20 Fun facts about Cuba

lrm_export_704307228475441_20190405_0002020121103409807.jpeg

Cuba is not just about old cars. This is one of the most interesting travel destinations. Whether you are going on honeymoon or travel with friends great fun is guaranteed. Here are some interesting facts you should know before visiting Cuba.

#1 The best time to go to Cuba is between December and April, after hurricane season and before hot summer months.

#2 There is a double currencies economy, a tourist is only supposed to use Convertibles (CUC) and locals Cuban pesos (CUM).

#3 If you want to save money, go local and stay in private rooms, ‘casas particulares’.

#4 Famous non-Cuban ‘Cubans’ are Ernest Hemingway, Winston Churchill, Diego Maradona, Che Guevara.

#5 Most homes don’t have computers or flats – screen TVs. Local people don’t have internet access – they have to prove that is for business if they want to use it. Tourist can buy a card and it cost about 5 CUC for one hour of internet access.

#6 Havana Vieja is one of the most crowded quarters in Latin America.

#7 Cubans love their coffee (café Cubano) which is served strong, black and sweetened in small espresso-sized cups. ‘Café con leche’ (a mixture of strong coffee and hot milk) is more of a tourist drink and thus available in nearly all bars and hotels serving foreigners.

#8 Tap water quality is variable. To be safe you can drink aqua naturale (bottled water), you can also boil it (the local method) or buy chlorine drops. In Havana, it’s better to boil or buy bottled water. Don’t touch the water in Santiago, even to brush your teeth, it’s famously dirty.

#9 Restaurant opening hours are generally 11 am to 11 pm daily.

#10 Most popular local Cuban meal is rice with black beans.

#11 Havana Club is Cuba’s most celebrated rum, Silver Dry (the cheapest) and three-year-old Carta Blanca used for mixed drinks. Cuba’s finest rum is Matusalem Añejo Superior.

#12 Cuba’s rum cocktails are world famous. There are the minty mojito, the shaved ice daiquiri and the sugary Cuba Libres (rum and Coke).

#13 Cuba is synonymous with the palm tree. The national tree is the palm real (Royal palm). It’s believed there are 20 million royal palms in Cuba and local will tell you that whenever you stand on the island, you’ll always be within sight one of them.

#14 As soon as you arrived in Havana you’ll realize that air pollution is a problem. Airborne particles, old cars black smoke and byproducts from burning garbage are some of the culprits. On the bright side is the enthusiasm that the government has shown for reforestation and protecting natural areas.

#15 Havana is a remarkably safe city, particularly when compared with other Latin American capitals. But, scams do exist, particularly in the more touristy areas where well-practiced hustlers lurk outside the big hotels waiting to beg on foreign visitors. One popular trick is for the young man in the street to offer to exchange foreign currency into Cuban convertibles. A second scam is to sell fake, cheap cigars. It’s best to politely ignore these offers.

#16 Cuban cigars are very well known in the world. The most famous are Cohiba, Montecristo, Partagas, Punch, Romeo y Juliet. But, be careful, don’t buy cigars from street vendors. I strongly suggest you buy them an official Cuban cigars stores, the ‘casa del habano’ shops.

#17 There is some debate over the exact origins of salsa, but many historians agree that this popular dance and music were born in Cuba. There are a lot of places in Havana where you can enjoy salsa and one of the famous bands is Buena Vista Social Club. You just have to ask your tour leader where the next one is.

#18 Cubans favorite sport is baseball.

#19 There are no animals or plants that are poisonous or lethal to humans.

#20 Last but not least – Cuba has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world – Varadero.

Hope these facts were fun and helpful for you.

Next story will be dedicated to Havana days.

Teas to drink for glowing skin

lrm_export_10703606319944_20190106_203328418-785439928.jpeg

Tea is an aromatic beverage that is after water the most widely consumed drink in the world. There are many different types of tea with different flavors. It can be very tasty and your substitute for coffee.
Tea is also one of the healthiest drink and it is used in traditional medicine. Drinking tea could help reduce the risk of some diseases, helps to lose weight, hydrates the body, fights against free radicals etc.
But did you know that drinking tea can make your skin look more radiant and glowy? The most important thing for good looking and radiant skin is having healthy skin. Everything we put inside or out of our body has some effect on our skin.
Teas with a positive impact on your skin are:

*Oolong tea

lrm_export_11175260715434_20190106_2041200731576696821.jpeg

 

This is traditional Chinese tea. It’s made using the leaves of the same Camellia sinensis tea plant that are used for green and black tea. The difference between these teas lies in how they are processed. Black tea is fully fermented and oxidized, which gives it a characteristic black color.

