Earth Hour: one hour to protect the planet

Earth hour for the planet

Do you care about the planet as much as we do? Do you, too, think that we are destroying our natural environment and wish to help? This Saturday 27th of March, at 8:30 pm, join us and the rest of the world for Earth Hour. This is something absolutely anyone can do, anywhere. Spread the word, make an impact and speak up for the planet! In this article, I explain to you why it is so important and what you can do to help.

What exactly is Earth Hour?

Created by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Earth Hour is an international movement. It usually takes place on the last Saturday of March, around equinox day, when the day is as long as the night. In 2021, the date is Saturday, March 27. So, how does it work? It is very simple. The only thing you have to do is to switch off your lights! And that’s it! At 8:30 pm, everyone around the world is invited to go black and leave all the electric devices. Why don’t you take out of the closet some table games, candles and enjoy your evening like we did before the internet and Netflix arrived? According to WWF, this is “a moment millions come together for nature, people and the planet“.

Why should you take part?

earth hour turn off the lights

You are going to say, what is the point of Earth Hour? What does WWF aim to do with this action? By cutting all your electric activity, the goal is a global rise of awareness of the climate crisis. To protect the forests, the rivers, the seas… We want to put the spotlight on our planet, the climate issues, the destruction of the environment, and global warming. Because of the world health crisis we have confronted in 2020, we have the proof that WE can change the world, individually. The Earth Hour is a way to connect people from all over the world, at the same time, in the same fight, and feel united like ever, such as international women’s rights day.

What else can you do?

Of course, the planet will be forever grateful if you take part in Earth Hour. It is the first step to a bigger fight, and it means you are concerned about the future. But we strongly encourage you to do more! In 2021, WWF will post a video on the night of the 27th of March. Please share it on all the social networks, with your friends and family! You can also attend an event (most of them will be online this year), learn more about nature and climate, or even sign online petitions.

So, are you going to be part of Earth Hour this year? This is something very easy to do, but with a huge impact on the planet, to let it breathe for at least one hour. Do not hesitate to go on their website to know more about the movement, and join millions of people. Show politics that WE care and that they must take action now!

– B

Meditation: the benefits of a regular practice

woman practicing meditation on the beach

Firstly reserved to some outsider communities, the practice of meditation has become widespread over the years. Even scientists are starting to agree that it is healthy. Loads of studies show its efficiency and its benefits to efficiently. Whereas you are stressed because of your job or your personal life, or even if you just want more peace in your life… Here is why you should not wait to give it a try!

What is conscious meditation?

Conscious meditation allows you to approach your thoughts in a different way, or should I say, your surplus thinking, and to make you realize you live in the present moment. You know, the thoughts you can not control and drive you crazy! Well, stop trying to push them away. You need to learn how to welcome and accept them, sooth and with practice control them. I mean, control when YOU want to think or empty your mind. Indeed, the modernization and our sedentary lifestyle have made us go crazy: our brain is requested non-stop, without a break. Phones, screens, music… It is time to learn how to stop for a moment, unhook and calm your mind.

How to practice

meditation is a state of mind

Meditation and breath are inseparable. If you are a beginner, I recommend you to find a quiet and comfortable, somewhere at home where you feel at peace and will not be disturbed. Sit down, your spine straight. You can use a cushion, blanket, or even a book to sit on to be in a more comfortable position. Then close your eyes, and focus on your breath, your body, and the present. I strongly recommend watching lessons and tutorials on YouTube. The videos will guide you throughout the practice. Also, there are plenty of free apps to download on your phone such as Calm or Headspace. Others are not free and offer a wider range of exercises, but once again, if you are just beginning, the free versions are more than enough.

The benefits of meditation

You will quickly feel inner peace and a well-being feeling grow inside you. Meditation relaxes, helps you to relativize, have more positive views and thoughts, and generally overcome tough situations. A regular practice will also improve your capacity to focus and concentrate. But the best advantage is without the shadow of a doubt the fact that it so helps you to release the stress ! You can read our article about the stress for more options.

Be indulgent with yourself

colorful drawing of meditation

Meditation is hard. It demands months and years of practice. Do not blame yourself if you are not focused enough, just slowly go back to the exercise. Accept your thoughts, just decide to put them aside for a while. You can practice meditation at any age, and obviously, the younger you start, the easier it is. Also, this activity is mobile: you can practice at home, or on the bus, at work, in a waiting room… Although, you need good practice to be able to meditate is a busy room.

