Pubs are closing at an incredible rate at the moment and if you visit the ones that are open, you’ll often find there’s a real absence of something – young people. Yes, pub culture doesn’t appear to appeal to youngsters anymore, and a big reason for that is the shunning of alcohol.

A report by the BBC a few years ago found that Gen Zers really are growing up sober curious, with those aged 16 to 25 most likely to be teetotal, with over a quarter now not drinking.

It’s a significant attitude shift, and it’s interesting to understand why exactly that is happening. The truth is, a number of reasons…

Health Consciousness

As a society we’re more health conscious than ever before and understanding what alcohol can do to our physical health is a big reason people are giving it up. Visit a pub on Friday evening in a local area and then go to a gym and you’ll get a good idea of where priorities lie when it comes to physical health among young people.

Students and young people are becoming increasingly wary of booze, particularly when it comes to weight gain and maintaining an “Insta-perfect” image. They’re embracing healthier lifestyles and that simply doesn’t involve drinking pints.

Financial Pressures

Of course, there’s the financial burden of drinking too, particularly for students. With the rising accommodation costs and tuition fees, not to mention the general cost of living, everyone’s having to reassess their spending habits. While nights as a student revolved around bars and clubs, it’s become an unnecessary expense and youngsters are now seeking more affordable alternatives.

That can involve more nights at home or the rise of gaming, which is seeing more people stay home and log-on.

Ultimately, with the cost of living going up, and the price of alcohol, it’s simply become a less affordable hobby.

Social Shifts

As mentioned, you’re more likely to see a young person staying at home gaming these days, and that’s a sign of the social shifts over recent years. Millennials were perhaps the last generation to meet up at the pub to socialise and catch up, where now with social media platforms and online gaming, these have become virtual hangouts that offer alternative avenues for connecting with friends.

Mental Health Awareness

More young people are suffering than ever before with their mental health, seeking out counsellors and professionals for support. The destigmatisation of mental health is meaning more people reach out about their problems rather than turn to the bottle, while at the same time they’re much more aware that alcohol isn’t a healthy copy mechanism.

They’re aware of the dangers it can have, with so many people before them having to seek alcohol rehab as a result of their drinking as a youngster spiralling out of control and causing further mental health problems. This shift is naturally only going to benefit young people in the long run and can help the nation recover during a period where more people are struggling with alcohol addiction than ever before.

Cultural Changes

Finally, societal attitudes towards alcohol consumption are changing. Where once a booze up at the weekend or a glass of prosecco with the girls was glorified, that’s changing with more nuanced narratives that emphasise moderation and balance. As a result of this, less pressure is being put on young people and students to drink, allowing them to evaluate their relationship more effectively with alcohol and question the social norms.

This is having a huge impact on the number of people who are ditching alcohol and ultimately contributing to a healthier generation of youngsters.

Hit the road with Laura Bartlett as she embarks on a laid-back adventure through the enchanting streets of Marseille. With the Toyota CH-R Plug-in hybrid as her trusty companion, she’s all set to explore every nook and cranny of this vibrant city, uncovering its hidden gems along the way

As a seasoned traveler and car enthusiast, I’ve traversed some of the world’s most iconic roads, from the winding coastal highways of California to the majestic passes of the Swiss Alps. And let’s not forget about the exhilarating road trip across Nevada, where the vast desert landscape stretched out before me like a canvas waiting to be explored.

One such adventure stands out vividly in my memory—a road trip through the glamorous French Riviera, from Cannes to Monte Carlo, with the roof down and the Mediterranean breeze caressing my skin. As I cruised along the sun-kissed coastline, taking in the sights of palm-fringed beaches and luxurious seaside resorts, I felt a sense of freedom and exhilaration unlike any other.

Despite my extensive travels throughout the south of France, there was one notable omission on my list of destinations: Marseille. Known for its rich cultural heritage, vibrant waterfront and bustling markets, Marseille had long piqued my curiosity, yet somehow, it had eluded my exploration.

So when the opportunity arose to experience the brand-new Toyota CH-R in the enchanting surroundings of Marseille, I knew it was a journey I couldn’t afford to miss. With my wealth of travel experience and a deep appreciation for the beauty of the French countryside, I eagerly accepted the invitation, keen to add another chapter to my travelogue.

Embracing Adventure in the Toyota CH-R

After touching down at the airport, I wasted no time in hopping into the Toyota CH-R Plug-in hybrid to begin my exploration of Marseille. With the wind in my hair and the sun on my face, I set off on a journey filled with excitement and anticipation, eager to uncover the hidden gems and iconic landmarks that this enchanting city had to offer.

Let’s talk about the star of the show—the Toyota CH-R Plug-in hybrid. This innovative vehicle boasts a 2.0-litre engine and runs in all-electric EV mode by default, offering drivers the flexibility to choose from four driving modes to suit their preferences. With a more powerful battery and electric motor than its standard hybrid counterpart, the CH-R Plug-in can travel up to an impressive 41 miles on electric power alone, making it perfect for eco-conscious drivers.

Eco-Friendly Explorations

One thing that really caught my attention was the regeneration boost system. It’s like having a one-pedal driving experience, which makes it easier to control the car, especially in slow-moving traffic. Plus, with the CH-R Plug-in, you get impressive fuel economy of up to 353.1 miles per gallon and low CO2 emissions of just 19 grams per kilometre. So, you’re not only saving on fuel costs but also doing your bit for the environment, all while enjoying great performance on the road.

Charging the battery is a breeze, thanks to the wallbox charger and tri-phase cable, allowing for a quick charge from zero to 100 per cent in less than two-and-a-half hours. And with three equipment grades available—Design, GR Sport, and Excel—there’s a CH-R Plug-in model to suit every lifestyle and preference.

Along the way, I couldn’t resist pausing at various sights and landmarks, each offering a unique glimpse into the rich history and culture of Marseille. From ancient cathedrals to quaint villages nestled in the hills, every stop presented an opportunity to immerse myself in the beauty of this vibrant city.

Marseille Moments

And as I continued my journey, taking in the sights of the ocean along the waterfront and port, I felt the excitement building as I embarked on an epic road trip. Whether cruising through the bustling city streets or venturing onto the open road, the Toyota CH-R Plug-in hybrid proved to be the perfect companion, seamlessly integrating style, performance, sustainability and redefining what it means to drive with purpose.

As I reflect on my journey with the Toyota CH-R Plug-in hybrid, I can’t help but consider its potential to redefine accessible luxury in a crowded market. With its stylish design, eco-friendly performance, and competitive pricing, the CH-R stands out as a compelling option for drivers seeking both sophistication and sustainability.

As the sun painted the sky in hues of orange and pink, signalling the end of what had been quite an exciting day in Marseille, I was buzzing with anticipation to kick back and relax at the nhow Marseille Hotel—a true haven of luxury and style in this lively city. With its funky design and deluxe amenities, like a swanky spa and a pool offering breathtaking views of the Mediterranean, the hotel was the perfect place to unwind after a day filled with thrilling adventures.

And as I drifted off to sleep, with thoughts of the open road dancing in my head, I couldn’t help but smile at the endless adventures that awaited me with the Toyota CH-R Plug-in hybrid. With its sleek design and eco-friendly power, every drive promised to be a laid-back joyride, filled with unexpected twists and turns, and plenty of unforgettable moments waiting to be discovered.

The all-new Toyota CH-R Plug-in hybrid is available to order now, with on-the-road prices starting at £39,145. For more information, visit and discover the future of driving today.

Modern students maybe are the same as their predecessors but their lives have significantly changed. Changes are noticeable in various areas, including social, technological, and cultural. Various factors have influenced the way students communicate, treat each other, and learn. So let’s take a closer look at the evolution in the lifestyle of students through years.

