Entering and Exploring Malta with a Dog

There is nothing I love more than traveling – especially when it involves seeing my family and being able to take my puppy, Zaphira, with me. Due to my family living in Malta, as you may know by now, I tend to visit them ever so often. Traveling to Malta with a dog in general is rather easy – even easier, if it‘s a small dog (up to 8kg in weight) that you can take into the plane cabin with you. Zaphira has flown around 3 times with me to Malta already now, and is getting more and more used to plane rides. It calms me to know that she is less panicky now and I do not have to give her any tablets anymore (which I tried in the beginning to calm her down but did not feel was the right thing to do).

When entering Malta with a pet (cat or dog) it is of utmost importance to register the animal prior at the customs. Recently, this process has been simplified and can be done online here.

Likewise, you must see a vet around 3 days prior to entering Malta to confirm the dog is healthy (get a statement of good health) and it must be treated for worms (in the form of a tablet).

Once you arrive at the airport, you will be awaited by the customs to check that the above processes have been done and to verify the mircrochip number with the one entered onto the online form.

Discovering Malta with your dog is fairly easy when it comes to walking through the streets and visiting utmost touristy places. Dogs are allowed in most public spaces, given they are on a leash, and can run freely in certain areas. Yet, although people living in Malta love dogs, many of them are not used to having their dogs play with others. You will notice that they are kept rather tightly on leashes and are often even scared towards other dogs.

When it comes to Restaurants, one wants to call beforehand to see whether dogs are allowed. It seems that some do not allow dogs at all – not even in the outside areas, whilst others offer your dog their own chair to sit at the table with you. The same thing goes for hotels – make sure that you check online or by calling before booking any rooms.

Funnily enough, and in contrast to what we are used to in most other countries in Europe, dogs are allowed in supermarkets. That is, not all dogs. Big dogs usually need to wait outside and are not permitted. In case you have a small dog, however, no one will tell you to leave the dog outside by itself. Simply carry the dog around whilst you go grocery shopping!

The best seasons to visit Malta with you dog is anything from very late summer / early autumn up until mid-spring. Already in April, and most definitely in May, Malta reaches very temperatures already and walking with the dog for outside for hours is almost impossible and surely not recommended. If you don’t want your puppy to melt away in the sun, and likewise if you don’t want to sit around in the shade all day, the summer is not the best time to exploring Malta with any pet (nor without, as most Maltese that have the possibility leave the island as it becomes too hot)!

If any of you have any recommendations of where to best stay with your dog in Malta, do let me know – as I am still in the midst of further exploring the island; of course, with Zaphira. Likewise, I have planned quite a few trips this summer with her and am always looking for new places to explore that are dog-friendly. Up next with Zaphira is Munich! If you wish, I am more than happy to sharing some tips with you after my visit. Until then, I wish you all safe travels wherever you go! Xo

Vegan Falafel for the Win

Another week, another recipe! I surely do not want to bore you with recipes only on this blog, but if I am in love with something I need to share it. So here I am telling you about my rather newly discovered love: chickpeas! Who would have known that these little yellow fellows are so healthy, so filling, and can be used in so many recipes.

A new favorite recipe of mine is this vegan falafel recipe! It is so simple that it’s almost scary – so good that you cannot stop eating them and the preparation time takes around 10 minutes at max. Personally, I like simple recipes and things that do not take long to make after coming home (usually somewhat late) after work. Given this reason I made these falafel after work the other day and did not even add a side-dish. What I can recommend, though, is a cucumber salad (speaking of, I found a great recipes that I will share in the near future!).

For these crispy, little falafel, you need

240g (drained) & pre-cocked chickpeas
1 large onion
1 handful of fresh coriander
1 tablespoon cumin
2 tablespoons buckwheat (or any other) flour 
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
a hint of salt

What to do

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 250°C 
  2. add all ingredients into a food processor and mix until you get a smooth mixture (make sure it doesn’t become too smooth or else you will get a soup)
  3. take roughly one large tablespoon of the mixture and form each patty with your hand
  4. place them on a baking sheet and sprinkle (or paint) all patties with a light layer of olive oil
  5. bake until golden-brown for roughly 18-20 minutes

Et voila – within a couple of mintues preparing and baking, you have the perfect, healthy (and vegan) falafel ready.