Benefits are numerous. Meditation is one more weapon to overcome our daily issues and situation. Alone, with your family or with friends, do not hesitate to try. It will make your heart and your mind richer.

– A

International Women’s Day 2021

International Women's Day 2021

The historic event of International Women’s Day is an occasion celebrated by women from different cultures and backgrounds. This significant event has implemented great change for women across the world. It is an occasion for women to celebrate their independence, power, and entitled rights. International Women’s Day 2021 continues to challenge international inequality against women.

International Women's Day Inequality

What is International Women’s Day?

Since 1917, International Women’s Day has become an annual event taking place on the 8th of March every year. In previous years, it was an event to stand against the inequality of women. In more recent years, it is a day that celebrates feminism whilst reflecting on the progress made so far. We even have our own Valentine’s Day now! However, what is important to think about is that this exists in western countries. Yet, this is not the case worldwide. For this reason, International Women’s Day is as important today as when it first began. The fight for equality is not over.

International Women’s Day around the world

Celebrated in at least 20 countries throughout the world, people across the globe celebrate women’s achievements during this day. China marks the day as an official holiday when women (not men) enjoy a half-day off work. Russia celebrates the day with gifts such as a bouquet of flowers. Praise to Russia, who teach young boys about the day and encourage them from a young age to celebrate the girls/women in their life.

Women’s equality incorporates being able to make decisions, as we are empowered to do so. Poland banned abortion in 2016. Consequently, women took to the streets to march against the ban. Here lies a perfect example of how the fight is far from over. On the other hand in 2017, Saudi Arabia celebrated its first-ever International Women’s Day. Having been previously recognized as a country criticized for its stance on gender equality, this made for a historic moment.

International Women's Day ChooseToChallenge


Due to the current situation around the world at the moment, it comes as no surprise that campaigning against inequality will not be consisting of any physical movement. Instead, this year we have the #ChooseToChallenge action. Simply, raise your hand high and take a snap of yourself. This gesture shows that you are in favor of stopping the inequality that still exists today. Show your support & get involved by posting on your social media. After all, many small people, in small places, doing small things can change the world.

How do organizations get involved?

Moving to today, International Women’s Day is not only acknowledged by women alone. Organizations such as Netflix spotlight the event. Netflix recently announced a collection of shows, documentaries, & movies all chosen by women, to honor the occasion. Although a small gesture, millions of people visit Google’s home page. Last year, Google designed their Doodle around the special day. The design symbolized the movement of women’s rights from a time when women challenged the status quo to the new roles that women now take in society today. Check out what other labels are doing for the event, here.

– M

The essential Superfood groups to include in your diet

Essential Superfoods Healthy Diet

Unfortunately, there is no single food that we can include in our diet that will give us all the nutrition we need. Albeit, foods labeled as ‘Superfood’ do provide a range of benefits to our health. A healthy outside starts from the inside. Eat more color with various types of Superfood listen below.

Seafood is a significant Superfood

First and foremost, fish is full of protein and rich in healthy fats. Continuously, our bodies are deprived of the essential omega 3 fatty acids that it requires. Increasing your intake of fish, seafood, and especially salmon will help to reduce inflammation, lower your risk of heart disease, and help you to maintain a healthy weight. Read more about the benefits of seafood & try out my favorite salmon recipe here.

Avocados are awesome

As well as being absolutely delicious, avocados are also an essential Superfood on account of their health benefits. Rich in nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Like seafood, avocados also reduce inflammation whilst they can also help to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer. All of this gained from a simple small green Superfood, which is quite simply amazing in my eyes! Try some avocado mixed with egg on toast for your weekend brunch.

Essential Superfood Diet Avocados

Green Superfood leads the way

Do you need a boost of Vitamins A & C? Look no further than the produce aisle. Within the Superfood world, specifically, the dark green leafy vegetables hold the most beneficial nutrients. Although not everyone enjoys all green vegetables, they can be incorporated into your diet through smoothies or soups. In this way, you still reap all the benefits, even if you are not keen on the taste. Specifically look out for kale, spinach, & arugula, as these provide you with the most nourishment.

Who knew that olive oil was a Superfood?

Were you aware that you are already most likely using a Superfood in your everyday cooking? Often, we will coat our vegetables with olive oil, or drizzle a little over our salad. If you follow a Mediterranean diet then you will use it more often than most. Well, I have good news for you! Whilst olive oil reduces inflammation, it is also packed with antioxidants including vitamins E & K. All of these components will help to prevent the risk of illnesses such as heart disease and diabetes.

