Hey guys!

After being inactive on here for longer than a year, I have decided to create an entirely new blog.

I absolutely love blogging, but this site just doesn’t feel right anymore. I started it to share my experience on my exchange year and it’s completely changed since then. Although on my new blog I will continue to write about veganism and mental health and everything else I’ve spoken about on this site, I just needed a fresh start. CherieDiamonds doesn’t feel right anymore, and this entire site feels a little messy. A lot has changed since I’ve started this blog, a lot has changed since I’ve last written on this blog.

So from now on, you can find me on Marion Jochmans! I’m still working on it, and will have a handful of articles on there by the end of this month. I want this new site to be better and cleaner, and I will do my best to actually post regularly.

I would really appreciate it if you could follow me there! And thank you to everyone who supported this site these past four years.

See you later,

Marion ★




Do you ever wake up craving a healthy smoothie? Because I certainly do!

After a week of surviving off pasta, courgettes, tomatoes, aubergines, and a ton of olive oil, I was happy to come home and be able to eat a more varied diet. I spent the week in a resort in Sardinia where the meals were presented in a buffet style and although delicious, without much vegan variety. Breakfast was the most complicated meal as the options consisted of: eggs, bacon, sausage, cake, bread, and corn flakes. So of course, I was glad to come home and finally enjoy the most important meal of the day again. I loved my week in Sardinia but I had missed drinking a delicious and nutritious smoothie in the morning!

What’s important to know about green smoothies is that you cannot just throw a bunch of greens in a blender and hope for the best (been there, done that). A good green smoothie consists of 60% fruits and 40% leafy greens, all mixed with either water or apple juice. Before I was aware of this fruit to leafy greens ratio, my green smoothies were never very tasteful. So I decided to do some research and try to create a healthy green smoothie that I actually enjoyed, and I am very proud of the result. It has been tested and approved by my mother who usually does not enjoy smoothies, so it must be good!


  • 2 handfuls of spinach
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1 mango
  • 1 banana
  • 1 kiwi
  • half a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger


  • put the spinach and water in the blender, blend until liquid.
  • add the mango, banana, kiwi, and ginger. Blend until smooth.

That’s it! If you prefer the smoothie to be cooler, you can freeze the banana and/or mango the night before. This smoothie is perfect in the morning as it has all the nutrients that you need to successfully start your day, and it’s delicious! No need to chug it as you whisper to yourself “this is healthy, this is good” (something that I used to do when my green smoothies did not turn out too well).


Marion ★



Although it is not cold, today is a grey day. I have been quite busy these past few days so I thought that I would spend today doing absolutely nothing. I picked up a book I bought months ago but still hadn’t found the time to read, made some tea, put on some music, and got lost in Benjamin Alire Sáenz’s beautiful world that is Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe.

As I read and had my Daily Mix on Spotify playing in the background, a few songs stood out (some I already knew, some I didn’t), which made me want to create a Lazy Sunday Playlist with all of my favourite slow indie songs that made reading Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe even more enjoyable. I love listening to good music when I read or write, especially when it mirrors my feelings or the atmosphere of a book perfectly. Enjoy ❀

  1. The Night We Met – Lord Huron
  2. Holocene – Bon Iver
  3. Saturn – Sleeping At Last
  4. Resurrection Fern – Iron & Wine
  5. Healah Dancing (ft. Ren Ford) – Keaton Henson
  6. 3 Rounds And A Sound – Blind Pilot
  7. Vapour – Vancouver Sleep Clinic
  8. All We Do – Oh Wonder
  9. Naked As We Came – Iron & Wine
  10. Conrad – Ben Howard
  11. Technicolour Beat – Oh Wonder
  12. The Lakes – RHODES
  13. Bad Blood – Bear’s Den
  14. You Sigh – Charlie Cunningham
  15. Frozen Pines – Lord Huron
  16. Sweetheart, What Have You Done To Us – Keaton Henson
  17. Isaac – Bear’s Dean
  18. Brand New Colony – Handsome Ghost
  19. Love Brought Weight – Old Sea Brigade
  20. Live – Billie Marten
  21. Forest Fires – Axel Flovent
  22. 5AM – Amber Run


PS: I finished reading this book in just a few hours and I highly recommend it. It’s sweet, it’s vulnerable, it’s beautiful. Read this on days where you’re feeling lost or feeling too much.

