Sweet Swiss Escape at "l’Hôtel du Léman"

***French version below***

This little journey starts in Nyon, at 3.32, when we jump on a train going straight to Vevey, through the beautiful Lavaux vineyards and more precisely up to the “Hôtel du Léman”. On board of the train, we ride along Geneva Lake (“Leman Lake” for a proper translation)’s gorgeous shores, end of summer’s sunrays reflecting on the wide windows. A fresh breeze stroking through our hair once in Vevey, announcing the autumn temperatures but also the most perfect little digression from our day-to-day lives.

Once at the hotel, it’s love at first sight; an old yet modern looking pink structure, renovated and extended to welcome a kind of typical yet charmingly original Swiss hotel, overlooking the entire lake. At the horizon, Vevey, Montreux and the very beginning of Valais, exactly where the sun will peek out from in the morning.

Room 105. We were not expecting this. A spanking new bathroom, two separate beds (you can make one out them, quite certain about this…) but most importantly, one of the sole balcony offering such a magnificent view over the lake and our gorgeous Swiss landscapes. If you’re doubting Switzerland’s beauty, look no further and book a room round here…

How about we all celebrate love no matter its nature or expression ?!

After a short walk round the gardens and the vineyards directly attached to the hotel, we’re off on the patio, where an aperitif is served to us, along with the visit of a ginger cat that couldn’t make this evening better (except he was meowing as if he had just seen death or something). A delicious dinner follows – with local and seasonal products only, a pleasure for my eyes and tastebuds. Vegan options were lacking but they were very kind and transparent with all the ingredients used. Laughs, good wine and delicate time spent with a dear friend – this has no price.

We would have loved to celebrate what looked like a wedding with the people downstairs but preferred make our way up to the bedroom for an early, just so that we could wake up and admire the sunrise. To my surprise, I later noticed it was two men celebrating their wedding, which tells a lot about the establishment’s open-mindedness. How about we all celebrate love no matter its nature or expression ?!

Yellow, orange and blue lights spreading their beautiful shades all over the sky just before our eyes.

We woke up at dawn, took our fluffy blankets and sat on the balcony just to admire the most gorgeous sunrise – yellow, orange and blue lights spreading their beautiful shades all over the sky just before our eyes. We would have loved to spend some more time in the region and take the opportunity to ride the bikes they lend at the hotel but didn’t have time to do so.

Anyways, here are the biggest hits of this little end-of-summer getaway: (1) A magical place overlooking the entire lake, perfect for weekends with friends or your loved one 😉 (2) Included free tickets for transportation as well as major price reductions for the museums in the Lausanne and Vevey regions + you can rent bikes! (3) An open-mindedness and kindness that you unfortunately do not see everywhere, two things quite essential to me. (4) An attention to details + seasonal and local food. Options were sometimes lacking, especially for breakfast, but at least we know it’s fresh and of a high quality. (5) A gym + a sauna that you can use whenever… (6) A quiet place where you can easily stop just for dinner or for a drink, no need to stay overnight or for the weekend!

Be my guest and go visit their website, it’s got all the information you’ll need, whether this is for you or when you have some friends visiting. A spot I’d recommend, so would my friend!

***Une Escapade À l’Hôtel du Léman – Vevey***

Nous embarquons à 15h32 à bord du train partant de Nyon, pour une petite virée suisse à l’Hôtel du Léman, perdu dans les vignobles du Lavaux. À bord du train, nous longeons les abords du lac Léman, un soleil de fin d’été s’y reflète et fait miroiter les montagnes françaises à sa surface. Une brise fraîche se glisse déjà dans nos cheveux une fois arrivés à Vevey, annonçant avec elle l’automne mais aussi le début d’une petite parenthèse magique, juste le temps d’une journée.

Une fois arrivés à l’hôtel, nous sommes rapidement charmés par les lieux : une ancienne bâtisse rose, rénovée pour accueillir un hôtel d’une grande qualité, comme surplombant le lac lui-même ; à l’horizon, les villes de Vevey, Montreux mais aussi le début du Valais, derrière lequel le soleil se réveillera d’ailleurs le lendemain matin.

La chambre 105. Et bien autant vous dire tout de suite que nous ne nous attendions pas à cela. Une salle de bain flambant neuve, deux lits séparés (que l’on peut facilement coller j’en suis certain…) mais surtout le balcon, qui offre une vue imprenable sur le lac et l’horizon décrit ci-dessus – un rêve qui nous fait vite retomber amoureux de la Suisse et de ses paysages si l’on doutait de leur beauté encore.

Des rires, un bon vin et surtout du temps partagé avec une amie très chère – ça n’a pas de prix.

Après une petite promenade dans les jardins et une petite descente dans les vignes en contre-bas, nous nous dirigeons sur la terrasse, où l’on nous sert un apéritif puis sommes comblés de la visite d’un mignon voisin : un chat roux miaulant à la mort de peur que l’on oublie sa part – un petit amour. S’en suit le repas – une succession de trois plats faits à partir de produits locaux et de saison, un plaisir pour les yeux et les papilles. Malgré le manque d’options végétaliennes, j’ai été ravi par leur volonté à nous renseigner sur les ingrédients et la provenance de ces derniers. Des rires, un bon vin et surtout du temps partagé avec une amie très chère – ça n’a pas de prix.

J’avoue que nous serions bien allé danser avec le couple qui célébrait son mariage dans la salle des fêtes, mais nous avons préféré faire les paresseux et nous diriger directement dans notre chambre (soyons clair, ils ne nous auraient pas laissés !). J’ai été doublement surpris par le fait que c’était un couple d’hommes qui célébrait ce soir là leur union – ce qui me renseigne bien sur l’ouverture d’esprit de l’établissement mais aussi sur les possibilités d’un futur plus acceptant dans notre société (?).

