My Luxury Skincare Essentials

Honestly, I’m a bit tight. There aren’t many things I am willing to splash the cash on. But the one thing I will invest in is my skincare. In my opinion, you only get one face so you might as well take care of it!

I remember when I first moved to London I popped into a Space NK shop on Kings Road, had a browse and wandered straight back out as I realised I couldn’t afford a single thing. However, now that I am in a position where I actually have some disposable income (yay!) I can head in there and top up my skincare routine without having a heart attack. And I tell you what, the products are worth the price tag!

Recently I was lucky enough to head to Ireland with the head of the Space NK PR team to do a talk, and she informed me of all her favourite products that they stock. Well, that was dangerous knowledge. A whole new skincare routine ensued and I have to say, that I think my skin is currently the best it has ever been. I used to be terrified to be seen without makeup whereas I now hardly wear it at all! That is a serious transformation, one who saves me a lot of time in the morning! I personally think it is closely linked to a few key products, which I want to share with you.

My Skin Type: Combination. Oily T Zone. Dry Cheeks.

Morning: 

Sunday Riley CEO Cream 

Dr Barbara Sturm Sun Drops

In the past I found my moisturiser either left me feeling super oily and slick or completely parched; it was a challenge to find that happy medium. Finally I found the Sunday Riley CEO day cream, which is the perfect balance. It nourishes my skin and feels super plumping. It takes a little while to sink in (which I like) and keeps me feeling hydrated all day, without being heavy. I also add a couple of drops of Dr Barbara Sturm SPF 50 sun drops to it to give sun protection on a daily basis. I find when I use a separate SPF lotion I can often feel a bit greasy or like I am overloading my skin. By mixing in the drops I avoid this, while still getting maximum protection.

Evening: 

Dr Dennis Gross Night Cream

Dr Dennis Gross Universal Daily Peel

Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil 

My evening routine changes every other day. On the first night I will apply the Dr Dennis Gross Universal Daily Peel. This helps to gently resurface your skin through chemical exfoliation (not as scary as it sounds I promise!). Honestly, I think this product alone has been an absolute game changer for me and has significantly helped to reduce my scars from previous acne. I then follow this up with the Dr Dennis Gross Marine Hyaluronic Moisturiser, which nourishes my skin without feeling too heavy, as many night creams can be. On the alternate nights I swap the peel for a nourishing serum. This is usually my Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil. This is said to help renew and repair your skin. I don’t think it has miraculously got rid of my new found wrinkles (damn you ageing!), but it certainly leaves me feeling super hydrated!

All in all…

I just want to say, please bear in mind that for years I have used high street skincare brands and I think that they are incredible. You can certainly get amazing results using products you pick up from your local Boots or Superdrug. However, I now choose to spend my money on more expensive skincare items. Please don’t hate me for that!

Of course there are other elements to my skincare, such as cleansers, face washes and more but I vary these each day. The above products have been consistently in my daily routine for about 2-3 months now and I am loving them. That being said, please bear in mind that my skincare is always evolving and my products used will change over time. But right now, these are my holy grails!

Let me know if you want to hear more about my skincare routine!

Zanna x

P.s. For your knowledge, all these products are cruelty free. This post is not sponsored by Space NK but the products were initially gifted. I have repurchased them myself since though!

July 28, 2017

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How To Eat To Support The Planet

Todays article is a guest post written by a man I massively respect, Ryan Andrews. I first came across his work in Alan Aragon’s research review in a fascinating article entitled “eating to prevent the apocalypse”. It was the best article I had read which comprehensively compiled the research surrounding eating to support the environment, in an evidence-based but non-intimidating way. I find that often the information on this topic can be scaremongering and extreme. In fact the situation is extreme, extremely worrying, however Ryan talks about it in a rational and digestible way which outlines what we can actually do to make a difference. And it doesn’t mean giving up everything you love.

I ask that you read this interview with an open mind. We tried to create a post which is short, sweet and accessible. In condensing the information we have only touched on a few points which you may want us to explore in more depth. If you have any further questions then tweet me and I can work with Ryan on a future article dressing them!

So, what is your background? 