Learning in the Past

Previously, studying and student life looked much simpler. This can be explained by the lack of the technologies and amenities that exist now. All classes were conducted in classes, and the source of information was only physical books or teachers, given the lack of the Internet as such.

Communication between students was also carried out within the framework of live interaction (face-to-face). The digitalization of society has changed the format of education, so now students behave completely differently.

Impact of the Digital Revolution on Technology Use

Computers and the Internet began to appear actively at the end of the 20th century. Thanks to this, studying moved gradually to a new format, and the lives of both teachers and students became easier. Interactive whiteboards and online textbooks improved the quality of learning by providing greater access to information.

Nowadays, students cannot imagine themselves without digital technologies, which they use regularly. Among these technologies are various platforms like WriteMyPapers, tools, applications, text and video materials. If they need to learn an answer on any topic, they will simply write their request in a search engine and receive the full answer, which is convenient.

Distance Learning

The 2019 pandemic has changed the traditional approach to learning. New and interesting applications appeared on the digital market, and they continued to be used even after COVID-19.

Due to the lockdown that arose, training had to be transferred to remote classes. During this time, video communication platforms became popular, allowing teachers to stay in touch with students and continue to share knowledge.

The advantage of this method is flexibility because you can study regardless of time and place. You just need to download the video conference application and take care of a reliable Internet connection.

Moving from Physical to Digital Interactions

Thanks to the advent of social networks, it has become easier for students to communicate and get to know each other. They can exchange experiences online and even agree on cooperation. Such new opportunities for communication help students develop faster since communication is one of the keys to success.

Caring for Mental Health and Well-being

More attention is focused on issues related to health. And not only physical but also mental. Advances in digital technology have shown the importance of maintaining mental health at the right level, which has benefited the well-being of a large number of students. Online therapy services are in demand and help solve many problems in the lives of young people.

Changes in Financial Aspects and the Emergence of Grants

Financial aid has helped more than one student enroll in higher education. With education becoming more expensive, not everyone can afford it. But they can take advantage of grants, scholarships, or other types of financial aids. Online education is also popular now, offered by various companies, platforms and even universities.

Improved Awareness and Social Responsibility

Due to the large number of open sources of information, the generation of today’s students is more conscious and tolerant. This reflects positively on society since bullying is minimized compared to a long time ago. Social justice takes over, which greatly improves the environment between students.

Especially if you are studying in an intercultural society, you need to take into account that each person lives according to their own principles. You have to understand and take this into account so that you do not hurt other people. If you take these points into account, you will notice that the attitude towards you is also favorable.

Changes in Academic Pressures

Nowadays, there are slightly different expectations from students, thanks to which studying can be stress-free and even enjoyable. Teachers and professors try to make students interested in their subject and give them motivation to learn a new profession.

Focus on Soft Skills

No one argues that academic knowledge is important, but beyond that, it’s important not to forget soft skills. People also value deeper character traits in people that can be developed over time. These include critical thinking, the ability to communicate with different people, courtesy, emotional intelligence, entrepreneurship, and adaptability to diverse situations. The more benefits you demonstrate in studying and employment, the better impression you will make of yourself.

Career Path Options

There are many career opportunities open to young people once they have a college degree. This does not only apply to working a full-time schedule. The digital age has provided many new opportunities that allow you to work from the comfort of your own home. Content creation for social media and other digital professions is popular. With enough knowledge, young people can launch their startups and arrange a high standard of living for themselves.

A large amount of information in the public domain allows you to learn quickly and find your job. Students can easily turn their hobbies into high-paying professions. Many tools will allow them to adapt their creativity into something else and settle into the life of their dreams.


Student lifestyles are largely influenced by time and technological advancements. Society depends a lot on the situation and innovation. Each of the world events influences certain spheres of life, and education is among them. It can be seen that modern students adapt well to different conditions and situations. After graduating from a higher education institution, they are good at showing their best qualities and are ready to work for the benefit of the future.

In a world where the future of food is uncertain and the impact of consumption on our planet weighs heavily on our minds, two visionaries dared to reimagine the possibilities. Meet Julia Schwarz and Lisi Penker, the pioneering minds behind Simiæn.

Driven by a shared passion for sustainability and a deep reverence for nature’s resilience, Julia and Lisi embarked on a journey to redefine our relationship with food and design. Inspired by a docu-fiction that envisioned lichen as a source of sustenance, they saw an opportunity to harness the power of nature’s most elemental resources: lichen for nourishment and stone for craftsmanship.

Simiæn isn’t just a brand; it’s a testament to the transformative potential of innovation and imagination. By leveraging lichen’s nutritional richness and stone’s timeless beauty, Julia and Lisi aim to reconnect people with the purity and vitality of untouched landscapes.

As we stand at the precipice of a new era in food and design, Julia and Lisi stand as beacons of hope, guiding us towards a future where sustainability and beauty coexist harmoniously. Together, they invite us to join them on this remarkable journey, where every choice we make has the power to shape a better world for generations to come…

What inspired you to explore lichen as a source of food and beverage, and what challenges did you encounter in introducing it to the market?

It all began with the research for my diploma project at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Austria, where I studied industrial design and design investigations in 2018. I have always been fond of spending time in the woods and wandering in mountains, where I draw much inspiration.

Observing these small plants – lichens – clinging to trees and rocks piqued my curiosity about their resilience and ability to thrive in such environments. Initially mistaking them for moss, I consulted a bryologist – an expert on mosses – who clarified that they were indeed lichens.

This sparked a deep dive into research, collaborating with lichenologists – experts in lichens – around the world. The culmination of this exploration was a docu-fiction project titled “Unseen Edible”, which envisioned lichen as a viable food source even on Mars. This project, showcasing various lichen-based products alongside factual information about lichens and potential farming methods, garnered attention at design exhibitions, prompting the idea of bringing it to market.

However, transitioning from a conceptual stage to market readiness posed significant challenges, particularly navigating novel food regulations and ensuring product viability. Overcoming these hurdles and garnering recognition was indeed a formidable task.

Can you share the journey of conceptualizing and founding Simiæn, from ideation to execution?

With the “Unseen Edible” project initially showcased in museums and exhibitions worldwide, our focus leaned heavily on design-driven research. The pivotal moment came with the organization of a lichen experience dinner, co-hosted by Lisi Penker, co-founder of Simiæn, for a company event.

Each dish featured lichen, including a specially crafted lichen gin. This event marked the transition from conceptualization to tangible reality. Recognizing the initial feasibility of lichen-based beverages, we embarked on creating lichen-infused drinks, starting with a traditional lichen tea in collaboration with Saint Charles pharmacy.

Lichens, renowned for their distinctive taste profile and inherent bitterness, presented a unique challenge in achieving a palatable flavor. After extensive experimentation, we successfully developed a range of aperitif drinks, teas, and stone cups, all derived from lichen and stones, the favored habitat of lichens.

The essence of Simiæn lies in tasting landscapes, as lichens thrive in Earth’s pristine environments, reflecting our commitment to sustainability and sensory experience.

How do you see Simiæn contributing to the future of sustainable consumption, especially in the context of growing environmental concerns?

At Simiæn, we prioritize elemental sources, exemplified by our use of stones sourced from offcuts of stone production for our cups. This not only minimizes waste but also underscores the recyclability and low energy consumption inherent in stone manufacturing.

Lichens, sourced from controlled collections meeting pharmaceutical standards, embody resilience and longevity, making them an ideal candidate for sustainable consumption. With lichens boasting a rich nutritional profile and potential health benefits, their utilization could address future food security challenges, particularly in the face of climate change-induced agricultural disruptions.

By championing lichen-based products, Simiæn advocates for a shift towards environmentally conscious consumption practices, paving the way for a more sustainable future.