Essential Superfood Diet Nuts

Nuts are a great source of plant protein

You have begun your healthy diet. Yet, you constantly find yourself gravitating towards the snack cupboard. Replace all of the unhealthy snacks that you have in your kitchen with nuts. Nuts are full of fiber, vegetarian protein, and wholesome fats. Peanuts, almonds, & cashews are a great healthy snack option. Alternatively, introduce a handful of sunflower seeds on top of your salad, or add a handful of nuts to your breakfast yogurt. However, do take care not to overindulge as most nuts are high in calories.

The more berries, the merrier

In general, berries are both a nutritious and delicious Superfood when you bite into them. Unlike nuts, berries are low in calories. Perfect as a scrummy snack option! High in antioxidants which help prevent certain diseases and improve digestion. Add raspberries, strawberries, blackberries, or blueberries to your breakfast, smoothie, or simply enjoy as a tasty snack.

– E

Galentine’s Day is the new Valentine’s Day

Galentine’s Day New Valentine’s Day

Traditionally, the month of love is focused on February 14th – Valentine’s Day. Yet nobody seems to get excited about Galentine’s Day. What is Galentine’s Day I hear you ask yourself? We’ll get on to that, don’t worry. I am here asking myself why should couples have a day that they get to celebrate the love they have for each other, whilst I can feel as much love for my friends but we don’t celebrate that? Well, I have fantastic news, we now have February the 13th to celebrate exactly that.

When, by who, and how did Galentine’s Day begin?

So many questions! Essentially, Galentine’s Day is a made-up holiday that first featured on the American sitcom television series, Parks and Recreation. One of the main personalities, Leslie Knope, wants to appreciate the love that she has for her female friends. The famous quote for the episode follows that: “Every February 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and boyfriends at home and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style’. From that moment on, I idolized Leslie Knope.

While Leslie prepared a bunch of waffles for her friends, the beauty of Galentine’s Day is that it doesn’t follow the stereotype of Valentine’s Day. There is no pressure to go to eat in a fancy restaurant, or post an Instagram photo of the biggest bunch of flowers, etc. By all means, celebrate the day however you ladies wish! Take some inspiration from our New Year’s Eve party suggestions. Alternatively, follow Leslie’s style by eating some waffles and wash them down with a cocktail made from our cocktail masterclass. In any event, what’s important is to do something that you love with the people you hold most dearly. Below, I want to share with you some of my and the girl’s ideas for this year’s Galentine’s Day.

Galentine’s Day Friends Night In

A girly night in sounds like a wonderful idea

For me & the girls, there is no better way to celebrate Galentine’s Day than to have a girl night in. Including all of the things that we love! Chick-flicks, wine, face masks, manicures, listening to a Spotify playlist from back in the day, & dancing like nobody’s watching. After all, these girls appreciate me for who I am, no one is judging here. Me and the girls are more than friends. We are our own little gang, who appreciated one another for who we genuinely are. Galentine’s Day celebrates exactly that.

Galentine’s Day Gift Exchange

Secret gift exchange – Galentine’s Day style

As previously mentioned, this is no Valentine’s Day. Hence, there is no pressure to buy the most expensive gift for your loved one. Instead, we have decided to do a secret gift exchange. Think of it like Secret Santa. We all have a budget of how much we want to spend, and we put our 4 names into a bowl and pick one out. Whichever name you pick out, will be the person who you will buy a present for. Simple, easy, & yet full of surprises!

To mention a few of the surprises/shocks I have received before, include everything from personalised clothing with the girl’s face on, to beautiful pieces of jewelry, to pajamas, to some other things which I dare not mention here. Regardless, this is all the fun of it! If you are thinking of trying it out with your friends, look no further than Cosmopolitan’s 10 Galentine’s Day Gift Ideas.

– A

Winter activities for you and your friends

Winter Activities Friends

The winter months can be very cold for all of us. Consequently, we tend to spend more time indoors rather than brave the cold. Nevertheless, this doesn’t necessarily mean that we need to waste our time as we have nothing better to do. That’s why I have rounded up some of our favourite winter pastimes to share with you.