I started to get involved in nutrition (and fitness/health) at the age of 14. Until the age of 20 I was a nationally competitive bodybuilder. I studied nutrition and exercise in undergraduate/graduate school. In grad school I worked as a research/teaching assistant, and started to develop a new level of respect for the scientific process. After grad school, while I was completing my dietetic internship, I started to develop a new level of respect for counseling and “real world” behavior change (which is often veeerrrrry gradual). Having experience and respect for both the “research lab” and the “real world” has allowed me to look at nutrition problems through a unique lens.

I should also mention that the way I view food and nutrition really started to shift on a deeper level early in grad school. See, during this time I took an ethics in research class, and I was learning about using animals in research (and feeling a bit unsettled by it). After several discussions with a lab assistant, I had an epiphany:

My daily food choices influence factors beyond my own health.

In other words, what I choose to put on my plate each day has a ripple effect that extends to farm laborers, animals, and the environment. This was when I started to not only consider how food influences my body, but how food influences factors outside my body as well.

What is your approach to nutrition now?

Well, beyond foundational principles that your readers are probably familiar with (e.g., eating mostly minimally processed plant foods, drinking plenty of water, knowing and respecting body cues for hunger/fullness), I’ll talk about something that has probably had the biggest influence on my own nutritional path: Making choices with the greater good in mind.

One of the most common things I’ve heard over the past decade from my nutrition clients is how much they struggle with motivation and willpower to eat “healthy”. I don’t think this is because human beings are going through an epidemic of willpower depletion, rather, I think it’s because sometimes when we are making nutrition choices, we emphasize our self-interest a little bit too much, and this creates blinders to how our choices influence the rest of the world.

Think about all of the things we do with the greater good in mind:

  • We donate blood
  • Help someone cross the street
  • Volunteer
  • And so forth

These are things that can be challenging, no doubt. However, these kinds of behaviors don’t require soul crushing levels of willpower and motivation. Rather, these behaviors are more effortless because they align with our “bigger-than-self” goals. These are the goals that go beyond our own self-interest and allow us to feel hopeful, grateful, and inspired.

Essentially, when a cause is bigger than us, we’re more likely to stick with it long term, without having to white knuckle it with willpower reserves.

This is something I apply to my own eating. I keep my “bigger-than-self” goals in the forefront of my mind, and it really makes for a more effortless and rewarding journey.

Right, let’s get into the nitty-gritty. Talk to us about animal agriculture?

Well, first off, I would discourage anyone from thinking about animal agriculture in terms of ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Context matters, and the role that animals play in agriculture varies enormously across the planet. Animals might be an essential source of labor on farms in certain regions. Or animals might be a source of food security, converting otherwise inedible vegetation into calories/nutrients when access to a variety of other plant foods isn’t available.

It’s even possible for animals to be part of an integrated crop/livestock system that has environmental benefits, such as sequestering carbon in soil, efficiently using water, and rebuilding ecosystems.

But…..

The amount of animal products we consume in developed countries doesn’t allow for this kind of sustainable farming system to flourish. There are just too many people eating too many animal products to allow it. In the US for example, we consume 225 pounds of meat/fish per person per year (compared to only 7 pounds of beans per person per year).

The demand for animal products is so high in the UK, US, and Canada that we’ve become reliant on CAFOs (concentrated animal feeding operations) for efficiency. This is where the vast majority of meat, dairy, and eggs come from. And this has led to some really scary environmental consequences, including:

