10 tips to reduce stress and anxiety

I’m an anxious person by nature. One of the main reasons I love to bake and take time to cook is that by putting all my creativity in it, I can relax. Stress and anxiety is a vicious circle, being stressed makes you less productive, more anxious, and more stressed in turn. Here are some strategies I fin help me a lot whenever I am stressed or overwhelmed, and that do not involve eating a whole Nutella jar or having 5 slices of chocolate cake 🙂

Get a manicure

Don’t you feel more able to own the day when your hands are clean and pretty ? We use our hands for everything, so painting my nails and adding some nice rings really uplifts my mood 🙂

Do a face mask

When feeling overwhelmed, it’s good to take care of yourself so you don’t feel like Frankenstein. Feeling refreshed and with a clear and smooth skin will definitely brighten up your ideas.

Get an agenda

I always feel less stressed and more in control of my life when I take 5-10min every night to write my plan for the day, and my to-do list. I try to keep it short, 5 goals or 8 at most. By being realistic, you have more chances to tick off all your goals and feel good. By writing an excessively long list, you’re increasing your chances of not being able to do all of them, and feeling like a failure by the end of the day.

You can find the agenda I am using here. I love the fact that you can write all the important weekly stuff, calls to make etc on one page and you have an overlook on your entire week on the other one. This one is also cute too and super practical.

 Learn a new dish (or a new painting, drawing, or knitting technique)

We’re all born with a talent – whether your job is related to it or not – find it and nurture it! It’s food for the soul. Fore me it’s baking/cooking. I always feel accomplished when mastering a new icing technique or creating a flavorful dish.

Drink Herbal Tea

Legend says green tea solves all the world’s problems, including war. Oh, and chamomile also does wonders. You can also make your own herbal tea! I will be making a post soon about 4 easy recipes you can make to make water less boring.

Stop comparing yourself to others

In this social media age, it is easy to find yourself comparing yourself to other people your age in terms of success and happiness. But the point it, we’re all at different stages in our lives. We do different choices, whether good or bad, meet different people, and get different opportunities. Accept that fact and move on. Life is not about having it all. It’s a bit like mixing up leftovers. The best things always come from leftovers.


Etsy Boutique Launching!

If you know me, you probably know I adore baking. I also love organization, and one thing people don’t really know about me is how obsessed I am with daily planners. Filling my planner every morning while drinking a cuppa makes me feel like I’m in charge of my life 🙂 I also enjoy creating templates during my free time, and I finally decided to share them with the world.

I created an Etsy boutique (PrettyLittleRayane) and will be adding more templates in the future. The files cost only CAD$ 2 and they’re printable so you can print as many pages as you need. Go take a look 🙂

xoxo Ray Ray 


On the Importance of Rest Days

Although I have no trouble relaxing and completely logging off while on holidays, I tend to be more hesitent in taking rest days when I need them during my “usual life”. I’m naturally an active person, and need for my own sanity to do some work or go outside and move a little bit every single day. I’m a PhD student, and very fortunate in that I have a very flexible schedule and can work at the times when I feel more productive, and rest when I feel sluggish. One thing I am still working on is to feel less guilty when taking rest days in the middle of the week (ie. Monday through Friday). There are days when you’ll find me at the office at 9am ready to smash the day, and there are others when I just feel like my brain is disconnected from just about everthing and all the reports I read are chinese to me – I then just have to surrender and accept I am just not in a good position to work, and that taking a rest is fine.

Same goes with the gym. I’m more of a morning person, so I’ll wake up, eat brekkie with coffee, then go straight to the gym. I also have a smartwatch and pride myself on walking on average 12,000+ steps per day usually. So it’s kinda hard not to feel weird when taking a full day of rest with minimal movement if not a light brisk. But it’s also important to lsiten to your body and brain cues. These past days, I’ve been feeling kinda weak at the gym,  and I just understood the need for my body and brain to rest for a day or two. Which feels good. I tried my best not to do anything related to work, and to make some progress on side projects.

But beware! Rest day doesn’t mean lazy day. You can still be productive in other ways. Here are some of the things you could do as self-care:

  1. Do a face mask (it’s insane how refreshed you’ll feel afterwards)
  2. Grab a cup of tea and a good read (anything, from the latest Stephen King to a scientific article – anything that’s good food for the mind)
  3. Learn a new recipe (for me baking and cooking are ways to de-stress. Everyone knows how to cook – you should just give it a go and follow a Youtube video or two)
  4. Go on a picnic (it’s free and you’ll be surrounded by nature – enough said)
  5. Watch a documentary (not only relaxing, but you’ll also learn a thing or two – making the day unwasted)




Boston Guide : 24 hours in Boston

A good english friend of me, Charlotte, organised a BBQ for her upcoming birthday and I received an invite via Facebook. Boston was always at the back of my mind, but I never put a day on it. After a few hours of hesitating, I finally decided to hurt my debit card and get a bus ticket to Boston. I only spent two days there, but absolutely fell in love with the city and its beautiful architecture. Boston is special in that, while you feel like you’re living in a big multicultural city, a lot of main sights are at a walking distance. The city has also put into place a “freedom trail”, which is a red line going all over the city through 16 historical monuments, a lot of which are somehow related to America’s early years and its independence. I had the chance to grab a pizza slice at Regina Pizzeria and judge for myself the taste of it. It was really, really good. I went for chicken and broccoli, and actually dropped my first slice as I was about to sit down and take a picture of it. On the floor. So I had to rush and get another one. I know, I know, #clumsyray. If you happen to visit Boston for a day, here are the main sites you should not miss:


