Spa day at The Thief in Oslo

After having some busy weeks (months, actually) behind me, I decided I wanted to treat myself to a spa day. After searching around on Google, I came across a site, where I could buy different experiences online called TrueStory. They offer many different things, but I went for the wellness option, and picked Spa day at The Thief, as it seemed to be exactly what I was looking for. The package included a 50 minutes classical massage, entrance to the spa, fruits and tea, and a lunch at The Thief Foodbar. My reason for picking the spa at The Thief was both that it’s supposed to be good, as well as the fact it’s very easy for me to get there from where I live.

Buying the experiense went fine, and I got an e-mail with confirmation, codes and instructions. I’m not a person who likes to phone people, so I e-mailed The Thief, and told which day I wished for and referred to the information I had gotten from TrueStory. Fortunately, they e-mailed me back shortly after, and the day was booked. I made sure to tell them I was vegan, and had a couple of allergies. I had looked at their menu, and didn’t find anything vegan. From experience, many restaurants are willing to make something vegan for you, if you ask on beforehand.

When I found out that the spa, which is actually located in another building behind the hotel, opens fairly early on Sundays, I decided to head there early in the morning. This, I found out, was a great decision. I had my appointment for the classical massage at 10, and had over an hour to enjoy the spa. And the best thing was: I had it all to myself!

The Thief Spa. Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

At arrival, I was handed a bathrobe and a big, fluffy towel. I went down to change into my swimsuit, and when I got back upstairs for the spa, the receptionist had made ready some tea and a fruit platter for me. That was very nice!

The spa was slightly smaller than I expected. I don’t know why I had expected it to be larger, but for some reason I had. However, it had what a spa needs. A steam bath, a Finnish sauna, a swimming pool, and tropical showers. It was very relaxing, and I got tea, coffee, and fruits. Water was aviable from a tap.

Unfortunately, but understandable, no cameras were allowed into the spa, so I have no photos from inside the spa itself. There was an area right outside the wardrobes, though, where they do misc. treatsments, like manicures and facials. It looked very nice and fresh to me, even though I wasn’t having any such appointment.

Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
The treatment area.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

The classical massage was really nice, and just what my aching body needed! Getting there, I was handed one of this “neat” single use knickers to use. I can’t say I thought they were neither nice looking nor comfortable to wear, but they did their job. The massage therapist really knew what they were doing. I was asked how I preffered my massage, and the preassure was really perfect. The 50 minutes just flew by.

I was given a new robe and towel after the massage, as wel as a scrub to be used in the steam bath. The spa still wasn’t too crowded, and I relaxed with a cup of coffee and the free to borrow newspaper, as well as enjoying the spa facilities, before heading to the hotel for my included lunch.

The restaurant was situated on the roof on floor 9, and had a really nice view over the fjord. It looked nice too, and the staff friendly. I had to repeat that I was a vegan, and I was, needless to say, excited to see what the chef would come up with. The Thief restaurant is said to be a good high end restaurant, but unfortunately, for me it just didn’t deliver.

The view from my table at the restaurant. Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
View from my table.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Being served a salad at lunch I find a but boring and uninventive, to be honest. In addition, it was mainly beets. People who know me well enough, know that I really dislike beets (they taste of dirt to me). In adition, it was not vegan when it was served. The cheese itself was a visible and given non-vegan item. I sent it back, but I think they just picked it out and gave me the same plate. This is not something I expect from a high end restaurant. I also suspect some othe other stuff on the plate was non-vegan, and though I tried to avoid the more creamy things, it wasn’t easy. I normally don’t mention my “other” food intolerances/allergies when I ask for vegan food, as they’re non-vegan foods (like cow’s milk). I actually ended up getting ill shortly after leaving the restaurant. I skipped dessert, to be honest, I don’t think they would have anything I could eat, and I was staring to feel unwell.

Would I recommend people to use TrueStory? I would. You can get good deals by using their package solution. They have a ølot more to offer than their “Wellness” category. If I had a wish, it would be that I could have a spa package where there was no meal included.

Would I reccomend people to visit The Thief? The spa, and absolute yes for from me. It was such a nice and relaxing day I had there. As for the restaurant, I would say no. I wasn’t pleased at all by how they treated a vegan guest, and I’m not likely to visit ever again.

This is in no way a sponsored entry, I payed for everything and did all research etc. myself.

Breakfast favourites

As a kid, I wasn’t too great when it came to eating dinners. I’ve always been a breakfast person, and without it, I don’t really work. Mornings where I have the time to sit down and have a proper, nice breakfast are the best ones. Especially the ones of the slow kind. Here are some of my breakfast favorites.

