Cold Pressed Juice in London

Ok, I am guilty; I have completely jumped head first into the Cold Pressed Juice trend that’s sweeping the western world. However having said that, when it comes to health food trends, this one is a very good one to partake in.

Juice Bottle by Lauren Purnell creator of Culinary Canvas

Juice Bottle by Lauren Purnell creator of Culinary Canvas

The concept of juicing is nothing new and has been around for a while.  The old way to make the juices was to throw everything in a blender and blitz until smooth.  While that is still healthy, and definitely healthier than store bought juices, there is a downside to this method.  By blending you are destroying the key elements in the fruits & vegetables, since the heat from the blades destroys the vital minerals, nutrients and enzymes that are the part of the vegetables you need and want most. So you end up not getting the full benefits of drinking the juice.

Chameleon by Lauren Purnell of Culinary Canvas

Chameleon by Lauren Purnell of Culinary Canvas

That is where the Cold Pressed juices take over from the blended juices, as they are much better and have more health benefits.  The way it works is that instead of the vegetables being blended, they are put through a special juice presses that literally press and squeeze the vegetables & fruit so that the nectar is extracted from the pulp. And you are left with the closest thing possible to eating the raw vegetable, which also has all the vital nutrients and ingredients in tact.  Also your body will be able to absorb these nutrients and enzymes more efficiently.

Tree by Lauren Purnell of Culinary Canvas

Tree by Lauren Purnell of Culinary Canvas

So I have gone on a search around London for Cold Pressed juices and having tried different ones, below are my top 4 companies.  I always tend to go for the really green juice, as the more vegetables the better in my opinion.  Thus this list is based on the green juices from these places/brands.  However they also have some really good other juices too, some less daring if you aren’t quite up for the full vegetable juice.

Hummingbird by Lauren Purnell of Culinary Canvas

Hummingbird by Lauren Purnell of Culinary Canvas

Cool fact to remember is that in a 250ml bottle of juice it will contain over 2kg of vegetables & fruit. Therefore you are definitely getting your days worth by drinking these cold pressed juices.  So go ahead and drink up!

Anyway here’s my list:

Imbibery London

http://www.imbiberylondon.com

logo-on-white

Imbibery

Full Range of Juices

Full Range of Juices

I can also highly recommend the Spicy Limeade which a very refreshing drink with a kick!

 

Roots & Bulbs

http://www.rootsandbulbs.com

1399488039713

Roots & Bulbs

Juice Menu

Full Juice Menu

 

Plenish Cleanse

http://www.plenishcleanse.com

logo

Plenish

Full Juice Range

Full Juice Range

 

The Good Life Eatery

http://www.goodlifeeatery.com

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The Good Life

More Varieties of Juice

More Varieties of Juice

More Juice Flavors

More Juice Flavors

 

P.S. A very creative woman, Lauren Purnell, has created the food artwork at the beginning of the post.  She is the founder and creator behind the tumbler page “Culinary Canvas”.  About a year ago she started to rebel from everything one is taught as a child about playing with ones food, and done exactly that to create these amazing and extremely intricate designs.  Depending on the complexity of the design it can take her anywhere from 20 min to over an hour to construct them.  She is very innovative and taking her love of food to the next level, thus she is definitely someone to keep an eye on in the future!

Praying for Strength

I think everyone goes through those times where they wish that life would just be easier and not so difficult all the time. And if for some reason you have never experienced this thought at least once in your life then my god you are the luckiest person ever and I hope you never do. However, being realistic, we all have at some point or another.

That’s why this quote actually is such a good one, as it turns that negative thought on its head and gives it a whole new perspective.20140530-224731-82051039.jpg

I have learnt the hard way that life definitely is not easy and never will be, there will be good times but there will also be many times and things that will test your resilience and your strength. And to be honest, lately I have been praying more and more often for the strength to be able to cope with everything I am facing.

Strength is something so complex I find. It’s much more than a physical strength which is something you can improve through training and working out. But mental and emotional strength is so much harder to get and to build up. Also there’s a fine balance, since if someone has too much strength it tends to harden their heart and make them much more closed off to the world. On the other hand, not enough strength means that you won’t be able to handle what life throws at you and you will end up being completely overwhelmed. Neither of which are good.
That being said, strength is not something that comes easily. I know from experience that in order to get the strength to handle certain situations it can suck you dry of all your energy. That’s why I choose to wish, not for it all to get easier, but for the strength to be able to handle it all, and to still be ok at the end. I want to enjoy life and not be struggling to keep up.

