Cloud Cakes (Paris, France).

With my 26th birthday just around the corner, I found myself reminiscing about how my last birthday morning started last year. This post has been a long time coming but I wanted to share it with you regardless 🙂

My boyfriend and I travelled to Paris last September to not only celebrate our love but also my birthday (two great cheesy excuses to travel, right? haha)! Anyways, as the morning person who lives for breakfasts that I am, one of my birthday wishes was to start my day with a big and special one! That was exactly what happened and I loved every second (as well as every bite of it). I think that my boyfriend knows pretty well by now that all he needs to do to own my heart is to feed me a nice and yummy breakfast haha!

We went to Cloud Cakes, a dainty vegan bakery and coffee shop in the centre of Paris that I had looked up on Happy Cow* (see notes at the end of the post) prior to our trip. After reading the positive reviews, seeing some photos of the food and realising that they had VEGAN CROISSANTS, I knew for a fact that this was the place to go for my birthday breakfast! I am so glad we went there because it did not disappoint in the slightest!

If the menu looks very appealing, I can be someone pretty undecided when it comes to making my mind up about what to eat. For that reason, whenever I go to a food spot for breakfast/brunch, I usually like to order at least two items from the menu and share them. This way I get to experience a variety of tastes and trying something to eat that is “new” and/or “unknown” does not look like a major commitment!

Food

Whilst deciding on what to eat, we ordered two soya cappuccinos. They were excellent and the fact that the latte art was on point immediately felt like a win. Anyways, after some considerable thought, we ordered the “sweet morning toast” with peanut butter and jam, the pancakes with whipped cream, fruits, sliced almonds and maple syrup (on a side) and of course…a croissant! I mean I just could not possibly go to Paris and not eat a freshly baked croissant, could I?

Even though the two pancakes came beautifully presented and tasted good, my boyfriend ended up by eating them because I they were a bit too sweet for my liking. I would also like them to be a little bit thicker but the texture really is down to personal preference.

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However, I did love the delicious combo of P&J on toast. The two toasts came with poppy seeds and fresh blueberries on top which I dount to be a real great twist. I was also quite impressed with how crazy-good the vegan croissant was! Totally on point (taste- and texture-wise)!! It totally exceeded my expectations so you can trust me when I say that these vegan croissants are an absolutely must. I though I’d never find one of those!

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“When you feed yourself what your body needs when it needs it, that’s love”.

The cafe also outlets a good variety of vegan cakes and cupcakes and it has you covered whether you want to go for something decadent or healthy! We will certainly have to come back to try them.

Staff, service and overall atmosphere

Even though the place was not full at all, we had to wait quite a bit to be served but we did not mind too much because it just meant that the pancakes were freshly made! The server spoke English and was friendly enough. Nevertheless, we did not find her to be super accommodating. She did not come to check on us once we were served nor did she ask how did we like the food when we paid for it. It is not something outrageous but, as I have mentioned in some other posts, a café/restaurant always scores extra for me when the service is excellent and the staff friendly and attentive.

When it comes to the cafe’s overall atmosphere and space, I loved how cozy and pretty it was. The attention to detail was pretty visible. However, I would advise to go in early-ish for breakfast because it is also small and it does not have plenty of seating. I think we were quite lucky with the time and day we went there (Thursday at 10am) because there were only 4 other customers in the cafe. Thus, just bear in mind that if you go later (and especially in the weekend) in the morning/day you may not get a seat.

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This 10 am breakfast was the proper fuel we needed to face the full day of exploration ahead. It was so filling that, believe it or not, I could not literally eat anything else until dinner time! Now just to wrap up my final thoughts and to hopefully convince you to come to this vegan cafe:

  • The menu has a really great and tempting variety of sweet and savoury options. Because everything is plant-based there is no need to worry with the ingredients that they contain 😉
  • The café’s atmosphere is really inviting and the entire place looks cozy and adorable
  • The location is in a central and lovely neighbourhood to roam around
  • 100% vegan food spots are not overly common in Paris and that is a reason in itself why Cloud Cakes is quite a gem!
Notes:
*Happy Cow is an online website and mobile app that serves as guide to vegetarian and vegan restaurants all across the world.

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

 

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LUI (Groningen, The Netherlands)

Last Sunday I caught a train to Groningen, which, for those who do know, is a city pretty much in the very North of Holland. This was the Dutch city where I did my Master’s Degree and where I spent what was one of the best times of my life. *Fun fact about it: “61% of all trips into the city are made by bike” (thus, calling it a “bicycle-friendly city” is quite an understatement haha)

I went to Groningen to visit and catch up with a good friend of mine, who is still living there. It was great to spend some quality time with her. It was a lovely sunny day, which made it easier to notice how dazzling tulips and daffodils were starting to bloom everywhere.

