Tips, reviews and experiences of a 30 year old freelance journalist and traveller

Category: Lifestyle

The Hummingbird Bakery – a must visit

If you have a sweet tooth just like me and are always on the lookout for new places to try I can highly recommend The Hummingbird Bakery in Notting Hill! It’s without a doubt one of my favourite spots in all of London for a coffee and a piece of cake! Don’t miss it next time you travel there. 

Where it all began

In 2004 the first Hummingbird Bakery opened on Portobello Road in Notting Hill. The idea was to bake cupcakes and other sweet treats according to American tradition. Something which could not be found in London at that point. The founder, Tarek, was very keen on providing cake and cupcakes that tasted homemade and that is still the key today!

That is why every bakery has its own kitchen where the magic happens! 

The Hummingbird Bakery a story of success

Oh boy have they succeeded! The cupcakes at The Hummingbird Bakery are out of this world and so are the rest of their cakes. Today they have five other branches around London and one in Surrey. And they are so successful that they have now also opened two branches in Dubai. I’m pretty sure they will be taking over the whole world soon! 

What not to miss 

I have probably tried most (if not all) of the cupcakes and other cakes at The Hummingbird Bakery. And my absolute favorite is their Red Velvet Cupcake. This is a classic American flavor and their recipe is just perfect. The subtle hint of chocolate in the sponge cake and the fluffy cream cheese frosting makes it unbeatable! You should not miss this if you stop by any of their shops when you are visiting London. 

My other favorite is the Black Bottom Cupcake. It has a rich chocolate sponge as a base filled with cream cheese and cream cheese frosting to top it off. The perfect way to really indulge. 

If you’re feeling a bit peckish but you don’t want something quite as filling as a cupcake I’d recommend that you go for a brownie. They might actually be equally as filling as a cupcake but give them a try, they are delicious!

The Hummingbird bakery - a must visit. Don't miss this when you are in London. Delicious cakes and cupcakes for the sweet tooth.

Bake your own cupcakes with The Hummingbird Bakery

If you are not able to travel to London at the moment to try the delicacies at The Hummingbird Bakery, don’t despair! You can make the cakes at home instead! The bakery has created various cookbooks that you can easily order online and has delivered to your door! How great is that?!

If you are interested in baking your own cupcakes from The Hummingbird Bakery, you can order the book here

They don’t only offer the cookbooks in their shop, you can also get a lot of fun utensils to make you a pro baker in no time! If you’re getting one of the cookbooks you should also get the cupcake starter kit, that really goes without saying. 

All in all, a place you really should try when visiting London if you have a sweet tooth. It will not disappoint! And be sure to get a copy of their cookbook because you will be craving the cupcakes even when you get back home!

When you have been indulging in a few cakes or cupcakes you might feel like you want to move a bit, check out my article on my home-workout and healthy food for inspiration!

Learn to be happy in your life

Always thinking about the future, about the best we could have, we often forget to be happy. If we always try to improve things, we deprive ourselves of taking advantage of what we already have. Therefore I decided to change some habits in my life. To learn to appreciate what I already have at its true value and to put aside all the little things that don’t make me happier.

Learn to be happy, how?

To begin with, you have to start by understanding, that sometimes, it is simply necessary to change your rhythm of life to better appreciate what you have.

Changing your point of view

Live in the present and put aside the past, the future. However, it is, of course, important to learn lessons from what you have experienced, so as not to repeat the same mistakes, but what better way than to live the present moment intensely? Be happy with what you have.

Turn things around and focus on what you have rather than what you don’t. Be in contact with nature to help you be positive. Appreciate the simple things and be grateful for the things that belong to you. Every little detail counts. Each day, think of 5 things that made you happy during the day. A smell, an event, a dress, the time … take the time to think. Keep a diary, for example, if necessary, daily or weekly. Take long walks to clear your mind. 

Don’t try to compare yourself to others. Each person is different. Consequently, you cannot change things in other people, or understand every moment why they behave in such a way.

