WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

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BARCELONA CITY GUIDE, THE YOGA KITCHEN AND WHY YOU SHOULD TRAVEL ALONE

Movement, Travel, Wellbeing, Lifestyle, City guidesdanielle coppermanComment

I'm (finally) getting around to writing this from the comfort of my boyfriends apartment in Sweden, wearing tiny nike training shorts with a contradictory oversized jumper, wrapped in blankets, drinking iced coffee. It's all very confusing, but this is what tends to happen during that awkward inbetween phase of seasonal change. And now, writing about Barcelona and browsing through photographs of myself in mermaid pose by a pool is just throwing me off even more. But you need to know about the places I discovered in Barcelona in case you're thinking of going in the future, so I'm going with it.

Earlier this year, caught up in a not-so-irregular email frenzy (the kind where you're beginning to question whether your fingers are even attached to your hands anymore given the rate they are moving) I almost trashed an email invitation that I thought at first glance was an ad. It was not. Kimberley Parsons, owner of Retreat Cafe and author of The Yoga Kitchen, was reaching out to invite me to her Catalonian Yoga Retreat (just outside of Barcelona), to celebrate the release of her cookbook. And since I had made no sturdy summer plans, and was still yet to make my way to Barcelona, my répondez (or should I say respuesta) was a no brainer. I booked my flights almost immediately, and added on a few extra days before the retreat started to spend some proper time exploring the city. My friends often find it brave that I travel alone, but I think my past experiences as a model probably have something to do with my personal lack of concern. I don't like being alone at home all day in London, but abroad, I love to be left to my own devices, and to explore a new place on my own terms. I don't just love travelling, I love exploring and discovering, which is why being alone doesn't seem to phase me. There is nothing like connecting with local inhabitants of a new place, and from experience, I manage to do less of this if I am travelling with others. Sure, I also love travelling with friends or family as the chance to share certain experiences with another person is unbeatable in its own way, but travelling alone gives you the chance and space to interpret things for yourself, and without necessarily realising it, you will often discover new things and rediscover the old, by reconnecting with yourself internally. I find that travelling opens my mind and also my heart, and enhances my energy output in a way that attracts positive and inspiring experiences and discoveries to come to me.
 

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Despite growing up in the countryside, I have become quite the city girl. But despite being a self-proclaimed city girl, the fast pace of city life will always get to me and is something I really don't miss when I'm away from it. Barcelona has the perfect balance in this respect. It has all the busyness, excitement, creativity and innovation of any capital city, but the atmosphere is sleepy and slowed, and the vibe is more communal and authentic. And it has a beach.

With only two full days in the city before retreating north into the Catalonian hills, the inner tourist in me woke early every morning and slept late every evening. I hate the thought of missing something and love to immerse myself in the traditional culture of a new place, which in Spain, means eating dinner around the time I would usually be going to sleep. Here are a few of my favourite Barcelonian discoveries, and after that, more on the retreat:

FLAX + KALE, TERESA'S + TERESA CARLES
I headed here for a smoothie and left with three. I then returned en route to the airport at the end of my trip and gorged on sashimi salmon toast and a vegan ice cream sundae to end all ice cream sundaes. They have some unique flexitarian options and something delicious for everyone. Teresa Carles is the chef in charge, and is also responsible for Teresa's Juicery, Teresa Carles and Teresa's.

SATANS COFFEE CORNER
This place has two locations, one of which is located on the corner of some quiet bending back streets, which is where I guess the name comes from. I had an amazing iced coffee (made from the finest single original coffee beans) and chose a breakfast bowl and some poke from their menu of local, house made dishes.

BRUNCH + CAKE
More than just brunch and cake, but you can’t call a place brunch, breakfast, smoothies, coffee, juices, sandwiches, salad bowls, toasts and cake, can you? With several locations across the city this place offers interesting and exciting nourishment any time of day (despite the name).

SURF HOUSE
A cute little surf shack that makes Barcelona Beach feel like Bondi. They have an amazing selection of fusion bowls, fresh burgers and revitalising drinks, and from them I chose an amazing tuna sashimi bowl and a smoothie. It's not often you find a place with vegan options sitting across from bbq ribs and nutella drenched waffles, but this place proves it can happen.

BOCQUIERA MARKET
If you like food, and lots of it in one place, spend some time wandering Bocquiera Market. A huge indoor/outdoor food market selling fresh produce, cooked meals, meat, fish, cheese, bread, smoothies and nut and seed pick & mix. I stumbled across it accidentally and stocked up on the most amazing macrona almonds, macadamia nuts and a coconut smoothie.

MACBA MUSEUM
Due to my time restriction (and the beautiful weather outside), I didn’t explore inside the Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona, but a friend of mine living in the city suggested swinging by to watch the skateboarders doing their thing. I took my Bocquiera takeaways and ate them in the sun, watching them make a half pipe out of the museum steps.