Oolong tea is fermented and allowed to partially oxidized while green tea is not.
Oolong tea benefits are numerous: helps digestion, boosts metabolism, prevents osteoporosis…

Having a cup of oolong tea per day can be extremely beneficial for your skin’s health. Whether it’s about treating chronic issues like Eczema or restoring a youthful look oolong tea can help. It even helps with problems with skin tone, clearing dark spots, reducing wrinkles, improving texture and resistance against harmful effects of the sun.
But it also contains caffeine, so it’s not recommended to drink too much of it.

lrm_export_11121921675277_20190106_2040267342106661140.jpeg

 

*White tea

lrm_export_11082370461967_20190106_203947182-1032354566.jpeg lrm_export_11068018991120_20190106_203932831-1991345733.jpeg

It’s also made from Camellia sinensis plant. Its leaves are picked just before they are fully opened when they are covered with fine white hairs. So it got a name from this. It retains a high amount of antioxidants which makes this drink very healthy.

Rich in polyphenols this drink is very beneficial for skin. It protects cells from damage by compounds called free radicals. Too much free radical damage can have a harmful effect on the body, so white tea may protect the skin from damage linked to aging.

 

 

*Ginger tea

lrm_export_10735832475331_20190106_203400641-1752817174.jpeglrm_export_10756390176947_20190106_203421202-1634053592.jpeg

Ginger is a flowering plant whose rhizome called ginger root or simply ginger is used as a spice. Ginger is also used in traditional medicine. Can be used fresh, dried, powdered or as an oil or juice.

Nothing beats the cold in the winter like a hot cup of ginger tea. It contains a high level of vitamin C, magnesium and other minerals. It contains around 40 antioxidant properties that prevent free radical damage and protect skin against aging. It also evens skin tone and improves elasticity.

To make a good ginger tea all you need is fresh ginger and filtered water. Other ingredients are optional. You can add some honey and a splash of fresh lemon juice for a more tasty version.

If you prefer cold drinks, drinking ginger water adds a natural glow to your skin, also.

 

*Rooibos tea

lrm_export_10486920089008_20190106_2029517322119398599.jpeg

 

 

Rooibos is a plant that grows in South Africa. The leaves are used to make a herbal tea that is called: rooibos, bush tea or red bush tea. It’s also super healthy drink. It doesn’t contain caffeine and it has low tannin levels compared to black or green tea. Because of its many good ingredients, it has a very positive effect on the skin.
Rooibos is rich in alpha hydroxy and zinc, important nutrients for healthy skin. Zinc heals wounds, protects against UV rays and has anti-inflammatory properties which could alleviate, acne, pimples, and sunburns.

lrm_export_10316516098075_20190106_2027013281513226008.jpeg

 

*Cinnamon tea

lrm_export_10686574608559_20190106_203311387-996946286.jpeg

Cinnamon is the name for several spices of trees. Only few cinnamon spices are grown commercially for spice. It’s also one of the healthiest spices in the world. But, you need to purchase the right kind. There are Ceylon and Cassia cinnamon. Cassia is from Indonesia, it has a slightly bitter taste than another one, it’s also cheaper and it can be found more often in the supermarket. The other, Ceylon cinnamon is from Sri Lanka. It’s also known as “true cinnamon”. It has a lighter brown color and sweeter taste.

All cinnamon should have health benefits, but Cassia may cause problems in large doses due to coumarin content. For this reason, it’s better to use Ceylon variety.
This spice is rich in vitamin K, iron, calcium, manganese, dietary fibers. It’s a high source of antioxidants and it has anti-inflammatory properties. The great part is its benefits on the skin. Cinnamon has skin lightening properties, protect skin cells from radical activity, fights of germs and bacteria preventing acne.

All you need for this tea are cinnamon sticks and boiling water. Pour water over cinnamon sticks and let the tea steep for 8-10 minutes. Remove sticks and it’s ready for use. For the more tasty version, you can add some honey and almond milk. So delicious!

lrm_export_10276128163073_20190106_202620940-1634053592.jpeg

 

 

Drinking tea is enjoyable and the most natural way for nursing your skin. But, be careful and do not consume too much due to side effects. I usually drink two to three cups of tea daily. With the rule of eight glasses of water, it’s a nice dose of hydration for your body and skin.

lrm_export_56865775800389_20190207_225323705-48569562.jpeg

Enjoy & Cheers!

Essential oils for beginners

LRM_EXPORT_186675523938664_20181226_182547798.jpeg

What is essential oil?

