Author Archives: Cecilie

My blog became a book!

LavFODMAP front 72dpiI have been neglecting this blog for some weeks now. There are several reasons for that: I haven’t been traveling, but mostly because I have been consentrating around my other projects. Some are still secrets, but one is not secret anymore.

Some of you know that I was very ill when I left China last December. As a result I started the low-FODMAP diet with great results. Although I sometimes have been moaning about my stupid digestion-system, I am much better now. I am pretty sure the reason why I am better is that I follow this diet, recommended by most gastroenterologs in both Norway and abroad.

The low-FODMAP diet can be difficult in the beginning so I started a blog in Norwegian, with my own recipes and a diary to tell about my experiences. The short story is that I got a contract with one of the biggest and oldest publishers in Norway and the blog has now become a cookbook (with new recipes)!

Making food, going to my photographer and writing has been my mainfocus the last monhts, that’s why this blog has been neglected. However the book has now been sent to print and I can relax for some weeks before the release.

Since December is a quite month I have now booked two trips: To Prague with my best friend, leaving on Monday and to London with Mr. No-Backpacker the week between Christmas and New-Year. (Mr. No-Backpacker has been in China for five weeks now and has one more week left, so I am really, really looking forward to get him home AND to go to London with him.)

I have been to Prague and London before (we lived in Liverpool for a year 10 years ago), but not after I started the low-FODMAP diet. However I have heard that at least London (UK) is great for people with allergies. Fingers crossed I will manage Prague too!

What do you do if you really *have to* at take-off or landing?

bildeSome of you know that I struggle with IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome). Although I follow a strict low FODMAP-diet to control the digestion-system, I sometimes end up in trouble, like I did in Athens. It’s not harmful, but I can assure you, it hurts and can sometimes be very… surprising…. literally. If you have to, you have to…

In that aspect I have always been aware when flying, especially at take-off and landing, as I know it’s not possible to use the toilet at these times. When returning from Athens I didn’t feel my best and told it to the flight-attendant when I arrived the aircraft. She told me it was good I told her because then she could look a after me. We started to talk and since I had her I asked her:

“What do I do if I really have to go to the toilet at take-off or landing? I know it’s not possible to use the toilet but… eh… ”

“You just run… We will scream to you and ask you to sit down, but then you just scream back that you have to go! We can’t stop you and honestly, it’s better for all of us that you go to the toilet, it will be a mess if not… The best thing is to tell us if you don’t feel well because then we will be aware and will not yell at you!”

I was also told that if somebody is very ill or have gotten food-poisening they will close a toilet for just that person.

So lessons learned: TELL the flight-attendant, first thing, when you enter the aircraft if you are not feeling well. They will do the best to help you and to be honest, psycologically, it feels better if somebody knows how you are feeling. I don’t know why, it’s just how it is, at least for me!

 

What about the weather in Athens in the end of October?

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Before I went to Athens I was debating wether to go or not. I knew my body wasn’t the best as I worked very hard to finish taking the photoes for my coming book. We made it and in my mind I thought some sun and relaxing times in Athens would do me good.

Well… I haven’t seen much of the sun and I’m happy I brought my trench-coat because it’s been cold and some days it’s been raining so much that the streets became flooded! (My friends Annette from Travellingmunk and Mette from Reiselykke  actually hired a taxi to cross a big pond in the street!)  I don’t know if this is the norm at this time of the year, but it’s been like this for a week now. I think the weather was great the week before I arrived, so the first part of October  may be a better time to travel to Athens if you want summer!

What I know is that July and August is very warm, too hot for my liking (do I ever get satisfied?)! I think the perfect time to travel to Athens must be the last part of April, May, first part of June, September and first part of October, at least if you want summer. All in all I think this is the best time to travel within all Southern-Europe. I have been to Rome in 45 degrees and all I can say is that Mr. No-Backpacker should be happy he is still alive (you know the feeling when you feel you are boiling, you just can’t think clearly and a (stupid, at least in the moment) husband asks a silly question….)

I’m heading back to Norway tomorrow and it’s been around zero degrees there, so all in all, the weather in Athens is better than home!

 

Been there, done that!

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This is my last day in Athens before going back home tomorrow and… I’m not lying when I’m saying I’m looking forward to getting home. This trip has been challenging with migraine, stomache-problems from H%$#%#” etc… etc…(Although eating “safe” low FODMAP something went wrong with my stomache/digestion this time.)

