaps/liquids. Then how can this be good for the environment? Always try to use a natural laundry soap. Something that is biodegradable and doesn’t harm our world.
Last but not least, what do you use to wash yourself? Again.. soooo much choice, probably even more than all the household and laundry cleaners combined. Did you know that chemicals in soaps enter your body (via the skin) within 26 seconds? Always use natural products! I can’t stress this enough. After all, it’s not only the planet, but also your own body we’re talking about.
All these products go down the drain. Where do these chemicals all go after that? Most water all goes to a wastewater/sewage treatment plant. There they treat the water until it can be used again. It’s a very technical story, but in the end the left overs from the chemicals end up in a landfill for environmentally safe disposal. They are not biodegradable and so we produce waste, harmful waste. This is why it’s so important to use natural and biodegradable products. This is better for your skin and overall health, but definitely also for the environment.

CLUTTER WASTE
A lot of us do it, buying things we don’t actually need. We buy it because they’re cheap, because we think we might need them later on or we buy gifts for people not knowing they will like/use it. This isn’t only adding to our waste problem, but it’s also a waste of money. Please stop doing this. Only buy things you really need and you will actually use short-term. Try to buy quality things, that last long (or even forever). Make sure that the gifts you get people are something the other person truly appreciates.
Something else that creates clutter waste, are free things. Who doesn’t like to get something for free? Being Dutch and growing up in the Netherlands, I know all too well how much people like to get things for free. Even though they don’t need it, they won’t use it and it’ll just clutter their house (and mind) and eventually pollute the world. Don’t accept free things (incl. leaflets) when you won’t do anything with them.

ELECTRICAL WASTE
Owning the latest phone, best television and newest gadgets is something that has gone  over the top. As soon as a new iPhone is released, people rush to the Apple stores to get their hands on it. Is this really necessary though? Most of the time there isn’t even a really big difference. The worst thing is that a lot of phones, gadgets etc., are designed in a way that they will only last a certain amount of time. What can you do against electrical waste?
-Don’t bother with always getting the latest stuff. It won’t make you a happier person, because you can’t buy happiness.
-Always go for quality.
-Look after your things! I think this is very important. Always handle them with care and make them last as long as you possibly can.
-When things break, repair them. Or, for example, when your phone battery is going down, get a new battery, not a new phone.

FAST FASHION WASTE
Walking around in the latest fashion maybe seems important to you, but is it really? Fast fashion is something that really bothers me as well. Often people walk around in things they don’t even really like, but just wear for the season, because it happens to be the trend. This isn’t healthy for yourself, but it’s certainly not healthy for the world. About 80 billion pieces of clothing are consumed every year. I find this is a frightening number, realising that there are 7 billion people in the world and many of those people don’t even own clothes. A lot of clothes, even though they’re still perfectly fine to wear, end up in a landfill. Think for yourself how important it is to follow the latest trends. Look after your clothes and always buy quality over quantity. Also make sure that your clothes are ethically and are made of biodegradable fabrics (remember the ‘microplastics’?).

Whatever you do, try your very best, because we can’t afford to be lazy anymore when it comes to reducing our waste. That’s why in the next few weeks I will share ways to live a more waste free life. Who’s up for that?!

Are you trying to live a (more) waste free life? What do you do to help the environment? Do you have tips or do you want to say something about this all? Please do! You can share and comment below or via Instagram, by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

 

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Cheers to 2019

Happy New Year to youuu!! I’m still getting used to the idea, but it really is 2019 now. Before telling you about my new resolutions, I thought it will be nice to reflect on last years. If you read the article ‘New Beginnings‘, then you know that my resolutions for 2018 were: Eat Healthy, Exercise More, Read More and More Mindfulness. These were the main things I wanted to focus on.

Eating healthy was a little up and down. I did very well at times, but I also did very bad at times. I actually had some periods were I did quite a lot of binge eating. I’m not sure why I did this. The only reason I can come up with is, because I can. I get greedy when I see lots of yummy food and then I want to taste it all and waste nothing.  No good! Exercise wise was also a little up and down. In general I did well and last Summer/Autumn I did really well. I did really good work outs and went for runs a few times a week. It was lovely and I actually started to enjoy it. I did this until the clock changed to wintertime. Then I almost stopped immediately. Because before I started my workday it was still dark and by the time I was off, it was dark again. This year my work times will change and so I will have time to work out during the day. I’m very excited for this.

Something I definitely did is more reading. Everything I read in 2018:
-‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ by Marie Kondo.
‘Sensation’ by Isabel Losada.
-All 7 Harry Potter books.
-‘Surprise Me’ by Sophie Kinsella.
-‘The 4 Agreements’ by Don Miguel Ruiz.
-‘The Mastery Of Love’ by Don Miguel Ruiz (still reading this).
-‘The Inner Life of Animals’ by Peter Wohlleben (still reading this).
This is about a book a month. Although some books (the Harry Potter ones) I read very fast and some I read over a few months. This year I want to finish the last 2 books from this list and after that I would like to read more books of Don Miguel Ruiz, but also ‘How Not To Die’ by Michael Greger (I already own this book for 2 years I think, shame on me) and I want to read the Harry Potter books again (yes, sorry.. haha!). I’m sure I will have time for more books and in the end of the year my list will be longer than just the ones I mentioned just now. If you have any good recommendations, please comment below. It can be of all genres, I’m just not a big fan of horrors. I love books with a meaning, where you can learn something about any subject, but life and nutrition is favourite. I also like books that make me laugh.

In 2018 I made a big step when it comes to Mindfulness. I still need to improve on living more in the now, but I mediated more and longer than ever before. This is something I definitely want to keep doing and become better at. I used mediation to deal with some hate feelings I had. This was a problem for me and something I didn’t want to feel. Meditations really helped me to get rid of these feelings or sometimes to deal with it in a better way. I have to admit that in the last 2 months of 2018 I didn’t do a lot, so even more reason to put it back on my list for 2019.

