London Hotspots

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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UK – Bristol

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

0Waste #3: On The Way Swaps

Assuming you’ve read my ‘0Waste #1: Intro‘ and ‘0Waste #2: Kitchen Swaps‘, I’d now like to introduce you to some simple things everyone can do to produce less waste on the way!

STRAWS
Everyone knows they are the worst! Avoid plastic straw at all cost. They are the reason many turtles and other wildlife die. It’s so not necessary. If you really want to have a straw for a smoothie for example, choose reusable straws. There are many types: metal, glass, bamboo, silicone. I have silicone ones myself and I love them. I don’t think I’d choose them again (I bought them about 3 years ago) as they’re not recyclable, but I must say that they are great quality. I love the feel of it on my lips in comparison with the harder materials. Invest in a good (set of) straw(s) and make sure you always have on in your handbag if you like to use straws on the way. I’d go for metal ones if I’d choose again now.

CUTLERY
You can of course carry around a set of your kitchen cutlery around and that is totally fine. This is helpful whenever you want to buy something from a market stall or from the supermarket that requires cutlery. Though I invested in a travel spoon and fork (in one), made out of titanium. One side is a fork and the other side is a spoon. I totally love it! I keep it in my handbag and it has been super useful. It’s easy to clean and light + small to carry around. There are also complete travel sets including a full set of cutlery (made of metal or bamboo) and a straw. I think it’s a personal choice and also I think different people have different needs. Do a little research and find out what will work best for you.

TRAVEL CUP
I used to always drink my tea (sometimes every day, shame on me!) in a take away cup. So much waste! And then I’m especially talking about the lids. All plastic! So a few years ago I bought myself a travel cup. I saw it and fell in love with it, so I didn’t mind investing in it at all. My one is just so pretty. I bought my one at Starbucks and it’s in my favourite pink colour. I don’t drink coffee (yuk!), but I use my one for tea, so I’m very happy with a medium size. There are so many brands selling travel cups though and as a coffee drinker you might want a smaller one. So go and explore the options. A great thing about getting your coffee/tea in your own cup is that in many coffee shops you actually get a (often 25p) discount. Yay!

WATER BOTTLE
An easy one! Using a reusable water bottle. Luckily many people are using one already. Are you as well? If not, please invest in a nice water bottle. I used to have a Bobble Bottle. I had many to be honest, because of heavy use they broke after a while. I love them, because they make water taste sooo much better. Especially here in the UK, because I think the water here tastes like swimming pool water. The downside is that they are made out of plastic and when they only last for about half a year, I was creating plastic waste. So I bought a metal one instead and dealt with the taste (I now add pieces of ginger and lemon to mask the flavour and it’s so much better!). I totally loved the bottle, but after a few weeks the water started to taste like metal, because inside the bottle it started to oxidate. What made me buy the HIP bottle, which I totally love, but is also a plastic one. This one will for sure last very long, because when I drink it keeps the shape. It’s also recyclable, but I do love to get a metal one again when I’m in need for a new one, as I think they are most durable. So tips are welcome!

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

0Waste #2: Kitchen Swaps

Assuming you’ve read my ‘0Waste #1: Intro‘, I’d like to introduce you to some simple things you can do to produce less waste. Let’s look at the things everyone can swap in the kitchen!

FOOD CONTAINERS
When you cook a little too much and you have left overs or when you prep your food for a set amount of days you want to store them. Most people use plastic containers or the even bigger enemy: cling film! Most plastic containers eventually break when used a lot and create the worst waste, as this type of plastic can almost never be recycled. So if you use plastic containers, make sure they’re very very durable. A better choice would be glass containers. I’ve got these really nice glass containers with bamboo lids from Ikea. They’re perfect as they can go in the fridge, freezer and even the oven (great for a pre prepped lasagna)! They do have a little bit of plastic round the lid, but they’re very durable. They sell them in different sizes and shapes.

FOOD BAGS
It’s easy to quickly put some snacks or left over food in a zip bag and to store in the fridge or freezer, but using plastic bags for that is just a no go for me. I often want to use them though (especially to freeze fruit), but look for another solution. Until I discovered the bags from Freefall Products. They are made from very durable food grade silicone and I love them. They are super handy, can be used in the dishwasher, freezer and you can even microwave them (without the seal). I highly recommend them. They come in a 4 pack and in 4 different colours. If you want to use them as well, you can buy them here.

OWN BAGS
Since October 2015 we all pay 5p (might soon change to 10p) per plastic bag whenever we decide to accept one in a shop. I think this is great, because since that is introduced I see a lot of people who brought their own bags instead. This was the whole reason why the 5p was introduced in the first place and it’s working. I do still see people with plastic bags though, even though it’s no trouble at all to bring your own. I always keep a foldable little bag in my handbag for little things, but whenever I’m grocery shopping I bring bigger bags. Make it a habit to alway bring your own bags. Even though some shops offer bags from recycled/recyclable plastic, paper bags and you will use them again after. They’re simply not durable and so it’s always better to say no.

