Saturday, 29 April 2017

FRANTSCHACH | AUSTRIA

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MARRAKECH | MOROCCO

The Ouzoud waterfalls
If you are planning a trip to Marrakech – you NEED to visit this place. I’ve been a few times now and I remain impressed. The waterfalls are beautiful, the hike is fun and meeting the monkeys is an experience of a lifetime. If you decide to go on this trip – make sure you wear comfortable walking shoes (not flip flops) and a rucksack because you do have to walk down a lot of steep hills on this tour. Make sure you bring money for tips because, you have to pay for the boat ride (5 euro), you're expected to tip in the toilets (50 cent or so) and any extra food or drink you may want. The tour guide is amazing and can speak five different languages and he’ll make you feel right at home and help you get down the tougher bits. The guide we had also owned the hotel and manages the whole place. Although it may seem annoying having to tip left, right and centre - I really admire what he's done for the people he lives with. He really encourages you help them out and I can tell he has done so much for his community. It's rather heart warming to see! The food is phenomenal and you’ll be eating it to the best views of your life! (See below)

Visiting a traditional Hammam

The first part of a Hammam is very much like being showered as a child, but in a sauna. They wash your hair and body for you and sit you in the hammam for twenty minutes or so for the soap to sink in. We had natural olive soap and argon oil hair products, which smelt delicious. One of the things I love most about Morocco is their natural beauty products and regimes. They have it down to a T when it comes to taking care of yourself off the land. I love their oil and sand based scrubs, their amazing perfumes, and their hammam rituals designed to clear your pores. After our Hammam, we had a foot massage with some tea and it was so relaxing. I came out of the hammam feeling fresh and super relaxed. Next time I go to Morocco I will most definitely be visiting another Hammam. I'll also get a full body massage too, instead of just a foot one, we just didn’t have time this time around.

The botanical gardens
I reluctantly went here but then ended up thoroughly enjoying it. There were so many beautiful plants, ponds and palm trees. The traditional buildings inside made me love Moroccan architecture so much more than I already did. It was so nice to just wander through with just the sound of the birds singing and nice to take a pew and take in the beautiful fresh air. When I eventually decide to settle somewhere; I would love to design my garden around this place, with water features and a mixture of tall trees, pretty flowers and beautiful plants. I shall make me a jungle in the back garden!

The Riad
I stayed in the ‘Riad L'Orchidee and it was wonderful. The manager was so warm and welcoming. She helped plan trips and order food and she was so friendly while doing so. The Riad itself is situated right next to the souks so I feel I really got the true Moroccan experience this time. They were so accommodating and chilled at this Riad – they made vegan delicious vegan food every morning especially and ensured we were always happy. It had such a chilled vibe and I loved chilling out in all of their living spaces and whistling along with the birds on their roof terrace. I would definitely recommend this place!

The food and drink

Wowzies. I have always said that Moroccan food is one of my favourites and it’s probably why I was so eager to get back there. They really know how to use their herbs and spices. Their tagines, couscous dishes and salads are exceptional everywhere you go. They make wonderful mocktails, fresh juices and mint tea in all of the restaurants and cafes too. All the produce in Morocco is fresh and sun kissed which makes their dishes even more beautiful. A bit like the fruit and vegetables in Spain or Portugal. I am actually getting so hungry writing about this, it’s a far cry from where I am now (in the middle of the Alps in Austria). I miss the tagines, the wonderful smells and the friendly staff that enthusiastically serve the food.

I really do love Morocco, it is the perfect place to kick back and relax. I see myself spending a longer period of time here in the future and exploring more of what the country has to offer! I'd especially like to see Chefchaouen (the blue city) at some point. I love the people, the food, the sunshine, the nature, the beauty products and the interior design in Morocco and considering I've only been there twice, it has had such a profound affect on my tastes.

I hope you love Morocco as much as I do if you should find yourself there!

Peace out Potatoes xo



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Thursday, 13 April 2017

7 POSITIVE THINGS TO START DOING EVERY DAY!

  1. Drink 2L of water
I don't drink nearly enough water anymore and I really need to pick it up. I used to always ensure I drank water because I had bad skin as a teenager but since that cleared up, I have become a lot lazier with it. In my defence it is because I don't live in a very hot country and having to undress to go to the loo is cold and therefore more dangerous than being a little dehydrated to me, haha. Also, I don't like that I don't know truly what's in our water supply, I've read about the chemicals in it and the idea that it travels so far through our sewage system and all of those pipes just creeps me out no end. I really need to go back to buying 5L bottled flouride-free water every few days and drinking it that way! I love drinking the adequate amount of water every day, I really notice the improvement in my skin, hair, nails and body!