The essential oil is known as the oil of the plant from which is extracted. The essential oil is “essential” in the sense that contains the characteristic fragrance of the plant from which is derived.
The most common process of extracting essential oil from the plant is distillation.
This is a process when raw plant material (flowers, leaves, wood, roots, seeds, peel) is put into distillation apparatus over water. As the water is heated, the steam passes through the plant material, vaporizing the evaporative compounds. The vapor flow through a coil, where they condense back to a liquid which is then collected in the receiving vessel.

Another way is an expression. This method of extraction is specific to citrus essential oils (lime, lemon, sweet orange, grapefruit). Most citrus peel oils are expressed mechanically or cold pressed.

 

 

lrm_export_190029459545710_20181226_192141733-367870823.jpeg

 

Benefits of essential oils:

 

lrm_export_186893008442831_20181226_182925282-367870823.jpeg

Essential oils have a very high concentration of the aromatic compounds, so they are used in cosmetics, soaps, perfumes, aromatherapy, even for flavoring food and drink. Some of the benefits are: antibacterial, inflammatory, balance hormones, boost energy, treat a headache, support digestion, reduce stress and anxiety, good for skin and hair etc. You just need to find right for you.
Some of my favorite which I tried are:
Lavender oil – good for sleep and insomnia, improves mood and brain functions, benefits hair and skin, flavor boost in recipes.
Lemongrass supports your immune system, kills bacteria, muscle relaxer, detoxifying, menstrual cramp relief, natural deodorizer.
Rose – improves skin texture, boost confidence and fights depression, treat burns, antibacterial, hydrating.
Peppermint – heal headaches, good for digestion, for skin, it’s food for inhalation and stomach ache.
Orange – boost immunity, antiseptic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, good for massage.
Tea tree – acne treatment, promotes hair growth, kills bacteria, treats dandruff, oral health.
Jasmine – antiseptic, helps fight depression, reduces snoring, helps regulate menstrual cycles, like perfume, massage oil, calms nerves and anxiety.
Essential oils can bring amazing benefits but with unsafe use can be harmful and cause some allergies or irritation. Always read the instructions for essential oil you buy.
lrm_export_188806231040714_20181226_190118505-362440885.jpeg

How to use essential oils?

There are many ways how to use essential oils.
Some of them are as:
Diffuser – put your favorite oil in the diffuser and enjoy in wonderful scent in your room. For this type of use, my favorite scents are lavender, jasmine, lemon.
Detox bath: add lavender (or other) essential oils to Epson salt. Pour slowly this salt in the filling tub. If bath water is not filtered add a cup of baking soda to neutralize the chemicals like chlorine and to increase mineral absorption.
Cellulite reducer: mix 12 drops of grapefruit essential oil and one ounce of jojoba oil. Shake well and deeply massage onto cellulite affected skin one hour before a shower. Other essential oils good for cellulite are geranium oil, lemon, rosemary, and juniper berry essential oil.
Acne treatment: with cotton stick put some tea tree oil on acne spot and leave it to work. This is the simplest but effective treatment.
lrm_export_186938875606064_20181226_183011150-362440885.jpeg
These are my favorite but there are many more uses of essential oil.
Do you have some experience with using essential oils? I would be glad to hear it.

Homemade almond milk

dsc05912-01-1838634670.jpeg

When I decided to reduce the intake of cow’s milk, I found the perfect replacement for it, almond drink or almond ‘ milk ‘. This is great milk alternative. It’s healthy, vegan and delicious drink, that goes pretty well with everything. My favorite use of this drink is with oatmeal and granola for breakfast or in my morning coffee.
There are many versions of almond milk in the stores, but not all are so healthy. Some contains preservatives, emulsifiers  or excessively added sugar. So, when you are buying this product in the store, read the ingredients carefully.
This is one of the reasons why I decided to make homemade version of it. Not only it’s healthier but it’s much more tasty. You can feel the real taste of almonds and it’s natural sweetened.
Preparation is simple. The tools you need is a blender and gauze or linen cloth.

 

Ingredients:

 

* 1 cup of raw and unsalted almonds (organic if you prefer)
* 4 cups of water
* 4 dates (pitted)
* 2 vanilla beans (scraped) or vanilla extract (optional)

 

dsc05920-01-719236294.jpeg

dsc05930-011471617769.jpeg

 

 

Preparation:

 

First you need to sink almonds in the water to stay overnight. Next day, spill out the water and replace the almonds in the blender with other ingredients. Blend until the mixture becomes smooth.
Next step is for me the hardest and sometimes I ask for a little help. 🙂 Put a gauze over a bowl and strain the mixture you made in the blender. The leftovers on the gauze can also be used. Put them to dry and than you can use it as almond flour. 😉 You get about 1 liter of this drink.
Transfer the milk you have made into the glass bowl and store in the refrigerator up to 3-5 days.