  1. Excessive greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions – GHG emissions can be directly from the animals themselves (e.g., digestion and waste products) or from the resources that go into raising the animals (e.g., growing feed, clearing land to grow feed/graze, etc.). Livestock production is the largest source of methane and nitrous oxide, two gases with even more global warming potential than carbon dioxide. It’s well established that eating a plant-based diet will lead to fewer GHG emissions. Just how much? It’s hard to say exactly, but estimates start around 12% less (when the diet still includes a fair amount of animal products) and going all the way to nearly a 70% reduction (a vegan diet).
  2. Excessive water use – Only 1% of the world’s water resources are fresh and accessible. While there are many variables to consider with how water is used in food production (e.g., is it from rain? Irrigation? How much water is polluted as a result of producing the food?), on average, one calorie of animal product requires about five times more water to produce than one calorie of plant product (this excludes tree nuts, which are quite thirsty). When it comes to water, a plant-based diet requires less, with estimates starting around 16% less (for those diets including some animal products or relying more on tree nuts for calories) and going up to nearly a 60% reduction in water use (a vegan diet with smaller amounts of tree nuts).
  3. Inefficient conversion of plant matter into animal matter – If you have a plot of land and you can use it to grow crops directly for humans, that would be the most efficient way to feed people. If you have a plot of land that’s too hot, cold, steep, or dry to grow crops that humans could consume directly, this is a prime opportunity for livestock to convert existing vegetation into food and energy. While these kinds of landscapes exist, we can only support 30% of the current livestock population on them. This means that 70% of livestock make for a very inefficient use of land and other resources in our efforts to produce food.
  4. An amount of waste that doesn’t allow nutrient recycling – Every day in the U.S. 24 million farm animals are used for food. These 24 million animals are consuming lots of feed and producing lots of waste. The feed contains protein, and protein contains nitrogen. Of all the nitrogen livestock consume from their feed, over 90% is excreted in manure/urine. Small amounts of manure/urine can play a role as a fertilizer on crop/livestock integrated farms. However, large numbers of animals in small areas produce an amount of manure/urine that’s simply too much for land and water to absorb. It becomes a source of pollution. When there’s too much nitrogen, it escapes into water (contributing to dead zones) and air (contributing to nitrous oxide emissions).

Ok, that’s a lot to take in! But what about fish? Surely that’s ok?

90% of fish stocks are exploited or overexploited. If this kind of overfishing (and pollution) continues, we can expect to see a complete collapse of world fish populations by 2048. That’s only 31 years!

Beyond eating less fish, another sustainable solution is to expand the variety of species consumed. There are more than 1,700 different species of seafood, meanwhile developed nations rely mostly on tuna, salmon, and shrimp. This drives exploitation.

Other seafood that tends to be more sustainable includes filter feeders like clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops.

Damn. Is there anything else we should consider?

There are four other areas I would encourage you to be aware of when it comes to sustainable eating:

  1. Wasted food – In the US we discard about 25% of the food we bring home. We forget about it, don’t use it, it goes bad. When we discard this food we’re essentially discarding all of the resources that went into producing it. Further, food that enters the landfill is a major contributor to carbon dioxide and methane production. In fact, if all of the world’s wasted food was represented as a country, it would be the third highest GHG emitter, behind the US and China.
  2. Organic food production (or something similar) – Soil is a really big deal. The goal of organic production is to sustain soil for the long haul by adding compost, using cover crops, minimizing tilling, ensuring a variety of species, and minimizing synthetic chemical applications. If we want to be healthy, we need healthy soil.
  3. Food variety – Eating a variety of foods is important for all sorts of reasons, but in terms of the environment, two big reasons are 1) pollinators and 2) soil. See, lack of diversity in plants means lack of diversity in pollinators and soil. Without healthy pollinator diversity we can say goodbye to about 35% of food production around the world. Further, soil that isn’t diverse isn’t as resilient to drought or floods, or as productive in general.
  4. Local food – Most of us are familiar with the benefit of fewer transport miles, but this actually isn’t very substantial environmentally, especially compared to all of the other factors discussed above. More than anything, supporting local farmers means you are probably supporting sustainable crop/livestock practices, techniques that align with organic production, and a wider variety of crops.

So what can I do? 

Depending on what circles you run in, all of this information might be brand new to you. Hopefully you don’t find it paralyzing, but empowering. Here’s a summary of the big takeaways:

  • Find your minimal effective dose of animal products. Optimal intake for the environment would probably be around 10% or less of total daily calories. But for most people in developed countries, any decrease would be an improvement. Get them from systems that have sustainable crop/livestock integration. Eat more roots/tubers, legumes, whole grains, seeds, and ground nuts. These are the most environmentally friendly sources of calories and nutrients. How much we can benefit the environment with our diet mostly hinges on the amount of animal products we consume.
  • Be conscious of where you waste food. Consider if you might be able to use leftovers, plan meals, compost scraps, or buy “visually unappealing” produce.
  • Aim to support farms/farmers who are practicing more organic/sustainable methods. Eating locally often accomplishes this.
  • Expand your food variety. Try new recipes. Order something different at a restaurant.