Now, for 2019 I will not only tell you my list of things I want to improve, but also of things I want to accomplish this year. It will be an important year for me, because in 2 years time I want to start travelling full-time with my van and so I need to make a plan to realise this. Here we go:

Taking Better Care of Myself
This is something I really want to focus on. I’m going to turn 30 next month and it’s time I take this more serious. I often forget myself a little in everything I do or I simply don’t allow myself, but this year it’ll be a must. Last month I got myself a full body massage and that was so nice. I want to do things like that more often. Spend money on myself, on things I really enjoy and especially where I benefit from health wise. This also includes losing some weight. Yes!! I want to lose weight (starting today, because I had 2 doughnuts over the weekend,, oops!). This doesn’t mean that I’m unhappy with my body or that I don’t love my body. I don’t even identify myself as ‘fat’, but I think it will be healthy to lose a bit. So that is what I will be focusing on a bit. I’m not going to follow a certain diet, but as I really want to take eating healthy (more whole foods) and exercising to the next level (my personal next level, haha!), I assume this will be a nice side effect. I also want to focus on mindfulness en meditating more. I learned so much about it in 2018 and it brought me a lot and I’m sure I’m only on 1% of the benefits it can give me.

Save Money
This one is very important. More important than in other years. I want to travel Europe with my van. I want to leave in about 2 years and so I need to have a lot of savings for this, otherwise I can’t. Saving money isn’t one of my strengths, but I will try my very best to save as much as I can. I want to at least have £12.000 before I go.

Live (more) Waste Free
I have to! And not only me.. We have to! There is just too much waste and of course I especially refer to plastic waste. I find this very hard though, because there is literally plastic everywhere! I just purchased some organic cotton drawstring bags for myself and I will try my very best to buy my fruit and veggies without plastic. I also plan to go to the farmers market more often (I aim to go every week) and buy waste free. Together with eating more whole foods and eating less junk, it actually all falls into place. It will be an exciting journey. I already have things like a reusable water bottle, tea cup etc. but I want to focus on inspiring more people doing the same. Together we can make a difference. Hopefully there will be huge change in 2019 when it comes to producing less waste.

More Vegan Activism 
Of course I’m always very active when it comes to spreading the vegan message. Not everyone is always very happy with this, haha! But nowadays people are more open to it and that is amazing. I talk about veganism a lot, help people become vegan and share information, but this year I want to do a little extra. I would like to join a Cube of Truth, donate money to organisations and people who make a real difference and there is something else I can’t say too much about yet. It has something to do with the next thing on my list:

Become a Nutritionist and Life Coach 
This is something I really want!! For the last 2-3 years I’m thinking about doing it, but this year I’m actually going to do it. To help people, but also because I find this super interesting on its own. I have a very clear goal why I want to become a nutritionist and a life coach and I’m sure you will find out this year. I’m super excited about it! I do find it a little scary too, to start learning again. Of course you’re learning every day, but this is different. There will be exams etc. and I need to do well. Luckily I love learning about food and nutrition, its a true passion. So I hope that will make it a lot easier.

Spend less time on Social Media 
I think this is something that is going to be a thing in 2019. I hear a lot of people about it. I don’t want to be less active, but there are many times I just automatically open my social media accounts without even thinking about it. I sometimes click on it whilst I just checked it 5 min before as well. In all honesty, I can say that I’m addicted. No good! So this year I want to focus on using that (wasted) time on mindfulness, reading books, studying + working on my blog and my new project.

I think you can say that my list is almost one goal, because they all connect in a way. It’s like a puzzle. But then again.. life is like a puzzle isn’t it? We just have to figure it out and connect the right pieces. Here is to a year full of success, happiness and love!

Did you make New Year’s Resolutions? What are the main thing you will focus on this year? Do you have tips or something you’d like to say about this all, please do! You can do this in the comments below or connect with me on Instagram. Thank you! X

MY COMPLETE XMAS DINNER

When you read this I’m on my way to the Netherlands. I’m going by car/ferry this year, so I can take my dog Nola. Tomorrow I will celebrate Xmas with my family, as that is the only day we can all make it. After the presents we will enjoy our Xmas dinner. This year I’m making the whole Xmas dinner by myself. Years back we always all made one dish each, last year my brother and sister in law made dessert, but it looks like this year it’s just me. I do like to make everything by myself, but I also think it’s a shame, because I always enjoyed the dishes of others too. And just the idea you made it together is nice. But because I’m making everything by myself, it does mean that I can share a complete Xmas dinner with you (8 dishes in total). I will give you all the recipes I made for the dinner itself and I will give you dessert separately (so 9 recipes if you include dessert). You can find the ‘Xmas Stars‘ dessert here. I chose to make it into a buffet style, so I can make lots of separate dishes and everybody can eat what they like best. If you want to, you can choose one of them (the chicory for example) as a starter. It’s up to you. This Xmas dinner is enough for 4-6 people. I hope you will enjoy the recipes.

VEGAN WELLINGTON

2 pastry sheets
600 gr mushrooms (chopped)
2 steakcs (I used Vivera) (chopped)
2 onions (chopped)
2 small cloves of garlic (minced)
handful of parsley (chopped)
salt/pepper (to taste)
1/2 tbs butter

-Preheat the oven at 200C.
-Fry the onions and the garlic in a frying pan for about 3 minutes.
-Add the mushrooms and fry them until they start to get smaller (about 3-4 minutes).
-Add the steakc, the parsley and add salt and pepper to taste.
-Grease a baking tin with butter and put the pastry sheet inside.
-Make sure that all the water from the filling is gone before you put it in the baking tin.
-Cut out a big rectangle (as big as the baking tin) and cover the top. Make some cuts in the top and put it in the oven for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown.