Movie marathon

We are all so lucky that we have an abundance of films & series available at our fingertips. Between me and the girls, we have access to Apple TV, Amazon Prime video, & the almighty Netflix. For the most part, we never struggle to find something to watch as we have so much choice…it’s fantastic! What we love to do is have a night in at home and binge-watch either a series or movie sequel. Even if the series isn’t the best we have ever seen, we at least get to enjoy each other’s company. One series that I highly recommend is The Good Place on Netflix. A light-hearted feel-good comedy that will never fail to make you laugh.

Winter Activities Movie Marathon

Treat yourself to some winter delights

For one thing, being at home more often is wonderful to use as an excuse to binge-watch tv in your pajamas. For another, use your time at home to reuse the baking trays that you have lying at the back of your cupboards. Blow off the dust and put on your chef’s hat. Winter is a time that we all over-indulge, so make the most of it! Bake some cookies, and later enjoy the most deliciously crisp, golden brown treats that you can be proud of. Me and the girls love to bake our own individual batch of cookies and then decide which of them is the best. Why is everything always a competition with us?

Winter Activities Baking Cookies

Of course, to accompany the treats, we naturally need to have a nice warm mug of hot chocolate to wash them down with. Yet again, another blessing to the colder winter nights. If you wish to make your already sickeningly sweet beverage even more delicious, add some whipped cream, marshmallows, and chocolate sprinkles to the top. A masterpiece! In the same way, if you would rather ditch the hot drinks and bring a little more fun to your evening, mix your own cocktails. In this case, the more friends you invite, the more cocktails you can try out!

Baby, it’s cold outside

On the positive side of winter, we have stunning weather. Embrace the feeling of wrapping up warm with multiple layers of clothing, your warm woolies, & head outside to make the most of this weather that we only experience once a year. Firstly, take a hike through the forest or in your closest nature park. After that, return home, light the fire, and relax. On the other hand, if you are lucky enough to live in a winter wonderland, purchase a sled for a bargain price. I promise you that this will provide you all with hours of fun, laughter & unforgettable memories. As well as providing some amazing Instagram snaps!

– M

Honest Kiss helps you get in shape

In the last few years, I have become more interested in my health and having a healthier lifestyle with good food and a fair amount of exercise. I, therefore, thought I would share some of what I have learned with you. Not so long ago, I also made a new discovery on the internet that goes in this direction. Honest Kiss is a fashion and beauty webshop that also gives its customers a chance at a healthier life. That’s the perfect combination of all the good stuff – beauty, fashion, and good health? 

I have never really been someone who has been very interested in sports… Or even thought much about living a healthy lifestyle until a couple of years ago. I often felt a little low on energy during the day and I wanted to do something about it.

That’s how I started reading more and learning more about the importance of a balanced and healthy diet and how much exercise can actually make a difference if you are in the same situation. 

My home workout gear

A change does not have to be extreme

I have to admit that for me it was a big challenge at first, and I did not really know where to start to make a change. It can be so easy to be affected by what you hear around you. Many of the methods people are talking about are very extreme, suggesting that you should stop eating to lose weight or that you must be at the gym 24/7 to build muscle.

I want to really make it clear that these myths and crazy suggestions can be dangerous to follow! It is undoubtedly possible to live healthier and better with small changes. I am a living example of that. I definitely exercise more than I did in the past and eat better than before. But I certainly do not spend all my time in the gym or count every calorie I eat.

In my opinion, it’s all about balance and your attitude. This is where Honest Kiss comes into play and can help you.

My (small) lifestyle changes

What I did, in the beginning, was to first and foremost try to bring in more exercise into my everyday life. I jumped off the bus a few stops earlier and walked the rest of the way to work. Or started taking the bike all the way to work on the days the weather permitted me to do so.

I also started thinking about drinking a lot of water, it really is the best way to cleanse the body from toxins and all that we don’t want in our system. My tip is to start the day with a large glass of water to get your body ready for the day. Sometimes I add a slice of lemon to it if I have it at home. So tasty. 

In addition to this, I also changed my eating habits a little. I still eat everything I want to eat and have not put any obstacles there. However, I eat slightly smaller portions and more often. I also eat a lot more homemade food! Ordering takeaway is truly one of my biggest downfalls. Of course, I still order takeaway food sometimes but certainly not as often. I am absolutely convinced that it has helped me much more than I actually have realized to cut down on this. 

I now love to eat healthy

How can you get help from Honest Kiss?

Honest Kiss is a webshop that first and foremost offers its customers great fashion and beauty products from the very best brands. They have a great concept with a membership that allows you to enjoy great benefits.

