Reintroducing FODMAPs: Lactose

This post has taken me ages to write. Basically that’s because I’ve now tried several times to reintroduce lactose with varying levels of success. Reintroducing fodmaps is a complicated business! It is all about finding your limits when eating fodmap containing foods.

Lactose is not a total no-go even when on the elimination stage of the low fodmap diet. The Monash App is a fantastic resource for looking at portion sizes. For example, a ‘fun-size’ milk chocolate bar is deemed safe. It’s important to note that, as with all fodmaps, it’s the sugar (lactose) that’s the problem and therefore you don’t need to rule out all dairy products. Most hard cheeses like cheddar are fine, as are semi-soft ones like brie and mozzarella. Butter is also fine as the amount of lactose it contains is minimal.

I tested lactose for the first time ages ago. In Lee Martin’s fantastic guide to reintroducing fodmaps (I can’t recommend it enough), he suggests ice cream as one of the test foods for lactose reintroduction, so naturally I was delighted by this. You do have to be careful to choose an ice cream which is otherwise low fodmap (so lactose is the only fodmap present). I can’t remember exactly what ice cream I used I’m afraid, but it was definitely from Lidl. Round one was one scoop of ice cream, which was absolutely fine. No symptoms at all!

Round two was two scoops of ice cream. At the time, I had a few symptoms but nothing unbearable. Following on with my three scoops of ice cream in round three it was clear that this was far too much lactose in one go for me. I had the textbook symptoms of lactose intolerance- bloating, gas and running straight to the toilet.

I was quite surprised about my tolerance to lactose. Honestly, I didn’t expect to identify it as a problem, albeit not a huge one. That is the whole point of eliminating and reintroducing though- to find out what your triggers are.

So since then I’ve gladly welcomed lactose back into my life in small amounts. I’ve found it makes eating out that tiny bit easier when there’s one less thing I’m trying to avoid. However, it’s been very tricky trying to strike a balance with how much I can tolerate.

How well I handle lactose seems to be dependant on how stressed or anxious I am (of course, as is everything gut related!). When Craig and I were in Croatia in the summer there was so much delicious looking ice cream everywhere we went. Eventually I got so jealous of Craig eating all the ice cream that I branched away from sorbet and had some too. When one scoop was fine I tried two and I still had no symptoms. I had a few more ice creams over the week and suffered no ill effects. It was totally the holiday magic of being away and not being stressed because I have just not managed this again, with the best will in the world, back at home.

It also depends on the time of day. I mentioned in a recent post about only eating lactose pre-dinner time. I was finding that I could have a chocolate bar during the day but if I had one in the evening I’d get stomach cramps and even diarrhoea. Since making this connection and being more mindful of lactose portion sizes later in the day I’ve been getting on much better.  If anyone can help me out with this one, please do let me know.

I’ve also been trialling lactase tablets. I found out about these from one of my favourite low fodmap blogs, Karlijn’s Kitchen, and they’re also recommended by Monash University. Basically, the problem with digesting lactose lies with the body not being able to produce the right amount of the enzyme lactase to break it down, which these tablets can supplement. They’re pretty expensive so I’ve been using them when I’m out and about and for special treats. So far, they’re working pretty well! I can’t recommend any specific brands as I’m still testing them out but I’ll come back and update this once I’ve got it sussed out a bit better. If you have tried a few brands and have any advice please do let me know, I’d love to hear it!

So it looks like lactose and I are not going to be the best of friends, but we might not be worst enemies either.

I’ll leave you with the links to a couple of useful blog posts about lactose and dairy products on the low fodmap diet from Monash University and A Little Bit Yummy.

How have you got on with lactose reintroductions? It’s certainly been a tricky one for me to navigate but at least I’m learning!

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September Favourites | 2017

This favourites post will be a very quick one as September has just flown by! Here are a few of my favourite things in the month of September:

Ceilidh dancing at the Ghillie Dhu. What a wonderful idea for a night out- I love a ceilidh!

Listening to ‘Dialect versus language — what’s the big deal?’ on The World in Words podcast. This episode actually came out in June but I just got round to listening to a couple of weeks ago. The World in Words podcast is full of brilliant facts and discussions about language, and this was a particularly interesting episode about languages and dialects.

Listening to the Generation Anxiety podcast. Another podcast I’ve enjoyed is this Australian one about ‘why millennials are so anxious, and how we can work together to solve it.’ As someone very anxious, it’s always reassuring to know that it’s not just me.

