Saturday morning in London

If you’ve ever been to London, you know that this city can keep you busy for weeks. With only three days to spend, I had a very busy schedule. On Saturday morning, I took a bus to Trafalgar square. After a quick stop for coffee and a short visit to Somerset House, I walked my way to the Millennium Bridge. Across the bridge you can see Tate Modern. Even if you’re not very fond of modern art, a visit to the restaurant is strongly recommended. After all, who can resist eating a macaroon and looking at that view? This museum has one of the best shops I’ve ever seen. I bought two books for the flight home and left to go on with my day. Starting at the Tate Modern, I walked on Backside, passing by Shakespeare’s Globe theater, until I reached London Bridge. At that point I crossed Thames for the second time and continued my walk on the other side of the river until I reached the Tower of London. It was already lunchtime.

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london-saturday-21 To be continued…

London through my phone

This weekend I got to fly to London and enjoy three days in the city for the first time. I don’t know how I’d managed to travel all over Europe and skip one of its biggest cities, but some really cheap tickets I found this summer convinced me that it was time to take care of it. London in November is purely magical with all the Christmas decorations already up. The weather was absolutely perfect with minimum amount of rain and relatively warm. I took hundreds of photos as I found my way around the city, but that’s a story for another post. For now I’ll leave you with some photos I took with my phone. I hope you enjoy them!

London-iphone-01 Big Ben and London Eye – Tate Britain

London-iphone-02 London phone booth – Cute postcard with illustration from the National Gallery

London-iphone-03 Cappuccino to kickstart the day – Dressed in yellow and khaki

London-iphone-04 The Shard

London-iphone-05 The Millennium Bridge from Tate Modern

London-iphone-06 Tower of London – Something to read on the flight home

London-iphone-07 Fortnum & Mason decorated for Christmas

London-iphone-08 Colorful houses in Notting Hill – What used to be fish and chips and roast biff

London-iphone-09 Walking in Notting Hill – Is it?

London-iphone-10 Big Ben from the National Gallery

Have a great week!

Favorites: 10 books

book-challenge Photo credits: Stefano Marchionini

In September, there was a book challenge in Facebook that went viral. One should mention the ten book that stayed with him in some way, but not think too hard about it. Here are my picks.

  1. Beyond the pleasure principle – Sigmund Freud
  2. The Parrot’s Theorem – Denis Guedj
  3. The Compassionate Brain – Gerald Hüther
  4. Semiotics in everyday life – Umberto Eco*
  5. Istanbul: The Imperial City – John Freely
  6. Uncle Petros and Goldbach’s Conjecture – Apostolos Doxiadis
  7. Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter – Simone de Beauvoir
  8. Frikandela, the witch who hated carols – Eugene Trivizas*
  9. The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
  10. The Orange Girl – Jostein Gaarder

Which books are your favorite ones of all times?

* I couldn’t find the english titles of these books, so I did the best I could.

ps. Have a great weekend! Mine is going to be a long one. Check my Instagram to find out more!

Cutting down on refined sugar

I’ve been wanting to talk about this decision for a long time now. I’m not the person to try all these silly diets around the internet. 5-2? Low-carb, high-fat? Paleo? Not for me. I just don’t like to put restrictions on myself, because I know that I can’t keep up with them in the long run. Or worse, I may end up eating only things that were not allowed after the diet is over. However, these diets are very popular, especially in Norway, and this inspired me a lot when, last year, I decided to change my eating habits for good and eat more healthy for the rest of my life. You see, I didn’t want to follow any particular diet on the Internet too closely, but cutting down on refined sugar, eating less bread and pasta and eating more fruits and vegetables made sense to me. And, all the healthy recipes, noted as Paleo-friendly or LCHF or whatever else, circulating the Internet follow these rules and make it easy for me to find substitutions for my everyday meals. Too easy. Sugar-free and white-flour free brownies with only natural sweeteners? I can give that a try. No refined sugar chocolate spread? Yes, please! So even though I haven’t completely cut off white flour and pasta, I’ve been quite successfully avoiding refined (and most of the time unrefined also) sugar for almost a year and a half now.

chocolate-meringue-cake Chocolate cake with meringue

chocolate-brie-sandwich Roasted strawberry, brie and chocolate grilled cheese

I set the rules at the beginning and these are quite simple:

  • YES to all natural sugar in fruits, like bananas and apples.
  • YES to Greek honey.
  • YES to unrefined sugar in moderation (if I really want to make a recipe that calls for eat).
  • YES to dark chocolate in moderation (even though it has some sugar).
  • NO to artificial sweeteners, like sukrin or xylitol etc.
  • NO to refined-sugar.
  • NO to syrups, nectars, whatever is now trending…

It took me a month for my body to stop craving sugar and few more months to stop dreaming of gooey chocolate cakes, but since the initial six months were over, I can’t imagine myself going back to eating sugar. It took some time, but over time, my taste buds adjusted. Now, I am better at resisting a sugar-loaded dessert. One tip that has helped me a lot is keeping healthy snacks with me so that I don’t get too hungry and eat sugar instead. Also, I can really taste the sweetness in fruit and I don’t need an excessive amount of honey to make my desserts sweet enough. I’ve tried eating “normal” cakes and ice-cream, but it seems like 2-3 bites are overwhelmingly enough to satisfy me. Another thing I noticed is that my energy levels are mostly stable through the day (probably because my blood sugar levels are stable through the day too). Lastly, I realized that at first I was worried and nervous (maybe even a bit obsessed) when I was eating out or visiting friends that offered me sweets. After sticking to it for over a year, I am now way more comfortable with my choice and know that cheating every once in a while is perfectly fine, as long as I keep up with it in the everyday.

black-forest-cheesecake Black Forest Cheesecake

Do you follow a special diet? Anyone else who is avoiding sugar?

ps. I also cut down on caffeine earlier this year. I promise I haven’t stopped eating anything else. Oh, wait! Unless you want to know about my newly found kale and lactose intolerance. No? You don’t? It’s OK, I get it…

ps2. The photos are an ode to what I’ve given up. More sugary recipes on my Pinterest dessert board. Cutting down on refined sugar doesn’t mean that I will never make them, just that they won’t be on my weekly treat list. They’re perfect however for a birthday or a celebration.

ps3. Another interesting post about life without sugar.

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