I have always said that I will continue traveling as long as I can, and I stand by that. However I have, finally, come to the conclusion that I will not travel on my own anymore (unless it’s within Norway/Scandinavia and I really have to). Not because I’m scared traveling alone, but because I have just too many illnesses. Being abraod, having to discuss with yourself wether to call a doctor or not, when bending over in pain, is not fun and I have to admit that it makes me anxious.

Another conclusion is that I have seen the world, I have been to Tokyo, Beijing, Seoul, Chicago, Las-Vegas, Hawaii, all over Europe… etc… when I had the energy to explore. I don’t have that energy anymore and for me, the best holiday I can get right now is to travel to a warm place (helps my pain), plan to do nothing but relaxing and don’t stress with sight-seeing. I really want to see so much and at home I plan…. Unfortunately it usually ends in me being sad because I didn’t explore and it feels like I’ve let myself down. It doesn’t actually get better when everybody tells me what I should see and do… (People tend to forget that I have more than one chronic illness because I look quite healthy when I see them.)

Well… It feels like a relief to have taken the stand about how to travel in the future. It’s not a defeat as I thought it should be. Maybe because it’s more about reality than that I’m scared of traveling alone. I don’t know, I just know that I’m finished with being stuck at a hotel-room, in pain and alone!

Restaurants and room-service at Athenaeum Intercontinental Athens

IMG_9020The second evening here I ordered room-service, chicken-burger. Because I can’t eat bread and am afraid of getting something I can’t eat, I asked for the chicken-burger without the bread (I don’t care if I got the bread in the basket!), sauce and mushroom: Only chicken and potatoe. This is what I got: two very big chicken-breasts with potatoe. The chicken-breast were tasty and very well prepared, but the fries were too soggy.

Yesterday I had a look at the roof-top restaurant. I didn’t eat there, but if I weren’t alone I would have!

The view from the restaurant

There are also a restaurant and cafe downstairs, at the reception-level, but I would prefer this one only for the fantastic view!

Athenaeum Intercontinental Athens

IMG_9000– Welcome tom Athenaeum Intercontinental Athens! Since you are an Ambassador we have upgraded your room! (Short story: I lost my Royal Ambassador memebership because I didn’t have enough nighst as we have had appartments for some of our stays this year. We got a “soft landing” to Ambassador membership.)

Checking in was done very quick and I was followed to my room with my luggage. I am not 100% sure what room I got, but I think it was an executive room. To my surprise it was big with a full sofa, chair and a desk.

 

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IMG_8997As an Ambassador you are entitled to fruit, water and a “gift” waiting in your room. Although I don’t eat much fruit because of my diet, I like the feeling of being treated to something extra. The gift from Athenaeum Intercontinental Athens was 3 “Olivia” soap-bars.

IMG_8994IMG_8996The toiletries are Korres, which I first sampled at The Capital Hotel in London many years ago. It’s a Greek brand and I love the fact that they use local toiletries instead of the Agraria they usually use at Intercontinental. (I’m allergic to the Agraria shampoo so always have to bring my own…) I’m not sure wether I like or dislike the Korres, but so far I have not gotten any bad reactions and that itself is a good sign!

The bathroom has a bath-tub with an excellent pressure in the shower!

As I didn’t have breakfast or lounge-access included I can’t tell about thoset services but I had a quick look into the lounge during “cocktail-hour”. The lounge was modern and had a good atmosphere. The food-offerings weren’t that great, just small snacks, but it looked delicious! I don’t know what they charge for lounge-access, but usually they charge for two people, so I think it would be a good deal if you are a couple AND if you are not on a strict diet like I am. (No wheat, no lactose, no garlic, no onion etc…) I am sure the hotel would cater for me, but as I am alone I don’t bother.

IMG_9003The cafe in the reception-area is always busy with guests, but not too busy. I might go and have a coffee there later!

Getting to the hotel from the airport with the metro/tram:

Take the blue metro-line to Syntagma. You have to buy a ticket at the airport (8 EUR). At Syntagma you can either take a taxi (around 5 EUR) or if you don’t have much luggage, take the green or red tram-line. You have to go out and up the stairs and then you will see the tram-station. This is the end-stop, no worries if you are in the right direction! Take the tram to Kassomouli (the 4th. stop) and from there it’s only 50 meters walk to the hotel. (This is the same tram that will take you to the city center, Syntagma.)

More about the SPA, area and restaurants in the upcoming posts.

 

 

 

Athens, here I come!

Tomorrow I am going to Athens to partisipate at a travel-blogger conference. I signed up for this earlier this year, before I knew I was going to write a cookbook, and booked 7 nights. Although the conference is only 3 days I knew I would need some extra nights, just to relax!