2. Brush your dogs (or cats) teeth
Riley doesn't particularly enjoy having his teeth cleaned but afterwards he does really appreciate it, and so do I because his breath no longer pongs! If your dog has problems with their teeth too, then I would suggest you do the same. Riley had to have his teeth taken out a while back and I would hate for that to happen again, bless him. When I go away, other people will have to take control on this, but while I am here I want to do it for him every day for the rest of his beautiful doggy years. I suppose this one could also be put as: 'do nice things for those that you care about'. 

3. Oil pull
I oil pull every few days at the moment but I want to make it a daily occurrence. Oil pulling is an ancient ritual I read about years ago. You can use any oil you like - I prefer the coconut kind, and you swish it in your mouth for 20 minutes on an empty stomach. It is said to pull out the toxins in your body, improve your oral hygiene and whiten your teeth. I love how my teeth feel afterwards. If you do try oil pulling though; one thing to remember is that you must not swallow the oil as it contains toxins - so spit it out! 

4. Exercise for at least 20 minutes
In an ideal world, everyone would do an hours exercise per day and love doing it, but for various reasons, people don't. Someone once said to me, 'but if you can't do an hour, could you do fifteen minutes a day instead?' about learning Spanish and it's a good approach to have because it makes it seem like less of a challenge to overcome and means you keep it consistent, so I am going to do twenty minutes of exercise per day from now on. Monday shall be legs, Tuesday I'll focus on arms, Wednesday on my bottom, Thursday I'll focus on my abs and Friday I'll work on my back and shoulders. PLAN! 

5. Have a juice and/or a smoothie
I have decided that wherever I go, I am going to take my blender with me. I need those nutrients in my body and as soon as I don't have a blender or juicer to hand I feel as though I am going to go insane. I love carrot, lemon and ginger juice best at the moment and I want to have at least one a day because when I was doing this at the beginning of veganism - I looked and felt fantastic!

 6. Meditate for at least five minutes
In all three of my professions (I am an interpreter, language tutor and trainee English teacher) I have been taught to be mindful. Mindful of my work, mindful of how my patients or students are being received and receiving me and mindful of my own behaviours in order to deliver these services to others efficiently and effectively. Try to sit down for at least five minutes and just focus on that feeling of pure love, ignore every other thought that comes in while you stare at a chosen point and focus on your breathing. I've really noticed how much this has helped me recently when I've been around others that get stressed other small things quite regularly. It's probably also because I've also cut out stress contributors that others may not have yet

 7. Say a mantra. I like "I am happy, healthy and wealthy."
I am going to say a positive mantra to myself every morning and/or every night. Maybe I’ll even have two mantras per day, one in the morning and one in the night. Who knows? All I know is; positive self-talk is never, ever a negative thing and I am only certain telling yourself such positive things on a daily basis will have a wonderful outcome. I think it’s scary that the words our parents used to speak to us as children are now our inner voices, but once we realise that as an adult – we can fix that! 

What things do you think you should take up doing every day? 

Peace out potatoes! xox
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Tuesday, 4 April 2017

11 REASONS TO TRAVEL SOLO



1. It's your way or the highway 
When you travel alone you can do what you want, when you want, how you want, why you want, with who you want. wherever and wherever you want - and it's total bliss. Although travelling with a companion can be a lot of fun, it's great that you don't have to accommodate for anyone else's needs. You can have a whole itinerary planned around what you would like to do, which mean you get exactly what you want out of a trip. Sometimes on a trip with someone else, you have to do things you wouldn't want to do given the choice, so on solo trips, it's nice to cut these out and spend your energy, money and time on the things you like doing. 
 
2. The only thing you have to carry is your case.  
When I go to a Spanish speaking country, I tend to have to interpret for everyone and speak for everyone when we go to public places. When I go with someone who isn't as chatty as I am, I end up having to ask all the questions and make all the effort with fellow travellers. When I go away with someone who doesn't travel often, I end up having to explain everything to them and sort out all of their bits and bobs. When I travel with someone who isn't as outgoing as I am or who is nervous, I end up having to hold back in order to make them more comfortable. In short, when you travel alone - you don't have to carry anyone else and you can just focus on yourself and your objectives.  
 
