Hidden Gem of DC: Oki Bowl

I don’t know about you but during the winter all I crave is a warm bowl of soup. There is nothing more comforting than this during the cold months. This being said, when I was visiting Washington D.C. in the 10 degree weather, all I wanted was some authentic japanese ramen. Luckily, I was able to hunt down the perfect place.

Oki ramen georgetown

Oki Bowl caught my attention through Instagram when someone posted a picture of their ramen. Not only did it look delicious, but the atmosphere looked like a one-of-a-kind experience. The ceilings were covered in cool lamps, flowers, and random knick-knacks. The walls had funky, colorful wood panels and floral designs.

Oki Bowl ramen dc

While the dining area of the restaurant is pretty cool, the coolest part of Oki Bowl is by far its bathroom. The bathroom is glowing in neon lights, flowers, and sparkly arrangements. There is even a glow-up tank with jellyfish inside! The bathroom is something pictures cannot even justify; you simply have to experience it for yourself.

best ramen in DC

I ordered the tempura kale ramen with crispy tofu. The broth for this ramen was made from coconut milk and lemongrass, making it soothing and sweet. I had never had tempura kale and was delightfully surprised by its taste and texture. I mean, tempura makes everything delicious, even a leafy green vegetable!

After walking around Georgetown for the day, exploring art galleries and book stores, Oki Bowl made for the perfect place to stop for dinner. I would highly recommend checking it out if you are looking for a warm treat in winter or just some really good ramen!

If you enjoyed this post be sure to also check out Hidden (Vegan) Gem of Edinburgh: Paradise Palms and Hidden Gem of Amsterdam: Toastable.


London’s Best Coffee Shops

Every day after class I would walk from Old Street Station, past my apartment, and into my favorite coffee shop down the street. Looking back at my time in London, this is by far one of the things I miss most. I loved grabbing a cappuccino and sitting on the big red couch in the store, working on my blog or catching up on reading.

It is easy to say that discovering new coffee shops was one of my favorite activities abroad. That being said, I found a lot of hidden gems that would be a crime not to share. So grab a cub off coffee as I take you through some of the most aesthetically pleasing coffee cup shots.

Bell Boi in Shoreditch

Bellboi Shoreditch

This place was a favorite of mine on Sunday mornings. I would grab a chai tea latte and head to Brick Lane Market which takes place on the streets surrounding the cafe. The shop is super small, making it an ideal stop on your morning commute or on your way to another festivity. Bell Boi also doubles as a small hotel for people passing through the town.

Daisy Green in Marylebone

Daisy Greens London coffee

This was my go-to cafe to kill some time in between classes at University. It is an adorable place offering all kinds of vegan cuisines and smoothies. Their almond milk cappuccino was one of my favorites. A lot of my blog posts were written right at Daisy Green‘s wooden coffee bar!

Fuckoffee in Southwark

https://lashesoflifestyle.co.uk/2017/03/02/coffee-stop-fuckoffee-bermondsey/(photo courtesy of Lashes of Lifestyle)

Different from all of the others on my list, this place has a super fun energy. The inside is decorated with big couches, neon signs, and art prints. It definitely reflects the surrounding neighborhood (and the name is hilarious!). My favorite from here is the banana espresso smoothie, the perfect thing for an extra kick on a warm spring day! If you visit Fuckoffee be sure to stop across the street at White Cube, my favorite art gallery in London.

The Monocle Cafe in Marylebone

Monocle Cafe London

Fair warning: this place does not have wifi. I was a bit surprised to see this when I first walked in, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise. When is the last time you went to a coffee shop just to read? Monocle is actually a publishing company which publishes its own magazines and books. The atmosphere encourages you to cozy-up with one of your favorite reads or one of their latest editions. I also really love the piece of chocolate they give you with every cup of coffee!

Pitfield London in Shoreditch

Pitfield London(photo courtesy of Pitfield London)

Being that Pitfield was right outside my London flat, I would often go here throughout the day to meet with friends. The staff is super friendly and accommodating towards students. The cafe shares a space with an antique shop which always made for some interesting fines. My favorite part about Pitfield is their colorful, mosaic china that they use for your food and drinks.

