Banana Island

So as some of you know, I’ve been on Banana Island for a week, from 20-26 of March. For the people who don’t know what Banana Island is, it’s not a real island. Being on Banana Islands means that you only eat bananas for a certain amount of days. I chose to do 7 days. This way your body can make real changes and it’s still very doable. You can eat bananas unlimited. Though, you have to try to at least eat about 20-25 bananas a day. To have some variety and extra vitamins and minerals, you can also eat a little bit of greens (spinach, celery, cucumber). I will first tell you about bananas and about the Banana Island, before I tell you how I experienced being on Banana Island. I will also tell you what I experienced and if anything changed. So here it goes.. 7 days, 140 bananas!

BANANAS:
Bananas have esseital vitamins and minerals. Let me explain why they are so important:
vitamin B6 – About 4 bananas give you the recommended amount of B6. So you’re good!
manganese – This helps with healing wounds (read: clear skin), healthy bones, activates enzymes (read: great metabolism).
vitamin C – It’s known to boosts your immunity to colds, but it also reduces inflammation and slows the aging of skin (read: clear glowing skin).
copper – It pairs with iron to help stimulate more red blood cells. Red bloods cells carry oxygen through the body (read: lots of energy).
fiber – It prevents heart disease and it’s especially great for a healthy bowel movement.
potassium – A very important one! It helps your muscles and nerves to work properly, it’s great for your metabolism and a healthy balance of fluids in your body. 

REASONS TO GO ON BANANA ISLAND: 
Healing – You’re giving your digestive system a break. As it only has to digest bananas, your system has an easy job to do. This way it uses less energy for digesting. The extra energy can go to other parts of your body.
Energy – For the same reason as described above, you will also experience more overall energy during the day.
Skin – You’re only eating raw and your body gets loaded with lots of important vitamins and minerals. Your skin will benefit a lot. You might notice your skin calms down (in case you have a troubled skin) and/or has an extra nice glow.
Hunger – You will learn the difference between emotional eating and hunger. If you just want to eat because of eating something and the only thing you can eat is bananas, you will less likely eat something. But if you’re really hungry, a banana will do.
Mind – Is quite similar to what I just described. You will be more mindful, because you will feel lighter (thanks to digesting faster), but also very important is that you will fight cravings. You will learns how to handle cravings: You admit you have a craving, you acknowledge it and then hopefully you can move on. This might be a struggle at first.
Weight – It’s very likely that you will loose weight. This will be mostly water weight. If you struggle with water retention, Banana Island will help you. Just note that if you will start eating lots of bad food again after you finished, you will easily gain weight again. To stay on the same weight or even lose more, keep eating healthy and exercise.
Senses – Your taste and smell senses can increase. You can experience better smell and taste. Especially your tastebuds will likely heal/improve.
Sleep – It improves sleep, because your body is able to make the right amount of sleep-hormones: melatonin and serotonin. These hormones are needed for our sleep/wake cycles. They often get disturbed by the things we eat or we do not eat.

SIDE EFFECTS*
Changing your diet and lifestyle can create a situation of temporary withdrawal. As Banana Island is a detox, you might experience side effects, like:
Headaches – A headache is one of the most common side effects of detoxing. It’s mostly a dull and prolonged feeling, but it is because your body is busy removing the buildup of toxins.
Fatigue – As your body is very busy cleansing, a lot of energy is used for only that. The more toxins in your body, the longer this takes. Though, if you eat enough bananas, you shouldn’t feel tired after day 3.
Feeling cold – Also very common, as your body is focusing on getting rid of toxins.
Shaky – Your body wants the bad things you consumed before. By not getting this your blood sugar drops and that is what making you shaky. Just make sure you eat a few extra bananas.
Trouble sleeping – Your body is disturbed by all the changes going on in your body. This might wake you up in the night more often.
Gas/Bloated –You body is getting rid of symptoms in all ways possible. Passing gas is a good sign, it means your intestines are busy clearing everything up. Don’t think it’s not effective if you don’t have this, as long as you have 1 (or more) good bowel movement a day it’s going well.
Cravings – Especially when you were a huge consumer of specific things like: sugar (!), coffee, alcohol and bad fats. You body will ask for there, because it was used to getting this. This side effect is probably the most difficult one. Stay strong!

*You are likely to experience this in the first 1-3 days. Some of the side effects are conflict with improvements. Don’t get discouraged, keep going! Of course if it’s getting really bad (fainting for example), you might want to consider eating a proper meal and maybe even stop all together. It’s very important that you make sure that you eat enough bananas. 

PPREPARATONS
To prepare  myself for Banana Island I did a few things. First, I (obviously) bought a lot of bananas. As I started on a Monday, I got my first batch of bananas on Friday. I got myself 50 bananas, to be sure I had enough for at least 2 days. On Sunday I got my second batch. I did it this way, so they have time to ripe, but not be too ripe.
Something else I did, is having a fruit day the day before (Sunday). This is not necessary, but I did it for 2 reasons. First, I had a lot of fruit I was not able to eat in the 7 coming and I didn’t want it to go bad. Second, I wanted to clear the way, so the effect of the bananas would work faster.

EXPECTATIONS
The reason I wanted to do Banana Island, is because this detox (as many other) is like a reset for your body. A lot of detox programs make you feel hungry, what is ok, but I liked this one because you will not be hungry at all. I especially like this detox because of the mental aspect. The difference you will experience between hunger and emotional eating. I’ve been eating a lot of junk food lately and it didn’t do my body any good. I was looking for ways to get out of that junk food circle, but every time I found myself back in that circle. So this is one of the reasons what made me go to Banana Island. I expect to learn a lot about myself and my body. I also really hope it will clear up my skin a bit. I’ve always had a bad skin since puberty and though it was way worse (before I went vegan), it can improve a lot! Though, my main reason for doing this, is because I’m more and more interested in raw food. This might be a step towards more raw food. I don’t think I will ever go fully raw and I always ate a decent amount of raws anyway, but I think I can do a lot better. I want to be a more healthy vegan. I expect to eat more than 20 bananas and I’m even slightly anxious I will eat an abnormal amount and double that or something.


BANANA JOURNAL

DAY 1 / Bananas: 20
I woke up feeling tired. I had about 7 hours of sleep, but I always have a lot of trouble waking up and getting out of bed. I had my first banana at 7:00 and I ate 7 bananas in total over the morning. At 12:30 I had another 2 bananas, but then I didn’t have any for a while. I had to go out around 15:00 for just a bit and when I came back at 15:30 I was all shaky. Just my arms and hands. I should have eaten a bit more by now I think and it also might be part of the detox effect. I had some more bananas and after an hour I was all back to normal. Still I didn’t seem to eat enough bananas and my stomach started to rumble at 18:00. I did eat 14 bananas by then. In the evening I had a whole organic cucumber, what was so refreshing and tasty. Love how something so simple was so delicious and it’s only day one. I also had 3 bananas with some spinach and water, blended into a smoothie. Was very yummy and a nice change after eating only bananas on its own. I didn’t have any real cravings today, I guess the fist day was quite easy.
Over the whole day I drunk 4 cups of tea and I drunk 2 litres of water.

DAY 2 / Bananas: 20
The second day and I woke up before my alarm (6:15), feeling very well rested. That doesn’t happen a lot. Walking to work I felt very energetic and light, what was a lovely feeling. When I got to work my employer gave me a compliment, that I looked well and energised.. ‘The bananas are doing you good’! It’s only the second day and even people around me see a difference already. Again I ate 7 bananas over the morning. In the afternoon I had a little nap. I didn’t feel tired, but to help my body detoxing and because I had a mild headache. It helped me to have less headache. Being shaky for an hour yesterday and the mild headaches are the only bad side effects I’m having now. Weird enough, having the side effects is kind of exciting, because it means my body is getting rid of toxins. Though, in the end of the afternoon, starting from about 16:00ish, I had a very dry mouth. When I got home around 19:00 I ate an organic cucumber and then the dry mouth was gone. To have the last 5 bananas, I made 2 smoothies with spinach and 1 with celery (I really liked this one). Also had a celery stalk on its own. Very yummy and refreshing. Normally I won’t eat them that often on its own. I like celery, but mostly I put them in my salad. I enjoyed eating it by itself a lot. I really like that about this detox, the appreciation for food. I also drunk almost 2L of water and 3 cups of tea.