To be honest, I haven’t been much in “travel-blogger mode” the last months as the cookbook project has taken all my time and energy. However I have decided to go to Athens, partisipate in some of the sessions at the conference, relax, write and relax even more. I do feel a little bit “guilty” of traveling for a week while 1. I don’t have the time to write as much as I want to in my blog and 2. I am in the finishing-stage of the book. Luckily I have other exciting projects in my mind, including traveling, so I shouldn’t feel that guilty!

Well… It might be good for both my health and my mind, so see you from Athens!

Traveling beauty: Makeup

MakeupNo matter how ill and sick I feel, I will always wear makeup. I don’t wear much makeup, but I usually always wear some. When traveling I keep my makeup in my handluggage, with my skincare and my medsicines, always!

As with skincare I like to keep it natural and simple. That’s why I fell in love with Youngblood Mineral Cosmetics and the Loose Mineral Foundation. The foundation is a powder and, in my opinion, the best of the loose mineral foundations on the marked. It’s very covering, still quite invisible, and it feels and looks very natural. And the best? It only takes some seconds to brush it on!

The other must have from Youngblood is their foundation brush and eyeshadowbrush. Expensive, but very much worth it! I have had mine for close to 10 years, used them every day and they are still as good as they were!

Because I am lazy I have not used any time to find another eyeshadow than Youngbloods. I am happy with the colors and the texture so why find another one?

As eyeliner I like liquid-eyeliners. In Japan I bought one from Lunasol, a cheap underbrand of Kanebo I have heard. I liked it very much, but couldn’t find it in Europe, so started using Shiseido liquid eyeliner. It’s very similar to the one I bought from Lunasol. However, when I went to Korea I found Laneige, a Korean brand, and I still have some of their liquid eyeliner left. (Yes, I bought a lot, so much that I got lots of “freebies” and testers… ) I need to go back to Japan or Korea soon!

My eyebrows are quite sad. I have black hairs, and they are thick, but there aren’t that many of them, so I need to “draw” my eyebrows. With that said, I need them natural, so no big, scary eyebrows for me! I have tried several liners and shadows for my eyebrows. The best I have found so far is one I found in Japan. It’s said it’s a “semi-tattoo”, but it goes off with makeup-remover, but stays on during the day. I think it’s a generic brand and I have never seen them in Europe, or other places I have been. Luckily I stocked up some last time I was in Japan, and next week Mr. No-Backpacker will be in Japan. Guess what he’s going to buy for me?

Lipstick has never been my thing. I love the look, but for a strange reason I can’t seam to remember to put it on and when I do, it feels unnatural. However I do have lots of lipstick, but I never get to use them before they become old… My favorite lipstick is from Missha, also a Korean company. Although I still use the one I bought 1,5 years ago, I bought one more. Maybe it’s time to change the old with the new?

I know lots of people who are in aw with MAC cosmetics. I have bought some eyeshadows and… lipsticks.. but I never got to like them. The eyeshadow was difficult to fade and the lipstick… well… don’t use it much…

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to use the discount certificate from KLM

2014-08-22 12.33.17As many of you know, I’m a KLM-girl all the way. At least I have been the last 5-6 years. When flying a lot it’s impossible to never be delayed or even get stuck somewhere in the world. It happens with other airlines and it happens with KLM. The good thing with KLM is that they always try to help, as good as they can. You usually get a discount certificate and/or a discount certificate to use at the tax-free on board. If you need a hotel they will always book it, althought the hotel can be in the middle of nowhere, they will get you there, they will feed you and pick you up to bring you to the airport the next morning.

I can’t remember when I got this certificate, but when I did som serious cleaning in my papers some days ago, I found lots of travel discount certificates from KLM. Most of them had been expired, but not this. I decided to try to use it when booking my flight to Athens, for October.

When calling I remembered why I hadn’t bothered with using the certificates: I had to call, listen to stupid voices asking me to press lots of numbers on my phone, and then, at last, get to speak to a real person.

When I finally got through (I had to call twice because I pressed the wrong number in the last session the first time….) I used 10-15 min. to find the right flight, get an e-mail to confirm the flight, telling my name and address, my card number, the number on the certificate and get the instructions on what to do with the certificate.

I had to send the certificate within 24 hours and with registered mail “and that’s why we will not charge you with any booking fees now,” I was told. The fee for sending the letter to The Netherlands with registered mail was 20 Eur. The calculation tells me I was left with 30 Eur. Well… it’s better than nothing, but I will make a note to have time for all this the next time I’ll use one of the certificates I still have!