Smoothie bowls

As you have guessed (if you didn’t know already), these are smoothies that come in a bowl. They’re often of a little thicker consistency than regular smoothies, and in my opinion should come with some yummy toppings. I never use recipes for smoothies, i take what I have and “throw” the ingredients into the blender. It can be a banana, a handful of spinach, a handful of frozen green peas, and some plant milk. Nom! It’s super healthy too!

Smoothie bowl with coconut flakes, seeds, nuts, and frozen berries. Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Smoothie bowl with coconut flakes, seeds, nuts, and frozen berries.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Smoked “carrot salmon”

Back in the days when I was a pescetarian (I ate fish and other seafood), I actually loved smoked salmon. It was only last year I discovered smoked “carrot salmon”, thanks to a recipe from the amazing Norwegian blog Veganmisjonen. I can’t speak for anyone else, but to me, this thing actually tastes like smoked salmon!

Scrambled tofu

Who needs eggs, when you have tofu? I certainly don’t! I simply LOVE scrambled tofu, and the way I make it is super easy. I put approx 250 grams tofu in a bowl, and “mash” it with a fork, then I add two table spoons of soy sauce, and two Vegg yolks (I follow the instructions on the package), and mix it together. Then I pour the mix into a frying pan, where I fry it the same way as I would scrambled eggs.

Toasted bread with scrambled tofu and smoked "salmon carrot". Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Toasted bread with scrambled tofu and smoked “salmon carrot”.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

There are many other yummy vegan breakfast items out there, but these three are my favourites, I think. What about you, what are your favourite breakfast items?

Shutting the world out

Like so many others, I am the sort of person who get my energy drained by being social, and I can find crowds of people especially tiring. But I am also a city person, so it’s hard to avoid people when you’re out and about.

A few years ago I bought a pair of noise cancelling headphones. The main reason for getting them was to close out noise when I travel by plane (I have done a lot of flying the last few years), but it didn’t take long to discover that they do wonders other times as well. I don’t even need to put the actual noise cancelling on most of the time!

Using my headphones to shut the world out. Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Using my headphones to shut the world out.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Putting my headphones on, and putting on some fitting music (yoga music is especially calming), and in that way just close out the world, reduces my stress level so much! I love it!

What is your life hack to stress down when you’re out and about and around people?

Where did all my spoons go?

When I was younger, I used to have a lot of spoons (if you have no idea what the number of spoons symbolise, you can read the Wikipedia article about the theory). I seemed to be able to be active and do whatever I wanted to do. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to have much energy left over when I am done at work.

Before you wonder, I will have to say that I love my job. I am a librarian, and I feel like I am on the right shelf in life. Helping others feela right, and I get to things I feel passionate about. I am so lucky.

Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

I don’t know when my energy level fell drastically. Most probably it was a combination of things, but I know that I can’t use all my spoons on things that doesn’t make it feel worth it. I have to prioritise. I am in my mid fourties, and the “king in my own life”, as a former colleague used to say. I should decide what’s important to me. Therefore I have decided that the main activities for me outside of work will be writing and working out. A combination of things that I know I will enjoy.

Which activities outside of work or school is important to you? Are you good at finding time for them?

Favourites in Milan, Italy

It has been a while since i went to Milan: I visited the famous city in November last year. I went there for a long week end on my own, and even though I didn’t like it by far as much as Rome, I still enjoyed my stay there. I think that if I had been more into fashion, it would have been a more interesting stay, but fashion really isn’t my thing…

Travelling as a vegan is always interesting, as it’s hard to know whether you’re able to get nice, vegan food or not. However, Milan wasn’t a problem at all, as there were several vegan places to eat, and some of the Italian dishes are vegan by default. Here are my favourite places to eat out in Milan:

Mantra Raw Vegan
Address: Via Panfilo Castaldi 21

I found the restaurant Mantra Raw Vegan pretty much by coincidence. I had planned to go back to the hotel, and wanted to look up the quickest way to get there on Google maps. The restaurant’s name popped up, and I decided it was a place i would love to try.

The Italians tend to eat dinner by far earlier than us Norwegians, so when I got there, there was no dinner service until 19. I didn’t feel too bad, though, as I had had a big lunch. I went for a matcha latte made with almond milk, and a so called “nice cream” they had named Ciot Cream. I went for the chocolate one, and it was super yummy. The matcha latte was very nice too.

Though the restaurant is fairly expensive, even for a Norwegain, it really is very good, so definitively worth a visit!

matcha latte
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2017

Ciot Cream
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2017

Universo Vegano
Address: Via Solferino 41

My very first meeting with Universo Vegano, was when i visited Rome in August 2016. This is an Italian chain of vegan restaurants, and I have never been disappointed by their food. This time around, I had a mushroom lasagna, and i’m not lying when I say that it’s probably the best lasagna I’ve ever had! It was very good! I also had a cake for dessert, but this time around, the lasagna was the true star.