DAY 3 / Bananas: 20
I felt less energy than yesterday morning, event hough I did sleep for 7 hours. It might be a side effect, but it could also be because I have to eat a few more bananas a day. I ate 7 bananas over the morning again and around lunchtime my stomach started to rumble. So this is also a sign I should actually eat more. The thing is that I’m not hungry. I eat bananas, but most of the time it’s because I have to at least eat 20 bananas in order to do this detox. What is very positive I think, because normally I’m always ‘hungry’. My body is learning about when I’m really hungry or when I just want to eat for the sake of eating. One of the main reasons I started this detox is because of this mental aspect. I felt very cold today too, overall, but especially my hands.. As this is day 3, the side effect must come to an end by tomorrow. What means I’m very excited about what is going to come next. When I left work (18:00) I only had 13 bananas, what meant I had to at least eat another 7. I decided to blend them, to make it easier. I blend them with some celery and made 1 big glass with a little bit of raw cacao powder too. It was very tasty and felt like such a treat. I divided it over the evening, but I was still very full in the end. I didn’t want to screw up though and make sure my digestive system kept working properly. I also made my boyfriend a burger for dinner, what is my favourite food. Surprisingly, though it was a little hard, I managed doing it and it actually went really well. I didn’t even have huge cravings. I also did really well drinking 3 litres of water, next to my 3 cups of tea. Hydration is very important in a detox!

DAY 4 / Banana: 20
My sleep was very deep, even though I only had 6,5 hours. I felt good in the morning, not highly energised good, but I felt good and content. I can feel I lost some weight, but the best thing is that I feel so happy and light. From around 14:00 today was the first time I was really thinking about having something else than bananas. I wouldn’t say it was a huge craving, but it was different from the other times I thought about different foods. I ate 2 stalks of celery, drunk a cup of tea and I felt better. I think day 4 as the middle day and with the side effects gone (headache free!), your body is changing the focus. I’m surprised I still didn’t have huge cravings, especially because I will have my period next week. Normally in this week (so the week before my period) I’m craving a lot of different things 24/7. I basically alway overeat this week, but thriving on bananas this week, makes me feel a thousand times better. When I got home after work (18:45), I had to eat 5 more bananas to reach 20, so I blended them with a little spinach and 1/4 of iceberg lettuce (I’m quite a fan of blending iceberg lettuce, it gives this little zing to a smoothie). I’m thinking about food quite a lot still. Not in a very annoying, can’t pull myself together kind of way. It’s not a craving for 1 specific thing though. Just I notice that I think about salads a lot. I only think about healthy food though, I have no interest in bad food at all. Again I drunk 3 litres of water today and 3 cups of tea.

DAY 5 / Bananas: 20
As it’s Friday today, I always sleep in a bit. What also means I started to eat later. It was ok though, because for breakfast I put 7 bananas in the blender, with a handful of spinach and water. Drinking this over the morning is a lot easier than eating the bananas on its own. Though my skin still had some breakouts in the last few days, I can see that it’s getting a little better. To be honest, this week (the week before my period) is always a good week for my skin, so I’m not sure if it’s just that or that it’s also thanks to the bananas. I think I have to be more patient to find out. Around 15:00 I thought about other food quite a lot again. To solve this I grabbed half an iceberg lettuce from the fridge and ate it like an apple (what level of vegan is this?!). It really helped and it was so delicious. In the evening I went to watch the movie Beauty&TheBeast (aHmazing btw.. best movie I’ve ever watched in the cinemas!!) and I always get popcorn.. I love popcorn! Today that obviously wasn’t possible, so I prepared a chocolate milkshake what contained 3 bananas and 1 tbs of raw cacao powder and I brought a banana on its own. My boyfriend didn’t easy dinner yet, so before we went to the cinema he quickly ate a pizza. He sat in front of me, eating one of my favourite foods. He wasn’t being mean btw, I told him to just eat. Nobody should change around me just because I decided I only want to eat bananas. As there was dairy cheese on the pizza I didn’t crave it at all. Though I think, even though the pizza smelled delicious, if it was vegan, I would still be ok. I feel very satisfied eating bananas. I’m very surprised I’m so ok with all this delicious food around me. Today, after the movie was finished I ate banana number 100! Was kind of a funny thought, knowing I ate 100 bananas in 5 days. I also drunk 2,5 litres of water and only 2 cups of tea.

DAY 6 / Bananas: 20
I was sleeping in until around 9:30 and didn’t start breakfast until 11:00. What wasn’t very clever as that means I have less time to eat 20 bananas. So I blended up 5 bananas with a handful of spinach and a glass of water and drunk it straight. Me and my boyfriend went to Portobello Road Market, but before we left I ate 3 bananas so I’ll not get hungry and tempted but all the yummy food there. We normally get a falafel wrap and eat it at Starbucks, but this time I didn’t get one, but only had a green tea. I was ok with it, though it’s a lot nicer if you can eat together. Eating 20 bananas while starting so late was easier than I thought. Because I was very hungry coming back from Portobello Market, so I blended 6 bananas with some celery and really enjoyed that. In the evening I was kind of craving a meal, so I ate quite a lot of celery and cucumber. Especially the combination of them both was very enjoyable. I can feel how my tastebuds are more sensitive as I could taste how salty the celery was in comparison with the fresh cucumber. Later in the evening I had serious cravings, to something savoury and saucy, like a proper meal. This is the first time I have cravings, maybe because I know it’s only 1 more day. I acknowledge that it was just a craving and created a healthy raw recipe I’ll enjoy on Monday. I also drunk a cup of tea and went to bed a little earlier than I planned to. I had only 2 cups of tea again today, but I did drink 2 litres of water.

DAY 7 / Bananas: 20
I woke up at 9:00 today, what meant that it was already 10:00, as last night the clock moved forward one hour. I slept very long and deep, 9 hours. I only woke up once at 6:00. So I started to eat my bananas a little later again. I guess that is what happens in the weekend. I made myself a banana/spinach smoothie and I got ready for the farmers market. It was lovely to see all the yummy colourful vegetables, it always makes me happy. Though I knew I had to wait for a salad until tomorrow. Later on in the Sainsbury’s, to get the rest of my groceries, it was also a little hard. I love grocery shopping, but everything what I bought was for the following week. I didn’t have huge cravings though, I’m just looking forward to a proper meal again. I made myself another big smoothie with bananas and celery (the one I bought at the farmers market), after eating 3 bananas on its own.
Though I did have bowel movements every day, today was the first time I had big bowel movements. I’m not sure why, but it’s a good sign. Tomorrow my body will be all ready to receive lovely fresh salads. I turned the last few bananas into a raw cacao soft serve. It was delicious. And swallowing that last bite, meant I ate 140 bananas in 7 days. Yesterday and today I was a bit bloated. My intestines must be working really hard to get a lot of toxins and waste out of my body. I’m wondering how it goes when I start to eat other things from tomorrow. I only had 1 cup of tea today, but I did drink 2 litres of water.


DAY 8
So this morning on the scale, it turned out I lost 1,5 kg this week. Quite good isn’t it? I could already feel it during the week, but what means a lot more to me is that I feel so light and have so much energy. I started the day with a big glass of luke warm water, with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar. This is how I start my day every morning, also when I was on Banana Island. I did some yoga and it went really well, it made me feel so good. Then I made myself a green smoothie with, guess what.. bananas! This shows you how much I love bananas. I did make the smoothie like I normally make it though, so not only with spinach and water. Yesterday I bought myself a little ripe papaya, to eat as the first thing after all these bananas. It was delicious. I love papayas! Then I also ate a very juicy and sweet tangerine. So enjoyable. At work I had some strawberries and then waited all the way until lunchtime. The moment I’ve been waiting for. I had a huge raw salad with spinach, chard, radish greens, radishes, baby corns, sugar snaps, avocado, ground coriander, smoked paprika and a little sesame seed oil. It was soo nice! I really love salads. Very satisfying after 7 days. Then in the afternoon I snacked on some blueberries, 1 apple and 2 pears. At dinner time I was really hungry and made myself some courgetti. I used a whole big courgette and I made very yummy raw sauce from: fresh tomatoes, bell pepper, mushrooms, fresh basil, celery, salt, thyme and a little ground coriander. It was very delicious! There was some sauce left, so in the evening, whilst watching my favourite show ‘The Big Bang Theory’, I cut up a cucumber and started dipping. Yumm! Going to make this more often. I also drunk over 2 litres of water again and 3 cups of tea. What a successful day! In the next few days I will keep eating more raw foods, but I will also introduce my body again to some cooked foods, like: beans, sweet potatoes and porridge. 

