Recent Favourites #2 – Sustainability Edition

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Climate Week. The perfect time to share a few sustainable products, companies, influencers and initiatives that I am really excited about!

I’ve not been writing much recently, partly because I’ve just been through a very lengthy flat purchasing process (yay!) and partly because I’ve not been feeling terribly inspired. Today however, I’m feeling really inspired by the favourites I’m sharing below, because they all contribute to reducing our impact on the environment. Reducing my impact is something I’ve been learning a lot about lately and I want to share all the great solutions I’m finding with as many people as possible!

WWF KeepCup

After my beloved KeepCup went missing at the office, I started using some old reusable plastic cups we had lying around at the back of a kitchen cupboard for a few months. It was never really the same – I love the feeling of having a glass cup, actually seeing the liquid, and of course the KeepCup design is pretty great too. So I was delighted when I was given a WWF KeepCup at a recent work event! It’s perfect when I’m in a rush to get to a meeting but need that morning cup of tea.

About KeepCup: Not only is KeepCup WWF-approved, it’s also a B Corp (this means they’ve been certified independently as having a positive impact on the planet) and a 1% for the Planet member (this means 1% of sales goes back to environmental nonprofits).

About WWF: it’s a fantastic charity and whilst it’s known for protecting endangered wildlife and habitats it has recently shifted its focus towards the climate emergency. Buying products from its store helps it to do great things like lobby governments to take action or plant seagrass to capture carbon.

I’ve recently become glued to every one of Tania’s Instagram stories. I love seeing all the delicious vegan food she cooks and it’s really inspired me to make more of an effort to eat plant-based meals. She also posts tips on how to live more sustainably, from buying second-hand clothes to making your own hemp milk! She recently published a free guide to going plant-based which I’m currently absorbing. Other highlights from following Tania’s stories include seeing her cute rescue dog Nemo jump into rivers and excitedly munch on kale!
Deliciously Ella – the podcast

When I first started eating more veggie meals I turned to the healthy recipes on Deliciously Ella’s website for inspiration. What really kept me going and made me more determined to ditch meat was listening to her podcast. Ella and her husband Matthew invite experts to discuss different topics with them ranging from imposter syndrome to looking after your gut health. The first episode I really loved was actually not food-based, it was all about sleep, with scientist Matthew Walker unpacking some of the main points from his bestselling book Why We Sleep. Other episodes I’d recommend include ‘Veganism and climate change’ and ‘Food waste and climate change’.


This one is only for Londoners, but it’s definitely worth a mention. In the UK, an estimated 3 million tonnes of produce gets wasted before it even leaves the farm – isn’t that crazy?! Oddbox helps to reduce this problem by taking fresh fruit and vegetables that would otherwise go to waste and delivering them to households around London. This produce is perfectly edible, tasty and even exciting if you ask me, but they are either surplus or have been rejected due to the standards supermarkets have regarding colour, size and shape. I was a bit apprehensive at first because you don’t know exactly what’s going to be in your box and I wasn’t sure it would be good value for money, but actually we got more than I expected and it was all delicious! Plus, the packaging is minimal, and plastic is only really included when surplus produce has already been packaged with supermarkets in mind or when it’s needed to protect certain items like spinach, for example.

Use my referral link to get £5 credited to your account after you sign up.

Too Good To Go app

Another great way to combat food waste, and save money too, is to use Too Good To Go to buy leftover food from local businesses at a discount. A lot of restaurants, bakeries and shops are signed up so it’s definitely worth checking it out! (Lola’s cupcakes, hello!!) In most cases you get a great discount but you don’t know exactly what products will be in the bag they give you.


Another app fighting food waste, Olio lets you share food you’re not going to use with your neighbours, and pick up some free bits from people nearby. We used it when we were moving out and had to empty our fridge and it was great. I’ve also used it to get some free focaccias from a local bakery.

allplants frozen meals

If you’re up for eating more vegan meals but don’t know where to start or are a bit short on time, allplants is a great option. They deliver hand prepared, nutritionist-approved, frozen plant-based meals to most of the UK. Perfect to have in your freezer when you get back from holiday or when you’re feeling too lazy to cook (like me tonight!). I just had the moussaka and it was so flavourful.