Catching up with friends. This almost always makes my list because spending time with people I love but don’t get to see too often is almost always a highlight.

Reading ‘The Novel of the Century’ by David Bellos. I saw David Bellos at the Edinburgh Book Festival in August and couldn’t wait to read it. It’s a fantastic book about the imagining, writing and publishing of Victor Hugo’s Les Misérables and the historical and political significance it holds.

Victor Hugo was born #onthisday in 1802, so to mark the anniversary we’re immersed in David Bellos’ new book, The Novel of the Century. . This is the extraordinary story of how a simple tale of love and revolution, the poor and the downtrodden – Victor Hugo’s beloved classic Les Misérables – conquered the world. . There has never been a book like it. It’s the most widely read and frequently adapted story of all time, on stage and on film. But why is Les Misérables the novel of the century? This new book brings to life the story behind the book, the story of how Hugo managed to write his epic novel despite a revolution, a coup d’état and political exile; how he pulled off the deal of the century to get it published, and set it on course to become the novel that epitomizes the grand sweep of history in the nineteenth century. . What’s your favourite quote from Les Misérables? (You can see ours in the photo!)

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Cycling in Hyde Park. Every time Craig and I are in Hyde Park we say we should use the Santander bikes and go for a cycle and in September we did just that. I definitely recommend it!

Eating a doughnut from the Wheat Free Bakery. This was my first doughnut in over a year and my oh my I’ve missed them! I like the bread and rolls from the Wheat Free Bakery and they have plenty of tasty treats too. I’m working my way through them! It didn’t taste exactly like a doughnut, more like a bun? Either way it was very tasty.

Driving my grandparents out for lunch. When I was little I promised my grandparents that when I had a car I would drive them to various places. Well, the day finally came. For whatever reason I was driving the day Craig and I went to see them so the four of us piled into my little Ford KA. They were absolutely delighted. I promise it was quite the adventure!

Eating gluten-free fish and chips in Anstruther. The Anstruther Fish Bar really does do delicious fish and chips and it’s well worth the journey on their special gluten-free days!

Listening to new music from Miley Cyrus. I loved ‘Malibu’ and ‘Inspired’ when they were released earlier in the year, and I loved her recent Live Lounge covers. I thought she came across as very genuine and mature in her interview with Clara Amfo too. ‘Younger Now’ is so chilled and I’m enjoying listening to this current evolution of Miley.

Booking tickets for Harry Potter and The Cursed Child. This was my fourth time trying to get tickets and I finally managed to book some for August 2018! I am so so excited.

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5 Small Changes I’ve Made and How They’ve Helped Me

This year, I’ve been trying to make a conscious effort to practise more self-care and look after myself. I’m so convinced of the importance of the link between the gut and the mind. For me, this awareness has been hugely beneficial in dealing with my IBS. Over the summer I was very busy but also had more freedom to try out new things and be more in control of my own time. I realised I’ve actually made a few small changes, without really putting much thought into them at the time, that have made a positive difference in my life. They’re all very small but I don’t think that matters- anything positive is still positive, right?

1. Turning Off Social Media Notifications

Social media apps are a great way to stay in touch with people and keep up to date with what’s going on. However, I probably waste far too much time on them too. I turned off notifications for Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram on my phone (I kept my BBC Breaking News updates on Twitter) in June when I went to Barcelona, just to save my phone battery during the day. I’ve never bothered to turn them back on and I much prefer being able to have a look when I want to. I’m not super up to date all the time but, honestly, I don’t mind at all.

2. Tracking My Daily Habits

I thought I’d try tracking a few daily habits in my journal to see if it made me any better at sticking to them. I used a printable from The Petite Planner as I’m just not artistic enough to draw something pretty. It’s pretty cool to see an overview of my month. I can get quite caught up in the day to day and forget that even thought I didn’t manage to do something today, it’s not bad going that I’ve managed it three times in the week. It’s also been handy for keeping track of my tummy. I’m delighted that the majority of the month it’s actually been fine and there have just been a few days where I’ve had problems.

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3. Only Eating Lactose During the Day

In trying to appease my digestive system, I’ve been doing a lot of fodmap trialling. Lactose seems to be fine in small amounts but the later in the day I eat it the worse the symptoms are. I can have a wispa at lunch time and be totally fine but if I have one in the evening then my gut goes into panic mode. If anyone knows anything about why this could be, please let me know! I’ve started only eating lactose pre-dinner time and this seems to be working much better for me and I can still enjoy a wee bit of lunchtime chocolate.     