CONCLUSION
Thinking I would eat more than 20 bananas and even feeling anxious about eating double that amount, was quite an hilarious expectation, looking at the fact that I struggled to even eat 20 in the end of every day.
Now one of the questions I was asked most during this week on Banana Island was definitely: ‘Do/Will you still like bananas?’. Yes I do! I love bananas! I enjoyed eating bananas a lot and I’m still enjoying them now. I think bananas are just perfect food. They have so much goodness inside of them, they’re so tasty and you can make amazing food combinations with them. They’re really my personal Super Food!
So overall I found it a very nice experience and it helped me a lot with looking at food in a more healthy way. For all these reasons, I would definitely do it again. Maybe in the summer.. I hope more people will join me then!

DAY 14 / Back to normal
So last week I ate very healthy, apart from a little chocolate here and there (sorry, I’m allowed when on my period, hehe..). This morning I was the same weight as I was after Banana Island. I think if I wasn’t on my period, I would have lost a little weight maybe. It’s still a good sign, because it means that the weight I lost on Banana Island is still off. I can also see that my skin is better. It’s smoother and I have less break outs. Even though I was on my period, I didn’t have huge cravings. Normally I have cravings 24/7 and I can eat a lot, especially the week before and I’m hungry the whole time, but I felt so much better.
The day after Banana Island I had a raw day as you can read in DAY 8. I did this to slowly introduce my body to different food again. The day after that I introduced beans and the day after that, I had some porridge for breakfast. Though from about that day, my stomach was getting really upset. I was very bloated and my tummy (from my stomach to my lower intestines) was painful all day. I think that I ate something (maybe a vegetable) that was bad and I didn’t notice. Or maybe it was becuase introducing all these foods again, but I don’t this was the reason. I kept eating healthy and normal, but only from today I actually feel better. I don’t want you to be discouraged from trying Banana Island, because I think it was because I ate something wrong. I still have a lot of energy and overall I feel very good. I feel so much better than before I started Banana Island. It really helped me to get back on track. This week I will exercise more and get properly fit again. The lovely sun coming out more often, is really helping me with that!

Would you like to go to Banana Island too after reading this? You should! It was a very nice experience and I would (and will) do it again! If you have questions or you need some encouragement, don’t hesitate to CONTACT me! You can also do that in a comment below or via Instgram! Thank you! X

Snack balls / Indian tofu

img_7262SNACK BALLS 
I think a lot of people know Deliciously Ella. She is a famous blogger who also owns a few deli’s: Mae Deli, with her husband. Apart from her deli’s she has also introduced these snack balls. There are 3 flavours: ‘cacao&almond’, ‘hazelnut&raisin’ and ‘cashew&ginger’. I only tried the first 2 as I’m not a big fan of ginger inside cakes. Though I should maybe try that one too, because the other 2 are very yummy! I especially like the ‘cacao&almond’ flavour. I think that is also the most popular one in general. I get that, they’re very good. One thing I really like about them, is that you can get them in Starbucks. Starbucks doesn’t have a lot of vegan snacks and now they have a tasty and healthy one. What also makes it very clever of them to sell them there. You actually see them everywhere now and they’re advertising for them a lot. So no excuses.. go try them!

img_2161INDIAN TOFU
You’re vegan, so you must eat only tofu. Well.. not only tofu, but I do eat tofu. I love tofu! One day when I was in Portobello Wholefoods (that can be a lot of days.. haha!) I was looking for a nice tofu. I always get the same one (smoked tofu), but when I saw the tofu from Clearspot, I thought let’s go for something else. The pack looks nice, doesn’t it? So I made a salad and wanted to fry the tofu for a bit, but it was quite wet and it became more like a scrambled tofu instead. I would have liked it a lot better if it was more firm. I also expected a lot more flavour actually. Maybe that is because of the picture in front of the img_2167pack. You expect some sort of rich curry sauce on it. I made a simple salad with it. I cut up some cucumber, cherry tomatoes, onions and a big hand full of lettuce. I also added some mayonnaise for the sauce I was missing. Normally I’m not even that much of a sauce-person. All together, the salad, the scrambled tofu and the bit of mayonnaise was really nice though. So I guess it’s tofu you really have to prepare in a dish (like in a curry) and it’s not that suitable to fry it with a salad. I do like that it’s organic and the overall basic flavour was good. So I like it, but I’m just not crazy about it.

Did you already know these products or are you going to try them after reading this? Please let me know or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Would you like me to test and review your product(s) or do you have any suggestions? Please send me a message via CONTACT! It can be anything (food, drinks, beauty..) as long as it’s vegan. Thank you! X

Planet Manel’s 1 year Anniversary + GIVEAWAY!

Yay!! Today Planet Manel is 1 year old! Already for a whole year I’ve been writing about my passions. If you follow me for a while already, you know that this is mainly veganism. I love having my blog and I dare to say that I grew a lot in the past year. There were a lot of things that needed to improve and still there are things I work on and I try to improve every time I write something. I want to thank you all for following me, commenting and liking my posts. I really appreciate every one of you and I couldn’t do this if it wasn’t for my readers. Thank you so much!

As you can see, the website changed a little bit. A fresh start for a new year. I hope you like it and that this made it easier to find things. But to really celebrate the 1st anniversary, I created a little Giveaway with some of my personal favourites.

The giveaway:
-Avocado socks
-Peanut butter Nakd bar.
-Banana bread Nakd bar.
-Tony’s Chocolonely (almond/sea salt).
-Lenny & Larry’s cookie (snickerdoodle).
-Heath & Heather tea (green tea and coconut).
-‘Baa Bar’ bubble bar from Lush.

-I mean.. who doesn’t need avocado socks? Definitely great for the avocado-addicts over here! Like me.. I’ve got these sock myself! 
-Nakd bars for the win! These 2 are my favourite flavours, they even taste great together.. haha!
-Tony’s Chocolonely is hard to find here in the UK, but I brought this one especially from Holland. This is definitely the best flavour for sure! Just believe me..
-Just because after that huge work out, you need a treat!
-This green tea in combination with ‘Oatly Foamable’ is heaven! It’s like drinking green tea with coconut milk. Call it a ‘tea colada’!
-This is actually my second favourite bubble bar (Rose Jam is nmbr 1!!), but this one is lovely before you go to sleep. Soak yourself with this soy lavender goodness! Also.. it looks like a pig snout.. so it’s lovely! 

How do you win?!
-Follow my blog (you can enter your email address at the bottom of the website).
-Follow me on Instagram.
-Leave a comment below.

*** On the 1st of April the winner will be announced! (no joke.. haha!)

Thank you again and please enter the giveaway! If you have questions or if you want to send me a message about anything else, please do that via CONTACT. Thank you! X

Language Barrier

Last year I was traveling quite a lot and I noticed that it’s tricky to go shopping and to find vegan products if you don’t know the language. When you’re lucky the products have more than one language on the back and you just hope you can understand at least one of them. Sometimes that is just not the case. That is why I made a helpful list what hopefully will help you on some of your holidays. And what about ordering food in a restaurant? Unfortunately not all restaurants have an English translation of their menu. If then also the staff can’t talk English very well (or at all) it can be very tricky to order something and be very sure it’s all vegan. There is an app called ‘The Vegan Passport’ what is very helpful when traveling. It’s definitely worth getting. The app (£1,99) has a page written in a lot of different languages (and even pictures to make yourself clear), explaining what vegans do and don’t eat in a polite but serious way. You can show the page to the people and they can read it themselves, to prevent misunderstandings. When I was in Paris once I ordered a pasta somewhere and though I said ‘no cheese’ about a 100 times, I still have the idea I ate dairy cheese that day. If I knew how to say ‘no cheese’ or I already knew about the app, the waiter definitely would of understood me at least.

So that gave me the idea to make a list of the most common things and things you need to know when you’re ordering food or when you’re shopping on your holiday. I asked all my international friends to help me with the translation and I hope it will help you when you’re somewhere in the middle of some beautiful country and you want to order your pasta without cheese!

