Have you ever noticed what happens in your physical body when certain emotions arise? These feelings are meant to move through us; instead, often we allow them to bunch up inside of us, crystallising tension, fear and anxiety into real physical knots.
One of my favourite ways to untie unnecessary knots in my body is through delicious, restorative openings. This posture opposes the usual stance of rounded shoulders which overtime leads to the shortening of our pectoral muscles.
So many of us store our feelings in our shoulders allowing them to hunch inward, closing in on the chest in an attempt to protect our vulnerable hearts. By taking this deep, yet gentle opening we can put ourselves in a more positive place, still feeling the safety of stillness and from there, able to open up to the world.
While laying in this posture, I can almost guarantee that you will feel more accepting, content and loving.
Choose your prop. If you have a yoga bolster or brick then use that, if not, you can use a firm cushion or two softer ones.
Lay your prop(s) horizontally underneath your back at the level of your shoulder blades (bra strap line) then turn to face away. Keep your chin tucked and come down onto your forearms. At this stage you can use your hands to adjust the prop if you need to so it will sit under your shoulder blades.
Take your hands to your head and allow the whole weight of your head to go into your hands so that the neck is relaxed. Take the head back and assess whether you need a lower prop to go underneath the back of your head. You want to feel comfortable and relaxed in this beautiful heart opener rather than overly strained and uncomfortable. Be gentle.
When you’re ready to rise, come up in the same way you came in by taking your hands to your head and taking the whole weight. Step by step, without straining your neck, you can come into a seat again and revel in the delight of presence.
Last year, while based in Morocco, my friend Hanna and I flew up north and rented a car from Fes airport. We had an incredible week-long road-trip through the very northern tip of Africa and we even crossed the border into Europe.
We hired a small car from the airport so that we could transport ourselves over the bigger distances between cities, but once we arrived at each destination, we would mostly park up the car and spend the next day or two on foot.
This is a busy place; it reminded me a lot of Marrakesh with its small, bustling streets and there’s lots of people trying to get your attention (and money). We walked all around the medina and had a great time bargaining for our baboosh (Berber slippers) which are sold all over the city, straight from the famous Chouara Tannery which is situated there. The viewing terraces around the tannery are a little difficult to manage but you shouldn’t have to pay an entry fee. However, it may be that a local takes the time to explain the history and functioning of the tannery so you decide if you’d like to pay for a guide or stick to yourself. We found number 10 because Hanna had done some research and read it was a good viewpoint and that it was; we got the whole large balcony to ourselves while others were cramming into one small area.
We ate at The Ruined Garden and the Moroccan tapas was so delicious. However, we returned the next day to try the tagine and were very disappointed. It’s a lovely space so check it out and stick to the tapas!
This beautiful blue city looks a little fairytale-like. We really enjoyed roaming the streets here and had some amazing food. Bab Ssour is an absolute must: tasty, colourful and outrageously good value for money (although I do think they did us an extra special dea!). We also ate an amazing vegetable cous cous dish at Sofia (plus a million breads that get served to you whenever you eat out in Morocco which Hanna and I devoured every time) on our second night which was great, particularly as we were ravenous after our trip out to the cascade. We had not let the rain get us down and driven out to the beginning of the waterfall hike but luckily for us, out there it wasn’t raining. There was a stall selling bulk figs, nuts and even carob so we got a few sacks to chew on – yum. We did the whole 4 hour hike, which I’d really recommend, then the 45 minutes drive back to Chefchouen and still there it was raining. It had rained all day long and we were so glad we’d gotten out into open nature.
While in Chefchaouen we stayed at a hostel called Read Baraka which was cheap and cheerful but it was very loud – you definitely need earplugs for this one!
Tangier (ferryport ~ Tarifa)
We drove on to Tangier but I can’t comment on the city as all we did was park the car and get the ferry across to Spain, although I can state how utterly kind and friendly the workers at the port are!
We found this grand crossing from Africa to Europe rather momentous. It was so interesting to see the cafe culture change from men drinking tea to men and women together drinking wine; to hear the language switch from French to Spanish; and to feel our position in the world rise from being a somewhat inferior woman in a developing country to being an equal woman in a developed country, all within 40 minutes.