Marion ★


Here I am with yet another recipe!

As the weather is getting warmer, my meals are getting colder. I am back in Belgium for the summer now and we’ve had to deal with 30°C + weather for the past week. My mother ran out of ideas for meals acceptable in this heat, so I introduced her to my favourite spring/summer quinoa salad! An easy and nutritious meal I put together when I was too lazy to cook back in Edinburgh.



  • 1 cup of quinoa
  • 2 salad tomatoes
  • half a cucumber
  • 1 red pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Salad mix (Iceberg lettuce, spinach, rocket,…)
  • 3 or 4 falafels (home-made or store bought, I used Cauldron Foods)
  • Hummus (I used Tesco’s Chilli Hummus)
  • 1 peeled and sliced apple or pomegranate seeds (if you enjoy the combination of sweet and savoury)
  • Pumpkin seeds


  • Bring 2 cups of salted water to a boil, then add the cup of quinoa
  • Wash and cut all your veggies, then put them in a salad bowl
  • when the quinoa is ready mix it with the veggies

this is it! I’d recommend adding the seasoning, hummus, and falafel to your liking after serving. This recipe makes enough for two so I like to keep the leftovers in the fridge and eat it again later in the week. At that point there is nothing to cook or heat up so it’s super easy! It’s also great as a salad on the go. You could cook the quinoa the night before and keep it in the fridge overnight so making the salad the next day is super quick. I have made this on different occasions and still haven’t gotten tired of it!



Marion ★



After Monday’s serious article I am here today to share something much lighter, a delicious and creamy pasta sauce that I tried yesterday and fell in love with!

My cooking has been very boring this past month. I was so busy with writing essays and our annual dance show that cooking food had become more of a chore than something I enjoyed. Even after my essays and the show was done I still found myself eating junk because I couldn’t be bothered putting much effort into cooking. However, food is fuel and I could feel that I wasn’t fuelling my body properly; I felt tired, unmotivated, and just unhealthy in general. So this week I have decided to fix this and retrieve my love for cooking and eating well. I looked up recipes, did a proper food shopping, and got to work.

For some reason I found myself craving a creamy pasta sauce yesterday and as I realised that since becoming vegan I had only once made a béchamel, I thought that it was time to make one again. So here is a recipe of a pasta sauce that is quick and easy, and most importantly very tasty!



  • Olive oil
  • 8 to 12 oz. sliced mushrooms (I used closed cup white mushrooms)
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • chopped fresh parley
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pasta of choice (I used spaghetti)


  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook your pasta (check packaging for time instructions).
  • Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms and minced garlic in a pan with olive oil until soft (4 to 5 minutes). Remove from pan and set aside.
  • In the same pan, add a splash of olive oil and cook the flour for about one minute. Gradually add the milk and stir until smooth.
  • When you reach the desired consistency of your béchamel, add the mushroom and garlic mixture, salt and pepper, chopped parley, and lemon juice.
  • Drain the pasta and mix it with the sauce.

Voila! Easy, isn’t it? This is such a delicious and quick little recipe that I will definitely make and remake. Hope you like it!


Marion ★


Hi everyone!

As most of you may or may not know, I became vegan exactly one year ago now as I participated in The Great Vegan University Challenge organised by Animal Aid. I was vegetarian before but switched to a 100% vegan diet in February of 2016 as part of this challenge. It is similar to Veganuary but takes place in February and is organised for students all across the UK. After being vegan for one month I decided to keep it up as that was what I had wanted to do since deciding to become vegetarian and to my surprise, the switch was much easier than I had originally expected.

Although becoming vegan is one of the best decisions that I have ever made and I am currently the healthiest that I have ever been, after one year I have come across a few struggles and there were moments when I lost my motivation. This is a lifestyle after all, and you have to be passionate about it to stay happy about it. So here are a few tips to help you stay in love with this amazing lifestyle!

Stay educated.