Use my referral link to get £20 off allplants! At the minute they are also planting a tree in Zambia for every person that I refer – another reason to give them a go 🙂
The Source Bulk Foods

If you are looking to reduce your single-use plastic consumption, finding your local bulk food store is a great thing to do. The Source Battersea is my nearest store, though there are quite a few others around London and other cities too (The Source are in AUS, NZ and SG too!). Going there is such a treat to me – they not only have staple foods like pasta and oats but also treats like chocolate covered almonds, energy balls, fresh nut butters and kombucha on tap. I just gather all my tupperware containers into a bag before I go and then fill them with all my favourite foods.

Woah, that’s more than I had intended to share but I just kept thinking of great sustainable initiatives I’ve been seeing/trying recently! Let me know what you think of these in the comments and please tell me if you’ve seen any others worth sharing.

A Weekend Guide to Cologne

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Growing up in Brussels, Germany was never very far away. Cologne in particular is less than 2 hours away from both Brussels (by train) and London (by plane) but until recently I had never taken the time to properly explore the city. Which was a shame really, because it’s a lovely place with just enough culture, shopping, food, and drink to make it a great weekend destination.

My Mum still lives in Brussels and she had been saying how she wanted to explore Germany more, so for her birthday I gifted her this weekend away. I think we really made the most of it and both had a lovely time (as we always do when we’re exploring somewhere new) so I’ll share my quick weekend guide with you below.

Where to stay
  • 25hours Hotel The Circle is modern and super quirky with space-age vibes. Rooms are stylish and comfortable, service is friendly and the bar and restaurant upstairs have a great view.
  • The QVEST Hideaway is another very stylish hotel set in a neo-Gothic building that used to be Cologne’s historic archives.

Both hotels are a 15 minute walk away from Cologne’s main train station and the famous Cathedral. Both looked great so it was a tough choice but we went with 25hours!

Where to eat

For brunch:

  • Kaffeesaurus (pictured above) is a great place for breakfast. We had a platter with the most delicious bread, grilled veggies, poached egg and cheese. Yum!
  • Hommage café was too busy when we wanted to go, but that tells you it must be good! Go there for crepes.
  • We also really enjoyed the breakfast at NENI, the restaurant at 25Hours Hotel. It had a delicious hot and cold buffet.

For lunch or dinner:

  • We enjoyed a schnitzel at Haxenhaus, which is a traditional German restaurant right by the river.
  • For a very “Cologne” experience, head to Früh am Dom. The place looks small from the outside but it’s huge! We had the Brauhausteller dish which includes both pork knuckle and bratwurst – perfect if you don’t have much time to try all the local specialities. Make sure you have a little glass of kölsh beer to wash it all down!
What to see
  • Cologne Cathedral or Dom is of course a must-see. It’s the city’s symbol and was once the tallest building in the world! You can walk up the steps to the top if you have a lot of energy, but we were happy just walking inside, admiring the stained glass windows. Look out for a modern window that was designed by Gerhard Richter in 2002.
  • Museum Ludwig (admission 11€) has a fantastic collection of modern art. I would highly recommend a visit there even if you aren’t usually into art. We went to a Hockney exhibition but most enjoyed the permanent collection which includes an amazing collection of Pop Art, Picasso pieces, and really gives you an overview of the most important artistic movements of the 20th century.
  • MAKK, the museum of applied arts, is worth a visit too. It was undergoing a refurb when we were there but we were able to see two nice exhibitions (Andy Warhol – Pop Goes Art and 34xDesign)
  • We only had time for two museums but there are many more: Kolumba (religious art), Kölnisches Stadtmuseum (history of Cologne), Farina (fragrance), Roman-Germanic Museum, Wallraf-Richartz (fine art) and more! The chocolate museum is popular.
  • For an iconic photo of the much-instagrammed colourful old houses, head to Fischmarkt by the river. It’s worth wandering around the little streets nearby too.
Where to shop

Museums are great, but we couldn’t resist doing a bit of shopping around Cologne. The Belgian quarter is a good place to start, with shops like Boutique Belgique and Simon und Renoldi offering some stylish womenswear. From there, head down Ehrenstraße which is a great shopping street offering everything you could possibly want! We found some designer bargains at the Zalando outlet – I’d definitely recommend a rummage around there.