Vegan, Sugarfree & Glutenfree Waffles

Sundays are probably my favorite weekdays. Why you ask? Simple – the week is coming to an end, I can sleep in, usually all household cleaning has been done, and I either go for brunch or make my own larger-than-usual breakfast at home! I have changed up my diet quite a bit these past few weeks – going from eating meat every day to eating completely vegan for a month. The idea behind it was to give my body a break from all the animal derived foods and seeing how my body would adjust to such a change of lifestyle. Although I have gone back to eating meat once in a while now since a week or two, I still try to eat plant-based most of the times these days. I believe everything should be done in moderation and as much as I enjoyed the vegan lifestyle I still do enjoy meat too much once in a while to giving it up completely. Perhaps that will change in the future – or not, we shall see. Either way: during my plant-based diet phase, I tried out several new recipes that were – obviously – vegan.

I am a huge fan of sunday-waffles! Previously, I would make waffles with standard recipes – which usually contained either eggs, butter or some other form of animal derived by-product. This time I went for an all vegan recipe and switched a few things up from the normal recipe I would have used earlier.

What you need (for 8 waffles)

1 large, ripe banana
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
150ml warm water
100ml almond milk with slight vanilla flavor (can use plain almond milk)
200g glutenfree flour (I used buckwheat flour)
2 teaspoons baking soda (glutenfree)

What to do

  1. get you waffle iron ready
  2. mash the banana and add it into a large bowl
  3. add all other ingredients and mix everything together until you have a smooth dough
  4. heat up the waffle iron once without any dough
  5. add two tablespoons of dough into each iron set (or however large your waffle iron is)
  6. let it bake the waffle until ready

This recipe is super easy, quickly done and barely needs any ingredients. Note that the waffles are not very sweet. If you do want it a little sweeter, I suggest adding a tablespoon of maple syrup or the like to the dough beforehand.

I topped up my waffles with some fresh blueberry “jam” which I made whilst waiting for my waffles to bake. Here I used ¾ cup of fresh blueberries, 1 tablespoon of agave syrup and 1 tablespoon of chia seeds and mixed everything up.

Et voila – time to enjoy a lovely little breakfast without having the guilt crawl up after indulging!


My review of the 5 day detox with pressbar.swiss

I did it! I finally have my first juice detox behind me. Well, at least to 85% of it. I’ve only recently said that I was going to do a juice cleanse and though I would share my results with you – a sort of review, so to speak. After searching the internet for all kind of juice detox delivery services in Switzerland, I decided on pressbar.swiss. I really liked this service provider the most. The bottles were cute looking (so important!), the juices were all freshly pressed, no extra ingredients added and it was rather vegetable heavy (less calories than fruit). The price was absolutely ok in comparison to many other products I found here in Switzerland. The “only” downside, it seemed, was the delivery time. This is not a cleanse that you can decide on one day and do the next. It takes 1-2 weeks notice in advance before they can deliver it. Alright, so I decided this earlier on in October and decided to start mid October (third weekend). The juices came as early as 6.45 in the morning (extra payment for early delivery is possible) and I was oh-so-excited to start this cleanse.

I chose the 5 day detox program. Having had juice days before I did not think it would be all too tough and I wanted more than just the simple 3 days that people start with. I knew I could do 5 days straight – or so I thought..

Day 1 – It was easier than expected. The juices came and I was excited the instant I saw those colourful little bottles. Second “downside” was the fact that the bottles were much smaller than expected. Well, I should have read it better I guess. The bottles are 250ml each – thus, rather small and surely smaller than I expected. It does say on the paper that you can snack in between if needed (some fruit or a vegetable are ok), or that you can mix the juices with water to have more liquid. Of course, drinking plenty of water throughout the day is a must. So other than the fact that I was surprised by the size, the endorphins had overtaken my fear and the day went by well. Slowly, towards the evening, I became rather hungry. In the late evening, I was super tired and felt like I was starving to death. I didn’t, of course, but it wasn’t all too fun going to bed with an empty, oh-so-loudly grumbling stomach.

Day 2 – Now I almost got used to it. The good thing is I started on a Friday so my second day was a Saturday and I slept nice and long. Longer than usual. Perhaps, I needed the energy as I had not eaten the day before. With me only waking up at around 11am (very late for me), I had enough juices to get me through the day without being hungry. In fact, the hunger never kicked in that day. I was outside a lot with my puppy and went a little shopping (mostly dog treats). In the late afternoon, though, my headache started. I had read that this is a normal side-effect of the body when it is going through a so-called detox. But maaaan.. I am not used to having headaches and I swear it was the longest and probably worst headache – even migraine – I have ever experienced. I kept drinking a lot, and I mean a loot, of water. The headache did not go away. I went to bed with my head spinning.