FRIED RICE

100 gr of rice
100 gr firm tofu
1 onion (chopped)
1/2 courgette (chopped)
1 carrot (grated)
1 bell pepper (chopped)
2 tomatoes (chopped)
2 pak choi (chopped)
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 tbs soy sauce
1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
1 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1-2 tbs sesame seeds
3 tbs peanuts (chopped)
salt/pepper (to taste)

-Cook the rice as described on the package.
-Fry the onion for about 4 min in some olive oil.
-Scramble the tofu: crumble it up and add the garlic and the turmeric. Mix it all together for about 3 min with salt to taste on a high fire.
-Add the courgette and fry again for about 3-4 min.
-Add the carrot, bell pepper, tomatoes and pak choi and keep mixing it for about 3-4 min.
-Then you can add the rice, the soy sauce (use more if you like), the chilli flakes, the sesame seeds and some salt and pepper to taste. Mix again until everything is mixed up well.
-Sprinkle the peanuts on top.


AUBERGINE

1 aubergine (sliced)
3 tbs olive oil
300 gr cherry tomatoes (cut in half)
1 shallot (chopped)
1 small clove of garlic (minced)
handful of fresh  basil
salt to taste

-Cut the aubergines in big slices (about 1 cm thick).
-Brush the on both sides with some olives oil.
-Put them on the grill until you can see black lines (about 3 min each side).
-In the meantime fry the shallot and the garlic in a frying pan. Add the tomatoes after about 2 minutes and fry them until they become a little soft (about 2-3 min).
-Add the basil and salt to taste.


CHICORY

2 chicory
4 slices of ham (I used the vegan Quorn)
handful of cheese (grated) (I used daiya)
3 tbs corn

-Preheat the oven at 200C
-Cut the chicory in half (in length) and cut out the hard bit in the middle.
-Put them in an oven dish and put a slice of ham on each half.
-Divide the corn on top and then sprinkle the cheese on top.
-Put it in the oven for about 20-25 min.


CAULIFLOWER

1/2 cauliflower
2 tbs nutritional yeast
splash of oat milk
salt to taste
1 tbs of olive oil

-Chop up the cauliflower very finely. You could also use a kitchen machine and pulse a few times.
-Fry the cauliflower with the olive oil and a bit of salt in a frying pan until it becomes a little soft (about 5 min).
-Add the nutritional yeast, mix it up and then add a splash of oat milk. Mix well until the nutritional yeast and the oat milk form a sauce.


BRUSSELS SPROUTS

250 gr brussels sprouts
4 cloves of garlic (cut in half)
1 tbs olive oil
salt/pepper (to taste)

-Preheat the oven at 220C.
-Put the brussels sprouts and the garlic in an oven dish and add the olive oil + salt/pepper to taste. Mix well.
-Put them in the oven for about 20-25 min.


MASH

300 gr potatoes (peeled and chopped)
200 gr carrots (peeled and chopped)
splash of oat milk
1-2 tbs butter
1 tbs whole grain mustard
2 tbs nutritional yeast
salt to taste

-Cook the potatoes and the carrots for about 20 min.
-Mash them up together with the oat milk and the butter.
-Add the mustard, nutritional yeast and some salt to taste. Mix well.


SALAD

1 cucumber (chopped)
3 tomatoes (chopped)
1 big avocado (chopped)
handful of basil (chopped)
handful of parsley (chopped)
1/4 cup black olives (sliced)
2 tbs Caesar salad dressing (I used ‘Follow Your Heart’)
salt/pepper to taste

-Mix everything together in a big bowl and add salt and pepper to taste.

 

What are you having for Xmas? And will you make everything by yourself or do you have help? Will you copy my Xmas dinner or make some of my recipes? Please let me know or show me on IG by tagging me or by using #planetmanel. Thank you! X

Netherlands – The Hague

So 2 weeks ago I was in the Netherlands, visiting family and friends. I often go around October, just before Xmas, because you know what it’s like with Xmas, always so busy. Also Xmas still looks so far away in October when the last time you saw everybody was back in May. This year I also wanted to go because my best friend had a baby just before the summer and I still didn’t see the beautiful boy. Such a happy reason to go, even though there was also a less happy reason I really wanted to go. My grandpa was in the hospital and my grandma has to go to an old people’s home, because of her very severe Alzheimer. I always make sure I see my grandparents whenever I can. I went for a week and planned in al my most important visits. My mum also got her hands on some cheap train tickets and she treated my sis and me on a city trip day. It took us a long time to decide what city to go, but we finally decided on Haarlem (the city where my whole family is from), to then decide in the train that we’re going to The Hague instead. Haha!

The Hague is the city where all the Dutch politics are happening. I’ve been to The Hague 2 times already, but I never went with the purpose of hotspot hunting. We got on the train in Assen and lucky for us, it goes straight to The Hague from there. The first 50 min we had to stand, because it was so busy, but it’s never boring with my mum and sis (and Jace, my nephew came too!). My google maps was a bit all over the place and wasn’t planning on sending us into the right direction, but luckily there are a lot of signs and so we found the city centre soon. Nobody was hungry yet, because my sis brought a snack for in the train. So we first decided to go for a drink, but on the way we found this very nice shop, that we forgot about the drinks. The shop is called Søstrene Grenes. The colours and the materials in this shop make you feel super greedy. I bought a small silicone facial sponge. It will be so useful and it’s something that will last. No waste = win win! I also bought a very delicious drink, some black cotton yarn and a little bar of chocolate from iChoc.