We loved our short stay in Tarifa. We stayed at The Melting Pot, we ate and practiced yoga at Restaurante Tarifa Eco Centre and I enjoyed a totally stunning sun rise run along the promenade – I’d highly recommend them all.
This place was quite a surprise for the both of us. It is perhaps a lesser known and visited area in the north if travellers are on a time limit but I had had a couple of different Moroccan friends recommend this place to me therefore we decided to include it in our trip.
The centre of Asilah is beautiful, a real arts haven. The walls are painted, windows are decorated and there’s lots of interesting craft on sale, from tapestries and rugs to jewellery and bags.
I had booked us into an airBnB that was out of town; it was described as a unique farmhouse and it so massively exceeded our expectations. I had paid a little extra as it looked nice but wow, we loved it! Again the arty design predominated with beautiful architecture, paintings and each decorative detail. The young woman that greeted us (Noella I think her name was) was so beautiful and made us feel instantly at home. We enjoyed the stunning sunset in peace (we were the only guests!), sat by the crackling fire and each of us got our turn to enjoy the natural olive oil soap made by local women in the shower before a sound sleep. This gem is called Maison d’hotes Berbari.
We made a brief stop in Rabat and of course it was busy. What else can you expect for a capital city? Still, it’s nice that it’s by the water and there’s lots of history shrouded through the streets and of course in the main attractions of Oudaias Kasbah, Hassan Tower and Mausoleum of Mohammed V.
We arrived back in Fes with ourselves and our rental car all in one piece. We returned the car at the airport and in the same fashion as the rest of the trip, had a perfectly smooth journey back to Agadir.
This recipe serves 3-4 and I love to team it with a good serving of black rice and sauerkraut for a meal that makes a great lunchbox. This can also be a nice side dish at a bbq, picnic or pot luck style dinner party where everyone brings something. It’s very simple, with the right tools, and has a truly amazing combination of flavours and textures.
I’d never used a Mandoline before this and wow, what a handy invention! If you want to home-make your slaws then I’d suggest getting one of these. Without one, you will spend a long time finely slicing these vegetables but it is still certainly doable.
This can be served straight away or is also lovely when it’s been left to sit for a few hours or overnight, allowing the raw veggies to marinade in their dressing.
1/2 Red Cabbage
1 Red Pepper
1 inch Ginger
2 Spring Onions
1 bunch Coriander
5 tbsps Sesame Seeds
3 tbsps Sesame Oil
3 tbsps Tamari
2 tbsps Rice Vinegar
Use a Mandoline to grate the cabbage, peppers and carrot into a large bowl or tray. Slice the celery stalks once or twice lengthways and then very finely across that cut. Add the sliced celery to the other raw vegetables. Chop the spring onions and fresh coriander to also add to the mixture. Peel the ginger then grate this into a separate small bowl or jar which you can add your wet dressing ingredients to. A jar can be nice as you can give a good shake to combine into a dressing, otherwise just whisk with a fork or spoon before pouring over the vegetables and mixing everything well. Toast your sesame seeds until you can smell a little nuttiness and then add to your delicious slaw.
Christmas is pretty funny when you really think about it; what was once a religious day (and of course still is for many) is now more of a consumerist concoction of over-doing and over-indulging. What’s beautiful about Christmas is that most people get to have a break from their work, which may be stressful and demanding and instead, if they’re lucky, they have the time to spend with their loved ones. It is so easy to be sucked into the idea that because it’s December you must spend x amount of money on x amount of people, but what does that really do? Surely that’s just following the herd that the marketing and advertisement agencies have strived to create in order to put more money into this material cycle, rather than truly showing someone you love them.
Think about ALL OF THE WASTE that happens at this time of year; buying extortionate amounts of food and drink because we’re told we need to have over and above in order to have a ‘merry Christmas’, or the masses of plastic packaging that wraps around the deliveries we receive, the sets we purchase or the wrapping paper, tags, cards and the plastic packaging that even these packaging items are sold in!