Hopefully this quick guide will help you to make the most of your weekend in lovely Cologne. If you do end up using some of these tips, please let me know – I’d love to hear how your trip goes!

What to buy in Japan (+ Tokyo shopping)

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Tokyo's famous Shibuya crossing

Tokyo is a huge city with endless shopping options and it can be a bit overwhelming if you don’t know where to go or what you’re looking for. Planning ahead is key to getting the best gifts and coolest souvenirs possible, so I’ve prepared this short guide to inspire you!

(You might want to upgrade the baggage allowance for your flight home right now)

Beautiful japanese ceramics

Shopping for ceramics and pottery is actually one of the things I am most excited about doing on our next trip to Tokyo. I suppose it’s a sign of age because I had never really thought about ceramics much before recently!

Japan has a tradition of making beautiful ceramics, which you will have the pleasure to appreciate in many of the country’s restaurants. It’s common to have a meal served to you in many different tiny plates and bowls of different shapes, colours and sizes. These are traditionally made by hand, although you can find some more affordable yet still beautiful factory-made ceramics nowadays.

If you fancy buying some kitchen supplies like knives and beautiful bowls in Tokyo, head to Kappabashi Kitchen Town. You’ll also find some very realistic-looking plastic food there but I’d say the ceramics will be more useful when you get home!

Where to find ceramics in Tokyo: Kappabashi Street has plenty of shops. I’ve heard that Dengama and Niimi are good ones to go to.

Japanese make up
Beauty products

Before my first trip to Japan, I did a bunch of research to figure out which skincare and make up products I should bring back. South Korea is famous for its forward-thinking beauty industry but I’ve noticed that J-Beauty is being talked about more and more by various Beauty Editors in the UK and the US.

Some of the more famous Japanese brands you should look out for include SK-II, DHC and Shiseido. I’m no beauty editor though, so I’ll send you to read articles from Glamour and Marie Claire if you want to know more! I’d recommend printing out a page with images of the products you want to buy so you know what to look out for on the shop shelves.

Where to buy beauty products: you will see many drugstores around the country, for example the chain called Kokumin. You can also get products from Loft (department store chain, also has cute bath products) or Don Quijote (discount store).

If you’re after some Korean make up, you should also visit Etude House and the very pink Style Nanda.

Japanese stationery and stickers

The Japanese LOVE their stationery. If you are a fan of a beautiful notebook, washi tape, and cute stickers, you are going to love shopping in Tokyo. I’m not usually drawn to cutesy cat stickers but this all changes when I’m in Japan! One of my favourite souvenirs is a travel diary where I wrote down everything we did each day for two weeks and used stickers and washi tape to stick lots of tickets, receipts,and pretty business cards.

Where to buy stationery in Tokyo: Itoya should be your first stop – it’s the most famous and most beautiful stationery shop in Japan. Loft department stores also have great stationery sections.

Japanese Kitkat flavours

You’re never going to be able to bring back the best food from your trip, but having a taste of Japan to munch on when you get home will definitely help with the post-holiday blues.

Foods you can bring back include mochi, instant ramen, sweets, weird Kitkat flavours, dry noodles, and rice biscuits. Supermarkets are always one of my favourite places to visit when I’m in a new country!

Where to buy: any supermarket or 7-Eleven, or try the Don Quijote chain of discount stores for wide range of foods you can take home with you.

Eating cherry blossom ice cream
Vintage clothing

Tokyo has some great vintage shops. You’ll find a mix of American vintage streetwear but also beautiful old kimonos which make a lovely souvenir. I bought a pink silk jacket that is usually worn over a kimono and wore it around Kyoto with black jeans. Locals seemed to love a foreigner adopting part of their traditional dress!