After this shop we were hungry and so we walked to Foam for lunch. It was at least a 10 min walk from the shops, but I can already tell you that it’s so worth it. It was actually a really nice walk, because you pass all the politic buildings and ‘Escher in the Palace’ (The Escher Museum). I really wanted to go to this museum, but I was the only one and majority wins. I will go another day, by myself or with somebody who I can share my enthusiasm with. Definitely go when you have the chance though! Now about Foam. It already looks so nice from the outside and even nicer when you walk in. It’s a long narrow space, but with high ceilings and a little garden in the back, with lots of lovely daylight. We all went for a different latte (Turmeric, Hazelnut and Matcha). Foam is all vegan and so it took us a while before we were able to make a choice for lunch. My sister went for the pancakes, my mum for the BLTA sandwich and I went for the quesadilla. The food was wohw! In my opinion my mum won, because her sandwich was to die for! If I wasn’t planning on eating anything else that day, I would have ordered it to take away. I will come back for this sandwich (as I’m coming back for the Escher museum anyway), haha! The staff is super friendly and easy going. Their desserts look delicious too, so I ordered a take away pecan biscuit at the till and then we left. The biscuit was very yum btw!

On our way back to the shops we popped into a health shop called Madal Bal. We bought some chocolate here and then we walked towards all the politic buildings. There was a time when I followed politics and I found it was fascinating. But since I moved to the UK and find most politics one big corrupt lie, I don’t bother anymore. Despite of that, I do enjoy looking at the beautiful buildings. My mum and sis never seen it before and so it was nice to show them. Jace wasn’t interested at all and decided on a nap. We did some more shopping. We visited a nice EkoPlaza, where I bought some seitan and a drink and my mum bought a really nice salt light that I truly love. After some more shopping and scoring a nice gift for my grandma, it was already time to go back. Time goes so fast! But before we headed back to the station, we wanted to visit the Vegetarische Snackbar. It was also quite a walk, outside the centre. It’s the opposite from the The Hague HS station. But omg! It was so gooddddd.. A snackbar is something very Dutch and it’s as popular as a pub is in the UK. It basically is a cafe where you can buy chips and snacks. Snacks that are mostly meat and cheese based. The Vegetarische Snackbar opened a snackbar where everything is vegetarian and also a lot is vegan! We again didn’t know what to choose and so we decided on nearly half the menu. It was so good, I don’t have words for it. The chips are good, but the snacks are so so similar to the original, that you truly wonder why we keep torturing and killing animals (there isn’t a good reason anyway!). This vegetarian snackbar is the only one in the Netherlands, but we all agreed that there should be one in every city and of course that all snackbars should be like this one. When paying, we also bought both cake options (carrot and chocolate). We ate these in the train and they were so good too. Very moist and strong flavoured. Whatever you do, when in The Hague.. go to the Vegetarische Snackbar!

Oh I forgot another reason I went to visit the Netherlands. I still didn’t see my brother and sister in law’s new home. They moved to Groningen before the summer and I was super curious to see it. It’s such a lovely and cosy place and I stayed for a sleep over. We had such a good time. The next day I invited my sister in law to have brunch at Anat. Their flat is in such a good location, because within 20 min you are in the city centre by bike. So that is what we did and we enjoyed a yummy smoothie bowl at this amazing place. I mentioned them before in a travel post, but I will again, because it’s a must go! On my last day I visited my grandparents with my sister and Jace. We had a really good time all together. We bought some oliebollen (something else typical Dutch, we normally eat on NYE) and they were so good. But then all nice trips come to an end and so it was time to go home sooner than I expected.

HOTSPOT LIST:
Søstrene Grenes – Spuistraat 48, 2511 BE Den Haag.
Escher Museum – Lange Voorhout 74, 2514 EH Den Haag.
Foam – Frederikstraat 44, 2514 LL Den Haag.
Madal Bal – Denneweg 126B, 2514 CL Den Haag.
Eko Plaza – Grote Marktstraat 177, 2511 BJ Den Haag.
Vegetraische Snackbar – Stationsplein 5A, 2515 BT Den Haag.
Anat – Verlengde Grachtstraat 1, 9717 GD Groningen.

Have you been to The Hague 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

Bloody Mess

It’s almost Halloween!! Notttt really my thing, but I do really like to create recipes with a theme. There are a lot of Halloween recipes that are everything but healthy. That’s why I wanted to create something that looks scary, but is not scary to eat, haha! I really like the outcome, because I love chia pudding and in combination with the fruit and the cinnamon it’s so tasty. You can use any plant based yogurt, but I used the plain version of the Coconut Collaboration. I love this yogurt anyway, but especially in this recipes it just works really well.

BLOODY MESS 

Serves: 2

1 cup red summer fruit
1 tbs goji berries
1/2 tbs agave nectar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
250gr yogurt
1/3 cup rice milk
3 tbs chia seed

-Put the yogurt, rice milk and chia seed in a bowl and mix it well. Then put it in the fridge for 2 hours (or overnight).
-Put the fruit in a sauce pan and warm it on medium heat, until it starts to be like a sauce. Keep stirring. (For frozen fruit it’s about 5 min. For fresh fruit about 3 min.)
-Take the fruit off the fire and add the goji berries, the agave nectar, the cinnamon and the vanilla extract. Mix well and let it cool down.
-Mix the chia pudding before dividing it into 2 glasses.
-Put the fruit mixture on top and use the back of a spoon to draw the lines down the pudding.
-Add some extra goji berries on top if you wish.

Do you like Halloween? Will you make this recipe? Please let me know! You can do this in a comment below or tag me on Instagram. When you do, I’ll repost it! You can also use the hashtag #planetmanel if you like, so I can find your picture and comment! Thank you! X

Rescue Hens

A bit before the summer, my work registered with the British Hen Welfare Trust to get some ex battery hens. We had this idea already for a while, but now the chicken run was ready. They let us know that there would be a pick up day on the 10th of June (2018). So that day I drove towards Reading, where I was going to pick up some hens. I was so excited! Giving these beautiful animals a second chance in life, after living in such unfair circumstances, was giving me goosebumps! It’s aways a surprise in what condition they are. Some hens still have quite some feathers, but some are all bold. The pick up place was at a beautiful university and it was nice to see that too actually. As the place was quite big, there were a lot of signs telling me where to go. Eventually that lead to some stables in the back. I parked my car and got out, armed with a big, straw filled box.

