WHY YOU SHOULD'T BE WORKING OUT

August 10, 2017

According to society's norms, a sixpack and slim, lean legs are necessary to be happy in life. If you don't work out at least five days a week, then who even are you? Can you be healthy without seeing muscle definition or if you haven't smashed that last 5K run? When I was reading up on this topic and watching videos about exercise and how we feel pressured to be the fittest version of ourselves, something clicked. And no, it was not the sixtieth ad about those silly fitteas that will never work for anyone or the twentieth free workout plan (for a month!) that would make me stronger and leaner than a bikini model. 

Why do we care so much about looking a certain way and how healthy is it really, to spend six hours in the gym every week, scanning our own bodies for imperfections we have yet to change? I probably won't be the first to admit that I was afraid of losing my abs when I quit exercising like a mad woman, lifting weights until my back started aching or running until my body broke down. I have been there and yet until I realized how unhealthy these habits were, I never really cared enough to actually do something about them. 

For years I knew exactly what my body was telling me and it was so easy to ignore the signs, to continue to push myself until the bitter end. About two and a half years ago, I took up running and I was very serious about it. Every other day I'd shove on my running shoes, no matter what the weather was like, and I'd run until my lungs were aching and my legs were feeling like lead. It only took my body six months to break down. Running 10K every other day raised my cortisol levels, disturbed my hormonal balance and I haven't had my period ever since. Believe it or not, but even after that, I continued to search for new exercise methods. Yes, I did yoga every morning for five months, but it just wasn't enough. Whenever I was on holiday, I'd frantically search for ways to move my body. A swimming pool would mean I'd do a hundred laps every day, city trips were great for walking and thus, moving my legs and keeping them strong.

I did workouts in my bedroom and dorm room daily after school or uni and when that got too boring I started running again. I never thought about giving my body a break, because I might've just lost my strength and leanness. And, as the story repeats itself, I broke down again. I felt physically drained and I was constantly tired. I'd get out of bed, make myself look presentable and feel ready to get back to sleep. Now, this is what people call an 'exercise addiction' and funnily enough, society supports it. 

I look lean, you can clearly see my abs, I don't have any fat on my body (or barely any) and, according to people on Instagram, Facebook, any social network whatsoever, and even newspapers and magazines, this is healthy. I'm driven, I care about my body and my BMI is on the lower end of the scale. Now you've read my story, heard about my rather dramatic fitness journey and possibly reflected on your own exercise routine, do you still think society's norms on fitness are healthy? 

I wanted to voice my opinion on this little blog of mine and raise awareness about this topic. No matter how benign that ad for fittea might be and the portraying of fit people all over social media, it's not always without consequence. You should only be doing exercise because you love the way it makes you feel, not how great you look or how you'll feel once you've shed some weight. Listen to your body, it's much smarter than your ego.

MINIMALISM 101

July 21, 2017


I'm not fully comfortable yet with calling myself a 'minimalist', but something was stirring inside of me and I figured writing a blog post about my journey to minimalism and tips I wanted to give you would harm nobody. I'll just temporarily forget about the 12 pairs of shoes lurking at me in the corner of my room. There is no easy way to minimalism, it's a journey just like every lifestyle change is. You don't throw away half of your belongings without taking the time to let your decision sink in thoroughly. Also, minimalism covers so much more than just reducing your belongings to a suitcase of clothing, memories and other stuff. Yes, there's the 'what I own' category, but reducing your waste, your negative footprint on the planet and lifestyle minimalism that comes into play. 

THE GOODS

First things first, the basics. Something you'll probably already know is the 'only keep what makes you happy and what you really need' rule à la Marie Kondo. I can honestly say that I got rid of half my closet, the materialistic memories, and objects I really did not need. Clothing items that didn't make me feel comfortable or pretty I easily donated to secondhand stores and charity shops, others I gave to my friends and another pile went directly into the bin. The memory box was another thing I had to tackle, but last year when I visited our friends' school in Congo, I donated 60 teddy bears to the children (I can't even believe I owned that many). Other things went, yet again, in a donation bag or I gave them to friends and family. Last, but not least, do you really need that many items to decorate your house or room? Donate, sell or give them away. 

