WELL BEING & OTHER STORIES

Recipes, rituals and other stories to realign the body and mind

City guides

Well Being Around the World Lisbon ~ For Ecoage

Around the World, Commisions, City guides, Lifestyle, Sustainability, Travel, Ritualsdanielle coppermanComment
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As part of her new series Well Being Around The World, Danielle Copperman, author of Well Being: Recipes and Rituals to Realign the Body and Mind, shares wellbeing rituals, resources and recipes from her travels to Lisbon.

I fell in love with Lisbon the first time I visited a couple of years ago, and so was super pleased to be invited to visit a newly opened hotel in the heart of one of my favourite cities. Situated on what used to be the main street into and out of the city, The One Palacio De Anunciada is a beautiful 16th century palace that has been restored and transformed into a beautiful hotel, perfect for short city breaks and for exploring all of the city in no time. Whilst exploring the local area, I picked up a few tips on Portugese daily rituals from the locals that contribute to the chilled and happy vibe of Lisbon, and they're all things you can try anytime, anywhere.

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Rituals

Long times over meals

One thing I really noticed during my time in Lisbon was how cherished the ritual of eating and sharing mealtimes was. Of course, with busy works schedules, it's not always possible to spend hours over lunch let alone 10 minutes to get take out, but I did feel inspired by how many people seemed to enjoy longer lunch breaks, even during the weekdays. I also noticed much fewer people eating on the go whilst walking or performing other daily tasks. People actually took their time over their food, and even enjoyed it, sometimes alone and sometimes with others. I think taking our full lunch break allowance is something that has slipped, and instead we end up eating take out at our desks whilst finishing work. reclaim your lunch break and see how positive an impact it might have on your mood and output for the rest of the day.

Vacations and days off are actually taken off

Similarly, vacations and holidays are sacred and they're actually taken off. Thing's completely close down, especially during summer months like August, meaning employees and inhabitants are encouraged to as well. We are so used to the lifestyle of having whatever we want, whenever we want it, but I almost envy this approach to accepting and dealing with a little down time every now and then, and not feeling like it is the end of the world.

Acceptably late

Apparently, there is an unwritten rule that being 10-15 minutes late is to be expected and almost normal. Speaking with locals, it was refreshing to pick up on their laid back approach and how they almost found it admirable. At the end of the day, it's not the end of the world, and if everyone is in on it, being a bit behind schedule won't mean keeping someone waiting, but will just mean allowing yourself a little extra time to get sorted and en route to where you need to be. Maybe this is what we need in order to reduce our stress levels, especially in big cities where transport is often unpredictable and just enhances our hurried and despairing natures.

Spending lots of time outside, wild swimming & surfing

Something else I loved was seeing so many people outside. People tended to walk a lot and rarely reply on getting around in Lisbon by car. Of course the streetcars are popular, but I noticed that, since the city is not overly vast, many people are out walking during the day, hiking briskly up the hilly areas to get in their exercise for the day. Outdoor activities, according to the team at the hotel, are popular all year around. There is a lot of nature surrounding Lisbon, and with local coastal towns and beaches, wild swimming and surfing are particularly popular, not just for tourists but as part of daily or weekly life for many locals. Nature is good for the soul, and keeps you physically and mentally fit, so I'm with them on that.

Secondhand

As someone who loves buying vintage, secondhand clothes and antiques, I love how much Lisbon has to offer in terms of flea markets, secondhand and antiques stores. Whilst the main streets and central areas offer designer and high street regulars, you won't find too many chains around the rest of the city. I love the boutique vibe meaning you can wander and explore for hours and find some really unique and characteristic gems. 

Restoration 

As far as their sustainability efforts are concerned, preserving history and restoring instead of building new is a solid foundation of the development of the city. Every little bit of building or design work needs to be approved by law, which is why as you wander around you'll notice such unique building work and architecture which has been rightfully preserved, giving the city its unique energy and vibrancy. This not only means the city remains authentic and traditional, but materials, structures and already-existing buildings are recycled, reused and refurbished, rather than being knocked down and started from scratch.