What’s the greatest gift you could give? Personally I think that in most cases it’s your time. Take the time to really think about the select people that you do want to give a gift (whether or not it’s Christmas!) and really put time and thought in…
I LOVE giving gifts, whether it’s an experience, a box of homemade granola or a hand-crafted item. Here’s some great ideas of thoughtful gifts that don’t cost the earth and allow for your own creative juices to flow:
A luxury massage (either at a beautiful spa or given by you)
A surprise trip to a secret location (a weekend away/a day trip/an evening under the stars)
A hand designed bottle of bath salts (reuse a glass jar/bottle from the kitchen and source sea salt, pink Himalayan salt & Epsom salts then add some herbs like lavender or rosemary)
A handmade voucher for dinner in your own home restaurant (you could even create a beautiful menu with their favourite dishes you’ve ever made them).
My boyfriend and I won’t be together at Christmas and after he surprised me with a trip to the Sahara Desert, I was thinking hard about what I’d like to give. I was struck with a couple of extra challenges than normal in that he still has some travelling to do so doesn’t need any extra weight, plus the fact that we won’t be together (to enjoy an experience) again until February. So, in the end I came up with the idea of a homemade, light weight gift + an experience we can look forward to:
Natural Optimisation Kit
Sam is going to climb the highest mountain in South America, a three week challenge that will need some essentials. I gathered an additional 4 natural potions that could help him to enjoy it the most:
Turmeric & black pepper blend for anti-inflamation
Peruvian powder blend of cacao, maca and sacha inchi for a boost in vital nutrients, promoting strength
Ginseng for extra energy
Eucalyptus which is dissolved in boiling water creating an extremely strong steam, potent enough to clear headaches and nausea (these crystals are sold all over Morocco).
It was extremely difficult to find glass bottles. Unfortunately here in Morocco, plastic pervades… everywhere. I searched all over the biggest souk in Africa and it wasn’t until I’d actually given up hope, when I spotted some glass bottles behind one man’s stall – hallelujah.
I also handmade Sam a card. I collected flowers from the mountains during my morning run one day then dry pressed them for a few days. Once they had dried, I used tweezers, a paint brush and glue to create this design… it wasn’t quick and easy, it took time and precision but that’s what makes it all the more special.
Finally, I booked us in for pottery workshops for when we’re back in Sydney so we have the opportunity to learn a new skill together and create something ourselves.
Giving should be fun and challenging in a good way, not stressful and soul destroying! Think of all that time stood in shopping cues or scrolling through the internet and think how much more creatively you could use your time hand picking/making a gift totally unique, truly expressing what that person means to you.
Who doesn’t love a good nut butter?! Except those poor people that are allergic to nuts (the horror!); if this is you then substitute the almonds for sunflower seeds to make an almighty seed butter, totally delicious also.
You can buy so many varieties of nut butter these days, made different according to the nuts used, the amount they’re blended, the flavourings added. Why not get creative and make your absolute dream nut butter to drizzle all over your life..?
This does take time but all that effort and love you put in you absolutely get back. Allow yourself to enjoy this whole process. What a beautiful gift this could be at Christmas – giving your own time is surely one of the most precious gifts.
First things first, you need a very powerful food processor to do this. I’ve learned the hard way – I’m now in fact two blenders down in the quest for delicious homemade butters. The reason for this is that the blender needs to be running for at least 15 minutes and if the blender isn’t so powerful it will get very overheated. Just be careful and maybe switch it off every 5 minutes, allowing for a cool down period if need be.
Now, let’s get buttery…
I like to soak my almonds overnight in filtered water so that in the morning I can rinse off the phytic acid, making them easier to digest. The almonds grow by ingesting the water surrounding it making them more plump and soft, yet with a fresh crunch – this makes them more pleasant to chew on so you may well like to set aside some activated almonds to add to salads and rice bowls etc.
After draining and rinsing the nuts, place them on a lined baking tray(s) into the oven on 180 degrees and give them a good shuffle at least every 10 minutes, until you can smell the nuttiness and see that they’ve taken on a darker colour, before turning black. If you’re short on time, you can miss this step but I think it’s important to really bring out the delicious depth of flavour.