A Note From Zanna…

I know that reading this article can be overwhelming, upsetting or even angering. This is a natural feeling. All I ask is that you don’t dismiss this article. That you don’t ignore it. That you don’t continue on without reading a little more and digging a little deeper.

The reason why I respect Ryan so much is that he has a balanced and rational approach. He doesn’t expect everyone to give up all animal products and he understands the value of high quality, ethical and sustainable farming practices (e.g. grazing cows on pasture and their benefits for the soil). Everything he says is backed by evidence and he isn’t afraid to use a reference (or twenty)! I hope to collaborate with him more and more over the coming months, so let us know what you want to see.

If you want read further into this topic, subscribe to Alan Aragons Research review and read Ryan’s full article in the April 2017 issue. If you’re interested in making changes toyour lifestyle, join the Living Consciously Crew Facebook group!

July 25, 2017

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What Do I Stand For?

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about what I stand for as a blogger. I am so passionate about my job and I want to ensure that the message I am spreading is one which stays true to me, but is also beneficial to you. So, in case you’re wondering, after some self-reflection I have nailed down what I personally feel are my key values. If you like what you read, stick around!

Balance

If you’ve been following me for a while, you will know that I am all about balance. “Moderation not deprivation” is my mantra and I don’t support traditional “diet” culture. I don’t cut out food groups. I don’t believe in painfully long gym sessions or starving on measly salads. In my opinion, life is for living and as much as food is fuel, it is also a huge part of our social lives and a great source of enjoyment. And ultimately, enjoyment leads to sustainability.

My approach to fitness and nutrition is all about finding what works for you. Finding a form of exercise that you love. Finding healthy food that you love. Finding a lifestyle that you love and finding a balance which you can maintain long term.

Self-Love & Female Empowerment

Empowered women empower women. It is easy in our society which is steeped in “perfection” across social and mainstream media to feel dis-empowered. To feel low, self-conscious and to compare yourself to others. I have made it my mission, through the #girlgains global movement, to empower women to embrace, accept and love themselves and their bodies. I want to encourage women to stay fit and healthy from a place of self-love, not a place of self-hate. Our bodies are our vehicles through life and we need to harvest a sense of gratitude for all they do for us. Lets nourish and move our bodies because we love them and because we want to take care of them so they can carry us long into the future.

Mindfulness

Mindfulness and meditation are a huge part of my life and I incorporate both into my daily routine. They are traditionally associated with de-stressing but for me it is so much more than that. I truly believe that cultivating a sense of self-awareness and focusing on being more conscious and present allows us to truly enjoy every moment. It gives us the ability to feel more gratitude, to spread compassion, to connect more deeply with those around us and to develop ourselves into better humans. Ultimately, mindfulness and meditation allow me to experience life to the fullest and I want to open more peoples minds to this approach to life so they can experience this too. Let’s spread some good vibes!

Conscious Living

I am a bit of an eco-warrior. And you know what? I am proud of it! Through learning about the subjects of cosmology and nature I have gained a huge sense of gratitude for the incredible planet we live on. Sadly, as humans we are getting bit carried away living our modern lives and many of us don’t realise how badly we are treating our home. A huge goal of mine is to raise awareness of the environmental issues affecting Earth, and encouraging my audience to make small sustainable changes which support the survival of our beautiful home and all the diverse species that inhabit it.

As a result of this, I have set up a private facebook group, the Living Consciously Crew, which is a safe judgement-free zone where open-minded individuals can discuss these issues and shares resources. There is no pressure to make radical changes or to live your life a certain way, just an incredible supportive community of people who want to learn. 