What role do you believe innovative and unconventional food sources like lichen can play in addressing global food security issues?

Lichens emerge as a promising solution for global food security, owing to their robustness and adaptability. As one of the oldest organisms on Earth, capable of thriving in extreme conditions, including Martian landscapes, lichens offer a versatile food source. While lichens may not single-handedly solve food security challenges, they represent a valuable addition to the array of alternative food sources.

Their nutritional richness and historical significance during periods of famine underscore their potential contribution to future food systems. Moreover, lichens’ unique ingredients, scientifically proven to possess cytotoxic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, further enhance their appeal in addressing evolving health concerns.

Integrating lichens into mainstream dietary habits could diversify food sources and mitigate reliance on traditional crops vulnerable to climate fluctuations.

Could you elaborate on the process of sourcing and selecting lichen as a primary ingredient for your products? What criteria do you consider?

Lichens are chosen as our primary ingredient primarily for their distinctive taste profile and nutritional benefits. Collaboration with a reputable pharmacy ensures the procurement of high-quality lichens from controlled collections, prioritizing both food safety and biodiversity conservation.

While over 200,000 lichen species exist, our selection focuses on three types with well-documented historical usage. This cautious approach ensures adherence to established safety standards and minimizes ecological impact.

The complexity of lichen flavor, combining aromatic nuances with inherent bitterness, necessitates meticulous formulation to achieve a harmonious taste profile. Through collaborative efforts with pharmacists, food scientists, and chefs, we refine our recipes to maximise the sensory experience while preserving lichen’s inherent qualities.

How do you balance the nutritional value of lichen-based products with their environmental impact and sustainability?

Our commitment to sustainability extends beyond product sourcing to encompass production practices and packaging materials. By utilizing offcuts from stone production for our cups, we minimise waste and embrace circular economy principles.

Stone, a naturally abundant and recyclable material, epitomizes eco-conscious design, offering durability and tactile appeal. Concurrently, our lichen sourcing strategy emphasizes controlled collections to mitigate ecological impact and safeguard biodiversity.

While lichen’s nutritional potency is undeniable, our focus lies primarily on taste and sensory experience in product development. However, ongoing collaboration with a university in Salzburg explores lichen farming possibilities, further enhancing sustainability efforts. By prioritising both nutritional value and environmental stewardship, Simiæn endeavors to set a precedent for sustainable food innovation.

In what ways do you envision Simiæn products influencing mainstream dietary habits and consumer choices?

Simiæn products transcend mere consumption, embodying a holistic approach to wellness and sustainability. Our stone cups, crafted from reclaimed stone offcuts, epitomize heritage craftsmanship and longevity, fostering conscious consumption habits.

Lichen-infused teas transport consumers to imagined landscapes, encouraging mindfulness and sensory exploration. Meanwhile, our Sprizz offerings, available in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic variants, redefine social rituals with nature-inspired flavors.

Through these diverse product offerings, Simiæn aims to inspire a shift towards healthier, more mindful dietary habits, anchored in reverence for natural resources and biodiversity.

What strategies do you employ to educate consumers about the nutritional benefits and ecological importance of lichen consumption?

Our approach to consumer education prioritizes experiential learning and sensory engagement. Tasting landscapes, evocative of lichen’s natural habitats, serve as a narrative framework for product exploration, fostering curiosity and appreciation for ecological diversity.

While our lichen tea series offers potential health benefits, we emphasize taste and sensory enjoyment to ensure broader appeal. Through transparent communication about sourcing practices and ecological considerations, we aim to cultivate informed consumer choices and foster a deeper connection to nature’s bounty.

Can you discuss any surprising or unexpected reactions you’ve encountered from consumers or the industry regarding your use of lichen?

Consumer reactions to our lichen-based products have been overwhelmingly positive, albeit accompanied by initial curiosity and intrigue.

Many consumers express surprise upon learning about lichens’ unique characteristics as symbiotic organisms comprising algae, fungi, and occasionally cyanobacteria. However, once acquainted with the concept, consumers embrace the novelty and distinctive flavors of our products wholeheartedly.

Our interactive tasting experiences, coupled with playful associations, further enhance consumer engagement and appreciation for lichen’s culinary potential. Additionally, the unexpected comparison of lichen’s taste to licking rocks, as recounted by a consumer in London, underscores the sensory richness and imaginative possibilities inherent in lichen-based cuisine.

How does Simiæn integrate principles of circular economy and zero-waste into its production and packaging processes?

At Simiæn, sustainability permeates every aspect of our operations, from product design to packaging choices. Our stone cups exemplify circular economy principles, repurposing offcuts from natural stone production to create durable, timeless vessels.

By minimizing waste and utilizing recyclable materials, such as glass bottles and cardboard packaging, we reduce our environmental footprint and promote resource efficiency. Moreover, our close collaboration with local suppliers and producers ensures minimal transportation-related emissions, further aligning with our commitment to sustainability.

Through these concerted efforts, Simiæn strives to set a precedent for eco-conscious business practices within the food industry.

What do you hope consumers will take away from their experience with Simiæn products beyond mere consumption?

Beyond mere consumption, we envision Simiæn products fostering a deeper appreciation for nature’s bounty and the interconnectedness of ecosystems. Through sensory exploration and experiential learning, consumers are invited to embark on a journey of discovery, discovering the intricate flavors and narratives woven into each product.

Our commitment to sustainability and ethical sourcing practices encourages consumers to reflect on their consumption habits and embrace mindful, conscious living. Ultimately, we hope to inspire a sense of wonder and reverence for the natural world, transcending the boundaries of traditional consumerism.

How do you navigate regulatory challenges and ensure compliance with food safety standards when introducing novel ingredients like lichen into the market?

Navigating regulatory hurdles and ensuring compliance with food safety standards is paramount in introducing novel ingredients like lichen into the market. Our journey involved close collaboration with food safety experts, regulatory authorities, and scientific advisors to navigate the intricate landscape of food regulations.

By adhering to rigorous safety protocols and conducting thorough risk assessments, we ensure that our products meet stringent quality standards and pose no harm to consumers. Transparency and open communication have been instrumental in garnering regulatory approval and building trust with stakeholders.

Despite the challenges, our unwavering commitment to safety and compliance has enabled us to overcome regulatory obstacles and bring innovative lichen-based products to market.

Could you share any insights into the research and development efforts behind creating innovative lichen-based recipes and formulations?

The research and development process behind our lichen-based products involved interdisciplinary collaboration and iterative experimentation. Drawing inspiration from traditional recipes and historical usage, we embarked on a journey of culinary exploration, guided by insights from lichenologists, pharmacists, and food scientists.

The inherent bitterness and complex flavor profile of lichens presented a unique challenge, requiring meticulous formulation to achieve a harmonious balance of taste and sensory experience. Through extensive trial and error, we refined our recipes to highlight lichen’s distinctive flavors while ensuring palatability and nutritional integrity.

Collaborative partnerships with star chefs and culinary experts further enriched our repertoire, pushing the boundaries of lichen-based cuisine and paving the way for innovative formulations. By combining scientific rigor with creative ingenuity, we continue to push the boundaries of lichen-based gastronomy, unlocking new culinary possibilities and redefining the future of food.

What strategies do you employ to foster a culture of creativity and experimentation within your team at Simiæn?

At Simiæn, fostering a culture of creativity and experimentation is central to our ethos. We cultivate an environment of openness and collaboration, where diverse perspectives are valued and encouraged. Regular brainstorming sessions and ideation workshops provide a platform for team members to explore new ideas and push the boundaries of innovation.