Happy woman in the beach

There is always someone happier than you, stronger, richer, more beautiful … There are always reasons to be jealous of others but don’t forget that others are also jealous of you, for different reasons. So stop dwelling on this and making comparisons.

If you are not in great shape, do like if everything was fine. Don’t go moping around all your friends to tell them how bad you feel. Talk about it with someone who understands and listens to you. Try to stay positive and make an effort to show others that you are happy. It will help you get back up the slope faster, happiness is contagious!

Another well-known point: money does not buy happiness. A little more money is always fun, but remember that money doesn’t make a big difference to happiness. The important thing is to have enough to support yourself. A raise will not change your happiness. Being happy is often a choice. Happy people have fewer problems.

Change your behavior

There’s no point in getting upset. Take it on the safe side. There is always a solution to everything. Anger doesn’t do anything positive and doesn’t help. Hence, think it over, let the time do it, move on. Simplify your life and be minimalist in what you need on a daily basis. 

Do what you are passionate about. Happy people do what they love. Generally, the best is to turn your passion into a profession. Be content with what you have and stop always looking for more, better. Take the time to talk with others and see your friends.

With your partner, take the time to have a real conversation and remember to please him from time to time with pretty attention. Make time for yourself as well. Without spending any money, just taking some of your time for yourself.

Make changes if you feel it is necessary. When you are no longer feeling happy, try to find out where the problem is coming from and find a solution by asking yourself the right questions.

Always try to adopt a healthier lifestyle to simplify your life and enjoy things properly.

Happy dog

Just be happy!

Help others. A tiny little gesture can go a long way. Help a neighbor, a member of your family, or join an association. You will be less focused on yourself. Be kind to yourself. Some don’t know it, but it is important to get to know yourself so that you can be happy on your own and then happy with others.

Understand your flaws to feel better about yourself. For instance, try new things to broaden your mind and react differently. People are often unhappy because they are tired of saying the same thing over and over again.

Freshen up your ideas. Take advantage of your failures to learn from them. Hang out with happy people! Avoid gossip. When you are happy, you don’t need to talk badly about your comrades. If it’s not to say something good, it’s best to shut up.

Exercise to be more optimistic and to feel better about yourself.  Likewise, take care of your problems, try to find a solution quickly without letting things drag on. This will relieve you, so then you can move on.

Set a goal in life.

Give meaning to your life.

Finally, remember, be happy, not perfect!

At-home workout: my routine without any accessories

Undoubtedly, I love fitness. I’ve always been a dynamic girl and have always practiced sports: horse riding, gymnastic, pádel, football… When I started traveling, I created my own at-home workout routine. Like my fashion style, there’s no reason I would give up on it! My routine is easy and takes 20minutes tops. Every part of the bodywork: arms, abs, back, legs and of course the bum! You can give it a go, it is for every level.

My at-home workout routine

I like setting up the timer on 45 seconds on, 15 seconds off to rest. I always start with 5 minutes of complete warm-up. It is very important, do not miss it, as well as the stretching afterward. Then about the workout: pick and mix your favorite exercises! Squats, lunges, planks, bicycle, butterfly, push-ups…

For example, squats have tons of variations: jumping squats, sumo squats, frog squat, squat and walk… There is no limit to your imagination!

It is so important that you always keep a good position: train in front of a mirror at first. If you have any doubt, ask a professional.

Healthy lifestyle

at home workout healthy food

Of course, an at-home workout routine alone is not enough to keep fit. It is essential to have a balanced and varied diet. The protein intake is indeed important but not only.  Make sure to eat a lot of vegetables and fruits, as well as drinking at least 2 liters of water every day. Check out my advice for a good diet! Sleep enough: 8 hours a night!

Luckily, I always sleep very well, no matter where I am! On a boat, a plane, in a hostel or in a hammock in the jungle… It’s a real privilege. And try to keep the stress away: it is not good for anything. Yoga, meditation or relaxation often help.

