A trip to Stockholm with a focus on sustainability

I love revisiting Stockholm for a dose of Scandi chic, colourful facades and of course cinnamon buns. This trip was no different in that sense, but in addition to all the usual things, it was focused on sustainability.


First things first - a stroll through Stockholm’s old town Gamla Stan to kick off the trip. Followed by a stop at the Monteliusvagen viewpoint to admire the views of the city.

Stockholm city view

And this takes me to the real purpose of this trip - an exciting launch with Nespresso, which I joined as part of my on-going partnership with the brand. In the evening, we arrived at the launch venue, Spritmuseum - below is the view from across the road.


That evening an exciting new product was unveiled to the public. Continuing it’s commitment to sustainability, Nespresso has partnered with a Swedish start-up Vélosophy to produce a bicycle made from recycled aluminium coffee capsules. There are 300 recycled Nespresso capsules in each bike, plus a capsule-shaped bell and cup-holder basket so you can enjoy your favourite drink on the go!

What’s more - Vélosophy is the only bicycle brand in the world with a full one-for-one promise: for every Vélosophy bike produced, another bike is given to a schoolgirl in Africa to improve her access to education. For every RE:CYCLE bike created by Vélosophy in partnership with Nespresso, a bike will be donated to a girl through World Bicycle Relief.

The morning after the event we woke up early to have another walk through old town and were lucky to have it almost all to ourselves.

After an early start, we popped into Stockholm Nespresso boutique for a much-needed caffeine kick. Have you ever heard of Swedish tradition called fika? If you haven’t, you are totally missing out! Fika is the time you take throughout the day for a coffee break with something sweet (very often cinnamon buns) - fika can be shared with family, friends and colleagues.

Nespresso boutique Stockholm

Stockholm archipelago consists of 24,000 islands and the best way to see some of them is to take a boat. That’s how we got to our next location - Rosendals Trädgård.

Stockholm by boat
Stockholm archipelago

Rosendals Trädgård - is a botanic garden focused on biodynamic agriculture. It reminded me of Petersham Nurseries in London if you know what I mean. We had a delicious zero-waste lunch in one of the garden’s conservatories and listened to Jimmy (Velosophy founder) who shared a story of the making of the bike. We then had an opportunity to test the bikes ourselves.

Rosendals Trädgård Stockholm
Stockholm park

You know my love for libraries so during free time I couldn’t miss an opportunity to pop into the gorgeous Stockholm Public Library.

Last stop was Nobis Hotel to see the beautiful spiral staircase and then it was time to go back home.

This post is a part of my on-going partnership with Nespresso.

Alternative things to do in Amsterdam - top 7 things to do in Eastern Docklands

I have been to Amsterdam so many times and even lived there for 1,5 years but somehow I have never properly explored the Eastern Docklands area (Oostelijke Eilanden) until my recent trip this spring. If you, like me, have seen most of the touristy places and are looking for alternative things to do in Amsterdam, this post is for you.

Brouwerij 't IJ (the IJ Brewery)

If you are looking for a windmill in the city centre of Amsterdam, you can’t miss this place. What’s more - there’s a brewery too! The IJ Brewery is a small brewery located next to the De Gooyer windmill. The brewery offers guided tours and tastings and has a pub with an outdoor terrace where you can enjoy their organic beers. I was there early in the morning but next time I will come back for a tasting too.


Czaar Peterstraat

After taking photos of the windmill or enjoying a beer tasting, walk up on Czaar Peterstraat. This street is great for independent shops and cafes.

Czaar Peterstraat

Amsterdam Roest

Amsterdam Roest looks like a great place for a chilled summer evening with friends. it’s only open from Friday to Sunday and was unfortunately closed when I passed by.

Amsterdam Roest

The National Maritime Museum

I’m still questioning myself how it’s possible I haven’t visited this wonderful museum before. It’s particularly great if you are travelling with kids but is equally interesting for adults too. Built in 1656, the former national naval warehouse was once used by the Dutch navy as storage. Since 1973 it has been home to the National Maritime Museum (Scheepvaartmuseum). The museum offers a number of exhibitions. The most interesting one is the famous replica of the Dutch East India Company ship ‘Amsterdam’ that is open to explore inside and outside, and children of all ages really enjoy it.

View from Amsterdam's Shipmuseum


A boat made of tires that you can find on Oostenburgerdwarstraat.