Education

I am very aware that I am not an expert. Fair enough, I am a personal trainer and I know a thing or two about fitness; but I don’t claim to know everything (and I don’t think anyone should!). Which is precisely why I use my channels as a platform to bring in experts across a variety of fields. I love collaborating with people who know their stuff and operate with an evidence based approach. People who are qualified and aren’t afraid to use a reference two. Doctors, dieticians, specialists in their fields. I love to pick these peoples brains and share what I learn with you guys too, so we can all benefit.

It’s all about passion…

My key values are things which I am truly passionate about. The amazing thing about having your own blog and brand is that it’s just that, yours. You can talk about what you like and have the space to share your views and opinions. And that is precisely what I do. I share things I care about. I share messages which I think need to be heard. My topics reflect my interests. They vary widely; from recipes, workouts and empowering articles through to travel tips, environmental issues and my mindfulness experiences.

Basically, I want to be a blogger with substance. A blogger with a purpose and with a message to share. A blogger who spreads positive educated empowering vibes. I want my content to give you something more than just a few pretty photos to look at and a paragraph to read. I want it to open your eyes, challenge your opinions and really make you think. I want it to help you develop and grow as a human being, so you can find your own path to health and happiness; and truly be the best version of you.

Zanna x

July 19, 2017

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June & July: The Round Up

Forgive me, June was a bit of a mad one. With 5 trips in 4 weeks I found it a little bit of a challenge keeping on top of all my content! Nevertheless, I am here now sharing my highlights from the past month and a half. I hope they inspire you to try something or someplace new.

Travel

June, as I said above, was the month of travel. I headed to NYC with adidas, to Ireland with Space NK, Finland with Visit Finland, and on holiday to Barcelona and Ibiza. Every single one of those trips was bloody incredible. Highlights were wandering the streets of downtown New York, hiking through forest in Finland, dancing at 5am in Ibiza and speeding around in a GoCar in Barcelona. Be sure to check out my travel guides for each destination!

Books

There have been two awesome books I’ve read recently. The first is How To Have A Good Day. In short, it is bloody brilliant. It is packed full of practical tips and tricks to improve your mindset, with a focus on your working life. It is quite business based but hugely useful and I recommend it to any who wants to reduce procrastination and increase productivity. The second is The Pig Who Sang To The Moon which examines the emotional complexities of animals and is truly fascinating and eye opening.

Moving House

If you follow my instagram you may have seen that there have been some big changes in my life. Yep, I moved in with Ant! Exciting times! I am taking great pleasure in putting my own touch on our place, especially in the home office. In particular I have been loving getting my home accessories from Next and Urban Outfitters

Blink 182

For Christmas in 2016 my brother got me tickets to see Blink 182 in Leeds. The concert came around a couple of weeks ago and damn it was good. I have seen Blink 182 in the past but I haven’t listened to their music in about year. Seeing them up on stage brought back all my teenage memories and I knew the songs word for word! They are true punk legends.

Potatoes

Sound random, I know. But I recently worked on a project surrounding cooking with potatoes and it reminded me how damn versatile they are. They are so delicious and I can’t wait to incorporate them into my meals more often. Check out my Mexican Smashed Potatoes recipe!

The 52 Lists Project

I discovered the 52 lists project, which focuses on using journalling on a weekly basis through short lists on different topics. This encourages reflection and also gives a sense of gratitude and can ignite motivation. I love doing my weekly list!

Space NK Skincare

In June I went to Ireland with the head of Space NK PR, Jini, who is a good egg and certainly knows her stuff when it comes to skincare. She introduced me to a brand they stock called Dr Dennis Gronner. No word of a lie guys, it has changed my skin dramatically and I now feel like I glow! I use the Hyaluronic Marine Moisture Cream and the Alpha Beta Daily Peel. They are pricey but last ages and I honestly can’t recommend them enough!

Living Consciously Crew

The biggest highlight of the past few months has been opening up about my passion for mindfulness/mediation as well as eating/living in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. It feels incredible to share my other interests, alongside my love for fitness, food, travel and lifestyle. I launched a mindfulness series on my youtube channel, which got incredible feedback. I have set up a private judgement-free facebook group, the Living Consciously Crew, a friendly community openly discussing these topics. I also started woking with Sea Shepherd, a charity close to my heart as a keen scuba diver. These projects are allowing me to feel extremely fulfilled.