Before getting the hens, you have to register and tell them how many hens you’d like to take home. I was going to take 4. Then I made a donation. They suggest £5 per hen, but it’s totally up to you. I think it’s nice to give them some extra, because they’re doing such good work and it’s all going towards another rescue. Once that is all done, you can go to one of the stables. I was second in the queue, so I didn’t have to wait very long. The stable was full of chickens. The stables weren’t very big, but I’m sure that they never had so much space in their life ever before. They were all in the corner, being scared obviously. Being in the light, with so much people around them. It was all new to them. The people in the stables caught 4 chickens and put them in the box and that’s that. Time to go home!

At home I put the box in the chicken run and opened it slowly, not to scare them too much. They were all a bit stressed, on their tummy, with their beaks open. Poor babies! I didn’t force them, but let them get used to their surroundings. They stood up and looked around and after a while I picked them up carefully and.. there was the moment.. for the first time in their life they felt dirt and grass. They walked very funny, stretching their paws and lifting them up very high. They were looking at the ground, walking around and it was just so lovely to see. It was a beautiful day and the sun came out. When they felt sunshine for the first time it was like they couldn’t believe it. They dropped on the ground, spreading their wings, putting all their feathers up, closing their eyes. My heart was smiling so much!

The next day they started to lay eggs (that I’m obviously not going to eat). Most of them looked alright, but one of the chickens has really big eggs. You can see on the picture how huge! Her eggs are still not very normal nowadays. A lot of times they’re still very big, the shell is very thick and chalky and yesterday she laid a wind egg. I really hope that her eggs will get better though, because it can be a bit dangerous. They became friends with the 4 chickens we already had too. In the beginning they didn’t hang out together at all. Now they still like to hang out in 2 groups sometimes, but they definitely became friends.

Because they are used to living in a small cage, they do not get into the chicken coop or on the perch by themselves. So the first few days I had to put them into the coop, onto the perch. They instead just randomly chose a place to sit when it was getting darker. After 3 days of doing this they got it though. So clever! Now 1-2 sometimes still sit on the bottom of the coop though, but at least they’re safe in there. They’re doing so much better now and they look so much better too. Their feathers look better (not perfect yet though) and their faces and comb are all red now. It makes a huge difference. If you look at the picture, you can see them on their first day and the way they look now. Their faces and comb were as good as white and now they have such a nice colour. They roam free every day now and they love it! It makes me so happy to see them so happy every day!

Would you like to rescue some hens too? Then go to the British Hen Welfare Trust and register now! They rescue 50.000 chickens per year and seeing them enjoying life is so worth it. Do you already have some rescue hens? I would LOVE to see them. Please show them to me! You can do this by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Why Dairy is Scary

I already briefly gave some attention on this subject in one of my Vegan Advice posts and last February against the #februdairy campaign.  But as there is still so much ignorance when it comes to dairy I decided to write a whole, more detailed, article about only dairy. There is so much information available nowadays, but still there are people who truly don’t know the truth about the dairy industry. I really hope to also reach those people. 

I want to tell you about the 3 most important things when it comes to dairy: Morality, Health and Environment. For me personally, the moral side is most important. Though you might find the health facts really interesting or you care more about the environment. It doesn’t really matter, because I think all 3 of them are very important. If you don’t believe me (and you shouldn’t, because there is so much false information on the internet), please do your own research. Let this article be a stepping stone to more knowledge about what it is really like. I always encourage people to think for themselves and to do their own research. Don’t instantly believe what you hear and what you read. You are the only one who can make a decision for yourself. Believing the dairy industry by what they say about needing milk for strong bones etc. is the whole problem to begin with. These are lies to make you buy dairy, so they can earn money, your money! So please think for yourself and decide if you still want to support the dairy industry after knowing this all.

THE MORAL SIDE
Let’s start from the whole beginning: Why do cows give milk? For the same reason humans give milk. To feed their baby. If a woman gives birth to her baby she starts producing milk to make her baby grow. This is the same for mammal animals, so also for cows. This is why the farmer artificially inseminate the cows ever year to make her pregnant. So every year the cow gives birth to a baby. In order for us to get the milk, the calf can’t stay with his/her mother, because it would drink the milk. The milk the farmers earn money with, so that means that as much milk as possible needs to be sold. This is why the farmer takes the baby calf away from his/her mum and feeds it a milk substitute. If you are a mother yourself, imagine your baby taken away from you within hours (up to 72 hours) after birth? Because this is the time a baby calf gets to spend with his/her mother. The mother licks her baby clean, she cares for her baby, feeds her baby, bonds with her baby and then her baby is taken away from her. They call for their baby and the baby cries out for his/her mother, but there is nothing they can do. The mother goes back into the herd and they all get milked twice a day by machines.

Then what happens to the baby calf? This depends. If the baby is a female she will end up living the same life as her mum. She is impregnated every year and every year a baby is taken away from her and the same will happen over and over again. When the cow is about 5-7 years old they will start to give less milk, what means they won’t be profitable enough. By this time they’ve given birth to 3-5 babies. Because they aren’t profitable  anymore for milk  they go to slaughter. Their tired bodies will be sold for meat. If the baby calf is a male there are 2 options: instant death or their bodies will be sold and called: veal. Male calves are not going to produce milk and so they are useless for the dairy industry. This is why a lot of male calves get killed right after birth. They’ve spent 283 days growing in their mother’s womb and as soon as they come out their life is over. Veal is meat from a baby cow. They can be as young as 4 weeks old and as ‘old’ as 26 weeks old. There are different kinds of veal for different kinds of meat textures/colours. Some get fed only milk to make their meat pinkish and some are weened quickly to make their meat look more red. There are even calves that are fed a diet very low in iron so they get anaemic, just so their meat is more pink.