Something else I’d love to get is a vintage bomber jacket or sukajan – American soldiers stationed in Japan after WWII brought these jackets over and personalised them with Japanese-style embroidery as a souvenir. This sparked a bit of a trend with local teenagers in the sixties so there are still a lot of these cool jackets around.

Where to shop for vintage in Tokyo: I like Chicago and Kinji in Harajuku, although people say Koenji is the best neighbourhood for vintage if you’re willing to go a bit further out.

Tokyo is also great for second-hand designer handbags. You’ll see a few shops dotted around Shinjuku, like Komehyo and Brandfirst. After almost 3 years I still wish I’d bought that Louis Vuitton backpack I spotted in one of the shops in that area – it was such a bargain!

I really can’t wait to go shopping in Tokyo again this October – I’ll definitely be making the most of my 30kg baggage allowance! I love how you can find so many cool items there that you just can’t get anywhere else, and the best thing is most of these souvenirs don’t have to be expensive.

Takeshita street in Harajuku

Oh, one last thing: don’t forget to make the most of tax-free shopping! If you spend 5,000 JPY (around £35 or 45 USD at the time of writing) in one day in the same store you can claim the 8% tax back or avoid paying it altogether. Look out for the “Japan. Tax Free Shop” stickers in shops and make sure you have your passport with you.

What are you most excited to bring back from Japan?

I’d love to hear what you end up bringing home!

Planning your trip to Japan? Check out my other blog posts:


Senegal: A One Week Itinerary

By Posted on 8 min read 4004 views

Back in March I went on an epic trip to Senegal with some of my best friends. Senegal is a French-speaking country on the West coast of Africa and it’s where my lovely friend Sofia has been living for around two years.

I’ve been meaning to share the trip on here for MONTHS, but with job hunting, starting a new job, then flat hunting things have been a little busy. I also wanted to do this trip justice and didn’t want to miss out any of the things we did!

As a travel blogger, I make it my mission to research any place I’m planning to visit for weeks or even months before the actual trip takes place. I’m used to trawling TripAdvisor for the best restaurants, Instagram for the prettiest places, for the best hotels and blogs and Lonely Planet for itinerary suggestions. But when Sofia said she’d organise everything for our group, I was kind of relieved. For once, I could just show up at the airport having done almost no research, whilst knowing that our itinerary had been organised by someone who knows all the best places to visit! For those of you who aren’t lucky enough to have someone like Sofia planning everything for you, I thought I’d share our brilliant itinerary.

Our one week itinerary:
  • Lisbon layover / stay near Dakar airport
  • St Louis (2 nights)
  • Lompoul desert
  • Dakar (2 nights)
  • Camping and kayak
  • Simal
  • Fadiouth
Day 1: Flight to Dakar via Lisbon

There are no direct flights from London to Senegal (that I know of) and the most affordable flights are usually with TAP Air Portugal via Lisbon. Although I would not recommend TAP at all for various reasons, I can recommend leaving Lisbon airport to explore the city if you have a few hours. That’s what we did, and we spent the afternoon browsing shops, drinking sangria and eating delicious Portuguese food.

When we finally arrived at Dakar airport very late at night (after some delays courtesy of TAP) we got a driver to take us to an Airbnb we’d booked by the sea and went straight to bed after hugging Sofia.

Do this: Get out of Lisbon airport! Make the most of the time you have.

Eat here: Pastéis de Belém do the best (warm) pasteis de nata (custard tarts). Time Out Food Market has a nice atmosphere and a wide range of foods to choose from.

Days 2 and 3: Saint Louis

Up early, we picked up a rental car and drove over to beautiful Saint Louis for the weekend. I was so excited to visit this city because I’d seen a few pictures of its colourful colonial architecture (check out Spirited Pursuit’s blog) and I just knew I’d love taking pictures there! On top of that, Saint Louis puts on a great jazz festival every year, and we happened to visit when the festival was on.