So I pray and hope for strength, because at the end of the day that’s one of the most important things to have in your life. Life is never going to get or be easier, in fact its just going to get harder, so find little things in life that can help increase and build up that strength one will need to handle the more challenging things. For me it can be as simple as a nice drink or some macarons or candy that can give me the boost and strength to tackle the more difficult things I have to face that day. So find yours, because trust me, it’s the little things that develop the strength to face the bigger things.

Just don’t give up!

The Maldives at Constance Halaveli Resort

This post has been so long overdue and I have had it sitting on my post list for ages. I had to post it though since the Maldives and the resort we stayed at are definitely worth talking about!

My idea of Heaven!

My idea of Heaven!

So in February I went with my family to one of the most amazingly beautiful places in the world…the Maldives. When someone dreams of a beach holiday they tend to picture white sand beaches and rich blue sky contrasting the bright clear turquoise ocean, with palm trees and sipping on a delicious tropical cocktail. Well at least that’s what I do! And well that is exactly what the Maldives looks like. It is so picturesque, which still blows my mind, and I have been there twice already!

My favorite flower the hibiscus

My favorite flower the hibiscus

I couldn’t stop taking pictures; I took 600, and I think combined with the rest of my family we took just over 1000 pictures in one week. As you go through this post you will see why, as I have included a small fraction of the pictures from the holiday.

Maldivan Island from Above

To get to the Maldives one flies into the capital city of Male and then takes either a boat or seaplane to the different resorts and islands scattered around the Indian Ocean. We have always taken the seaplane as it’s the faster mode of transport, and you get amazing views of the other islands that stand out so clearly in the water (like in the image above). Our resort was only a short 20min flight. One fun fact about the pilots who fly the seaplanes is that none of them actually wear shoes to fly. They may start off in flip-flops but always take them off to fly the plane. Was quite funny to see the first time!

Maldivian Seaplane

Maldivian Seaplane

The hotel we stayed at was part of the Constance Hotels & Resorts Group and this one was called Constance Halaveli Resort. The group has hotels in the Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar and Maldives, all of which are some of the most beautiful destinations in the world. The Halaveli Resort is located on the Alifu Alifu Atoll Island in the Maldives.

Resort Map

Resort Map

The resort is made up of the main island, which through a boardwalk is linked to the water villas, spa and one of the restaurants 3 restaurants. It’s not huge but that’s actually nicer as it is then not overcrowded with other guests. As it is, you rarely see many of the other guests since all the villas have their own deck, pool, and access to the water/beach.

Flags at base of boardwalk

Flags at base of boardwalk

Jetti

We stayed in one of the water villas off the main island, which are amazing. Compared to normal hotel room sizes, here the rooms are all huge with a big king bed, a sitting area, a hallway, a massive bathroom with two large closets, as well as the outdoor deck, infinity pool and steps into the ocean. There really is no reason to leave the room other than for food (unless you do room-service) or if you want to be on the beach or do activities/excursions.

Individual Water Villa

Individual Water Villa

Large bedroom & living room area

Large bedroom & living room area

Looking from ocean onto the villa's deck

Looking from ocean onto the villa’s deck

Deck with pool overlooking the ocean

Deck with pool overlooking the ocean

Upon arrival the staff and resort manager are extremely welcoming, making you feel right at home and looked after from the moment you step off the plane. What is really nice is that upon arrival and also when departing, the resort manager and a number of the staff stand on the dock and wave to welcome you or wave you off. It’s a nice personal touch that I always liked. When you get to your villa, they have a welcome sign plus some welcoming food and a bottle of champagne chilling on ice. What a wonderful way to start your holiday in paradise!

We got "Welcome Back" since were there for the second time

We got “Welcome Back” since were there for the second time

Fresh arrival juice shot & towel, Fresh fruit and chocolates in the room.

Fresh arrival juice shot & towel, Fresh fruit and chocolates in the room.

The first time we went we tended to spend a lot of time chilling in our villas since there is a lot of privacy. However this time around we decided to venture to the beach and resort pool on the main island more often. It was still really quiet but also nice to have more of an atmosphere with other people around. The beach is absolutely stunning though; with beautiful soft white sand that you just cannot wait to get your toes into.