Hotel Jakarta

I didn’t stay at Hotel Jakarta during my recent trip but I had an opportunity to go on a tour of the hotel and enjoy a lunch at its restaurant, which you can do too even if you are not staying there. Hotel Jakarta is a unique sustainable 4-star hotel located on Java island, exactly where the ships used to leave for Jakarta. I loved the hotel’s indoor garden with the plants supplied by Amsterdam Botanic Garden and panoramic views over river IJ from its rooms. You can enjoy a meal at Café Jakarta or get a drink at Malabar on the top floor of the hotel. Every little detail of the hotel is well thought through and the connection with Indonesia is striking too, which was particularly interesting for me as I just came back from West Java.

Hotel Jakarta Amsterdam
View from Hotel Jakarta Amsterdam
Food at hotel Jakarta Amsterdam

Python Bridge

Don’t miss the striking Python Bridge, officially known as High Bridge. The bridge crosses the canal between Sporenburg and Borneo Island. It was built in 2001 and won the International Footbridge Award in 2002.

Python bridge

Bonus place: Bar Botanique

Technically not in Eastern Docklands but easily reachable from there is this very instagrammable cafe-bar. Bar Botanique is a great place to unwind with a drink or a bite to eat.

What to see in Aberdeenshire, Scotland in 3 days

If you are planning a trip to the UK you need to add Scotland, or Aberdeenshire to be more precise, to the list. Did you know that with 263 castles, stately homes and ruins, Aberdeenshire has more castles per acre than any other area of the UK?

Fyvie Castle Aberdeenshire

That said, my trip has started with a castle visit. Fyvie Castle is a great example of Scottish Baronial architecture, and it’s pink in colour (another castle called Cragievar has become quite popular recently due to its pink colour). The castle has wonderful art and antique collection, and as every Scottish castle, it has its own ghost story wonderfully shared by the castle’s knowledgeable guides. 

For more information about the most beautiful castles in Scotland have a look at my previous post here.

Fyvie Castle

Fyvie castle has many beautiful rooms but the Music Gallery pictured below was my favourite.

Fyvie Castle

A very unusual place to visit in the area is Peterhead Prison Museum. The former Victorian HM Convict Prison had the first state-owned railway in the UK and part of the history saw the only time the SAS (Special Air Service) was used to end a domestic siege in Britain. The museum shows what life in prison is like, a very special but slightly nerve-wracking experience.

Peterhead Prison museum

After the museum visit, you need a good lunch and what better place to enjoy it than The Kilmarnock Arms Hotel. In the late 1800s this hotel was a regular vacation spot for Bram Stoker while he wrote Dracula. His signature can still be seen in the guestbook of the hotel.

We stayed overnight at Meldrum House, a four-star country hotel complete with a golf course and famous for its Cave Bar that dates back 800 years. 

Our dinner was accompanied by address to a haggis, a poem by Robert Burns that is usually recited on Burns night. Quite a performance I must say! The hotel also offers a vegetarian option of the haggis in case you a slightly opposed to trying the regular one.

We then visited the newly opened Braemar Highland Games Centre dedicated to Highland games. This is where the famous Braemar gathering takes place (not to mention all the royal connections).

Braemar Highland games centre

One of the other highlights of the trip was a visit to the charming fishing village of Footdee (locals call it Fittie) located at the east end of Aberdeen’s harbour. The area has had a settlement as far back as the Medieval times and is currently known for its tiny colourful cottages with quirky details.


After a wander around the area, stop for a lunch of fish and chips at the Silver Darling. In addition to the delicious food, the restaurant also offers great views of the harbour - just perfect for dolphin spotting!

Moving on to Aberdeen, Scotland's third largest city. Did you know that it grew out of two distinct communities - New Aberdeen and Old Aberdeen? Old Aberdeen was originally a separate burgh. It is home to King’s College, the forerunner to the University of Aberdeen. The area’s cobbled streets and historic buildings make you step back in time.

Don’t miss Brig o' Balgownie - possibly Scotland's oldest surviving bridge and Powis Gates (pictured in the bottom right corner) inspired by Turkish-style minarets.


In New Aberdeen, have a look at the grand Marischal College, founded in 1593 - a true icon of Aberdeen and the second largest granite building in the world.

Aberdeen St Marchar's cathedral

Since 2017 thanks to Nuart Festival walls around Aberdeen have been transformed by street art and now boast numerous brightly coloured murals and various pieces of street art. Some of them are fun, provocative and inspirational adding a fresh vibe to the city.

Aberdeen street art

If you are into museums, don’t miss the Aberdeen Maritime Museum that brilliantly shows the city’s long relationship with the sea. The museum is conveniently situated on the historic Shiprow in the heart of the city near the harbour.

For dinner in Aberdeen, I can highly recommend Vovem where we had delicious seafood (for some) and burgers (for others). It’s positioning itself as a steakhouse but their fish and vegetarian options are really good too. 

