Monday, April 23, 2018

4 Travel Tips to Save Your Skin When Flying

Travelling by air is not your skins best friend. I normally only fly for max. two hours to London or Barcelona, but when I flew to New York in January that suddenly changed to a 9 hour flight. Now 9 hours of dry air sucks all the moisture out of your skin, even for a combination/oily gal like me. So I came up with these 4 tips to give your skin a bit of a pick me up before, during and after your flight. 

Use a hydrating face mask
Preferably before, during and after your flight. I love the Kiehl's Calendula & Aloe Soothing Hydration Mask, but the Origins Drink Up masks are also really good. Personally I only use these mask when flying, because as I said before, my skin is not on the dry side. I mostly use a hydrating mask before and after, because I simply not feel comfortable to sit barefaced next to people I don't know with a face mask on. If my skin was not suffering from acne, scarring and redness I would probably not care, so do whatever floats your boat.

Drink A LOT of water.
I know this is kind of a no brainer, but really drink a lot of water. Even when I fly with a more expensive airline and they provide me with food and drinks I always bring a 1 litre bottle of water with me. Just take an empty bottle through security and refill it after. Even though this means you are going to be that annoying person that needs to pee twice an hour. Your skin will thank you for it.

Bring hand cream on board
This is a thing that I forgot, but oh how I wished that I had some hand cream with me. We kind of think about our face, but let's not forget the hands and the rest of the body. I wash my hands quite a lot when I'm flying and although it gets rid of that sweaty feeling it also makes them even drier. Bring a hand cream that is nicely scented -you know to not disturb the neighbours with a weird herbal smell- and your hands will feel so soft and nice.

Artificial tears are your best friend
A bit off topic since technically eyes are not your skin, but if I had known this on my flight to NYC I would have been so much happier. I don't know about you but I'm feeling 22 but my eyes get super dry when I'm flying. Especially when you are not really sleeping and looking at a book or tv screen for 8 hours straight. In New York I popped into CVS and bought some eye drops and they made my return flight to Amsterdam so much more pleasant. Every time my eyes started to feel a bit dry I just popped in some artificial tears and it's honestly the best 10 dollars I have ever spent.

Hope this will help you on your next journey. Your skin and body and eyes will thank you for it!

Do you have more skin tips for travelling?


Friday, April 20, 2018

My Trip to Barcelona April 2018

Oh Barcelona, the city that makes all my holiday dreams come true. I was lucky enough to visit this wonderful place last October and it totally resparked my love for it. The buildings, the palm trees, the beach and the city life; it's no wonder that Ed Sheeran wrote a song about it.
This time around I booked a spontaneous trip to Barcelona all by myself for my birthday. I did it for a couple of reasons that I'm not going to bore you with, but save to say is that I'm happy that I decided to make the day special for me besides all the crazy stuff that is going on in my life at the moment.



Day 1 -  12 April 2018
I was up bright and early for my 8AM flight. This way I make most out of the three days that I’m there. I flew with KLM and they showed once and for all that they are my favourite airline. Halfway through the flight after the sandwiches and drinks, an air hostess came up to me as I was watching Friends to wish me a happy birthday and she gave me a little present with a hand written card, some smoked almonds, stroopwafels and a small bottle of cava. Then all the other flight attendants came up to congratulate me on my birthday and have a chat about what I was going to do in Barcelona. It really gave me those birthday feelings from when I was little. I feel as you grow older your birthday isn't that special anymore. It's just a day, so I was very surprised by their kind gestures during the flight.
When we touched down in Barcelona I immediately put on my summer dress in the tiny toilet cubicle -as you do- and hopped on a bus to the city. I'm just going to forget the fact that the locals were wearing woolly coats and Ugg boots and I was there in my floaty dress and Birkenstocks. After checking in at my hostel -first time sleeping in a shared room by myself. More on that later- I walked to Alsur Café, a cool café that I couldn't visit on my last trip. They have lots of locations around the city and their menu is to die for. Lots of options, both sweet and savoury, and I ended up with an iced tea and some Oreo waffles. Both were delish, a bit too sweet though, but I will definitely come back here on my next trip. My journey then took my all the way down Las Ramblas to the beach. I sat there for a bit soaking up the warm sun on my pale skin before dark clouds came out of nowhere and were covering up the heat. Just before that happened I thought it would be best to gtfo -sorry for the phrase, I have been watching too much Dan & Phil- and walked back to my hostel as I was pretty tired from the lack of sleep I got the night before.
I stayed at Generator Hostel, which I have stayed at before both in Barcelona and Stockholm. Only then it was in a private room with a friend and now I stayed in a girls dormitory with 5 other people. I have to say it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and I will definitely stay at a hostel if I'm travelling by myself. I surprisingly slept the whole night without waking up, even though girls were leaving at 4AM, and everyone is very chill. If you want to be social you can and if you just want to be left alone with your Netflix that's fine too.