 

 

dsc09687-01-011471617769.jpeg
Homemade granola with homemade milk.

Granola recipe you can find here.

Enjoy and let me know if you liked it! 😉

 

 

Crispy kale bites

This vegetarian meal is delicious, healthy and easy to make. The two main ingredients, quinoa and kale are very healthy, nutritious and recommend in most diets. Benefits of quinoa are numerous. It’s non gluten seed and excellent plant based protein source for vegetarians. It’s also high in fibers, vitamins (B1,B2, B3, B6, B12, vitamin E,) antioxidants, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron. Kale is also super healthy food low in calories and high in fibers and vitamins.
Delicious bites are practical, it can be prepared as a snack, appetizers, breakfast or addition to a main course. Also, you can keep the leftovers in the fridge for next day.

2018-01-16 07-9795217..jpg

Ingredients are:

– 3 cups of chopped kale
– 1 cup of cooked quinoa
– 1 egg, large
– 1/2 cup of parmesan
– 1/2 tsp of salt
– 1/2 tsp of pepper
– 1/2 tsp of garlic powder
– 1 tbsp of dried basil

Procedure:

First you need to prepare quinoa. For one cup of quinoa goes two cups of water. Cook for twenty minutes or until water evaporates. It’s recommended to cook a kale a little bit, until it’s loose.
Next step: Mix one egg in a bowl, than add prepared quinoa, kale and remaining ingredients. Mix everything together and that’s it. The mixture is prepared. Take a tablespoon of it, shape with your hand and put on baking paper. Preheat oven on 200 °C (or 392 °F) and bake for 15 – 20 minutes.

2018-01-16 07-79072280..jpg

Crispy kale bites are ready for consumption. Enjoy! 😉

Milan city – out of the fashion week

wp-image-1157030416.

Last november I visited global capital of fashion and design, Milan. Beautiful metropolis is capital of Italy’s northern region, Lombardy. Yes, we often associate it mainly with Milan Fashion Week and I heard from few people that there is not much to see in Milan, but I definitely wouldn’t agree with that! Like city of arts, commerce, industry, design, education, entertainment, fashion, media, tourism it has a lot to offer. I stayed there for few days and didn’t have a chance to explore everything, but I will have more opportunity in the future. 🙂 This was my first time in Milan, so I visited the most famous places in the city that are mostly recommended.

wp-image-1552390305.

When I arrived, my first thought of the city was that it did not look like other Italian places I visited. The mixture of historical, modern and contemporary buildings made me think that this is a place of magnificent architectural achievements. And first example of that is world famous:
1) Duomo cathedral
This cathedral left the biggest impression on me of all cathedral I saw. It’s is also the biggest cathedral in Italy (the larger one is in the State of Vatican City). Dedicated to St Mary of Nativity, it took about six centuries to finish it. Built in the Gothic style, today this extraordinary construction attracts tourists all over the world. Big square in front of the church is always filled with people who take pictures. 🙂 So if you want to avoid it, you should come early in the morning. Also you can visit the interior of the church or the roof where you can enjoy the panorama of the city.

wp-image--731398887.

wp-image-789356034.

wp-image-230633358.

wp-image-241957403

Next place worth visiting and also unique architectural piece is shopping mall:
2) Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II
It is located near Duomo cathedral. Built in 19th century, it was named after Vittorio Emanuele II (first king of Kingdom of Italy). With beautiful mosaics on the floor and glass domes on the roof I think this is the most elegant shopping mall. Here you can find nice restaurants, cafes, one of only two seven – star hotels in the world, luxury shops as Prada, Gucci, Luis Vuitton etc. If you’re are not on a budget for shopping here it’s pleasure to walk around and enjoy in this beautiful place. 😉

wp-image--363278272.

wp-image-321924683.

wp-image-408657901.

wp-image--208636724.

wp-image-737475798.

wp-image--37058822.

wp-image--1351381244.

When I’m in Italy I can’t resist to try some good ice cream. 🙂 This time I found amazing gelateria near this place. It’s the best ice cream I’ve tried so far. The name of gelateria is ‘Cioccolati Italiani’. If you are chocolate lover, try ‘chocolate temptation’. It totally worth 4,5 euro as you get two flavours of ice cream, white cream and nutela. So delicious!

wp-image--351536237.

wp-image--206657089.

wp-image--647480716.