Their concept is based on a membership that is renewed every month and where you as a customer receive a gift card for the amount you pay for the membership.

You can then use this gift card on exclusive products from lots of well-known brands. The best thing about this is that the prices are so incredibly low. That means you’ll get lots for your money. Much more than what you could get in other webshops.

One of the other things you can use your Honest Kiss gift card on is what I like best – a personal trainer!

Personal trainer at Honest Kiss

In the past, when I thought of a personal trainer, I always associated it with something I could not afford. I also did not see the value of spending my money on having a person screaming over me while I was doing my sit-ups.

Of course, I have now changed my attitude completely regarding this. Today, it is much more accessible and more affordable to hire a personal trainer. At Honest Kiss, you can get a personal trainer at an incredible price – one of the benefits of being a member of their club!

When you book a consultation with Honest Kiss’s personal trainer, you will first have to fill out a form informing the personal trainer about the goals you have for your training. After that, the personal trainer will create a tailored schedule for you. And not only that… You also get a diet plan to follow. 

Working out with a personal trainer

Lots of benefits to having a personal trainer

I promise you will see results in just a couple of weeks! I myself have used a personal trainer for a while now. For me, it was really worth every penny. I got new workout tips and help with my technique. I myself am out running a lot but I also try to catch up with a little strength training. Sometimes I want to mix it up a bit.

With the help of the personal trainer I had, who was not through Honest Kiss, I have improved my running technique and also got inspiration for new dishes.

I really loved getting tips on new dishes. Sometimes it is so very difficult to find something good and healthy to eat, and especially when you are alone. Therefore, a little extra inspiration is needed. I almost think it was this part that I liked the most with the experience.

I have actually been thinking for a long time about hiring a personal trainer again and now with my gift card from Honest Kiss, it is really the perfect time to do it again. 

Personal stylist

I have also discovered another exciting concept that Honest Kiss offers its members! I just have to share it with you too!

Once you have seen the results of starting to live healthier and from exercise, it can be a little fun to focus a bit on your personal style as well. Because even here it is very easy to just end up in the old-fashioned way and use only one color scale or type of garment.

With Honest Kiss, you can actually also book a consultation with a personal stylist! Imagine being able to know which type of garment best suits your body type! And what colors you should dress in to highlight your best features!

Inspiration for special occasions

Getting good tips for your everyday wear is of course great. But I think I will use this service for a special occasion! For example when I’m invited to a wedding or a nicer party. I think it can be very difficult to find nice clothes for these types of events. 

It feels like I sometimes try too hard and the result is still not what I hope for. I am absolutely sure that Honest Kiss will be of great help with their personal stylist for my next big event. Now I’m just waiting for that to happen…

Another thing that I think this service can be good for is makeup tips and hair tips! Just like with clothes, make-up and hair are a big part of the styling. To make a good impression, it is important that everything matches.

So I really think it’s so good that Honest Kiss offers both a personal trainer and a stylist, it’s like everything you could possibly need to both look and feel healthier!

Imagine having your own personal stylist - You can get that at Honest Kiss

A small summary of Honest Kiss

It’s not necessary to make a huge change in order to get started on your healthier lifestyle that will make you feel better. It’s not about completely changing the way you live and just eating salad all day. Nor about spending endless hours at the gym. 

Simply start by figuring out what your goals are for a healthier life and make changes accordingly.

If you lack a little inspiration or do not know where to start, a membership at Honest Kiss can help you either with a personal trainer or a personal stylist. Or maybe you’ll even feel inspired just by looking through their website. 

Exercise tips and diet plans from them will help you get in shape and you can really focus on the areas you want. It is a flexible service where you have a consultation with a personal trainer who then creates different plans for you. The best part is that they also have follow-up so that you cannot skip doing it!

For me, it feels like a great concept and I will test it myself soon. It’s really nothing to think about in my opinion. I can only see a lot of benefits with the services that Honest Kiss offers. But not only that… Everything they offer you as a member in fashion and beauty makes everything even better.

Do not miss checking out Honest Kiss to find out more about how you can get on with becoming your healthiest self!