No visit to Scotland can be complete without a whiskey tasting. We opted for Glen Garioch distillery (pronounced Glen Geery in the ancient Doric dialect still spoken in these parts) - one of the oldest operating distilleries in Scotland. 

I was a guest of VisitAberdeenshire. All opinions are my own. 

Exploring coffee culture of West Java, Indonesia

Last month I travelled to Indonesia for the first time. It was also my first time at a coffee plantation which I dreamt of visiting for a long time.

As you might have seen on my Instagram, I’ve been working with Nespresso for a while, and I couldn’t have been more excited when they invited me to visit the coffee farms they work with in West Java as part of their AAA Sustainable Quality™ Programme, and to meet the coffee farmers.


I didn’t know much about coffee production before and seeing the whole process from bean to cup has made me more appreciative of my daily cup of coffee.

Did you know that Indonesia is currently number 4 coffee producer in the world? The country has a long history of growing coffee - the Dutch brought Arabica coffee plants to Indonesia in the 17th century.  Unfortunately, in the end of the 19th century a huge portion of the coffee plants in the region contracted coffee rust, a fungus that spread very quickly and wiped out entire plantations, devastating the colonial Indonesian coffee industry. 

Coffee farming is currently experiencing a new boom with many farmers switching from growing vegetables to coffee. Nespresso works with about 1000 farmers throughout the country, most of them are small holders with farms of up to 2,5 acres. Most coffee farmers here use traditional organic practices.

Java tea plantation

On the photo above you can see the difference between a tea plantation and a coffee plantation - while tea grows in the sun, coffee needs shade. When planting coffee trees, farmers also plant shade trees. Nespresso has helped the local farmer’s they work with to plant over 100,000 trees in Indonesia over the past 4 years.

The first coffee farm we visited has approximately 2,500 coffee trees. The coffee harvest usually starts in April. The ripe coffee cherries that are ready to be picked are red in colour. Most coffee cherries contain 2 beans.

We made a small contribution to the harvest and had a go at coffee picking ourselves.

Picking coffee cherries West Java
Coffee cherries West Java

The farmers were very friendly and even though they hardly spoke any English, we managed to communicate with just smiles and gestures.

After picking, we joined the farmers for a delicious homemade lunch.

Traditional Indonesian lunch at the coffee farm

After the coffee cherries are picked, they are brought to a wet mill where the pulp is separated from the beans, then the beans are washed and dried in the sun.

Java coffee wet mill community centre

On the middle left image you can see the whole journey of a coffee bean - coffee cherries, wet beans, dry beans and green beans after the parchment covering them is removed. Only afterwards the beans are roasted.

Coffee drying at wet mill in West Java

The dry mill we visited is also a community centre. It was interesting to see that the farmers have no obligation to sell their beans to Nespresso, and are welcome to sell to whoever will pay them the most for their beans.  The beans are sorted by hand and Nespresso only purchases the highest quality beans.

We did coffee cupping where we tried coffee made with underripe and overripe beans and saw how big the difference is!

Coffee cupping
Coffee cupping

The farmers offered us to try a traditional local dessert - sticky rice balls stuffed with palm sugar which were delicious.


On the second day in West Java we visited another coffee farm. The frees here are shared as Christmas trees, while the type of coffee is the same - arabica. Both arabica and robusta coffee trees grow in Indonesia but both farms we visited had only arabica plants.

Coffee farm west java Indonesia

We spent some time with the farmers to learn about their challenges and how Nespresso helps them with the AAA Sustainable Quality™ Programme, and took part in planting new coffee and shade trees. The farmers are encouraged to grow vegetables alongside the coffee plants to provide them with a steady food supply.

Coffee farm West Java

Below are some more photos and our delicious lunch from the day.

Indonesia West Java
West Java Indonesia

The next step in the coffee production process after the wet mill is the dry mill. This is where the parchment covering the beans is removed.

Indonesia dry mill workers
West Java Dry mill coffee production
West Java coffee

To meet Nespresso quality standards, the green beans are sorted by hand before being packed and sent to Switzerland for roasting and capsule production.

We met so many wonderful ladies working at the facility who showed us how to differentiate the good beans from the faulty ones.

On the third and last day of the trip we explored the vibrant coffee culture of Bandung.

Contou coffee shop

Cafe Jardin

Cafe Jardin Bandung
sydwic cafe bandung java

This trip wouldn’t be complete without all the wonderful locals we’ve met. I really hope to return to Indonesia one day to explore the other sides of its culture.

In collaboration with Nespresso. All opinions are my own.