4. Not Wearing Makeup Every Single Day

I don’t really wear much makeup anyway, but I feel more confident with it on. Over the summer I hardly wore makeup at all. My skin felt so much better for it and I loved that my bedtime routine was quicker. But the most surprising thing to me was that nobody ever mentioned it. At first I felt like I was so conspicuously not wearing makeup that my friends and family would surely comment, but no-one ever did. Lesson? It’s not a big deal. I am back to wearing it most days now I’m back to work and I’m enjoying having some makeup free weekends. I realise this is not a big deal to a lot of people, but I’m now more confident that I’m wearing it because I want to and not because of self-pressure. Any reduction in any type of self-pressure is great for me!

5. Writing Down My Highlight of the Day

This is very self-explanatory, but basically I’m writing a sentence at the end of every day with whatever I enjoyed the most about that day. It’s a lovely positive note to end my day on. I love being able to flick back through them, especially after a hard day. There’s something good in every day, pals.

Have you made any small changes that have helped you? I’d love to hear anything you’ve tried in the comments below.

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Glasgow Women’s Running Race Series 10K Recap

I had a great time running in the Women’s Running Race Series 10K in Strathclyde Country Park at the end of August. This was my second 10K, which I’d signed up for after seeing an advert for half price entry on Black Friday at the end of 2016! So it was actually the first 10K I signed up for as a bit of motivation.

The only other 10K I’ve run was the Edinburgh Marathon Festival in May this year. It’s a very hilly course and it was an unseasonably hot 24 degrees! This was a totally different experience. It was a much cooler and cloudier day and the course was almost completely flat. There were 5K and 10K options which both went alongside the Strathclyde Loch, and the 10Kers went all the way round. I was also running solo unlike in the EMF and I did miss the chat from Craig!

I’ve only got the Edinburgh Marathon Festival 10K to compare it to, and one of the best bits of that experience was the amount of support from spectators. I was a wee bit worried and how I would manage without all that- would I just get really bored? Would it just feel very, very long? I just like a smile from someone else when I’m out running, I find it very motivating! Actually, I was running when we were on holiday in Portugal in July and because of the heat I had to go out quite early in the morning. This coincided with the closing of the nightclub in Vilamoura and so I ended up with lots of support and high fives from the 7am revellers most mornings!

Well I did miss it, but the stewards along the race were so, so lovely and the other runners were a supportive and friendly group. There was a lovely atmosphere of encouraging each other as the race went on. Someone came up to me afterwards to tell me she’d been just behind me for the last 3km and that I’d been good motivation for keeping her going! The whole thing had quite a relaxed feel and it was really well organised.

I didn’t have a time goal and I was really quite happy just to be there and take part. I managed the hilly EMF 10K in 1:06 so I was expecting that without the hills I would finish somewhere between that and the one hour mark. I was absolutely delighted to finish in 59 minutes! I’d tried to stick within sight the 60 minute pacer throughout and passed her about halfway through, I think. I was pleased just to run it full stop, but to finish that wee bit under an hour was even better.

And what now? Part of me would like to run further and go for a half marathon at some point, but part of me is really quite content with an hour of running at the most. For the moment, my sister has made me an absolutely incredible running challenge map through the four Disney theme parks in Florida. We love Disney! We’ve picked our favourite spots and Megan has made them into a map where I can colour in squares for every kilometre I run. I’m so excited to get started and I think it’ll keep me going for a while!

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August Favourites | 2017

What a quick month! I love writing these posts- it’s so lovely to look back on all the things that have made me happy over the month. Here’s what made me smile in August!

Craig surprised me at the airport. I was so focussed on finding the Stanstead Express that I almost walked right past him but it was such a lovely surprise when I landed from Portugal.

Yorica. It has totally “free from” ice cream and toppings (no lactose, no gluten, no nuts, no eggs) and is almost as good as the real thing! Totally worth the slight taste compromise for a happy tummy.

Running through Golders Hill Park past the zoo. When Craig chooses a route I just follow blindly as my sense of direction is nil. You know what I don’t normally see on a run? Lemurs! Lemurs meditating in the sunshine! Very exciting.

Dreamgirls on the West End. I was blown away by how brilliant this was. I’d go back to see it again immediately if I could!