Embracing a spirit of curiosity and exploration, we encourage team members to challenge conventional thinking and embrace experimentation. By providing ample opportunities for skill development and knowledge sharing, we empower team members to contribute their unique talents and insights to the creative process. Ultimately, our collective commitment to pushing the envelope of culinary innovation drives our success and propels us towards new horizons of discovery.

How do you approach partnerships and collaborations with other organisations or experts in the field of sustainability and food innovation?

Collaboration lies at the heart of our approach to partnerships, as we recognize the power of collective action in driving meaningful change. When forging partnerships with other organisations or experts in the field of sustainability and food innovation, we prioritize shared values and mutual respect.

Open communication and transparency are key to fostering productive collaborations, as we seek to align our goals and objectives with those of our partners. By leveraging each other’s expertise and resources, we amplify our impact and catalyze positive change within the industry.

Whether collaborating on product development, research initiatives, or advocacy campaigns, we approach partnerships with a spirit of humility and reciprocity, recognizing that together, we can achieve far more than we could alone.

What lessons have you learned from building and scaling a business centred around unconventional and eco-conscious products?

Building and scaling a business centered around unconventional and eco-conscious products has been a journey of learning and growth, punctuated by valuable insights and lessons along the way. One of the most important lessons we’ve learned is the importance of perseverance and resilience in the face of adversity.

From navigating regulatory challenges to overcoming logistical hurdles, every obstacle has presented an opportunity for growth and innovation. Additionally, we’ve learned the importance of collaboration and community-building in driving meaningful change. By fostering partnerships and alliances with like-minded organizations and individuals, we’ve been able to amplify our impact and reach a broader audience.

Finally, we’ve learned the importance of staying true to our values and vision, even in the face of skepticism or opposition. By remaining steadfast in our commitment to sustainability and ethical business practices, we’ve been able to carve out a unique niche in the market and inspire others to follow suit.

Can you discuss the role of storytelling and narrative in shaping the brand identity and consumer perception of Simiæn?

Storytelling and narrative play a central role in shaping the brand identity and consumer perception of Simiæn, imbuing our products with depth and meaning beyond their functional utility. From the inception of our “Unseen Edible” project to the creation of Simiæn, storytelling has been at the core of our ethos, weaving a rich tapestry of imagery and symbolism that resonates with consumers on a deeper level.

By crafting narratives that evoke a sense of wonder and curiosity, we invite consumers to embark on a journey of discovery, exploring the hidden world of lichens and stones through our products.

Through storytelling, we not only communicate the unique value proposition of our brand but also foster a sense of connection and belonging among our audience. Ultimately, it is through storytelling that we bring our brand to life, transforming mere products into vessels of meaning and inspiration.

How do you measure the impact of your products on both environmental sustainability and societal well-being?

Measuring the impact of our products on environmental sustainability and societal well-being is a multifaceted endeavor that requires careful consideration of various metrics and indicators.

From an environmental perspective, we track key performance indicators such as carbon footprint, water usage, and waste generation throughout the product lifecycle. By conducting life cycle assessments and environmental audits, we gain insight into the environmental impacts of our operations and identify opportunities for improvement. Additionally, we monitor indicators of societal well-being, such as consumer satisfaction, community engagement, and social impact initiatives.

Through surveys, focus groups, and stakeholder consultations, we gather feedback from consumers and stakeholders to assess the social value generated by our products. By integrating both environmental and social metrics into our impact assessment framework, we strive to holistically evaluate the sustainability performance of our products and drive continuous improvement.

What future innovations or developments do you foresee for Simiæn, and how do you plan to stay at the forefront of sustainable food trends?

Looking ahead, we envision Simiæn continuing to push the boundaries of sustainable food innovation, exploring new frontiers in lichen-based cuisine and beyond. From expanding our product line to incorporating novel ingredients and flavors, we remain committed to driving culinary innovation while upholding our sustainability principles.

Additionally, we plan to leverage emerging technologies and scientific advancements to further enhance the nutritional value and sensory experience of our products. By staying abreast of the latest research and trends in sustainable food production, we aim to position Simiæn as a leader in the field, inspiring others to embrace a more mindful and ethical approach to food consumption.

Our readers love to travel, what destination is at the top of your bucket list?

Iceland holds a special place in our hearts, as it epitomizes the rugged beauty and natural wonders that inspire our brand. From its otherworldly landscapes to its rich cultural heritage, Iceland offers a wealth of inspiration and exploration opportunities.

Whether marveling at the Northern Lights, soaking in geothermal hot springs, or venturing off the beaten path to discover hidden gems, Iceland promises an unforgettable travel experience that resonates with our ethos of adventure and discovery.

Lastly, what advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to create socially and environmentally impactful businesses like Simiæn?

For aspiring entrepreneurs seeking to create socially and environmentally impactful businesses, we offer the following advice: Stay true to your vision and values, even in the face of adversity.

Building a purpose-driven business requires unwavering commitment and perseverance, but the rewards are immeasurable. Embrace collaboration and seek out partnerships with like-minded organizations and individuals who share your passion for positive change.

By harnessing the collective power of community and collaboration, you can amplify your impact and drive meaningful change. Finally, never underestimate the power of storytelling to connect with your audience and inspire action.

Through compelling narratives and authentic storytelling, you can engage hearts and minds, fostering a sense of connection and belonging that transcends mere consumption.

Where can people follow you and find out more?

You can learn more about Simiæn and stay updated on our latest developments by visiting our website at or following us on Instagram

Additionally, we welcome visitors to our studio in Vienna, where they can experience our products firsthand and learn more about our mission and vision. We look forward to sharing our journey with you and inspiring a more sustainable future together.

As we conclude our journey with Julia Schwarz and Lisi Penker, let their story ignite a spark of curiosity within you. Explore more inspiring interviews and stories of visionary founders like them at House of Coco. Discover the voices shaping our world and be inspired to embark on your own journey of innovation and impact. Together, let’s build a future where sustainability, creativity, and compassion thrive.

Gen Z has grown in an era of convenience, where food is available at a click, taxis at the push of a button, and relationships are just a swipe away. This generation is pickier than ever before. You might like a person a few days ago but might not be a good fit for you in the blink of an eye. 

This evolution and fast-paced life has impacted society, giving birth to hook-up culture. People are not ready to get into a ‘serious’ relationship and just want to exchange sexual favors. However, hookups don’t just involve sex. It can also mean kissing the other person without any emotional attachment. Hookups can be of different types.

So, why has it become so popular? The major reason is freedom. Many individuals want to have the option of hooking up. Let us know more about hookup culture and the reason behind its popularity.

Some Of The Reasons Why Hookup Culture Is So Popular

Young adults have grown interested in hookup culture in the last few years. This social phenomenon involves casual sexual encounters without any long-term commitment. 

This trend has sparked heated debates about its potential impact on both individuals and society as a whole. Despite the controversy surrounding it, hookup culture remains an ever-present aspect of social interaction, captivating the interest of many. This has led to the question of what drives this cultural phenomenon and makes it appealing to its participants.

1. Shift in Societal Norms

One of the primary reasons behind the popularity of hookups lies in the transformation of societal norms surrounding relationships and intimacy. Traditional values regarding courtship and marriage have evolved, giving way to a more liberal attitude towards sex and personal autonomy. With the decline of stigmatization surrounding premarital sex and non-committal relationships, individuals feel freer to explore their sexuality without the constraints of traditional expectations.

2. Technological Advancements

The rise of dating apps and social media platforms has completely transformed how people interact and connect. These innovative digital platforms provide a seamless and easy-to-use method for individuals to explore romantic opportunities beyond their usual social circles. By eliminating the traditional barriers of time and distance, these platforms have made it possible for people to discover and connect with potential partners worldwide.