If you follow these tips, you’ll see a big change. They are the key to good hygiene of life, hence a better body!

My at-home workout outfits

at home workout best outfit

You know I love to be stylish: even when I’m working out! I like finding cute matching gym wear outfits. Short or long sleeves, gym bra, leggings… At home, I have every color! My cherished outfit is a flowery one I bought ages ago, I always travel with it. It is surprisingly still in perfect condition. Of course, make sure to wear good training shoes to protect your joints and body. A lot of online shops offer them. You only have to choose your favorites!

At-home workout routines can quickly become boring, so I recommend you vary the exercises. Watch tutorials,  and find the best music to accompany you. You can also do it with your partner, in the garden, or during a video call with friends! Choose the time that suits you best. You can combine it with cardio sessions like running, swimming or cycling. I recommend having two full days or rest every week. Indeed, your muscles need to rest as well!

What about you? Do you workout? What is your routine?

Harry Potter Universe – more than just fiction

I am an unconditional fan of Harry Potter. When I was a child, I would spend nights and nights reading books. More than just books or films, it is a whole universe and lifestyle. Let me share here with you why, and if I can, convince you to check it out if you haven’t yet!

About Harry Potter

harry potter books

Written by the British author J.K Rowling, Harry Potter‘s first book was originally published in 1997. It is the best-selling book series in history with millions of fans all around the world. There are also 8 movies (the director split the last book into two parts).

The plot

Harry Potter is a young wizard and studies at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry with his two best friends, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger. The 7 books tell his story and how he fights Voldemort, the dark criminal wizard who killed his parents. It is a fascinating whole new universe and the imagination of the author is simply out of this world! She started writing books in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The movies are available on Netflix, so one more reason why I love this platform!

Harry Potter: the universe

harry potter lifestyle

Harry Potter is a whole lifestyle. Kids, as grown-ups, like dressing up as a Hogwarts student. There are 4 different “houses” in the school, and everyone likes to identify themselves to the one they prefer. Harry Potter fashion is an expanding business and you can find clothes or accessories pretty much in every big shop. I have my own HP pajama and slippers, I love them! It is also possible to buy a wand, a flying broomstick, a cauldron…

Quidditch is a national magical sport. Although it is played on a flying broomstick, muggles (the term to talk about a non-magical person) have invented a similar game and several championships are held all over the world.

How it connects people

The incredible phenomenon about Harry Potter is as well the way it connects people from all around the world. No matter your nationality, age, or your sex. Conventions are held in many countries in order to meet other fans. You can also meet actors and even JK Rowling if you’re lucky enough!

Besides, there is a huge online community. Forums, websites, fanfictions… You can find pretty much everything. And it is so easy to chat with other fans.

I had the chance to spend my childhood in England. London is the famous Warner Bros Studio. Obviously, I went there 3 times. You have to go! It is awesome. You will see all the costumes, the making of, and of course the sets! An unmissable rendezvous for every fan. For example, there are all the magic wands the artist handmade one by one. You can also drink the famous butterbeer (if you want my opinion: not that great! It tastes like a very sweet vanilla milkshake)

 

This saga is a masterpiece and I know I will still read the books and watch the films, even when I’ll be older! I also want everyone to know the magic and the dreams it provides us with.

What about you? Do you like Harry Potter? Which ones is your favorite?

Vegan: how to follow a healthy diet

I became vegan two years ago: I watched the documentaries Cowspiracy and Earthlings after my friend’s recommendation. I’ve always loved animals but I never realized how bad were the conditions they were living in just for our pleasure. In my opinion, there’s a severe lack of education in this field. Luckily, we are starting to recognize animals as living beings, and their rights, consequently, are ameliorating. Nevertheless, you need to know a few things before starting to be sure not to make any mistake and cover all your needs. Below I’ll share my tips with you! 