REDUCING YOUR NEGATIVE INFLUENCE

The biggest lifestyle change for me wasn't going vegan, heck no, that was the easiest thing I ever did. I loved animals, I cared about the planet and I wanted to improve my health. To me, going plant-based was easier than doing five push-ups in a row. Trying to live zero waste is an almost impossible task, considering supermarkets like to wrap a ton of plastic around each carrot, apple or oat. I wish I was exaggerating, but I'm not. I try to buy items in bulk, at zero waste shops or in wholesale markets where I use reusable bags for veggies and fruit. It's not easy, but it's worth it.

 LIFESTYLE MINIMALISM

We tend to be so focused on everything else, the past, the future, our phones, that we often forget to live in the moment itself. We're always longing for that something new, exciting or mind-blowing and the present doesn't seem that wonderful anymore. Try to not schedule every second of the day, leave some time to relax and sit back, enjoying the sound of your surroundings, reading a book or drinking a cup of tea whilst doing nothing else. One of my friends made a lovely video all about lifestyle minimalism which is definitely worth a watch if you're interested.

This minimalism 101 was short and sweet, so if I didn't cover something, mentioned incorrect things or if a certain part was too short, let me know in the comments so I can elaborate on things or fix them if necessary. XX

FLOWERS IN SAN QUIRICO

July 16, 2017

At least one outfit photo session is necessary when in Italy. Although I've been living in the same pair of shorts for over a week now (yes, they have been washed multiple times, don't you worry.) because of the strong afternoon wind in the Val d'Orcia. Being a bit risky, I fancied wearing a skirt for this outfit post. I combined the short flower-printed skirt I bought in San Francisco last year (H&M) with my trusty old croptop and comfortable sandals (both Topshop). Although I don't like both brands for offering sweatshop clothing, I found it even worse to throw these pieces away. The backpack I'm wearing is new and from Matt & Natt, which is a vegan, sweatshop-free Canadian brand specialized in making quality backpacks and shoes. 

One of the things I love the most about the Val d'Orcia is the picturesque little towns with adorable streets and even more adorable people. It isn't touristy, at all, which makes it even more beautiful and peaceful. I definitely recommend reading my last travel post with some must-visit places if you're considering a trip to Italy. More posts will be following soon, so keep an eye out on them! I've got only two more days until I'm heading home *sad face*. I'm spending these last hours laying by the pool, trying to beat my pr as I swim laps across the pool and I'm trying to write another 5K words for my fantasy novel.  


TRAVEL WITH ME: VAL D'ORCIA (PART ONE)

July 8, 2017

It's a Saturday evening as I'm writing this, I'm exhausted from our long walk in the (almost excruciating) heat and just generally being active in 40°C. But hey, I'm watching the sun set over the hills of the Val d'Orcia and I just had a delicious vegan pasta pesto so I have no reason to complain. Apart from the fact that I tripped over and ended up on my right side on the stony road. I'm bruised and blue, but still alive. 

I've gathered travel inspiration I'm excited to share with you and hopefully, you'll be even more excited to plan a trip to Tuscany. The place my mom and I are staying at is a little house in Contignano I found through Airbnb and it's absolutely gorgeous. It's tiny, but seeing as we're constantly out the door there's no reason for renting an expensive house. We're renting a car for the next twelve days (of which three have already passed - sad face) and we'll be cruising through the valley. 

RADICOFANI

First things first, we did a little road trip yesterday and got through four villages in one afternoon. Our first stop was Radicofani. The things in this gorgeous little town you have to visit are:
- The Fortezza; take the stairs to make the tower seem even more impressive after suffering through a rather sweaty climb. We did not visit the fort itself, but if you fancy a walk through it'll cost you about €4 per person.
- Pane e Companatico di Cesaretti Silvana; a baker who is very passionate about her bread, worth a visit if you're hungry or just curious. 
- Have a little stroll through the streets of Radicofani and embrace the authenticity of the village.