Tune in to my instagram stories to see what I get up to on a daily basis,

Have an awesome day,

Zanna xx

July 17, 2017

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Barcelona Travel Guide: 6 Things You Have To Do

Barcelona has taken pride of place in the top three cities I have ever visited. It is quite simply stunning. It combines traditional architecture with bustling beaches, narrow atmospheric streets with delicious local food. I just loved the vibe. It was bursting with culture and character and I left wanting more.

If you’re planning a city break in Barcelona, then don’t miss these six fun activities!

1. Rent A GoCar

GoCars are yellow “cars” which are fitted with GPS systems which guide you around the city, dropping knowledge bombs along the way. These little yellow nuggets of joy are not to be missed. On our first day in Barcelona we hired one out for 3 hours and used the “Barcelona experience tour” to explore the city. You are able to park it almost anywhere and hop out at each stop. However, we were having so much fun in ours that we only got out once, at the Museum of Catalunya National Art which gives some of the best views over the city. Honestly though, we were laughing and smiling the whole time we drove around in our little car. It is by far the most fun way I have ever explored a city and I will be hiring one later this year when I visit San francisco!

2. See Gaudi’s Work

I have to admit I was ignorant to the work of the world famous architect, Gaudi, until I visited Barcelona; and I am so glad that my eyes have been opened. He is a true creative genius. He seamlessly merges art with architecture, functionality with beauty. His focus was incorporating elements of nature into his work, and I have never seen buildings like it. It honestly takes your breath away.

In Barcelona there are a series of Gaudi buildings you can visit. The most popular being La Sagrada Familia, which you simply cannot miss. I also enjoyed exploring Park Guell, Casa Mila and Casa Batllo. I would recommend visiting them all if you can as they are each unique in their own way. Be sure to get an audio-tour to learn as much as possible, and also book tickets in advance for the earliest slot of the day to avoid the crowds.

3. Wine & Dine

Barcelona is a hub of incredible cafes and restaurants. It has it all; traditional tapas restaurants, popular brunch spots, hidden coffee shops and indulgent bakeries.

  • Caffeinate: Don’t miss Satan’s Coffee Corner and Black Remedy Coffee for the highest quality coffee in town.
  • Indulge: Check out the Marscapone and fig ice cream at Swiit (mind = blown) as well as the chocolate and doughnuts at ChokTop tip: Get chatting to the sales assistant at Chok and ask if you can go into the kitchen. If you work your charm, they will allow you to taste whatever they are creating!
  • Dine: Our favourite tapas spots included Alcoba Azul (the best atmosphere!), Tapeo (I ordered three plates of the aubergine, it was pure wizardry), and Sensi Gourmet Tapas.
  • Brunch: Check out my full Barcelona brunch guide!

4. Wander

One of my favourite activities when visiting a new city is wandering the streets with no intention except to explore and see what I stumble upon. I had two favourite areas to do this in Barcelona:

  • The Gothic Quarter: Think narrow streets packed full of character opening up onto expansive squares surrounded by stunning architecture, interwoven with traditional churches and cathedrals.
  • El Born: This slightly less touristy area of Barcelona is crammed with independent eateries and is home to Parc de la Ciutadella. This was my favourite park in the city. Once you wander past the initial touristy area packed full of shopping stalls you will find the most gorgeous statues and fountain. Pop yourself on a bench and enjoy the view.
  • It may also be worth paying a visit to Las Ramblas, which is the busiest street in Barcelona and the definition of a tourist trap. I only went there briefly, to visit the popular La Boqueria market which is a haven for fresh local produce.

Top tip:

If you’re a fan of people watching, one of my favourite things, then I highly recommend sitting on the steps near to the gorgeous Barcelona Cathedral and watching the world go by. There is also a nearby antiques market which is worth a browse.

5. Get Cultured

Barcelona is a cultural hub and packed full of museums and galleries. These include Fundacio Joan Miro, The Museum of Contemporary Art and Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. I only got to visit a handful, but one of my favourites was the Picasso Museum which is free to access on Sundays. It is important to note that it gets extremely busy. And I mean extremely busy. So get there at opening time to avoid a very long queue!