DUTCH
*eating:
Meat – Vlees
Fish – Vis
Dairy – Zuivel
Milk – Melk
Butter – Boter
Egg – Ei
Honey – Honing
Gelatine – Gelatine
Beeswax – Bijenwas
Whey – Wei

*fashion:
Leather – Leer
Wool – Wol
Silk – Zijde
Fur – Bont

*other things that might be useful:
Vegan – Veganistisch
Plant based – Plantaardig
Raw food – Rauw voedsel
Dairy free – Zuivel vrij
Gluten free – Gluten vrij
Nut free – Noten vrij
Animal products – Dierlijke producten
Sustainable – Duurzaam

GERMAN
*eating:
Meat – Fleisch
Fish – Fisch
Dairy – Molkerei
Milk – Milch
Butter – Butter
Eggs – Eier
Honey – Honig
Gelatine – Gelatine
Beeswax – Bienenwax
Whey – Molke

*fashion:
Leather – Leder
Wool – Wolle
Silk – Seide
Fur – Pelz

*other things that might be useful:
Vegan – Vegan
Plant based – Pflanzenbasiert
Raw food – Rohkost/ Rohe Lebensmittel
Dairy free – Milchfrei
Gluten free – Gluten frei
Nut free – Nuss frei
Animal Product – Tier Produkt
Sustainable – Nachhaltig

FRENCH
*eating:
Meat – Viande
Fish – Poisson
Dairy – Produits laitiers
Milk – Lait
Butter – Beurre
Eggs – Oeufs
Honey – Miel
Gelatine – Gélatine
Beeswax – Cire d’abeille
Whey – Petit-lait

*fashion:
Leather – Cuir
Wool – Laine
Silk – Soie
Fur – Fourrure

*other things that might be useful:
Vegan – Végétalien
Plant based – A base de plantes
Raw food – Crudités
Dairy free – Sans produits laitiers
Gluten free – Sans gluten
Nut free – Sans noix
Animal products – Produits animaux
Sustainable – Durable

ITALIAN
*eating:
Meat – Carne
Fish – Pesce
Dairy – Latticini
Milk – Latte
Butter – Burro
Eggs – Uova
Honey – Miele
Gelatine – Gelatina
Beeswax – Cera d’api
Whey – Siero di latte

*fashion:
Leather – Pelle
Wool – Lana
Silk – Seta
Fur – Pelliccia

*other things that might be useful:
Vegan – Vegano
Plant based –
Raw food – Cibo crudo
Dairy free – Senza lattosio
Gluten free – Senza Glutine
Nut free – Senza Nocciole-Noci
Animal products – Prodotti Animali
Sustainable – Sostenibile-Sostenibili

SPANISH
*eating
Meat -Carne
Fish – Pescado
Dairy – Lácteos
Milk – Leche
Butter – Mantequilla
Eggs – Huevos
Honey – Miel
Gelatine – Gelatina
Beeswax – Cera de abeja

*fashion
Leather – Cuero o piel
Wool – Lana
Silk – Seda
Fur – Pelo

* other things that be useful:
Vegan – Vegano
Plant based – A base de plantas
Raw food – Alimentos crudos
Dairy free – Sin lactosa
Gluten free – Sin gluten
Nut free – Sin frutos secos
Animal products – Productos animales
Sustainable – Ecológico

ARABIC
*eating:
Meat – الأكل
Fish – لحم
Dairy – سمك
Milk – ألبان
Butter – حليب
Eggs – زبدة
Honey – بيض
Gelatine – جلاتين
Beeswax – شمع النحل
Whey – مصل اللبن

*fashion:
Leather – جلد
Wool – صوف
Silk – حرير
Fur – فير

*other things that might be useful:
Vegan – نباتي
Plant based – مصنوع من النباتات
Raw food – أكل ني
Dairy free – أكل من مشتقات الحليب
Gluten free – خال من الجلالين
Nut free – خالي من المكسرات
Animal products – منتجات حيوانية
Sustainable – متجدد

POLISH
*eating:
Meat – Mięso
Fish – Ryby
Dairy – Mleczne
Milk – Mleko
Butter – Masło
Eggs – Jajka
Honey – Miód
Gelatine – Żelatyna
Beeswax – Wosk
Whey – Serwatka

*fashion:
Leather – Skórzane
Wool – Wełna
Silk – Jedwab
Fur – Futro

*other things that might be useful:
Vegan – Wegański
Plant based – Roślinny
Raw food – Surowe jedzenie
Dairy free – Bezmleczne
Gluten free – Bezglutenowe
Nut free – Bez orzechów
Animal products – Produkty pochodzenia zwierzęcego
Sustainable – Zrównoważony rozwój

PORTUGUESE
*eating:
Meat – Carne
Fish – Peixe
Dairy – Produtos lácteos
Milk -Leite
Butter – Manteiga
Eggs – Ovos
Honey – Mel
Gelatine – Gelatina
Beeswax – Cera de abelha
Whey – Soro de leite

*fashion:
Leather – Couro
Wool – Lã
Silk – Seda
Fur – Pele

*other things that might be useful:
Vegan – Vegan
Plant based – à base de plantas
Raw food – Comida crua
Dairy free – Sem lactose
Gluten free – Sem glúten
Nut free – Sem nozes
Animal products – Produtos animal
Sustainable – Sustentável

PORTUGUESE (Brazil)
*eating:
Meat – Carne
Fish – Peixe
Dairy – Laticinios
Milk – Leite
Butter – Manteiga
Egg – Ovo
Honey -Mel
Gelatine – Gelatina
Beeswax -Cera de Abelha
Whey – Soro do leite

*fashion:
Leather – Couro
Wool – Lã
Silk – Seda
Fur – Pelo

*other things that might be useful:
Vegan – Veganismo
Plant based – Baseado em planta
Raw food – Comida crua
Dairy free – Sem laticinios
Gluten free – Sem glutem
Nut free – Sem nozes
Animal products – Produto animal
Sustainable – Sustentavel

CZECH REPUBLIC 
*eating:
Meat- Maso
Fish- Ryba
Dairy- Mlecne vyrobky
Milk- Mleko
Butter- Maslo
Eggs- Vejce
Honey- Med
Gelatine- Zelatina
Beeswax- Vceli vosk
Whey- Syrovatka

*fashion:
Leather – Kuze
Wool- Vlna
Silk- Hedbavi
Fur-Srst

*other things that might be useful:
Vegan – Vegan
Plant based- Rostlinne bazi
Raw food- Syrova strava
Dairy free- Bez mlecnych vyrobku
Gluten free- Bezlepkovy
Nut free- Bez orechu
Animal products- Zvireci produkty
Sustainable- Udrzitelny

FINNISH
*eating:
Meat – Liha
Fish – Kala
Dairy – Maitotuote
Milk – Maito
Butter – Voi
Eggs – Munat (kananmunat)
Honey – Hunaja
Gelatine – Gelatiini/Liivate
Beeswax – Mehiläisvaha
Wheat – Vehnä

*fashion:
Leather – Nahka
Wool – Villa
Silk – Silkki
Fur – Turkis

*other things that might be useful:
Vegan – Vegaaninen
Plant based – Kasvipohjainen
Raw food – Raakaruoka
Dairy free – Maidoton
Gluten free – Gluteiiniton
Nut free – Pähkinätön
Animal products – Eläintuotteet / Eläinperäiset tuotteet
Sustainable – Kestävä

Do you know how to translate this list in a language which isn’t in this post yet? Please contact me and I will add it. Or comment below! Let’s help each other to a 100% cruelty free holiday, with lots of yummy food! Thank you! X

Tai Buffet

img_8242I lived in Shepherds Bush for 1,5 year. Great place to live. Near Westfield and great transport into central London. A lot of weekend you could find me in Westfield or in West 12, what is on the opposite of the road. I always walked past Thai Buffet, or I saw it from the bus. It said ‘Lunch £5,90’ and ‘Dinner £6,90’. They serve Thai and Chinese vegetarian food. I always thought, ‘I should go there’. I like buffets, I like Thai food and it’s SO cheap! Only, because it was cheap and it also looked cheap I never bothered to go. I never was too keen on the idea and mostly went to Wagamama instead. Until last year, when my brother came and stayed at my place for a few days. He is really into buffets too and as it’s vegetarian, I was positive they had some vegan options too. That’s why I decided to go with him.