Day 2 - 13 April 2018
After waking up I walked to Brunch & Cake. Now you might remember this as the most amazing brunch place as I ate at their location by the sea before and it's still incredible. I got there just in time before all the crowds and as I left there was this huge queue of people waiting to get a table. I went for the Nutella pancakes, a black Paleo peanut butter latte and a carrot ginger juice. The ''pancakes'' were basically two brownies with cookie dough in between -not complaining here- and were super yummy. I ordered the latte because it sounded interesting on the menu and it was honestly one of the worst drinks I have ever had. It was salty oat milk and I do not recommend it. Luckily I had a juice to wash the salty taste away.
Since the weather was crap -not going to make it prettier than it was- I went shopping. Stores like Zara and Bershka are cheaper in Spain and I was all ready to go on a crazy shopping spree. I ended up at Oysho first, a store that is from the same chain as Zara and Bershka but is not available in the Netherlands. They mainly sell lingerie, sleep wear, sport outfits, perfumes with an amazing scent and as the summer season is approaching: swim wear! I immediately found three dresses that I absolutely loved: two maxi dresses and one mini smock dress. Since it was the first store I only allowed myself to buy one dress, so I said goodbye to the other two and hopped on to Zara, Bershka, Stradivarius, Pull & Bear, Mango, H&M and Sephora at which I couldn't find anything. This resulted in me going back to Oysho, spending an hour in their fitting room and ending up buying the other two that I loved so much. I also had a quick juice break in H&M as they have a Flax & Kale pop-up on the top floor. And you all know how much I love Flax & Kale. As it was almost the end of the day I bought some sushi, a spinach pastry and donuts at the supermarket #fitgirl and walked back to my hostel where I ended up stuffing my face with it whilst watching Notting Hill and falling in love with Hugh Grant.



 Day 3 - 14 April 2018
Sadly the last day of my trip. I ate some healthy vegan pancakes at Flax & Kale whilst sipping my chai latte and then walked through El Born to Parc de la Ciutadella. It's a beautiful park with the most amazing statue of all time. It was pissing down with rain, so I bet that on a sunny day it's even more breathe taking, but the weather was just not with me on this trip. You can change a lot of things and sadly the weather is not one of them. My umbrella and I then took some photos at Sagrada Familia. It's one of those things that you need to visit when you are in Barcelona. No matter how many times I have seen it I go back every single trip. At this time the weather was at a low point and I simply didn't know what else to do. Do you have that as well sometimes when you are travelling and you don't know what to do? You have to go to the airport too, so you have limited time and I always end up drinking tea in a café till I have to leave, so my last day in Barcelona was no different. I ate a sandwich at 365 walked to the Flax & Kale pop-up for a chai drink and vegan cookie and then decided to spend my leftover time at the airport. Where after a couple of hours an airplane brought me back to Amsterdam and my bed. Because even though I love travelling: nothing beats your own fluffy pillows and mattress.

Barcelona will always have a special place in my heart. It's one of my happy places since it's always sunny -okay not always-, it's right near the beach, the architecture is amazing and the city vibe just screams holiday to me. I don't think I will visit Barcelona again this year, but never say never!

Check out my Insta Stories 'B C N' for more pics of my trip!

What is your favourite city in the world?


Wednesday, April 11, 2018

My Trip to Stockholm

Back with another travel post today! Last week it was time for another trip of mine and its destination was Stockholm! You probably already guessed that by the title, but I just like to say it one more time in case you didn’t! About a year ago I went to Copenhagen and also visited Lund and Malmö in Sweden for two days. I loved my time there a lot, so I decided to go back. I am planning on making a full on Stockholm guide, but before I do that I wanted to share my personal travel story as I do with all my city trips, like New York City, London and Barcelona.

Day 1
I am not a morning person and yet I always book the earliest flight possible. I feel that this way you get the most out of the time you spend at your new destination. So there my friend Denise and I went, boarding at 6:20AM at Amsterdam Airport. The flight was very smooth and I basically watched Friends the whole way through. Once we arrived in Stockholm we took the train to the city centre and from there walked to our new home for the next couple of days: Generator Hostel. I also stayed with them when I was in Barcelona last October and really enjoyed it. Both times I had a private room, but next week I will stay in one of their shared rooms, so I will keep you updated on my experience.
After dropping our luggage and testing the bed -it was sooo GOOD- we went for a proper brekkie at STHLM Brunch Club. We found this spot on Instagram and although it was really nice I don't think it was worth the hype. I had the bacon & maple pancakes and a carrot ginger juice, which were good but not as good as the spot that we visited the next day. When we left there was a huge queue outside too, and although I have queued up for many places I don't think this café is worth it to wait for 30 minutes to grab a bite to eat. 
After the delicious pancakes -not saying that they weren't extremely yummy- we walked our way through Norrmalm and did a bit of damage in the shops. I picked up this amazing rainbow striped jumper at Monki and popped into Lagerhaus for some home goods. We ended the day with a McVegan burger and fries from McDonalds. I normally hate it when you go to a different country and eat at the same old fast food chains that you have back home, but since the McVegan is only available in Finland and Sweden we had to try it out. I love that McDonalds is picking up these trends and the burger was good too -not as good as Vegan Junk Food Bar in Amsterdam, but still for a Mc burger it was good!-.