 
CASCIANO DEI BAGNI

Wander through the little village and enjoy the breathtaking views over the valley. Other than this there isn't that much to see, but it's always fun to discover new places when in Tuscany.



CETONA

Cetona is a larger city (with a supermarket!) where you can find several restaurants to eat out. Outside of the city you can find Suzie's Yard, a farm where the best organic olive oil is made. We didn't have the time to visit the farm, but if you have the time be sure to check it out. 

 
 SARTEANO

My mom was excited to have some ice cream (not vegan, sadly) at a bar called Diavoli in Sarteano so we headed towards the village. I was exhausted by that time so I caught up on some rest whilst she had her daily dose of sugar. We walked around the city for an hour before deciding we were hungry and needed a proper meal. Italians eat rather late (around 7 P.M.) and my metabolism isn't used to this, which means I get hungry around six. Thus, we survived off snacks and a soda for me whereas my mum had some wine. The restaurant where we ate a delicious meal, which I would 100% recommend, is called 'Chiostro Cennini'. They even had an accidentally vegan option! Also, may I add that the bread is freshly baked and served warm and crispy? *drools* I also wanted to share the gorgeousness that is the sunset in the Val D'Orcia.

BANANA BREAD PORRIDGE RECIPE

June 10, 2017



Seeing as my life currently revolves around studying, trying to be active (despite feeling exhausted from sleeping extremely bad) and food, it would be only normal for my next post to involve a recipe featuring oats. They make me feel so energized and healthy, I basically survive on having oatmeal for breakfast. I would usually make my porridge with fast-cooking oats, but seeing as I woke up really early I decided to take my time to prepare a delicious breakfast. So, for this recipe, you can use any type of oats (just beware that the cooking time will differ) or use steel-cut oats, like I did.

BANANA BREAD PORRIDGE FEAT. STEEL-CUT OATS


This makes two servings.

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup steel-cut oats
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup soymilk*
- 1tsp cinnamon
- 1tbsp maple syrup
- handful raisins
- 1 banana, sliced
- 1tbsp chia seeds
- optional toppings

Instructions:

- Start by boiling the water and add the oats. Stir in maple syrup, cinnamon, raisins, half of the banana and chia seeds.

- Let the mixture simmer on medium heat for 20 minutes, stirring regularly, before adding the soymilk.

- Once the oats have cooked for 30 minutes, divide the mixture between two bowls and add the other half of the banana and your preferred toppings. I used shredded coconut and almonds slices to decorate the porridge. Enjoy!

* If you're not very fond of soymilk, you can use other plant milks. However, this will change the taste.
** You can make this in batches and store the porridge in the frige for up to two days.
*** Any type of oats would work with this recipe, just beware that the cooking time will differ.


SELF-ACCEPTANCE

May 17, 2017


The number of times I've been wanting to write a post like this one is pretty much countless. But, body confidence and accepting your body is so important yet so threatened by media and bodily disorders. You'll most likely recognize the words 'goals', written underneath some fitness guru's Instagram post, showing off his or her abs to possibly motivate you to start working out or get a gym membership. However, I'm hoping they're well aware of the possibility to trigger eating disorders and making people believe it's possible to have the exact same body by following their workout plans. 

Every body is different and therefore, every person will look different following the same diet and workout plan. Getting fit is not a goal, it's simply a lifestyle change one should only make if done for their wellbeing. Don't go to the gym to get skinny and don't do diets, they don't work. If you'd rather go on walks a couple times every week, then skip the gymming and do whatever feels good. As long as you're moving your body you'll be lengthening your life. I personally find it incredibly fun to come up with new workouts, both at home and in the gym, as a way to relax yet challenge myself. I've always set challenges because it's just me. 

It makes me sad, knowing many girls and boys are ashamed of their bodies because they're not according to society's norms. Stretch marks, birthmarks, scars etcetera, they're all perfectly normal and they make you who you are. I used to be ashamed of my birthmarks, heck, I was even planning on removing them only a couple months ago. Thinking people might find them ugly and weird when in fact, they're part of me and I was born with them. Treat your body with a little more love and a lot less hate. Accept whatever you don't like about yourself and focus on how you feel. Don't force yourself to workout when you don't want to. Don't strive for happiness, but build your life around the things and people that make you feel happy.