By buying any kind of dairy (organic or non organic) you support this cruelty. For one bite of cheese or one sip of milk a cow died, a baby called out for his/her mother and a mother cried out for her baby.

HEALTHWISE
We need to drink milk every day for strong bones. Especially children! But.. do we? This is what we hear all our lives, over and over again. When you hear something over and over again from since you can remember, you start to believe it and most of us never question it. That is what you are taught, that is what everybody does, that is what your family has been doing and so that is what you know. Only it turns out milk isn’t as good for you as they say it is. It’s actually the opposite. Milk is not good for you at all and it’s actually bad for your bones. It makes your bones weaker instead of stronger. The reason they say it’s good for your bones is because your bones need calcium and there is a lot of calcium in milk. The problem is, this calcium can’t get absorbed by your body as well and even extracts existing calcium from your bones. Also, dairy cows don’t drink milk after about 9 weeks old and they don’t suffer from weak bones. Why is that? They get their calcium from plants! So can we. In fact, the calcium in plants can actually be absorbed by our bodies. You have probably heard about osteoporosis. If not.. this is a disease that weakens your bones. They get more fragile and break faster. A lot of people think they need to drink more milk to prevent this, whilst in fact you can develop osteoporosis by drinking milk. This means milk is doing the opposite from what they advertise. Osteoporosis isn’t the only disease you can get from drinking milk. Cancer, Diabetes and Alzheimer are all linked to dairy too.

Then there are hormones, antibiotics, blood and puss. For example, to make a baby calf grow into a big adult cow there are hormones in milk, just like there were hormones in your mother’s milk. All these hormones come into your body too. Dairy cows also get antibiotics, this is to prevent them from getting ill. A lot of dairy cows are kept inside all year around or only get to go outside for a few months a year. That makes it easy for diseases to spread. Antibiotics are the solution and even though most cows are not allowed to be milked for a short period of time after getting antibiotics, there is always some left behind and that all ends up in the milk they produce. Because of the milking machines and the massive amount of milk that is taken from the cows every day, their udders are often infected, what means that not only is there milk going into the milking machine, but also blood and puss. This isn’t an exception, but there is actually a legal amount of puss and blood cells in every carton of milk. Just gross if you ask me.

So why do doctors and health experts recommend dairy for strong bones and an overall healthy lifestyle? Because that is what they’re taught. Doctors that recommend dairy aren’t evil doctors, but they just don’t know any better, just like a lot of people. In their study doctors only get 1 hour of nutrition a week and often it’s very dated. You probably wonder why this is dated and why they aren’t taught the right information anyway?! Because, and this might be very shocking to you, this is how the government makes money. The medical industry is one of the largest there is and there is a lot of money going around. If people will live healthier lifestyles they won’t get ill as much, they won’t need as much medicine and so the medical industry won’t make as much money. Yes, this is how it works. I  know part of you maybe doesn’t want to believe this, but do your research and also.. just think!

ENVIRONMENT
Why is milk bad for the environment? Because of alllll the dairy cows. There are over 264 million dairy cows in the world. That is a lot of animals and they’re not just any animal, they’re cows. Big and heavy animals that eat a lot, drink a lot and poop and urinate a lot. Only 1 dairy cow produces about 50 kg’s of poo and urine every day. That is 264.000.000 x 50 KG every day.. do the maths. All this produces a lot of CO2 and it all goes into the earth. It goes into the ground, into the water ad right into the oceans, polluting our world. The world where we and so many other animals live on. This is the world where our children are growing up, where their children will grow up.. think about the damage we are doing to these amazing animals, our own health and our world!

ALTERNATIVES (where do you get your protein/calcium?)
Lucky there are so many alternatives that are actually good for you. You can find protein/calcium in a lot of plants. A few examples: Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Carrots, Collards (!), Beans (esp: Soy beans, Black turtle beans, Navy beans, White beans), Oranges and Dried figs. There are also a lot of plant-based milks and often they are calcium-fortified, what means that they contain a lot of extra calcium. A few examples of plant-based milks: soy, rice, almond, oat, hazelnut, hemp. You can also find a lot of protein/calcium in tofu and tempeh.

I used to drink a lot of milk (it was my favourite and I would easily drink a liter a day) and I loved cheese, yogurt and anything that had something to do with dairy. I still like milk, cheese and yogurt, but now I choose for plant-based options. They’re delicious and they’re even more delicious now I know that there weren’t any calves taken from their mother or cows killed. I can fully enjoy it because I know that it’s good for me and the world.

If you can choose between doing harm or not doing harm? Why would you choose to do harm? Please consider a vegan lifestyle!

Did you know all this about dairy? Were you surprised and do you look at dairy in a different way now? Do you have any more questions? Please don’t hesitate to ask me! you can do this in the comments below or you can also send me a private message if you like. Thank you for reading and I really hope that you consider going dairy free, X.

 

Vegan Dating

It’s almost Valentine’s day! Did you check out my Valentine’s recipe Fair Share yet? Are you going to share this with your love or will you be, just like me, alone on the day of love? No worries, the smoothie bowl tastes great on your own too, haha! Just what if you wish you did have someone to share it with? Almost everybody likes to have a partner in life. A love partner. You can have a lot of close friends, but even then, for many there is still the urge to share every-day-life in a deeper way. Maybe just to share your happiness and pain, but a lot of people also like a partner to give new life. Having children is a primitive instinct. And even though nowadays there are ways to be a single parent, most of us like to share this with a partner. Anyway, if you would like to have children or not, finding a life partner often is desired. It’s not always easy and it can be a journey. It’s about getting to know yourself, what you want and very important too, what you do not want. Some people are lucky to find their partner early in life, but it can also be a struggle. Life can be very unfair when it comes to love. And like if it isn’t complicated enough, what if you’re vegan? Do you only date other vegans? How important is it for you to have a partner who is sharing the same lifestyle?