img_8240Ok, it’s not the place I would take my lover on Valentines Day, but it’s perfect for a hungry Saturday afternoon. Like me and my brother. I asked the lady what was vegan and I couldn’t believe my ears when she said that everything is vegan! What?! Why didn’t I go here before?! The food looked delicious and I couldn’t wait to start. I was so excited. We ordered a drink and we ran to the buffet, haha! With buffets I always like to start with salads. Just because your body will digest it easier, starting with raws. After that I was very happy to dig in the img_8243seitan, tofu and spring rolls.. gosh it was nice! When I was full I really wished I had another stomach to fill. They even had crispy duck style pieces and a lot of rice, noodles and lots of veggies. I really liked all the food and there are quite a lot of options for a small restaurant like this. Everything is very tasty, but I wasn’t crazy about the dessert though. It was just fruit, nuts and some tapioca pudding. They could have done a lot better I think. Maybe it’s just the Thai and Chinese kitchen that don’t give a lot of vegan style dessert option. All together I think it’s great value for money though!

img_8241So like I said before, it’s not a place you’re going to, to have a romantic dinner. But with all the food options, you don’t really care about the interior that much. It’s alright. Something I didn’t like that much is the staff. They were friendly, but not very focused on service. I know it’s a buffet and it’s all self-service, but it’s just nice if you feel very welcome. Overall, I was very pleased that I went and I’m sure I’ll come back here. Especially when my family is over here. My brother liked it a lot too and I’m sure the rest of my family will as well.

WHO? Tai Buffet.
WHERE? 86 Uxbridge Rd, W12 8LR.
CUISINE? Thai/Chinese.
VEGAN? Yes!
OVERALL? 7 (tasty food, great value for money, dessert and service could be better)

Do you know Tai Buffet already? What do you think about buffets? Are you going to try it? Please let me know! You can do this by leaving a comment below. You can also show me by tagging me on Instagram or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Raw Bars / Shampoo and Conditioner

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RAW BARS
For this review I tested 2 of the 7 flavours of Primal Pantry bars. I was especially very curious about the ‘Coconut Macadamia’ flavour as I’m crazy about coconut and I love macadamia nuts. I can already tell you, that this one is my favourite out of these 2. I do like the ‘Brazil nut & Cherry’ too, but it’s just sweeter and I like nutty. It’s personal taste. The structure of the bars is really nice and knowing that they don’t use any junk, makes it taste even better. The bars are paleo proof and so they’re free from grains, refined sugars, soy and processed vegetable oils. I also love the simple packaging, with these lovely soft colours. Very cute! I’m curious to try more flavours. Very handy, healthy snacks for on the way.

img_1345SHAMPOO & CONDITIONER
I love everything with rose smell, including roses itself, haha! I always washed my hair with Olive Branch from Lush, but my hair needed some more treatment as it became a bit dry. So I looked for a shampoo and conditioner from just one brand, because in combination it works better. I found the Urtekram Rose. I love the smell and I do like the shampoo quite a lot, but after using it for several weeks, I don’t have the idea the conditioner is making a lot of difference. In my opinion it could have been a bit more creamy too. Maybe my hair was just too dry, to notice a difference though. Something very positive I think, are the sizes of the bottles, not too small and not too unhandy big. Overall I think they’re nice hair care products. So if you have normal hair and you’re looking for a new vegan and cruelty free shampoo and conditioner, give it a go!

Did you already know these products or are you going to try them after reading this? Please let me know or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Would you like me to test and review your product(s) or do you have any suggestions? Please send me a message via CONTACT! It can be anything (food, drinks, beauty..) as long as it’s vegan. Thank you! X

Oat Milk / Raw Bars

img_3075OATLY BARISTA
A good plant-based milk.. is always quite a thing isn’t it?! It has to be free from sugar and any other crap, it has to be creamy, taste great by itself, taste great in coffee and tea and if it’s possible it should foam too! There are so many different milks to choose from, but they can’t have it all. Until Oatly came with ‘foamable’. It’s creamy, what makes it great for if you want to use it in your coffee (cappuccino) or tea, it tastes A-mazing by itself and it’s super foamable (it’s in the name.. hehe..). Oatly is a very good brand in general, because they are pure, honest and they don’t use sugar or any other crap. I always liked them from the start and I think their design looks fab! I didn’t stop buying Oatly Barista since the day I discovered it. I now make sure there is always a pack in the house, in case I want to make a lovely Chai Latte, a bowl of porridge (cold or warm) or just drink it on its own. It’s delicious, my absolute favourite milk! Check out their website if you’d like to know more.

img_3331RAW BARS
I think many people know the Nakd bars, as they sell them basically everywhere. How many of you tried them? Because I really like Nakd bars. They make a great snack for if you have to wait a little longer until your next meal. They’re guilt free, as they’re fully raw, only contain a few ingredients and they don’t contain any processed crap. My favourite one is the ‘peanut butter’, but I also really like ‘cashew’, chocolate’ and ‘carrot’. I do like the soft bars, with the nutty flavours best. I’m not a big fan of the crunchy and fruity flavours. I mostly eat them after or before my work out. They’re great to provide you with a little energy boost or to fill you up after burning up your energy. I think they’re great. One of the good things is, like I said earlier, that you can buy them almost everywhere. What is very perfect when you want a good healthy snack, but you’re on the way. They have a lot of flavours, so I’m sure there is one you like. You can check out all the flavours on their website and find out which one in your favourite?!

Did you already know these products or are you going to try them after reading this? Please let me know or show me on Instagram by using #PlanetManel. Would you like me to test and review your product(s) or do you have any suggestions? Please send me a message via CONTACT! It can be anything (food, drinks, beauty..) as long as it’s vegan. Thank you! X

Farmacy

img_2445Notting Hill is great. For a lot of reasons.. but one of the reasons is definitely the restaurant ‘Farmacy’. A few times I saw Farmacy popping up on Instagram and when I checked what it was, of course I needed to go there. Now it happened to be that I got a temporary job last December, just for a week. The job was only a 2 minutes walk from Farmacy, how perfect?! So after my first work day, I went straight there and I was so impressed. What a fancy restaurant! This is definitely a good place for a more formal lunch, but also perfect for dates or to celebrate a special occasion. I’m just thinking now, I might actually go here on my birthday!

img_2452At Farmacy they, as the name implies, serve healthy food. “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” They get their products from local, organic farms from the UK. This doesn’t only make it taste amazing, it also makes sure you’ll get the maximum of all the nutritional benefits the food offers. Their whole menu is vegetarian, but looking at it, you’ll actually see that most of it is vegan too. Yay! I got the (of course) the burger (Farmacy Burger) with sweet potato chips. They do have lots of other very nice things on the menu. What do you think of ‘sweet potato falafels’ and ‘Tagliatelle ai Funghi’? Or you img_2449can choose 1 of the 3 vegan pizza’s.. These are only a few options, they got salads, soups and very nice desserts. I was too full to try a dessert, but I’ll make sure I’ll have some the next time I go. It will be very hard to choose though.. they have lots of dessert options for vegans and it’s totally different from a ‘sorbet’ or a ‘fruit platter’.. these are real desserts! Mouth-watering.. So as you can read, there is lots of good food, but they also do incredible juices and shots. All sorts of very amazing drinks. They’re all made right in front of you, at the bar in the middle.

img_2448Farmacy is located at Westbourne Grove, a street full of nice, quite exclusive shops and quite a lot of restaurants. Perfect location I would say and in a beautiful building. I also really like the interior. Very light and very green with lots of plants. In the front are very nice round benches, which I think are the best seats. There are also normal tables and chairs or you can eat at the bar. If you’re planning to go at a busy time and you’re going with 2 or more people, I do recommend you to make a reservation. It’s a very busy restaurants. Waiting to get seated is very normal. A lot of people like it here, what is only very positive though. I have to make a compliment about the staff, they’re very friendly and professional, what is very pleasant. The only down side about Farmacy is that it’s quite expensive. Though, to be fair, the food is really good! So in comparison it’s probably not that bad. Check out the website for more information and their full menu.