3. You can befriend your kind of people  
I have been on trips in the past where my friends have befriended that creepy guy at the bar that you can't get rid of, who I wouldn't have associated myself with personally. I'm sure I have made friends in the past that my friends wouldn't have befriended themselves too, and it can be rather tedious sitting there listening to drivel in order to be polite to your travel peers. That's the beauty of solo-travel - you get to be friends with exactly who you wish to spend your time with so the friendships you make will be far more meaningful, and true.  
 
4. You can wake up when you want 
In Iceland, I woke up at 5 am, every day because, I wanted to be ready for the day and the adventures the day had to offer, but I know if I was travelling with a travel buddy, they wouldn't have appreciated this one iota. I had to wait for someone all day to wake up in Barcelona once and it ruined the whole trip because I didn't want to venture too far in case they changed their mind. It works both ways too though because in other places I have wanted a lie in because, I'm not that fussed about being outside in cold countries and the person I was with didn't want to sleep in, and so woke me up. I like going by my own times and body clock so travelling alone is perfect for that.  
 
5. You literally don't have to do ANYTHING you don't want to 
I'm not sure if this is basically repeating point 1, but you really don't have to do anything you don't want to on a solo trip - No going outside for cigarettes with people that smoke, no being dragged around art galleries if that's not your thing, no going to parties you've been pressured into - literally no one is going to tell you what to do or even try and persuade you into doing something that you don't want to. 
 
6. You'll learn and grow 
You will learn so much about yourself on solo travels, I have learned some of my most profound lessons through travel, books, and dreams and anything that gifts you with lessons is worthwhile. You'll learn a lot about yourself; about your strengths and weaknesses, about how fabulous you are, how you strong and independent you are, whether or not the life you are leading aligns with who you are, and maybe you'll even learn that you love travelling alone so much that it's something you need to do far more often.  
 
7. You'll become your own best friend  
Travelling alone (and being alone in general) makes you realise just how much you like yourself. You'll think and make jokes that are fitted exactly to your sense of humour, you'll think about things that your brain is craving to think about and you will respect and appreciate yourself for looking after and navigating you exactly how you desire to do so, and in turn you'll become reliant on number one, and number one only. Being reliant on yourself is one of the most powerful powers you could possess - no one can fuck with you because you don't need them. No one can fuck with you because you don't have time to sit around and blame them or question their actions. You're too absorbed in doing what you're here to do - and that's being you!  
 
8. Food Choices, Baby! 
When I travel, I love visiting new vegan places. I think if I am going to eat out anyway, I may as well take my money to a good cause and put it towards something that aligns with my own personal beliefs. It's in these places I usually pick up new recipes and ideas for things I want to recreate and I'm always blown away by interesting and new ideas in these places. Whether you're vegan, veggie or a stuff it all in kind of a person - it is unlikely your travel companion is going to want to eat the same thing as you all of the time, but with solo travel, you cut that problem out, you can eat whatever you want, wherever you want and it is b-e-a-utiful.  
 
9. You'll save money 
I don't know if I'm just a mug or it's the people I've chosen to travel with, but I am ALWAYS that person who everyone says 'Can you put it on your card and I'll transfer you the money?' or 'Can you get this and I'll get the next one?' and I actually learned from travelling alone that this will occur NO MORE. Money that gets transferred back is always a little shorter, which all adds up, the interest is always charged to me and more often than not people 'forget' to return the favour or give you the money. I have seriously had enough of this and it excites me that in future solo travels I will only have to cover my own ass. I also find I spend more on other trips because I have to go on additional excursions to please others that I wouldn't usually do, as I touched on earlier. Also, if you're someone who eats or drinks less than someone else, you'll save money alone too as you won't be dragged to the extra places.  
 
10. You'll make memories with the most important person in your life - you. 
Break-ups, distance and death can take the people with the memories away from you, but no one can take these memories from you. They're all yours, to be remembered exactly how you have percieved them with no one elses two sense to warp it. It's an amazing thing to build memories alone as those memories are uniquely yours and as you aren't with anyone to influence them - they won't change. Like with any relationship, memory making is a key part of the bonding process - and what better than a beautiful relationship with yourself.  
 
11. You'll feel a true sense of freedom. 
I've been in the possessive relationships, I've had the situations that I cannot control that trap you and I have had to stick to a lifestyle I didn't love out of loyalty. I don't need that shit anymore and neither do you. Freedom is our greatest gift, our birth right and without it, you can never, ever truly be happy,, because happiness is a choice. There is no better feeling than that of complete freedom and you can really feel it when you're wandering around a foreign country without a care in the world... 
 
Peace out Potatoes xo
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