Black Opium in Shoreditch

Black Opium Coffee London

Black Opium coffee London

Of course, I saved the best for last. Black Opium is my all-time favorite coffee shop. Yes, my favorite out of all the coffee shops in London, New York City, Philadelphia, and any other city you can think of. This place is so unique because they have big jars of different flavored coffee beans that you can choose to get your drink made from. They grind your chosen flavor of beans right in front of you and turn it into a delicious drink. My favorite was the orange cappuccino; the flavor is so subtle yet so good. Every day I was greeted by the most friendly staff who always knew my name. I really enjoyed listening to their conversations and talking to them about the books that I was reading.

The next time you are in London you have to visit some of my favorite coffee shops. Each one offers a unique customer experience and the finest quality cappuccino. If you visit one of these be sure to let me know by leaving me a comment!

For more posts on London, check out London’s Best Restaurants, Hidden Gem of London: Palm Vaults, and Hidden Gem of London: Daunt Books.

Superfood-Fueled Smoothie Bowl Recipe

There is nothing I crave more in the summer than a cold smoothie bowl. Not only are they delicious and refreshing, but they can also be the key to good health. Smoothies are one of the ways I get my daily nutrients and greens I need in order to nourish my body. Here is what you will need:

Green Smoothie:

1 Frozen Banana

1 Handful of Spinach

1 Spoonful of Navitas Organics Acai Powder

Coconut Water as needed

superfood packed acas bowl recipe

Superfoods aren’t just a hype, trust me. They truly do make a difference in the way you feel. If you’re skeptical, just give one a try and see how it goes. They transform any smoothie bowl into a small slice of heaven. Yes, this means they are just as tasty as they are good for you!

Recommended Superfoods:

Navitas Organics Chia Seeds

Navitas Organics Hemp Seeds

Navitas Organics Goji Berries

Navitas Organics Cacao Nibs

What do these superfoods do for your body? More like what don’t they do? Chia and hemp seeds help your body fight off aging by providing antioxidants. They also give your body energy to take on those long work days or strenuous workouts. In addition, hemp seeds strengthen your immune system and chia seeds ward off hunger. You may not expect a lot from these tiny seeds but they are indeed powerful.

I am currently addicted to goji berries. They are chewy and sweet, but also extremely good for you. I eat them on almost everything, but they are my favorite on top of smoothie bowls. Just like chia and hemp seeds, they are a great source of antioxidants. While they have an extensive amount of benefits, they are particularly good for eye and skin health. They also help regulate your cholesterol levels.

You may be questing the health benefits of the last superfood I mentioned, cacao nibs. Well, cacao is actually an ingredient added to chocolate before it is processed. Since it is not yet processed, it is actually very beneficial for your health. It is packed with magnesium and is proven to make you happier. And who doesn’t need a little extra happiness in their lives?

superfood smoothie recipe

If you are interested in more health and wellness posts, leave me a comment below. Be sure to tag me (@maemaddie) on Instagram if you post a picture of this yummy (and pretty) smoothie bowl!

Follow me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook to see more foodie and wellness pictures. For similar posts check out my Juice Press Rainforest Smoothie Recipe and A Green Smoothie For Those Against Greens.

Hidden (Vegan) Gem of Edinburgh: Paradise Palms

If you are a vegan then you know how hard it can be to find food to eat while traveling in Europe. Europeans are not nearly as adapt to the new lifestyle choices, such as vegetarianism and veganism, as Americans are. With each city that I visited in Europe I tried to hunt down the local vegan spots to test out. This one in Edinburgh was by far my favorite vegan restaurant that I visited while abroad.

Paradise Palms Edinburgh

Paradise Palms in Edinburgh truly is a one stop shop. You can basically find anything you want to fit all of your hipster needs. Not only do they serve vegan and vegetarian food, but they are also a bar, an event venue, a vinyl store, and a record label. Crazy right!? It is impossible to not have a great time at this place, even when visiting alone, like myself.

Edinburgh Paradise Palms

I’m a firm believer that the environment of a restaurant contributes to your experience there. With an atmosphere as cool as this one how can you not enjoy yourself? The space is filled with records, neon lights, and quirky trinkets hanging from the ceilings. It truly is a space that you will never forget.