  • Brunch at Tridents Booksellers & Coffeshop (on Newbury Street)

One thing I adore about America are its brunches, which are the only ones I would rate above Moroccan ones (I know, I’m totally biaised). I love bookshops and I love brunches, what more to ask for? Their pancakes and French toast are out from this world, but as a good egg lover I decided to create my own omelett. You can also subsistute eggs for egg whites for an additional $3 if you which.



  • Newbury Street

As you’re already on Newbury Street, walk down the street towards Downtown. The street is known for its cute red brick buildings and independent shops. Absolutely lovely.



  • Beacon Hill & Acorn Street

Beacon Hill is not only the neighborhood where I might own a house when I am rich and retired, it’s also a cute red brick neighborhood with lots of beautiful houses and plenty of flowers – if you visit in spring or summer. There are also many Instagramable spots out there. Make sure you check Acorn Street, one of the most Instagramed spot in Beacon Hill.



  • Boston Common and Public Gardens

The Common Garden, opened in 1634, it’s one of the oldest park in the States. The Public Garden, adjacent to it, was established in 1837. The two are close to the current State House, which is part of the freedom trail.



  • Old State House and Boston Massacre Site

The Old State House is located at the intersection of Washington and State Streets. Built in 1713, the Old State House is the oldest public building in Boston. It has been seat of the colony government, then seat of the state government. Its walls have housed many important meetings in the history of the USA. Since 1881, it is a museum, managed by the Bostonian Society. Make sure you take a picture of the famous white balcony, where the declaration of independence was first read in 1776.

Just under the white balcony is located the exact place where the Boston Massacre happened. The Massacre happened on March 5, 1770, when British soldiers shot and killed people during a mob, while they were being attacked. Among those killed was Crispus Attucks, a man of either African or Native American descent. The event would mark the start of the American Revolution.



  • Faneuil Hall

The market is situated in an old historical building of the eighteenth century. In 2008, this was the 4th most visited touristic site in the USA according to Forbes Traveler. The market is named after Peter Faneuil, a Bostonian businessman who financially contributed to its construction. The hall is also home to Boston’s Classical Orchestra since 1980.


  • Lunch at Quincy Market (Regina Pizzeria)

This is another market, built in the nineteenth century as there was a growing need for more business places. The market now has lots of restaurants and stores to buy some souvenirs. Make sure to grab a pizza slice at Regina Pizzeria, Boston’s most famous Italian pizza, before continuing your visit. On each side of the market, North Market Street and South Market Street are two animated street you should make sure to pass by.




  • Boston Skyline at Maverick (Blue Line towards Wonderland)

Going to Maverick, you can walk down to the pier (a seven min walk from the station) and get a wonderful view over Boston’s skyline.



  • Harvard (Red Line of the T towards Alewife)

No trip to Boston is complete without a trip to Harvard’s campus in Cambridge, MA (the Harvard Station is on the red line of the T towards Alewife, a 20min ride from downtown Boston). Make sure you don’t miss Harvard Yard, which can be seen below.



  • Dinner at The Red House (Cambridge, MA)

This restaurant is just by Harvard’s campus, so make sure you eat some lobster before leaving Boston.

4 Handy Advices to Use in the Kitchen

Using the kitchen can be messy; trust me, I bake. But I have also learned a few things along the way to make the whole experience more enjoyable. Hope you put these into place and cook succulent dishes 🙂

1- Wash the dishes as you cook/bake

It is tempting to leave everything until the end – but you’ll just end up with a mountain of dirty plates and molds in the sink. If you have a dishwasher, put the washable dishes in there. If not, try to wash everything you use as soon as possible. Plus, you won’t have to suffer trying to remove

2– Place food in freezer bags instead of containers

That one is for those who live with flatmates or have small fridges. Containers and food take a hell lot of place in the fridge. Ditching them can help you save up some space

3- Cut the veggies and store them

Part of the reason why people loathe cooking is because you have to wash the veggies, then cut them and then cook them. Takes. So. Long. But here’s the thing: cutting up a few bell peppers doesn’t take more than 10 to 15 min. Do the same with cucumber or carrots, among others. Then you can just quickly use the veggie whenever you need it.

4- Cover rising dough with a blanket

A dough needs warm temperatures so it can rise properly. My mom gave me this advice, by covering the dough with a towel, and then putting it inside a blanket, it will enhance the rising process.














Header: taken from Ikea.com (http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/categories/departments/kitchen/designideas/)

5 reasons why I say yes to solo trips (and you should, too)

I honestly cannot count the number of times I’ve heard people say “oh, I really wish I could go there and there, but I have no on to go with and blah blah blah”.