WHO? Farmacy.
WHERE? 74 Westbourne Grove, W2 5SH.
CUISINE? Around the globe.
VEGAN? Yes! (mostly)
OVERALL? 9 (very good food, beautiful entourage and friendly staff)

What do you think of Farmacy? Would you like to go for a yummy burger or would you go for one of their pizza’s? Please let me know in a comment below or show me on Instagram by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X

Beauty Barlour – naked

A while ago I was asked to test and review the skin mousse from ‘Beauty Barlour’. I was allowed to pick a flavour and then I’d receive the product in December. I was having a little break around Christmas, so that’s why I’ll be telling you about it today.

img_5048-3There are 5 flavours: Wild Orange, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Lavender and Naked. Out of these 5, I picked ‘Naked’. It means that there is no added flavour and I could test the product being as raw as possible. The first thing I thought when I was holding the jar in my hands, was: ‘Wohw! I really like it’. I like that it’s black with modern white letters, but most of all, I really like that it’s made out of glass (apart from the lid). It means that the mousse will not be affected and it’s also much better for the environment. When I opened it, I thought the mousse looked very appealing, with its vanilla colour and mousse structure. You just want to put your fingers in there. Now the smell. I must be honest and tell you that I’m not a big fan of the smell. As it’s the naked version I was expecting a very neutral smell, but it’s quite strong in my opinion. It does smell very natural though and I’d say it mostly smells like shea butter. I do really like the structure. It’s quite a thick mousse, but it melts easily. It mostly reminds me of soft butter.

img_5044-3I tested it on a few areas of my body. My hands, my legs and my elbows. I recommend you to take a warm shower first, to make sure your pores are open and your skin is warm. This way the mousse will melt on your skin and hydrate the dry areas extra well. Also, you only have to use a little bit as the warmth of your skin makes that you can spread the mousse easily. It does take quite a while for the mousse to be absorbed by your skin and your skin is oily for quite a bit. Though once it was absorbed, my skin felt really nice. I could definitely notice a difference. My legs are always a little dry form shaving and stuff, my hands are always very dry in the winter months and elbows are always a bit rough, isn’t it? I could see my skin looking healthier and it felt very soft and hydrated. I think if you would use this mousse even once a week, it would make a difference.

img_5029-3Overall I think it’s a very nice product. I love that most ingredients are organic (cold-pressed), that it’s so natural and 100% vegan. If you have a very dry skin I’d definitely recommend it. In the winter my skin is always a lot dryer (especially my hands) and I think this mousse is really helping with that. If you’d like this lovely product for yourself, CLICK HERE.

Can your skin use some extra care this winter? Are you excited to try this? Please let me know when you are! I’d love to hear your opinion and for you to share your experience. You can leave a comment below, but you can also tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X

Netherlands – Xmas Holidays

img_3639The end of 2016 was quite hectic for me. Mainly because I had to find another job before I could book my ticket to Holland. At some points it was so stressful, but in the end I got to choose between 2 jobs. It was hard, but I did it and then I could finally book my flight to Holland for the Christmas holidays.. and a little longer, as my new job doesn’t start until the 16th (yes.. that’s today!). So I booked a flight from the 20th of December until the 9th of January. Steven, my boyfriend, left the 16th for his holiday to Brazil and was going to come back just 2 days before me. So the time in Holland would be a good distraction from missing him. Even though I basically did something every day and it sometimes felt busy, it was also quite a relaxed holiday, because I had 3 weeks. And because it’s 3 weeks and that’s quite long, I will write a little bit of what I did every day, like a journal. Of course I do have a few hotspots too! I will list them in the end, so you can easily find them.

img_3678December 20
I was so excited about this day. I was just very much looking forward to Holland. Partly cuz I already  missed my boyfriend like crazy and because I love Christmas! I left very early as my flight was at 7:40 in the morning. I like to book early flights, because otherwise the day is so long before you can finally leave and also because then you don’t feel like you’re spending the whole day traveling. I had 2 (heavy) suitcases and my handbag, but I managed to get to the airport at a perfect time. The flight was very relaxed and that 1 hour I was in the air, I even snoozed a little bit. At the airport my sister and my niece were waiting for me. It was such a nice surprise to have my niece running to me with her face all brightened up. What a lovely moment! We drove straight to Rikus, my mum’s work. I wrote about Rikus before, but for the people who don’t know yet, Rikus is a hotel – restaurant, in a former farm. It’s a beautiful renovated building, with lots of peace and amazing nature around it. So in case you ever want to escape the big city and go for total silence.. book a room! (I’ll list them as a hotspot again) It was so nice to see my mum, even though I’ve seen her not that long ago. It always feels like I haven’t seen her for ages. We went back home for some tea, before we went to the hairdressers. My mum wanted to cut her hair. I didn’t agree with it, as I like my mum’s hair long. So with me not taking my eyes of the scissors it was being cut. In the end, I must say, though I prefer it the way it was, it was looking very nice. It reminded me I have to cut my hair myself. I always do that myself and I might write an article about it one day if you guys will like that?! After the hairdressers we went to the snackbar, what is so Dutch. You can compare it with the Fish&Chips shops available in the UK. Only at the snackbar you get mainly fries, and you choose some sort of snack with it. There are no vegan options if it comes to the snacks, but I love fries so much, that I don’t mind. I brought my own Vegenaise mayonnaise and I really enjoyed the veryyy yummy fries. What a great end of my first day.

img_5242December 21
I decided to go to Germany today with my mum, my sister, my niece and Odette (a very nice colleague of my mum). It’s only an hour drive. Just across the border, in Leer, there is a very big shopping mall, where apparently things are a lot cheaper. I never went, so I was curious. Nobody knew exactly where to go to, so we first ended up in the centre of Leer. What was actually very nice. Next to where we parked the car was the Bio Markt, where I got some nice vegan goodies. Yummm! I bought a new shirt at H&M and I’m very happy with it. Though I had to keep a close eye on what I spend, I had to get this shirt. I wore it a lot already, it’s one of my favourites now, so worth it. I also bought this cute wooden sign what says ‘Have yourself a merry little Christmas’, on sale. We eventually used the TomTom to find this big shopping mall, called ‘Familia’. We first had some tea there and then we did some more shopping. I didn’t think it was that much cheaper, but I did get some nice things. It was still nice to be in a huge supermarket, I love that. We had so much fun too, good laughs! In the evening my mum and I did the Christmas tree.. I know, a little late. It was very nice though. As we’re celebrating Christmas, the gifts have to go somewhere.. haha!

img_4579December 22
Today my dad got the most amazing news ever! It needs a little explaining first.. my dad is ill and he can’t work anymore because of too much pain. It became impossible. Though in Holland it isn’t easy to just stop working. What is a good thing, but if what you have makes it sometimes a lot of times impossible to even function normally during the day, there comes a point where you need to stop working. My dad reached that point about 2 years ago already, but he kept trying. He is an all round carpenter/builder, specialised in renovating, so it’s heavy work. The whole process of being able to stop working, but still to receive the money you have the right to, is long and sometimes very unfair. It was super stressful, what made the illnesses worse. But today.. he finally received the letter, after all his hard work, that he didn’t have to work anymore, but would still receive his payments! To get this incredible news just before Christmas is just so amazing! You probably understand that there were a lot of happiness tears! It made the day very special. Another very nice thing was that Julian, my brother, and Marsha, his girlfriend, performed together on stage for the first time and it was so lovely. They sung a beautiful song whilst Julian also played the guitar! I watched the little video about a 100 times. So proud! In the evening my mum and I watched one of my favourite Christmas movies, ‘Love Actually’. Gosh I love that movie!