Edinburgh vegan nachos

Not being able to eat meat or cheese, I had to order these vegan jackfruit nachos when I saw them on the menu. They were absolutely delicious and worth every bite. The nacho chips were topped with pulled barbecue jackfruit and mango & pineapple salsa. Is your mouth watering? Because mine is just thinking about it once again! And yes, in case you were wondering, I did finish this all by myself. Don’t judge!

Edinburgh vegan hot dog

In addition to the nachos, I had to try the vegan hot dog. Since becoming a vegetarian I have missed a good hot dog with ketchup and mustard. While it definitely tasted like tofu, it filled the hot dog fix I was looking for.

Edinburgh Paradise Palms street art

Whether you are a vegan, vegetarian, or meat-lover, I highly recommend this one-of-a-kind restaurant in Edinburgh. The atmosphere and energy make it unlike any other restaurant. If I ever return to Scotland I will definitely be making a special stop here to check out the rest of the menu.

Follow me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook to see more pictures from Edinburgh and to be notified when I post my travel guide on what to see, eat, and do in this beautiful city.

London’s Best Restaurants

It is no secret that I like food. Ok… I more than like food; food has become a hobby for me in all aspects. I love hunting down new restaurants, trying new flavors, photographing dishes, and cooking healthy meals for myself. Being a foodie truly is a lifestyle!

While I was in London I had a chance to try many different restaurants all over the city, each a different type of cuisine. Many people say London has poor tasting food; well they clearly weren’t eating at the right places. Here are my absolute favorite restaurants in London, each a favorite for a different reason.

Oka in Primrose Hill

Oka describes itself as a traditional and fusion Japanese restaurant. They offer sashimi, sushi and stir-fry meals. My absolute favorite thing on the menu is the chili edamame, as shown below. It is something so simple yet bursting with spicy flavor.

Oka Primrose Hill London

Another one of my favorites, and an absolute must-have if you are a sushi lover, is the salmon jalapeño roll. The flavors are fresh and subtle, which is what makes it so good. The wasabi at Oka is even homemade, adding a special touch to every sushi roll.

Oka sushi London

Be sure to book this spot in advance if looking to dine here in the evening. Don’t forget to hike to the top of Primrose Hill, first, and enjoy the sunset!

Da Mario in South Kensington

A favorite of Princess Diana, this restaurant is a go-to when looking for yummy Italian food in London. All of the pasta is homemade and the sauce is to die for. Not only do they offer pastas but they make their own pizzas as well. I love how friendly and welcoming the staff is to everyone that walks in. My favorite here has to be the potato gnocchi; the gnocchi is so plump and melts in your mouth!

Sketch in Chelsea

If you are Instagram obsessed like I am then you have definitely seen pictures of Sketch’s decor. As soon as you walk in the door you feel like you have fallen down the rabbit hole and ended up in Wonderland. I was lucky enough to visit during the Chelsea Flower Show when the entire restaurant was covered in pink peonies and roses.

Sketch London breakfast

While the afternoon tea is quite expensive and usually booked months in advance, the breakfast option is usually always available and not nearly as expensive. I enjoyed some porridge and fruit with a few cups of the matcha green tea.

Sketch London breakfast fruit

While the food is certainly delicious, what makes Sketch one of my favorites is the one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Each room is decorated differently; whether you are sitting on pink velvet couches or in a forest of flowers, the experience is magical.

City Best Kebab in Shoreditch

I had to add my favorite post-night-out spot to this list; the perfect spot for a cheap and quick meal. London is filled with falafel shops so it can be quite hard to find the best one. Luckily, this one was right around the corner from my flat and has the best falafel I have ever tasted. You never know what kind of crowd you are going to come across either, which is what makes it so entertaining.

Pacata in Covent Garden

I purposely saved the best for last with this restaurant; ironic since this was also the last meal I ate in London before leaving. Pacata specializes in thai comfort food, making the best tom kha soup and pad thai.

best pad thai in london

I know I’m making a big claim here but this may have been one of the best meals I have ever eaten. I am a huge fan of squid ink pasta and order it whenever it is on a restaurant’s menu. Pacata had squid ink pad thai, a combination of two of my favorite things. The flavors were so unique and worked together so well. If you are near Covent Garden you must try this dish!

