A Summer Update

It’s been a busy year so far in the D household. Aside from the usual working parent challenges, I studied for and – thankfully – passed a professional qualification earlier this year. It was a huge overhead in terms of study for 6 months+. No sooner had I got through that, I became super busy at work for the last few months on a project. Consequently, not much time for blogging recently.

2016 – where have we been so far?
We didn’t plan for it to be the case but so far 2016 is really shaping up to be the year of travel. So far this year we’ve been to:

– weekend in Stavanger, Norway
– weekend in Bergen, Norway
– weekend in Innsbruck, Austria
– long bank holiday weekend in the Dorset countryside
– day trip to France (the never-used car needed a run and the wine cellar needed restocking)
– weekend on the Isle of Wight
– two weeks in Japan (based in Tokyo)
– weekend in Verona (with day trips to Venice and Lake Garda), Italy
– weekend in Turin, Italy

In a couple of weeks we’re going to the Dordogne, France. I’ll be looking forward to checking out the gluten free food options in France. Last year I found a seismic difference between what’s on offer in Paris for the gluten intolerant traveller and what’s available in the rest of France.

Finally, at the end of the year we’re going to Australia for 3 weeks and I can’t wait for a warm Christmas on the beach! If you have any recommendations for Brisbane, Sydney and Noosa, please do let me know in the comments below.

It almost feels like our travel schedule pre-kids…!

A blog makeover (again…)
Over Christmas I decided to spring clean my blog’s theme. Since I began writing this blog I’d been using a theme on Headway which had been super customisable and I’d been very happy with it. But around the time the twins were born, Headway changed to a new version, without providing an upgrade path which meant I was left either having to totally rebuild the site myself or leaving the blog on an unsupported platform.

Seeking a simple option to resolve, I chose and installed a free WP theme. Big mistake, huge! In one quick theme change I totally destroyed the SEO on this site. I’m still not entirely clear what I did but it all started with un-indexing it and just continued to get worse from there on. Lesson learned; don’t try this unless you know what you’re doing. And to make matters worse, since installing the new WP theme I had not even been happy with the way it looks.

Having been pondering changing the theme (again) I’ve noticed that the blogs I find most pleasing in terms of layout are all made by pipdig. When I discovered as part of the pipdig theme purchase, they also offer an installation service with email support, I was sold. It’s early days but so far I’m really pleased with how it looks and the customisation features under the hood are like the Headway theme that I liked so much. Much to my delight I’ve even got the header image back from the Headway theme! I’ve been really impressed with the customer service too, definitely recommend if you’re considering a blog theme change.

Gluten Free Update
So far this year I’ve discovered a few gluten free gems in London; Manna Dew (not far from me in Battersea), Andina (truly delicious Peruvian with unexpectedly excellent allergy menus) and gluten & nut free afternoon tea at the Lanesborough Hotel being the stand out highlights so far in 2016.

Another recent development has been Ocado finally stocking the Scandinavian gluten free brand, Fria. I’ve been buying their burger buns and seeded high fibre loaves, perfect as they’re kept in the freezer so less wastage.  The overseas trips have been mixed, to say the least. Italy always delivers on the gluten free eating front (I even found gluten free Peroni!) yet Japan was the polar opposite of Italy and was as challenging on both the gluten free as well as the nut free front.

gluten free Peroni beer

Meanwhile in twinland…
The mini Ds have just turned 3. They seem so grown up all of a sudden. While on the longest, darkest days of utter exhaustion I’ve often wondered just when exactly things would get easier, I’ll never forget how lucky I am to have two small people to go exploring (near and far) with.

What’s next on the blog
I have a few almost finished posts which have been sitting in my drafts folder for a while. These cover Japan, Bergen, Italy and some kid related posts. I’m aiming to finish them off and post one a week for the next month or so and then take it from there.


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  1. August 1, 2016 / 3:58 pm

    I like your new theme Sian! I too know the pain of switching themes. That side of blogging can be hard if you’re not from a technical background, I’m still learning. 🙂 Looking forward to reading your travel posts, it sounds like you’ve had some amazing trips this year!


    • August 1, 2016 / 4:10 pm

      Thanks very much! I agree on the technical side of blogging, I thought I was doing OK but I really learned through this how much needs to be considered when you make one (small-ish) change. Not sure there will be another travel year like this one so I’m enjoying the ride while I can!

  2. August 1, 2016 / 9:06 pm

    Great to have you “back”. The site looks good.. Congratulations on the qualifications. Look forward to seeing those draft posts.

  3. Rachel ¦¦ A Nesting Nomad
    August 10, 2016 / 10:18 pm

    Hurray, welcome to the Pipdig family! I’m glad you’re happy with it, I think it looks great. I’m looking forward to hearing about all your travels, as and when you’re able to update. I’m particularly intrigued about Japan because (non-coeliac) people just tend to wave their hands and say oh, eat sushi and I’m not convinced!

    I have a couple of Australia tips – in Brisbane we went to The Burrow which we thought was great. Guzman y Gomez are a decent fast food type Mexican place, Mad Mex is similar, Grill’d does good burgers – these are all chains so available in potentially all 3 of your locations. In Sydney I recommend Lucetta pizza near the CBD towards Millers Point, and there was a good pizzeria in Crows Nest as well (if you’re heading out that way let me know and I’ll try and remember the name). I also really recommend the Imperial Gluten Free Bakery if you can get out that far.

    Phew! Hope that helps…

    • August 10, 2016 / 10:39 pm

      Thank you! I’m so happy with the Pipdig theme – it looks v neat and I’ve been particularly impressed with their customer service, truly excellent.

      Thanks so much for all the Australian tips. Guzman y Gomez are on my list already as weirdly they have a restaurant in Tokyo, although I didn’t visit in the end. Japan, in general, was very challenging on the gluten free front. I’ll write more in a blog post but I found a lot of unsubstantiated/wrong info online about eating gluten free in Japan (eg wasabi contains gluten, sushi is made with malt vinegar) which was quite frustrating. I’m expecting Australia to be the polar opposite on the gluten free front to Australia!