Food & recipes

The food in Lisbon is so unique, with influences from all parts of Europe and neighbouring countries. Aside from the infamous pastries, Lisbon has a strong fresh fish and seafood game, due to nearby coastal towns. It is apparent that growing your own and using local produce is commonplace, and even in the supermarkets, you will often find locally produced fare, and not much overly processed stuff at all. There is a lot of fresh meat and bread, even in small convenience stores, and what’s more, I enjoyed that their fresh fruit and vegetable aisle was mostly unpackaged. The produce they use is often local and seasonal, and homecoming is a big part of daily life and almost a tradition.

The hotel

The One Palacio de Anunciada has recently been completely restored, and so many of the original structures and features have been not only retained, but made the focal points of the building. They have recycled what was there originally, and have reused structures from around the palace to make use for them amidst modern updates. Around the hotel you will notice many of the floors are the originals, from ancient woods and natural materials to authentic, untouched tile work. Furthermore, all of the ceilings have been kept exposed and have been really enhances as focal points of the hotel, the details on which are staggeringly beautiful. Original doors also remain, one of the most interesting being what was once the entrance to the palace premises from the main road; a huge wooden door that holds so much history of guests, inhabitants and visitors who’ve come and gone before. In the gardens, you will notice the dragon tree; one of the most amazing tree’s I have ever seen. More than 200 years old, the tree is the focal point of the central communal area, and all renovations had to be arranged around the tree. The tree also produces components that are used in the hotels spa treatments.

The hotel is committed to using local ingredients in their restaurants and bars, as much as possible. They source from local producers and artisans, and the menus of course change slightly from season to season, offering whatever is available, whenever it is available, with an authentic Portuguese twist. They also have specific menus for specific dietary requests or requirements, making staying 'well' whilst abroad really, really easy, including gluten free, vegan, healthy, sweet or savoury.

Well Being Around the World: Austria ~ For Ecoage

Around the World, City guides, Lifestyle, Travel, Wellbeing, Commisionsdanielle coppermanComment

My first encounter with Austria was at the age of 17 whilst I was interrailing around Europe with my best friend. That visit, fuelled by copious amounts of Viennese baked goods, was somewhat different to how I’m about to depict the country here, which is in a much more wholesome and, I hope, inspirational light.

Earlier this year, I visited two small towns in Western Austria, and as part of a new series of articles exploring Well Being Around The World, I wanted to share some of the local and traditional rituals I discovered during my stay, that I feel we can all learn from and apply to our own daily routines.

Rituals

1. Nature & The Great Outdoors

Since I was visiting a ski resort, it quickly became apparent to me just how much the great outdoors and nature are celebrated and valued in Austria. I guess it could be different in the larger towns that aren’t necessarily towered over by mountains, but there is certainly something about the fresh air and surrounding landscapes which not only bring a sense of safety, security and calm, but also awe and wonderment which is instantly grounding and gratifying.

I visited both Innsbruck and Mayrhofen, and both were relatively small towns encapsulated by mountains. For me, waking up each morning was just mesmerising, and I found it hard to imagine anyone getting stressed or feeling overwhelmed by insignificant worries and problems when the view was such a spectacle. It triggers a sense of wonder, and stands as a reminder that we are part of something much, much bigger than our own little lives.

Being in nature is known to have profound affects on health and wellbeing, both physically and mentally. Things like fresh air and sunlight support skin and complexions, as well as providing vital vitamins and nutrients (hola vitamin D!). Things like plants, greenery and natural formations are known to benefit things like eyesight, focus and concentration and are also known to provide and stimulate certain vitamins, minerals and hormones (that’s why being around green spaces with plenty of plants often makes you feel happy and relaxed!). Not to mention, trees and plants help to cleanse and purify the air, and thus increase the air quality and make breathing more enriched and nourishing. Natural formations, such as rocks, mountains and earth are also known to be grounding and relaxing and to support mental health. Just think of them as different and larger forms of crystals!

As for the great outdoors, Austria is full of adventure and activity. Locals and tourists unite for daily hikes, rambling, cycling and skiing and swimming, when the weather permits. I noticed a lot of people walking, and the people we met often said they rarely drove, except for long distances. I certainly didn’t notice any traffic jams or rush hour on the same scale as London. The cities seemed incredibly bike-friendly, too, something that seemed preferential to locals for ease, to stay active and to reduce pollution (that fresh, fresh air!).