There are new researches coming out every single day on the benefits of a plant based diet, the terrible consequences of the meat and dairy industry on global warming, and most importantly on the changes that are happening right now thanks to the rise of people choosing veganism. There are so many documentaries out there and new ones being made all the time. To stay passionate, you have to stay educated. You have to remind yourself every so often why you chose this and why you want to keep choosing this every single day.

Don’t say that you can’t, but that you won’t (normalise veganism).

When I first became vegan and people would offer me non-vegan foods I’d say “no thanks, I can’t eat that”. Truth is, I can eat it, I just choose not to. This may seem simple but just choosing your words more carefully and saying “I won’t eat that” instead of “I can’t eat that” helps you and others have a more positive mindset on your choices. Saying can’t is first of all is a lie, but also has a negative connotation and makes it seem like you’re restricting when you really aren’t. Saying won’t makes it obvious that this is your choice and that you are comfortable with that choice, which will make other people normalise it as well.

Never stop trying new recipes or restaurants.

If you are lucky enough to live in a vegan-friendly city, you will realise that new vegan places open every few months and that more and more chain restaurants are offering vegan dishes. Go and check them out! Also, do not forget to look up vegan recipes or buy new vegan cookbooks. To be vegan is to love food and to love cooking, you have to enjoy trying out new foods and places to stay excited about veganism.

Go to vegan events, volunteer at information stalls, meet people with the same interests.

Stay active in this community! Vegan festivals are happening every year all over the world, go to one and try new foods and meet new people. Go to talks, join vegan Facebook groups, volunteer, educate yourself on vegan organisations in your area, etc. Feeling a part of this community will definitely help you stay motivated about it. You could also even try activism!

Don’t beat yourself up on the days that you are not 100% vegan.

Do not restrict yourself, I repeat, do not restrict yourself. Restricting makes you unhappy, and we don’t want that. When veganism starts feeling like a restriction instead of a choice, then you have to change something. I am passionate about this lifestyle but I won’t lie, this past year there have been some days where I went back to being a vegetarian. Family parties are an example, at a marriage last summer and this Christmas I have eaten vegetarian simply because there were no vegan options and I had not prepared anything in advance. One of the first parties I went to I forced myself to only eat vegan and the consequence was that I basically starved myself all night, got a little too drunk as I was drinking the same amount of wine as everyone else, and I had a miserable time. So I told myself, fuck it, I can make this exception once or twice a year. Of course I do my best to eat vegan all the time, but I try not to beat myself up if I don’t.

Stay informed on nutrition. 

This is so important. To thrive on a plant based diet you have to know how much of what you need on a daily basis. Most ‘unsuccessful vegan stories’ are because the person in question was not informed on nutrition, they simply cut out animal products which is the unhealthiest thing you can do. You have to replace them, you have to know how to get your daily amount of protein, calcium, potassium, vitamins, iron, omega 3, and so on. Also don’t forget to take a vitamin B12 supplement as that it the only vitamin that does not exist in the plant kingdom. Meet up with a nutritionist and get your blood tested about twice a year. Be aware of your body, what it needs, and most importantly how to take care of it.

Remember, veganism is not only about food.

Most of these tips are based on food but veganism is so much more than that. It is about being against any type of cruelty towards animals. This is probably the most difficult transition to make; replacing your household products, beauty products, and clothes to vegan alternatives. Also not going to zoos, aquariums, or anything else that is using (and hurting) animals for humans entertainment. Staying educated on animal rights and cruelty-free products is important to feel good with your lifestyle choice. However,  know that it is almost impossible to be 100% vegan in that regard as we live in a world where most things contain animal products. Anyhow, making an effort to find vegan alternatives and staying educated already goes a long way.

Here’s a nice article I just found today on the progress of veganism, check it out!

Marion ★


Coming back to uni after having been home for a while can be tough. One night you’re sitting on your couch in front of a nice fire and watching a movie with your parents, and the next you’re suddenly all alone in a cold and dark flat. It’s disorienting. You can ask me any time if I ever regret my choice of studying in Edinburgh and moving 1000 km away from home and I’ll respond with a hard and sincere “no”. However, that first night back in my flat after being away for a few weeks, I might respond with “…A little bit?” I do love living in Edinburgh, however that doesn’t change the fact that living so far away from home is not easy, sticking to a healthy routine is not easy, being an adult (or trying to be) and taking care of oneself is not easy.