Roaming the same streets that I used to bike on every day just over two years ago left me feeling a little bit nostalgic. It brought me so many memories back. Though I must say that experiencing the bittersweet feeling of nostalgia about this time of my life does not necessarily mean that I would want to bring it back if I was given the chance to. To feel a longing for times gone by is a natural human emotion. I am a firm believer that things happen at the right time. Life is constantly changing and it has its own seasons. So, all we can do is to recognise that there is a season for everything.. and with that in mind, we can choose to cherish and treasure those beautiful memories. That is how we keep them alive. ♥

Anyway, sorry for digressing. Back to the main point of this post: a review of the cafe I got to visit last Sunday!

Because nothing beats a great catch up over a great cup of coffee, my friend and I decided to go to a cafe in town that apparently has only opened November of last year. It is called “lui”, which in Dutch means “lazy” (hence why the sloth in the big front window).

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The cafe is not hard to find as it conveniently located in the city centre. It is fairly small but because it has a big window that lets the natural light come in, I’d say that it is the perfect definition of “coziness”. There are even a few pairs of fluflly slippers right at the entrance of the door in case you want to put them one and get that true warm fuzzy feeling. Another curiosity about things they have available for customers are board games! It is quite a typical thing at Dutch cafes because this is an activity the Dutchies love doing when the sun refuses to make an appearance.

The cafe is just gorgeous inside and emanates a feeling of spring due to being full of plants. Actually, since you seem to be able to buy some of the plants in pots, it is almost like a plant shop in simultaneous. Totally love the concept and I can see why this cafe is one of my friend’s favourite.

We got there at around 3pm and I think we were very lucky to get a table. The people sitting at it were just about to leave when we arrived. What a win guys, what a win.

We ordered two oat cappuccinos (almond milk is also available), which despite being very tasty, lacked some cute latte art. However, the fact that the ratio of espresso/milk/foam was absolutely nailed made up for it. My friend advised me to get one of their homemade sweet treats claiming that they were absolutely scrumptious. Guess what? She was darn right. I got myself a slice of their raw berry cake and, boy was it good.

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I was just so nutty, fresh, creamy and coconutey. It was perfectly sweetened with natural sugars and so darn YUMMY. If you are an avid reader of my blog, you would know by now how I love raw desserts. This one surely did not disappoint. My friend had a slice of their mocha cake, which she also loved. It had a white frosting with big chocolate chunks on top. Sorry for not having a picture of it but…I guess I was way to busy with eating mine? Oops.

I was so positively surprised to hear that all their four available homemade sweet treats were vegan *what an happy me jumping for joy*. The mocha cake is the only one I would most likely happily skip because its texture and look were more like cake. As I have said earlier, I am not a big sweet tooth and if I am craving something sweet, I would hardly go for fluffy, spongy cakes with cream or icing. Anyway, the other two cakes available (carrot cake and a more traditionally looking cheesecake) were more to my taste. The carrot cake looked super moist and nutty, just how I would like it to be. Though, I would also be very eager to try the more traditionally looking cheesecake. Now that I actually come to think of it, I haven’t had a cheesecake that is not the typically vegan raw one since I stopped consuming dairy… Well, I guess that I will have to change that soon. I am sure I will  be coming back here again given the fact that I have two very “sweet” good reasons for it haha.

Even though the price for the oat cappuccino was quite ok (2,75€), the sweet treat I ordered was not particularly cheap (4€). However, that is a price I am happily willing to pay given how pretty the cafe itself is and the quality of the food/drinks served. Plus, the staff was also very welcoming and friendly with us.

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Overall, I would hand-on-heart say that Lui is worth a visit, whether you come with friends or on your own. In my opinion, it is just the perfect place to spend some quality time catching up with friends, reading a good book or even journaling whilst sipping a good cup of coffee. Plus, in you case you are in for something sweet or savoury, you can rest assured that you will have a good variety of vegetarian and vegan choices to choose from. I am going to certainly come back here when I happen to be in the city again! 🙂

I hope you have enjoyed this post and I appreciate you taking the time to read it. Wish you all a lovely week ahead xx

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

what if writing hotspot reviews is the answer I need to overcome what I am going through? What if I use to challenge myself more? Because I want to expand this section in my blog, I go try more places, I go try different foods, I challenge myself and I don’t even notice.. (what makes me tick the most, the posts where I feel like my writing just flows)

Veggie Raw Vegan Bistro (Budapest, Hungary)