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Over the course of two days, we enjoyed some concerts at the festival, went to an Electrafrique party, ate poulet yassa (one of Senegal’s most popular dishes), visited the photography museum, and had a lovely lunch at the beach in the Langue de Barbarie national park.

Do this: go to the Jazz Festival if you are there in April, visit the photography museum, shop at Rama Diaw, and go to the beach.

Eat here: La Crepe Saint-Louisienne for sweet or savoury crepes, Hôtel La Résidence for an elegant dinner, or Zebrabar for a beachside lunch.

Stay here: Chez Titi is a lovely affordable B&B. If you have a bigger budget, Hôtel La Résidence looks like a great option – we enjoyed a nice dinner there.

Day 4: Lompoul Desert

After a fun couple of days in the city, we headed to the desert of Lompoul. This amazing place looks like the Sahara desert and is a great place to spend 24 hours.

The five of us stayed in a big white glamping tent, which comes complete with its own toilet and shower. We had a great time taking photos in the sand dunes and trying out sandboarding (like in Peru!) before having a lovely dinner at the ecolodge’s “restaurant” tent.

Do this: take photos with a camel, and sandboard down a dune

Stay & eat here: Lompoul Ecolodge

Days 5 & 6: Dakar

Back to city life for a couple of days in the capital. I really enjoyed discovering what life is like for locals and expats in Dakar. Some of the highlights of these two days include eating at seaside restaurants, watching a sunset from the lighthouse, and getting a seamstress to make me a top using fabric I’d bought at HLM market.

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We spent one of our afternoons wandering around beautiful Gorée island, which once was an important slave-trading centre (photos above). It’s strange to think that such a colourful, sunny island has a very dark past. We walked up a hill past some (sometimes pushy) street sellers to see the main memorial and a view of the sea, then walked back down to visit the House of Slaves museum.

Do this: visit the historic island of Gorée, shop for colourful fabric at HLM market, and catch a sunset with a cocktail in your hand at the Mamelles Lighthouse bar

Eat here: Club de l’Union or Le N’Gor restaurant for sea views

Stay here: I stayed at my friend’s place but I think these look great – Pullman for luxury, La Villa 126 for mid-range, Quiksilver Boardriders Surf Camp for a cheaper option. I wouldn’t worry too much about the location because Dakar is a city that’s made for cars, not walking, and taxis are affordable.

Day 7: Kayaking and camping in the mangroves

We left early in the morning and drove to the Sine-Saloum region, stopping for a wonderful lunch at Keur Marrakis. In the afternoon we arrived at the village of Palmarin where we were greeted by Pierre, our guide for the next 24 hours.

After buying a few supplies in the village shop, Pierre took us to our kayaks. Most of us had never kayaked before so getting to our campsite was quite the adventure! We had to make our way though the mangroves, sometimes in very narrow spaces. We crashed into spiky branches and got stuck a few times but thankfully Pierre was there to help us.

Once we got to our campsite, Pierre went to work on our dinner of fresh fish while we explored the area and watched the sunset over the mangroves. When the fish was ready, we sat by the campfire with a few beers, ate with our hands, and chatted away for a few hours before heading to our tents for some well-deserved sleep.

Some of us were very unlucky to get woken up by some flies called mout mout biting them in the middle of the night! I got spared but some of the girls had to finish the night outside!

Eat here: Keur Marrakis for lunch between Dakar and the Sine-Saloum area.

Stay & eat here: a patch of sand by the mangroves! If you want to book the same experience as us, contact Sangomar Kayak. Pierre will pitch the tents for you and cook a nice dinner. Just be aware that the tents and sleeping bags/blankets are very basic and maybe not the cleanest.

Day 8: Simal

The next day, we kayaked back to the village (we got the hang of it at this point!), said our goodbyes to Pierre and drove to our next destination, the Ecolodge de Simal. When we got there the place was incredibly busy with a big group of French tourists, so we were sent to Boundao Lodge for lunch.

Initially we were a bit annoyed but the Boundao (pictured above) turned out to be such a beautiful place. We had a lovely lunch of poulet yassa and a swim in the pool, before relaxing under a mango tree full of bats!