December 23
Apparently everything we did for Christmas needed to be late, because we went to get groceries today. Normally I’m never like this, especially not when it comes to Christmas (remember I started to do my Christmas shopping in October?). Lucky us, we didn’t need a lot of things other people needed too, so everything was there and it was very cheap. We had enough food for 8 people (ok and we still ate from it 2 days after, so we could have had 12 people over I think). All together it was something like 80 euros, which I think is such a good price. In the afternoon I looked after my nephew Jinan. We went to the little village supermarket, because he wanted to get Julian and Marsha something for Christmas. What is so sweet, as he’s 9. My heart melted of course. He picked sweets and chocolate and we wrapped it together. They were the first presents under the tree. When we got home I worked on my blog and he also did some things on the laptop. In the evening I cooked us some dinner and we ate it together, he’s so sweet! In Holland ‘The Voice of Holland’ is on at the moment and so my mum and I watched that together. A lovely relaxed evening in front of the telly. Did you know the program originally comes from Holland?

img_3836December 24
I planned to drive to the north today, to Uithuizermeeden to be precise. To deliver some last Christmas cards (again, I know.. late!) and my best friends and my grandparents live there. When I wanted to post my aunt and uncle’s Christmas card they just got out of the car with 2 of my cousins, so we had a little chat, was nice to see them. Then I drove to my grandparents and I stayed there for a few hours. I love my grandparents and I always see them every time I visit Holland. It’s important to me. In the afternoon I went to the house of my friends, Nienke, Jeroen and their 1 year old daughter, Annemarie. We had a late lunch together and did lots of chatting. They got me some very nice gifts and Nienke made me a very nice hand-made card and tags. I also always see them when I go to Holland. I know Nienke since I was a toddler and Jeroen since I was 13. I love them! One of the reasons I also love to go to the north is because I love to drive the car, haha! As it’s Christmas evening my parents and I decided to watch a Christmas movie together. I actually wanted to watch ‘Elf’, but my dad is not a big fan and so we looked on Netflix. I actually like movies I already watched before (haha!), but there was this movie called ‘The Spirit of Christmas’, what looked nice and none of us watched it before, so we gave it a try. Turned out to be such a nice movie, with a very nice actor.. hehe.. So I want to recommend it for next Christmas, in case you’ve watched ‘Home Alone’ too many times already.

img_3831December 25
It’s Christmas! ..but guess what.. in Holland we’ve got 2 Christmas days. 1st Christmas day and 2nd Christmas day. Today my sister still had to work and so we decided to celebrate Christmas on 2nd Christmas day. Felt a bit weird to do nothing on the 1st, but I was looking forward to tomorrow. At lunchtime we went to Rikus, as Freek was having lunch there with his son, his son’s wife and his grandchild. Freek used to live across the street, but he moved to a home for elderly now. My parents still visit him 2 times a weeks and sometimes I come with them. We just went to say ‘hi’ and I had a Christmas card for him. In the afternoon I wrapped up all my gifts, what was lot of work, but I like it.

img_4038December 26
Yay!! Was looking forward to this day and I started cooking straight away. I made sweet potatoes with a nice black bean filling (recipe), a beetroot salad with dill (recipe) and an aubergine curry with rice. It wasn’t even that much work and I really enjoyed it. I was also very excited to meet my brothers girlfriend, Marsha, as it would be the first time I would meet her. So I got myself ready, my mum was doing the table in the meantime and everybody was walking in around 16:00. We decided to first do presents, because doing dinner before presents, whilst there are a 9 and 2,5 year old excited for presents, the dinner will not be very peaceful. There were soooo many presents! We should have gotten at least 3 big Christmas img_5243trees to make it fit. It took us 2 hours to open everything, but it was so much fun. I got so many lovely things! Really appreciate them all. The only thing is that I wish that Steven could have been there too, missed him so much! Everybody liked the dinner and to make it even more perfect.. my sister made a chocolate pie with chocolate icing! Deeelicious! I’m so lucky to have an understanding family. My dad and I are the only vegans, but everything was vegan and everybody is ok with that. I feel so grateful for that! We had a very good time at the dinner table. Marsha, who’s so nice btw and a perfect fit for our family, brought her guitar and we sang lots of songs together. Was so much fun! This was one of the best Christmases I’ve had. Would have been totally perfect if I didn’t have to miss Steven though. I hope everybody had a lovely Christmas too. Tell me about it if you like!

img_3976December 27
On the 21st of August it was my nephews birthday, but I never gave him a present. I promised Jinan to go to the cinema for his birthday, but the last time I was in Holland we didn’t have enough time. Of course I didn’t forget and because it’s the Christmas holidays, there was enough time now. So we went today. He picked the movie ‘Pets’ and it was on in Assen at 10:45. Jinan absolutely loved the movie, I thought it wasn’t that good actually, haha! It was nice to be there with him though and see him laughing and having fun. After, we ate some fries at the snackbar across the street and it was so nice to spend some quality time with him. Before we went back to the car we walked to ‘Eko Plaza’, a health supermarket. We got some vegan mayonnaise, chocolate, red chilli pepper sausages and I got a hair mask from Weleda. My hair is quite dry from drying it with the blow dryer and I decided to look after it a lot better. So regular hair masks will be a good treat for my locks.

December 28
Quite a relaxed day today, I didn’t do much. Christmas is finished, but I still didn’t watch one of my favourite Christmas movies, ELF. This movie is so stupid, that it’s hilarious! Haha.. My sister and Jinan never watched it before, so in the evening we went to their house to watch it. We had tea, some yummy snacks and we laughed so much. It was a lovely evening!

December 29
Because I love Nienke so much, we planned another visit today. This time she was coming my way. She also brought Annemarie. We had lots of tea, lots of biscuits and we did lots of chatting! Melody, my sister, also came with Joëlla for a little bit and the 2 girls together are just so much fun. It’s like watching an entertainment show!

img_4148December 30
Starting the day, like every day so far, with a lovely sleep in. Opening the blinds woke me up instantly though, it was very white outside from all the frost. It looked beautiful, but it meant it was very cold outside. I don’t like cold. The only thing what excites me about it, is that I can take some nice pictures. So around lunchtime I went with my dad to walk the dogs. I took some nice wintery pictures, but we went home quite fast again, as is was way too cold. At home we made tea to get warm again and we kept chatting for a few hours, lovely! In the meantime Steven send me pictures of palm trees and sunny markets.

img_5244December 31
Tonight it’s New Years Evening! Yay! I love to end a year, to start with a new one. In the afternoon we were all invited by my mum’s work. My mum works at ‘Rikus’, but the owner has another Hotel-Restaurant, called the ‘Jufferen Lunsingh’. The party was at the ‘Jufferen Lunsingh’, same as last year. Before we went there I made some cinnamon rolls (recipe) for tonight. In Holland, at New Years Evening, we eat oliebollen. Oliebollen are typically Dutch and are some sort of fried cakes. They are not vegan, so that’s why I made the cinnamon rolls instead. I should veganise oliebollen though, that would be nice. Maybe next year! At the ‘Jufferen Lunsingh’ it was really nice, but after 2 hours we went home for dinner. We always eat the same thing at New Years Evening and everybody is always very much img_4358looking forward to it. We eat mushroom ragout with pastry cups. My dad always makes it from scratch. He used to make it with chicken, but as we’re both vegan he veganised the recipe and it’s delicious! My mum, brother, Marsha and me played a card game in the evening, what was very fun. After that we watched ‘Ik hou van Holland’ (I love Holland), a game show. They always make a special New Years Evening version of the show and it’s very nice and very funny. We kept watching that until it was 00:00!!! After wishing each other a very Happy New Year, I got a message from my amazing boyfriend. He wished me a Happy New Year all the way from Brazil (where it’s 3 hours earlier). Loved that so much! Then we went outside to img_4355watch the fireworks and to wish the neighbours a Happy New Year too. Eext is a very small village, but quite a lot of people have beautiful firework. Julian and Marsha had a wishing balloon and they asked me to help them. So we went to the dark field behind the village and we tried and tried, but the wind was just too strong and unfortunately it didn’t work. My hands got so cold, that they were stinging a lot. I was scared they might fall off. Happy to be back in the streets, I joined my mum at the neighbours house and we stayed there for a little bit. Around 2:00 we were in bed, but I wanted to wait until it was 3:00, so I could wish Steven a Happy New Year too. Around 3:30 I finally fell asleep.. cheers to a New Year!