I flew to Budapest at the end of last year to meet my best friend, who is currently living in Germany. When we were University students and flatmates living in Lisbon we used to say “once we start making money, we will travel together to all the places we have dreamed of and it will be just epic”. Now that the time has come, I am so happy to see that we are actually making happen what we our younger selves once promised. This was our first time in Hungary and our very first trip abroad together and it could not have been more amazing or memorable really. It exceeded both our expectations. ♥

Even though my bestie eats everything and does not have any special dietary requirements like I do, she is also a huge foodie who is always keen on trying new foods! I really admire her love for food in general. She is great cook who loves to experiment in the kitchen, which I find to be quite inspiring. I showed her the list of cafes and restaurants that I wanted to visited and that I compiled prior to our trip. Gathering a list of cafes and food spots that seem to be unique/characteristic in the way they look or in the vegetarian/vegan food they serve is something I always do before traveling! 🙂  It was a real joy to see that she was as excited as I was to go to all the spots I have looked up.. and as a result, we got to eat so much good food in amazing looking places!

After a long walk by the Danilo in the freezing cold, we were ready for a sweet treat and a hot beverage to warm us up. Hence, we decided to stop by the cafe “Veggie Raw Vegan Bistro” before heading to the thermal baths. This cafe was in my list due to its mouth-drooling raw sweet treats and that whole idea seemed just perfect since we were way too cold and in much need of a break from all the walking. As I have mentioned before here, raw vegan cheesecakes are my kind of dessert. They are usually very rich in flavour, creamy and not too sweet. They are also normally made mainly with real and simple ingredients, like nuts and fruits, which I absolutely love.

 

My friend ordered a cappuccino with coconut milk and I ordered a hibiscus tea that came in a big cuppa! It fell like a huge hug coming from a cup. We also ordered these two slices of vegan raw cheesecake (gluten free and only naturally sweetened) to share. And yes, they were as good as they look. * win win *

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If I remember well, these were flavours of the cheesecakes we ordered: Dried apricot and Chocolate & Pomegranate and Raspberry cheesecake.

There was a wide variety of them, which just made it harder to decide which ones to get. Anyhoo, we were both very happy and satisfied with our choices. They were not only aesthetic pleasing but also pretty sinful.

About the cafe and service offered

I found the cafe to be slightly overpriced (certainly more expensive than most places in Budapest) and perhaps a little bit overhyped too. It is a small cute cafe with tasty vegan sweet treats but it seems like it is just lacking in soul. It is not exactly the food spot that I would describe as cozy or inviting.  The entire atmosphere is a bit “meh” and the fact that there is not a real coffee espresso machine, makes it all seem a bit amateurish. Also, the staff did not come across as being very welcoming, friendly or even passionate about her work. This was, in all honesty, a bit disappointing to experience. I mean, do not get me wrong, we still enjoyed to come here due to the delicious sweet treats and hot beverages we had. They hit the spot and were just what we needed but I feel like this would not be a honest review if I did not mention the less positive sides of the service.

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All in all, I think that the place is just not being explored to its full potential. It is a real shame because the food concept is attractive (i.e. all 100% plant-based, raw and gluten free food ) and the menu offers a good variety of healthy and nourishing savoury dishes and sweet treats. Plus, it is in a fairly central and popular area (near the Parliament).

From what I have looked up online,Veggie Raw Vegan Bistro was actually the first 100% raw vegan restaurant opening in Hungary. I am glad I had the chance to visit it and I have now formed an opinion by having experienced it first-hand. I’d still recommend this place in to any person who happens to be in Budapest and is curious about raw vegan food and/or who is a cheesecake lover.

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Juice by Nature (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)

It was a lovely Saturday afternoon and I was feeling like trying a new place in Amsterdam to have a good cappuccino and perhaps a sweet treat. I had already looked up Juice by Nature on Happy Cow and since it had lots of vegan options and it was conveniently located in the city centre, I decided to give it a go. I loved the place as soon as walked into it. This hidden gem is now on my top favourite food spots in Amsterdam! This is not only because of all the amazing vegan food served but also because of  how lovely and clean the place looks inside and of how helpful and friendly the employees are. They will most likely greet you kindly as soon as you enter and you can ask them whatever you want to know about the food options served (what ingredients were used, how they were prepared, etc..). They will happily help you on that. The entire menu is VEGAN and has such a wide variety of options; from breakfast stuff, colourful salad bowls, soups and sandwiches to refined sugar free sweet treats that are allergen-friendly and appropriately labelled as being “gluten free”, “nuts free” and “lactose free”.