Day 2
We were up bright and early -kinda- and went for some brunch at my soon to be favourite café in Stockholm: Greasy Spoon. They have two locations but we visited the one in Vasastaden. The café was very spacious and modern and it had some Metropolitain vibes. I ordered a turmeric latte and the berry & pistachio pancakes -not surprising really- and they will definitely be in the top 3 of best pancakes I have ever eaten. We stayed there for a bit, chatted as we ate all the yummy goodness and walked all the way down to Gamla Stan and Södermalm, two different islands. Gamla Stan is the old part of Stockholm and the part that you'll recognize from all the photos. The yellow houses that you spot everywhere give the city so much character and it's definitely my favourite part of the city, despite it being touristy. 

Södermalm is the neighbourhood with all the cool independent shops and hip cafés. I'm going to be honest here and say that I have not seen much. Rain fell down from the sky like there had been a drought for 4 years and I was basically looking at my feet the entire time to see if I didn't step in a big puddle of water. To hide from the storm that was happening outside we popped into Pom & Flora, another Insta famous café. I went for another turmeric latte and order an acai bowl. Should have picked something warmer considering the cold outside, but hey, at least it was healthy and yummy. Luckily the rain slowly went away and we popped into a few independent shops along the way. For dinner we chose to go to Lily's Burger, a cute American diner style café. I had a cheese & bacon burger with fries and a Nutella & banana milkshake. The milkshake was the best thing I have ever tasted in my life. Nutella and banana is just the best combo in the world! We then walked all the way back, had a chai latte/coffee break at Espresso House and chilled back at the hotel.

Day 3
Not much happened to today. For breakfast we went to Kaffeverket, a café that was recommended to us by a colleague and Instagram. We had a chia bowl and some avocado toast -I had another turmeric latte- and it was pretty tasty. We had another walk around the neighbourhood and had a tea and cinnamon bun break at Sophies Canelé. I love cinnamon buns and this one was really good. You could taste that it was not one of those store bought ones you know, and the large amount of butter probably helped too haha.
We then walked back to the hotel to get our swim suits, because we were going to the spa! It's actually a very Swedish thing to do and you can find many of them in the city. We went to Centralbadet, which you can find in Norrmalm. It has been open since 1904 and the entire spa has that old art deco vibe. You also get a student discount, so don't forget your card! We basically hopped from sauna to steam room to swimming pool to sauna to another pool and back to the steam room. We spent about 3,5 hours there before our hands started to get all wrinkly; when that happens you know it's time to go. From Centralbadet we walked to a huge Hemköp a couple of streets away. Foreign supermarkets are the bomb dot com for me. I could spent hours looking at all the different foods and picking up a few of my favourite things. In the end I chose cinnamon buns, some chocolate and salt & vinegar crisps -my fave from the UK-. We went for, yes, another burger, but this time at Max, the Swedish version of McDonalds. They have lots of vegan and veggie options too and I do prefer it to McDonalds. We indulged in that and again chilled back at the hotel.

Day 4
On our last day we walked back to Greasy Spoon for some delicious pancakes. Again I had the berry & pistachio ones; I'm going to miss those fluffy things so much! The weather was dreadful today as well, so we had another wonder around Gamla Stan and quickly walked inside at Chokladkoppen. It's located on the famous Stortorget square and serves amazing hot chocolate and kladdkaka -aka chocolate cake-. When you walk inside there is hardly any lighting and the chairs are made for dwarfs I tell ya, but the drinks and chocolate cake were good, so I was in a chocolaty coma after that. Because the weather was very miserable we didn't know what else to do so we hopped from Joe & the Juice to Espresso House and went on the train back to the airport with my last chai latte from Espresso House, which I'm going to miss so much. Please make you way across the pond Espresso House. I need you!

And that was my trip to Stockholm! The weather could have been better, but as long as you bring an umbrella you should be fine. Although I did like the city I don't know if I'll go back soon. London and New York have that kind of homely vibe to me. The kind of vibe where I see myself living there and Stockholm didn't do that for me. Hopefully I can go back in a couple of years around the summer time, because I think that's when the city lights up and the people will be a lot friendlier too.

Have you ever been to Stockholm?


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