Footprints in the sand

Footprints in the sand

On the beach the resort has these huge and very comfortable sunbathing chairs. The weather in the Maldives is sunny and hot year round, with of course the occasional rain shower (which in fact we did experience but lasted only about 20 min). And since there isn’t a lot to do but relax you end up spending a lot of time lying in the sun and reading or catching up on much needed sleep. Thus these beach sofa’s were perfect for that. I spent hours doing that every day while sipping on fresh coconut water from the coconut that the staff will prepare for you.

Beach lounging in the sun

Beach lounging in the sun

Palm tree beach hammock

Palm tree beach hammock

Having said that, there are a number of activities that they do offer at the resort. You can do scuba diving since the Maldives is one of the best locations in the world for diving. They are PADI certified and have instructors trained and qualified to help you get your certifications as well. I did it the first time around and reached the open water level. It was a lot of fun and you see some spectacular things in the reefs.

Water Activities & Toys

Water Activities & Toys

They also have jet skis, banana boats, paddle boarding, snorkeling, and other water sports. They also do excursions such as deep sea fishing, snorkeling trips to see turtles, trips to other villages or sunset cruises on the traditional Maldivian boat called the Dhoni. Thus there are a number of things to do for those people who want to be more active on holiday, but really the Maldives is more about the relaxation and not having to anything.

Sunset Cruise on the Dhoni

Sunset Cruise on the Dhoni

Another great thing to do is to explore the island, since it isn’t too big, and discover all the different wildlife. You will see herons, sand crabs, hermit crabs, lizards, stingrays, baby nurse sharks and numerous varieties of fish.

Land Wildlife: Heron, Sand Crab, and Hermit Crab

Land Wildlife: Heron, Sand Crab, and Hermit Crab

Sea Wildlife: Nurse Shark, Sting Ray, and Fish

Sea Wildlife: Nurse Shark, Sting Ray, and Fish

One of my favorite things to do when on a beach holiday like this in the Maldives is to get up early to watch the sunrise. It is such a peaceful time of day and it is always these beautiful colors and skies that make you excited to embrace another day in paradise.

Fresh sunrise inviting you to seize the day

Fresh sunrise inviting you to seize the day

Along with that I absolutely love the sunsets, which tend to be extremely colorful and dramatic when you are in tropical places.  It’s in these moments watching the sunrise or sunset that I do my best thinking, but it’s also the moment where everything else going on in life no longer matters and I am fully absorbed in the moment.  It’s one of the best parts of my day.

Absolutely stunning sunset one night

Absolutely stunning sunset one night

Multicolor Sunset

Multicolor Sunset

Thus I can’t recommend the Maldives enough! The Maldives is unlike anywhere else and will blow your mind how absolutely stunning it all is. And Constance Halaveli Resort is a great place to stay. It’s a really relaxed resort where the staff takes great care to look after you. They take the time and effort to get to know you, they remember your preferences, and by the end of the week they are one step ahead and fulfill your requests before you even have to ask.

Turqoise ocean

I for one cannot wait to get back! It’s somewhere I will be going to again and again, as it’s a place that never fails. It’s my dream holiday and a fantastic place to unwind from the stresses of day-to-day life at home. And trust me, you will come home completely relaxed and rejuvenated; ready to dominate the world again!

Beach

Never Underestimate the Power of Small Gestures

Life is this big messy thing, sometimes it can be overwhelming at times to stop and think about everything in the past, present and future. We all are guilty at some point or another of stressing over those big end goals many years away, and about how we want the summary of our life to look at the end. However we then forget that ones’ life is actually made up of millions of small moments.

These small moments are those stated below in the quote. That friendly smile that says the world can be an ok place and that one is not alone; that simple touch; those kind words you could say; a simple yet genuine compliment; or just taking the time to quietly listen.

IMG_2593

These small acts really can be the most powerful things, and can really make someone’s day or even life so much better.  It will make them feel less alone, and that they are a part of something bigger, which can be very comforting. I know from experience how amazing it can make you feel when you receive one of these acts of kindness or caring from someone you know, or maybe don’t even know.