PACKAGING FREE 
Now this isn’t partially in the kitchen directly, but it’ll end up in the kitchen, so I thought to categorise this into kitchen swaps too. When you go shopping, try to always choose something that doesn’t have packaging. Buy fresh whole foods as much as you can. This isn’t only healthier, but they’re also the foods that can come without packaging. Some supermarkets are better than others though, so you just have to find the ones that offer lots of packaging free fruit and veggies. Hopefully in 2019 supermarkets will expand this more and more. There are also shops that are totally packaging free, where you can buy grains, beans, rice, nuts, seeds, coffee/tea, dried fruit etc. These are unfortunately quite rare, but I really hope that they will eventually be the norm. Find out if there is one near you. When there isn’t one nearby, you can always go there once in a while and buy in bulk. This isn’t only good for 0Waste living, but also better for your wallet!

DRAWSTRING BAGS
Whenever you go grocery shopping, make sure you’ve got some drawstring bags with you. This way you don’t have your apples, brussel sprouts and potatoes all mixed up in your trolley and it’s easier to weigh them and move them around. I purchased some organic cotton ones and I’m super happy with them. I think I’ll also get some closed ones soon, so I can also use them whenever I go to the Whole Foods Market to buy oats, beans and nuts in bulk.

GLASS JARS
When you come back from your packaging free shopping trip, you of course do have to store all these delicious products. You can’t keep them in the drawstring bags forever, especially when it’s something that will last a long time and you want to use your drawstring bags for the next trip. Use glass jars. You can either purchase these (Ikea again is a very good way to start) or you can recycle. Meaning that you can use empty glass jars that used to contain food and you would otherwise throw away. I, for example, always buy huge (glass) jars of coconut oil and whenever I finish the jar, I keep them so I can store other things in there.

COOK FROM SCRATCH 
I know I know, we don’t all have the time to cook every meal of every day from scratch. Just try to do it as much as possible though. Prep your food on a day that is most convenient to you. Be smart about it! Prep your meals or part of your meals and keep this in the fridge (in your glass containers). This way you won’t only live a more 0Waste life, but I’m sure it’ll also help you to eat healthier and more consistent. Also think about prepping things you can use for a longer time. Like granola, vegan parmesan, (plant) milk, flapjacks, bread (freeze!), tortilla wraps and I’m sure you can come up with more examples that you can make and enjoy.

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

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

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

Spain – Mallorca/Palma 2018

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Denmark – Copenhagen

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Personal #2 – Life these days

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nori Nori

I love nori sheets. You can make so many fun and yummy things with them. Of course you can make sushi, but that is quite time-consuming I always think. One of my favourite things to make and to eat are the nori rolls. They are easy to make and super super healthy too. You can easily make a whole bunch of them. They are also nice to serve on parties, for on the way, as a snack and of course just for lunch or dinner. And if your kids like them, they are great for lunch boxes (you might want to leave the sesame oil out as many schools don’t allow sesame products, due allergies). Also it’s best to eat them the same day you make them. Otherwise they can get a little soggy. Just in case: this will be a great creative addition to your Xmas dinner.

NORI NORI

Serves: 2 (10 rolls)

-10 nori sheets (half cut)
-10 long bits of tempeh (I used Tofurky bacon)
-150 gr fresh spinach
-8 big mushrooms (sliced)
-1 red bell pepper (sliced)
-60 gr alfalfa
-1/4 tsp coriander (optional)
-1/4 tsp ground cumin (optional)
-1 tsp sesame oil
-1/2 tsp soy sauce
-salt/pepper (to taste)

-Fry the mushrooms (no oil) in a frying pan for just 2 minutes on a medium/high fire.
-Add the spinach for just a minute.
-Let it cool down, before you squeeze out all the water.
-Add the coriander, ground cumin, sesame oil and soy sauce + salt and pepper to taste. Mix it well. The best is to use your hand for this.
-Fry the bell pepper just until you see brown/black bits appear.
-Fry the tempeh both sides until gold brown.
-Put 1/10 of the mushrooms and spinach (about 2 tbs) on a nori sheet.
-Then add 3 bits of bell pepper, 1 bit of tempeh and 2 tbs of the alfalfa.
-Roll it all op. Use a little bit of water on the end of the nori sheet to make it stick.
-Do this 10 times.

Are you a fan of nori sheets, just like me? And are you gong to make these? Please let me know when you’ve tried it. You can do this in a comment below.. or you can tag me or use #PlanetManel on Instagram. Thank you! X