London, April 2022: Wednesday the 13th

When I woke up Wednesday morning, I was pleased I had managed to sleep a bit longer. I knew I wanted a proper breakfast, though, and headed to one of my favourite cafés in London. Mildreds used to be a vegetarian café, but since I was there last time three years ago, it has turned all plant based. I originally wanted to have scrambled tofu, but it turned out it contained lots of bell peppers, which make me ill. Instead I went for the sausage bap, with tomato chilli chutney, and a pot of tea. It tasted really good!

In the front a plate with a bap with sausages and a pot of red chili chutney. Behind it is a mug og tea, as well as a pot of tea.
Sausage bap for breakfast at Midreds
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

After being fed, I wanted some coffee. I went back to Origins, as it was close to Mildreds (and the hotel), to relax with my book.

An ereader with a page open to the left, to the right a cup of coffee. A carafe of coffee behind the mug.
Coffee at Origins
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

I decided I wanted to go to Camden. There are always lots to look at there, it being shops, people, or just even street art.

A large green tree is on the shore of a river. Behind it brick buildings.
Camden Town
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

A street eith an enclosed bridge over it- The bridge says "Camden Lock". On each side of the street you can see brick buildings.
Camden Town
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

A building with on of its walls painted with a piece of street art. A black woman on a green brackround
Street Art in Camden Town
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

Walking around in Camden Town was pretty exhausting (I’m still struggling with tiredness after Covid), so I decided that relaxing in Green Park would be nice. Wednesday was the least sunny and warm day in London during my visit, but at least it didn’t rain. And the park was surprisingly quiet, even though there was lots of people there. Green Park was not far from the Dukes, so that was also a good reason to pick that park to spend some time before heading for afternoon tea.

A park with trees. Some has new, green leaves, some white flowers. The grass is green, with several daisies.
Green Park
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

A tree full of white flowers on green grass
Green Park
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

As I said in a previous post, I had booked at table at the Dukes. The hotel was in one of those small streets, hidden away from the city’s hustle and bustle. It felt rather posh, and I had to wait in the entrance hall to be seated. The Drawing Room, where the afternoon tea was to be had, was decorated with blue colours, and had a small winter garden in the middle. There were plenty of big windows, that let the sun in.

A brick building with iron cast entrance. A blue sign over the door saying "Dukes", and a flag hanging over it on a pole saying "Dukes London".
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

You can see into a sunlit room, with tables and comfortable chairs. The room is blue. On the wall inside the room you can see drawings. To the right of the arch leading into the room, a gold clock is hanging on the wall.
Drawing Room at the Dukes London
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

I had the vegan afternoon tea, and I went for a tea called Royal Flush. Like at many restaurants and cafés in London, I was asked about allergies, and due to the cinnamon and bell pepper allergies I have, my menu looked like this:

A Selection of Traditional Sandwiches:
Avocado hummus, pickled cucumber on beetroot bread
Vegan cheese, fig relish on white bread
Shredded cabbage, carrot & apple on granary bread
Grilled courgette, tomato tapenade on rye & onion bread

Pistachio & polenta cake
Beetroot and blackberry financier
Mango & cashew cheesecake

Raisin scones & plain scones served with strawberry preserve & vegan clotted cream

The tea was really good, but I was slightly disappointed by the food. You would think a place like the dukes would put more effort into their vegan afternoon tea, but I wasn’t impressed. A couple of the sandwiches were massively over salted, and out of the four, the vegan cheese and fig relish one was the absolute best. I didn’t care too much for the cakes, except for the pistachio & polenta cake, which was lovely. The mango and cashew cheesecake was OK, but in my opinion, it should have tasted more of mango. The scones, on the other had, were lovely, even though it felt as if I was snowed down with icing sugar when eating them.

A table with a pot of tea to the left. In the middle is a stand with sandiches, scones, and cakes. To the right there's a cup of tea. In fron there is a plate with a white napkin, a knife and fork at each side. To the left of the plate there's an e-reader, with a page open.
Vegan Afternoon Tea
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

After having had the afternoon tea, I headed to Waterstones Piccadilly, where I were to meet up with Olivia-Savannah from the YouTube channel Olivia’s Catastrophe. On my way there, I stopped by Hatchards Bookshop, where I just walked around. It’s a pretty nice bookshop, and I even found some books translated from the Norwegian to the English there. (I didn’t buy them, of course, I’d rather read them in Norwegian).

When I arrived at Waterstones Piccadilly, I felt really tired, and went up to the café on the top floor, where I had a glass of cider and read my book while waiting for Olivia-Savannah. I finished my cider after she arrived, and we headed to do a bit of book browsing. So many tempting books. And I didn’t buy a single one!