Why go vegan

Nowadays, we have so many alternatives that there is no reason not to go vegan! For me, it is evidence and the only respectful diet of all lives. It’s also easier to eat healthily while traveling when you’re on a vegan diet. Plantbased food is usually easy to find and also easy to pack.

vegan healthy diet food

For the animals

In the first place, we kill billions of animals each year just for the food industry, the fashion industry, or even hobbies. What I find revolting is not only the numbers but the conditions: 99% of them endure terrible pain. It is important not to make a difference between a dog and a cow, a cat and a pig: they all deserve to be loved!

For the planet

It is scientifically proven that a vegan diet reduces consequently your emission of pollution, as well as your water consumption. In my opinion, this is the best reason! We know that we have to change our way of living, and it can start with what we put in our fridge.

For your health

Countless studies have proven the benefits of a vegan diet for your body: lower risks of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, or any kind of sickness. We know as well that cow milk is not made for us. Therefore, if well followed, it provides you with a general better digestive condition. Anyway, I love the plant-based drink so much! Hazelnut milk is my favorite!

A good vegan diet

vegan diet food burger

It is important to point out that vegans do not only eat salad! It is a rich diet but is important to keep a good supply of proteins. Among all, tofu, lentils, or peanuts are on my top list. Make sure also you get enough vitamin K (green vegetables). Women, more than men, are subject to iron deficiency: chickpeas, almonds, dried fruits are your best friends!

I usually take a good and rich breakfast to start the day with all the energy I need: I eat a banana with peanut butter, almonds, and freshly squeezed orange juice. Avocado toast also is a good option!

However, there is one nutrient you can not find in a vegan diet: vitamin b12. It is essential for you to take a supplement. Indeed, it contributes to the functioning of the nervous system. You can take a daily or weekly supplement.

To sum up, a vegan diet is rich and healthy. Nowadays, you can find all the information you need on the web, for example on the Vegan Society. If the transition interests you, I suggest you do it little by little. It’s good enough to start just reducing your meat or dairy consumption.

You can also try to eat organic and local food. You’ll feel way better: in your body, and in your head! Do not hesitate to contact me if you need any advice! I’ll be so happy to help.

What about you? Have you tried a vegan diet? If not, what is preventing you from doing it?

How Netflix saves my life while traveling!

Founded in 1997, Netflix has grown at a tremendous pace and became the biggest streaming platform in the world. At first, I was not interested at all. I’ve always liked going to the cinema with friends but it’s true that it is not something essential for me. But I couldn’t stop hearing about it from travelers I met. I finally decided to give it a go. Now, I can not live without it! It’s an incredible way to keep busy during some lonely nights.

Huge selection of films and series

My favorite thing about Netflix is the choice we have. There are thousands of movies and if possible, even more series. It is easy to find exclusive content. Indeed, a lot of series are produced by Netflix itself and are only available on their platform. It is the case of most of the documents for example or biographic stories. When I travel around the world, this is the one thing that keeps me company when I need it.

According to your preferences, all the genres can be found. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of action movies, romantic or comedy. You will always find what you are looking for! I, per instance, love sci-fi and fantastic cinema.

I have watched Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings sagas at least ten times each! But I love discovering new films which I didn’t have a clue they existed. The independent one “The discovery” for example was a real punch in the face! I absolutely recommend you check it out! On a lighter note, there are tons of comic series. It is hard to make a choice, but who is going to complain? Friends is always going to be my favorite one.

You can watch Netflix anywhere

You just need to create an account. Then there are infinite possibilities. You can of course watch directly with the Wi-Fi or your data on your phone. But the best in my opinion and what makes Netflix stand out from the rest of the market is that you can watch it literally anywhere. It is very easy to download your favorite series and watch it later.

I find it so useful when I have a 20 hours bus ride through the desert for example! This offline mode is definitely a lifesaver. It is also very enjoyable to share the TV screen with all the friends you meet in the hostel. I often organize a “cinema night”! We buy popcorn and pizzas and watch our favorite TV show. It is a unique way to bond with people.