One of these platforms’ most notable features is their anonymity. This anonymity has created an environment that encourages experimentation and facilitates casual encounters, leading to the proliferation of hookup culture. People are now more open to exploring their sexuality and are increasingly relying on these platforms to find like-minded individuals for casual hookups.

The emergence of the best hookup sites and social media platforms has revolutionized the dating landscape, enabling people to connect and interact in previously impossible ways.

3. Changing Priorities

In today’s fast-paced world, many individuals prioritize career advancement, personal growth, and self-discovery over long-term relationships. The transient nature of hookup culture aligns with these shifting priorities, offering a way to fulfill physical desires without the time and emotional investment required by traditional relationships. For some, casual hookups provide an escape from the pressures of commitment and the complexities of romantic entanglements.

4. Fear of Intimacy

Despite the appeal of casual encounters, many individuals harbor deep-seated fears or insecurities when it comes to intimacy and emotional vulnerability. Hookup culture allows them to gratify their physical desires while avoiding the emotional risks associated with intimacy. By compartmentalizing relationships into purely physical interactions, individuals can shield themselves from the potential pain of rejection or heartache, albeit temporarily.

5. Cultural Influences  

Popular culture, including movies, television shows, and music, often glorifies and romanticizes casual sex and the pursuit of instant gratification. These cultural influences shape societal attitudes and perceptions, reinforcing the appeal of hookup culture among impressionable audiences. Additionally, the normalization of casual sex in media perpetuates the notion that it is a natural and acceptable part of modern dating dynamics.

6. Peer Pressure and Social Validation

Within social circles, there may exist a pervasive pressure to conform to the norms and expectations of hookup culture. The desire for social acceptance and validation drives many individuals to partake in casual encounters, even if it contradicts their personal values or desires. The fear of being perceived as prudish or old-fashioned can compel individuals to engage in behaviors they might not otherwise choose.

7. Emotional Detachment

In a world where emotional vulnerability is often equated with weakness, hookup culture offers a respite from the complexities of emotional entanglements. Individuals can maintain a sense of autonomy and independence by prioritizing physical pleasure over emotional connection. This emotional detachment serves as a coping mechanism for those who fear intimacy or struggle with trust issues, allowing them to navigate the dating landscape on their terms.

8. Escapism and Instant Gratification

In an era marked by instant gratification and a desire for immediate satisfaction, hookup culture provides a convenient outlet for fulfilling physical needs without the long-term commitment or emotional investment required by traditional relationships. The thrill of spontaneity and the appeal of new experiences drive many individuals to seek out casual encounters to escape the monotony of everyday life and indulge in the excitement of the moment.

Final Thoughts: How Come Hookup Culture So Popular?

In conclusion, the widespread acceptance of hookup culture can be attributed to many factors. Firstly, societal norms have significantly shifted, and casual relationships are now deemed more acceptable than in previous generations. 

Secondly, technological advancements such as dating apps and social media have made it easier for people to connect without committing to a long-term relationship. Thirdly, changing priorities have led individuals to prioritize career advancement and personal growth over long-term relationships. Fourthly, fear of intimacy stemming from past traumas or insecurities has led people to prefer casual hookups over committed relationships. 

Additionally, cultural influences, peer pressure, emotional detachment, and a desire for instant gratification and escapism contribute to the popularity of hookup culture. 

Despite critics’ concerns about its impact on intimacy and long-term relationship satisfaction, hookup culture remains a prevalent and enduring aspect of modern society, reflecting the diverse needs, desires, and motivations of individuals navigating the complexities of contemporary dating dynamics.

A relaxing shower is one of life’s simple pleasures, but it can quickly become a nightmare if your bathroom starts flooding. Water damage not only ruins the aesthetics of your home but can also lead to costly repairs. According to RubyHome, water damage due to many such instances affects around 14,000 people in the US per day.

To help avoid such a predicament, Katy Plumbers has compiled a comprehensive guide with tips to prevent your shower from flooding. By implementing these strategies, you can ensure a stress-free and enjoyable shower experience without fearing water damage.

Install a Quality Shower Drain

Installing a quality shower drain is essential to prevent your shower from flooding and ensure proper water drainage during and after showers. A reliable shower drain helps maintain the integrity of your bathroom floor and prevents water damage to surrounding areas. It also contributes to maintaining a clean and hygienic environment in your bathroom by effectively removing excess water.

Consider durability, design, and functionality factors when selecting a shower drain. Opt for high-quality materials like stainless steel or PVC drains that resist corrosion and rust. Additionally, choose a drain that complements the aesthetic of your bathroom and fits seamlessly into your shower floor.

Proper installation of the shower drain is crucial to its effectiveness. Ensure the drain is positioned correctly and securely attached to the shower base or floor. Proper alignment and sealing prevent leaks and ensure water flows smoothly into the drain without seeping into surrounding areas.

You can also get the drain cleared by experts. As a Forbes article mentions, it normally costs between $125 to $360, depending on the clog’s severity and the type of drain. However, it is advised to let experts take care of this to avoid further damage.

Clogged drains can even lead to clogged sewer lines. According to 24/7 Plumbing Co., LP, clogged sewer lines can fall into the public domain. Hence, you are advised not to clean the drains or sewers alone.

Monitor Water Pressure

As stated on, fluctuating water pressure can cause problems with showering. For instance, if the water pressure is low when showering, you might close the tap half, and the water might stop. However, the water may leak as the pressure increases, resulting in flooding.

Similarly, high water pressure can strain your plumbing system, leading to leaks, bursts, or other water damage. Excessively high pressure may cause fittings to loosen or pipes to crack, especially in older plumbing systems or those with weak joints.

Regularly checking the water pressure can help you detect any abnormalities early on. A water pressure gauge measures the pressure directly from a spigot or hose bib. Most hardware stores carry these relatively easy-to-use gauges. Simply attach the gauge to the fixture and turn on the water to get an accurate reading.

The ideal water pressure for most homes typically ranges between 40 and 60 pounds per square inch (psi). Anything above this range might indicate excessive pressure that could harm your plumbing system. If you find that your water pressure consistently exceeds the recommended range, it’s advisable to install a pressure regulator.

Invest in a Quality Shower Curtain or Door

A well-made shower curtain or door helps create a barrier containing water within the shower area. This is particularly important in homes with limited space or bathrooms situated on upper floors, where water leakage can cause significant damage.

Shower curtains are made from various materials, including vinyl, polyester, and fabric, each offering different levels of durability and water resistance. Opting for a high-quality curtain made from waterproof materials can effectively contain water and withstand the rigors of daily use without deteriorating.

Routinely Check for Leaks

Regularly inspecting your shower for leaks is crucial in maintaining its functionality and preventing potential flooding issues. Even a minor leak can lead to significant water damage over time if left unattended. Incorporating leak checks into your routine home maintenance schedule is advisable to avoid costly repairs and water wastage.

Start by visually examining the areas around your shower, paying close attention to the grout lines, caulking, and any visible pipes or fixtures. Look for signs of water stains, mold, or mildew, which could indicate a leak. Additionally, be attentive to any unusual sounds, such as dripping or running water, which might suggest hidden leaks.

Regularly Clean Shower Fixtures

Over time, mineral deposits, soap scum, and other residues can accumulate on shower fixtures, including faucets, showerheads, and drain covers. These deposits not only affect the appearance of the fixtures but can also impair their functionality. Therefore, Southern Living suggests that cleaning them every week is recommended. Once a month is also good.

When shower fixtures become clogged or coated with buildup, water flow can be restricted, leading to inefficient drainage and potential flooding. This is particularly true for drain covers, where hair and debris can easily accumulate and obstruct water flow. Regular cleaning helps to remove these obstructions and ensures that water can flow freely down the drain.