– A

The latest period drama of Ms Daphne Bridgerton

Period Drama Netflix Series Bridgerton

I had been searching for a new series to watch on my trusted companion, Netflix. Having watched other period dramas such as The Crown, Downton Abbey, etc, one of the suggestions was a series called Bridgerton. Based in the 1800s, the series follows the Bridgerton family as they seek to find love and happiness. In London’s high society during this era, mothers would prepare their children for arranging matches for marriage. With this purpose in mind, a summer of match-making, courting, and prestigious balls occur, with one purpose in mind…to find a worthy suitor! It all sounds relatively delightful, doesn’t it? Until one of London’s most eligible (and handsome, may I add) bachelors appears on the scene.

Netflix Series Bridgerton Mother Daughter Marriage

Untold amounts of characters will appear

An array of characters will appear with each episode. Evidently, with actors such as Julie Andrews, Hugh Sachs, & Adjoa Andoh appearing in the series, expectations were high. Without a doubt, they do not disappoint. What I love the most is how each new character brings a new twist to the story. In general, there is no insignificant character. Each one offers a new perspective on the story at hand. In addition, they play their character with an accent that would have been acquired in high society in London. Hence, if you do like the quintessential British accent, then you will love listening to each and every episode.

Personally, my favorite character was Queen Charlotte and her unorthodox representation of the Queen. Could the Queen really have been a true gossip during the 1800s? Secondly, the main character herself, Daphne Bridgerton. Maintaining her respect within society is of paramount importance to her. Watch as you see her make the choice between what she should do to keep her honour intact, or what she really wants to do, for reasons of love, lust, and all other emotions which can sometimes guide us in the wrong direction. To watch a real-life perspective on how to find love, I recommend watching Love is Blind.

Netflix Series Bridgerton Love Lust

Bridgerton – Episode 6

Firstly, I do not wish to reveal too much about this series if you haven’t already seen it. Albeit, I recommend that you hold out until at least episode 6. What’s more, do not watch it in front of your parents! In truth, whilst I watched the first few episodes of Bridgerton, I doubted that this series was for me. With so much focus on Daphne chasing the fairytale of a woman & man meeting at a ball and living happily ever after, I mistakenly thought this could have been more like a Disney production but I was already committed to the series so pursued.

Episode 6 revealed to me that this was no Disney fairytale. This was the pinnacle episode for me. Whereas the first episodes tell the story of the Bridgerton family, their history, their place in society, etc. Throughout, the series presents Daphne as a respected daughter held in high regard. On the other, that of an independent woman who has her own desires that she wishes to explore. Consequently, episode 6 pivots the story which then leads us to the penultimate final episodes filled with emotion, passion, & maybe a happy ending..but I cannot tell you that. Watch for yourself and I am sure that you will not regret it!

– M

New Year’s Eve party in your own home

New Year’s Eve Party Home Friends

Most New Year’s Eve parties have been cancelled this year due to the restrictions of the global pandemic. On a brighter note, it appears that most restrictions will be lifted or eased during the festive period. Thank the stars that me and the girls are able to reunite and spend New Year’s Eve altogether. Needless to say, we’ll be spending Christmas with our families but then we are planning our own little reunion to welcome in the new year. So we have had to change our usual plans of hitting the city and think over ideas of how to host a New Year’s Eve party at home.

New Year’s Eve Party Home Mexican Theme

B’s New Year’s Eve brainstorm

We are bringing Mexico home. Turn up The Champs tequila song…you know the one I mean, and let’s take out the shot glasses because there’s about to be an epic fiesta! B is thinking of fake mustaches, sombreros, and tacos. Sounds good to me! Themed parties are always so much fun and make for some hysterical photos to treasure. If a Mexican night is not for you, consider 80’s retro, burlesque, or a fancy dress party this New Year’s Eve.

E’s way to end the year

Being the most easily pleased of us all, E has suggested having a simple night in. Years gone by, we have spent hours taking our time to get ready for a crazy night on the town. As you know, we are unable to do so this year. Hence why E has come up with the idea to make the most of this and have a pyjama party with a takeaway pizza, our best-loved wine, and classic board games. Much like our cherished old-school game nights.

New Year’s Eve Party Home Cocktail Masterclass

How I visualize welcoming in the new year

Being the influencer that I am (I wish!), I want us to create a house party perfect for some Instagram worthy snaps. In that event, I’m thinking of a flower wall backdrop, sparklers, and my favourite suggestion of all…champagne bar. This won’t cost as much as you expect. Simply, use an old chest of drawers, throw over a fancy throw, place your champagne bucket, chutes, and several bottles of champagne on top, & voila! The fun doesn’t stop there, I’m envisioning a cocktail masterclass taking place in the kitchen. Failing that, we could have a sangria masterclass for an easier option! Then we will play the top hits of 2020, and dance around with a drink in hand! What more could I ask for?