PRESS + RESET
One of few juice joints in the city, Press and Reset is a cool, cold pressed juice bar, located on the sidewalk approaching the beach. I took a strawberry almond milk from the fridge and enjoyed it with my feet in the sea.

THE JUICE HOUSE
Juices, smoothies, tea infusions, acai bowls, chia pancakes, avocado toast, salads and more, with options for meat eaters, vegans and everyone else in between.

BLUE PROJECT CAFE
Vegetarian, vegan and raw nourishment. Beautiful, delicious and incredibly functional if you need some cleansing between tapas courses and rounds of san gria.

PARK GUELL
I thought it was only right to engage in some actual tourism in between exploring the health food scene, so I made my way from the beach, through Park Cituedella all the way up to park guell. its quite a walk but i wasn’t working out so i enjoyed every sweaty minute of it. when i reached the park i explored the public grounds before taking the tour of Gaudi’s infamous architecture.

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T H E    Y O G A    K I T C H E N

After two days of touring Barcelona's health food scene and making my way to enough of it's famous landmarks to satisfy my inner tourist, I headed North of the city to the a traditional 19th century converted farmhouse situated in the Catalonian hills, to join Kimberley and ten other guests for The Yoga Kitchen Retreat. Kimberley's book - The Yoga Kitchen - is all about eating to realign our seven chakras which, incase you are unfamiliar, are the different energy systems within our bodies. These chakras, known as the Root, Sacral, Solar, Heart, Throat, Third Eye and Crown, are the major energy centers of the body and are charged and recharged through contact with the stream of cosmic energy in the atmosphere. Each chakra relates to a certain part of the body, and if you feel physical or mental tension or experience complications in a certain area, this is known as a blockage or closure, and is your bodys way of showing when something is out of balance and unaligned. In her book, Kimberly focusses on the connection each chakra has with diet and mindful habits. She explains how we can support each one through our diets and provides over 100 plant based, sugar free and gluten free recipes to nurture each chakra. To emphasise the importance of phsycially and mentally nurturing our chakra's and keeping them balanced, Kathryn Fielding was our yoga teacher for the week, and each daily practice was inspired by each daily menu, focussing on a single chakra each day, starting from the root upwards.

We spent every moment before 8am in complete silence, and from 8am to 9am, this was only broken by the words of our teacher. At first, especially since I was sharing a room, I found this challenging as I hate awkward silences as it is, and wanted to acknowledge my roomie with a friendly 'good morning'. However, since everyone was silent, it wasn't really awkward at all, and by day two I had come to quite enjoy over-emphasising my smile and pointing at things in order to communicate.

After half an hour of independant, self-guided meditation, we started each day with 1 to 1.5 hours of chakra relevant morning yoga, either on a rooftop overlooking the hills, or on the edge of the infinity pool (not the infinite edge, dw). We then walked, simultaneously energised but relaxed, back up to the main house where a breakfast shot and smoothie was waiting for us. We sat at a long, communal table and got to know each other between courses of avocado toast, savoury flapjacks, egg bowls, rice bowls and hearty, seasonal salads - all made from the freshest local produce. You couldn't even imagine a brunch so perfect if you tried, unless greasy spoons or frosted flakes are your jam.

After breakfast - which was often 4 or 5 courses (sometimes 6 if you finished someone elses) of the most wholesome, natural and intentional ingredients - the rest of the day was our own. At first, I was dubious about going away with people I didnt know and was concerned that I might not want to commit to everything on the program, however, unlike a lot of more regimented retreats, we were left to do whatever we wanted for the rest of the day, and even the afternoon and evening activities were not compulsory. This fitted with the 'wake up well' and 'wind down well' ethos behind my brand, as I loved having structure in the morning and evening, but freedom to do what I wanted during the day. Somedays we walked off our breakfast banquet with a hike to and from a local lake. Others, we took bikes to the local town, played tennis in the private courts, swam in the pool, sunbathed, socialised or in some cases worked without feeling like we were working.

In the evenings, we had the choice to take part in yin and restorative yoga, often in a cool, cave-like room or on the rooftop overlooking the sunset. After that, we gathered around the communal table for a three course selection of chakra-relevant Yoga Kitchen nourishment. We started each meal with something light (raw asparagus mousse, roasted carrot gnochi, warming soups and seeded crackers). The mains (lentil dahl, white bean risotto, aubergine brown rice bowl to name a few) were fulfilling but also easy on the digestive system, and the desserts (turmeric mousse, raw chocolate bites, brazil nut ice cream) were, although not needed at all by this stage, welcomed and received with open arms (and chakras, lol). Some evenings we toasted essential oil spritzers and digestive tonics whilst star gazing, and others drew to a close with a cup of tea, a late night swim or just some low-key independant reading.