Cleaning shower fixtures prevents flooding, helps maintain water pressure, and improves shower performance. Mineral deposits and other residues accumulate inside showerheads and faucet aerators, restricting water flow and resulting in weak water pressure and uneven distribution.

Monitor and Maintain the Hot Water Heater

A malfunctioning water heater can lead to unpredictable water temperature changes, which may result in excessive water usage and potential flooding. Regularly inspect your water heater for leaks, rust, or any signs of wear.

Leaks can waste 1 trillion gallons of water annually, so the EPA organizes a ‘Fix a leak’ week each year from March 18 through 24, 2024.

Additionally, flush the tank to remove sediment buildup, ensuring the heater operates efficiently and reduces the risk of water damage in your bathroom. You can hire a local plumber to address the water heater problems.

You can find a local plumber by looking on the internet. For instance, suppose you are in Richmond. In that case, you can search for plumbing services in Richmond to get a list of all the plumbers in the area.

To conclude, preventing your shower from flooding requires a combination of proactive measures and regular maintenance. Investing time and effort into the upkeep of your plumbing system and shower area allows you to enjoy a worry-free shower experience and safeguards your home from water damage.

Implementing the tips provided by Katy Plumbers will help you avoid potential flooding incidents and contribute to the longevity of your plumbing system. Remember, a little preventive action today can save you from significant headaches and expenses tomorrow.

Lithuania has become a vibrant online gambling hub, and slot enthusiasts are constantly on the lookout for games that offer not only excitement and entertainment, but also the best possible return on investment. The theoretical return to player (RTP) is a very important factor for those who want to increase their chances of winning, and fortunately there are a number of high RTP slot machines available at Lithuanian casinos.

Understanding RTP

Before examining specific gaming machines, it is necessary to understand the concept of RTP. It is a percentage that represents the average amount that a slot machine will return to players over time. For example, an online casino slot machine with an RTP of 95% means that, on average, players can expect to get back €95 for every €100 wagered. The higher the RTP, the more money on average they get back.

The 12 top-rated high RTP slot machines

Below is a long list of games that have the highest RTPs available in Lithuania.

Mega Joker by NetEnt (RTP: 99%)

Mega Joker is a classic slot machine developed by the famous NetEnt. Featuring traditional fruit symbols and a user-friendly interface, this slot will appeal to beginners and experienced players alike. Mega Joker boasts a staggering 99% RTP, making it one of the highest in the industry. The game features a progressive jackpot and a ‘super meter’ mode, giving players the opportunity to significantly increase their winnings.

Ugga Bugga by Playtech (RTP: 98.74 – 99.07%)

Playtech makes an appearance on this list with Ugga Bugga, which boasts an excellent 98.74 – 99.07% RTP. The game has a tropical jungle theme and features a unique 3×3 grid structure and 10 paylines. Ugga Bugga is notable for the ability to keep one symbol after the first spin, giving players additional control over the slot machine.

1429 Uncharted Seas by Thunderkick (RTP: 98.6 %)

Thunderkick’s 1429 Uncharted Seas takes players on a nautical adventure with its stunning graphics and creative design. The game boasts an impressive 98.6% RTP, making it a good choice for Lithuanian gamers looking for a combination of aesthetics and high returns. With expanding wilds and free spins, 1429 Uncharted Seas gives players plenty of opportunities to boost their wins.

The Catfather by Pragmatic Play (RTP: 98.10%)

A dose of feline fun on the reels of Pragmatic Play’s The Catfather slot. With an RTP of 98.10%, this game combines cute feline characters with the possibility of big payouts. The game features wild symbols, free spins and a unique stacked wild feature, where entire reels can become wild, significantly increasing the chance of winning combinations. The Catfather is for players who appreciate a charming theme and lucrative opportunities.

Blood Suckers by NetEnt (RTP: 98 %)

For players who like darker, vampire themed slots, NetEnt’s Blood Suckers is a great choice. With an impressive design and an RTP of 98%, this slot offers a balance of entertainment and high returns. The game features a bonus round where players can open coffins to reveal cash prizes, which adds extra excitement to the game.

Rainbow Riches Pick ‘n’ Mix by Barcrest (RTP: 94-98 %)

Barcrest’s Rainbow Riches Pick ‘n’ Mix is a colourful and fun slot that builds on the success of the popular Rainbow Riches series. With a varying RTP of 94-98%, this game offers several bonus features, allowing players to tailor their experience by selecting their preferred bonuses. A whimsical Irish theme and features such as Road to Riches and Pots of Gold add a nice dash of excitement and variety to the game.

Starmania by NextGen Gaming (RTP: 97.867%)

NextGen Gaming’s Starmania takes players on a space journey with its dazzling star theme. This visually appealing slot boasts an RTP of 97.867%, offering solid winning opportunities. The game features wild symbols and a free spins bonus round to increase the likelihood of winning combinations. Starmania is suitable for both casual players and those looking for a more immersive and potentially lucrative slot experience.

Good Girl Bad Girl by Betsoft (RTP: 97.79%)

Betsoft’s Good Girl Bad Girl slot features an interesting double play feature that allows players to choose between a ‘good girl’ mode with frequent small wins and a ‘bad girl’ mode with fewer but bigger wins. With an RTP of 97.79%, this slot offers a unique and immersive experience. The game also features a progressive jackpot, providing extra excitement for players aiming for big rewards.

Wolfpack Pays by NextGen Gaming (RTP: 97.756 %)

Wolfpack Pays, a nature-themed slot developed by NextGen Gaming, takes players on a journey through the wilderness. This visually stunning game boasts an RTP of 97.756% and a unique ‘On A Roll’ feature. With each consecutive win, players unlock additional perks such as extra wild symbols and free spins. The combination of an engaging theme and useful features makes Wolfpack Pays an exceptional choice for Lithuanian players.

Jack Hammer 2 by NetEnt (RTP: 97.07 %)

NetEnt’s Jack Hammer 2 is a thrilling comic book-style slot game celebrated for its fun storyline and attractive Return to Player rate at 97.07%. With its unique sticky win feature and free spins round, Jack Hammer 2 provides ample opportunities for lucrative rewards amidst its visually striking graphics and immersive gameplay.

Big Bass Bonanza by Pragmatic Play (RTP: 96.71 %)

Big Bass Bonanza, created by Pragmatic Play is a popular fishing-themed slot game renowned for its engaging gameplay and rewarding features. With its appealing Return to Player (RTP) rate at 96.71%, players are drawn to its potential for consistent payouts. The game’s high volatility adds excitement, offering the chance for substantial wins. Its immersive underwater theme, vibrant graphics, and bonus rounds, including free spins with increasing multipliers, contribute to its allure among both casual and seasoned players.

Esqueleto Explosivo by Thunderkick (RTP: 96%)

Thunderkick’s Esqueleto Explosivo features a strong Mexican Day of the Dead theme and strange exploding skulls as symbols. With an RTP of 96%, this slot combines a sense of humour with a really quite good return. Winning combinations trigger an explosive chain reaction that replaces symbols and increases the multiplier, allowing players to win big in a single spin!

Located along the southern edge of the Californian Central Coast is the super scenic, Monterey County.  This beautiful seaside city was made famous by writer, John Steinbeck whose novel, Cannery Row was inspired by the renowned, waterfront thoroughfare lined with former sardine factories that is now home to hotels, shops, and restaurants.

What makes Monterey worth a visit is the plethora of things to do.   Whether you are looking for adventure, want to explore the local marine life, enjoy a taste of the local wine or kick back with a book on the beach there is something for everyone.

Just further along Highway 1 (which reopens in April) is the neighbouring town of Carmel-by-the-Sea, a charming picture postcard destination that packs some punch for its size. 