I ordered myself a slice of raw carrot ginger cake. Though I have come across with various “raw vegan carrot cake” recipes online, I had actually never eaten it before. I even had a friend sharing her recipe with me,  but oh well, I never got to it (shame on me, I know). Anyway, as soon as I saw that they had it, I was just like:”yup, that is it. you are getting right into my tummy!”. It was the only slice left and I am so glad I was the one having it because oh wow, it was so yummy!! When it comes to raw desserts, the ones that I am most familiar with are cheesecakes, bliss balls and the like. As I am not much of a cake person (especially when they too sugary, fluffy and with lots of cream on them), this raw carrot ginger cake looked very appealing to me. Aaaand guys, let me tell you, it was extremely delicious: moist, mildly spiced and with a subtle hint of ginger. The frosting was so dayum good and not too sweet. The cake is made of real and simple ingredients like carrot, red fruits, spices (ginger, cinnamon, etc..), maple syrup, dates and cashews. I was not very sure about the combo of carrot with red fruits but trust me, it works perfectly! I paired the slice of cake with a cappuccino with coconut milk, which disappointed me a little bit. I like a good frothy cappuccino and this one came served with no foam on top whatsoever…Anyway, it was still tasty.

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It is visible that the people managing this place put a lot of love, effort, quality and care into the service offered and space itself. As the photos below show, it is so pretty, clean and neat. I love its nature vibes!

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As a bonus, the people managing Juice by Nature also care about the environment and do not support the single use of plastic. Plastic free straws are available as well as 100% recyclable napkins. All their takeaway food come in biodegradable and recyclable packaging.

So, all in all, and just to wrap it up: delicious healthy and high-quality food, chilled and lovely atmosphere, environmentally-friendly place with simply cute decor, friendly and helpful staff and affordable prices. There is really not much to dislike, is there? Thus, if you happen to be in Amsterdam looking for a central and healthy food spot tucked away from the hassle and bustle of the city, then come here. I am pretty sure that you will be delighted with all the vegan food options offered as well as with the inviting, clean and chilled atmosphere.blog 1.jpg

(coolest toilet door ever – can I have it, please?)

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

My trip to Switzerland

I think that it goes without saying that when we “truly love Nature, we find beauty everywhere“. Just under two weeks ago, I went for a a family roadtrip around Switzerland and it was oh-so-lovely to get reunited with my parents and sis in a country where there’s so much natural beauty. Exploring new territories always gets me pretty stoked but, as the outdoorsy person that I am, I love to wandering off the beaten track. Being completely out in the Nature is just Paradise to me and let me tell you that the landscape of the Swiss Alps is as jaw-dropping as I had imagined. ♥

Since we rented a car, we got to visit aseveral places in Switzerland and it was great to see so much of the country in just 5 days! We went to Lausanne, Interlaken, Broc, Zurich and Geneva. Sadly, we did not get to see much of Lausanne because we just stayed a night there. We did get to properly explore Zürich and Geneva, two cosmopolitan cities by the water that result in a beautiful combination of urban life with nature. Even though there is a lot going for both cities (Arts, Sciences and Design-wise), it would have been a shame to travel to Switzerland only to visit them. The highlight of our trip was definitely wander around the splendid countryside. The beautiful image of cows grazing on the mountain prairies with the Alps as a backdrop is still stuck in my mind! Also, all the hiking lovers out there, please take note of this: Switzerland is like paradise on Earth! There are plenty of hiking trails that have stunning scenery all along the way and that will make you feel glad to be alive.

I thought I would share with you the things I loved the most about Switzerland (hoping I can convince those who haven’t had the chance of visiting it, to do it)!

  • Inhaling the fresh pure air from the Swiss Alps
  • Being surrounded by plenty of greenery untouched by man
  • Breathtaking landscapes over Swiss mountains
  • The beyond beautiful crystal clear lakes that are just awe-evoking
  • The spectacular scenic roads
  • Cows roaming freely in the beautiful alpine landscape 
  • The pituresque wooden chalets
  • The delicious high-quality Swiss chocolate that is so worth indulging in
  • Hiking trails that take you through breathtaking views

Because Switzerland is world famous for its chocolate, in our third day there we decided to visit the Cailler Chocolate factory. I’d totally recommend it to anyone who loves chocolate and wants to learn more about it. The tour is very interactive and lasts for about 1 – 1.5 hours. It takes you on a very interesting, insightful and literally delicious journey through the history of Cailler, which for those of you who do not know, is the Switzerland’s oldest chocolate brand. You get to learn everything about the different stages of chocolate production; from cocoa plantation to the finished and packed product! There is a free chocolate degustation at the end of the tour, where you have the chance to try all the chocolates produced by Cailler. It is any chocolate lovers’ dream, am I right or am I right?! The tour is so insightful that makes you see and appreciate chocolate in a whole new way. It made me feel like I was trying chocolate for the very first time. The tour guided us to use all our senses (sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste ) so we could get the real chocolate experience! It showed us how tasting chocolotate really is an experience; it is all about looking at it and trying to make up how it tastes , inhaling and pondering the aromas we can sense, sensing its texture, tasting its rich flavour and enjoying its aftertaste.