When I was down in London I spent a lovely sunny afternoon catching up with my oldest friend, Zoe- we see each other when we can and it’s so nice to chat with someone who really has known you forever.

Visiting Kew Gardens. It was so peaceful and we could have spent all day there- just as well as it’s pretty pricey!

Foil, Arms & Hog at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. This was a very good show, as comedies in my Fringe experience can go either way, much recommended if they’re back next year or touring.

A lovely surprise parcel arrived from my lovely friend Louise with a selection of Danish goodies and teas!

I’ve been to the Edinburgh Book Festival a good few times. This year I saw John Boyne and an event called Visions of the Future: Youth Mental Health with my best book loving friend, as well as Victoria Hislop with my mum and David Bellos, who has written a book about the writing and impact of Les Misérables, with Craig. All were brilliant. I love the chilled out atmosphere of the book festival and the chance to indulge my true book loving self!

I went back to Body Balance this month after a wee break- it’s my favourite fitness class and I always leave feeling so zen.

I finally watched the last ever episode of Pretty Little Liars. I somehow managed to stay spoiler free, even after waiting six weeks to watch it! I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but I do think it was a very PLL-esque way to go out.

I ran 10K in Glasgow in the Women’s Running Race Series in 59 minutes, which I was absolutely delighted with. It’s a whole seven minutes faster than my first one, but this one was a lot flatter!

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My Summer Holiday Reading Roundup

I’ve been very lucky to have a gloriously long summer holiday in between finishing uni and starting in the real world of full time work. This is the first time since I was 15 when I’ve actually not worked at all over summer! I’ve loved having time to just read for fun and have made huge progress on my ever growing ‘to read’ list. I’ve even completed my goodreads challenge of 26 books in 2017 with 4 months to go! I’m delighted as I really felt like I didn’t read as much as I would have liked to last year and I’ve been trying to squeeze in reading time where I can.

Without any further ado, here is what I read in the summer of 2017!

 

The Reader on the 6.27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent

This was one of those books that had great reviews but I just felt like I didn’t quite get it. I struggled through the first two thirds of it. I’m glad I stuck with it though because it actually turned out to be quite lovely in the end. 3/5

 

Holding by Graham Norton

This was a great holiday read. A body is found in village in Ireland. A policeman accustomed to the quiet life is tasked with unravelling the secrets that people have held onto for decades. It was a very gentle murder mystery which was also very funny in parts too. 5/5

 

Anne of Avonlea (Anne of Green Gables, #2) by L.M. Montgomery

I love Anne of Green Gables and after watching Anne with an E on Netflix I thought I’d read the sequels since I’ve never read any of them before. This one concentrates on Anne’s teaching in the Avonlea school as well as the two small children she and Marilla end up taking care of. Said children irritated me quite a bit, as well as the clear favouritism towards one of them, but Anne and her escapades are just as delightful as they were in the first book. 3/5

 

Anne of the Island (Anne of Green Gables, #3) by L.M. Montgomery

And so the next installment follows Anne to Redmond College in the city of Kingsport. She just has the most adorable university experience in a cosy house with her best friends and a cat (and of course, a live in chaperone because it is the 1880s). I really liked the new characters in this one and it was lovely to read about Anne growing up a bit. She also turns down six proposals (I’m sure this wasn’t supposed to be as funny as I found it to be) before deciding maybe she does like Gilbert Blythe just a little bit after all. Aww. I literally have no better word than ‘delightful’ to describe the Anne books but they are like hot chocolate with marshmallows in book form. 4/5

 

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

I liked the idea of this, about the concierge of a grand Parisian apartment building, and I thought I was going to enjoy it. Unfortunately, I found the majority of the characters very unlikeable and there were too many long winded discussions of philosophy. It was so slow and it felt quite pretentious. It did get much better though and the last 10% was much more engaging. 2/5

 

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

I don’t think I’ve read a young-adult book for a while but I’d seen quite a lot about this. Starr witnesses the shooting of her unarmed childhood friend at the hands of a policeman. She has a lot of important decisions to make as she decides what she wants to do next. It was moving, it was funny and it was thought-provoking. 4/5

 

My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises by Frederik Backman

This was honestly quite adorable. Elsa’s grandmother is her superhero and they have this wonderful world of stories. When she dies, she leaves letters apologising to the people she feels she has wronged in her life which leads Elsa to learn more about her. There was lots of storytelling within the story which I ended up skimming, but I did think this was really endearing. 3/5