January 1
Heading to the north again! To wish my grandparents a Happy New Year. We picked up Melody in Groningen as she celebrated New Years Evening with friends. My aunt, Renske, my uncle, Rudie, and my cousin, Blessing, were also at my grandparents and later on another aunt walked in too. So lovely to see everybody, to catch up and to wish them all a HNY! In the end I quickly went to Nienke, Jeroen and Annemarie for an hour. Had some tea there and we said our goodbye as I wouldn’t see them again until the next time I’ll come to Holland. We left in the beginning of the evening and we took Blessing with us. He always likes to stay over for a few days when it’s the holidays. He is such a nice child. He just turned 12 and it makes me realise how fast time is going, as I remember the day he was born so well.

img_4419January 2
My sister, Melody, picked me up in the morning to get groceries, because my cousin, Santos and his girlfriend, Charlotte, and also Julian and Marsha, were coming for dinner tonight and we were going to cook. It’s hilarious and partly exhausting to go to shops with Joëlla, haha, but we got everything we needed and so as soon as I was home again I started to cook. I made this yummy aubergine curry (recipe coming soon) again and the raw RainBOWL (recipe) salad. They came around 4:30 and after some chatting we had dinner. Melody made a nice pasta salad, yummy pizza and a dElicious apple pie. Everybody enjoyed it and almost everything was all finished in the end. That’s a good sign! We drunk some tea after and I must say that it was a really lovely evening, lots of fun!

img_5245January 3
In Groningen they opened the first Vegan Supermarket! Yay! My dad and I went to check it out. It wasn’t very big anddd.. they had ‘Oatly Foamable’! I didn’t succeed finding it anywhere else in Holland and there it was. I was so happy! It’s the best milk ever! So I got 3 packs. I also got some nutritional yeast and chorizo slices for my parents and 2 croissants. Apart from the ones you can roll out and bake yourself in the oven, I didn’t have a normal croissant since going vegan. I really liked this supermarket. The staff is amazing and very friendly. The man let us taste some mayonnaise and told me about the vegan supermarket in London (why didn’t I know this?! They will definitely will be a hotspot soon!). After walking outside with lots of vegan goodies we decided to go for a drink. We went to ‘Coffee Company’. It’s a very nice cafe. Lovely green tea and a cool interior. You can img_5246sit upstairs, where you can find benches and comfy chairs and downstairs you can sit at a long table. You can also plug in your laptop at the work tables next to the windows and work from there. Very popular with the 347962352 students living in Groningen. We ate our delicious croissants there and talked about all the holidays we had together when I still was a child. Lovely times! On our way back we popped into this very nice store called ‘Yantra’. You can get all sorts of nice jewellery, Buddha statues, singing bowls, crystals and a lot more. Such a beautiful store. I got myself some lovely smelling incense. Just before we got in the car I was able to quickly take some pictures of the many graffiti art around that place. Love it! In the afternoon I introduced my mum to the series of ‘Sherlock Holmes’. Steven introduced it to me and because I miss him so much I like watching it again. Luckily my mum loved it! We watched the first episode, but then we had to get ready, because we planned to go to Odette in the evening. Nicki (another nice colleague of my mum) was going to pick us up. Odette lives above Rikus with her boyfriend. ..and OMG! I love her house. It’s so cool. It’s one big space, but with just a few build-in walls to make a bath- and bedroom, overlooking beautiful fields and the forest. I’d love to live like that one day. We put on some facial masks and we watched ‘The Proposal’, with lots of chocolate, crisps and other snacks. A real girls night. So much fun!

img_4525January 4
Today I looked after Blessing, Jinan and Joëlla. Jinan and Blessing were doing things on the computer as it was cold and rainy outside. Joëlla and I went to get some groceries. I could go grocery shopping with her every day, so nice. She was behaving very well, apart from throwing the Pombears on the parking space in the end. Haha! When we got home we all had lunch and after Joëlla’s nap we watched some Peppa Pig together, with cucumber sticks and Pombears. I loved it!! I’m missing so much of my nephew and niece and to spend time with them when I can, just feels amazing. Blessing slept at Jinan’s house since, but as this was his last night he slept at ours. In the evening we watched ‘Iron Man’ and he really liked that. It’s also a movie I’ve watched with Steven.. hehe..

img_5247January 5
Happy Birthday to Melody! Normally I always have to go home just before or on my sister’s birthday, but because my new job doesn’t start until the 16th I had time to stay longer and so I finally was able to be on her birthday. We went to her in the morning and she made a very yummy yogurt cake with an Oreo base.. I had 3 pieces.. or was it 4? Oops! I braided my brother’s hair in the meantime and we drunk tea. Very nice! In the afternoon I went to my friend Esther. Blessing wanted to come too, because she has a lovely English Bulldog, Lucy. I know Esther from secondary school, but only later on we became friends, because of Pamela. Pamela was my English Bulldog and she went to Esther when I moved to img_4190the UK. I’m forever thankful for the amazing life Pamela had with her. It was lovely to see Esther and her boyfriend and wonderful to cuddle Lucy. She also got me some very nice gifts. I’m very excited for her to come to me in April. Yay! In the evening Rudie and Renske were picking up Blessing again but they also stayed for dinner. Surprise surprise.. I made the aubergine curry again! I also made pasta with a home made tomato sauce. They absolutely loved it! I knew that for sure as Rudie had 5 plates.. I don’t know how he did that, it was impressive! They stayed in the evening too and we all had Chai tea with Oatly Foamable, yum! It’s always so much fun with them.

img_4742January 6

In the morning my mum and I went to Freek and in the afternoon we looked after Joëlla, who wasn’t feeling very well. Poor her! So we stayed inside and watched some Peppa Pig again. In the evening my dad made home-made pizza, what was delicious. After that I introduced him to Sherlock Holmes. Yes, I really like to watch the same things over and over again. It’s my ‘special’ talent.

img_4911January 7
No!! Snow! It snowed in the night and everything was white outside. I don’t like snow. I love the look of it and I love to make pictures, but I don’t like that it’s cold and messy. My mum and I went to Assen, to go shopping. I still needed some gifts and it was nice to go to Assen for a bit anyway, the city I lived for 5 years. My mum needed a special kind of pencil sharpener and as we passed the arts and crafts store, we popped in. We found one and in the meantime I wrote ‘GO VEGAN’, with the big wooden letters they sell there. Hehe.. little activism! I got all the gifts and I also scored great new jeans and we had some yummy tea together. Shopping with my mum is the best! It was a good distraction too, because Steven was on his way back from Brazil and I’m always a bit worried with such a long journey. Luckily in the evening he send me a message that he landed all safely. The hard part now, was waiting for the next evening. Missed him so much!

img_4855January 8
There is somebody else I always go to when I’m in Holland and that is Mrs. Veenstra. She has been a friend of my grandma since forever and so my mum and all my aunt and uncles grew up with her. She is such a lovely lady! It’s always feels like a little party going to here. She is so sweet and super hilarious,, I love her dearly! My grandma called in the meantime and my aunt, Marieke, my uncle, Roel, and all 5 of my cousins happened to be at her place. So after we said our goodbyes we drove to Uithuizermeeden again. Was so lovely to see them all, because I don’t get the chance that often. ..and guess what?! They all turned out to be big Sherlock Holmes fans, haha, so funny! Tomorrow I’ll be going home again, this was a great last evening!

img_4769January 9
My last day here. Normally I’m not that happy to go home again, but knowing that I would see Steven again after more than 3 weeks, just made me very excited! I was going to be home around 20:00 and I was counting the minutes. I had this little suspicious feeling that he might be waiting for me at the Airport, but as today was his first day back at work, it was very unlikely. In the afternoon I packed my suitcases, what wasn’t that easy. How was it possible I had more stuff now than on my way here?! I still don’t know and though both suitcases were heavier than they should have been, the lady at the check-in was very kind. Lucky me, because normally they’re always very strict in Groningen. The journey took so long as I was so excited. heartI landed safely though and who was waiting for me there?! Steven! Gosh I love that man! I was so happy to be back in his arms.. best surprise ever!


HOTSPOT LIST
Rikus – Hoofdstraat 10, 9463 PC, Eext
Jufferen Lunsingh – Hoofdweg 13, 9337 PA, Westervelde
Bio Markt – Mühlenstraße 128, 26789, Leer
Familia – Nüttermoorer Str. 2, 26789, Leer (Germany)
De Nieuwe Kolk – Cinema/Theatre – Weiersstraat 1, 9401 ET, Assen
Eko Plaza – Torenlaan 24, 9401 HR, Assen
Vegan Super – Nieuwe Ebbingestraat 87, 9712 NG, Groningen
Coffee Company – Oude Ebbingestraat 39, 9712 HB, Groningen
Yantra – Oude Ebbingestraat 61, 9712 HD, Groningen

I hope everybody had lovely Christmas holidays and that you liked to read what I did in mine. If you have any questions or if you want to tell me about your Christmas, I’d love to hear it! Please leave a comment below or show me on Instagram by tagging me or by using #PlanetManel. Thank you! X