After returning to the Ecolodge de Simal (pictured below), we had showers (finally!) and went for a little boat trip up and down the river organised by the hotel staff. We enjoyed a riverside dinner and cocktails before going back to the cabana for some sleep.

Stay & eat here: I’d go for Boundao Lodge if they have space, otherwise Ecolodge de Simal was good too.

Day 9: Fadiouth Shell Island

We spent the morning lazing by the pool at the Ecolodge before driving to Joal-Fadiouth. After some car troubles (we got a flat tyre TWICE!) which helpful locals saved us from, we made it to La Taverne du Pecheur for a late lunch (I went for poulet yassa again because I love it) overlooking the bridge to Fadiouth Shell Island.

This amazing island is covered in clam shells, which are also used in the cement for building houses. It is car-free, has lots of piglets roaming around, and is the perfect place to pick up a few handmade souvenirs. The most amazing thing about the island has to be how Muslims and Christians live side by side in perfect harmony – even in the cemetery!

After a guided tour of the island, it was sadly time to drive back towards the airport. Before saying goodbye to Sofia, we had a nice dinner at L’Echo Cotier which is only 25 minutes away from the airport. A beautiful setting by the sea for our last meal in Senegal!

Do this: visit Fadiouth Shell Island, it’s a beautiful, unusual place

Eat here: enjoy poulet yassa at La Taverne du Pecheur in Joal-Fadiouth, and cocktails and seafood at L’Echo Cotier near the airport

After only one week in Senegal, I felt like I’d done and seen so much, and had many stories to tell. From flat tyres and mout mout attacks, to a jazz festival and glamping in the desert, we really went through a lot in a short space of time! I had a wonderful time and especially enjoyed the friendliness of the locals we came across. The fact that the country isn’t a typical tourist destination makes it even better in my eyes, so make your way there ASAP!

Are you heading to Senegal?

Send me any questions you have and I’ll do my best to answer them (or rather I’ll ask Sofia for some local knowledge!)

Review: My Travel Suitcase & Backpack from Osprey

By Posted on 2 min read 2043 views

Osprey Review

A few months ago, I got an email from Osprey asking me if I wanted to try out one of their backpacks and a new carry-on bag that was yet to be released. As I’m sure you can imagine, I replied with a very enthusiastic “YES PLEASE!”. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some Osprey gear and wished I had it with me on my trip to Senegal instead of my clunky old suitcase. I’d heard so many good things about Osprey from seasoned long-term and long-distance travellers.

osprey backpack review

I was sent the following two items:

  • Hikelite 26, a small day pack that works both for hiking up a mountain and for exploring a new city.

Why I love it: it feels super comfortable and light, has a little zipped pocked at the front for your smaller items and a compartment inside which can fit either a laptop or a water reservoir. You don’t get a sweaty back with the Hikelite because of its genius suspended mesh backpanel, and it comes with a raincover in case the weather gets really wet.

  • Ozone 36, a lightweight wheeled bag that conforms to EU carry-on luggage sizes – perfect for a city break.

Why I love it: it is SO LIGHT! At 2.12 kg it’s amazing how much I can fit into this bag and still come under any hand luggage weight limit. On our recent trip to Sicily, I had frantically over-packed the Ozone and Chris still had plenty of space in his wheelie suitcase, yet mine came in much lighter! It has zipped compartments for shoes, a zipped outside pocket for small items and a large outside pocket for your magazines/books/laptop. Super handy.

osprey ozone 36

Both bags feel like really good quality. I feel like they are sturdy enough to withstand anything I will put them through on my travels. Feels great to not have to worry about getting them dirty or scratched. I know they will look and perform great even if I’m not precious about them.

After a few months of using them on my trips (and a festival!), I am super happy with the Hikelite 26 and Ozone 36. I’d recommend them to anyone looking for durable, practical and really well constructed travel gear. There’s a reason why Osprey bags are so well regarded in the travel community!

osprey ozone review

Have you tried Osprey before?

I’d love to try one of their larger backpacking backpacks next – although I’ll need to book a really adventurous holiday somewhere exotic first!