When I got back to my flat last week the first thing that happened (even before unpacking) was a panic attack. Suddenly I started freaking out about the fact that I was back in Edinburgh and I started questioning everything. For a moment, I was really scared that I had made the wrong decision to study here and leave my comfortable life in Belgium. So of course I called my mother, and she comforted me by telling me that she went through the exact same thing every time she would get back to her flat as a uni student. This made me realise that even if I had stayed in Belgium, I would still feel the same disorientation when leaving home and going back to the university lifestyle. It has nothing to do with the fact that I study in a different country, but has everything to do with the fact that going from holiday mode at home (where you are taken care of and don’t need to worry about money or food) to work/study mode at uni (where you have to take care of yourself and be responsible) is simply a transition, something that every uni student struggles with. So as this transition can be quite tough, especially at this time of year, I decided to make a list of things that you can do to make it go smoother.

  • “Routines save lives” – said a scientist probably. SO GET INTO A ROUTINE. I’m serious, routines are very important to stay sane. Your day doesn’t have to be planned out by the hour, just have something to do every day which will make you want to get out of bed. So plan your week and have certain things you do every week (or day) at approximately the same time. Humans are creatures of habit. Most importantly: start a routine the first day you’re back, don’t wait for uni to start.
  • Buy a 2017 planner/diary and plan ahead! Make plans that will make you look forward to the next few months or so. This is a new semester so make sure it becomes a good one! Plan to see a friend, travel to a near city, or take yourself out to a new restaurant.  Most importantly, same as the routine: STICK TO IT.
  • Concentrate on your uni work. This is why you’re here after all + it will help to take your mind of things when you’re feeling sad or homesick.
  • Hang out with your friends. Don’t be afraid to message them first and just arrange a hang out: go for dinner, go to the cinema, catch up over a glass of wine in your flat. I meet up with one of my vegan friends here every other week and we go out for dinner and just catch up over delicious vegan food.
  • Get out there! I know how easy it is to lock yourself up in your flat but do not do it. Get some fresh air (yes, even when it’s cold), read in a cafe instead of your bed, go to a museum, etc. Enjoy everything that your city has to offer.
  • Don’t forget to stay healthy. Eat well and consistently. Make a weekly meal plan if it helps. Also, STAY ACTIVE. Unfortunately my ankle is injured which means I can’t dance, but that doesn’t stop me from going on walks, doing ab workouts, or yoga. To put it in Elle Woods’s words:635735636410905721-1071011617_tumblr_npjg29l3ex1r9n4hjo2_500

It took me a few days but I am finally comfortable in this routine again, and this list of things is what helped me. I’ve got quite a few things planned for the next couple of months and I’ve also realised that it would be possible for me to go home for a bit during my reading week mid February, which is something to look forward to as well. I’ve also got quite  few books that I need to read this semester,so that will definitely keep me busy!


Hope everyone enjoyed their holidays and are slowly (but surely) readjusting to the student life!

Marion ★



I don’t often talk about my native land of Belgium on here anymore (at least not as much as I used to when I was in the US) but this little kingdom and its lovely traditions holds a very special place in my heart. This is one of them: the galette des rois (or king cake). It is a cake made with puff pastry and frangipane and is consumed on January 6th to celebrate the Epiphany.

The Epiphany or Three Kings Day is a Christian feast day which celebrates the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi. It is celebrated on the 12th day of Christmas and marks the end of the festive season. It is a holiday celebrated in Christian countries worldwide, however as most holidays go, the traditions of this day vary from place to place. This type of cake, the ‘galette des rois’, is consumed mostly in northern France and the Benelux. What is unique about this cake, is that it has a ‘fève’ hidden inside it (a porcelain figure, called a bean in English). The person who gets the bean, becomes the king or queen of that day and gets to wear a gold paper crown that comes with the cake.