The experience as a whole was incredibly heart opening, and to have Kim and her husband both hosting, their love and energy definitley penetrated through every one of the guests. Some guests had never done yoga before whilst others were comparably pro, but no matter anyones level or ability, i defeinitely noticed something change in each guest by the middle of the week. Some people had stressful journeys, many of us were going through hectic times at work, and one was dealing with a painful breakup, but as we all opened up, shared things and let good food, positive energy and restorative yoga practices sooth these current challenges, we were able to accept things, enjoy things, embrace the power of positive thinking and of each others energy and truly let go. I swear I saw all twenty tense, hunched up shoulders drop heavily after a few hip opening postures and superfood shots.

I think the temperature just dropped by another 5 degrees so I'm going to round this up now, but if you want to find out more about The Yoga Kitchen, follow Kim @kimberleyparsons. She holds these retreats all year round and all over the world, so take a look on our website or subscribe to her newsletter to keep updated.

If you want to keep up to date with my travels and discoveries, follow me @dcopperman. I'll also keep these posts updated if I discover new things on repeat visits.

Well Being Around the World - Uppsala, Sweden

Sweden, Travel, Lifestyle, City guides, Around the Worlddanielle coppermanComment

I have always loved Sweden, and anything Swedish for that matter. I love the people, the design, the creativity, the lingonberry jam / smörgåsbord / gravlax / meatballs and the way you find fields and farmland on the outskirts of even the larger more industrial cities. Stockholm has the perfect balance of city living combined with country lifestyle, and I find the vibe is much slower and more laid back compared to other major cities.

Last month I travelled slightly North of the Capital to visit my boyfriend in Uppsala, during Midsommer - a National weekend-long summertime celebration. Sweden is great for many reasons, one of them being their willingness and ability to throw great parties at any oppertunity. Everyone makes an effort to get together to celebrate good company and good times with amazing homemade food and a lot of the alcoholic stuff. We spent Midsommer feasting on shrimp tarts and killing ourselves slowly with an entire kladkakka. The rest of my stay involved many fika's and by that I mean Swedish coffee breaks and by that I mean chokladbollar, cycling around the city as the sun rose (they have like five minutes of darkness during the summer), and learning to say Hej Hej and Tack Tack.

Below is a list of the best places to find things like kardemummabullar, lakes to swim in and painfully nice things for the home. Hopefully these things excite you as much as they do me.
+ I'll keep this page updated with any new discoveries from any repeat visits.

Restaurants, Bars + Cafes

Kafe Kardemumma
Kafe Kardemumma is tucked inside Uppsala's neat little library. On the edge of hundereds of bookcases is a calm corner of cafe life. The place is filled with natural light, and the interiors - white walls, beautiful tiles, worn but wonderful wooden flooring and art deco wall lamps - create a simultaneously cool and welcoming place to enjoy a wholesome lunch or to take a fika break with a book.

Cafe Victoria
A small summer cafe situated on the edge of the Botanical Gardens, amongst allotments and overlooking the tropical greenhouse and the flourishing grounds. With outdoor space dotted with garden furniture, it is the perfect place to enjoy a coffee and some pastries or one of the more substancial homemade dishes they have to offer, before or after a walk around the gardens.

Kitchen + Table
A easy going, modern restaurant in the heart of the city. The food is a combination of World cuisine and Scandinavian cuisine, and everything is made using ingredients from local producers.
They also do a laid back brunch service on the weekends, with a buffet style offering of Swedish classics and American inspired dishes.

Cafe Linne
A great spot on a quiet, picturesque street serving coffee, cakes, pastries, sandwiches, salads and a selection of hot food. Outdoor seating makes this place an ideal spot for people watching and passing time.

Frenchi Cafe / Restaurant
A beautifully designed little number sitting on the ground floor of Klubb Rådhuset - a painfully beautiful yet modest department store in what was once used as The Town Hall - first built in 1645. Frenchi is an inspired brasserie, popular for its French menu and interiors, both of which are spiked with Asian influences. Enjoy a unique and innovative breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner anytime of day, or take a Fika in one of their terraces, with good coffee and perfect sweet treats.

Lingon
A traditional Swedish restaurant situated on the river, with a large outdoor area overlooking the calm waters. Their menu contains some of Swedens most traditional dishes, including Seafood Casserole, Gravlax and Meatballs.

Cafe Arummet
A cosy and very traditional cafe also on the river, popular for their huge counter of cakes, quiches, smörgåsbord, pastries and other sweets. They offer all-you-can-drink, refillable coffee, and this is what I used to wash down the most insane gluten free kladdkaka (several of their cakes are gluten free and some entirely dairy free and vegan).

Cafe Å Lait
A cool little one-stop shop to grab an on-the-go coffee, and a little snack if thats what your feeling.