Stay tuned for more of my favorites in London and other European cities by following me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.



Hidden Gem of London: Cafe Miami

A positive, pretty café makes for the perfect work environment. I am a firm believer that your surroundings set your mood and how productive you will be that day. This is why it is so important for me to find the best places to study, read and write in while in London.

I recently stumbled on a little place in Hackney called Café Miami. The glass storefront and pastel colors instantly drew me in. The welcoming staff, attention to detail, and delicious food made this place a new favorite spot of mine.

Cafe Miami London

The interior is everything. Cute quotes, pretty pink tables, powder blue chairs. How can you not love looking at this place?

Cafe Miami London coffee

My favorite part of Café Miami was the fun-shaped sugar cubes. This detail may seem so small but it was the most precious thing! I am a sucker for the little things in life and these cloud and heart-shaped sugar cubes are no exception.

Cafe Miami London

Cafe Miami London waffle

Not only were the sugar cubes in the shape of hearts but so were the waffles and the cinnamon on the top of my latte. Who doesn’t love hearts all over their food!? The hearts simply warm my heart. No pun intended.

Cafe Miami London latte

Cafe Miami London

I ordered the Waffle Burger (minus the chorizo) with avocado, fried egg, and hot sauce. The waffles were made with corn which made it savory and delicious. While it wasn’t a breakfast to fill a starving stomach, it was just what I needed that afternoon.

Cafe Miami London egg

What are you waiting for? Hop on the 55 bus and head to Hackney for the prettiest afternoon you’ve had all spring. You surely won’t be disappointed!

Follow me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook to see more pictures of London and its yummy food.

Hidden Gem of Amsterdam: Toastable

After strolling through the Bloemenmarkt early in the morning, I needed some coffee to get me through the rest of the day. I was instantly attracted to Toastable because of their cute, cheery sign greeting me at the door.

Amsterdam's cutest cafe

I ordered a cappuccino to-go, although my cousin and I ended up spending quite some time in this quaint cafe. Wood tables, pink peonies in glass bottles, white walls, and a decadent gold-framed mirror. If I lived in Amsterdam I could easily spend hours in this light, airy atmosphere.

best coffee in  Amsterdam

While I only came in here for a cup of coffee, I later found out that they sell all varieties of grilled cheese. I mean who doesn’t love grilled cheese? If you stop here, try the Gorgonzola toastie for me; I couldn’t help but eye up all the delicious options on their menu! I highly recommend stopping in here for a quick bite to eat and a cup of coffee before being on your way to explore the city.

Amsterdam's best coffee

Being a blogger, I can’t leave a place this aesthetically pleasing without having a little photoshoot!

Check out my Amsterdam Guide for more recommendations when visiting this city.

Hidden Gem of London: Palm Vaults

I am a sucker for a place with a cute aesthetic and healthy, good-tasting food. Needless to say, Palm Vaults offers both of these, all in the heart of Hackney.

palm vault london

The café truly is an Instagrammer’s heaven with the green plants hanging from the ceiling, marble tables, velvet couches, and pink accents. Not to mention the takeaway cups which are chic enough to include in your next #ootd post.

Palm Vault Dragonfruit Smoothie

My friend ordered the “Unleash the Dragon” smoothie which is undeniably the prettiest smoothie I have ever seen. It still amazes me how a fruit can produce a color as bright and vibrant as this one.

Palm Vault London

Palm Vaults is known for their endless selection of artisan lattes. Tumeric, violet, red velvet, blue moon tea, and charcoal are just a few options included in their menu. I ordered the red velvet latte and was surprised to taste a beet flavor. It turns out the pretty red color is acheived using the natural coloring of beets. While it is definitely an acquired taste, it makes me feel better knowing that I am not consuming artificial chemicals. The beet and mocha flavors surprisingly complement one another very well!

Palm Vault acai bowl

I ordered the “Pataya Bowl”, decorated with raspberries, coconut, blueberries, and goji berries. After seeing pictures of my favorite bloggers eating these bowls on tropical islands such as Hawaii and Australia, I had to have one. This bowl brought a little slice of the warm tropics to London, right before walking outside into the rain of course.

palm vault london

While I loved being in such a pretty atmosphere, with yummy food, places like this attract certain kinds of people. Of course I am not hating on us bloggers, being I am also that girl that has to rearrange the table to get the perfect picture of what I am about to consume, but it is also important to enjoy the moment you are living in.