The Epiphany was one of my favourite traditions growing up and I still remember the excitement when the first galettes started to appear in bakeries. I used to beg my mother to buy one before the 6th as I just loved the taste of it and couldn’t content myself with eating it just once a year. What was more exciting though, was the hidden bean. Every year I wanted to be the queen so badly, that I actually cheated some times (uh oh). See, part of the tradition is that the youngest child (and therefore the most innocent) has to cut the cake. As I was always the youngest, that was always my job. Sometimes I would accidentally cut on the bean, making me perfectly aware of where it was and then asking for that piece (I know, not very christian of me). Anyways, learning how to make a vegan version of this has been so nice and it’s actually a very simple recipe (once you find all the ingredients that is, some of them I had to look for in organic/vegan stores).


– 2 rolls of vegan puff pastry
– 250g of almond meal
– 150g of sugar
– 1 small bag of vanilla sugar
– 3 tablespoons of vegan butter
– 40g of arrowroot
– 20 cl of almond butter
– 1 teaspoon of concentrated bitter almond flavour
– 1 bean (I just used an almond)
+ a little bit of vegan butter or cream for the for the ‘golden look’


  • preheat oven at 200° C.
  • In a large bowl, mix the sugar, vanilla, and butter.
  • Add the arrow root and mix again.
  • Add the almond butter and the bitter almond flavour and mix again.
  • Finally, add the almond meal and mix everything until it becomes a homogenous mixture. (note: 250g is from the original recipe. I used  only about 150g, but my frangipane ended up being a bit dense, so if you want it to be lighter I’d recommend more almond meal, so just go with your guts with this one. If you feel like there’s too much powder, you can always add 2 teaspoons of almond milk).
  • Unroll one of the puff pastries on a baking tray, makes some holes in it with a fork, and spread an even layer of frangipane (about 2cm) on it. Leave a bit of space at the edge.
  • Hide the bean (or almond) somewhere in the frangipane.
  • Unroll the second puff pastry on top of the first one and the mixture. Roll the edges of both pastries until they reach the frangipane in order to make a crust.
  • Make some holes in the puff pastry and draw some lines (decorate it however you want).
  • Spread some butter or milk on top and put it in the oven.
  • Cook it for about 30min, depending on how golden you want it to be. Remember to check from time to time.

Voila! There you have it! Now you can turn this delicious tradition into a vegan version filled with just as much almond goodness as the original. Both my non-vegan parents absolutely adored it and we devoured it way too fast. Hope you like it as much as we did!


PS: I got the bean this year, and I promise I didn’t cheat.


Hallo allerseits!

I have just returned from a pretty crazy week in Berlin where I spent New Years with a few friends from university. This was my third time to Germany’s capital, but the first time being overage and without any adult supervision. Unfortunately, I managed to sprain my ankle on January 2nd (2017 is going GREAT) and spent the last couple of days in our airbnb, but four days had actually been enough to see what I really wanted to. So I wanted to write an article with all the highlights of my trip.

TOUR: The Famous Insider Walk, guide: Brian Bell, price: €10-€14

We did this tour the first day and it was amazing! This takes you to all the famous places (Brandenburg Gate, Checkpoint Charlie, Hitler’s Bunker, lots of memorials,….) It’s about four hours long but includes a 30min lunch break. This tour is great if it’s your first time in the city as it explains all of Berlin’s history and shows you all of the ‘big’ places. Our tour guide Brian (who studied Theatre Performance) was fantastic, listening to him was like watching an entertaining one-man show. Even though I had already studied most of the things he explained, there wasn’t a single moment during the tour when I was bored. Would highly recommend!

BARS: Möbel Olfe / Roses

Now let me start by telling you that both my best friend Ciaran (whom I spent most of the trip with) and I are queer. As Berlin has a lively gay scene, most bars we went to were gay bars. Möbel Olfe, situated in Kreuzber, is described as a rowdy alternative gay bar. We went on a Tuesday and it was absolutely packed which is why we only spent a couple of hours there, drinking mixed drinks and making friends from around the world. After that we headed to Roses, a gay bar we had already discovered the previous evening. Roses is fully decorated with pink fluffy walls and pictures of pornstars on the tables. It gets extremely busy and crazy as the night persists so if you’re not into that, just go for a couple of drinks (just the interior is worth a visit). Ciaran and I stayed both nights until 5am and both nights ended up basically being the most insane nights out I’ve ever had (which says a lot). So if you’re not into that, don’t stay that long or be careful with what you drink and what people might try to sell you.