Strong Looks Better Naked by Khloé Kardashian

I’m such a Kardashian fan and I was so pleased when I found out Megan was bringing this on holiday and I’d be able to read it after her. There was nothing particularly groundbreaking in this and it probably could have been an online essay. But it offered some good advice and some Kardashian gossip. It was absolutely written in Khloe’s voice, which depending on how much you like the Kardashians could sway you either way! 3/5

 

This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell

This tells the story of Claudette and Daniel across different times and places. There were so many characters and it jumps back and forth but somehow it all plays out into a very messy love story. I thought it was fantastic. No one in this novel is perfect by any means, but that’s okay. They don’t have to be. They’re all flawed to varying degrees and even with the best of intentions things just don’t always work the way they want them to.  Also, I know you’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover but this one is gorgeous. 5/5

 

You Will Know Me by Megan Abbott

Megan Abbott writes such dark books and I love them. This one is in the world of competitive gymnastics, which I know nothing about! There’s a feeling of suspense and uneasiness when you’re reading it, and you don’t know who to trust or believe. 4/5

 

How to Stop Time by Matt Haig

Any ‘real life’ friends of mine, How to Stop Time is probably going to be your Christmas present! I loved this so much that I took reading breaks because I didn’t want to finish it. It’s the story of a man born in the 1590s who ages a year about every fifteen years. We meet him as a 400 and something year old history teacher in London. Of course it’s about time and what we do with it, and it’s about humanity. Very inspiring and beautifully written. Read it!  5/5

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

One word to describe this would be ‘whimsical’! I love the writing and how honest the main character Lily was. And I really did learn loads about the secret life of bees! 2/5

 

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Cyril Avery is adopted by Charles and Maude Avery as a baby and never allowed to forget that he’s not a real Avery. This book spans 70 years of Cyril’s life in Ireland and further afield. It’s so darkly funny- you know in that way when you’re not really sure if you’re supposed to be laughing? It’s also heartwarming and very thought provoking. 5/5

 

Goose by Dawn O’Porter

I really enjoyed Dawn O’Porter’s book The Cows and remembered that I’d read the first of her young-adult books when I saw the sequel for 99p on kindle. I liked Paper Aeroplanes, but just felt like this book was less about the friendship which made it so wonderful and I missed that. The voices of the characters seemed so young and naive for being eighteen too, but I don’t know if that was intended or not? It was a very quick easy read with some really nice moments. 3/5

 

P.S. from Paris by Marc Levy

I thought this was going to be cheesy- incognito actress running away from her marriage crosses paths with American author living in Paris whose literary success is acutely localised in South Korea- and it was certainly quite frothy, but I enjoyed it more than I initially thought I would! 3/5

 

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Eating Low-Fodmap in Vilamoura, Portugal

Looking for a couple of fodmap friendly options in Vilamoura? I spent a very hot holiday there in July, with lots of sunbathing and reading time! Vilamoura has a lovely marina with loads of restaurants and, like when I was in Croatia, I was lucky to have plenty of fish options. If you eat meat there are loads of options too. For vegetarians following a low-fodmap diet, the few places that had gluten-free pasta and pizza had veggie options and there are lots of omelettes and salads on menus too. I wish I could handle lactose better than I can as there were some fabulous looking ice cream desserts seemingly everywhere we went!

NoSolo Italia

This place is very popular and had long queues from about half eight onwards. I had a GF pizza with pesto and bacon. I love pesto and I discovered last year that it’s also a fab addition on a pizza! We went back a second time and I think I went for a classic yet divisive ham and pineapple. There were also GF lasagne and pasta options available.

Capriccio Italia

It doesn’t seem to be on their website, but they have gluten-free pasta and pizza on the menu. I think this must be a very recent addition as they actually didn’t have any gluten-free pizza bases available yet (I assume because they’re premade and were on order?). I had a very generous portion of GF penne with olive oil and vegetables. There were definitely other fodmap friendly options on the menu, including omelettes and various meat dishes.

Gomes na Praia 

This one isn’t on the marina, it’s on the beach. I thought it’s worth mentioning as it had tasty omelettes and there were also burgers which you could have without the bun if you’d rather have that. You don’t need to bring a packed lunch to the beach- hooray to no sandy sandwiches!