Skiing and swimming are of course more season-dependent, and more extreme ways to keep fit and stay active. However, having it on your doorstep wouldn’t seem so extreme after a while, I don’t think, and some people we encountered said they often make the journey up to the slopes during the winter even if it’s just for an hour or two of solo skiing; in other words, a full-body workout, without the confines of a gym and with the benefits of being in nature.

Swimming is a different ball game altogether. Since I visited in Winter, wild swimming was not particularly on my radar, but locals are known to enjoy icy, outdoor swimming even during the winter, which is known to increase metabolism and boost circulation, amongst other health benefits. The practice is incredibly invigorating and revitalising, and in Austria, with the water coming straight off the mountains, think of all those vitamins and minerals (like a cross between hydrotherapy and cryotherapy)! There are many natural pools, often surrounded by Alpine backdrops and lush greenery, making the whole experience incredibly grounding and nourishing. Some pools become filled by the melting snow from the mountains - the water crystal clear but incredibly cold. In larger pools and lakes, water can get to around 16-20 degrees during the summertime, and serve as a way to cool down as temperatures rise. Want to go a step further, nude swimming is also quite a thing!

2. Saunas & Spa Therapy

Like many Alpine countries, as well as Scandinavian and Nordic, Austria’s spa game is strong. You won’t struggle to find a sauna or spa, something we tend to view as an indulgent luxury rather than a daily necessity. Saunas offer incredible benefits for skin, circulation, lymphatic drainage, immunity and much more, and I for one find a sauna a week to be deeply cleansing as well as relaxing. It helps to purge impurities from the skin and detox from within, through sweat and respiration. The only thing is, they’re not so widely available or accessible in the UK or larger cities, and if they are, they usually come in fancier forms and with a larger price tag.

3. Mid-afternoon Coffee (& Cake)

The Austrian cafe culture introduces another ritual into the day, incorporating an important pause amidst work and other duties. What I loved particularly about going for coffee was that, in Austria, it must always come with a glass of water on the side. I love this as I am all for staying hydrated, and coffee can be incredibly dehydrating. Take note!

Austria is of course not the only culture to advocate regular coffee breaks or a more thorough coffee ritual than we are used to in the UK (we’re looking at you, France and Italy), but it is nice to see so many people actually enjoying a break, and not just working through it or drinking take-out on the go. Their coffee break often comes with a side of cake or strudel too, which is not so ‘wellness’ physically, but, hey, it’s mentally good to treat yourself and do something you enjoy. And it helps to notice that in most cafes, these traditional baked goods are often freshly made and handmade, unlike the processed fare you find in mainstream supermarkets. So that kind of makes it ok?

4. Day of rest

Something I always love about visiting particularly European destinations is how they have held onto the tradition of closing shop at least one or two days a week. In Austria, there’s no (or very few) shops open on Sundays, meaning locals simply adapt their consumer habits accordingly. I like this not only as it means workers will get more rest, but it encourages people to consume less, or at least take a day off from shopping, allowing more time to do something more wholesome.

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Food and Recipes

The food in Austria is not overtly nutritious, or at least that’s not the talking point when it comes to food. You’ll find most delicacies include generous helpings of potatoes, cheese, dumplings and pasta, alongside other traditions like schnitzel and goulash. It’s all quite heavy, but after all that exercise, it kind of makes sense!

When eating out, though, you will always get a homemade feel from what’s on offer, and whilst there’s often lots of flavour, it all seems to be kept quite simple. There’s often a steady ratio of meat or fish to vegetables, and everything seems quite authentically done, unlike fast food or take away fare.

It is apparent that growing your own and using local produce is commonplace, and even in the supermarkets, you will often find locally produced fare, and not much overly processed stuff at all. There is a lot of fresh meat and bread, even in small convenience stores, and what’s more, I enjoyed that their fresh fruit and vegetable aisle was mostly unpackaged.

Recipes

Below are 2 recipes inspired by those I tried during my visit, made with all-natural ingredients, vegan and gluten-free.

Celeriac Salad - Serves 2-4

Celeriac salad is a common side accompaniment for main meals in both Austria and Germany, and I love the earthy but fresh and hydrating flavour it offers to other dishes.

Components

500g celeriac
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
2 tablespoons boiling water
½ teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons soy or coconut yoghurt - optional

Method

First, peel and grate the celeriac finely, or shred it in a food processor to make it into thin, long threads.