Bref, au lever du jour, nous avons embarqué nos couettes et avons profité des lumières jaune, orange et bleue du soleil levant sur la grande terrasse, avant de prendre le petit-déjeuner. Nous aurions bien voulu prendre le temps de visiter le Lavaux avec les vélos mis à disposition mais il était déjà le temps pour nous de quitter ce petit coin de paradis.

Enfin, voilà les points forts que je tire de cette escapade et de cet établissement : (1) Un lieu magique perché au-dessus du lac parfait pour les weekends en amoureux-ses ou entre ami-e-s. (2) Ils offrent des tickets gratuits pour les transports mais aussi d’énormes réductions sur les musées de la région de Lausanne – Vevey ainsi que la possibilités de louer des vélos ! (3) Une ouverture d’esprit et une grande gentillesse qui est très importante pour moi lorsque je visite de nouveaux endroits. (4) Une attention aux détails, à la nourriture de saison et locale ; même si les options manquaient un petit peu – surtout au petit déjeuner – et bien l’on sait que c’est une marque de fraîcheur et de qualité. (5) Une salle de fitness ainsi qu’un sauna pour les personnes désireuses d’une parenthèse transpirante… (6) Un endroit calme où l’on peut aussi simplement s’arrêter dîner ou boire un verre, nul besoin d’y passer la nuit ou le weekend (ou juste pour caresser le petit chat parce que on se l’avoue il est vraiment mignon !).

N’hésitez pas à aller voir leur site pour plus d’informations, que ce soit pour vous ou des amis qui visiteraient la région, que vous veniez de suisse, de la région, ou non ! Un endroit que je recommande vivement…et mon amie aussi.


Namari Skin - Fall in love with this organic, Swiss made & cosmic Natural Beauty Brand

My skin has always been a sensitive subject, for I’ve suffered from mild to severe acne and always had some redness due to the weather, temperatures and quality of the air I was living in. Those that learnt how not to regard nor give importance to their daily imperfections, spots and reddish skin will understand – it is tough sometimes. Especially in a society that wants us to embody some kind of epitomised figure of perfection, that’s almost giving more legitimacy to the flawless ones, infusing our daily interactions with expectations. With a beautician mother, I swear we’ve tried almost everything and as frustrating as it can be, I guess time is our best friend and “waiting” is a required part of the process. But it does not mean we are left powerless…cause I’ve never felt more empowered than when using Namari Skin’s products!

Thanks to my friends at @ecolabo (check out their Instagram and website – a treasure when it comes to sustainable and eco-friendly living) I’ve discovered the following brand: Namari Skin. It is not your simple organic, sustainable, Swiss made and natural beauty brand – it offers a genuine cosmic experience with scents and perfumes you’d want to bathe in, proposing morning and evening rituals while pushing you to create your own and bringing healthy and sustainable beauty to a brand new level. This olfactory experience is brought to its ultimate best by the minimalist and elegant black packaging, marked with her emblematic feather, that I absolutely love.

Those products have been life changers when it came to the quality and look of my skin. I feel like I can finally – slowly but finally – fight those acne bacterias I still have within my skin cells with quality products whose scents are just out of this world. I’ve never ever felt that for other products before and am so glad to have them on my bathroom shelves. And so many of my students got seduced too…

Skin care which is not just about correcting flaws without regard for losses, but is part of the greater good.

Nadine Ammari, the founder, creator and fabulously talented soul behind Namari Skin, says it herself: “Skin care which is not just about correcting flaws without regard for losses, but is part of the greater good. Skin care that takes place in the constructive exchange with human, animal and nature and which interacts with body and spirit” (taken from namariskin.com). Her brand celebrates your skin in its purest form, making self-care a sensual and loving holistic experience.

Those traits highlighted here are just manifestations of resistance in our lives – ways to protect ourselves from life instead of trusting the Universe, its love and protection.

They not only offer an online shop but also skin consultations, a real SPA experience in Zürich as well as a cosmetic and overall wellness shop Qosms of Namari (qosms.com). Here’s a quick overview of the products I am using daily and why I absolutely love them (+ some of the ingredients for you to see how natural they are!).

Scents that will bring you on a sensory journey across a million valleys, mountains and oceans.

- SORBET -

Nadine says it’s a “poem in a jar”, well no doubt that if it could talk, it would most certainly refers to itself as the QUEEN! This delicately smooth pale pink butter melts into your palm to protect, sooth and nourish your skin in depths while providing an exotic aromatic experience. Want a glowing and healthy complexion?! Look no further! I am using it daily and my skin’s never liked anything more before.

- TAU -

This is my personal favourite and the one that pushed me into Namari Skin’s universe. “Like a meadow dew on a dawning day, its concentrated plant extracts and aromatic herbal oils infuse the cells with protecting antioxidants and create the experience of a blossoming spring garden”. I don’t think I need to add anything else to this, except that I am using day and night, every day, to seal in hydration, fix make-up or a refreshing pick me up!

- ELIXIER -

A liquid gold serum whose smell will bring you on a sensory journey across a million valleys, mountains and oceans, containing ingredients like turmeric vanilla up to prickly pear seed oil. “A beauty gem for a radiant and silky smooth complexion” and the most perfect oil to sooth a skin in winter, bring it warmth and provide it with vital nutrients. I always massage my students’ faces with it at the end of our classes and they all ADORE it.