6. Enjoy Sunset

There are a couple of ways to enjoy sunset in Barcelona which you can’t miss.

  •  Cocktails at the W hotel. Their Eclipse bar has an unbeatable view over the coastline of Barcelona which you can enjoy while sipping on a margarita.
  • Up High. One of my favourite things we did in Barcelona was getting the cable car up to Montjuic at dusk. This gives gorgeous views over the city in the privacy of your own little carriage. A little moment of peace in a manic city. You can then walk 30 minutes down to the “Magic Fountain” to watch sunset over an incredible light and water show. I warn you though, this spot again gets very busy. Arrive early to get a good spot with a clear view.

One Last Barcelona Travel Tip:

I am someone who enjoys “living like a local” and often finds tourist attractions quite suffocating due to the crowds. However, I think that when you first visit a new city it is essential to see these sights. They are popular for a reason and give you a a valuable insight into the cities history and culture. I just recommend booking in advance into the earliest slots each day to avoid crazy crowds, so you can experience the city in all its beauty.

If you want to see more of my Barcelona adventures then check out my youtube videos herehere and here, as well as my Barcelona Brunch Guide.

Zanna x

July 10, 2017

Posted In: Travel, Travel Guides

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5 Healthy Barcelona Brunch Spots

If you know me, you know I love to brunch. I am the founder of London Brunch Guide and I make it my personal mission to scout out the very best brunch spots in my home city and across the world! On a recent trip to Barcelona I discovered these gems:

Brunch & Cake

Brunch and Cake is the most hyped up brunch spot in the city and as a result it gets pretty busy, so be sure to arrive with spare time to queue. It is worth the wait though. They serve up incredible dishes from blueberry acai bowls through to poached eggs on charcoal waffles (my favourite!) and everything in between. Each plate is an absolute work of art and feels almost too beautiful to eat. As the name suggests, they also serve up delectable cakes. Bold statement here, but the carrot cake was the best I have ever had. Ever. Seriously! Oh and don’t forget to try the the peanut butter latte (!!!) which are is rich, creamy. sweet and salty. The dream.

Rating; 9/10

Flax & Kale

Yet another hyped brunch spot in the heart of the city. This one is even more health conscious than Brunch & Cake with the majority of the options being completely plant based. The highlight for me was the nutella acai bowl which came with lashings of granola hidden under fresh fruit and a drizzle of mango puree. Delicious! If I am 100% honest the portion sizes just weren’t big enough for my expansive stomach but the food was yummy none-the-less.

Rating: 7/10

Milk

Wow. This place is popular! We turned up at opening time, 9am, and there was already a queue of 14 people outside the door. Once I tasted the food, I understood why. I tucked into a delicious Mediterranean toast plate which included sourdough, poached eggs, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, avocado and feta – the ultimate flavour combination. I also shared the cinnamon banana maple pancakes which were divine. The service was impeccable and the setting was low key and cosy. Plus the food was great value for money!

Rating: 8.5/10

Hammock Juice Station

This unique brunch spot has a quirky interior adorned with hammocks and a healthy menu which makes your mouth water. They have all the classics from avocado on toast and acai bowls though to warming porridge and creamy iced matcha lattes. The service left a lot to be desired but the food was certainly worth it. The highlight was the acai bowl which was basically 80% granola. And I bloody love granola.

Rating: 8/10

Al Sur Cafe

Perhaps this cafe shouldn’t be in a list of “healthy” brunch spots in Barcelona, as it is quite the opposite, but damn its delicious. Al Sur has one of the most indulgent brunch menus I have ever seen! From doughnut burgers though to oreo waffles and everything in between. I tried out the carrot cake pancakes and the toffee latte. Both of which were incredible. The pancakes were just insane. IN. SANE. Layers of fluffy goodness stacked up with cream cheese frosting. Needless to say, a food coma ensued.

Rating: 8/10

All in all…

Barcelona brunch game was strong. Perhaps not as strong as London but we are spoilt for choice in our capital city. One thing I did notice about Barcelona is that the brunch is so much more affordable than in London, which means you can order more for your money. Winner!