And when you think about it, many memories in your life will have had some elements of these acts present. In fact sometimes these gestures are what make you remember that moment over others. And I completely agree with what Buscaglia says, that we really underestimate how much of an impact these small gestures can have on another person and ourselves.  Anyone who doesn’t receive these gestures frequently or often enough knows what its like to miss that in their life.  It creates an emptiness that can only be filled by one of these acts.  Too often these days we get wrapped up in our own life, which is completely normal and to be expected in a way.  However taking that minuscule amount of time and effort to show someone you care is extremely important too.

Thus, go make someone’s day/week/month/etc., and do one of these gestures.  Trust me, it will be so appreciated and could mean the world to them.  You may not receive immediate gratitude or thanks, but know that you have possibly impacted their day/week/life in some positive way.  In today’s world showing that you care or thinking of others is sometimes undervalued, yet it’s the one thing that if we can change (even just ourselves), will have a huge impact on someone else.  Sometimes bigger than you will ever know or realise, and that is quite a powerful thing!

Mondaine Café & Macarons in Amsterdam

Latte with Macarons (Strawberry Cheesecake (pink), Salted Caramel (brown) and Passion Fruit (orange))

Latte with Macarons (Strawberry Cheesecake (pink), Salted Caramel (brown) and Passion Fruit (orange))

While I was in Amsterdam recently, I found another amazing place that sells my beloved macarons. The first place was Poptasi Pastery (read post here), but I like to find as many places as possible in different cities. The reason for this is that each place has their own take on the flavors, colors and taste of their macarons. I love having a variety of macaron options since if you haven’t guessed by now they are my favorite treats. Thus who doesn’t want lots of variety of their favorite thing?

Mondaine Café Store Front

Mondaine Café Store Front

Anyway, I have gotten slightly off topic.  As I said, I found this new place that sells macarons and it is called Mondaine Café.  It is located on Overtoom in Amsterdam, not far from Museumsplien and it’s a few minutes walk from the top of Vondelpark.  The café is situated in an old building and spans over the ground and first floor of the building.  Ground floor has the bakery and some seating area, and upstairs has a lot of cozy extra seating.

Window Display

Window Display (Can you see the bright colours just peaking out on the right?)

At first I didn’t notice the café since it’s on the corner opposite from Starbucks and it’s rather a discreet café.  However if you walk right next to the windows you are quickly drawn in as right there in the window they display their vast variety of delicious looking macarons.

Macarons

Macarons

The first thing you notice is the vibrant colors of each of them.  Unlike Ladurée that tends to use light pastel colors, Mondaine goes for the opposite and uses strong bright colors to match the corresponding flavors. That bright green pistachio macaron is such a contrast to the pastel green found at Ladurée.  By using this color palette, Mondaine helps make the macarons more fun and more enticing to eat.  It reminds me of a party in a way, all colorful and fun.

Cake & Baked Goods Display

Cake & Baked Goods Display

Mondaine also sells baked goods and special chocolates that you can buy to take away or enjoy in with a tea or coffee.  The cupcakes and cakes looked so delicious, and once again they had lots of options including, carrot cake, red velvet, chocolate and rocky road. Yum! The chocolates also came in a huge variety of flavors and textures.  It took a lot of willpower not to take the macarons and some chocolates.

All the delicious looking chocolates!

All the delicious looking chocolates!

Wall Mural & Furniture Upstairs

Wall Mural & Furniture Upstairs

The upstairs seating area has all black furniture with a giant leather sofa opposite to two big leather chairs.  In a way it reminded me of the coffee shop in Friends.  The walls are adorned with cool murals to look like paintings and even a fake fireplace was painted on one wall.  And while they are only paintings, they still bring a warmth to the space and a little sophistication that cannot be found in the average café these days.

Cafe Inside

Upstairs Seating Area

So having tasted some of their different flavors of macarons I have to say that my two favorites are Strawberry Cheesecake and Dutch Cookies & Cream.  These flavors are unlike any I have had in macaron form before and they make you feel like you are eating something way more decadent than a simple macaron. Like Poptasi Pastry, I find that the flavors are much more intense than Ladurée which tend to be more subtle. Thus with the salted caramel, you really do taste the salted caramel flavor full on.

Dutch Cookies & Cream Macaron

Dutch Cookies & Cream Macaron

Thus next time I’m in Amsterdam I will definitely be paying Mondaine a little visit, as should everyone else!  It’s a great little quiet café where you can escape from the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of Amsterdam, and enjoy a nice hot coffee and some amazing macarons!

 

Address: Overtoom 85, 1054 HC Amsterdam