- STAUB -

A magical power as they say, which is a mix of Moroccan Rhassoul clay, ground hibiscus blossoms, genuine silver and micro-algae. It boosts circulation and eliminate impurities only to rejuvenate our skin. A gentle resurfacing and detoxification of the skin that takes a vital place in my Sunday Skincare Ritual (based on what’s recommended on Namari’s website).

- JUWEL -

Her last creation, an essence of perfume that literally is a cosmic experience on its own. A fresh crystal roll infusing my skin with aromatic beauty every night is the most perfect start of a night full of mystical dreams. AND IT STAYS ON YOUR SKIN FOREVER! In love with it, I highly recommend it for all you delicate souls out there…

Christmas Special: As Namari Brand Ambassador, I am super proud to announce they are gifting a 10 ml discovery & travel size of ELIXIER with every order from CHF 150 – simply add “GLOWRYUS” to the comments at the checkout*​

*Valid until Dec. 24th, 2018 as long as our stock lasts. Exclusively available via namariskin.com.


What’s the Universe and what’s the secret to attracting everything you want!

I am almost sure this is not the first time you are reading the word “Universe” on the Internet. I am not going to explain why this concept has taken us all by storm or how life changing believing in its power would be for you. No. What I want to do with you today is try to explain what it is and how to understand it in a capitalist society that is always asking more of yourself. Efficiency. Tirelessness. Strength. And so on…

Put simply, the Universe is the energy of love, an energy that is within us and round us, an energy that connects us all together and empower us. It is a magnitude, a presence, that we feel within ourselves and that helps us in the achievement of our purpose. You do realise you have a mission on this Earth? Well the Universe it the energy that helps you carry on this mission, this purpose, with love and compassion.

You might have experience synchronicity at some point in your life, right? Not a mere coincidence, no. Not if it comes round when you actually think about, or if it shows up repeatedly in your life. There is a meaning in those “events”. A Course in Miracles says “You need not do anything. You don’t need to work miracles or make anything happen. You merely align with your true love nature and allow your eyes to see what you desire.” There you have it – miracles are a habit, and the habit of simply being in presence of love and joy, releasing the pressure and surrender is what aligns us with the Universe. It is the Universe.

The Universe is the energy of love, an energy that is within us and round us, an energy that connects us all together.

Attract everything that you wants...

There are multiple ways we try to control our lives and when we are what we sometimes call “control freaks”, well, we are usually the ones that deny it the most.

Consider those bullet points. If you could tick most of them, you might want to read what’s next…

1. Planning everything thoroughly, not letting space for the unexpected
2. Trying to fix things and people, instead of embracing who/how they are
3. Controlling to such extents that you’re starting to develop addictive patterns – food, alcohol, work, self-destructive actions just to name a few – to avoid the main situation
4. Chronic stress, denying ourselves from joy, seclusion, physical conditions, etc.
5. Praying for outcomes when you should be praying for the highest good for all
6. Being so committed to a goal that you’re ready to destroy your way there in order to achieve it

Those traits highlighted here are just manifestations of resistance in our lives – ways to protect ourselves from life instead of trusting the Universe, its love and protection.

There is something we hardly touch on
in daily conversations and introspections. Resistance.

The fact we all resist happiness, freedom, love and support from the Universe.

This resistance explains why we are stuck in patterns that do not bring us joy and evolution; it keeps us from thriving.

The secret is simple: the absence of resistance will turn you into an attractor of what’s great. Your energy will become an attractor for greatness, cause it sends a signal out into the Universe that you’re ready to manifest this love and positive energy. Your energy is aligning with the energies of joy and love, giving away a message of readiness.

Accept this state of being, whatever that may be. Embrace the difficulties, the challenges, the barriers, but do not let yourself get overwhelmed by them. Once that’s done, you’ll see that old wounds and issues will start to disappear, problems and obstacles vanishing from your great path.

Why? Because resistance comes from judgements and expectations we have about ourselves. Through acceptance and the realisation that we are greater than what holds us back, we heal judgment and let go of resistance. You’re just accepting who you are – you are showing love to yourself, which is the greatest present you can make to yourself. Life becomes fun, it flows. The vibration of love is so strong that it can change how you view the world, your life and others, just as well as your entire living experience.

Why do we resist love ?

Marianne Williamson wrote in A Return To Love “It is our light, not our darkness, that most frighten us”. And this has never been more true that today.

We resist love cause we have an ego, which is the complete opposite – it is fear, judgment, separation and anxiety. We are socially and culturally educated to rely on this ego as a source of safety and protection against a world of disappointment, suffering; we are afraid to hurt.

We are afraid to express our light because we live in a society where it is considered “better” and “safer” to keep our true self within, to lock our emotions in, to internalise. Well, the good thing is that this is changing. And you want to be part of the change. How could I protect myself if I rely on love, on the Universe, on something out there than I cannot grasp?

What we resist will persist darlings – you do have a choice to release resistance, cause releasing requires healing, learning and transforming; you have to be willing to look at your patterns without judgment, surrender to the love of the Universe.

Are you ready? Let’s release resistance together through those easy steps.

Accept and Acknowledge your resistance

We have to recognise our resistance, acknowledge it, because we cannot possible release something we do not consider present and active. There’s a duplicity in our brains – between peace that wants you to release and ego that pushes you into judgment and control. If we accept we are addicted to fear, it will release us from the detours it urges us to take on our spiritual path. We can start forgiving ourselves from holding on to old patterns. It’s a continuous job, and you’ll just need to show love, kindness and acceptance to yourself quickly and repeatedly.

Surrender to spiritual guidance

We are programmed, from childhood on, to believe in the fear of the world, to act on a survival base – this way, we block harm but also resist love by trying to control our lives as much as we can. All this trying to make something happen, all this control and manipulation is actually creating resistance from your intuitive voice, your connection to this power far greater than yourself. It is in the absence of that resistance that we remember the truth of who we are, that we realign and that we reconnect to the Universe, the energy of love.