What flavours do you love? – Aromatic spices? Creamy coconut? Rich chocolate? Really take the opportunity to make this butter your own by adding what gets your mouth watering. If you want to follow my festive spiced almond butter, here’s what you’ll need: cinnamon, cardamom, groundginger, nutmeg, seasalt. I like to activate my spices by lightly toasting them in a frying pan before adding to the nuts. The quantities will vary according to your own taste and the quantity of almonds you’ve used. Have a play and taste along the way!
It can seem like this will never work but you just need to trust… says the woman who’s broken two blenders, but really, even it you’ve got a really strong blender, it looks, at first, like you’ll never create a butter and that all of the nuts are stuck but you just need to wait for them to release their oils. You can add a good quality oil to the mixture to help this first stage. Here in Morocco, I use argan oil fresh from the mountains – my neighbours collects the stones from the trees, crack them, then grill, ground and press until they create the oil by hand. In other areas you may like to add melted coconut oil. Again, you choose your oil and choose your quantity; add little by little.
Enjoy your healthy, homemade nut butter in any way you wish. I like to add it to porridge, smoothies, brownies, dressings and of course straight off the spoon… let’s be honest, straight off my fingers getting every last bit off that food processor!
After making a home for ourselves here in the surf capital of Morocco, it was time for my boyfriend and I to explore further afield. Taghazout is the nearest town to our base which is part of a small mountain village: Ait Ahmed.
At the bottom of the mountain, instead of turning left towards Agadir, taking us along a beautiful coastal road heading north. You pass through many surf breaks and you’re likely to catch sight of all sorts of animals from cats and dogs, to sheep and goats, all the way to huge camels going about their daily activities: catching some rays, long walks on the beach and feasting on the finest plant-based, 100% organic greens.
Our first stop was Imsouane, a small surfing town with softer, long waves, often fun for beginners and advanced surfers alike. We had a tea/coffee at Olo which is a friendly hostel with great views over the open, blue expanse.
After a couple of hours in Imsouane, we headed onward and upward to Essaouira. It was bright and sunny when we arrived and we decided that this place gave us a really different feeling to the other spots we’d enjoyed further south. It felt a little more upscale and with all of the white buildings we almost felt like we were back in Venice (although that was back in July). My hot tip for this town is Mega Loft; this rooftop bar/restaurant is an experience with all sorts of colours, sounds, textures and tastes!
After a night in Essaouira, we drove back on ourselves a little to check out Sidi Kaouki. We set off on a lovely long stroll along the beach, however on the way back the heavens opens and we got absolutely soaked through. When we finally got back to the car, we took refuge and decided that our sidi kaoki experience was over. I had read that it was ‘a pretty place to do nothing’ in so we had had our fill and continued on inland to Marrakesh…
Everyone has heard of Marrakesh but I think you can certainly only understand it by really being there; ‘hustle & bustle’ has never been more appropriate. The senses are being pulled in all directions and for me, Marrakesh was exhausting. My boyfriend and I arrived in the evening, just in time for another downpour and finding your way around those small cobbled streets is a test indeed! We spent two nights in our riad so had one full day to explore. We enjoyed our visit but one day was enough for the both of us. Top tip: Nomads rooftop restaurant; lovely food and a place of peace above all the crowds.
The next day after breakfast we ventured on to ourika waterfalls. The drive out there was actually quite a lot longer than we had anticipated and you do have to come back down the same road. When you first arrive, the tourism is clear to see and not nice, it’s busy and people were hassling us for parking and to be our guide. It is great to give back to the local community of course, but sometimes you just want to go on a peaceful walk through nature without having to pay. Later we bought a ton of apples from locals which are grown all over this area. If you do want to visit the seven waterfalls of ourika, you may well need a guide. We decided to ramble on our own, discovering small and large waterfalls, an autumn oasis, mountain goats galore and even a hermit Shepard who came over to give us a handful of fresh walnuts he’d found in the stream and showed us how to crack them open for some brain food. Snippets of sunshine here made for some truly outstanding views. I loved the two of us going off alone seeing no one but the local mountaineers, I think taking a guide would lead to extremely touristy route, so choose wisely.
