Let the packing begin….

travel_064And so today the suitcases come out, I need to figure out what we are bringing and do a test pack, tomorrow is the last day for washing things and getting anything we may have forgotten. But what DO you bring when you are a gluten free family going to Europe for a month…? Let me tell you, ALOT.

The list making started weeks ago, medications, inhalers, medical related documents, food, electronics, frying pan, lunch box, etc etc. Clothes are very very far down the list. Shoes are another problem, kids only own school shoes and flip flops, me, I only own flip flops! Thats what happens when you live in a country that has summer pretty much all year. Going to Europe now, to us, will seem like stepping in to winter. We did buy a pair of shoes each the other day, but Im not so sure it will be enough?

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Celiac kid calls us the flip flop family, guessing now we can be the converse family 🙂

You might wonder why we are bringing a frying pan? (Yes, we ARE bringing a frying pan, I wasn’t joking) Well, non stick pans can soak up gluten, and while we have kitchen access the entire time we are away, Im not sure there are stainless steel pans available, so what to do?  Im also thinking I may bring a toaster…. is that weird..? If we were away for just a week or so Id go with toaster bags, but we are away an entire month! The amount I’ll spend on toaster bags can probably buy us a new toaster…? This is the longest we will have been away since diagnosis, and although Im exited and looking forward to it, I also know that one mistake can cost us more then its worth. So plan plan plan. Long gone are the days when I breezed through airports looking chilled and comfortable, now Im the woman with bags and kids everywhere who has packed half the house and then some. Oh well.

Happy Holidays to us, if you see me back here in the near future you will know I survived the packing stage!

-Linda

Staycation, a Gluten Free trip to Fujairah Rotana Resort and Spa.

Originally posted on Gluten Free UAE in August 2012

Like many other gluten free families, we rarely travel unless its for a big reason. Those last minute trips and sleepovers that were so much fun before, are no longer possible. Even short trips away require planning and shopping, and plenty of worry and stress. What if there is no gluten free food? What if our Celiac gets contaminated and spends the whole trip being ill?

Having spent the whole summer (so far) here in the UAE, and many many loooong hot days doing very little, me and the kids were absolutely climbing the walls. Lets take the risk, lets GO somewhere!

We booked one night at the Fujairah Rotana Resort & Spa. One night , because booking 2 nights seemed very very risky, given that we didn’t know how it would work, gluten free wise.

We brought with us a loaf of freshly made gluten free bread, plenty of biscuits, crisps and bananas, crossed our fingers and left. We had a big breakfast before leaving, plenty of snacks, and some sandwiches in a cool box, worst case scenario all we eat is dinner, then if its not that great we can always go home after breakfast tomorrow we thought.

We really needn’t  have worried. Not long after arriving we had been introduced to the Executive Chef and Half the waiting staff. A basket of fruit and a tray of sweets (all gluten free) were sent to our room, as well as a basket of bread rolls. The bread was good! Too good, I had to call the kitchen just to double check that it really was gluten free (you just never know right?).

We had a great afternoon by the pool, the kids going crazy on the water slide and enjoying being outdoors.

Dinner time came, and we went to the restaurant. We were looked after like celebrities at this point, the ‘gluten free family’, yes yes, here. The head waiter came to greet us. We discussed what our Celiac would eat and it was decided she would have chicken (plain, no marinade, made in a clean pan) and home made chips made in a clean pan with new oil. Plain perhaps, but absolutely perfect for a Celiac 3 year old, and in terms of stress levels for the mum, less is more!

The rest of us had the Iftar buffet avoiding obvious gluten. When out of the house we don’t worry about trace amounts or contamination for the rest of us, but we wouldn’t eat ‘real bread’ around her, besides, real bread now makes me ill too!

The chef also made us some gorgeous home made thin and crispy potato chips (crisps).

We had a nice and relaxed evening and a good sleep.

Breakfast came and another buffet for the rest of us. We had 3 types of gluten free bread given to us, and we all enjoyed them. Had our celiac wanted eggs, or bacon or anything else, a fresh portion would have been made for her in a clean pan just to be sure. She was quite content though – stuffing herself with bread rolls!

We enjoyed lunch in the pool snack bar before leaving, another meal which went off without a hitch. The Celiacs meal was made in the main kitchen- again under the watchful eyes of the executive chef.

Our short break has given us not just a well deserved break, but also some extra confidence. We will be going away soon again for sure. Maybe even for 2-3 nights.

A big thanks to executive chef Tarek Mouriess and his staff for looking after so well. We will be back 🙂

-Linda

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I am not a food critic, or a resort critic (I bet you can tell!) But I really wanted to share our POSITIVE experience with you all, because for some people – like us – food safety is top priority. So while I may not be able to tell you about the succulent this or that, I can tell you that our Celiac was happy, and didn’t get ill! :)) Apologies for the bad pictures, they were taken in hindsight with a very dirty iPhone! 

Check out the Fujairah Rotana

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