A simple mantra you could repeat yourself to help in your surrender process:

I surrender my plans and goals to the Universe. I know that the Universe has my back, I accept spiritual guidance, I know that there is a plan far greater than mince. I step back and let the energy of love to flow in.

Let go of judgment

This is our strongest weapon. We believe it helps us protect our vulnerability and the essence of our existence. We fear that if we let our guard down, we’ll be under attack from all fronts; we fear that if we start loving and act upon it, we’ll be taken advantage of. But this judgment, of yourself and of others, actually separates you even more from the energy of love.

Love can actually look much more terrifying to us that fear. Cause we believe love opens the gate to suffering, emotions, unfulfilled expectations, etc. We feel like love is uncertain, that love is susceptible to more pain. But this is wrong. Act with love and it will resonate round you. Love is the antidote to judgment and to fear.

Choose joy and love instead of fear

This is simple. The more joyous we are the more light we shine upon this world and the people round us. You’ll see that as soon as you resonate with love and acceptance, people will not doubt your power anymore, they’ll feel good round you, empowered to shine their own positive energy through.

Joy is such a high frequency that it gives us and the people round us the energy to show up for our dreams, to serve our purpose with grace and love. Joy is a creative energy, joy is inspirational, joy is a release system. Welcome worthiness, acceptance and know that you are entitled to feeling good too. Pain, struggle, sweat are not requirements when it comes to success or a meaningful life.


Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

An early-autumn evening, round the equinox. Nights are getting longer, colder, and we’re all gathered round that large wooden table, tastebuds quivering, waiting for dinner to be served. The yoga retreat vibes were high, sharing laughs, heart-warming chats, positivity and love round. In a slow and delicate dance, our hosts started to place large plates under our nose – filled with an orange liquid, crowned with a dash of olive oil and radish sprouts, a mouth-watering, oriental and spicy smell coming out of them. Eager to taste it, we digged our spoons like one man – and there, replacing the joyous noise, a complete silence settled. The sound of happiness and contentment. The squash’s sweetness coupled with some delicious lemongrass, spicy ginger and creamy coconut milk – a game-changing soup. I had to ask for more. And I had to recreate it at home. So here you are. Enjoy!

Eager to taste it, we digged our spoons
like one man – and there,
replacing the joyous noise,
a complete silence settled.

Retreat Inspiration - Spicy Butternut Squash Soup

Portions: 4 people.
Preparation time: 25 minutes.
Cooking time: 45 minutes.

Ingredients

For one portion of curry paste:

2 stalks of lemongrass, coarsely sliced
1 small red chilli
2 shallots, coarsely sliced
2 tbsp of fresh grated ginger
2 coves of garlic
4 Kaffir lime leaves
Some water

For the soup:

1 portion of curry paste (see above)
2 onions, finely sliced
1 butternut squash (approximately 800 grams), peeled and cut in cubes
350ml of coconut milk
500ml of water
Salt and pepper

Method

(1) Make the curry paste. Prepare all the ingredients like indicated above, add them all to a blender/mixer, with a little water (adjust while making the paste, start with one or two table spoons only) and mix until obtaining that paste consistency.

(2) Prepare the butternut as well as the onions. Heat a tablespoon of coconut oil in a saucepan and caramelise the onions, for about 5 minutes. Once ready, add the entire curry paste. Cook for about 3 minutes.

(3) Add the butternut and cook for 3 more minutes. Add the water as well as the coconut milk. Bring to a boil and then cover, leaving a little space with the lid to let the steam come out (and thus avoid soup’s spillovers).

(4) Cook on medium heat (and gentle boiling) for about 30 minutes or until the butternut’s soft.

(5) Once cooked, mix with a hand-blender (or a blender, being careful to open the lid slightly to enable the steam to get out). Eat warm, with some more coconut milk, olive oil and some seeds or nuts parachuted on top. Enjoy!


"Muhammara" - A Delicious Red Pepper Dip

Before even being familiar with the concept of “netflix and chill”, I was casually spending my Saturday at home, with my cats, some brownies and a Sex And the City movie – nothing very original round here (apart that this is the gayest set ever). This is when I actually discovered about Muhammara – this traditional Middle Eastern red dip recipe that yet needs to invade our Western World. If it was attracting love and romance for Carrie, I had to try it out. I guess it ultimately does not, but that is not a big deal (trying to be funny here!). Anyways, as a hummus fan, I usually am complicated to content when it comes to dips and spread – this was until I met with this red shaded heavenly food. It is crunchy and sweet, yet owning a profound and earthy flavour.

If it was attracting love and romance
for Carrie, I had to try it out.

It is easily spreadable and is great as a side, as a dip or in sandwiches. I usually love using those specific nuts for their good monounsaturated fats and their magnesium, iron, vitamin E and antioxidant contents, which keep me awake and my brain steady and healthy (young adults should consume walnuts just because they are thought to increase inferential reasoning). There is no paprika in the traditional recipe but if you are down for a little spicy quick, you should totally add some. Hope you will enjoy those Middle Eastern Summery vibes and that you will make your belly (or your guests) very happy about this recipe!

Middle East Red Pepper Dip

Portions: One big bowl (for about 4 servings)
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes (220°C)

Ingredients

4 red peppers, cored and sliced vertically in the middle
35g of rye or grain bread, soaked and drained
100g of walnuts
25g of pine nuts
3 tbsp of olive oil
½ lemon, juice only
1 – 2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp of chilli pepper
Sea salt & pepper, to taste

Method

(1) Preheat your oven to 220°C. Place the red peppers halves on a tray covered with parchment paper. Drizzle some olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in the middle of the oven. Bake until the skin starts bubbling and darkens (it must be golden-brown, almost dark).