My first personal reaction would be, no way I will go out with a non vegan. But, looking back at the boyfriends I have had since being vegan, I can’t say that any of them was actually vegan. They weren’t even vegetarian. They were always respectful in a way that they wouldn’t eat meat when I was around and one of them even became a vegetarian whilst we were dating. He isn’t anymore, because doing something like that for somebody else, doesn’t work. I needs to click. You need to see and feel for yourself why veganism is the only way. I’m single now (so life is easy, haha!) and if I think about it now, I ‘m not sure how I managed dating non vegans. I think love does really make blind. Though, it’s also a process I think. The feeling of sharing life, whilst sharing the importance of the same life values, needed to grow. My last boyfriend, whom I loved so very much, was very interested in veganism and my hope was always that he’d become one. I was convinced he would one day actually (our break up had nothing to do with veganism). By that time I grew so much, that I knew I couldn’t deal with it if he would have said he’d never ever be a vegan. It would have meant that he experienced life in a very different way from how I did. In my opinion, even though you can be different in so many ways, seeing life in a similar way is key for a good relationship. If I now ask myself the question: would I date a non vegan. I’d say, ‘only if I can feel he has the compassion and love in his soul to become one’. Veganism is my biggest passion. It’s not only about not eating and not exploiting animals, but about everything around it. Veganism is love. The love you feel for the whole world, the small details and the way you see life.

Soulmates :recipe >>

Some couples are ok with living 2 different lifestyles. I mean, if you are ok with your partner supporting the exploitation of animals and you see it as their own personal choice, then good for you. But what if you don’t and what if you are dating a non vegan atm? Or what if you are already in a relationship for a long time, but you recently became a vegan and your partner doesn’t understand? I would find this really hard myself, because it means you’re growing as a person and your partner isn’t growing in the same direction. You can feel very alone and misunderstood. You have to ask yourself the question if you can live with this. I’m not saying to just break up right now. If you are in a long-term relationship, then you don’t just throw that away. Sometimes it needs time. Maybe your partner just feels very misunderstood too. You have to talk about this. Suggest watching a documentary together or reading the same book. Focus on education. If that doesn’t help or your partner doesn’t even want to, then I think you should question your relationship. When your partner loves and respects you, he or she should at least be open to your change of  lifestyle.

To make things more complicated, what if you have children and you and your partner have a very different view on veganism? This I think is one of the trickiest situations. There are so many aspects. If the children are too young to educate them and they can’t make their own choices yet, I think the best way is to compromise. For example: they don’t eat meat, but they do consume some dairy products. Talk about this and come up with a plan you both feel ok with. If the children are old enough you can educate them and they can make the choice themselves.

Now what if you’re single and you really are determined to meet the vegan-love-of-your-life? Well, personally I think faith is faith.. but that doesn’t mean faith can’t happen through a dating app.. right? I’m sure the majority of you knows about Tinder, but did you  know that there is a similar dating app for vegetarian and vegans? It’s called ‘Grazer’. It basically works the same way as Tinder. Go check it out.. and you might be just in time for Wednesday!

Do you recognise yourself in any of this? Are you single, but would you like to be in a relationship? Or are you in a relationship with a non vegan? Please share your views and help each other! You can do this in the comments below! Thank you! XX

Dairy Truth – #februdairy

After (another huge success of) Veganuary, the dairy industry came up with Februdairy. It’s giving me mixed feelings. First of all, it makes me laugh a little bit, because.. seriously? Second, it makes me happy.. because apparently the dairy industry is having problems and is trying to survive. Third, it makes me sad.. because there must be a lot of desperate farmers now veganism is going so well. Don’t get me wrong, because there is nothing I like more than animal exploitation to stop, but I also want people to have a job. I just hope that the dairy farmers are brave enough to choose a different profession before it’s too late. In the end I think it makes me happy the most, because if you look at #februdairy you can see how the vegan community is fighting back. It gives me a feeling of togetherness, we are all fighting for the ones without a voice. And it’s working! It looks like Februdairy turned into a vegan campaign showing everybody the truth around dairy. In just a few days the complete opposite is happening. It makes me feel proud, hopeful and strong! We have to stand up for the voiceless!

Why is dairy so scary?
Dairy is scary for a lot of reasons:
-A cow gives milk for the same reason a dog, a mouse, a lion and even humans give milk. It’s meant for her baby. Cows are not here in the world to provide milk for human consumption. We are not calves.
-We are the only species on earth that keeps consuming milk after we need it and also the only species that consumes milk from a different species.
-To get the milk, a cow get artificially inseminated every year. After the cow gives birth her baby is taken away from her within less than 72 hours. The calf is put in a crate by him/herself. A lot of male calves are killed straight after birth or sold for veal. Females will go through the same process as their mothers.
-A dairy cow goes to slaughter when she is around 5-6 years old (the average natural lifespan for a cow could be as long as 25 years), because around that time she will give less milk. At that time most of the cows are weakened a lot (some of them can’t even stand on their legs anymore, they’re called: downers) by the conditions they have lived in. She will be sold for meat. So every sip of milk is linked to the meat industry.
-Due to infections, caused by the machines and always lactating, there is blood and pus in milk. It’s legal for milk to contain up to 400 million pus cells per litre. This means that one teaspoonful of milk can max. have two million pus cells.
-In milk there are hormones and growth factors. This is necessary for the calf to keep drinking from her/his mother and to grow fast into a 750-1000 kg adult cow.
-Cow’s milk is unnatural to drink, unless you’re a calf. Therefore it’s unhealthy for humans. There are studies that that, for example, countries with lowest rates of dairy consumption have the lowest rates of osteoporosis. There are also studies that say that dairy increases the body’s level of insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). This is a known for promoting cancer. And this isn’t all, there are a lot more negative health related issues around dairy!
-Then there is the saturated animal fat, casein and lactose. This is linked to obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and strokes, bloating/wind and cramps, allergies, ovarian cancer.
-Dairy is all about money. The government and the dairy industry do not care about your health. Do your own research!