Most importantly, we need to evaluate the crazy year that we’ve just had. Oh boy, it was a lot, wasn’t it? Something that I learned from another friend of mine was to take the time on New Year’s Eve to reflect on the previous year. Think about what you have accomplished, remember all of the moments that have shaped you in so many ways, and give thought to what goals you want to achieve in the next year ahead. One of the ideas I suggested to the girls is for us to have a New Year’s Eve resolution jar. We all place little notes of our resolutions inside of the jar. Then, in one year’s time, we can see if we stuck to them. To be continued!

– M

Christmas markets to explore in Europe

Christmas Markets Explore Europe

To really get me into the spirit of Christmas, I always take a cheap flight to visit the Christmas markets. Except the year 2020 has taken away a lot of our freedom. For keen travelers like me and the girls, our wanderlust has faded. For the moment we can’t continue with our mantra of ‘catch flights, not feelings’ as there aren’t a whole lot of places we can go to. Only, I just love the feeling of walking around, wrapped up warm with gloves & scarf, and a mulled wine in hand. The temperatures have dropped, Christmas music is playing, and you are about to go on the merry go round! What bliss!

This year has been filled with more staycations than any other year. I wrote this article as I am as passionate about Christmas as I am about travel. A combination of the two is quite simply heaven for me. So hopefully one of these markets is close to you & you are able to visit. If so, I’m jealous! Or rather we can together relive the memories of the Christmas markets we visited before. At worst, you will have some inspiration for Christmas markets to visit next year. When hopefully circumstances will be a little easier for all of us.

Christmas Markets Explore Europe Best Food

Tastiest Christmas markets for food

For me, the Christmas market in Zagreb, Croatia has to take the top spot. The good news is, this market is taking place this year. The bad news?.. Unfortunately due to Covid 19, there will not be any food or drink stalls open. But I recommend keeping this market in mind for future years. For three straight years, this market has been voted the best Christmas market in Europe, so I had to give it a mention. Just some of the Christmas delicacies you can usually feast on include Croatian traditional chard pie (soparnik), gourmet hotdogs, donuts stuffed with apple & vanilla cream, and cabbage rolls (sarma). Yummy!

The annual Christmas market in Bath, UK has taken on a real 21st-century approach to find a solution to the restrictions introduced because of the pandemic. Although the market cannot take place, they have created the virtual Bath Christmas market. Here you will be able to order your much-loved Christmas gifts directly from the local shops which usually have a stall on the market. So there is no need to miss out! From caramelized nuts, delicious burgers amongst many other sweet treats, the Bath Christmas market focuses on local produce & promoting small businesses. If you are browsing online from home and are craving Christmas delights then you just have to try my healthy Christmas cake recipe, it’s delicious!

Christmas Markets Explore Europe Mulled Wine

Best for that Christmassy feeling

The mecca of all stopovers has to be Budapest, Hungary which holds several Christmas markets across the capital. With the two largest markets being within a 10-minute walk of one another, Budapest provides a great opportunity to explore the city over a weekend break. The main street is lined with thousands of glistening Christmas lights, the huge Christmas tree that stands tall over all those admiring it, and in any direction that you look, there is a festive sight to see. Other features include an ice rink in its centre, animations, concerts, and activities. However, the most iconic sight for me would be the wooden lodges that line the streets. For me, this is the emblem of Christmas markets.

Next, I present my hand-picked choice. Usually, this would not reach the top 10 Christmas markets, but there is a certain charm about this exceptional city…especially at Christmas time. Let me suggest Seville. This market is unique to the others as it is a market dedicated to the artistry & workmanship typical of Seville. A sight not to be missed here is the Feria de Belen (in English, the fair of manger), which is home to the most impressive nativity scene in Spain. Walking around the market whilst listening to the choir singing, you will be able to pick up handcrafted goods, jewelry, & quaint nativity figurines, for your loved ones. Such gifts, that no one will be gifting a present quite like yours!

2020 will not last forever & Christmas markets will return!

There we have it, my four recommendations if you’re searching for a spectacular Christmas market. Woefully, many of the markets are not taking place this year. More cheerfully, 2020 is temporary and will not last forever. Some of the markets have already published their dates for 2021. So let’s book some cheap flights to one of the destinations above, and give ourselves something to look forward to! You deserve it!

– B