One of the things I did to make me feel better was donating the clothing I didn't like or didn't make me feel confident enough. I also unfollowed and unsubscribed to accounts on social media which made me think I wasn't good enough when in fact, you're always good enough and you should be proud of the person you are today. Fiercely step into the future and build a world you love. 

I want you to remember this message: your thighs are allowed to touch, it's perfectly fine to unzip your pants after a satisfying meal, not every piece of clothing isn't going to fit your body shape and your body is YOUR body. Don't get yourself down because you're not perfect, there is no such thing as perfection. Just do you.

HAPPY EASTER & VEGAN POTLUCKS

April 16, 2017

Last Friday, I hopped on the train with a giant chocolate cake topped with more chocolate and biscoff crumble, headed to my friends' house and met up with the loveliest, most kind-hearted souls. Sat around a table, filled with delicious food (and heaps of chocolate), we talked about everything and anything. It's absolutely crazy how strangers become almost friends in such a short span of time. To be honest, I didn't even know it was possible to connect with a bunch of people so quickly. A couple of hours later, I had to get back home with a happy belly, filled with chocolaty goodness and pasta. Here's a little video I made that day. Happy Easter, bunnies! 

HIIT WORKOUT FOR ABS

April 9, 2017


With the days getting sunnier, your tan gradually darkening and loose evening dresses in prospect it seems almost impossible not to start working out. I don't know about you, but I love getting out my workout gear when it's hot and sunny. I wanted to create an effective ab workout to get you fit (not just for the summer) and let you sweat out those oxidants. It might seem like such a hassle to get out and get moving, but once you've finished your workout, you'll feel so much happier (and healthier!). I don't do 'bikini bodies', instead I try to focus on how I'm feeling and how energized I am to face the rest of the day.

The outfit I'm wearing is something I tend to grab when I'm heading to the gym or rolling out my yoga mat for some ab and HIIT training (high intensity interval). A comfortable sportsbra (yes, even flat-chested girls should invest in a sportsbra), a colorful top, leggings, and sneakers. Despite my minimalistic intentions I somehow seem to be building an unnecessarily large workout wardrobe. But hey, anything to get me motivated, right? Anywho, let's get to the workout itself!

PS: You can download a 'tabata' app to guide you through the workout.

HIIT CIRCUIT FOR ABS
total: 15 minutes
repeat 2 times, 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest
needed: exercise mat, skipping-rope

Rope skipping
Crunches
Rope skipping
Side crunches (switch sides in the second round)
Rope skipping
Bicycle crunches
Rope skipping
Mountain climbers
Rope skipping
Heel touches
Rope skipping
Reverse crunches
Toe touches
Rope skipping
Flutter kicks



If you need more rest in between, try setting your timer to 15 seconds rest but try to do the exercise for at least 20 seconds. If you want a more advanced version, keep the 10 second rest but move for 30 seconds or more.

FAUX LEATHER & GOING SWEATSHOP-FREE

April 2, 2017

I'll admit, I feel über cool wearing this faux leather vest, especially when worn with my Doc Martens and tight jeans. My dad kept asking me where I left my motorbike (very funny, dad). Though I'm not as comfortable with being photographed, especially in public (yes, I'm aware that could sound totally wrong), but I ignored the weird stares from those who were passing by and focused on my mom and her rather good photography skills. I felt bad not posting outfit photos on a style blog so I changed up my oversized sweaters for a fancier outfit. The shoes, however, are still the same and I really need to change up my shoe game.