If you want to see more of my Barcelona adventures then check out my youtube videos herehere and here, as well as my Barcelona Travel Guide (coming soon!).

Zanna x

July 7, 2017

Posted In: Travel, Travel Guides

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Top Tips for Planning your Travels

This is a guest post by Maddie Pope. Maddie Pope is a British A Level student with a thirst for travel. As one of two students having successfully obtained a travel scholarship, she has had to diligently plan every detail of an 18 day trip on which she will research Italian architectural ideals. She has recently started blogging, with a focus on Spanish and Italian culture.

  1. Establish your budget. With this, you can narrow down when and where you want to go, and can cut down on the reams of hotels when searching for somewhere to stay.
  2. Decide what type of visit you want to have. This may sound silly, but do you want a classic relax by the pool or are you looking for something more stimulating, like a tour at the UN in NYC or a visit to the Duomo in Florence?
  3. Print off a calendar, like this one and write on it where you are each day. This a good way of working out when you need to book hotels and trains. Too often I have nearly double booked nights, so this keeps me on track!
  4. Find a hotel. This can too often be incredibly overwhelming – all my friends say that they tend to end up opening way too many tabs with potential hotels and then end up closing Safari all together. Instead, use websites according to the type of place you want to stay. For example, if you are wanting a bit of unique luxury check out Small Luxury Hotels of the World; meanwhile Doris and Dicky is fabulous for boutique hotels on a budget. Hoping to hostel hop? Use Hostelworld. Oh, and you can always find exceptional deals at booking.com. If you are really trying to keep to the bare minimum, trivago.com is a great place to compare different offers – always a good place to check before booking!
  5. If you need to stick to a budget, or like having it neatly planned out, I’d advise using an Excel or Numbers spreadsheet. You can either do this by chronologically working through your holiday, inserting anything you will need to pay for or working through it categorically, e.g. hotel, travel, transfers, activities, food. If you have costs in two different currencies, don’t worry – just make two different columns for each currency and convert them into the same currency later on.
  6. Like to hang onto a water bottle, but don’t know where it’s safe to fill it up? Invest (not very much) in a filtered water bottle like Water-to-Go’s which allows you to drink any water – from a tap, river, or stream – without having to worry about getting ill.
  7. I would highly advise photocopying your passport and giving it to a trusted family member or friend who is easily contactable before you go away, as well as taking an additional copy with you. This is incase your passport is lost or stolen and will make getting home a lot easier.
  8. Planning on walking much in the heat? Grab a light coloured umbrella – this will keep you cool and protected from the sun, making your day not so tiring.
  9. If you’re planning on moving around a lot, I’d highly recommend Rome2Rio. It helps you estimate how long you will spend physically travelling and also how much it will cost to do so in a range of ways – by boat, plane, taxi and bus.
  10. Currency can be expensive. To get the best deals, head to the Money Saving Expert’s Travel Money site. It helps you to work out where you are protected if the bureau de change/bank goes pop whilst they are processing your order.
  11. Split your money up. Certain cities across the world are infamous for their pick-pocketing, so it’s always good to go prepared. It’s a good idea to keep some money with you in your bag but also in your safe/locker in your accommodation – the chances of both being stolen or going missing is unlikely, so either way you will have a spare bit of cash to help you out.
  12. Check out the culture of the country you are visiting, so you don’t get too much of a surprise when you get there! Additionally, double check if there are any sites you want to visit which have a specific dress code – for example, in St Peter’s Basilica (Rome) men have to cover their legs, whilst women have to hide their shoulders or knees.
  13. Find out the emergency numbers of the country you are staying in. This could help enormous amounts if you get into a sticky situation.
  14. Another practical tip is to bring a list of phone numbers – your parents’, key friends and also the number of your countries embassy (in the country you are travelling), incase you lose your phone, need help and can’t remember the numbers off the top of your head.
  15. Have fun and look forward to your trip! Live in the moment and embrace another part of the world – even if it scary sometimes. I promise!

July 4, 2017

Posted In: Travel

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