Day 3 – I woke with my head still spinning around. I hated it – I hated the detox and swore myself I would just go ahead and eat something. In my belief that my headache would go away once I ate, I ran into the kitchen and searched for food. For one, I did not have a lot at home. Secondly, it all seemed rather unhealthy – especially to the clean days I had just experienced. My ego was too big. I did not want to throw it all away and decided to continue. The headaches really did almost kill me that day but I managed to survive and barely moved around that day.

Day 4 – Monday it is. I decided to continue again. The day went by pretty alright and work kept me going and my mind off food. Then, in the afternoon, I got a request for a lunch meeting the next day. Of course, that would mean I would fail on the last day. Then again, it was a meeting request I could not really say no to. Business is always a priority during week days. So I said yes. And boy, I was excited to eat the next day.

Day 5 – I started my day with two juices in a row. That would keep me satisfied up until lunch. Knowing I was able to eat again, the juices suddenly tasted so much better and I was almost sad to break my juice detox on the last day. Lunch came around and you could not believe how happy I was. Happy as a little child when I ordered my tartar with vegetables!

So my juice detox ended right then and there. I had a few juices left so I kept them in the fridge for the upcoming morning. Looking back at it, I guess I could have finished that last day. Perhaps – but I do not regret my lunch. at. all. The cleanse was meant to – well as per the name – clean out my body, my system. I had the feeling it did – sort of. I did loose around 1.5kg – but, for 4.5days I guess that is not much. Either way, it was probably only water and of course that is not the reason one should do a cleanse. It is, however, a great kick-start to starting off to a healthy food routine. Would I do it again? Not sure. I guess, yes I would. However, I would prefer it on days were I have off and sleep in every day. Also, I would go with the 3 days cleanse next time and get used to it slowly.

Do you guys have experience with detoxes – do you have a favourite? Let me know, I would love to hear about it! xo

A Sunday Hike in Einsiedeln

I love all season – really. I love winter and the Christmas season – when all is covered in white (at least in the mountains here in Switzerland) and there is nothing better than putting on the fireplace and drinking a glass of red wine whilst sitting on the fur. Then comes spring, when finally everything awakens again and the birds start coming back to slowly build their nests. The greatest flower fields are usually found in spring and near summer. Summer is just fabulous because of the weather – there is nothing better than being able to wear a t-shirt and shorts and not freezing our asses off. Yet autumn,.. it something special to me. Perhaps because so many of my beloved people are born in autumn, or maybe because we are getting ready for the festive season. Surely, I love the magic of nature – when all leaves turn turn their colors and everything becomes yellow, orange and red. When the sun turns gold in the evening and every look at nature takes my breath away – that is when I enjoy being outside the most.

One of my closer friends and I decided to use this time of the year and start exploring Switzerland just a little more. I can’t believe I have been living in Zurich for nearly 4 years (in spring) and I still don’t really know the country. There is so much beauty – and we decided we want to explore as much as possible of it. Because Zaphira (my puppy) is only 4.5 months old now, we decided not to do a huge trip (she does not have the energy, yet). We wanted something nearby but still go outside the city – outside of Zurich. Quickly, we decided on Einsiedeln. It is a super tiny town just about 1 hour away from Zurich city. There is a huge monastery one can visit, see the Black Madonna inside the church and go for an amazing short hike (or longer, if one has time and feels like it).

Stepping out of the train already made us realise we are definitely out on the countryside. The air was brisk clear – and that is almost surprising as I always believed Zurich already has such clean air. No, Einsiedeln topped it off immediately. The second smell that we immediately welcomed was the smell of horses. Oh, how I love those graceful animals. It reminded me of my childhood, when I used to horseback ride once in a while and loved every minute of it. It now is back up on my to-do list for the future. First, however, I need to get Zaphira used to those “long-legged dogs” which she saw for her first time last Sunday.

After a plentiful lunch that we jumped into right when leaving the train station, we went up the hill and enjoyed nature to it’s fullest. Of course, being “big city girls”, we had to stop about every 5 minutes to either take picture of the surrounding, my puppy, or ourselves (selfie-time for the win!). To not bore you in trying to explain the beauty, I wanted to share some of the photos with you.

I cannot say it often enough – people, go out into nature! There is so much to explore. Sometimes just around the corner – perhaps a few streets aways, but there is always something beautiful if we only just try to see it. It seemed like all the pressure, all my worries, all open tasks – everything just went away for those few hours we were outside. I really recommend it to everyone; for your heart and health!