Carmel’s romantic cobblestone streets are brimming with art galleries, great places to eat and boutique shops.  The main stretch of road runs from downtown directly to the sugar-white beach.  The town is jam packed with culture, unique backstories and film buffs will also be excited to discover that Clint Eastwood who served as mayor of Carmel resides here, and is often seen dining in Michelin Starred, Aubergine restaurant. 

One of the best times to visit is towards the end of summer. It’s less crowded and you can still expect balmy weather.  Start in Carmel before exploring Monterey Bay and the surrounding area.

Where to stay

Just a stone’s throw from the beach and a short stroll from the shops and restaurants, is the Carmel Beach Hotel.  The hotel opened in 2023 and is one of six new boutique hotels in the town.  The vibe here is laid back luxury, this intimate property has just 26 rooms and three suites.  My room was contemporary and spacious, with fresh whitewashed walls and bedding with accents of marine blue taking inspiration from the ocean.  The large bathrooms comprise of double vanity units, shower and a free-standing roll top bath.  There’s a pretty courtyard restaurant, cocktail bar, spa and gym.  The staff are friendly and deliver a personal seamless service you don’t get from big faceless chains.  During my stay I was running late for a dinner reservation and the manager personally drove me to a local restaurant. 

The breakfast here is fabulous, both mornings I had it delivered to my room.  A cute basket of continental delights are served alongside your preferred hot dish.  The eggs were cooked to perfection, toast still warm and bacon crispy.   

The location makes it ideal for sunset walks and picnics on the beach.  

The Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa sits on stilts directly above the crashing surf of the Pacific and in the prime location of Cannery Row.  The hotel is plush with lots of polished marble, soft carpet, dark wood and large ceiling to floor windows that look out over the bay.  The rooms are spacious and have a similar classic design and décor that continues throughout the hotel. 

When it comes to dining you are spoiled for choice.  There’s lobby café’s, excellent room service and for more casual cuisine guest can head to Schooners, there’s a heated deck and uninterrupted views of the ocean.   The menu includes classic American staples making it the perfect choice for breakfast or a light bite. Coastal Kitchen offers fine dining.  Executive Chef Michael Rotondo serves an ever-evolving tasting menu that showcases the culinary treasures from the region.

The adult only spa is decadent retreat for those looking to relax after a day exploring.  Located on the roof, with dramatic panoramic views from the sundeck, there are two outdoor hot tubs, a steam room and indoor sauna. There is also a gym.

Eat and drink

Chez Noir’s French inspired menu showcases innovative, seafood-centric dishes that have earned them a well-deserved Michelin star.  The menu boasts a fusion of flavours, from tantalizing appetizers to decadent desserts. Highlights include their perfectly seared scallops and the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate fondant. The staff’s knowledge and passion for each dish add a personal touch, making Chez Noir a must-visit for those who appreciate culinary artistry.

Lucia restaurant at Bernardus Lodge and Spa is nothing short of spectacular.  Situated in the Carmel Valley it’s nestled on the grounds of rolling vineyards, olive orchards and 28 acres of fragrant lavender.  With beautiful vistas, tables at Lucia are sought after.  Slick service and a menu dedicated to delicious farm to table fare is what sets Lucia apart from other restaurants.  The wood brick pizzas are divine, the seasonal salads are served like a work of art and the larger plates source prime cuts of meat and market fish. Choose from a selection of wines from the Bernardus vineyard to accompany your meal.

For a seafood feast that celebrates the bounty of the ocean, Salt Wood Kitchen & Oysterette is the place to be. This award-winning upscale seafood restaurant is a short drive from Monterey Bay, and exudes coastal charm with a menu that pays homage to the region’s maritime heritage. The raw bar is a standout, featuring an array of oysters and an abundance of seafood. The wood-fired grill adds a smoky richness to dishes like the grilled octopus and honey glazed duck. The casual yet sophisticated atmosphere, coupled with the welcoming staff, makes Salt Wood Kitchen & Oysterette a go-to spot for those craving a seafood extravaganza.

What to do

While staying in Monterey you must pay a visit to the Monterey Bay Aquarium who are celebrating their 40th anniversary in October.  Here, you can see leopard sharks meander through kelp forests and sea turtles bobbing amongst schools of colourful fish.  Floor to ceiling tanks span two floors at one of the largest aquarium exhibits in the world.  There are interactive experiences, a variety of behind-the-scenes tours (some of which allow visitors to feed penguins) and touch pools, where you can get close to sea cucumbers, bat rays and tide-pool creatures.  This is no run of the mill aquarium, and it’s easy to see why it’s one of the biggest tourist attractions in the region, it showcases more than 35,000 animals and plants representing over 550 species.   

Embark on a wine adventure like no other with Kombi Wine Tours, where vintage style meets exquisite vintages. Board the classic VW Kombi, ‘Sweet Pickle’ and journey through the scenic vineyards and wineries of Monterey, indulging in a curated selection of wines from the region. You’ll be collected from your hotel by their knowledgeable guide, Steve who will keep you entertained with the inside track on all things Monterey.  Expect to stop off at some of the finest wineries along the coast, make sure you call in to Galante Vineyards tasting room to see Jack!

Monterey Bay is California’s best location for viewing whales, great white sharks and spotting an abundance of marine life including dolphins, jellyfish and sea lions.  Discovery Whale Watch trips depart from Fisherman’s Wharf daily and the team onboard are the best in business for spotting and guaranteeing whale sightings.   The three-hour tour is an extraordinary experience that allows you to get up close to these amazing creatures, I got to witness a humpback breech and a pod of dolphins escorted our boat out of the bay.   Throughout the trip the crew tee up sightings, impart knowledge and facts with passion, ensuring you have a memorable experience.

House of Coco travelled to Monterey County courtesy of See Monterey.

In recent years, Netflix has introduced a number of foreign movies to its online collection and encouraged access to a number of languages so that viewers can explore the diversity of different cultures and languages.

Spanish is basically the second-most spoken language in the US, which is why it’s a given that there are a large number of Spanish movies available in the Netflix library.

In this piece, we have listed 5 best Spanish movies that you can stream on Netflix right now. They have been rated the most watched because of their gripping storyline and intriguing characters.

One thing you do need for Netflix is a blazing-fast internet connection to stream these Spanish movies on Netflix without any lagging. For Spanish-speaking homeowners, we recommend reaching out to Xfinity Servicio al Cliente to sign up for affordable internet plans at affordable rates.

With this, let’s check out the 5 best Spanish movies to watch on Netflix right now:

Bajacero (Below Zero)

Who would have thought that a standard prison transfer of some hardened inmates would quickly go haywire? Officer Martin (played by Javier Gutierrez) who just got transferred into a new precinct was given this assignment on a cold night.

Once the fog set in on the desolate highway, Officer Martin lost control of the patrol car and that’s when the whole operation went south. The movie Bajacero builds tension at a steady pace and the story plot reveals each prisoner’s motives for the attack.

Stream Bajacero on Netflix to clear the fog of uneasiness and find out how Officer Martin takes on this challenge.

El hoyo (The Platform)

This Spanish horror thriller movie will make your brain go through somersaults!

The plot of El hoyo is set in a vertical prison, where a platform is lowered for the transfer of food so that prisoners on each level can eat whatever is left after the top-tier ones have their feast. This is powerful in so many ways as it highlights social inequality and human nature.

As a result of this inequality, you get to see gore and violence: hunger can make you go to any lengths. This movie is not for you if you are faint at heart.

The ending of El hoyo leaves everyone scratching their heads, but that’s the thing: it is open to interpretation. There is a stark familiarity to this movie because it all seems too relevant to this era, especially when we are on the brink of economic and societal collapse.

El hoyo is dark and disturbing, hence if you are into thought-provoking movies, you should stream this on Netflix.