Something else I wanted to discuss was wearing clothing that isn't sweatshop-free. Aside from being vegan mainly to fight animal cruelty, I don't want to be a hypocrite and wear items that were made in large factories, treating their workers like sh**. I'm new to the sweatshop-free life so I need to inform myself more as to which clothing brands are good quality and not made in the disgusting factories and I could use your help if you know more about this. Please shoot me a message if you'd like to introduce me to new brands! Have a lovely day!

jeans: H&M // blouse: Forever 21 // shoes: Doc Martens // jacket: Vero Moda



BEAUTY STASH BITS AND BOBS

March 26, 2017

I'm not exaggerating when I say a beauty-related post or haul was long overdue. These last couple months I seem to have transformed from a girl who loves shopping quite a lot to someone who prefers saving money for larger purchases or food (I won't lie). I'm slowly reintroducing cruelty-free beauty products into my beauty stash and when I say slowly I am - once again - not kidding. I bought the face masks in Budapest (travel diary coming soon, sorry peeps!) which was about a two months ago yet the Rituals products are only a week old.

Consciously shopping will make your wallet happy and makes it so much easier to only buy the things you really need/desire. I'm still on a minimalist mission, but I wish not to rush things and hastily throw stuff I still need away just because I don't need it right now. Anywho, let's get into the haul.


The first thing I got were two facemasks, both cruelty-free and vegan. Sadly I can't tell you whether I like them or not because I haven't been able to try them out (yet). I bought one from hej organic and the other one is from Douglas naturals. Both these products can be found in a Douglas store. Whilst walking around in the store I bumped into a chapstick I was eager to try out (from Douglas naturals). So far I really love it! It makes my lips feel soft and hydrated. 



The other products are both from Rituals, namely their Rituals of Sakura deodorant and conditioner. Both products are also cruelty-free which is amazing! How much I like them? I can honestly say I keep repurchasing the deodorant simply because it smell like pure luxury and it feels as if you've just taken a foamy bath. The conditioner is, not surprisingly, gorgeous smelling and makes your hair feel soft and shiny. Get your hands on them asap, I'd say!

Are you creating a cruelty-free beauty stash or are you planning on minimalizing your belongings? I'd love to know! 


BUILD YOUR BOOTY WORKOUT

March 19, 2017


I have been consistently going to the gym since the beginning of February and carefully planning out my every workout so it doesn't overlap with my lectures and revisions. Before opting for a gym membership I was running, also quite consistently, for about 3 to 4 times a week, easily doing at least 10K per run. Until my left knee decided to give up on me and I started having trouble walking. Because I'm a sporty girl, if I do say so myself, and I need to be active at least five times a week to blow off some steam, I signed up for a gym membership.

My goals were to build some leg muscle to continue running, but I so happened to discover weightlifting and it's been a fun journey ever since! I would love to be able to squat 50kg, lift more than I ever thought possible and overall, work on my bum/legs, core and arms. Since my gym routine is quite consistent and I don't often add new exercises, I felt like posting a routine of mine on my blog.

I am not a gym expert or athlete whatsoever, but these exercises have made a tremendous impact on my body. Not only can I see muscle definition and can feel I'm getting stronger, my metabolism has had a boost. I'm getting leaner yet I'm eating more and most importantly, I can eat whatever I want (that's obviously vegan) and still I'm getting fitter. Win-win! Now, enough rambling, let's get into the routine! Also, if these exercises are too hard, just do less reps or decrease the weight!

5 sets X 8 reps barbell squats (set 1: barbell, set 2-5: barbell + 5kg each side)
3 sets X 10 reps barbell deadlift (no weights, just the barbell)
3 sets X 10 jumping lunges
4 sets X 10 reps machine leg press (increase weight per set)
4 sets X 10 reps abductor machine (increase weight per set)
3 sets X 10 reps 8kg kettlebell one-legged deadlift
3 sets X 10 reps straight-leg donkey kicks (with 10 pulses)
3 sets X 10 reps regular donkey kicks (with 10 pulses)
3 sets X 10 reps fire hydrants

I hope you'll enjoy this workout and if you feel like giving up, just tell yourself it's okay to have days where you don't feel like working out. It's not about how fast you are or how much progress you can make in a short space of time, as long as you don't stop.


WHAT I EAT FOR A FIT & HEALTHY BODY

March 11, 2017


It's been awfully long since I last filmed a video, let alone a 'what I eat in a day' one. But, seeing as I didn't have too much university work to complete, I decided to grab my camera and film something again. I'm working on a new post which will be up very soon, but I don't want to share a workout routine without thinking it through and properly testing it out. Nevertheless, I hope you'll enjoy the video! 