The sky became very dark and some drops began to fall… my pace quickened down the mountain for sure, I did not fancy being stranded up there in a flash flood! We made it back to the car safe and sound then headed back through the Atlas Mountains toward Imlil. This drive was a lot longer than google maps told us (really can’t go by estimates on there when driving through the Moroccan Mountains, let me tell ya!). The rain came but also passed by and was followed by sunshine; we had some extraordinary views. I felt very lucky to be in such a situation. The weather, terrain, colours and shapes all changed a lot along the way and we enjoyed it all. However, Imlil is high up and it got very, very cold… and again very rainy! We arrived just before it got pitch black and took shelter from the storm in a ‘restaurant’. This meal may have been the worst I’ve ever paid for in my life. The whole experience could have been part of a comedy sketch and was really a good laugh; I think some telling signs were first when we arrived and asked if they were open, they simply switched the lights on and said “yes!… (we are now)” and then when we were given bread and asked for olive oil, we were told “no, sorry, we don’t have any”. Anyway, we made it through the experience and out to our lovely accommodation which made such an effort to make us feel comfortable and at home from warming our room, to giving blankets, to going especially to collect local honey for me when their normal breakfast consisted of lots of dairy that I don’t eat. I would highly recommend Toubkal Ecolodge even if it weren’t for the breathtaking views up top. With the famous, snow topped Toubkal mountain in the distance, we went for a fresh, sunny walk and passed a few people on week(s)-long hikes exploring the beautiful Imlil mountains.
We headed on through the Atlas Mountains in the car for more feelings of awe and wonder; a real sense of being a tiny part of something so huge and wonderful. This time we were descending so it became warmer. There really is no towns/villages to get food, drink or petrol for a long, long time so be prepared. We stopped when we reached a village and Sam had they best tagine he’s had the whole time in Morocco! I could not tell you the name of the place or village I’m afraid but you’d want to discover your best tagine yourself anyway… From there we continued on to Taroudant. We arrived in the evening to our gorgeous accommodation, set in wide open space. The grounds had lovely gardens, a pool and a restaurant. Sam treated us for the final night of our trip and we enjoyed a lovely dinner and evening at Les Trois Paons before driving back home to our tranquil mountain riad in Ait Ahmed.
While pilates is a form of exercise to strengthen the core and many muscles that can become weak in our bodies, yoga is an ancient philosophy, of which movement is only one small part.
Yoga as an exercise:
Yoga movements can be a wonderful way to mobilise, lubricate, strengthen, lengthen and stabilise the muscles, bones and connective tissues in the body. The owner of my yoga school in Byron Bay always said that we should aim to move every joint in every way, every day. Some styles of yoga, particularly here in the west, are very focused on exercise. Styles like hot yoga, vinyasa, ashtanga and many more can provide a full body work out that leaves you sweating, yet unlike some other forms of exercise; in yoga we use the power of awareness and dharana (single pointed focus, often on the breath) to find a sense of calm even in our stresses and exertions. It’s often due to the physical aspects of yoga that many people find themselves attending a class, without realising what lays behind this supposed form of movement.
Yoga as more:
Asana (which translates to ‘comfortable seat’ but is understood as the postures we make with our bodies in order to find our ‘comfortable seat’) would be a much closer comparison to pilates; asana is merely one eighth of yoga, according to Patanjali. In accordance with ashtanga yoga, there are eight elements to this practice, in sequential order, moving towards enlightenment. Before we begin practicing asana, really we should work on our morals, both toward the world around us and within ourselves (yamas & niyamas), then we can begin to work physically with the body. It is understood that the body is important because it is where the soul resides. Our physical yoga practice is also a good place for us to begin to practice the rest of the limbs of yoga which work with breath control (pranayama), sense withdrawal (pratyahara), single pointed focus (dharana), and meditation (dhyana). For serious yogis, they may even begin to take small steps towards the final stage: samadhi, which means complete transgression of the physical body, unity with the divine and a feeling of complete ecstacy.
As you can see even from this extremely tiny description of a gigantic topic; yoga goes miles beyond a physical practice. Asana is an important factor which plays its role within a much larger holistic, sacred practice.
I think we probably all have our own ways of either mindlessly reacting or mindfully responding to feelings of anxiety. This is often the time we will turn to our vice: eating/drinking/smoking etc but by doing this, instead of actually facing the cause, we are merely masking the uncomfortable effect.