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Here are are some more of the photos taken during my trip that I found worth-sharing with you guys:

Interlaken

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Broc

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Zurich

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Geneva

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Have you had the chance of visiting any of these places? If so, how did you like it? Would you recommend visiting any other city in Switzerland? 🙂

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

Source, York (England)

I traveled to the north of England earlier this year and I finally had the chance of visiting the lovely city of York. Going to cozy and pretty cafes and trying new and good foods are always part of my travel itinerary whenever I go on holidays. In my opinion, one of the greatest joys of wandering is discovering that little gem of a restaurant or cafe along the way. ♥

After a well-spent morning exploring York’s ancient walls and alleys, we decided to stop by at the restaurant “Source” for lunch. This time was actually my boyfriend who looked up this restaurant online and I was super glad with his suggestion! 🙂 The cloudy weather got me craving some real comfort food and I must say that the dishes I ordered totally hit the spot!

The restaurant is conveniently located in the heart of the city and all the ingredients used are locally sourced. Even though Source is specialized in slow meats, superfoods and vegetarian dishes, they also have a menu that is entirely vegan. 🙂 Despite its simple decor and relativelly small space, the restaurant has a clean and inviting atmosphere with an open kitchen (a concept that I love) and comfortable seating. The staff was accomodating and friendly.

You can see below the dishes I ordered:

Starters to share (£6.00):

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Caulliflower florets roasted with turmeric, chilli and ginger and garnished with fresh rocket leaves and pomegranate seeds. They came served with a yoghurt dip. As I do not consume dairy products I did not try the dip but boyfriend did and approved! 🙂 *small remark* can we please take all a moment to appreciate how pretty the what looks like to be handmade ceramic dinnerware is? Love it!!

As for the main, I decided to order this mouth-watering and hearty ratoutille (£12.00):

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The ratatoutille consisted of oven baked aubergine, green and yellow zucchinis with a super yummy red pepper and tomato sauce. It came served with some traditional bread, which I kindly asked to be toasted since it was supposed to be “warm” according to the menu. It was absolutely scrumptious and its aroma would leave you drooling trust me. By the way, who would have guessed that my first Ratoutille would be in England, rather than in France? haha

Given the quality and portion sizes of the dishes above, I found them to be fairly priced. I must also add that we did have to wait quite some time for our dishes but as soon as they arrived, we could understand why. It was visible how carefully they were prepared. Plus, it was totally worth the wait because the food was just excellent and wonderfully presented. So, if you guys happen to be in York and want to eat some good food, I’d totaly recommend this restaurant. 🙂

 

P.S. I apologise for not sharing any pictures of the restaurant itself or of the dish my boyfriend ordered but I guess I was too absorbed in the moment and in my food that I totally forgot.

 

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful

 

Sunday morning in Paris.

Sunday morning in Paris 🌸

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Sundays are my favourite, especially when I get to wake up in a beautiful city that is not my own, like it happened last weekend. My boyfriend and I flew out to France on Wednesday, the 12th September, in order to celebrate my 25th birthday in Paris, which turned out to be an amazing and very memorable one. 💛

The five days spent in Paris were so healing for my monkey mind. These holidays were a welcomed break in my usual work, fitness routine and overall day-to-day life as well as a break in my mental chatter and in the not-so-positive spin of thoughts and emotions that I sometimes experience. Plus, my boyfriend and I spent a lovely time together exploring the beautiful city of Paris.

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On my last morning in Paris, I decided to walk to a small and beautiful Parisian cafe and devote some time to journaling. I feel very lucky to have a boyfriend who is so supportive and caring. He always gives me the time and space I need and whenever I feel an urge to spend a couple of hours alone writing down my thoughts or doing something else, he immediately backs me up. I guess that this what love is: to be with someone who builds you up, rather that who drags you down 💛  

I have been journaling almost every day for the past one and a half months and I am planning to continue to do it so. Getting into the habit of journaling was from far one of the best things I have done for my mental health. There is so much rattling around my brain all the time and getting my thoughts out of my head and down on paper has been keeping me more grounded and helping me to tune into my feelings and emotions.

 

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Are you also into journaling? Would love to know in the comments! 🙂

Much Love,

Blissfully Grateful