(2) Place the baked peppers in an airtight container and let sit for about 25 minutes. Take out and peel the skin from the peppers, it should come easily. A little skin will not kill your Muhammara if it gets too hard.

(3) Place all the ingredients – soaked bread, walnuts, pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic cloves, chilli pepper, salt and pepper – along with the baked peppers in a food processor. Mix until smooth and creamy.

(4) Place in a bowl, cover with more pine nuts, fresh dill, parsley or basil, a drizzle of olive oil and some salt. Dig in with vegetables dips, crackers or put it on anything you fancy.


Reinvented Glorious Granola

This is the very first recipe I created, three years ago, when I was just discovering all the beauties of plantbased nutrition. And it is one of my most liked and famous recipe. Therefore, I wanted to go back to it and bring it a few healthier twists to make it even better! With that mix of nuts bringing healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, all of them being essential for a healthy body and brain, that great amount of fibres brought by the oats and all the healthy sugars in it, you’ll have enough power to kick some asses all day long (well no…just throughout the morning!).

It is one of my most liked and famous recipe.

Why using coconut oil? And what is it? Coconut oil is extracted from the coconut’s dried albumen. It contains saturated fats mostly, a few vitamins and minerals. Even though dieticians have been considering it evil, it’s now taking more and more space on the supermarket stalls. The fats it contains actually are middle chained triglycerides, which are directly metabolised and used as fuel by the body, whereas animal fats are not. They are not stocked in the body, which makes them “good fats”.

It is the most delicious thing on earth,
You might touch the bottom quite quickly!

Anyway, back to our breakfast. It is true that it’s taking some time to prepare, at least more than simply buying it. But I can assure you it is the most delicious thing on earth – the proof is if I make the mistake of leaving the jar wide open next to me…I might touch the bottom quite quickly! But if you keep it organised, you’ll just have to take 15 minutes of your Sundays and will guarantee your breakfast for a week, starting each day starry-eyed!

Reinvented Glorious Granola

Portions: One large jar (round 8 – 9 portions).
Preparation time: 10 minutes.
Cooking time: 15 minutes.

Ingredients

150g of oats
150g of nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, etc.), crushed
40g of ground almonds
25g of pumpkin seeds
25g of sunflower seeds
1 – 2 tbsp of chia seeds
2 tsp of cinnamon (+ a sprinkle of ground cloves)
½ tsp of sea salt
40g of coconut oil, melted
70g of honey, slightly melted
1 heaped tbsp of nut butter
100 – 125g of dried fruits (cranberries, gogi berries, dates, etc.), sliced (optional)
A few pinch of dried flowers (optional)

Method

(1) Start by preheating your oven to 170°C and cover a tray with parchment paper.

(2) Crush all the nuts, and in large mixing bowl, mix them with the oats, ground almonds, seeds, cinnamon and salt. Stir and set aside.

(3) In a bain-marie, melt the coconut oil and honey, until the honey’s still gooey and not too runny.

(4) Pour that sumptuous liquid over your dry ingredients, making sure that everything’s nice and coated.

(5) Spread evenly on the baking tray covered with parchment paper and place in the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes. Take it out, stir it all and spread evenly once more. Place it back in the oven for 3 more minutes, until golden-brown.

(6) Let it cool down before breaking it in small pieces, adding the dried fruits and transferring into a jar. It makes approximately 700g, which is about 8 to 9 portions. Enjoy!

Suggestions

Here are a few flavour pairing you can try if you’d like:

1. Hazelnuts, pecans, dark chocolate (added at the end), cinnamon, gogi berries!
2. Pistachios, almonds, walnuts, dried apricots, dried banana chips!
3. Christmas Version: Gingerbread spices + Orange zest (1/2 tbsp)!
4. Exotic Versison: Ground ginger + Dried pieces of ginger!


Date Caramel Shortbread Squares

It might be because my home has been surrounded for fog for the past week, or that the temperature seems to be lowering down a little more every day, but I do not really feel like cooking savoury meals these days. The sole thing I am looking forward to whenever coming back home is curling up in my sofa, with a warm tea and something to satisfy my sweet tooth (a huge piece of something though!). Thus, my fridge and cupboards are filled with sweet treats and desserts, which I have the pleasure to enjoy by myself since my parents are not really into those…

The sole thing I am looking forward to
whenever coming back home is
curling up in my sofa, with a warm tea
and something to satisfy my sweet tooth

It’s been a week since being back from my short but amazing weekend in London, and apart from the serenity and peace I cultivated away from my home and routine, I brought back some amazing sweets in my luggage. Livia’s Kitchen’s shortbread millionaire bites are simple, natural and delicious snacks that you can bring with you wherever you go and enjoy at any time of the day (that because they are tasty like hell!) – they are made out of a few easy, healthy ingredients and may be found at many different places all across London. But due to a lack of space, I could only bring four bars back, which obviously have already been digested!

Just like a queen wears a crown,
those squares are topped with a cracking,
sweet and incredibly tasty chocolate layer

For these are insanely delicious, I wanted to make them myself, so that I could have a fresh tray in the freezer all year long (seriously!). I therefore created my own recipe for them – they do not taste exactly the same, which is good, but are still achingly luscious! The melting and yet firm bottom layer, with its distant flavour of vanilla, is perfectly balancing the creaminess and sweetness of the date caramel. The latter does not actually taste like dates at all, but more like a whirlwind of caramely and nutty flavours. And just like a queen wears a crown, those squares are topped with a cracking, sweet and incredibly tasty chocolate layer, which help bringing this dessert to another level. Enjoy!