I believe that you’ll only go so far in life if you believe you can’t have fun by yourself. Constantly depending on others or looking down on those me-time will never make you happy. Learn how to have fun by yourself first, and then learn how to have fun with others. In this order. I’m not saying it is easy. For instance, there is still this big stigma of eating alone in a restaurant for example. Well, I have learned not to care. What’s the deal ? Make some efforts and you’ll thank yourself later.

The number one thing I like about solo trips is freedom. Pretty logic, right ? Listen, what I really love about travelling alone is being able to plan my day as I wish and be totally in charge of all the planning. Eating breakfast slowly, and go, entering the stores that I want, and visiting only the places I am interested by. Freedom is priceless.

I also truly learnt independence thanks to my solo trips. On my second week in Costa Rica, my bank card got stuck into an ATM, and I had to rely on a limited amount of cash for more than a week, while trying to figure out how I was going to survive for the next 2 weeks.

I also tend to interact with more locals and people in general when taking solo trips. I feel like big groups of tourists or families might be a bit interesting. Each and every single person I have talked to have taught me something. This, again, is priceless.

Your next solo trip doesn’t have to be Paris or Hong Kong. Eat dinner at this fancy restaurant you’ve always wanted to try. Dress smart, and take yourself on a date.


What are your view on solo trips ? Ever been on one . Let me know in the comments below, I would love to hear!




(Costa Rica, 2015)


A Little Talk about Health and Fitness in General

IMG_20151202_104205466_HDR.jpgHey! So, as you know, my name is Rayane, and I’m currently a final year student in that beautiful city which is London. I started my “health and fitness” over a year ago. Now, it’s not to mean that I was particularly unhealthy before, I always tried to be active and eat diverse food within reason. I used to be quite a chubby kid, due to an allergy treatment, and have, thank God, managed to reach a healthy and normal weight as I grew older. When I was a teenager, I used to live back home in Morocco; therefore, even though counting calories and dieting were two things I wasn’t concerned about at all, I kept a normal weight. This was probably due to my wonderful momma’s cooking. She’s a true wonderwoman. She teaches at university, but always makes sure me and my brother have equilibrated meals. A moroccan-mediterranean diet with a lot of veggies, fruits, bread, poultry and lean meat within reason constituted the basis of our meals.

I moved to London aged 17, and immediately started running more regularly. I used to run from time to time back home, but never took it as a regular sport. However, this new independency also mean I was able to get easy access to any kind of food I wanted: microwavable cooked meals, Digestive biscuits (you’d have to be a Briton or live here to understand), and what else, at a relatively cheap price. Add to that the stress of uni and lack of time to cook proper meals (making a small voice inside your head scream: I need my mommaaa !!!), and you get 5 more kg on a silver plate. Nothing dramatic. But it helped me understand why people have such a hard time losing weight or getting fit – food is everywhere. Even if you’re not hungry, there’s always an EAT, Prêt à Manger, or Starbucks to convince you of the opposite.

Now, even though I’ve never disliked my body – I learned to love it, and I believe everyone can – I wasn’t extremely satisfied with it. I decided this needed to change over a year ago, and anyone telling you getting healthy is all easy and stuff is probably a liar – it’s a never ending road, and you’ll get obstacles along the way. I once read in a magazine the 10 or 20 things you’ll regret at 30. One of them was “not starting a regular physical activity” in your 20’s. I immediately took the habit of exercising. In the morning, in the afternoon, in the evening, whatever. Running, kickboxing, lifting. All of that. I love diversity. I love to be able to open my YouTube app, select a random workout if I feel like it, and do it. Oh and by the way, FitnessBlender free videos definitely helped. They rock.

I also started trying to eat “cleaner” meaning from scratch. Veggies, carbs, and protein on each one of my plates. So many colors! The thing is, even before noticing a real physical change, your mental definitely change. Eating fresh food makes you feel fresher. And healthier. And more optimistic. However, I’m not gonna lie, there have been times at the beginning where I would prefer to wait getting back home to prepare myself a big, equilibrated, healthy meal, rather than buying something rather “unhealthy” at my local Tesco or Sainsbury’s. Stomach grumbling? Who cares!! Another mistake I also made – and many people are making it probably – is thinking you’re eating a lot when you’re not. Veggies are voluminous but poor in calories – you need calories to function properly! I have somehow, along the way, understood that it’s not the way to look at things.

Another good thing I learned is that everyone is different. What works for others might not work for me. If you’re body handles a meat-free, gluten-free, or paleo diet, fine, go for it! If it’s not, don’t despise yourself and do what is best for you. Try things out and settle for the thing that makes you satisfied. Can’t handle working out 6 times a week ? Listen to your body. It doesn’t mean that you’re weaker. It means our bodies have different ways to be healthy. It might mean your body only needs 3 workouts to function properly. It can be confusing to  read information over the internet – just because someome has a degree in nutrition, doesn’t mean your bodies and experience are similar.

We’re not trying to fit into a bikini for summer 2016, get bigger in winter 2017, and do another diet afterwards. Health is about balance, and it’s an ongoing thing. Remember that and you’ll be fine 🙂