We went to Shoryu Ramen for dinner, and had some really good food. I hardly ever find good vegan ramen, so I was very pleased. I had such a lovely time, and it was great to talk about books, food, and other random things you talk about. Time just flew by, and all of a sudden it was time to head back to the hotel. I got back by far later than planned, but it wasabsolutely worth it!

A red bowl filled wit ramen: mushrooms, spring onions tofu, broccolini, ans sweet potato.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

A Black woman with braided, purple hair is sitting behind a table, smiling. On the table in front of her is a plate with chicken katsu curry and rice.
The lovely Olivia-Savannah
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

London, April 2022: Tuesday the 12th

Tuesday greeted me with sunshine! From experience, sunny April spring days with +19⁰C isn’t exactly common in London. And I must say, it was really pleasant.

Brick buildings bathed in sun.
Sunny hotel room view
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

A woman with purple hair sitting in the window. In the background you can see brick buildings.
Me at the hotel
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

My first stop was one of my favourite coffee shops in London, Origins. They serve high quality coffee, of a light roast. I had a pour over, i.e. made with a V60. Sitting inside, looking out the window and reading was really nice.

A book on a bench that is a table, the book to the left. To the right a carafle of coffee and a cup of coffee.
Coffee at Origins
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

After having had some coffee, I picked up a light breakfast at a grocery shop, that I had outside on a bench at Bloomsbury. It was nice and relaxing, and a nice way to get ready for some book shopping. The bookshops I was planning on visiting were all close by.

A street with flowering trees
Spring in London
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

The first bookshop to visit was Skoob Books, where I spent quite a bit of time. I love second hand books, and if you’re lucky you might find some really nice books. Not only did I end up buying two books that look pretty much brand new, but I also found some cheap postcards I’m planning on using for postcrossing. Score!

A sign with "Skoob" standing out from the wall.
Skoob Books
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

Next bookshop on my list was Gays the Word, an LGBTQ+ bookshop. It was quite small, and the selection was quite good, but they didn’t have the books I was looking for. I did end up buying some other books, though, as well as a couple of postcards.

A bookshop front, you can see books in the window. The sign above it has pink triangles pointing down, one at each side of the text.
Gays the World
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

I had just one more bookshop to browse before I wanted to head back to the hotel: Judd Books. This bookshop unfortunately came across as a bit chaotic to me. Also it was hard to navigate around, as there wasn’t much room for movement. I didn’t end up buying anything there, nor did I spend much time. When I left the shop, I headed back to the hotel for a rest.

A book shop front, with boxes of books outside. A couple of people can be seen browsing the boxes.
Judd Books
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

In the afternoon/evening I met up with @lovedreadingthis and @always_need_more_books, bookstagrammers I’ve been following for a long time on Instagram. It was really nice to meet them, and having a wonderful conversation of books and more. We had a meal at Art Yard Bar & Kitchen, which turned out to be more of a hotel restaurant than any of us expected, I think, but that’s OK. The vegan burger I had, though, wasn’t great. A bit bland and dense. The chips were lovely, though, so I kind of wish I just had chips.

A plate with a burger on a bun half, the other bun half beside it. Also a bowl of chips on it. Behind it are glasses of water.
Vegan burger at Art Yard Bar & Kitchen
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

After dinner I went back to the hotel. I was shattered tired, and just wanted to relax and get some blogging done. I stopped at Tesco on my way, though, and got some sweets and a strawberry beer that actually tasted OK. It was nice to have a quiet night, and very much needed. I think I pretty much passed out when my head hit the pillow.

London, April 2022: The journey there.

It’s really good to be in London again! The journey here went surprisingly smooth. Since my tickets are SAS plus, paid for with bonus points, I had access to fast track. No queueing at all.

When I arrived at the airport in Oslo, and had checked in, I headed to the lounge. I had plenty of time before my flight to Copenhagen, so I enjoyed some refrehments.

A table with a bowl of crisps, a glass of cola, a glass of apple juice, and a glass of white wine.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

The reason I flew via Copenhagen, rather than getting a direct fliggt, was that I got my flights on sale. SAS had a bonus point sale, and I was a tad bit late to the ball, so it was either flying via Copenhagen or getting up ungodly early. The choise was easy.

View from an airplane. You can see fields and woods unddr a scattered layer of clouds.
Goodbye, Norway!
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

Arriving in Copenhagen I started hunting for food. I wanted a warm meal. I ended up buying wokked tofu and vegetables with rice, which was supposed to have ginger. I with it had more ginger and less salt, but all in all ot was a totally OK meal.