Bird Box Barcelona

This movie is a spin-off to the original 2018 Bird Box movie but with a stellar new cast and release in multiple languages. Bird Box Barcelona has pretty much the same premise but instead of a mother and two children, the main characters are a doting father and his daughter.

The movie is set in the ghost town of Barcelona which is ravaged by a mysterious entity that forces people to have suicidal tendencies. As you can already tell from the original movie, the only way to avoid being affected by this curse is by putting a blind over your eyes.

What makes this version of Bird Box different from the original is that it’s focused on wide-eyed persons who try to get people to open their eyes and embrace death. They are called “seers” and they have completely lost their minds, which is why encounters with them can turn into violent ones.

Although Bird Box Barcelona is predictable because of its original version, it’s still an interesting watch due to the addition of the Spanish language and different perspectives.

Contratiempo (The Invisible Guest)

Another mystery thriller: A murder incident turns into a turn of events for a Spanish businessman Adrian Doira. He hires a defense attorney to prove his innocence in the murder of his wife despite there being multiple evidence pointing to him.

The thing about Contratiempo is that there is so much mystery that the viewers (i.e., us) are not given a lot of clues, rather they have to cling to every piece of clue that they are handed. Remember watching the movie Get Out; plenty of clues right in front of you all along but you couldn’t really figure it out. That’s something familiar in Contratiempo.

We are not going to spoil it for you, but the ending of Contratiempo will definitely shock the viewers – it’s unexpected and completely contradicts all the theories that you may have built so far!

Gente que viene y bah (In Family I Trust)

If you are looking for some lighthearted comedy, then watch Gente que viene y bah on Netflix.

The movie starts with Bea, who is a city architect, embarking on a hotel project with her partner Victor, however, she finds out that he cheated on her. That forced her to leave the project and the big city life and move to a small Spanish village where her sister is the mayor.

The sisters learn of their mother’s secret, which we are not going to mention here, and that sets off a drama that keeps the viewers hooked. Along with this drama, Bea also deals with her heartbreak.

This Spanish Netflix movie showcases the strength that siblings have when they come together as a family. The comedy and witty dialogue is just the cherry on top.

Wrapping Up

The list of Spanish movies to watch on Netflix doesn’t stop here!

You can even scroll through a list of Spanish-speaking anime as well. Make sure to check them out!

Just a few days until we should all be treating our Mum’s and mother figures to something special. Yes, it’s Mother’s Day this Sunday, 10th March, so we have compiled a few Fantastic Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas to help you decide.

If you haven’t splashed out yet don’t worry because we’ve got a great selection of gifts for you to choose from to suit all budgets. She’ll be spoilt for choice with beauty products, food and drink gifts, jewellery, tech and gadgets, housewares, clothing and accessories.

With Mother’s Day just around the corner, it’s time to explore fantastic last-minute gift ideas, including thoughtful gifts for mum that she’ll cherish.

We’ve listed everything from the lowest priced gifts to the more expensive gifts below, and we hope you find something perfect for Mother’s Day.

Gifts Under £20

Milk Chocolate, Hazelnut & Sea Salt Heart, £8 from Dormouse Chocolates

Smooth, mellow 55% Peruvian milk chocolate swirled with hazelnut white chocolate and finished with a sprinkle of sea salt. Weighs approximately 55g.


Gold/Kraft Corner Purse, £14.50 from Caroline Gardner

A pretty gold and Kraft paper fabric pocket coin and card purse. Made from natural paper fibre that has been tanned, resulting in a very durable material that will age like leather.


Passionfruit Martini, £20 from World of Zing

It comes in a recyclable paper bottle, and is made with Sapling Sustainable Vodka. The zingy passionfruit and rich vanilla combine to create a traditional version of this classic passionfruit martini cocktail. 70cl bottle.


Gifts Under £60

Aveeno Skin Relief Gift Set, £24 from Amazon

Cleanse, moisturise and soothe skin with the Skin Relief Gift Set. The perfect gift for mums or mother figures with very dry skin. The set contains Skin Relief Moisturising Lotion (300ml), Skin Relief Body Oil Spray (200ml) and Skin Relief Moisturising Hand Cream (75ml).


Embroidered Floral Pouch, £25 from FatFace

Beautiful florals adorn this mustard-coloured pouch with contrasting tassels to add brightness. Both practical and gorgeous, this little pouch is ideal for Mum’s mini must-haves. Size 20 x 26cm. Made from cotton and polyester.


Fresh Lavender Scarf, £29.99 from Kiwi & Co

From the Love Letters from Amsterdam collection at Kiwi & Co, this lavender coloured chunky scarf makes a statement, keeps the cold at bay, and adds style to any outfit.


Chocolate-coated Liquorice, Love Collection, £31 from Lakrids by Bülow

The limited edition Love Collection Duo features a range of delicious chocolate-coated liquorice, and serves as a unique treat for Mother’s Day. It includes Strawberry & Cream flavour, and the new fruity Peaches flavour.


Raspberry & Wildflower Honey Gin, £36 from Ramsbury Estates

Ramsbury Distillery produce all their drinks on their own Wiltshire estate, where sustainability is at the heart of everything they do. The gin is fruity, floral and packed with honey, making this an ideal gift for a gin fan.


Calora Ceramic Photo Frames (set of 3), £38 from La Redoute

Crafted from ceramic, accented with colourful checkered designs, the Calora frames are a perfect addition to any room of the house. Medium frame is L14 x H18 x D1.1 cm, and small sized frames (x 2) are L10.5 x H12.5 x D1.1cm.


Mother’s Day Treat Box by Rick Stein, £45 from Rick Stein

Full of sweet and savoury Cornish goods for Mum. Including; chocolate chip shortbread, caramel sea salt chocolate, bottle of Rick Stein crisp Spanish white wine, and a scented Jill Stein Padstow candle.

Rick Stein

Reflex Active Series 22 Smart Watch in Rose Gold, £55 from Reflex Active

A thoughtful gift that enables mothers to stay effortlessly in touch through hands-free calls while also functioning as a personal wellness companion. This innovative user-friendly watch monitors essential aspects of wellbeing including; hydration, fitness, steps, calories, and heart rate.


Gifts Under £100

Moët & Chandon, Rose Imperial Bespoke Gift Tin, £66.50 from Clos19

To celebrate the women in your life this Mother’s Day, Moët & Chandon lovers can share heartfelt messages with loved ones with personalised tins of Moët & Chandon Rosé Impérial, the perfect gift for mums, grandmothers and mother figures.


Electric Milk Frother, £67 – £78 from Illy

The perfect coffee companion, the illy Electric Milk Frother allows Mum to prepare her favourite milk (or milk substitute) hot or cold beverages. Created with coffee lovers in mind it can produce different froth styles including hot cappuccino, iced latte, or creamy hot chocolate. Available in white or black.


Gifts Over £100

Verden D’Orangerie Bath Oil & Scented Candle Gift Set, £120 from Counter Culture Store

An uplifting, and bright infusion of citrus and orange blossom, plus passion fruit seed oil and grape seed oil. This is the perfect bath oil and candle gift set for Mum. Counter Culture Store offers many more beauty products for Mum this Mother’s Day, check it out.


Caroline Jewellery Portfolio Travel Case, £159 from WOLF

Caroline is a timeless classic quilted leather jewellery case for travel. With elegant soft lines and gold hardware it is the embodiment of sophistication and style. Offering 13 earring holes, 1 ring roll, 2 compartments, and 4 necklace holders with pocket. LusterLoc™ allows the fabric lining to absorb the hostile gases known to cause tarnishing.


Fantastic Last Minute Mother’s Day Gift Ideas – Words by Rachel McAlley

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