Aaltos
A pretty spesh Italian grill serving all the Italian specialities you might expect from an Italian restaurant. With fancy interiors this place is chill just for drinks, and ideal for celebratory dinners with a nice crowd.

Terrason
The name terrason is given to this bar because of its terrace running around the entire exterior. We went here for a drink, sat on the terrace and watched the sun come up, which brought on all kinds of deep meaningful chats.

Ikea
Sorry, not sorry for this one. No one needs to include Ikea in a city guide - you should all know it's gonna be a good time there - but seriously, if the Swede's swear their meatballs are the best, then their meatballs are the best.

Stationen
A beautiful place in Uppsala's picturesque train station, serving up a mixture of French and Swedish favourites.

Cousteau
A beautiful place with a nice vibe. Go there for delicious meat and fish dishes (think trout, lamb and seafood) and for real good vegetable plates (think jerusalem artichoke, chanterelles and kale). Head nextdoor for a completely vegetarian version, Legume de Cousteau.

Annabels
Everything here is prepared with locally produced Swedish ingredients, sometimes combined with the odd ingredient from neighbouring countries. They transform meat and fish into wonderful things, but the vegetables are the main focus, and each dish is designed and updated seasonally.

Dylans
The best burger bar in town, and it even offers gluten free buns. Their combinations are unique and you can even add avocado.

Güntherska Hovkonditori & Schweizeri
Everything they make here is made from scratch using high quality ingredients. They have a pretty unbeatable selection of cakes, pastries and desserts (apparently the best Kardemummabullar), and make amazing fresh bread including sourdough - which they also make into sandwiches.

Hamburgs Fisk
Real good fish place. The Swede's do seafood and shellfish well, and this place is proof if you need any.

La Parrilla
A new restaurant whos menu is influenced by Spanish and Latin American cuisine. They cook their hot meals over an open fire giving everything an intense flavour. They menu consists of vibrant, fresh starters, salads and small plates, as well as more hearty main courses.

Åkanten
The best thing about this place is the outdoor seating lining the water. Nice vibe, traditional menu and pretty ok scenery.

Nubben Cafe
An atmospheric restaurant serving traditional Nordic specialities, including Smörrebröd, Herring Cake, Wild Boar and Shrimp Salads.

Juice Bars

Moe Joes Juice Bar
Freshly made juices, smoothies and salad bowls are on the menu here, all made using real, whole and vibrant ingredients.

Green House
A vibrant little eatery with a menu of good seafood and dishes with a middle eastern influence, including houmous, tabbouleh etc etc.

Markets

Bondens Mat i Uppland
Here, local food producers gather and sell things like cheese, jams, vegetables and fresh meat.

Fyristorg
Here, the stalls on the square are open all year round on Saturdays. Stall vendors offer their locally-grown goods, from fruits and vegetables to bread and flowers.

Health Food Stores

Tantens Gröna Skafferi & Garderob
Specialist Chocolate shop, selling all kinds of chocoalte treats, including vegan and sugar free options.

Tehornan
A sweet family run business selling good quality loose teas, coffee, herbs, spices and traditional sweets and fika snacks. The store smells immense and the walls are lined with jar upon jar of loose leaf tea. They also sell homeware including mugs, teapots, trays, aprons, teatowels, tea strainers, brewing apparatus and Swedish souvenirs.

Parks + Lakes

Fjällnura
About 30/40 minutes out of Uppsala by car, Fjällnura is a cosy collection of cabins tucked into the beautiful forest, the perfect lake. Stay overnight or visit for the day. They have pedlo's and canoes to rent, as well as crazy golf and large bonfire pits to barbeque all your worries away.

Botanical Gardens

Stadsträdgården Park

Fyrisån River
Running through Uppsala with sidewalks almost all the way along it, the river Fyrisån River is the perfect place to perch in the sun or stop to take it all in on the way in or out of town.

Clothing, Homeware + Vintage Stores

Household
If you like minimal homeware, unique gifts and fun party decorations, make some time for Household. Inside, its much like a little warehouse. No frills, but plenty of (affordable) thrills in the form of candles, marble kitchenwear and small furniture.

Weekday
Good for basics, and interesting yet effortless designs. Men and women.

Volt
If theres a boy in your life, go here for him. Somewhere in between high end and high street menswear store, which they have also turned into a magazine too.

Korrens Kuriosa
Second hand shop selling clothes, furntiure and other trinkets you don't need but do want.

Odhner Vintage Shop
Second hand design store selling furniture, fabrics, and fun things like rocking horses, art and groovy lamps.

Klubb Rådhuset
A modern department store in what was once used as The Town Hall (first built in 1645). The original interiors remain, which is why it feels more like shopping in a palace than a store. The building is home to some unique labels and brands, both local and international.