Date Caramel Shortbread Squares

Portions: 20 to 24 squares.
Preparation time: 30 minutes.
Freezing time: one hour.

Ingredients

For the oat base:

125g of ground rolled oats or oat flour
150g of ground almonds
60ml of maple syrup
2 ½ tbsp of coconut oil
1 tsp of vanilla powder or extract
1-2 tbsp of water (if needed)

For the date caramel:

300g of Medjool dates, pitted
4 tbsp of almond butter
2-3 tbsp of water
1 tbsp of coconut oil
½ tsp of vanilla powder

For the chocolate layer:

200g of vegan dark chocolate (70%)
or
85g of coconut oil
55g of cacao powder
4 tbsp of maple syrup
A pinch of salt

Method

(1) Start with the oat layer. Blend the oats in a food processor until obtaining a flour like consistency. Then add the ground almonds, maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla powder and water, and pulse until the dough comes together when pressed with the hand. Line a brownie tin with parchment paper and grease it with coconut oil. Press into the tin, form a very fine and compact layer, then freeze for about 30 minutes.

(2) Move on to the date caramel. Pit the dates and blend them in your food processor until obtaining a paste. Then add the other ingredients and blend again, until smooth. You may need to scrap down the sides a few times. Spread onto your base evenly and put it back into the freezer.

(3) If using vegan dark chocolate, melt it slowly in a bain-marie before covering the caramel. If not, start by slowly melting the coconut oil in a bain-marie; then add the other ingredients and stir until glossy and smooth. Quickly pour the chocolate layer onto the date caramel and using the back of a spoon, spread it nicely and evenly, sides included. Back in the freezer for 20 minutes.

(4) Take it out of the freezer 15 to 20 minutes before slicing, to avoid cracking (or not – see pictures!).


Sweet Potato Falafels & Roasted Peppers Quinoa Buddha Bowl

Falafels need to be reinvented, redefined, and remodelled. Even though you may find a few places where they are preparing them in a healthy way, this once healthy food has now become synonym of that greasy junky food people eat because they feel less guilty than eating a burger. Usually eaten in a wrap, I am today offering you another way to enjoy those little balls of happiness: a Buddha Bowl. There is not real definition of what a Buddha Bowl is. What you’ve got to know is that a Buddha Bowl basically is a bowl which you throw a whole lot of goodness in, drizzle some sauce on top and parachute a few seeds or sprouts. Here you are.

I am almost certain you’ll find
something delectable in those

I am not trying to be bold by saying I’ll revolution them. But I am almost certain you’ll find something delectable in those. This amazing recipe transforms the sweet potato in a crispy yet mushy treat, which is not deep fried in very questionable oil but simply baked. It keeps the fat content quite low so that people that are trying to cut on fats a little may still enjoy them. They are super-healthy and you will not even see the difference!

Sweet potatoes have healing properties,
eliminating free radicals from the organism

Just so you know, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A (with their high beta-carotene content) and vitamin C. They are powerful anti-oxidants (reducing the severity of inflammations – from asthma to arthritis) and even have healing properties, eliminating free radicals from the organism. Free radicals are chemical substances that damage cells and are usually associated with heart disease, diabetes, cancers, and so on. And guess what? Beta-carotene and vitamin C have both been shown to help fighting those conditions. In a nutshell, eat sweet potato!

Spring Equinox Buddha Bowl

Portions: 4 servings
Preparation time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

For the falafels:

4 to 5 sweet potatoes (around 600g), peeled and cut in small bites
1 tsp of ground cumin
1 tsp of ground coriander
2 tsp of dry basil
1 tsp of cardamom (optional)
Juice of half a lemon
1 clove of garlic, pressed
1 tbsp of tahini
3 tbsp of chickpea flour (or rye/spelt/etc.)
Salt & pepper
Sesame seeds to coat
500g of quinoa + 1 litre of water + a pinch of salt

For the baked peppers:

3 red bell peppers, rinsed
3 tbsp of olive oil + some to drizzle
2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
½ tbsp of soy sauce
Salt & pepper
A few fresh basil leaves, sliced

For the tahini sauce:

3 tbsp of tahini
Juice of one lemon
2 cloves of garlic, pressed
½ tsp of ground cumin
2 tbsp of olive oil
4 – 7 tbsp of water (depending on how thick you want the sauce

To garnish:

Cherry tomatoes
Onion Sprouts
Pomegranate

Method

(1) Preheat your oven to 220°C. Place all the peeled and cut pieces of sweet potato in a large saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer until tender.

(2) In a large mixing bowl, mash the sweet potatoes. Add the rest of the falafels ingredients, except the sesame seeds. Once nicely mixed, place in the fridge to firm up for about an hour.

(3) Prepare your quinoa: bring the quinoa, water and salt to a boil, reduce the heat and let simmer until all the water has been absorbed. Cover and set aside.

(4) Take the falafel mix out of the fridge, it should be sticky, not wet. Take large spoonfuls of batter and create falafels, rolling them in sesame seeds first and then placing them on a baking tray, covered with parchment paper.

(5) Place them in the oven for about 25 to 35 minutes, depending on whether you like them crispy and on your oven as well. Check them out after 25 minutes though.

(6) While in the oven, prepare the peppers: Slice them in half, core them, and place them on a baking tray, covered with parchment paper. Drizzle some olive oil on top, salt and pepper, and place in the oven (if the falafels are in the middle, these should go beneath) for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until the skin is nice and burnt.

(7) Take the falafels out of the oven and let them cool down. When it’s time for the peppers to come out, either wrap them up in foil or place them in an airtight container for about 20 minutes, so that you can peel them off more easily.