La Fragata

If you’ve read any of my previous travel posts, you might have noticed that sea bass seems to be a bit of a favourite for me. Well, I can recommend yet another in La Fragata Steak House. It’s served with a huge portion of green beans, which is good to know as they’re fodmap friendly too (up until about 17 beans the Monash app says at the time of writing).

Luna Rossa

I branched out from sea bass here and tried cod and gnocchi. I’d recommend it! There were plenty of fish dishes and they also had GF pasta on their menu. They came very highly recommended on Trip Advisor for their GF options. I have to say the pizza looked absolutely delicious but unfortunately isn’t fodmap friendly so it’ll have to be a vicarious eating experience!

Amorino

Amorino is an absolute delight for those of us looking for a fodmap friendly dessert option. They’re an ice cream shop with plenty of delicious sorbets to choose from. I look out for them wherever I go- the raspberry and passion fruit sorbets are my favourites!

I found it fairly easy to eat out in Vilamoura and there was always a salad option I could have. I did find that there was generally a lot more garlic used in the cooking than there had been in Split, Croatia, which I think is what made Split so easy. Having said that, everything I ate was very fresh and armed with peppermint oil capsules I ate very well!

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July Favourites | 2017

July is my favourite month of the year- there’s a marginally more optimistic chance of some sunshine and I have lots of birthdays to celebrate, including my own!

Birthdays 

I had a very relaxed birthday at home with my family and Craig. We went to Loudons for brunch then Craig and I spent a rainy afternoon  at the Jacobites exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland. We had homemade currywurst and Tesco’s GF and LF Carl the Caterpillar cake for dinner. My sister, my nana and two of my best friends have also had their birthdays in July too so it’s been a busy month! 

Graduation 2.0

I graduated again, hooray! This time was to celebrate the completion of my PGDE. I’m lucky to have met such lovely people along the way and I’m excited to see what comes next for us all! 

Summer Reading 

I’ve been on holiday in Portugal and have enjoyed lazing by the pool reading. It feels like such a luxury! I’ve read quite a few books I really enjoyed, but in particular I loved How to Stop Time by Matt Haig and This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell. 

Disneyland Paris (and Paris Paris) 

My sister and I went to the happiest place in France because it’s Disneyland’s 25th birthday and we just couldn’t resist a trip! We also spent some time in Paris, the city where I spent my Erasmus year and absolutely fell in love with, which is as beautiful as always. 

Family holiday to Portugal 

I’m just back from a sunny holiday to Vilamoura in Portugal where I’ve read on a sun lounger and done very little else. So relaxing. 

Amorino

My friend Sasha introduced me to Amorino and I’m so glad she did! It has delicious ice cream and sorbet. I can eat all of the sorbets on my (modified) low-fodmap diet as they don’t contain any lactose. I’ve eaten a fair amount of it in July between Paris and Portugal! 

Despicable Me 3

I’ve not seen Despicable Me 1 or 2, but I enjoyed this film so much more than I expected to! It was also advertised everywhere in Paris and it was very funny to see the minions hiding along the Champs-Élysées. 

Learning how to drive again (and getting a car)

I passed my test almost four years ago and then never drove again. Living in the city centre, I just didn’t need to. However, I’ll need to drive to work in August so I’ve had some refresher lessons and I’m back behind the wheel of my very first car. I was very nervous but it’s been less painful than I’d thought! 

Catching up with friends

It’s always so lovely to spend time with friends I haven’t seen for a while. 

Rimmel London 60 Seconds Super Shine Nail Polish in Ethereal  

I’ve been borrowing my sister’s nail polish (and have now bought my own, don’t worry, Megan) since I went on holiday to Croatia- she said that since it was a pale, pearly colour it wouldn’t be too noticeable when it started to chip. She’s right and I’ve literally not worn another colour since. It’s perfect for summer!

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Sightseeing, Sunbathing and Sea Bass in Split, Croatia

I’m very lucky to have been away four times since finishing uni at the start of June. It’s been very busy and a lot of fun! Craig and I had a fabulous week in Split, Croatia, at the end of June. It was a lovely time to visit as it was busy but not peak tourist season yet. The temperatures were already thirty plus degrees, very toasty even for me (and I’m always cold!)!

We’ve looked at Croatia the past couple of years but never quite managed to find flights cheap enough. This year we were actually planning a central/Eastern European trip for but as circumstances changed we decided to keep it simple and finally see some of Croatia.