Often at times we tend to only do things for the image that it portrays on social media. We all get caught up in capturing that perfect picture with the perfect lighting. While this is ok to do to a certain point, there comes a time when it’s necessary to put the camera or phone down and focus on what’s in front of you. Enjoy your delicious food. Enjoy the atmosphere you’re in. Most importantly, enjoy the time with the company that surrounds you.

The next time you go out to brunch or coffee with friends, spend the first 5 minutes rearranging your food and posting it all over social media. After, put the camera away. Put the phone away. Take the time to really talk to your friends and really taste your food. It is amazing how much more enjoyable life becomes when you shut out the digital world and embrace the present.

Follow me on here, InstagramTwitter, and Facebook to see more pictures of London and its yummy food.

City Girl… or Farm Girl?

If you are an avid Instagram-scroller and health foodie then you have probably heard of a little place called Farm Girl Cafe in the neighborhood of Knotting Hill in London. After drooling at pictures on my feed for the past few months, I finally had the opportunity to taste the luxe lattes and fresh avocado toast.


If you visit this restaurant expect a wait… a very long wait. One thing I have noticed in London is that waiters are not rushing around, worrying about each customer’s happiness the way the waiters do in America. Here they make you stand outside in the cold for nearly an hour before finally acknowledging your hangriness and dire need for food.


The menu is full of options, from vegan and vegetarian to a loaded chicken sandwich, it is a safe place to drag your meat-loving friends. However, don’t expect to escape the endless health and vegan jokes. “That coconut bacon does not deserve to call itself bacon.”


“This charcoal latte is crunchy. I can feel it in-between my teeth”. I will admit, these jokes are hilarious because quite often I am blinded by how ridiculous these things really are. I love trendy health food but I also appreciate a good laugh at them.


These drinks have been haunting me from my Instagram feed since the moment I saw them. Rose and charcoal lattes? Definitely not something you find at your typical Starbucks! Unfortunately they do sound and look a lot cooler than they taste. Do it for the picture, though, right?


I can’t go to brunch without eating some form of avocado, usually avocado toast. There is just nothing that beats it. This avocado toast was decorated with lemon juice, pomegranate seeds, and a poached egg. I ordered coconut bacon and sweet potato fries on the side. Both were delicious but definitely not worth the money. I would stick with the sandwiches which seemed a lot more filling than my £12 slices of bread.

Overall, this place makes for very cute pictures and a lovely place to chat with friends. However, if you are looking for a full on feast and to save some money, you may want to try somewhere else.

Follow me on Instagram for more yummy food pictures.


Pumpkin Pie Smoothie Recipe

With Thanksgiving coming up, I have one thing on my mind. PUMPKIN. Ok, maybe mashed potatoes and stuffing as well…

During the fall time I crave every kind of food in a pumpkin flavor. Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin soup, you name it. There’s just something about fall that makes me want to eat it all of the time. Pumpkin puts us in the holiday spirit and makes us feel all warm and fuzzy inside.


I recently discovered Bliss Nut-Butters through Instagram and have been eating their nut-butters nonstop since. I will admit, I practically ate the whole jar of their Cinnamon Chia Seed Peanut Butter before I could even share this recipe. It really is THAT delicious. What’s their secret to making the butters so addictive? I would have to say the sea salt combined with the sweetness of the cinnamon!


After eating half the jar I had the idea to include it in a smoothie with pumpkin. I figured the cinnamon would act as pumpkin pie spice and the peanuts would add some extra flavor and nutrition. For this recipe you will need:

1/2 can of pumpkin

1 spoonful of Bliss Nut Butters Cinnamon

1 frozen banana

soy milk


Simply blend up all your ingredients and add soy milk as needed.


Enjoy! The cinnamon peanut butter adds the perfect hint of sweetness to the pumpkin without overdoing it. It’s like a pumpkin pie without the excess sugar. Next time you feel like cheating with a slice of pie, blend this smoothie together instead!