Next recommendation in sightseeing Milan is great:
3) Sforza Castle or Castello Sforcesco
Square plan castle with 200 meters long sides, four towers and thick red – brick walls looks very impressive. Built in 15th century was residence of powerful Sforza dynasty. Castle is decorated by many famous artist including Leonardo Da Vinci! Entrance is free, you can walk around and enjoy in sightseeing. Also there are several museums and tickets cost about 5 euro. For me it’s very interesting place for taking pics, especially big fountain in front of the castle.

wp-image-241957403.

wp-image-17787636.

wp-image-737475798.

wp-image--731398887.

wp-image-789356034.

wp-image-241957403.

wp-image-1714674301.

wp-image--37058822

wp-image--731398887.

Walking through the largest public park in Milan, Parco Sempio we decided to visit:
4) Civic Aquarium of Milan
It’s located on the edge of this park and it’s the third oldest aquarium in Europe! If you are a fan of underwater world you will like this place. You can see and learn a lot about different species of aquatic animals. I wasn’t impressed with this place, because I visited similar place in Budapest which for me was much more interesting. You can find more about it here

wp-image--363278272.

wp-image--363278272.

wp-image--37058822.

wp-image--1297153840.

In this park we visited one more interesting place, city’s gate, Porta Sempione. It’s also known as Arco Della Pace or Arch of Piece. It represents triumphal arch of Napoleon’s victories.

wp-image--363278272.

The last but not less important place on this list is beautiful:
5) Naviglio Grande
It is one of five canals. Today they are mostly used as irrigation system. This charming district has become a place for enjoying for both locals and tourists. On both sides of the canal you can see a lot of shops, restaurants, galleries, bars filled with people who enjoy their aperitifs.

wp-image-1714674301.

wp-image-241957403.

All these places are free. You can visit it in just one day, if you’re ambitious. 🙂 But my advice is to take a time and enjoy in every location you decided to visit.
Exploring neighborhood near my hotel, founded one small but cute Sardinian restaurant, ‘Barilla’. They make delicious pizzas. So if you are near this place – my recommendation. 🙂

wp-image-1714674301

Photos taken around Milan:

wp-image-974623209.

wp-image--363278272.

wp-image--2004780048.

wp-image--1903620617.

wp-image--705194961.

wp-image--2025935846.

wp-image-737475798.

wp-image-230633358.

wp-image--363278272

wp-image-1795456481.

One more tip for visiting this city:
I was accommodated in a hotel very far from the center. Milan has a very well organized city transport so I mainly used the metro and streetcar to reach a certain location. In this way you get to know the other parts of the city but feel the way of life of its people better too. 😉

Hope you enjoyed reading this. 🙂

Did you visited Milan? What is your favourite place in the city?

Avocado toast!

wp-image--141352619.

Why is good to eat avocado?

This tropical fruit is considered as one of the healthiest foods. Its characteristic is that unlike most of the fruits avocado is high in healthy fats. 100 g of this fruit contains about 160 calories and 77% of the calories in it are from fat. Because of this it is very nutritious.

Also to mention that doesn not contain any cholesterol and it is low in saturated fat. Beside this, avocado contains a lot of vitamins, minerals, fibers and antioxidants.

I am not a medical expert but read some of the benefits of frequent consumption of avocado: reduce total cholesterol levels, lower risk of metabolic syndrome, support healthy blood pressure levels. Interesting fact-avocado is good for eyes, it contains nutrients Lutein and Zeaxanthin which are important for eye health.

Another reason why avocado is one of the favorite and popular fruits is that is in group of weight loss foods. It is very often recommended in diets by nutritionists.

It is very easy to combine avocado with some other food. Personally I am not thrilled with its flavor, but I tried it with some salads and toasts and it was very tasty.

Recently I made avocado toast with salsa and I was very satisfy so I decided to share this recipe.

The ingredients you need are:

-four pieces of bread (toasted)

-two avocados (medium size)

-tomato

-two cloves of garlic

-one small hot pepper

-chive

-olive oil

-salt, pepper

The process is very simple.

Mash avocado with fork and apply on toast.Finely chop remaining ingredients (tomato, garlic, hot pepper) and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with some olive oil, add some salt, pepper and chive (to taste). Stir the ingredients and apply over the avocado. Sprinkle with chia seeds and your delicious meal is ready. Enjoy!

Hope you will like! What is your favorite avocado toast?