It was tricky to decide where in Croatia we wanted to go. Originally we’d thought about spending some time in Split then moving on to Dubrovnik or vice versa, but ended up just opting for a full week in Split with the intention of doing some day trips from there.

Where we stayed

We stayed in a one-bedroom apartment called the Split Ann Apartments. We thought this would be a good base for doing day trips and it worked out well. The host was lovely and the apartment was very clean and exactly as pictured. The location was great and we were right in the city centre. I think we basically walked in a 20 minute radius from where we were staying each day to get to restaurants, shops and the port!

What we ate

This was my longest trip since I went full on low-fodmap last year and I was quite nervous! However, Split turned out to be great food wise for me. Ten points for fodmap friendliness!

Being the over packer and planner that I am, I did take a fair amount of food with me. Since we checked a bag into the hold, my hand luggage was basically a tote bag full of food! For breakfast, I brought oat biscuits and muffins and I bought yogurt and fruit when we arrived. For lunch, I had a loaf of wheat-free bread and rice crackers. I got some cheese, tomatoes and salami in a local shop and made up a sandwich/rice cracker tower every morning. These did get increasingly unappetising as the week went on, but I was fed and my tummy was happy so I can’t complain really!

In the evening, eating out was so much easier than I expected. If you like fish, this is the place for you! Much like Grasmere, I ate a lot of sea bass. There was also a lot of gnocchi on the menus, another good fodmap friendly option. I didn’t find dishes to be particularly garlic or onion heavy either. A couple of places I’d recommend in particular are:

Toto’s Burger Bar – I had chicken and courgetti here one night which was a nice break from fish! Craig had a bit of food envy so we ended up going back later on in the week and I had prawns, also very tasty.

Step by Step – I had delicious sea bass here. I feel like I’ve eaten quite a lot of sea bass recently, and this was the best! However, the service was incredibly slow so go before you get too hungry.

Capo, Trogir – This one isn’t actually in Split, it’s in the nearby town of Trogir but I’ll pop it in anyway because Craig and I had some very tasty supersize salads here. I actually felt like a Kardashian (their salads are always huge!). Salad is often a last resort for me and it’s not often I’m raving about it, but this was genuinely delicious!

One thing we noticed was how popular ice cream was. In the evening, it seemed everyone had a cone in their hand! We found a couple of places which had sorbet including Luka which was brilliant. I love love love ice cream and this was some of the best I’ve had. Their menu changes weekly but it had a couple of sorbets each of the three times we went. If you can handle lactose, you can really go wild! Craig had an apple pie ice cream there and it was just incredible.

What we did

One of our main reasons for choosing Split was because we wanted to see the Krka National Park. It has the biggest waterfalls in Croatia and is the only national park where you can swim. We booked a bus excursion to get there when we arrived in Split with Daluma Travel. This was an air conditioned coach for about 50 people and included a guided tour upon arrival. We then had about three hours to explore by ourselves at our own pace. It suited us perfectly at only 23€ each, but if you’d prefer a smaller excursion there were plenty to choose from too. There were tour companies everywhere around the Palace advertising excursions so you can just have a wander.

Look how beautiful Krka is! I was amazed when we were driving there that there would be waterfalls- it seemed so dry! I was so impressed with how pretty and relaxing it was.

 

We had some beach time too. Split has a small beach near the port called Bavice. It was really crowded, and whilst it was nice it was probably my least favourite. We visited Zlatni Rat in Bol, on the island of Brač and we liked it so much we went back for a second day.

You can get a car ferry to Supetar on Brač, then take a bus to Bol. You can pick up timetables and buy tickets at the port and the buses are very close at the other end so it was actually very easy. I loved Bol and I’d definitely go back.

Another day we walked up the Marjan Hill. This was such a hot day. There were hardly any other people doing the same thing so it was lovely and peaceful, but they were possibly a lot more sensible than us going for a hike in thirty five degree heat!

The views over Split were pretty, once I’d cooled down in the shade enough to appreciate them. When we were walking down again a Segway tour whizzed past us. That seems a much better way to do it in the summer! We were looking for Bene beach to spend the afternoon, but I think it was further away than Craig (the navigator) had anticipated and I was actually getting worried about how little water we had left. We ended up walking down to Kasjuni Beach. It was a lot smaller and quieter than Bavice or Zlatni Rat and I’d definitely recommend it as an alternative to Bavice. I think all the beaches we went to were pebbly. Does anyone else prefer pebbly beaches? I would say to bring or buy some water shoes to look after your feet when you’re going in and out of the sea!