What can you do to make a difference? 
-Drink plant-based milk: oat, rice, soya, almond, cashew, macadamia.
-Only eat plant based yogurt, ice cream, cheese, creams or anything that otherwise may contain cow’s milk, like biscuits, crisps, cakes etc.. there is so much choice!
-Vote with your money. Every time you choose a plant-based alternative to cow’s milk, there is supply and demand. If supermarkets sell more plant-based milk and less cow’s  milk, slowly but surely there will be less and less dairy cows.
-Speak up! Tell people about the dairy industry. Tell the truth and hopefully more and more people will make the connection.

Do you still drink cow’s milk or did you swap it for a plant-based alternative? What is your favourite (my one is oat milk)? Do you have something you’d like to share or do you have a question? Please let me know in the comments below or show me by using #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

New Beginnings

Is it a little pathetic that I’m super excited about the fact that the first of January is on a Monday? Because I totally am! I’m a big sucker for New Year’s Resolutions and I always make a list of a few things. Every year (like basically all people) you can find ‘eat healthy and exercise more’ on this list. You might think, why would you put it on the list every year? It’s not there because I feel like I failed last year, but I think it’s an important thing to put on the list and I think that is why it’s such a popular one. Every year again you have to look after your body. It’s always better to put it on the list and give it some attention. Going into the new year with the idea to be better for your body is the first step to a good year. I always make small lists with quite general things. When I was a teenager I used to make a huge list and those never worked. It didn’t work because I used to always write down every little detail and felt like a failure whenever I couldn’t or didn’t do something. It was just too long and I was too obsessive to do everything from the whole list perfectly. It’s a classic mistake and I won’t be surprised if this sounds familiar. Nowadays I write down a few things I want to improve or pay more attention to. I write them down on the top of my daily to do list, so I’m reminded every time I look at that list (which is a lot). I also write down why I want to do it better and why it’s important to me, together with a little suggestion-routine. I used to make tight schedules, but that of course also didn’t work. Now I try my best, I motivate myself by reading why and I just try to make better decisions every day. It’s also important that you reflect a few times a year. You can do that every month (like me), but if that sounds a like a little too much, you could also do it every time a new season starts for example.

Here are the things that are important to me personally, what and why I want to improve and how I will do it. Maybe it will inspire you.

Eat Healthy.
Everybody always thinks I eat super healthy. But I do have my weaknesses and I do not always eat healthy. There are actually 2 things I have to pay more attention to. The most important one is to eat on normal times. This has always been a thing for me. Where other people eat breakfast lunch and dinner on set times, I eat all over the place. On the days I work, breakfast and lunch are mostly ok. It’s on the days I’m off and basically all dinner times where it goes wrong. I sometimes eat ridiculously early. This is most of the time not a proper meal and it also makes me hungry later in the evening (what ends in snacking). Sometimes I eat very late (and then I eat way too much, because I’m so hungry + it’s never good to sleep with a very full stomach) and sometimes I skip it all together. The best way for me to be better at this, is to be well prepared. Cooking different dishes in advance and prep meals in a way that I only have to heat it up or mix it together. This doesn’t only help for eating on set times, but I also tend to eat a lot healthier this way. It just saves so much time.
The second thing is to stop eating too much chocolate. I love chocolate! And after meal times I often crave some. Chocolate is actually the only thing I eat that contains sugar. I do think it’s fine to eat a bit now and then, but I just find it almost impossible to only eat a little piece. This takes a lot of willpower and discipline. That is a shame, because that is exactly what you need to solve this big problem. Haha!

Exercise More.
Ok, I have to admit that last year I wasn’t very good with exercising regularly. I hardly did any yoga, because I like to do that in the morning, but my ex and I had different work times and it wasn’t possible living in a studio. There were some weeks I was doing very well, doing at least something. I did little work outs before lunch for example and that felt very good, but it never lasted. This was because of my relationship, holidays and also later this year because I moved and rescued Lucky Oliver (a piglet). This shouldn’t be excuses, but I find it difficult to fit it all in one day with a lot going on. I do have to let go and just do it though and doing some is better than none. So I will focus more on that.

Read more. 
I actually only read when I’m on the train or aeroplane by myself, what is almost never. I love reading. It’s relaxing, educational and it inspires me so much. I always say I don’t have time, but actually it’s because I do not make it a priority. I could easily spend a little less time on social media and spend that time reading instead. So that is what I’m going to do. At the moment I’m still reading ‘The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up’ by Marie Kondo. I love this book. Even though I already did a lot of the things she talks about, based on my own experience. I love reading it, mostly because I recognise myself and her journey to tidy up. I love learning new tricks and it gives me a good perspective of how we treat everything around us. I have a long list of books I still want to read and I’m determined to do so this year. Reading is so important and it’s definitely something I want to increase even more once I’m traveling around Europe with my van one day.

More mindfulness.
I’m a very mindful person, but the last few months I wasn’t sure where I was in my own story, if you know what I mean. With the move, ‘new’ work and rescuing Lucky Oliver I lived in the past and the future a lot more than I wanted. Weeks flew by, time went so fast, I forgot things, mixed things up didn’t know what day it was and I was living in my head, rather than in the moment. Now I had a break from it all and rested a lot over the Xmas break, I think I’m more likely to live more in the now again. I will train myself to be more conscious and to create more space and peace in my head this way.

Are these things you also find important? Or does your list look very different? I would love to hear the things that are important to you and how you try to actually stick to it. Do you have a certain tactic or do you have something to say or add to this? Please let me know in the comments below. Thank you! X