A white bowl on a table. In the bowl there are rice, and wokked vegetables and tofu.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2022

In Copenhagen I had to go through passport control, and was surprised there was no queue at all. Since I expected it to take a long time, I ended up having plenty of time before my next flight. Fortunately we got to board early, and soon enough I was on my way.

Boarder control at Heathrow was busy, but that’s normal. I think it took maybe 30 minutes before I was out and able to pick up my bag.

Having picked up my bag, I headed to the underground station. I was happy to see my Oystercard was still working, and still containing money. I topped it up, though, just in case, and headed to King’s Cross where my hotel is.

I checked into to hotel, and had the choice of having a room in the ground floor or fourth floor. I definitively prefer it to be higher up, so fourth it was. The room was quite nice, and it didn’t take long before I was under the duvet sleeping.

Places in London I want to check out!

The vegan scene in London has pretty much exploded. Even a few years back it was pretty good, but I know it has gotten even better. The last few times I’ve been to London, I’ve visited several places I’ve loved, but I know some of them are now sadly gone. That being said, I’m looking forward to check out some new places I haven’t tried before!

One of the places I want to try out is Copperhouse Chocolate, a 100% vegan chocolate café and artisan hot-chocolatier. They’re not open every day, so I will have to aim for a visit either Wednesday or Thursday, as I’m going home on Friday (as mentioned in my previous blog post).

A place that I’ve heard a lot about, but for some unknown reason never tried out, is Temple of Seitan. It was a big deal when they opened up their first shop back in 2015, and today they have a few branches in London. The food is mostly fast food/junk food, but that’s OK with me. It’s still on my list of places to eat, as long as I’m in the mood for that sort of food.

It’s no secret I love tofu and noodles. One place that has those exact things on the menu is Vegan Fusion, a predominantly Asian fusion vegan restaurant. I haven’t been able to find a webpage for them, which really is a pity, but they’re address is 71 Chapel Market.

Something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, is to have afternoon tea in London. The Savoy has a long tradition of serving afternoon tea, and they’re now offering vegan afternoon tea, and I hope I’ll be able to book a table for afternoon tea there one day, but you’ll have to book well in advance. There were no openings when I’m in London, so I simply had to look for somewhere else. After some searching the Internet, I finally ended up booking a table at Dukes, which has a vegan afternoon tea menu. The afternoon tea is served in the Drawing Room at Dukes hotel, which is only a short walk from Waterstones Piccadilly, one of my favourite bookshops.

I’m sure I’ll not have any problems finding vegan food in London, there are plenty of places I’d love to go back to.

Icecream in a paper cup saying "Yorica! free lovin' treats".
I had vegan icecream at Yorica! on a previous trip to London.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

London, we finally meet again!

London has had a very special place in my heart ever since I first visited in 1988. It was the summer before I turned 14, and I remember how magical it felt like visiting. Since then I have been there so many times I lost count years ago. Actually, I used to visit several times every year.

Palace of Westminster seen from the other side of the river.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2008

Due to the time we’ve been through, I haven’t been there since 2019. I was supposed to go in May 2020, but we all know the world shut down shortly before that, and needless to say, the trip got cancelled.

I’m thrilled to know that I now have booked a trip, and am finally going to visit my beloved London again! I’m arriving fairly late on 11 April, and am leaving again on 15 April. That means four nights! It will be my first trip outside of Norway since my partner and I visited family in Ireland for Christmas in 2019.

I am super excited! Now I just need to make plans for things I want to do and places I want to eat at!

Have you ever been to London? Do you have any favourite things there?

We went to Bergen, and had the most beautiful train journey!

We had planned on going to Ireland for the summer of 2020, but due to the situation, we decided to go to Bergen instead. As we were not comfortable flying, we decided to take the train both ways.

The train journey between Oslo and Bergen might very well be one of the most beautiful train journeys in the world, and I highly recommend giving it a go if you ever get the chance!

The piece of music used in this video is «Flowing», composed and played by Øystein Holmen, who’s a friend of mine. Read more about the story behind the song in the blogpost «The greatest gift».

The music is used in the video with permission.

Beautiful Ålesund

I visited Ålesund, a town and municipality in Møre og Romsdal county at the west coast of Norway, in April. The reason for my visit was work related, so I didn’t have much time to look around, unfortunately. However, I did find it to be a beautiful city, and I wanted to share some photos i took while I was there.

I hope to visit again in a not too distant future!

Houses by the sea. Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

View over Ålesund. Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
View over Ålesund.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Ålesund Churc.h Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Ålesund Church.
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

View over the ocean. Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018
Photo: Mittens and Sunglasses © 2018

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.