Sunday Eats & Treats

January 26, 2017


You might be familiar with my 'what I ate today' videos on YouTube and I regularly post them on my blog too, but I wanted to write out what exactly I tend to eat on a chill Sunday. I usually do a 30 minute workout in the evening to make myself feel better about the amount of Lotus biscoff I devour on Sundays, but other than that it's a pretty relaxed day.

BREAKFAST

I've been having weetabix with some nuts, seeds and a piece of fruit every single day for the last week so I went back to basics early in the morning and made myself some oatmeal. A warm, filling breakfast instantly boosts my mood and together with pumpkin seeds, flaxseeds, a banana and a tablespoon of maple syrup I can say I thoroughly enjoyed my breakfast meal!


LUNCH


For lunch I wanted to try something new and without following a recipe, I created some tasty sunchoke and sweet potato burger patties. They were pretty easy to make yet I managed to create quite a mess in the kitchen. Fun fact: I (shortly) considered calling my Ebook 'The Messy Kitchen', but then decided that it probably wouldn't be that persuasive. I served the burger patties with lettuce leaves, rasped carrots, tomatoes, avocado, veganaise, ketchup and some shredded vegan cheese. Yum! Sidenote: I ate three of these!


DINNER

I own my mum a big thank you for this lovely dinner she made. Seitan and carrot stew with bulgur, the recipe is actually really simple and the taste is amazing! I might post a full recipe if you'd like me to. Please keep in mind that I snacked on tangerines, almonds, Ikea Kex biscuits and (too) many other tasty food throughout the day. That's all for this food-related post!

The Prettiest Phone Case & Giveaway!

January 22, 2017


The struggle is real when you're trying to find a phonecase that 1. fits your phone (I have the Huawei P8 Lite) and 2. is pretty enough and isn't the typical 'phonecase' print. When I stumbled upon GoCustomized, however, I solved both problems rather quickly. This website allows you to design your own huawei phonecase (or any other brand of phone you own). I simply searched the internet for a pretty picture or print, posted it on the website and two days later I had the prettiest phone case delivered straight to my door. You can, of course, use a picture of your best friend and you or your boyfriend/girlfriend and print it on the phonecase if you'd like. 



Is this phonecase worth the €15? I most definitely agree with this since the quality is better than most phonecases in stores as it's really sturdy, the print looks even better in real life than I originally thought it would and it's exactly what I wanted. Now, a phonecase is something half of the human population that owns a smartphone can't live without whereas the other half crosses its fingers and hopes the phone doesn't ungracefully hit the ground. Also, a pretty phonecase is aesthetically pleasing and makes me treat my electronic devices more carefully (no dad, I don't drop every phone a billion times a day). 

I went for an elegant henna-like print on a see-through case simply because I love the color white (my brother would probably argue with me over the fact that white isn't a real color, I'd tell him I don't care) and it suits nearly every outfit. Considering I wear black 99% of the time, this phonecase might make it look like I'm not dressed that monotonously. Head over to their website to create your own Huawei P8 lite case to jazz up your outfit or if you fancy a new case.

Enough chattering about the phonecase, let's talk about something even more exciting! GoCustomized gave me the chance to give one of their phonecases away to one of you! How do you participate? Simply fill out the form below! Good luck! ;)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This post is in collaboration with GoCustomized, the phone case was gifted for the purpose of the review. 


Study Tips To Help You Ace Your Exams

January 17, 2017

Whether you're preparing for exams, you're in mid-term or you've just ended your hectic exam period, I thought I'd share my tips on how to get (even) better grades. I'm in no way a professional (as you probably already know), but I wanted to share some advice from student-to-student. Let's get blogging, I mean, studying!