VEGAN FOOD: Brammibal’s donuts

Brammibal’s donuts, not surprisingly, is famous for its vegan donuts. However it also has lunch options, coffee, milkshakes, etc. They have a very nice interior and a lovely variety of donuts. I had the chocolate peanut butter fudge and a hot coco with oat milk, while Ciaran had avocado on toast and later the salted caramel donut. The staff was really nice and I could not recommend this place enough. Just look at their website, you’ll understand.

MUSEUM: Deutsche Kinemathek – Museum für Film und Fernsehen (Filmmuseum)

This is my favourite museum of all times. I visited it twice in the past three years and love it. Even though I already wanted to study film when I first went at 17, this museum made me want to study it even more. Although it concentrates mostly on German film and on the very first big films (most of them silent and B&W), what really interests me was the part about film during WWII and it’s role in war propaganda. There’s also a full room dedicated to Marlene Dietrich which is fabulous. If you have even the slightest interest in film, go there (it’s only €4,50 for students).


Other recommendations: definitely take a stroll alongside the East Side Gallery, have a cocktail or some food at Südblock (it’s vegan friendly and gay, which is all you need), take pictures at one of the famous photoautomats, if you go during the holidays: enjoy a nice cup of glühwein at one of the 60 Christmas markets (!!!), and if you’re into a crazy New Years eve, spend it at the Brandenburg gate.

Happy New Year,




I’m taking advantage of the calm of boxing day morning (I am writing this on my couch with a cup of coffee, looking over at our Christmas tree. It is 8 AM and I am the only one awake) to finally finish this article about the holiday season.

Here’s a fact about me: I am one of those people who get overly excited about Christmas right after Halloween. I may not be a huge fan of the cold, but I am a huge fan of Christmas. I love the lights, Christmas markets are my heaven, and most importantly I adore going back home to spend this time of year with my family.

Here’s another fact about me: Winter is my least favourite season and the holidays are something that I dread all year round. I struggle a lot with the changing of seasons and this time of year as I have realised, is when my mental health is at its worst, I’ve often relapsed during the months of November and December.

I called this article contradicting thoughts about the holiday season for a reason, when it comes to the month of December, I’m a paradox. The truth is that I am not sure how I feel about the holidays; one one side I love them more than anything, but on the other I hate them more than anything.

The holidays are beautiful and walking around wearing an ugly Christmas jumper is so fun. In Edinburgh the Christmas cheer is already felt all through November and there’s nothing quite like sipping on a hot gin toddy with a good friend at the market. But the end of November and the beginning of December is also a time of constant stress. Between managing my time to write essays, buying Christmas gifts, organising trips, staying active, and trying to stay financially responsible through all of that is extremely stressful (and oh so exhausting). I’m already quite stressed all year round, but man am I stressed during the holidays. Trying to deal with that stress on my own + the depression that comes with the changing of the season often equals to nightmares, a loss of appetite, and pushing my friends away.

Christmas is also about spending time with your family. Which is probably my favourite thing about the holidays: going home. I love coming home and seeing my family again, but going home can be quite nostalgic. Even though this year I’ve actually had the loveliest Christmas in a while it will never be the same as when I was a child. Every year it somehow gets harder. This place is filled with so many memories, both good and bad, and in my opinion one of the most painful things about growing up is when the bad memories start to overpower the good ones of your childhood, which is something that has slowly been happening to me these past few years.

This holiday season has probably been the strangest one yet. I’ve had the worst of times leading up to it but ended up having the best Christmas. I have received the loveliest presents and with the birth of my first nephew three weeks ago (yay! I’m an aunt!) this Christmas has been really refreshing. I am also leaving for Berlin in a couple of days for New Years and I hope my mood will stay up for that trip. 2016 has been rough, but I will do everything I can to finish it well and most importantly to have an amazing start of 2017.

To everyone who also struggles during this time of year, wether it’d be with your mental health or your family; it’s okay, you’re okay. I know this time of year is difficult, but you will make it through.

Much love everyone and take care of yourselves ♥