(8) Once peeled, slice them, place in a mixing bowl, add the rest of the ingredients and mix correctly to coat. Set aside.

(9) Lastly, make the tahini sauce: mix all the ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. As easy as that!

(10) Place some quinoa in a bowl, add a few falafels, some peppers, cherry tomatoes, spouts, pomegranate and drizzle some tahini sauce on top. Enjoy!


Cashew Cream Filled Gingerbread Cookies

Those that have been sticking round with me for a while know how fond I am of winter, its comfort, silence and amazing flavours. Even though I now am on the West Coast of the United States for a little while, it is just as if my soul lingered back in the snowy mountains, smelling those scents of hot cacao, crispy fires, cinnamon cookies and gingerbread mixes. There is nothing like novelty and freshness, adventure and new horizons, but no matter my love for the sun, the sand and all those new discoveries within easy reach, my heart still belongs to my home country, Switzerland, to all those I left, those I love.

Just like there’s no weather
to enjoy a lovely hot cacao,
there is no season to enjoy
gingerbread loafs, cookies or biscuits.

This is when you tell me gingerbread is a Christmas and winter thingy – well, not for me! Just like there’s no weather to enjoy a lovely hot cacao, there is no season to enjoy gingerbread loafs, cookies or biscuits. And those babies are just going to verify this statement.

Delicious tastes of coconut, ginger and cinnamon are merging together and creating this complex flavour that gives those biscuit their originality. Two crunchy and nutty outside layers, surrounding the creamiest and most scrumptious (I adore this word) buttery heart. You’d be better off either eating them at room temperature, removing both biscuits to avoid spilling the cream all over or just out of the fridge, still hard and crunchy. Enjoy!

Cashew Cream Filled Gingerbread Cookies

Portions: 18 pieces
Preparation time: 35 minutes
Cooking time: 16 – 18 minutes

Ingredients

For the biscuits:

200g of shredded coconut, reduced in flour
225g of ground almonds (almost as thin as flour)
6 tbsp of spelt flour (or else)
225g/175ml of maple syrup or honey
100g of coconut oil, melted
¼ tsp of vanilla powder
1 ½ tbsp of ginger powder
2 tsp of cinnamon
1 tsp of cardamom
¼ tsp of nutmeg
A pinch of salt

For the cream:

4 tbsp/150g of cashew butter
35g of coconut oil, melted
1 tsp of vanilla powder

Method

(1) Preheat the oven to 150°C. Mix the ingredients for the biscuits in a large bowl. Once incorporated, form a ball with the dough, roll into wrapping paper and place in the fridge for about 30 minutes.

(2) Press the dough down in-between two sheets of parchment paper to prevent it from sticking, on 0.5 cm approximately. With a round cookie cutter (or a champagne glass/regular glass), cut little cookie circles and place on a tray covered with parchment paper.

(3) Do as explained on point 2 until you are out of dough. Place the biscuits in the middle of the oven for about 15 to 16 minutes (check it regularly). They have to be golden-brown and the centre still slightly soft. Set aside to cool down.

(4) Mix all the ingredients for the cream and place in the fridge for about 15 minutes. Take a biscuit, place a tsp of cream in the centre and cover with another biscuit. Repeat until done with all the biscuits. Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.


10 Qualities of Successfully Happy People (+ Tips to develop them)

There are so many different definitions of success, at least as many humans there are on this planet. However, the one that is well-spread the most certainly involves earning money in order to survive. And yet what does it mean to survive? What is the point of living a life you have to survive in? It is quite normal for a person to be unhappy, stressed, anxious & even a little depressed when having to survive! I know that this aching definition and fixity actually comes from our society’s evolution and is now embedded into what seems to be a very tricky web.

Let’s start off all together, by picturing life as a vehicle for blooming and thriving, and with “success” being synonymous of joy, abundance and happiness.

Before reading those lines, I really want you to understand that I am not claiming to have the keys for fabulous success and genuine happiness. After the deep introspection I made for myself as well as analysing people around me, I just want to share with you all the things that seems essential to cultivate to be fulfilled and that I feel like being crucial for others as well…

Therefore, successfully happy people…

See the glass half full and certainly not half empty.

The first key to one’s success and probably the easiest one to obtain is seeing things that one has instead of focusing her attention on what one does not have. That seems a bit odd to say but it truly is magical. Acknowledging that what one’s doing is great, that one has given her best, that there’s nothing to master/do/find/achieve but our personal definition of happiness.

If you ever feel that you’re focusing on the lack, take a step back and rethink the situation. Set your mind on what you have at that point. Your goal is not as important as the process of it – cause there’s no such thing as a mistake but only ways to learn more about ourselves. Focusing on the process and all the life lessons one may gather on the way is at the core of your success. At the end of the day, it will make the difference in your rush to success.

Are always positive, no matter what they’re enduring.

The more you practice the more you’ll realise it to be almost impossible to focus on our day-to-day lives, problems, stressful situations as well as trying to keep our mind steady and focused on the poses. And this is what we want. Staying in a long, hard and very demanding position or on the contrary flowing through the postures, trying to follow instructions, breathe and focus – all at the same time – will help you in facing a whole range of difficult situations.

What I’ve learnt from my illness and what I am successfully applying in a day-to-day basis is to see bad things from the bright side. There’s nothing like taking the best out of sadness or not being crushed after being disappointed. It is hard to consider a seemingly negative situation with a positive mindset – but you’ll learn and function automatically through repetition. It is very hard to stay positive in a world that is full of dreadful events, unhappy and anxious people, and frightening projection of our future world; but I promise you that by taking a step back, lightening up from the inside and brightening the earth with your small but radiant inner light, you will make a difference. Smile is contagious, and so is happiness.