In a separate bowl, mix the lemon juice, olive oil, mustard, boiling water, apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper together until combined. Next, add the celeriac and stir to coat, then spoon in a tablespoon of yoghurt, if using. Stir to combine again and add more yoghurt if desired.

Season again, to taste and serve immediately or store in the fridge until ready to enjoy.

Porcini Mushroom and Potato soup - serves 4

Potato soup is a staple on almost any menu in Austria. Usually made with bacon and heavy, I’ve adapted to make this vegan and slightly more nutritious, by using mushrooms as a meat replacement, and dairy-free cream alternatives.

Components

500g medium potatoes
20g Porcini mushrooms
1 white onion
1 medium carrot
1 parsley root (can replace with parsnip or celeriac)
½ celery stick, plus leaves
1 tablespoon olive oil
500g vegetable broth (or water)
Small bunch of lovage leaves
2 bay leaves
6 peppercorns
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 tablespoons coconut milk (or soy or coconut yoghurt, or Oatly creme fraiche)
Handful of fresh parsley

Method

Start by soaking the porcini mushrooms for about 10-15 mins in warm water.

Next, roughly chop the vegetables (potatoes, celery, carrot, onion and parsley root (or parsnip or celeriac) and place them in a large saucepan with a drizzle of olive oil.

Next, add the lovage leaves, caraway seeds, bay leaves and peppercorns. Add stock or water along with herbs and spices. The liquid should cover the vegetables, so you may need to add a little more accordingly, depending on the size of your vegetables.

Add a pinch of salt and pepper and stir. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30-45 minutes.

Remove bay leaves and transfer to a blender or use a hand blender to puree the soup, until smooth.

Add the coconut milk (or plant-based yoghurt or cream alternative of choice) and blend again.

Finally, chop the porcini mushrooms roughly into small pieces, add to the blended soup, season for a final time and garnish with fresh parsley.

* If you like chunky soup, sauté the carrot in a separate pan and add to the soup, once blended.1.


Resources

Where to stay

I stayed in an airbnb in Innsbruck and a local hotel/guesthouse in Mayrhofen - most of which are complete with an onsite spa, gym and restaurant.

Featured Wellness Destinations & Other Places to Stay

Hotel Aurelio Lech

Geinberg 5

Interalpen-Hotel Tyrol

Getting there

Flights into Austrian towns are easy and often, but if you want to look at more sustainable ways of getting there, there are plenty of train and bus routes, and driving is often doable with a few stops along the way. It really depends on the number of people traveling though, as to which option is more eco-friendly, so do some research, and perhaps try to choose a destination where you won’t need a car or public transport once you’re there.

Well Being in the local area

Innsbruck:

- Olive, vegetarian restaurant
- Ludwig, Vegetarian restaurant
- Rauch Juice Bar
- Coffeekult, cafe
- The Breakfast Club, day cafe with gluten-free / vegan / vegetarian options
- Haepinest, cafe
- Akropolis, restaurant
- Das Schindler, restaurant
- Lichtblick, restaurant
- Oniriq, restaurant
- Die Muhl, restaurant
- Nordkette Cable Car
- Spa’s (research local to your destination)
- Skiing (research local to your destination)
- Walking / Hiking (research local to your destination)

Mayrhofen:

- Goldkind, cafe with gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian options
- Schneekarhutte, restaurant with gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian options
- Hikes, walks, skiing, activities
- Spa’s (research local to your destination)
- Skiing (research local to your destination)
- Walking / Hiking (research local to your destination)

* Whilst I am not saying Austria is necessarily the wellness capital of the world, and whilst I am not disregarding their love of cakes, cream, potatoes, cheese and strudel, I do feel we could learn a thing of two from the Austrian culture to assist and inspire us in our own quests for wellbeing. For me, wellbeing is not a “one size fits all” scenario and I have always felt that we can learn so much from different cultures, both wellness-focused and otherwise. The aim of these features is to provide a broader approach to wellbeing, one that travels a little beyond green juices and boutique fitness classes and into long-standing traditions that have been used for centuries. Many of the practices I tend to discover are often nothing very new at all, but are instead incredibly simple, as well as being much more authentic and sustainable than the latest trends we tend to get over-excited by.

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.