Split is surrounded by islands, and whilst it’s easy to get to Supetar on Brač the others have less frequent ferries. When I was researching things to do in Split I came across lots of speedboat excursions which would give you a chance to see multiple places in a day. We decided to book a trip with Blue Cave Travel as birthday presents to each other. This is the same logic that got us to Berlin last Christmas! I really like an ‘experience’ instead of a gift. I’m so glad we did this trip as we got to see loads which we wouldn’t have managed otherwise. It was a very busy day and I could easily do a whole post about it! We left Split at 8am on a speedboat and headed to the Blue Cave. There were twelve of us on the trip, and our boat looked much comfier than those we saw doing similar trips so I’d definitely recommend looking them up if you’re going. We then visited Stiniva Bay and the Green Cave, then stopped near Palminaza for some swimming and snorkelling. After that we headed to Hvar Town where we spent about three hours.

Plenty of time for exploring the beautiful little streets! Then we visited Milna on the island of Brač where we went for some olive oil and wine tasting before heading back to Split. A holiday highlight for me!

On our last day we took a bus to the nearby town of Trogir. It’s very small- I think I read it takes just fifteen minutes to walk the circumference of it!

It has really beautiful architecture and actually felt a bit like a real life museum. I think we were just there for a couple of hours but I’m glad we visited.

Split itself is lovely, very small and compact! In the evenings we wandered around the old streets near Diocletian’s Palace. One of the bars right next to the palace had live music in the evenings and it was fab just to sit on the steps and enjoy.

So, I think that about covers our trip to Split! I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I really enjoyed our time there. There was a lovely relaxed atmosphere, people were really friendly and the weather was fab. I’m glad we did what we did using Split as a base, but if I went back I’d like to spend a night or two in Split and then more time on the islands of Brač and Hvar. It definitely made me want to see Dubrovnik too, maybe as a city break in spring time?

My next holiday (and final, for this summer) is in Vilamoura in Portugal. I’m enjoying topping up my tan before getting back to reality!

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Frankie and Benny’s have a new gluten-free menu!

Where? Frankie and Benny’s, Unit c2, Dundee Street, Fountain Park, Edinburgh, EH11 1AF (several locations across the UK)

Did you know Frankie and Benny’s have an updated (and very tasty) gluten-free menu? I used to love Frankie and Benny’s pizza- as with all pizza, really, but I did particularly like theirs. Megan, Craig and I went to one of their newer locations at Fountain Park for dinner recently before going to the cinema. The last I’d looked at their GF menu, I thought my best option would be a burger without a bun. We’d actually chosen Frankie and Benny’s over Pizza Hut to avoid having pizza as I’d booked an Italian for dinner on graduation day a couple of days later. However, when I was presented with the new gluten-free menu I was delighted to see that good old Frankie and Benny’s pizza was once again an option for me! Here it the menu in its entirety.

I’m not coeliac, but because of my IBS I can only tolerate small amounts of wheat. Cross contamination fortunately isn’t a problem for me so I don’t usually ask about it. However, the staff were particularly efficient in my opinion and let me know that it would be prepared and cooked separately in the kitchen. 

So in my excitement all my non-pizza plans went out the window and I tucked into a GF margarita pizza. Apologies for my lack of food-photography skills, but I was just so excited to eat it that I didn’t waste much time before digging in!

It was almost as good as the Frankie and Benny’s pizzas I hold so dearly. It was a little bit more burnt than it should have been, but I was too hungry to bother to be honest. The base was tasty- crunchy but not too difficult to cut. I can’t tell you how much this improved my day! Unfortunately we were tight on time so I didn’t manage a dessert but I quite fancied the fruit and dipping chocolate. Maybe next time!

It’s worth pointing out that this menu doesn’t seem to be available everywhere yet, so it’s probably best to double check before you visit. Hopefully it’ll be rolled out everywhere soon!

Fodmap-friendliness: 5/5 – there are plenty of choices of starters, mains and desserts which can easily be adapted. They’ve actually got a good few veggie options too.

Food: 4/5

Price: 5/5 – there’s always a discount code for F&B’s.

Service: 5/5

Hooray for another easy eating out option for us gluten-free/low-fodmap eaters!

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