Netflix travel mobile

 

Among all the streaming platforms, Netflix is an incredible discovery. I could not imagine going back to my life without it. It is also a good topic to chat with people you meet. I can now talk about the most famous movies, actors and directors, which I couldn’t before.

If you don’t have it in your life yet, I strongly advise you to have a look at the subscription offers!

What about you? Do you watch Netflix? What are your favorite series and films?

How to eat healthy food while you’re travelling

Eating healthy food is fundamental, no matter where in the world you are. Whether you’re a full-time traveller or on holiday, a balanced and varied diet is always essential. For the last year, I’ve had the chance to gather all kind of information and tips to keep fit and a healthy diet. Let me share them with you today!

Always bring healthy food with you

I advise you always have in your bag a few items that you might need during the day. For example, I don’t go anywhere without a bag of mixed nuts. It is healthy, rich in protein and a handful (if you can resist to more) is enough to give you the energy you need when you feel a bit down. Energy bars are a good alternative too.

There are so many brands and so many flavours that you’ll quickly find your favourite one. I love dark chocolate and peanuts one. Thus, no worries if you find yourself on a desert island at lunchtime with an empty stomach! If it’s not possible for you to find it in the local supermarkets, you can take any kind of healthy snack like fruits, carrots or my all times favourite: cherry tomatoes.

Always bring water with  you

Healthy food also means running water, and it is not always potable. In my experience, most of the countries in Africa, Latin America and Asia do not have a drinkable tap water supply. I used to carry everywhere with me plastic bottles. I’ve realised what a waste it was (about 480 billion plastic bottles are sold every year) and I purchased a small stainless steel bottle: the best investment of the year without the shadow of a doubt!

There are a lot of designs and I’ve found a pink glittery one which is so cute. Now I buy a big 10 litres jar of water, leave it in my hostel room and I fill it up every morning. I’ve considerably reduced my plastic consumption and feel proud of it.

You can also buy a water filter (about 25 GBP or 30€). It lasts years and you can drink literally from anywhere.

Choose a hostel with a kitchen and a fridge

This is the first thing I check when booking a new room. It is unthinkable to me not to have a kitchen. You can cook and prepare your own food for the day. You can buy healthy perishable products and keep them in the fridge.

Although hostel kitchens are not always spotless and often busy, it gives you much more options. I try to cook in empty hours, early in the morning or late at night and choose easy recipes such as pasta with vegetables or Mexican tortillas.

Eating healthy on a day out

Healthy food in restaurants

Local food is part of the discovery and the richness of a country. You absolutely have to try the specialities! There is for all budget but I strongly advise you to make sure the place is clean. Indeed, in low and middle-income countries, the hygiene rules are not the same. It can be very hard for our digestive system to get used to it and food poisoning is common.

This is why you have to be sure food is fresh, clean, and well cooked. Avoid raw fish and meat. But eat as many fruits and vegetables you want! It is easy to find local healthy food. For example, some tropical places do the most amazing smoothies and grilled vegetables. You can also ask recommendations to other tourists or locals, they will be very happy to advise you.

Prepare your lunch box with your favourite healthy food

For me, this is the most important and the easiest way to keep a healthy diet. You can prepare your own food for the day. You can make infinite types of sandwiches, including vegan ones. Use fresh products such as grilled aubergines, mushrooms, hummus, guacamole or even peanut butter. For variations, you can use Mexican tortillas instead of bread (I know, I’ve mentioned it before, but I love it so much!). I assure you won’t be bored with your food!

Eating healthy while travelling can be a bit tricky but with enough preparation, it becomes a real pleasure. You discover new ingredients and flavours. That being said, do not be intransigent with yourself.  It is OK to try fried fish in the south of Spain or burger in the USA! Just make sure it doesn’t happen every day.

What about you? What is your favourite local food? How do you keep healthy while on holiday?

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