When we actually focus on the feeling within the body, then we can address it and help to guide those emotions of fear into a place of safety.
Even though I’ve travelled a lot, I still get anxious if I have a big trip that I’m doing alone. I feel this slight pang inside and I know that I must tend to it immediately, otherwise it will span completely beyond my control. Here are some of my tried and tested method that provide me with a sense of safety in the moments I need it most.
Yes I’m English and we’re known for our tea drinking but there really is something so soothing and calming about holding something warm and sipping that gentle heat into the body. Anxiety is a symptom of vata imbalance which has a cold, harshness to it, so warming food and drinks are a must over dry, cold salad and sharp ice cold beverages. I always take teabags with me on flights (and also everywhere else I go!) so that I can enjoy calming herbs and caress my senses from touch to smell to taste, allowing my body to soften.
Aromas are a great way to fill the whole system with a particular feeling, perhaps taking you back to another occasion where you felt safe. Certain herbs and oil extracts are known for their calming benefits such as lavender and chamomile. You can simply smell the bottle or dot them on pressure points to reap the benefits from the inside and out.
Emotional tension stores itself as physical tension in the body so by releasing physical tightness, we can indirectly work on our emotional angst. Personally, I choose seated postures to help me to feel grounded and connected. I like to open up my feet and wrists first, areas which are often forgotten but I find so helpful to release.
The element water teaches us how to let go; it’s soft, adaptable and flows with total ease. When we float in the ocean or swim in a pool we can allow ourselves to be held, releasing our grip. Although in a bath we are not floating, it still feels wonderful to be one with the water and in this case you can come back to the sensation of warmth and allow your tense shivers to melt away. Even listening to the sound of water is so thoroughly calming; perhaps you can listen to rainfall, the waves of the ocean or the pouring of water from the kettle into mugs.
When we’re anxious, our breath shortens and quickens (or perhaps when our breath does this, then we become anxious), so by changing the pattern in the breath, we can signal to our brain that actually we are calm and at ease. Simply stopping and focusing on full breathing again can have an incredible effect. However, sometimes it’s not quite so easy. When I am struggling for breath I take some weight/pressure to my belly. This can mean laying over a bolster, laying on my front on the floor, laying on my back with weight on my front or pressing my hands against my middle; of course it depends on your situational context. This allows my belly to feel safe and protected and I find it easier to allow it to naturally expand and fill with breath.
The emotion of anxiety is very airy and spacious, to balance ourselves out we need to ground to the solid; physical touch is a beautiful way to do this. Whether you want to give a loved one a heart-felt hug, go to a spa for a massage, or have some alone time with your oils and enjoy an abhyanga (self-massage) to feel a connection with yourself and the present moment.
All of these methods are not just cures to a problem, they are forms of ritual which can be enjoyed every single day. This will help to keep your vata in balance, massively reducing the risk of anxiety arising at all and when it does, you can catch it early and tame the irrational mind chatter and draw yourself back into the here and now. You are OK.; we’re all in this together.
I’ve wanted to visit Copenhagen for a long time after learning about the alluring concept of ‘hygge’; the danish word that means something like cosiness of the soul, finding the extraordinary in the ordinary and that soothing sense of home. I began researching the culture of Danes and learnt that they are consistently rated as one of the happiest nations on earth. There are a few reason for this, I’ve read, and lots of it relates to health:
1. They cycle.
2. They eat porridge.
3. They cook, eat and live with love and happiness as their main ingredient (as opposed to a sense of what they ‘should’/‘shouldn’t’ be eating, feelings of guilt, nor a rushed ‘grab and go’ meal culture).
The second thing I learned about Denmark is that it’s expensive, very expensive, and as Copenhagen is the capital, it can certainly pull on the purse strings!
However, I did some research and I’ve rounded up a whole host of freebies and money saving tips in the hope that more people can travel to Copenhagen and enjoy every minute without worrying about money.
1. FREE yoga
I taught classes at Urban House which is a hostel/hotel offering yoga, runs and other fun group activities that are free to guests. Pick your accomodation carefully, I would massively recommend Urban House.
Some studios, like Power Yoga Copenhagen, offer your first class free and others offer a full free week, such as Yo Studios and Soul Fitness. These are really lovely centres but just beware that many classes are in Danish so if your new to yoga you may want to check there’s an English class to attend.