1. Start early and revise during the year so you don't kick off the exam period unprepared.
2. Always read the assigned texts before lectures so you don't end up not reading them due to lack of time during the exams.
3. Take a (huge, enormous, gigantic) large amount of notes during lectures so you've got plenty of information to study for the exam.
4. Take breaks and have days off during the year. Relax and have some me-time!
5. Reduce social media usage, whether it's just scrolling through your Twitter/Facebook/Instagram feed or posting pictures.
6. Talk with your classmates or friends about the course, this will help you to remember things more accurately because they seem more relevant.
7. Get creative: take your mind off of studying and wind down. Maybe you can practice some yoga?
8. Snack on wholefoods and not on junk whilst studying. Almonds, apples, tangerines help you stay awake and increase concentration levels whereas crisps make you feel tired, sluggish and unproductive.
9. Get sporty! Even a twenty minute run increases brain functioning and overall body health.
10. Write your own summaries and don't copy them. Writing them will increase your knowledge about the topic and it'll keep you concentrated.

 11. Write it down! I love making mindmaps during revision and it has been proven that writing down whilst studying equals reading the same text seven times!
12. Plan it out so you don't end up with a lack of time and motivation to study those last few chapters.
13. Sleep! Make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep each night, preferably eight or nine.
14. My study schedule: read, follow lectures, reread lecture notes, study, revise and repeat the parts I don't fully understand yet. Did you know that, if you want to retain the most information, you need to study something five times?
15. Drink enough water whilst studying and don't sip on energy drinks or too much coffee. Though I won't lie, I like having a cup of tea (or three) when I'm studying.

Have you got any other useful tips to help out a fellow student?


Fudgy Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Chips & Biscoff

January 14, 2017

This recipe is an excerpt from my cookbook 'Sweet Simple Cooking' which you can get HERE. I wanted to share this mouth-watering, eye-opening fudgy chocolate chip cake with you as it's my absolute FAVE to bake for friends or for myself (who doesn't love a good chocolate cake with vegan nutella and biscoff or speculoos all for themselves?). Let's get baking!

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups self-raising flour
1 cup unrefined cane sugar
1tsp baking powder
1tsp baking soda
1/2tsp salt
2tbsp cocoa powder
1,5 cup rice milk
2tsp vanilla extract
1,5tbsp apple cider vinegar
1,5 chia egg (1,5 tbsp chia to 6tbsp water)
Handful vegan chocolate drops
2tbsp vegan nutella
1/2 cup speculoos



HOW TO:

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a round baking tin with non-stick baking paper. Make the chia egg by combining chia seeds with water. Set aside for 10 minutes.

In a bowl, mix the flour, cane sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. In another bowl, mix rice milk with apple cider vinegar and vanilla extract.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry and give it a quick mix. Then add the chia egg and blend until any clumps have disappeared. Lastly, mix in the chocolate drops.

Pour the mixture into the baking tin and let it bake in a preheated oven for 30 minutes.

To make the topping, crumble the speculoos in a mug. Check if the cake is ready by inserting a toothpick, if it comes out clean the cake is ready. Leave it to cool down for 5 minutes. You want to smear on the nutella whilst the cake is still warm so it melts nicely. Sprinkle on the crumble and your cake is ready to be served.


Healthify yourself in 2017

January 10, 2017

 
With New Year's resolutions still fresh in your mind and the recent release of my ebook 'Sweet simple cooking', I thought I would write a post about how to improve your eating habits and overall health. Being healthy and the feeling of being fit have, personally, increased in importance over the last three years. Once I realized the difference my eating habits and fitness routine made to both my physical and psychological health, I decided to improve my lifestyle and make lifelong changes. I know I'm using big words, but it's so important to care about yourself and to invest both time and motivation into creating those lifestyle changes.


1. CREATE A WORKOUT SCHEDULE & STICK TO IT

Trust me when I say that working out wasn't my forte in the past. Although I've always been quite a sporty girl, I thought working out was a complete waste of time as the only one who had to put up with my body was me. But, working out isn't just about feeling and looking fit, it's about having a better night's sleep, speeding up your metabolism, challenging your body and improving your eating habits

I try to work out at least three timesa week, preferably four, for 40 minutes but I make sure not to overexercise as I've been through a phase of exercising seven days a week and thus exhausting my body until it (nearly) shut down. As I'm currently training for a half marathon, it's easy for me to stay motivated. I really want to reach my goal which makes exercising a lot more fun. Try to set a goal and work towards it. This can be a set distance you want to run, a certain amount of kgs you want to lift or just improving the way your body feels whilst exercising.