Are open-minded, eager to learn & motivated.

Successful people are open to new ideas; they listen, take inspiration from others and cultivate what we could call their “smartness”. These people really listen to others’ points of view and thoughts, even though they seem not to be sharing them in the first place; they know, deep down, that there’s always something to learn from everybody, no matter their political belief, nationality, age, size or gender. They feel joy achieving something but do not do it because they are afraid of the negative consequences of their inaction. In a nutshell, they are moving towards what they really want instead of running away from what they don’t!

I am not sure how what kind of tip I could give you to develop that…if you’re still unsure about this point, the one that comes to my mind is: “Shake yourself up and move, life is short my friend, and be sure that no matter what, the universe has your back!

Are self-confident & aware of their inner beauty.

This is not to be mixed up with being vain or egocentric, not at all. This is rather about being self-aware, knowing one’s passions, flaws, qualities… Having faith in one’s own capabilities and powers. Once you get there, you’ll see that achieving great things and goals that you’re proud is going to be so much easier and rewarding. And if there’s anyone standing in your way or criticising you, it is not going to matter for you to reach that goal. And remember this: it’s good to be a dreamer, but you got to become a doer!

What really helps from a physical and then mental point of view: Before doing anything that might create anxiety within your mind (an exam, a test, teaching, a date, etc.) Standing tall, with your feet hip-distance apart, arms wide open and chest up and bumped, for about two minutes. Long deep breaths through the nose and the abdomen. Stand in your power and embrace yourself fully. You’ll feel strong, resourceful and confident, ready to kick some asses! Meditation and positive affirmations (repeating the same sentence every day, long enough for your brain to internalise it).

Take good care of what they eat.

This might actually be one of the easiest as well, it is just the first step that’s hard. Integrating a little health in one’s life is such an easy thing, especially nowadays. Start by cutting off junk food and processed sugars but even more importantly, EAT MORE PLANTS! Vegetables, whole grains, pulses, fruits, natural sugars, nuts…the list is endless and full of so much goodness and colours, it would be hard to resist. And you’ll see the changes directly: no digestion caused fatigue, no guilt after some excesses, a whole lot of energy and so much more. I am not saying that my way of eating will make everyone better off, but successful and happy people do not choose their food by default, but rather because they feel good with it and so does their organisms!

Only look back to see how far they went.

What really is important when willing to create that space for happiness and success to happen in one’s life is not to focus on the past. Once able to let things go and not to have any regret whatsoever, working on the present to influence the future is just going to be a piece of cake. Successful people focus on their creation and not on the things that lead to it.

Try to set your mind on your goal, whether this is a skill you want to develop, or a special project you’ve fancied for a long time, focus all your time, energy and thoughts on it and feel what it’s like to get closer from achieving something that is important to you. And remember to embrace the process on your way up there!

Focus on building strong and everlasting relationships.

Successful people know that by binding to others, they will get stronger and reach another level of happiness. There is a certain harmony in the human development that may only be achieved by creating relationships to others; that makes people not only more powerful, but more confident, open, reliable and sparkling, which will lead others to feel comfortable in their presence. And comfort actually is the key to someone’s trust, which could definitely lead to being successful and happy!

Dare to go out, to events, classes, workshops that you’re interested in. Open yourself to others, dare to talk and ask questions, cause the people in front of you might be in the exact same situation where they want to interact but don’t know where to start! There’s no risk in trying to communicate and create bonds with other people.

Challenge their preconceived notions.

I would add to this that they believe in the power of change. People usually stay in the same posture or keep their job/current situation as it is because they are afraid or do not know what else to do. It is those very same people that usually are unhappy in their job. And indeed someone’s work might not be her passion; therefore, she will create space for creativity and imagination, take time to nourish herself from many other things, fight against our society’s stereotypes and ultimately, if brave, after figuring out what she wanted, start creating it.

Change and instability are frightening yes. But you know you are transforming when things start to get uncomfortable. Step out of this comfort zone we are taught to create for ourselves – you don’t want to live a life of danger but nor of idleness. We, as human beings, have a definite number of breaths we can take in the life – make the most out of them.

Focus their attention on the physical and mental health.

For successful and happy people, health actually is their wealth. As our body is the vehicle for life, the envelope that enables us to enjoy the most beautiful gift of all (that sounds weird, yogic and philosophical but at the end of the day, isn’t true?), it needs to be worshiped and taken good care of. Moreover, no physical or mental limitations are not preventing successfully happy people from evolving; instead, they are taking action to change them and to go beyond, without defining themselves by these. They understand the need to slow down and listen to those vibrations within, this intuition.

It is essential to take care of oneself, one way or another, by incorporating a few healthy rituals for example (taking the stairs instead of the elevator, drinking more water, working out or doing an activity that pleases you everyday or at least three times a week, connecting with yourself or others, etc.)

Believe that abundance is measured from
what one gives and not from what one collects.

Successfully happy people usually love sharing their gifts and talents; they do not want to keep anything for themselves but rather have everyone else happy as well. Whether this is by volunteering, supporting someone you know or a complete stranger, loving people or helping them, sharing truly is the key to inner peace, richness and happiness. Being gentle to others and to ourselves also is a way to evolve and be a better person. Therefore, by cultivating gratitude and sharing our wealth, we will not only feel brighter but also shift our mindset, feeling empowered and clear in our intention.

I strongly believe the first step before sharing is to be grateful for the gifts of life, for all those powers we have but usually take for granted. And then, once we’ve realised how lucky we are, it will also be easier to feel compassion and share our abundance with others.