2. FREE Fitness Classes
I took a great reformer pilates class at Powerhouse CPH which is a very swanky studio. I’d never tried this style before and again the class was in Danish so was a little tricky to know exactly what was going on but it was great! I’d definitely recommend it, but be sure to book here as it’s a very popular studio. They offer a whole host of other fitness classes like TRX, power Pilates, yoga based movement classes and more – take your pick!
3. (Almost) Free Walking Tours
In most cities there are now free walking tours which highlight the main centres: places with political importance, historical relevance and perhaps food hubs, meeting places, artistic highlights, etc. I say ‘almost’ free because generally there isn’t a price which is why they advertise as free, however this means the tour guide isn’t paid and instead makes money through the tips given by the participants – you decide how much you’d like to pay.
Also, of course, you can lead your own walking tour, discovering the parts of the city most intriguing to you; perhaps colourful Nyhavn, liberal Cristiania, the grand castles or the botanical gardens. This is my favourite way to explore – completely alone.
4. Food For All
Eating out is pricy as the best of times, I’m all for eating in (so always pick accomodation with a kitchen!), although even the supermarkets and markets can be very steep in this capital city. Trondheim market is a beautiful place to visit and great for speciality goods, however when I went to a stall and was told that 5 medjool dates came to the equivalent on £10, I was out of there.
WeFood is an incredible organisation that takes supermarket goods that will be thrown in the bin, deemed unsuitable to be sold in their store the next day; perhaps due to damaged packaging, incorrect labelling, ‘best before’ date, etc. The profits from these sales then go to charity.
WeFood sell items for a fraction of what you’d find in any other food store in Copenhagen: plums & peaches for 1 kroner (about 10p), big bunches of spring onions and coriander for 3kr (about 30p) and I filled a big paper bag full of sweet potatoes (a few kgs) for 10 (just a pound!). There was rocket, tomatoes, crisps, frozen raspberries, bread, pastries and many other good here to fill your boots! My shop made up the most of my next three main meals (with the addition of just chickpeas & tahini).
The gooiest of gooey delights. These bad boys are one of my best creations; from the the soft, moorish texture with bites of plump raisins and sweet grated ginger, to the the spiced flavour with extra pazzaz, to the the warming, wholesome smell, just everything about these makes me drool.
They’re fairly simple too. Unfortunately I broke our food processor recently when trying to make seed butters. This recipe can be made without a machine to blitz and instead you can just mash the cooked sweet potato and date mixture, meaning you simply boil, mash and mix, then bake!
For the Frosting:
2 tbsps Coconut Oil
2 tbsps Maple Syrup
1 tbsp Ground Ginger
2 tbsps Tahini
1. Firstly wash and chop your sweet potatoes into bite sized cubes. If you want to hide the fact that there’s a sneaky vegetable in these blondies or you’re just not a fan of the skin, you may like to peel the potatoes. I like the texture contrast so keep them whole.
2. Add these cubes, along with the pitted dates to a saucepan along with 2 cups of water and bring to the boil. At this point, turn down the heat and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the mixture is soft. During this time you can turn the oven onto 180 degrees.
3. Turn off the heat on the saucepan but before the next step, add your coconut oil to the mixture, allowing it to melt.
4. If you have a food processor and want a smooth finish, blend this boiled mix (you may also wish to blend your fine oats into a flour if this is the case). Otherwise you can either mash with a fork or use an easy pull food processor (no electricity, just hand pull processor!) to combine and break down the ingredients.
5. Add the rest of the blondie ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir together then add the boiled ingredients and mash it all up. [note: I like to soak my raisins in boiling water for a few minute then drain and rinse as often they come coated in some sort of oil.]
6. Put the mixture into a lined baking tin and cook in the oven for 40 minutes.
7. Meanwhile, make the icing by adding all ingredients to a small saucepan to melt and give a good mix to combine. Put this into the fridge/freezer to firm up a little, depending on how long it will sit in there.
8. Take the cake out and allow to sit for at least 15 minutes before adding the icing and then slicing up into your blondie bites. Enjoy!