2. EAT MORE & DON'T STARVE YOURSELF
 
I'm not lying when I say that some of my portion sizes are huge compared to my relatively tiny body. As I'm only eating plantbased foods, which are much lower in calories than animal derived foods, I can eat more and still not gain weight. The only weight gain I've recently experienced is due to muscle gain. Most people have the new year's resolution to 'lose weight' translating to 'starving myself' which isn't a healthy mindset. If you want to lose weight, try to exercise more, eat more plant foods, less animal derived products and less sweets. Starving yourself will most likely lead to binge eating and isn't a long-term solution for weightloss. Diets don't work, a change of lifestyle, on the other hand, does work

3. DRINK MORE WATER & HYDRATE YOUR BODY

Drinking more water has an endless list of benefits, as it clears your skin, strengthens your hair and nails, cures headaches, keeps your energy levels up, fights bloating, aids in digestion etcetera. I try to drink at least 1,5 litres a day (more if I'm exercising that day) and make sure to drink it before my meals. I'm not saying I never overeat when I drink before I eat, but it makes me feel less hungry almost instantly which leads to eating (a little bit) less.


4. A NUTRITIOUS START: GET YOUR BREAKFAST GAME ON

Something most people skip when creating better daily routines, is breakfast. If you start your day with a nutritious meal to keep your energy levels up, you're most likely in a mindset that wants you to not ruin the progress you just made and, consequently, your other meals will be healthier too. Don't skip breakfast, but have a large meal in the morning, a slightly smaller lunch and an even smaller dinner. Also, don't forget to snack in between meals. I tend to have a handful of almonds, an apple or tangerines and a less healthy Lotus biscoff during the day. 

5. BALANCE IS KEY (AND KIND OF THE SOLUTION FOR EVERYTHING)

As I mentioned before, having balanced meals and workout plans are key to creating a healthy lifestyle. Eat healthy most of the time, but allow yourself to have a snack now and then. That's exactly why diets don't work, because you're forcing yourself to do something that isn't natural. Unless it's a lifestyle change, it's most likely not going to lead you to living a healthier life.

6. WALK MORE & GET OUTSIDE

I try to walk for at least 30 minutes every day to get my heart rate up and get some fresh air in my lungs. Sometimes thirty minutes of walking may seem like an incredible waste of precious time, but the benefits of those minutes most definitely outweight the time it takes. It increases your energy, reduces stress and provides better sleeping patterns. So get moving!

What are your tips for improving your lifestyle in 2017 and making this year all about treating yourself better?


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My Resolutions for 2017

January 1, 2017


Last year, I promised myself to get fitter and to work out more often. That's exactly what I did in 2016 and despite having had surgery twice and going through three months of recovery, I actually managed to run a solid 15K once. I'm still building up to my half marathon, but I'm getting there slowly but surely. This year's resolution? Probably beating my PR and running 21K. I'm still working on cutting down sugary foods, but I love the occasional gingerbread biscuit or chocolate pie (all vegan, of course).

I managed to get pretty good grades which made me blog even less. Oh how often I've wished for a personal photographer to shoot my outfits in the streets of my city. Instead I've been traveling to lectures or finding ways to spice up my oatmeal game. Maybe I'll manage to blog more often next year? Fingers crossed.

The other big goal I've set is to visit Great Britain in 2017. Edinbrough is the city I've been wanting to visit for ages and I'm hopefully going to turn my dreams into plans. I would love to be an exchange student in England and study in a different country for a semester. These are my realistic resolutions for 2017, what are yours?:

· Run 21K aka a half marathon ·
· Cut down my intake of sugary foods ·
· Explore Great Britain and go on Erasmus·
 · The usual 'upgrade my blogging game' ·
· Take things as they come and accept them as they are ·
· Introduce more people to a plantbased lifestyle for themselves, the animals and the environment ·
· Publish my first cookbook 'Sweet Simple Cooking' ·
·  Finish writing a novel (first chapter on Wattpad fyi) ·