Mushroom lasagne
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2017

Though I visited other places for food that were good, like Flower Burger (where i had a chickpea burger with vegan cheese called Cheesy Cecio), these two were my absolute favourites. I think i would have liked Flower Burger more if it had decent seating, though it’s more of a take away place than anything else. The burgers are good, though.

Have you ever been to Milan? Do you have any favourite places to eat out?

Waffles – the Norwegian way!

I love waffles! That is, I love the Norwegian type, with sour cream and jam. Some people might think that when you go vegan, you have to give up all the things you love. Fortunately, that’s not the case, and yesterday I made some traditional, Norwegian waffles. 100 % dairy, egg, and cruelty free!

I used the recipe by one of my favourite bloggers, Veganmisjonen. Served with iMat Fraiche and strawberry jam, it pushes all the right waffle buttons, that’s for sure!

Vegan waffles.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

One happy Norwegian with waffles.
Om nom – one happy vegan!
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Harry Potter’s magical world at the British Library – or London for a weekend in February

The first weekend of February we went to London to visit the exhibition Harry Potter: A History of Magic at the British Library. The decition of going was made in January, and we booked the trip before checking if there were aviable tickets. When checking the website it turned out it was all sold out. Needless to say, we were disappointed, but decided that a weekend in London would be nice even without visiting the exhibition.

We arrived in London Friday night, and stayed at a hotel near the British Library called Pullman St Pancras, that I got a really good deal on. When we got there, we got upgraded to a DeLuxe room, which was really good. The view from the room was great, and at the end of the hall on our floor, we could see The British Library. The location was great, and the room brilliant!

Photo of hotel room.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Saturday morning we met up with a friend of mine for breakfast. I had been given the suggestion of a place called Vx, which is a shop that prouds itself to be a vegan junk food shop. It was a really small place, but they had a good selection of food and cakes. I went for the Marinara Meatballs Sub, and it was really very good! I also had a chocolate doughnut for dessert.

Marinara Meatballs Sub
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

After breakfast we headed to the Bristish Library to tey our luck. Going to London for the exhibition and not asking if there were any free tickets would be silly, we thought. And we were in luck! There were tickets, and we could enter the exhibition pretty much straight away.

It was a fantastic exhibition! There were rare books, manuscripts and magical objects from the British Library’s collection, as well as original drafts and drawings by J.K. Rowling and illustrator Jim Kay, and objects from The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle, Cornwall.

Exhebition poster on the wall of the British Library.

On Sunday we went to have breakfast at one of my favourite vegetarian restaurants in London: mildreds Kings Cross. On weekends they serve brunch in the mornings, and we went for the scrambled tofu, slow roasted tomato, oak smoked house beans, roasted mushroom, sausage and toasted sourdough. Now, that’s what I call a breakfast! Or brunch, if you prefer… It was a perfect way to start the Sunday.

The big brunch at mildreds.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

After breakfast we went back to Vx, to end our weekend in London with cake! This time I had a piece of the Unicorn cake. It was delicious, but very sweet, so I didn’t manage to eat the whole thing. However, I would love to go back and try more items from their menu at some point. Anyhow, a great way to end a great weekend!

Unicorn cake
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Let our wolves live!

When I grew up, I lived in what’s called the “wolf zone” in Norway. I spent quite a lot of time in the woods, either playing with friends or walking on my own. I saw a lot of animals, like foxes, elks, mice, hedgehogs, and others. Did I ever see wolves? No, never. Have I ever felt afraid in the woods? Nope, nor that.

The Norwegian government have decided that a total 42 wolves can be shot this winter, which is 75 percent of the wolves residing in Norway. The wolves, who are called Arctic Wolves or Grey Wolves, are on the IUCN Red List of Endangered Species. This is problematic for so many reasons, and yesterday about 3000 people met up in front of the government building to show that we disagree with their decision. The Norwegian government claim that killing wolves and destroying nature helps to reduce conflict in society. This is absurd, as there is no evidence to support this claim, as far as I know. What they’re doing is ignoring any recommendations from researchers, as well as the majority opinion of the Norwegian people.

There were several speakers at the demonstration, like Mads Andenæs, professor of law at the University of Oslo, who explained how these killings are against Norwegian law, as well as Berne Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. Other speakers were Tore Hauge, who lives in the wolf zone, Lise Myhre, creator of the comic Nemi, Harald Kryvi, professor of biology, and several others.

I hope the killings of the wolves stop soon. Because this madness just can’t continue!

Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018